Hi, and thanks for your email. I also appreciate the way you have written your email. You seem very genuine in your belief that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that Mormonism is from God. Because of this I will probably write more than I usually do. Let me start by declaring very briefly what I believe so that we have a starting place from which to examine some of the claims of Joseph Smith and the subsequent presidents of the latter day saints.
Firstly, I believe that the 66 books of the Bible is the word of God. I believe that God has revealed Himself through His word so that we shouldn't be in any doubt as to what is true and what He is like. More specifically, I believe that the Bible was written to reveal the most important of all topics - our salvation through the death of Jesus Christ. I would hope and trust that you agree with what I have written and place the same confidence in the Bible.
I also believe that no man should add or subtract from what has been written. This is important, and their are numerous verses stating this, as the enemy would also seek to pervert to truth of God's word. Some important verses (please read them) for consideration along these lines are:
Gal 1:6-9 'I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than
the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!'
2 Cor 11:2-4 'I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to
you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a
different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one
you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.'
Rev 22:18-19 'I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.'
Jude 3 'Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend
for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.'
So, the Bible repeatedly warns us that there is 'another Jesus' and 'another gospel' and 'another spirit'. It tells us that even if an angel comes down from Heaven and reveals a gospel different to the one 'once and for all entrusted to the saints' through the Bible we should in no way listen or accept it. This is VERY IMPORTANT for we are in a spiritual battle. Every person on this earth is in this battle and deception abounds.
With that as a basis, let me tell you why I reject the message of Joseph Smith and Mormonism as 'another gospel' and 'another Jesus'. Please, please, don't just skim read this or think 'he's not going to believe so I won't listen to what he says.' I'm not against you at all. Not one bit. It is only because of the fact that I can see you are very genuine that I care enough to write. The Journal of Discourses says correctly:
"If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and
professors are afraid to have it examined; their foundation must be very
-- (Journal of Discourses 14:216-217)
Many have investigated Joseph Smith and the claims of Mormonism and have pointed out numerous reasons why it should not be accepted for one minute. To be honest with you, there are so many errors and alarm bells going off when you start to investigate these things, I don't really know what to add here and what to leave out. But I'll note a few things. I will also quote a bit from Walter Martin's book 'The Kingdom of the Cults'. There are also some useful websites that will be referenced such as:
The Character of Joseph Smith
Firstly, concerning the character of Joseph Smith, you may be interested in the follow quote from Mormonism Unveiled (E.D Howe, 1834, p 261). Walter Martin states 'E.D Howe, a contemporary of Joseph Smith, did a tremendous amount of research during the life of Joseph Smith which has never been seriously impugned by any Mormon historians... Mr Howe obtained a statement signed by sixty-two residents of Palmyra, New York, one that cannot be ignored by any serious student of Mormonism:
"We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family for a number of years, while they resided near this place, and we have no hesitation in saying, that we consider them destitute of that moral character which
ought to entitle them to the confidence of the community. They were particularly famous for visionary projects, spent much of their time in diggings for money which they pretended was hid in the earth. And to this day, large excavations may be seen in the earth, not far from their residence, where they used to spend their time in digging for hidden treasures. Joseph Smith
Senior, and his son Joseph, were in particular, considered entirely destitute of
moral character, and addicted to vicious habits."
Despite what Joseph Smith taught, if he were a true prophet of God, do you think that sixty-two of his contemporizes, who had known him for several years, would consider him 'entirely destitute of moral character, and
addicted to vicious habits'?
Concerning the character of Joseph Smith more can be seen here: http://www.carm.org/lds/unveiled_defended.htm
More evidence concerning the character of Joseph Smith, especially related to the links with Masonry and Occultism can be seen here:
As for being a 'prophet' if we apply the Biblical test for a prophet, Smith would have been stoned many times!
For failed and false prophecies of Joseph Smith, see here: http://www.irr.org/mit/jsfalpro.html
His character is also seen in his lust for women. Concerning this David Allen (in his book 'Dark angels of light') writes the following:
'As Solomon "did evil in the sight of the Lord" (1 Kings 11:6), 1000 years before Christ, so Joseph Smith fell prey to the same lusts of the flesh. While his God had already spoken put in strong terms against
polygamy as a crime to be equated with fornication (Doctrines and Covenants 101:6, 1835 edition), Smith is credited with having at least 27 women in plural marriage (Andrew Jensen, church historian, 1887). When exposure and accusation, along with public outrage, burst forth in June 1844, Smith was ready. Not to be daunted by the prophet getting ahead of him, Smiths' God had supposedly already spoken in 1843 and had made polygamy a "New and Everlasting Covenant and if ye abide not that covenant, then ye are damned." Not only did God save the day retroactively for Joseph Smith, but also polygamy would now be the sign of righteousness in God's eyes! The murmuring against Smith in the Mormon Church ceased as his followers struggled to be found worthy!'
This absolute craziness continued with Brigham Young who said:
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 266).
Also, "The only men who become Gods, even the
Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269).
The Claims of Joseph Smith
Now concerning the golden plates and their translation, it is interesting that in the Pearl of Great Price (Joseph Smith - History 1:62-64,1982 edition) it is claimed that a copy of some of the characters on the plates, along with their translation, was made and presented to an expert in the field at that time, Professor Charles Anthon. Upon inspection, the Professor is recorded in the Pearl of Great Price as stating that 'the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian.'
