History of the Mormon Religion

The Mormon Church


Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844) founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church. Depending upon whom you ask, he was either "a prophet, a genius, a crackpot, or a conman." One historian described him as "a charismatic utopian and a hustler in the manner of P.T. Barnum."


Joseph Smith Jr. founded what none other than Leo Tolstoy called the "American religion." The Church of Latter Day Saints continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The history of the Mormon religion is dramatic, eerie, erotic, and violent—in other words: downright American.


In 1890, the Mormon Church renounced polygamy, which led to statehood for Utah in 1896. Brigham Young and his followers made Utah into the state with the most law-abiding, best-educated, wealthiest people in America of the 20th century. Today, there are over ten million adherents to the Mormon religion in the world, about half of which are Americans.


JOSEPH SMITH JR
JOSEPH SMITH JR
THE ANGEL MORONI VISITS JOSEPH SMITH JR
THE ANGEL MORONI VISITS JOSEPH SMITH JR
THE ANGEL MORONI SHOWS JOSEPH SMITH JR THE GOLD TABLETS
THE ANGEL MORONI SHOWS JOSEPH SMITH JR THE GOLD TABLETS
THE BOOK OF MORMON
THE BOOK OF MORMON
NAUVOO ILLINOIS
NAUVOO ILLINOIS
A MOB GATHERS TO MURDER JOSEPH SMITH JR AND HIS BROTHER HYRUM
A MOB GATHERS TO MURDER JOSEPH SMITH JR AND HIS BROTHER HYRUM
THE ANGEL MORONI
THE ANGEL MORONI

Joseph Smith Jr


Joseph Smith Jr. was born on a hardscrabble farm in Vermont. He was reared in Palmyra, New York, which was part of what was called the "burned-over district" because the fires of religious revival had swept over it for twenty years. The New York from which Smith hailed was full of new Christian cults and sects, as well as diviners, money diggers, crystal ball gazers, magic amulet sellers, counterfeiters, and necromancers.


By 1820, Joseph Smith Jr. was a handsome, mischievous, barely literate fourteen-year-old boy. One day, he went into the woods to pray and experienced a vision in which Jesus the Savior and God the Father appeared to him in brightness and glory beyond all description. They told him that all existing religious beliefs were false and he had been chosen to restore true Christianity.


Three years later Joseph Smith Jr. was visited in a vision by an angel named Moroni. Moroni revealed to him that the American Indians were the lost tribes of Israel; and that they had left Israel after the Tower of Babel and traveled across the Atlantic Ocean on barges. Some of these Israelites rebelled against God and as punishment He turned their skin red.


Moroni told Joseph Smith Jr. that the history of these lost tribes of Israel was written in a secret language on gold plates by Moroni's father—Mormon—and buried in New York in 384 AD. Moroni also revealed that Jesus Christ had visited America after His resurrection. Mormon was the last prophet, and he had instructed his son Moroni to bury the golden tablets until God decided it was time for His latter-day saints to restore the true church.


In 1827, Moroni appeared again to Joseph Smith Jr., this time to reveal the location of the buried plates of gold. Smith dug up the plates and was able to read what he considered to be the Third Testament of the Bible with the aid of magic glasses and magic stones provided to him by Moroni. These seer-stones were called Urim and Thummim.


In 1830, the 500-page Book of Mormon, also called "the Golden Bible," was published and the gold plates disappeared. This was not the first book to claim the American Indians as a Lost Tribe of Israel. Seven years earlier a book appeared that made the same claim, written by Ethan Smith (no relation) and entitled View of the Hebrews.


Joseph Smith Jr. now claimed that he had also been visited by John the Baptist, who bestowed the "Aaronic priesthood" on him and on his first convert, a schoolteacher named Oliver Crowley. The Apostles Peter, James and John also came to see Smith to bless his priesthood, as did Jesus Christ Himself.


Joseph Smith Jr. started his own church in 1830 and soon attracted thousands of converts, whom he told to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, and meat.


Joseph Smith Jr. experienced further visions in which he learned that God is a human personage who literally sits on a throne with Christ by His side; and that the Atonement of Christ covers all men. God does not assign souls to heaven or hell for eternity, but heaven contains numerous levels to ensure that everyone gets just what they deserve. Depending upon their good works, nearly all persons will go to one of three levels of heaven: telestial for unbelievers; terrestrial for ignorant but good people; and celestial for good Mormons. The exception will be those Sons of Perdition who are banished to Outer Darkness. The Mormon religion teaches that all persons were pre-existent, all gods were once men, and all men can become gods.


In 1831, the Mormons moved to Ohio and resettled there. In 1836, Joseph Smith Jr. dedicated a temple at which he said Christ came down from heaven to consecrate, along with Moses and Elijah. Elijah commanded Smith to baptize the dead. Thus, the Mormons started proxy baptism—the immersion of live believers on behalf of dead persons, which they intend to continue until every person who ever lived has been so baptized. The recordkeeping involved in this eventually made the Mormon Church the world center of genealogy.


In 1838, a group of local men murdered 32 Mormon men and boys. Smith volunteered to go to jail if the slaughter was stopped. Five months later a bribe, and a promise that the Mormons would leave Ohio, got him released from his cell.


Joseph Smith Jr. moved the Mormons first to Missouri, and then in 1840 to Illinois. In Missouri, the Mormons attacked the state militia, leading to another four month incarceration of Smith, leading to another bribe and promise to leave the state that got him released from prison once again.


Joseph Smith Jr. founded a Mormon city in Illinois that he named Nauvoo—Hebrew for beautiful. For five years the community thrived. The Mormons drained the fens, planted orchards and fields, laid out streets, erected brick houses and schools, and raised a temple that was the most elegant building in Illinois. Converts poured in from as far away as Canada and Britain. Nauvoo grew to include 20,000 inhabitants. Visitors said the city was a model of love, industry, and energy. But competing cities resented Nauvoo's sudden prosperity.


Joseph Smith Jr. embraced Freemasonry, and established a Masonic Temple in Nauvoo with himself as Grand Master. He also revamped Mormon liturgy to include Masonic rites and symbols such as the "all-seeing eye" and the "beehive." Smith declared Nauvoo a province of God immune from the laws of Illinois.


In 1844, the Nauvoo Expositor newspaper published its only issue, which was an expose of the Mormon doctrine of polygamy, best practiced by Joseph Smith Jr., who had perhaps fifty "wives," many of whom were already married to other men, and perhaps a dozen of them were teenagers including two 14 year olds. The men who set up the newspaper were Mormon dissidents who were angry because Smith tried to seduce their wives.


Non-Mormons from the surrounding area read the newspaper and arrested Smith and his brother Hyrum on charges of treason, and of inciting the riot that destroyed the newspaper's printing press. A lynch mob stormed the jail, which was not defended, and the Smith brothers were shot and killed.


In his last sermon, Joseph Smith Jr. revealed that God was once as we are now, and is an exalted man. He did not create the world; he became divine in the process of bringing order out of chaos. Men have it in their power to climb the same ladder to godhood. The members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are all considered to be clergy—there is no laity—a true priesthood of believers. God was a man, Jesus an American, America heaven on earth, and his followers are immortal gods.


BRIGHAM YOUNG
BRIGHAM YOUNG
SALT LAKE CITY IN 1886
SALT LAKE CITY IN 1886
SALT LAKE CITY TODAY
SALT LAKE CITY TODAY
SAMUEL BRANNAN
SAMUEL BRANNAN
THE MAGNIFICENT MORMON TEMPLE IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
THE MAGNIFICENT MORMON TEMPLE IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
MITT ROMNEY HOLDING A CAMPAIGN RALLY INSIDE MY AIRCRAFT HANGAR IN 2008.
MITT ROMNEY HOLDING A CAMPAIGN RALLY INSIDE MY AIRCRAFT HANGAR IN 2008.

