T H E E N D - T I M E S T I M E S November 18th, 1998
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David M. Williams
SIX REASONS WHY MORMONISM CAN'T BE TRUE CHRISTIANITY
by Ralph F. Wilson
Winsome TV ads invite people to learn the teachings of
Christ from the Mormons, who call themselves the Church of
Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. But is Mormonism
Examine with me the following six ways Mormonism has
perverted true Christian teaching, and see for yourself if
Mormonism is really Christian. You'll observe that I have
quoted original Mormon sources--the early authoritative
prophets of the church--so you can understand the
foundational principles of Mormonism as stated by Mormons.
I ask myself: Why the emphasis on the physical? Why the
preoccupation with sex? Consider the following six beliefs
which are directly contrary to what the Bible teaches:
1. GOD HAS A PHYSICAL BODY.
While the Bible indicates that God is Spirit and is
invisible, Mormons contend that "The Father has a body of
flesh and bone as tangible as man's." Early Mormon James
Talmage states, "To deny the materiality of God's person is
to deny God." In fact, Mormon prophet Brigham Young said
that Adam is our God. To make God a physical human
complicates the concept of Deity with sex.
 There are other Mormon distortions of Christianity,
including baptism by proxy, "deacons" who are children,
"elders" who are teenagers, a denial of the Trinity, a
teaching that Satan was the physical brother of Jesus,
salvation by works, other distortions of Jesus and His work,
and the fiction that Jesus physically appeared to a group of
Indians on the North American continent. We have chosen not
to deal with them here.
You may be surprised that I quote the Book of Mormon
against Mormon doctrine. In fact, the Book of Mormon does
not support any of the distinctive Mormon doctrines about
God. Mormonism changed dramatically from 1830 when the Book
of Mormon was published to 1844 when Joseph Smith died.
 "God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in
spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).
 "No one has ever seen God, but the only begotten Son
who is at the Father's side, has made him known" (John 1:18;
see also John 6:46; 1 John 4:12) "Since the creation of the
world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and
divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from
what has been made ...." (Romans 1:20) "Now to the King
eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and
glory for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Timothy 1:17). See also 1
Timothy 6:16; Hebrews 11:27.
 The quotation continues, "... the Son also, but the
Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones but is a
personage of spirit ..." (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec.
 James E. Talmage in The Articles of Faith, p. 48.
 He said, "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. He helped to make and
organize the world... He is our Father and our God, and the
only God with whom we have to do" (Brigham Young in The
Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 50, April 9, 1852). This
doctrine is also found in a sermon by Brigham Young,
delivered June 8, 1873, and recorded in the Deseret News,
June 18, 1873, p. 308.
2. GOD IN HIS PHYSICAL BODY HAD SEX WITH THE VIRGIN MARY TO
Brigham Young declared, "He [Christ] was not begotten by
the Holy Ghost ... Jesus our elder brother was begotten in
the flesh by the same character who was in the Garden of
Eden, who is our father in heaven." The Bible clearly
states that Mary was a virgin, and that Jesus was conceived
supernaturally by the Holy Spirit, not through sexual
intercourse. Even the Book of Mormon affirms this.
 Journal of Discourses 1:51, April 9, 1852 and 4:218.
Here is this Adam-God teaching again.
 Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18-20.
 Alma 7:10.
3. GOD THE FATHER WAS ONCE JUST A MAN HIMSELF WHO EVOLVED
AND PROGRESSED INTO A GOD.
Lorenzo Snow, former President of the Mormon Church,
stated this flagrant heresy in memorable form, still quoted
by Mormons: "As man is, God once was, as God is, man may
become." Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, in a sermon
given two months before his death, said, "...He was once a
man like us, yea, that God Himself, the Father of us all,
dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ did."
Now consider the implications of this: God Himself must
have had a father. Smith asked provocatively: "If Jesus had
a Father, can we not believe that He had a father also?"
This meant that God must have changed and evolved. Orson
Hyde, early Mormon leader, wrote, "Remember that God our
Heavenly Father was perhaps once a child and mortal like we
are, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the
school of advancement: has moved forward and overcome until
He has arrived at the point where He now is." The
Bible and, interestingly enough, even the Book of
Mormon, strongly deny this. By no stretch of the
imagination is this what true Christianity teaches.
 Millennial Star, vol. 54. Mormon writer Milton R.
Hunter summarizes this: "Mormon prophets have continuously
taught the sublime truth that God the eternal father was
once a mortal man who passed through the school of earthlife
similar to that through which we are now passing. He became
God--an exalted being, through obedience to the same eternal
gospel truth that we are given opportunity today to obey."
(In The Gospel Through the Ages, chapter 16, pp. 104f)
 Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints (second edition; Salt Lake City:
Deseret Book Co., 1959) 6:305, April 7, 1844.
 Smith continues, "I despise the idea of being cared
to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it."
(Joseph Smith, History, 6:473-476, June 16, 1844). Mormon
author Duane Crowther explains it so we make no mistake.
