Salt Lake City, Utah
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
This book is about God–and gods, but more particularly about how the believers respond to the call of those various deities.
Nearly the whole world believes in a god or gods that are very difficult to understand or comprehend. This brief study considers only a small representative segment of the numerous religions and the gods they support, since they are so much alike.
Regardless of the great revelations and manifestations to Moses and Christ, the concept of pagan deities still persists. In fact, these beliefs and traditions have even been incorporated into the Christian religions.
Joseph Smith had visions which identified the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–and Christ. He revealed again the original concept of the character, nature and appearance of that God of the Bible.
Joseph Smith’s visions and teachings explain to us that an understanding of this true deity is of utmost importance. As a true prophet, his message from heaven should have awakened the world to a new spiritual horizon. But instead the gods of paganism still persist, and the world continues to be deceived and to invest billions of dollars in their spiritually bankrupt deities.
Through the information contained within these covers, hopefully the reader may gain a more correct understanding and appreciation of the true God, and His Son Jesus Christ.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
* * * * *
 Chapter 1
MONUMENTS OF THE PAST
In the beginning man was created in the image of God; but within a few centuries man was acting more like the beasts. Then, for nearly six thousand years, prophets tried to restore him to the divine character that once was his.
The history of man has been a sorrowful story. He has blindly advanced in science, but morally retrogressed. Vast and impressive civilizations have risen to great power and glory, but through moral suicide, they have crumbled and vanished. During his greatest triumphs, man became his own worst enemy.
From the brief sketches we have of the earliest civilizations, men possessed the same virtues and vices that he does today. And, in proportion to that moral spirit in man, he is governed by his religion. A man’s religion, or system of beliefs, is that strange emotion that can change his character into a saint or a sinner, a gentleman or a savage. In essence, then, the study of religion is the story of mankind.
Most civilizations have left us little more than monuments in stone. Individually they left headstones; collectively their empires left us ragged stone columns, roofless buildings, and partially standing stadiums. From the great pyramids of Egypt to the marble pillars of Greece and Rome, we can learn little about their rise to greatness and their subsequent decline to oblivion. In the jungles of Central and South America, vegetation covers the exquisite stone carvings of an architecture from a superior race–but huddled in straw huts nearby are their descendants who know little or nothing of their predecessors.
 All of the silent stone monuments that survived those nations ought to be dedicated to the stupidity of man. And we are on the top of that great superslide ourselves. We have learned about their history, but we have failed to understand what it meant. History fills the pages of our school books, but we have failed to learn the lessons.
Man’s dedication towards military advancement has been truly remarkable. From the sword to atomic bombs, he has learned the art of self-destruction very well. From hand to hand combat to the obliteration of great cities, the pages of history are dotted with his own blood. And finally, he has created the miserable feat of supreme disaster, for he has brought himself into the irreversible position of not being able to control the possibility of his own total destruction.
Man has always been willing to kill someone else for what he believes. On the other hand, there have been very few who were so convinced of truth that they themselves were willing to die for it. It is rare indeed to find men willing to sacrifice everything, including life itself, to sustain truth. In reality, man often ignores truth, and embraces fiction, fantasy and superstition. From Walt Disney’s wonderful world of make-believe to star-war science fiction, we are constantly being fed some unrealistic myth.
For example, we are first told that we came into existence by a low-flying stork that drops babies down chimneys.
 Then every winter some “Santa Claus” night rider delivers goodies to every house in the world between sunset and sunrise on December 25th. He, too, comes down the chimney. It takes a whole year for his squadron of little elves, living on the frigid icy Polar Cap, to build these presents. This and other grandstand illusions are supposed to typify the birth of Christ: But hold on–there’s more! We also commemorate Christ’s resurrection by running around the bushes looking for colored eggs that the Easter bunny always “lays” on a certain Sunday every spring. To say nothing of Halloween, New Years Eve, . . .
But, in our schools we have brought science into this dream world to make some corrections and improvements. As we grow up, we become better prepared to hatch out of this delusive dream world. Education teaches us to put an end to the stork-baby conception. As college students, we are now capable of understanding that man was originally sprouted from a one-celled animal or a little bug or worm that crawled up out of some swamp, grew arms and  legs, and became a man. This is really more unbelievable than the stork story! Our intellectual educators have substituted one delusion for another.
By comparison, it seems that truth has been hitch-hiking while fiction is flying jumbo jets. Our confused young students are now ready to believe anything-any-thing, that is, except the Judo-Christian history called the scriptures. Nowadays they call THAT fiction. Those Biblical records are so unbelievable and controversial that they are forbidden in most schools! The teachings of Moses and Christ are considered illusions, to be disregarded; but the theories of Marx, Lennin, and Darwin are highly respected.
Our present educational system is geared toward the destruction of true religion and the true God. But without religion, men are without morality; and where there is no honor to God, there can be no honor among men. In such an environment, mankind has resorted to the cruel and vicious waging of wars for his material, political and social gain. Their god is named Mammon.
Henry Thomas perceived the nature of this problem when he wrote:
It would seem, therefore, that there is a definite historical law which governs the life and death of nations. This law may be summarized in a few words, as follows: The nations that live the longest are the peaceful nations of the earth. That is, the nations that renounce their warriors and follow their prophets. (Childhood of the Human Race, p. 15)
The true prophets of God were preachers of peace. They put spirituality to the forefront, and emphasized the teachings of God. When Deity was written in their laws, He was also in their homes and in their hearts. Spiritual vigor swept away military vigor. And, it is only upon this premise that nations will ever have lasting peace and prosperity.
 Chapter 2
THE NATURAL MAN
For the natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam and will be forever and ever unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man…. (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:19)
Within the animal kingdom nearly every creature will kill something if it needs food. Aquariums with dozens of different fish live in complete harmony if they have sufficient food. Ferocious lions become docile and tolerant of other animals when their stomach is full. In all of Africa, the only animal that kills for pleasure is the wild dog. In many places of the world today, there are men who also kill and torture for pleasure. How regrettable that the nature of so many men has descended to the level of wild dogs. What a pitiful commentary to realize that almost every beast of the jungle has a more exalted natural character than that of man.
The natural man can easily become the most vicious and cruel of all the creatures of the earth. He can even become an enemy to his Creator–and with a little effort he can become a full-fledged devil.
In his crude thinking, man has thought that his greatest achievements were his military victories and the resulting subjugation of others–not the alleviation of human suffering. Thus nearly every empire has kindled the fires of its own cremation.
 How ironic that man often declares love for his fellowmen, and then continues to create more advanced methods of killing and destroying them. On a few occasions he has promoted freedom for all and then turned to make them slaves. Rarely has man shown love by sharing his last crust of bread; more often he has selfishly cheated or robbed his friends. It has been recorded that only a few men have walked and talked with God; most of them deny or ridicule Him.
What makes some men do good while others act like devils? Is it the food they eat, the parents they have, the color of their skin, or the environment they grow in? Is it the level of education or amount of wealth? What factors make him a saint or a sinner? Upon investigation, it is discovered that among the rich and poor, learned and ignorant, can be found both good men and bad. Thus, something else must govern the nature of a man.
The wise Solomon said that “as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7) Therefore, the character of man is molded by his own thinking. Just as his body is composed of what he eats, so his nature is formed by what he thinks, studies, believes and comprehends. A man cannot draw from his mind that which he has not put there. That which he learns to believe or disbelieve is what molds the character of a man.
How often civilizations have prospered or collapsed as a result of the gods they served. There have been silent gods, lustful gods, unknown gods, and man-made gods. But through the centuries man has been most proud of his war gods–and so he has been proud of his strength and ability as a fighter. Throughout history, the warrior has been regarded as the greatest hero, and war the most honored profession. For many millenniums man has been the savage barbarian who delighted in the killing of his own species. He lived on the coarsest food, plundered at will, and left cities behind in ashes. To rape, pillage, and kill was a way of life, and to him it was an heroic example of his courage. He felt it earned him the respect of his peers and his gods.
 It takes centuries for a civilized community to build a beautiful city, but only hours for conquering barbarians to wipe it out. Yet our historians gave these destroyers the title of “great”. There was Cyrus the Great, Alexander the Great, Napoleon the Great, and all the great Caesars. They were really great in plundering, great in greed, and great in arrogance, lust and despotism–but not very great in anything else. These men built a name for themselves by destroying civilizations. What did they ever constructively contribute to mankind?
Other nuts like Lennin, Stalin, Hitler and Tojo have thought the same–war, not peace, was their bloody path! The ultimate objective of most of these “honored leaders” was to conquer the world so they could make it an empire of slaves. In their search to conquer the world, their life still ended under six feet of earth. In seeking to gain the whole world, they lost their souls.
These demented men who conquered nations over the dead bodies of their victims, were essentially madmen. And when mankind, as a whole, recognize that these anarchists only throw civilization backwards hundreds of years, they will then commit these murdering barbarians to an asylum where they really belong. War, not peace; plunder, not prophets–this was their motto, and they left very little positive contribution to humanity.
When men prohibit the building of munitions and dethrone the men who want to use them, then we can say we are on the road to civilization. But tyrannies are seldom chosen by the people themselves; they are usually brought about by military victories or by a slow insidious injection of poison into the mainstream of government. The tyrannies of the past and the present began like the growth of little weeds–at first so small and so insignificant that one hardly notices them. But gradually they become so prolific and so strong that they choke out a whole garden.
 These tyrannies begin as a small tax, an insignificant license, a few minor regulations or laws. Gradually they absorb the principles of freedom, little by little, until all their freedoms are gone and people become slaves to a dictatorial police state.
The cunning operations of the devil are so clever and seemingly insignificant that he gains control of their politics, their religion, and their economy without people even knowing it. Hence, most laws, ideals and deities are subtly changed.
Greed, lust, desire for fame and power–these are the basic and carnal desires of the natural man. Paul understood this, for he said:
The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him. (I Cor. 2:14)
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:12)
Thus only by the Spirit of the true God of heaven can a man overcome and rise above the “natural man” and the darkness of this world.
 Chapter 3
PAGANS AND PROPHETS
The beginning of this world began like a fairy tale–a paradise of what dreams are made of. However, its ending is more like a nightmare. If there is any “evolution” to man, it is not evolving upward, but rather descending downward.
This study of man’s history is not only interesting and fascinating, but it is very important, for–
A person with no knowledge of history is like a patient suffering from amnesia. Knowing nothing of his past, he is poorly prepared to cope with the present and the future. (The Story of the World, John Southworth, p. x)
Both pagans and prophets have played vital roles throughout the history of mankind. By definition, a pagan is “a heathen; a non-Christian; a person who has no religion”. At times it is difficult to distinguish a pagan from anybody else. The principles which a person obeys determines what he is. A man may profess to be a Christian but still live by heathen principles.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matt. 7:18 & 20)
Carrying this concept further, the acts of individuals–good or bad–determine the behavior of a nation. Often nations have professed a religion but in reality lived by pagan practices. A nation’s religion, or system of beliefs, can cause peace or war, happiness or misery, prosperity or poverty.
 From the very beginning of time, man has engaged in various methods of worship. Adam walked in the perfect light of heaven, yet one of his own sons worshipped a different god–Cain instituted his own system of ordinances and delved into false doctrines. Every successive nation has concocted different forms of religion. As early as the fifth chapter of Genesis, it is recorded that man “began to do evil constantly”. From the Tower of Babel to the time of Noah men were wicked and served strange gods. The term Babel means “to mix or confuse,” and mankind have generally been confused ever since.
An excellent example of paganism is found in the history of the city of Babylon (now meaning any place of great wealth and wickedness).
Babylon the Great
Babylon took its name from Babel and was the capital city of Babylonia in southern Iraq. It became the largest city in the world and was one of the great centers of learning, riches, luxuries and wickedness. For example, the Bible mentions Belshazzar who saw handwriting on his wall. Since he couldn’t interpret it, he called for the wise men of Babylon.
The great city of Babylon was a thriving commercial center, and many nations envied her prosperity and power. It was beautiful, too–the Hanging Gardens became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The city had many artisans in jewelry and architecture. Their political system was renowned throughout the world and so was its trade among the nations.
Because so many other people and nations wanted to possess Babylon, a huge defense system was required to maintain a constant vigil. The people were religious, with Marduk as a chief god. Many temples were built as evidence of their religious desires.
 The Apostles of Christ, however, never said anything good about Babylon. It has been presumed that one of Peter’s letters was written from there. But it was the Apostle John who gave the most negative impression, for to him it was a place for the “habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit.” He said:
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. (Rev. 18:3)
Isaiah foretold of its fall several times. The Apostle John linked the end of the world with the fall of Babylon, indicating that they were one and the same. It has been termed the antithesis of the New Jerusalem, as they are complete opposites in every way.
From such an early beginning, it is spoken of as one of the great last powers on earth to be destroyed. John the Revelator said Babylon would–
- sit by many waters
- rule as an international center
- be a great trade and sea power
- persecute the Saints
- be weakened by luxury and wealth
- become a great “mystery”
- have a sudden downfall
There were many reasons for the fall of Babylon, the primary one being because of wickedness. In addition, however, it instituted a tax system which robbed its citizens of nearly 50% of their wealth–similar to our taxing programs today. They also had a code that allowed them to make war against other nations and peoples, even their own, for not worshipping according to their regulations. Their federal policy forced itself into the very lives of its citizens in the most detailed system.
 Babylon gained the reputation of “acting against God’s people” because of their opposition and persecution. The Apostle John described the city as “the mother of harlots”, because she spawned her corrupt system and laws into all other nations and people. For this reason, the apostles looked upon the rest of the world in the same light.
Under Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon reached a high point in power and prosperity. It became known for its destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of Judah, bringing the nation of Judah under the control of the god Marduk around 587 B.C.
By 331 B.C. Babylon was captured by Alexander the Great, who never allowed it to rise again. Actually, at Alexander’s death, Babylon faded away to its gradual demise. Thus came the fall of one of “the greatest empires in history.”
The civilization of Babylon originated early in world history, as it is recorded in the tenth chapter of Genesis; however, its power and influence among other nations are still felt today. In the last days, according to the testimony of the Apostle John, this powerful influence will captivate all the nations of the world. Certainly it is evident that his prophecy has been fulfilled.
There are so many lessons to be learned from the history of Babylon’s rise and fall! But do we listen to them? Do we learn from them? Do we try to change the course of people and nations that are following in those footsteps?
Let us go on now to a brief history of the paganism that existed among the Egyptians.
 Egypt, Land of Mystery
The land of Egypt has been the scene of one of the earliest recorded histories of man, yet it is filled with speculation and mystery. The pyramids stand as a silent testimony to a great people, once very superior in intellect, but eventually crumbling because of moral and intellectual decay.
Undoubtedly, they once had a religion that was pure and elevating; but in time, like every religion from God, It suffered from the hands of men. Somewhere in the sands of time, man turned Egypt into a spiritual desert. Throughout their history, they had hundreds of gods. For instance, at one time Isis and her husband Osiris were worshipped. However, Ra, the Sun God, was the greatest of all their gods and was considered the supreme being. There were also others, such as Amen-Ra and Num-Ra. Ra was a hawk-headed man, while Osiris was a mummy-type being. Osiris was always at war with Set, the evil being–the warfare representing similarities with daylight and darkness, good and evil.
The Egyptians never worshipped images or idols, but living representatives of the gods. Sometimes their deity was typified in character by some animal, such as a crocodile, a cat or hippopotamus. In one part of Egypt they were sacred, while in another place they were hunted. The hippo was worshipped in Papaemis but detested elsewhere. Gradually there came to be divisions of worship among the Egyptians similar to the divisions among the Christians today. They finally experienced the full turn of the wheel of apostasy.
While the early periods of Egypt were glorious, the latter days were but a shadow of the original. Where purity of religion once was their law, soon it descended into many fallacies, superstitions, and ridiculous rituals.
 Egypt was once a busy, thriving land, filled with active people who thought and lived much the same as we do today. They had their great heros and statesmen, their businessmen and priests with high moral standards. But along the trail of success came those corrupt politicians, conniving bankers, crooked lawyers, immoral priests, and money-hungry ministers, with whom we are also familiar. Why does history appear to be like an old time movie continuously rerunning? There seems to be little need for fiction writers, as true history is more interesting and unbelievable than fiction.
Egypt’s earliest records are locked in secrecy, much more impenetrable than the pyramids. They were written in characters and markings with several meanings; yet the writers must have known those histories would someday be found and that it would take prophets to interpret them.
The writings that have been deciphered have taken us back over 5,000 years–far enough to learn that people had taken upon themselves wild animal characteristics. In 3360 B.C. a king by the name of Manes was ruler in Upper Egypt. At that time the king wanted to unify “Upper” and “Lower” Egypt, even if he had to bash in a few heads to do it. In fact, that’s just what he did! His expertise as a cranium crusher was so well mastered that he gave himself the name “a Mighty Crusher of Skulls”.
Through much bloodshed and many fractured skulls, Manes was able to unify Egypt again. It became a single nation–but with considerably fewer people.
Manes became a pharaoh, and, like so many before him, he worried about death–and rightfully so. In order to prepare for the Spirit World, the pharaoh traditionally had to have their bodies preserved. They devised a system of taking out the brains, heart, and entrails, and putting them in a jar. The body was then stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with spices, herbs, and drugs. Both the body and jar were then placed in a tomb with many of the material objects they might need in the next world.
 These pickled pharaohs thought they would rule as gods in the next world just as they did in this one. Manes was only one of the many Egyptian rulers who upheld this long-established tradition. Since some of them considered themselves a god, they required absolute obedience and subservience from all their subjects. Instead of seeking for the attributes of a god, they wanted only the powers of a god.
The sunset of Egypt was well on the way by 3000 B.C. as they began to merge with other nations. This is always a good way to digress. The nobles of the land took the reins of government, thus introducing the “Feudal Age of Egypt”. The pharaoh often became a figurehead with very little power. Thus, most of the pharaohs aren’t worth mentioning.
By about 1800 B.C. Egypt was invaded and conquered by the Hyksos from southwestern Asia, who ruled over the unhappy Egyptians for about 200 years. The Hyksos brought with them the horse and chariot–something new to Egypt at that time.
The tide was turned on the Hyksos, however, when Thutmose 1 became pharaoh, and he conquered their lands as far as the Euphrates. His son, Thutmose II, never accomplished much, and at his death, he was replaced by his strong-minded sister, Hatshepsut. Here was the first she-pharaoh, and what a woman! She knew what she wanted and took any means to get it. She knew that most of the men were womanly, and the women were something else; so she had to keep her identity hidden. She put on a false beard when appearing in public, making the people think that perhaps it was still her brother ruling Egypt. But that was not all–she would mount up with all her armor and lead the armies into battle.
During her reign many notable buildings were planned and constructed. The great Temple of Karnak near Thebes was built. These lofty obelisks, which are so well noted  today, are called “Cleopatra’s Needles”, but they were actually erected 1,500 years before Cleopatra’s reign in Egypt.
Hatshepsut’s husband, who was many years younger than she, was Thutmose III, son of her brother Thutmose II. As long as Hatshepsut ruled, poor little Thutmose III was kept out of sight and out of power, hating his dominant wife. When she died, he became ruler of Egypt. His first act as pharaoh was to have her name removed from every building and every monument in Egypt, wherever it appeared. (The Story of the World, John Southworth, p. 20)
He made a better military leader than he did a husband, and soon enlarged the empire. But one of his projects was to replace the old religion of Egypt with a new one. They would worship the god Aton. In order to get away from all the priests, temples, and ceremonies of the old religion, he moved the capital of Egypt from Thebes to Akhetaton. This religious reformation occupied all his time, and he thus neglected the functions of the empire. He changed his name to Ikhnaton (spirit of Aton). There are many carvings left of him and his new wife, Nefertiti, some showing them in a family setting.
By about 722 B.C. the throne of the pharaohs was overtaken by the Nubians from the south, who conquered the country, and according to John Southworth (previously quoted), the throne of the pharaohs was then first occupied by Negroes. (According to Facsimile No. 3, Pearl of Great Price, p. 42, blacks had been used as slaves and the pharaoh is shown to be white.)
A variety of Egyptian rituals and ceremonies have been practiced through the centuries, as religion of some kind has been the center of their existence. The original power and doctrines and gods were changed, however, and became similar to those of the pagans. One early scholar reported in 1884:
 Herodotus, the Greek historian, who visited Egypt about 450 B.C. was struck with the extreme attention which the Egyptians paid to religion. He says that they were the most religious of all mankind. The passing stranger was impressed with the pompous ceremonies, the magnificent festivals, the imposing processions and the many gorgeously-robed priests. He found large temples, where the walls were covered with sculptures, paintings and hieroglyphic writings. All Egypt was stamped with the impress of religion. Every art and science, and all literature were distinctly connected with religion, and were used in the service of their deities. They surpassed all nations in the reverence they paid to the gods. Their religion was by no means an open one. (Error’s Chains: How Forged and Broken, Frank S. Dobbins, p. 93)
Egypt’s apostasy came about the same way as it did in Babylon–through the influence of corrupt and wicked men, who gradually overturned good religion and good government, leaving their nation in shambles. By heeding the call of God’s prophets, they could have avoided such disaster.
Egypt’s history has continued for nearly 5000 years–about 25 times longer than the history of the United States! The influence of their gods and their religions, both good and evil, has endured through the years and will last until the end of the world.
So, after very briefly considering the history and paganism of Babylon and Egypt, we can better understand the need for God to send a prophet to gather and remove the righteous from such wicked surroundings.
 Moses, a Prophet of God
From the multitude of nations that have been born, developed, and died, relatively few honorable and noteworthy leaders have emerged. Of all the political, military, and religious leaders, only occasionally have we had any truly outstanding men whose life and teachings have made a positive and lasting contribution to the world. One of these few was Moses.
His critics come and go. But Moses still stands out as the foremost man of the pre-Christian world. He took a race of slaves, and, under inconceivably trying circumstances, molded them into a powerful nation which has altered the whole course of history. (Bible Handbook by Haley, p. 120)
Outside of the Bible, there is little evidence that Moses ever lived. But then the Egyptians were famous for wiping out all history of their enemies or predecessors. Often each new pharaoh destroyed every stone inscription bearing the name of the pharaoh before him. Some stone columns were erased so many times it’s a wonder they still stand. And certainly, Moses was no hero to the Egyptians.
The story of Moses describes him as being born to a Jewish father and raised by an Egyptian mother–which would not have been considered an honor by the Egyptians or the Hebrews. However, the facts are that he was born of Hebrew parents and his step-parents were Egyptians. It was, therefore, in the learning and teachings of the Egyptians that Moses received his education.
He was well on his way to becoming pharaoh when his life was turned around. Luke, one of the Apostles of Christ, gives us a little information on the upbringing of Moses:
 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: and when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian. (Acts 7:20-24)
The Egyptian taskmaster died. The next verse indicates that Moses had already begun his mission to deliver the Israelites from their bondage, but they didn’t understand who he was or what he was doing any more than the Egyptians did. To continue:
For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not ….
The next day when Moses returned to visit them, he was greeted with,
Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday? Then fled Moses at this saying and was a stranger in the land of Midian…. (Acts 7:25, 27-29)
Moses realized that the Israelites didn’t want to be freed–they were fearing for their lives.
When he had grown to manhood, Moses commanded an army for Egypt and won notable battles. Later when he wanted to lead the Israelites, they weren’t ready for him. He waited 40 years for them to get ready.
 When he was 80 years old, the call came again to lead the people, but this time it appears that Moses felt that he himself was not ready. He made excuses and seemed to lack the confidence that he had before.
But Moses was instructed by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to go back and deliver the Israelites with power. And to make sure he understood it, God repeated it three times. To introduce Moses to the Hebrews and show forth the power of God that was with Moses, he performed great miracles. These miracles were not to convince pharaoh, but rather the children of Israel of the existence and power of God. This was to give them faith that God was capable and willing of protecting and guiding them.
After playing magic tricks with snakes for the edification of the pharaoh, Moses and the magicians left the court knowing that Moses had the strongest medicine. But it was still too early to convince the Israelites, or pharaoh, of this fact.
To properly instruct the Israelites that the god of the Egyptians was not the true God, it was necessary to show them that the gods of Egypt were powerless. One of the miracles was turning the Nile into blood; the Nile was one of the gods of Egypt. The multiplication of the frogs was another blasphemy; frogs were sacred. They were so numerous that they were dying by the tons. The miracle of darkness was a blow to Ra, their sun god. The great grand-slam plague of death to all the firstborn was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The firstborn children were the choice of the Egyptian gods. Death to the first-born of their cows was death to their sacred gods. What a proof of the failure and lack of power of their gods:
The miracle of the Red Sea was further proof of power. The mighty Egyptian army was destroyed, and not one soul of the Israelites was lost in the battle. Battle? Not really, for they were on the run:
 The temples, palaces and monuments in Egypt are among the grandest in the world, and many of them were made by the Israelites. The city of Thebes, about four square miles, was once a display of brilliant colors and structures plated with gold. It, too, reached its zenith while the Israelites were there. While many of those astounding edifices still remain, the Israelites are gone. But the man who gave them a name, a nation and reason for being was Moses. He helped them to be a better, more powerful and respected nation than even the great country of Egypt.
It took ten plagues of national proportion to get the message across and the Hebrews out of bondage. But even then they didn’t like it. In spite of the miracles, they regretted not being back in the “security” of slavery. But under Moses’ direction, this little band of nomads grew from an insignificant nation in the wilderness to become the mightiest nation on earth.
It was on Mt. Sinai that Moses received the law–a set of rules that could make the Israelites a nation of kings and priests to the true God of heaven. Only four of these were directed to God–six were for themselves.
Every nation that tried to overtake these Israelite communities were defeated. The males of their enemies were killed; the women and children were brought into the Israelite camps and added to their families. This greatly increased their numbers up to the reign of King David, at which time they were feared by every other nation on the earth.
Out of Egypt has come a most impressive message: The Egyptians gradually abandoned their original and probably inspired prophets in order to follow their own man-made theories; therefore, God established through power and miracles a new nation under His laws, making the people even greater than the Egyptians.
 The most prominent feature of the mission of Moses was his revelation of the laws and the identity of the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That testimony and record is clear enough, says Isaiah, that men, though fools, should not err therein. But they did–and still do.
As in the nature of nearly all men, the Israelites sought to make God the way they wanted him to be, not the way He was. And it’s a sad commentary that because of the influence from those around them, they, too, became one with the world.
 Chapter 4
THE ROYAL ROAD TO ROME
The whole history of the Holy Roman Empire is a panorama of human barbarity, murder, and war. It is an excellent representation of the depths to which mortal man can fall, yet all the time professing a religion. The Roman Empire combined all the lust, greed, avarice and bloodshed that any of the savage nations ever devised; yet they claimed to be acting according to the will of their gods. Apparently it had not changed much by the 16th century, as Martin Luther said, “if there is a hell, Rome is built over it.”
Evidentally, the Roman Empire lost its political and economic power in the world–but certainly not its influence. Today many nations show the evidence of Roman laws, customs, and the wicked practices of that empire.
For over 1000 years Roman history reads like a repetitious soap opera, with all the villainy and wicked practices that script writers could devise. For a millennium the Romans conquered, burned, robbed, butchered, and murdered their enemies–and oftentimes each other. Their political system was always involved in some kind of conspiracy or assassination. Every election was just another arena, and the politicians who survived the sword, poison or strangulation, had a good chance at winning the candidacy. Every man was for himself. It is a wonder that the empire survived for a fraction of the time it did, with such emperors as Caesar, Cato, Caligula, Nero, and Constantine.
 Occasionally an honest man came along and made an attempt to help improve the empire. But this sort of man was more feared than the plague. Once there was an honest man by the name of Tiberius Graccus, who tried to pass a law to redistribute the land that had been stolen from the poor. They clubbed him to death on the Senate floor. That should have been a lesson for the meek and humble, but poor Graccus’s brother made the same mistake and tried to pass similar laws. They also ushered him into the local cemetery. An honest man had no respect in Rome. So it went–on and on and on!
Thus, the Roman emperors were a strange lot. They worshipped many different kinds of gods, and a few thought they themselves were gods. A few brief biographies are presented in this chapter to portray the beliefs and religion of Rome.
Among those involved in the Roman clearing house operations was a man called Julius Caesar. History lauds him as a great leader and warrior, but he really had qualities that made him great in the eyes of only the Romans.
Julius Caesar came into top leadership of the Roman Empire during the rise of two other men–Crassus and Pompey. Crassus was a shrewd real estate man, who did more buying than selling, which soon gave him both power and wealth. Pompey was chief in command of the Army, so he basked in Rome’s victorious image, along with the booty of many countries.
Crassus and Pompey both wanted the empire. Even though they were friends, they eventually became enemies. Pompey had just ravaged Spain, Africa, Armenia, Palestine, Syria, Arabia, Phoenicia, and some countries in the Orient. When he returned, he brought back over $40 million in loot–earning him high respect from the Romans.
 Rome hailed Crassus and Pompey as their greatest nobility, but only one could occupy the highest seat in the government. Another battle was about to begin, but this time not on the battlefields; it would be in the halls of Rome. Julius Caesar could see not only the conflict of power but also a strategic move that could place himself in a position to achieve the Roman Empire for himself. Through this personal ambition, he convinced Crassus and Pompey that all three should establish a triple leadership and divide the whole world among themselves. It was agreed upon and thus the first Triumvirate of the Empire was established.
Crassus died in battle, trying to protect and add to his great domain. This, of course, was not bad news to Caesar nor Pompey. Rather it was good news since it meant they had just inherited another huge fortune. Things were going so well that each looked forward to the other one’s dying.
Caesar finally came to the position in life that he had always hoped for–the fulfillment of his personal ambition to see how much territory a man could conquer in a lifetime. He began earnestly in this self-appointed bloodletting mission, and instigated the great “Galic Wars” by marching through Spain, France, and then sailing to Britain. From here he waded through Belgium, Germany, and a few other nations. For ten years he added to his honor of plundering, destroying, and killing. He had taken 300 states, 800 cities, killed more than a million men and captured two more million. To the Romans he was a magnificent hero, and unfortunately historians haven’t changed that image very much.
Meanwhile, “back at the ranch”, Caesar’s good friend Pompey was becoming a not-so-good friend. He was exalting himself and damning Caesar. Caesar heard the message and was naturally a little disappointed. He decided that Rome also needed a little touch of the blade to show them who really had power and authority. So Caesar and his soldiers marched to Rome with sharp and dedicated swords. This was new news for Rome.
 When Caesar arrived, he learned that Pompey, the Consuls, most of the Senators and many others had fled, and Rome was like a deserted ship. This was Caesar’s easiest victory, and he pronounced himself dictator. If anyone disagreed, they could join their ancestors. Caesar chased Pompey to Greece and then to Egypt. But when he arrived in Egypt, his good friends greeted him with the head of Pompey on the end of a pole. Caesar was delighted. Such fine and loyal associates were difficult to find.
