Mormonism (Part 1)By Pastor Boffey on Saturday, August 2, 2008.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: A Rebuttal A. Other names: Mormons, LDS. B. Spin-offs: About 100 splinter groups, the largest of which is the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. C. Principal players: Joseph Smith Jr., Samuel & Hyrum Smith (brothers), Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, David & Peter Whitmer, Brigham Young. D. Official Publications: Church News (weekly newsletter); Ensign (monthly magazine). E. Scriptures: Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price. 1. Mormonism gives lip service to the KJV Bible, which they deem to be the word of God "only so far as it is correctly translated." More on this later. 2. Those portions of KJV Scripture which debunk Mormonism are likely to be considered the passages which are incorrectly translated. 3. Mormonism is really based on its own Books, not the Bible. F. Organizational Structure: One prophet leads the Church. Beneath him in authority is the Council of the Twelve Apostles. A third group of men are called the First and Second Councils of the Seventy. All of these men together are called the General Authorities. G. Unique terms: Local churches are called Wards or Stake Centers. The Temples are not for worship, but are used for ceremonies for the living and the dead. Less than 10% of all Mormons are said to be allowed to enter a Temple. H. Observations. 1. In about 170 years, Mormonism has attained a world-wide membership of over 11,500,000 (2002). Its growth rate between 1950 and 1980 was 61% per decade. 2. As of 1977, the Mormon Church had more adherents listed in "Who's Who in America" than any other single religion. 3. The Church itself commands a considerable portfolio of wealth and investments. 4. The Church has an aggressive and zealous missionary program to promote its tenets. Young men and women are encouraged to dedicate two years to intense missionary service. I. History. 1. Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, was born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont. a. His father had a propensity for treasure digging and was particularly addicted to digging up Captain Kidd's hoard. He eventually found counterfeiting money to be easier than digging. b. Joe Jr. joined his father in his enterprise of digging for Kidd's treasure, sometimes using "divining rods" or "peep stones." They had holes dug all around the Palmyra, New York area. c. The Smiths had a reputation of being idle mystics who had a deep aversion to real work and were addicted to vicious habits. 2. Joseph purported to have been visited by God the Father and God the Son in 1820 who told him that all present churches were abominations and that he should join none of them. a. There are, though, at least three different written accounts of this First Vision. b. At least one of the other accounts, in Smith's own handwriting, affirms that it was only Jesus Christ that appeared to him. 3. This First Vision had follow-up visits by an angel named Moroni, the supposed glorified son of a man named Mormon. a. In 1827, Moroni supposedly allowed Smith to retrieve a set of Golden Plates from the hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York. b. Curiously, the Pearl of Great Price has at times stated that this angel's name was Nephi, a completely different character found in the Book of Mormon. c. The golden plates (which have strangely been unavailable for examination) were supposedly inscribed with Reformed Egyptian heiroglyphics, a language totally without evidence in history. d. It is purported that with the help of friends (Oliver Cowdery in particular), Smith translated these plates into the Book of Mormon. e. Smith purportedly continued to receive direct revelations from God which further streamlined Mormon doctrine, and though contradicting previous revelations, helped gloss over the obvious errors in doctrine and practice which became suspect over time. 4. On May 15, 1829, John the Baptist was purportedly dispatched from heaven to confer the "Aaronic Priesthood" upon Joseph and Oliver Cowdery. 5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was formally organized on April 6, 1830, having by this time started to develop a following. 6. The Church's headquarters moved to Kirtland, Ohio, then to Independence, Missouri and Far West, Missouri before finding a resting place in Nauvoo, Illinois between 1839 and 1844. a. Mormon growth caused Nauvoo to become the second largest town in the state, but that same growth stirred up troubles with neighboring areas. b. It was while at Nauvoo that Smith received his revelation about the benefits of polygamy. (1) This revelation required a reworking of Doctrine and Covenants which in 1835 had condemned it. (2) The practice was later condemned by a reversing revelation under pressure from the U.S. government, a “We ought to obey men rather than God” scenario. c. Joseph Smith was jailed in 1844 in Carthage, Illinois and shortly killed by a mob after he had shot and killed two of them. His death unfortunately confirmed in many people's minds that he was indeed a martyr and prophet. d. One month before his death, Smith said this of himself: "I have more to boast of than 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." (History of the Church, Vol.6, pp. 408-409) 7. In the clamor of pretenders to the Mormon throne, Brigham Young came out ahead. a. Young led the faithful to the Salt Lake Valley, Utah. b. Young ruled the church as its President and Prophet for more than 30 years, adding many unique and strange doctrines to the mix. c. Young is supposed to have ordered the destruction of a wagon train of 150 non- Mormon immigrants in 1857, the infamous Mountain Meadows massacre. 