Old Mormon vs New Mormon.

I created these videos and posted them on DefCon back in September of 2010. Since then, we’ve received many new readers to the blog that may have missed them. So I’ve decided to dust them off and re-post them here so that our new readers can see what happens when a 19th century Mormon meets a 21st century Mormon.

Enjoy!

Celestial Marriage

The Missouri Prophecies

Quotes (931)

Mormons do not take criticism of their faith lightly; sadly, many [of them] have followed the path of our culture in assuming that disagreement is akin to bigotry.

– Bill McKeever

The source of LDS lunar life discovered?

Those who have studied Mormonism’s history have seen that much of the Book of Mormon was written largely in part thanks to other sources that were available to Joseph Smith at the time he lived.

The two most notable examples are Joseph Smith’s plagiarism of the King James Bible, and Joseph Smith’s not-so-unique tales of native American Indians being ancestors of Israelites. The former was the standard translation of the Bible used in America at that time, and the latter was a popular notion advanced in numerous books during Joseph Smith’s time.

Even Mormons (including LDS general authority member and apologist B.H. Roberts) have had to concede the uncanny similarities between the Book of Mormon and other works of men available to Joseph Smith at the time.

In fact, there’s been much discussion about writings by Solomon Spaulding and Ethan Smith which are eerily similar to that of the Book of Mormon and predate the Book of Mormon. 

 You can read more on Solomon Spaulding’s manuscript here, and view the numerous similarities between Ethan Smith’s work and Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon here.


But the Indians-are-Hebrews stories aren’t the only tales that were circulating during Joseph Smith’s time

There is another Mormon teaching that was espoused by early Mormon leaders that–like the Indian/Hebrew theory–was also not original to Mormonism. I’m speaking of the Mormon teaching that the moon was inhabited by men.

Oliver B. Huntington, who was a close associate of Joseph Smith and remained a faithful Mormon his whole life, said:

Astronomers and philosophers have, from time almost immemorial until very recently, asserted that the moon was uninhabited, that it had no atmosphere, etc. But recent discoveries, through the means of powerful telescopes, have given scientists a doubt or two upon the old theory. Nearly all the great discoveries of men in the last half century have, in one way or another, either directly or indirectly, contributed to prove Joseph Smith to be a prophet. As far back as 1837, I know that he said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do, that they live generally to near the age of a 1000 years. He described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style. In my Patriarchal blessing, given by the father of Joseph the Prophet, in Kirtland, 1837, I was told that I should preach the gospel before I was 21 years of age; that I should preach the gospel to the inhabitants upon the islands of the sea, and–to the inhabitants of the moon, even the planet you can now behold with your eyes. Young Woman’s Journal, Volume 3, pages 263-264, 1892

Huntington also said the following of Joseph Smith’s teaching regarding  moon people:

The inhabitants of the moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the earth, being about 6 feet in height. They dress very much like the quaker style and are quite general in style, or fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally, near a thousand years.” This is the description of them as given by Joseph the Seer, and he could “see” whatever he asked the father in the name of Jesus to see. The Journal of Oliver B. Huntington, Volume 3, Page 166

William A. Linn had this to say about Martin Harris, one of the three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon:

Daniel Hendrix relates that as he and [Martin] Harris were riding to the village one evening, and he remarked on the beauty of the moon, Harris replied that if his companion could only see it as he had, he might well call it beautiful, explaining that he had actually visited the moon, and added that it “was only the faithful who were permitted to visit celestial regions.” William A. Linn, The Story of the Mormons, Page 35,  1902

Of, course, not to be outdone by all the grandiose claims, Mormon Prophet Brigham Young went even farther by alleging that there are solar inhabitants as well:

We are called ignorant; so we are: but what of it? Are not all ignorant? I rather think so. Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon? When we view its face we may see what is termed “the man in the moon,” and what some philosophers declare are the shadows of mountains. But these sayings are very vague, and amount to nothing; and when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fellows. So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets; and so will this earth when it is celestialized. Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, Page 271, 1870

So where did early Mormon leaders devise such tall tales about moon people and sun dwellers?

Well, all of the above quotes from Mormonism arose after 1835, the year when a tale of lunar habitation by humans was being spun by a paper called the New York Sun. A tale that later became known as The Great Moon Hoax.

