Friday, October 1, 2021

Why Mormonism shouldn't be tolerated in Utah

When people think of Utah they typically associate this with Mormonism (Latter Day Saints). This is because Mormons set up their headquarters in Salt Lake City, where they have been for about 150 years, shortly after Joseph Smith died in 1844 in Illinois. However, what most people don't realize is that Mormonism was never meant to be in Utah. This realization I came upon accidentally, which I have never heard anyone else share, but I think is extremely valuable in witnessing to Mormons and refuting Mormonism. 

The standard apologetic that Catholics have used against Mormons is that their cornerstone (Protestant) doctrine, the Great Apostasy (which demands the Church needed restoration in later times), is simply untenable since it: (1) goes against the promise of Jesus to never abandon His Church; including (2) prophecies such as Daniel 2 talked about HERE; also (3) there is no Biblical evidence for the Great Apostasy; and (4) it doesn't fit within the historical record, hence why Great Apostasy advocates cannot even give the century when it occurred. This is all well and good, but the Catholic fixation on the Great Apostasy doesn't do well against the principally emotionally driven Mormon (and Protestant) mindset. So here is where my new apologetics argument has a lot of potential, which I'll now discuss. 

Mormons are very aware that Joseph Smith never came to Utah, though many non-Mormons don't know  this. For most of us non-Mormons, we aren't even sure how the Mormons ended up in Utah, though many people know Brigham Young played a role in getting the Mormons there. Official Mormon history teaches that Joseph Smith began the Mormon Church in New York in around 1830, and after traveling nearly 1,000 miles, Smith had moved the congregation to settle down in the city of Independence, Missouri (just outside Kansas City) around 1836. Why did Smith settle down officially in Independence, Missouri? Because Smith had some visions of divine revelation how Independence was actually the official location of the Garden of Eden! Not only that, Smith received further divine revelation this same city was to be the official site of the Second Coming of Jesus! And further divine revelation revealed that this was to be the true City of Zion (since in the Bible Jerusalem was located on Mt Zion). See what the Mormon Scriptures say (all are divinely revealed to Joseph Smith):
Doctrine & Covenants ch57: 1 Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. 2 Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion. 3 Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse. 4 Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile; 5 And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance. Doctrine & Covenants ch52: 42 And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.

D&C 62:
6 Behold, I, the Lord, have brought you together that the promise might be fulfilled, that the faithful among you should be preserved and rejoice together in the land of Missouri. I, the Lord, promise the faithful and cannot lie.

D&C 84: 1 A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jr., and six elders 2 The word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. 3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith. 4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. 5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. 

D&C 124: 51 Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God.

The Mormons believe that God directly commanded Independence Missouri (Jackson County) to be the center of the restored Church, the New Jerusalem, the site of the Temple, etc. This is not spiritual language, but very literal.

Since the claims of Mormonism were so controversial (e.g. polygamy) to these largely Protestant regions, often times the local non-Mormons would get upset with the Mormons, causing civil unrest, forcing the Mormons to relocate to entirely different regions. This happened in Independence, where an uprising forced the Mormons to relocate yet again, this time 200 miles away to an empty plot of land in Illinois, where the Mormons established the city of Nauvoo in 1839. It was Nauvoo where Smith was arrested by county officials for his controversial claims, but more likely because his 12,000 congregation members could easily influence voting/legislation in whatever county/city they were in. In this jail, Smith was unexpectedly killed for trying to escape, and a leadership-succession crisis ensued as the Mormons were now without an official leader. The two main candidates (among multiple schismatic sects) for headship of the Restored Church were Smith's son Joseph III on one side, and influential Mormon associate Brigham Young on the other side. Some Mormons followed Smith's son Joseph III, while the majority followed Brigham Young. Smith's son and those with him decided to stay in the area, where they took official control of the 'holy sites' Smith established for Mormonism in Nauvoo and Independence, which they still own to this day. On the other hand, the majority of the Mormons followed Brigham Young, who left the region entirely and took them to the famous pioneering expedition to Salt Lake City, an impressive trek of nearly 1,250 miles! (From this succession crisis, you could almost say it's not even certain which of the claims for leadership constitute the official Mormon Church, which is a problem of it's own. The Utah branch of Mormonism is not the only Mormon Church out there, it's simply the largest and most prominent.)

While most non-Mormons are oblivious to this history of how Mormons got to Utah, the typical Mormon blindly endorses with all their heart the official world headquarters of Mormonism being in Salt Lake City, without realizing the irony. That irony is that Utah isn't actually what Smith himself considered as the true headquarters, as their own scriptures say God specifically located in Missouri, namely Independence, where the major holy sites are located. The fact is, Utah is actually a place of exile for Mormons, where they were forced to flee to. The reality is they should see Utah as not their home, and instead they should all be craving a return back to Missouri, where Jesus will Return soon. For a Mormon to be content with Utah is equivalent to an Israelite in the Old Testament being fine with remaining in Babylon and having no desire to move back home to the Holy Land.

It turns out, this irony is known by the Mormon leadership, but they keep it quiet due to the obvious problem it creates among the average Mormon. One Mormon whom I shared this with showed me a couple of obscure statements by certain Mormon leaders, who in effect said that yes, living in Utah is a sort of Babylonian Exile, and even a punishment by God! Well, that's quite an admission, but it really doesn't help the Mormon position out at all. The fact there is no official, well advertised, decree by the Mormon "Magisterium" of how Utah is not really their home and how they must get back to Missouri is not only disingenuous, it is effectively an implicit admission that they cannot be the true Church of Jesus. The true Church of Jesus knows when it is in exile, that is knows when things are not healthy, and knows where it needs to be. Instead, the Mormon Church is content with being where it is, and is in fact bragging about how much good it is doing in the world. These Mormon leaders also keep hushed the fact that their official holy sites in Independence are not even owned by the Mormons, but rather owned still to this day by some smaller sect of "heretical Mormons".

Since Mormonism is so heavily tied to Americanism, the result is that we see a trend of "as America goes, so goes Mormonism," where Mormonism today is shrinking and fading into irrelevance as this nation becomes increasingly less Anglo-Saxon, less Protestant, and less eschatological, since the Second Coming continues to elude each generation. Things are not looking good for Mormonism, and the fact they have no intention of getting back to Missouri or admitting they don't belong in Utah is to me an excellent apologetic against them.

The Mormon "Promise Land" shown here is not
owned by the Utah Mormons, but rather has been
owned for over 150 years by a 'heretical' Mormon
sect/group called the Church of Christ (see here).

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