Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
This article explains how Joseph Smith was able to bring into being a religion that opposes every major doctrine in the Bible, in spite of the King James Version being one of their standard works.
“If Joseph Smith was a deceiver who willfully attempted to mislead people, then he should be exposed …” (Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, Page 188, 10th LDS President and Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith.)
Joseph Smith was a con-artiste: He earned his living by deception. Amongst other scams, he claimed to be able to locate buried treasure through the use of an occultic stone. Charges were eventually laid against him (c/f Inventing Mormonism, Signature Books Inc., Salt Lake City, page 74, by H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters). The common consensus is that although he was found guilty at his subsequent trial, he was let off with a caution due to his age at the time (twenty) and the fact that he was a first offender.
He was also heavily involved in the occult, the kabbalah and spiritism. (For those who may not know, the occult is associated with supernatural or psychic phenomena. The kabbalah is a set of mystical beliefs, where only a select few gain so-called knowledge about the universe, God and creation. And spiritism involves contact with the supposed spirits of the dead.)
As a youth Joseph had frequented the local juvenile debating club (History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham’s Purchase 1851, page 214). This tells us that he enjoyed putting his own ideas forward, and that he was both self-confident and good at “speaking on his feet.” He also stood out in a crowd as he was about 6 foot 2 in height. And these traits made him a candidate for leadership. Strangely, though, photographs reveal that he was not nearly as good looking as the LDS’s likenesses make him out to be. And one cannot help wondering why they felt the need to exaggerate his looks to the degree that they did.
After attending a Methodist camp Joseph became an exhorter in the evening meetings, and joined the probationary class of the Methodist Church in June, 1828. However, on hearing about his disreputable activities they asked him to repent of his past and give them his word that he would forsake his old ways. But he wasn’t prepared to do this as he was already well on his way with his next scam (c/f The Book of Mormon Deception.) So he parted ways with the Methodists.
He later claimed that in 1820 (which would have been eight years prior to his joining the Methodist church) God had appeared to him in a vision, instructing him not to join any of the Christian churches as their beliefs were an abomination in his sight and their followers were corrupt (c/f Joseph Smith History — 1:19). But common sense tells us that if he had genuinely had this vision from God, nothing on earth would have induced him to either join the Methodist church, or to become an exhorter of their doctrines.
Furthermore, there are nine known differing (and contradictory) versions of this supposed first vision, and the last known version (mentioned above) is the only one that claims that both God and Christ had appeared to him together. Yet not a single soul (not even his own family) knew about it until more than eighteen years had elapsed since it was supposed to have occurred (c/f The Controversy Surrounding Joseph Smith’s First Vision). In spite of these glaring inconsistencies, the LDS made it their official version, claiming that the church had been founded upon its basis. And their missionaries use it as an introduction to Mormonism.
Joseph’s mother, Lucy Mack Smith, wrote a book entitled Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations, published by Orson Pratt in Liverpool in 1853. In it she spoke about his vivid imagination and natural talent for story telling. It seems that he had entertained their family with stories of the imaginary, early inhabitants of the Americas. She described his accounts as being so graphic, that it was as though he had been there in person. This raises serious doubts about his subsequent claim that the Book of Mormon was a literal, historical record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.
In line with the LDS’s long-standing habit of sanitizing records that do not portray their church in a good light, their second President, Brigham Young, recalled all available copies of Lucy Mack Smith’s book and replaced it with an amended version that omitted the offending section.
Several books that had been written on the subject of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas were selling well. Joseph and his family were destitute, and he became convinced that he would be able to make a fair amount of money by selling the copyright of a book on the same subject. True to style, instead of merely writing the book, he embellished it with the story that an angel had revealed to him the burial place of some ancient records of the early American inhabitants, that had been inscribed in “reformed Egyptian” on gold plates. He further claimed to have translated them by the power of God, through the Urim and Thummim that had been buried with the plates. His translation became known as the Book of Mormon.
