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MORMONISM History&Doctrines. Mormon History Overview of Mormon Faith Most successful/distinctive religion born in USA Most successful/distinctive religion.

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Presentation on theme: "MORMONISM History&Doctrines. Mormon History Overview of Mormon Faith Most successful/distinctive religion born in USA Most successful/distinctive religion."— Presentation transcript:

1 MORMONISM History&Doctrines

2 Mormon History Overview of Mormon Faith Most successful/distinctive religion born in USA Most successful/distinctive religion born in USA Founded as a “Restoration Movement” in 1830 by Joseph Smith Jr. Founded as a “Restoration Movement” in 1830 by Joseph Smith Jr. Official Names / Divisions Official Names / Divisions Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Community of Christ (Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of LDS) Community of Christ (Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of LDS) Church of Christ (Temple Lot) Church of Christ (Temple Lot) Multiple “restoration” factions Multiple “restoration” factions

3 Mormon History Overview of Mormon Faith Organizational Features of LDS Organizational Features of LDS Hierarchical structure directed by “General Authorities” Hierarchical structure directed by “General Authorities” Control via “priesthood” Control via “priesthood” Melchizedek order (higher) Melchizedek order (higher) Aaronic order (lesser) Aaronic order (lesser) Priesthood exclusively male domain Priesthood exclusively male domain Church organized administratively Church organized administratively Wards and Stakes Wards and Stakes General Conferences General Conferences

4 Mormon History Overview of Mormon Faith Church growth and resources Church growth and resources Annual membership increase of nearly 400,000 Annual membership increase of nearly 400,000 Outstanding missionary effort (61,000 active) Outstanding missionary effort (61,000 active) Membership characterized by thriftiness / zeal Membership characterized by thriftiness / zeal High profile – potent social/political force High profile – potent social/political force Highly visible Mormon institutions Highly visible Mormon institutions Multiple educational facilities Multiple educational facilities Mutual Improvement Association Mutual Improvement Association Highly influential membership Highly influential membership

5 Mormon History LDS Origins: History of Joseph Smith Jr. Heritage and Early Life – The Family Traditions Heritage and Early Life – The Family Traditions Joseph Smith Jr. born Dec 23, 1805 in Sharon, VT Joseph Smith Jr. born Dec 23, 1805 in Sharon, VT Family of social misfortunes Family of social misfortunes Family relocated to Palmyra NY Family relocated to Palmyra NY Father continued unsuccessful farming Father continued unsuccessful farming No formal church affiliation, but very “religious” family No formal church affiliation, but very “religious” family Joseph enamored by father’s hobbies / worldviews Joseph enamored by father’s hobbies / worldviews Money-digging became his avid pastime Money-digging became his avid pastime Often recounted fantastic native civilization stories Often recounted fantastic native civilization stories

6 Mormon History LDS Origins: History of Joseph Smith Jr. The Visions [in “The Pearl of Great Price”] The Visions [in “The Pearl of Great Price”] The Back Woods Theophany of 1820 The Back Woods Theophany of 1820 Joseph purposed to find true church Joseph purposed to find true church Bright light vision in appearance of two “personages” Bright light vision in appearance of two “personages” Message: All Christian traditions/creeds were wrong, he should join none of them Message: All Christian traditions/creeds were wrong, he should join none of them The Bedside Epiphany of 1823 The Bedside Epiphany of 1823 Appearance of angel Moroni, son of Mormon Appearance of angel Moroni, son of Mormon Commission / instructions given concerning golden plates Commission / instructions given concerning golden plates Delayed four years before permitted to recover Delayed four years before permitted to recover Role of Emma Hale of Harmony Pennsylvania Role of Emma Hale of Harmony Pennsylvania

7 Mormon History LDS Initial Developments Translating the Gold Plates – A Team Project Translating the Gold Plates – A Team Project Slow process filled with interruptions Slow process filled with interruptions Transfer to PA for translation work Transfer to PA for translation work Tools for the task (Urim and Thummim) Tools for the task (Urim and Thummim) Smith’s peculiar cavalier attitude Smith’s peculiar cavalier attitude Plates not well-guarded Plates not well-guarded Loaned and lost translation Loaned and lost translation Peculiar Methodist affiliation in 1828 Peculiar Methodist affiliation in 1828 Join church, but dropped under protests Join church, but dropped under protests Unanswered questions… Unanswered questions…

