We continue our comments on the manuscript sent to us by a Mormon called Stephen.(*) Click here to see the other articles in this series. You can also go to the Mormonism page to find all the articles that are in this refutation of Stephen’s document.
This section is given to provoke thought and reason. C.S. Lewis, the famous British author who converted to Christianity in the latter half of his life, hypothesized three possible characters for Jesus of Nazareth: Either Jesus was a fraud, a lunatic, or He was Whom He said He was, the Son of God. I employ this same reasoning to confirm the sacred calling of Joseph Smith as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, God’s Prophet of the Restoration of His Church, addressing each concept.
Shame on you that you compare a false prophet to the Lord of lords!
By the way, that argument of C.S. Lewis aimed to show that Jesus is who He said He is, GOD. For you, “Son of God” does not mean the same thing the Bible means by that title. Stop deceiving people.
Other explanations, including the claim Joseph Smith was deceived by Satan, would still fall under the category of mental incapacity, as such outside influence would still be considered mental illness.
Excuse me?? Satan’s influence is mental illness?? How did you conclude this?? Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet, and we have seen how he was a false prophet. The only logical conclusion is that he was lying! He claimed to speak things revealed by God, while in fact he was speaking lies! And who is the father of lies other than Satan (see John 8:44)? So he was led by Satan to deceive. Don’t you know that the Bible says that a false teacher or a false prophet may be deceived, and yet he is fully responsible of deception, as he is deceived by Satan?! Read with me: “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)
What is the purpose of committing fraud? Is not any such endeavor meant to get gain, either monetarily or politically—read, power? And political power is invariably sought to gain wealth and status in society. If one seeks to deceive people through religion, a fairly easy task in this world of doubt and inquiry, all one has to do is come up with a plausible alternative to what is being preached from someone else’s pulpit.
Had Joseph Smith’s aim been to get gain, he could have invented his doctrine, as many claim he did, and would have therefore attracted a larger audience, all without the controversy associated with his claims of Divine Appointment and additional scripture.
A doctrine without the claim of divine inspiration will be considered just a human doctrine, while the claim of divine inspiration adds to the doctrine a divine authority. Thus, Joseph Smith has claimed that his doctrine has a divine authority in order that people may not oppose him as a simple human interpreter of Scripture, but as an authoritative prophet. Muhammad did the same.
And the gain that Joseph Smith got was first religious: just like all humans, Joseph Smith was trying to calm his guilt-feeling conscience before God, so his doctrine came to lower the standard of God’s Holiness. Romans 1 says that men suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness. That’s a normal fleshly reaction to God’s Holiness. Joseph Smith also had many other benefits from his doctrine, one of which was that he could marry many women by legalizing polygamy. Polygamy is one of the typical points of false religion, because the fallen nature seeks carnal satisfactions and lowers the value of marriage which is a picture of God’s relation with His people. Once again, in Romans 1, the Apostle Paul describes the unrighteousness to which leads the denial of the true God, and the most characteristic unrighteousness described there by the Apostle is in the area of sexuality, i.e. in the value of marriage. The fallen nature also lowers the value of women to make them objects for man’s pleasure rather than humans with human dignity. Muhammad did the same and married many women, even more than what his Qur’an allows… This was one reason why Joseph Smith followed Satan instead of Christ; readers can find many such carnal reasons.
As explained in Chapter Two, the model of the LDS Plan of Salvation is more enticing than EC doctrine, as it appears fairer than the black and white, Heaven and Hell EC concept and places human beings as literal pre-existent spirit children of God, not just His “creatures,” created at embryonic conception.
We have seen how this shows how much Joseph Smith hated God’s Holiness, therefore he thought that Hell should not be eternal and that sin is a light matter for God. And we have seen also how making us natural children of God rather than His creatures is one of the highest evidences of man’s carnal pride and rebellion against God’s Nature.
Had Joseph Smith been so intelligent as to deceive so many to give their lives for the LDS cause, as well as his self-predicted demise, then he would know he only needed to invent reasonable doctrine and then cultivate a congregation that would have had no trouble thriving in America, a country founded on free thought and religion. Such a man would have avoided any claim of Divine Manifestation. In fact, had he chosen an alternative interpretation of Scripture alone, I assert he would have had the largest following of his day.
No, he needed divine authority in order to be followed, because Christians would not accept false doctrine.
Attempts to carry on such a legacy by less-charismatic associates usually fall apart within a few generations, if not immediately, upon the demise of the founder. Associates splinter off into smaller entities, hence the myriad Protestant denominations of today in America alone. As an example of such a case, the new version of the Church of the Disciples founded by Barton Stone and Thomas and Alexander Campbell is now called the Churches of Christ, in plural, each meeting house a singular and separate entity from the others. The current members of this non-organization dismiss with contempt its founders, who went their separate ways over points of doctrine. I find it eerily similar to how the JWs avoid the mention of their founder, Charles Taze Russell.
That’s why Joseph Smith needed to claim divine authority behind his claims, so that people may follow him blindly. But he had an important flaw: he left the door of prophecy open, therefore his followers began to come up with different disagreeing prophecies… That’s why there are more than one branches of Mormonism today, and they disagree with each other on some characteristic points of Mormonism. For more details, you can read this.
While the Church is one, as we have seen. The denominations are all of them caused by carnal tendencies, and they are not the one Church; the one Church is in all true Christian denominations. And by the way, the denominations that Stephen mentioned are not really Protestant. Stephen has no idea what Protestantism is and what the Reformation is.
