Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Latter Day Saints? Or Present Day Samaritans?

If you take a close look at the Samaritans, the polyglot race of people who arose as an identifiable group in what had been the Kingdom of Israel – but only after that kingdom was decapitated by the Assyrians – you might find some surprising parallels with the people who profess to be Latter Day Saints of Jesus, but who most of us know as Mormons.

Both groups blended established God-centered faiths with often-bizarre man-made accretions. Together, and in each case, those two ill-fitting components resulted in bastardized faith that was neither sanctified by God nor was exactly – or at least entirely – pagan. 

Though Wikipedia says there are still around 300 Samaritans known to exist, most of them in Israel, I don’t know any Samaritans personally.  However, I do know some Mormons, including some people I like very much.  The ones I know best are faithful and sincere in their beliefs. Like most people of faith, they believe in the faith of their fathers – the faith they were raised up in. They do so without taking too much time to try and sort out the logic – if any – in their faith, instead focusing on attending services, praying, and on serving their church and their fellow man.

Those folks I know are decent people, and I mean them no offense, just as I have no burning grudge against the Samaritans.  Yet I believe their “faith” is false and man-made, and I fear for their immortal souls.   While they claim to worship Jesus, the Jesus they worship preached to non-existent people in towns no archeologist has been able to find.  That mythic figure is not the Jesus whom John the Apostle boldly proclaimed was the only path to God, quoting Jesus as saying:

I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 – NLT)

However, to understand them, I think a comparison of modern-day Mormons with ancient Samaritans will prove insightful, if not particularly flattering to the Mormons.

There are also some striking similarities between the Latter Day Saints and Islam, in that both “faiths” were created by a single man, who had a “sacred source” that nobody else could see or hear.  In addition, each founder was a polygamist who has been accused of marrying child-brides, girls far below the age of puberty, let alone the age of consent.  But that’s a topic for another time.

To understand today’s Mormons, let’s first look at antiquity’s Samaritans.

Who were the Samaritans?  The Samaritan people began as an agrarian, Semitic people who were left behind when the Assyrians conquered the Ten Tribes who made up the Kingdom of Israel. The Assyrian conquerors did not deport every Israelite.  Instead, they basically decapitated the Kingdom, taking into exile all of the leaders, as well as the priests and the merchants who were the educated “middle class” of the kingdom. 

However, the left-behind Samaritans quickly evolved from an agrarian Semitic people to a more cosmopolitan polyglot race.  This occurred when the Assyrians took people from as many as a dozen conquered lands from all over the Near East and forcibly relocated them to what had once been Israel. Suddenly, the left-behind Israelites were part of a new society, centered around Samaria.  Of course, when these imported strangers arrived, they brought with them their own pagan gods, and their idols, and their priests.

The surviving Israelite peasant farmers and shepherds remembered a time of temple worship and official – if sporadic – opposition to pagan worship.  But these left-behinds had been “the least of these” in their society.  They had no training in anything but agriculture and animal husbandry.  They had no literacy, no temple priests or synagogue rabbis of their own – and, therefore, no way of restarting their “Faith of Abraham and of Moses.” 

However, the imported peoples from a dozen cultures, when confronted with the wild, depopulated wilderness that had become known as Samaria – which, our bible tells us was now the home of fierce wild beasts – petitioned the Assyrians for help.  Soon, some priests of Yahweh were sent to what had once been the state of Israel.

Their mission, appointed by their Assyrian overlords, was to help the new, imported Samaritan upper-class to cope with the chaos which this land had become. They were to do this by propitiating with their tribal god, who was thought to be the head celestial honcho in Samaria.  Among pagans – with their pantheons – a more-or-less universal belief was that each of the “gods” had a specific territory. This could be an area of land, or members of a trade, or even of an attribute.

The thought back in Assyria was that Yahweh was just one tribal god among many, but one who had a special affinity for Samaria. Leaders sent the Israeli temple priests because it was believed that – with the proper priestly intervention – Yahweh could be persuaded to re-tame the wilderness.

All of which meant that Yahweh’s priests had status in the community, but they were not the “only game in town.”  Worse, they were still slaves and expected to get along with the imported pagans, their priests and their gods.  However, since Israel was decapitated because God got fed up with the Israelites repeated flirtation with Baal and his priests, it was not hard for Yahweh’s temple priests to – as we say today – “go along to get along.”

