The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States, perhaps even in the entire world. It offers its people clean living, a zealous missionary program and wholesome families. But this alone does not prove it is from God. Is the Book of Mormon really an inspired book, to be revered and believed as Scripture? Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints actually the church that measures up to the specifications and standards of being the Body of Christ? Should everyone cease their current religious practices and become a member of the LDS church?
We believe the answer to these questions is no. In this article we will set out to prove that the LDS church is a creation of man, not of God. This will be done in three parts.
<ol><li>First, we will conclusively prove that Joseph Smith was not a spokesman or prophet of Jehovah.</li> <li>Secondly, LDS teaching will be set against itself showing that it is inconsistent and contradictory.</li> <li>Finally, LDS teaching and the Bible will be compared and shown to be completely incompatible.</li> </ol><p>Before we proceed further we should desire to remind our LDS friends of the obligation they have to refute error and destroy false teachings about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Merely walking away by saying, Your mind is closed will not satisfy the commands given to LDS members by their own leaders. Note what is said in Doctrines and Covenants 71:7-8: Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest. Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord. We respectfully remind our LDS friends that they must answer the things we will bring against the Lord in order to be found faithful.</p>
An effective way of studying LDS doctrine is to study LDS doctrine and to let it speak for itself. This is exactly what the LDS scholar and apostle Talmage advises in the Articles of Faith, p. 273. He puts forth the following as the way the LDS church can be checked to see if it is really from God:
<hr /><p>Authenticity of the Book of Mormon is based on the following proofs:</p> <ol><li>The general agreement of the Book of Mormon with the Bible in all related matters. </li> <li>The fulfillment of ancient prophecies accomplished by the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon. </li> <li>The strict agreement and consistency of the Book of Mormon with itself. </li> </ol><p>Talmage, Articles of Faith p.273</p> <hr /><p>When we use the criteria that this LDS scholar gives us, we will see that the LDS church is not from God.</p> <hr /><h2> Joseph Smith - Prophet of God? </h2> <p>Because Joseph Smith is the foundation of The LDS church, their chief prophet, we begin with criteria #2. Did Joseph Smith make amazing prophecies that have come to pass, thus showing himself to be the spokesman of God and his book worthy of acceptance as inspired? If he is really a prophet of God, then his books and teachings must be followed. If it can be shown that Joseph Smith is not God’s spokesman then let all, including those presently members of the LDS church, reject him as a fraud. Thus the entire LDS church rests upon his shoulders.</p>
How might we determine whether Mr. Smith really spoke for God? Many people have come forth claiming to have a message from the Lord; how do we know Mr. Smith’s message is genuine? Fortunately, the Bible provides us with the necessary criteria in Deuteronomy 18:19-22:
<hr /><p>But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:19-22</p> <hr /><p>As the Bible is accepted by both LDS members and Christians as inspired, we will use this criteria to examine Joseph Smith.</p>
The first prophecy of Joseph Smith’s that we wish to examine is found in Doctrines and Covenants 87. This chapter contains Smith’s famous Civil War prophecies. D & C 87:1 says, Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls. Verse 3 makes it even clearer, For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the North States . There can be no doubt that the war Smith was speaking of was the Civil War. This prophecy cannot be construed as to speak of some future conflict because verse one says, shortly come to pass. LDS missionaries often cite these passages to prove that Smith was a true spokesman of God. We might note that many people of Smith’s time were predicting a war between the states, but that is beside the point. A closer study of D & C 87 shows some notable points about these prophecies that are often not mentioned by LDS members. To begin with, verse 2 of the chapter says war will be poured out on all nations. This simply didn t happen. The civil war was a conflict confined to the United States. Smith also said, remnants would be marshaled to vex the Gentiles (v. 5). LDS members of the time claimed that this meant Indians would fight in the Civil War. Again, another event prophesied by Smith did not occur. Perhaps even more notable than this failure is that Smith prophesied that the Civil War would make a full end of all nations (v.6). This is evidently not so, as nations still stand today. So while many LDS people are deeply impressed with Smith’s speaking of the Civil War before it occurred, they may not be so impressed when they realize that many of the details of Smith’s prophesies simply didn t come to pass. Remember, the criteria of Jehovah is to see if what the prophet says comes to pass. When it does not we must know that he is not a true prophet.