8. Because of various contradictory revelations over the years, Mormonism today is different from its founders' principles in many ways. J. Shaky foundations. PSA 127:1. 1. Mormonism is built upon the premise that the true church of Jesus Christ passed out of existence and remained so for hundreds of years until Joseph Smith started it back up again. a. This was/is called the Great Apostasy. Mormon writer M. Russell Ballard put it this way: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that God's full authority was lost from the earth for centuries following the mortal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . In short, the church Christ organized gradually disintegrated, and the fullness of the gospel was lost.” (Our Search For Happiness, pp. 26, 31) b. The essence of this premise is a characteristic of the Protestant Reformation. c. This is a characteristic of every modern-day "Christian" restoration or reconstruction movement, such as Campbellism, Armstrongism, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. d. The true church of Jesus Christ, though, would never be destroyed. DAN 2:44 c/w MAT 16:18; EPH 3:21; HEB 12:28. e. Christ was given all power (authority) in heaven AND EARTH unto the end of the world (MAT 28:18-20). Therefore the notion that “...God's full authority was lost from the earth...” (per Ballard, above) is a denial of Christ's deity and sovereignty to preserve His government in the earth. It demands a failing Christ. 2. The Mormon Church is also built entirely upon the supposed prophecies and revelations of Joseph Smith (and those upon whom his mantle would fall). a. The Bible forbids extra-canonical scripture, God having limited His revelation to man to the words of the O.T. prophets and the N.T. apostles of the first century. 1CO 13:8-10; GAL 1:8-9; REV 22:18-19. b. Even if God should have re-opened the gift of prophecy and revelation, a prophet had to meet two indispensable criteria in order to be valid. (1) DEU 13:1-3; ISA 8:20. His prophecy had to agree with what had already been revealed. Mormon prophets have not only contradicted what the Bible declares, but have frequently contradicted or altered what their own former prophets have decreed. (2) DEU 18:21-22. The prophet could never miss. AA. Joseph Smith made no less than 64 prophecies in which he said, "Thus saith the Lord..." 58 of them missed. BB. Smith prophesied that the moon was inhabited by men and women of six feet in height, who lived to about 1000 years of age and dressed uniformly like Quakers. CC. Smith prophesied that the city of New Jerusalem would built be within his generation in the Western boundaries of the State of Missouri (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 84). This never happened within his generation nor is it yet built. DD. Other infamous misses were the Civil War Prophecy, the Grease Spot Prophecy, the Return of Jesus in 1881 or 1891 Prophecy, and the Oliver Granger Prophecy. 3. Mormonism is founded upon a personal return by Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith. a. Nowhere does the Bible indicate that Christ would come back to earth in such fashion. b. The promise of His return is limited to one final public appearance. ACT 1:11; REV 1:7; HEB 9:28. c. Paul was given a special audience: "And LAST OF ALL, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1CO 15:8). d. If Joseph Smith did see a Jesus Christ, it was not the One Whom Paul had seen. MAR 13:22. 4. The Mormon Church is structured upon a series of "apostles" who are under the authority of the "Prophet." a. God's church gives priority to Jesus Christ's apostles who were immediately under His authority. MAT 19:28 c/w 1JO 4:6; 1CO 12:28; EPH 4:11. b. A true apostle had to be someone who had been amongst Christ's disciples from the beginning and had seen Him after His resurrection. ACT 1:21-22. 