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Mormonism and the Bible

Mormon doctrine is composed of four "standard works," including the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Bible. While volumes have been written about discrepancies between Mormon doctrine and the Bible, this brief outline attempts to contrast some of the most critical and obvious issues. As you will see, Mormonism conflicts with the Word of God on the most fundamental issues.
  Mormon Doctrine regarding God What the Bible Says
There are multiple Gods "...and these three [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] constitute three distinct personages and three Gods." - Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p.370 "...the Lord is one!" - Deuteronomy 6:4 (Is. 44:6,8, Is. 45:5,22, 1 Co. 8:4)
God is flesh and bone "The father had a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's." - Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." - John 4:24 (Pr. 15:3, Col. 1:15, He. 11:27)
We can be Gods "The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like Himself." - Journal of Discourses 3:93 "Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me." - Isaiah 43:10
God used to be man, before becoming God "As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be." - Teachings of Lorenzo Snow p.5 (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 345) "Before the mountains were born, Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God." - Psalm 90:2
God did not create man "...They are unlearned in the things of God... God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all." - Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 350 "Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." - Genesis 2:7
  Mormon Doctrine regarding Jesus What the Bible Says
Jesus is spirit brother of Lucifer "A momentous contest took place between two brothers, Jehovah and Lucifer, sons of Elohim." - Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball p.33 Creator of all things (including Lucifer) - John 1:1-4 (Col. 1:16)
Jesus created by God "And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth." - Moses 1:32 God incarnate, Creator of all things - John 1:1-4,14 (Heb. 1)
  Mormon Doctrine on God's Word What the Bible Says
God's Word includes more than the Bible As mentioned above, Mormon doctrine considers three ever-changing books to be the Word of God in addition to the Bible: The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants. "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book." - Revelation 22:18
God's Word is received subjectively "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost." - Moroni 10:4 Test the Spirits (1 John 4:1); Study to handle the word accurately (2 Tim. 2:15); Search the scriptures (Acts 17:11); We learn through the word of the Apostles (John 17:20, Rom. 10:17); Do not trust your heart (Prov. 14:12, Jer. 17:9); Praying about something that so clearly opposes God's Word is to deny his will. (Prov. 30:5-6)
Continuing Revelation "In addition to these four books of scripture, the inspired words of our living prophets become scripture to us." - Gospel Principles pp. 51-52 The revelation of God is complete - "...contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." - Jude 3 (Heb.1:1-2)
  Textual Criticism of the Book of Mormon Textual Criticism of the Bible
Source There are no source manuscripts. See notes1, 2 Over 5300 manuscript copies now exist dating from the first to the fifth centuries.
Quality There are no source manuscripts. Manuscripts agreement is 98.33%. In other words, disagreement is inconsequential.
Revision Pattern The "inspired translation" was established because of supposed errors in the Bible, yet thousands of revisions have been made. Revisions to original manuscripts are not considered.
  Internal Criticism of the Book of Mormon Internal Criticism of the Bible
Contradicts itself? One example: Jacob 2:27 teaches that a man should have only one wife; but Doctrine and Covenants 132:61-62 says that a man may have many. Even though the Bible was written by men of different language, location, social status, culture, age, and time, the production continuity throughout is astounding.
Contradicts logic? One example: When the Lord sent a furious wind (Ether 6) to propel a boat from the Holy Land to America it took 344 days. Simple arithmetic reveals that a ten-mile-per-hour wind could have taken the boat around the world three times! Not only is the Bible logical on all accounts, it has been proven as a historically reliable document.
Linguistic style A 19th century translation was written in the style of 1611 King James; and yet other 19th century revelations (eg. Doctrine and Covenants) are not. See note3 Written in the common language of the contemporary location and time (e.g. Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean).
  External Criticism of the Book of Mormon External Criticism of the Bible
Contemporary Documentation There are no historical writings outside the Mormon church which confirm the Book of Mormon. Many contemporary writers and historians confirm the events of the Bible, including Cornelius Tacitus, Thallus, Josephus, Suetonius and others.
Archaeology Plant life, animals, and minerals mentioned in the Book of Mormon contradict archaeological findings in America. In the great battle on the Hill Cumorah the Book of Mormon tells that over 200,000 were killed. The story tells of weapons, breastplates, helmets, and swords. Massive excavation has taken place on this hill, but not a single artifact has been found supporting this story. See note4 In contrast, people in the Holy Land make discoveries on an ongoing basis. Discoveries including cities, coins, clothing, swords, statues, and many other artifacts found support and confirm the Bible. Further, there has never been an archaeological discovery disproving or disagreeing with the Bible.
Geography Most locations in the Book of Mormon, such as Bountiful and the River Laman, have never been located. Most locations in the Bible, such as Jerusalem and the Jordan River, are well known and identifiable.
  Other Mormon Doctrine What the Bible says
Eternal Marriage "If I have children, if I have a wife, I shall have them in eternity." - Gospel Truth p.93 "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." - Matthew 22:30
Baptism for the dead "The saints have the privilege of being baptized for those of their relatives who are dead..." - Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 179 "For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." - Romans 10:10
Salvation by works "Very gladly would the Lord give to everyone eternal life, but since that blessing can come only on merit... only those who are worthy shall receive it." - Doctrines of Salvation 2:6 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9
Polygamy "The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy." - Journal of Discourses 11:269 See note5 "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." - Genesis 2:24 (1 Cor. 7:2)
  False Prophets What the Bible says
Joseph Smith In 1835, he prophesied that the second coming of the Lord would be in 56 years [1891] - History of the Church 2:182 See God's penalty for false prophesy: Death! - Deuteronomy 18:20
Brigham Young He prophesied that the Civil war would not free the slaves. - Journal of Discourses 10:250 Read how will we know a false prophet. - Deuteronomy 18:21
Heber Kimball He prophesied, in 1856, that Brigham Young would become President of the United States. - Journal of Discourses 5:219 Read that false prophets are not to be feared. - Deuteronomy 18:22

1 The only known manuscript was a document with a few of the characters from the Gold Plates that Joseph Smith had given to Martin Harris, commonly called the Anthon Manuscript. Harris took them to Dr. Charles Anthon of Columbia University, who said, "I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject, since the Mormonite excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained anything else but "Egyptian Hieroglyphics."

2 In the front of the Book of Mormon is "The Testimony of Three Witnesses." This testimony, of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, claims that they witnessed the original gold plates upon which the Book of Mormon was engraved. It is worth noting that Harris later admitted never seeing the plates, and that Cowdery and Whitmer later left the church being accused of theft and counterfeiting.

3 The Book of Mormon was said to be translated from a language called "Reformed Egyptian." No such language is known. Furthermore, for Jews to write in the language of Egyptians, by whom they were detested, would be like an American writing American History during the Cold War in Russian.

4 The Book of Mormon claims that people inhabited North America prior to 600 BC. According to the Smithsonian Institution, "Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach this continent from the East were the Norsemen who briefly visited the northeastern part of North America around AD 1000 and then settled in Greenland. There is nothing to show that they reached Mexico or Central America. Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book [of Mormon]." The study of archaeology is one of the most damaging to the Book of Mormon.

5 This is an area where Mormon doctrine contradicts itself. In the same year that the "prophet" Brigham Young made the statement above (1866), the British version of Doctrine and Covenants CIX:4 was updated, calling polygamy a crime. Today the practice of polygamy calls for excommunication (Mormon Doctrine p.549), but it still remains doctrine that the practice will resume upon the second coming of Christ (Mormon Doctrine p.578). Mormon doctrine has other such contradictions.

 Article info: 
Compiled by: Bill Smith

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