Praise To The Man.

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith? This is a question many Mormons would find laughable and is only something that would be asked by someone with a very limited knowledge of Mormonism surely? This is the response to this question that can be found on some Mormon Websites

In addition to reverencing prophets and apostles, Mormons believe, like all Christians, that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Therefore, Mormons truly and sincerely worship God, the Eternal Father, in the name of the Jesus Christ-God’s unique Son. They worship no other man or women no matter who they are or what they have done. (

President Gordon B. Hinckley, prior president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made the following statement in 2005 about Joseph Smith:

“We do not worship [Joseph Smith] the Prophet. We worship God our Eternal Father and the risen Lord Jesus Christ. But we acknowledge the Prophet; we proclaim him; we respect him; we reverence him as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth the ancient truths of the divine gospel, together with the priesthood through which the authority of God is exercised in the affairs of His Church and for the blessing of His people” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Joseph Smith Jr.—Prophet of God, Mighty Servant,” Ensign, Dec 2005, 2–6). (

So what does the word “Worship” Mean? says it is reverent honor and homage paid to god or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

At a recent visit to a Mormon baptism the final hymn sung was the LDS classic Praise to the man, a song honoring the Founding Prophet Joseph Smith.

Here is the Full Lyrics of the song, as you read this I would ask you to imagine that the name Joseph was not used in this hymn, who would you imagine this hymn was singing about?

Verse 1

Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Jesus annointed that Prophet and Seer.
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.


Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.

Verse 2

Praise to his mem’ry, he died as a martyr;
Honored and blest be his ever great name!
Long shall his blood, which was shed by assasins,
Plead unto heav’n while the earth lauds his fame.

Verse 3

Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

Verse 4

Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;
Earth must atone for the blood of that man.
Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.
Millions shall know ‘Brother Joseph’ again.

This is a hymn sung today I would imagine regularly in LDS Wards (or Mormon Churches) all around the world, what I want to do in this post is just try and get an idea of just how far this devotion to Joseph Smith goes looking at things said by Joseph Smith Himself and other authorities since and see if this is the only case of Joseph Smith being given a place that sounds to me like it belongs to Christ. And then look at the bibles response to this.

So firstly we see in Mormon Scripture Doctrine and Covenants 135:3 this

Joseph Smith, the aProphet and bSeer of the Lord, has done more, csave Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.

There seems to be a real sense of honour towards Joseph for what He did with regards to translating the book of Mormon and starting the Mormon church itself, this was not lost on Joseph Himself as can be seen here from an official LDS book.

God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil–all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet . . . ” (History of the Church, vol.6, p. 408-409)

In teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith Page 363 he says:

God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and He will make me be god to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it you must lump it.

So according to Joseph not even Jesus could do such a work as Him and he was god to his people,  Brigham Young the second Prophet of the Mormon Church was only too happy to carry on this thinking.

“…and he that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is Antichrist,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p. 312).

“…no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 289).

This teaching is not just something taught in the past by Joseph Smith, in the Article Joseph Smith among the Prophets in the official Mormon magazine “the Ensign” June 1994, Robert Millet a professor at Brigham Young University reemphasizes this teaching saying again that “No man can enter the Celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith.” (Celestial Kingdom being the highest level of heaven for Mormons)

So what we have so far is a man claiming to be more succesful at holding a church together than Jesus Christ, this man was a god to his people and without his consent even today Mormons cannot enter heaven, the response to this is singing praise to the man, Joseph Smith. Lets look at some of the lyrics in this hymn and compare it to statements the bible makes about Jesus.

1, Kings shall extol him, and nations revere. says that Extol means to praise highly, just think about this statement and ask yourself should this be said about anyone other than God Himself?

Psalm 106:48 says

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.

Let all the people say, “Amen!”

Praise the LORD.

Psalm 22:27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,

Will the nations praise and bow before Joseph or God?

2, Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.

This strikes me as a play on the words of the book of Hebrews:

Hebrews 7:22-23 says

22By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

In the Old Testament people were High Priests until death and then they were replaced, these verse’s and much of the content in Hebrews shows that because Jesus lives forever He never needs to be replaced, hence He is the only High Priest forever, Joseph’s priesthood is non-existent. For my previous article focusing more on this issue please go to

3, Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;

This is the most troubling of probably anything I have said in this article or anything I have ever said in this blog. This says that the sacrifice of Joseph brings forth the blessings of heaven, to make this statement about anyone other than Jesus Christ, God in the flesh the eternal living sacrifice is completely heretical and will lead you to nowhere other than hell.

The cry of my heart to any Mormon, or anyone who sings a song like this hymn is to come to know Christ, by His wounds you are healed (1 Peter 2:24) and by His sacrifice and love for you, you can be saved (John 3:16). Joseph Smith is a man worthy of no worship, who committed no sacrifice for you as he was a sinner like the rest of us, come to Christ and be changed by Him.

I have never done this before but I want to end this by giving you the opportunity to come to Christ now, its simple and its all of His grace, just pray this prayer without reservation and give yourself to Him, I am not even saying leave the Mormon church, thats your decision but give yourself to Christ He will change you and take you where He wants you to be, and no longer trust in the sacrifice of a sinful man, but that of a perfect God.

Lord Jesus Christ.

I am a sinful lost person, seperate from you by my own wrongdoing,

I trust that on the cross you took the punishment for all of my sin, past present and future, and that through Your resurrection you defeated it all so that I could have life and no longer death.

I now turn away from my sin and wrongdoing and give my entire self to You, i hold nothing back and will follow you wherever you lead.

Thank you for this grace I now accept it and accept you as my Lord and Saviour, Amen.

If you have truly prayed that and given yourself to Christ then you will be saved, through His works and no longer yours, if you want any help give me an email or comment.

And as ever please comment and tell me your thoughts.

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43 Responses »

  1. Bobby,

    I’ve generally stayed away from your blog because I just can’t afford to get mired in the drawn out discussions we’ve had in the past. But I wanted to make a few comments on this particular topic. Thanks again for bringing up interesting topics of discussion.


    I struggle to understand why you can’t just accept our word when we tell you what we believe. You got the answer from the horse’s mouth (Pres. Hinckley) and yet you still insist on telling us what we believe.

    Imagine for a second that I were to argue that Evangelical Christians worship the Bible. Suppose I get a quote from a leading Evangelical Christian stating that Evangelicals do NOT worship the Bible. Yet, suppose I just can’t just drop the issue and so I write a lengthy blog post trying to argue that, even though no single Evangelical will admit it, all Evangelicals do in fact worship the Bible (I think an argument like that would be feasible, though wrong). From the definition of “worship” that you’ve provided I think it would be quite easy actually. The Bible, after all, is a “sacred object.” Do you worship the Bible?

    The old chestnuts about Joseph boasting, being a “god” to his followers, etc., have been asked and answered very long ago. Check the FAIRwiki.

    You ask, regarding the giving of praise (extol), “should this be said about anyone other than God Himself?” Well, let’s examine a few examples from the Bible, all of which describe things being praised, none of which are God:

    *Genesis 49:8 ¶ Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

    *Proverbs 27:1-2
    1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
    2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

    *Proverbs 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

    *Song of Solomon 6:9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

    *Ecclesiasted 4:2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

    *Isaiah 62:7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem an object of praise in the earth. (see NET Bible footnote)

    *Zephaniah 3: 19-20 (speaking of Israel)
    19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
    20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.

    *Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

    *1 Cor 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

    Regarding “great is his glory and endless his priesthood”, Latter-day Saints believe that those who are heirs to God’s throne will receive great glory. Do you not believe that? Must we debate that?

    Also, the “priesthood” referred to is the priesthood that Joseph Smith taught is called “The Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God.” It is Christ’s priesthood, and he privileges us, including Joseph Smith, to exercise it. This is basic stuff.

    “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven”. This is simply a principle that all Christians believe. “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” There is nothing controversial about that.

    But you seem to have taken this particular line of the song to somehow mean that Joseph Smith’s sacrifice, his life and death given to the Lord, is a sort of atonement for sin. That is not at all what the song suggests, nor is it what Latter-day Saints believe. The line simply conveys the fact that Joseph Smith sacrificed all for the Lord, and for his sacrifice he (Joseph) will be blessed. Again, “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

    • Good to hear from you James, in all honesty I have been missing you,

      (1) I don’t believe in my post I conclude whether Mormons worship Joseph Smith or not, though it is clear what I think I leave it open to readers to decide, and no I dont worship the bible but it is very clear on who I should be worshipping.

