Dec. 1, 2004
... I want to thank you for your wonderful website and for the years you have been standing to provide information for researchers regarding the Mormon church, especially over the last few weeks as Bud Press [http://www.christianresearchservice.com] has continually informed me. Please accept our gratitude for your steadfastness and for your witness for Christ to the Mormons over the years.
Blessing in Christ,
Dec. 1, 2004
... My son is a Christian and he wants to present something to his wife with lots of facts. I sent him God's Word, Final, Infallible and Forever ... He would like something historical about the LDS church or Joseph Smith - something that is not too anti-mormon so that she won't get defensive. I am sending his wife ... Mormon Enigma for Christmas. What would you recommend from your book list that I can send him? He has internet service, but would still like a book to show her. Thank you for your ministry. God Bless you.
The best biography on Joseph Smith is No Man Knows My History.
Another good overview is Mormon America: The Power and the Promise.]
Dec. 1, 2004
Subject: Law Prohibits Dog and Cat in Same House
Evidently Mormons won't enforce the laws against having more than one wife (or child-wife) in the house, but they will enforce a law against having both a dog and a cat in the same house.
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2004
PROVO, Utah (AP) - The truth about cats and dogs in this city is that they aren't allowed to live in the same house. But that's about to change.
Current city law allows residents to own up to two dogs or two cats at the same time - but not a dog and a cat together. After getting complaints, the City Council is expected to change the law next month.
The problem was discovered when Susan Sewell and her family went to the Utah County Animal Shelter in Spanish Fork to adopt a kitten in August. The family already has a cat and a dog.
They chose a kitten and began filling out the adoption paperwork. But when shelter staff learned of their existing pets, the family was told they couldn't have the new animal because Provo only allowed residents to have cats or dogs, not cats and dogs.
"I know people can't be having five, six, seven animals running around," Sewell said. "But if you are a responsible pet owner, why limit it to two? If you have two dogs, your kid can't ever have a cat." (www.findlaw.com)
It appears they're more concerned about dogs abusing cats than about the spouse abuse and child abuse that result from present-day polygamy.
Dec. 1, 2004
....am very troubled by the recent service held by Ravi Zacharias in the Mormon Temple and this new effort to work together...
[Sandra's Note: I was pleased that Ravi Zacharias, a renowned Christian philosopher, was able to present the message of Christ at the LDS tabernacle on Nov. 14, 2004. I was not able to attend the meeting. But friends that did attend felt the audience's response to the various Christian songs and statements about the trinity, indicated that most of those in attendance were Evangelicals, not Mormons.
I was disappointed that the introductory comments by Dr. Richard Mouw tended to belittle the serious efforts of various ministries that have spent years reaching out to the LDS people. Since Joseph Smith renounced historic Christianity and taught heretical views of God, Jesus and salvation, I was surprised that Dr. Mouw felt Christians should participate in some way with the Mormons in their celebration next year of Joseph Smith's 200th birthday.
Unfortunately, Dr. Mouw's comments are the only thing the Mormons are talking about, not Ravi's message.
I have high regard for Ravi and feel he was brought into a no-win situation without fully realizing the capital the Mormons would make out of the whole affair. If you haven't read the article on Bill McKeever's site, you would find it illuminating. See: http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/richard-mouw.html
Also, see Ronald Huggins' article "An Appeal for Authentic Evangelical-Mormon Dialogue" here: http://irr.org/mit/authentic-dialogue.html
All in all, news of the event could be used to open the door for discussion with LDS people about the differences between their faith and ours. For those grounded in standard Christian doctrine, one need only read the current edition of the LDS manual Gospel Principles, or read Joseph Smith's sermons on the nature of God, to see the vast differences between their belief system and the doctrines laid out in the Bible. See: Joseph Smith's King Follet Sermon and Joseph Smith's Sermon On Plurality of Gods.]
Dec. 2, 2004
I received the last issue of SLC Messenger yesterday. Thank you! I always look forward to each new issue. ....
Dec. 2, 2004
my friend is mormon, I am born again christian, she invited me to talk with missionaries, I know some things, but I'd like to know more. Is there anything I can ask the missionaries to get them to at least consider that they are lost?
[Sandra's Note: You would find some helpful information on these pages of our site—
You can read Marvan Cowan's book Mormon Claims Answered on our site. It would help prepare you for the types of issues the missionaries are likely to bring up.
Other helpful books are:
Dec. 3, 2004
My sister in law just told us (we are strong Christians) that she was baptized Mormon 6 weeks ago. I have done extensive research and have a pretty good knowledge base on the subject. She feels as does her Catholic husband, that this is a loving, wonderful Christian religion. Her husband is just seeing the positive changes in her — like the no drinking, ect. How do I start to approach her to help her understand that Mormonism is cult like and what do the Mormons teach these new "green" members... do they not have an understanding of what they are getting into, and when do some of the deeper doctrines taught to them.
I think I understand how they are enticed, but once they hear all these crazy wrongs, how can they possibly stay in that religion, or are these wrongs taught to them once they are so deep in?
Thanks for all you are doing and all the info you are providing to the public. Also, thanks for taking the time to read this, and any info would be great.
[Sandra's Note: Doctrinal understanding only comes gradually to a new convert, and he/she will probably not be fully grounded in Mormonism until the person has participated in the temple ceremony. Be sure to read the various pages under our Online Resources: Theology
You can also order, either from us or from www.deseretbook.com, the following current LDS manuals:
Some of their heretical doctrines are in these official books. You might want to purchase our set of Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies from LDS books.]
Dec. 3, 2004
Subject: LDS condemn all non-Mormons to Satan's 'church'
The LDS Church constantly complains that those — like you — who point out its flaws are intolerant or hateful, while at the same time claiming that Mormons would never say anything like that about members of other religions. Not so. And now it's a matter of official public record, straight from the United States Federal Court of Appeals: The U.S. Government recognizes that the LDS Church officially declares that those who are not Mormons "belongeth to that great church [of the devil]; which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth." So much for Mormons' self-serving but false protestations of being tolerant .
Straight from the last page of the Court's Order:
"Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon):
"This is not just another Church. This is not just one family of Christian churches. This is the Church and the kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth, according to the Lord's own words." Ezra Taft Benson, The Teaching of Ezra Taft Benson 164-5 (1988).
"Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the Church of the Lamb of God and the other is the churches of the devil; wherefore who so belongeth not to the church of the lamb of god belongeth to that great church; which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth". Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10."
Dec. 3, 2004
How do I talk to my LDS friends about my faith without them getting angry and leaving? I'm 13 and a lot of my friends at school are mormon and I really want to share my faith, but I don't know how to begin. My friend ..... is really strong in her mormon faith, that I don't know how to talk to her. PLease help.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. We are always glad to hear from a young person who has a desire to share Christ with friends.
You might find some help in the booklet, Understanding My Mormon Friends Faith.
Also read the book, The Mormon Missionaries.
If you haven't read our page on witnessing you might find it a good place to start—Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints.]
Dec. 4, 2004
Subject: Sandra, I need your help
... I was raised Mormon is a very strict household. While I believe that some mormons have a very loving supportive home life, I believe that I was raised in a religious cult. It has been very damaging to me. I am terified of my father, and my siblings have a very arrogant condescending attitude toward me because I left the church. I have lost all of my friends, my family and a belief system that I was involved in for most of my life.
While I understand intellectually that mormonism is absolutely false, I still feel that I am somehow damned. I'ts very difficult to describe but I feel that my family has some kind of evil influence over me. Like they are praying to have me dragged back into their belief system. Do you know anyone ... who has left mormonism, but still has a strong belief in God, that I could maybe talk to? Someone who understands problems that cults can cause, even after the person has walked away? I would very much like to have my name taken off the records of the church, but am very afraid of the process and the power games. I would need a lot of support to do this, but I'm sick of the mormon home teachers and missionaries coming to my home. I feel that until I can officially leave this evil organization, it will continue to have power over me. Can you help?
[Sandra's Note: A good online support group is http://www.irr.org/mit/mentor.html
I think you would find these books helpful—
And my tape on the Struggles of Leaving Mormonism.]
Dec. 4, 2004
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Tanner,
... About the issue "Who Are The Lamanites", we can truly say and answer: none of them, they exist only in the brains of who invented them. And about the Origin of the American Indian, we know now who their ancestors are, yes, the Asians from the other shore.
Further there is nothing else, the Mormon Cult is a 19th century philosophy, idea, sprung forth from 19th century people, who with their thinking set the whole thing (The "Church" of Joseph Smith and his followers) in motion, like so many churches or cults in America.
Therefore, it can not be said enough, that this knowledge must be known to everyone who has interest in this fiction. People with enormous fantasies can led other people to mental destruction and lure them to the "Dark" side of Life, namely to Lucifer.
You can compare them with other so-called "religions" who have "borrowed" items from the Gospel of Christ and used them for their selfish enrichment in money and self esteem, but in the end the overall truth will prevail in the end.
In other words: "you can fool people sometime, but not the all the time".
At last I would like to say that we think that you have opened our eyes and are very grateful for that.
The final straw was the DNA coverage by still and former church members, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Southerton.
May the Lord Bless Ye Both.
Dec. 4, 2004
To the Tanners,
Here is a small xmas gift to help in your valuable work. I'm a Roman Catholic — A fellow Christian in Jesus. I read the whole "Mormonism, Shadow or Reality" 11 yrs ago (took almost a yr. to read) and several other of your works. It has been valuable over the years in keeping me informed, and I have derailed the conversion to Mormonism of family members. Also I've planted seeds of doubt I hope in a young group of missionaries at my door. Anyways God bless you & your loved ones—always!
In Jesus Name:
P.S. Thanx for your newsletter. Always read it cover to cover. ...
Dec. 5, 2004
Subject: Evangelicals apologizing to Mormons
... you may have seen this article from Beliefnet:
in which evangelicals have "apologized" to the Mormons.
What is going on here? Is this a matter if the LDS church being successful in whitewashing the more controversial aspects of their faith, having associated themselves with mainstream Christianity?
I'm deeply distressed by this, as I'm a born-again Christian and my husband is a Mormon. You even have a book on your website by Ravi Zacharias, and I'm rather appalled that he seems to have bought in to the Lie.
Heaven help us!
Thank's for all you're doing. Your work has strengthened me in my Christian walk, and allowed me to "give an answer" to every Mormon who asks why I don't embrace their faith.
Thanks again to God for your faithfulness.
Your's in Chirst,
[Steve's Note: Thank you for your concern regarding Ravi Zacharias speaking at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. While we are concerned about statements made by Dr. Richard Mouw, we feel that Dr. Zacharias did a fine job speaking to a mixed audience and was very clear in the sufficiency and exclusivity of Jesus Christ and the need to embrace the trinity to have an accurate concept of who God is.
