Mormonism  Mormon Temple in Salt lake City

Mormons are often stereotyped as incredibly polite, nice and well-dressed people; very devout and sincere when they present their faith. In this booklet we will be discussing the beliefs and history of Mormonism, what they believe and why, and how to reach them with the real love of Christ.
The primary church in Mormonism is 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints', often shortened to 'The LDS Church'. Mormonism was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith and has undergone much horrendous persecution and ridicule for their belief, and like Jehovah's Witnesses they use much of the same language and narratives as authentic Christianity but with radically different emphasis’ and conclusions.
 

Is Mormonism a cult?

 
The word cult is very inflammatory and in discussion is a hindrance. In its place the term 'New Religious Movement' is being used. That being said the common definition of a cult is 'a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.' This is certainly an accurate description of Mormonism.
 

The story of the origins of Mormonism and its books.

 
The story of the beginning of Mormonism is immensely important to Mormonism and is treated like a modern biblical narrative. They believe that a 14 year old boy, Joseph Smith, living in New York, received a vision directly of God and Jesus.
 
Joseph Smith continued to have these visions and was told that none of the earth’s religions had 'the fullness of the truth'. Later in 1823 at the age of 18 he was instructed by an angel named Moroni to go to a certain location, Smith found at that location a buried stone box. However he was forbidden to open it. Then in 1827, Smith returned home with contents of the box. It contained several golden plates with script on both sides and along with the plates was a pair of large spectacles which allowed Joseph to read the plates. However he was forbidden to show the plates to anyone else until they had been successfully translated from the original "reformed Egyptian Hieroglypics".
 
Smith worked on translating the plates into English over the next few years Smith published his translation in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. However he was instructed by the angel Moroni to return the plates to him and because of this the plates are said to be no longer available.
 
The Book of Mormon is seen as scripture and its modern front cover reads 'The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ' and according, to the Mormon Church, provides the fullness of truth for seekers.
 
The Mormon scriptures are as follows...
 
The Bible: Old and New Testaments in the King James Version. However Smith did begin translating his own bible JST (Joseph Smith Translation) but died before finishing it. His translations and notes feature heavily in the appendixes and footnotes of a Mormon's King James Bible.
 
Book of Mormon: The English translation of the golden plates and having the same layout as the Bible. This includes the history of the Nephites which will be discussed later.
 
Doctrine and Covenants: This is the written revelations and visions given to Joseph Smith in a style similar to that of an Old Testament book and with 138 chapters.
 
Pearl of Great Price: This includes the story of Joseph Smith and how he discovered the Book of Mormon. It also includes two new books that Smith translated from material he discovered, they being the books of Abraham and the book of Moses.
 

Some information and discrepancies

 
The history of this imaginative story provides many insights and questions surrounding it.
 

Background

 
Joseph Smith placed great spiritual significance in several discoveries. Most importantly discoveries were primarily the golden plates, spectacles and some Egyptian manuscripts. These manuscripts were supposedly translated into some additional books of the bible for Mormons. Unlike the golden plates there are some surviving fragments of the Egyptian manuscripts.
 
Joseph's father claimed to receive heavenly visions as did his grandfather, Joseph Smith come from a family that perceived themselves as seers and prophets. It was not unsurprising then that Joseph would adopt the persona of a prophet.
 
Although a Mormon will emphatically state they worship Jesus not Joseph Smith, the whole credibility of the Mormon faith comes from one man alone, Joseph Smith.
 
The Bible has credible historical support from numerous authors from throughout history. However the Mormon scriptures are dictated entirely from Joseph Smith alone. He alone held the key to understanding the gold plates. Smith is central to the Mormon faith, yet his story of the plates along with his own character leads to many more questions.


Smith’s characteridealised Joe

 
Due to his proximity to modern history we have many sources not controlled by the LDS church regarding Joseph Smith and these sources paint a vastly different picture from that of the honest prophet portrayed in Mormon literature.
 

