LDS Articles of Faith, Part III
Article I, God the Father cont'd.
The first LDS Article of Faith begins: “We believe in God the Eternal Father,” but our last article quoted from the Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 4:1-31 that refers to “the Gods” 32 times in 31 verses. And Joseph Smith said, “The doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.370). The Bible speaks of the plurality of false gods or idols several times, but not a plurality of true “Gods!” Except for the reference to “the Gods,” Abraham 4:1-31 plagiarized much of the King James Version of Genesis 1:1-31 in the Bible. Immediately under the title “The Book of Abraham” it says, “Translated from the Papyrus by Joseph Smith.” Smith made copies or “facsimiles” of three of the Egyptian papyri and they are published in every copy of the "Book of Abraham" with Smith’s interpretation. Egyptologists reject Smith’s interpretation of the facsimiles in the "Book of Abraham" and claim they are just common Egyptian burial papyri. LDS try to answer those claims by saying that the facsimiles of papyri in the "Book of Abraham" are probably not the ones that Smith translated. If that is true, WHY are they in the "Book of Abraham"? Some LDS claim Smith looked at the papyri and was inspired to write the "Book of Abraham" by revelation. If that is true then the sub-title of the "Book of Abraham" saying, “Translated from the Papyrus by Joseph Smith” is not true! Any Egyptologist who sees the papyri can explain what they are. The Egyptian papyri are the only original language documents LDS have for any of their scriptures. That should raise questions about Smith’s other “translations” of LDS scripture because there are no original language documents for The Book of Mormon, “The Book of Moses” in The Pearl of Great Price and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Is Smith’s claim all that is needed?
Smith wrote the “Book of Moses” before he wrote the “Book of Abraham” in The Pearl of Great Price Under the title: the “Book of Moses” in the Pearl of Great Price, a brief introduction says, “An extract from the translation of the Bible as revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet, June 1830—February 1833.” From that introduction you can see that Smith wrote a “translation” of the Bible. It has been called the “Inspired Version” but LDS now prefer to call it the “Joseph Smith Translation” or “JST.” "Moses" 2:1-31 has the exact same content as Genesis 1:31 in Smith’s JST Bible except the chapter and verse numbers are different. Smith didn’t know either Greek or Hebrew, so how did he “translate” the entire Bible in the brief time mentioned above? The only document Smith had was a copy of the English King James Version of the Bible. How did Smith “translate” that English Bible by “revelation” into his English JST? A translation translates a message in one language into another language so it can be understood. But Smith “translated” his English JST from an English King James Bible!
“Moses” 2:1-31, like Abraham 4:1-31 in the Pearl of Great Price plagiarized much of Genesis 1:1-31 of the King James Version of the Bible. But there is one huge difference. Moses 2:3-5 says, “And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light. 4. And I, God, saw the light; and that light was good. And I, God divided the light from the darkness. 5. And I, God called the light Day, and the darkness I called Night; and this I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spoke; and the evening and the morning were the first day.” Notice in “Moses” chapter two in the Pearl of Great Price that “God” Himself is speaking and He always uses the singular pronoun “I” concerning what He created. In the 31 verses of that chapter He said “I God” 29 times and “I” another 25 times for a total of 54 times! The “I God” in Moses chapter two never mentioned any other “Gods.” But in the “Book of Abraham” 4:1-31 there is a plurality of “Gods” and the Gods are mentioned 32 times in its 31 verses. And it is “the Gods” who do the creating. Since “Moses” and “Abraham” are both books of LDS scripture in the Pearl of Great Price it is no wonder Mormons are sometimes confused about “God!” Abraham 4:1-31 and Moses 2:1-31 are both stories of creation and both have 31 verses just like the story of creation in Genesis 1:1-31 in the Bible! Not only do they have the same number of verses but the contents follow the exact order of Genesis 1:1-31 in the King James Version of the Bible and both even use the King James language of 1611 AD! Is that a coincidence or is it just plain plagiarism? English in England in 1611 AD was not the same English spoken in the USA in the 1830’s when Smith supposedly translated both “Moses” and “Abraham.” So, why would an omniscient God have Smith translate those books into an archaic language they didn’t speak?
We are still discussing the first LDS Article of Faith which says “We believe in God the Eternal Father…” even though some discussion may seem to be about something else. LDS believe they have a “living Prophet” and they claim their leaders will never lead them astray. But some LDS Prophets have said some strange things. For example, at the LDS General Conference on April 9, 1852 Brigham Young, the 2nd LDS Prophet said, “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…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…Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now remember from this time forth and forever, that Jesus Christ was NOT begotten by the Holy Ghost” (Journal of Discourses, vol. I, pp. 50-51). Brigham Young taught this doctrine for several years, and in the Deseret News on June 14, 1873 he said God revealed this doctrine to him. But some LDS leaders rejected it and it was still controversial until the LDS Semi-Annual Conference in October 1976 when the twelfth LDS Prophet, Spencer Kimball, pronounced it false doctrine and said it was only “alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations.” But none of the ten LDS Prophets between Brigham Young and Spencer Kimball questioned it or said it was wrong! And the fourth LDS Prophet, Wilford Woodruff said, “The Lord will never allow me or any other man who stands as President of this (LDS) Church to lead you (LDS) astray” (Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration—1). Since Woodruff’s statement is in the Doctrine and Covenants it is now considered LDS scripture. Several LDS leaders have quoted Woodruff’s statement to try to keep LDS members loyal to the Prophet and the LDS Church. But, obviously both Brigham Young’s “Adam God doctrine” and Spencer Kimball’s rejection of it can’t be true. So, LDS Prophets can lead the LDS Church astray on some doctrines. A close look at LDS history will show that there were a number of times when an LDS Prophet promoted a belief that is now rejected by the LDS Church.
We will continue our discussion of the first Article of Faith next time.