Martin Luther and Mormonism

Don't Read ThisIn the early 1500’s, a man named Martin Luther figured out something important — the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a devout member, was abusing its power. Among other things, the church was selling — for money — forgiveness and passes to heaven.

Luther could see that the Church was in error because Luther had thoroughly studied the Holy Bible.

In Luther’s day, the Catholic lay-people knew little of what was in the Bible. The Catholic clergy used a Bible written in Latin, a language that the common people did not speak or read. The clergy, by keeping the Bible to themselves in this way, were free to misinterpret the holy book to their own benefit — and thus they did.

In an attempt to end the wrongful practices of the Church upon the people, Luther himself translated the Bible into German. Though he did not, at the time, particularly agree that a few of the books belonged in the Bible, he did not presume to add to, nor take away from, the Bible as it was. He translated God’s Word, making it accessible to the masses.

Skip ahead three centuries. In the early 1800’s, a man named Joseph Smith produced a book called the Book of Mormon, which condemned the Catholic Church for its errors, calling it the “great and abominable church”. It should be understood that the “Reformation”, a movement that had started with Martin Luther, would have been widely recognized by Smith’s day.

This is a good time to add just a little more information about the Reformation. According to,

“The theology of the Reformers departed from the Roman Catholic Church primarily on the basis of three great principles:

* Sole authority of Scripture,
* Justification by faith alone, and
* Priesthood of the believer. ”

In other words, in the view of the Reformers (who had read and studied the Bible for themselves), where the Catholic Church was most errant was in

1- Going above/around the Bible for spiritual/religious doctrine
2- Teaching that justification had more requirements than faith in Christ
3- Claiming exclusive “priesthood” for the religious elite, rather than for each born-again believer (1 Peter 2:9).

Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon claimed that the Catholic Church had erred by taking many “plain and precious truths” from the Bible, and that he was the one to restore those truths. This post is not going to address his work on the Bible, other than to state that it is easy to prove that what Joseph “restored” came from his creative imagination and desire to prove himself a prophet.

The question for this post is, given that Mormonism in its inception considered the Catholic Church to be the church of the devil (or at least the main face of said church), why has it done the exact same thing?


1- The Mormon Church claims that there is authority over and above the Bible: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price (all produced by Joseph Smith), and the teachings of the LDS authority figures.
2- The Mormon Church has added to faith many other requirements.
3- The Mormon Church teaches that priesthood is only for worthy LDS male members.

The Catholic Church was able to keep its people subjugated to the Church, its leadership, and its false teachings by keeping them away from a knowledge of the Holy Bible.

Martin Luther, by exposing people to the biblical gospel and making the Bible more accessible, freed people financially, emotionally, and spiritually from the religious wrong-doings of the Roman Catholic religion.

The Mormon Church keeps its people subjugated to the Church, its leadership, and its false teachings by keeping them away from a knowledge of the Holy Bible.

The LDS have the Bible in their homes, in their own language. But their religion still keeps the Bible truth out of their minds and hearts in at least five ways:

1- The LDS religion insists that the Bible can not be trusted (cf. the 8th Article of Faith).

2- The LDS religion has created and taught new definitions for terms in the Bible, so that when a Mormon reads the Bible, s/he is confused. Some examples of this are the teachings a) that there are two God the Father’s (one above the other), b )that “salvation” equals universal resurrection by grace, distinguished from exaltation by works/merit, and c) that ‘priesthood’ is an authority or power that gets handed down from one faithful (to the church) Mormon man to another.

3- The LDS religion emphasizes Book of Mormon reading over Bible reading. The Book of Mormon contains plagiarized sections of the KJV Bible, with minor wording removed or inserted. It contains Bible stories with new character names and reworked story details. It also contains separated and recombined Bible passages. Because a Mormon is typically more familiar with the Book of Mormon than the Bible, Bible comprehension is negatively affected by the reader’s Book-of-Mormon ‘lenses’.

4- The LDS religion has an official version of the Bible, the KJV. The King James Version, written in Old English, contains uncommon words and phrasing. More modern Bible translations, such as the NKJV or the NASB, are much more easily understood by the modern reader.

5- The LDS Bible comes with chapter headings. These headings look like they are brief overviews of each chapter. However, they are really used to promote Bible-contrary LDS church doctrine. For instance, the chapter heading for 1 Corinthians 8 teaches that there are many real gods, just as Joseph Smith did from this same piece of scripture.

I was a Mormon. Like Martin Luther, I’m protesting that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is keeping their members away from a knowledge of the truth of the Bible. My efforts, and those of people like me, will probably not bring the Mormon Church to its knees. But my prayer is that many Mormons will still find the Bible, and because of it, be freed from Mormonism and saved into the Life of Jesus Christ.

About setfree

God trusting, Bible believing, Jesus lover.
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207 Responses to Martin Luther and Mormonism

  1. liv4jc says:

    Responding to Jim’s last post about KJV verses in the BoM: What kind of “ancient text” would have found its way to across time, and across the Atlantic ocean that would bring New Testament language (Greek), translation (English), and New Covenant salvation doctrine (the shed blood of the God-Man Jesus Christ) into an old world setting? Are you alleging time travel Jim? There is no way that the English translation from Greek manuscripts yet to be written, and New Testament salvation doctrine yet to be revealed, should be in the BoM, especially the earlier books like 1 and 2 Nephi. Also, the attempted BoM trinitarian doctrine (some of which was changed) reveals that it was written by a man who had been exposed to developed trinitarian doctrine, but did not understand it.

  2. Olsen Jim says:


    The ancient documents I refer to would have been those from which the Brass plates were copied. The Brass plates were taken by Lehi and company from Jerusalem around 600 B.C.

