Thursday, February 24, 2011

Long Time No Blog - A Quick Update

I haven't updated in a few years, but a lot has happened and I would like to get some of it written down.

First, some interesting things have happened with the family. My daughter turned 8 in November of 2008 and my mother asked my wife when the baptism would be. My wife told her that she wasn't going to be baptized. The circumstances of this conversation were not ideal, which we regret. This happened right before Christmas in 2008 and when we went to see family over the holidays my father pulled me aside and explained how disappointed he was that I had broken my mothers heart. I told him that that was not my intention and that I was sorry that she had to find out like that. He asked me why I had made these decisions and I explained the main reasons. He understood that there is a lot of conflicting information about church history and offered the advice that I need to read the Book of Mormon and pray continually.

My father is a past Bishop and Stake President and I know the kind of answers he would give to any of the issues I brought up, so I kept things simple and didn't delve into all of the specifics. Doing so would only start a very long path of him trying to get me to forget about all of the stuff I've learned and only worry about the "stuff that really matters". I feared that going into things would only hurt our relationship and I didn't want to take that chance. We haven't spoken about religion since, although we get together often.

My mother was silent on the topic until a few weeks ago when she was staying at my house for the weekend. My wife had taken the kids to southern Utah for the weekend as the kids had a couple days off from school and my mother brought my brother up for the weekend for my brother to attend some training that he has been going to. My mother and I talked for many hours, multiple times, about why I no longer believe in God and what I do believe in. I think the conversations were very good for the both of us. She has a better understanding of how much time and research and contemplation I have put into all of this. She mentioned a few times that she gets a lot of happiness from believing in the church and its worked for her up till now so she can see no point in changing anything. I told her that was fine if that's what she wanted to believe, but I can't, in good conscience, continue to believe in it after learning all of the things I've learned.

I tried to impress upon her that I have not changed my core being. I still don't drink alcohol or smoke or drink coffee. I think we should always treat others with respect and do whats right. We may have different ways of determining what right and wrong is, and some of those may contradict each other on different subjects, but we are both trying to do the best we can. I think she understands that now and feels a bit better about what I'm doing.

I also tried to impress on her that I have no malice in my heart for what she has taught me regarding the church. I understand why she believes what she does. I think she was doing what she thought was right and I cannot fault her for that as I would hope that everyone would do the same. Everybody has their ideas about what they think their parents should have done better and I've done that and decided not to preach religion to my kids. I tell them that I don't believe in God, or Jesus, or any other god, but if they want to at some point, they can. They aren't all that interested in it at this point so they haven't asked a lot of questions, but I will tell them what I think is right whenever they do ask.

My family, for the most part, has been very understanding and loving. I haven't spoken to all of my siblings about this directly, but I'm sure they all know by now. A few have similar viewpoints to mine while one or two confirm that they have had a lot of the same issues, but plan on continuing the tradition. I'm very happy that my family has handled it as well as they have, thus far. I haven't come straight out and told them all what I believe, or what I don't believe, as I don't think that's going to do anybody any good. But, I'm confident that love will prevail and relationships will continue unchanged.

Lastly, I have not yet sent my resignation letter to the church. I've typed it up, but I haven't sent it. Why? Because the church is leaving me alone and I don't want to give them cause to try to fix me without them causing problems in the first place. So, as soon as they decide to pester me, I will send in my resignation and be done with them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Questioning Mormonism (Over 200)

The following list has been compiled from many different sources as well as my own questions regarding the authenticity of the LDS church.

Each question provides some insight into why many church members (of the LDS church) question their faith in the gospel and in Joseph Smith and why non-members are reluctant to take the leap of faith required to believe that the Book of Mormon is true scripture and that Joseph Smith was actually a prophet of God.

As I began researching early church history I had some of these same questions come to mind. After so many of these questions surfaced I began to question myself and my faith. Eventually I realized that I could not reconcile my beliefs, everything I had been taught to believe, with what I was reading about the origins of the church. So much of what I had been taught had been fabricated or not taught. I realized that until I could reconcile belief with evidence and fact, I could not continue to believe in the religion I was raised in.

I have researched each topic and have read most of the apologetics explanations and excuses and I have found them lacking. In many cases, the apologetics seem to come up with explanations that are far more outlandish than the original. The main problem I have with the apologetics is that they have to explain things that shouldn't need an explanation. There are so many problems that its impossible to keep up with all of the crazy theories that people have come up with to make everything sound like it fits and that everything is in order. One question you should keep in mind as you go through this list... If there really is a God and that God really wants his children to return to him, why would He make it so difficult to believe what this church says? Why didn't He explain things properly to his prophets? Why does it take so much faith to discard all of the facts surrounding religion in order to believe it all? Would a loving God give us a brain, with all of its powers or logic and deduction, just to require us to discard its use, in order to believe all of this is irrelevant?

Here are a few of the sources for this list. Many came from these sources, but I have added my own where I saw fit.

    Book of Mormon Culture
  1. Why is there no evidence of Silk, Cement, Glass (Ether 3:1) or Machinery in the new world before 1492 if the BofM refers to them?
  2. Why is there no evidence, except for toys, of wheeled vehicles such as Chariots (Alma 18:9) and Carriages (2 Nephi 20:28) if the BofM refers to them?
  3. Why didn't the BofM people know about the seven day week with a day of rest?
  4. Why does the BofM reference Cimitars when the sword of that name was not coined until after 600ad? There were swords of that style before that, but the name itself was not used until after 600ad.
  5. Why is there no evidence of portable tents in Mesoamerica during that time?
  6. Some church members hold the belief that paintings found in Mesoamerica of a “serpent god”, or “white bearded god” is evidence of Jesus Christ’s visit to the BofM people. However, the Quetzalcoatl legend and its origins have been traced back to 1150 BC. Why do members attribute evidence to the historical accurateness of the BofM when a look at the evidence does not support the book? Could it be that church leaders have been telling us that the BofM is an accurate history of the America’s but there is no evidence of it?
  7. When the Nephites landed in the Americas there were already millions of inhabitants in the land with large cities and infrastructure.  Why are these people/cities not mentioned in the BofM?
  8. Metallurgy
  9. Why is there no evidence of Bellows, Brass, Breast Plates, Chains, Copper, Iron, Metal Coins, Ore ( no evidence of mining activities), Plows, Silver, Swords (none that are metal), Steel if the BofM refers to them? -- “Metallurgy does not appear in the region until about the 9th century A.D " Thomas Ferguson, “Written Symposium,” pp. 20-21 – Bellows ref. 1 Nephi 17:11 – Brass ref. 2 Nephi 5:15
  10. Why doesn’t Mesoamerican art portray the existence of metallurgical products or metallurgical activity?
  11. Animals and Animal Products
  12. Why does the BofM mention Ass,  Bull, Calf , Cattle, Cow, domestic Goat, Horse, Ox, domestic Sheep, Sow,  Swine, Elephants if there has been no evidence of the existence of these animals before the time of Columbus?
  13. Why does the BofM mention Butter and Milk if there has been no evidence found that supports its existence in the area during the time-period spanned by the BofM?
  14. Why doesn’t the BofM mention animals that existed in pre-Columbian America? Available options could include the Coatis, Deer, Jaguars, Tapir, Monkeys, Sloth's, Turkeys, etc..
  15. Why does Ether 2:3 claim that the Jaredites brought Honey Bees to the American continent when bee’s were not brought to North America until the 1600’s AD and South America in the late 1900’s AD?
  16. Crops
  17. Why is plow agriculture referenced in the BofM when it was not known in new world? Barley (Mos 7:22, Alma 11:7, 15),  Wheat (Mos 9:9).
    • "There's a whole system of production of wheat and barley . . . It's a specialized production of food. You have to know something to make flax [the source of linen], and especially in tropical climates. Grapes and olives . . . all these are cultures that are highly developed and amount to systems, and so the Book of Mormon is saying that these systems existed here." (BYU anthropology professor, Dr. Raymond T. Matheny, August 25, 1984 Sunstone conference in Salt Lake City).
  18. Why were foods that did exist in ancient America not mentioned in the BofM? Chocolate, lima beans, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, manioc.
  19. Geography
  20. Why wasn’t the terrain of Central America described in the BofM?
  21. Numerous LDS books and papers describe proposed BofM locations for cities and the "narrow neck of land".  No city has yet been identified as being Nephite or Lamanite.  For example,  Zarahemla was occupied for hundreds of years without any evidence of ever existing.  BofM describes a time period from 2000 BC to 400 AD and millions of people.  Why haven’t the cities they occupied been found yet?
  22. Why don’t the names of locations of South America match those mentioned in the BofM?
  23. Why are there no gaps in archeological record with near-eastern culture in Mesoamerica?
  24. Why don’t non-partisan archeologists theorize Hebrew or Egyptian linkages or influences in Mesoamerica?
  25. Script and Language
  26. Why are there so many Greek influences in the BofM?
    • Greek names in BofM (Lachoneus,Timothy, Jonas). 
    • Christ is a Greek name
    • Alpha and Omega
  27. Why haven’t other examples of "Reformed Egyptian" been found, anywhere?
  28. Why is there no cuneiform evidence (earliest known form of written expression) for the Jaredites in the New World?
  29. Why is there no linguistic relationship today between any native American language and ancient Egyptian, Summerian/Akkadian or Hebrew?
    • Indo-European is much older than BofM time period, yet vestiges of Indo European exist through all of Europe and parts of Asia.  How did BofM language evolve so rapidly into non-related Indian languages?
  30. Why are there only four main types of Mesoamerican writing systems are known: (Aztec, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Maya)?
  31. Why can’t the Anthon Transcript owned by RLDS can't be translated today (many character look like Roman alphabet)?
  32. Why is it that Mesoamerica was the only place in the New World where written language was established?
    • Larson Quest for GP. pp54.
  33. Why aren’t Indians racially/genetically the same as Hebrews? Or at least similar?
    • Indians are Mongoloid.
    • JS sent missionaries to local Lamanites (Indians). He considered them to be descendants of BofM people.
    • Taught they were Lamanites (JS Diaries, Faulring p.482).
    • "...forefathers of our western tribes of Indians." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Smith p. 17).
  34. Why didn’t the witnesses claim that they saw the gold plates with their physical eyes? Saw with spiritual eyes/the eyes of faith.
  35. Why does the current church extol the witness when Joseph condemned them? JS Diaries, Faulring p.223
  36. How is it possible that  “Some of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who handled the plates and conversed with the angels of God, were afterwards left to doubt and disbelieve that they had ever seen an angel."? BY - JOD 7:164 1859
  37. Didn’t all of the witnesses have a stake in the BofM being true?
    • Most were either Whitmers (including Page, brother in law) or Smiths
  38. If church leaders think this isn’t an issue, why isn’t it discussed openly and honestly?
  39. Why isn’t this information shared with investigators?
  40. Don’t you feel that it is important to be honest with people that are deciding if the Mormon Church is for them?
  41. Quotes from Bible
  42. Why are there 774 verses in the BofM that mimic, sometimes identical, verses in the Bible?
  43. Why does the BofM quote Paul from the Bible before Paul was said to have said it? Corinthians 15:55
    • "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
    • Abinadi (Mosiah 16:8), Aaron (Alma 22:14), and Mormon (Mormon 7:5)
  44. Why is it that of the 350 names in the Book of Mormon, 100 are found in the Bible, others are place names found on early 19th century maps, and the rest are derivatives of Bible names?
  45. Why was Peter misquoted hundreds of years before the book of Acts was written?
    • Peter's paraphrase (Acts 3:22) of Moses' words (Deut. 18:15,18f) is mistakenly referred to as Moses' own words (I Nephi 22:20).
  46. Why are there phrases found in the BofM that are borrowed from the New Testament that pre-date it?
    • "oh wretched man that I am" Romans 7:24 / 2 Nephi 4:17
    • "earthquake, rocks rent"  Matt 27:51 /  1 Nephi 12:14
    • "old serpent, which is the devil" Rev 20:2 / 2 Nephi 2:18
    • "one faith, one baptism" Ephesians 4:5 / Mosiah 18:21
    • "One man perish"  Jesus/Laban / John 11:5
  47. Why is a Greek word like "Christ" used throughout the Book of Mormon?
  48. Why does the BofM always follow KJV errors (makes changes but not to incorrect translations)?
  49. Why is about 1/8th of the BofM copied directly from the KJV (1611AD) when it was alleged to have been written some 1200-2000 years before the KJV existed?
  50. Why does it seem that Joseph Smith copied from the KJV but deleted the italicized words in the KJV?
    • Could it be that he figured they were not in the original?
    • "Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips" Isa 6:5, The words "is & am" are deleted in the Book of Mormon.
  51. Why don’t the Bible quotes agree with earlier Latin, Syriac, Coptic or Patristic texts?
    • Most of changes are where italics have been inserted in the KJV
    • Matt 5:27 and 1 Nephi 12:27 "by them of old time" not included in earliest Greek (should have said "to them of old")
    • Matt 6:4,6,18 and 3 Nephi :4,6,18 "openly" added later
    • Matt 6:13 and 3 Nephi 13:13 "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" should have said, "and do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one"
  52. Why does 3 Nephi 13:9-13 contain verses that exist in the KJV of Matthew 6:9-13 like "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen" that doesn't exist in the original greek versions? The BofM is supposed to be more pure because it hasn't been added to or taken away by countless men during translation, but the BofM contains the same version that exists in the KJV that Joseph Smith had access to.
  53. Why does the Book of Helaman contain the same phrase that is included in the preface of the KJV of the Bible?
    • ". . . clouds of darkness would so have overshadowed this Land ..".   In the BofM we find ". . . the cloud of darkness, which has overshadowed them ..." (Helaman 5:31).
  54. How is it that a computer examination of the KJV Preface shows forty-five word parallels with the BofM (ranging from two to four words in a row) which are not found in the text of the King James Version?
    • Since the Preface is only two pages long, this many parallels could prove to be significant. The following are just ten examples: "rule and reign over" -- "sacred word" -- "because of the fruit thereof," -- "eternal happiness," -- "it, nay" -- "the immediate" -- "itself abroad in the" -- "great hopes" -- "most sacred" -- "did never."
  55. Why does the phrase "the lamb of God" appear thirty-four times in the BofM when the phrase comes from the New Testament?
    • John 1:29 and 36
    • Twenty- eight times in the book of 1 Nephi alone!
    • It only appear six more times in the rest of the BofM.
  56. Why do the words of Malachi 4:1 appear in I Nephi 22:15, over a hundred years before Malachi wrote them? Anachronism
  57. Other stories seem like exaggerated borrowings from the Bible
  58. Why are there so many stories in the BofM that are very similar to stories found in the Bible?
    • Ammon killed six sheep rustlers with a sling vs. David's killing of Goliath.
    • Pillar of Fire
    • Lord instructs Noah to build the Ark / Lord instructs Nephi to build ship / Jaredites to build barges.
    • Jaredites brought flocks, two of a kind , seeds, bees.
    • Raising the dead.
    • Temple of Solomon took 180,000 people seven and a half years to build. The Nephites did it in less than 20 years after arriving (2 Nephi 5).
    • Calming Storm (1 Nephi 18:8-21).
    • Men in fire (Helaman 5:22-24).
    • John lives forever vs. Three Nephites.
    • Feeding Multitude (3 Nephi 20:3-7) out of nothing / In Bible, Christ multiplied existing food.
    • Christ heals masses in BofM (3 Nephi 17:9)  / in Bible  He healed as He encountered.
    • Multitude feels wounds in BofM (3 Nephi 11:13) / In Bible, Thomas felt wounds.
    • BofM prophecies of Christ specific / Bible prophecies veiled.
    • BofM Christ is completely accepted / In Bible he is rejected.
    • Aminadi deciphered writing on the wall like Daniel.
    • Daughter of Jared danced before the king like Salome (decapitation followed).
    • Daughters of Lamanites abducted like the daughters of Shiloh.
    • Jews of Old Testament were monotheists / Pre-Christ Jews of BofM were trinitarians.
    BofM Christianity
  59. Why does the BofM confuse the Old and New Covenants?
    • It stresses that before Christ, the faithful kept the Law of Moses (II Nephi 5:10; 25:23-25, 20; Alma 30:3), yet they also established churches, taught and practiced Christian baptism, and were conversant with New Testament doctrines and events (e.g. II Nephi 9:23; Mosiah 18:17).  In the Bible, the Old Covenant is taken away to establish the New (Heb. 10:9).
  60. Why does the Book of Mormon discuss the concept of infinite sins paid by an infinite being? (Alma 12) This idea was originated by Anselm of Canterbury and was a popular debate during the time of Joseph Smith.
  61. Why does the Book of Mormon's teachings reflect the religious conflicts of the early 19th century including: grace, infant baptism, ordination, authority, repentance, resurrection, eternal punishment, fall of man, nature of man, fasting, etc.?
    • Thomas W. Murphy noted in Dialogue 30:2 p. 114, "The American biological, physical, political, and religious environment of the nineteenth century was posited by the author of the Book of Mormon to have existed for at least 1,000 years in pre-Columbian America."
  62. Why were there missionaries in the Book of Mormon before Christ? That certainly wasn't the case in the Old World.
  63. Why is King Benjamin's oratory like a 19th century camp meeting?
    • Revival gathering (Mosiah 2)
    • Guilt ridden falling exercise (4:1-2)
    • Petition for spiritual emancipation (4:2)
    • Absolution and ecstasy (4:3)
    • Repentance (4:4-8)
    • Born again (5:7)
    • Take name of Christ (5:8-15)
  64. Why do sermons discuss the ressurection of Christ in the Book of Mormon as if it had already happened even though the sermon happens hundreds of years before Christ?
    • Mosiah 16

