The Mormon Faith or A Study In Infidelity
In the vocabulary of religious people, including the Mormon folk, the word "infidel" is a term of reproach. To be accused of being an infidel is a most serious insult to a religious person. It is a sad but true fact that in the world today there are many bodies of religious people whose very existence is predicated upon the tenets of infidelity. The Apostle Paul warned against this in 2 Corinthians It :14, 15 where he stated: "And 110 marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness." No religious group is more clearly denounced by this scripture than are the Mormons. Doubtlessly, most of them are sincere folks who do not realize that they have, in fact, espoused infidelity. But sincerity alone is no protection. This is why each of us should heed the command: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves" (2 Cor. 13:5).
Virtually every form of infidelity has five marks of identification. These are recognized to be: (1) A claim that the Bible is corrupted; a ridicule of the Genesis account of the creation of man. (2) A denial of the existence of, or a teaching of false doctrine concerning the Father. (3) A denial of the virgin birth of Christ, of His infinite atonement, and other false doctrine concerning the Son. (4) A denial of the existence of, or false doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit. (5) An ultimate corruption of morals. Your attention is now directed to irrefutable proof that the basic beliefs of Mormonism identify it as an infidel scheme in every particular.
In the Book of Mormon (I Nephi 13:26-28) we find this statement: "And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the foundation of a great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb, many parts which are plain and most precious (emphasis mine - R.H.W.) . . . that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God." And that we might have an even more plain statement before us which reflects the Mormon position, we quote from Orson Pratt's Works, 1899 Edition, p. 140: "What few have come down to our day, have been mutilated, changed and corrupted, in such a shameful manner that no two manuscripts agree. Verses and even whole chapters have been added by unknown persons; and even we do not know the authors of some whole books; and we are not certain that all those which we do know, were wrote by Inspiration . . . Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped polution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?" (emphasis mine - R.H.W.) Remember, please, that Mr. Pratt was one of the original twelve "Apostles" of the Mormon body. He was certainly in a much better position to set forth the official Mormon attitude toward the Bible than any pair of young "elders" who knock on our doors. Mr. Pratt's statements against the Bible were far from being original with him. He was merely aping the hollow charges of a multitude of atheists and infidels who had lived before him. These charges have been refuted so often and so effectively that an honorable skeptic no longer makes them.
It is interesting to note that in spite of Orson Pratt's suggestion that not "even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped polution", the Book of Mormon contains thousands of quotations from the Bible. In fact, in the Book of Mornion we find 26 complete chapters quoted verbatim from the Bible. These are: Isaiah chapters 2 through 14, 18, 19, 21, 48 through 52, 54; Matthew chapters 5 through 7; and I Corinthians chapter 13. If Mr. Pratt's statement is true that the Bible is so corrupted as to make it untrustworthy, then the Book of Mormon must also be corrupted since it contains so much of the Bible!
But, friends, the truth of the matter is that the Bible is not corrupted! Eminent scholars, in speaking of the integrity of the New Testament text, estimate that "only about one thousandth part of the New Testament is so variously expressed in the various copies, as to make any substantial difference of meaning" (Evidences of Christianity by J. W. McGarvey, p. 13). But aside from what the scholars may say, the Bible itself testifies in its own defense: "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever" ( I Peter 1:25). Certainly God has not gone back on this promise; therefore, the Bible could not have been corrupted.
