Bible Class Curricula - Denominational Doctrines (Part 1) - Lesson #9 - The Mormon Religion

  1. History of the Mormon Movement
    1. When did it start? April 6, 1830
    2. Where did it start? Palmyra/Fayette, New York
    3. Where is their headquarters? Salt Lake City, Utah
    4. Who founded it? Joseph Smith
    5. What is their authority? The Bible and its alleged long-lost companion, the Book of Mormon. Actually, the Book of Mormon and other Mormon writings are their authority. Mormons claim the Bible as their authority only so as to appease Christians.
  2. History of Joseph Smith
    1. Joseph Smith’s Character
      1. Joseph Smith was well known (before writing the Book of Mormon) as being a treasure hunter. In fact, Smith was tried in court (State of New York v. Joseph Smith). He was found guilty of being a disorderly person and an imposter who claimed to find buried treasure by looking into stones.1
      2. Joseph Smith was known to be a liar and a polygamist. He was asked repeatedly if he had more than one wife. Every time he was accused of polygamy, he denied the allegation. It was not until 1852 that Mormons publicly admitted they were practicing polygamy. Fawn Brodie, niece of Mormon “prophet” David O. McKay, noted that Joseph Smith actually had 49 wives ranging in age from 15 to 59.2
    2. Joseph Smith’s Prophecies
      1. The wildest of all Joseph’s prophecies concerns the moon being populated. He fabricated a story that the moon was populated with people who were six feet tall, dressed like Quakers, and lived to be a thousand years old.3 (See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)
      2. Joseph Smith prophesied that God told him to send David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery to Toronto, Canada, to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon. The two men were unable to sell the copyright, and thus returned to question Smith about his “revelation.” His answer stands as a striking commentary on Mormonism. Smith said, "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil."4 (See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)
      3. Joseph Smith prophesied that the Lord would return in 1835. When that did not take place, he changed the date to 1843. When the Lord did not return on that occasion either, he once again changed the date, this time to 1891.5 (See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)
      4. Joseph Smith made the bold claim that "neither the rage of devils nor the malice of men shall ever cause him to fall by the hand of his enemies until he has seen Christ in the flesh at his final coming."6(See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)
  3. Examining the Book of Mormon
    1. The Book of Mormon was allegedly given to Joseph Smith in 1820 (by an angel named Moroni) at Palmyra, New York. The angel is supposed to have directed Smith to a stone box that contained the two golden plates containing the text of the book, as well as the urim and thumim (for translating the text). The Book of Mormon was completed (and went on sale) in 1830. It claims to be "another revelation of Jesus Christ" given to Native Americans of North America.
    2. The authorship of the Book of Mormon is clearly seen in the original title page, which tells us whose work the Book of Mormon actually is.

      "The Book of Mormon: … if there be fault, it be the mistake of men … By Joseph Smith, Junior, author and proprietor. Palmyra: printed by E. B. Grandin, for the author. 1830."

    3. The Book of Mormon defies good science.
      1. From A Biologist Examines the Book of Mormon by Thomas D.S. Key. Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation (June 1985), pp. 96–99.The Scientific Accuracy of the Book of Mormon

        Mormon ConceptScientific Fact

        Burying swords in the Earth will keep them bright (unrusted) Alma 24:16Burying swords in the dirt will actually accelerate their rusting.

        Leprosy occurred in the Americas in 34 A.D. III Nephi 17:7.The first known case of leprosy in the Americas was in 1758.

        Indians had many official records (Helaman 3:15), scrolls (Mormon 5:23), and other writings. Mormon 9:2; III Nephi 9:18; 12:18The Indians wrote no books and used only simple picture writing.

        God cursed the Indians with dark skin, and anyone who marries Indians "shall be cursed with the same cursing." 2 Nephi 5:21; Jacob 3:3-9; Mormon 5:15-17; 2 Nephi 5:23; Alma 3:6-10.If this were true, there would be no "part Indians," only "full Indians." This statement is genetically incorrect.

