Unlike the natural spiritual philosophy of Deism, Mormonism, like all of the various "revealed" religions, claims it is based on Divine revelation. Like all of the other "revealed" religions, Mormonism has no evidence of being from The Supreme Intelligence/ God. It is just another Abrahamic “revealed”/ hearsay religion full of bad ideas and foolish claims and teachings. It is definitely not something to use as a guide for your life.
Mormonism is based on the “revelation”/ hearsay of Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805– June 27, 1844), who lived in western New York in the early 19th century. It is intended to be another testament of Jesus for believers living in the latter days. Smith was a Bible-believing Christian and claimed that when he was about 14 or 15 years old, he had a vision while praying in the woods at Manchester, New York. He said he was asking God to forgive him of his sins and to let him know which Christian denomination he should join. In his vision/“revelation” he claims it was communicated to him that his sins were forgiven and that he should not join any of the Christian denominations because none of them were correct. He was also told that the “fullness of the gospel” would be made known to him at a future time. Some of his accounts of this alleged vision claim he saw angels while other accounts claim he saw God the father and God’s alleged son Jesus, while other accounts claim he saw all three; angels, God the father and God the son. The dates Smith gave for this vision vary too, from 1820 – 1821. The official Church of Latter-day Saints/ Mormon version seems to be the version Smith said occurred in the spring of 1820 when Smith was 14 years old. He said the vision was of God the Father and God the Son. Mormons refer to it as Joseph Smith’s First Vision, and many believers see it as the founding act of the Church of Latter-day Saints/ Mormonism.
In the early United States at the time Smith is said to have had his vision/” revelation,” many people were heavily influenced by the emotion-charged Christian revival movement known as the Second Great Awakening. It is believed by many that one of the reasons the Christian clergy launched the Second Great Awakening was to counter the spread of Deism and free thought in the early American Republic. Smith, like thousands of other Americans at that time, was heavily influenced by the emotion-promoting and reason-retarding Second Great Awakening, which probably had an influence on his belief that he had a divine vision, unless, of course, the entire story is just a deliberate scam of Smith’s to set himself up as a new religious prophet and founder of a new “revealed”/ hearsay religion.
Smith claimed that when he was 17 years old an angel of God named Moroni (that’s right, moron with an i) appeared to him and told him there were ancient sacred writings on golden plates buried in a hill in the woods near Smith’s home in upstate New York. (It’s not surprising that Smith would say the divine plates were buried in the ground, as one of his means of employment was as a treasure hunter who claimed he could divine the location of buried treasure, often with the use of magical seer stones.) Moroni allegedly claimed the writings on the golden plates were about an ancient people who God had brought to America from Jerusalem around 600 BCE. As this foolish story goes, Moroni was the last prophet of these people and he had buried the plates in the hill. God had promised Moroni that he would make the plates and their sacred texts known in the latter days. Since Christians from the time it is said Jesus Christ lived right through to today are usually believing they are living in the last days before the end of the world and the return of their savior Jesus to Earth, it’s not surprising Joe Smith believed he was living in the last days back in the 1820s and hence the name for Smith’s new religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Initially Smith did not show the alleged plates to anyone, so people had to take his word on faith that they really did exist. However, this caused some problems with some people who weren’t taking all that Smith said on faith. Eventually, Smith allegedly allowed three people and then an additional eight people to see the golden plates, and eight of the eleven claimed they also handled the golden plates on which the supposed sacred text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was written. The eleven people signed statements claiming they had seen the elusive plates, but we have to take their claims, whether verbal or written, on faith. There is absolutely no evidence the golden plates ever existed other than the claim of Joseph Smith and the eleven others. Below are the statements of the alleged witnesses which can be found in the Book of Mormon and after that are some thoughts of Mark Twain, which honestly and sarcastically address these childish claims of the alleged witnesses. The Mark Twain quotes can be found in his book Rough Times which was published in 1872.
The first three Mormon witnesses claimed:
THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES. Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for His voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvellous in our eyes; nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with Him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris.
And the eight Mormon witnesses claimed: Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken.
And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it. Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith, Samuel H. Smith.
Mark Twain wrote about the above testimonies of the Mormons:
Some people have to have a world of evidence before they can come anywhere in the neighborhood of believing anything; but for me, when a man tells me that he has “seen the engravings which are upon the plates,” and not only that, but an angel was there at the time, and saw him see them, and probably took his receipt for it, I am very far on the road to conviction, no matter whether I ever heard of that man before or not, and even if I do not know the name of the angel, or his nationality either.
And when I am far on the road to conviction, and eight men, be they grammatical or otherwise, come forward and tell me that they have seen the plates too; and not only seen those plates but “hefted” them, I am convinced. I could not feel more satisfied and at rest if the entire Whitmer family had testified.
The texts, according to Smith, were written in the language of “reformed Egyptian” which is a completely fabricated language produced in the Bible-riddled mind of Joe Smith. Smith claimed that the angel Moroni told him to translate the “ancient Egyptian” on the golden plates into English. The way he allegedly did the translation shows not only how completely Mormonism is poisoned by superstition, but also how the original Abrahamic religion of Judaism is poisoned by superstition.
