It is not surprising to me, that the vast majority of LDS (Mormons) are in a dense fog when it comes of historic LDS doctrines. Their understanding of their religion is quite uncritical and basic, which does not normally range prior to the current decade. Hence, many LDS today (esp. garden variety Mormon missionaries) are totally unaware and even deny the LDS teaching in regards to the way the physical body of Jesus Christ was brought into this world never engaging in any deep-diving research on the topic.
However, the historic LDS view, as exampled below, is that God the Father had sexual relations with the virgin Mary to produce the “physical body” of Jesus. This awful, ant-Christian, and profoundly pagan doctrine was unambiguously affirmed in both the 19th and 20th century by founding and foundational LDS authorities such as Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, Joseph Fielding Smith, esp. James E. Talmage, J. Reuben Clark, Ezra Taft Benson, esp. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie whose work was considered to be a standard on Mormon doctrine, and many more could be cited. .
In fact, as cited below, Young and others, taught that God the Father was actually took Mary to be His wife.
To try to avoid decidedly paganish and anti-biblical doctrine, some not all, LDS apologists and BYU professors typically claim that this is merely 19th century speculation (e.g., LDS teacher, Stephen Robinson). However, as we will clearly demonstrate, this is not the case. For most of the statements provided below were made by the LDS General Authorities from the 20th century! (note, several current LDS apologists, however, affirm the doctrine, see note 1 below).
It should also be pointed out: LDS apologists and BYU professors are not LDS General Authorities–thus they do not have the authority to determine doctrine for the LDS Church–their assertions, therefore, are mere speculation and commentary, not official. For that reason, this examination is confined solely to the statements of the General Authorities and official LDS Church publications, which are distributed to the LDS people. Here below are clear and in context examples:
19th Century Teaching
Second President, and Prophet of LDS Church, Brigham Young:
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 a tabernacle [body], it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. . . . (Journal of Discourses [hereafter, JD], 1:50; emphasis added).
Young is in error, with the assertion that Jesus “was not begotten by the Holy Ghost”–contra Matthew 1:18. Further, notice that he says Jesus was begotten “after the same manner as the tabernacles” of Cain and Abel. And how are the tabernacles, that is, bodies, of Cain and Abel and the rest of humanity begotten? Young explains further:
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. . . . (JD, 8:115; emphasis added).
When the time came that His first-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it…. (JD, 4:218; emphasis added).
In LDS theology, we were all spirit children procreated by sexual relations between the Father and His wives in heaven before coming to earth. After which we were then sent to earth to receive bodies. However, the LDS assert that Jesus was not only the firstborn spirit child, (His brother Lucifer being the second), but He was also the only physical offspring on earth, of Mary and God the Father. This is why Mormons refer to Jesus as “the Only Begotten in the flesh.”
Even more absurd, other LDS General Authorities taught that God the Father was actually married to Mary!
LDS Apostle, Orson Pratt:
it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called the Only-Begotten of the Father; that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father. There were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of the world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father. . . . The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. . . . He had a lawful right to over- shadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself, or to prescribe rules for his own conduct. It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give Mary to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 158; emphasis added).
LDS Apostle Heber Kimball:
I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it” (JD, 8:211; emphasis added).
Nothing unnatural about it?! Kimball says Jesus was begotten just as he was: in the flesh! Is this not what Brigham Young and Orson Pratt taught?!
But what about present-day Mormonism? Do they now repudiate the clear teachings of former leaders? Of course, this would make Young and other LDS leaders, false teachers. If so, then the entire LDS Church fell into apostasy deviating from their own prophets and apostles. Or, is it as BYU professors assert: “only 19th century speculation?” Again, the assertions made by BYU professors are only speculation and commentary, they do not speak for or determine the official doctrine of the Church. They are not General Authorities.
In analyzing the official LDS position on the paternity of Jesus Christ, we find that the majority of the statements made by the General Authorities and publications printed by the LDS Church on this teaching; were made in the 20th century! Hence, it is complete error to assert that this doctrine is simply 19th century speculation.
