Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Chapter 5

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Response to claims made in "Chapter 5: People of Zion"

A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes
Claim Evaluation
One Nation Under Gods
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Response to claims made in One Nation Under Gods, "Chapter 5: People of Zion"

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Response to claim: 83, 517n2 (HB) - The book states that the "Mormon church" was formally organized in New York

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

The book states that the "Mormon church" was formally organized in New York.

Author's sources:
  1. N/A

FairMormon Response

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

There is no church called the "Mormon Church." "The Church of Christ" was formally organized in New York by Joseph Smith. The author appears to want to avoid mentioning the name of Christ in association with Mormonism.


Question: What names did the Church go by prior to the revelation which established the correct one?

The Church was referred to as "The Church of Christ," "The Church of Jesus Christ," "The Church of God," and "The Church of the Latter-day Saints"

B.H. Roberts, in a note on pages 23 and 24 of the History of the Church, Volume III, stated:

It will be observed that in verses three and four of this revelation the Lord gives to the Church its official name, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Previous to this the Church had been called "The Church of Christ," "The Church of Jesus Christ," "The Church of God," and by a conference of Elders held at Kirtland in May, 1834, (see Church History, vol. 2, pp. 62-3), it was given the name "The Church of the Latter-day Saints." All these names, however, were by this revelation brushed aside, and since then the official name given in this revelation has been recognized as the true title of the Church, though often spoken of as "The Mormon Church," the "Church of Christ," etc. The appropriateness of this title is self evident, and in it there is a beautiful recognition of the relationship both of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Saints to the organization.

The words "Church of Jesus Christ" are obvious references to the Savior and His Church. The addition of "Latter-day" highlights the Church's belief that it is not a new organization of Christians, but a restoration of Christians in the "Latter-days," or the days prior to Christ's return.

The label "Saints" identifies the members as those who are—or aspire to be—Saints. "Saint" comes from the Latin sanctus, meaning "holy." The Saints are those who have been made holy through the grace and blood of Jesus Christ.

Thus, the name of the Church emphasizes its links to Christ and His Church of former times in multiple ways.

Some critics try to impose inerrantist ideas on the Church—they act as if such things as official names and procedures can never change. But, the Latter-day Saints have never held such ideas—they believe that God gives a fair amount of leeway to His children as they seek to learn and do His will. And, they remain confident that God will speak by revelation when necessary to ensure that His Church will not stray from His intentions.


Response to claim: 517n2 (HB) - The official name of the Church's changed from The Church of Christ to The Church of the Latter Day Saints and then to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

The official name of the Church's changed from The Church of Christ to The Church of the Latter Day Saints and then to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Author's sources:
  1. No source provided. (Marquardt source refers to the location of the church organization)

FairMormon Response

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

The Church went by a variety of names until the current name was given by revelation.


Question: How many times was the name of the Church changed through revelation?

Criticisms regarding the name of the Church

Critics of the Church ask: Why did the Church change its name twice during its history? Shouldn't the name have been given by revelation? [1] In 1834 the name of the Church was changed to “The Church of the Latter Day Saints”. Why would Joseph remove the name of “Jesus Christ” from the name of his Church? In 1838, the name of the Church was changed to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (there was originally no hyphen in the name). Why was the name of the Church changed again?

The name of the Church was changed through revelation only once

Christ only instructed Joseph through revelation to change the name of the Church once, as described in DC 115:3. Prior to that time, the Church was referred to by several different names, including "The Church of Christ," "Church of Jesus Christ," "Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints," "The Church of God" and "The Church of Latter Day Saints." The only name for the Church established by revelation was the one mentioned in DC 115:3.

...for thus it shall be called, and unto all the elders and people of my Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, scattered abroad in all the world.

None of the other names by which the Church was known were established by revelation.

David Whitmer disagreed with the change in the name of the Church and it was one of the reasons for his disaffection

It is interesting to note that the change in the name of the Church bothered David Whitmer. Whitmer insisted that the original name of the Church, the "Church of Christ," was the only proper one, and claimed that it had been given by revelation. There is no known revelation to support this claim however, unless you count the Book of Mormon itself. Whitmer appears to be using the Book of Mormon to support this claim (the Book of Mormon uses "Church of Christ".)

It should also be noted that, according to Whitmer, Joseph didn't promote the name change from the "Church of Christ" to the "Church of the Latter Day Saints." Whitmer claimed that it was Sidney Rigdon who pushed to change the name to "Church of the Latter Day Saints":

In June, 1829, the Lord gave us the name by which we must call the church, being the same as He gave the Nephites. We obeyed His commandment, and called it THE CHURCH OF CHRIST until 1834, when, through the influence of Sydney Rigdon, the name of the church was changed to "The Church of the Latter Day Saints," dropping out the name of Christ entirely, that name which we were strictly commanded to call the church by, and which Christ by His own lips makes so plain. (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of The Book of Mormon (David Whitmer: Richmond, Virginia, 1887).)


Question: What names did the Church go by prior to the revelation which established the correct one?

The Church was referred to as "The Church of Christ," "The Church of Jesus Christ," "The Church of God," and "The Church of the Latter-day Saints"

B.H. Roberts, in a note on pages 23 and 24 of the History of the Church, Volume III, stated:

It will be observed that in verses three and four of this revelation the Lord gives to the Church its official name, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Previous to this the Church had been called "The Church of Christ," "The Church of Jesus Christ," "The Church of God," and by a conference of Elders held at Kirtland in May, 1834, (see Church History, vol. 2, pp. 62-3), it was given the name "The Church of the Latter-day Saints." All these names, however, were by this revelation brushed aside, and since then the official name given in this revelation has been recognized as the true title of the Church, though often spoken of as "The Mormon Church," the "Church of Christ," etc. The appropriateness of this title is self evident, and in it there is a beautiful recognition of the relationship both of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Saints to the organization.

The words "Church of Jesus Christ" are obvious references to the Savior and His Church. The addition of "Latter-day" highlights the Church's belief that it is not a new organization of Christians, but a restoration of Christians in the "Latter-days," or the days prior to Christ's return.

The label "Saints" identifies the members as those who are—or aspire to be—Saints. "Saint" comes from the Latin sanctus, meaning "holy." The Saints are those who have been made holy through the grace and blood of Jesus Christ.

Thus, the name of the Church emphasizes its links to Christ and His Church of former times in multiple ways.

Some critics try to impose inerrantist ideas on the Church—they act as if such things as official names and procedures can never change. But, the Latter-day Saints have never held such ideas—they believe that God gives a fair amount of leeway to His children as they seek to learn and do His will. And, they remain confident that God will speak by revelation when necessary to ensure that His Church will not stray from His intentions.


Question: What is the history of name changes of the Church?

The original name of the Church when it was organized in 1830 was the "Church of Christ"

The original name of the Church when it was organized in 1830 was the "Church of Christ." Mormonism to some extent originated in the historical context of the restorationist movement. This movement consisted of Christians who believed that the original Christianity needed to be restored, and it was a common belief among Christian restorationists that the name of a Christian church should properly be the "Church of Christ." Many new members of the Church brought such ideas with them when they became "Mormons."

This caused practical problems, however, since there were lots of restorationist groups who named their local churches the "Church of Christ," so there was tremendous confusion. (Indeed, one of the groups that descends from Alexander Campbell's Disciples of Christ continues to use the name "Church of Christ" to this day.)

The use of the term "Mormonite" prompted changes in order to distinguish the Church from other Christian churches

This, coupled with the use of the common antagonistic epithet "Mormonite" (soon simplified to "Mormon"), led to a desire for a more distinctive name that would distinguish our church from so many others that were using the same name.

So in April 1834, under the influence of Sidney Rigdon (according to David Whitmer),[2] who had been a reformed Baptist preacher with close ties to Alexander Campbell prior to joining the church, the official name of the church was changed to the "Church of Latter Day Saints."

There was no attempt to distance the Church from the name of Christ

This was no attempt to distance the Church from the name of Christ or its claims to be Christ's church. In 1835, the official Church paper referred to the:

"rise and progress of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints" [3]

The final name of the Church came through revelation

The basis for the present name of the church came in DC 115:3, received on April 26, 1838: the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." Note how this name combines elements of the original name and the Rigdon-inspired name.

In 1851 when the church formally incorporated, the name included a corporate initial article "The" and a British hyphenization of "Latter-day," thus becoming the formal name we use to this day, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Other groups that split off from the church, such as the Strangites and the Reorganization {RLDS, now Community of Christ}, kept the original unhyphenated "Latter Day" in their formal names.

The members of the Church have always seen themselves as Christians, and members of "the Church of Jesus Christ"

This chart demonstrates that the members of the Church have always seen themselves as Christians, and members of "the Church of Jesus Christ."

Journal or Series Church of Christ Church of Jesus Christ Church of Jesus Christ of LDS Latter-day Saints alone Mormon Church
Evening and Morning Star (1832-1834) 115 1 xx 0 0
Messenger and Advocate (1834-1837) 33 0 xx 0 1
Elders Journal (1837-1838) 10 2 1 4 0
Times and Seasons (1839-1846) 118 13 24 47 4
Journal of Discourses 26 vols. (1839-1886)

1438 sermons

167 59 308 3255 10
Collected Discourses 5 vols. (1886-1898)

432 sermons

149 15 139 1121 7
General Conference Reports, (1880, 1897-1970) 780 671 3180 6291 333 [4]
Millennial Star (incomplete study) - 84 - - -
The Seer 0 6 6 0 0

xx = no use of name "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" because that name was not yet in use during the journal's publication dates.

Source: Ted Jones, FairMormon researcher, private communication (7 April 2007); updated 1 April 2010.


Response to claim: 86, n22-23 (HB) - Did "anti-Christendom" become a "defining feature of Mormonism?"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

*Did "anti-Christendom" become a "defining feature of Mormonism?"

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

"Anti-Christendom" was not a "defining feature of Mormonism." Much of the persecution suffered by Latter-day Saints in the early days of the Church was at the hands of people who called themselves "Christians."

Question: Did early Mormon leaders consider themselves Christians?

Early Latter-day Saint leaders clearly considered themselves Christians, but condemned the hypocrisy of other Christians who persecuted the Saints

It is also clear that early LDS leaders did not object to Christianity per se—since they clearly considered themselves Christians, this would have been nonsensical. What early Church leaders did object to was the hypocrisy of some Christians, who discarded Christian scripture and principles and lied, misrepresented, persecuted, and visited violence on a Christian group with whom they disagreed: members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Saints are not unique in this regard; history is full of violent or bigoted men who claimed the sanction of Christ for their mistreatment of others, as victims of crusades, pogroms, shunnings, and inquisitions can bear witness.

Many of the present-day authors who misrepresent the Saints profess to be Christians

It is ironic, but perhaps not surprising, that many present-day authors who attack and misrepresent the Church are likewise Christians. Latter-day Saints understand, however, that such critics are not representative of all Christians. Happily, they are generally a small, if shrill, minority. We reject their tactics without rejecting the Christianity in which they claim to drape it. It is difficult to believe that the Prince of Peace would sanction such tactics.


Question: Did LDS leaders claim that Christians were no longer present on the earth after the apostasy?