8 Mormon History LDS Initial Developments Arrival of Oliver Cowdery (April 1829) Arrival of Oliver Cowdery (April 1829) Schoolteacher convinced to investigate further Schoolteacher convinced to investigate further Soon converted and began serving as scribe Soon converted and began serving as scribe Smith desires him as “Translator” Smith desires him as “Translator” Restoration of Aaronic Priesthood (May, 1829) Restoration of Aaronic Priesthood (May, 1829) Smith & Cowdery– epiphany of John the Baptist Smith & Cowdery– epiphany of John the Baptist New gift of prophecy and spiritual understanding New gift of prophecy and spiritual understanding Beginning of organization structure of LDS Beginning of organization structure of LDS

9 Mormon History LDS Initial Developments Witnesses to the Golden Plates Witnesses to the Golden Plates At request of closest associates At request of closest associates Vital “testimony” secured, but not of physical witness to plates Vital “testimony” secured, but not of physical witness to plates Publication of the Book of Mormon (1830) Publication of the Book of Mormon (1830) Martin Harris offered his property for purpose Martin Harris offered his property for purpose Book was published, advertised by Harris and associates, and $1.25 / copy Book was published, advertised by Harris and associates, and $1.25 / copy

10 Mormon History LDS Initial Developments Initiation of Priesthood of Melchizedek (April 1830) Initiation of Priesthood of Melchizedek (April 1830) Eight additional witnesses from inner circle Eight additional witnesses from inner circle Melchizedek Priesthood then conferred in epiphany of Apostles Peter, James and John Melchizedek Priesthood then conferred in epiphany of Apostles Peter, James and John April 6th 1830, they lay hands on each other at farmhouse of Peter Whitmer – ordaining as Elders April 6th 1830, they lay hands on each other at farmhouse of Peter Whitmer – ordaining as Elders Initial LDS conference (June 9, 1830) Initial LDS conference (June 9, 1830) Thirty men gathered organize new religious society Thirty men gathered organize new religious society Commissioned missionaries armed with Book of Mormon Commissioned missionaries armed with Book of Mormon Secured the “conversion” of Sidney Rigdon Secured the “conversion” of Sidney Rigdon

11 Mormon History LDS Transitions The Kirtland Sojourning (1831-1838) The Kirtland Sojourning (1831-1838) Church practices/doctrines expanded Church practices/doctrines expanded Initial Officers appointed Initial Officers appointed Ongoing revelations Ongoing revelations Mob violence against LDS leaders Mob violence against LDS leaders Book of Abraham produced by Smith Book of Abraham produced by Smith Temple Dedication, 1836 Temple Dedication, 1836 Organization of a Bank, 1836 Organization of a Bank, 1836

12 Mormon History LDS Transitions The new Zion – Independence Missouri The new Zion – Independence Missouri Frustrated followers emigrating to Jackson County Frustrated followers emigrating to Jackson County Smith purchased 63 acres deemed as “holy ground” Smith purchased 63 acres deemed as “holy ground” Growing hostility from neighbors Growing hostility from neighbors Mob Violence and Zion’s Camp Mob Violence and Zion’s Camp Role of Brigham Young emerges Role of Brigham Young emerges Situation back in Kirtland deteriorating Situation back in Kirtland deteriorating Final Straw – Governor’s Evacuation Order Final Straw – Governor’s Evacuation Order

13 Mormon History LDS Transitions Prophecy, Power, and Polygamy Collide for Smith in Nauvoo (1839-1844) Prophecy, Power, and Polygamy Collide for Smith in Nauvoo (1839-1844) Huge population swell / Smith gains civil powers Huge population swell / Smith gains civil powers Controversial aspects of Mormonism emerge Controversial aspects of Mormonism emerge Masonic Lodge influences / Thirteen Articles of Faith Masonic Lodge influences / Thirteen Articles of Faith Increasing public criticism & analysis of actions Increasing public criticism & analysis of actions Martyrdom of the LDS Prophet-King Martyrdom of the LDS Prophet-King Burning of the Nauvoo Expositor / Mob justice Burning of the Nauvoo Expositor / Mob justice

14 Mormon History LDS Transitions Leadership Transition and Migration West Leadership Transition and Migration West No automatic line of succession -- rival claims arose No automatic line of succession -- rival claims arose Brigham Young forced to remove group for survival Brigham Young forced to remove group for survival Arduous journey to Great Salt Lake valley (1846) Arduous journey to Great Salt Lake valley (1846) Salt Lake City – The Mormon empire in Utah Salt Lake City – The Mormon empire in Utah B. Young as Prophet, Seer and Revelator for 30 years B. Young as Prophet, Seer and Revelator for 30 years Confrontation with neighbors remained problem Confrontation with neighbors remained problem Mountain Meadow Massacre, 1857 Mountain Meadow Massacre, 1857 US interventions ended Mormon political hegemony US interventions ended Mormon political hegemony

