Floyd McElveen's Example
Professional Anti-Mormon activist Floyd McElveen in his book, "The Mormon Illusion," whilst unable to allow his mind to deal honestly with Mormonism, nevertheless manages to stretch Mormonism out of its proper shape and refashions it 'nearer to his soul's desire,' which is something he is confident his gullible fans will gobble up and come back for more.
McElveen unimaginatively hangs on to the tail of the worst of the Anti-Mormon Army indifferent of the false trail he treads and carelessly lead his readers down the same broad path into the same darkness he has chosen for them.
It is a common claim that Mormons believe that all Christians are corrupt. They do not, but while false teachers such as Floyd McElveen continue to push it into their niche markets many will believe the lie. The claim that Mormons believe all Christians are corrupt is taken from Joseph Smith's report of what Jesus told him when He and God the Father appeared in the Sacred Grove when the boy knelt and prayed which Church he should join. The following is Joseph's account in his own words.
During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness. . . . I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
Joseph did what most Bible believing Christians do and turned to the Holy Bible for guidance. The Epistle of James he read,
While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
"Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to "ask of God," concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
In accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction--not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being--just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--"This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)--and which I should join.
- I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage [Jesus Christ] who addressed me said that
- all their creeds were an abomination in his sight;
- that those professors were all corrupt;
- that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,
- they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness,
- but they deny the power thereof."
He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home.
Joseph did not determine this for himself; he did not determine that none of the existing creeds or denominations pleased God. He merely repeated the message he was given. Why did some become angry with him, and accuse him of fabricating the tale? Is that the kind of thing God would ever say?
From the words of the Saviour Jesus Christ to the claim that 'Joseph Smith said all Christians were corrupt' is a journey that can only undertaken by one bent on mischief.
McElveen's implication is that whenever a Mormon quotes Jesus, then the particular Mormon is the de facto originator of the statement, notwithstanding that such a statement from the mouth of Jesus is right there in McElveen's own copy of the Holy Bible! That provides insight into the working of McElveen's mind.
Mormons accept other Christians as Christians, although they understand the differences in belif between the various forms of Theology and Christology that separate them.