    I am talking about the manuscripts/records of Isaiah and other old testament prophets.

    The atoning sacrifice of Christ has been understood by prophets since Adam. People, with their tendancy to fall away from truth and revelation, may have forgotten and lost that knowledge. But that doctrine has been taught from the foundation of the world.

    What do you think the Law of Moses was all about? The people may have hardened their hearts and not understood its intent. Nevertheless, it was intended to teach the doctrine of atonement, ultimately through the Son of God.

    By the way, the BOM doesn’t teach the trinity in the same sense that the Bible does not. It is consistent with the Bible. And since your interpretation of the Bible is trinitarian, it makes sense that you would find the same thing in the BOM.

    Our interpretation is simply different.

    Hint: Christ is in a very real sense our “Father”- He is the “Father” of our salvation and of our second birth. Heavenly Father is the “Father” of our first spiritual birth.

  3. grindael says:

    Here is an interesting study summary of an article done to determine authorship of the BOM. “Reassessing Authorship of the Book of Mormon Using Delta and Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification” published in Literary and Linguistic Computing. The link to a complete draft of the paper is below. It explores the same material that Holley did concerning Spaulding and goes into far more depth, but comes to the same conclusions:

    “Mormon prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) claimed that more than two-dozen ancient individuals (Nephi, Mormon, Alma, etc.) living from around 2200 BC to 421 AD authored the Book of Mormon (1830), and that he translated their inscriptions into English. Later researchers who analyzed selections from the Book of Mormon concluded that differences between selections supported Smith’s claim of multiple authorship and ancient origins. We offer a new approach that employs two classification techniques: ‘delta’ commonly used to determine probable authorship and ‘nearest shrunken centroid’ (NSC), a more generally applicable classifier. We use both methods to determine, on a chapter-by-chapter basis, the probability that each of seven potential authors wrote or contributed to the Book of Mormon. Five of the seven have known or alleged connections to the Book of Mormon, two do not, and were added as controls based on their thematic, linguistic, and historical similarity to the Book of Mormon. Our results indicate that likely nineteenth century contributors were Solomon Spalding, a writer of historical fantasies; Sidney Rigdon, an eloquent but perhaps unstable preacher; and Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher with editing experience. Our findings support the hypothesis that Rigdon was the main architect of the Book of Mormon and are consistent with historical evidence suggesting that he fabricated the book by adding theology to the unpublished writings of Spalding (then deceased).”

  4. grindael says:

    Stan Larson, after attempting to prove the antiquity of the Book of Mormon’s Sermon on the Mount, concluded that “its dependence on the KJV is apparent.” He also reported that the Book of Mormon “follows the KJV into error, echoing mistranslations or including translations of late and derivative Greek texts… A variety of examples has shown that the Book of Mormon text follows errors of the KJV, but no clear evidence shows the Book of Mormon restoring the long-lost original.”

    If Smith copied passages of the Sermon on the Mount directly out of his Bible, [to make it easier as some suggest]then the text in the Book of Mormon should be identical to that in the New Testament. What one finds, however, are many minor textual changes.

    Larson noticed that differences in wording are often found where italics occur in the biblical text. Larson explains: “The Book of Mormon text often reverses biblical quotations at the very point where the original 1611 editions of the KJV prints the word or words in a different type-face in order to indicate that the words are not found in the Greek… When Smith came to the KJV italics in the Sermon of the Mount, which he knew indicated that whatever was printed in italics was not in the original Greek, he would often either drop the word or revise it… On the other hand, the Book of Mormon fails to revise places where the KJV text ought to have been printed in italics but is not. In two places the Book of Mormon copies the noun ‘men’ from the KJV, where it is not in the original Greek and has been improperly added in the KJV.”

    New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, ed. Brent Lee Metcalfe (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992) pp. 116-117,

  5. grindael says:

    This above suggests, that Smith plagiarized the King James Bible and other sources during his “translation”, an idea that apparently does not bother Mormon Apologists.

    They postulate that when Joseph came to passages on the plates that were nearly identical to those found in his Bible, he simply stopped “translating” with the seer stone and lifted passages from the KJV. [They won’t admit to the use of other sources]

    This is extremely problematic. Scribes of Smith say he put a stone in a hat, and when the words appeared he would call them out and the scribe would verify, then write them down. They do not say he had a Bible there to compare and then read off the verses. Why would he do this in the first place. It’s suspicious that someone claiming the divine power of a seer would switch between translating and copying.

    Also, the idea that Joseph sometimes preferred Bible passages over the supposed material on the plates leads one to the question: How could he be sure that both texts would sufficiently agree without first checking the entire Book of Mormon passage on the plates? Only then could he determine if it were appropriate to use the Bible passage instead. [Especially when one considers the Smith as a totally ‘unlearned’ individual who could not compose a letter (see Emma Smith) – which I totally do not agree with]

    Once he had made the effort to decipher the characters on the plates, why would he not simply dictate to his scribe and move on? Wouldn’t that be easier instead of the tedious process the Apologists describe, which totally contradicts the eye witness statements of how Smith translated?

    Why would he bother to return to his Bible? Considering the length of the Book of Mormon, such redundancy is ridiculous, as is the entire apologetic theory.

    As a writer myself, I found the word studies by Holley eye-opening. Along with the studies of authorship, the plagiarisms, and the ridiculous theories of why Smith would have copied passage after passage from the KJV all attest to not divine, but human origin of the BOM.

    And MM, I find Jim Olsen a refreshing Mormon also. He keeps me on my toes, and I find myself investigating’the Mormon side’ more and more to keep up with him.

