Answers to Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves/Questions 29-58

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Response to "Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves" (Questions 29-58)

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A FairMormon Analysis of: Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves (Questions 1-28), a work by author: Contender Ministries


Claim Evaluation
Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves
Chart QAMSAT 29-58.jpg

Response to claim: "29. If Joseph Smith was a true prophet, why did he fail to realize that “Elias” is the N.T. form of the name “Elijah”? (D & C 110:12,13 and 1 Kings 17:1 and James 5:17) How could Elijah (Elias) have appeared to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple as two different people?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

29. If Joseph Smith was a true prophet, why did he fail to realize that “Elias” is the N.T. form of the name “Elijah”? (D & C 110:12,13 and 1 Kings 17:1 and James 5:17) How could Elijah (Elias) have appeared to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple as two different people?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

It is certainly true that "Elias" is the Greek form of the Hebrew "Elijah." And, there are times within scripture where "Elias" is clearly meant to refer to the Elijah of 1 Kings. (See, for example, Matthew 27:47-49, Romans 11:2, James 5:17).
  • However, there are also cases when the name "Elias" is applied to someone besides Elijah. For example, Jesus Himself applied it to John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:13-15.) The Hebrew name, often transliterated "Isaiah," Yesha'yah[u] appears in the Hebrew bible on many occasions, but used to denote different "Isaiahs" than the prophet who authored the Book of Isaiah. These names are rendered Esaias in the Septuagint (LXX), and are rendered Jesiah and Jesaiah in the KJV and many other translations of the Old Testament. In D&C 84, Joseph Smith may have used a different transliteration of the Semitic name to differentiate one Isaiah from another. Indeed, we have many New Testament parallels in translation literature, such as the Jude/Judas variant for the same name in the New Testament.
  • Jesus' use of "Elias" to refer to another forerunner prophet (John the Baptist) illustrates the LDS concept of "Elias" as a calling or name-title for someone in a preparatory role.[1] And, the angel Gabriel applied the "spirit of Elias" to John even prior to his birth. (See Luke 1:15-17.)
  • Some critics have seen Joseph's ideas above as completely ad hoc: but, he was not the only one to understand Elias in this sense. Alexander Campbell, a noted American clergyman, wrote an attack on the Book of Mormon in which he expressed a similar idea:

The Jews gave up their business and attended to him. He obtained one Nathan in Jerusalem to pass for his Elias, or forerunner.[2]

  • If the critics wish to condemn Joseph Smith for using Elijah and Elias as separate people, they should first resolve similar issues elsewhere in the Bible and in Christian thought.

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Response to claim: "30. If children have no sins until they are eight years old, why are they baptized at age eight to wash away non-existent sins?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

30. If children have no sins until they are eight years old, why are they baptized at age eight to wash away non-existent sins?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: Moroni 8:8

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Children are not baptized to "wash away sins." They are baptized to
  1. fulfill the commandment given to all to be baptized—even Jesus was baptized, yet was without sin.
  2. to enter into a covenant to serve Jesus and keep his commandments, so that when they do eventually commit sin, the power of the atonement will be operative in their lives.

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Response to claim: "31. How could the Garden of Eden have been in Missouri when the Pearl of Great Price declares that it was in the vicinity of Assyria and had the Euphrates and Hiddekel Rivers in it?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

31. How could the Garden of Eden have been in Missouri when the Pearl of Great Price declares that it was in the vicinity of Assyria and had the Euphrates and Hiddekel Rivers in it?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: P of GP Moses 3:14 and DC 116-117:; Genesis 2:8-15

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The named rivers represent four of the great rivers of the known world, yet the Biblical description does not match any modern known configuration. If the critics can understand why this does not bother them, they can likely see how this presents no problem for Latter-day Saints.
  • It may be better to view these verses as a symbolic expression of Eden at "the center" of all that was known.
  • There is also a Jewish tradition that the Garden of Eden was in Jerusalem. There is a spring of water there known as the Gihon, one of the unidentified rivers of Paradise. Ezekiel 28:13 says “You were in Eden, the garden of God,” and then parallels that in the next verse with “you were on the holy mountain of God,” generally understood as the temple mount. There is important symbolism here. If a Jewish tradition can assign the location of the Garden to its traditional headquarters—Jerusalem—it is not surprising to have a Mormon tradition assigning the location of the Garden to Jackson County, Missouri, which for a time was its church headquarters and which according to prophecy will be again some time in the future.
  • It is important to first distinguish the "Garden of Eden" (the paradisiacal location where Adam and Eve dwelt before the Fall) from Adam-ondi-Ahman. Adam-ondi-Ahman was a location in which Adam and Eve settled after their expulsion from the Garden, and about which more is said in LDS scripture.
  • Although we have no contemporaneous record of Joseph Smith teaching explicitly that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, that reading is consistent with LDS scripture, and there is substantial later testimony from Joseph's associates that he did teach such an idea.
  • Most Latter-day Saints are aware of this, though it is a relatively minor point that plays little role in LDS theology. (By contrast, the idea that the New Jerusalem—Zion—will be built in the Americas looms much larger in LDS consciousness.)
  • For a detailed response, see: Garden of Eden in Missouri?

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Question: Is it true that Mormons believe the original Garden of Eden was located in Missouri?

There is substantial circumstantial evidence that Joseph Smith taught this

Although we have no contemporaneous record of Joseph Smith teaching explicitly that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, that reading is consistent with LDS scripture, and there is substantial later testimony from Joseph's associates that he did teach such an idea.

Most Latter-day Saints are aware of this, though it is a relatively minor point that plays little role in LDS theology. (By contrast, the idea that the New Jerusalem—Zion—will be built in the Americas looms much larger in LDS consciousness.)

This idea perhaps strikes most non-members as odd, but not simply because the Saints have an opinion about the Garden's location—as we have seen, religions of all stripes have had a wide variety of views on the subject. What likely strikes outside American observers as strange is the idea that the Garden is local—the LDS view does not place the Garden in a never-never land, buried in distant time and far-away space. Rather, the LDS Garden is local and somewhat immediate.

Upon reflection, though, the thoughtful observer will realize that this is simply one more manifestation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' uniqueness: rather than believing only in dead prophets, from long ago, in distant lands, in old records, the Church also embraces modern revelation, living prophets, and an on-going divine involvement with God's people. The gospel restored by Joseph Smith does not merely sacralize the past, but the present and future as well—and, it sacralizes both lofty matters and more earthly concerns like farms, hills, and geography.

It is this intrusion of the sacred into the mundane that surprises most observers—the issue of the Garden is merely one more example of a broader phenomenon.

A common mistake is taking an obscure teaching that is peripheral to the Church’s purpose and placing it at the very center

As the official LDS church website points out, "The doctrinal tenets of any religion are best understood within a broad context and thoughtful analysis is required to understand them. ... Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines. ... A common mistake is taking an obscure teaching that is peripheral to the Church’s purpose and placing it at the very center. For example, the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important than doctrine about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice."[3]

LDS concepts and perspectives

It is important to first distinguish the "Garden of Eden" (the paradisiacal location where Adam and Eve dwelt before the Fall) from Adam-ondi-Ahman. Adam-ondi-Ahman was a location in which Adam and Eve settled after their expulsion from the Garden.


Response to claim: "32. Brigham Young said, 'The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy'. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269) Why did the Mormons yield to the pressure of the government and stop practicing polygamy?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

32. Brigham Young said, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy”. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269) Why did the Mormons yield to the pressure of the government and stop practicing polygamy?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

This quotation is often used in anti-Mormon sources. Unsurprisingly, they do not include the surrounding text which explains what Brigham Young had in mind on this occasion (italics show text generally not cited by the critics):

We wish to obtain all that father Abraham obtained. I wish here to say to the Elders of Israel, and to all the members of this Church and kingdom, that it is in the hearts of many of them to wish that the doctrine of polygamy was not taught and practiced by us...It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives. You who wish that there were no such thing in existence, if you have in your hearts to say: "We will pass along in the Church without obeying or submitting to it in our faith or believing this order, because, for aught that we know, this community may be broken up yet, and we may have lucrative offices offered to us; we will not, therefore, be polygamists lest we should fail in obtaining some earthly honor, character and office, etc,"—the man that has that in his heart, and will continue to persist in pursuing that policy, will come short of dwelling in the presence of the Father and the Son, in celestial glory. The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.

  • It is clear that Brigham was making several points which the critics ignore:
    • the command to practice plural marriage is from God, and it is wrong to seek to abolish a command from God
    • to obtain the blessings of Abraham, the Saints were required to be "polygamists at least in your faith": i.e., it was not necessary that each enter into plural marriage in practice, but that they accept that God spoke to His prophets
    • it was wrong to avoid plural marriage for worldly, selfish reasons, such as believing the Church would fail, and hoping to have political or monetary rewards afterward
    • if one were commanded to enter into plural marriage ("had blessings offered to them"), and if one refused, God would withhold blessings later because of disobedience now.
  • Faithful Saints cannot expect to receive "all that the Father has" if they willfully disobey God if He chooses to command the practice of plural marriage.
  • But, in the context of this speech, "enter into polygamy" does not mean that all members at all times are required to be actual polygamists, but that they accept the doctrine ("polygamists at least in your faith") and be ready to practice it if so commanded without regard for worldly pressures.
  • The Church did not give in to government pressure; members continued to practice plural marriage even in secret until commanded to cease by prophetic leaders.
  • For a detailed response, see: Brigham Young in JD 11:269
  • Extensive further information: Lengthy paper on history of plural marriage

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Question: Is plural marriage required in order to achieve exaltation?

Brigham Young said "The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy"

Critics of the Church point to a statement made by Brigham Young to make the claim that Latter-day Saints believe that one must practice plural marriage in order to achieve exaltation: [4] Brigham Young once said,

The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 11:269.)

This quotation is often used in anti-Mormon sources. They do not include the surrounding text which explains what Brigham Young had in mind on this occasion (italics show text generally not cited by those trying to worry modern-day readers):

Brigham Young also said "if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith"

We wish to obtain all that father Abraham obtained. I wish here to say to the Elders of Israel, and to all the members of this Church and kingdom, that it is in the hearts of many of them to wish that the doctrine of polygamy was not taught and practiced by us...It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives. You who wish that there were no such thing in existence, if you have in your hearts to say: "We will pass along in the Church without obeying or submitting to it in our faith or believing this order, because, for aught that we know, this community may be broken up yet, and we may have lucrative offices offered to us; we will not, therefore, be polygamists lest we should fail in obtaining some earthly honor, character and office, etc,"—the man that has that in his heart, and will continue to persist in pursuing that policy, will come short of dwelling in the presence of the Father and the Son, in celestial glory. The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.[5]

Brigham was stating that the command to practice plural marriage was from God, and it is wrong to seek to abolish a command from God

It is clear that Brigham was making several points which the critics ignore:

  • The command to practice plural marriage is from God, and it is wrong to seek to abolish a command from God.
  • To obtain the blessings of Abraham, the Saints were required to be "polygamists at least in your faith": i.e., it was not necessary that each enter into plural marriage in practice, but that they accept that God spoke to His prophets.
  • It was wrong to avoid plural marriage for worldly, selfish reasons, such as believing the Church would fail, and hoping to have political or monetary rewards afterward.
  • Faithful Saints cannot expect to receive "all that the Father has" if they willfully disobey God. When the people have "had blessings offered unto them," and if they refuse to obey, God will withhold blessings later because of that disobedience now.

