The LDS Church advertises the Book of Mormon as “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” This claim is even stamped in print on the cover of the book’s recent editions. But is it really true? Let’s just test it by one simple test. What happened when Jesus went to Calvary in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. The “Testament” should be the same!
Matthew 27:50-54: Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
Luke 23:44-47: And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
The word, earthquake, is used here to state that the earth shook. It must not have been severe. John doesn’t even mention it. Luke indicates that people stood by as the earth shook and the sun went into eclipse for three hours. There is one clear thing. No one died. At His resurrection on the third day, graves were opened and some Saints were resurrected to walk into the city.
MATTHEW 28:1-6 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Again, the word, earthquake, is not used in the destructive sense. The earth shook and the stone rolled away from the door. People were not killed.
Not quite the same story in the Book of Mormon:
In the Book Of Mormon, Jesus brought death and destruction with him to the Cross. In 3 Nephi, Chapters 8 and 9, it details the events testifying of Christ’s crucifixion.
It describes the desolation of the great city of Zarahemla by fire, and the city of Moroni “…did sink into the sea and the inhabitants thereof were drowned… the earth was carried up upon the city ofMornihah…there was great and terrible destruction in the land southward……terrible destruction in the land northward….the highways were broken up….many great and noble cities were sunk and many burned and many shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth…..all these great and terrible things were done in the space of three hours.”
3 Nephi Chapter 9 tells of further wrath as the cities and inhabitants of Gigal, Onihah, Mocum, Jerusalem, Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, Jacob, Gimgimmo, Jacobugath, Laman, Josh, Gad, and Kishkumenare anihilated. (a total of 16 major cities)
Who did all this killing to testify of our Lord’s atonement on Calvary? 3 Nephi 9:15 reveals the murderer of approximately 2 million innocent inhabitants of the Book of Mormon lands, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ the son of God. I created the heavens and the earth and all things that in them are.” He adds, (in verse 21), “behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world to save the world from sin.”
I guess the easiest way for the Book of Mormon Jesus to “bring redemption” was to kill almost every human being; at least the vast majority of that portion of his “other sheep have I.” This Jesus was a god of wrath, exercising some form of Old Testament Judgment by the one who was supposed to be the end of the law
The Biblical Jesus cried out to His Father on behalf of those who nailed him to a cross with cruel spikes, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” The Book of Mormon Jesus wipes out millions of people who knew nothing of Calvary. Pretty simply, we see two different Jesus’ here.
“THE VAPOR OF DARKNESS”
Another comparison the Bible offers us is the astronomical occurrences at the death of Jesus. As noted above, Luke’s gospel says that there was a darkness over all the earth (vs.44-45). Mt.27:45 says“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.” and Mk.15:33 concurs almost exactly. Now the word used in the Greek for “earth” almost always means the earth as a whole, or the entire inhabited earth. (VINE’S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY, p.352-53). Therefore we can assume that the 3 evangelists meant that the darkness covered the entire earth. This would include the Book of Mormon lands.
However, again we have a substantial difference between the two accounts. It seems clear from the Bible that there is nothing unusual about the darkness. Jesus’ disciples and the Romans about the cross moved about with little difficulty. (Jn.19:34-35)
The Book of Mormon darkness seems to have started at the time the Biblical darkness ended (3 Nephi 8:19). “And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof…could feel the vapor of darkness; And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled…so that there could not be any light at all; And there was not any light seen.. neither the sun nor the moon nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen.” 3 Nephi 8:20-23.
Now that is quite a different type of darkness. It seems to be a tangible thing which allowed no light at all. Not only that, but it lasted for 3 days instead of 3 hours. This is utterly different from the Bible. When the Bible says gloom covered the entire earth during the crucifixion, the Book of Mormon teaches that a mysterious “vapor of darkness” started right after the crucifixion and lasted for 3 days.
How can both be true, especially when you consider how this darkness would violate the laws of physics? No “darkness” can stop light, because it is the absence of light. Since the LDS “God” cannot bypass natural law, he could not make such a darkness.