  65. Style / Inconsistencies
  66. Why were there 4,000 changes to BofM?  Not all changes were grammatical.
    • "King Benjamin had a gift of God" (changed to Mosiah)  (BofM page 178 v28).
  67. Why does the church continue to make changes to the BofM?
    • The Doubleday BofM contains changes to the introduction as well as chapter headings for 2 Nephi 5 and Mormon 5.
    • These changes are primarily designed to minimize the rascial elements within the BofM that continue to plague the church and cause PR issues.

  68. How can there be so many errors in the BofM if Joseph read the words on the stone and they wouldn't go away until they got it right?
  69. Why do the stories and the characters in the Book of Mormon repeat with only minor variations in content and different names given to the characters?
    • "There were other Anti-Christ's among the Nephites, but they were more military leaders than religious innovators . . . they are all of one breed and brand; so nearly alike that one mind is the author of them, and that a young and undeveloped, but piously inclined mind. The evidence I sorrowfully submit, points to Joseph Smith as their creator. It is difficult to believe that they are the product of history, that they come upon the scene separated by long periods of time, and among a race which was the ancestral race of the red man of America." (BH Roberts  Studies of the BofM., page 271).
  70. Why was the Book of Mormon cast into the KJV style?
    • Consequently there is a continual use of 'thee', 'thou' and 'ye', as well as the archaic verb endings 'est' (second person singular) and 'eth' (third person singular). Since the Elizabethan style was not Joseph's natural idiom, he continually slipped out of this King James pattern and repeatedly confused the norms as well. Thus he lapsed from 'ye' (subject) to 'you' (object) as the subject of sentences (e.g. 'Mos. 2:19; 3:34; 4:24), jumped from plural ('ye') to singular ('thou') in the same sentence (Mos. 4:22) and moved from verbs without endings to ones with endings (e.g. 'yields . . . putteth,' 3:19)." (The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Mormon, by Wesley P. Walters, 1990, page 30).
  71. Why are the prophecies in the Book of Mormon dealing with events that already occurred unrealistically specific?
    • Charles Anthon story (2 Nephi 27:12).
    • Columbus described.
    • Smith's name given (3 Nephi 22:15-17).
    • Smith called to be the translator of the Mormon record (II Nephi 3:11-15).
    • Martin Harris and the lost manuscripts.
    • BofM revelations stop at Joseph's time (rest is sealed).
    • BofM is quite specific about Christ but does not add anything that the NT does not address (for example, what Christ did from age 12 - 30).
  72. How is it that Alma sinned wanting to be an angel when we are taught to want to become Gods? (Alma 29:3).
  73. Why did Alma not know when Christ was coming (Alma 13:21-26) even though he possessed plates and Lehi and Nephi had written precisely when he would arrive?
    • One theory is that 1 and 2 Nephi were written last (lost manuscript).
  74. Why does the phrase "And it came to pass..." occur over 2000 times?
  75. Why were cliched Indian phrases included?
    • Nine Moons (Omni 1:21).
    • Great Spirit (Alma 19:25-27).
  76. How did the Jaredites come up with the same rare idea of writing on plates 2,000 years before Lehi when such a record keeping system is virtually unknown?
  77. Why isn’t the BofM consistent with the Bible?
  78. How did Mulek, son of King Zedekiah, survive execution and find his way to the New World when the Bible says that all were killed? Jeremiah 39:6
  79. Why is Shakespeare quoted in the BofM?
    • Death described as:
      • "...from whence no traveler returns." (The Wonders of Nature and Providence Displayed, 1825, page 469)
      • "...from whence no traveler can return;..." (Book of Mormon, 1830, 2 Nephi 1:14)
  80. Why would God instruct the Jaredites not to put glass windows in their barges? Ether 1:42-60
  81. In I Nephi 7:14, we find Nephi mourning the fact that Jeremiah had been cast into prison. According the the Book of Mormon, Nephi and his family left Jerusalem in the first year of the reign of King Zedekiah (I Nephi 1:4). According to the Bible, Jeremiah was imprisoned in the tenth year of King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 32:1-2).  The only way to avoid an anachronism is to assume that Nephi and his family had already been in the wilderness nine years or more.  However, this is unlikely in the light of I Nephi 17:4, which is chronologically some time after the events of I Nephi 7:14.  The obvious answer to this problem is that Joseph Smith inserted the reference to Jeremiah into the Book of Mormon as he was writing it, without realizing that he had created an anachronism.
  82. II Nephi 19:1 - "Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, and afterwards did more grievously afflict by the way of the Red Sea beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations. "  Isaiah 9:1 "Nevertheless the dimness [shall] not [be] such as [was] in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict [her by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. "  The Book of Mormon qualifies the reference to "way of the sea" in Isaiah, and makes it the Red Sea. This is, however, quite  impossible.  During the Kingdom Age (about 1000 BC and onwards), the land of Naphtali bordered the Sea of Galilee to the West. The land of Zabulun bordered Naphtali to the West and South. It is within this region that we find many names from Jesus' ministry - Capernaum, Cana, Genneserat, Bethsaida and, of course, Galilee. The quotation from Isaiah thus neatly pinpoints the area of the Messiah's future ministry.  The Red Sea, however, is over 250 miles to the South of Galilee, near the Egyptian border. There is no way that Isaiah could at any stage have contained the geographical qualifier "Red".  There is further proof of this assertion. Firstly, the quotation also mentions that "the sea" is beyond Jordan, in Galilee. The Jordan River, of course, empties into the Dead Sea, and never reaches the Red Sea at all. Further, the Red Sea is definitely nowhere near Galilee.  Secondly, this verse from Isaiah was quoted by Matthew in Matthew 4:12-16, specifically with reference to Galilee and Capernaum. The quotation in Matthew is also missing the reference to the Red Sea.  There is thus ample proof that the word "Red" was never a part of Isaiah 9:1. How then, did it get into the Book of Mormon? 
  83.  Why do Joseph's own accounts confuse whether he was visited by Moroni or Nephi?
    •  "He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi." (J. Smith - Times & Seasons Vol. 3, p. 753 1842) also (J. Smith 1851 PoGP p. 41).
  84. Why do members claim that Jesus didn't drink wine due to the word "wine" being mistranslated from "grape juice" when Nephi gave wine to Laban to help him obtain the brass plates. Another reason they say that Jesus didn't drink wine was because the fermentation process hadn't been discovered at that time, but that also conflicts with the Nephi/Laban story. 
  85. Errors in Prophecy
  86. Why does the Book of Mormon prophesy that the Jews would be restored to the land of their inheritance if they believed in Christ?
    • They are occupying it now without believing in Christ. 2 Nephi 10:7
  87. Book of Mormon Influences
  88. Joseph's background could have been influences in the BofM:
    • Themes of revolutionary war and patriotism (liberty, freedom, country, religion, flags).
    • Agrarian Society described.
    • Democracy after Monarchs
    • Much speculation in area about Indian Mounds and battles.
    • BofM describes wood forts with pickets to protect people (much like forts of frontier).
    • Lehi had six sons as did Joseph Smith Sr.   Sam/Samuel were sons of both.
    • Mormon who was "large in stature", saw vision at age 15.  Nephi offers a similar character.
    • BofM repeatedly addresses 19th century readers (see 2 Nephi 3:12).
    • Anti-Mason excitement that arose near Smith's home in 1827 are reflected (Gadianton Robbers / Secret Combinations).
  89. Why aren’t current church teachings found in the BofM?
    • Elohim (God the Father in Mormonism) was once a mortal man and that he was not always God?
    • God has a body of flesh and bones?
    • God is married in heaven?
    • Men can become Gods?
    • Temple participation is necessary to become exalted?
    • Jesus, Satan and the Holy Ghost are sons of God?
    • The blood of Christ does not cleanse certain sins?
    • A person can lose his salvation if he is not baptized on behalf of dead relatives?
    • There is more than one God?
    • Males must hold either the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood?
    • You can't drink coffee or tea or wine?
    • There are "three degrees of glory"?
    • Polygamy was approved by God?
    • If a man wishes to be saved he must have a woman by his side?
    • Faithful members must wear sacred undergarments that have the power to protect them?
    • Official church doctrine must be voted on by the general membership?
    • God is the offspring of another God who, in turn, is the offspring of still another God, etc.?
    • The highest level within the celestial kingdom is the "Church of the Firstborn"?
  90. Is it possible that Joseph Smith had access to other works that taught that the Indians were descended from the Hebrews?
    • Ethan Smith (no relation) lived a short distance from Joseph and was a minister to Oliver Cowdery's family.  He wrote the View of the Hebrews in 1823 (republished 1825). "View of the Hebrews" pre-dates the BofM and theorizes that Indians descended from the Hebrews.
    • BH Roberts (Studies of BofM pp.240,242) said, "But now to return . . . to the main theme of this writing -- viz., did Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews furnish structural material for Joseph  Smith's Book of Mormon? It has been pointed out in these pages that there are many things in the former book that might well have  suggested many major things in the other. Not a few things merely, one or two, or a half dozen, but many; and it is this fact of many things of similarity and the cumulative force of them that makes them so serious a menace to Joseph Smith's story of the Book of Mormon's origin . . ."
    • Josiah Priest  published a book  "The Wonders of Nature and Providence", copyrighted by him June 2nd, 1824, and printed soon afterwards in Rochester, New York, only some twenty miles distant  from Palmyra . . . this book preceded the publication of the Book of Mormon by about six years.
      • Josiah Priest in 1833 wrote in American Antiquities "The opinion that the American Indians are descendants of the lost 10  tribes is now a popular one and generally believed".
    • Solomon Spaulding wrote books on the same ideas as the BofM.
    • James Adair wrote "A History of the American Indians", which was originally published in 1775. On pages 377-378, he wrote the following about the Indians:
      • "Through the whole continent, and in the remotest woods, are traces of their ancient warlike disposition. We frequently met with great mounds of earth, either of a circular, or oblong form, having a strong breast-work at a distance around them, made of the clay which had been dug up in forming the ditch on the inner side of the enclosed ground, and these were their  forts of security against an enemy... About 12 miles from the upper northern parts of the Choktah country, there stand...two oblong mounds of an equal direction with each other... A broad deep ditch enclosed those two fortresses, and there they raised an high breast-work, to secure their houses from the invading enemy."
      • In the book of Alma we find some extremely important parallels to the writings of Adair in chapters 48,49,50 and 53 (in most cases, the underlined/bold statements are found only here in the entire BofM): "Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort: throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies...the Nephites were taught... never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy... they had cast up dirt round to shield them from the arrows...the chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security...they knew not that Moroni had fortified, or had built forts of security in all the land roundabout ...the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security...because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up, and the depth of the ditch which had been dug round about...they (the Lamanites) began to dig down their banks of earth...that they might have an equal chance to fight...instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead...And (Moroni) caused them to erect fortifications that they should commence laboring in digging a ditch round about the land...And he caused that they should build a breastwork of timbers upon the inner bank of the ditch: and they did cast up dirt out of the ditch against the breastwork of timbers " (Book of Mormon, Alma, 48:8, 14; 49:2, 5, 13, 18, 22; 50:10; 53:3-4).- 4).
      • BofM says "for the space of nine moons." (Omni 1:21). On page 125 of Adair's History of the American Indians we find the following "...for the space of four moons..."
      • On page 122 of Adair's book, we find the words, "for the space of three days and nights..." This is very close to Alma 36:10, "for the space of three days and three nights...".
    Joseph Smith Chronology 1805 - Born Sharon, Vermont. 1811 - Family moves to Lebanon, NH. 1816 - Family moves to Palmyra, New York. 1820 - First Vision. 1822 - Acquires seer stone digging a well. 1823 - First Moroni vision. 1825 - Hired by Josiah Stowell to search for treasure in Harmony, PA. Stays with Isaac Hale. 1826 - Tried and convicted as a "glasslooker". 1827 - Marries Emma Hale. Obtains plates and begins translation of BofM. 1828 - Charles Anton affair, Martin Harris aids in translation,  Lost Manuscripts. 1829 - Oliver Cowdrey takes over as BofM scribe. Receives the priesthood.  Finishes BoFM 1830 - 5,000 copies of BoFM published. Organizes Church of Christ. Records Visions of Moses.  Sidney Rigdon join Church. 1831 - Church moves to Kirtland, OH. Reveals Jackson County as Land of Zion. Tithing instated. 1832 - Reveals 3 degrees of glory. Mobbed, tarred and feathered. Settlements in Jackson County. 1833 - Reveals Word of Wisdom. Sidney Rigdon and Frederick Williams join first presidency. 1834 - Zion's Camp. 1835 - Organizes council of 12 Apostles / Quorum of Seventy.  Records revelation of Priesthood. Acquires mummies and begins translation of papyrus and Egyptian alphabet and grammar. Publishes D&C. 1836 - Dedicates Kirtland temple (prior to endowment). Searches for treasure in Salem, MA. Kirtland Safety Society. 1837 - Martin Harris is excommunicated 1838 - Leaves Kirtland and goes to Far West. Oliver Cowdrey excommunicated.  David Whitmer leaves church. Church name changed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Selects Adam-ondi-Ahman as new settlement site.  Missouri persecution. Extermination order. Liberty jail. 1839 - Nauvoo established. 1840 - Becomes trustee-in-trust of church, elected to city council, elected lieutenant general of Nauvoo Legion. 1842 - Publishes Book of Abraham.  Masonry. Baptisms of Dead. Relief Society established. Introduces endowment. 1843 - Revelation on celestial marriage. 1844 - Announces candidacy for US presidency. King Follett sermon. Destroys Expositor.  Killed. Treasure Hunting and Magic
  91. JS arrested for money digging.   Joseph Jr., admitted to being a money digger, though he said it was never very profitable for him (History of the Church, V. 3, p. 29). He and his father's money digging continued until at least 1826. On March 20th, 1826,  Joseph was arrested, brought before a judge, and charged with being a "glass-looker" and a disorderly person. The laws at that time had what was known as the "Vagrant Act." It defined a disorderly person as one who pretended to have skill in the areas of palmistry, telling fortunes or discovering where lost goods might be found. According to court records Justice Neely determined that Joseph was guilty, though no penalty was administered, quite possibly because this was a first offense (Inventing Mormonism, Marquardt and Walters, SLC: Signature Books, 1994, pp.74-75). Why isn’t this taught in church?
  92. Used seer stone before prophetic calling and after. Why isn’t this taught in church?
  93. Translated much of BofM looking into hat. Why isn’t this taught in church?
    • D. Michael Quinn writes: "During this period from 1827 to 1830, Joseph Smith abandoned the company of his former money-digging associates, but continued to use for religious purposes the brown seer stone he had previously employed in the treasure quest. His most intensive and productive use of the seer stone was in the translation of the Book of Mormon. But he also dictated several revelations to his associates through the stone" (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, D. Michael Quinn, Signature Books, SLC, 1987, p. 143).
    • Richard S. Van Wagoner writes:  "This stone, still retained by the First Presidency of the LDS Church, was the vehicle through which the golden plates were discovered and the medium through which their interpretation came" (Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, Signature Books, SLC, 1994, p.57). 
  94. Sent members to seek treasure (seen in a vision) in Salem, Mass. " and silver of city would be theirs" D&C 111 They went and never found the treasure. What is to be learned from this failure?
  95. Jaredites magic stones vs. Joseph's seer stones... Isn’t this a peculiar coincidence?
  96. 1st Vision
  97. Given the following information regarding the 1st Vision, why should I believe that it ever happened the way that the church currently teaches it?
    • Accounts are confused whether it was God or Angel, many versions.  Until JFS all taught that an angel came to JS.
      • "The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven...But he did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun...and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong" (B. Young -  JOD Volume 2 p.171 1855).
      • "How did it (the organization) come? By the ministering of an holy angel from God, out of heaven, who held converse with man, and revealed unto him the darkness that enveloped the world...He told him the Gospel was not among men, and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world." (Wilford Woodruff -  JOD Volume 11 p.196 1855).
      • "How did the state of things called Mormonism originate?  We read that an angel came down and revealed himself to Joseph Smith and manifested unto him in a vision the true position of the world in a religious point of view.  He was surrounded with light and glory while the heavenly messenger communicated these things to him." (John Taylor -  JOD Volume 10 p.127 1863).
      • "When the holy angel appeared, Joseph inquired which of all these denominations was right and which he should join, and was told they were all wrong." (George A. Smith -  JOD Volume 12 p.334 1863).
    • Was not published until 1842.  No one knew of today's version of the First Vision until after Joseph dictated it in 1838, and no published source mentions it until 1842.
    • The visitation of 1820 of God and Jesus to Joseph Smith has been shown by the mass of conflicting information on the supposed event, to have never occurred.  The date conflicts with other recorded historical events and even with Joseph Smith's mother's account of her son's history!  No one ever mentioned this revelation until Smith dictated it 18 years later! It plays no role at all in Mormon history until the 1860s. His early hand written account (1831-1832 diary) does not even mention God the father visiting.
    • Oliver Cowdery was the main writer of the "Messenger and Advocate.". Its accuracy was checked by Joseph Smith himself. In this publication Joseph tells how, after his brother Alvin's death, and after his mother, sister and two brothers had joined the Presbyterian Church, he started to seek religion and pray "if some Supreme Being existed" (vol. 1 p. 79).  If he had a vision of God in 1820, he would have already known that a supreme being existed in 1822/23. 
    • No evidence of revival described by JS. Joseph Smith's neighborhood experienced no revival in 1820 such as he described, in which great multitudes joined the Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches. According to early sources, including church conference reports, newspapers, church periodicals, presbytery records and published interviews, nothing occurred in 1820-21 that fits Joseph's description. There were no significant gains in church membership in the Palmyra-Manchester, New York area,[3] during 1820-21 such as accompany great revivals. For example, in 1820, the Baptist Church in Palmyra only received 8 people through profession of faith and baptism, the Presbyterian church added 14 members, while the Methodist circuit lost 6 members, dropping from 677 in 1819 to 671 in 1820 and down to 622 in 1821 (see Geneva area Presbyterian Church Records, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA; Records for the First Baptist Church in Palmyra, American Baptist Historical Society, Rochester, NY; Minutes of the [Methodist] annual Conference, Ontario Circuit, 1818-1821, pp. 312, 330, 346, 366). 
    • Lucy Smith indicates that this phenomenon occurred around 1824.  Her son, Alvin died on November 19, 1823, and following that painful loss Lucy Smith reports that,  "about this time there was a great revival in religion and the whole neighborhood was very much aroused to the subject and we among the    rest, flocked to the meeting house to see if there was a word of comfort for us that might relieve our over-charged feelings" (First draft of     Lucy Smith's History, p. 55, LDS Church Archives).
    • Church records from that time period show outstanding increases in membership due to the reception of new converts. The Baptist Church received 94, the Presbyterian 99, while the Methodist work grew by 208.
    • If this sequence did not start until 1824, there are only six years in which to fit the ten year sequence Joseph claims occurred before the Book of Mormon was printed.
    • Oliver Cowdrey:  "You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our Brother J. Smith Jr's, age that was an error in the type- it should have been the 17th...This would bring the date down to the year 1823." (Oliver Cowdrey - Times & Seasons Vol. 2, p. 241 1840).
    • For further details see, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1969, pp. 59-100.
    • 1832 Account
      • In about 1832, Joseph Smith, began an account of the origin of the Mormon Church (the only one written in his own hand) that is considerably different from the official First Vision story he dictated some six years later. This 1832 account, which has been referred to as Joseph's strange account, was never finished and for many years remained inaccessible to the public. It was published in BYU Studies, Spring 1969, pp. 278ff, and is also included in Dean C. Jessee's The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984, pp. 14ff).  In this version Joseph presented himself as a boy who, between the ages of twelve and fifteen, was a committed and perceptive reader of the Bible. He claimed that it was his study of the Scriptures which led him to understand that all the denominations were wrong. He wrote:  "by searching the Scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament" (Personal Writings, p. 5).  Six years later, when Joseph set forth his official First Vision account, he changed his story and no longer claimed his personal Bible study led him to the conclusion that all churches were wrong. Instead, he said that the Father and the Son told him that all the churches were wrong and he must join none of them.
      • In the 1832 version Joseph only mentions the appearance of Christ, while in the 1838 rendition he claims both the Father and the Son appeared.
      • In the1832 account he already knows all the churches are wrong, while in the 1838 story he says it never occurred to him that all were wrong until the two deities informed him of this fact.
    • Lucy Mack Smith Version.
      • Joseph's mother, likewise, knew nothing of a vision of the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove. In her unpublished account she traces the origin of Mormonism to a bedroom visit by an angel. Joseph at the time had been pondering which of all the churches were the true one. The angel told him "there is not a true church on Earth, No, not one" (First draft of Lucy Smith's History, p. 46, LDS Church Archives).
    • 1834/35 Version.
      • Still another version of the First Vision was published in 1834-35 in the periodical, Latter-day Saints Messenger and Advocate (Vol. 1, pp. 42, 78). This account was written by  Oliver Cowdery with the help of Joseph Smith. It tells how a revival in 1823 caused 17-year-old Joseph Smith [6] to be stirred up on the subject of religion. According to Cowdery, Joseph desired to know for himself of the certainty and reality of pure and holy religion (p. 78). He also prayed if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him and a manifestation in some way that his sins were forgiven (Ibid., 78, 79). According to this account, an angel (not a deity) appeared in Joseph's bedroom to tell him his sins were forgiven.
      • The date of the revival is given as 1823, instead of 1820.
      • If Joseph had already had a vision of the Father and the Son in 1820, why did he need to pray in 1823 about whether or not a Supreme being existed?
      • When the revival prompts him to pray, the personage that appears is an angel, not the Father or Son.
      • The message of the angel is one of forgiveness of sins, rather than an announcement that all the churches were wrong.
      • D&C 84:21-22 "cannot see the face of God without priesthood and live". JS did not have the priesthood.
      • Joseph joined Methodists in 1828.  Why did he do this if God told him none of the churches were true?
      • Said all sects were "united to persecute me" - Despite all of the other negative press he got,  there is no reference from early critics to his first vision.
      • First autobiography does not mention the first vision.
    • Lehi: "I have dreamed a dream, in other words, I have seen a vision"  (1 Nephi 8:2 ).
  98. Why does the First Vision accounts match so closely with the symptoms of consuming hallucinogens, especially Amanita Muscaria Mushroom and Datura Species?
    • Incapacitation (An effect of anticholinergic)
      • 1839 I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was <siezed> upon by some power which entirely overcame me... But exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had siezed upon me, and at the very moment 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... It [the light] no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound.

