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A FairMormon Analysis of: Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door
A work by author: Macgregor Ministries
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Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they believe your Church is wrong, your Christian creeds are abomination to God, and your pastor or Priest is a hireling of Satan"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they believe your Church is wrong, your Christian creeds are abomination to God, and your pastor or Priest is a hireling of Satan.

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

Joseph Smith went into the grove at age 14 to ask God "which of all the churches is right, and which should [he] join?" He assumed that the Lord's church had continued on the earth, unchanged through the centuries, and just wanted to know which one it was. What he was told by the Father and the Son in his vision appears to have been a surprising answer to him, that they were all wrong. But what he said was that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight, that the professors (as in professional clergy) were corrupt. That's a far cry from saying that there was nothing good or true or of value in those churches, or that their members were going to hell. The Church does not teach that the pastors and priests of other churches are "hirelings of Satan."

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that there is salvation only in their church - all others are wrong"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that there is salvation only in their church - all others are wrong.

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' claim to be "the only true Church" does not mean the LDS believe everyone else will be damned. The Church believes in a generous god who offers everyone, even the dead, an opportunity to hear the gospel preached in its true form. According to Church doctrine, even those who reject the gospel will be granted a place in a "heaven" -- a place of eternal glory. Far from dealing out damnation, the Church teaches of a merciful judgment for all God's children. The doctrine of "sons of perdition" is not very well understood and is a status reserved for what we assume is a tiny portion of people born on the earth.

Question: Do Mormons believe that everyone else will be "damned"?

Mormons believe that almost all people will receive a greater salvation than they anticipate

Since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be "the only true Church," does this mean that the LDS believe that everyone else will be damned? And, since the Church teaches that the dead will have the opportunity to hear the gospel preached to them, doesn't this imply that the witness given to those "after death" will be so compelling that virtually everyone will become "a Mormon"?

Almost all people will receive a greater salvation than they anticipate. The coming of the Lord, or the preaching to departed spirits after death, will not compel belief.

These teachings highlight the necessity of good-will and tolerance among peoples and religions—if the Lord in his glory will allow each religion and group to live peaceably, should we not do the same now?

Leaders of the Church have long taught that a kingdom of glory and salvation is granted to almost everyone

Leaders of the Church have long taught that a kingdom of glory and salvation is granted to almost everyone, save perhaps those who fully follow Satan as "sons of perdition."[1]

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught:

For Latter-day Saints, being “saved” can also mean being saved or delivered from the second death (meaning the final spiritual death) by assurance of a kingdom of glory in the world to come (see [1 Corinthians 15:40-42). Just as the Resurrection is universal, we affirm that every person who ever lived upon the face of the earth—except for a very few—is assured of salvation in this sense...The prophet Brigham Young taught that doctrine when he declared that “every person who does not sin away the day of grace, and become an angel to the Devil, will be brought forth to inherit a kingdom of glory”.[2] This meaning of saved ennobles the whole human race through the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In this sense of the word, all should answer: “Yes, I have been saved. Glory to God for the gospel and gift and grace of His Son!”[3]

President Brigham Young

Brigham Young taught much about the continuation of a variety of belief systems and religious practices in the hereafter:

15 August 1852

With your mind's eye look at the millions of them in all nations who are doing according to the best knowledge they possess. What! the Roman Catholics? Yes, and then every one of her daughters down to the latest Protestant Church that has been organized. They are all doing just as well as they can, and living according to the best light they have—a great many of them, though not all. What shall we do with them? They pass from the world, their spirits go into the spiritual world, and their bodies go back to their mother earth, and there sleep, while their spirits are before the Lord.

Are they happy? Every son and daughter of Adam who live according to the best light and knowledge they have, when the go into the spiritual world, are happy in proportion to their faithfulness. For instance, take a view of some of our late reformers; take the best specimen of reformers that we have, who are all the time full of glory and happiness and full of praise to the Lord—who meet together oft and sing and pray and preach and shout and give thanks to the Lord Almighty; and in a great many instances and in a great degree they enjoy much of a good spirit, which is the Spirit of the Lord, or the Light of Christ, which lighteth the world.

Now, this may be singular to some. What! they enjoy the Spirit of the Lord? Yes, every man and woman, according to their faith and the knowledge they have in their possession. They enjoy the goodness of their Father in heaven. Do they receive the Spirit of the Lord? They do, and enjoy the light of it, and walk in it, and rejoice in it.

What will be their state hereafter? Every faithful Methodist that has lived up to and faithfully fulfilled the requirements of his religion, according to the best light he had, doing good to all and evil to none, injuring no person upon the earth, honouring his God as far he knew, will have as great a heaven as he ever anticipated in the flesh, and far greater. Every Presbyterian, and every Quaker, and every Baptist, and every Roman Catholic member,—every reformer, of whatever class or grade, that lives according to the best light they have, and never have had an opportunity of receiving a greater light than the one in their possession, will have and enjoy all they live for.

I am telling you the truth as it is, and you may write it down if you please, and call it revelation if you will. But it has been revealed before I revealed it here to-day. This is the situation of Christendom after death.

You may go among the Pagans, or among all the nations there are, and they have their religion, their sacraments, and ceremonies, which are as sacred to them as ours are to us: they are just as precious and dear to them, though we call them heathen. They are idolatrous worshippers; yet their religion is as sacred to them as ours is to us. If they live according to the best light they have in their religion, God is God over all and the Father of us all; we are all the workmanship of his hands; and if they are ignorant, filled with superstition, and have the traditions of the fathers interwoven like a mantle around and over them, that they cannot see any light, so will they be judged; and if they have lived according to what they did possess, so they will receive hereafter.[4]

15 August 1852

How many glories and kingdoms will there be in eternity? You will see the same variety in eternity as you see in the world. For instance, you see here one class of men who have lived according to the best light they had: you may go among the heathen, or among the Christians, it is no matter; I will call them all Christians, or all heathens, if it will accommodate any body's feelings, for they don't come much short of all being heathen. We will take the best men we can find among them,—when they pass through the veil they are in happiness, they are in glory, they go among the disembodied spirits; but they do not go where there are resurrected bodies, for they cannot live there: a Prophet or an Apostle cannot live there. They also go into the spiritual world to live with spirits. Do they commune with the Father and Son? The Father communes with them as he pleases, through the means of angels, or otherwise the Son and the Holy Ghost. This is the situation of the Prophet, the Apostle, and all Saints before they receive their resurrected bodies; but they are looking forward to the time when they shall receive their bodies from the dust; and those that have been faithful, probably, will now soon get their resurrected bodies. Abraham has had his body long ago, and dwells with the Father and the Son, among all the Prophets and faithful Saints who received their resurrected bodies immediately after the resurrection of the Saviour. They were then prepared to enter into the Father's rest and be crowned with glory and eternal lives; but they were not prepared before.

No spirit of Saint or sinner, of the Prophet or him that kills the Prophet, is prepared for their final state: all pass through the veil from this state and go into the world of spirits; and there they dwell, waiting for their final destiny. It no doubt appears a singular idea to you that both Saint and sinner go to the same place and dwell together in the same world. You can see the same variety in this world. You see the Latter-day Saints, who have come into these valleys,—they are by themselves as a community, yet they are in the same world with other communities. But I do not feel as though I am dwelling where there are six or eight kinds of religion or more, and, after all, no religion at all; I am not dwelling where there is cursing, and swearing, and horse-racing, and gambling, and everything else that is calculated to disturb a peaceable community. Though I am in the same world where all this exists, I am not dwelling where it is, nor am I disturbed by it; but I am peaceable and serving the Lord.

You can see the variety here. The Presbyterians can go away by themselves and build cities and towns, and try to prohibit all other persons who are not Presbyterians from dwelling with them: the Methodists can do the same; the Baptists can do the same. We have the privilege of organizing society in the world as we please, in one sense. This is what Mr. Owen calls Socialism. He says mankind are controlled by circumstances, and others say that mankind govern and control circumstances. Both are true. We govern and control circumstances; but when we come into circumstances which the Lord controls, we are then controlled by circumstances. I and my brethren can go and settle down in a certain part; and if you choose, we can go into merchandising or stock-raising; and if we choose, we can live without a family, like a Shaker. In this way we can control circumstances in a great degree, while there are circumstances over which we have no control. All this exhibits precisely the situation of the people hereafter: they control circumstances to a great degree, and sometimes circumstances control them. When they are in the world of spirits, there is the Prophet and the Patriarch; all righteous men are there, and all wicked men also are there.[5]

7 October 1857

Many have thought that all will believe in the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ when the kingdom of God is fully established; but they will not; and if those characters were in heaven, they might believe, but would not obey the revelations of Jesus Christ. There are multitudes in this Church who have not yet learned these truths; and there are multitudes in the world who would not know Jesus, were he to pass before their eyes, and would not understand what he meant, if he were to speak to them. Such will be the case in the millennium.[6]

22 May 1859

When all nations are so subdued to Jesus that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, there will still be millions on the earth who will not believe in him; but they will be obliged to acknowledge his kingly government. You may call that government ecclesiastical, or by whatever term you please; yet there is no true government on earth but the government of God, or the holy Priesthood. Shall I tell you what that is? In short, it is a perfect system of government—a kingdom of Gods and angels and all beings who will submit themselves to that government.[7]

23 December 1866

If the Latter-day Saints think, when the kingdom of God is established on the earth, that all the inhabitants of the earth will join the church called Latter-day Saints, they are egregiously mistaken. I presume there will be as many sects and parties then as now. Still, when the kingdom of God triumphs, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, to the glory of the Father. Even the Jews will do it then; but will the Jews and Gentiles be obliged to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? No; not by any means. Jesus said to his disciples, "in my Father's house are many mansions; were it not so I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also," &c. There are mansions in sufficient numbers to suit the different classes of mankind, and a variety will always exist to all eternity, requiring a classification and an arrangement into societies and communities in the many mansions which are in the Lord's house, and this will be so for ever and ever. Then do not imagine that if the kingdom of God is established over the whole earth, that all the people will become Latter-day Saints. They will cease their persecutions against the Church of Jesus Christ, and they will be willing to acknowledge that the Lord is God, and that Jesus is the Savior of the world.[8]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that those who have been through their temples are wearing secret underwear to protect themselves from "evil". This "evil" includes non - Mormons like you"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that those who have been through their temples are wearing secret underwear to protect themselves from "evil". This "evil" includes non - Mormons like you.

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

This claim is absolutely false, and particularly offensive.
  • Temple garments are meant to be a reminder of the covenants that we make with God in the temple. The "protection" that they afford us is the visible reminder of those covenants. We do not believe that they make us invulnerable to "evil."
  • Latter-day Saints do NOT consider non-Mormons "evil."

Question: Is the Mormon temple garment simply "magic underwear"?

Latter-day Saints wear the garment as a private reminder of covenants and promises made to God

Hostile critics of the Restoration often mock the Latter-day Saint practice of wearing temple garments. They refer to these ritual items of clothing as "magic underwear" or "Mormon burquas' in order to shock, ridicule and offend.

Latter-day Saints wear the garment as a private reminder of covenants and promises made to God. The blessings and protection which derive from it come by God's will through keeping the covenants associated with it. The promised protection is primarily spiritual, but this does not mean that God may not also grant physical protection as he sees fit. In either case, the blessing is not because of the clothing, it is because of what the clothing represents.

Latter-day Saints are in good company with the early Christians, who used similar clothing as part of their worship. Other religions likewise use items of clothing which they consider to have sacred significance.

To mock or demean these items is in the poorest taste, and not worthy of anyone who claims to be a disciple of Christ. Patriotic readers might consider how they would feel if someone took a flag ("a mere piece of cloth") and burned or soiled it in anger at a protest or demonstrations. Our negative reaction to this is not the disrespect to an object, but what the object represents.

Members of the LDS Church are often subjected to critics—generally conservative Protestants—who picket their meetings and temple dedications. It is not unusual for such protesters to openly display Latter-day Saint temple garments, subject them to ridicule, and treat them with great disrespect. Protesters and authors alike have insisted that the Mormon use of temple garments is an unChristian and unbiblical practice. (See here for photos and videos of several anti-Mormon demonstrations. Click here for a graphic example of disrespect to an item considered sacred by Latter-day Saints)

Such treatment of an object connected with sacred worship is highly offensive to Latter-day Saints. Only an attack on the character or name of Jesus Christ would be worse, since the garment is closely connected with the Savior's own teachings and attributes. (See Evelyn T. Marshall, "Garments," in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism [New York: Macmillan, 1992], 534-35).

Misrepresentations of the purpose of the garment by critics

An anti-Mormon protester at April 2004 LDS General Conference criticizes the LDS use of the temple garment.

In the critical book Mormonism 101. Examining the Religion of the Latter-day Saints, under the heading of Pre-endowment Instructions, the authors enter into a discussion on the nature of the 'temple garments.' In regard to this vestment, the authors write: "By wearing the garments at all times, it is taught that the individual Mormon, depending on his or her faithfulness, is protected both physically and spiritually." [9] It is apparent from the ensuing discussion that rather than focusing on the fundamental belief in the 'spiritual protection' offered by this clothing that the authors, in trying to sensationalize their account, are much more interested in the idea of 'physical protection.' At the end of their book section they compare the garment to a "proverbial rabbit's foot or talisman." In an attempt to bolster this claim they utilize a quotation from a prominent LDS leader -- Spencer W. Kimball -- which seems, at a quick glance, to support such an interpretation. The quote reads as follows:

"Temple garments afford protection. I am sure one could go to [the] extreme in worshiping the cloth of which the garment is made, but one could also go to the other extreme. Though generally I think our protection is a mental, spiritual, moral one, yet I am convinced that there could be, and undoubtedly have been, many cases where there has been, through faith, an actual physical protection. So we must not minimize that possibility." [10]

President Kimball here expresses his view that the protection is generally spiritual, though one cannot rule out the possibility that God could grant physical protection as well. Surely the Lord can dispense blessings as He sees fit.

The authors have somewhat misrepresented the statement by Spencer Kimball. They introduce the citation with these words: "For instance, President Spencer W. Kimball said on 31 May 1948." It needs to be pointed out that Brother Kimball was not the President of the LDS Church in 1948 when these remarks were made. He was, however, an apostle -- having been ordained to that calling in 1943. He would not become the President of the Church until 1973. It should be further noted that this information was not delivered to the public but was rather written down in a private letter. While it is true that this information originated with Apostle Kimball it certainly does not carry the weight of authority which is lent to it by some anti-Mormons. This statement simply represents a personal opinion and NOT a doctrinal declaration that is binding upon Mormonism. It is clear that while Elder Kimball believed that the garment had acted as a physical protection in "many cases" he never stated that it was supposed to function that way in ALL instances.


Question: Do Mormons believe that the temple garment will protect them from physical harm?

The 'protection' of the garment is spiritual, not physical

The First Presidency of the LDS Church has explained in plain terms that the temple garment serves as "a protection against temptation and evil" and instead of it being some type of 'lucky talisman' the "promise of protection [associated with it] is conditioned upon worthiness and faithfulness." (First Presidency Letter, 10 October 1988; see Ensign, August 1997, 19-).

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has published a similar view about the kind of protection that is provided by the temple garment. He said that it "fosters modesty and becomes a shield and a protection to the wearer. . . . For many Church members the garment has formed a barrier of protection when the wearer has been faced with temptation." [11]

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Twelve has said -- using symbolic language -- that "we wear the [temple] garment faithfully as part of the enduring armor of God." (Ensign, May 2001, 32-). Spiritual 'armor' is certainly designed to give a person spiritual protection, not to prevent numerous forms of physical harm.


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU about their secret temple rites at all. If they did, you would spot them as non Christians immediately"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU about their secret temple rites at all. If they did, you would spot them as non Christians immediately.

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Latter-day Saints consider the temple ordinances sacred and do not discuss them openly, particularly with those who would mock them. However, they are hardly secret.

For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and temples

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they think 'familiar spirits' are good, and that their Book of Mormon has a 'familiar spirit'. Leviticus 19:31 says familiar spirits defile one, and are to be avoided at all costs"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they think "familiar spirits" are good, and that their Book of Mormon has a "familiar spirit". Leviticus 19:31 says familiar spirits defile one, and are to be avoided at all costs.

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The claim is based upon a passage in the Book of Mormon where the appearance of the book is foretold by a prophet writing centuries before the birth of Christ. The use of the term "familiar spirit" is used as a poetic simile. 2Ne 26:15 Its use is not meant to be taken literally. All it is meant to say is that the voices of prophets and people who were long dead and forgotten will be heard again through the words they wrote in the Book of Mormon being miraculously revealed through a new prophet, thousands of years later. The same simile is used in the Bible by the prophet Isaiah. Isa 29:4 It is also a prophecy of lost scripture being restored. The notion that term "familiar spirit" can only be used to refer to occult practices is overly literal and simplistic.
  • The reason Latter-day Saints won't tell you that "familiar spirits" are "good" is because the subject of "familiar spirits" is rarely, if ever, discussed. Most Latter-day Saints would scratch their head upon hearing this claim.

Question: Does the term "familiar spirit" in the Book of Mormon refer to occult practices?

This doesn't mean that Isaiah was only referring to the Book of Mormon, or that he was particularly thinking about it at all: Nephi simply used the imagery and language of Isaiah

Why are the words "familiar spirit" in Isaiah 29:4 said to refer to the Book of Mormon (as used in 2 Nephi 26:16, when "familiar spirit" usually refers to occult practices such as channeling and necromancy everywhere else in the Old Testament? This doesn't mean that Isaiah was only referring to the Book of Mormon, or that he was particularly thinking about it at all. Nephi simply used the imagery and language of Isaiah, and adapted it to make his point. This was common practice in the ancient world. One wonders how young Joseph Smith knew that?