Brigham Young


Brigham Young (1801-1877) took over leadership of the Mormons after the murder of Joseph Smith Jr. Brigham Young's grandfather was a surgeon and his father a devout Methodist. Three of his brothers became Methodist preachers.


Brigham Young was strong, decisive, and intelligent; an ingenious organizer and a man of enormous determination—and appetites. He made peace with the neighbors of Nauvoo, Illinois, on the condition that the Mormons would leave town as soon as possible. Brigham Young selected an uninhabited valley near the Great Salt Lake in Utah as the new home of the Mormon Church. It was guarded by mountain ranges north and east, and fed by mountain streams. The valley was twenty miles by thirty miles, south of the saline inland sea.


Brigham Young led his 10,000 followers across the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, deep into the American wilderness. They sought a refuge where they could practice their faith undisturbed. The first winter, 800 died while encamped in Iowa.


The Mormons began arriving in Utah in 1847. Within one week, they had dammed streams to irrigate fields of corn and potatoes; and platted an instant city with large lots and broad avenues that surrounded the site of the temple square. By the following year, they had already built an efficient irrigation system. Within three years, the land grew enough food to feed the 11,534 Mormons. Within a decade they had turned the desert green.


The Mormons also planted dozens of settlements in Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California. Samuel Brannan took 200 Mormons to the poor Mexican port of Yerba Buena in 1846, which tripled its population overnight. Brannan changed the name to San Francisco and went on to become the first millionaire in California.


Samuel Brannan built a general store at Sutter's Fort just in time for the Gold Rush. When gold was discovered in 1848, Brannan bought up every pick, shovel, pot, pan, and bag of flour in the area before he rode into San Francisco to proclaim "Gold from the American River!"


In 1850, the U.S. government named Brigham Young the governor of Utah. But two years later Young was removed from office by President James Buchanan after he became aware that Young had 55 wives (and 56 children). Three corrupt judges were named to impose federal authority over Utah. One of them, along with eight federal surveyors, mysteriously ended up dead. The Mormons vowed to accept no authority other than Brigham Young.


Death came to 137 innocent pioneers in 1857. They were massacred by Mormons as they passed through on their way to California from Arkansas. This became known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Americans back east were outraged by all this, and President Buchanan ordered the army to march on Salt Lake City. The Mormons responded by burning down their own homes and fields, as their guerrillas attacked the army's supply trains.


Thomas Kane was in charge of the first soldiers to reach Utah, and he brokered a peace agreement whereby federal soldiers promised to stay 36 miles away from Salt Lake City in exchange for the Mormons recognizing federal authority in all matters except religion.


Sources and Other Hubs


My Primary sources for this article include: A History of Christianity by Paul Johnson; A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins; and Throes of Democracy by Walter McDougall.


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Comments 140 comments

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

James, this was an outstanding piece of writing. I learned a great deal I did not know about the Mormon faith, even though I have been around them for years. I really liked the way you presented this information.


annaw profile image

annaw 5 years ago from North Texas

Great piece of work. I am fascinated and saddened by the "early " Mormon views and take on blacks, this I did not know. Thanks for such a comprehensive bit of information. Definitely worth passing on.Voted up and interesting!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Great writing James but difficult to believe!


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Your hubs are better than the stuff on wikipedia....I learned at least 10 new things about the Mormon religion....so of it shocking and all of it interesting...voted way up.


Man from Modesto profile image

Man from Modesto 5 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

Annaw, the Mormons have had to retract a lot of their early teachings. Also dead (at least officially) after years of criticism are the secret handshakes and secret symbols Joseph Smith borrowed from his Freemason connections. Smith attempted to make mormonism the official religion of the Masons. He failed. Also less well known is the raid of September 11, 1857. Mormons recruited some Indians and raided a wagon train. They killed every one, even the children, so no witness could report them. The great LDS icon Brigham Young was one of the masterminds, according to witnesses.

It amazes me that people believe the book of Mormon is anything more than a sham. Mormons also believe that Jesus and Satan are both "sons of the morning" - brothers! If you want to stump one, ask about this. They are programmed to obfuscate. Pin them down to this: When Jesus died on the cross, did he have any brothers? Or, was Jesus the "ONLY begotten son"?


stessily 5 years ago

James A Watkins: I grew up as an Episcopalian appreciating recordings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in my father's music collection as well as reading "Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane Grey, and "A Study in Scarlet" and "The History of Spiritualism" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Controversy still lingers over the negative portrayals of Mormons by Doyle and Grey. Doyle subsequently expressed admiration for the fortitude of Mormon pioneers in the face of suffering and hardship, equating facial expressions captured in photographs of those pioneers to British settlers during the Boer War in South Africa.

Even when I am already familiar with a topic, I still learn from your writing. All the usual votes from me.

Kind regards, Stessily


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Wow James, you sure know your history. I have seen quite a few Mormons and have even been curious about them but afraid to ask. They seem so withdrawn from people in a manner of speaking. Thanks for the lessons.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Old Poolman— Hey! Thank you very much for being my first visitor. I am glad you enjoyed my presentation, my friend. I appreciate your kind compliments. Carry on! :D


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Joseph Smith's use of the magic stones, Urim and Thummim to read the Book of Mormon, is remarkably similar to his earlier use of a stone placed in his hat to "see" the location of treasure for local farmers, an endeavor that resulted in his arrest and conviction for fraud.

Smith also tried to peddle The Book of Mormon as a religious novel (a work of fiction) before his 'revelation' that it was the one true religion.

The listed witnesses to the existence of the Golden Plates only saw them after a marathon session of staring at an empty table all night. All of those witnesses were later excommunicated, according to Mormon records.

It would not be possible for me to disregard who and what this man was in order to accept his proffered 'religion'.

The best source on all this is 'No Man Knows My History', an expose of Joseph Smith.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

annaw— You are most welcome! Thank you for the voted up and interesting. I will certainly appreciate it if you do pass this on. I am grateful for the visit and your gracious compliments. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Gypsy Willow— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Cogerson— I am honored to receive such high praise indeed. Thank you very much for these warm words of affirmation and encouragement.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Man from Modesto— I did mention the Mountain Meadows Massacre in the penultimate paragraph of the "Brigham Young" section of my Hub, which begins with "Death came to 137 innocent pioneers in 1857." They may have hired Indians but what I have heard is that they disguised themselves as Indians—sort of like the Boston Tea Party.

I have never heard that Mormons consider Jesus and Satan to be brothers.

I must add this: All of the Mormons I have met have been absolutely wonderful people.

Thank you, my man, for visiting my Hub and leaving such interesting comments.


Man from Modesto profile image

Man from Modesto 5 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

I agree with you, James. All the Mormons I have met in my life have been excellent people. During the fight against Prop 8 here in California, Mormons stopped several times to not just sign petitions- they wanted to know how they could be involved. The Holy Spirit has moved me many times to pray for Mormons. These are people who really desire to know God. My greatest fear is this: If they are basing their salvation on a fake Jesus, what are the implications? I could almost cry. The devil is a deceiver!


Jeff May profile image

Jeff May 5 years ago from St. Louis

Good read. While I was somewhat familiar with most of this, I did learn a few new things. Thanks. I've also met Mormons who were good people. Their past is like many others (including the founder of Planned Parenthood), full of weird and fascinating history, but in their modern incantation capable of worthwhile deeds.

No "alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, and meat" -- not bad advice.

"Smith declared Nauvoo a province of God immune from the laws of Illinois." -- Seems some try to do this even today.

