101 Reasonable Doubts About Mormonism

Compiled by Richard Packham

The importance of "reasonable doubt"

          When weighing the evidence to establish the truth of any assertion, it has long been customary to set a certain standard for how much evidence is enough.   It is very rare that any proposition can ever be proven with 100% certainty, so that we generally are satisfied with somewhat less.   But how much less?   For any issue where the consequences are so great that it will affect one's life (such as a criminal accusation) the general standard is that the evidence should be so strong that there is no "reasonable doubt" about it.   Surely, then, any religious claims which (if true) would place on us the obligation of changing our lives, following a certain path, obeying certain rules, and being required to lend our time, our energies, our finances to it, should be supported by convincing evidence that all its claims are beyond any reasonable doubt.

          Do Mormon claims fail this test?   Are there "reasonable doubts" about Mormon claims?   Yes.   I began to compile this list of "reasonable doubts" thinking that it would take considerable time, and that it would contain a few dozen items.   It only took a short time, and - as you see - it is a very long list.

          This is a listing of absurdities, anomalies, inconsistencies, contradictions, erroneous fact claims, distortions, and impossibilites in Mormon claims, any one of which should lead a thinking, open-minded person to doubt Mormonism.   Remember that Mormonism does not claim to be partially correct, or mostly correct, but that all of it is true.   And remember that under the "reasonable doubt" rules of evidence applied in court, if there is any reasonable doubt, the case has not been proven.   (See the parable "The Great Ship".)

This is just a list.   It is not intended to be a thorough discussion of each issue, nor argument.   For more information on any topic (some links are off-list) click on (MORE)

The items are not listed in any particular order.   Although some of the items may seem trivial, the cumulative effect is not.   Some items may appear to be repetitive.   For example, several items concern the story of the "First Vision" of Joseph Smith.   However, they list different issues about the same claim, and each one raises a different doubt.

Abbreviations used:
 
D&C Doctrine and Covenants
PoGP Pearl of Great Price
"ancient America" pre-Columbian America, the period when Book of Mormon events supposedly occurred


101 Reasonable Doubts About Mormon Claims
  1. In the first "History of the Church," written by Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith in 1834, there is no mention of Joseph Smith's"first vision" (where God the Father and Jesus appeared and told him that all churches of the day were "abominations"), even though the church leaders today insist that this vision is the basis and beginning of Mormonism.

  2. Mormons believe that Adam and Eve were the first human beings on earth.   This contradicts all scientific evidence showing that there have been humans for many thousands of years before the traditional time for Adam.

  3. B. H. Roberts, a General Authority of the church until his death in 1933, studied the Book of Mormon extensively and concluded that Joseph Smith could have authored it himself, using as a source the 1825 book A View of the Hebrews by a protestant minister.   (MORE)

  4. Although Mormons claim that they are "family oriented," they exclude non-Mormon family members - even parents - from weddings in the temple, since only "worthy" Mormons are allowed to enter a Mormon temple.   (MORE)

  5. Mormon women are limited to a secondary role in the church and in the family:   they are not allowed to hold any priesthood office (which is required to exercise any authority); they are to be obedient to their husbands (or, if unmarried, to their fathers); their ideal role is to bear children and to be a homemaker.   (MORE)

  6. The Book of Mormon says that wheat and barley were mainstay crops in ancient America.   This is false.  Only in Europe were those crops known and cultivated.   And the actual staple crops grown in ancient America are never mentioned in the Book of Mormon:   beans, sweet potatoes, squash, manioc, peppers, breadnut, fruits.

  7. One of the most highly praised human traits in Mormonism is "obedience."   This is also one of the characteristics of a cult.   (MORE)

  8. Mormon scripture (D&C 84:86, 91) says that true missionaries from God will not rely on their own money or supplies ("purse or scrip") for support, and this will be a test to distinguish them from false missionaries.   Modern Mormon missionaries now rely on themselves for support; i.e., they do "carry purse [and] scrip."