  6. grindael says:

    To read the Mormon side of this argument by Royal Skousen, go here:

  7. Ralph says:

    Interesting stuff you have dredged up Grindael. Especially when one of the sites says that Oliver Cowdrey was most likely the writer of the BoM and the other says that Sidney Rigdon was most likely the author. Both agree that JS was not the author, but then you go on in your argument that JS was the author. You seem to want to agree with the Church history that JS was the author and that OC and SR were just the scribes, which means that the textual evidences should be closer to JS not the other two.

    But if we look properly at the BoM, there is one main author – Mormon. He used the records that had been made of the history of his people and summarised them. He may have used some full quotes from others, so there would be other contributing authors, but the majority of the text was from Mormon. That is why the above results you refer to when they went through the full BoM chapter by chapter, came to the conclusion that there was one author, not 7.

  8. jackg says:


    So sorry so long to reply to your comment. It would seem that Mormons would accept biblical teaching if the translation was good. Unfortunately, the only alternative translation they use is the JS translation, which really isn’t a translation at all. Mormonism is built on manipulating the scriptures to fit the theological need of its founders. Eisegesis is what happens in Mormonism. That’s I say that the 8th AOF is the most calculating AOF JS concocted.


  9. grindael says:


    I don’t KNOW who was the real author of the BOM but with the evidence I’ve shown, I BELIEVE it wasn’t of ancient or divine origin. I’ve read all the evidence, both sides. The readers here must come to their own conclusions. I think I’ve been extremely fair in presenting both sides for the reader to examine.

    In fact, one site says there are elements of Rigdon’s, Cowdery’s, & Spauldings writings in the BOM. They all contributed. How the process panned out, is SPECULATION at this point. I admit that. It is also SPECULATION on the part of the Mormon side. There are no plates, no manuscripts and ONLY SMITH’S WORD ON WHERE THE BOM CAME FROM.

    Considering the wealth of material on the character of Smith, I ascribe to the theory it is not of divine origin, and urge readers to look at all theories and come to their own conclusions.

    There is also a Mormon analysis of the BOM which concludes it was of ‘many’ authors, which is sited in the study I posted. Not one that I know of attributes it all to Mormon.

  10. jackg says:


    When talking about the authorship of the BOM, I have often wondered if the BOM wasn’t really the product of Oliver Cowdery, and JS was just the salesman. I remember reading “One Nation Under Gods” by Richard Abanes, who wrote his book after being allowed into the LDS archives. It seems there was another book floating around during JS day that was based on a people much like the BOM characters. I can’t remember the writing, but perhaps someone else does??? Anyway, regardless of one author or seven authors, we are still talking about a book that is fictional. Part of being led out of Mormonism was that God revealed to me that the Bible contains everything we need to know regarding salvation. I know salvation means something different to you, so we’ll refer to salvation as eternal life in the presence of God. All I need to know–or anybody for that matter–to live eternally with God is found in the biblical text. What JS brought to the table was a false perception of God that ultimately turns out to be a god (small g), which results in the worshiping of a false god. It’s pretty fundamental, I think. I guess that’s it for now.


  11. grindael says:

    The conclusion from lightplanet on ‘book of mormon authorship’ after citing the Mormon wordprint study [which is full of flaws]:

    “The results of objectively measuring these phenomena indicate an extremely low statistical probability that the Book of Mormon could have been written by one author. The introduction of new vocabulary into the text is at a low rate, which is consistent with the uniform role of Joseph Smith as translator.”

    They ascribe to the multiple author theory also, the ‘so called’ prophets that wrote in the BOM. Like I said, no study I know of indicates one author such as Mormon.

  12. mantis mutu says:

    Hello grindael,
    I appreciate your respectful candor in this discussion.
    To let you know, I’m a former undergrad student of Royal Skousen, and worked for him in the late 90s for a short stint. The man is a first-rate scholar & textual critic, and I credit him a great deal for moving me from an apologetic to a critical mindset in my investigation of Mormon faith & history. Though I had grown up reading Nibley and other FARMS publications (much more so than the average Mormon youth), by the time I took Skousen’s class as a BYU Sr undergrad, I had soured greatly to the general apologetic spirit manifest in FARMS — though I still respected several of its top scholars and some of the finer papers published there over the years.
    Anyways, in my own investigation of the Matthew chapters (5-7) reproduced in 3 Nephi, I think it’s pretty clear that the BoM is not some masterful reworking of the New Testament that demonstrates prescience for the KJV’s linguistic and grammatical shortcomings. Furthermore, it contains several references to what are generally agreed by scholarship to be thematically-specific references to the Jewish Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. If God were indeed the author of the Matt transcription in 3 Nephi through some miraculous transcription process (as I believe), then it must be admitted that there is only the scantest of hard proof that verify this. On the other hand, there is diverse proof for the rational mind that this section was simply lifted from the KJV text and edited in only minor fashion. Though I’ve come to different conclusions than Larson on the technical production of the BoM text, I think he is a thorough scholar for the most part, who’s covered a lot of different subjects over the years (though he is not nearly as meticulous a textual critic as Skousen).

  13. mantis mutu says:

    That being said, I must say that I think you have not looked too deeply into the Spalding-BoM debate. In this I agree with OJ. The parallel phraseology from the article you cite looks more significant than it actually is. Such parallelism can be expected between almost any two lengthy texts of similar genre (in this case, primitive war history) from the same culture and time period (the claim of the BoM, after all, is that it’s an ancient text translated into 19th century English). Though the two texts do contain similar 19th century diction now and again – and sometimes a seemingly uncanny resemblance — their narrative and grammatical styles are not even remotely similar. They simply could not have been written by the same man, and while it might be argued that Mss. Found had influenced BoM authorship, there’s no smoking gun to indicate it. In the absence of any reasonable historical connection between the unpublished manuscript and the BoM (despite the many articles to the contrary, there simply isn’t), it must be admitted that that any and all parallels between the texts are simply coincidence.