We feel that although the focus right now seems to be on the statements of Dr. Mouw, the fact that Dr. Zacharias was able to proclaim Christ so clearly was a good thing. Be assured that Dr. Zacharias in no way views Mormonism as compatible with Biblical Christianity and that the differences carry with the eternal consequences.]
Dec. 5, 2004
I will be visiting Utah ... next spring for what could be 4 - 5 weeks and would like to help my fellow Christians reach the Mormons. Hopefully I will make it to Salt Lake City also.
Can you provide contacts out there that might be helpful to link up with in this regard?
I have been educating myself on Christian apologetics with the goal of reaching Mormons for Christ.
Also I have been receiving your Messenger publication and it is very helpful.
Thanks for your help.
[Sandra's Note: Contact one of these—
Timothy Oliver, with Watchman Fellowship
They are involved in outreach efforts.]
Dec. 5, 2004
Thank you for sending that booklet [Who Are the Lamanites]. i am a maori from nz and all our lives we were told we were the children of israel, lehi and lamanites., i have 4 generations and a 116yr family history of lds.
i exited the church in 1997 of my own free will. one of my projects, in 1995-1996 was researching my right to israel citizenship based on the lds presidents and my church leaders telling me i am from the house of Israel. i was doing a diploma in journalism, it validated my suspicions. ... what a lie to perpetuate. i was devastated.
its been 7yrs now, and my life has been wonderful. ... when i left the church i left a global organisation and never left my faith in god.
Dec. 6, 2004
If there is one thing I admire it is the truth. Thanks for your help & Merry Christmas.
Dec. 6, 2004
Do you have anyone on your staff who can help with witnessing to Mormons? I need your expertise to help me with a reply to my Mormon [relative] I am not sure the best way to reply regarding the email below. So many twists and turns. Hope you or someone you know can help.
Please read below.
In answer to your question:
Actually, Quite the opposite. God does not lie, and the books compiled in the bible are the words of God. However, the bible has been translated MANY times over — there are mistakes. That does NOT mean that the bible is uninspired, or not the Holy word. I very much believe in the bible. ...
I do want to make the point, though, that the bible doesn't contain all the truths of the gospel. Where in the bible can we find explanation on baptisms for the dead. The bible speaks of them as an ordinance of the church, but never explains. Instances like this require that we seek further knowledge, but where can we find that knowledge? It has to come from God. I don't know if any one has ever talked to you about the Book of Mormon, but that is one place where we can look. It is just as holy and just as important as the Bible. ...
Another place to look is through revelation. Revelation comes directly from God. In hebrews 8 verse thirteen (I believe,...I don't have my scriptures with me) It talks of God being the same and constant forever — he doesn't just up and change the way he does things. He has always followed a pattern, which we can see in the Bible. God has always called prophets to lead his people. There was Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Noah, Moses and so on.
Each time a prophet was called, he was given the authority to recieve revelation for the people. But eventually the people would reject the prohet and fall into apostasy — where they lost the truth of the gospel. in an apostasy, revelation ceases until God calls another prophet. After Jesus Christ, and the death of the apostles there was an apostasy which lasted for a long time, until 1820 when God again called a prophet to restore the teachings and doctrines of Jesus Christ, along with revelation and the power of the priesthood. ... The Bible and the Book of Mormon form the scriptures for us. They both are testaments or witnesses of Christ, and between the two, we can better understand the plan of God. ...
[Steve's Note: I will try to help you with a few thoughts that I had while reading your letter. Your relative asserts that he believes in the Bible and then seeks to give reasons why the Bible is not able to be fully trusted. This seems to be a self defeating move on his part. He admits that God does not lie, but fails to remember that God himself has promised that his word will endure forever. Furthermore, the Bible has been shown to be far more trustworthy that the Book of Mormon. With the Bible we do not have to rely on the translations but we can go back to the original language manuscripts which exist by the thousands. However, with the Book of Mormon there are no original language texts ever found and the Book of Mormon has experienced serious changes in a mere 150 years and all within the same language. For more information on these thoughts see the following pages on our web site:
I will mention a few more things which stood out to me. First, I am glad that your relative admits that the Bible does not give an explanation concerning the teaching of baptism for the dead. What he did not tell you is that the Book of Mormon does not teach this either. Many of the unique teachings of the LDS church are nowhere to be found in the Book of Mormon and yet it supposedly contains the fulness of the gospel. See our page Book of Mormon Overview.
Next, he states that God is the same now and forever. But Mormon teaching says that God followed the law of eternal progression to become God of this world. This idea is very different from a Christian concept of God. [see LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible and LDS Leaders Define Their Concept of Jesus Christ).
Finally, he talks of an apostasy which necessitated the restoration of God's church on the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. Jesus, however, promised to build his church and that the gates of hell would never prevail against it. No one is arguing that there has never been those who have apostatized from the truth. What needs to be said is that just because apostasy occurs does not mean that it is a full apostasy. Otherwise, your nephew will have to admit that since there are those who have apostatized from the LDS church that the apostasy is therefore once again full and the LDS church is now in complete error.
He needs to be asked just what evidence does he offer of continuing revelation from within the LDS church today? As far as I can see it there is a marked absence of revelation in the LDS church today. As for the claim that Joseph Smith is the one true prophet God gave to restore the truth to the earth, there is the problem of the evidence that demonstrates that Joseph Smith is a false prophet. (see False Prophecies of Joseph Smith). His last remark that "the Bible and the Book of Mormon form the scriptures for us" is a half truth. Mormons believe that they have four standard works of scripture, not just two. They are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Beyond this Mormons believe that the words of their living prophet are scripture and are more vital to them than are the standard works of scripture. Unfortunately, they contradict one another. (see Contradictions in LDS Scripture)
I would encourage you to share your faith with him by the following:
I pray that this will be helpful for you.]
You are awesome. I did not think that anyone would care to write back. But you did with great thought and heart. I agree with everything you have written, and you have made it very clear. I do try to love him and try not to get angry. Stay on the essentials is a good idea. I prayed and wrote him back just one line. We are not under the law but under grace. Romans 6:14
Because my husband was raised Mormon he wanted to start going back to their church. I even allowed the missionaries from our area come and visit every week. I took notes as to the way they presented the bible and coordinated or twisted it with the BOM. It began to cause confusion in my marriage so I lovingly asked them not to come visit anymore as I believe that the BOM is false doctrine. It is so difficult to me to share the love I have to Jesus to his family. They shut me down and do not want to hear the word. Your email notes and links will help with and outline I have been working on. ...
Love and prayers,
Dec. 6, 2004
Subject: Info on how many Southern Baptist Convert each year to Mormonism.
Appreciate your website and understand the heat you take for your stand. Was born in ....... Utah and moved to Alaska when I was 4 years old. Only my Sister and I are Christians. Rest of family is still Mormon and my oldest brother is a High Priest. I am now a born again Christian and help lead in our visitation and out reach program at our church.
I heard there is a publication from the LDS Church that gives the number of converts from each denomination each year. Such as 20,000 Southern Baptist convert in year 2002. Do you know and have documented listing of this. I think it would be good for the people of my church and its distant members to see this. For them to know how many of them and there friends who come only to Christmas and Easter services, get conned each year because they do not understand what they think they profess.
[Sandra's Note: Sorry, don't know what source was used for the statistics you mention. Here are some sites with statistical information.
You might enjoy this article on our site—The Rise and Fall of the LDS Church.]
Dec. 7, 2004
Hi Sister Sandra ... I got your letter today and read it. I pray ...that you can continue to serve HIM to your fullest. Sister Sandra, thank you for all that you are doing in the service of our LORD and SAVIOUR. ....
I have met many a Mormon and have studied about them to be a better witness for HIM. Because of my desire to win a Mormon to CHRIST I read the Book Of Mormon he gave me at my request. Of course, I could not have done this unless I was well equipped in HIS HOLY WORD and believed that HIS HOLY BIBLE was my Absolute Truth and Authority. With my educational background, as well, after reading three hundred pages of the B of M I was amazed at the imagination of JS.
I read your last newslettter and it further varified my belief in the falsehood of the B of M. I do want to give this newsletter to my X dentist Dr., who is an elder in a ward here ... In the last days a great falling away will happen and it is happening right before our eyes. Keep up the fight my Brother and Sister in CHRIST. May HE continue to stenghten you for the many battles to come.
Your Brother in the LORD JESUS CHRIST,
Dec. 7, 2004
I thank you very much for your help while I was in prison. ...
Dec. 7, 2004
Subject: Mormons Saved?
Thanks for all you have done for me in my quest to find the truth. All but one of my 9 bros. and sisters my wife and parents are all in the Church. I have spent years listening to people say that with time and patience my labor will pay off. I'm beginning to feel that my example does nothing, my relaxed and not in their face style of witnessing does nothing, and sometimes bolsters their faith.
They love me and I them, and I'm probably just looking for comfort, but is it possible any Mormon can be saved. I'm debating a more aggressive style to demonstrate the absolute falseness of the church. Or should I just let the holy Spirit do all the work in them. I don't want them to fall out of the church and into belief in nothing as have some of my ex-missionary comps. Just a long question, I guess.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for your letter. There are no easy answers, as you have already found out. Jerald and I were both challenged by different people and situations to look into the beginnings of Mormonism. We were shown documents proving the changes and cover-ups. But we were willing to investigate. And that is where witnessing gets hung up--how do we get someone to look at something critical of their faith?
One possible approach would be for you to buy a copy of Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith from Deseret Book (LDS book store: 801-328-8191) and ask your wife to read it and discuss it with you. Or you could buy it and leave it in the bathroom or beside your bed where she could possibly read in it some time without anyone seeing her.
Since you can buy it at the official LDS book store, she can't accuse you of giving her 'anti' LDS material. After all, truth will stand up to investigation. It is written by two LDS women historians, who are still members of the church. Their book is not written as an 'anti' book or to tell you to leave Mormonism. It just tells a straight forward account of the beginnings of Mormonism. It shows how Smith was involved in magic when he met Emma, how he went behind her back on polygamy, married women who already had husbands, etc. It would raise many troubling issues. I know it has troubled many LDS women who have read it. Most women are troubled by polygamy. Keep in mind that this is a doctrinal issue, still taught in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 132, not just a past practice.
With next year being the 200th year of Joseph Smith's birth, there will be more attention given to his beginnings. This might open the door for more discussions. Another good book is An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, by Grant Palmer. This was sold at Deseret Book until he got disfellowshipped. Read more at http://www.signaturebooks.com/Insider's.htm We sell his book on our site.
Is there one in your family that might be more open than others? Maybe you could get one of them to watch the video Lost Book of Abraham. Here is the site that produced it.
Or the video, DNA vs. the Book of Mormon.
