March 2016

Deseret News published an article on Saturday (27 February) about “An evening with a General Authority” (Elder Ballard), who spoke to Seminary teachers on Friday 26th.

Seminary teachers are to indoctrinate the youth with new and completely different ideas to the ones with which older members are so familiar. Simon Southerton posted a succinct response to Ballard’s nonsense. The Church is in panic mode – trying to ‘save’ the next generation from the truth. Simon says:

“Elder Ballard gave a talk yesterday to CES teachers. He instructed them to learn the answers to difficult church issues that are presented in the 12 essays on the LDS website. He said it is crucial that teachers “know the content in these essays like you know the back of your hand” so that they can “inoculate” the youth against the information they will encounter when they Google.

Here is a snippet of the inoculation that is found in the essays.

Book of Mormon and DNA Studies.
In this essay the youth will learn that essentially all Native American DNA is derived from people who migrated to the Americas thousands of years ago from Asia, and that DNA of Book of Mormon people has not been found. But that’s OK because their DNA could have gone extinct or we may not be able to recognize it. This last bit is not really true because we know what Middle Eastern DNA looks like and it is not found in Native Americans.

Book of Mormon Translation.
Virtually all pictures the church has produced of the translation process show Joseph Smith reading from the gold plates. All those who witnessed the process said Joseph placed a seer stone in a hat and read the words as they appeared on the stone. This same stone was used by Joseph Smith to find buried treasure prior to the arrival of the Book of Mormon. This was illegal and Joseph had previously been arrested for carrying out this practice.

Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For most of church history it was believed Joseph Smith was only married to one wife. Indeed the 1990 film “legacy” portrays Joseph’s faithful and loving relationship with his first wife Emma. In this essay, the youth will learn that Joseph Smith married about 34 women, some as young as 14, and 11 women married to living men. Joseph had sent some of these men on missions and secretly married their wives while they were away.

Race and the Priesthood.
In this essay the youth will learn that it was never doctrine that skin colour was a sign of a curse from God. The essay teaches the restriction on Blacks receiving the priesthood was a result of the racist environment that influenced early church leaders. Earlier generations may have been taught that the less valiant in the pre-existence were cursed with a dark skin, but this was never doctrine.

Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham.
The Book of Abraham has long been regarded as a faithful translation from an Egyptian papyrus scroll that Joseph Smith purchased. Translations of the hieroglyphics on the papyrus fragments do not match any of the text of the Book of Abraham. In this essay the youth learn that the Book of Abraham was inspired by, rather than a direct translation from the papyrus. This is in spite of the fact that Joseph Smith said it was a translation in the introduction to the book.
(Simon Southerton).

This is the Church link to the essay list mentioned.

I was part of the generation that was taught skin colour was a curse from God. Regardless of what Ballard or the Church may now claim, the doctrine is still encapsulated in Mormon scripture and was taught by General Authorities from the pulpit when I was young. So much for God not allowing prophets to lead us astray. If it was never doctrine, Joseph Smith deliberately led us all astray.

“And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them” (Book of Moses 7.22). Inspired ‘scripture’ by Joseph Smith.

“The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal… Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood,…” (Book of  Abraham 1:23-27). Direct translation; now claimed as ‘inspired’ instead, despite Smith claiming several times that he ‘translated’ it).

Note that not only was it doctrine, the naïve Joseph Smith thought ‘Pharaoh’ was the given name of the eldest son of Egyptus rather than a title. Nonsense knows no bounds in Mormonism. Smith made everything up as he went along; today, the Church is floundering, rewriting the past – again making things up as they go along, attempting to survive in the modern day.

In his talk, Ballard admits that the youth have all the information in the world available at their fingertips. Those with enquiring minds will not be fooled by this attempt to indoctrinate them with new and changed ideas. The original doctrines and facts are still available and will remain so. More and more members are discovering the truth; now, many will also discover the new lies and deceptions and see through them. You can’t hide the facts – moreover, you can’t change the past and expect to get away with it either. It is all so obvious.

I have covered the area of ‘Black and Cursed’ previously (see 11th and 14th December 2013). I have also posted a Black and Cursed article derived from TMD Volume 2.

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November 2015

Two new essays recently appeared on the Church web site under ‘Gospel Topics’. One concerns Joseph Smith’s teachings on the priesthood and temple – and how it relates to women. This appears to be in response to so much ‘agitation’ for women to be allowed the priesthood. It was not many years ago that Gordon B. Hinckley was asked in an interview if women would one day hold the priesthood. He responded that there was no agitation for it, almost suggesting that if there were, perhaps God would change his unchangeable mind about it. In the Church, women have always known their place. However, that is no longer the case and many now crave equality.

