Discerning True Christians



Are Mormons Christians?


"Truth is anything that is revealed directly from the Lord–either personally or through the Spirit of Truth.  This sort of truth can be so humbling that it breaks down your personal foundation, but also has power great enough to rebuild it stronger than ever before.

Confronting unbelief and false tradition is never easy.   If you truly love God, value truth, and want to develop faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, you’ll need to confront your unbelief and seek truth above tradition. Faith can only be founded upon truth. If it is founded upon anything else, it is not faith.  If confronting unbelief and false tradition is uncomfortable yet the only way to know the Lord, I will gladly offer that sacrifice.”

The Holy Spirit moved me to write about truth. I had been so moved by what is going on in America and the West with the sexualization of youth that my heart was crying. But within weeks of gathering information to share on what is true and what is a lie in this false path so many are going down I was stopped in my tracks. What stopped me was the lie of Mormonism. Instantly, I knew these words above were meant for me to write about the Mormon faith.

After spending weeks studying and gathering the information from many dozens of sources I felt overwhelmed with the magnitude of what had been already uncovered but hidden deftly by those in control. How could I condense such a volume of information into one article? But I prevailed and prayed that if this was God’s will He could do it through me. In most of this article I use the term "Mormon" to describe LDS adherents as they have been called because they follow the Book of Mormon. In 2018 President Russell Nelson announced that adherents were no longer to call the Church, "church of Mormons" or anything else besides "Church of Christ Latter-day Saints". The Church names has changed three times while Joseph Smith was alive. It also has many nicknames. More below on this topic. I herein use the term Mormon as it has been used for years.

Upon nearing completion I restarted from the beginning and looked at my quote above wondering where I even found this? Surprisingly, I traced it to a Mormon’s blog! This person was still a Mormon and yet the words were so apropos to what this blogger and every other Mormon has to face yet they were blind to see they were not following their own advice. Why? It appears they are relying strictly on Mormon documents, not the Bible or a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the truth!

This article is intended to help see the truth behind the facade. It can be done if one opens their eyes and looks, open their ears and listens, and goes back to the truth Jesus gave us as recorded in Scripture. Then one needs to open their heart to what God the Holy Spirit reveals and then act upon that truth.

Living in Mormon Country
Many have heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and listened to their music. I, for one, have and especially fell in love with their Christmas albums. They sound like a choir of angels and they sing many of the traditional Christian songs and I admire their musical compositions. Other than knowing the Mormons were supposedly a Christian church called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and was founded by Joseph Smith, and that they built those big temples and had young men that went on two-year missions going door to door evangelizing around the world, I knew little about what they believed up until I moved to Utah in 1998.

I moved to Utah where 65% of the Utahans are Mormon. My former husband and I lived in Utah for four years, moving from Montana to Utah in 1999. At that time I belonged to a church based in Montana (CUT or better known as The Summit Lighthouse) that was accused of being a “cult”. Several years later I came to understand that accusation to be true. Yet this is where God led me to learn about false gods and eventually to “see the Light” and willfully turn my back on them.

There was no doubt in my mind that I had been following my destiny as there were many signposts leading me to find this church—this exact church—and then later to the man that I married who belonged to this church. I thought I was still a Christian but as I later found out with Mormonism, Jesus Christ is not the same Christ of Christianity. Not in my former church—nor in Mormonism.

We moved to Utah because I was guided for months from within to move there. There was one good reason I believed this guidance was from the Holy Spirit. My first husband met and married a Mormon while in Florida after our divorce and they eventually moved to Utah. We had four children together and two of the children were living with me in Montana and two were living in Utah. Thus moving to Utah and only two hours away from them was much better for arranging visitations and made sense.

It was a good move to get me away from the Church headquarters because their messenger (Elisabeth Prophet) retired one year after we left and the Church went into a tailspin with those vying for positions in the church leadership and those who broke off with their own messengership (my husband and I included), and those who wanted to control information, assets or power. It was an important experience to go through and see the workings of evil and human aggression. And that lesson continued greatly over the next ten years as I formed our own organization and had the evil not only come in through membership but blossom within my family.

To uncover the truth was painful and returning to the true Jesus Christ but in no way did or does it compare to what pain Mormons go through when they begin to see the lies that are hidden by their church. Their indoctrination is so complete that every aspect of their lives and spiritual understanding of God is impacted if they choose to leave. Some take years to break free after uncovering the lies, it is that hard to do. Some attempt suicide after they experience broken marriages (where one spouse still believes), have lost their children, lost parents, lost 99% of their friends, or have businesses that fail because every Mormon has shunned them.

All this I did not know when I moved to Utah. Not surprisingly, our neighbors in Utah were all Mormons, our jobs were run by Mormons and thus most of their employees were Mormons. When we first arrived and moved into our home I discovered something unusual, our neighbors would come over and introduce themselves but then their next words were always, “Are you LDS?” I was perplexed why that was important to ask first and foremost and later came to understand why. We were then put in our place, designated as “gentiles” and always treated kindly but not included in anything they did. Being Christian I understood the term “gentile” to mean “someone who is not a Jew”. To Mormons, the term is applied to anyone who is not baptized into Mormonism.

