Top 10 Teachings of Mormonism Not Supported by the Book of Mormon

By Eric Johnson

En Espanol

According to Joseph Smith in the History of the Church 4:461:

I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book

Just what are those precepts talked about in the Book of Mormon that make it the most correct? If this is the case, then why does Mormonism have so many teachings that are not found in or are even contradicted by the Book of Mormon?

Let’s take a look at 10 doctrines of Mormonism with no support in the “most correct” book on earth.

  1. The Book of Mormon teaches that there is only one God

BYU Professor Charles Harrell explains:

One of the most distinctive doctrines of Mormonism is the belief in a plurality of Gods. This is generally understood to mean that there are innumerable Gods besides (and above) the God that we worship, all of whom are creators of worlds and objects of worship. Furthermore, these Gods were all once human, and just as they attained Godhood, so can we” (“This is my Doctrine”: The Development of Mormon Theology, p. 114).

Yet, the Book of Mormon teaches in Alma 11:26-29:

26 And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?

27 And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God.

28 Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?

29 And he answered, No.

Second Nephi 31:21 states,

And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

Meanwhile, 3 Nephi 11:27 says,

And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

Nowhere is a plurality of gods supported in the Book of Mormon.

2. The Book of Mormon teaches God was never a man nor the offspring of another God

Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith taught:

I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man. God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret, if the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345. Italics in original. See also Achieving a Celestial Marriage, p. 129).

Yet the Book of Mormon teaches:

  • 3 Nephi 24:6: For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Same as Malachi 3:6)
  • Mormon 9:9, 19: For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? . . .And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
  • Moroni 7:22: For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting…
  • Moroni 8:18: For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

   3. The Book of Mormon teaches that it is impossible for a person to become a god

Joseph Smith said,

Here, then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 346-347).

Yet the Book of Mormon denies this teaching from the LDS founder. Instead, it says that God has always been God while never assuming that humans can evolve into gods. (See verses in #2 above.) While Mormon apologists will use the Bible in their attempt to twist it into saying something it doesn’t say, they never use the Book of Mormon to support this teaching. Again, if it’s the most correct of any book on earth, why didn’t God make this teaching more clear to the ancient Americans and everyone who is encouraged to read the Book of Mormon to gain a burning in the bosom.

       4. The Book of Mormon is silent on the teaching that marriage is a requirement for a person to gain celestial glory

Joseph Smith said:

Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection. But those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory (History of the Church 5:391).

Yet, except for reciting Matthew 5:32 in 3 Nephi 12:32 and two other places (3 Nephi 22:1, 4 Nephi 11), the concept of marriage is ignored. This seems strange when it is considered how vital marriage is to Mormons today. If God thought marriage was so important, surely he would have wanted the Nephites to know about this.

     5. The Book of Mormon teaches that, generally, polygamy is wrong

Second LDS President Brigham Young taught:

The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy (August 19, 1866, Journal of Discourses 11:269).

Men marrying multiple women was practiced in the latter-half of the 19th century and considered an “essential” doctrine for any man who wanted to gain exaltation. It was never intended by these early leaders to have this practice abolished, as future fourth President Wilford Woodruff said,

If we were to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and kingdom. Do away with that, then we must do away with prophets and Apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians and do as the world does, then all would be right. We just can’t do that, for God has commanded us to build up His kingdom and to bear our testimony to the nations of the earth, and we are going to do it, come life or come death. He has told us to do thus, and we shall obey Him in days to come as we have in days past ( December 12, 1869, Journal of Discourses 13:166).

Mormonism no longer teaches plural marriage for this life despite the fact that it was such an important teaching in the 19th century.

Polygamy is contrary to what the Book of Mormon teaches:

Jacob 2:24-30: Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

Jacob 3:5: Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father— that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.

Never once does the Book of Mormon say polygamy would be allowed unless it was necessary to “raise up seed” (Jacob 2:30). History does not say that polygamy was ever needed for this reason, despite the belief of many that there were more women than men in the pioneering days. For more on this, go to Was Polygamy Necessary in the 19th Century Because There were More Women than Men?

6. The Book of Mormon never claims that humans or Jesus are the literal offspring of God and his heavenly wife

Apostle Boyd K. Packer said,

The Father is the one true God. This thing is certain: no one will ever ascend above Him; no one will ever replace Him. Nor will anything ever change the relationship that we, His literal offspring, have with Him” (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, p. 293).

BYU Professor Stephen E. Robinson explained,

The official doctrine of the Church is that Jesus is the literal offspring of God. He’s got 46 chromosomes; 23 came from Mary, 23 came from God the eternal Father (As cited in the DVD The Mormon Puzzle, produced by the Southern Baptist Convention, 1997).

Someone please point to a verse where such unique LDS teaching was ever given. Hint: It’s not there.

7. The Book of Mormon teaches it’s impossible to do vicarious work for the dead

Fourteenth President Howard W. Hunter explained,

Furthermore, the dead are anxiously waiting for the Latter-day Saints to search out their names and then go into the temples to officiate in their behalf, that they may be liberated from their prison house in the spirit world” (“A Temple-Motivated People,” Ensign, March 2004, p. 41).

Fifteenth President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote,

Through living proxies who stand in behalf of the dead, the same ordinances are available to those who have passed from mortality. In the spirit world they then are free to accept or reject those earthly ordinances performed for them, including baptism, marriage, and the sealing of family relationships. There must be no compulsion in the work of the Lord, but there must be opportunity (Be Thou an Example, p. 131).