    • Normal Vision Impared, Darkened (Dilation of pupils, blurry vision, marked decrease in vision)
      • 1839 I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was <siezed> upon by some power which entirely overcame me. Thick darkness gathered around me and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
      • 1840   At first, he was severely tempted by the powers of darkness, which endeavored to overcome him;
      • 1842B At first, he was severely tempted by the powers of darkness, which endeavoured to overcome him.
    • Anxiety and Strange Visuals (Early paranoia and unorganized visual distortions/hallucinations)
      • 1842B The adversary benighted his mind with doubts, and brought to his soul all kinds of improper pictures and tried to hinder him in his efforts and the accomplishment of his goal.
    • Tongue Felt Swollen & Stuck to Roof of Mouth (Anticholinergic drying effect on mouth)
      • 1835 My tongue seemed to be swoolen in my mouth, so that I could not utter
      • 1839 and <had> such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak.
      • 1844 his tongue was closet cleaveh to his roof--could utter not a word,
    • He heard strange sounds (Auditory Hallucinations)
      • 1835  I heard a noise behind me like some one walking towards me: I strove again to pray, but could not; the noise of walking seemed to draw nearer; I sprang upon my feet and looked round, but saw no person, or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking.
    • Withdrawl from Physical Sensations  (As Physical Incapitation Increases, Thinking Switches from External Sensations to Inner Realities)
      • 1842B However, the overflowing mercy of God came to buoy him up, and gave new impulse and momentum to his dwindling strength. Soon the dark clouds disappeared, and light and peace filled his troubled heart.
      • 1840 but he continued to seek for deliverance, until darkness gave way from his mind ... When [the light]first came upon him, it produced a peculiar sensation throughout his whole system; and immediately, his mind was caught away, from the natural objects with which he was surrounded; and he was enwapped in a heavenly vision,
      • 1842A while fervently engaged in supplication my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision
      • 1842B At this sacred moment his mind was caught away from the natural objects with which he was surrounded, and he was enwrapped in a heavenly vision.
    • Brilliant light (Extremely Common with Hallucinogens)
      • 1832 a pillar of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me.
      • 1835 A pillar of fire appeared above my head; which presently rested down upon me, and filled me with unspeakable joy.
      • 1839 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 gracefully gradually untill it fell upon me.
      • 1840 he at length, saw a very bright and glorious light in the heavens above; which, at first, seemed to be a considerable distance. He continued praying, while the light appeared to be gradually descending towards him; and as it drew nearer, it increased in brightness and magnitude, so that, by the time that it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness, for some distance around was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner. He expected to have seen the leaves and boughs of the trees consumed, as soon as the light came in contact with them; but perceiving that it did not produce that effect, he was encouraged with the hope of being able to endure its presence. It continued descending slowly, until it rested upon the earth, and he was enveloped in the midst of it.
      • 1842A surrounded with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon-day.
      • 1843 Directly I saw a light,
      • 1844 -saw a fire toward heaven came near and nearer;
      • 1850 While he was thus engaged, he was surrounded by a brilliant light.
    • Psychodramatic Theophany  (The sought after psychedelic experience)
      • 1832 and I was filled with the spirit of god and the Lord opened the heavens upon me
    • Return of Physical Sensations  (Waning of the hallucinatory experience and gradual return of normal physiological functioning). 
      • 1839 When I came to myself again I found myself lying on <my> back looking up into Heaven...  When the light had departed I had no strength, but soon recovering in some degree,
      • 1840 after which, the vision withdrew,
      • 1842B after which, the vision withdrew,
      • 1843 The vision then vanished, and when I came to myself, I was sprawling on my back ...and it was some time before my strength returned.
      • 1844 I endeavored to arise but felt uncommon feeble--
      • 1850 after which the vision withdrew
    • Afterglow of Hallucinatory Experience (Antidepressant Effect of Psychedelics)
      • 1832 and my Soul was filled with love and for many days I could rejoice with great Joy and the Lord was with me
      • 1840 leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace, indescribable.
      • 1842B leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace indescribable.
      • 1850 leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace.

