Mormonism, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), is an inarguably popular religion. While it is not as prolific as Christianity or Islam, it is certainly an extension of Christianity and Theism. Many of us are accustomed to seeing the white shrit and black pants boys on bikes trying to talk to you about God. Normally, we avoid them. Normally, people avoid religious debate all together, it can be intimidating and many of us humbly admit to not knowing where to question or what to believe. Mormons are certainly a confident group and they are often noted for their charisma. However, Mormons make one grave mistake that humans are inclined to making too often; believing something absolutely bunk because of either traditions or kernels of proverbial reasoning.
Religions often preach that “love” is what their religion values most. However, they completely neglect the idea that there is not a single good that cannot be done without a belief in God. Furthermore, while they pontificate “love” as their main tenet, so do other religions. How can you tell who to believe? Well, you’d ask for further details. Unfortunately, when it comes to Mormonism, you’re heading towards a boat load from a treasure hunter who fantasizes about finding relics with glowing stones all the way from Egypt.
A guy named Joe Smith says he met an angel who gave him golden plates that only he can see and read. He says that it’s the restored bible that came from people who moved from Egypt and Israel to the america’s in 600 BC. Jesus, went to the america’s and told them all about God but then they were all killed by the people who we found later to be natives. If you preach the Book of Mormons, you too can become like Jesus and be a God in the after-life. Mormonism’s values are similar to Christianity. Polygamy is sometimes acceptable, depending on who you ask.
Before Jospeh Smith found Mormonism, he was a treasure hunter. Joseph Smith claimed that the could dig tresure up from the dirt by using seer stones to tell him where to find them. To find out this information, he would put the seer stones in the bottom of a hat and then read the reflections from the stone. Many people ignore this history of Smith because it makes his founding look all the more skeptical.
Mormonism was founded by a man named Joseph Smith. In 1823, Smith claims that hewas visited by an angel named “Moroni” who told him where to find relics that would reveal the foundations of Mormonism. Included in these relics was the golden plates that would translate the book of Mormons to Smith. However, there was a catch and that is that he could not show the plates to anyone else nor could anyone see them. Smith would publicly translate the book to people, but he would hide the relics at the bottom of a hat or hide behind a curtain while, apparently, utilizing the angelic relics.
Of course, there was much doubt about the existance of these relics, so Smith had witnesses sign a paper showing that they had seen them. However, each witness was family or financially backing Smith. If this isn’t the definition of bias, what woulde be? Of course, it is also a logical fallacy to believe that a simple witness to something proves it’s existance. This is where faith would be necessary, but usually theistic religions require faith in God, not in the credibility of the holy texts authorship. For example, the Bible has been revised numerous times by the Council of Nicaea. However, these were groups of reputable members in the religion. At least Christians claim that humans wrote the bible, in plain sight, with God speaking through them. Yes, it’s still a problem to debate, but it’s a lot more credible than golden plates that no one can see but you that you found in the hills with the help of an angel and only you can read it in the bottom of a hat!
If you are to pontificate a new religion to others, you ought to be able to offer good reasoning or justification for your credibility aside from forcing others to say they believe you. When considering Joseph Smith’s background and the methods of writing the Book of Mormon, there is far too much room for doubt and suspicion.
Essentially, Mormonism is an extension of Christianity. Mormonism utilizes the Old and New Testament as holy texts in support of it’s foundational beliefs. So, if you already have an understanding of the basics in these texts, then you know the very basic foundations of Mormonism.
Mormonism is really defined by the book of Mormons. In this, Joseph Smith explains all. So, for the sake of brevity, I want to give the quick run-down of what they believe without trying to convert you to Mormonism. While missionaries want to simply convert you to God, they will leave out a lot of key tenets of Mormonisms belief system and it’s flaws. When considering something to live by for the rest of your life, you really ought to question it fully, should you not?
Anyways, let’s look at the foundational beliefs.
Think of the Book of Mormons as the continuation and addition to the Old and New Testamanets. Smith explains, in the Book of Mormon, that Christ is amongst other Gods in heaven whom routinely create planets to spread life. It is a continuing process of reproducing. By believing in God and giving strong efforts in spreading their word, you too can join their ranks in God-hood, like Jesus, in the after-life. Marriages made in human form are continued in the after-life, so it’s easy to see where the problem of polygamy came in when reproduction is such a key tenet of Mormonism. On that note, it is important to mention that Brigham Young, the most notable successor of Smith after his death, introduced the concept that Adam (Adam and Eve) is the father of all spirits on Earth and the originator of all human-life. This is important to note because this is something testable.
The extension upon the Bible is that Israelites and Egyptians moved to the America’s, from Jerusalem, in 600 BC. There were four nations: Nephites, Lamanites, Jaredites, and Mulek’s. Let’s take a quick look at them:
Nephites: These are the light-skinned people. However, they were all killed by the
Lamanites. Before the last one died, they buried the golden plates that Smith would later claim to have uncovered, with the help of the angel Moroni.
