Chapter Twelve

Some Topics You Should Understand

"During my first semester at college, the very liberal theology of the school changed my spiritual views. I lost touch with my Savior and entered a very dark period of my life. During second semester, Mormon missionaries spoke to my sociology class. I was intrigued and called them up and was baptized into the Mormon Church against the wishes of my parents and many of my friends.
"The reason I’m writing is [to say that]… I’m back in touch with my Savior, Jesus Christ! I’m not saying it’s complete since the local missionaries and Church members have been calling daily for me to reconsider…."—Becky

My plan in this chapter is to give you some background into some of the doctrinal stands of Mormonism that range from abominable to silly. If you bring these topics up, you will be in a good position to break through petrified Mormon mind-sets. You will get a taste of areas like:
–The Virgin Birth
–Blood Atonement
–Conflicting Prophecies

Then I will touch on several other subjects that you can begin to study on your own.

The Virgin Birth – Mormon Style

In Chapter Six I recounted the conversation I had with my mother-in-law about the Virgin Birth. The discussion centered on Mormon doctrine regarding the birth of Jesus. Audrey claimed that she believed (and that the Mormon Church taught) that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Knowing that Mormonism does not teach that, I told her that while she apparently believed good, sound Bible doctrine, the Mormon Church didn’t. Mormon doctrine teaches that God the Father had sexual relations with Mary in order to procreate Christ.

Audrey objected vigorously. She said that doctrine was repugnant to her and her Church taught no such thing. She correctly stated that the Bible explicitly taught that "the Holy Ghost came upon Mary," at conception.

I persistently led her into an argument on the subject. I let her establish, by her own arguments, that such a doctrine is, indeed, repugnant. I wanted her to develop her innate sense of right and wrong, which stood in stark opposition with this doctrine of the Mormon Church.

Since the subject – the Virgin Birth – already was isolated, I preceded to qualify. I didn’t ask for much: only that she admit that her Church taught the doctrine contrary to the Bible. She said if the Church taught the doctrine (and she was sure it didn’t), then it taught an unbiblical doctrine. She conceded that if I could produce statements from five General Authorities of Mormonism saying Jesus was conceived by natural relations, then her Church actually did teach that wrong concept.

Now, by producing those statements, I created a real dilemma for her. Seeing Mormon doctrine in strong juxtaposition with Bible doctrine, she had serious reason to doubt the Mormon claims of divine revelation. Here is the documentation I provided Audrey:

First, Brigham Young said:

When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost…. Remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost…. In fact… if the Son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it would be very dangerous to baptize and confirm females, and give the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children to be palmed upon by the Elders by the people, bringing the Elders into great difficulties. (1)

The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action… [Jesus] … was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers. (2)

Young also said that the Father did it Himself, "instead of letting any other man do it." (3)

Second, Orson Pratt said the Father and Mary must have been married if God overshadowed her:

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; we use the term lawful Wife because it would have been blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully. (4)

Third, Herber C. Kimball said there was nothing supernatural about the birth of Jesus:

I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father and also my Saviour, Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh and there was nothing unnatural about it. (5)

Fourth, Bruce McConkie said:

[Christ] was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense as any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was… conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events. (6)

Fifth, Joseph Fielding Smith said:

Christ was… not born without the aid of man and that man was God. (7)


The Mormon Doctrine of Blood Atonement

Blood atonement in Mormon doctrine says it is sometimes necessary to "shed a man's blood to save his soul." The idea is that he can commit sins that are so grievous that he can only go to heaven if his own blood is shed, that is, if he is killed. This grisly doctrine postulates the idea that somehow in killing him there is expiation for his sins. Blood Atonement was not only preached in Utah, it was also practiced.

