Articles and Outlines - Miscellaneous Cult Issues - Difficult Questions for Mormons

Difficult Questions for Mormons

Author: Russ Wise
Date: 8/29/2009 8:45:55 PM

When the Mormon missionaries knock on your door they have one thing in mind – to engage you in a discussion centered on their training prior to meeting you. They have spent months preparing for their Mission. And you are it! Many folks think they might be able to persuade the missionaries to their Christian way of thinking. This is unlikely! The missionaries are at your doorstep for one reason and one reason only – to convert you over time as they engage you in their preset curriculum.

Their goal is to give you a copy of the Book of Mormon and have you read Moroni 10:3-5, then pray that God would manifest in your spirit that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is true. In other words, pray for God to give you a subjective feeling regarding the veracity of the Book of Mormon and its trustworthiness as scripture. The last thing they desire is to have a discussion regarding their true beliefs. The questions and related material below will offer you an opportunity to engage them otherwise.

Questions regarding The Book of Mormon and other writings by Joseph Smith:

1.  If the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the Gospel, why doesn’t it teach that God was once a man or the doctrine of man’s pre-existence or eternal progression? (D&C 20:8, 9) If the Book of Mormon is truly the everlasting gospel then why is it necessary for additional scripture/revelation such as The Doctrine & Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price?

2.  Why does the Mormon Church teach that hell is not eternal or everlasting when the Book of Mormon teaches otherwise? (I Nephi 14:3, II Ne. 9:16; 28: 21-23, Alma 34:35, Helaman 6:28, and Mosiah 3:25, 26). 

3.  If the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, why has it undergone some 3,913 revisions by the church? (Many scholars believe that another 2,000 changes are needed). Note what Joseph Smith said about the accuracy of the Book of Mormon,

"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by his precepts, than by any other book." (Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 220)

4.* The D&C 20:9 states that the Book of Mormon is the "fullness of the gospel”. Why then do you not find the major doctrines of the LDS in the Book of Mormon?

Following is a list of major LDS doctrines not found in the Book of Mormon:

1. The Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood.
2. The plurality of gods.
3. God as an exalted man.
4. Man becoming a god.
5. The three degrees of heaven.
6. The plurality of wives.
7. The Word of Wisdom.
8. The pre-existence of the human spirit.
9. Baptisms for the dead.
10. Celestial marriage.
11. The need of a present day prophet.
12. The temple works of washings, anointing, endowments, sealing. (the new & everlasting covenant of marriage).
13. The organizational structure of the church.


If the Book of Mormon contains the "fullness" of the Gospel then are the above practices and teachings of the LDS church correct? It is clear they were added later as Smith continued to formulate his Mormon teachings.

5.  How can it be that The Book of Mormon includes numerous citations from the Old Testament? Reference: Isaiah chapters 2-14 with 2 Nephi chapters 12-24; Isaiah 48 and 49 with 1 Nephi 20 and 21; and Isaiah 50 and 51 with 2 Nephi 7 and 8. How is it that these scriptures from the Old Testament were found in the Book of Mormon when they were not given by God for several hundred years afterward?

6.   Why would God hide a sacred text such as the Book of Abraham in a common burial papyrus when He made His previous revelation (the Old and New Testaments) known fully without resorting to an unknown language?

7.   If Joseph Smith truly translated The Book of Abraham found in The Pearl of Great Price how can it be that he made reference to Jehovah (Abraham 2:8) when the name Jehovah was not known to Abraham? The name Jehovah is an improper transliteration of the Hebrew consonants YHWH, the vowels being interpolated from the Hebrew word “Adonai” (Lord). In Exodus 6:3 God said to Moses that His name “Jehovah” (YHWH) was not known to Abraham. Joseph the translator did not know this, and we are presented with more evidence of his right title of false prophet.1 It is also important to note that Dr. Dee Jay Nelson, a prominent Mormon Egyptologist, identified the figure in facsimile #1 from The Book of Abraham as Hor whereas Joseph Smith believed it to be that of Abraham.2

