"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
95 Theses Against the Claims of Mormonism
From Christ Presbyterian Church, Magna, UT. Used by permission.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 theses or propositions
against the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences – – the claim
that for the right amount of money you could buy forgiveness of sins.
Indulgences were hostile to the very heart of the Christian faith.
Martin Luther challenged this practice from the Scriptures and called
men back to the Bible and back to Jesus. In the spirit of that
challenge, we present 95 theses against the claims of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We implore you to search the
Scriptures to know what is true (Acts 17:11) and seek the real Jesus while He may be found.
The Elders of Christ Presbyterian Church
A Congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
1. Your god is not the God of the Bible, nor even truly a god. He is not the creator and sustainer of all things (Colossians 1:16-17),
but an exalted man or “super-man” who transformed eternal matter. Your
god is more akin to the Norse god Thor than the God of the Bible.
2. On dedicating the temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon stated that
the “heavens of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this house
that I have builded.” (1 Kings 8:27) Yet, your god could have easily fit inside that temple.
3. The Lord, through the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:22,
condemns the pagans, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became
fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made
like to corruptible man. . .” Yet, you take pride that your god is man
with a body of flesh and bone (D&C 130:18).
4. Even if your god existed, he would be pitifully small.
5. Jesus was God before He took a body (John 1:1). There is no similarity between God condescending to become a man, and a man exalting himself to become a god.
6. Your god is one among many gods, but the God of the Bible states,
“ye are even My witnesses. Is there a God beside Me? yea, there is no
God; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:8)
7. Your god had a father, who had a father. The Bible states, “Thus
saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I
am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)
8. Your god had a wife. The Bible states, “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me.” (Isaiah 45:5)
9. You twist Psalm 82 to claim a multitude of gods, yet it does not
say, “ye may become gods,” but “ye are gods.” Even your apostle, James
Talmage, wrote that these are human judges (Jesus the Christ, p.501) who
die like men.
10. Your god has not always been a god. Achieving A Celestial
Marriage states, “God was once a man who, by obedience, advanced to his
present state of perfection. . .” Psalm 90:2 states, “. . . from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.”
11. This concept of your god having to obey a law external to himself
sets something superior to your god. There is nothing higher than the
God of the Bible (Hebrews 6:13).
12. Your God is subject to human free agency, but the God of the Bible works all things together for good (Romans 8:28) and according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). Those who crucified Christ were guilty, yet Jesus was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” (Acts 2:23)
13. Joseph Smith in his “inspired translation” changed the Bible to
remove the statement that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus. The
Apostle Paul in Romans 9 confirms the reading in Exodus, contrary to Joseph Smith.
14. You claim that the Bible contradicts itself because it says that
no man has seen God at any time. You ignore the context and figures of
speech. The Lord “spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto
his friend” (Exodus 33:11),
but it is only nine verses later that God explicitly states, “Thou
canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
15. You confuse seeing Jesus with seeing the Father. To see Jesus is to see the Father (John 14:9), but there is a difference. Jesus, the Word, is God (John 1:1);
“and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. . . (John 1:14). Yet, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” (John 1:18)
16. You confuse sentimentality with reverence, since you seek to rob God of His unique glory.
17. Your religion seems to be more focused on God as a means to your
own glory, rather than our being the means of revealing His glory.
18. You claim we undergo a mortal probation to become a god, and yet Jesus already was God before his incarnation (John 1:1-14).
19. Because John 1:1 contradicted Joseph Smith, in his “inspired” translation of John 1:1
Smith tried to make the gospel rather than Jesus the focus. Nowhere in
any of the thousands of Greek manuscripts of this passage do we find
anything resembling Smith’s translation.
20. Jesus was worshiped by angels before His incarnation and was so
holy that they had to cover their faces in His presence. (Isaiah 6, John 12:41) Yet you have reduced him to our elder spirit brother, along with Satan.
21. Since you believe that we all began as eternal intelligences, all
that really separates us from Elohim and Jesus are time and exaltation.
22. Your god is limited in time, power, justice, holiness, love, and glory.
23. You assert that we existed before this world because God tells
Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee. . .” It is
only because your god is too small that you cannot fathom a God who
“calleth those things which be not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17) God breathed into Adam the breath of life, and Adam “became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:17)
24. You twist the words of Jesus and the apostles to claim that we
can become gods. Christians will become like Jesus, yet God explicitly
states, “Before Me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after Me.” (Isaiah 43:10)
25. Isaiah 43:10 and 44:8 also debunk your idea that Jesus became a god at some later date. In the beginning, Jesus already was God (John 1:1), yet the Bible is also clear that there is one God.