        When Indians accept Mormon teachings, they will become "a white and delightsome people." 2 Nephi 30:5-7; 3 Nephi 2:15There are no case histories of this occurring. In fact, such a change would imply a correlation between goodness and degrees of whiteness.

        Baldness is caused by sin. 2 Nephi 13:24Baldness is hereditary (or chemically caused).

        Domestic cattle, oxen, and cows are separate species, and were present in the Americas when man came here. Ether 9:18-19These animals are all the same species, and were not in the Americas when man arrived here.

        Numerous people and animals in North America were exterminated by poisonous snakes, with sheep driven to the south by the snakes (which cooperated with each other). The people ate the animals that had been killed by the snakes. Ether 9:30-34.There are very few poisonous snakes in North America. Going south increases the probability of contact with snakes. Snakes do not cooperate with each other or with any other creature. There would be too many dead animals for the people to have eaten them. Plus, this would have been against Jewish dietary laws.

        Lions are beasts of the forests. 3 Nephi 20:16; 21:12Lions live in the Savannahs, not in the forests.

        Silk was produced in the Americas. 1 Nephi 13:7; Alma 4:6; Ether 9:17, 10:24Silk was and is produced in Asia. It was exclusively produced in Asia at the supposed time of the events recorded.

        Indians used butter, honey and candles. 2 Nephi 17:15; 3 Nephi 8:21These items were unknown to the Indians, and were introduced by Europeans after Columbus.

        Disease is caused by climate. Alma 46:40Disease is not caused by climate.

        Arabia has much fruit and honey. 1 Nephi 17:5Arabia is a desert, and has been for many thousands of years.

        Jews made ships from the "ample timber of Arabia." 1 Nephi 18:1There are few trees in Arabia, and none was usable for ship building.

        The Arabian River named Laman flows continually into the Red Sea. 1 Nephi 2:6-9.There are no rivers at all in Arabia flowing into the Red Sea, nor have there ever been in human history.

        North America originally had cows, oxen, asses, and horses. 1 Nephi 18:25There were no cows, horses, or asses in North America when it was first discovered.

        Jared and his family kept all species of fish that inhabit the Americas alive in aquaria for 344 days. Ether 6:1 He brought these to the Americas, as well as the birds, bees, and seed that populate North America. Ether 2:2-3, 5:4American birds and fish are for the most part different than those of the old world, there are very few species of any of these forms that are the same on both continents.

        Native language of the Hebrews between 600 B.C. and 91 B.C. was Egyptian. 1 Nehpi 1:2; Mosiah 1:4; Mormon 9:32 – refers to the "reformed Egyptian" language existing about 400 A.D.The Hebrews spoke Hebrew in 600 B.C. due to the Babylonian captivity from 560 to 538 B.C. Aramaic became the language of the people after that. "Reformed Egyptian" is not a language.

        Plant grafting was done in the Americas between 600 B.C. and 421 A.D. 1 Nephi 15:16; Jacob 5Grafting was not practiced by the Indians at all in the Americas.

        Leopards, asps, and cockatrices were present in North America. 2 Nephi 21:6-8, 30:12-14None of these animals is native to North America.

      2. A letter from the Smithsonian Institution about the alleged scientific accuracy of the Book of Mormon. (Please note, biblical and secular evidence supports many of the Smithsonian’s general positions regarding Mormon allegations but not all the Smithsonian’s specific dates.)

        Information from the

        National Museum of Natural History
        Smithsonian Institution  Washington, D.C.  20560

        Your recent inquiry concerning the Smithsonian Institution’s alleged use of the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide has been received in the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology.

        The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. The Smithsonian Institution has never used it in archeological research and any information that you have received to the contrary is incorrect. Accurate information about the Smithsonian’s position is contained in the enclosed Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon, which was prepared to respond to the numerous inquiries that the Smithsonian receives on this topic. 

