By Marvin W. Cowan
Mormons often say that the LDS Church has “so much more than other Christians.” LDS do teach more doctrines that are not part of mainstream Christianity such as: people were born first as baby spirits as offspring of God the Father and Mother in a pre-mortal spirit world; eternal progression; three heavens; baptism for the dead; eternal marriage and sealing families together for all eternity and many other things. But are those things true? LDS also have more laws, ordinances, commandments and more “scripture.” But having “more” things to do or believe doesn’t necessarily make it true or better! If more desert is available so you take more but it is full of salmonella, more does not make it good or good for you! And Mormonism’s claim that it has “more” doesn’t make it true or good for you either! Christian beliefs come from the New Testament and it teaches a clear and simple way of salvation. Matt. 1:21 says of Christ, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” John 6:47, and Acts 16:31 etc. say belief in Christ will give one eternal life or salvation. Heb. 7:25 says, “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him.” I Tim. 2:5 declares, “There is one God and One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” In John 14:6 Jesus said HE is the Way to the Father. And Colossians 2:10 tells believers, “You are complete in him.” But LDS say that is not enough and that we also need all of the LDS things mentioned above as well as their four books of scripture, counting the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible. But are those LDS “scriptures” helpful when they contradict each other and the New Testament? Mormonism teaches that those who want to go to the “celestial heaven,” must obey all of the LDS laws, ordinances, and commandments, go through temple rituals and study “more LDS scripture,” etc. When more things are added to Jesus Christ, the One and only Mediator, it is a distortion of the gospel, not something better! So, all of those added LDS beliefs and works do give them “more to do,” but do they provide salvation or eternal life?
Some of the content in Smith’s JST of Genesis was not revealed until New Testament times so it is completely out of historical context in Genesis! “Enoch’s sermon” that Smith added to his JST of Genesis 6 and 7 has no valid historical evidence to support it. Joseph Smith said texts like “Enoch’s sermon” were lost or removed from the Bible by unscrupulous men. When Smith put “Enoch’s sermon” in Genesis of his JST, he tried to show that the Bible is incomplete because that sermon is not in it. But evidence shows that it was Smith who added “Enoch’s sermon” and other content to the Bible. Smith ended his elaborate story of Enoch in Genesis 7:78 of the JST when he had the entire City of Enoch caught up to God instead of just Enoch as the Bible says in Genesis 5:24. The Bible also says that Enoch lived 365 years and then was translated, but Smith’s JST says Enoch was 430 years old when he and his city were caught up. Did Smith change Enoch’s age in an attempt to show that our Bible is not accurate? No Bible manuscript supports Smith’s JST but they all support what the Bible says! Smith’s JST of Genesis 7:79-85 has added some “wordiness” that clarifies nothing but otherwise it has the Biblical story found in Genesis 5:25-32.
Smith’s JST of Genesis 8 generally follows the Bible account in Genesis 6 through 8:14 with some “filler material” added in places that doesn’t add anything helpful to the Biblical story. Part III in this series of articles mentioned that the content of Genesis 1:1 through 8:18 in the JST is exactly the same as Moses chapter 2:1 to 8:18 in the Pearl of Great Price, but they have different chapter and verse numbers. The book of Moses ends with Moses 8:18 in the Pearl of Great Price. The first chapter of Moses is not in Smith’s JST but it has some unique LDS doctrines and it says God spoke to Moses and he saw God’s glory and creations. In Moses 1:41 God told Moses that in the future he will write some words (in the Bible) that will be taken out by evil men, but will be restored through another prophet like Moses (Joseph Smith)! Moses 1:41 sounds like those words must be very important, but there is nothing in the book of Moses that anyone needs for salvation. The JST essentially contains the King James Version of the Bible from Genesis 8:19 to the end of the book of Revelation except for “filler material” that Smith added in several places. Genesis 8:19 to the end of chapter 9 in the JST has the content of Genesis 6 through 9 in the real Bible. Genesis 10:1 is the same in both the JST and the KJV Bible. From Genesis 10:1 through the end of Genesis the chapters are the same in both the JST and Bible but the verse numbers are often different because of the extra content Smith added.
Genesis 14 in the Bible only has 24 verses but the JST has 40 verses. Smith added 16 verses after Genesis 14:24 and mentioned several things that LDS do not teach or practice. In Genesis 14:27-28 in the JST it says that Melchizedek “was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, it being after the order of the Son of God.” LDS also claim their Melchizedek Priesthood is “after the order of the Son of God.” Genesis 14:30-33 in the JST then says, “For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world. And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. And now Melchizedek was a priest of this order.” Notice that everyone ordained to this order…have power to do these things! Yet, Melchizedek was not translated! And not one LDS Melchizedek Priesthood holder has done any of these things, not even Joseph Smith, the “translator” of the JST! Why don’t LDS Melchizedek Priesthood holders have power to do these things? Don’t they have enough faith or are they apostates? Or, did Joseph Smith get carried away by his own imagination as he “translated” his JST?