While in Egypt, Caesar met another interesting friend by the name of Cleopatra. Although he was a bald-headed, 54-year-old epileptic, and she was only 21, it was love at first sight–at least for him. Caesar had been classed as the cleverest politician in Rome, but she was the cleverest woman in the world. She invited Caesar for a moonlight ride up the Nile on her “floating palace”, which cast a spell over this great Roman hero. He got what he wanted out of the trip, and she got what she wanted. She became Queen of Egypt; and when it was discovered she was pregnant, he decided to return to Rome–with the promise of sending for her later, of course.
Word came back that the empire was still going through internal revolutions and enemy attacks. Caesar wanted to recapture his fame and name, so he set out to eliminate all enemies. Victories followed and he sent word back to Rome, “Veni, Vidi, Vici”! (I came, I saw, I conquered!) When he arrived in Rome, he made the public announcement that he would spend the next ten years as their dictator.
Things were going smoothly for Caesar, so he sent for his good “friend”, Queen Cleopatra. When she arrived, she carried a baby son called Caesarion (little Caesar). But big Caesar placed the queen in a palace across the Tiber. He somehow forgot to tell her that he already had a wife, Calpurnia.
 Julius Caesar was a religious man–well, that is, he worshipped himself. As he interpreted the holy empire system, none of the Roman gods were above wonderful Julius, and to prove it–
Caesar had a temple built in his honor and two statues made in his image. He appointed a priest to pray and to offer sacrifices to him. He proclaimed that an oath taken in the name of Caesar was as sacred as an oath taken in the name of Jove. He passed a law to have his portrait carried in the gladiatorial processions together with the portraits of the other gods. (The Parade of the Sword and the Cross, by Henry Thomas, p. 33)
This was too much even for the Romans. They didn’t mind his massacres, rapes, and murders, but when he began to act with divinity, they gagged. In fact, they decided to gag him–or even better, give him a sword with the sharp end first. His building a golden throne and parading around with a jeweled crown was the final straw that broke the back of Caesar’s kingdom.
But there were other conspiracies brewing on the empire’s horizon. In Spain two of Pompey’s sons were stirring up a revolt against Caesar. When this news reached Caesar, he immediately set out to nip it in the bud. He recruited another army and marched off to put down the revolt and to kill the two boys–which he did. Because of the way in which Caesar exulted in these things, they were beginning to be repulsive to most of the Romans. He planned to have a grand public celebration in his honor of killing Gnaeus and Sextus, the two sons of Pompey. It was a spectacle, and as one historian said, “an inexcusable display of vulgarity”. Caesar acted like a savage gloating over his kill. This, also, was too much for the barbaric Romans. Caesar had the belief that a god could do no wrong.
 Then he proclaimed March 15th, 44 B.C. as the day he would be crowned king of all the provinces around Rome. But there were too many friends of Pompey, too many enemies of Caesar, and too many others who wanted someone else in the kingship. When Caesar walked onto the Senate floor to receive his golden crown, he received an iron dagger instead. It is recorded that 23 dagger wounds ended the life of another Roman “god”.
From among those most involved in this bloody conspiracy was Brutus, whom Caesar trusted and believed was his own illegitimate son!
The Emperor Cato was an unusual person. He was a master of saying one thing and doing another. If Judas could be remembered as a betrayer, then Cato should be remembered as a hypocrite. He was always preaching justice, but was inhuman to slaves; he spoke against vice, but was still immoral at the age of 80; he was opposed to extortion, but practiced it on a massive scale; and he lashed out at others for wickedness, but he himself was among the worst.
Cato was a soldier first and foremost, and he delighted in bloodshed. The best war to him was the bloodiest. He bragged of demolishing some Spanish city each day in his war with Spain. Battle to him meant killing every man, woman and child as quickly as possible. Cato never forgot the Roman defeats from the Carthaginians. So whenever he had the chance to speak to the Roman Senate, he would conclude with the words, “It is therefore my opinion, gentlemen, that Carthage ought to be destroyed.”
When nothing seemed to progress in that direction, he secretly stirred up a war with Carthage. But the Carthaginians offered peace; and when they discovered  the two culprits who started the conflict, they turned them over to the Romans. But Cato would not allow the matter to be settled that way, so he demanded 300 of their young men to serve as slaves on the Roman ships. The Carthaginians gave them reluctantly to save their city. But then the Romans demanded that they give up all their arms. Once again they submitted and gave up all the war machinery to Rome. “Was there anything else?” they asked Rome. “Yes,” they replied; “Carthage must be destroyed.” The ambassadors from Carthage begged for a little time to gather their belongings together in final preparation for its destruction. The Consuls of Rome put on a great display of tolerance and kindness in allowing them that privilege.
Days later the Romans marched to Carthage with preparations to destroy the city. To their surprise, the gate to the city was closed and the people refused to open it. This meant war, but the Carthaginians chose to defend their city to the death rather than surrender to such barbaric tyrants. Men, women and children had been working day and night preparing weapons of war. Even the women had cut their hair to make rope for catapults. They would make a defense that should be remembered more than the Roman Empire.
The Romans came against Carthage with all their might, but it took three years for them to break down the gate to the city. Then it took 17 days to slaughter all the men, women and children. A half million people died in that city rather than submit to the barbarians from Rome. The Romans were so angry that they tore down every wall, and every building was burned or destroyed. The ashes of the city were six feet deep. Nothing of Carthage was left remaining. It was a typical victory for the Romans.
The Roman armies rejoiced and returned to Rome to bear the good tidings to Cato. After all, it was his dream. But the gods cheated Cato of his great desire–he died before learning of the fate of Carthage.
Caligula was nicknamed “Little Boot” as a child, but finally renamed Gaius Caesar in 12 A.D. by his Roman colleagues. For seven months after his accession to power, he was very sick. Some say that it affected his mind, for as soon as he became well, he began a reign of terror in trials, intimidations, and executions. Men were accused of treason for the smallest details. He even killed the man who thought enough of him to put him on the throne as emperor. He not only plundered other countries, but implemented extortion, taxation, and confiscation of property of his own citizens. He literally squandered vast sums of money from the treasury, making his subjects wonder about his sanity. When he was attending the plunder of Gaul (France), he was frequently found by the shoreline picking up seashells and saying that they were the “spoils of war”.
Caligula was another emperor that ruled with the same religious and legal traditions of the Romans. He was able to crowd into his short four-year reign more cruelty, barbaric murders and killing than most of the other emperors did in their much longer reigns. This man killed for pleasure, not for necessity. Long lines of prisoners were marched into the arenas for wild beasts to feed upon. At his private banquets he would have men tortured or killed for the entertainment of his guests. One of his particular pleasures was to see men’s heads cut off with a single slice of a sword.
His final declaration was that he was partly divine, even though he was the only one who could see it. Caligula said he was in constant communication with the god Jupiter. He would walk around with his head tipped so he could receive messages from Jupiter or one of the other gods. He once made the announcement that the moon was his wife and that one of his horses was her priest. Obviously, the man was insane, which was not too unusual for Roman emperors.
 Among his abnormalities was an “extravagant affection for his sister.” Another was his desire to place his own statue in the temple of Jerusalem. Someone talked him out of it, but he still held his personal esteem just as high.
When his hobby became spilling the blood of his own citizens, the Romans feared that their own might be used for his pleasure. The time had arrived for a new leader. Different conspiracies were attempted, and finally one succeeded in deposing the little man, who thought he was so big, at the age of 40.
Out of the bloody pages of Roman history, none of the emperors ranked so low on the scale of humanity as did the madman called Nero. He was born in 37 A.D., only four years after the crucifixion of Christ. When his mother became empress of Rome, she became the fourth wife of the emperor Claudius, who had divorced his first two wives and killed the third. Understandably, she was concerned about her own fate, so to insure her place and station, she poisoned her husband. With the exit of Claudius, his son Britannicus stood in line to inherit the throne–but not if Nero could help it. So Nero poisoned him. It has been written that Nero “was the worthy son of a worthy mother.” With their ability to wipe out competitors, they were bound to excel in Rome’s political mechanism.
But Nero began to take more interest in the liquor bottle than he did in the government. He left the functions of government for his mother, as he preferred to revel and party with his friends. His favorite hangout was the local tavern, and he would drink until he could stand up no longer. He and his friends would dress up like hoodlums for excitement. Once Nero was nearly beaten to death by a Senator, whose wife he had attacked. As history has proved, however, Rome was safer while he played  the part of a thug than when he assumed the role of emperor. But his mother wanted him to have broader fields of view than the inside of the local saloon, so she began to groom him for politics.
Nero got married, but that’s about all it was for he completely neglected her because of his interest in a slave girl. Mother was very upset with Nero, and in the true spirit of Rome they began to fight. For her own safety and sanity she left.
Then came Poppaea, the wife of Nero’s best friend. The historian Tacitus wrote that “this woman possessed everything but an honest mind.” When she saw the chance to be empress of Rome, there was nothing she wouldn’t do to accomplish it–including murder. She was Nero’s kind of woman.
But there were three obstacles that stood in the way of Poppaea’s becoming Queen of Rome: her husband, Nero’s wife, and Nero’s mother. She easily got rid of her husband with a divorce. Then she plotted against Nero’s wife by telling him to divorce her. But when she realized that his wife could still be a danger, something else had to be devised. Poppaea told Nero that his wife was plotting a conspiracy against him–he believed her since that was a common thing in Rome. He ordered his henchmen to find and kill her. Under Poppaea’s supervision, the deed was accomplished while Nero’s wife was taking a bath. They strangled her, cut off her head and sent it to Poppaea as a present. Undoubtedly, this pleased Poppaea and she checked off two of her intermediate goals. Now came the third–Nero’s mother.
Poppaea began to hint, then strongly suggest to Nero that his mother was involved in a plot against him. Since the Roman emperors always suspected such things, Nero was gullible for this one, too–even if it did involve his mother. He listened attentively to Poppaea’s plan to his mother; he thought it was a good one and acted on it immediately.
 Nero sent for his mother, Agrippina, and asked her to meet him at the summer resort of Baiae. Upon meeting, Nero was weeping for joy to see her again–at least it so appeared to his mother. Nero prepared a banquet for her, and as a perfect host, he flattered her with attention. He even made arrangements for her to take a luxury ship back home, which she did. But Agrippina didn’t know that it was not supposed to reach shore. A trap door was opened when the ship was out to sea, and it sank according to plan. Everything worked perfectly except that Agrippina was an excellent swimmer and was picked up by some passing fishermen.
Nero awaited the good news of his mother’s death, but bad news came–she was fine and back home. Nero was heartbroken. Next time he would do a better job. He sent out word that his mother was involved in a conspiracy, and she was condemned to death. An armed force was sent out to put down the rebellion. This time he received the kind of news he wanted–his mother had been clubbed to death.
Nero and Poppaea were married; but in the tradition of the Romans, it was neither a happy nor a long union–at least not for Poppaea. For when she was heavy with child, Nero kicked her in the stomach and she died. Poor Poppaea! She had tried so diligently to be a queen, but was killed by the monster she created.
All the previous emperors were inferior to Nero–at least that is the way Nero saw it. Other emperors implied that they were divine beings, equal to the gods. Not Nero. He considered himself greater than the gods. A crucial quality these emperors lacked was humility.
Nero thought he could do anything. He was convinced that he was a master singer. He hired 5,000 people on one occasion to applaud his singing. When he tried to reach high notes, he would literally shake, but the sounds were worse. The audience would burst out in uncontrollable  laughter, even though they knew it could mean a death sentence. The laughter subsided as Nero continued singing for hours on end. There was nothing they could do but stay until they were released.
Among the other “talents” of this mortal deity was that of dancing. His instructor tried to help him but became discouraged at his lack of ability, so Nero had him killed. For one of Nero’s performances, he decided to dance in the nude. He wanted to show the audience that he had the body of Hercules. However, everyone else saw a “thick short neck, a narrow chest, an enormous pot belly, and two spindly legs.” His friends carefully but dangerously persuaded him not to dance without clothes again as the world was not ready for it yet.
Then came the art of writing. Nero was going to embark on a 400-volume history of the Roman Empire. However, it never materialized.
How else could Nero display his talents to the public? This was a problem for Nero. Then it happened. Fire broke out in Rome and for six days and seven nights it burned. Nero dressed up in a spectacular costume and went to the top balcony of the palace with a flute in his hand. He played, sang, and rejoiced as the city burned to the ground.
However, most of the populace didn’t see anything to rejoice about. So blame more than praise reached his ears. If it would have been praise, he would have accepted it, but since there was blame, he put it on the Christians. They were routed out from everywhere and Nero put his “genius” to work again. These people were now going to see how great he was, so he thought. He invited all of Rome to come to his circus. The Christians were mounted on poles surrounding the coliseum, then covered with tar and wax. At a given signal, they were all ignited with fire while Nero came charging into the arena in a gold and ivory chariot.
 He was followed by a wild train of Nymphs and Bacchantes. The spectators broke into a shout of joyous frensy. Nero bowed to right and to left, and then galloped away over the golden sands under the floodlight of the burning Christians. He was elated with his masterpiece. He had turned the darkness of the night into a poem of living fire. Nobody on earth or in heaven had ever before conceived so stupendous a work of art. He was the supreme poet among gods and men! (Parade of the Sword and the Cross, Henry Thomas, p. 47)
But Nero believed that his talent shouldn’t stop there. Next he prepared a long list of people–enemies, suspects, friends, those he disliked or didn’t need, anyone that had something he wanted–all were on the list. It was an order for them to commit suicide, “for the sake of Nero and good of the state.” Unfortunately, everyone on the list disagreed with him. In fact, it was the last great “talent” that he would ever display to the world. Other people began to realize that the man might include them on his next list. So a few angered people turned into a mob, and the mob turned into an army. They, too, wanted blood–Nero’s!
News came to Nero of his next great manifestation–his own death. Fear, grief and misery now came upon him, and next it would be the army. He ran like a fox with hounds after it. He hid in the house of one of his servants. All night he lay in terror, knowing that the army was searching for him. Then in the morning he could hear the footsteps of the soldiers marching towards the house. His friends suggested that he commit suicide to avoid the fate of the soldiers. He didn’t have the courage, so with the aid of a servant, they took a dagger and placed it against his chest. “What an artist the world is losing today,” he shouted, and the dagger plunged into his heart.
 “He had the applause of many Romans while he lived, but perhaps more applauded his death. Certainly no one wept. Here lay Nero in his own blood–a man who had perhaps killed more men than any emperor before or after him. Yet he lived to be only 30 years old, and that was too long.
Constantine came to rule the Roman Empire in 313 A.D. in the usual way of winning the ballot–obliterating all competition: But it was no glory seat because the empire was going through a constant series of revolutions and wars, not including the perpetual family problems.
During numerous losing battles, Constantine became desperate. He had prayed to all the numerous Roman gods, but he just kept losing battles. His mother was a Christian, so he thought he would try appealing to that Deity as a last resort. He won the next battle and was ecstatic about this new war god. He therefore decided that Christ would be the newest addition to the Roman gods. As he was marching to battle, he claimed he saw a cross in the sky, inscribed with the words “By this sign thou shalt conquer”, Whether he saw it or not, no one really knows, but this is how Christ, “the Prince of Peace”, became the war god of the Roman Empire.
Constantine was proud of his new Roman god. He, therefore, made a public announcement that Christ would be the official God of Rome, and Christianity would be the state religion.
The God of Christianity had taken a new role in the lives of men. The Romans had selected Christ to be their God, but Christ had not chosen them to be His people. Constantine became converted to Christianity, but it did not make him a Christian. Even though he professed a belief in Jesus, he murdered his wife, his eldest son, and a  nephew. The Empire had a new God, but they still had the same old barbaric customs. Their code of ethics remained; only the name was changed to protect the guilty.
Constantine was a proud man–he dressed in silk robes and used the scepter and the diadem of the Persian monarchs. He put on wigs of many colors and elaborate robes with golden fringe that trailed behind him. All who came to see him had to prostrate themselves before him. He rebuilt the city of Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople (the city of Constantine). He changed a great deal in Rome, but to do this he had to raise the already excessive taxes, turning most of the people into serfs.
The empire then had more internal struggles–this time of a more theological nature. It seemed that the Romans were ready to fight over anything at any time, and now came a controversy so disturbing that it seemed the whole empire would tear each other apart. Constantine wanted to put an end to this problem of religion before he lost this goose with the golden eggs. He called 2,500 clergymen and 318 bishops and asked them to present their beliefs of God, but the discussions were in Greek, a language he did not understand. When one of the enthusiasts became overcome in the heat of debate, he struck another in the face. This language was clear and logical to Constantine, and he could tell who was going to win the argument already. The highly irreverent and disputing array of religionists battled for two months before Constantine could put an end to it. Those who disagreed with his final decision would suffer the consequences.
At this point, Constantine reorganized the Roman Church as it had never been done before. The spiritual men of the church were put into temporal positions. Bishops became Governors, and the offices that were once filled with men of humility, poverty, and service, became, those of splendor, riches, vanity, costly attire, and fame. Christianity had lost its spirituality, but gained temporally. These “men of the cloth” were now surrounded and  tried with excess material means. Churchmen were more involved in money-making schemes, parading around the country with their leader, and feasting on the luxuries of the kingdom, than in searching for spiritual strength. It is written that the leaders of the church had “become rich, powerful, respectable –and corrupt.”
In the garb of the church, the leaders also began to use the influence of the sword. Christianity began to grow as it never had before, and converts came by the thousands. It was much easier to be a live Christian than a dead disbeliever.
Just before his death, Constantine joined the official Christian church. It would seem that he felt his “deeds” should be cleared by the church before he entered the next life. So after a reign of terror mixed with theology, he died at the age of 64, in 337 A.D. Just a little more than a hundred years later, the entire Holy Roman Empire collapsed. It couldn’t stand the weight of its own corruption.
* * * * *
Many gods have been worshipped throughout Roman history. Some of the dominant deities were Jupiter, chief god; Janus, the two-faced sun god and guardian of portals; Saturn, the god of agriculture; Genius, god of production; Mercury, the god of commerce and trade; Apollo, god of manly youth and beauty, music and poetry; Mars, god of war; Vulcan, god of fire; Neptune, god of the sea; and Venus, goddess of love and beauty. Paul, the Apostle, even found a statue to “the unknown god”.
However, all of this became so confusing to some of the Roman emperors that they could see more virtue in themselves than in some of these mythical and mysterious characters. It was much easier to worship themselves than a hundred different deities. As the Romans conquered other countries, the captive people brought their gods  with them. Soon Rome began to include them as well in their collection of strange and mystical deities. Even Christianity itself was included in this massive and confusing religious incorporation. But it turned out to be a two-way street–Rome adopted some of Christianity and the Christians adopted part of Romanism. The effects and doctrines of this great merger are still evident.
 Chapter 5
OTHER ROADS TO RELIGION
This chapter includes interesting biographies of six individuals whose lives and teachings have greatly affected world religions. Among the most popular religions are those named after Buddha, Confucious, and Mohammed. Martin Luther is noted for his work in the Protestant reformation. The ideologies of Marx and Lennin are included briefly because they have engulfed half the world and are threatening the other half. Though these two men do not claim to be religionists themselves, they have formed a set of beliefs which overlap into the field of religious thought. Certainly their destruction of other religions is reason enough to understand why and how they think and believe.
Buddha, Prince of Peace and Tranquility
Siddhartha Gotama, later called Buddha, was born in 563 B.C. at Nepal in the northern part of India. He was the son of the Sakya clan of royalty, so he had, for the most part, all the things that a young boy could want. At the age of 19, Gotama chose to marry his beautiful cousin, and they settled down to enjoy life in a dream world of their own. But for the next ten years they had no children, which was a dark cloud in the life of this young handsome prince. He was disappointed that God denied him the blessings of such an important part of his life.
One day as he was riding through the countryside with the driver of his chariot, they passed an old man, withered up with age, dissipated in strength, and growing  more feeble with each passing day. “Such is life,” commented the charioteer. “We must all come to this end.” Later, they saw a beggar by the road whose body was being eaten away with some loathsome disease. “This, too, is part of life,” commented the driver.
This was a new form of education for Gotama, for now he had seen poverty, old age and death–areas he had never seriously contemplated before. Gotama had been raised in the riches of the palace and sheltered from such sights; so this made an indelible impression upon him, never to be forgotten.
Gotama was touched to the soul by the miseries, cruelties and regrettable end that man must endure in this life. He was disappointed that God would allow such suffering in a world so beautiful. Many ancient prophets bewailed the cruelty of man, but Buddha complained of the cruelty of God. His soul was torn and sorrowful, and he wanted an explanation to these imposing problems. He even questioned if life was worth living at all.
Gotama’s father had a big banquet for his son to celebrate his birthday and to announce the birth of Gotama’s first child. Yet in spite of the joy of the occasion, Gotarea was still burdened with the problem of the miseries of life.
Early one morning he arose with his mind made up that he would leave the palace, his wife and new son and seek for the answers to his questions about life. He would become a wandering nomad, a priest, or an ascetic–just so he could find out what man was and why he was faced with such sorrow and misery.
For the last time Gotama looked upon his sleeping wife and child, awoke his charioteer, and quietly left the palace. At the young age of 29, he began a pilgrimage that would “light the fires of faith that still glow after 2500 years.”
 But his venture in faith was not an easy one. For a considerable time he studied under the Yoga masters, but he found no spirituality with them. Then he sought answers through mortification of the flesh, fasting until he nearly died–but still no answers. As a hermit in asceticism, he descended from the mountains with a bowl in hand to beg for his food. Through all his fasting, poverty, sacrifice and grief, he was reduced to little more than a skeleton. Though he was close to death, he was still far from the truth he sought.
After six years of searching, Gotama left the holy men, the discomforts of the flesh, and all the sacrifices, and in despair took some food and sat beneath a Bo tree one evening. That night he had a vision in which he saw the evil tempter of the world and was confronted by this prince of darkness. The tempter offered him the riches of the world if he would serve him, but the young prince called upon the earth beneath him to witness that he would not move from the course of his conscience. Finally the tempter left, and from whatever else he saw, Gotama received the answer to his great quest. He was now Buddha, the “enlightened one”.
With the coming of dawn and the light of day, so did Buddha become enlightened with an understanding of the riddle of life and the destiny of mankind. He arose and traveled to the city of Benares, where he found five of the holy men that had once been his traveling companions. Buddha began to decry the foolishness of the priests and their superstitious and foolish doctrines. For the next 45 years he became a traveling preacher to help enlighten others. His efforts have shown results in China, India, Japan and other nations, with over 180 million followers and half the world well aware of his life and teachings.
He taught that the soul must become subdued and subjected to doing “right” and live a “good life” until it finally reaches Nirvana–a state of perfect calmness or purity reached in its entirety only after death, but  partially achieved in life by those who are absolutely consecrated and withdrawn from the world. It was an exaltation which was more desirable than life itself. Buddha said that “each man creates for himself his own prison; so also he may acquire power equal to that of the gods.”
Many people are critical of Buddhism because it is not really a religion with ritualistic and spiritual form of worship. It is, in effect, a way of life–a lifestyle dedicated to a future life with established principles and teachings. This is really not too different from many religions. He promoted an eight-fold path that would end the sorrow of birth, age, and death in the world:
(1) right knowledge
(2) right intentions
(3) right speech
(4) right conduct
(5) right means of livelihood
(6) right efforts
(7) right mindfulness
(8) right concentration
Buddha also set down “Ten Precepts” requited of all aspirants to the Buddhist ranks. They were to abstain from–
(1) taking life
(2) taking what is not given
(4) false speaking
(5) using intoxicating liquors
(6) eating at forbidden times
(7) worldly amusements
(8) using perfumes and ornaments
(9) using a high or broad bed
(10) accepting gold or silver
 He said the only way that man could free himself from worldly cravings and physical desires was to discipline the mind against self-indulgence, power, conquest, and lust. Self-control is man’s most important objective. He taught that heroism means to suffer without inflicting pain to others; to be patient and tolerant of others; and to have courage in death.
Buddha defined the commandment of not killing humans or any other living thing; since we cannot create life, we have no right to destroy it.
“Let a man overcome anger by love; let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality; the liar by truth,” he taught. “Shame on him that strikes; greater shame on him who, stricken, strikes back,” he said. “Since, for each one of us, our own self is the most important, respect the self of your fellow man as you respect your own.” (“Great Religions”, National Geographic Society, p. 97)
One of the cornerstones of his beliefs was the principle of moderation in all things, and that only the individual himself can walk the path to inner understanding and the ultimate truth. The Buddhist doctrine relys little upon outward miracles or manifestations of the supernatural. Its basic principles are towards being gentle and peaceable. The Buddhists are among the most tolerant and peaceful people on the earth, for they have never shed blood in a holy crusade, nor persecuted anyone for not believing in Buddhism. This is the marked difference between the history of Mohammedans and the Christians.
When Buddha was 80 years old, he ate dinner with a blacksmith, but the food was tainted and Buddha became sick and died. His last words were for his followers to “work out your own salvation with diligence.” It is said that men wept, the skies darkened, and the earth trembled.
 To the Hinayana Buddhists, he is not worshipped as either a man or a god, but as the embodiment of a principle of enlightenment. The thousands of images and statues of Buddha in temples throughout Asia are not realistic portraits of an individual, but idealized symbols of those teachings and codes of life. They believe Gotama was not the only Buddha, for others appeared from time to time.
Religions are born, they grow, and they change; none is exempt. So it was with Buddhism. It has split into three major factions, with other minor branches. In India, during the years to follow, the monasteries grew wealthy. They owned great portions of land and had slaves, and they paid but little attention to the lay men. Then in the 12th century, Moslem invaders sacked the monasteries, and the laity had little incentive to go back to their faith. Buddhism almost disappeared from the very place of its birth.
Some of the teachings of Buddhism today may have originated in Brahmanism and later became incorporated into the teachings of Buddhism. They taught that every human soul may go through many migrations in this world on its way to heaven, and only after one has achieved a life “enlightened” enough through the proper teaching and living, can he attain to that heaven.
But whatever Buddhism was originally, today its teachings have become somewhat confusing and hard to understand. Certainly the original teachings of life were much better understood by Buddha himself. The mysterious goal of Nirvana is, however, still held out to those who embrace this faith.
Confucius, Sage of the Orient
Confucius, or Kung Fu-tsu, meaning the sage or master, was born in 551 B.C. in the province of Lu. His  father, Shuh-liang Heih was a soldier with a large family of two wives and over a dozen children. Confucius was the 12th child of the first wife, but when he was three years old, his father died. Kung-fu was a lad of excellent health and enjoyed games and entertainments with physical skill; however, he also enjoyed poetry and music. He acquired knowledge so fast that at the age of 15, his masters told him they had nothing more for him to learn. Two years later he had to give up his studies to care for his aged mother who was failing in her health.
At the age of 19 Confucius married and a year later he had a son, but his marriage was a failure. It is not clear why this marriage did not continue. At the time he was 24 years old, his mother died, and according to the custom of the Chinese, he was in mourning for two and a half years. By now he had adopted a firm philosophy of life and was enjoying the society of friends in whom he could instill some of his sage counsel. Others encouraged him to continue his teachings for the benefit of others, so he became a wandering teacher. He would travel along the rice fields, in the market places, and at any place at any time to offer his wisdom. He would be offered food and a place to stay with those who benefitted from his newly developed philosophy of life. He wanted to teach his fellowmen to be the most noble and honorable men of the world. However, he could see that in order to provide the proper surroundings for his teachings within his nation, he must first secure for them a just government which would tolerate, if not encourage, such teachings.
At one point in his quest he nearly obtained the success he sought. The ruler of Chi, one of the more unstable provinces at that time, was ready to offer him an important position in his court, but a jealous minister convinced the king that it should not be done. Thus Confucius had to leave in a hurry and continued his teachings elsewhere.
 Finally success began to unfold as the emperor of the province of Lu appointed Kung-fu as mayor of one of the cities. Later he gained more influence by being appointed Minister of Justice over the entire State.
Kung-fu’s district was troubled by petty thieves, but he considered it more important to correct the cause of crime rather than to punish the criminal. He suggested that people stop their greed so that negative influence would not inflict society–neither would they have so much for others to steal. Confucius also urged his emperor to strive diligently for peace in his administration, and then to try to become as a father to a Son by seeing that his subjects had the opportunity for sufficient food and adequate education. With such wise advice, he gained popularity and respect, and the influence of his teachings spread throughout the entire kingdom of Lu. He was on the road to making his entire nation one of the most civilized, peaceful and powerful anywhere.
Confucius’s dream of a super society and superior men was close to being a reality until the jealousy and fears of those in other provinces started to undermine his work. The ruler of the province of Chi, envious of the king of Lu and the leadership of Confucius, decided on a plan to overthrow both. He sent 80 beautiful dancing girls to seduce the king and his cabinet into a different kind of philosophy. The girls did their job very well and the plan was a success. The government officers were more interested in the dancing girls than they were in Confucius.
Confucius was both disgusted and demoted. The emperor rejected him and his words, so once again Confucius began the road circuit with his teachings. Often he met with opposition, and on more than one occasion he was attacked by robbers in the road. But he did not give up. He wandered over China for 13 years.
Confucius compiled five books, setting forth rules for private and public conduct, especially kindliness, integrity,  politeness, truthfulness and sagacity. He also emphacized the importance of obedience of children to their parents and the veneration of their ancestors. His position regarding religion was best expressed in his saying, “Respect the gods, but have as little as possible to do with them.” He maintained that if men would deal rationally with each other, then they would be qualified to speak of the things of God.
He declared that if his nation could be governed justly for a single century, then all violence and poverty would disappear. Accordingly he set up a code of ethics for men in government for their self-discipline. He raised the status of the peasant to respectability and yet did not detract from the honor of men in political positions. “Be loyal to yourselves, and charitable to your neighbors” was a theme upon which he based his views of men in all climes of life.
When his followers asked him to define his entire code of ethics in a single word, he replied, “Is not reciprocity the word?” When they asked him to explain the word, he replied, “Reciprocity means just this: what you would not have done to yourself, do not to others.”
The last days of Confucius were sad ones for him. He received news that his wife, whom he still loved even though they were divorced, had died. Then came word that his only son had also died. Many of his closest disciples had passed from this mortal world, as well. Confucius himself passed away at the age of 72, and he was buried at Kufow where pilgrimages are made. It appeared that his life had been a failure.
Only a few had taken his words to heart, and like the early Christians, they were persecuted for their radical doctrines. Two hundred years after his death one of the Chinese emperors made an attempt to burn every copy of his books then in existence. A number of zealous scholars concealed their books and were  buried alive for their disobedience to the king. Today the books of Confucius are as popular in China as the Bible is in the West. (Childhood of the Human Race, Henry Thomas, p. 38)
Every city in China had a temple in honor of Confucius. For many years it was popular to quote “Confucius say . . .” and give a little idiom with a special message of hope, guidance or wisdom, such as:
Let the sole worry of your parents be that you might become ill.
Shall I tell you what knowledge is? It is to know both what one knows and what one does not know.
Great Man is no robot.
