Mormonism: From God or Man? (II)
Robert H. West
It Is False If It Contradicts The Bible
It is a well-known fact that Truth does not contradict Truth. That the Bible is Truth, is a fact to which our Mormon friends agree-up to a point. If all of the writings held to be inspired by Mormons are consistent with the Bible, this a point in their favor. On the other hand, if it can be shown that the writings of Mormonism contradict the Bible, this will lead irresistibly to the conclusion that their religious system is false. Let us notice a few instances of how the Mormon writings compare with the Bible on subjects touched upon by both.
WHERE WAS JESUS BORN?
One of the most well-known and easily perceived contradictions between the Book of Mormon and the Bible is that which deals with the place of the birth of Christ. Read the following:
Bible: "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea . . ." (Matt. 2:1).
Book of Mormon: "and behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers . . ." (Alma 7:10).
The Mormons make a futile attempt to "explain away" this obvious contradiction by observing that Bethlehem was only about six miles from Jerusalem, something of a suburb of the great city. Hence, we are told, when the Book of Mormon designates Jerusalem as the birthplace, this would include Bethlehem. Thus they contend, there is actually no contradiction between the two statements.
This explanation seems plausible until from the Bible we learn that Jerusalem was a walled city and in all of the approximately 800 references in which the city is named not one of them includes territory beyond the walls of the city! Furthermore, in Matt. 21:17-18, we learn that Jesus "went out" of Jerusalem into Bethany. Any good map of that area will reveal that Bethany was only 1 = or 2 miles from Jerusalem. If Bethany, only 2 miles from Jerusalem, was considered by the Holy Spirit as "out" of that city, then surely Bethlehem, three times as far from Jerusalem, could not be considered a part of the city! Even in the Book of Mormon, "Jerusalem" or "land of Jerusalem" is never used to include the surrounding cities. The contradiction, therefore, remains.
WHEN WERE THE DISCIPLES FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS?
Bible: "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26).
Book of Mormon: (margin reads, "73 B.C.") "And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called. . ." (Alma 46:15).
Yes, our Mormon friends wish us to take this statement seriously! Christians even before the coming of Christ! Take your pick. Which will you believe? You cannot believe the Bible and at the same time believe in Mormonism!
DOES THE HEAVENLY FATHER HAVE A BODY OF FLESH AND BONES?
Bible: "God is a spirit. . ." (John 4:24). ". . . a spirit bath not flesh and bones. . ." (Luke 24:39).
Doctrine and Covenants: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's. . ." (130:22).
Jesus said a spirit does not have flesh and bones, and that God is a spirit. This is directly contradicted by Mormonism! It will not do for Mormon apologists to say that God "has" a spirit. The Bible clearly states that He is a spirit, which cannot possess flesh and bones. This materialistic concept of God runs throughout the entire Mormon system.
These are only a few of the many available instances of contradictions between the Bible and Mormon writings. But these should be sufficient to show that Mormonism is not from God.
It Is From Man If It Contradicts Itself
One of the outstanding arguments for the credibility of the Bible is it consistency--the fact that it nowhere contains contradictions. This cannot be said for Mormonism, as its writings are replete with irreconcilable contradictions, thus proving that it originated with man--not God. We shall present three instances for your consideration.
A CONTRADICTION CONCERNING POLYGAMY
Book of Mormon: "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord" (Jacob 2:24).
Doctrine and Covenants: "David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants . . . and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me. . . and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife. . ." (132:38-39).
The above contradiction is so plain that it borders on the ludicrous to hear an effort to reconcile the two statements. Sometimes Mormons say that what the writer in the Book of Jacob was talking about was the "many wives and concubines" which David did not have permission from the Lord to receive. It was his "polygamy without authority," they say, which was "abominable" to God. But notice, please, in the passage in Doctrine And Covenants, it says that God gave David his wives and concubines and that the only case in which he sinned was that of Bathsheba! The contradiction remains to the chagrin of Mormon apologists.
A CONTRADICTION CONCERNING THE STATE OF THE DEAD
The doctrine of "baptism for the dead," i.e., baptism by proxy for the salvation of their unbaptized dead relatives, is perhaps one of the most distinctive and bizarre of the Latter Day Saints' teachings. It is enjoined upon them, among other places, in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 124. But this teaching and practice is expressly contradicted by the Book of Mormon in the following passage:
"And, in fine, woe unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and, behold his face, and remain in their sins" (2 Nephi 9:38, see also Alma 34:3235; 40:14).
