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What Do Mormons Believe (The God Makers)?

The following is a book review of The God Makers, by Ed Decker and Dave Hunt. It takes the reader through the beliefs of the Mormon church. (For a book review of Is Mormonism Christian? by Gordon H. Frazier, and Mormonism: Shadow or Reality, by Gerald and Sandra Tanner, please see What Do Mormons Believe?)

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith founded Mormonism in the early 19th century as a new religion closely related to the ancient pagan mystery religions, Hinduism, and Masonry, but carrying the Christian label. "He was able to convince his followers that he was even greater than Jesus Christ" (pg. 46). Smith said, "The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latterday Saints never ran away from me yet." Decker and Hunt say, "In spite of the name of Jesus Christ being on the Church letterhead, it is to Joseph Smith that the Mormons look for their redemption" (ppg 40-41). President Joseph Fielding Smith
said, "(There is) no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith." "Like Krishna, the Mormon Jesus saves only the righteous" (pg. 60). "The Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible and of Christians, but the literal brother of Lucifer in the 'premortal existence'" (pg. 199). Smith also claimed that Christ would return in 1891 (pg. 227). This failed prophecy in itself disqualifies Smith as a prophet (Deuteronomy. 18:22).

The Book of Mormon

Joseph Smith told a tale that he had discovered golden plates with hieroglyphics on them, and he translated this ancient language with a "seer stone" (pg. 81), resulting in his Book of Mormon which was allegedly first written in 600-500 BC. It (along with various other Mormon documents translated from various other "discovered" plates and other sources) makes some very imaginative claims. Not only have these hieroglyphics and other claims proven to be fraudulent, but Mormon archaeologists and anthropologists admit that no one knows the location of even one Book of Mormon city or geographical site.

The Book of Mormon contained so many outrageous claims, obvious contradictions, absurdities, and childish grammatical errors that over 4000 changes have been made to it to correct Joseph Smith's mistakes. Even B.H. Roberts, eminent Mormon historian and General Authority of the Church admits that the evidence points not to divine authorship, but to Joseph Smith as its imaginative but uneducated author. He cites a "lack of perspective in the things the book relates as history that points quite clearly to an undeveloped mind as their origin. The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency" (pg. 111). He goes on to agree that it's full of absurdities and lapses. Here are some examples of the grammatical errors:
  • "it were easy to guard them"
  • "I were about to write them"
  • "the priests was not to depend"
  • "they was angry with me"
  • "things which is not seen"
  • "he found Muloki a preaching"
The Book of Mormon also plagiarize many early American books, and it copies entire chapters of the Bible. It contains hundreds of quotes from the New Testament although it was supposedly written about 600 years before the New Testament books. Not only that, all the quotes are in King James English! It also contains an incredible story about Christ's alleged visit to America. Many other Mormon documents are the result of similar cut-and-paste jobs.

Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt said of the Book of Mormon, "If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions."

Salvation by Works

Mormons believe that they earn their salvation through their works and obedience to thousands of church laws, rather than by faith as the Bible teaches (Gal. 2:16). They even claim, "Paul knew . . . that obedience to Christ's law was necessary for salvation" (pg. 137). As a result, through misguided counsel, many Mormons practice high moral standards.

Gods

As the title of the book implies, Mormons believe they will eventually become gods. They believe that the universe is populated with gods and goddesses with physical, resurrected bodies that were once mortal. "The belief that Satan told the truth and that Adam and Eve did the right thing in following him instead of God comprises the very heart of Mormonism" (pg. 30). Decker and Hunt indicate that there are trillions of gods in Mormonism; even more than in Hinduism (pg. 74).

Preexistence

This belief about becoming gods easily yields to the related doctrine of preexistence. They believe they "lived before coming to this earth" (pg. 25), in their own version of reincarnation.

African-Americans

Brigham Young said that African-Americans "never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises" (ppg. 23-24). Also, under Mormonism, the penalty for marrying an African-American is death on the spot (pg. 232).

Paganism

Decker and Hunt present Mormonism as a revival of ancient pagan myths and practices under Christian labels. The Mystery Religions, pagan rivals of Christianity, taught emphatically the doctrine that "men may become Gods" pg. 27).

Polygamy

Mormons believe they can only reach godhood through partnership with a spouse, which they call "celestial marriage" (pg. 35). Joseph Smith and Brigham Young declared that only polygamists could become gods. Mormons are also encouraged to produce as many children as possible, in order to produce more gods and bring more glory to themselves. Although women can become goddesses, their role is somewhat submissive, remaining eternally pregnant and bearing children forever.

Prophets

"The Mormon is obligated to believe whatever Mormonism's Prophet, Seer, and Revelator living at the time says, no matter if it contradicts the Bible or even Joseph Smith" (pg. 34). Joseph Fielding Smith said, "'at every General Conference of the Church,' the speakers are giving forth Scripture that is equal to anything in the Book of Mormon or the Bible" (page 42). However, one major problem is that all the prophets contradict each other. For example, Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was critical for salvation, but Brigham Young said the New Testament alone would do (ppg. 109-110).

Secret Rituals

"At the very center of the LDS faith are the Temples with their secret pagan ceremonies," (pg. 63) where Mormons use secret knowledge, occult rituals, and redemption of the dead which reveals their belief that death is neither real nor final. In Mormonism, those who die aren't really dead but can still communicate with the living and join the Mormon Church beyond the grave, while in a Mormon purgatory called the "spirit prison." The secret rituals are practiced both for the living and by proxy for the dead. This practice is defended using 1 Corinthians. 15:28, but while it actually refers to a pagan practice, Mormons misinterpret it to apply to Christians. Decker and Hunt believe that this communication with the dead and apparitions is demonic, as with the practices of necromancy in many other cults. They go so far as to cite Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible which refers to an evil being obsessed with the dead as "Mormo," whose followers would be called Mormons (pg. 72).

Mormon Temple rituals include many carryovers from Masonic rituals, including secret names, penalties, blood oaths, grips, tokens, Masonic markings, the square, the compass, the beehive, astrological symbols, the all-seeing eye of occultism, and the upside-down five-pointed start, which is the symbol of Satanism. Decker and Hunt say, "This is the play-acting of children's fantasies, the stuff of myths" (pg. 190).

Secrecy

Decker and Hunt note that this secrecy is contrary to Christianity. In Mormonism, as in Masonry, only those of the very highest degrees are aware of the true nature of their religion. About 70 percent of Mormons "don't know what takes place inside their own Temples" (pg. 198). However, Jesus said, "I spoke openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue and in the temple where the Jews always resort, and in secret have I said nothing" (John. 18:20). Most Mormons seem to succumb to the circular reasoning that, since they are destined to be gods, they must be right (pg. 237).

Summary

Decker and Hunt note, "To think critically for oneself is not only discouraged by the Mormon hierarchy but is considered to be inspired by the Devil" (pg. 186). Repeating Orson Pratt's words, "If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions."

Owen Weber 2009