"It is well known that Jo Smith never pretended to have any communion with angels, until a long period after the pretended finding of his book, and that the juggling of himself or father, went no further than the pretended faculty of seeing wonders in a "peep stone," and the occasional interview with the spirit, supposed to have the custody of hidden treasures."
 
                                             Palmyra Reflector, Feb. 18, 1831

 
The above quote is an extract from a local newspaper discussing Smith's reputation in 1831, however there are other similar statements concerning his character.
 
Another quote is from the Rev. John Sherer who spoke of Smith in a letter dated November 18th, 1830 which was only 8 months after The Book of Mormon was first published.
 

... Joseph Smith. This man has been known, in these parts, for some time, as a kind of Juggler, (a juggler is an old fashioned term for a con man) who has pretended, through a glass, to see money underground…
                                     (Early Mormon Documents 4 pp. 92-93)

 
Further to this Smith’s reputation with women was notorious. For example, the wife of an early Mormon leader rebuffed an advance from Smith. The following quote is taken from an interview of Sarah Platt and corroborated by Bennet an ex-Mormon,
 
(Smith Speaking) 'Sister Pratt, the Lord has given you to me as one of my spiritual wives. I have the blessings of Jacob granted me, as he granted holy men of old, and I have long looked upon you with favour, and hope you will not repulse or deny me",
 
Sarah Pratt replied: "Am I called upon to break the marriage covenant … to my lawful husband! I never will. I care not for the blessings of Jacob, and I believe in NO SUCH revelations, neither will I consent under any circumstances. I have one good husband, and that is enough for me."

 
Smith latter claimed to have received revelations regarding polygamous marriage (being married to more than one person). Smith had 44 wives and of those wives 11 were currently married at the time they married Smith, with the two youngest wives being only 14.
 
The above sources along with many others that are available show that Smith, the hinge by which Mormonism departed from biblical faith, had a questionable character, a con-man who used spiritualism for his own monetary gain and sexual deviant.
 
  

A Mormon history lesson

 
The Book of Mormon tells the story of the Nephites yet the Nephites appear nowhere in history and no evidence has ever been found of their existence before Smiths discovery of the elusive Golden plates. Nevertheless the story of the Nephi and his family is central to the Mormon story; keep in mind the fact that the contents of the following story are completely separate from any real history.
 

Nephites

Mormons believe that in around 600 BC a prophet called Lehi was called to leave Jerusalem. Lehi, his close friends and family including his six sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, Nephi, Jacob and Joseph all left and travelled South to the Arabian peninsula, thought to be somewhere in modern day Oman or Yemen. There they built a boat and over 11 years travelled to America where their sons established two Israelite tribes in the Americas. The Nephi are said to have founded the tribe of Nephites, regarded as righteous in the narrative.
 
Laman and Lemuel founded the tribe of Lamanites, regarded as wicked in contrast to the Nephites and Native Americans were regarded as descendants of the Lamanites by Mormons.
 

'And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity... as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”                              2 Nephi 5:21

 
Until recently the LDS church taught that dark skin was a curse from God (Alma 17:14, Alma 3:6-7, 2 Nephi 5:23).
 
There are other American tribes (Jaredites and Mulekites) that supposedly travelled from the Middle East but they are largely irrelevant to the narrative.
 
Before he died the prophet Lehi began keeping records of their history on brass plates as well as leaving behind a prophecy regarding the name 'Joseph'. The following quote is taken from the Book of Mormon Study Guide.
 

‘The prophecy of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, quoted by Lehi to his son Joseph is not found in the Bible we have today. It was restored, however, to the Prophet Joseph Smith and is found in the Joseph Smith Translation as Genesis 50:24–38. Lehi found it on the brass plates that his sons obtained from Laban in Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 3:3, 19–20; 5:10–16; 2 Nephi 4:1–2)…The ancient prophecy of Joseph referred to a latter-day Joseph who would be a great prophet and a blessing both to Lehi’s descendants and to the whole house of Israel. The prophecy said that this latter-day Joseph would also have a father named Joseph. This latter-day prophet is the Prophet Joseph Smith. Thus, there are four different Josephs spoken of in 2 Nephi 3: Joseph of Egypt; Lehi’s son Joseph; the Prophet Joseph Smith; and Joseph Smith Sr., who was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s father.'
                    Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 38

