Trusting one’s eternal life on a so-called, Burning of the Bosom (Moroni 10:4-5; D&C 9:8)

Only a fool trust his own heart (feelings)

“Just pray about it, and the Holy Spirit will confirm Mormonism to you by causing a burning in your bosom”

says the rosy cheek bright-eyed Mormon (LDS) missionary at your doorstep.

However, relying on one’s feelings (as with the so-called burning of the bosom as taught in the Book of Mormon,) can lead you to great error: “For there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death (Prov. 16:25). Proverbs 28:26 clearly opposes the LDS so-called test of truth: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (KJV). We must test doctrine by Scripture, not by feelings and emotion, which according to Scripture, is foolish.

The LDS rejects the Jesus Christ of biblical revelation in that they teach that Jesus is one of many Gods. One of the fundamental differences between Christianity and Mormonism is that the LDS Church teaches polytheism (i.e., the belief in many true Gods). Note for example some teachings from past LDS Apostles and Prophets including the founder and first Prophet of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith:

Joseph Smith:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens . . . it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. . . I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345-47; 370; emphasis added)

Brigham Young (second LDS President and so-called Prophet):
“There was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 22-23).

Orson Pratt (LDS Apostle):
“In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods, each one of whom has his own wife or wives which are given to him previous to his redemption; while yet in his mortal state” (The Seer, 37-38; emphasis added)

The LDS claim that they only worship one God while acknowledging the existence of other “true” Gods—which they claim they do not worship. However, whether one worships “those other Gods” or not, is an irrelevant point, the question is: how many true Gods are there? In sharp contrast to the LDS position, God has always condemned the pagan idea of many so-called Gods (see Isa. chaps. 40-45; esp. Jer. 10:10-11; Gal. 4:8). That is the biblical reason as to why the LDS Church as a false church.

In contrast, the Bible teaches that there is only one eternal God, not many (Deut. 4:35, 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6-8, 24). God has always been God (cf. Ps. 90:2) and Jesus Christ, God the Son, has always been God (John 1:1; Phil. 2:6; Heb. 1:8, 10-12). Biblically, there is one God revealed in three distinct Persons, which the LDS deny.

Clearly, the God and Jesus of the LDS do not represent one true God of biblical revelation—they embrace a false concept of God (which is idolatry). Thus, we must preach the gospel to the LDS missionaries and pray that God grants salvation to them setting them free from the spiritual bondage of the LDS Church.

The official account of Joseph Smith’s First Vision was written in 1838 and not published until 1842. Note, however, that the *official story* was not accepted for inclusion in the standard works until 1880 in the Pearl of Great Price (in Joseph Smith-History).

The LDS Church has affirmed for decades that the LDS Church rises and falls on Joseph Smith’s First Vision, upon which the very foundation of the LDS faith rests. If there was no vision, then, Smith’s story of God telling him that he was not to join any churches “for they were all wrong; . . . all their creeds were an abomination . . . those professors were all corrupt” was a full-cloth fabrication. There would no need for Smith to *restore* the church for if in fact the church had never apostatized as Mormons claim. That the entire church had fallen away is the sole foundation as to why Mormons believe that the LDS Church is the only correct church on earth.

Mormon Apostle Hugh B. Brown rightly stated:

The First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith constitutes the groundwork of the Church which was later organized. If this First Vision was but a figment of Joseph Smith’s imagination, then the Mormon Church is what its detractors declare it to be – a wicked and deliberate imposture (The Abundant Life, 310-11).

The 1838 account of Smith’s First Vision account is the one that LDS Church finally accepted. However, there were other First Vision accounts, which differed in terms of the factual data.

1832: The Earliest Version of the First Vision

The earliest version of the the First Vision was written “in his own hand” in 1832. However, that account only had Jesus there, not God the Father.

Further, other significant differences compared to the now accepted official 1838 acoount exists:

Most significantly, in the 1832 account, only one personage is mentioned–Jesus. Whereas the official version mentions two personages, God the Father and God the Son.

In the 1832 account, he does not ask Jesus which of the sects was right and which he should join as he does in official version (1838), but Joseph does ask which church is true.

In the 1832 account, Joseph is 15 years old, not 14 as in the official version.

In the 1832 account, no evil power is mentioned, but in the official version, there is an evil power.

