Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Chapter 17

Table of Contents

Response to claims made in "Chapter 17: Is Mormonism Christian"

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 17: Is Mormonism Christian"

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Response to claim: 375 epigraph (PB) - Gordon B. Hinckley is listed as "President, Mormon Church"

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

Gordon B. Hinckley is listed as "President, Mormon Church"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

There is no church called the "Mormon Church." Perhaps in this epigraph to a chapter entitled "Is Mormonism Christian?", the author wished to avoid stating the true name of the Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?



Response to claim: 375, n3 (PB) - The author presents his second significant reason that people join the Church as "the long-held Mormon notion that Latter-day Saints are innately better than non-Mormons"

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

The author presents his second significant reason that people join the Church as "the long-held Mormon notion that Latter-day Saints are innately better than non-Mormons."

(Author's sources: Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, 236.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

This claim actually originated with the Tanners. The author also quotes the Tanner's primary source. See: Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), 27.( Index of claims ).
  • Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon mentioned among the many reasons the author presents for joining the Church—the reason most Latter-day Saints themselves would give.



Question: Are Latter-day Saints taught to look down upon or reject those who are not of their faith?

Mormons have always been taught that a dismissive attitude toward the beliefs or faith of others is sinful

The attitude that one ought to look down upon or reject those who are not of their faith is an abhorrent one. Members of the Church, of course, do not always live up to these high standards. But, there can be no doubt as to what the standards are:

What does the Lord expect of us as Latter-day Saints? What does He expect of me as a member of this Church...There is no room in the heart of a Latter-day Saint for bitterness, for unkindness, for animosity to any other of the sons and daughters of God. They may not be of our faith, but we owe them an obligation to treat them as sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. [1]

Mormons have always been taught that a dismissive attitude toward the beliefs or faith of others is sinful. (Indeed, the Book of Mormon condemns in the strongest terms those who adopt such an attitude: Alma 31:16-19, Alma 31:27-35).

Joseph Smith: "We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true 'Mormons'"

Said Joseph Smith:

Have the Presbyterians any truth? Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists, etc., any truth? Yes. They all have a little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true "Mormons." [2]

Gordon B. Hinckley: "There is no room for arrogance in our lives. There is no room for conceit in our lives. There is no room for egotism in our lives"

Warned President Gordon B. Hinckley:

There is no room for arrogance in our lives. There is no room for conceit in our lives. There is no room for egotism in our lives. We must be humble before the Lord. He has so declared, and if we will do it, He will hear our prayers and answer them with a blessing upon our heads. [3]

Of the specific conceit which some claim they are taught, President Hinckley said:

Be respectful of the opinions and feelings of other people. Recognize their virtues; don't look for their faults. Look for their strengths and their virtues, and you will find strength and virtues that will be helpful in your own life. [4]

It's hard to see how looking for "strengths and...virtues" in non-members to help an LDS member's own life constitutes ignoring or deprecating all non-believers.

President Hinckley further said:

There is no need in any land for conflict between diverse groups of any kind. Let there be taught in the homes of people that we are all children of God, our Eternal Father, and that as surely as there is fatherhood, there can and must be brotherhood. [5]

He denounced bad feelings and behavior toward non-Mormons:

Why do any of us have to be so mean and unkind to others? Why can't all of us reach out in friendship to everyone about us? Why is there so much bitterness and animosity? It is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all stumble occasionally. We all make mistakes. I paraphrase the words of Jesus in the Lord's Prayer: "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

∗       ∗       ∗

There is no end to the good we can do, to the influence we can have with others. Let us not dwell on the critical or the negative. Let us pray for strength; let us pray for capacity and desire to assist others. Let us radiate the light of the gospel at all times and all places, that the Spirit of the Redeemer may radiate from us. [6]

Members and non-members have the same status before God. This does not support the idea that members are to "hold themselves aloof."

Ezra Taft Benson: "God, the Father of us all uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes"

God, the Father of us all uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes. It has been true in the past, it is true today, it will be true in the future. [7]

President Benson then quoted Elder Orson F. Whitney from 1928:

Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along. They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else…God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people…They [other churches] are our partners in a certain sense. [8]

Joseph Fielding Smith: "the Lord would pour out his blessings and his Spirit upon all people and use them to accomplish his purposes"

Joseph Fielding Smith discussed the prophecy in Joel that God would pour out his spirit "upon all flesh":

Now, my brethren and sisters, I am not going to confine this prophecy [Joel 2:28-29] to the members of the Church. The Lord said he would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh. That does not mean that upon all flesh the Holy Ghost should be sent, and that they should be participants in the blessings which those are privileged to receive who have been baptized and endowed and become members of the Church; but the Lord would pour out his blessings and his Spirit upon all people and use them to accomplish his purposes....

There has never been a step taken..., in discovery or invention, where the Spirit of the Lord (that is, the Spirit of which Joel spoke, the Light of Christ, not the Holy Ghost!) was not the prevailing force, resting upon the individual, which caused him to make the discovery or the invention. The world does not understand that, but it is perfectly clear to me; nor did the Lord always use those who have faith, nor does he always do so today. He uses such minds as are pliable and can be turned in certain directions to accomplish his work, whether they believe in him or not. [9]

M. Russell Ballard: "I encourage you to build personal, meaningful relationships with your nonmember friends and acquaintances"

I encourage you to build personal, meaningful relationships with your nonmember friends and acquaintances...If they are not interested in the gospel, we should show unconditional love through acts of service and kindness, and never imply that we see an acquaintance only as a potential convert...We must not reserve our kindness and affection only for our fellow members. We must be sensitive and not oblivious to the feelings of those whose views may differ from ours. Considering the early history of the Church in these latter days, unkindness or indifference toward others should be abhorrent to members of the Church. I bear my testimony that "God is no respecter of persons"; we should follow his example in all of our associations with our fellowmen. [10]

David B. Haight: "we are commanded to do what to many is a more difficult commandment—to love all, even enemies, and to go beyond the barriers of race or class or family relationships"

Besides loving God, we are commanded to do what to many is a more difficult commandment—to love all, even enemies, and to go beyond the barriers of race or class or family relationships. It is easier, of course, to be kind to those who are kind to us— the usual standard of friendly reciprocity.