Great Man develops the virtues in others, not their vices. Petty Man does just the opposite.
Great Man is completely at ease; petty man is always on edge.
Great Man seeks to be slow of speech but quick of action.
Great Man does not accept a man for his words alone; he does not reject a suggestion because of the man alone.
If a man does not give thought to problems which are still distant, he will be worried by them when they come nearer.
Do not worry about not holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role. Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing.
 Excellence does not remain alone; it is sure to attract neighbors.
The end has indeed arrived! I have yet to meet a man as fond of Excellence as he is of outward appearances.
(Taken from The Sayings of Confucius by James R. Ware)
Mohammed, Prophet of Peace and the Sword
Shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Arabs rose to fame. From numerous Bedouin tribes who wandered over the desert, they were transformed into powerful armies that conquered, captured and destroyed vast territories. In a century and a half, they plundered through the Eastern hemisphere from India to Spain, and from Egypt to China. This success was because of the combination of a god called Allah, a religion called Islam, and a prophet called Mohammed, meaning “he who will be praised.”
Mohammed was an illiterate camel driver, born in Mecca in 570 A.D. Losing his father shortly after he was born, and then his mother when he was six, his early years were troubled and tossed by adversity. For a couple of years he lived with his grandfather who also died, and then was raised by an uncle, Abu Taleb.
Mohammed was raised around a people who worshipped wooden dolls, a black meteorite stone by the well called Zem-Zem, and other tangible idols. He even saw humans, usually baby girls, being sacrificed to these gods.
At the age of 14, he made a trip to Syria with some relatives on a trading venture. Here, for the first time, he saw Christians and Jews. After this confrontation, he began to ponder the faith and practices of other world religions.
 Mohammed was a nervous boy, and had dizzy spells which seemingly caused him to see strange things. At 18 years of age he joined the army during the time when the Arabians were often fighting each other. It was in some of these battles that he distinguished himself as a diligent and courageous fighter.
Mohammed found that the army was not an appealing way to make a living, so once again he turned to the trading market. He became a salesman for a widow named Kadijah. She was deeply religious and also rich. In spite of the difference in age (he was only 25 and she was in her 40’s), she fell in love with Mohammed and they were married.
Once a year Mohammed would leave his wife and friends for a month to retire into a cave for contemplation and to seek the answer to a question which bothered him continually: “Who am I?” and what should he do about it? He wanted to know his destiny. But every year he returned from the cave with the question unanswered.
When Mohammed was 40, he made his annual pilgrimage to the cave with his question of personal identity. This time he received an answer. We are not sure what happened, but he claimed the angel Gabriel appeared to him with some good news. When he came out of the cave, he knew that wooden dolls were not gods to be worshipped. However, his revelation was not well received among the people (especially by the owners of those cute little dollies) who said his revelation was pure blasphemy. Mohammed was considered mad, and he was ridiculed and occasionally someone even tossed rocks at him.
It is important to learn the original ideology of Mohammed, and the nature of the man when he received his first “revelation”. From Henry Thomas, we quote:
It was the religion of Islam–the joy of submitting to the will and the wisdom of Allah,  since his will is the ocean in which our human desires are but drops of water, and his wisdom is the sun which puts to shame the murky flickerings of our mortal thoughts. Let us glory in the sun’s light and warmth and power to give life and beauty to the earth, but let us not dare to look into its face lest in our folly we go blind. Let us cheerfully and without question accept our destiny, whatever it may be, for it is a necessary thread in the weaving of Allah’s plan. Allah knows best, and he who worships Allah and loves his fellowmen lives best. (The Parade of the Sword and the Cross, p. 61)
Mohammed himself was an ardent lover of his fellow-men. His habits were simple. He lived on barley bread and water, and, in spite of his wealth, he waited on himself. He refused to physically strike or even to criticize anyone. When he was asked on a certain occasion why he did not curse his enemies, he replied, “I have not been sent to curse, but to be a mercy to mankind.” He reproached himself for having been unkind to a beggar who had asked for alms. He preached the gospel of Allah, the compassionate, and as yet, had nothing to say about Allah the Revengeful. Religion was to come quietly into the human heart; it was not to be ushered in with a sword. “Use no violence in religion,” he warned his early followers–a warning, however, that he emphatically retracted later on.
After three years of preaching his new gospel, Mohammed had acquired only 13 disciples. They were persecuted, ridiculed, and driven out of town. He was told they would kill him, as they did some of his disciples, if he didn’t quit spreading discontent among the wooden idol worshippers.
In 622 A.D. Mohammed escaped from the hands of his “brothers” in Mecca; this became known as Hegira, or the Great Flight. It was also the beginning of the Mohammedism that we know today.
 About this time his wife died and most of his family turned against him. He also learned that a hatchet-brigade had been formed from among the Bedouins, one out of each tribe, and they had taken an oath as “hit men” to get Mohammed. So Mohammed travelled over desert and mountains to escape to Medina, a little city of 15,000 people. Here he found a mixture of many different religions, and he felt safe. But he never forgot the treatment he had received nor the wanted poster for his death. While he preached love and kindness, he was shunned and lacked followers; but now his attitude changed and he decided to fight fire with fire. No longer was he a prophet of peace, but spread his message with a sword.
Mohammed’s first mission for Allah was to raid caravans near Mecca. Several battles followed, which he won. About 900 Jews were caught and robbed. They didn’t believe his story about Allah, so he sent them to be with their ancestors. His sword was bathed in heaven. His bloody, holy mission was gaining attention if not converts. Each of his disciples killed in these wars was promised an immediate ticket to heaven–a heaven that was filled with beautiful girls who would embrace them for their great sacrifice on earth. All this was written in the Koran, the new Bible of the Mohammedans. This book was dictated in parts and pieces, and then finally put together without making any sense of continuity. Yet it was considered important enough that Mohammed and his devotees demanded, “Choose between the Koran and death.” It contained only a few of the original ideologies of his early doctrine–the rest is the bible of blood.
Mohamet should not be held responsible for all that the Koran contains, as there is abundant evidence that it has been changed and corrupted in many places since his death. (The Hand of Providence, Elder J. H. Ward, 1883, p. 23)
 Arabia, that barren but rich land, is over ten times the size of the state of Utah, but the thinking of its people today remains much as it was under Mohammed. “There is one God, and Mohamet is his prophet.” His followers have adopted the code of civil and religious unity under the banner of warriors. Little change has ever been made in that philosophy.
Until the latter part of his life, Mohammed’s philosophy was to allow every believer equal privileges. He believed in Allah, and most of his revelations began with “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful!” However, Mohammed didn’t show much respect for “equal rights” and “mercy” during the last ten years of his life, which were spent in plundering, killing, and living a life of violence.
Such was the sunset in the life of Mohammed, who originally preached peace, love, and kindness to his fellowmen. He died at the age of 62, having apostatized from the religion of his own making.
Martin Luther, The Pious Monk Who Rocked Rome
Martin Luther was born in 1483 into a German household of poverty, and it was fortunate that he could sing or he might have starved. On the way home from school, he would sing from door to door for something to eat. His father was a strict disciplinarian and so it was in his schooling, too. Luther once commented, “I was flogged fifteen times in one forenoon over the conjugation of a verb.” (Great Voices of the Reformation, Fosdick, p. 71)
Luther was an excellent student and strict in his morals. His display of intellectual excellence brought him to the Erfurt University when he was 18 years old. It was here that he ran on to a Bible for the first time in his life. “Oh, that God would give me such a book,” he exclaimed. As he read from those pages, his whole life  changed. More than anything else in the world, he wanted to be a scriptorian, but the only way to do that was to become a monk.
So he entered the monastery and was assigned to the dirtiest chores of the cloister. He was told that to beg for food, carry out garbage, and suffer was the way to find God. He never found God amidst the garbage, but he never quit trying, nor did he shrink from any sacrifice in his search. At one point, Luther was saved from death by his fellow monks when they found him starving and unconscious.
I was indeed a pious monk, and followed the rules of my order more strictly than I can express. If ever a monk could obtain heaven by his monkish works, I should certainly have been entitled to it. . . . If I had continued much longer, I should have carried my mortification even to death. (D’ Aubigne’s History of the Reformation, Book 2, Chap. 3)
Among Luther’s early experiences was a pilgrimage to Rome. Who could be a worthy monk without roaming to Rome? He thought it would bring absolution of sins, but instead he found sin–not in himself but in Rome! He stated that “there are more devils in Rome than tiles on the rooftops.” Yet it was the home of the mother church, and he couldn’t renounce it just because of the presence of evil.
He was in for another surprise. As he was ascending the steps of Pilate’s staircase on his knees, which was supposed to bring a remission of sins, he heard a voice repeat the scripture, “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). He then wondered what he was doing by such a ridiculous performance, and he got up and walked away with a new understanding of religion. Superstitious “works” of ceremonies, rituals and pilgrimages do not absolve sin, nor do they make a person more worthy in the sight of God. It is faith in God that justifies the character in men.
 On the way to Rome, Martin had visited other monastaries along the way. He was appalled at the corruption of the monks and the priests. When he got to Rome, he thought it would be better. “Holy Rome, I salute you.” Then he met the monks, priests and officials of the church! He was grieved in his soul to see the lavish luxuries of the priests, the splendid living quarters where they dined on expensive food. Rome outdid the pagans.
Luther returned to Wittenburg a changed man; he had a different faith and a different outlook on the church. Holy Rome was unholy, and sacred rituals and relics became silly sacraments. But the church was still the church.
Luther was ordained a priest and then a doctor of divinity at the university. Then entered Tetzel. This man was selling indulgences. An indulgence was an official commendation from the Pope to forgive men’s sins–not only those of the past and the present, but also those that a man might want to commit in the future, and “not even repentance is necessary.” Peter once told a man “thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8:20).
But times change. It was now 1510 and Pope Julius II needed money for rebuilding the Church of St. Peter in Rome. Getting the money was a serious problem. Normal business schemes would be too slow, the margin on luck was too narrow, and getting riches from the poor would be worse. A brilliant scheme called selling indulgences would prove to be a best seller. An indulgence was a promissory note, drawn on the First Bank of Heaven, to pardon the sins of those who paid money to the church.
The idea went over like a gold strike on the Klondike, a jackpot in Nevada, and a bull market on Wall Street–all wrapped up in one bundle. The poor sacrificed nearly all they had, and the rich were more than generous. It was a miracle; money flowed like a river into Rome. If the early Caesars would have thought of this, they could  have avoided all the wars. Luther looked upon all this and wondered if it were the Lord or the Devil that was gaining all the souls.
After some serious thinking, on October 31, 1517, Luther posted a scriptural argument against the indulgences in the form of 95 theses. It was merely a thought-provoking statement, which he asked the local parishioners to use as a basis for debate. No argument ensued. Just when Luther thought it was of no concern to anyone, all hell broke loose. Someone gave a copy to a local printer who published it. From there it went to Belgium, France, Holland, England and a few other countries, and the storm never ceased from then on.
The mercenary ministers of Rome were offended, so Luther was denounced as a heretic. Luther was 34 at the time and was going to age much faster. He thought that it would be better if “the Pope, who is richer today than the richest Crassuses, build the church of St. Peter out of his own money, instead of out of the poor believers.” If Luther ever thought he might get special favors out of Rome, he was going about it the wrong way. He just didn’t see things the way the Pope did, and once commented that if the Pope knew what indulgences were doing to the people, he would “rather see the church of St. Peter in ashes.” Luther was doing just the opposite of what the Pope was doing. As Henry Thomas observed:
And so, because the Pope wanted to rebuild the Catholic church of St. Peter, he unintentionally laid the foundation stone for the building of the Protestant Church. (The Awakening of Humanity, p. 6)
The seeds of revolt and religious freedom had been planted by many men before Luther; among the foremost was John Huss who lived 100 years before Luther. The ground was fertile now for a reformation, and Luther was the grand tiller even though he didn’t want to be, or even suspect that he would be.
 Luther had to go to trial in Augsburg in October of 1518 to renounce his publications. He wouldn’t denounce them so the Pope issued a papal bull in June of 1520 to have all of Luther’s works burned. Luther in turn demanded that all of the Pope’s works be burned. Germany was ablaze with religious fires. Then the Pope issued an order for Luther to burn in hell. Luther sent his best wishes for the Pope to go to the devil. Neither volunteered to go. So, in desperation the Pope said he would burn Luther at the stake, just like he did all the others who disagreed with him.
It is high treason against the church to allow so horrible a heretic to live one hour longer. Let the scaffold be instantly erected for him. (D’ Aubigne’s History of the Reformation, Book 3, Chap. 9)
But Luther wouldn’t fight fire with fire; instead he used the scriptures. They didn’t have any defense for that, and they flew like quail from bird shot. Luther was called to go before a tribunal in Rome to answer the charges against him. But one of the charges was “to banish, curse, and excommunicate all those who are attached to him.” Luther didn’t think this sounded like an appeal from Christ. He refused to go, as he knew of too many that had never returned.
It was decided that a formal hearing would be held in Augsburg for Luther to answer the charges against him. At least it was on his home ground and among his friends. When Luther presented his case, the response was “Retract, retract!” It was not the most intelligent argument Luther had ever heard. He then asked for a chance to submit a written statement.
“In so doing,” said he, writing to a friend, “the oppressed find double gain; first, what is written may be submitted to the judgment of others; and second, one has a better chance of  working on the fears, if not on the conscience, of an arrogant and babbling despot, who would otherwise overpower by his imperious language.” (Life and Times of Luther, by Martyn, p. 27)
Luther prepared a statement, and after reading it, handed it to Cardinal Cajetan. His response to Luther was “Retract, or return no more”; so Luther left.
After this trial, Luther began to see more clearly the un-Christian doctrines and works of Romanism. He then wrote his famous work called “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church.” This would sever all relationships with the Pope–if there were any left.
In 1519 the Pope loaded his gun with another volley against Luther–John Eck, the famous lecturer, scriptorian, and defender of the Catholic faith. He was a master at debate, but all that came of it was that Luther would not be moved unless he could be proved wrong by the scriptures. That was impossible, so the meeting adjourned.
In 1521 the Pope issued orders for the excommunication of Luther. He was required to retract his statements and writings within 60 days or he would receive the spiritual axe of the Church. The Pope demanded the Emperor of Germany to administer the ordinance. Instead, the Emperor, who admired Luther, called for the Diet of Worms. (The Diet was a council and Worms was a city.) The Emperor wanted Luther to have free speech, and all he wanted, to defend his case.
Charles V was the new emperor from whom the Pope demanded Luther’s head, but the people wanted what was in it instead. Prince Charles was caught in the middle of the fight, and yet he wanted to settle the issue. “Nothing had been proven against him,” he told the Pope, so he suggested that Luther have a fair trial, and he himself would see that he had safe conduct to and from the trial. He also asked Luther if he would cooperate. Luther replied:
 You may expect everything from me . . . except flight and recantation. Fly, I cannot, and still less retract. (D’ Aubigne’s History of the Reformation, Book 7, Chap. l)
Luther’s enemies insisted that “there are enough errors in Luther’s works to burn a hundred thousand heretics”, and they wanted him to retract them. Luther replied:
They’re busy at Worms about compelling me to retract; and this shall be my retraction: I said formerly that the Pope was Christ’s vicar (servant); now I assert that he is our Lord’s adversary, and the devil’s apostle. (Ibid., Book 7, Chap. 6)
And things continued to get worse for the Pope. He ordered Luther to be silenced, but Luther was scheduled to go before the greatest body of civil and religious leaders in Europe. The Pope demanded that Luther be cut off from all influence, but this trial was gaining international fame for Luther. The Pope had instituted one of the cleverest money-making schemes ever devised to gain money and power–but now he was losing both.
Luther was on his way to Worms for a trial that could cost him his friends, his salvation, and his life. It was no easy task for Luther. On the way to this tribunal, He was met by General Frundsberg, the outstanding soldier of Germany, who patted him on the shoulder and said, “My poor monk! my little monk! Thou art on thy way to make a stand such as I and many of my knights have never done in our toughest battles.” Luther probably wondered if that was encouraging or discouraging.
I am like Jeremiah, a man of strife and contention; but, the more their threats increase, the more my joy is multiplied …. They have already destroyed my honor and my reputation.  One single thing remains; it is my wretched body; let them take it; they will thus shorten my life by a few hours. But as for my soul, they cannot take that. He who desires to proclaim the word of Christ to the world, must expect death at every moment. (Ibid., Book 4, Chap. 4)
The argument that followed was mainly “retract” from the Romanists and “prove me wrong from the scriptures” from Luther. Both sides displayed stubbornness as one of their principal virtues. Neither would give in.
In some quarters Rome had issued statements such as, “He who should kill that rebellious monk, would be without sin.” Luther said he wondered if the Pope was anti-Christ. While they were burning his books, he was burning theirs.
The final hour had come when the two forces were to meet. A grand assembly of dignitaries of the church and state were to meet at Worms, Germany, to conduct the trial. It was one of the most impressive and illustrious groups of men that had ever assembled. The emperor sat upon the throne while the church of Rome presented its august body or prelates in colorful robes, and around them stood dignitaries from every level of civil and religious organizations.
Luther was conducted before the emperor, and an imperial officer arose and pointed to Luther’s writings and asked Luther to answer two questions: were they his writings and would he retract his opinions in them? Luther admitted that they were his writings, but as to the next question, he wanted to postpone answering it. The meeting was postponed for a day, which was to Luther’s advantage so he could prepare a proper answer after thoughtful consideration on all points in question.
The next day Luther presented his answer in three parts:
- Some of his works contained admonitions to faith, good works and Christian beliefs. Those he could not retract; neither should anyone else.
- Some contained scriptures, and so these he could not condemn or retract, for even Rome confessed and believed them.
- Some of the rest of his writings were statements against the corruptions of the priests, of Rome and individuals. To sanction such evil would only encourage them to further their wickedness and cruelties.
As the trial proceeded, Luther decided to defend himself as Christ did by demanding that “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil.” However, his opponents only wanted him to recant, retract, recall the things he said. They wanted a short simple answer–would he or would he not revoke his writings? His answer–
Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require from me a clear, simple, and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me. Amen. (The Great Controversy, Ellen White, p. 160)
The whole audience was speechless. Here was Christianity at its finest, and Romanism at its worst. It was evident to everyone that Luther was right. The German princes looked upon this native son with pride and as if they would protect him as their own sons from the fires of Rome. The Pope would have to look for some other victims.
 The Roman rascals realized that their nefarious cause was exposed under a clear new light. The council decided to withdraw until they could consult further on the issue.
A short time later it was rumored that Luther would be kidnapped and hauled to Rome to face the Pontiff–an awful, but common, fate of all who resisted their powerful priesthood. Seldom anyone ever returned. But a strange thing happened. Luther disappeared. Had he been murdered? Was he kidnapped by the Pope’s henchmen? Did he commit suicide to avoid the pitfall which seemed inevitable?
History now knows that he was kidnapped by his friends. They sent him to the Wartburg Castle where his name was changed and he was kept under wraps from the rest of the world. But his banishment was not a punishment–it was a blessing. These circumstances proved to be ideal for him to translate the New Testament from Greek to German. It was his desire that everyone in Germany would have the opportunity to read and interpret the scriptures for themselves rather than depending on the Pope, who didn’t seem interested in them anyway. Then, a month after the disappearance of Luther, the French made war on the Germans, and for the next ten years the Catholics and others had more to think about than getting rid of Martin Luther.
In establishing Protestantism, Luther made every man a priest. He designed absolute freedom in matters of worship. He confirmed the absolute authority of the scriptures rather than the Pope. He concluded that works, (long pilgrimages, fondling beads in prayers, bowing to statues, owning artifacts, buying indulgences, etc.) were not important to salvation. In his stand on these doctrines, he only meant to correct errors that had crept into the church; he was not trying to start a new church. He was not even trying to start the Reformation. Yet he led one of the greatest movements in religion that ever occurred.  Thus, one little monk who dared to think and act for himself in religious matters, changed the thinking of the world.
Luther died on February 18, 1546, in Eisleben, the very town of his birth. He was then buried in the castle-church nearby, where he had posted his 95 theses on the door so many years before.
Luther left his footprints in the sands of time. His life and teachings were to be followed by religionists, historians and biographers for centuries to come. He drew from the scriptures the most positive answers for daily problems. His example and his words became inspiration to every noble soul who has made a quest in the realm of religion.
Karl Marx, Prophet of the Proletariat (and “Father of Communism”)
Born on May 5, 1818, in Treves, Germany, Karl Marx came through a long line of Jewish Rabbis. But when he was six years of age, his father was converted to Protestantism, and convinced the whole family to also be baptized, even though no one ever understood what made him change his faith. However, a religious train of thought was never endowed upon Karl anyway.
When Karl was 17, he entered the university where he studied philosophy, literature and law. He did well with his studies, and in 1841 at age 23 he wrote a thesis on the materialistic philosophy of Democritus and Epicurus. He continued with his studies until he was able to obtain his degree as a doctor of philosophy. Apparently, he did not spend all his time with studies, because while he was in school he found Jenny von Westphalen, with whom he fell in love and soon married.
 As qualified as Marx was as a teacher, he was more fascinated with a revolutionary movement, in support of which he and others wrote a series of revolutionary articles. They were so radical in content that the government suppressed them. Such a trend of thought was also dangerous, so Karl had to leave Germany and go to Paris. Here he continued a series of anti-religious, anti-capitalistic articles. His radical ideas already included such sordid thoughts as “religion is the opium of the people,” and “the people cannot be really happy until they have been deprived of illusionary happiness by the abolition of religion.”
Marx thought that philosophers only interpreted the world, but he was going to change it. And he did. The trouble was that most people didn’t like the way he was trying to change it. In Germany he had been charged with treason. France didn’t think his ideas were very inspirational so they, too, gave him orders to vacate. From there he went to Brussels where his ideas aroused the wrath of the government there as well–probably because he had intentions of starting a materialistic revolution in the government. By now he and his family were penniless and they left for London.
By the age of 31, Karl had gained the title of “the prophet of the proletariat” (working class). By nature he was endowed with the characteristics that befit a revolutionary. He was proud, contemptuous, harsh in his opinions, and crude and cruel in his manners. He was intolerant of faults in others, yet in his own character he was arrogant and conceited.
Karl Marx, soon to be called the “Father of Communism”, was instilled with a very dedicated spirit of worship, according to an expert on his life. In a book by Reverend Richard Wurmbrand called Marx and Satan, Karl was a dedicated worshipper of Satan, and had an intense hatred of mankind, whom he called “human trash”. The book, filled with little known facts about his life, tells of Karl’s  youth when he was a dedicated Christian, but suddenly turned to the worship of Satan. He once wrote, “I wish to avenge myself against the One who rules above,” and then claimed that he would someday become equal with God. In a poem, “The Player”, Marx explains how he bought a sword from the “prince of darkness”, which upon death he must pay for it with his soul. In his poem “Human Pride”, Marx reveals a promise that he will “see the collapse of civilization”. Karl Marx identified Satan as the co-creator of Communism, and that a demon was his personal angel-friend. It was this demon-friend who was the responsible author of the Communist Revolution.
In London, England, Karl Marx lived in two small rooms with his family of six. He never knew where his next meal was coming from, but they were usually begged from some of his friends. What a paradox in a man who was the “hero” and “prophet” of the working man, yet he never was one of them. He proclaimed all the virtues of the working class, yet he never could bring himself to join them. His life was a continual story of poverty and hunger.
In 1852, one of his children died. The rest of his family were not far from it. If it had not been for Fredrich Engels, who continually supported them, they probably would have died, too. Engels was a bookkeeper for his father’s factory, and for many years he took over his extra earnings for the Marx family. Continuously Engels poured money into Marx’s literary work called Das Kapital. This was Marx’s only major work, for he never completed any others.
In 1881 he was dying from an attack of pleurisy, headaches, virulant abscesses and carbuncles. Karl Marx died in 1883, but he left a most impressive influence on the world from his “dialectical materialism”. As a man who worshipped the devil, he put forth a most impressive and diligent effort in promoting Satan’s work upon the earth. The world has suffered greatly in trying to get rid of it.
 Nikolai Lenin, Patron Saint of the Proletariat
Vladimir Ulyanov was born in 1870 in Simbirsk, Russia. Because of his revolutionist and reactionary ideas, he later had to go by the name of Lenin. As the leader of a clan known as Bolsheviks, he overthrew the government of Russia and was so successful at it, that he wanted to overthrow all governments.
Worshipped by some, hated by others, yet today nearly everyone everywhere suffers because of his influence on the world. He promoted a political disease that said one thing but practiced another. His slogans consisted of statements such as “the people’s party”, “the people’s land”, and the “people’s government” . . . all of which were foreign to the people. If any government in the world is out of the hands of the people, it is that government under Communist rule. In the Communist dictionary the word freedom means slavery, and equality means exploitation. The Communists preached communal property, but under Communism the only ones who practiced it were the multitudes who were thrown in prison.
Nikolai Lenin came to power through the bloodshed of the Czar (Nicholas) in 1917. He proposed a new government for the workers–which was really a socialist dictatorship under a new name. They preached brotherhood, but forced upon their “brothers” extreme torture, prison, starvation and death. They preached peace, but continuously instigated and promoted war. Henry Thomas wrote:
Throughout his life he had but a single purpose–to bring about a social organization in which there would be no cruelty, no exploitation, no unemployment, no internal intrigues, and no war. To this one purpose he sacrificed every personal ambition. (The Beginning of Real Civilization, p. 59)
 Lenin was so determined in achieving this goal that he ironically used the means of cruelty, exploitation, strikes, international intrigue and war in trying to accomplish it. He placed more people in prison than some nations have citizens. He caused more people to die than in a multitude of wars. Perhaps it was the kind of people that Communism attracted to it, but Lenin himself wrote of his own comrades, “for every honest man, 39 scoundrels and 60 fools”. That ratio hasn’t changed much since then.
But, even in his own country his ideas were not welcome. He was sent to Siberia, and then managed to leave Russia and flee to the European countries in 1900. In 1905 he returned to Russia and took an active part in the revolution, but was caught and again exiled in 1907. For the next ten years Lenin was forbidden to enter Russia. However, in 1914. he created a revolution to overthrow and kill the Czar. He sought to liberate the “worker”, through Communism, but that was like saying, “I’ll promise to give you freedom if you’ll be my slave.” Tolstoy called his Communism “cannon fodder”.
Walter Durant wrote of him:
I have seen Lenin speak to his followers, a small, busy, thick-set man, under blinding lights, greeted by applause like thunder. I turned around, and their faces were shining, like men who look on God. (New York Times, Jan. 18, 1931)
It has also been said that “Lenin has become the patron saint of the proletariat.” But, few men since the Pharaohs have had their bodies pickled for their subjects to view and venerate like they were gods. Nikolai Lenin was an atheist who became a god!
 Chapter 6
“I AM A JEALOUS GOD”
The foremost and central subject of any religion is its god. All through history, man has sought for the true God, and the many roads of religion are like freeways, highways, and many bumpy backroads. Robert Ripley, of “Believe It or Not” fame, said men’s religions are the most fascinating and unbelievable realm in all of his discoveries. Men have made countless pilgrimages, they have tortured their bodies, and more often, tortured others, to appease their gods. They have sacrificed untold wealth, suffered excruciating pain, plundered and killed, and even sacrificed others and themselves–all in the name of god. The course of history has often been changed because of the religious convictions of men.
There have been gods of stone, adobe, and wood. Men have worshipped the sun and the moon, and some have thought they themselves were god. Others have at least acted like they were.
The true God of heaven understands the perfidy and fallen nature of man, and knew that he would set up all these imitations. So to Moses He said, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them (other gods), nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God. . . .”(Ex. 20:5)
The Adventists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and Baptists have generally agreed that God is “without form and invisible.” The Episcopalians, Lutherans and Methodists say He is “without body parts or passions,” and that He is “incomprehensible.” The Unitarians say that He has “no materiality,” and the Eastern Orthodox Catholics say He is “everywhere at the same time.” One of my favorites is from the Episcopalians stating that He is “transcending the eminent.”
 Here, then, is the God of the confused Christians: He is invisible, without form, has no body or materiality, is without passions and is supposed to be everywhere at the same time: If He is without any form or materiality, he couldn’t be everywhere–or anywhere. Since He has no substance, He could not be “omnipotent, or “all powerful”; and if He has no passions, He could never be capable of showing love, kindness, judgment, or grace. Without passions, He could never be a “jealous” God, and you could never offend Him. It would do no good to pray to Him, because He has no ears to hear, or mouth to speak, nor could He look upon His creations because He has no eyes to see.
God told Moses that in the latter days, the house Israel would be “scattered among the nations”, and they would become “corrupt”, and serve gods “which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell” (Deut. 4:28). This certainly describes the god of the modern Christians.
The heathens have a better description of their gods. Even though some of their gods are made out of trees or stones, they still have more character and form than the god of the modern Christians. The Protestants and Catholics often say that their god is one “whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” Try to figure that out! These modern religionists describe a god who has “no dimensions, no form, and no image,” which any professor of English would say is a perfect description of nothing. So, our modern Christians are worshipping nothing, which is worse than idolatry. One wonders how they could ever gain any converts.
There are so many different paths in religion that it is nearly impossible to believe they all came from the same god–or the different paths of Christianity today all came from the same Jesus.
Some forms of Christianity are austere, ritualistic, and performed with incense, chants, bells and beautiful  robes. Others say such ceremonies are not necessary at all. Some Christians adopt a quiet, instructional service, while others promote dancing, rolling or yelling. Some Christians say that worship must take place on one particular day of the week or else all our efforts at worship are no better than the heathens. Others say it doesn’t matter what day of the week we worship.
To many investigators of Christianity, all this mess has become so confusing and discouraging that even the Christians don’t know what is true or false.
Trying to understand the modern Christian god is nearly impossible. They say that sometimes it is like the wind–“felt but never seen.” Or they say “God is a spirit,” which they think means he is an immaterial being. They testify that their god is “infinite”, which they suppose is invisible. So the god of most modern-day Christians is invisible, immaterial, and is “everywhere” but “nowhere”.
