Is This Bigotry? A Response to Latter-day Saints Who Say, “We Never Criticize Christian Churches”
Compiled by Bill McKeever
Far too many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are quick to accuse anyone of bigotry if they happen to disagree with the doctrines of Mormonism or place the LDS Church outside the parameters of the Christian faith. It is not uncommon for LDS spokespersons to play the victim card in order to get sympathy from the media or even Christians who are ignorant of Mormon claims. What is often overlooked in this debate is how LDS leaders have characterized Christianity. If to insist that Mormonism is not Christianity makes one a bigot, what do the following statements say about these LDS leaders and the Mormon Church as a whole?
Joseph Smith (Mormonism’s founder)
Joseph Smith claimed that he had seen both God the Father and Jesus Christ and asked these personages which church he should join. He claimed he was told to join none of them, “for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight” (Joseph Smith History 1:19).
When asked “Will all be damned but Mormons?” Smith replied, “Yes, and a great portion of them unless they repent and work righteousness” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 119).
“Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth” (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10).
The Doctrine and Covenants (1:30) leaves no doubt to the Mormon teaching of exclusivity when it says the LDS church is, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased ….”
Brigham Young (Mormonism’s Second President)
“Should you ask why we differ from other Christians, as they are called, it is simply because they are not Christians as the New Testament defines Christianity” (Journal of Discourses 10:230).
“When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness” (Journal of Discourses 5:73).
“The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God” (Journal of Discourses 8:171).
“With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world” (Journal of Discourses 8:199).
“The religion of God embraces every fact that exists in all the wide arena of nature, while the religions of men consist of theory devoid of fact, or of any true principle of guidance; hence the professing Christian world are like a ship upon a boisterous ocean without rudder, compass, or pilot, and are tossed hither and thither by every wind of doctrine” (Journal of Discourses 10:265).
“… the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting the Pagans” (Journal of Discourses 22:44).
“Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and kicked on to the earth” (Journal of Discourses 6:176).
John Taylor (Mormonism’s 3rd President)
“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense …the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century” (Journal of Discourses 6:167).
“What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.” (Journal of Discourses 6:25).
“What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing …Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God” (Journal of Discourses 13:225).
“And who is there that acknowledges [God’s] hand? …You may wander east, west, north, and south, and you cannot find it in any church or government on the earth, except the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Journal of Discourses 6:24).
Daniel H. Wells (Mormon Apostle)
“The whole system of Christianity is a failure so far as stemming the tide of wickedness and corruption is concerned, or turning men from their evil ways to living lives of righteousness before God our Heavenly Father. I would rather preach the Gospel to a people who have not got any religion than I would to a people who have got a great deal of religion. You take the Catholic world. What impression can the truths of the Gospel make upon them as a people? Scarcely any impression at all. Why? Because they are satisfied with what they have got, which we know is an error, and which is not calculated to stem the tide of wickedness and corruption which floods the world. It never will convert the world to God or His Kingdom, or convey a knowledge of God unto the children of men, and it is life eternal to know Him, the living and true God. The Christianity of the period will never make the people acquainted with God in the world. It will never bring them to eternal life as spoken of in the Scriptures. It is an utter impossibility. In the first place they do not know anything about God, and in the second place, they apparently don’t want to know anything about Him. They have reared a superstructure in the earth which is false. It is and has been a tremendous imposture to the children of men. Some have come out of it, to a certain extent, seeing its incongruity, and yet they have floundered in the dark, not knowing what was right; not having that knowledge of God which is necessary to obtain eternal life, they have been tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, without being able to find the truth. Many who have thus been foundering are honest people; but the so-called system of Christianity is not only an error and a snare, but is a monstrous iniquity fastened upon the children of men throughout the earth. No wonder that people become infidel. The inconsistent and incongruous nature of the system is enough to make any being who reasons infidel. It was time the truth should be revealed; it was time for the Lord to restore the everlasting Gospel, for men were blind. Darkness covered the earth, even gross darkness the minds of the people in regard to religious subjects. Perhaps a darker time was never known since the earth began its revolutions around the sun. From what I have read and from what experience I have had in life, and the intelligence I possess, I make bold to give my testimony that the darkest period the world ever saw was when this work first commenced, when it was made known from heaven to Joseph Smith. It was no darker here, perhaps, than in any other part of the world; but it was just as dark in Christian countries as in any Pagan country, so far as true religion and the light of heaven were concerned” (Journal of Discourses 24:321-322).