LDS is the acronym for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith (1805-1844), and today, better known as Mormons. However, the Church was first called Church of Christ as used in the Book of Mormon. In the years that followed a few more branches were established in other towns. Yet, the Church of Christ never legally incorporated. In 1838 the name was officially changed to its present name.

With eight million followers worldwide they have a lot of adherents but the link provided in the footnotes shows the true figures.1 Interestingly, many of those followers do not know the true history of their founder and the early church beginnings. Many do not know a lot about their church beliefs because they grew up in a Mormon family where rituals are kept and information is hidden until “appropriate” to know. Some do know but don’t care as they are taught to believe by faith not by history and facts.

When I joined CUT I knew a lot of their founder’s history as newspapers were delighted in sharing any uncovered "dirt” they could find on them. There were also several major ex-church members who had a bone to pick with the church and also shared with many their negative experiences with the church. Because I was meant to be in this church I was inwardly guided to “put that information on a shelf” for later perusing. I had to or my common sense would not allow me to trust and believe in their messengers. If I could not trust their messengers it stands to reason that I then could not trust their teachings—or their so-called “higher truth". The same applies to Joseph Smith and the founding of Mormonism. If you could not trust Joseph as a God-inspired messenger or prophet how could you follow his newfound religion?

We were taught in the Summit that the Bible was not entirely true, that much had been edited out and therefore the Bible was a handbook to study which contained within it a lot of truths—but not in its entirety. If a book is presented as not entirely true by who and what means does one uncover what is true within it? Well, the main source of truth would come from the messenger who teaches you that the Bible is not the entire truth and the Word of God. The second source is the Holy Spirit within. Yet how many of us know for sure when the Holy Spirit is guiding us and when it is an impostor of the Holy Spirit?

The same lie is presented in Mormonism. The LDS websites claim that the Bible is considered “the word of God insofar as it is translated correctly.” There are 13 Articles of Faith where this comment is recorded. The articles were written by Joseph Smith in 1842. Other conflicting Articles with Biblical teachings are:

  • Article 3. Mormons base their salvation on works indicating obedience is necessary for salvation. 
  • Article 4 declares baptism is necessary for salvation and that a believer must have hands laid upon them to receive the Holy Spirit (they call Him the Holy Ghost.) But Scripture tells us in Acts 10:44-48, and Galatians 3:2 that we receive the Holy Spirit when we repent and believe (have faith).
  • Article 6 states the office of the Apostles still exists. This is not true. The office or position of apostle was held by the 12 disciples of Jesus all chosen by him, plus Matthias, who took Judas’ place, and Paul who was also chosen by Christ. (Mark 3:16-19). These men were given the purpose of setting up the foundation of the church, the universal church laid in the first century. (Ephesians 2:20) This is why the office of apostle is no longer functioning.

What does that mean "insofar as it is translated correctly"? For Mormons, their truth comes from their founder and prophet, and later from church leaders.  This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn’t trustworthy.  This allows them to say and teach whatever they want even when it contradicts scripture. There are four main books in Mormonism: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. I will enumerate more on them below.

My neighbors and co-workers in Utah were lovely people. One of my daughters became very close to the neighbor's children and often did many activities with them. For the most part, my experience with Mormons was very positive. They lived morally and Godly in following many of the Commandments of God. Yet you always knew you were not a part of their family of God because you did not belong to their family—which were all other Mormons and excluded Gentiles. Gentiles cannot enter the afterlife heavens. But, gentiles can be saved by Mormons in their Temple rituals.

I was told before I moved to Utah, by a Mormon who joined the Summit Lighthouse, that I was the reincarnation of Mary Fielding Smith who was the wife of Hyrum Smith and the brother of Joseph Smith. One of the main tenants of our church was the belief in reincarnation, which belief I had had since I was a very young child and one of the reasons I easily left my Christian background and joined the Summit. So I pondered if this could be true. When I moved to Utah this same woman mailed me a book on the life of Mary Fielding Smith. Although I found Mary's personality very compatible with how I had lived my present life I took this revelation with a big grain of salt. Interestingly, we bought our house in a city called Hyrum and that is where we lived for four years.

Having this possible link with Mormons in the past I sought to discover more of what drew Mary to leave her Christian church and join the LDS church. I also read all the information I could find on Joseph Smith and the LDS history. I quickly uncovered Smith’s past which I knew many of the Mormon people I knew did not know and had not been taught. Why? Because LDS church leaders decided that certain historical facts would best be left in the archives because they were not faith-promoting facts. What does that say about truth for Mormons?

In a PBS special about Mormonism President Boyd Kay Packer responds to a question on factual scholarship he said, “Some things that are true aren’t very useful. And there are those in the past who have looked at the leaders of the Church, for instance, and found out that they’re human and want to tell everything. There are steps and missteps that don’t help anything. Some think that to be totally honest they have to tell everything. They don’t.

I don’t fault Mormons for not knowing the truth of their past because it is obvious and proven today that the church history has been altered many times to conform to what is proper and right for Christians, while behind-the-scenes practices, such as polygamy, were carried on in secret. Mormons are warned by their leaders against obtaining information from alternate voices of authority, i.e. "so-called scholars and intellectuals". Likewise, I was taught to not read the naysayers of CUT because they are often hateful, angry people (i.e. have the devil behind them).

