Countercult ministries/Mormonism Research Ministry

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Mormonism Research Ministry


Like any subject of controversy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attracts its share of antagonists. Some of these antagonists are not content to portray the Church and its doctrines fairly; some use quote mining, selective quotation, or outright distortions of public statements or the historical record to create a false impression. This can be done intentionally, or through oversight or carelessness.

This page lists examples which readers have noticed. The cited section is placed on the left. The full (or corrected) citation is on the right. Key differences are marked.

Quote manipulation

Many critics who write about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not content to portray the Church and its doctrines fairly. Some critics mine their sources by extracting quotes from their context in order to make the statement imply something other that what it was originally intended to mean. Other critics make statements that are self-contradictions—instances in which a critic says or writes one thing, and then makes another statement elsewhere that flatly contradicts their first statement.

These examples do not prove that these critics' arguments are without merit; they do suggest caution is warranted before accepting these authors or their works as reliable witnesses when they speak of their own experiences connected with "Mormonism." In particular, one should also be cautious about accepting their interpretation of primary sources without double-checking the original sources themselves.

mormonwiki.org: An evangelical wiki about Mormons

Critics attempt to portray the message that Joseph Smith is revered more than Jesus Christ.

Quote source... Mined quote as it appears on the wiki... Use of sources
The day will come—and it is not far distant, either—when the name of the Prophet Joseph Smith will be coupled with the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of God, as his representative, as his agent whom he chose, ordained and set apart to lay anew the foundations of the Church of God in the world, which is indeed the Church of Jesus Christ, possessing all the powers of the gospel, all the rites and privileges, the authority of the Holy Priesthood, and every principle necessary to fit and qualify both the living and the dead to inherit eternal life, and to attain to exaltation in the kingdom of God” The day will come – and it is not far distant, either – when the name of the Prophet Joseph Smith will be coupled with the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…. Joseph F. Smith, “Joseph Smith – Restorer of Truth, "Ensign magazine, December 2003, p.17

Commentary

  • President Smith's clear statement that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that Joseph Smith was his representative and agent, are excised from the quote as it is presented on the wiki.
Quote source... Mined quote as it appears on the wiki... Use of sources
I have taught for thirty years, and still teach, that he that believeth in his heart and confesseth with his mouth that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph Smith is his Prophet to this generation, is of God; and he that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fulness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ.

—Brigham Young

He that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ. Journal of Discourses 9:312

Commentary

  • When Brigham Young’s statement is seen in context in Journal of Discourses, 9:312, one can see that his instruction that we must confess that Jesus is the Christ and Joseph Smith as his prophet are deliberately omitted by the critic.
Quote source... Mined quote as it appears on the wiki... Use of sources
NO SALVATION WITHOUT ACCEPTING JOSEPH SMITH. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth when he said that he stood in the presence of angels sent from the Lord, and obtained keys of authority, and the commandment to organize the Church of Jesus Christ once again on the earth, then this knowledge is of the most vital importance to the entire world. No man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth.... No man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God Doctrines of Salvation 1:189-90

Commentary

  • Joseph Fielding Smith’s statement taken in context, clearly defines that Joseph Smith was commanded to organize the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth. Again, reference to Jesus Christ being the focus are omitted by the critic.
Quote source... Mined quote as it appears on the wiki... Use of sources
Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. It was the parting of the curtain to open this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life.

Are we Christians? Of course we are Christians. We believe in Christ. We worship Christ. We take upon ourselves in solemn covenant His holy name. The Church to which we belong carries His name. He is our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer through whom came the great Atonement with salvation and eternal life. —Gordon B. Hinckley

Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. ... Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life.

Commentary

  • The critic removes a single sentence which describes why the First Vision is important. More significantly, the critic omits the paragraph immediately following this statement, in which President Hinckley clearly and powerfully places Jesus Christ at the center of our belief.

Answer


The editors of the wiki want their readers to believe that Latter-day Saints prioritize a belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet over the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our savior and the only name through which we may be saved. In their effort to convince the world that Latter-day Saints place more importance on Joseph Smith than on Jesus Christ, the critics carefully and selectively excise the testimony of Jesus Christ from the statements made by Latter-day prophets. This is a blatantly dishonest attempt to fool people into believing that we do not accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior and redeemer, despite the clear message delivered by the prophets before their statements were adulterated by the critics.


Specific Works