Orson Pratt explained that–
They have introduced a God without body, parts or passions. They have had the audacity to call this newly-invented god by the same name as the God of the ancient saints, although there is not the least resemblance between them. Indeed there could be no resemblance between them; for a bodiless god, without parts or passions, could resemble nothing in heaven, on earth, or in hell. * * *
There have been various species of idolatry in different ages of the world. The sun, moon, stars, beasts, crocodiles, frightful serpents, images of wood, of stone, and of brass, have been erected into gods, and worshipped by innumerable multitudes. But the system of idolatry, invented by modern Christianity, far surpasses in absurdity anything that we have ever heard of. * * *
 Using the terms as we use them of ourselves, God is not here or there, any more than he exists now and then. This species of idolatry, according to the foregoing quotations, approaches so near to atheism, that no one can tell the difference. Reader, can you see the difference? A god without a body! A god “without parts!” A god that cannot be here or there: A god that is nowhere! A god that cannot exist now and then! A god that exists in no time! A god that has no extension–no “parts”–no conceivable relation to time or space! O, blush for modern Christianity! –a pious name for atheism! Some, perhaps, may think that I have not sufficient charity. But why should I have charity for a god that has no parts–no relation to space? Let him first have charity for himself. But this would be impossible; for he is a god without passions. He can have no charity nor love for himself nor anyone else. There is no danger of offending him; for a passionless god is not capable of anger. (Orson Pratt’s Works, pp. 35-36)
The great Bible scholar, Adam Clarke, followed the tradition of his predecessors who thought that God was a mere intellectual entity that had no form or body. In his commentary on the passage of scripture, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gem 2:26), Clarke says that this does not refer to the body but to the soul:
This was made in the image and likeness of God. Now, as the Divine Being is infinite, he is neither limited by parts, nor definable by passions; therefore he can have no corporeal image after which he made the body of man. The image and likeness must necessarily be intellectual; his mind, his soul, must have been formed after the nature and perfections of his God.” (Bible Commentary, Vol. 1:38)
 His first error is thinking that the intellect has an image. Whoever saw the image of an intellect? An image requires a form; even a shadow has form or an image of something else.
If God did not mean that His image and likeness was the same as a man’s body, why didn’t He say it was His “intellectual” image? How could any reasonable person reading the Bible ever come up with this “intellectual” image? Such a philosophy had to be taught–and it was. It came from those goofy Greek and Roman intellectuals who convinced Constantine that it was a wonderful mystery. it is actually a mystery how anyone could believe in it!
Clarke continues in his analogy by adding, “God is an infinite Spirit, and cannot be confined to any form, so he can have no personal appearance.” (Bible Commentary, Vol. 1:52) It is astounding that such avid Bible scholars can make these statements in the face of so many, and such clear, demonstrations and evidences in the Bible. God made “personal” appearances many times throughout the Bible, and many of the prophets saw His form and image. How do these ministers explain these incidents? When they make such glaring mistakes as this, it leaves us to question their other statements.
There must be some scriptural reasons why today’s Christians have been deceived in their belief. They have accepted some scriptures that seem to indicate that God is invisible, but failed to understand other scriptures saying that He has been seen. This controversy can be easily explained.
Today’s ministers quote such passages as Moses “endured …. as seeing him that is invisible” (Heb. 11:27); “No man hath seen God at any time” (I John 4:12); and “The King of Kings . . . whom no man hath seen, nor can  see” (I Tim. 6:15-16). These scriptures are in a literal sense contradictory to other scriptures. There is evidence that these quotes have been mistranslated or misinterpolated by translators. John and Paul, who wrote these passages, later gave testimony that they themselves had seen the God of Heaven.
Moses, of course, saw the God of Israel, and talked to Him face to face. On one particular occasion “the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Ex. 33:11). Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu with seventy of the elders of Israel, saw this “invisible” God:
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. (Ex. 10-11)
This was written and included as scripture so men could not be deceived. One scripture says that God cannot be seen; others say He was seen. Biblical history records that nearly 100 men saw Him on one occasion, and He was seen by many other men on many other occasions.
God is called “invisible” in the Bible because he is not seen by men generally, but only under very special conditions. Many ancient prophets saw Him, but to others He was invisible. For example, the Apostle John said:
It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. (John 6:45-46)
 In this passage John explains the key to when God has been seen and when He has been invisible: “He which is of God” may see Him. To most men, then, God would be invisible, for such special blessings are not for the crowd. God’s invisibility mentioned in Heb. 11:27, 1 John 4:12, and 1 Tim. 6:16, are passages that apply to the wicked, the unbeliever, and those who are not “of God”.
There are many things in this universe that men cannot see–that which is too small, too far away, or covered by other things; nevertheless, they do exist.
There are other passages of scripture which are not clear; for instance, “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29; also Deut. 4:24) But another scripture explains this by saying, “. . .the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire. . .” (Ex. 24:17)
Other passages may be just as confusing unless a person knows what is intended. For example, “God is light” (1 John 1:5); “God is love” (1 John 4:8 & 16); and “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). These scriptures seem contradictory, but when understood in their proper context, they became very clear.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has been seen many times, but the god of today’s Christians, never. That which does not exist cannot be seen. The true God of heaven and earth can be and has been seen:
Let Us Make Man in Our Image
In the very first chapter of the first book of the Bible, God gives us a key to His identity:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen. 1:26-27)
 There certainly is nothing confusing about this passage. It simply states that man was made in the image and likeness of God. What a clear revelation! From this we learn the following:
- That God has an image.
- That man has the same image.
It is evident that if God has the same image as man, then He can be seen. But the ministers today tell us that God has no form or image. If God created man in his own image and likeness, yet God is supposed to be invisible (without form or body), then something went wrong on the production line. Either God is invisible and so is man–or else man has a form, an image, and a body, and so does God. It further demonstrates that our modern ministers do not know what they are talking about on this particular subject, or else the scriptures are in error.
We also read that the Son was created in the express image and likeness of His Father. Paul the Apostle said:
God . . . hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son who, being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he hath by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:2-3).
Christ has a form and a body; He is in the “express image” of God; He was seen; He ate, spoke, and walked just as other men. He was referred to as the “carpenter’s son”, and later was crucified because they thought He was only a man.
When Jesus prayed to the Father and asked that we all might be one as they are, was He saying that we should become invisible, without form and have no image–that we should become extinct like the god of modern  Christians? If this were to be the case, those people who have a family, a healthy body and the feelings, emotions, and faculties to enjoy the good things of life, must look forward to becoming like the wind, without form and just blowing along everywhere and nowhere. Is that the wonderful message of Christianity?
Man has ears to hear beautiful music, eyes to see the glorious creations, and other senses that bring him happiness and joy. Would God be so cruel that He would take these all away and turn him into an entity without any senses, without a form or feelings? This is the god propagated by modern merchants of Christianity–not the true God of ancient Israel, or the God of Jesus Christ.
A Positive Identification
There are many different ways to determine the identity of a person. Police use fingerprints, weight, color of skin, eyes and hair, the formation of teeth, etc. There are other more sophisticated methods of identification, such as voice sound, hair composition, blood samples, and eye configuration. Now then, the Bible has given us many clues to the correct identity of the true God. If the Bible is a sufficient guide in discovering the identity of God, then there is no need to put our trust in the arm of these overpaid pulpit pounders.
The true God exists in time and space just as His children do. He has a body, with dimensions just like man’s, and therefore His image would be the same. He has a body of parts and passions which tend to make Him jealous, angry, loving and kind. He is able to go from place to place, to eat, to talk just like His most beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
He can be and has been seen by men who have described His eyes, hair, shape and size. The scriptures are full of clues to the identity and image of God:
- And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (Gen. 32:30)
- And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet, as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand; also they saw God, and did eat and drink. (Ex. 24:10-11)
- Tables of stone, written with the finger of God. (Ex. 31:18)
- The similitude of the Lord shall he behold. (Num. 12:8)
- And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. (Judg. 13:22)
- And the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon. (I Kings 9:2)
- Woe is me: for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isa. 1:5)
- In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (Isa. 6:1)
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matt. 5:8)
- And (Stephen) said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56)
- His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last. (Rev. 1:14, 15, 17)
The image and character of God were clear to those men who wrote the Bible, because they were the ones who had received those grand and glorious manifestations of God. They wrote in their own manner of language and description, but through the centuries of recopying, translating and personal bias, the scriptural messages were changed.
The true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has made personal appearances to His prophets. He spoke to them as one man speaks to another–and in his image and likeness man was created. But through the centuries that knowledge has been lost. So it was necessary for God to make “a restitution of all things,” including the true knowledge and identification of the God of heaven. That knowledge was restored in the first vision to Joseph Smith.
 Chapter 7
THE TRINITY ON TRIAL
The god of modern Christianity has become nearly an impossibility to understand, but their doctrine of the trinity is even worse. Trying to unravel the doctrine of the Godhead is a modern ecclesiastical maze. For over 1600 years this complicated mess has caused revolutions, banishments, prison and even death. It is amazing how such a simple doctrine of the Bible could become one of the most complicated and confusing issues of Christianity.
The Holy Trinity is a doctrine of the Godhead. For this reason it is important to know and understand what it is. But that doctrine, in all of its variants, now borders on mysticism, paganism, and atheism–all bound together.
The Baptists say that God is manifestly three distinct persons–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, but one in substance. That is like saying, “I have one car in the garage; it’s a Ford, a Chevrolet, and a Plymouth.” The Eastern Orthodox Catholics, Episcopalians, and Lutherans also confirm this garbled expression of three persons but only one individual–or is it three individuals but only one person? The Methodists make about the same approach by saying that there are three distinct entities of one spirit substance which form a Holy Trinity. The Presbyterians say there are three personages (manifestations) but one in substance. The Roman Catholics have an interesting definition (if it can be defined) by saying there is one god capable of three personages, as three distinct, divine persons. The Unitarians, of course, have no belief in a trinity. They probably tried to understand the doctrine of trinity from the other churches and threw up their hands in disbelief. Can you blame them?
 How strange it is that the Christian churches of today have disagreed so much on simple doctrines, yet when it comes to defining the Godhead, they seem to agree on the most impossible and unbelievable doctrine ever concocted in the mind of man! Their doctrine of the trinity requires us to comprehend something that is illogical, unreasonable and utterly impossible. They even admit that it is so bewildering they must conclude by saying “Great is the mystery of God”–that god, anyway!
Although the Catholics and the Protestants have contended with each other over many centuries, they have come closer to agreement on the doctrine of the Godhead than most other doctrines. This is because it was a Catholic doctrine for many centuries; so when the Protestants protested against the authority of the Catholic priesthood, they didn’t know any other definition on the Godhead. Thus, spiritual darkness, like a huge blanket, has covered them all together.
But let us investigate further into their doctrine. Since they advocate a god that is everywhere, invisible, and without form or substance, it would be impossible for him to be either one or three. This ecclesiastical puzzle baffles both the simple and brilliant minds. It is a puzzle so absurd that it defies science, mathematics, and reason. To describe it would be to say that you were just informed that your wife had triplets. You rushed to the hospital and a nurse handed you one little baby and said, “Here are your triplets”. Obviously you would question her sanity.
The only thing more confusing than their declaration of this trinity doctrine, is their explanation of it. For instance, suppose Jesus taught His disciples, who were simple fishermen, tent makers, etc., the Godhead in this modern Christian terminology:
 The term “godhead” or “godhood” cannot be applied to the divine essence in distinction from the attributes, since the glory of God is precisely the totality of His attributes, and the attributes constitute His essence. God’s being is a living unity, in the sense that each attribute is identical with His essence; the attributes are human distinctions, but they have their basis in the divine nature, and are affirmed in view of God’s self-revelation. (Zondervan’s Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible 1:766)
With an explanation like that, His disciples would have gone back to fishing and making tents.
How did such a conglomeration of philosophical nonsense ever get infused with the doctrines of Christianity? Why did a clear understanding of the trinity as presented by Christ become so cloudy by 325 A.D. when the Nicene Creed was written? History provides the answer.
Two principal factors resulted in the loss of divinely inspired leadership of the Church of Christ. First, the Church that Christ established had persecution problems from its origin. Every apostle of Christ was hunted down and killed. John Foxe’s research discovered that:
- Stephen was stoned to death.
- James, the greater, was beheaded by a sword.
- Phillip was scourged, thrown into prison, and then crucified.
- Matthew was slain with a sword.
- Matthias was first stoned and then beheaded.
- James, the lesser, at the age of 94 was beaten, stoned, and then his head busted open with a club.
- Andrew was crucified.
- Mark was dragged to death by the people of Alexandria.
- Peter was crucified upside down on a cross.
- Paul was beheaded in Rome.
- Bartholomew was beaten and then crucified.
- Jude was crucified at Edesa.
- Thomas was thrust through with a spear.
- Luke was hanged on an olive tree.
- Simon was crucified in Britain.
- John was cast into a cauldron of burning oil, and later banished to the Isle of Patmos.
- Barnabus was supposedly killed in 73 A.D.
(See Foxe’s Christian Martyrs, pp. 26-35.)
Persecution seemed to be the heritage of Christ, and it followed His disciples as well. All of the inspired leaders were persecuted, imprisoned or killed, which left the weaker members to govern the Church. As troubles mounted, these weak vessels would either compromise or abandon principles and doctrines to save their lives or their fortunes.
Secondly, the semi-apostates within the church added problems. As bad as outside persecution was against the church, these traitors from within were worse. They would infuse the teachings and philosophies of pagans, spiritualists, or mystics as though they were part of Christianity.
From the Apostle Judas to the sorcerer Simon, the teachings and doctrines of Christianity were nearly abolished. The Bible records a story of a sorcerer named Simon who was so devoid of the true spirit of the gospel that he tried to buy the power and authority of the apostles with money. (See Acts 8:9, 13, 18-24.) This man was once rebuked by Peter, but apparently he became penitent enough to enter the Church. However, being a very influential and powerful man, it was not long until he began to introduce his heresies into the church. His followers also had a profound influence in the church, which continued down to the fourth century. The historian Eusebius wrote of this infection:
These, after the manner of their founder, insinuating themselves into the Church, like a  pestilential and leprous disease, infected those with the greatest corruption, into whom they were able to infuse their secret, irremediable, and destructive poison. (Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Chap. l)
This Simon, known now as Simon Magus, is often referred to by other early Christian historians as the founder and perpetrator of some of the worst heresies ever to infect the Church. This blend of Christianity with the “paid ministry” became known as “Simony”. John the Revelator was aware of many of these pernicious heresies and also mentioned the Nicoliatanes and the followers of the doctrines of Balaam. (See Rev. 2:15.)
Added to these perils against Christianity, were the Judaistic converts who tried to harmonize their new faith with some of their old and false traditions. Jesus warned them of putting new wine into old bottles, and new cloth to old garments (see Matt. 9:16, 17), but they did it anyway.
Another problem for Christianity was the Gnostic philosophers who boasted of being able to lead the mind into a full comprehension of the mysteries of Deity. But men were told they had to become celibate in order to qualify for this great comprehension. There was opposition to these philosophers, and they became known as the agnostics, a term still used for those doubting the existence of God.
Another sect of philosophers entering the Christian domain were the Platonists, or followers of Plato. One of their dictums was the position and authority of “the word”. They leaned towards the “word” mentioned in John’s writings when he said “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God. * * * And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1, 14) According to these Platonists, the “Word” was the same as “Logos” described by Plato. From there they continued to insert other Platonic thought.
 The assimilation of heathen and pagan works became incorporated into the thought and doctrine of the Christians. Because the infusion was slow and gradual, it was not noticed by most of the members of the church.
By the end of the third century, however, Christianity had become a hybrid offspring, blossoming from the unnatural union of pagan philosophy and the doctrines of Christ. Even the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been retired and replaced with the god of the pagans. However, this did not end the contention and controversies within the church.
A Nice Mess from Nice
In the beginning of the year 300 A.D., disputations arose over the doctrine of the Godhead between Alexander (the bishop of Alexandria) and Arius (another officer of the church). Arius reaffirmed the doctrine that the Son had been created by the Father, and was an agent through whom the will of the Father was accomplished. He reasoned that the Son was inferior to the Father, both in nature and dignity, and that the Holy Ghost was inferior to the other two members of the Godhead. Although a great portion of the church had believed this kind of trinity, it was denounced with vigor by others, such as Alexander, who believed in the absolute divinity of Jesus and that He was co-equal to the Father from all eternity. This rivalry became so hostile that it was not only tearing the church apart, but it was causing trouble within the Roman Empire.
Because of this outbreak, the Roman Emperor Constantine was forced to intervene, trying to re-establish peace and order in his domain. His first effort was to summon a council of church authorities in the year 325 A.D. He invited about 1800 dignitaries, but only slightly over 300 showed up. This gathering became known as the Council of Nice, because it was assembled in the city of  Nice in Bithynia (northwest Asia Minor). After many heated discussions and disputes, the council worked toward a “Creed” that could be adopted as the official declaration for the Church. A creed was not easy to produce. There was no apostle or prophet-head of the church to declare the revealed word of God. Instead, there were three main factions represented: (1) Athanasians (Athanasius was the spokesman for Bishop Alexander), who were mostly orthodox Egyptians and Occidentals; (2) Arian Moderates, the most popular segment, consisting generally of Orientals supporting the divinity of Christ, whose main spokesman was Eusebius; and (3) Arius’ more radical defenders, about 20 in number.
By the time all of the philosophies, interpretations of scriptures, and traditional beliefs were considered, there was very little harmony on anything that could be put down on paper. This council quarreled over the nature of God, the nature of His Son, and mostly the relationship of the Son to the Father. To believe that the Son was separate from the Father would of necessity admit a belief in two divine beings, or two gods, and they didn’t want to accept that.
Arius was not given a seat in this council, but he was allowed to speak. He defended his position that the scriptures clearly identified the Father and Son as distinct personages, and that the Son was subordinate to the Father. The majority of the council could not adopt that doctrine because they came from different schools of philosophy.
Eusebius, the noted historian from Nicomedia, was of the Moderate Arian party. He stated that there was “One God, Father, all-sovereign, Creator . . .one Lord Jesus Christ, the Firstborn of all creative begottens of God the Father . . . and in one Holy Ghost.” He based his belief on scripture rather than philosophies. The scripture stated,  “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:7) This contradicted the Greek and Jewish advocates. The longer they contended, the further into mysticism they waded. Finally, they bogged down in the mire of incomprehensible mysteries.
Some advocates said the Father, as a “substance could be neither divided nor diminished.” With that profound thought, they reasoned the Son must also be of the same substance. The Son must be of one substance or essence with the Father; therefore, the Word is not created–He is begotten and therefore produced in a perfect image of one’s own self. The Son is then the essence or substance of the Father. This didn’t make much sense to some of them, but it slowed down the arguments.
Athanasius became elated when they began to agree that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were only different names for different “manifestations” of one Supreme Being, and that the “one substance” was “indivisible”. Now the council began to draw some definite conclusions. It was affirmed that three distinct persons in the deity were one (immaterial) God. Athanasius announced this as a great new plateau of knowledge and that “these were incomprehensible mysteries.” No one could argue with that!
The Emperor Constantine, who sat in these sessions, agreed that he was hearing great and marvelous things. However, it must be remembered that this man, who was not yet a baptized Christian (not until 12 years after this council met), was to sit in judgment on the kind of Godhead the Christians were to believe. Constantine asked the council to draw up a creed that all persons in his empire could adopt. They presented the following document, notoriously known as the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son (Word) of  God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is of the essence (substance) of the Father. God from God, Light from Light, (Life from Life), very God from very God, begotten not made, of one essence (substance) with the Father, through whom all things came to be, both things in heaven and things on earth. Who for the sake of us men and for our salvation, came down and was made flesh, and became man, suffered, and rose on the third day, ascended into the heavens (to the Father), is coming to judge living and dead; and in one Holy Spirit. (Apostasy from the Divine Church, James L. Barker, p. 263)
There were some problems with contradictions so efforts were made to clarify them, resulting in “incomprehensible mysteries”:
Son, He is distinct numerically from the Father; but Son, He is of the same substance as the Father; and He is the same substance absolutely as the Father, because this substance, which is communicated to Him, being God, could be neither divided nor diminished. It is with a serene intrepidity that Athanasius announces these incomprehensible mysteries, of which his intelligence does not seek to pierce the shadows, but which he perceives as the inescapable consequence of certain data of revelation. (Ibid., p. 264)
The council believed this explanation, even if they couldn’t understand it. God was distinct numerically from the Son, yet they were one substance that could not be divided! That truly was a beautiful “incomprehensible” mystery adopted by the council. This conclusion was certainly far removed from the New Testament doctrine as taught by the Savior and His apostles, and is definitely not scripture.
 Athanasius was pleased with the outcome, and it sounded so good to the Emperor, that he made a decree–everyone in that council would be forced to sign the creed. If they didn’t, they would be banished. Yet, there were some who thought it still contained some errors and would not concede. Arius was exiled to Illyria. Bishop Secundus and Bishop Theognis and several other priests were also banished. All the writings of Arius and of his friends were burned. So bitter was the resentment against this man that everyone was threatened with death if they concealed any of his writings. Eusebius made a slight change in the wording of the document that he was to sign. Someone detected it and so he, too, with Theognis, was given a one-way ticket out of town. However, three to four years later Constantine pardoned Arius, Eusebius and Theognis. Eusebius returned from exile and had great influence with the emperor until Constantine’s death in 337 A.D.
Thus, the Nicene Creed was for a time the accepted philosophy of all Christian churches: Orthodox Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Protestant. It was hailed as one of the greatest doctrinal announcements since the days of Christ; but, in reality, it was an inconsistent absurdity, unfounded in reason or scripture. It was a tragedy. The only truth connected with this creed was the fact that it was called an “incomprehensible mystery”.
In summary, then, it was initiated, approved, and enforced by a pagan-believing emperor–not by prophets, apostles or because of a revelation from God. It was an edict of the learned philosophers, with new terms, expressions and a speculative theological theory. The philosophical thought of the Athenian Greeks held more credence in the meeting than the early Christian doctrines. Constantine’s council was literally an affair of state, more than an affair of the Church. It was historically a product of political policy rather than a religious manifestation.
 This strange mixture of men and backgrounds concluded that the trinity represented three persons, all of one substance. “Three as one and one for all” was better adapted as the slogan for the Three Muskateers than the trinity doctrine of the Nicene Christians.
The final conclusion of the Nicene Council was best expressed by some Catholic authorities who said, “A god understood is a god dethroned.” Talk about mysticism, paganism and superstition! They want a god who is incomprehensible, invisible, immaterial and who is everywhere, in everything and not understood. What a god! It certainly out-mystified any heathen god!
Not long after the adoption of the Nicene Creed, an anti-Nicene reaction developed and mushroomed under the leadership of Eusebius. The strongest supporters of the original creed were deposed, including Athanasius who had succeeded Alexander as bishop of Alexandria. Constantine exiled him to Treves.
Constantine ordered that Arius be reinstated in the church, but the day before this was to occur, the “body of Arius burst asunder like Judas,” ending his life and his mysterious writings.
After Constantine’s death, his three sons became emperors of various sections of the empire; and in the spirit of reconciliation, they recalled Athanasius and his bishops from exile. Rome in the West was predominately Athanasian; Antioch in the East was largely Arian, and Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile had strong supporters of both factions.
During the next several years a compromise creed was in the making between the Athanasians and Arians. Many ecumenical councils were called and controlled by the emperor, but no satisfactory results were achieved.
 About 360 the question arose of the Holy Ghost as the third person of the Trinity. Up until that time the confusion was mostly over the Father and the Son. Somewhere between 420 and 430 A.D. the Athanasian Creed was written, which was so-called because in many manuscripts it was entitled “The Faith of St. Athanasius.” Of the three ancient creeds of Christendom (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian), this one is the most rigid, as can be seen by reading the following:
We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated; but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty; and yet there are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and yet they are not three Gods but one God. (The Creeds of Christendom, Philip Schaff, Vol. 2, pp. 66-67)
One thing for certain–they have adopted not three incomprehensibles for their trinity but one incomprehensible god–or is it three?
 Three Separate Personages in the Trinity
The scriptures have actually made the doctrine of the Trinity easy to understand. It is the philosophical interpretations of men and their pagan ideologies that have taken this doctrine into the realm of the unknown and incomprehensible.
The Apostle John explains three separate personages in heaven:
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7)
Is there any difficulty in understanding the number of personages that are in heaven bearing witness?
But this is certainly not the only scripture that substantiates the concept of a plural Godhead. We are told that Jesus was born a babe in Bethlehem and that He grew in stature, spirit, and wisdom just as all of God’s children do. The scriptures further state that “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” (John 5:26-27) In short,
- The Father gave life to the Son.
- The Father gave authority to the Son.
- They had a literal father/son relationship.
Then at the beginning of Christ’s ministry:
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matt. 3:16-17)
 It is evident that there were three personages in three different places at the same time: (1) Jesus was in the River Jordan; (2) the Father spoke from heaven; and (3) the Holy Ghost descended like a dove.
The scriptures also inform us that the Father taught and instructed the Son: “For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that he himself doeth” (John 5:20). This implies that God the Father assumed the role of a real father to a real son. He taught Him the things He understood. If the Trinity were all one entity or “essence”, how could it be instructing itself?
Jesus once stated that “my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). This, too, is evidence that one is separate from the other because of a greater and lesser relationship. If one thing is greater than another, they both are different–as a quart of milk is greater than a pint, even though they are both milk. There must be two entities. If an Apostle is greater than a Deacon, there must be two people. It matters not whether it refers to size, official calling, or intelligence.
The Father knew things that the Son did not, as shown when Jesus said, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32) Jesus also once admitted that “The Son can do nothing of himself” (John 5:19).
Another time Jesus said, “Why callest thou me good? There is none good, but one, that is God.” (Mark 10:18) While in mortality, there was a difference between Jesus and the Father in their “goodness”.
Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Jesus was sent by the Father to complete a mission on earth. If a man sends his son to the store, there are two people involved–one remaining while the other leaves; the son is under the direction of the father.
 When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed to the Father (not to himself) and said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39) Jesus had His own will–He wanted to live; but first He wanted to do the will of the Father. The Father didn’t want Him to avoid the crucifixion, so Jesus then changed to the Father’s will. Two personages, two minds, and two wills are demonstrated here. That should not be difficult to understand.
While on the cross, Jesus experienced some difficulties which were beyond His understanding. Something occurred which He had not expected and He prayed, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) The personage on the cross was pleading with someone in heaven. Jesus did not understand something and was asking the Father to enlighten His understanding.
And after the resurrection of Christ, He appeared to Mary. Being overcome in her grief, she ran to embrace Him, but He said to her, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17). Jesus was in a physically different place than the Father because He was going to “ascend” to where the Father was. He was not going to ascend to Himself. Jesus was in one place, the Father was in another.
Unity of the Trinity
The initial controversy over such phrases as “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9), has been a stumbling block to scriptorians. Jesus made this reply to the disciples who wanted to see what God the Father looked like. It was obvious that Jesus was saying that God looked like Him. After all, Jesus was His Son, and a son usually resembles his father. This was also to teach them that the father had a body, an image and physical appearance similar to that which Jesus had.
 From another verse Jesus said, “… the Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:38). This refers to the moral principles they believed and taught–there was a close union of their spirit, will, and intent.
Then to add to the confusion, Jesus made the statement that “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus was referring to their union in doctrine, principles, commandments, and the laws. They were united in their purposes and their will. They were animated and made powerful by the same holy spirit.
This statement is further clarified by Christ when He prayed for His disciples, asking “that they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:21-22). This is almost too obvious for anyone not to understand. Jesus wanted all of His disciples to be in perfect unity and harmony, just as He and His Father were. He wanted them to believe, to understand, and to desire the same things. He certainly was not talking about a physical oneness–that they should all be rolled up into one big ball substance, or all occupy the same body.
Because of the misunderstanding of these quotations, the Greek and Roman philosophers came up with the “essence” doctrine because they simply couldn’t understand what these scriptures meant. The answer was simple for men such as John who wrote them, but after a few centuries they became difficult to interpret by the Greeks and Romans.
Cicero wisely said, “There is never a proper ending to reasoning which proceeds on a false foundation.” Many of our present-day Christian doctrines were founded on the dictates of the Emperor Constantine and his interpretation and definition of God. From that shaky foundation there can never be anything but strange and erroneous scriptural interpretations.
 Christ was a part of the Godhead, yet he had a body of flesh and bones while in mortality. He often prayed to His Father who was in heaven. The distinction is so obvious that there should be no error in understanding these scriptures.
Consider these additional scriptures that further clarify this “mystery” of their unity and yet separate entities:
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth . . . . (John 5:19)
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. (Acts 17:29)
. . . which he wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:20)
There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 2:5)
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
And further, when the Father spoke of Jesus, He said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22, 2 Peter 1:17) If we were to believe in the concept that the Father and the Son were the same person, we would necessarily have to  believe that the Father was saying, “I am surely pleased with myself!”
If the following questions can be answered affirmatively, then one has a reasonable understanding of who God and Christ are and how men can become like Deity.
- Is Jesus Christ a perfect manifestation of God the Father?
- Is Christ in the reality of God’s personage?
- Did Jesus possess a body with a form, an image and likeness to man?
- Did Christ have a body of flesh and bone?
- Did Christ have body parts and passions?
- Did Christ once dwell in the heavens, and then come down to earth in mortality?
- Did not Jesus become “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man?” (Luke 2:52)
- Did Christ not change from heavenly to earthly, from a child to a man, from mortality to immortality, and become a resurrected personage?
- Did He not pray to His “Father in heaven,” indicating that He and the Father were separate beings?
The whole world is in confusion about who God is–and they have conjured up every conceivable type of a god to worship. Only the prophets are acquainted with the true God of heaven. God is a friend to them, He speaks to them, and He reveals many important things which are hidden from the rest of the world. He explains many things about Himself and about some of the mysteries of heaven. Consider how clear and understandable these things are to the Prophet, Brigham Young:
When you are prepared to see our Father, you will see a being with whom you have long been acquainted, and He will receive you into His arms, and you will be ready to fall into His embrace and kiss Him, as you would your fathers and friends that have been dead for a score of years, you will be so glad and joyful. Would you not rejoice? When you are qualified and purified, so that you can endure the glory of eternity, so that you can see your Father, and your friends who have gone behind the vail, you will fall upon their necks and kiss them, as we do an earthly friend that has been long absent from us, and that we have been anxiously desiring to see. This is the people that are and will be permitted to enjoy the society of those happy and exalted beings. (J.D. 4:54-55)
It is sad that so many preachers of religion know so little about God. They conclude their opinions about Him with statements like “Great is the mystery of God”. Yet when living prophets try to teach them the truth, they persecute and even kill them–just as they did anciently.
But, the honest in heart shall learn about God, how to pray to Him, and how to prepare to meet Him again.
 Chapter 8
WHOM DO MEN SAY I AM?
The Romans thought they knew who Jesus was–a fraud, troublemaker, and even a blasphemer. They made mockery of his claiming to be a “king” by forcing him to wear a purple robe and a crown of thorns. They considered his crimes against the state worthy of capital punishment and thus put him to death. Yes, they were sure they knew who he was.
Herod believed he knew who Jesus was. When he heard of His birth, “he was troubled.” So Herod “gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together” to learn where this “King of the Jews” was to be born. But an angel of the Lord declared to Joseph and Mary that Herod “would seek the young child to destroy him.” Herod was so convinced that he knew who Jesus was, that he sent out soldiers to slay “all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under.” (Matt. 2:16)
The Jewish people also thought they knew Jesus. One of their most renowned leaders, Nicodemus, came to Jesus admitting that they knew who He was. Yet it was this same Sanhedrin and the Jewish people that cried out to Pilate saying, “Let him be crucified . . . and His blood be on us, and on our children.” (Matt. 27:23, 25) These were the people who called Him “gluttonous”, a “winebibber”, a friend of “sinners”, a “sabbath-breaker”, a “blasphemer”, and one who did things that were “not lawful”. They were convinced they knew who Jesus was.