Finally, it must be remembered that Brigham Young is speaking to a group who had been commanded to live the law of polygamy. There is no basis for speculating about what he would have said to a group who did not have that commandment given to them, as present-day members do not.


Question: Did Brigham Young believe that one could not enter the Celestial Kingdom unless they were a polygamist?

Wilford Woodruff: "President Young said there would be men saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God with one wife with Many wives & with No wife at all"

I attended the school of the prophets. Brother John Holeman made a long speech upon the subject of Poligamy. He Contended that no person Could have a Celestial glory unless He had a plurality of wives. Speeches were made By L. E. Harrington O Pratt Erastus Snow, D Evans J. F. Smith Lorenzo Young. President Young said there would be men saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God with one wife with Many wives & with No wife at all.[6]

Wilford Woodruff: President Young...said a Man may Embrace the Law of Celestial Marriage in his heart & not take the Second wife & be justified before the Lord

Then President Young spoke 58 Minuts. He said a Man may Embrace the Law of Celestial Marriage in his heart & not take the Second wife & be justified before the Lord.[7]


Seminary Teacher Resource Manual: "We have no knowledge that plural marriage will be a requirement for exaltation"

"Doctrine and Covenants 132," Seminary Teacher Resource Manual on LDS.org:

Note: Avoid sensationalism and speculation when talking about plural marriage. Sometimes teachers speculate that plural marriage will be a requirement for all who enter the celestial kingdom. We have no knowledge that plural marriage will be a requirement for exaltation.[8]


Response to claim: "33. Heber C. Kimball stated, “We are the people of Deseret, she shall be no more Utah: we will have our own name”. Why did this prophecy fail?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

33. Heber C. Kimball stated, “We are the people of Deseret, she shall be no more Utah: we will have our own name”. Why did this prophecy fail?

Author's sources:
  1. Other reference: Journal of Discourses Vol. 5, page 161

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

This was not a prophecy. Heber C. Kimball was, at the time (1857), a counselor in the First Presidency. He was speaking about the attempts by the US Government to replace Brigham Young as governor of the Utah Territory. In fact, that is the main topic of his talk. In discussing this turn of political events, he was not functioning in a prophetic manner. His talk, as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, was called a "discourse." Several paragraphs before the referenced statement he said that he was "going to talk about these [political] things, and I feel as though I had a perfect right to do so, because I am one of the people."[9] A few paragraphs after the referenced statement he said that he was appointed as Lieutenant-Governor of the territory and that "this is a stump speech."[10]

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Response to claim: "34. How did Joseph Smith carry home the golden plates of the Book of Mormon, and how did the witnesses lift them so easily?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

34. How did Joseph Smith carry home the golden plates of the Book of Mormon, and how did the witnesses lift them so easily? (They weighted about 230 lbs. Gold, with a density of 19.3 weighs 1204.7 lbs. Per cubic foot. The plates were 7” x 8” by about 6”.)

Author's sources:
  1. Other reference: Articles of Faith, by Talmage, page 262, 34th Ed.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The "gold plates" were not a solid block of gold, which would have indeed weighed over 200 lbs. The authors have not accounted for the space between the leaves, which themselves were not perfectly flat. Neither were the plates made of pure gold, which would have fallen apart due the the softness of the metal. The plates had to be an alloy which had, as described by witnesses, the "appearance of gold." Such an alloy was used by the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.


Question: Of what material were the Book of Mormon "gold" plates constructed?

Plates having "the appearance of gold," are exactly what we would expect if they were made of tumbaga

The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies states:

Were the Book of Mormon plates pure gold, or were they made from an alloy that looked like gold? The most serious investigation of this question was done 45 years ago by Read H. Putnam of Evanston, Wyoming, a blacksmith and metallurgist. [1] Working first from the general dimensions of the set of plates as reported by eyewitnesses, he calculated that a block of pure gold of that size would have weighed a little over 200 pounds. A number of witnesses, however, put the weight of the set at about 60 pounds. The discrepancy can be partly accounted for by the fact that the leaves must have been handcrafted, presumably by hammering, and irregularities in flatness would have left air space between the plates. This led Putnam to surmise that the entire set of plates would have weighed probably less than 50 percent of the weight of a solid block of the metal.

Because the weight of a metal depends on its purity, we must also consider whether the plates were of pure gold. The Nephites were aware of purity distinctions and alloys. We know, for example, that the "brass" plates were of an alloy (quite surely bronze, a copper-tin mixture) [2] and that the plates of Ether were specifically distinguished as being of "pure" gold (Mosiah 8:9). Furthermore, Nephi taught his associates "to work in all manner of" metals and "precious ores" (2 Nephi 5:15). Yet nowhere does the text say that the Nephites' plates were of pure gold.

Joseph Smith's brother William specifically said that the material of the plates was "a mixture of gold and copper." [3] (Someone must have provided an objective basis for that statement, for the natural assumption would have been that the plates were pure gold.) The cautious statements by other witnesses, including Joseph Smith himself, who spoke of the plates as having "the appearance of gold," suggest that the metal may have been an alloy. [4]

Putnam observed that the only two colored metals from antiquity were gold and copper. An alloy of those two elements was called "tumbaga" by the Spaniards and was in common use in ancient tropical America for manufacturing precious objects. Putnam put forward the reasonable hypothesis that metal plates made in Mormon's day were of that material (the earliest Mesoamerican archaeological specimen of tumbaga—made from a hammered metal sheet—dates to the same century, the fifth century AD, when Moroni hid up the plates he had in his possession).[5] If Mormon's Book of Mormon plates were made of tumbaga, their weight would have been much less than had they been made of pure gold.[11] Putnam made that point in mathematical detail and concluded that the total weight of the plates in Joseph Smith's charge would have been near the 60-pound figure reported by several witnesses.

It is of interest that tumbaga was commonly gilded by applying citric acid to the surface. The resulting chemical reaction eliminated copper atoms from the outer .0006 inch of the surface, leaving a microscopic layer of 23-carat gold that made the object look like it was wholly gold. [6] Plates having "the appearance of gold," then, are exactly what we would expect if they were made of tumbaga.[7] [Footnote markers have been left in; references are available on the original site, see footnote.][12]


Question: How much did the gold plates weigh?

The plates weighed approximately sixty pounds

Witnesses of the Book of Mormon were consistent in their witness that the plates weighed 40-60 pounds.

Some critics assume that the "golden plates" are pure gold, or that they are a solid block of gold. Neither conclusion is warranted.

  1. Pure gold plates would be too soft to hold engraving well. An alloy of gold and copper called "tumbaga," known in Mesoamerica, would suit both the appearance and weight of the plates.[13]
  2. The plates were not a solid block of gold, but a set of page-like leaves, which reduces the weight by about 50%.
  • "weighing altogether from forty to sixty lbs."[14] —Martin Harris

Witness statements regarding the weight of the gold plates

  • "I was permitted to lift them. . . . They weighed about sixty pounds according to the best of my judgement."[15] —William Smith
  • "I . . . judged them to have weighed about sixty pounds."[16]—William Smith
  • "They were much heavier than a stone, and very much heavier than wood. . . . As near as I could tell, about sixty pounds."[17] —William Smith
  • "I hefted the plates, and I knew from the heft that they were lead or gold."[18] —Martin Harris
  • "My daughter said, they were about as much as she could lift. They were now in the glass-box, and my wife said they were very heavy. They both lifted them."[19] —Martin Harris
  • "I moved them from place to place on the table, as it was necessary in doing my work."[20] —Emma Smith
  • Joseph's sister Catherine, while she was dusting in the room where he had been translating, "hefted those plates [which were covered with a cloth] and found them very heavy."[21] —H. S. Salisbury, paraphrasing Catherine Smith Salisbury


Response to claim: "35. When Christ died, did darkness cover the land for three days or for three hours?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

35. When Christ died, did darkness cover the land for three days of [sic] for three hours?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: Luke 23:44 and 3 Nephi 8:19,23

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Darkness covered the old world (Jerusalem) for three hours. The New World experienced three days of darkness. Given that these sites are thousands of miles apart, God is perfectly capable of giving them different amounts of light. It is entirely possible for a portion of the earth to be covered in darkness for days due to volcanic eruptions. The critics here struggle to find fault.

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Question: How is it possible that there were three days of darkness in the New World and not in the Old World?

Book of Mormon Central, KnoWhy #188: How Was There A Night Without Darkness? (Video)

When the Book of Mormon says “the whole Earth” it does not actually mean the entire planet, but rather every place within the local people’s experience

Some argue that the "three days" of "darkness upon the face of the land" in the New World following Christ's death is implausible. There are also a number of references to the destruction in the New World that accompanied Christ's death to "the whole Earth." However, When the Book of Mormon says “the whole Earth” it does not actually mean the entire planet, but rather every place within the local people’s experience.

Note that in the gospel of Luke is says that Caesar taxed "all the world" (Luke 2:1). But he clearly could not have taxed anyone outside the Roman Empire, which, large as it was, was not "all the world." It certainly did not include India or China, or much of anywhere else east of Judea, nor most Arabia to the south and the vast majority of the African continent--let alone the Americas, obviously, which they did not even know. Likewise, when Jesus commanded the apostles to preach the gospel throughout "all the world" (Mark 16:15) there no evidence they went beyond the Roman Empire either.

The phrases "all the world" and "the whole earth" in the scriptures and other ancient sources generally lack the global perspective we have today, and are in fact hyperbolic, referring to a more limited region

The three days of darkness are consistent with a massive volcanic and seismic eruption

The Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 8:5-25 provides a detailed description consistent with a massive volcanic and seismic eruption. Such details are precise for both ancient and modern accounts, though they would have been unknown to Joseph Smith.

Remarkably, one of the models most favored by LDS scholars (Sorenson's Mesoamerican model) has candidate eruptions which are largely restricted to the proper time period.

The LGT model for the Book of Mormon situates Book of Mormon lands in the Caribbean tectonic plate, and intersection of multiple tectonic plates and consequently of much volcanism and seismic activity.

