- Who are the Mormons?
- How many Mormons are there?
- Why are Mormon missionaries coming to
- Is the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints just another Protestant religion?
- What is the Book of Mormon?
- What is the Doctrine and Covenants?
- What is the Pearl of Great Price?
- What is the Journal of Discourses?
- Where are the Egyptian papyri that
Joseph Smith used when he translated the Book of Abraham?
- Why do Mormons only use the King
James Version of the Bible?
- Why don't Mormon churches have
crosses on them?
- I'm a strong Christian in my own
faith. Why should I care about what the Mormons are doing?
- I have heard that there is a lot of
archeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon. Is that true?
- If the basis of Mormonism is false,
why does it keep growing?
- Is it true that the Tanners recanted
everything they've said and returned to the LDS Church?
- Does Mormonism teach that God was
once a man on another world and progressed to become God of this
- Does Mormonism teach that good
Mormons can become Gods of their own worlds?
- Does the LDS Church still believe in
- Is the Book of Mormon a
translation of ancient writings? Where are the gold plates?
- Is it possible to obtain a copy of
the original 1830 Book of Mormon?
- We have been asked to read the
Book of Mormon and pray about it. Is this a good thing to do?
- Does the Book of Mormon teach
the doctrines of Mormonism?
- What types of ceremonies are
performed in a Mormon temple?
- What is the Mormon Temple Endowment
- How wealthy is the LDS Church?
- Do the LDS leaders receive a salary?
- How do you remove your name from the
- Where can I see the original sources
1. Who are the
The official name of the Mormon Church today
is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith
founded it at the age of 24, in the state of New York on April 6,
1830. It was originally named the Church of Christ, and then in 1834
the name was changed to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. In 1838
it received its current name (Doctrine and Covenants,
Joseph Smith proclaimed that God Himself had
designated the LDS Church as "the only true and living church upon the
face of the whole earth" (Doc. & Cov. Sec. 1:30).
The LDS Church claims to have the only true
priesthood that is required to act in the name of God. A
Prophet/President and his two counselors govern the church. Under them
are twelve apostles and a group of men called the Seventies. These are
the highest offices in their church.
They have four books of scriptures: the
Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants
and the Pearl of Great Price.
2. How many
Mormons are there?
Deseret News Church Almanac lists USA total as 5,779,316,
world total 12,868,606. Most of those outside of the USA are in Latin
American countries (see
3. Why are Mormon
missionaries coming to my door?
The LDS Church claims to be the "only true
church" and the only church with the authority to act in God's name.
They do not accept any other church's baptisms. According to their
teachings, their baptism is the only one recognized by the Lord. This
belief, coupled with their belief in the need for a Mormon temple
marriage to gain eternal life, compels them to take their message to
4. Is the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just another Protestant religion?
No, the Mormon Church does not claim to be
Protestant. It claims to be a divine restoration of Christ's true
church. It therefore rejects the validity of any other church. Its
basic beliefs place it outside the standard doctrines of Christianity.
Mormonism teaches that the God to whom they pray is but one of a whole
series of gods who at one time were mortal then progressed to godhood.
The LDS Church teaches that their Heavenly Father was once born as a
spirit child of a god and wife who ruled a different world. After
maturing as a spirit being he was sent to another world where he was
born as a human. There he grew to maturity, married, died, was
resurrected, went to heaven, progressed and eventually became the God
of our world. He and his resurrected wife continue to have spirit
children born to them in their heavenly realm. The Mormon man,
accompanied by his wife, who is faithful to his religion, pays his
tithe, attends the LDS temple rituals, etc. is hoping to eventually
progress to become a god of another world, just like his Heavenly
5. What is the
Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon contains the
purported stories of three different groups who sailed to the
Americas. The Jaredites (Book of Ether) came to the New World
at the time of the tower of Babel. The Mulekites came to
America from Jerusalem in 586 BC. The major group was the family of
Lehi. Two of his sons, Nephi and Laman, became the leaders of the
Nephites and Lamanites.
