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==Brief History==
Mormonism began on April 6, 1830 in Fayette, New York, as an alleged "restoration" of the original Apostolic Church. Its originator, Joseph Smith, Jr., asserted that he had seen two celestial "personages" in 1820 who claimed to be God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. These "personages" told Smith that all existing churches--including the Orthodox Church--were false, and that he had been chosen to "restore" the one true Church. This restoration included a variety of things, including modern prophets, new revelations of scripture(chief among which was the Book of Mormon), and a calling of a modern group of Twelve Apostles. From the Mormon perspective, the most important elements of this "restoration" was the claimed appearance of a resurrected John the Baptist to convey upon Joseph Smith and his cohort Oliver Cowdery in May of 1829 to "restore" what Mormons call the "Aaronic Priesthood" and the authority to baptize and administer the Mormon version of holy communion and then, according to Mormons, later that same month the resurrected Peter, James, and John, the same as the biblical Apostles, appeared before Smith and Cowdery and conferred upon them the higher or "Melchizedek" Priesthood, which Mormons believe holds the power to do things like confirm membership in the LDS Church, confer the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and give anointings and blessings to the sick so that they may be healed ( perhaps best understood as the Mormon parallel of Holy Unction.) It was also at this time Mormons believe Smith was given the "keys of the kingdom" by the Apostles and ordained as an apostle himself. It is from these "visitations" that Mormons draw their claims of priesthood and divine authority.
Attracting a host of converts, Smith's new religion also garnered intense persecution, necessitating moves in turn to Ohio, Missouri, and finally Illinois, where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith were murdered in 1844. Smith's movement fragmented following his demise, with the majority eventually following Brigham Young, then head of the LDS Church's Council of Twelve Apostles, to Utah.
As a matter of course, most Mormons prefer to be called by their official name, the "Latter-day Saints." The usage of the word saint here follows the biblical meaning of the terms as meaning one who has dedicated themselves to God and His service. The term "Latter-day Saint" is often abbreviated as "LDS." The moniker "Mormon" was originally used as a derisive name by non-Mormons and was derived from the "The Book of Mormon."
Plural marriage proved a source of dissension, especially between the Utah Mormons and the smaller Community of Christ, which rejected the doctrine. Polygamy also caused trouble between the LDS church and the U.S. government, until its practice was banned in 1890. Throughout the last century, Mormons fought to project an image of wholesome, family-oriented Christianity, reaping millions of converts and emerging as a formidible presence on the world religous scene.
===The "Doctrine of Eternal Progression"===
A major pillar of Mormon belief is their concept of [[theosis|deification]], which they refer to as the "Doctrine of Eternal Progression." In opposition to the Trinitarian dogmas of the [[First Ecumenical Council|First]] and [[Second Ecumenical Council|Second]] [[Ecumenical Council|Ecumenical Councils]], Mormons believe that [[God]] the Father, whom they refer to by the Old Testament Hebrew term "Elohim"<ref>LDS Bible Dictionary, Entry "God," at</ref> (which, translated into English literally, means "gods") as a way to refer to God the Father separately form His Son, Jehovah/Yahweh, who Mormons believe incarnated on Earth as Jesus Christ. Mormons also refer to God the Father as "Heavenly Father" as Mormons believe that He is literally the father of the human spirit. Mormons believe that all human beings are literal spirit children of God and lived with Him in Heaven before being born on this Earth. (It should be noted that this LDS doctrine of per-existence of spirits, by which we all are alleged to have existed "spiritually" in heaven prior to our birth on this earth, was specifically condemned by the [[Fifth Ecumenical Council]].) Thus, Mormons believe the difference between is not one of kind -Created v. Uncreated- but of degree -Fallen v. Perfect and Eternal. Because of this Mormons believe that through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ all people can be made perfect and be made like God by God, i.e. they can become gods. <ref></ref> This is laid out in one of Joseph Smith's "revelations" known as Doctrine and Covenants section 132, verse 20 which says: "Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them."
