Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Claims of the Critics of Joseph Smith

The critics of Joseph Smith have created a message and narrative to convince people that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the result of a series of lies told by a 14-year-old boy. Mormons proclaim that he was called of God to restore lost truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Only one of two outcomes is possible.  He either told the truth or it is a lie.  Let's look at some of the possibilities.

Joseph Smith was 14 years old when he first declared that he had an experience beyond his an what most of us would expect as an answer to an honest inquiry through prayer. While many have declared visions regarding deity, his was different.  

When he declared that he had seen God the Father and Christ he was immediately persecuted. His story was a complete reversal of orthodox theology. He said God was corporeal and the mainstream sectarians and Catholics had long declared God to be a mysterious incorporeal substance.

From that time on he was called a liar and other things.  Because he would not back down from his declaration other methods were incorporated to try and get his message stopped.  He continued to add additional stories of visions and messengers from God. In every case following Biblical patterns and theology.  Why was his message so different and contradict the longstanding traditions of religious professors?

In attempting to deride him their implications are such that he had an astounding ability to predict the future.  Somehow he crafted a story that only some kind of genius mastermind could do. A story and organization that would deceive people starting in his day and continuing until the present day.  How could an uneducated 14-year-old boy conceive such doctrinal positions and organizational expertise? 

His critics like to imply that he started a cult.  The fact is not many members of the church have ever met Joseph Smith.  He was killed in 1844.  The church doesn't fit the definition at all.  People can join if they want to or join and leave or do whatever they want to.  No one is forced to do anything.  Any such claims are simply not true. 

All of the anti-Mormon claims that Joseph Smith was capable of expanding an alleged lie for some 200 years.  He supposedly was able to do this because he had experience as a youth conning people by various ways and means.

1. He said he had a vision where he saw God and Christ as a 14-year-old boy.   He prayed to know which church to join. Millions of us wonder why there are so many churches.  Any seeker of truth should want to know why if there is one God there are so many churches.   He was martyred for declaring that he was a prophet, claiming that he had many visions and brought forth additional scripture.

2. In the vision, he was told not to join any of the current churches because they lacked authority and their ministers were misled. He was told the theological creeds of orthodox churches were incorrect. 

Examining these creeds one can see the illogical nature and contradictory doctrines of a creedal non-biblical deity.  Joseph Smith was able to establish a correct theological understanding of God, family and eternal truth.  Having no theological training his message went completely went against the long-standing traditions of orthodox definitions of deity. 

3. He claimed that he had other visitors and visions that gave him authority to organize a church. Resurrected beings visited him. John the Baptist, Peter, James and John the apostles of Christ and others. All of his actions are established in the Bible.

4. He claimed that he, Joseph Smith was an apostle of Jesus Christ under their hands and received priesthood authority from them. 

5. He translated an ancient, sacred record from gold plates using an interpreter stone. The Book of Mormon.

6. He organized a church that he said would cover the earth and he did, in fact, do it. 

7. His detractors said his work would end when he died, so they killed him.  It did not end but grew stronger.

8. The critics say his scheme of conning people was so convincing that he attracted many smart and intelligent people to lead the church for 186 years without a paid local clergy.  

9. For that 186 years detractors have made negative and false claims against him, none of which have proven valid or been provable by any sensible means.

These critics claim that they are the only ones smart enough to see through this deception and con.  The critics and their shreds of evidence have all been demonstrated as nothing more than misleading narratives based on various opinions of inconclusive historical events or their viewpoints on current practices.  It is all opinion based criticism with no foundation.

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