MORMONS(Investigator 40, 1995 January)
are taken from
appeared in the Daily
of Sterling Rock Falls
(150km west of Chicago, USA).
Different view of Mormon event
I just had to comment on your article, "Mormons Mark 150 Years" because of the many inaccuracies. Honest journalism demands you tell it like it is.
The Smith brothers were IN the jail – not "near" it. They were not in the jail for destroying The Expositor, the newspaper exposing Joseph Smith for teaching polytheism (many gods) and practicing polygamy (many wives). The paper was written by some of the leading Mormons who believed Smith to be a fallen prophet. The Smiths were in the jail for TREASON.
The article reported 3,000 people in attendance, but a neutral reporter numbered the crowd to be around 600 (The New Independent, p. 1, Wed. June 29,1994).
The article neglected to mention a very important fact. That the Smiths were armed and Joseph killed two men and wounded another who died shortly after the exchange of gunfire in the jail. This is documented in the Mormons' own History of the Church, Vol. 7, p. 103.
The article said the Mormons considered themselves Christians but they teach God is a glorified polygamous man of flesh and bones, who literally sired Jesus. And that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers. And men can become gods. This is not Christianity! LDS Elder Ted Cannon, who when he was serving as the head of the Nauvoo Restoration Inc. aptly expressed it and drew the distinction when he said, Carthage was to Joseph Smith's followers what Calvary was to Christians (Journal Star, Peoria, Sun. Jun 26,1988, p.D3).
I realize Mormons can call themselves and believe what they like and can honor Joseph Smith and call him a "martyr." But "Scoring second in a shoot-out does not a martyr make."
From a former Morman, now a Christian,
Director, Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center
Editor's note: The story in question was an Associated Press report.
She's got Mormons all wrong
I have just finished reading Colleen Ralson's view of the Mormon faith, and I was deeply disturbed by her remark implying that Mormons are not Christians. My best friend is a Mormon, and she is deeply faithful. I believe that she loves God with her whole heart, an attribute that I greatly admire and respect in her.
Whatever Ms. Ralson may know about Joseph Smith, doesn't mean that she is an expert on all Mormon beliefs and actions. It is not right to base the Christianity of a people on actions prior to their lifetime. My friend, her family, and her church all believe in God and his son, Jesus Christ. They read and follow the Bible, just as other CHRISTIANS do. The only difference between them and other religions is that they have The Book of Mormon as a companion to the Bible.
I hope Ms. Ralson will take a second look at Christianity and her beliefs. To believe in Christ is to be a Christian. My Mormon friend believes in Christ with all her heart.
Illinois, Tuesday, August
Straight from the mouth of an ex-Mormon
Could I respond with a few statements in reply to Angie Bazzell's letter concerning Mormons being Christian?
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, claimed God told him: All Christian churches were in error, all their creeds were an abomination, and all who practice Christianity were corrupt! (Joseph Smith History; in The Pearl of Great Price, a Mormon scripture, page 49.) John Taylor, the third Mormon Prophet, said Christianity was hatched in hell and a perfect pack of nonsense. (Journal of Discourses, 6:167). And the Book of Mormon (which is the best Anti-Mormonism book around) calls anyone a "fool" who believes in the Bible (2 Nephi 12:30). Yet another LDS scripture Doctrine and Covenants, section 1, tell us there is only one true church upon the face of the earth. Of course it is the Mormon Church.
No, Ms. Bazzell, I do not claim to be an "expert" on Mormonism; however, I have many friends who are. My degrees are in nursing and law enforcement, and I have a two-year diploma from a Bible college. But I was a fourth generation Mormon and a member for over 35 years, and attended two years of LDS seminary, and have studied Mormonism and have been a missionary to the Mormons for the last 20 years. I have written three books on Mormon scriptures, and have led many Mormons to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. When I was a Mormon we did not want to be considered Christians – because God had told Joseph Smith all Christian churches were wrong. But now they can give comfort and legitimacy to themselves, and can proselytize better by calling themselves Christians.
Who would know more about Mormonism – Mormon prophets and Mormon scriptures, whom I quoted, or you Ms. Bazzell, a person who had a Mormon friend? Having a Mormon friend does not qualify one to speak for her LDS friend, her LDS friend's family, and the whole Mormon church.
Just "believing" does not make one a Christian! The Muslims "believe," and the Bible says, "Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19). What and in whom one believes, puts his trust, and follows, is what makes one a Christian.
I love the Mormon people – but Mormonism is wrong! I do not put down the Mormon people. I lift up the Jesus of the Bible!
In His service,
Try some of that Christian behavior
I feel the need to respond to the article by Colleen Ralson, director of Nauvoo Christian Visitor's Center.