For a casual observer, this may seem similar to the Church's teaching of [[theosis]], but this is most emphatically ''not'' so:
===Attaining to "Godhood"===
While Mormonism claims to focus focuses on salvation through the atonement of Jesus Christ, their concept of ''exaltation'' goes far beyond this. All of mankind, say the Mormons, will be saved from death through the [[resurrection]] of Christ; but it is only those whom God judges as obedient and faithful, and who receive specific saving ordinances (which will be offered to every person that has ever lived), who will be exalted to the highest of the three "degrees of glory" which comprise the Mormon heaven. Mormons, building on Paul's explication that there are three types of resurrection -one with a glory like the Sun, another with a glory like the Moon, and another a glory like the Stars- combined with the teachings of Joseph Smith have developed a Heaven with multiple glories and rewards. Only those exalted to this the greatest or "Celestial glory" will become "gods." Those in the lower two degrees,<ref>These are referred to in order of glory as the "Terrestrial" and "Telestial," glories respectively, in LDS ''Doctrine & Covenants'' Section 76.</ref> while enjoying will enjoy a blessed and happy state, but will still be limited in damned as their "spiritual progression" will be frozen and they will never have the chance to move to a higher existence. To attain to "Celestial glory," one must be baptized as a Mormon by "true authority" (meaning a member of their church ordained to the LDS priesthood), "confirmed" by the same, and receive certain sacred ordinances that can only be had within a Mormon temple. Orthodox Christians often tend to use the term "temple" to refer to any Orthodox Church building. Mormons, hearkening back more directly to ancient biblical concepts of temples as places where God Himself could dwell directly and in which certain sacred ceremonies took place that members not of the faith were not allowed to take part in have specific structures specially dedicated solely as temples. The regular Mormon meetinghouses are generally called "chapels" (where Mormon congregations meet) or "stake centers," (larger chapels designed for large stake wide church meetings- much as if all the congregations in a diocese met together in one place) and unlike their temples, are open to the public. Within these temple structures, Mormons practice (for themselves, or on behalf of others who have died) certain rituals:  :'''Baptism for the Dead''', where living proxies are baptized on behalf of deceased persons which Mormons believes gives those who never had the chance to accept baptism into their church in this life the opportunity to do so though the person could still conceivably accept or reject the baptism performed on their behalf; names are obtained from genealogical research, for which the Mormons are world-famous. This practice was rejected by the Council of Hippo and the Third Council of Carthage, and St. [[John Chrysostom]] associated it with the heretical [[Marcionism|Marcionites]]. St. [[Clement of Alexandria]] indicated that Baptism for the Dead was a doctrine also particular to the [[Gnostics]].
To attain to :'''The "Celestial gloryEndowment'''," one must be baptized where initiates go through a ritual presentation of the Creation of the Earth and the temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve as well as a Mormon by "true authority" (meaning a regularly-ordained member the preaching of the Gospel to Adam. As part of their church), "confirmed" by the sameceremony, Mormons learn certain signs and receive certain "sacred" or "higher" ordinances tokens that can only be had within a Mormon temple. While Orthodox Christians often tend they promise to never reveal and covenant to use live the term "temple" Law of Chastity, consecrate all their lives and possessions to refer God and His kingdom, to any Orthodox Church buildingserve Jesus Christ, Mormons use it only for specific structures specially dedicated as suchand avoid impure thoughts and actions.<ref>The regular Mormon meetinghouses Some elements of this rite are generally called "chapels" or "stake centerssimilar to practices of the [[Freemasonry|Freemasons]]," and unlike their templesJoseph Smith and many early Mormon leaders were themselves Masons. That said, the similarities are few and the differences are generally open very important to understanding the different rituals- that is Masonic ritual and the publicMormon Endowment. "<ref> Similarities and differences can be explored here.</ref>
Within these structures, Mormons practice (for themselves, or on behalf of others) certain esoteric rituals: :'''Baptism for the DeadEternal Marriage''', where living proxies act on behalf Mormons believe an essential part of deceased persons who are then being exalted is being married "baptizedfor time and all eternity" into the LDS church; names are obtained from geneological research, for which the Mormons are world-famouswithin Mormon temples. This practice was rejected by the Council of Hippo and the Third Council of Carthageceremony, and St. [[John Chrysostom]] associated it with the heretical [[Marcionism|Marcionites]]. St. [[Clement of Alexandria]] indicated that Baptism for the Dead was often called a doctrine also particular to the [[Gnostics]].:'''The so-called "Endowment'''sealing," where initiates are taught the is believed to join or "fullnessseal" of Mormon doctrine couples together on such subjects as the Earth so that they will be joined or "plurality of Gods,sealed" the Mormon version of creation, and the process by which one may "progress to godhood." Additionally, participants take a solemn oath never to reveal anything that goes on in the temple, as well together as oaths to faithfully abide by all Mormon teachings. This ritual is essentially a "contract" between the Mormon "god" husbands and his adherentswives, by which they promise to obey his laws parents and earthly leadershipchildren, and he in turn promises to advance them to "godhood" upon their resurrectionHeaven. Many elements of this rite were stolen from For Mormons, not only does the heretical [[Freemasonry|Freemasons]], and Joseph Smith (who had been a Master Mason himself) was expelled from that fraternity as a result.:'''Marriage for Eternity''', where participants, upon receiving their "Endowment," are married "for time and all family explicitly continue into eternity." This but it is seen as an indespensible requirement also the basis for deification. In order to become a "godhood.god"<ref>LDS ''Doctrine & Covenants'', Section 131. See</ref> The Orthodox Church has traditionally rejected this conceptMormons believed they must be married or sealed within a Mormon temple.