    In closing I will say that I’ve never been much a fan of meta-textual analysis as apologetic fodder. While the original statistical “word-proof” analysis conducted by BYU on the BoM had what I think was a reasonable aim of determining whether or not the BoM was a multi-authored text as it claims, the ensuing gushing over the apologetic significance of the study was WAY, WAY overblown. I am no statistician, let alone a textual statistician, and so my ability to appreciate the credibility of that study was about zero. To me, personally, it proved nothing (though I appreciate that the statisticians involved may have felt justifiably very different).

  14. mantis mutu says:

    As for the Stanford Study you cite, I hope that you appreciated that such a meta-textual analysis only established probability between the various subjects involved in the study as being the author of the text. Such a comparative study in no way provides strong proof that any of the men involved were the actual author of the BoM. But it is absolutely baffling that Joseph Smith wasn’t among those used in this comparison! If it were Mormon scholars doing so, I hope our critics would scream to high heaven! Really, I have to wonder why. In any rate, if you didn’t know, I think you should have a glimpse at the provincial and prejudiced aim driving the study:

    While the paper bears the prestigious name of “Stanford University,” and was done under the direction of a Stanford Professor, it was nothing more than a pet project of a curious colleague who wanted proof that Sidney Rigdon was the author of the BoM. I hope that anyone reading these articles appreciate that in such comparative statistical analysis the subjects used can be conveniently played with to get the desired results. Again, it begs the question: Why no Joseph Smith?!

    Sincerely, mutu.

  15. messianic says:


    you wrote:
    “What do you think the Law of Moses was all about? The people may have hardened their hearts and not understood its intent. Nevertheless, it was intended to teach the doctrine of atonement, ultimately through the Son of God.”

    I don’t know where you got this idea but it is completely not true. The Law of Moses was given to reveal God’s holiness to us. It is the standard, “the mark”, as it is put in the Apostolic scriptures. It was not intended to explain the doctrine of atonement, it was given to instruct us in how to live a holy life. We are flawed in that we cannot meet that standard and so it acts condemning because we cannot meet God’s standard and therefore we need atonement. This is why John describes Jesus as the Word. In the beginning was the Word, or Law, or Torah and that Word was God and that Word was with God. The Law is God, if you were to keep it perfectly you would be perfectly holy as God is because it is the essence of who God is.

  16. grindael says:


    The following quote from the article explains why no Joseph Smith:

    “Of course, we have not considered every possible candidate-author who may have influenced the composition of the Book of Mormon. We have, however selected from among the most likely candidates, excepting perhaps Joseph Smith. In the case of Joseph Smith, we had no reliable samples of prose to test

    When reliably identified materials become available, their addition to this analysis would be worth considering. An effort to compile such writings is currently underway” 51.

    51 For a description of the Joseph Smith papers project, see:

    They explain this further in the article. Smith used a lot of clerks, scribes & assistants instead of writing himself. They felt there were not enough true holographic examples to proceed. According to them, they are working on that. With the publication of the JS Papers, perhaps enough documents will be available to do a fair analysis.

    Sigh. I am not always so patient. I have made a concerted effort to change that. I think it stems from the comments by Jim O and Ralph, though they do get frustrated with me. There is a wide gap between us because they see through the eyes of faith in Smith, while I no longer do. It makes meaningful discussion difficult sometimes. I meant what I said about them, I think they are both good sincere men.

    I don’t know you, but I think were off to a good start. I do admit to being quite angry when I first started posting here. I will tell you this, If I could afford R. Skousen’s books, I would buy them and read them. I met Hugh Nibley, and have about 90% of his books and writings. He has huge problems. I read most of Cleon Skousen’s works when I was a Mormon (is Royal his son?).

    My statement still stands and you are correct agreeing that it is speculation at this point. I can’t reconcile Smith the man with someone claiming a divine calling tho.

  17. mantis mutu says:


    The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews would strongly disagree with you. That William Tyndale fashioned the word “atonement” to apply both to the yearly festival where the he-goat’s blood was brought before the Lord — as WELL as to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ — proves that he saw the obvious connection between the yearly “atonement” in the Law/Torah of Moses, and the eternal “atonement” in the New Testament. I think you will find that most informed Evangelicals are in agreement with OJ on this one.

    As for the “holiness” theory of Law of Moses — while it stands as a bastion of Protestant theology, and is often preached by Mormons too, it does not appear in the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, it is generally conceded in scholarly circles to be an over-imaginative reading of the Epistle of Romans by Martin Luther–which was subsequently picked up by Calvin and others. The literary context of Romans simply does not bear it out (though many modern translations try to give it substance).


  18. setfree says:

    here’s a little article that is pertinent to the (somewhat off topic) discussion at hand :}

  19. mantis mutu says:


    The excuses used by that paper to disqualify JSmith from the analysis are simply preposterous. There’s been plenty of Smith prose available for generations now, and the fact that Smith used scribes should effect his textual credibility little or no more than the editorial help that Rigdon and the others would have received in their published works. The guy’s hiding something.

    It’s pretty well documented that while JSmith’s scribes helped him oftentimes with composition, word choice (and probably basic sentence formation) were largely his own. Incidentally, Smith’s very poor composition skills are a main reason why modern critics continue to look for an alternate author for the BoM text. For instance, in Smith’s 1832 1st Vision account–one of the few compositions in his own hand–his short narrative is all over the place. He simply cannot sustain focus on any of the themes he introduces. The BoM, on the other hand, (whatever its literary faults) represents a lengthy display of complex narrative & discourse that is very clearly composed.