LDS Apostle and scholar, James E. Talmage:
The relationship of the Christ to the Eternal Father has been set forth in such plainness that I do not think any wayfaring man amongst us can fail to understand. We recognize in Jesus Christ the Son of the Eternal Father, both in spirit and in body. There is no other meaning to attach to that expression, as used by the Eternal Father Himself–“Mine Only Begotten Son.” Christ combined within His own person and nature the attributes of His mortal mother, and just as truly the attributes of His immortal Sire… This simplicity of doctrine has shocked many, but the truth is frequently shocking just because of its simplicity and consequent grandeur (Conference Report, April 1915, 121; emphasis added).
Please note, Talmage refers to the Father as Jesus’ “immortal Sire.” Talmage frequently uses the title “Immortal Sire” in his writings:
Born of a mortal mother He inherited the capacity to die; begotten by an immortal Sire He possessed as a heritage the power to withstand death. . . . (Jesus the Christ, ch. 3, 22; emphasis added).
A natural effect of His immortal origin, as the earth-born Son of an immortal Sire, was that He was immune to death except as He surrendered thereto (ibid., ch. 25, 418-19).
Tenth President of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith:
THE FIRSTBORN. Our Father in heaven is the Father of Jesus Christ, both in the spirit and in the flesh. . . . CHRIST NOT BEGOTTEN OF THE HOLY GHOST. I believe firmly that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh. He taught this doctrine to his disciples. He did not teach them that He was the Son of the Holy Ghost, but the Son of the Father… Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:18; emphasis added; caps. theirs).
LDS Apostle, scholar and prolific writer, Bruce R. McConkie:
These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers (Mormon Doctrine, 546-47; emphasis added).
Begotten in the same way as mortal men? In this same book McConkie declares:
God the Father is a perfected, glorified holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says (742).
In his book: The Mortal Messiah, McConkie utilizes the same term Talmage uses- “Sire.” McConkie writes:
She [Mary] shall conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and God himself shall be the sire. It is his Son of whom Gabriel is speaking. A son is begotten by a father: whether on earth or in heaven it is the same (1:319; emphasis added).
Family Home Evenings:
The Mormon Church also provides publications designed for the family. One such publication is: Family Home Evenings, copyrighted by the Corporation President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This booklet clearly represents the LDS view:
We must come down to the simple fact that God Almighty was the Father of His Son Jesus Christ. Mary, the virgin girl, who had never known mortal man, was his mother. God by her begot his Son Jesus Christ, and he was born into the world with power and intelligence like that of His Father… Now, my little friends, I will repeat again in words as simple as I can, and you talk to your parents about it, that God, the Eternal Father, is literally the father of Jesus Christ (125-126; 1972 ed.; emphasis added).
Following this statement there is some pictorial artwork to help explain this doctrine to children. A figure of a man is drawn and under the man the title “Daddy” is placed and next to him a drawing of a woman with the title “Mommy” underneath. In between the figures “Daddy” and “Mommy” there is a + sign. From these two figures, pointing down, there are two arrows pointing to a drawing of a child with the title “You” Family Home Evening
Obviously, this diagram teaches children how they are conceived. Right below this diagram, there is another drawing. It’s the same diagram but the titles are changed. The title “Our Heavenly Father” is in place of the “Daddy” and the title “Mary” are in place of the “Mommy.” And guess who is in the place of the child figure titled “You?”—-you got it– “Jesus.”
To view the page containing the pictorial artwork see –Family Home Evening.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
This four-volume set is a treasure for Mormons. It contains numerous statements and teachings from LDS scholars and General Authorities. And it is sold in most LDS bookstores.
For the Latter-day Saints, the paternity of Jesus is not obscure. He was the literal, biological son of an immortal, tangible Father and Mary, a mortal woman… Jesus is the only person born who deserves the title “the Only Begotten Son of God. . . .(under the subject title: Jesus Christ, emphasis added).
Latter-day Saints recognize Jesus as literally the Only Begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh… This title signifies that Jesus’ physical body was the offspring of a mortal mother and the eternal Father. . . . It is LDS doctrine that Jesus Christ is the child of Mary and God the Father, “not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof (ibid., emphasis added).