However, his scribes (one of whom was his wife) maintained that he never ever looked at the gold plates when he was “translating” them, as they were always either covered up or hidden away. Instead, he read out the words that he said were emanating from his occultic stone, which he had placed in the base of his hat so that nobody could see that either (c/f Translating the Book of Mormon).
Nevertheless, in their illustrations of Smith translating the Book of Mormon, the LDS shows him examining the gold plates that are set before him on a table. This gives credence to his false claims and promotes the perpetuation of his deceptions.
Joseph persuaded eleven of his followers to sign statements to the effect that they had seen these gold plates in person. There are two such statements printed in the front of the Book of Mormon, one signed by eight of the so-called witnesses who testified that they had not only seen, but had also handled the plates, and the other by three who had merely seen them. But they aren’t worth the paper on which they are written as they only saw them in their imaginations, in a visionary way. Joseph had explained to them prior to their signing the prepared statements, that they would have to see them by faith as God had said that anyone who looked at the plates would die (c/f The Book of Mormon Witnesses). Then after he had finished the translation, the angel took them away. So nobody else saw them either.
To top it all not one iota of proof has ever been found to back up his Book of Mormon story of the supposed history of the early inhabitants of the Americas. Moreover, the Book of Mormon is filled with anachronisms (chronological errors consisting of names, places and so on that would not have been known or did not exist during that particular period.) If you go to the index of the home page of this site, you will find a list of articles on the subject of the Book of Mormon.
Claiming that God spoke to him through the same stone he had used in his treasure seeking escapades, Joseph proclaimed himself to be God’s latter-day prophet. He also maintained that the early Christian church had gone into apostasy shortly after the death of Christ’s apostles, and that God had instructed him to restore the true gospel to the earth. On these grounds he established the LDS church in 1830. And his revelations formed the foundation of Mormonism.
His basic teaching was that the Bible had been incorrectly translated and that important sections had either been removed or lost before its compilation. This meant that his followers no longer had a reliable standard of spiritual truth, which left Smith free to introduce whatever teachings suited his purposes.
He declared that the Book of Mormon was another testament of Jesus Christ, that it contained the fullness of the everlasting gospel, was the most accurate book on earth, and that it was the keystone of the Mormon religion. Needless to say, it contained verses that said that anyone who believed the Bible to be God’s only word to us was a fool, and that God had more to declare than that which was contained in the Bible (c/f 2 Nephi 29:6, 10). And although he said it contained the fullness of the everlasting gospel, it says not a word about eternal progression, the doctrine upon which the whole of Mormonism rests.
The Book of Mormon became their basic scripture, as well as Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price (comprising Joseph’s revelations and “inspired” writings). Although the KJV of the Bible was also included in their standard works, Mormons were instructed to use their own scriptures and modern day revelations as their standard of truth, to determine the accuracy or otherwise of the Bible.
I was born into the LDS church and for a great many years knew nothing other than their teachings. And I can testify that I became so accustomed to substituting Mormon teachings for what the Bible actually said, and to ignoring sections that the LDS maintained were incorrectly translated, that eventually I was no longer conscious of doing so.
At the start Mormon doctrines were more or less along the lines of those of the Christian churches. But slowly and surely Smith changed them to conform to his own ideas. Then fourteen years later, in his King Follet Discourse, he radically changed his doctrines on deity so that they fitted in with his ideas about eternal progression (c/f Mormonism’s Doctrine of Eternal Progression). From that time on they worshipped a God and followed a Jesus who were exclusive to Mormonism alone (c/f The Mormon Jesus).
In order to give Mormonism the appearance of being biblical, Joseph applied biblical terms to his doctrines. But he gave these terms his own, unbiblical meanings. That was a deliberate act of deception. And it has achieved its intended aims. The majority of Mormons aren’t really conscious of the fact that the beings they refer to as God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost are radically different to the beings called by those same names in the Bible (c/f The LDS’s Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost). Their gospel, salvation and eternal life are also unbiblical and exclusive to Mormonism alone (c/f Mormonism Rejects Biblical Salvation).
Satan is the enemy of the God of the Bible. And he cannot stand the thought of mankind honouring and worshipping the very God whom he is determined to usurp. Consequently, he is the one standing behind every false deity, religion and philosophy.