Orson Pratt (Mormon Apostle)
“Q. After the Church of Christ fled from the earth to heaven, what was left?
“A. A set of wicked Apostates, murderers, and idolaters, who …left to follow the wicked imaginations of their own corrupt hearts, and to build up churches by human authority…” (The Seer, pg.205).
“The sooner the present generation loses all reverence and respect for modern ‘Christianity,’ with all its powerless forms and solemn mockeries, the sooner they will be prepared to receive the kingdom of God” (Parley P. Pratt, The Key to the Science of Theology, 1978, p.68).
“…all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who receives Baptism or the Lord’s supper from their hands highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people …The only persons among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who have authority from Jesus Christ to administer any gospel ordinance are those called and authorized among the Latter-day Saints” (The Seer, pg. 255).
“This class of men, calling themselves Christian, uniting with the various forms of the pagan religion, adopting many of their ceremonies and institutions, became very popular, and finally some of the pagans embraced Christianity and were placed, as it were, upon the throne, and what they termed Christianity became very popular indeed. How long has this order of things existed, this dreadful apostasy, this class of people that pronounced themselves Zion, or Christians, without any of the characteristics of Zion? It has existed for some sixteen or seventeen centuries. It has spread itself and grown and gone into the four quarters of the earth. It is the great ecclesiastical power that is spoken of by the revelator John, and called by him the most corrupt and most wicked of all the powers of the earth, under the name of spiritual Babylon, or in other words Babel, which signifies confusion. This great and corrupt power is also represented by John as presenting a golden cup to the nations, full of all manner of filthiness and abominations” (Journal of Discourses 14:346).
“This great apostasy commenced about the close of the first century of the Christian era, and it has been waxing worse and worse from then until now” (Journal of Discourses 18:44).
“But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of people Christian Churches, because they profess to be …But there has been a long apostasy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance, and they are represented in the revelations of St. John as a woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast, having a golden cup in her hand, full of filthiness and abominations, full of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; that in her forehead there was a name written – `Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots'” (Journal of Discourses 18:172).
“Who is Babylon? I have already explained that Babylon is a great power that should be in the earth under the name of a church, a woman – that generally represents a church – full of blasphemy …These churches are scattered over the wide face of the earth, and this is called Babylon. Another angel is to follow the one that brings the Gospel, after it has been sufficiently preached, and proclaim the downfall of this great and corrupt power in the earth” (Journal of Discourses 18:179).
“The worshipers of Baal were far more consistent than apostate Christendom; for they had a faint hope that Baal would hear and answer them; but modern divines have no expectation that their God will say anything to them or to their followers. Baal’s followers cried from morning until evening for him to give unto them a miraculous manifestation, in the presence of Elijah; but to even expect a supernatural manifestation or revelation now is considered, by modern religionists, as the greatest absurdity. Baal’s worshipers, therefore, with all their absurdities, approached nearer the religion of heaven, in some of their expectations, than those who falsely call themselves Christians” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 1 (1850), pp.12-13).
“We have already proved in the previous numbers of this series that immediately after the first century the whole earth became corrupted by the great “Mother of Harlots,” that apostasy and wickedness succeeded Christianity, that for the want of new revelation, all legal succession to the apostleship was discontinued that the gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit ceased and that the Church was no longer to be found on the earth: this being the case, all nations must have been destitute of the everlasting gospel for many generations – not destitute of its history as it was once preached and enjoyed but destitute of its blessings, of its powers, of its gifts, of its priesthood, of its ordinances administered by legal authority” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No.6 (1851), pg.82).
Heber C. Kimball (First Counselor to Brigham Young)
“Christians – those poor, miserable priests Brother Brigham was speaking about – some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth …” (Journal of Discourses 5:89).
