Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
The LDS maintains that prior to our earthly existence we were begotten by God and his wives in the normal, biological manner, as spirit children in heaven. (All the other spirit beings, including Lucifer and the angels, were also God’s offspring.) This is known as our first estate. And when Mormons call God “Heavenly Father,” they mean this literally:
“All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally sons and daughters of Deity; as spirits they were the offspring of celestial parentage.” (Man, His Origin and Destiny, quote by the First Presidency of the LDS church [Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund], pages 351, 355; c/f Mormon Doctrine, LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, page 589.)
But the Mormon God and his wife are not spirit beings. They have bodies of flesh and bone (Doctrine & Covenants 130:22). So how could they have reproduced babies who were only in a spirit form?
During the Mormon pre-existence, the fall of mankind was planned by a heavenly council. Jesus elected to be the Redeemer. But Lucifer wanted to follow a plan of his own, whereby all of mankind could be saved by disallowing free agency (the right to choose our own actions and make our own decisions). This led to a war in heaven, where a third of the hosts of heaven sided with Lucifer.
“The story of Lucifer is the most terrible example of such apostasy … He pitted his own plan and will against the purposes of God. He strove to gain the birthright of his Elder Brother, Jesus the Christ.” (LDS Apostle John A. Widsoe, Evidences and Reconcliations, page 209)
LDS teaching is that our race and whether or not we are born into Mormon families, was pre-determined by our performance in our pre-existence. Some who were not valiant in the war in heaven were given black or coloured bodies. Others were born into non-Mormon families. And those who fought against Christ and God were denied physical bodies and an earthly existence. Consequently they will not be able to progress any further.
“The race and nation in which men are born in this
world is a direct result of their pre-existent life. All
the spirit hosts of heaven deemed worthy to receive mortal
bodies were foreordained to pass through this earthly
probation in the particular race and nation suited to their
needs, circumstances and talents.” (Bruce R.
McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1993 printing, page 616)
(Editor: BOM 2 Nephi 5:21, 1981 printing, indicates that
ungodly beings were cursed with a dark skin.)
“Because we are here on earth and have mortal bodies, we know that we chose to follow Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father … When he became our Savior, he did his part to help us return to our heavenly home. It is now up to each of us to do our part and become worthy of exaltation.” (Gospel Principles, 1992, pages 18 to 19) [Editor: Exaltation is an LDS term denoting progression to godhood and eternal life, which is one and the same thing.]
The Bible tells a completely different story to that of the LDS.
Firstly, angels aren’t God’s literal offspring. They are an order of spirit beings created by Him for His service, prior to the creation of the earth. Satan (Lucifer) was one of these created beings, and initially played a prominent role in God’s kingdom. But he rebelled against God’s sovereignty. Some of the other angels sided with him (c/f Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:13-15, Revelation 12:9).
Because of the evil they began and the destruction and ruin their actions continued to generate, God has resolved to have a day of judgment. On that day He will put an end to all rebellion and sin. With this purpose in mind He has prepared a place for the confinement of every influence of evil. The Bible calls it hell.
Secondly, mankind was not the biological offspring of God in a prior existence. As explained in Genesis 2:7, God created mankind:
“I have made the earth, and created man upon it:” (Isaiah 45:12, KJV)
However, Joseph Smith had different ideas. He maintained that mankind had always existed eternally, in one form or another. And in an attempt to give credence to his unbiblical stance he maintained that the Hebrew word “bara”, which is translated “create” in the Genesis account, only meant “to re-arrange already existing matter.”
W. E. Vine, who is highly respected in academic circles, received a BA with honours in Ancient Classics followed by his MA, from the University of London, in 1906. And this is his definition of the Hebrew word “bara:”
“Bara OT:1254, “to create, make.” This verb is of profound theological significance, since it has only God as its subject. Only God can “create” in the sense implied by bara. The verb expresses creation out of nothing, an idea seen clearly in passages having to do with creation on a cosmic scale …” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
Then too, etymology is the science of, or the investigation into the derivation and original significance of words. Chambers’s Etymological Dictionary (whose editors know what they are talking about and have no hidden agenda), lists the word create as meaning “to bring into being or form out of nothing …”
No scholar of repute agrees with any of Joseph Smith’s ideas about the meanings of biblical terms.
The LDS uses Ecclesiastes 12:7 to vindicate their doctrine of pre-existence. Their argument is that it wouldn’t be possible to return to God after death unless we’d lived with Him before we were born. But Ecclesiastes doesn’t say that the spirit lived with God before birth and then returns to Him after death. He says that the spirit will return to God who gave it. God created our bodies and then gave or formed a spirit within us (Genesis 2:7). How could He have given us a spirit, as Ecclesiastes says He did, if we were already spirit beings, as the LDS insists that we were?
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7, KJV).
Mormons also use 1 Peter 1:20-21 out of context, as a proof text. We will examine this passage carefully from verse 18, in order to gain a correct understanding:
1 Peter 1:18-25
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (KJV)
The subject matter here is redemption, not pre-existence. God, who is omniscient, foreknew that the race of mankind that He would create, would fall. And Verse 20 merely states that Christ was foreordained to be the sacrificial lamb before the foundation of the world. Nothing is said about mankind having had a prior existence. (Unlike mankind, Christ was not a created being. He existed from the very beginning, c/f John 1:1.)
The LDS also presents other scriptures including the book of Job, as so-called proof of pre-existence. Unfortunately there isn’t space enough here to discuss them all. But I have been through them carefully. And the reality is that the Bible does not teach pre-existence. Mormon teachings had their origin in the mind of Joseph Smith, not the Bible. Since his earliest days he had been involved in both the occult and spiritism. And over time he built up his own personal ideas on religion and spiritual matters. He was a heretic. And in order to practice his own beliefs, he had no option but to start up his own church, the LDS.
The following words of Christ clearly invalidate the LDS’s doctrine of mankind’s pre-existence:
“And he [Jesus] said unto them, Ye are from
beneath [the earth]; I am from above [heaven]: ye are of
this world; I am not of this world.” (John 8:23,
“[Jesus prayed] O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:25, KJV)
Like any other book, the Bible needs to be read sensibly. And if we bear in mind the normal rules of interpretation, i.e. making allowance for the context, the historical background, terms of speech used in that particular culture, and so on, we will discover that there is only one correct meaning that can be applied to each and every passage. But Mormons are taught that the Bible has been corrupted and that they should use Joseph Smith’s teachings as their standard of truth. So they subconsciously read the Bible with a jaundiced eye, and determine its accuracy or otherwise by comparing it with their own teachings. The end result is that they fit what the Bible says in with their own exclusive doctrines.
But if we read the Bible in this manner we can make it say anything we want it to. And this will make it well high impossible for us to understand its true message.
A link to an article on eternal progression is provided below. It has a bearing on pre-existence. After that is another link to a short, very easy to read article on Understanding Hebrew Terms of Speech. Once you have read this, you will find it a simple matter to recognize the error in Mormon doctrines.
This site is dedicated to helping Mormons understand the Bible.
Copyright © 2013 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.