The comparison does not say that the Book of Mormon is a familiar spirit, but that the message from the Book of Mormon would be comparable, or like such a spirit.

What is "a familiar spirit"?

The answer to this criticism depends on understanding Isaiah—and Nephi's use of him. Critics count on the Latter-day Saints being unfamiliar with these materials, and so a review is helpful.[12]

It is natural that some have misunderstood the term "familiar spirit." The contemporary use of familiar is as an adjective, derived from the Latin familiaris, meaning “domestic” (an adjectival formation from familia, “family”). The word means something like “intimate, very friendly.” But in about 1590 the word also began to be used as a noun meaning “demon, evil spirit.”

So in the KJV, the “one that hath a familiar spirit” does not, mean that people will be familiar with it (e.g., as might be expressed by saying it "rings a bell," or is something they've been acquainted with before they heard it.)

Rather, the term "familiar spirit" in Isaiah has something to do with divination by communicating with the spirits of the dead (necromancy). KJV use of “familiar” in this sense is an unfortunate translation, both because it confuses modern English readers and because it brings up images of medieval witchcraft that don't match the ancient biblical world.

Hebrew text

The key word in Hebrew is ‘ob, which appears about 15 times in the OT. Unfortunately, we don’t really know for sure what the word means or whence it is derived. It is used in a variety of different ways. The possible meanings include a spirit, an ancestral spirit, the person controlled by a spirit, a bottle (made of skin), the ritual pit from which spirits are called up, a ghost, a demon. Most scholars simply admit the ambiguity and admit that the word can be used in different ways: a ritual pit used by a necromancer, a spirit called up by a necromancer, and/or the necromancer himself or herself.

The word ‘ob is closely associated with the word yidde’oni. Although ‘ob appears independently (in four passages), yidde’oni always appears in connection with ‘ob (in 11 passages). Many believe the two words are always used together as a hendiadys (a rhetorical device where two nouns joined by and are meant to convey a single sense); others, including most translations, see the terms as referencing two different people, often rendered something like “medium and wizard.” In the case of yidde’oni we can recognize the root *YD’, but it is unclear whether the “one who knows” is the one consulted or the one doing the consulting.

Use of "familiar spirit" in Isaiah

We can now consider what Isaiah meant.

Isaiah is referring to events at Jerusalem (called "Ariel"), and says:

4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust. (Isaiah 29:4)

The New English Translation (NET) Bible translation renders this verse as

"Your voice will sound like a spirit speaking from the underworld."

Thus, Jerusalem and its inhabitants will be destroyed, and (in a striking image) Isaiah says that the only thing that will linger on is their voices or witness "from beyond the grave," so to speak. Their destruction will leave them to bear witness, but that is all they can do.

Most translations of Isaiah use some variant of “ghost” in this passage, meaning a shade from Sheol (the Hebrew realm of the dead, or land of spirits).

Book of Mormon usage of Isaiah: Nephi uses the Isaiah passage to explain or illustrate his own prophecy

Nephi (a lover of Isaiah) uses the Isaiah passage to explain or illustrate his own prophecy:

14 But behold, I prophesy unto you concerning the last days; concerning the days when the Lord God shall bring these things forth unto the children of men.

15 After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten.

16 For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust.

17 For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God. (2 Nephi 26:14-17)

This passage is a pesher, applying the Isaianic imagery to the appearance of the BoM in the last days, with speech low out of the dust. If you read this BoM passage with a proper understanding of the familiar spirit reference, it actually makes excellent sense. The words of the Book will speak low out of the dust as a ghost called up from the netherworld.

(All writing from another time does this—it allows the dead to speak to us. Matthew and Paul speak to us "as if" from the dead in the Bible, Shakespeare speaks to us through his plays, etc.)

Thus, the Book of Mormon, being a record from a fallen Christian civilization, would be "as if" the dead spoke, since those who are now dead can speak to us. The comparison to Isaiah's Jerusalem probably seems appropriate to Nephi, since:

  • Isaiah prophesied of Jerusalem's destruction, and the Nephites were witnesses of that destruction (e.g. 2 Nephi 1:3-4).
  • The Nephites had fled Jerusalem to avoid destruction.
  • Jerusalem was destroyed for wickedness, as Nephi knew his own people would eventually be destroyed (see 1 Nephi 15:5).
  • Like the wicked at Jerusalem, only the tale (the witness or record) of the wicked Nephite civilization would persist

The symbol used by Isaiah is thus both appropriate for Nephi's situation, and ironic, since the Nephites have ended up also "speaking from the dust" just like the people at Jerusalem from whom the Nephites fled to avoid destruction!

Remember also that the Book of Mormon was "To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof" as the title page to the book states. The interpreters, or Urim and Thummim, as well as the seer stone, are what are being referred to here. These are sacred implements. Implements are also used in the context of divination. So it is not surprising that the gift and power of God manifest through use of sacred implements would be described in this manner in Isaiah. The tools such as seer stones and so forth are abused by those who misuse them in occult contexts. But in the context of their correct use under priesthood authority and revelation from God, they are still spiritual implements that manifest things from the unseen world, but in that case, being acted upon by the power of God, not by false spirits.

The Book of Mormon disapproves of necromancy

The critics try to tie the Book of Mormon's use of this passage to ideas of witchcraft or devil-worship. But, Isaiah uses the same imagery (a ghost speaking from beyond the grave) to describe Jerusalem events. Surely the critics don't expect us to believe that Isaiah's use of this metaphor means he approves of witchcraft?

The Book of Mormon verse also emphasizes that the power to translate the Book of Mormon comes from God, not from channeling or necromancy: "the Lord God will give unto him [the translator] power." But, the critics do not mention this inconvenient fact.

Those who advance this criticism also ignore that the Book of Mormon also speaks negatively about appealing to actual "familiar spirits," in another citation from Isaiah in 2 Nephi 18:19.


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that women receive salvation only through their Mormon husbands, and must remain pregnant for all eternity"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that women receive salvation only through their Mormon husbands, and must remain pregnant for all eternity.

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

This is definitely one of the more puerile claims we hear from anti-Mormon ministries - the "eternally pregnant goddess." This claim likely originated in the anti-Mormon film "The God Makers." Like many claims in that film, it is based more on sensationalism than in fact. The LDS church does not teach that women receive their salvation only through their husbands. In fact, faithful men and women are each judged by God for their individual faithfulness. In order to obtain the highest rewards in the afterlife, Mormons believe that a man and woman need to be married for eternity, and the husband requires his wife every bit as much as the wife requires her husband in that equation.

Question: Do Latter-day Saints believe in a practice called "celestial sex," and that this is the manner in which "spirit children" are formed?

It is the critics of the Church that invented and use the offensive term "celestial sex"

This is not a term used by Latter-day Saints. It has, in fact, never been used by Latter-day Saints. The use of the term "celestial sex" by critics is intended to be demeaning and shocking to Latter-day Saints or interested readers. The use of such tactics may say much about the mainstream culture's preoccupation with sexual behavior. However, it says nothing about the actual beliefs of Church members.

Critics of the Church twist LDS beliefs into a form that makes them look ridiculous. Quotes made by early LDS leaders are often used to support the claim that Latter-day Saints believe in “Celestial sex.” It should be noted, however, that LDS leaders have never used the term "Celestial sex." This phrase was coined by critics of the Church, likely for its “shock value” in portraying the following concepts in LDS belief:

  1. The belief that God the Father has a physical body.
  2. The belief that there exists a Heavenly Mother who also possesses a physical body.
  3. The belief that our Heavenly Father and Mother together are capable of creating “spirit children.”

Critics take these ideas and combine them, leading to a declaration that Latter-day Saints therefore believe in “Celestial sex.” Various anti-Mormon works then use this idea to mock LDS beliefs or shock their readers—though this claim does not describe LDS beliefs, but the critics' caricature of them.

One of the earliest uses of the term "celestial sex" was in the anti-Mormon film The God Makers

For example, the 1982 anti-Mormon film The God Makers makes reference to “engaging in celestial sex with their goddess wives." One woman in the film, who is claimed to have once been a Latter-day Saint, expresses the idea that the primary goal of women in the Church is to "become a goddess in heaven" in order to "multiply an earth" and be "eternally pregnant." The claim that Latter-day Saints expect to have "endless Celestial sex" in order to populate their own planet is very popular among critics of the Church, though members themselves would not explain their beliefs in that way.

The critics' assumptions simply take what we know about our physical world and naively apply it to the afterlife. When one examines the critics’ point further, a key question ought to be raised: How does the union of two immortal beings in a physical manner produce spirit offspring? Latter-day Saint belief is that “spirit children” only receive a physical body upon being born on earth.

This question, of course, cannot be answered. It is pointless to speculate on the exact manner in which “spirit children” are produced, and to assume that this occurs through “Celestial sex” and being "eternally pregnant" is to apply a worldly mindset to a spiritual process. The bottom line: Latter-day Saints do not know the mechanism by which “spirit children” are produced, and no LDS doctrine claims that "celestial sex" and being "eternally pregnant" are the means.


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they intend to be gods themselves some day, and are helping to earn their exaltation to godhood by talking to you"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they intend to be gods themselves some day, and are helping to earn their exaltation to godhood by talking to you.

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

It is claimed that the doctrine of human deification is unbiblical, false, and arrogant. Related claims include: 1) Mormons believe they will 'supplant God', 2) Belief in theosis, or human deification, implies more than one "god," which means Mormons are "polytheists," 3) The Mormon concept of "human deification" is a pagan belief derived from Greek philosophy.

Question: Do Latter-day Saints believe that they will one day 'supplant' God?

A belief in human deification does not mean that the LDS believe that they will worship anyone other than God

Some Christians claim that the doctrine of human deification is unbiblical, false, and arrogant, and that Latter-day Saints believe that they will one day "supplant God".

The first thing we must realize when we study this principle is that

The Father is the one true God. This thing is certain: no one will ever ascend above Him; no one will ever replace Him. Nor will anything ever change the relationship that we, His literal offspring, have with Him. He is Elohim, the Father. He is God. Of Him there is only one. We revere our Father and our God; we worship Him. [13]

A belief in human deification does not mean that the LDS believe their worship is or will be properly directed at anyone but God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Said the Church when asked about the doctrine of deification of man:

We believe that the apostle Peter’s biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul’s reference to being 'joint heirs with Christ' reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes. [14]

In response, it is proper to cite Origen:

Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God. They may fear that the glory of Him who surpasses all creation may be lowered to the level of those other beings called gods. ... [However], as, then there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 8:5-6). [15]

To be sure, some may dislike this doctrine, but it is ancient, Biblical, and true.

The doctrine of deification was present in the early Church

Non-LDS church historian Ernst Benz insisted that the doctrine of deification was present in the early Church, and pointed out a potential risk for those who do not understand it:

Now this idea of deification could give rise to a misunderstanding—namely, that it leads to a blasphemous self-aggrandizement of man. If that were the case, then mysticism would, in fact, be the sublimist, most spiritualized form of egoism. But the concept of imago dei, in the Christian understanding of the term, precisely does not aspire to awaken in man a consciousness of his own divinity, but attempts to have him recognize the image of God in his neighbor. Here the powerful words of Jesus in Matthew 25:21-26 are appropriate and connected by the church fathers to imago dei...

Hence, the concept of imago dei does not lead toward self-aggrandizement but rather toward charity as the true and actual form of God's love, for the simple reason that in one's neighbor the image of God, the Lord himself, confronts us. The love of God should be fulfilled in the love toward him in whom God himself is mirrored, in one's neighbor. Thus, in the last analysis, the concept of imago dei is the key to the fundamental law of the gospel—"Thou shalt love . . . God . . . and thy neighbor as thyself" (Luke 10:27)—since one should view one's neighbor with an eye to the image that God has engraven upon him and to the promise that he has given regarding him. [16]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they intend to have many wives in heaven, carrying on multiple sex relations throughout eternity, until they have enough children to populate their own earth, so they can be 'Heavenly Father' over their own planet!"

Question:
MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they intend to have many wives in heaven, carrying on multiple sex relations throughout eternity, until they have enough children to populate their own earth, so they can be "Heavenly Father" over their own planet!


FairMormon's analysis

Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

It is claimed that Latter-day Saints believe in a practice called "Celestial sex," and that this is the manner in which "spirit children" are formed.
  • It is claimed that Mormons believe that they can push themselves higher in a type of 'celestial pecking order.' This is often expressed by the claim that Latter-day Saint men wish to become "gods of their own planets."

Question: Do Mormon men believe that they will become "gods of their own planets" and rule over others?

Mormons believe in human deification, but what this doctrine means or entails is beyond human comprehension

It is claimed by some that Mormons believe that they can push themselves higher in a type of 'celestial pecking order.' This is often expressed by the claim that Latter-day Saint men wish to become "gods of their own planets." One critic even extends this to our "own universe,"

Mormons teach that by obedience to all the commandments of Mormonism, a Mormon may attain the highest degree of heaven and ultimately become a god, creating and ruling over his own universe. Do you believe that? Is this your ultimate personal goal?

Members of the Church—like early Christians—believe in human deification or theosis. They assert that this doctrine is taught in the Bible and by modern revelation. However, what this doctrine means or entails is beyond human comprehension anyway. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," taught Paul (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Most members of the Church realize that they have enough on their plates to do and become through Christian discipleship and keeping their covenants. They do not spend much time concerned about the details of their future state. They are simply confident that they will be happy, in families, and back in the presence of God where they will continue to do His will.

Certainly we can have the end in mind, remembering the relationship of Father to child is crucial. He will always, through all eternity, be our Father and our God. Still, it would be unwise to jump the gun and assume we are practically almost there; we have plenty to do in the meantime, and an eternal and abiding need for the grace of Christ to compensate for our manifest inadequacies.

The critics' accusations along these lines are a caricature of LDS belief, and omit virtually everything of importance in their discussion of this doctrine.

The caricature: Mormons wishing to "get their own planet"

Mormons, along with many other Christian denominations, believe in deification or theosis, based on the teaching that we can become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). Little is known, though much might be speculated, about the specific details of our potential under this doctrine. Reducing it to ruling a planet caricatures a profound and complex belief. The use of the word “planet” makes Mormons seem more like sci-fi enthusiasts than devout Christians.

This isn’t just a quibble about semantics. Claims that Mormons hope for “their own planets” almost always aim to disrespect and marginalize, not to understand or clarify. The reality is that we seek eternal life, which we consider to be a life like that of our Father in Heaven. We consider our immediate task on Earth to learn to understand and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, rather than speculate on what life might be like if we achieve exaltation. Specifics about the creation of worlds and the ability to govern them upon achieving eternal life are not clarified in Latter-day Saint scripture. Attempts to portray these concepts as simply wanting to “get our own planet” are a mockery of Latter-day Saint beliefs.

The reality: Latter-day Saints wishing to become like their Father in Heaven

Much criticism of Joseph Smith and the Church in general stems from a teaching regarding the eternal potential of mankind.[17] The Church believes that men and women are the "offspring" of Heavenly Parents (see Acts 17:28-29) composed of the same eternal substance (see DC 93:33-35) and hence we have divine possibilities through the grace of Christ. Latter-day Saints believe that they can achieve a life like that of our Father in Heaven. This implies that one can eventually participate in similar works, among which would be the creation of worlds. In 2001, Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles noted,

The real life we’re preparing for is eternal life. Secular knowledge has for us eternal significance. Our conviction is that God, our Heavenly Father, wants us to live the life that He does. We learn both the spiritual things and the secular things “so we may one day create worlds [and] people and govern them” (Henry B. Eyring, quoting Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, October 2002.)

Elder's Eyring and Kimball are not the only ones to make such references. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Joseph Fielding Smith all associated becoming like our Heavenly Father with the creation of worlds, and the populating of these worlds with spirit children.

However, there are many names for (and many interpretations of) this belief in and out of the Church. There are various schools of thought on what it might mean for a person to become a "god" after this life. On this view, Brigham Young didn't teach of countless gods doing their own thing in countless universes, each out for their own concerns. According to Brigham, there will be no such separate kingdoms of personal power

...to yourself, by yourself, and for yourself, regardless of every other creature.

But the truth is, you are not going to have a separate kingdom; I am not going to have a separate kingdom; it is not our prerogative to have it on this earth. If you have a kingdom and a dominion here, it must be concentrated in the head; if we are ever prepared for an eternal exaltation, we must be concentrated in the head of the eternal Godhead...If we fancy that we have an independent interest here and in the world to come, we shall fail in getting any of it.

Your interest must be concentrated in the head on the earth, and all of our interest must center in the Godhead in eternity, and there is no durable interest in any other channel.[18]

Along these lines, consider the interesting sermon by Heber C. Kimball from 1856. In this discourse, President Kimball tangentially referred to deification, not as a glorious declaration that we will become gods or godlike, but to remind his listeners not to put the cart before the horse. We ought to consider becoming true "Saints" before focusing too much on being gods.

Heber said:

Many think that they are going right into the celestial kingdom of God, in their present ignorance, to at once receive glories and powers; that they are going to be Gods, while many of them are so ignorant, that they can see or know scarcely anything. Such people talk of becoming Gods, when they do not know anything of God, or of His works; such persons have to learn repentance, and obedience to the law of God; they have got to learn to understand angels, and to comprehend and stick to the principles of this Church.

…I bear testimony of this, and I wish you would listen to counsel and lay aside every sin that doth so easily beset you, and turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart.</ref>

Similarly, during the King Follett discourse, Joseph Smith is said to have taught:

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil [died] before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.[19]

The need for divine grace

Main article: Neglecting grace?