The Mormon hellHell, in Mormonism, by is generally temporary. Those who reject a testimony of Jesus Christ suffer the punishment for their evils and sins in Hell. Ultimately they pay the waypunishment for their sins and are released form Hell but because they rejected Christ they are damned, is limited never able to those few who have apostasized from be exalted, and only gain the Mormon religionlowest, or Telestial glory, broken their oath in Heaven. Only Sons of secrecy about Perdition are damned to Hell eternally. In Mormonism, the Temple ritualsonly way to become a Son of Perdition is to have an absolute knowledge of God, committed to reject Him, to commit murder after becoming a Mormon, or and to seek to destroy His church and His work. The classic examples of this for Mormons are guilty Satan, who as an angel in Heaven knew of other very serious offenses--together with God's actual reality and rebelled, seeking to dominate and destroy the souls of men and Cain, who under the devil influence of Satan, knowingly rejected God (who Cain knew was a reality through revelatory communication)and murdered his fallen angelsbrother Abel. In Mormonism, those condemned to an eternity in Hell are incredibly few.
===Alleged "brotherhood" of Christ and Satan===
In the ''Pearl of Great Price''Mormonism, "Book all people are children of Moses" 4:1-4 and "Book of Abraham" 3:27God. This includes Jehovah, Mormonism's god explains that in the "preexistencepre-mortal Jesus Christ," he asked for a volunteer to serve as who Mormons believe is the savior Firstborn spirit child of humankind. Two of his "spirit-sonsGod," Jesus and Lucifer, obligedas well as all humans who have ever lived. Lucifer wanted to compel In Mormonism, all humans to follow people are spiritual brothers and sisters. Nor do Mormons see angels as a separate class of being, but simply as people given tasks by God, while Jesus insisted (see section below on the right of each person to choose angels for themselvesmore information. When "Elohim" chose Jesus over Lucifer) The result of this doctrine is the belief that all people, say the Mormonsincluding all humans, Lucifer rebelled are spiritual brothers and was cast out sisters of heaven with his followers. They were deprived of all chance to receive a fleshly body, Jesus and also that Jesus and thus barred from any chance at "godhoodLucifer are also brothers."
The June 1986 ''Ensign'', official magazine of the LDS Church, affirmed the teaching that Christ and Satan are, indeed, "spirit brothers"--albeit diametrically opposed "brothers."<ref>Read the entire article at http</ref>
All of these teachings, needless to say, are emphatically rejected by the Orthodox Church.
===The Mormon Concept of Angels===
In contrast to Orthodoxy, which views angels (whether righteous or fallen) as a separate class of beings created by God prior to--and separate from--humanity, Mormonism sees angels as being either pre-existent spirits of human beings not yet physically born, or the spirits of departed "righteous" men, such as characters from the Bible and the ''Book of Mormonor righteous men who have been resurrected already.'' "Moroni," Mormons believe the alleged "angel" who showed references in the golden plates of the ''Book of Mormon'' Bible to Joseph Smith (see below)angels having wings are symbolic, was supposed to have been an ancient American prophet who figures prominently in the final portions of that booknot literal.
