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Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/Destroying Governments and Religions
Do Mormons believe that other governments and religions must be destroyed?
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A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes
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One Nation under Gods, page xx-xxi (hardback); page xiv-xvii (paperback)
The book says:
"As for other governments and religions, according to Joseph Smith, they 'must eventually be destroyed from the earth.'" (hardback edition)
"As for all non-Mormon (i.e. heathen) nations, according to Joseph Smith, they 'must eventually be destroyed from the earth.'" (paperback edition)
Endnote 17, page 479
Joseph Smith, statement of December 30, 1842, HC (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976/1980), vol. 5, 212.
Question: Did Joseph Smith claim that all governments and religions other than Mormonism would eventually be destroyed form the earth?
Joseph Smith stated that there "will be wicked men on the earth during the thousand years" of the millennium
The critical book One Nation under Gods claims the following:
"As for other governments and religions, according to Joseph Smith, they 'must eventually be destroyed from the earth.'" (page xx-xxi (hardback edition))
"As for all non-Mormon (i.e. heathen) nations, according to Joseph Smith, they 'must eventually be destroyed from the earth.'" (page xiv-xvii (paperback edition))
This quote is the closing sentence of a paragraph in which the author of One Nation Under Gods asserts that "Mormons [after the return of Christ] will reign with Christ, and every American citizen, along with the rest of the world, will be forced to recognize Mormonism as the one true religion."
Take a look at the full quote from the cited source (History of the Church 5:212), in context (the portion shown in bold is the portion of the quote that the author used):
While at conversation at Judge Adams' during the evening, I said, Christ and the resurrected Saints will reign over the earth during the thousand years. They will not probably dwell upon the earth, but will visit it when they please, or when it is necessary to govern it. There will be wicked men on the earth during the thousand years. The heathen nations who do not come up to worship will be visited with the judgments of God, and must eventually be destroyed from the earth.
In the hardback edition, the author asserts that Joseph Smith stated "other governments and religions" must be destroyed. In the paperback edition, this is changed to "all non-Mormon" nations." While the quote does say something about nations being destroyed, it says nothing about governments or religions or "non-Mormon nations" being destroyed. Note that the author must equate the term "non-Mormon" with the word "heathen" in order to make his comparision. The terms nations and governments are not always synonymous, particularly in a religious sense. A nation is best described as "a group of people," whereas a government is always political in nature. Thus, Jesus could refer to "nations" being gathered before the Son of God and being judged, even though a full analysis of the passage is speaking of an individual judgment of people, not a judgment of political bodies. (See Matthew 25:31-46, particularly vs. 32.)
Further, Joseph Smith does not speak of anyone being "forced to recognize Mormonism as the one true religion." That editorial assertion is made by the author of ONUG, without any support from the quote. In fact, Joseph Smith stated that there "will be wicked men on the earth during the thousand years." If religious recognition by force was expected by Joseph, it seems inconsistent for him to acknowledge that he expected wicked men to still live during the Millennium.