Brainwashing – Exhibit A

Brainwashing: “…any method of controlled systematic indoctrination, esp. one based on repetition or confusion…”

The following Topical Guide entry brings together for us the “scriptures most often used in [LDS] gospel classes and study” on the topic of Geneology and Temple Work. Take a gander at this partial entry scanned from a 1986 LDS Standard Work. (A complete list of verses can be found here.):

One thing I hope you noticed is how it reads.

“all Israel were reckoned by genealogy…Let us go to the house of the Lord… to bring out the prisoners from the prison… in mine house… I will give them an everlasting name…”

The LDS believe they need to trace genealogies so they can “go to the house of the Lord” (their temples) to do the proxy work necessary “to bring out the prisoners from [spirit] prison,” and that they get a new “everlasting name” there, and so on and so forth. So what we’re seeing here is that the Topical Guide entry reads just like the LDS belief.

Are you just going to “buy” this without checking it out? DO THESE LDS-CHURCH-SELECTED BIBLE VERSES TRULY SUPPORT THE LDS BELIEF?

To get an idea of the answer to that question, let’s look at the partial verse from the Topical Guide, Isaiah 42:7 (“to bring out the prisoners from the prison“), in its immediate context.

Isaiah 42:5-8: Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
I am the LORD: that is my name….”

For brevity, I quoted starting at verse 5. But if you back-up and read Isaiah 42:1-4, you see that the verses are about Jesus. To be completely certain, you can read Matthew 12:15-21 which quotes this part of Isaiah and applies it to Jesus. Continuing on subject, then, with verses 5-8, we see that Jesus would be coming, as promised, to open the eyes of the blind (Matt 13:15, Mark 8:18) and release the captives from prison (John 8:32-34, 35-36). Look at what Jesus Himself said in Luke 4:18-19, where he quoted from Isaiah 61:1, a verse that goes on to talk about Him preaching good tidings (2 Cor. 5:21) unto the meek, binding up the brokenhearted, and proclaiming liberty to the captives (John 3:15-17).

So Isaiah 42:7 is the good news, the “gospel” of Jesus the Savior! The immediate context shows this, and the New Testament verifies it. What is extremely important to notice is that there is no mention of temples, no temple work, and no genealogy. Did you see any? No?

So we see that, pushing Jesus aside to make room for its own doctrine, the LDS Church has taken this piece of verse from its context, placed it together with some other similarly separated pieces of verses, and carefully assembled the pieces into a readable sequence which presents LDS doctrine but bears no resemblance to what the biblical writers intended.


Either that, or despite the continuity and simplicity of the gospel message throughout the Bible, there are actually small portions of sentences, strewn throughout the Bible in dissimilar text, hidden so that only the elect elite can find and meaningfully assemble the real truth, which contradicts the overall theme of the Bible. Is this what you believe? Is this how you believe God works? I hope not. The Bible is immensely rich and full — but its message is simple and visible to anyone who looks…

Here’s one last question for those of you who are tempted to say that the Spirit showed you that the Mormon representation of these verses is true. Is it that you read the Bible on your own, and somehow came to the conclusions that your church did, before hearing it from your church? Or did your church explain it to you first, after which you decided that’s what it meant?


About setfree

God trusting, Bible believing, Jesus lover.
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73 Responses to Brainwashing – Exhibit A

  1. Olsen Jim says:

    What that wood really was is largely dependent upon the context in which the word is used. In Ezekial 37, the prophet is instructed to “write” upon the “wood.”

    Carl Keil, one of the world’s foremost authorities on ancient Jewish texts, insists that the “sticks” were books. Jerome and Eusebius agreed. But they both concluded that the books or sticks referred to were the Old and New Testaments. But it is hard to work that out logically- the OT could certainly be thought of a book for the Jews, but it is hard to make out how the NT is the book for the tribe of Joseph.

    The ancient Babylonian and Assyrian scrolls were also known as “books.”

    Nibley has a worth-while chapter on the subject which I recommend highly. Kerry Shorts also has a good website with valuable resources. First, I suggest perusing the online commentaries.

    The context of this chapter in Ezekial certainly suggests that this prophecy relates to a period AFTER Israel has been scattered and lost its spiritual and national life. Israel would be gathered again into one nation. But the reunion of the nation of Israel seems to be facilitated through the “sticks” being brought together, or at least it seems to be an additional event. Why even bring up the whole “stick” thing when Ezekial clearly describes the gathering of Israel in later verses? It seems too repetitive and confusing. The explanation offered by the Lord within the chapter certainly mentions both concepts distinctly- the sticks being gathered into one, then Israel being gathered.