"The Mormon religion teaches that all persons were pre-existent, all gods were once men, and all men can become gods." -- Interesting mix of beliefs.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I will vote up and say this is an interesting read. Necromancers in early New York? Wow! This I did not know. Was it connected to the early slave trade before New Yorkers sent their slaves south?

I read somewhere that the Freemasons were at the financial heart of early New York. US money today is full of Freemason ideas and symbols including the incomplete temple, 'In God we Trust' and the sacred eye. Also Philadelphia has a long history with Freemasonry going back to the founding fathers of the USA.

For my money Smith was a conman pure and simple but a very talented one.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 5 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Outstanding article.

I'd be interested in a follow-on, particularly, the period associated with Ezra Taft Benson.

For Rod: my grandfather used to tell me many stories about the symbology on our currency. Fascinating stuff to a kid. It wasn't until much later in life that I found out he was a senior Mason at one of the lodges in D.C. My basis for my interest in Mr. Benson is related to this and the fact that he acted as Secretary of Agriculture, and signed my Grandfathers 40 year service certificate of appreciation.


Sueswan 5 years ago

A very interesting hub.

I remember my sister wanting to become a Mormon. She didn't know anything about the religion except that Donny Osmond was a Mormon.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

I could not stop reading, James, until I finished this entire article. Fascinating and exceptional reporting. You ARE a talented writer and your various hubs on religions would make a brilliant book. Voted up.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is so interesting James, and to think we have a Mormon running for President, Terrifying!! Thank you for a well written and documented Hub.... Voted up all the way.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Vary informative and interesting hub. I have always thought that the Mormon religion is difficult to understand but a lot ot Mormons are descent and upstanding citizens.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

stessily— There is no doubt that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir creates beautiful, even ethereal, music.

My Dad was and is a huge Zane Grey fan. Not long ago he was trying to get me to write such westerns! :-)

The Mormon pioneers were incredible people with amazingly gifted leaders.

I am glad you found this article to be educative. Thank you for the accolades. I appreciate this visit from you, as always.

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Cardisa— You are quite welcome, my dear. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your kind comments. My long-time dentist is a Mormon with about eight children. He is a delightful chap and an outstanding dentist.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— Thank you for reading this article, my friend. I was not aware that Joseph Smith was convicted of fraud before his encounter with the Angel Moroni.

You taught me a lot here in your post. I did not know that Smith tried to peddle The Book of Mormon as a fictional novel, nor did I know that there ever were any witnesses who claimed to have seen the Golden Plates. I am not familiar with that book you mentioned but I appreciate the recommendation.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Man from Modesto— As far as their salvation goes, while I do not believe in their doctrines, I do think that God is a reader of hearts. If they seek God and love God and serve Him as best they know how, I believe there is plenty of room for them in heaven. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Jeff May— You are welcome. Thank you for the compliment. I always enjoyed reading your comments. I appreciate this visitation from you.

Yes, "alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, and meat" is excellent advice. I agree with you that nearly everyone is capable of worthwhile deeds. And that the Mormon beliefs are terribly interesting.

Excellent remarks, as usual for you, my friend.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Rod Marsden— Thank you for the voted up and interesting. I am not aware of any link between slavery and necromancy in New York.

The Freemasons are another fascinating group. I am actually working on an article about them. Quite a story. No doubt many movers and shakers have been Masons. I have an uncle who is a Grand Master—or was—of a Masonic Lodge in Michigan, from whence I hail.

I appreciate your fine comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

FitnezzJim— Thank you for the compliment. I sincerely appreciate this visit and your comments.

The story you relate about your grandfather, Masons, our currency, and Mr. Benson is fascinating. I can't say I know anything about Benson. Perhaps a followup Hub is in order.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Sueswan— That's funny about your sister. Donny Osmond. That puts me in the way back machine. :)

Thank you for your comments. I am glad you found this Hub to be interesting.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

drbj— Thank you ever much for the lovely laudations! You have made my day.

I am, in fact, collecting these Hubs into a book—after some serious editing of course. The process is underway and I hope to have it published by Christmas.

I have finished writing the History of the Christian Faith. It will probably take a dozen more Hubs to finish telling it in episodes here.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 5 years ago from Michigan

Excellent relevant piece James. I have been sounding the warning bell about Mormonism and Mitt Romney for quite awhile in a much less objective way than you have. Mormon men believe they are "gods in embryo" and that this earth is ruled by a god/God the father and his goddess wife. Mormon men - Mitt Romney is no exception - believe that if they marry a Mormon woman "in good standing" in the Mormon Temple Ceremony (replete with occult rituals), and follow all the LDS rules and regulations, they too will rule over their own planet earth someday. The LDS goddess will forever produce "spirit babies" (why LDS must have many children so that the spirit babies have a place to go) to populate their own planet earth.

Unlike true Christian religions that believe in one God - the LDS believe in God the Father/the ruler of the earth, Jesus Christ/the brother of Lucifer - another god and the Holy Spirit- another god. Plus they believe they themselves can turn into gods. This is anti-Christian in every form.

My concern is that we have a possible Republican candidate who believes this kind of nonsense - and at best he'd have to set aside his beliefs to be President - something I think that would be unlikely and worst - he would use the sneaky and secretive LDS Church tactics as President. While I don't believe that Romney is intentionally evil - Satan is the greatest deceiver and this religion - which is actually a cult - does many deceptive and dangerous things to maintain its cover of "goodness." Romney being so rich and such a prominent Mormon must know at least some if not all of the deception that goes on behind the leadership of the Mormon church.

It is a racist, misogynist cult - and while Romney personally may not be a racist who treats women poorly - one has to wonder why he would stay in a religion that embraces these things.

The Book of Mormo (BOM) is very clear about blacks - they have the cure of Cain. The way we know this - according to the BOM is by the color of their skin. Dark. Now the BOM is supposed to be DIRECT from God to Joseph Smith looking at that stone through his hat to "translate" the BOM. How can they possibly reconcile their history - as Will pointed out.

Excellent and important writing - so glad I found it!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

always exploring— You are most welcome, my dear. I appreciate your compliments. I am glad that you found this article interesting. Thank you for reading it and for the voted up! :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Gypsy Rose Lee— Thank you for visiting and commenting. As you say "a lot of Mormons are decent and upstanding citizens." I totally agree with you. That they are. :-)


stessily 5 years ago

James: Voted up+beautiful+awesome for the beautiful images, especially the stained glass.

As a quilter I appreciate the image of Joseph Smith Jr, with a bow tie quilt, receiving his angelic visitor. The Mormon pioneers were renowned for their quilts which salvaged any and all fabric scraps.

I do thank you for putting together this hub which covers a time in Mormon history that I find sad as well as unsettling.

Personally I will never forget the kindness and thoughtfulness that I received from young Mormon missionaries (especially Ken) who knew my sister (who is not a Mormon), yet, upon learning of a frightful situation that I was experiencing, brought laughter, light, faith, and hope into my life, even though I was not and am not a Mormon.

With your usual compassionate flair, your comment to Man from Modesto touches my heart today: "I do think that God is a reader of hearts."

I look forward to your hub on Freemasons. My musical hero, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, became a Mason within the last decade of his all-too-short life, and it is my understanding that my father was invited many times to become a Mason. I know that your hub will not fail to enlighten me, for your hubs have so far always provided me with a forgotten or unknown aspect every time!

As far as your father's wish for you to write westerns: Yes! With the finesse that you appear to bring to your life, you would certainly create a memorable western.

Kindest regards always, Stessily


Onusonus profile image

Onusonus 5 years ago from washington

James, this is a good hub. I always am amazed at the ignorance that is displayed in the comments section when people write articles about Mormonism.