My primary reason for this rather lengthy list of citations is because of the simple fact: LDS doctrine is not determined by LDS apologists or BYU professors but by the General Authorities and “official” LDS Church publications. Again, this doctrine has been consistently taught by LDS General Authorities, and has never been denied by any General Authority.
The LDS position that God the Father, an exalted physical man with a voracious sexual appetite for women both in heaven with His wives, and with His creatures (viz. His literal daughter Mary) is categorically pagan and thus, refuted by the Scripture in many places, such as Matthew 1:18-20 :
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost [lit. “she was pregnant by means of the Holy Spirit,” heurethe en gastri echousa ek pneumatos hagiou] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her public example, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”
To LDS Church is not a true church, they reject the nature of the triune God and reject the gospel of the Jesus Christ of biblical revelation – – they are strangers of God, “having no hope, and without God [ἄθεοι, ‘atheist’]” (Eph. 2:12). Only if God grants the LDS salvation, repentance and faith, will they be delivered from the darkness of the LDS Church.
1. Article by Kevin Barney of the LDS apologetic group, FARMS (Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research)
The Sexual Generation of Jesus
March 9, 2005
By Kevin Barney (of FARMS)
In the May 7th issue of The Christian Post, there is an article entitled “What Religious Beliefs are Shaping American Christians Today?” I noticed the following in that article:
“The journal features an article written by Cky Carrigan, national interfaith evangelism missionary with the North American Mission Board and visiting professor of missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. on the theology of Mormonism, one of the nation’s fastest-growing religious groups. Carrigan’s article focuses on the Christology of Mormonism, which includes the atonement and the belief that Jesus Christ was born as the result of sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”
[As an aside, I’ve actually met and talked with Cky (pronounced like the Greek conjunction “kai”). He attended a FAIR Conference once in an admirable attempt to get his facts straight about what Mormons believe; several of us spent about two hours after dinner one night trying to help him avoid misrepresentations in his thesis.]. Anyway, what I want to focus on in this post is “the belief that Jesus Christ was born as the result of sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”
Critics of the Church of course love this scandalous nugget (some conflating it with the Adam-God Doctrine to have Adam having sexual intercourse with Mary). It is a commonplace in anti-Mormon literature and websites. And since on its face it appears blasphemous, we have a tendency to recoil from it, to be (overly?) defensive about it, and increasingly to reject it. My usual tack when asked about it is to point out that the idea is not now and never was doctrine; it was a speculation. It is not binding on anyone, and in fact my impression is that it has become very much a minority view in the Church, and that most Mormons do not accept this characterization of the physical generation of the mortal Jesus.
I will confess, however, that I actually like this idea. Maybe it is because I have a streak of old fashioned Mormonism somewhere inside me. But I find it appealing on several levels. First, there is a certain naturalism to the idea. I presume the mortal Jesus had 46 chromosomes, and that 23 came from Mary, but where did the other 23 come from? As a Mormon, I’m not big on the idea that they were created ex nihilo for this specific purpose. I like being able to say that Jesus really did have a father, not in a metaphorical sense only (the language of begetting in the creeds doesn’t mean literal begetting), but in a physical sense. He really was the Son of God.
I also find it fascinating that people see this idea as being so totally offensive. To me, that speaks not only to our radically different conception of God and man as being of the same species, our literalist notion of divine paternalism and our radical materialism, but also to our Puritan heritage. If it is so disgusting to suggest God sired a son by sexual intercourse, why, I wonder, did God ordain that to be the natural method by which we conceive our own children? Is that just some sort of a cosmic joke? Does God sit in yonder heavens and look down on his creatures and laugh at their disgusting and dirty and ridiculous actions? Isn’t it possible that, if God ordained sexual intercourse as the means by which we create children, that it is divinely appointed and not disgusting or dirty at all?
I freely concede that the old fashioned Mormon speculators didn’t think all the way through this idea, and there are theological loose ends, to be sure. But I am curious: does anyone else here kind of like this old notion, or is it Mormon materialism run amuck? And whatever your opinions on the speculation itself, do you agree with me that it is a dying idea in Mormon thought, and that in another generation or two it will be completely dead?
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:
“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).
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.