    At any rate- the LDS interpretation is certainly a plausible one with some support from ancient commentators.

    I think it ironic that EVs here claim again that LDS are brainwashed using this prophecy as an example considering they don’t seem to have done any homework on the matter themselves.

    Claiming “brainwashing” is such a easy, knee-jerkish response. Why not do some research and intelligently explain why the LDS interpretation is wrong?

  2. Jay K says:


    Since you mentioned how we should investigate online commentaries, I took your advice and actually found one that was co-written by Carl Keil himself. This commentary (visit for the specific passage on Ezekiel 37) has much to say about your analysis of Ezekiel 37:

    1) about your sticks as rods concept:
    “The writing of the names of the tribes composing the two kingdoms recalls to mind the similar act on the part of Moses (Num 17:1-13 :17ff.). But the act itself is a different one here, and neither the passage referred to nor Eze 21:15 furnishes any proof that עץ signifies a staff or rod.”

    So according to a leading authority on ancient Jewish texts, these sticks aren’t symbolic rods. As for the rod of Aaron, I suppose it wasn’t important enough for this commentary to mention its relevance.

    2) “etz” literally means “wood”:
    (This is the commentary’s translation of Ezekiel 37:16) “And thou, son of man, take to thyself a piece of wood, and write upon it…”

    But what do they think of this wood?

    “Ezekiel would undoubtedly have used מטּה for a staff. Nor have we even to think of flat boards, but simply of pieces of wood upon which a few words could be written, and which could be held in one hand.”

    So no books, as you insisted Keil insists about. And once again, not staffs either.

    However, as I’m sure we all know deep down inside, this is obviously a prophecy of Armageddon! just like the Bible Code people tell us: And just like the Bible Code people say, this is NOT a coincidence!: ( Just look at all those NUMBERS! SO true. So so true.

    Now don’t forget to visit their online store!

  3. OJ wrote

    Anybody who claims that the meaning of Ezekial 37 is “obvious” likely knows little about the history of the passage.


    I trust I’m not being presumptuous, but it appears that you’re taking a punt at me.

    If you’re going to criticize me, fair enough.

    However, I would prefer it if you addressed me directly, rather than referring to an elliptical “someone”.

    Back on topic, I don’t know how the passage on the two sticks in Ezekiel 37:15-28 could be anything but obvious, unless you tried to shoe-horn something into it that wasn’t in the author’s mind when he wrote it.

    I’ll grant that the passage does not spell out in detail exactly how the LORD makes Israel holy (by divine fiat, perhaps?), but the obvious context is the reconciliation of Israel against a background of their sin, judgment and exile.

    The two sticks in the prophet’s hand is a visual aid, showing how the divided nation becomes one again in the hand of the LORD. The reconciliation is a work the LORD does when He is Israel’s God (all kudos to God, not Israel).

    How do I know this? Because Ezekiel tells us all about it in Ezekiel 37:18-23.

    It’s not that difficult to figure out, especially when we get the “Topical Guide” straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak).

  4. falcon says:

    Again we have the Mormon approach to Biblical interpretation which is, “I’ll make it say what I want it (Scripture) to say.” or “I’ll find someone some place who said something that we Mormons can say supports our position.”
    Try the truth! It will mean that you’ll end-up concluding that Mormonism is totally bogus, but that could be very liberating.

  5. PS,

    I just had a thought about how the LORD makes Israel holy in Ez 37:28…

    …He does it by being there with them.

    It’s God’s presence with His people that makes them holy.

    Hhmmmm…that’s worth chewing on.

  6. grindael says:


    You went totally wrong when you started equating stick with book…

    But the rod or stick could also represent a book. Aaron’s rod was considered a book. The rod in some literature was thought of as the “word of God.” The tablets from Mt. Sinai were equated with the rod of Moses. Some of the first writings were on wood. And when the writing was too long to fit on the stick, it could be written on leather and wrapped around the stick like a scroll.

    That totally blows it all out of context. Ezekial is told by God to write on two sticks. It is the writing and what it means that is the context here, not the definition of a stick. LOL

  7. setfree says:


    I sense that part of setfree’s concern here is that the trajectory of the Mormon interpretation of scripture is that it substitutes the work of God in Christ with the Mormon Church.

    In other words, where the Bible teaches that God does something (like redeem His people), the Mormon agenda replaces Him with the Mormon “church” or its activities.