Christ said "be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect" (see Matthew 5:48) and members of the Church tend to take that charge literally. The trouble is, some Saints might feel they can or even must achieve this impossible goal through their own efforts. In conversations about grace and works Mormons are quick to quote: "faith without works is dead," (see James 2:20), often in reaction to extreme conservative Protestantism's claims that one can be saved by faith alone without a concurrent change in behavior and life wrought by that faith. In this respect, the Latter-day Saints share far more with the early Christians than they do with modern conservative Protestantism.

Members must also remember, however, that works without faith is also dead, and Heber seems to be trying to express that message.

Here we see an early example of a Church leader discussing "grace," though he still maintains a perspective in which works are essential. It is for us, today, to focus on today, and retain a remission of sins relying on Christ, as the light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day, when the rest of this doctrine can be figured out more clearly. In the meantime, our probation continues, and Heber had a few pieces of advice to impart:

We cannot become perfect, without we are assisted by our heavenly Father. We must be faithful and of one heart, and one mind, and let every man and woman take course to build up and not pull down. See that you save your grain, that you may save yourselves from the wicked of the world. Try to take care of every thing that is good to eat, for this is the work of the Lord God Almighty, and we shall have times that will test the integrity of this people, that will test who is honest and who is not.

Omitting prayer is calculated to lead the mind away from those duties which are incumbent upon us; then let us attend to our prayers and all our duties, and you will know that brother Brigham and his brethren have told you of these things...

There are trying times ahead of you, do you not begin to feel and see them? If you do not, I say you are asleep. I wish that the spirit which rests upon a few individuals could be upon you, everyone of you, it would be one of the most joyful times that brother Brigham and I ever saw with the Saints of God upon this earth.[20]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that you were once a spirit - child of their heavenly father, and one of his numerous wives before you were born on earth"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that you were once a spirit - child of their heavenly father, and one of his numerous wives before you were born on earth.

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Latter-day Saints do teach that we are spirit children of our Heavenly Father. This is part of the first lesson taught by missionaries to people unfamiliar with our doctrine. It is never withheld and is actually something a Mormon will definitely tell anyone "when they call at your door." The nonsense about his "numerous wives" comes from "The God Makers" and is not Church doctrine. This claim is based upon statements made by Brigham Young in which he stated that God the Father had more than one wife.

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that the Virgin Mary really wasn't a virgin at all but had sex relations with their heavenly father"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that the Virgin Mary really wasn't a virgin at all but had sex relations with their heavenly father to produce the Mormon version of Jesus Christ

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

It is claimed that Latter-day Saints reject the "Evangelical belief" that "Christ was born of the virgin Mary, who, when the Holy Ghost came upon her, miraculously conceived the promised messiah." Yet, Latter-day Saints believe in the virgin birth. As the Church responded to this question posed by Fox News:

The Church does not claim to know how Jesus was conceived but believes the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary.

Question: Do Mormons believe that Mary was still a virgin when Jesus was born?

Latter-day Saints believe in the virgin birth

It is claimed that Latter-day Saints believe Jesus was conceived through sexual intercourse between God the Father and Mary, therefore Mary was not a virgin when Jesus was born. As evidence they point to a handful statements from early LDS leaders that directly or indirectly say so. It is also claimed that Latter-day Saints reject the "Evangelical belief" that "Christ was born of the virgin Mary, who, when the Holy Ghost came upon her, miraculously conceived the promised messiah."

Critics of the Church like to dig up quotes like those from Brigham Young for their shock value, but such statements do not represent the official doctrine of the Church. Furthermore, critics often read statements through their own theological lenses, and ignore the key distinctions which LDS theology is attempting to make by these statements. Instead, they try to put a salacious spin on the teaching, when this is far from the speakers' intent. The key, official doctrine of the Church is that Jesus is literally the son of God (i.e., this is not a symbolic or figurative expression), and Mary was a virgin before and after Christ's conception.

At the annunciation, Mary questioned the angel about how she could bear a child: "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34; the expression "know" in the Greek text is a euphemism for sexual relations). Nephi likewise described Mary as a virgin (1 Nephi 11:13-20), as did Alma1 (Alma 7:10).

Latter-day Saints believe Jesus was the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh (e.g., 2 Nephi 25:12; D&C 93:11). He was literally the Son of God, not the son of Joseph or even the son of the Holy Ghost.

What the Church has not taken a position on is how the conception took place, despite speculations by various early Church leaders. The canonized scriptures are silent on how the conception took place—even Nephi's detailed vision of then-future Messiah is veiled during the part where Mary conceives (1 Nephi 11:19).

Some early leaders of the Church felt free to express their beliefs on the literal nature of God's Fatherhood of Jesus' physical body

For example, Brigham Young said the following in a discourse given 8 July 1860:

"...[T]here is no act, no principle, no power belonging to the Deity that is not purely philosophical. The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." [21]

Jesus shared God's genetic inheritance without necessarily requiring a sexual act to combine that inheritance with Mary's mortal contribution

But are these types of statements official Church doctrine, required for all believing Latter-day Saints to accept? No—they were never submitted to the Church for ratification or canonization. (See General authorities' statements as scripture.)

Critics have noted that this statement, and others like it, can be read to indicate there was sexual intercourse involved in the conception of Jesus. Regardless of this speculation--which goes beyond the textual data--Brigham Young's view may be seen by some contemporary Latter-day Saints as correct in that Jesus was literally physically the Son of God, just as much as any children are "of our fathers." Modern science has discovered alternative methods of conceiving children--e.g., in vitro "test tube" babies--that don't involve sexual intercourse. Thus, though processes such as artificial insemination were unknown to Brigham and thus likely not referenced by his statements, it does not necessarily follow from a modern perspective that the conception had to come about as the result of a literal sexual union. It is certainly not outside of God's power to conceive Christ by other means, while remaining his literal father. (Put another way, Jesus shared God's genetic inheritance, if you will, without necessarily requiring a sexual act to combine that inheritance with Mary's mortal contribution).

Ezra Taft Benson taught:

He was the Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father in the flesh—the only child whose mortal body was begotten by our Heavenly Father. His mortal mother, Mary, was called a virgin, both before and after she gave birth. (See 1 Nephi 11:20.) [22]

Benson's emphasis is on both the literalness of Jesus' divine birth, and the fact that Mary's virginal status persisted even immediately after conceiving and bearing Jesus.

Church leaders' statements on the literal paternity of Christ were often a reaction to various ideas which are false

  • they disagreed with the tendency of conventional Christianity to deny the corporeality of God. They thus insisted that God the Father had a "natural," physical form. There was no need, in LDS theology, for a non-physical, wholly spirit God to resort to a mysterious process to conceive a Son.
  • they disagreed with efforts to "allegorize" or "spiritualize" the virgin birth; they wished it understood that Christ is the literal Son of God in a physical, "natural" sense of sharing both human and divine traits in His makeup. This can be seen to be a reaction against more "liberal" strains in Christianity that saw Jesus as the literal son of Mary and Joseph, but someone endowed with God's power at some point in His life.
  • they did not accept that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were of one "essence," but rather believed that they are distinct Personages. Thus, it is key to LDS theology that Jesus is the Son of the Father, not the Holy Ghost. To a creedal, trinitarian Christian, this might be a distinction without a difference; for an LDS Christian it is crucial.

Bruce R. McConkie said this about the birth of Christ:

God the Father is a perfected, glorified, holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says. [23]

In the same volume, Elder McConkie explained his reason for his emphasis:

"Our Lord is the only mortal person ever born to a virgin, because he is the only person who ever had an immortal Father. Mary, his mother, "was carried away in the Spirit" (1 Ne. 11:13-21), was "overshadowed" by the Holy Ghost, and the conception which took place "by the power of the Holy Ghost" resulted in the bringing forth of the literal and personal Son of God the Father. (Alma 7:10; 2 Ne. 17:14; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38.) Christ is not the Son of the Holy Ghost, but of the Father. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 18-20.) Modernistic teachings denying the virgin birth are utterly and completely apostate and false. [24]

Note that McConkie emphasized the literal nature of Christ's divinity, his direct descent from the Father, and the fact that the Holy Ghost was a tool, but not the source of Jesus' divine Parenthood.

Harold B. Lee was clear that the method of Jesus' conception had not been revealed, and discouraged speculation on the matter

Harold B. Lee said,

We are very much concerned that some of our Church teachers seem to be obsessed of the idea of teaching doctrine which cannot be substantiated and making comments beyond what the Lord has actually said.

You asked about the birth of the Savior. Never have I talked about sexual intercourse between Deity and the mother of the Savior. If teachers were wise in speaking of this matter about which the Lord has said but very little, they would rest their discussion on this subject with merely the words which are recorded on this subject in Luke 1:34-35: "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

Remember that the being who was brought about by [Mary's] conception was a divine personage. We need not question His method to accomplish His purposes. Perhaps we would do well to remember the words of Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Let the Lord rest His case with this declaration and wait until He sees fit to tell us more. [25]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they believe Jesus had at least three wives and children while he was on this earth"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they believe Jesus had at least three wives and children while he was on this earth.

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

The Church takes no position on whether or not Jesus was married, although many Latter-day Saints believe that he may have been. The claim that Jesus was a polygamist was made by Orson Hyde, and it appears to be unique to him. The Church does not teach this.

Question: Do Mormons believe Jesus Christ was married?

Mormons don't officially believe that Jesus was married

The easy answer is that no, Mormons don't officially believe that Jesus was married. In fact, there is no official Church doctrine on this issue. Individual members are free to believe as they wish concerning this matter. (Some believe that He was married; others believe He wasn't. Most members are open to believe either way.)

Do many Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus was married?

Since eternal marriage is one of the ordinances required to achieve exaltation, many Latter-day Saints do indeed believe that Jesus Christ was married. The question is: What is it about Jesus being married that would make Him less of our Lord and Savior? Yet, Latter-day Saints are accused of not being Christian because of such beliefs.

William Phipps, Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia, wrote an article and a book declaring his belief that the Lord Jesus Christ was married.[26] Are all Presbyterians not Christians on account of Reverend Phipps' beliefs, or do different standards exist for Evangelicals than for those "Satanic cultists," the "Mormons?" Perhaps those who make such accusations would counter that it is just Phipps who is not a Christian, on account of his belief that Jesus Christ was married. But again, why would they damn all Latter-day Saints because some Latter-day Saints believe something that is not official LDS doctrine?

The Bible is silent on the issue of Jesus' marital state

The Bible is silent on the issue of Jesus' marital state, and there has been no modern revelation stating he was or was not married. This leaves the issue an open question. Some Latter-day Saints believe he was married, but the Church has no position on the subject. This question was addressed by Charles W. Penrose in the September 1912 issue of the official Church magazine, the Improvement Era:

Question 2: Do you believe that Jesus was married?

Answer: We do not know anything about Jesus Christ being married. The Church has no authoritative declaration on the subject. [27]

Several early Latter-day Saint leaders believed Jesus was married and preached this from the pulpit

Several early LDS leaders believed Jesus was married, and said so from the pulpit on occasion. Here is one example from Apostle Orson Hyde:

Now there was actually a marriage [at Cana (John 2:1–11)]; and if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was. If any man can show this, and prove that it was not the Savior of the world, then I will acknowledge I am in error. We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed (Isaiah 53:10), before he was crucified. "Has he indeed passed by the nature of angels, and taken upon himself the seed of Abraham, to die without leaving a seed to bear his name on the earth?" No. But when the secret is fully out, the seed of the blessed shall be gathered in, in the last days; and he who has not the blood of Abraham flowing in his veins, who has not one particle of the Savior's in him, I am afraid is a stereotyped Gentile, who will be left out and not be gathered in the last days; for I tell you it is the chosen of God, the seed of the blessed, that shall be gathered. I do not despise to be called a son of Abraham, if he had a dozen wives; or to be called a brother, a son, a child of the Savior, if he had Mary, and Martha, and several others, as wives; and though he did cast seven devils out of one of them, it is all the same to me. [28]

Joseph Fielding Smith apparently believed that Jesus had been married

Joseph Fielding Smith apparently believed that Jesus had been married, and that He had children. In a 1963 letter to Elder Smith (then President of the Quorum of the Twelve), J. Ricks Smith asked for clarification on a question he had concerning the marital and paternal status of Jesus:

Burbank, California March 17, 1963

President Joseph Fielding Smith 47 East South Temple Street Salt Lake City 11, Utah

Dear President Smith:

In a discussion recently, the question arose, "Was Christ married?" The quote of Isaiah 53:10 was given, which reads,

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul and offering for sin, he shall see His seed, he shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

What is meant by "he shall see his seed"? Does this mean that Christ had children?

In the Temple ceremony we are told that only through Temple marriage can we receive the highest degree of exaltation and dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Christ came here to set us the example and, therefore, we believe that he must have been married. Are we right?

Sincerely,

J. Ricks Smith 1736 N. Ontario Street Burbank, California

In a written response (on the same letter), Elder Smith indicated his feelings on the matter—both in the positive. Placing an asterisk next to the words "His seed" in the letter, at the bottom of the letter Elder Smith wrote:

*Mosiah 15:10-12 Please Read Your Book of Mormon!

Placing two asterisks next to the words "he must have been married," at the bottom of the letter Elder Smith wrote:

**Yes! But do not preach it! The Lord advised us not to cast pearls before swine!

Apparently Elder Smith believed that the married state of Jesus was true, but that it should not be preached to others.

There has never been any revelation or official statement on the subject on behalf of the Church

Even though several leaders have expressed positive opinions on the subject, there has never been any revelation or official statement on the subject on behalf of the Church.

Dale Bills, a spokesman for the Church, said in a statement released Tuesday, 16 May 2006:

The belief that Christ was married has never been official church doctrine. It is neither sanctioned nor taught by the church. While it is true that a few church leaders in the mid-1800s expressed their opinions on the matter, it was not then, and is not now, church doctrine. [29]


Question: Do Mormons believe Jesus Christ was a polygamist?

There is no official doctrine regarding Jesus' marital state

The Bible is silent on the issue of Jesus' (or the Father's) marital state, and there has been no modern revelation stating he was or was not married. This leaves the issue an open question. Jesus' purported polygamy plays little if any role in present-day LDS discourse.

Therefore, the easy answer is that no, Latter-day Saint doctrine does not teach that Jesus was married, polygamist or otherwise. In fact, there is no official Church doctrine on this issue. Members are free to believe as they wish concerning this matter.


Question: Did early Mormon leaders believe that Jesus Christ was a polygamist?

A few Church leaders believed this, but the idea was never official Church doctrine

Since members in the nineteenth century were commanded to practice polygamy, many presumed that Jesus would have had to also practice this law.

Jedediah M. Grant

Jedediah M. Grant said:

This ancient philosopher says they were both John's wives. Paul says, "Mine answer to them that do examine me is this:—.Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas." He, according to Celsus, had a numerous train of wives.

The grand reason of the burst of public sentiment in anathemas upon Christ and his disciples, causing his crucifixion, was evidently based upon polygamy, according to the testimony of the philosophers who rose in that age. A belief in the doctrine of a plurality of wives caused the persecution of Jesus and his followers. We might almost think they were "Mormons."

But if you pass on in their history to seek for uniformity and beauty, you will find some grand flare-ups among them. Look, for instance, at Paul and Peter, disputing and quarrelling with each other....[30]

Grant believed that early writers, hostile to the Christians, charged members and even Jesus, with polygamy (a charge which would have offended sophisticated Roman opinion in the day). Grant sees the obvious parallels with how the Saints have been treated over the same issue, but Jesus' marital state is not his main point, but conflict and persecution. (It is not clear, however, to which source Grant is referring—FAIR has been unable to locate any such reference to Celsus.)

Orson Hyde

Likewise, Orson Hyde remarked:

I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last Conference, that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children.

All that I have to say in reply to that charge is this—they worship a Savior that is too pure and holy to fulfil the commands of his Father. I worship one that is just pure and holy enough "to fulfil all righteousness;" not only the righteous law of baptism, but the still more righteous and important law "to multiply and replenish the earth." Startle not at this! for even the Father himself honored that law by coming down to Mary, without a natural body, and begetting a son; and if Jesus begat children, he only "did that which he had seen his Father do."[31]

Hyde is again not focused on Jesus' matrimonial state, and notes that being married and begetting children—polygamously or otherwise—is no evil, but is in accordance with God's commandments from time to time.


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that the 'heavenly father' they ask you to pray to with them, is really an exalted man that lives on a planet near the star base Kolob, and is not the Heavenly Father of the Bible at all"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that the "heavenly father" they ask you to pray to with them, is really an exalted man that lives on a planet near the star base Kolob, and is not the Heavenly Father of the Bible at all.

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

The "star base Kolob" comes directly from the anti-Mormon film "The God Makers." It is a term Mormons would generally not even recognize. Mormons genuinely and fully believe that the "Heavenly Father" they refer to is in fact the Heavenly Father of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They couldn't tell you differently because that is their belief. You may disagree with their point of view, but that's not the same as the disingenuous hiding of facts being implied here.

Question: Do Mormons believe that God lives on a planet called "Kolob"?

Mormons do not believe that God lives on Kolob

The Church answered this question as posed by Fox News succinctly:

'Kolob' is a term found in ancient records translated by Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith did not provide a full description or explanation of Kolob nor did he assign the idea particular significance in relation to the Church’s core doctrines. [32]

"Kolob" is the name given to the star closest to the throne of God in Abraham 3:3

"Kolob" is the name given to the star closest to the throne of God in Abraham 3:3. It is introduced in an effort to teach Abraham that there is a hierarchy in all things. There are many stars, and one star is "closest" to God. In a similar way, there are many intelligences, or moral agents, some greater than others. The greatest of these is God.

