Going After Historical Issues

In an article found in an LDS Church manual (The Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual Religion 327, pp. 54-55) that gives instructions to the LDS instructors comes this amazing statement:

PoGPManualJoseph Smith—History. Overview

Have students read the five italicized summary statements that are found throughout Joseph Smith—History and list the major events that are described in the text. Write the following five statements on the board:

God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ have appeared to mankind in modern times.

There was an apostasy of the true Church.

Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored

Ask students: If any one of these statements were false, how would that affect the other statements, and why?

I’m not sure what the church leaders expect the answer to be, but may I take my shot at what seems to be a rhetorical question: If any of these statement are false and Mormonism is based on fiction, the whole set of dominoes comes tumbling down.

If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the “Swedish Rescue,” you really ought to do so. (Here is a good place to start: http://www.mrm.org/fiery-fireside .) In this meeting with disaffected and questioning Latter-day Saints that took place a few years ago, two LDS historians provided practically no satisfactory answers to any of the members’ objections. For instance, the Swedish Saints brought up the following issues:

  • The First Vision: They wanted to know why the official First Vision account wasn’t introduced until 1838, and they wondered why there were no contemporary resources that can be found to support the First Vision’s claim.
  • Joseph Smith: They complained about Smith’s polygamous as well as polyandrous ways and questioned why the church wasn’t more forthright about this.
  • Book of Mormon: They were confused why the church was less than forthright in explaining how the Book of Mormon was translated. In addition, the Swedes questioned the LDS position that there were historical people as described in the Book of Mormon—if true, as the teacher manual puts it, then it becomes nothing more than a book of fiction.
  • The Apostasy of Christianity and the “restoration” of Christianity through the LDS Church: Among other issues, the handling (botching) of the Mark Hoffman affair was mentioned. In addition, they felt that the church promoted “lying for the Lord” and a sanitized view of church history that was less than honest. If the church leaders can’t be trusted, then why should anyone place their trust in them?  Does having a “restoration” even matter?

DominoesNot discussed in the manual but brought up by the Swedes were the Adam-God doctrine and the credibility of the Book of Abraham. With so many problematic historical issues, the credibility of Mormonism is at stake. The same is true for the historic Christian church if there was evidence that Jesus, who claimed to be the Messiah, was an imaginative creation of later followers or if the resurrection of this man was doubtful (see 1 Corinthians 15); as Paul put it, Christians would be the most pitied of all people as they would be placing their faith in something that did not conform to the facts.

In the past few months, the LDS Church has uploaded articles on the LDS.org website to deal with such sensitive issues as plural marriage, blacks, and the Book of Mormon. (Could the sudden responses to such controversial issues be related to the “Swedish Rescue”? Quite possibly.) Reasons (excuses) are provided to distance the current church’s leadership from these topics. Yet numerous LDS leaders before 1890 (for plural marriage) and before 1978 (for blacks and the priesthood) can be quoted over and over again, as they were strong supporters of what they called “doctrine” (not theory). And plenty of statements from leaders in both the 19th and 20th centuries can be easily culled to show how these men believed the Lamanites were ancestors of the Native Americans.

Referring specifically to the Book of Mormon, the teacher’s manual quoted above goes on to say, “Bear your testimony of the truth of the events described in Joseph Smith—History, and invite students to share their thoughts and feelings.”

Notice the wording: “bear your testimony” as well as “share” “thoughts and feelings.” Unfortunately, too many faithful Mormons compartmentalize the history of the church. They bury the problematic teachings and retreat to their “testimony,” using a fideistic “faith above the facts” to minimize the damage. Fortunately, we have seen more and more people who, after being exposed to this questionable history, end up leaving Mormonism. For example, we just received an email from one “soon-to-be ex-Mormon” who said his discovery of Joseph Smith’s polygamous/polyandrous ways four months ago was earth-shattering for him; his official time in the church appears to be short. Just a few months ago we met an ex-Mormon at one of our local meetings who shared how his departure from the LDS faith came when he tried to disprove some historical points that we made on our radio show/podcast (Viewpoint on Mormonism). This gentleman said he ended up leaving his LDS faith and became a Christian because he found out that his presuppositions were in error as he attempted to defend the official church history.

I believe that those Latter-day Saints who are willing to open their eyes and do their homework will come to the conclusion that Mormonism, as Buddy from the movie Elf once stated, sits on a throne of lies. If the quote from the teacher’s manual would be read and considered by every thinking Mormon, imagine the mass exodus that would ensue!

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30 Responses to Going After Historical Issues

  1. RikkiJ says:

    “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”

    (Matt. 24:24,NASB)

    Even Christ himself labelled these false Christs and false prophets as performing great signs and wonders. The spiritual barometer if a ‘church is true’ is not based on signs on wonders, because even a false Christ can perform them. It is how accurate the doctrine and teaching is as compared to the Bible.