 When Jesus questioned His disciples saying, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” the disciples answered and said, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” (Matt. 16:14) The people thought they knew who Jesus was, and the disciples couldn’t give them any better information.
John the Baptist was convinced he knew who Jesus was. His father told him about an angel of the Lord explaining the mission and birth of Christ. John also testified of Jesus saying that He is “mightier than I” and “whose shoes I am not worthy to bear”. Yet this same John later sent word to Jesus asking Him, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3)
Thousands and thousands of disciples came to hear Jesus teach. They were convinced they knew who He was. They witnessed the miracle of the multiplication of the bread and fish, and they partook of that miracle. But later at the time of the crucifixion “all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matt. 26:56). They must not have known Him very well.
Judas Iscariot also said he knew who Jesus was. After hearing Jesus teach, watching Him perform miracles and fulfill prophecies, he identified Jesus to the Roman soldiers and the estimate of his knowledge of Jesus was placed at 30 pieces of silver.
Peter’s testimony was strong and sure: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). But even Peter, at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, was not too valiant to that testimony when he three times denied knowing the Savior.
 A few centuries later, the Christians began to war among themselves over who Jesus really was. The Catholics tortured, imprisoned and killed the Protestants, because they worshipped a different Jesus. Later when the Protestants had the power, they did the same to the Catholics, believing their Jesus was pleased with the slaughter of the Catholics.
But that is not all. Jesus prophesied that in the last days “many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:5). In other words, many Christians would deceive many Christians.
Today millions and millions of Christians pray to and testify of the “true” Jesus, whom they claim to know. They have built a multitude of churches to him, yet they all differ. Each declares that he alone is right, and that all other Christian churches are wrong. Over a thousand denominations claim to know the true Jesus, yet they preach different gospels.
Like the Romans, the Jews and the wayward disciples of centuries past, do not really know the true Jesus.
Christianity has been fractured into a thousand pieces, and there are just as many reasons why. At the time of Christ there was persecution; then after Christ was crucified, discord and contention arose among the disciples. Then came the uninspired leaders and the addition of the learned philosophers who taught the doctrines of men.
For example, ancient pagan philosophers of Greece and Rome introduced their mystical and ethereal hogwash into the doctrines of Christianity. By the third century, Christianity had become Catholicism. The Protestants recognized that by then the Church of Christ had apostatized from its original teachings, but it was mistakenly still called the “Gospel of Christ”.
 The Protestants had difficulty in reforming or restoring the doctrines and teachings of the original church of Christ. They disagreed, contended among each other, and established numerous churches according to their own opinions. After 2,000 years of these dissensions, Christianity has become splattered into the maze of confused factions we see today.
If Christians really knew who Jesus was, they would know what He taught, and they would be “one” in their faith and in their understanding of doctrines and principles. They would have harmony with each other and dwell in righteousness.
But not knowing the true Jesus, they contend against each other over His teachings. Such divisions and numerous Christian churches are evidence of confusion and ignorance concerning His true identity.
It is easy to determine which course Christianity has taken today. They simply do not know the true Jesus.
In furthering pursuing a knowledge of the true Jesus, let’s consider some of the problematic areas over which Christianity can’t agree:
- The Virgin Birth
- The Only Begotten
- The Body of Christ
- Christ’s Proper Identification
- Priesthood Authority
- The Sacrament
- Organization of the Church
- Christian Confusion
- Christian Principles
- True Doctrines
 1. The Virgin Birth
If there is a problem with redefinition of Christian terms, it is not from the Mormon teachings, but from the apostate Christian ministries. The Mormons say that Jesus was begotten or born of God, but many others say that Jesus is the Son of God but was begotten by the Holy Ghost. That is like saying that a colt is the offspring of a horse, but it was begotten by a bull. To add to the confusion of the “redefinition” of these Christians, they teach that God is really Jesus, and Jesus is really the Holy Ghost, for they are all one. Could any of them beget the other since they are all supposed to be the same deity? Again we see the redefinitions and conflicts that have come down to us through the Dark Ages of the Christian Era.
Christian ministers also give incomprehensible definitions of the word virgin. Every woman knows what virginity is and what it is not. But these ministers try to reverse the meaning in the Bible and tell you that Mary was a virgin, then she became “with child”, gave birth to a son, and yet she was still a “virgin”. If this is possible, then all teenage girls who have no husband but become pregnant could say that they are still virgins–and they might even blame their condition on the Holy Ghost. Certainly no doctor would believe that, and neither should any reasonably-thinking Christian.
We must understand both the literal and figurature portions of the Bible. This is particularly true with the principle of procreation or parenthood. In the beginning of the Bible we have the account of the first man being shaped like an adobe brick from clay, but is this a literal translation? Then we have woman coming from a rib–and so is this a true principle of procreation or birth? And now some say Jesus was born by the Holy Ghost and Mary remained a virgin. This is the introduction of another form of procreation.
 Mormons do not deny that Mary was a virgin. Every girl who chooses to be married and have children should also be virgins, but after they become pregnant and have children, they are no longer in that classification but are called mothers. Or are we to suppose, like the Protestants and Catholics, that it is possible for women to continue to be virgins after they have borne children? It is possible for women to get married who are not virgins (quite common nowadays), but if Mary were still a virgin after having a child, then we must admit that it is possible for other women to do the same.
It is written that John the Baptist was also “filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb”. If we are to believe that Jesus was begotten by the Holy Ghost because Mary was impregnated by the Holy Ghost, then John the Baptist would have been begotten in the same way since his mother’s womb was also filled with the Holy Ghost. (See. Matt. 1:8 and Luke 1:15.) But Mormon doctrine does not teach that this is necessarily so. Neither did it make John also a son of God. Indeed it is written that Mary was “found with child of the Holy Ghost,” but is Jesus then the Son of the Holy Ghost? There is a conflict here as to the father of Jesus–was it Joseph, God or the Holy Ghost? The answer of course can be found within the scriptures themselves: “Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:19), is the “only begotten Son” of God (Matt. 14:33; Mark 1:1; John 3:16), and Jesus admitted, “I am the Son of God” (Matt. 27:43)–through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Many modern Christians believe in the virgin birth, even though it clashes with their own traditional understanding and teachings pertaining to virginity. They say that Jesus is the Son of the Father, but was begotten by the Holy Ghost. But if we are to believe their statements that the Father and the Son are all one, then we have something siring itself by the power of itself. And they think Mormonism is confusing! This has to be another one of those “incomprehensible mysteries” that has come to us from the Dark Ages.
 2. The Only Begotten
Mormons believe that Jesus was the Son of God. The Catholics and Protestants believe that He was the son of the Holy Ghost. Anti-Mormons say that the Mormon belief that Christ is the Son of the Father is “foul, sacrilege” and that “no true Apostle of God would preach such a doctrine.” (from Mormonism, Mama and Me, by Geer)
But what did the Apostles of Christ have to say about it? Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3). And John said, “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Then Paul, “a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:1, 3, 4)
There in black and white, within the Bible itself, is the “foul, sacrilege doctrine” that Jesus is the Son of God–whether the Protestants want to believe it or not.
It appears that modern ministers do not know what a relationship between father and son consists of or how they come into being. Most any school boy could explain it, but it seems to be too profound for our religious professors to comprehend.
When Jesus told His disciples to “go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father” (John 20:17), He was clearly and literally explaining that He and His disciples were brothers, and that they had a common Father in heaven. The Bible declares it so!
The scriptures support the doctrine that there is no son without a father. Furthermore, everyone knows that when a son becomes grown to maturity, he usually has the characteristics of his father. If God is our Father, then we become much like Him. Why is this so difficult to believe?
 3. The Body of Christ
The Christians of today offer millions of prayers to Jesus but they never get an answer. Why? Because they don’t believe in new revelation from Him today. It is no wonder they have had no new scripture or revelation from him in over 1800 years–they don’t want to hear from him because they assume he cannot speak. They are right! They believe in a god without ears to hear, a mouth to talk, and an invisible body that has no passions. Today some say “God is dead”, and that particular god is–or else he is dead silent. That sort of god is the modern god of Christianity; in fact, it is Christ, for they believe that God the Father and God the Son are the same person, entity, or substance.
So Christ is without form, without a body and without passions. That is certainly different from the Savior’s description while He was alive and well. If that is the sort of existence that He was facing at death, no wonder He wanted “that cup” to pass. If He knew the kind of heaven the Catholics and Protestants had conjured up for Him, it is no wonder that He sweat blood before He died. That would make anyone sweat blood!
Pertaining to the resurrected Christ–the Christians today hold to the idea that when He comes again, we will see Christ as a personage–a man–and that all shall look upon His face. But if we shall see Him with a body, why would we not behold God with a body? At one time they say Christ will have no body and then later they say He will. Is His body like a glove, to be put on for certain projects and thrown off when finished?
When Jesus appeared after His crucifixion to His disciples, they saw Him and handled Him. Was it His body, or was it a physical mask used for the occasion?
Paul says that God will “change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to  the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. 3:20:21). We must conclude that one of two things is going to happen–we will have a beautiful, perfected body like Jesus showed to His disciples, or we will have a beautiful annihilated one. Christ was supposed to be the perfect example of both in His life and in His resurrection.
Did His body in the flesh have the same image and likeness when it was resurrected? Or, are the Christians right by thinking it is immaterial, invisible and scattered everywhere?
- Christ’s Proper Identification
There is a difference in men’s faith. If men have faith in some wood or stone god, what results will that faith have? The man’s faith may be innocent, pure and powerful, yet it won’t prove effectual because that wood or stone god cannot help that man or reward his faith.
If a man has faith in one of the many kinds of Jesus that exist in Christianity, it may have no more effect than the man who has faith in wood or stone. One sect calls Jesus the god of the Sabbath, believing that one particular day is the Sabbath and all other worshippers believing otherwise have faith in a false Jesus. Another testifies of a “Kingdom” Jesus, and those who believe in a “Church” Jesus are all wrong and their faith is in vain. Then a “Baptist” Jesus or an “Anti-Mormon” Jesus may prove as vain as the heathen god of wood and stone.
Thus, we see the importance of understanding the right character, personage and personality of the true Jesus Christ. Calling on, or having faith in, some strange Jesus will not bring answers or assistance from the true Jesus. Men can call all sorts of intangible or even tangible things a Jesus. They might even call on an invisible Jesus, or have faith in a Jesus who has no form, no body and no  passions. But can someone answer mail that was sent to another address? Or, is the real Jesus obliged to answer petitions to gods of wood, stone or something invisible or immaterial?
The real Jesus Christ of the Bible is the Son of God, just as the scriptures testify–not the by-product of the Holy Ghost. He is the risen, resurrected Christ of the New Testament possessing a body of flesh and bones. He said, “Handle me and see”–not an immaterial or invisible mist of wind. Christ is a living, breathing being–an immortal personage with the same tangible body and form that He had while He was on earth.
- Priesthood Authority
Catholics contend that the Priesthood was given to Peter and then passed down to each succeeding Pope thereafter. The Protestants claim that Catholicism had apostatized and thereby lost their authority. But then the Protestants had no authority either because they came from the Catholics who they claimed had none. So they began to reason among themselves that no authority exists, therefore none is necessary. They buy a $5.00 Bible and claim that is their authority. However, anyone could do that to be a minister. If they really have authority, where did it come from?
Who has authority to baptize, or serve the last supper, or preach and teach? Who does not have authority? Who has authority to call men to the various offices of the church or to send others to do service for the church? What is the difference in authority between the different officers of the church?
 6. Baptism
Christ was baptized in the River Jordan as an example for His disciples to follow. The disciples were then baptized. However, today there is much confusion among the Christians over this doctrine. Some say that Christ was baptized for us and so it is not necessary. Others say that only the baptism of the Spirit is needed. Others contend that we must be baptized but a little sprinkling on the head is sufficient. Still others say the sprinkling is not enough and pouring of water is correct.
But then some say if Jesus went out into the River Jordan, He must have been immersed; therefore, they say we must be baptized by immersion. Some say that babies must be baptized, and others do not. Then there is a problem about how old a person should be, and who can do the baptism, and what qualifications are necessary.
- The Sacrament
Probably the majority of those claiming to be Christians believe that the sacrament, or last supper, is magically turned into the actual body and blood of Christ. This ritual is abhorred by the heathens, because they consider it an act of cannibalism by the Christians of their own god. This is called the doctrine of transubstantiation and originated from the scripture which says that Jesus broke bread and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood” (Matt. 26:26-28)
Was this literally the body and blood of Christ? Or was it clarified in another scripture which says, “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)?
 Then there is the problem of who can take the sacrament? Who can administer it? How was it to be passed? There are many different interpretations about these areas as well.
- Organization of the Church
Was the church an organization? If so, was it supposed to be continued? Did it have officers, and were all or part of them to continue with the church? Were the apostles, seventy, priests, eiders, teachers, bishops, etc., to be continued or were they changed to popes, cardinals, monks, etc.?
Some churches have only elders or deacons; others have priests; and some do not have any of those titles. Then again, if they do have those officers, what are their duties and how do they differ from each other? And how are they called and who can make that selection?
- Christian Confusion
Consider again the confusion at the time of Christ regarding how many really knew who Christ was. There was Caesar who thought he was a threat to the government. The Roman people said he was a criminal. His friends and disciples said he was Elias, or one of the prophets. The Jewish nation called him a gluttonous winebibber who associated with sinners. The Jewish Sanhedrin called him a blasphemer and condemned him to death.
In a few centuries, when Christianity was recognized as the dominant religion in several nations, that period of time became known as the “Dark Ages”. Christianity had apostatized so far from light and truth, that terror, evil, and murder had brought darkness over the nations. The real Jesus was unknown.
 In a few centuries the Christians had such diverse opinions about Him that a religious civil war broke out. This caused only more divisions. Nearly every doctrine and teaching of Christ became subject to change or debate. When Luther saw the multitude of strange doctrines, ideologies and churches, he said he regretted having any part in such a mess.
Without the light of heaven they continued to search in vain for the true Jesus.
- Christian Principles
Jesus came as “the Prince of Peace”, yet through the centuries Christianity has evolved into a constant history of barbaric wars and persecutions. The Dark Ages were the highest peak of political and religious powers of Christianity, and the noon of Catholicism was the midnight of Christianity. In these latter days men have been breaking out of the hard shell of tyranny and have sought for the fresh air of freedom by escaping from the “Christianity” that is so common among the nations.
Christ opposed war, yet Christian people have made the most of wars over the past few hundred years in Christian nations even making war on other Christian nations.
Those nations that claim to be Christian have some of the worst barbaric criminal records. The crime element in the United States makes it unsafe for people to walk at night in the cities. The Christian principles taught by Christ are not being practiced by those nations that claim to be “Christian”.
 11. True Doctrines
The churches contend against each other over which day is the true Sabbath. Those saying that it is the last day of the week, declare the rest of the Christians as “Sabbath breakers” and therefore unworthy to enter the kingdom of heaven. Some say that it does not matter which day of the week is made a Sabbath. The scriptures actually show more evidence for the last day of the week than the first day–yet nearly all of Christianity honor the first day of the week as the Sabbath.
In each dispensation when God spoke to His people, including at the time of Christ, the true believers were supposed to gather together. Some Christians say it should be practiced today, but they don’t know where. Others say that it is sufficient to be gathered spiritually. Others contend that it is done away, or not necessary now.
All through the Bible God sent angels to his servants; He spoke to them and gave them revelations. He blessed them with visions and great miracles. Some Christians say these things should be experienced today; others contend that they were done away. A few say that only a part of these manifestations should be had.
Some Christian churches say that men should live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. Others say that faith only is necessary. One church claims that men must perform certain “works” like praying with beads, kneeling before statues, making confessions, etc. Others say that paying dues will merit all the blessings you need. “Believe in Jesus,” cry others who think that is all that is necessary for salvation. When you say “I believe”, you have just obtained an instantaneous salvation, and nothing else matters. Thus, one contends that faith alone is needed, another that works are, and yet others who say that grace has given us all salvation.
 Dr. Gallup should take a survey, asking the question: “Who is Jesus Christ?” Such a poll would be as interesting today as it was anciently. They would not say “Elias, John the Baptist, Jeremias, or one of the prophets,” but probably would respond, “an imposter, a good teacher,” or a character of fiction. The Christian churches today believe everything from his humanity to his deity–from a good teacher to his being God. Some say he is a spirit, while others claim he is resurrected with a body. After nearly 2000 years, Christianity is more confused today than they were when Christ first asked the question, “Who do men say I am?”
Because of all these contending variations of Christian religions, we must conclude that the prophecy is fulfilled in which Jesus foretold that in the last days “many shall come in my name and deceive many.”
In the great day of judgment, how shall Christ look upon all these variations of churches called after His name? Were all these ministers preaching the gospel of Christ? Jesus foretold this event by saying:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in they name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt. 7:21-23)
God’s house is a house of order, not a house of confusion as the ministers of Christianity have made it today. We live in the time that Jesus said many would come in his name and say, “Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.” (Matt. 24:23)
 The scriptures say that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt 7:14)
There is so much confusion among Christian religions today that no one could solve the dilemma by just using scripture or reason. It requires an inspired prophet to untangle such a confusing mess of false doctrines and teachings. God sent the Prophet Joseph Smith, as a witness of both the Father and the Son, to solve those problems. His teachings and doctrine on the Godhead will be discussed in a subsequent chapter.
 Chapter 9
Unfortunately, the huge body of Christianity today has little or no resemblance to the Christianity that Christ originated. The thousands of factions now represent a mass of confusion and dissension that could lead no one into a straight and narrow pathway to heaven.
After nearly 2,000 years of man-handling, Christianity has become a vast array of interpretations, philosophies, and abstract theories. Every avenue of worldly belief is incorporated into today’s “Christianity”.
The Christians have lost the spirit of Christianity. The “heathen” nations frown upon the Christians because of all their centuries of war making against non-Christians and Christians alike. Unholy Christianity resembles the Roman entertainments, rather than a reflection of Christ.
Those modern ministers tried to convert Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders with tar and feathers, beatings, robberies and murders. Why were the Mormons so slow to understand how wonderful Christianity had become? Mormon losses were in the millions of dollars, and that was when a million was a million! These were sacrifices on the altar of those counterfeit Christians who were practicing their religion and preaching the gospel of crippled Christianity. It has always been “religionists” who thirsted for the blood of the prophets, and they always make their god responsible for such deeds.
 It was these barbaric Christians who put Joseph Smith and others into prisons and dungeons, and who made an extermination order upon the Mormons. They thought that would surely open their eyes to how wonderful Christianity was! Finally their Christian principles dictated the killing of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and drove the Mormons out of the United States. This same spirit was demonstrated in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, where the Christians burned Mormon crops and homes, and killed hundreds of Mormon people. They wanted the Mormons to join their ranks singing “Onward Christian Soldiers”.
In a day when Christians acclaimed civil rights, they administered civil wrongs–and all that in the holy name of Christianity!
But into this mass of confusion and apostasy, God had sufficient mercy to send a prophet to help the wandering sheep. But the “new wine” wouldn’t adapt to their old rotten bottles. They were happy with their ethereal idols and their man-made churches.
There isn’t any more room for Christ in the churches of today than there was for Him at the inn just before He was born. A true prophet of God has no more respect today than he did anciently.
Most churches today are break-offs from other break-offs. As they break away, they change their name; then they change their doctrines. Further and further they drive themselves into the wilderness. The Prophet Joseph Smith described this condition:
The old Catholic Church traditions are worth more than all you have said. Here is a principle of logic that most men have no more sense than to adopt. I will illustrate it by an old apple tree. Here jumps off a branch and says, I  am the true tree, and you are corrupt. If the whole tree is corrupt, are not its branches corrupt? If the Catholic religion is a false religion, how can any true religion come out of it? If the Catholic church is bad, how can any good thing come out of it? The character of the old churches have always been slandered by all apostates since the world began. (TPJS, p. 375)
History has shown that after a few centuries, the Catholic Church became greatly changed from what it originally was. The organization, the doctrines, and the rituals became modified, other teachings were incorporated, and the officers adopted new functions and were called by different names. Then as apostates broke away, they too renamed and remodeled their new churches and new religions.
If one should go to the auto races, he would see different cars–some chopped down, remodeled, and rebuilt. There are some weird ones, with huge rear wheels and long front ends; some were built for long continuous racing, and others for shorter runs. They all appear to be “funny cars”, but all have been built for speed.
The many Christian religions today are also remodeled, chopped down, and built for speedy growth and speedy money making. They should be called “funny religions”. Even though funny cars are different in style, they all have some of the same basic characteristics–wheels, motor, transmission, etc. Though each religion differs from the other, they still contain some truths.
Today a thousand blind guides each have a part of Christianity and teach it as the entire gospel. They are somewhat like blind men from Indostan described in the following poem:
 The Blind Men and the Elephant
A Hindoo Fable
by John Godfrey Saxe
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind)
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me, but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming truck within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“`Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
The Prophet Joseph Smith could see the same blind and narrowminded weaknesses in the ministers and preachers of the different churches:
I cannot believe in any of the creeds of the different denominations, because they all have some things in them I cannot subscribe to, though all of them have some truth. I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes, and say, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further”; which I cannot subscribe to. (TPJS, p. 327)
 Because all of them have error, they cannot be wholly acceptable to God. Anything incomplete and containing error is not sanctioned by God, as Joseph also said:
By the foregoing testimonies we may look at the Christian world and see the apostasy there has been from the apostolic platform; and who can look at this and not exclaim, in the language of Isaiah, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant?” (TPJS, p. 15)
How then can man know what religion is correct, or which doctrines are acceptable to God? If God is represented in so many different ways, where do we begin? Again from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
The great majority of mankind do not comprehend anything, either that which is past, or that which is to come, as it respects their relationship to God. They do not know, neither do they understand the nature of that relationship; and consequently they know but little above the brute beast, or more than to eat, drink and sleep. This is all man knows about God or his existence, unless it is given by the inspiration of the Almighty. * * *
My first object is to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and what kind of a being he is; and if I am so fortunate as to be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts, so that the Spirit seals them upon you, then let every man and woman henceforth sit in silence, put their hands on their mouths, and never lift their hands or voices, or say anything against the man of God or the servants of God again. But if I  fail to do it, it becomes my duty to renounce all further pretensions to revelations and inspirations, or to be a prophet; and I should be like the rest of the world–a false teacher, be hailed as a friend, and no man would seek my life. (TPJS, pp. 343-344)
Joseph Smith still throws out his challenge–that he understands the nature and character of God. If true, everyone should acknowledge that God has revealed this information to our generation and be grateful for it.
This, after all, should be the most important part of any religion–to learn who God really is and what kind of personage he is. But before believing Joseph Smith, it should be determined if he really was a prophet–a true or false prophet and how to distinguish one from the other. If he was a true prophet, then what did he teach that was different from all the other preachers, teachers, and evangelists? If he was a false prophet, his message would probably be similar to all the other false teachers of religion. The following chapter presents guidelines to use in determining whether someone is a true or false prophet.
 Chapter 10
THE LONELY VOICE OF A PROPHET
From out of the masses of humanity, occasionally there arises someone who can speak for God. He is not a typical “money minister” nor a self-appointed imitator–but is a genuine prophet of God. His voice is seldom heard, and even less frequently believed, but his message is vital.
In these latter days, when there are so many counterfeit messengers of God, there must be at least one original. The counterfeits may be similar to each other, but the original will be a little different from the rest. The obvious difference is that all the counterfeits say they are right and Joseph Smith is wrong. But it would be foolish to believe that God would send a true prophet to tell us that the teachings of all these different Christian churches were right. It would be equally ridiculous to think that a true prophet would say that all the different churches had a correct concept of the identity of the real God.
A genuine prophet, of necessity, would come to testify of the error of their teachings and concept of God. Furthermore, a true prophet would clarify many of the mysteries unknown to the rest of the existing creeds and cults. And this is what Joseph Smith did!
But before accepting words of a man who claims to be a prophet, there must be some evidence or proof that he is a true prophet. A few of these guidelines are as follows and will be discussed briefly in this chapter:
 He must–
- be called of God.
- be in harmony with scripture.
- receive revelation from God.
- enjoy gifts of the Spirit.
- receive the visitation of angels.
- be assigned to a special work.
- teach the doctrine of gathering.
- prophesy and have his prophecies fulfilled.
- be supported by other witnesses.
- advise others to inquire of God.
- be willing to die for the truth.
None of the “counterfeit Christians” have exemplified all these credentials–but Joseph Smith did.
- He must be called of God.
A prophet must speak for God. He does not guess, suppose, or presume that he has been so called. He will have a definite time, place, and experience that indicates the reality of his call from God.
The Lord calls prophets personally, for He said, “Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” (Num. 12:6)
False ministers and self-appointed prophets merely assume their call–either by vanity, desire, or dark revelation. Such prophets and teachers are those who “speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord” (Jer. 23:16). There have always been more imposters than genuine prophets, and they are described as the “foolish prophets that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing” (Ezek. 13:3).
The messages given to true prophets usually consist of new information–not a repetition of traditions already accepted. They reveal the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 13:11).
 As a teenage boy, Joseph wanted to know which church was right. Being honest enough and having great faith, he went to the woods to pray. While praying, he later recorded:
. . . I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun …. I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (Pearl of Great Price, J.S. 2:16 & 17)
This kind of call from God separates the prophets from other Christian evangelists.
- He must be in harmony with scripture.
The teachings of a prophet will not contradict former prophets nor scripture. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, His teachings and doctrines are the same. There is only one gospel.
There is no evidence that salvation was one thing in the days of Adam, another in the days of Moses, another in the days of Jesus, and still another in the 20th century. Joseph Smith added:
I hope you will search the Scriptures to see whether these things are not also consistent with those things which the ancient Prophets and Apostles have written. (TPJS, p. 29)
One prophet may reveal new information, new truths and prophecies, but their doctrines will not clash or disagree with those revealed by former prophets. Thus, the teachings of one prophet will harmonize with those of all the other prophets. This was certainly the case with the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
 3. He must receive revelation from God.
One of the most important duties of a prophet is to have communication with God. Even the humble servants who believe should receive such revelation. False priests and ministers are best known to be frauds by the simple fact that they deny revelation from God, nor do they believe they can receive it.
Revelation can come to people in many different forms, one of the most common being a written message through a true prophet, in which “Thus saith the Lord” is attached. This stamp of origin is one of the methods to detect a genuine divine revelation.
With over 100 revelations published and as many more not printed, Joseph Smith is one of the most prolific revelators in history. At the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord revealed:
I the Lord knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven and gave him commandments. (D. & C. 1:17)
This is written revelation; it is scripture, and it bears the stamp of God upon it.
- He must enjoy gifts of the Spirit.
A true prophet enjoys many gifts of the Spirit to help him accomplish his mission. Visions, dreams, speaking in tongues, healing, etc., are part of the heritage and blessings given to prophets.
According to Joseph Smith, a prophet should be in possession of all the gifts and be familiar with their discernment. He must understand the source of those gifts, or deception and chaos will follow.
Because faith is wanting, the fruits are. No man since the world was had faith without having something along with it. * * * A man who has none of the gifts has no faith; and he deceives himself, if he supposes he has. Faith has been wanting, not only among the heathen, but in professed Christendom also, so that tongues, healings, prophecy, and prophets and apostles, and all the gifts and blessings have been wanting. (TPJS, p. 270)
The existence of gifts of the Spirit is an evidence that God is pleased with those particular people or that their faith is acceptable to Him. How else would true prophets and disciples know that God is with them?
One example of the Prophet Joseph enjoying the gifts of he Spirit is included below:
Many of my brethren who received the ordinance with me saw glorious visions also. Angels ministered unto them as well as to myself, and the power of the Highest rested upon us, the house was filled with the glory of God, and we shouted Hosanna to God and the Lamb. My scribe also received his anointing with us, and saw, in vision, the armies of heaven protecting the Saints in their return to Zion, and many things which I saw. (D.H.C. 2:381)
The most popular creeds of Christianity today claim no vision or revelation from God. However, such visions are as necessary for the spiritual path to salvation as the vision of the eyes is to the temporal path of man.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Prov. 29:18)
 5. He must receive the visitation of angels.
Most prophets are instructed by angels. A prophet lives in communication with the spirit world and therefore knows and understands the nature of all angels.
Beginning when Joseph Smith was a teenager, he had dozens of experiences with heavenly beings. Angels came to him with important messages necessary for the restoration of the Gospel. Said the Prophet Joseph:
You know my manner of communication, how that in weakness and simplicity, I declared to you what the Lord had brought forth by the administering of His holy angels to me for this generation. I pray that the Lord may enable you to treasure these things in your mind, for I know that His Spirit will bear testimony to all who seek diligently after knowledge from Him. (TPJS, p. 29)
Oliver Cowdery describes and bears testimony of one of these heavenly visits when the Priesthood was restored:
On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the vail was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the gospel of repentance! What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted–while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld–our ears heard. As in the “blaze of days;” yes, more–above the glitter of the May sunbeam, which then shed its brilliancy over the face of nature! Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, “I am thy fellow servant,” dispelled every fear. We  listened–we gazed–we admired: ‘Twas the voice of an angel from glory–’twas a message from the Most High! And as we heard we rejoiced, while his love enkindled upon our souls, and we were wrapt in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt? * * *
I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. (Times and Seasons, Vol. 2, No. 1, Nov. 1840, p. 202)
- He must be assigned to a special work.
Each prophet of God is assigned to a specific work. Some are to testify, warn, and call to repentance; others to gather and organize the people and lead them; some to translate or keep records; and many other labors have also been designated.
Enoch was told to build a righteous city. Noah was commanded to build an ark. Moses was required to go and perform miracles for the children of Israel and the Egyptians. Solomon was instructed to build a temple. And more recently, Joseph Smith was told by the Lord:
And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished. (D. & C. 5:4)
Thus, Joseph labored diligently and exercised this heavenly gift until he finished the translation of the Book of Mormon. He not only translated the Book of Mormon and the writings of Abraham and Moses, but also published  a book of revelations, made an inspired revision of the Bible, gathered many thousands of believers, established a university and cities, and was a candidate for United States President. All this he accomplished before he was 40 years old!
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. (D. & C. 135:3)
- He must teach the doctrine of gathering.