"Joseph Smith explained that the Eternal Father of this
earth passed through a mortal probation on another earth
just as Jesus Christ did here" (Duane S. Crowther, Life
Everlasting [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967], p. 365).
 Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 1:123. According
to modern teaching, even God the Father's godhood depends
upon its recognition by others. Witness the writing of
Brigham Young University Professor W. Cleon Skousen: "...The
universe is filled with vast numbers of intelligences....
Elohim is God simply because all of these intelligences
honor and sustain Him as such.... The Father is actually
dependent upon their sustaining influence or honor to
accomplish His purposes. God's `power' is derived from the
honor and support of the intelligences over whom He
rules.... The present exalted position of our Heavenly
Father was gradually built up. His glory and power is
something which He slowly acquired." (W. Cleon Skousen, The
First 2,000 Years [Bookcraft Publishers, 1976, p. 335]).
 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming
down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not
change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). "Jesus Christ
is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8)
"I the Lord do not change ..." (Malachi 3:6) "... From
everlasting to everlasting you are God" (Psalm 90:2).
 The Book of Mormon teaches: "For do we not read
that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in
him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And
now if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth
vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye
imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of
miracles" (Mormon 9:9-10) "For I know that God is not a
partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is
unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity" (Moroni
4. THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT GODS.
Does this sound like Christianity? It is basic to
Mormonism. Joseph Smith taught, "In the beginning the head
of the Gods called a council of the Gods and they came
together and concocted a plan to create the world and people
it." Apostle Orson Pratt wrote, "In heaven where our
spirits were born, there are many gods, each of whom has his
own wife or wives which were given to him previous to his
redemption while yet in his mortal state." The Bible
consistently teaches only one unique God. So does the
Book of Mormon.
 Joseph Smith, The Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6.
 Orson Pratt in The Seer, Vol. 1, p. 37.
 See, for example: Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Kings 8:60;
John 17:3; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19.
 2 Nephi 31:21b;26:12; 11:7; Mosiah 15:2-5; 16:15;
Alma 11: 26-29; 38-39; 3 Nephi 11:27b, 36. As you can see,
the Book of Mormon also teaches the doctrine of the Trinity
(2 Nephi 31:21b; 3 Nephi 11:27b).
5. IF MORMON MALES ARE GOOD ENOUGH IN THIS LIFE THEY CAN
BECOME GODS THEMSELVES, AND POPULATE NEW WORLDS WITH
THEIR OWN OFFSPRING.
Mormons believe, as part of their core teaching, that,
just as God the Father and Jesus are to this world, they can
become like God and Jesus to the worlds they create.
Brigham Young taught, "In the resurrection, men who have
been faithful and diligent in all things in the flesh ...
and [are] worthy to be crowned Gods, even the sons of God,
will be ordained to organize matter," that is, to be
creators in their own right. Rather than just being able to
produce physical children, now they can produce spirit
Orson Pratt wrote, "Who will be the subjects in the
kingdom which they will rule...? Their own children, their
own posterity will be the citizens of their kingdoms; in
other words, the patriarchal order will prevail there to the
endless ages of eternity, and the children of each patriarch
will be his while eternal ages roll on."
Mormons ignore Jesus' teaching concerning marriage in
heaven: "At the resurrection people will neither marry nor
be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in
 Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 15:137,
August 24, 1872.
 Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 15:319, January
19, 1873. Modern Mormon theologian Duane Crowther explains,
"Gods rule over their own progeny, and there is no
exaltation without the ability to bring forth spirit
children.... Those who gain the celestial kingdom but do not
fulfill these obligations are limited to the role of
servants, ministering to their exalted brethren." (in Life
Everlasting, p. 341)
 Matthew 22:30.
6. IN SPITE OF THE BOOK OF MORMON'S PROHIBITION, JOSEPH
SMITH DECLARED PLURAL WIVES TO BE GOD'S PLAN.
Strangely, the Book of Mormon condemns polygamy: "This
people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the
scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing
whoredoms .... Behold, David and Solomon truly had many
wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me,
saith the Lord." The New Testament forbade multiple
But on July 12, 1843, Joseph Smith claimed to receive a
new revelation that men were to have many wives and
concubines, and declared it "a new and everlasting
covenant." Those who rejected it were to be damned. It
appears that his first wife opposed the new wives her
husband was bringing into his home. So he received a
revelation specifically for her: "And let mine handmaid,
Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given to my
servant Joseph ... But if she will not abide this
commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord." It
must have been hard to have a husband who lusted after other
women, and claimed to be God's spokesman.
Mormon leaders developed large families: Brigham Young
had 17 wives and 56 children, and Young's adopted son,
John D. Lee, had 19 wives and 64 children. Mormons also
claim Jesus had two wives, Mary and Martha, and had children
by them. Of course the Bible says no such thing.
The Mormons traveled to Utah to avoid U.S. law which
forbade polygamy, but gradually, enforced by the presence of
federal troops, a federal governor was appointed and
polygamy was declared to be a criminal offense in 1871.
