“Dad, Let’s get out of this blank blank place!”

The last couple of days I’ve posted on topics related to the Church of Jesus Christangry of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Today, I’ll finish up this short series with a humorous memory from long ago.

This story may be a little offensive to some so I apologize in advance. I mean no offense to my Lord or fellow believers but I think the words are a valuable part of the story. As a little background, our son, Steve, was around five years old at the time and I hadn’t accepted the Lord Jesus Christ yet. The language around our home may have been a little raw at times.

Sometime back around 1982-83, our youngest son, Steve, and I packed into the car and headed to Fayette, New York, about 50 miles away. I had studied the origins of the Mormon church for several years and had already visited the church-sponsored visitor centers and historic sites in Palmyra (Smith family home, Sacred Grove, Hill Cumorah, and Grandin print shop where the Book of Mormon was printed). In Fayette was the Peter Whitmer farm and visitor center. Whitmer had been an early and important follower of Smith. The Mormon church was formally organized at the Whitmer farm in 1830.

So Steve and I arrived at the Whitmer site and we began strolling through the visitor center exhibit. The elderly husband and wife Mormon missionary couple assigned to the center came over to greet us and commenced with their sales pitch. I had no intention of joining Mormonism (I was already well aware of much of the church’s dubious history and theology at that point) but I enjoyed engaging the couple in conversation and impressing them with how knowledgeable I was. After about ten minutes of conversation, our young son began losing his patience and piped in, “Dad, can we go now? ” I replied with that pat parental answer, “In a little while.” After ten more minutes of talking, a much more frustrated Steve said, “DAD! Can we go now???” I was disappointed my son had interrupted us again so I gave him a stern look and said once again that we would be leaving soon. Sensing their opportunity was coming to an end, the elderly couple began pushing VERY hard to close the deal. After several more minutes, Steve could no longer contain himself and blurted out very loudly, “DAD, LET’S GET OUT OF THIS G** D*** PLACE!” The couple’s jaws dropped right down to the floor. I was stunned and very embarrassed. My son had never spoken that way to me before, in private or public. But I was also relieved that he gave us a good reason to walk away. I apologized and we scooted out the door. As I looked back, the old couple was still standing there in a state of shock. I think I remember buying my son an ice cream cone on the way home. Steve, was only five but he had nailed it right on the head.

The chronology is a little fuzzy after 30+ years, but I believe my wife and I accepted the Lord just a few months after this encounter. That poor couple was selling a false gospel of works religion and much of their church’s unorthodox doctrine had no connection to the Bible. We Christians proclaim the Good News of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! And we stand on the Truth of God’s Good Word, not on some home-brewed religion or traditions.

Sola Fide, by faith alone.
Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.


More “problems” with Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post (see here), several decades ago I spent a lot of timeBOM studying the origins of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). I learned the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, claimed to have translated some Egyptian papyri into the “Book of Abraham” in 1835. When the papyri were discovered 130 years later they were found to be only simple Egyptian funerary instructions rather than the writings of Abraham. Smith was proven to be a charlatan.

But the “Book of Abraham” hoax is far from the only embarrassing and incriminating item in LDS history. Today, let’s look at 4 other problems the LDS church has a difficult time explaining.

1) Origin of Native Americans disproved

In early 19th-century America, there was endless speculation and debate on the origins of the Native Americans. Joseph Smith was allegedly directed to golden plates by the angel Moroni in 1823, which he subsequently translated into the Book of Mormon. According to the BoM, a tribe of Israelites traveled by boat to the Americas around 600 BC. The immigrant group split into two factions, the warlike, dark-skinned (natch) Lamanites and the peaceful, godly, fair-skinned Nephites. Jesus Christ supposedly appeared to the Lamanites and Nephites after His resurrection and peace reigned for a short time but conflict then resumed. The unbelieving Lamanites slaughtered the last of the Nephites at a cataclysmic battle in 385 AD at Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, NY. According to the BoM, the Native Americans are descendants of the Lamanites. However, modern science has thrown a wrench into the BoM narrative. Researchers agree that the ancestors of the Native Americans migrated from Eastern Asia to the Americas over the ancient Bearing Strait land bridge. DNA evidence completely debunks the BoM’s claims that Native Americans are of Semitic origin.

2) No evidence of grand Nephite civilization

The Book of Mormon describes a highly advanced Nephite civilization with cities scattered across the Americas. However, not one shred of archaeological evidence has ever been unearthed which supports the BoM claims of a vast Nephite civilization with its “Reformed Egyptian” language. Despite intense efforts by the Mormon church, archaeology offers Smith’s BoM tale zero support.