The three days of darkness is consistent with a period of intense volcanism. This explanation of the darkness has been particularly popular among those who advocate a limited geographical model of the Book of Mormon. Most LGT models place Book of Mormon lands in central America; this area is well-known for active seismic activity.

The intersection of the Cocos and Caribbean plates results in multiple volcanoes (shown in red dots on this USGS map) through central America.

One author suggested:

  • The basic cause of the destruction was a tremendous seismic upheaval.
  • Numerous destructive mechanisms were involved, but rain was not one of them.
  • The accompanying period of darkness was caused by an immense local cloud of volcanic ash.
  • The unprecedented lightning was due to electrical discharges within the ash cloud.
  • The intense thunder was due both to the lightning and to the rumbling of the earth due to seismic movements.
  • The vapor of darkness (1 Nephi 12:5; 19:11) and the mist of darkness (3 Nephi 8:20) were volcanic ash and dust stirred up by the quaking of the ground.[22]
An example of volcanic lightning from a 1995 eruption in Indonesia—such a phenomenon matches the 3 Nephi description of severe lightning following Christ's crucifixion.

A concentration of dense volcanic gases (carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide) at ground level is sufficient to prevent igniting of the kindling and to cause suffocation

The inability to ignite the exceedingly dry wood is interesting in view of the fact that a few people are also described as dying from suffocation during the period of destruction which preceded the period of darkness (3 Nephi 10:13). This suggests that in some regions the concentration of dense volcanic gases (carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide) at ground level was sufficient to prevent igniting of the kindling and to cause suffocation. The uncle of Pliny died of suffocation as a consequence of a volcanic eruption.

Volcanic eruptions could have accompanied the violent earthquake described in 3 Nephi

James Baer notes that volcanic eruptions could have accompanied the violent earthquake described in 3 Nephi. He notes that these would have made the atmosphere dark with dust and cinders and would have released carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and sulfurous gases, which would have been suffocating and could have made fire kindling impossible.

The "mist of darkness" and "vapor of darkness" is consistent with the falling of volcanic ash

Another mechanism, however, seems an equally likely explanation of the inability to ignite the dry tinder. If one assumes that sparks from flint were the common method of starting fires, then the heavy ash fall could have been effective in preventing ignition. This heavy ash fall also offers a likely explanation for the terms mist of darkness and vapor of darkness used in 1 Nephi 12:4–5.[23]

There is evidence dating volcanic eruptions in Mesoamerica to the proper timeframe

Given the wide variety of geographic models proposed for the Book of Mormon, there is obviously not evidence of volcanism in all areas, especially at the proper (i.e., at around AD 30, at Christ's death). (If the volcanic hypothesis for the three days' darkness is true, this provides one data point which can exclude many models, including a hemispheric or exclusively North American model.)

However, Sorenson's Mesoamerican model has been noted to have some interesting features in this regard: volcanoes do exist in the proper area, and these volcanoes have been shown by modern dating to have erupted only during two periods during the past 8600 years (3% of the time):

  • 1230–1190 BC [too early]
  • 30 BC – AD 170 [matches the circa AD 30 eruption at Christ's death]

Thus, Sorenson's model could have been easily disproven by these data, but was not.[24]

Furthermore, ice core data is consistent with a major volcanic event at the time of Christ's death, within the margin of error provided by the dating measurements, though it is not at present possible to determine the location of these eruptions.[25]


Response to claim: "36. If the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, why have the Mormons changed it?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

36. If the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, why have the Mormons changed it? (There have been over 3,000 changes in the Book of Mormon, exclusive of punctuation changes)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Members of the Church do not believe in a "one and only true text" of any scripture. The vast majority of changes made to the Book of Mormon are issues of grammar, spelling, and typographical errors. The few other changes in wording were not made by "Mormons," but by Joseph Smith, the translator and prophet.
  • No change affects the meaning of the Book of Mormon text; Mormons can quite happily use the first edition of the Book of Mormon. In fact, the changes made in the 1981 edition brought the published text closer to the original manuscripts then available.
  • Christians should be careful with such attacks. If they don’t want to have a double standard, they'd have to realize that there are more differences in Biblical manuscripts of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament! Yet, Latter-day Saints and other Christians still believe the Bible.

}}

Question: What changes were made to the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon?

Among the changes Joseph Smith made are these four in 1 Nephi 11 and 13

The earliest edition of the Book of Mormon referred to Jesus as "God." Joseph Smith later changed some, but not all, of these to "the Son of God." It is claimed by some that this is evidence that Joseph Smith changed the Book of Mormon to conform to his changing beliefs about the Trinity, claiming that Joseph was originally a solid Trinitarian (perhaps even a Modalist), and as he later began to teach that the Father and Son were two separate beings, he had to change the Book of Mormon to support his new doctrine. However, this change was a deliberate editorial insertion by Joseph Smith to clarify four verses in 1 Nephi.

The second edition of the Book of Mormon was published in 1837 at Kirtland, Ohio. The typesetting and printing were done during the winter of 1836–37, with Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery taking an active part in the editing process.

In this edition numerous corrections were made to the text of the 1830 (first) edition to bring it back to the reading in the original and printer's manuscripts. Joseph Smith also made a number of editorial changes to the text, as was his right as the translator of the text.

Among the changes he made are these four in 1 Nephi 11 and 13:

  Original manuscript Printer's manuscript 1830 edition 1837 edition
1 Nephi 11:18 behold the virgin which thou seest is the Mother of god after the manner of the flesh behold the virgin which <whom> thou seest is the Mother of <the son of> God after the manner of the flesh Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh. Behold, the virgin whom thou seest, is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
1 Nephi 11:21 & the angel said unto me behold the lam of god yea even the eternal father knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw & the Angel said unto me behold the Lamb of God yea even the <God> Father knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
1 Nephi 11:32 & it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again saying look and i lookt & beheld the lam of god that he was taken By the People yea the ever lasting god was judgd of the world and i saw & bare record & it came to pass that the Angel spake unto me again saying look & I looked & behold the Lamb of God that he was taken by the People yea the everlasting God was Judged of the world & I saw &amp bear record And it came to pass the angel spake unto me again, saying, look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Everlasting God, was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record. And it came to pass the angel spake unto me again, saying, look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the Everlasting God, was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.
1 Nephi 13:40 (Not extant.) & the Angel spake unto me saying these last records which thou hast seen among the Gentiles shall establish the truth of the first which is <which are> of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb & shall make known the plain & precious things which have been taken away from them & shall make known unto all Kindreds Tongues & People that the Lamb of God is the <the son of> eternal Father & the saviour of the world & that all men must Come unto him or they cannot be saved And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which is of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain the precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world; and that all men must come unto Him, or they cannot be saved; And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain the precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world; and that all men must come unto Him, or they cannot be saved;

(The strikeouts and <insertions> in the printer's manuscript are in Joseph's hand, and were added by him during the preparation of the 1837 edition.)


Response to claim: "37. If God speaks through a prophet, why do Mormons vote on whether or not to receive and authorize it?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

37. If God speaks through a prophet, why do Mormons vote on whether or not to receive and authorize it?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Members of the Church vote to sustain a revelation. By doing this, they recognize that the teaching comes from God, add their witness to its truth, and publicly put themselves under covenant to obey the commandment or teaching given. When Joshua taught the children of Israel, they too made a public commitment to obey:

And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. (Joshua 24:24)

Why do critics attack the Church for a practice that is clearly Biblical? }}

Response to claim: "38. It has been established that the 'Sensen' manuscript was simply a common Egyptian burial papyrus. Why do the Mormons still accept the Book of Abraham which was translated from that manuscript?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

38. It has been established that the “Sensen” manuscript was simply a common Egyptian burial papyrus. Why do the Mormons still accept the Book of Abraham which was translated from that manuscript?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The Church has in its possession some papyri fragments from the scrolls used by Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Abraham. However, the critics do not tell their readers that the Church has only 13% of the scrolls. The critics also fail to mention that the Church announced that the fragments they had were from an Egyptian burial papyrus less than two months after reacquiring the papyri, and published these results in the Church's official magazine. No informed Latter-day Saint believes that the papyri in the Church's possession contain the text of the Book of Abraham (except Facsimile #1). The Church has never claimed otherwise. Members of the Church continue to accept the Book of Abraham as scripture because of the witness of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses that it is true.

}}

Question: Was the Church forthright in identifying the rediscovered papyri prior to their examination by non-LDS Egyptologists?

The January 1968 issue of the Improvement Era demonstrates that the Church was very forthright about this issue

The Church announced that the fragments contained a funerary text in the January 1968 Improvement Era (the predecessor to today's Ensign magazine). Of the 11 fragments, one fragment has Facsimile 1, and the other 10 fragments are funerary texts, which the Church claimed from the moment the papyri were rediscovered. There is no evidence that the Church has ever claimed that any of the 10 remaining fragments contain text which is contained in the Book of Abraham.

The critics are telling us nothing new when they dramatically "announce" that the JSP contain Egyptian funerary documents. The Church disseminated this information as widely as possible from the very beginning.

The timeline of events

A review of the time-line of the papyri demonstrates that the Church quickly publicized the nature of the JSP in the official magazine of the time, The Improvement Era.

There were 11 fragments discovered and given to the church. The Church was very quick in releasing this information to the membership and the world.

November 27, 1967
Church receives papyri.
December 10–11, 1967
Deadline to submit material for the January 1968 Improvement Era.
December 26–31, 1967
January 1968 Improvement Era issue mailed to subscribers.[26]
February 1968
Another fragment was discovered in the Church historian's files, and publicized in the February 1968 Improvement Era.[27]
Cover of the January 1968 issue of the Improvement Era, the Church's official magazine of the time. Note the color photograph of the recovered Facsimile 1.


Response to claim: "39. Why is it that no other writings have been found in the language of “Reformed Egyptian”, the supposed language of the Book of Mormon plates? Is there evidence that such a language really existed?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

39. Why is it that no other writings have been found in the language of “Reformed Egyptian”, the supposed language of the Book of Mormon plates? Is there evidence that such a language really existed?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

"Reformed Egyptian is not the name of any language known by modern scholars: Moroni makes it clear that "reformed Egyptian" is the name which the Nephites gave to a script originally based upon Egyptian characters, but modified over the course of a thousand years (see Mormon 9:32). It is no surprise that Egyptians or Jews have no script called "reformed Egyptian," as this was a Nephite term.

}}

Question: What is "reformed Egyptian"?

The term "reformed Egyptian" is the name which the Nephites have given to a script based upon Egyptian characters, and modified over the course of a thousand years

Moroni makes it clear that "reformed Egyptian" is the name which the Nephites have given to a script based upon Egyptian characters, and modified over the course of a thousand years (See Mormon 9:32). So, it is no surprise that Egyptians or Jews have no script called "reformed Egyptian," as this was a Nephite term.