      (2) Yep the old chestnut of a Mormon Apologist response if it has been responded to then it is redundant, I will only accept that when every LDS member knows about these issues, that would only happen when the LDS church is open about them and stops tellings its members not to look for themselves, not really gonna happen, until then though I will carry on.

      (3) Seriously though, compare those statements to the Praise to the man hymn and you have no argument. Show me anywhere in the bible other than about Christ where someones death is referred to like Smiths in this hymn?

      (4) Basic it may be but its not biblical and yes I would be happy to discuss it further.

      (5) Again I do not conclude anything about this other than it is a heretical statement, I never said the LDS believe Smiths death makes atonement for sin.

      Basically James I think Praise to the man is full of wordplays on statements made about Christ, as ever the apologists like you can say “look it doesnt say this” etc however if you look at it and think for yourself and compare it to biblical statements it is very clear what it is saying however the LDS church is way too clever to actually say those things as if it did you would be unable to say look it doesn’t actually say them.

      My only hope is people reading this will dare to think for themselves.

  2. (1) Is the Bible a “sacred object”? Do you honor and pay homage to it? Of course you do. According to the definition you provided by, you worship the Bible. So, you worship the Bible, you worship God, and that makes you a polytheist.

    That was just an exercise to demonstrate the silliness of this whole debate. You would NEVER describe yourself as a polytheist, but it is so easy to tell others what they believe.

    (2) I dispute the claim that the LDS Church is not open about anything we’ve touched on so far. If they are trying to hide some sort of secret devotion to Joseph Smith, they are doing a terrible job by publishing a hymn that celebrates him. But let’s not get sidetracked with this.

    (3) It is a mistake to compare this song to biblical statements about Christ’s death. You’ve challenged me to do this, but it is simply apples and oranges. Instead of comparing a hymn with scripture, let’s compare a hymn with another hymn. This hymn comes nowhere close to the devotional spirit you find in other LDS hymns concerning Christ’s death. See, for example, “I Believe in Christ”, or “I know That My Redeemer Lives.” The sort of language in those hymns (which we sing more regularly than “Praise to the Man”) far exceeds “Praise to the Man” in language that could be called “worship”.

    But the point has been made. The Bible itself lauds and praises various individuals who are not God. The hymn “Praise to the Man” is simply following that example.

    (4) Your beef seems to be with our doctrine of the priesthood generally, and not with how it is portrayed in this hymn. That is fine, but not particularly relevant to whether or not we worship Joseph Smith.

    (5) So what is your point in bringing up? Just to say that the principle of sacrifice is heretical? I thought this was about determining whether we worship Joseph Smith or not.

    • Now then James, before I respond to your points I would like to say again I do not actually conclude that Mormons do worship Joseph Smith, however I give many cases of things being said and much of my conclusions are simply summing up the statements made by LDS sources so it strikes me as almost a little silly that you have to defend this, if you think what I have shown is so correct from the LDS point of view, why not just thank me?

      (1) The bible is not a sacred object but its words are scripture and are inspired, again I can see the game your playing of showing me what I believe etc but all I did was show LDS quotes from LDS sources and left it to people to decide.

      (2) The LDS church is so closed as an organization with information that is deemed as not uplifting it blows me away, however I dont believe that was a massive point I made in this article I just looked at the hymn and other sources and showed them. But if you are trying to tell me that LDS members are not discouraged to look around for information on the church good or bad then I could put you in touch with many who were told that, and you have said yourself in the past that its not the churches duty to reveal many of those things.

      (3)I simply said it concerns me, which it really does, if it does not concern you then good for you.

      (4) True thats why it gets a very brief mention in this post and I put a link on to my article about it.

      (5) My point is that again it alludes to Smiths death having a similar impact to Christs but as you say it dosn’t say it, hense the fact that the church can sit back and giggle while the critics point it out and the apologists say it dosn’t say that and the circles go on.

  3. Bobby,

    You *clearly* are trying to push your view that Mormons worship Joseph Smith. You might be protecting yourself by not coming right out and saying it, but this post is 100% designed to make your readers come to that conclusion. You know, I know, and anyone who reads it knows it. So it is very disingenuous of you to pretend that you haven’t taken a position on this issue.

    It isn’t that I disagree with any of the LDS material you have presented, but I do disagree with the manner in which you have presented them, your commentary about them, and the conclusion you are trying to force readers to come to about them.

    I can’t help but think that you are back-peddling at this point. It is simply not possible to build a strong case that Mormons “worship” Joseph Smith in any meaningful sense of the word, but it is oh-so-very-fun for anti-Mormon Evangelicals to pretend that they have something when they know full well that they do not.

    Believe me, the Church does not “sit back and giggle” at these sorts of idiotic accusations. We roll our eyes.

    • Hey James to be fair I am not sure whether Mormons do worship Joseph Smith or not, however I certainly think Smith would have liked them too.

      And to say I am forcing people to come to a conclusion gives me way too much credit.

      And ultimately my goal is to make as many LDS members as possible aware of these issues, if their response is to roll their eyes too then thats up to them.

  4. Bobby,
    You said that you think that Joseph Smith would have liked to have been worshipped as a god by his followers. I very, very strongly disagree with this view. Joseph Smith wasn’t a perfect man (nobody but Christ is) but he displayed a continual interest in doing the Lord’s work and letting others participate as much as possible. He wasn’t looking for glory, and if he was then he went about it all wrong.

    For example, he set up a system of priesthood governance in which he himself could be brought before a council of elders and disciplined. I can’t recall the details, but I’m certain such a thing occurred. Joseph wanted all of his followers to participate in the priesthood and to govern themselves. That does not seem like the actions of a power-hungry man.

    Here is one other simple example of Joseph’s humility. In a private letter to his wife, Joseph said the following:
    “I will try to be contented with my lot, knowing that God is my friend. In him I shall find comfort. I have given my life into his hands. I am prepared to go at his call. I desire to be with Christ. I count not my life dear to me [except] to do his will.”

    This just doesn’t sound like the words of a man who wants to be worshipped by his followers.

    • James, what I have tried to do with my post is let the quotes of Smith and others speak for themselves, my view is secondary to those, regarding your quote from Smiths letter to his wife I would just have to say his private self seems to be different to how he put himself across publically but again thats just my opinion, maybe I did speak too harshly saying that Smith was seeking worship however the way he has been portrayed by himself and others does concern me greatly.

      And regarding this priesthood governance I would be totally open to discussing that further if you have any examples of Joseph coming under that authority as I did not know about that.

      And Matthew good to have you on here mate and you make some good points, out of interest do you sing Praise to the Man in any of your church meetings if not why not?

  5. Hi Bobby. You know how I feel about The Prophet Joseph, so that goes with saying. However I truly believe that anyone who stands as a Mormon weather LDS or from the other sects truly believes in and holds no one above the Saviour Jesus Christ. I know that I love the Lord above any. I hold what Joseph did in great regard but he was just a man and men are imperfect and are not God. To truly understand the gospel one can only do that through the Saviour and his atonement and I believe that brother Joseph taught this throughout his life and he did not expect any one to hold him above the Saviour.

    A lot of the hero worship that has come about has come about through the history of the LDS movement and this hero worship continues to this day. I still hold the belief however that they do not hold him above the saviour in any regard, they have many faults but elevating Brother Joseph to the status of the Saviour is not one of them. I do think however that there is a underling problem with hero worship the LDS church so much so you would be mistaken in to thinking that brother Joseph could do not wrong and that he was greater than he was.

    Anyway, that’s what I think. Take it as read that I worship only one God and believe in only one God, and I do not worship Brother Joseph, I admire him and I do respect him, and that is as far as it goes, and that is the official line of the church.

  6. Matthew,
    I have to tell you how refreshing it is to hear an official statement from a mormon leader. I know you are from a different sect of mormonism than the LDS, but I think that the LDS leadership could take a lesson from you. Thank you for telling us your official opinions.