3) Blacks denied priesthood then allowed

The second prophet and president of the LDS church, Brigham Young, declared in 1852 that Black men could not be Mormon priests. He claimed Blacks were descendants of Ham and their dark skin was the curse of Cain and, as such, could not attain the priesthood. Due to mounting societal pressures, the twelfth prophet of the church, Spencer Kimball, reversed Young’s declaration in 1978 and accepted Black men to the priesthood. How could one God-led prophet reverse the teachings of another?

4) Polygamy encouraged then abandoned

Joseph Smith introduced polygamy into the church as a sanctioned and blessed practice. His early successors continued to condone and encourage polygamy. However, in the face of mounting pressure from the U.S. government, Wilford Woodruff, the 4th prophet and president, claimed to receive a revelation in 1890 discontinuing plural marriage. Hmmm, the Mormon god seems to be quite a vacillating character, reversing himself on such important issues as the priesthood for Black men and polygamy.

Yes, false prophets and false religions abound. There are many denominations that claim to be “Christian” but do they uphold the orthodoxy of the Word of God? Do they proclaim the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone? Be cautious of what and who you embrace. The Lord God has provided more than enough proof for even the most credulous LDS that Joseph Smith was a deceiver and Mormonism is a false religious system. If your favorite TBN “evangelical” preacher embraces Mormon, Glenn Beck, cut your ties. You’re in trouble if you’re getting your theology from TBN.

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the (false) prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” – Jeremiah 23:16

The “Book of Abraham” hoax: Iron-clad proof that Joseph Smith and Mormonism are frauds

Recently, I’ve posted some messages about how conservative pundit, Glenn Beck, hasBOA been invited to participate in evangelical-sponsored events. Beck is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. Some evangelicals would argue that Beck shares the same “moral values” as conservative Christians and indeed loves God righteously according to his own belief system. They argue evangelicals would be better off embracing religious Americans like Beck who share the same “moral values” rather than checking the fine print of their denominational membership cards in this age of encroaching secularism.

Really? I say not so fast.

I’m a bit of a history geek and back in the late 70s-early 80s I was curious about the Mormon church, which had it’s beginnings in Palmyra, New York, about 25 miles from where I live. Joseph Smith claimed that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in 1820, which later led to his receiving “golden tablets” and producing the Book of Mormon. Smith founded the Mormon church in Palmyra, which subsequently relocated to Ohio, then to Illinois, and finally to Utah.

The Mormon church has some extremely strange unbiblical theology but I will only touch on a few particulars for this post. Mormons do not preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. They teach baptismal regeneration and that God the Father was once a mortal man who advanced to deity by obeying a different god. Mormons believe that by following their church’s requirements, they can achieve deity themselves and rule over their own universes.

Joseph Smith claimed to be God’s prophet and to receive direct revelation. But while studying Mormonism, I discovered some irrefutable proof that Joseph Smith was a deceiver and a false prophet.

After the church had moved to Kirtland, Ohio, a traveling exhibit came to town, which included some ancient Egyptian papyri. Smith got his hands on the papyri and translated them into “The Book of Abraham,” alleged writings from the Old Testament patriarch, which was subsequently canonized as Mormon scripture. In the 1960s, the very same papyri in question were discovered in the archives of a New York City museum. Trained Egyptologists examined the papyri and found they were simple Egyptian funerary rites. Smith’s “translation” was proven to be a complete and total lie, a fabrication.

“When Joseph first gave his translation, hieroglyphics were undecipherable. Today they are. He was safe in saying anything he wanted to, and there would be no way of proving him wrong. But with the resurfacing of the same papyri he used to do his Book of Abraham translation and the fact that he did not in any way do it correctly should be proof enough that Joseph Smith lied about his abilities from God. He has been shown to be a false prophet.” – from “The Book of Abraham Papyri and Joseph Smith,” Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

Mormon apologists backpedaled by declaring the papyri were simply a “catalyst” for revelation!

Smith was proven to be an absolute, 100% fraud, yet the Mormon church marches on, drawing more poor souls into its false gospel. And now we have the evangelical compromisers on TBN inviting Mormon Beck to help them defend American “values” and the “gospel.”

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

For more on the “Book of Abraham” and Mormon scam, see here.