Brigham Young: "in the experience of every true Christian who has lived and still lives upon the earth"

Consider these quotes from Brigham Young:

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is given in the Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and in the experience of every true Christian who has lived and still lives upon the earth, teaches that it is the privilege of every Saint so to live and walk before their God, as to enjoy the light of the spirit of truth from day to day, from week to week, and from year to year, through their whole lives. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:233)

The Christian world, I discovered, was like the captain and crew of a vessel on the ocean without a compass, and tossed to and fro whithersoever the wind listed to blow them. When the light came to me, I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:73)

Brigham said that Christians had lost their direction, not that they didn't exist

Notice that Brigham didn't say that there were no Christians, but instead stated that they had lost their direction.

There is a reason that Brigham had a low opinion of those who those who called themselves "Christian" during the early days of the Church. "Christians" were among those who persecuted the Latter-day Saints.


Question: Did Latter-day Saints wish to avoid being classified as Christians?

Early Mormon leaders self-identified as Christians, but condemned Christians who persecuted the Saints as being hypocritical

An argument often used by critics who are attempting to exclude Latter-day Saints from being counted among Christian religions is that the early leaders of the Church "condemned" Christianity. The argument then follows that Latter-day Saints voluntarily separated themselves from being classified as Christian, and should therefore not desire to be included among the family of Christian religions. Among the references critics use to support these assertions are the following:

  • Joseph Smith, History of the Church 5:218.
  • Orson Pratt, "Baptism for the Remission of Sins," The Seer, p. 255.
  • Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 2:196.
  • Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:73.
  • Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 5:89-90.
  • Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:229.
  • John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 2:25.
  • Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:171.
  • Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:199.
  • John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225.
  • Andrew Jenson, Collected Discourses 2:150.
  • B.H. Roberts, The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, p. 116.
  • Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 132, 246, 269, 314-315.

Early Latter-day Saint leaders were denouncing hypocrisy, not Christianity

One of the major issues that early LDS leaders had with those that professed to be "Christian" was the fact that they were sometimes foremost among the persecutors of the Saints.

Suppose we now notice that part of the world called Christians, that profess to believe the Old and New Testament, King James's translation. They say they believe this Bible, yet if you are in France, Germany, England, in the United States, in the Canadas, in the islands of the sea, or no matter where among the Christian nations, the moment you make it known that you have embraced the Book of Mormon, and that you believe Joseph Smith is a Prophet, they will at once accuse you of throwing away the Bible, they will publish abroad that you have become a "Latter-day Saint," "a Mormon," and consequently have denied the Bible you formerly believed, and have cast it entirely away. What is the reason of this, which I need not undertake to substantiate, for it is a fact that almost every person knows? Now, we ARE believers in the Bible, and in consequence of our unshaken faith in its precepts, doctrine, and prophecy, may be, attributed "the strangeness of our course," and the unwarrantable conduct of many towards this people. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:237)

We lived in Illinois from 1839 to 1845, by which time they again succeeded in kindling the spirit of persecution against Joseph and the Latter-day Saints. Treason! treason! treason! they cried, calling us murderers, thieves, liars, adulterers, and the worst people on the earth. And this was done by the priests, those pious dispensers of the Christian religion whose charity was supposed to be extended to all men, Christian and heathen; they were joined by drunkards, gamblers, thieves, liars, in crying against the Latter-day Saints. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 19:61)

Brigham's point was that those who persecuted the Saints were not extending the charity that typically characterized Christianity. This was not a condemnation of Christianity in general, but rather a condemnation of those who professed to be Christian but did not practice Christian principles. Brigham was denouncing hypocrites. Likewise, Joseph F. Smith also denounced such hypocrisy:

I felt to thank God that we still possessed our lives and freedom, and that there was at least some prospect of the homeless widow and her family of little ones, helpless as they were, to hide themselves somewhere in the wilderness from those who sought their destruction, even though it should be among the wild, so-called savage, native tribes of the desert, but who have proved themselves more humane and Christlike than the so-called Christian and more civilized persecutors of the Saints. (Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses 23:74)

The denunciation of hypocrisy among those who professed to be Christians is not a denunciation of Christianity itself. Latter-day Saints certainly identified themselves as Christians during this period of time.


Question: What did early Mormon leaders think of Christians?

George A. Smith: "Christian sympathy was not very strong for the Latter-day Saints. But we feel very thankful to those who did contribute..."

George A. Smith's comments indicate that there was not a general condemnation of Christianity:

Christian sympathy was not very strong for the Latter-day Saints. But we feel very thankful to those who did contribute, and shall ever remember with kindness their generosity towards the Saints. (George A. Smith, Journal of Discourses 13:123)


Question: Did Mormons only recently claim to be Christian?

Claims that the Church has only recently been asserting its Christian status are easily proven to be false

Latter-day Saints have claimed to be Christians from the very beginning of the restoration. Some observers claim, however, that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not "Christian," and that they have only recently claimed to be so. A related claim is that the Church has only recently begun to portray itself as "Christian" in order to gain adherents.

This claim is absurd. Claims that the Church has only recently been asserting its Christian status are false, as attested by LDS scripture, practice, doctrine, and public statements of its leadership and its early critics.

Critics of the Church depend upon their audience not knowing much about Latter-day Saint history. Enemies and members of the Church have long known that Church members consider themselves "Christian" (italics added in all cases):

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1830s

1830
“They call themselves the church of Christ, and the only church of Christ. All professing Christians who do not adhere to their system, they consider as formalists; ‘having the form of Godliness, but denying the power’”. [5]
1831
“Old Joe . . . and several others . . . admitted [that the new faith] was an improvement in Christianity”. [6]
1832
The Mormonites “say the Millennium is soon to commence and that Christ is to come personally and take up His residence with them. . . . In its general principles this sect entirely coincide with others which have from time to time sprung up in Christendom”. [7]
1833
There is “a civil war between the Mormonites and their brother Christians”. [8]
1834
"Brother Joseph . . . went on to show the brethren how wicked and unchristianlike such conduct [among them] appeared before the eyes of truth and justice”. [9]
April 1834
The only name given under heaven, whereby man can be saved, is Jesus Christ. Men in days of old heard the glad tidings, that the Son of Man would come in the fulness of his own time, to make intercession for the children of men, and suffer, the just, for the unjust, and rise from the dead, that the bands of the temporal death might be broken, that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that they might stand in the presence of God to be judged according to their works.—These glad tidings were communicated from heaven to earth, by the ministering of holy angels and by the voice of the living God. Thousands have looked forward with an eye of faith, and a confidence unshaken in the promises of God, to the time when the great and last sacrifice should be made for fallen man. Many have rejoiced to see the day of the Son of Man, have seen it, and were glad; and have fallen asleep after obtaining the promise, that they should see God in the flesh and should reign with him on the earth a thousand years....The news that the gospel brought in days of old, was, that Jesus Christ would come into the world; that he would suffer according to the flesh; that he would rise from the dead, and thereby redeem his people from the power of the grave. [10]
1835
“the doctrine promulgated by the ‘latter day Christians’ in the newly discovered Bible”. [11]
1836
“This morning a minister from Conne[c]ticut by the name of John W. Olived called at my house . . . . [He] asked me wherein we differ from other Christian denomination[s]”. [12]
1836
“they have the appearance of being devout Christians. . . . They call themselves ‘Latter-day Saints,’ and profess to be the only true church, to have the only gospel order, consisting of apostles, elders, bishops, etc., etc., which several orders of the Christian hierarchy have been distinctly brought to light in the Book of Mormon”. [13]
1837
“a large society of Christians who style themselves ‘Latter-day Saints’ or Mormons.” (Painesville Republican, vol. 1, no. 31, 15 June 1837).
1838
"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it". [14]
1839
"This sect took its rise, A. D. 1830, in the county of Ontario, and State of New York. In April of that year, the society was organized as a Christian Church". [15]
1839
The Mormons “were singing a hymn as other good Christians are wont to do . . . . [One of them offered] a very good Christian prayer . . . . [which petitioned that the Mormons might have] Christian fortitude.” (Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer, vol. 3, no. 17, 27 July 1839)
1839: Benjamin Dobson to the editor, June 16, 1839, “The Mormons,” Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer (Peoria, Illinois) 3, no. 13 (27 July 1839). off-site

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1840s

1840
“We want no religion but pure Christianity”. [16]
1840
The heaven-born doctrines of christianity are so opposite to the vain, grovelling, and selfish sentiments of corrupt human nature, and the self-denying practices of genuine believers are so repugnant to the feelings of those whose nature is “earthly, sensual, and devilish,” that it is utterly unreasonable to suppose that anything like amity, concord or peace, can possibly exist between the church and the world. [John Taylor, Calumny Refuted and the Truth Defended (Liverpool: J. Tompkins, 1840), 1–12. Full title]
1840
The citizens of Nauvoo are “a people, professing to be Christians.” (Quincy Whig, vol. 3, no. 13, 25 July 1840).
1840
The Mormons retain “many truths which are held in common by different denominations of Christians.” (The Alton Telegraph, vol. 5, no. 46, 14 November 1840).
1840
"We want no religion but pure Christianity." [Parley P. Pratt, Plain Facts (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, 1840), 5. off-site Full title]
1840
"If every friend to the cause of apostolic christianity, would subscribe and pay in advance for the above mentioned books [Book of Mormon, hymn books]...." [Anon., "Books!!!," Times and Seasons 1 no. 9 (July 1840), 139–40. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) off-site
1841
“I understood from [the Mormons] as follows, . . . that they did not discard the Bible as used by other Christian sects”. [17]
1841
"why it is, that so many professing Christianity, and so many professing to reverence the sacred principles of our Constitution (which gives free religious toleration to all), have slandered, and persecuted this sect of Christians." [18]
1841
"The object of our visit to your city is not to subvert any moral or truly Christian principle, or to promulgate any doctrine other than that which was advocated by Patriarchs, Prophets, Christ and the Apostles; which doctrine or gospel, we believe is the same invariable plan of salvation that it ever was, and that it ought to be taught, administered and obeyed in the present age, precisely as it was in the primitive or golden period of Christianity." [E. Snow and Benjamin Winchester, "An Address to the Citizens of Salem (Mass.) And Vicinity," Times and Seasons 2 no. 24 (1 October 1841), 574-76. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) off-site]
1841
"Many of them have given up home and friends in obedience to what they consider the call of Christ, their Master.... The Mormons not only claim to be Christians, but the only Christians." [“The Mormons,” Auburn Journal and Advertiser (22 December 1841). off-site]
1842
“the great Christian city of Nauvoo”. [19]
1842
[Mormons teach that] "no man can be a Christian, or be admitted into the kingdom of God, unless he is baptized by immersion by an authorized person." [R.T.M., “The Mormons,” Religious Monitor and Evangelical Repository (18 January 1842): 345–46. off-site]
1842
Hyrum Smith is "one of the most pious and devout christians in the world." (New York Herald (19 February 1842); cited in Veritas, "The Mormon Prophets," Millennial Star 3 (May 1842): 8.)
1842
Mormons “are Christians in the fullest sense of the term, believing in the Old and New Testaments.” (The New York Herald, vol. 7, no. 419, 16 May 1842).
1842
Mormons are described as – “A Christian sect in Illinois.” (Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review, vol. 7, no. 25, 18 June 1842; emphasis in original).
1842
"All these letters and documents [about the Mormons] disclose a most extraordinary movement in human affairs. What they mean we can hardly tell, but is it not time for some great religious revolution, as radical as Luther's, to take place in the Christian world?...Unlike all other Christian sects, they adopt at once all the modern improvements of society, in art and literature; and from their singular religious faith give the highest enthusiasm to the movement at large. There is nothing odd, or singular, or absurd about them.” ("Wonderful Progress of Joe Smith, the Modern Mahomet.—Spread of the Mormon Faith, and a New Religious Revolution at Hand," N.Y. Herald (17 June 1842); emphasis added). [20]
1842
"Mr. Whitney then asked if we acknowledged any to be Christians except those who embraced our doctrines and joined our church." (Orson Hyde letter, Times and Seasons, vol. 3, no. 18, 15 July 1842, 849).
1842
A Baptist complained that a Church preacher "declined making an honest confession of those peculiarities which separate them as widely from the Baptists, as from every other denomination of the christian church." [21]
1842
Wrote the Daily Sun of Cincinnati:
Whatever this new doctrine may be, it is extremely pleasing to the world, and death to the constituted church creeds of every name but that of Mormon. It is destined to spread, for every man that takes it upon him to speak in its favor, is fully competent to make out his case. One is very much surprised to see with what facility they prove their doctrine from the holy scriptures. Mr. Adams remarked, that he did not care whether a man believed the Book of Mormon or not, so that he came forward with a broken heart, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and in baptism for the remission of sins—let him come forth, and if God did not reveal to him the truths of the Book of Mormon, he need not believe it. [Anon., "Mormonism [Reprinted from the Daily Sun, Cincinnati]," Times and Seasons 4 no. 2 (1 December 1842), 28–29. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) off-site
1842
"The Mormons were Christians in belief, and looked for the second Advent of Christ—when he shall come, surrounded by the angels of Heaven to dwell in person upon the earth....We confess that Mr. Winchester has changed our opinion of the sect; for we held them in contempt if not in abhorrence, from the representations we had read of them, whereas, if what Mr. Winchester states be true (and we have no reason to doubt him,) we can recognize them as professing Christians, tinged with peculiarities on particular points." [Anon., "Mormons, or Latter Day Saints," Times and Seasons 4 no. 2 (1 December 1842), 27–28. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) Reprinted from the Baltimore Clipper. off-site]
1843
"So far we are agreed with other Christian denominations. They all preach faith and repentance. The gospel requires baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, which is the meaning of the word in the original language—namely, to bury or immerse". [22]
1843
Joseph Smith, in a public discourse, compared the Mormons to other denominations of Christians. (New York Spectator, vol. 46, no. 46, 23 August 1843).
1844
The Mormons are “calling themselves Christians . . . . Christians, as they claim to be.” (The Warsaw Signal, NS no. 4, no. 121, 6 March 1844).
1844
“The [Saturday] Courier should for the sake of truth and consistency, strike its flag of neutrality in RELIGION, while it wages a war of extermination against the Mormons; the only sect in Christendom, who in this nineteenth century can exhibit the irresistible evidence of martyrdom, in support of its cause”. [23]
1844
"On Sunday I was invited to give, in a public discourse, the points of difference between faith of the Latter-day Saints and other professors of [p.417] the Christian religion." [24]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1850s

