In an effort to try and make itself more presentable to the American public, especially since the poster child for Mormonism, Mitt Romney, is running for President of the United States, the Mormons have been busy trying to debunk what they consider to be “myths” that have been spread about Mormonism. Most recently a Mormon writer was allowed to be a guest blogger on a New Jersey news website, where he wrote on the subject of Debunking five myths about Mormons, to which he addressed as mythical, “All Mormons live in Utah,” “Mormons to not believe in Christ,” “Mormons vote as they are told,” “Mormons shun the outside world,” and “Mormons have many wives,” as the talking points to his rebuttal.
It is with this in mind that the following is presented which debunks the debunkers. For while the Mormons are busy cleaning up their image on the one hand, on the other hand they are sullying that image by leaving many other myths intact, and misleading the public in the process. An example of this is that while it is true that not all Mormons live in Utah, a myth left unchecked is that Mormons believe in God. Whoa! They don’t believe in God? An explanation is provided below. Also, while it is true that Mormons do believe in a Jesus, the myth is that they believe in the biblical Jesus. That explanation will be seen in Part 2.
Of course, there will be the usual Mormon critics that will be screaming bloody murder for exposing these myths, but it should be noted that none of them will be actually deal with the explanations. Instead, they will knock themselves out trying to demean the messenger, instead of dealing with the message. So be it. By failing to deal with the message, the message stands, the myth is exposed, and the truth prevails. Therefore, without further introduction, let’s debunk the first Mormon myth, that Mormons believe in God.
1. “Mormons believe in God.” The first myth that all Mormons pose to the general public, and is often not even given a second thought, is that Mormons believe in God. Now, why is it such a myth, given that the Mormons talk about Heavenly Father on a frequent basis and they use the term “God” in almost every other sentence, it seems? Why do Mormons tell us that God is in heaven and that prior to sending all his children to earth everyone there lived with him and Heavenly Mother in a big family setting, and it is only because a veil has been placed on the minds of his children that they do not remember the details of that setting, if they don’t believe in God? The reason it is such a myth is because the God of Mormonism does not exist! In fact, he cannot exist. And to place one’s faith in something that does not exist, something that is fictitious or imaginary, is what myth-making is all about. Let me explain.
Jesus Christ, like all mortal human beings, is the “literal offspring” of a being known to Mormons as “Heavenly Father.” It’s not that Christians do not also believe in a Heavenly Father, but to a Mormon the idea of a Heavenly Father means something totally different. To a Mormon Heavenly Father, who is “God,” is an exalted man who arrived at his current status, as God, by working his way up the divinity ladder. He, though, is also the byproduct of a union of two other exalted human beings, his Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, who came together, had celestial sex somewhere in the universe and bore earth’s Heavenly Father as a “spirit child,” just like Jesus and everyone else prior to coming to earth. This natural process of begetting spirit children—who then go on to become mortal human beings and then eventually gods, as well—has been argued to have been going on for infinity past and will continue on into infinity future. There is one big problem, however, with such an explanation of how God became what he is: there is no first God at the head of the infinity chain of finite gods and goddesses.
The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, taught,
If Abraham reasoned thus—If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way…Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 373).
No, Joseph, you’re “full of it.” Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that man can become an exalted being—a god, if you will. Moreover, the Bible says nothing about God becoming who He is, but that God always was, and is, who He is. “For I, the Lord, do not change…” wrote Malachi (3:6). Moreover, the idea that there is this familial chain of interconnected divine beings that all came to be because (1) a preceding pair of divine beings had sex with each other, and (2) the offspring worked at it hard enough to become gods as well, is not found in the Bible either. Greek mythology, or “the naturalistic position of the Greeks” as Mormon philosopher Sterling McMurrin opined, maybe. The Hindu concept of reincarnation, whereby one is eventually absorbed into the great Self, possibly. But, the naturalistic evolution of a finite being who turns into a infinite god, by self-effort nonetheless, in the Bible, never! And when we trace the Mormon idea of man and God back to their beginning, there is no one at the head of the god chain in Mormonism to get it all started. For if becoming a god requires the natural union of a male god and a female goddess, and they do not already exist, then neither can their offspring. Therefore, when we come to the idea of Mormonism’s Heavenly Father, he cannot exist either. He had no parents because they no parents and they had no parents, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum, which is a Mormon requirement to become a god in the first place. And since Heavenly Father does not exist, then neither does the Mormon “God,” and belief in him becomes nothing more than an Olympic-sized myth.