  99. Why did so many early LDS sacrement meetings result in visionary experiences typically produced by introducing entheogens into the sacremental wine?
  100. Why did Joseph Smith keep a dried Peyote button blossom, which is a hallucinagen plant, as one of his prized possessions?
  101. Why did Joseph Smith give an amulet to Eliza R. Snow that contained a depiction of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom, which produces hallucinations/visions when ingested?
  102. Why are the two of Joseph Smith Senior's and the Vision of the Tree of Life depictions so similar to the changing forms of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom plant?
  103. Masonry
  104. Given the following information, why should I believe that the temple and its covenants are divine?
    • Oliver Cowdery may have been a source, given that his father and brother were Royal Arch initiates; one Palmyra resident remembered Oliver Cowdery as 'no church member and a Mason.'  
    • Some indication of Masonic influence on Joseph's family.
    • A comment by Lucy Mack Smith in her manuscript written in the 1840s, protesting that the family did not abandon all household labor to try 'to win the faculty of Abrac, drawing magic circles, or sooth-saying,' suggests a familiarity with Masonic manuals: the 'faculty of Abrac' was among the supposed Masonic mysteries" (Refiner's Fire, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 157-158).
    • Oliver Cowdery and Lucy Mack Smith later described three or four small pillars holding up the plates. All of these artifacts had Masonic analogues.
    Story of Enoch
    • "Freemasonry provides a point of entry into this very complex story. As it had been in Vermont, Masonic fraternity was a dominant feature of the cultural landscape in Joseph Smith's Ontario County. . . ....helps explain the Masonic symbolism that runs through the story of the discovery of the Golden Plates. Most obviously, the story of their discovery in a stone vault on a hilltop echoed the Enoch myth of Royal Arch Freemasonry, in which the prophet Enoch, instructed by a vision, preserved the Masonic mysteries by carving them on a golden plate that he placed in an arched stone vault marked with pillars, to be rediscovered by Solomon. In the years to come the prophet Enoch would play a central role in Smith's emerging cosmology. (Refiner's Fire, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 157-158).
    • Story of Enoch in Masonry legends 13, 14 &21 levels parallels JS life (finds brass and gold plates)
    • JS referred to himself as Enoch in D&C.
    Relief Society
    • "Another development in the Nauvoo Church, which has not been so obviously considered as Masonically inspired, was the establishment of the Female Relief Society. This organization was the Prophet's intentional attempt to expand Masonry to include the women of the Church. That the Relief Society was organized in the Masonic Lodge room, and only one day after Masonry was given to the men, was not happenstance. . . . included in the actual vocabulary of Joseph Smith's counsel and instructions to the sisters were such words as: ancient orders, examinations, degrees, candidates, secrets, lodges, rules, signs, tokens, order of the priesthood, and keys; all indicating that the  Society's orientation possessed Masonic overtones."  (Reed Durham LDS historian)
    • In 1802, in Webb's *Freemason Monitor* there is a tale about some records, engraved on gold, which were hidden in a cave, or vault, by Enoch. He came back and showed the cave and the records to Solomon. In this vault were pillars, a masonic sword, and a stone of some sort on a breastplate which was for the translation of the record. On top of the pillars were metal balls which helped one find directions, they were a sort of map, and oracles would be inscribed on them from time to time. Oliver Cowdery's father and brother were masons who had been initiated into the Royal Arch, the type of Masonry which used this particular myth. 
    • Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, Vol.19, pp. 39-40 June 17, 1877.) said that "Oliver Cowdery went with the Prophet Joseph when he deposited these plates...the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did.  Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room...They laid the plates on a table. . .under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls.  The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words:  "This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ."
    Major Failures of Joseph Smith
  105. Why are we taught that the following failures of Joseph Smith were all due to the members not being righteous enough?
    • Zion's Camp
      • Joseph and contingent of men went to witness redress in Missouri.
      • Gentiles feared invasion.
      • Display of power caused Mormons to lose support of politicians that they already had.
      • Joseph blamed cholera attacks on wickedness of men in the camp.
    • Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company 
      • Failed in a month.
      • Violated US law.
      • Wasn't foreseen and damaged church greatly.
      • Heber C. Kimball said that during this period, "not 20 would have called him a prophet of God"  (JOD IV p105).
    • United Order
      • Rigdon likely influenced JS to institute it.
      • D&C 82 used weird names to protect  some men when the assets after the UO were redistributed (Gazelam, Shinehah, etc.).
      • United Order was supposed to be an everlasting order until the coming of Christ (D&C 104:1). 
    Kinderhook Plates
  106. Why should I believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet in light of the Kinderhook Plate debacle?
    • Some farmers in Kinderhook devised a hoax in 1843 and made up some copper plates which they claimed contained ancient writings. They planted them in an Indian burial mound and later dug them up again. When Smith saw the plates, he immediately "translated" part of them, which (he claimed in his diary) identified the writings as from "a descendant of Ham".
    • Quote from the Documentary History of the Church: "I insert facsimiles of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters."  "I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found.  He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth."
    • Joseph said the writer was a "descendant of Ham" (pre-Columbian black?)
    • For many years, the church claimed that these plates were authentic ancient writings, in spite of the fact that the farmers later admitted the hoax.  After resorting to more and more implausible and desperate arguments, the church flip-flopped and admitted in the 1981 August Ensign that the plates were a hoax.
    • The problem is that since Smith is revealed as incredulous or deceitful in cases where he can be checked, the BofM translation, where he cannot be checked, is rendered suspicious.
    Character of Joseph Smith
  107. We are taught in church that Joseph Smith was very honest and had great character. Why aren’t we taught his true character?
    • Sent Hiram Page and David Whitmer to Toronto to sell the copyright of the BofM for $.
    • Aspired to power (presidency, top mason, general of the legion without military training, chief justice of municipal court)
    • Destroyed printing press of the Nauvoo Expositor and it cost him his life.
    • Told fantastic stories to family per Lucy Mack Smith before he was 20: "During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined.  He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare and also their religious worship.  This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them"  Lucy Smith: Biographical sketches p. 85 (before 1823).
    • According to Reed Durham JS wore a talisman of the planet Jupiter and was killed while wearing it.
    • Lived in an era of religious revival and new churches.
    • Father of Emma, Isaac Hale thought JS was an impostor.
      • Joseph was a boarder with the Hales while treasure digging for Josiah Stowell.
      • Isaac forbade Emma's marriage to Joseph.  They eloped.
    • Seer stones were used by others he knew.
    • Lived off of the church financially. At a time when Emma was worried about leaving their farm, a revelation in the original Book of Commandments said to her, "Thy husband will support thee from the church".   Changed "from"  to "in", in the D&C.
    • Pride
      • "God is my right-hand man" (DHC 6:78).
      • "I have more to boast of than any man had.  I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a church together since the days of Adam.  A large majority 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."  (HOC Volume 6 pp. 408-409).
      • "God..will make me to be a God to you in his stead, and the Elders to be mouths to me: and if you don't like it, you must lump it"  (HOC 6:319-320).
      • "I have out generalled or whipped out all Bennett's corrupt host." (Teachings of the Prophet J. S., Smith p. 258).
      • "There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  I discover hundreds and thousands of my brethren ready to sacrifice their lives for me" ( twist on Christ's words) (Teachings of the Pr. J. S.,  p. 315).
      • "When I get hold of the Eastern papers, and see how popular I am, I am afraid myself that I shall be elected.. (Teachings of the Prophet J. S., Smith p. 334).
    • Obsession with languages and pride associated with it.
      • "I have now preached a little Latin, a little Hebrew, Greek, and German; and I have fulfilled all. I am not so big a fool as many have taken me to be.  The Germans know that I read the German correctly." ( (JS - JOD 6:10 1844).
      • "I have an old edition of the New Testament in Hebrew, Latin, German and Greek languages.  I have been reading the German, and find it to be the most correct translation"(JS JOD 6:5)..Joseph knew German?
      • According to his diary he "returned home and spent the evening around my fire teaching my family the science of grammar".  (JS Diaries, Faulring p.55).  His original writings exhibit poor grammar.
      • "Spent the day in reading Hebrew at home".  (JS Diaries, Faulring p.68)
      • "I will now turn linguist..." (Teachings of the Prophet J. S., Smith p. 310).
      • Mormon means more (english) good (mon in Egyptian) (Teachings of the Prophet J. S., Smith p. 300).
    Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (Inspired KJV)
  108. Why should I believe that the JST was inspired?
    • Added to Genesis 50:33  "Joseph that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him will be confounded...and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father...for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people salvation"
    • Changed NT to give credibility to the first vision.
    • "No man hath seen God at any time >>except them who believe<<" John 4:12
    • "And no man hath seen God at any time >>except he hath born record of the Son<<" John 1:19
    • BofM Isaiah quotes don't tie to JST Isaiah quotes.
    • Why can't prophets of today finish the work?
    Other Issues
    • "Holy Ghost purges blood of the gentile and makes him the seed of Abraham" (HOC III p380).
    • Why didn't JS know that Esaias means Isaiah in Greek?  (D&C 76:100).
    • Enoch was 430 years old when translated D&C 107:49, Moses 8:1  /  Enoch was 365 years old when translated Teachings of JS p120, Genesis 5:21-23.
    • With Zion's camp they found a skeleton in the top of a burial mound.  Joseph said he was Zelf, warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus.  Curse of dark skin had been removed from him.  HOC II  pp79-80
      • There is an Onandaga tribe of Indians and an  Onandaga County in the Northeast  US near where Joseph lived.
    • God asks others for money through JS.
      • Verna Jaques for money in D&C 90.
      • God demands money of  Martin Harris (D&C 104:26).
      • "{Joseph} said that those who come here having money and purchased without the church and without council must be cut off..." (JS Diaries, Faulring p.304)
    • Jackson county is Adam-Ondi-Ahman
      • Pile of stones found in Missouri were attributed  to Adam's alter.
      • But Moses 3:13  says, " And the name of the second river was called Gihon; the same that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia."
    • Coined the word "telestial".
    • Translated parchment of John (D&C Section 7).
    • God reams out Martin Harris in D&C 19 (Why not directly to MH?, Does it sound like God?).
      • Lost Manuscripts
      • Worried about evil men changing them if he translated them again. Why fear duplication?
    • Uses rings of moon to diagram the signs of the times (JS Diaries, Faulring p.335-336).
    • Said beasts in Revelations were in heaven and came from another planet (JS Diaries, Faulring p.340).
    • Joseph said, " I do not believe that more than 3/4 of our bodies is comprised of animal organization, but is purely vegetable" (JS Diaries, Faulring p.353).
    • "A phrenologist came in and examined Joseph's head and hour". (JS Diaries, Faulring p.420).
      • Phrenology  - determine character, personality traits and criminality on the basis of the shape of the head
    • Why couldn’t Joseph Smith discern between a revelation from God and a revelation from Satan when he looked inside his hat and revealed to Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery that they should go to Toronto and sell the copyright of the BofM? The revelation Joseph received when they returned without the money told him "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil." Moreover, why couldn’t the revelation have come directly from Joseph Himself? That possibility is referenced in the revelation. Wouldn’t Joseph have benefited from the sale? Could Joseph be making up revelations, possibly thinking that they came from God, just justify the things he wanted?
    Book of Abraham
  109. Why should I believe that Joseph Smith could translate ancient records after the obvious hoax that is the Book of Abraham? Would it be better to believe that Joseph Smith was delusional rather than perpetrating an obvious lie?
    • BofA is actually a Common Funeral Text (Book of Breathings)
      • Translations don’t correlate.
      • There was no one in Joseph Smith's time who could refute the "translation" as can be done today. So he was able to take advantage of people's ignorance of Egyptian.
      • Smith charged admission to see the papyrus.
      • Papyrus dated 100 A.D. (2000 years after Abraham)
    • Hieroglyphics
      • Completed partial drawings incorrectly.
      • Picture of priest sacrificing Abraham was really a Jackal at a funeral bier.  Dove should have had the head of a bearded man.
    • Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar
      • Smith prepared an Egyptian Grammar based on this papyrus. Smith's Egyptian Grammar was not published until the 1960's.  It bears no resemblance to actual Egyptian grammar.
      • Characters of fewer than four lines, make up 49 verses of Book of Abraham (2000 words). Portrayed paragraphs of ideas with one character.  Expansive ideas based on one character unknown in human civilization.
    • Inconsistencies
      • God told Moses that Abraham did not know the name Jehovah (see Exodus 6:3 / BA 2:6-8)
      • Appears to be a rework of KJV
  110. Are we supposed to believe that racism in the church is divine and that this is really what God wanted to have taught to his children?
  111. Why were missionaries taught not to baptize people of color on their missions before 1978?
  112. Do you understand why many people will always consider the Mormon Church to be a racist organization due to the comments and actions of previous prophets and apostles?
    • Blacks
      • Brigham Young's Teachings regarding Blacks
        • "Ham will continue to be the servant of servants, as the Lord has decreed, until the curse is removed...Treat, the slaves kindly, and let them live, for Ham must be the servant of servants until the curse is removed." (B. Young -  JOD Volume 10 p.250 Oct. 6, 1863).
        • "You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of intelligence, that is generally bestowed upon mankind...Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings.  This was not to be and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin...And how long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it, until all other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the priesthood and the keys thereof." (B. Young -  JOD Volume 7 p.291 Oct. 9, 1859).
        • "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 so" (BY JOD 10:110 ).
        • When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity." (B. Young -  JOD Volume 2 p.143 Dec 3, 1854).
      • Joseph Smith's Teachings regarding Blacks
        • "But we do not believe in setting the negroes free" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Smith p. 120).
        • "Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization" (Teachings of the Prophet J. S., Smith p. 270).
        • Policy changed through political pressure (like polygamy).
        • "If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom.  He will go there as a servant, but he will get celestial glory"  (Mark E Peterson BYU Convention of Religion Teachers 8/27/1954).
      • Tribe of Ephraim comes through Joseph's Egyption wife.   (Genesis 41:45,50-52).
    • Jews
      • " I would rather undertake to convert five thousand Lamanites, than to convert one of those poor miserable creatures whose fathers killed the Savior, and who say, "Amen to the deed," to this day.  yea, I would rather undertake to convert the devil himself, if it were possible."  (B. Young -  JOD Volume 2 p.143 Dec 3, 1854).
      • "Can you make a Christian of a Jew?  I tell you, nay.  If a Jew comes into this Church, and honestly professes to be a saint, a follower of Christ, and if the blood of Judah is in his veins, he will apostasize...but, I will tell you a secret-there is not a particle of the blood of Judaism in him, if he has become a true Christian; for if there is, he will most assuredly leave the church of Christ, or that blood will be purged from his veins" (B. Young -  JOD Vol. 2 p.142 Dec 12, 1854).
    • American Indians
      • Words in BofM changed from"white and delightsome" to "pure and delightsome".
      • "Gentiles were white, fair and beautiful like my people before they were slain" (1 Nephi 13:15).
      • Improvement Era December 1960 pp.922-923 quotes Spencer Kimball from a general conference: "I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today...they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people...For  years they have been growing white and they were promised...The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation....One white elder jokingly said that he and his companion were donating blood regularly to the hospital in the hope that the process might be accelerated."
  113. Why should I believe that the temple or its ordinances are divine?
    • Masonry
      • Masonic concepts precede Mormon concepts and temple rights including:
      • All Seeing Eye, Anointing with oil, Apron, Beehive, Square and Compass, Earth Symbol, Emblem of the clasped hands, Solemn Assembly in the Temple, Five points of Fellowship, Special Garments applied to initiates, Garment Markings, Special handshakes, The phrase: "Holiness to the Lord", Moon symbol, New Name given, Special Prayer circle, Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, Blood/death  oaths  of  secrecy with morbid  gestures  and  words describing penalties agreed to if secrets are revealed, Location (possession of) Throne of the "Holy of Holies", Star symbols, Sun symbols, Tabernacles, Temples.                               
      • Joseph Smith received the first three degrees of Masonry on March 15th and 16th of 1842. Less than two months later (May 4, 1842) he gave the endowment ceremonies.
      • History of the Church, volume 4, page 551. Under the date of March 15, 1842 it reads: "In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office." The record for the next day reads, "I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree" (page 552).
      • Priesthoods, temples, anointing with oil, issuing of licenses, things Egyptian, grips, secret names and handshakes, divine nature of man are all masonry concepts that came into strong play after Joseph became a Mason.
      • Aprons and powers. 
      • Masonry was strong in Nauvoo.
      • Strange symbols on the outside (Nauvoo and SLC)
      • Upside down pentagrams, moons, masonic symbols, astrology.
      • "Because of their Masonic characters the ceremonies of the temple are sacred and not for the public. But there is nothing disloyal in them, as so often asserted, nor in their performance is there the slightest departure from the principles of decorum and propriety. " (Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Jund, John Henry Smith.  October 15, 1911  First printed in Deseret News November 4, 1911.  _In Messages of the First Presidency _. 4:250).     
    • Changes
      • 1930 ceremony included oath to avenge blood of Hyrum and Joseph against the US.
      • Sexism toned down in 1990.
      • Violent penalties removed in 1990.
    • Only Worthy can participate
      • Pay money to participate in rights.
      • When Christ died the veil of the temple was rent, symbolizing that all now have access to God.
      • Animals were even allowed in temples of old.
      • Aren't we all unworthy? Don't sinners need the temple rites? No one is worthy before God.
      • Annual interviews maintain control over the members, need a license to get in.
      • Family members without recommends can't witness weddings?
      • See Luke 18:3 (Pharisee and Publican went to temple to pray) Pharisee said "God, I thank thee that I am not like other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even as the publicans, I fast twice in the week.  I give tithes of all I posess.:  Publican said "God be merciful to me a sinner".
      • Class society is fostered in the church.
    • No evidence of endowment practiced by early Christians.
      • Where are secret rites mentioned in NT?
      • Christ nor Paul mention this as key to salvation.
      • Will God ask for secret signs and tokens of us in order to enter heaven?
    • Other
      • Satan plays prominent role in ceremony.  He browbeats Mormons, "If not living up to every covenant in his power...".
      • Low use of by Mormons. By the church's own estimates only 15% attend regularly.
      • "When the temple (Nauvoo) is completed, no man shall pass the threshold till he has paid $5.00 and every stranger shall pay $5.00.  I will not have the house dirted" (JS Diaries, Faulring p.451)
  114. Why does the church claim to be all about families when it restricts loved ones from participating in weddings of family members?
  115. Why has the endowment been changed multiple times?
  116. Why does the church change its ceremonies in order to make its members more comfortable with them?
    • Changes to washings and anointing.
    • Removal of death oaths.
  117. Why are the days of creation different than those recorded in the Book of Moses and Genesis?
    • The third and fourth days are backwards in the endowment ceremony.