In D & C 114:1 Joseph Smith instructed David W. Patten to prepare himself for a special mission to take place the following spring. Unfortunately, Mr. Patten died before he could go (see History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 171). Did God not know that Mr. Patten was going to die?
In D & C 52:22 two men, Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre, are instructed to preach. The prophecy is dated June 7, 1831. Yet, in D & C 56:5 the commandment is revoked only a few days later! Why does God reverse Himself like this?
Let’s note one other prophecy of Joseph Smith’s that has proved extremely embarrassing to the LDS church. In Doctrines and Covenants 84:5 we read, this generation shall not pass away until a house shall be built unto the Lord. Verse three identifies this spot as the famous temple lot in Independence, Missouri. The heading on the chapter says 1832. Hundreds of Mormons believed the prophecy, yet all died and more than one hundred and fifty years have passed. The temple? It is yet to be built on the spot that Joseph Smith prophesied would contain one.
Some Mormons have claimed that God excused Joseph Smith from building the temple due to great persecution that was breaking out against Mormons (see D & C 124:49). Yet the Doctrines and Commandments tell us plainly that God will not do such a thing:
<hr /><p>What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. D & C 1:38 .</p>
The works and the designs and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can’they come to naught Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men. D & C 3:1,3 .
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them. 1 Nephi 3:7
<hr /><p>What will LDS members say about this clear and obvious failure? Mr. Smith claimed to be a spokesman for God, and yet on this count he obviously was not speaking for the Lord, or the temple would have been built. It is not enough to cite the persecution of the times, less one be willing to admit that God’s enemies were able to frustrate God’s plans for a temple. The two passages from D & C 1 and 3 cited above correctly state that such is impossible with God. Smith must have been wrong. There can be no other possible conclusion.</p>
The question then must be asked, If Smith was wrong on this point, how do we know he wasn t wrong on many points? If he was wrong about the Temple how can he be a spokesman for an unerring and infallible God? Remember the criteria Deuteronomy 18 gives us to determine whether or not a prophet is really from Jehovah. Mr. Smith cannot meet this test, nor the test that Talmage proposes.
<hr /><h2> Additional Notes About Time Frames in Prophecy </h2> <p>In discussions with Latter Day Saints about these matters an attempt has been made to explain Smith’s failures by turning to places in the Bible where Jesus said I am coming soon or I come quickly (Revelation 2:5, 2:16; 3:11; Matthew 24:34). The point is made that if Jesus can delay His coming then Smith’s expression shortly come to pass or this generation can also be used to cover a great span of time. This reply fails for three reasons. First, there would be no need for D & C 124’s pardoning the failure to construct the Temple if shortly come to pass means a long, long time. Why would there be a word from God excusing it unless there really was a failure? D & C 124 forever seals the case against Smith, proving that he made the prophecy and expected it to come to pass within the time frame that he set: that generation. When it didn t he began scrambling for excuses, but as we have seen, other LDS scriptures deny his rationalizations.</p>
Second, a close examination of the texts where Jesus says He will come soon shows that He is speaking of a coming in judgement, not a literal, bodily return. For example, Revelation 2:5 tells the church at Ephesus, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand. Jesus was not lying or deceiving the Ephesian church. He meant what He said, and said what He meant! If they did not repent He would come (in judgement) soon. In Matthew 24 Jesus is prophesying His return in judgement on the wicked Jews who rejected Him, as a close comparison with Luke 21 (note especially verse 20) clearly shows. This chapter begins with the apostles asking Jesus about the destruction of Jerusalem that He had just foretold (see Matthew 24:2) and Jesus answers their questions about destruction and judgement by saying it will happen before that generation passed away. Indeed, in 70 AD all that Jesus prophesied came to pass, as Roman armies crushed the Jewish resistance and burned Jerusalem with fire. Jesus did not lie, or deceive people. He specifically dated His words with a term (generation) that meant a specific length of time, and His prophecy came to pass in that time frame. Therefore, there is no refuge in trying to parallel Smith’s words to Christ’s because when Jesus said soon, quickly or generation He meant it!
