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R. A. Torrey :: Mormonism: Its Origin, Characteristics, and Doctrines

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MORMONISM: ITS ORIGIN, CHARACTERISTICS, AND DOCTRINES


By Rev. R. G. McNiece, D. D.,
For Twenty Years Prior to 1897,
Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City, Utah

The writer has lived in Salt Lake City, the official headquarters of Mormonism, for over thirty years, and he has improved the opportunity to secure a complete understanding of the system. In the great Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, during a whole generation, he has heard Mormonism expounded and defended, again and again, by its chief officials—by President Brigham Young, and President John Taylor, and their successors, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith. In various Mormon meeting-houses, also, from Idaho to Arizona, he has heard the system set forth by many of its chief apostles, bishops, and elders.

Furthermore, the writer has diligently studied the chief official books of Mormonism, especially the "Book of Mormon", the "Doctrine and Covenants", the "Pearl of Great Price", and, supplementing these, the Mormon Catechism, Elder Robert's "New Witness for God", Professor Talmage's "Lectures on the Articles of Faith", the works of Apostle Orson Pratt, Lucy Smith's "History of the Prophet Joseph", and the Autobiography of Joseph Smith. And besides he has read a great mass of pamphlets and articles by Mormon officials. The standpoint of the writer is that of friendly sympathy and good-will toward the men and women among the common people in the Mormon ranks, whose sincerity he has no desire to call in question. But since Mormonism keeps from 1,500 to 2,000 missionaries scattered up and down the country, propagating this most erroneous and harmful system, organizing Mormon meetings, and separating families, in the Eastern, Middle, Southern and Northwestern States, patriotic and Christian people everywhere need to have a clear idea of what Mormonism really is, and the shameful way in which it dishonors the Bible and the Christian religion, so that they can help to protect their own communities from the curse. And it is impossible to understand its character, without understanding its origin, so let us consider that first.

THE ORIGIN OF THE MORMON SYSTEM


1. As an organization, it is only eighty-two years old, going back to April, 1830. About this time, or a few months before, the Book of Mormon was published; and on April 6th, 1830, the Mormon Church was organized with six members, in Fayette, Seneca County, New York. Notwithstanding the long-continued effort to surround this origin with great mystery, and various spectacular fireworks from heaven, as manipulated by Joseph Smith, there is no mystery about it. The period of eighty-two years is not long enough to take us back to the region of mystery.

2. The two main sources of its origin: The first source is a group of three designing men, who put their profane wits together to palm off on various communities in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, this crude, bogus, manmade system under the garb of Christian phraseology, in order to deceive the unthinking.

People in general think of Joseph Smith as the one man above all others who originated the Mormon System. But the facts are solid against such a proposition. Smith was ignorant and illiterate, hardly able to read until after he was a grown man. He knew practically nothing about the Bible, according to his mother's statement, and there is no substantial evidence in his life and conduct that he ever had any religion in his heart.

A religious man, however erratic he might be, who had been trained in the Bible and in theology, was needed to give the bogus system some kind of religious setting. The only man connected with the scheme from its very beginning, long before the public organization, who had any such qualifications, was the Reverend Sidney Rigdon. About 1819, when 26 years of age, he was licensed to preach as a Baptist minister, and in 1821 became pastor of a small Baptist church in Pittsburg.

He was an interesting speaker, but very erratic, and constantly presenting all sorts of wild and startling theories which unsettled the people. In 1824 he was deposed from the Baptist denomination because he was unwilling to work in harmony with its leaders. About two years later, he became a minister of the Campbellite denomination, and came under the powerful influence of that strong man, Alexander Campbell, who thoroughly indoctrinated him in all the doctrines and views peculiar at that time to the denomination. But Rigdon quarreled with Campbell, and argued if the latter could secure fame and authority for himself by organizing a new church, then he, Rigdon, could secure still greater fame and authority by giving to the world both a new revelation and a new religion, through the Book of Mormon.