  118. In the Mormon scripture Book of Moses 3:15-25 it says that God commanded the man (Adam) not to eat from the tree of good and evil. God didn't command the woman, because she had not been created yet. Why is the endowment film different than the Mormon scriptural account?
  119. How did Peter, James and John get bodies before they were born?
    • Peter shakes Adam's hand, so we know they weren't spirits. According to Joseph Smith's handshake test for discerning evil spirits from good spirits, Peter should have refused to shake Adam's hand (unless he had been resurrected).
  120. How could Jesus be on the right hand of God, in physical form looking like his identical twin, when Jesus had not been born or resurrected yet?
    • Jesus says in the Bible and Book of Mormon that he wasn't perfected until AFTER the atonement.
  121. How does Lucifer pick the apple off the tree and gives it to Eve when Lucifer doesn't have a body?
  122. The Book of Abraham as well as the modern prophets have taught us that the earth was created around the star Kolob. It orbited God's solar system until AFTER the fall, when it was hurled through space and placed in this solar system. This scriptural doctrine contradicts the endowment, where we see the creation of the moon and it mentions our sun and the other planets too. If the Kolob doctrine is true, why is this not included in the endowment?
  123. Why go through the creation story if it is not true and contradicts Mormon doctrine and the Book of Abraham?
  124. Where do you find a clear description of these "laws' mentioned in the temple?
    • Law of Obedience
    • Law of Sacrifice
    • Law of Elohim
    • Law of the Lord
    • Law of the Gospel
    • Law of Chastity
    • Law of Consecration