Apparently this so-called "ex-Mormon" still doesn't know what our faith is all about. She claims to be a fourth-generation Mormon and a member for 35 years I wonder what she was doing in 35 years. She certainly wasn't learning anything about "her" religion. And she obviously didn't take the time to memorize the 13 Articles of Faith that is the tenet of our religion.
If she had, she wouldn't be making such improper and erroneous statements. Heaven protect us from all the so-called experts that seem to know more about our religion than we do. For the benefit of all who have read her letter in which she denounces those of us whom she so "dearly loves," let me set the record straight. This is what we believe.
The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgressions.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6. We believe in the same Organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, pastors, teachers, evangelists and so forth.
7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
8. 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.
9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the new Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God, according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men that same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, and sustaining the laws of the land.
13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul. We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to be endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
These, Ms. Ralson, were written by Joseph Smith, the founder of our Church and a prophet of God.
These Articles of Faith, Ms. Ralson, are memorized by our youth by the time they are 12 years old. What were you doing at the age of 12 when you should have been memorizing these articles of faith? If you were, indeed, a member of our church you would know better than to say we weren't Christians. I suppose you call Martin Luther a non-Christian because He broke away from the Christian religions in his time and formed a new faith because he felt the inspiration that the churches of his time had lost their way and no longer practiced the faith as Christ had taught.
Furthermore, if you had actually spent 35 years in our church you would know that we do not waste time attacking other religions.
Please, Ms. Ralson, before you decide to campaign with letters to newspapers against another religion, do everyone a favor and do a better research job. Better yet, just let everyone have their own beliefs and let them practice their own religion without persecuting them. Try a little Christian behavior.<>Donna Portner
Mormonism does attack other faiths
I must respond to Donna Portner's criticism of me in her letter. Yes, Ms. Portner, I memorized the 13 articles of faith when I was a 10-year-old Mormon. How can you say I did not when you did not know me then or know me now?
These articles of faith were not written by Joseph Smith. They were copied from his cousin Orson Pratt's writings, according to a current Mormon writer, Breck England, in his book "The Life and Thought of Orson Pratt." Why would a "prophet" need to plagiarize? And were you aware, Ms. Portner, that originally there were 14 articles of faith, not 13? See "Joseph Smith Begins His Work," Vol. 2. And the first ones stated they did believe the Bible – not just "as far as it is translated correctly."
My statements that you called "improper and erroneous" were all documented from Mormon scriptures, Mormon prophets and leaders. I made no unkind rude remarks about any Mormon person. However, Mormonism still attacks other churches. See "Pearl of Great Price," Joseph Smith History, 1:18, 19. I will say to their credit, the LDS did remove, in 1990, the portion from their temple ceremony where they mock Christian ministers calling them hirelings of Satan.
Ms. Portner, I would like to invite you or anyone else interested, to attend the Rock Falls Community Youth Center, 603 W. 10th St., on Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. where I will be one of the speakers at the "Countering the Cults Seminar."
I will be happy to answer your questions at 2 p.m. and show you documentation.
In His service,
Nauvoo, Ill. 62354
Only one way to heaven
The letter from Donna Portner claiming that Mormons are Christians should not go unanswered. She states that they believe both the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
There is much disagreement between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. What do you do then? The Bible tells us that we cannot have two masters. Matt.6:24 If you follow Joseph Smith you are Mormon. If you follow Jesus Christ you are a Christian. It's that simple.
She also states that they believe the New Jerusalem will be built upon the American continent. The Bible teaches that Christ will return to the Mount of Olives, the same place where He ascended into heaven. Acts 1:11, 12 and Zech. 14:4.
She claimed that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Before the Bible was written God spoke to people through His prophets. He does not need or use prophets in modem times because we have His completed word. Deut. 18:21,22 tells us how we can know if a prophet is from God. When God's man prophesied it came to pass 100 percent of the time. Today's prophets are not always correct.
She advocated letting all men "worship how or what they may." It takes courage for a Christian to speak up and let the truth be known. It is not a popular thing to do. If we are ashamed of Jesus and his words, He will also be ashamed of us. Mark 8:38 The apostle Paul wrote, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto Salvation to everyone that believeth." Rom. 1:16
Jesus was intolerant of other religions and so we must be. The world teaches that all religions are different roads to the same place – heaven. The Bible teaches just the opposite. It tells us that salvation is found only through faith in death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God became flesh and dwelt among us. The Creator is also our Savior. Isn't that thrilling! What more could we desire? The greatest peace on Earth comes from knowing that we have a home in Heaven with Him for all eternity.