Then are we not commanded to cultivate genuine fellowship and even a kinship with every human being on earth? Whom would you bar from your circle? We might deny ourselves a nearness to our Savior because of our prejudices of neighborhood or possessions or race—attitudes that Christ would surely condemn. Love has no boundary, no limitation of good will. [11]

Jeffrey R. Holland: "I testify that no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another"

Brothers and sisters, I testify that no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn't measure our talents or our looks; He doesn't measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other. I know that if we will be faithful, there is a perfectly tailored robe of righteousness ready and waiting for everyone... [12]

Neal A. Maxwell: "Love is the only answer"

Love is the only answer, as Thomas Merton points out, to the searching question asked by Gandhi when he said: "How can he who thinks he possesses absolute truth be fraternal?" [13]

Russell M. Nelson: "Learn to listen, and listen to learn from neighbors"

Learn to listen, and listen to learn from neighbors. Repeatedly the Lord has said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour." (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 19:19.) Opportunities to listen to those of diverse religious or political persuasion can promote tolerance and learning. And a good listener will listen to a person's sentiments as well...The wise listen to learn from neighbours. [14]

Brigham H. Roberts: "God raises up wise men and prophets here and there among all the children of men"

While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is established for the instruction of men; and it is one of God's instrumentalities for making known the truth yet he is not limited to that institution for such purposes, neither in time nor place. God raises up wise men and prophets here and there among all the children of men, of their own tongue and nationality, speaking to them through means that they can comprehend. ... All the great teachers are servants of God; among all nations and in all ages. They are inspired men, appointed to instruct God's children according to the conditions in the midst of which he finds them. [15]


Response to claim: 376 (PB) - Early LDS leaders took a "staunchly anti-Christian stance"

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

Early LDS leaders took a "staunchly anti-Christian stance"

(Author's sources: No source provided.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Much of the persecution suffered by early members of the Church came at the hands of those 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)


Response to claim: 377, n8(PB) - Did Joseph actually say that all the churches of Christendom "were all wrong" and that Christian ministers "were all corrupt"?

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

Did Joseph actually say that all the churches of Christendom "were all wrong" and that Christian ministers "were all corrupt"?

(Author's sources: Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History 1:19)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Latter-day Saints believe that as a result of that institutional apostasy, present-day Christians are the victims, not perpetrators of it.



This claim is also made in Becoming Gods, p. 26

Question: Do Latter-day Saints believe that no genuine Christians exist outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Some claim that Joseph Smith's First Vision commits the Latter-day Saints to the view that no genuine Christians existed or exist outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Critics of the Church point out that Joseph Smith's First Vision told him:

  1. He must join no existing church
  2. They were "all" wrong
  3. "All" their creeds were an abomination
  4. The churches' professors were corrupt.[16]

They argue that this commits the Latter-day Saints to the view that no genuine Christians existed or exist outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [17]

Latter-day Saints believe that as a result of that institutional apostasy, present-day Christians are the victims, not perpetrators of it

Latter-day Saints believe in a universal institutional apostasy. As a result of that institutional apostasy, present-day Christians are the victims, not perpetrators of it. They or their churches are not responsible for the loss or corruption of doctrines and authority to which they never had access.

Non-LDS Christians are perfectly capable of being "humble followers of Christ," whose remaining errors persist only because they have not yet had the benefit of on-going revelation by authorized servants. They have much that is true and valuable, and if they heed the Holy Ghost, will be guided to an even fuller acceptance of the truth of Christ which can only be known by revelation.

In the Latter-day Saint view, the loss of the apostles and the apostolic authority virtually assured the onset of the apostasy

The Latter-day Saint understanding of "apostasy" is heavily weighted toward the concept of divine authority. In the LDS view, the loss of the apostles and the apostolic authority virtually assured the onset of the apostasy. There is clear biblical evidence that challenges to the apostles' teachings and authority occurred even while they were alive. With the death of the apostles, such efforts would have gone unchecked.

With the loss of authority, error will inevitably creep into religious belief and practice, since only revelation can reveal God's will. Even well-intentioned human reason and study of the scripture has not produced a consensus, but thousands of competing beliefs and denominations.

The Latter-day Saints do not, however, believe that being "wrong" or "corrupt" in some aspects of belief and practice mean that people are not devout or sincere Christians. Likewise, those who may suffer from some false beliefs still have many true and valuable beliefs. Apostasy results in a partial corruption of belief and teaching, not a wholesale loss of all truth.

The Church therefore sees the matter of apostasy as complete organizational apostasy (no denomination retained the authority to act in God's name and definitively establish doctrine) and partial individual apostasy (some individuals fell away from truths they had previously had; others merely inherited a set of beliefs, some of which were true and some false).

The Book of Mormon's description of the last days makes this matter clear:

they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:14)

Thus, while corruption is widespread in the pre-Restoration era, there remain a number of "humble followers of Christ"

Yet, even these humble followers still have some error mixed with their truth, because they do not have the benefit of on-going revelation to authorized prophets and apostles.


Response to claim: 377 (PB) - The author asserts that Joseph claimed that all other churches were founded by Satan and part of the "satanic world system"==

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

The author asserts that Joseph claimed that all other churches were founded by Satan and part of the "satanic world system"

(Author's sources: 1 Nephi 13:6)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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 claim is nonsense.



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.[18]

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....[19]

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....”[20] 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."[21]

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"[22] 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.[23]

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.[24]

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: 377, 600n11-14 (PB) - Did LDS leaders spend 150 years calling Christians "derogatory names" and insulting them?

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

Did LDS leaders spend 150 years calling Christians "derogatory names" and insulting them?

(Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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 irony is thick with this claim, as one reads how the author describes Mormons.



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.


Response to claim: 378, 601n18-21 (PB) - The book presents a table contrasting "Mormon Beliefs About Jesus" with "Christian Beliefs About Jesus"

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

The book presents a table contrasting "Mormon Beliefs About Jesus" with "Christian Beliefs About Jesus."

(Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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 an effort to deny Latter-day Saint their Christianity.



Question: Do Latter-day Saints believe in a "different" Jesus than "mainstream" Christians?

"Mormon Beliefs About Jesus" versus "Christian Beliefs About Jesus": Mormons worship the Jesus Christ of the Bible

It would be enlightening for any Latter-day Saint to read this description of the "Mormon Jesus" in the left column and see just how much of this is recognizable as church doctrine. The list is taken from page One Nation Under Gods, p. 378 (PB). This claim is repeated in the author's later work Becoming Gods—The "Mormon Jesus" versus the "Traditional Jesus".

