Problems with Mormonism

Weigh the Evidence - then decide.

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The courtroom was silent as the prosecution lawyer arose to begin his summation of the evidence. It had been a short trial, the man in the dock stood accused of rape, he denied the charges laid against him - and now his fate rested with the jury.

The lawyer began to list the evidence against the defendant.

The evidence was overwhelming, he could deny it until he was blue in the face, but everyone in that courtroom knew he was guilty as charged.

Everyone, that is, except the little old lady sitting at the back of the public gallery weeping into her tear sodden handkerchief - the accused's elderly mother.

No matter what the evidence, she could not bring herself to believe the little boy she had raised could commit such a heinous crime. Her son could never do that, there must be a mistake, or maybe they had fabricated this damning evidence, he had to be innocent - she knew in her heart he could not be guilty.

The above case is fictional, although - unfortunately - such cases are heard in courts throughout the land on a regular basis. In the above case, it is understandable that a mother would feel as she did.

However, her devotion to her son had created within her a 'blind faith' which prevents her making decisions based upon evidence. One could imagine her refusing to believe him guilty, even if he were to confess his crime to her.

I believe the Mormon people are in the same condition as that old lady. Show them irrefutable, damning evidence and they simply "bare their testimony" as though that will make it all go away.

They will say they know their church is true and they know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.

The old lady in the above scenario may go to her grave wrongly believing in her son's innocence. Her false belief in him, however, will not alter the destiny of her eternal soul.

But if a Mormon goes to the grave harbouring false beliefs. Ignoring plain, obvious evidence which shows that Joseph Smith was not what he claimed to be and therefore his church cannot be true, their decision will affect the eternal destiny of their soul - and there is no second chance after death, not by saying special Masses, as Catholics do, or through baptism for the dead as Mormons do.

My dear Mormon friend, PLEASE read the evidence below which clearly shows that the foundation of your Church, Joseph Smith's First Vision Story, CANNOT have happened. And therefore you are believing a lie!

All the following can be verified and nothing is out of context.

The Smith family lived in Vermont. However, Joseph Smith Senior had moved to Palmyra in 1817 - his family joining him sometime after February 11, 1819.

The Smith family still lived in Palmyra in the year 1822. We know this from the Palmyra road tax records.

The Smith family purchased 100 acres of land to farm in the Manchester township. Records show they did not purchase it until sometime after June 1820, because the original owners paid the land tax due that month. However, the records show that in 1821 Joseph Smith Sen. paid the land tax of $7 per acre - the tax levied for un-improved land. The following year, 1822, Smith again paid $7 per acre. But in 1823 the tax rate went up to $10 per acre because improvements were made to the land, including the building of a cabin.

Verse three of Joseph Smith's history in the Mormon Scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, ends with Smith informing us that his family moved to Manchester (since their cabin was now built they could move out of Palmyra and into the new cabin).

Verse four begins with Joseph Smith listing the family members who moved from Palmyra. There were 11 of them. The last one on the list being his sister Lucy.

This is very interesting. You see, Lucy was born in Palmyra on July 18, 1821.

As with the fictional court case, the above evidence is indisputable and damning.

The official First Vision Story, verse 5, says there was a revival:

"Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester..."

As we have seen from land records, the Smith family built their cabin between the summers of 1822 and 1823.

Tax records for Palmyra show the family still lived there in 1822 (both Joseph Smith Senior and his eldest son, Alvin, are listed as taxpayers).

They moved to Manchester sometime after Lucy's birth in Palmyra on July 18, 1821.

The Smith family moved to Manchester in 1822 and Joseph Smith Junior accurately describes a revival which occurred two years later - in 1824.

The only fault with Joseph's description of the revival is the year in which he places it, 1820. He tells us some of his family joined the Presbyterian Church during the revival - they did, in 1824!

He tells us great multitudes united themselves to the different churches in the area - they did, in 1824!

On all points, except the date, Joseph accurately describes the revival which swept his area in 1824 (and continued into 1825).

Since his First Vision occurred in 1824 (if he had a vision at all) where does that leave his second vision - the angelic visit to his bedroom in 1823?

The difference of 4 years throws everything which is supposed to have followed the 1820 First Vision into a state of chaos and renders the foundation of the LDS Church useless.

If Joseph Smith really had a First Vision, it occurred in 1824. Now add 3 years of "great persecution" until visited by the angel, that's 1827. Then a further 4 years gaining intelligence and knowledge, we are into 1831. Finally Smith got the gold plates.

But the first edition of the Book of Mormon, which is supposed to have been translated from those plates, was published in 1830.

Something of a problem, don't you think?

If you had been a member of the jury in our court case I believe you would have had no doubt whatsoever as to the guilt of the accused. Now. What about the equally clear evidence we have seen with regard to the First Vision Story (and there is lots more we have not mentioned), can you honestly still believe in the veracity of this story upon which your church, and some of its doctrine, is founded?

I realize you hold Joseph Smith and your Church in high esteem and it is difficult for you to believe anything could be wrong with them. But you have a duty to be truthful with yourself because it was not Joseph Smith who died to save you from your sin. It was the Lord Jesus Christ - the biblical Jesus not the Mormon Jesus, (who is a different Jesus - see Prophet Hinckley's statement confirming that in Church News, week ending June 20 1998).

Unless you know the real Jesus you are in real trouble,

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. John 5:12

Jim Cowen
Good Tidings Ministry.