The Religion Built on Myth
Recently I was in Salt Lake City, Utah, and while there I visited the world-famed Mormon Tabernacle and also took a guided tour through the information center operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes called the Mormon Church. Through the years I have known that this particular sect taught various false doctrines, but in this visit, through the things I saw and heard, I was made to realize more fully the falseness of their teaching and also to see that it is really built on myths. Let me explain. This sect, like all others, lays some claim to teaching the Word of God; however, this one has gone further than some in inventing their own “Word of God”— more about that later. Joseph Smith, at age 15, was interested in joining a church, but he didn't know which one to join, so according to him. he sought God to find the answer.
He went to the woods to pray. Then, according to him, “I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as were doomed to sudden destruction.
“But exerting all my power to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. “It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other— "This is my beloved Son, hear Him!'” Smith concludes the description of this, his first supposed vision, with these words, “When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven.”
In the information center in Salt Lake City, they have this supposed happening created in three-dimensional diorama. What Smith claims he was told in this first vision is in line with the Scriptures, for he claims he was told not to join any sect. The Bible does not teach church joining; it teaches you must be born again. As Smith told others of his supposed vision he says it brought him much persecution and as a result he says, “I was left to all kinds of temptations and mingling with all kinds of society. I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and the foibles of human nature, which I am sorry to say led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God.” Going on, Smith says:
“In consequence of these things. I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections, when on the evening of the above mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before Him: for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.”
Why would a sinner be so sure of “obtaining a divine manifestation”? While seeking this “manifestation,” Smith claims a great light came into his room and then an angel he calls “Moroni” appeared to him. This supposed angel told him that God had a work for him to do. Further that his name “should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds and tongues.” It was at this time Smith claims he was told of a book—written upon gold plates—giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. Further, Smith claims this “angel” told him the “fullness of the everlasting gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants.” Of course Jude informs us that the Gospel, the “Faith,” had already been delivered to the saints. This angel appeared to Smith three times that night, quoted various scriptures, some he quoted as they are in our Bible, some he quoted differently, that is why the Mormons say they believe the Bible, “as far as it has been translated correctly.” Wherein Smith says it is different, it is different to them!
Further they would have you believe that the Bible is for the old countries (Europe, the Middle East, etc.), and the book of Mormon which this sect calls, “the Word of God, ” is for the Americas (as though we needed a different gospel from that of our forefathers!)
Smith says the next day after these visions, he tried to go ahead with his work in the field with his father but was unable. Being so weak he started home, but in trying to climb over the fence that surrounded the field he fell to the ground and again the supposed angel Moroni appeared to him and ordered him to tell his father of his visions.
After this he left the field and went where the supposed tablets were buried. On a hill near Manchester, New York, he claims he found the plates (The plates he calls Urim and Thummim). They were in a stone box, also in the box was a “breastplate.” Smith says, “In the bottom of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and other things with them.” As he made an attempt to take them out of the box he was supposedly forbidden to do so by the angel. Instead he was told it would be four years before he could take them out, but that he must come to that place precisely in one year from that time and that “he [the angel] would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates.”
Smith says he returned each year as he was instructed to do, and each time the “messenger” met him there, and Smith “received instructions and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner His Kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.” After the four years were up, Smith claims the angel delivered him the plates with the charge that he “should be responsible for them” until they were called for. As soon as this was known, according to Smith, strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Persecution was great and so Smith, who was married now, took his wife and went to the state cf Pennsvlvamia.
Smith says he copied the characters off the plates and translated what was written. The characters were supposedly Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic. From this myth comes the Book of Mormon!
A Mr. Cowdery enters Smith's life after he moved to Pennsylvania, and Mr. Cowdery did the writing as Smith translated. One day the two of them went to the woods to pray, and there in the woods a messenger appeared them, laid his hands on them and ordained them. In Salt Lake City, we were told this “messenger was John the Baptist. This supposed ordination gave them power to baptize one another but not to lay on hands for the receiving of the Holy Ghost. That was to come later! After they baptized one another then they ordained each other to the “Aaronic Priesthood.” Smith goes on to claim that this messenger told them his name was John, “the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood o fMelchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that should I should be called the first Elder of the Church and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second.”
Smith goes on to say: “Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized we experienced great and glorious blessings from our heavenly Father.” He claims both of them were filled with the Holy Ghost and both prophesied,“Many things which should shortly come to pass.” Smith's prophecies concerned “the rise of this church, and many other things.” So the man who says he was told not to join any sect, starts one of his own! At first it had six members. After the “Book of Mormon” was translated, supposedly, the claim is made that an angel appeared and showed three other men the pages of the book, and they were charged to be witnesses of this supposed book. Later eight more men made the claim to seeing the plates.
The Melchizedek Priesthood, supposedly, was later given to them—along the banks of the Susquehanna River—by Peter, James and John.
Thus far we have these myths:
God and the Lord first appeared to Smith.
The angel Moroni appeared to Smith.
Smith was told about and later found plates in the state of New York.
ohn the Baptist appeared to Smith and Cowdery giving them the Priesthood of Aaron.
The angel showed the book to three men besides Smith.
Peter, James and John gave them the Priesthood of Melchizedek which gave them authority to lay on hands for the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
Smith was to be called the first elder of the church, Cowdery the second.
But that is not all! They claim after Jesus Christ returned to heaven from Palestine, He later came to the Americas, and taught the people here. The people here at that time were descendants of people who left Jerusalem 600 B.C. It was from what the Lord taught the people here that the man Mormon wrote on the tablets, buried them, and they were there during those hundreds of years until shown to Joseph Smith.
They claim we have always existed, but when we come into the world God takes away our ability to remember our past life. They claim those who are married in their temple are married not only for time but for eternity and that the family will live as a family in eternity. There are a number of groups of “Mormons” now; the largest with headquarters in Salt Lake City, claims a membership of three million. One thing that is not a myth—these three million people are deceived! “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children disobedience.”
They do not claim the Word of God as the foundation of the church! Note: “The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has its foundation in the revelations he [Joseph Smith] received, the sacred truths he taught, and the authority of the Priesthood restored through him.”
------Joseph Smith's Testimony
This is why I say it is, “The Rerligion Bbuilt on Myth.” The true church is built on Jesus Christ. He is the Head; He is the Door; He purchased it with His own blood;; it is His body; it is the pillar and ground of the truth. Thank God I am a member of it, for the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Praise His name.*
* This message is a reproduction of a message by Alvin A. Craig, a Church of God
Minister, and it was taken from, “The Way of Truth,” a Church of God monthly periodical.