Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Newly discovered documents link Mormon founder to crimes
09/16/2005 - James WhiteBy Jeffrey Morse
Sun Staff Writer
NORWICH – County historians have rediscovered historical records proving the founder of the Mormon Church was arrested on several occasions while living in Chenango County.
The papers turned up after a three decade absence, and may prove to be the most historically significant discovery in the modern history of the area.
The documents, which have recently been turned over to the Chenango County Historical Society, include legal bills from separate charges filed against Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, now the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The religious founder, the bills show, was arrested three times in the county between 1826 and 1830. County Historian Dale Storms said the cases involved Smith’s involvement in “glass looking,” or searching for treasure, and “being a disorderly person.”
“From the beginning, there have been people who have been against the Mormon religion. They sought to discredit him by saying he was arrested all over throughout Bainbridge,” Storms said. “It is not a small thing. ... These are important papers to a major religion.”
Owen on Mormonism: A Warning to the Discerning (II)
09/16/2005 - James WhiteBefore continuing our response to Paul Owen's velvet-glove treatment of his former religion, I found it most humorous that he has now complained about being misrepresented in his views of Baptists. If life were not so short, and time precious, it would be enjoyable to go back through just the archives I have kept of his harangues to put together a lengthy selection of his anti-Baptist statements, placed in juxtaposition to his "I'm being misrepresented!" complaint. Actually, a quick search of my own blog for "Paul Owen" would pull up plenty of substantiation. Also, for those interested, I examined, and refuted, Owen's eisegetical attempt to undermine the clear testimony of John 6:37ff to the truth of divine predestination on the Dividing Line today (9/15/05 for those reading at a later date). His completely a-contextual handling of the text is testimony to the over-riding nature of tradition in his thinking. We continue reviewing Owen's commentary on Mormonism:
4. I do not believe that the argument, sure they believe in a Jesus, but not the Jesus, applies to the Mormons. The accusation of preaching “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4) is directed at false teachers who knowingly deny the authority of the apostle Paul, and who intentionally proclaim a different Jesus from the one Paul claimed to have met on the Damascus Road. The Mormons do not intend to worship a Jesus who differs from the apostolic testimony, as Paul’s opponents did. Their intention is to worship the Jesus who spoke through all the apostles. Christian apologists, in their zeal to latch onto a prooftext, have misapplied Paul’s strong words here, and wrongly applied them to Mormons, who intend to affirm what Paul, and all the apostles taught pertaining to Christ, but who misunderstand some of those teachings. That, in itself, is not damnable. I take their claim to have faith in Jesus at face value. The problem is, it is a defective faith, because the Mormons do not affirm the true substance of the faith as it has been summarized in the consensual affirmations of the Church. The problem with the Mormons is not that they do not believe the Bible (many of them do); it is that they do not believe in the testimony of the Church as to the content of the faith once for all committed to the saints (Jude 3). In short, the problem with the Mormons is not that they are not Evangelicals, but that they are not Catholic Christians....
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Owen on Mormonism: A Warning to the Discerning
09/13/2005 - James WhitePaul Owen, a name well known to anyone who has read this blog with any regularity, has one again demonstrated an incredible double-standard in how he deals with theological issues and movements. We know what the young Dr. Owen thinks of Baptists: his language is as harsh as can be and the accusations, insults, and basic ad-hominem flows freely from his keyboard when anything "Baptist" is discussed (though, of course, he throws all Baptists into one big lump to do so, often resulting in embarrassingly simplistic misrepresentations). But almost no one else receives the same kind of banal opprobrium from Owen's vaunted and exalted scholarship, including, obviously, the Mormons. This should be important to a wide variety of our readers, since Owen has snagged the attention of Christian publishers and has edited one volume already relevant to the topic of Mormonism. One would think that many of those involved with those publishing projects would wish to be aware of Owen's constant denigration of anything "Baptist" coupled with his willingness to "spin" the most horrific heresies for everyone else. I refer to some "clarifications" he has posted regarding Mormonism, in which we read the following:
2. I have never advocated accepting the self-professed Christian status of the Mormon Church. There is such a thing as the visible church, united around a common faith which is articulated in the Nicene Creed and similar ecumenical statements of faith, and entered into by Trinitarian baptism. The Mormon Church does not formally give their assent to the Creed, does not accept the doctrine of the Trinity as it has been historically understood, and hence does not validly baptize its converts. I view no unbaptized person as a Christian (which is not to say that God is not free to do so).
Let's make sure we fully understand this assertion, for it is a long way from why the vast majority of believers have rejected Mormonism as a "Christian religion." Why have Christians rejected Mormonism from the start and sought to evangelize them? Because Mormonism and Christianity differ at the most fundamental level. Mormonism's God is not the God of Christianity. Mormonism's God became a god at a time in the distant past through a process of progression and exaltation; men and God are of the same species, just at different points in their progression. When Joseph Smith, the self-proclaimed prophet through whom the entire Christian faith was "restored," informed us that his God had not been God from all eternity, he forever separated his followers from the Christian faith. All the rest of Mormonism's errors---their errors about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, man, sin, salvation, the Scriptures, priesthood, etc.---all flow from this basic error: that Christianity is monotheistic and believes that God is God and man is His creature; Mormonism is polytheistic and believes God and man are of the same species. Faith in a false god, no matter what names you use for that god, is a false faith that cannot save, and since the work of the Spirit is to sanctify us in the truth, God does not save His people through such false worship. ...
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Phil Johnson on Mormonism, Millet, Mosser & Owen
09/08/2005 - James WhitePhil Johnson's last two blog articles are most interesting not only on the subject of Mormonism and the media-oriented use of meetings by LDS scholars with evangelical leaders but, for those of us who have watched Owen undermining anything and everything that is good and godly for years now, for the insight it gives us into just how long he's been at it. It is so very odd to see a "former Mormon" telling Phil Johnson to "repent" of his attitude toward Mormons. Really makes you wonder....