Those who are raised as Mormons have ties to other Mormons in every aspect of their lives. If one breaks away from this religion they most likely will be ostracized from their families and most definitely their Wards and friends who are also their neighbors. They also have tremendous guilt and sorrow for at heart they have believed that their future was in the celestial kingdom with their families. Leaving LDS means most likely leaving families on earth and families in heaven. There is no easy exit from LDS as their religion is not only tied to most of the physical people they know but also to their future (they believe) in heaven and with their almighty god who is not the God of Christianity.

Mormons Are Not True Christians
Christians believe that there is one God creator of the heavens and earth. Jesus Christ was the Son of God – fully human and fully divine – and that through believing in him and following his teachings they can inherit eternal life. Christians believe that Jesus died for humanity, that God raised him from the dead, and that Jesus will come again at the end of time. In addition, Christians believe in the Trinity, or the three parts of God: God the Father or Creator, God the Son (Jesus) or Redeemer, and God the Holy Spirit or Sanctifier. The Holy Spirit is God's presence in the world.

In recent years the LDS church has taken the direction to emphasize that they are distinctively Christian after coming under fire from evangelical Christian sects. They like to now call themselves the Church of Jesus Christ instead of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like my experience with CUT the Mormons believe that all Christian churches have a mixture of the truth and of error that have formed over the centuries and that includes errors in the Bible.  The Mormons claim that the Church following Christ's death-fell into total and complete apostasy after the death of the last apostle and that the true teachings did not exist at all for some 1,800 years. Then, through Joseph Smith, it was re-established through another testament given to him and through his church.

Most important is their belief in God (gods to them) and Jesus. They say they love and honor Jesus but He is not the same Jesus of Christianity. For one, they are polytheists, which is the belief in more than one God. In fact, they have an endless source of gods and their god is just the ruler of this planet who was created by his god, and his god was created by the god before him, and so on. You will not find this on their official websites because they have conveniently played with words so that it appears they are like all other Christians believing in God Almighty who created the heavens and earth. But this is not so, which I will go into in part II.

The below information and continuing into part II is broken down into subtitle headings with information about the subject title below each heading. Some headings like “God” and “Jesus” include Biblical text affirming the Christian belief in what the word means to Christians and what the official Mormon definitions say they mean. Since Mormons and Christians use much of the same terminology to describe their faith and beliefs it is important to understand the different meanings the Mormons may have with some Christian terms.  This knowledge is necessary to know if ever Mormon missionaries came to your door, or neighbors or fellow employees started evangelizing to you about Mormonism, as well as why some people and faiths are adamant that Mormons are not Christians and why Mormons are adamant that they are Christians.

Joseph Smith, Prophet
Joseph Smith was born in 1805. He had many siblings, some of who later joined his Mormon community. The family was considered to be on the poor side. The Smith parents tried to scrape by through a number of means which included fortune-telling, treasure-seeking, and farming, during which time the father spent many years looking to find the “one true church”.

The Smiths moved to Manchester, Ontario County, N.Y. around 1817 where the visions, golden plates, and the formation of a new church began. In frontier America, seer stones or “peep stones” were commonly used by lost object finders, people engaged in the widespread practice of lost treasure digging, and sometimes by people seeking to uncover hidden truths. It has been long known to historians that Joseph Smith practiced this buried treasure seeking with seer stones (called glass-looking), and while not of uncommon nature in his time, it was still not uncontroversial.2

Joseph’s father shared his past of money-digging in which he made very little money. Joseph’s mother, Lucy, shared that her son could see things invisible to the eye. In her own autobiography, she shared that she and her son were quite intimate with magic and occult practices. Smith also possessed a dagger inscribed with the kind of astrological symbols for Mars and Scorpio that European and American adepts commonly used in magic ceremonies, and the Smith family owned a parchment, or lamen, inscribed with magical symbols, that was also a common feature of learned magic in the European occult tradition.

What I discovered in researching Joseph Smith over two decades ago hasn’t changed that much since that time. Many scholars, ex-Mormons, and devout Christians have researched the facts and written books and articles since the Mormons started gathering together and causing conflict in whatever state they moved to with their beliefs and especially the practice of polygamy. Still, with the Internet today the information is easily found and backed up with references. But you have to get past dozens and dozens of LDS websites to find non-Mormon information about their beliefs that haven’t been tainted by the church's adaptation to conformity to fit Christian beliefs or to out-and-out lie.

Mormons, particularly in the last couple of decades, use Christian language to prove they are Christians. They use Christian terms, biblical terms, but they have completely different definitions and meanings. They have severely edited the language to hide Joseph Smith’s own words or other early LDS leader’s words such as Brigham Young's, who succeeded Joseph Smith as the second Prophet and President of the church.