Dec. 7, 2004
I have read your devotionals exposing the mormonism for what it is, but I don't know where the religion/denomination (?) originated except that the leader is a Joseph Smith. If the jesus they worship is NOT the Jesus WE worship, then who IS he? Where does mormonism say that their jesus came into being? Does the Book of Mormon contain the same stories of his life and are there an Old Testament and a New Testament, etc. I believe what you're saying is right, and I support you're belief 100% as a born-again Christian, but I just don't understand where their beliefs came from. Can you shed some light on this for me?
[Steve's Note: Mormons believe in a very different God and Jesus than Christians do. I would invite you to read our Online Resources pages that I have listed below for more detailed information regarding LDS views on these very central doctrines. Many of the unique teachings found in Mormonism are not supported by the Book of Mormon. These ideas came about later as Joseph Smith's view of God evolved.
Dec. 7, 2004
I am requesting prayer for my daughter .....She is 22 years old works and goes to college and is dating a Mormon boy. He lives ...... with his parents. His entire family lives out in Utah, with involvement at BYU. My daughter and I have done much research on your web site and we have read One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church. Other web sites as well. ... He lies about everything. Yet she stays with him. She has been in the church and Sunday school her entire life. She is now lying to me all time, telling me she is not seeing him—when she is still meeting him. She needs deliverance from this boy. Please pray that my daughter will get out before it is to late. He has offered to let her live at his house.
[Sandra's Note: How sad. Pray that something will happen to make the blinders fall off and she will see both his deception and that of the LDS Church. God is faithful--keep holding her up in prayer.
As a note of encouragement, my mother left Mormonism shortly after I did, but also rejected God. I talked to her for YEARS about Christianity, as well as others in the family. Praise God, she accepted Christ last Dec., several days before she died from cancer. My sister, who has been a Christian for about 10 years, and her granddaughter, a baby Christian, were the ones that prayed with her that day. I could hardly believe it when my sister called to tell me. Jerald and I were able to go to California and be with my mother and pray with her three days before she died. Don't give up, all things are possible with Him.]
Dec. 9, 2004
I am looking for a copy of the PEACEMAKER that was published by Joseph smith publishing about 1835. it is a pamphlet referred to in john karate's book.
[Steve's Note: You can get copies of The Peace Maker for a fee from several libraries with large holdings of Mormon interest items. The best of these are the Harold B Lee Library at BYU, the Marriott Library at the University of Utah, or the Utah State Historical Society Library located in the Rio Grande building in Salt Lake City. Below are the website addresses for these libraries.
[Additional Note from Sandra: It is also reproduced on the internet at—
Dec. 9, 2004
Subject: Where can I find a copy of the 1830 Edition of The Book of Mormon?
I want to thank you for the wealth of information that you have on your website. I am a 26 year old male returned missionary for The LDS church. I have recently started a study of the history of the LDS church. I started the study in hopes of finding answers to lifelong questions I have had about the church, and the practice of polygamy. I have read some of your works, and they raise some very good arguments against the LDS church.
I am not sure who to believe anymore so I want to check everything out for myself. My motto through all of my research so far is, if the LDS church is True, then research will prove it to be, and if it is false, research will prove it to be. If what you say about the nearly 4,000 changes made to the BOM is true, then you have helped me on my lifelong study of the LDS church. I will then know that you are a creditable source and that I will find many answers to my questions.
Thank you again,
In search for the truth
[Steve's Note: You can get the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon from several sources. We offer it for sale in two forms. The first is Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Volume I.
We also include a copy of a affidavit from the LDS church verifying that this book is an accurate photo reproduction of the 1830 Book of Mormon. This printing was done by Wilford Wood and is also available through the LDS Church owned book store DeseretBook. You can order it from them online at http://deseretbook.com/store/product?product_id=100011063
Utah Lighthouse Ministry also offers the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon with the changes (compared to a current copy of the Book of Mormon) marked in the margins. This book is titled 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon. We also offer two computer programs which contain the text for the 1830 Book of Mormon. They are LDS Classics and New Mormon Studies. Any of the above titles can be ordered from us online or by calling (801) 485-0312.
The 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon is also online at http://www.irr.org/mit/BOM/1830bom-books.html and through the computer programs GospeLink 2001 and LDS Collectors Library 2005 available through http://deseretbook.com ]
Dec. 11, 2004
Subject: I Love You Guys!
You will never know the impact your ministry has had on my life. Although I am not LDS, your materials have made it possible for me to speak directly and lovingly to Mormons who come to my door. None as yet have left the LDS ( that I know of) but I am confident that the Holy spirit is at work when the simple Gospel message is preached. I have been ingaged in this activity for 10 years and I often pray for the young missionaries I've seen come and go. I also pray for you ! I thank God for the work he has preformed through your lives.
Dec. 11, 2004
To Whom It May Concern:
I have several questions. :) My daughter is living with an Honduran LDS. He seems very nice but I see problems ahead.
[Steve's Note: You are right to be concerned about possible problems ahead for your daughter. Experience shows us that far too often relationships between LDS members and non-members simply create problems later on. The Mormon will try to convert your daughter and if she will not convert then the relationship may very well be in jeopardy. Much of what Mormons believe are not revealed to those who are investigating their faith until after they have accepted it to be true.
You can find much more helpful information on our web site. See our Online Resources. If you have any other specific questions, please feel free to contact us again.]
Dec. 12, 2004
Subject: Jesus Marriage
I know that Joseph Smith claimed to be a descendant of Jesus, and did I also read that he claimed Jesus was married to Mary, Martha and Mary Magdelene? If so, where is this written?
[Sandra's Note: I don't have a reference for Joseph Smith teachings these things. But other LDS apostles did. See these references—
Dec. 12, 2004
I have just received a copy of "An insider's View of Mormon Origins". I am enjoying the book and I like that it is not overtly biased.
I would like to find a biography of Joseph Smith, from childhood until his death. Can you recommend any biographies. My wife is Mormon and I would like to find something that she could also read without becoming defensive.
[Sandra's Note: If it were just for you to read, I would suggest No Man Knows My History.
But if it is something you are going to share with a Mormon, especially your wife, I would suggest the biography on Smith's wife, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith. This is written by two LDS women historians, who are still members.]
Dec. 12, 2004
Subject: Magazines of interest----
Here beside me is WILD WEST magazine, due off of news stands Feb. 14. I forget (just browsing) what the other's name is but both feature articles about the Mountain Meadows massacre. Check out
www.TheHistoryNet.com [see Wild West section] Should be interesting online. Possibly a site to recommend.
Dec. 12, 2004
Hello. I am born and raised Salt Lake City LDS who never felt "right" about my family religion. I am finally ready to accept that it may not be me but my religion. Please send more info ... that can further educate and guide me.
Dec. 13, 2004
a? What have you got to gain from trying to destroy the faith, with everything you use? Your work is not positive, but is full of contention and we all know who is the father of contention.
Why do all churches want to save the world from the mormons, god never told them to do it. Satan only, does his best to desroy god and his plans And it appears he has so much help. You both know that soon the people who fight against god will be put down by him.
Saul, Saul why do you persicute me. Youll laugh at me or belittle me because of my e-mail but I have so much sorrow for you folks and sorrow to your parents and theirs whom youve terribly hurt. I wish you the best for the choices youve made and the children of god youve destroyed. Try hard to understand
Dec. 13, 2004
Subject: Heartfelt thanks to you...
Sandra: I woke up this morning and for some reason thought of you and your husband and your website and all the hard work you do trying to get the truth "out there" and I just felt that I wanted (or needed) to write you an email to thank you for helping me, personally, in realizing the truth about the Mormon church.
To make a long story short, I am 47 years old and was born and raised in the church and am the youngest of five children. Both parents are still alive and extremely active and my four brothers and sisters are. Ever since I was young I've had a tough time staying active for any length of time and I'm not active now.
About 15 years ago my questions and searching about the truthfulness of the Mormon church led me to your website where I received a wealth of honest, accurate information regarding the early history of the church and your website and books are where m journey out of the church really began. I am currently on your newsletter's list and enjoy buying books from you from time to time. Intellectually I know that the Mormon church is not true and emotionally I know it isn't either but it is the emotional side that I have a tough time in dealing with and that is where my thanks to you and your husband come in and thus the purpose of this email.
Every few months I have to come back to your site and re-read information I've already read a 1,000 times before to keep my mind clear about the facts. With an entire family and extended family deeply entrenched in the religion and me and my family not being active (thank goodness I never had my two sons baptized! My non-member husband would never allow it!) I sometimes feel like I'm the "crazy" one. They think I'm inactive only because of a non-member husband — they do not know that I don't believe in the Mormon church any longer and, in fact, don't want anything to do with it but I respect their feelings and beliefs and don't want to hurt them unnecessarily either. So it is your website and a few others that help me keep my mind focused ON THE FACTS. I don't know why I'm the only one in such a large family that sees that "the emperor has no clothes..." But it is your unending dedication to telling the real "truth" and your love for your fellow brothers and sisters in the world to find the true way to Christ and a relationship with him that has helped me so much over the years and I just wanted you to know that.
I can't imagine the struggles and hardships the two of you and loved ones have had to endure over the years and I think you should know that you have helped ME in my life and in my struggle for a relationship with Christ. To be honest, I am far from where I need or WANT to be with Him. I don't lead a "sinful" or "wrong" life in any way — in fact I have a very loving, warm relationship with my husband, whom I've been married to for close to 25 years, and our two sons, but I just havn't been able to develop a loving, warm relationship with Christ because of MY inability to do so. To this day, I STILL see him as being disappointed in me...I KNOW that this is Mormon indoctrination and that's why I come back to your site time and time again to try to understand not only the truth about the Mormon church but the "real" Jesus. If He can love and forgive me for past sin, why can't "I"? It's a very difficult issue for me but I am trying...And it is through the noble and unselfish efforts of the two of you that is helping me to find my way in life.
I want you to know that I appreciate all of your hard work and dedication. That I appreciate all of the sacrifices you must make every day to continue on in your work and that I am greatful to you and your husband for it. Please know that there are so many people out there who need you and depend upon you because you bring light and Christ's love for them into their lives and you help dispell so many inaccuracies and untruths about the Mormon church. It is a shame that I feel that I can't live my life openly about my true feelings for the church but, again, I don't see the need in hurting those that I love, and it would hurt them deeply to know that I feel so negatively about the church. So at this time of year when thoughts turn to love and compassion for our fellow human beings, I just wanted to write to you to let you know that I, personally, have appreciated all of your hard work and struggles! Thank you for making me a happier, healthier person and for always being there when I needed you! Your work is not in vain and is desperately needed and appreciated by so many out there! Thank you so very much and I look forward to the day if I can meet and talk you in person and be able to tell you this myself!