While ==="The Great [[Apostasy]]" and Apostolic Succession===Like many Restorationist heresies, Mormons believe that the [[Orthodox Church traditionally admonishes her children to mistrust ''any'' spiritual manifestations they might see (even the saints have sometimes been deceived by demons, such as St. [[Nikita the Venerable|Church]] entered an age of Novgorod, for instance!), Joseph Smith offered his followers a novel test error and apostasy by which he claimed to be able to discern true angels the end of God from demonsthe first century AD. This taskIn doing so, which involved asking they say, it lost all right to shake the "angel's" hand (Smith said one would not feel the "angel's" handperform sacraments, if it were a demon)consecrate priests, may be found or otherwise act in LDS God''Doctrine and Covenants'' Section 129.<ref>http://en.wikisources</ref> HoweverAnd from that moment until 1830, say the life of StMormons, there was no true Church anywhere on the earth. [[Martin of Tours]] illustrates that The Orthodox Church, which traces her unbroken succession to the demons are quite capable of affecting human sensory perceptions--including Apostles themselves and alone teaches the human sense fullness of touch--contrary to Joseph Smiththeir doctrine, is 's assertion.<ref>See St. Martin's story at, or in Chapter Five of Rose, Fr. Seraphim, ergo''Orthodoxy and in apostasy (with all other non-LDS churches) according to the Religion of the Future'', St. Herman of Alaska Press, 1980Mormons.</ref>
==="The Great Mormons point to New Testament scriptures<ref>I Timothy 4:1, II Timothy 3:1-5, Acts 20:28-31, among others.</ref> that they assert as speaking of a complete apostasy of the entire Church, as proof of their claims. While Orthodox Christians would agree that these passages did indeed speak of apostates to come--such as [[Arius]], [[ApostasyNestorius]]and [[Paul of Samosata]], for instance--they emphatically reject the Mormon interpretation (advanced to varying degrees by nearly all Protestants) that the entire Apostolic Church would fall into heresy. In St. Matthew 16:18, our Lord clearly states that the "gates of Hades shall not prevail" against the Church He had founded--a Church which the Mormons agree existed, but which they claim to have been subsequently "lost." While the Orthodox interpret this scripture as saying the church would never fall into complete apostasy, Mormons note that Hades is the land of the dead, not Hell, and argue that death did not ultimately triumph over the church as they believe it was restored by resurrected personages, i.e. people who had conquered death. Others argue that the Lord's words apply more to Peter's divinely granted witness that Jesus was the Christ and not the actual church. ===Gethsamene and Apostolic SuccessionGolgotha===Like many Restorationist heresiesMormons of the mainline church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons believe that generally use the Holy [[Orthodox Church|ChurchCross]] entered an age as a symbol. The Mormon church teaches that the atonement of opprobrium several years after its foundingChrist took place in three stages.<ref>Mormons tend believe the Atonement of Christ began first in the Garden of Gethsemane, where the weight of the sins of humanity brought, "suffering [and] caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit." (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18) The second stage of the Atonement of Christ was His crucifixion upon the cross, where Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie taught "while he was hanging on the cross for another three hours, from noon to follow 3:00 P.M., all the Western error that posits Roman Catholicisminfinite agonies and merciless pains of Gethsemane recurred. And, finally, rather than Eastern Orthodoxywhen the atoning agonies had taken their toll—when the victory had been won, as when the Son of God had fulfilled the most ancient will of contemporary Christian faithshis Father in all 'things—then he said, “It is finished' (John 19:30), and he voluntarily gave up the ghost. Many are suprised " Mormons believe the third stage of the Atonement took place on the third day after His death when He was resurrected form the dead, thus ensuring to learn that Orthodoxy even exists! Howeverall the promise of resurrection. As for the wearing of the cross, learning Mormons have an interesting history with the symbol. In the early history of Orthodoxythe LDS Church in the 1830s up through the early 20th century, the cross appears in many places. Historian Michael G. Reed found the cross all over early Mormondom. It appeared as jewelry on Mormon Prophet Brigham Young's existence wives and claims does not alter their beliefs daughters. It appeared in floral arrangements in funerals. It appeared as tie tacks on men's ties and watch fobs on men's vests. It appeared on cattle as the slightestofficial LDS Church brand.