    Anyway, that’s apologetics I’m sure you’ve heard your share of.

    I get your struggle & frustration with JSmith. I’ve been there many, many times too; and will continue to be there. I think every truth-seeking Mormon invariably must. JSmith assured we would struggle to understand him. & to add to the dilemma, we were all fed a highly sanitized version of Smith tht’s in constant strife w/ the real man still available for historical scrutiny. For me, the dilemma has largely subsided through honest & diligent evaluation and study, keeping my faith in the spiritual witness I have in the restoration.

    As for an affordable Skousen bk, I think you haven’t yet seen his new condensed publication:

    BTW, he & Cleon are not closely related. Royal would joke that Cleon made all the money, while he (Royal) was the real deal.


  20. Ralph says:

    OK I get it now why many of you are sceptical about us LDS when we try and tell you the truth. It has been proven medically that the areas of the brain that control scepticism have increased activity when someone is listening to another person who they don’t believe.

    The report is right here in the Sydney Morning Herald –

    So maybe we should find a drug to turn this activity off and then you’ll believe us 🙂

  21. messianic says:


    I actually read the epistle to the Hebrews quite differently than most Evangelicals. The conclusions that most Evangelicals come to from the Epistle to the Hebrews is out of their Platonic thinking. They look at the word “shadow through a Platonic lens and miss the whole point. Reality is not defined as only spiritual as Platonism and Theistic Platonism suggest. Reality is both physical and spiritual. The replacement theology that many take away from the epistle to the Hebrews is really an explanation of how the physical and spiritual work together in God’s universe.

    you wrote:
    “As for the “holiness” theory of Law of Moses — while it stands as a bastion of Protestant theology, and is often preached by Mormons too, it does not appear in the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, it is generally conceded in scholarly circles to be an over-imaginative reading of the Epistle of Romans by Martin Luther–which was subsequently picked up by Calvin and others. The literary context of Romans simply does not bear it out (though many modern translations try to give it substance).”

    This is not making sense to me? The Holiness theory is not something I am familiar with. I simply read the Torah for what it says it is and believe Jesus when He said:
    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18

    What law is He talking about? Let me give you a hint, it is the Law of Moses, the Torah, the very standard for Holiness and Righteousness. So until Heaven and Earth have passed I accept the Law as binding. Not for salvation, it condemns us because we fall short, but for the righteous standard to live by. And I find it ironic that the LDS claim to be righteous when they have abandoned the very instructions of the Torah.

  22. grindael says:


    I was wondering how Smith fooled all those Mormons into believing him. He set it up at the beginning: all denominations are false and are an abomination to God… while he himself had the true church and all the gifts and authority!

  23. enki responded to me

    However, I don’t know if any religion can tell me what contributions to the world of work will be the best for me.

    You’re probably right. Most “mature” religions (i.e. the ones that have stayed on the scene long since their founding fathers have departed) would say something like “here is the framework for your decisions, but you’ve got to make those decisions for yourself”.

    It’s the “immature” religions that will say “we know what’s best for you”, and they will get into the micro-management a social engineering that teeters on the edge of cultism.

    I’m know I’m being very broad here, but I’d rather hear sound advice from an “outsider” than some rubbish from one of my well-meaning colleagues.

    Incidentally, on topic, Martin Luther said he would rather be ruled by a wise Moor than a foolish Christian.

    Anyway, my favorite passages in the Bible that relates to work come from Ecclesiastes

    So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

    Ecc 3:22

    Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work— this is a gift of God.

    Ecc 5:19

    It seems from your posts that you’re looking for some career advice. I hope you find something enjoyable and worthwile (and pays the bills!)

  24. Ralph reported that

    It has been proven medically that the areas of the brain that control scepticism have increased activity when someone is listening to another person who they don’t believe.

    Don’t take this as a criticism of you, Ralph (I’m not shooting the messenger here), but sometimes I’ve really got to wonder at the kinds of research that goes on in Academia.

    So, someone has found out that when we experience a skeptical response whilst listening to a person we don’t believe, there is some activity going on in a particular region of the brain.

    The first phrase that comes to my mind is “Well, duuuuh!’

    I sincerely hope these researchers actually find something we don’t know.

  25. falcon says:

    Hay Ralph,
    If it’s in the paper it has to be true, right? The only better thing is if it were on the internet.
    I wish I could find it, but I read this lengthy paper on Joseph Smith’s use of herbal drugs as a means to access spiritual experiences. Now I read it on the internet so it has to be true.
    The reason we don’t believe you LDS types is because we have weighed the information regarding Joseph Smith and the BoM and found it to be lacking, in fact it’s about 15 ounces short of a pound.

  26. setfree says:

    I appreciated your little bit of humor above.

    But, seriously, what about some of the stuff out here? Are you just going to keep joking, blowing it off?

    Your founding prophet said Paul was saying that there are many REAL gods in 1 Cor 8.

    Your church has divided the Bible verses to point out which ones are talking about Elohim – the father of spirits and the Most High God – and yet those verses are talking about Jehovah. Because there is only one real God in the Bible.

    Don’t you care? Is there not one thing the Bible can say to you that will bring down the “this church is true” curtain?

  27. mobaby says:


    I find your question interesting because it appeared on a blog about Martin Luther. Christianity cannot tell us precisely what we should do with our work lives, but it can tell us the importance of our work as a vocation. The reason I find your post interesting is that Martin Luther developed a theology of “vocation” based on the Scriptures and our place in relationship to God and others. Here is a brief summary: we are to live in a community – serving others through being a teacher, a plumber, a mechanic, an artist, etc. God is working through us as we serve others to accomplish His purposes. The Lord’s prayer says “Give us this day our daily bread” – and God works through us to fulfill this prayer.