The "mainstream Christian" author's misrepresentation of "Mormon Beliefs About Jesus" Jesus Christ, as He is actually viewed by Latter-day Saints For more information...
A literal son (spirit-child) of a god (Elohim) and his wife.
  • Latter-day Saints believe that everyone is a spirit child of Heavenly Father, including Jesus. What is a spirit child? We don't have the details.
  • Our eternal nature was organized into a spirit person, whatever that is. We don't know the details. We don't know the process by which we became a spirit person.
  • The difference between us is that Jesus is divine, while the rest of us are not.
  • Why the emphasis on the word "literal"? Apparently, to once again call attention to the subject of "Celestial Sex."
The elder brother of all spirits born in the pre-existence to Heavenly Father.
  • Latter-day Saints do not claim to know by what method a spirit is "born."
  • Christ is the "eldest," but what this means is also not clear. Is it a question of temporality? (i.e., He came first in time) Is it a rank? Does it describe His relationship to us? We simply don't claim to know, since time is only measured unto man.
  • Latter-day Saints do believe that Christ was not created ex nihilo at some moment; He is eternally self-existent.
A polygamous Jewish male.
  • This is not a belief among Latter-day Saints, and is based entirely upon non-doctrinal statements made by Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt.
  • It is surprising that this claim is still in the paperback edition of One Nation Under Gods. It was, however, removed from Becoming Gods.
One of three gods overseeing this planet.
  • There is only one God. Christ is one of three divine beings in the Godhead. They are one in purpose, not one in person. John 17:3, John 17:20-22
  • Regardless of this, a creedal Christian ought not to have a problem with one God consisting of more than one Person.
Atoned only for Adam's transgression by sweating blood in Gethsemane.
  • This statement is completely false.
  • The Book of Mormon teaches that Christ's sacrifice was "infinite and eternal." (2 Nephi) It could not be exceeded in any sense. Christ suffered for the sins, griefs, and pains of all humanity (Alma 7), whether or not they repent.
  • The benefits of that atonement are restricted if we refuse to do that which He asks of us to accept it (i.e. have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.)
  • Note that this statement was changed in Becoming Gods—The "Mormon Jesus" versus the "Traditional Jesus" to "Atoned only for Adam's transgression, thereby providing the opportunity for us to obtain "eternal life" by our own efforts. The change, however, didn't really do anything to correct this falsehood.
The literal spirit brother of Lucifer.
  • Again, note the emphasis on the word "literal." Latter-day Saints do not consider Jesus in any way to be Satan's "peer."
Jesus' sacrificial death is not able to cleanse some people of all their sins.
  • Latter-day Saints believe that only those who reject the atonement cannot be cleansed from all their sins. If one doesn't accept the atonement, then the atonement can't save him or her. But, that is a reflection on the sinner, and does not imply that Christ's atonement was "not able" to cleanse our sins.
  • This is probably alluding to blood atonement.
  • Jesus Christ Himself taught that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was an "unforgivable sin." Matthew 12:31-32
There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.
  • Latter-day Saints believe that there is no salvation without accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. Salvation is obtained by receiving Jesus and his atoning sacrifice. The statement presented in the book is nonsense. All save the sons of perdition are saved. All will be resurrected.
  • A fullness of salvation requires accepting the words of ALL the prophets--including those who wrote the Bible, and including Joseph Smith.
  • If one believes that you have to accept the Bible witness to be saved, then how can one fault Latter-day Saints for believing that another prophet's witness must also be accepted? LDS doctrine saves infidels and non-Christians in a resurrection of glory, and provides for their evangelization after death.


Response to claim: 379 601n22(PB) - Did President Hinckley actually "confess" that Latter-day Saint do not believe in the same 'Jesus' in which non-LDS Christians believe?

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

Did President Hinckley actually "confess" that Latter-day Saint do not believe in the same 'Jesus' in which non-LDS Christians believe?

(Author's sources: Gordon B. Hinckley. Quoted in "Crown of Gospel is Upon Our Heads," LDS Church News, June 20, 1998, 7.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

This was no "confession"—President Hinckley was bearing testimony of Christ.



Question: Did Gordon B. Hinckley say that Latter-day Saints do not worship the biblical Jesus?

It is clear that Latter-day Saints believe in the biblical Christ—the Christ that is described in the New Testament

President Gordon B. Hinckley, responding to a question regarding whether Latter-day Saints believe in the “traditional Christ,” stated:

No I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the dispensation of the fullness of times. [25]

President Hinckley is referring to the concept of Christ that has developed in the centuries since the Nicene Creed was formed

President Hinckley is referring to the concept of Christ that has developed in the centuries since the Nicene Creed was formed—He is saying that we do not believe in non-Biblical creeds. This statement is quite correct: Latter-day Saints do not have some of the same beliefs about Christ that other Christian churches do. He is not saying that we do not believe in the Biblical Christ. In fact, the reason that Latter-day Saints do not accept these creeds is because they are non-Biblical. President Hinckley continued (with words usually omitted by critics):

Am I Christian? Of course I am. I believe in Christ. I talk of Christ. I pray through Christ. I'm trying to follow Him and live His gospel in my life.

Hinckley: "Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity"

Consider the following words by President Hinckley:

Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity. Believe that His matchless life reached back before the world was formed. Believe that He was the Creator of the earth on which we live. Believe that He was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that He was the Messiah of the New Testament, that He died and was resurrected, that He visited the western continents and taught the people here, that He ushered in this final gospel dispensation, and that He lives, the living Son of the living God, our Savior and our Redeemer. [26]

In the statement above, there is no question that President Hinckley is professing belief in the Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Critics, however, ignore clear statements such as these, and instead look to justify their claims that Latter-day Saints are not Christian by mining the quotes of church leaders for phrases which seem to support their position.

In order to strengthen their claim, critics of the Church sometimes even modify these quotes

Consider the use of President Hinckley’s quote in the critical Search for the Truth DVD. The critics have actually added a phrase to the quote:

No I don't believe in the traditional Christ. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the dispensation of the Fullness of Times. [27]

President Hinckley understood how the critics would attempt to portray Latter-day Saints with regard to their belief in Christ:

As a Church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say. Our faith, our knowledge is not based on ancient tradition, the creeds which came of a finite understanding and out of the almost infinite discussions of men trying to arrive at a definition of the risen Christ. Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation who saw before him the great God of the universe and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. They spoke to him. He spoke with Them. He testified openly, unequivocally, and unabashedly of that great vision. It was a vision of the Almighty and of the Redeemer of the world, glorious beyond our understanding but certain and unequivocating in the knowledge which it brought. It is out of that knowledge, rooted deep in the soil of modern revelation, that we, in the words of Nephi, “talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that [we and] our children may know to what source [we] may look for a remission of [our] sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). [28]

President Hinckley was quite clear in his position regarding Christ:

Are we Christians? Of course we are Christians. We believe in Christ. We worship Christ. We take upon ourselves in solemn covenant His holy name. The Church to which we belong carries His name. He is our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer through whom came the great Atonement with salvation and eternal life. [29]


Response to claim: 379-380 603n23 (HB) 601n23 (PB) - Did Bruce R. McConkie discourage people from attempting to form a "personal relationship" with Christ?

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

Did Bruce R. McConkie discourage people from attempting to form a "personal relationship" with Christ?

McConkie said:

"You have never heard one of the First Presidency or the Twelve...advocate this excessive zeal that calls for gaining a so-called special and personal relationship with Christ..."

(Author's sources: Bruce R. McConkie, "Our Relationship with the Lord," BYU Speech, March 2 1982.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The author has misrepresented Elder McConkie's statement.



Question: Did Bruce R. McConkie discourage people from attempting to form a "personal relationship" with Christ?

McConkie was discouraging "endless, sometimes day-long prayers, in order to gain a personal relationship with the Savior"

Critics of the Church who claim that Bruce R. McConkie discourages us from having a personal relationship with Church usually omit the following portions of the quote in bold:

And you have never heard one of the First Presidency or the Twelve, who hold the keys of the kingdom, and who are appointed to see that we are not “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14)—you have never heard one of them advocate this excessive zeal that calls for gaining a so-called special and personal relationship with Christ.

You have heard them teach and testify of the ministry and mission of the Lord Jesus, using the most persuasive and powerful language at their command. But never, never at any time have they taught or endorsed the inordinate or intemperate zeal that encourages endless, sometimes day-long prayers, in order to gain a personal relationship with the Savior.