The last battle between the two groups, in
421 AD, wiped out almost all of the Nephites. Moroni, the last
surviving Nephite, buried the records of his civilization in the Hill
Cumorah. Hundreds of years later, Joseph Smith was directed to the
spot by Moroni (some records say Nephi), now a resurrected being who
had become an angel. Smith then "translated" the record and published
it in 1830 under the title "The Book of Mormon."
6. What is the
Doctrine and Covenants?
The Doctrine and Covenants contains
138 sections and two Official Declarations. The first 135 sections
contain Joseph Smith's revelations from 1823 to 1844, section 136 is a
revelation by President Brigham Young in 1847, section 138 is one by
President Joseph F. Smith in 1918. Declaration No. 1 is dated 1890 and
is refered to as "The Manifesto" which declared an end to the practice
of polygamy. Declaration No. 2 is dated 1978 and declared that "all
worthy male members" could now hold the priesthood and participate in
the temple ceremonies. This ended the LDS Church priesthood ban on
7. What is the
Pearl of Great Price?
The Pearl of Great Price contains the
1. THE BOOK OF MOSES – "An extract from the
translation of the Bible as revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet,
June 1830—February 1831."
2. THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM – "A Translation of
some ancient Records, that have fallen into our hands from the
catacombs of Egypt."
3. JOSEPH SMITH – MATTHEW. "An extract from
the translation of the Bible as revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet
in 1831: Matthew 23:39 and chapter 24."
4. JOSEPH SMITH – HISTORY. "EXTRACTS FROM
THE HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH, THE PROPHET. History of the Church,
Vol.1, Chapters 1-5."
5. THE ARTICLES OF FAITH. A list of 13
specific beliefs of the LDS Church written in 1842.
8. What is the Journal of Discourses?
The Journal of Discourses is a 26 volume compilation of
LDS presidents and apostles sermons, covering about 35 years. There
were several men who were officially assigned by the LDS Church to
record the talks. Volume one of the series contains a letter from the
LDS First Presidency (Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard
Richards), dated June 1, 1853, authorizing the publishing of the
(click to enlarge)
Scanned image of letter as it appears in the front of Journal of
Discourses, Vol. 1.
This 26 volume set is available on the
New Mormon Studies CD-ROM. It is also available on the CD-ROM
GospeLink 2001, sold through the LDS Church owned bookstore,
Deseret Book. (See their online store at
The Assistant Manager for Deseret Book Company, gave the
following endorsement of the Journal of Discourses in a a
letter dated June 12, 1963:
having in your library the 26 volume of the "Journal of Discourses",
you have a library containing the sermons of the Presidents and
Apostles of the Church. If anyone tells you that the sermons found
therein are not recognized by the Church, they know not what they
are talking about. (Deseret
Book Co. Letter, June 12, 1963)
The Journal of Discourses is listed as an official
publication of the LDS Church in the following books:
- Essentials in Church History, by Joseph Fielding Smith,
published by the LDS Church, p. 674.
- Deseret News 1989-90 Church Almanac, p. 188, published by
a company owned by LDS Church.
The Journal of Discourses is quoted repeatedly in LDS
publications and in LDS conference reports. See for example,
Doctrines of the Gospel, Student Manual, Religion 231 and 232,
published by the LDS Church Educational System, 1986, p.83. See also
Ensign Magazine (official publication of the LDS Church) May
1996, Conference talk by James E. Faust, of the First Presidency, p.7.
It is inconsistent of the Mormons to question the accuracy of
the Journal of Discourses while the LDS leaders continue to
quote from it. They never follow their quote with a disclaimer about
the accuracy of the account. This issue only comes up when someone
outside of Mormonism quotes something from their leaders that they are
embarrassed about. It is a double standard.
9. Where are the
Egyptian papyri that Joseph Smith used when he translated the
Book of Abraham?
Joseph Smith bought a collection of Egyptian
mummies and papyrus scrolls in 1835. One of these scrolls became the
basis for Smith's Book of Abraham. After his death his wife retained
ownership of the artifacts. Since she did not come to Utah with the
LDS pioneers the papyri stayed in the Midwest. They eventually were
acquired by a museum. The LDS Church acquired the Joseph Smith
collection of papyri from the Metropolitan Museum in New York City in
1967. They are now housed at the LDS archives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
10. Why do
Mormons only use the King James Version of the Bible?
