Latter Day Revelation
(All of the material in this series of articles has been gleaned by researching materials compiled by other authors. I make no claim to originality. Some of the material in this opening article is taken from Homer Hailey's published notes on Mormonism. Much of the material in later articles came from outlines and original source materials supplied by Bro. Bob West of St. Petersburg, Florida. This material was compiled during my study for a debate with the Mormons which was cancelled shortly before it was to take place.)
Every false system of religion is based upon some fundamental error that church tradition carries equal authority with the Bible in matters of religion. Calvinism is based upon the false concept of predestination; Likewise, Mormonism is built upon the sandy foundation of latter day revelation. The uniqueness of the Mormon claim is based upon the assumption that God continues to reveal saving truth through modern day prophets. Modern day revelations of truth from God are the taproot of the whole Mormon system. If this concept can be destroyed the whole system of Mormon theology will collapse.
The New Covenant
The Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon is the new covenant. "And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them" (Doctrines And Covenants, 84:57). "Behold I say unto you, that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing, and this is a new and everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning . . . . For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this covenant and this church to be built up unto me" (Doctrines And Covenants, 22:1, 3).
This teaching contradicts what the New Testament claims for itself. The writer of Hebrews states that the New Testament is the new covenant (Heb. 8:6-13). When Jesus died the new covenant was instituted with his blood (Heb. 9:16-22; Matt. 26:28). If the Book of Mormon is the new covenant, and all old covenants were done away with, that means that the New Testament was done away with. Heb. 13:20 states that the new covenant is an eternal covenant. Since the new covenant is eternal then it could not be done away with.
"For if that first covenant had been faultless then should no place have been sought for the second . . . . In that he saith, a new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxed old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:6, 7, 13). The writer argues that if the first covenant had been perfect there would have been no need for a second covenant. Since the new covenant is eternal (Hob. 13:20), it must be perfect. Using the logic of the writer of Hebrews, "If the second covenant were faultless there would be no need for a third covenant." The Mormon claim that the Book of Mormon is a new and eternal covenant would render the Bible imperfect.
. . . by so much He is also the Mediator of a better covenant which was built on better promises" (Heb. 8:6). Since the New Testament is built upon better promises than the Old Testament, that would mean that the Book of Mormon is built upon better promises than the New Testament. I wonder what better promises it could be built upon? What better promise is there than the prospect of eternal salvation in heaven?
"For the priesthood being changed, a change of law must also come about" (Heb. 7:12). The law cannot be changed without a corresponding change in the priesthood and vice-versa. The Levitical priesthood was abolished (Heb. 7:11). The new priesthood of Christ is unchangeable (Heb. 7:24) and eternal (Heb. 5:6). The Book of Mormon and other latter day revelations represent a change in law, especially in light of the claim that the Book of Mormon is the new and everlasting covenant. Thus, a change in the law would make necessary a change in the priesthood which is now unchangeable and eternal. Therefore the law of Christ contained in the New Testament is eternal and unchangeable.
"Who also made us able ministers of the new covenant ... " (2 Cor. 3:6). ". . . by so much He is also the Mediator of a better covenant . . ." (Heb. 8:6). The apostles were able ministers of the new covenant. The apostles were not ministers of the Book of Mormon. Thus, the Book of Mormon is not the new covenant. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant of which the apostles were able ministers. The Book of Mormon is not the new covenant of which the apostles were able ministers. Thus, Jesus is not the mediator of the Book of Mormon.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). All Scripture, both. the Old and New Testament, is inspired. Peter said that Paul's epistles were inspired Scripture (2 Pet. 3:15-16). If the Scriptures make a man perfect (complete) there is no need for the Book of .Mormon. How can perfection be improved upon?
The Things Of God .
"Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me . . ." (John 17:7). All things from the Father were delivered unto the Son. The Son delivered all things to the apostles. The Book of Mormon was not given to the apostles. Therefore the Book of Mormon is not from the Father. If the apostles were given all things they needed nothing more.
"But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to you remembrance all things, whatsoever I have said unto you .... Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come" (John 14:26; 16:13). Jesus promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth. The Holy Spirit did not guide the apostles into the Book of Mormon. Thus, the Book of Mormon is not truth inspired by the Holy Spirit.
"According to his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue (2 Pet. 1:3). All things have been given unto us that pertains to life and godliness. God did not give New Testament Christians the Book of Mormon. Thus, the Book of Mormon is not, necessary to life or godliness. If we have all things that pertain to life and godliness then what could the Book of Mormon possibly have that the Christian would need?
"Though we or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let-him be anathema" (Gal. 1:8). The angel Moroni supposedly appeared to Joseph Smith and told him where he could find the Book of Mormon written on some golden plates which would contain new truth. Anything which is essential to salvation is gospel. The apostle Paul stated that the curse of God rests upon him who preaches another gospel. The Book of Mormon is ".another gospel", a new covenant. The "gospel of Mormonism" was not preached by the apostles. Thus, he who preaches "Mormonism" is under a curse.
Essential to Salvation?
There is one question that is devastating to the whole concept of latter day revelation. Does the Book of Mormon (or any other inspired Mormon literature) contain anything essential to salvation that I cannot find in the Bible? Could one follow the New Testament today, obey its commands, and go to heaven without the Book of Mormon? If the Book of Mormon contains anything essential to salvation then it is "another gospel." Paul said that anybody who preached another gospel was under a curse. If the Book of Mormon contains nothing that is essential to salvation, then what useful purpose could the Book of Mormon serve to a Christian?
"For the married woman is bound by law to the living husband. But if the husband dies, she is freed from the law of her husband. So, then, while the husband is alive she will be called an adulteress if she becomes another man's. So that, my brothers, you also were made dead to the Law through the body of Christ, in order for you to become Another's (who was raised from among the dead so that we could bear fruit to God" (Rom. 7:2-4). When Christ instituted the new covenant with his blood he also abolished the old covenant. Paul argues in this passage that Christians cannot be under two covenants (laws) at the same time without committing spiritual adultery. The New Testament claims to be the new covenant. The Book of Mormon claims to be the new and everlasting covenant. We cannot be under both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon since both claim to be the new covenant.
"and exhort you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). "The faith" signifies that body of doctrine which is believed. "The faith" was delivered by God and was not discovered. "Once for all" signifies that the faith was once and for all time delivered unto the saints. Heb. 10:10 states that Jesus was crucified "once for all." If the faith delivered unto the saints was not a final and complete revelation then the sacrifice of Christ was not a final and complete sacrifice. Both were "once for all."
The whole system of Mormon theology completely unwinds when deprived of the latter day revelation concept. In dealing with Mormonism, all other issues are subsidiary to the latter day revelation issue. Thus, the Scriptures strike a death blow to the very heart of Mormonism.
(Continued next week)
Truth Magazine, XX:5, p. 5-7