“…king Mosiah had a gift from God…” (current edition); “…king Benjamin had a gift from God…” (1830 edition). This illustrates just one of many substantial changes made to the original Book of Mormon (the original was said to have been revealed and translated by the power of God, see History of the Church 1:54-55). A few additional examples of changes: 1 Ne 13:40 and 1 Ne 11:18 (“Son of” added), 1 Ne 19:20 (5 words added), 1 Ne 20:1 (7 words added).
“Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible.” Mormonism mocks the historicity and accuracy of the Bible, even while claiming it as one of its scriptures. Joseph Smith claimed “designing and corrupt priests” altered the biblical text, rendering our current Bible untrustworthy and incomplete. But the study of textual criticism reveals that the opposite is true. The Bible has been remarkably preserved.
The Book of Mormon “contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ…”However, many essential LDS doctrines of the gospel are not found in the Book. The doctrines of preexistence, eternal progression, authority of the priesthood, baptism for the dead, celestial marriage, three degrees of glory, men becoming Gods, plurality of Gods (and more) are missing from the Book of Mormon.
“The Gods organized and formed the heavens and the earth” (v.1). Mormonism disagrees with the Bible which, from beginning to end, teaches there is only one true God (Deut 6:4, Rev 1:8). What’s more, God declares, “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens…God himself that formed the earth and made it;…I am the Lord; and there is none else” (Is 45:12, 18. See Is 43-46).
“…God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”The Bible agrees with this teaching (Ps. 90:2), but today’s Mormonism does not. Joseph Smith said, “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea, and will take away and do away the veil, so that you may see…he was once a man like us…” (King Follett Discourse, 1844).
“…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…” The Bible calls God’s grace a gift; but Mormonism claims it must be merited: “…it is only after a person has so performed a lifetime of works and faithfulness—only after he has come to deny himself of all ungodliness and every worldly lust—that the grace of God, that spiritual increment of power, is efficacious” (Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon 1:295. Also, compare 2 Ne 25:23 and Eph 2:8-10).
“Keep my commandments continually,…except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.” The Bible tells us we are all under sin, unrighteous and unworthy of God’s favor. The apostle Paul even lamented that he desired to do what is right, but was unable to carry it out (Rom 3:9-20; 7:18-19). What Mormonism says God demands is impossible to achieve (see 1 Ne 3:7).
“…go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return…” True repentance and forgiveness, according to Mormonism, is only achieved when we completely and forever abandon sin. As shown above (#5, #4), this is impossible–hopeless. But the Bible offers great hope: “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities….so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:10-12).
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true;…he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” This is unbiblical. The Bible never tells us to pray to know whether something is true; rather, we are to prayerfully search the revealed Word of God, asking for wisdom and guidance. Truth is brought to light by testing truth claims against God’s Word (1 Jn 4:1, 6; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Thess 5:21. See Jer 17:9, Prov 14:12, 28:26).
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with thy soul, and with all thy might.” This confession of true faith, known as the Shema, confirms the uniqueness of the Lord (Jehovah) and asserts that He alone is God (Elohim). It is a call for God’s people to stay true to Him.
The words from the Shema are echoed in Deuteronomy 13 when God directly addressed the problem of false prophets. God told the Israelites they were not to be deceived by miraculous signs or fulfilled prophecy; these things were not the standard by which to ultimately judge the dreamer of dreams. Instead, a foundational question was (and is) to be asked: Who is the God the prophet proclaims? Is He the one true God the people have always known? Or a different God? (“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea…” see #6)
Deuteronomy 13 is a test—not only to be applied to those claiming to speak for God, but also to determine the faithfulness of those who claim to follow God. “You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut 13:3).
I am not a Mormon—because I have committed to be faithful to the Lord my God, and to love Him with all my heart and with all my soul.
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