Thus, "Kolob" is introduced in a rather peripheral way in an effort to teach about the supremacy of God:

Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other...And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. (Abraham 3:18-19, italics added)

Kolob plays no real role in LDS doctrine or discourse

In an effort to make the Church look bizarre, many critics mock the idea of "God living on the planet Kolob." This is false as God does not live on Kolob. Kolob plays no real role in LDS doctrine or discourse. The only other mention comes from a 19th century hymn, which uses Kolob in its first line to describe the glorious life of those who return to God: [33]

There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love;
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.

Because LDS theology believes in a God with a physical body, it is not surprising that one might speak of God's location in physical space. Creedal Christian critics who believe in a God without "body, parts, or passions" exploit this difference in perspective to make LDS beliefs seem blasphemous or bizarre. But, to speak of God as having location is no more strange than to speak of Jesus' physical location in Bethlehem or Jerusalem during His mortal life.


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that Jesus was really Lucifer's brother in the spirit world, and it was only due to a "heavenly council" vote that Jesus became our redeemer instead of Satan!!"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that Jesus was really Lucifer's brother in the spirit world, and it was only due to a "heavenly council" vote that Jesus became our redeemer instead of Satan!!

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Latter-day Saints believe that everyone is a child of God, and therefore are "siblings." Jesus Christ is thus referred to as our "elder brother." However, some Christians claim that the LDS consider Jesus and Satan to be "brothers," thus lowering the stature of Christ, or elevating Satan. It is not a genuine belief of the LDS church that "only... a heavenly council vote" elevated Jesus to our redeemer. Jesus had an elevated status above all of God's children from the beginning. He was not voted into that position.

Question: Do Latter-day Saints consider Jesus to be the brother of Satan?

We believe Jesus is the divine Son of God and that Satan is a fallen angel, but that God is the Father of all

Some Christians claim that since Latter-day Saints consider Jesus and Satan to be "brothers" in the sense that they have the same Father, that this lowers the stature of Christ, or elevates that of Satan. Some go so far as to imply that the LDS "really" worship or revere Satan, and are thus not true "Christians."

Jesus, Satan, and all humanity share God the Father as their spiritual sire. However, moral agency led Jesus to obey God the Father perfectly and share fully in the Father's divine nature and power. The same agency led Satan to renounce God, fight Jesus, and doom himself to eternal damnation. The remainder of God's children—all of us—have the choice to follow the route chosen by Satan, or the path to which Christ invites us and shows the way.

Divine parenthood gives all children of God potential; Christ maximized that potential, and Satan squandered it.

To choose the gospel of Jesus Christ and the grace that attends it will lead us home again. If we choose to follow Satan's example, and refuse to accept the gift of God's Only Begotten Son, our spiritual parentage cannot help us, just as it cannot help dignify or ennoble Satan.

In December 2007 the Church issued the following press release on this issue:

Like other Christians, we believe Jesus is the divine Son of God. Satan is a fallen angel.
As the Apostle Paul wrote, God is the Father of all. That means that all beings were created by God and are His spirit children. Christ, however, was the only begotten in the flesh, and we worship Him as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. [34]

Latter-day Saints do not believe the extra-biblical doctrines which surround many Christians' ideas about God, such as expressed by the Nicene Creed

LDS doctrine does not subscribe to traditional creedal trinitarianism. That is, the LDS do not believe the extra-biblical doctrines which surround many Christians' ideas about God, such as expressed by the Nicene Creed. Specifically, the LDS do not accept the proposition that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are "of one substance (homoousios) with the Father," as the Nicene Creed declares.

Rather, LDS doctrine teaches that God the Father is physically and personally distinct from Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son. The Father is understood to be the literal father of His spirit children.

LDS believe that Jesus Christ's role is central to our Heavenly Father's plan. Christ is unique in several respects from all other spirit children of God:

It is technically true to say that Jesus and Satan are "brothers," in the sense that both have the same spiritual parent, God the Father

God the Father also had many other spirit children, created in His image and that of His Only Begotten. These children include all humans born on the earth. Some of God's children rebelled against Him, and contested the choice of Jesus as Savior. (See D&C 76:25–27). The leader of these children was Lucifer, or Satan. Those spirit children of God who followed Satan in his rebellion against Christ are sometimes referred to as "demons," or "devils." (See Moses 4:1–4, Abraham 3:24–28).

Thus, it is technically true to say that Jesus and Satan are "brothers," in the sense that both have the same spiritual parent, God the Father.

Cain and Abel were also brothers, and yet no Bible reader believes that they are spiritual equals or equally admirable

However, critics do not provide the context for the idea that Christ and Lucifer were brothers. Cain and Abel were also brothers, and yet no Bible reader believes that they are spiritual equals or equally admirable. In a similar way, Latter-day Saints do not believe that Jesus and Satan are equals. The scriptures clearly teach the superiority of Jesus over the devil and that Michael (or Adam) and Lucifer (Satan) and their followers fought against each other (See Revelation 12:7-8) to uphold the plan of the Father and the Son.

Finally, while it is true that all mortals share a spiritual parent with Jesus (and Satan, and every other spiritual child of God), we now have a different, more important relationship with Jesus. All of God's children, save Jesus, have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In sinning, they abandon and betray their divine heritage and inheritance. Only through Jesus can any mortal return home to God the Father. This return becomes possible when a sinner is born again, and adopted by Christ, who becomes the spiritual father to those whom He redeems. (See Romans 8:14–39.)

Critics also ignore the Biblical references that imply that Satan is one of the "sons of God." (See Job:16, Job 2:1)

Cautionary Note to Members

An Anti-Mormon poster at the 2004 Mesa Easter Pageant betrays its poor understanding of what "Mormonism" actually teaches.

Elder M. Russell Ballard cautioned members of the Church:

We occasionally hear some members refer to Jesus as our Elder Brother, which is a true concept based on our understanding of the premortal life with our Father in Heaven. But like many points of gospel doctrine, that simple truth doesn't go far enough in terms of describing the Savior's role in our present lives and His great position as a member of the Godhead. Thus, some non-LDS Christians are uncomfortable with what they perceive as a secondary role for Christ in our theology. They feel that we view Jesus as a spiritual peer. They believe that we view Christ as an implementor for God, if you will, but that we don't view Him as God to us and to all mankind, which, of course, is counter to biblical testimony about Christ's divinity…
Now we can understand why some Latter-day Saints have tended to focus on Christ's Sonship as opposed to His Godhood. As members of earthly families, we can relate to Him as a child, as a Son, and as a Brother because we know how that feels. We can personalize that relationship because we ourselves are children, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. For some it may be more difficult to relate to Him as a God. And so in an attempt to draw closer to Christ and to cultivate warm and personal feelings toward Him, some tend to humanize Him, sometimes at the expense of acknowledging His Divinity. So let us be very clear on this point: it is true that Jesus was our Elder Brother in the premortal life, but we believe that in this life it is crucial that we become "born again" as His sons and daughters in the gospel covenant. [35]

Early Christian Evidence

An anti-Mormon protester at October 2002 LDS General Conference does little to help others understand LDS doctrine properly.

The early Ante-Nicene Church father Lactantius wrote:

Since God was possessed of the greatest foresight for planning, and of the greatest skill for carrying out in action, before He commenced this business of the world,--inasmuch as there was in Him, and always is, the fountain of full and most complete goodness,--in order that goodness might spring as a stream from Him, and might flow forth afar, He produced a Spirit like to Himself, who might be endowed with the perfections of God the Father... Then He made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain. Therefore he was infected with his own envy as with poison, and passed from good to evil; and at his own will, which had been given to him by God unfettered, he acquired for himself a contrary name. From which it appears that the source of all evils is envy. For he envied his predecessor, who through his steadfastness is acceptable and dear to God the Father. This being, who from good became evil by his own act, is called by the Greeks diabolus: we call him accuser, because he reports to God the faults to which he himself entices us. God, therefore, when He began the fabric of the world, set over the whole work that first and greatest Son, and used Him at the same time as a counselor and artificer, in planning, arranging, and accomplishing, since He is complete both in knowledge, and judgment, and power... [36]

Many things he here taught are not considered "orthodox" by today's standards. However, Lactantius was definitely orthodox during his lifetime. Amazingly, many things here correspond to LDS doctrine precisely in those areas that are "unorthodox." For example,

1. "He produced a Spirit like to Himself," namely Christ. Christ, in this sense, is not the "co-equal," "eternally begotten," "same substance" "persona" of the later creeds.
2. "Then he made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain." God made another spirit who rebelled and who fell from his exalted status. He is the diabolus.
3. Christ is the "first and greatest Son." Not the "only" son.
4. Lastly, since the diabolus and Christ are both spirit sons of God, they are spirit brothers.


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that there are over one hundred divisions in Mormonism. They conveniently 'forget' this while criticizing the many denominations within the body of Christ"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that there are over one hundred divisions in Mormonism. They conveniently "forget" this while criticizing the many denominations within the body of Christ

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

The only offshoot of any significant size is the Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), which had a total membership of approximately 250,000 in 2008. The LDS consider the off-shoot branches that left the LDS church to be as tragic as the fragmentation of the older branches of Christianity. The criticism implies that the LDS somehow view these splinter groups as "peer Mormon factions" or somehow view them differently. In fact, the LDS church considers them to be apostate groups which are not considered part of the same church anymore at all, any more than a Baptist congregation would be considered just another parish of the Catholic church. The LDS church therefore sees these groups the same as any other church, no convenient lapse of memory necessary.

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that all their so- called scriptures such as the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, and even their official 'Mormon Doctrine' statements contradict each other on MAJOR doctrinal points. The King James Bible is likewise contradicted"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that all their so- called scriptures such as the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, and even their official "Mormon Doctrine" statements contradict each other on MAJOR doctrinal points. The King James Bible is likewise contradicted.

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Critics present two or more scriptures from LDS scripture, and insist that the scriptures contradict each other. This article examines the supposed contradictions, presents the scriptures cited in context, and demonstrates that claims of contradiction rest on: 1) a misinterpretation of LDS scripture, 2) comparing two verses which are speaking about different things or 3) reading Protestant meanings into scriptural terminology.

For a detailed response, see: Latter-day Saint scripture/Supposed contradictions

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that the reason the Book of Mormon has no maps is because there is not one scrap of archaeological evidence to support it!"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that the reason the Book of Mormon has no maps is because there is not one scrap of archaeological evidence to support it!

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Critics charge that what is known about ancient American archaeology is not consistent with the Book of Mormon account. Sectarian critics often add the claim that the Bible has been "proven" true by archaeology, unlike the Book of Mormon.

Question: How would Book of Mormon archaeology compare to that of the Bible?

There is a lack of readable New World inscriptions from Nephite times

Religious critics frequently like to compare the lack of archaeological support for the Book of Mormon with what they are certain is voluminous archaeological support for the Bible. There is a drastic difference, however, between the two worlds (Old and New) when it comes to epigraphic data, iconographic data, the continuity of culture, and toponyms.

We have already noted the dearth of readable New World inscriptions from Nephite times. From biblical lands, however, we know of thousands of contemporary inscriptions that have survived to modern times. We have pointed out that very few toponyms (place-names) can be read in the surviving few epigraphic fragments from the Nephite-era New World. In contrast, we find for the Bible lands not only scores of epigraphic records identifying ancient Mediterranean cities, but we also sometimes find a “continuity of culture” that preserves city names. In other words, many modern Near Eastern cities are known by the same name as they were known anciently (this is not the case for ancient America). Knowing the exact location of one city helps biblical archaeologists locate other cities, simply by calculating the distances.[37]

Even acknowledging the archaeological advantages for determining the location and historical actuality of biblical lands, we find that only slightly more than half of all place names mentioned in the Bible have been located and positively identified.[38] Most of these identifications are based on the preservation of the toponym. For biblical locations with no toponym preserved, only about 7% to 8% of them have been identified to a degree of certainty and about another 7% to 8% of them have been identified with some degree of conjectural certainty.[39] The identification of these locations without place names could not have been made were it not for the identification of locations with preserved toponyms. If few or no Biblical toponyms had survived in a continuous, unbroken "language chain" from the Bible's era to our own, the identification of biblical locations would be largely speculative.

Despite the identification of some biblical sites, many important Bible locations have not been identified. The location of Mt. Sinai, for example, is unknown, and there are over twenty possible candidates. Some scholars reject the claim that the city of Jericho existed at the time of Joshua. The exact route taken by the Israelites on their Exodus is unknown, and some scholars dispute the biblical claim that there ever was an Israelite conquest of Canaan.[40]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that the state of Utah, which is predominately Mormon, has a higher than the national average of wife-beating, child abuse, and teenage suicide"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that the state of Utah, which is predominately Mormon, has a higher than the national average of wife-beating, child abuse, and teenage suicide.

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

For a detailed response, see: Utah/Statistical claims

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that their prophet Joseph Smith was heavily involved in the occult when he founded Mormonism"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that their prophet Joseph Smith was heavily involved in the occult when he founded Mormonism.

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

It is claimed that Joseph Smith's spiritual experiences began as products of "magic," the "occult," or "treasure seeking," and that only later did Joseph describe his experiences in Christian, religious terms: speaking of God, angels, and prophethood. It is a known fact that Joseph's family believed in folk magic, and that Joseph himself used several different seer stones in order to locate lost objects. Joseph's family shared folk magic beliefs that were common to the day. Joseph's mother, Lucy, felt it important to note in her history that the family did not let these magical endeavors prevent the family from doing the necessary work to survive. Joseph Smith and his followers undoubtedly believed in supernatural power. And, they may have had some ideas about how to access that power that now strike us as inaccurate and even strange. This is not surprising, given the two centuries and massive scientific advances which separate our culture from theirs. However, there is no evidence that Joseph and others considered these things to be "magic," or the "occult," nor did they consider "magic" or the "occult" to be positive things.

Question: Were Joseph Smith's spiritual experiences originally products of magic and the occult?

Joseph's family believed in folk magic, and that Joseph himself used several different seer stones in order to locate lost objects

It is a known fact that Joseph's family believed in folk magic, and that Joseph himself used several different seer stones in order to locate lost objects.[41] Brant Gardner notes,

Young Joseph Smith was a member of a specialized sub-community with ties to these very old and very respected practices, though by the early 1800s they were respected only by a marginalized segment of society.

Joseph's family shared folk magic beliefs that were common to the day. Joseph's mother, Lucy, felt it important to note in her history that the family did not let these magical endeavors prevent the family from doing the necessary work to survive:

But let not my reader suppose that, because I shall pursue another topic for a season, that we stopped our labor and went at trying to win the faculty of Abrac, drawing Magic circles or sooth saying to the neglect of all kinds of business. We never during our lives suffered one important interest to swallow up every other obligation. But, whilst we worked with our hands, we endeavored to remember the service of, and the welfare of our souls.[42]

Joseph's involvement with Josiah Stowell's attempt to locate a lost Spanish treasure is well documented in Church history

Stowell requested Joseph's assistance in a mining operation looking for old coins and precious metals. This effort, in fact, resulted in charges being brought against Joseph by Stowell's relatives for being a "glasslooker" in 1826. Joseph was ultimately charged with being a "disorderly person" and released. (For more detailed information, see: Joseph Smith's 1826 glasslooking trial)

Some, however, believe that all of Joseph's early spiritual experiences, particularly the First Vision and the visit of Moroni, were originally magical or occult experiences that were only later couched in spiritual terms. For example, the Hurlbut affidavits relate stories of Moroni's visit that cast the angel in the role of spiritual treasure guardian, with one (Willard Chase) even claiming that the angel appeared in the form of a toad.

D. Michael Quinn has been the most prolific author on the subject of "magic" influences on the origins of Mormonism. According to William Hamblin:

Quinn's overall thesis is that Joseph Smith and other early Latter-day Saint leaders were fundamentally influenced by occult and magical thought, books, and practices in the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is unmitigated nonsense. Yet the fact that Quinn could not discover a single primary source written by Latter-day Saints that makes any positive statement about magic is hardly dissuasive to a historian of Quinn's inventive capacity.[43]

Joseph Smith and his followers undoubtedly believed in supernatural power

Joseph Smith and his followers undoubtedly believed in supernatural power. And, they may have had some ideas about how to access that power that now strike us as inaccurate and even strange. This is not surprising, given the two centuries and massive scientific advances which separate our culture from theirs. However, there is no evidence that Joseph and others considered these things to be "magic," or the "occult," nor did they consider "magic" or the "occult" to be positive things.


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that that they encourage visitations from dead relatives from the 'spirit world', a practice forbidden in the Bible"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that that they encourage visitations from dead relatives from the "spirit world", a practice forbidden in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12.)

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

We are unaware of any teaching of the Church that is designed to "encourage visitations from dead relatives." Latter-day Saint do indeed perform vicarious ordinances for their dead ancestors. These include baptism, endowment and marriage. Although some LDS may claim to have had spiritual experiences in the temple related to their dead relatives, there is no Church teaching that members are "encouraged" to seek "visitations."

Question: What is baptism for the dead?

Proxy baptism is a way to provide redemption for those who died without hearing the Gospel

Explained Elder G. Todd Christopherson:

Christian theologians have long wrestled with the question, What is the destiny of the countless billions who have lived and died with no knowledge of Jesus? [44] There are several theories concerning the “unevangelized” dead, ranging from an inexplicable denial of salvation, to dreams or other divine intervention at the moment of death, to salvation for all, even without faith in Christ. A few believe that souls hear of Jesus after death. None explain how to satisfy Jesus’ requirement that a man must be born of water and spirit to enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:3-5). Lacking the knowledge once had in the early Church, these earnest seekers have been “forced to choose between a weak law that [allows] the unbaptized to enter heaven, and a cruel God who [damns] the innocent.” [45]
With the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ has come the understanding of how the unbaptized dead are redeemed and how God can be “a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.” [46]
While yet in life, Jesus prophesied that He would also preach to the dead [see John 5:25]. Peter tells us this happened in the interval between the Savior’s Crucifixion and Resurrection [see 1 Peter 3:18-19]...