The first commandment is that we should worship the God of the Bible and Him alone. But the biblical God didn’t fit in with Joseph’s ideas. So he invented a God he could relate to; a being who had once been exactly as man now is, and who had progressed to godhood through the religion of Mormonism. But in so doing Joseph detracted from God’s glory. The end result was that he developed an elevated concept of mankind and a correspondingly low concept of God. For instance, he portrays God as someone who encourages lying (c/f The Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 2:22-24) and who deviously gave Adam and Eve conflicting commands in the hope they would eat the forbidden fruit “to enable the spirits in heaven to take on bodies and progress eternally” (c/f The Mormon Version of the Fall). That is a blasphemous, false depiction of the God of the Bible, who is truth and light, and in whom there is no darkness at all.
It also seems that Joseph considered himself to be on a par with Christ. (He taught that Christ was our biological brother in a prior existence.) And as the following quote indicates, he was of the opinion that his own works were far greater than those of Jesus Christ (c/f The Glory of God in Christ Jesus):
“I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter nor Jesus ever did. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him, but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (The History of the Church, Volume 6, pages 408-409).
Because of Smith’s claims, Mormons sing a hymn of praise to him (c/f No. 27, Praise to the Man), where the chorus proclaims that he is now mingling with Gods.
But that is not how the Bible predicts his end.
A counterfeit is no good unless it looks like the real thing. And that was the aim of Joseph Smith when he invented Mormonism. As explained above, He made the Bible a part of their canon of scripture … but took the teeth out of it by telling his followers that it had been corrupted and that they should use his teachings as the standard of truth by which to judge the accuracy or otherwise of the Bible. That was a premeditated act of deception, rather like sleight of hand. And don’t forget his dishonest use of biblical terminology. That too was premeditated and deliberately deceptive.
The Bible warns us that Satan comes as an angel of light, as do his servants the false prophets. And Joseph Smith must have been a very compelling, charismatic man to have been able to have deceived folk the way that he did. But this need never have been the case. God has given us His Word, the Bible, for our spiritual protection (c/f verse 17 of Ephesians 6:11-17 and Matthew 4). Provided we ensure that we know and understand its contents, it will protect us both from spiritual deception and false teachings. Here is what happened when Paul preached the Christian gospel in Berea:
“ … they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” (Acts 17:10-12, KJV)
God has more than enough power to protect the Bible from corruption. Although it has been under greater scrutiny than any other book in the world, it has come through squeaky clean (c/f Is the Bible Trustworthy?). Archeological and ancient historical records have consistently verified the existence of towns and places, kings, tribes, leaders, wars, currency, and so on, that are mentioned in its pages. And neither Joseph Smith nor the LDS have ever been able to come up with any evidence to back up their derogatory claim that it has been corrupted.
Joseph made substantial changes to the book of Isaiah in his own version of the Bible. But a complete copy of Isaiah that was dated as far back as several centuries before Christ, was discovered amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. And it confirms the accuracy of our modern translations. So his claims about the inaccuracy of Isaiah have been proved to be false, as is his so-called translation (c/f Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible).
Last but not least, our common sense tells us that because God is holy, He would never have chosen someone of the ilk of Joseph Smith to represent Him.
Because of the effectiveness of the LDS’s system of indoctrination, even if Mormons do become aware of the errors and deception in their religion, their attitude more often and not is that if the LDS is wrong, then all the other churches must be even more so. Unfortunately indoctrination cannot be cast off like a soiled garment. It has been designed to have lasting effects. But the truth is able to set us free. And it is with that aim in mind that this article was written.
Editors of websites such as this one, do not enjoy the difficult task of telling Mormons that their cherished beliefs are nothing more than the deceptions of a false prophet. We would much rather be involved in doing something more uplifting. But having once been in your shoes, we bear a heavy burden for each and every one of you.
You are welcome to contact me. My testimony is here: An Ex-Mormon’s Long Journey from Deception to Truth
This site is dedicated to helping Mormons understand the Bible.
Copyright © 2017 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.