So was born the polyglot Samaritan race, comprised of former Israelite farmers and shepherds, along with “imports” from a dozen conquered cultures and civilizations, each with their own god or gods.  Those priests together forged the “new” Samaritan religion – part adapted Mosaic Hebrew and part imported pagan.  They claimed to be the true descendents of Abraham and Moses – their “bible” stopped with the first five books – but their neighbors in Judea to the south took a somewhat different view of the Samaritans, and their odd mixture of beliefs.

The new Samaritan race made their provincial capital the city now known as Samaria – it had a different name then.  All the people of this land, regardless of origin, became known as Samaritans.

As an aside, among the followers of Yahweh – dating all the way back to the days of  Joseph and of Moses, keeping genealogies had been an important means of keeping track of which tribe a person belonged to. That tribal affiliation could even determine an individual’s career path. Especially for those at the top of the cultural pyramid – such as priests or kings – pure bloodlines were important. 

Today, when we think of “pure blood lines,” we think of Jim Crow laws or Adolph Hitler’s holocaust. But in those days, heritage was important, and pure blood lines often had a life-changing impact, but they weren’t necessarily the cause or trigger for oppression or genocide.  Still, in the ancient Near East, a person’s bloodline mattered – a lot. Yet for the Samaritans, there were no pure bloodlines – none at all – and in that culture, this meant that no natural-born leaders arose to lead them out of bondage to foreign satraps.

To put this into perspective, two of the Gospels – Matthew and Luke – begin with their own genealogies of Jesus.  Each recognized the importance of tracing the ancestry that led to the Messiah – the natural-born leader of the Jews – for indeed, that ancestry was the subject of many ancient messianic prophecies.  This tracking of blood lines was that important to the people of Judea in the time of Christ, in the society and their faith.

Samaritans had nothing to compare with those unbroken bloodlines.  With the Israeli leadership gone forever, and with new settlers arriving from a dozen Near Eastern cultures and races, the polyglot Samaritans quickly became a polyglot race of abandoned Hebrews and imported Pagans.  As subject of the Assyrians, these left-behinds and imports lived together – and interbred together – for more than two centuries before Judea fell.  Intermarriage among these peoples, along with the intermingling of their various pagan religions with the worship of the one true God, served to create in Samaria its own kind of chaos. 

Add to this a salient fact: at no time were these cobbled-together Samaritans ever an independent people. Their race was created by an Assyrian king, and for centuries they were ruled by that king, or by his successors – including Babylonian and Persian successors. Sometimes the Samaritans were ruled harshly, sometimes with a feather-soft touch – but always without any racial or cultural free will.  History records that the Samaritans did what they were told to do, knowing that to disobey meant that they’d face consequences they knew only too well.

Like the Hebrews who God sent Moses to save from Pharaoh after 400 years of slavery, the Samaritans had always a slave race.  Yet unlike the Hebrews, God did not send a savior to free them from bondage.  The Samaritans were, therefore, a people who’d never known freedom. In a world that prized pure bloodlines, they were a polyglot race, which meant they were looked down upon by all “pure” races.  Worse – for their status among their fellow captive and free neighbors – they had a mix-and-match man-made religion. Despite the presence of Israeli temple priests, this Samaritan national faith had only the most tangential relationship to the worship of Yahweh as it was practiced at the time of Moses, or as it was practiced in Judea, Samaria’s neighbor to the South.

The emerging Samaritan people, while claiming to be true literal and spiritual descendents of Abraham and Moses, had their own version of the Five Books that were, at best, only remotely similar to the Hebrew bible’s first five books. The best you could say was that the Samaritan Mosaic scripture was made up of a very different translation.

The Samaritans, of course, claimed their five sacred books to be the only true translation, despite the fact that their neighboring Judean Hebrews had direct generation-to-generation hand-offs of the original texts.  In the Samaritans’ revised Yahweh worshiping religion, they also cast aside all other canonical holy books except their version of the Pentateuch.  In this, the Samaritans turned their backs on Joshua and the Judges, David and Solomon, and on the Israeli kingdom from which they’d sprung.

At this point, you may be wondering, “what does this have to do with the Mormons?”  If you’ve read this far, I ask you to keep reading just a bit farther, as this will all soon become clear.