    Many consider this understanding of vocation to be one of Luther’s biggest contributions to Christian understanding in the reformation. It has certainly helped me to think differently about my work.

    Here is an article that talks about Martin Luther and Vocation:

    Let me know what you think?

  28. grindael says:

    Here you go. Wild stuff.

  29. Mike R says:

    Set Free,

    For Ralph to admit that he has been led astray by
    a latter-day prophet [Matt.24:11], would indeed be
    a huge step. Remember that Ralph has admitted on
    Mormon coffee that he is going to be worshipped
    one day as an Almighty God, similar to Rev.4:8, and with this as his goal it will be difficult
    to surrender. But he is not beyond the convicting
    power of the Holy Spirit. Ralph is a sincere man
    and he can come to know the truth.

  30. bfwjr says:

    Falcon, Mormon readers, this stuff is NOT mentioned in the WoW.Go for it. My post looks to be the same as gridael’s.
    In this same vein, google “dmt- the god molecule.”

  31. falcon says:

    Ralph has not only told us about his God plans but way in the past he said he’d kill or steal if directly ordered to by the Mormon prophet. I found that more than a little scary but I don’t know what’s more disturbing, the claim to be on track to be a god or the willingness to do the prophets bidding at that level. I know, I know, Ralph will run back to the OT and try to find an example that makes such a boast all OK.

    grindel and dfwjr,
    Thanks for the info. Just think, the man with the magic rock may have also been a man with the magic mushrooms. It reminded me of a guy I knew decades ago who was into the book “Black Elk Speaks”. I never read the book but it was about this American Indian who had mystical experiences. The guy I knew who was into it told me he had gone part way “there” with Black Elk. Knowing this guy, there were some medicinal herbs involved in the trip!
    BTW, is Black Elk mentioned in the BoM?

  32. falcon says:

    So then I got curious thinking about Black Elk and wondering if he used any sort of herbal help in having his vision. I got to the Cliff Notes version of Black Elk on the internet and my quick review couldn’t locate any herb references, but I did peruse the vision he had when he was nine years old. Much better stuff than what Joseph Smith came up with. Of course, given time and a little creativity, our Mormon friends could (I bet) come up with a story about how Black Elk’s vision(s) are all part of the Joseph Smith restoration.

  33. falcon says:

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would believe in Mormonism. It’s so obviously fruadulent. I often wonder if I’m a little nuts even debating the issue. So Mormons think it’s true because they surmise they received a direct revelation from the Mormon god confirming the truthfulness (of Mormonism) and having had received this “revelation” they are really in some type of spiritual in group.
    I guess I’d be termed a neoPentecostal and having had spent over thirty-five years around “revelation”, I think I can discern a real one from one that is not. Let me tell you, Mormonism can be debunked in a blink of the eye. But having had bought into Smith’s fantasy emotionally, the Mormon is now left to cast about for any shred of evidence to help support their spiritual feeling. There is a point in the program, where every Mormon has to do a mind snap in order to deal with the cognitive dissonance. Those who can no longer make the Mormon explanations work for them, when the evidence and hypocrisy become too much, move on and out of Mormonism.
    I’m told that there are lots of lurkers who pass by here on a daily basis. My hope that the witness of Jesus Christ which the Christians share here, helps those lurkers find new life in Christ and with it the peace that only comes with having a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

  34. Ralph says:


    You need to understand that I have been contributing to this site now for about 4 years. It keeps going around in circles. A questions comes up, we LDS answer it; you Ev’s decide that the answer isn’t good enough, so the question comes up again with the same old arguments. And so on.

    So the question I have is why are you still pushing the 1Cor 8 when I answered it earlier and you also gave an answer. I said that it summarises what we LDS believe is the most important part of the chapter – ie there is only One God (Heavenly Father) and One Lord (Christ) for us believers. That is a direct quote from the chapter. You also said that the chapter heading should reflect the belief system of the targeted audience. So where is your problem?

    If your problem is that LDS (including JS) use 1 Cor 8:5 to say that there are other gods in existence rather than meaning idols, why? I think that is neither here nor there. The verse is ambiguous – it can mean either or both. To dwell on it is making a mountain out of a molehill. The existence of other gods is more from modern day revelation, not from the Bible, but some LDS want to try and find proof in there as well.

    Just remember though, we LDS only acknowledge One God over all of this creation – that is Heavenly Father. The other Gods that are out there have no input/jurisdiction/etc whatever over His creations (ie all this universe and any other universe He has created, not just this earth).

    Heavenly Father is our one God. He rules over this creation as a Godhead with His Son, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. These 2 have the authority and power under Heavenly Father’s direction to do His will throughout this creation, thus they have the power and authority of a God and can be called Gods because of this. As I have said earlier, we LDS can back this up from the Bible, however, like the Trinity for you, it is our interpretation based on modern revelation.

  35. setfree says:

    It’s a little slow going out here, so this may be a good time to revisit the TWO God-the-Fathers thing.

    In the LDS Standard Works’ Topical Guide, under

    God the Father – Elohim/Eloheim

    it says that the following verses are about Elohim, as opposed to being about Jehovah.

    1. “Gen 14:19 Blessed be Abram of the most high God”;
    2. “Num. 16:22 (27:16) God of the spirits of all flesh…”

    A Mormon would immediately recognize these two distinctions of “Elohim”/Heavenly Father – that is, He is both the “Most High” god and the “God of the spirits of all flesh”

    What I’d like the Mormon reader to see is what is easily discovered when you take these partial verses from their position in the Topical Guide, and go fit them back into the context of their Bible passages.