Third, notice that this argument really is saying, in effect, Smith was wrong but that is okay but Jesus was wrong too. As we have seen, Jesus was not wrong, but even if He was this would not excuse Smith, but rather indict them both as false prophets.
The other common attempt to explain away Smith’s failure says that generation can mean a long period of time. This will not work because no English dictionary so defines the term. Webster says, the average period (about thirty years) between the birth of one generation and that of the next (Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third Edition, p. 562). The term generation simply cannot be made to cover a period of over 150 years because that is not what the word means, period. A close examination of D & C 84 shows that Smith knew this, and did not use the term generation to mean hundreds of years. This is certain because D & C 84:3 tells us that Smith expected to dedicate the temple by his own hand! This forever settles the time frame question. Smith planned to be alive when this prophecy was fulfilled. There is no doubt that generation in D & C 84:5 meant the people living at that time, including Joseph Smith. Either Smith used the wrong word (but he was inspired and so could not), did not mean what he said (but this is an inspired prophecy), or was not speaking by God (the only choice left).
<hr /><h2> Does The Book of Mormon Agree With the Bible? </h2> <p>Let’s now examine the first proof of the LDS church that Talmage gives us, the general agreement of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Please note this small sampling of contradictions:</p> <ol><li>1 Nephi 10:19 says the mysteries of God shall be unfolded in these times as in times of old. (Dated as 600-592 B.C.). Yet the Bible says in Ephesians 3:3-5, How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men. </li> <li>1 Nephi 7:22 and 2 Nephi 5:26 has non-Levites serving as priests and sacrificing unto God in 592-600 B.C. Numbers 16:1-35 specifically forbids this. </li> <li>Alma 7:10 has Jesus born in Jerusalem, while Matthew 2:1 says He was born in Bethlehem.</li> <li>Alma 46:15 says the name Christian was taken in 73 B.C., but the Bible says, the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), some 100 years later! </li> <li>Helamon 14:20, 27 claims that darkness would cover the face of the whole earth for three days when Christ died. However, Matthew 27:45 shows that the darkness lasted only three hours. </li> <li>The LDS church claims the Bible is incomplete and needs the additional works of Joseph Smith to be complete (1 Nephi 13:39-41). Yet the Bible claims completeness without any other book (2 Timothy 3:15-16; Jude 3). </li> <li>Doctrines and Covenants 77:12 says man was created on the seventh day. The Bible says God made man on the sixth day (Genesis 1:27, 31).</li> <li>2 Nephi 2:21 teaches that people are lost due to their parents transgressions. Ezekiel 18:20 says this is not so.</li> <li>Perhaps most importantly, the Bible says that it is complete and needs no additions or other revelations (2 Tim. 3:15-16; Jude 1:3; Galatians 1:8-9). The Book of Mormon mocks this teaching (2 Nephi 28:29-30; 29:7-10), claims that parts of the Bible have been lost (1 Nephi 13:29), and presents itself as an additional revelation of God. How can’these obvious contradictions be reconciled? <hr /></li> </ol><h2> Does The Book of Mormon Agree With Itself? </h2> <p>The final criteria that Talmage gives us is to see if the Book of Mormon is in strict agreement with itself. A close examination will show that it is not, and that it contradicts other LDS teachings.</p> <ol><li>Nephi 1:3, 19:6 and 2 Nephi 25:7 have the writer jumping back and forth from claiming infallibility and thinking the record is sacred.