Question: Are the dead being "baptized into the Mormon faith?"

The ordinance is provided but is only contingent upon the dead accepting it

Some have misunderstood and suppose that deceased souls “are being baptised into the Mormon faith without their knowledge” [47] or that “people who once belonged to other faiths can have the Mormon faith retroactively imposed on them.” [48] They assume that we somehow have power to force a soul in matters of faith. Of course, we do not. God gave man his agency from the beginning. (See fn11) “The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,” [49] but only if they accept those ordinances. The Church does not list them on its rolls or count them in its membership.
Our anxiety to redeem the dead, and the time and resources we put behind that commitment, are, above all, an expression of our witness concerning Jesus Christ. It constitutes as powerful a statement as we can make concerning His divine character and mission. It testifies, first, of Christ’s Resurrection; second, of the infinite reach of His Atonement; third, that He is the sole source of salvation; fourth, that He has established the conditions for salvation; and, fifth, that He will come again. [50]


Question: Does the practice of baptism for the dead have ancient roots?

There is considerable evidence that some early Christians and some Jewish groups performed proxy ordinance work for the salvation of the dead

The most obvious of these is 1 Corinthians 15:29:

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

Attempts to shrug this off as a reference by Paul to a practice he does not condone but only uses to support the doctrine of the resurrection are indefensible. Paul's statement makes no sense unless the practice was valid and the saints in Corinth knew it. This is easily demonstrated if we just imagine a young Protestant, who doubts the resurrection, who goes to his pastor with his problem. The pastor answers him, saying, "But what about the Mormons who baptize for the dead? If the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?" You know what the young doubter would say. He would say, "Pastor, they're Mormons! What's your point?"

In fact, we know that baptism for the dead was practiced for a long time in the early church. As John A. Tvedtnes has noted:

... historical records are clear on the matter. Baptism for the dead was performed by the dominant church until forbidden by the sixth canon of the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397. Some of the smaller sects, however, continued the practice. Of the [Cerinthians][51] of the fourth century, Epiphanius wrote:
“In this country—I mean Asia—and even in Galatia, their school flourished eminently and a traditional fact concerning them has reached us, that when any of them had died without baptism, they used to baptize others in their name, lest in the resurrection they should suffer punishment as unbaptized.” (Heresies, 8:7.) [52]

Thus, baptism for the dead was banned about four hundred years after Christ by the church councils. Latter-day Saints would see this as an excellent example of the apostasy—church councils altering doctrine and practice that was accepted at an earlier date.

Tvedtnes continues:

In early Judaism, too, there is an example of ordinances being performed in behalf of the dead. Following the battle of Marisa in 163 B.C., it was discovered that each of the Jewish soldiers killed in the fight had been guilty of concealing pagan idols beneath his clothing. In order to atone for their wrong, Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish high priest and commander, collected money from the survivors to purchase sacrificial animals for their dead comrades:
“And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachmas of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection: for if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin.” (2 Maccabees 12:43–46.) [53]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that there are many accounts of Joseph Smith's first vision besides the one they present to you, and all are different"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that there are many accounts of Joseph Smith's first vision besides the one they present to you, and all are different.

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

The claim simply isn't true.
  • See the official Church magazine, the Ensign: Milton V. Backman Jr., "Joseph Smith’s Recitals of the First Vision", Ensign, Jan. 1985, 8.
  • See also Richard L. Anderson, "Joseph Smith’s Testimony of the First Vision", Ensign, Apr. 1996, 10, which begins by stating, "The Prophet’s accounts of his first vision offer us a picture that is rich in testimony and supported by history."
  • See also the Gospel Study section of the "lds.org" website: "Accounts of the First Vision". "During a 10-year period (1832–42), Joseph Smith wrote or dictated at least four accounts of the First Vision. These accounts are similar in many ways, but they include some differences in emphasis and detail."

Gospel Topics: "The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail"

Gospel Topics on LDS.org:

The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail. Historians expect that when an individual retells an experience in multiple settings to different audiences over many years, each account will emphasize various aspects of the experience and contain unique details. Indeed, differences similar to those in the First Vision accounts exist in the multiple scriptural accounts of Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus and the Apostles’ experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.3 Yet despite the differences, a basic consistency remains across all the accounts of the First Vision. Some have mistakenly argued that any variation in the retelling of the story is evidence of fabrication. To the contrary, the rich historical record enables us to learn more about this remarkable event than we could if it were less well documented. [54]—(Click here to continue)


Seminary Manual (2013): "Joseph Smith emphasized different aspects of his vision in his multiple accounts"

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013), LESSON 6: Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20:

Just as Joseph Smith emphasized different aspects of his vision in his multiple accounts, the Apostle Paul emphasized different aspects of his vision of the Savior to different audiences (see Acts 9:1–9; Acts 22:5–11; Acts 26:12–20). Why do you think Joseph Smith and Paul emphasized different things each time they related the accounts of their visions? [55]


Backman (1985): "On at least four different occasions, Joseph Smith either wrote or dictated to scribes accounts of his sacred experience of 1820"

Milton V. Backman, Ensign (January 1985):

On at least four different occasions, Joseph Smith either wrote or dictated to scribes accounts of his sacred experience of 1820. Possibly he penned or dictated other histories of the First Vision; if so, they have not been located. The four surviving recitals of this theophany were prepared or rendered through different scribes, at different times, from a different perspective, for different purposes and to different audiences.1 It is not surprising, therefore, that each of them emphasizes different aspects of his experience.[56]


Allen (1970): "the Prophet described his experience to friends and acquaintances at least as early as 1831-32...he continued to do so in varying detail until the year of his death"

James B. Allen, Improvement Era (April 1970):

Nevertheless, it can now be demonstrated that the Prophet described his experience to friends and acquaintances at least as early as 1831-32, and that he continued to do so in varying detail until the year of his death, 1844. We presently know of at least eight contemporary documents that were written during his lifetime.[57]


Neuenschwander (2009): "Joseph's vision was at first an intensely personal experience...it became the founding revelation of the Restoration"

Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Ensign (January 2009):

Joseph's vision was at first an intensely personal experience—an answer to a specific question. Over time, however, illuminated by additional experience and instruction, it became the founding revelation of the Restoration. [58]


Gordon B. Hinckley (1984): "I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the first vision"

Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign (October 1984):

I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the first vision anymore than I am worried that there are four different writers of the gospels in the New Testament, each with his own perceptions, each telling the events to meet his own purpose for writing at the time. I am more concerned with the fact that God has revealed in this dispensation a great and marvelous and beautiful plan that motivates men and women to love their Creator and their Redeemer, to appreciate and serve one another, to walk in faith on the road that leads to immortality and eternal life.[59]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that their secret temple oaths are based on the Scottish Rite Masons"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that their secret temple oaths are based on the Scottish Rite Masons.

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Some critics of Mormonism see similarities between the rites of Freemasonry and LDS temple ceremonies and assume that since Joseph Smith was initiated as a Freemason shortly before he introduced the Nauvoo-style endowment he must have plagiarized elements of the Masonic rituals. This viewpoint leads them, in turn, to conclude that the LDS endowment is nothing but a variant form of Masonic initiation and therefore not from a divine source.

Question: Why would Joseph Smith incorporate Masonic elements into the temple ritual?

There are two aspects of temple worship: The teaching of the endowment, and the presentation of the endowment

In order to understand the relationship between the temple endowment and Freemasonry it is useful to consider the temple experience. In the temple, participants are confronted with ritual in a form which is unknown in LDS worship outside of that venue. In the view of some individuals the temple endowment is made up of two parts:

  1. The teachings of the endowment, i.e., the doctrines taught and the covenants made with God.
  2. The method of presenting the endowment, or the "ritual" mechanics themselves.

It is in the ritual presentation of the endowment teachings and covenants that the similarities between the LDS temple worship and Freemasonry are the most apparent. The question is, why would this be the case?

Joseph's challenge was to find a method of presenting the endowment that would be effective

It is the opinion of some people that in developing the endowment Joseph Smith faced a problem. He wished to communicate, in a clear and effective manner, some different (and, in some cases, complex) religious ideas. These included such abstract concepts as

  • the nature of creation (matter being organized and not created out of nothing)
  • humanity's relationship to God and to each other
  • eternal marriage and exaltation in the afterlife

The theory is that Joseph needed to communicate these ideas to a diverse population; some with limited educational attainments, many of whom were immigrants; several with only modest understanding of the English language; all of whom possessed different levels of intellectual and spiritual maturity—but who needed to be instructed through the same ceremony.

Ritual and repetition are important teaching tools

Joseph Smith's very brief experience with Freemasonry before the introduction of the full LDS endowment may have reminded him of the power of instruction through ritual and repetition. Some people believe that Joseph may have seized upon Masonic tools as teaching devices for the endowment's doctrines and covenants during the Nauvoo era. Other people are of the opinion that since these elements were previously present in the worship of the Kirtland Temple they were not 'borrowed' by the Prophet at all.

Regardless, the use of symbols was characteristic of Joseph Smith's era; it was not unique to him or Masonry:

Symbols on buildings, in literature, stamped on manufactured goods, etc. were not endemic to Mormons and Masons but were common throughout all of mid-nineteenth century American society (as even a cursory inspection of books, posters, buildings and photos of the periods will bear out.) So, assuming [Joseph] Smith felt a need to communicate specific principles to his Saints, he might naturally develop a set of easily understood symbols as were already in familiar use about him. [60]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that before 1978 they considered the Negro race inferior, and even one drop of Negro blood prevented a person from entering their priesthood"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that before 1978 they considered the Negro race inferior, and even one drop of Negro blood prevented a person from entering their priesthood.

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Members of African descent were restricted from holding the LDS Church's lay priesthood until 1978. Understanding the priesthood ban is difficult, because the historical record is not entirely clear about the ban's institution. There is no contemporary, first-person account of the ban's implementation. Critics with an agenda, as well as sincere seekers with a laudable abhorrence of racism have used this fact to portray the former (or present) Church and its members as racist. Critics argue that God would not allow His church to ever deny blessings or privileges based on race.
  • Sometimes God withholds certain blessings from certain people without explaining why he does this. Sometimes this is a willful decision on his part expressed via direct revelation to his prophet. At other times, God allows his prophets to act as they feel best. In the case of the priesthood ban, we do not know which of these scenarios is applicable. What we do know, however, is that the ban was lifted by revelation in God's due time.
  • Past church leaders should be viewed as products of their times, no more racist than most of their American and Christian peers (and often surprisingly enlightened, given the surrounding culture). A proper understanding of the process of revelation creates a more realistic expectations of the Latter-day Saint prophet, instead of assumptions of infallibility foisted on the Saints by their critics.
  • Previous statements and scriptural interpretations that are no longer in harmony with current revelation should be discarded. We learn "line upon line, precept upon precept," and when modern revelation has shed new light, old assumptions made in the dark can be done away with.

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they expect Christ to return to their temple in Missouri, but they haven't built the temple He's supposed to return to, because they don't own the property"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they expect Christ to return to their temple in Missouri, but they haven't built the temple He's supposed to return to, because they don't own the property. (It is owned by the "Temple Lot Mormons" who have plans of their own, and won't let the Salt Lake City group buy it).

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Regarding the building of a temple in Independence, Missouri, to be fair, such a criticism would have to be based upon a clear and detailed knowledge of the Lord's timetable and the scope of his real estate requirements. We aver that no one can know either of these things at this time. We prefer an appeal to the Bible where early Christians were told, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." (Acts 1:7)

For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and temples/The role of the Independence temple

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they consider the Bible to be untrustworthy and full of errors"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they consider the Bible to be untrustworthy and full of errors.

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

Latter-day Saints revere the Bible as Holy scripture. Latter-day Saints spend 50% of their Sunday School curriculum studying the Old and New Testaments, and the other 50% studying the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. The Bible clearly receives the majority of attention.

Question: Do Mormons believe that the Bible has less value because it contains errors?

Latter-day Saints revere the Bible as Holy scripture

The 8th Article of Faith states:

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

The proviso that the LDS believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly seems to shake some persons' confidence in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Bible-believing church. There is no reason that this should be, for it is hardly a matter of dispute that when men translate words from one language to another they can easily err, and have often done so. Simply comparing different English-language versions of the Bible should demonstrate conclusively that some people understand ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek (the source languages of the Old and New Testaments) quite differently in some cases.

Latter-day Saints spend 50% of their Sunday School curriculum studying the Old and New Testaments, and the other 50% studying the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. The Bible clearly receives the majority of attention.

Latter-day Saints wish to defend the Bible

While not believing that the Bible—or any book—is inerrant, the Latter-day Saints are far more concerned with defending the Bible's value than in denigrating it. Harold B. Lee observed, in 1972:

I believe that the problem of our missionaries in our day too might be not so much to prove that the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are indeed the word of the Lord, but that the Bible, which is generally accepted as the word of God, is being doubted as having been derived from the words of inspired prophets of past generations.

In this day when the Bible is being downgraded by many who have mingled philosophies of the world with Bible scriptures to nullify their true meaning, how fortunate that our Eternal Heavenly Father, who is always concerned about the spiritual well-being of His children, has given to us a companion book of scriptures, known as the Book of Mormon, as a defense for the truths of the Bible that were written and spoken by the prophets as the Lord directed....

It is only as we forsake the traditions of men and recover faith in the Bible, the truth of which has been fully established by recent discovery and fulfillment of prophecy, that we shall once again receive that inspiration which is needed by rulers and people alike.[61]


Question: Is any book of scripture perfect?

No book of scripture is "perfect"

Latter-day Saints do not subscribe to the conservative Protestant belief in scriptural inerrancy. We do not believe that any book of scripture is perfect or infallible. Brigham Young explained:

When God speaks to the people, he does it in a manner to suit their circumstances and capacities.... Should the Lord Almighty send an angel to re-write the Bible, it would in many places be very different from what it now is. And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be re-written, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation. According as people are willing to receive the things of God, so the heavens send forth their blessings.[62]

So while the Book of Mormon has come down to us with fewer doctrinal errors and corruptions than the Bible, even it could be improved if we were ready to receive further light and knowledge.

Infelicities of language are also to be expected when produced by revelators with little education, said George A. Smith:

The Book of Mormon was denounced as ungrammatical. An argument was raised that if it had been translated by the gift and power of God it would have been strictly grammatical.... When the Lord reveals anything to men, he reveals it in a language that corresponds with their own. If you were to converse with an angel, and you used strictly grammatical language he would do the same. But if you used two negatives in a sentence the heavenly messenger would use language to correspond with your understanding.[63]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that Jesus' death on the cross only partially saves the believer"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that Jesus' death on the cross only partially saves the believer.

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Critics seriously understate the position of the Church of Jesus Christ with respect to the atonement. Joseph Smith, the founding prophet, stated that "the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." Those appendages include the gift of the Holy Ghost, power of faith, enjoyment of the spiritual gifts, restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth. The atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the central fact of all LDS theological teaching.

Question: How do Latter-day Saints understand the significance of Christ's death on the cross?

The importance of Christ's death on the cross is found in all LDS scriptures, and is spoken of frequently by Joseph Smith

The significance of Christ's death on the cross is of major importance to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ. It is found frequently in the Book of Mormon, as well as in modern scripture, and is frequently spoken of by all of the Prophets since Joseph Smith. Some of those statements follow immediately:

  • In his vision of the birth, ministry and crucifixion of the Savior Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, writes: "I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world." (1 Nephi 11:33)
  • Jacob wrote "we would to God…that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world." (Jacob 1:8)
  • Following His death and resurrection in Jerusalem the Savior appeared to His disciples in the New World. There He reported that "my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works." (3 Nephi 27:14)
  • In modern revelation it was reported "Jesus was crucified… for the sins of the world." (D&C 21:9)
  • In the revelation known as the Vision, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned that "this is the Gospel, the glad tidings…that He came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world." (D&C 76:40–41)
  • It is not without significance that the vision regarding the redemption of those who had lived prior to the birth of the Savior, received by President Joseph F. Smith in 1918, came directly as a result of his meditation on the meaning of the atonement. He writes: "I sat in my room pondering over the scriptures; and reflecting upon the great atoning sacrifice that was made by the Son of God, for the redemption of the world; and the great and wonderful love made manifest by the Father and the Son in the coming of the Redeemer into the world; that through his atonement, and by obedience to the principles of the gospel, mankind might be saved." After the vision had closed, President Smith continued: "And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross." (D&C 138:1–4, D&C 138:35)
  • This is a principle that has been taught from the beginning of the Church down to the present day by its leaders. Joseph Smith taught that God "foreordained the fall of man; but all merciful as He is, He foreordained at the same time, a plan of redemption for all mankind. I believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that He died for the sins of all men." [64]
  • John Taylor, one of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve, and the third President of the Church, taught that "it was necessary that [Christ] should give up his life a sacrifice for the sins of the world."[65]
  • President Wilford Woodruff stated in 1889 that "the Savior came and tabernacled in the flesh, and…laid down His life as a sacrifice for sin, to redeem the world."[66] Two years later President Woodruff stated on behalf of the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that "we believe also in the atonement wrought by the shedding of Christ's blood on Calvary; that it is efficacious for all the race of Adam for the sin committed by Adam, and for the individual sins of all who believe, repent, are baptized by one having authority, and who receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of authorized hands."[67]
  • In 1892 George Q. Cannon of the Quorum of the Twelve stated with reference to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the world, and that through His death and atonement we are redeemed."[68]
  • In 1896 a Methodist minister living in predominantly LDS Evanston, Wyoming, wrote that the Latter-day Saints "believe in the New Testament scriptures, the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the atonement for sin secured by his death. Their ritual consecrating the bread and water for the sacrament shows this, as do also the sermons of their preachers."[69] His information is apparently based on personal exposure to the Latter-day Saint preachers, as well as to their sacramental ritual (Sacrament of the Lord's Supper). It is a valuable testimony that their leaders actually taught what is here being quoted.
  • In 1904 Hyrum M. Smith of the Quorum of the Twelve taught that Christ "was crucified for the sins of the world and His blood was shed for the redemption of mankind."[70]
  • James E. Talmage wrote that in order "that the supreme sacrifice of the Son might be consummated in all its fulness, the Father seems to have withdrawn the support of His immediate Presence, leaving to the Savior of men the glory of complete victory over the forces of sin and death."[71]
  • In 1921 Rudger Clawson of the Quorum of the Twelve stated "the atonement made upon Mount Calvary was the supreme sacrifice ever made in all the world."[72]
  • In 1921 Heber J. Grant made reference to "the atoning blood of Jesus Christ… Jesus is the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, who came to the earth with a divinely appointed mission to die for the redemption of mankind."[73] He repeated that reference to His "divinely appointed mission to die for the sins of the world" in 1925.[74] Thirteen years later President Grant reaffirmed that same belief, that "we believe absolutely in Jesus Christ… and that He did come to the earth with a divinely appointed mission to die on the cross as the Redeemer of mankind."[75] In 1929 President Heber J. Grant wrote that Christ "died on Calvary for each one of us."[76]
  • The First Presidency, in their Christmas message for 1931, referred to the fact that the world was "redeemed through the shedding of His blood."[77]
  • Joseph L. Wirthlin, of the Presiding Bishopric, stated in October 1948 General Conference that the emblems of the sacrament (eucharist) provided a "deep and lasting impression of what the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ means and what his great sacrifice on the cross did for all of us."[78]
  • In 1949 George F. Richards, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, referred in General Conference to "his death upon the cross, of which it can be said in truth, that as a gift to mankind it was the greatest ever given; a sacrifice, the greatest ever made; a service, the greatest ever rendered; a demonstration of love such as is possessed only by the Gods."[79]
  • Six months later J. Reuben Clark of the First Presidency, also in General Conference, stated that "the central point in the great plan framed in the Grand Council of heaven before the world was formed, was the redemption from the mortal death brought by the Fall… His whole earthly career was pivoted about his atoning sacrifice, his crucifixion and resurrection."[80] Later in the same conference he referred to "the cross when the Son of Man was offering himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world…"[81]
  • President Spencer W. Kimball stated, "In the meridian of time came the Son of God, born of an immortal father and a mortal mother, and as he climbed crucifixion's hill, he carried that Adamic penalty, and as the nails through his hands and feet, and the spear in his side, drained from his body all of his precious blood in this, his voluntary sacrifice, he neutralized and paid for all the Adamic sins."[82]
  • In 1975 Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, stated that "no member of this Church must ever forget the terrible price paid by our Redeemer who gave his life that all men might live—the agony of Gethsemane, the bitter mockery of his trial, the vicious crown of thorns tearing at his flesh, the blood cry of the mob before Pilate, the lonely burden of his heavy walk along the way to Calvary, the terrifying pain as great nails pierced his hands and feet…. This was the cross on which he hung and died on Golgotha's lonely summit. We cannot forget that. We must never forget it, for here our Savior, our Redeemer, the Son of God, gave himself a vicarious sacrifice for each of us."[83] In 1986 he bore his testimony thusly: "I believe that through His atoning sacrifice, the offering of His life on Calvary's Hill, He expiated the sins of mankind, relieving us from the burden of sin if we will forsake evil and follow Him. I believe in the grace of God made manifest through His sacrifice and redemption, and I believe that through His atonement, without any price on our part, each of us is offered the gift of resurrection from the dead…. I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank Him and kneel before His wounded feet and hands and side, amazed at the love He offers me."[84] In April 1993 General Conference he stated "the heaviest price of all was paid by the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He gave His life on Calvary's cross for the sins of all mankind."[85] In 1995 he stated that "nothing done before or since has so affected mankind as the atonement wrought by Jesus of Nazareth, who died on Calvary's cross and rose from the grave the third day as the living Son of the living God, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind."[86] Elsewhere he stated that "in the greatest act of human history, He allowed His quivering flesh to be nailed to the cross and lifted up in an act of atonement for each of us…. Nothing, nothing is of greater significance in all the history of the world than that atoning sacrifice of the Son of God."[87] In the 1996 Christmas message he wrote that Christ "condescended to come to earth and give His life on Calvary's cross for each of us."[88]
  • In 1998 Vaughn J. Featherstone of the Quorum of the Twelve wrote "the marks in His hands and feet are constant reminders to worthy Christians that we are on His errand… We are His; we were bought with His blood. His atonement and redemption mean everything in heaven and earth to us… These wounds in [His] hands and feet (D&C 45.51)…are the absolute and indisputable signs that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Shepherd of the flock, the Redeemer of the world. We will know Him and fall down before Him in exquisite relief and gratitude, wetting the earth with our fallen tears, for we will know that we are His beloved and that because of Him we have been redeemed from the Fall and from our sins."79


Question: How do Latter-day Saints understand the significance of the blood shed by Christ?

It is through the shedding of Christ's blood that we can receive a remission of our sins

  • Joseph Smith made reference to "the atonement and mediation of Jesus Christ; by whose blood they have a forgiveness of sins."[89] He also taught that "God…prepared a sacrifice in the gift of His own Son who should be sent in due time, to prepare a way, or open a door through which man might enter into the Lord's presence, whence he had been cast out for disobedience… It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission."[90] In 1840 M.L. Davis wrote a letter to his wife outlining some of the things he had heard the Prophet state in a public sermon. He said that Joseph Smith expressed "his total unbelief of what is termed original sin. He believes that it is washed away by the blood of Christ, and that it no longer exists."[91] Brigham Young later reaffirmed this position: "We must believe that this same Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world, that is for the original sin, not the actual individual transgressions of the people; not but that the blood of Christ will cleanse from all sin, all who are disposed to act their part by repentance, and faith in his name. But the original sin was atoned for by the death of Christ."[92] George Laub recorded in his journal in 1844 that the Prophet taught "Jesus Christ left his blood to atone for the sins of the world."[93] One of the principles of the LDS faith is enunciated by the Prophet (and by Brigham Young, the second President of the LDS Church) as stated above by M. L. Davis: that original sin had been done away with in the death of Jesus Christ. The absence of original sin means that the baptism of infants is not necessary. The Book of Mormon is clear on this matter: "Little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world."[94] D&C 29:46 says "little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten." Joseph Smith referred to children as "having been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb."[95] In 1917 Hyrum G. Smith, the Patriarch of the Church, stated that "through the blood of his atonement [little children] shall come forth in the morning of the resurrection with his saints."[96]
  • Brigham Young stated that "the Latter-day Saints believe…that Jesus is the Savior of the world; they believe that all who attain to any glory whatever, in any kingdom, will do so because Jesus has purchased it by His atonement."[97]
  • In 1882 Heber J. Grant, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, encouraged the Saints to "read the revelations given upon the subject and you will find that all mankind, except those who have had the testimony of Christ and rejected it, denying the blood of Christ, will ultimately be saved."[98]
  • That same year John Taylor published his book entitled Mediation and Atonement. After quoting Colossians 1:12–15 he wrote that this passage teaches us "that our redemption is obtained through the blood of Jesus."[99]
  • Joseph F. Smith, in 1895 as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, referred to the conditions that Adam "had to be redeemed from by the blood of Christ."[100] A week later, at the Juab Stake Conference in Nephi, Utah, Elder Smith stated that "by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, he, Adam, was redeemed from the fall and the power of Satan…and we are indebted for our redemption to Jesus our Lord, and our Deliverer."[101]
  • Francis M. Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve stated that "Jesus Christ shed His blood for our sins—not for His own, for He was immaculate and without blemish—and He laid down His life that you and I should be redeemed from that death which had come upon us because of the fall of Adam. By His death are we redeemed. By His blood are we cleansed from the conditions of the fall."[102]
  • In 1901 Rudger Clawson of the Quorum of the Twelve stated that "the souls of men are so precious in the sight of God that he gave to the world his Only Begotten Son, that by the shedding of his blood he might draw all men unto him."[103]
  • In 1916 Anthon H. Lund of the Quorum of the Twelve stated that the bread and wine "are simply emblems of his body and blood" and that the wine "represented his blood that was to be shed for the remission of sins."[104]
  • In 1937 Charles A. Callis of the Twelve testified that Christ's "blood atones for all our sins, through obedience to righteousness."[105]
  • In 1949 when Alonzo A. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve learned that he had a terminal illness he wrote a letter to the First Presidency of the Church. Part of that letter was read at the October 1949 General Conference. He said, in part: "As to the future, I have no misgivings. It is inviting and glorious, and I sense rather clearly what it means to be saved by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ."[106]
  • A year later Marion G. Romney of the Twelve stated that "through repentance he may bring himself within the reach of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, so that thereby he may be cleansed from the effects of his transgressions and obtain forgiveness of them."[107]
  • Robert Millet, Professor of Religion at BYU, has recently written about the regeneration of fallen man. He states, "the renewal of which we speak is a conversion from worldliness to saintliness, from being lured by the lurid to being enticed by holiness. It comes to us by virtue of the cleansing blood of Jesus and through the medium of the Holy Ghost, who is the Sanctifier."[108]


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that that according to Anton Lavey's Satanic Bible, the demon god of the living dead is called "Mormo". Is it just a coincidence that the Mormons are so concerned with the dead?"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that that according to Anton Lavey's Satanic Bible, the demon god of the living dead is called "Mormo". Is it just a coincidence that the Mormons are so concerned with the dead?

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

This criticism, straight from the anti-Mormon film "The God Makers," is utterly ridiculous. As one Church leader noted:

The principle of vicarious service should not seem strange to any Christian. In the baptism of a living person, the officiator acts, by proxy, in place of the Savior. And is it not the central tenet of our faith that Christ’s sacrifice atones for our sins by vicariously satisfying the demands of justice for us? As President Gordon B. Hinckley has expressed: “I think that vicarious work for the dead more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Savior Himself than any other work of which I know. It is given with love, without hope of compensation, or repayment or anything of the kind. What a glorious principle.”

Question: What is baptism for the dead?

Proxy baptism is a way to provide redemption for those who died without hearing the Gospel

Explained Elder G. Todd Christopherson:

Christian theologians have long wrestled with the question, What is the destiny of the countless billions who have lived and died with no knowledge of Jesus? [109] There are several theories concerning the “unevangelized” dead, ranging from an inexplicable denial of salvation, to dreams or other divine intervention at the moment of death, to salvation for all, even without faith in Christ. A few believe that souls hear of Jesus after death. None explain how to satisfy Jesus’ requirement that a man must be born of water and spirit to enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:3-5). Lacking the knowledge once had in the early Church, these earnest seekers have been “forced to choose between a weak law that [allows] the unbaptized to enter heaven, and a cruel God who [damns] the innocent.” [110]
With the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ has come the understanding of how the unbaptized dead are redeemed and how God can be “a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.” [111]
While yet in life, Jesus prophesied that He would also preach to the dead [see John 5:25]. Peter tells us this happened in the interval between the Savior’s Crucifixion and Resurrection [see 1 Peter 3:18-19]...


Question: Are the dead being "baptized into the Mormon faith?"

The ordinance is provided but is only contingent upon the dead accepting it

Some have misunderstood and suppose that deceased souls “are being baptised into the Mormon faith without their knowledge” [112] or that “people who once belonged to other faiths can have the Mormon faith retroactively imposed on them.” [113] They assume that we somehow have power to force a soul in matters of faith. Of course, we do not. God gave man his agency from the beginning. (See fn11) “The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,” [114] but only if they accept those ordinances. The Church does not list them on its rolls or count them in its membership.
Our anxiety to redeem the dead, and the time and resources we put behind that commitment, are, above all, an expression of our witness concerning Jesus Christ. It constitutes as powerful a statement as we can make concerning His divine character and mission. It testifies, first, of Christ’s Resurrection; second, of the infinite reach of His Atonement; third, that He is the sole source of salvation; fourth, that He has established the conditions for salvation; and, fifth, that He will come again. [115]


Question: Does the practice of baptism for the dead have ancient roots?

There is considerable evidence that some early Christians and some Jewish groups performed proxy ordinance work for the salvation of the dead

The most obvious of these is 1 Corinthians 15:29:

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

Attempts to shrug this off as a reference by Paul to a practice he does not condone but only uses to support the doctrine of the resurrection are indefensible. Paul's statement makes no sense unless the practice was valid and the saints in Corinth knew it. This is easily demonstrated if we just imagine a young Protestant, who doubts the resurrection, who goes to his pastor with his problem. The pastor answers him, saying, "But what about the Mormons who baptize for the dead? If the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?" You know what the young doubter would say. He would say, "Pastor, they're Mormons! What's your point?"

In fact, we know that baptism for the dead was practiced for a long time in the early church. As John A. Tvedtnes has noted:

... historical records are clear on the matter. Baptism for the dead was performed by the dominant church until forbidden by the sixth canon of the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397. Some of the smaller sects, however, continued the practice. Of the [Cerinthians][116] of the fourth century, Epiphanius wrote:
“In this country—I mean Asia—and even in Galatia, their school flourished eminently and a traditional fact concerning them has reached us, that when any of them had died without baptism, they used to baptize others in their name, lest in the resurrection they should suffer punishment as unbaptized.” (Heresies, 8:7.) [117]

Thus, baptism for the dead was banned about four hundred years after Christ by the church councils. Latter-day Saints would see this as an excellent example of the apostasy—church councils altering doctrine and practice that was accepted at an earlier date.

Tvedtnes continues:

In early Judaism, too, there is an example of ordinances being performed in behalf of the dead. Following the battle of Marisa in 163 B.C., it was discovered that each of the Jewish soldiers killed in the fight had been guilty of concealing pagan idols beneath his clothing. In order to atone for their wrong, Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish high priest and commander, collected money from the survivors to purchase sacrificial animals for their dead comrades:
“And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachmas of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection: for if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin.” (2 Maccabees 12:43–46.) [118]

}}

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that on their Salt Lake City Temple they prominently display an upside-down star which is a Satanic symbol known as the Goat's head. Why?"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that on their Salt Lake City Temple they prominently display an upside-down star which is a Satanic symbol known as the Goat's head. Why?

FairMormon Response



Falsehood
The author has disseminated false information

In 1985 LDS Church Architect Emil B. Fetzer stated that the inverted stars on early LDS temples were not sinister but were “symbolic of Christ.” He said that when the LDS Church “uses the pentagram or sunstone in an admirable, wholesome and uplifting context, this does not preclude another organization’s using the same symbols in an evil context.”
  • A connection between the "inverted pentagram" and Satan "is almost certainly a 19th century invention by Eliphas Levi," who was a "defrocked priest." He did not begin publishing references to this idea until 1854, a decade after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Question: Isn't the inverted five-pointed star on some Mormon temples really a symbol of evil?

A connection between the "inverted pentagram" and Satan "is almost certainly a 19th century invention by Eliphas Levi"

Some critics of the LDS Church claim that the inverted five-pointed star on some of its temples are a symbol of evil and thereby demonstrate that Mormonism is not really a Christian religion.

The Prophet Joseph Smith indicated that he received the pattern for the Nauvoo Temple by revelation (cf. D&C 124:42). He told the architect of the project, "I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me."[119] The Prophet also stated that he had seen at least one of the exterior symbols of that temple in this vision.[120]

The inverted five-ponted star was first displayed on the exterior of an LDS temple in Nauvoo, Illinois in the early 1840s. (See here here here here)

One of the foremen who helped to build the Nauvoo Temple recorded what the emblems on its exterior represented. He said,

"The order of architecture was unlike anything in existence; it was purely original, being a representation of the Church, the Bride, the Lamb’s wife. John the Revelator, in the 12 chapter [and] first verse of [the book of Revelation,] says, 'And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.' This is portrayed in the beautifully cut stone of this grand temple."[121]

Joseph Smith revealed the connection between the heavenly woman of the apostle John's vision and the restored Church. In the Prophet's revision of the King James Bible he modified Revelation chapter 12 verses 1 and 7 to read: “And there appeared a great sign in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars . . . the woman . . . was the Church of God.” (JST Revelation 12:1,7).

This is the same arrangement of the symbols on the exterior pilasters of the Nauvoo Temple -- moon (bottom), sun (middle), and stars (top).

The stars are associated in the book of Revelation passage with a "crown" which is a symbol of royalty. In another section of the book of Revelation Jesus Christ proclaims His descent through the royal lineage that is within the house of Israel and then pronounces one of His titles: "I am the . . . offspring of David, and the bright . . . morning star" (Revelation 22:16). This is the title that nineteenth century Latter-day Saints assigned to the inverted five-pointed star. One of these emblems was put into place on the east tower of the Logan, Utah temple in 1880. An eyewitness to the event reported the following which was printed in a major newspaper: "Carved upon the keystone is a magnificent star, called the Star of the Morning."[122]

In 1985 LDS Church Architect Emil B. Fetzer stated that the inverted stars on early LDS temples were not sinister but were “symbolic of Christ.” He said that when the LDS Church “uses the pentagram or sunstone in an admirable, wholesome and uplifting context, this does not preclude another organization’s using the same symbols in an evil context.”[123]

A connection between the "inverted pentagram" and Satan "is almost certainly a 19th century invention by Eliphas Levi," who was a "defrocked priest."[124] He did not begin publishing references to this idea until 1854, a decade after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Examples of the inverted five-pointed star in ancient Christian usage and also numerous modern usages that have nothing to do with the occult or satanism

Below are links to examples of the inverted five-pointed star in ancient Christian usage and also numerous modern usages that have nothing to do with the occult or satanism.