But it was suggested that infidelity ridicules the Genesis account of the creation of man. Has Mormonism done this? Yes, it has! In a discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, October 23, 1853, President Brigham Young made the following statement: "You believe Adam was made of the dust of this earth. This I do not believe (emphasis mine - R.H.W.), though it is supposed that it is so written in the Bible; but it is not, to my understanding. You can write that information to the States, if you please - that I have publicly declared that I do not believe that portion of the Bible as the Christian world do. I never did, and I never want to. What is the reason I do not? Because I have come to understanding and banished from my mind all the baby stories (emphasis mine - R.H.W.) my mother taught me when I was a child" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 6). A casual glance at Genesis 2:7 will reveal the statement: "and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground . . ." Nothing could be more plain and conclusive. But some may say that what Brigham said was merely his own opinion and that Mormons are therefore not bound to believe that today. But keep before you the fact that Brigham Young was the President of the Church, the head of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and as such his word was considered to have binding force on the Mormon people. Mr. George A. Smith, another one of the original twelve "apostles", made these following statements in a discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, at the General Conference, October 7, 1853 : "In the commencement of my remarks, I will say, that the people almost universally do not realize the importance of listening to the voice of God through his servant Brigham" (emphasis mine - R. H.W.) ... for when God has a Prophet on the earth, and that Prophet tells the people what to do, and they neglect to do it, they must suffer for it" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 192-193). According to Mr. Smith, who was personally acquainted with Brigham Young as well as being a Mormon "apostle", God was speaking through Brigham. If this would not make Mr. Young's teachings binding on all Mormons, we fail to see what would. It will also be noted that the entire 26 volumes of the Journal of Discourses have recently been reprinted by the Latter-Day Saints thus showing their endorsement of the statements therein.
The book, Doctrine and Covenants, is an official Mormon publication which is supposed to be a collection of revelations which God made to Joseph Smith, Jr. In section 130:22 of this book we read this statement: "The Father has a body of flesh and hones as tangible as man's." The God of Mormonism is a physical, fleshly being not entirely unlike the gods of paganism. In John 4:24 Jesus said: "God is a spirit." In Luke 24 you will read of Christ's resurrection from the dead and His appearance to His disciples. At first they thought He was a spirit. But He said at verse 39: "Behold my hands and my feet that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." Do you see the force in the Lord's statement? Notice: A spirit hath not flesh and bones Luke 24:39; But God is a spirit-John 4:24; Therefore, God hath not flesh and bones! Could anything be plainer? We fail to see how. As a matter of interest, in Joseph Smith's "Inspired" Translation of the Bible he deleted the statement "God is a spirit" in John 4:24. This is the typical course of all infidels when a plain passage of scripture stands in their way, they summarily reject it.
But as to the precise identity of the Father, Brigharn Young gives us some very interesting information. In a sermon delivered in the Tabernacle on April 9, 1852, Mr. Young made this statement: "When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken - He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 50). This statement is the source of the infamous "Adam-God Theory" which modern Mormons vehemently deny. Mr. John A. Widtsoe, a famous Mormon author and apologist, in his book, Evidences and Reconcilations, alleges that Mr. Young's statement is torn out of its context and that he did not really mean to imply that Adam and the Heavenly Father are the same persons. He further shows from other sermons of Mr. Young that he made a clear distinction between the Father and Adam. Granting that Brigham did, on other occasions, make such a distinction, this only proves that he contradicted himself and thereby disproves his claim of being a prophet, seer, and apostle. Other statements in the context of Brigham's sermon plainly show that at least at that time he was teaching that Adam is our Heavenlv Father. In the same paragraph of his sermon of April 9, 1852 he said: "And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family" (emphasis mine - R.H.W.). But to "cap the climax", both in the index of the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, and on the first page of Brigham's sermon, the subject matter is announced to be "ADAM, OUR FATHER AND OUR GOD". Now just whom are our Mormon friends trying to fool when they tell us that Brigham Young did not teach the "Adam-God Theory"? Certainly those who will take the time to read the facts for themselves will not be deceived.
No, Mormonism does not deny the existence of the Heavenly Father. But it does set forth some of the most hideous doctrines ever conceived concerning our God.
When a person denies the virgin birth of Jesus we know that he is headed for the Infidel fraternity. The following quotations will indicate the Mormon position in this matter. In the same sermon from which we have previously quoted and on the same page (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 50), we read, "When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost." This last statement which I have emphasized is clearly contradicted by Matthew 1:18: ". . . she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." But Brigham flew in the face of this inspired statement and said, as we read on page 51 of the same volume: "Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost." On this same page the speaker elaborated on exactly how Jesus was begotten. He said, "Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven." I call to your particular attention the statement that Jesus was "begotten in the flesh" by our Father in Heaven. When we recall that the Mormons believe God has a physical body of "flesh and bones", we see this statement to be a clear-cut denial of the virgin birth. In a sermon delivered in the Tabernacle on July 24, 1853, Brigham Young said: " . . . for I believe the Father came down from heaven, as the Apostles said he did, and begat the Saviour of the world; for he is the only begotten of the Father, which could not be if the Father did not actually beget him in person" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 238). Mark well the statement that the Father beget Jesus "in person". Again, since the person of the Father is physical, according to Mormon doctrine, then the begetting of Jesus would have to be physical; hence, an out-right denial of the virgin birth of Christ. Remember, too, that this was allegedly "the voice of God through his servant Brigham".
