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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

What the Latter Day Saints Believe

Pastor John Nelson

From the Plains Baptist Challenger, April 2014

The Latter day Saints is officially called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." This group is perhaps known more familiarly as "Mormons." It has its origins in the 2nd "Great Awakening" period of American history. Beginning in about 1790 and continuing through the mid 1800's, a series of 'revivals' were seeing a great number of converts added to the Christian faith, and the establishment of a large number of new Churches all across the country. However, not all the churches established were true churches, and not all the converts were genuine. The Churches of Christ, the Oneida Colony, and the Mormons can be counted among these.

In 1820, a man named Joseph Smith said he had an angelic vision in which he was told that all existing churches were in error and the true gospel would soon be restored. The angel led him to a hill outside of Palmyra, New York, to a hill called Cumorah, where he claimed to have found some golden plates left there by an ancient prophet. It was supposedly revealed to Smith that during the period following the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel, some Hebrews migrated to America from Jerusalem about 600 B.C.

The American Indians are, he was told, descendants of those Jews who were known as Jaredites. The angelic visitor, an angel named Moroni, led him to translate the hieroglyphic plates with the aid of some 'rose-colored glasses'. Smith dictated them to his 'scribe', a man named Simon Cowdery, and their contents formed what is known as "The Book of Mormon." John the Baptist then visited Smith and ordered him and Cowdery to baptize each other. When that was accomplished, he bestowed upon them the 'priesthood of Melchizidek', and three other Divine visitors, Peter, James, and John, gave them the keys of apostleship.

Teachings of Joseph Smith included not only salvation by works, but that as man is, so once God was; and as God is, man can be. One can see the original lies of Satan to Adam, deeply imbedded in this religion, " shall be as gods..." Smith also taught polygamy, or plural marriages, and that only through bearing children could a wife have a hope of eternal salvation. Such views resulted in great opposition from men with wives and daughters attracted to this new religion, and in 1844, near Carthage, Missouri, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, were attacked and killed by a mob.

With Smith's death, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a group named by Smith, became head of the Mormon Church, with Brigham Young as president. That group left the area and settled in Utah, around the Great Salt Lake. The defeated minority formed other Churches and did not participate in the western exodus.

Along with accepting the King James translation of the Bible, Mormons view Joseph Smith's Pearl of Great Price and Doctrines and Covenants as being divinely inspired literature. Holding to the same teachings that led Joseph and Hyrum Smith to his death, Mormons now number over 4.5 million worldwide. The main Temple is in Salt Lake, with, interestingly enough, another located here in the Oklahoma City area.

Mormons are usually politically conservative, and purport themselves to be family oriented. They are wonderful people, but are greatly in error concerning the Scriptures and the way of salvation. Mormonism is neither Catholic nor Protestant, nor is it Christian. It is in fact, a cult that condemns the souls of its adherents to hell.

Note from ELB: Pastor Nelson mentioned the Oneida Colony which I must confess that I knew nothing about, so I looked it up on the computer and found this interesting note on Wikipedia: "The Oneida Community was a religious commune founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848 in Oneida, New York. The community believed that Jesus had already returned in AD 70, making it possible for them to bring about Jesus's millennial kingdom themselves, and be free of sin and perfect in this world, not just Heaven (a belief called Perfectionism).

The Oneida Community practiced communalism (in the sense of communal property and possessions), Complex Marriage, Male Continence, Mutual Criticism and Ascending Fellowship. There were smaller Noyesian communities in Wallingford, Connecticut; Newark, New Jersey; Putney and Cambridge, Vermont. The community's original 87 members grew to 172 by February 1850, 208 by 1852, and 306 by 1878. The branches were closed in 1854 except for the Wallingford branch, which operated until devastated by a tornado in 1878. The Oneida Community dissolved in 1881, and eventually became the giant silverware company Oneida Limited."

Of course the Oneida silverware company has nothing to do with the evil cult they are named after. I imagine all of us have dined using Oneida silverware at some time or other.