15 Mormon History LDS Transitions New historical era – Post Brigham Young New historical era – Post Brigham Young Significant changes in church after 1877 Significant changes in church after 1877 1890 Manifesto: Woodruff ends polygamy 1890 Manifesto: Woodruff ends polygamy Capitulation to appease government Capitulation to appease government Immense ramifications Immense ramifications Sign of new times Sign of new times Original Mormon church come to end Original Mormon church come to end Time to systematize / sanitize teachings from Smith Time to systematize / sanitize teachings from Smith

16 Mormonism Authoritative Writings “Four Standard Works” “Four Standard Works” The Book of Mormon The Book of Mormon Two ancient civilizations in Americas, fulfilling new covenant to Israel Two ancient civilizations in Americas, fulfilling new covenant to Israel Doctrine and Covenants Doctrine and Covenants 135 subsequent revelations compiled from 1830-1844 135 subsequent revelations compiled from 1830-1844 Issues of church organization/practices/doctrines Issues of church organization/practices/doctrines The Pearl of Great Price The Pearl of Great Price Book of Moses, Book of Abraham and accounts of initial commission Book of Moses, Book of Abraham and accounts of initial commission Holy Bible Holy Bible KJV insofar as it is properly translated—Article 8 KJV insofar as it is properly translated—Article 8

17 Mormonism Authoritative Writings Overview of the “Book of Mormon” Overview of the “Book of Mormon” Condensed history of high points of two ancient civilizations located in Americas Condensed history of high points of two ancient civilizations located in Americas Authored by prophet Mormon, and his son Moroni Authored by prophet Mormon, and his son Moroni “Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics” on plates of gold “Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics” on plates of gold Unearthed 1400 years later by Joseph Smith Unearthed 1400 years later by Joseph Smith The plot of the book The plot of the book Jaredites: (2250 BC) emigration and destruction Jaredites: (2250 BC) emigration and destruction Nephites: (600 BC) Lehi’s descendents war with Lamanites Nephites: (600 BC) Lehi’s descendents war with Lamanites Christ visits Americas, revealing himself to Nephites Christ visits Americas, revealing himself to Nephites Nephites annihilated at battle near hill Cumorah in 421 Nephites annihilated at battle near hill Cumorah in 421

18 Mormonism Authoritative Writings Stated Purpose of the Book of Mormon Stated Purpose of the Book of Mormon Eludes theologians, archaeologists & anthropologists Eludes theologians, archaeologists & anthropologists For Mormons, Bible predicts the Book of Mormon For Mormons, Bible predicts the Book of Mormon Arguments against veracity of Book of Mormon Arguments against veracity of Book of Mormon 1. Dubious Authorship: Mormon and Moroni? Solomon Spalding Theory Solomon Spalding Theory Ethan Smith Influence Ethan Smith Influence Joseph Smith’s own lively imagination Joseph Smith’s own lively imagination

19 Mormonism Authoritative Writings Arguments against veracity of Book of Mormon Arguments against veracity of Book of Mormon 2. Fraudulent transcription Baseless claim of “Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics” Baseless claim of “Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics” Transcription marked by deception & conflicting accounts Transcription marked by deception & conflicting accounts Very existence of plates is dubious at best Very existence of plates is dubious at best 3. Archaeologically Untenable (anachronistic accounting) Civilizations are beyond belief or obvious historical record Civilizations are beyond belief or obvious historical record 4. Anthropologically Incorrect Little if any geno-typical / pheno-typical correlations Little if any geno-typical / pheno-typical correlations 5. Multiple textual errors, contradictions, corrections

20 Mormonism Authoritative Writings Arguments against integrity of Author Arguments against integrity of Author Life story riddled with suspicion Life story riddled with suspicion Inconsistent accountings, frequent contradictions Inconsistent accountings, frequent contradictions Unethical scheming/manipulative/controlling behaviors Unethical scheming/manipulative/controlling behaviors It is possible to separate human character from divine message It is possible to separate human character from divine message For Mormonism, this is not valid procedure… For Mormonism, this is not valid procedure… Smith is the vessel of revelation, thus the agency of their doctrines/beliefs Smith is the vessel of revelation, thus the agency of their doctrines/beliefs If character is untrustworthy, his message is at least questionable If character is untrustworthy, his message is at least questionable

