Criticism of Mormonism/Video/The God Makers/Cartoon

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PERSPECTIVES MEDIA QUESTIONS RESOURCES 2014 CONFERENCE

    Is there a YouTube cartoon which was banned by the Mormon church?


A FairMormon Analysis of: The God Makers
A work by author: Ed Decker

QUESTIONS


I’ve seen a video circulating on the Internet that claims to be a cartoon which was banned by the Mormon church. Does this cartoon accurately represent the beliefs of the church?

DETAILED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The cartoon is an excerpt from the 1982 anti-Mormon film The God Makers. The cartoon takes elements of certain LDS beliefs and distorts them in an attempt to make them appear ridiculous. In some cases, the cartoon takes statements made by early church leaders and attempts to portray them as official church doctrine. For every point made, the cartoon attempts to convey its points using crude, offensive and mocking terms in order to shock the viewer.

The non-denomination National Council of Christians and Jews wrote:

The film does not - in our opinion - fairly portray the Mormon Church, Mormon history, or Mormon belief. It makes extensive use of "half-truth," faulty generalizations, erroneous interpretations, and sensationalism. It is not reflective of the genuine spirit of the Mormon faith.
We find particularly offensive the emphasis in the film that Mormonism is some sort of subversive plot - a danger to the community, a threat to the institution of marriage, and is destructive to the mental health of teenagers. All of our experience with our Mormon neighbors provides eloquent refutation of these charges.
We are of the opinion that The Godmakers relies heavily on appeals to fear, prejudice and other less worthy human emotions. We believe that continued use of this film poses genuine danger to the climate of good will and harmony which currently exists between…neighbors of differing faiths. It appears to us to be a basically unfair and untruthful presentation of what Mormons really believe and practice.
— The National Council of Christians and Jews (see fulltext).

Claims made in the cartoon

Claim
The film claims that the Church teaches that "trillions of planets" are "ruled by countless gods who were once human like us."


Response
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources


Claim
Mormons believe that God the Father was born on a distant planet to an “unidentified god and one of his goddess wives," and that He was "later born to human parents" and "through obedience to Mormon teaching" that he was eventually "elevated to godhood."


Response


Claim
God the Father is claimed to live with his "many goddess wives on a planet near a mysterious star called Kolob."


Response
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources


Claim
”Goddess wives” are again mentioned with a reference to “endless celestial sex” producing “billions of spirit children.”


Response

  • This is again intended to shock the viewer by associating crude terminology with an alleged Mormon belief regarding the Father and the manner in which Jesus Christ was conceived.
  • Jesus Christ/Conception


Claim
The film refers to "Lucifer and his brother Jesus."


Response



Claim
The film claims that Lucifer's plan was to "force everyone to become gods."


Response
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources


Claim
Jesus Christ is always referred to as the “Mormon Jesus."


Response
This is done in order to drive home the idea that Mormons worship a different Jesus than the rest of Christianity.


Claim
The film claims that those who were neutral in the war in heaven were "cursed to be born with black skin." The cartoon illustrates this change in appearance.


Response
Church leaders have stated explicitly that there were no “neutrals” in the war in heaven – if we received a body, we made the correct choice.[citation needed]


Claim
The film claims that those who "fought most valiently" in the war in heaven were "born into Mormon families" and that they would be "lighter skinned people" or "white and delightsome."


Response


Claim
The film claims that "[e]arly Mormon prophets" taught that God the Father and "one of his goddess wives came to earth as Adam and Eve."


Response


Claim
The film again tries to crudely promote the idea that God the Father came from “Starbase Kolob” to visit the Virgin Mary in order to "have sex with the virgin Mary, in order to provide Jesus with a physical body." The cartoon shows God the Father walking through the streets and knocking on Mary's door.


Response


Claim
The film notes that Orson Pratt taught that Jesus "took at least three wives: Mary, Martha and Mary Magdeline."


Response


Claim
The film claims that in 421 AD, that the "dark skinned Indian Israelites" had destroyed "all of the white Nephites."


Response
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources


Claim
The film states that "a young treasure seeker named Joseph Smith, who was known for his tall tales" claimed to have found the gold plates.


Response
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources


Claim
Joseph is claimed to have organized the "Mormon Church, because all Christian creeds were an abomination."


Response
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources


Claim
Through "financial and moral requirements" and temple rituals, Latter-day Saints "hope to prove their worthiness and thus become gods."


Response
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources



Claim
Joseph Smith is depicted as sitting in judgment between the Father and the “Mormon Jesus," contrary to Latter-day Saint belief that Jesus Christ will be our final judge.