Those who truly love the Lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential barrier between themselves and all the members of the Godhead. [30]


Response to claim: 380 - Is the "LDS teaching" that there exists more than one god refuted by the Bible?

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

Is the "LDS teaching" that there exists more than one god refuted by the Bible?

(Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Isaiah 43-46 have been misinterpreted by the author in this context.



Question: Are Mormons polytheists because they don't accept the Nicene Creed?

Latter-day Saints are not polytheists in any reasonable sense of the term that does not also exclude most other Christians who deny the Modalist heresy

Some Christians say Mormons are polytheists because they believe humans can become gods. Is this an accurate characterization of LDS belief? Trying to reduce LDS thought to a simple term or "slogan" in this way distorts LDS doctrine.

Latter-day Saints worship one God

The Saints worship one God. There are no competing divinities in whom they put their trust. LDS scripture contains such language (1 Nephi 13:41, 2 Nephi 31:21, Mosiah 15:1-5, Alma 11:26-37, Mormon 7:7, DC 20:28, Moses 1:20), but it is qualified in somewhat the same way that Creedal Christians have found a way of saying "three"—as in Trinity—and yet also one.

Almost invariably when someone claims Mormons are polytheists, they are not seeking a clear explanation of Mormon thought on the nature of God, but are simply using a word with negative connotations in our religious culture as a club to intimidate or confuse others. Consider, for example, a conversation that Evangelical Christian author Richard Abanes, in his book Becoming Gods (pp. 107-8), claims to have had with a LDS bishop:

Abanes: "Don't you believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?"
Bishop: "We certainly do, and they are one God."
Abanes: "Don't you believe the Father is a god?"
Bishop: "Yes, of course."
Abanes: "And the Son is a god?"
Bishop: "Yes"
Abanes: "And the Holy Ghost is a god."
Bishop: "Yes"
Abanes: "That's three gods."
Bishop: "No, they're one God."

The author goes on to describe that he felt he had entered some sort of Twilight Zone scenario, and goes on to declare all Mormons "polytheists." Yet, any Latter-day Saint, upon reading the conversation outlined above, would recognize the creation of a simplified version, or "strawman," of LDS belief. One might also seriously consider how an Evangelical Christian would answer these same questions. The reality is certainly more complex than the "strawman" above would lead us to believe.

There really is not a single word that adequately captures LDS thought on the nature of God. Pertinent key technical terminology includes the following:

  • Monotheism (belief that there is only one God)
  • Tritheism (understanding the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as distinct Gods)
  • Polytheism (worship of, or belief in, more than one God)
  • Henotheism (worship of one God without denying the existence of other Gods; also called Monolatry)
  • Trinitarianism (belief that God consists of three Persons in one substance)
  • Social Trinitarianism (belief that the oneness of the three Persons is not one of substance but is social in nature [e.g., unity of thought, etc.])
  • Modalism (belief that there is only one God that does not exist as three separate Persons but rather manifests itself in three different "modes" [i.e., as Father, Son, or Holy Ghost])

Usually the very same people who are pressing the case that Mormons are polytheists are some stripe of Evangelical Christians who claim to be monotheists. But Trinitarians are not Monotheists by definition (just ask a Jew or Muslim).

The facts that the LDS do not believe the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one in substance, and believe in deification/theosis (that humans may eventually become deified and become partakers in the divine nature), has been used to paint Mormons as polytheists. When we examine the technical terminology above, though, it becomes clear that a key point of demarcation is worship versus acknowledgment of existence. If members of the Church worshiped an extensive pantheon like the Greeks or Romans, then the label would be appropriate. In the context of doctrinal differences over the relationship among the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, however, or the doctrine of deification (which is a profoundly Christian doctrine and not just a Mormon one), use of the word "polytheistic" as a pejorative is both inaccurate and inappropriate.

Instead of using a single-word label, one must actually articulate the belief (using fully-developed sentences or paragraphs). The single-word label that will adequately describe the full breadth of LDS thought on the nature of God has yet to be coined.

Human deification and monotheism

The Bible contains language indicating human beings can put on the divine nature and be called "gods" (see John 10:33, 34; Ps. 82:6, Deut. 10:17, etc.). They are instructed to become one with Jesus just as he is one with his Father. The key point to realize is that any existence of other beings with godly attributes has no effect on who Latter-day Saints worship. According to Jeff Lindsay, a popular LDS online apologist:

We worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ - not glorious angels or Abraham or Moses or John the Baptist, no matter how great they may be in the kingdom of heaven as sons of God who have become "like Christ" (1 Jn 3:2). The only reasonable definition of polytheism requires that plural gods be worshiped - but the beings that Christ calls "gods" are not who we worship at all. In terms of worship, we are properly called monotheists.[31]

Additionally, there is abundant evidence of deification being taught by various commonly accepted Christians. If belief in theosis makes one a polytheist, many Christians would have to be so labeled - including such figures as C. S. Lewis and John Calvin. Clearly, this is not the way in which the term "polytheist" is normally used, but critics of the Church are often willing to be inconsistent if the Church can be made to look alien or "unchristian."

"Monotheism" is sufficiently broad to include the kind of oneness enjoyed by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as that promised to those who become one with them when fully sanctified.


LDS trinitarian views are not polytheistic

Non-LDS Christian Stephen H. Webb wrote:[32]

[In Mormon theology] Jesus Christ and human beings partake of the same eternal properties, but they share in those properties in different ways. Jesus Christ has the priority, which is why...Mormons call him “our Elder brother.” This language sounds like it could be a classical example of subordinationism, that is, the subordination of the Son to the Father, thus rendering Christ a secondary or inferior God, which also runs into the problem of polytheism. More generously interpreted, Mormonism takes a strongly social view of the Trinity, seeing each member as an independent or relatively independent person, a position that is not uncommon among many creedal Christian theologians today. Their independence is relative because...Latter-day Saints “believe they are infinitely more one than they are separate.” Indeed, they enjoy a transcendental unity of divine indwelling that serves as a blessed state that all of God’s children can hope to attain.[33]:87–88

Mormons are not Arians

Non-LDS Christian Stephen H. Webb wrote:[32]

By now it should be clear how narrow-minded the charge is that Mormonism is a modern version of Arianism....For me, Mormonism raises the hypothetical question of what would have happened if the best theological minds had dedicated themselves to explicating all of the implications of the heavenly flesh position....we cannot simply turn back the clock to try to find a place and time where we can locate Mormonism in order to make it look familiar. Comparing Joseph Smith to Arius, who denied the Son’s equality with the Father, or, better, Eutyches, an early defender of Heavenly Flesh Christology, is not an unproductive thought experiment, but it misses the point that Mormonism demands a rethinking of classical theism from the ground up and thus a retelling of the Christian story from the Gospels forward—and the ground upon which it erects its speculations is as earthy as it can be. [33]:89

Joseph Smith's theology is not pagan—his theology is vast as the multiverse, and eliminates Neo-Platonism and Augustine