2. “Mormons are Monotheistic.” Following the myth that Mormons believe in God is the equally convoluted myth that Mormons believe in only one God. Here the Mormons have to engage in some rather poor linguistic gymnastics to try and persuade people that they are monotheists (believers in one god) instead of polytheists (believers in many gods). What they fail to realize, or maybe they think no one notices, is that by denying their belief in multiple gods and goddesses, they (1) deny their own potential to become gods and goddesses themselves, which is an integral part of Mormon salvation, (2) deny that their own Mormon ancestors, including Joseph Smith, who are now supposedly gods and goddesses, (3) deny what Mormon leadership has said about the subject of multiple gods and goddesses, and (4) deny that two of the three gods in the Mormon godhead are true gods.
Joseph Smith proclaimed, “Hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. It is all over the face of the Bible” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370). Brigham Young later added, “How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 22). Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “…there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods” (Mormon Doctrine, 577). “If intelligent beings, far transcending the understanding of man,” argued John Widtsoe, “be called gods, there must be many gods” (Rational Theology, 62). Joseph Fielding Smith observed that, “Joseph Smith taught a plurality of gods, and that man by obeying the commandments of God and keeping the whole law will eventually reach the power and exaltation by which he also will become a god” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:98). Finally, in the latest version of Gospel Principles, 2009 edition, which is an “official” doctrinal teaching tool for Mormons, we read, “Because we are spirit children of God, we have inherited the potential to develop His divine qualities” (9). Later on it explains to the reader, “…if we placed our faith in Him, obeying His word and following His example, we would be exalted and become like our Heavenly Father” (11). To be “exalted” in Mormonism is to become a god.
So, do Mormons believe in one God or multiple gods? The answer is obvious. Of course, some Mormons wish to continue to argue that they only believe in one god based on the notion that the three gods (Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) are one in purpose, and the only ones they have anything to do with. But, such reasoning is beyond nonsense, since the question is not about the number of purposes the Mormons believe that the gods have, but the number of gods who share the one purpose. Moreover, just because they focus on the three gods, as one in purpose, does not mean that they do not recognize the existence of other gods and goddesses. To do so is, once again, to deny what their leadership, starting with Joseph Smith, has said on the subject almost from the beginning of Mormonism. Therefore, it is a myth that Mormons believe in one god, when in fact, they believe in many gods.
3. “Mormons pray to God.” Prayer life in Mormonism is important, but it is strange. Joseph Smith’s prayer, when we went out into the woods and was allegedly confronted by God and Jesus, is often cited as an example for all Mormons to follow when they might have a question that only God can answer. It is not uncommon to run into a Mormon who encourages people to pray over the Book of Mormon to see whether it is not true (Moroni 10:4). What makes all of this strange, though, is that since the Mormons also believe that Heavenly Father is not present everywhere, simultaneously, as Christian doctrine teaches, then they cannot be praying to God when they do. Or if they are praying to God, then he cannot hear them.
It might be asked, “Well, if God is not everywhere, then where is he in Mormon thought?” According to the Book of Abraham, God lives on a planet that orbits a star called Kolob (Abr. 3:9, 13). No one has ever located Kolob or has any idea where it might be. Sometimes Mormons sing “If You Could Hie to Kolob” with the following:
If you could hie to Kolob, In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward, With that same speed to fly,
D’ye think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation, Where Gods began to be?
The point is, if God, the exalted man, is located on star base Kolob, and he can be nowhere else at any given time, then how is it possible for him to personally hear the prayers of those trying to petition him? Some Mormons try to give an answer by arguing that because the holy spirit, which is a sort of impersonal force in the universe, permeates all of creation, then Heavenly Father receives messages through it. Others who believe that the holy spirit and Holy Ghost are one and the same entity, believe that he acts, much like a messenger, to carry the prayers of the saints to HF, who then acts upon them. The problem with that explanation, though, is that the Holy Ghost, as another exalted man, is fixed in time and space as well. Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “As a Spirit personage the Holy Ghost has size and dimensions. He does not fill the immensity of space, and cannot be everywhere present in person at the same time” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:38). He could not hear all the prayers if he wanted to because of his condition. Nevertheless, in neither instance does God hear the prayers directly from those making the petitions, if at all. He only hears hearsay, as it were, or reads or senses something through an impersonal intermediary. So, one may hie unto Kolob all one wants, but it is nothing but a myth that the Mormon ever prays to God directly and are heard by him, personally.
In the next article we will take a look at the remaining four Mormon myths, starting with myth that Mormons trust or believe in the biblical Jesus. Then, we’ll take a look at the myth behind the Mormon “trinity,” that Mormons love the Bible, and finally the myth that Mormonism is a Christian religion.