The Prophet Joseph advocated that “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes. . . .” (Tenth Article of Faith) He also stated:
One of the most important points in the faith of the Church of the Latter-day Saints, through the fullness of the everlasting gospel, is the gathering of Israel …. In speaking of the gathering, we mean to be understood as speaking of it according to scripture, the gathering of the elect of the Lord out of every nation on earth, and bringing them to the place of the Lord of Hosts, when the city of righteousness shall be built, and where the people shall be of one heart and one mind, when the Savior comes; yea, where the people shall walk with God like Enoch, and be free from sin. The word of the Lord is precious; and when we read that the veil spread over all nations will be destroyed, and the pure in heart see God, and reign with Him a thousand years on earth, we want all honest men to have a chance to gather and build up a city of righteousness, where even upon the bells of the horses shall be written “Holiness to the Lord.” (TPJS, pp. 92 & 93)
 Orson Pratt explained that Joseph Smith taught the doctrine of gathering:
The doctrine of the gathering of the people of God, including Israel, is one so clearly predicted by the inspired writers, that it seems almost superfluous to refer to the numerous passages relating to it. * * *
How came Mr. Smith, if an impostor, to get, not only all the other particulars which we have mentioned, perfectly exact, but also to discover that there must be a gathering of the Saints out of Babylon, and that that work must immediately follow the introduction of the gospel by an angel? Why did he not say, my doctrine is true, and if you will embrace it you can be saved, and still remain where you are? It matters not how correct this doctrine might have been in all other points, if he had told his disciples to remain among the corrupt nations, and not gather together–this alone would have exposed the cloven foot, and proved him to be a deceiver. Swedenborg, Wesley, Irving and a numerous host of others, during the last seventeen hundred years, have entirely neglected the gathering, which proves that they were without authority–that a dispensation of the gospel was never committed to them–that the voice from heaven to come out of Babylon had never saluted their ears. Previous to the restoration of the gospel by an angel, God had no people in Babylon, and therefore he could not call them out. An unauthorized uninspired priesthood, preaching a perverted gospel, never could raise up a people of God in Babylon; for they themselves are Babylon, and all their converts or children are begotten after their own likeness with Babylonish inscriptions upon their foreheads. (Orson Pratt’s Works, pp. 9 & 10)
 8. He must prophesy and have his prophecies fulfilled.
Before important events transpire, God usually speaks through a prophet to declare His words of warning. Those prophecies are fulfilled conditionally, unless God tells him that they shall definitely come to pass.
So a prophet proves what kind of prophet he really is by whether or not his prophecies come to pass. God said:
But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded to him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him. (Deut. 18:20-22)
There were over 20 major prophecies of Joseph Smith that were fulfilled, and perhaps hundreds of minor ones directed toward certain individuals or pertaining to less important events. Also, some of his prophecies were about the future and are continuing to be fulfilled.
A few of Joseph’s prophecies were–
- The place, conditions and consequences of the great Civil War, prophesied 30 years before it began.
- Judge Stephen A. Douglas’s aspiring to the U.S. Presidency and his fall–and why.
- The immigration of the Saints to the Rocky Mountains and their increase in numbers and wealth.
 Many other prophecies are coming to pass, such as the Russian rise to power over nations and the eventual outcome of their regime.
- He must be supported by other witnesses.
The work of God must be established by witnesses. In the courts of man, as well as in the courts of heaven, it requires evidence to establish truth. Jesus said, “… in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matt. 18:16)
As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the first major work of this dispensation was the translation of the Book of Mormon from the gold plates. Shortly after the beginning of this work, Joseph was promised by the Lord:
And in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things, and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you. Yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true, for from heaven will I declare it unto them. (D. & C. 5:11-12)
Joseph was thrilled to know that he would not be alone to tell his story. Three witnesses saw the plates and an angel, and eight others saw the gold plates. Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith were among those who served as special witnesses to other major manifestations.
- He must advise others to inquire of God.
A false prophet will not generally tell you to ask God to reveal the truth of his teachings or revelations; but the Prophet Joseph did. He admonished everyone to–
Search the scriptures–search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation. No; for when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how He will save them. (TPJS, pp. 11-12)
Even in the Book of Mormon which Joseph translated, it admonishes:
I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you…. (Moroni 10:4)
- He must be willing to die for the truth.
The Apostle John prophesied that disciples and prophets would be required to shed their blood to seal their testimony:
I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were should be fulfilled. (Rev. 6:9-11)
 Very few men are so convinced of the truth that they would be willing to die for it.
The Prophet Joseph knew that he would be martyred before he was 40 years old, yet he did not compromise or deviate from what the Lord revealed to him. On his final trip to Carthage, Joseph said to the company who were with him:
I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer’s morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men. If they take my life, I shall die an innocent man, and my blood shall cry from the ground for vengeance, and it shall be said of me, “He was murdered in cold blood!” (June 24, 1844; D.H.C. 6:554-555)
And three days later this true prophet of God sealed his testimony with his own blood–thus fulfilling another of his own prophecies, that his blood would be shed as a testimony to the truth.
* * * * *
These are only a few of the many ways to distinguish a true prophet from a false one. By using these criteria, it is certainly evident that Joseph Smith proved he was a prophet of God. The most convincing testimony, however, is the one that can be obtained by those who want to know through God’s revealing it to them.
 Chapter 11
DOCTRINES OF DEITY
In that first vision to the boy Joseph Smith, he learned more about the Deity than all the professors of religion for nearly 2000 years. He presented astounding new insights in understanding the doctrines of God. His concepts were different from all other religious teachings of the day. He taught:
- The identity of God
- The form and shape of His body
- His nature and character
- His name and title
- His word and will to the people
But, in reality, they were not new doctrines. They had been previously recorded in scripture by other prophets who had also understood and recorded this information. Yet the sectarian ministers of 1830, and those up to the present, still do not comprehend those doctrines on Deity. This information has been right under the noses of all to see, but, like uncut diamonds, an expert was needed to identify and evaluate them.
Following are 15 important doctrines and concepts on the Godhead that were revealed to Joseph Smith. This chapter is concerned with discussing each of these in more detail, hopefully portraying a more clear understanding of the Godhead than is being promoted by today’s sectarian ministers.
- The identity of the Father and Son.
- The plurality of Gods.
- The many kingdoms of God.
- The principles of perfection.
- God was once a man.
- God is an exalted man.
- Men can become Gods.
- Eternal progression of man and God.
- The doctrine of eternal marriage.
- Eternal family increase.
- The nature of spirits and resurrected beings.
- The doctrine of heaven and hell.
- The necessity of revelation from God.
- The necessity of ordinances of God.
- The Priesthood–the power of God.
- The identity of the Father and Son.
The Prophet Joseph Smith, after seeing God the Father in vision, stated: “That which is without body, parts, and passions is nothing. There is no other God in heaven but that God who has flesh and bones.” (TPJS, p. 181)
In this remarkable vision, Joseph was shown both “the Father and the Son”–that they were definitely two separate beings. This description follows throughout the New Testament, but unfortunately modern Christendom has not taken it literally. The Father introduced His Son to Joseph:
When the light rested upon me, I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is My Beloved Son. Hear him! (Pearl of Great Price, J.S. 2:17)
Compare this with John the Baptist’s testimony of two personages (Matt. 3:16-17) and that of the Apostle Stephen (Acts 7:55-56) and Peter (2 Peter 1:16-18).
 Joseph’s account is in perfect agreement with the scriptures, yet it is different from what is commonly taught in Christian churches today. He told about other prophets who also had an accurate and strong testimony of the Father and the Son:
If Abraham reasoned thus–If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly. Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it. (TPJS, p. 373)
Peter and Stephen testify that they saw the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Any person that had seen the heavens opened knows that there are three personages in the heavens who hold the keys of power, and one presides over all. * * *
As the Father hath power in Himself, so hath the Son power in Himself, to lay down His life and take it again, so He has a body of His own. The Son doeth what He hath seen the Father do: then the Father hath some day laid down His life and taken it again; so He has a body of His own; each one will be in His own body; and yet the sectarian world believe the body of the Son is identical with the Father’s. (TPJS, p. 312)
 2. The plurality of Gods.
The great theme upon which most religionists stand is that there is only one God. However, the Prophet Joseph Smith disagreed:
I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible–Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith–in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh–the head. Sheit–grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council.
I will transpose and simplify it in the English language. Oh, ye lawyers, ye doctors, and ye priests, who have persecuted me, I want to let you know that the Holy Ghost knows something as well as you do. The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world. The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time. * * *
In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. (TPJS, pp. 348-49)
 Furthermore, Joseph learned that in the creation there were three personages acting in a great tribunal council:
Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator. (TPJS, p. 190)
This is in agreement with the testimony of the Apostle John who wrote:
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (I John 5:7)
Thus we know that there were at least three Gods–a plurality of Gods–not just one. Joseph continued with this theme:
I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years.
I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it? * * *
Hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. It is all over the face of the Bible. It stands beyond the power of controversy. A wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.
Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many. I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner; but to us there is but one God–that is pertaining to us; and he is in all and through all. But if Joseph Smith says there are Gods many and Lords many, they cry, “Away with him! Crucify him! Crucify him!” * * *
I say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us only one, and we are to be in subjection to that one, and no man can limit the bounds or the eternal existence of eternal time. (TPJS, pp. 370-71)
- The many kingdoms of God.
Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that God had created many worlds similar to this earth, and these worlds are also inhabited with His children. God will continue to create more worlds and will populate them with more of His children. In a vision with Sidney Rigdon Joseph recorded:
And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fullness; * * * For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father–That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (D. & C. 76:20, 23-24)
Then in another revelation the Lord said:
But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them. * * *
. . . The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end of my works, neither to my words. (Moses 1:35, 37-38)
Joseph said that Paul also understood some of these kingdoms:
Paul ascended into the third heavens, and he could understand the three principal rounds of Jacob’s ladder–the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial glories or kingdoms, where Paul saw and heard things which were not lawful for him to utter. I could explain a hundredfold more than I ever have of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive them.
The Lord deals with this people as a tender parent with a child, communicating light and intelligence and the knowledge of his ways as they can bear it. The inhabitants of the earth are asleep; they know not the day of their visitation. (TPJS, pp. 304-05)
- The principle of perfection.
Both Jesus and the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that God is perfect and that men should also seek perfection: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in  heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) This was not a meaningless challenge. If they advised men to seek perfection, then it was a possibility. Perfection in this case is a station or position of becoming “as your Father in heaven”. The Prophet explains:
I advise all to go on to perfection, and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness. A man can do nothing for himself unless God direct him in the right way; and the Priesthood is for that purpose. (TPJS, p. 364)
. . . the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. (TPJS, p. 51)
Here, then, we have this part of our subject immediately before us for consideration: God has in reserve a time, or period appointed in His own bosom, when He will bring all His subjects, who have obeyed His voice and kept His commandments, into His celestial rest. This rest is of such perfection and glory, that man has need of a preparation before he can, according to the laws of that kingdom, enter it and enjoy its blessings. This being the fact, God has given certain laws to the human family, which, if observed, are sufficient to prepare them to inherit this rest. (TPJS, p. 54)
Paul also advised the Saints, “let us go on to perfection.” (Heb. 6:1)
 5. God was once a man.
One of the greatest mysteries of God was revealed by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he declared that God was once a man and dwelt on an earth like this one.
If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,–I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form–like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another. * * *
It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. (TPJS, pp. 345-46)
- God is an exalted man.
According to Joseph Smith–as a man, God worked toward and obtained perfection, thereby becoming exalted and achieving Godhood. He was not God from all eternity.
I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is. I am going to enquire after God; for I want you all to know him, and to be familiar with him; and if I am bringing you to a knowledge of him, all persecutions against me ought to cease. You will then know that I am his servant; for I speak as one having authority.
I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. * * *
. . . it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.
These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. (TPJS, p. 345)
- Men can become Gods.
It stands to reason that if God is an exalted man, then other men may follow in His footsteps and become exalted also.
If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses, for if we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from Him and drawing towards the devil. (TPJS, p. 216)
. . . every man who reigns in celestial glory is a God to his dominions. (TPJS, p. 374)
Gods have an ascendency over the angels, who are ministering servants. In the resurrection, some are raised to be angels, others are raised to become Gods. (TPJS, p. 312)
Here, then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. * * *
. . . but they shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. (TPJS, pp. 346-47)
- Eternal progression of man and God.
God, the Father, has a Son, and that Son will follow in the footsteps of His Father. This is the course of eternal progression. The Prophet explains:
What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came roiling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children. It is plain beyond disputation, and you thus learn some of the first principles of the Gospel, about which so much hath been said.
When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel–you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. (TPJS, pp. 347-48)
The Prophet explained that the spirit of man is a self-existent entity with God, meaning that the affinity is so similar and so identical that it can rise to heights of honor, glory and intelligence much the same as God has done. He said:
All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.
The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits. (TPJS, p. 354)
- The doctrine of eternal marriage.
Most of the ministers of the world acknowledge that marriage is ordained of God; yet they believe men and women are all celibate in heaven. But if God ordained marriage, can it be acceptable here and forbidden there?
 The Prophet Joseph has explained the eternal nature of the ordinances, principles and covenants of God. Among these are the covenants made in the marriage relationship. It is only reasonable that if baptism and marriage are ordained by God, then they should be eternal in their nature, and God Himself would have had to obey them in order to qualify to become a God.
No doubt, Eliza R. Snow learned from the Prophet the fact that indeed we have a mother in heaven. From her poem entitled “Invocation; or, the Eternal Father and Mother” (now better known as the song “Oh, My Father”), we learn:
In the heavens are parents single?
No; the thought makes reason stare;
Truth is reason; truth eternal,
Tells me I’ve a Mother there.
When I leave this frail existence–
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal court on high?
Then at length, when I’ve completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation,
Let me come and dwell with you.
The Prophet Joseph himself emphasized the importance of this eternal marriage covenant:
Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection. (TPJS, pp. 300-301)
In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood (new and everlasting covenant of marriage), and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase. (D.H.C. 5:391)
- Eternal family increase.
The very first page of the Bible records that eternal increase is enjoyed by God:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen. 1:27)
Explaining this further, the Prophet Joseph said:
Now, the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing. (TPJS, p. 350)
As will be shown in a later chapter, there is no other means of procreation for mankind than to be born.
The principle of propagation is eternal and perpetual. Nothing is spawned accidently from nothing. All of nature has been equipped with reproduction capabilities. Furthermore, nothing can change its species–in spite of what is being taught in schools. No missing links between species have ever been found, the closest link being a mutation which is incapable of reproduction. Said the Prophet Joseph:
God has set many signs on the earth, as well as in the heavens; for instance, the oak of the forest, the fruit of the tree, the herb of the field, all bear a sign that seed hath been  planted there; for it is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle. (TPJS, p. 198)
God himself could not create himself. (TPJS, p. 354)
But those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory. (TPJS, p. 301)
- The nature of spirits and resurrected beings.
God dwells among the spirits of men and resurrected beings and is thus very familiar with the nature and character of both. The Prophet Joseph Smith shed the following light on this interesting subject:
Spirits can only be revealed in flaming fire and glory. Angels have advanced further, their light and glory being tabernacled; and hence they appear in bodily shape. The spirits of just men are made ministering servants to those who are sealed unto life eternal, and it is through them that the sealing power comes down. (TPJS, p. 325)
. . . we shall find a very material difference between the body and the spirit; the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit, by many, is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ, and state the spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; that it existed before the body,  can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it. (TPJS, p. 207)
He <Joseph Smith> explained the difference between an angel and a ministering spirit; the one a resurrected or translated body, with its spirit ministering to embodied spirits–the other a disembodied spirit, visiting and ministering to disembodied spirits. Jesus Christ became a ministering spirit (while His body was lying in the sepulchre) to the spirits in prison, to fulfill an important part of His mission, without which He could not have perfected His work, or entered into His rest. After His resurrection He appeared as an angel to His disciples.
Translated bodies cannot enter into rest until they have undergone a change equivalent to death. Translated bodies are designed for future missions.
The angel that appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos was a translated or resurrected body (i.e., personage). Jesus Christ went in body after His resurrection, to minister to resurrected bodies. (TPJS, p. 191)
- The doctrine of heaven and hell.
God revealed to Joseph Smith the doctrine of heaven and hell, which is very different from the Christian concept. This revealed information was to give mankind a better understanding of God’s dominion.
It is generally concluded that there is a good place and a bad place, and all mankind must be tossed into one or the other. But the Prophet Joseph declared this description to be incorrect and explained:
There has been much said about the word hell, and the sectarian world have preached much about it, describing it to be a burning lake of fire and brimstone. But what is hell? It is another modern term, and is taken from hades. I’ll hunt after hades as Pat did for the woodchuck.
Hades, the Greek, or Sheol, the Hebrew, these two significations mean a world of spirits. Hades, Sheol, paradise, spirits in prison, are all one; it is a world of spirits.
The righteous and the wicked all go to the same world of spirits until the resurrection. ***
The great misery of departed spirits in the world of spirits, where they go after death, is to know that they come short of the glory that others enjoy and that they might have enjoyed themselves, and they are their own accusers. “But,” says one, “I believe in one universal heaven and hell, where all go, and are all alike, and equally miserable or equally happy.”
What! where all are huddled together–the honorable, virtuous, and murderers, and whore-mongers, when it is written that they shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body? But St. Paul informs us of three glories and three heavens. He knew a man that was caught up to the third heavens. Now, if the doctrine of the sectarian world, that there is but one heaven, is true, Paul, what do you tell that lie for, and say there are three? Jesus said unto His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come and receive you to myself, that where I am ye may be also.” (TPJS, pp. 310-311)
Paul says, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from  another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” They who obtain a glorious resurrection from the dead, are exalted far above principalities, powers, thrones, dominions and angels, and are expressly declared to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, all having eternal power.
These Scriptures are a mixture of very strange doctrines to the Christian world, who are blindly led by the blind. (TPJS, pp. 374-75)
- The necessity of revelation from God.
God knows the importance of His guidance and revelation to man while in mortality. Since a veil was drawn over mankind at birth, it is impossible for him to understand God’s whole plan of salvation and know about our existence before and after this life without revelation from God. Man cannot understand the will of God–either anciently or presently–without His direction.
Again the Prophet Joseph gives us much valuable information:
Jesus in His teaching says, “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” What rock? Revelation. (TPJS, p. 274)
No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator. (TPJS, p. 328)
Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. (TPJS, p. 160)
A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.
What is the reason that the Priests of the day do nor get revelation? They ask only to consume it upon their lusts. Their hearts are corrupt, and they cloak their iniquity by saying there are no more revelations. But if any revelations are given of God, they are universally opposed by the priests and Christendom at large; for they reveal their wickedness and abominations. (D.H.C. 4:588)
- The necessity of the ordinance of God.
The ordinances of the Priesthood are mentioned throughout the Old and New Testaments, and their importance was frequently stressed. God achieved Godhood only by obedience to certain eternal principles and ordinances, and any man must do the same if he is to obtain that glorious goal.
Once again, the Prophet explains:
If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.
Where there is no change of priesthood, there is no change of ordinances, says Paul. If God has not changed the ordinances and the priesthood, howl, ye sectarians! (TPJS, p. 308)
Many objections are urged against the Latter-day Saints for not admitting the validity of sectarian baptism, and for withholding fellowship from sectarian churches. Yet to do otherwise would be like putting new wine into old bottles, and putting old wine into new bottles. (TPJS, p. 192)
The question is frequently asked, “Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances? I would answer, No, not the fulness of salvation. Jesus said, There are many mansions in my Father’s house, and I will go and prepare a place for you. House here named should have been translated kingdom; and any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law, too. (TPJS, p. 331)
He <God> set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them. (TPJS, p. 168)
- The Priesthood–the power of God.
It is through Priesthood power that God communes with man and directs the affairs of this earth. This Priesthood is so important that no man can enter the presence of God without it. Therefore, a man should search and strive to receive this power of God here in mortality.
It is interesting to note that except for the Catholic Church, there is no mention of priesthood in the other churches of today. This indicates that they feel it served a purpose and was apparently lost; so mankind today are fairly ignorant regarding this great power.
 Only by revelation could the Prophet Joseph Smith explain what Priesthood is and tell of its importance:
Was the Priesthood of Melchizedek taken away when Moses died? All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself. (TPJS, pp. 180-81)
Respecting the Melchizedek Priesthood, the sectarians never professed to have it; consequently they never could save anyone, and would all be damned together. There was an Episcopal priest who said he had the priesthood of Aaron, but had not the priesthood of Melchizedek; and I bear testimony that I never have found the man who claimed the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The power of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to have the power of “endless lives”; for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken. * * *
What was the power of Melchizedek? ‘Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that Priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.
Abraham says to Melchizedek, I believe all that thou hast taught me concerning the priesthood and the coming of the Son of Man; so Melchizedek ordained Abraham and sent him away. Abraham rejoiced, saying, Now I have a priesthood. * * *
The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.
The second Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood.
The third is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of priests to administer in outward ordinances, made without an oath; but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant.
The Holy Ghost is God’s messenger to administer in all those priesthoods. (TPJS, pp. 322-323)
* * * * *
Here, then, are a few practical teachings about God that are generally unknown to the modern sectarian preachers. But the Prophet Joseph Smith explained that “Paul saw the third heavens, and I more” (D.H.C. 5:392), indicating that he could tell us even more about God and the heavens than Paul mentioned. Even deeper doctrines on Deity will be reviewed in the following chapter.
 Chapter 12
IN THE BEGINNING WAS ADAM
Stories of Creation and Birth
The first five chapters of Genesis are scarcely a preface to the events that actually took place during the first thousand years of this earth’s existence. They are probably the most incomplete and mysterious chapters of the Bible. Vast amounts of historical knowledge have been lost pertaining to the creation and beginning years of man and his surroundings on this earthly sphere.
The great men who lived during that time walked and talked with God, and they knew many secrets of life–many untold secrets of the universe. They must have been near to immortality, because we read that Enoch “walked with God” (Gen. 5:24) and Noah “walked with God” (Gen. 6:9). They knew the secret of long mortal lives, for during that period of time men lived to be nearly a thousand years old. Seth lived to be 912; Enos was 905; Cainan, 910; Mahalaleel, 830; Jared was 962; Methusaleh lived 969 years; Lamech, only 777; and Enoch fell behind with a mere 365 years of age. It is interesting to imagine the tremendous knowledge of these Godly men regarding the creation of earth and man, whereas now we have only a few clues.
A little further light on the creation is available from the New Testament. We read there a different story of Adam’s creation, for it says he was “the son of God” (Luke 3:38)–hardly fitting the description of a man who was made like a mudball. Either the story of an adobe-man creation is symbolic, or Luke, a disciple of Christ, didn’t know what he was talking about.
 However, it stands to reason that Adam had a Father. Furthermore, the “fall” was planned before the creation, and Christ would make an atonement for that fall. The scriptures say that Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8); therefore, his atonement was planned and instituted before the fall of man. This fall and redemption hinged upon the work of both Adam and Christ.
Only through the light of revelation can the mysteries of the ages be recovered. The suppositions, philosophical meanderings, and man-made doctrines presented by over-enthusiastic ministers today leave us more confused and in the dark than ever.
But regarding the Genesis account of creation, we need to keep in mind the type of people and conditions existing at the time Moses wrote this early portion of the Old Testament. The children of Israel were then ignorant and idolatrous and certainly not ready for the “pearls” of the real Gospel. These people were hardly capable of thinking for themselves, so Moses could give them only an abbreviated and symbolic story of the creation. This is somewhat the same as when Christian parents tell their children that a stork brought them, satisfying them for the present.
For many centuries the children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt. Their religion had been reduced to the same level as that of the Egyptians –worshipping statues and cows. It was a primitive religion, yet it still persists in India to this day. As ignorant as they were, Moses tried to give them something they could understand that would elevate their thinking about the true God. He began with the creation, and wrote Genesis in hopes they would turn from idolatry because of this new understanding of their relationship with the Creator.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.***
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Gen. 2:7, 21, 22)
The children of Israel could read this story literally or figuratively. Today, men do the same; but whatever interpretation is put on this account, the following must be concluded:
- God was the creator of mankind.
- God created man and woman in his own image.
- We are the children of God, our Father in heaven.
This story of creation, if given a literal interpretation, does not make any sense. Yet most of today’s Christians have retrogressed back to the same pagan understanding of the children of Israel when they still felt the influence of the Egyptians.
Today, many “Christian” schoolbooks teach that man was first dust of the earth; then he began to evolve into living cells that added other cells until he began to swim, then creep and crawl upon land; and finally he became a full grown man. Darwin, who is mentioned in these textbooks, accepts the “dirt man”, but not the “rib woman”. But most of our Christian ministers believe in Adam and Eve as Mr. Adobe and Miss Rib.
According to the Biblical account, the first kind of reproduction was a woman being created from the rib of a man. (See Gen. 2:22.) But is this really a true story? Can human beings be reproduced from a rib? Were there any other humans created by taking the rib out of a man and making a woman? If this story is literally true, then we should be able to do it again–especially in light of all the knowledge that science now possesses. But if you should tell the medical profession that a woman could be created  out of a rib, they would laugh and tell you that men do not give birth to women–especially from one of their ribs! Thus, this story must be taken figuratively.
Continuing on in history, we have the mysterious story of how Jesus was born. Through various scriptural translations and interpretations, we are told that Jesus was begotten by the Holy Ghost. This also is a very unsexual type of reproduction, and is a very dangerous type of begetting because any woman who receives the Holy Ghost could become pregnant. If it happened once, why couldn’t it happen again? Has it ever occurred before or since? Again we must conclude that this story is also figurative.
Here, then, are three different types of reproduction as recorded in the Bible: (1) a man formed out of the dirt like a mud pie; (2) a woman born from a man’s rib; and (3) Jesus sired by the Holy Ghost. Added to these is the story of Melchizedek who was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3). If we accept the modern ministers’ interpretation of that scripture, are we to believe that this man was never born and will never die? Or is this a figurative account referring to the man’s priesthood?
The interpretation of these passages by modern ministers only adds to the confusion. We must look to true modern prophets for a proper interpretation and understanding.
Testimony of a Witness
The Apostle Paul said there would be a “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21). In other words, ancient mysteries and important knowledge would again be restored. Such pertinent information could be revealed from heaven only to a prophet, since no one else would comprehend it.
 Mankind have been wandering in a spiritual darkness for many centuries, believing in such superstitions as God is like the wind, invisible, and without any image, etc. It was necessary for God to again reveal his identity to someone who could be a “witness” for Him.
By revealing the true identity of God, it would of course expose the fictitious stories and erroneous theories of the sectarian ministers who feared this would cut deeply in their merchandising of the “God Business” and endanger their craft. Naturally they resented this “new” gospel and attempted to discredit or destroy it.
Even new information in the field of science has initially brought fear and persecution. Discoveries such as gravity, the earth being round, the radio, telephone, microwave, and atomic power have all had opponents who feared them, claiming that man was tampering with mysteries of God. We can well imagine the turmoil of a prophet who was actually revealing new mysteries about God. Such, however, was the obligation of Joseph Smith.
The Prophet Joseph was faced with the dilemma of what part of these “mysteries” about God he could reveal. Some should be withheld because he was forbidden to reveal them or because too many people would reject them. To a few thinking and select people, he did reveal a little more than he did to others.
One of these mysteries was information about the first couple who lived in the Garden of Eden. From the book of Genesis we learn that Adam was with his Father in heaven before he came into this world, and he was an immortal being. It was not until he partook of the fruit of the tree of good and evil, that mortality and death affected him. Upon this premise rests a key to a great mystery about God and the creation.
The Prophet gives us a little additional light from the scriptures by saying:
Commencing with Adam, who was the first man, who is spoken of in Daniel as being the “Ancient of Days”, or in other words, the first and oldest of all, the great, grand progenitor of whom it is said in another place he is Michael, because he was the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but the first to hold the spiritual blessings…. (TPJS, p. 167)
Since Michael came from the heavens and became Adam, then we should look a little further into the identity of Michael. It was Michael who fell to become an Adam, and Adam’s mission or calling was to become earthly, or of the earth. In other words, Michael was immortal, but became Adam or a mortal being.
The prophet Daniel speaks of the last days, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people (Dan. 12:1) Jude speaks of “Michael the archangel” (Jude 9), who contended with the devil. And John the Revelator said that “there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” (Rev. 12:7-8)
According to these testimonies, it is Michael who is “the great prince” and the “archangel” who kicked the devil out of heaven. Daniel continues:
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. * * *
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. (Dan. 7:9-10, 13)
The Prophet Joseph Smith explains that Adam (Michael) is that Ancient of Days:
Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael; he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family. (D.H.C. 3:386-87)
One of the most enlightening discourses on the exalted position of Father Adam is given by the Prophet Joseph Smith:
. . . to whom (Adam) was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity unto the end, and to whom Christ was first revealed, and through whom Christ has been revealed from heaven, and will continue to be revealed from henceforth. Adam holds the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times; i.e., the dispensation of all the times have been and will be revealed through him from the beginning to Christ, and from Christ to  the end of the dispensations that are to be revealed. “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.” (Ephesians 1:9-10) * * *
He (God) set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them. * * *
These angels are under the direction of Michael or Adam, who acts under the direction of the Lord. * * *
This, then, is the nature of the Priesthood; every man holding the Presidency of his dispensation, and one man holding the Presidency of them all, even Adam; and Adam receiving his Presidency and authority from the Lord, but cannot receive a fullness until Christ shall present the Kingdom to the Father which shall be at the end of the last dispensation. (TPJS, Pp. 167-169)
In summary then, this preceding discourse by the Prophet, gives us the following important information on Adam:
- He is Michael
- He is the Ancient of Days.
- He is the great, grand progenitor.
- He is the first to hold the spiritual blessings.
- He knew ordinances for salvation.
- It was he to whom Christ was first revealed.
- It was he through whom Christ has been revealed and will continue to be revealed.
- He holds the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times, as well as all dispensations.
- He holds the presidency of all dispensations.
- He is to watch over the ordinances, to reveal them from heaven to man, or send angels to reveal them.
- Angels are under his direction.
- He is the father of the human family.
- He presides over the spirits of all men.
- All must stand before him, including the Son of Man.
- Christ is given glory and dominion from him.
- He holds the keys of the universe.
- He gives keys of the universe to Christ, but retains being head of the human family.
With this information added to what is available in the scriptures, a much clearer picture is painted on the exalted position of our Father Adam.
Clarification of Problem Areas
In the story of creation there are a few passages of scripture that seem to baffle modern Christianity. Nine of these problem areas are presented in this section, with a brief explanatory paragraph following each passage.
- “And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, and OUR likeness . . . male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1:26, 27)
Whether God here is speaking to his wife or to other gods, it is evident that there is more than one God. Joseph Smith reveals that there are many Gods, and that the term Eloheim refers to a council of Gods.
- “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew “(Gen. 2:4-5)
This passage indicates that these generations of the heavens and of the earth were created before they were in the earth and grew upon it. The doctrines of pre-existence and spiritual creation were supported and explained by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
- “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Gen. 2:18)
So God provided a woman for him, pronouncing them one flesh and said they should cleave to each other. All this occurred before the Fall, before there was any death. Marriage was instigated in heaven, with the approval of God, and was intended to last forever.
- “Then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.” (Gen. 3:5)
There is little doubt that God was offering man a chance to have his eyes opened, his understanding enlightened and to become as the Gods. This is the doctrine taught by the Prophet Joseph–that it is possible for man to grow in wisdom and power until he becomes as God.
- “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Gen. 3:8)
Before his “sad experience” in the orchard, Adam talked to the Lord God face to face. So, Adam walked and talked with the Lord God before and after the Fall. This makes him more than an ordinary man.