5. It seems evident that Mormonism is an eclectic "strange brew" which Smith put together from influences in his life. a. Mormon scholars state that Smith had a fascination with the occult. An occult magician in Palmyra named Lucas Walters operated by such things as familiar spirits, a stuffed toad, an old sword and a seer stone. Smith died wearing an occult Jupiter talisman. b. 30 miles from the Smith farm in Palmyra, the Shakers had a settlement. The Shakers believe in new, extra-biblical revelations from God, as do Mormons. Shaker Ann Lee was deemed to be a reincarnated Christ who could speak in 72 unknown languages (unintelligible to everyone else) and converse with the dead. Also, the Shakers prohibited the uses of coffee, tea, tobacco, and liquor, as do Mormons. The similarities are too obvious to overlook. c. 25 miles from Smith's farm was Jemima Wilkinson, a Quaker who claimed to be Christ and led her group by revelations from heaven. They practiced communal living, as did early Mormons. d. Smith's uncle, Jason Mack, was a member of the Seekers. They believed, like Mormons, that the contemporary Church was corrupt, the Scriptures defective, and that the faithful can be validated through Apostolic gifts. e. Smith was specifically influenced by William Miller (Seventh Day Adventist principal). At about the same time, both men made predictions about the return of Christ. Both systems advocate their world dominance through the coming millennial reign. f. Smith's teachings mirror also the speculations of Emmanuel Swedenborg, whose writings appeared in the Palmyra Reflector. Swedenborg considered himself a seer of new revelations from God which transcended Scripture. g. Sidney Rigdon came to Mormonism from a prominent association with Alexander Campbell. Mormonism and Campbellism share the themes of a "restored gospel" and baptismal regeneration. h. Smith was also likely influenced by the conversion of Charles Finney. A comparison of the two conversion stories would not leave an objective reader with the conclusion that Smith probably did not capitalize on Finney's account. i. A final influence on Smith was the Masonic order, which he joined. The concept of secret names, passwords, rituals and oaths were all transported to Mormonism from Masonry. (1) To this day, Mormons “in the know” acknowledge that their religion is that of Freemasonry. (2) On a flight out of Salt Lake City, it was confided to me by some Mormons who had been through temple rituals that their mystic undergarments were a carryover from their parent religion of Freemasonry, the tenets of which are realized in Mormonism. K. Curiosities. 1. Mormon priesthoods. Mormons affirm that the priesthoods of Aaron and Melchisedec have been conferred upon the Mormon church through Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829. They hold that both priesthoods are necessary for others' salvation and no other organization has them. a. The Bible insists that the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood has been set aside due to its shortcomings and the deaths of its high priest which required the transfer of that office from father to son. HEB 7:11-18. b. The priesthood of Melchisedec is the sole property of Jesus Christ, Who retains it exclusively because of His eternal life. HEB 7:21-28. c. All true Christians have a priesthood which does not require mysterious temples, secret services and rituals, or such like. 1PE 2:5, 9; REV 1:6. 2. Mormon racism. The historic position of Mormonism is that Negroes are the cursed descendants of Cain. They (and darker-skinned peoples in general) obviously bear the mark of Cain. a. "You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind....Cain slew his brother....The Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin....they should be the 'servant of servants;' and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it...." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol.7, p.290) b. "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be." (Ibid, vol.10, p.109) c. Until 1978, Blacks were denied the priesthood in Mormonism. d. True Christianity recognizes no such false distinctions between men when it comes to grace and the priesthood of believers. ACT 8:36-38; 13:1; COL 3:11. e. The Book of Mormon has been changed over the years to mollify its clearly racist leanings. 3. The Book of Mormon. This book is purported to be the authoritative holy scripture of Mormonism, divinely inspired and translated and even predicted by the Bible in ISA 29 & EZE 37. a. The Book of Mormon has numerous internal contradictions which disprove its claims to divine inspiration (PSA 12:6; PRO 8:8). Please check the various Christian apologetics ministries for details of these contradictions. b. There well over 2000 changes which have been made to the Book of Mormon since its first edition, many of which are diametric opposites to the original. Consistency is apparently not one of the Mormon God's virtues. ct/w JAM 1:17. (1) One such textual change was enacted upon 1 Nephi 11:18 which in the original edition read, “Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God.” (italics added for emphasis) (2) This Roman Catholic heresy was purged in later editions to read, “Behold, the virgin whom thou seest, is the mother of the son of God.” (italics added) (3) Considering the numerous errors and inconsistencies in the Book of Mormon admitted to by Mormon leadership, Mormonism's charge that the KJV is riddled with errors and inconsistencies rings hollow and is a likely case of guilt projection or blame-shifting in an attempt to smear one's opponent with charges of one's own crime. c. The Book of Mormon contains at least 