Response
The portrayal in the cartoon appears to be based upon statements made by early LDS leaders that have been removed from their context in order to falsely make it appear that a belief in Joseph Smith rather than Jesus Christ is the key to salvation. [1]


Claim
Latter-day Saints are claimed to "expect to become polygamous gods in the Celestial kindom, rule over other planets, and spawn new families throughout all eternity."


Response
 FAIR WIKI EDITORS: Check sources


Claim
The film states that Joseph Smith claimed that he did more for us than any other man, including Jesus Christ, and that Joseph Smith shed his blood for us in order for us to become gods.


Response
The implication is that Mormons worship Joseph Smith as their savior rather than Jesus Christ.


Endnotes

  1. [note] Brigham Young, "Intelligence, Etc.," (Oct. 9, 1859) Journal of Discourses 7:289-289. Brigham clearly states that Joseph Smith is responsible for this dispensation only: "Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the vail in the great work of the last days...no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are...He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation..." (emphasis added)

Further reading

FairMormon Answers articles


Blacks and the priesthood

  • Origin of the priesthood ban?
    Brief Summary: The origin of the priesthood ban is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Its origins are not clear, and this affected both how members and leaders have seen the ban, and the steps necessary to rescind it. The Church has never provided an official reason for the ban. (Click here for full article)
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  • Understanding pre-1978 statements by members and leaders of the Church
    Brief Summary: Critics frequently parade justifications for the ban by past General Authorities that are considered quite racist by today's standards. While these have not been officially renounced, there is no obligation for current members to accept such sentiments as the "word of the Lord," and they most certainly do not reflect the Church's current position and teachings. (Click here for full article)
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There exist previously taught ideas which have been repudiated by Church leaders since the ban. Among these are the notion that Blacks were somehow not as "valiant" in the pre-existence, and that interracial marriage is forbidden. (Click here for full article)

  • Less valiant or neutral in the pre-existence during the "war in heaven"
    Brief Summary: It is true that LDS scripture states that those with lighter skin color "are favored because of what they did as spirits in a pre-earth life?" Is it true that some Church leaders taught that people who were born with dark skin were "neutral" in the pre-existence? (Click here for full article)
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  • Inter-racial marriage
    Brief Summary: Even prior to rescinding the priesthood ban, the Church advised against inter-racial marriages only because such marriages might have more difficulties in being successful. Leaders lumped such advice together with advising married partners to seek those of the same culture and socio-economic level. The counsel was specifically stated not to be absolute, but merely general advice for maximizing marital success. (Click here for full article)
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  • The "curse of Cain" and "curse of Ham"
    Brief Summary: We often hear that Latter-day Saints believe and teach that blacks are descendents of Cain, and that they are cursed. In fact, on some occasions prior to 1978, blacks were denied access to temple open houses because they carried the “mark of Cain.” What critics never point out, however, is that the "curse of Cain" is a Protestant invention that was created in order to justify slavery in the 1800's. One would get the impression listening to critics that the Latter-day Saints originated the idea of the curse, and they point to the priesthood ban as evidence of such, while ignoring that fact of segregated congregations in Protestant churches of that era. (Click here for full article)
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  • LDS scriptures cited in support of the ban?
    Brief Summary: Is it true that the LDS scriptures link a person's skin color to their behavior in the pre-existence, and that the Book of Mormon is racist and promotes the idea that the "white" race is superior? Some contend that even though the doctrinal impact of pre-1978 statements have been greatly diminished, the LDS scriptures still retain the passages which were used for proof-texts for the ban and hence cannot be easily dismissed. A parallel can be drawn between Protestant denominations that have historically reversed their scriptural interpretations supporting slavery and a modified LDS understanding of their own scriptures that relate to the priesthood ban. Through more careful scripture reading and attention to scientific studies, many Protestants have come to differ with previous interpretations of Bible passages. A similar rethinking of passages unique to the LDS scriptures, such as Abraham 1:26-27, can be made if one starts by discarding erroneous preconceptions. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Fielding Smith's racial reference in LOOK Magazine in 1963
    Brief Summary: Critics point to a 1963 statement by Joseph Fielding Smith LOOK Magazine in which he used the word "Darkies" as representative of the Church's racism. These critics, however, are applying a double standard to the Church in 1963. Not one article, photo, or ad in a full 154 pages of this colorful oversized magazine interrupts its perky Caucasian landscape by featuring an African-American. They are not to be seen in ads, Catholic schoolrooms, or even on a featured college football team. Looking at this slice of life from the sixties, the only reason one would have to think blacks even lived in the United States is one photo on page 118 where a few blacks are pictured as the recipients of charity. The patronizing hypocrisy of examining one small church's "attitude toward Negroes" in this sort of environment has, of course, not yet settled into the mainstream of American consciousness. (Click here for full article)
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