The two unprincipled men who assisted Rigdon in working out this scheme were Parley P. Pratt, who afterwards became one of the twelve apostles, and Joseph Smith. Pratt furnished the mental and moral audacity necessary to propagate such a dishonest scheme, and Joseph Smith furnished the avaricious cunning, which enabled him to so commercialize the whole affair that the great bulk of the financial profit and of the ecclesiastical power fell into his hands. He occupied a subordinate place only until Rigdon could put the spurious Book of Mormon into its present shape. But just as soon as the church was organized, Joseph Smith seized the reins of power, rode rough-shod over everything and everybody that stood in his way, and did not lay down the power until his death in June, 1844.

The kind of man Pratt was is illustrated by the fact that he lost his life in 1857 near Fort Gibson, Arkansas, at the muzzle of a shot-gun in the hands of an enraged husband, whose wife Pratt had induced to desert her home and her children, and go with him to Utah as one of his plural wives.

These three unprincipled men were the fabricators of the Mormon system.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF MORMONISM,
WHICH MAKE IT WHAT IT IS


1. It is a strongly anti-American system. By that is meant that it flatly contradicts the fundamental principles of our free, representative government, by insisting that priesthood government in civil affairs is the only rightful government in this country, or any country. Apostle Orson Pratt, speaking for the Mormon Church, thus lays down the law:

"The kingdom of God (by which he means the Mormon priesthood) is an order of government established by Divine authority…All other governments are illegal and unauthorized… Any people attempting to govern themselves by laws of their own making, and by officers of their own appointment, are in direct rebellion against the kingdom of God". (Orson Pratt's Works, p. 41).

Nothing is left undone to magnify the power and authority of the priesthood, and the people are instructed that to disobey the priesthood is the same as disobeying God. One of the official books of the church thus sets forth this extravagant and blasphemous claim: "Men who hold the priesthood possess Divine authority thus to act for God; and by possessing part of God's power, they are in reality part of God;—and those who reject it, reject God. even the power of God". ("New Witness for God," p. 187).

This tyrannical priesthood dictates and controls all the affairs of the people in the average Mormon community.

2. The Mormon System is thoroughly anti-Christian. While appropriating to itself Christian phraseology, and New Testament names and forms, it perverts or denies every fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion. It not only denies but ridicules the Christian doctrine of the spirituality of God, and teaches the people that He is a big man like Brigham Young. For Mormonism teaches that Adam is the god of this world. It denies that Christ's atonement has anything to do with our sins, but only with the sins of Adam. To get rid of our sins, we must work out our salvation through the teachings, and forms, and ordinances of the Mormon Church, with its multiplied baptisms for the dead.

3. Mormonism is a deliberate counterfeit of the Christian religion, intended to deceive the ignorant. It calls itself, "The Church of Jesus Christ", a name to which it can lay no claim. The term "Church" is a Christian name and belongs alone to Christians—to those who are loyal to the Christian Church, to Jesus Christ as the Divine and only head of the Church, and to the Bible as the supreme and only revelation from God.

(1) Mormonism tries to palm off on the world a counterfeit prophet in the person of Joseph Smith. He had all the marks of a counterfeit or false prophet, and not one of the marks of a true prophet. In prophetic times, what were the marks of a true prophet? In the first place, he was a man of pure and upright life; he was noted for spirituality of mind, so that he could discern spiritual truth and teach it to others. He was loyal to God, everywhere and always, and he never made merchandise of his prophetic office. Joseph Smith was just the very opposite of this. Instead of living a pure and upright life, he was immoral and wicked, as we shall presently see. He had no spirituality whatever, and he constantly made merchandise of his pretended prophetic position, so that it secured for him houses and lands, and valuable corner lots and lucrative offices, such as the office of mayor, municipal magistrate, municipal judge, Lieutenant General of the Nauvoo Legion, and the nomination to be president.

The Mormon people have allowed themselves to be grievously deceived by his Autobiography, written in 1838. He tries to make out that when he was fifteen, he was a pious, praying youth, greatly concerned about religion, and especially troubled because there were so many religious sects, he could not tell which one to join.