The eighth LDS Article of Faith states: "We
believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated
correctly." The Mormons believe the Bible has gone through repeated
editing that has changed the meaning of the text. Thus they are
skeptical of any translation of the Bible. However, they view the King
James Version as the least corrupt of the versions available today.
They print their own Bible (King James Version) with additional LDS
footnotes, dictionary and topical guide. These cross reference to
their other books of scripture and provide LDS explanations.
11. Why don't
Mormon churches have crosses on them?
Latter-day Saints object to the use of a
cross on their buildings and the wearing of the cross. They view the
symbolism of the cross as having a pagan origin and that it symbolizes
Christ's torture and death, not his resurrection. LDS Apostle Bruce R.
McConkie stated: "The sectarian world falsely suppose that the climax
of his (Christ's) torture and suffering was on the cross …-- a view
which they keep ever before them by the constant use of the cross as a
religious symbol. The fact is that intense and severe as the suffering
was on the cross, yet the great pains were endured in the Garden of
Gethsemane. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.555)
12. I'm a strong
Christian in my own faith. Why should I care about what the Mormons are
Sooner or later, someone you know is going to join the LDS Church.
The LDS Church sends out over 50,000 missionaries who convert over
240,000 people into their church every year. Many of these people were
already members of some Christian church before joining Mormonism. You
need to be informed on the issues in order to reach out to those who
are being deceived.
13. I have heard
that there is a lot of archeological evidence supporting the Book of
Mormon. Is that true?
It has been almost 170 years since Joseph
Smith first published the Book of Mormon. To date, there is not
one artifact that can be identified as being made by the people of the
Book of Mormon. Also, there is no official map designating the
location of any Book of Mormon city. Joseph Smith preserved an
example of the supposed writing on the plates. No other sample of such
writing has ever been found in the Americas. The Mormons point to the
great Mayan ruins to establish that there was at one time a great
civilization in southern Mexico and Guatemala. However, the Maya had
their own pagan religion and history that has no connection to the
supposed Book of Mormon people.
14. If the basis
of Mormonism is false, why does it keep growing?
Growth is not necessarily an indication that the claims are true.
We have only to look at the rise of the Roman Empire with its pantheon
of gods to see another ideology that had even more phenomenal success.
Part of Mormonism's growth is due to high birth rates, 50,000
missionaries and media advertisement. It also appeals to many people
due to its good family values and moral code. Most converts know very
little about its actual theology and history.
15. Is it true
that the Tanners recanted everything they've said and returned to the
No, the Tanners are active members of a
Christian church in Salt Lake City and have no intentions of ever
returning to the LDS Church.
Mormonism teach that God was once a man on another world and progressed
to become God of this world?
Yes, Joseph Smith declared: "God Himself was
once as we are now, and is an exalted man" (Teachings of the
Prophet Joseph Smith, pp.345-346). Another one of their leaders
coined the phrase: "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may
become" (The Gospel Through the Ages, Hunter, p.105-106).
Brigham Young preached: "It appears ridiculous to the world, under
their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a
finite being" (Deseret News, Nov. 16, 1859, p. 290).
Mormonism teach that good Mormons can become Gods of their own worlds?
Yes, one of their leaders wrote: "…since
mortal beings are the spirit children of Heavenly Parents, as pointed
out in the last chapter, the ultimate possibility is for some of them
to become exalted to Godhood." (The Gospel Through the Ages,
Hunter, p.104) Brigham Young declared: "Intelligent beings are
organized to become Gods, even the Sons of God, to dwell in the
presence of the Gods" (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.245).
18. Does the LDS
Church still believe in polygamy?
