Here are a podcast and notes on Mormonism (47 minutes).
To download the podcast, right click on "download" and select "save link as" or "save target as" and you can download the podcast and listen to it later.
These are my personal conclusions about Mormonism based on primarily on my study of the Book of Mormon in 2010. (There is also a bibliography at the end these notes.)
My issues with the Book of Mormon (BOM):
1. VERIFICATION: TESTIMONY
- Self-authenticating – ask the Holy Ghost? Circular demand. Nor is this the kind of seeking Jesus asks of us.
- Many of the witnesses to the golden plates defected, leaving the Mormon church.
- Further note: I see no reason to grant the authenticity of Mormon "tongues" (more common in the 19th century than now) as a sign pointing to genuine conversion or the presence of God. See 2 Nephi 31:14; 32:2; 3 Nephi 29:6; Alma 9:21; Omni 1:25; Mormon 9:7, 24; Moroni 10:15-16 — 8 passages in all. (I many have missed some.)
2. PHYSICAL EVIDENCE ABSENT
- Archaeological evidence – Jaredites. Lamanites? Evidence of advanced civilizations in the New World (like the Mayans) – yes. But far later than the dates claimed by Mormonism.
- Given the phenomenal specificity of the BOM (Jesus Christ was understood before the incarnation; verbatim correspondence to so many scriptural verses and phrases), the vagueness about persons and places, and the lack of historical, geographical, and archaeological attestation are striking!
- Mormons equate the Latter Day Saints with the kingdom of God.
- Yet the kingdom is not an institution.
- It comes in waves, not at a single time.
- This appears to be a theological doctrine devised for control.
- 25,000 lifted words from the KJV OT, 2000 from the NT.
- 1 Nephi – culled from bits of the OT and the NT.
- 2 Nephi – largely dependent on Isaiah, chapters of which have been lifted verbatim from the KJV.
- 3 Nephi – called largely from N.T. (e.g. Matthew).
- Almah – massive lifting (longest book in BOM).
- BOM is a queer mix of 19th century and Elizabethan English. Why Elizabethan English if written in 1830s?
- Hebrew error: “It came to pass” -- appears more than 2000x in BOM.
- Jew, church, Bible, Christ, Jesus, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” (2 Nephi 31).
- Nephites cultivate wheat and barley (not maize and potatoes).
- Jaredites brought animals: horses, pigs, sheep, cattle, donkeys – Columbus found none of these when he came to the New World!
- Enormous emphasis on baptism in many of the books. Moroni 8 – infant baptism an abomination: Yet this deviation from the NT was not known until the late 2nd C. AD, The “firstfruit of repentance is baptism.”
- Scimitar – appears as an English word in 1548. The word may go back to ancient Egypt, but how would Smith have known? Houses of cement (!) – timber was scarce -- Helaman 3.
- Alma 46 -- true believers called “Christians” (!)
- Clearly retrojects contemporary (19th C.) issues: Mormon persecution, church governance, sacraments, and various 19th century issues and doctrines.
- 2 Nephi 5 – curse of dark skin (though chapter 26 seems to allow that blacks are God’s children, too).
- Alma 3 – curse of dark skin on Lamanites.
- 3 Nephi 2 – Lamanites blessed, -- lose dark skin, become white.
- In the book of Jacob, the dark-skinned will eventually be blessed.
- Native Americans are descended from Jews – but they were unreceptive to the Mormon message, and showed no familiarity with Judaism (nor genetic relationship).
- Blacks are spirits who, in their preexistence, rebelled against God – their punishment was to inhabit black bodies.
- Some Mormon missionaries promised darker races they will be white in the next life if they convert.
- 1976—Mormon bishop in Vancouver excommunicated for accepting a black into the Mormon priesthood.
- IRS pressure and 1978 "revelation" to president Spencer Kimball.
- Zion will be built on the American continent (Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints no. 10).
- Their Doctrines & Covenants affirm that the U.S. Constitution comes from God!
- But Jesus discouraged putting hope in politics – just like the OT prophets.
- 3000+ changes made between original BOM and today’s version.
- Mormons today claim the Holy Spirit has given only the essence of the translation, not a word-for-word translation.
- Mormons are slowly coming into the mainstream. Yet many Mormon doctrines are still simply bizarre: God has a wife; the Garden of Eden was in Missouri; God and his wife have flesh-and-blood bodies; and on and on...
- We should know what they really teach.
- Note: My comments have common almost completely from the BOM. Yet these are not the only scriptures, and D&C is more influential.
- Mark Twain: BOM is “chloroform in print.”
- Anderson, Ross, Understanding the Book of Mormon. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.
- The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1981.
- Brooke, John L., The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
- Krakauer, Jon, Under the Banner of Heaven. New York: Random House, 2004.
- Oakes, John, Mormonism: Another Testament of Jesus Christ? Spring, Texas: Illumination Publishers International, 2012.
- Scott, Latayne C., The Mormon Mirage. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.
- Tanner, Jerald and Sandra, The Changing World of Mormonism. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980.