As for lunacy, I rely on my personal experience as a peace officer to debunk the claim of Joseph Smith’s personal delusion. If there is a consistency with the mentally ill, especially those suffering from delusions of grandeur and or schizophrenia, even if you can initiate intelligent dialogue with such a person, within short order, usually in a few minutes, their true colors manifest themselves through irrational thought. If a mentally ill person is given opportunity to gather thoughts and write them down with unlimited editing or redacting time, true personality cannot be hidden, especially if given time to write large amounts of text. Having read the Book of Mormon several times and having researched the claims against it, including such Aha! issues as the early Nephite temple, the existence of horses, elephants, and different races on the American Continent, which have been discovered in stone carvings and murals in Mesoamerica, I can say, setting aside my spiritual testimony of its truthfulness, it was not written by a mentally ill person.
Yes, he was a convinced liar.
One of the claims made in the earliest anti-Mormon literature against Joseph Smith was that he was able through his innate ability to imagine or hallucinate to the point of seeing visions and then transfer said hallucinations to several men, the eleven witnesses to the Book of Mormon’s authenticity. So, we are expected to believe the first Three Witnesses, who all had personal conflict with Joseph Smith the man and subsequently left the LDS Church, had been deluded by Joseph Smith. In spite of apostasy from all three, they all remained faithful to what they had seen and heard, even to their death. In fact, Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery returned to the Church, having repented and been baptized as members of the LDS Church again after the death of Joseph Smith. David Whitmer retained his contention Joseph Smith was a true but fallen prophet for having made human errors in judgment, errors he insisted God’s prophet should not have made. That was his personal judgment. But David Whitmer bore a deathbed testimony he had both seen the plates and an angel and had heard the voice of God declare the Record true. The other Eight Witnesses actually held the gold plates and inspected their engravings and workmanship, declaring their testimony of the tangible.
Even his friends were not sure about him… Yes, Joseph Smith was a false prophet and a liar, as we have seen.
It is one thing to claim Joseph Smith deceived three men with the same vision of gold plates, an angel, and the voice of God. It is quite another that eight additional men testified to having held the plates, having felt their heft and examined their manufacture and detail of writing. Even if they lacked the education to recognize the engravings as authentic, all could recognize real gold. Had Joseph Smith been in possession of such a large mass of the precious metal, without its curious, “fraudulent” manufacture, he would have been a wealthy man, not a self-proclaimed prophet.
Joseph Smith was not only after gold and money, but after lowering God’s standard of holiness, as we have seen. Although his followers call themselves Saints, but they do not meet God’s standard of holiness. That’s what Joseph Smith wanted: being called Saint without being a saint… While the true followers of Jesus Christ are saints truly: A true Christian is a saint — Perfection in Christ.
In spite of personal disaffection with Joseph Smith the man, none of these men ever denied Joseph Smith the Prophet. It is therefore way beyond a preponderance of evidence the Gold Plates, the abridged record of the Nephite civilization and the synoptic record of the earlier Jaredite civilization, existed and that a supernatural experience for the first Three Witnesses did occur.
Just like Roman Catholics, Mormons believe that everything supernatural is from God… They forget that Satan also is supernatural… Read an article about this: Superstitions of the Roman Catholics.
As far as Joseph Smith being deceived by Satan, I can reason against such a dismissal of his veracity. Given how many diverse and simpler means Satan employs to deceive us and draw us away from the true God, creating such an organization as the LDS Church, with its elaborate and complicated regulations, ordinances, and rigid health code, coupled with all the claims of divine manifestations through God the Father, Jesus Christ, the resurrected or translated former apostles and prophets, would not only be the biggest hoax in the history of Christianity, it would be Satan’s most complicated design. Satan is the great imitator, but he is not known for his originality.
Yes, Muhammad also made such a complicated organization: Islam. Islam gives new interpretations to the biblical facts, just like the Book of Mormon. So this method is not new for Satan; he had done it before Joseph Smith with Muhammad.
And no, this was not originality; this was an imitation of what God has already revealed. Just as Satan wanted to replace the Bible with the Qur’an and the Hadith, he also wanted to replace the Bible with the Book of Mormon and with the other writings from Joseph Smith.
Then you must factor in the aforementioned “transferred hallucinations” to Joseph Smith’s associates who witnessed such events.
Supernatural things are not always divine. That’s a silly assumption.
I therefore submit, by process of elimination, Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, the Prophet of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth.
We have seen how Joseph Smith was clearly a false prophet and a liar.
To assist the reader in personal study, I have added a list of Book of Mormon doctrinal references with corresponding Biblical cross-references for those who wish to understand our doctrine and confirm its substantiation in the Bible. They are given in chronological order from the chronologically arranged Book of Mormon, not from any perceived or expected logical doctrinal order.
All these are considered cross-references, because Mormons interpret the Bible according to the Book of Mormon, just as the Muslims interpret the Bible with the Qur’an. And it is interesting that both Muslims and Mormons claim the Bible was corrupted, because they can’t establish their religion without attacking the Bible; the Bible does not agree with their false doctrines.
We have thus reached the end of Stephen’s chapter about Scripture, and we have seen how he is deceived concerning the Canon of Scripture. I remind you that our full study about the Canon of Scripture is found on the following page: The Canon of Scripture.
Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