8.      Is it true that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are “gods”? D&C 132:37  If this is true, how can that be since the Book of Mormon teaches that there is only one God? Alma 11:44; 2 Nephi 31:21; Mosiah 11:28, 15:4; Mormon 7:7

1. Dr. Walter R. Martin, The Maze of Mormonism, Regal Books, Ventura, CA., 1978, p.170.

2. Ibid., p.164

Questions regarding The Deity:

1.  If Gods are individuals who, according to Mormon teaching, have passed through mortality to gain Godhood, how could it be that the Holy Spirit attained Godhood without, first, appropriating a body? (Ref. Acts 5:3, 4) The Mormon Church teaches that God is a glorified and perfected man, a personage of flesh and bones who attained godhood. (Ref. Gospel Principles, chapter 1, p.6) Joseph Fielding Smith underscores this truth by stating, “In order for mankind to obtain salvation and exaltation (godhood) it is necessary for them to obtain bodies in this world.” (Ref. Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 7, p.113) In addition, Joseph Fielding Smith states, “God is an exalted man . . . our Father in heaven at one time passed through a life and death and is an exalted man. God himself was once a man as we are now, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ did.” (Ref. Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 1, pp. 10-11) See: Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.238-239 Eternal Progression) “God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted, immortal, resurrected Man!” McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 643 According to Le Grand Richards the “purpose of man’s existence upon the earth” is “to receive a body of flesh and bones, for the body and spirit when separated cannot receive a fullness of joy.” A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, p.316 The Mormon understanding of a fullness of joy is found in 3 Nephi 28:10 where it says, "And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one." “A fullness of joy can't be attained until the spirit and body are united in perfection in the resurrection. The true gospel is the map one follows in order to obtain that fullness.” (See: In other words, one’s fullness of joy comes when he or she receives exaltation (godhood) upon his or her resurrection – the Celestial Realm as deity. A fullness of joy is one of the blessings given to exalted individuals. (D&C 132:20)

2.  If the receiving of a body of flesh is necessary for one to become a God, how is it that Jesus Christ was God before He entered earth life? (Matt. 1:23 and Hebrews 10:5) See: Exaltation Chapter 47: Exaltation, Gospel Principles, 289

3.  How can a man become a God when the Bible says, “Before me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after me”? (Isaiah 43:10) See: Exaltation Chapter 47: Exaltation, Gospel Principles, 290

4.  Joseph Smith stated that without the ordinances and authority of the priesthood no man can see the face of God and live (D & C 84:21, 22).  He also said that he saw God in 1820 (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:17).  Joseph Smith, however, never received a priesthood until 1829 (D&C 13).  How did he see God and live? See: Exodus 33:20 In which instance was he in error: his revelation as reported in D & C 84:21, 22 or his experience in the sacred grove? Ref. (In 1829, Joseph Smith received the restored priesthood authority to organize Christ’s Church.  John the Baptist appeared and conferred upon Joseph Smith and his associate Oliver Cowdery the Aaronic Priesthood, which includes the authority to perform the ordinance of baptism.  Later, Peter, James, and John (three of Christ’s original Apostles) appeared and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, restoring the same authority given to Christ’s Apostles anciently.  In 1830, with this priesthood authority, the same Church of Jesus Christ that existed centuries ago was organized and restored to the earth by Joseph Smith.) 

5.  According to Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 742, Jesus was conceived as any other human being is conceived – He was born as the result of the Heavenly Father visiting (physical copulation) the Virgin Mary. McConkie states, He was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. If this is true as the church teaches (Jesus was conceived as a result of a physical union between God and Mary), then, how was Jesus born of a virgin?  (Ref. Journal of Discourses Vol. 1, page 50) 

6.* Who came first, God or man? This may seem like a foolish question, but think for a moment. According to teachings of the LDS Church, the god of earth is an exalted man of flesh and bone. Through eternal progression this man, being found worthy in the Celestial heaven, was made a god and given the earth to rule. Then who came first: god or man? Your answer, either way, has serious ramifications. If man came first, did man create God? If God came first, then how did He become God? LDS doctrine says that man became a god! Do you see the point?