  9. Although Joseph Smith claimed to be able to translate ancient documents by the power of God, he was unable to identify the papyrus obtained from Mr. Chandler correctly as pagan Egyptian funerary scrolls from the time of Christ (as identified subsequently by professional Egyptologists), but rather declared that they were a book written by the Patriarch Abraham two thousand years earlier, and from them "translated" the Book of Abraham.   (MORE)

  10. The "United Order" was a series of revelations in the 1830s under which Mormons were to turn over all their property to the church, which would then make the members "stewards" and "equal."   It was based on the apparent practice in the New Testament church where the Christians "held all things in common."   (Acts 4:32-37) This Order was to be "everlasting" (D&C 82:20, 104:1).   It lasted only briefly, although the church attempted to implement it several times, both in Ohio and in Utah.

  11. The Book of Mormon says that the people of ancient America had chariots (wheeled vehicles).   The wheel was unknown in ancient America.

  12. Mormons believe that God was once a man like us, and became God, although many passages in their own scriptures say that God never changes.

  13. Mormons emphasize the uniqueness of Joseph Smith's story of his visitations by heavenly beings and his miraculous production of long sacred texts.   However, such things - although unusual - are not unique.   Other examples of people who claimed to have had angelic visitors and produced sacred texts:   Ann Lee, Emanuel Swedenborg, James J. Strang, Baha-ullah, Mohammed, John Newbrough, Edgar Cayce, Helen Schucman, Levi H. Dowling, the anonymous author of the "Urantia" books, and many others, including many religious contemporaries of Joseph Smith (see, for example, Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History, p 22-23).

  14. Joseph Smith claimed that his telling others of his "first vision" in 1820 caused him to be persecuted.   There is no contemporary evidence that he was persecuted for such a story.   None of his enemies seem to have been aware of such a claim at the time.

  15. The Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 29:3) uses the word "Bible" at a time (about 590 B.C.) when there was no such concept.

  16. Mormons waver on the ultimate authority for doctrine between the Bible, Mormon scriptures, statements of former Mormon prophets, statements of living Mormon prophets, and individual "revelation" - apparently depending on what they think gives them authority to believe what they want to believe.   All of those sources are often mutually contradictory.

  17. The story of the cattle-herding serpents in the Book of Mormon (Ether 9:31-33) is an absurd "tall tale."

  18. Mormons disagree on where the actual events of the Book of Mormon took place in America.   Some - including many Mormon prophets now deceased - say throughout both North and South America (the "hemispheric model"), others - including many church scholars - say in a small area in Central America and southern Mexico (the "limited geography model").   The recent prophets, who are supposed to be inspired by God and "know all things," have declined to make any statement on the issue.

  19. The church did not acknowledge the role of church leaders in the massacre of 120 innocent people in 1857 at Mountain Meadows until the 150th anniversary of the event, when a church spokesman said that the church had "deep regret" for the role that "local" Mormon church leaders played in the massacre.   The church emphasized that the statement was not to be understood as an apology.   (MORE)

  20. Mormons teach that there are many gods, and that humans can become gods, even though many scriptural passages both biblical and Mormon, say that there is only one God.

  21. The Book of Mormon says that the horse was used as a beast of burden or draft animal in ancient America.   This is false.   The ancient Americans had no beasts of burden or draft animals, and especially not the horse.   (The Incas domesticated the llama, but not until long after Book of Mormon times.)

  22. Brigham Young, supposedly a divinely inspired prophet, taught that Adam was actually God the Father.   This idea is repudiated by the present-day church as false.   (MORE)

  23. Originally the terms "eternal marriage" and "celestial marriage" as used in D&C 132 meant "plural marriage," as interpreted by the 19th century Mormon leaders.   Now the church has changed the meaning so as not to imply polygamy, although the terms were introduced in the revelation which authorized polygamy.   The church today claims that the divine plan for marriage is one man to one woman.   But D&C 132 is still scripture, and still authorizes a man to marry more than one woman at a time.