  2. falcon says:

    Just think what it takes to keep believing in the Smith creation.
    We’ve been down this road so many times with LDS folks who show-up here thinking their explanations for the evidence will suffice to keep their testimony from shattering.
    There’s such a better way. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record I know. Why put your faith in Joseph Smith and the LDS church that can’t do what it says it can?
    Jesus is the better way. For Mormons, too much of this involves putting their faith in the LDS church. This sham cannot make someone a god, bring families together for eternity and give a man his own planets to rule for eternity. It’s all convoluted nonsense but there’s an attraction there for some folks.
    The truth of the revelation can be found in the Word of God, the Bible. It’s there that the pathway to eternal life can be found. It won’t be found in a false religious system that can’t hold up under close scrutiny.

  3. MJP says:

    Giving a more detailed answer to the rhetorical questions:

    1: If God and the Son never appeared, there would be little reason to trust Smith, or anyone else on the matter of his pursuit of restoring the church. He would have to be believed as making it up.

    2: If there was no apostasy, then there is no need for a restoration.

    3: If Smith was not a prophet, then we shouldn’t believe anything else he said.

    4: If the Book of Mormon is not the word of God, then there is room for the rest of it to remain true. However, since it is the basis of the restored church, the rest of the building crumbles.

    5: If the church has not been restored, what are LDS doing? Their hope is in an empty vessel to salvation.

  4. Mike R says:

    The chickens are coming home to roost . That’s what is happening with the Mormon
    leaders and the way they have officially treated their flock concerning various issues
    with their history . What these men have been up to for a long long time is to deny
    full access to the historical archives to even Mormon researchers . Pressure from
    conscientious Mormons the last couple of decades has forced Mormon hierarchy
    to make some concessions but does anyone know what else is in the archives or the
    First P residencies private vault ?

    Mormon leaders won’t even tell their flock how much of a ” salary ” they receive for
    their positions in the church . Sadly but Mormons have been short changed by their
    leaders, these men are obsessed with reminding their followers about “authority ” , so
    sincere Mormons are afraid to openly question these powerful businessmen . It seems
    that is changing and many Mormons who finally realize that Jesus is not running the Mormon church are returning to the New Testament to find security in what they
    will believe and in doing so they are discovering that the person of Jesus Christ
    is more special and sufficient than what their leaders had taught about Him .

  5. Mike R says:

    My brief comment on those five statements in the Church Manual which Eric posted :

    ” God the Father and His Son Jesus have appeared to mankind in modern times ”

    This was not really that unique of a claim in the time period that Joseph Smith stated
    it happened . Others were claiming visitation from angels , and even Jesus . Joseph
    added his own flare , to gain an audience , and it worked .
    This event has been claimed by recent Mormon leaders to be a event second in
    importance to only Jesus’ atonement and resurrection . It is necessary to confess
    before baptism into the Mormon church . But it was not part of the gospel of salvation
    preaching by the original Mormon missionaries for years . Red flag .

    ” There was an apostasy of the true church .”

    Mormon leaders taught that there was a complete /total apostasy of Jesus’ church .
    That is false advertising .

    ” Joseph Smith was a prophet of God .”

    He claimed to be a prophet , but there others who would claim to be latter days
    prophets also , even of the ” Mormon ” flavor : Chistopher Nemelka , John Bryant ,
    even Warren Jeffs . These prophets failed the test ( 1Jn 4:1 ) and so did Joseph Smith .

    ” The Book of Mormon is the word of God .”

    The Book of Mormon does have truth in it , about God , Jesus , etc . But that does not
    make it holy scripture . Mormon prophets are ” living prophets ” , the Bible and BM
    are dead prophets . Hence Brigham Young could teach his flock about Gods, Goddesses
    and even Negroes not being worthy to receive the full privileges of the christian
    gospel .

    ” The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored. ”

    Jesus’ church was never restored by Joseph Smith . What he did was substitute
    a church for the real one , not restore it .

  6. Mike R says:

    More and more Mormons are beginning to learn that the claims made by their leaders are
    simply not true or only half true , that these men are not who they have claimed to be ,
    namely , Jesus’ modern day apostles personally directed by Him to restore His church
    and run it . It’s only a man made religious organization whose rank and file members were
    detoured into joining because of the clever way it was promoted . But thankfully many of
    these sincere people are seeing that they were fooled and are returning to the solid , stable
    ground of learning from the true apostles that Jesus appointed to teach His saving truths
    when He established His church through them as recorded in the New Testament . This is
    the anchor that can provide safety against the ever changing doctrines and alibi’s which
    latter days prophets , like those who run the Mormon church , consistently exhibit .

  7. MJP says:

    You know, it occurred to me that the very existence of these questions should cause one to pause and consider exactly the foundations of the Mormon church. Is it based on Jesus? If so, how do the existence of these questions affect Jesus and what He did for us?

    So, if God and the Father appeared in these latter days, what does that do to what Jesus did 2000 years before? If they didn’t how does that change?

