The strength of the Mormon church is in the commitment of its adherents, in the positive image projected by its dedicated young missionaries and in the healthy family life displayed by the Mormon community. The weaknesses are harder to detect, but they certainly exist.
People who take the Bible
as their sole authority in matters of faith and practice can readily conclude that Mormonism is inconsistent with genuine Christianity
. But Mormon believers are not limited to the Bible. Therefore Mormons need to face some of the difficulties that arise within the context of their own authority structure. Here is a summary of a few we have examined:
- The Mormon scriptures have undergone extensive emendation, even though Mormon teaching about these scriptures does not allow for such changes.
- Some teaching in later scriptures, such as Doctrine and Covenants, disagrees with teaching in earlier scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon.
- Some Mormon prophecies, particularly by Joseph Smith, have not come true.
- The textual basis for the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price does not stand up under scholarly examination.
- Joseph Smith himself told conflicting stories of his First Vision.
- Modern archeology is not compatible with the Book of Mormon's story of the Lamanites and the Nephites.
- The subjective feeling that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God is not an adequate reason for belief.
To Mormons who read this chapter I would like to offer encouragement. I know you are serious about finding the truth or you would not have read this far. May I challenge you further?
Look again at the basis of your faith. Examine the scriptures on which it is built. Check to see if what I have said about Mormonism is true. Read a full book-length analysis of the Mormon faith (...).
Then examine the alternative - faith in the God of the Bible. Read the New Testament, especially the Gospels. Pray that God will lead you to the truth wherever it is to be found. An excellent presentation of the Christian faith is found in John Stott's Basic Christianity
which is available in most Christian bookstores.
Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32
) It is Jesus' words we must know and heed. May we all be equal to the challenge.