Lamanites: These are the dark-skinned people. Mormonism’s will typically argue that the native people of America were Lamanites.
Jaredites: These are the people of southern America. They were apparently from the tower of Babel so their was linguistic differences.
Mulek’s: An inconsequential nation that worked with the Lamanites.
So why do Mormons go around preaching their beliefs? Because they believe that, by doing so, they will become Gods in the after-life. We can see more of the belief system exposed in my next section.
➡ Crucial Flaws
Without going into the philosophical arguments first, I want to first note very important physical flaws in Mormonism.
“I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel” ~ 1 Nephi 16:18
You can see, for yourself, that even the Smithsonian Institution has noted that there is no evidence supporting the existance of any of the nations, nor their use of steel or iron:
“…never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide
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.
Iron, stseel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492.
No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World archaeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archaeological remains in Mexico and archaeological remains in Egypt.”
Furthermore, if Mormons are taking the same premise as Christians that Adam and Eve are the first two humans created, then they must face the lacking archaeological evidence that they ever existed. You can find a plethora of evidence showing human fossils tracing millions of years back in time… and I will show you some of it.
“New discoveries combine to indicate that all the major steps in human evolution took place in Africa. Skeletal analysis of oldest human forbears around 3 million years ago reveal many anatomical similarities to African Great Apes. These and biochemical resemblances indicate a common ancestry for humans and apes, perhaps only a few million years earlier. Enlarged knowledge through recent recovery of skeletons of several successive stages in the line leading to modern peoples shows that many attributes or skills by which we define humanity arose much more recently in time than heretofore believed.”
+ Human Origins
“A highly resolved primate cladogram based on DNA evidence is congruent with extant and fossil osteological evidence. A provisional primate classification based on this cladogram and the time scale provided by fossils and the model of local molecular clocks has all named taxa represent clades and assigns the same taxonomic rank to those clades of roughly equivalent age. Order Primates divides into Strepsirhini and Haplorhini. Strepsirhines divide into Lemuriformes and Loriformes, whereas haplorhines divide into Tarsiiformes and Anthropoidea. Within Anthropoidea when equivalent ranks are used for divisions within Platyrrhini and Catarrhini, Homininae divides into Hylobatini (common and siamang gibbon) and Hominini, and the latter divides into Pongina forPongo(orangutans) and Hominina forGorillaandHomo. Homoitself divides into the subgeneraH.(Homo) for humans andH.(Pan) for chimpanzees and bonobos. The differences between this provisional age related phylogenetic classification and current primate taxonomies are discussed.”
+ Toward a phylogenetic classification of primates based on DNA evidence complemented by fossil evidence
This is already a significant problem for Christianity as it is. If the Mormons are to take Christs sacrifice as a form of atonement, you must ask how he is atoning and to whom? Considering the idea that Adam and Eve are already non-existant characters that apparently initiated original sin, then who is Christ atoning for to begin with? Let the good man Dawkins explain:
Firstly, Mormons definitively believe women to be inferior to men. Perhaps more liberal minded Mormons may believe otherwise, but it would contradict the reproducing nature of their after-life and the purpose of women on Earth, according to their own Holy Texts. Bruce R. McConkie, a LDS leader, is quoted as saying, “woman’s primary place is in the home, where she is to rear children and abide by the righteous counsel of her husband”:
Here are some direct quotations from the Book of Mormon to support sexism:
“For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.” ~ Jacob 2:28
“And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.” ~ 2 Nephi 13:12
Initial flaws in the church included polygamy, racism, financial secrecy, homophobia, and history revisionism. Mormons views on polygamy and racism has changed, but this is also in part due to their constant and frequent editing of the Book of Mormon. Of course, if it was the word of God, should it not be invincible and true? Why should the word of the immortal creator of all life and existance need a revision?
Marriage and Divorce
Almost all religions claim that their marriage, under the name of God, will maintain the integrity of the marriage. Mormons hold marriage to be even more significant as it continues through their mortal life to the after-life. Thus, Mormons must inexorably value marriage more than an Atheist. Furthermore, if the marriage is under the name of our creator and invincible God, what is the point of saying this if he does not contribute any integrity to the marriage at all? Furthermore, what about the evidence showing that Atheists have the lowest divorce rates?
Here are results done by the Barna Research Group, which is, ironically, a Christian organization:
“11% of all American adults are divorced
25% of all American adults have had at least one divorce
27% of born-again Christians have had at least one divorce
24% of all non-born-again Christians have been divorced
21% of atheists have been divorced
21% of Catholics and Lutherans have been divorced
24% of Mormons have been divorced
25% of mainstream Protestants have been divorced
29% of Baptists have been divorced
24% of nondenominational, independent Protestants have been divorced
27% of people in the South and Midwest have been divorced
26% of people in the West have been divorced
19% of people in the Northwest and Northeast have been divorced”
+ Atheism and Divorce
An additional factor that some people take is that education or attendance to religious events makes a difference in divorce rates and family integrity. However, there is evidence showing that this is still not true. While Atheism is not included in this study, it is evident that we can attribute Mormons with having lower divorce rates than most other religions, aside from Atheism.