1853
Now, we ARE believers in the Bible, and in consequence of our unshaken faith in its precepts, doctrine, and prophecy, may be, attributed "the strangeness of our course," and the unwarrantable conduct of many towards this people. Come, my brother Presbyterian; come, my brother professors of every persuasion of long standing and popular distinction in the world, who are dubbed with the word "ORTHODOX;" come, we are all good Christians; I find no fault with you—why should you find fault with me? [25]
1854
“Mormonites . . . . call themselves Christians, it is true” (The Daily Globe, vol. 6, no. 261, 5 October 1854).
1857
"Their religious teachers of Mormonism, preach to them, as they call it, "Christianity in its purity." (S[olomon] N. Carvalho, Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West; with Col. Fremont's Last Expedition, chapter 22. off-site
1859
We, as Christians, are divided and subdivided into many systems varying in doctrinal points. This one says, "I am right;" and that one says, "I am right;" another rises up and varies, more or less, from the doctrines of the Church he has left, and says he is right. [26]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1860s

1861
"…who is there that was not startled when he heard that a sect, affecting to be Christian beyond all other sects, which had sprung up in broad day from amidst the civilization of the United States…" [27]
1863
Should you ask why we differ from other Christians...Are all this people, in the Scriptural sense, Christians? They should be. Do they all serve God with an undivided heart? They should. Many of them do, seeking daily to do his will. [28]
1864
The Latter-day Saints differ from their Christian brethren. [29]
1866
Now, we as Christians desire to be saved in the kingdom of God. [30]
1866
President B. Young preached a very interesting and instructive discourse, in which he showed that professing Christians believe all that the Jews believe, which appertains to life and salvation, and have accepted principles in advance of the Jews, including faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and that the Latter-day Saints receive all believed in by other professing Christians, appertaining to life and salvation, accepting, as a part of their religious faith, principles in advance of them which are taught in the Scriptures. He touched upon the history of the Jewish people, showing the penalties which they had incurred by disobedience to the commandments of God, and pointing to the promises made to the patriarchal fathers concerning them. And deduced that if the condition of professing Christians is to-day better than that of the Jews, for believing more of the revelations of God, so the condition of the Saints is preferable to that of the other inhabitants of Christendom, in accepting all the revelations which the Lord has been pleased to give. [31]
1866
"On one occasion one of the native brethren who had been persecuted, claimed his rights as a Swiss citizen, and the question was brought up in the Swiss Congress, Are the 'Mormons' Christians? After some discussion, the conclusion was arrived at that they were, and must accordingly be protected." [32]
1869
Thomas J. Turner (a critic):"...Mormonism is a form of religion 'grant it, a false religion' nevertheless, it claims to be the true Christian religion...."[33]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1870s

1870
Have you embraced truth, Latter-day Saints? Have you anything different from other Christians? [34]
1871
If you should have visits here from those professing to be Christians, and they intimate a desire to preach to you, by all means invite them to do so. Accord to every reputable person who may visit you, and who may wish to occupy the stands of your meeting houses to preach to you, the privilege of doing so, no matter whether he be a Catholic, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Baptist, Free-will Baptist, Methodist, or whatever he may be; and if he wishes to speak to your children let him do so. Of course you have the power to correct whatever false teachings or impressions, if any, your children may hear or receive. I say to parents, place your children, as far as you [p.196] have an opportunity to do so, in a position or situation to learn everything in the world that is worth learning. You will probably have what is called a Christian Church here; they will not admit that we are Christians, but they cannot think us further from the plan of salvation as revealed from heaven than we know them to be, so we are even on that ground, as far as it goes. [35]
We are preaching to the people far and near; our Elders are traveling through the earth; strangers are coming here, and we are declaring to them that the Gospel of the Son of God is true. Whether they believe or not, it is no matter. That book (the Bible)contains the words of the Almighty…. I know of the bright promises which he gave to his disciples anciently. I live in the possession of them, and glory in them and in the cross of Christ, and in the beauty and holiness that he has revealed for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men. I do wish we would live to them, and may the Lord help us. [36]
1872
We, as Christians, believe in God, in Christ and in his atonement, in repentance and obedience, and in receiving the Spirit. [37]
"we take the liberty to believe the Bible, which our fellow Christians, generally throughout the world, profess to believe in…” [38]
“We are looking for him [i.e. Second coming of Christ]. The Christians of all denominations expect that he will appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. The Latter-day Saints expect this in common with all other Christians.” [39]
1876
These are only a few reflections, when we take into consideration our Christian religion. [40]
Brother Cannon speaks of Christians. We are Christians professedly, according to our religion. [41]
“How shall we, as Christians, reconcile these words of our Savior with the reception everywhere given by the world to Messrs. Moody and Sankey? They are, professedly, Christian ministers, yet they are largely entertained by the world, extolled by the world, and apparently loved by the world….” [42]
“But Joseph Smith reiterates the Savior’s promises. He has no fear of being proved a false teacher. He professes to be a Christian minister called and sent of God….” [43]
“Immediate revelation was the life of primitive Christianity, and when that ceased to be given to men, Christianity waxed feeble, waned and died. With the restored Gospel came immediate revelation, and Christianity was born again upon the earth.” [44]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1880s

1881
We are a Christian community; we believe in God and in Jesus Christ... [45]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1890s

1892
"What a singular sort of ‘Christian community’ that must be that will not tolerate an unorthodox Christian society in its midst!” [46]
“The insinuation in this [written attack on the LDS by a Protestant minister in SLC] is to the effect that a ‘Mormon’ is not a Christian, and the ‘Mormon’ religion is not a Christian religion, and further that the Supreme Court of the United States has virtually so decided…. But if a ‘Mormon’ is not a Christian then there are no Christians in America…. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is at least as fairly entitled to the appellation of a Christian as a member of the Presbyterian Church” [47]
“[with reverence to Revelation 1. 12] We accept—as all Christians do—that God inspired the words ‘to see the voice.’” [48]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in 1900-1950

1907
If it be true Christianity to accept Jesus Christ in person and his mission as divine; to revere him as the Son of God, the crucified and risen Lord, through whom alone mankind can attain salvation; to accept his teachings as a guide, to adopt as a standard and observe as a law the ethical code he promulgated; to comply with the requirements prescribed by him as essential to membership in his Church, namely, faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost,—if this be Christianity, then are we Christians, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church. [49]
1917
[W]e are a Christian people, we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we feel that it is our duty to acknowledge him as our Savior and Redeemer. [50]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made after 1950

1956
We are not Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish, and yet this disclaimer should not be taken to mean we are not Christian. You who heard the powerful address of President Clark this morning will know that we are Christians, for central to everything we believe and teach is our faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. We are grateful for our Judeo-Christian heritage, for the Holy Bible which we accept without reservation as the word of God, except as to some errors that have crept in through translations. [51]
1997
Jacob Neusner, one of the great Judaism scholars of the twentieth century: "Christianity encompasses a remarkably diverse set of religious systems that have some qualities in common—belief in Jesus Christ—but also differ deeply, especially about matters on which they seem at first glance to concur. For example, who, exactly was, and is, Jesus Christ? No one imagines that by describing a single common denominator Christianity tells us about one unitary religion. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, Methodist, Mormon, and Lutheran—each is comprised by clearly delineated groups of Christians, all of them with their respective systems of belief and behaviour...as the world knows Christianities, but no single Christianity, so the world has known, and today recognizes, diverse Judaisms, no single Judaism." [52]
2006
Bart Ehrman, a leading expert on the text of the New Testament: "...just as Christianity today is incredibly diverse (compare the Roman Catholics with the Mormons with the Pentecostals with the Seventh Day Adventists with the Eastern Orthodox… and so on!), it was even more diverse in the early centuries..." ("A Few Questions for Bart Ehrman," Oxford University Press Blog (OUPblog) (9 October 2006). off-site

Clearly, the Church has "claimed" to be Christian for a long time, and even hostile critics realized it. To insist that this is a new, public relations move is false. Neutral observers have also seen the Church as Christian. Only a recent, intolerant fringe of fundamentalist Christianity has tried to exclude the Church from Christianity by self-serving definitions.


Response to claim: 86, n24-25 - Does the Church teach that "Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity"?

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:


  • Does the Church continue to teach that "all Christian churches are corrupt"?
  • Does the Church teach that "Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity"?

    Author's sources:

  1. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (1958; second edition, 1966), p. 132.

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

The Church does not teach that "Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity."