 
The Book of Mormon details the lives and epochs of the Nephites and Lamanites for hundreds of years as a parallel to the Old Testament accounts. This includes a visit from the resurrected Jesus in the first century as stated on mormon.org.
'The Book of Mormon tells of the resurrected Jesus Christ and His visit to His faithful followers in ancient America. After His visits to His disciples in the Old World, He descended out of heaven and appeared to His followers in ancient America.
 
The Book of Mormon describes how, during His visit, Jesus Christ healed their sick, taught them His gospel, blessed their children, and called twelve disciples to organize His Church in the Americas (3 Nephi 11:18; 3 Nephi 12:1-2).'
 Jesus in America
Depiction of Jesus in the Americas are frequent in mormon media

In 385AD a colossal battle between the Nephites and Lamanites took place; the Nephites had turned from righteousness and so they were destroyed. In the last stand their army of 230,000 troops was reduced to twenty-four individual Nephites including the commander Mormon and his son Moroni.
The commander Mormon is the author of the Book of Mormon he was the record keeper of the Nephites, he hid all the records of the Nephites and passed his own record on golden plates to his son Moroni. The remaining 24 survivors were hunted down and wiped out except for Moroni. Moroni then wrote several more chapters in the Book of Mormon before receiving a vision of the future and hiding his golden plates in what would become New York.
 
In the 1820's Moroni was supposedly resurrected as an angel and interacted with Joseph Smith. Moroni guided Smith to the plates and the lost story of the American-Israelites, as well as the 'fullness of the truth' and in this way restored the true faith of the Nephites to modern Mormons.
 

Some Problems with the Mormon history

 
The above story is regarded by all non-Mormon scholars as fantasy, full of historical inaccuracies impossibilities and improbabilities.
 

DNA

There is no DNA evidence linking Native-Americans to Israelite people groups, Native American DNA stems from an Asiatic Mongolian people rather than a Semitic people.
 

Problems of language

 
The Book of Mormon which claims to have been written across 800 years from 600BC to circa 400AD however it contains.
 

  • Shakespearean language and influences (circa 1600AD)
  • Parts of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)
  • It also contains modern French words
  • direct quotations from the King James Version (1611)

 

The hypothetical American-Israelites would have had no access to any scripture written after 600BC, which means they simply could not have known of the biblical books from Habakkuk-Revelation and certainly could not have known of the KJV published in 1611.

 

"...Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen."
                                                                          III Nephi 13:9-13

 
Native Americans would also have had no knowledge of the Greek; however many of the characters in the Book of Mormon have Greek names.
 

Archaeology

 

  • There are crops, animals and technologies that are mentioned in the text that do not originate in the Americas and were only introduced with European settlers, e.g. Donkeys, cattle, horses, wheat, silk, steel, iron working plows, swords, scimitars, and chariots.

 

  • The Book of Mormon also claims that the 5th century Hebrews spoke ‘reformed Egyptian’, yet there is no evidence for this whatsoever. The most recognised Hebrew script started to appear around 1000BC in the time of King David.

 

  • Despite apparently huge American-Israelite civilisations consisting of millions of individuals there has been no archaeological evidence for any battles, cities or towns of the Nephite or Lamanite cultures. They simply do not appear anywhere apart from in Smith’s missing plates.

 
Smith claimed he sent a copy of the original text of his plates for validation to Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia University a renowned and respected authority on classical languages and that the professor found them to be authentic. However there is a surviving letter from Professor Charles to a colleague regarding the encounter.
 