- “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception …. “(Gen. 3:16)
This inference means that Eve had previously experienced joy in childbirth, but after the fall she would have pain and sorrow instead.
- “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she WAS the mother of all living.” (Gen. 3:20)
This is a correct statement even when taken literally, because indeed “she WAS the mother of all living.” All of her children had been born to her spiritually before this time, as she was the mother of mankind in the pre-existence.
- “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil …. ” (Gen. 3:22)
Adam had already gained so much from his immortal and mortal experiences that he was considered as one of the Gods.
- “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called THEIR name Adam, in the day when they were created.” (Gen. 5:2)
In the days of their creation, mankind was called after the name of Adam. This is no different from children born of a father in this world when he takes his father’s name. Mankind took the name of Adam “in the day when they were created”–in other words, before the Fall. Thus, Adam was the literal father of all mankind before they were born on earth!
Other Ancient and Contemporary Evidences
The exalted position of Adam can be supported from many other ancient and contemporary records. Consider evidence from such sources as the Egyptians, Apostolic Fathers, Apocrypha, Dead Sea Scrolls, the Jewish, the Koran, New Testament, and a prominent contemporary scholar, Adam Clarke.
 Egyptian Histories
Egypt is a land shrouded in mystery and history. It is one of the oldest empires in the world, and therefore plays a unique role in the story of man. It is rich in stories from the Bible with the travels of Abraham, Joseph who was sold into Egypt, and Moses who led the children of Israel out of Egypt.
But long before those episodes, Egypt’s history included men of learning and wisdom and even prophets of God. However, as time passed, so increased the influence of error, sin, and rejection of their prophets. Nevertheless, out of their changing history emerge fragments of truth which help support Biblical accounts and teachings and even include pertinent information about Adam.
Praise to Amen-Ra (Adam), the good God beloved, the ancient of heavens, the oldest of earth, Lord of Eternity, Maker Everlasting. He is the causer of pleasure and light, maker of grass for the cattle and of fruitful trees for man, causing the fish to live in the river and the birds to fill the air, lying awake when all men sleep to seek out the good of his creatures. We worship thy spirit who alone hast made us; we, whom thou hast made, thank thee that thou has given us birth; we give thee praises for Thy mercy to us. (“Amen-Ra, The Father of the Gods; The Sun God,” The Bibles and Beliefs of Mankind, pp. 14, 16b)
The Apostolic Fathers
And the great, glorious angel is Michael, who has authority over this people and guides them, for it is he who puts the law into the hearts of those who believe. So he observes those to whom he has given the law, to see whether they have kept it. (“The Shepherd of  Hermas,” Parable 8, Chapter 3, Verse 3; The Apostolic Fathers, Goodspeed Translation, p. 165)
Shem and Seth were glorified among men; and above every living thing in creation is Adam. (Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus 49:16, Revised Version)
The Dead See Scrolls
Today is his appointed time to lay low and make to fall the prince of the dominion of wickedness; and he will send eternal help to the lot he has redeemed by the power of the angel he has made glorious for rule, Michael, in eternal light, to give light in joy to all Israel, peace and blessing to the lot of God, to exalt among the gods the rule of Michael and the dominion of Israel over all flesh. (“The War of the Sons of Light,” XIV (xvii:5-8); The Dead Sea Scrolls, Burrows, p. 399)
The Jewish people have had a reputation for keeping records and histories over a great length of time. They are considered an excellent source for valuable information.
The Jewish Encyclopedia, in reference to Adam, gives a quotation from a Slavonic Book of Enoch 30:11. This record says that Adam was “like one of the angels”. This is a key to the realization that Adam was above the mortals in his spiritual plane. Anyone like the angels would probably be an immortal being.
 From another record, in speaking of Adam: “His body reached from earth to heaven before sin caused him to sink” (Hag 12a, Sanh 38b). This probably has inference to Adam traveling between earth and heaven before his fall. If so, then Adam was acting as a God who would make frequent visits to the earth that He had created. It would be necessary for him to bring seeds, foul, fish and animals to this earth in preparation for mankind.
In the non-canonical Jewish writings, significant developments took place in the interpretation of the character and significance of Adam. He was given a glory which transcended that of every other human being. In Second Enoch 30:8 ff, it describes him as “honorable, great and glorious.”
“He <Adam> was of extreme beauty and sunlike brightness” (B.B. 58a), and “His skin was a bright garment, shining like his nails; when he sinned this brightness vanished, and he appeared naked” (Targ. Yer. Gen. 3:7). To have “sunlike brightness” and a skin like “a bright garment” is the same appearance that Daniel gave to Michael.
In another traditional Jewish history, or midrashic legend, it records “that the angels were so filled with wonder and awe at the sight of Adam, the image of God, that they wanted to pay homage to him and cry `Holy’.” (Gen. R.8) This quotation is saying that Adam was “the image of God,” and that they all spoke of him as “Holy”. These are descriptions given to God. It would not be fitting for the angels to give such reverence to a mortal.
From another Jewish source, it is written that “all other creatures, marveling at Adam’s greatness, prostrated themselves before him, taking him to be their creator.” (Pirke R. El. xi) The act of prostrating before someone is an indication of some sublime or heavenly host–a deity or near to it. However, in this instance, Adam was considered to be their “Creator”. No wonder they bowed before him to pay tribute and honor! These were “heavenly hosts”, not likely to be deceived.
 In still another record it is written that “all bowed before Adam except Satan, who, in punishment for his rebelliousness, was hurled from his heavenly heights, . . .” and “All creation bowed before him in awe. He was their light of the world.” (Yer. Shah H.5b) If “all” bowed before Adam except Satan, that means there were no others to bow or to bow to. So because Satan refused to bow before Adam, he was cast out of heaven! Again, if Adam was the “light of the world,” he would have to be God; for that is a common title given to God.
And continuing from the above record: “Adam sits at the gates, watching with tears the multitude of souls passing through the wide gate to meet their punishment, and with joy the few entering the narrow gate to receive their reward.” Adam stands at the gate of heaven! He must be the one holding the keys of the universe and heaven’s gate, as the Prophet Joseph Smith said.
And then it was written that “His body, made an object of worship by some semi-pagan Melchisedician sect, according to the Christian Book of Adam.” (B.B. 58a) The Melchisedician sect probably stemmed from the great High Priest Melchizedek who officiated in Jerusalem during the days of Abraham and from whom Abraham received the Priesthood. If Adam was the object of their worship, then it meant that he was their God. This idea could have been taught by Melchizedek and taught to Abraham, who walked and talked with God.
Eve always addressed Adam as “Lord” and is not apparently not intelligible, until compared with the Vita and Slavonic Book of Adam, both of which contain similar statements. (The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 1:180)
Michael . . . had gathered the dust for Adam’s creation. (Midr. Konen, in B.H. ii. 27)
. . . after the death of Adam . . . his soul was handed over to Michael. (Hag. 12b)
 The Koran
Even from the Koran it is written that “the angels adored him <Adam> save only Iblis, who refused and was too proud, and became one of the misbelievers.” (Sura ii.29-32) They also say that “The soul of Adam had been created thousands of years previously.”
The New Testament
“It is possible that some dim reflection of this (dominion over everything given to Adam) is to be found in a Sumerian literary text which describes how the god Enki set the world in order, and among other things put the animals under the control of two minor deities.” (Tyndale Bible Dictionary, p. 14) The Sumerian library contains this doctrine that two deities held dominion over the earth. Adam and Eve, being the two holding that dominion, must of necessity be those deities.
“Luke 3:38 refers to Adam as `the son of God’, a phrase that he has already used of Jesus (1:35). This would be a positive use of the story of Adam; Christ is likened to Adam before his fall and Adam is `a type of the one who was to come. . . .'” (Tyndale Bible Dictionary, p. 15) The position of Adam as a “Son of God” and Jesus also a “Son of God” would place them both into a divine order that does not adapt to any other mortals. If Adam descended from his immortal state to become mortal, and Christ stepped from that heavenly place to take upon him mortality, then they both had similar steps in their role on earth.
From another source we read:
Paul declared that Adam was a type of Christ, “the figure of him that was to come” (Rom. 5:14); hence, our Lord is sometimes called the second Adam. This typical relation stands sometimes in likeness, sometimes in contrast. In  likeness: Adam was formed immediately by God, as was the human nature of Christ; in each the nature was holy; both were invested with dominion over the earth and its creatures (see Ps. 8). In contrast: Adam and Christ were each a federal head to the whole race of mankind, but the one was the fountain of sin and death, the other of righteousness and life. (Rom. 5:14-19) Adam communicated a living soul to all his posterity, Christ is a quickening Spirit to restore life and immortality to them (I Cor. 15:45), (Unger’s Dictionary of the Bible, p. 20) <I Cot. 15:45 states, “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”>
Paul, the Apostle, also calls Christ the second Adam. In other words, there was some kind of affiliation between Christ and Adam, moreso than any other prophet or patriarch. Both had their dominion over the earth; both had their mission (the fall and redemption) assigned to them before the creation; both had a divinity or perfection. Strange that Paul would assign Adam first and Christ second in their spiritual assignments, unless he knew more than he was telling.
* * *
From all of the writings of the ancients we find this similarity: Adam was a “heavenly man” and then an “earthly man”. He played two roles for the benefit of mankind. It appears that as a God, he transgressed a law for which Christ would atone. It took the blood of a God to pay the penalty for a God. As Paul says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19)
 Contemporary Scholar, Adam Clarke
Adam Clarke, the renowned Biblical scholar, has contributed some vital information regarding Adam. He realized that Adam was living in a state of “perfection” previous to the Fall. He analyzed that:
We shall certainly be convinced that our first parents were in a state of sufficient perfection when we consider, (1) That they were endued with a vast capacity to obtain knowledge. (2) That all the means of information were within their reach. (3) That there was no hinderance to the most direct conception of occurring truth. (4) That all the objects of knowledge, whether natural or moral, were ever at hand. (5) That they had the strongest propensity to know; and, (6) The greatest pleasure in knowing. To have God and nature continually open to the view of the soul; and to have a soul capable of viewing both, and fathoming endlessly their unbounded glories and excellences, without hinderance or difficulty; what a state of perfection: What a consummation of bliss: This was undoubtedly the state and condition of our first parents; . . . (Clarke’s Bible Commentary, I:45)
Clarke realizes that there is also a problem with the story of creation, if it is supposed to be read literally. It would then sound impossible, unreasonable and without any meaning. Said he of the two trees in the garden: “Some very eminent men have contended that the passage should be understood allegorically!” Thus, we may conclude that if the very “eminent men” among scholars agree that one passage should be allegorical, then other similar passages might also be allegorical.
In this passage concerning the tree of good and evil, Clarke says, “how could the acquisition of such a faculty  be a sin?” His logic is correct–there is no sin in learning about good and evil. It must be predicated on something else–the Fall.
Another point of Clarke’s observation is Adam’s tremendous knowledge of all the animals. Said he:
Adam gave names; but how? From an intimate knowledge of the nature and properties of each creature. Here we see the perfection of his knowledge; for it is well known that the names affixed to the different animals in Scripture always express some prominent feature and essential characteristic of the creatures to which they are applied. Had he not possessed an intuitive knowledge of the grand and distinguishing properties of those animals, he never could have given them such names. This one circumstance is a strong proof of the original perfection and excellence of man, while in a state of innocence; nor need we wonder at the account. Adam was the work of an infinitely wise and perfect Being, and the effect must resemble the cause that produced it. (Clarke’s Bible Commentary, I:45)
It may here be noted that since Adam was created in circumstances that were in a state of perfection, he himself must have been perfected. Furthermore, since Adam was created by his God, as a son, then Adam would have resembled God in His very image and likeness. That means perfection.
One of the verses in early Bible manuscripts has added more complications. It is different from those made in the common translations of the Bible. The present versions read: “Behold, the man is become as one of us.” Clarke explains:
On all hands this text is allowed to be difficult, and the difficulty is increased by our translation, which is opposed to the original Hebrew and the most authentic versions. The Hebrew has hayah, which is the third person preterite tense, and signifies was, not is. The Samaritan text, the Samaritan version, the Syriac, and the Septuagint, have the same tense. (Clarke’s Bible Commentary, 1:45)
Three important doctrines are testified to in this verse: (1) That there is more than one God. (2) That Adam had become like them. (3) That the older, and more correct manuscripts reveal that Adam “was” one of the Gods, knowing good and evil!
No wonder Clarke and the other scholars say that “On all hands this text is allowed to be difficult.” It wouldn’t fit into their religious philosophy. They cannot conceive that man, or fallen Adam, could become, or that he “was” a God.
* * * * *
There is no need to continue the exploration of traditional history and references to the high and significant place that Adam had before the Fall. It is clear from the Bible that Adam dwelt with his God, or Gods, before the Fall–in complete glory, perfection and innocence. The Bible tells us that Adam was immortal before the Fall, but afterwards he became mortal. He was first in a state of perfection and then fell to imperfection.
Previous to the Fall, Adam and Eve lived in a state of complete innocence, they were living as man and wife, and they had no evil or troubles to contend with. As immortals, they were living in eternal bliss without death. This sounds like heaven–and it was!
 Chapter 13
FURTHER TEACHINGS ON ADAM
A multitude of people were acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith, but only a few did he trust with some of the deeper doctrines. To these closer friends, like those of Jesus who were entrusted with the “pearls” and the “meat” of the Gospel, Joseph taught some of the mysteries of the doctrines of Deity.
This chapter is organized into the following six areas, with a brief collection of informative quotes by contemporaries of Joseph Smith, explaining each concept.
- The Origin of the Deity of Adam
- Adam’s Creation
- The Immortality of Adam and Eve
- Adam, the Father of Mankind
- The Deity of Adam
- Stewards of the Mysteries of God
The Origin of the Deity of Adam
Elder B. H. Roberts explains that the true concept of Deity originated in our dispensation with the Prophet Joseph Smith:
It is generally supposed that Brigham Young was the author of the doctrine which places Adam as the patriarchal head of the human race, and ascribes to him the dignity of future presidency over this earth and its inhabitants, when the work of redemption shall have been completed. Those who read the Prophet’s treatise on the Priesthood in the text above will  have their opinions corrected upon this subject, for clearly it is the word of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith which established that doctrine. The utterances of President Brigham Young but repeat and expound the doctrine which the Prophet here sets forth. (C.H.C. 3:388)
Brigham Young was perhaps the closest associate of Joseph Smith, and although Brigham was the first to publically announce the doctrine of Adam’s Deity, he himself attributed his knowledge of it to Joseph Smith:
Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or who ever will come upon the earth. * * * I could not find any man on the earth who could tell me this, although it is one of the simplest things in the world, until I met and talked with Joseph Smith. (Brigham Young, Des. News, June 18, 1873)
The importance of this doctrine is clearly expressed in the following paragraphs:
When Brigham Young proclaimed to the nations that Adam was our Father and God, and Eve, his partner, the Mother of a world–both in a mortal and celestial sense–he made the most important revelation ever oracled to the race since the days of Adam himself.
This grand patriarchal revelation is the very keystone of the “new creation” of the heavens and the earth. It gives new meaning to the whole system of theology–as much new meaning to the economy of salvation as to the economy of creation. By the understanding of the works of the Father, the works of the Son are illumined. (The Women of Mormondom, Edward W. Tullidge, p. 196)
 So if it is considered to be this important, we ought to have a knowledge of exactly what this doctrine embraces.
The Genesis account of Adam’s creation, which sectarian ministers seem to interpret literally, is believed by Brigham Young and other contemporaries to be virtually impossible, as is shown in the following references:
Supposing that Adam was formed actually out of clay, out of the same kind of material from which bricks are formed; that with this matter God made the pattern of a man, and breathed into it the breath of life, and left it there, in that state of supposed perfection, he would have been an adobe to this day! (Brigham Young, J.D. 2:6)
We are informed that the Lord God made every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb before it grew on our planet. As vegetation was created or made to grow upon some older earth, and made to grow, so likewise man and his helpmate were brought from some other world to our own, to people it with their children. And though it is said that the “Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,”–it by no means follows that he was “formed” as one might form a brick, or from the dust of this earth. We are all “formed” of the dust of the ground, though instead of being molded as a brick we are brought forth by the natural laws of procreation; so also was Adam and his wife in some other world. And as for the story of the rib, under it I believe the mystery of procreation is hidden. (B. H. Roberts, Contributor 10:265)
And here let me state to all philosophers of every class upon the earth; when you tell me that Father Adam was made as we make adobes from the earth, you tell me what I deem an idle tale. When you tell me that the beasts of the field were produced in that manner, you are speaking idle words devoid of meaning. There is no such thing in all the eternities where the Gods dwell. Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. (Brigham Young, J.D. 7:285)
Though we have it in history that our father Adam was made of the dust of this earth, and that he knew nothing about his God previous to being made here, yet it is not so; and when we learn the truth, we shall see and understand that he helped to make this world, and was the chief manager in that operation. (Brigham Young, J.D. 3:319)
God has made His children like Himself to stand erect, and has endowed them with intelligence and power and dominion over all his works and given them the same attributes which He Himself possesses. He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or ever will be. (Brigham Young, J.D. 11:122)
. . . and if we take man, he is said to have been made in the image of God, and being His son, he is, of course, his offspring, an emanation from God, in whose likeness we are told he is made. He did not originate from a chaotic mass  of matter, moving or inert, but came forth possessing, in an embryotic state, all the faculties and powers of a God. And when he shall be perfected, and have progressed to maturity he will be like his Father–a God, being indeed his offspring. As the horse, the ox, the sheep and every living creature, including man, propagates its own species and perpetuates its own kind, so does God perpetuate His. (John Taylor, Contributor 10:267)
Man is the offspring of God. Who can fully realize this? Our Heavenly Father orders all things that pertain to this earth and to multitudes of worlds of which we are ignorant. We are as much the children of this great Being as we are the children of our mortal progenitors. We are flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone, and the same fluid circulates in his veins as it does in ours. (Brigham Young, J.D. 9:283)
The Immortality of Adam and Eve
Bible scholars seem to agree that after Adam’s creation and during the time he was in the Garden of Eden, he was an immortal being, until he partook of the fruit of the tree, thus changing him to a mortal. Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, and others agreed with this idea of Adam and Eve’s immortality during this time:
. . . shall we (by the atonement) be restored into the condition Adam was in before he fell? I answer, you will be. What condition was he in? He was an immortal being, and you will be restored to immortality, whether you be Saints or sinners. The decree has gone forth that every man is to be raised to immortality. Then you will be as Adam was in the Garden of Eden before he fell. (Orson Pratt, J.D. 7:257; compare J.D. 21:203)
Adam was an immortal being when he came on this earth. He had lived on an earth similar to ours, he had received the Priesthood and the Keys thereof, and he had been faithful in all things and gained his resurrection and his exaltation and was crowned with glory, immortality and eternal lives and was numbered with the Gods for such he became through his faithfulness. And he had begotten all the spirits that were to come to this earth. And Eve, our common mother, who is the mother of all living, bore these spirits in the Celestial world, and then this earth was organized by Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael, who is Adam, our common Father. Adam and Eve had the privilege to continue the work of progression, consequently came to this earth and commenced the great work of forming tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in. (L. John Nuttall Journal, Feb. 7, 1877, 1:19)
There was no blood in his (Adam’s) body, but he had a spiritual body until it was changed by the fall. A spiritual body is one which is not quickened by blood, but by spirit. Before the fall, Adam had a physical, tangible body of flesh and bones, but it was not quickened by blood. (Melchizedek Priesthood Manual, “Church History and Modern Revelation,” p. 5)
Adam and Eve were made of the dust of the earth from which they came–they brought their bodies with them. They had lived and died and been resurrected before they came here and they came with immortal bodies, and had to partake of the fruit of this earth in order to bring forth mortal bodies, or natural bodies, that their seed might be of the dust of this earth as they were from the dust of the earth from which they came. (Samuel W. Richards, Journal I, Book 2, pp. 63-64)
Things were first created spiritually; the Father actually begot the spirits, and they were brought forth and lived with Him. Then He commenced the work of creating earthly tabernacles, precisely as He had been created in the flesh Himself by partaking of the coarse material that was organized and composed this earth, until His system was charged with it, consequently the tabernacles of His children were organized from the coarse materials of this earth. (Brigham Young, J.D. 4:218)
. . . and you will fall asleep in peace, having made sure your salvation, and having done your duty well, like those whose funeral sermon we are preaching this morning; and thus you will fall asleep, with a full assurance that you will come up in the morning of the first resurrection, with an immortal body, like that which Adam had before he partook of the forbidden fruit. This is the promise to them that fall asleep in Jesus. (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses, p. 346)
Question: As Adam was an immortal being when placed here on earth and commanded to multiply, would not his offspring have been immortal but for the fall? (M.P.F., Logan, Utah)
Answer: Yes. But they would have had spiritual bodies only and not bodies of flesh, blood and bone. When Adam and Eve were first placed in the Garden of Eden, they had resurrected bodies, in which there was no blood. A spiritual fluid or substance circulated in their veins instead of blood. Consequently, they had not power to beget children with tabernacles of flesh, such as human beings possess. The fall caused a change in their bodies, which, while it rendered them mortal, at the same time gave them power to create mortal bodies of flesh, blood and bone for their offspring. This is a very brief explanation of a very important subject. (Liahona, Vol. 6:33)
 Adam, the Father of Mankind
So Adam’s work, as Father of mankind, continued and was extended to having “dominion” over his children and all the earth:
Why was Adam called Adam? He was the first man on the earth, and its framer and maker. He, with the help of his brethren, brought it into existence. Then he said, “I want my children who are in the spirit world to come and live here. I once dwelt upon an earth something like this, in a mortal state. I was faithful, I received my crown and exaltation. I have the privilege of extending my work, and to its increase there will be no end.” (Brigham Young, Des. News Weekly 22:308)
Now brethren, you have got a spirit in you, and that spirit was created and organized–was born and begotten by our Father and our God before we ever took these bodies; and these bodies were formed by Him, and through Him, and of Him, just as much as the spirit was; for I will tell you, He commenced and brought forth spirits; and then, when he completed that work, He commenced and brought forth tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in. I came through Him, both spirit and body. (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 6:31)
After men have got their exaltations, and their crowns, have become Gods, even the sons of Gods, are made King of Kings and Lord of Lords, they have the power then of propagating their species in spirit, and that is the first operation with regard to organizing a world. Power is then given to them to organize the elements, and then to commence the organization of tabernacles. How can they do it? Have  they to go to that earth? Yes, an Adam will have to go there and he cannot go without Eve; he must have Eve to commence the work of generation, and they will go into the garden and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies, to enable them, according to the established laws to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children. This is a key for you. (Brigham Young, J.D. 6:275)
The Deity of Adam
Adam has been known by many titles–Archangel, Michael, the First Man, Father of All Living, Leader of a Dispensation–but behind all these lies the mystery of his real identity.
It seems strange that people will believe that “as man now is, God once was, and that as God now is, man may be;” that “God is an exalted man” and still repudiate the doctrine of Adam-God. These incredulous people believe that Eloheim, Jehovah, and Michael (Adam) the “Father of all living” created the world and yet cannot believe that He is the God of this world. It seems presumptuous indeed for them to ever aspire to be the God of anything, if Adam cannot be the God of the world he created and peopled. If a man is not to become the God of his own posterity, what will he be the God of? (Supplement to Gospel Problems, Heber Bennion, pp. 8-9)
There are two grand principles, by virtue of which all intelligent beings have a legitimate right to govern and hold dominion; these are by begetting children from their own loins, and by  winning the hearts of others to voluntarily desire their righteous exercise of power extended over them. * * *
This final surrender, we are to bear in mind, does not detract from the Godlike power and dominion of our first Parent, nor of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Patriarchal order of government, each and every ruler is independent in his sphere, his rule extending to those below, and not to those above him, in same order. While the God of unnumbered worlds is acknowledged to be his God and Father, Adam still maintains his exalted position at the head of all those who are saved from among the whole family of man; and he will be God over all those who are made Gods from among men. Each and every God will be honoured and adored by those over whom he reigns as a God, without any violation of the laws of heaven–without any encroachment upon that command which saith, “thou shalt have no other Gods before me,” for the glory and honour of all true Gods constitute the glory, honour, power, and dominion of the great Eloheim, according to His own order of government.
What a glorious system of order is here portrayed–one in which an innumerable succession of Gods, Patriarchs, and rulers, can reign forever in the greatest possible harmony that can be comprehended by intelligences, while each is independent in his position, as is all intelligence. As the great Eloheim is supreme and Almighty over all His children and kingdoms, so is Adam as great a ruler, or God, in his sphere, over his children, and the kingdom which they possess. The earth and all things upon it were created for Adam, and it was given to him of his Father to have dominion over it. In that dominion he will be sustained throughout all eternity. (Samuel W. Richards, Mill. Star 15:802-04)
Many of the sisters grieve because they are not blessed with offspring. You will see the time when you will have millions of children around you. If you are faithful to your covenants, you will become mothers of nations. You will become Eves to earths like this; and when you have assisted in peopling one earth, there are millions of earths still in the course of creation. And when they have endured a thousand million times longer than this earth, it is only as it were the beginning of your creations. Be faithful, and if you are not blessed with children in this time, you will hereafter. But I would not dare tell you all I know about these matters. (Brigham Young, J.D. 8:208)
If we do not unite our efforts in this direction, we shall never pass through the strait gate that is spoken of in the Scriptures, or what I will call the narrow gate. It is the gate that will only admit one man at a time. We are not going in all in confusion, as the sectarians suppose.
This brings to my mind the vision that Joseph Smith had, when he saw Adam open the gate of the Celestial City and admit the people one by one. He then saw Father Adam conduct them to the throne one by one, when they were crowned Kings and Priests of God. (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 9:41)
Tell me that you do not know anything about God! I will tell you one thing, it would better become you to lay your hands upon your mouths and them in the dust, and cry, “unclean, unclean.” Whether you receive these things or not, I tell you them in simplicity. I lay them before you like a child, because they are perfectly simple. If you see and understand these things, it will be by the Spirit of God; you will  receive them by no other spirit. (By the same token no one can reject them with the spirit of the Lord.) No matter whether they are told to you like the thunderings of the Almighty or by simple conversation; if you enjoy the Spirit of the Lord, it will tell you whether they are right or not. I am acquainted with my Father. I am as confident that I understand in part, see in part, and know and am acquainted with Him in part, as I am that I was acquainted with my earthly father who died in Quincy, Illinois, after we were driven from Missouri. * * * I know my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and this is eternal life. (Brigham Young, J.D. 4:218)
And I will say, as I have before said, if guilt before my God and my brethren rests upon me, in the least, it is in this one thing that I have revealed too much concerning God and His kingdom, and the designs of our Father in heaven. If my skirts are stained in the least with wrong, it is because I have been too free in telling what God is, how he lives, the nature of his providences and designs in creating the world, and in bringing forth the human family on the earth, his designs concerning them, etc. If I had like Paul said, “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant,” perhaps it would have been better for the people. (Brigham Young, J.D. 8:58)
Stewards of the Mysteries of God
Jesus taught His disciples some of the “pearls” and “meat” of the Gospel which He could not give to the “hogs” and “dogs” of the world. Only a few trusted disciples were worthy to receive them:
Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them it is not given. (Matt. 13:11)
The true disciples of God have always known many mysteries, whereas the rest of the world could not and would not know or accept them. It has been so with the ancient prophets, at the time of Christ, and it is certainly the same today. The Prophet Joseph Smith added that the Saints should:
Strive not about the mysteries of the kingdom; cast not your pearls before swine, give not the bread of the children to dogs, lest you and the children should suffer, and you thereby offend your righteous Judge. (TPJS, p. 77)
There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake. (TPJS, p. 309)
Let the world cling to their traditions and learning rather than accept any new revelation. But the elect of God will continue to search deeper for the “pearls” and the “meat” of the Gospel and will become “stewards of the mysteries of God.” (I Cor. 4:1)
* * *
As Creator of the earth, God was obligated to set everything in motion Himself, and the creation of man was no exception. It was necessary for God to step down from immortality to create mortal children in his own image and likeness. He applied the same principles of perpetuation and procreation that had been used for all living things. His descending from the bliss and glory of immortality to the burden and sorrow of mortality is known as “the fall”.  But this mortal existence was as essential step in the eternal progression of mankind and would provide the circumstances necessary in learning good and evil, right and wrong. This probationary experience would give man the opportunity to become like Him and have eternal life.
But this condescension was not without a price. The willing acceptance of mortal trials for a thousand years after enjoying the blessings of an immortal sphere was indeed a sacrifice, which continued even to the sacrificing of His Only Begotten Son. This certainly was a sacrifice for Father Adam, just as it was for Abraham. Through the atonement, the Divine Son made a retribution for the Divine Father. Through the sacrifice of the Father, man was offered mortality; through the sacrifice of the Son, he was offered immortality.
This is the key to a mystery clearly written in the Bible, but not understood until revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
 Chapter 14
THE GOD BUSINESS
“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” (Solomon, Prov. 23:23)
 For years the Protestant ministeries have brought every conceivable allegation against the Latter-day Saints. They have been living in glass houses and throwing stones. Ironically, however, there is no allegation against the Mormons that cannot properly be found in their own back yard.
The principal difference between the ministry of the Mormons and that of the popular priests of today is priestcraft. This was defined and clarified as a warning in the Book of Mormon:
He (God) commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. * * * But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money, they shall perish. (2 Nephi 26:29 & 30)
The big salaries of today’s ministers present a clear picture and evidence of priestcraft in all its glory.
It has been falsely asserted that Joseph Smith was a “gold digger”, but if he was, he never made any profit from it. Throughout his life, he lived very modestly, not on a higher standard than his followers. However, these electronic evangelists have done very well at digging for gold–and receiving it from their ministries. It would almost seem that their god is gold.
The television “God business” is the quickest path to Gospel gold. Literally huge fortunes can be made instantly. Many do not last very long, however, as their high spending sprees, immorality, or illegal activities often bring their house of cards tumbling down.
 The television evangelists are making billions of dollars each year. They are constantly reaching more new recruits who are willing to “invest in God”. Their messages are all about the same–little doctrine, nothing about ordinances or principles of religion, just the same “believe in Jesus” routine and “liberal offering” campaign. The audience gets wound up on their high pitched, emotional preaching, then out come the donation envelopes and buckets! They are not afraid to ask for $1,000 or $10,000, but they gladly solicit anything below that amount, as well.
The antics of the instant-rich evangelists continually make front page news. James A. Haught and other authors and researchers have done very well in exposing the wealth and the illegal or immoral activities of the radio/television evangelist entertainers.
There seems to be no end to the numerous episodes of our modern ministers. Their newsworthy private lives take on the cast and drama of such television programs as Peyton Place, Miami Vice, and the sordid soap operas. It is appropriate and necessary (as well as very interesting) that a short review of these antics, both on and off stage, be included in this book. It would take many volumes to include all those ministers who make the news, so only a few will be included here, merely to show the existence and nature of the problem.