Non-LDS Christian Stephen H. Webb wrote:[32]

Far from reverting to paganism or simply falling into sloppy thinking, Smith was carrying his confidence in Christ to its fullest possible expression....All things are possible not only for us but also for God, in that this universe does not exhaust the divine creativity. The universe is not big enough to hold the majesty of God’s ingenuity. Rather than reacting negatively to the apparently infinite expansiveness of the universe, Smith called astronomy’s bluff and multiplied the universe by the same expansive factor. Smith was wiping the theological slate clean of the Neo-Platonic metaphysics that had so influenced Augustine.[33]:96–97

Common misrepresentation: Joseph Smith does not teach polytheism or "supplanting God" with his doctrine of human divination

Non-LDS Christian Stephen H. Webb wrote:[32]

Two corrections of common misrepresentations of Smith’s theology need to be made at this point....[The] [s]econd [is that] even though Smith says that believers will become gods, he also says that

they will be kings and priests to God, a phrase that qualifies his alleged polytheism. Clearly, the faithful are meant to share in the divine power and glory, and thus they too will have mastery over life and death, in the sense of being able to creatively participate in the creation, sustenance, and governance of life. Divine power seems to be the universal constant in this teaching, but it is not so diffuse that it has no source. God’s power will be shared, but it will still be God’s.[33]:96–97

Question: Are Christians monotheists?

Any discussion with Jews or Muslims will quickly demonstrate no Christian is, strictly speaking, a monotheist

One of the chief objections by Jews and Muslims is Christians are polytheists. Most brands of Christians insist on the divinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In addition, the very word those who crafted the great ecumenical creeds used to describe the deity of Jesus, his Father and the Holy Spirit is "trinity," meaning three. Additionally, they insisted the three Persons should not be confounded, as such would be deemed modalism (one of the primary heresies that led to the formation of the ecumenical creeds and various confessions). Modalism often insists the one God merely appears to us in three different ways (i.e., as Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and this is exactly what the creeds deny.


Response to claim: 380 - If the Bible says that "God will share His glory with no one," then how could one hope to become like Him?

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

If the Bible says that "God will share His glory with no one," then how could one hope to become like Him?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

These verses say God will not give his glory to another. That is, God will not cease to be God or decline in glory. But, the scriptures are clear that God will share his glory with others: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Revelation 3:21).



Response to claim: 380, 603n25 (HB) 601n25 (PB) - Paul said in the Bible that "the natural (or physical) comes first, then comes the spiritual." Why then, did Brigham Young say that people are "made first spiritual, and afterwards temporal"?

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

Paul said in the Bible that "the natural (or physical) comes first, then comes the spiritual." Why then, did Brigham Young say that people are "made first spiritual, and afterwards temporal"?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The verse in Paul is speaking of the resurrection, not pre-mortal life.



Response to claim: 381, 603n26 (HB) 601n26 (PB) - "The Christian gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus...The Latter-day Saint gospel...'evolution of man until he shall become a god'"

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

The author states: "The Christian gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4)." The Latter-day Saint gospel, by contrast is represented by a statement by George Q. Cannon, who said to have claimed that LDS believe that "evolution of man until he shall become a god" is "the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believed in by the Latter-day Saints."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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

It is absurd to imply that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is not central to Latter-day Saint belief.



Response to claim: 383, 601n29 - The author claims that Latter-day Saints dismiss the Bible's teachings "whenever they contradict official LDS beliefs"

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

The author claims that Latter-day Saints dismiss the Bible's teachings "whenever they contradict official LDS beliefs"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Elder McConkie wrote simply that "The Church uses the King James Version of the Bible, but acceptance of the Bible is coupled with a reservation that it is true only insofar as translated correctly." Thus, the Bible is scripture, but if the translation or transmission of the text has been corrupted, why ought one to accept it? Latter-day Saints may have a different interpretation of the Bible than the author, or his brand of Christianity. What makes his interpretation valid and another invalid? No two Christian denominations believe in all the same biblical readings.



Response to claim: 383-4, 601n31 - Did 19th century LDS leaders repeatedly condemn the Bible?

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

Did 19th century LDS leaders repeatedly condemn the Bible?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Leaders did not "condemn the Bible," but (as the title of Elder Pratt's work shows) argued that the divided state of Christendom was ample testimony that the Bible alone did not seem sufficient to settle all doctrinal arguments and difficulties. It is difficult to question this, with various Christian sects which continue to proliferate.



Response to claim: 385 - Did the Church present itself as a "Christian organization" only by restricting accurate information about LDS beliefs?

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

Did the Church present itself as a "Christian organization" only by restricing accurate information about LDS beliefs?

(Author's sources: Author's opinion)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

The irony is thick when this book complains about the "dissemination of incomplete and deceptive information."



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’”. [34]
1831
“Old Joe . . . and several others . . . admitted [that the new faith] was an improvement in Christianity”. [35]
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”. [36]
1833
There is “a civil war between the Mormonites and their brother Christians”. [37]
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”. [38]
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. [39]
1835
“the doctrine promulgated by the ‘latter day Christians’ in the newly discovered Bible”. [40]
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]”. [41]
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”. [42]
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". [43]
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". [44]
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”. [45]
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”. [46]
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." [47]
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”. [48]
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). [49]
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." [50]
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". [51]
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”. [52]
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." [53]

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? [54]
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. [55]

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…" [56]
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. [57]
1864
The Latter-day Saints differ from their Christian brethren. [58]
1866
Now, we as Christians desire to be saved in the kingdom of God. [59]
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. [60]
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." [61]
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...."[62]

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? [63]
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. [64]
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. [65]
1872
We, as Christians, believe in God, in Christ and in his atonement, in repentance and obedience, and in receiving the Spirit. [66]
"we take the liberty to believe the Bible, which our fellow Christians, generally throughout the world, profess to believe in…” [67]
“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.” [68]
1876
These are only a few reflections, when we take into consideration our Christian religion. [69]
Brother Cannon speaks of Christians. We are Christians professedly, according to our religion. [70]
“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….” [71]
“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….” [72]
“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.” [73]

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... [74]

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!” [75]
“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” [76]
“[with reverence to Revelation 1. 12] We accept—as all Christians do—that God inspired the words ‘to see the voice.’” [77]

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. [78]
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. [79]

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. [80]
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." [81]
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: 385, 601n37-38 - The author claims that a "faithful Mormon" was excommunicated for "accurately" explaining "Mormon doctrines and history"

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

The author claims that a "faithful Mormon" was excommunicated for "accurately" explaining "Mormon doctrines and history." Did the Church respond that such information had to be suppressed so that the Church could become more "mainstream" Christian?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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 claim is absurd—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not "trying to become a mainstream Christian church."



Response to claim: 388 - Did Gordon B. Hinckely answer questions about LDS doctrine evasively?

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

Did Gordon B. Hinckely answer questions about LDS doctrine evasively?

(Author's sources: No source provided.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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 the author's opinion.



Question: What was Gordon B. Hinckley's opinion about the King Follett Discourse?

