November 26, 2003 (Read an article from the Shreveport Times about this writer)
On September 10, 1994 I became a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was sealed to my wife Barbara in the Dallas Temple in July of 2000. Some of my callings have been Ward Mission Leader, High Council, Bishopric, Branch President, and others.
About six months ago I stated to "actually listen" while attending a Gospel Principles class. "As man now is, God was once. As God is now, man may become." For the very first time, I now understood LDS doctrine of eternal progression. This I found repulsive-- it was dialectically opposed to my understanding and knowledge of the Bible. This teaching says that with the passage of time God who, was first a man, progressed to godhood. Thus any man could also become a god. That would mean that I could become a god too. But, I had been taught since I was a child, "There is only one God." (see Exodus 20 and others) For the very first time I was now 'listening' and understanding Mormon Doctrine. God was first man. That man progressed into godhood. The issue then became who was the first god and what planet or planets was he the god of?
As I pondered on those words, I became very confused. During these days and nights of puzzlement, a friend of mine, an Assembly of God minister from Louisiana who had recently moved to Salt Lake City called me on the phone and asked if he could send me a "care package." I said "sure." It arrived three days later. It had in a video tape called "DNA vs. The Book of Mormon" (http://www.livinghopeministries.info --Living Hope, 48 North Main, Brigham City UT 84302), a hand full of anti-Mormon newspaper which I put aside and a book, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by Grant H. Palmer.
The book was in a blister pack and it looked like a book someone could purchase in an LDS bookstore. "How strange." I thought. "My minister friend sending me a book he had acquired in Salt Lake City." Palmer's book stayed in the blister pack for over a month. However I did view the video. In fact I viewed the "DNA vs. The Book of Mormon" video three times. I ordered a second copy of the video. Upon its arrival I delivered the video to my High Priest Group Leader. When I was Branch President, "the handbook" said that when you have an issue with the Church you should go to one in Church leadership. Trying my best to follow the established rules, I went to my High Priest Group Leader and asked him to view the video because I had some issues with the video and with the Church. He told me go see another brother. I explained that I though proper procedure was to talk with him, not someone else, and that I would only talk to him after he viewed the video. That was (at the time of this writing) over five months ago. He still has the video. Has he viewed he video? I do not know.
I finally opened and read Grant Palmer's book, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins. I read Palmer's book three times. I ordered a second copy and gave it to my Bishop. Four weeks later I asked him if he had an opportunity to read the book. He said, "I... I have skimmed over it," he said. I asked him three times the same question and the same response was given each time, "I have skimmed it." I discovered years ago that there are some books you cannot just skim over. I also read another excellent book, D. Michael Quinn's Early Mormonism and Magic World View. Early Mormonism. This book is abook of 646 pages, including 340 pages of footnotes and other documentation. I also read Studies of the Book of Mormon, 2nd Edition by B. H. Roberts (377 pages); and American Apocrypha (Essays On The Book of Mormon), Edited by Dan Vogel & Brent Lee Metcalfe (368 pages). These are all examples of books "you cannot skim over". Finally six or seven weeks after I gave my Bishop Palmer's book he returned it, via the US mail, along with a golf DVD I had also loaned him. He enclosed a note saying "... this book does not treat Joseph Smith kindly, I will not read it."
This led to me call my sister who lives in Decatur, Alabama. Mally is not a member of the LDS church is always a source of wisdom for me.. We talked and she suggested a Internet search on the subject of Mormonism.
Of all the sites available--and there are over 400--I was led to Jim Spencer's www.mazeministry.com that made available online a copy of Rev. M. T. Lamb's 1887 book The Golden Bible. All you need to do is down load it and print yourself a copy. All chapters proved to be a most interesting and very educational. However, chapter seven, eight, and nine proved to be most attractive to me. A person can go far afield and get confused when people are saying, "the Bible says this and the Book of Mormon says this (i.e. he said/she said). The Golden Bible, in the chapters I mentioned, does something very different. It challenges the claim that the Book of Mormon is an actual account of real people and events. The bottom line to all my studying was the realization that the archaeology, history, and geography of the New World does not--in any way--confirm the Book of Mormon, but rather exposes it as a hoax!
Further research confirmed that the Book of Mormon is fiction. LDS archaeologists Dee F. Green and Deanne G. Matheny have been critical of naive attempts to link the Book of Mormon to archaeological sites. Life-long efforts of Brigham H. Roberts and Thomas S. Ferguson to use archaeological evidence to corroborate the Book of Mormon ended in personal disillusionment. Genetic evidence directed by Dr. Scott Woodward, Professor of Microbiology of the Molecular Genealogy Research Group (MGRG) of Brigham Young University poses similar difficulties with DNA evidence in his findings by the assumptions that have been long held by many, if not most, Mormons.
Studies in molecular anthropology (as documented in) "DNA vs. the Book of Mormon," continue to expose the Book of Mormon as a fraud. When you put all this data together with information presented in The Golden Bible, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Beyond Mormonism,and others, the inescapable conclusion is The Book of Mormon is a hoax!
I finally asked my wife to read first fourth of An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by Grant H. Palmer. My Barbara is a very bright lady. She said to me, after reading the first half of Palmer's book, "Honey, I believe I was deceived with the documentation show in his book it is just impossible just plain impossible" I feel betrayed,"
Did we both pray separately and as husband and wife on this issue? Yes, we did.
I ask myself again and again why did the missionaries not tell the complete story at the very beginning of their lessons eight years ago when we were an investigator? Why do the brethren insist on a prospective member first be baptized and then very slowly over the years be Exposed "to the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say. I often think of many times I have gone out with the missionaries to assist in teaching one of their six lesson to an investigator.
What would have happened if at the close of the first lesson with the prospective member if a Missionary had said, "We would like to come back next Tuesday evening at 7 PM but first we want to tell you a little about Mormon theology and what we really believe."
(2) The eleven witnesses that make up the three witnesses and the eight witnesses we talked about this evening really did not physically see the gold plates. They only had a vision about the plates.
(3) Ten of the eleven witnesses were excommunicated or left the church, except one. He left and came back.
(4) Orson Pratt, The Seer taught that the Mary, the mother of Jesus was married to God. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. Thus God, the Father of our spirits, became the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.
What if the missionaries said to the investigator, "These are only a few of the things you will learn about in the years to come?" What if the missionary then asked, "Would it be OK with you if we returned next Tuesday at 7:00 PM for the second lesson?" I think there would be no second lesson.
The steps are simple:
1. Admit that you are separated from God by sin, unable to help yourself (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 64:64.
The ABCs of Christianity.
Read the first eight chapters of Romans, for it is Paul's letter to the Mormons.
November 26, 2002
Edwin T. "Eddy" Shell