    I get your post and why you posted it. You are right in your thinking about everyday mormons not knowing that Joseph Smith said things like this. I didn’t know of it until I started researching and as we all know, most mormons will never see it because they only read church approved material. Maybe the LDS church should include these quotes in their lessons about Joseph Smith even though they aren’t “faith promoting.” At least people would be getting all sides of Joseph Smith and not a “whitewashed” version. One thing that really disturbs me as I become more familiar with these blogs, is how easily and how quickly mormons throw the Bible out there to debate or how they try to discredit the Bible no matter what about mormonism is being discussed. Isn’t the Bible supposed to be their scriptures too? Notice how the Bible was thrown at you right at the get go??? How disturbing. This tells me very clearly who worships whom. Great post by the way!:)

  7. Kate,

    (1) You complain that there isn’t an official comment from LDS leadership, but you may have overlooked Pres. Hinckley’s quote in Bobby’s post. It directly addresses the relevant issue.

    (2) We’ve talked before about the idea that the LDS Church “hides” information from its members. It is a favorite point to harp on by disenchanted members (such as yourself). Feelings of betrayal and anger are common and the LDS Church is blamed for “whitewashing” and being dishonest in their representations of LDS history.

    And I’ve mentioned before that I find these sentiments to be wrongheaded. I am a mainstream member of the LDS Church and I’ve taken it upon myself to study the history of my faith and know about these things. I don’t feel betrayed, lied to, or otherwise duped. I think the LDS Church does a fine and appropriate job in its portrayal of Joseph Smith and LDS history. So, I’m a direct contradiction to the storyline that you want to convince everyone of. I, and many, many others, have studied and learned about all the same things that you have but I never felt the negative feelings that you did. So there must be something far more complex going on than the a massive conspiracy to keep LDS members from knowing their history.

    It is in fact an important area of discussion and one that doesn’t receive enough attention. Given two people who know the same set of data, what causes person A to lose faith, and person B to retain faith? This question of course is not unique to Mormonism. It applies to every faith. I don’t know the answer, but I suspect there is no one-size fits all answer. Every case is different and people are complex individuals and their choices are complex (unless you believe in Calvinism, in which case your choices aren’t really choices).

    But returning for a moment to the issue of “hiding” history, there are many strange and embarrassing items throughout the history of mainstream Christianity, and it doesn’t fall on the shoulders of any pastor to make sure that his flock is completely aware of every little detail and of every criticism flung around the internet by non-believers. The shepherd of a flock has only one focus, to tend to the spiritual needs of his flock. He isn’t interested in objectively explaining to his flock every theological debate or historical controversy. That isn’t his calling or his responsibility. A knowledge of such things sure can come in handy when such things arise, but such things arise so seldom. The same principles exist for the LDS Church. And, with all that said, I think that by and large the LDS Church has done an impressive job of being transparent about such issues.

    (3) Finally, in your complaints about the Bible being “thrown” at Bobby, I sure hope you are not referring to my comments. If you are than you have seriously misunderstood my comments.


  8. James,
    Honestly, what do you care what I think? Why does it bother you? The fact that the LDS church whitewashes everything and isn’t forthcoming with it’s members isn’t the only thing I have a problem with. False doctrines and the attack on the Bible are both really big problems for me. You have said that you just find a way to “incorporate” these things into your faith. I feel sorry for you. I don’t need to convince anyone of anything. The things the LDS church does clearly speaks for itself. There IS far more going on than a massive conspiracy to keep LDS members from knowing their history. It’s called leading people away from the TRUE AND LIVING CHRIST and convincing people that the Bible can’t be trusted. That really does bother me.

    But returning for a moment to the issue of “hiding” history, there are many strange and embarrassing items throughout the history of mainstream Christianity, and it doesn’t fall on the shoulders of any pastor to make sure that his flock is completely aware of every little detail and of every criticism flung around the internet by non-believers.

    The difference here James, is that I can ask my Pastor absolutely ANYTHING and if he doesn’t know the answer, he’ll find it for me. He doesn’t care and actually would encourage me to asks others and have discussions about it. What happens with the LDS church when you begin asking serious questions or worse, start discussing problems and questions with others? Right, an interview with the Bishop and possible Disfellowship or Excommunication!

    I still think that all of Joseph Smith should be taught in church. Are you afraid that people will start questioning if they know that he didn’t “translate” the Book of Mormon using the Urim and Thummim but instead he put a rock into a hat and then stuffed his face into it? Or that he claimed to do more than Jesus in keeping a church together or that he was to be made a god over men? Or that he had at least 33 wives, most of which Emma knew nothing about and the FACT that 1/3 of them were married to other men! On and on. You know as well as I do that people would have serious questions about Joseph Smith if the whole truth were known to them.

    (1) You complain that there isn’t an official comment from LDS leadership, but you may have overlooked Pres. Hinckley’s quote in Bobby’s post. It directly addresses the relevant issue.

    How am I supposed to trust that quote? Is it the truth? I’ve seen a few quotes from Pres. Hinckley where he was purposefully dishonest. How do I know that he wasn’t being dishonest with this one? I have seen prophet worship from LDS members James. I know you have too. Whether the church condones it or not, it’s there.

    • You know, here’s the difference between Matthew’s quote and Hinckley’s:

      Matthew said: “Anyway, that’s what I think. Take it as read that I worship only one God and believe in only one God, and I do not worship Brother Joseph, I admire him and I do respect him, and that is as far as it goes, AND THAT IS THE OFFICIAL LINE OF THE CHURCH.”

      Is the quote from Pres. Hinckley the OFFICIAL statement from the LDS church or is it his OPINION? Is he speaking as a MAN or as the PROPHET? Is it meant for our day and will be changed later? Or will it always be so as Joseph Smith said about polygamy???? Who knows?

  9. Kate,

    I’m not interested in continuing this back and forth. There are so many things that I disagree with you about (seriously, just about everything you said above I strongly disagree with) and it is discouraging to try and keep this up. We just see things so different. At the least I can say that I’m glad you have found spiritual happiness and I hope you allow for the possibility that others can find spiritual happiness in the LDS Church.


    • James,
      Interesting. I didn’t address one thing to you and you personally attack me. Then when I come back at you with the truth, you bow out. I have found spiritual happiness and I would love for my mormom friends and family to find the truth as I have. That isn’t possible while the LDS leaders continue to tell them not to read anything not “church approved.” I will continue to tell my experiences from 40 years in mormonism here on Bobby’s blog in case there are questioning mormons who need answers and have nowhere else to go. Feel free to do the same, and you really don’t need to address me ya know?:)

  10. Reluctantly…


    (1) I “personally attacked” you? Seriously? You make it sound like I mugged you on the street or something. I didn’t attack your, your character, your beliefs, or anything else about you. We are having a conversation and I simply expressed my disagreement with some of your opinions and I offered an alternative view. Let’s not be inflammatory.

    (2) You should know full well by now, from experience, that I don’t bow out of debates because of some imagined fear of the “truth”. I’ve expressed elsewhere on this blog my distaste for these sorts of public mud-flinging matches. They aren’t productive, and it is all about protecting egos. I happen to be sitting in an airport right now returning from a business trip and I simply don’t have the patience right now for this.

    (3) I can testify that I’ve NEVER been told, by any leader, to not read a book that isn’t “church approved”, except perhaps while on my mission (but we both know that is a different story). I don’t even know what it means for a book to be “church approved”. There is no such list. On the other hand, the D&C explicitly tells us to seek knowledge “out of the best books”. This has universally been interpreted to refer to ANY book, church sponsored or not, which provides good, solid information.

    In recent years a new phrase has been introduced into the Mormon vernacular. It was coined in General Conference by Elder Bednar (I think?). The phrase is “Good, Better, Best.” Some things are good, some things are better, and other things are best. We try to choose the best things. I simply feel that some books are “best” while other books are, well, less than “good”. I’m sure I include some of your favorite anti-Mormon works in that category.

    (4) One last item. Have you ever considered the possibility that you are projecting your own bitter experiences onto the rest of us? What I mean is that it may be possible that you are assuming that your negative experiences with Mormonism is the same experience that all Mormons will inevitably have once their “eyes are open” to some new information. It can be compared to a person who has a negative experience with Evangelical Christianity and therefore casts aspersions onto the entire Evangelical movement and assumes every Evangelical is blind and deaf to the truth. This is a natural way of thinking, for we can only make conclusions based on the experiences that we individually have. But I implore you, Kate, to consider what I’ve said before about Mormons all over the world who know all the same facts that you do but come to very different conclusions. Things are as black and white as you seem to imagine.

    Now, please don’t get all huffy and claim that I’m “attacking” you. We are adults having an adult conversation about topics that are very personal and sensitive for us. Let’s try and make an effort to not attribute base motives to one another. I really enjoy discussing Mormonism, any aspect of it, but I am turned off when the tone takes a nosedive. I am not altogether innocent in that regard.