Now let us see what Joseph Smith's immediate neighbors have to say about his character. There is no lack of evidence. Joseph Smith's father and mother, with the other children, removed from Vermont to Palmyra, Ontario County, New York, in the summer of 1815. They were fortunetellers, dreamers, vision-seers. The father was a money-digger, and the son Joseph became famous all through that region as a money-digger. Young Joseph was about eleven years old at this time, having been born in Sharon, Vermont, Dec. 23, 1805. After two or three years they moved about three miles south to Manchester, where they lived up to 1830. Take first the testimony of Pomeroy Tucker, editor of the "Wayne Sentinel," at Palmyra, on whose press the first edition of the Book of Mormon was printed. Says Mr. Tucker: "At this period (from 1820 to 1830) in the life and career of Joseph Smith, Jr., or Joe Smith, as he was universally named, and the Smith family, they were popularly regarded as an illiterate, whisky drinking, irreligious race of people; the first named, the chief subject of this biography, being unanimously voted the laziest and most worthless of the generation…He could utter the most palpable exaggeration, or marvelous absurdity, with the utmost apparent gravity". ("Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism", p.16).

In 1833 sixty-two residents of Palmyra made affidavit, over their own signatures, to the following statements:

"We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family for a number of years while they resided near this place, and we have no hesitation in saying that we consider them destitute of that moral character which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any community…Joseph Smith, Sr., and his son Joseph, were, in particular, considered entirely destitute of moral character and addicted to vicious habits".

There is much more evidence of a similar character.

(2) Mormonism tries to palm off on the world a counterfeit Bible, which it calls the "Book of Mormon" and sets forth as a revelation from God, putting it on the same level with our own Christian Bible, placing the two side by side in the Mormon pulpit. Now the Book of Mormon is simply a poor and weak imitation of our English Bible a lifeless counterfeit. Where did the Book of Mormon come from?

Let all that absurd, fictitious yarn of Joseph Smith, about an angel disclosing to him the box hidden in the hill of Cumorah, New York, on whose golden plates, in the reformed Egyptian language, was contained the material out of which he translated the Book of Mormon—let all that be cut out as having not a particle of foundation. There was no angel. The only plates Joseph Smith ever dug out of the hill of Cumorah, or any other hill, were put there by himself or by one of his agents. While the literature in regard to the origin of the Book of Mormon is quite voluminous, the real facts about its origin can be stated in small compass: In 1808-09 the Reverend Solomon Spaulding settled down as a citizen in the town of Conneaut, in northeastern Ohio. He was a man of education, having graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in 1785. He studied theology, and for a number of years was a minister of one of the Christian denominations in western New York. He had given up preaching, and had settled down in Conneaut as a business man, seeking to establish an iron foundry.

Being fond of Bible literature and religious romance and archaeology, he became interested in the many Indian mounds in that region, and especially in their builders. This led him to plan a religious romance, in which he brought a colony of the Lost Tribes from Jerusalem into this country, where they developed into two nations, the Nephites and the Lamanites, a purely imaginary people. The Book of Mormon, composed of fifteen different books, gives an account of their wanderings, hardships and battles. The records are alleged to have been written on plates of brass. These plates begin to jingle on the second page of the Book of Mormon, and they continue to jingle until they are finally sealed up and hidden away in the hill of Cumorah, near Palmyra, in 420 A.D.

