The Mormon religion or Church of Latter Day Saints is the biggest of it’s kind in the world. With huge complexes like in east Oakland which can be seen from afar high up on a hill to the one in Salt Lake City Utah which is more elaborate. This sold called church has millions of members around the world. They also have vast holdings in the United States.. The wonder is how did this enormous, entity come about.
Joseph Smith is given credit for writing the book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Article of Faith and concocting the tale of the angel Moroni.
Joseph Smith was born December 23, 1805 His birth place was Sharon, Vermont. His parents were father Joseph Smith; and mother, Lucy Smith with six brothers and three sisters. He died June 27, 1844, at the aged of 38). His death was at Carthage Illinois.
Here is an overview of the tale of the angel Moroni.
In 1823 Smith was visited three times by the angel Moroni who told him about Gold Plates on a hill near Palmyra, New York.
The angel Moroni was the son of the man Mormon.
These gold plates was about a book that had been written on them which was an account of former inhabitants of this continent.
He also said that the Gospel was contained in it, which was delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants.
Four years later on the hill Smith recovered the contents in a stone box, the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate.
There were two stones in silver bows and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, composed what is called the Urim and Thummim which were deposited with the plates.
The possession and use of these stones formed seers in ancient or former times and the purpose was for what God had prepared them for translating the book.
As Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the Urim and Thummim Oliver Cowdery begin to write for him.
Joseph Smith History 3-75
What is the Urim and Thummim, in Joseph Smiths History
The interpreters he described as a pair of stones, fastened to a breastplate joined in a form similar to that of a large pair of spectacles –deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “Seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
Another source says in April 1829, Smith earnestly resume translating again after meting Oliver Cowdery, who became his scribe. Working full time on the translation between April and early June of 1829, they moved to Fayette, New York and finished at a friends house of Cowdery’s.
The translation had a requirement for baptism, so Smith and Cowdery baptized each other.
Five years later they had written documents saying they had been ordained to a priesthood by John the Baptist.
Assuming potential converts to Smiths planned church might find the plates Beyond belief he had a group of 11 witnesses, to sign a statement testifying that they had seen the golden plates.
Here is some excerpts from a great web site on Mormonism with 65 headings on the subject.
Some accounts refer to the seer stones as a pair of stones, set in eye frames to, resemble spectacles. Other accounts refer to a single seer stone by itself. Apparently the spectacle version was with the plates in the stone box. They were only used for translating just the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon and were then taken from Joseph by the angel along with the plates. The angel returned the plates but not the spectacle (Urim & Thummim.) After this, Joseph used the single seer stone that he had in his possession from before the Book of Mormon plates were retrieved.
The term “Urim & Thummim” is mentioned seven times in the Old Testament: (Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65; Deuteronomy 33:8; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 28:6.
In the latter two passages “Urim” is used alone. The Urim & Thummim described in the Old Testament appears to more of a “Yes/No” tool like a pair of dice, rather than an actual translation device. We know of no historian or Biblical scholar who claims that the Biblical Urim & Thummim had anything to do with “translating languages”, or that they resembled “giant spectacles” as BOM (Book of Mormon) as witnesses claimed. But the term (Urim and Thummim) did give the seer stone an air of Biblical authority to it so perhaps that’s why the church started using that term after 1833, and backdated, earlier references of ‘seer stone’ with (urim and thummim).
To go to this web site click on: www.mormonthink.com/transbomweb.htm
In his 1832 autobiography, Smith wrote, “he had a vision, in which God appeared, told him his sins were forgiven, and that all contemporary churches had “turned aside from the gospel.” Few people were told about this vision until the 1830s.
Development of the Mormon Church
Smith by 1830 came up with the yarn that God would use him to re-establish the Christian church and correct doctrine would come from the book of Mormon. So then in 1830, Smith and followers officially organized the so called Church of Christ. small branches were started in Palmyra and a couple of other towns in New York. As their church grew in New York the members were persecuted and to avoid persecution from those surrounding them they moved to Kirtland Ohio.
Moving to Kirtland Ohio in January 1831 there was further development of Smiths church. Unfortunately for Smith in 1832 dissenting mob tarred and feathered him. But the church grew as new converts poured into Kirtland. There were fifteen hundred to two thousand Mormons in the vicinity of Kirtland by the summer of 1835. They built a temple and setup a bank there. When the bank failed members suffered pressure from debt collectors and extreme price instability. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Smith on a banking fraud charge as he was held responsible for the failure, and there was widespread defections from the church.