Question: Do Latter-day Saints believe that the scriptural terms "church of the devil," the "great and abominable church," and the "whore of all the earth" refer to a specific religion?

According to the Book of Mormon, the "great and abominable church" and "whore of all the earth" refers to any organization that opposes the true Church of Jesus Christ

The Church does not teach or endorse the idea that these terms refer to any specific religion or organization. It is clear that in cases where past church authorities have modified this definition through speculation, that the First Presidency has firmly declared those speculations to be in error.

The criticism is based upon references in the Book of Mormon to the "church of the devil," which is referred to as the "whore of all the earth." For example:

And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10)

George Q. Cannon publicly associated the "whore of all the earth" with those that persecuted the Church

Although the scriptures do not associate this "church" with a specific organization or religion, several early 19th century church leaders stated their opinions regarding who they considered the "whore of all the earth." For example, George Q. Cannon publicly associated the "whore of all the earth" with those that persecuted the Church:

And to-day, those who are inciting mobs against this people; those who go to Congress, and incite persecutions against us; those who fulminate threats and frame petitions; those who meet together in conventions; those who gather together in conferences, are those who belong to this "mother of abominations," this "whore of all the earth," and it is through the influence of that accursed whore, that they gather together and marshal their forces in every land against the Latter-day Saints, the Church of the living God.[53]

Heber C. Kimball associated the "whore of all the earth" with the national government

Heber C. Kimball associated the "whore of all the earth" with the national government that failed to help the Saints during their times of persecution:

It is very easy to be seen that the nation that has oppressed us is going down. The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith something about the judgments that await the inhabitants of the earth, and he said in the revelations that the judgments should commence at the house of God. I will read to you parts of the revelations which speak of these things....and that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel the Prophet....[54]

Orson Pratt claimed that it was the founder of the Catholic Church in a publication that was later repudiated by the Church

Orson Pratt, in his 1853-1854 periodical The Seer, claimed that the founder of the Roman Catholic Church was “the Devil, through the medium of Apostates, who subverted the whole order of God” and that they derived their “authority from the Devil....”[55] The Seer, however, never achieved sufficient circulation to propagate this idea through the general Church membership. In fact, The Seer was disowned by the First Presidency in 1865 for containing "doctrines which we cannot sanction."[56]

Bruce R. McConkie's first edition of Mormon Doctrine associated it with the Catholic Church, before that edition was refuted by the First Presidency

Bruce R. McConkie is credited with promoting the idea within the modern church that the "great and abominable church" was in fact the Roman Catholic Church. The first edition of McConkie's Mormon Doctrine, a book which contained sufficient errors that the First Presidency declared that the book was "not approved as an authoritative book"[57] and that it should not be re-published, contained this rather direct statement:

It is also to the Book of Mormon to which we turn for the plainest description of the Catholic Church as the great and abominable church. Nephi saw this ‘church which is the most abominable above all other churches’ in vision. He ‘saw the devil that he was the foundation of it’ and also the murders, wealth, harlotry, persecutions, and evil desires that historically have been a part of this satanic organization.[58]

The offending language was removed in the second edition of Mormon Doctrine and replaced with language more consistent with the Book of Mormon

When the first edition of Mormon Doctrine went into circulation, the idea that the "great and abominable church" was the Catholic Church became embedded in popular belief, despite the fact that this idea was never sanctioned or preached over the pulpit. A second edition of Mormon Doctrine was eventually released with the offending language regarding the Roman Catholic Church removed. In the second edition, McConkie states:

The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all churches or organizations of whatever name or nature — whether political, philosophical, educational, economic social, fraternal, civic, or religious — which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God.[59]

This statement more closely aligns with what the scriptures themselves say, without any additional interpretation. Modern church leaders have stayed close to the definition in the Book of Mormon, by identifying the "great and abominable" church as any organization the leads people away from the Church of Jesus Christ.


Response to claim: 87, 517n26 - "Smith's long association with occultism also helped draw spiritual 'seekers' into Mormonism"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "Smith's long association with occultism also helped draw spiritual 'seekers' into Mormonism because his affinity for the paranormal enabled other occultists to easily identify with him."

Author's sources:
  1. D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), xxiii ( Index of claims )

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

The author is simply repeating D. Michael Quinn's opinion.

Response to claim: 89, 518n47 - A revelation was changed to conceal Oliver Cowdery's use of a divining rod

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

A revelation was changed to conceal Oliver Cowdery's use of a divining rod.

Author's sources:
  1. Book of Commandments (VII:3), 19.

FairMormon Response

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

The original changes to the revelation, as shown in the Joseph Smith Papers, demonstrates that the original changes to the revelation actually emphasized that Oliver used a divining rod.
  • This claim is also made in Becoming Gods, p. 46

Revelations in Context on history.lds.org: "Cowdery was among those who believed in and used a divining rod"

Revelations in Context on history.lds.org:

Oliver Cowdery lived in a culture steeped in biblical ideas, language and practices. The revelation’s reference to Moses likely resonated with him. The Old Testament account of Moses and his brother Aaron recounted several instances of using rods to manifest God’s will (see Ex. 7:9-12; Num. 17:8). Many Christians in Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery's day similarly believed in divining rods as an instrument for revelation. Cowdery was among those who believed in and used a divining rod.[60]


Question: Did Joseph Smith attempt to "cover up" Oliver Cowdery's work with a divining rod by changing the wording of the revelation that became Doctrine and Covenants 8:6–8?

The edits to this portion of the revelation were actually performed by Sidney Rigdon, likely with Joseph's approval

A revelation received by Joseph praised Oliver Cowdery's gift of using divining talents. The revelation was published in the Book of Commandments in its original form, then subsequently modified in the Doctrine and Covenants. We do not know why Sidney Rigdon chose to alter the wording of the revelation, but he is the one that actually changed the wording to "rod of nature."

We know based upon the text of the revelation that Oliver possessed a gift of working with something alternately referred to as a "sprout," "thing of nature," or "rod of nature." We also know that the Lord approved of Oliver's use of this gift. The reference was later changed to the "gift of Aaron," but we can only speculate as to the exact reason why. According to the Church History website, the "rod" referred to by Sidney Rigdon when he edited the revelation was likely a divining rod. It is possible that "gift of Aaron" was substituted as the revelatory device because if carried fewer negative connotations than "divining rod." However, a "cover up" is not usually done by committee, and it is clear that multiple individuals assisted in editing the revelations before they were to be published in the Doctrine and Covenants. It is also difficult to claim a "cover up" since "rod of nature" was to be published in the Book of Commandments in 1833, only two years before change to "gift of Aaron" was published in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.

We do know that Oliver's gift had to do with receiving revelation, and that Oliver attempted to employ it during the period in which the Book of Mormon was being translated. We also know that Oliver's experience in attempting to translate produced one of the lasting lessons which continues to be taught in Church even today—the knowledge that one must study things out in their mind in order to know the truth of something.


Question: How was the wording of the "rod of nature" revelation that became Doctrine and Covenants 8:6–8 altered over time?

The revelation was edited by several individuals, including Sidney Rigdon

The original wording of the revelation along with revisions performed by Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, John Whitmer, and another unidentified editor is recorded in the REVELATION BOOK 1 (April 1829-B [D&C 8]). The original revelation reads as follows:

...remember this is thy gift now this is not all for thou hast another gift which is the gift of working with the sprout Behold it hath told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of Nature to work in your hands. [61]

Sidney Rigdon edited the passage to read like this:

...remember this is your gift now this is not all for you have another gift which is the gift of working with the rod Behold it has told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this rod to work in your hands. (emphasis added)

In the Book of Commandments (the predecessor to the Doctrine and Covenants), the revelation underwent an additional revision by a publication committee of the First Presidency (Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Frederick G. Williams). The Book of Commandments stated:

Chapter 7:3—Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God. (emphasis added)

In the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, this was revised to read:

D&C 8:6–8—Now this is not all thy gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God. (1921 edition, 8:6–8.) (emphasis added)

Thus, "working with the sprout" and the "thing of Nature" were changed to "the gift of working with the rod," which was again later revised to "the gift of Aaron." It has been assumed on the basis of this that Oliver Cowdery was a "rodsman," or someone who used a divining rod to search for treasure, water, or other things hidden.

Evidence used to support this assertion is the fact that in 1801, a religious sect led by the Wood family enjoyed a brief popularity, and they sought for treasure with divining rods. [62] The Wood group was reportedly taught this skill by a counterfeiter/forger named either Winchell or Wingate. Winchell/Wingate had been a guest at the home of Oliver's father, William. Attempts have been made to tie William Cowdery to the Wood group, but there is no evidence that he had any connection with them aside from knowing Winchell/Wingate. As Richard L. Anderson observed:

An 1828 newspaper history of the Wood episode refers to neither the mysterious counterfeiter nor Cowdery. The main group of Middletown survivors of the 1800 period--"more than thirty men and women"--were interviewed up to 1860, and they said nothing of a counterfeiter or of Cowdery. The 1867 recollections of a minister who visited the group in the final weeks of their movement include mention of the counterfeiter but not Cowdery--when a disciple was asked where the criminal stayed, he answered: "He keeps himself secreted in the woods." Frisbie's own claims about the Cowdery connection to the Wood group are both unclear and unsupported. This is the patchwork of folklore, not tightly woven history. [63]

It is therefore not clear whether Oliver used a rod for treasure seeking. The critical association of Oliver's possible use of a rod with the activities of local "rodsmen" seeking treasure is used to imply that Oliver was also a treasure seeker.


Response to claim: 89, 518n49 - Did Joseph give Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball divining rods "as a symbol of gratitude for their loyalty"?

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Did Joseph give Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball divining rods "as a symbol of gratitude for their loyalty"?

Author's sources:
  • Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer, 248-249.
  • Anthon H. Lund, Anthon H. Lund Journal, under July 5, 1901 quoted in D. Michael Quinn, BYU Studies, Fall 1978, vol. 18, 82, cited in Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), 87.( Index of claims ).

FairMormon Response

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

This is a misrepresentation of the source.

Question: Did Joseph Smith give Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball divining rods "as a symbol of gratitude for their loyalty"?

The passage describes Heber's dream in which Joseph gave him a rod, saying "the hand of God shall be with you"

Several authors cite Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer, to support a claim that Joseph Smith gave Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball divinig rods "as a symbol of gratitude for their loyalty." However, the authors distort the passage cited. It first describes Heber's dream in which Joseph gave him a rod, saying "the hand of God shall be with you." Thus, the critics hide the fact that Heber saw this in a religious, not a magical, context. The source then reads:

Later Joseph did give him and Brigham Young real rods, because "they were the only ones of the original twelve who had not lifted up their hearts against the Prophet." When Heber wanted to find out anything that was his right to know, "all he had to do was to kneel down with the rod in his hand, and . . . sometimes the Lord would answer his questions before he had time to ask them." At least twice in Nauvoo, for example, he had used this special rod. In September, 1844, he "went home and used the rod" to find out if Willard Richards would recover from an illness and if the church would overcome its enemies. In January, 1845, he inquired of the Lord "by the rod" whether the Nauvoo temple would be finished and if his sins were forgiven. All the answers were affirmative. Unlike the [p.249] cane, there are no family traditions regarding this unusual rod; it has completely disappeared. Perhaps it was an aid to guidance and revelation. There is no evidence that it was a divining stick or "water witch," popular at that time. (pp. 248-249, emphasis added)

The source cited by the critics explicitly rejects the idea that the rods described were "divining sticks"

Critical works provide this source for the claim that Brigham and Heber are provided with "diving rods"—yet, the source explicitly rejects the idea that they were 'divining sticks.' The rod's claimed ability was also clearly religious, not "magical"—the rod had no power except as an aide to revelation from God. There is ample biblical precedent for prophetic use of a rod (e.g., Numbers 17:6-10).