The doctrine of the infinite atonement of Christ is a basic fact in the scheme of redemption. Such passages as Isaiah 1:18; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 1:7; 2:2, clearly set forth the fact that every sin, however black it might seem, can be forgiven through the blood of Christ. Affirm that Christ's blood will not atone for certain sins and the very foundation of Christianity is shattered. In another sermon by Brigham Young delivered in the Bowery, Salt Lake City, September 21, 1856, he made this bold statement: "It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit" (Journal o f Discourses, Vol. IV, p. 54) (emphasis mine - R.H.W.) This statement in itself is eloquent testimony to the infidelity of Mormonism.
The denial of the Holy Spirit as a personality is one of the rankest doctrines of materialistic infidelity. Notice this alleged "revelation" in Doctine and Covenants 131 :7 : "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes." But to make the Mormon position even more plain we quote from the book, Key To Theology, 10th Edition, by Parley P. Pratt, brother of Orson Pratt and one of the original twelve "apostles" of the church: "There are several of these subtle, invisible substances but little understood as yet by man, and their existence is only demonstrated by their effects, some of which are recognized under several terms, electricity, galvanism, magnetism, aninial magnetism, spiritual magnetism, essence, spirit, etc. The purest, most refined and subtle of all these substances, and the one least understood, or even recognized, by the less informed among mankind, is that substance called the Holy Spirit" (page 46). Imagine Christ commanding His disciples to baptize people "Into the name of the Father (a divine person), and of the Son (a divine person), and of the Holy Spirit (a refined substance)"! ( Matt. 28 :19) Need any further comment be made?
We do not under this heading suggest that the Mormon people are today immoral in their conduct. However, we proceed to show that this is true only because the majority of them are not familiar with and, hence, do not practice the original Mormon doctrines as set forth by the leaders of this movement.
The immoral and degrading practice of polygamy will always be a dark stain on the history of Mormonism. This practice which is abhorred by almost the entire civilized world and expressly forbidden in the Bible, was the reasonable fruit of the teaching of Joseph Smith and his successor, Brigham Young. It was not until the United States government brought pressure upon the Mormon hierarchy, that this practice was reluctantly abandoned. Even to this day, in the privacy of home study groups, our Mormon friends still zealously defend this former practice.
But the very height of infidel characteristics is seen when one begins to glory in wickedness. Listen to this statement by Brigham Young: "I have many a time, in this stand, dared the world to produce as mean devils as we can; we can beat them at anything. We have the greatest and smoothest liars in the world, the cunningest and most adroit thieves, and any other shade of character that you can mention. We can pick out Elders in Israel right here who can beat the world at gambling, who can handle the cards, cut and shuffle them with the smartest rogue on the face of God's foot-stool. I can produce Elders here who can shave their smartest shavers, and take their money from them. We can beat the world at any game" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV:77). Hear it again, friends: "We have the greatest and smoothest liars in the world, the cunningest and most adroit thieves, and any other shade of character that you can mention." Yes, kind reader, following the basic tenets of Mormonism has in the past and can in the future, lead to a gross corruption of morals.
We feel that these observations, however brief, have conclusively shown the religious system of Mormonism to be based upon the tenets of infidelity. Lest any think we are hiding behind the printed page, we issue a very friendly challenge to any representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to deny, in honorable public discussion, the proposition we have in this tract affirmed, to wit: The basic tenets of the Mormon faith are the basic tenets of infidelity.
We leave the foregoing material to your very serious consideration with the earnest prayer that you will "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11).
Truth Magazine IV:8, pp. 4-7