        Because the Smithsonian regards the unauthorized use of its name to disseminate inaccurate information as unlawful, we would appreciate your assistance in providing us with the names of any individuals who are misusing the Smithsonian’s name. Please address any correspondence to:

        Anthropology Outreach Office
        Department of Anthropology
        National Museum of Natural History MRC 112
        Smithsonian Institution
        Washington, DC  20560

        Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon*

        1. The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.
        2. The physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and northeastern Asia. Archaeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World – probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age – in a continuing series of small migrations beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.
        3. Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach this continent from the East were the Norsemen, who briefly visited the northeastern part of North America around 1000 A.D. and then settled in Greenland. There is no evidence to show that they reached Mexico or Central America.
        4. None of the principal Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the dog) occurred in the New World in pre-Columbian times. This is one of the main lines of evidence supporting the scientific premise that contacts with Old World civilizations if they occurred, were of very little significance for the development of American Indian civilizations. American Indians had no wheat, barley, oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, or camels before 1492. (Camels and horses were in the Americas, along with the bison, mammoth, and mastodon, but all these animals became extinct around 10,000 B.C. at the time the early big game hunters traveled across the Americas.)
        5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492 (except for occasional use of unsmelted meteoric iron). Native copper was worked in various locations in pre-Columbian times, but true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region, where its occurrence in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver, copper, and their alloys, but not iron.
        6. There is a possibility that the spread of cultural traits across the Pacific to Mesoamerica and the northwestern coast of South America began several hundred years before the Christian era. However, any such inter-hemispheric contacts appear to have been the results of accidental voyages originating in eastern and southern Asia. It is by no means certain that even such contacts occurred with the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, or other peoples of Western Asia and the Near East.
        7. No reputable Egyptologist or other specialists on Old World archeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archeological remains in Mexico and archeological remains in Egypt.
        8. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.
        9. There are copies of the Book of Mormon in the library of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

        *Prepared by the Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution

    4. The Book of Mormon defies common literary and grammatical rules. In short, the Book of Mormon, as originally written, contained numerous grammatical and spelling mistakes.7Grammatical Errors in the Book of Mormon (A Sampling of Some of the 3913 Changes Made to the Book of Mormon Through the Years)

       Original 1830 Edition, Book of Mormon editions of 1837, 1888, 1920, 1964, and 1978

      Title pageJoseph Smith, Jr. The author and proprietor of this workJoseph Smith, Jr. the translator of this work

      Title page now if there be fault, it be the mistake of men now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men

      1 Nephi 13:40the lamb of God is the Eternal Father the lamb of God is the son of the Eternal Father

      1 Nephi 11:21the Eternal Fatherson of the Eternal Father

      1 Nephi 11:32the Everlasting Godson of the Everlasting God

      1 Nephi 20:1words added or out of the waters of Baptism

      2 Nephi 12:9the mean man boweth down the mean man boweth not down

      Alma 29:4Yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable(words deleted)

      Alma 37:21,24directorsInterpreters

      Alma 30:16it is the effects of a phrensied mind it is the effect of a frenzied mind

      Throughout B of Now there was seven churches now there were seven churches

      Throughout B of M there were no blood to shed there was no blood to shed

      Throughout B of M there is two churches there are two churches

      Throughout B of M and also much horses and also many horses

      Throughout B of M these things had not ought to bethese things ought not to be

      Throughout B of M They did prepare for to meet themThey did prepare to meet them ("for" removed)

      Throughout B of M some have arrested the scriptures some have wrested the scriptures

      Throughout B of M when they had arrived when they had arrived

      Alma 23:1nor neither of their brethren nor either of their brethren

      Mosiah 21:28; Ether 4:1king Benjamin Mosiah (Benjamin was dead at this time)

      1 Nephi 12:18Jesus Christ Messiah (Jesus had not yet been revealed to the Nephites)

    5. The Book of Mormon defies common sense.
      1. When the immigrants prepared to come to the New World, God supposedly told them to make eight airtight square vessels. When Jared complained that they were dying from a lack of oxygen, God told him to cut a hole in the top and bottom of every ship and then to plug the holes. When the people on board began to suffocate, they were to open one of the holes. If they opened a hole and water gushed in, they would know they had opened the wrong hole (Ether 2:17-22).
      2. The most energetic decapitated man that ever lived is found in the Book of Mormon (Ether 15:30-31).
      3. In Jacob 7:27, Joseph Smith used the French word adieu. According to the dates given by Mormons, The Book of Jacob was written between 544 and 421 BC. The fact that the French language did not exist until AD 700 makes the usage of this word doubly ridiculous, and proves that the Book of Mormon is not from God.
      4. Baldness is supposed to be caused by sin (2 Nephi 13:24).
    6. Mormon doctrine contradicts itself.