  24. Joseph Smith asserted that Mormons believe in obeying and sustaining the law (Articles of Faith 12), but he continually flouted the law, as in his establishing the illegal Kirtland Bank (for which he was found guilty and fined) and his entering into illegal bigamous (polygamous) relationships.   (MORE)

  25. Joseph Smith claimed that he told his family about his "first vision" in 1820, in which he said that God and Christ had told him that he should join no church at that time because they were all false.   However, several family members did subsequently join the Presbyterian church, and Joseph Smith applied to join the Methodist church in 1828, thus casting doubt on whether he had had the vision as claimed.   (MORE)

  26. The Book of Mormon is supposed to be the "word of God" and translated correctly (unlike the Bible, which Mormons believe to be the word of God only so far as it is translated correctly - Articles of Faith 8).   But over 3000 changes and corrections have been made in the text since it was first published.   Many were corrections of grammar, but others changed meaning and even doctrine.   (MORE)

  27. The earliest accounts of Joseph Smith's1823 angelic visitor (who told him about the gold plates) say that the angel's name was "Nephi."   Only later was the name changed to "Moroni."   Both are important characters in the Book of Mormon, but they are very different, and supposedly lived a thousand years apart.

  28. The Book of Mormon teaches that a dark skin is a "loathsome" curse from God, imposed for one's unrighteousness (or the unrighteousness of one's ancestors), and that righteous living will cause a person's dark skin to become white and "delightsome."   This is scientifically nonsense.

  29. Some Mormon scriptures say that God has a physical body (e.g. D&C 30:22); others say that God is a spirit (Alma 28:26-28).

  30. Although the official version of the translation of the gold plates says that Joseph Smith used the "Urim and Thummim" (two stones set into a bow attached to a breast plate) as the vehicle for inspiration, most witnesses to the process said that he used the same "peepstone" that he had used for many years for treasure-hunting, by placing it in his hat and then covering his face with the hat so as to exclude light.

  31. Until 1978 the church excluded from the priesthood and from the temple any member who had "Negro" blood.   Now the church claims that it was never "racist." (MORE)

  32. Mormons teach that the process of going from the pre-existent life as spirit offspring of God requires obtaining a body, following all of God's commandments in this life, being resurrected with a perfect physical body and proceeding to godhood.   No satisfactory explanation is given as to how the third member of the Mormon godhead (the Holy Ghost) can have status as a god but lack a physical body.

  33. Brigham Young, in all his sermons, mentions nothing about Joseph Smith's "first vision."   In one of his few references to the visionary beginnings of Mormonism he asserts that God did not appear to Joseph Smith, but rather sent an angel.   (MORE)

  34. The Book of Mormon portrays Lehi as a devout Israelite (a prophet), but he is completely ignorant of which tribe he belongs to (1 Nephi 5:14-16).   This would be extremely unlikely.

  35. The Mormon "endowment" ceremony, introduced by Joseph Smith soon after he had been initiated into Freemasonry, had many similarities to the Masonic initiation ceremony of his day.   (MORE)

  36. Although the divinely inspired "Word of Wisdom" (D&C 89:5) condemns wine as harmful, recent research shows that drinking one or two glasses of wine daily has a beneficial effect on the health.

  37. Many of the revelations which Joseph Smith received up to 1833 were published that year in the Book of Commandments.   They were later re-published in the D&C (1835), but only after major revisions to many of them, even though God had certified the original versions as "true." (MORE)

  38. Mormon archaeologists have been unable to identify any New World site conclusively as a site mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

  39. Many present Mormon doctines and practices are at odds with the teachings found in the Book of Mormon (MORE).

  40. When Mormon leaders announced in 1890 that the practice of plural marriage was ended, it was a lie.   Church officials continued secretly to perform plural marriages and to enter into them for about sixteen years.

