Should we trust Mormon Leaders like Joseph Smith or Brigham Young? What about more current L.D.S Leaders like Gordon B Hinckley? I was raised a Mormon myself yet I came to the conclusion that the answer to these questions is no!
You can click on “LDS Leaders” to start reading at the beginning of this topic or use the page index to jump to the part that interest you most.
To see index for all topics on Mormonism click on “Mormonism Index” above
See Free PDF Books for list of downloadable Mormon Books quoted from here.
Overview of content in this section is as follows:
PAGE INDEX (LDS Prophets)
Some people look into Smith’s past and ask was Joseph Smith a crook? My question addressed here is far more basic; was he honest?
Joseph Smith was the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have already offered evidence showing that he was a false prophet. Let’s next ask the question, “Was Smith himself deluded, or was he simply dishonest?”
If a heavenly messenger visited me and had conversations with me, I am quite sure it is something I would not forget. Yet, there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the events of Joseph's first visions, or encounters. Either Joseph Smith could not clearly recall the facts surrounding these events, or other L.D.S. authorities altered the stories that are now the foundation of the church. Let’s consider some of these visions.
First vision, version #1
“The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision”, pgs.280-281
In this account Joseph was sixteen years old, and he was not praying to find out which church was true; he already knew they were all wrong. He was seeking forgiveness of sin and Jesus alone appeared to him and granted him forgiveness.
First vision, version #2
In this account Joseph was fourteen, and his tongue seemed swollen so that he could not pray. Two beings appeared to him in this account; the entities are unidentified. Smith also saw many angels in this account.
First vision, version #3
In this account Joseph was fifteen, and he was seeking to know which church was true. Two beings appeared to him and one of them said "this is my beloved Son, hear Him"; it is presumed that these entities were God the Father and Jesus. Smith was told to join none of the churches. There is no mention of forgiveness of sins, or angels.
Gold plates message, version #1
"Letter IV", pg.77 (PDF pg. 77-89)
In this account Joseph was seventeen years old and the angel Moroni appeared to him and forgave him of his sins. Moroni then proceeded to inform Smith of the “Plates”, which Smith was to later translate into the Book of Mormon.
Gold plates message, version #2
In this account Joseph was between fourteen and fifteen years old when the angel Nephi appeared to him, informing him of the “Plates”. There is no mention of forgiveness of sins.
Some Mormons would have us believe that these accounts are various views of the same events. Perhaps, after receiving such a visitation, one might forget his exact age at the time of the visitation — but certainly he would remember the name of an angel who appeared with news about gold plates. And surely he would remember whether Jesus alone appeared in the vision, or whether it was “God the Father” as well as Jesus, and whether or not there was a multitude of accompanying angels. Another discrepancy: in one version, Smith is praying for discernment regarding determination of the true church; in another version, Smith already knew that no church was true, so he was not praying for such discernment. Rather, he was praying for forgiveness of sins. Why do the same stories have different versions? We must consider the obvious explanation: there was no first vision at all, and Joseph Smith (or some other early church leader), concocted the whole story. The contrasts in the stories hold stronger to the idea that the stories are a lie, than they do to the idea that there are simply different versions of the same events.
Other interesting quotes concerning this subject.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.2, by Brigham Young. February 18, 1855, pg.171 (PDF pg. 179)
Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, by John Taylor. March 2nd, 1879, pgs. 166-168
(John Taylor was the third president of the church) (PDF pg.175)
Journal of Discourses, Vol.12, by George Albert Smith. November 15, 1868, pg.334,
(George Albert Smith was sustained first counselor in the first presidency in 1868)
(PDF pg. 342)
Why do they not teach it was an angel that appeared to Joseph now?
What about a more current prophet like
Gordon B. Hinckley?
Since Joseph Smith is the founder of the Mormon Church and he was a false prophet and a dishonest man, it is not reasonable to expect the church to be true today.
It is well known that the Mormon Church teaches that God was once a man and that we may become a God. I went to the library and obtained two articles in which Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008; fifteenth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) was interviewed. These are (A) the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, April 13, 1997. This is a seven-page article beginning on page 3/Z1; and (B) Time Magazine, 8-4-1997, pgs. 51-57. In the San Francisco Chronicle Don Lattin asked Gordon B Hinckley, “There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don't Mormons believe that God was once a man?" Hinckley's answer was," I wouldn't say that. There is a little couplet coined, ‘As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.’ Now that's more than a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about."
The reporters for Time Magazine were S.C. Gwynne and Richard N. Ostling. Their article included the following about Hinckley."On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he sounded uncertain. ‘I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it...I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don't know a lot about it, and I don't think others know a lot about it.’”
I find it quite interesting that Hinckley said, “I don't know that we teach it", as well as, “That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about.”and,“I don't know a lot about it, and I don't think others know a lot about it."Joseph Smith, James Talmage, and Bruce McConkie seem to have known.
