Are the Standard Works of the LDS Church Inspired Scripture?1
by Rich Deem

Introduction

Let us examine the Mormon "scriptures" to determine if they pass the tests of divine inspiration. In order to qualify as inspired, a text must pass all the tests for inspiration:

  1. Be spoken from, and in the name of, the Lord (Jeremiah 30:2, 2 Peter 1:21).
  2. Exalt and glorify God (John 5:39 &; 17:4-10; Ephesians 1:13-14).
  3. Directs the love of men toward God (Colossians 3:16; Revelation 19:10).
  4. Draw men to repent of their rebellion against God and to submit fully to Him (Psalm 19:7; 2 Timothy 3:16).
  5. Prophecies come to fulfillment with 100 percent accuracy (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).
  6. Support the laws, precepts, and principles set forth in the rest of Scripture-without contradiction (Isaiah 8:20; Matthew 5:17; John 10:35).
  7. Communicate only truth, in all disciplines of knowledge (Psalm 119:160; Hebrews 6:17-18).

Upon examination, one finds all the Mormon "scriptures" fail one or more of the last three tests.

5. Prophecies come to fulfillment with 100 percent accuracy.

The Bible warns us regarding false prophecy: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). In addition, we are told to "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Contrary to Mormon teachings, which encourage prayer to receive a "burning in the bosom," the Bible tells us to test truthfulness of prophecy by seeing if the prophecy comes to pass. This test for a prophet is found in Deuteronomy 18:20-22:

Also Jesus said, "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15) Thus we were told to expect false prophets, especially in the last days. For the most part, prophecies in the Mormon scriptures are either very general, open-dated, self-fulfilling, or conditional, all of which make them untestable. In contrast, prophecies in the Bible include names, dates and specific details.

For example, Joseph Smith predicted in 1835 that, "The coming of the Lord, which was nigh - even fifty-six years should wind up the scene."2 The Lord did not return by 1891, but the prophecy said "should" as opposed to "will."

Another example of an untestable prophecy occurs in section 130 of Doctrine and Covenants:

If God were the one sending the message (which seems likely, since Joseph Smith was praying), there would be no need of making the prophecy conditional, since God would have known when Joseph Smith was to die. If this were the case, then the prophecy would be considered false, since Joseph Smith died at the age of 39, a little over one year after the prophecy was given. In addition, Jesus did not return in 1890, the year in which Smith would have turned 85.

However, there are at least four prophecies in the Doctrine and Covenants that are both close-dated and unconditional. Although relatively few of Joseph Smith's prophecies are of this type they are extremely important because they make it possible to put Joseph Smith to the biblical test of a prophet.

Unfulfilled Prophecy Example #1: Remembrance of Oliver Granger

On July 8, 1838, Joseph Smith foretold that the name of Oliver Granger would be remembered "from generation to generation, forever and ever." It is clear even few Mormons remember the name of Oliver Granger:

Unfulfilled Prophecy Example #2: Temple in Independence

On September 22 and 23, 1832, Joseph Smith foretold of an LDS temple to be built in Independence, Missouri:

The prophecy specifies that the city of "New Jerusalem" including the temple was to be constructed, "beginning at the temple lot which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri" (verse 3). Verses four and five add that the "temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away" before the temple will be built.

One hundred sixty-two years later, the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) built a temple on the temple lot. However, since no one who was alive in 1832 was still alive in 1994, the prophecy is false.

Unfulfilled Prophecy Example #3: David W. Patten

A second example of a close-dated unconditional prophecy is found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 114, which was given April 17, 1838:

The prophecy are instructions to David W. Patten, one of the twelve LDS Apostles, who was to prepare to go on a mission with the other eleven apostles into "all the world." According to the revelation, the mission was to take place "next spring" which would give the prophecy a "closed-date" somewhere around April or May of 1839.

Less than three months later, the "twelve" were given a specific date to leave (April 26, 1839)4 and one of the apostles, Thomas Marsh, was instructed to stay behind to "publish my word."5 The date of April 26, 1839 came and Joseph Smith, recorded, "The Brethren arrived at Far West, and proceeded to transact the business of their mission".6 However, David W. Patten was not part of that mission. David Patten was not present because he had died in October of 1838. History of the Church reports: "Captain Patten was carried some of the way in a litter, but it caused so much distress that he begged to be left by the way side...he died that night."7 So, rather than going on a mission with the Twelve next spring, as Joseph Smith had prophesied in 1838, Patten died before the next year even came.