Only the biblical answer is correct which says that "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth." Further on the sixth day God created man. (See Genesis 1) God has always existed and has no beginning or end, being eternal. The Bible says God is eternal. Genesis 21:33, says He is the "Eternal God." This means that God is not subject to time as are material men in a physical world. God created time when He made the heavens and the Earth (Gen. 1:1-2, Heb. 1:2, 11:3). Psalm 102:27, says "thou art the same, and thy years have no end" (see Heb. 13:18, James 1:17). God created time and space and exists beyond them, and is not subject to either.

* These questions were taken from

Questions regarding anachronisms:

1.  How do Mormons account for the word “church” in the Book of Mormon (I Nephi 4:26), about 600 B.C., which was centuries before the beginning of the Church on the day of Pentecost? The Encyclopedia Britannica states, When the festival was first celebrated in the Christian church is not known, but it was mentioned in a work from the Eastern church, the Epistola Apostolorum, in the 2nd century. In the 3rd century it was mentioned by Origen of Alexandria, and by Tertullian, Christian priest and writer of Carthage.

2.  What kind of chariots did the Nephites have in 90 B.C. (Mosiah – 153-90 B.C. – was the last Nephite king) some 1500 years before the introduction of the wheel in the Western Hemisphere by the explorers? (Alma 18:9) 

The Book of Mormon cites numerous occasions where chariots and horses were used. A partial listing includes 2 Ne. 12: 7; Alma 18:9; 3 Nephi 3:22; and 3 Nephi 6:1. According to archaeologists wheels were not commonly used in the Western Hemisphere nor were chariots used as well. Horses were not introduced to the continent until the Spanish explorers arrived. For a better understanding of this topic see:  Tim McGuinness, PhD. offers several hypotheses  why the wheel was not in common use during the pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican, culture.

References to the use of horses in Mesoamerica in conjunction with chariots is another difficulty for the Book of Mormon. The use of chariots implies that the culture had made vast improvements to the wheel which were crude at best. A chariot wheel would have had to be crafted with precision to work as it would have been intended – not to mention the need for an axle and some sort of bearing to keep the wheel in smooth rotation. None of which seems to be the case in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

Once again the horse was not in use during this time. If so, then, one would expect to find bone fragments or teeth from these horses despite the fact that an abundance of skeletal remains have been discovered of other animals in Mesoamerica. The depiction of horses would have been found in art if they had existed in ancient Mesoamerica during the time of the Book of Mormon. The horse has not been included in any of their mythology. Ref.

3.  What are the circumstances related to the French word “adieu” and its inclusion in the Book of Mormon? (Jacob 7:27) 

4.  In regards to the "war in heaven . . .” How can spirits fight a war?   Do they experience trauma or are they killed in battle?   What kind of weaponry do they use?   


1.       God was once a man like us: Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 1, pp.10-11

2.   God has a tangible body of flesh and bone: D&C 130:22 Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 4, p.57

3.   God lives on a planet near the star Kolob: Book of Abraham 3:3-16

4.   God has at least one wife, our "Mother in Heaven": Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny, pp. 348-355: "All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother..." (More citations in The Changing World of Mormonism, chapter 7)

5.   Jesus was married: This idea is consistent with the Mormon doctrine that marriage is required for godhood; see citations from early church leaders in Changing World of Mormonism, chapter 9.

6.   We can become like God and rule over our own universe. Those who are worthy will become Gods. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 6, pp.97-98 Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.321

7.   There are many gods, ruling over their own worlds: Citations in The Changing World of Mormonism, chapter 7

8.   Jesus and Satan ("Lucifer") are brothers: D&C 76:25, Moses 4:1-4

9.   Jesus Christ was conceived by God the Father by having sex with Mary: Citations in The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 7 Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 4, p.18 Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.547

10. We should not try to feel a personal relationship with Jesus: "Our Relationship With The Lord" by Apostle Bruce R. McConkie