It seems as though we are being construed by others as a bunch of friendly cultists that wear glow in the dark undies and sacrifice cats and dogs to Satan in our temples. And it is a unique fact that a long time ago Mormons were racist, because the rest of the country wasn't.

And watch out for that Mormon guy running for president! His religious affiliation disqualifies him from participating in the democratic process. I think that the US Constitution has a certain clause that would prevent people like cvj123 from getting her way.

"no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." -US Constitution, article VI, paragraph 3.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"And watch out for that Mormon guy running for president! His religious affiliation disqualifies him from participating in the democratic process."

You're correct. A candidate's religion does not disqualify him, and yes, there shall be no official religious test in order to be a candidate, but voters can apply any test they please.

The Mormons have gone to great lengths in the past fifty years to appear to be just another Christian Church, but even a cursory investigation reveals that their beliefs are not Christian at all.

For starters, Christians believe in one God, and only one God. Mormons believe in an unlimited number of Gods, and that they too will someday be equal to God, with their own domain to rule over.

Main stream churches open their doors in invitation.

Only cults come a-knocking at YOUR door, uninvited, applying their pressures, like the well trained salesmen they are.


Onusonus profile image

Onusonus 5 years ago from washington

Will, Mormons worship one God. We also believe that people have the potential to be like God as we are commanded in the scriptures to; "Be ye therefore perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect" -Matthew 5:48

We are told that the righteous will sit with him on his throne Rev 3:21

John 10: 34 "I said Ye are Gods,"

And several other examples contained therein.

Simply because Mormon prophets expounded upon the assertions made in the Bible does not mean that we are polytheists or that our doctrine is against the precepts of Christianity. Did Jesus not command his apostles to proselytize?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Will, Mormons worship one God."

That wasn't what I said. Christians believe in one God and ONLY ONE GOD.

Mormons believe there are countless gods, and you know it!

Like the other cults, Mormons knock on your door, and then turn on the high pressure salesmanship, arguing just like you are, that they are right and you are wrong, by quoting snippets of the Bible out of context.

I live in Arizona, and we have a pushy Mormon population that knocks on our doors and insists that we listen to their sales spiel. After forty years of this, I am now downright rude when I send them packing.


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

I think that stunned is an appropriate word to describe my reaction. All I knew of the Mormon religion was that the Osmonds were Mormons ( ok, closet fan) and that they send terribly polite young people all over the world. I Have read enough to know that I want to know more!

Thanks, voted up and interesting.


iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 5 years ago from Sunny California

James; I haven't been around Hubpages much of late. I thought I'd drop by and see how you are doing. s prolific as ever it seems and just as interesting. I've mentioned enough times that I enjoy your style even when I disagree with you.

If I may relate a personal tale; When I was about 14 years old, back in my native Wales, I met these Mormon Missionaries. After talking to them I went to visit my grandfather, old Druid as he was, and I told him that the Mormons said Joseph Smith saw God in a grove of trees. My grandpa said; "When you are in a grove of trees, don't eat the mushrooms."


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 5 years ago from HubPages, FB

Thank you James for great piece of work.


Onusonus profile image

Onusonus 5 years ago from washington

Will, so why was it ok for Jesus and his apostles to do the exact same thing to travel around to different nations teaching and baptizing and yet you don't consider Jesus a cultist. The fact remains that Christ commanded his followers to go out and do the same as he did, and that's what Mormons do. How can you assert that proselytizing is an unchristian concept when that's exactly what the savior and his apostles did?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Will, so why was it ok for Jesus and his apostles to do the exact same thing to travel around to different nations teaching and baptizing and yet you don't consider Jesus a cultist."

People came to see Jesus of their own free will. Jesus did not go knocking door to door, insisting they listen to His spiel.

Only high pressure cults knock on your door.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Thanks my friend for this very interesting information on the history of the Mormon Religion, i learned a lot about their religion that i did not know before .

Vote up !!!


Onusonus profile image

Onusonus 5 years ago from washington

High pressure, gimme a break.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

cjv123— What a pleasure and honor to have you visit one of my Hubs again. It has been quite some time since we have interacted. I'll have to come over and see what you have been writing lately.

The strangest thing I have heard about Mitt Romney is that he wears "the garment" to bed each night. But I have met him several times and I found him to be triple sharp, charming, and charismatic. As long as we can remove our current Atheist out of the White House I wouldn't mind his replacement being a Mormon or a Catholic like JFK or a Pentecostal even. I draw the line at Scientology. :D

I had not heard of the "goddess wife" of God the Father. Another reader did inform me of the "Jesus and Lucifer brotherhood" thing, which shocked me.

I understanding your feelings about Mormons and Mitt Romney. You articulated them quite well. I appreciate your comments. Thank you for reading my piece and for the accolades.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

stessily— Thank you very much for the voted up, beautiful, and awesome! I am glad you liked the images I selected and I appreciate you saying so. And you are most welcome.

I must say that I am grateful for the lovely laudations you expressed in your remarks. I will publish my article about the Masons pretty soon. I have all my notes together; I just need to take the time to sit down and write the thing.

It is heartwarming to read of your joyous experience with Mormon missionaries. I am sure they must, like in all groups of flawed people, have some bad apples but I have never met a Mormon I didn't like being around. As a group they seem to have a whole lot of great qualities.

Faithfully Yours,

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Onusonus— Thank you for the compliment. I am well pleased that came by to offer your comments from a Mormon perspective. Mitt Romney is eminently qualified to be the next President of the United States. In fact, during the 2008 election, I held a rally for him inside my aircraft hangar with the support of a group of Evangelicals. Mitt is my # 2 choice for the Republican nomination. My top pick, as of now, has to be Rick Perry because I believe he can win the election of 2012 and stop our march toward Marxism.

You are right that it was not only the Mormons who wrote things that are now considered appallingly racist to postmodern sensibilities. The story about blacks having the mark of Cain and being the descendents of Ham was told to me when I was a boy by my Baptist grandfather. He also told me that the end result of the Civil Rights movement would be an explosion in crime and out-of -wedlock births in the black community because, as he put it in about 1965, blacks needed an authoritarian government to keep them in line—for their own good. He also said the end result would be blacks screwing our women. But that is another story. :)

ps I just added a photograph of Mitt Romney inside my aircraft hangar during the 2008 campaign.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— Thank you for coming back by with your additional comments. I am impressed by the number of young Mormons who have foregone huge contracts to enter professional sports to instead go on a two-year missionary trip first. That takes some resolve when millions of dollars are dangled before you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"High pressure, gimme a break."

I've experienced it time and again, so don't try to tell me different.

Again, don't come knocking at my door, uninvited and unwanted, trying to sell your religion. Only cults do that.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Onusonus— Jesus did indeed command his disciples to proselytize. And, as you imply, the Mormons are not the first to believe in perfectability and surely not the first to believe in the eventual deification of human beings who are faithful and obedient to God.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— You know, I used to have some young Mormons come a knocking but now that I think about it, it has been a long time since this has happened to me—the only ones I still get are Jehovah's Witnesses. Maybe the Mormons have cut back on this—though obviously not in Arizona. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

CASE1WORKER— You are quite welcome, my dear. Thank you very much for the voted up and interesting!

I sincerely appreciate this visit from you and I enjoyed reading your comments. I'll be over to read some of your Hubs soon. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

iantoPF— Hey! Hello again. It is great to hear from you. I am glad you stopped by to visit and left a note that you came.

"Don't eat the mushrooms!" Ha! I love it. Good advice, especially if they come from under cow patties, eh? :D


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Hi James,

In Arizona, it's Witnesses and Mormons.