</ref> In doing soCrosses were on church windows, attic vents, say theystained-glass windows and pulpits. They were on gravestones and quilts. Even two temples, it lost all right to perform sacramentsthe Hawaiian and the Cardston, consecrate priestsAlberta, or otherwise act Canada Temple were described in a 1923 general conference as being built in Godthe shape of a cross. According to Reed it wasn's name. And from that moment t until 1830the mid-20th century, say in the late 1950s and early 1960s, that Mormons, there was no true began to stop using the cross as a way to separate themselves from the Roman Catholic Church anywhere on . <ref> earth-cross. While Mormons offer no specific date for this alleged catastrophehtml</ref> Since the 1960s, they tend Mormon ambivalence to believe that it had occurred by the era cross as a symbol has grown and is more of Sta cultural phenomena than a doctrinal one. [[Constantine Some Mormon leaders have denounced the wearing or display of the Great]] and Cross by Mormons. Most focus more on the [[First Ecumenical Council]] symbolic meaning of "taking up our own cross" in imitating of Christ. In this respect, Gregory A.DSchwitzer, a member of the Seventy and an LDS General Authority, taught: "We may wonder why we Latter-day Saints don’t place a cross on our churches or wear a cross to show that we are Christians, thereby making it easier for others to identify in whom we believe. 325. Is the cross important to our faith? The answer is an unequivocal yes! The Orthodox ChurchRedeemer’s suffering on the cross is vitally important to us and is an inseparable part of the Atonement, through which traces her unbroken succession He suffered and died for our sins and thereby provided us with a clear path to salvation and exaltation. The Savior was clear when He stated that in following Him we should take upon ourselves a cross—not the Apostles themselves and alone teaches Roman cross that was the fullness instrument of their doctrinedeath but our own cross, is ''ergo'' in apostasy (with all other nonwhereby we present a sacrifice to the Lord of our own heart to be obedient to His commandments." <ref> churches) according to the -cross-for-latter-day-saints?lang=eng</ref> Mormon Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley taught this regarding how Mormons. view the cross:
Mormons point to New Testament scriptures<ref>I Timothy 4:1, II Timothy 3:1-5, Acts 20:28-31, among others.</ref> that they assert as speaking of a complete apostasy "Following the renovation of the entire ChurchMesa Arizona Temple some years ago, as proof clergy of their claims. While Orthodox Christians would agree that these passages did indeed speak of apostates other religions were invited to come--such as [[Arius]], [[Nestorius]] and [[Paul tour it on the first day of Samosata]], for instance--they emphatically reject the Mormon interpretation (advanced open house period. Hundreds responded. In speaking to varying degrees by nearly all Protestants) that the entire Apostolic Church them, I said we would fall into heresybe pleased to answer any queries they might have. In StAmong these was one from a Protestant minister. Matthew 16Said he:18“I’ve been all through this building, our Lord clearly states that this temple which carries on its face the "gates name of hell shall not prevail" against the Church He had founded--a Church which the Mormons agree existedJesus Christ, but which they claim to nowhere have been subsequently "lost"I seen any representation of the cross, in violation the symbol of Christianity. I have noted your buildings elsewhere and likewise find an absence of our Lord's wordsthe cross.Why is this when you say you believe in Jesus Christ?”
Mormons believe ardently in I responded: “I do not wish to give offense to any of my Christian colleagues who use the necessity cross on the steeples of Apostolic Succession, which they refer to as "Priesthood succession" or "Priesthood lineage." However, since they recognize no valid church between the alleged "Great Apostasy" their cathedrals and at the establishment altars of their own in 1830chapels, they trace ''who wear it on their'' succession to one of four "exalted beingsvestments,"<ref>The Mormons claim these beings to have been Stand imprint it on their books and other literature. John But for us, the Baptist, and cross is the symbol of the Holy Apostles SS Peterdying Christ, James and John.</ref> who purportedly visited Joseph Smith on two separate occasions in while our message is a declaration of the 1820's, just prior to their church's foundingLiving Christ.
===Gethsamene and Golgotha===Utah Mormons generally reject all usage of the Holy [[Cross]] as a Christian symbol. The Mormon church teaches that the atonement of Christ took place, He then asked: “If you do not primarily on use the Crosscross, but rather in the Garden of Gethsamene the night before His crucifixion. The LDS Bible Dictionary entry for "Atonement" speaks of the shedding of Our Lord's blood as having taken place ''there''; His subsequent death on the Cross the following day what is relegated to a seemingly secondary place. There is no entry for "Cross" in the LDS Bible Dictionary, and its cursory article on "crucifixion" makes no mention whatsoever of this salvific event having any role in His Atonement. The ''Mormonwiki'' article on "Atonement of Jesus Christ" contains a section entitled "Gethsamene and Golgotha," which emphasizes the time our Lord spent in the Garden of Gethsamene, alleging that it was ''here'' that the genuine "shedding symbol of blood" took place to effect our salvation.your religion?”