Articles of Faith by James Talmage. Ch.24, pgs.430-431 (PDF pg. 457-458)
Mormon Doctrineby Bruce R. McConkie. Pg.321 (PDF pg. 117)
“Joseph Smith said: ‘God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! 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. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. "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, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. . . . [Such persons are] heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a god, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before (Teachings, pp. 345-347).” Again: "Every man who reigns in celestial glory is a god to his dominions (Teachings, p. 374).”
Should we conclude that a current president of the Mormon Church does not know Mormon doctrine? I find this very unlikely. We are then left with two options: (1) the doctrine of God is currently being changed by the Mormon Church; or (2) Gordon B. Hinckley lied. I came to the conclusion that he lied. Although I cannot speak of Hinckley’s motivation to lie, one truth to consider is that this teaching (man becoming as God) could hinder missionaries who are striving to gain converts into the Mormon faith. Mormon missionaries certainly do not come to your door and say, “God was once a man, and you can become a God.”Nor do they say, “Jesus and Lucifer are brothers” I believe if L.D.S missionarieswere up front about these L.D.S. teachings, fewer people would become Mormons.
Reference Notation: Teachings of Lorenzo Snow p. 2“As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may be.”
THE AUTHORITY OF L.D.S. LEADERS? OR THE ARROGANCE?
The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff,pgs. 212-213
Journal of Discourses, Vol.6, pg.32, Heber C. Kimball, November 8, 1857 (PDF pg.40)
Louis Midgley, Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, pg.11
History of the Church Vol.6, Ch.19, pg.408 (Joseph Smith is speaking) (PDF pg. 2432)
If Joseph Smith was not a follower of Jesus Christ, then whom was he following?
BRIGHAM YOUNG TAUGHT THAT ADAM WAS GOD
Journal of Discourses Vol.1, pgs.50-51(Brigham Young, April 9, 1852) (PDF pg.58)
Journal of Discourses, Vol.5, pgs.331-332 (Brigham Young, October 7, 1857)
Adam-God references can also be found in
BRIGHAM YOUNG'S WORDS ARE AS GOOD AS SCRIPTURE:
Journal of Discourses, Vol.13, pg.95 (Brigham Young, January 2, 1870) (PDF pg. 103)
Page Index (Death of Joseph Smith)
JOSEPH SMITH WAS NOT A MARTYR.
Smith died in a gunfight shooting at those who were trying to kill him. I am not implying that it is wrong to defend yourself when a mob comes to kill you; my argument is simply that Smith did not die as a martyr.
D&C 135:4 (PDF LDS Scripture pg. 847)
Read the account. Ask yourself if it describes a “lamb led to slaughter”, or a martyr?
History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.34, pg.617 (PDF pg. 2580)
“In the meantime Joseph, Hyrum, and Elder Taylor had their coats off. Joseph sprang to his coat for his six-shooter, Hyrum for his single barrel, Taylor for Markham’s large hickory cane, and Dr. Richards for Taylor’s cane. All sprang against the door, the balls whistled up the stairway, and in an instant one came through the door.
“Joseph Smith, John Taylor and Dr. Richards sprang to the left of the door, and tried to knock aside the guns of the ruffians.
“Hyrum was retreating back in front of the door and snapped his pistol, when a ball struck him in the left side of his nose, and he fell on his back on the floor saying, ‘I am a dead man!’ As he fell on the floor another ball from the outside entered his left side, and passed through his body with such force that it completely broke to pieces the watch he wore in his vest pocket, and at the same instant another ball from the door grazed his breast, and entered his head by the throat; subsequently a fourth ball entered his left leg. A shower of balls was pouring through all parts of the room, many of which lodged in the ceiling just above the head of Hyrum.
“Joseph reached round the door casing, and discharged his six shooter into the passage, some barrels missing fire. Continual discharges of musketry came into the room. Elder Taylor continued parrying the guns until they had got them about half their length into the room, when he found that resistance was vain, and he attempted to jump out of the window, where a ball fired from within struck him on his left thigh, hitting the gone, and passing through to within half an inch of the other side. He fell on the window sill, when a ball fired from the outside struck his watch in his vest pocket, and threw him back into the room.
“After he fell into the room he was hit by two more balls, one of them injuring his left wrist considerably, and the other entering at the side of the bone just below the left knee. He rolled under the bed, which was at the right side of the window in the south-east corner of the room.
“While he lay under the bed he was fired at several times from the stairway; one ball struck him on the left hip, which tore the flesh in a shocking manner, and large quantities of blood were scattered upon the wall and floor.
“When Hyrum fell, Joseph exclaimed, ‘Oh dear, brother Hyrum!’ and opening the door a few inches he discharged his six shooter in the stairway (as stated before), two or three barrels of which missed fire.
“Joseph, seeing there was no safety in the room, and no doubt thinking that it would save the lives of his brethren in the room if he could get out, turned calmly from the door, dropped his pistol on the floor and sprang into the window when two balls pierced him from the door, and one entered his right breast from without, and he fell outward into the hands of his murderers, exclaiming, ‘O Lord, my God!’”