Church Essay: Joseph Smith’s Teachings About Priesthood, Temple and Women. 

The second essay concerns admission of Mormon belief in a mother in heaven. ‘Old timers’ will be more than familiar with the doctrine, as we always understood God to have many wives, as indeed all men who reach the Celestial kingdom will be required to have; but the concept seems to have taken a back seat in recent years – until now.

Church Essay: Mother in Heaven.

This is a Life After Ministry link to a large selection of Mormon based quotes regarding the practice and eternal reasons for polygamy.

February 2015

During January 2015, Mormonthink issued a Response to the “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” essay, published by the Mormon Church 22 October 2014. As always, the meticulous consideration of each point is well worth reading.

Meanwhile, on 9 January 2015, the Salt Lake Tribune reviewed an article it published last year.

The following are some of the observations derived from editions of the Church Almanac. The entire article is well worth reading. The first observation below firmly establishes and confirms what we have always known. ‘Active’ membership is very low indeed.

  • About 30 percent of Mormons worldwide — or 4.5 million — regularly attend church meetings.
  • There are at least seven countries or dependencies with member activity rates of 15 percent or less — Chile, Portugal, South Korea, Panama, Hong Kong, Croatia and Palau.
  • Tribalism has been a challenge in some areas of the world. In the South Pacific’s Vanuatu, the LDS Church must obtain permission from village chiefs to engage in missionary activity and hold services. Tribal conflicts have resulted, at times, in the church closing member groups and withdrawing missionaries.
  • In Spain, assimilating Latin Americans and Spaniards into the same congregations presents the most widespread ethnic integration issue. Some congregations with an overrepresented Latin American presence may run into difficulties baptizing and keeping active a Spaniard minority.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, there have been many instances in which individuals cannot get baptized in some countries because they participate in polygamous marriages per local customs and traditions. These individuals have to divorce polygamous spouses to become Mormons — apparently a rare move. The LDS Church stopped practicing plural marriage more than a century ago.

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Confirmation that people practicing polygamy (once deemed an essential lifestyle in order to enter the Celestial Kingdom), cannot now be baptised, is both strange and ironic – and at the same time somewhat humorous.

Mormonism is a hard sell in the modern world and some of the very young Mormon men and women find two years of highly disciplined missionary work beyond them. Apparently, the percentage returning home early (and therefore ‘without honour’ in the Mormon mindset), “is now into the double-digits, and it turns out the folks in Salt Lake City are already well aware that we have a problem.” This August 2014 ‘Times and Seasons’ article ‘Salt Lahe City, We Have a Problem‘ examines the problem.

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Also during January, the Mormon Church won a court case regarding the use of its formal title. It doesn’t like other organisations using its precious name – but this Canadian polygamous group, which is a Mormon schism, can use an earlier Mormon name: ‘The Church of Jesus Christ‘.

The Church even has a published ‘style guide’ to help people use the Church name ‘properly’.

The Mormon Church is fussy about what we now call it, yet it “…was informally known as the Church of Christ during 1829 and legally instituted with that same name on 6 April 1830, [the day D&C 21:11 was penned “…unto this church of Christ, bearing my name–” Here Jesus confirms the name of the Church as the “church of Christ” which is how it started out]. It became the ‘Church of the Latter Day Saints’ in 1834. Note that it then no longer bore Christ’s name even though Jesus himself had declared that it should. Later it was to change to the ‘Church of Jesus Christ’ and then the ‘Church of God’, once again losing the name of Christ, before the Lord eventually got round to giving a further revelation in 1838, stating that it should be called “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (D&C 115:3). If it had really been the Lord speaking the first time, he would have given that name in the first instance. Had it been the Lord speaking the second time, he would not have contradicted his first revelation. Ergo, it does not take a genius to work out where all five names came from.” (The Mormon Delusion Vol. 5:139-40).

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I am not even going to comment on the Mormon Church’s latest (attempted) assault on common sense and reason in a ridiculous news conference concerning the LGBT community. This NYT article explains just how transparent the Church has become and exposes the real underlying Mormon agenda. Church leaders must be insane if they think the public will be taken in by this. Mormon Church Wants Freedom to Discriminate.

December 2014

Essay roundup: During the period from November 2013 to November 2014, the Mormon Church issued a number of ‘essays’, most of which I commented on in the month following their issue (scroll down for each corresponding month and essay). The essays are undated and somewhat hidden among about two-hundred-and-fifty other articles under the ‘Gospel Topics’ section at lds.org. If they don’t know they exist, people may not easily come across them.

