Each week there are countless Mormon stories recited in Sunday school. Even more Mormon stories are put into podcast form and listened to all over the world. Whether or not you agree with the teachings of the LDS church, there can be no argument that the Mormon messages are finding their way into our culture.
But are these Mormon stories factual? Do they meet even the most basic tests of reason and logic? When held up to the light of common sense, do these stories ring true?
- One of the Most Common Mormon Messages: Joseph Smith in the Grove
Perhaps the most widely known of all Mormon stories is the story of Joseph Smith and how he met “two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description” while he was praying in a grove of trees. According to the Mormon.org site, Joseph was seeking the one true religion when he had this vision: “This vision of Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ was the beginning of Joseph Smith’s calling as a prophet of God. He was told that none of the churches on the earth had the fullness of truth.”
The story continues on to say that Joseph formally organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, thereby creating a church on earth that did indeed have this elusive “fullness of truth” that had evaded all other religions.
- Mormon Messages and the Law of Non-Contradiction
Simply stated, the Law of Non-Contradiction maintains that two opposite assertions cannot be true at the same time. In other words, statement A and statement B cannot both be true when they are conflicting. An orange, for example, cannot be both round like a ball and square like a cube. It is either round or square. It is not both.
The Law of Non-Contradiction also dictates that a single statement A cannot be both true and false simultaneously. For example, if Jane tells you that she is pregnant, that announcement is either true or it is false. It cannot be both true and false. You can’t get a little bit pregnant.
Suppose that you purchased a car yesterday, and you took that car to work so your friends could admire your choice. Bob, a co-worker, asks you if you purchased that car brand new or if it was used when you bought it. You answer that you had bought it brand new off the lot. A moment later Sally, a different co-worker who has just approached, asks you if you purchased that car brand new or if it was used when you bought it. This time you answer that you bought it used.
Bob and Sally, if they are aware of the conflicting answers you have given, would be quite right to assume that you were for some reason lying to one of them with your answer. Either the car was purchased brand new or it was purchased used. Both answers cannot be true.
The Law of Non-Contradiction is one of the basic building blocks of logic upon which we can erect our framework of human intelligence. It is one of the most useful pieces in the box of blocks, so to speak, the big piece we use first to make the foundation for the building we are about to construct.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Aristotle himself asserted the importance of the Law of Non-Contradiction by saying that “without the principle of non-contradiction we could not know anything that we do know”.
- Mormon Stories Meet the Laws of Logic
So does one of the most common Mormon stories, that of Joseph Smith in the grove, mesh with the Law of Non-Contradiction? Remember that according to the Mormon.org site, Joseph was seeking the one true religion when he had this vision: “This vision of Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ was the beginning of Joseph Smith’s calling as a prophet of God. He was told that none of the churches on the earth had the fullness of truth.”
None. Not one. Not a single church on the earth had the fullness of truth.
Compare this statement with Matthew 16:18 in which Jesus says “And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus said that he would establish his church on earth, and that nothing would prevail against it. Yet according to the Mormon story about why Joseph Smith started the LDS church, the very church itself was started because there wasn’t a worthy church to be found on the earth.
So, in effect, the Mormon church is stating that Jesus failed when he (Jesus) tried to establish his church on earth. Yet at the same time, according to Mormon.org, Jesus cannot be wrong and cannot fail: “We, of course, accept Jesus Christ as our Leader, our King, our Savior…the dominant figure in the history of the world, the only perfect Man who ever walked the earth, the living Son of the living God.”
The Law of Non-Contradiction tells us that both statements cannot be true because they are opposite assertions. Either Jesus built his church and no powers prevailed against it OR the church that Jesus built did indeed fail and that’s why Joseph Smith had to found the Mormon church.
- Do Mormon Stories Contradict the Bible?
Again quoting the Mormon.org website, Mormons supposedly believe that “Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of God.” Yet on the same site, and in the same church, the Mormons argue that the church Jesus established when he was on earth did indeed fail, and that it took Joseph Smith to resurrect the one true faith.
The Law of Non-Contradiction mandates that both statements cannot be true. Jesus either built his church and the gates of Hades did not prevail against it OR Jesus built his church but it ultimately failed on earth and Joseph Smith had to come to the rescue.
So, in addition to breaking the law of non-contradiction, Mormon stories (at least this one) do also contradict the Bible.
If you are a Mormon, you must ask yourself this question: do I believe that Jesus, the Savior of the world and the Son of God, the only perfect Man who ever walked the earth, failed in his attempt to build his church in such a way that the gates of Hades did not prevail against it?
The very founding of the Mormon church occurred because Joseph Smith believed that Jesus had failed and that none of the churches on the earth had the fullness of truth.
Jesus himself said that he established his church and that it would stand forever.
Both assertions cannot be right. You must choose between them.