Some Christians claim that, in an effort to appear more "mainline" Christian, the Church is downplaying the importance of some doctrines taught late in Joseph Smith's lifetime

Some Christians claim that, in an effort to appear more "mainline" Christian, the Church is downplaying the importance of some doctrines taught late in Joseph Smith's lifetime. Prominent among these is the doctrine of human deification. To bolster their argument, they usually quote from a 1997 Time magazine interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley.

On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he [Hinckley] sounded uncertain, "I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it ... I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don't know a lot about it, and I don't think others know a lot about it.[82]

A combination of an ambiguous question, a complicated and little-understood doctrine, and TIME's incomplete representation of both the question and the answer contributed to the confusion.

It is amusing, though, to see anti-Mormons scramble to find fault—as if President Hinckley would announce a change of doctrine in a magazine interview!

Hinckley considered it's subject a "grand and incomparable concept"

In 1994, Gordon B. Hinckley emphasized the importance of the King Follett Discourse:

On the other hand, the whole design of the gospel is to lead us onward and upward to greater achievement, even, eventually, to godhood. This great possibility was enunciated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the King Follet sermon and emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow. It is this grand and incomparable concept: As God now is, man may become!

Our enemies have criticized us for believing in this. Our reply is that this lofty concept in no way diminishes God the Eternal Father. He is the Almighty. He is the Creator and Governor of the universe. He is the greatest of all and will always be so. But just as any earthly father wishes for his sons and daughters every success in life, so I believe our Father in Heaven wishes for his children that they might approach him in stature and stand beside him resplendent in godly strength and wisdom.
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “Don’t Drop the Ball,” Ensign, Nov 1994, 46)

Note that President Hinckley is talking about how man may become like God. Note also that he makes no comment about God once being a man. In this Ensign article, he does not comment on the statements made by Joseph Smith or Lorenzo Snow that God was once a man, but he does emphasize what these two men said about man becoming like God.


Question: Why does TIME's report make it appear the Pres. Hinckley is downplaying Joseph Smith's statements in the King Follett Discourse?

TIME omitted the portion of Hinckley's remarks that clarified what he was saying

It is important to note thatTIME's report did not include the entire citation, and President Hinckley was not denying or downplaying Joseph Smith's statements in the King Follett Discourse. It is important to note which question was being asked. Lorenzo Snow's famous "couplet" on deification reads as follows: "As man is now, God once was; as God is now man may be."[83]

There are two parts of the couplet:

  • As man is now, God once was
  • As God is now, man may be.

President Hinckley was asked about the first part of the couplet, as the citation above demonstrates. (The second part of the couplet is typically the focus of LDS doctrine and practice, since it is something over which mortals have some degree of influence.)

The exact question asked was:

Q: Just another related question that comes up is the statements in the King Follet discourse by the Prophet.
A: Yeah.
Q: ...about that, God the Father was once a man as we were. This is something that Christian writers are always addressing. Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?

President Hinckley's complete response was:

A: I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it. I haven't heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don't know. I don't know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don't know a lot about it and I don't know that others know a lot about it.
[The portion in italics was omitted from TIME's reporting.]

He did not deny or renounce the doctrine. Quite simply, President Hinckley asserted that:

  • we don't emphasize it.
  • we don't tend to teach it much in public discourse.
  • he doesn't know much about this topic, though he understands the philosophical underpinnings.
  • no one else in the Church has much information on it either.

Ambiguity

The question is also somewhat ambiguous. TIME says they asked "whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man." But, the actual question was "Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?" {emphasis added)

"Teaching" can be understood in at least two senses:

  • "doctrine"/"belief," in the sense of "does the church still hold this belief?"
  • "something that is taught or preached," "actively taught"

The reporter seems to have meant the question in the first sense; President Hinckley seems to have responded in the second sense—the first part of his answer was "I don't know that we teach it" (emphasis added). That is, it is not topic upon which the Church or its leaders spend much time, simply because very little is known about it. This misunderstanding of the sense it which "teach" is understood is a good example of the logical fallacy of amphibology at work.

Furthermore, President Hinckley seems to have understood the question as he did because of the reporter's prelude to the question. The interviewer noted that "[t]his is something that Christian writers are always addressing." I suspect that he meant that "This is a point of LDS doctrine which always troubles non-LDS Christian authors, and they write a lot about it."

President Hinckley's reply that "I don't know that we emphasize it" seems a clear response to this idea—other writers or other denominations may spend a lot of time on the issue, but we don't. Again, this shows that he understood "teaching" in the second sense, and not the first.


Question: Why didn't Gordon B. Hinckley say more about the King Follett Discourse in the TIME Magazine interview?

t should be remembered that this doctrine requires a great deal of "background" to understand even the little that the Church does know

Providing that background in an interview for the general public is virtually impossible. Anti-Mormon authors are always quick to pounce on "strange" things they can use to alienate other Christians from LDS theology; one might suspect that President Hinckley did not want to confuse matters by attempting what probably would have been an unsatisfactory explanation of the doctrine.

Also the responses a reporter receives in an oral interview are, by the nature of the interview itself, unprepared and off-the-cuff. Frequently, interviewees will give hasty answers that reflect a misunderstanding of the question or are the result of not expecting certain questions in the first place. Had the reporter submitted his questions in writing and asked for written responses, it's quite likely that President Hinckley's response to this question would have been clearer.

President Hinckley responds

Clearly aware of the controversy that his comments had engendered, President Hinckley raised the subject in October 1997 General Conference:

The media have been kind and generous to us. This past year of pioneer celebrations has resulted in very extensive, favorable press coverage. There have been a few things we wish might have been different. I personally have been much quoted, and in a few instances misquoted and misunderstood. I think that's to be expected. None of you need worry because you read something that was incompletely reported. You need not worry that I do not understand some matters of doctrine. I think I understand them thoroughly, and it is unfortunate that the reporting may not make this clear. I hope you will never look to the public press as the authority on the doctrines of the Church.[84]

President Hinckley quotes Lorenzo Snow

Finally, any claim that President Hinckley did not believe the King Follett Discourse or the Lorenzo Snow couplet has to deal with this contemporary public statement from a talk he gave in October 1994 General Conference:

...[T]he whole design of the gospel is to lead us onward and upward to greater achievement, even, eventually, to godhood. This great possibility was enunciated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the King Follet sermon and emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow. It is this grand and incomparable concept: As God now is, man may become! Our enemies have criticized us for believing in this. Our reply is that this lofty concept in no way diminishes God the Eternal Father. He is the Almighty. He is the Creator and Governor of the universe. He is the greatest of all and will always be so. But just as any earthly father wishes for his sons and daughters every success in life, so I believe our Father in Heaven wishes for his children that they might approach him in stature and stand beside him resplendent in godly strength and wisdom.[85]

Although he did not mention the other half of President Snow's statement ("As man is, God once was"), it's quite clear from the context that President Hinckley was aware of and agreed with it.


Response to claim: 389 - "The masking of Mormonism has continued unabated...Mormonism's smoke-screen of words has served to greatly confuse observers..."

