Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Mormonism 101/Index/Chapter 4

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    Response to claims made in "Chapter 4: Preexistence and the Second Estate"

A FairMormon Analysis of: Mormonism 101
A work by author: Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson

Preexistence and the First Estate

This section does a reasonable job of presenting the LDS views on the preexistence.

The Second Estate: Earth


  • The authors claim the "[f]or years Mormons were urged to have as many children as possible in order to make a way for these spirit children to be taught the proper course that would return them to their heavenly parents." The note that in December 1998 that the Salt Lake Tribune "announced that the LDS Church had issued a new Handbook of Instructions that no longer compelled Mormon couples to have as many children as possible."
  • The authors note that President Joseph F. Smith considered birth control "one of the greatest crimes of the world today," and David O. McKay considered it "insidious."
  • The authors conclude that "[w]hat once was sin in the Mormon Church is now permissible."

Author's source(s)
  • Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 197.
  • "LDS Handbook Says Family Size Up to Couple, God," Salt Lake Tribune, 5 December 1998, p. A1.
  • Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:88-89.
  • David O. McKay, Conference Report (October 1947), 119; David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, comp. G. Homer Durham, 487.
  • Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:87, 89.
  • It should be noted that doctrine (such as premortal existence) and policy (such as birth control) are two separate issues. Any denomination's policies can change over time, without affecting the underlying doctrines upon which those policies may be predicated. Unfortunately, the authors do their readers a disservice by confusing policy with doctrine. Such disservice does nothing but misinform the reader unschooled in LDS philosophy.
  • For a detailed response, see: Plan of salvation/Birth control

Preexistence and the Bible


  • The assertion in this section is that those who believe in the Bible cannot believe in life before life. Such an assertion is evidenced through statements such as the following:
    • "…such teachings are perplexing to the Bible-believing Christian…"
    • "Mormons … are hard-pressed to find any biblical support for the very idea of preexistence."
    • "The Word of God certainly does not support the LDS concept that all humans are literal children of God."
  • The authors finish the section with the challenging statement "Until Mormons can show better proof of humanity's eternal existence, Christians are unable to agree with this extrabiblical teaching."[1]

  • Such a challenge, of course, should not go unanswered. In fact, had the authors done adequate research, they would have known that such challenges have been answered many times in the past.[2] In other words, the authors are not providing new information or even a new angle on existing information. Instead, assertions previously made—and previously answered—are being made again.
  • For a detailed response, see: Plan of salvation/Premortal existence


  1. It is interesting to note that the authors presume to speak for the entire panoply of Christianity with all its myriad denominations and sects. Verbiage such as this also accentuates the assumption on the part of the authors that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christian. For an excellent discussion of this topic, see Stephen E. Robinson in Are Mormons Christian? (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991).
  2. For other treatments of this topic, see relevant discussions by Richard R. Hopkins in Biblical Mormonism (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon Publishers, 1994); Brent L. Top in The Life Before (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988); Truman G. Madsen in Eternal Man (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1966); Joseph Fielding Smith in Man, His Origin and Destiny (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1954); Boyd K. Packer in Our Father's Plan (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1984); and Barry R. Bickmore in Restoring the Ancient Church (Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research, 1999).

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