Response to claim: 89 - Did Joseph's family own a "magic dagger"?

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Did Joseph's family own a "magic dagger"?

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

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

Everyone in the nineteenth-century frontier had at least one dagger, and this one was not designed for ceremonial magic or treasure hunting.
  • Note: In Becoming Gods, the author calls this a "magick dagger."
  • This claim is also made in Becoming Gods, p. 37, 344n93
  • William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394. [{{{url}}} off-site]

Question: Was a "magic dagger" once owned by Hyrum Smith?

Everyone in the nineteenth-century frontier had at least one dagger, and this one was not designed for ceremonial magic or treasure hunting

It is claimed that the Smith family owned a magic dagger that was among Hyrum Smith's heirlooms. They cite this as proof of the Smith family's deep involvement in ritual magick.

William Hamblin discusses a dagger that was discovered to be among the the Hyrum Smith family heirlooms. The dagger is claimed by historian D. Michael Quinn to be associated with the practice of magic:

The big problem for Quinn is that a dagger is usually just a dagger. Everyone in the nineteenth-century frontier had at least one, and most people had many. Some daggers were inscribed; others were not. Daggers were bought and sold just like any other tool and could easily pass from one owner to another. Given the data presented above, we do not know when, where, or how Hyrum obtained his dagger, or even if he really did. Since there is no documentation on the dagger until 1963, it could have been obtained by one of his descendants after his death and later accidentally confused with Hy rum's heirlooms. We do not know what it meant to Hyrum (assuming he owned it). Was it simply a dagger with some strange marks? Was it a gift to him from a Masonic friend? All of this is speculation—but it is no more speculative than Quinn's theories. Whatever the origin and purpose of the dagger, though, it is quite clear that, based on the evidence Quinn himself has presented, it does not match the magic daggers designed for making magic circles nor does it match the astrology of any of the Smiths.[64]

Hamblin concludes that,

[D. Michael] Quinn, and those who have followed him, have completely misunderstood or misrepresented the purpose of the dagger. The inclusion of the astrological sigil for Scorpio means the dagger was designed for someone born under the sign of Scorpio. None of the Smiths was. Therefore, it was not made for the Smiths. Quinn demonstrates no understanding of talismanic magic. The inclusion of the talismanic sigils for Mars means it was designed to grant victory in battle or litigation. It was not designed for ceremonial magic or treasure hunting, as Quinn claims. Quinn cites sources from after 1870 as evidence for what the Smiths supposedly believed, while completely misrepresenting those sources. The only possible conclusion to draw from all this is that the dagger was made for an unknown person, and, if it somehow came into the possession of Hyrum Smith, it was obtained secondhand with the engravings already made. This conforms with the late Smith family tradition that remembers the signs on the blade as "Masonic" rather than magical.[64]


Response to claim: 89-90, 519n53-57 - Did Joseph's family own "three homemade magical parchments"?

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Did Joseph's family own "three homemade magical parchments"?

Author's sources:

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

There is no evidence that Joseph knew of, possessed, or used magical parchments.
  • Note: In Becoming Gods, the author calls these "magick parchments."
  • The text mentions the ""Holiness to the Lord,"" the ""Saint Peter Bind Them,"" and the ""Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah"" parchments without showing how they are related to the Smith family.
  • This claim is also made in Becoming Gods, p. 37, 344n94

Question: Did Joseph Smith's family own "magic parchments" which suggest their involvement in the "occult"?

There is no evidence that Joseph knew of, possessed, or used magical parchments

It is claimed that the Smith family owned "magic parchments," suggesting their involvement in the "occult." However, there is no evidence that Joseph knew of, possessed, or used magical parchments. All we know is that some parchments were eventually "heirlooms" of the Hyrum Smith family, but their provenance is not clear.


Question: What is the probability that Joseph Smith possessed items related to "magic"?

Probability problems

This claim rests upon a lengthy chain of supposition:[65]

  1. Joseph himself owned the item (e.g., parchment, Mars dagger, or Jupiter talisman).
  2. His possession dates to his early days of "treasure seeking."
  3. He used them for magical purposes.
  4. He made them himself or commissioned them.
  5. He therefore must have used magic books to make them.
  6. He therefore must have had an occult mentor to help him with the difficult process of understanding the magical books and making these items.
  7. This occult mentor transmitted extensive arcane hermetic lore to Joseph beyond the knowledge necessary to make the artifacts.

Theses seven propositions are simply a tissue of assumptions, assertions, and speculations. There is no contemporary primary evidence that Joseph himself owned or used these items. We do not know when, how, or why these items became heirlooms of the Hyrum Smith family. Again, there is no contemporary primary evidence that mentions Joseph or anyone in his family using these artifacts—as Quinn himself noted, "possession alone may not be proof of use." There is no evidence that Joseph ever had any magic books. There is no evidence that Joseph ever had an occult mentor who helped him make or use these items.

Improbability

The methodology used by the critics is a classic example of what one could call the miracle of the addition of the probabilities. The case relies on a rickety tower of unproven propositions that do not provide certainty, rather a geometrically increasing improbability. Probabilities are multiplied, not added. Combining two propositions, each of which has a 50% probability, does not create a 100% probability, it creates a 25% probability that both are true together:

  • chance of proposition #1 being true = 50% = 0.5
  • chance of proposition #2 being true = 50% = 0.5
  • chance of BOTH being true = .5 x .5 = .25 = 25%

Allowing each of these seven propositions a 50% probability—a very generous allowance—creates a .0078% probability that the combination of all seven propositions is true. And this is only one element of a very complex and convoluted argument, with literally dozens of similar unverified assertions. The result is a monumentally high improbability that the overall thesis is correct.

A non-response to this argument

D. Michael Quinn, a major proponent of the "magick" argument, responded to the above by claiming that "Only when cumulative evidence runs contrary to the FARMS agenda, do polemicists like Hamblin want readers to view each piece of evidence as though it existed in isolation."[66]

Replied Hamblin:

Quinn misunderstands and misrepresents my position on what I have called the "miracle of the addition of the probabilities"....

[Quinn's rebuttal discusses] the process of the verification of historical evidence. The issue was unproven propositions, not parallel evidence.

Quinn...proposed that a series of "magic" artifacts provide evidence that Joseph Smith practiced magic. My position is that, in order for us to accept any particular artifact as a single piece of evidence, we must first accept several unproven propositions, each of which may be true or false, but none of which is proven. The more unproven propositions one must accept to validate a piece of evidence, the greater the probability that the evidence is not, in fact, authentic. Thus, two historiographical processes are under discussion. One is the authentication of a particular piece of evidence: did Joseph own a magical talisman and use it to perform magical rites? The second is the cumulative significance of previously authenticated evidence in proving a particular thesis: does the authentication of the use of the talisman demonstrate that Joseph was a magician who adhered to a magical worldview? Quinn apparently cannot distinguish between these two phases of the historical endeavor, which goes far to account for some of the numerous failings in his book....

Of course the probative value of evidence is cumulative. The more evidence you have, the greater the probability that your overall thesis is true. Thus, if Quinn can demonstrate that the talisman and the parchment and the dagger all belonged to the Smith family and were used for magical purposes, it would be more probable that his overall thesis is true than if he could establish only that the Smiths owned and used just one of those three items. But my argument is that the authenticity of each of these pieces of evidence rests on half a dozen unproven propositions and assumptions.[67]


Response to claim: 89 - Did Joseph have a "Jupiter talisman" with him the day he died?

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Did Joseph have a "Jupiter talisman" with him the day he died?

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

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

There is no contemporary evidence that the talisman was on Joseph when he died.

This claim is also made in Becoming Gods, p. 37, 344n95

Question: Did Joseph Smith have a Jupiter talisman on his person at the time of his death?

The only source of evidence that claims Joseph Smith had the Jupiter Talisman on his person is Charles Bidamon, made long after the death of Joseph and Emma

Did Joseph have this Talisman on him when he was murdered? What would it mean if he did?

This well circulated claim finds its origins in a 1974 talk by Dr. Reed Durham. Durham said that Joseph "evidently [had a Talisman] on his person when he was martyred. The talisman, originally purchased from the Emma Smith Bidamon family, fully notarized by that family to be authentic and to have belonged to Joseph Smith, can now be identified as a Jupiter talisman."[68]

There is only one source of evidence that claims Joseph Smith had the Jupiter Talisman on his person, and that source is Charles Bidamon. Bidamon's statement was made long after the death of Joseph and Emma, relied on memories from his youth, and was undergirded by financial motives.

The idea that Joseph Smith might have had a Jupiter Talisman in his possession is used by critics of the Church as proof of his fascination with the occult. As one work put it: "The fact that Smith owned a Jupiter talisman shows that his fascination with the occult was not just a childish fad. At the time of his death, Smith had on his person this talisman....[69]

By contrast, contemporary evidence demonstrates that Joseph did not have such a Talisman in his possession at his death.


Question: What is the source of the story about Joseph Smith possessing a Jupiter talisman?

The source of the Talisman story, upon which Dr. Durham based his remarks, was Wilford C. Wood, who was told it by Charles Bidamon, the son of Lewis Bidamon

Lewis was Emma Smith's non-Mormon second husband. Charles was born following an affair between Lewis Bidamon and Nancy Abercrombie, which occurred while Lewis was married to Emma. Charles was taken in by Emma when four years old, and raised by her until her death 11 years later.[70] (This action says much for Emma's charity.)

The talisman, or "silver pocket piece" as described in 1937, appeared on a list of items purportedly own by Joseph Smith which were to be sold by Charles Bidamon

Richard Lloyd Anderson wrote that the Talisman, or "silver pocket piece" as described in 1937, appeared on a list of items purportedly own by Joseph Smith which were to be sold by Charles Bidamon. One item listed was "a silver pocket piece which was in the Prophet's pocket at the time of his assassination."[71]:541 Wilford Wood, who collected Mormon memorabilia, purchased it in 1938 along with a document from Bidamon certifying that the Prophet possessed it when murdered. The affidavit sworn to by Charles Bidamon at the time of Wilford C. Wood's purchase was very specific:

This piece came to me through the relationship of my father, Major L. C. Bidamon, who married the Prophet Joseph Smith's widow, Emma Smith. I certify that I have many times heard her say, when being interviewed, and showing the piece, that it was in the Prophet's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage, Ill.[71]:558

Bidamon waited fifty-eight years after Emma’s death to make his certification, and notes that at the time of her death he was only fifteen years old.

Anderson noted that Bidamon waited fifty-eight years after Emma’s death to make his certification, and notes that at the time of her death he was only fifteen years old.

Durham based his comments on Wood's description for the item which was: "This piece [the Talisman] was in Joseph Smith's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage Jail."[71]:558[72] However, a list of the items in Joseph's possession at the time of his death was provided to Emma following the martyrdom. On this list there was no mention made of any Talisman-like item. If there had been such an article, it ought to have been listed.