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

Author's quote: "The masking of Mormonism has continued unabated...Mormonism's smoke-screen of words has served to greatly confuse observers..."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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 propaganda on the part of the author.



Response to claim: 391, n53 - The author claims that Latter-day Saints attempted to "infiltrate" Christian churches in order to convert entire congregations

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

The author claims that Latter-day Saints attempted to "infiltrate" Christian churches in order to convert entire congregations.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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

How, exactly, do members of the Church 'infiltrate' other denominations? When their deception became known, would the pastor not turn away? How do the members of the Church manage to brainwash these pastors into accepting their theology anyway?



Response to claim: 393-400 - Is the LDS Church really a "cult"?

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

Is the LDS Church really a "cult"?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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 propaganda on the part of the author.

Various



Question: Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a "cult"?

The word "cult" as it is applied to Mormonism is simply a label that implies "religion I don't like" or "religion that I disagree with"

An anti-Mormon protester at Temple Square during the April 2003 LDS General Conference.

Some claim that the Church is "a cult."

Simply put, "cult" is simply a label that implies "religion I don't like" or "religion that I disagree with." When the early Christians were unpopular, uncommon, and powerless, they were labeled a "cult." When they reached prominence and power, they began applying the label in turn to religions with whom they disagreed.

A book-length treatment of these issues has been written, and no cogent response to its arguments has been forthcoming. [86] "Cult" is not a useful term, since it merely expresses the speaker's prejudices, but tells us nothing useful about the religion being considered. It is likely impossible for sectarian critics of the Church to formulate a definition for "cult" that would include the present-day Church of Jesus Christ but not include the first century Christian Church. The usefulness of the label "cult," is therefore questionable—except as a short-hand for bigotry or prejudice.


An anti-Mormon protester at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This claim is a good example of anti-Mormon attempts to use loaded language and emotionally charged words to attack.

Webster's Dictionary defines cult as a “great devotion to a person, idea, or thing”

So, because the Jews revere Moses, Lutherans revere Martin Luther, Seventh-day Adventists are devoted to the teachings of Ellen G. White, and Christians reverence Jesus Christ, all these groups could be considered "cults" by this definition.

Alan Gomes, who teaches at BIOLA University’s Talbot school of Theology and applies the label to Mormons, among others, admits that “our English word cult comes from the Latin word cultus, which is a form of the verb colere, meaning ‘to worship or give reverence to a deity.” [87]

Yet, this is not simply what sectarian critics of the Church mean when they call it a "cult." Gomes writes that his "preferred definition" of cult is "a group that deviates doctrinally from a parent or host religion; that is, cults grow out of and deviate from a previously established religion." [88]

But, if Gomes wishes to adopt this definition, would he be content to call Christianity "a Jewish cult"? Christianity certainly grew out of Judaism, and it certainly deviates doctrinally from Judaism. Is Gomes content to label his own faith "a cult"? One suspects not.

The advantage of the term "cult," for critics, is that it has a negative connotation. When the public hears the term "cult," they do not simply think, "religious group devoted to some person or ideal." Nor, usually, do they think, "religion that has deviated from the beliefs of a parent religion." A "cult" implies a fanatical, probably dangerous, religious group—and it is this image which critics seek to exploit. Hence Gomes' desire, for example, to "unmask" cults (who must have something to hide) and the necessity of a chapter on "Keeping People Out of Cults."

If the "cult" is a Jewish cult (i.e. Christianity) then presumably Gomes would not want to keep them out. Thus, "cult" is clearly intended to communicate something additional.

Gomes also insists there are other criteria for being "a cult," such as "den[ying] (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith." [89] Gomes considers these to include "the Trinity," yet this creates problems for his definition, since the first century Christians clearly had no doctrine of creedal Trinitarianism as Gomes' present denomination does. By Gomes' definition, he would then be part of a Christian cult, since he's altered the doctrines of the "parent" religion, early Christianity.

Clearly, such linguistic games become rather pointless

It should not surprise us that the Church is so labeled—new religious groups, when considered 'strange' or 'heretical', and still in the minority, have often been labeled as "cults" to keep people away from them, or to justify poor treatment of them. Unsurprisingly, the early Christians had the same experience:

This new Jewish-Christian party in the eyes of the religious leaders of the time was, at the worst, simply regarded as guilty of minuth (cultism), namely, a variety of Jewish heresy, or rather, Jewish sectarianism...early passages in the Talmud still contain hostile references to the minim (cults), among whom were numbered the Jewish Christians... [90]

Pliny, an early Roman leader also said that Christians were a “superstition, a foreign cult,” and this characterization was re-iterated by two more Roman writers, Tacitus, and Suetonius. Tacitus explained the attacks on Christians as being due to their 'cult' status, and also because “of their hatred toward mankind”. Tacitus also said that they were “an enemy to mankind”, and a “deadly superstition”. Suetonius called the Christians a “mischievous superstition” or, in other words, a cult. [91]

Families sometimes worry when a family member shows an interest in the Church. They can be reassured that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints puts a high value on maintaining and strengthening family relationships. The Church will not baptize children or youth under the age of eighteen without their parents' permission.


Response to claim: 400 - The author states that LDS leaders will have to "completely sever its ties with Christianity" in order not to be called a "cult" and gain "legitimacy"

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

The author states that LDS leaders will have to "completely sever its ties with Christianity" in order not to be called a "cult" and gain "legitimacy."

(Author's sources: Author's opinion.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - 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 idea that Latter-day Saints will ever disassociate themselves from Christ is an extremely absurd claim.