In the 1832 account, there is no mention of a religious excitement, which provoked his need to pray.

*For those who are interested in reading for themselves Smith’s earliest account of his First Vision see the LDS magazine the Ensign (Dec. ember 1984, pages 24-26 where Smith’s hand written copy was reproduced (also see The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, compiled and edited by Dean C. Jessee, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, pages 4-6).

But note: There are at least 9 (or more) versions of Smith’s the First Vision from those with whom he shared details:

For example, there were different accounts as to who or what visited Smith in 1820:

Did Christ visit Smith (1832 account)?

Or did both God the Father and God the Son visit Smith (as in the current LDS official account 1838)?

Or, did an angel visit Smith, as some of Smith’s own contemporaries taught?

LDS Apostle, (and later 4th president/prophet), Wilford Woodruff said:

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, Journal of Discourses, 1855, vol. 11 p. 196).

LDS Apostle (and later 3rd president/prophet), John Taylor said

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, Journal of Discourses, 1863, vol. 10, p.127).

LDS Apostle, George A. Smith said:

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, Journal of Discourses, 1863, vol. 12, p. 334).

Second president of the LDS Church, Brigham Young said:

The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven, in power and great glory, nor send His messengers panoplied with aught else than the truth of heaven, to communicate to the meek, the lowly, the youth of humble origin, the sincere enquirer after the knowledge of God. But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 1855, vol. 2, p. 171).

These are but a few of the examples of the assorted versions (written by Smith and some of his contemporaries) of the so-called First Vision (of there are others not mentioned here).

LDS apologists typically respond by first showing the *different* accounts by the Gospel authors of the same event. For example, in an article by an LDS apologetic group called: Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research asks:

Should we reject the Resurrection because the Apostles could not agree on how many angels were at Christ’s tomb (Matt. 28:2, Mark 16:5, Luke 24:4, and John 10:12)? Matthew wrote that the title on the cross above Jesus read: “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” (Matt. 27:37), while Mark claimed that the title simply read: “The King of the Jews” (Mark 15:26). Luke, however, recorded that the title read: “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38), and John claimed that the title read: “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” (John 19:19). Some people will say that we are being nit-picky, and that is the whole point. The message was basically the same Jesus is King of the Jews. Each Apostle, however, recalled the title a little differently. If we can dismiss the minor discrepancies in the New Testament (which has several other inconsistencies) without rejecting Christ or the gospel, then we should be able to dismiss the minor discrepancies in Joseph’s various accounts of his first vision without rejecting Joseph as a Prophet or the Restored Gospel (www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Brochures/The_First_Vision.pdf) .

Thus, LDS apologists will point out that LDS critics are inconsistent. For if they would apply the same standard to the Bible to the discrepancies of the First Vision they would not accept the Bible. However, to compare variations in the Gospels to Smith’s different versions there is one glaring error: The the variations in the Gospels are not contradictions, but variations of the same accounts. But the differences in Smiths accounts totally contradict each other.

The Mormon must at least consider that no one knew of the current official version of the First Vision until after Joseph dictated it in 1838, and no published source mentions it until 1842.

Here below, Smith’s 1832 hand written account reprint:

marvilous even in the likeness of him who created him (them) and when I considered upon these things my heart exclaimed well hath thewise man said the (it is a) fool (that) saith in his heart there is no God my heart exclaimed all all these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotant and omnipreasant power a being who makith Laws and decreeeth and bindeth all things in their bounds who filleth Eternity who was and is and will be from all Eternity to Eternity and when I considered all these things and that (that) being seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in (the) attitude of calling upon the Lord (in the 16th year of my age) a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the (Lord) opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph (my son) thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy (way) walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life (behold) the world lieth in sin and at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside from the gospel and keep not (my) commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them acording to th[e]ir ungodliness and to bring to pass that which (hath) been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Ap[o]stles behold and lo I come quickly as it [is] written of me in the cloud (clothed) in the glory of my Father and my soul was filled with love and for many days I could reioice with great Joy and the Lord was with me but [I] could find none that would believe the hevnly vision nevertheless I pondered these things in my heart about that time my mother and but after many days (bolded phrase added)–Go here to view a photocopy of the original document.