[Sandra's Note: Thanks so much for your kind words. We were so pleased to hear of your journey from error to truth. Many ex-Mormons go through similar struggles to your own. A couple of my talks that might encourage you are on this tape—Sandra Tanner Tape No. 4
Also, you would benefit from reading the books—
Many ex-Mormons have found them helpful.]
Dec. 14, 2004
Subject: Biblical quotes in BofM
Has anyone done an analytical comparison of Book of Mormon quotes from the Bible as to the italicized words in the Bible that are included or omitted in the Book of Mormon?
I just happened to notice one passage that aroused my curiosity. 3 Nephi 22:9 says:
"For this, the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee."
The first part of that sentence doesn't make sense without the italicized words from Isaiah 55:9 —
"For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee."
The first italicized words were omitted from the Book of Mormon but the second italicized word was included.
Also, the punctuation in the first part of the quotes (":" in Bible, "," in BM) is better in the Bible than the Book of Mormon, but in the second part it's the other way around ("," in BM, ";" in Bible).
[Steve's Note: There are several good books published that cover your interest in the Book of Mormon and its dependency on the KJV of the Bible.
Additional titles we offer relating to issues surrounding the Book of Mormon can be found at Booklist by Category: Book of Mormon.]
Dec. 14, 2004
My friend's son is engaged to a mormon girl. I would like to give him some material to read, but not sure how to approach him. He is totally being led; doesn't know much about the church, or what would be expected of him.
[Steve's Note: You could consider starting by reading our information sheet titled Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints. You could also consider ordering a tract pack of materials and then select one of those to start the conversation with him.
You might also consider ordering from any of these titles listed below:
Dec. 14, 2004
Subject: Article in our local paper
Hi,I ordered the book "An Insiders View..." a few weeks ago and had it sent to my son in France which he has already received and is reading. (He is a Christian and is going try to convert his Mormon wife...) I'm sure you've already read this article, but I thought it was timely since I just sent my son the book. I was surprised to see the article in our newspaper.
Dec. 14, 2004
...My question is: Are you aware of any LDS who would be considered
mainstream who are practicing polygamy. Of course, I am not asking personally
who-it is, just a general question. My
However, I do know that he told me once that if the prophet told the people that polygamy should be practiced again because he had a word from the Lord, that it would be the thing to do. I mentioned that the former prophets taught—Thus saith the Lord—and asked him how the LDS come to terms with this. He says the Lord can change His mind saying he did one time in the Old Testament—I forget his reference. It never seems that he will ever really discuss these things. He did not comment further. He says anyone who practices polygamy is an apostate even though he might say he is a current LDS mainstream member. ...
Sincerely in Christ,
P.S. There was an article in our paper last Sunday about Grant Palmer and his book about Mormon origins [Insiders View of Mormon Origins]. I know my husband read this [article] but did not comment. I read it, also and did not comment that I had even read it. I guess I'm curious about what he thought especially since Mr. Palmer said his information was from the church archives. It really seems that absolutely nothing affects my husband's feelings about the church. There is an answer for everything. ... I know that UTLM has this book as it was recommended to me by one of your staff. I have the J.A.C. Redmond book and thought it very significant. I pray someday my husband will read it. ...
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Your husband is right. If the LDS Church finds out that a member is practicing polygamy today he/she is excommunicated. (And this does occasionally happen.) However, section 132, teaching polygamy, is still in their Doctrine and Covenants. So the church is sending out a mixed message.
Yes, we carry Palmer's book. See: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins.
This would be a great book for him to read, if he ever would.]
Dec. 15, 2004
I dare you to go to church, read the Book of Mormon, talk to people and pray and then tell me that this is wrong!!!
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. I assure you, as a fifth generation LDS member, I attended church, read the Book of Mormon, talked to people and prayed about the truth or falsity of Joseph Smith's claims. I read all of the LDS scriptures many times, read tons of LDS material and researched in various university libraries to read the early LDS sources. I believe my prayers were answered and God led me to the information that showed Smith was a false prophet.
You can read more about our experiences here: About Us.]
Dec. 15, 2004
After spending many days of soaking up as much information as I can I have experienced doubt of course, but more intensely I have felt joy. I am truly grateful for your hard work and research to give everyone the opportunity to learn MORE than what we've been spoon fed our whole lives.
I find it interesting in reading the emails from others that many mormon members are angry and accuse you of being hateful and evil. I believe this is the first step in their own realization that something is wrong. I pray these people will receive guidance to continue to learn the truth and develop a closer relationship with Jesus. ... Thank YOU!! Love YOU!!
Dec. 15, 2004
What do Christians believe about creation and evolution?
[Sandra's Note: While Christians believe God is the creator of the universe (see Gen 1:1 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.'), there are various views on how this was accomplished. There are Christians that hold to a young earth model and other Christians believe in an old earth model. The central point is that God created everything. Here are some links to sites that present one or the other of these viewpoints.
Old-Earth Creation Sites:
Young-Earth Creation Sites:
Dec. 17, 2004
Subject: Jesus and Mormonism
I'm teaching an adult Sunday School class (American Baptist) regarding Mormonism and a question has occurred to me during my studies and I was wondering if it has been broached by anyone before.
Specifically, why do the Mormons even bother to claim Jesus in their religion? Why aren't they just LDS? When you consider their belief that God is simply an exalted man and all men can become gods if they follow the mormon path, then what part could Jesus possibly have in the practice of mormonism. After all, who saved Jesus' father? Have there been innumerable sons of god who were called to sacrifice themselves? If god became god on his own, why do we need Jesus?
I know this was a rather long question, and you don't really have to answer it, but it has been bothering me. I lived in the SLC area as a young man and I appreciated your work then and even more so now. God bless you in all that you do.
[Steve's Note: The LDS Church claims Jesus while believing that they have a better view of him that anyone else. They use Jesus' name to gain acceptance and to create a common bond with those they come into contact with.
It is only after they have made their initial impression as a Christian religion that they then present the rest of their message and their unique doctrines. If they were to start off by presenting all that makes the LDS Church unique they would have little if any success. You may be interested in reading our online articles, LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible and LDS Leaders Define Their Concept of Jesus Christ.]
Dec. 17, 2004
Subject: Artice on Mormon Church and Racist Heritage (12/16/04)
"White Wash—For black saints, forgetting the LDS Church's racist heritage is easier said than done."
Dec. 18, 2004
I am a christian and am wondering if you have heard of the ministry of Texe Marrs in Austin,Texas. Power of Prophecy. I have an article he wrote a few years ago re;Mormon Temples of the Dead. He mentions it is a religion of deceit, Satanism, pedophilia and corruption. Tombs of the dead, the US federal gov't, Bill Clinton, the FBI etc. not submitting an IRS tax return. are just a few of the comments he makes. ... I love the Mormon people and those involved in cults who have become christians. ...
In Christ Jesus,
[Steve's Note: Yes, I am familiar with Texe Marrs. In my opinion he has been over-zealous in his views and his conclusions. He tends to see too much direct demonic activity as the immediate cause behind much of what others believe and practice in their faith. I have read his article "Mormon Temples of the Dead." Mr. Marrs is either misinformed or he willfully distorts Mormon teachings and history for his own ends. For examples of others who have had to confront statements made by Texe Marrs please visit the below links.
Dec. 19, 2004
I have recently been given the opportunity to witness to a friend of mine and her missionary brother. I told them that I had a few questions about their faith, namely how do they accept the changes to the Book of Mormon among many.
I have been researching Mormonism for five years now and your website has provided invaluable assistance. The only thing that I have not found is how do I witness to someone without coming off in a destructive manner. I will be challenging their faith, a part of who they are, and I am worried that it will be all tearing down and no building up. I want them to know that I do love them as fellow human beings. Please give me some advice on how to lovingly witness to them. I have read your testimony and feel that you would be the best people to help me with this.
Thank you very much.
[Steve's Note: I would encourage you to first read our online paper, Sharing Your Faith With Latter-day Saints.
You may also be interested in reading from the books we offer and are listed below:
Dec. 19, 2004
Subject: Number of New testament quotes in the Book of Mormon
How many times does the Book of Mormon quote the New Testament? Or, how many NT allusions are there in the Book of Mormon? I know you are busy and I do appreciate your time and effort with these questions and your work helping the LDS (of which I am a former member).
[Sandra's Note: Sorry, don't have a final count. We have compiled a list of phrases taken from the Bible and used in the Book of Mormon in our book, Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible. Also see The Use of the Bible In the Book of Mormon.
Also read these articles—
Dec. 19, 2004
Subject: Raised to believe
Having been raised Mormon for over twenty years I am so glad to know there is someone working for the truth. I thank you for your thorough research and references. I recently read a book put out by [a Mormon] claiming connection to Hebrew writing and symbols/petroglyphs of the ancient Americas. He was a professor at BYU . Dr. Harris I believe is his name. If I recall, the name of the book is The Many Names of God . I was wondering if you were planning any research into this claim. I am sure, from speaking with his daughter, that no other outside source commented on his research before he published his work. I thought this to be a bit arrogant, but I am not a published author so what do I know.
Thanks again for your ministry,
[Sandra's Note: Sorry, we have no plans to review or respond to his book. I suggest you read the following article by an LDS author who has serious reservations about his book.
Dec. 19, 2004
Subject: anthon transcript
Has anyone taken the characters from the anthon transcript and performed a character by character match up, like they can do with finger prints. Has any been matched with masonic or magic characters in use during Smiths time. thanks for your web-site.
[Sandra's Note: We have looked at Masonic and magic cyphers and have not found enough similarities to say they provided any source for Smith. Here is a link to a site with a number of different scripts.
If you will go to our page on the Anthon Transcript, you will see that we have posted a picture of the Anthon script and quote from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism to give the LDS side of the event. We have discussed some of the issues in our on-line book, The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 5, The Anthon Transcript.
No one has a first person account of Martin Harris' visit to Prof. Anthon, only Joseph Smith's second hand account. But here is the main part, as recorded in Joseph Smith's history:
...I [Joseph Smith] commenced copying the characters off the plates. I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them,... Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York. For what took place relative to him and the characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances, as he related them to me after his return, which was as follows:
I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters that had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters.' " (History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, vol. 1: pp.19-20)
That the event could not have happened as described is demonstrated by the fact that the results cannot be duplicated. Show the Anthon transcript to any Egyptologist and he will not respond as Smith claims Anthon responded.
First, no one could read Egyptian at the time.
Second, no one can translate the Anthon script even today.
Third, the text of the Anthon page is not Egyptian, but various squiggles that could more readily be taken from English.
Fourth, why would there be four different types of script used in the passage?