This could not be a reference to a "mission" in the spirit world after death because Joseph Smith was specific that he was to go "unto all the world" (not the "spirit" world) and he was to be with the other eleven.8

Some Mormons have suggested that David Patten could have apostatized from his calling. In other words, God called him to go on the mission but because of sin or unfaithfulness he fell from the calling. There are two problems with this explanation. The God of the Bible is all-knowing and He knew that Patten was going to die. Also, Patten did not fall away from the Church, since after Patten's death, Joseph Smith wrote, "Brother David Patten was a very worthy man, beloved by all good men who know him. He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and died as he had lived, a man of God, and strong in the faith of a glorious resurrection."9

Unfulfilled Prophecy Example #4: Civil War Prophecy

Mormons tend to view Joseph Smith's prophecy of the Civil War beginning in South Caroline as a sign of the validity of Joseph Smith as a porphet of God. However, trouble began brewing in South Carolina in July, 1832, when Congress passed a tariff that South Carolina declared unacceptable. Joseph Smith's prophecy occurrred on December 25, 1832, five months after the beginning of trouble. Few Mormons have actually read the entire text, much of which never took place. Here is a copy from Doctrine and Covenants (emphasis added):

Although the Civil War did occur, it was never "poured out upon all nations." In addition, this war did not lead to "a full end of all nations." The prophecy, although given in the name of the Lord, was not a message from God, since it was false.

When objectively examining the prophecies of Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants it must be concluded that he made false prophecies. One should not expect a prophet to be perfect since they are human. However, when they speak in the name of the Lord, Deuteronomy 18 demands 100 percent accuracy.

It is clear from this information that the Mormon "scriptures" called the Doctrine and Covenants cannot be scripture from God, since they contain false prophecies.

6. Support the laws, precepts, and principles set forth in the rest of Scripture without contradiction.10

Both Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price contradict not only Old and New Testament scriptures, but also theology found in the Book of Mormon.(See the paper, "Contradictions in Mormon Doctrines," which cites all the verses involved and lists them). The following crucial Christian doctrines are contradicted by Mormon scriptures:
 

Contradictions in the Mormon Scriptures
What the Bible Says Book of Mormon D & C/PoGP
1. One God One God Plural Gods
2. God is Unchangeable God is Unchangeable God has progressed
3. God is a Spirit God is a Spirit God has a body
4. God dwells in the heart God dwells in the heart God doesn't dwell in heart
5. Creation: One God Creation: One God Creation: Plural Gods
6. God Cannot Lie God Cannot Lie God Commands Lying
7. God's Word Unchangeable God's Word Unchangeable God's Word Can Change
8. No Pre-existence of Man No Pre-existence of Man Man Pre-existed
9. Death Seals Man's Fate Death Seals Man's Fate Chance after Death
10. Saved without baptism Saved without baptism Baptism for dead
11. Heaven or Hell Heaven or Hell 3 Kingdoms in Heaven only
12. Murder can be forgiven Murder can be forgiven Murder cannot be forgiven
13. Polygamy Condemned Polygamy Condemned Polygamy Commanded
14. For Paid Ministry Against Paid Ministry For Paid Ministry
15. Money cannot save you, Jesus: the only way Wicked Promise Forgiveness For Money Tithed - Not Burn

Please take the time to examine the paper "Contradictions in Mormon Doctrines," to determine for yourself if the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price contradict what is stated in the Bible. A critical examination of the verses will reveal a vast difference between Christian theology, as revealed in the Bible, compared to the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, most of which comes from the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.

The Book of Mormon also suffers from a lack of consistency with scriptures in the Bible. It takes a different stand on the subject of paid ministry (see "Contradictions in Mormon Doctrines"). There are several other areas which contradict what is stated in the Bible. For example, the Bible tells us that Jesus was to be born,11 and, in fact, was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea.12 However, the Book of Mormon clearly states that the Messiah was to be born in Jerusalem:

Since this was a prophecy, it may also be considered a false prophecy, since Jesus was not born in Jerusalem. There are many more examples of how the Book of Mormon conflicts with previously revealed scripture.

It is clear from the biblical scriptures that none of the Mormon "scriptures," the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants nor the Pearl of Great Price are in agreement with previously revealed scriptural precepts and therefore cannot be part of God's scripture.

7. Communicate only truth, in all disciplines of knowledge.13

Although the Book of Mormon reflects theology close to that found in the Old and New Testaments, it fails the test for communicating truth in many disciplines of science. Since Joseph Smith received no higher education, he didn't know many of the facts about anthropology and archeology in the New World at the time during which the events of the Book of Mormon were said to have taken place. For this reason, he made many errors in his descriptions of metals, crops, fabrics, and livestock which were not to be found in the Americas prior to their introduction by the Europeans after the voyage of Columbus (i.e., after 1492 A.D.) (See the paper, "Archeological/Anthropological Problems in the Book of Mormon" for details and provably false verses). Items which did not exist in the Americas and therefore could not have been used by peoples in the Americas during the Book of Mormon include: 

False Science in the Book of Mormon
Item Examples Book of Mormon
Metals: iron, steel, or brass 2 Nephi, Jarom, Mosiah, Ether
Crops: wheat, barley, oats, or millet Mosiah, Alma
Fabric: Silk: Alma
Livestock: Pigs, cattle, horses, donkeys 1 Nephi, 3 Nephi, Ether

These ideas are not just my ideas, but are confirmed by the Smithsonian Institution. They have produced a paper they send out regarding their view of the reliability of the Book of Mormon in the area of archeology in the Americas. It you write them, you can get a copy of this paper sent directly from them.