Here below is the 1838 (pub in 1842) accepted version

Sometime in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country . . . and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties …. Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist . . . my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect . . . but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible . . . to come to any certain conclusion who was right, and who was wrong …. So in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty . . . I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God . . . I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head. . . .

When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description …. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other ‘This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!’ …. I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right, (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong …. I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors [believers] of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age . . . yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects all united to persecute me (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith – History, 1:5-8, 14-19, 22 ).

 

Ontological Monotheism: The belief in one God by nature (biblical Christianity).

LDS system of God, Polytheism: The belief in more that one true God (technically, the LDS embraces Henotheism: i.e., worshiping only one God, while acknowledging  the existence of many true Gods):

 

LDS founder Joseph Smith: (April 7, 1844, conference of the Church in Nauvoo, Illinois):

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. . . ! 

for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. . . . 

Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you. . . .

Joseph Smith  (Meeting in the Grove, east of the Temple, June 16, 1844; Smith was murdered [shot] just days later on June 27th):  

I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370).

 

Brigham Young, second President and Prophet:

There was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 22-23).

 

Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt declared:

In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods, each one of whom has his own wife or wives which are given to him previous to his redemption; while yet in his mortal state (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 135).

In devastating contrast to LDS doctrine, Scripture has always taught that there is only one true God. Anything can be called a god, money, your job, your car, etc. However, the position of Scripture is unavoidable- ontological monotheism, that is, by nature there exists one God. John 17:3 states: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Whereby all other so-called gods are false.

The apostle Paul makes a crystal clear demarcation of false gods and the one true God in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5, “There is no God but one… many ‘gods’ many ‘lords’ yet for us there is but one God.” Underlining this central theme of Scripture, Paul reminds the Galatians, when they did not know God- they were slaves to those who by nature were not gods (cf. 4:8). Mormons champion polytheism, thus by maintaining this false notion, the Mormons have deviated from the essential truth of God.

Again, this must be stressed: the fundamental difference between historic orthodox Christianity and Mormonism is that Christianity maintains the belief in one immutable, Eternal God by nature. He does not grow, change, or progress (cf. Mal. 3:6). He is God from all eternity, Creator (not organizer)1 of everything that exists. Absolute monotheism has always been the distinctive principle “norm” of the Jews and Christians alike. Never has the church or any of the church Fathers held to the pagan doctrine of many Gods.

Pure monotheism (ontologically) is the core of Christian theology from which all other doctrines flow. The first lie ever told to humankind was from Satan, in the Garden of Eden. “Ye shall be as gods. . .” (Gen. 3:5).

 

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (Deut. 6:4)

Literally: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah.” The Mormons argue: “we don’t worship those other Gods.” But, whether or not someone worships these “other Gods” is wholly irrelevant, the question is: how many Gods are there? For the Mormon there is an infinite number of Gods.

To ensure that no one will be confused God explains again and again that no other Gods exists! Particularly in the book of Isaiah, where absolute monotheism (one God by nature) is incontrovertible:

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 (Isa. 43:10).

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of host; I am the first, I am the last; and beside me there is no God (Isa. 44:6).

Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know of not any (Isa. 44:8).

God asks the question: “Is there a God beside me?” The Mormon who believes the LDS doctrine would have to say yes, but God responds sharply: “NO, there is no God, I know of not any.”

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from tee womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretch forth the heaven alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself (Isa. 44:24).

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . (Isa. 45:5).

All throughout Scripture God consistently affirms that He is the only true God:

Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightiest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him (Deut. 4:35)

Know ye that the LORD he is God (Ps. 100:3)

In the New Testament, one of the scribes had asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus answered: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.”

The polytheistic teaching of the LDS Church certainly contradicts the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Reducing God to the same species as man while denying that God was always God for eternity

Mormons worship a changing god that is not eternally God. What he was before, he is not today. Mormons say that God was once a man that lived on a planet similar to this one. He progressed and was exalted to become the God of this planet by His Father God Who Himself is an exalted man that lives on the planet Kolob.2 Without question, the faithful followers of the Mormon Church reject the Word of God: “For I am the LORD, I change not. . . . ” (Mal. 3:6).

