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Mormon Enigmas

Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.

At the end of his book Confessions, Jean Jacques Rousseau, who could be considered one of history's most conceited men, wrote: "As for myself, I declare openly and fearlessly: whosoever, even without having read my writings, after examining with his own eyes my disposition, my character, my manners, my inclinations, my pleasures, and my habits, can believe me to be a dishonorable man, is himself a man who deserves to be choked" (1).

When being interviewed, former governor of Massachusetts and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon, stated: "To understand my faith, people should look at me and my home and how we live. Of course, doctrines and theology are different, church to church, but what my church teaches is evidenced by what I have become and what my family has become" (2).

Mormon Apron

The Mormon ceremonial apron, quite similar to the Masonic apron
The word "evidenced" is quite telling. According to Romney, Mormon teaching has to be good, because of "what I have become and what my family has become." There is a fallacy of relevance in this notion, called "false cause," post hoc ergo propter hoc: After this, therefore because of this. Hence, a heroic soldier, if asked the source of his abnegation, could say it is "evidenced by the fact I was trained at Fort Bragg."

In addition to completely ignoring doctrine, the similarity of Romney's words to Rousseau's is curious. Look how good I am. It is me who counts. Put in another way: "If you want to behold goodness, look at me. If I am good, my church is good."

What, exactly, therefore, is the doctrine of the Mormon religion, vis-à-vis what the Mormons themselves have become? (3) One example of their doctrines is the one that declares war on Catholics, stating that the Roman Catholic Church is the "most abominable above all other churches" (4).

According to Mormon teaching (5), in New York in the early 19th century, Moroni, the son of a Nephite general turned angel, paid a visit to a young illiterate treasure hunter named Joseph Smith. Moroni gave his permission for Smith to dig up some hidden golden plates, hitherto guarded by a "white salamander"(6), an occult figure. One Mormon historian, Michael Quinn, in fact was excommunicated for his "painstaking work (documenting) Smith's involvement with the occult" (7). Moroni presented Smith with some magic spectacles to read the hieroglyphics written on the plates, which was in "Reformed Egyptian." Since Smith couldn't write, he hired others to do the job. Among them was Oliver Cowdery, an unemployed school teacher.

Cowdery sat under a blanket and dictated from the plates The Book of Mormon, believed by Mormons to be the true history of our continent from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D. We are informed by their teaching "that Christ preached to the American Indians after His ascension and founded a church among them for the Western hemisphere... That (Smith) re-established the church of Christ which had been wiped out in the Americas and had apostatized elsewhere... (and) that the Mormon church is the only true Christian religion." Moroni further states that, pari passu, "all existing churches were in error, corrupt and apostate."

Joseph Smith responding for poligamy
From the golden tablets we learn that North and South America were peopled by Jews, who came by ship from Palestine. Eventually they split into two nations, the Lamanites and the Nephites. Christ appeared to the Nephites, chose 12 Indian apostles and set up a church which was a counterpart of the Church he had established in Jerusalem. The Lamanites killed off the Nephites, and Moroni buried the plates which recounted the history of his race.

According to Bringham Young, Jesus was a polygamist and Mary and Martha were two of his wives. Mormon theology also teaches that the god of this world is a man (probably Adam), a physical being, a polygamist. Further, God did not create matter, which existed eternally (he 'organized' it.) There is not one God but many gods, and Mormons can become gods of other planets when they die.

The Book of Mormon contains verbatim, lengthy statements from the New Testament. In his study on it, Whalen observes:

"It abounds in anachronisms, contradictions, and stock Campbellite answers to the theological questions of the early 19th century. At times its hindsight prophecy becomes entangled in such statements as `the son of God shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem.' Shakespearean students will be surprised to find the phrase ‘the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns’ appearing in a passage written 2200 years before the Bard (8).

It will be interesting to observe how American voters react to Mitt Romney. His religion seems impossibly at odds with the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, history and philology, to mention a few. If a person is willing to buy into the magic glasses and golden plates story (they seem to have disappeared) and all that came from it, what else is he willing to believe? But one of the most disturbing things about Mormonism is the bold claim that "all" other churches are in apostasy.

It seems Mormons may have a secret knowledge. The same kind of exclusive knowledge exists in Gnosticism, which affirms that "unless carefully interpreted according to this secret wisdom, everything the Bible says is wrong" (9).
1. The Latin Mass, Spring 2007, p. 32.
2. Hugh Hewitt, A Mormon in the White House? (Washington DC: Regnery, 2007), p. 208.
3. The Mormon “church” is also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).
4. Bruce R. McConkie notes: `The Roman Catholic Church specifically – is singled out, set apart, described, and designated as being ‘most abominable above all other churches’
(“Mormon Stumpers,” Catholic Answers, n. 6). 5. The data about Mormon teaching and un-footnoted quotes are taken from William J. Whalen, Separated Brethren (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1958).
6. "New Evidence Linking Magic to Mormonism.," San Francisco Chronicle, May 11, 1985. The article points out that the salamander turned into a spirit, and that the salamander is "a mythical figure long familiar to occultists." p. 12.
7. Time, August 4, 1997, p. 57.
8. J. Whalen, Separated Brethren. 9. Solage Hertz, Is the Black Mass Valid?, 1976.

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