  11. James,
    Who’s huffy?:) As I said before, you REALLY don’t need to address me.

  12. Matthew,
    I hope you are still here. I am really curious about your statements of believing in only one God. Do you and your church believe in the Trinity or do you believe in multiple gods and that you will be a god one day? How do your beliefs differ from the mainstream LDS?

    I just wanted to point out that mormons like to compare their prophets to prophets in the Old Testament and honestly I have never read anything from the OT prophets that speak in the way Joseph Smith is speaking in the quotes that you provided. What is also scary to me is the quotes about no one getting into heaven without the consent of Joseph Smith. Yes I was taught this and believed it until I read John 14:6 and really pondered it.

    John 14:6
    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    It seems that someone is trying to replace Christ with Joseph Smith.

  13. Wow! what a superb post from Bobby and great debate from everyone!
    James, the cynical side of me notes that you ask others not to get personal with you, but you dont mind being personal to them. I refer of course to you asking Kate if she’s projecting her bitterness from past experiences onto the rest of us, among other comments youve made. I also note you criticise this blog for “mud-slinging” when it all it does is display the facts and question them. Why not explain WHY you think a post is wrong, maybe some facts, or some reasoning? Just a thought.
    Kate, I admire your patience with James, and your honesty.
    The irony in this whole thing of Smith idolatry is that the consequences for the LDS church for putting him on at least the same plane with Christ could be huge and severe, depending on how much grace God decides to give the Mormons, yet the individual follower of the Mormon church is possibly unable to recognise that even when theyre singing those words from that hymn!

    • Simon,
      Thanks for the comments to me. Bobby did a fine job on this post. I learned a few things! I know that when I was a mormon, I’d sing this song and not really give it a second thought. Looking back, I did that a lot. That is totally my fault for not researching or thinking about it, instead I just followed along with everything because the prophet and the church would never lead me astray. I know that a lot of mormons are just like I was. Some do study, but a lot don’t.

  14. Hi Simon.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m imperfect. Blog debates, especially religiously oriented ones, are notorious for being ugly. If we were sitting round a table, face to face, we would doubtless communicate much easier. My comments to Kate were meant with the upmost sincerity, not as a way to “win” or score points. But, clearly, Kate has no patience for me right now.

    I’m fine discussing the facts, but I question the way in which they are presented. It is perfectly reasonable to have an agenda and a bias, and this blog clearly does. My own personal blog does too. But it another thing to pretend that you don’t when you really do. When Bobby lays out a set of facts he has a clear point he wants to make even if he is pretending that he doesn’t. Then we get into a debate about those facts, which is perfectly fine, but unfortunately it all too often decays into bitterness. I’m just as guilty as the next guy, but I’m still trying to constantly reign it in. We could all do with a little more patience and a little less ego.

    You mentioned that the LDS Church puts Joseph Smith “on at least the same plane with Christ.” The most direct statement that I know of that compares Joseph Smith with Jesus Christ very explicitly states that Christ has done more for the salvation of the world than Joseph Smith (D&C 135:3). That isn’t the same plane, if you ask me.

    I think that when we are discussing the religious views of some group or individual, the opinion of that group or individual ought to carry the most weight in determining what they believe. For example, your opinion carries more weight about what you believe than my opinion about what you believe. Mormons have consistently affirmed that they do not worship Joseph Smith, do not put him at the same level as Jesus Christ, and we affectionately call him “Brother Joseph” because we feel that sense of brotherhood with him….not the relationship of a servant to his God.

  15. I don’t really have the energy to get into this for more than one post/comment, but after reading this article, I can’t help but wonder, “Bobby, what the heck?!” I know that you’ve read a lot of Mormon literature, so I can’t help but wonder how you don’t know that Mormons most certainly DO NOT worship Joseph Smith. Maybe the literature implies that conclusion (although I doubt it–at least from what I’ve read), but if you actually attend meetings on a regular basis, you’ll see clearly enough that we don’t elevate that man to godhood. We think he was a great guy, and that he did a lot of good things with regard to organizing a delivery system for the Gospel, but it we also fervently hold that it wasn’t his idea. Yes, he made the ultimate sacrifice for what he believed in, which makes him a dedicated person who was willing to stand up for his beliefs at any personal cost. Still, while he helped make the Gospel (as told by the Church’s doctrines) more available to the average person, and even though he did quite a lot in that respect, he isn’t a savior, and most certainly DOES NOT usurp Christ in that role.

    Your prayer at the end is touching, in that it directs people to follow and believe in Christ, but in all honesty, it isn’t particularly relevant to the matter at hand; since we never worshiped Joseph Smith, and absolutely DO worship Jesus Christ (and always have), that prayer is pretty darned unnecessary (although I don’t think it actually hurts anything, other than running the risk of attracting some flames/trolls). In all probability, this post is either horribly misinformed, or a troll itself. I’d thought you to be above both of those! (This is quite a compliment for anybody who posts on the Web, since most people wouldn’t know tact if it bit their heads off. :-D)

    I can’t help but wonder whether you’ve actually tried attending a Mormon Church regularly for a few months. If so, you would have a very different view of such things as this. Currently, I dare say, your views are heavily skewed by the words of those outside the Church–those who have, for one reason or another already decided that the Church is absolutely false, and that the prophets thereof are all bogus. Many of them are quite bitter and militant about it. Furthermore, much of the non-Mormon christian community is even MORE militant about it. (Spend some time as a Mormon missionary in the 21st century if you don’t believe me!) I ran into the parishioners of huge “megachurch-style” congregations whose pastors urged them vehemently to invite the Mormon Missionaries over just to waste their time, so that they can’t convert anybody! Some of those parishioners would actively antagonize Mormons (members and missionaries alike), and even commit acts of vandalism and assault. For lack of actual contact with Mormons, and their church services, and for a gross overabundance of contact with non-mormons and their church services, your views are badly skewed, and therefore–despite good intentions–horribly unobjective in any useful sense.

    I’ve enjoyed this blog quite a bit in the past, but some of the posts in recent months, and especially this one, have shown that you don’t have nearly half the (accurate) information that you think you do. You’re walking on the liberal side of a government body and assuming that you understand the conservative side’s viewpoints better than even the conservatives do. (Or visa-versa; you can swap “liberal” for “conservative”, and the point is just as good.) You haven’t walked more than a step or two in the Mormons’ shoes, and you are claiming to understand several miles’ worth of their viewpoints. I believe that you do, actually want to understand all of this, and choose your “side” correctly, but unless you actually walk the full mile, as it were (or more realistically, just as far in the Mormon shoes as you’ve walked in the non-Mormon Christian shoes), you’ll never know, in any truly accurate sense, what the heck you’re talking about. Therefore, since I believe that you do, actually want to know what you’re on about, and since I believe that you do, actually want to get to the truths of the matters at hand, I make the following invitation:

    1) Clear and open your mind. Without this step, the others are essentially useless, as your current thinking will cause even the most contrary information to “support” your position. Some pretty conclusive research has been done on this phenomenon. Summary of one such experiment and the abstract of that study (full research paper requires a subscription). Essentially, when a person has already decided what to believe, even the most conclusively contradictory scientific evidence will only strengthen that person’s position (however ridiculous that sounds). See also, Confirmation Bias.

    2) Invite the local missionaries over to your home for regular visits. Don’t argue; just listen and (when needed) ask for clarification. Don’t ask leading questions to support your current beliefs.

    3) Attend at least 6 church meetings with them. Why 6? There are 6 discussions that the missionaries teach (although they can extend or shorten the number, so long as the material is adequately covered). Try to pace the discussions to match your church attendance. Sometimes the missionary discussions take more times to fit into a person’s schedule than 6 church meetings do. Keep attending until after you have finished the discussions. You might want to attend a couple times after you do so, since you won’t necessarily have a real chance of understanding everything until after you’ve had all 6 discussions. Different missionaries sometimes teach in very different ways. Even if you’ve had the discussions before, it would do you good, for the sake of completeness, to do it again. If all else fails, humor me. :-)

    4) Follow the missionaries’ instructions with a whole heart. If your current faith is as strong as you seem to indicate it is, and is also as right as you seem to believe, then things like praying, fasting, abstaining from illicit sex, alcohol, and tobacco, etc. won’t hurt your faith; it will only strengthen it. Also, it won’t kill you. If you really do decide to “walk a mile in the shoes of a Mormon,” a half-baked approach won’t suffice, and will likely only skew your viewpoint further. You once told me that you went to Utah (at great expense, I suspect) for just that purpose; if you are willing to spend several thousand dollars (or pounds) to accomplish the same, then surely you can walk a few proverbial miles, essentially for free.

