Why I Am Not A Mormon


see:  Mormonism/The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS)

An outline by: Shane Rosenthal

1. Theological Objections to Mormonism

A. The following quotes are from Brigham Young:

There is not a man or woman who violates covenants made with their God that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. Your own blood must atone for it…Every man and women will have to atone for breaking covenants.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 247).

Will the water of Baptism wash their sins away? No; but keeping the commandments of God will cleanse away the stain of sin.”( Ibid, p. 157)

“Some of our old traditions teach us that a man guilty of atrocious and murderous acts may savingly repent when on the scaffold and upon his execution will hear the expression: ‘Bless God, he has gone to heaven to be crowned in glory through all the redeeming merits of Christ the Lord!’ This is nonsense. Such a character will never see heaven.”(Ibid, p. 159)

Compare the above quotes with the Biblical data:

Hebrews 9:28 — Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people…

Hebrews 10:10 — We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 9:12 — He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

Romans 4:3-8 — Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work, but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is counted as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.’

Romans 5:18-19 — Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

B. The following are selections from The Book of Mormon and selected Church Documents:

“(2)We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. (3)We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” (The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

“…for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do…And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye will in nowise be cast out. And inasmuch as it shall be expedient, ye must keep the performances and ordinances of God until the law shall be fulfilled which was given unto Moses.” (2Nephi 25:23 & 29-30)

“And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true; and we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength.” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:30-31)

Compare with the Biblical data:

Ephesians 2:8-10 — For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God–not of works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Galatians 2:16 & 21 — So we too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified…I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Galatians 3:3 — Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

Romans 5:12-19 — (12) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all sinned–(13) for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. (15) But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! (16) Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgement followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. (17) For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. (18) Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. (19) For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

C. The attributes of God in The Book of Mormon:

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones but is a personage of spirit…” (D&C 130:22)

“A time to come in which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.” (D&C 121:28)

“For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.” (D&C 132:17)

“…they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things…Then shall they be gods, because they have no end…Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. D&C 132:19 & 20)

“Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No. Now Zeezrom said unto him again: How knowest thou these things? And he said: An angel hath made them known unto me.” (Alma 11:28-32)

Compare with Biblical presentation of God:

Isaiah 43:10 — I am He! Before me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after me.

Isaiah 44:6 & 8 — I am the First and I am the Last; Besides me there is no God…You are my witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.

Isaiah 45:5 & 6 — I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no other God besides me…I am the Lord and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:18, 21 & 22 — I am the Lord, and there is no other…There is no other God besides me, a just God and a savior; there is none besides me. Look to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other.

Isaiah 46:9 — For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

John 4:24 — God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 14:9 — He who has seen me [Christ] has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’

Col 1:15 — [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God.

D. Miscellaneous texts relevant for this discussion:

Matthew 24:23-27 — If anyone says to you, ‘Look here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There is he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Hebrews 1:1 — In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

Galatians1:6-9 — I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Galatians 2:16 & 21 — So we too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified…I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

2. Historical Objections to Mornonism

A. Secular historians say there is no such language as Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

B. Plagiarism: The book of Mormon was said to have been written 1200 hundred years before the King James version of the Bible, yet portions of the King James version of the Bible are present in the many of the books in the book of Mormon. Compare 1Cor 12:1-11 with Moroni ch. 10, Is. 4 with 2Nephi 14, and Is. 2 with 2Nephi 12 (use a King James Bible to compare). And a very obvious plagiarism is found in 3Nephi 11:27&36. These two verses are a direct paraphrase of 1John 5:7 and its context (coupled with statements by Jesus Christ and John the Baptist (in perfect King James English, and in the order placed by the King James translators). This is odd because 1Jn 5:7 is an interpolation, and is not found in any of the Greek manuscripts. It was an addition made by the translators (almost like a margin note) which eventually made it into the King James Bible as a genuine text. But it is nevertheless used by the Book of Mormon as though it were “inspired.” Also, in 1Nephi 10:11 the term “Holy Ghost” is used. In reality, it is Elizabethan English and was in 600 B.C. (at the time Nephi was said to have been written). Refer to Book of Mormon vs. the King James Bible handout for more examples of this type.

C. 99.99% of all archaeologists and anthropologists believe that the New World Indians migrated from the Orient to North America. This is evidenced by the similarities (both cultural and physical) between Orientals, Eskimos and American Indians.

D. There are no mentions of the Jaredites, Nephites or Lamanites in secular history prior to the Book of Mormon.

E. One of the most distinguished Mesoamerican archaeologists, Michael Coe, has observed, “It would be difficult to find a trained archaeologist who is not a Mormon who believes that the Mesoamerican Indians are descendants of the Israelites who came to the New World in the three migrations detailed in the Book of Mormon.” “Indeed,” according to Coe, “quite a few Mormon archaeologists have also abandoned these beliefs.”

F. As a result of a refined knowledge of the ancient Mesoamerican calendars, archaeologists can now determine with considerable certainty when each successive culture made its appearance on the Mesoamerican stage. We can also trace the religious development of religious beliefs as they passed from one culture to another. With this knowledge, it should be relatively simple to spot the arrival of the Israelites. Yet there is no sign of them anywhere.

G. The pantheon of gods in all of these Mesoamerican cultures is bewilderingly crowded–especially in the case of the Aztecs and Maya. This would certainly be a strange heritage from an ancient people renowned for having introduced monotheism to the civilized world…the consistent polytheism of the Mesoamerican culture hardly suggests the influence of the austere Hebrew God.

H. An over-arching theme in Mesoamerican religions is the cosmic principal of dualism: the unity of opposites. Hot and cold, fire and water, life and death, light and dark–these opposing concepts intrigued the Aztec mind much as the concept of Yin and Yang has permeated Oriental thinking.

