Another Mormon Movie
Two years ago the Mormon movement tried to slip a movie into our theatres called, The Other Side of Heaven. It was a film glorifying a Mormon Missionary. This week (1-29-2005) the Mormons are trying once again to sneak a movie into the theaters called, pills The Work and The Glory. This time it is about their founder, Joseph Smith and His revelation about the Book of Mormon. I knew when I saw the movie add in the paper that it was another Mormon propaganda film. I attended the film this afternoon to make sure. There were no reviews in the paper stating what the movie was about. The only comment made was within the movie’s advertisement, which read, “A well crafted epic,” by Sean P. Mean of the Salt Lake Tribune. I could be wrong, but I think this was intentional, because the only way to know what this movie was about was to attend. The story is the glorification of Joseph Smith and his book of Mormon. It presented him as pretty much a perfect man. Of course those who accepted him in his day were wonderful people. And those who rejected him were much less then perfect to say the least. I could hardly wait for the movie to end because I knew that most of the movie was a fabrication of the truth about his life and vision. I have written four articles on Mormonism; they would be good for you to read should you decide to see this movie. These articles are on my web site www.tmoments.com. If you are not going to see the movie, and I recommend that you don’t’, then download them anyway, and hand them to the next Mormon who knocks on your door.
The following are some portions from these articles. These portions deal specifically with the actual life of Joseph Smith and the truth behind the Book of Mormon.
I have concluded this teachable moment with an article written by Larry Stammer of the Los Angeles Times. His article is about a Mormon teacher named Grant Palmer. I think you will find it very interesting.
Who was Joseph Smith?
- He was born in Sharon, Vermont, on December 2, 1805.
- Joseph Smith moved with his family to Palmyra, New York, in 1816, looking to improve their financial stability and living conditions. They began their recovery by searching and seeking out “rumored” hidden treasure in the surrounding hills.
- He was very influenced by his father who dabbled in mysticism and also sought imaginary buried treasure.
- His father eventually got into trouble with the state of Vermont for attempting other means of procuring riches by counterfeiting money.
- Smith influenced by his father, looked for gold and silver through the various witchcraft practices of glass looking, incantations, occultist manipulations, divining with stakes, and “animal sacrifices”.
- Another major influence in Joseph Smith life was a fortuneteller named Walters. Walters made money by pretending to know where buried treasure from ancient Indians was located. He deceived ignorant farmers by reading from an “ancient Indian record” which was actually a Latin copy of Caesar’s Orations. He would mutter “unintelligible jargon” to hearers. He would then get money to tell them where the treasure was located. Perhaps it was this influence that inspired Joseph Smith to concoct his story about finding the hidden “golden plates” which were written in Egyptian Hieroglyphics by the angel Moroni.
- The summation of Joseph Smith’s life is very controversial at best. He was sued 47 times, arrested and convicted 5 times. He was known for practicing polygamy and was confronted several times for adulterous affairs. It was reported that he had a harem of over 50 women during his lifetime.
- Joseph Smith claimed to have had a vision when he was 14 years old while living in Palmyra, New York. After walking into the woods in the spring of 1820, he asked the Lord which Christian denomination he should join. A pillar of light (supposedly the Father and Son) appeared to Joseph and told him not to join any, because their creeds were all an abomination to the Lord.
- Later on in life, Joseph claimed that the angel Moroni revealed to him the location of the hidden “golden plates. ” They had been hidden on the hill Cumorah 1400 years prior by Moroni, the last of the “righteous” Nephites in America who had served the Lord. There has never been a discovery to date of any Nephite artifact. Archeologists are befuddled at the phenomena that an entire American race of people left nothing behind to prove their existence.
- The “golden plates” Joseph Smith found were supposedly written upon in ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. He translated them by looking through the “Urim and Thummim”, a large pair of miraculous spectacles that made clear the understanding of what was written. These glasses were given to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni
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. Through these glasses Joseph Smith was able to translate the golden plates between the years 1827 and 1830.
- Smith’s other claims of divine visitations include a visit by John the Baptist on May 15, 1829 at which time he was officially ordained into the “Aaronic Priesthood.”
- In 1830, Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon.
- Smith soon gained a considerable gathering of believers that moved to Kirtland, Ohio. Within 6 years of this move, his followers increased to about 16,000.
- His movement grew and relocated again in Nauvoo, Illinois, where Smith met his death in 1844.
