The Book of Mormon vs Mormonism

Many Mormon converts are told to read the book of Mormon in order to know about the Latter-day Saints church. This is a bait-and-switch tactic. Actually, many doctrines taught within the book of Mormon have been ignored and replaced with other ones by the Mormon church.

While the book of Mormon is a false scripture, some teachings in it appear to be closer to the Bible than the ones later concocted by Joseph Smith and his successors. Hence, Mormonism is not only a departure from biblical, historical Christianity, it’s also fraught with internal inconsistencies and incoherence. Here, I’ll point out some key LDS doctrines that directly contradict and cannot be supported by their book of Mormon.

Abbreviations:
B of M = Book of Mormon
D and C = Doctrine and Covenants
PGP = Pearl of Great Price
J of D = Journal of Discourses

1. Monotheism

In the B of M we read: “And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God. Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No” (Alma 11:27-29).

“… and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged…” (Alma 11:44)

“…And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God without end. Amen” (2 Nephi 31:21).

At the time the book of Mormon was published (1830), Smith adhered to monotheism and even tried to emulate the doctrine of the Trinity. But decades later, his theology changed into polytheism:

“And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind … and the Gods saw they would obey” (PGP, Abraham 4:25)

“The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods, that is the true meaning of the words [in Genesis 1:1] … Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council” (Joseph Smith’s King Follet Discourses, 614).

“Gods exist, and we had better strive to be prepared to be one of them” (Brigham Young, The J of D 7:238)

2. Immutability of God

“For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity” (Moroni 8:18).

“For we do not read that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is a shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles” (Mormon 9:9-10).

“And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I may speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure…” (2 Nephi 29:9)

But the LDS religion adheres to what Joseph Smith taught:

“…I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see … I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form – like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as man” (King Follet’s Discourses, ed. B. H. Roberts, 1963, 5)

“We were begotten by our Father in heaven, the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father, and again. He was begotten by a still more ancient Father, and so on, from generation to generation” (Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, 1853, 132).

One supposedly inspired source says God never changes and another says God was a man who evolved into deity or was born by another God on another planet. Interestingly, Smith says elsewhere “There is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God” (D and C, 20:17).

3. God’s Omnipotence and Omniscience

“… the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men…” (Mosiah 7:2)

“For behold, God knoweth all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold he sent angels to minister unto the children of men…” (Moroni 7:22)

But Mormonism teaches that: “God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end” (Wilford Woodruff, J of D, 1857, 6:120)

“We are now, or may be, as perfect in our sphere as God and Angels are in theirs, but the greatest intelligence in existence (God) can continually ascend to greater heights of perfection” (Brigham Young, J of D, 1852, 1:93).

4. God is a Spirit

“And then Ammon said: Believeth thou that there is a Great Spirit? And he said, Yea. And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth” (Alma 18:26-28). (cf. John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17)

But Joseph Smith taught that: “If the vail was rent to-day, and the great God, who holds this world in its orbit, and upholds all things by his power; if you were to see him to-day, you would see him in all the person, image and very form as a man…” (Times and Seasons 1844, vol. 5: 613-14).

5. Christ’s virgin birth

“And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God” (Alma 7:10).

But this was denied by Smith’s successor: “When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family … Now, remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost” (Brigham Young, J of D, 1:50-51).

6. Men becoming Gods

The book of Mormon presents God as one and eternal negating the idea of men becoming gods. But Joseph Smith taught that: “… you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you … to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power” (B. H. Roberts, History of the Church, 1844, VI, 306).

Mormon prophet, Lorenz Snow also declared: “As man is, God once was, As God is, man may become” (Millennial Star, vol. 54).

7. Pre-mortal existence of humans

The LDS religion officially teaches that “all men lived in a premortal estate before they were born into this world; all were born in this premortal existence as the spirit children of the Father” (What Mormons Think of Christ? Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1976, 25).

Nowhere in the book of Mormon is this idea of human pre-existence taught. Similarly, the Bible teaches that human souls were created at the point of physical conception (Is. 44:2, 24; 49:5). But Smith taught: “And that it might be filled with the measure of man according to his creation before the world was made” (D and C, 49:17)

“Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth … Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth was not created nor made, neither indeed can be” (93:23, 29).

8. Three levels of heaven

Smith taught that there are 3 levels of heaven: the telestial (for those who don’t believe the gospel), the terrestrial and the highest called the celestial:

“And again, we saw the glory of the terrestrial, which glory is of the latter … And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial … And those we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding” (D and C, 76:81-90).

Nowhere is this taught in the book of Mormon. Apparently, Smith adopted the 3 degrees of Masonry (which he was involved in) into his imaginary heaven. Now, if Smith was really inspired, why did he contradict the book that he presented to the world 14 years earlier as the final revelation?

9. Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood

The B of M says that “the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son… high priesthood of the holy order of God” (Alma 13:1, 6).

But in D and C (107:1), we read: “There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic including the Levitical Priesthood.”

It also says: “For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and then magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become the sons of Moses and Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of the Lord” (D and C, 84:33-34). The Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods were evidently made up later by Smith.

10. Baptism for the dead

This rite is based on Smith’s revelations: “For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead – For this ordinance belongeth to my house…” (D and C, 124:29-30)

“You may think this order of things to be particular; but let me tell you that it is only to answer the will of God, by conforming to the ordinance and preparation that the Lord ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, for the salvation of the dead who should die without a knowledge of the gospel” (128:5)

But the B of M says the opposite, that there’s no hope for sinners after death:

“And, in fine, we unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins” (2 Nephi 9:38)

“Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of all guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord … which is like unquenchable fire whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever” (Mosiah 2:38)

11. The Word of Wisdom code

Smith laid down this code forbidding Mormons to take wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks (tea, coffee etc). He said:

“Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days. I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation” (D and C, 89:4-9). But nowhere is this code given in the book of Mormon.

12. Polygamy

The B of M says that “the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon his son” (Jacob 1:15).

“Behold David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord” (Jacob 2:24). But D and C says: “David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants…and in nothing did they sin save things which they received not from me” (132:38).

It wasn’t only Smith’s doctrines that changed between 1830 and 1850, his morals also declined as well. After the book of Mormon was published, he had dozens of wives and concubines (including minors) so he needed to justify his sins with another “revelation” forgetting that his earlier one already condemns him.

13. Secret rites

Mormons who intend to become “temple workers” undergo secret rites in Mormon temples which include blood oaths, receiving secret names, learning secret passwords, endowment initiation and “sealing” marriage. But the B of M condemns these practices:

“And it shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord because of secret combinations and the works of darkness” (Mormon 8:27)

“And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of these things…” (2 Nephi 26:22)

“But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the more parts of the Nephites … And it came to pass that they did not have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; that they may distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant…” (Helaman 6:21-22).

Indeed, these temple rites have links with Masonry and witchcraft. Now, if the LDS religion truly believes that the B of M is “the most correct of any book on earth,” the “fulness of the everlasting gospel” which reveals “all things unto the children of men,” then it’s illogical and inconsistent for their other “sacred” books to contradict it at any point. Such contradictions must never be minimized or rationalized as “mysteries,” they are proofs of a diabolic deception.

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Was Muhammad the Promised Prophet?

A Christian friend recently asked me if it’s true that Muhammad was predicted in Deuteronomy 18:18 as Muslims claim. Several Christian apologists like John Gilchrist, Sam Shamoun etc. have done a good job in refuting the “Muhammad in the Bible” fantasies. This is one of the claims that illustrate the shallow and inconsistent arguments Muslims resort to in a bid to “prove” that Muhammad is a prophet of God.

On one hand, they tell us that the Bible is “corrupt” and false, but when they are cornered with evidence against Muhammad, they start to appeal to the authority and credibility of the Bible to validate their guru. It’s a cognitive dissonance that is quite amusing and at the same time, sad.

In Deut. 18:18, God says to Moses, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.”

Because this promised Prophet would be like Moses, some Muslims have tried to link Muhammad with Moses by pointing at some “similarities” – none of which confers any prophetic identity. The Bible indicates 3 unique features that distinguish Moses as Israel’s first prophet:

1. He was the mediator of a covenant. When God manifested Himself to the children of Israel, He promised to send them a prophet like Moses “as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly” (Dt. 18:16).

Moses mediated the old covenant between God and the Israelites. Through him, God gave the Israelites His law and requirements. As a token of this covenant, Moses sprinkled blood of calves on the people (Heb. 9:20). But Muhammad was no mediator of any covenant.

2. Moses knew God face-to-face. He had such a unique relationship with God that for 40 years, God manifested and frequently spoke directly to him in a way that He didn’t do with others (Exo. 33:11). The Quran confirms this in Sura 4:164 “And to Moses Allah spoke directly.” Allah didn’t speak to Muhammad face-to-face.

3. Moses performed great signs and wonders. God used him to bring plagues on Egypt, divide the Red Sea, bring manna from heaven and water from a rock. On the other hand, Muhammad had no miracle or sign. Even when his critics demanded for some, he admitted he couldn’t work any miracle. Certainly, Muhammad wasn’t the promised prophet.

Like a drowning man – whether by hook or by crook – Muslims latch on to the phrase “from among your brothers” in Deut. 18:18 arguing that Arabs are the brothers of Israelites, so the promised prophet must be an Arab and was Muhammad. This claim doesn’t hold water.