Joseph Smith and His Visions for the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a religious text written by Joseph Smith and acquired from golden plates buried in the earth and transcribed via the use of his seer stone and is accepted as equal to the Bible by the LDS movement. It contains writings of ancient Hebrews who fled Jerusalem to the Americas and certain persecution from 600 B.C. to AD 421. Factions split the people and the Lamanites who turned away from their prophet Lehi at some point after their arrival were cursed with a “skin of blackness". (More on this topic to follow.) Great battles arose and millions were killed. The book claims the Native Americans are descendants of Lamanites left after the battles. However, present-day DNA studies show the genetic background of American Indians does not support the traditional Mormon teaching of Hebrew descent but that they are primarily all of Asian descent.

Joseph claimed to have several visions or appearances of angels. His first vision has many versions which are enumerated below. That vision was followed by an angel called Moroni who gave Joseph the location of golden plates where the history of an ancient people of God lived in the Americas. He was to dig them up and translate them into English. But the angel would not allow him to acquire the plates for several years.

The official version of the first visit:
"Joseph Smith wrote that in the spring of 1820 there was a significant revival in his neighborhood. He wanted to know what church to join and after reading the Bible he went into the woods to pray. In answer to this prayer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him as two separate beings whereupon they told him not to join any of the churches for they were all wrong and all their creeds were an abomination in God’s sight. Thereby the need for Joseph in restoring God’s true Church. Joseph also relates how he suffered great persecution and contempt from the whole neighborhood for telling of his vision even though he was still a youn
g boy." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith-History 1:5-23)

Joseph claimed it was 1820, when he supposedly received his vision in the woods from God and Jesus that led to the creation of the Book of Mormon. He would have been around 15. Yet there is no record from anyone's testimony of this vision until 1827 and no written record until twelve years later in 1832 with what supposedly occurred in that first vision. By the time it was published in 1834, the vision was changed. Then in 1838 another version was published and became the official story to this day. All total there are about eight different renditions of this vision.

What changed?

  • The date of the vision: From 1823 (age 16), to 1821 (age 15), to 1820 (age 14).
  • The reason for vision: 1) no motive (a spirit appears with the news of gold plates); 2) Bible reading and desire to know what church to belong to caused from attending a revival; 3) a desire to know if God exists.
  • Who appears to him: 1) a spirit; 2) an angel; 3) two angels; 4) Jesus, many angels; 4) the Father and the Son.
  • Stories reciting vision: 1) In 1827 a spirit reveals gold plates (per Smith, Sr.) 2) In 1827 after an evening of Joseph's money-digging an angel appeared to Joseph in a vision telling him he has been chosen to be a prophet and bring forth a record on gold plates. Told to Martin Harris. 3) In 1830  Joseph Smith tells Peter Bauder that an angel told him where to find a secret treasure. 4) 1832 Joseph's first written version: he states he was 15 when he prayed for his sins and had a vision of Jesus Christ where he was told his sins were forgiven but after falling into transgression two years later he prayed again and an angel appeared telling him of buried gold plates he was to find. 5) In 1834 first published account states he attended a religious revival which caused him to pray if God really existed when an angel appeared to him, forgave him his sins, and told him about the gold plates. 6) 1835 Joseph Smith's diary: States in 1820 he was in a grove “wrought up” in his mind about religion and saw a personage appear in light and then another personage like the first and many angels. Told his sins were forgiven and witnessed about Jesus Christ. 7) 1835 Joseph to Erastus Holmes: In 1820 he received his first visitation of angels and afterward received revelations concerning the Book of Mormon. 8) 1835 official version that after attending a religious revival when Joseph was 14 yrs. old he went to a grove to pray and saw God and Jesus and was told all churches are wrong. Had another visitation of angels three years later.

In the first 1830 published Book of Mormon Joseph translates that:

  • God and Jesus are one “the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world.” 1 Nephi 3, p. 32 
  • In the edited 2nd edition published in 1837 Jesus is now the son, “the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world.” 1 Nephi 13:40

Thus, the Book of Mormon, Joseph's official translation with the use of his seer stone states that the Father and Son are one. Yet in the official LDS scripture today they state "In the First Vision, Joseph learned for himself that the Father and the Son are individual beings." In 1844 Joseph Smith said, “I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father,  and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods.” History of the Church, 6:474; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on June 16, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Thomas Bullock.

This is a small sampling of the revisions in doctrine changed in Joseph Smith's life and ongoing with Church leaders to this present day. Some additional facts to help clarify what part of Joseph Smith's visions are possibly true or not:

  • Changing the One triune God later into three distinct personages is a significant revision.
  • There was no revival in or near his home in 1820, not until 1824.
  • None of his family ever spoke or wrote in their memoirs that he suffered persecution or that they even knew of his vision until 1827.
  • If he already knew all churches were false from the 1820 vision then why did he attempt to join the Methodist Church in 1828 that his wife belonged to?  
  • In 1835 the first Mormon history was published under Smith’s direction where it states that in September 1823 Joseph Smith began praying in his bed to learn "the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him." Yet Smith later claimed he had met God face-to-face and knew He existed. (LDS periodical Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Feb. 1835). 
  • Visions were abounding in the 1800’s, including one claimed by Joseph’s father. One that is remarkable similar to the official Joseph vision is The story Joseph Smith penned in the early 1830s and is not much different than the visions related by others. One of the visionaries even visited Joseph’s community in 1831. A comparison chart of each is provided in this link.