This doctrine, which completely contradicts the atoning work of the shed blood of Christ, was birthed in a vision of Joseph Smith’s in which he said he was visited by the apostle Peter who told him that he (Peter) had killed Judas – that he had hung him for betraying Christ. (8)

Mormon President Herber C. Kimball also preached the murder of Judas. He said, "They kicked him until his bowels came out." And he warned the Elders to be careful not to "forfeit their covenants," because the day was at hand when they would be destroyed "as Judas was."

…Put a javelin through both of them, [and be] justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God…. I would do it with clean hands…. There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it. (10)

And Brother Brigham was as good as his word. He ordered people ritually slain "to atone for their sins."

Brigham Young frequently made public reference to a Mormon organization known as the "Destroying Angels," or "Danites," in threatening language. "If men come here and do not behave themselves, they will… find the Danites… biting their heels."

Men like John D. Lee and Bill Hickman and Porter Rockwell carried out dozens of official Brigham-ordered murders. These stories are recounted in autobiographies like The Confessions of John D. Lee and Brigham’s Destroying Angel by Hickman. John D. Lee was executed for his part in the Mountain Meadows Massacre – the massacre of a wagon train of Missouri pioneers. Lee, who testified that he was only carrying out Brigham’s orders, was shot as he sat on the edge of his coffin.

John D. Lee told of the Mormon-ordered execution of Rosmos Anderson for adultery. Anderson was taken from his home at midnight, led to a grave site near Ceder City and held while his throat was slit and the blood ran into the grave. The executioner then dressed him in a new suit, buried him, and returned his bloody clothing to his wife. (11)

So widespread was the knowledge of the doctrine of Blood Atonement that the Utah capital punishment law was written to include a form of death that would shed blood; at one time, a man condemned to death could even choose to have his throat slit. Throat-slitting seemed to be the coup of choice in early Utah. Even to this day all participants in Mormon temple ceremonies place their right thumbs under their left ears and draw the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear to "symbolize the penalty" for revealing the temple ceremony. Participants are agreeing to their own executions if they reveal the secret temple oaths. [Note: The blood oaths were dropped from the temple ritual in 1990]

Today fallout from Blood Atonement continues to settle in the red Utah dust. Recently Ron Lafferty, a former Mormon leader in Utah, was convicted of ritually slitting the throat of his sister-in-law, Brenda, and her eighteen-month-old daughter. Both Brenda and her baby were ritually slain in obedience to a "revelation" that said, in part:

Thus sayeth the Lord unto my servants the prophets. It is my will and commandment that ye remove the following individuals in order that my work might go forward, for they have truly become obstacles in my path and I will not allow my work to be stopped.

First thy brother’s wife, Brenda, and her baby, then Chole Low, and then Richard Stowe. And it is my will that they be removed in rapid succession and that an example be made of them in order that others might see the fate of those who fight against the true saints of God.

The Lafferty brothers claimed that the slayings were not crimes but rather "the fulfillment of a revelation from God."

When he was found guilty, Lafferty’s lawyer said his client chose the firing squad "because of blood atonement." (12)

In another grotesque "test of faith" a student at Utah State University plunged a huge butcher knife (purchased for the occasion by his wife) into the breast of his infant son, killing him. Rodney Lundberg did three years in a mental hospital and is now free.


The Conflicting and False Prophecies of Mormondom

The Mormon Church is supposedly the "Church of the Restoration." Joseph Smith was to restore the "plain and precious truths which had been lost." The agent of the restoration is revelation.

The facts, however, don’t match the claim. Mormonism confuses more than it clears up. Mormonism is replete with conflicting prophesies like these:


Book of Mormon

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord (Jacob 2:24).

God Changeable:

Wilford Woodruff

God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power and dominion, and will do so worlds without end. (15)

One God:

Book of Mormon

And Zeezrom said unto him: … is there more than one God? And he [Amulek] answered, No (Alma 11:26-29).