    The Most High God

    Gen 14:19-22 “And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth

    See that? An in-context reading reveals that the Most High God is the LORD — JEHOVAH.

    It’s a slight of hand trick. The topical guide only quotes the small piece of the verse that looks good. But in full context, there is nobody here but Jehovah.

  36. setfree says:

    part 2

    The God of the Spirits of the Flesh

    Num 16:20-24: “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation? And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak to the congregation saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”
    Num 27:15-16 “And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying, Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh

  37. setfree says:

    Sorry, Ralph, apparently we were commenting at the same time. I didn’t see your reply until after I posted the first of the above.

    If your problem is that LDS (including JS) use 1 Cor 8:5 to say that there are other gods in existence rather than meaning idols, why? I think that is neither here nor there. The verse is ambiguous – it can mean either or both.”

    I’d dare to say, Ralph, that by itself, you are correct. It sounds ambiguous by itself.

    But taken in the context of the entire Bible, it can only mean idols. Why? Because according to the Bible, there are no other gods.

    So Joseph Smith, by choosing to teach plurality of gods from this piece of text, has warped your overall view of the Bible. Can you see how that might be possible?

    Let me give you some good verses to consider:

    1 Chron 16:25 ” For great is the LORD(Jehovah), and greatly to be praised: He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens

    Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.”

    and here’s a descriptive passage:

    2 Kings 19:15-19
    And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
    LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,
    And have cast their gods into the fire: for they [were] no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone
    : therefore they have destroyed them.
    Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only.

  38. setfree says:

    and i never said “that the chapter heading should reflect the belief system of the targeted audience.”

    Ralph, I know you’ve been out here and seen stuff come and go and come and go again. From this perspective, some of us probably wonder why you haven’t been able to understand by now. :}

    I understand your “godhead”. I am trying to convince you, however, that it is not biblical.

    And three gods cannot equal one god.

    There may be three brothers who are a family, but three brothers would never be called one brother.

    Three persons make up one GOD, but three gods cannot be one god.

    I grant you that what God has revealed about Himself in the Bible is hard to understand. But then again, if He’s God, the Creator, and we’re the created (as told us by the Bible)
    shouldn’t it be?

  39. setfree says:

    incidentally, the word “gods” in 2 Kings 19:18

    And have cast their gods into the fire: for they [were] no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.

    is elohim.

    All “God”s (capital G) in the passage are translated from “elohim” as well.

  40. Ralph says:


    You said ”the LDS chapter heading reflects what Joseph Smith thought of those verses – and well it should This is where I got the understanding that you meant the chapter heading should be appropriate for the targeted audience. Sorry if I misunderstood you.

    You also said ”I understand your “godhead”. I am trying to convince you, however, that it is not biblical.” I would answer to this that I do not understand your Trinity – I am trying to convince you, however that it is just an interpretation of the Bible. I am also trying to tell you that my God is also an interpretation of the Bible, thus He is also Biblical (just not the same interpretation as yours).

    As far as the Topical Guide goes, the people who created them were only human – thus fallible and did make mistakes. Maybe this is one of them. However, the reference in Num 16:20-24 can still mean Heavenly Father. Although it is The Lord talking to Moses, they can be supplicating God (Heavenly Father) Yes, you have given another scripture further on in the Bible to support your view, but as I said, the creator of the Topical Guide was only human. This could show how he made a mistake.

    I don’t understand why you have written what you did about the use of the word ‘elohim’. From what I understand, the same word used in John 1:1-3 for ‘God’ is also used in 2 Cor 4:4 to describe the Devil. We only have the one word too for ‘god’ and it can mean anything from an all powerful being that is worshiped to idols or other things. So what is your point?

  41. setfree says:

    Is Ralph the only one who can’t understand my point, or am I being totally confusing? Can someone else help?

    (and no, Ralph, “elohim” is a hebrew word. Joseph Smith picked it up while attempting to learn Hebrew. In the New Testament, the word for God is a Greek word, so it is not “elohim”)

  42. jackg says:


    The faulty premise from which you work is that Mormonism has the truth. We reject what you and other Mormons have to say because it cannot stand up to biblical scrutiny. Your entire attempt at explaining why you are a polytheist is nothing more than philosophical gymnastics. You and other Mormons reject Is. 43:10 as valid, and then eisegete the text, which means putting in your false beliefs, in attempts to make the Bible say what you need it to say. There is NOTHING in the biblical text for anyone to believe there are hosts of gods who have nothing to do with us. Yes, this is from JS, which means if the Bible were truly authoritative for you and your life, you would reject what JS taught. But, you are the victim of a lifetime of false teaching. You have been habituated to believe in the lies of JS. Ralph, there is only One True God. There is not a host of them running around, a group of which you will be a member. I pray that you will respond to the grace and truth God is offering you through those who preach the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to you.

    Praying for you…

  43. setfree says:

    Here are some links Ralph, that I hope you’ll take the time to take a gander at. 4_2003.Huggins.pdf

    In summary, Joseph Smith started with the belief that Jehovah was God the Father. He’d never even heard of the word “elohim” since it is not written in our English Bibles. In fact, he believed Jehovah was Jesus’ father, just as you think Elohim is Jehovah/Jesus’ father now.

    He also originally taught that God the Father was a spirit, NOT A MAN… that Jesus was the only one of the “godhead” that ever had a body.

    But, after starting to learn a little bit about the Hebrew language, he got to liking the idea that there were more gods, and started to teach as much. He pulled “proof texts” from wherever he could find them, including 1 Cor 8.

    And he started separating Jehovah and Elohim, at which point there became two God the Fathers

    And he has warped the minds of millions, who can’t read the Bible and understand it anymore because they are looking for two separate gods, and a myriad of other things that the Bible does not teach.

