officially known as 'The church of Jesus Christ of the latter day saints''
Introduction | Joseph Smith | Brigham Young | The book of Mormon | The Pearl of great price | False prophecies | Temple Mormonism | False salvation | False Father | False Son | False Holy Spirit | Miscellaneous | Links |
To understand Mormonism one must first understand the importance of Joseph Smith.
The 2nd Mormon President Brigham Young wrote
When a pair of Mormon missionaries arrive at your door one of the first things they will do is show you a picture of Joseph Smith and proclaim that he was a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is true and that there is a living prophet upon the earth today. Indeed while a Christian's testimony is the unique story of how, through the work of the Holy Spirit, they came to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, each Mormon has the same testimony which is simply a memorized statement of belief. "I testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and died a martyr for the faith, that the book of Mormon is true, that the church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day saints is the only true restored church, and that there is a living prophet upon the earth today"
As will be seen from the facts below, this Mormon testimony is a total deception emanating from a man who was an occult practitioner, a 32nd degree Freemason and an arrogant, convicted impostor.
Early life influences
Six years after his conviction in court Smith talked of visions during his youth that led to his digging up gold plates on the hill Cumorah - plates that when translated contained the Book of Mormon.
Smith tells that he ''retired to the woods ..on a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty". His purpose was "to enquire of the Lord ..which of all the sects was right".
"He kneeled down" and was "seized upon by some power which entirely overcame" him. " Thick darkness gathered around" and then " a pillar of light" appeared over his head, "above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon" him.
It was then he saw "two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description" One of the two 'personages' then called him "by name and said, pointing to the other - This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him" [see page from book]
There is absolutely no indication in Smith's testimony that he fell on his face and worshipped as might be expected of one who suddenly comes face to face with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Rather from his account he seems to have taken it all in his stride, and even had the presence of mind to ask what was on his mind. Which of all the sects was right" and "which should I join?"
The answer was that "they were all wrong"
Three years later he had 'another visitation' this time from an angel called 'Moroni' He writes that this visitation occurred when he was in his bedroom asking God for forgiveness for his sins - "not great or malignant sins" but sins of "levity" and associating with "jovial company"
Smith was not permitted to dig up the plates immediately, and in the meantime he received another message. The 'personage' not only gave him instructions regarding the treasure but also regarding the woman he would marry. After courting Emma Hale against her father's wishes he returned to Pennsylvania to his home where in the fall of 1826 he again visited the Hill Cumorah. There the 'personage' told him that he could at last see the buried plates - "if he brot with him the right person"
Who was that person? Joseph looked into his glass and found it was Emma Hale. In January 1827 he returned to Pennsylvania and eloped without the consent of her parents.
On May 15th 1829 Smith and Oliver Cowdrey went into the woods together They later reported that there they had received a message from John the Baptist who appeared to them in a vision. He conferred on them the 'Priesthood of Aaron' and then instructed them to baptise one another
Again in May 1829 Smith and Cowdrey were praying in the woods when, they claimed, Peter James and John appeared to them and conferred the Melchizedekian priesthood upon them'
This means that Smith had visitations from God the Father, Jesus Christ, the angel Moroni, Peter James and John, and John the Baptist.
(Indeed most of the secret Mormon temple ritual is lightly modified Blue degree Masonic ritual)
The following statement is recorded in Joseph Smith's History under the date of March 15, 1842:
"In the evening I received the First degree in Freemasonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office." (History of the Church, Vol. 4, page 551)
Never a man to be satisfied with the lowest place he immediately went to the top.
The next day Joseph Smith stated: "I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree" (History of the Church, Vol. 4, page 552)
The sublime degree is the 32nd degree and the details of this degree can be read here.
An angry mob attacked the jail where Smith was incarcerated - and according to most accounts,
- King of all the earth!
In 1844 Smith ran for President of America as his intoxication with power began to run rampant. He had established a special governing body to preside over the non Mormon world with himself installed as king. George Millar the presiding Bishop of the Church and one of that council's members gave the following account.
- Better leader than Jesus!
Note: There have been over 125 factions within the Mormon church since its foundation by Smith. His death came about as a result of some of his followers turning against him and exposing his womanising. See 'Gunman'
This section is taken from Ruth Tucker's 'Strange Gospels' pages 64-67
Smith "inquired of the Lord more wives than one is a true principle, but the time had not yet come for it to be practiced." From the events that would soon come to light, it is not difficult to surmise that Smith was seeking to justify adultery - repeated sexual relationships with women other than Emma, his wife. It was in 1831, that he told Mary Rollins, who was then twelve, that she "was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife." She eventually did become one of his wives, but she was not the first. That distinction was given to Fanny Alger, "a varry nice & Comly young woman," who at nineteen had come to live with the Smiths to help Emma with household tasks
Emma found them there at least once, and forced Fanny to leave when it was learned she was pregnant. When Oliver Cowdery learned of the matter, he was incensed, castigating Smith for the "dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger’s.