There is a good article in Sunstone Mag. by Edward Ashment, a former LDS Church employee, who was coordinator for Translation Services during the 1970's (see Sunstone 5:3/30 (May 80).]
Dec. 20, 2004
Subject: Mountian Meadows
I recently heard that Pres. Hinckley had given certain historians unlimited access to the church archives to do a complete and unvarnished work on the Mountian Meadows Massacre and let the truth be told no matter what it is. That what ever the truth is, it could not hurt the church at this late day and time. I also heard that the church leaders were not going to edit the work whatever. What is the truth to the rumor or at least tell me what you have heard.
[Steve's Note: As I understand it the LDS Church is in the process of giving some of their own historians permission to write a book on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. This book is to be published by Oxford Press although it seems to be experiencing some kind of delay in its release. Perhaps Oxford Press has begun to realize that the LDS Church does not need Oxford's help in publishing books unless it hopes to thereby gain credibility through the association of Oxford's long-standing reputation of excellence.
If this volume fails to include key documents and information that outside historians have not been able to include in their research, this book will contribute little if anything to the discussion. I believe the LDS Church may still be concerned that the legacy of the tragedy at Mountain Meadows can still reach down to today in ways that will harm the efforts of their church.]
[Additional note from Sandra: Here is an article from the Deseret News on the upcoming book:
And here is a link to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune:
Dec. 20, 2004
Dear Sandra, Jerald, and ULM staff,
... I wondered if you happen to have on hand a copy of the First Presidency Statement on the Negro Question, dated 17 August 1949. I am trying to locate a copy. ... If you have a copy you could send me, I would be happy to pay for your expenses. Thank you for checking.
In His Name,
[Sandra's Note: We don't have a photo copy of the original. However, the text is printed in an Appendix of Neither White Nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church:
Appendix: Authoritative Statements on the Status of Blacks
August 17, 1949
The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time. The prophets of the Lord have made several statements as to the operation of the principle. President Brigham Young said: "Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a skin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the holy priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death. And when all the rest of the children have received their blessings in the holy priesthood, then that curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will then come up and possess the priesthood, and receive all the blessings which we now are entitled to."
President Wilford Woodruff made the following statement: "The day will come when all that race will be redeemed and possess all the blessings which we now have."
The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes. (Appendix, Neither White Nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church, edited by Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, Signature Books, 1984)
Trust this helps.]
Dec. 21, 2004
Subject: Joseph Smith and the Creator
I came across a quote from J. Smith, but can't find documentation to back it up. Please let me know if this is fact or myth.
"God is the master of the universe, not the Creator"
[Sandra's Note: I assume you saw that statement in the news article by Richard Ostling, "The Bicentennial of Joseph Smith's Birth Renews Debates", AP, Dec. 18, 2004 where he wrote:
"Smith said that matter is eternal so 'God is the master of the universe, not the creator,' Bushman explained, and humans 'are all gods in embryo.' Smith also taught that God was not always God but 'was once as we are now, and is an exalted man.' "
So Joseph Smith did not say 'God is the master of the universe' — that is Richard Bushman's wording (as quoted by Richard Ostling in his article). He was summarizing Smith's doctrine that matter is eternal, intelligences (our true self) are as eternal as God. So God is seen as an organizer of existing matter, not as creator. See Smith's sermons:
Here are two quotes from LDS Apostle John A. Widtsoe:
"After this truth had been demonstrated, it was a necessary conclusion that matter is eternal, and that the quantity of matter in the universe cannot be diminished nor increased. This great generalization, known as the law of the Persistence of Matter or Mass, is the foundation stone of modern science. It began to find general acceptance among men about the time of Joseph Smith's birth, though many religious sects still hold that God, as the Supreme Ruler, is able at will to create matter from nothing. The establishment of this law marked also the final downfall of alchemy and other kindred occult absurdities. Mormonism teaches that all things are material.
"No doctrine taught by Joseph Smith is better understood by his followers than that matter in its elementary condition is eternal, and that it can neither be increased nor diminished. As early as May, 1833, the Prophet declared that, 'the elements are eternal,' and in a sermon delivered in April, 1844, he said, 'Element had an existence from the time God had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end.' " (John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith As Scientist, Ch.2, p.11-12)
"God is the Master-builder. This whole doctrine means that God is the organizer of worlds, and all upon them. He is not the Creator of the materials and forces of the universe, for they are eternal; He is the master builder who uses the simple elements of nature for his purposes. It is also plain that, according to 'Mormon' doctrine, there is no special life force. The intelligence residing in a stone is in quality, as far as it goes, the same as the intelligence possessed by man. But, man is so organized that a greater amount of intelligence, a fullness of it, centers in him, and he is as a consequence essentially and eternally different from the stone. President Young also said, 'The life that is within us is a part of an eternity of life, and is organized spirit, which is clothed upon by tabernacles, thereby constituting our present being, which is designed for the attainment of further intelligence. The matter comprising our bodies and spirits has been organized from the eternity of matter that fills immensity...,' " (John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith As Scientist, Ch.8, p.68 - p.69)
In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism we read:
Latter-day Saints reject the troublesome premise of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). Affirming rather that there are actualities that are coeternal with God. These coeternal actualities include ITELLIGENCES (sometimes perceived as primal selves or persons), chaotic matter (or mass energy), and laws and principles (perhaps best regarded as the properties and relations of matter and intelligences). . . . Since there are realities that are coeternal with God, his omnipotence must be understood not as the power to bring about any state of affairs absolutely, but rather as the power to bring about any state of affairs consistent with the natures of coeternal realities. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, p. 478, Macmillan, 1992)
The LDS Church teachings that gods, matter and man's intelligence have always existed. They therefore reject the standard Christian teaching that God is the only self-existing one and that he created matter out of nothing. This view is reinforced in the Book of Abraham creation account:
And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. (Book of Abraham 4:1, Pearl of Great Price)
Hope this answers your question.]
Dec. 21, 2004
I have seen the word "solemnized" when referred to something with marriage. I do know what an endowment ceremony is so what is the difference?
[Sandra's Note: According to Mormonism, if an LDS couple had already married in a civil ceremony they would need to participate in a temple marriage ceremony in order to have their marriage last through eternity, rather than just 'til death do us part.' This is referred to as having one's marriage 'solemnized' or 'sealed.'
Before a Mormon can have a temple marriage he/she would have first taken out their "endowments," which could have been done any number of years, or days, prior to 'solemnizing' their marriage in the temple. One can take out ones 'endowments' (meaning their secret ritual where they learn the secret handshakes, swear allegiance to God, the church, and their spouse) without getting married, as in the case of all the single LDS missionaries. The endowment ceremony is a necessary prerequisite for solemnizing ones marriage (also referred to as being 'sealed') in the temple. In both the endowment ceremony and the marriage/sealing ceremony the couple would be dressed all in white with a green apron. I hope this helped.]
Dec. 21, 2004
Have you heard of any lawsuits about teaching false information by the LDS Church? People have been hurt both emotionally and financially. With the recent corporate scandals and the latest drugs pulled, telling the truth is everything.
[Steve's Note: The courts have historically refrained from executing judgements relating to the tenets of belief held by religions. In this free society the guiding principle has been that each person is responsible for his/her own association with any religious group or teaching and as such the burden lies with the individual.]
Dec. 21, 2004
Hello, I am a 24 year old italian member of the LDS Church. I was surfing the net looking for stuff and new ideas for my lessons in the church when I found your web site.
I've been through it and I was at first shocked, and then disgusted. You are not having any idea of what you are doing; if you would, you'd stop immediately. I guess that since living in Utah you cannot realize how pure and wonderful the gospel brought forth by the LDS church is, because it has been around you since you were born.
We are now seeing miracles here in Italy as the Church moves forward and more baptisms come. Our main obstacle is the Catholic Church, I guess the main obstacle for our brethern in USA are anti-mormons like you, but each of us has his own trials:) I only know that at the end of all you and all the other anti will be soon forgotten, and the faithful Saints will inherit all the blessings stored for them.
Dec. 22, 2004
I came in yesterday and you were gracious enough to spend a lot of time with me answering some of my questions. Thank you so much. I want to know more so please add me to your Messenger newsletter list. I have already read many of the articles you gave me in past newsletters. I have also looked some information up on your website that you printed in the newsletter. . . .
Thanks again for your time yesterday. It is going to be increasingly difficult for me to teach my High Priest Group lessons in the future!
Dec. 22, 2004
Subject: Avenging the Blood of Joseph Smith
First, Thanks for appearing on Crosstalk with Vic Eliason on Friday. Your comments and insight concerning Mormonism were a great blessing to my wife and I.
Second, after the program I pulled out a copy of Mormonism, Mama and Me that I had purchased from Gordon Fraser in the late 70's. The appendix of that book contains language from the temple ceremony. It includes promises to avenge the blood of Joseph Smith, to fight for the overthrow of the United States Government and to disavow allegience to our country.
If that language was part of the ceremony when people such as Senator Hatch went through the ceremony (assuming he did)? What do Mormon's say about the conflict of interest? It would seem that such language would require a potential candidate on any level of the political spectrum either to renounce the ceremony or to abstain from political office.
In the care of His grace,
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the note. The temple ceremony has gone through many changes. The oath to avenge the death of Joseph Smith was removed sometime after 1914 but before the mid 1930's.
I assume Senator Hatch did not take the oath to avenge the death of Joseph Smith. However, he would have taken the oath of consecration.
The excerpt below is from the 1984 temple ceremony
THE LAW OF CONSECRATION.
PETER: A couple will now come to the alter. (The Witness couple comes forward, and kneels at the altar as before.) We are instructed to give unto you the Law of Consecration as contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants (The Officiator picks up a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants from the altar, and holds it up in view of all patrons.), in connection with the Law of the Gospel and the Law of Sacrifice which you have already received. It is that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
All arise. (All patrons stand.) Each of you bring your right arm to the square.
You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in this, (The Officiator holds up a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants again.), the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
Each of you bow your head and say "yes." (emphasis added)
There is quit a bit of information on the temple ceremony and its changes on our site. See:
Several different versions of the temple ritual are given in our book, Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.]
Dec. 22, 2004
Subject: MAY GOD CONTINUE TO RICHLY BLESS YOUR MINISTRY!
Dear Jerald and Sandra,
Just a note to say "thank you" for your your dedicated service in exposing the myths of Mormonism. As a former Seventh-day Adventist minister, I am an active participant in the discussion forum at www.formeradventist.com . Being that Adventism and Mormonism are nineteenth-century cults, I see many similarities such as extrabiblical authority, health message, hierarchical church government, etc. I am grateful that you send me your Salt Lake Messenger. I have received it for several years. The former SDA magazine is titled PROCLAMATION. It is for Sabbatarians, inquiring Adventists, former Adventists, and concerned Evangelicals.