Looking at the whole of Deuteronomy we see that the term “among their brothers” was exclusively used for only the tribes of Israel. In Dt. 18:2, it was used for the Levites and other tribes in Israel. In each instance the term “their brothers” occurs in the Old Testament, it always refers to the tribes of Israelites, not to non-Israelites:

“… The LORD your God has given you this land to take possession of it. But all your able-bodied men, armed for battle, must cross ahead of your BROTHER Israelites” (Dt. 3:18)

“If there is a poor man AMONG YOUR BROTHERS in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted… (Dt. 15:7)

“Be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from AMONG YOUR BROTHERS. Do not place a foreigner over you, one WHO IS NOT A BROTHER Israelite” (Dt. 17:15)

“Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is A BROTHER ISRAELITE or an alien living in one of your towns” (Dt. 24:14)

Some may argue that Isaac and Ishmael were half-brothers. But no valid connection exists between Ishmael and Muhammad or even the southern Arabs. In fact, no prophet was to be expected from the lineage of Ishmael because God’s covenant was with Isaac. Even the Quran agrees that prophethood was to come from the Israelites:

“And We gave to Him Isaac and Jacob and placed in his descendants prophethood and scripture…” (29:27).

Therefore, the promised Prophet was to come out of Israel and He is Jesus Christ. He is the “Prophet” (Mt. 13:57) and “the Son of the God” (Jn. 10:36). Like Moses:

1. He is the Mediator of a covenant. Through Him, God instituted a new covenant replacing that of Moses (Jer. 31:31-34). Under this new covenant, His laws would be written on His people’s hearts. This covenant was effected through blood (1 Cor. 11:25).

2. Jesus knew God face-to-face. He declared this in John 7:29 and 6:46.

3. Jesus performed great miracles. Like Moses, He also exercised power over the sea (Mk. 4:39).

Muhammad deceived his followers to believe that he was mentioned as God’s prophet in the Bible. This is why today Muslims are forced to jump through different hoops to “find” him within its pages. Let’s examine these two claims in the Quran:

Those who follow the Apostle, the unlettered Prophet whom they (Israelites) will find mentioned in their own (Scriptures) – in the Law and the Gospel – for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil … He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them…” (Q 7:157)

This statement was attributed to Moses. One, there’s no way the Israelites could have known of any prophecy of an apostle of Allah to come within the pages of the Gospel when the Gospel had not yet been revealed in their time. The gospel was penned by Jesus’ apostles – and the Judaists didn’t believe the gospel – so how could Allah be telling them of a book that didn’t exist until 1,500 years later? Two, if Muhammad was unlettered or illiterate (as Muslims claim) how could he have certainly known that his coming was predicted in the Law and Gospel?

Three, Moses says the coming prophet would uphold justice, fairness and free the Jews from their yokes, but Muhammad was a great enemy to the Jews. He hated them; cursed them; enslaved them, assaulted them and unjustly murdered hundreds of them in one single day. Ibn Umar reported Muhammad as saying:

“You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say ‘Muslim, there is a Jew (hiding himself behind me), kill him’.” (Muslim 7:41:6981)

Are we to believe that God who called Israel “the apple of [His] eye” (Zech. 2:8) and loved them “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3) would then send them an apostle “like Moses” to rape, oppress, banish and slaughter them? Far from it!

In the second claim, Jesus allegedly says:

O children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming the Taurat (Torah) which came before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad. they said: this is obvious sorcery!” (Q 61:6).

This statement lacks an eye witness account and like many fictional speeches Muhammad imputed onto Bible characters, it is invalid. Here was a man who lived for 40 years as a good ol’ pagan, going on caravan journeys, sitting around night fires with Jewish, Christian and Sabean traders listening to their stories and … boom, he wakes up one day to realize that his name is “Ahmad” announced as Jesus’ successor in the Gospels! Megalomania much?

Maybe, Muhammad forgot he had earlier recited that prophethood was reserved for the Israelites: “And We [Allah] did certainly give the Children of Israel the Scripture and judgement and prophethood, and We provided them with good things…” (Q 45:16)

The textual validity of Sura 61:6 is also questionable. The manuscript of Ubayy Ibn Ka’ab (one of the 4 earliest memorisers of the Quran), though destroyed by Uthman, survives in quotations and it reads differently from the common version:

“O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of God to you And I announce to you a prophet (nabiy) whose community (umma) will be the last community and by which God will put a seal on prophets (nabiyun) and messengers (rusul), they said: this is obvious sorcery!”

The part appearing in bold says nothing about an “Ahmad” promised by Jesus. It was obviously a later interpolation. Both variants may have been smuggled into the text to support an agenda. Irrespective of the cheap labours of Muslim apologists to legitimise Muhammad from the Bible, in the light of evidence, they have no ground to stand on.