The Book of Mormon Plagiarized?
In 1834 an ex-communicated Mormon, Eber D. Howe, wrote an exposé on Mormonism called Mormonism Unvailed detailing every chapter of the Book of Mormon and the flaws therein. In the second half of the book, he gathers together letters and affidavits from people who lived near the Smiths who reveal their true character, as well as documented information on Missouri problems connected with the Mormon sect and on the Mormon wars. The last chapter reveals and provides some substantial evidence that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from a copy of a manuscript "A Manuscript Found" by a clergyman, Solomon Spaulding.  Spaulding's manuscript disappeared from the printing office after he died in 1816.3

Another theory claims the book was plagiarized from the Old Testament. Not only did Joseph Smith swipe Spaulding’s material in order to write his Book of Mormon, but he also copied verbatim portions of the Authorized Version of the Bible, known as the King James Version, literary style, and all. One can find these entirely copied chapters taken from the King James: II Nephi 12 from Isaiah 2, II Nephi 13 from Isaiah 3, II Nephi 14 from Isaiah 4, II Nephi 16 from Isaiah 6, III Nephi 12-14 slightly altered from Matthew 5, and Moroni 10 from I Corinthians 12:1-11. It is surmised that Smith attempted to make his text sound more biblical by imitating seventeenth-century King James English, even though Mormon supposedly left his message on golden plates hundreds of years before the King James translation had ever been commissioned.

Thus about twenty-five thousand words in the Book of Mormon consisted of passages from the Old Testament — chiefly those chapters from Isaiah mentioned in Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews — and about two thousand more words were taken from the New Testament. Of the 350 names in the book, he took more than a hundred directly from the Bible. Over a hundred others were Biblical names with slight changes in spelling or additions of syllables.

A 2008 Stanford study (Jockers et al.) of the text of the Book of Mormon compared it to writings of possible authors of the text showed a high probability that the authors of the book were Spalding, Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery. It concluded that "our computer analysis4 supports the theory that the Book of Mormon was written by multiple, nineteenth-century authors, and more specifically, we find strong support for the Spalding–Rigdon theory of authorship. In all the data, we find Rigdon as a unifying force. His signal dominates the book, and where other candidates are more probable, Rigdon is often hiding in the shadows".

In "Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon: The Spalding Enigma"5 the authors propose that the unpublished writings of Solomon Spalding came into the possession of Sidney Rigdon, a reformed Baptist preacher, and that Rigdon inserted into those writings his literalistic, pre-millennial, Restorationist Christian theology, along with other information useful for his purposes, to create the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon.

Rigdon brought Spalding's manuscript to the attention of Joseph Smith. Rigdon was described as "a colorful, somewhat notorious, mentally unbalanced, renegade Baptist preacher" who was so convinced he was doing God's work that he had no qualms about the ends justifying the means. According to Mormon history, Rigdon did not meet Smith until the fall of 1830. According to Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon, the two had already known each other for several years by then but had managed to keep it a secret. The book also reveals Rigdon had other secrets.

One secret is that Rigdon had personally known Solomon Spalding, as members of his family lived in Amity, Pa. just a few doors from Spalding's roadhouse, and that among his closest friends was a clerk who worked for Spalding's intended publisher, R & J Patterson, during the same years Spalding was dealing with them. A woman who had been the desk clerk at the Pittsburgh post office between 1812-16 later testified that she had known both Spalding and Rigdon during those years and that Rigdon was well-known at the time as someone who was always hanging around the Pattersons' printing establishment. Although Rigdon denied having lived in Pittsburgh prior to 1822, the authors produce proof that both Rigdon and Spalding received their mail through the same Pittsburgh post office between 1812 and 1816.

When Smith was murdered in 1844 Rigdon attempted to become head of the Mormon church but he was defeated by Brigham Young, he was excommunicated shortly after by a Common Council of the Church.

Little is written about Cowdery's early life by the Church. According to the official Church history, Oliver Cowdery heard rumors about Joseph Smith and the gold plates. After boarding for a short time with Joseph Smith’s parents in Manchester, he determined to travel to Harmony, Pennsylvania, to meet Joseph in person. Almost immediately after his arrival, Cowdery began working as Joseph’s scribe on the translation of the Book of Mormon and was a founding member of the Church in 1830. 

The authors also reveal that the real reason the events of Cowdery's early life had to be omitted from Mormon history was that Smith and Cowdery had conspired to work a con job on wealthy Martin Harris in order to induce him to cough up $5,000 to finance the printing of the Book of Mormon. In order to accomplish their goal, Smith and Cowdery had to make Harris believe that they had been total strangers prior to 1829 and that God had only brought them together because he knew Joseph was in need of a scribe to complete "the work." Among Cowdery's other secrets were the fact that he had a brother and other relatives living in close proximity to Rigdon in Ohio and that he himself had first met Rigdon while visiting these relatives in the mid-1820s.