In my personal experience, my brother-in-law was recruited as a very young man, but left the Mormons many years ago. They have been trying to compel him to come back ever since. Since he lived with us for a short while, they often come here looking for him. I even caught them going through our garbage looking for his name and address! I should have called the police, but I just ran them off.

Needless to say, I have no time for Mormons. They are relentless when it comes to someone who has escaped their clutches.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I should correct that by pointing out that I have several Mormon friends, so it's the religion and the zealotry that I have problems with, not the Mormons themselves.


Onusonus profile image

Onusonus 5 years ago from washington

James, I honestly think Mit Romney sucks for implementing socialized medicine in Massachusetts, (Ezra Taft Benson would be rolling over in his grave if he saw this happen.) and I think Perry is going to beat him out.

I am surprised that you know about the historical deification concept. It's always interesting to see an unbiased, somewhat secular point of view on the history of my religion.


Whidbeywriter profile image

Whidbeywriter 5 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

Hello James, voted awesome and very interesting to say the least. I agree with your assessment of who maybe our next President. I like Perry & Romney, but I believe Perry maybe too far right to gain all the votes necessary, where as Romney is more moderate/conservative. Lots of facts that I was not aware of regarding the Mormon church, but you know most all religions have strange rituals of their own. I believe in the one true God - Jesus his son, and the Holy spirit who lives in us after we receive him. That's what my faith is in. Most everything else is for man's benefit and the stories and religions are so numerous, who truly knows which is the right one. I once heard someone say that Jesus "hates religion" - kinda like the Pharisees in biblical days. Blessings dear friend.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 5 years ago

This history of the Mormon religion you've provided is certainly worth reading. What I take away from it is that Mormons are Christians. I know Catholics and Protestants share some beliefs and disagree about others. I also know many Christians don't believe everything their church teaches - yet they remain members because there's much more good in belonging to a church than in having no community. As for Romney, I do wonder if his Romneycare came out of the Mormon way of community working together, which has been very successful for them. On that, I would suggest it is good for a church, not for government. Thanks for this article, James.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

JW- Wow so much history that I haven't heard of! I didn't know the Mormans to have this much influence in the west. I did read a great article called "The proper role of Government", by Ezra Taft Benson. Benson was President Eisenhower's secretary of agriculture and the 13th leader of the Morman church. I thought his article was very powerful and insightful.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Vladimir Uhri— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Onusonus— Proselytizing is a decidedly Christian concept. I have noticed it has somewhat fallen into disfavor as of late. The postmodern mode seems to be that all paths lead to the same place.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— Christian missionaries have a long record of reaching out in Asia, Africa, and South America. I read where one author predicted that one day those places will send missionaries to the United States and Europe. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

kashmir56— You are welcome. Thank you for coming by to read my article. I am glad you found it interesting. I surely appreciate the voted up! :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— I appreciate the story about your brother-in law and that you next posted this: "I have several Mormon friends, so it's the religion and the zealotry that I have problems with, not the Mormons themselves."


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Onusonus— I appreciate your gracious words, my friend. Yes, the deification idea has a long, long history, especially in the Eastern Orthodox branch of the Christian Faith.

I am not a fan of Romney's Massachusetts health care plan either.

Thank you for the excellent comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Whidbeywriter— Hello again! Thank you very much for the "awesome" and "interesting!"

Your comments are most excellent and well received by me, my dear. I surely am glad to "see" you again. I am grateful that you came by to read my article and I enjoyed your thoughtful insights.

God Bless You!

James :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

sheila b.— You are quite welcome. Some feel—even strongly—that Mormons are not Christians. I think they are—though I am not the ultimate judge, of course. I mean, they are the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" after all.

All of your comments are excellent and I enjoyed reading them. You wrote:

"I also know many Christians don't believe everything their church teaches - yet they remain members because there's much more good in belonging to a church than in having no community."

True and true.

Thank you for visiting and commenting. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

wba108@yahoo.com— Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your excellent comments. And thanks for alerting me to "The proper role of Government", by Ezra Taft Benson. I will read that yet today. It sounds quite interesting indeed.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

James,

The thorough and informative nature of your articles is almost as impressive as your ability to handle such a spectrum of comments. I remain ever impressed with your writing style. Voted UP & UABI, mar.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Hi James,

There are of course, zealots in all religions, but it has been my sad experience that zealotry is expected of the Mormon religion members.

When I confronted the two who were sorting through my garbage, I thought they were identity thieves, looking for credit card numbers or bank accounts. Believing that I was armed, they blurted out that they were Mormons trying to locate my brother-in-law, an apostate.

That sort of zealotry is limited to just a couple of religions. At least they didn't have bombs strapped to their chests.


stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Fantastic hub. I learned so much here, and I plan to keep my Bible under my pillow always with Jesus Christ in Heaven as my savior. I watched a fun movie about the Three Muskateers. Gee I bet you could write some interesting facts about them. They were pretty good with their swords. God Bless You My Wonderful Brother.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

Well it's never a disappointment to come and get an Educational Read from your Hub Page James. I found it interesting the Claim, that the American Indian was the Lost Tribe of Israel.

I also thought of Gov. Romney who is a Mormon, whom I would Vote for...and who is a good person...Would be hard to think of him as some of these Mormons with a lot of wives and such primitive ideas.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

marcoujor— Thank you so much, Mar, for hitting all the good buttons for me and for the voted up! I sincerely appreciate your laudations! You have made my day.

James :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— Well, I am with you brother. No bombs. And I am against identity theft. Thank you for your comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439— I have seen the 1993 version of "The Three Musketeers." Is that the one to which you refer?

I keep my Bible close to, my brother. I am so glad that you enjoyed my article. Thank you for boosting my spirits with your warm words. God Bless You!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

b. Malin— I agree with you that Mitt Romney is a fine man. It also helps that he is a man of only one wife. I will absolutely vote for Romney—if he wins the Republican nomination—over the atheist marxist he would be running against. :D

I am also fascinated by the idea that the American Indians might be the Lost Tribes of Israel. I have also heard that the Celts have that same legend about them.

I am happy that you liked my work here. Thank you for your kind comments.


Jokylu profile image

Jokylu 5 years ago from Waratah North, Victoria.

I am so impressed by the quality of your writing. The reader in each case comes away better informed and enriched for taking the time to read. This article was again one of those, where I am the more enlightened and the richer as a consequence of reading another excellent hub. voted up


Rob Lattin profile image

Rob Lattin 5 years ago from Born in Chicago, now I'm in Mostly Michigan

I agree with all the praise you get from the above commentators. Excellent piece. I am studying the Book of Mormon and the more I learn about this false religion the better I understand the truth of my own.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I've had my differences with Mormonism, but that would not prevent me from enthusiastically supporting Romney should he be our nominee.

How's that for conservative 'tolerance'? :-D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Jokylu— Thank you very much for the laudations! I am so happy to read the warm words in your kind comments. I appreciate the voted up. And I agree with your profile page: you do live in a very beautiful part of the world. :-)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi James,

What a timely piece with Romney running for the Presidency. I actually thought that in the first debate between the Republican candidates he came out as being the most impressive compared to Perry even though Perry now leads in the polls. Time will tell how these two battle it out and who will become the nominee.

All I know about Mormonism comes from a vacation trip to Utah and Salt Lake City. Also, when the hurricane blasted Texas and Louisianna several years ago, the Mormons sent semi-truckloads of food to an assistance ministry here in Houston (one I know personally) to aid people regardless of faith.

They also run a peanut butter making operation in Houston to have ready to help others in distress anywhere it is needed. Apparently they do similar things in other parts of the country with different products. All volunteer work as part of what they believe is in serving others (and not only Mormons.)

