I grew up in Mormon (LDS) Utah and have never known a more arrogant self-righteous group of people. I have read through their 'books' (The "Book for Morons", The "Swirl of Great Lies", and the "Doctrine of Covens" ) ... It really messed me up, teaching the doctrine of the SERPENT "ye shall be as gods", or that we can BECOME gods. I later got into the New Age movement, which teaches that we ARE gods. The Bible contains thousands of "Bible Codes" but the Book of Mormon contains squat... so I decided to go with the revelation written through MANY prophets that fit together perfectly and are encoded, PROVING its DIVINE origin... rather than the writings of ONE polygamist whore-monger who had (depending on the source) anywhere from 30-40 'wives', including one who was only 14 YEARS OLD!!!
@Branton777 I've also met many Mormons who were arrogant and self-righteous. I've met Baptists, Catholics, and Atheists who were the same. Arrogance and self-righteousness are sadly not traits which are unique to any religious creed.
If the the idea that "ye are gods" is a false teaching, could you please explain Christ's statement in John 10:34 to the Pharisees? Or perhaps the verse which He was quoting from in Psalms 82:6? Paul makes similar statements in Romans 8:17, saying that the children of God will become Joint-Heirs with Christ and be "glorified together." If becoming glorified with Christ and as Christ is not "attaining Godhood," I don't know what is. Genesis 1:26 also declares humans were made after God's image. Luke 3:38 lists Adam as the son of God, in giving the genealogy of Jesus. Does this not imply some significant capacity of relation between ourselves and the Deity?
I don't know what "Bible Codes" are, but I do know that the Book of Mormon mentions Jesus Christ 25% more frequently on average than does the New Testament (please listen to the testimonies of this Baptist Pastor for evidence on that):
- A Baptist Minister Talks About the Book of Mormon - YouTube
- Baptist Minister Talks About The Book of Mormon - YouTube
Joseph Smith may not have sexually consummated most or any of his plural sealings—we don't know for sure because no biological children have been located. Meg Stout has written an interesting book on that subject. This makes it hard to consider him a "whoremonger." Nevertheless, even if he did, what would you say about Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, or Solomon? Were they also whoremongers? We know for a fact from the Bible that of these men, at least Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon were indeed polygamists.
Abraham and Jacob were men who walked with God and received tremendous promises for their posterity from Him. Moses was also a great prophet of God who led the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt and established the great nation into which Jesus and the prophets were born. He too walked with God and was shown all things. Moses was also responsible for much of the Old Testament (in particular the Pentateuch, the first five Books of the Bible, AKA the Torah). Yet, in Numbers 12, we are given the possibility that Moses either married successively, or polygamously wedded an Ethiopian wife. In either case, he did establish polygamy as a law under certain conditions amongst the Israelites, which leads one to believe that he may have practiced it himself. Again, this is not certain, but possible (if not likely).
David was a well-known polygamist, who is infamous for his affair with Bathsheba and Uriah. Yet, in 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22, David is declared to be a man after Jehovah's own heart (this latter scripture being declared long after his adulterous sins!). In keeping with this, the book of Psalms was authored by David, and not a few of them prophesy of the future coming of Christ—and according to Jesus, "all things must be fulfilled, which were written in [...] the psalms, concerning me." (Luke 24:44) We see then that David's prophetic calling was honored by Christ, notwithstanding these things. David was also the progenitor of Jesus, and Jesus was known as the "Son of David"—a high honor to be bestowed upon such a man. And not only was David's prophetic calling honored, but also that of Solomon his son. Indeed, Solomon received two visions wherein Jehovah appeared to him and greatly blessed him (1 Kings 3:1-7, 9:1-7). In keeping with this, Solomon was author of the book of Proverbs and other scriptures. But Solomon was an even more notorious polygamist than his father!
Christ Himself never spoke a word against polygamy during His entire ministry, although it was evidently practiced during His time and in the regions He visited. Please see this marvelously insightful book concerning polygamy as it relates to Christianity by non-Mormon Reverend James Campbell: The history and philosophy of marriage : or, Polygamy and monogamy compared : [Jencks, E. N.] : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
Also, we must consider the possibility and evidence that Jesus Himself may have had multiple wives (if you read this book without prejudice and with an open mind, you might be amazed at the plausibility of this argument): Jesus Was Married – Ogdenkraut.com
Regarding the "14-year-old girl": http://ldsanswers.org/did-joseph-smith-marry-a-14-year-old-girl/
Last but not least, in Isaiah 4:1, Jeremiah 3:1-14, Jeremiah 31:32, Ezekiel 23, and other scriptures, Jehovah Himself is cast as a polygamous husband in parables of scripture involving multiple wives. These wives are employed in most of these scriptures as a metaphor for the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. In these parables, the plural wives of Jehovah play the part of the harlot and are condemned for their unfaithfulness to Him. The point here is that Jehovah inspired His prophets to employ polygamous metaphors in these scriptures wherein He is set forth as the husband of two wives. Wouldn't it be totally out-of-character for Jehovah to portray Himself in an evil light?