25,000 words from the KJV Bible. (1) There are lengthy verbatim quotations from the KJV, such as Mosiah 14 being a reproduction of ISA 53. (2) Smith probably plagiarized the KJV Bible and blended choice words or passages with his own ideas. (3) One might wonder why the KJV Bible is used so copiously in the Book of Mormon if the KJV Bible is so full of errors. d. Mormons may tend to assume that the canon of the N.T. accepted by Christianity was essentially a proto-Catholic Constantinian invention of the Nicene Council in 325 A.D. (1) The Nicene Council at best only confirmed what had already been accepted as canon by popular use among the churches and God's bearing of fruit thereby. (2) The O.T. canon was already well established by the time of Christ and is essentially what we have today (except for order and arrangement of books) in a KJV Bible. A Jewish council at Jamnia (100 A.D.) confirmed which O.T. books were already accepted and had access to the same O.T. canon that we have today. (3) Before the end of the First Century, Clement of Rome either quoted from or referred to half of our New Testament books and called them Scripture. (4) Numerous other ante-Nicene writers collectively quoted or referred to thousands of passages from almost all of the N.T. books which they called scriptures given by the Holy Spirit. (5) Up to 180 A.D. all of our N.T. books (with the single possible exception of the epistle of 2 Peter) are quoted or alluded to in the writings of church leaders and in church manuals. (6) There was even a compilation in 150 A.D. called the Muratorian Canon which may have not had four of our current books. The only known surviving copy of it is in poor condition and is missing parts. Yet in its day it was virtually universally recognized as the Word of God. e. Smith may have also plagiarized and expanded upon the writings of Rev. Solomon Spaulding ("Manuscript Story," "Manuscript Found") which preceded the Book of Mormon. Spaulding wrote a "romance" with Biblical backdrops similar to those of the Book of Mormon. This has been a hotly debated topic since the 1830's and is only mentioned here for historical interest. f. In 1972 the Book of Mormon gained a subtitle, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” This raises some serious issues. (1) Does this mean that the New Testament in the blood of Christ (1CO 11:25) is not the last testament of our Lord? (2) If the Book of Mormon is the latest testament of Christ, then it has made the testament in His blood null and void by the rule of HEB 8:13. (3) If the Book of Mormon was a testament that preceded the New Testament at Calvary, then Calvary nullifies it by the rule of HEB 8:13. (4) For a testament to be of effect, the testator must die (HEB 9:16-17) and a confirmed covenant cannot be altered after the fact (GAL 3:15). Therefore, if the Book of Mormon is a later testament than the Calvary testament, AA. Christ must not have actually died on the cross and we are not under His blood (New) testament. BB. Christ must have suffered again and then died to confirm the Mormon testament (an obviously rancid heresy). 1PE 3:18. CC. If Christ did suffer and die under the Calvary testament but then wrote another testament after the fact, He broke His own law (GAL 3:15) and stripped believers of their eternal inheritance (HEB 9:15). DD. If Christ did not suffer and die under the Calvary testament, but did suffer and die under the Mormon testament, there is a disconnect between the O.T. prophecies of Christ's work and their necessary First Century fulfillment and worse!: we have an inheritance only according to the Mormon testament. EE. If Christ did not suffer and die under the Mormon testament, then it is of no effect by the rule of HEB 9:16-17. FF. Christ's work on Calvary's cross is the New Testament in His blood; it is the LAST testament; there could not be “another testament of Jesus Christ.” f. The Book of Mormon represents “another gospel” (2CO 11:4; GAL 1:6). It, its “translator” and its overseeing angel (Moroni) are flatly condemned and cursed by the rule of GAL 1:8-9 and 2CO 11:13-15. g. Curiously, according to Summit Ministries' Kevin Bywater's research, “While Mormons hold strong allegiance to the Book of Mormon, it is interesting to note that it contains very little distinctly Mormon doctrine. It does not teach a plurality of gods, that humans may progress to godhood, temple marriage, or baptism for the dead.....The beliefs of the Mormon church are based primarily on the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the numerous teachings of church leaders. They are based little on the Book of Mormon, and only verbally on the Bible.” (http://www.christiananswers.net/evangelism/beliefs/mormonism-overview.html) h. When witnessing to a Mormon who tells you that the KJV Bible is correct as far as it is correctly translated, kindly have him identify every single place where the KJV Bible is in error. Chances are that he won't commit to that, in which case you can call “Foul.” Consider: (1) If he uses the KJV, then he must know where the errors are in it. If not, then how