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 Religions and sects » Sects and cults » The Mormons

Mormonism: The Goofiest Sect of All [2]
Author of this text:

Above, I have briefly discussed the Book of Mormon, its creation, its tale of ancient Hebrew tribes in America, and its "translation," and dictation by Joseph Smith. Less familiar to most freethinkers is the fact that the prolific Mr. Smith also wrote, for the most part, the two other sacred texts of the Mormon Church. These are the official Doctrine and Covenants of the church, and another book entitled, A Pearl of Great Price.

Strangely, the BOM as well as these above mentioned two texts are freely passed out to this day by the LDS Church to any prospective converts who ask. In fact, if you ask for a copy of the BOM, you will be given this „triple combination," as the Mormons call it. I said "strangely" because there are portions of both the D & C and the Pearl text that have caused and continue to cause more embarrassment to the church than is caused even by the ludicrousness of the BOM yarn. The „embarrassments" I refer to in the D & C are that Joseph Smith's official, holy doctrines have had to be „corrected" twice since he originally proclaimed them as the „gospel truth." The first instance occurred in 1890 when it was necessary for the church to reverse the official sanction and blessing by Joseph Smith of „plural marriage." (See doctrine 132, still-amazing as it may seem-proudly reprinted in every edition of the triple combination.) The church was literally forced to make this change as a condition for statehood. President and prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, made a second embarrassing change in 1978. (Incidentally, each succeeding president of the church is authorized to make such changes since they are considered just as much of a „prophet, seer, and revelator" as was the original president, Joseph Smith.)

This second change allowed, without mentioning African-Americans, that „all worthy male members of the church" would be „eligible for priesthood and temple blessings."

The document entitled, A Pearl of Great Price includes three sections entitled the „Book of Mathew," a "Book of Moses," and the now infamous, "Book of Abraham." In what would seem to be-but apparently is not-a church-destroying embarrassment, the entire „Book of Abraham" has been thoroughly proven to be an outright fraud by knowledgeable scholars and Egyptologists, over and over again. The problem was and is that, unlike his prudent „return" of the golden plates to the angel Moroni, Joseph Smith actually kept the original papyri that, according to official Mormon history, „came into the hands of Joseph Smith in 1835." According to Smith, these papyri were written by the patriarch Abraham himself about 4000 years ago and contained new revelations about God's will which Smith generously „translated" from the original hieroglyphics and revealed to the world. Obviously Smith was entirely unaware of the discovery in 1799 of the Rosetta Stone, which was not successfully translated until the late 1830's, and even then was only understood by a few academics. From Smith's vantage point, it must have seemed perfectly „safe" for him to make up what ever he wanted regarding the „true message" of the ancient hieroglyphics.

In a decision that the LDS church would later surely regret, the church itself put Smith's „translation" to a scientific test. In 1912, LDS Bishop Spalding submitted facsimiles of the original papyri, made by Smith himself, to a panel of eight recognized expert Egyptologists. Much to the chagrin of the church, the panel's unanimous opinion was that Smith's translation had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the material on the copies of the original papyri. Later, Smith's original papyri conveniently seemed to have „disappeared" and were presumed destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871. There must have been many a sigh of relief among the church higher-ups for several years after that. But wait. Oh no! Joseph Smith's authenticated original papyri were re-discovered in 1967 by a researcher at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where, apparently, some thoughtless Mormon Church official had stored them for safekeeping. Since that time, virtually every competent Egyptologist (non-Mormon) who has studied the papyri have confirmed the original Egyptologists' opinions that the „Book of Abraham" is a complete and utter fabrication! Of course, all of this is well known to the LDS hierarchy, although it is certainly not eagerly shared with the general membership.

The reader must be wondering by now, just as I have since I began my research into Mormonism, just how in the world is it possible that the LDS church not only continues to survive, but that, incredibly, it is actually rapidly growing in numbers of adherents and in influence. One might understand how many of the early backwoods, largely illiterate, superstitious original converts might have been duped by the apparently charismatic yarn-spinner Joseph Smith. However, one must ask in these modern times, when people are supposedly better educated, how can this continued survival and even growth be accounted for? I must confess that, frankly, I am at a complete loss for a satisfactory answer to that question. The only explanation that comes close for me was well stated by the inimitable H. L. Mencken when he said, „The curse of man, and the cause of nearly all his woes, is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible."

Bibliography:
Brode, Fawn M., No Man Knows My History-the Life of Joseph Smith, Alfred Knopf, Inc., 1945, Revised Second Edition, 1973.
Persuitte, David, Joseph Smith and the Origin of the Book of Mormon, Second Edition, McFarland & Co., Inc. Jefferson, North Carolina, 2000.  
Peterson, LaMar, The Creation of the Book of Mormon, A Historical Inquiry, Freethinker Press, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2000.  
Tanner, Jerald & Sandra, Archaeology and the Book of Mormon, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1969.  
Tanner, Jerald & Sandra, Did Spalding Write the Book of Mormon? Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1977.  
Tanner, Jerald & Sandra, Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1998.  
Tanner, Jerald & Sandra, Joseph Smith and Money Digging, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1970  
Tanner, Jerald & Sandra, Why Egyptologists Reject the Book of Abraham. Note: This book is simply a photocopy reprint of two other earlier books, as follows: (1) Joseph Smith Jr. As a Translator, an Inquiry Conducted by Rt. Rev. F. Spalding D.D, Bishop of Utah, 1912, and (2) Joseph Smith as an Interpreter And Translator of Egyptian, by Samuel A. B. Mercer, Ph. D., 1913. Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, Utah, No date given.  
Tanner, Jerald & Sandra, Mormonism-Shadow or Reality? Fifth Edition, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1987

Note: Jerald and Sandra Tanner and their Utah Lighthouse Ministry-despite their „mission" to convert adherents away from the „false religion" of Mormonism, and to the „true religion" of mainstream Christianity-have done some of the best research available anywhere to support the conclusion that The Book of Mormon and all of the „sacred writings" of Joseph Smith Jr. are simply early nineteenth-century fiction, partly created by Joseph and partly plagiarized from the bible and other sources available to Mr. Smith.

Published in the 2002 May/June issue of the American Rationalist ©.


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 Po przeczytaniu tego tekstu, czytelnicy często wybierają też:
Mormoni i masakra z Mountain Meadows
An autobiography

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« The Mormons   (Published: 17-06-2003 Last change: 06-09-2003)

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