There are, however, several variant Egyptian scripts which are "reformed" or altered from their earlier form

There are, however, several variant Egyptian scripts which are "reformed" or altered from their earlier form. Hugh Nibley and others have pointed out that the change from Egyptian hieroglyphics, to hieratic, to demotic is a good description of Egyptian being "reformed." By 600 BC, hieratic was used primarily for religious texts, while demotic was used for daily use. off-site

One can see how hieroglyphics developed into the more stylized hieratic, and this process continued with the demotic:

Development of hieratic script from hieroglyphs; after Jean-François Champollion. off-site

What could be a better term for this than an Egyptian script that has been "reformed"?

Examples from the Holy Land 7th and 6th century before Christ

More recent research provides further corroboration:

The fourth presentation at BYU’s Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies conference on 31 August 2012 was on “Writing in 7th Century BC Levant,” by Stefan Wimmer of the University of Munich. It was entitled “Palestinian Hieratic.” He examined an interesting phenomena in Hebrew inscriptions, the use of Egyptian hieratic (cursive hieroglyphic) signs.

Basically Hebrew scribes used Egyptian signs for various numerals, weights and measures. The changes in the form of these signs parallel similar chronological changes in the form of Egyptian hieratic characters, which indicates continued contact of some sort between Egyptian and Hebrew scribes, probably over several centuries. (If there had been a single scribal transmission with no ongoing contact, the changes in the Hebrew forms of hieratic signs would not parallel contemporary changes in Egyptian hieratic forms.) No other Semitic language used Egyptian hieratic signs except Hebrew (with one possible Moabite example.)

There are a couple of hundred examples of such texts, the majority dating from the late seventh century, and geographically mainly from Jerusalem southward. The phenomena ends after the Babylonian captivity. (In other words, Palestinian hieratic is most common in precisely the time and location of Lehi and Nephi, and only exists in Hebrew.)[28]

Additionally,

Documents from the kingdoms of both Israel and Judah, but not the neighboring kingdoms, of the eighth and seventh centuries contain Egyptian hieratic signs (cursive hieroglyphics) and numerals that had ceased to be used in Egypt after the tenth century (Philip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager, Life in Biblical Israel (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 311.)

German Egyptologist Stefan Wimmer calls this script "palestinian Hieratic." See Stefan Wimmer, Palästinisches Hieratisch: Die Zahl- und Sonderzeichen in der althebräischen Schrift, Ägypten und Altes Testament 75 (Germany: Harrassowitz Wiesbaden, 2008).

Further examples

William Hamblin provides additional example of such reformation of Egyptian, including:

  • Byblos Syllabic texts
  • Cretan hieroglyphics
  • Meroitic
  • Psalm 20 in demotic Egyptian
  • Proto-Sinaitic and the alphabet[29]

Given that Moroni says the Nephites then modified the scripts further, "reformed Egyptian" is an elegant description of both the Old World phenomenon, and what Moroni says happened among the Nephites.


Response to claim: "40. Joseph Smith said that there are men living on the moon who dress like Quakers and live to be nearly 1000 years old. Since he was wrong about the moon, is it safe to trust him regarding the way to heaven?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

40. Joseph Smith said that there are men living on the moon who dress like Quakers and live to be nearly 1000 years old. Since he was wrong about the moon, is it safe to trust him regarding the way to heaven?

Author's sources:
  1. Other reference: The Young Woman’s Journal, Vol 3, pages 263, 264

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

There is no contemporary record of Joseph Smith making this statement—the first account dates more than 40 years after his death. In Joseph's day, there had been newspaper articles reporting that a famous astronomer had reported that there were men on the moon and elsewhere. This was published in LDS areas; the retraction of this famous hoax never was publicized, and so they may not have even heard about it. Thus, some members and leaders were most likely repeating what had been told them by the science of the day. (Lots of Biblical prophets talked about the earth being flat, the sky being a dome, etc.—it is inconsistent for conservative Protestants to complain that a false belief about the physical world shared by others in their culture condemns the Mormons, but does not condemn Bible prophets.)

}}

Question: Did Joseph Smith state that the moon was inhabited, and that it's inhabitants were dressed like Quakers?

This is not a quote from Joseph Smith, but rather a late, third-hand account of something that Joseph is supposed to have said

The source for this claim is not Joseph Smith himself; the first mention comes in 1881 in Oliver B. Huntington's journal, who claimed that he had the information from Philo Dibble. So, we have a late, third-hand account of something Joseph is supposed to have said. [30] Hyrum Smith [31] and Brigham Young [32] both expressed their view that the moon was inhabited.

A patriarchal blessing given to Huntington also indicated that "thou shalt have power with God even to translate thyself to Heaven, & preach to the inhabitants of the moon or planets, if it shall be expedient." [33]

Huntington later wrote an article about the concept for a Church magazine:

As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do -- that they live generally to near the age of a 1,000 years.

He described the men as averaging nearly six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style. [34]

So, it would seem that the idea of an inhabited moon or other celestial body was not foreign to at least some early LDS members. It is not clear whether the idea originated with Joseph Smith.

In the 1800s, the idea that the moon was inhabited was considered scientific fact by many

However, it should be remembered that this concept was considered 'scientific fact' by many at the time. William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, died in 1822. Herschel argued "[w]ho can say that it is not extremely probable, nay beyond doubt, that there must be inhabitants on the Moon of some kind or another?" Furthermore, "he thought it possible that there was a region below the Sun's fiery surface where men might live, and he regarded the existence of life on the Moon as 'an absolute certainty.'" [35]

Other scientists announced that they had discovered "a lunar city with a collection of gigantic ramparts extending 23 miles in either direction." [36]

The 1835 Great Moon Hoax added to the belief in lunar inhabitants

In addition to these pronouncements from some of the most prominent scientists of the day, a clever hoax in 1835 only added to the belief in lunar inhabitants.

John Herschel, son of the famous William, went to South Africa to study stars visible only in the southern hemisphere. This was the cause of considerable public interest, given Herschel's involvement. (William Herschel was the preeminent astronomer of his generation. He had discovered Uranus, and was also of the view that the moon was inhabited. [37]

On 23 August 1835, Richard Locke published the first article in the New York Sun of what purported to be reports from Herschel's observations. Over a total of six installments, Locke claimed that Herschel was reporting lunar flowers, forests, bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tailless beavers who cooked with fire, and (most provocatively) flying men with wings:

They appeared to be constantly engaged in conversing, with much impassioned gesticulation; and hence it was inferred, that they are rational beings. Others, apparently of a higher order, were discovered afterwards. . . . And finally a magnificent temple for the worship of God, of polished sapphire, in a triangle shape, with a roof of gold. [38]

These reports were widely believed and caused a minor sensation. They were carried in the Painsville Telegraph, adjacent to Mormon Kirtland. [39] The Sun eventually hinted that the matter was a hoax:

Certain correspondents have been urging us to come out and confess the whole to be a hoax; but this we can by no means do, until we have the testimony of the English or Scotch papers to corroborate such a declaration. [40]

Popular belief in lunar inhabitants persisted for decades after the hoax

No more than this was forthcoming, and the Painsville Telegraph made no mention of the possibility of a hoax. Popular belief in lunar inhabitants persisted for decades. Herschel initially found the episode amusing, but he eventually grew frustrated with having to continually explain to the public that the whole matter was a hoax, with which he had nothing to do: he would later refer "the whole affair as 'incoherent ravings'". [41]

In a private letter, Hirschel's wife indicated how skillfully the hoax was carried out:

Margaret Herschel was more amused. She called the story 'a very clever peice of imagination,' and wrote appreciately..."The whole description is so well clenched with minute details of workmanship...that the New Yorkists were not to be blamed for actually believing it as they did...." [42]

Modern prophets and general authorities will sometimes cite newspaper articles or books to illustrate the points which they wish to make

Church publications did not shy from embracing later scientific findings on the matter:

1856

Desert News noted:

Proof that the Moon is not Inhabited.

“Dr. Scoresby, in an account that he has given of some recent observations made with the Earl of Rosse’s telescope, says: ‘With respect to the moon, every object on its surface of 100 feet was distinctly to be seen; and he had no doubt that, under very favorable circumstances, it would be so with objects 60 feet in height…. But no vestiges of architecture remain to show that the moon, is, or ever was, inhabited by a race of mortals similar to ourselves….. There was no water visible….”[43]

1880

“As there is no air nor water on the moon, but very few changes can take place upon its surface. There can be no vegetation and no animals, and although many astronomers have brought their imaginations to bear upon this subject, and have given us descriptions of the beautiful scenery upon its surface, and have even peopled it with inhabitants, we have every reason to believe that it is as barren and lifeless as an arid rock."[44]

Modern prophets and general authorities will sometimes cite newspaper articles or books to illustrate the points which they wish to make. In doing so, they are not endorsing such articles or books as being prophetically correct in all particulars. Rather, they are using the science and information of their day to enhance their preaching of the gospel.

LDS doctrine was not provincial, since it provided for "worlds without number" (Moses 1:33) created by Christ. These worlds held those who would require the gospel, since by Christ "the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (DC 76:24)

Information given to the 19th century Saints by the authorities of the day were consistent with these doctrines, and so they believed them, and occasionally mentioned them in a religious context. As always, prophets and believers are products of their time. Biblical authors, for example, clearly accepted a geocentric (earth centered) cosmos, with a flat earth and heavens supported by four pillars. Like the authors of the Bible, modern prophets are generally beholden to their era's scientific concepts, except where corrections in those concepts are needed to permit the gospel to be understood and applied. This does not mean, however, that prophets of any era do not receive revelation about matters of eternal significance.


Response to claim: "41. Why do Mormons not study Hebrew and Greek so that they can intelligently discuss the accuracy of the translation of the Bible?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

41. Why do Mormons not study Hebrew and Greek so that they can intelligently discuss the accuracy of the translation of the Bible?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

If studying Hebrew and Greek is a requirement for intelligent discussion, then why don't most Christians study them? The fact is that some Christians do study them, and some Mormons study them; it is a personal choice, not a requirement. (See, for example, here and here).
  • It is telling that the critics attack members of the Church for not studying ancient languages, yet within these questions there are several which show that they have misread the original texts upon which they base their criticisms. See questions #4, #5, #8, #16, #43, #46, #54, #55.


Response to claim: "42. Joseph Smith prepared fourteen Articles of Faith. Why has the original No. 11 been omitted?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

42. Joseph Smith prepared fourteen Articles of Faith. Why has the original No. 11 been omitted?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

There were many versions of "articles of faith" prepared by various early Latter-day Saints to support their missionary efforts. Most of them had essential items in common (belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; the necessity of faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost; etc.), but there were various differences among them. Even after the Wentworth Letter was published in March 1842, many other lists of LDS beliefs continued to appear for the next generation. In April 1849, James H. Flanigan included a list of fourteen statements in a pamphlet published in England, and this list was quoted and sometimes modified in various publications throughout the nineteenth century. Critics are trying to impose their inerrantist view of scripture on the Latter-day Saints. The saints chose to canonize one summary of their beliefs; they are not troubled by the existence of other similar summaries. Since the Church believes in on-going revelation, any needed additions or alterations to belief will be available as required.