In August of 1835 (just two years before Oliver B. Huntington said Joseph Smith began talking about inhabitants of the moon) the New York Sun (a paper from Joseph Smith’s own home state) reported that British astronomer Sir John Herschel discovered people living on the moon (as well as unicorns and hut-dwelling, fire-wielding bi-ped beavers).

Of course, thanks to advancements in astronomy, we now know for certain that men do not live on the moon (or the sun) and modern Mormons have since back-peddled from these teachings (painting over them with a veneer that these were only their leaders’ “opinion”). But even though they recognized the foolishness of these teachings, they still believe in extra-terrestrial habitation on other planets . . . just not on our moon or sun.

Mormon prophet Brigham Young said:

Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species. Journal of Discourses, Volume 7, Page 285, 1859

Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth prophet/president of the Mormon organization, said:

We are not the only people that the Lord has created. We have brothers and sisters on other earths. They look like us because they, too, are the children of God and were created in his image, for they are also his offspring. Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, Page 62

Recognizing the prophets’ errors of claiming the moon and sun are inhabited is honest and the right thing to do, but why still cling to the idea that other planets are inhabited?

I’m still waiting for LDS apologists to finally concede that the Book of Mormon was just Joseph Smith’s “opinion” as well since advancements in archeology have not revealed one city, town, sword, shield, coin or other artifact or location in Book of Mormon history; advancements in DNA science have proven that American Indians are not descendants of ancient Hebrews as the Book of Mormon claims; that there is not one ancient manuscript to support the authenticity of the Book of Mormon; that the “Reformed Egyptian” language Joseph Smith supposedly translated the Book of Mormon from has never existed; and that the Book of Mormon (called “the most correct of any book on earth”), has undergone 3,913 documented changes, corrections, and alterations since it’s original 1830 publication.

But I suppose, even in the face of all that evidence, the odds of Mormons admitting that the Book of Mormon was a fabrication is as slim as finding Quakers living on the moon.


A Roman Catholic on Chuck Colson on Mitt Romney on Mormonism.

I just read an excellent article from NCR on Chuck Colson’s position on the issue of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and its pertinence in American politics. Although the author of the article is Roman Catholic (which leads him to some erroneous conclusions like suggesting that Romanism is Christian), he does make some great points about this issue that Evangelical Christians should be cognizant of, while simultaneously pinpointing some of Chuck Colson’s poor misuse of Scripture.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Mormons are polytheists. They believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three different gods,that there are countless other gods besides, and that somewhere there is a “God the Mother” with whom the Father celestio-biologically reproduced Jesus.

Further, they believe that we are the same species as the gods and that by being a good Mormon you can grow up to be a divinity with your own planet of billions of people worshipping you.

Worse, they claim that actual Christianity is a false and degraded, apostate Christianity. That they are the true, restored Christianity.

They are therefore polytheists of a type that goes way beyond ancient paganism. Back then apotheosis was reserved for the emperor or the pharaoh, but more importantly polytheists did not claim to be Christians, much less to be the only true expression of Christianity with actual Christianity being a theological perversion.

Mormonism thus subverts the core doctrine of Christianity (the doctrine of God), passes off true Christianity as a counterfeit, and holds itself out to the public to be the genuine article.

You can read the entire article here, and as usual, the Mormons have flooded the comment section of the article.

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See also:

Should a Christian vote for Mitt Romney?

Should Christians vote for the lesser of two evils?

A shocking realization if a Mormon becomes president of the United States.

Mormonism’s Bigfoot.

I recently published an article on one of Mormonism’s wild claims about big, black, hairy Cain still roaming the earth in the post Mormon Prophet Lends Credibility to a Wild Claim. And, of course, the first response that post received from a Mormon apologist was:

The real shame is that it is simply a waste of time as no self-respecting person would really care enough to take the time to right [sic] about such meaningless prattle. Such a pity.

This was an interesting response considering the fact that it was important enough to Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball to write about it in his book The Miracle of Forgiveness. Evidently it’s only prattle when a non-Mormon discusses the matter.

And apparently one Mormon didn’t get the memo because he’s still talking (and writing) about the Cain/Bigfoot (and racism) matter. Blogger Doug Gibson has risked not being self-respecting because he’s been wasting his time by writing about such prattle when he recently published the post Awareness of Racism Eased Mormon Folk Tales Regarding Cain, Bigfoot. According to Gibson’s article, President Kimball wasn’t the only one in Mormon history to report claims of Cain/Bigfoot sightings.