My mother and I toured a Mormon Temple here in Houston when it was open to the public and prior to it being consecrated. Fascinating! We learned quite a bit then also. Some of the things that make sense is that they are taught to keep a 6 month supply of non-perishable food on hand to help themselves in times of distress (job loss, etc.) but ALSO others who may need it.

Like you, James, I am not Mormon but the ones I have met seem like pretty good people to me.

As to people knocking on the door...I just don't answer no matter who is calling if I do not know them. Much easier that way! :))

Excellent hub. If one delves deep enough into religions, it would seem that most all of them have some quirky ideas coming from man, of course.


cljonesmusic profile image

cljonesmusic 5 years ago from Southern Utah

Congratulations on a well written, well researched hub. And on generating such lively discourse in a community of writers. There are some interesting misconceptions about Mormons out there, but I think it is important to take each person as an individual. You did not draw conclusions, and for that I thank you. You stated information for others to digest. I think if you compare what one learns about Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, etc. to the scriptures as you pointed out in your discourse, Pastoral Epistles, then the written word does it's own weeding out, and there is little need to argue. That said, there are many people who believe something that is unacceptable to others, and yet are fine individuals with solid values. And even among those wonderful people, are those who would deceive. A person is best seen and accepted by his own words and actions. As stated above, many people go to churches (of many faiths) and do not believe all they are fed. But we may all find out one day that we are worshipping the same God, albeit called by other names, and understood in different ways. We will be corrected when that day comes and we see Him as he truly is. How many times have you heard human siblings describe their same parents in very different ways - almost to the point that you would believe they had different parents. It is our perspective, but the parent remains the same - he or she is who they are, unaltered by the misperceptions of their children. They do not love them less for those misperceptions. Our misconceptions will be corrected. He still loves us all.

I look forward to reading more of your hubs.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Rob Lattin— Thank you for the accolades. I appreciate you taking the time to read my article and leave your comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— That is a pretty good display of tolerance, my friend. I like Mitt and I liked his daddy when he governed my great State of Michigan (and ran American Motors, with their interesting little cars that might have been ahead of their time). :D


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

Very interesting James, great write as always. I have always wondered about Mormons. To think they killed people though, wow I would have never dreamed it. As far as any man going out and getting new words from God in any religion, though, I call a lot of Moloni Boloni.


Joyful Read profile image

Joyful Read 5 years ago from Boise, ID

A few remarks: the church's official name is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and I'm sure it would be worth your time to change that in your hub, seeing that you want to be known as a source of true information. Also, have you read the Book of Mormon? In the very beginning, right after the Introduction page, there is "The Testimony of Three Witnesses," where Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris testify that they saw the Gold Plates and an angel witnessed to its validity. On that page there is also "The Testimony of Eight Witnesses" who also saw and held the plates, but did not see the angel. So, again, it would probably be in your best interest to change what you said about Joseph being the only one to ever see the plates, since, in fact, there were 11 others that have seen them. I hope you will continue in your commitment to truth, honesty, and fact (with a little feeling thrown in for good measure). =)


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"In the very beginning, right after the Introduction page, there is "The Testimony of Three Witnesses," where Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris testify that they saw the Gold Plates and an angel witnessed to its validity."

And all three were later excommunicated.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Peggy W— Hello Peg!

I agree with you that Mitt Romney is a strong candidate for president. I have met him several times and he is an impressive, charming, charismatic man; and without a doubt a good man who has actually accomplished something in the world other than Marxist community organizing. :D

Sorry. Had to throw that in there.

You wrote: "when the hurricane blasted Texas and Louisiana several years ago, the Mormons sent semi-truckloads of food to an assistance ministry here in Houston (one I know personally) to aid people regardless of faith."

You are right about this and about what this implies. I'd say those of the Mormon faith may be the finest people in the country. I mean that. One would be hard pressed to find a better "group" of solid citizens.

Thank you very much for your outstanding comments. It is always good to hear from you. :-)


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

Fascinating...!! I had no idea ....

The way you write is a joy.

Thank you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

cljonesmusic— You are welcome. I appreciate your congratulations and your gracious compliments. Thank you for taking the time to visit and read my article. Welcome to the HubPages Community!

I saw that you are a singer/songwriter and I am—or was—also.

I surely agree with you that we should accept each person as an individual. As you said so well "A person is best seen and accepted by his own words and actions."

Yes, indeed.

I look forward to reading some of your writings soon. I especially do so because I have enjoyed your comments very much.

You wrote: "we may all find out one day that we are worshipping the same God, albeit called by other names, and understood in different ways. . . . How many times have you heard human siblings describe their same parents in very different ways - almost to the point that you would believe they had different parents. It is our perspective, but the parent remains the same - he or she is who they are, unaltered by the misperceptions of their children. They do not love them less for those misperceptions."

AMEN! Great stuff.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Jackie Lynnley— Thank you for reading my work here. It is always good to hear from one of you. :)

I can appreciate your comments. And I am grateful for the compliments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Joyful Read— Thank you for visiting my Hub. I appreciate your excellent comments. And I welcome you to the HubPages Community!

You puzzlingly wrote to me this: 'the church's official name is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"'

Ummm . . . Did I not say that in my very first sentence?

I did read The Book of Mormon but it was perhaps thirty years ago and I did not remember the introduction you mentioned.

None of the sources I used for information mentioned the Three Witnesses. Thank you for pointing that out. The one book I have stated specifically that no one ever saw the golden plates except Joseph Smith. If that is wrong then I apologize and I will correct my article.

This article is not meant to hurt anybody's feelings. It is the 38th article in a series about the history of the Christian Faith. I began in the first century. I am now wrapping up the 19th century and during my research up came the story of the Mormons. It is a small part of my larger story, which I am telling in episodes to accommodate MTV-attention spans. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— You wrote: "all three were later excommunicated"

I see that this is so. Well, still, one of the books I used said no one ever saw the plates except Joseph Smith. Not that I know that has been contradicted, I have edited that sentence out of my article. It was an honest mistake.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Dim Flaxenwick— You are quite welcome! Thank you for the kind compliments. I appreciate this visitation from you. :-)


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Well, still, one of the books I used said no one ever saw the plates except Joseph Smith."

Or so he claimed. The 'vision' the three witnesses finally saw came after an all night ritual and sleep deprivation. I would have gladly 'seen' the damn things too if it meant I could go home and go to bed.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great essay (I never refer to your works as articles).... Many people don't know he was killed by a mob - most people think "Frankenstein" when they refer to mob killing, but rarely does anyone mention Smith....

Take care

John


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— You are a funny man! I mean that in a good way. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

John Sarkis— Thank you! Yes, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob that resembles the scene in the "Frankenstein" film. Astute observation, my friend.

I appreciate your kind comments. Good day to you!

James


drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 5 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

GREAT WRITING! Even though I am a Christian, people should know about the different religions even if their not that religion. Knowledge and wisdon is what GOD wants us to have to better know the TRUTH. He say my people perish because of the lack of knowledge.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

drpastorcarlotta— It is always such a pleasure to see that you have visited one of my Hubs. Thank you for your gracious compliments. I agree with your words, Doctor Pastor. :-)


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

I love this piece. It is tremendously informative and scattered with knowledge. But i am really appalled and saddened by young's primitive view about blacks and i am highly disappointed. That is his view anyway. Let that not rub the goodness of this awesome hub. Voted useful, awesome and beautiful


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

Another masterpiece James and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Isn't amazing how so many people will flock to some individuals and I am sure that Smith and Young must have incredibly charismatic individuals with huge egos to have created such a following. I am a little stunned by some of their beliefs e.g. that God made the Native American Indian's skin red in order to punish them and the ideas about black people are mind boggling.