    5) Don’t write articles about how wrong what you are hearing from the missionaries, Church, etc. is during this experience. It’s also been well proven that the more you assert a point, the more strongly you will believe it. If you are going into this for the purpose of finding the truth, then you don’t need to strengthen your current beliefs while you are doing so. If your current beliefs are, in fact, true, then you will still have them when you are done with this experiment. If you find your current beliefs to be wavering during this process, don’t be afraid to believe something different; again, if you are afraid to change your beliefs, then you don’t really have an open mind, and this whole exercise is pointless. It might behoove you to abstain from writing articles during this time period, entirely, since you may post information that is only partly true, and also because the commenters to those articles may try to dissuade you to their own viewpoints. I have yet to see a web post about religion that didn’t try to do that. In the very least, don’t read the comments. Likewise, abstain from reading traditional christian materials, other than the Bible. Same goes for non-Mormon christian services. Real, live Mormons don’t do those things, and if you accept this challenge, you’re going to be attempting to walk in the shoes of a “real Mormon.” There will be plenty of time for all of this stuff, should you desire it, after the experiment is over.

    Bobby, I respect you and your intellect a lot more than I respect those of nearly anybody on the Web whose posts I’ve read. More than simple intellect and the ability to do research, you have the exceedingly rare capacity to be truly reasonable, and to accept the information given to you with as little bias as possible (since it’s basically impossible to be truly unbiased). Put simply, this constitutes more wisdom/”common sense” than is at all common. My concern is, therefore, less with you, personally, but more with the mostly one-sided information you’ve apparently been given on a regular basis for quite some time. No amount of book reading will equal actually experiencing the life of a Mormon, and can therefore not approximate the way a Mormon would see the information that’s presented. A book written by a Mormon, for Mormons cannot be accurately or correctly interpreted by any eyes other than those of a dedicated Mormon. Since I know that you aren’t a dedicated Mormon, and I don’t expect you to suddenly convert without very good reason (which is really the ONLY decent and acceptable way to convert to anything), I’m urging you to at least try to approximate that behavior and mindset so that you can view such Mormon materials as you read/have been reading in the light of those who wrote them.

    The way you’re looking at those materials and statements now is fairly similar to interpreting an alphanumerical formula like, “C12H22O11”, with relation to the number, “29.018157” through the eyes of a mathematician, when it was written by a chemist. (This is the chemical formula for sucrose–table sugar. The number following it is its atomic mass.) The mathematician could, indeed read and make some kind of reasonable interpretation of this formula, but no matter how correct it might be in a mathematical sense, it would be wrong. You are seeing Mormonism through the eyes of a non-Mormon christian. The formula is the same, but your interpretation of it is wrong because you lack the proper contextual mindset. Also of note, in the wrong context, one might incorrectly assume that the majority of the mass in the above equation (C12H22O11 = 29.018157) is due to the large number of “H”. One would have to know how to properly weigh all the factors given in order to realize that Oxygen accounts for 65.1266% of the weight. The same is true for determining which Mormon doctrines trump (or are more important than) other, less important ones. You may hear a lot about a certain doctrine, but without the right context, you can’t possibly know whether it’s actually more important than any other.

    I do have some concern that whatever congregation you end up attending, should you accept this suggestion to attend one, will be one of those that relies more on hearsay and convention than actual doctrines and principles. There are plenty of those, especially where the Church members have become overly comfortable with their attitude of perpetually “being right” (a fallacy for anybody, even if a person’s beliefs are more correct than any other known position). Also, some missionaries are better at explaining the doctrines than others. Some of them believe and (*shudder*) teach things that are wrong in the eyes of the rest of the Church. Some members–even teachers of Sunday school and such–also teach false stuff by mistake, or even because the simply want something to be true that isn’t. Really, I can only hope that you get a good set of people to help you “walk this mile”; I have no guarantee of it. All else failing, I hope that you take any such endeavor seriously, should you decide to undertake it, and that you don’t base too much of your experience on hearsay that flatly contradicts the written Church doctrines.

    I know the beginning of this post was written harshly, and I hope you don’t take it badly. Sometimes I just get exceedingly frustrated with the doctrines of the Mormon Church being misinterpreted and misrepresented. I hope you understand. I look forward to hearing from you at the end of this experiment, should you decide to do it.



    • Its a strange one Dane, while I accept that Mormons do not worship Joseph Smith as they worship God I still understand that Mormons generally believe that Joseph Smith is now a god, they sing hymns about his blood sacrifice bringing forth blessings of heaven and a past prophet Brigham Young said that you need his approval go get into heaven.

      So imagine I said who is it whose approval you need to get into heaven whose sacrifice brought forth the blessings of heaven and is God to his people, you would say heavenly Father yet all of these things and more I have shown have been said of Joseph Smith.

      While I do try my absolute best to show nothing but respect and love to Mormon people I do this blog and this ministry because I want Mormons to surrender all to Christ and get their full salvation from Him alone. I see the approach of many in the way they put down and disrespect Mormons in the name of trying to save them and it makes me want to show respect and love all the more, however my goal is the same.

      So Dane I respect that when it comes down to it Mormons do not worship Joseph Smith however their reverence for Him and the way the church portrays Him is a massive stumbling block to truly coming to Christ, until that changes along with many other things, I will carry on.

      And as well for the last few months I have started going to Mormon meetings regularly and to be fair all I have seen is that people there do not know the half of it when it comes to the issues I raise on this blog and they are happy to keep praising the man.

      • Bobby,

        “And as well for the last few months I have started going to Mormon meetings regularly and to be fair all I have seen is that people there do not know the half of it when it comes to the issues I raise on this blog and they are happy to keep praising the man.”

        This comment reminded me of Fast and Testimony meetings when little children get up to bear their testimony. It’s all the same, bless their hearts. It goes something like this:

        “I know this church is true, I know Joseph Smith (or sometimes it’s the current prophet) is a prophet of god and I love my mom and dad….”

        I can honestly say that it was rare (if at all) that Christ was mentioned by these little ones. I guess it really does start young and we grow up just thinking it’s normal. I love that you are really getting into your research by attending a mormon church. Going right to the source.:)

      • Thanks kate thats appreciated out of interest is it utah you live in again if so whereabouts?

  16. This Sunday is General Conference, and so last Sunday we had Fast and Testimony meeting. Our Bishop opened the meeting testifying about the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and he bore his testimony that we can find peace through Christ’s atonement, and that we can learn about Christ’s atonement in the scriptures, notably the Book of Mormon.

    About 20 minutes later I took my turn. It happened to be the day after the 181st birthday of the Book of Mormon. I testified that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that by reading it I have come to know Christ and that I believe this is what Joseph Smith meant when he said that the Book of Mormon could bring a man closer to God than any other book. Bringing a man closer to God *is* the essence of the at-one-ment of Christ.

    For Latter-day Saints, and all Christians, our primary knowledge about Christ comes from the scriptures. Scriptures are written by prophets, and we need to be sure that they are true prophets and not false prophets. When a Latter-day Saint testifies that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God she is doing so to affirm that she believes the words about Christ that Joseph taught. Evangelicals all too often forget that their knowledge of Christ comes through prophets too, and they should be very grateful that Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul were obedient to God’s commandments to them to record their testimonies about Christ.

    • Thanks James out of interest would you say you are born again and either way what you believe about how you go about being so?

      Im not gonna debate it out here just interested

  17. Bobby,

    Of course I’m born again. Now, I obviously don’t mean the exact same thing by that as when an Evangelical says it. But, nonetheless, I completely consider myself born again.

    In Mormonism, one is born again when they covenant with God that they will follow him. This covenant is sealed through the waters of baptism. The Book of Mormon teaches that we become “children of Christ” through this covenant. I’ve made that covenant and I continually strive to honor it. Often I have to repent and renew that covenant, but that is simply the way it works.

    We don’t tend to use the phrase “born again” quite as emphatically as Evangelicals do, and I think a major reason is because we don’t want people to confuse us for Evangelicals. Evangelicals really like that phrase and use it a lot, which is fine. We don’t meant exactly the same thing as Evangelicals do….although I think we mean something far more similar to it than most Mormons (and Evangelicals) give us credit for.