Many Mormon leaders have denounced I replied that the wearing or display lives of our people must become the Cross by Mormons. Some most meaningful expression of their statements are contained our faith and, in an essay entitled "Why Are There No Crosses on Mormon Churches and Temples?fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship."<ref>httphttps://memberswww.tripodlds.comorg/~Aariusensign/nocross.htm.2005/04/the-symbol-of-our-faith?lang=eng</ref>
On the other hand, the late Fr. [[Michael Pomazansky]], author of ''Orthodox Dogmatic Theology'', shows the Orthodox teaching on the Cross as both the ''path'', ''power'' and ''banner'' of the Church. In his essay "The Cross of Christ" (printed in this same book), he gives the Orthodox teaching on the vital importance of our Lord's Cross as the indispensible weapon, not merely in the general victory against Satan and his angels won at Calvary, but equally in our own individual struggles for salvation.<ref>Pomazansky, Protopresbyter Michael, ''Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition''; [[St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood]], 1997, pp. 326-30.</ref>
===Original Sin and Infant Baptism===
Similar Mormons teach that there is no need to baptize children because, thanks to the ancient heresy Atonement of [[Pelagianism|Pelagius]]Christ, they are saved from the spiritual consequences of the Fall of Adam until they become old enough to become accountable before God for understanding that their acts are right or wrong. Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie taught: "Our revelation says: 'Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning'—meaning that spirits started out in a state of purity and innocence in preexistence—'and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, Mormons teach innocent before God' (D&C 93:38)—meaning that all human beings children start out their mortal probation in purity and innocence because of the atonement. Our revelations also say, 'The Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.' (Moses 6:54.) ...They [babies] are born unafflicted by saved through the atonement and because they are free from sin. They come from God in purity; no sin or taint attaches to them in this life; and they return in purity to their Maker. Accountable persons must become pure through repentance and baptism and obedience. Those who are not accountable for sins never fall; spiritually and need not be redeemed from a spiritual fall which they further assert never experienced. Hence the expression that little children are incapable alive in Christ. “Little children are redeemed from the foundation of sin until they reach the age of eight yearsworld through mine Only Begotten,” the Lord says. (D&C 29:46.)"<ref>See http</ref> Mormons believe that babies, like all people, are born mortal and imperfect and, if they grow up, will inevitably sin. But they are not born already sinful or tainted by sin. They are born innocent in Mormon teaching.  The second Mormon "Article of Faith" (contained in the ''Pearl of Great Price'') teaches: "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."<ref></ref> Accordingly, infant baptism is vehemently rejected by the Mormon church.Referencing the Book of Mormon, McConkie taught: "Few false doctrines have ever deserved and received such a vigorous and forceful denunciation as that heaped upon infant baptism by the prophet Mormon. When that inspired author inquired of the Lord concerning the baptism of little children, he was told: “Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them.”  Thereupon Mormon, speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost, taught that “it is solemn mockery” to baptize little children; that they “are alive in Christ from the foundation of the world”; that it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of Christ to them; that such a belief sets at naught the power of Christ’s redemption; that those who believe such a false concept are “in the bonds of iniquity” and if cut off while in the thought shall be thrust down to hell; and that those who humble themselves and repent and are baptized shall “be saved with their little children.” (Moro. 8:8–25.)" <ref></ref> Speaking about what would happen if babies died before being baptized, McConkie taught: "Are all little children saved automatically in the celestial kingdom? To this question the answer is a thunderous ''yes'', which echoes and re-echoes from one end of heaven to the other. Jesus taught it to his disciples. Mormon said it over and over again. Many of the prophets have spoken about it, and it is implicit in the whole plan of salvation. If it were not so the redemption would not be infinite in its application. And so, as we would expect, Joseph Smith’s Vision of the Celestial Kingdom contains this statement: 'And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.' (D&C 137:10)"<ref></ref>