}}

Question: Is it true that there used to be fourteen Articles of Faith?

The present-day Articles of Faith were not the first effort of members and missionaries from the Church to summarize their core beliefs

The present-day Articles of Faith were not the first effort of members and missionaries from the Church to summarize their core beliefs. There are several different lists, written by different authors.

The Articles of Faith used today in the Church are from Joseph Smith's "Wentworth Letter," but this does not mean that the other summaries were not useful reflections of what early members believed was important for others to understand about their faith.

The following is an excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:

The Wentworth Letter was not the first attempt to summarize basic LDS beliefs. Earlier lists, some of which may have influenced the Wentworth listing, had appeared prior to 1842. As early as June 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were committing to paper the "Articles and Covenants" of the soon-to-be-organized Church. Later known as Doctrine and Covenants Section 20, this text enumerates a number of basic beliefs, including the existence of God; the creation and fall of man; the centrality of Jesus Christ; the fundamental ordinances of the gospel, including baptism; and the basic duties of members (20:17–36). This document, the first accepted by a Church conference vote, was not an exhaustive listing of all beliefs but rather a basic charter for the infant organization, rooted in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

In the first issue of the LDS Messenger and Advocate (Oct. 1834), published in Kirtland, Ohio, Oliver Cowdery enumerated eight "principles," all of which had their parallel in section 20.

Other early lists that summarized the leading principles of Latter-day Saint beliefs prior to the Wentworth Letter include one prepared by Joseph Young for publication by John Hayward in The Religious Creeds and Statistics of Every Christian Denomination in the United States (Boston, 1836, pp. 139–40). In five paragraphs, he outlined the doctrines of (1) the Godhead and Atonement of Jesus Christ; (2) the first principles and ordinances of the gospel performed by apostolic authority as in the ancient Church of Christ; (3) the gathering of lost Israel and the restoration of spiritual gifts to her; (4) the Second Coming of Christ; and (5) the resurrection and judgment of all mankind.

Another list of eighteen "principles and doctrines" was included by Parley P. Pratt in the introduction to his Late Persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (New York, 1840, pp. iii–xiii). For example, "The first principle of Theology as held by this Church, is Faith in God the eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, who verily was crucified for the sins of the world…and in the Holy Ghost who bears record of them" (pp. iii–iv). Many phrases in Pratt's list are similar to those in the Wentworth Letter.

Orson Pratt offers an expansive and eloquent "sketch of the faith and doctrine" of the Church in his Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (Edinburgh, 1840, pp. 24–31). The order in which it presents its themes in nineteen paragraphs (many of which begin, "We believe that…") is nearly identical to that of the thirteen points of the Wentworth Letter. Orson Pratt's explanations include biblical references and personal testimony of the truth and divine origins of these teachings.

Orson Hyde published in German a History of the Church that included a chapter of sixteen articles (actually essays) on such topics as the Godhead, the use of scripture, faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, Sacrament of bread and wine, confession of sins and Church discipline, children, revelations, lay priesthood, baptism for the dead, prayer, holidays, washing of the feet, and patriarchal blessings (A Cry from the Wilderness [Frankfurt, 1842]).

Even after the Wentworth Letter was published in March 1842, many other lists of LDS beliefs continued to appear for the next generation. In April 1849, James H. Flanigan included a list of fourteen statements in a pamphlet published in England, and this list was quoted and sometimes modified in various publications throughout the nineteenth century. For example, it was quoted in Charles MacKay's popular book The Mormons; or the Latter-day Saints (London, 1851, pp. 46–47). This list follows the Wentworth Letter almost verbatim, adding such points as "the Lord's supper" to Article 4; including "wisdom, charity, [and] brotherly love" among the gifts of the spirit in Article 7; and inserting a fourteenth article regarding the literal resurrection of the body. Other lists (usually composed by missionaries) were published in various parts of the world throughout this era.[45]


Response to claim: "43. According to Hebrews 7:24, the Melchizedek Priesthood is not transferable. Why do Mormons pass it from one to another?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

43. According to Hebrews 7:24, the Melchizedek Priesthood is not transferable. Why do Mormons pass it from one to another?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The critics are here depending on old Bible scholarship. They are not up-to-date in their understanding of the Greek. The Greek text actually says that the Melchizedek priesthood is "unchangeable," rather than being "untransferrable." The critics' stance is not supported by the Biblical text. Rather, the priesthood is a permanent and necessary part of the Church—any Church claiming it is unnecessary does not meet the Biblical model.

}} For a detailed response, see: Jesus is the only Melchizedek priesthood holder

Response to claim: "44. If Mormonism came as a revelation from God, why are the Mormon Temple Oaths almost identical to the oaths of the Masonic Lodge?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

44. If Mormonism came as a revelation from God, why are the Mormon Temple Oaths almost identical to the oaths of the Masonic Lodge?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

They are not the same. The LDS temple patrons make commitments to live by the gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes commitments to obey the law of chastity, consecration of time and talents and other religious tenets. Masonry's oaths center around the promotion of brotherhood of the fraternity, going to the aid of fellow Masons and their widows and orphans in times of distress, and in holding inviolate the means of identifying a fellow Mason. So while the temple teaches man's relationship with God and Christ the Masonic Lodge teaches of man's relationship to his fellow men.

}}

Question: Why would Joseph Smith incorporate Masonic elements into the temple ritual?

There are two aspects of temple worship: The teaching of the endowment, and the presentation of the endowment

In order to understand the relationship between the temple endowment and Freemasonry it is useful to consider the temple experience. In the temple, participants are confronted with ritual in a form which is unknown in LDS worship outside of that venue. In the view of some individuals the temple endowment is made up of two parts:

  1. The teachings of the endowment, i.e., the doctrines taught and the covenants made with God.
  2. The method of presenting the endowment, or the "ritual" mechanics themselves.

It is in the ritual presentation of the endowment teachings and covenants that the similarities between the LDS temple worship and Freemasonry are the most apparent. The question is, why would this be the case?

Joseph's challenge was to find a method of presenting the endowment that would be effective

It is the opinion of some people that in developing the endowment Joseph Smith faced a problem. He wished to communicate, in a clear and effective manner, some different (and, in some cases, complex) religious ideas. These included such abstract concepts as

  • the nature of creation (matter being organized and not created out of nothing)
  • humanity's relationship to God and to each other
  • eternal marriage and exaltation in the afterlife

The theory is that Joseph needed to communicate these ideas to a diverse population; some with limited educational attainments, many of whom were immigrants; several with only modest understanding of the English language; all of whom possessed different levels of intellectual and spiritual maturity—but who needed to be instructed through the same ceremony.

Ritual and repetition are important teaching tools

Joseph Smith's very brief experience with Freemasonry before the introduction of the full LDS endowment may have reminded him of the power of instruction through ritual and repetition. Some people believe that Joseph may have seized upon Masonic tools as teaching devices for the endowment's doctrines and covenants during the Nauvoo era. Other people are of the opinion that since these elements were previously present in the worship of the Kirtland Temple they were not 'borrowed' by the Prophet at all.

Regardless, the use of symbols was characteristic of Joseph Smith's era; it was not unique to him or Masonry:

Symbols on buildings, in literature, stamped on manufactured goods, etc. were not endemic to Mormons and Masons but were common throughout all of mid-nineteenth century American society (as even a cursory inspection of books, posters, buildings and photos of the periods will bear out.) So, assuming [Joseph] Smith felt a need to communicate specific principles to his Saints, he might naturally develop a set of easily understood symbols as were already in familiar use about him. [46]


Response to claim: "45. Why did the Nauvoo House not stand forever and ever?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

45. Why did the Nauvoo House not stand forever and ever?

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

This was not a prophecy that the building would last forever.


Question: Did Joseph Smith issue a prophecy that the Nauvoo House would stand forever and ever?

This scripture is a command to build the Nauvoo House, not a prophecy that it would last forever

This scripture is not a prophecy that the Nauvoo House would stand "forever and ever." It is a command to build the Nauvoo house, and to permit Joseph and his family to "have place therein" "forever and ever." Leaders of the Church constantly encouraged members in Nauvoo to live up to this commandment. Due to a lack of funds, workmen, and materials, the Saints eventually focused on the command to build the Nauvoo Temple (see DC 124:55.) God may issue commands, but such commands are not always obeyed. And, God may alter commands if the free agent choices of enemies alter the situation, as the same section of the D&C could tell the critics, if they read the entirety (DC 124:49).


Response to claim: "46. If genealogies are important, why does the New Testament tell Christians to avoid them?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

46. If genealogies are important, why does the New Testament tell Christians to avoid them?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The Bible does not forbid genealogies: It rejects the use of genealogies to "prove" one's righteousness, or the truth of one's teachings.


Question: Does the Bible condemn genealogical research?

The Bible rejects the use of genealogies to "prove" one's righteousness, or the truth of one's teachings

Critics charge that the Bible condemns genealogy, and therefore the Latter-day Saint practice of compiling family histories is anti-Biblical, often citing 1 Timothy 1:4 or Titus 3:9.

The Bible does not condemn all genealogy per se. Rather, it rejects the use of genealogy to "prove" one's righteousness, or the truth of one's teachings. It also rejects the apostate uses to which some Christians put genealogy in some varieties of gnosticism.

Latter-day Saints engage in genealogical work so that they can continue the Biblical practice of providing vicarious ordinances for the dead

Latter-day Saints engage in genealogy work so that they can continue the Biblical practice—also endorsed by Paul—of providing vicarious ordinances for the dead, such as baptism (See 1 Corinthians 15:29) so that the atonement of Christ may be available to all who would choose it, living or dead. See: Baptism for the dead

The Bible clearly does not reject all uses of genealogy

This can be seen through its many genealogical lists, including two such lists for Jesus Christ Himself. (See Matthew 1:1–24 and Luke 3:23–38.)

The condemnation of "genealogies" in Timothy and Titus likely came because:

  • the Christians perceived a Jewish tendency to be pre-occupied by "pure descent" as a qualification for holding the priesthood. Since only pure descendents of Levi could hold the priesthood, there was endless wrangling about one's pedigree—since Paul considers the Aaronic Priesthood to have been superceded by Christ, the great High Priest like Melchizedek (see Hebrews 5), this probably strikes him as pointless.
  • some Jewish scribes and other teachers claimed that their "traditions" were directly descended from Moses, Joshua, or some other prominent leader, and thus superior to the Christian gospel.[47]
  • some gnostic sects had involved accounts of the descent of the Aeons (up to 365 "generations" in one scheme) and other mystic or pagan variations thereon.[48]

Since all these genealogies were either speculative or fabricated, they could cause endless, pointless debate.[49] Rather Paul wants the faith (in Christ) which builds up ("edifying") testimonies and lives.


