the Mormon Claim
Part 1 - Introduction
A few months ago, two Mormon missionaries came and knocked on my door, and I invited them in. To make a long story short, I have spent a great deal of time since then in taking a fair look at Mormonism and its claims in-depth, giving a full and fair hearing to both sides.
My "paradigm" for this study has been the example set by King Solomon. When he prayed for wisdom he didn't just listen to one side and then pray for God to show him what was right. In the story of the baby, he listened to both sides, and both sides gave what seemed to be very persuasive arguments. They couldn't both be right, but how was he to decide which woman was the real mother? Ultimately what he did was come up with a test that exposed the truth to everyone.
In some ways the cornerstone of Mormonism comes from Moroni 10:3-5. There, people are encouraged to simply pray about the Book of Mormon, and if they get a positive feeling in their heart then that is the Holy Spirit bearing witness to them that Mormonism is true. Needless to say, a lot of people get such a warm feeling and what Mormons call their "testimony" is born.
Over the next few weeks, I hope to be able to present several separate lines of evidence that conclusively demonstrate that Joseph Smith was a fraud, and that the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, are products of that fraud. As a basic framework I would like to do the following:
Part 2 -- An Overview of the Claims of Mormonism
2a -- Joseph Smith's background, Overview of the Mormon scriptures
2b -- Overview of Mormon Theology
2c -- Overview of Mormon Church Structure
Part 3 -- Fundamental Incompatibility with Bible Doctrines
Part 4 -- Joseph Smith and
"money-digging"; Oliver Cowdery and "divining rods"
Part 5 -- The First Vision
Part 6 -- Serious Errors in the Book of Mormon
6a -- Textual Errors, Inconsistencies, Factual Errors
6b -- "View of the Hebrews" and 5 years to plan the Mormon story
Part 7 -- Changes in the Doctrine and Covenants
Part 8 -- The Book of Abraham an abject fraud
Part 9 -- Archaeology and the Book of Mormon
9a -- Where are the Book of Mormon Lands
9b -- Specific archaeological problems
Part 10 -- Rewriting the LDS History
Part 11 -- The Mark Hoffman Murders
Part 12 -- Major changes in Church Policy (Polygamy, "Negroes")
Part 13 -- Conclusion
People can be hard-hearted, so nothing can force someone to change, but I do believe that after going through all of these issues nobody could believe in the various Mormon claims any more than they could support the wrong woman as the baby's true mother.
Let me close by directing you to some helpful materials, if you are so inclined. First and foremost is the Utah Lighthouse Ministry, on the Web at
www.utlm.org. It is run by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, a married couple who left the Mormons in the early 1960's and have since done more than anybody else in exposing the problems on Mormonism. Although some times they go to far, for the most part their stuff is excellent if a bit unwieldy. If you get nothing else, purchase
"An Address to all Believers in
Christ" by David Whitmer, which costs a mere $3. Whitmer was one of the original 3 witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and the booklet was written by him near the end of his life, explaining why he left the Latter-day Saints branch of Mormonism. It is devastating to LDS members, although he still cites his full belief in "pure" Mormonism, and so is not the only thing to be considered. The Tanner's magnum opus is called
"Mormonism -- Shadow or
Reality", and is available for $17 softcover, but it is a real bear to wade through. A distilled version is called
"Major Problems of
Mormonism", and is only $8. I would also recommend www.irr.org/mit/default.html
which is self-explanatory and very well-documented.
My sincere prayer is that this study might be used by God as He sees fit to help bring Mormons to an understanding of the Truth, and also that it might help prevent any of my brothers or sisters in Christ from getting pulled into the trap that is Mormonism. "Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many....false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." (Matt 24:11, 24) Mormonism now has about 10 million adherents worldwide and have a very
aggressive missionary system and a high growth rate. I think it wise for us as a community to give more thought to the claims of Mormonism than we have.
Avon, Indiana, USA
Continue to Part 2