Do you have a question about the Bible? You can either ask a question or post a comment by clicking the Comment Link on the cakechow.com site. Bible Girl will answer as quickly as possible.
Dear Bible Girl,
Q: I have always wondered what makes Mormons different from other Christian groups. Do you know? Larry G.
A: This is a really great question because it will show that Mormonism and Christianity are worlds apart. Mormons have their own version of scripture in the Book of Mormon which they believe was written from 600 BC to 428 AD. This book tells the story of the migration of peoples after the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel to Central America long ago. The original people who came to Central America were called the Jaredites, however, they all perished because of their disloyalty to God. In 600 BC., a group of Jews were told by God to leave Jerusalem before the horror of the Babylonian captivity. Led by two men, Lehi and Nephi, they crossed the Pacific to South America. In time, this group was divided into two enemy nations; the Nephites and the Lamanites. According to the book of Mormon, the Lamanites were “cursed” with dark skin because of their sin and were believed by many Mormons to be the ancestors of the American Indian. The Nephites recorded many prophecies about the coming of Christ, and again, according to the Book of Mormon, Christ came to visit them in South America after His resurrection. During His “visit”, Christ set up the practices of communion, baptism and priesthood for all Nephites. But dark days were coming. In 428 AD, the Lamanites attacked and killed all the Nephites in an epic battle, but not before a man named Mormon, the compiler of all the writings and prophecies of the Book of Mormon, and his son, Moroni took the golden plates on which all was written, and buried them.
The year is now 1805. Enter Joseph Smith, Jr. into the world. Born in Sharon, Vermont, Joseph Smith’s father was a treasure hunter who sought many treasures including the fabled booty of Captain Kidd. Smith himself was poorly educated, and those who know him said he was extremely superstitious. He went on many digs with his father using tools like divining rods. In 1820, at the tender age of 15, Smith claimed he received a vision from God the Father and God, the Son. He was told, in this vision, that all churches were abominations to God and that he was to be the prophet who would restore the true Gospel to the world. Just three years later, in 1823, an angel named Moroni appeared to young Joseph and told him about the buried golden plates that he would find and translate. In later stories, Smith would contradict himself by calling this “angel” Nephi instead of Moroni. This was just one of many, many errors and contradictions that Smith both voiced and wrote, but all were “corrected” in later editions of his writings.
Smith claimed that he found the golden plates and that they were written in “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics” which he was able to translate by wearing a special pair of oversized glasses called the “Urim and Thummim” (Urim and Thummim were gems that were carried by priests in the Old Testament. Some believed these stones aided the priests in making decisions). During 1827-1829, Smith was busy translating the plates while wearing his big glasses and in 1830, the Book of Mormon was published. Amazingly, Smith kept having all sorts of “visions”. One had him receiving the Aaronic priesthood, (Aaron, Moses’ brother was the first high priest), from none other than John the Baptist. After this “vision”, he moved to Fayette, New York and founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They weren’t there long. In 1831, Smith had yet another “vision” that told him to take his church and move to both Ohio and Missouri. Kirkland, Ohio and Zion, Missouri became the headquarters for the church. Unfortunately, the Mormons were accused of many crimes by the governor of Missouri, and he ordered them to leave his state in 1839. The group migrated and set up again in Illinois, where they built a city called Nauvoo. It was here that they began the practice of polygamy. Locals at the time were outraged and heavily criticized the Mormons and their ways, and they were especially critical of Joseph Smith, his teachings and his excesses. In retaliation, Smith tried to destroy a local newspaper office because of their stance against the Mormons. He and brother Hyrum were thrown into jail. An angry mob stormed the jail, overwhelmed it and shot both Smith and his brother in 1844.
This made the way for a new leader and “prophet” by the name of Brigham Young. Having a bad taste in their mouths for Illinois, Young led thousands of Mormons out of that state and into Utah, settling in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Young became the “First President” and he remained in that position until his death in 1877. Not only did Young encourage polygamy, but he also practiced what he preached. He had 25 wives! In addition, Mormon doctrine states that the best of the best Mormons, like First Presidents, upon death go to a celestial heaven where they are given the ability to create and rule their own world along with their family. Brigham Young was on his way to godhood. The Mormons continually resisted the United States government when efforts were made to make Utah a state. Later, laws were brought forth forbidding polygamy, which were vehemently resisted as well. However, when the government threatened to take away their property, the Mormon leadership changed their minds, quickly.
So, what’s wrong with this picture? First, timing. The Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon was buried in 428 AD but upon reading its texts about 25,000 words were taken in exact order from an early King James Version of the Bible from 1611. Second, only a few witnesses ever saw the “golden plates” written in “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics. Each of these witnesses was later scorned by Smith to have low moral character or they were completely expelled from the church leaving no reliable witnesses to any of Smith’s claims. The Bible, in contrast, is one of the most reliable and historically accurate documents ever written, because it was written very close to the actual events that were recorded by eyewitnesses who saw the events first hand. Also, extra-biblical sources of the same period confirm the Scriptures as being accurate by correlating the same events and information. When establishing whether or not a document has credibility, historians test the documents to meet several criteria, and the Bible exceeds every one. Not so with the Book of Mormon. It contradicts every Christian doctrine. The Book of Mormon is exalted above the Bible as the truth since they claim that the Bible is incorrectly translated.
Mormons believe that salvation was not given as a gift, as the Bible says, but that one must work his or her way to not only salvation, but godhood if they are “good Mormons”. Their highest reward, as mentioned earlier, is the ability to be “god” and having your very own planet to rule. In contrast, the Bible teaches that there is but one God, and no others. The Mormon idea of “godhood” isn’t new. From the utterings of Satan to most New Age and Pagan belief systems, man as god is a familiar thread that runs through them all. But according to the Bible, it is a lie, and to believe it is to deny the one, true God. The very first commandment reads, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus Chapter 20 verse 3) Throughout the Old and New Testaments, this is a recurring theme; that God is one and that He demands loyalty. God is the Creator and His creations do not become gods, but evil intentions has them always aspiring to be gods.
From the beginning, man has attempted to rewrite the Bible into his own version to fit his beliefs, to misguide others for power and to attempt to be worshiped as a “god”. And yet, for thousands of years, the Scriptures still stand and indeed, will continue to stand until the end of the age. Jesus once told Peter, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew, Chapter 16 verse 18)
They call me Bible Girl because when it comes to all things spiritual, God’s got answers!