Both the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price contain astronomical errors. The Book of Mormon states that the Sun does not move,14 although we know that the Sun and Solar System revolve around the center of our galaxy and are moving away from other galaxies at very high speeds.

The Pearl of Great Price also fails to correctly reveal astronomical knowledge. The third chapter of the book of Abraham says that the Lord's home planet, Kolob, has a rotation period of 1000 years:

In addition, Kolob is the planet around which the other planets and Sun revolve, placing it in the center of our galaxy:

There are several scientific problems with this information. First, a rotation period of one thousand years would make Kolob extremely temperature variable. The side that remained in darkness for 500 years would be extremely cold (near absolute zero). Likewise the opposite side would become very hot (likely several hundred degrees minimum). If the Earth had a rotation period of 1000 years life would be impossible due to these large temperature variations. In fact, if the rotation period of the earth were greater than 25 hours, we would all die.15

The other problem is the location of Kolob in our galaxy. Since it is the point around which planets, the Earth the Moon, and the Sun revolve, it must be at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. However, the center of our galaxy, like all other galaxies, consists of a black hole surrounded by a high density of stars. This combination produces extremely high levels of radiation, so much so that life cannot exist there. Since Mormons believe that both the Father and Son have a "body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's,"16 they would be subject to this radiation and would have died. In contrast, the Bible states that God is not contained by this universe,17 but is transcendent.

DNA evidence refutes the main assertion of the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon claims that sixth century B.C. Hebrews crossed the Atlantic and became the founding populations of the native American populations (Doctrine and Covenants makes the same claim that native Americans are descendants of Hebrews). However, Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA evidence clearly refutes this claim - indicating that all native American populations are descended from Asian American ancestors. For More information, see Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA Evidence and Molecular Genetics Disprove the Book of Mormon.

It is clear from the biblical scriptures that neither the Book of Mormon nor the Pearl of Great Price are in agreement with the facts of nature, as revealed through the sciences of astronomy, archeology and anthropology, and therefore cannot be part of God's scripture.

Conclusion Top of page

Why I don't accept the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture
Mormon book Prophecy Fulfillment Agreement with Scripture Truth in all areas of knowledge
Book of Mormon Fails Fails Fails
Pearl of Great Price   Fails Fails
Doctrine and Covenants Fails Fails Fails

Mormons state the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christ's "covenant church," which church fell way for over 17 centuries. However, Jesus stated that the church would not fall away, but would prevail:

Based upon the facts presented in this and other papers, I would like to propose another scenario, that is, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is apostate, which was prophesied in the New Testament.18 This church has preached another Jesus19 and another gospel,20 different from the one preached in the Bible. The gospel from the Bible is simple and direct:

  1. God is Holy (without sin, and will not tolerate the presence of any sin).21
  2. I am a sinful person (I cannot live up to God's holy standards).22
  3. Jesus is God's only provision to cleanse me of all my sin (He died for my sins).23
  4. I am declared righteous by faith alone if I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.24

A person is saved by faith through the grace (free gift) of God, not by works25 or belonging to any particular church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a religious system of works righteousness, similar to that of the Pharisees, which cannot save any person from the righteous wrath of God. Jesus did not come to Earth to establish a religion, but to restore the personal relationship between a holy God and sinful mankind. You and any other person can establish this relationship through a personal relationship with and obedience to Jesus Christ. I pray you will consider the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in God's inerrant word, the Bible, and commit your life to the true Jesus.

Printable PDF version Are the Standard Works of the LDS Church Inspired Scripture?



References Top of page

  1. Written by Richard Deem. Permission given to freely distribute.
  2. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 182.
  3. This and all Mormon scriptures were obtained from LDSView, a computer program published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
  4. Doctrine and Covenants Section 118:5.
  5. Doctrine and Covenants Section 118:3.
  6. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 336.
  7. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 171.
  8. Doctrine and Covenants Section 114:1.
  9. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 171.
  10. To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isaiah 8:20)
    "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17)
    "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)," (John 10:35)
  11. "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2)
  12. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, (Matthew 2:1)
    And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, (Luke 2:4)
    "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" (John 7:42)
  13. The sum of Thy word is truth, And every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting. (Psalm 119:160)
    In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. (Hebrews 6:17-18)
  14. And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun. (Helaman 12:15)
  15. Dr. Ross, Hugh. 1996. Personal communication.
  16. The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. (D&C: Section 130:22)
  17. Behold, heaven and the highest heavens cannot contain Thee... (1 Kings 8:27)
    The Almighty is beyond our reach. (Job 37:23)
  18. But what I am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)
  19. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
  20. I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)
  21. "Since the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you lest He turn away from you." (Deuteronomy 23:14)
    And the men of Beth-shemesh said, "Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?" (1 Samuel 6:20)
    in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, (Titus 1:2)
    This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
    He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
    You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. (1 John 3:5)
  22. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
    as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one;" (Romans 3:10)
    "The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23)
  23. "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
    "Jesus said to him, `I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'" (John 14:6).
  24. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12)
    "By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  25. how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)

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Last Modified April 30, 2008

 

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