Below is a convenient list of all the new essays and release dates. If you prefer to locate them directly from www.lds.org you will need to click on ‘Teachings’ and open ‘Gospel Topics’ from there. Or, go straight to Gospel Topics and type in the exact title of one of the essays into the ‘Q’ bar beneath the text (or you can browse alphabetically). The following are all the correct titles and also the direct links to each essay if you need them.

The Church has also published a list of the new essays in its online Mormon Newsroom.

But, the list has already been ‘lost’ among the Newsroom archives, and you may find it difficult to locate, so use the above link. However, it lists 11 essays, while I list 13. Essays 8 and 9 below (‘Noah’ and ‘Same Sex Marriage’) do not appear in the Newsroom list. I may be mistaken about when they were issued but I noted them during March of 2014 – not that it much matters.

1 – Are Mormons Christian? 20 November 2013.

2 – First Vision Accounts. 20 November 2013.

3 – Race and the Priesthood. 6 December 2013.

4 – Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah. 16 December 2013.

5 – Book of Mormon Translation. 30 December 2013.

6 – Book of Mormon and DNA Studies. 31 January 2014.

7 – Becoming like God. 24 February 2014.

8 – Noah. March 2014.

9 – Same-sex marriage. March 2014.

10 – Peace and Violence Among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints. 13 May 2014.

11 – Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham. 8 July 2014.

12 – Polygamy Essay 1: Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo. 22 October 2014.

13 – Polygamy Essay 2: The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage. 22 October 2014.

Referenced essay: In a letter to all members dated 9 September 2014 (See November 2014 note):
‘Gospel Learning: Seek Learning by Study and Also by Faith’ is the only essay mentioned.

Additionally, there was an important article recently posted by the Joseph Smith Foundation, citing ten Mormon prophets and dozens of scriptures, confirming continued belief in Adam and Eve and a firm denial of the fact of evolution. (See October 2014 note).

My comments on essays of interest can be found in earlier updates and there remains little to be said. The Church has shot itself in the foot by claiming Adam and Eve were the first (created) humans and that there was no death before 6,000 years ago; and also in confirming belief in the clearly (scientifically conclusively provably) fictional story of Noah and a global flood. The Church has now confessed many lies of the past, yet within the essays it still continues to conspire to deceive members with half-truths, convenient assumptions and suppositions, in order to hide some of the truth which it is still not ready to admit. Such half measures may keep some of the faithful in the fold but there is enough in the essays to disturb many – and members reportedly continue to vote with their feet. See for example ‘Mormon Missionary Reports on Church Inactivity. One member (who shall remain nameless), does not believe what the Church is admitting and posted on an ‘Alan Osmond’ thread, “…and those so called essays I keep hearing about are just a bunch of anti-Mormon lies.” Yes – some of them are that hard to believe, aren’t they!

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One major problem with religion, and in particular Mormonism, is that it still tries to fill ‘gaps’ that science has long since fully explained. They are then stuck with ancient (and some modern) guesswork – unless they have the courage (and integity) to admit they were wrong. “…simple questions can be answered systematically by applying the scientific method as outlined by Richard Feynman, whereas complex and badly posed questions such as “why are we here” cannot. But more importantly, and rather more profoundly, it turns out that the answers to simple questions can overturn centuries of philosophical and theological pontification quite by accident. Reputations count for nought in the face of observation.” (Professor Brian Cox, Human Universe: p.40).

Following publication of the essays, the biggest shock for many members appears to have been the sickening detail about Joseph Smith’s polygamy (polygyny) and polyandry. The question is that if they are now making such detailed attempts to justify and excuse Smith’s sexual activity with married and single women and children, WHY did they try to hide the truth from members for some one-hundred-and-seventy years? If polyandry and an already married man marrying children were not ‘wrong’, it should surely have been made public knowledge – at least from the time of the official announcement that polygamy was a practiced doctrine, on 28-29 August 1852. The reason the Mormon Church has issued these essays is not, as they claim, for clarification or greater ‘transparency’; we can already see right through the real Church agenda. The only reason the Church is coming clean (well, a little cleaner – with much still hidden or manipulated to look less disgraceful than it really was and is), is because with the advent of the internet, all the information is already available and more and more members are accessing it and questioning the Church about it.

As ever with the Church, the essays are purely and simply (and ONLY), damage limitation. Do you imagine, for one moment, had the internet not been invented, that the Church would ever have provided such essays for members to read? Not in a million years! Even then, they are already somewhat buried and difficult to locate. BUT, they are there, so the Church can now ‘claim’ transparency and then ‘blame’ members for not knowing such things, if questioned. It should be remembered however, that not so long ago, the Church excommunicated quite a number of Mormon historians for revealing the very same information the Church is now admitting. Where are the apologies and offers of restoration to fellowship, for those once called liars and dissenters by hypocritical leaders?