The list of items in Joseph's possession at the time of his death did not list the talisman among them

In 1984, Anderson located and published the itemized list of the contents of Joseph Smith's pockets at his death. The list was originally published in 1885 in Iowa by James W. Woods, Smith's lawyer, who collected the prophet's personal effects after the Martyrdom. The contents from the published 1885 printing are as follows:

Received, Nauvoo, Illinois, July 2, 1844, of James W. Woods, one hundred and thirty- five dollars and fifty cents in gold and silver and receipt for shroud, one gold finger ring, one gold pen and pencil case, one penknife, one pair of tweezers, one silk and one leather purse, one small pocket wallet containing a note of John P. Green for $50, and a receipt of Heber C. Kimball for a note of hand on Ellen M. Saunders for one thousand dollars, as the property of Joseph Smith. - Emma Smith.[71]:558[73]

No Talisman or item like it is listed. It could not be mistaken for a coin or even a "Masonic Jewel" as Durham first thought. Anderson described the Talisman as being “an inch-and-a-half in diameter and covered with symbols and a prayer on one side and square of sixteen Hebrew characters on the other.”[71]:541 Significant is the fact that no associate of Joseph Smith has ever mentioned anything like this medallion. There are no interviews that ever record Emma mentioning any such item as attested to by Charles Bidamon, though he claimed she often spoke of it.


Question: Could the list of items on Joseph's person at the time of his death have been incomplete?

Bidamon's certification clearly states that the Talisman was "in the Prophet’s pocket when he was martyred," yet it does not appear in the list of his possessions at the time of his death

More recent arguments contend that Wood’s list was exaggerated or was an all together different type of list. For example, some suggest that since neither Joseph's gun or hat were on the report, the list must not be complete. It should be obvious, however, that these items were not found on Joseph's person. The record clearly states that he dropped his gun and left it behind before being murdered. As for the hat, even if he had been wearing it indoors, it seems unlikely to have remained on his head after a gun-fight and fall from a second-story window.

Critics also argue that the Talisman was not accounted for was because it ought to have been worn around the neck, hidden from view and secret to all (including Emma no less). Thus, the argument runs, it was overlooked in the inventory. While it may be true that Talismans are worn around the neck, Bidamon's certification clearly states that the Talisman was "in the Prophet’s pocket when he was martyred." So which is it? In his pocket like a lucky charm or secretly worn around his neck as such an item should properly be used? In either case, the record is clear that he did not have a Talisman on his person at the time of his death. The rest is speculation.

The critics also resort to arguing that a prisoner could not possibly have had a penknife, so how accurate can the list of Joseph's possessions be? Obviously, the fact that he had a gun makes the possession of a knife a matter of no consequence.[74] Critics will dismiss contemporary evidence simply because it is inconvenient.

"at the present time, after checking my data, I find no primary evidence that Joseph Smith ever possessed a Jupiter Talisman"

As a final note to the saga, when Durham was later asked how he felt about his speech regarding the Talisman, he replied:

I now wish I had presented some of my material differently.” “For instance, at the present time, after checking my data, I find no primary evidence that Joseph Smith ever possessed a Jupiter Talisman. The source for my comment was a second-hand, late source. It came from Wilford Wood, who was told it by Charlie Bidamon, who was told it by his father, Lewis Bidamon, who was Emma’s second husband and non-Mormon not too friendly to the LDS Church. So the idea that the Prophet had such a talisman is highly questionable.[75]


Stephen Robinson: "In the case of the Jupiter coin, this same extrapolation error is compounded with a very uncritical acceptance of the artifact in the first place"

Of the matter of the Jupiter talisman that is alleged to have been among Joseph Smith's possessions at the time of his death, Stephen Robinson wrote:

In the case of the Jupiter coin, this same extrapolation error is compounded with a very uncritical acceptance of the artifact in the first place. If the coin were Joseph's, that fact alone would tell us nothing about what it meant to him. But in fact there is insufficient evidence to prove that the artifact ever belonged to the Prophet. The coin was completely unknown until 1930 when an aging Charles Bidamon sold it to Wilford Wood. The only evidence that it was Joseph's is an affidavit of Bidamon, who stood to gain financially by so representing it. Quinn [and any other critic who embraces this theory] uncritically accepts Bidamon's affidavit as solid proof that the coin was Joseph's. Yet the coin was not mentioned in the 1844 list of Joseph's possessions returned to Emma. Quinn negotiates this difficulty by suggesting the coin must have been worn around Joseph's neck under his shirt. But in so doing Quinn impeaches his only witness for the coin's authenticity, for Bidamon's affidavit, the only evidence linking the coin to Joseph, specifically and solemnly swears that the coin was in Joseph's pocket at Carthage. The real empirical evidence here is just too weak to prove that the coin was really Joseph's, let alone to extrapolate a conclusion from mere possession of the artifact that Joseph must have believed in and practiced magic. The recent Hofmann affair should have taught us that an affidavit from the seller, especially a 1930 affidavit to third hand information contradicted by the 1844 evidence, just isn't enough 'proof' to hang your hat on.[76]


Response to claim: 519n58 (PB) - The author states: In 1998, Apostle David B. Haight "reinvoked the astrological principle that people should 'do nothing without the assistance of the moon'"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

The author states: [I]n 1998, Apostle David B. Haight "reinvoked the astrological principle that people should 'do nothing without the assistance of the moon'" (Quinn, Early Mormonism, 291).

Author's sources:
  1. D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 291 ( Index of claims )

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

The phrase is not in the published talk or the live recording of the talk.


Question: Did Elder David B. Haight make an astrological reference that people should 'do nothing without the assistance of the moon'?

This claim has evolved over time due to successive misinterpretation of the original sources

It has been claimed that Elder David B. Haight "reinvoked the astrological principle that people should 'do nothing without the assistance of the moon'" in a talk that he gave during General Conference in 1998. One critic of Mormonism takes this a step further by claiming that the phrase "do nothing without the assistance of the moon" was deleted from the transcribed version of Elder Haight's talk. However, this claim has evolved over time due to successive misinterpretation of the original sources.

There is no question that grammar and phrasing of the talk was edited. The question is: where is the phrase "do nothing without the assistance of the moon" that the author highlighted twice before claiming that it had been removed from the printed version of the talk? There is no other portion of this talk which makes any reference to the moon.

The bottom line: this is a false claim and a false accusation.

Was an embarrassing phrase removed from Elder Haight's talk?

Becoming Gods makes this claim on page 352, endnote 155:

LDS Apostle David B. Haight "reinvoked the astrological principle that people should 'do nothing without the assistance of the moon'" (Quinn, Early Mormonism, p. 291). Haight's remark "do nothing without the assistance of the moon" was made during his lecture at the 168th Annual General Conference. But when the transcribed text of the speech was made available online through the LDS Church's official Internet site, the phrase had been deleted." (emphasis added)

Conference talks are routinely edited before they are printed. General Authorities may make off-the-cuff remarks or inject other comments that may not make it into the final printed version. But this accusation is different: the author of this book is asserting that there was something removed in order to hide it, despite the fact that the phrase would have been heard by the entire conference audience, and the video of the talk recorded. These recordings are easily accessible in many LDS meeting house libraries, so it is a relatively simple task to check the validity of this claim.

Was there a cover-up directed at removing an embarrassing 'magic related' remark made by Elder Haight in front of the entire Church during a General Conference? Note in the criticism that the suspicious phrase "do nothing without the assistance of the moon" is actually singled out twice. To resolve this claim, we will examine the published text of Elder Haight's talk and compare it to a transcript that was made from a video recording of the same talk.

The original talk

Transcription of live talk [April 1998 General Conference] from home recorded video in Rancho Cucamonga, CA Chaffey Ward church library. Talk as printed in the Ensign: David B. Haight, "Live the Commandments," Ensign (May 1998). Comments

And as we left that little meeting that evening and left that little farmhouse, there was a full moon shining down through the trees. And I said to Ruby,

As we left our meeting that evening and left that little farmhouse, there was a full moon shining down through the trees. I said to Ruby,

  • Some minor grammar cleanup to remove the repetition of the phrase "that little."

“I can imagine that on the night of April 6, 1830, after that small group had assembled, the Church had been organized, the six members had signed the necessary papers to see that it was recognized under the laws of the state of New York.

“I can imagine the night of April 6, 1830, after that small group had assembled, the Church had been organized, and six men agreeable to its organization were present to be in harmony with the laws of the state of New York;

  • The phrase "agreeable to its organization" was added.
  • The spoken phrase "recognized under the laws" was reworded to read "in harmony with the laws."

And of the occasion was said what was prophesied, the future of the church, the testimony that would have been born. I said I would imagine that the night of April the 6th, 1830, the moon was shining showing that our Savior smiled upon that occasion and upon that setting.

I can imagine what was said, what was prophesied about the future of the Church, and the testimonies that would have been borne.” Then I said, “I would imagine that on the night of April the 6th, 1830, there was a full moon shining, showing that our Savior was smiling upon that occasion and upon that setting.”

  • Grammar modifications.

And later I said that to the little group and Brother Chamberlain who then was the director of the Hansen Planetarium in Salt Lake heard me say that. And he was thoughtful enough to get in touch with our, with our observatory, naval observatory, to find out what might have happened on April the 6th, 1830.

Later I expressed that idea to a group where Brother Chamberlain, who then was the director of the Hansen Planetarium in Salt Lake, heard me say it. He was thoughtful enough to get in touch with the naval observatory to find out what might have happened on April the 6th, 1830.

  • Grammar cleanup

They didn’t have records back that far and so he was thoughtful enough to contact in England the Naval Observatory and the records that might have been available over there and he later sent me some document-- documentar-- documentary indicating what was happening in the horizon in that week of April the 6th, 1830 and indicating on there that there was evidence that there was a full moon those days before and after and during April the 6th, 1830, which I have now as a prized possession that there was a full moon. The glories of the Lord had been poured out upon the occasion.

They didn’t have records back that far, so he was thoughtful enough to contact the Royal Observatory at Greenwich in England for records that might have been available over there. He later sent me some documents indicating what was happening in the horizon that week of April the 6th, 1830, indicating that there was a full or beautifully beaming moon those days before and after April the 6th. The glories of the Lord had been poured out upon the occasion.

  • Grammar again.

So, where is the alleged remark "do nothing without the assistance of the moon" in the transcription? It is not there. It was never there.

As Elder Haight grew older, he was unable to use the teleprompter to effectively read his written text

As Elder Haight grew older, he was unable to use the teleprompter to effectively read his written text. He joked about this in the October 1995 General Conference, three years prior to his 1998 talk discussed above.

When Elder LeGrand Richards was getting along in years, he generally gave extemporaneous conference talks. As you know, we have some time restraints. There was concern as to how to notify him when his time was up. A little flashing light was put on the podium, and during one of his talks he said, “There’s a light here that keeps flashing.” The next conference they made the light red, but he just put his hand over it. So I might resort to some of that today. As we age, we get to the point where the teleprompter doesn’t work for us anymore; then the printers seem to be doing a poor job in printing the text; and then the ink doesn’t seem to be as good as it used to be, either! But I am honored and grateful to be here with you.[77]

It ought to be no surprise, then, that Elder Haight's spoken words differed somewhat from his written words.


Response to claim: 92 - There is "no question" that Mormonism began as a "doomsday sect led by an end-time prophet"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "There is no question that [Mormonism] began as a doomsday sect led by an end-time prophet."