  41. The Apostle Paul said that a deacon should be married and the head of a household.   But most Mormon deacons are boys only twelve to fourteen years old.   (MORE)

  42. The Book of Mormon says that elephants were a useful domestic animal in ancient America (Ether 9:19).   This is impossible because there were no elephants in America at that time.   It may be that Joseph Smith included elephants in the Book of Mormon because a woolly mammoth skeleton had recently been found in America, and this led some people to think that elephants were known to the Indians' ancestors.   However, the mammoth (or mastodon) had become extinct about six thousand years before the events in the Book of Mormon are dated.

  43. Joseph Smith frequently received revelations through visiting angels.   No leader of the church has had angelic visitors for many years.   Such lack of revelation was prophesied as a sign of apostasy (Micah 3:5-11).

  44. Mormons claim that the "endowment" ceremony of the temple was restored by Joseph Smith after having been "corrupted" - particularly by the Masons, who deleted many "plain and precious parts."   Ever since it was first introduced the Mormons have continued to change it, by deleting many essential parts of the original version.   (MORE).

  45. The D&C says (116, also 78:15 and 107:53-57) that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, but the Book of Moses (PoGP, supposedly written by the prophet Moses, 3:10-16) says it was near the River Euphrates, which to Moses and his hearers meant the river in present-day Iraq.

  46. The Book of Mormon claims to be the story of devout Jews in America, but demonstrates almost no knowledge of Jewish laws and customs (Passover, the Feasts, clean/unclean observance, etc.).   (MORE)

  47. The Book of Mormon says that one must be saved in this life - after you die, it's too late (Alma 34:32-35).   But Mormons spend much time and effort in baptizing dead non-Mormons in proxy ceremonies so that they can be saved in the afterlife.

  48. Joseph Smith secretly "married" over thirty women, some of them mere teenagers, others with husbands still living.   Many of these liaisons he kept secret from his wife Emma, as well as from the general church membership. (MORE)

  49. The Book of Mormon describes the people of ancient America as having domestic cattle.   This is false - the ancient Americans had no domestic cattle.

  50. The one prayer which Jesus commanded his disciples to use (the "Lord's Prayer") is almost never used by Mormons.

  51. The "Word of Wisdom" (D&C 89:8) recommends using tobacco as a poultice for bruises, and for sick cattle.   This has no medical basis in fact.

  52. The Book of Abraham describes Egyptian sacred places in Babylon (Abraham 1:8, 20).   This is historically false.

  53. The church teaches that homosexuality is a personal choice (and therefore a willful sin).   This is contrary to almost all scientific research on homosexuality.

  54. A basic teaching of the Book of Mormon is that the American Indians are descendants of Israelites who arrived in America about 600 BC.   Anthropologists have shown that there is no Hebrew ancestry in native Americans, who are rather descendants of immigrants from eastern Asia who came to America at least 15,000 years ago, long before Book of Mormon times.   (MORE)

  55. Mormon scripture says that God lives near the star "Kolob" (Abraham 3:3-10).   Mormons are unable to identify that star with any known star.

  56. Mormons believe that marriages performed in a Mormon temple are for "time and all eternity" - that is, the couple will be in a married state in heaven.   But Jesus said that this is a false idea - there is no married state in heaven (Matt 22:23-30, Mark 12:18-25, Luke 20:27-36).

  57. Joseph Smith was supposedly a prophet, and he made many prophecies, most of which failed.   (MORE)

  58. Mormons believe that anyone can verify the truth of Mormonism by praying to God for confirmation (Moroni 10:4.   This is not a testable means of obtaining information, especially in light of the fact that many other religions make the same claim, and apparently are confirmed as true by the same method.

  59. The Book of Mormon (Jacob 2:24) says that God considered the multiple wives of David and Solomon to be an "abomination."   But the D&C (132:38-39) says that it was not wrong.