  125. Some of those laws that temple patrons covenant to obey are never mentioned or explained outside the temple. If they are literal laws of God that must be obeyed, why are they not all clearly identified and expounded upon in church discourse?
  126. Adam raises his arms in the "true order of prayer" and Satan answers his prayer. Does this mean Satan can answer even prayers given in the "true order" ordained by God? What prayer is safe from not being intercepted by Satan?
  127. How could Peter, James and John be involved in the whole thing when they had not been born yet, hadn't been baptized and had not been through the temple? They weren't wearing garments themselves, so how could they be worthy to participate in the endowment events?
  128. What is the purpose of learning the "true order of prayer" if it can never be practiced outside of the temple ceremony?
  129. Several leaders have stated how sacred the temple garments are and how their design should never be changed... why, then, has the design been changed several times?
  130. What is the purpose of the new name in the temple if everyone is given the same name based on the day they originally went through?
  131. Why must we have a new/different name in heaven?
  132. Shouldn’t God know who we are without secret handshakes and secret names?
  133. Wouldn’t God know if someone was to know the new-name and handshakes when they went to the veil?
  134. Death Oaths
  135. If God wants the death oaths in the ceremony, why does it matter what the members think?
  136. Can you understand why the death oaths and much of endowment make sense when you realize that these started at about the same time that Joseph Smith began polygamy?
  137. Prophets
  138. Why should I believe that all general authorities and presidents of the church are prophetic (prophets, seers, revelators)?
    • Hoffman documents
      • Widespread deception of the General Authorities. Photo of Mark Hoffman standing next to President Kimball with forged document. Hinkley and Pinnock were heavily opposed.
      • How does the church justify its dealings with Mark Hoffman?   The SLC prosecuting attorney brought about the virtual acquittal through plea bargaining of the most serious of Hoffman's charges, and in the process, sent Hoffman to prison with the possibility of parole, rather than to death row. The case against Hoffman was solid.   As a practicing Mormon, the prosecuting attorney was much less motivated to take the case to trial.  By putting Hoffman on the stand in a court trial,  Mormonism would suffer if the whole story broke about how the Lord's inspired "Prophet in Training", Gordon Hinkley was duped in his numerous meetings with Hoffman into sponsoring the Church's purchase of forged documents—all out of a desire to secret these 'non-faith-promoting' documents away . It seems that before Hoffman started planting his bombs in SLC, just a few moments alone with the Lord would have told Hinkley that these funds which contributed to Hoffman's sense of invincibility, could have best been spent elsewhere (Haiti, Guatemala).   This case exhibits deception, lack of inspiration and hostility to history and truth on the part of the LDS church.
      • Lack of revelation
      • Purchase and hiding of controversial documents.
      • Ultimately cost two church members their lives.
    • Revelation
      • "I have never pretended nor do I profess to have received revelations.  I never said I had a revelation except so far as God has shown to me that so-called Mormonism is God's divine truth; that is all...Well, I can say this: That if I live as I should in the line of my duties, I am susceptible, I think, of the impressions of the spirit of the Lord upon my mind at any time, just as any good Methodist or any other good church member might be.  And so far as that is concerned, I say yes; I have had impressions of the spirit upon my mind very frequently, but they are not revelations." (President Joseph F. Smith before Congress - Reed Smoot Hearings Vol.1, p.483 1904).
      • Why do today's prophets not produce revelations?
      • Joseph said,  "A prophet is not always a prophet, only when acting as such" . (JS Diaries, Faulring p.299).
    • Men called of God by prophecy
      • Stake Presidents (booze, women, fraud).
      • Follow counsel of leaders? Paul Dunn? George P. Lee? 
    • Selection process of prophet was confused after JS died
      • Current process yields senile men who do not lead the church.
      • Some evidence that JS lineage was supposed to lead the church.
    • Failed Prophecies
      • "In the days of Joseph it was considered a great privilege to be permitted to speak to a member of congress, but twenty-six years will not pass way before the Elders of this Church will be as much thought of as the kings on their thrones." (B. Young -  JOD Volume 4 p.40 Aug. 31, 1856).  In 1882 the Edmunds act was passed that banned polygamy.
      • "...go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the lord which was nigh-even fifty-six years should wind up the scene." (Joseph Smith - HOC Vol.2 p.182 Feb 14, 1835).
      • "...I prophesy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the state of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much of a potsherd left..." (Joseph Smith - HOC Vol.5 p.394 May 18, 1843).
      • "Verily, thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in the company with others..." (D&C 114:1-2) (Patten was killed before he could go).
      • Commanded to work on temple in Far West until it was completed (D&C 115:7-12).
      • Civil war prophecy came when war appeared to be imminent and was buried until it happened 28 years later.  BY ordered publication at that time.  War did not pour out to all nations.
      • "This generation will not pass" until a temple of the Lord is built in Jackson County (D&C 85:1-4).  "Enemies" prevented it  (D&C 124:49-51).
      • Joseph sent men to seek treasure in Salem, Mass. " and silver of city would be theirs" D&C 111.
    Brigham Young
  139. If Brigham Young is a true prophet, why don’t we learn about Blood Atonement, that Adam was God and other doctrines?
  140. Shouldn’t the teachings of one prophet be compatible with others?
  141. Brigham Young clearly believed and taught that Adam was indeed God the Father. He told people he had revelation on the subject. Why do Mormon Apologists deny this?
  142. How can one believe the famous saying, “The prophet will never lead you astray” after Brigham Young led people astray?
  143. Why don't current members understand the Adam/God theory so that they can explain it properly to anyone who asks about it?
  144. Is the church afraid to do so are unable to explain it away properly?
  145. Bruce R. McConkie claimed that Brigham Young’s views about the Adam/God theory were “out of harmony with the gospel,” He also bluntly stated, “…anyone who received the temple endowments and who yet believe the Adam/God theory does not deserve to be saved.” (BYU devotional 6/1/1980). Does the church believe certain types of people shouldn't be saved?
  146. If anyone who received the temple endowments and still believed the Adam/God theory didn’t deserve to be saved, where does that leave Brigham Young?
  147. Since the church has officially distanced itself from the comments about the Adam/God theory, how do you know what will be true doctrine and what will not?
    • Blood Atonement
      • Christ's blood can't atone for the murder / Murderer atones with his own blood
      • Paul, Moses or David all murdered others.  Moses appeared on the mount of transfiguration
      • "This is loving our neighbor as ourselves:  if he needs help, help him: and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it"  (BY JOD 4:219,220).
      • "I believe that there are a great many: and if they are covenant breakers, we need a place designated, where we can shed their blood"  (Pres. JM Grant  JOD 4:49-51).
      • "Any man or woman who violates the covenants with God will be required to pay that debt.  the blood of Christ will never wipe that out. Your own blood must atone for it". BY JOD 3:247
      • "It is believed in the world that our females are all common women...but they are not unclean, for we wipe unclean ones from our midst.  We not only wipe them from our streets, but we wipe them out of existence"  Heber C. Kimball  JOD 6:34-35  (What about Christ and sinners).
      • "Mayor (Joseph) said he was opposed to hanging.  If a man kill another shoot him or cut his throat spilling his blood on the ground and let the smoke therof ascend up to God" (JS Diaries, Faulring p.326).
      Nature of God
    • Adam is God the Father
      • "And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family...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"  (BY JOD 1:50-51).
      • "He (Adam) said, I want my children who are in the spirit world to come and live here.  I once dwelt upon an earth something like this in a mortal state. I was faithful, I received my crown and exaltation...I want my children that were born to me in the spirit world to come here and take tabernacles of flesh."  (BY Deseret News 6/18/1873) .
      • "When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him...He is our Father, and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do." (B. Young -  JOD Volume 1 p. 50 April 9, 1852).
      • "Some have grumbled because I believe our God to be so near to us as Father Adam.  There are many who know that doctrine to be true." (B. Young -  JOD Volume 5 p. 331 1857).
      • "How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, , and which God revealed to me-namely that Adam is our father and God...Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or who ever will come upon the earth."  (B. Young - Deseret News June 18, 1873).
      • "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 is the Father?  He is the first of the human family; and when he took his tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven...What a learned idea! 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."  (B. Young -  JOD Volume 1 pp. 50-51 April 9, 1852).
      • Later denied by Mormon leaders: "We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations.  Such as the instance of the Adam-god theory...We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine." (Spencer W. Kimball - Church News Oct. 9, 1976).
      • You can be excommunicated for teaching what Brigham taught.
      • Bruce R. McConkie claimed that Brigham Young’s views about the Adam/God theory were “out of harmony with the gospel,” He also bluntly stated, “…anyone who received the temple endowments and who yet believe the Adam/God theory does not deserve to be saved.” (BYU devotional 6/1/1980). Does the church believe certain types of people shouldn't be saved?
        • If anyone who received the temple endowments and still believed the Adam/God theory didn’t deserve to be saved, where does that leave Brigham Young?
    • Men will become gods.
      • "Some have said that I was very presumptuous to say this.  Brother Brigham was my god and savior, Bro. Joseph was his god and the one that gave him the keys of the kingdom was his god which was Peter.  Jesus Christ was his god and the father of Jesus was Adam"  (Wilford Woodruff Journal April 10, 1852).
      • "...Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any." (Isa. 44:10)
      • "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." (Isaiah 43:10)
    • God had sex with Mary / Why does the Bible call her a virgin?
      • "The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband"  (B. Young -  JOD Volume 11 p.268 1866).
      • "The birth of the Savior 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 fathers."  (B. Young -  JOD 8:115 1860).
      • "Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers." (Bruce R. McConkie - Mormon Doctrine pp546-547  1966).
    • God's Omnipotence.
      • "God is increasing in knowledge, power and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end." (W. Woodruff - JOD Vol.6, p.120 1857).
      • "There are others...who postulate that God does not know all things but is progressing in truth and knowledge and will do so everlastingly.  These, unless they repent, will live and die weak in the faith and will fall short of inheriting what might have been theirs in eternity." (BR McConkie - Church News Mar. 20, 1982 p.5).
      • Some early leaders taught that Christ was married and had children.
    • View of Trinity Changed.
      • "Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth."   (Alma 11:38-39). 
      • "And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son -- The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son -- And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth" (see also Mormon 9:11-12; Mosiah 16:15; Helaman 14:12; 16:18). Mosiah 15:1-4.
      • Christ  is the Eternal Father (Mosiah 16:25) / Jesus is the Father and the Son (Mormon 9 :11-12) / Christ said "pray to the Father" in 3 Nephi 18:19, in 19:18-30, they prayed to Jesus / Ether 3:14 "I am the Father and the Son"
      • "We shall in this lecture speak of the godhead: we mean the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things...They are the Father and the Son; The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fullness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man...possessing the same mind with the father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things..." (JS 1835 D&C Lectures of Faith p.52 1835).
      • "Q.  How many personages are there in the Godhead? A. Two: The Father and the Son...Q. What is the Father? A. He is a personage of glory and power...Q. Why was he (Christ) called the Son? A. Because of the flesh...Q. Do the Father and the Son possess the same mind?  A. They do...Q. What is the mind? A. The Holy Spirit...Q. Do the Father, Son and Holy Spirit constitute the Godhead? A. They do." (JS 1835 D&C Lectures of Faith pp.55-58  1835).
      • The BofM was changed later to accommodate the later interpretation of the Trinity.
      • "the son" added to 1 Nephi 11:19,21,32 and 13:40.
      • "The virgin which thou seest is the Mother of God" ("son of "added) (1 Nephi 11:18).
      • "the lamb of God is the Eternal Father and Savior of the world" (son of added) (1 Nephi 13:40).
      • Is it coincidental that Joseph's early teaching of Trinity matches the BofM.   Joseph's view of God changed later.
      • The first account of the first vision only mentions the Lord, later accounts separate the Father and the Son.
    • Is a body required for Godhood?
      • Was Christ a God without a body when he created the earth?
      • Holy Ghost is a god without a body.  A body is needed for exaltation.
      • Role of Holy Ghost is unclear.  Who is he/it?
    • McConkie warned against personal relationship with Christ.
    • Jehovah vs. Elohim.
      • Old Testament text treats Jehovah and Elohim as the same.
    • Joseph said, "...thou eternal, omnipotent, omnicient, and omnipresent Jehovah God, thou Elohim...look down upon thy servant Joseph, at this time, and let faith on the name of thy son Jesus poured upon him" (JS Diaries, Faulring p.251).
    • Salvation
    • Must accept Joseph as a prophet to be saved.
      • "All those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet, at the same time trying to live the holy principles Joseph the Prophet has revealed, are in the possession of the Holy Spirit of God and are entitled to a fullness" (B. Young - JOD Vol.9, p.312 1862). corruption of Romans 10:9 Jesus Christ replaced by Joseph Smith.
    • BR McConkie in MD pp136-138  "...the only church which has the power to save.".
    • BY  taught that Joseph will judge each one of us.
    • "Unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return..."  D&C 82:7. Repentance is never final.
    • Over emphasis on Word of Wisdom and the law / works.
    • Live under constant condemnation (no member can meet criteria of perfection, what is the goal?  How is salvation obtained?  Grace after all we can do?
    • "The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead." (JS - JOD 6:7 1844).
    • "Knowledge saves a man;  and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge." (JS - JOD 6:8 1844).
  148. If an angel of God commanded Joseph Smith to practice polygamy, why was it necessary for him to keep it secret from his own wife?
  149. How could a “Prophet of God” deceive his own wife?
  150. Isn’t lying to your wife breaking a commandment?
  151. Why would Joseph Smith practice polygamy even though the 12th article of faith clearly states: We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Even though polygamy was never legal?
  152. If the current prophet were to receive revelation that polygamy was again necessary, would you or male family members take on other wives?
  153. Why were 33 of the know women sealed to Joseph Smith in the temple already married to living men?
  154. Why would a “Prophet of God” think it to be a good idea to take on two wives (Helen Mar Kimball and Nancy Winchester) when they were only 14 years old at the time?
  155. Why do church members think that polygamy was needed to take care of widows when Joseph married so many women who were already married?
  156. Why doesn't the church explain the situation properly to its members so that they know what the real reasons for polygamy were?
  157. Do you know it was uncommon for 14 year olds to be married, even in that time period? Why does the church explain that it was common?
  158. Why did the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1835) include a section denying the practice of polygamy?
  159. Why would it be necessary to lie about polygamy being practiced by Mormons if it was truly needed to reach the celestial kingdom?
  160. Why would God command people to break the law and then ask them to lie about it?
  161. If polygamy was truly essential to reach the celestial kingdom, why was the practice stopped?
  162. Why did the church lie about practicing polygamy to the United States?
  163. Why did it take two manifestos from the church to stop polygamy?
  164. Why did church officials continue to enter into polygamist marriages after both manifestos?
  165. Why did Joseph Smith use threats in order to get the women/families to comply to polygamy?
    • Joseph's History.
      • 1841:  Apr. 05 - Sealed to Louisa Beamon / Oct. 27 - Sealed to Zina D. (Huntington) Jacobs
      • 1842:  Jan  Proposes to Nancy Rigdon / Feb - Sealed to Mary Elizabeth (Rollins) Lightner /  Mar 09  - Sealed to Patty Sessions / Apr. - Sealed to Marinda Nancy (Johnson) Hyde / May 04 - Introduces temple endowment / Summer - Sealed to Martha McBride / Jun. 29 - Sealed to Eliza R. Snow / Jul 27 - Sarah Ann Whitney.
      • 1843:  Feb  - Sealed to Ruth (Vose) Sayers / Mar 04 - Sealed to Emily Partridge / Mar 08 - Sealed to Eliza Partridge / May - Sealed to Helen Mar Kimball / May 01 - Sealed to Lucy Walker / May 28 - Sealed to Emma (his first wife) / Jun. 01 - Sealed to Elvira (Cowles) Holmes / June 12 - Sealed to Rhoda Richards / Jul  - Sealed to Desmodema Fullmer / Jul 12 - Dictates revelation on celestial marriage / Sep 20 - Sealed to Melissa Lott / Nov 02 - Sealed to Fanny (Young) Murray.
    • Joseph's Conduct.
      • The book "Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith" documents that Emma was a personal witness to Joseph's infidelity with 19-year-old Fanny Alger during their years in Kirtland, Ohio.
      • Sought Heber C. Kimball's 15-year old daughter as wife.
      • Sought Newell Whitney's daughter as a wife.
      • Eliza R. Snow without Emma's knowledge.
      • Orson Pratt left the church after Joseph tried to seduce his wife. Later rejoined.
      • Conflict with Sidney Rigdon because Joseph sought his daughter, Nancy as a plural wife.  JS denied it until Sidney produced a letter written in JS's own hand.
      • Emma told that she would be destroyed (D&C 132) if she did not abide it - JS was destroyed less than a year later.
    • Ended due to political pressure (not God's will).
    • Highest level of celestial kingdom was for polygamists.
    • Church denials of Polygamy while practicing it.
    • JS publicly exposed Hiram Brown and excommunicated him for teaching polygamy in 1844 while JS was practicing it. (J. Smith Times & Seasons Vol. 5 p.423  Feb. 1, 1844).
    • "Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again." (1835 D&C, Sec. C1 p.251). (Early teaching agrees with BofM).
    • "...We believe, that one man should have one wife;....Dr.J.C. Bennett's "secret wife system" is a matter of his own manufacture;" (J. Smith - Times and Seasons Vol.3 p.939 1842).
    • Necessary for Salvation
      • "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy."  (B. Young -  JOD Volume 11 p.269 Aug. 19, 1866).
    • Changed due to political pressure.