Yet Alma 34:32-35 clearly explains that there are no “second-chances” to obtain salvation. It says,

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

Using this passage, twelfth President Spencer W. Kimball wrote,

the time to act is now, in this mortal life. One cannot with impunity delay his compliance with God’s commandments (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 10, italics in original).

A Mormon who holds that work is efficacious for their dead relatives cannot find any support in the Book of Mormon for these temple practices.

8. The Book of Mormon does not advocate the temple work as promoted in Mormonism

Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith is cited in an official church manual as saying,

If you want salvation in the fullest, that is exaltation in the kingdom of God, … you have got to go into the temple of the Lord and receive these holy ordinances which belong to that house, which cannot be had elsewhere. No man shall receive the fullness of eternity, of exaltation alone; no woman shall receive that blessing alone; but man and wife, when they receive the sealing power in the temple of the Lord, shall pass on to exaltation, and shall continue and become like the Lord. And that is the destiny of men, that is what the Lord desires for His children (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, 2013, p. 221. Ellipsis in original).

Seventeenth President Russell M. Nelson stated,

Temple ordinances, covenants, endowments and sealings enable individuals to be reconciled with the Lord and families to be sealed beyond the veil of death. Obedience to temple covenants qualifies us for eternal life – the greatest gift of God to man (“Eternal life comes from obedience to temple ordinances,” Church News, April 7, 2001, p. 10).

Yet Alma 32:36 states, “And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell” (also see Alma 7:21; Helm. 4:24). While the Book of Mormon does mention temples in several places, there is no BOM evidence for any of the ordinances or practices found in current LDS temples, including:

  • Washings and Annointings
  • Baptisms for the dead
  • Special handshakes (tokens)
  • New names
  • Marriages for time and eternity
  • Celestial rooms

As far as as the secrecy found in the temple, the Book of Mormon seems to teach against this. Second Nephi 26:22 says, “And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things.” Secrecy is criticized in Helaman 6:22: “And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words.” Mormons might say that their temple is “sacred, not secret,” but as one LDS historian put it:

While some members will claim that Mormon temples are “sacred not secret,” [church historian Richard] Bushman said that “temples are secret, plain and simple,” noting that even members “don’t speak to each other about it.” (“Seek understanding, not converts, Bushman urges Mormons,” Deseret News, March 6, 2008).

9. The Book of Mormon is silent about beneficial health codes (i.e. Word of Wisdom) 

Eighth President George Albert Smith said,

I sometimes wonder if Latter-day Saints realize that [the Word of Wisdom] has been given to us for our exaltation; not only for our temporal blessing, but to prepare us for spiritual life (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, 2011, p. 207. Brackets in original).

How has the Word of Wisdom been defined? We actually see it has changed over the years. In 1868, for instance, George Q. Cannon–a member of the First Presidency–stated,

We are told, and very plainly too, that hot drinks—tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa and all drinks of this kind are not good for man . . . We must not permit them to drink liquor or hot drinks, or hot soups or to use tobacco or other articles that are injurious (Journal of Discourses 12:221, 223).

This is such an important principle that, according to one church manual:

We must obey the Word of Wisdom to be worthy to enter the temple. If we do not obey the Word of Wisdom, the Lord’s Spirit withdraws from us (Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 167).

However, the Book of Mormon only uses “Word of Wisdom” once, in Moroni 10:9: “For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom.” This is obviously talking about spiritual gifts and  a “word” of wisdom, just as the next verse says “word of knowledge.” Never does the Book of Mormon condemn any substance.

A Latter-day Saint not holding to this health law today could result in having “the Lord’s Spirit withdraw from us,” which certainly sounds very serious. As Smith said above, it “has been given to us for our exaltation.” How come God wasn’t so concerned for both the temporal as well as the eternal salvation for the ancient Nephites and Lamanites? If these things are unhealthy today, were they not also unhealthy in earlier days?

And, if the LDS Church is a “restoration” of biblical Christianity, where does the Bible teach against “hot” drinks or eating meat only in times of famine? (Answer: It doesn’t.)

10. The Book of Mormon does not claim that there was a preexistence where all spirits lived

Third President John Taylor said,

We know that our spirits existed with the Father before we came here (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, 2001, p. 187).

A seminary teacher’s manual explains,

We lived with Heavenly Father before we came to earth. We are His spirit children, and He wants us to have the same joy that He has by becoming like Him (see Jeremiah 1:5; Romans 8:16; Hebrews 12:9) (Old Testament Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, 2003, p. 16).

Another one says,

All those who chose in the premortal life to follow Heavenly Father’s plan gain a physical body by being born on this earth.” During our mortal life, we are tested to see whether we are willing to live by faith and obey Heavenly Father’s commandments when we are not in His physical presence (see Alma 34:32; Abraham 3:24-26) (Endowed from on High Temple Preparation Teacher’s Manual, 2003, p. 4).

If the preexistence is a true teaching and even valid for those who lived in Book of Mormon times, then it is strangely silent in the pages of the Book of Mormon.

Conclusion

Again, it all comes down to the Book of Mormon. Is it really the “most correct book on earth”? Or is it not? It can’t be both. A Mormon should be concerned for the lack of support in the Book of Mormon for the many current and essential teachings of the LDS Church. If this scripture is not being followed, then why does the church so often emphasize the importance of reading it regularly?


For more on the Book of Mormon, go here.