When is a Mormon not a Mormon? When the “church’s president” says so. Last August, President Russell M. Nelson announced a new divine revelation. Members were to refer to themselves only as belonging to “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Members should no longer refer to themselves as “Mormons.” Even the abbreviation, L.D.S., was vetoed but the shortened, “Latter-day Saints” was okay.
Nelson’s announcement said that the change did not apply to the Book of Mormon, however. Since the president of the Church is considered to be a living prophet, his word supersedes all others including the Bible.
The questionable reputation of Founder Joseph Smith and the Mormon view of the Bible make it difficult to see this movement as part of the family of God. Reliable accounts place Smith as a small-town charlatan with extraordinary persuasive powers. His grand scheme of discovering golden plates is only supported by dubious witnesses until the plates disappeared entirely.
Their view of the Bible is that it contains many incorrect translations, particularly where it contradicts the Book of Mormon or their other two sacred books, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
The Book of Mormon is the central scripture, supposedly translated into English from Reformed Egyptian by Smith using some form of magic glasses. Yet the real authority resides in the President and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The Book of Mormon itself, has been “corrected” over 4,000 times.
Downplaying the title of “Mormon” is only part of a rebranding. Several strategies have been used recently to try to identify with the broader Christian community. This change shifts the emphasis of the name to “Jesus Christ” from the label of Mormonism which has always been viewed by Bible believers as a cult instead of a Christian denomination.
Their advertised position of who is Jesus sounds very biblical. But they have not come forward with a denial of the fact that Mormonism teaches that He was a brother to Lucifer and won out His plan of salvation in a contest with his brother. (See Secrets Mormons Don’t Want You to Know, by Benson; page 40.)
When you examine in depth the Mormon doctrine of Jesus, you find a very different person from Christ in the Bible. Benson documents their teaching that Jesus was born of God’s physical sex with Mary, had to strive for godhood by good works, was only accepted into the “celestial kingdom” after His baptism by John, had children by His many wives, and was crucified because of His polygamy.
Much of the book of Mormon is based on a supposed visit to the Americas by Jesus after his crucifixion where He met with native tribes including one called the Nephites. The Book of Mormon tells of prophets like Mormon and his son, Moroni, in the Americas. Moroni was supposedly the one who appeared to Joseph Smith and revealed the location of the golden plates on which Smith based the Book of Mormon. Like the tribes, no historical evidence has ever been found to prove this fairy tale or the existence of the plates.
The whole narrative pieced together by Joseph Smith and his successors reads like the grand delusions of a schizophrenic. Yet, 16 million people are deceived by it. Much of the sordid history of Joseph Smith and the twisted doctrines of his followers is now freely available on the internet. This may be why the public relations campaign to look less “Mormon” and more like a legitimate part of Jesus’ church.
However, Mormons teach a works salvation and false spirit world and the deluded members of that unbiblical cult need Biblical truth. Chick Publications has one tract The Visitors and two paperbacks, Answers to My Mormon Friends and Secrets Mormons Don’t Want You to Know, and a Crusader Comic, The Enchanter to help soul winners guide them to the true Jesus Christ. Visit www.chick.com for more information or call (909) 987-0771 for a free catalog.