Notes

  1. Gordon B. Hinckley, Meeting, Jakarta, Indonesia, 28 January 2000; cited in Liahona (February 2001): 28.
  2. History of the Church, 5:517. Volume 5 link
  3. Gordon B. Hinckley, at a meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 4 August 1998, cited in Liahona (Aug. 1999): 14.
  4. Gordon B. Hinckley, cited in Sheri L. Dew, Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996), 536, 576.
  5. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Four Simple Things to Help Our Families and Our Nations," Liahona (June 1996): 3. off-site
  6. Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Need for Greater Kindness," General Conference address, 1 April 2006. off-site
  7. Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report (April 1972), 49.
  8. Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report (Aprili 1928), 59.
  9. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 176–178. (italics in original)
  10. M. Russell Ballard, "The Hand of Fellowship," Ensign (November 1988), 28. (emphasis added) off-site
  11. David B. Haight, "Love All," Ensign (November 1982), 10. off-site
  12. Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Other Prodigal," Ensign (May 2002), 62. off-site
  13. Neal A Maxwell, A More Excellent Way: Essays on Leadership for Latter-day Saints, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1967), 31.
  14. Russell M. Nelson, "Listen to Learn," Ensign (May 1991), 22. off-site
  15. Brigham H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. (1907), 1:512–513. Vol 1 GL direct link Vol 2 GL direct link
  16. See JS-H 1:19.
  17. Richard Abanes, Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism (Harvest House Publishers: 2005). 26. ( Index of claims );Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, Mormonism 101. Examining the Religion of the Latter-day Saints (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2000), Chapter 6. ( Index of claims ); Watchman Fellowship, The Watchman Expositor (Page 1); La Roy Sunderland, “Mormonism,” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 2 (13 January 1838): 6.
  18. George Q. Cannon, "PREDICTIONS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON, etc.," (April 6, 1884) Journal of Discourses 25:128.
  19. Heber C. Kimball, "OBSERVANCE OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD," (January 6, 1861) Journal of Discourses 9:131.
  20. Orson Pratt, The Seer (Washington D.C., April 1854).
  21. Deseret News (12 August 1865): 373.
  22. Dennis B. Horne, Bruce R. McConkie: Highlights From His Life & Teachings (Eborn Books, 2000), [citation needed].
  23. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine [1st edition] (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1958).
  24. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 760. GL direct link
  25. Gordon B. Hinckley, cited in "Crown of Gospel is Upon Our Heads," LDS Church News, (Saturday, 20 June 1998): 7.
  26. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Be Not Faithless," Ensign (Apr. 1989), 2.;See also “Words of the Prophet: My Testimony of Christ”, New Era, Apr. 2001. (emphasis added)
  27. This version of the statement is attributed to President Hinckley in the “Search for the Truth” DVD. A screenshot may be viewed here. (emphasis added)
  28. Gordon B. Hinckley, "We Look to Christ," Ensign (May 2002), 90. off-site
  29. Gordon B. Hinckley, "What Are People Asking about Us?," Ensign (Nov. 1998), 70. off-site
  30. Bruce R. McConkie, "Our Relationship with the Lord," BYU Speeches (2 Mar 1982)
  31. Jeff Lindsay, "If you believe the Father and the Son are separate beings, doesn't that make you polytheistic?" JeffLindsay.com (accessed December 2007). off-site
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 "Webb is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He is a graduate of Wabash College and earned his PhD at the University of Chicago before returning to his alma mater to teach. Born in 1961 he grew up at Englewood Christian Church, an evangelical church. He joined the Disciples of Christ during He was briefly a Lutheran, and on Easter Sunday, 2007, he officially came into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church."
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 Stephen H. Webb, "Godbodied: The Matter of the Latter-day Saints (reprint from his book Jesus Christ, Eternal God: Heavenly Flesh and the Metaphysics of Matter (Oxford University Press, 2012)," Brigham Young University Studies 50 no. 3 (2011). (emphasis added) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "webbBook" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "webbBook" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "webbBook" defined multiple times with different content
  34. 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.
  35. “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
  36. The Farmer’s Herald, vol. 4, no. 49, 6 June 1832 [Johnsbury, Vermont]
  37. Liberal Advocate, vol. 3, no. 6, 30 December 1833 [Rochester, New York]
  38. 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
  39. "The Gospel," The Evening and The Morning Star 1:81-83 (April 1833) .
  40. Painesville Telegraph, vol. 1, no. 35, 4 September 1835 [Painesville, Ohio]
  41. Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 144.
  42. 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)
  43. Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 121. off-site
  44. Francis G. Bishop, Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints (Blum and Son, Salem, Massachusetts 1839), 2.
  45. Parley P. Pratt, Plain Facts (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, 1840), 6. off-site Full title
  46. Upper Mississippian, "Nauvoo Mormon Religion," (15 February 1841) Times and Seasons 2:324.; reprint of an article from the Upper Mississippian
  47. 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
  48. Chicago Democrat, May 1842; editorial by John Wentworth
  49. 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.
  50. "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)
  51. Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 314. off-site
  52. 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.)
  53. 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
  54. Brigham Young, "Effects and Privileges of the Gospel," (24 July 1853) Journal of Discourses 1:237-237.
  55. 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.
  56. Juley Remy, Journey to Great Salt Lake City (1861), 2:82–83; cited by B. Carmon Hardy, Doing the Works of Abraham, 195..
  57. Brigham Young, "Advice To California Emigrants. — The Principles Of The Gospel, etc.," (8 July 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:230-231.
  58. Brigham Young, "Difference Of Ideas Entertained Respecting God, etc.," (31 July 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:318-319.
  59. Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young," (19 August 1866) Journal of Discourses 11:268-268.
  60. Brigham Young, Deseret News Weekly 15/109 (4 March 1866): page?.; cited in Eldon Watson (editor), Brigham Young Addresses (1982), 5:32.
  61. William W. Riter, "Minutes of a General Council; Birmingham,England; January 5, 1866," Millennial Star 28 no. 12 (24 March 1866), 179.
  62. 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).
  63. Brigham Young, "The Saints Are A Strange People Because They Practise What They Profess," (20 February 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:237-238.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. Brigham Young, "Riches — Hurry — Fashion — Helping The Poor — Mysteries," (26 May 1872) Journal of Discourses 15:42-42.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. Brigham Young, "Discourse By President Brigham Young," (15 August 1876) Journal of Discourses 18:217-217.
  70. Brigham Young, "Discourse By President Brigham Young," (17 September 1876) Journal of Discourses 18:231-231.
  71. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Christianity and Revivalism," Millennial Star 38 no. 10 (6 March 1876), 152.
  72. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Gifts of the Holy Ghost," Millennial Star 38 no. 13 (27 March 1876), 200–201.
  73. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Evidences of the Truth," Millennial Star 38 no. 14 (3 April 1876), 217.
  74. Francis M. Lyman, "General Conference (5 April 1881)," Millennial Star 43 no. 19 (9 May 1881), 292.
  75. 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.
  76. "Intolerant Discrimination", Deseret News Weekly 45/14 (24 September 1892): 441.
  77. "The Book of Mormon", Deseret News Weekly 45/25 (10 December 1892): 780.
  78. First Presidency, "Address to the World," Improvement Era 10 (May 1907), 481–495.
  79. Joseph F. Smith, General Conference address (April 6, 1917)
  80. Hugh B. Brown, "Discourse," Improvement Era 10 (December 1956), 949–949.
  81. Jacob Neusner, The Way Of Torah, 6th edition, (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997), 15. ISBN 0534516033.
  82. David van Biema, "Kingdom Come," TIME Magazine (4 August 1997): 56, ellipsis in original.
  83. Lorenzo Snow, Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, compiled by Clyde J. Williams, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984), 2. ISBN 0884945170.
  84. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Drawing Nearer to the Lord," Ensign (November 1997), 4–6.
  85. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Don't Drop the Ball," Ensign (November 1994), 46–49.
  86. Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks, Offenders for a Word: How Anti-Mormons Play Word Games to Attack the Latter-day Saints (Provo, Utah: FARMS (reprint edition), 1992), 1. ISBN 0934893357. off-site
  87. Alan W. Gomes, Unmasking the Cults (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), 7. (italics added)
  88. Ibid.
  89. Ibid., 10.
  90. Herbert Danbys, "The Jew and Christianity," p. 8.
  91. Robert Louis Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them (Yale University Press; 2nd edition, 2003), 22, 49–50, 66. ISBN 0300098391.