    That’s a very serious blasphemy indeed.”

    Thank you, Martin. You couldn’t be more “on” to what Mormonism tries to do if you’d lived it yourself. Boot out Jesus. Replace with self. Someone else said that Mormonism is whatever is in the mind of the individual Mormon. That also is true.

    When you put it together, this Mormon god who insists that God was lying in the Garden of Eden, who gives each “worthy” Mormon his own type of apron in the temple ceremony, who shoves Jesus aside to make room for Mormonism (and thus the individual Mormon who IS Mormonism, and who, by extension, is the ONLY TRUE CHURCH) is leading each Mormon to do the exact same thing that the Mormon god has always done…


    Jay, K, I appreciated your comments above. I didn’t understand this: “Rather, this section shows how “hear[ing] the voice of the Son of God” can be through proxy, even according to Mormon standards; and even further, standards according to a Standard Work.”

    could you reword that, so I can hear it again?

    I don’t have problems with Jesus bringing spirits out of prison. His gospel – that HE DID IT – has the ability to set people free. What I do have trouble with is the Mormon gospel, the Mormon-freemason-ripoff ceremonies, the Mormon saviors, and a church that claims many gods saying that they are this vicarious service.

    On the Ezekiel thing – even if it meant two books, which it clearly doesn’t (context!), why wasn’t it 4 sticks, to show us how we also needed the D&C and the PoG? And why have sticks at all, if we only really need “modern revelation”?

  8. setfree says:

    Looking at another verse on the Topical Guide list for Genealogy/Temple Work:

    Mark 10:9 – “what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

    Can even one Mormon tell me how this verse is supposed to be about temple marriage?

    I mean, if you read it in context, it’s about not getting divorced. ok.

    But it’s a far stretch of the want-to imagination to say that not getting divorced is the same thing as getting temple married, freemasonic style.

    IN FACT, Jesus went to a wedding, and provided wine. Isn’t it weird, that He, who was the only one we know of to be a Melchezidek priest, didn’t stop the activities and do a sermon on how to be good enough to get married in such a way that you could become a god, and then go on to marry these people in garments and stuff??

    And isn’t it weird, that Jesus said that people aren’t married in heaven? (Mark 12:24-25)

    Clearly, it’s the other passages, then, the ones where we can’t really understand them, but need to go out to FAIR and see what they can find from any source OUTSIDE THE BIBLE, or like Ralph, go to an anti-God source, to see if we can hear some beginnings of similiarities – AND THAT”S WHERE WE”LL REALLY FIND THE TRUTH

    Strange, cuz these sentences in the NT seem pretty darn clear.

  9. grindael says:

    Or ONE book if you get the quad … LOL (which I still have…)

  10. grindael says:

    How does it also guarantee that the whole FAMILY would be saved as Helen Mar Kimball was told by Smith:

    “After which he said to me, ‘if you take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred.‘ This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.”

    Notice Smith uses the word: ENSURE, OR GUARANTEE.

    If salvation is an individual thing, how can this statement be justified? Just wondering …

  11. jackg says:

    I used to espouse the false teaching regarding Ez. 37 and the “sticks”: one stick is the Bible and the other stick is the BOM. Mormon reasoning really sounds good inside the Mormon head. But, let’s consider the context: as Martin says, the Israelites have been exiled all over the place. The nation of Israel has become two kingdoms: the northern and the southern–Israel is divided and will be reunited as one nation with Jesus Christ as their King, never again to be divided.

    Too often, we don’t tie vv 1-14 and the vision of the dry bones with this passage to see, ultimately, that God is delivering them a message of hope. God is going to regenerate Israel.

    It’s easy NOT to think for oneself within the context of a system in which the individual is programmed to believe a certain way and to interpret the biblical text a certain way. One the Mormons claim this scripture means simply does not hold water. It’s another fallacious claim by a false prophet. How sad that Mormons have exchanged the truth of God’s Word for a lie.


  12. setfree says:

    Ralph said “The same is with your religion. It teaches its interpretation of the Bible. That is why there are many denominations in the Christian community….

    …So its all down to interpretation, but its interpretation through the Spirit that is the only way to be 100 percent sure that it is correct.”

    Ralph, you appear to believe that “despite the continuity and simplicity of the gospel message throughout the Bible, there are actually small portions of sentences, strewn throughout the Bible in dissimilar text, hidden so that only the elect elite can find and meaningfully assemble the real truth, which contradicts the overall theme of the Bible.”