One thing that does stand out for me is that if enough people come together and agree on a belief whether they are Mormon or Nazi then it seems the universe supports that belief unconditionally until such time as those people no longer agree. The Bible seems to bear this out out in Matthew 19:19 and I a video I made recently and uploaded to YouTube is on this very subject.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXRYA1dxP_0&feature... Enjoy!

Thank you James and I still get flashbacks at night after you last comment on my last hub of you attacking me with a machete just to see if I am an illusion LOL!


sharewhatuknow profile image

sharewhatuknow 5 years ago from Western Washington

Awesome literature you provide on the Mormons. I read almost all of it, it's getting late, will continue tomorrow. It appears you have done much research James. And a great hub to read! I must vote it up and awesome!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

ubanichijioke— "Voted useful, awesome and beautiful?!" Thank you, my friend!

I am thankful to read your gracious accolades about my Hub. I am well pleased that you loved it, in spite of the controversial parts.

I will be over soon to read more of your poetry.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Spirit Whisperer— Why, I am humbly grateful to you for expressing such appreciation of my work here. Thank you.

The Cult of Personality has a long history, in all sorts of cultures it seems.

As you say "Smith and Young must have incredibly charismatic individuals with huge egos to have created such a following."

Amen!

You are welcome. Listen, I apologize for the machete metaphor. I didn't mean to give you nightmares or daymares. It just popped into my head and I temporarily forgot that most thoughts are best unexpressed. :D

"Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself" Matthews 19:19

I am sorry, my friend, but I don't understand the connection between that and cults?

I did go view the video you gave me the link for. It is for the film "Tree of Life." It looks fascinating to me though many of the early reviews have not been good. But some have said the movie is awesome. It must be one of those "love it or hate it" pieces of art.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

LoL I gave you the wrong link...sorry. here is the one I wanted you to see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIekFD_nFfA and it is to do with Matthew 18:19

I apologise for the confusion and adding to your work.

I am only pulling your leg about the machete so don't worry about that.

Thank you James for writing such amazing hubs and for being the great guy that you are.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

sharewhatuknow— Thank you very much for the voted up and awesome, as well as for your gracious compliments.

I did do quite a bit of research for this article. I sincerely appreciate this visitation and your comments. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Spirit Whisperer— Is that you? Great dive, my friend!

Thank you for the link and your graciously warm words. And you are most welcome too.

Let's see . . . Matthew 18:19.

Matthew 18:19 is part of a group of 6 verses, beginning with Matthew 18:15 and ending with Matthew 18:20. These verses comprise a teaching spoken directly by Jesus Christ to His disciples, which tells us, first of all, that they only pertain to his disciples and no one else.

In many ways certain Bible verses, or sayings of Jesus, may be pulled out of context and used to teach all sorts of things. Fabrications might be expounded that upon close examination reveal an ulterior motive by the teacher, with Scripture being used to justify what is taught.

Not that you would do that. I'm just saying. :D


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

Yes, that is me. I wonder what DL Moody would have said to your comment that part of the bible he devoted his life to sharing was actually written for his disciples who had been dead for along time before the verses were ever written. You will have to explain what you mean here. Any way with regard to things being pulled out of context, I think the words out of context will always be used by people who do not share the same beliefs as the ones using the "out of context" to back up their teachings. I could say that any of the quotes used by anyone to back up their beliefs have been used out of context. It is purely subjective remark.

When I came across Matthew 18:19 I realised that the words perfectly described what I had come to understand of the process involved in the psychotherapeutic relationship between therapist and client and my video is symbolic of of that. Up that point the crucial part that "agreement" played in the relationship had not been fully appreciated. Perhaps Post #10 might better explain what I mean: http://spirit-whisperer.webnode.com/spirit-whisper...

Thank you for your reply and your interest is greatly appreciated.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Spirit Whisperer— Post # 10 is very cool but I loved post #11—Gratitude. That one is great and kind of reminds me of my own feelings of thankfulness.

You mused: "I wonder what DL Moody would have said to your comment that part of the bible he devoted his life to sharing was actually written for his disciples who had been dead for along time before the verses were ever written."

I apologize for not explicating that very well. D L Moody was a disciple of Jesus Christ. And as a disciple of Christ that Scripture does apply to him. While Jesus was speaking to his living disciples at the moment He said those words recorded in Matthew, these are living words that sound down through the ages and apply to me as much as they did to Matthew—or D L Moody. The point being, they apply to all Believers in Jesus—His disciples—in all ages; but not to unbelievers. It is a message specifically for Believers.

Love your dive, though. That is awesome! Thanks for sharing that with me. :D


Texasbeta 5 years ago

Pretty good hub James. Do you know much about their ideas on the afterlife, how Jesus was once like us and became a God of his own planet, and how they too, the men at least...will allegedly get their own planet if they end up in the Celestial Kingdom?

Then again, the Bible is just as ridiculous as the Book of Mormon. Talking donkeys, living 900 years, living inside of a giant fish, etc. It is fun to watch you all argue who's mythology is real and who's isn't.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"It is fun to watch you all argue who's mythology is real and who's isn't."

And it's fun to watch you incorrectly use "who's" instead of "whose".


Texasbeta 5 years ago

Ouch. Good call...my embarrassing error.


Texasbeta 5 years ago

Of all of the Christian denominations, Mormons appear to be the most legit and the nicest people from my experience. That is, until you get to Salt Lake. It turns into a different religion almost in SLC.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Of all of the Christian denominations, Mormons appear to be the most legit and the nicest people from my experience."

Whether they are nice people or not is irrelevant. Mormonism is not Christian, because a religion cannot be polytheistic and Christian at the same time. Monotheism is a basic tenet of Christianity, and wholly incompatible with polytheistic Mormonism.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Texasbeta— Well, while I surely appreciate the gracious compliment I must protest your description of the Holy Bible as "mythology."

You asked: "Do you know much about their ideas on the afterlife, how Jesus was once like us and became a God of his own planet, and how they too, the men at least...will allegedly get their own planet if they end up in the Celestial Kingdom?"

I know about it , yes. I have read about it.

Thank you for visiting and commenting.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— Good eye, my friend. Thank you very much. :)


Texasbeta 5 years ago

Will - How is Mormonism polytheistic? I believe the definition of a Christian is one who believes that Jesus is the savior of mankind, son of God, and came here to take upon himself the sins of the world...all of which Mormons believe. Now the concept of the trinity is not followed, however, several modern "Christian" denominations don't accept the trinity concept either.

Curious...you appear to be a fan of Beck from time to time. You are aware he is Mormon as well right?

As for Christianity being mythology...to each his own. I wish you the best in your religious experience, however bear in mind that those who believed in Zeus didn't think they were following myth either, nor those who believed in Zoaraster, Ra, or any other of the countless religious deities over the thousands of years of history. You think yours is right, they think theirs is right...whatever. It doesn't matter to me, man. Rock on with it.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"Will - How is Mormonism polytheistic?"

Obviously, you don't know the term:

Polytheistic

1. belief in or worship of more than one god

Mormons believe in billions of gods, and that all dedicated Mormon men will become gods.

BTW, I never try to sell a belief...I leave that up to you atheists.