26. You ignore what Christians really say about the Trinity and seek
to portray it as modalism: one God playacting in three different roles.
Christians believe what the Bible teaches: that there is one God, who
exists eternally as three distinct persons. We do not believe Jesus was
“talking to Himself” in His prayers, but speaking to the Father.
27. You claim there is only one god for this planet, but don’t you claim that Elohim and Jesus are different gods?
28. You are unclear whether Jesus is to be worshiped, and yet He and
the Father are worshiped in the Bible by the people of this world.
29. Your god is not holy; he is the author of sin. He gave Adam two
contradictory commands, so that Adam had to rebel against God to obey
the command to be fruitful and multiply (2 Nephi 2:25). The God of the
Bible does not tempt, much less command men to sin (James 1:13).
30. Your apostle, Bruce McConkie stated, “Properly understood, it
becomes apparent that the fall of Adam is one of the greatest blessings
ever given of God to mankind.” The Bible presents the Fall of Adam, not
as a “fall upward,” but treason against God.
31. Our Creator declared all things good, except for man to be alone.
When that was resolved, God declared everything “very good.” Adam, in
his rebellion, believed things were not good and substituted his
judgment for the revelation of God. Mormons agree with sinful Adam.
32. You trivialize sin. The Fall of Adam was not a blessing, but
ushered in this world of rape, lies, murder, cancer, and death. Jesus
wept over death, but you would have us believe the Fall that brought it a
33. Your God is the author of lies. He commanded Abraham to lie to Pharaoh (Abraham 2:24). The God of the Bible does not lie (Titus 1:2). Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not a man, that He should lie...” You believe he is both a man and a liar.
34. You trivialize the effect of sin on us. Rather than working out
our free agency, the Bible presents man as dead in his trespasses and
sins (Ephesians 2:1), an enemy of God (Romans 5:10), and insensible to the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14).
35. You see men as seeking after God, but God tells us, “There is
none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is
none that seeketh after God.”
36. You characterize all those who disagree with you as presenting a
cheap grace that does not involve repentance. This is as unfair as your
critics refusing to differentiate between Thomas Monson and Warren
37. You equate regeneration and the new birth with water baptism and ignore the need for a new heart and new life.
38. You make salvation a matter of grace, only after all we can do (2
Nephi 25:23) and ignore that even our best works are only “filthy
rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)
39. Since your god is not holy, sin is not that bad, and man is not
lost, you do not understand grace as the unmerited love of God. Moroni
10:31 states, “. . .if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and
love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is His grace
sufficient for you . . .”
40. You ignore that we are not merely sick, but dead in our sins. The
things of God are foolishness to us and cannot be understood. The
gospel is not about God helping good people save themselves, but raising
the spiritually dead to life and justifying the ungodly.
41. Joseph Smith in his “inspired translation” guts the gospel of grace by changing Romans 4:5
to say that God “justifieth not the ungodly.” None of the thousands of
Greek manuscripts of this passage support his reading. It also
contradicts everything around it and the rest of the New Testament.
42. You are currently unclear as to what you believe about the cross.
Your emphasis in the atonement used to be on Jesus sweating blood in
the Garden of Gethsemane. You present a moving target in terms of
anything substantive in your teaching. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine has
been allowed to go out of print, and no substitute has been offered.
43. You make salvation to mean only resurrection and ignore the reconciliation between God and man.
44. You claim that we are all spirit children of God by birth, but
the Bible says that Christians are creatures who are adopted as children
of God. (Ephesians 1:5)
45. Your claim that we all pre-existed as spirit children does not
fit with what Jesus told the unbelieving Jews, “If God were your Father,
ye would love Me. . . Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of
your father ye will do.”
46. You equate godliness with the Word of Wisdom, not with true love for God as He is.
47. Your Word of Wisdom creates man-made traditions forbidding wine that God gave as a blessing (Psalm 104, Ecclesiastes 9) and part of the Lord’s Supper.
48. You ignore the biblical warnings of legalism, such as Colossians 2:20,
“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world,
why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch
not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;)
after the commandments and doctrines of men?”
49. You pride yourself against other groups because of the law of
consecration, but do you practice it? Do your apostles and other leaders
live the law of consecration?
50. You claim the three heavens are degrees of glory. You ignore the
Jewish understanding to which Paul referred: the first heaven as the
sky, the second heaven where the stars and planets are, and the third
heaven (heaven of heavens) being the abode of God.
51. You think that you have a higher view of heaven, because you get
to become gods, but you have to redefine the term god. The reality is
that God promises far better to Christians. It is only because you don’t
know Him that you think an eternity of His presence would be boring.
52. You promote James 1:5 as grounds to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. You ignore that the rest of the Bible contradicts this idea.
53. James 1:5
does not lead us to ignore “the Scriptures . . .[which] are able to
make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15)
54. Trusting in the feelings of our hearts is contrary to God’s Word. Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Proverbs 28:26 states, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool. . .”
55. You claim to believe the Bible “as far as it is translated
correctly,” yet you dismiss arguments from the original languages.
56. You claim the Bible has been corrupted, yet ignore that it is the
best authenticated ancient text and was sufficiently preserved for
Jesus and the apostles to cite it as authoritative.
57. You claim that God has not preserved His Word in His church, but
you believe He preserved it in a hillside and in a traveling Egyptian
58. You believe your god preserved records for hundreds of years only
to be thwarted when Lucy Harris stole the first 116 pages of
translation. Rather than retranslating the same plates, Smith claimed he
had to translate others that were similar.
59. You dismiss the Bible as authoritative since people disagree over
it, yet there are over 200 groups who claim to follow the Book of
Mormon, and they disagree about many, many things.
60. You assert contradictions in the Bible, but will not hear any response to your claims.
61. You are not a religion of any book, but of a man; and your prophets have contradicted themselves and one another.
62. You claim that the church lost its priesthood authority through a
great apostasy. Once again, your God is too small. Jesus stated that
all authority was given to Him in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18) and the gates of Hell would not prevail against His church. (Matthew 16:18)
63. You claim that the church lost its priesthood authority, yet your
concepts of priesthood and temples are hostile to the Bible. Solomon’s
temple had nothing to do with celestial marriage or baptism for the
dead, but offering sacrifices and worship to God.
64. Your temples are more rooted in pagan Freemasonry than in the Bible.
65. Your interpretation of “baptism for the dead” in 1 Corinthians 15:29 is hostile to the rest of the Bible.
66. Celestial marriage is not mentioned in the Bible, nor in the Book of Mormon.
67. You build temples made with hands and do not understand that the
temple in Jerusalem was replaced with a temple not made with hands – –
the church of which Christians are living stones. (1 Peter 2:5)
68. If your temple ceremonies came from God, why were they changed by
men? Why do you no longer refer to Protestant ministers as “hirelings
of Satan” and take oath to have your throats slit “from ear to ear”?
69. You argue that a true church has apostles, but ignore that the
church did not have apostles in the Old Testament, nor did the apostles
appoint new apostles, except one in preparation for Pentecost.
70. Your apostles do not meet the biblical qualifications. They are not witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.
71. Your apostles do not have the gifts of the apostles. They do not
have miraculous powers of healing the sick or raising the dead.
72. You falsely claim to be the fastest growing church in the world
and think this proves the truth of your church. The false prophet
Mohammed has 1.6 billion followers. Seventh-day Adventists trace their
origins to the Great Disappointment in 1844 and the false prophet Ellen
G. White; they have over 18 million members. The Assemblies of God
traces its roots to the Azusa Street Revival in 1906 and has over 66
73. According to Deuteronomy 13, Joseph Smith was a false prophet because he declared a god different from the God of the Bible.
74. According to Deuteronomy 18, Joseph Smith was a false prophet, since he predicted things that did not come to pass.
75. Joseph Smith gave false prophecies, declaring the Second Coming
of Christ in the generation of those alive in the 1830’s. Apostle Parley
Pratt said in 1838, “Now, Mr. Sunderland, you have something definite
and tangible, the time, the manner, the means, the names, the dates; and
I will state as a prophecy, that there will not be an unbelieving
Gentile upon this continent 50 years hence; and if they are not greatly
scourged, and in a great measure overthrown, within five or ten years
from this date, then the Book of Mormon will have proved itself false.”
76. The accusations of Joseph Smith’s false prophecies are based not
merely on our reading of him, but your own general authorities. For
decades, your prophets and apostles declared in General Conference that
the generation alive in 1832 would see both the building of a temple in
Independence, Missouri, and the Second Coming of Jesus.
77. The best claim you have to Smith’s prophetic gifts is Doctrine
& Covenants 87. You claim that Joseph Smith predicted the American
Civil War in 1832, but you ignore that this prediction was made in the
midst of the Nullification Crisis, when the newspapers were speculating
about civil war and President Andrew Jackson was threatening to invade
South Carolina. The fact that these tensions eventually did lead to war
does not undermine the other issues of false prophecies and declaring a
78. Brigham Young taught over and over that Adam was God, but you
dismiss this as not being canonized. He stated, “I have never yet
preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may
not call Scripture.”
79. Does it concern you that the prophet to whom you trust your souls
and the souls of your children could be so wrong on who God is?
80. Your recent statements on the Book of Abraham seek to confuse the issues.
81. Decades before the rediscovery of the papyri, Egyptologists
pointed out the errors in Facsimile 1, and these are the places where
the papyrus was missing and images clearly drawn in.
82. You hold open the possibility Smith’s “translation” came from
lost papyri. Did Smith not claim that Facsimile 1 came at the beginning
of the record? Is not all the text connected with that image from the
Egyptian Book of the Dead and has nothing to do with Abraham?
83. Doesn’t Joseph Smith’s Egyptian Grammar translate characters from the existing papyri into the Book of Abraham?
84. Your church lied about polygamy before 1852. Joseph Smith
publicly denied that he practiced polygamy. (History of the Church, vol
6, p. 411)
85. The original Doctrine and Covenants lied about the practice of
polygamy in Section 101. Apostle and future prophet John Taylor publicly
cited this to dismiss accusations of polygamy while secretly practicing
86. Though the original section 101 can be “spun” to allow polygamy
(it does not say “but” one wife), it specifically prohibited a woman
from having more than one husband. Neither Joseph Smith, nor Brigham
Young obeyed this.
87. Your church lied about polygamy after the Manifesto in 1890.
Polygamy was still secretly practiced by general authorities until the
88. Brigham Young stated at General Conference, “Shall I tell you the
law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs
to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty,
under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.
(Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110). Yet this and numerous
revelations about Blacks have been relegated to the dustbin of LDS
89. Christians in the early church chose torture and death rather
than compromise their faith, but the LDS church only had to be
threatened with jail to give up polygamy. Jimmy Carter only had to
threaten the LDS church tax status to spur a new revelation on blacks in
90. You display a double standard when others criticize you. You
declare that you are “sharing” when you claim that God said Joseph Smith
should join none of the existing churches because all their professors
are corrupt and all their creeds are an abomination. When others respond
to your claims, you accuse them of being “anti-Mormons,” or
91. Your Scriptures state “Presbyterianism is not true,” (Joseph
Smith – History 1:20), but you become upset when others state that
Mormonism is not true.
92. You portray yourselves as victims, because Governor Boggs issued
an extermination order if Mormons did not leave Missouri. Yet Governor
Boggs’ took this language from a sermon by Sidney Rigdon, threatening
non-LDS in Missouri with extermination.
93. You portray yourselves as victims, but Mormons killed far more
non-Mormons in the name of religion in one day at the Mountain Meadows
Massacre than non-Mormons have ever killed Mormons in the name of
94. You insist that Brigham Young did not order the massacre, but he
was clearly an accessory after the fact, blaming the Indians. After the
massacre, the California Militia found the bones of the victims and
gathered them together and placed stones over them. They placed a cross
with a sign on top that said “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord; I will
repay.” According to eyewitnesses, when Brigham Young found the
monument, he supervised its destruction. According to your future
prophet, Wilford Woodruff, in his journal, Brigham Young stated about
the sign, “it should be vengeance is mine and I have taken a little.”
95. You have the wrong god, the wrong Jesus, and the wrong gospel.
You have been deceived by false prophets who lie and tell you that you
have peace with God by following them.
We say these things out of love for Christ, love for the truth, and love for you. Jesus describes the sincerely deceived in Matthew 7:21:
"Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in
heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy
name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I
never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."
We plead with you to search the Scriptures. You will find that God is
far greater and more holy than the LDS believe. You will find that sin
is far worse than you ever thought, but you will also find that Jesus is
far more loving and glorious than you can imagine. .
The Elders of Christ Presbyterian Church
A Congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43