    About the above, firstly, I don’t belong to any “religion”. Secondly, of all the Christian denominations I’ve ever seen, there has been agreement on the BASICS, one of which is that THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD

    So, we have Bible-believers thinking that there is just one God. And reading the verses in context, without seeing weird mystical special verses which actually mean something completely different than they look like.

    And then we have Mormonism, which says the Bible can’t be trusted, but insists that there are special verses which mean something else, and also claims that we can become gods ourselves.

    Why don’t you all just STOP using the Bible? I’ll tell you why you don’t. Cuz if you did, you wouldn’t fool anyone with your “we believe in Jesus too” routine.

    If you approached people with the BoM, PoG, and D&C (w/o the Bible) and said “Hi, we believe in a different Jesus”, you just wouldn’t get as many baptisms, darn it. But, milk before meat. Pretend you have the same Jesus, from the same book, and only one God, and later, let em know it’s a new Jesus, many gods, and books that are anti-Bible in their theology. Meat comes second.

  13. falcon says:

    That’s classic Ralph, he jumps up and down pointing his fingering yelling, “SEE, SEE it’s all the same.” It’s Ralph’s favorite tactic to hold together a belief in Mormonism. There are so many denominations because there are all these different interpretations of the Biblical text?
    I think what Ralph needs to do is get the statement of faith of all of these different denominations and see what the differences are in the basic doctrines of the various groups. First of all, they all acknowledge the same God, not a man who morphed into a god. They all recognize the finished work of Christ on the cross. I could go through the rest of the list as to what constitutes orthodox Christianity, but I’ve done that often enough before.
    One thing we find in the Christian denominations is a respect for God’s Word. The Mormons don’t.
    Besides Ralph, how many different denominations of Mormonism are there? Last count it was about seventy! I wonder which is the “true” Mormonism?

  14. liv4jc says:

    Falcon, I actually think there are as many LDS denominations as there are Latter Day Saints. Is it not virtually impossible to pin any of them down on what a particular prophet or apostle meant when he said such and such? Aren’t the prophets and apostles really the foundation of the LDS faith? Continuous revelation is supposed to be the benefit of having a living prophet, yet it’s apparent that each individual member allows themselves personal latitude on what they choose to accept and how they choose to interpret a particular doctrine. What did Janet/Hank used to say all of the time? “Every time you go through the temple more is revealed to you.” or “I pray about it and if the Holy Ghost tells me it’s true, then I accept it. If it’s not true, then I don’t.”

  15. Jay K says:

    Poor LDS friends, they have so much to respond to! 

    Anyways. Setfree,
    Sorry, I could’ve worded that better. 

    I think I was misled by the section John 5:25 was under in the Topical Guide, however. It seemed like it was using that verse to justify LDS baptizing for the dead by saying Jesus spoke to the dead (and therefore, Jesus can speak through us to the dead/dead non-Christian via vicarious baptism). 

    This would mean that the Mormon apologist tactic to take the “other sheep” verse literally would be undermined, but I honestly think I was just misled by the section title in the snippet you showed us.  

    that is so true. The person who introduced me to Mormonism herself thought everyone would eventualy at least be with the Father in heaven sooner or later. She’s having trouble justifying Joseph Smith’s prophet status in light of her contradictory revelation, but she justifies him anyway with the typical feelings-based method. I’m amazed at her capacity to live with herself.

    She also took a while to understand what becoming “like God” really means. Had a good laugh over that one, when I accidentally revealed it to her. Talk about Mormon brainwashing (ha, or maybe just false advertisement).

  16. falcon wrote

    One thing we find in the Christian denominations is a respect for God’s Word. The Mormons don’t.

    This has been on my mind recently. Someone else put it in posher language, saying something to the effect that “Christians react to the Bible with a hermeneutic of trust”.

    What I take from this comment is that whatever Christian denomination you belong to, you’re part of the larger (invisible) Church when you see yourself as a servant of the Word.

    Christians do disagree on interpretations of the Word. For now, I won’t attempt to place a value on those disagreements, and whether they are central or peripheral issues. However, I have a lot of tolerance for someone who disagrees with me, so long as their viewpoint is founded on a desire to be obedient to the Word. In other words, Christians don’t consider themselves to have the right to change the Word, but it is their prerogative to find the best ways to follow it, and to communicate that obedience to others.

    The cults, by contrast, view the Word as something that serves them. They believe the Word, but only as far as it serves their agenda. Therefore, it is absolutely legitimate, in the cultist’s mind, to pull out chapter and verse in support of the cult. Fundamentally, they are not prepared to change their agenda and priorities to align with the agenda and priorities of the Word.

