Old Testament Practices
There are several Old Testament practices that have found their way into Mormonism; one of these is the practice of cursing ones enemies. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon state that this practice was to cease with the coming of Christ. Now that Christ has come, we are supposed to rely upon Him and let Him take all hate out of our hearts. If we have no hate in our hearts, we will have no desire to curse our enemies or wish any evil upon them. The words which Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount are also recorded in the Book of Mormon:
And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you (3 Nephi 12:43-44).
In the Bible, Romans 12:14, we are counseled: "Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not."
In spite of these clear teachings in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith gave a revelation which sanctioned the cursing of ones enemies:
And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you ... ye shall curse them; And whomsoever ye curse, I will curse, and ye shall avenge me of mine enemies (Doctrine and Covenants, 103:24-25).
Wine and Curses
The cursing of enemies was actually carried out in the Kirtland Temple. Apostle George A. Smith left us this account:
Now I will illustrate this still further. The Lord did actually reveal one principle to us there, and that one principle was apparently so simple, and so foolish in their eyes, that a great many apostatized over it, because it was so contrary to their notions and views. It was this, after the people had fasted all day, they sent out and got wine and bread,... and they ate and drank, and
prophesied, and bore testimony, and continued so to do until some of the High Council of Missouri stepped into the stand, and, as righteous Noah did when he awoke from his wine, commenced to curse their enemies. You never felt such a shock go through any house or company in the world as went through that. There was almost a rebellion because men would get up and curse their enemies.... Some of the brethren thought it was best to apostatize.... The Lord dared not then reveal anything more; He had given us all we could swallow ... (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 216).
William Harris, in a statement we quoted in the previous chapter, said concerning the cursing:
After this they began to prophecy, pronouncing blessings upon their friends, and curses upon their enemies. If I should be so unhappy as to go to the regions of the damned, I never expect to hear language more awful, or more becoming the infernal pit, than was uttered that night. The curses were pronounced principally upon the clergy of the present day, and upon the Jackson county mob in Missouri. After spending the night in alternate blessings and cursings, the meeting adjourned (Mormonism Portrayed, pp.31-32).
When Joseph Smith wrote this portion of the History of the Church, he told of the cursing in the Kirtland Temple; however, his words have been censored in modern printings. In the Millennial Star, Joseph Smith's words are given as follows: "The brethren began to prophesy upon each other's heads, and cursings upon the enemies of Christ, who inhabit Jackson county, Missouri ..." (vol. 15, p.727).
In the History of the Church (vol. 2, p. 431), Joseph Smith's words have been censored to read: "The brethren began to prophesy upon each other's heads, and upon the enemies of Christ, who inhabited Jackson county, Missouri...." Notice that the word "cursings" has been entirely removed.
In his letter written in 1903, Benjamin F. Johnson admitted that "In Missouri we were taught to 'pray for our enemies, that God would damn them, and give us power to kill them.' " Apostle George A. Smith said: "... we were then very pious, and we prayed the Lord to kill the mob" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 107).
John Taylor emphatically proclaimed in a sermon delivered in the Tabernacle in 1858: "... they were so damnable, mean, and cowardly as to make war on the sick and infirm that could not leave. The poor, miserable, cursed, damned scoundrels, I pray that they may go to hell. [The whole congregation shouted 'Amen']" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 122).
Heber C. Kimball, first councilor to Brigham Young, often cursed his enemies from the pulpit. He even went so far as to curse the President of the United States. Below are some extracts from his sermons:
There are men and women in this congregation of that stamp. I wish I had some stones; I want to pelt your cursed heads, for you lie like hell....
There is a poor curse who has written the bigger part of those lies which have been printed in the States; and I curse him, in the name of Israel's God, and by the Priesthood and authority of Jesus Christ; and the disease that is in him shall sap and dry up the fountain of life and eat him up. Some of you may think that he has not the disease I allude to; but he is full of pox from the crown of his head to the point of its beginning. That is the curse of that man; it shall be so, and all Israel shall say, Amen. [The vast congregation of Saints said, "Amen."] ... May God Almighty curse such men, ... and every damned thing there is upon the earth that opposes this people. I tell you I feel to curse them to-day (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 32).
Will the President that sits in the chair of state be tipped from his seat? Yes, he will die an untimely death, and God Almighty will curse him; and He will also curse his successor, if he takes the same stand; ... God Almighty will curse them, and I curse them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to my calling; and if there is any virtue in my calling, they shall be cursed, every man that lifts his heel against us from this day forth. [Voices: "Amen."] (p.133).
And may God Almighty curse our enemies. [Voices: "Amen."] I feel to curse my enemies: and when God won't bless them, I do not think he will ask me to bless them. If I did, it would be to put the poor curses to death who have brought death and destruction on me and my brethren.... Poor rotten curses! And the President of the United States, inasmuch as he has turned against us ... he shall be cursed, in the name of Israel's God, and he shall not rule over this nation.... and I curse him and all his coadjutors [sic] in his cursed deeds, in the name of Jesus and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood; and all Israel shall say amen (p.95).
... I feel, in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ and my calling, to curse that man that lifts his heel against my God.... The President of the United States and his coadjutors [sic] that have caused this thing shall never rest again, for they shall go to hell (vol. 6, p. 38).
In Romans 12:20 we read: "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him.... " According to Charles L. Walker, Brigham Young
A photograph of the Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, page 95. Heber C. Kimball, First Councilor to Brigham Young, cursed the President of the United States and other enemies.
taught just the opposite: "Sun., Apr. 28. Went up to the Tabernacle ... Bro. Brigham ... said that those who sell their provisions to feed our enemies either man or woman should be cursed, and said he, I curse them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the congregation shouted, Amen" ("Diary of Charles L. Walker," 1853-1902, excerpts typed, p. 13).
Jesus said, "Love your enemies," but Apostle George A. Smith remarked: "You must know that I love my friends, and God Almighty knows that I do hate my enemies" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 110).
Jesus said that we should pray for our enemies. Heber C. Kimball prayed for his enemies in the following manner: "Pray for them? Yes, I pray that God Almighty would send them to hell. Some say across lots; but I would like to have them take a round about road, and be as long as they can be in going there" (Ibid., p.89).
Animal Sacrifice After Christ
Animal sacrifice after the death of Christ is another Old Testament practice that has found a place in Mormon beliefs. It was Joseph Smith himself who taught this doctrine:
... it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice ... was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in [the] future: but those who assert this are certainly not aquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood, or with the Prophets....
These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built,... be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 211).
In the Journal of Wandle Mace the following is recorded: "Joseph told them to go to Kirtland, and cleanse and purify a certain room in the Temple, that they must kill a lamb and offer a sacrifice unto the Lord which should prepare them to ordain Willard Richards a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles" ("Journal of Wandle Mace," p. 32, microfilmed copy at Brigham Young University Library).
Joseph Fielding Smith said that "the law of sacrifice will have to be restored.... Sacrifice by the shedding of blood was instituted in the days of Adam and of necessity will have to be restored" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p.94).
It is interesting to note that even though the Mormon church teaches animal sacrifice after the death of Christ, they cannot
find any support for this doctrine in the Book of Mormon. In fact, the Book of Mormon condemns it in the strongest terms. In 3 Nephi 9:19 Jesus was supposed to have said: "And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings."
There are many other Old Testament practices in Mormonism. This should be sufficient, however, to convince the reader that the Mormon church leaders have sometimes followed Old Testament practices in preference to the clear teachings of Christ.