</li> <li>Doctrines 132:1 sets forth the principle of eternal wives. Verses 3-4 tell believers that they, must obey everlasting covenant, and if ye abide not that covenant then are ye damned. In verse 38 the reader is told David also received many wives and concubines And in nothing did they sin. But Jacob 1:15 condemns David for having many wives: Wicked practices such as David desiring many wives and concubines. </li> <li>God is unchangeable in 1 Nephi 10:18-19 and Mormon 9:10,19 but in the Articles of Faith God is eternally progressive (p. 530). </li> <li>God is a Spirit (Alma 18:24, 28) but in the Keys of Salvation (42-46) He has a body like a man. </li> <li>There is only one God (Alma 11:28-31; 14:5) versus there are many Gods (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, VII, 133). </li> <li>Ether 2:3 says bees came to the New World in 2000 B.C., but history tells us that Spanish explorers brought bees to America. </li> <li>Ether 6:5,8 says the Jaredites built barges that were driven by a furious wind that did never cease to blow, yet it took 344 days to cross the Atlantic. At only 3 knots per hour they could have gone around the entire earth in 344 days! </li> </ol><p>LDS friend, we have no ill will toward you. But in truth, your chief prophet is no prophet, according to <a href="http://static.justchristians.com/bibleStudy/articles/lds.html#prophet">Deuteronomy 18</a>. Furthermore, the very criteria that a LDS scholar puts forth to test the LDS church proves that it is not from God. We plead with you to reject this work of men, and accept simple New Testament Christianity.</p>
T.D. and Mark Roberts
revised and updated July 1995
<hr /><h2> Is the Bible All There? </h2> <p>The teachings of the book of Mormon claim that many precious parts of the Bible have been lost (1 Nephi 13:29). This is cited as one of the main reasons that latter day revelation is needed the Bible lacks some things (apparently) that we need to know.</p>
I categorically deny this to be so. I believe the Bible to be inerrant even as we have it today.
By inerrancy I mean that the Bible message as we have it today is not disturbed or materially changed. This position does not mean that typographical and/or copyist errors have not crept into the text (see copy of the article, Is the Bible Inerrant?). But I most certainly would affirm that many precious parts of the Bible have NOT been lost. Why?
<ol><li>To affirm that the Bible has been corrupted and parts lost destroys God. The Lord went to all this trouble of inspiring and writing the Bible. Yet, we are told, He was somehow unable to protect it and over time big chunks of it disappeared. What kind of God is this? And we are supposed to believe that such a weakling God can raise His Son from the dead?</li> <li>To affirm that the Bible has been corrupted and parts lost makes God a liar. God promises us that His word is indestructible: </li> <li> Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:23-25). According to the teachings of some, the word of the Lord did not abide forever. In fact, it was so temporary that it had to be re-given to Joseph Smith! Did God lie?</li> <li>To affirm that the Bible has been corrupted and parts lost makes the entire Bible useless. The Bible promises that it contains all things necessary to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:15-16). However, this is manifestly not so if parts have been lost or the document has become corrupted. But who can’tell what has been lost? Further, who can’tell what has been corrupted? Turn to any passage and attempt to apply its teachings to someone and could they not well say, That part wasn t even in there originally that is just a corruption. Which portion of the Bible would be exempt from such a charge, and why? Of what possible value can’the Bible be? Let us lay it aside and get on with studying a more perfect guide! Let us not let sentimentality cause us to have even one bit of interest in a book that is less than complete.</li> </ol><p>For these reasons, and others, I believe one cannot rationally continue to believe in (1) the God of the Bible, and (2) the Bible itself if one holds the Latter Day Saints position that it has been corrupted and parts of it lost. This places the Bible (and those who believe in its inerrancy) diametrically opposed to the Book of Mormon forever. Therefore, we should study the evidences that both present that they came from God and come to decision. We must decide to follow the Bible and lay aside the Book of Mormon, or vice versa for we cannot follow both!</p>