Your website is truly outstanding. When I mentioned your ministry to some Mormon boys (missionaries), they replied, "They are very bitter." I find that response to be very similar to the SDA one. The Mormon missionaries are very much aware of your ministry, so keep up your good work. I continue to pray for your important ministry.
In awe of His grace,
PS: My wife Sylvia and I officially left Seventh-day Adventism in 2000. We are most delighted with our new church family at First Evangelical Free Church here in Lincoln, NE (about 1,000 people attend our services every Sunday). When Mormons officially leave their church, are they also likely to never join another church as former SDAs? One of the primary objectives of the Former Adventist Fellowship is to encourage formers to become active in a local Christian church. Many are so wounded from Adventism that they cannot trust another belief system.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the note and kind words. Our experience has been the same as you describe for former Seventh Day Adventests. Upon learning of the errors of Mormonism, most exiting Mormons will either become atheists, agnostics or go into new age thinking. It appears that less than half will go on to search out the Bible and settle in a Christian church.]
Dec. 22, 2004
Dear Tanners & Associates
Thank you so much for the work that you do. Your honest and forthright approach along with your vast database of accurate information and references, which you generously make available to all, helped me (and eventually my husband), to detect the truth, and with that knowledge, I found the courage to leave the LDS Church and its falsehoods. Finally I'm at peace and am truly free. Thank you!
Dec. 23, 2004
I am giving my Mormon daugther-in-law a copy of Dr. Todd Compton's book, "[In Sacred Loneliness:] The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith." I don't know anything about the author. He is a devoted Mormon I understand but is he teaching somewhere of writing other things. ...
[Sandra's Note: Here is Compton's web page. He is still an active Mormon, but more open-minded than most.
Dec. 23, 2004
Subject: McConkies Mormon Doctrine Question
I have begun reading 'Mormonism, Shadow or Reality' that I bought the other day and have run into an interesting item. I went to all the references cited in Chapter 1 and as I began to read the first page of Chapter 2 on the right-top column where reference is made to Bruce R. McConkies statements regarding Plural Marriage on page 522 and 523 of the 1958 edition.
I tried to look this up in the 1996 version but nothing was found. So, I looked up Plural Marriage and on page 578 in the last paragraph on the second column he states "Plural marriage is not essential to salvation or exaltation". However, the next statement you site from the 1958 version is no longer in his later books ( "Any who pretend or assume to engage in plural....").....I wonder why this was dropped - or, do you know if I am missing it from somewhere else in his 1966 version?
Thanks for you input and I'm in no hurry for an answer. I just thought it was interesting that I could not find the second statement anywhere in the 1966 edition.
[Steve's Note: Much of the wording in the book, Mormon Doctrine was reworked for its second edition. The changes which were made were to soften the tone of the work not to retract earlier statements made by Bruce McConkie. Bruce McConkie's son relates in his book, The Bruce R. McConkie Story, Reflections of a Son that his father caused embarrassment to the LDS Church by stating what he did in the first edition of his book. A very telling quote is:
"Question: What was all the flap and fuss about Mormon Doctrine, anyway?
"Response: The first edition of Mormon Doctrine, released in 1958, caused something of a stir by directly identifying Roman Catholicism as the "great and abominable church" spoken of by Nephi in the Book of Mormon. The authoritative tone of the book was also a concern, with the question being asked, "What right does Bruce McConkie have to speak for the Church?" ...
"Elder Kimball was a wise mentor who taught him [Bruce McConkie] the difference between being right and being appropriate. The fact that something is true does not necessarily mean one ought to say it."
For a complete excerpt relating to this you can visit the following link:
[Additional note from Sandra: The changes seem to be mainly focused on controversial topics like the LDS Church's view of the Roman Catholic Church, racial issues and polygamy. Here is a quote from an article by David Buerger regarding the book, Mormon Doctrine:
In spite of its stature among Church members, this book was neither commissioned nor endorsed by the Church. Even its author does not claim that his is the official position on any given subject. Indeed, in 1960, the First Presidency commented that Mormon Doctrine "had been a source of concern to the Brethren ever since it was published," and "is full of errors and misstatements." They concluded, for a time at least, that the book should "not be republished even in a corrected form"—to do so "would be embarrassing to [Elder McConkie] and lessen his influence with the members of the Church." (David O. McKay Office Journal, 7, 8, 27, 28 Jan. 1960: Marion G. Romney to David O. McKay, 28 Jan. 1959.) Of particular concern was the assertion that the Roman Catholic Church was the "Church of the Devil" (pp. 108, 129). Other volatile articles on Catholicism, including Indulgences, Mariolotry, Penance, Supererogation, and Tran-substantiation, were removed in his 1966 revised edition. Nevertheless, over eighty percent of the changes in this second edition involved cosmetic modifications which changed the tone but ultimately not the meaning of the book's content.
Such official opposition notwithstanding, the perception persists that Elder McConkie's Mormon Doctrine offers the definitive, even quasi-official stance on all doctrinal matters. ... Almost half of the book's quotes belong to the Prophet Joseph Smith, representing approximately 33% of the total nonscriptural text cited in the book. The runner up was Elder McConkie's father-in-law, Joseph Fielding Smith. However, while Elder McConkie's references to Joseph Fielding Smith's books constituted about 29% of all nonscriptural references, actual citations from President Smith's books only comprised about 60% of the total lines cited in Mormon Doctrine. About 15% of the book's cited text came from Joseph F. Smith's Gospel Doctrine; almost 10% came from the Lectures on Faith. Clearly, most Mormons would consider these sources to be authoritative. ("Speaking With Authority: The Theological Influence of Elder Bruce R. McConkie," by David John Buerger, Sunstone 10:3/9, March 1985) ]
Dec. 23, 2004
Subject: LDS edition of View of the Hebrews
In researching the sources of the Book of Mormon, I have come across a reference to this title (citation from Library of Congress catalog):
Smith, Ethan, 1762-1849. View of the Hebrews / complete text by Ethan Smith ; edited with an introduction by Charles D. Tate, Jr. 2nded. Provo, Utah : Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University ; Salt Lake City, Utah : Distributed by Bookcraft, c1996. xxxvi, 230 p. ; 24 cm.
Andrew H. Hedges' review of this edition in Farms Review (vol. 9, issue 1, 1997) claims:
"...I can only applaud the Religious Studies Center's willingness to publish View of the Hebrews. Not only has it made available an important primary source for those studying early Mormonism and its detractors, the center has, by publishing this book, demonstrated confidence in Joseph Smith's calling and mission as the prophet of the restoration, as well as in the divine origin of the Book of Mormon."
But, very curiously, the book is no longer in print. In 2002, when a copy was auctioned by Deseret Book (http://deseretbook.com/auctions/show-auction?auction_id=119051), it was described as "scarce," and the winning bid was $40, twice the original price.
I found no review of the book on your website, but it might be worth one. I am wondering whether the book actually had an impact opposite what was intended. ...
[Sandra's Note: I haven't seen the LDS printing of View of the Hebrews and haven't had anyone comment on it to me, other than mentioning that it was printed. You might be able to arrange to get a copy to look at through inter-library loan.
Reprints of the book have been available for years. We sell a photo reprint of View of the Hebrews. It can also be read online at:
Two good books that look at View of the Hebrews and its possible influence on Joseph Smith are:
Dec. 24, 2004
I seem to recall reading about someone's introduction to polygamy at Nauvoo that want something like this: He was doing his rounds as a policeman or night watchman and caught a married man slipping out an unmarried woman's bedroom window. The policeman intended to castrate the offender but was prevailed upon to take the man before the church leaders. I believe Hyrum Smith was at the meeting but not Joseph. He explained that the man had done no wrong as he had been legitimately sealed to this other wife, showed him Joseph's secret revelation, etc.
Would you happen to know the source of this?
[Steve's Note: This is found in John D. Lee's book, Confessions of John D. Lee (1877 ed., otherwise known as Mormonism Unveiled). It is located in chapter 19 on pages 288 and following. The section is titled "How I First Heard of the Doctrine of Polygamy."]
[Additional note from Sandra: That section can be read online at:
Just scroll down to page 288.]
Dec. 25, 2004
Subject: Comment and Question
I suppose you could consider this as more of a question than a comment. Do you believe that your website could possibly cause contention between others and yourself? Just curious. Thanks, your honest response is appreciated.
[Steve's Note: Examining the teachings of the LDS Church (or any other faith) does not automatically mean that contention is caused by this. Otherwise, one might have to consider that when Jesus publicly challenged the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees that he was guilty of causing contention.
Additionally, Mormons would have to admit that by the sending out of their missionaries that they would similarly be the cause of contention between themselves and others. We believe that the teachings and beliefs of all should be tested and evaluated to see if it can stand. Like Jesus, we must not allow ourselves to be prevented from lovingly speaking the truth by others who may or may not agree with us.]
Dec. 29, 2004
For Christmas I was sent a copy of your literature by an In-Law. Now I don't hold it against them or you for that matter, but I do have some observations.
I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise, because what you believe you believe to your core of existence, just like me. Unlike you I was not born into the Church, I came into the church just like you came into your present belief.
What is so wrong about the Articles of Faith? Particularly the 11th one:
" We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our won conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
I have spent the last 20 years of my life defending this country in the US Navy Submarine service.
Why can't you just let folks in the LDS religon alone? Why spend all your energy etc... on your endeavors? Why don't you focus on other religions such as Jewish, Catholics, Islam etc...? Why focus on just LDS? The numbers are minor as compared to the above 3.
I've spent 20 years defending folks' right to practice religion in their own way. Did not the Pilgrims and such leave England due to persecution?! Is that not what you are doing? What about the history of the Church, the many massacres and killing/persecution of church members. When can a group of people just be left alone to practice religion in their own way. You even said that the Church taught you good moral principles. What is wrong with that? Why can I just pick my religion, based on my own reasons, live it and leave others alone? Why don't I get all fired up about some of the destructive religions, while others do? Maybe tolerance means a whole lot more to me?
My advice is this. Be tolerant of others. Be willing to teach when they come to you. Spend your time studying out your beliefs.
Now will you take this advice. No. You will continue on in the way you are going, because you believe it is right. We will see in the end, and I pray we are both right! How is that possible?
Think of a classroom with Jesus as the teacher. During your school years there were times in which the teacher had to shift gears and teach the material to you or others who just didn't get it in another way. I think that is the way religion is. Jesus teaches in many ways to get people to the same end result. You believe you will go to heaven, and so do I. What else matters?
Think about it.
All I ask is be sensitive to what you are doing. Think about the children, and people of the Church and what you are doing to them. If you keep this in mind you will be fine. Sometimes people believe they are doing good when the blinders they have on don't allow them to see the harm they really are doing.
