As those nice looking young men with white shirts and black ties bicycle
to your door, don't shoo them away. We present you with a few basics of
Mormonism to keep by your door to help you defend yourself against these
pesky "missionaries." Don't hesitate to make a further study of their doctrine
and origin to make a further, stronger refutation!
WHO ARE THE MORMONS?
The "Mormons" call themselves "Latter-Day Saints" . They are a religious sect founded by Joseph Smith in Vermont in 1823 AD. One of their principal aims is the preparation of a people for the coming of the Lord and the building of the "New Jerusalem" in America. The strength of the Mormon church is in the commitment of its adherents, in the positive image projected by its dedicated young missionaries, and in the healthy family life displayed by the Mormon community. The weaknesses, however, are resplendent in their teachings.
HOWDID IT ALL BEGIN?
Joseph Smith, Jr., was born on December 23, 1805, the son of a Vermont
farmer. When he was 17 years old, (claims Joseph) an angel named Moroni,
appeared to him and told him that he had been chosen to be the minister
of another Gospel, pertinent to man's salvation.
After Smith had the Book of Mormon published in 1830, Mormonism began to grow. Because the new religion was so deviant from Christianity, i.e., plural gods and polygamy (Joseph Smith is said to have had 27 wives, and Brigham Young did have 25), persecution soon forced them to move from New York to Ohio, then to, Missouri, and finally to Nauvoo in Illinois. Accused of crimes in Nauvoo, Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, ended up in jail. A mob broke into the jail "I, murdering both Joseph and his brother. After the shooting, the : Mormon church divided into two groups. One faction led by his widow went to Independence, Missouri; they are known as the Reorganized Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They claim to be the true church and lay claim to the legal succession of the church presidency which was bestowed upon Joseph's son by Joseph Smith , himself. The other group led by Brigham Young went to Utah in 1847, where they founded Salt Lake City and accumulated much wealth.
ARE THE MORMONS CHRISTIAN?
No. Mormons are not Christians. The Mormons will claim to be Christian because they claim to follow Christ, and believe in the Bible. They say that Jesus is a god, but not THE God. They also believe that Lucifer is the brother of Jesus, and neither do they believe that there is fire in Hell.
WHAT DO MORMONS BELIEVE?
Mormons say that Christ came to teach the truth, but that it was lost when the Apostles dispersed. No one had the truth for over 1800 years until God saw fit to enlighten Joseph Smith in 1823 (that is why they baptize all the dead people who missed out). Besides their strange historical mis-accounts, Mormons also have a warped theology.
Mormonism teaches that we are all children of God the Father, and that we were first born in Heaven as spirits. Like all people, these spirits come down to earth to inhabit the bodies of babies just being born, where after they grow, learn, and return to God. During this "compression" into the infant state, the memories of their pre-existence are "veiled." Even God was once a Man like ourselves who evolved into a god.
By following all the rules and ordinances of God here, Mormon men and women have the potential of also becoming gods (by first becoming a good Mormon, paying a full ten percent tithe to the Mormon church, and follow various laws and ordinances of the church). "As god once was, man is. As God is, man may become" (Joseph Smith's words). Mormons believe that there are many worlds and many gods. Each god is similar to God the Father, having the same powers and omnipotence, and even being able to create their own worlds. "Heavenly Father" is only the name of the god who rules over this world.
Mormons say that to create means to organize. They say that God the Father did not create the world, but rather that he organized matter to form it, and that God cannot make something out of nothing. Even a spirit is matter: spirit and light have a similar origin, for the words are used synonymously in the Bible. There are many things where they either don't know because it is not explicit in the Bible, or has not (yet) been revealed by the prophets (of the Mormon church).
God the Father, also called Elohim, worried for the salvation of man, so he sent His son, Jesus Christ to save the world (Jesus is a god, but not God). Since Jesus was only a spirit in heaven, he had no physical body. In order that he be born onto the earth, (says Brigham Young, the second "prophet" of the Mormon church), God the Father came down from heaven to have sexual relations (rather than allowing any other man the chance to provide the body for Jesus) with Mary, his spirit daughter. Jesus was born; He married, and produced children. He died on the cross to pay for our sins, and it is acceptable to God the Father because Jesus is a god.
Finally, they say that when we die, we will go to one of many Heavens, where we will attain to one of three glories: Celestial, Terrestrial or Telestial. In the first we live with God the Father, the second only with Jesus, and the third without either one.
The standard literary works of the church for the Mormons are four: the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. These constitute the written authority of the Mormon "church".
In addition, since Mormons believe in continued revelation (meaning that Mormon prophets are even now revealing new truths for all Mormons to believe), new books approved by the President of the Church can be published and be considered authoritative. Every person in the church is able to receive private revelations, but only the President can speak with authoritative revelation for the entire church; he is a "seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet." You may see how Brigham Young, who was the successor to Joseph Smith said many things contrary to the teachings of Joseph Smith. The Mormons have many contradictions in their teachings, most of which they seem to ignore.
WHAT IS THE BOOK OF MORMON?
The Book of Mormon was composed (supposedly) in Egyptian hieroglyphs on gold plates, and buried in a hill not far from Manchester (where Joseph lived with his parents). The angel Moroni instructed Joseph to make translations into English, giving him a pair of magic spectacles with which to read the writings.
