Apologetics Lecture 14 Mormonism

Mormonism

Mormonism is the largest and fastest-growing cult. It is becoming more and more accepted, especially when a Mormon ran for president of the US (Mitt Romney).

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How did Mormonism start?

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History

Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. He was born December 23, 1805 in Vermont. Joseph Smith’s mom was very superstitious and Joseph’s father spent a great deal of his mental energies and time searching for buried treasure by using occult methods. In 1820, when he was just 14 years old, Joseph Smith supposedly received a vision from a deity is named God the Father and the Son who told him that all other religions and denominations were an abomination to God and that he was the prophet to bring about a restoration.

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Three years later, in 1823, he received another vision. This time, an Angel whose name was Moroni, declared Smith’s prophetic ministry. The angel told him that he would uncover golden plates that needed translation. Supposedly these golden plates had on them what Smith called reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics. He found them outside of Palmyra, New York. Using what he called Urim and Thummim, which were really very large eyeglasses, he translated these tablets.

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Between the years 1827 in 1829 he translated these golden plates and published the work as the book of Mormon. And then, conveniently, the plates were taken to heaven by Moroni.

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Thus, Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After having been persecuted in New York, Smith brought he and his followers to Illinois where they built the city of Nauvoo. And this is where Smith instituted the practice of polygamy (having more than one wife).

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While there, a local newspaper began to condemn the teachings of Mormonism. And so Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith tried to destroy the newspaper’s office. The two men were arrested and jailed in Carthage, Illinois.

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On June 27, 1844, an angry mob stormed the prison and shot and killed the two brothers. I have been to both of these cities, Nauvoo and Carthage, IL and have visited the historical places there.

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Brigham Young took the leadership and became the first president of the church. They relocated to Salt Lake City in 1847. Because of the US government, Mormon leaders abolished polygamy.

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Mormonism is highly structured in its leadership with the president, a counsel of 12 apostles and the council of seven, as well as bishops, counselors, and teachers. Males over 12 years old are members of the Mormon priesthood of Aaron or Melchizedek.

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Their holy books include the Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.

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Why is it called the book of Mormon?

Because Mormon compiled it; it’s his book. The Book of Mormon claims to have been written by several people from 600 BC to A.D. 428. In the book, we learn of a supposed migration of people from the tower of Babel into Central America. These people are known as the Jaredites. In 600 BC a group of Jews also migrated and escaped the Babylonian captivity. The expedition was led by Lehi and his son Nephi. They crossed the Pacific Ocean and landed in South America. Here, they divided into the Nephites and the Lamanites.

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The Nephites prophesied concerning the coming of Christ. After Christ was raised from the dead, Christ supposedly visited them in South America. Here is where he instituted communion, baptism, and the priesthood for the Nephites. Mormon and his son Moroni compiled this divine revelation as it’s found in the Book of Mormon. They compiled it on golden tablets and then buried them. Then, the Lamanites destroyed the Nephites in a battle in A.D. 428.

These golden plates were later supposedly uncovered by Joseph Smith some 1,400 years later.

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Thought of any problems with this?

 No reliable witness other than Joseph Smith supposedly saw the plates. [10 others that Joseph Smith showed them to/helped translate them]
 The book of Mormon was buried in the A.D. 428. It contains 25,000 words verbatim from the King James version! That’s what we call anachronistic.
 There is no archaeological evidence for the historical claims of the book of Mormon. The book of Mormon were true, you would expect archaeological evidence to be uncovered in Central and South America. There is no evidence.
 Beyond that, we have no evidence for the original language that the golden plates were written in, “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics.” We have no historical evidence of this language ever existing.

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Mormon Beliefs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VKT4hrBTuk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3BqLZ8UoZk

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God: Mormons believe that God the Father was once a man on another planet but that he became a God over planet earth. He obeyed all the laws and ordinances of that planet and was rewarded with becoming a god. He and his wife both have physical bodies. His wife is called Heavenly Mother. They produce spirit offspring in heaven. These offspring include Jesus, the devil, and every human being. We are all brothers and sisters. Every human being is really a preexistent spirit that has come down to inhabit babies. Just like God the Father, we too according to Mormon doctrine can become gods of our own planets. If we pay a 10% tithe of our income to the Mormon church and Mormon temples, we can become gods of our own planets.

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Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three gods. Mormons are polytheists; they believe in multiple gods.

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Jesus: to the Mormons, Jesus is a god and is the spirit child of the Father and the Mother in heaven. Jesus is the brother of all human spirit beings. There was a physical union between the Father and Mother and this produced the physical body of Jesus. And Jesus himself was married, having 3 wives, the two of the Mary’s and Martha.

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Scripture: Mormons regard the book of Mormon as more authoritative than the Bible.The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible,” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 461.)

