I have noticed from time to time people asking questions at the end of a post that is maybe not related to the post. It could be about why I do this, or just another question relevant to this site. This page is for people to ask any questions relevant to this site.

Please anyone feel free to post responses to questions, I am not the one with all the answers, and the point of this site is to promote dialogue between LDS and Christians

If you would prefer to do it in private please email me on [email protected], otherwise please fire away just be respectful, and please each person only ask one question at a time otherwise this will get very messy.

For now I am not making it so questions have to be approved before appearing, I really hope to not have to change that, I have no problem whatsoever with opposing views, again please just be respectful.

119 Responses to Questions?

  1. James says:

    Smelly Pete,

    Regarding “spirit children” and the “pre-existence”, I’ll link you to this article at the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. This is not an officially endorsed resource, but it is a great resource to learn Mormon doctrines. No need to invent the wheel, so here it is:\


  2. Smelly Pete says:

    That sounds cool, so we are children in spirit before we come on earth? So the spirit goes into the sperm or the egg every time one is produced and then is given a body if a sperm fertilises an egg? There must be billions and billions and zillions of spirit children waiting to be given a host, it’s all very interesting. I dunno if I believe it cos the spirit children would have to get into the sperm/egg or both and then someone would have to make them go into a body. But it kinda makes a buit of sense in a way cos when you are dead you look empty, like an empty carton if you could imagine it do you know what I’m saying dudes and dudeesses? So maybe this meat that we wear is just like meat and when the spirit goes it just rots like a bit of pork. It makes a bit more sense then a soul being invented by the sperm and egg cos how does a soul get made? But I don’t know about planets and stuff cos no one has found one and I still can’t imagine how the spirit children fly from their planet and get into the reproductive organs. This is a guess and I’m not being disrespectful cos I mean top resepct to everyone, my respect goes out to all. But maybe these UFOs and spaceships people see are actually the spirit children coming to earth. Don’t laugh cos they’ve even seen spaceships over the White House and even in China where thye are not alowed to believe in God and spaceships. I’m opening my mind to all this stuff dudes cos it is starting to make sense! Respect.

  3. James says:

    Smelly Pete,

    The LDS Church has no official position about when the spirit enters the body. I personally don’t believe that every sperm cell is inhabited by a spirit. I think it happens sometime after the sperm cell and the egg are united.


    You should be aware that exact nature of and relationship between “intelligences” and “spirit bodies” is still debated among LDS thinkers. What you’ve outlined is probably the most popular belief among your average Mormon. However, those LDS who spend time really studying and thinking about these issues have much more nuanced and developed views. There is disagreement over whether an intelligence is a separate state of being, or if an intelligence is simply another word for a spirit.

    There is disagreement over how exactly we are “children” of God the Father and God the Mother. Most probably reject the notion that any sort of sexual activity was involved. My feel is that many are leaning towards an adoption of sorts. In other words, God the Father approached a bunch of us eternally existent wandering souls and took us under his wing and adopted us as his own and is teaching us how to reach our potential.

    There is also disagreement in some circles about whether God progressed into godhood, or whether he has eternally been divine. Of course, that debate includes a discussion about what exactly it means to be a “god”, which is another subject with no clear answer.

    So these issues are not as simple as many casual Mormons, and our critics, sometimes describe them.

    • Thanks for that James, I did not know that about the intelligences and spirit bodies etc, so I will keep that in mind.

      Regarding the children of God comment I was careful not to say that they were sexually having children as I am aware that is not the stated LDS belief, I am sure there are obscure quotes somewhere but I know they do not necessarily represent LDS belief.

      Regarding the God progressing into Godhood or maybe not that is interesting. I am sure you will know as well as I do Joseph Smith clearly preached that God was once a man and this I think has only been carried on being taught since then, however if this is being discussed or changed, now that is interesting.

      However your comments open the door to bigger problems theologically than the points themselves originally created. That is in a church that claims unity why is there so much disunity with these beliefs, why are the Prophets and Apostles of today not clearing up these matters, the LDS Prophets past had no problems stating unashamedly even the more obscure LDS doctrines however those days are fading away. Maybe too much concern about being seen as “Normal”.

      Consider this Brigham Young Quote: “God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 120).

      Now I am pretty sure you dont believe this however I think Young was unwittingly being very prophetic in that the view of God within the LDS church appears to be making a shift where God is becoming much more powerful if He goes from an exalted man to eternal God.

      But we see in the bible an eternal, almighty, unchanging God and while we born again’s might disagree on secondary issues there is no disputes over that.

  4. Smelly Pete says:

    When you die what happens to the spirit child(ren) inside you, does it get released??? And then if you were a bad spirit child do you get another body to try again or do you go to Hell? I know this sounds like I am being stuoid but do you become a spirit adult after death if you don’t go to Hell. What is Satan? Is he a bad spirit or disobedient spirit etc?

  5. James says:

    Hello Mormonisminvestigated (do you have a first name?),

    (1) I did notice that you didn’t describe any sexual activity in the “creation” of spirit children. Thank you for that. I was just trying to nip it in the bud in case it came up.

    (2) Those Mormons who argue that God has always been divine find no issue with Joseph’s King Follett Discourse. It is simply a matter of carefully interpreting his discourse. One prominent supporter of this is Blake Ostler. For some thoughts on this topic see here (your buddy Aaron Shaf. makes an appearance in the comments):

    (3) Past LDS leaders presided over a church that was very much secluded in the mountains of Utah. They were free to voice their private speculations and have open conversations without fear of their words being seized upon by anti-mormons and twisted and attacked. Today our leaders don’t have that luxury. Another aspect is that as a church we simply have matured both politically and theologically since those early days. We still have a long way to go, but we’ve crossed hurdles over the years. We’ve become more focused on what our real goals are, which are to bring people to Christ through the covenants of the restored gospel. We certainly have a desire to be seen as “normal”, though we have no desire to be ranked among the masses of Christian denominations in the way that, say, the Methodists are. We are proud of our unique beliefs and we stress those but not at the expense of our core doctrines which pretty much line up with the much of the rest Christianity.

    (4) Regarding “unity” and “disunity”, this is simply a non-issue. We see the myriad of differing churches as evidence that somewhere along the way something went wrong….especially in a Christian community where a closed canon is emphasized. If further revelation is not being given than all these denominations are simply splitting off from each other because they disagree on the same document (the Bible).

    But our (LDS) case is different. We have ongoing revelation. By its very nature this means that questions are left open and answers are still going to come in. In the meantime we have the chance to discuss and debate them. Our apostles and prophets don’t address all the mysteries because (1) they don’t know the answers or (2) the answer isn’t important to us now. We have all we need for salvation at this point. As the saying goes, the rest is just details.

    I’m grateful for living apostles and prophets who preside over God’s restored church with authority, and who remind us to repent and have faith, and who from time to time receive more scripture from above.

    • Sorry mate I am Bobby, thanks for your response, had a look at your blog, looks cool will try and get on some more and have a look around soon.

      Ok your points.

      (1) Yep fair enough I understand why you clarified too.

      (2) Funnily enough I was just looking at this article, an interesting shift towards Mainstream Christianity, in a few years will LDS go the full hog and say God has eternally been fully God, maybe our God could be the head of the Gods?

      (3) I think the statements of past Prophets have been problematic enough to not need twisting, nevertheless this does explain why these statements are not made any more. Mormonism has certainly made a big shift towards appearing more like Mainstream Christian and shying away from its more peculiar doctrines however these doctrines whether stated in the open so much anymore or not are a part of Mormonism and are very far apart from Mainstream Christianity belief.

      (4) Well I believe the LDS church has 100 plus offshoot groups for that same reason, and the fact that there are disagreements on massive issues like the nature of God without any authoritative voice to clear up these issues does not make Mormonism look as perfectly unified from the outside as people in the inside think it is. And you have already stated very well why the LDS leaders do not address the issues, I think Political being a big part of that. However lack of knowledge I would not accept and if the nature of God is not important now the LDS church really has lost it, which to be fair I do not think is the case.

      But anyway I like you James you seem to know your stuff and be up for some good discussion, please hang around here and I will certainly hang around your blog too.

  6. James says:

    Hi Bobby.

    (2) I doubt the LDS Church will take a definite stand any time soon about the duration of time that God has been a “god”. Why? Because as far as we are concerned it really doesn’t matter. More on that below.

    (3) Shying away from some of our “peculiar” ideas is a natural part of maturing as a church. I’m not sure which doctrines you have in mind, but like I said we’ve refocused ourselves now that we are a global church that is very much in the spotlight. I wouldn’t call it “shying away” as much as simply de-emphasizing certain things. For example, we don’t talk much anymore about where the Garden of Eden was located. While past leaders might have made a big deal of it, we have since realized that it doesn’t really matter and is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Our primary mission is to bring people to Christ, and so we focus on that.

    I don’t think the LDS Church is in anyway different or unique in that respect. On any given Sunday if you visit a Calvinist leaning church you aren’t going to hear a whole lot about double predestination. Instead, you are going to hear messages of hope and stories from the scriptures. That is what church is for.

    (4) I’ve heard other Evangelical critics of Mormonism claim that hundreds of mormon offshoots exist. There certainly are offshoots, no doubt about that, but 100+? Are we counting every little apostate family that leaves the church but still practices mormonism in their own unique way? That is hardly fair.

    (5) I think you are mistaking our intra-LDS disagreements about God’s past with disagreements about God’s nature. Nobody within the LDS community disagrees about God’s nature in any significant way. Perhaps the only thing I can think of is in respect God’s foreknowledge, but that debate obviously isn’t unique to the LDS.

    You see, when we discuss how long God the Father has been God the Father that isn’t a discussion about God’s nature, at least, not from within the Mormon framework. From within the Mormon framework one’s “nature” doesn’t change when you progress along the spectrum of divinity. I’m the same guy I was in the pre-mortal realm, but I’ve progressed. We are all the same fundamental species but we find ourselves at different places along a spectrum of glory and divinity. So, from with the LDS framework, a disagreement about how long God has been God is not a disagreement about God’s nature. It is simply a a disagreement about how long God has been God.

    I realize that is difficult to grasp coming from a mainstream Christian framework. If God hasn’t always been who he is, how does he have power to save? That is a preeminent question within mainstream Christianity. But the question is moot to us Mormons. I talk more about this in my blog post that I linked you to in my earlier comment.



    • Now then James some of your points are quite interesting and I think rather than having a discussion with short comments like this I would like to do a full post on them in the future, however I will give a bit of a response to some now.

      (2) OK

      (3) Was the garden of Eden location an evidential issue? Did the LDS church used to teach this was in America? Just something I heard.

      (4) I think a 100 might be putting this mildly however here are some links showing plenty This one lists 97 This does not number them but lists loads.

      (5) Well maybe “nature” is the wrong word, but if God was once a man He is by nature different to always being God, the fact that Jesus came to earth is often described as being so great as He could understand our human weaknesses this is even mentioned in Hebrews, if God the Father was once a man then He would understand all that too, so yes you are right the length of time God being God is not the issue, however whether He was once a man and not God is completely the issue.

      And yes you are right I do come at this from a certain perspective like anyone does with anything, however the Mormon church claims to be Christian and true and I think the problems with both of these statements can be understood from any perspective, thats a big statement which I will try and show through my posts rather than explain here.

  7. Smelly Pete says:

    What came first humans or spirit children cos you’d need humans to breed for the spirit children to live in. If humans were first then they were living freely without spirit children which means that if so the spirit children are illegally posessing our bodies.

  8. James says:


    I know of no Mormons who deny that God the Father ever came to an Earth as a mortal man. That isn’t really what we debate. Rather, the debate centers on whether God was already divine before that time or not. See my blog post I linked you to earlier.

    You should do a post about why Mormonism is not a Christian group, but I invite you to do something almost nobody does: first set out a clear definition of what “Christian” means and be prepared to defend it!


  9. Smelly Pete says:

    It doesn’t matter if God came to earth or not. The main issue here is the Spirit Children & The Egg question. Which came first?

  10. Smelly Pete says:

    Sorry, just to be slightly picky dudios, if we are spirit children made flesh and “the intelligence dwelling in each person is coeternal with God” and as Joe Smith said “we are all literal spirit sons and daughters of heavenly parents”, why would he made his spirit children disabled? Or why would he put spirit children in countries where Christiantity is not a major religion? Why would his spirit children form their own religions of Islam and Buddhism or even atheism if they God Himself made flesh??? If it is an opportunity for eternal progression dudes and dudessessesm, why make the playing field unlevel?! This theory is relatively new and, to my knowledge, no similar theory existed for millions of years of human development so why so late and what happened to all those spirit children prior to Joe Smith, Blessed Be His Soul, that had no conception of his theory. If we were/are all God in essence surely we as a Heavenly Being have known before Smithy found the golden scrolls in some mountains? To me this is now making less sense than it was before!

    So come on, drop the theological icing and let’s answer the real issues!!!

    Top Respect. Top Peace.

  11. Smelly Pete says:


    “the fact that Jesus came to earth is often described as being so great as He could understand our human weaknesses.”

    If God created man in His image and all that, why would he NOT know about us and have to come to earth in a human form? Why humans too? Why not chickens? pigs? tiny fish at the bottom of the Atlantic? If he made EVERYTHING and knows EVERYTHING what was he doing? Proving his existence? Not strictly dude cos he didn’t really prove anything cos you still gotta have that “faith”. Enjoying Himself? Hardly! Being crucified is no picnic even for God. Was he making war on the Devil’s Kingdom (the Devil presented the world to Jesus as belong to him)? If He is God why doesn’t He just “kill” Satan and have done with it?

    I’m moving on from Mormonism but these are logical questions to what appears to me illogic. Dude, you seem to be pulling Mormonism apart as a religion – as a sect of Christian thought, but the more I delve into Christianity itself, the more it seems to wither under the spotlight. Can you see what I’m saying?

    • Remember Pete 1 Question at a time!!!!! However I will let you off this time and jump to the second one.

      God firstly can do whatever He likes, He knew exactly what was going to happen from the beginning of time and knew He would send His son to die for us.

      Why does He not just destroy Satan? There are quick and easy answers to this but I think the most biblical answer is that God allows evil to carry on firstly as we have the choice to do what we like whether good or bad, if God took away all evil he would have to take us all away as we all have elements of evil within us which is sin. Secondly and most importantly the presence of evil brings glory to God as His goodness stands out amongst it. If there was no evil and everything was good and everyone was saved with no free will and the devil was killed Gods glory would not stand out as much as there would be nothing to contrast it too.

      As a Christian this makes sense to me as God is for me the most important thing over anything else, however this may not make a lot of sense to you, but maybe it will.

  12. Kate says:

    Hi everyone! As a former Mormon I can tell you all that Mormonism is NOT Christianity. This was probably the hardest thing for me. Christianity has a set of core beliefs and I will list a few.
    1) The Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are ONE God. Mormons do not believe this even though it states it in the Book of Mormon more than once. I believe Joseph Smith didn’t come up with the 3 being separate until after the Book of Mormon was written. The first vision that I was always taught, is actually the 9TH version of it!
    2) Mary was a virgin. Mormon doctrine teaches that God the Father came down and had relations with Mary because Jesus was “begotten” just as you and I were begotten of our Fathers and Mothers. It wasn’t incest because Mary was actually one of God’s plural wives. ( James before you come at me with both barrels, research this.)
    3) Jesus is God in the flesh. Mormon’s do not believe this either.
    4)We are saved by GRACE. Even though the Bible clearly states this over and over, Mormon’s believe it is by your own WORKS! Only after all YOU can do, then does Jesus do the rest. In my mind, this is blasphemy! I think this is the saddest thing.
    5) Satan is a fallen Angel. Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers. (Both are OUR spirit brothers) The bible tells us exactly who Satan is.
    James I have to tell you that as much as it has broken my heart, Mormons are NOT Christians. Yes you do believe in “A Jesus” but not the Biblical Jesus. As far as the Church getting away from the doctrines and beliefs of the past Prophets….That is the foundation of Mormonism. To get “away” from it means that you have lost your foundation. Notice that the foundation of Christianity still stands firm even after 2,000 years! Yes the different Christian sects may have minor differences, but the core beliefs are the same.

  13. James says:


    Thanks for sharing your opinions. I obviously believe that Mormons are Christians. I really think that if you and I were to debate that question, I’d win. It isn’t a question about what Mormons believe, but it is a question of defining “Christianity”. You’ve outlined a few core beliefs of mainstream orthodox Christianity, but you have done nothing towards establishing that this is the true definition of “Christian”.

    I suggest finding a definition of the word “Christian” from a source that we both agree on….like the Bible.

    I won’t comment on the details of your attempts to describe Mormonism. It was misinformed at best.


  14. Kate says:

    Uhhh….The core beliefs I mentioned are from the Bible. I’ve even shown you one from the Book of Mormon that agrees with the Bible ( even though it’s taught differently in Mormonism) I understand you not wanting to comment on anything that I stated. It’s the typical Mormon answer. Remember, I used to be a Mormon. For forty years as a matter of fact. I know what is taught. Thank goodness I’ve learned truth, thanks to Christians willing to stand up for Biblical Christianity. Go Bobby! :)

  15. James says:

    Hello again Kate. Two things:

    (1) My question had nothing to do with whether or not the ideas are found in the Bible. It is useless to debate whether or not a belief is a “Christian” belief until we first nail down a definition for the word “Christian”. So what I’m suggesting is that you look for somewhere in the Bible that defines the word “Christian”. Once you do that, then we can start deciding whether or not Mormonism fits into that definition. Before we do that, anything we say is just personal opinion and is not based in the Bible.

    (2) The reason I don’t really want to wade into all the issues you raised is because I think you are missing the bigger point. The question at hand is “Are Mormons Christians?”. The question is not “Do Mormons believe in salvation by grace?” You and I could debate soteriology endlessly, but it would be missing the point of our discussion. Let’s focus on one question at a time. I’d be happy to debate you on any topic of your choosing another time or in another place. In fact, feel free to email me with whatever topic you want discuss. As you can hopefully tell from my comments in this discussion so far, I’m fairly easy to get along with and I’m not out for blood. I just like to have good conversations.

    [email protected]

  16. Kate says:

    James, I can tell you are fairly easy to get along with. I am too. I did find some things pertaining to your comment that the question is “Are Mormon’s Christians” I found some things that I think you may find interesting. I know it didn’t come from the Bible, but it did come from LDS leaders.

    William O. Nelson, director of the LDS Church’s Melchizedek’s Priesthood Department:

    “Some who write anti-Mormon pamphlets insist that the Latter-day Saint concept of Deity is contrary to what is recognized as traditional Christian doctrine. In this way they are quite correct.”

    BYU professor Robert Millett:

    “If an acceptance of the doctrine of the Trinity makes one a Christian, then of course Latter-day Saints are not Christians, for they believe the doctrine of the Trinity as expressed in modern Protestant and Catholic theology is the product of the reconciliation of Christian theology with Greek philosophy.”

    15th church president Gordon Hinckley:

    “As a church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say.”

    So, in essence, Mormons want to be called Christian while denying the very essence of what defines Christianity, i.e. the doctrines of the nature of God (Trinity) and Jesus.

    • Hello you two, firstly great post Kate about the LDS leader quotes, I can imagine James’s response will be (something like) absolutely I agree with all of those statements as the things that mainstream Christians hold to are not what we see as biblical or truthful doctrines. Such as the Trinity.

      I understand this James and while I do want to accept your challenge to do a post defining what a Christian is and then have some good discussion I would go back to this comment of yours previously.

      The question is not “Do Mormons believe in salvation by grace?” You and I could debate soteriology endlessly, but it would be missing the point of our discussion.

      The issue of soteriology is the issue of being a true Christian. If you are not saved you are not a Christian, so I would suggest rather than going in circles here this is the issue to be looking at.

  17. James says:


    I’m quite aware of those quotes. I’m also exasperated that they continue to be misused.

    None of those quotes say “Mormons are not Christians”. Each of them provides a careful qualification to their statements. Let me give an analogy.

    Imagine Michael Jordan saying, “Inasmuch as basketball consists of a pitcher throwing a ball to a batter who tries to hit it and run around the bases, I am not a basketball player.”

    See? In my analogy Michael Jordan provided a unique and careful definition of the word “basketball” and then said that if that is the definition he has go by, he is not a basketball player. But what if Michael Jordan still considers himself a basketball player by a different definition of the word “basketball”?

    Every single person you quoted, Kate, believes himself to be a Christian. They believe in Jesus Christ. All they are saying is that if the definition of “Christian” was somehow magically transformed into “Trinitarian” than no, Mormons would not be Christians. But, we obviously don’t believe that that “Trinitarian” is an adequate definition for the word “Christian”, and so we reject that definition and we still consider ourselves to be Christians.

    Unfortunately, critics of Mormonism (such as yourself!) never quote what Hinckley said only moments later in the same interview:

    “Am I Christian? Of course I am. I believe in Christ. I talk of Christ. I pray through Christ. I’m trying to follow Him and live His gospel in my life.”

    We reject your claim that the traditional Trinity, as declared at Nicea in 325 AD, is the “very essence of what defines Christianity.” Again, Kate, I challenge you to find a biblical definition for the word “Christian.” You only have a few more times you can get away with dodging that challenge before people begin to realize it!


  18. James says:


    I simply disagree. I realize that Evangelicals almost unanimously believe that “Christian” is a synonym for “saved”, but that is a uniquely Evangelical way of defining the word “Christian.” That is not how the rest of the world, or the Bible itself, defines that word.


  19. Smelly Pete says:

    Yo sorry dudio, I get carried away with all this stuff, debating and questioning – it’s fantastic. It’s like democracy in action on the worldwide web ain’t it? I am gonna stick to just one question here cos it’s a big un.

    “God firstly can do whatever He likes, He knew exactly what was going to happen from the beginning of time and knew He would send His son to die for us.”

    God, if you pardon the term and I hope you don’t go all sensitive on me, is a bit like a dictator. He knows everything, sees everything, makes little notes, sends his secret police, e.g. the priests etc, to tell us what to do, and threatens to send us out into a hideous exile if we disobey his commands. And this guy is LOVING?! If he knows everything why bother? Why bother giving us free will and making a Devil to tempt us? For his own amusement? Why bother making himself into a man if he knew the outcome of the story before it happened, knowing fine well some people would dismiss it all as rubbish, knowing that the apocalypse will happen despite all his best intentions to defeat the Devil? Why play games and tell us to resist if at the end of time he’s already decided that he wins? Why doesn’t he just win now? Why did he bother at all?
    He’s playing the game but he’s using all the cheats. He’s all knowing, invulnerable and ultimate but wants to create men, spirit children inside or not, to resist the temptations of a being he also created who rebelled against him because he wanted him to rebel against him a bit like Judas he was supposed to rebel against him so God could achieve his masterplan but for which, presumably, Judas suffers eternal tormet for at the hands of the being he created who is totally evil?

    It’s about as logical as Rambo III.

    • However it is certainly not as much of an insult to humanity as Rambo 4!!

      I am afraid that through argument I can not make you change the way you look at God, the best thing to do is pray, ask God to reveal Himself to you and look to the bible to learn more about Him as it is full of stories of God’s grace and love as well as His anger towards rebelliousness.

      Regarding the secret police the priests erm, what????????

      And you like anyone else has a choice, be angry at God for allowing you to go to hell if you don’t accept Christ, or gratefully accept the gift of grace and eternal life that comes from accepting Christ, its kind of the ultimate glass half full or half empty choice really.

  20. Kate says:

    All I can say to you James is actually READ the Bible. God does reveal himself to you. The Bible is full of Christianity that Mormonism is in direct contradiction to. You are trying to get me to show you one sentence in the Bible that will say, ” See! we are Christians because of this and this, and Mormons aren’t!” Really all you have to do is read the words of Christ himself. He tells you what is of him and what isn’t. That is Christianity. Who God is. Who Christ is. What Christ did for us on the Cross. I believe what Jesus says about himself and who he is. It wouldn’t matter what I show you in the Bible that shows Mormonism is different. You believe that because you follow a prophet, you hold are the cards. I know there is no use in showing truth to a Mormon. I was one remember. I defended it too. You can’t deny that the essence of God is different in the Bible compared to what you are taught and what you believe. I happen to believe the Bible is the Word of God. I just wonder why the LDS continue to criticize the Christian Bible when all they have to do is start using the Joseph Smith Translated Bible like other Mormon sects do. Any thoughts on this?

  21. James says:


    I’ll try to address most of your comments.

    (1) I actually do read the Bible. I’m a Sunday School teacher and this year we are studying the Old Testament, so I’ve been knee deep in the Old Testament lately. A study by The Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, found that on average Mormons study the Bible more frequently than Protestants. So, I’d think twice before telling a Mormon to go read his bible! See here:

    (2) Yes, I am trying to get you to find a sentence in the Bible that clearly defines Christianity in a way that excludes Mormonism. It can’t be done, and you are realizing that. We can bicker back and forth about whether Mormonism lines up with the Bible or not (it does), but that isn’t the point. We need a definition of “Christian” that is authoritative, otherwise this conversation can’t really take place. It would be like trying to persuade someone that they have a kerflukel on their head without ever defining what a kerflukel is (I made that word up).

    (3) You said, “I know there is no use in showing truth to a Mormon. I was one remember. I defended it too.”
    Do you really believe that? If you were a Mormon once, than something must have led you away from it. You must see some point in showing the “truth” to Mormons.

    (4) You said, “You can’t deny that the essence of God is different in the Bible compared to what you are taught and what you believe.”
    Oh, yes I can. I readily accept that Mormonism has added to and expanded on biblical teachings about God. I’m thrilled about that. I still claim that nothing is contradictory, for addition is not the same as contradiction.

    (5) You said, “I just wonder why the LDS continue to criticize the Christian Bible when all they have to do is start using the Joseph Smith Translated Bible like other Mormon sects do. Any thoughts on this?”
    I’m not sure why you think LDS criticize the Bible. I certainly haven’t in this conversation. Sometimes we’ll point out flaws in the Biblical text as a way of pointing out the double standard of critics who critique the Book of Mormon for similar things. But other than that we don’t really spend much time looking for errors in the Bible. Remember, we read the Bible more than you guys! Just because we aren’t inerrantists doesn’t mean we distrust the Bible at every turn. The JST is a useful tool, but it was never meant to be the official Bible of the LDS Church. I regularly read the KJV, the NET Bible, and the NRSV Oxford Annotated Bible.


  22. James says:


    Why do you have a picture of the back of Aaron Shafovaloff’s head on your blog banner??!!



    • Oh yeah forgot about that, its not because Aaron is on it(though Aaron is a great guy), I like that picture as it shows Christians having dialogue with Lds people which is what this blog is about, and having a cross on there is great too.

      I would prefer to have something on there relevant to the Uk but haven’t found anything better yet.

  23. Kate says:

    1) I actually do read the Bible. I’m a Sunday School teacher and this year we are studying the Old Testament, so I’ve been knee deep in the Old Testament lately. A study by The Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, found that on average Mormons study the Bible more frequently than Protestants. So, I’d think twice before telling a Mormon to go read his bible! See here:

    You left out this part of the study:
    Barna pointed out that Mormons are more likely to read the Bible during a week than are Protestants – even though most Mormons do not believe that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God.

    (2) Yes, I am trying to get you to find a sentence in the Bible that clearly defines Christianity in a way that excludes Mormonism. It can’t be done, and you are realizing that. We can bicker back and forth about whether Mormonism lines up with the Bible or not (it does), but that isn’t the point.

    The entire Bible and the Christian doctrines contained in it excludes Mormons James. You say Mormonism lines up? Tell me, who is God? Jesus? Are we saved by Grace as the Bible tells us? Or is it works? Was Mary a virgin or not? You said earlier that:

    “We are proud of our unique beliefs and we stress those but not at the expense of our core doctrines which pretty much line up with the much of the rest Christianity. ”

    I showed you some core Christian beliefs and how the Mormon view is different and you told me that “I was misleading at best.” Really? So you don’t believe in the 9th version of the first vision? You don’t believe the Book of Mormon? The Journal of Discourses? Which by the way, The Journal of Discourses is part of what “led me away.” I have been told lies all of my life James. I did what Brigham Young said:

    “I say to the whole world, receive the truth no matter who presents it to you. Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the LDS with it and see if it will stand the test.” Brigham Young, 1873 (Journal of Discourses, volume 16, page 46)

    Now at this time Brigham was still preaching his revelation on the Adam-God Doctrine, Blood Atonement, Blacks will not hold the priesthood until after the second coming of Christ yada yada yada. Tell me, did any of that “line up with the Bible?” Why don’t Mormons believe and practice these things still? Oh that’s right, new prophet trumps the old one. I have to say that this is something new to me. I was taught all of my life that when a prophet speaks it is scripture and the thinking has been done for you. The early prophets of the Mormon church claimed revelation from God, just as the prophet today does. Which ones are we to believe? I was taught to believe them all! Of course many of them were “hidden” and not talked about. Why the dishonesty? What happened to God never changing? The same yesterday, today and tomorrow? I choose to believe the Word of God and it says:

    “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, AND BLOWN HERE AND THERE BY EVERY WIND OF TEACHING and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” -Ephesians 4:14

    Christians are people who believe the Bible is The Word of God ( the study you provided says most Mormons don’t believe this) Christians believe the doctrines of Christianity contained in the Bible. Mormons believe in a modern day Prophet and the doctrines and practices of Mormonism. What’s wrong with being a plain old Mormon? Why do you have to insist you are Christian when you clearly do not believe in Christian doctrine??? Oh and by the way, The Joseph Smith Translation was most certainly meant for Mormons. You would have it if Emma Smith would have handed it over when Brigham Young demanded it from her! Research Mormon History James. It’s ugly.

  24. James says:


    (1) I didn’t quote the bit about Mormons not believing the Bible is authoritative for two reasons: (a) there are two different reports from the Barna Group that each say that Mormons read the Bible more than protestants. One of the reports includes a comment about Mormons not believing the Bible to be authoritative, the other one doesn’t. I quoted the one that doesn’t. (b) The other reason I didn’t include that information was because it is simply false. The survey question did not ask whether or not your believed the Bible was authoritative, it only asked how often do you read the Bible. The little comment about Mormons not believing that the Bible is the authoritative word of God is nothing but editorializing by the Barna Group. That information is not found in the survey results at all, but is simply the opinion of the Barna Group. They apparently didn’t like the fact that Mormons read the Bible more than Protestants, and so they tried to tamper it with their own made up (and incorrect) opinion. It is false. Of course Mormons believe the Bible is the authoritative word of God, else why would we read it so much? Why would we include it in our canon? Why would our teenagers study it for two years in seminary? Kate, if you were once a Mormon you know very, very well that Mormons consider the Bible to be authoritative scripture. The Bible is quoted more than any other book in General Conference.

    (2) I’ll indulge your questions this time, though I still think we are straying from the question at hand….”are Mormons Christians?”.
    (a) God is a word that designates more than one thing, but in the LDS tradition we usually use it to refer to God the Father, the first member of the Godhead. We are also comfortable applying it to Jesus Christ, because is God also.
    (b) We are saved by grace, just like the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach.
    (c) Mary was a virgin at Christ’s birth, just like the Bible and the Book of Mormon and LDS leaders have taught.
    (d) The prerogative of a Prophet is to write binding, authoritative scripture. That happens on rare occasions. The primary function of a prophet is to preach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Brigham Young performed that duty just fine. Another function of the prophet is to possess the keys of priesthood authority. But, it is *not* the prophet’s job to always get everything right. They are allowed to speculate and try their hand at theology. Something that is rather telling to me is that Brigham Young never tried to canonize his speculations about Adam-God. He certainly could have tried, because other things he taught were canonized (D&C 136) . The Adam-God issue is a pretty complex one, one which deserves its own discussion. We can’t do it justice in a conversation like this in which we are covering many topics at once.

    That, primarily, is why I wanted to avoid your questions in the first place. Each of these issues deserves their own discussion. We can’t really do any of them justice if we try to talk about all of them at the same time. If you’d like to discuss any issue individually feel free to email me ([email protected]), or perhaps if you have a blog of your own we could discuss it there.

    (3) You keep saying that a Christian is this or a Christian is that but you haven’t yet provided us with a definition from a source that anyone considers authoritative.

    (4) How did the Journal of Discourses help to lead you away from the Church? I own a full set of the JoD, and they don’t bother me at all. Even within Mormonism there is a diversity of ideas about how to understand the nature of prophets. I don’t consider them to be infallible people, and so I don’t flinch when they say something I disagree with or that is wrong. You probably approached the issue from the opposite direction, thinking that prophets are infallible and so any mistake in their speeches was evidence that they are false prophets. That is an incorrect way of seeing things, one that the prophets themselves would reject. You keep saying that you were taught that “when the prophet speaks the thinking has been done” but you aren’t fooling me. I know that that is a quote pulled from an obscure LDS magazine article many years ago. That idea is NEVER taught in LDS meetings, and has been specifically repudiated by the Church. It is an anti-mormon mantra that you have adopted as justification for your own apostasy.


  25. Kate says:

    I’ve shown you what a Christian is. If the study you provided wasn’t reliable to you then why did you quote it? It was OK for the part you want to use, but the rest of it is not accurate? This is Mormon logic. By the word “apostasy” if you mean that I left the Mormon church because of the run around and always skirting the truth, and always feeling that Christ was missing in my life then yes, I’m an apostate. I would have done it so much sooner had I known that the loving arms of my Savior are open to ME! I don’t have to go through a bishop or any other man to the reach them. I have been Born Again James, have you? There is such freedom in Christ. I don’t need all of the deceit and half truths and false doctrines to reach Salvation. It’s offered to us all through Christ. As far as “When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done for you”, where exactly do you think I was taught that? In my LDS meetinghouse. In a lesson. So stop trying to deceive. How sad that you don’t question when a former prophet has been proven wrong. You ask me why the Journal of Discourses led me away? James I didn’t even know they existed until I was 38 years old! They were meant for our generation and generations to come. Obviously the prophets of the day felt they were speaking for God. My Mormon families date back to the beginning of Mormonism. 2 of my great great great great Aunts were sealed to Joseph Smith as plural wives. I didn’t even know that Joseph Smith was a polygamist! I was always taught (yes in my LDS meetinghouse) that polygamy started with Brigham Young and the move west and the only reason they did it was because there were so many widows and women who needed to be taken care of. Bull. I found out Joseph Smith was a polygamist and that my family was involved, when my Grandmother gave my Father a 2 volume, hard backed history of our family. Reading it sickened me. I know you believe that because you have a prophet and he adds on to the Bible, you know more than us mere Christians. I have to ask, where is Jesus? You may be able to reconcile all of the hidden stuff in your mind. But I can’t. The bottom line for me is, Jesus is enough for me. He says “Come unto ME, all ye who are heavy burdened and I will give thee rest.” Not “Well, you have to go through a man who holds the Mormon priesthood and let him judge whether or not you are worthy enough to come unto me.” James, I’m afraid we are just going to have to “agree to disagree”. I wish you all the best and God Bless!

  26. James says:


    I fear that our discussion is quickly eroding into a contest of who can get in the last word. I apologize if I’ve not been as gentle as I should be.

    I want to share my experience with you. I grew up in a Mormon household. As a teenager I learned in seminary that Joseph Smith initiated polygamy. As a young missionary I learned about the Journal of Discourses. I’m still young (late twenties) but I’m fairly well acquainted with LDS history. I too come from pioneer stock, but I don’t wave that flag as anything that makes me special. Over the past 5 or 6 years I’ve read and consumed a whole lot of LDS history and literature. Sometimes I learn something surprising that shakes my faith just a little. At that point I have two options: (1) Abandon all the spiritual experiences I’ve had and all the things I believe, or (2) figure out a way to incorporate this new surprising information into the framework of beliefs I already have. In every case I’ve successfully incorporated new and surprising information into my testimony.

    Let me give you an example. Joseph Fielding Smith, one of our past prophets, once stated that man would never make it to the moon. He was dead wrong. What now? Is he a false prophet? Maybe, maybe not. That depends on what the setting was in which he made that statement, and also on how I understand the function and nature of a prophet. I’ve come to understand that not everything uttered by our leaders is supposed to be taken as infallible truth distilled from Heaven. In fact, very little of what they teach is. Most of the things they say are their best efforts to make sense of the world around them and lead the Church in righteousness. That is a view that I’ve had to adjust over the years. In my childhood innocence and ignorance I incorrectly thought that everything the prophets teach is as good as scripture. I was in for a surprise when I realized that that isn’t the case. Instead of losing my faith and jumping ship, I just reoriented my paradigm. My faith is now more mature, more stable, more nuanced, and better focused because of that experience.

    Consider the prophet Isaiah. He wrote a pretty big book. Let’s agree that everything he wrote in that book was inspired from God and is trustworthy scripture. But what about all the times Isaiah said something else…for example when he told his sons to stop teasing their little sister, or when he lost his temper with his wife. He was a regular person living in the real world who had to face the issues of life. Isaiah probably believed some incorrect things about science too. How would you react if you somehow discovered that Isaiah believed that God was not three persons in one being? What if you somehow discovered that the full understanding of the Trinity was not revealed to Isaiah? Would it shake your faith?

    It would not shake my faith if I discovered something like that about Isaiah. A prophet’s primary function is to preach repentance, not to be theologians.

    So it is with modern prophets. Thomas S. Monson likely believes certain things that I’d disagree with. But those are things which, in the grand scheme of things, could be considered “non-essentials” (to borrow a term from Protestantism). Within Mormonism we all agree on the essentials, but we are more than allowed to disagree with our prophets and apostles on the non-essentials. One of the difficulties is in determining which things are “essential” and which things are “non-essential”, but that is a continuing conversation.

    I’m still unsure what it is about the Journal of Discourses that bothers you. It is roughly the equivalent of reading old General Conference talks. General Conference talks aren’t meant to be read as if they are God’s words frozen in time. Those talks are from men who do their best to pass on messages of the gospel. 95% of the time those messages are just fine, and very helpful. Perhaps 5% of the time they are not so useful. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!


  27. James says:

    Oh ya, one more thing.

    Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in my earlier comment. The Barna Group reports two things:
    (1) Mormons read the Bible more often than Protestants and Catholics
    (2) Mormons don’t believe that the Bible is the authoritative word of God

    Only the first thing is actually part of the study. It was a survey that they did and the question was about how often people read their Bibles. The survey didn’t say anything about what people thought about the Bible. So, the data only supports the first part. The second part is not part of the survey, is not part of the actual results. It is the opinion of the Barna Group but is not based on any survey or any actual research.

    The first is part of the results of the survey, the second is made up from nothing by the Barna Group. I’m only interested in reporting what is actually found in their research, not their biased religious opinions.

  28. Kate says:

    That’s a really good story, and I can tell that your heart is in the right place. The problem is James, Isaiah didn’t change anything. I live by the Word of God now. In the Word of God, Deuteronomy to be exact. We are taught how to tell if a prophet is false. Jesus also warns us in Matthew how to detect a false prophet. Either all their fruit is “good fruit” or it’s all “bad fruit.” ” Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” You can rationalize all of it if you want to. That’s your right. I’m done rationalizing, I’ve moved on in Christ! I believe the words of Christ over man. It just comes down to who’s words you put your faith in. I have researched Mormon doctrine ( all of it, not just church approved) and I have researched Mormon history for the past 3 years. I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater! LOL! It would take DAYS for me to tell you all the things I’ve found. I’ve had MANY things Mormon shake my faith over the past 3 years. I can’t find a way to incorporate it into my beliefs! What? It caused me to do even more research on it. See if it matches up with God’s Word. My blinders are off James. You will never be able to gloss over it for me. I do appreciate you trying though. I can tell that you are a very caring, kind individual. Just do one thing for me? Ask God to reveal his true self to you. I’m still a baby Christian and I know I have 40 years of Bible study to catch up on! The things I’ve learned in the past few years with my Christian community is so much more loving and peaceful. There is peace in Christ. I never felt this while a Mormon.

    • I think we have all had our say here and at the risk of going in circles let’s now leave this one there. I will be doing plenty of posts in the future that I am sure will bring further discussion.

      I think there has been great points made on both sides, and I hope we all consider what has been said.
      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

  29. Kate says:

    OOPS! I wanted to tell you that comparing latter day prophets to prophets of old really doesn’t do anything for me because I believe that in the old days God spoke to us through his prophets, in these latter days he speaks to us through his Son. I’m finally listening! Take Care!

  30. Kate says:

    Sorry Bobby! I didn’t see your earlier post before I sent that last comment!

  31. Smelly Pete says:


    I is gonna axe you cos you seem to know about this Christian thing. Why does God send us to Hell if he made us, made a Devil to tempt us, then blames us if we give in to a being that He made specifically to tempt us? It’s like putting a chocolate bar in front of a fat person and expecting them not to eat it!

    What does Kate think?

    This argument can be answered by any type of Christian. I don’t care if you read the Bible or Joe Smith’s sequel or not.

  32. Smelly Pete says:


    Should a Christian celebrate Hallowe’en?

  33. James says:

    Bobby, I assume you are OK with us discussing Pete’s question. If not, I apologize.

    I actually think you’ve touched on something important. The existence of Satan poses a significant problem for mainstream Christianity. He just doesn’t quite make sense within that framework of ideas. Why did God create someone who would fight against him, trick his children, and lead them away to hell? How could that possibly glorify God (alluding to Bobby’s earlier comments)? There is more that could be said about it.

    From the perspective of Mormonism, God did not create Satan. Satan is a person just like you and me who happens to be very capable in the art of persuasion. He is not created, and has existed as an independent being for eternity (just like the rest of us). God has to deal with him, but rather than destroy him completely (if that were possible) God has found a way to work Satan into his plan and use him. It is actually a brilliant stroke on God’s part, to allow Satan to flourish and think he is getting somewhere. Satan was originally a valiant being of truth and virtue, but he fell through pride and ambition.

    I obviously think that Mormonism has a better answer to this issue than mainstream Christianity does!


    • To James, just a quick response regarding you answering Petes question

      Yep no problem

      I will add my pennys worth to what you said later, always feel free to comment mate.

      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

    • To James, I have never found the existence of Satan problematic, and my response on the glory of God etc, is probably a lot deeper than the question needed to go, if you wanted to discuss that further I think that would be one for email.

      And Pete regarding halloween I think it is just a matter for personal opinion, I personally dont have much of a problem with it, the root of Halloween is evil but trick or treating is probably no worse than watching a Harry Potter film and most of the time kids arent too worried about the root causes they just wanna have fun, that said many will disagree with me on that and think we should have nothing to do with it, and I would not try to heard to argue with that either.

  34. Smelly Pete says:


    I dunno like dude, your explanation of the Devil just “existing” seems even less plausible than God making him up. That he exists as a person particulary good as a salesman doesn’t add up. If he is a person, where is he? Why can’t he die? If he ca’t die then that breaks all laws of the universe. How does he influence us? Through our minds? If he is also an all-knowing immoral being that can read minds and tells us to do stuff then he hardly a “person”, more a super-being and any being needs an origin and can’t just exist. Ask George Lucas. So, if he is like a religious version of Darth Maul he must have been born. From whom? God? The Heavenly Mother & Father? Hang on, I thought God also just existed so there wouldn’t need to be a sexual act so why have a clear definition between the sexes? Why have male and female if all heavenly beings are asexual? Is the Devil male or female? Why, if he is also asexual? Dude, your explanation is further muddying the waters here. If the Devil is not human and God is not human then we can’t be based on his/her/its image because it can’t be both human and supernatural and male and female and asexual. This renders this argument invalid as the Devil is not a physical entity unless he can possess us, which some argue he can. But then he is not strictly a person either.

    Which takes us back to the Devil question. Why did God invent him? It’s a bit cruel. As Al Pacino’s “Devil” says, “Look but don’t touch! Touch, but don’t taste! Taste, but don’t swallow!!!”

    It is like putting a hamburger in front of an American and telling him not to eat it!!!

  35. Smelly Pete says:

    Going back to Hallowe’en, the greatest of all festivals in my opinion.

    Christians should celebrate it because:

    1. If they believe Christianity is true then they shouldn’t get upset about a pagan one because if there are pagans about, they must be mistaken in their belief so what harm can it do?
    2. You are not idolising any “false” God because no God(s) are worship in the Celtic festival of Samhain. In fact, you are scaring away evil spirits and what’s wrong with that.
    3. Christians believe in evil spirits. Jesus drives out a few from a pig which when Jesus asks it names replies, “Legion: for we are many.” So you are doing your bit for J.C. by putting up those pumpkins!
    3. Pagans will be offended if you ban it and no religions like to be told that what they are doing is totally silly/dangerous/irrelevant.
    4. It’s fun and kids love it.
    5. It creates jobs. In China. Thousands of Communist Party factory workers have to put aside their beliefs to make superstitious tit-tat for Western consumers so they can feed their families.
    6. What else would we do on the 31st October? Be miserable probably cos the weather is so bad.

    Thoughts please.

    Smelly Pete.

  36. James says:


    I think you need to do a lot of catching up on LDS doctrine before we can have an intelligent conversation about these issues. Let me suggest some introductory essays for you to read on topics that are relevant to your questions about Satan.


    P.S. I enjoy Halloween and always celebrate it.

  37. Smelly Pete says:

    I think I raised some important issues and I don’t need to understand Mormonism or any other theological ramblings to pose serious questions. You said the Devil is a person, a man. Well where is he? He can’t just exist, he must have been created. The fact he is gender specific implies there are females in this spirit world but why if he just “exists”. Sexual reproduction won’t be needed if he was created asexually by nothing. I’m not interested in Joe Smith’s the New Testament part II, I want to know what you think, no what he has told people to think from what he has quite plainly imagined either due to psychosis or fraudulent grabs at the money of “believers” or some other reason. Think for yourself, what do you think?

  38. Smelly Pete says:

    The idea the Devil is a man sitting somewhere is as unbelievable as UFOs from space being the spirit children flying to earth to jump into a woman’s egg ready for fertilisation. Wouldn’t you see Bobby :) ???

  39. James says:


    I can assure you that I’ve spent, and do spend, much time thinking for myself. As a result of this I am a Mormon, and I agree with the teachings of Mormonism. I specifically provided you with links to articles at the Encyclopedia of Mormonism because that *is* what I think. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and explain all of my thoughts to you when they are already written there by someone who thinks the same way that I do. I’m especially not going to reproduce it all here just because Smelly Pete is too lazy to do his homework.

    One of the upsides to the internet is that we have so much information available to us, and we have the ability to discuss it. One of the downsides is that debate and discussion is so easy and fun that we often don’t spend enough time reading and learning. We could all do with a little less chatter and a little more reading.


  40. Smelly Pete says:

    I am not lazy I just don’t believe a dude who said some golden scrolls were buried in a mountain so don’t go all sensitive on me. If I said a wizard told me some magic potions had revealed thatGod was a fairy and lived in a cave so therefore everyone has to live in a big cave with me and give me all their money you’d laugh.

    Anyway top respect for believing in all this stuff cos I couldn’t so stop being insulting to people who don’t believe in what you believe.

    I can’t even remember what the original question was, you said something about the Devil being a fella. But you still haven’t explained why he is a person and why he is has a gender. I couldn’t care less if he was a woman but it seems most religions see everything from a male perspective and put males in positions of authority. Weird that. From the Catholic Church to Islam to Hindusim and Buddhism, it seems guys have all the power and authority and this is a bit odd if you ask me.

  41. Smelly Pete says:


    Do God and the Devil have physical bodies? (excluding J.C. who doesn’t count)

    • Why does Jesus not count?

      I would say God the Father does not have a physical body, Mormons would say He does and regarding satan I am pretty sure we would both say He does not have a physical body but has a form of some kind.

      I hope your bugging other blogs too :) just kiddin

  42. James says:


    You asked me about what Mormons think of the devil. I gave you links to those answers. You are being too lazy to go read them. End of story.

    I dare say you ought to familiarize yourself with the basic tenets of a religious tradition before you start criticizing them. I’ve tried to help educate you a little, but so far it is to no avail because you won’t tear yourself from the conversation and spend some time reading. I don’t think it is fair to say I’m insulting you. I’m just pointing out that I’ve already given you the resources you need, but you haven’t taken advantage of them. My experience is that discussions go much smoother when both parties take the opportunity to educate themselves a bit on what the other believes.

    I think this discussion has run its course. Farewell Smelly Pete. I look forward to future blog posts here.


  43. Smelly Pete says:

    Hang on, hang on, I’ve give them a read and see what it’s all about.

  44. Kate says:

    Pete, you’re killing me! LOL! Can I ask where you are from and if you are affiliated with any religion?

  45. Kate says:

    Pete, here’s what the Bible says about Satan, I’m afraid you’ll have to do a bit of “light” reading LOL!

    People’s beliefs concerning Satan range from the silly to the abstract—from a little red guy with horns who sits on your shoulder urging you to sin, to an expression used to describe the personification of evil. The Bible, however, gives us a clear portrait of who Satan is and how he affects our lives. Put simply, the Bible defines Satan as an angelic being who fell from his position in heaven due to sin and is now completely opposed to God, doing all in his power to thwart God’s purposes.

    Satan was created as a holy angel. Isaiah 14:12 possibly gives Satan’s pre-fall name as Lucifer. Ezekiel 28:12-14 describes Satan as having been created a cherubim, apparently the highest created angel. He became arrogant in his beauty and status and decided he wanted to sit on a throne above that of God (Isaiah 14:13-14; Ezekiel 28:15; 1 Timothy 3:6). Satan’s pride led to his fall. Notice the many “I will” statements in Isaiah 14:12-15. Because of his sin, God barred Satan from heaven.

    Satan became the ruler of this world and the prince of the power of the air (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2). He is an accuser (Revelation 12:10), a tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5), and a deceiver (Genesis 3; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:3). His very name means “adversary” or “one who opposes.” Another of his titles, the devil, means “slanderer.”

    Even though he was cast out of heaven, he still seeks to elevate his throne above God. He counterfeits all that God does, hoping to gain the worship of the world and encourage opposition to God’s kingdom. Satan is the ultimate source behind every false cult and world religion. Satan will do anything and everything in his power to oppose God and those who follow God. However, Satan’s destiny is sealed—an eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

  46. Smelly Pete says:

    Yo Bobio, yeah i said the Big JC didn’t count cos he kinda had a physical body although he did ascend into heaven with it still. I dunno how this is possible but that’s what the guys in the N.T. say.

  47. Smelly Pete says:

    Yo Kate,

    Thank-you so much for the Bible bits, I will read them when I next get chance. I’ve got a Bible in my library so will go check it out as soon as I’m done here. The New Testament is, even if you don’t believe it, a bit more shall we say well-thought out than the Joe Smith version. I dunno about you but I’d be asking questions if a friend of mine was finding golden scrolls in the mountains, saying an angel put them there, and then writing his own Bible. I wouldn’t be joining him and giving him my cash but there you are. Some people strip naked and jump over fires for religion or sacrifice cows and stuff like that so each to their own.

    Am I affiliated to any religion? No, not at all. I was on a quest to find one but I’ve found most of them are quite batty. I can meditate but I can’t bring myself to believe in re-incarnation. I can pray but I can’t force myself to see others as “infidels” or “heretics”. I can see the sense of respecting life but not in refusing to eat certain types of animals or only if they have been ritually slaughtered. I can believe that J.C. was a top bloke, a guy who was peace and love and should be seen as a political activisit fighting for the rights of the oppressed poor with kindness but not as a part of a trinity and the son of a virgin.

    I wanna know why people believe what they believe. Is it because they are told to? Is it because their own cultures bring them up that way? You don’t find many mormons in Russia. Why? Cos it’s an American thing. You don’t find many Hindus in Mexico. Why? Cos it’s an Indian thing. People believe what they do because they are told it’s true by adults when their kids and only a few people break free from it and think for themselves. Some people freely go to courses and breaks and lectures and start to believe what they have been told. Some people have religious epxeriences, but usually featuring characters from religions they are familiar with. There were no Christian martyrs or miracles etc in Japan 90AD cos there were no Christians there. No one in Britain in the medieval era “enjoyed” a Shinto or Islamic experience, e.. visions because the iconography was not implanted in their consciousness. When people have religious experiences they are having delusions.

    So I think!!! I want someone to explain why they think what they think and what hard evidence they can give kid. You know what I mean? Not giving me copyrighted The Bible 2 texts or the writings of some 16th Century theologian but their own thoughts.

    I can’t see how anyone knows what or who God (or the Devil) is aside from reading old books or what they have been told. Why does no one think the Devil is a hairy caterpillar that lives under a Toadstool in Yellowstone Park? People just quote texts, scripture. But thanks anyway, at least you don’t go all sensitive cos I’ve axed a question y’all.

    Peace, love, respect

  48. Kate says:

    Pete, I was born into a Mormon family. I understand what you say about believing something because we are taught that from our parents. In fact I’ve had this argument with my Mother. She would be a devout Catholic if that would have been the religion she was born into. I love history and studying my Mormon history is what brought me out of the religion. Like you, I just can’t believe in the Book of Mormon. All I can say about the Bible is that I “think for myself” it’s the Word of God. I more than think it actually. I believe it and I have faith that God is behind it. That’s why I believe and try to follow it’s teachings. It gives me hope and makes my life have meaning. It comes down to faith I suppose. I love the fact that you are searching everything! To be honest, I’ve never really searched out some of the other religions you have mentioned. I think because as I’ve stated before, Jesus is enough for me. I truly hope that you find whatever it is you are searching for. Kate

  49. Smelly Pete says:

    Yo Kate, thanks.

    Which parts of Mormonism brought you out of it? Certain religions have their weak points, if you can see them, that immediately invalidate them to my mind. Aside from the matter of having faith that is. Even if you have faith certain things stand out as being totally irrational or just illogical. Take Joe Smith and His Golden Scrolls. It is just so implausible that whilst NASA has no evidence of extra-terrerestial life – including angels flying up to Heaven (it does say in the original Bible that Jesus ascended into heaven on a cloud…where did he could? He was in human form because he asked the disciples to touch his wounds and if he went up into the clouds, where did he go? Did he stop at the clouds or did he go into outer space?) If supernatural beings, like the angel that appeared to Joe, travel regularly to and from earth via clouds then surely NASA would have evidence. But they don’t. But Joe Smith, a criminal fraudster with a background of racial hatred, does/did. Why Joe Smith? And it’s funny that he then set himself up as leader and the prophet and everyone has to donate part of the salary to the Church. I bet he wasn’t a poor man. You see the same thing with other different cults and even business organisation – pyramid selling for example.

    The Catholic Church contradict J.C.’s teachings the most, by having vast wealth, private bodyguards, an armed force, private jets, etc, etc but Jesus said it was harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than a camel to enter the eye of a needle. Not to mention the global conspiracy – because that’s what it was – to cover up paedophile abuse. But they still have millions of followers that believe everything that comes out the mouths of the clergy which they themselves were told to believe from what others had read in books.

    I think we can be good people without religion and quite decent human beings, maybe that’s the realisation I’m looking for Kate.

  50. Kate says:

    Well Pete, the Book of Abraham started it all off for me. Like I said, I’m a history buff and I had studied ancient Egypt some and had seen the funeral scrolls before and those are what Joseph Smith had “translated”. I then started looking online and discovered the Journal of Discourses. Wow. I can’t even explain the evil I felt reading the first one. I then found Heart of the Matter with Shawn McCraney. He was a Mormon for 40 years just like me. He was into it more than me because I haven’t been through the Temple. I always wanted to and convinced my Husband to do it, but at the time he had a word of wisdom problem. I’m laughing now as I type this because how absurd to have chewing tobacco make you “unworthy” for Salvation. He stopped chewing 11 years ago, but for some reason we just never went. I’m thankful for that now. I have read all about the Temple and what goes on inside from exmormons. In fact a lot of them left the Mormon church because of reading the book about Free Masonry that was written by a Free Mason who has no affiliation with the church. Others left because of a documentary on Free Masonry on t.v. and then as they studied it more, found it to be almost exactly the same. I then read the 2 volume, hard backed history of my Father’s family. That was only a few years ago. That’s when I found out that Joseph Smith was a secret polygamist and 2 of my great, great, great, great Aunt’s were sealed to him behind Emma’s back. In fact he had 33 documented wives. Most of whom Emma Smith didn’t know about. I hate lies and deceit. Even worse, their mother was sealed to Joseph Smith’s father, there was no mention of a divorce from her legal husband with whom she had 18 children with. He never did join the Mormon church so she left him. Not to worry though, several generations later, their descendants got permission from a General Authority to have her sealed to her husband ( my great, great, great, great, Grandfather). What!?? What about Father Smith??? It’s all strange to me. Believe me, I don’t wear this as a badge of honor or a “flag” like someone earlier accused me of. I’m sickened by it. I didn’t even know about it until a few years ago. I love Heart of the Matter. Shawn shows the differences between Mormonism and Biblical Christianity. I have to admit that when I was discovering all of this, I almost stopped believing in everything. Mormonism is so weaved into us who are born into it. It’s a culture. It’s even hard to get out of. I’m in the process of that now. I sent a letter to member records in Salt Lake stating that I resign and I want no contact except a confirmation letter stating my records have been removed. Yeah, they listened. They sent me a letter back telling me I had to go through my bishop and stake president and they had mailed them a copy. They also sent me a “pamphlet” from the First Presidency which basically was spiritual blackmail. It was quite upsetting actually. I’m still waiting to hear from someone. Ridiculous!

    You have to understand that I’m just learning all of Christianity. Mormonism is so different than Biblical Christianity and although I have come a long way, I may not be the best one to answer your questions. Bobby is probably more qualified.

    I have a sister in law who isn’t affiliated with any religion. She says the same thing you just did. She can believe in God and be a good person without religion. The Mormon ward she is in always sends the missionaries to her house. She is upfront with them and tells them they are welcome to come in and visit, but no Mormon stuff. She had one missionary ask her how she had such a happy family without being Mormon!

    You should check out Shawn McCraney, and watch Heart of the Matter. He will answer a lot of your questions about Mormonism and Biblical Christianity. Have a great day!

  51. James says:

    I’ve watched Shawn McCraney a couple times, and each time I felt darkness coming from him.

    Kate, I find it interesting that two people (you and me) can learn about the exact same information and have such polar opposite reactions to it! I mean, the issues you’ve raised just can’t be totally black and white because all sorts of people react very differently to them. Some people aren’t bothered by them, and take them in stride and are even strengthened by them. Other people recoil in horror.

    I think perhaps one of the biggest factors is the feelings of betrayal some people feel when, after years of membership in the Church, they discover something about our history that they never knew. I think you must have experienced this. It can really sour one’s attitude toward the Church. For some reason it causes some people to feel like they’ve been lied to, or that important information has been hidden from them.

    But not everyone feels that way. Why? I’m not sure. I know all the warts of LDS history and I’ve never felt betrayed or like I’ve been lied to by the Church. I’ve never faulted the Church for not teaching me in depth LDS history….I’ve always seen it as my own responsibility to study these things for myself. We go to Church for a specific purpose: to be spiritually edified. We don’t go to Church to debate and discuss warts from our history. There is no church on the face of the planet that does that. For example, Lutherans don’t have Sunday School lessons about Luther’s disdain for the book of James in the New Testament. Catholics don’t have sermons about the papal wars. It just isn’t what Church is for.

    So, for some reason the same piece of information can cause one person to lose faith, but for another person it is not a problem at all. I think it is a question of faith, patience, and having the ability to adjust your assumptions without panicking.


    • I think the faith element can only go so far, if evidence arose that Jesus had lied about key things (or anything for that matter) my faith would be heavily affected by that as faith should not be blind to external things. And religious experience can simply be a psychological affirmation of something untrue.

      Joseph Smith although not Jesus to LDS people is the next best thing and really he is the foundation of mormonism has been shown to have lied, with the book of abraham and has had extensive book of mormon plagarism. This is heavily problematic but some can explain it away and psychologically rely on the Lds testimony which is the epistomology mormons rely on in the face of facts, this stops being faith after so long and becomes fear to accept the facts.

      I am happy to discuss this more however soon I will be highlighting these areas and it might be best to discuss them then more specifically.
      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

  52. James says:


    I agree that faith only goes so far….at least for me.

    But I strongly disagree that Joseph Smith lied about the Book of Abraham or that he plagiarized in the Book of Mormon. You need to demonstrate those two accusations, and I look forward to your future posts.


  53. Kate says:

    James, I’m sorry that you don’t want to face truthful facts. You shouldn’t belittle me because I see the lies. I’m not asking you to believe me. I just don’t have the ability to stick my head in the sand or “find a way to incorporate” the lies into my beliefs. I respect the fact that you are LDS and fully believe it all. Please respect me and the fact that I can’t. Truth is either truth or it isn’t. It is black and white. If these men really speak for God, then this wouldn’t even be an issue because everything would line up and we wouldn’t be “Tossed around by every wind of teaching”. As for Shawn McCraney, I’ve never felt darkness from him. I’m thankful to him for taking this on, especially in our State. It can’t be easy for him because Mormonism is so woven into our society. I think you feel darkness from him because he speaks out against everything in your culture. I don’t want to go in circles with you again. I was responding to Pete’s question about what led me out of Mormonism. Although I don’t agree with some of the things he says, I can certainly understand where he is coming from. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter where the truth leads.

  54. Smelly Pete says:

    Thanks Kate,

    Isn’t it odd that so many religions are obsessed by people’s behaviour? Everything is don’t do this, don’t do that. Of course grave sins like murder and such like are obviously wrong although you don’t need religion to tell you this. From an evolutionary standpoint if you have someone in a pack that is willing to go around slaughtering his fellow members, that pack would not last long. I cannot for the life of me see how chewing tobacco is wrong but Mormons are obsessed with vices. To me, it is about social control, stopping people expressing themselves. If you can stop someone from exercising free will then you have them in your grip.

    I reject James’ idea that we should ignore the crimes of religion(s).

    “We don’t go to Church to debate and discuss warts from our history…Lutherans don’t have Sunday School lessons about Luther’s disdain for the book of James in the New Testament. Catholics don’t have sermons about the papal wars. It just isn’t what Church is for.”

    Yes, but I could not be part of a Church that excused their crimes or whitewashed them. Religious people, I assume, go to Church for contemplation, for quiet, to feel closer to God. You can’t do this if you Church, as the Catholic Church in Ireland did, is complicit in the cover-up of abuses against humanity. It should be addressed because what kind of moral leadership can these groups claim? The Catholic Church in particular has an appalling history of crusades, of wicked popes, of slavery in the form of workhouses, of collusion with Nazi Germany for example, censorship, torture and the mass cover-up of child sex abuse and now money laundering. A Church that is involved in all this is not one to dish out moral guidance. You may as well approach the mafia for spiritual help. I didn’t know Joe Smith faked parts of his new Bible but it doesn’t surprise me because he was a convicted fraudster and a racist. I’m not picking on Christianity and Mormon Christianity because other religions have despicable sides to them or can have if believers follow what their “holy” books say.

    My simple test is this: would J.C. approve of what people were doing in his name? Probably, in many cases, no. I believe he said something about praying in private and such like. Claiming to be a modern prophet and having loads of wives and telling people to give you all your cash and saying black people are inferior is not something the big guy would want in my opinion.

  55. James says:


    I’m going to comment on some of the gross inaccuracies you’ve just made.

    (1) The LDS Church is theologically in favor of legitimate free will to a much greater degree than many, probably most, other Christian denominations. I don’t feel controlled by LDS leadership in the least. For example, I consciously choose abstain from tobacco because I believe that God has asked me to. I can choose at any moment I want to take up tobacco chewing. Just as with any social institution there are rules one must follow and anyone is welcome to leave the organization if they don’t want to follow the rules.

    (2) I have no idea what you are talking about when you say that you reject “James’” idea of ignoring religious crimes. I said no such thing.

    (3) Joseph Smith did not fake parts of the Book of Mormon (please call it the Book of Mormon and stop calling it “his new bible”). Kate believes he did, Bobby believes he did, I believe he did not. It is a subject of debate that I hope we eventually get around to when Bobby posts about it. I will take a stand and argue that Joseph did not fake anything in the Book of Mormon. I invite you to read our discussion and make your own choice.

    (4) You’ve said that Joseph was a convicted fraudster. Can you provide specific details of what exactly he was convicted of? Do you have any idea what you are talking about Pete? Or, are you just regurgitating something you heard once? It is true enough that Joseph was arrested on several occasions, and spent a considerable amount of time in court. But he was never once found guilty of any crime.
    Is there something inherently wrong about a religious figure being arrested? Can’t you think of another, better known, religious leader who was arrested and who was actually found guilty and executed for his crimes?

    (5) This is at least the second time you’ve accused Joseph Smith of racism. Show some evidence or stop. There is no evidence Joseph was racist, and there is ample evidence he was not racist.

    (6) Pete, do you have anything beyond a superficial knowledge of Joseph Smith’s polygamy? What have you read about it? What sources did you go to for that information? Have you read any scholarly treatments of it? Do you know anything about the historical and religious contexts behind it? Do you know anything about any of the women or families who participated in it? I doubt you do. I again counsel you to not spout off about things you know next to nothing about.

    (7) This is at least the second time that you’ve implied that Joseph Smith ever got rich off of his followers. Show some evidence for this (hint: you can’t).

    Joseph Smith was not a perfect man. But he was a good man. He believed that he was a prophet of God and he did his best to carry out one of the most difficult jobs the Earth has ever seen….being a prophet in your own land (in case you don’t know, Pete, that was an allusion to one of Jesus’ sayings). I only hope to be half the man he was.

    • James I think in your favour there is a tendancy and I have been guilty of this to, to throw out comments like Joseph Smith lied, fraud etc, without any quotes or evidence to back it up, even if they are out there not quoting them and throwing out general statements is unhelpful as what do you really do to counter that. This could be done on me too someone could say Jesus was a fraud the Apostle Paul made up his letters etc just to get at me but with no proof its unhelpful.

      What I am going to do is put a tab next to the questions bar with some basic rules for posting, there will not be a discussion box below it but please email me on [email protected] if you (or anyone else) has issues with the points, and I will gently inforce them as neccessary for now to the point of deleting posts that defy this later on.

      Also James I am totally working on my next post but have had articles to do for another ministry (The Reachout Trust) and working a lot but I am hoping to have it done by friday morning.

  56. Kate says:

    All of this can be found on The Tanners have done research and study for the past 40+ years. Check it out.

  57. Smelly Pete says:

    Yeah I will, cos it’s all out there. It’s documented. I’ve just read up on some of it and he said blacks were unholy and didn’t have a soul until he said Jesus told him that they did have souls. Bit weird if you ask me saying certain people don’t have souls because of their skin. I guess in religious worlds this would be a form of racism saying only white Americans have souls. A bit fundamentaldiddly. But give us some time, or you could go back on the site Kate mentions and read it all yourself if you’re not lazy. It’s up to you dudio.

  58. James says:

    The Tanners have been researching and publishing for decades, and their material has been debunked and refuted for an equal amount of time. They (I say they, even though Jerald died a while ago) are basically obsolete at this point.

  59. Kate says:

    Well if what they have uncovered has been “debunked” then original LDS documents are “debunked” as well. Most if not all of their early work was done using original LDS documents in the Church History Library or BYU via microfilm! LOL! Craziness!

  60. Smelly Pete says:

    “The LDS Church is theologically in favor of legitimate free will to a much greater degree than many, probably most, other Christian denominations.”

    But you can’t drink, smoke, eat chewing tobacco??? All very unhealthy anyway but so is boxing. Are you allowed to play sport or is it banned? Was the Mormon Leader saying anything unhealthy is evil?

    (2) I have no idea what you are talking about when you say that you reject “James’” idea of ignoring religious crimes. I said no such thing.

    You said that you shouldn’t concentrate on religious crime but how can you take guidance from a church in the case of catholics that covered up sex abuse?

    (3) Joseph Smith did not fake parts of the Book of Mormon.

    He did cos there are no such things as angels dude, dey jus’ fairytales like gremlins or goblins. You seen a goblin? well i aint ever seen no angel. Neither have Nasa.

    (4) You’ve said that Joseph was a convicted fraudster. Can you provide specific details of what exactly he was convicted of?

    If y’all go on wikipedia there are links to specific legitimate books detailing Joe’s paramilitary activities, treasure hunting, debt, banking fraud, claims of magical powers and polygmy, silencing and rejection of dissenters, intimidation, threats of violence, bribery, paedophilia (he was reportedly married to two fourteen year old girls. When he died he was escaping prison armed with a pistol! Hardly the act of a Jesus type guy. He published a pro-slavery essay in 1836 and opposed racial mixing or relationships. He said, blacks were “cursed with servitude by a decree of Jehovah.” He also supported death by firing squad in order to “spill [the criminal's] blood on the ground, and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God.”

    There is a whole chapter on violence in Mormonism, including sexual torture, blood atonement etc.

    (5) This is at least the second time you’ve accused Joseph Smith of racism. Show some evidence or stop. There is no evidence Joseph was racist, and there is ample evidence he was not racist.

    Shown above.

    (6) Pete, do you have anything beyond a superficial knowledge of Joseph Smith’s polygamy? .I again counsel you to not spout off about things you know next to nothing about.

    Don’t get all uppity cos i have questioned the bare facts. The facts are there, the evidence is there. There is no evidence for golden scrolls, fairytales and such like do’ you know what I’msaying.

    (7) This is at least the second time that you’ve implied that Joseph Smith ever got rich off of his followers. Show some evidence for this (hint: you can’t).

    Well he kinda backrupted himself didn’t he so although I am right I am wrong at the same time. Not my fault he was put in prison and couldn’t access his riches.

    “Joseph Smith was not a perfect man.”

    “He did his best to carry out one of the most difficult jobs the Earth has ever seen….being a prophet in your own land.” That difficult he ending up shooting at people whilst escaping prison. It’s hard work being a prophet.

    Nah don’t believe one word of it and the Mormon Bibles.

  61. Smelly Pete says:

    Oh here’s a quote from the Bible of Mormon to prove it:

    And [God] had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God; I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.” (2 Nephi 5:21)

  62. Smelly Pete says:

    And another:

    O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness…” (Jacob 3:8-9).

    Look dudio, if you believe in this stuff instead of evolution you must admit racism is hardwired into your thinking if you believe it or not. Do you believe it?

  63. James says:

    Earlier in this lengthy discussion Kate listed off a few items in Mormonism that she found problematic. At that time I opted to not directly address each of them, and I later explained that I did not want to try to cover so many topics all at once. We simply can’t do those topics justice that way.

    So, if you would genuinely like to discuss ONE of the topics you have brought up I would be agreeable to that. But I will not attempt to discuss them all at once. That is simply not possible. So, it is up to you. Choose a topic and we will discuss it…….or we can let this discussion die as it should have long ago.


  64. Smelly Pete says:

    Can you explain the quotes I have given? Can you at least bring yourself to do that???

  65. Smelly Pete says:

    And after that can you explain why he armed himself with a pistol and tried to escape from prison?

  66. Smelly Pete says:

    I know it’s two topics an all but if I’m wrong about either the quotes and the armed prison break then you can easily show me!



  67. James says:


    I’ll address the issue of Joseph using a gun while in jail. It is much simpler to discuss than the issue of skin color in the Book of Mormon. We can get to that later, if you want.

    For various reasons, Joseph Smith was arrested by officials from Carthage, Illinois. He, his brother Hyrum, and two others were taken to the Carthage jail while they waited for their trial. Remember, they had not yet stood trial, and were not yet pronounced guilty in a court of law. They were merely sitting in the jail waiting for their trial.

    Tensions were extremely high at that time. Joseph knew that he was probably going to die one way or another. A small pistol was smuggled into the jail and given to the four prisoners as means of protection….NOT as a means of escape.

    A vicious mob, with their faces painted black, stormed the tiny Carthage prison. They wielded guns and other weapons. They had one goal in mind: kill Joseph Smith. Remember, Joseph had not yet stood trial, had not been proven guilty of anything, and under law was guaranteed a trial. These mobsters wanted to ignore the rule of law and murder Joseph before he stood trial.

    As the mob entered the jailhouse, ascended the stairs, and reached the door of Joseph’s cell, they fired shots through the door. They shot Joseph’s brother in the face, killing him immediately. Joseph let loose as many shots as he could from the tiny six shooter pistol, of which 3 of the shots misfired. It was a desperate attempt to protect his life and the lives of his friends. Of course, it was all in vain. He fled to the window in an attempt to escape from the deadly mob, but, as we know, he didn’t make it. They shot him and he fell from the window dead.

    The mob shot and killed Joseph. He was murdered. He fired the pistol and tried to escape the prison in an attempt to protect his life and the lives of his friends from a blood thirsty, and illegal, mob.

    I see absolutely nothing immoral or inappropriate about Joseph’s actions in this event. I firmly believe that those who do are trying really, really hard to find fault with Joseph Smith where there is none.

  68. Kate says:

    I agree. Joseph Smith had every right to defend himself and the others. The mob was cruel. It’s the way it was back then. The only thing I have against the whole ordeal is that the truth of the situation isn’t told. Joseph Smith and others actually went to the jail willingly when asked by the Sheriff to turn themselves in. They were secretly practicing polygamy and a local paper was set to print the story. Joseph ordered the printing press destroyed, and it was. They were guilty of this. It was a felony then, just as it is today. By no means should they have been killed by a mob for it. Something else that isn’t really told is that Joseph Smith shot at least 3 men, killing 2 of them. So it was sort of a “shoot out”.

  69. James says:


    I’m not sure why you are saying that “the truth of the situation isn’t told.” In my explanation above I left those details out because they were not pertinent to the story. We are discussing Joseph’s actions in the jail at the time of his murder, not why he was in jail. That would be a fine discussion to have if there was interest. It isn’t something I’ve studied in depth, though I’m very aware of the general issues. I’m not sure about your claim that his actions against the Expositor amounted to “felony”, since that is a legal term whose definition might not apply here.

    Also, Joseph didn’t kill anyone when he fired his little pistol. Early reports that he did kill people were incorrect, because all of them were healthy and happy at their trial for his murder (in which all of them got off scotch free). Had he killed people in the “shoot out” they would only have gotten what they deserved.

    By the way, I think it is unfair to use the word “shoot out”. You, and other critics, enjoy using this word because it carries with it a negative connotation of gun slinging criminals in the wild west.

  70. Smelly Pete says:

    I would have rather you addressed the racism inherent in the Mormon book but yes you can look at this later if you find a way to explain it all away, as you’ve tried to do with the armed escape bit.

    “A small pistol was smuggled into the jail and given to the four prisoners as means of protection….NOT as a means of escape.”

    It doesn’t really matter if it was an M16 or a small pistol, a pistol was capable of killing people. If he was going to use it as protection I understand that he would have used it?? What else is a pistol for? Indeed he fired six? Three missed. Three hit their intended targets? That’s what I’m reading. We don’t know whether he missed on purpose or missed because he simply mistargetted.

    As Kate said, he turned himself in. It is believed that two of his many wives were only 14 years old. It might have been legal back then, I don’t know, to have a relationship with a 14 year old but morally it is extremely questionable, is it not?

    “I see absolutely nothing immoral or inappropriate about Joseph’s actions in this event.”

    You see nothing at all wrong with why he was incarcerared for a trial or him shooting at people? I can’t recall Jesus permitting violence. I do remember him admonishing Peter, was it, for cutting off the ear of a Roman soldier? I can’t see why Joseph Smith would be given Heavenly authority to go around shooting at people regardless of the why and why nots. It states in the O.T. “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. NOT “Thou Shalt Not Kill Except If You Are Being Shot At.” I don’t believe that not killing is practical. In the case of World War II, we could not stand around and let Western civilisation be destroyed by Nazism.

    Getting back to the story, there is no way in which Joseph Smith’s actions could be legitimised as the actions of a (self-professed) prophet. Yes, if I was in a similar situation I would but I don’t go around saying angels visit me. The very fact he did say he spoke to angels and God and therefore can do what he wants is a bit worrying.

    If Joe Smith was alive today he would STILL be investigated, unless he lived in the Bible belt where they have all gone insane by all accounts and still believe in Adam and Eve. Many religions start off peaceful in the case of Christianity and become violent and intolerant or start or violent and intolerant and stay that way. It was inevitable Christianity would eventually be hijacked by fundamentalists who would bend the rules or change them altogether for reasons or power or money. The Republicans are very much the same, always citing God and complaining about the Godless and their immoral ways but then invading other countries themselves and killing what could be over a million people by some accounts or ignoring poverty etc, etc. The Catholic Church, although they have some excellent people fighting poverty, have cracked down on “Liberation Theologists” because of their alleged Marxist views. The Vatican can’t have people standing up for the poor can they, when they themselves live in palaces!!!

    There is something illogical about religion that turns good people mad.

  71. Smelly Pete says:

    “Had he killed people in the “shoot out” they would only have gotten what they deserved.”

    Not very Christ-like. That sentence is loaded with retributive language.

    • Wow James to be fair that is quite a big statement to say that Had Joseph killed people they would have got what they deserved, as Pete said this is very contrary to Christ saying Father forgive the people that were killing Him.

      In a way if Joseph Smith did kill people in this gunfight I would not personally hold that against him massively as Joseph was human and thats how most humans would respond, however you as an LDS “Christian” to say what you said does show a dangerous attitude within Mormonism. Is that just your personal view or do many feel that way?

  72. James says:


    (1) If I recall correctly, three of the shots “misfired”, meaning, they didn’t discharge correctly. The gun didn’t work. The other shots may have hit someone. I find it probable that every time Joseph pulled the trigger he was trying to hit someone. I’m not sure what good it would have done to intentionally miss your target.

    (2) Joseph did not “turn himself in” in the sense that Kate wants you to believe. Joseph had been charged with an attempt to incite a “riot” when he ordered the destruction of the Expositor press, a charge which was dismissed under a proper court of law. Nonetheless, the public remained outraged. Governor Ford, the governor of Illinois, insisted that Joseph needed to stand trial elsewhere, before a different judge who happened to be in a very hostile anti-mormon territory. Knowing that if he went to this trial he would probably not live through the ordeal (because of mob violence against him), Joseph and his brother Hyrum began to flee. They crossed the Mississippi River on their way into hiding. However, Joseph learned that the people of Nauvoo were worried for their safety if the authorities (and the mobs) were not appeased. In other words, the citizens of Nauvoo were in grave danger unless Joseph agreed to turn himself in and stand trial. So, Joseph and Hyrum went back and turned themselves in.

    Joseph and Hyrum did not “turned themselves in” in the sense that they were admitting guilt to anything. They were simply doing what they thought was best to protect their followers. They tried at first to go into hiding, but quickly decided that that was not the best choice, as it would put their followers in danger from violent mobs.

    Upon their return, Joseph and Hyrum were promised by the Governor of Illinois that they would be protected on their journey to stand trial in another municipality. Of course, that promise was broken and Joseph and Hyrum were murdered before they ever stood trial.

    (3) It does appear that Joseph had one or two wives who were about 14 years old. But that was very normal for that day and age. It is the fallacy of presentism to judge the actions of historical figures based on modern day sensitivities. It was an accepted societal practice to marry that young, and nobody back then every complained about it. The only people who complain about it are modern day critics with modern day sensibilities. And, for example, it is more than likely that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a young teenager at the time she was betrothed to Joseph.

    (4) I repeat, I see nothing wrong with Joseph’s actions when he tried to protect his life and the life of his friends by firing his puny little pistol into the mass of violent mobsters who were trying to take his life. I find it completely acceptable, both as a man and as a prophet of God. Your appeal to “thou shall not kill” in the Old Testament is a very ignorant abuse of that commandment. The command is to not murder. It has nothing to do with killing in the name of self defense. The Israelites never felt they were breaking that commandment when they killed people in battle. Neither was Joseph. Prophets in the Old Testament killed people all the time (think Elijah), and, by comparison, Joseph was very much the pacifist.

    (5) Pete, I don’t think you have a specific problem with Mormonism, but that you have a problem with religion in general. I’m not going to comment on your rants against religion in general.

  73. James says:


    My comment has more to do with me being from Texas, from the south, and being a conservative Republican. There are certainly Mormons who would disagree with my sentiments. I think that Joseph acted appropriately, both as a human and as a prophet of God. It is not a dangerous attitude to believe that murderers deserve to die.

    But, all of this is mute since Joseph didn’t kill anyone.


  74. Kate says:

    I certainly did NOT suggest that they “turned themselves in” because they were guilty. You said they were “taken” to the jail. I was merely pointing out that they weren’t “taken” at all. Yes he ordered the printing press destroyed and it WAS! That was a big reason why they were in jail! It is very important to the story because if they hadn’t have broken the law, they wouldn’t have been in jail!

    “Joseph was very much the pacifist.”
    You really need to do your homework. He was so much of a pacifist that he had a militia of around 3,000! Not to mention his “Danites” or his “Avenging Angel”. Study the Danites James, find out WHY he organized them. Of course he always denied that they existed. Interesting.

  75. Kate says:

    In my experience as a Mormon, that attitude is abundant. This event is glossed over and Joseph Smith is believed to be a martyr. Had he not broken the law to deserve jail and had he not fired a weapon (which by the way is NEVER discussed in the LDS meetinghouse) I would probably consider him a religious martyr. History has shown us that he was not the peaceable man that the LDS put him out there to be.

  76. James says:


    Do you seriously think I don’t already know about the Danites, the militia, or the “avenging angel”? Despite your implied accusation that these things represent a violent nature in Joseph Smith, I challenge you to provide evidence that Joseph ever approved of violence that was not for the purpose of defending the life and liberty of his followers.

    Is there some reason why you think that it should be discussed in LDS meetinghouses that Joseph fired a gun while he was being attacked by a mob? What spiritual benefit would it serve? Remember what church is for….it is for spiritual edification, not for history lessons. We use history lessons to teach spiritual truths, not vice versa.

    That being said, you are simply incorrect. The Sunday School manual in 2005 (when we last studied D&C) contained Willard Richards account of the martyrdom, which included details about Joseph firing the pistol. I’ll have to check if the 2009 manual has it or not.

    And you can’t just go about redefining the word “martyr” just because you don’t like Joseph Smith. He was a martyr. He was murdered for his religious beliefs. There is nothing in the definition of “martyr” that indicates that they can’t have broken a law or defended themselves. The early Christians who were fed to lions all broke the law (by refusing to bow down to the Emperor) and you can bet that they didn’t just lie down and let the lions eat them without a fight. That wouldn’t be much of a spectacle for the bloodthirsty audience would it?

    Remember, a martyr doesn’t have to *willingly* give up his life. Even Jesus asked for the cup to pass from him in his hour of death.

    • To be fair to James, I have had a look at UTLM and they are aware there is no evidence Smith killed anyone, just that he fired his gun, however with the unreliability of UTLM it probably means Smith killed at least 10 (just a joke)

      So without having been there or any evidence I can find I would accept Smith did not kill anyone

      However the problem is summed up well in this statement from Gordon Hinckley (Mormon president before current one)

      Gordon B. Hinckley, the fifteenth President of the Church, testified: “So certain was [Joseph Smith] of the cause he led, so sure of his divinely given calling, that he placed them above the value of his own life. With prescient knowledge of his forthcoming death, he surrendered himself to those who would deliver him defenseless into the hands of a mob. He sealed his testimony with his life’s blood.” (

      This is from an official Mormon site and sums up what Mormons I would say are really taught, that like a lamb to the slaughter (i have read that somewhere too) Smith quietly accepted His death as the graceful head of the Mormon church. That sadly is in a word Rubbish!!

      • James says:

        Predictably, I disagree! Joseph Smith was a martyr, and he did willingly go that jail knowing that it was very very likely he would not return alive. He kissed his wife goodbye and told her he was going like a lamb to the slaughter….meaning he was going to his death. And if you know anything about lambs, I’ve been told they don’t go quietly.

      • Well like a good tv host I will say let’s let the viewers decide :)

        Like I will ever be a tv host though haha

  77. James says:

    It looks we used the same lesson manual for the D&C in 2005 as we did in 2009. So, it would have been discussed in LDS meetinghouses all around the world just last year. Here is the link to that lesson:

  78. James says:

    Often LDS do idealize Joseph Smith’s martyrdom. I’m not going to deny that. But it is almost always done in ignorance. Like the rest of the world, Latter-day Saints all have diverse interests and personalities. Not everyone can be a historian. Just as most Americans have idealized understandings of certain events in American history, Latter-day Saints sometimes have idealized understandings of certain events in Mormon history. It is a human problem, not a Mormon problem.

    But I still don’t think Hinckley got anything wrong. Joseph did turn around and back across the Mississippi River to turn himself in because he valued his friends’ lives more than his own. He knew that he was headed for his death. He was handed over defenseless to the mobs. Remember, the little pistol was not part of the plan at first. It was smuggled to him only later. But even with the pistol present that hardly counts as a noteworthy defense against the onslaught of an angry mob wielding all sorts of guns. It’s like comparing a tiny water pistol to a fire hose.

  79. Smelly Pete says:

    “Prophets in the Old Testament killed people all the time.”

    Great!!! How useful religion is. It turns people violent thinking they are doing the work of God.

    Not one of your points has reassured me that religion is nothing but a violent and unneeded part of life. You admit that Joe Smith was an armed, violent paedophile.

    What a role model.

    Nuff said. Dude.

  80. kate says:

    Often LDS do idealize Joseph Smith’s martyrdom. I’m not going to deny that. But it is almost always done in ignorance. Like the rest of the world, Latter-day Saints all have diverse interests and personalities. Not everyone can be a historian. Just as most Americans have idealized understandings of certain events in American history, Latter-day Saints sometimes have idealized understandings of certain events in Mormon history. It is a human problem, not a Mormon problem.

    The problem is James. In my experience, the Church down plays or hides a lot of the facts of many different things. The average Mormon believes in a “whitewashed” version of this event. I know you can quote sites or whatever, but the real problem is what the average Mormon is taught and believes. It really doesn’t matter how big the pistol was. The thing is….he had one. I still believe he had a right to defend himself. Just like I would like to have a right to defend myself. It wasn’t right that he was killed by an angry mob. There was anger and ugliness on both sides. The average Mormon doesn’t know about the ugliness on the Mormon side because as you say, they aren’t historians, and they don’t search things for themselves. My own Mother is that way. She’s in her 60′s and I can tell you that she has no idea that Joseph Smith had a weapon, let alone fired it! He was an innocent martyr in her mind because she’s been taught that for 60+ years. That is the Church, not the people. I wish the Church would stand up and acknowledge the things in it’s past. Instead they whitewash or try to say it never happened or that it happened a different way or that we are all taking it wrong. Just be honest and truthful.

  81. Smelly Pete says:

    Very true Kate, just as many Catholics don’t know the history of their Church, it’s no wonder Mormons do. Many Muslims don’t know anything about their faith, neither do Hindus. It’s something they are brought up with. If I had been brought up to believe in The Force instead of God or Luke Skywalker instead of Jesus, I’d believe in that and probably the Star Wars scripts would be my Bible. Most people come to religion as kids and it’s drummed into them and they only believe it because their parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and commmunity believe it. A logical person can see all religion as being no different to Greek myths or Chinese folk-tales. It’s nonsense. Mohammed was never visited by the Angel Gabriel, Jesus didn’t ascend to Heaven on a cloud, Buddhas wasn’t reincarnated, Adam & Eve didn’t exist let alone be tempted by a snake, and Joe Smith didn’t find golden scrolls in a mountain. It is simply impossible and irrational.

    It’s the 21st Century. We can see galaxies light years away, we can defeat disease, we can fly across continents, we can send information across the world in an instance but still people persist in believing in crude, simplistic dark age superstitions. I’m not singling out Mormonism because it couldn’t exist in a vacuumn. All religion is simplistic, pre-enlightenment thinking. The opium of the people in darker days and today abused by the powerful to commit terrible crime (be it crazed Islamists in Palestine or far-right Republicans in America bombing innocent people in other countries) and keep people oppressed, stupid and ignorant.

  82. Kate says:

    Now Pete, I understand your thinking, but I’m not saying that I don’t believe in Christ. I do. I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I look at all creation and I don’t think that it was caused by a “big bang.” I don’t believe I evolved from a fish. Jesus didn’t die to give us a legalistic religion. He died to give us eternal life, through him. Not too complicated. He came, did away with the Old Testament and gave us a new and better way. We get into trouble when men decide to mix the Old Testament laws in with the New Testament of Christ. ( Read Galatians )They completely undo everything Christ did for us on the Cross. Sad really.

  83. Smelly Pete says:

    I can see what you are saying but I can’t bring myself to believe in intelligent design. It throws up too many questions like who created the creator? I think people are religious because of their culture rather than independent thinking but that’s another discussion. As I am dying of liver failure cos of alcoholism I don’t have much time to take out an insurance policy! But the more I read about religion the more turned off I am. They all seem to have major pitfalls such as the lack of evidence and the crimes committted in their names, not just Christianity but pretty much all of them.

  84. Smelly Pete says:

    One question I would like to ask is, many religious people say they talk to God. When they say this, are they actually having a conversation or is it internal talk? Is it a meditation on one’s self and one’s circumstsnces? Does a booming voice speak out and a light appear?

    I would like to know how people claim to experience it.

    • It can be either Pete, God knows all of our thoughts and hears our every word, He even knows what we will say before we say it. Sometimes in terms of feelings when praying you feel nothing you just trust that He is listening. Sometimes it feels like your heart is burning and you feel really close to God.

      And certainly many times people feel God speaking to them, whether it is an internal impression or an audible voice, I have never had the second but I know people who have, however the important thing is because I know from the bible that God listens to and answers prayer, even if I dont feel it or get an immediate answer, I can trust He is there.

      And also I was not brought up a Christian :)

  85. Smelly Pete says:

    Okay Bobby, thanks for the insight. I have never experienced that.

    I know you weren’t brought up a Christian but the tradition in England is Christianity so it would have been unlikely you would have found Hinduism or Buddhism unless you mixed in those circles. You might well have turned to Islam if you lived in Pakistan for example.

  86. Kate says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your illness. Wish you the best with that. Bobby pretty much explained it. Before you really experience any of that, you have to invite Christ into your life. All I can say to you is trust that God loves you and wants you to know him. I think anyone can have a personal relationship with him no matter what denomination they belong to. Hope that helps. Oh and I wasn’t raised a Christian either. In fact the way I was raised, in a lot of ways is in direct contradiction to Christianity.

  87. James says:

    Rather than go round and round, I’m just going to say, in the friendliest way possible, that I disagree with your last comments towards me.

    Just for the record, I am a graduate student of geology. I believe that the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old. I believe that organic evolution has been a real process through Earth’s history. I believe that man evolved from a lower life form.

    That being said, I also believe in Adam and Eve. I also believe in God. I also believe in the Bible. I have pretty nuanced views of these things, and they are things I’ve had the chance to think a lot about.

    Not all LDS share my views on these things. My experience is that probably a majority of LDS don’t believe in evolution, but there is a really large minority that does. Organic evolution is taught at BYU. The Church takes no official stance on these issues, and lets its membership study these topics out and form their own ideas (as they do with most topics).


  88. Smelly Pete says:


    Well done for believing in evolution. As a geology student it would be hard not too. I don’t know how you can reconcile the myth of Adam and Eve with evolution. But that’s your choice. If you can believe in Adam and Eve you can pretty much believe in anything.

    Probably, if pressed, most religious believers would admit that they don’t believe in intelligent design and a lot of religious myths because they are just too impossible to believe. I wonder how many people really truly believe in possessed pigs that talk, flying angels of death, virgin births, levitation and miracles. There is no evidence for such things and such things have not happened in the modern world because of science and the fact that most people are better educated, less trusting of authority and therefore less superstitious. I have no doubt that if the world was plunged back into the Dark Ages for whatever reason, the belief in superstition would rise. We see this, just under the surface, today. A huge amount of people consult tarot card readers, so called mediums, faith healers, holistic practitioners and read their horoscopes. A lot of people don’t have the inclination or time or education to search for the truth so prefer a superstitious answer which sums it up neatly without having to invest a lot of time mentally questionning it. If you are a poor slum dweller in India and your religion/culture tells you that you deserve to be in a low caste because God’s authority made it that way then you aren’t going to argue when that is the norm of society. In Ireland the Catholic Church had its grip on a fearful population for generations. Only recently it has been revealed that the Irish government was complicit in their crimes or ignored it. In America, the religious right are a force to be reckoned with with some states teaching intelligent design as a fact. In Great Britain educational academies with private funding are teaching the values of their financiers, also teaching creationism as a fact or at least as a theory as worthy as evolution which is patently nonsense. The danger is, is a lot of religious movements are oppressive and act as a kind of release, a comfort blanket for those who really need to think for themselves. Again I refer to the low castes of India, the women of Iran who are followed by religious police if they dare venture out unaccompanied and woe forbid they dare talk to a man! The poor of Africa who are fed the Vatican’s propaganda and believe it etc, etc.

  89. Kate says:

    Nice to see you Pete! I assume you are talking about Revelation? I am just barely starting to study this as a new Christian! Give me awhile to search it out and decide what I think!

  90. Ill have a go at answering you Pete.

    According to Mormon theology we all have forever existed as intelligences, these intelligences which are our, pre, pre mortal state are eternal, and are as eternal as our God. Before He was a God, He was a man, before He was a man He was a Spirit child and before He was a spirit child He was an intelligence just like we were. So in long time past we have been the same as God, as well as possibly in the future.

    So this is where heavenly mother comes in, as when God and His wife were exalted and become Gods (with physical bodies) over this world they started having spirit children, thus the intelligences waiting to become spirit children are born of them.

    These spirit children the LDS believe are in heaven waiting to be born so that they can come to earth and hope to prove themselves worthy of that same exaltation God recieved and become gods, or become as God is as the LDS church phrases it today.

    The bible does talk about a 1000 year period and there are various takes on what this means, to be honest end times is my weakest area of theology both for biblical and LDS theology so cant really help with that one.

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