    If there was no apostasy, what does that mean concerning what He did for us 2000 years ago? If there was an apostasy, what does how does that change?

    If Smith was no prophet, does that change what Jesus did 2000 years ago? If we was, does that change anything?

    What of the Book of Mormon? What does that change about what Jesus did 2000 years ago?

    If the Church has not been restored, does that change what Jesus did 2000 years ago? If it is restored, does it change that, too?

    These may be confusing questions, but maybe they will be cleared up if I give an answer: if these things are true, how does it change what Jesus did 2000 years ago? It doesn’t change that at all. All it allows for is for LDS to claim that what has been transmitted through the Bible and through tradition is a perverted version of what Jesus taught. But they cannot provide an ounce of proof of that claim, so it is all a ruse as compared with what we have in the Bible and what has been passed down to us.

    You might be able to state the last statement about the restoration of the church, if true, proves the LDS point, but that statement is only a logical conclusion based on the previous statements. The previous statements, though, do not necessarily prove a thing about what Jesus did 2000 years ago.

  8. falcon says:

    I wish the LDS church would do an essay on “the history of the doctrine of the nature of God within Mormonism”. I think that would be quite revealing and then the LDS believer could decide whether or not this was “progressive revelation” or if Smith and his successor prophets were just sort of messing around playing at religion. They might want to ask, “How did Joseph Smith change his ideas concerning the nature of God?” They might also want to ask, “How does the LDS view of the nature of God differ from the LDS view?” And while they’re at it they might ask, “Do all sects of Mormonism view the nature of God in the same way?”

    “The Mormon doctrine of God is not the same as the historic Christian view. It holds that God and man are essentially of the same species, and that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones. He is not uniquely self-existent, transcendent, or eternal. Neither is he truly the creator of all things, for he is one among potentially billions of Gods, and does not even have the ability to create matter. As BYU professor David Paulson once put it, “God does not have absolute power… but rather the power to maximally utilize natural laws to bring about His purposes.”

    Joseph Smith boldly preached:

    “If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.”

    To the contrary, God says in Isaiah 43:10, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” Psalm 90:2 says of him, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” This is the God Christians worship. Of him we can say, “Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:34-36)

    There is probably no greater sin than to place your trust in a God whose attributes do not match those of the God of the Bible. The biblical term for such a sin is idolatry. The fact that Joseph Smith failed to represent the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob proves that he was not a true prophet. God warned the children of Israel that if any arose and attempted to entice Israel to “go after other gods” he was to be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:1-3, 5). Do you think He takes this any less serious today? To insist on following the God of the Mormon Church will result in spiritual death, a painful separation from the Creator for all eternity. The stakes are too high to trust in any other.


    While there are all sorts of indicting charges that can be made against Smith, the worst of the lot is what he and the other Mormon prophets taught about the nature of God. Mormons need to choose whether they will believe Smith et al or the Word of God.

  9. Mike R says:

    MJP, I think the Mormon church provides a atmosphere where good morals are found , but
    it’s claim to be where salvation alone is found is certainly false . The claims made by Mormon
    leaders are evaluated by the teachings these men have introduced to their followers and that’s
    where the rubber meets the road . Mormon leaders are not the only ones since 1830 to come on
    the scene to claim exclusive authority to be God’s mouthpiece . But we don’t need any of these
    prophets to guide us , we have the gospel and the Holy Ghost to aid in our christian walk and
    help us avoid the clever advertising of half truths that false prophets these days like to resort
    to in order to convince us that accepting them to be God’s mouthpiece we will gain salvation .
    But they are only latter days imitators of true prophets /apostles .

    The true gospel never became unavailable to man on earth shortly after Jesus’ apostles had all
    died off and so had to be restored 1700 years later by a prophet ( like Mormonism claims ) , so
    these latter days prophets are simply all too late , we simply don’t need these types of men and
    their ” restored ” gospels .

  10. falcon says:

    We know from one of our Mormon posters that these “prophets” were just a bunch of guys who were “mistake” prone and therefore should be cut a lot of slack.
    I’d say that’s not a fall back position that is very easy to defend. If these prophets of Mormonism are mistake prone than what in the world are they doing being in the prophet business? We know clearly what the OT teaches about prophets who make errors. They are not viewed in a favorable light. In fact they are condemned.
    If being mistake prone is an acceptable feature of being a Mormon prophet, then I’d say just about anyone can qualify for the job. Who’d want to follow a prophet whose doctrinal utterances can be tossed out and changed? Not even a liberal “progressive revelation” view can cover the nonsense and stupidity that clings to these Mormon prophets.
    So what we have is “progressive revelation”, “folklore” and “opinion” and the determining factor of each is what? Well it’s whatever someone wants to change later. When it comes forth initially it’s progressive revelation. Later, as Mormons get tired of the shiny new object, it becomes folklore or opinion. The big ones were polygamy, Adam-God, and the ban on blacks in the priesthood. There are a whole boat load of lesser ones but mixing things up by casting aside those things that put Mormonism under pressure are most notable.
    Even the BoM was changed a long with the temple rituals. All I can say is that if a people will cut as much slack to the leadership as these Mormons do, I’d say they’ll believe and accept anything.

  11. MJP says:

    Mike– I agree completely. All we need is Jesus, plain and simple. Nothing the LDS church can provide us in terms of their history can change that. Nothing Smith ‘restored’ or developed can change that simple truth.

    I also agree that LDS are by and large faithful and moral people. I don’t believe they are inherently evil– if they are evil it is only because they do not have Christ– but I do think they are misled. They are good people who have fallen for an attractive brand wherein they can keep a list of checkmarks about their progress. I read the autobiography of the guy leading the British suit against the LDS church and I remember him writing how he told his wife “they had made it” when he was told they would receive the 2nd anointing. I couldn’t help but think of comparisons to reaching financial goals or career goals wherein there is a clear path involving steps/boxes to check off as you go.

    This idea of tracking progress is easy, and it really cannot be ignored or denied. There are traceable actions that are considered when determining who is up for what post or responsibility. Though couched in wording involving faithfulness, the bottom line is that its all about what you have done.

    This is so far different than what you find in the Gospel, available to all within 100 years after Christ, after everyone who could tell or write first person accounts of Jesus life died. In fact, most of the letters were written well within 100 years of Christ death. Indeed, there is no need for a restoration.

  12. falcon says:

    It’s like a multi-level marketing business and that’s why I think that sort of (business) is very attractive to Mormons. I think the rather naive Mormon population gets scammed so easily.

    ” Worst in the country » Fraud is a long-standing problem in the state, stretching back decades as it ebbs and flows, coming back each time with a vengeance, said James Malpede, who Leads the FBI’s white-collar crime unit in the state. Utah has lost its ranking as the top state per capita in fraud but it remains a huge problem.

    “I’d say per capita it is one of the worst in the country,” said Malpede.

    How bad? The agency is mostly limiting itself to investigating cases in Utah involving $20 million or more.

    “Most of what we’re working on is $25 million and up, and a lot of what we’re working on is $100 to $150 million and more,” said Malpede.

    Attorney Baker said he came up with an estimate of the amount of money Utahns lost to big fraud schemes in 2009 based on cases in which charges have been filed and those he knows of where no actions have yet been brought.

    “I did a rough calculation of Ponzi schemes I saw over the last year that came through Utah and I would say it was at least $750 million.”


    From another source:

    “Utahns have a joke about multilevel-marketing companies: MLM really stands for “Mormons Losing Money.” The notion of selling to one’s friends and neighbors is so intertwined with the culture that the final season of HBO’s Big Love featured an MLM subplot. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah has the highest concentration of such companies in the country.

    There’s a reason why MLMs, many of which peddle natural health products like Nu Skin’s dietary supplements, have thrived there. Mormon scripture encourages the use of herbs as God’s medicine, and the faith has a strong tradition of turning to alternative medicine. Its founder, Joseph Smith, reportedly shunned traditional doctors, believing a physician had killed his brother. The tight-knit Latter-day Saints community, and the trusting nature of its adherents, have made Utah a lucrative terrain for multilevel marketers. Mormons, who typically spend two years serving as missionaries, are also natural recruits for companies that need salespeople with a high tolerance for rejection. And finally, MLM firms often pitch themselves to women as a way to stay home with their kids while still earning substantial incomes.”

    So what does this have to do with our topic? I look at the Mormon people in the way Mike and MJP have described them. On-the-whole, decent nice people who are naive and easily deceived. They are into the Mormon system in which folks conform and go along to get along. They are used to doing what they are told. And the deal is that it doesn’t really matter what the evidence or history “reveals” to them. It’s their testimony that’s the thing. The testimony is really pretty simple in that it consists of four or five parts all of which reinforces what the system wants the person to believe. In the end, it’s obedience to the system that’s what’s most important in the Mormon world.

    This is funny and we could use a little humor occasionally. Perhaps some of you former Mormons could improve upon this.


  13. grindael says:

    Even Christ himself labelled these false Christs and false prophets as performing great signs and wonders. The spiritual barometer if a ‘church is true’ is not based on signs on wonders, because even a false Christ can perform them. It is how accurate the doctrine and teaching is as compared to the Bible.

    The problem with Mormonism is that it doesn’t even qualify for “great signs and wonders”. There were no “great signs and wonders” performed by Mormon “prophets”. What, business acumen? Jo’s chance to become a “prophet like unto Moses” came and went in Missouri, and we all know what happened there, even when he prophesied that “Zion” would be “redeemed” by September 11, 1836. Jo was talking to someone, but it wasn’t God. What DID he see in his peepstone? Nothing at all. It worked for moneydigging, (even though he never found one treasure – they all “slipped” back into the earth) so why not keep using the same ol’ scam? Jo even tried to validate this by way of the Book of Mormon:

    31 And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them. (Helaman 13)

    Jo did qualify as a false prophet though. The things that impressed Jo’s followers were things like his ability to find a needle/pin in a barn. FAIR quotes Martin Harris:

    Martin Harris recounted that Joseph could find lost objects with the second, white stone:

    I was at the house of his father in Manchester, two miles south of Palmyra village, and was picking my teeth with a pin while sitting on the bars. The pin caught in my teeth and dropped from my fingers into shavings and straw. I jumped from the bars and looked for it. Joseph and Northrop Sweet also did the same. We could not find it. I then took Joseph on surprise, and said to him–I said, “Take your stone.” I had never seen it, and did not know that he had it with him. He had it in his pocket. He took it and placed it in his hat–the old white hat–and placed his face in his hat. I watched him closely to see that he did not look to one side; he reached out his hand beyond me on the right, and moved a little stick and there I saw the pin, which he picked up and gave to me. I know he did not look out of the hat until after he had picked up the pin.

    Jo “looked” for the pin before using the stone and the hat. Any chance of duplicity here? David Copperfield makes this look small time. This is one of Jo’s “miracles” and “wonders”. Even after the failure to “redeem Zion” in 1836, he was still at it with the treasure seeking. He wrote his brother in May 1838 and said,

    verily thus saith the lord unto hyram smith if he will come strateaway to far west and inquire of his brother it shall be shown him how that he may be freed from debt and obtain a grate treasure in the earth even so amen. (Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, page 358)

    This didn’t happen either. Hyrum wound up in jail with Jo, and lost everything. You won’t find this “revelation” in the Doctrine and Covenants, even though there are lots of them directed to individuals. Here is one interesting prophecy that Jo made in 1844 (another that failed miserably):

    [April 13, 1844. Saturday.] A.M. at President Joseph’s recording Deeds. He prophecied the entire overthrow of this nation in a few years. (George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, p.129)

    You won’t see that in any Mormon History book published by the church. And they still have not released all of Clayton’s Journals. Wonder why?

  14. Mike R says:

    Falcon, “mistakes” ? It is claimed that Mormon prophets will NEVER teach/condone doctrine
    that is not sound , that’s the promise they have assured their followers . But quite simply the
    Mormon people have been short changed —they are the victims of a broken trust . Mormon
    leaders are false prophets . No amount of doing good deeds can make up for following false prophets.
    This breaks our hearts to see sincere people fall for the very thing that Jesus took the time to
    fore warn everyone to watch out for —Matt 24:11

    MJP , well said !

    Grindael, concerning the Mormon church historical archives , are portions of these still off
    limits to everyone ? If so do the Mormon people ever wonder about why they can’t see all
    the documents in there .

  15. falcon says:

    Grant Palmer tells the story of getting into the vault and seeing the seer stone back around 1961. I think he was working on his Ph.D in history at the U of U at that time and knew a guy who knew a guy. I think he talks about it here:


  16. MJP says:

    Interesting thoughts, Falcon. In many ways, the LDS church is precisely like a corporation. Who, though, are the customers and who are the employees?

    Smith was pretty nutty, if you ask me. Probably a very creative mind and certainly smarter than what LDS will tell you. I find it entirely believable he could draft something like the Book of Mormon. I find it entirely plausible he could build a new religious system by borrowing parts from others. Its interesting, though, that had he stopped before the Book of Abraham and some others, his case would be much stronger today. But, he was who he was, and it was not a saintly man.

  17. RikkiJ says:


    I’m talking local wards, G. Local wards report a lot of miracles, and since they fall under the ‘umbrella’ of the JS Jr., these would be counted as part of the (so called) LDS restoration. I’ve had lots of friends recall miracles (that can be verified) at LDS wards.

    Just FYI.

  18. falcon says:

    I’m more than a little skeptical about miracles and signs and wonders. Too much attachment of meaning to things that are happening within the psyche of people and not from God. I think, but can’t prove it, that the “soul” of man has latent power that when exercised appears miraculous and from God.
    I’ve had what I think were a couple of healings in my own life which I attribute to God and give Him all the glory. I know how these things can be faked. There’s a trick, for example, to make it look like someone’s leg is growing. It’s pretty easy to do. I went to a presentation by the “Amazing Randy” one time and he was very good at pointing out how all of this takes place.
    Bottom line is that way too often people want to believe and attribute certain manifestations to the Spirit when it’s probably not. There’s something called “conversion disorder” which is a form of group hysteria. Another interesting thing to read about is Mesmerism. Mesmer was a master of the miraculous. I did a lot of research into these things years ago and it was time well spent. Took a lot of fun out of it however which is what some are looking for; religious entertainment.

    So be on guard.


    This guy is from Salt Lake City.


    In my opinion Joseph Smith was a consummate flim flam man. It’s really too bad no one really challenged him on his claims. But wait, someone did. It was called the Kinderhook Plates and the scammer got scammed.

    “On pages 374-6 of the Documentary History of the Church, (Vol. 5) facsimiles of “brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, [1843] by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound” are displayed. According to the account, Wiley and others, “found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters.” The plates were then given to Joseph Smith to translate. Though he was described as a “respectable merchant” (p. 374), Smith was unaware that Wiley was part of a conspiracy to expose Smith as a fraud. ”


  19. grindael says:

    Local wards report a lot of miracles, and since they fall under the ‘umbrella’ of the JS Jr., these would be counted as part of the (so called) LDS restoration. I’ve had lots of friends recall miracles (that can be verified) at LDS wards.

    There are signs and wonders and miracles, and then what people term signs and wonders and miracles. The kind that actually prove they are from God is what I am speaking of. That would be something akin to this,

    They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. 7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. 13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. (Revelation Chapter 11:2-14)

    There won’t be any doubt that these are real prophets who perform signs and wonders and miracles. Mormon “apostles” constantly harp about how they are “just like” the ones from Jesus day, but they are not. They are nothing like them. “Miracles” nowadays are notoriously hard to verify. If one wants to say that they are “just like” Jesus and his “apostles” as they were portrayed in the Bible, then one must do the SAME THINGS that they did. I have yet to see a verified account of a Mormon raising someone from the dead. I was in the church for many, many years. When Mormon “prophets” show the kind of power that John describes in the Book of Revelation, then they can say that they are actual prophets. Until then, getting up and giving faith promoting talks twice a year doesn’t qualify them for that role, nor the descriptor of performing “signs and wonders and miracles”.

    Parley P. Pratt once had an argument with LaRoy Sunderland about such things, and because Sunderland said that the jargon of Mormon “prophets” was incoherent and vague, Parley prophesied, to prove that this was not true. He said (in 1838) that if most of the wicked “Gentiles” were not totally wiped off the face of the land of America in 5-10 years from that date, and all of them within 50 years, that the Book of Mormon was false. He said it as a prophecy.

    He also said that Sunderland would be struck dumb, and wither up, etc. which also never happened. If Parley P. Pratt, and ordained “prophet, seer and revelator”, gave false prophecies, and had no power to strike a man down when he prophesied in the name of the Lord that it would absolutely happen, and also Jo, who prophesied the same thing about America within a “few years” of 1844, then there is NO MORMON who claims “Priesthood Power” that will be able to use it for any prophecy signs or miracles, because it is a sham. A proven sham.

  20. falcon says:

    Joseph Smith was a pretty good magician. He was able to get his witnesses to “see” the golden plates without actually “seeing” them. He convinced them that they could see the plates through the “eyes of faith”. I wonder if the LDS church will write an essay about “second sight vision”. There is a significant difference I think between actually “seeing” something physically and “seeing” something in your imagination.
    “When Harris was asked if he saw the plates with his naked eyes, he would later admit he only saw the plates with a spiritual eye. (Wilford C. Wood, Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 1, 1958, introduction. This is a photomechanical reprint of the first edition [1830] of the Book of Mormon. It also contains biographical and historical information relating to the Book of Mormon.)”
    It becomes apparent from Harris’ testimony and that of others, that this was a “visionary experience”.

    Speaking of visions:

    Note the first commentator on the article. I’ve been around here longer than I thought!

  21. Alisha says:

    It was written that “Sincere Mormons are afraid to openly question these powerful businessmen”. This isn’t true. For some reason there are a few in the church that are afraid to ask questions but this is because they dont pay attention to the basics of the LDS church which is to ASK QUESTIONS!!! Question EVERYTHING!!! Those who feel afraid have been misinformed. They probably are from Utah. Utah Mormons get things wrong on the ward level quite a bit. FYI.

  22. Rick B says:

    you said question everything, so I will and it will start with you?
    under the last topic, you said a lot of stuff, and never answered one reply or question to you. Why is that. Johnny said he hoped you were not a troll and said fingers crossed.

    Your really looking like one, ask questions, disappear for a while ask more questions, then disappear again. What’s up with that?

  23. MJP says:

    Alisha, I’d like you to re-read what you wrote. Are you suggesting the Mormons in Utah are wrong and get the basics wrong? Why is that? Are they the ones who are afraid? If so, why are they afraid?

  24. falcon says:

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to agree with rick. Actually it’s not that painful of a thing for me to do 🙂

    I wrote quite a bit regarding your stance that your prophets are just men who make mistakes. You pretty much let that, like all of the things addressed to you, go by. I’m not suggesting that you have to answer every post or question addressed to you, however a couple here or there would be appreciated.

    Here’s the fact of the situation. You can’t on-the-one-hand have “prophets” that hear from the Mormon god and then on-the-other-hand agree that they make “mistakes”. Further more your attitude that God will straighten it all out later is beyond disingenuous.
    Let me get to the nut of the thing. I would not follow prophets who I knew made mistakes. I wouldn’t have anything to do with them. The problem is that you are following these mistake prone prophets to your personal spiritual doom.
    I’ve tested your prophets. I’ve weighed them in the balance. I have found them lacking. I would go no where near them anymore than I’d let a pedophile baby sit my kids. It’s that serious of a thing.

  25. Kate says:


    “It was written that “Sincere Mormons are afraid to openly question these powerful businessmen”. This isn’t true. For some reason there are a few in the church that are afraid to ask questions but this is because they dont pay attention to the basics of the LDS church which is to ASK QUESTIONS!!! Question EVERYTHING!!! Those who feel afraid have been misinformed. They probably are from Utah. Utah Mormons get things wrong on the ward level quite a bit. FYI

    This is probably the most inane thing I have read in my 3 or 4 years on this blog. I’ll take a wild guess and say you aren’t from Utah. Did you know that a huge portion of Utah LDS are descendants of the pioneers? Descendants of men and women who were with Joseph Smith from the beginning? Mormonism passed down from generation to generation. The problem is, the LDS church is trying to quietly and secretly change what Mormonism is and has been. Generational Mormons are calling them out on their dishonesty and leaving the church. There are many, many who don’t dare question the leaders, why? Well maybe because we have been taught our entire lives that when the prophet speaks the thinking has been done.

    “Any Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes, whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the “prophets, seers, and revelators” of the Church is cultivating the spirit of apostasy…. Lucifer … wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to “do their own thinking.”…When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan—it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354).

    Or maybe it was this:
    “If you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it, none of your business whether it is right or wrong” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 32).

    Or maybe it’s because we have seen that people who question and talk to others about it are being called in for a “court of love” to be punished, whether it’s disfellowship or excommunication. Or maybe we’ve stumbled upon the whole “Strengthening church members committee” Yes they have a committee that monitors LDS members who write about the church and some have been excommunicated because the church didn’t like what they wrote, even if it was the truth. Now I’ve given you something to research. I’m not going to do it for you. I’m thinking you are a troll. Maybe even someone who has posted here in the past under a different name. Either way, you don’t know what you are talking about.

  26. falcon says:

    I’ve been sitting here in anticipation of you addressing “Alisha”.
    I’m wondering just what type of Mormonism she’s practicing. She tells us that the prophets are mistake prone and that God will straighten it all out later. She tells us that Mormons are encouraged to question. She tells us that Utah Mormonism is a different form from that practiced in other geographical areas.
    I don’t doubt that the culture of Mormonism is more intense in the Utah/western states than say in the mid-west, however I don’t think that the fundamental operating procedures are that different.
    “Court of Love”, how quaint. I think Grant Palmer got a court of love and ended up getting dis-fellowshipped. This action was taken as a result of his inquiry and writing about Mormonism as an insider.
    I would encourage Alisha to stay put where she’s currently living and able to practice her own specific form of Mormonism.

  27. Mike R says:

    Alisha , I said that Mormons are afraid to openly question their leaders . Can I ask you why
    of all I said on this thread would you address that one point ? Re-read what I said about those
    5 points the church Manual lists , and tell me where I am wrong in my assessment of Mormonism.

    P.S. would you mind asking a question of your leaders to see if you can see documentation of
    how much they receive monetarily in their positions as top leaders of the church .Start there
    and be persistent !

  28. grindael says:

    It was written that “Sincere Mormons are afraid to openly question these powerful businessmen”. This isn’t true. For some reason there are a few in the church that are afraid to ask questions but this is because they dont pay attention to the basics of the LDS church which is to ASK QUESTIONS!!! Question EVERYTHING!!! Those who feel afraid have been misinformed. They probably are from Utah. Utah Mormons get things wrong on the ward level quite a bit. FYI.

    When does the average member get a chance to question any of the Mormon Hierarchy? Not very often at all. They are advised to not even write to them, but to deal with their “local” authorities. Denver Snuffer “questioned everything” and published a book about his questions. He was pressured to recant it, and take it out of publication, which he did not do and so was excommunicated. He was in the church for 40 years.

    These men DO encourage people to ask questions. No doubt about it. But once you do, and you don’t like the answers you may receive, then that is another matter. In 2009, Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke at a CES fireside for young adults, at BYU about this. One comment he made is worth noting:

    Because we see imperfectly in mortality, not everything is going to make sense right now. In fact, I should think that if everything did make sense to us, it would be evidence that it had all been made up by a mortal mind.

    Talk about not making sense. Here, Uchtdorf employs a classic tactic of making this an absolute so that he can get out of dealing with the real issue, that many things don’t make sense in Mormonism. Of course not EVERY SINGLE THING in life is going to make sense all the time. This is simply common sense.

    But the issues that generate questions about Mormonism aren’t that hard to answer or make sense out of, if one is simply given the evidence. Notice that Uchtdorf never gets specific. They won’t. For example, where is the Hill Cumorah? You have two schools of thought in the church. One, that it is in Central America, and one that it is in New York.

    Given the statements of early church “authorities” that it was in New York, it doesn’t make sense that it would be in Central America. This can easily be settled by any of the Mormon “prophets”. Jo did it with lots of things. For example, read Doctrine and Covenants Section 77. It is answers to a whole bunch of questions about the Book of Revelations given by Jo. Thing is, this is stuff that can’t be fact checked. Another one, was the location of the Garden of Eden. Wilford Woodruff wrote,

    Presidet Young said Joseph the Prophet told me that the garden of Eden was in Jackson Co Missouri, & when Adam was driven out of the garden of Eden He went about 40 miles to the Place which we Named Adam Ondi Ahman, & there built an Altar of Stone & offered Sacrifize. That Altar remains to this day. I saw it as Adam left it as did many others, & through all the revolutions of the world that Altar had not been disturbed. Joseph also said that when the City of Enoch fled & was translated it was whare the gulf of Mexico now is. It left that gulf a body of water. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, March 30, 1873, Vol. 7, p.129)

    Smith himself confirmed this by way of a “revelation”:

    1 Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet. (D&C 116)


    53 Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing. (D&C 107)

    Benjamin F. Johnson wrote,

    On our arrival at Diahman, our camp was pitched upon the town plat which had just been surveyed by direction of the Prophet, and of course each one was anxious to obtain the most eligible, or first choice of lots. As I was young and unmarried my choice would come near the last under the rule of “oldest served first.” So when it was my choice I found I must take the top lot on the promontory overlooking the Grand River valley, or go farther away and lower down than I wished to. So I chose the upper, which at first appeared rocky, but which made the other lots appear almost enviable. When, after a few days, the Prophet accompanied us to this spot, and pointed out those rocks as the ones of which Adam built an altar and offered sacrifice upon this spot, where he stood and blessed the multitude of his children, when they called him Michael, and where he will again sit as the Ancient of Days, then I was not envious of anyone’s choice for a city lot in Adam-ondi-Ahman. Yet I would not have it inferred that my inheritance there, or those given me elsewhere are to be especially guaranteed to have in future. (Autobiography of Benjamin F. Johnson, p.36)

    But today, Mormon “prophets” won’t answer any questions about Book of Mormon locations. Yet, Jo did it all the time with lots of topics. The problem today is, we can definitely fact check, something very hard to do in Smith’s day. That is what they are afraid of today. What makes absolutely no sense, is the inconsistency of Mormon “authorities” on just about everything. I leave you with Parley P. Pratt’s thoughts about other religions and how he wished they would fail, another thing that Mormons today say they never hear of:

    20th Sunday I attended meeting. P P. Pratt Preached. Was followed by David Whitmore. Brother Pratt Preached upon the first Principles of the gospel. Said the Ancient prophets had a knowledge of the gospel & of Jesus Christ & bore testimony of him And the Apostles were called to preach it to the nations. I always was Anxious to have the same gospel esstablished in my day. A methodist once asked me if I did not rejoice to see that denomination prosper so. I told him no. I said I wished that denomination & all other would come down. He asked why. I said so The Church of Christ [Mormonism] might be built up in its stead. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p.211, 1853)

  29. Kate says:

    “I’m wondering just what type of Mormonism she’s practicing.”

    Until I started reading this blog I wasn’t aware that there were different “types” of Mormonism. Since then I have read many, many posts by LDS that are so foreign to me it’s crazy. It’s as if anything goes. You are free to just make up your own Mormonism! Some of it is so off the wall I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

    “‘She tells us that the prophets are mistake prone and that God will straighten it all out later.”

    I have heard this from Mormons. My own mom says that she can’t get into all of that kind of stuff, she will just have faith as a little child and God will sort it out. I usually ask her what her faith is in. Up goes the wall.

    “I don’t doubt that the culture of Mormonism is more intense in the Utah/western states than say in the mid-west, however I don’t think that the fundamental operating procedures are that different.”

    I’m sure the culture here is very different than the rest of the country. One day maybe I will be lucky enough to find out 🙂

    “When does the average member get a chance to question any of the Mormon Hierarchy?”

    Pretty much never, not in person that is. What happens when a Mormon questions LDS leaders to their bishops or stake presidents? What if they question them to family members? Friends? I think any questioning Mormon has a chance of being disfellowshipped or excommunicated. I’d like to see “Alisha” ask her local leaders major questions and see how far that goes. Only faith promoting questions are allowed 🙂

  30. johnnyboy says:


    I literally was going to say the same to Alisha. Hey Alisha, why don’t you go to your bishop or stake president, tell them you have doubts and ask them to explain some of the troubling issues like the BofA or Joseph smiths polyandry and pedophelia. Then come back and let us know how it went.

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