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Salvation: Salvation to Mormons is the exaltation to Godhood. This is earned through obedience to the leaders of the Mormon church, baptism, tithing, marriage, and Temple rituals. Mormons teach that salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ “originated by Satan.” [reference on that?] Jesus sacrifice cannot cleansed from all sin and good works are necessary for salvation. You must believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

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“We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do,” (2 Nephi 25:23).

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LuthernSatire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoRx5eB7h0A

point: we haven’t done “all we can do.”

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Problems with the Book of Mormon

Remember, the book of Mormon claims to be an ancient document written in Central and South America between 600 BC and 480 A.D. by people who travelled from the Middle East to the Americas. The book of Mormon is an account, supposedly, of the Nephite leader named Mormon. He wrote about their culture or civilization and the appearance of Jesus in the Americas.

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Smith claims that the book of Mormon is the “most correct of any book.”

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Now, if it is… if it really is written during the time period that he says it was written in, as well as the place where he says that it was written, then the phrases and terms that are used would reflect that time as well. It would also accurately describe the landscape and culture of that time as well.

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And we know as well there is no archaeological evidence to support the claims of the book of Mormon. But apart from that, we can use the text of the book of Mormon itself to refute it as an historical document.

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Contradictions of the Book of Mormon with the Bible

 Jesus’ Birth: Alma 7:10 says that Jesus was born in Jerusalem, in clear violation of historical truth.

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Matthew 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,

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Alma 7:10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

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Contradictions of the Book of Mormon with History

 Mosiah 9:16 says that cimeters (Scimitars, curved swords) were used in the Americas in that time period. But history bears out that scimitars weren’t used until the 500’s.
 Ether 9:19 says that the Americas had elephants. But elephants weren’t in use in the Americas during this time period.
 Ether 2:3 says that the Americas had honey bees. But honeybees were not in existence here until the Spanish introduced them in 1492.
 1 Nephi 4:9 mentions steel. Steel was unknown to Jews and to this region of the world during this time. Same with silk (Alma 4:6).
 1 Nephi 18:25 mentions the horse. There were no horses in the Americas during this time.
 “Church” in 1 Nephi 14:3, 9, 10, 12. But the church wasn’t instituted until Jesus did so in Matthew 16:18.
 How did French get into “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics?” The French word “adieu” in the book of Mormon in Jacob 7:27: 27 And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave; wherefore, I said unto my son Enos: Take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the commands. And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.

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This is why both National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute have rejected The Book of Mormon as being archaeologically reliable.

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How to Witness to a Mormon

First, I would challenge a Mormon on the reliability of his own holy book. You can use the above to help him to see that The Book of Mormon is unreliable historically.

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Second, as you talk to a Mormon, you must keep in mind that both of you will use similar terminology. For example the Trinity, Jesus, salvation, heaven, etc.

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So when a Mormon says that he believes in the Trinity, he does not believe in the Trinity like you believe in the Trinity. He believes in three separate gods.

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When a Mormon says that he believes in God, and he does not mean that he believes in God in the same way you do. He does not believe in the one true God who created everything including all the universe. He does not believe in God who has existed for all time.

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What he means is that he believes in a God who used to be a man on another planet and was exalted to godhood, who is married to a goddess.

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Mormons believe and teach that if you read the book of Mormon and pray and ask God whether or not it’s true, you will receive confirmation from the Holy Spirit. However, as we have seen, Mormonism clearly contradicts the Bible. No matter what you feel, if you’re feeling contradicts the Scripture, then what you feel is wrong. Mormon doctrine and teachers of Mormonism clearly contradict scriptural truth.

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You could ask a Mormon, “What is the gospel?” After you do that, you will get some answer that the good news have something to do with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Mormon church. Ask him and try to see if he mentions anything about the forgiveness of sins through Christ death on the cross. You’ll typically hear something along the lines of doing good works or obedience or something like that.

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You want to explain to him that the Bible teaches that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes (Ro. 1:16). Also use 1 Corinthians 15:1-6 (NASB) 1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

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The gospel concerns the death, burial, resurrection, and resurrection appearances of Jesus and he did this for our sins. Explain to them that 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 testifies that since they do not understand the gospel of Christ, that the minds are blinded.

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2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NASB) 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

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Many gods

To support their claim of many gods, Mormons will quote 1 Corinthians 8:5 (NASB) For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,

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“See the Bible says there are many gods.”

But there’s a big difference between many “so-called gods” and actual real gods. The Bible recognizes that there many ‘no gods.’ Galatians 4:8 (NASB) However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.

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How does a Mormon understand Isaiah 43:10 (NASB) “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

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Isaiah 44:6-8 (NASB) 6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. 7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. 8 ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'”

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Isaiah 45:5 (NASB) “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;

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They would likely say, “Besides Me there is no God [of this planet.]” But of course, that’s not what the verse says.

http://www.pbs.org/mormons/view/

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