Reason #85 — The Civil War Prophecy

Reason #85 The famous Civil War prophecy of Section 87 of the Doctrine and Covenants has for years been touted by Mormons as proof positive of Joseph’s powers as a prophet. However, the force of this assertion is lessened considerably when one considers that “the rebellion of South Carolina” mentioned had occurred at least two weeks before it is claimed that Joseph Smith received a revelation concerning it. Even Mormons admit the “prophecy” was not put into print until 1851. Besides, a careful and objective reading of the entire “prophecy” would lead one to believe that the coming Civil War would mark the beginning of an era of continuous war on “all nations”—which has certainly not proven to be the case. (Not even by a great stretch can it be...

Reason # 84 Because of the LDS “Inspired Version” of the Bible

The mainstream Latter-day Saint Church did not in the past officially recognize its own “Inspired Version” as doctrine, claiming that it was never completed by Joseph Smith, and that what was finished was later corrupted by uninspired persons. In recent years, the influence of the JST has grown in LDS scholarship and layman’s thinking alike. Both the Utah LDS Church and the Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized LDS Church) print the JST, and a significant number of footnotes to the LDS printings of the KJV reference Smith’s “translation” as well. Nevertheless, the Bible that most Mormons have bound in their “Quad” or “Quadruple Combination” (along with the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants) is...

Reason #83 Because Mormonism changes the wording of its own Scripture

When I was a Mormon, Section 78 of the Doctrine and Covenants  contained some strange foreign-sounding names which were assigned to the persons mentioned in this section (such names were also used as aliases for church leaders in Sections 82, 92, 96, 103, 104, and 105 as well.) Such names as “Baurak Ale” for Joseph Smith ostensibly prevented the church’s enemies from knowing the intentions of plans such as Section 103 detailed—the recovery by force of the land they’d left in Missouri. However, uses of names like “Enoch” also led ordinary church members of the time to think the “revelations” were about ancient personages, thus concealing plans that church leadership kept from its own members as well. Since 1981, the code names are no longer...

Somehow, this definition of a cult rings true:

I’ve always used my four-part definition of a cult (deifies man, humanizes God, ostracizes Scripture, and requires an extra-Biblical view of salvation.) But today I learned of another one that rings true: “You can always tell a cult from a religion. . .because a cult is just a set of rules that lets certain men get laid.” (From the short story “Always” by Karen Joy Fowler) For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition:  A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today (Zondervan, 2009). Also available as an audiobook and as an expanded-text E-book for Nook, Kindle and other reading...

Reason #82: Because of Mormon Myths of Bible Textual Transmission

As I have studied textual criticism at the graduate level and have investigated for myself some of the documents from which the New Testament was translated, I am awed at how God has protected His Word. However, when I was in LDS seminary, teachers compared textual transmission to the child’s game of “gossip”— in which a line of people whisper a message from person to person and see how, at the end of the line, a message can be changed beyond recognition. However, such analogies do not apply to the history of Bible transmission. There are “families” of papyrus documents from all over the Eastern world – some of which date to within years of the death of the last apostle. Comparison between them has operated as a checks-and-balances system to ensure...