LDS Articles of Faith, Part XLII
Article 8, LDS Scripture, Book of Mormon, Part 9
The eighth LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” Our previous blogs discussed how LDS leaders question the reliability of the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon (B. of M.). Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, even said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194). Smith gave this message on Sunday, Nov. 28, 1841 (History of the (LDS) Church, vol. 4, P. 461). LDS revere Joseph Smith almost as much as Jesus, and they often quote the above statement. In it Smith said: The B. of M. is the most correct book on earth. If that was true in 1841, why have LDS leaders made more than 4,000 changes in it since then? How did they change “the most correct book on earth” without any original language document available? Smith said that about the B. of M. even though there is no historical or archaeological evidence supporting the B. of M. He said the B. of M. is the keystone of the LDS religion. A “keystone” means it is essential. But the B. of M. contains no unique LDS doctrines! Most of the LDS doctrines are in the Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) and many LDS leaders say it is the most important of all LDS Scriptures for that reason. Smith said, “A man would get nearer to God by abiding by its (the B. of M.) precepts than by any other book.” A precept is a rule of behavior or teaching. Was Smith wrong about the B. of M.?
The B. of M. doesn’t even mention many of the key LDS doctrines and practices that LDS are now told are essential to enter God’s Celestial Kingdom. The B. of M. doesn’t say that God the Father is married and that there is a heavenly Mother or Mothers too. It doesn’t say that God was once a man on another planet and through eternal progression He became God. Nor does it say God the Father now has a body of flesh and bones, but D. & C. 130:22 does! It doesn’t mention that every mortal was born first as a literal spirit child of a Heavenly Father and Mother in a pre-mortal spirit world or that Jesus and Lucifer were spirit brothers of all of us in that pre-mortal world. Nor does it say that Jesus was the first-born baby spirit of God the Father and Mother and he is our elder brother. It doesn’t mention eternal progression which is the means whereby LDS can also become gods like the LDS “Heavenly Father” did. It doesn’t say that baptism for the dead will help save the dead, nor does it mention eternal marriage which LDS are told is necessary to enter the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom where God is. Nor does it say anyone can be baptized and married by proxy on behalf of people who are dead. It doesn’t mention three LDS heavens, nor does it describe who will go to each heaven. No temple rites or special clothing are mentioned in the B. of M. It doesn’t say one must have a special priesthood or God won’t accept what is done for Him. Devout LDS today are taught that most of the doctrines above are essential to believe and practice to receive salvation and exaltation. But Smith said, “A man would get nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of B. of M than by any other book.” That includes the D. & C. since it was first published in 1835 and Smith gave the above message in 1841. Was Smith wrong when he said the B. of M. would get one nearer to God than any other book, or are LDS wrong to teach things that aren’t in it, but which they say are necessary to spend eternity with God?
The introduction in the front of every B. of M. says it “contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” The introductions over D. & C. Sections 20 and 27 also say they are “revelations from the Lord” to Joseph Smith. And D. & C. 20:9 and 27:5 say the B. of M. contains “the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” The word “fulness” means it is “whole, complete, entire, lacking nothing.” Some of the LDS doctrines just mentioned are considered essential to inherit God’s best in eternity, but they are not in the B. of M., so how can the B. of M. contain “the fulness of the everlasting gospel?” If the Lord said the B. of M. contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel,” anything added to that “fulness” would distort it! Surely “the Lord” knows what “fulness” means since He “knows all things” (I John 3:20). The B. of M. is important to LDS, but it doesn’t contain many of their doctrines or the fulness of their gospel. In fact, it sometimes contradicts LDS teachings and practices!
Joseph Smith taught that there are things LDS can do to help save their dead relatives and among them are baptism and marriage for the dead. According to LDS teachings this must be done by living LDS who have a qualified temple recommend and stand as proxy for the dead in an LDS Temple. The B. of M. doesn’t say anything about saving the dead. And Alma 34:34-35 says, “Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crises (death), that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.” Alma 42:13a says, “According to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary (earthly) state.” Alma 42:16 also says, ”Now repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.” Do these verses sound like proxy baptisms, marriages, etc. for the dead will help save them? Moroni 8:22-23 says, “For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such, baptism availeth nothing—but is a mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.” But LDS regularly get baptized, married etc. by proxy for dead people who didn’t have God’s law!
Mormons are told that their latter-day scriptures clarify unclear Bible doctrines. III Nephi 12:2 says, “Blessed are they who shall believe in your words and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized…for they shall receive a remission of their sins.” But D. & C. 20:37 says those who “truly manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into His church.” Does baptism remit sin or is remission of sins a qualification to be baptized?
The next blog will discuss the 9th LDS Article of Faith.