These Samaritans who evolved out of Israel’s remnants also declared their own Holy Mountain – Mount Gerizim – and the surviving 300 or so Samaritans still hold Mount Gerizim holy to this day.

Naturally, the Samaritans promptly claimed that Mount Gerizim was the “original” Holy Mountain, the one identified by Joshua in the days immediately after the Exodus, and not the “Temple Mount” of David and Solomon.  Accordingly, they built their own Temple on that Holy Mountain, dedicating it to a god they called Yahweh, but not the Yahweh who still guided Judea – when the Hebrews would listen to Him. 

Though he shared the name with the God of David and Solomon, the Samaritan’s god could not have truly been Yahweh. He, as we know, is a jealous God who will allow no other Gods before him.  Yet by all accounts, the Samaritans shared Yahweh’s Temple and their Holy Mount Gerizim with the grab-bag collection of pagan beliefs and pantheistic gods that had migrated to the land once known as Israel.

The Samaritans’ bastardized form of Yahweh worship violated both the sacred guidelines laid out for temple worship in the real Pentateuch, then went a step further by mixing Yahweh worship with the worship of pagan gods and false beliefs in their “something for everyone” man-made religion.

By the time that the Babylonians decapitated Judea the way the Assyrians had decapitated the leadership of Israel, these Samaritans had existed apart from Judea for the several centuries. They had existed as a polyglot slave race for the entire time between the permanent exile of the Ten Lost Tribes and the temporary exile of Judea. 

However, one long generation later, when the Persians took over the Fertile Crescent, they allowed – under government control – the first of the Jews to return to Judea. The reason for their return was imperial policy, which called for identified captive races to reinstate their own faiths, in their own historic tribal regions. This policy led to a vanguard of Jews being sent to the rubble of Jerusalem, there to restore the Temple and to reinstate Temple Worship. The Persians recognized that it was this Temple Worship which had defined the true followers of Yahweh from the time of the Exodus to the time of the Babylonian Exile.

However, when the true followers of Yahweh returned, that’s when their now-meddlesome neighbors, the Samaritans, stepped in.

First, they offered to help the Judeans to rebuild their temple. They offered funds, and labor and materials. They did this even though the Samaritans had their own – and, they claimed, only – real temple, on God’s only real Holy Mountain, Gerizim.  The bible tells us that the Judeans wisely smelled a rat – they swiftly declined the Samaritans’ offer.  

That’s when the true nature of the Samaritans’ offer became crystal clear.  Having been rebuffed locally, the Samaritans took a legal case before the Persian court. They claimed the Judeans were a rebellious lot who had no loyalty to the Persia emperor.  The Emperor sided with the Samaritans, and work on the Jerusalem temple stopped after only the foundation had been laid and the altar erected. 

As Ezra later reported, sixteen years later, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah got the returnees moving again. There was a new Emperor, who overturned the Samaritan decision. With his blessing, and with imperial funding, construction was re-started.  Some scholars believe that Haggai’s last prophetic statements, in Haggai Chapter 2, reflect a renewed offer by the Samaritans to help fund the rebuilding of the temple. 
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai:  “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says:  If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’”
The priests answered, “No.”
Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
But even if that interpretation of Haggai 2 is not what happened – if instead, Haggai was prophesying against those well-off Jews who were unwilling to give their whole heart over to the Temple’s restoration – the Samaritans were still not to be trusted, for their god was false.

Experience quickly taught those Judeans who came back to Jerusalem that their neighboring polyglot race of mixed-faith semi-pagans were no friend of the true followers of Yahweh.  And so it remained until the time of Jesus.

The Judeans later conquered Samaria – only to be conquered in turn by Alexander and his Greeks.  Then the Maccabees retook the land, only to have it later fall to the unstoppable Rome.  Yet no matter who was in charge, the Samaritans were a second-class people, still little better than a slave race, a people who were bystanders in the march of civilization and faith. 

By the time of Jesus, Samaritans were despised by the Temple hierarchy. They were looked on with suspicion and – presumably, prejudice – by the true followers of Yahweh. Despite their oppressed status, the Samaritans maintained that they were authentic Yahweh worshipers. However, nobody else seemed to believe them, or to even care what they believed.

Samaritans and LDS:  So what does that historical look at the origins and fading existence of the Samaritans have to do with the members of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?  Well, a number of things.

However, before we get into that, like the ancient Hebrews, the LDS has a “thing” about genealogy. However, this is not intended to demonstrate pure bloodlines. Instead, their use of genealogy is just one part of the mixed bag of beliefs they hold to. 

At the core of those beliefs, by the way, is this:  through the revelation of Joseph Smith, the LDS and its followers have restored the original church founded by Jesus Christ.  If you understand nothing else about the Mormon faith, understand that they believe that they have the only true faith, and that all of Christendom is an apostasy. 

Beginning the LDS saga, a New Yorker in 1830 named Joseph Smith dug up from a hillside in upper New York State, as he later claimed, a set of golden plates. These plates were inscribed with an unknown language, using an unknown alphabet, and clearly of ancient lineage.  Smith also uncovered a kind of Rosetta Stone that allowed him to translate the words inscribed on those golden plates. 

These translated gold plates became The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the first sacred book in what became the Mormon faith.  The church now has two other sacred texts, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price, though over time, some sections of those books have been added to, deleted from or eliminated.

Smith claimed that the bible remained a holy book – that his Book of Mormon merely expanded on it. Yet to make this work, Smith also undertook – under the direction of an angelic editor – to rewrite significant sections of the Christian Holy Bible, to make that ancient and sacred book more in-line with his new revelation. In this, Smith broke faith with the last commandment in the Holy Bible, found in Revelation 22:18-19 (NIV):

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.  And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

However, God’s commands as presented in holy scripture never seemed to deter Joseph Smith.

To understand to what the Latter Day Saints anchor their faith – and to better see how closely this parallels the Samaritan’s evolved faith – let’s look at the provenance of the three books sacred to the Mormons.

The Book of Mormon:  This sacred-to-Mormons text describes the resurrected Jesus’ visit to Native Americans in North America some time after he ascended into Heaven.  It includes the writing of various prophets who lived and worked and prophesied during the period from 2,200 BC to 421 A.D. 

These long-hidden prophesies, as well as other “sacred” material, were created for a group of people who God took from Jerusalem to North America 600 years before Christ came to earth.  These people are supposedly linked to the “ten lost tribes” who were taken to Assyria, there to disappear from history.

The golden plates were covered with text that was written in an unknown language by an Egyptian scribe.  He wrote biblically-sounding history and prophecy on plates of gold – a millennium or more later, these plates were given to Smith by the Angel Moroni.  At different times, Smith credited “special spectacles” – magic reading glasses that allowed him to translate and understand the ancient texts. At other times, he credited a pair of seer stones that he put in a top hat for allowing him to read this ancient writing. 

He dictated the text he translated to any one of a group scribes who were generally not allowed to see the golden plates.  However, eleven of Smith’s early followers did testify to having seen, and in some cases, handled, the golden plates.  Once the translation was complete, the golden plates were returned to the Angel Moroni – except for some plates which were stolen and then disappeared from human ken. 

As an aside, tens of thousands of Hebrews saw God’s holy tablets as given to Moses – but only a dozen Mormons, including Smith, claim to have seen the golden plates.

The first were the “Three Witnesses,” who claimed to have been shown the plates by an angel, and to have heard God’s voice vouching for them.  These three later broke with Smith – all were excommunicated, and all later recanted their testimony.  Then, even later – towards the end of their lives – they once again embraced some version of their original testimony.  However, a number of them claimed that their witnessing of the golden plates was in a vision, rather than in a conscious and eyes-wide-open state.

The others were the “Eight Witnesses,” who were either relatives of Smith’s
 or members of one other family – and all of the members of that other family were soon either dead or excommunicated.  None of The Eight made any claim about angels or the voice of God, merely noting that Smith showed them some gold plates.

All of these witnesses were Smith’s family, close friends related by marriage, or financial backers.

Not wanting to break up a good thing, when Smith died, one contender to his earthly throne produced his own buried gold plates and the testimony of eleven witnesses – however, translations of those plates, apparently, were not created, nor is there any evidence of their continued existence.

Unlike the Mormons, Hebrew scripture attests to the ongoing physical presence of the stone tablets.  For centuries after entering the Promised Land, the Hebrews carried that second set of stone engraved by God with them; keeping them safely within His Ark of the Covenant. 

However, except for those gold plates claimed to have been stolen and lost, the other Mormon gold plates were returned to the Angel Moroni. This ensured that no man would be able to ever again gaze on them, let alone try to translate them.

Though this Book of Mormon is purported to be an accurate description of the lives of the exiles from Jerusalem and their descendents, their language was not Semitic, nor was their writing.  In addition, no archeological evidence of this has been found.  Finally, there is no DNA evidence to suggest that any Semitic refugees ever lived in North America thousands of years ago.  If these lost Israelites were here for hundreds of years, they nevertheless managed to leave no evidence – archeological or genetic. After the time of Jesus’ visits and Moroni’s writing, they died out as a people with no surviving offspring.

While reported to have been written in North American for migrants from Israel, the Book of Mormon also included mention of objects and animals not native to North America, including:

Living:  Cattle, horses, asses, oxen, sheep, swine, goats, elephants and wheat

Non-Living:  Steel, brass, chains, iron scimitars and chariots

Nonetheless, the LDS considers The Book of Mormon to be canonical and divinely accurate.

LDS and Samaritans:  Note that one commonality between the Mormons of today with the Samaritans of the sacred text is their creation of a religion that begins with portions of God’s covenant with the Hebrews (and, in the case of the Mormons, with His later covenant with the followers of Christ). However, in both cases, this sacred text is first suitably changed to match the new faith’s evolved and evolving religious needs. This semi-faith is then blended with supposedly divinely-inspired – but fantastical and seemingly man-made – religious-like materials.  Those fantastical Mormon “sacred texts” include the next two:

Doctrine and Covenants:  Originally, the Doctrine and Covenants included speeches by Smith that spelled out doctrine. Over time, that changed, and today, the only still-canonical part of that book is a group of revelations that were given to Smith by God, then dictated by Smith to scribes.  As an aside, that revelation-and-dictation creation style is very similar to the way the Q’uran came into being.

Pearl of Great Price:  The Pearl of Great Price, the other sacred Mormon text, is an assemblage of Joseph Smith’s writings. This includes a rewrite of the creation story, this one credited to Moses, as well as a revision of the story of Abraham. That is reportedly based on papyrus documents Smith purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition, then “translated.”  At the time, nobody could read Egyptian hieroglyphics, allowing the faithful to believe Smith’s “revealed translation.”

These discovered documents were reported by Smith to have been written by the Patriarch Abraham himself, during his sojourn in Egypt, 3,500 years ago.  However, unlike the angelic golden plates, some of these papyrus documents still exist, much to the embarrassment of the Mormons.  For more than a century they were believed to have been destroyed in a Chicago fire, but that is not the case.

Recently, fragments of those papyrus documents were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and other fragments were found in LDS church archives. Instead of 3,500 year old documents written by the hand of Abraham, these fragments were found to be standard Egyptian funerary texts from 2,000 years ago. What has been translated from them bear no relation to Smith’s revealed translation.

Adding insult to injury, The Pearl also contains Joseph Smith’s re-translation of the Gospel of Matthew, containing many significant changes and additions to the original biblical text, which Mormons now refer to as the Joseph Smith Translation. Since Smith had no training in biblical languages, the translations are deemed to have been dictated to Smith by God.

Finally, as an aside, the Samaritans had a pantheon of gods, one of whom was Yahweh.  Joseph Smith took a similar approach in identifying his take on Yahweh and his pantheon. In the “Teachings of Joseph Smith: Section 6, Pages 371-2, 1843-1844,” Smith wrote:
“'In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods,' or, as others have translated it, 'The head of the Gods called the Gods together.' The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image."
Instead of the triune God who called forth the creation of man in his own image, the Mormon God brought together his fellow Gods to preside in this creation.  If anyone still doubts that the Mormon’s “God” is not the God found in the Christian bible, consider those teachings.

Holy Bible:  Still, the LDS also claims to include the Holy Bible among their sacred books, but, as noted above, their version of the bible has been rather dramatically amended, edited and reinterpreted by Joseph Smith. He restored “lost sections” of the Bible – presumably under God’s guidance – that makes their bible far different, in some sections, than the Christian bible.  This is reminiscent of the Samaritans’ edited and rewritten Pentateuch.

After nearly 200 years, the sacred books of the LDS faith continue to be periodically changed, with material either moved from one book to another or dropped altogether. This is in line with their belief in the continuation of God’s prophetic work, offering new teachings to the latter day prophets who lead the church.  We do not know if the Samaritan religion continually evolved in this way, but it’s not hard to imagine that their made-up religion required periodic upgrading to reflect changing realities.

Doctrine:  Unlike Christianity, which believes that revealed doctrine was complete with the canonization of the New Testament, the Mormons believe that their President is an active prophet, seer and revelator who can, at God’s direction, change doctrine. This has happened many times since April 6, 1830, when Joseph Smith formally created the Church. 

Two of the most important of these doctrinal changes, however, came about not from God, but from outside pressure.  In the first, the Mormons changed their teachings on bigamy, banning the practice after having embraced it for nearly 70 years. They did this – as “revealed by God” – in order for Utah to be admitted into the Union as a state. The US Congress had made it clear that a territory which legalized polygamy would never be admitted to the union as a state, and desperate for acceptance, the Mormon prophet reinvented a core doctrine to suit Congress.

Can you picture Paul suggesting that the Ephesians embrace pagan idol worship to get Rome off their backs?  Neither can I, but roughly 125 years ago such a politically-motivated change dramatically altered the very nature of the Mormon faith.

In enacting the second secularly-driven change, they changed doctrine 40 years ago to acknowledge that members of the black race – in defiance of previous doctrine – were suddenly no longer deemed inherently inferior in the sight of God. Suddenly, they could become priests within the church.

Mormons and Christianity

Joseph Smith claimed that the revelations given him at the creation of the Mormon church, and later, were given him so he could restore First Century Christianity.  Yet in doing so, he and his faith have run afoul of the very teachings they are supposed to be restoring. 

These include:
·       Mormons, as noted above, reject the Trinity in favor of a pantheon of Gods.  The Father God, along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, exist, but not as one triune God

·       Until it became politically inconvenient, they believed in polygamy as a  matter of doctrine

·       Mormons believe that upon their death, believers becoming Gods – in effect, joint heirs to the kingdom with Jesus

·       Mormons believe that Jesus’ visit with Smith at age 14 was the most holy act of God since the resurrection, whereas Christians believe that nothing surpasses the resurrection as a holy act of God

·       Mormons believe that a resurrected Jesus came back down from heaven after Pentecost to witness to a non-existent group of Semitic refugees from Israel’s ten lost tribes, in cities that nearly two centuries of archeology have been unable to locate

·       Mormons believe in the retrospective salvation of the dead by living descendants, without their having accepted Jesus as their lord while in this life
There are many more areas of belief where the Mormons’ “restoration of First Century Christianity” runs afoul of core Christian beliefs as presented by Jesus, Paul, the Gospel writers and the Apostles.
Samaritans and LDS

As a race, the Samaritans were created by the forced, “shotgun marriage” of a dozen racial, tribal and national groups – and because of this, their national faith was a weird blend of rewritten Mosaic law coupled with a variety of pagan beliefs – and pagan gods.

The Mormon faith represents another kind of “shotgun marriage,” between a bowdlerized Christianity and a variety of man-made revelations, supposedly inspired by God and delivered by an angel, but clearly made up of bits-and-pieces of other sacred texts, mixed with a man-made mythology that has left no archeological or genetic clue as to its existence.    And in their faith, like the Samaritans, the Mormons believe not in one God, but in a “head of the Gods” and “the Gods.”  And in the possibility that mortal man, after death, can become a God as well.

Conclusion:  The Holy Bible has 66 God-breathed books written by 40 Spirit-inspired authors writing from three continents over a period of more than 1,500 years. It has stood the test of time and faith for more than 3,000 years.  Christ’s miracles were witnessed by tens of thousands over a period of years, and his resurrection was witnessed by more than 500 people, not all of whom had been Christ-followers before His resurrection. 

The books deemed sacred by the Latter Day Saints were written by one mortal man over a period of not much more than a dozen years.  The closest thing the Mormons have to those thousands of Christian eye witnesses were a group of family and friends who were soon either dead or excommunicated.

While many Mormons are earnestly devout and faithful, their beliefs are – like those of the Samaritans – based on human claims and mythical confabulations rather than God’s testimony.

No comments:

Post a Comment