‘This paper was in a singular scrawl. It consisted of all kinds of crooked characters disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman Letters inverted or placed sideways, were arranged in a perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calendar given by Humbolt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived. I am thus particular as to the content of the paper; inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject, since the Mormonite excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained anything else but “Egyptian Hieroglyphics”
Taken from Professor Charles Anthon’s letter to Mr. E.D. Howe

 
But what about the supposed surviving Egyptian manuscripts that Smith translated into the book of Abraham? They are, according to Egyptologists, a damaged copy of an older manuscript detailing Egyptian funeral practices and beliefs. In reality they make no reference to Abraham, the depictions are thought to be the egyption gods Anubis and Osiris  
 

 Abraham facimile
The only surviving manuscript that Joseph Smith claimed was a missing biblical book the Book of Abraham. In reality it is a copy of Egyptian funeral practices.
 
In taking a brief look at the evidence we see that the Mormon history of the Nephites offers no more than an imaginative fantasy narrative that people are invited into. The story itself has no basis in real life. Yet it is especially attractive to Americans since it incorporates the American land into a semi-biblical story, which sets America as the promised land specifically Utah.
 

Modern history of the Mormons

 
Smith founded the LDS church in 1830 and it remained in the vicinity of New York until the 'priesthood' could be established before moving to Kirtland Ohio. As the movement rapidly expanded they then established a Mormon 'bank' called the Kirkland Safety Society. This society collapsed causing major financial losses to many individuals in the organisation and a third of the leadership left the LDS church to form a new movement called the Reformed Latter Day Saints. The RLDS took control of the headquarters in Kirkland along with 300 other members. Smith along with his remaining members and leadership then embarked on a migration from Ohio to Missouri.
 
Smith had previously prophesied that The City of Zion would be built in Independence; however after undergoing persecution in Independence they were driven out and not allowed to return. They settled temporarily in Clay County, where Smith and his following then met up with the evicted members of Independence and established new headquarters in a town called Far West.
 
In Far West they again suffered persecution and disagreements among the leadership as to how to respond to this persecution caused a second major split in the Church. The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints adopted a militant attitude towards the persecution whilst some members advocated peace, these became 'The Church of Jesus Christ, The Bride, and The Lamb's Wife'.
 
The Missouri Militia were called to put down the Mormon ‘rebellion’ and many of the leadership including Smith himself were imprisoned as a result. In 1839 the movement re-established itself in Nauvoo, Illinois and after months of harsh treatment Smith and the leadership were released. It was in Nauvoo much of Smith's ideas became fully established including some of his stranger practices.
 
Smith began to practice polygamy more openly and began proposing too many women some of whom were already married to notable Mormons. Some disgruntled ex-Mormons including Smith’s counsellor, William Law, established a newspaper and began printing an expose on Smith, including his teaching on polygamy and polytheism. However after the first issue was printed Smith had the Press destroyed which fuelled anti-Mormon feeling and so Smith began mustering troops against the local militia.
 
Smith’s outnumbered troops surrendered and Smith was arrested shortly after, an anti-Mormon mob then stormed the prison where a short firefight ensued. Smith attempted to defend himself with a small pistol but was killed attempting to jump from the window. What then followed was a short power struggle for leadership.
 
Brigham Young became the new leader of the movement and many of his rivals then took their own following and left the movement causing yet more branches of Mormonism. The chief movement surrounded Smith's son and was called ‘The Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’.
 
Brigham Young led his new movement 'out-west' to establish a new town completely separate from any anti-Mormon persecution. He led the Mormon pioneers to establish Salt Lake City the current headquarters of the LDS a church.
 
 

What do Mormons believe?

 
Joseph Smith completely re-imagined the whole of the biblical narrative and created a unique theology and set of beliefs.
 

Pre-earth life

 
LDS theology teaches that every human being has existed for eternity past with each person having a 'pre-mortal existence' before attaining a body on earth as the 'spirit child' with God the father.
 
God created bodies for the pre mortal Adam and Eve to live in. Contrary to what the bible teaches the fall of man in Eden is regarded as a good thing. According to the Book of Mormon before the fall there were no children and no emotions for Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had to fall in order for eternal progression to continue.

 
"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."                                                              
                                                                           2 Nephi 2:25.
 