George Q. Cannon (Counselor to presidents Young, Taylor, Woodruff and Snow)
“I do not wish to say anything in relation to other forms of religion; I do not know that it is necessary that I should do so; but no thinking man can admit that Christianity so-called – I call it a false Christianity, untrue to its name – satisfies the wants of humanity at the present time. It is not a religion that satisfies” (Journal of Discourses 24:185).
“After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon” (Gospel Truth, pg.324).
Wilford Woodruff (4th LDS President)
“I said then, and I say now, may the Lord give me such periods of darkness as were enjoyed by the Apostles and Saints of old, in preference to the Gospel blaze of modern Christianity. The ancient doctrine and power will unlock the mysteries of heaven, and pour forth that Gospel light, knowledge, and truth, of which the heavens are full, and which has been poured out in every generation when Prophets appeared among the children of men. But the Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so called” (Journal of Discourses 2:196).
Erastus Snow (LDS Apostle)
“There is a theory in the human mind – I will say with a certain school of modern philosophers – to satisfy themselves and justify their infidelity; the bent and tendency of their inclinations is that way. But it is probable that the crude, undefined devices and erroneous notions and ideas of modern Christianity touching the Deity leads to this infidelity, as much as anything else. The advocates of Christianity are in a great measure to blame. When we begin to scan the teachings and enquire into the views of the leading divines of modern times, and examine their articles of faith and their discipline, the teachings of different Christian denominations on the subject of the Deity, we do not wonder that the reflecting, careful thinker, should repudiate their crude notions” (Journal of Discourses 19:268).
B.H. Roberts (LDS Seventy and Historian)
“Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Introduction to the History of the Church 1:XL).
“This view of God as an incorporeal, immaterial, bodiless, partless, passionless being is now and has been from the days of the great apostasy from God and Christ, in the second and third centuries, the doctrine of Deity generally accepted by apostate Christendom. The simple doctrine of the Christian Godhead, set forth in the New Testament is corrupted by the meaningless jargon of these creeds, and their explanations; and the learned who profess a belief in them are wandering in the darkness of the mysticisms of the old pagan philosophies” (History of the Church, 1:LXXXV).
Parley P. Pratt (Mormon Apostle)
“The false and corrupt institutions, and still more corrupt practices of `Christendom,’ have had a downward tendency in the generations of man for many centuries …The overthrow of those ancient degenerate races is a type of that which now awaits the nations called `Christian,’ or in other words, `the great whore that sitteth upon many waters” (Key to the Science of Theology, 1978 ed., pg.106).
James Talmage ( LDS Apostle)
“A self-suggesting interpretation of history indicates that there has been a great departure from the way of salvation as laid down by the Savior, a universal apostasy from the Church of Christ …From the facts already stated it is evident that the Church was literally driven from the earth; in the first ten centuries immediately following the ministry of Christ the authority of the Holy Priesthood was lost among men, and no human power could restore it” (The Articles of Faith, pp.200,203).
“The significance and importance of the great apostasy, as a condition precedent to the re-establishment of the Church in modern times, is obvious. If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims” (The Great Apostasy, preface).
Joseph Fielding Smith (10th LDS President)
“For hundreds of years the world was wrapped in a veil of spiritual darkness, until there was not one fundamental truth belonging to the place of salvation that was not, in the year 1820, so obscured by false tradition and ceremonies, borrowed from paganism, as to make it unrecognizable; or else it was entirely denied …Joseph Smith declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the ‘Christian’ churches were in error, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men” (Doctrines of Salvation 3:282).
Spencer W. Kimball (12th LDS President)
“This is the only true church …This is not a church. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. There are churches of men all over the land and they have great cathedrals, synagogues, and other houses of worship running into the hundreds of millions of dollars. They are churches of men. They teach the doctrines of men, combined with the philosophies and ethics and other ideas and ideals that men have partly developed and partly found in sacred places and interpreted for themselves” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pg.421).
“Presumptuous and blasphemous are they who purport to baptize, bless, marry, or perform other sacraments in the name of the Lord while in fact lacking the specific authorization” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pg.55).