Thank you for listening to me.
[Steve's Note: I would venture to say that you became a Mormon through the influence of someone who was not content to let you just remain where you were—a non-member of the LDS Church. Using your reasoning that person should have refrained from interfering with your life and your faith. I would also suggest that the LDS Church should stop sending out its missionaries to gain converts if we should just let others "worship how, where, or what they may."
As to why we address issues relating to Mormonism and no other faiths the answer is that no one can deal with all religions—it is too large of a task. So since we live in Utah and the founders of Utah Lighthouse Ministry grew up as Mormons it is only natural that the focus of this ministry would be to Mormons. We still have many friends, neighbors and loved ones who are in the LDS Church and our desire is to tell them of God's unconditional love for them.
You may believe something sincerely and yet be sincerely mistaken in your beliefs. Surely, you would have to agree that Mormonism does not teach that I can have the same eternal life that a Mormon hopes to gain if I were never to join the LDS Church or accept LDS temple work. If I can not gain celestial exaltation without these things, how then can it be said that I will go to heaven just as you will?
We try every day to approach our work here as a serious responsibility before the Lord. We are all too aware that lives may be impacted and that we must speak what we know to be true. ( I would also add here that the LDS Church has the same opportunity to affect the lives of children, those in churches and many families by bringing their message to others.) Yet we must do so in gentleness and respect—never attacking the person but rather keeping our focus on the content of the teachings of the LDS Church and how those teachings measure up against the Bible.]
In your response, which by the way, I'm very happy to have recieved, you made 2 mistakes.
1st: I asked to learn about the Mormon church when I converted over. Big difference from what I consider "Bible Thumpers". The Church missionaries as you know, do not force their way into your house, they do not corner you in public etc... they are just out in the world. Sure they visit homes, but they are invited in. If folks do not want them in or to listen to them, they say No and the Missionaires respect that. That is in keeping, in my opinion, with the 11th Article of Faith.
2nd: You said, "You may believe something sincerely and yet be sincerely mistaken in your beliefs. Surely, you would have to agree that Mormonism does not teach that I can have the same eternal life that a Mormon hopes to gain if I were never to join the LDS Church or accept LDS temple work. If I can not gain celestial exaltation without these things, how then can it be said that I will go to heaven just as you will?"
I'm surprised, especially because you were raised in the church and now study its teachings to bring the church down and miss the "Plan of Salvation". It was even highlighted in your literature I recieved.
You will have the same opportunity to gain exaltation in the celestial kingdom as anyone else. You will be taught after this life and have an opportunity to accept the teachings or not. In the meantime ordinances for the dead continue until it is done. You accept the truth, the ordinances are done for you by proxy, Bingo you are in the celestial kingdom. The key here is "Choice" or "Free Agency". At one point everyone will have to choose, they will be afforded the truth or will know it from God/Christ themselves. At this point the truth will be made plain and they will have to choose. So you see, the LDS church does teach that everyone, even those who do not accept the truth during this existence will be afforded the opportunity to recieve the same level in heaven as everyone else.
Lastly, how can you attack a religon, albeit gently, and not attack the person? These beliefs are so very much the existence of a person. I will venture to say that you can not. Religion is the one subject that is so much part of a person that is devout that you can not separate the two without hurting the individual.
It all comes down to you have your belief's and folks have theirs. If we just live our religion and do the good it promotes we will have a wonderful life. We are all operating on Faith. ... Your interpretation of the Bible is just that, Your interpretation. Can a majority be wrong? In 1920 a majority of the people in the world did not believe in the possibility of going to the moon. The minority did. Guess who was wrong? ...
Dec. 29, 2004
for thought only
How can you teach people about something you have no knowledge on other than what you read and hear but have not actually experienced first hand? you are not making available to people what otherwise isn't, because you have a lack of knowledge about it!
[Sandra's Note: If you will take the time to read About Us on our web site you will see that Jerald and I were both raised LDS. I was very active as a teenager, graduated from LDS High School Seminary, attended Institute of Religion, taught Sunday School, attended the dedication of the Los Angeles temple, etc. We have both read all of the LDS scriptures a number of times and read far more of the LDS books than most members. I don't expect a member of the LDS Church to agree with my conclusions, but I do hope that people will see that we have invested countless hours reading and researching official LDS material and do have a certain amount of "first hand" experience.
I hope you will continue your studies into the early history of Joseph Smith and the LDS Church. The unvarnished story is quite different from the official white-wash from LDS headquarters.
May God lead us both as we continue to seek for truth.]
Dec. 29, 2004
I am teaching [a] class at my church. During the second session on theology, a question was asked regarding a statement reportedly made by President Hinkley.
"Not too long after Pres. Hinkley took office, in an interview with the Tribune, he made a statement about the teaching that as man is God once was, and as God is man may become. He said that is a tenet that has been passed around for a lot of years, but was never part of the official church teaching. At the time I took the lessons and joined the LDS church, that was taught to me, and we discussed it in priesthood meetings at various times. ...
Do you have any information regarding this? This seems like quite a big turn around if true. It doesn't sound accurate to me, but I wanted to try to find an accurate answer.
Thanks so much for your ministry.
May God richly bless you.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley wavered concerning the Mormon doctrine that God was once a man when he was questioned by TIME magazine:
"In an interview with TIME, President Hinckley seemed intent on downplaying his faith's distinctiveness.... At first Hinckley seemed to qualify the idea that men could become gods, suggesting that 'it's of course an idea. It's a hope for a wishful thing,' but later affirmed that 'yes, of course they can.' (He added that women could too, 'as companions to their husbands. They can't conceive a king without a queen.') On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he sounded uncertain, 'I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it... I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don't know a lot about it, and I don't think others know a lot about it.' " (Time, August 4, 1997 page 56, emhasis added)
Unlike the first Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, President Hinckley gives the impression that he is ashamed of the teaching that God was once a man. In the Mormon Church publication, Times and Seasons, Smith boldly proclaimed that God was once a mortal man and that men can become Gods:
"First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret.... I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined that God was God from all eternity.... God himself; the Father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did... You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves... No man can learn you more than what I have told you." (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pages 613-14, emphasis added)
Evidently Hinckley doesn't pay attention to what is printed in his own church's teaching manuals. The 1997 edition of Gospel Principles quotes from this same sermon of Joseph Smith's in their chapter titled "Exaltation":
"The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: 'When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil [died] before you will have learned them. It is not to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348).
"This is the way our Heavenly Father became God. Joseph Smith taught: 'It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God. . . . He was once a man like us; . . . God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46). (Gospel Principles, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997, p. 305)
Dec. 29, 2004
Subject: awesome work
I just stumbled onto your website just recently and want to commend you. I have grown up in predominately mormon communities most of my life I now live in southern utah were we are very much a minority in our views of the bible.
I was outside my house a couple of years ago after I had just rededicated my life to god's word and just recently received the babtism of the holy ghost and I saw the missionaries walking right by my house out of the abundance of my heart I began talking the word with them and I remember one mentioning man you sure know your bible and granted I was barely 6 mths in the lord .
... I really inquired of the holy spirit how could these people allow themselves to be veiled like this and he showed me the scripture
2cor.4:4 that the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not and I thought well how could he do that. these kids been in the bible longer than I had. how could they not see this? then the spirit showed me
2cor11-14;15 and marvel not that satan himself is transformed into an angel of light therefore it is no great thing that his ministers also be tranformed
I was like wow, you mean satan has mininsters? yes very much so. ... its been a pleasure reading your site keep up the good work. ... our prayer for these people is that we thank our God through our Lord jesus christ that the docrines and commandments of men are becoming more and more distasteful to your chosen people thank you
keep up the good work
Dec. 29, 2004
I have a meeting set with some missionaries and would like to use a quote I've read. I just don't remember where I've read it. The quote is, "All of Mormanism hinges on the testimony of Joseph Smith." There could be more but that is the basic gist of it. I seem to recall it being said by an apostle or prophet of the church. I just don't want to throw it into discussion without being more exact and referenced. I hope and pray you can help,
[Sandra's Note: Here are several references on this. Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith (who later became the president of the LDS Church), declared:
THE DIVINE MISSION OF JOSEPH SMITH
CHURCH STANDS OR FALLS WITH JOSEPH SMITH. Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p.188, 1954)
Brigham Young, second president of the LDS Church, taught:
Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the vail in the great work of the last days. I can tell our beloved brother Christians who have slain the Prophets and butchered and otherwise caused the death of thousands of Latter-day Saints, the priests who have thanked God in their prayers and thanksgiving from the pulpit that we have been plundered, driven, and slain, and the deacons under the pulpit, and their brethren and sisters in their closets, who have thanked God, thinking that the Latter-day Saints were wasted away, something that no doubt will mortify them—something that, to say the least, is a matter of deep regret to them--namely, that no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are—I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 289, October 9, 1859, emphasis added)
Apostle George F. Richards, speaking about Joseph Smith's first vision at the 1948 LDS Conference, stated:
"In my remarks today, I desire to speak of some of the evidences of the divine, personal, and glorified existence of God, the Eternal Father, and of his Son, Jesus Christ, a knowledge of whom I regard as the world's greatest need; also to give evidence of the fact that Joseph Smith was a divinely inspired prophet of God, that he was an instrument in the hands of God in the restoration of the everlasting gospel, and the establishment of the Church and kingdom of God on earth in this, the gospel Dispensation of the Fulness of Times....
[Joseph Smith said] I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." He again forbade me to join with any of them. . . (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 215-20.)
"It is of supreme importance that the story told by this boy Joseph Smith, and the evidence of its truth, be carefully and prayerfully considered, for upon the truth or falsity of his story, Mormonism, so-called, must stand or fall." (Conference Report, October 1948, p.10, Oct. 1948, emphasis added)
Trust this helps.]
Dec. 29, 2004
...I thank you for the great work you have committed yourselves to do for the Lord and the LDS people. My wife is a former member of the LDS church. Years ago, much of your research helped free her from the oppressive doctrines after which she gave her life to Christ. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and the Utah Lighthouse Ministry.
In Christ's Service,
Dec. 29, 2004
I was wondering. could you tell me what symbols are on Lucifer's apron in the Temple ceremony? Is there a way I could get a picture of that somewhere online?
[Sandra's Note: Sorry, don't know of a picture. A drawing of it is in an old expose from the 1800's of the temple ritual. See Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.
But I don't think the devil's apron looks exactly like that today. It is either black or dark navy blue with embroidery, some symbols from Masonry (compass and square, pillars, checkered carpet). It's possibly modeled after Washington's apron. See:
You might enjoy reading our page, Masonic Symbols and the LDS Temple.
The LDS temple clothing for both men and women includes a green apron with fig leafs embroidered on it, so it is entirely different from the Devil's apron.]