  60. Mormons claim that their church is patterned after the early church of Jesus' apostles, but there are major differences.   (MORE)

  61. The gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was supposedly translated, containing the sacred records of devout Jews, were written in a form of Egyptian, not Hebrew, according to the Book of Mormon.   That is extremely implausible, in view of the attitude of Jews toward their language and its sanctity, and their hatred of all things Egyptian.   Also, there is no other historical example of Jews keeping sacred or historical records in Egyptian.

  62. Mormons believe literally in the Bible story of the Great Flood.   There is no credible evidence that there was such a world-wide flood.

  63. Mormons assert that they no longer practice polygamy and that it is no longer church doctrine.   However, the D&C still contains the revelations authorizing it and commanding it (Sections 132 and 131:1-4), and present-day Mormon men, under certain circumstances, can be married to more than one wife for the afterlife.

  64. Mormons consider the present president of the church to be a prophet, and consider his pronouncements to be God's word.   According to many experts on religious cults, this is one of the signs of a cult.

  65. Many Mormons assert that the reason polygamy was practiced in early Utah was because there were not enough men to provide husbands for worthy women.   This is historically false - Utah census records for the 19th century show that Utah had a considerable excess of men.

  66. The Book of Mormon (Ether 1:33 ff) portrays the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages that occurred there as historical fact.   No linguistic scholar accepts the Babel story as a historical event or as the origin of the world's different languages.

  67. Joseph Smith taught that one of the tests of whether a revelation was really from God was its consistency with previous revelations:   if it contradicted previous revelations, it was not from God.   Many of his revelations, and the revelations of many of his successor prophets, have indeed contradicted previous revelations.

  68. The Book of Mormon (Book of Ether 6) describes a 344-day oceanic voyage by the Jaredites in small submarine-like "barges" with only two air holes (one in the top and one in the bottom, i.e., only one usable at a time).   These boats contained not only people, but livestock of many kinds, apparently with enough food and water that no landfall was necessary.   This is completely impossible. (MORE)

  69. In the 1980s a master forger named Mark Hofmann was able to sell numerous forged documents to the church leaders.   The documents purported to be early writings by prominent Mormons which would put the church in a bad light.   The church bought them in order to avoid their becoming widely known.   The supposed prophets of God were apparently not warned by God that they were being duped. (MORE)

  70. In the 1840s Dr. John C. Bennett joined the church and became Joseph Smith's closest associate.   Joseph Smith was not warned by God that Bennett was a scoundrel and adulterer, having abandoned a wife and children.

  71. The Book of Mormon describes the ancient Americans as fighting with steel swords.   Neither steel nor metal weapons were known in ancient America.

  72. Joseph Smith claimed to have seen in vision both the prophet Elijah and the prophet Elias (D&C 27:6-9).   He apparently was unaware that in the Bible those two names refer to only one prophet (one is the Hebrew version of the name, the other Greek).   (MORE)

  73. Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley in several interviews for news media has said that he did not know much about whether the church teaches that God was once a man.   But this has been a fundamental teaching of the church for many years.   Either Hinckley was woefully ignorant about his own church's doctrines, or he was lying. (MORE)

  74. "Zion's Camp" (the 1834 Mormon military expedition sent from Ohio to Missouri to protect Mormon settlers there) failed utterly, even though it was organized pursuant to revelations to Joseph Smith.   One of the important factors causing its failure was that over one third of the army contracted cholera.   Joseph Smith was at a loss as to how to deal with the disease, and God did not tell him how to prevent its spread (it could have been prevented if God had told Joseph Smith to boil all the drinking water).

  75. Mormon scripture says that the Christian gospel (belief in Jesus Christ, his atonement, necessity of baptism, etc.) were known to Adam and to subsequent Old Testament prophets.   There is no corroborating evidence of this.