Bruce McConkie (Mormon Apostle)
“The traditions of the elders – as is also the case with the traditions of an apostate Christendom – are wholly devoid of the least scintilla of inspiration. They are, as Jesus said, ‘the commandments of men'” (The Mortal Messiah, Vol.2, FOOTNOTES, Pg.412).
“What of seventies? Who are they, and how do they fit into the eternal scheme of things? That their mission and ministry is unknown among the cults of Christendom is one of the great evidences of the apostate darkness that engulfs those who call themselves by the name of Him who called seventies to stand as especial witnesses of that very name” (The Mortal Messiah, 3:99-100).
“Thus the signs of the times include the prevailing apostate darkness in the sects of Christendom and in the religious world in general. False churches, false prophets, false worship – breeding as they do a way of life that runs counter to the divine will – all these are signs of the times” (The Millennial Messiah, pg.403).
“What is the church of the devil in our day, and where is the seat of her power? …It is all of the systems, both Christian and non-Christian, that perverted the pure and perfect gospel …It is communism; it is Islam; it is Buddhism; it is modern Christianity in all its parts” (The Millennial Messiah, pp.54-55).
“As with other doctrines and ordinances, apostate substitutes of the real thing are found both among pagans and supposed Christians” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.72).
“When inquiring and scientific minds delve into the narrow and bigoted creeds of the apostate sects of Christendom it is not surprising that they rebel against those dogmas falsely set forth as the tenets of true religion” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.107).
“Christianity is the religion of the Christians. Hence, true and acceptable Christianity is found among the saints who have the fullness of the gospel, and a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christendom” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.132).
“The only real superiority of the apostate sects of Christendom over their more openly pagan counterparts is the fact that the Christian sects (though rejecting the doctrines, ordinances, and powers of the gospel) have nonetheless preserved many of the ethical teachings of Christ and the apostles” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.240).
“And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ whom they vainly suppose to be a spirit essence who is incorporeal uncreated, immaterial and three-in-one with the Father and Holy Spirit” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.269).
“Gnosticism is one of the great pagan philosophies which antedated Christ and the Christian Era and which was later commingled with pure Christianity to form the apostate religion that has prevailed in the world since the early days of that era.” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.316).
“In large part the worship of apostate Christendom is performed in ignorance, as much so as was the worship of the Athenians who bowed before the Unknown God, and to whom Paul said: “Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 374).
“For instance: The creeds of apostate Christendom teach untruths about God, and the scriptures say that those who accept these creeds ‘have inherited lies.’ (Jer. 16:16-21.) Those who accept any of the doctrines of the apostate churches are said to ‘believe a lie.’ (2 Thess. 2:1-12.) The process of apostasy consists in changing ‘the truth of God into a lie.'” (Mormon Doctrine pg. 440).
“Pagan tribal gods were the creation of the imaginations of apostate peoples, just as the creeds and apostate views of God which prevail in modern Christendom are the result of forsaking the truth” (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 511).
“Mormonism is Christianity; Christianity is Mormonism; they are one and the same, and they are not to be distinguished from each other in the minutest detail …Mormons are true Christians; their worship is the pure, unadulterated Christianity authored by Christ and accepted by Peter, James, and John and all the ancient saints” (Mormon Doctrine, pg.513).
“The gods of Christendom, for instance, are gods who were created by men in the creeds of an apostate people. There is little profit or peace in serving them, and certainly there is no salvation available through them” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, pg.545).
“To say that Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity after the time of the Apostles is not to say that all that is in it is satanic…Still, ‘the power of God unto salvation’ (Rom. 1:16) is absent from all but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which the Lord himself has proclaimed to be ‘the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth (D&C 1:30). Satan’s goal of hindering many of God’s children from returning to their Father’s glory is thus realized.” (BYU Professor Kent P. Jackson, “Early Signs of the Apostasy,” Ensign, December 1984, p. 9)
“The period of time when the true Church no longer existed on earth is called the Great Apostasy. Soon pagan beliefs dominated the thinking of those called Christians. The Roman emperor adopted this false Christianity as the state religion. The church was very different from the Church Jesus organized. It taught that God was a being without substance” (Correlated LDS manual Gospel Principles, 2009, p.92).