    The biggest difference stems from our respective views of what “heaven” is. You can’t fit a round peg into a square hole, and so it simply is impossible to directly transfer Evangelical assumptions about what “heaven” means into a Mormon context. When we say we are “born again” we (Mormons) usually mean something like “I’ve made the baptismal covenant, and if I remain true to Christ I will one day be in the Celestial Kingdom.”

    When an Evangelical says “born again” they usually mean something like, “I’ve been redeemed from hell and I’m going to heaven.” Now, I know there is some disagreement among Evangelicals about whether this salvation is absolute (OSAS) or conditional. Mormonism absolutely considers it conditional.

    I think this is an important topic and I’d love to discuss it further.

  18. Bobby,
    You should be fine using the Gospel Principles manual. I’d also recommend the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

    That being said, the old simile is true: Pinning down Mormon doctrine is like nailing jell-o to the wall. There is no “systematic” Mormon theology, and so any two Mormons could disagree on any number of subjects. We have extremely few “essentials” and so we tend to have myriad views on all of the “non-essentials”. Just be conscious of that.

  19. Just reading through some of the dialogue here and was amused. I thought I’d chime in with a couple of thoughts. I’m not really a blogger. I’ll just throw my thoughts out there for what little its worth and whoever wants to can beat them up, as they see fit.

    First off, I was a life-long Mormon for the first 39 years of my life. I truly loved the church and gave my all to it (mission, temple endowed, temple married, etc.). Now I am a born-again Christian. Lots of story in between those two points and why I ended up where I did. But that’s not the point (not intending to tell my life story), just to make known my background and perspective.

    To my Christian friends, as a former faithful LDS member of 39 years, I can say that Mormons do not set Joseph Smith on an equal plane with Christ – nor do they set him above Christ. I can also say that Mormons are being honest when they say they don’t “worship” Joseph Smith.

    Even so, it may be legitimate to debate whether Mormons worship Joseph Smith or not, but I think the real unarticulated issue is that Joseph Smith is one of many things in Mormonism that is placed directly between the individual and God (I know my Mormon friends will deny that to the end of time – understood).

    I won’t re-quote all the lengthy quotes, we all know them by now: “I will be a god to you.” “You will look to him as a God.” “No man will enter the Celestial Kingdom without the consent of Joseph Smith.” “Every spirit that does not confess Joseph Smith is of the anti-Christ.” “No salvation without accepting Joseph Smith.” Etc. (paraphrased – not exact quotes).

    While Mormons may not worship Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith is beyond mere reverence and high esteem. In fact, believing in and accepting Joseph Smith as God’s prophet and accepting his doctrine is ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION. Mormons have a difficult time understanding that this sounds like blasphemy to bible-believing Christians. This is because the bible declares that Christ ALONE is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through him.

    I understand that Mormons are bothered to have non-Mormons talking about Mormon doctrines and teachings and even declaring them to be false (but in the reverse scenario, the LDS church has spent much if its life telling the world what Christians believe and declaring Christianity to be false). But Christ Himself unequivocally called out false doctrines and practices without hesitation. Christ warned of false prophets that would come in the last days, as did His apostles after Christ’s return to His throne. The apostles unequivocally declared and warned that if anyone should preach “any other gospel” other than that which they preached, he would be accursed. Galatians 1:7-8; 2 Corinthians 11: 3-4. Thus, the Word preached by Christ and His apostles is the declared Standard by which all truth should be judged – you can equivocate about the bible, belittle it, minimize it, say its corrupted – but at the end of the day, you either accept it or reject it – Christ declared that His words would never pass away – Mormonism teaches that His words did, in fact, pass away (and had to be restored by Joseph).

    Mormonism declares itself to be the one and only true church on the face of the earth. It declares its prophets to be true prophets of God. The kinds of declarations demand the investigation of the church, its prophets and its doctrines.

    The church wants itself to be investigated only as it wants to present it – in all the positive light and only those things it wants the investigator to see and consider. (I know that the LDS apologists will argue that the church makes itself an open book and the church does not discourage investigation outside the church and its own materials and representatives – those of us who have spent years in the LDS church know that is not true). I understand that desire. But true investigation does not come by hearing only what the declarant that declares it speaks the truth (and the only truth, in the case of Mormonism) has to say about itself. It would be absurd and irresponsible to consider only what the declarant says about itself and to take the declarant’s words at face value.

    In sum, what Bobby is doing with this blog (and what many others do with their websites, books, etc.) are in service in bringing the truth to light. Let every man and woman learn the facts and choose for themselves (carefully consider both what the church presents and what those outside of it have to say – most of what those outside of the church present is from the church’s own sources, but the stuff that the church itself will never tell you about – but, check it all out for yourself; don’t take anyone’s word for it) .

    What Christians need to understand is that Mormonism presents a very different test of truth than what the bible declares. The bible declares that if the teaching deviates from what Christ and His apostles preached, it is false doctrine. Does Mormonism deviate from that Standard of Truth? – learn the bible. Learn and know what it says. Then learn about Mormonism and you decide whether it is contrary to the Word of God or not. If it is, it is treading on treacherous ground.

  20. Hi Rob. Welcome to the discussion.

    I want to comment on just one small portion of your statements. I think it is the portion that is most relevant to this particular blog post, and most of the rest is just standard fare that we’ve discussed many times elsewhere.

    You said: “In fact, believing in and accepting Joseph Smith as God’s prophet and accepting his doctrine is ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION. Mormons have a difficult time understanding that this sounds like blasphemy to bible-believing Christians. This is because the bible declares that Christ ALONE is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through him.”

    First of all, as a Mormon, I have absolutely no disagreement with the fact that Christ alone is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through him. Without really checking, I’d wager that our unique LDS scripture (BoM, D&C) is far more explicit on that issue than the Bible is.

    But there is a much more important, and strange, part of your statement. It is the false dichotomy that you are creating between God and God’s prophets. You have pitted Joseph Smith against Jesus Christ, and you have implied that it is possible to accept Christ but reject his prophets. Romans 10:5 reads, “And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!””

    Oh, and I’m not picking on you specifically Rob, this is a very common thing. This is just a good opportunity to address the issue.

    You’ve suggested that our insistence on accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet is somehow a distraction from accepting Jesus Christ. Allow me to ask you this: Can you accept Jesus Christ and simultaneously deny Peter, James, John, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul, and every other biblical messenger that Christ has sent to proclaim his message? Can you deny their prophethood and still be saved? I suggest that you can not. You can not reject God’s prophets and messengers and still accept God, because it is through his messengers that he delivers his word. You won’t even know his word unless you first listen to his prophets, and you can’t be saved unless you listen to his prophets and believe that they are true prophets. Mormons and other Christians all have this same basic need, but for some reason only Mormons are criticized for it.

    Have you ever heard the expression, “Don’t shoot the messenger”? From our perspective, when you pit God’s prophets against God you are shooting the messenger. We emphasize acceptance of Joseph Smith’s prophethood only because he is a messenger of God. In like manner it was of upmost importance that the ancient Israelites accepted Moses’ prophetic calling in order for them to be saved and to know Jehovah. Had they denied Moses and his teachings they would have had no salvation because they would have not learned about the grace of Jehovah. The same goes for all of God’s prophets.

    This is the false dichotomy that you’ve created. You should not pit God against his prophets but that is exactly what you are doing. Mormons do not do that.

  21. James:

    I don’t believe there is any false dichotomy presented. It is the faith in Christ alone that brings Salvation/Eternal Life. Faith in the prophet, does not bring salvation. Yes, a prophet may be a messenger and deliverer of God’s word. If the prophet’s word/message is in fact God’s, then, by all means, we should listen to that prophet. But the important question is, whether that prophet’s message is of God or of the man himself.

    The unique thing with Mormonism (unlike any other single prophet or apostle in the bible) is that EVERYTHING hinges on Joseph Smith (and Brigham Young) – because it is so fundamentally different than what any other prophet or apostle preached in the past. And I agree, if the Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (you can’t have a true church without Brigham Young being a true prophet as well) were true prophets of God, because of what they preached, you cannot reject it and receive salvation. There are no two ways about it. Either they were true prophets of God and what they taught is true – or it is a massive lie and an abomination to God. This is the case, because, if what they taught is true, eternal life can indeed only be achieved by acceptance of and strict adherence to all of the principles, commandments and ordinances required in Mormonism for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom. If you miss any part of it, you’re not getting into the door to God’s Kingdom. So, yes, this is serious stuff.