      One God Plural Gods

      Book of Mormon: Alma 11:27-39, 44; 2 Nephi 31:21; Mormon 7:7; 3 Nephi 11:27; Testimony of the three witnessesDoctrine & Covenants: Sections 121:32; 132:18-20, 37

      God Is a SpiritGod Has a Body

      Book of Mormon: Alma 18:26-28; 22:8-11Doctrine & Covenants: Section 130:22

      God Cannot LieGod Commands Lying

      Book of Mormon: Ether 3:12; 2 Nephi 9:34Pearl of Great Price: Book of Abraham 2:22-25

      God’s Word Is UnchangeableGod’s Word Can Change

      Book of Mormon: Alma 41:8Doctrine & Covenants: Section 56:4-5

      Death Seals Man’s Fate Man Can be Saved Even After Death

      Book of Mormon: Mosiah 2:36-39; Alma 34:32-35Doctrine & Covenants: Sections 76:106-112; 88:99

      Heathens Can be Saved Without BaptismBaptism Can be Carried Out for the Dead

      Book of Mormon: Moroni 8:22-23; 2 Nephi 9:25-26; Mosiah 15:24-27Doctrine & Covenants: Sections 128:5, 17-18

      Heaven or HellThree Kingdoms in Heaven (Most Will be Saved)

      Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 28:22; 1 Nephi 15:35; Mosiah 16:11, 27:31; Alma 41:4-8; 42:16Doctrine & Covenants: Section 76:43, 70-112

      Murder Can be ForgivenNo Forgiveness for Murder

      Book of Mormon: 3 Nephi 30:2Doctrine & Covenants: Section 42:18

      Polygamy CondemnedPolygamy Commanded

      Book of Mormon: Jacob 1:15; 2:24; 3:5; Mosiah 11:2; 2 Nephi 26:31; Mosiah 27:5Doctrine & Covenants: Sections 132:1, 37-39, 61; 42:71-73; 43:12-13; 51:13-14

  4. The Book of Mormon Contradicts God’s Word
    1. The Book of Mormon contains numerous passages that clearly contradict the Bible.

      BibleBook of Mormon

      Church began in A.D. 33 (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2)Church began in 147 B.C. (Mosiah 18:17)

      "Disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (Acts 11:26; c. A.D. 40).Alma 46:13-16 (supposedly written in 73 B.C.) refers to Nephites as Christians.

      Jesus is the only Head of the church (Colossians 1:18).Joseph Smith is head of Mormon church (D&C 28:2-6).

      "Jesus was born in Bethlehem" (Matthew 2:1; John 7:42)."He shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem" (Alma 7:10)

      3 hours of darkness at crucifixion (Luke 23:44)3 days of darkness at crucifixion (Hel. 14:20-27)

      God is a spirit without flesh and bones (John 4:24; Luke 24:39).God has flesh and bones like a man (D&C 130:22)

      Baptism at establishment of church (Acts 2:38, 47).Baptism before the church (Mosiah 25:18).

      The Bible is all-sufficient (2 Peter 1:30).The Bible is not all-sufficient (2 Nephi 29:1-4).

      Ignorance of Bible is not excusable (Acts 17:30-31).Ignorance of Bible is excusable (Mosiah 3:11).