    I know that’s a simplistic division, and there is a spectrum between one extreme and another. However, a diagnostic on a cult would be to ask the question; Are you genuinely prepared to radically alter your agenda and priorities to align with the Bible, or are you simply using it to affirm your position?

    What I’m looking for here is not a defense of a person’s perspective, but an attitude that prepares that person for obedience to the Word.

    Does that person trust the Word enough to follow where it leads them? If they don’t, what does that say about that person’s faith?

  17. setfree says:

    Jay K, thanks for explaining.

    I went back and looked at John 5:25 in context, and of course, it’s just so ironic, because the verse immediately before it, John 5:24 says:

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

    which is one of those things that the LDS DO NOT BELIEVE… you know, that someone who believes on Jesus already has eternal life (is now uncondemned) at the time of belief.


    when Jesus said in other places something like

    “The hour is coming, and now is
    He was talking about something that was going to happen very soon. (i.e. John 16:32, Matt 26:45, John 4:23)

    If I stop and think about it more, I get more angry at the AUDACITY of the LDS church.

    The Bible points forward to Jesus, and backward at Jesus, so that all men are persuaded to trust Jesus ALONE.

    And then Joe Smith and company dare to say that when Jesus was talking, he was pointing forward to Joe Smith and the Mormons.

    Why didn’t I think of that!? All of history revolves around Jesus, who in turn, revolves around the LDS church! Well duh!


  18. I just opened up my Bible at John 5:24-30. There appears to be so much that does not fit with the Mormon agenda…

    I tell you the truth…

    John 5:24…maybe Jesus did tell the truth, but does John report it adequately? (yes) And there’s that connection between believing and living that setfree pointed out.

    …the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God…and live…

    John 5:25. John is attributing something to Jesus that only (the) God can do – bring something to life by simply speaking to it (see Gen 1:3 etc).

    …the Father has life in Himself…

    John 5:28. So, the Father was not given life, like everything else in creation or a mortal man who became a god. The Son shares this attribute, which has been “granted” to Him by the Father. So, there are two distinct persons (three, including the Holy Ghost, but He’s not he focus here), but One God.

    …he has given him the authority to judge because he is the Son of Man…

    John 5:27. So, Jesus is our legitimate ruler and representative because of His humanity, not because he is born of a special line of sinless saviours. And it is Jesus who judges us; we don’t judge Him. One dimension of this is that Jesus is NOT subject to the church and its prophets, to be used for their own self-serving agenda; the church and its prophets are here to serve Him.

  19. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Silly Martin…using inductive skills and context to interpret a passage of Scripture. You know you have to get the Spirit to tell you what it really means. Unless you do it’s just YOUR interpretation.

    Sorry…sarcasm overtook me…must be the constant rainy days we get here in Eden (Independence, MO). Blessings!!

  20. setfree says:

    1 Chronicles 9:1 “…all Israel were reckoned by genealogies…”

    All that genealogy in the Bible? All that boring reading of genealogy you can’t wait to get past? That was important to ISRAEL the nation. They had to keep the lines straight. If you weren’t positively from the line of Levi, you couldn’t be a priest, for example.

    In 1 Kings 13:33 you read of some guy doing evil by making just anybody (not of any specific line) priests of high places (no less). You can read a little further and see he was setting up “groves” too. Pretty interesting.

    I have a genealogy question for Mormons. If everyone is supposed to do endless genealogies so that they can be the saviors of all the dead people of the world, why didn’t Nephi take the time to give his genealogy? What a jerk!

  21. setfree says:

    Compare the lengths of these two passages:

    from the BoM:
    “And now I, Nephi, do not give the genealogy of my fathers in this part of my record; neither at any time shall I give it after upon these plates which I am writing; for it is given in the record which has been kept by my father; wherefore, I do not write it in this work. For it sufficeth me to say that we are descendants of Joseph. And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God. For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved. Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world. Wherefore, I shall give commandment unto my seed, that they shall not occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men.”

    From the Bible:
    “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon.”

    Isn’t that weird?

  22. Jay K says:

    Glad this guy didn’t write about his genealogy! Wouldn’t have had enough material to write the last part of the book of Mormon, would he 😉

    I recently looked into Judaism’s arguments against Christianity. That passage isn’t even from NT times, I wonder if Jewish people would take this Nephi character seriously

  23. LDSSTITANIC wrote

    Silly Martin…


    I’ll now go and self-flagellate with a comfortable cushion.

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