Yes, the doctrine of polygamy is still in
their scriptures, Doctrine and Covenants,
132. Mormons are instructed not to practice polygamy during this
life but the practice will be permitted in heaven. Today if a Mormon
man outlives his first wife (after having a temple marriage) he can
marry again in the temple. This would guarantee him two wives in
19. Is the
Book of Mormon a translation of ancient writings? Where are the gold
The Book of Mormon claims to be the
record of three groups of people who emigrated from the Old World to
the New World long before Columbus. One group of Hebrews supposedly
arrived about 600 BC. The scribe for this group wrote: "I make a
record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of
the Jews and the language of the Egyptians" (Book of Mormon,
Nephi 1:2). These records were supposedly maintained on gold plates,
later buried in the Hill Cumorah (in upstate New York). An angel
directed Joseph Smith to their location where he was permitted to
unearth them. After Smith finished his translation the plates were
returned to the angel.
However, there is no evidence that the
Book of Mormon people ever existed. Smith claimed to copy off from
the plates a sample of the Nephite writing system. It looks more like
a collection of various scripts thrown together upside down,
backwards, sideward, etc. with no apparent pattern. There is no
evidence that such a script was ever used. In Mexico and Guatemala
there are multiple examples of Mayan writings on various buildings and
monuments but there are no examples of the type of writing Smith
claimed to find.
20. Is it
possible to obtain a copy of the original 1830 Book of Mormon?
An original edition of the 1830 Book of
Mormon sells for approximately $20,000. Obviously, most people
can't afford to buy one. However, we sell two different, modestly
priced, photo-reprints of the original 1830 edition. See our book list
for the price and ordering information. [Web-editor:
Joseph Smith Begins His Work Vol. 1 and
3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon. If you have one
Original 1830 Book of Mormon Page Numbers With Corresponding 1981
21. We have been
asked to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Is this a
good thing to do?
Since the Book of Mormon claims to be
an historical document it should be examined on that basis to
determine its authenticity. Prayer can be used as a part of the
process but it is not a sufficient guide. Our own desires and emotions
could mislead us (James 4:3). If prayer alone were sufficient to
determine truth there would not be thousands of different religions.
22. Does the
Book of Mormon teach the doctrines of Mormonism?
No. Many people assume that if they read the
Book of Mormon they will get a good idea of LDS beliefs.
However, the Book of Mormon teaches one God, not plural gods as
in Mormonism. It mentions heaven and hell, not three degrees of glory,
no temple marriage or secret temple ceremonies. It does not teach
baptism for the dead, pre-existence of man, eternal progression or
comparison chart). One of the most
objectionable doctrines in the Book of Mormon is its view of
skin color. White skin is seen as desirable, dark skin is seen as a
mark of God's displeasure (see chart on
racial statements). Smith wrote the Book
of Mormon in the late 1820's. Over the next fifteen years his
doctrines underwent radical changes which are seen in his revelations
in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
23. What types of
ceremonies are performed in a Mormon temple?
One of the most important tenets of the LDS
Church is the necessity of temple ordinances. A Mormon couple who has
been married in the temple will be able to continue in the marriage
relationship in heaven. The LDS Church teaches that proper priesthood
authority is necessary to administer these essential rites. Joseph
Smith supposedly restored the original temple ceremony of the Old
Many people are familiar with the LDS concept
of baptism for the dead. But few realize that this is a minor part of
the temple experience. Young people usually perform proxy baptisms.
Adult Mormons, however, attend the temple to participate in the
Endowment Ceremony and to perform marriages for both the living and
24. What is the
Mormon Temple Endowment ceremony?
Before a person serves a full-time mission
for the LDS Church or before his/her temple marriage he/she will be
required to participate in the Endowment Ceremony (where they will be
"endowed" with special knowledge). When an adult Mormon attends the
temple he/she only goes through the ceremony once for him/herself.
After that, the person will attend the temple on behalf of a dead
person of the same sex. The live Mormon stands in the place of a
particular dead person and goes through the entire endowment ceremony
in that person's name.
The person enters the temple, goes to a locker room, dresses in the
temple undergarment covered with a white poncho. He/she will then
receive the washing and anointing ritual, performed by members of the
same sex. At this point they will be given their new name for eternity
(i.e. Paul, Timothy, etc. for men, Rachael, Deborah, etc. for women).