In the New Testament, Jesus again employs a polygamous metaphor wherein He is portrayed as the Bridegroom on the occasion of a polygamous wedding between Himself and ten virgin brides:
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:1-13)
In a careful reading of the above parable, it is clear that Jesus is set forth as the Bridegroom who is about to take ten virgins to wife in a polygamous wedding. This is a controversial interpretation of scripture because of our monogamous culture, but in ancient times that is the way this parable would have been understood. Notice that Jesus' Bride is never explicitly mentioned throughout the entire parable. These ten virgins are not attending the wedding as mere spectators, and because His Bride is never mentioned, it is thus implied that they are His Brides. This also explains His reaction to the five foolish virgins; He did not deny entrance to five women who merely wanted to spectate on the wedding. This also explains why they were so upset. They weren't simply being denied access to evening entertainment, but to the wedding of their Master. They wanted to be a part of the wedding, which Christ denied because He did not know them. It is also significant that these are ten virgins, not ten married women. Virginity indicates eligibility for marriage, which still holds true in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and most other religions and cultures. Again, it goes without saying that Jesus would not have employed such a metaphor, as a reference to Himself, if He had thought that it would portray Himself as evil.
Clearly, in all these scriptures, Jesus used marriage as a metaphor for the kind of relationship He wants to have with His Church, His Nation, His People. He essentially considers us His Bride, or His Brides, and this viewpoint of Jesus towards us is supported by numerous scriptures which employ such parables and metaphors.
These are things that are all right in the Bible, but most Christians sweep over them without a second thought. Everyone readily and easily condemns "Joe Smith" and the Mormons because of these kinds of things, but they ought to throw the Good Book out the window too, if they wish to remain consistent in so doing. Many of the main heroes / protagonists in that Book, not the least of which is Jesus, have something favorable to say or do with polygamy. Are they also "whoremongers?" Or do they get a free pass?
(it was the SERPENT that told Adam/Eve in the garden that they could become almighty 'gods'... the serpent was incarnated by satan, who the Bible calls the "father of LIES". Apparently the serpent's SEED is still at it, trying to spread the same lie, the same demonic 'gospel' of self-deification)
@Branton777 The problem is, the serpent mixed a little truth in with his lies. Which part of what the serpent told Eve was false? The part that, "ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" or the part that "Ye shall not surely die"? In fact, Jehovah Himself confirmed that the Serpent told some truth in Genesis 3:22:
"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil [...]"
Does this make the Lord God a father of lies as well, or one who is accessory to the lies of Satan? Of course not! But you pass over inconvenient little verses like this...
That link you sent about John 10:34 is simply wresting of scriptures. They are attempting to make void Jesus' words to the Pharisees, even though He Himself was being persecuted for the EXACT same thing you are accusing me of. Let's go through a careful reading of the ENTIRE altercation between Jesus and the Pharisees, lest you accuse me of twisting His words. Don't come back and send me a silly little link, but actually read the words of the Savior Himself and tell me what you think He means. The good news is that He is pretty plain:
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
I and my Father are one. [this remark in particular irked the Jews]
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. [is that not the exact same thing you are calling a "serpent doctrine" and accusing me of promulgating? Let's see how Jesus responds to this accusation... does He deny their claim? Does He say they're putting words in His mouth? Does He declare that He is not God, or not One with His Father? Does He say that the doctrine of a man becoming a God is wrong?]
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, [Jesus is now declaring and clarifying that all those who received the Word of God are "gods," according to scripture!] and the scripture cannot be broken; [He didn't try to say this scripture was false, nor try to assign a new meaning to it]
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? [He now points out the ridiculousness of their anger towards Him, and is affirming that He is the Son of God. Remember, the Pharisees saw Him as being no different than any other man. He did not only attempt to refute their accusation based on the fact that He was different than other mortal men, but also based on the fact that the scripture itself identified those who received the Word of God as "gods!" Therefore He doubly demonstrated to the Pharisees that they had not a leg to stand on, in His typical masterful style of debate and unparalleled command over the the Holy Writ. FYI, this is the only verse from Jesus' own mouth in which He explicitly and incontrovertibly refers to Himself as the Son of God. Many Muslims often argue with Christians that there is no verse in the Bible wherein Jesus calls Himself the Son of God, and this is the only exception. All other instances can be misconstrued to claim that He did not say it about Himself, but that others applied that appellation to Him. So you cannot take this verse lightly.]
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. [He is again putting Himself on the same level footing as His Father. As we saw previously, He justified this by saying that the scripture itself identifies those as "gods" to whom the Word of God came; therefore, how much more justified is He in declaring Himself a God, whom the Father sanctified and set apart for His Calling before the world was!]
Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand. [Even all this from the Savior and their scriptures notwithstanding, the Jews were still terribly irked with what the Savior taught them. No doubt they subsequently convinced their followers that "He hath a devil" (John 10:20) or that He taught false "serpent" doctrine (which they themselves were the actual promulgators of). Indeed the Talmud, even to this day accuses Jesus of being a sorcerer and refers to Him as "Baalim." They are still today accusing Him of teaching "serpent doctrine" because He made Himself equal with God.]
There is nothing in the Bible against what Jesus taught in John 10:34, and your attempt to put words in His mouth is borderline blasphemous.
Here are a few more scriptures you might have problems with in that case:
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; [is this also blasphemy? If we are like Him, shall we not be God-like, or "as Gods?" Would the Jews have stoned Jesus for saying this?] for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. [if we are to become pure even as He is pure, does this not put us on a level of nearness to Him? Does this not decrease the gap of distance between ourselves and the Deity?]
(1 John 3:2-3)
Here is a simple one that is oft-overlooked by Christendom:
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
If Jesus is telling us to become perfect, even like God the Father in Heaven, is He not commanding us to become as God, or to become God-like? Did He tell us us to do this once we are dead? Evidently not! for He was speaking to those who were yet living. In no part of this scripture did He declare that this verse was intended to be consummated after death. He didn't even tell us to be "good" or to be "righteous," but to be PERFECT. Even today most Christians consider that to be a rather tall order, but it is nonetheless a commandment which He expects us to fulfill. We would never be able to fulfill this without His Atonement and without the forgiveness of our sins through the shedding of His innocent blood which He willingly gave.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
For whom he did foreknow [referring to "those that love God"], he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, [wow! Paul is declaring that the lovers of God were predestinated to be in the image of Christ! Does this not make them like Him? I wonder if the Pharisees would stone Paul for that one!] that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. [if God will glorify those whom He predestinated (again, referring to the lovers of God), doesn't that make them like Him?]
The ESV Bible makes the following enlightening rendition of 1 Corinthians 11:1
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
And likewise for Ephesians 5:1
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
The word used in KJV was "followers," but is not an imitator a follower? Do we not imitate those we follow? Do we not imitate Christ in adhering to His commandment in Matthew 16:24, by "denying ourselves, and taking up our crosses, and following Him?" Is not the very act of imitation an attempt to be like God? Is this blasphemy? Did the Savior give us "serpent doctrine" in issuing this commandment? Only a fool would answer "yes!"
We also have a very interesting few verses from Exodus, if you will think critically with me and actually examine the meaning of the scripture:
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.
And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. [whoa! God just said that Moses would be like God for Aaron—that Aaron would turn to Moses for direction instead of God! Didn't God confer a position of great authority upon Moses in this regard, at least unto Aaron? Didn't God just appoint Moses to a very lofty position in causing Aaron to turn to Moses instead of God?]
I could quote many other scriptures to this effect, but the above will suffice at present for my time and purposes. I've given you ample things to think about, and if you still refuse to closely read your own Bible which you hold in your hands, whilst using it to condemn and criticize others, it is a result of your own stubbornness and bigotry.
I must add to this lengthy and detailed debate two, I think, important thoughts:
Matthew 7:16 "Ye shall know them by their fruits..."
Why throw the baby out with the bathwater? Probably not the best analogy, but moves towards the point... That is not at all to say that I think Joseph Smith, Jr. merits being thrown out (eg, using the colloquial and inappropriate "bathwater" comparison - this is quite markedly the contrary; only illustrationally used), but I would say that there is demonstrable and tremendously historically factual value in The Book of Mormon in, of and by itself. One must read it with more historical and non-compartmentalized thinking. If one looks at information about its origin and locations (including it itself being buried semi-near to Rochester, New York) and dissects various aspects of it we can obtain tremendous value that many "Mormons" (wrong to call yourself after a prophet who compiled a book; much better name for modern followers of Christ: latter-day saints - and the Book of Mormon truly and powerfully witnesses of Christ; it also does not contain the "deep doctrine" that you seem to take issue with @Branton777 since your problems predominantly stem from the Bible) themselves do not truly wish to know. Coming to truth often must be obtained by putting off preconceptions and false teachings grown from fear instead of faith.
I believe there is more than sufficient evidence to assuage all of your criticisms and concerns regarding Joseph Smith, Jr. I don't believe that any Christian or anyone of any other faith would or could have problems with Joseph Smith, Jr. if they were to objectively look at the situation and dig through each concern sincerely.
Many latter-day saints I have and do know are no fans of members of the church in and around Utah and the west. There were and definitely are incredible problems that probably would be best discussed more privately if you wish, but yet still I hold to points #1 and #2 and I definitely have resolved all of my concerns (and probably your concerns) with Joseph Smith, Jr. and have come to highly value him as a person and as a teacher and prophet.
I would simply suggest that you try to open your mind to possibilities and discussion. That is how we can obtain truth and push our minds to reach beyond the current unfathomable depths of corruption of current society.