does he avoid being adversely affected by the unidentified errors he reads as if they were truth? (2) If the KJV is God's word, then the Book of Mormon is not (and vice-versa) because of the flagrant contradictions between them. (3) If the KJV is not God's word at all, then it would be sinful for a Mormon to study it as if some of it were God's word. (4) Therefore the position that the KJV is God's word insofar as it is correctly translated condemns the Mormon who reads it without absolute knowledge of the veracity (or lack thereof) of every line of it. (5) The Mormon who deems that portions of the KJV are correctly translated obviously measures that correctness by some standard, presumably the Book of Mormon. If so, which version of the Book of Mormon measures the KJV: the Joseph Smith version? Today's version? One of the versions in between then and now in which thousands of errors and inconsistencies have been worked over? Mind that the KJV reads the same now as it did when Joseph Smith lived. (6) Be prepared for what may sound like the reasoning process of a Charismatic who relies on feelings to determine truth. Mormons are taught that they discern truth based upon a burning sensation in their bosom. 4. Semitic American Indians. Mormonism purports that two great civilizations came to the Americas: the Jaredites who came from the tower of Babel about 2250 B.C. (and were wiped out because of corruption); and a group of righteous Jews led by Nephi who crossed the Pacific Ocean just before the Babylonian captivity of Israel. a. The latter group split into two warring parties (Nephites and Lamanites). The Lamanites defeated the Nephites in a final battle near the hill Cumorah in Palmyra, N.Y., about 428 A.D., but because of their wickedness, were cursed with dark skin and became the American Indian tribes. b. Before this, Christ supposedly visited the American continent and gave the Nephites the gospel, the communion service, baptism, the priesthood and mystical rites. c. Both of these groups were advanced civilizations which built huge cities, ships, synagogues, temples and armors. d. The foregoing is somewhat similar to aspects of the doctrine of the Christian Identity Movement, the Anglo-Israel belief, and tenets of white supremacist groups like the KKK. e. NOTE: There is ZERO anthropological or archaelogical evidence for this history of the Americas. f. Recall also the previous remarks about Christ's Second Coming according to the Scriptures. L. Doctrines. 1. The Trinity. Simply, Mormonism is a polytheistic religion. Its idea of the Trinity is not Three Persons/One God, but three gods. a. "I will preach on the plurality of Gods.---I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.370) b. "....these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods." (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp.576-577) c. Scripture affirms that there is only one God Who subsists in three Persons. DEU 6:4; ISA 44:6-8; 1CO 8:4; 1JO 5:7. 2. God the Father. Mormonism affirms that the Father God was once a man who advanced to Deity and now rules over his own universe, demanding our worship. a. "I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see....He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself the father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did..." (LDS History of the Church, vol.6, pl.305) b. "When our father Adam came in the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken---HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom we have to do." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol.1, p.50) c. Scripture affirms that Adam brought sin, not divinity into the earth. ROM 5:12. d. There is in fact a spiritual being who agrees with the Adam-God doctrine of Mormonism. GEN 3:5. 3. God the Son. Mormonism affirms that Jesus Christ is the literal, natural son of the Adam- God Father and the spirit-brother of Lucifer. He was married to Mary, Martha and others and begat children through them. a. "The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood, was begotten of his Father, as we were of our father." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol.8, p.115) b. "When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who was the Father? He is the first of the human family and when he took a tabernacle [body], it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession....Jesus our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven." (Ibid, pp.50-51) c. "The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind." (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, p.15) d. "Jesus was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana of Galilee---We say it was Jesus Christ who was married...whereby he could see his seed." (Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, vol.2, p.82) (1) Marriage in an LDS temple is mandatory to progress to become a god in Mormonism, thus it was necessary that their Jesus marry. (2) Had Jesus not married, he would only be a ministering servant to those in Mormonism's heaven who have "celestial marriage." e. This "Jesus" is "another Jesus” (2CO 11:4), and bears a blasphemous similarity to the pagan pantheon of Greece, wherein the gods fathered human sons through physical union with certain chosen women. f. Scripture affirms that: (1) Lucifer is NOT the spirit-brother of Jesus (rather, he was created by the pre-incarnate Word) and certainly didn't have mankind's best interests at heart. JOH 1:1-3; ISA 14:15-17. (2) Jesus Christ is NOT the product of Adam-God's sexual generation. Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost in Mary's womb, who remained a virgin until after His birth. MAT 1:18-25; LUK 1:35. (3) Scripture NOWHERE teaches that Jesus married or had children. 4. God the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit. In Mormonism, a distinction is made between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit. a. LDS Apostle Marion G. Romney stated, "The Holy Ghost is a person, a spirit, the third member of the Godhead." (Ensign, May 1977, pp.43-44) b. The sixth LDS prophet, Joseph F. Smith affirmed that the Holy Spirit is not a person but an impersonal force, "You may call it the Spirit of God, you may call it the influence of God's intelligence, you may call it the substance of His power; no matter what it is called, it is the spirit of intelligence that permeates the universe." (Mormon Doctrine, pp.752-753) c. Scripture affirms that the Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of God and is certainly a person. JOH 7:39; 16:13; ACT 5:3-4. 5. Sin and the Fall. Mormonism actually considers Adam's transgression to be a good thing in order to bring about man's exaltation. a. "Adam fell that men might be, and men are, that they might have joy." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:25) b. "Adam deliberately and wisely chose (to touch the forbidden tree) and partook of the fruit." (Talmadge, Doctrine and Covenants, p.65) c. "We ought to consider the fall of our first parents as one of the great steps to eternal exaltation and happiness." (Mormon Catechism) d. Scripture denies the concept of "let us do evil that good may come” (ROM 3:8). e. There is in fact a spiritual being who promotes the idea of sinning against God as being the way to exaltation. GEN 3:5. 6. Man's Destiny. Mormonism affirms that Christ's atonement puts humanity before a judgment table where their performance will be reviewed and their post-earthly existence reward dispensed accordingly. Worthy men become gods with their own planet to populate with their celestial wives and rule (Celestial Kingdom). There are other levels (Terrestrial Kingdom; Telestial Kingdom) for the "less than productive" folks. a. "As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be." (Lorenzo Snow, fifth LDS prophet, Ensign, Feb.1982, pp.39-40) b. "The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall be blessed with the fullness of his kingdom. In other words, we will have the privilege of becoming like him. To become like him we must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on....There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring...." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol.2, p.48) c. "Celestial marriage is the gate to an exaltation in the highest heaven within the celestial world." (Mormon Doctrine, p.118) d. Scripture affirms that: (1) There are only two destinies for men: heaven or hell (which will be cast into the lake of fire). LUK 16:22-23; REV 20:14-15. (2) Exaltation in heaven has nothing to do with human performance, but only the grace and blood of Jesus Christ. TIT 3:5; ROM 9:16 c/w 1PE 1:2. (3) Marriage is unique to this earth. LUK 20:34-36. (4) Human salvation and exaltation is not a matter of man becoming a god, but God becoming a man! 1TI 3:16 c/w HEB 2:17. 7. Baptism. Mormonism affirms that baptism is indispensable for human salvation/exaltation. Further, it holds that present-day Mormons can be baptized on behalf of long-dead ancestors (proxy baptisms) and thus "save" them. This is partly based upon a false interpretation of 1CO 15:29. a. "Baptism is...the very gateway into the kingdom of heaven, an indispensable step in our salvation and exaltation." (Bennett, Why I Am a Mormon, p.124) b. Baptism by proxy avers that "The Saints are....redeeming their (unbaptized) dead from the grasp of Satan." c. Scripture affirms that: (1) Baptism is but an outward symbol expressing the inward reality of the work of grace through the Spirit's application of the merits of Christ's life, death, burial and resurrection. 1PE 3:21. (2) 1CO 15:29 is NOT a proof text for their position. AA. The phrase "for the dead" may simply be expressing that baptism is a testimony that the dead in Christ shall rise again as surely as did He. c/w MAR 1:40-44. BB. Paul may also have been drawing attention to an inconsistency in the erring professors' position about the resurrection (1CO 15:12). "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then why are THEY (the erring professors) then baptized for the dead?" M. Perhaps the Holy Spirit had the LDS church in mind in 1TI 4:1, “...in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”