Glancing through it, one would easily conceive how a man who had once read the Bible, decided to compose his own not-so-original "biblical" story (he actually plagiarized a novel written by a Congregationalist minister, Solomon Spalding). Nephi the prophet, in the 5th century, is forced to leave Jerusalem in exile so, having built a boat, he and his brethren sail for the "Promised Land" (America). Nephi inscribes on so many metal tablets the history and prophecies of his people. This is the story of the "Lost tribe of Israel," whom Jesus comes to visit, addressing them as apostles, even delivering there, in America the Beatitudes. He chooses twelve new apostles, giving to them the land of America as their inheritance since the Jews of Israel were too stiff-necked to believe him.
There are over 2,000 corrections in grammar and spelling as well as changes distorting the original text. The book is known for its plagiarism of the King James Bible (the only Bible authorized by the Mormon church), the absence of archeological and historical records supporting the book's story, and an array of anachronisms. Despite Smith's claim that the Book of Mormon is "the keystone of our religion," it is noted for its absence of key Mormon doctrines.
WHAT DO I TELL THEM?
Certain arguments are stronger than others. Mormons have much in common with Protestants, and many anti-protestant arguments are very useful. But remember that their "scripture" consists not only in the Bible, but also three other books considered as important if not more than the Bible. They borrow also from Seventh-Day Adventists (Smith even predicted the world to end in 1890), and Freemasonry. Knowledge of these other sects will gain you much ground.
Lead them to define their terminology, for Mormons will use Christian terms like God, heaven, spirit, resurrection, but with different meanings. You may argue their definitions, showing them their true meanings.
Try at rust to keep the conversation on those errors that they have in common with Protestants (speak of Scripture, Church Fathers, origin of the Bible, etc.), then, as the conversation moves towards those beliefs which are peculiar to Mormons, get ready to deal with the Great Apostasy. Mormons say that Jesus' Truth was lost from the earth until God enlightened Joseph Smith to dig up the golden tablets: make them give precise details of how this apostasy happened! Remember the words of Our Lord in Matt. XVI:13-18, MattXVIIl:lS-18, XXVlIl:20, 1st Timothy III:15. Apostasy is real; men do leave the Truth, but God's Church cannot leave it.
Another good tactic is to keep on the subject of history and archeology,
where, the Book of Mormon has no bearing in reality.
The best arguments are going to be where both sides accept the authority being cited, which in our case will be the Bible and the early Church Fathers like Saints Ignatius of Antioch, Clement, Peter Martyr, Irenaeus, Polycarp, etc.
You may not win a convert, but you may succeed in causing him to doubt some part of his doctrine, or at least in having him leave with a wariness for attempting to persuade other Catholics on account of the difficulty involved!
CAN EVERY MORMON HONESTLY ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
Any Christian can easily see how far Mormonism is from the truth. Not only do the Mormons have to reconsider their faith in the teachings of the Mormon church, but they also need to face the reality denied by the teachings of their accepted authorities:
1) Why should anyone believe in the Book of Mormon? A Catholic believes in the Bible because the Church is able to verify the Historicity, Veracity, and Integrity of the Scriptures. He knows that the Catholic Church assembled the Book in the first place.
2) Why did Smith's three main witnesses, Cowdrey, Davis and Scales write the book, "Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? (Vision House Publishers, 1977)? Why did they leave the Mormon Church, even though they claimed to have seen Smith’s tablets?
3) Modem archeology does not support the Book of Mormon's tale. Ask, for instance, Do you really believe that horses existed in America at that time (1st Nephi 18:25; 3rd Nephi 3:22)? Why is there no evidence of any civilization in America before the Indians?
4) Why did Joseph Smith become a freemason in 1842, 12 years after he published the Book of Mormon? Why does the Mormon so much resemble the Masonic rite?
5) Why do you hold the Bible to be true? Many questions may be used which you might use against any Bible-only believer.
6) Why does the Bible say there is one God, and absolutely no other? See Exodus20:2-3, Deut 6:4 Isaiah 43:10; 45:5; 1st Cor. 8:4; Ephesians 4:56; and John 12:3. Mormons will often use Genesis 1:26 where God says, "Let us make man in our image" (Christians understand this to refer to the Trinity). Show them Genesis 1:27. How is it that Joseph Smith or any other man can have the capacity of God? If God did not create matter, then where did matter come from? Something cannot come from nothing. Remember that Saint Michael the Archangel said, "Who is like unto God?"
7) Why does the Book of Mormon declare Mary to be a virgin when you believe she had sex with God? Further, that Jesus was born in Nazareth (1" Nephi 11: 13-20), and not in Bethlehem?
8) Why is it that there is no mention of a total apostasy in any history ever? Surely it could not have gone completely unnoticed!
9) How can there have been a great apostasy when the Church Fathers taught Catholic Doctrine? And how could the Church have lost the Troth since it was the Catholic Church who defined the Canon of the Bible?
10) Why doesn't the Book of Mormon not say anything about baptizing
people who have already died? The Mormons believe heavily in this teaching,
basing it on 1 Corinthians 15:29. If this practice is so important, why
is it mentioned only once in the Bible? Why is it that no one except Joseph
Smith ever taught to baptize dead people? Why does the Book of Mormon deny
this possibility in Alma 34:31-35, Alma 5:28, 31; 2 Nephi 9:38; Mosiah
16:5,11; Mosiah 26:25-27?
- CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS -