Good point. Joseph Smith, why try to hide this? I would have thought that the History of the Church (written by Joseph Smith) actually helped the LDS Church, but it incriminates it. Using something as simple as this to describe Joseph Smith is not presentism, but simplicity. A simplistic overview of the truth of a matter shines more light on the truthfulness than endless, run-on research. People can know all the facts and research, yet still be so deceived. Why? They twist the facts to be “faith-promoting,” which unfortunately happens to faithful Mormons.
How much twisting needs to happen before you get so tired and burned out, trying to prove something to someone else?
A girl who knew Joseph Smith said,
“He [Joseph Smith, Jr.] talked incessantly about himself, what he had done and could do more than other mortals, and remarked that he was a ‘giant, physically and mentally.’ In fact, he seemed to forget that he was a man.” (Charlotte Haven, “A Girl’s Letters From Nauvoo,” Overland Monthly, San Francisco, volume 16, December 1890, pp. 616-638)
Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Joseph Smith’s life ended prematurely, as he was shot in June of 1844. His lifestyle and pride that led up to his death was something that brought about his downfall. Some pits that people fall into in life are dug by others. Some pits that people fall into are self-dug. Joseph Smith’s pit was self-dug because of how he lived during the last few years of his life.
1 Thessalonians 2:3-7 says,
“For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ…”
Joseph Smith was guilty of deceit, fraud, and false teaching. Obviously there are several things Joseph Smith taught that were true. This is why he is very deceptive, because deception is always mixed with some truth, which is why Mormonism is so deceptive. If Joseph Smith came along and said, “We should worship a blue Hindu goddess with six arms,” that would not be as deceptive. It would be more than obvious that Joseph Smith was a fraud if he said that. Since his experience was more like, “the Heavenly Father and Jesus showed up to me in the woods,” that deals with more familiar terms and hooks traditional Christians in pretty easily, and that is how it is more deceptive.
Being anti-Mormonism is not anti-Mormon, because loving people is what we are all about. I am most definitely not anti-Mormon. The LDS Church institution likes to label those who come against LDS teachings as “anti-Mormon.” In a way, I can see why. They want to protect their members from such things. This can be misleading, because we are anti-Mormon in the sense that we are against Mormon teachings that defy Truth, but we are not anti-Mormon in the sense that we are against the people of Mormonism. After all, Mormon people are very nice and respectable. Mormons deserve more respect and civility from evangelical Christians. We can hold hands with them and celebrate their family values and their urge to protect our nation’s constitution. I admire the Latter-day Saints for standing up against drugs and alcohol, and for wanting to protect religious freedom and traditional, biblical marriage.
It is not like there are Mormons who are not saved. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not saying that Mormonism as a religious system teaches a saving message. I am saying that there are rank-in-file Mormons out there who I believe really do know Jesus! I have met some of them! Would I encourage them to stay in Mormonism? No. Just like there are people whom I know who were Muslims who had a conversion experience with Jesus in a vision and afterward, worship at the Mosque, not praying to Allah, but to Jesus Christ. Just like there are people who could be in the Jehovah’s Witness system and come to know Jesus Christ. Not because of their religious system, but because Jesus can show up to whomever He wants to! Our Heavenly Father loves drawing people to Himself!
People may have their hearts right with God, but may still need some work with certain theologies in their heads.
Some people, like some ardent Southern Baptists I know, (and bless their hearts), love to make sure that everyone they meet has a proper and correct theology for EVERYTHING. If that person does not, they feel like it is their job to correct it all to get them saved, as if they are not saved in the first place. They feel the need to quote Bible verses at every family get-together, to talk about the End Times in Christmas letters, yet at the same time, they don’t even realize that their approach needs to be checked. Yes, we need to safeguard against false teachings, and I am definitely aware of that, as I am one who used to believe in all LDS teachings, but we need to love them and approach them like Jesus did. Get to know them as people, first and foremost!!! After all, stop seeing Mormons as simply conversion objects, and see them as wonderful creations of God!
Look at the picture above. Picture this as Jesus hugging a Mormon. For an evangelical Christian who might say, “Mormons won’t make it to heaven,” I have news for you: the way that God sees Mormons as people is like this picture depicts; Jesus loves them and died for them too!
Even though I have a huge passion for talking with Mormons, befriending them with the right motive, and loving them, I must still stand up for the truth to expose false teachings of Mormonism that contradict and stand against the Bible. I have read about stories where people stand on street corners, holding signs that say “Joseph Lied” or “You’re in a Cult!” I have read saddening stories about how LDS meetinghouses and wards are burned down, vandalized, or trespassed and damaged, or where people set copies of the Book of Mormon ablaze and set them on the front steps of LDS ward buildings. This deeply saddens me. I feel for the Mormons, because treating them like they are sub-human is not okay. God created Mormons, and He loves them! Jesus Christ died for every single Mormon, just like He died for you and I! He loves Mormons so much! Even though I have a passion to bring to light certain errors in Mormonism, I have an even bigger passion and heart to depict the love of Jesus Christ to any and all Mormons.
This is my first and foremost mission, to show the love of God to Mormons.
Mormons, to all of you who have been hurt by evangelical Christians in some way, I am sorry. Deeply. I have been slandered against by certain people in my own family when I believed in Mormonism myself, and I know what it feels like to be told you are believing cultic things, and that you are weird and that you have no sense of any truth. My heart goes out to you. Mormons, we need to try to understand each other better. Not simply to try and convert each other, but we need to love each other and discuss the Bible and the real questions: Who is God? Why are we sinners? How are we justified from sin? I am not going to argue with Mormons about not drinking coffee and tea. I’m not going to debate their take on polygamy even. When we preach Christ and Him crucified, then that is the core of everything. When a Mormon finds a relationship with Jesus, then all that other stuff will get worked out.
I would never fight a Mormon in the sense of silly arguing, for the war we fight is not against each other in a physical sense. This goes beyond emotions. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Yes, it is important to get the right information. But even if someone has all the right information, it doesn’t mean they have the revelation about what that information really means. I urge faithful, active, and even doubting Latter-day Saints to read the New Testament as a child, and to let the Holy Spirit lead you into what you are reading.
Joseph Smith gives this interesting quote:
I agree with him in a sense. Of course we are to go to God in prayer to obtain divine teaching! But if we are told something from a preacher, a spirit, a prophet, a pastor, or any website or person, we must test it with the biblical model of testing: making sure it agrees with the scriptures: the 66 books of the Bible!
In Acts 17, Paul and Silas travelled to Berea. Acts 17:10-13 (NKJV) says,
“When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds.”
Notice how it says that the people in Berea were more “fair-minded” than those in Thessalonica! Why were they? Because they received what Paul was saying by searching the Scriptures to find out whether or not those things being said were true. They were commended for this! What was the scripture that was being referred to? The already-written scripture at the time, the Old Testament. Now, when people heard Joseph Smith’s King Follett Discourse, they should have searched the scriptures daily to find out whether Joseph Smith was saying the truth about God. Joseph Smith said that God had not always been God in the past, but became God through obedience to the eternal laws of heaven. In that blasphemous model, laws would be more eternal than our God is! Nonsense! God is the uncreated creator!
Mormons at the time should have went to the scriptures at the time to test Joseph Smith. What scriptures? The Old and New Testaments. They could have seen that Isaiah blows Joseph Smith’s comments out of the water. So in Joseph Smith’s quote in the picture above, he says we shouldn’t go to books, but rather to God. We need to go to God, AND to the Bible to get divine teachings!
I loved Joseph Smith when I believed in LDS doctrines before. I used to cling to everything he said, until I found out the contradictions in his teachings.
Here is a sobering quote from Emerson:
In closing, I must say that when I believed in Mormon doctrines, I knew that there were things that did not line up or agree with past LDS teachings. I fell into the vulgar mistake that Ralph Waldo Emerson is talking about; I believed I was persecuted as an almost-Mormon when I found out things that contradicted each other from within Mormonism. I felt as if “Anti-Mormons” were just mean and “Anti-Mormon” literature was false and rude, when really, it was truthful, even if the approach of it was dry at times.
What do we do with those contradictions? Let them go, and cling only to God and His Word, the Bible!
My Grandma Lee once told me that people who study to learn about how to detect counterfeit money actually study the real dollar bill, not the fake ones, so then they know the counterfeit bill based off of the true bill, not because they studied the false bill so much. Even though I write and research on Mormonism, I must never forget to focus on the Bible and the Truth even more!
Study the good fruit, that’s how you can know when to detect the bad fruit.
Just some food for thought 🙂