Now it is true that Professor Anthon inspected the characters and the translation. Thankfully for us, his real reaction is recorded for all those that would really like to know the truth. In a letter written to Mr E.D Howe (taken from 'Kingdom of the Cults, page 181) the Professor wrote:
'... the whole story about my having pronounced the Mormonite inscription to be 'reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics' is perfectly
false....Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to
the conclusion that it was all a trick, perhaps a hoax...'
Please, also read this concerning other 'translations' of Joseph Smith - http://www.carm.org/lds/ldspapyri.htm
The Book of Mormon and Archeology
Another reason I reject the book of Mormon is because of the many historical claims that have been proved to be simply not true. In fact, even some Mormon archeologists don't believe the historical claims.
The following quote is taken from http://www.irr.org/mit/bomarch1.html which shows the inaccuracies in these claims.
"As was noted earlier, the Bible and the Book of Mormon are alike in presenting themselves as records of ancient history. However, whereas the authenticity of the Bible is widely accepted even by secular scholars (see article titled "Does Archaeology Support the Bible?"), no
non-LDS archaeologist accepts the Book of Mormon as authentic history, and now even many LDS scholars no longer support its historicity. Why do archaeologist take such a dim view of the Book of Mormon?
One of the best answers to this question was offered by former Brigham Young University anthropology professor, Dr. Raymond T. Matheny at an August 25, 1984 Sunstone conference in Salt Lake City.14 After working in the area of Mesoamerican archaeology for twenty-two years, Prof. Matheny reported his conclusion
that the scientific evidence simply does not support the existence of the peoples
and events chronicled in the Book of Mormon, be it in Central America or anywhere else in the western hemisphere.
Dr. Matheny described the Book of Mormon as filled with anachronisms — things that are out of place historically and culturally. It introduces Old World cultural achievements into the pre-Columbian Americas, though the archaeological evidence shows no such levels of culture were attained during this period. Defenders of the historicity of the Book of Mormon are left with only scattered bits of evidence which they interpret apart from accepted scientific standards."
The Book of Mormon and the Bible
Most importantly, the 'Jesus' and 'God' that Joseph Smith and Mormonism believes in is not the Jesus or God of the Bible. Even the current President of Mormonism has openly stated this. I quote:
"In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of
those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints 'do not believe in the
traditional Christ.' 'No, I don't. The traditional Christ
of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of
whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.
He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820,
and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than
all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages.'" (LDS Church News Week ending June 20, 1998, p.7 )
As I have quoted above from the Bible, which IS the word of God, if even an angel from Heaven comes and brings another Jesus or another gospel, they are to be eternally condemned (Gal 1:6-9). The 'Jesus' of Mormonism is the spirit brother of Satan and the 'Father' of Mormonism was once a man like us! In fact, Brigham Young taught that Adam, whom God created, was actually God, our Father! I'm sorry, but it is just utter craziness! Let me quote his words:
"Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! 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 helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken -- He is our Father, and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, page 50)
Please, if you love God and his word, and want to know Him... look at the following article that show through 27 different passages in God's word that there is only ONE God, and He has always BEEN God. http://www.irr.org/mit/onegod.html There is no where in the Bible where God was once a man, let alone that Adam is God! Nor is there others Gods. As a true prophet, Isaiah, spoke directly from God:
Isaiah 45:5 ' I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from
me there is no God.'
Isaiah 43:10-11 ' “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor
will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.
Concerning salvation, I would ask you to take the following quiz to see, according to Mormon doctrine, whether you are actually 'saved': http://www.mrm.org/articles/lds_repentance_quiz/
Oh how different and wonderful is the free gift of salvation that the Bible offers!!!
The Bible states that 'the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.' (1 John 1:7)
Brigham Young states 'There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it . . . ' (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 247; see
also, Vol. 4, pp. 53-54, 219-220.)
Jesus stated that 'no one comes to the Father except through me' (John 14:6)
According to Brigham Young, people have to get Joseph Smith's consent to enter Heaven! He said '...no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 289).
I could go on and speak about Joseph Smith's many crazy quotes such as there are people 'who dress like Quakers and live to be nearly 1000 years old' who live on the Moon! Or his many blatant plagiarisms from the Bible, (even large word for word Bible passages, still in King James English even with the same italics as in the KJV!) Or the many corrections and alterations that have occurred in Joseph Smith's translations. But I have written more than enough if you are serious about following the true God.
I know that you probably won't like what I have written. I certainly aren't trying to set out to offend you or any other Mormons. But these are serious issues that have eternal consequences, so I cannot simply just say nothing and "hope that you are happy in your beliefs, and have a nice life". As much as I hope that we will one day be brothers in Christ, at the moment we aren't and we shouldn't pretend that we are or that we believe the same things. As I have pointed out in detail above, the God and Jesus of Mormonism is not the God and Jesus of the Bible. You have placed your faith in a man whose revelations are contrary to the Bible - the word of God. And that is not a good place to be.
So while I am not your brother in Christ, I'm certainly not your enemy either and I hope with all my heart that the truth will be revealed to you. Like I said at the start, I have only written quite a bit back to you because I appreciated your sincerity in writing in the first place.
May the true God honor that sincerity and open your eyes to see through this 'other gospel'.
May God Bless.