11. "The Lord" ("Jehovah") in the Old Testament is the same being named Jesus in the New Testament, but not the same as "God the Father": D&C 110:2-4; Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, article "Jehovah"; 1 Nephi 19:10

12. In the highest degree of the celestial kingdom some men will have more than one wife: D&C 132:63

13. "Pre-existence": See Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 4, pp 60-61 We were all created untold ages before we were placed on this earth. P. 76                                                                                       

14. Dark skin is a curse from God: 1 Nephi 12:23, 2 Nephi 5:21, Alma 3:6, Jacob 3:8, 3 Nephi 2:15, Morm 5:15. Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 4, p.66

15. The Garden of Eden was in Missouri: D&C 116:1; see also D&C 107:53.

16. Animal resurrection: Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 4, p.62

17. The Sun receives its light from Kolob: Book of Abraham Facsimile # 2, Explanation of Fig 5

18. Salvation: No salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. No man can reject that testimony (Joseph Smith was a prophet and was given the keys of authority to restore the church of Jesus Christ upon the earth) without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 12, pp. 189-190                                                                   

19. Salvation for the dead. D&C 128:15. If we neglect it, it is at the peril of our own salvation. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, chapter 15, p. 268  Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, chapter 8, p.147 Le Grand Richards, A Marvelous Work And A Wonder, p.177

20. The work of the Holy Ghost according to Mormonism is to help us to understand that we can become exalted like our Heavenly Father. We should make ourselves worthy to receive this special messenger and witness of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In other words, the Holy Ghost’s responsibility is to help us understand that we can become as or like God – having all that He has in the Celestial Kingdom or heaven. Gospel Principles, chapter 7, p.34

Absurdities found in the Book of Mormon:

  1. When gentiles accept Mormonism they become “white” and delightsome. This truism would include gentiles who may have darkened skin as well as those who may already have a lighter complexion. The text changes between the 1830 (original) edition of the Book of Mormon and the current edition is startling. Concerning the gentile the 1987 edition of Book of Mormon states: “. . . they shall be a pure and a delightsome people.” 2 Nephi 30:6

According to the introduction to 2 Nephi 5 the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness, and became a scourge unto the Nephites. 2 Nephi 5:21-23 makes it quite clear that God cursed individuals with dark skin because of their iniquities. The text states, And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity . . . wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

The Book of Mormon offers its reader further understanding regarding the change in the Lamanites skin color in 3 Nephi 2:15. And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites. The change in skin pigmentation was due to the fact that those with black or dark skin had previously converted to the Lord’s teaching and became Nephites (3 Nephi 2:12).

The 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon reads this way in respect to those of black/dark skin who accept the Lord – they shall be a white and a delightsome people. 2 Nephi 12, p.117. (NOTE: It is important to know that the 1830 edition is not laid out by chapter and verse.)

  1. Burying swords in the earth will keep them bright. Alma 24:16

  2. The Book of Mormon cites leprosy as a disease that afflicted those in the Americas during the time of the Nephites. 3 Nephi 17:7 The Book of Mormon is a record of God’s people in the Americas between 600BC and 421AD. The first known case of leprosy in the Americas was in 1758.

  3. Those who sin will go bald. 2 Nephi 13:9, 11 states, The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves! Say unto the wicked, for they shall perish; for the reward of their hands shall be upon them! Then verse 24 mentions several consequences of their sin, one of which is that instead of well set hair they will endure baldness.

  4. Lions live in the forest. 3 Nephi 20:16 states that lions habitat is in the forest rather than the savannah.

  5. The Book of Mormon makes a reference to the eating of butter and honey by Immanuel – the Messiah. The exact phrase states, Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good. 2 Nephi 17:15. Then the use or should I say the lack of use of candles is mentioned in 3 Nephi 8:21. This reference is to the death of Christ and the darkness that followed. The text refers to the ensuing darkness and that light was unavailable. The mention of butter, honey, and candles is problematic because these items were not introduced to the Indian culture until after the arrival of Columbus in 1492.






Author's Comments:
This article is primarily written for the Christian who needs a better understanding of Mormonism and how it does not agree with orthodox Christianity.

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