Dec. 30, 2004
In your opinion what is the best source to purchase to get the most complete history of the LDS church (that's available on the market today?) Is B.H. Roberts book - "A Comprehensive History of the Church" a good source? Are the complete Journals of Discourse available to the public? And perhaps most important of all - where is the best place to buy the best history resources? ...
[Steve's Note: Yes, B. H. Roberts multi-volume set is a good history of the LDS Church. You can balance Roberts' work with D. Michael Quinn's two volume set The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power and The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. Roberts' history is available through Deseret Book, the LDS Church's bookstore while Quinn's is available through us at Utah Lighthouse Ministry.
The Journal of Discourses are available today only on computer versions. Examples of this would include GospeLink 2001, LDS Collectors Library available through Deseret Book the LDS Church's bookstore. We at Utah Lighthouse Ministry offer a CD-Rom program titled New Mormon Studies which also has the complete Journal of Discourses on it.]
[Additional note from Sandra: Keep in mind that B.H. Robert's Comprehensive History is written from an LDS view. Also, this is a different set from the History of the Church, written by Joseph Smith and edited by B. H. Roberts.
A good one-volume LDS source for their history is Story of the Latter-day Saints, by Allen and Leonard.]
Dec. 30, 2004
Subject: plagarism in Mormon scriptures
I have a question. I have read somewhere that there are errors that are known, in the KJV Bible, that Joseph Smith did not correct in the Book of Mormon or in his Inspired Version? These errors have been corrected in later translations of the Bible like the NIV. Can you tell me what errors he plagarized and failed to correct? I think one is in the Book of John but I can't remember where.
[Steve's Note: There is a very good article online at the Institute for Religious Research website. It is http://www.irr.org/mit/Joseph-Smith-Translation-short.html. Although there are specific words that scholars have been able to more properly translate from the original Greek and Hebrew languages, these changes do not significantly affect the sense of the passage or the doctrines of the Bible. Typically, it involves changes which move the text to a shorter reading.
Another way to easily see this is to look at all of the verses that the JST (Joseph Smith Translation) never handles at all. This of course means that as Joseph Smith was working his way through the text he saw no reason to make any alterations in the reading.
Of course the simplest way to deal with the JST is to show that the alterations that Joseph Smith made to the Bible have no basis whatsoever in any manuscript evidence ever found. The above link does a good job of laying out the lack of evidence for the changes Joseph Smith made to the Bible. You can also look at the obvious contradiction that exists between the Bible and the Book of Mormon on one side and the Joseph Smith Translation on the other. Clearly, Joseph Smith could not be right in both the Book of Mormon translation and at the same time correct in the wording of the JST. For more information you may be interested in ordering the following books:
Dec. 30, 2004
Keep it up, but rather than focus on the religious debate, why not move toward psychological counselling and texts ?
As science matures, more and more of religious dogma is crumbling. There are people out there who really do not know how to function outside of thier spritually brutal upbringing. If you are like me, you know it can take a long time to heal from exposer to the LDS faith. And, not all of us can move into the other 'christian' faiths as an alternative, faith's which in my wrongly led me toward the LDS faith to begin with.
I would say I'm a christian, but to me it's more about how you live, and I do not agree with popular western 'bloodshed' thinking. I do not believe christ was sent here to be murdered, or the god ever insisted on bloodshed or commanded one group to war on another. It makes no sense.
So, for me, there are not many places to go and share my faith, where I am not bombarded with constant references to christs death, christs blood, my vileness, etcetera, etcetera, which is to me as bad as what the LDS organization tried to do to me.
I have always hoped the LDS church would show it's stuff and come clean and tell the truth openly, but as I say, it's leaders and 'prophets' cannot. Thier identity is to dependant on it being the truth. It is the last thing they would give up, even over thier own children.
So, I know this must be tough on you as an editor. You probably ache from the stories you've heard. I hope someday all of this sort of thing is a non-issue. There will come a day when people will look back at the LDS leadership and say 'How COULD they lie to thier own children?'
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Much of the material on our site is historical and not just comparing doctrine. Just look at our Topical Index.
I think you would enjoy reading a book like Combatting Cult Mind Control, or Toxic Faith.
Many former Mormons have found these books very healing and helped them move on. Also, my tape #4, Struggles of Leaving Mormonism.]
Dec. 30, 2004
I need help. I have a friend who is allowing her 5 year old son to attend functions at the Mormon church. She takes him to a Bible Believing Church for Sunday School but is allowing him to attend mid-week functions at the Mormon church. She says, she just wants him to have friends and doesn't see any harm in it as long as they're not "teaching" anything. We live in a predominately Mormon community.
What can or should I tell her??????????
Thank you. And may God richly bless your ministry.
[Steve's Note: Unfortunately, they are using this as an opportunity to expose her child to their teachings. She needs to be informed about what her son is being exposed to. Perhaps it would be eye-opening for her to accompany him and observe the activites and teachings going on there. She may also need to be shown some of the subtle differences between Mormonism and Christianity. You might start her with our resource page titled Terminology Differences. She may be simply unaware of the fact that although Mormon teaching may not appear to be that different, it is in reality a belief which is completely distinct and incompatible with the Bible. She may also benefit from reading from the following:
None of this of course means that her son can not have friends who are Mormons. However, at the same time, she does have a responsibility to protect her son from false teachings until he has grown to the point where he can appraise what he is being taught for himself.]
[Additional note from Sandra: A good booklet to read with your child is Understanding My Mormon Friends Faith and Mine.]
Dec. 30, 2004
. . . I read on a site http://www.i4m.com/think/history/mormon_history.htm of some interesting things in Mormon History supposedly by a Micheal Quinn in a book The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, are the following true—
Nov 22,1855 - Brigham Young secretly ordains his eleven year old son John W. an apostle in connection with receiving the endowment. Young later ordains three other sons apostles.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, evidently Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and other apostles ordained their sons. Here is a reference from an article in the March 1981 Sunstone:
After Joseph III joined with the RLDS, Brigham continued to hope that Joseph's son David Hyrum might lead the Mormons. At general conference in 1863 President Young reminisced that Joseph had prophesied of a son to be born named David. "On him, said Joseph, "in some future time, will rest the responsibility that now rests on me." . . .
In fact, the idea of lineal descent and birthright persisted in the Mormon church throughout the nineteenth century. Brigham Young privately ordained three of his own sons as apostles, some while still boys. He also privately ordained the son of Hyrum Smith, Joseph F. Smith, as an apostle. Twenty-seven years old, he did not become a member of the Quorum until later. At the death of John Taylor, it is interesting that some argued that Joseph F. (though not the senior member of the Quorum) should become President. John Taylor ordained his son John W. an apostle. Orson Pratt in 1846 had ordained his son Orson Jr. his successor in the priesthood. This practice was legitimized when Brigham told the Quorum in the 1860s that he was only doing with his sons what they had the right to do with theirs. (Editorial, Sunstone 6:2/3, Mar 81)
Eugene Campbell, an LDS historian, discussed this matter in his book, Establishing Zion:
On 15 April 1864, Young, Taylor, and George A. Smith met for prayers. The minutes record that Young said,
I am going to tell you something that I have never before mentioned to any other person. I have ordained my sons, Joseph A., Brigham, and John W., apostles and my counsellors, have you any objections? Brother Taylor, George A. Smith said that they had not that it was his own affair and they considered it under his own direction. He further stated that in ordaining "my sons I have done no more than I am perfectly willing that you do with yours and I am now determined to put my sons into active service in the spiritual affairs of the Kingdom and keep them there just as long as possible, that you have the same privilege." Signed John Taylor, and George A. Smith.
Brigham Young, Jr., was ordained on 4 February 1864 by his father but was not set apart as a member of the quorum until October 1868. At that time he replaced George A. Smith who had been called to the First Presidency. Young evidently ordained his son John at the age of ten and again at the age of nineteen. John Young served in the First Presidency from 1873 to 1877 but was never admitted to the Twelve, nor was his brother, Joseph, who died in 1875. (Eugene E. Campbell, Establishing Zion: The Mormon Church in the American West, 1847-1869, Signature Books, 1988, p.154) ]
Dec. 30, 2004
I found [these] statements, supposedly from Michael Quinn in the ... book [The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power] , could you tell me if these are true or accurate statements or if they have no basis in fact...thanks again
Jan 15,1897 - Apostle Brigham Young, Jr. temporarily resigns as vice-president of Brigham Young Trust Company because first counselor George Q. Cannon allows its property to become "a first class" brothel on Commercial Street (now Regent Street), Salt Lake City. Apostle Heber J. Grant is invited to its opening reception and is stunned to discover himself inside "a regular whore-house." This situation begins in 1891, and for fifty years church controlled real estate companies lease houses of prostitution.
Oct 24,1894 - Wilford Woodruff and his two counselors each give approval for Apostle Abraham H Cannon to marry another plural wife. In all, ten general authorities marry post-Manifesto plural wives by permission of church president or his counselors during next ten years
July 11, 1901 - First Presidency and apostles agree that Danish beer is not harmful or in violation of Word of Wisdom and release an official statement to the same affect.
Oct 6, 1907 - At sustaining of church officers a man votes against Joseph F. Smith because of his admitted violation of Utah's cohabitation law. Smith has him ejected from Salt Lake Tabernacle by force.
Oct 6,1946 - Public release of Joseph Fielding Smith (b. 1899) as Patriarch to Church due to "ill health" but actually due to discovery of his recent homosexual activity.
[Steve's Note: D. Michael Quinn is very careful in his relating of historic events. Simply follow the endnotes he has provided throughout the book and you can find the original sources he used.]
Dec. 30, 2004
Hello Gerald and Sandra:
I ordered Shadow or Reality a few years ago. Your work is absolutely spectacular in scope and completeness. I hope that you continue to do be a light in a dark place.
I have never been so aware of the way in which truth can be distorted as the manner in which the LDS church does it. It was understandable 150 years ago. People were more easily swayed, less educated and looking for something to believe in.
I was getting a steady stream of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses coming to my door. I have been a born again Christian for twenty-five years. I purchased Dr. Walter Martin's book Kingdom of the Cults. It touched on many aspects of the doctrinal differences. But it didn't explain the reasoning behind the differences. Your work clearly goes through the process of the evolving LDS church.
I have used your information at length and now the visitors have stopped coming to my house. When one "elder" asked me where my information came from, I mentioned your names and showed them my reference manual. They immediately labeled you as the "apostates".
The one thing that strikes me most about the conversations is that most of these young people have never heard much of what I share with them. I can say that several have gone away with a commitment to "finding out for themselves". THANK YOU LORD JESUS. That only happened after I quit arguing with them and just started sharing the truth. The truth can't be truer, only changed to untruth and lost.
God Bless you both and continue to run the race.