Christian Churches

  • Kaarma, Estonia, Church of Sts. Peter and Paul - 1261 AD off-site
  • Amiens, France, cathedral, north transept window off-site
  • Market Church, Hanover, Germany off-site
  • Church pew, Europe, 12th century off-site
  • Chartres, France, niche surrounding Madonna and Child statue off-site
  • St. Mary's church, Adderbury, Oxfordshire off-site
  • St. Bartholomew church, Ucero, Spain off-site
  • Lisbon, Portugal cathedral cloister off-site
  • St. Paul's cathedral, Melbourne, Australia off-site
  • Orthodox Church, Olyphant, Pennsylvania - 2009 AD off-site
  • Schenkenschanz, Germany - 1634 AD [video] off-site

Christian Artwork

Jewish Synagogue

Medal of Honor

Boy Scouts of America

Coat of Arms

Flags

Miscellaneous


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they believe the Archangel Michael came down to earth with several of his celestial wives, and became Adam in the garden of Eden"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that they believe the Archangel Michael came down to earth with several of his celestial wives, and became Adam in the garden of Eden.

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Actually, it was Joseph Smith that taught this (except for the part about the wives). There is no reason that Latter-day Saints "won't tell you" this about Adam:

The Priesthood was first given to Adam. He obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. i. 20, 26, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood. Journal of Discourses 6:237.

  • As for the part about "several of his celestial wives," Brigham Young did teach that Eve was one of Michael's wives before arriving in the garden of Eden, but it is not official doctrine, and Eve was the only woman with Adam.

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that that they believe the angel Gabriel came down to earth and became Noah in the days of the flood"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that that they believe the angel Gabriel came down to earth and became Noah in the days of the flood.

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Actually, it was Joseph Smith that taught this. There is no reason that Latter-day Saints "won't tell you" this:

The Priesthood was first given to Adam. He obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. i. 20, 26, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood. Journal of Discourses 6:237.

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that their Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied falsely many times. For example, he foretold the second coming of Christ for 1891"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that their Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied falsely many times. For example, he foretold the second coming of Christ for 1891. The Bible teaches that one false prophecy puts the prophet under death sentence. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Confusion on this point arises from one or more errors: 1. prophecy may be fulfilled in ways or at times that the hearers do not expect; 2. most prophecies are contingent, even if this is not made explicit when the prophecy is given—that is, the free agent choices of mortals can impact whether a given prophecy comes to pass 3. sectarian critics may apply a standard to modern LDS prophets whom they reject that they do not apply to biblical prophets. This double standard condemns Joseph unfairly.

For a detailed response, see: Joseph Smith/Alleged false prophecies For a detailed response, see: Biblical Keys for Discerning True and False Prophets

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that their Prophet Joseph Smith did not die as a martyr as they claim, but was killed during a gun battle in which he himself killed two men and wounded a third"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that their Prophet Joseph Smith did not die as a martyr as they claim, but was killed during a gun battle in which he himself killed two men and wounded a third.

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The two men who were supposedly "killed" were later seen quite alive. Joseph did wound several men.
  • Joseph's actions were clearly self-defense and defense of others under the common law. However, this point is moot since the attackers who were hit were not killed (as was first reported in some Church publications) but only wounded. They were alive and well at the trial held for mob leaders, and were identified by witnesses. Their good health allowed them to receive gifts because of their role in the assault on Joseph, Hyrum, and the other prisoners.

Question: Is it possible that Joseph Smith is not a martyr because, while in jail, he had a gun and he had the temerity to defend himself?

Joseph and Hyrum were martyrs by the accepted definition of the term—they suffered death for their beliefs

It seems clear that:

  1. Joseph and Hyrum were martyrs by the accepted definition of the term—they suffered death for their beliefs. (Note that martyrs can die for worthy or ignoble causes, but this makes them no less martyrs.)
  2. The Church has not hidden this fact, but published it from the beginning and includes it in the History of the Church twice.
  3. Joseph was not guilty of murder, because no one died from his shots, and his actions would have been justifiable as self-defense and defense of others even if deaths had resulted.

Critics of Joseph Smith redefine the term "martyr"

In order to make their argument tenable, the critics must do three things. First, they must take some creative liberties with the English language. In this case, the word being redefined is the term martyr. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines a "martyr" as

“a person who chooses to suffer or die rather than give up his faith or his principles.”[125]

The online resource, Dictionary.com, defines a martyr as

“one who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles.”[126]

Both are nearly identical and fairly standard definitions, and neither includes a requirement or qualifiers of any sort. However, some anti-Mormon writers have taken the term martyr and subtly changed its definition to suit their own needs. The new definition would probably read something like this: Martyr: a person who chooses to suffer or die rather than give up his faith or his principles without any resistance or effort at self-defense on his part whatsoever.

Critics are free to use such a definition, but it belongs to them alone; it is not the standard use of the word, and not what Church members mean when they refer to the "martyrdom" of Joseph and Hyrum Smith at Carthage.

Throughout Christian history, "martyrs" have been understood to be those who suffered quietly, and those who resisted, even with violence, and even to the death of those who persecuted them for their beliefs.

The first anti-Mormon argument thus focuses on the fact that Joseph had a firearm and that he used that firearm to defend himself. Is it possible that Joseph's announcement that he was going “as a lamb to the slaughter” is false, since he fought back?

Anyone who has ever worked on a farm or in a slaughterhouse knows that sheep do not go willingly to the slaughter. They kick and buck, bleat, scream, and make every attempt to escape their fate. In fact, they make such a haunting sound, that the title of an extremely popular Hollywood film was based on it: The Silence of the Lambs. The term “lamb to the slaughter” simply refers to the inevitability of the final outcome. No matter how valiantly they struggle, the fate of the sheep is sealed. If we apply this understanding to Joseph Smith and his brother, it is clear that they truly were slaughtered like lambs. Fight as they might, they were doomed.

Ensign (June 2013): 40, shows Joseph with the pepperbox pistol he would fire to defend himself and others prior to his murder.


Question: Is it true that Joseph killed two men by firing at the mob?

The attackers who were hit by Joseph were not killed (as was first reported in some Church publications) but only wounded

Joseph fired his gun six times (only three shots discharged) and he hit two of the mobbers, which John Taylor later mistakenly stated had died. Was Joseph a murderer?

Joseph's actions were clearly self-defense and defense of others under the common law. However, this point is moot since the attackers who were hit were not killed (as was first reported in some Church publications) but only wounded. They were alive and well at the trial held for mob leaders, and were identified by witnesses. Their good health allowed them to receive gifts because of their role in the assault on Joseph, Hyrum, and the other prisoners.

According to Dallin Oaks and Marvin Hill:

Wills, Voras, and Gallaher were probably named in the indictment because their wounds, which testimony showed were received at the jail, were irrefutable evidence that they had participated in the mob. They undoubtedly recognized their vulnerability and fled the county. A contemporary witness reported these three as saying that they were the first men at the jail, that one of them shot through the door killing Hyrum, that Joseph wounded all three with his pistol, and that Gallaher shot Joseph as he ran to the window.[Hay, "The Mormon Prophet's Tragedy," 675] According to Hay, Wills, whom the Mormon prophet had shot in the arm, was an Irishman who had joined the mob from “his congenital love of a brawl.”[Statement of Jeremiah Willey, August 13, 1844, Brigham Young correspondence, Church Archives.] Gallaher was a young man from Mississippi who was shot in the face.[Hay, "The Mormon Prophet's Tragedy," 669, 675. Another source says Wills was a former Mormon elder who had left the Church. Davis, An Authentic Account, 24.] Hay described Voras (Voorhees) as a “half-grown hobbledehoy from Bear Creek” whom Joseph shot in the shoulder. The citizens of Green Plains were said to have given Gallaher and Voras new suits of clothes for their parts in the killing.[Statement of Jeremiah Willey, August 13, 1844][127]


Question: Has the Church hidden the fact that Joseph fired a gun while in Carthage Jail?

Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not aware of all the excruciatingly minute details of the history of the Church

Mob fires at Joseph Smith in the upper window at Carthage Jail.

Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and this is especially true of new members or less-active members) are not aware of all the excruciatingly minute details of the history of the Church. It has become a common tactic among some anti-Mormon aficionados of Mormon history to use this historical ignorance as a weapon. These writers often claim to “expose” these minor events of Church history in a sensationalistic attempt to shock members of the Church with “hidden” revelations or “secret” accounts about various episodes in Church history. They will often claim that the Church has kept this knowledge under wraps for fear that if it was generally known it would cause many members of the Church to immediately renounce their faith and result in the ruination of the Church.

Joseph's attempt to defend himself using the gun is clearly described in History of the Church

Unfortunately for the critics, Joseph's attempt to defend himself, his brother, and his friends, and his possession of a pepperbox gun, is clearly spelled out in the History of the Church:

In the meantime Joseph, Hyrum, and Elder Taylor had their coats off. Joseph sprang to his coat for his six-shooter, Hyrum for his single barrel, Taylor for Markham's large hickory cane, and Dr. Richards for Taylor's cane. All sprang against the door, the balls whistled up the stairway, and in an instant one came through the door.

Joseph Smith, John Taylor and Dr. Richards sprang to the left of the door, and tried to knock aside the guns of the ruffians...

Joseph reached round the door casing, and discharged his six shooter into the passage, some barrels missing fire. Continual discharges of musketry came into the room. Elder Taylor continued parrying the guns until they had got them about half their length into the room, when he found that resistance was vain, and he attempted to jump out of the window, where a ball fired from within struck him on his left thigh, hitting the bone, and passing through to within half an inch of the other side. He fell on the window sill, when a ball fired from the outside struck his watch in his vest pocket, and threw him back into the room.[128]

The next volume of the History of the Church tells the story from John Taylor's point of view:

I shall never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum, and, leaning over him, exclaimed, 'Oh! my poor, dear brother Hyrum!' He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged.[129]

If the Church wished to hide these facts, why did they publish them in the History of the Church not once, but twice?


Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU about the Mountain Meadows Massacre in which they brutally murdered an innocent wagon train of settlers, of over one hundred men, women, and most of the children, traveling through Utah"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU about the Mountain Meadows Massacre in which they brutally murdered an innocent wagon train of settlers, of over one hundred men, women, and most of the children, traveling through Utah.

FairMormon Response



Mistakes/Errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

For a detailed response, see: Mountain Meadows Massacre

Response to claim: "MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that Joseph Smith taught that there were inhabitants on the moon, and Brigham Young taught there were inhabitants on the sun as well!"

The author(s) of Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door make(s) the following claim:

MORMONS WON'T TELL YOU that Joseph Smith taught that there were inhabitants on the moon, and Brigham Young taught there were inhabitants on the sun as well!

FairMormon Response



Propaganda/Spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Modern prophets and general authorities will sometimes cite newspaper articles or books to illustrate the points which they wish to make. In doing so, they are not endorsing such articles or books as being prophetically correct in all particulars. Rather, they are using the science and information of their day to enhance their preaching of the gospel.
  • LDS doctrine was not provincial, since it provided for "worlds without number" (Moses 1:33) created by Christ. These worlds held those who would require the gospel, since by Christ "the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (DC 76:24)
  • Information given to the 19th century Saints by the authorities of the day were consistent with these doctrines, and so they believed them, and occasionally mentioned them in a religious context. As always, prophets and believers are products of their time. Biblical authors, for example, clearly accepted a geocentric (earth centered) cosmos, with a flat earth and heavens supported by four pillars. Like the authors of the Bible, modern prophets are generally beholden to their era's scientific concepts, except where corrections in those concepts are needed to permit the gospel to be understood and applied. This does not mean, however, that prophets of any era do not receive revelation about matters of eternal significance.

For a detailed response, see: Brigham Young/Teachings/Moon and sun are inhabited

Question: Did Joseph Smith state that the moon was inhabited, and that it's inhabitants were dressed like Quakers?

This is not a quote from Joseph Smith, but rather a late, third-hand account of something that Joseph is supposed to have said

The source for this claim is not Joseph Smith himself; the first mention comes in 1881 in Oliver B. Huntington's journal, who claimed that he had the information from Philo Dibble. So, we have a late, third-hand account of something Joseph is supposed to have said. [130] Hyrum Smith [131] and Brigham Young [132] both expressed their view that the moon was inhabited.

A patriarchal blessing given to Huntington also indicated that "thou shalt have power with God even to translate thyself to Heaven, & preach to the inhabitants of the moon or planets, if it shall be expedient." [133]

Huntington later wrote an article about the concept for a Church magazine:

As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do -- that they live generally to near the age of a 1,000 years.

He described the men as averaging nearly six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style. [134]

So, it would seem that the idea of an inhabited moon or other celestial body was not foreign to at least some early LDS members. It is not clear whether the idea originated with Joseph Smith.

In the 1800s, the idea that the moon was inhabited was considered scientific fact by many

However, it should be remembered that this concept was considered 'scientific fact' by many at the time. William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, died in 1822. Herschel argued "[w]ho can say that it is not extremely probable, nay beyond doubt, that there must be inhabitants on the Moon of some kind or another?" Furthermore, "he thought it possible that there was a region below the Sun's fiery surface where men might live, and he regarded the existence of life on the Moon as 'an absolute certainty.'" [135]

Other scientists announced that they had discovered "a lunar city with a collection of gigantic ramparts extending 23 miles in either direction." [136]

The 1835 Great Moon Hoax added to the belief in lunar inhabitants

In addition to these pronouncements from some of the most prominent scientists of the day, a clever hoax in 1835 only added to the belief in lunar inhabitants.

John Herschel, son of the famous William, went to South Africa to study stars visible only in the southern hemisphere. This was the cause of considerable public interest, given Herschel's involvement. (William Herschel was the preeminent astronomer of his generation. He had discovered Uranus, and was also of the view that the moon was inhabited. [137]

On 23 August 1835, Richard Locke published the first article in the New York Sun of what purported to be reports from Herschel's observations. Over a total of six installments, Locke claimed that Herschel was reporting lunar flowers, forests, bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tailless beavers who cooked with fire, and (most provocatively) flying men with wings:

They appeared to be constantly engaged in conversing, with much impassioned gesticulation; and hence it was inferred, that they are rational beings. Others, apparently of a higher order, were discovered afterwards. . . . And finally a magnificent temple for the worship of God, of polished sapphire, in a triangle shape, with a roof of gold. [138]

These reports were widely believed and caused a minor sensation. They were carried in the Painsville Telegraph, adjacent to Mormon Kirtland. [139] The Sun eventually hinted that the matter was a hoax:

Certain correspondents have been urging us to come out and confess the whole to be a hoax; but this we can by no means do, until we have the testimony of the English or Scotch papers to corroborate such a declaration. [140]

Popular belief in lunar inhabitants persisted for decades after the hoax

No more than this was forthcoming, and the Painsville Telegraph made no mention of the possibility of a hoax. Popular belief in lunar inhabitants persisted for decades. Herschel initially found the episode amusing, but he eventually grew frustrated with having to continually explain to the public that the whole matter was a hoax, with which he had nothing to do: he would later refer "the whole affair as 'incoherent ravings'". [141]

In a private letter, Hirschel's wife indicated how skillfully the hoax was carried out:

Margaret Herschel was more amused. She called the story 'a very clever peice of imagination,' and wrote appreciately..."The whole description is so well clenched with minute details of workmanship...that the New Yorkists were not to be blamed for actually believing it as they did...." [142]

Modern prophets and general authorities will sometimes cite newspaper articles or books to illustrate the points which they wish to make

Church publications did not shy from embracing later scientific findings on the matter:

1856

Desert News noted:

Proof that the Moon is not Inhabited.

“Dr. Scoresby, in an account that he has given of some recent observations made with the Earl of Rosse’s telescope, says: ‘With respect to the moon, every object on its surface of 100 feet was distinctly to be seen; and he had no doubt that, under very favorable circumstances, it would be so with objects 60 feet in height…. But no vestiges of architecture remain to show that the moon, is, or ever was, inhabited by a race of mortals similar to ourselves….. There was no water visible….”[143]

1880

“As there is no air nor water on the moon, but very few changes can take place upon its surface. There can be no vegetation and no animals, and although many astronomers have brought their imaginations to bear upon this subject, and have given us descriptions of the beautiful scenery upon its surface, and have even peopled it with inhabitants, we have every reason to believe that it is as barren and lifeless as an arid rock."[144]

Modern prophets and general authorities will sometimes cite newspaper articles or books to illustrate the points which they wish to make. In doing so, they are not endorsing such articles or books as being prophetically correct in all particulars. Rather, they are using the science and information of their day to enhance their preaching of the gospel.

LDS doctrine was not provincial, since it provided for "worlds without number" (Moses 1:33) created by Christ. These worlds held those who would require the gospel, since by Christ "the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (DC 76:24)

Information given to the 19th century Saints by the authorities of the day were consistent with these doctrines, and so they believed them, and occasionally mentioned them in a religious context. As always, prophets and believers are products of their time. Biblical authors, for example, clearly accepted a geocentric (earth centered) cosmos, with a flat earth and heavens supported by four pillars. Like the authors of the Bible, modern prophets are generally beholden to their era's scientific concepts, except where corrections in those concepts are needed to permit the gospel to be understood and applied. This does not mean, however, that prophets of any era do not receive revelation about matters of eternal significance.