Response to claim: "47. The Bible says, 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin'. Why did Brigham Young say that there are some sins which can be atoned for only by the shedding of ones own blood?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

47. The Bible says, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin”. Why did Brigham Young say that there are some sins which can be atoned for only by the shedding of ones own blood?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The Bible also has Jesus teach that there are some acts which cannot be forgiven (notwithstanding the blood of Christ). Jesus said:

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Matthew 12:31-32, see also Luke 12:10)

  • Latter-day Saints understand "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost" to be a willing, fully-aware renouncement of Christ and His atoning sacrifice. It is to sin against actual knowledge. Clearly, if one rejects the atonement of Christ, it cannot save him. He must then suffer for his own sins, since he has cut himself off from the only thing that might have saved him--the atonement.

}}

Question: What is "blood atonement"?

If a person thereafter commits a grievous sin such as the shedding of innocent blood, only by voluntarily submitting to whatever penalty the Lord may require can that person benefit from the Atonement of Christ

From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:

The doctrines of the Church affirm that the Atonement wrought by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is efficacious for the sins of all who believe, repent, are baptized by one having authority, and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. However, if a person thereafter commits a grievous sin such as the shedding of innocent blood, the Savior's sacrifice alone will not absolve the person of the consequences of the sin. Only by voluntarily submitting to whatever penalty the Lord may require can that person benefit from the Atonement of Christ.

Several early Church leaders, most notably Brigham Young, taught that in a complete theocracy the Lord could require the voluntary shedding of a murderer's blood-presumably by capital punishment-as part of the process of Atonement for such grievous sin. This was referred to as "blood Atonement." Since such a theocracy has not been operative in modern times, the practical effect of the idea was its use as a rhetorical device to heighten the awareness of Latter-day Saints of the seriousness of murder and other major sins. This view is not a doctrine of the Church and has never been practiced by the Church at any time.

Early anti-Mormon writers charged that under Brigham Young the Church practiced "blood Atonement," by which they meant Church-instigated violence directed at dissenters, enemies, and strangers. This claim distorted the whole idea of blood atonement-which was based on voluntary submission by an offender-into a supposed justification of involuntary punishment. Occasional isolated acts of violence that occurred in areas where Latter-day Saints lived were typical of that period in the history of the American West, but they were not instances of Church-sanctioned blood Atonement.[50]

Reports of "blood atonement" having occurred were exaggerated and sensationalized

As one historian noted,

That the doctrine [of blood atonement] was preached by high officials is a matter of record; the intent of the sermons became a matter of conjecture; and the results therefrom set vivid imaginations working overtime. Blood fairly flowed through the writing of such men as Beadle in Life in Utah or the Mysteries of Mormonism and Polygamy, in Linn's The Story of Mormonism, and even Stenhouse's anonymous chapter on Reformation and Blood Atonement in his Rocky Mountain Saints. Numerous killings, including the Mountain Meadows massacre, were credited as the fruits of the doctrine....

Omitted from quotations used by the anti-Mormons were restraining clauses such as follow from Brigham Young:

. . . The time has been in Israel under the law of God that if a man was found guilty of adultery, he must have his blood shed, and that is near at hand. But now I say, in the name of the Lord, that if this people will sin no more, but faithfully live their religion, their sins will be forgiven them without taking life.

The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle's being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

The doctrine of blood atonement which involved concern for the salvation of those to be subjected to it, could have little meaning in the [p.62] Mountain Meadows massacre, or any other of the murders laid unproved on the Mormon threshold (emphasis added).[51]

There is evidence that some crimes were considered worthy of death, even in the apostolic age among Christians

Despite the critics' claims, there is evidence that some crimes were considered worthy of death, even in the apostolic age among Christians:

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him....[Chapter 5] If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (1 John 3:15; 1 John 5:16-18) (italics added).


Response to claim: "48. God rejected the fig leaf aprons which Adam and Eve made. Why do Mormons memorialize the fall by using fig leaf aprons?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

48. God rejected the fig leaf aprons which Adam and Eve made. Why do Mormons memorialize the fall by using fig leaf aprons?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: Genesis 3:21

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The question has reference to LDS temple ceremonies. Members of FAIR, like all active Latter-day Saints, hold their temple covenants sacred, and will not discuss such matters in a public forum, especially before hostile critics. We can say, however, that members of the Church do not memorialize the Fall in the temple, or elsewhere. Latter-day Saints are aware, of course, of the Fall, since they must live in a fallen world, and contend with the fallen natures of themselves and others. The purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its ordinances—especially the temple—is to allow members to overcome the fallen world and fallen man, not praise it.

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Question: If God rejected the fig leaf aprons worn by Adam and Eve, why do Mormons wear aprons representing this in the temple?

The Bible never says that God rejected the fig leaf aprons Adam and Eve wore

"There was no condemnation of the aprons Adam and Eve wore while in the Garden of Eden, only a chastisement and grave consequences for eating of the forbidden fruit. In actuality, the Lord demonstrated his agreement with the covering of their nakedness. That agreement along with the result of now having to live in a different world, with harsh conditions as compared to life in the garden, the Lord gave them something BETTER to clothe themselves with. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)[52]


Response to claim: "49. Why do Mormons insist that Ezekiel 37:15-22 is about two books instead of about two kingdoms as god Himself explained in verse 22?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

49. Why do Mormons insist that Ezekiel 37:15-22 is about two books instead of about two kingdoms as god Himself explained in verse 22?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The two symbols are not exclusive. The sticks can be nations, and each nation has a witness of Christ which helps in restoring scattered Israel. The use of the Ezekiel passage is a modern one for Latter-day Saints. It does not mean that this is the only interpretation, or the use to which Ezekiel intended it to be put.

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Question: How is it that the prophesy of the sticks found in Ezekiel 37 is fulfilled in the Book of Mormon if Lehi and Nephi are descendants of Manasseh and not of Ephraim?

One of Joseph Smith's early revelations makes the connection between the Book of Mormon and Ezekiel's "stick of Ephraim"

Latter-day Saints have historically interpreted Ezekiel 37:15–17 as being a prophecy of coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the last days. Elder Boyd K. Packer explained it this way in General Conference, October 1982:

I must tell you of a work that has moved quietly forward in the Church virtually unnoticed. It had its beginning in Old Testament times and is the fulfillment of a prophecy by Ezekiel, who wrote:

"The word of the Lord came...unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand."

The sticks, of course, are records or books. In ancient Israel records were written upon tablets of wood or scrolls rolled upon sticks. The record of Judah and the record of Ephraim, according to the prophecy, were to become one in our hands. Two events connected with the fulfillment of the prophecy were centered in print shops.

One of Joseph Smith's early revelations makes the connection between the Book of Mormon and Ezekiel's "stick of Ephraim," so we are bound to this interpretation in some form:

...the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim. (D&C 27:5.)

Since the Book of Mormon makes clear that Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh, brother of Ephraim (Alma 10:3), it is less than straight forward to identify it as the "stick of Ephraim". Nevertheless some LDS general authorities have made such an attempt. Orson Pratt claimed another ancestor of the Book of Mormon peoples, Ishmael, was an Ephraimite in 1850. The late reminiscences of Franklin D. Richards and Erastus Snow attributed this teaching to Joseph Smith and the missing 116 pages. Joseph Fielding Smith additionally emphasized that Joseph Smith was a descendant of Ephraim and noted that this fits well with the alternative phrasing found in v. 19 of "the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim."

In context, this portion of Ezekiel's record is a prophecy of the restoration and reunification of the divided house of Israel. Ezekiel sees a vision of a valley of dry bones that are miraculously reassembled with flesh, and the breath of life returns to them (37:1–10). The Lord promises Ezekiel that he will raise the people of Israel from the dead and give them rest in their own land (11–14). The Lord then gives the prophecy of the sticks (15–20). He explains the sticks represent the restoration of Israel to their homeland and reunification of the formerly separated nations of Judah and Israel (Ephraim) (21–22). They will live God's law, be purified from unrighteousness, and be ruled over by the heir of house of David (23–28).

So what does the Book of Mormon have to do with the reunification of Israel and how does Lehi, descendant of Manasseh, fit into a prophecy of a "stick of Ephraim"?

For Latter-day Saints this is an example of "likening the scriptures unto ourselves," as Nephi suggested (1 Nephi 19:23). The Book of Mormon is the restoration scripture for modern-day Ephraim—the people of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and a message that they take to the world so that Israel may be gathered a final time in preparation for the second coming of the Lord.

Although Ezekiel was speaking directly of reunification, Latter-day Saints have applied their own modern application of this passage as it relates to the Book of Mormon's role in the restoration of the gospel and the gathering of Israel.


Response to claim: "50. If Acts 3:20, 21 is a prophecy about the restoration of Mormonism, why didn’t Jesus return in 1830?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

50. If Acts 3:20, 21 is a prophecy about the restoration of Mormonism, why didn’t Jesus return in 1830?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Acts 3:20-21 is about the need to follow Christ until the restoration of all things and return of Christ to the earth. The Church does not believe that it has yet received "all things"—the ninth article of faith says that "we believe...[God] will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." (A+of+F 1:9 If there is more to be revealed, then all things cannot have been restored yet. The final revelation of all things will not come until Christ returns to reign in glory upon the earth.

}}

Response to claim: "51. Revelation 14:6,7 is part of the body of prophecy about the future Great Tribulation. How could that passage have been fulfilled by Moroni in 1830?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

51. Revelation 14:6,7 is part of the body of prophecy about the future Great Tribulation. How could that passage have been fulfilled by Moroni in 1830?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Revelation uses apocalyptic symbolism. Attempting to read it literally and chronologically is rife with difficulties. The critics' assertions about the Great Tribulation presumes that their view is the only way to read these scriptures. However, the critics' view here seems to draw on the perspective of John Nelson Darby, whose ideas were popularized only in 1909. The LDS view sees Moroni's role in restoring the gospel of Christ to the earth as preparation for the faithful, that those who truly seek Christ will have the fulness of the gospel and its ordinances to enable them to withstand and prosper amidst the tribulations of the last days prior to the coming of Christ to reign in glory. The critics are here again attacking the Mormons for not accepting the critics relatively novel and idiosyncratic reading of Revelation.

