VILE IMAGES OF
MORMONISM & MORMONS
A strong, dogged, unenlightened opponent...
When Joseph Smith learned that Oliver Cowdery was to publish a history of the early days of the Church, he wrote a letter to him saying,
I have been induced to give you the time and place of my birth; as I have learned that many of the opposers of those principles which I have held forth to the world, profess a personal acquaintance with me, though when in my presence, represent me to be another person in age, education, and stature, from what I am.
Either his persecutors had made genuine mistakes and had identified the wrong man, or else they were determined not to be restricted by the facts of history in their efforts to construct for Mormonism an image which would ensure that its teachings would never be embraced by those who became familiar with their image. To achieve this end the, language used in descriptions of Mormonism and its followers is intemperate. For example, one writer gives a brief but fair account of the Latter-day Saint Church but is unable to leave the reader with the favourable impression he has created.
[Mormons are] an admirable people in many respects....Their doctrines are wildly eccentric, however, and show as wide a divergence from the Christian faith as does, for example, the faith of Islam.
The sting in the tail leaves the uninformed reader with the impression that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more in common with Islam than it does with Christianity which it simply untrue.. Others have widely divergent theories of the dependence of Mormonism on other belief systems. We have already seen Brinkerhoff's argument for a Zoroastrian dependence; Decker and Hunt' have different ideas. They claim that Mormonism is directly connected with:
- occult bondage
- occult power
- Hindu concepts
- the LDS/Hindu connection...occultism
- right on target with the Hindu/Buddhist occultism
- the New Age movement
- Mormons have begun to work closely with the Unification church, headed by Korean Messiah Sun Myung Moon
- secular humanism...makes man the center and measure of all things. So does Mormonism ...
- as in nature (witchcraft) religions, so in Mormonism
- Smith was a classical humanist atheist
All the foregoing statements are designed to steer the reader away from the essential Christian foundation of the Mormonism and towards other putative origins. This destruction of the true foundation of Mormonism is vital to the task of creating a false reality of in the mind of the uninformed reader. One author who does this despite knowing that it is patently false is former Latter-day Saint minister J Edward Decker.
Decker, now the director of an anti-Mormon ministry, claims to have been a Mormon for "almost twenty years". He knows that the interpretation he applies to his twenty years of membership in the Latter-day Saint Church is based, not on his experience, but upon special pleading laced with distortion by his bitter anti-Mormon spirit. There is no other way he could honestly represent his twenty years of membership as years dedicated to occultism and Satanic bondage.
McCormick offers another foundation for Mormonism in "spiritism". Others see Freemasonry, or Catholicism, or Protestantism or some other 'ism' as its foundation. But it doesn't concern the myth-makers what kind of image they create as the alleged reality of Mormonism: any image that does not represent it as it is experienced in the lives of Latter-day Saints is employed to promote the anti-Mormon cause. The more bizarre and untruthful, the better to serve their degraded purposes.
- It was from the masons that Smith derived the ceremonies and symbols now known as the 'endowment'...these childish activities performed in the temples.
- Mormon magic underwear...secret Masonic markings...an occult talisman...they encounter barbaric bloody oaths.
Taking in the sweep of publications available on Mormonism, it is difficult not to be impressed by the ingenuity of the writers and the variety of their explanations. When these are taken together, as parts of the whole, the results are often essential contradictions, as the following extracts show:
•polygamy is still common among [Mormons].
•They emphasise the value of family life.
•Conversions to Mormonism...resulted invariably in the disruption of family life.
•On the whole Mormon missionaries are not nearly as well-drilled in the doctrines of their movement.
•Mormon missionaries...are well-trained and prepared to discuss their Church's doctrines.
Apart from such contradictions, commentators are almost unanimous in their representation of Mormonism as underhand and deceptive:
•a long history of intrigue and suppression.
•un-Biblical: ...thousands of contradictions between the Bible and Mormon doctrines.
•ravening sheep-stealers: With an annual crop of new missionaries, the Mormon leaders can designate a target area and send thousands of missionaries to saturate the area with Mormon literature.
The foregoing are a broad selection of the many charges made against the Church. They create an image of a "Satan-inspired, occult religion," "masquerading as a Christian denomination," but which involves "secret barbaric practices" behind the doors of its holy Temples. The images projected are of Church leaders who lie and deceive to hoodwink converts into believing they are being initiated into the Church of Christ and incorporated into the salvic body. Latter-day Saint leaders are portrayed as distorters of Bible teachings who are "out to get the members of your church."
No Temple attending Latter-day Saint considers that they have taken part in barbaric rituals in the temples, and if those who maintain otherwise were able to view these ceremonies for themselves they would alter their opinions. In these holy places, Latter-day Saints are instructed that they are the progeny of a divine parent. They learn that he has marked out for them the way of salvation. Such teaching encourages profound gratitude for God, and engenders a dependent relationship with deity. Solemn covenants are made between God and the individual which, if honoured, will produce a person marked by moral rectitude, obedient to the laws of God and man, and who consciously strives to be Christlike in all avenues of life.
It is distressing for Latter-day Saints to learn that there are those, who identify themselves as Christians, but seem unable to find no better employment than the creation of images which do not represent that which, for Mormons, is the truth and superlative reality of their own lives and religious experience.
Examples of how such images become part of the conscious cultus of some church organizations are discussed in the next chapter.