The following revelation is from Joseph Smith to Harris to get him to finance the Book of Mormon:

“And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon…And misery thou shalt receive if thou wilt slight these counsels, yea, even the destruction of thyself and property…Pay the printer’s debt! Release thyself from bondage.” (Book of Commandments, Chapter 16)

Joseph Smith's Arrests
In my research, I uncovered many factual inconsistencies, fraud, lying, and arrests connected with Joseph Smith. And he had pride. Consider this statement by Joseph Smith that he had done more than Jesus to keep the church together:

“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet…When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408).

Few are aware that Joseph Smith had been arrested, tried and convicted of con-artistry only four years before he founded Mormonism. He supposedly had been using a seer stone for fraud and deception. At the time the Book of Mormon came forth many people believed in "peep stones." These stones were sometimes placed in a hat and used to locate buried treasure. This is what Joseph claimed he did with transcribing the Book of Mormon.

The following are a few historical records of Joseph Smith's arrests (there were approximately thirty criminal charges during his life):

  • Bainbridge, New York, 1826 - Smith was accused of being a "glass looker" a disorderly person and an impostor. He was arrested, tried and found guilty by a justice of the peace. Earlier documents said that Smith testified that he had a certain stone which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold mines were a distance underground, and had looked for Josiah Stowel several times, and had informed him where he could find these treasures.   The LDS church denied that this story was true but with the finding of the court records in 1971 the arrest was proven.6
  • 1828 - The year after the gold plates were found Lucy Harris, Martin’s wife, brought a  charge against Joseph Smith, that he was a fraud. and he was attempting to defraud Martin of all his property.  But after Martin Harris testified the judge threw the case out. Lucy did subsequently leave Martin after he mortgaged his farm to finance the publishing of 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon. The book did not sell well and he was behind on the mortgage and had to sell 151 acres of his property to pay the debt.
  • 1830 - Smith was again arrested for "Disorderly Person", looking through a certain stone to find hidden treasures and had been guilty of a breach of peace to the people of New York. The case was discharged because Smith claimed he had not been looking through the glass in over two years.
  • 1837 - Conspiracy to murder Grandison Newell - Smith appeared before Justice Flint in a preliminary hearing. Orson Hyde testified that ‘Smith seemed much excited and declared that Newell should be put out of the way, or where the crows could not find him: he said destroying Newell would be justifiable in the sight of God, that it was the will of God to murder him for Newell's impugning the integrity of the founders of the Kirtland Safety Society. The case was dismissed.7
  • 1837-38 - Smith’s Kirtland Ohio bank failed during the national financial Panic of 1837. After a warrant was issued for Smith's arrest on a charge of banking fraud, he and Rigdon fled for Missouri to avoid potential criminal prosecution by angry and disillusioned former believers, some of whom claimed he had mismanaged their investments. Found guilty in absentia.
  • 1838 - Smith leads 100 armed men to Judge Adam Black’s resident in Missouri “forcing” him to sign a pledge not to participate in any further mob action against the Saints. Hearing with Judge Black. Smith was released on bond until the Grand Jury hearing.
  • 1838-39 - Smith was imprisoned on charges of robbery, arson, and treason, for the Mormon Massacre of Missourians. After four months in jail, Smith and his fellow Mormons prisoners were allowed to escape from custody and flee to Quincy, Illinois.
  • 1841 - Arrest for fleeing Missouri. He was freed by Judge Douglas.
  • 1842-43 - Joseph Smith and Porter Rockwell were arrested by Illinois law enforcement for their alleged roles in the attempted assassination of former Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs. The court released them and they went into hiding.
  • 1843 - Smith was indicted by a grand jury in the circuit court of Daviess County, Missouri, on the charge of treason against the state. The Municipal Court of Nauvoo (Joseph Smith was mayor of Nauvoo) quashed the warrant and freed Smith.
  • 1844 - Inciting a riot destroying the Nauvoo Expositor. Murdered while awaiting trial.
  • 1844 - Perjury, fornication, and polygamy. Murdered while awaiting trial.
  • 1844 - Treason against Illinois. Murdered while awaiting trial.

Prophecies by Joseph Smith not fulfilled:

Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-16). What did Joseph Smith prophesize and what are his fruits?

- Temple to be Built in Zion, Missouri dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jr., and others...this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. (D&C Section 84)

The Mormons were forced to flee Missouri due to persecution and a temple was never built on the "temple lot" in the lifetime of Joseph Smith or within the generation of his contemporaries.

  • 25 years later, Heber C. Kimball still believed it
    “They are holy places, and they will be held sacred even as Jackson County..” “and I shall yet see the day that I will go back there, with brother Brigham and with thousands and millions of others, and we will go precisely according to the dedication of the Prophet of the living God. Talk to me about my having any dubiety on my mind about these things being fulfilled.—I am just as confident of it as I am that I am called to be a saviour of men, and no power can hinder it.” (President Heber C. Kimball, December 17, 1857 Journal of Discourses, Vol 6. p. 190).
  • 25 years later, Elias Smith still believed it - (1857 Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 221)
  • 29 years later, Heber C. Kimball still believed it - (1861 Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 350, Disclosure by Heber C. Kimball).
  • 29 years later, Elder George A. Smith still believed it - (Elder George A. Smith, March 10, 1861, Journal of Discourse, Vol. 9, p. 71).
  • 32 years later, Elder George Q. Cannon still believed it - (Elder George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 344, October 23, 1864).
  • 38 years to 58 years later, Elder Orson Pratt still believed it - (Elder Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 362, May 5, 1870) & (Elder Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 17, p. 291. February 7, 1875).
  • 58 years later, the Church still believed it - The 1890 edition of the Doctrines and Covenants, Section 84, p. 289 included a footnote that read, “… a generation does not all pass away in one hundred years.” This footnote has since been deleted in more recent editions.
  • 103 years later, Joseph Fielding Smith still believed it - (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, Salt Lake City, p. 270).
  • Finally, after 140 years, the Mormon Church itself admitted this was a false prophecy. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 4. p. 112)