The person then dons a white temple dress or shirt and pants (over the
special underwear). Each will carry a small bag containing a long
piece of white material, gathered in the middle, that will be draped
over one shoulder, a white sash, green apron and a hat or veil. These
will be put on later in the ceremony. The person then joins a group of
several dozen people in the auditorium, men on one side and women on
the other. They then watch a film depicting the creation of our world,
the fall and expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Then
Peter, James and John appear to instruct them in certain handshakes
and pass words necessary to gain admittance to the Celestial Kingdom.
At the end of the ceremony they are tested on their knowledge by one
playing the part of God. After this ceremony the couple will be given
a temple marriage ceremony in an adjoining room. These rituals are
considered necessary for one to gain the highest level of heaven,
exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom.
25. How wealthy
is the LDS Church?
Unlike most churches, the LDS Church does not
give out a financial statement, even to its own members. However,
reporters have collected as much information as possible on the
In the book
Mormon America: The Power and the Promise we read:
What makes the LDS Church distinctive is not just the amount of
money coursing through its congregations each week--though that is
also singular for the size of the denomination—but the church's
heavy investments in corporate enterprises. The research for this
book produced an estimate that its investments in stocks, bonds, and
church-controlled businesses were worth $6 billion as of 1997, and
that church-owned agricultural and commercial real estate then had a
value of an additional $5 billion. Asked for guidance, on insider
told us that those figures "do not appear unreasonable." The worth
of other categories of assets: U.S. meetinghouses and temple, $12
billion; foreign meetinghouses and temples, $6 billion; schools and
miscellaneous, $1 billion. The estimated grand total of LDS assets,
by a conservative reckoning, would be $25-30 billion. If assets have
appreciated as much as they should have in recent times, the figure
could go well beyond that.
Yet another LDS trademark is the system of membership tithing
that brings in what we project as offerings of $5.3 billion a year,
though one knowledgeable source thought $4.25 billion might be a
safer estimate. Stocks and directly owned businesses produce perhaps
$600 million more in cash income. The estimated yearly annual
revenues total $5.9 billion, or by the more conservative reckoning,
just under $5 billion. Per capita, no other religion comes close to
such figures. . . . The strict secrecy with which the hierarchy
guards the financial facts is unique for a church of this size.
Officials refuse to divulge routine information that other religions
are happy to provide over the phone to donors or inquirers. (Mormon
America: The Power and the Promise, by Richard N. Ostling
and Joan K. Ostling, 2007 Revised Edition, Harper One, pp.117-118)
If the LDS Church were a U.S. corporation, by revenues it would
rank around the midpoint number 243 on the Fortune 500 list. (Ibid.
26. Do the LDS
leaders receive a salary?
The LDS Church boasts of not having a paid
clergy. Many of them believe that when a man receives a salary from a
particular group it compromises his integrity. LDS Apostle Boyd K.
Packer explained, "In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
there is no paid ministry, no professional clergy, as is common in
Even though their leaders on the local level
receive no pay for their services, this is not true of their top
leadership. Many of the Mormons are not aware that their Prophet,
Apostles and Seventies receive a salary. In the Encyclopedia of
Mormonism we read:
"Because the Church has no professional
clergy, it is administered at every level through LAY PARTICIPATION
AND LEADERSHIP, and officials other than the General Authorities
contribute their time and talents without remuneration. … Because the
General Authorities are obliged to leave their regular employment for
full-time Church service, they receive a modest living allowance
provided from income on Church investments." (p.510)
Since the amount paid to the leaders is never
divulged one is left to wonder what constitutes a "modest living
Leaders Receive Financial Support?
27. How do you remove your name from
the LDS records?
How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records
28. Where can I see the original
sources you reference?
Most of the sources we reference can be seen in various libraries
- University of Utah, Marriott Library, Special
Collections (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Utah State Historical Society Library (Salt Lake
- Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, Historical Dept.
(Salt Lake City, UT)
- Brigham Young University Library, Special
Collections (Provo, UT)
- Utah State University Library, Special
Collections (Logan, UT)