      • "Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy? If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted."  (B. Young -  JOD Volume 11 p.269 Aug. 19, 1866).
    • Christ taught none are married in Heaven.
      • Contradiction:  Jacob 2:24 "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord"   D&C 132:39 "David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant...and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife"
    Bible and BofM
  166. If the Bible is true scripture as well, why doesn’t the church focus more on it and its teachings? I know it’s a big book, but it’s basically only taught in pieces.
    • Teachings only accepted in context of Mormon belief (If Bible contradicts Mormonism it is blamed on translation) - Churches position can only be valid if the NT is discredited.
    • Bible history not adequately taught in Sunday School.
    • Only used to prove Mormon points with "out-of-context" verses.
    • Bible lessons are superficial / In general, members are ignorant of the Bible.
    • Bible does not describe Mormon church and doctrines.
    • Old Testament ties to dead sea scrolls (Mormonism still not described).
    • Bible is corrupted by man according to LDS, yet BofM quotes it freely.
    Antagonism towards other Churches
  167. Why isn’t the idea that all other churches are completely false taught more?
  168. Why isn’t it part of the missionary discussions?
  169. Isn’t being truthful more important than putting spin on things?
    • Bruce R. McConkie Millenial Messiah pp54-55  "What is the church of the devil in our day? is communism: It is Islam: It is Buddhism: It is modern Christianity in all its parts.  It is Germany under Hitler, Russia under Stalin, and Italy under Mussolini".
    • 1 Nephi 14:10 "... behold there are save two churches only.  The one is the church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil....".
    • BY JOD 11:271  said all but Mormons will be damned.
    • Orson Pratt "The Seer" p 255  "...any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance from the ministers of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them.."
    Word of Wisdom
  170. Why didn’t Joseph Smith and other church leaders adhere to the WofW?
  171. Why doesn’t the church teach the facts about Joseph Smith and his failure to follow the WofW?
  172. Again, isn’t the truth more important than lying to save face?
  173. Originally, the Word of Wisdom asked members not to have alcohol, tobacco, hot drinks, the use of wine only with communion, and meat only in the winter. How did that evolve into the no coffee/tea/alcohol/tobacco Word of Wisdom we have today?
  174. If the word of Wisdom is so important, why did Joseph Smith have alcohol with him in Carthage Jail? It was not intended for communion. (History of the Church, vol. 7 p. 101)
  175. If the word of wisdom was intended to teach Mormons not to have hot drinks, why is drinking hot chocolate allowed but not coffee?
  176. Why was the WofW added to the temple recommend interview questions at the same time that the United States was cracking down on alcohol (prohibition)?
  177. If the WofW was really that important, wouldn’t it make sense to include those questions in the temple recommend interview questions at the time of the opening of the first temple?
    • As early as February 1834 we have this statement by JS:  "No official member in this Church is worthy to hold an office after having the word of wisdom properly taught him; and he, the official member, neglecting to comply with and obey it. The High Council of the Church then voted unanimously to accept this decision" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 117).
    • "...are you letting a cup of tea or a little tobacco stand in the road and bar you from the celestial kingdom of God"  (JFS  Doctrines of Salvation 2:16).
    • "Should I not take my tea and coffee...and every other good thing....." (BY JOD 5 p.98.).
    • Did Jesus drink wine or grape juice?  Why was he accused of being a "wine bibber"?
    • "Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine.  It has been reported that this was taken as sacrament.  It was no such thing; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent for to revive us...I believe we all drank of the wine, and gave some to one or two of the prison guards..." (John Taylor  HOC Vol.7 p.101 1844).
    • Bar in Mansion House.(JS Diaries, Faulring p.489).
    • Used wine in sacrament (JS Diaries, Faulring p.130) in 1835.
    • Was the WoW a product of its times (temperance movement)?
    • Excommunication of David Whitmer on April 13, 1838, the first charge against him being "for not observing the words of wisdom" (p. 174 Diary of JS). This was also the charge brought against Elder Almon W. Babbitt on August19, 1835, as recorded in History of the Church, Vol. II, p. 252.
      • Elder Babbitt admitted to the offense and said, "that he had taken the liberty to break the Word of Wisdom, from the example of President Joseph Smith, Jun., and others. . ." 
    • Joseph's Diary:
      • On January 20, 1843 the diary records, "Elder Hyde told of the excellent white wine he drank in the east [Palestine]. Joseph prophesied in the name of  the Lord that he would drink wine with him in that country." 
      • Another reference is under March 11, 1843. It reads,  "Joseph said he had tea with his breakfast. His wife asked him if [it] was good. He said if it was a little stronger he should like it better, when Mother Granger remarked, "it is so strong and good I should think it would answer Both for drink and food" (p. 332).
      • Friday, May 31, 1844 -- "called to see Sister Richards who was very sick. Laid on hands. Directed some Raspberry tea and she was better." (p. 486).  In History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 424, this entry now reads,  "called to see Sister Richards, who was sick. I administered to her laying on of hands, when she felt better."  "The raspberry tea" has disappeared.
      • Saturday, June 1, 1844 -- "Drank a glass of beer at Moissers" (p. 486)
      • All the above references to breaking the Word of Wisdom were edited out by Church leaders when they printed Joseph Smith's History of the Church (7 Vols.). 
      • "Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine. It has been reported that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent to revive us." (History of the Church, vol. 7, p. 101)
  178. By what authority did Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery baptize each other?
    • Unbaptized JS baptized Oliver Cowdery and then OC baptized JS / Aaronic priesthood came after.
    • Not Biblically supported
    • No laying on of hands for ordination known in NT.
    • Only Christ and Melchizedek held the highest priesthood until Mormons.
    • Melchizedek Priest is not a High Priest (Hebrews 7:21).
    • Priests of Aaron conducted many sacrifices-Christ was the supreme sacrifice-no more need of humanly priests. (Levitical priesthood administered the law).
    • No priesthood needed after Christ (see Hebrew 7:11-14).  Only one High Priest at a time, Christ is still living.
    • In Bible, deacons are married men (1 Timothy 3:12). In early LDS church as well.
    • No Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood mentioned in BofM.
  179. Why can’t women hold the priesthood?
    • On April 28, 1842 Joseph showed the women of the newly formed "Female Relief Society" how they would "come in possession of the privileges, blessings and gifts of the Priesthood" (p. 244). Apparently this did take place, for on Saturday, October 7,1843 "Hiram and his wife were blessed, ordained, and anointed [to the fulness of the priesthood]" (p.418). Later, on Sunday October 23, "William Marks and wife anointed [to fulness of the priesthood and quorum of the anointed] 24 present" (p. 423).  (Diaries of Joseph Smith, Signature Books).
    • Women can't even hold non-priesthood  jobs such as Sunday School presidents or clerks .
    • Women were once allowed to administer by laying on of hands. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Smith p. 225,226,229).
  180. What happened to the Assistant President of the High and Holy Priesthood position in the church?
    • Oliver was "ordained an Assistant President of the High and Holy Priesthood" on 12/5/1834 (JS Diaries, Faulring p.31).
      • Calling no longer exists. Why not called Melchizedek priesthood?
  181. Why was Joseph ordained a King and Priest if that’s not supposed to be done on earth?
    • Joseph was ordained to "highest and holiest order " of the priesthood (king and priest) (JS Diaries, Faulring p.416)
    • Told in temple that this can only be attained after death.
    Other teachings
  182. In light of many of the weird and outlandish teachings of prophets, seers and revelators in the church, why should we believe what they say?
    • "What is the name of angels in the pure language?  Anglo-man" Orson Pratt JOD 2:342.
    • Gift of tongues was common in early church and then disappeared.
    • Church rejects symbol of cross, yet uses other symbols such as Moroni, moons, suns on the temples.
    • By disobeying God, Adam and Eve fulfilled God's plan.  Was Satan doing good by tempting them?
    • "..sun is inhabited" (B.Young JOD 13:271).
    • "Well, these evil spirits are ready to prompt you.  Do they prompt us?  Yes, and I could put my hands on a dozen of them while I have been on this stand; They are here on this stand.  Could we do without the devils?  No, we could not get along without them.  They are here and they suggest this, that and the other"  (B.Young JOD 3:369).
    • "But as the child dies, so shall it rise from the dead, and be for ever living in the learning of God.  It will never grow; it will still be the child, in the same precise form as it appeared before it died...but possessing all the intelligence of a God...Eternity is full of thrones, upon which dwell thousands of children, reigning on thrones of glory, with not one cubit added to their stature." ( JS - JOD 6:10 1844).
    • "Do you think it (the moon) is inhabited? I rather think it is.  Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain.  It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets." (B. Young - JOD 13:271).
    Current Environment
  183. Why is there so much hostility in the church to those you are earnestly seeking answers to questions they have about the church and its history?
  184. Wouldn’t it be better for the church to explain things properly instead of using scare tactics to keep people from reading information that may contradict what the church currently teaches?
  185. Why does the church profess to its members that they should learn as much as they can and then tell them not to worry about the history of the church?
  186. Why is it that leaders in the early church were adamant about having the members examine what they are told and find out for themselves if it’s true, yet currently we are told that we should not?
    • Hostility to truth and history / Free thought of its members
      • Free thought and questioning are discouraged. Obedience overemphasized.
      • "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture."  (Brigham Young JOD 13:95).
      • Excommunications of liberals.
      • September 6
      • "..But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it.  None of your business whether it is right or wrong.." (Heber C Kimball JOD 6:32).
      • "Follow the prophet..when the prophet speaks, the debate is over" NL Tanner Ensign August 1978 pp 2-3.
      • "Why not leave hidden the things that the Lord has hidden.  If He wants the geography of the Book of Mormon, revealed, He will do so through His prophet, and not through His prophet, and not through some writer who wishes to enlighten the world despite his utter lack of inspiration on the point." (Editorial Church News, Jul. 29, 1979).
      • "He (Satan) wins a great victory when he can get members of the church to speak against their leaders and to "do their own thinking."...When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done.  When they propose a plan-it is God's plan.  When they point the way, there is no other which is safe.  When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy.  God works in no other way." (Ward Teachers Message - Deseret News Church Section, p.5  May 26, 1945).
      • Archives hidden away from its members.
    • Boyd K. Packer  - This page has quotes taken from  Boyd K. Packer's talk  "Do not spread disease germs!" (BYU Studies, Summer 1981, pp. 259, 262-271).
      • "I have come to believe that it is the tendency for many members of the Church who spend a great deal of time in academic research to begin to judge the Church, its doctrine, organization, and leadership, present and past, by the principles of their own profession.... In my mind it ought to be the other way around...."
      • "Your objective should be that they will see the hand of the Lord in every hour and every moment of the Church from its beginning till now....there is no such thing as an accurate or objective history of the Church which ignores the Spirit.... Church history can be so interesting and so inspiring as to be a very powerful tool indeed for building faith. If not properly written or properly taught, it may be a faith destroyer..."
      • "Some things that are true are not very useful."
      • "Teaching some things that are true, prematurely or at the wrong time, can invite sorrow and heartbreak instead of the joy intended to accompany learning.... The Lord made it very clear that some things are to be taught selectively and some things are to be given only to those who are worthy."
      • "In an effort to be objective, impartial, and scholarly, a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary....There is much in the scriptures and in our Church literature to convince us that we are at war with the adversary. We are not obliged as a church, nor are we as members obliged, to accommodate the enemy in this battle."
      • "The final caution concerns the idea that so long as something is already in print, so long as it is available from another source, there is nothing out of order in using it in writing or speaking or teaching." "Surely you can see the fallacy in that...." "You do not well to see that it is disseminated. It may be read by those not mature enough for 'advanced history,' and a testimony in seedling stage may be crushed."
      • "...We are entrusting you to represent the Lord and the First Presidency to your students, not the views of the detractors of the Church." 
    • "We are not afraid of light and truth.  Our religion embraces every truth in heaven, earth or hell; it embraces all truth." (W. Woodruff - JOD Vol.18, p.117 1875).  This is lip service in light of today's leaders teachings.
    Testimony Bearing
  187. Why are we taught to share a testimony even if we don’t have one?
  188. Isn’t bearing a non-testimony, lying?
    • Groupthink.  Children parrot their parents in testimony meetings.  Kids learn how to do a testimony.
      • Testimony meetings have expected, prescribed, acceptable behaviors.  Psychologically, they're powerful.
  189. Why don’t missionaries get proper education regarding the history of the church?
  190. If there are good answers for the questions that many non-members have regarding the difficult aspects of church history, wouldn’t the church be better off addressing those concerns directly rather than relying on ignorant missionaries to skirt around the issues?
    • Missionaries don't teach controversial doctrines until after baptism.
    Church News
  191. Why does the church try to make presidents look like they are OK when they are pretty much useless?
    • Church news is propaganda not news.  Uses deception. Photo op's and church press try to create image of healthy leader at the helm.  Other GAs led members to believe that Ezra Taft Benson was running the church when he was incapacitated.
    • The Ensign printed a "collage" of  Spencer Kimball's previous talks in the '80s to make it appear as if he were well and functioning as the Prophet of God during the last years of his life.
  192. Why does the church feel it is acceptable to Christ's teachings to spend $2B on a mall, when so many of its own members are unable to feed their families?
  193. Why does the Church spend so much money on it’s businesses instead of donating that money to people who need it to survive?
  194. Are we really supposed to believe that the church is charitable based on the following information?
      • Countries receiving humanitarian aid – 163
      • Humanitarian Cash Donations Since 1985 to 2007 – 259.8 million
      • Humanitarian material assistance since 1985 – 750.9 million
      • Total Humanitarian aid between 1985 to 2007 - $1,010,700,000
      • 1 billion given in money and material since 1985 (22 years).
    • Aid given per year - $4,545,454
      • The LDS church brings in around $5.2 Billion in tithing each year.
      • The church gives less than 1% of the tithing it receives to humanitarian aid.
    • Charitable donations of prominent businesses
      • Target – “5% of our income goes to support education, social services, and the arts – which adds up to $3 million a week.” (That is $156 million a year, over 3 times what the church gives annually.)
      • Nike – “In fiscal years 2005 and 2006, Nike contributed more than $100 million in cash and products to nonprofit partners around the world.”
      • Wells Fargo – “In 2005, Wells Fargo contributed a record $95.2 million to over 15,000 non-profits nationwide. We thank our team members, who give hundreds of thousands of hours as volunteers, working to improve the well-being and economic self-sufficiency of our communities.”
    • Welfare program is usually for members only.
    • Missionary focus is not charity focused (except for small contingent of welfare missionaries).
    • Millions spent on work of the dead, how about the living?
    • Token efforts well publicized
    • Used as a reason why the church is true. If that’s how it works, why shouldn’t I believe that Target is the true store of God?
    • By their fruits you shall know them… The fruits of charity are not that good!
    Financial Matters
  195. Why doesn’t the church allow its members to know what tithing is used for? Why the secrecy?
    • No accountability of finances / How is this different than TV ministers?
    • $ Given to Mark Hoffman.
  196. Why doesn’t the church open up its archives of church history documents?
  197. Do you consider it lying when someone does not tell you the complete story and purposefully leaves out certain details?
  198. Can you understand that when people realize the church didn’t share all the facts regarding this matter it makes the church seem as if it is covering something up?
  199. Now that many people have admitted that Joseph Smith used a seer stone to reveal the Book of Mormon, as well as treasure seeking facts, why don’t they teach and promote the accurate version of events?
  200. Why is it taught that the BofM was translated when the plates weren't even used to generate the text of the BofM? A translation would indicate that the translator studied the text of the BofM and then translated it into english. This didn't happen so it can't be a translation.
    • “…sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour…” Emma Hale Smith
    • “Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.”
      David Whitmer, REF: Page 12 of his book An Address to All Believers in Christ
    • “He [Martin Harris] said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone, Martin explained the translation as follows: By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin…”
      Edward Stevenson, First Council of Seventy
    • Harris said that the seer stone Smith possessed was a “chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum.” Harris went on to say it was by using this stone that “Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates”
      Comprehensive History of the Church 1:129
    • “By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say ‘written;’ and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used”
      Comprehensive History of the Church 1:29
    • “When Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon [I] had occasion more than once to go into his immediate presence, and saw him engaged at his work of translation. The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph’s placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating word after word, while the scribes — Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other wrote it down.”
      Michael Morse, Emma Smith’s brother-in-law, Saint’s Herald, 1879
    • I, as well as all of my father’s family, Smith’s wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. . . . He [Joseph Smith] did not use the plates in translation”