Now there are ten intelligent witnesses, who stated over their affidavit in 1833, when the subject was fresh in mind, that about 1811-12, they heard Solomon Spaulding reading a religious story from the "Manuscript Found", trying to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Lost Tribes. They remembered the quaint phraseology, and the queer names, Lehi, Nephi, Jarom, Moroni, and the rest. The expression, "and it came to pass", occurred so often, the boys nick-named Spaulding, "Old Come-to-Pass". When the Book of Mormon was published these witnesses identified at once the queer names and phraseology. When Esquire Wright heard the Book of Mormon read in Conneaut he exclaimed, "Old Come-to-Pass has come to life again". These witnesses were John Spaulding, brother of Solomon, his wife Martha Spaulding, Henry Lake, business partner of Solomon Spaulding, John N. Miller, who worked for Spaulding, Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, and Naham Howard, three of Spaulding's neighbors, and Artemas Cunningham, of Geauga County, who visited Spaulding in October, 1811, to collect a debt. Spaulding showed him a story he was writing about the lost tribes. Mr. Cunningham spent half the night listening to the story. When the Book of Mormon appeared he recognized that in outline it was the same thing that Spaulding had read to him. The two other witnesses are the widow of Solomon Spaulding, and Mr. Joseph Miller, of Amity, Pennsylvania, where Spaulding died.

The evidence clearly shows that the Book of Mormon grew out of Spaulding's story, but the defenders of Mormonism lose their mental balance whenever this subject is mentioned, and they treat it dishonestly. They say: "we have the Spaulding manuscript in the Oberlin College Library, brought back from Honolulu in 1884 by President Fairchild, and there is no connection between it and the Book of Mormon". Certainly not. No person well informed about the history of Mormonism ever claimed that there is any connection. But why say, "We have the Spaulding Manuscript"? All that the facts warrant is, "There is a Spaulding manuscript in Oberlin", and the possession of that manuscript will afford no help to the defenders of Mormonism against the plagiarism of the book until they do one thing which they are unable to do; namely, establish a general negative, and show that this manuscript in Oberlin College Library is the only manuscript which Solomon Spaulding ever wrote. This can not be done, for there is conclusive evidence that he wrote three or four manuscripts, and one of them was the "Manuscript Found", which he read to his neighbors, and which formed the basis of the Book of Mormon. So when the champions of Mormonism say: "The Book of Mormon could not have grown out of the Spaulding manuscript, for that manuscript is in Oberlin, and there is no connection between it and the Book of Mormon", they take a dishonest position by falsely assuming that this is the only manuscript Spaulding wrote, whereas there is positive evidence that he wrote several manuscripts. The fact, therefore, is established by abundant evidence that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism from Spaulding's religious romance.

Just when Rigdon, Pratt, and Smith first met and concocted the dishonest scheme of the buried plates is not altogether clear, probably about 1827. A strenuous attempt has been made to show that Rigdon and Pratt had no knowledge of the Book of Mormon until its publication, and they go through the wretched farce of pretending to be converted to Mormonism after the Book of Mormon had been published, which they say they knew nothing about before, although evidence shows that they both had been in the scheme to publish it since 1827. What a set of deceivers!

The one important fact is the plagiarism of the Book of Mormon from the Spaulding romance, entitled "Manuscript Found". It is not specially important to know who edited the Spaulding story, and developed it into the present Book of Mormon. But all the evidence points to Sidney Rigdon, and it points to no one else. The evidence shows the following things: That a copy of the Spaulding manuscript was in the printing office of Patterson and Lambdin, in Pittsburg, for a good while after 1814; that Rigdon and Lambdin were on intimate terms from 1818 to the death of Lambdin in August, 1825; that more than two years before the publication of the Book of Mormon, Rigdon had spoken to several of his friends about the coming publication of a book from golden plates, which would produce a great religious revolution. During these two years Rigdon was preaching wild and startling doctrines, afterwards found in the Book of Mormon.

Any one familiar with the peculiar Campbellite doctrines of that time can not read far into the Book of Mormon without discovering that the author had been a Campbellite. His "speech betrayeth" him in the employment of phraseology to which he had become accustomed while associated with the brethren of that denomination. Furthermore, the book is full of Rigdon's own peculiar views. He deserves credit, however, for making the Book of Mormon condemn polygamy, and for condemning it himself, which brought him into sharp conflict with both Joseph Smith and his successor, Brigham Young.