Never Give Up Polygamy:

Brigham Young

Do you think we shall ever be admitted as a State into the union without denying the principal of polygamy? If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted. These things are just as the Lord will. (18)

Adam–Not Earth Dust:

Brigham Young

Adam was made from the dust of an earth, but not the dust of this earth. (20)


Spencer W. Kimball

We denounce [the Adam-God Theory] and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrines. (22)


Joseph Smith

I, the Lord, justified… David and Solomon… as touching the principal and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines. (14)

God Unchangeable:

Joseph Fielding Smith

The doctrine "God increases in knowledge as time goes on" … is very dangerous. I don’t know where the Lord has ever declared such a thing. (16)

Many Gods:

Brigham Young

How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods. (17)


Wilford Woodruff

I hereby declare my intention to submit to [the polygamy laws], and to use my influence with the members of the Church… to have them do likewise. (19)

Adam–Earth Dust:

Joseph Fielding Smith

Adam’s body was created from the dust of the ground, that is, from the dust of this ground, this earth. (21)


Brigham Young

How much unbelief exists … in regard to one particular doctrine… which God… revealed … to me – namely that Adam is our father and God. (23)


No Paid Ministry

The Mormon church makes much of the fact that it has no paid ministry. Is also denigrates, in the temple ceremony, ministers who "preach for pay." Nevertheless, every General Authority receives remuneration for his services. In most instances, salaries are paid. In addition, General Authorities invariably sit on boards of directors of Church-owned corporations like U & I Sugar and Beneficial Life Insurance. The First Presidency and Apostles make tens of thousands of dollars from the Church or Church-owned companies. (24)


The Book of Abraham

Joseph Smith said he translated the Book of Abraham from Egyptian papyri he bought from a traveling exhibition. He "translated" and presented it to his Church as Scripture. To this day it is part of the Pearl of Great Price.

What he thought was a record of Abraham in Egypt is really an Egyptian funeral text. It has since been translated by several Egyptologists who are in total agreement on that. (25)


Failed and False Prophecies and Revelations

The study of false, failed, and just plain inane prophecies is a field itself. In Beyond Mormonism I listed these:

As you speak with Mormons these subjects probably won’t come up unless you bring them up. They are not listed here so that Mormons may be wounded or ridiculed, but so that you will have information to use to shake them out of complacency. I pray that you will use wisdom, compassion, yet unfailing determination to rescue Mormons from the insanity of Mormonism.

  1. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, pp. 50-51.
  2. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 115.
  3. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p. 218.
  4. Pratt, p. 158.
  5. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 211.
  6. McConkie, p. 742.
  7. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Bookcraft Publishers, Salt Lake City, Vol. 1, p. 18.
  8. Reed Peck Manuscript, Reprinted by Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, p. 13.
  9. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, pp. 125-126.
  10. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 247.
  11. John D. Lee, Confessions of John D. Lee, Bryan, Brand & Company, St. Louis, 1877, pp. 282-283.
  12. Idaho Falls Post Register, "Lafferty Decided of Firing Squad," May 8, 1986.
  13. From Associated Press wire copy in author’s possession, 5/9/85.
  14. Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 132, vs. 1.
  15. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 120.
  16. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1 pp. 7-8.
  17. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 333.
  18. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11 p. 269.
  19. Manifesto, Sept. 24, 1890; Doctrine and Covenants official declaration #1.
  20. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 319.
  21. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 90.
  22. Deseret News, Oct. 9, 1976.
  23. Deseret News, June 18, 1873.
  24. Tanner, Mormonism – Shadow or Reality?, pp. 516, 527; John Heinerman and Anson Shupe, The Mormon Corporate Empire, Beacon Press, Boston, 1985; Robert Gottlieb and Peter Wiley, America’s Saints, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1984.
  25. Tanner, Mormonism – Shadow or Reality, "The Fall of the Book of Abraham," pp. 294-369.
  26. The Young Women’s Journal, Vol. 3, p. 263.
  27. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 271.
  28. History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 182.
  29. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 250.
  30. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p36.
  31. Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16, pp.333-334.
  32. Pratt, pp. 33-34.