Author's sources:
  1. Author's opinion.

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 simply hype by the author. There is no evidence to support this assertion. Mormonism has never been a "doomsday sect".

Response to claim: 95, 522n74 (HB) - Did Martin Harris claim that "all temporal and spiritual power would be given over to The Prophet Joseph Smith"?

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

Did Martin Harris claim that "all temporal and spiritual power would be given over to The Prophet Joseph Smith"?

Author's sources:
  1. Chandler, reprinted in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 3:222–223.

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 may have been Martin's opinion at some point, but it was never a teaching or doctrine of the Church.


Question: Did Martin Harris state that there would never be another president of the United States elected?

Albert Chandler, 68 years after the fact, claimed that Martin Harris stated that Latter-day Saints would "rule the world"

From the very beginning of the Church there have been members, and leaders alike, who have spoken their own opinions. What they have said constituted their own thoughts but did not have any official sanction.

A fuller quotation of the source will help to put Martin's comments into proper perspective. On 22 December 1898 (68 years after the fact) Albert Chandler said:

I should think that Martin Harris, after becoming a convert, gave up his entire time to advertising the [Golden] Bible to his neighbors and the public generally in the vicinity of Palmyra. He would call public meetings and address them himself. He was enthusiastic, and went so far as to say that God, through the Latter Day Saints, was to rule the world. I heard him make this statement, that there would never be another president of the United States elected; That soon all temporal and spiritual power would be given over to the prophet Joseph Smith and the Latter Day Saints. His extravagant statements were the laughing stock of the people of Palmyra. His stories were hissed at, universally.

If Chandler was remembering things accurately after such a long period of time then his reminiscence only signifies that Martin Harris had an opinion on the matter

If Chandler was remembering things accurately after such a long period of time then his reminiscence only signifies that Martin Harris acted on his own to hold meetings and expressed his own private opinion about the nearness of the Millennium. The Latter-day Saints were not the only Christians who believed that God would rule the world and administer His government through righteous individuals who were associated with His kingdom.


Response to claim: 99, 521n97 - Joseph claimed that his revision of the Bible..."re-inserted a great deal of material that supposedly had been excised from it by corrupt and evil men"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

The author states that Joseph claimed that his revision of the Bible "not only deleted mistakes in the Bible's first book, but also re-inserted a great deal of material that supposedly had been excised from it by corrupt and evil men."

Author's sources:
  1. No reference is provided for the claim that Joseph said that information he was adding was originally removed by "corrupt and evil men."

FairMormon Response

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

The endnote does not provide a reference for this claim—it simply states that the text is now included in the Pearl of Great Price as the Book of Moses.


Response to claim: 99, n100 - "Mormon high priests possessed the authority to bestow salvation"

The author(s) of One Nation Under Gods make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "Mormon high priests possessed the authority to bestow salvation. Such authority had always been viewed by Christians as belonging to God alone."

Author's sources:
  1. Joseph Smith, Far West Record, October 25, 1831. Quoted in Lauritz G. Peterson, "The Kirtland Temple," BYU Studies (Summer 1972), vol 12, 401; cf. Brooke, 193-194.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

This is a false claim. Latter-day Saints have always believed that salvation can only be obtained through Jesus Christ.


Question: How do Latter-day Saints understand the significance of the blood shed by Christ?

It is through the shedding of Christ's blood that we can receive a remission of our sins

  • Joseph Smith made reference to "the atonement and mediation of Jesus Christ; by whose blood they have a forgiveness of sins."[78] He also taught that "God…prepared a sacrifice in the gift of His own Son who should be sent in due time, to prepare a way, or open a door through which man might enter into the Lord's presence, whence he had been cast out for disobedience… It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission."[79] In 1840 M.L. Davis wrote a letter to his wife outlining some of the things he had heard the Prophet state in a public sermon. He said that Joseph Smith expressed "his total unbelief of what is termed original sin. He believes that it is washed away by the blood of Christ, and that it no longer exists."[80] Brigham Young later reaffirmed this position: "We must believe that this same Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world, that is for the original sin, not the actual individual transgressions of the people; not but that the blood of Christ will cleanse from all sin, all who are disposed to act their part by repentance, and faith in his name. But the original sin was atoned for by the death of Christ."[81] George Laub recorded in his journal in 1844 that the Prophet taught "Jesus Christ left his blood to atone for the sins of the world."[82] One of the principles of the LDS faith is enunciated by the Prophet (and by Brigham Young, the second President of the LDS Church) as stated above by M. L. Davis: that original sin had been done away with in the death of Jesus Christ. The absence of original sin means that the baptism of infants is not necessary. The Book of Mormon is clear on this matter: "Little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world."[83] D&C 29:46 says "little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten." Joseph Smith referred to children as "having been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb."[84] In 1917 Hyrum G. Smith, the Patriarch of the Church, stated that "through the blood of his atonement [little children] shall come forth in the morning of the resurrection with his saints."[85]
  • Brigham Young stated that "the Latter-day Saints believe…that Jesus is the Savior of the world; they believe that all who attain to any glory whatever, in any kingdom, will do so because Jesus has purchased it by His atonement."[86]
  • In 1882 Heber J. Grant, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, encouraged the Saints to "read the revelations given upon the subject and you will find that all mankind, except those who have had the testimony of Christ and rejected it, denying the blood of Christ, will ultimately be saved."[87]
  • That same year John Taylor published his book entitled Mediation and Atonement. After quoting Colossians 1:12–15 he wrote that this passage teaches us "that our redemption is obtained through the blood of Jesus."[88]
  • Joseph F. Smith, in 1895 as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, referred to the conditions that Adam "had to be redeemed from by the blood of Christ."[89] A week later, at the Juab Stake Conference in Nephi, Utah, Elder Smith stated that "by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, he, Adam, was redeemed from the fall and the power of Satan…and we are indebted for our redemption to Jesus our Lord, and our Deliverer."[90]
  • Francis M. Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve stated that "Jesus Christ shed His blood for our sins—not for His own, for He was immaculate and without blemish—and He laid down His life that you and I should be redeemed from that death which had come upon us because of the fall of Adam. By His death are we redeemed. By His blood are we cleansed from the conditions of the fall."[91]
  • In 1901 Rudger Clawson of the Quorum of the Twelve stated that "the souls of men are so precious in the sight of God that he gave to the world his Only Begotten Son, that by the shedding of his blood he might draw all men unto him."[92]
  • In 1916 Anthon H. Lund of the Quorum of the Twelve stated that the bread and wine "are simply emblems of his body and blood" and that the wine "represented his blood that was to be shed for the remission of sins."[93]
  • In 1937 Charles A. Callis of the Twelve testified that Christ's "blood atones for all our sins, through obedience to righteousness."[94]
  • In 1949 when Alonzo A. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve learned that he had a terminal illness he wrote a letter to the First Presidency of the Church. Part of that letter was read at the October 1949 General Conference. He said, in part: "As to the future, I have no misgivings. It is inviting and glorious, and I sense rather clearly what it means to be saved by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ."[95]
  • A year later Marion G. Romney of the Twelve stated that "through repentance he may bring himself within the reach of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, so that thereby he may be cleansed from the effects of his transgressions and obtain forgiveness of them."[96]
  • Robert Millet, Professor of Religion at BYU, has recently written about the regeneration of fallen man. He states, "the renewal of which we speak is a conversion from worldliness to saintliness, from being lured by the lurid to being enticed by holiness. It comes to us by virtue of the cleansing blood of Jesus and through the medium of the Holy Ghost, who is the Sanctifier."[97]


