My cousin sent me a link on Facebook tonight asking me what I thought of it. This web site is pretty much bottom-rung, Ed Decker-quality anti-Mormonism (the site contains numerous advertisements for The God Makers and The Temple of the God Makers), but I believe my cousin was being sincere in asking, so I wanted to offer a brief evaluation of the claims on the site. I’ve numbered these where they previously lacked numbers for ease of discussion.
It’s a bit difficult to summarize how accurate these statements are. Some of them make claims about the LDS church which are false in themselves. Others make claims which are more or less true, but it’s false that Mormons are trying to hide these teachings from the public. As such, where either claim was wrong I’ve labeled the statement false and explained why.
Warning: This blog post contains one reference to material from the pre-1990 temple ceremony. I don’t normally discuss temple content in blog posts, but I wanted to analyze the charge, so heads up.
1. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they believe your Church is wrong, your Christian creeds are abomination to God, and you pastor or Priest is a hireling of Satan.
Mostly false. It’s true enough that the LDS church thinks all other churches are wrong to some extent and Christian creeds (at least the ones that had been written by 1820, which is still most of them) are an abomination to God, but to claim that they think all non-LDS pastors and priests are hirelings of Satan is absolutely false. That last claim stems from a scene which used to be played out in their private temple ceremony which involved Satan hiring a sectarian minister to preach falsehoods. This was removed from the temple ceremony in 1990, probably in part because the leadership finally realized how offensive it was to non-LDS Christians.
Mormons generally won’t tell you about the sectarian minister in the pre-1990 temple ceremony, but they will definitely tell you about your church being wrong and creeds being an abomination. They openly teach those things in their first missionary discussion.
2. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there is salvation only in their church – all others are wrong.
False. Mormons have two understandings of salvation, the first one meaning resurrection and entry into the lowest level of heaven, the Telestial Kingdom. All of humanity gets this whether you are Mormon, Buddhist, Catholic, Mother Teresa or Adolf Hitler. That is how Mormons usually understand the term “salvation.” Functionally, there is no hell for the human race as we know it in Mormonism; all of humanity is considered “saved” in that way.
However, salvation in LDS terminology can also mean exaltation—obtaining the highest level of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom, and becoming a god. In that sense, salvation can only be found through the LDS church.
In any case, this statement is still false because Mormons are usually more than happy to explain about both types of salvation; they aren’t hiding this.
3. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that those who have been through their temples are wearing secret underwear to protect themselves from “evil”. This “evil” includes non – Mormons like you.
False. Mormon men usually go through the temple at about age 19, women usually sometime after age 21 or whenever they get married. Older converts go through the temple a year after their baptism. After going through the temple, Mormons do wear a special kind of underwear called “garments,” and some Mormons believe that the covenant signified by wearing the garments offers some form of spiritual protection.
Most people don’t talk to random strangers about their underwear, and Mormons are no exception, but when pressed Mormons are quite open about the nature and purpose of garments. For example, here is a pro-Mormon site that talks about garments. So it’s false to say that they’re hiding this.
BTW, I’m one of those evil non-Mormons and my husband is a garment-wearing Mormon, and let me tell you, his garments have never protected him from me. I don’t think he’d want them to.
4. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU about their secret temple rites at all. If they did, you would spot them as non Christians immediately.
False. Mormons will tell you “about” temple rites quite freely. What they probably won’t tell you are the specifics of what goes on inside temples. Some Mormons are more comfortable revealing details than others. My husband has let me ask questions about everything except the tokens, signs and his temple name.
5. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they think “familiar spirits” are good, and that their Book of Mormon has a “familiar spirit”. Leviticus 19:31 says familiar spirits defile one, and are to be avoided at all costs.
False. For starters, Leviticus 19:31 says not to seek out “mediums or necromancers” (ESV), and I’ve never heard a Mormon recommend the services of a medium or necromancer. “Familiar spirits” seems to be a KJV mistranslation or possibly an archaic English expression, but I’ve never heard Mormons recommend those, either.
6. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that women receive salvation only through their Mormon husbands, and must remain pregnant for all eternity.
Distortion and mostly false. Mormons teach that a sealing between husband and wife in an LDS temple is required for exaltation, making the marriage last for eternity, so it’s true that women receive salvation through their Mormon husbands, but at the same time, men receive salvation through their Mormon wives. This statement is misleading.
As for the second part, admittedly Mormonism is vague on the function and responsibilities of exalted women and why a physical body will be so important in the next life, but most Mormons would reject the notion that women will be “pregnant for all eternity.”
Mormons will definitely teach you that an eternal marriage is required for exaltation; whether or not literal, physical pregnancy is part of the next life is not likely to come up.
7. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they intend to be gods themselves some day, and are helping to earn their exaltation to godhood by talking to you.
False. This teaching is true enough, but Mormons are very open about this doctrine.
8. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they intend to have many wives in heaven, carrying on multiple sex relations throughout eternity, until they have enough children to populate their own earth, so they can be “Heavenly Father” over their own planet!
Somewhat true. To break it down:
(1) Mormons do expect to practice polygyny in the Celestial Kingdom. A man who gets sealed to more than one wife on earth can expect to have all his wives in the Celestial Kingdom. Men who are sealed to only one woman can expect to have just one wife; it is not expected that everyone will be in a polygamous union.
(2) Some Mormons do believe physical sex between husbands and wives will be permitted in the Celestial Kingdom. Not all Mormons believe this.
(3) Some Mormons do believe they will be Gods of other universes/worlds and Gods to their own spirit children just as our Heavenly Father is to us now. Not all Mormons believe this.
It’s true enough that most Mormons won’t talk about this immediately and not in such blunt terms.
9. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that you were once a spirit – child of their heavenly father, and one of his numerous wives before you were born on earth.
Mostly false. Mormons will tell you about being a spirit-child in the pre-existence during the second missionary discussion; that isn’t a secret at all. Mormons have no official doctrine on how many wives God has or whether He has a wife at all. Most Mormons today believe there is only one heavenly mother, but they probably won’t discuss this right away.
10. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the Virgin Mary really wasn’t a virgin at all but had sex relations with their heavenly father to produce the Mormon version of Jesus Christ
False. A few LDS leaders taught this in the past. Their statements were never considered doctrinal and very few Mormons believe it today, so of course Mormons won’t tell you about it.
11. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they believe Jesus had at least three wives and children while he was on this earth.
Not only is this one true, but we here at LDS & Evangelical Conversations have uncovered irrefutable documentary evidence of this historical fact.
A few LDS leaders in the 1800s did indeed teach that Jesus was a polygamist. This is believed by virtually no Mormons today, so of course they won’t tell you about it. Most Mormons do believe Jesus was married monogamously. Popular folk doctrine holds that He was married to Mary Magdalene.
12. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the “heavenly father” they ask you to pray to with them, is really an exalted man that lives on a planet near the star base Kolob, and is not the Heavenly Father of the Bible at all.
Mostly false. I guess it’s true enough that Mormons usually believe God the Father is an exalted man who lives on a planet near Kolob, but I’ve never heard Kolob called a “star base.” That makes it sound like they think God is building a Death Star out there or something.
Whether or not Mormons discuss this with you kind of depends on the Mormon, and they do believe this is the Heavenly Father of the Bible.
The Force was not strong with this one.
13. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that Jesus was really Lucifer’s brother in the spirit world, and it was only due to a “heavenly council” vote that Jesus became our redeemer instead of Satan!!
False. The claim is true enough, but it’s a lie to say Mormons won’t tell you about it. They regularly teach this in the first or second missionary discussion.
14. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there are over one hundred divisions in Mormonism. They conveniently “forget” this while criticizing the many denominations within the body of Christ
Mostly true. There have been over 100 splinter groups which accepted Joseph Smith as a prophet and the Book of Mormon as scripture since 1830, and I have had plenty of experience with Mormons who criticize the number Christian denominations while neglecting to mention these groups. However, calling these groups “divisions in Mormonism” is iffy terminology.
15. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that all their so- called scriptures such as the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, and even their official “Mormon Doctrine” statements contradict each other on MAJOR doctrinal points. The King James Bible is likewise contradicted.
Subjective claim. Arguably there are plenty of things in the LDS Canon which could qualify as contradictions, but critics of the Bible would argue just as well that the Bible contradicts itself. I don’t think the LDS church has “official ‘Mormon Doctrine’ statements” outside the Proclamation on the Family and the four Standard Works.
16. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the reason the Book of Mormon has no maps is because there is not one scrap of archaeological evidence to support it!
Mostly true. The Book of Mormon does seem to exhibit some geographical problems such that Mormons are unsure of where in the Americas the alleged events in it took place. I would have to agree that there is no archaeological evidence conclusively verifying BoM-exclusive events, locations or people.
However, I suspect the reason most Mormons don’t talk about this is because they just don’t know much about it—not because they know this is a weakness in the text and they want to hide it.
17. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the state of Utah, which is predominately Mormon, has a higher than the national average of wife-beating, child abuse, and teenage suicide.
This is what’s known as “making crap up.” CBS would be proud.
18. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their prophet Joseph Smith was heavily involved in the occult when he founded Mormonism.
This charge depends on the definition of the word “occult.” If by “occult” we mean devil-worship and human sacrifice, then it’s complete nonsense. If we mean Smith’s involvement in 19th century folk magic, than it’s appropriate, but important to note that the same charge could be leveled at a number of biblical figures as well.
19. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that that they encourage visitations from dead relatives from the “spirit world”, a practice forbidden in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12.)
20. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there are many accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision besides the one they present to you, and all are different
Mostly true. There are different accounts of the First Vision and most Mormons either won’t know about them or won’t discuss them right away. Mormons who do know about them would contest that the differences are irrelevant or easily explainable.
21. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their secret temple oaths are based on the Scottish Rite Masons.
Somewhat true. There are definite parallels between the LDS temple ceremony and the Freemasonry rituals. The Mormons who know about this will probably be up front in discussing it and the ones who don’t will not.
22. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that before 1978 they considered the Negro race inferior, and even one drop of Negro blood prevented a person from entering their priesthood.
False. Prior to 1978, Mormons did ban men of African descent from holding the priesthood and barred all men and women of African descent from entering their temples, however, they are very open about their past in this regard. There are still many, many Mormons alive who lived through the change firsthand as adults. In the years leading up to 1978, Mormon leaders had something of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on ordaining men of partial African descent, so it’s incorrect to say “one drop of Negro blood” kept men from ordination.
23. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they expect Christ to return to their temple in Missouri, but they haven’t built the temple He’s supposed to return to, because they don’t own the property. (It is owned by the “Temple Lot Mormons” who have plans of their own, and won’t let the Salt Lake City group buy it).
True enough, but I’m having a hard time understanding why Mormons would be expected to regularly share this with outsiders.
24. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they consider the Bible to be untrustworthy and full of errors.
Mostly false. They do believe that the Bible contains errors, but they’re pretty open about that fact; it’s regularly recited as part of the 8th Article of Faith. Mormons actually believe that all of their Standard Works potentially contain errors.
25. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that Jesus’ death on the cross only partially saves the believer.
Bullcrap. Mormons credit the atonement of Jesus Christ for making salvation possible, both in the first sense (resurrection, guarantee of Telestial Kingdom) and in the second sense (exaltation). They have a somewhat different application of the atonement in that they believe that performing certain ordinances is necessary to achieve exaltation, but interpreting that as “partial salvation” or any kind of salvation apart from Christ is misleading.
26. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that that according to Anton Lavey’s Satanic Bible, the demon god of the living dead is called “Mormo”. Is it just a coincidence that the Mormons are so concerned with the dead?
Even if this were true, Mormonism was founded in 1830. Lavey was born in 1930. If there is any connection, it’s because Lavey copied “Mormo” from his knowledge of Mormonism. Why should Mormons be responsible for what Lavey said or did?
27. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that on their Salt Lake City Temple they prominently display an upside-down star which is a Satanic symbol known as the Goat’s head. Why?
False. There is a pentagram on the Salt Lake Temple, but Mormons interpret it as a symbol of the endowment, and it’s certainly false that they won’t tell you about them. Here’s a temple site which talks about the stars on the Salt Lake Temple.
28. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they believe the Archangel Michael came down to earth with several of his celestial wives, and became Adam in the garden of Eden.
Somewhat true. It’s true that Mormons believe Adam was Michael the Archangel before and after his existence as Adam. It’s false that he had multiple celestial wives and false that Mormons won’t tell you about it. Here is a pro-LDS Web site which talks about it.
29. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that that they believe the angel Gabriel came down to earth and became Noah in the days of the flood.
Again, true and false. It’s true that Mormons believe this and false that they won’t tell you about it.
30. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied falsely many times. For example, he foretold the second coming of Christ for 1891. The Bible teaches that one false prophecy puts the prophet under death sentence. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).
Debatable; Joseph Smith almost certainly gave a few prophecies that did not happen, but the second coming of Christ prophecy as one of them is dubious.
31. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their Prophet Joseph Smith did not die as a martyr as they claim, but was killed during a gun battle in which he himself killed two men and wounded a third.
False. Mormons are more than willing to tell you about the gun battle; if you visit the Carthage Jail where Joseph Smith died, they’ll tell you all about it and you can even put your fingers in the bullet holes that were shot through the door (they’re getting nice and worn smooth like that). I’ve been there. Mormons readily acknowledge that Smith died in a gun battle from which he had little hope of escape, and they still believe he was a martyr.
32. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU about the Mountain Meadows Massacre in which they brutally murdered an innocent wagon train of settlers, of over one hundred men, women, and most of the children, traveling through Utah.
Yes they will. When I was taking the missionary discussions, my missionaries told me all about it and even pinned the blame for it on Brigham Young, though that’s debatable. In any case, it’s one of the most well-known massacres in American history. How could they ever hope to hide it?
33. MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that Joseph Smith taught that there were inhabitants on the moon, and Brigham Young taught there were inhabitants on the sun as well!
Somewhat true. The Moon Quaker claim comes from an extremely dubious source and it’s unlikely that Joseph Smith ever taught it. Brigham Young did teach that the sun was inhabited. In any case, if Mormons don’t tell you about this, it’s probably because it’s stupid and has almost nothing to do with the religion they practice today.
I did my best to be fair and accurate, and I welcome corrections on this from Mormons and non-Mormons alike.