September 2014

During August, the noted Egyptologist, Robert Ritner, responded to the July 2014 Mormon article on the Book of Abraham which the Church posted on their web site under Gospel Topics. (Link to LDS essay on ‘Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham’).

Ritner concludes “It must be stressed again that the real translation of the Egyptian signs discussed above is acknowledged in editions of the papyri not only by Egyptologists but by Mormon authors as well (Nibley, Rhodes and Gee). To be clear, since the Book of Abraham is now proved to be based on the surviving Hôr papyrus, LDS church-sponsored editions of that text effectively disprove the validity of the Book of Abraham. Here then is final evidence that Joseph Smith created the Book of Abraham by guesswork translation —in the usual sense— from the signs on the Egyptian papyri that he owned. The specific source of the Book of Abraham is the “Breathing Permit of Hôr,” misunderstood and mistranslated by Joseph Smith. The only truly ancient sources in the Book of Abraham are the many reworked Hebrew passages from Genesis, as outlined explicitly by H. Michael Marquardt.

With the Book of Abraham now confirmed as a perhaps well-meaning, but erroneous invention by Joseph Smith, the LDS church may well devote some reflection to the status of the text. The former Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, since 2001 renamed the Community of Christ, avoids this issue by treating the Book of Abraham as speculative writing by Smith, not as a document of historical truth. In this decision they are clearly correct.” Ritner’s full text is available from Signature Books here.

Text also available from MormonThink here.

August 2014

MormonThink has now issued its response to the Mormon Church essay ‘Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham’ at this link. There are also associated links available on their home page.

As previously noted, I covered the Book of Abraham fraud in TMD Vol.2. When all is said and done, the content of the book nails the Mormon coffin solidly shut with no argument left to consider. It gives a creationist account of a young earth, along with Adam – and Eve made from a rib of Adam – and Adam naming “every” fowl, beast and animal. (That would involve many millions of names). Science has long proven creationism a complete myth. We know the age of our planet and we know more about evolution than we do about gravity. I know I am repeating things previously mentioned but there we are – scientific facts are conclusive and the content of the Book of Abraham condemns itself as a complete and utter hoax – and equally, Joseph Smith a complete and utter fraud.

When Joseph Smith rewrote part of the Bible that became the Mormon ‘Book of Moses’, he had ‘God’ in the singular (175 mentions) handle the creation, just as in Genesis. Remember, this was supposedly an ‘Inspired Revision’ of the Bible. Yet God didn’t ‘inspire’ Smith enough to mention that there were in fact ‘Gods’ involved – and he had one-hundred-and-seventy-five opportunities to do so. The Book of Abraham was invented after Smith’s theology changed from monotheism to polytheism (you will find full details and evidence of the change within ‘The First Vision’ booklet on the side bar), so it is replete with ‘the Gods’ in the plural, performing the very same acts that ‘God’ had managed all on his own in the Book of Moses regarding the creation, in Chapters 4 & 5 (with 48 mentions). As ever, the only thing that is consistent about Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church is the inconsistency.

Also note Moses 8:24. “Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not.” What nonsense, to pretend Moses mentioned baptism, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost in a Jewish book supposedly dated to hundreds (if not thousands) of years before the invention of the concepts (by Christians – or at least Romans). It is beyond delusional, yet Mormons seem not to notice. Then Smith includes the fictional flood story as if it really happened and the Church still accepts it as a real event, having confirmed it in their ‘Noah’ essay (see April 2014).

I have previously mentioned the absurd claims about Egyptus ‘discovering’ Egypt following the claimed flood. (See 11th July update and link to my note there). There is no need to argue about where the Book of Abraham originated – none at all, as even a cursory glance at the content confirms beyond any doubt that it is just a little book of complete nonsense. The Book of Abraham content is proof positive that Smith’s Mormonism was a hoax, and the ‘Noah’ essay is evidence that the conspiracy to deceive continues.

11 July 2014

Following the publication of a further essay by the Mormon Church, this time on the Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham several comments and blogs are appearing which cover the problems very well. ‘Mormonthink‘ will be posting one shortly which I am sure will deal with all the issues very adequately. Meanwhile, having written extensively on what is actually IN the Book of Abraham in TMD Vol. 2, I have created a new note on the Facebook ‘The Mormon Delusion’ page, including an extract from TMD Vol. 2, which may be of interest: TMD Note on Book of Abraham essay.