(3) Mormonism imposes upon the people a counterfeit priesthood, which it calls the "Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthood", although there never was any Melchizedek order of priesthood. There was one man by that name, both a king and a priest [Genesis 14:18], without predecessor or successor, and so chosen as a type of the priesthood of the Son of God. The Aaronic priesthood descended from father to son, in a marvelous way, for forty-five generations, until all priesthood was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Since the one perfect sacrifice of Himself made by our great High Priest, Jesus Christ, any person who pretends to be a priest and claims the right to stand between us and God, is what our Saviour calls "a thief and a robber" [John 10:1]. What a bogus priesthood this pretended Mormon priesthood is! It has no more right to administer the Christian ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, than any other group of unprincipled men who repudiate Jesus Christ as the Divine Head of the Church, and go through, the blasphemous farce of electing themselves members of "the holy priesthood". And yet Mormons tremble at the dictates of this bogus priesthood, and fear to exercise the freedom of opinion which is their right. The 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Chapters of Hebrews give us Divine instruction as to the fact that all priesthood was forever fulfilled, and came to an end in Jesus Christ.

4. Mormonism imposes upon the people a counterfeit group of apostles.

It requires four things to make a true apostle:

  • First, He must have been acquainted with Jesus Christ before His crucifixion.
  • Second, He must have seen Christ after His resurrection from the dead.
  • Third, He must have received his commission as an apostle directly from Christ, as Divine Head of the Church.
  • Fourth, He must be able to work miracles to show that God sent him. So that any group of men now who say they are apostles, are simply willful deceivers, and the truth is not in them.

THE DOCTRINES OF THE MORMON SYSTEM


All that has been said under the preceding division about the characteristics of Mormonism, has been a setting forth of its false and anti-Scriptural teachings on the four important subjects of prophecy, revelation, Divine authority of the bogus priesthood, and the bogus apostles. The Mormon Church does not publish its peculiar teachings and beliefs. If it did, it would gain no more converts; it waits until its converts are thoroughly entrapped before its peculiar doctrines are disclosed. Its whole system is carried on, so far as new converts are concerned, by means of the most systematic deception. Its missionaries wear black frock coats and white cravats so that the people are deceived into supposing that they are Christian ministers.

In the Spring of 1844, when the Mormon Church was being severely condemned all over the country, John Wentworth, who was publishing a paper in Chicago, asked Joseph Smith to state what the Mormons believe. Smith and some of his associates put their heads together, and sent out thirteen articles as a summary of Mormon belief. It is simply another piece of deception, for these articles do not contain one doctrine peculiar to Mormonism, but are rather a summary of doctrines held by the Christian denominations. And yet they stand today as representing Mormon belief. When we come to test these articles by the official books of Mormonism, we find they are thoroughly deceiving. Let us take up the first six or seven of these pretended articles of belief, and see how misleading they are.

"ARTICLE 1. WE BELIEVE IN GOD THE ETERNAL FATHER, AND IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, AND IN THE HOLY GHOST."

  • 1. By God the eternal Father, the Mormon officials mean Adam. (For convenience we will use the following abbreviations: B. of M. for Book of Mormon; D. & C. for Doctrine and Covenants; P. G. P. for Pearl of Great Price; Comp. for Compendium of Mormon Doctrine; Key, for Pratt's Key to Theol.; J. of D. for Journal of Discourses—volumes of Mormon Sermons; and M. C. for Mormon Catechism). Brigham Young taught that Adam was promoted to be the god of this world: "He (Adam) is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do". (J. of D., Vol. I, p. 50).
  • 2. This Adam-god is a polygamist. "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". (Brigham Young, J. of D., I, 50).
  • 3. The Mormon officials teach that those who build up large polygamous establishments on earth, will be promoted to be gods in the heavenly world, and will rule over kingdoms. Take this heathen teaching of Joseph Smith: "God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man (in other words, simply a big Mormon)…And you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, the same as all gods have done before you". (J. of D., VI, 4; Comp. 283).
  • 4. It will be seen that Mormonism believes in many gods. "Are there more gods than one? Yes, many". (Catechism).
  • 5. These gods continue to have children forever. "Each god, through his wife or wives, raises up a numerous family of sons and daughters,—for each father and mother will be in a condition to multiply forever and ever". (The Seer, 1, 37). This is directly contrary to our Saviour's teaching in Mark 12:25: "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven".
    It seems incredible that such dishonoring heathenish views of God, the Almighty Creator and Governor of the world, should be held and propagated in Christian America, by an organization calling itself "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints". Paul's statement in Romans 1:21-24 seems verified in them.
  • 6. They teach that the Holy Spirit is a kind of ethereal substance diffused through space. "The purest, most refined and subtle of all these substances (such as electricity, galvanism, magnetism)…is that substance called the Holy Spirit". (Key, p. 39).
    How refreshing to turn to the Divine Word and read its convincing and authoritative teachings about God. We read in Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"; in Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord"; in Psalm 104:1: "O Lord my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty"; in Isaiah 45:5: "I am the Lord, and there is none else"; in John 4:24: "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth"; in John 14:26: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you". The Holy Spirit, then, is a Divine Person, and not an "ethereal substance".

