Today on the Fox News website, Fox posted answers to questions about Mormonism that the church chose to answer. Which ones were left out was not stated.
Of the 21 questions that the Salt Lake church chose to answer, most are misleading and purposeful distortions of their beliefs. One problem is that the church does not see itself as bound to the teaching of either Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. Mormon doctrine is not once and for all time delivered to the saints. It is a moving target. Mormon theology is like a cafeteria meal where you pick and choose what you like and ignore the rest.
Q: What specifically does the Mormon Church say about African-Americans and Native Americans?
A: Mormons believe that all mankind are sons and daughters of God and should be loved and respected as such. The blessings of the gospel are available to all.
Well actually, this was not the case until 1978, when Blacks were allowed full membership in the church. Prior to that time, Blacks were regarded as cursed by God and unable to enjoy his full blessing and fellowship just because of their skin color. Only in the midst of Jimmy Carter’s human rights campaign was church doctrine revived.
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women must serve men on both Earth and in heaven?
A: Absolutely not. Mormons believe that women and men are complete equals before God and in relation to the blessings available in the Church.
This is another distortion of their teaching. I did a college paper on this exact subject in 1980 and it was clear from multiple official Mormon sources that a woman’s salvation was directly tied to her husband’s performance of the priesthood within the church. A woman could not make it without a man.
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that God and Mary had physical sex to conceive Jesus?
A: The Church does not claim to know how Jesus was conceived but believes the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary.
This is a lie. Brigham Young taught extensively about the doctrine of Adam-god and the folks in Salt Lake simply were uncomfortable about this idea and revised many of their church doctrines to make it go away. It is not just the evangelical Christians that criticize Brigham for teaching Adam-god but other Mormon groups like the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (they now call themselves the Community of Christ).
The frustrating thing about Mormon doctrine is that the Mormons want it both ways. On one hand, they want the foundation of a restored church via Joseph Smith and on the other, the ability to revise beliefs to fit modern contexts.
Mormons claim that Joseph Smith had a series of special encounters with God. Joseph single-handedly did not reform but restored to true gospel, which had been lost to the world since the end of the early church. Mormons contend that what Joseph taught was superior to the Bible because the Bible was only correct “in so far as it was translated correctly.” Therefore we could not use the Bible to evaluate the Prophetic word of Joseph Smith, but could only use Smith’s word to interpret the Bible. This is the basis of why the Mormon church—however large—is called a cult.
Joseph Smith launched the attack on Christianity
I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt see Joseph Smith History 1:18,19
All we are doing is defending the faith of our fathers.
At the same time Smith gets credit for restoring correct doctrine, the Salt Lake church has not spared any effort trying to make changes small and great to make Smith’s teaching more marketable to the masses. There have been hundreds of changes to the Mormon Scriptures since Smith first published them. Mormon doctrine has undergone significant rewrites over the years. The church has morphed Adam-god, polygamy, race relations and many other things over the years. It is Orwellian how easily the church can shift its beliefs.
The problem is that if God truly spoke to Smith then what he taught must be fixed and immutable. Like Moses and the Ten Commandments, God’s teaching should be etched in stone. Smith claims he wrote it down exactly as he was commanded. Smith personally took it to the publisher. How could there be any error?
Yet the LDS church has taken many liberties to correct, amplify and even outright change church doctrine. This creates a big problem. Either God spoke to Smith and he got it wrong and therefore is a false prophet or the church has purposely departed from the teachings of Smith and is apostate. The whole structure of the LDS church is built on the foundation that Smith and Brigham laid. Either way the church is wrong. Clearly this is the case.
What should be done when we are confronted with the claims of the LDS church is to evaluate them on the basis of the Bible. We know God spoke through the Bible, if what Joseph and Brigham taught is contrary to this revelation then they are wrong and should be rejected.