    Not intending to create a whole different line of discussion, but I’m sure you’re familiar with the biblical test of prophet:

    “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:20-22. (in fact, the messenger should be shot if he be a false prophet)

    Jerimiah 28:9 also tells us that: “when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.”

    Did Joseph give prophesies that did not come true? Certainly, he did on more than one occasion. (yes, I know those unfulfilled prophesies are explained away by church apologists – but, in my opinion, those explanations are stretched beyond the bounds of reason – but let everyone examine them and judge for themselves).

    In addition, Christ, in warning of false prophets also declared that “by their (the prophets’) fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:15-16. We receive Christ’s warning of false prophets and apostles that would come in the last days more than once, so, obviously, he thought it was a big issue. Christ’s words insist on an examination of the man himself (no, perfection is not the standard – a man is a man and will always be imperfect, but the fruits of that man are definitely at issue).

    There are many items of Joseph’s actions/fruits that can and should be looked at. A simple quick example, when considering this aspect: Is a man who marries other men’s wives in secret and lies about it demonstrative of the fruits of a prophet of God (especially, when claiming the right by direct revelation from God)? What about a prophet who changes his own revelations? What about a prophet who changes and adds to the bible itself (JST)? (yeah, I know – nothing new here for you)

    Beyond failed prophesies and fruits, when the alleged prophet’s words are pitted against God’s word the red light should be on. As already discussed, the mantra is clear “any other gospel” fails the standard. As such, what the New Testament says should be closely examined and any gospel that is being preached should scrutinized to see if there is any deviation from it.

    “All the prophets testify about him [Christ] that EVERYONE who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43. In contrast, another Mormon prophet plainly stated: “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation,” (Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 206).

    When considering whether the prophet in question is of God or not, one should look at and consider it all. Every man must draw their own conclusions based on the facts. I know you’ve drawn your conclusions, as I have mine. As for myself, I am relieved that I no longer have to sing praise to the man. I know him for what he is. I look to Christ alone as my source of life and salvation. If any man should come along claiming to be a prophet, I will listen and consider and apply the test to see whether his words should be given heed or not.

    I wish you all God’s best.

  22. Rob,

    Thanks for your remarks. I find a number of items to take issue with, but in the interest of focusing our discussion on the topic at hand (the status of Joseph Smith in Mormonism) I’d like to comment on only what I think are the most relevant parts of your remarks. I realize that you have reasons for considering Joseph to be a false prophet, but I hope we can isolate that debate from the present one.

    You have noted that “It is the faith in Christ alone that brings Salvation/Eternal Life. Faith in the prophet, does not bring salvation.” Well, of course that is true. And I don’t think it is possible to argue that Mormonism teaches anything different. You know very well that the fourth Article of Faith in Mormonism very clearly states that the first principle of the gospel is “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Keep in mind, the kind of faith we are talking about is faith in his salvific power, faith in his ability to redeem mankind, faith in his awesome power of creation and re-creation. These are the things we put our faith in that lead to salvation.

    This is a totally different league from the type of “faith” that we are required to have in God’s prophets. We aren’t trusting in their ability to redeem us from the fall, or to atone for our sins, or to comfort us in our most desperate hour. Instead, we are simply having “faith” that their message *about Christ* is true. We can’t know about Christ unless there is a prophet to tell us, and we can’t accept that message unless we first exercise a bit of “faith” that the prophet is genuine. But let’s not equivocate and confuse the two types of “faith” we are talking about. Mormons don’t put faith in Joseph Smith in any way that is comparable to the faith they put in Jesus Christ.

    Now, as I see it, mainstream Christianity is in the exact same situation as Mormonism. We view Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Thomas Monson, etc., as messengers of God who deliver God’s words to us. We have to exercise a small degree of “faith” that these really are God’s prophets. You view Peter, John, Paul, etc., as messengers of God who deliver God’s words to us (incidentally, so do Mormons). You have to exercise a small degree of “faith” that these really are God’s prophets. The only difference between us is that your prophets are long dead, and ours exist in recent memory. You are just as dependent on prophets as we are, and you exercise the *exact* same type and amount of faith in those prophets as Mormons do.

    It is false and unfair to characterize the Mormon sentiment towards Joseph Smith as being anywhere near “faith unto salvation”. It is offensive to me because it fails to recognize the supreme place that Christ holds in my heart. He alone is my savior.

  23. Bobby,
    Yes I’m in Utah. I’m in the Southeastern part of the state. About 99% of the population are mormon here. As far as Fast and Testimony meetings. Please attend a few. See for yourself what is and isn’t said. I know that little children as young as 3 or 4 absolutely do not know that they are testifying that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that they are doing so to affirm that they believe the words about Christ that Joseph taught.
    That is a little too involved for these little ones. I also taught Primary (a lot) and that is definately NOT the way we taught them about the prophet.

    I don’t believe there is any false dichotomy presented. It is the faith in Christ alone that brings Salvation/Eternal Life. Faith in the prophet, does not bring salvation. Yes, a prophet may be a messenger and deliverer of God’s word. If the prophet’s word/message is in fact God’s, then, by all means, we should listen to that prophet. But the important question is, whether that prophet’s message is of God or of the man himself.

    This is what every Latter Day Saint should be asking themselves. There have been so many absurd and off the wall things said by LDS prophets. I don’t buy the “oh, well he was just speaking as a man not the prophet when he said that.” Or “it was just his opinion.” Are you kidding me? Let’s take the Adam/god doctrine for example. If it was just Brigham Young’s “opinion” why on earth would he preach that from the pulpit for more than 20 years? Especially when he had said “from the pulpit” that he hasn’t yet sent out anything to the children of men that they may not call scripture.

    “The Word preached by Christ and His apostles is the declared Standard by which all truth should be judged – you can equivocate about the bible, belittle it, minimize it, say its corrupted – but at the end of the day, you either accept it or reject it.”

    This is what ultimately led me out. I never did read and study the Bible the way I should have as a mormon. I would look up things that I thought confirmed my mormon beliefs, but never really studied it. Why? Because I was led to believe that it wasn’t reliable. It has been translated so many times and let’s not forget about those Monks who changed doctrine. I felt it would be a waste of my time and besides, I wasn’t as smart about it as the LDS leaders (past and present) so how was I to know which part was translated correctly? Best to just follow the prophet.

  24. James:

    I already pointed out in my initial comment that Mormons do not hold Joseph Smith on the same level a Jesus Christ and haven’t asserted otherwise. But the point is that, faith in Christ is not sufficient for salvation according to Mormon beliefs and doctrines.

    You point to the Fourth Article of Faith to show that Mormonism teaches that Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. That’s not really what the Articles of Faith say, however.

    The Fourth Article of Faith states:

    “We believe that the first PRINCIPLES AND ORDINANCES of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    So, the Fourth Article of Faith does not state that faith in Jesus Christ is the way to receive salvation or Eternal Life (set aside the Mormon distinctions between Salvation and Eternal Life for now). Faith in Jesus Christ is one of the FIRST PRINCIPLES of the LDS Gospel.

    It is the Third Article of Faith that defines the way to salvation:

    “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, BY OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF THE GOSPEL.”

    Note that it does not state that salvation is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation, instead is “through the Atonement of Christ . . . . BY OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF THE GOSPEL.”

    As is made plain in the Articles of Faith, salvation and eternal life do not come by faith is Jesus Christ, according to Mormon doctrine. Yes, faith in Jesus Christ is part of the equation (and maybe a very important part of it – it is one of the first principles) but it is not the sole requirement to receive eternal life.

    In addition to “by obedience to the laws and ordinances . . . “, the Book of Mormon adds: It is “by grace that we are saved, AFTER ALL WE CAN DO.” (2 Nephi 25:23). (Grace, in Mormon doctrine, is purely conditional – according to Mormon Belief, Grace is not a gift from God. Instead Grace is essentially a “reward” that is earned by perfect obedience and our 100% effort “after all we can do”.)

    So what then are the “laws and ordinances of the Gospel” and the “all we can do” that are required, according to the Mormon teachings (sufficient to obtain eternal life – the highest degree of glory – the Celestial Kingdom)? They are: Faith (in Jesus Christ, God, in Joseph Smith and all succeeding prophets, in the Mormon Church itself), repentance, baptism, confirmation, receiving the priesthood (if you are a male), receiving a temple endowment, receiving a temple marriage [and, ultimately, entereing into plural marriage, if you look at D&C 132 and the declarations of Brigham Young and other LDS leaders – though the Church does downplay that in public now], paying tithing, keeping the word of wisdom, keeping the Sabbath day, and keeping all other commands of the church. Certainly, there is much more in this list of Mormon requisites for salvation/eternal life than faith in Jesus Christ.

    To illustrate: when the LDS convert baptismal candidate comes in for his/her requisite baptismal interview, is the question going to be “do you believe in Jesus Christ and look to Him as the sole source of life and salvation? Have you invited Jesus to be Lord of your life?” No. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” will certainly be one of the questions. But in addition, you will be asked if you believe that the LDS Church is the one and only true church that has been restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. You will be asked whether you believe that the current President of the LDS church is a prophet of God. You will be asked if you accept and commit to living the law of tithing, the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, keeping the Sabbath day, etc.

    If you can’t pass the interview, you cannot be baptized and there is no salvation for that individual (unless they can come back and pass the interview at a later date). And lets not forget that baptism (and confirmation) is only the first of the requisite ordinances for entry into the Celestial Kingdom. There must also be receipt of the priesthood (for males), endowment in the temple and temple marriage to reach the highest degrees of the Celestial Kingdom. These steps require a whole additional set of requisites and interviews to pass.

    Even equipped with the necessary signs, tokens and key words from the temple endowment that one must have to be able execute to pass by the angels that stand as sentinels to gain entry into the kingdom, according to the prophet Brigham Young, everyone must have the stamp of approval from Joseph Smith prior to entry into the Kingdom. Indeed, Joseph declared that he will be a God to us – and Brigham Young confirmed that we will look to Joseph as a God.

    So maybe the faith that Mormons must put in Joseph Smith is not the same salvic faith as the faith required in Jesus Christ – but the results are that, according to Mormon doctrine, “ain’t nobody gettin’ into the Celestial Kingdom without accepting and believing in Joseph Smith. Ain’t nobody gettin’ in without Joseph’s consent.” And, if you believe your prophets, Joseph will be a God to you. Peter, James or John never declared that they we would look to them as Gods. John never said, there is no salvation without believing in Peter. Neither Peter nor any of Christ’s apostles ever made any false prophesies. None of them married other men’s wives. The parallel is not really the same, rather a smokescreen.

    If you want to believe in Mormonism, fine and dandy. That’s up to you – and up to everyone else to make own choice. But the point is, Mormonism is very different from Christianity. It is very different from the gospel that Christ and His apostles taught.
    Christ’s apostles made clear the standard for discerning truth:

    “[B]ut there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:7-8

    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth ANOTHER JESUS, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or ANOTHER GOSPEL, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Corinthians 11: 3-4

    For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:13

    So what gospel did Christ and His apostles preach?

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only on, that WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. . . .
    I AM THE DOOR: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I AM come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:1;9-10

    “[I]f you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
    “[W]hat must I do to be saved? And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED . . .” Acts 16:30-31

    “[K]now this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. SALVATION IS FOUND IN NO ONE ELSE, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12

    So, is the forgoing consistent with the message of Mormonism?

    The Mormon Church declares:

    [There is] “no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190)

    “It is because the Lord called Joseph Smith that salvation is again available to mortal men…. If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation,” (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 396, 670)

    There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 670)

    “I tell you, Joseph holds the keys, and none of us can get into the celestial kingdom without passing by him. We have not got rid of him, but he stands there as the sentinel, holding the keys of the kingdom of God; and there are many of them beside him. I tell you, if we get past those who have mingled with us, and know us best, and have a right to know us best, probably we can pass all other sentinels as far as it is necessary, or as far as we may desire. But I tell you, the pinch will be with those that have mingled with us, stood next to us, weighed our spirits, tried us, and proven us: there will be a pinch, in my view, to get past them. The others, perhaps, will say, If brother Joseph is satisfied with you, you may pass. If it is all right with him, it is all right with me. Then if Joseph shall say to a man, or if brother Brigham say to a man, I forgive you your sins, “Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them;” if you who have suffered and felt the weight of transgression—if you have generosity enough to forgive the sinner, I will forgive him: you cannot have more generosity than I have. I have given you power to forgive sins, and when the Lord gives a gift, he does not take it back again.” (Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.154-155)

    Marion Romney (LDS First Presidency) said, “This Church is the ensign on the mountain spoken of by the Old Testament prophets. IT is the way, the truth, and the life” (Conference Report, April, 1961, pg. 119).

    When Joseph Smith was asked ‘Will everybody be damned, but Mormons’? [Smith replied] ‘Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent, and work righteousness.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 119).

    “This is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is ‘the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth’ according to the word of revelation [D&C 1:30]. Here lies the truth. Here lies the priesthood. HOLD TO THE CHURCH. Do not ever lose sight of the fact that THE CHURCH MUST EVER REMAIN PREEMINENT IN YOUR LIVES if you are going to be happy as the years pass. Never let yourselves be found in the position of fighting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You cling to IT and be faithful to IT. You uphold and sustain IT. You teach ITS DOCTRINE and LIVE BY IT. And I do not hesitate to say that your lives will be the richer and the happier because of that. You cannot find happiness fighting the work of God. Those who have done so have gone down to a dismal end” (Gordon B. Hinkley, Ricks College regional conference, Rexburg, Idaho, 29 Oct. 1995).

    “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation,” (Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 206)

    Whether Mormonism be Another Gospel, let everyone learn of it and decide for themselves. If Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were false prophets, this is a very serious issue. Truth does not come from false prophets and false revelations heralded as scripture. Good fruit does not grow from a corrupt tree. It only becomes “the doctrines of men, mingled with scripture.” Which is exactly what Mormonism is.

    You can mince words all you want, try to take people’s eyes off the real ball all you want, and you can even be offended all you want (though none is intended). The facts speak for themselves.

    I’m over and out on this topic (already spent far more time on it than originally intended).

  25. Hello Rob. That was a doozy of a post! Unfortunately you strayed quite a bit, in my view, from our topic in your preachings concerning soteriology. The question we are considering is, “Is faith in the prophet required for salvation?”

    You adamantly insist that according to LDS doctrine it is. I’ve explained as clearly as I can what exactly it means to have faith in God’s prophets in the LDS context, but I’m disappointed to discover that you basically have ignored that and instead opted to continue fighting a straw man of your own creation. Please review my last post for that information. I don’t think you’ve actually addressed anything I said in that post (except for the bit about the 4th Article of Faith, which response was a distortion of the facts).

    I earlier said, “The only difference between us is that your prophets are long dead, and ours exist in recent memory. You are just as dependent on prophets as we are, and you exercise the *exact* same type and amount of faith in those prophets as Mormons do.”

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on that. Are you required to have faith in God’s prophets, in any sense, in order to be saved? The unavoidable answer is YES.

    I feel that 99% of your post was a typical anti-Mormon Evangelical distortion of LDS doctrine, what with the pasting of mined quotes ripped from their context. I’m not going to waste my evening responding to it all. I’m told that in an upcoming post Bobby will be exploring the concept of salvation in LDS doctrine, at which time we might return to the topics that you’ve raised.

  26. I have actually commented on this and again, your posting is crafty and deceptive. You never truly provided a critical analysis of the hymn itself. That is what is missing here. Here is my response to the false claim that Mormons worship Joseph Smith through the song “praise to the man”. Maybe if you did a bit more investigative research into who wrote the hymn, you would understand the hymn more.

    • I guess I am a crafty guy tim, sorry if you have tried to comment on this before I was not aware of that, i am aware somewhat of the reason why it was wrote however my issue is with the fact that any church that claims to be Christian would sing a song like this and claim to be Christian.

      As ever feel free to comment on what I said, bless you mate good to know you are keeping an eye on my blog

  27. Praise to the man who commune with Jehovay, i.e. Joseph Smith ….. frankly, as a woman, i would never praise for a man who told other men that they could become gods and were gods in the making, that told them that they should marry or could marry as many women as possible (Joseph Smith married over 30 wives and Briham Young over 50 and fathered who knows how many children ). If you think that this is moral and beneficial to society and women and children in particular, i dont ….

    So really, though they are aspects of the mormon church i like …… i would never praise a man who hurt so many people ….

    And, as a woman, am i not an “helpmeet”….. as opposed to a human being deserving of all the good treatment, full representation and equal rights as men …

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