  76. Mormons are unable to give a satisfactory explanation of why it was so important for the angel to preserve and guard the gold plates and for Joseph Smith to obtain them, since Joseph Smith usually did not even have the plates present in the same room in order to dictate the Book of Mormon text to his scribes.

  77. In the official version of Joseph Smith's "first vision" he states that it occurred in 1820 as a result of his being moved by a large religious revival in the area to wonder which church was the true church.   There was no such religious revival in the area between 1817 and 1824.   This throws doubt on the entire chronology of events as depicted by Joseph Smith. (MORE)

  78. Joseph Smith produced an "inspired translation" of the Bible.   It was not a translation in any sense, but rather his own corrections and additions to the King James translation, made without consulting any ancient texts or manuscripts.   His changes are not supported by any non-Mormon biblical text scholarship, and in fact preserve many of the errors which biblical scholarship has since discovered in the King James version.

  79. Church historians are unable to provide any contemporary documentation for the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood through a visit to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by the resurrected apostles Peter, James and John, even though it is this event upon which the church claims to have its highest authority.

  80. The original text of the Book of Mormon was supposedly engraved on metal plates, a slow and laborious process.   The translation, however, is frequently wordy, verbose, repetitive, characteristic of something dictated. (MORE)

  81. Mormon scripture says that the earth has (will have) a "temporal existence" of seven thousand years (D&C 77:6-7).   This is contrary to all scientific evidence about the age of the earth.

  82. Mormons teach that a rape victim has "lost her chastity"; a woman should fight off her attacker or be killed in the attempt.   Thus, young Mormon women are taught that their chastity is more valuable than their life.   The result is that a Mormon woman who survives a rape is made to feel guilty, and is thus victimized again, this time by her church.

  83. The Book of Mormon contains many lengthy passages almost identical to passages in the King James translation of the Bible, including some of its mistranslations.

  84. Mormon scripture asserts (D&C OD-1) that God would not allow any president of the church to "lead [it] astray."   God would "remove [him] out of his place" rather than permit that - presumably by causing his premature death.   Joseph Smith was removed at the height of his power, at the age of 39, when he was being accused by many Mormons of leading the church astray with his polygamous doctrines, his megalomania and his financial schemes.   One could assume that God "removed" him and that he was indeed leading the church astray.

  85. The Book of Mormon describes a detailed monetary system based on various pieces of gold and silver (Alma 11:4-20).   There is no evidence that any such system was ever used in any ancient American civilization, whose economies were based entirely on the barter system.   The most common exchange currency of the Mayas and Aztecs was cocoa beans, which are never mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

  86. Mormon scholars and prophets disagree on the location of the Hill Cumorah, where two great battles in the Book of Mormon took place.   Some insist it was in Central America or southern Mexico, but others insist it was in New York state.   The proponents of the Mexican location cite the impossibility of the New York view.   Their opponents cite the fact that Moroni and Joseph Smith identified the New York location specifically.

  87. Mormons often obtain a "patriarchal blessing" when in late teens or early twenties.   This is a solemn blessing pronounced by an ordained "patriarch" telling the recipients about what life holds for them if they are obedient Mormons.   It also tells the person from which tribe of Israel that person is descended (usually Ephraim or Manasseh).   The blessing is recorded and transcribed for future reference.   This is just a form of fortune-telling.   Many blessings are vague and worded very conditionally.   Those which are more specific are often not verified by events.

  88. Many of the astronomical ideas in the Book of Abraham are similar to those in popular scientific books of Joseph Smith's time, and have proven incorrect.

  89. The long passages in the Book of Mormon copied from Isaiah seem to serve no purpose, since God would not have to provide them in the Book of Mormon to the audience for the Book of Mormon (the people of the 19th century) - they were already available in the Bible.

  90. Mormonism's view of gender is that there are only two (male and female).   This is no longer considered scientifically accurate, since geneticists now recognize that some people are born with sexual traits of both genders, and surgery is needed to adjust the physical body of such a person to conform to one gender or the other.   (See the website of the Intersex Society of North America.) If Mormon, such persons are denied entrance to Mormon temples, and thus are denied the possibility of attaining the highest degree of Mormon heaven.