A more glaring contradiction than this is seldom found in the writings of false religions. On the one hand Mormons teach that they can be baptized in behalf of the disobedient dead and that will save them. On the other hand the Book of Mormon teaches that once people "die in their sins," they "remain" in their sins!
A CONTRADICTION CONCERNING BOOK OF MORMON LANGUAGE
Mormons tell us that the Book of Mormon was originally written in the "reformed Egyptian" (1 Nephi 1:2; Mormon 9:32). Since this language was entirely unknown to any other than the "now extinct Book of Mormon peoples," we are told that a divine means of translating the plates was provided. Notice:
"Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct "'(Joseph Smith, 2:641.
"But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof" (Mormon 9:34).
Keep it clearly in mind that even Joseph Smith did not claim to be able to translate the language of the alleged plates without these divine "interpreters." Now, we are told that Smith copied some of the characters from the plates, with the translation, gave them to Martin. Harris who then took the document to Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia University, "a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments." We read the results of this interview in The Pearl of Great Price as follows:
Do you not see the direct contradiction? On the one hand the Book of Mormon says the language of the plates was unknown to any other people, therefore the necessity of the supernatural means of translating them, supposedly given to Smith. On the other hand, the Pearl of Great Price tells us that Professor Anthon knew the language well enough to say the translation was correct! There are many other palpable and irreconcilable contradictions in Mormon writings. The few we have presented should be enough to prove that these writings came from man and not from God.
It Is From Man If Its Purposes Have Failed
The Mormons make many wondrous claims as to the exalted purposes of their religious system. We wish to consider two of those purposes in this treatise. Since it is contended that these purposes are divine, if we find that they have failed, this should be ample proof that the Mormon system is not of God, as His purpose never fail.
MORMONISM WAS TO "WIND UP THE SCENE" BY 1891!
In Doctrine and Covenants 130:14-16, Joseph Smith wrote the following:
"I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face."
Since Joseph Smith was born in 1805, had he lived to be 85, that would make the, time when Smith was to "see the face of the Son of Man" in the last days of 1890 or sometime in 1891. While there seems to be some doubt in Joseph's mind, at this time, as to what would take place in 1891, a subsequent statement of his, made in February, 1835, clarifies the matter:
. . . and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh-even fifty-six years should wind up the scene" (History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, edited by B. H. Roberts, Volume IJ, p. 182).
Since the latter statement was made in 1835, fifty-six years from then would have been 1891! But that uneventful year has come and gone, the "scene" has certainly not been "wound up," and Jesus has not come again! Mormon missionaries are still going forth "to prune the vineyard," but this purpose was to be accomplished "for the last time" prior to 1891. Here is a purpose as well as a prophecy of Mormonism which has failed so obviously (See Deuteronomy 18:20-22)!
MORMONISM WAS TO RESTORE LOST PORTIONS OF THE GOSPEL
Remember, in 1 Nephi 13:26-28, the Book of Mormon asserts that "many plain and precious parts" of the Bible would be removed. In this same chapter, speaking the Book of Mormon, one of the purposes of that bood is stated in these words:
"And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them . . ." (v. 40).
As we have already shown in a previous section, God gave the promise that His word could not be destroyed, but rather that it would "abide forever" (1 Pet. 1:23-25). Thus, the Mormon purpose stated above is faulty in its beginning, as there is no need to restore that which was to remain, according to God's promise, uncorrupted through the years.
Furthermore, has the Book of Mormon "made known" the plain and precious things which have be taken away from the gospel? Absolutely not! Even Mormon authorities must admit this in their inability to produce these "plain and precious things" removed (against God's promise) from the Bible. Mormon missionaries talk much about the so-called "lost books of the Bible." Yet, where are these books? Certainly not in the Book of Mormon, by the admission of Mormons themselves! If, therefore, neither the "lost books" nor the lost "plain and precious parts of the gospel" has been restored in the Mormon system, obviously another of its self-assigned purposes has failed, thereby proving that the system is from man, not God.
Mormonism----From God Or Man?
In this brief examination we have produced evidence that the Bible is complete and uncorrupted and thus a sufficient religious guide for mankind.
1. We have shown that whereas truth cannot contradict truth, the Mormon writings plainly contradict the Bible, a known and recognized source of truth.
2. We have further shown that there are gross contradictions in the Mormon writings themselves.
3. Then we examined two of the purposes of Mormonism as stated in authoritative Mormon literature and found that they have failed.
Mormonism is clearly from man-not from God. The evidence presented here is but a small portion of that which is available which leads irresistibly to the same conclusion.
Truth Magazine XXI: 4, pp. 54-56