Texasbeta 5 years ago

I know what the term means, but to my knowledge, and I think I just might have a bit more knowledge of the LDS than you do, I don't think anyone pulled it off. However, I guess that makes 2 right? Then again, unless you believe in the Trinity, then doesn't everyone else who is Christian? Not all Christian denomination accept the Trinity. It is curious though...if Jesus and The Father run this Universe, The Father running ALL universes actually and Jesus running this one...is the polytheistic? One a universe seems like a problem to the definition. Yeah, they buy people can become a God of their own world, but only 1 a universe. So, if they believe in 1 God for this universe, would that be polytheistic? Interesting question really. I have never thought about it in that broad perspective before.

Oh yeah...go ahead Will, ask me how I am so sure I know more about it than you do.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"I know what the term means..."

Thanks to me.


Texasbeta 5 years ago

Deep thought is too much for ya huh? We already knew that actually.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Your incessant personal attacks have never worked, so why do you still use them (or is that the only arrow in your quiver)?


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Texasbeta— I haven't spent any time in Salt Lake City. I drove through once on my way to California but didn't stop. Most socioeconomic indicators are better for Utah than the rest of the country. I agree with you abou the Mormons. Those that I have met have been wonderful people, without fail.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— I appreciate your comments. Thank you for coming back by.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Texasbeta— Your comments are duly noted. I appreciate you making them here. Thank you for facilitating our understanding of the Mormon Religion.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— I sincerely appreciate all of your comments. Thank you for your participation in this discussion. You are a good man. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Texasbeta— Thank you for your additional comments. It is surely true that "Not all Christian denomination accept the Trinity."


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

WillStarr— "is that the only arrow in your quiver?"

Nice rejoinder.


Texasbeta 5 years ago

I used to be a Mormon. Ask away James. Quite a bit is kept from the public. Though, I don't find them anymore crazy than mainstream Christians, their religion holds no more fallacy than I feel does the Bible. Bear that in mind of course.

Before you get going, I used to be Southern Baptist and Methodist as well.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Texasbeta— I did not know you were an ex-Mormon. Interesting. I know that they are fairly secretive. Kind of like the Masons. But my uncle is a Mason Grand-Master and he told me all about it. I will writing about Masons soon too.

I don't think Mormons are crazy at all. My dentist is a Mormon and he is not only a great guy he is also a great dentist—best I ever had. He's got nine kids I think. Well, be fruitful and multiply—that's the command. And he is holding up his end of that bargain.

I have never belonged to any denomination. I don't really believe in the whole denominational concept. But I love Jesus and He is my Savior. Thank God!

Some people need more grace than others. That would be me.


no body profile image

no body 5 years ago from Rochester, New York

Jim, awesome as usual my friend. I do believe you are mistaken when it comes to your broad definition of Christian. It is so broad that it could include any who use the title and believe in some entity they refer to as Jesus Christ. I think that definition will encumber or hurt you eventually. I always respected your gift of accuracy, so I suggest you narrow your definition of Christian to those who adhere to what Jesus taught. I think Jesus would have something to say about multiple wives, underage wives, racism, extra-biblical visions, any doctrine given "by angels" (let them be accursed, Paul said) and Gods springing from humans. There are many cults, main stream religions that go against the teachings of Jesus and yet claim the title or are referred to as Christians. You know the word Christian means "Christ-one" or "Christ-like" or "Christ-follower" Mormons can be wonderful individuals many of which have been or are members of my family. Problem is, they do not know my Jesus. They claim another Jesus. Their Jesus is "brother to Satan". My Jesus is creator God. Just as the Jehovah's Witnesses receive their revelation "from angels" a practice that Paul warned about, so do Mormons. "If any preach another gospel other than what you received from us, let him be accursed."


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

no body— Hey! Great to see you here Brother Bob. Thank you for the gracious compliment.

My dictionary defines a Christian as: "One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus"

Now I fully understand where you are coming from. I have many friends and acquaintances who deny that Mormons can be Christians and many who aren't sure. I have some friends who are Mormons and they call themselves Christians.

For the sake of this Hub, I figure I will let them define themselves and I'll let God sort it out.

I am equally ambivalent about some Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians I know who call themselves Christians. They attend socially liberal churches that are pro-abortion, have homosexual outreach, deny the Resurrection, deny the supernatural, but strictly adhere to the Social Gospel—serving the poor; feeding the hungry; giving money and volunteering for charity work; visiting the sick, the prisoner, and strangers in old folks homes; adopting orphans; providing shelter for the homeless.

While I have personal feelings about this I am not certain of their destination since God is a reader of hearts not of doctrines. I have decided to let God sort them out. By His Grace, I'll be lucky to be considered a Christian myself at the Pearly Gates.

Not that you didn't raise good points, my friend. I appreciate your remarks and I thank you for checking out my Hub. :D


no body profile image

no body 5 years ago from Rochester, New York

I too share the genuineness of many mainstream titles. But those individual churches have changed the doctrine from that of the apostles doctrine. I maintain that some churches doctrine originally was apostle's doctrine and so have not, as a whole, ruined the name that is associated with pure teaching. But some that use the name Christian have never at any time in their histories ever held to the doctrine of the Apostles that Paul commanded to be adhered to or to be accursed. I go to a Baptist Church but there are many Baptist Churches that are no longer "Christian" but the name is still valid, at least in our area. Mormon doctrine has never held to Bible teachings, given by angels, denies Christ and the list goes on and on. A title that is corrupt from the get go. Jehovah's Witnesses at one time used the word Christian but soon realized that association with the word put too much attention on Jesus and they could not have that! So they dropped the title. I have no problem with you being an historian and generically using the term Christian. I know you feel it more accurate to call what is called Christian, Christian. I just wanted to inform you that using the term may cause a bigger misunderstanding than the "accuracy" tries to prevent.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

no body— You wrote: "those individual [old main line] churches have changed the doctrine from that of the apostles doctrine."

They certainly have. They hold to the idea that doctrines are 'evolving' not static, which has some validity. But not all doctrines can be true, of course. They can and have evolve from true to false.

I see your point that those old main line churches at least at one time had orthodox doctrinal beliefs whereas some newer denominations might not have ever had them. I am not sure that makes the former better—apostasy, after all, considered a pretty serious affair. Backsliding so to speak. Didn't Jesus say it would be ten times worse after the backslide than before? In other words, worse than if they have never believed the truth in the first place?

I do appreciate the overarching premise of your comments. I surely do not mean to sow confusion. Thank you for your thoughtful analysis. I will ruminate on this further.


no body profile image

no body 5 years ago from Rochester, New York

No biggie brother. I think that you have a good heart and a love for accurate history. I appreciate you listening and I love your open heart. Love ya, Bob.


olodarkwriter profile image

olodarkwriter 5 years ago from Arkansas

Has anybody mentioned that Mormonism is basically about sex, as is Islam and some other religions. The goal of a Mormon man is to have lots of children (thus the multiple wives of the past and still practiced by some) to populate his own personal eternal planet where he will have lots of sex with lots of wives and fill the planet up with offspring for eternity. I am not making this up, check it out. They don't tell you about this when they knock on your door. (And why do you spose those young Islamic men are so eager to be suicide bombers but to gain the 76 virgins for all eternity. Heck if I thought that was true I might blow myself up too.)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

no body— I love you, Brother Bob. Thank you for bringing this discrepancy to my attention. You are a good man.

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

olodarkwriter— Welcome to the HubPages Community! I have played a bit of music myself. I look forward to reading your Hubs, which I shall do ASAP.

You brought up a point that no one else has: It is all about sex. hmmm . . . that is interesting.

The Mormons do have lots of children. They take the "Be fruitful and multiply" admonition seriously it seems. :)

I wouldn't blow yourself up yet. I am not sure that story is true. It doesn't make sense to me—a reward in heaven of sex with virgins for killing innocent women and children? I doubt that is happening.

Thank you very much for your excellent remarks. I appreciate the visitation as well.

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