From this we see that the fall of Adam and Eve happened so that the rest of God's spirit children could experience physical bodies.
 
The Mormon story of the fall is drastically different to what the bible teaches. In the Mormon story Satan and Jesus are brothers and were brought before God in a heavenly council Satan rebelled against God, and this starts a heavenly war. As a result Satan and all the spirit children that followed him were cast down to earth without bodies, these being evil spirits. However everyone that fought valiantly was rewarded with physical bodies. The purpose of these physical bodies and our existence on earth is to prove yourself worthy of the next stage.
    

Eternal progression

 
This belief is that humanity is on a journey through different stages with each stage getting better and eventually ending with each human becoming the god of their own planet. In their belief system the God of this planet was once just a normal person who worked through the stages whilst worshipping his own heavenly father before attaining godhood.
 

“God and man are of the same race, differing only in their degree of advancement.”
(Mormon Apostle, Dr. John Widtsoe [1872-1952], Gospel Through the Ages,; Milton R. Hunter, page 107)
 
“The [Heavenly] Father is a glorified, perfected resurrected, exalted man who worked out his own salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same.”
(LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, in A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, page 64)
 
“… And you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God the same as all Gods have done before you.”
(Journal of Discourses 6:4; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, page 346).
 

The interesting point about this doctrine of eternal progression which states that man can become a god is that it is not taught until someone has been in Mormonism for some time especially if that person has had a Christian upbringing. This is a topic that they will probably not raise so you may ask them, 'I don't see how you can believe that man can become a god.' If they reply 'that is not something that we believe' then they are probably being genuine and have never been taught it. Next, encourage them to ask their bishop, 'Is it true the LDS church teaches that we can become gods?' Then encourage them to write down and keep the reply of the Mormon bishop. Then when eventually they do get taught this doctrine they will remember the deception of the bishop.
                                                                        

Plan of Salvation

 
In discussion a Mormon will wholeheartedly agree that salvation comes through grace and not by works. However in practice it is very different since they have a different concept of grace: a Mormon definition of grace is 'divine empowerment.' For a Mormon grace is the divine power to work towards salvation. However the true definition of grace, is a completely free gift we do not deserve.
 

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. “                                         
                                                                                                                                                Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV

 
Mormons will say that they believe in the death, deity and resurrection of Jesus, though they do not believe that Jesus is Lord in the sense that he is the same as God or that His death and resurrection are sufficient for salvation.
 
In order to make Jesus' Atonement fully effective in your life, you need to (according to Mormonism)…
 

  • Exercise faith in Jesus (confirm the message of Joseph Smith)
  • Repent (completely renounce sin and never sin again)
  • Be baptised (in an LDS temple)
  • Receive the Holy Ghost
  • Be married
  • Choose to follow LDS teachings for the rest of your life

 

Living prophets

 
Christianity has one authority over belief, this being the bible, however Mormons have several authorities and they often contradict each other.
Alongside Mormon scriptures Mormons also have 'living prophets' and there is always one prophet at the head of the LDS church. The current prophet is Thomas S. Monson. Much like the Pope in Catholicism anything that Monson teaches when he speaks as a prophet is said to be the inspired word of God. This means that the Mormon belief is adaptable. For example, polygamy was taught in the early LDS church and was widely practiced in Utah. However the federal government outlawed polygamy in 1862 and put pressure on the LDS church. In 1890 the then leader of the LDS church Wilfred Woodruff claimed that he had received a new revelation stating that polygamy was now wrong. Polygamy had been right for a season but now that season was over.  However it was not until 1904 that the LDS church actually stopped people entering into polygamous marriages. This led to further splits and created, amongst other groups, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church). It is these smaller sects that practice polygamy to this day and   do so by legally marrying one wife and then privately marrying others in a religious ceremony. The authority of the living prophets makes Mormonism fluid and changeable however it also has led to schisms and splits from the main body.
 