Notes

  1. See D&C 76:28-38
  2. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 288)
  3. Dallin H. Oaks, "Have You Been Saved?," Ensign (May 1998), 55, (italics in original).
  4. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:292-293.
  5. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:293-295.
  6. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:330-330.
  7. Brigham Young, "Necessity Of Trials — Glory Of The Saints' Religion — Government Of God, etc.," (22 May 1859) Journal of Discourses 7:142-?.
  8. Brigham Young, "Union—Persecution—The Nature of the Kingdom of God—Trading With Enemies—The Jews—On the Murder of Dr. Robinson," (23 December 1866) Journal of Discourses 11:275.
  9. McKeever and Johnson, Mormonism 101, 210.
  10. This citation is referenced in Mormonism 101 as "Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 539." This is actually a composite work edited by Edward L. Kimball after President Kimball's death. The original text came from a personal letter dated May 31, 1948.
  11. Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 75ff.
  12. Portions of this analysis are derived from Kevin L. Barney, "As One that Hath a Familiar Spirit," bycommonconsent.com (18 October 2007); used with permission, last accessed 17 November 2007).
  13. Boyd K. Packer, "The Pattern of Our Parentage," Ensign (November 1984), 69. off-site
  14. Fox News, "21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith," (18 December 2007). off-site
  15. Origen, Commentary on John, Book II, Chapter 3.
  16. Ernst W. Benz, "Imago Dei: Man in the Image of God," in Truman G. Madsen (editor), Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian parallels : papers delivered at the Religious Studies Center symposium, Brigham Young University, March 10-11, 1978 (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center , Brigham Young University and Bookcraft, 1978), 215–216. ISBN 0884943585. Reprinted in Ernst Benz, "Imago dei: Man as the Image of God," FARMS Review 17/1 (2005): 223–254. off-site Note: Benz misunderstands some aspects of LDS doctrine, but his sketch of the relevance of theosis for Christianity in general, and Joseph Smith's implementation of it, is worthwhile.
  17. This article was based on a blog post, Blair Hodges, "Becoming Saints before gods," lifeongoldplates.com (8 February 2008), last accessed (28 December 2008) off-site (used with permission). Due to the nature of a wiki project, the text may have been subsequently modified.
  18. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:26-28.
  19. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:306–307. Volume 6 link
  20. Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 4:1-7.
  21. Brigham Young, "Character of God and Christ, etc.," (8 July 1860) Journal of Discourses 8:115. (See also Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:238.; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:218.; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 11:268..
  22. Ezra Taft Benson, "Joy in Christ," Ensign (March 1986), 3–4. (emphasis added) off-site
  23. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 742. GL direct link
  24. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 822. GL direct link
  25. Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1996), 14. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  26. William Phipps, "The Case for a Married Jesus," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 7 no. 4 (1972), 44-49., and William Phipps, Was Jesus Married? The Distortion of Sexuality in the Christian Tradition (New York: Harper and Row, 1970).
  27. Charles W. Penrose, "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered," Improvement Era 15 no. 11 (September 1912).
  28. (6 October 1854) Journal of Discourses 2:82. Elder Hyde's interpretation of Isaiah 53:10 is at variance with the one given in the Book of Mormon. Abinadi taught that the prophets and those who believe the words of the prophets are Jesus' seed (Mosiah 15:10-13).
  29. "LDS do not endorse claims in 'Da Vinci'," Deseret News, 17 May 2006; (Link). See also "Book's premise not so shocking to LDS," The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 May 2006; (Link).
  30. Jedediah M. Grant, "UNIFORMITY," (7 August 1853) Journal of Discourses 1:346.
  31. Orson Hyde, "The Judgements of God on the United States--The Saints and the World," (18 March 1855) Journal of Discourses 2:210.
  32. Fox News, "21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith," (18 December 2007). off-site
  33. William W. Phelps, "If You Could Hie to Kolob," Hymn #284. off-site
  34. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Answering Media Questions About Jesus and Satan," Press release (12 December 2007). off-site
  35. M. Russell Ballard, "Building Bridges of Understanding," Ensign (June 1998), 62. off-site
  36. Lactantius, Divine Institutes 2.9. in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 10 vols. (1885; reprint, Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004), 7:52–53.
  37. William J. Hamblin, "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 (1993): 161–197. wiki off-site GL direct link
  38. Hamblin, "Basic Methodological Problems," 164.
  39. William G. Dever, “archaeology and the Bible: Understanding Their Special Relationship,” Biblical archaeology Review (May/June 1990) 16:3.
  40. Daniel C. Peterson, "Chattanooga Cheapshot, or The Gall of Bitterness (Review of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism by John Ankerberg and John Weldon)," FARMS Review of Books 5/1 (1993): 1–86. off-site
  41. Criticisms of Joseph's use of "folk magic" appear in the following publications: “The Book of Mormon and the Mormonites,” Athenaeum, Museum of Foreign Literature, Science and Art 42 (July 1841): 370–74. off-site; Henry Caswall, The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century, or, the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints : To Which Is Appended an Analysis of the Book of Mormon (London: Printed for J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1843), 28. off-site; John A. Clark, “Gleanings by the Way. No. VII,” Episcopal Recorder (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 18, no. 25 (12 September 1840), ??. off-site; James H. Hunt, Mormonism: Embracing the Origin, Rise and Progress of the Sect (St. Louis: Ustick and Davies, 1844), n.p.. off-site; MormonThink.com website (as of 28 April 2012). Page: http://mormonthink.com/transbomweb.htm; La Roy Sunderland, “Mormonism,” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 9 (3 March 1838): 34, citing Howe. off-site
  42. Luck Mack Smith, 1845 manuscript history transcribed without punctuation, in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 2:285.
  43. William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394. [{{{url}}} off-site]
  44. John Sanders, introduction to What about Those Who Have Never Heard? Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized, by Gabriel Fackre, Ronald H. Nash, and John Sanders (1995), 9.
  45. Mormonism and Early Christianity (Vol. 4 of Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by Todd Compton and Stephen D. Ricks, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987), 101.
  46. Alma 42:15
  47. See Ben Fenton, “Mormons Use Secret British War Files ‘to Save Souls,’ ” The Telegraph (London), 15 Feb. 1999.
  48. Greg Stott, “Ancestral Passion,” Equinox (April/May 1998): 45.
  49. D&C 138:58
  50. D. Todd Christofferson, "The Redemption of the Dead and the Testimony of Jesus," Ensign (November 2000), 9. off-site (Footnotes have in places been integrated into the main text; citation for has been slightly modified.
  51. The source erroneously refers to the "Marcionites" instead of the "Cerinthians".
  52. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86. off-site
  53. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86. off-site
  54. "First Vision Accounts," Gospel Topics on LDS.org
  55. "LESSON 6: Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20," Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013) 20.
  56. Milton V. Backman, "Joseph Smith's Recitals of the First Vision," Ensign (January 1985).
  57. James B. Allen, "Eight Contemporary Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision - What Do We Learn from Them?," Improvement Era (April 1970) 4-13.
  58. Dennis B. Neuenschwander, "Joseph Smith: An Apostle of Jesus Christ," Ensign (January 2009) 16-22.
  59. Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct 1984, 2.
  60. Allen D. Roberts, "Where are the All-Seeing Eyes?," Sunstone 4 no. (Issue #5) (May 1979), 26. off-site off-site(emphasis added)
  61. Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1996), 158-159. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  62. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:311. [13 July 1862]
  63. George A. Smith, Journal of Discourses 12:335. [15 November 1863]
  64. Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vol. 4 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1978), 78; also in The Teachings of Joseph Smith, 55.
  65. John Taylor, "Reflections On the Sacrament, Etc.," Journal of Discourses, reported by G.D. Watt 22 February 1863, Vol. 10 (London: Latter-Day Saint's Book Depot, 1865), 115–116, quoted in Callister, The Infinite Atonement, 11.
  66. Collected Discourses, Vol. 1, edited by Brian H. Stuy (City Unknown: B.H.S. Publishers, 1987), 344. Stated in an address on September 1, 1889. Seven years later he stated, "Jesus Christ…came into the world and laid down His life as a great sacrifice for the redemption of the world." [Collected Discourses (1892–1893), Vol. 3, 154.]
  67. This is from a letter he wrote to the editor of Illustrated American, dated January 9, 1891, found in Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 3, edited by James R. Clark (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 206.
  68. Collected Discourses (1892–1893), Vol. 3, 168.
  69. Reverend F.S. Beggs, "The Mormon Problem in the West," Methodist Review (Sept 1896), article VII: online at off-site
  70. Conference Report (April 1904), 51, in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 3:98–99.
  71. James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ (Salt Lake City; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1915), 661, quoted in Callister, The Infinite Atonement, 144.
  72. Conference Report (October 1921), 36, quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 2:80–81.
  73. Conference Report (April 1921), 203, quoted in Grant, Gospel Standards, 14. McKeever and Johnson claim to have read this volume. It is also quoted in Latter-day Commentary, 371.
  74. Conference Report (April 1925), 7–8, quoted in Grant, Gospel Standards, 6–7.
  75. Deseret News Church Section (September 3, 1938), 7, quoted in Grant, Gospel Standards, 6.
  76. Heber J. Grant, "Marvelous Growth," Juvenile Instructor (December 1929), 697, quoted in Callister, The Infinite Atonement, 141.
  77. Liahona, the Elders Journal 29 (January 5, 1932), 337–339, quoted in Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 5, 305.
  78. Joseph L. Wirthlin, Conference Report (October 1948), 125. Franklin D. Richards, of the Quorum of the Twelve, stated in General Conference October 9, 1887, that "It is /Christ/ to whom if you and I should ever be permitted to attain to the redemption from the dead and the exaltation for which we hope, that we shall sing songs of glory and honor to His name, as the One that has redeemed us… /The Lord's Supper/ is an institution since the crucifixion, since the shedding of His blood… His blood will redeem us." [Collected Discourses (City Unknown, B.H.S. Publishers, 1987), Vol. 1, 83–88.]
  79. George F. Richards, Conference Report (October 1949), 150.
  80. J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report (April 1950), 116–117.
  81. J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report (April 8, 1950), 181, also quoted in J. Reuben Clark, Immortality and Eternal Life, Melchizedek Priesthood Course of Study 1968–1969 (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), 163. Elsewhere in this latter volume (page 70) President Clark, a member of the First Presidency, referred to "Jesus, the Christ, the Redeemer of the World, the Son of God, the Agency through which the world was made, our Savior, he who died to satisfy the penalty that the Fall brought." These comments were first offered in an address at Brigham Young University May 13, 1953.
  82. Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 69–70.
  83. Ensign (May 1975), 93, quoted in Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 26–7.
  84. Ensign (November 1986), 50–1, quoted in Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 276.
  85. Gordon B. Hinckley, quoted in Church News 71:36 (September 8, 2001), 15.
  86. St. Louis, Missouri, Regional Conference April 16, 1995, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 28.
  87. Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 283.
  88. Ibid., 282–283.
  89. The Lectures on Faith in Historical Perspective, edited by Larry E. Dahl and Charles D. Tate, Jr. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1990), 84.
  90. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 2, 15; also in The Teachings of Joseph Smith, 54–55. McKeever and Johnson claim to have read both volumes.
  91. Letter dated 6 February 1840, quoted in The Words of Joseph Smith, compiled by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1980), 33; also in Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, 78.
  92. Brigham Young, "The Lord's Supper, Etc.," Journal of Discourses, reported by David W. Evans 11 July 1869, Vol. 13 (London: Latter-Day Saint's Book Depot, 1871), 143, in Discourses of Brigham Young, edited by John A. Widtsoe (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1954), 153.
  93. George Laub Journal, 12 May 1844, in The Words of Joseph Smith, 371. Cf. History of the Church, Vol. 4, 554; also quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 1:268. Although the idea of 'original sin' is not dealt with in this chapter of Mormonism 101, it obviously played a part in the atonement, and was negated by the atonement. Joseph Smith was not the only one who suggested that original sin was removed by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The English Reformers, in their Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, wrote that the sacrificial death of Christ is defined as the "perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual," article XXXI, introduced and quoted in Thomas C. Oden, The Word of Life. Systematic Theology, Vol. 2 (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1989): 389. The discussion by Oden, with representative documentation, makes it clear, however, that the redemption, propitiation and satisfaction for sin is applied only to original sin; our actual sins are atoned for only if we exercise faith in the Atonement of Christ.
  94. Moroni 8:12, 22.
  95. Wilford Woodruff Journal, 20 March 1842, in The Words of Joseph Smith, 109. Again, this is a work which was read by McKeever and Johnson.
  96. Conference Report (April 1917), 70–71, in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 1:379. For a recent comment on the blood of the Lamb saving little children, see Robert Millet, "The Regeneration of Fallen Man," in Nurturing Faith Through the Book of Mormon. The 24th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1995), 128–129, where he cites Moroni 8:12, 22; Mosiah 3:16–19; D&C 29:46, 74:7; and refers to JST Matthew 18:11: 'these little ones have no need of repentance, /for/ I will save them'; and JST Matthew 19:13: 'such shall be saved.' Thomas Oden writes that Hugh of St. Victor (died 1141) wrote that those who die at birth or are retarded "will be saved by this atonement insofar as they are judged to be incapable of refusing it," Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith 2:17 paraphrased in Oden, The Word of Life, Vol. 2, 392.Reformed scholar Augustus H. Strong, in defending his belief that infants are "through the grace of Christ certain of salvation," quoted the following from John Calvin: "Infants whom the Lord gathers together from this life are regenerated by a secret operation of the Holy Spirit;" further, those who would exempt infants from the grace of salvation are guilty of an "execrable blasphemy;" it is a "blasphemy to be universally detested." [Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1907), 663.] Strong quotes from several other Reformed scholars in this article (pages 660–664).
  97. Brigham Young, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," Journal of Discourses, reported by David W. Evans 24 April 1870, Vol. 13 (London: Latter-Day Saint's Book Depot, 1871), 328, quoted in Latter-day Commentary, 37.
  98. Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, 94, citing Journal History, entry for September 9, 1888.
  99. John Taylor, An Examination into and an Elucidation of the Great Principle of the Mediation and Atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Company, 1882), 31. One can only wonder why McKeever and Johnson failed to take notice of a book by a President of the LDS Church, with the rather catchy title of "Mediation and Atonement." One would think it would have been the first place to look when seeking information about the LDS position relative to the Atonement.
  100. Collected Discourses, Vol. 4, edited by Brian H. Stuy (City Unknown: B.H.S. Publications, 1991), 230. Delivered January 20, 1895, at the Oneida Stake Conference in Franklin, Idaho.
  101. Joseph F. Smith, Deseret News Weekly 50 (February 1895), 251.
  102. Collected Discourses, Vol. 4, 363–364. Delivered at General Conference, October 5, 1895.
  103. Conference Report (April 1901), 7–8, quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 1:182.
  104. Conference Report (October 1916), 12–14, quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, 274; see also Anthon H. Lund, Conference Report (April 1912), 12: "…we partake of the emblems of His body and blood sacrificed for us," quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, 118–119.
  105. Conference Report (October 1937), 122, quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, 354–355.
  106. Quoted by Marion G. Romney, Conference Report (October 1949), 43.
  107. Conference Report (April 1950), 84.
  108. Millet, "The Regeneration of Fallen Man," 137–138.
  109. John Sanders, introduction to What about Those Who Have Never Heard? Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized, by Gabriel Fackre, Ronald H. Nash, and John Sanders (1995), 9.
  110. Mormonism and Early Christianity (Vol. 4 of Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by Todd Compton and Stephen D. Ricks, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987), 101.
  111. Alma 42:15
  112. See Ben Fenton, “Mormons Use Secret British War Files ‘to Save Souls,’ ” The Telegraph (London), 15 Feb. 1999.
  113. Greg Stott, “Ancestral Passion,” Equinox (April/May 1998): 45.
  114. D&C 138:58
  115. D. Todd Christofferson, "The Redemption of the Dead and the Testimony of Jesus," Ensign (November 2000), 9. off-site (Footnotes have in places been integrated into the main text; citation for has been slightly modified.
  116. The source erroneously refers to the "Marcionites" instead of the "Cerinthians".
  117. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86. off-site
  118. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86. off-site
  119. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:196-97. Volume 6 link
  120. Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past From the Leaves of Old Journals (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883), 389.
  121. Wandle Mace, Autobiography, 207, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
  122. Deseret Evening News, vol. 13, no. 228 (20 August 1880): 3.
  123. "The Public Forum," Salt Lake Tribune (13 November 1985): A–15.
  124. The Mathematical Gazette, vol. 78, no. 483 (November 1994): 319.
  125. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition (New York: World Publishing Company, 1970), 870.
  126. Dictionary.com website, s.v. "martyr."(accessed May 7, 2003).
  127. Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy, the Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1979), 52. ISBN 025200762X.
  128. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:617–618. Volume 6 link
  129. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 7:102–103. Volume 7 link
  130. Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," Sunstone 7 no. (Issue #5) (September/October 1982), 13–14. off-site
  131. Hyrum Smith, "Concerning the plurality of gods & worlds," 27 April 1843; cited in Eugene England (editor), "George Laub's Nauvoo Journal," Brigham Young University Studies 18 no. 2 (Winter 1978), 177. off-site
  132. Brigham Young, "The Gospel—The One-Man Power," (24 July 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:271-271.
  133. Patriarchal Blessings Books 9:294–295.
  134. Young Woman's Journal (1892) 3: 263.
  135. Patrick Moore, New Guide to the Moon (W.W. Norton & Company, New York: 1976), cited by Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," Sunstone 7 no. (Issue #5) (September/October 1982), 15. off-site
  136. Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 15.
  137. Holmes, 464.
  138. Moore, New Guide to the Moon 130–131; cited by Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 16.
  139. Painesville Telegraph (11 September 1835).
  140. New York Sun 16 September 1835; cited by Alex Boese, "The Great Moon Hoax," museumofhoaxes.com off-site
  141. Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder (London: Harper Press, 2008), 199.
  142. Holmes, 465, (italics in original).
  143. Deseret News 6 (1856): 134d.
  144. ‘Quebec,’ “The Moon”, Contributor 1/9 (June 1880): 193-5, from page 195

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