* * * * *
Evangelist Ernest Angley lives in Akron, Ohio, in a cathedral that cost his followers $2.5 million. His “spiritual” needs have included imported chandeliers, Italian statues, and gold plating on portions of the cathedral. He is estimated at bringing in $20 million a year.
* * *
 Evangelist Barber of the Apostolic Faith Church Live Forever, Inc., persuaded his brethren to pay $100 down and then send installments to the Christian Credit Corporation in Nashville. In eight states he sold $1.5 million in worthless bonds, but told people they would eventually be worth twice that. His operation went flat when it was learned that there was not a dime’s worth of backing to his bonds.
* * *
Reverend Tillman Sherron Jackson of Los Angeles was able to con the “born again” out of $26 million through the Baptist Foundation of America. It was so bad that it caused a Congressional probe in 1973, and Rev. Jackson was convicted.
* * *
Garner Ted Armstrong was an able bodied servant of the air waves. He was netting his father’s “Worldwide Church of God” about $75 million a year, some of its members donating up to 30% of their income. Garner lived like an Arab Sheik Oil Minister. He had a palacial mansion, a private jet, elegant sports cars, and a very liberal expense account. His followers were enamoured by his good looks and persuasiveness; many followed him everywhere, including to bed. After a moral protest was finally published by his father, “all hell broke loose”. It was revealed that one billion dollars of “believers'” money had been lavishly spent, stolen, squandered, unaccounted for, or used by the attorney general to try and clear up the mess. Garner’s father, Herbert, fired and excommunicated his son, but on his way out, the son claimed that the father had been taking $1 million a year for himself plus a $200,000 salary with a fabulous expense account.
* * *
 Faith-healer LeRoy Jenkins of South Carolina had a $3 million-a-year business, which included selling miracle water, prayer clothes, and T-shirts that healed. He appealed vigorously for a $300,000 emergency fund to pay for church debts; but when he got it, he bought himself a $250,000 home just two weeks later. He also owned a vacant cathedral which was mysteriously blown up–luckily he had just purchased a huge insurance policy on it. But trouble came when he conspired (1) to burn the home of a state trooper who gave his daughter a speeding ticket, (2) to burn the home of a creditor, and (3) to mug a newspaperman who exposed his money excesses and drug arrests. He got 12 years in a South Carolina prison. His staff continued to run old tapes of his show where he was still begging for “love offerings” while he himself was behind bars.
* * *
Rev. Kirby J. Hensley started the Universal Life Church and became nationally known as the king of the “mail order ministry”. He began his ministry in a little chapel in Modesto, California. His rise to fame began when he started to get a tax exemption from the I.R.S. Of course, it took a lot of red tape, lawyers, and years of fighting, but he finally received exemption for his Universal Life Church. Other ministers wanted to use his exemption, so he issued a license to them for a fee. Everything was legal; and more and more people requested a license and began asking questions as to what the ULC believed in, and what church they belonged to. This didn’t matter to Hensley, as to him, everything was religious and all were free to their own religious convictions. He once said,
The Bible is the biggest hindrance to mankind today. We’re always saying what Peter said, what Paul said. When the rest of you preachers get up here to speak, please tell us what you know. Tell us something that hasn’t been said, thought or written before. I want to hear something new! (The Modesto Messiah, p. 15)
 The I.R.S. became involved because too many “preachers” were declaring tax exemption and the Government was losing money that they thought should be theirs. A continuous fight through the courts resulted, but Hensley seemed to win more than he lost. The I.R.S. became irate. The court scenes and newspaper publicity just gave Hensley increased popularity and more new ministers. The court decisions gave Hensley more freedom and broader applications. In a few short years, Hensley was head of a church with over 14 million members–the largest church in the United States! Everyone from next-door neighbors to Congressmen were “ministers” of Universal Life Church.
It was a legal ministry and a free one, but the I.R.S. said that it was not “approved” because so many were not actually using their ministerial licenses for a religious ministry. This was indeed true, but yet it had been declared legal. Money continued to pile up by the millions of dollars, and Hensley acknowledged that it was a phoney but legal ministry. He became highly successful and certainly enjoyed the wealth and popularity such a program was bringing him.
However, Hensley’s popularity and success was short-lived. Through some legal loopholes, the I.R.S. succeeded in terminating their tax exempt status and the legality of his ministry. This, of course, caused the collapse of America’s fastest growing and largest church, affecting millions of mail order ministers. According to Hensley, it will be years, if ever, before this whole matter is settled in the courts.
Oral Roberts was one of the early preachers who pioneered the television pulpit. His famous healing demonstrations brought curiosity, amazement, publicity and–money. He rode out the ridicule and the disbelief of millions, and captured the hearts and purse strings of other millions. But even more astonishing was Oral’s “vision” of a Jesus who was 900 feet tall! When the gulps and guffaws began to subside, he again took the national spotlight  with an announcement from God–that if Oral did not collect another $8 million by a certain date, God would zap him to the next world. That stirred up the cash flow again like a dozen paramedics on a heart victim. The financial obligation was met and Roberts continues to live!
Pattie Roberts, who left her husband, Richard (Oral’s son), and the Oral Roberts Show, became repulsed at the gold bathtub fixtures and other excesses. She said:
Jesus said we were to be servants, but it is hard to maintain a servant’s heart when you dress better than some heads of state and live better than 99 percent of the world. * * * Power corrupts. She is a seductive mistress and many men who would never dream of being immoral or dishonest have fallen prey to her charms. Religious power is usually more subtle, but it is no less devastating. (Ashes to Gold, pp. 108-09)
 * * *
Rev. Hakeem Abdul Rasheed (alias Clifford Jones) and a young woman were operating a $20 million-a-year business. It was really a ponzi scheme where at first they gave $2,000 to those who had donated $500. Because of the apparent success of this program, congregations and contributions increased. Those who received $2,000 kept investing, and new converts were multiplying like rabbits. Here was a wizard with money, or with God, so they thought. He would collect up to $30,000 from each investor and $350,000 a night. Rasheed-Jones wore mink coats and diamonds, rode in a $100,000 Rolls Royce, and sailed a million-dollar yacht.
When he reported that $300,000 had been stolen from him, the police investigated. They never caught the crook who took that money, but they found the culprit who had stolen millions and millions in a “ponzi scheme”, using new donations to pay old donors. The big thief was Clifford Jones himself!
* * *
The Frost Brothers Gospel Quartet of Columbus, Ohio, began a business called Consumer Companies of America. In a 20-state chain of “born again” Christians, members would pay $534 for orders of merchandise, and in turn could enlist others–collecting commissions on their orders when enough people had signed up. The Frost Brothers lived like kings; and the President, Alvin Frost, bought a million-dollar mansion. Bob Harrington, “the Chaplain of Bourbon Street”, endorsed the program saying, “God wants His people to succeed, and I thank God I’m identified with CCA.” But he soon changed the tune of this song when CCA was convicted of stock violations, sued for fraud, charged with running a ponzie scheme, and slapped with a $370,000 tax debt.
* * *
 Rev. Jim Jones with his “Peoples Temple” promoted another gospel gold mine. Members were expected to give 40% of their income, sign over their homes, insurance policies, savings accounts, etc. Although he had his temple in San Francisco, he had a part of Hollywood with him. He would hire stooges to stage a cancer cure, where he would dramatically seize the victim and pull out the cancerous tumors–which were really chicken gizzards. A couple of disillusioned members (Al and Jeanie Mills) leaked out information of this fraud to the New West Magazine, telling about the fake cures and gutsy grab for loot.
The expose was devastating and Jones moved his followers to Guyana, where things went from bad to worse. He would sleep with any woman he desired, but if anyone else was caught doing the same thing, they were shot. Hitler would have been proud of Jim–they were practicing the same religion, just under different names.
After the murder/suicide atrocity of a few hundred followers, $7 million was found in two Panama banks, $3 million in Guyana banks, and about $1 million in cash. There was a rumor that Jones had left behind a hit squad to kill any defectors. The Mills, who had revealed the first expose, afterwards began a refugee center for the Jonestown survivors. In 1979 they published a book about the whole mess. On February 26, 1980, the couple and their 15-year-old daughter were found shot in the head.
* * *
Rev. DeVernon LeGrand was the head of “St. John’s Pentecostal Church of Our Lord.” He had recruited many teenage “nuns” to work for him, soliciting funds for the church. LeGrand made good progress until one of the 17-year-old nuns reported being raped by him. He was convicted and found guilty. But that wasn’t all that came out in the trial. Two more nuns were found dead in a pond at his farm in the Catskills, and he was found guilty of murdering two of his former wives.
* * *
 James Eugene Ewing of Los Angeles had a long list of black followers. He promised them great blessings of money if they first donated money to him. If they would send him monthly donations, God would bless them with Cadillacs, color television sets, new homes, etc. To help out his followers in their quest for temporal blessings, he sold them miracle billfolds, golden horns-of-plenty, neck charms. and newsletters (with pictures of donors who stood beside their new cars, homes, etc.). It was reported that for a while he was grossing $4 million a year. But all good things come to an end, and he filed for bankruptcy in 1977 and moved to Atlanta.
* * *
Dr. Billy James Hargis was drawn toward the political spectrum of his religious organization. It paid well, and he was able to enjoy life in his $500,000 Tulsa, Oklahoma mansion. The national news spotlighted him as an anti-Communist. Hargis did quite well until immorality brought his house down. He performed a wedding ceremony for two of his students, and on their wedding night they confessed to each other that they both had been in bed with Hargis.
* * *
Rev. Ike Eikerenkoetter of New York certainly knows how to dress–at least, he wears suits costing $1,000 and has his fingers sparkling with diamonds. He owns 16 Rolls Royces and has luxurious homes on both coasts. With over 85 radio stations carrying his message, “do what the rich do: start thinking big”, his “United Church” and “Science of Living Institute” have been estimated as receiving a $15 million-a-year income. He, too, displays the blessings of the god of mammon!
* * *
Rex Humbard has done well with his religion. He got into the “gospel bond” business, but so did the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the West Virginian  Securities Division, who issued a cease-and-desist order on $12 million worth of bonds that were not backed. Rex had a $4 million cathedral, a $250,000 mansion, a private jet, and a $10 million office tower. When he put out a plea for funds, the born-againers came through–even going “the extra mile”. They not only took care of the government, but Humbard was able to buy a new $650,000 vacation home.
* * *
The Church of Scientology has also had some financial setbacks, in spite of the money that set them up. In 1979 Julie Titchbourne of Portland won a $2 million verdict against the church. It is a church that was started by a science fiction writer named L. Ron Hubbard. He was able to net millions of dollars from around the world, but was convicted of fraud by a French court in 1978. Then a little later his wife and eight of his followers were sentenced to prison for conspiring to steal U.S. documents in Washington, and others have also brought lawsuits against the church.
* * *
Jimmy Swaggart was an unschooled boy from the Louisiana backwoods, but he is now doing very well because he learned the tricks of the gospel trade and has the glib to promote them. In his autobiography he wrote that he “detested the trickery of radio evangelists who specialized in selling so-called miracle billfolds, prayer clothes, and anointing oil over air waves.” However, only a short time later, he was selling $30 “Jesus Saves” pen and pencil sets from his own show. Business is business, and he, too, wanted to get in the act!
* * *
Jim and Tammy Bakker should certainly be included in this discussion on “money ministers”, as they have perhaps set the all-time record for both news coverage and income received in the name of religion. Bakker has been  in the news for years. Nearly ten years ago the Justice Department filed suit to force his PTL Club of Charlotte, North Carolina, to open its books on $51 million which had been taken in on appeals for overseas missions, but seemingly was spent locally. Then, during a 1978 appeal for funds, Jim and Tammy said they were giving every penny of their life savings to PTL, but shortly afterwards they somehow bought a $36,000 houseboat.
Critics have watched PTL and say that it should stand for “Pass the Loot”. Pat Robertson, another TV preacher, was astounded at Bakker’s ability to appeal for funds:
Robertson, no slouch at the art, recalls with awe in his autobiography how Bakker, while hosting Robertson’s 700 Club, told TV viewers, “We need $10,000 to stay on the air… we don’t have money to pay our bills.”
Remembers Robertson: “The cameras focused on Jim’s face as tears rolled down and splattered on the concrete floor. Immediately all of the phones were ringing. People called in weeping. By 2:30 we’d raised $105,000.” (Salt Lake Tribune, March 30, 1987)
But what happened to Bakker is more like a soap opera than a real life story. Robert Maynard also came to this conclusion when he wrote:
Here is a movie plot Hollywood would have rejected until a few days ago: A television evangelist is sexually involved with a woman other than his wife.
He pays out more than $100,000 in hush money. This disclosure comes only days after the public learns the evangelist’s wife and co-star has entered a drug-rehabilitation program.
No one would believe such a story, but there is a great deal of unsettling news emerging these days from the underside of a phenomenon known as “televangelism.”
Until recently, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker ran the PTL Club. That used to stand variously for Praise The Lord or People That Love. Now Bakker’s critics say it stands for “Pay The Lady”.
Lest you think this is any joking matter, it is important to know that what seems to lurk beneath the surface of these bizarre disclosures is something worse. One theologian likened it to “a civil war” among TV evangelists.
Jim and Tammy Bakker claim they departed PTL because they were about to be the targets of a “hostile takeover”. * * *
In this case, PTL went to a friendly acquirer, Jerry Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA., the father of the Moral Majority. That might not be the end of this sordid story.
There are those in the televangelistic community who believe more dirty linen is coming your way. Stay tuned, but don’t expect a movie from this story–too farfetched. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 27, 1987)
Other authors noted the similarity of the Bakker incident to a novel by Sinclair Lewis. For example, Sandy Grady wrote an editorial under the title of “PTL’s Soiled Soap Opera is a Washout”:
 Knight-Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON — “Oh, I can put it over on the whole bunch!” Elmer stretched his big arms in joyous vigor. “I’ll build a new church. I’ll take the crowds away from all of `em. I’ll be the one big preacher in Zenith. And then — Chicago? New York? Whatever I want! Wheee!”
Those lines are from “Elmer Gentry,” Sinclair Lewis’ scathing, scandalous 1927 novel about a hotshot preacher who tumbles to sins of the flesh.
On the 60th anniversary of his savage classic, you’d swear Lewis was clairvoyant — Rev. Gantry’s tribulations astonishingly forecast the real-life melodrama whirling around TV preacher Jim Bakker.
Elmer was a small-town Midwesterner who became a national pulpit smash. He ranted against Satan, and equated Christianity with success. Elmer didn’t have television, but he discovered radio. And he was a whiz at raising money.
Gantry’s problem was women — especially a church secretary named Hettie. When not cuddling with Hettie he was writing syrupy notes (“Dearest little honeykins bunnykins, oo is such a darlings… “).
Unfortunately, honeykins Hettle tried to blackmail Elmer for $50,000.
“Oh, my God!” wails Gentry. “And just this evening I thought I was such a big important guy that nobody could touch.”
“You might make a sermon out of it,” says a friend. “And you probably will.”
But Sinclair Lewis in all his gusto couldn’t have conjured the front-page scandal rocking Jim Bakker. Wife and co-host Tammy Faye is a drug addict. Bakker’s tryst with a church secretary cost $115,000 in hush money. He has surrendered his $173 million PTL (“Praise the Lord”) empire, with its sprawling Heritage USA theme park, to fellow evangelist Jerry Falwell.
If this were fiction — and it sure sounds like it — we’d be flipping pages: What happens next?
(Salt Lake Tribune, March 30, 1987)
Other television evangelists responded to Bakker’s situation:
 Swaggart Unleashes Fire and Brimstone
By Jay Mathews Washington Post Writer
LOS ANGELES — More than 12,000 people, shouting, singing, sometimes crying, and hands raised, greeted evangelist Jimmy Swaggart at the Los Angeles Sports Arena Friday night, a sign that two weeks of controversy have yet to weaken the appeal of the most popular Pentecostal minister on American television.
“God, DELIVER us,” he said, staring intently at the ceiling and shouting almost every other word, “from these PRETTY LITTLE BOYS, with their HAIR done, and their NAILS done, calling themselves PREACHERS of the gospel.”
The name of fellow Pentecostal minister Jim Bakker, the boyish 46-year-old evangelist embroiled in a sex scandal, had not escaped Swaggart’s lips, as it would not during the three-hour revival meeting. But Swaggart’s litany of Biblical references to “hypocrites,” spitting the word out like a rotten piece of meat, and to “false prophets” and “charlatans” was not lost on his enthusiastic listeners.
“He’s referring to Jim Bakker there,” confided a 36-year-old UCLA theater arts graduate student, . . .
“In the last days.” shouted the Louisiana-based preacher, quoting scripture, “MANY will come in my name, and say, I AM OF CHRIST, and will DECEIVE many.” Swaggart sang in a rich baritone and accompanied a succession of young soloists on his piano as the crowd roared for more.
4A The Salt Lake Tribune,
Sunday, March 29,1987
 Another TV evangelist, Rev. Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral in California, also added his response:
Upon hearing a journalist refer to Jim Bakker’s “roll in the hay,” Schuller became practically hysterical over the use of that rather tame expression for the sin of adultery. Schuller accused the journalist of being “most unchristian and insulting,” while Falwell nodded gravely, “I agree.”
If that reference so upset Schuller, you have to wonder how he reacted when he heard the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart, a self-described fanatic and the man who pulled down the whole temple of Televangeland in a Samson-like act, speak of Brother Bakker’s “roll in the hay.”
“I don’t appreciate,” Swaggart snarled, “preachers that get mixed up in adultery and every other type of sin that one can imagine and then blaming Jimmy Swaggart for it.”
It was comments like this that led Oral Roberts to assail Swaggart: “You think you’re holier than thou. Somehow Satan has put something in your heart that you’re better than anyone else.”
Swaggart huffed back that Roberts was hardly one to talk, “perched up in a tower telling people that if they don’t send money that God’s going to kill him. . . .” (Ray Jenkins, Salt Lake Tribune, April 4, 1987)
Haynes Johnson, staff writer, wrote:
So the Bakkers, Jim and Tammy Faye, have provided us with welcome humor, not only a few laughs, but many.
It wasn’t the devil, in the form of a temptress, that got the television evangelist into trouble, forcing him to pay $115,000 in blackmail after a “sexual encounter” in a hotel room.  No, that’s the ancient morality play. This is a modern drama, more resembling a “Dynasty” or “Dallas” TV miniseries than a Biblical tale of temptation. This is about “a hostile takeover” struggle, Bakker proclaimed after publication of the article that forced his resignation …. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 28, 1987)
Jim Bakker accused Rev. Falwell of taking over his ministry, to which Jerry retorted, “To say Jerry Falwell stole this ministry is like saying somebody stole the Titanic just after it hit the iceberg.” So went the Holy War!
 After Bakker was defrocked by his church, Jerry Falwell was asked by the PTL to take over the multimillion dollar ministry. Then Jim and Tammy began to take steps to recover their former place in PTL–continuing the “Holy War”.
“Supporters of Jim and Tammy Bakker have pledged loyalty to the death in `blood covenants’ during prayer meetings at the former evangelists’ home, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said Thursday.” (S.L. Tribune, June 19, 1987) He also said that he was sorry Jim and Tammy were out of money, but that they could go to work and make a living. He added that he did not understand how they could spend their $1.9 million salary last year–plus nearly two million more expense money–and be broke this year!
Billy Graham, speaking after one of his Southern Baptist Conventions, said that he and others “deplore tragic revelations of embarrassing misconduct and irresponsible mishandling and soliciting of funds” of some of these other evangelists. But then, they all do it.
From out of all this intrigue, the news media had a heyday with their headlines and cartoons:
 In summary then, on March 29, 1987, Rev. Jim Bakker resigned from the Assembly of God from President of the PTL Evangelistic ministries–the reason being the public exposure of his sexual encounter with a young church secretary in 1980. This news toppled a $129,000 million empire for Bakker. According to one report he stood to loose:
 A five-bedroom Spanish estate in Palm Springs.
A $375,000 home in Florida with $60,000 in gold plumbing fixtures.
A Tennessee home with swimming pool.
Two apartments in the PTL complex.
A $500,000 Lakeside retreat near Heritage. Matching Rolls Royces for him and Tammy.
A $36,000 houseboat, which he bought shortly after telling viewers that he and Tammy had given their life savings to PTL because it was in financial trouble.
His annual salary would also be lost. (During the previous three years he had received $4.8 million dollars annually.)
In a video-taped message to the public, the Bakkers blamed their fall on another television evangelist whom they considered a “treacherous” man with an “evil plot” against them. They were referring to Jimmy Swaggart. They didn’t like the suggestions that Jerry Falwell made either:
But when Bakker announced he was ready to return May 17, Falwell said he confronted him with a different version of the Jessica Hahn incident and said that “I have sat across the table from men who have told me of your homosexual advances and since then I’ve learned of the fiscal irregularities, and Jim, it would be doing a disservice to God and to the church at large to allow you to come back; now or ever.” * * *
“What Jim Bakker needs to do,” Falwell said, “he needs to come clean about Jessica Hahn and repent. That little girl was injured for life by that terrible incident in Florida. He needs to come forward and say, `Yes I did it,’ and ask God’s forgiveness.
“Secondly, he needs to acknowledge these homosexual problems dating from 1956 to the present time as they’ve been alleged to us and say, `Yes, I’ve been wrong, I made a mistake,  I’ve sinned but I ask God’s forgiveness.’ I know I for one would forgive him immediately.” (S.L. Tribune, May 28, 1987)
An 18-year-old girl who read these stories seems to understand the problem very well when she wrote: “This is wrong, and I finally figured out why. The Bible tells us you can’t serve two masters. That’s what they were doing.” (S.L. Tribune, March 28, 1987)
* * *
The national television audiences are better acquainted with these monetary ministers than they are with their national politicians. However, they do share the same public spotlight and have certain things in common: honor among men, false promises, campaign speeches, contention with each other, wealth and popularity. Who has not heard of Jerry Falwell, Robert Schuller, Jesse Jackson, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, Kenneth Copeland and Bob Harrington? They are a far cry from the humble, poor disciples of Christ who preached the Gospel two by two without purse or scrip!
Leaving the immorality and unrighteous wealth of the Bakkers and the multitude of other television evangelists, let’s consider a different kind of religion in and around Utah. These efforts are still geared toward the same money-making business of the other modern Christian ministries, and with their myriad of books, pamphlets and newspapers, these religions are dedicated to an “anti-Mormon Jesus”.
The most prevalent and productive of these anti-Mormon crusaders is conducted by the Modern Microfilm Company. It has been the full-time business of Jerald and Sandra Tanner for many years. When it was discovered that they could gain more profits from a tax-exempt status, they incorporated their business with the State of Utah as a religion called “The Lighthouse Ministry”.
 The Tanners’ success is based on the same technique that is used by most lawyers: by finding and exposing everything negative about someone or something, they draw the conclusion that it is all negative, or the witness is discredited and unreliable. The Tanners have used this method so effectively that it has been nicknamed “Tannerism”. By using this negative approach, anything can be discredited–even the Bible itself. Many of the prophets can be condemned by their own writings and actions.
By using Tanners’ system and methods of investigating, Jesus Himself could be “proved” to be a fraud. For example, it is written that He was born of “fornication”–in other words, He was an illegitimate child; that He was a drinking “winebibber”; His eating was “gluttonous”; He was also a “friend of publicans” and associated with some of the worst “sinners”. They said He couldn’t be a prophet because He was friendly with prostitutes. Then they convicted Him in a court of law of “blasphemy” and of treason against the laws of the land. He was a tax protester and rabble-rouser who “perverted the nation”. Then to the shame of the modest, He had “many women” who were always with Him. He even stayed overnight with Mary and Martha–and who knows how many others? While He was in court, the judge said, “Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?” (Matt. 27:13) Then John the Baptist questioned His divinity; Peter denied knowing Him; Judas betrayed Him; and “all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” (Matt. 26:56) That is the kind of “evidence” brought against the Savior of the world–enough to convict Him in a court of law and require capital punishment!
So when the anti-Mormon crowd gather up this kind of information against Joseph Smith, they can turn it into PROOF that he was an evil, wicked, and anti-Christian fraud!
* * *
 Another of the “anti” cults is administered by John L. Smith, editor, publisher, and contributor of a couple of newspapers, one entitled “Exposing Mormonism–The Utah Evangel”. These papers are strictly negative in their format, with very little positive Christianity presented on its pages. Both of Smith’s publications seem to represent the opposite of genuine Christian charity, kindness, and brotherly love. Probably any unbiased person reading it would say it bears a spirit of hatred and contention and is radically dedicated to the destruction of a particular religion.
One full page at the back is just for advertising their books, pamphlets and cassettes. In reality, none of the advertised items can be considered Christian–only anti-Mormon. One of the video tapes called “The Godmakers” has been advertised for years at a selling price of $175, which is five to ten times the price of nearly any other video cassette on the market, from Walt Disney productions to rare pornographic videos. But after all, this is the “God business”, and they are there for monetary profit. It is the means of temporal livelihood for almost all of them.
* * *
Many other individuals and small groups are also involved in this anti-Mormon capitalistic crusade. Walter Martin, Wesley Walters, Ex-Mormons for Jesus (Saints Alive), etc., are trying to increase their market of anti-Mormon materials–in what should be called “The Christian Masquerade”.
* * * * *
All the Christian “cults” included in this chapter, and many more, are the fruits of apostasy from a long line of apostates back to Catholicism. At first it was for want good government; then came the lure of gospel gold. Jesus  sent His disciples without purse or scrip and chastised anyone who wanted to pay for blessings. (see Acts 8:20.) Today, however, the Christian ministers make a living out of those who want to “buy” their blessings.
There are now over 1,000 different gospel shows bouncing off television satellites. Religion is big business. Billy Graham pays $25,000 an hour for his crusades. One station alone, WWVA of Wheeling, sells a million dollars a year of evening half-hour time to evangelists. These television “salvation for sale” shows are getting more popular and powerful, and certainly richer, each year.
Looking a little deeper into the network of these preachers, it takes only a moment to realize what they are selling–it is philosophy–nice sounding, ear-appealing, philosophy. They avoid doctrine, thereby appealing to all denominations.
The Gospel of Christ has been transformed into a Hollywood showcase, and an extremely profitable one at that. One of these “professional show men” ministers, Aimee Semple McPherson, was buried with a working telephone in her lavish coffin, so when God resurrected her,  she could make the announcement. The I.R.S. is classifying most of these evangelical programs as “entertainment” businesses. It is sad that so many poor widows, struggling pensioners, and others will sacrifice so much to give to those organizations, only to have them lavishly waste and throw it away.
The world would rather answer the simple call of the television ministry to “believe in Jesus”–no more, no less–to obtain their salvation. A few dollars’ donation for lapel pins, holy water, Jewish coins, or some other gimmick, seems to satisfy the spiritual desire of most of today’s Christians.
In His day, Jesus had to clean out the temple from such “religious” men: “And <He> said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” (John 2:16)
Peter the Apostle also foresaw the day when it would be much worse and he warned:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies. . . . And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you …. (2 Peter 2:1 & 3)
At one time, Peter was confronted with a man who offered him money because he wanted to enjoy the blessings of the Holy Ghost. Peter’s response was, “Thy money perish with thee.” (Acts 8:20)
The Prophet Joseph Smith also explained:
The only principle upon which they judge me is by comparing my acts with the foolish traditions of their fathers and nonsensical teachings of hireling priests, whose object and  aim were to keep the people in ignorance for the sake of filthy lucre; or as the prophet says, to feed themselves, not the flock. (TPJS, p. 315)
The “evangelism” of merchandising the Gospel of Christ continues to rise in fame and wealth for now–but it is a house built upon sand, doomed to eventually collapse and vanish.
 Chapter 15
HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION!
Throughout history men have worshipped a variety of strange and ridiculous gods, some even advocating disbelief in any god–but this is all part of a “God-given” right to free agency. There are many regrettable instances in history where, for religious reasons, men have made war on others–declaring it to be the will of their god. Thus religions and gods, like mankind, have been both good and evil.
We have looked at man’s feeble stumbling through the backwoods of religious expression, and how often he has failed to grasp God’s word through the prophets. While mankind has made tremendous advances in the scientific field, he deserves a dunce cap for his studies in even the fundamentals of religion.
Today we boast of the powers of the atom, work and study by computers, and live luxuriously because of the many wonderful gifts of science and technology; but we study the school books of atheistic authors, accept and embrace the immoral rules of Babylon, and learn how to sue or make war on each other. Our religious beliefs, or unbeliefs, have turned us into monsters. Our textbooks say we evolved from monkeys and wild beasts, and it appears that we are retrogressing into the society of the jungle. In such a society, a prophet is not welcome and seldom heard.
 The Prophet Joseph Smith wisely said:
The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS, p. 206)
Prophets of every generation have tried to give the people a firm religious foundation by teaching them what God is like, His character, His designs for mankind, and how to be saved, but these true messengers of God have always been rejected. Our modern society has not been any different. They mobbed, imprisoned, tortured, persecuted, and finally killed the great prophet of the “latter days”. He has, like the ancient prophets before him, been rejected, along with the God that sent him.
But listen again to this great prophet, Joseph Smith, as recorded in The Teachings of the Prophet:
There are but a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. * * * If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves. (p. 343)
What kind of being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen him, heard him, or communed with him? Here is the question that will, peradventure, from this time henceforth occupy your attention. The Scriptures inform us that “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (pp. 343-44)
I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is. I am going to enquire after God; for I want you all to know him, and to be familiar with him. (p. 345)
Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us. (p. 350)
It is a strange but true phenomenon that as the description of a man’s deity changes, so will he. And, the kind of a God he believes in, is the kind of a man he tends to become. Thus, as a man worships, so is he.
There have been war gods, passionate gods, blood sacrificial gods, and a host of strange and sometimes ridiculous gods among mankind. But only one God has been revealed from the heavens to clarify the great mystery. Only to the true prophets has God given this revelation, and Joseph Smith was one of them.
Through the light of modern-day revelation, men can now know that God has a body, with an image like man’s, and that He has similar passions. He is a God, but as a Father, treats us all like sons and daughters. He is a God who is filled with the same affections, forgiveness, kindness, and love that often fill the breasts of mortal men.
As children of God, it is our responsibility to learn how to become like Him. We should strive to imitate Him in everything we do. In both our minds and our actions we should transform our fallen natures into Godliness. When we even partially realize this goal, the world can comprehend God in us.
 All the stone, wooden, invisible, or incomprehensible gods have done and can do nothing for mankind. For us to attempt to represent them, or to become like them, would be an offense to our very soul and an insult to the God of heaven. Furthermore, it would be an impossibility!
Since we are identified as the children of God, we have the privilege and opportunity to become like our Father. He send His Son, Jesus Christ, to set the example of perfection for us. He has told us what to believe, what to teach, and how to become like Him. By obedience to these instructions and examples, we can once again see our Heavenly Father, we can dwell in His presence, and the very elect can even become Gods.