As rumours spread, some of Smith’s associates sought to take matters into their own hands. While Smith was on a trip in 1835, the general assembly voted on an "Article on Marriage" to be added to the Doctrine and Covenants. It was simple and direct: "Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again." Interestingly, that article was not removed until 1876, long after polygamy had officially been instituted by the church It was in Nauvoo in the early 1840s when the issue of polygamy came to a head both personally and publicly for Smith. On the personal level, it was abundantly clear that Emma bitterly opposed the practice. Her opposition was such that Smith felt he needed a revelation in an effort to settle the matter: "And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord." The revelation not only confirmed that Smith could take additional wives, but it contained a death threat for Emma: "And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.""
The revelation did not silence Emma, however, as Francis Gibbons relates in his laudatory biography of Smith:
She rejected it and fought bitterly against it. In her moments of anguish, she was greatly influenced by prominent but weak men who had rejected the doctrine. Torn between her knowledge and better instincts and the basic jealousy of her nature, Emma oscillated between joy and despair, outgoing love and suspicion, depending on whose company she was in. Thus was manifested in her character a gross inconstancy that was both reminiscent of her agnostic father and prophetic of the wavering course she would follow once the steadying influence of her husband was gone.
The thought of sharing her husband with another woman was an extremity Emma was not prepared to face. After her first violent reaction to the idea, she moderated even to the extent of participating in the selection of other mates for her husband, but her basic insecurity then dominated, and she returned to her original stance of unyielding opposition. It was in this rigid mould that her attitudes were finally cast, and so inflexible did they become that after the Prophet’s death, she refused even to admit that he had ever taken another wife.
It is not difficult to understand Emma’s mixed reactions to her husband’s escapades. On the one hand she was seeking to protect his image as the "prophet," and in that capacity she played the role of a facilitator. On the other hand, she was deeply hurt and angered by his attraction to other women and his obvious insensitivity to her. "Polygamy caused Emma long and agonizing doubts," writes Donna Hill. "Her Puritan ethics were affronted by plural marriage; she felt that her status was undermined and her prerogatives as a wife were threatened. She wondered if Joseph could be right in every other respect regarding the restored gospel and yet be led astray by overpowering sexual desires."
The most oft-repeated story of her outrage is her confrontation with Eliza Snow. The accounts vary, but Eliza, who was pregnant by Smith, was either beaten with a broom handle or pushed down a stairway, injured to the point of miscarrying the child. Another incident that may reflect Emma’s inability to accept plural marriage involved the poisoning of her husband. Smith "became suddenly sick at dinner and vomited so hard that he dislocated his jaw and ‘raised fresh blood." That same day, according to one of his close associates, he accused Emma of trying to kill him. On one occasion after that it was reported that she demanded her husband renounce his other wives, threatening suicide if he did not.
Historians differ on the precise number of women 'married' to Smith. Andrew Jensen arrived at the number twenty seven, from actual testimonies from the women involved or from witnesses. Fawn Brodie calculated the number at forty eight, and Stanley S Ivins at eighty four. It is believed that Emma knew of at least seven of these women and perhaps more, and Smith had children by at least four of these women - though they were not publicly regarded as his children.
A careful examination of Mormon history reveals that this pattern of dishonesty stemmed from Joseph Smith himself. Smith always publicly denied the practice, and as we have already shown, he was even willing to perform a fake excommunication to hide the practice. On May 3, 1844, the History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 411, reported that Joseph Smith responded as follows to the accusation that he "kept six or seven young females as wives":
In his article in Dialogue, page 21, D. Michael Quinn noted that Joseph Smith had "more than thirty plural wives" at the time he made this denial.
We have previously cited a notice printed in the Times and Season in which both Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, who was a member of the First Presidency of the church, signed a statement saying Hiram Brown had been cut off from the church for "preaching polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines." The following month, Hyrum Smith wrote the following for the Times and Seasons (March 15, 1844, vol. 5, p. 474): "...brother Richard Hewitt... states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrines, for there is no such doctrine taught; neither is there any such thing practised here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the High Council, and lose his license and membership..."
When Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the aid of his seer stone he then needed money to publish it.
His neighbour Harris had offered to sell his property for that purpose but Harris's wife so strongly opposed this that he reneged. This problem was easily solved. Smith received a revelation this time for Harris.
This was just one of many 'divine revelations' that Smith would have when someone would not do what he wanted.
In the previous section 'womaniser' we read of these attempts to keep his first wife Emma quiet about his other women by using death threats from 'The Lord'
Smith's death is seen by Mormons as a martyr's death.
It is claimed that before Joseph Smith was murdered in the Carthage jail he stated: "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter"... (Doctrine and Covenants, 135:4).
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
How did they die?
Most Mormons believe that Joseph Smith died without putting up a struggle, but the actual truth is that he died in a gunfight. In the History of the Church the following account is given concerning Joseph Smith's death:
In the introduction to volume 6 of the History of the Church, page XLI, Joseph Smith is praised for his part in the gunfight: "... the Prophet turned from the prostrate form of his murdered brother to face death-dealing guns and bravely returned the fire of his assailants, 'bringing his man down everytime,' and compelling even John Hay, who but reluctantly accords the Prophet any quality of virtue, to confess that he 'made a handsome fight.'..."
John Taylor, who became the third president of the church, testified concerning the death of Joseph Smith:
From the preceding information it can be seen that the death of Joseph Smith can in no way be compared to the death of Jesus. Jesus did go like a "lamb to the slaughter," but Joseph Smith died like a raging lion.