Joseph Smith’s final epitaph
- During Smith’s life a great deal of opposition came his way for obvious reasons.
- A local newspaper (Nauvoo Expositor) for example, profusely and adamantly opposed Smith calling his group a cult. Smith was the mayor at the time, and in response ordered the destruction of the newspaper
- Joseph Smith was not beyond breaking the law, which led to his own imprisonment. After being jailed for a time with his brother in Carthage, Illinois June 27th 1844 an angry mob of about 200 men stormed the jail and murdered Smith and his brother.
- Before he died, Smith emptied a smuggled revolver into the crowd killing two men.
- Soon after these incredible events a large group of Joseph Smith followers, now Mormons, accepted Brigham Young as their new leader. Young was 43 years old when he took over the reign of leadership and subsequently moved over 14,000 Mormons to Salt Lake, Utah. He ruled over the Mormon Church there for the next 30 years.
What was the Book of Mormon all about?
- The Book of Mormon is supposedly an account of the original inhabitants of America to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection. Joseph Smith claimed he translated it from the “golden plates” shown to him by the angel Moroni.
- There are major problems with the accuracy of this supposed “most correct of any book on earth” since it has undergone almost 4,000 changes correcting chronological, historical, and contradictory problems. It has received criticism from archaeologists and historians since its inception.
- Who actually authored the book has also been long debated. It is possibly a fabrication that Smith wove together from other sources such as Ethan Smith’s Views of the Hebrewsor the Ten Tribes of Israel in America (1823), Solomon Spalding’s Manuscript Found (1812), Thomas Thorowgood’s Jews in America (1650), and certain popular books of that era. While there is no solid proof of this, there are many resemblances that appear to be beyond mere coincidence.
- Also, there are rumors of theft and plagiarism that leaves one wondering. It is amazing that Mormons sometimes think that Joseph Smith came up with a new revelation from God regarding the ancestry of the Native Americans. However, the popular theory was already well developed at this time. The theory would eventually be proven inaccurate by historians and archaeologists, but not until after Smith had fabricated various parts of people’s writings on the theory and made it into a religion.
Mormon Author Says He’s Facing Excommunication
By: Larry B. Stammer
Times Staff Writer
A lifelong Mormon, church teacher and author said Wednesday he faced excommunication after he was accused of apostasy for publishing a book questioning the origins of the Book of Mormon.
A church disciplinary council near Salt Lake City was scheduled Sunday to take up charges against Grant Palmer, whose book, “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins,” had come under scrutiny by church authorities since it was published two years ago.
In his book, Palmer traced scholarly challenges over the last 30 years to a number of fundamental teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including the story that its founder, Joseph Smith, had been led by the angel Moroni to a set of golden plates in 1827 from which Smith translated the Book of Mormon.
Palmer is the latest Mormon scholar to face excommunication. In 1993, the church excommunicated five prominent scholars for their views on church policies, history, and feminism.
Michael Purdy, a church spokesman, said Wednesday that the church did not comment on “confidential” matters.
But in an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, he said disciplinary proceedings in general were intended to “help a transgressor to repent; to identify those who do spiritual or physical harm to Church members, and to safeguard the integrity of the Church.”
Purdy said there were four possible outcomes of a trial. He said the council could take no action, place an individual on formal probation with restricted privileges temporarily suspend membership privileges, or terminate membership.
Palmer, 64, said that scholars, including himself, had found that accounts of Moroni’s characteristics and personality gad changed over time, and that the Book of Mormon had been influenced by the King James version of the Bible, 19th century evangelical Protestantism, other thinking of the day and Smith’s family history.
Although scholars have questioned the origins of the Mormon cannon over the last several decades, Palmer said he believed he came under fire from the church because his book made academic scholarship, including his own, accessible to the average reader.
“I have done nothing that warrants excommunication,” he said.
Palmer said he was surprised that charges had been filed against him, especially since his book had been sold in church bookstores without incident for two years.
His family roots in the church go back six generations, he said. Until he retired about two years ago, he spent 34 years teaching high school and college Mormon history and theology from the Church Educational System.
Thirteen years ago he asked to be transferred from teaching to serving the church as a counselor and a teacher of the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon, at Salt Lake County Jail.
“I was conflicted enough by teaching [Mormon] studies that I asked to go to the jail,” Palmer said.