21 Mormon Doctrines Mormonism’s Continuing Revelation Mormonism’s Continuing Revelation Enabled required metamorphosis for historical/local context Enabled required metamorphosis for historical/local context Created internal conflict with new doctrines and rituals Created internal conflict with new doctrines and rituals Doctrines emerged coincidentally with Mormon growth Doctrines emerged coincidentally with Mormon growth Thirteen Articles of Faith appeared during Nauvoo period Thirteen Articles of Faith appeared during Nauvoo period Mormon doctrinal development has three major features: Mormon doctrinal development has three major features: 1) Priesthood offers keys to exaltation 2) Family: basic unit of salvation 3) Afterlife: continuity of eternal union of preexistent souls

22 Mormon Doctrines Doctrine of God Doctrine of God Trinitarian Ambiguity Trinitarian Ambiguity Official Mormon Trinitarian teaching Official Mormon Trinitarian teaching Mormonism teaches a plurality of gods Mormonism teaches a plurality of gods "Elohim" as "the council of the gods" in creation "Elohim" as "the council of the gods" in creation Bible references to One God as “one God pertaining to us” Bible references to One God as “one God pertaining to us” Materialism: The Adam-God doctrines Materialism: The Adam-God doctrines Both the Father and Son possess material bodies Both the Father and Son possess material bodies God is married and has a mother and father God is married and has a mother and father Each god is begotten of other gods in succession Each god is begotten of other gods in succession God and the plurality of gods were men before they were gods God and the plurality of gods were men before they were gods Humankind, is likewise destined to become a god Humankind, is likewise destined to become a god “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become” “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become” Peculiar Adam-God doctrine of B. Young Peculiar Adam-God doctrine of B. Young Adam is our Father God, the “only God with whom we have to do.” Adam is our Father God, the “only God with whom we have to do.”

23 Mormon Doctrines Doctrine of Jesus Christ Doctrine of Jesus Christ JC as founder of faith – our “elder brother” JC as founder of faith – our “elder brother” Confess Jesus was “son of God” Confess Jesus was “son of God” Reject his divinity implies he is the unique Son of God Reject his divinity implies he is the unique Son of God Actually conclude Lucifer is within brotherhood of Jesus Actually conclude Lucifer is within brotherhood of Jesus Distort Virgin Birth Distort Virgin Birth Jesus born from Father God impregnating Mary Jesus born from Father God impregnating Mary Work of Christ explained in equivocal language Work of Christ explained in equivocal language Atonement affects two different kinds of salvation Atonement affects two different kinds of salvation General: granted to all on basis of Christ’s resurrection General: granted to all on basis of Christ’s resurrection Individual: Christ’s work is enabling grounds upon which our obedience effects salvation Individual: Christ’s work is enabling grounds upon which our obedience effects salvation

24 Mormon Doctrines Doctrine of Salvation Doctrine of Salvation Christ’s resurrection enables all to resurrect Christ’s resurrection enables all to resurrect Atonement is partial grounds for resurrection to spiritual life Atonement is partial grounds for resurrection to spiritual life Saved by both grace and works of law Saved by both grace and works of law Plan of salvation processes through series of stages Plan of salvation processes through series of stages All humans have pre-existent souls as spirit children of God All humans have pre-existent souls as spirit children of God Enter into earthly life gaining physical/mortal body Enter into earthly life gaining physical/mortal body Prove worthiness to be saved by keeping ordinances Prove worthiness to be saved by keeping ordinances At time of death, the spirit awaits the general resurrection At time of death, the spirit awaits the general resurrection

25 Mormon Doctrines Doctrine of The Blood Atonement Doctrine of The Blood Atonement B. Young: “A man might be killed to save his soul” B. Young: “A man might be killed to save his soul” Heinous sins, for which cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or world to come, can be atoned for by one’s own blood, spilt on ground, that “the smoke thereof might arise to heaven as an offering for their sins…” Heinous sins, for which cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or world to come, can be atoned for by one’s own blood, spilt on ground, that “the smoke thereof might arise to heaven as an offering for their sins…” Mormons deny the doctrine ever practiced Mormons deny the doctrine ever practiced Still argue, most humane form of capital punishment Still argue, most humane form of capital punishment Doctrine totally foreign to scripture Doctrine totally foreign to scripture Teaches Christ’s blood alone atones Teaches Christ’s blood alone atones

26 Mormon Doctrines Doctrine of the Church Doctrine of the Church Exclusively claim priesthood of Aaron & Melchizedek Exclusively claim priesthood of Aaron & Melchizedek LDS is the true church of God on earth LDS is the true church of God on earth Doctrine of Preexistent Spirit Life Doctrine of Preexistent Spirit Life All humans preexisted as spirits All humans preexisted as spirits God is literal parent of every human being God is literal parent of every human being Human preexistence & incarnation parallels Christ’s Human preexistence & incarnation parallels Christ’s