Smith fled to Missouri, but sometime before the church left Kirtland or in Missouri, Smith changed the name of the church to “Church of Latter Day Saints.”
Smith and his followers spent some time in Missouri 1838 to 1839.) While in Missouri the church had many ups and downs. With problems that developed over the time spent there Governor Boggs ordered that the Mormons be exterminated or driven from the state. Smith had been arrested and jailed, but somehow got out and fled to Nauvoo Illinois.
Life in Nauvoo, Illinois, (1839 to 1844)
A new city (Nauvoo) came about while Smith was in Illinois and he early Nauvoo years were a period of doctrinal change. Baptism for the dead was introduced by Smith in 1840 and construction began in 1841 for the Nauvoo Temple, supposedly for recovering lost ancient knowledge.
Imprisonment and Death
Dissidents on June 7, 1844 published an article in the first (and only) issue of a newspaper calling for reform within the church. The printing press was ordered destroyed Fearing residents would come down on the Mormons. Weather Smith or The Nauvoo city council ordered is debatable.
Smith was charged with violating the First Amendment and his arrest was ordered by the governor of Illinois After the press was wrecked, There was widespread opposition to this newly comprised Morman religion and the governor feared opposing mobs would lynch him.
Joseph Smith was taken into custody by the state militia in Nauvoo, then he was locked up in the jail in Carthage Illinois by that militia, the jail was guarded by the militia that was stationed outside.
There were militiamen who strongly opposed him. They concealed their identities and when they approached the jail, the guards on duty did nothing to stop them.
Smith was in a cell on the second floor and On the second day of his imprisonment Sources say the disgruntled militiamen shot Smith as he ran for a window and at the same time he was shot from below by other militiamen. Falling to the ground he was shot more and he died at age thirty-eight.
Brigham Young became the new leader and he and his followers settled in the Utah Territory where they kept the name Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Plural marriage that Smith had instituted in Nauvoo began to openly be practice by the church in Utah During the 19th century The United States Congress by vigorous opposition threatened the existence of this Plural marriage call polygamy. Because of so much pressure from the US government the LDS Church discontinued the practice of polygamy in 1890.
A few of the unscriptural beliefs that became doctrine are:
When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is.
We shall see that he is a bman like ourselves.
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also
Doctrine and Covenants 130 1-22
How could Joseph Smith write so much? Book of Morman, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, Articles of Faith?
There are many authors that have written a large number of books. Some people are gifted for writing. It’s evident by reading his books they wern’t inspired. He’s trying to make it sound like it’s inspired, but it’s noticeably amateurish.
Problems Used in Smith’s Writings
- plagiarized from the King James Bible
- 22 For astrait is the gate, and narrow the bway that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the clives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.
Doctrine and Covenants 132
- Matthew 7:14 (KJV) “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”
- 12 I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall acome unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord.
Doctrine and Covenants 132
- John 14:6 (KJV) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”
- There’s a lot of the 17 century English used. For example, thee, ye, saith, whosesoever, belongeth, Nay.
Words Misspelled on purpose, here’s some:
- aAbraham = Abraham
- 29 aAbraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.
Doctrine and Covenants 132
- acommanded = commanded, bHagar = Hagar
- 34 God acommanded Abraham, and Sarah gave bHagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.
Doctrine and Covenants 132
- acommanded = commanded, bkill = kill, crighteousness = righteousness
- 36 Abraham was acommanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not bkill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for crighteousness.
The wonder is how could such a movement that Smith started become as big a religion world wide as it has become. You have to remember that back in the early days of the 1800s communications were slow in getting from town to town. People traveled by horse back or stage coach, railroads were slow in coming in, we had the telegraph, but long messages were slow in putting together. Probably this had an influence in allowing a cult like this to develop.
It’s evident many people can be talked into an erroneous following by leaders in many church groups, preachers etc and then winding up in members into accepting false teachings. Noteworthy is, Jehovah Witnesses, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Seventh Day Adventism, Christian Science for example, they got their start back in the mid 1800s..
Because of the departure from commonly accepted bible teachings people became enraged over Smiths movement, consequently they wanted it stopped. Unfortunately Smith was killed, this could of helped in his becoming a martyr, leading to the the expansion of Mormonism.. We see that by Brigham Young moving the church to the Utah territory, then Utah becoming a state it did grow into the world wide cult that it is and is still growing.
But by having faith in God those that have become members of the Mormon cult can have comfort in the fact that they can become a Christian by obeying the steps set forth in the New Testament.
- A good start on this site is the Introduction.
- See the article, Salvation.