The doctrine of many Gods then, will always be the primary and fundamental difference that excludes the Mormon religion from bona fide orthodox Christianity and hence true salvation. Polytheism is the radical corruption that disturbs sound biblical theology. Christianity is cradled in monotheistic Judaism: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Remember, Joseph Smith did not invent polytheism: “the day you eat thereof . . . you shall be as god. . . ” (Gen. 3:5).

 

Standard Mormon Arguments

1) Gen. 1:26, 27, “Let us make man in our image.”

Response: Verse 27 says God created man: “in His own image.” Not- ” in their image.” Man is not in the image of angels hence the Members of the Trinity were conversing (cf. John 14:23). Also, God is invisible He does not have physicality (cf. 2 Ch. 6:18; esp. John 1:18; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16).

2) John 10:34, (Ps. 82:6) “I said Ye are gods.”

Response: First of all in John 10:34 Jesus said, “Ye are gods” is in the present tense, ruling out the possibility that they were really true Gods on earth. Note that in LDS theology, the hope of becoming God is in the future. Thus, this passage provides no comfort for Mormons.

In John 10:34, Jesus is quoting from Psalm 82:6. The defining context of verses 1 through 8 is speaking of wicked judges. Verse 2 says, “How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?” Verse 5 says, These wicked judges “walk in darkness” Verse 7 says, “ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” Die like men? That does not sound like true Gods.

The context of John 10:30-36 is clear. In verse 30, Jesus claims to be equal with God. Because of that, the Jews wanted to kill Him (v. 31). In verse 33, the Jews understood His claim to be God. Jesus then quotes Psalm 82: “Ye are gods.” Jesus here (John 10:34-36) that the Father called them “gods” (Ps. 82) not because they were true deity but they were “to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35) and were supposed to be the representatives and judges for God (called Elohim).. However, the genesis of men being representation of and even called Elohim is back in in Exod. 18:17-27. Thus (because they represented God) subsequently these judges were actually termed Elohim starting in Exod. 21:6; cf. 22:8, 9, etc.

These judges in Ps 82, however, were wicked; hence, God called them “gods” in irony. In verse 36, Jesus goes on to explain if the wicked Judges were called gods in irony, how can you stone me for claiming I am the true Son of God?

Even LDS scholar and Apostle James E. Talmage agrees. In his book Jesus the Christ, Talmage explains John 10:34-36 under the heading : “Divinely Appointed Judges Called Gods-In Psalm 82:6. . . .” (James E. Talmage, Jesus The Christ, 501; 15TH ed.).

3) Matt. 3:16, 17; Ac. 7:55, 56, Two personages (hence in LDS thought: 3 separate Gods).

Response: These verses do not conflict with the doctrine of the Trinity that states there is three distinct (not separate) Persons that share the nature of the one Being (cf. Matt. 28:19; John 1:1; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18).

In Acts 7:55, Stephen sees the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. The term “right hand” must be understood in a Jewish context. “Right hand” was a Jewish idiom that meant, “place on honor” or “position of authority” (e.g., Exod. 15:6, 12; Job 40:14; Ps. 48:10; 73:23; Isa. 41:10; Matt. 26:64). The text does not say Stephen saw two Gods.

4) 1 Cor. 8:5, “many gods and many lords.”

Response: The entire context of the chapter deals with idols. You can call anything a god: money, car, job, hay, wood, stubble, but these would be false gods (idols). By nature, there is exists one true Eternal God (Gal. 4:8). Notice Paul declares that there is only one God (v. 6).

For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens and the earth (1 Chron. 16:26).

There exists one Eternal God by nature that has always been God: e.g., Deut. 4:35; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8, 24; 45:5; Ps. 90:2; 100:3; Jer. 10:10, 11; John 17:3; Gal. 4:8

Note the plain reading of Isaiah 44:6, 8:

Thus saith the LORD [Jehovah] the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. . . .

 

Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is NO God; I know NOT ANY (emphasis added).

Notes

1, In LDS theology God does not create anything He merely “organizes” eternal matter. Joseph Smith explains:

I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house–tops that God never had the he power to create the spirit of man at all (Teaching s of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 354).

Of course, this idea does not, in no way shape or form, square with Scripture. The Bible presents God as Creator (e.g., Gen. 1:1; Isa. 44:24; 45:18; Jer. 10:10, 11; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-18; Heb. 1:2, 10).

2, Pearl of Great Price: Abraham, 3:9.