This is some way for the Book of Mormon Jesus to celebrate the first Easter, by wiping out a couple million people and then smothering the survivors in impossible darkness! The question must be asked again, why would Jesus inflict so horrifying a punishment upon his “other sheep” when the folks who nailed Him to the cross only got a tremor and a gloomy afternoon?
HAVE A HAPPY EASTER!
The LDS Jesus then does another rather un-Biblical thing. After descending to earth, he orders the surviving Nephites to “thrust your hands into my side…[and] feel the prints of the nails in my hands and my feet…”-3 Nephi 11:14.
Then, what most LDS experts estimate to be about a half-million people troop forward and stick their hands in his wounds! Figuring 30 seconds per person, it would have taken almost 3 days for the LDS Jesus to stand there and let people poke at him.
Now remember, these are the Nephite “true believers;” the ones who were counted worthy enough to escape having their cities fall on them. These are the cream of the crop!
Does the Biblical Jesus ever do anything like this? Well, of course there is Thomas. But Thomas is not presented as any kind of paragon! Jesus told him, “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. ” John 20:29. The Biblical Jesus valued faith, and gave a special blessing to those who did not need such demonstrations. Thomas never did actually touch Him!
Earlier, in John 20:17, Jesus discouraged Mary Magdalene from touching Him at all. Yet we are asked to believe that this same Jesus allowed a “multitude” to spend days doing it. It seems like another odd way to celebrate the first Easter! Can this be the same Jesus of the Bible?
The Christ of Mormonism is not the same Christ of the Bible. 2 Cor.11:3-5 tells us that there will be those who would teach a different Christ. Paul says of them, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ”. So there is a Biblical warning about those who would bring the doctrine of another Jesus and a simple test. Do the Mormons and the Book of Mormon pass that test? No.
The Mormons have a difficult time understanding what actually happened at Calvary. In their pamphlet, WHAT THE MORMONS THINK OF CHRIST, we see the problem. In the section, The Blood of Christ (page 22 in the 1976 edition), we read:
“Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one’s salvation. For instance, many believe or pretend to believe that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept him as our personal savior, we are thereby saved. They say that his blood, without any other act than mere belief, makes us clean.
“What is the true doctrine of the blood of Christ? Salvation comes because of the atonement, and the atonement was wrought through the shedding of the blood of Christ. In Gethsemane Christ sweat great drops of blood from every pore when he conditionally took upon himself the sins of the world, and then the shedding of his blood was completed upon the cross.”
This is not the Biblical account of the Atonement! Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray and prepare. The Atonement was the Cross! The garden was the sanctification of the sin offering (Leviticus 4:3-5) to be given ONCE – for all – at the cross.
The LDS Church teaches in its Articles of Faith, Article 3, “We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (The laws and ordinance of the MORMON gospel) .”
These Mormon laws and ordinances have been placed there, in the way of the Cross, blocking the LDS people from it and its cleansing power!
The Bible clearly teaches another Christ; and another gospel…
In Col. 2:13-15 Paul writes: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
And in Ephesians 2:13ff: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”
The Mormon Jesus has been stripped of his unique Deity and his sacrifice on the cross has been robbed of its power. Theirs is a tragically bloodless Christ, whose death only brought us immortality, NOT eternal life. Their Jesus forces us under laws, ordinances and an all-too-human priesthood. This is not the “Good News” of the Bible:
HEBREWS 9:11ff “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance…Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. “
HEBREWS 10:28ff “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”
In the early LDS church, there was a more orthodox Christ preached. But, when Joseph began to teach the strange doctrines of this different Christ, one without the redemptive powers, the church could no longer deal with the reality of the blood of Calvary and its full redemptive work, That was when the church removed the red wine from the communion table and went to water. This act literally washed away the reality of the blood from its basically Christen converts. The same holds true today. The cross and the blood have become strangers to the saints.