  91. In Mormon theology "Lucifer" is the revealed name of Satan.   Although many Christians also believe that, the idea is due to a mistaken translation of the passage in Isaiah (14:12; also Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 24:12), a mistake which occurred only when Isaiah was translated into Latin in the fourth century AD, long after the alleged date that Nephi was writing. (MORE)

  92. Although Mormon scriptures and Mormon sermons denounce lying, and although Mormon scriptures say that any message that is not given "in the spirit of truth" is not from God (D&C 50:17-18 and D&C 129:7), Mormon leaders have not hesitated to lie to the membership and to the public about their history, their doctrine, and their practices. (MORE)

  93. The Mormon temple ceremony (the "endowment") includes rituals in which participants learn four secret handshakes ("tokens") and four secret passwords (the "names" of the tokens) which will be needed to gain entrance to heaven.   Not only is the idea absurd and unscriptural, but it overlooks the fact that many former Mormons have learned them as well.   The question naturally arises as to whether knowing the secret tokens and their names is really sensible or necessary. (MORE)

  94. When Martin Harris took home the first 116 pages of the manuscript for the Book of Mormon in order to demonstrate to his skeptical wife that he was justified in financing the book's publication, the pages disappeared.   Smith was frantic.   He soon received a revelation (D&C 10:1-19) telling him not to re-translate that portion of the plates, since "wicked men" would alter the original translation and use it to cast doubts on Smith's work.   That explanation does not seem to make sense, since any alterations on a manuscript would be obvious.   The more likely explanation is that Smith knew he was unable to reproduce the same text word-perfect.   One must also wonder why God did not realize that Mrs. Harris had simply burned the manuscript in order to put an end to her husband's involvement.

  95. According to Mormon scripture (D&C 84:19-22) no man can see God unless he has the Melchizedek priesthood.   This revelation was given in 1832.   The priesthood was supposedly restored at some unknown date in 1829 or 1830.   But Joseph Smith claimed in the 1830s to have seen God in 1820, long before he received the priesthood.   (The implication is also that no woman can ever see God, since women cannot hold the Mormon priesthood.)

  96. Two elements of Mormonism combine to teach children to lie. First, they are taught that they should strive to be perfect.   Then they are required to be interviewed in private by a church authority (usually the local bishop) as to whether they are "worthy" for the next advancement.   If they tell the truth about their failings they risk not being able to advance.   If they lie, they are advanced.   But their advancement is then accompanied by feelings of guilt or by a realization that lying is the way to advance.   (MORE)

  97. There is considerable evidence that the Book of Mormon was originally simply a money-making project, the latest in Joseph Smith's attempts to find wealth by seeking buried treasure.   One telling item of evidence is that Joseph Smith attempted to sell the rights to the book after it was published, but could not find a buyer.

  98. It seems odd that Joseph Smith remembers very precisely the date of the visitation of the angel Moroni (or was it "Nephi"? - September 21, 1823), but he is unable to give a date for his claimed 1820 vision of God and Christ ("early in the spring" PoGP, JS-H 1:14) nor an accurate date for the momentous visitation by Peter, James and John, when they restored the Melchizedek priesthood.   (Mormon historians can only date that event as sometime in 1829 or early 1830.)