27 Mormon Doctrines Doctrine of End Things: Eschatology Doctrine of End Things: Eschatology Specific, literal Zionist model Specific, literal Zionist model Mormons as the gathering of Ephraimites Mormons as the gathering of Ephraimites During millennium, two resurrections will take place During millennium, two resurrections will take place Righteous raised to meet Lord and descend with him Righteous raised to meet Lord and descend with him Peaceful millennium, baptisms for dead, led by JC Peaceful millennium, baptisms for dead, led by JC Millennium ends with second resurrection for wicked Millennium ends with second resurrection for wicked Satan & forces of evil unite against JC who defeats them Satan & forces of evil unite against JC who defeats them Prepares way for final judgment which dissolves earth in preparation for eternity as resurrected celestial body like the sun/stars Prepares way for final judgment which dissolves earth in preparation for eternity as resurrected celestial body like the sun/stars

28 Mormon Doctrines Doctrine of End Things: Eschatology Doctrine of End Things: Eschatology Final state divided into four classes of existence Final state divided into four classes of existence Sons of Perdition Sons of Perdition Devil, demons, and humans who committed unpardonable sin Devil, demons, and humans who committed unpardonable sin Telestial Kingdom (most populated) Telestial Kingdom (most populated) Located on a planet, as repository for souls of lawless and wicked who after much punishment will be offered salvation Located on a planet, as repository for souls of lawless and wicked who after much punishment will be offered salvation Terrestrial Kingdom Terrestrial Kingdom Located on specific planet/sphere for those of questionable faith Located on specific planet/sphere for those of questionable faith Less faithful / rejected gospel, but again embraced it in the afterlife Less faithful / rejected gospel, but again embraced it in the afterlife Celestial Kingdom (on recreated sanctified earth) Celestial Kingdom (on recreated sanctified earth) Reserved for the righteous and faithful who live forever in family unit with millions of spirit children to inhabit the earth they will form Reserved for the righteous and faithful who live forever in family unit with millions of spirit children to inhabit the earth they will form

29 Mormon Doctrines Doctrine of Worship & Religious Observances Doctrine of Worship & Religious Observances Ward Meetings Ward Meetings Word of Wisdom Word of Wisdom Tithing Tithing Sacraments of Lord’s Supper and Baptism Sacraments of Lord’s Supper and Baptism Temple Ceremonies Temple Ceremonies Endowments Endowments Celestial Marriage Celestial Marriage Baptism for the Dead Baptism for the Dead

30 Reaching Mormons Key attractions Key attractions Traditional family values and wholesome lifestyle Traditional family values and wholesome lifestyle Positive view of humanity, nearly all go to heaven Positive view of humanity, nearly all go to heaven Claim to be truly restored church Claim to be truly restored church Key challenges Key challenges Self-perception as “true” Christians Self-perception as “true” Christians Non-biblical sources of authority Non-biblical sources of authority Ignorance of own history Ignorance of own history Blurring of doctrinal distinctives Blurring of doctrinal distinctives

31 Reaching Mormons Reaching Out to Mormons Reaching Out to Mormons Problem of finding common ground Problem of finding common ground Publication of scholarly research Publication of scholarly research Insider Bridging Insider Bridging Some strategic approaches Some strategic approaches 1) Target points of incoherence in Mormon beliefs To begin from Bible is fraught with difficulties To begin from Bible is fraught with difficulties Prepare for “inner testimony” assuring their correctness Prepare for “inner testimony” assuring their correctness Be on guard for equivocation of biblical terms/concepts Be on guard for equivocation of biblical terms/concepts Focus on key distinguishing doctrines Focus on key distinguishing doctrines God’s nature, salvation, grace/works, eternal life, final authority God’s nature, salvation, grace/works, eternal life, final authority

32 Reaching Mormons Some strategic approaches Some strategic approaches 2) Demonstrate inconsistencies between Mormon authoritative sources and current practices If I believed the Book of Mormon were true, I would have to believe your church is false; if I believed your church were true, I would have to believe the Book of Mormon is false.” If I believed the Book of Mormon were true, I would have to believe your church is false; if I believed your church were true, I would have to believe the Book of Mormon is false.” 3) Note contradictions in their own words and writings Attitude can be mistaken as condescending and critical Attitude can be mistaken as condescending and critical Smith’s changing “revelations” are legitimate target Smith’s changing “revelations” are legitimate target Conclusions Conclusions Blend methods of approach stressing God’s forgiving love Blend methods of approach stressing God’s forgiving love Approach from angle: What is God doing in your life? Approach from angle: What is God doing in your life?

33 QUESTIONS?


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