In contrast, Orthodoxy teaches (unlike Roman Catholics and most Protestants) that while only [[Adam]] and [[Eve]] bear the ''guilt'' for their sin in the [[Garden of Eden]], they transmitted the ''consequences'' of that sin to their progeny. St. [[Anastasius the Sinaite]] wrote: "We became the inheritors of the curse in Adam. We were not punished as if we had disobeyed that divine commandment along with Adam; but because Adam became mortal, he transmitted sin to his posterity. We became mortal since we were born from a mortal."<ref>St. Anastasius the Sinaite, 19. Vide I.N. Karmirh, SUNOYIS THS DOGMATKHS THS ORQODOXOU EKKLHSIAS, s. 38. Quoted from Kalomiros, Dr. Alexandre, ''The River of Fire'', ch. IV, found at</ref> Thus, in keeping with Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition, the Orthodox Church baptizes infants by triple immersion (as she does with adult converts, as well)--not to cleanse them of "[[original sin]]," but rather to give them the grace this holy [[sacrament]] imparts, together with access to the [[Eucharist|Holy Eucharist]] and all of the other means of grace she offers.<ref>Pomazansky, pp. 268-69.</ref>
===Miracles and Martyrs===
Mormons assert that one proof of their claims is the miracles claimed by members of their sect--and the comparative absence of these in other Christian denominations. This was emphasized during the early years of Mormonism, where their assertions of the "restoration" of the "gifts of the Spirit" contrasted sharply with Campbellite and other Protestants' assertions that such miracles had entirely ceased among Christians. Mormons insist that this cessation of such "gifts" comprises proof of their alleged "Great Apostasy" of the entire Church (see above). It is important to note that Mormons believe all members of Christ's church should be miracle workers. Mormon men often give blessings of healing and revelatory guidance wherein they believe the sicknesses and illnesses of those being blessed are healed and God gives them direction. Mormonism doesn't discount miracles in other churches. Rather, Mormons claim that anytime someone has true faith in Jesus Christ they could be a conduit through which He works to do miracles. But Mormons note that this seems to be a rare exception instead of a general rule, arguing that in churches where the true gifts of the Spirit are found everyone should be a miracle worker, at the very least those with priesthood authority. And Mormons claim that their church is just such a church where miracles happen commonly and are performed widely by the general body of the church across the world.
Orthodoxy, however, offers can offer an unbroken twenty-century history of [[wonderworker|wonderworkers]], miracles and gifts far surpassing anything the Mormons can adduce. The twentieth century alone saw SS [[Nectarios of Aegina]], [[John Maximovitch]] of San Francisco and [[John of Kronstadt]], among others; each preceding century offers additional proof that the true "gifts of the Holy Spirit" ''never'' ceased in the one, true (Orthodox) Church of Christ.
Mormonism believes in the concept of [[martyr|martyrdom]], offering various persons who have been murdered for professing the LDS religion since its inception. While it does not pray to these people, as Orthodox do to their martyrs and [[saint|saints]], it does venerate their memory and uphold them as examples to other Mormons. The LDS church offers its founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., and his brother Hyrum Smith as its chief "martyrmartyrs," as he was they were murdered by an anti-Mormon mob in Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844. However, whereas a martyr has always been understood by Orthodox Christians as one who dies voluntarily for the Faith without resisting his persecutors in any way (and indeed, while praying for and forgiving them), Joseph Smith did not die in this fashion. Rather, Smith used a six-shot pistol against his attackers, wounding three of them before being killed himself.<ref>''History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'', Vol. 7, p. 100, 102 & 103.</ref>
While the murder of Smith was indeed a deplorable and henious act, it cannot be described as true "martyrdom" by Orthodox standards--not only because of Smith's resistance to his killers, but equally because he died for a false religion. "The martyrdom of heretics is suicide," say the Holy Fathers.<ref></ref>
In contrast, Orthodoxy offers numerous genuine martyrs throughout her 2,000 year history, including nearly twenty-million who died during the twentieth century under Communist persecution. This list extends from the Holy Apostles themselves and their immediate disciples, right up to the present day. Fr. [[Alexander Men]], for instance, was martyred in Semkhoz, Russia in 1990, and Priestmonk [[Nestor (Savchuk)|Nestor Savchuk]] of Zharky, Russia was martyred there in 1993. Other Orthodox Christians have been martyred in the Serbian provice of Kosovo, within the past decade.<ref></ref><ref></ref>
In Mormonism, you do not have to be Mormon to be a martyr for the cause of Christ. Mormons look at all who die for their religion and for Jesus in all the varying forms of Christianity as martyrs. ==Distinctive Mormon "Scriptures"==
===The Book of Mormon===
In 1823 Smith claimed to have been visited by an [[angel]] named Moroni, who told him of a chronicle of ancient history supposedly engraved in "Reformed Egyptian" on tablets of gold, and buried in a hill near Manchester, New York. Smith allegedly obtained these plates in 1827 and translated them into English via the use of two seer-stones which he called the "Urim and Thummim." These stones should not be confused with the [[Old Testament]] Urim and Thummim (the stones on the High Priest’s breastplate used to relay messages from God to the Israelites), though . Mormons sometimes try believe they are the same type of holy instruments but that the one Joseph Smith claimed to connect have was not the one mentioned in the twoBible.
