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    Response to "Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door"


A FairMormon Analysis of: Facts Mormons Won't Tell You When They Call at Your Door
A work by author: Macgregor Ministries

Question:
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's analysis

  • 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."


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


FairMormon's analysis

  • 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.*For a detailed response, see: Plan of salvation/Salvation of non-members


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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."
  • For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and temples/Garments


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


FairMormon's analysis

  • 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


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Book of Mormon/As a "familiar spirit"


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


FairMormon's analysis

  • 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.


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and the nature of God/Deification of man


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

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: "Celestial sex"
  • 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."
  • For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and the nature of God/Deification of man/Gods of their own planets


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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 witheld and is actually something a Mormon will definitely tell anyone "when they call at your door."
  • The part 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.


Question:
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's analysis

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


FairMormon's analysis


Question:
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's analysis

  • The "star base Kolob" comes directly from the anti-Mormon film "The God Makers." It is a term Mormons would generally not even recognize.
  • For a detailed response, see: Book of Abraham/Kolob
  • 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:
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's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Jesus Christ/Brother of Satan


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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.


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Book of Mormon/Archaeology


Question:
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's analysis

  • Critics often use statistical information related to the population of Utah to draw conclusions about the status or overall health of the Church.
  • It is unfortunate that critics trivialize a serious problem such as suicide—a leading cause of death in the United States—by using it as a club to beat a specific religion. They do this without any data implicating the Church, and much data which argues against the patients' religion as a causative factor. Religion is generally a patient's ally in mental health. Slogans and finger pointing do nothing to help address the real problems faced by the mentally ill who are at risk of depression, schizophrenia, and other risk factors for suicide. While Utah does well in comparison to its neighbors, there is clearly much to be done to understand the western United States' higher suicide rates, and to help lower the rates of suicide and attempted suicide nationally and internationally.
  • Critics should avoid concluding that Utah data = Mormon data. This is often not true, and in this case the Mormon influence may be lowering Utah's suicide rates below those of its neighboring states.
  • For a detailed response, see: Utah/Statistical claims


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


FairMormon's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Joseph Smith/Occultism and magic


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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."
  • For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and temples/Baptism for the dead


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? [1] 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.” [2]
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.” [3]
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” [4] or that “people who once belonged to other faiths can have the Mormon faith retroactively imposed on them.” [5] 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,” [6] 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. [7]


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 Marcionites 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.) [8]

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.) [9]


Question:
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's analysis


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. [10]—(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? [11]


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.[12]


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.[13]


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. [14]


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.[15]


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


FairMormon's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and temples/Endowment/Freemasonry


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and racial issues/Blacks and the priesthood


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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


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


FairMormon's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: The Bible as part of Latter-day Saint canon


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


FairMormon's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Jesus Christ/Atonement


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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:
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's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and temples/Inverted Stars on LDS Temples


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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.

Question:
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's analysis

  • 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.


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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.
  • For a detailed response, see: Joseph Smith/Martyrdom
  • For a detailed response, see: Joseph Smith/Martyrdom/Joseph fired a gun


Question:
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's analysis

  • In September 1857 a group of Mormons in southern Utah killed all adult members of an Arkansas wagon train that was headed for California. Critics charge that the massacre was typical of Mormon "culture of violence," and claim that Church leaders—possibly as high as Brigham Young—approved of, or even ordered the killing.
  • A search of "lds.org" (the official Church web site) turns up many references to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
  • See this article in the official Church magazine, the Ensign: Richard E. Turley Jr., "The Mountain Meadows Massacre", Ensign, Sept. 2007, 14–21
  • For a detailed response, see: Mountain Meadows Massacre


Question:
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's analysis

  • 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. [16] Hyrum Smith [17] and Brigham Young [18] 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." [19]

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. [20]

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.'" [21]

Other scientists announced that they had discovered "a lunar city with a collection of gigantic ramparts extending 23 miles in either direction." [22]

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. [23]

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. [24]

These reports were widely believed and caused a minor sensation. They were carried in the Painsville Telegraph, adjacent to Mormon Kirtland. [25] 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. [26]

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'". [27]

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...." [28]

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:

<blockqutoe> “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” (‘Quebec,’ “The Moon”, Contributor 1/9 (June 1880): 193-5, from page 195) </blockquote>

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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Alma 42:15
  4. See Ben Fenton, “Mormons Use Secret British War Files ‘to Save Souls,’ ” The Telegraph (London), 15 Feb. 1999.
  5. Greg Stott, “Ancestral Passion,” Equinox (April/May 1998): 45.
  6. D&C 138:58
  7. 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.
  8. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86. off-site
  9. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86. off-site
  10. "First Vision Accounts," Gospel Topics on LDS.org
  11. "LESSON 6: Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20," Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013) 20.
  12. Milton V. Backman, "Joseph Smith's Recitals of the First Vision," Ensign (January 1985).
  13. James B. Allen, "Eight Contemporary Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision - What Do We Learn from Them?," Improvement Era (April 1970) 4-13.
  14. Dennis B. Neuenschwander, "Joseph Smith: An Apostle of Jesus Christ," Ensign (January 2009) 16-22.
  15. Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct 1984, 2.
  16. Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," Sunstone 7 no. (Issue #5) (September/October 1982), 13–14. off-site
  17. 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
  18. Brigham Young, "The Gospel—The One-Man Power," (24 July 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:271-271.
  19. Patriarchal Blessings Books 9:294–295.
  20. Young Woman's Journal (1892) 3: 263.
  21. 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
  22. Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 15.
  23. Holmes, 464.
  24. Moore, New Guide to the Moon 130–131; cited by Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 16.
  25. Painesville Telegraph (11 September 1835).
  26. New York Sun 16 September 1835; cited by Alex Boese, "The Great Moon Hoax," museumofhoaxes.com off-site
  27. Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder (London: Harper Press, 2008), 199.
  28. Holmes, 465, (italics in original).

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