Although some Mormon apologists would have you ignore such “prattle,” I highly encourage you to read Gibson’s article. And be sure to read all the enlightening comments afterward, like this sample from a commenter named Mikeasell:

Here is the deal: the church likes to teach what they call unchanged, revealed doctrine. When said doctrine becomes unpopular and threatens the church financially, the doctrine gets downgraded quickly to a “teaching” or a “guideline”, then a further downgrade to a “practice”, it is then removed from manuals and books (hence why people of different generations heard or did not hear the stories). Then the practice can simply be “discontinued”. They begin with the Lord has said X because Y is a true principle, live by it or go to hell, then they begin saying well we have been taught in the past that X=Y, then they begin with the “we don’t understand, but we are sure there is a mysterious purpose as to X is somewhat related to Y, but it is not for us to question the Lord”, then the blatant downgrade: we no longer “practice X, X practice has been discontinued, it is not really tied with Y”.

The reality is that the LDS church had inclusion criteria based on race. When it became apparent that the NCAA would allow teams like Stanford to avoid playing BYU and therefore the Church was having their non-profit status reviewed by the IRS, then suddenly (within a month) God changed his mind. Same with polygamy, it went from we will die before we give it up, we will break the law cuz God is a higher law, to sending ppl to Mexico to practice it to eventually pretending it really did not happen for that long or that it was because it was just a trial, there were too many men, etc. . . . .It is amazing to me, shocking really, that people are gullible enough to believe that a never changing restored gospel needs changing all the time, and surprisingly to accommodate cultural pressures. I cannot believe that people that believe in prophets can also believe that those prophets can not agree on basic doctrine, to the point that Joseph Smith, if he were to come back, would be excommunicated from the church he founded because of his beliefs and practices.

If Mormonism were true.

An article from Mormon Coffee offers the following six things you’d expect to see if Mormonism were true. You can read the entire article here.

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If Mormonism were true…

1. … Joseph Smith would have been able to consistently, accurately, remember his visit from two separate supernatural beings, God the Father and Jesus the Son. We now know that is not the case (for more info, see here, here, and here).

2. …the LDS “truth” that there are at least two gods, our Heavenly (spirit) Father, whose name is Elohim, and Jesus (Elohim’s son), whose spirit-name is Jehovah, would have been consistent since Mormonism’s beginnings. Instead, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith’s first work, preaches that there is only one (modal) God (see Alma 11:26-31, 2 Nephi 31:21, Mosiah 15:1-5 for example). Joseph Smith originally taught that Jesus’ father’s name was Jehovah, and Brigham Young, Mormonism’s second prophet, taught that Heavenly Father was actually Adam, the first man on earth. Joseph also originally taught that of the three members of the “Godhead,” only Jesus had a body. That of course is no longer Mormon belief.

3. …the Book of Mormon, a book that is supposed to contain the “fulness of the gospel,” would teach on the plurality of gods, man’s potential for godhood, eternal marriage in Mormon temples, baptism for the dead, three degrees of heaven, and the other beliefs that separate Mormonism from orthodox Christianity. Not only does the Book of Mormon not teach these things, it and the other LDS scriptures frequently contradict current Mormon truths, and each other.

4. …there would be evidence of a large battle on or around the Hill Cumorah in New York, and other archeological evidence to support the notion of Book of Mormon life on this continent. Instead, LDS apologists are still struggling to locate and identify possible Book of Mormon geography sites (see also here and here).

5. …the Book of Mormon would not contain Greek and French words like “adieu” and “Jesus” and “Alpha” and “Omega.” It would not speak of things that had not yet been invented. It would not contain quotes from the KJV Bible, including KJV mistakes. It would not abuse the phrase “it came to pass” in all of its books but two. It would not contain country-boy vernacular. But it does.

6. …when portions of the papyri used to create the Book of Abraham were recovered and translated, the text would be very similar to what Joseph had written. Instead, just as you would expect if Joseph Smith had bought merely a couple of random mummies that had been found in an ordinary catacomb from a man with many mummies and scraps to sell, the papyri has been discovered to be common Egyptian funerary documents.

A shocking realization if a Mormon becomes president of the United States.

“Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?”

– Brigham Young as recorded in Journal of Discourses Volume 4 Page 219

“If you want to know what to do with a thief that you may find stealing, I say kill him on the spot, and never suffer him to commit another iniquity.”

