Last revision: July 15, 2018

Major Contradictions in Mormonism

(plus some minor ones)

Compiled by Richard Packham

Why are contradictions important?

     Contradictions are a mark of falseness. If two statements contradict each other, then one of them must be false. If both statements come from the same person, then the suspicion must arise that the person is lying (or at least grossly mistaken) in one of them, or perhaps both.

     If both of the contradictory statements are supposed to be from God, or from God's spokesman (a prophet or a scripture) then we are justified in considering this supposed spokesman to be fraudulent, since God is not supposed to lie or to make contradictory statements.

"For I am the Lord, I change not;..." - Malachi 3:6

"God is not a man, that he should lie;.. hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" - Num 23:19

"...with [God] is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." - James 1:17 (see also BoM Morm 9:9, Mosiah 2:22, Alma 7:20)

     Mormon leaders insist that there are no contradictions in Mormonism. Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth president of the church, said:
If his [Joseph Smith's] claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. - Doctrines of Salvation 1:188-189

How religious apologists deal with contradictions

     Contradictions do not seem to bother religious apologists, since they have developed very clever ways of dealing with them, primarily by explaining them away with various excuses:

Some Contradictions in Mormon Scripture, Teachings and Doctrine

     This listing is by no means complete. It includes only those contradictions which are most difficult for Mormons to explain satisfactorily (except to a faithful and all-accepting fellow Mormon who desperately wants an explanation in order to protect his faith). It generally does not include contradictions with Bible passages, since Mormons consider the Bible to have many translation errors, and since the Bible itself is often ambiguous and subject to varying interpretations.

Abbreviations used:
BoM: Book of Mormon
D&C: Doctrine and Covenants
PoGP: Pearl of Great Price
BoA: Book of Abraham
LoF: Lectures on Faith (until 1921 part of D&C)
HoC: History of the Church
JoD: Journal of Discourses
TJS: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
JST Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible ("Inspired Version")
Ensign: Ensign Magazine, official publication of the church

For other contradictions
between present Mormon doctrines
and the Book of Mormon click

For a listing of over six hundred similar items, see the excellent book For Any Latter-day Saint: One Investigator's Unanswered Questions, by Sharon I. Banister. For my review of this book, click here.

This listing is a work in progress. Many more items can (and hopefully will) be added. Please forward your suggestions.

Comments?   Questions?  (Please, no preaching, testimonies, or hate mail!)   To send a comment or ask a question, click here.

©  2003 Richard Packham    Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included


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