}}

Response to claim: "52. In light of Ezekiel 28:13-15 and Hebrews 1:5, how can Satan and Jesus be brothers (as the Mormons teach)?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

52. In light of Ezekiel 28:13-15 and Hebrews 1:5, how can Satan and Jesus be brothers (as the Mormons teach)? (note: Satan was created)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

This is another question intended more to sensationalize beliefs and polarize rather than lead to meaningful communication. Presumably, something akin to guilt by association is intended. The short answer a similarly rhetorical statement—the critic, Judas, and Hitler are brothers too! But the reality of that relationship obviously need not taint the good standing of the critic. All sons of Adam (including all subsequent generations) are brothers.
  • Latter-day Saints do indeed believe that in a meaningful sense Jesus, angels (including the fallen angel Lucifer), and Adam and all his sons are sons of God—and hence, brothers. The Bible corroborates our respective sonships. No Christian should disagree with that. Perhaps the criticism stems from the fact that Latter-day Saints happen to believe that all the sons of God existed together pre-existently? However, this belief need not change the general equation for brotherhood upon which all Christians agree. Suffice it to say that Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ had a unique status as God in the pre-existence—a status other sons of God did not have! Jesus Christ's earliest introduction in Scripture uniquely embraced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes that clear—... one among them that was like unto GodAbraham 3:24–28). None other had Christ's status. And that unique status Jesus Christ had in the pre-existence means Lucifer's brotherhood and our brotherhood with Him there were exactly the same as our common brotherhood with Him is based on His dwelling on the Earth. Brothers yes. Different yes.
  • Also, note a caution on uses of the word on "all" in scripture from Evangelical leader, Charles Spurgeon:

"The whole world is gone after Him." Did all the world go after Christ? "Then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan." Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem baptized in Jordan? "Ye are of God, little children," and "the whole world lieth in the wicked one." Does "the whole world" there mean everybody? If so, how was it, then, that there were some who were "of God?" The words "world" and "all" are used in seven or eight senses in Scripture; and it is very rarely that "all" means all persons , taken individually.[53]

  • In other words, if the Bible is to be deemed to be always plain/perspicacious, if such a philosophically absolute interpretation of the word "all" were intended by John or Paul, they would certainly have provided the necessary academic/philosophical clarification, in the immediate context, and the Bible would be much more of a systematic theology and less of a compilation of religious history and moral teaching, and simple witness of God's existence and love.
  • As a final note, the Council of ... in 451 AD provided this as part of their definition of faith:

"Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; "like us in all things but sin"."

  • As Catholic theologian Roger Haight wrote:

And with the clarity that historical consciousness has conferred relative to Jesus' being a human being in all things substantially like us, many things about the meaning of Incarnation too can be clarified. One is that one cannot really think of a preexistence of Jesus. ... But one cannot think in terms of the preexistence of Jesus; what is preexistent to Jesus is God, the God who became incarnate in Jesus. Doctrine underscores the obvious here that Jesus is really a creature like us, and a creature cannot preexist creation. one may speculate on how Jesus might have been present to God's eternal intentions and so on, but a strict preexistence of Jesus to his earthly existence is contradictory to his consubstantiality with us, unless we too were preexistent.("The Case For Spirit Christology", Theological Studies 53/2 (June 92))

  • In other words, while the question suggests that Satan is a creation, fundamental Christian belief is that Jesus is also a creation. The question avoids this issue (by neglecting to mention this aspect of Christian theology), but it ought to be addressed as well, to make it clear exactly what is meant here.

Jesus Christ/Brother of Satan

Response to claim: "53. If no person ever receives the Holy Spirit before baptism or without the laying on of hands, how does a Mormon explain the case of Cornelius?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

53. If no person ever receives the Holy Spirit before baptism or without the laying on of hands, how does a Mormon explain the case of Cornelius?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: Acts 10:44-47

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Latter-day Saints are happy to grant that people may receive a witness from the Holy Ghost prior to baptism. In fact, Mormon missionaries depend on it, since only through a witness of the Spirit can someone be convinced of the truth. Joseph Smith said:

There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him.[54]

The Bible, however, is clear that the gift of the Holy Ghost comes by the laying on of hands by those in authority (e.g., Acts 19:1-6). }}

Response to claim: "54. If baptism for the dead was a Christian ceremony, why did Paul use the pronoun “they” rather than “we” or “ye”? Why did he exclude himself and other Christians when referring to it?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

54. If baptism for the dead was a Christian ceremony, why did Paul use the pronoun “they” rather than “we” or “ye”? Why did he exclude himself and other Christians when referring to it?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 15:29

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

John A. Tvedtnes noted:

In his epistle to the Corinthians, Paul cited the early Christian practice of proxy baptism for the dead as evidence of a future resurrection and judgment. Most non-Latter-day Saint scholars have failed to note the importance of this passage. Some pass it off as an outmoded practice of the early church, while others believe it refers to an apostate or heretical doctrine.

But historical records are clear on the matter. Baptism for the dead was performed by the dominant church until forbidden by the sixth canon of the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397. Some of the smaller sects, however, continued the practice. Of the Marcionites of the fourth century, Epiphanius wrote:

“In this country—I mean Asia—and even in Galatia, their school flourished eminently and a traditional fact concerning them has reached us, that when any of them had died without baptism, they used to baptize others in their name, lest in the resurrection they should suffer punishment as unbaptized.” (Heresies, 8:7.)[55]

Paul is criticizing those who practice baptism for the dead, and yet deny the resurrection, pointing out that this is inconsistent—why baptize for those who will not be saved and resurrected? Thus, Paul does not include himself and some others because he is not guilty of this theological inconsistency. }}

Question: Does the practice of baptism for the dead have ancient roots?

There is considerable evidence that some early Christians and some Jewish groups performed proxy ordinance work for the salvation of the dead

The most obvious of these is 1 Corinthians 15:29:

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

Attempts to shrug this off as a reference by Paul to a practice he does not condone but only uses to support the doctrine of the resurrection are indefensible. Paul's statement makes no sense unless the practice was valid and the saints in Corinth knew it. This is easily demonstrated if we just imagine a young Protestant, who doubts the resurrection, who goes to his pastor with his problem. The pastor answers him, saying, "But what about the Mormons who baptize for the dead? If the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?" You know what the young doubter would say. He would say, "Pastor, they're Mormons! What's your point?"

In fact, we know that baptism for the dead was practiced for a long time in the early church. As John A. Tvedtnes has noted:

... historical records are clear on the matter. Baptism for the dead was performed by the dominant church until forbidden by the sixth canon of the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397. Some of the smaller sects, however, continued the practice. Of the [Cerinthians][56] of the fourth century, Epiphanius wrote:
“In this country—I mean Asia—and even in Galatia, their school flourished eminently and a traditional fact concerning them has reached us, that when any of them had died without baptism, they used to baptize others in their name, lest in the resurrection they should suffer punishment as unbaptized.” (Heresies, 8:7.) [57]

Thus, baptism for the dead was banned about four hundred years after Christ by the church councils. Latter-day Saints would see this as an excellent example of the apostasy—church councils altering doctrine and practice that was accepted at an earlier date.

Tvedtnes continues:

In early Judaism, too, there is an example of ordinances being performed in behalf of the dead. Following the battle of Marisa in 163 B.C., it was discovered that each of the Jewish soldiers killed in the fight had been guilty of concealing pagan idols beneath his clothing. In order to atone for their wrong, Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish high priest and commander, collected money from the survivors to purchase sacrificial animals for their dead comrades:
“And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachmas of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection: for if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin.” (2 Maccabees 12:43–46.) [58]


Response to claim: "55. Since the Bible says that a Bishop should be the husband of one wife, how can Mormons claim that polygamy is proper for New Testament Christians?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

55. Since the Bible says that a Bishop should be the husband of one wife, how can Mormons claim that polygamy is proper for New Testament Christians?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: 1 Timothy 3:2

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The critics have again misread the scripture. These same "New Testament Christians" didn't see anything about plural marriage that was absolutely forbidden. This is agreed on by such writers as Tertullian, Justin Martyr, and even Augustine.
  • The scriptural text is not as clear-cut as the critics would wish. The Greek can mean a variety of things, as the early Christian authors cited above seem to have recognized. It can "be read as excluding (a) the single, (b) the polygamous, (c) the divorced, [or] (d) those remarried after being widowed. The words can also convey the connotation 'devoted solely to his wife.'"[59]

}}

Question: Does the Bible forbid plural marriage?

The Bible does not forbid plural marriage

Some Christians claim that plural marriage has no Biblical precedents—they point to condemnation of King David and King Solomon as evidence that polygamy is always forbidden by God. Some claim that Abraham's polygamy "portrays his acceptance of plural marriage as a mark of disobedience to, and a lack of faith in, God." It is claimed that since the Bible didn't allow a man to marry two sisters, this proves that LDS plural marriage was "unbiblical" because some Mormons did so.

The Bible does not forbid plural marriage. In fact, many of the most noble Biblical figures (e.g., Abraham) had more than one wife. Furthermore, Biblical laws quoted by critics forbid kings from being led astray by plural spouses, or entering relationships not sanctioned by God's authority. However, the same Biblical laws provide guidelines for legitimate plural relationships.

It is true that David and Solomon were condemned for some of their marriage practices

This problem was mentioned in Deuteronomy:

15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother...17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away... (Deuteronomy 17:15,17

Only four chapters later, the Lord gives instructions on how to treat equitably plural wives and children

Critics ignore the fact that only four chapters later, the Lord gives instructions on how to treat equitably plural wives and children. (See Deuteronomy 21:15-17.) Why does He not simply forbid plural marriage, if that is the intent of chapter 17? Why does He instruct the Israelites on how to conduct themselves in plural households, if all such households are forbidden?

So, rather than opposing plural marriage, the command to kings is that they:

  1. not multiply wives to themselves (i.e., only those who hold proper priesthood keys may approve plural marriage—see 2 Samuel 12:8, Jacob 2:30, DC 132:38-39);
  2. that these wives not be those who turn his heart away from God (1 Kings 11:3-4);
  3. not take excessive numbers of wives (see Jacob 2:24).

David and Solomon are excellent examples of violating one or more of these Biblical principles, as described below.

David is well-known for his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah

David is well-known for his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah (see 2 Samuel 12:1-27. Nathan the prophet arrived to condemn David's behavior, and told the king:

7 ¶ And Nathan said to David...Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

8 And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. (2 Samuel 12:7-10)

Nathan here tells David that the Lord "gave thee...thy master's wives." And, the Lord says, through His prophet, that He would have given even more than He has already given of political power, wives, and wealth.

But, David sinned and did evil in the matter of Uriah. If plural marriage is always a sin to God, then why did Nathan not take the opportunity to condemn David for it now? Or, why did the prophet not come earlier?

Solomon's wives turned his heart away from the Lord, as Deuteronomy cautioned

Solomon's problem is described:

1 BUT king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love...

7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. (1 Kings 11:1-8

Solomon's wives turned his heart away from the Lord, as Deuteronomy cautioned. Nothing is said against the plurality of wives, but merely of wives taken without authority that turn his heart away from the Lord.