  99. In 1843 six brass plates with strange characters engraved on them were found in an Indian burial mound near Kinderhook, Illinois.   They were taken to Joseph Smith, since he claimed to be able to translate ancient writings.   He wrote in the Mormon newspaper Times and Seasons (April 1843) that they were a history of the person with whose bones they had been found, who "was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt."   (History of the Church, 5:372-379).   The plates were an elaborate hoax, although many Mormons continued to cite them as corroboration of the Book of Mormon, as late as the 1949 edition of the History (5:378n). (MORE)

  100. Mormons insist that the name of true church of Christ must include his name, citing 1 Cor 1:11-15 and 3 Nephi 27:3-8.   But on May 3, 1834, the original name of the church ("Church of Christ") was changed to "The Church of the Latter-day Saints," thus deleting any reference to the name of Christ.   It retained that name until April 1838, when it was renamed "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (D&C 115:3-4).   Applying the Mormons' own test, their church was then not the "true" church for almost four years of its early history.

  101. Although the truth is not subject to popularity votes, it is interesting that there are probably more people who have left the Mormon church than there are now active (practicing) Mormons.   These are primarily people who were raised as Mormons or who converted to Mormonism, but who left it.   Rather than being (as the official Mormon press releases claim) "one of the fastest-growing religions", its growth is stagnating, and its membership numbers are artificially inflated to disguise the hemorrhaging membership. (MORE)

    Yes, that is already the promised 101, but the list goes on!

  102. When a visitor to Nauvoo showed Joseph Smith the ancient manuscript of a collection of psalms written in Greek, Joseph Smith identified it incorrectly as containing "Reformed Egyptian" writing.   (Henry Caswell, The City of the Mormons, London 1842.   35-43, cited in Grant Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, Salt Lake City 2002, pp 34-36.)

  103. The Mormon sacred undergarment has a marking over each nipple, one in the shape of a compass, the other a square.   They also appear in the Mormon temple on the "veil of the temple."   These two symbols are of course the well-known Masonic symbols, where - in the context of building crafts - they make sense.   They seem quite out of place in Mormon theology, and an obvious borrowing by Joseph Smith.   Nor are they mentioned in any Mormon scripture.

  104. Numerous Bible passages (Ex 28-31; Num 3:7; Neh 7:63,65; Heb 7:12-14) clearly say that only Levites can offer sacrifices.   No Levites are mentioned as accompanying Lehi from Jerusalem.   Yet according to the Book of Mormon, sacrifices were offered by Lehi (1 Nephi 5:9) and his descendants (Mosiah 2:3).   By what authority, then?

  105. D&C 131 and 132 contain the "new and everlasting covenant" of marriage, announcing the twin doctrines that the correct form of marriage, according to God, is marriage for eternity performed by one holding the "keys," and that it is also polygamous.   D&C 132:3-6 says that whoever receives this law and does not obey it will be damned.   The doctrine was not "new," but rather claimed to be a restoration of the polygamy of the Old Testament patriachs.   Nor was it "everlasting," since the church abandoned polygamy only fifty years after this revelation, and now excommunicates any Mormon who feels obligated to obey this commandment.

  106. The Book of Abraham says (1:26-27 and 1:20-22 ) that descendants of Ham cannot hold any priesthood, and that all Egyptians are descended from Ham.   Until 1978 this was interpreted to ban anyone with even a single "drop" of Hamitic (Negro) blood.   Most Mormons claim that they are descended from Ephraim or Manasseh, sons of Joseph, based on their individual patriarchal blessings.   Since the mother of those two sons was Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, priest at On (Genesis 41:45, 50), who was undoubtedly Egyptian, it would appear then that no such Mormon was entitled to hold the priesthood (until 1978 at least, when the church chose to disregard this passage of scripture).

  107. The Book of Mormon frequently condemns secret "combinations" (societies) and the taking of oaths of secrecy.   Yet an essential part of the Mormon temple's endowment ceremony is an emphasis on the secrecy of the oaths taken during the ritual and its other details.

  108. The explanation in the Book of Mormon for writing the important records in Egyptian (Mormon 9:32-33) is that it would have required too much space on the precious gold plates to write in Hebrew.   This does not make sense, since Hebrew is a very concise language, using consonants almost exclusively, compared to Egyptian, which required a large number of complex characters and would have been unsuitable for engraving in limited space. (MORE)


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