I. There was a 10th century man named Topiltzin, ruler of the Toltecs who supposedly had fair skin and a beard. He has become confused in indian history with the beneficent ancient god Quetzalcoatl, with whom Topiltzin identified his reign. After losing a civil war, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, as he became known, left his capital at Tula and migrated with his followers of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan in 987 a.d. The Aztecs, coming onto the scene a few centuries later, idolized the Toltecs and worshipped Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl as a god. A legend tells how he would return some day in a boat from the east. When Cortes appeared with his pale skin and beard, he was taken for the returning god and was welcomed by the Aztec leader, Motecuhzoma. It is this Toltec king, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, who has emerged as Jesus in some Mormon literature. It is even interesting to note, that Jesus probably doesn’t even match the description of being “fair skinned,” for he was Semitic, and was probably as dark skinned as a modern Iranian.

J. The so-called cross at the temple of Palenque, where Jesus supposedly preached to the multitude, is actually a representation of one of the four “world trees,” a central element of Aztec religion. Each of the four cardinal directions is represented by a tree; another tree stands in the center. The “world tree” concept was widespread in the mythology of North America, of Mesoamerica, of the northern part of South America, and even of cultures on the other side of the Pacific. To the uninitiated, a “world tree” might appear to be a cross. When Cortes landed on the island of Cozumel, off the east coast of Yucatan, he saw “crosses” set up by the Indians, which were undoubtedly “world trees.” The Spaniards, mightily impressed by these “crosses,” decided that St. Thomas the Apostle had paid a visit to the New World. The Mormons took it a step further, and argued that Jesus Christ himself visited the New World.

K. A rough estimation of the weight of the gold plates which Joseph Smith is said to have translated, based on the dimensions recorded of them, would be somewhere between 400-700 pounds, yet Mr. Smith is said to have “carried them around” with him, showing them to his friends.

3. Epistemological Objections to Mormonism

A. Subjective/Objective truth. Mormons typically tell you that you can know this religion is true by a “burning of the bosom” (i.e., religious experience). Whereas Christianity makes objective, rather than subjective claims.

1) “I’ve experienced it” – so has every other person under every other religious system. SUBJECTIVE

2) The question then is not, whether you have had an experience, but whether the object of your faith is in fact a reality (1Cor 15). OBJECTIVE

B. Is it internally consistent? The Koran might be internally consistent, but does that make it true? (it may have started with a false premise). But if something is not internally consistent, then it can be shown to be false.

C. Crossing the Street. This is the most common form of testing truth claims. It is used in the judicial system, it is used in the scientific method, and it is used by the common person crossing the street. What happens when you cross the street? You look both ways (gathering evidence), determine whether or not it is safe to cross (evaluting the evidence), determine to cross or not to cross (making an educated, or an informed guess – for you can never be 100% certain, for people die crossing the street everyday; a parked car which you did not expect could dart out and hit you, or a plane could crash on you – you never know. But the point is you let the evidence bridge the gap from the known to the unknown, and you decided to cross the street because “beyond reasonable doubt,” the street looked clear. Thus, you just made a leap of faith. Everybody does it. We all exert faith. We have faith that our car will start in the morning when we are setting our alarms at night, and we have faith that our chair will not break when we sit in it. The thing we must remember is that none of us uses “blind faith” on a day to day basis. That is, no one will cross the street without looking, hoping that “everything will just work out.” So why do we exert blind faith in religous matters? “Because religion is untestable,” you might say. Well, that is true, you cannot do a scientific experiment which affirms monotheism, yet denies polytheism. And God cannot be seen by looking through a telescope. However, this is a problem for all religious bodies except for one; Christianity. For this religion is rooted in history. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then it proves his assertion that he was God. And if he was God, then there is a God. The point that is trying to be made here is that Christianity, unlike other world religions is based on objective historical evidence, not on subjective experiences or opinions. Now, whether or not the historical evidence is reliable or not would take too long to explain here, and much has been written on the subject that would be much more comprehensive than this writer is able to present. However, the point is that Christianity, is falsifiable, that is, if its foundation is untrue, or fictional, then it can be proven wrong, for the New Testament itself records the following, ” If Christ is not risen, then your faith is in vain” (1Cor 15:17). Thus, if it could be shown that this historical event did not take place, then Churches should be shut down; this is after all what the Bible teaches. So, look across the street. Determine for yourself whether or not your own religion is safe, reasonable and trustworthy. And also consider historic Christianity. Look across its streets and see if it be trustworthy. What’s the harm in trying, you (not unlike the chicken) just might end up on the other side of the road. Just let the evidence tell you where to go.

Conclusions:

1. Theological

A. Mormonism denies salvation by Grace (unmerited favor).

B. Mormonism is not Monotheistic

2. Historical

A. Secular archaeologists don’t hold to the Mormon claims.

B. I would like to be shown one archaeologist who is not a Mormon who does hold to the Mormon views of American history.

C. The Book of Mormon is shown to have a lot of similarities to the “King James” edition of the Bible, yet was supposedly written 1,400 years earlier.

3. Epistemological

A. Being “pricked in the heart” is real, but is never used in the Bible to determine religious truth. It is a result of the truth, but it is never used as the basis of truth. See examples below:

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” 1Pet 3:15

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” 2Pet 1:16-18

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living…” 1Cor 15:3-6

“And if Christ is not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins…If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” 1Cor 15:14-20

B. If you determine truth by an inward subjective feeling, why then should I be more interested in Mormon claim than the Christian Scientist’s, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’, or the Buddist’s? All offer the same thing (religious experience, and fulfillment)?

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