– Brigham Young as recorded in Journal of Discourses Volume 1 Page 108

“Men, who have been warned and forewarned, but who will associate with the wicked and take a course to commit whoredom, and will strive to lead our daughters and our wives into the society of poor, wicked curses, with a view to gratify their cursed passions; we will take them and slay them before this people.”

– Heber C. Kimball as recorded in Journal of Discourses, Volume 4, Page 173

As the debate among Christians continues on whether or not they would (or should) vote for a Mormon for president, and whether or not a Mormon president would be a good thing for our nation, there is a concern that has gone virtually unmentioned that I’d like to bring to your attention.

During the early years of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), a doctrine was taught (and practiced) that essentially gave Mormons the divine right to take another man’s life, believing not only that it was sanctioned by God, but that by doing so they were doing the victim a favor.

“There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world. I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is a strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not destroy them.”

 – Brigham Young as recorded in Journal of Discourses Volume 4 Page 53

This Mormon doctrine, known as Blood Atonement, calls for the murder of those who commit sins that the blood of the Mormon Jesus can’t cleanse.

“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.”

– Brigham Young as recorded in Journal of Discourses Volume 4 Page 54

Mormons actually believed that they were doing what Christ could not do; namely, saving a sinner’s soul. In this upside down world of Mormon atonement—which is completely antithetical to God’s plan of redemption as revealed in the Bible—even King David was unable to be fully forgiven by God for his sins and had to pay for his own sins in Hell.

According to Mormonism, even the sin of adultery could not be atoned for by God’s Son, and was cause for men and women needing their own blood shed:

“Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands. . . . There is not a man or woman who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it.”

 – Brigham Young as recorded in Journal of Discourses Volume 3 Page 247

Not surprisingly, like many early Mormon teachings that later Mormon leaders felt were politically expedient to downplay, deny, or reverse (like racism, Adam was God, polygamy, the Mormon god’s sexual encounter with Mary, spiritual vegetables, people living on the moon, people living on the sun, etc.), their doctrine of Blood Atonement eventually just went away.

So, what bearing does this have on whether or not a Mormon is elected president? And how is the doctrine of Blood Atonement that’s no longer practiced (at least by the mainstream denomination of Mormonism) germane to American politics? And why should we be concerned about it now?

The answer lies in the reason they don’t practice it.

Mormon apologists claim they no longer practice Blood Atonement because it can only be practiced when the power of the government and the power of the church are in the same hands:

“This doctrine can only be practiced in its fulness in a day when the civil and ecclesiastical laws are administered in the same hands. It was, for instance, practiced in the days of Moses, but it was not and could not be practiced in this dispensation . . . .”

– Bruce R. McConkie as recorded on page 93 of his book Mormon Doctrine (1966 edition)

If either Mormon presidential candidate Romney or Jon Huntsman is elected president of the United States, then the civil and ecclesiastical laws will be in the same hands of the LDS organization, thus, there would be nothing preventing them from lifting their moratorium on shedding the blood of sinners. And, after all, they would be doing a great service to those caught up in sins that the Mormon Jesus simply can’t redeem them from.

But there is one thing that will stop them from following through with the words of their own prophets concerning Blood Atonement: Their insatiable appetite to protect the façade that they’re actually Christians.

Should a Mormon be elected president, the largest obstacle to their reinstitution of Blood Atonement would be that it would gravely hurt their proselytizing efforts. And as anyone who’s studied Mormon history knows, modern mainstream Mormonism will sacrifice their former principles and doctrines anytime it becomes politically expedient to do so. When times change, so does the mind of Mormonism’s god.

Modern Mormons have worked too hard to distance themselves from the uncomfortable teachings of their past prophets, while simultaneously (and ironically I might add) tirelessly working to reinvent themselves to appear to the unsuspecting and undiscerning as Christians, (the very Christians—and Christian faith—they consider apostate).

If the LDS organization loses converts it loses money. I don’t believe that the current LDS propaganda machine would do anything to jeopardize their new mainstream image, but with the “civil and ecclesiastical laws” being “administered in the same hands” the ban from practicing Blood Atonement would be gone, and that is a more frightening prospect than a promised tax hike.

To learn more about Blood Atonement, see:

The Mormon doctrine of Blood Atonement as taught by Brigham Young 

The Doctrine of Blood Atonement as taught by the Mormon organization

“The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle’s [sic] being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force. This is loving your neighbour [sic] as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. This is the way to love mankind.”

– Brigham Young as recorded in Journal of Discourses Volume 4 Page 220