Notes

  1. Criticisms put forth by Watchman Fellowship, The Watchman Expositor (Page 3)
  2. David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of The Book of Mormon (David Whitmer: Richmond, Virginia, 1887).
  3. W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery, June 1835, "Letter No. 8," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 1 no. 9 (June 1835), 129–31. off-site See also W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery, "Letter No. 11," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 2 no. 1 (October 1835), 193–95. off-site
  4. The vast majority of these were in describing what others said about the Church.
  5. Rev. John Sherer to Absalom Peters, 18 November 1830, reproduced in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 4:93.
  6. “Mormon Religion—Clerical Ambition—Western New York—The Mormonites Gone to Ohio,” Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer (New York City, New York) 7, no. 1331 (1 September 1831). off-site
  7. The Farmer’s Herald, vol. 4, no. 49, 6 June 1832 [Johnsbury, Vermont]
  8. Liberal Advocate, vol. 3, no. 6, 30 December 1833 [Rochester, New York]
  9. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 2:83. Volume 2 link
  10. "The Gospel," The Evening and The Morning Star 1:81-83 (April 1833) .
  11. Painesville Telegraph, vol. 1, no. 35, 4 September 1835 [Painesville, Ohio]
  12. Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 144.
  13. James H. Eells to Joshua Leavitt, 1 April 1836, New York Evangelist (New York) 7, no. 15 (9 April 1836): 59. off-site (letter written on 1 April 1836 by James H. Eells who lived in Elyra, Ohio)
  14. Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 121. off-site
  15. Francis G. Bishop, Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints (Blum and Son, Salem, Massachusetts 1839), 2.
  16. Parley P. Pratt, Plain Facts (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, 1840), 6. off-site Full title
  17. Upper Mississippian, "Nauvoo Mormon Religion," (15 February 1841) Times and Seasons 2:324.; reprint of an article from the Upper Mississippian
  18. Extract from a Letter in the Juliet Courier, dated from Monmouth, Illinois (June 1841); cited in Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 4:381. Volume 4 link
  19. Chicago Democrat, May 1842; editorial by John Wentworth
  20. Cited by Helen Mar Whitney, Woman's Exponent 10 no. 13 (1 December 1881), 97–99. Available in Jeni Broberg Holzapfel and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, eds., A Woman's View: Helen Mar Whitney's Reminiscences of Early Church History (Provo: Religious Studies Center, BYU, 1997), 149.
  21. "A Baptist," letter to the editor published in the North Staffordshire Mercury, "Difference Between the Baptists & Latter-day Saints," (1 October 1843) Times and Seasons 3:931-932. (italics added)
  22. Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 314. off-site
  23. Philadelphia Sun reprint, "Magna est veritas, et praevalebit’ (Not sure of translationvol=5," Times and Seasons no. 15 (15 August 1844), 621. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  24. D.S. Hollister to Joseph Smith, 9 May 1844; cited in Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:416–417. Volume 6 link
  25. Brigham Young, "Effects and Privileges of the Gospel," (24 July 1853) Journal of Discourses 1:237-237.
  26. Brigham Young, "Government of God," (22 May 1859) Journal of Discourses 7:148.; Brigham Young, "Government of God," Deseret News 9 no. 13 (1 June 1859), 104.
  27. Juley Remy, Journey to Great Salt Lake City (1861), 2:82–83; cited by B. Carmon Hardy, Doing the Works of Abraham, 195..
  28. Brigham Young, "Advice To California Emigrants. — The Principles Of The Gospel, etc.," (8 July 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:230-231.
  29. Brigham Young, "Difference Of Ideas Entertained Respecting God, etc.," (31 July 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:318-319.
  30. Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young," (19 August 1866) Journal of Discourses 11:268-268.
  31. Brigham Young, Deseret News Weekly 15/109 (4 March 1866): page?.; cited in Eldon Watson (editor), Brigham Young Addresses (1982), 5:32.
  32. William W. Riter, "Minutes of a General Council; Birmingham,England; January 5, 1866," Millennial Star 28 no. 12 (24 March 1866), 179.
  33. M. Scott Bradshaw, "Defining Adultery under Illinois and Nauvoo Law," in Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith's Legal Encounters, edited by Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies, 2014), 401–426 (p. 416n45, citing Debates and Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Illinois, Convened at the City of Springfield, Tuesday December 3, 1869 (Springfield, April 29-30, 1870), 1561).
  34. Brigham Young, "The Saints Are A Strange People Because They Practise What They Profess," (20 February 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:237-238.
  35. Brigham Young, "Discourse by President Brigham Young," (3 June 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:195-196.; Brigham Young, "Discourse by President Brigham Young," Millennial Star 33 no. 27 (4 July 1871), 418–420.; DNW 20:235.
  36. Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young," (27 August 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:227.; Discourse by President Brigham Young, Deseret News 20 no. 31 (6 September 1871), 357–358.
  37. Brigham Young, "Riches — Hurry — Fashion — Helping The Poor — Mysteries," (26 May 1872) Journal of Discourses 15:42-42.
  38. John Taylor, "Discourse by Elder John Taylor," (3 March 1872) Journal of Discourses 14:338. Discourse by Elder John Taylor, Deseret News 21 no. 36 (13 March 1872), 65, second column.
  39. Orson Pratt, "Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt," (10 March 10 1872) Journal of Discourses 14:348.; Orson Pratt, "Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt," Deseret News 21 (20 March 1872), 77, fourth column.
  40. Brigham Young, "Discourse By President Brigham Young," (15 August 1876) Journal of Discourses 18:217-217.
  41. Brigham Young, "Discourse By President Brigham Young," (17 September 1876) Journal of Discourses 18:231-231.
  42. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Christianity and Revivalism," Millennial Star 38 no. 10 (6 March 1876), 152.
  43. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Gifts of the Holy Ghost," Millennial Star 38 no. 13 (27 March 1876), 200–201.
  44. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Evidences of the Truth," Millennial Star 38 no. 14 (3 April 1876), 217.
  45. Francis M. Lyman, "General Conference (5 April 1881)," Millennial Star 43 no. 19 (9 May 1881), 292.
  46. Editorial on citizens of Beaver Dam, Virginia removing Mormon Elders by force to another part of the state, Deseret News Weekly 45/13 (17 September 1892): 396.
  47. "Intolerant Discrimination", Deseret News Weekly 45/14 (24 September 1892): 441.
  48. "The Book of Mormon", Deseret News Weekly 45/25 (10 December 1892): 780.
  49. First Presidency, "Address to the World," Improvement Era 10 (May 1907), 481–495.
  50. Joseph F. Smith, General Conference address (April 6, 1917)
  51. Hugh B. Brown, "Discourse," Improvement Era 10 (December 1956), 949–949.
  52. Jacob Neusner, The Way Of Torah, 6th edition, (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997), 15. ISBN 0534516033.
  53. George Q. Cannon, "PREDICTIONS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON, etc.," (April 6, 1884) Journal of Discourses 25:128.
  54. Heber C. Kimball, "OBSERVANCE OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD," (January 6, 1861) Journal of Discourses 9:131.
  55. Orson Pratt, The Seer (Washington D.C., April 1854).
  56. Deseret News (12 August 1865): 373.
  57. Dennis B. Horne, Bruce R. McConkie: Highlights From His Life & Teachings (Eborn Books, 2000), [citation needed].
  58. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine [1st edition] (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1958).
  59. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 760. GL direct link
  60. Jeffrey G. Cannon, "Oliver Cowdery's Gift," Revelations in Context on history.lds.org
  61. Revelation, April 1829–B [D&C 8], in Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, and Stephen C. Harper, eds., Manuscript Revelation Books, vol. 1 of the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, ed. Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2009), 17. (emphasis added)
  62. Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 1:599–621.
  63. Richard L. Anderson, "The Mature Joseph Smith and Treasure Searching," Brigham Young University Studies 24 no. 4 (1984). PDF link
    Caution: this article was published before Mark Hofmann's forgeries were discovered. It may treat fraudulent documents as genuine. Click for list of known forged documents.
    Discusses money-digging; Salem treasure hunting episode; fraudulent 1838 Missouri treasure hunting revelation; Wood Scrape; “gift of Aaron”; “wand or rod”; Heber C. Kimball rod and prayer; magic; occult; divining lost objects; seerstone; parchments; talisman
  64. 64.0 64.1 William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394. [{{{url}}} off-site]
  65. This section of the response was based on William J. Hamblin, "'Everything Is Everything': Was Joseph Smith Influenced by Kabbalah? Review of Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection by Lance S. Owens," FARMS Review of Books 8/2 (1996): 251–325. [ off-site]. By the nature of a wiki project, it has since been modified and added to.
  66. D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 355—56 n. 121 ( Index of claims )
  67. William J. Hamblin, "That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn)," FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394. [{{{url}}} off-site]
  68. Dr. Reed Durham’s Presidential Address before the Mormon History Association on 20 April 1974.
  69. Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, Mormonism 101. Examining the Religion of the Latter-day Saints (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2000), 225. ( Index of claims )
  70. Jerald R. Johansen, After the Martyrdom: What Happened to the Family of Joseph Smith (Springville, Utah: Horizon Publishers, 2004[1997]), 79. ISBN 0882905961. off-site
  71. 71.0 71.1 71.2 71.3 71.4 Richard L. Anderson, "The Mature Joseph Smith and Treasure Searching," Brigham Young University Studies 24 no. 4 (1984). PDF link
    Caution: this article was published before Mark Hofmann's forgeries were discovered. It may treat fraudulent documents as genuine. Click for list of known forged documents.
    Discusses money-digging; Salem treasure hunting episode; fraudulent 1838 Missouri treasure hunting revelation; Wood Scrape; “gift of Aaron”; “wand or rod”; Heber C. Kimball rod and prayer; magic; occult; divining lost objects; seerstone; parchments; talisman
  72. Original coming from LaMar C. Berett, The Wilford Wood Collection, Vol. 1 (Provo, UT: Wilford C. Wood Foundation, 1972), 173.
  73. Anderson points to its original source in J. W. Woods "The Mormon Prophet," Daily Democrat (Ottumwa, Iowa), 10 May 1885; and in Edward H. Stiles, Recollections and Sketches of Notable Lawyers and Public Men of Early Iowa (Des Moines: Homestead Publishing Co., 1916), 271.
  74. These are examples of later arguments by Quinn in an attempt to refute Anderson.
  75. Gilbert W. Scharffs, The Truth about ‘The God Makers’ (Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1989; republished by Bookcraft, 1994), 180. Full text FairMormon link ISBN 088494963X.
  76. Stephen E. Robinson, "Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, by D. Michael Quinn," Brigham Young University Studies 27 no. 4 (1987), 94–95.
  77. {{Ensign|author=David B. Haight|article=Seek First the Kingdom of God|date=Nov. 1995|pages=73
  78. The Lectures on Faith in Historical Perspective, edited by Larry E. Dahl and Charles D. Tate, Jr. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1990), 84.
  79. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 2, 15; also in The Teachings of Joseph Smith, 54–55. McKeever and Johnson claim to have read both volumes.
  80. Letter dated 6 February 1840, quoted in The Words of Joseph Smith, compiled by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1980), 33; also in Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, 78.
  81. Brigham Young, "The Lord's Supper, Etc.," Journal of Discourses, reported by David W. Evans 11 July 1869, Vol. 13 (London: Latter-Day Saint's Book Depot, 1871), 143, in Discourses of Brigham Young, edited by John A. Widtsoe (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1954), 153.
  82. George Laub Journal, 12 May 1844, in The Words of Joseph Smith, 371. Cf. History of the Church, Vol. 4, 554; also quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 1:268. Although the idea of 'original sin' is not dealt with in this chapter of Mormonism 101, it obviously played a part in the atonement, and was negated by the atonement. Joseph Smith was not the only one who suggested that original sin was removed by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The English Reformers, in their Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, wrote that the sacrificial death of Christ is defined as the "perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual," article XXXI, introduced and quoted in Thomas C. Oden, The Word of Life. Systematic Theology, Vol. 2 (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1989): 389. The discussion by Oden, with representative documentation, makes it clear, however, that the redemption, propitiation and satisfaction for sin is applied only to original sin; our actual sins are atoned for only if we exercise faith in the Atonement of Christ.
  83. Moroni 8:12, 22.
  84. Wilford Woodruff Journal, 20 March 1842, in The Words of Joseph Smith, 109. Again, this is a work which was read by McKeever and Johnson.
  85. Conference Report (April 1917), 70–71, in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 1:379. For a recent comment on the blood of the Lamb saving little children, see Robert Millet, "The Regeneration of Fallen Man," in Nurturing Faith Through the Book of Mormon. The 24th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1995), 128–129, where he cites Moroni 8:12, 22; Mosiah 3:16–19; D&C 29:46, 74:7; and refers to JST Matthew 18:11: 'these little ones have no need of repentance, /for/ I will save them'; and JST Matthew 19:13: 'such shall be saved.' Thomas Oden writes that Hugh of St. Victor (died 1141) wrote that those who die at birth or are retarded "will be saved by this atonement insofar as they are judged to be incapable of refusing it," Hugh of St. Victor, On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith 2:17 paraphrased in Oden, The Word of Life, Vol. 2, 392.Reformed scholar Augustus H. Strong, in defending his belief that infants are "through the grace of Christ certain of salvation," quoted the following from John Calvin: "Infants whom the Lord gathers together from this life are regenerated by a secret operation of the Holy Spirit;" further, those who would exempt infants from the grace of salvation are guilty of an "execrable blasphemy;" it is a "blasphemy to be universally detested." [Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1907), 663.] Strong quotes from several other Reformed scholars in this article (pages 660–664).
  86. Brigham Young, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," Journal of Discourses, reported by David W. Evans 24 April 1870, Vol. 13 (London: Latter-Day Saint's Book Depot, 1871), 328, quoted in Latter-day Commentary, 37.
  87. Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, 94, citing Journal History, entry for September 9, 1888.
  88. John Taylor, An Examination into and an Elucidation of the Great Principle of the Mediation and Atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Company, 1882), 31. One can only wonder why McKeever and Johnson failed to take notice of a book by a President of the LDS Church, with the rather catchy title of "Mediation and Atonement." One would think it would have been the first place to look when seeking information about the LDS position relative to the Atonement.
  89. Collected Discourses, Vol. 4, edited by Brian H. Stuy (City Unknown: B.H.S. Publications, 1991), 230. Delivered January 20, 1895, at the Oneida Stake Conference in Franklin, Idaho.
  90. Joseph F. Smith, Deseret News Weekly 50 (February 1895), 251.
  91. Collected Discourses, Vol. 4, 363–364. Delivered at General Conference, October 5, 1895.
  92. Conference Report (April 1901), 7–8, quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 1:182.
  93. Conference Report (October 1916), 12–14, quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, 274; see also Anthon H. Lund, Conference Report (April 1912), 12: "…we partake of the emblems of His body and blood sacrificed for us," quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, 118–119.
  94. Conference Report (October 1937), 122, quoted in Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, 354–355.
  95. Quoted by Marion G. Romney, Conference Report (October 1949), 43.
  96. Conference Report (April 1950), 84.
  97. Millet, "The Regeneration of Fallen Man," 137–138.