"ARTICLE 2. WE BELIEVE THAT MEN WILL BE PUNISHED FOR THEIR OWN SINS, AND NOT FOR ADAM'S TRANSGRESSIONS."

But that is very different from holding that Adam did not transgress the law of God. Here is the teaching of the Mormon Catechism: "Was it necessary that Adam should partake of the forbidden fruit? Yes, unless he had done so, he would not have known good and evil here, neither could he have had mortal posterity".

"Is it proper for us to consider the transgression of Adam and Eve as a grievous calamity, and that all mankind would have been infinitely more happy if the Fall had not occurred? No, but we ought to consider the Fall of our first parents as one of the great steps to eternal exaltation and happiness". (Catechism, Chapter 8). What saith the Scriptures?: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" 1 John 1:8. "Wherefore as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" Romans 5:12. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord" [Romans 6:23].

"ARTICLE 3, WE BELIEVE THAT THROUGH THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST ALL MANKIND MAY BE SAVED, BY OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF THE GOSPEL".

  • 1. That is, the bogus Mormon Gospel. According to the official teachings of Mormonism, who was Jesus Christ? The son of Adam-god and Mary. "The Father has begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten of the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family". (Brigham Young, J. of D., I, 50).
  • 2. Christ is represented as having plural wives. "We say it was Jesus Christ who was married (at Cana to the Marys and Martha), whereby He could see His seed before He was crucified" (Apostle O. Hyde, Sermon).
    "The atonement made by Jesus Christ brought about the resurrection from the dead, and restored life". (B. of M. Alma, 42:23). "Redemption from personal sins can only be obtained through obedience to the requirements of the Gospel [Mormon ceremonies] and a life of good works".
    "Will all the people be damned who are not Latter-Day Saints? Yes, and a great many of them except they repent speedily". (Brigham Young, J. of D., I, 339). Our Saviour said: "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved".

"ARTICLE 4. WE BELIEVE THAT THE FIRST PRINCIPLES AND ORDINANCES OF THE BIBLE ARE: First, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; Second Repentance; Third, Baptism by Immersion for the Remission of Sins; Fourth, Laying on of Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost."

  • 1. "The sectarian doctrine of justification by faith alone has exercised an influence for evil since the early days of Christianity". (Talmage's Articles of Faith, p. 120.) Paul says: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ" Galatians 3:26.
  • 2. How to obtain the Holy Spirit: "There is a set mode by which this great gift (the Holy Spirit) is conferred upon mankind…the laying on of hands by men who have themselves received it, and have been called of God and ordained to administer it". (That means the Mormon priesthood). Our Saviour said: "How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them who ask Him" [Luke 11:13]. The Holy Spirit, our Saviour teaches, is given in answer to prayer, and is not dependent on the priesthood of the Mormon Church, or any other church.