Smith claimed that the golden plates with the scriptures written on them came with what was a type of package deal that included two special seer stones set in a frame and a breastplate. The seer stones are supposed to be magic stones similar to what Smith used when he hired himself out to find buried treasure for other people, and they are also what many believe helped the prophets of the Bible to prophesize. These seer stones are often referred to as the Urim and the Thummim and are referred to in the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament. The Bible Dictionary of the Church of Latter-day Saints defines the Urim and Thummim as the:
Hebrew term that means “Lights and Perfections.” An instrument prepared of God to assist man in obtaining revelation from the Lord and in translating languages. See Ex. 28: 30; Lev. 8: 8; Num. 27: 21; Deut. 33: 8; 1 Sam. 28: 6; Ezra 2: 63; Neh. 7: 65; JS— H 1: 35. Using a Urim and Thummim is the special prerogative of a seer, and it would seem reasonable that such instruments were used from the time of Adam. However, the earliest mention is in connection with the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 21– 28). Abraham used a Urim and Thummim (Abr. 3: 1– 4), as did Aaron and the priests of Israel, and also the prophets among the Nephites (Omni 1: 20– 21; Mosiah 8: 13– 19; 21: 26– 28; 28: 11– 20; Ether 4: 1– 7). There is more than one Urim and Thummim, but we are informed that Joseph Smith had the one used by the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 22– 28; D& C 10: 1; 17: 1). (See Seer.) A partial description is given in JS— H 1: 35. Joseph Smith used it in translating the Book of Mormon and in obtaining other revelations.
Allegedly the angel Moroni appeared to Smith while Smith was praying. Below is what Smith claims Moroni told him about the golden plates and the seer stones. The partial description given by Smith at JS – H 1: 35 mentioned above is the second paragraph below. Both paragraphs below are from official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints documents:
He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants; Also, that there were two stones in silver bows— and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim— deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
As mentioned in the first chapter of this book, one technique “revealed” religionists use to counter objections made by “revealed” religionists of a different “revealed” religion is to bring up foolish claims made by those other “revealed” religions or to make reference in their “revealed” religion to something already referenced and accepted by the other person’s “revealed” religion. We see this in practice on the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here, where we read about the foolish claim made by Joseph Smith, that he used the Urim and Thummim and seer stones in his translation work of the alleged golden plates, it states:
Some people have balked at this claim of physical instruments used in the divine translation process, but such aids to facilitate the communication of God’s power and inspiration are consistent with accounts in scripture. In addition to the Urim and Thummim, the Bible mentions other physical instruments used to access God’s power: the rod of Aaron, a brass serpent, holy anointing oils, the Ark of the Covenant, and even dirt from the ground mixed with saliva to heal the eyes of a blind man.
Our innate God-given reason tells us that this attempt to justify and to make sense of Smith’s foolish claim about the seer stones is flawed because the Bible has already been proven to be full of ungodly falsehoods based on ancient superstitions and has absolutely no authority for ascertaining truthfulness in this case. All those examples taken from the Bible as proof that God uses instruments to help people translate divine communications or to transmit God’s power are false and meaningless. Deists and other freethinkers are free to make these valid observations, but Christians, Jews and Muslims who believe the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament and/ or the New Testament are of divine origin cannot. They must accept at a minimum that this ridiculous Mormon claim is in line with the teachings of their own “sacred” scripture. Once you accept the ungodly/ unreasonable claims in Judaism, you open yourself up to the nonsense of Christianity, Islam and Mormonism.
An early follower of Joseph Smith and one of the above witnesses who claimed he saw the fictitious golden plates, David Whitmer wrote regarding Smith’s interpreting the golden plates:
Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat , drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man. (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)
Not only does this description of Whitmer produce a comedic image of Smith with his head stuck in a top hat (pictured at left) that contains magic seer stones and of a foolish and gullible “scribe” writing down whatever Smith came up with as if it were the Word of God, it also lets us know that if we a ccept it as true, we must reject, or, at a very minimum, suppress and suspend, our gift from God of innate reason. We can derive much more happiness and meaning from God-given reason than from man-made superstition. The choice is ours to make. Smith’s stories of his visions, of being visited by an angel of God, of the golden plates with sacred texts written on them in “reformed Egyptian,” and of how he translated them using seer stones in a top hat, all smack of lies and deceit. However, this is not all Mormonism and the Book of Mormon have going against them. Like the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament, the New Testament and the Quran, the contents of the Book of Mormon is full of ungodly cruelty, foolishness and absurdity, which, if we use it, our innate God-given reason strongly rejects and warns us that they are man-made frauds.
Mark Twain wrote about the Book of Mormon in his own book, Roughing It. He brought out the plagiarism of the King James version of the Bible practiced by Smith when Smith wrote the Book of Mormon as well as how foolish and boring the book is. Twain wrote:
The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle— keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason. The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James’s translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel— half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern— which was about every sentence or two— he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc., and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass” was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet (58).
Smith was as bloodthirsty as Moses and the genocidal Hebrews/ Jews of the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament. And like them, he libeled and slandered The Supreme Intelligence/ God by attributing the brutal savagery to God.
2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, chapter 23, verses 16 – 18 read:
Their children, also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled and their wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver and gold, nor shall they delight in it. Their bows shall also dash the young men to pieces, and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
These ungodly and grotesque verses from the Book of Mormon echo this equally ungodly and repulsive verse from the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament’s Hosea 13: 16 and are probably examples of Smith’s plagiarism of the Bible: “Their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”
Another blatant example of Smith’s brutal beliefs and image of The Supreme Intelligence/ God as an entity that promotes murder is found in 1 Nephi 4: 10-18 which states:
And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him. And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property. And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise. Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass. And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause — that I might obtain the records according to his commandments. Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.
The probable reason Smith held such a murderous image of God in his mind is because he