1843 - "The United States Government to be overthrown in a few years unless they address the wrongs done to Mormons in Missouri" - (History of the Church, Vol. 5, page 394). Apologetics claim "The prophecy has already been amply fulfilled by events in Missouri and the United States soon after Joseph's death." i.e. the "reconstruction era". Joseph Smith made this prophecy on May 6, 1843. However, the United States Government did not redress any of the wrongs committed against the Mormons in Missouri, and now over 150 years later, the U.S. Government still stands.

1836 - Much treasure was to be found in Salem, Massachusetts and in due time the city would be given to them. (D&C Section 111) The introduction to this prophecy, found at the beginning of Section 111 states: "At this time the leaders of the [LDS] Church were heavily in debt due to their labors in the ministry." No treasure was ever discovered, nor did Salem ever fall into the hands of the Mormons.

1833 - Pestilence, Hail, Famine & Earthquake to Destroy the
wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. (History of the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 315-316).

Such widespread destruction of the wicked of that generation never occurred.

If anyone claims to be a prophet of God we are admonished to test their prophecy Deuteronomy 18:21-22. If even one of the prophet’s prophecies does not come true he is a false prophet and the prophet was to die. Some of the LDS rebuttals to claims of Joseph Smith as a false prophet say his prophecies should be interpreted metaphorically, not literally and some legitimate prophecies were conditional and did not happen because the conditions precedent to those prophesies were not satisfied, and some legitimate prophecies remain unfulfilled but are expected to be fulfilled in the future.

Doctrine and Covenants
While there is much attention on the Book of Mormon to convert and baptise new converts, the Mormon teachings are not principally derived from the Book of Mormon but from the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C). Thus, new people are not aware what the church really is believing until they join the church. The D&C is a compilation of revelations, or "covenants" of the church first published in 1835. It states that Book of Mormon contains basic, or fundamental, Mormon teachings:

"the truth and the Word of God" (D&C, 19:26);

"the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ" (that is, Mormon teachings, D&C, 20:9);

and the "fullness of the everlasting gospel" (D&C, 135:3). 

If the Book of Mormon contains major Mormon doctrines why are not any of these following major Mormon principles in it which form the foundation of the church and its "gospel"?

  • Polytheism - more than one God the Father
  • God as the product of an eternal progression
  • Trinity as three separate Gods
  • Universalism - The doctrine that all people will eventually be saved.
  • God has a physical body and was once a man
  • God organized, not created, the world
  • mother gods (heavenly mothers);
  • polygamy;
  • eternal marriage;
  • temple marriage as a requirement for exaltation;
  • salvation after death in the spirit world;
  • human deification;
  • baptism for the dead;
  • maintaining genealogical records so as to perform baptism for the dead
  • the concept of eternal intelligences;
  • three degrees of heavenly glory (telestial, terrestial, celestial);
  • a New Testament era of Mormon organizational offices and functions such as the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods; stake presidents and first presidency.

The Book of Abraham
The Book of Abraham is a collection of writings claimed to be from several Egyptian scrolls discovered in the early 19th century. It is part of the LDS Scriptures in a collection known as the “Pearl of Great Price.”  The church purchased the scrolls from a traveling mummy exhibition in 1835, to be translated into English by Joseph Smith. Joseph claimed that this record was written by the patriarch Abraham by his own hand upon papyrus which would make the papyrus about 4,000 years old. Then in 1967 the original papyrus written in the Egyptian language was found in the Metropolitan Museum and they gave the document back to the Mormon church. 

This book contains the doctrine that God organized and created the universe from pre-existent matter (ex Materia). However, from Scripture, the Bible teaches Christians that God brought everything into existence by the power of His Word. All matter, time, space, energy, spirit, and anything else in existence comes from God alone. God brought into being that which was not, and creation came into existence “ex nihilo” Latin for "from nothing." Psalm 33:06, John 1:3

The book also contains other doctrine that is unique to Mormons such as the idea that there are many Gods and that humanity has always existed having what is called pre-mortal existence. Humanity has also the potential to live forever in the celestial kingdom called the doctrine of exaltation where man can become god, create worlds and make spirit children whom they will govern in their new world.

LDS Professor Hugh Nibley of BYU was given the task of translating the document. The first discovery he found out about the document was that it actually was a production not older than A.D. the first century, consequently, the prophet Abraham could not have written it. The next blow was that after translating it they discovered that the document was nothing more than pagan burial records called the “Book of Breathings.”