Weekend Update – News and Commentary – 8/27/16

Hard to believe it’s the end of the week already! Here’s some news that caught my eye thebizzaro-world past seven days:

First, Beck, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), co-hosted a TBN 4th-of-July special with Christian ultra-nationalist, David Barton (see my post here). Now, he’s pairing with TBN regular, Hagee (he of the blood moon mis-prophecy), for a “gospel” celebration in Kentucky? Are Christians losing their minds? What blood-bought, born-again Christian would attend a “gospel” celebration featuring a Mormon on the platform? This is “Bizarro World” (c)hristianity, part and parcel for TBN.

I saw several stories the past two weeks which featured Roman Catholic members of the American Olympic team paying homage to their Catholic faith. Sadly, these athletes, like all Catholics, are trusting in the sacraments and their own works to merit Heaven. Christian churches and organizations also use celebrities who have accepted Christ to lead people to the Gospel. It can be a good thing but it also disturbs me when I see celebrities given great honor by the church – bordering even on idolatry. People fall. The focus always needs to be on Jesus Christ.

One might think that the Catholic church would altruistically want to get to the bottom of every sexual abuse case and come to the aid of every person victimized by its pedophile priests. Not the case.

As these two stories testify, Catholicism is a mixture of (c)hristianity and paganism. Idolatry, superstition, and reliance on good luck talismans are rife throughout Catholicism.

The upcoming (Sept. 4) canonization of the extremely popular Mother Teresa is an important public relations boon for the Catholic church. Born-again believers need to know the whole story on Mother Teresa. See my earlier post here.

The ongoing tug-of-war between pope Francis and Catholic conservatives is fascinating theater. Francis is attempting to make the church less doctrinaire and more appealing to lapsed Catholics and non-Catholics but the traditionalists won’t have it. Catholic apologists who regularly decry Protestantism’s lack of unity should take note.

Catholics boast that, of all the “Christian” churches, they and the Eastern Orthodox alone have the real presence of Jesus Christ in the eucharist. Catholics sadly misinterpret John 6 and the Last Supper passages. Receiving Jesus is not physically eating Him, it’s accepting Him as Savior by faith. Millions upon millions of Catholics line up and receive the alleged Jesus wafer into their mouth every Sunday and absolutely nothing happens. Despite the claim of “transubstantiation,” the “host” remains just a piece of bread. But when a person genuinely repents of their sin and accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith…!!!! WOW! That is the start of the genuine, never-ending spiritual feast! Praise to Jesus Christ and all that He is!!!!

A little Catholic-speak humor for those who follow the church closely.

If you read only one book about the Reformation, this would be an excellent choice.

The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the ReformationUF
By Michael Reeves
B&H Publishing, 2010, 207 pages

In the process of becoming legalized by the Roman Empire and subsequently adopted as the official state religion, the early Christian church began incorporating many of the beliefs and practices of its pagan predecessors. By the 15th century, the Roman Catholic church had very little in common with the primitive, New Testament church. The message of salvation by a personal, saving faith in Jesus Christ had devolved into clerical imperialism, ritual, and ceremony. In addition to its hopelessly compromised theology, the church had become an open cesspool of greed, corruption, political intrigue, and immorality.

But then something absolutely wonderful happened. Beginning in the 14th century (some would argue for an even earlier date), men and women began rising up to challenge the church’s autocratic position through the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. The flame of reform reached a tipping point in the early 1500s when Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin broke from Rome completely in their endeavor to return the church to simple saving faith in Jesus Christ. With the translation of the Latin Bible into the vernacular and the invention of the printing press the Roman church was unable to get the horse back into the barn despite the anathemas, inquisitions, and executions.

I’ve read several books on the Reformation over the past year and this easy-to-read primer is one of the best. Reeves writes with much wit while also delivering on the historical essentials. He doesn’t put the Reformers on a pedestal. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and the rest were all flawed sinners saved by God’s grace. Some monarchs definitely exploited the movement for political and economic advantages and it took succeeding Reformers to move the church even farther from Roman error. But the Holy Spirit accomplished a great work through these early Reformers and we should be grateful for their courage and fidelity to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. In addition to the three principals, Reeves devotes quite a bit of attention to the Reformation movement in England.