  44. setfree says:

    oh, i gotcha Ralph. What I meant when I said “as well it should” was not that the LDS Bible chapter headings should reflect the opinions of the LDS church. What I meant was that, since the LDS church IS USING the chapter headings to promote its doctrine, they should be reflecting the church’s founding prophet’s teachings.
    Does that make sense?
    I think that what the LDS church has done, by using chapter headings to promote it’s counter-Biblical doctrine inside its Bible is downright EVIL.
    I just meant that since it is doing that, taking teachings from JS seems appropriate.

  45. Enki says:

    Yes, I think I was raised really very dependent upon what the LDS organization had planned for me. But now that I don’t think its a good organization, and not part of it, I am still left with a sort of ‘zero’ as part of what I will do for a worthwile work. My catholic family I am staying with do not appear to have this problem with that Church being almost a marginal part of their life. I am sure it has meaning to them, but it doesn’t seem to have that pathological influence. I felt a certain amount of peace last night about this, despite what I had been going through as far as career planning and job hunting. I have a feeling that I will be ok, and will find something soon.

  46. Enki says:

    Yes it is interesting that I asked that question, thank you for the link. I found it very helpful to think that perhaps my life and very existence can be a vocation, without having to become a priest, or preach and what not.

  47. Enki and Mobaby,

    I’d certainly endorse mobabdy’s view that any “job” can be a vocation. As mobaby commented

    The reason I find your post interesting is that Martin Luther developed a theology of “vocation” based on the Scriptures and our place in relationship to God and others.

    I think I “discovered” this idea before reading about Martin Luther’s views, but it had a profound influence on my view of my own contribution to church and to society at large. Though I respect the calling of people who serve the church in a full time capacity, I no longer felt I had a “second tier” job because it was not an “official” church job.

    My job is not related to the church organization in any way, but in a sense it is a “church” job because I take the church to work in myself.

    There’s a rich vein of theology in this, and its about God coming into our humanity in the situation where we are, at the present time. As Christ came into our “flesh” at His Incarnation, so God comes into our “flesh” by His Holy Spirit in our present circumstances.

    The Good News is that its not as if God requires us to get ourselves sorted out before He’ll come into our lives. I’ve got a feeling He’d prefer to walk right in and make Himself at home before we’ve given the house a tidy-up and a vacuum. I can only think its because He is intimately interested in us in our humdrum, ordinary and not-prime-time-entertainment-grade lives.

    I suppose I’m saying we don’t need a posh house or a MacMansion to make Him feel welcome. We don’t need a high-profile job to do His work. Its His presence in our work, whatever that may be, that makes the difference.

  48. Olsen Jim says:

    Grindael- I was gone a while and lost track of this thread.

    Wanted to add a little on the topic of BOM authorship.

    There are 433 Isaiah verses in the BOM. Of those, 199 are verbatim KJV. Looking at the 234 verses that are different is very interesting.

    It is possible to look at different Bible manuscript lineages and see how simple scribe errors resulted in changes. Two very different English words can come from extremely similar Greek or Latin or Hebrew words.

    The same phenomena can be seen in the BOM text:

    2 Ne 13:12 (Isaiah 3:12) begins with “And my people…” The KJV reads “as for my people.” The present Hebrew begins with “my people.” The last letter of the Hebrew Isaiah 13:11 when put in front of the first word in verse 12 results in the BOM reading “And my people.” As you know, in ancient Hebrew, there was no word division and these types of mistakes sometimes occurred. Scribes understandably incorrectly combined letter together resulting in different words and meanings than the originals.

    Another example:

    2 Ne 19:3 (Isaiah 9:3) reads “thou has multiplied the nation, and increased the joy…” The KJV- “Thou has multiplied the nation, and NOT increased the joy..” Textual critics would argue that the BOM version is better than the KJV and the Hebrew. Two Hebrew words, lo’ and lo, sound alike but have different meanings. Somewhere along in the Hebrew transmission, the wrong word found its way into the text- which makes sense knowing these two words. The present Hebrew reads lo’, but textual critics agree it should be lo.

    2 Ne 7:2 reads “their rivers” vs. the KJV “rivers.” The Hebrew letter “mem” (“their”) was originally attached to “rivers, but at some point likely dropped out of the Hebrew text. That is because the very next word begins with the very same letter (“wilderness”). The next clause in the verse reads “their fish,” which adds support to the previous version of “their rivers.”

  49. Olsen Jim says:

    The BOM version of 2 Ne 23:11 (Isaiah 13:11) differs from both the KJV and Hebrew, but agrees perfectly with the Syriac manuscripts.

    There are many examples of this stuff in the BOM.

    Many BOM academics argue that, in reality, the usage of Isaiah in the BOM is the book’s greatest evidence of authenticity.

    And if you compare the original BOM manuscripts, the number of such examples increases. Editors and typesetters edited out some of the nuances that actually reflects such evidences.

    Another tidbit on words frequencies. A great many studies, both for and against the BOM, were flawed by focusing on text-sensitive words. The more accurate approach is using text-insensitive words- like “and” or “for” etc.

    Using the word “and,” it has been shown that the frequency of this word in the BOM is very different than Joseph’s writing, Oliver’s, Martin’s, Sidney’s, Spaulding’s, Nathan Smith’s. If you compare the frequency of the word “and” in the BOM with the Bible, you find that, interestingly, it most closely matches the text from Jeremiah and Ezekial- who would have been the closest thing to Lehi’s contemporaries there were.

    Interesting stuff.

  50. Olsen Jim says:

    Grindael- just wanted to draw your attention back to this thread and my responses if possible.

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