Trinity

 
Mormons do not believe in one God but many separate gods who rule over many different worlds. God the father called Elohim is the father over this world and his first spirit child was Jesus who has also ascended to Godhood. Mormons believe that God has a physical body and Jesus is his literal son born before the creation of the world, Jesus is also a separate God. Essentially Elohim and Jesus are men who are further along the eternal progression and good Mormons may also progress to become gods in their own right.

 
 'Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.'
 
                                               Doctrines and covenants 132:20

 

 'They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness, and of his glory; And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. And they shall overcome all things.'
                                              Doctrine and covenants 76:55-60

 
This law of eternal progression also necessitates that both God the Father and Jesus were themselves created beings. This doctrine has no foundation in scripture and seems to have been created ad hoc by Joseph Smith and later LDS prophets. It does not feature at all in the Book of Mormon but only in later Mormon scriptures. The book of Mormon 
 

And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.
                                                                              2 Nephi 31:21

 
There are also several bible verses useful in discussion and applicable to this concept of multiple gods and the creation of new gods.
 

Isaiah chap 43 vs 10 11
 

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.”  Isaiah 43:10-11

 

From a Mormon perspective the above verse is a particularly difficult verse because not only is this in the Bible but also found in strong manuscript evidence dated to around 300-100BC.
 

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
                                   1Timithy 2:5  

 





The Mormon gospel                                                                                              The Dead Sea Scrolls contain the complete book of Isaiah, above is Isaiah 43, Dated 300BC-100BC
 

The biblical gospel is that we are created for and are freely restored to a relationship with God through Christ. In contrast to this, the Mormon gospel states that we are on an eternal never-ending journey to become gods and sustain our own creation.
 mormon plan of salvation 

As we can see from the diagram to the left, Mormon salvation has stages.
 
1.Firstly we all have a pre-life existence as non-physical spirit children.
2.We pass through a veil and come to earth through our birth and have no memory of our pre-life.
3.We pass through death back to the spirit world, then we go through to either paradise or spirit prison depending on our good works.
4.Finally on judgement day, we are sorted into one of 4 locations.
 

Celestial Kingdom

 
This is the highest heaven where God and Jesus dwell bodily. You achieve celestial glory by living the perfect life on Earth. It is only the inhabitants of this Kingdom that can go on to progress further to potential godhood.
 
“Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness that it may be prepared for the celestial glory.”
                                         Doctrines and covenants 88:18
 

Terrestrial Kingdom

 Here we can commune with Jesus but not with God the father, it is the destination for anyone that lived a good life but did not respond to the ‘fullness of the gospel’ or rejected Jesus in life. However they may eventually by judged a second time and gain access to the higher celestial kingdom. Mormons practice baptism of the dead, this is where you can be baptised on behalf of a deceased person so that they may have an opportunity to reach the celestial kingdom.
 

Telestial Kingdom

 Whilst still being a glorious place 'surpassing all understanding, Jesus and the Father do not come to the telestial kingdom. It is a place where all evil people who rejected God and Joseph Smith’s message go.
    

Outer darkness

 Mormonism has no concept of hell however Outer Darkness is the worst possible destination. God and his power are completely absent, it being a void. The inhabitants of the outer darkness are the evil spirit children who rejected God in the pre-mortal existence which includes Satan and his evil spirits. The only way for a living person to go to outer darkness is for them to experience and accept the fullness of the LDS Gospel, and then later reject it. This is a grave threat over the head of a Mormon, if a Mormon individual turns their back on the LDS church, according to their beliefs they will spend eternity with Satan.
 
A Mormon will whole heartedly agree that Jesus’ sacrifice saved us because Jesus' sacrifice made the three heavenly destinations available to everyone. However it is your works that decides your destination and importantly it is by works that decides whether you spend time with God in heaven.
 

Mormon Evangelism

 
Mormons are avid evangelists and will be very keen to meet up with you. It is very easy to begin a conversation with a Mormon missionary. They will most likely begin by insisting that they too are Christian but that there is 'another Testament' that you have missed. They will make sure that you are given a copy of the Book of Mormon and then issue the following challenge.
 

