Cults - Mormonism

3 - Joseph Smith and the Occult

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Few Christians understand that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was a documented occult practitioner who said he used an occult device to "translate" the Book of Mormon.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part 3 of a series. Read part 2.

Few Christians understand that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was a documented occult practitioner who said he used an occult device to "translate" the Book of Mormon.

In our last article we mentioned only a handful of examples of Mormonism's open disregard for the authority of God's Word, but even these are enough to condemn Mormonism as a false and dangerous cult. However, we find that Mormonism is further condemned as we look at the character of the man who wrote its basic teachings, the claims that he made, and the content of that which he wrote.

Engaging in the Occult

Let us first consider a few well-established facts about the character of the alleged prophet Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. He was actually Joseph Smith, Junior. His father, Joseph Smith, Senior, was a practitioner of mysticism and the occult, and spent a great deal of his time digging for imaginary buried treasure in the state of New York where he lived.

Joseph Smith, Jr. followed in his father's footsteps. It is well documented that Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, engaged in occult beliefs and practices. In his treasure-seeking activities, he employed divining rods, magic charms, and other implements of ritual magic. Hereafter, all references in this series to "Joseph Smith" are to this man.

Joseph Smith, owned what was called in that time a "peep stone" or "seer stone." This was an implement used by those who engaged in occult practices to supposedly see things that others could not see. Joseph Smith claimed that he used a "peep stone" or "seer stone" to translate the Book of Mormon.

A Book of Highly Questionable Origin

Joseph Smith claimed that the last prophet who contributed to the book, a man named Moroni, buried the golden plates on which this book was supposedly engraved in a hillside in the present-day state of New York. Smith claimed that Moroni returned to Earth in the year 1827 as an angel, and revealed the location of the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith and gave him instructions for translating it. Smith said that he used the occult device called a "peep stone" to make that alleged translation.

The story of how the Book of Mormon came into existence is highly questionable, and we have only Joseph Smith's word for it. But Joseph Smith's engagement in occult practices is not questionable, it is documented fact.

In the early years of the history of the United States, it was very common for state and local governments to make illegal in secular law things that God has condemned in Scripture. This was true in the state of New York in the early 1800s. Joseph Smith was charged in a civil court in New York with engaging in the occult practice that was called "glass-looking", which was another way of saying that someone employed a device like a peep stone or a seer stone. Historical court documents testify to the fact that Joseph Smith was convicted of this offense, and paid a fine. Joseph Smith's own father also testified to the fact that his son engaged in fortune-telling.

Practices Condemned By God

These are things that the God of the Bible condemns. Listen to the words that God spoke to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy chapter eighteen, as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. God said,

When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who...practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist... For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)

Clearly, Mormonism at its very beginnings had associations with those who engaged in occult practices - Joseph Smith and others. The founder of this false cult engaged in things that are detestable in the sight of God. God calls them abominations. In Revelation 22:15, the same God who declares eternal condemnation for those who add to or take away from His Word, also declares that no "sorcerer" - no person who engages in any sort of occult practice without repenting - will enter the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:8 declares that all unrepentant sorcerers "shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Authentic Christianity has absolutely no relationship to practices and devices that God condemns as abominations, or to those who engage in such things.

Next: The Book of Mormon - An Evil Fiction

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