"ARTICLE 5. WE BELIEVE THAT A MAN MUST BE CALLED OF GOD BY PROPHECY, AND BY THE LAYING ON OF HANDS, BY THOSE WHO ARE IN AUTHORITY, TO PREACH THE GOSPEL AND ADMINISTER IN THE ORDINANCES THEREOF."

According to Mormonism, the only persons who have any right to administer the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the representatives of the Mormon priesthood. It unchurches all the Christian denominations, and impudently claims that the Mormon Church is the only true church; whereas it is not a church at all in the New Testament sense, and has no more authority than Dowie had, or Mrs. Eddy. Its priesthood is bogus in its origin and its authority. They are what our Saviour calls "thieves and robbers" [John 10:8].

Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-12: "And He [Christ] gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."

"ARTICLE 6. WE BELIEVE IN THE SAME ORGANIZATION THAT EXISTED IN THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH; NAMELY, APOSTLES, PROPHETS, PASTORS, TEACHERS, EVANGELISTS, ETC."

We have shown that it is impossible for men to be true apostles now. Nor is there any warrant in the New Testament for such bogus officials as the "First Presidency of the Church", with its two Counsellors, or for the "High Council", with its despotic methods.

The Mormon Church pronounces damnation upon Christian believers who receive baptism from the hands of Christian ministers. "Any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the Gospel from the ministers of these apostate (Christian) churches, will be sent down to hell with them unless he repents of the unholy and impious act". (The Seer, Vols. 1 and 2, p. 255). Our Saviour said to His disciples, and to all who should become His disciples to the end of time, in Matthew 28:19: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost".

"ARTICLE 7. WE BELIEVE IN THE GIFT OF TONGUES, PROPHECY, VISIONS, HEALING, INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES."

"ARTICLE 8. WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE TO BE THE WORD OF GOD, SO FAR AS IT IS CORRECTLY TRANSLATED; WE ALSO BELIEVE THE BOOK OF MORMON TO BE THE WORD OF GOD."

  • 1. The priesthood can make additional Scriptures: "Wilford Woodruff is a prophet, …and he can make Scriptures as good as those in the Bible". (Apostle J. W. Taylor, Conference, Salt Lake, April 5, 1897). "The living oracles [pretended priestly revelations] are worth more to the Latter-Day Saints than all the Bibles"…(Apostle M. W. Merrill, Conference, Salt Lake, Oct., 1897).
  • 2. Paul tells us, on the other hand, in 2 Timothy 3:16, that all genuine Scripture "is given by inspiration of God".

The disgusting doctrine of plural marriage is omitted from these Articles of Faith. But it still stands in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants as a revelation from God to be observed under pain of eternal damnation. Yet as Mrs. Orson Pratt said: "This pretended revelation was simply a dishonest trick on the part of Joseph Smith to cloak over his own wicked and immoral life, and to keep the peace in his household". It will be seen that the Mormon people are required to accept the pretended revelation sanctioning plural marriage, on pain of eternal damnation, from the following quotation from this bogus revelation which still stands in their official book:

"For behold I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if you abide not that covenant then are you damned: for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into My glory…And again, as pertaining to the law of the Priesthood, if any man espouse a virgin and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second and they are virgins and have vowed to no other man, then he is justified; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to none else; and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong unto him; and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified." ("Doctrine and Covenants," chap. 132).

Now, what is this but a depraved and cunning bribe to every kind of social immorality? And that has been its direct result for two generations, with the iniquity still going on.

It is difficult for any one to study this Mormon system as a whole, without coming to the conclusion that there is something in it beyond the power of man, something positively Satanic. And does it not seem to be a reproach on the Christian churches of this country that, after eighty years, such a system of downright heathenism should still hold the people of one of the great states of the West in absolute bondage, and through its hierarchical power, by means of colonization, be able to influence the election of senators and representatives in Congress from five other states? This latter fact makes it a national and not a local problem. The one important thing to be done is to double the Christian missionary forces in Utah, in order to bring deliverance to those who are in bondage.

Millennial Dawn: A Counterfeit of Christianity ← Prior Section
Eddyism, Commonly Called "Christian Science" Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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