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Measuring The Experience

Commentary by Roger Oakland
Understand The Times International: Roger Oakland Ministries

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While visiting the home of Joseph Smith near Palmyra, New York, the location where Mormonism originated, I met a Mormon girl at the information center by the name of Sadie. When I expressed interest in knowing more about her faith, she gave me a booklet. Later in the day, I read through the information Sadie had given me.

These are the words recorded in the booklet describing Joseph Smith’s divine rendezvous at the Sacred Grove:

Immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, as to bind my tongue so I could not speak. I saw a pillar of light over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. [1]

As I read further, Smith gave more revealing details about his divine encounter. Immediately after the light had fallen on him, he saw what he called “two heavenly Personages.” [2] One of them spoke in an audible voice and called the young man by his name. Finally, Joseph Smith said he “came to himself again” after having "been laid out flat on his back on the ground." [3] Several days later, he decided to share his experience with others. To his surprise, Bible-believing people he talked with told him his experience “was of the devil." Smith went on to say that this encounter "had excited a great deal of prejudice against him" and that "he was even bitterly persecuted" by some. [4]

This supernatural encounter described by Joseph Smith was just one of many that he claimed to have experienced. Mormons believe that the revelations Joseph Smith received were divine revelations from God and are necessary and legitimate additions to the Bible. Mormon doctrine accepts that the angel Moroni was a holy heavenly messenger sent from God to restore what they believe is the "true gospel."

But how can we really know if this is so? Wouldn’t it be beneficial for Mormons, who claim they believe in the authority of the Bible, to actually read the Bible, to see what it has to say about revelation that comes from experience-based encounters?

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he wrote: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." [5]

Certainly, the word “accursed” carries with it a strong warning. By definition, Paul’s warning recorded in the Bible should sound loud and clear. However, apparently Mormons don’t take Paul’s warning seriously.

The Mormon gospel based on the revelations given to Joseph Smith, is not the gospel of Jesus Christ found in the Bible. False teachings based on false revelation from spirit beings posing as messengers from God can become doctrines of demons.

Is there any doubt that the “new” revelation the Mormon faith accepts that is contrary to the word of God is an abomination to God? 

 I am Roger Oakland. This has been a biblical perspective to help understand the times.

[1]   Excerpted from Joseph Smith History 1:3-75 and History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1967] 1:2-79
[2]   Ibid.
[5]   Galatians 1: 6-8


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