      David Whitmer, REF: Page 12 of his book An Address to All Believers in Christ
  201. Why does the church use tools, like paintings, that depict the translation of the Book of Mormon in a false manner to teach children and investigators?
  202. Why not show paintings depicting the actual events of the translation of the Book of Mormon with Joseph Smith using a seer stone in a top hat?
  203. One prophet teaches that Adam is God, something “which God revealed to him” as well as that his teachings are scripture. We then have another prophet who condemns the doctrine that Adam is God. Finally, we have an apostle who feels that the prophets can be an unreliable source of information. Therefore, he says, we should rely on the scriptures-- which themselves originate from prophets and apostles. How are we supposed to know who to believe and when?
  204. Don’t you think God would have designed a clearer system than this for receiving his divine messages?
  205. Do you understand why many people will always consider the Mormon Church to be a racist organization due to the comments and actions of previous prophets and apostles?
  206. Don’t you see how suspect the church is because its biggest revelations have come when the United States government has put stress on the church to change its policy? Examples: blacks and the priesthood, polygamy.
  207. If temple garments were so important, why has the design for the garments changed over time?
  208. Why wasn’t Joseph Smith wearing his temple garments when he was killed?
  209. Don’t you feel that it is important to be honest with people that are deciding if the Mormon Church is for them?
  210. Shouldn't everything be out in the open before someone is baptized? Isn’t that fair and moral?
  211. Why are women who raise their voices about this inequality receive disciplinary action?
    • Maxine Hanks, excommunicated, editor of “Woman and Authority: Reemerging Mormon Fundamentalism.”
    • Deborah Lake, excommunicated, author of “Secret Ceremonies.”
    • Lavina Fielding Anderson, excommunicated, collected stories of people (mainly women) who have been abused by the Mormon system. Edited the book, “Sisters in Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective.”
  212. Do you understand why many feel that women are second class citizens in the church?
  213. Why can’t a women bless her own child?
  214. Why is the church so patriarchal, when it is clear that patriarchal societies foster abuse of women and children?
  215. Why does the LDS church try so hard to distance itself from the FLDS church when they practice the same doctrine that this church taught just a hundred years ago? Wouldn’t it be more honest to tell everyone that what the FLDS church practices is true doctrine, but we choose not to practice it?
  216. Why are women told that their life won’t be as fulfilling if they don't marry a returned missionary and raise their kids in the church?
  217. Why does the church talk about Joseph Smith so much when Jesus Christ is supposedly more important? (Count the references to JS in any General Conference, and compare them with references to Jesus Christ.)
  218. Why does the church say that they are family oriented when non-church members, or even church members who do not have a temple recommend, are not able to attend weddings?
  219. Why does the church demand so much of its members time and efforts and money?
  220. Shouldn't church members spend more time with their families instead of going to meetings and activites?