Abraham and other Biblical examples demonstrate that plural marriage may, on occasion, be sanctioned

David and Solomon do not prove the critics' point, but in fact demonstrate that plural marriage may, on occasion, be sanctioned (as in David's case certainly).

But, we need not rely on these examples only to demonstrate that plural marriage was practiced by righteous followers of God in the Bible. Other cases include:

and also possibly:

The Law of Moses provides rules governing Israelites who have plural wives

As noted above, Deuteronomy 21:15 provides rules governing Israelites who have plural wives. Further instructions are also given in Exodus 21:10. Why did God not ban plural marriage through Moses if it is always an immoral act?

The Law of Moses did not allow plural marriages to two sisters

Latter-day Saint plural marriage did not rely on biblical authority or interpretation (though they used biblical parallels to explain and understand the command which they believed they had received from God via a modern prophet.)

Marrying two sisters was quite frequent, possibly because sisters had already learned to get along together, which made for more harmonious plural families. One researcher noted:

Marriage to the wife's sister, defined as incest only by Anglican canon law, is the only form of polygamous marriage of the [potentially 'incestuous] categories...that occurs in significant numbers. [61]

The Saints did not claim to be restoring Mosaic plural marriage—they only used Moses' example as precedent for the fact that God could and had commanded plural marriage in the past. The specific structure, rules, and restrictions varied from time to time as guided by prophets.


Response to claim: "56. Why does the Mormon church teach that the broad way leads to the Terrestrial Heaven when Jesus taught that it leads to destruction?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

56. Why does the Mormon church teach that the broad way leads to the Terrestrial Heaven when Jesus taught that it leads to destruction?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: Matthew 7:13,14

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

The Church does not teach that "the broad way leads to the Terrestrial Heaven." We would need more details to address this claim. Given the track record of the critics who developed this list, this question is probably based on a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of LDS doctrine.


Response to claim: "57. Are you sincere enough about your personal salvation that you will carefully study the following Bible references to discover the Bible’s way to salvation?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

57. Are you sincere enough about your personal salvation that you will carefully study the following Bible references to discover the Bible’s way to salvation?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: John 10:9; 1Corinthians 1:18; Ephesians 2:8-10; Colossians 1:12-14; Romans 4:8; 1 Peter 2:24; Acts 16:31; John 1:12; 1 John 5:12,13; Romans 5:1 and Romans 8:1

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

Mormons have no problem reading any of these verses and thousands more. Mormons understand that it is Jesus who provides the "way to salvation," not the Bible. The Bible is a record of God's dealings with man and a record of Jesus' ministry on earth. It records some of the words of the prophets, but the "Bible's way to salvation," as translated by well-meaning men, will not get us back to God's presence—only the grace of God, through His Son Jesus Christ, can do that.


Response to claim: "58. Are you courageous enough to personally receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and follow the truth regardless of ridicule, antagonism or persecution?"

The author(s) of Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves make(s) the following claim:

58. Are you courageous enough to personally receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and follow the truth regardless of ridicule, antagonism or persecution?

Author's sources:
  1. Scripture reference: John 1:12, Colossians 1:27, and Revelation 3:20

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

Yes, Mormons are, and have received Jesus Christ, despite persecution and ridicule—even in the face of a leading and deceptive series of questions designed to not build up the Kingdom of God as Jesus commanded, but to sow seeds of doubt and confusion as Jesus' critics often exemplified.
  • Why do critics assume Mormons lack courage, or are acting in bad faith?
  • Why do some Christians claim to know that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have not received Jesus Christ? Who made them our judges?


Click here for Part I (Q. 1-28)


Notes

  1. LDS KJV, Bible Dictionary, "Elias,", 663. off-site Direct jump off-site
  2. Alexander Campbell, Delusions: An Analysis of the Book of Mormon, with an Examination of Its Internal and External Evidences, and a Refutation of Its Pretences to Divine Authority with Prefatory Remarks by Joshua V. Himes (Boston: Benjamine H. Greene, 1832), {{{pages}}}; originally published in Millennial Harbinger 2 (7 February 1831): 85–96. off-site O. Cowdery reply #1 #2
  3. "Approaching Mormon Doctrine," from Newsroom: The Official Resource for News Media, Opinion Leaders, and the Public (4 May 2007) at lds.org. off site
  4. The following critical works use this quote from Brigham to claim that Latter-day Saints must accept polygamy as a requirement to enter heaven. Contender Ministries, Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves. Answers; Richard Abanes, Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism (Harvest House Publishers: 2005). 233, 422 n. 48-49. ( Index of claims ); George D. Smith, Nauvoo Polygamy: "...but we called it celestial marriage" (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2008), xiv, 6, 55, , 356. ( Index of claims , (Detailed book review)); Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), 29, 258.( Index of claims )
  5. Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young, in the Bowery, in G.S.L. City," (19 August 1866) Journal of Discourses 11:268-269. (emphasis added) See Quote mining—Journal of Discourses 11:269 to see how this quote was mined.
  6. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 6:527 (journal entry dated 12 February 1870). ISBN 0941214133.(emphasis added)
  7. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 7:31 (journal entry dated 24 September 1871). ISBN 0941214133.(emphasis added)
  8. "Doctrine and Covenants 132," Seminary Teacher Resource Manual on LDS.org (2001, [updated 2005])
  9. Heber C. Kimball, [{{{url}}} Journal of Discourses 5:161].
  10. Heber C. Kimball, [{{{url}}} Journal of Discourses 5:162].
  11. See also Roy W. Doxey, "I Have A Question: What was the approximate weight of the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated?," Ensign (December 1986), 64.
  12. Anonymous, "Of What Material Were the Plates?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 10/1 (2001): 21–21. off-site wiki
  13. See Roy W. Doxey, "I Have A Question: What was the approximate weight of the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated?," Ensign (December 1986), 64.
  14. Martin Harris interview, Iowa State Register, August 1870, as quoted in Milton V. Backman Jr., Eyewitness Accounts of the Restoration (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986), 226.
  15. William Smith, William Smith on Mormonism (Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Steam, 1883), 12.
  16. William Smith interview with E. C. Briggs. Originally written by J. W. Peterson for Zions Ensign (Independence, Mo.); reprinted in Deseret Evening News, 20 January 1894, 11.
  17. William Smith interview, The Saints' Herald, 4 October 1884, 644.
  18. "Interview with Martin Harris," Tiffany's Monthly, May 1859, 169.
  19. "Interview with Martin Harris," Tiffany's Monthly, May 1859, 168.
  20. Emma Smith interview, published as "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," The Saints' Herald, 1 October 1879.
  21. I. B. Bell interview with H. S. Salisbury (grandson of Catherine Smith Salisbury), Historical Department Archives, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  22. Russell H. Ball, "An Hypothesis concerning the Three Days of Darkness among the Nephites," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 (1993): 107–123. wiki
  23. Russell H. Ball, "An Hypothesis concerning the Three Days of Darkness among the Nephites," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 (1993): 107–123. wiki (italics in original); citing James Baer, "The Third Nephi Disaster: A Geological View," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 no. 1 (Spring 1986), 129–132.
  24. "Book of Mormon Geophysics," mormonmatters.org (28 August 2010) off-site
  25. Benjamin R. Jordan, "Volcanic Destruction in the Book of Mormon: Possible Evidence from Ice Cores," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 78–87. off-site wiki
  26. Jay M. Todd, "Egyptian Papyri Rediscovered," Improvement Era (January 1968), 12–16.
  27. Jay M. Todd, "New Light on Joseph Smith's Egyptian Papyri: Additional Fragment Disclosed," Improvement Era (February 1968), 40.; Jay M. Todd, "Background of the Church Historian's Fragment," Improvement Era (February 1968), 40A–40I.
  28. William J. Hamblin, "Palestinian Hieratic," Interpreter blog (1 Sept 2012).
  29. William J. Hamblin, "Reformed Egyptian," FARMS Review 19/1 (2007): 31–35. off-site wiki
  30. Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," Sunstone 7 no. (Issue #5) (September/October 1982), 13–14. off-site
  31. Hyrum Smith, "Concerning the plurality of gods & worlds," 27 April 1843; cited in Eugene England (editor), "George Laub's Nauvoo Journal," Brigham Young University Studies 18 no. 2 (Winter 1978), 177. off-site
  32. Brigham Young, "The Gospel—The One-Man Power," (24 July 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:271-271.
  33. Patriarchal Blessings Books 9:294–295.
  34. Young Woman's Journal (1892) 3: 263.
  35. Patrick Moore, New Guide to the Moon (W.W. Norton & Company, New York: 1976), cited by Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," Sunstone 7 no. (Issue #5) (September/October 1982), 15. off-site
  36. Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 15.
  37. Holmes, 464.
  38. Moore, New Guide to the Moon 130–131; cited by Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 16.
  39. Painesville Telegraph (11 September 1835).
  40. New York Sun 16 September 1835; cited by Alex Boese, "The Great Moon Hoax," museumofhoaxes.com off-site
  41. Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder (London: Harper Press, 2008), 199.
  42. Holmes, 465, (italics in original).
  43. Deseret News 6 (1856): 134d.
  44. ‘Quebec,’ “The Moon”, Contributor 1/9 (June 1880): 193-5, from page 195
  45. David J. Whittaker, "Articles of Faith," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:68–69.
  46. Allen D. Roberts, "Where are the All-Seeing Eyes?," Sunstone 4 no. (Issue #5) (May 1979), 26. off-site off-site(emphasis added)
  47. George H. Fudge, "I Have a Question: How do we interpret scriptures in the New Testament that seem to condemn genealogy?," Ensign (March 1986), 49.
  48. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1811-1817, New Testament, "1 Timothy 1:4" & "Titus 3:9"
  49. Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy, eds., The Jerome Biblical Commentary (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968), 353.
  50. Lowell M. Snow, "Blood atonement," Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
  51. Gustave O. Larson, "The Mormon Reformation," Utah Historical Quarterly 26/1 (January 1958): 60-62.
  52. Michael Fordham, "Did the Lord Reject the Fig Leaf Apron?," FairMormon.org off-site
  53. Charles Spurgeon, Particular Redemption (28 February 1858).
  54. Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 199. off-site
  55. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86.
  56. The source erroneously refers to the "Marcionites" instead of the "Cerinthians".
  57. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86. off-site
  58. John A. Tvedtnes, "Proxy Baptism," Ensign (February 1977), 86. off-site
  59. Kevin L. Barney (editor), Footnotes to the New Testament for Latter-day Saints: Vol. 2, The Epistles and Revelation (2007), 240a. Buy off-site
  60. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 2:10. off-site
  61. Jessie L. Embry, "Ultimate Taboos: Incest and Mormon Polygamy," Journal of Mormon History 18/1 (Spring 1992): 93–113.