'Read the Book of Mormon and then pray to God if it is true. If it is true God will give you a great peace or a burning sensation'

 
This is called the ‘burning of the bosom’ and is one of the ways that Mormons say that their faith has been validated to them. If they have received this burning they will tell you about it. If they do not tell you about it ask them if they have experienced it. This of course is a subjective experience and the bible teaches that we need to 'search the scriptures' when discerning our beliefs. (Acts 17:11).
 
There is a great amount of conflict between the Mormon scriptures and the Bible; however unlike the Mormon scriptures the Bible has much supporting evidence as well as power. Many Mormons do not read the bible so we can reply to the Mormon missionaries, “I will read the Book of Mormon but will you read the Bible? Which do you think is more reliable?”
 
Mormons believe that the evangelical church has fallen into apostasy along with every other religion apart from the LDS which they see as the true church. However they are Universalists and believe that everybody will go to some form of heaven. Those who worship gods in other religions will enter the terrestrial Kingdom. Despite this we can however discuss with them the true church that Jesus founded.

 
“And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  
                                                           Matthew 16:18   

 
“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
                                                             Ephesians 3:21
 
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.”
                                                              Colossians 1:18  
 
“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.”  
                                                             Mark 13:31.

 
The church that the bible talks about is the eternal bride of Christ and Jesus' teachings presented in the gospels are the eternal word of Christ. There has been no apostasy regarding the original church and there is no need for another testament.
 
There is no evidence of any lost truth as the Mormon Church claims there to be. New Testament scholarship regarding the New Testament is very strong yet despite this the Mormon Church claims there are 'plain and precious truths’ missing from the Bible.
 
Aside from Joseph Smith there is no source that indicates anything missing or changed. On the other hand the Mormon scriptures are based entirely on fabrications of Joseph Smith with no supporting evidence of anything it claims both in narrative and content.
 

Jesus Christ

 
When in discussion with a Mormon we can centre our discussion on Jesus and ask the question “What has he really done for us?”  A prominent question to ask a Mormon is do you know you are saved, and do you know if you will be with God for eternity?
 
A Mormon will usually answer with 'I think so' or 'I hope so' or perhaps 'I am trying', because in Mormonism there is no assurance of your eternal destination. The bible teaches that the whole point of creation is so man can be in relationship with God, however a Mormon can never be assured that he will ever have relationship with his god. If you say 'I know 100% that I am going to spend eternity with God' they may think you are arrogant or boasting however this is an opportunity to talk about the true gospel.
 

 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
 
                                                                     Ephesians 2:4-10 

  



  

Some important biblical terms a Mormon might use

 

Term                       Biblical meaning               Mormon meaning
Grace Completely free Gift Divine Empowerment to better keep rules
Salvation Saved from sin and given a restored relationship with God Access to one of the three heavens, potentially able to progress
Jesus is Lord Jesus is Lord, God Jesus is a lesser god the firstborn son of God
The One True God There is only one God There is only one god in command of this planet, but many gods of other planets and many gods interacting in this planet
Gospel
 
The good news that we can have a restored relationship with God The rules and ordinances of the Mormon church by obeying we can progress further towards becoming God
Exultation lifted to be with God in relationship forever Becoming a god
Heaven The place God dwells where we spend eternity by accepting of Jesus sacrifice and relationship One of three locations.
Hell The destination of those who reject God The temporary prison where bad people go before judgment
Temple The place where God dwells, we are the new temple, God dwells with us. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) The physical building, were special ritual and ordinance happen on behalf of the living and the dead. 
Trinity The one God comprised of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit Three separate gods, a god the father, a god the son and a god the holy spirit


 

Further Resources

 
www.Reachouttrust.org
 
www.peopleofthefreegift.com
 
Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults.
 
The official Mormon website www.mormon.org.uk this website is designed for Mormon evangelism.
For a truer website designed for Mormons including Mormon teaching visit www.lds.org
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Written and produced by Peter Graham

Peter Graham, 11/06/2015