For Professor Nibley, this was the last straw, he left the church. What did the church do? They still have the Book of Abraham as authentic on their web pages here. One website states, "As with all other scriptures, a testimony of the truthfulness of these writings is primarily a matter of faith. The greatest evidence of the truthfulness of the book of Abraham is not found in an analysis of physical evidence nor historical background but in prayerful consideration of its content and power."

As far as the document is too young to have been written by Abraham they state, "A common objection to the authenticity of the book of Abraham is that the manuscripts are not old enough to have been written by Abraham, who lived almost two thousand years before Christ. Joseph Smith never claimed that the papyri were autographic (written by Abraham himself), nor that they dated from the time of Abraham."8

However, the opening introduction to the Book of Abraham when first published, still states today: "A Translation of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands from the catacombs of Egypt. The writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus." Lying and twisting the truth has not only been practiced by Joseph Smith since the beginning with his first vision, the LDS church has carried on this "tradition" since.

Part II will continue with more information on Mormon polygamy; who God and Jesus are to Mormons; Heaven and Hell; premortal existence; atonement and salvation; blacks in Mormon priesthood and the temple "endowments" connection to Joseph Smith's Masonic background.


1This figure is not provable as Mormons use different means to present a false figure. This website link was created by a Mormon who uncovered how their supposed growth figures are extremely inflated and devious citing incidences where the Mormon missionaries falsely baptize children and others into the church to gain their quotas.

2In the 1980s, new research suggested a more in-depth and ongoing involvement with “magical” practices than was previously understood—as evidenced perhaps by occult volumes in the Palmyra library and by the Smith family’s possession of a Jupiter talisman, an astrological dagger, and magical parchments. scholars interpreted such evidence to mean that Mormonism’s foundation lay more in the world of esotericism and the occult than in the prophetic biblical world the Prophet claimed. There is much evidence that not only did Joseph practice treasure-seeking throughout the early 1820s but he relied on occult means to do so.

3Testimonies of those who knew Spaulding and had read his manuscript claim it is the same as the Book of Mormon. Spaulding’s manuscript contained a new history of America with two groups of people the “Nephites” and “Lamanites”. Several people claimed Spaulding read them parts of his manuscript and it contained the same theme as in the Book of Mormon. View today to find any credence in this claim

4Jockers et al., Reassessing authorship of the Book of Mormon using delta and nearest shrunken centroid classificationLiterary and Linguistic Computing, December 2008.

5Who really wrote the book of Mormon?: the Spalding enigma by  Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A. Davis and Arthur Vanick, 2005 available for reading on archive.org. The book presents the idea that Solomon Spalding, being strapped for money, wrote an unpublished manuscript entitled "Manuscript Found." According to witnesses, Manuscript Found dealt with the origins of the American Indians, tracing them back to a Hebrew family headed by "Lehi" and "Nephi", who eventually separated into two nations and were destroyed. Sidney Rigdon acquired a copy of this manuscript while in Pittsburgh, spent years reworking it, and eventually had it published through Joseph Smith as a genuine translation of an ancient record inscribed on golden plates. Mormonism Unvailed, by Eber D. Howe, 1834, was the first book to present this theory.

6Although Joseph Smith suppressed the 1826 trial in his History of the Church, Dale L. Morgan discovered that the trial was mentioned as early as 1831 in a letter published in the Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate, printed in Utica, N.Y. We cite the following from that publication:

Messrs. Editors— ... thinking that a fuller history of their founder, Joseph Smith, jr., might be interesting ... I will take the trouble to make a few remarks.... For several years preceding the appearance of his book, he was about the country in the character of a glass-looker: pretending, by means of a certain stone, or glass, which he put in a hat, to be able to discover lost goods, hidden treasures, mines of gold and silver, &c.... In this town, a wealthy farmer, named Josiah Stowell, together with others, spent large sums of money in digging for hidden money, which this Smith pretended he could see, and told them where to dig; but they never found their treasure. At length the public, becoming wearied with the base imposition which he was palming upon the credulity of the ignorant, for the purpose of sponging his living from their earnings, had him arrested as a disorderly person, tried and condemned before a court of Justice..... This was four or five years ago (Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate, April 9, 1831, p. 120).

In the court record, Joseph Smith confessed that "for three years" prior to 1826 he had used a stone placed in his hat to find treasures or lost property. According to Joseph Smith's own statement, then, he began his money-digging activities in about 1823. Smith claimed he had the vision on the gold plates in 1823. It would appear that Joseph Smith became deeply involved in these practices for at least three of the four years when God was supposed to be preparing him to receive the gold plates for the Book of Mormon.

7“Solomon Denton testified that he, along with Marvel Davis, were tasked with murdering Newell. According to Denton, Smith spoke of ‘Newell; said he had injured the society, and that it was better for one man to suffer than to have the whole community disturbed; that it was the will of Heaven that Newell should be put out of the way, and that he would take the responsibility, for the deed was justifiable in the sight of God, and would be rewarded: but when we had killed him, he wanted his body secreted if possible.’ Smith was released on a $500 bond and eventually acquitted.

8Book of Abraham, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.