Mormonism (Part I): Talmadge and the Prophet
Ronald D. Howes
Eagle River, Alaska
The Liar and False Prophet Joseph Smith has variously been described as a "nut," a `fanatic, " a "hypocrite," and almost every other abusive name that could be put on any one person. I think a better description would be genius. Joseph Smith Jr., as he liked to be called, the seer and revelator of the Latter Day Saints had humble beginnings among an eccentric family known for their severe rainbow chasing complex. Eccentricity, though, is often just misguided genius, which Joseph Smith apparently had.
It took brains to work up a system of religion that would be complex enough to have an aura of "divine mystery" about it, and yet simple enough in its basics to be digestible by the common people. Mormonism is perhaps the most colorful invention by man since Catholicism. It is replete with not one, but two distinct priesthood s, secret rituals, temple worship and strange and mysterious books, apparently sent from God for the deliverance of man. This is how the people of the world view Mormonism and in an age where people are sitting around like the Athenians (Acts 17:21) to "hear some new thing," Mormonism fills the bill.
Sole credit for this system of religious-socialism however does not reside on Smith's not-so-humble shoulders alone. A former "Campbell it e," Sidney Rigdon, is probably responsible for the socialistic features of Mormonism and due credit needs to be given to the guiding light of organization provided by the great Brigham Young. But when it comes to imagination, no one holds a candle to Joseph Smith Jr., prophet, seer and revelator for the "Latter Day Saints."
After stormy origins, and failures in New York and eventually Missouri and Illinois, resulting in the violent death of the prophet, Mormon leaders wisely decided to transplant the Saints to a new soil. After a mammoth exodus to Utah, the new religion was given a time to rest, lick its wounds, and through a system of polygamy produce new members of the faith in great quantities.
Unfortunately we can not spend all this article on Mormon History. There are several good books for the careful student of this subject to use Mormonism Exposed by G. B. Hancock, The Myth of Mormon Inspiration by William Brodie Crouch, Elbert A. Smith wrote Restoration and A Study in Prophecy). Also, there was a series of articles printed in American Heritage magazine in October and December of 1962. The Mormons themselves publish official histories of their organization. There is also a very interesting little piece in the Little Masonic Library, Vol. II, on the relationship between Mormonsim and Freemasonry, which you may be able to borrow from a Masonic friend.
This study will refer repeatedly to 3 different Mormon Publications, which are available at any Stake Center bookstore for 75c a copy, and are well worth the investment. The articles of Faith by Apostle James E. Talmadge, the D c& C or Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price (both contained in one volume) and the Book of Mormon. Buy the paperback editions and save yourself some money.
Talmadge And The Articles Of Faith
James Talmadge was one of the 12 apostles of the Mormon Church and his word is authoritative. He makes several statements about the Bible and the Book of Mormon which ought to be read and accepted at the start of every study with a young Mormon Elder or Latter Day Saint friend.
". . .this book (the Book of Mormon) is entitled to the most thorough and impartial examination .... it claims, even demands the same; . . . The question of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is therefore one in which the world is concerned. The Latter Day Saints base their belief in the authenticity of the book on the following proofs:
1. The general agreement of the B of M with the Bible in all related matters. (emphasis mine rdh)
2. The fulfillment of ancient prophecies accomplished by the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon.
3. The strict agreement and consistence of the Book of Mormon with itself." (emphasis mine rdh)-(Talmadge, The Article of Faith, p. 273).
There are two other proofs alluded to, but these will suffice for this study. Others have dwelt on the other proofs, the testimony of archeology to the Book of Mormon, and the truth of it's prophesies, which this author will not have space or opportunity to consider. They are important and should not be neglected by the serious student. Mormons base their belief in the authenticity of the Book of Mormon on these items listed by TALMADGE. It is our design to take the first and third of his propositions to task and show the utter failure of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith's writings to measure up to even TALMADGE's great expectations for them. First:
Does the Book of Mormon Agree with the Bible in all related matters????? The following list of references are to page and verse in the Book of Mormon.
17:19 - "he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them . . . . as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come."
contradicts: Eph. 3:4-5, and 1 Pet. 1:10-11. The N.T. says that the mysteries of God could not have been known in times of old, and that are only known through the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians, Paul says that these mysteries were not made known unto the sons of man in other generations. Joseph Smith disagrees. He says any time.
13:22 & 62:26 - both of these references contain the account of non-Levites, the descendants of Ephraim & Manasseh, offering Sacrifices to God--apparently with his support and approval.
contradicts: One of the basic principles of the Law of Moses - that only Levites could offer sacrifice. See Num. 16:1-35 for God's attitude toward non-Levites offering Sacrifice. It does not exactly sound like general agreement.
169:17 - . . .And they were called to. . .the Church of Christ from that time forward and whosoever was baptized. . .was added to his church. Here is in existence and people were being added to it in 147 B.C.; the dates are given at bottom of the Page.
contradicts: Jesus must have been a little inaccurate when he said in Matt. 16:16-18 "I will build my church." He was about 170 years too late; according to Joseph Smith, it had already been built.
212:10 - here according to the Book of Mormon, Christ is born at Jerusalem; Joe made a little slip, because Mary was in Bethlehem at the time.
310:15 - around 73 B.C. there were Christians in the New World. Why then does Luke say that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch around 40 A.D. Someone is 123 years off base. Either Joe or Luke. How about that Talmadge?
394:20, 27 - according to this it was dark over the New World for three days. Why then does Matthew try and deceive us (27:45) by saying it was dark over the earth for 3 hours?
Suffice it to say that the point is well proven. The Book of Mormon and the Bible contradict each other time and again. According to Talmadge's own proofs then, the Book of Mormon is not the authentic word of God.
Truth Magazine XVIII: 3, pp. 45-46