Most people who flock to today’s evangelical mega-churches know little or nothing about the Reformation. Catholics talk about Jesus, grace, and faith and that’s good enough for many. But Catholicism hasn’t changed any of its important doctrines since 1517. It still teaches the same gospel of sacramental grace and merit. Catholics can never say they are saved because they must continue to attempt to merit their salvation right up until the day of their death. Reeves confronts those evangelicals who declare the Reformation is over. In this era of ecumenical compromise and the betrayal of the Gospel, the Reformation must continue. Roman Catholics (and unsaved Protestants) remain as a mission field.

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, if you should decide you would like to read a non-academic introduction, this well-written, short book would be an excellent choice. It’s readily available from Amazon.

Leviticus needn’t be a trek through the desert

I’ve read through the Bible many times just like many of you. I must admit that one of myDES least favorite books in the Bible was Leviticus. Can anyone else relate? The book focuses mainly on the sacrificial rites and the role of the Levitical priesthood. There’s a lot of intricate detail about the sacrifices, the priesthood, ceremonial uncleanness, and Israel’s national religious feasts. It’s very dense, challenging reading. Needless to say, you won’t hear many sermons in church based on Leviticus. A Google search of “least popular books of the Bible” brings up many articles pointing to Leviticus.

Ahhh, but let’s not be too hasty. Somewhat obscured by all the ritual and detail in Leviticus is some absolutely amazing Christ typology! The lamb without blemish. The sacrifice for sin. The scapegoat. The blood on the altar. The high priest. The laver. The censer and incense. The lampstand. The shewbread. The veil screening the Holy of Holies. The Lord Jesus Christ is alluded to throughout the book.

My wife and I are reading through the Bible together as part of our daily devotion and Leviticus was our next book. I was tempted to skip it to spare my wife such difficult reading but we plowed ahead. The day before we read a chapter I would study it thoroughly using John MacArthur’s one-volume Bible commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru-the-Bible Commentary, and Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Folks, using some helpful Bible resources like the ones mentioned adds greatly to an understanding of Leviticus. I was able to share many of the allusions to Christ with my wife as we read. Tonight we read the last chapter of Leviticus. I can’t say if my wife will be sorry but I have a new fondness for this under-appreciated book.

If you dread reading Leviticus, or even skip over it, I suggest you pick up a few Bible references that will help you to better understand some of the amazing Christ typology in the book. Many, many times my mouth dropped wide open as I fully realized the clear pictures of Jesus Christ in this Old Testament book.

Fragment of “true cross” stolen from a Catholic church?

News sources report a fragment of the “True Cross” TRCwas recently stolen from St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic church in San Francisco, California (photo shows empty case after theft). See one of the news stories far below.

According to legend, Helena, the mother of Roman Emperor, Constantine, traveled to Palestine around 326-328 AD in search of relics associated with Jesus Christ and allegedly discovered the actual cross that Jesus was crucified upon. She supposedly took a portion of the cross back to Constantinople but left the majority of it in Jerusalem. The invading Catholic crusaders of the Middle Ages were said to have taken fragments of the cross from Constantinople back to Europe. Many Catholic churches claimed to have a fragment of the cross. John Calvin coyly remarked:

“There is no abbey so poor as not to have a specimen. In some places there are large fragments, as at the Holy Chapel in Paris, at Poitiers, and at Rome, where a good-sized crucifix is said to have been made of it. In brief, if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load. Yet the Gospel testifies that a single man was able to carry it.”

What are Christians to make of all of this? Did Helena actually discover Jesus’s actual cross 300 years after His crucifixion? The chances of that happening would have been most assuredly less than zero. But this whole “true cross” business is an interesting example of Catholic syncretism. Roman paganism relied heavily on amulets, talismans, and other good luck charms. Possessing such articles portended good health and prosperity. As the early church transitioned from simple, saving faith in Jesus Christ to institutionalized religious legalism, it borrowed from paganism and proclaimed that relics and other physical objects (candles, holy water, medals, crucifixes, etc.) would obtain blessings for the possessor or worshipper. Consequently, religious objects and ritual became the focus rather than seeking a right spiritual relationship with the Creator. Accumulating a few famous relics assured a church a steady stream of money-paying pilgrims eager to receive blessings.

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” – Romans 1:25

Material objects mean nothing. If one person possessed Jesus’s entire cross, His crown of thorns, the whip that shredded His back, and the nails that held Him to the cross it would do them absolutely no good. It’s all worthless garbage. Repent of your sins. Accept Jesus Christ as you Savior by faith.

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

Relic Believed to Be Fragment of ‘True Cross’ Missing From Catholic Church

Read more about the legendary “true cross” here.