Introduction to Understanding Mormonism
Our purpose is to help you to know the facts about Mormonism, how it started and how it has evolved to what it is today.
After you study our topics included here, you can help those Mormons who are willing to check and investigate, discover that their testimonies or feelings about the truthfulness of the LDS Church do not agree with the recorded facts. No matter how strongly one may feel about something, feelings must agree with the truth. No illogical statement can be true, and no statement can be true if it is not consistent with others that are already known to be true.
The story of the Mormon Church is only 181 years old (1830-2011). It is not hard to investigate. The LDS Church has kept good records, and we must examine them from the time period they were written, not just re-written and/or sanitized versions most Mormons are familiar with.
If the story of Joseph Smith I (Rauni) was told by the missionaries would have agreed with the recorded facts, which I was later able to examine, I perhaps would still be a Mormon…
Truth about this story is not like some other stories with only earthly consequences if it is not true. We cannot afford to be wrong on this one. Life is short but eternity is endless.
When talking with Mormon missionaries or with any Mormon actually, we will encounter their “testimony” that the LDS Church is true regardless of the recorded concrete facts against it. If you are or have been a Mormon, you know how powerful those feelings can be. How is this testimony received? Most investigators or potential converts are simply told by the missionaries that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that the Church and the Book of Mormon are true, and that they must pray to receive confirmation of these things. They are told, (using Moroni 10:4-5 from the Book of Mormon), that if they pray with a sincere heart and faith, they will receive a positive feeling, a “burning in the bosom” from the Holy Ghost and by that they will know that it is true. No lengthy examination of the claims of Joseph Smith needed, just this “good feeling”.
It can keep them in bondage for the rest of their lives!
This same method is used with young children born to Mormon parents. Of course children already assume it must be true since their parents believe it is. They pray because they want to agree with their parents and be part of the family and the group.
In the case of investigators, they simply “hope and wish” that Mormonism is true, after all, they have already been attracted to it by the wholesome missionaries and the LDS Church’s “good public image” and advertisements. Easy thing: no huge efforts or studies needed – a prayer and “good feelings” that follow will do it.
We do not find anywhere in the Bible that kind of counsel. No where are we told to pray for the truth, in fact it is just the opposite, we are to test the spirits and reproof scripture with scripture. The Bible tells us that our feelings, our hearts are deceitful (Jer. 17:9; Prov. 28:26.) 2 Tim. 2:15 says that we must study, and 1 Thess. 5:21 says that we must test ALL things. The Word of God warns about deceptions, false prophets (Matt. 24:4-5; 23-24) and false Christs. It pronounces a curse on those who preach and accept “another gospel” (Gal. 1:8-9) and “another Jesus”, testified by “another spirit” (2 Cor. 11:4, 13-15. See also Matt. 7:15-23). 1 John 4:1 instructs us that we must test the spirits that give these “good feelings” and “testimonies” of these“new truths”. Those who do not test, will end up “giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of devils”, as is also warned of by Paul in 1 Tim. 4:1. We must make sure that what we accept and believe agrees with God’s Word that Jesus and His apostles followed and knew to be true. With so many warnings about spiritual deception, it is obvious that God is serious about it. That is why it is so important that we, who have once embraced false teachings, warn and inform others and help all believers in Christ to combat falsehoods that lead to eternal destruction.
The Bible is a library of 66 books. The Old Testament (39 books) was already a closed canon and in use during the time of Jesus, and He assured that all the scriptures testify of Him (John 5:39). We must search them, meaning really study them – and pray for understanding while we study. Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44), because they did not, as a nation, recognize Him as their Messiah, because they did not know the Word as they should have known it (Daniel 9:24-26), the words that had foretold of that day.
The leaders of the Mormon Church have agreed that the story of Joseph Smith and his “first vision” must be true for the Church to be true. (We will investigate that in these papers.)
They also agree that the Book of Mormon must be true for the Church to be true and Joseph Smith to be a true prophet. We will investigate that also –as well as other Mormon scriptures.
Most Mormons today have no idea how much Mormonism has changed from its organization in 1830. Even the God of Mormonism is not the same as was taught in the 1830’s – same with Jesus and the rest. We will cover all that, including Mason-Mormon connection and how the temple ordinances came to be the most important part of Mormon life in order to obtain salvation as Mormonism defines it.
It is important that you will read all these papers in the order presented, because everyone of them provides another piece of the puzzle you must solve and clear up for yourself if you desire to be a serious help and witness to Mormons. After that you can give them answers from their own recorded history, and also compare Mormonism to biblical Christianity.
The common element often overlooked when Christians share their faith and biblical truth with Mormons is that many of them are not Mormons merely for doctrinal reasons – and they may not know much of the complicated doctrines of Mormonism, or how they evolved. This, non-caring attitude about doctrinal issues some Mormons have, can be very frustrating to us as believers in Christ Jesus of the Bible, for us the doctrinal truth is the most important issue, for not knowing the truth has eternal consequences.
Even when Mormons acknowledge that there are some doctrinal problems, they are not willing to abandon the Church. They consider leaving Mormonism as betrayal of their pioneer ancestors. Even some recent converts identify with the hardships of Mormon pioneers and embrace them almost as their own. Connecting with people of the past and their sufferings, of course, does not give anyone an excuse to follow false doctrines that lead to eternal destruction, but if we understand their mindset, it might give us better insight as to why they feel that way.
Our understanding of their cultural and emotional background can help us to have more patience when sharing the message of biblical truth and the only way to salvation through Jesus Christ of the Bible, who is God with us. (Matt. 1:23; John 1:1,14; 8:24;14:6; Acts 4:12.)