“This paper examines religious differentials in patterns of family formation. When compared with those who state no religious preference, Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons are more likely to marry, less likely to divorce, more likely to remarry following divorce, and they have larger families. … These patterns are not altered when frequency of attendance and education are included as control variables.”
+ Religion and Family Formation
Joseph Smith is a martyr..?
The events that lead up to Joseph Smith’s death are controversial, but it doesn’t take much research to learn what happened. Joseph Smith was running for the president of the US but he, of course, had a lot of opposition. The main opposition was a group of people who produced a newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor. The main problem people had with Smith, aside from trying to change the US to a Theocracy (clergymen rule the country), Smith was accused of practicing polygamy and having subjugating views of women. In response, Smith had the newspaper destroyed (bureaucractically). This censorship caused a lot of problems and lead Smith to be jailed, with his brother. They went willingly saying that they were innocent men and would let the court show so. However, an angry mob busted into the jail and shot them both to death.. many, many times.
So, many people consider Smith a martyr for this. I am curious how..? Let me just double check..
Noun: A person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs.
Ok, yeah. A martyr is someone who dies because of their religious or other beliefs. I suppose Smith is a martyr because he believed he waas innocent of polygamy even though he openly admits to destroying the main medium to try and prove this? How can anyone, in their right mind, think this is matryrdom? Furthermore, some will equate him with Jesus. Well, Smith certainly did not die in the name of God, sin, or divine reasoning. Let’s face it; he was shot by an angry mob of husbands. Do I think they were right to do so? No, of course not. But that doesn’t mean Smith is a martyr. In this case, I’d say both parties are dumb. My biggest problem would have been Smith trying to change the US into a theocracy. Imagine the differences that would have made and how the public responded to that.
➡ So… what do I say to the preaching Mormons on the street..?
Generally, they will ask you, “Hello. Have you read/are you familiar with the bible/book of mormons?” and then continue to tell you how it spreads love and peace. The thing to remember is that people want to do good and they fervently believe they are doing good by telling others how to love and join their community. You cannot ever expect to turn the tables and try to convert them. However, you can ask questions showing an understanding and genuine problems with acceptance of the religion. When asked if you are familiar with the book of Mormons, here are some genuine options.
Estbalish Joseph Smith as a prophet:
As a precursor, missionaries often ask, “Have you heard the good news?”. While they do not do so all the time now, or they have become exhausted from their folly, this is a common phrase. The good news will be that the bible has been restored and found. This is where we can continue to our questioning.
You ought to first reply, “Yes, but I first must ask, you do declare Joseph Smith as your prophet and inarguable author of the book of mormons?”.
+ No: If they do not, you can then ask who wrote the Book of Mormons if it was not Joseph Smith who translated it from the golden plates. Any Mormon claiming that Joseph Smith did not write the book must be full of shit or is trying to avoid looking like an ill-informed person. Thus, you can ask to look at the Book of Mormons they have on them and look on the inside covers for the signature of the witnesses or Joseph Smith himself. Usually the witnesses signature is there. If so, claim that this signature is in there out of necessity to prove Joseph Smith’s divine translation of God from the golden plates.
+ Yes: Continue below.
Ask about historical problems:
“So Joseph Smith translated the word of God from the golden plates that were left behind by the Nephites, as claimed by the Book itself, right?”
+ No: If they claim that the golden plates were not left behind by the Nephites, you ought to ask them where the golden plates came from. If they continue to disagree, ask them to open to the Chapter of Moroni where he, as the final Nephite, writes about how he and the rest of the Nephites are being killed by the Lamantines and thus leaves the translation buried.
+ Yes(1): “How can you believe that Joseph Smith claims that Nephites existed in America when there is no proof of it? Furthermore, they mention the use of iron and steel in 600 BC but even the Smithsonian Institute denies any possibility of this for extensive years beyond Smith’s claim.”
+ Yes(2): “Where are the plates now..?” This is an often controversial question. I would not personally rely on this question to go anywhere productive as they are most prepared to answer this one with the power of God, Moroni, etc. It would likely be derailed with the “what’s more important, the evidence or the beliefs” argument.
What to believe..?
You can pretty much say this to any religious person to effectively end a debate:
“There are many religious people out in the world claiming that they follow the one true God, that their holy text is the true one, and that all others are false. I’m not sure who to trust because I cannot tell who to trust is the true religion. How can you tell the difference without making a blind leap of faith that could be made for any religion?”