    2. The Book of Mormon plagiarizes God’s Word. Much of the KJV is reproduced in the Book of Mormon (over 25,000 words in fact). Two important questions arise from this:
      1. Why would God give His Word in 1830 America in the language of 1611 England?
      2. If the Bible has been perverted through translation (as Mormons claim), why is so much of the Book of Mormon a verbatim reproduction of the King James Version of the Bible?
  5. Mormon Doctrines
    1. Jesus was supposedly crucified because of polygamy: "A belief in the doctrine of a plurality of wives caused the persecution of Jesus and His followers."8
    2. Mormonism originally taught racism. Brigham Young exemplifies Mormon racism when he says:

      You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. … Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.9

    3. The fall of man in the Garden of Eden was a good thing (Mosiah 5:10-11).
    4. There are three stages of Heaven, and everybody is going there (Doctrine & Covenants 76).
    5. Hell is not eternal torment (Doctrine & Covenants 19:6).
    6. How does a person obey the Mormon “gospel”? I do not know – and neither do Mormons.
  6. How to Convert a Mormon
    1. Bring to light Joseph Smith’s numerous false prophecies (see Deuteronomy 18:22).
    2. Stress passages such as Galatians 1:6-9.
    3. Point out the scientific inaccuracies within the Book of Mormon.
    4. Ask Mormons what a person must do in order to be saved.
    5. Ask Mormon “elders” (who actually are single young men) about their wives and children (Titus 1:5ff.).
    6. Ask why Mormonism contradicts itself. For example, it both advocates polygamy (Doctrine & Covenants 132:1) and condemns it (Jacob 2:24).
    7. If all people are eventually going to inhabit some part of Heaven (Doctrine & Covenants 76), why do Mormons carry out evangelism?
    8. Ask Mormons if they realize that the original Book of Mormon contained 4,000-plus grammatical errors and that Joseph Smith claimed to be the author and sole proprietor of the book.

Study Questions

  1. Mormons believe in the authority of the Bible as long the Scriptures agree with what other book?
  2. Before using rocks for religious purposes, what did Joseph Smith claim to be able to do with his rocks What kind of light does this shed on his character?
  3. Did Joseph Smith lie about having more than one wife? How many wives did he have? If Joseph Smith is known to have lied about his wives, how can we know he is not lying about what he received in the Book of Mormon?
  4. List some of Joseph Smith’s prophecies that clearly failed or were lies? What does Deuteronomy 18:22 say about a prophet who lies even one time?
  5. After being confronted with a “false” revelation, Joseph Smith made this statement: "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil." Without the ability to do miracles as a sign to confirm one’s inspiration, how could you know if a message is from God, men, or the devil?
  6. In the original title page to the Book of Mormon, who is the sole "author and proprietor"?
  7. List some of the ridiculous scientific statements made by the Book of Mormon. What do these statements teach us about the integrity of this book?
  8. Was the original Book of Mormon grammatically correct? If the original was allegedly from God and was full of grammatical and spelling errors, what does that suggest?
  9. List two examples of how the Book of Mormon defies common sense.
  10. List three examples where the Book of Mormon contradicts itself.
  11. List some examples where the Book of Mormon and the Bible contradict each other.
  12. According to Mormon President Jeremiah Grant why was Jesus crucified?
  13. Do Mormons believe everyone is going to Heaven? Why do they evangelize?


  1. Tanner, Jerald and Sandra, Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? (Modern Microfilm Co., Salt Lake City, UT, 1972), p. 33.
  2. Brodie, Fawn M., No Man Knows My History (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1960), pp. 334–336.
  3. Huntington, Oliver B., (a follower of Joseph Smith,) Journal Vol. 11, p. 166.
  4. Whitmer, David, Address to All Believers in Christ (Richmond, MO, 1887), p. 131.
  5. History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 182.
  6. Cowdery, Oliver, Defence in a Rehearsal of My Grounds for Separating Myself from the Latter Day Saints (Pressley’s Job Office, Norton, OH, 1839), p. 1.
  7. Online: (
  8. LDS President Grant, Jedediah M., Journal of Discourses, 1:345-346.
  9. Young, Brigham, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 290.
TGOC Logo Small.png

The Gospel of Christ

This material is copyrighted by The Gospel of Christ and its authors.  This information is free to use in its entirety without further consent, however, modifications should not be made without contacting for permission.  Any and all images contained herein are believed to be free for all distribution and content.