In 1890, Mormon President Wilfrid Woodruff officially
abolished polygamy as the practice of the Mormon Church, no
matter what Joseph Smith had said about this being an
"eternal covenant." As late as 1906 his successor, President
James Fielding Smith, was convicted of practicing
These are the founders. These are the prophets of the
Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Now you
tell me. Is Mormonism true Christianity?
 Jacob 2:22-23. This was directly contradicted by
Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants, 132:38. See also
 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6.
 Doctrine and Covenants 132:1, 4, recorded July 12,
 Doctrine and Covenants 132:51-56.
 Encyclopedia Britannica (1893 edition), article on
"Mormons," p. 827.
 "Who Is This Man ...?" by Thelma Geer, privately
 Encyclopedia Britannica (1893), p. 827.
 Reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, November 24,
1906, p. 1.
# # #
Dr. Ralph F. Wilson is founding pastor of Church of the
Live Oaks, Rocklin California, USA. His articles and stories
have appeared in dozens of Christian periodicals, including
Decision, Moody Monthly, Sunday Digest, Charisma, Christian
Century, and Leadership.
I appreciate the mail I have received from you all.
Unfortunately I am not always able to respond personally to every
item, but I do try. Here is an (edited) collection of items
that I received this week. Please include these people
in your prayers.
Marsha wrote, to ask if there was a relationship between the
Laodicean Church in Revelation, and backsliders. She related
how she had felt drawn to read a lot about Bible prophecy in
the last few weeks, feeling the time is near. However, many
Bible prophecy sites left her feeling very insecure, with
teachings that backsliders have lost their salvation. This is
a concern to her, because she had been backslidden for a
number of years. However, God has restored her over the last
In response, I'd like to express praise to the Lord that
Marsha has returned to Him.
Turning to the issue that concerns her, I would point out
that the Church in Laodicea does not relate to backsliders,
at least, in the sense she may believe.
The Church in Laodicea certainly does describe a Lukewarm
Church. However, this has some differences; particularly,
in that an entire Church is referred to, which has become
complacent over time.
I believe the real issue here is that many people believe
the Churches in Revelation to refer to periods of the Church
itself, over time. They see a progression throughout history,
and almost invariably, things work out such that we, today,
are in the last period of time before Jesus' return. People
who hold to this view are undecided as to whether we are
a victorious Philadelphian, missionary, Church, or whether we
are a backsliding, lukewarm Laodicean Church. Those who
have the first view, usually believe the Laodicean Church
to refer to those left behind after the rapture.
However, I do not believe these scenarios to be true.
I do not believe that God has described the history of the Church
in such a curious and obtuse manner. Further, there is no
consistent or reliable means to interpret the Churches in such
a scheme - almost invariably whenever this is done, the last
Church works out to be at the time of the writer! Yonggi Cho,
for example, holds to the Laodecian Church reflecting the Church
from 1905 until the Tribulation.
It seems to me, though, the most reasonable view is the
Characteristic Interpretation where the letters, while still
written to physical Churches in John's day, present a picture
of the continuous conditions of the Church throughout history -
that is, at any given time there will be an "Ephesian" Church,
a "Laodicean" Church and so on.
So, this is the reason why I would presume such sites are
correlating the Laodicean Church with backsliders -- and why
they may suggest that backsliders have no further options.
However, the Bible teaches that God is gracious, and that
whosoever will believe, it is they who shall be saved.
Backsliding can be a complex issue -- if a person turns away,
were they really "with us" in the beginning (John 6)? Yet,
similarly, John teaches that we have an advocate before the
Father, when we do sin ... for He knows we will.
Ultimately, God wishes for all to come to repentance.
To backslide and return is not to crucify Christ afresh, but
to re-enact the story of the Prodigal Son, where God has His
arms out wide, waiting for the return of His child.
The greatest telling sign is that God Himself has convicted
and restored; and that the former backslider knows they are
away from God and must return. All these things show the
hand and presence of the Lord, and the working of the Holy
This said, of course, it is better not to backslide in the
first instance! Imagine dying in a state of separation from
God! Or even living outside of His protection and influence
- even the Psalmist said in Psalm 84:10 he would rather be
a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord for a day, than live
a thousand years away.
Friends, let's get on with the work of the Lord ! Don't
look back to the past, and to defeat. Press on to the
goal the Lord has (Philippians 3:14) and overcome in the name
of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (I John 5:5).
Dear friends, you will recall the last issue of the End-Times
Times, where I wrote about my missions trip to Belarus in
September. God is at work in this country, and I plan to return
The Lord has very much laid some areas for support upon my
heart, and these are the projects I am working towards.
In particular, I would like to take funds with me for the
purposes of buying food and clothing, for buying village
Churches (just $US 3000 can buy land, and provide for a Church
to be built!), and to support several Bible College students
(the fees at the Minsk Theological Institute, where I taught
on the Kingdom of God, are 400,000 rubles per month -- which
equates to about $US 4.00).
Won't you ask the Lord about being involved in His work in
this country? Please do contract me should you be interested
I plan to upload scans of my photographs to my Web site soon.
T H E E N D - T I M E S T I M E S November 18th, 1998