This translation became ''The Book of Mormon'', which is revered as "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" by Mormons. The monikers referring to Smith's church as "the Mormon Church" and its members as "Mormons" are derivations from''The Book of Mormon.'' This book purports to be a religious and secular history of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas--called Nephites, Lamanites, Mulekites, and Jaredites--from about 2200 B.C. to A.D. 421. It claims that at least some Native Americans are descended from groups of Near Eastern peoples (mostly [[Judaism|Jews]]) who immigrated during pivotal periods in Israel’s history.
The ''Book of Mormon'' claims that many of these people were openly-practicing [[Christian|Christians]], ''before'' the birth of Christ, with a functioning church organization that mirrored that later taught by Joseph Smith. According to Smith's text, the godly "Nephites" openly administered baptisms, "confirmations" and the Holy Eucharist eons ''before'' the coming of the Savior. The book even claims that our Lord came to visit these peoples Himself after His [[Ascension]]--after raining down several days of death and destruction on the evildoers among them. About four-hundred years after this alleged event, the "Nephites" were destroyed by the wicked "Lamanites," who became among the primary ancestors of the Native American peoples. This points to a Mormon perspective on the sacrifice of the Savior that is fairly unique. Mormons believe that the sacrifice is as retroactive as it is proactive, meaning that people could be saved by Christ's Atonement before Christ had chronologically sacrificed Himself to atone for the sins of mankind. Mormons believe ancient biblical figures such as Adam, Abraham, and Moses all received the Christian Gospel and were saved by Christ even before His birth.
Interestingly, over 3,000 changes have been noted between the ''Book of Mormon'' currently published by the LDS Church, and the original 1830 edition published by Joseph Smith. Most of these alterations were made by Smith himself, in later editions of the book printed during his own lifetime. And most of them were spelling corrections, printers errors, or formatting corrections (the original copies of the Book of Mormon had no verses and only basic chapters- more detailed chapters and verses were added later on.) Some changes though were to the text itself. For instance, in I Nephi 11:32, our Lord was originally referred to as "the eternal God," but is now referred to as "the ''son'' of the eternal God." In I Nephi 11:18, the [[Theotokos]] was initially referred to as "the mother of God," while today she is referred to as "the mother of the ''Son'' of God."<ref>httphttps://www.geocitiesfairmormon.comorg/conference/swickerscaugust-2002/mormonbkchange.htmlchanges-in-the-book-of-mormon.</ref>
Connections between the history and civilization portrayed in ''The Book of Mormon'' and evidence found by archaeologists in the Americas is debatable. Evidence of horses, elephants, cattle, barley, wheat, steel swords, chariots, shipbuilding, and other Old World paraphernalia has not been found to exist in the Americas until the advent of Europeans. Evidence of these people, the gold plates, or the "seer-stones" has yet to be found.<ref>See, for instance, the Smithsonian Institute's offical statement on the ''Book of Mormon'', at</ref>
===Other Mormon "Scriptures"===
Mormons also have an open canon. As a result they have multiple sources of scripture. They accept as Scripture the ''Doctrine and Covenants'', containing 138 "revelations" and two "official declarations" allegedly given to Joseph Smith and his successors; together with . They also accept as scripture a text Mormons call the ''Pearl of Great Price'', containing which contains a variety of disconnected by Mormons believe revealed texts. These include the "Book of Moses," (a rewriting by text that Joseph Smith claimed was a revealed restoration of text written by Moses but which had been removed from the first part of the Book of Genesis), and that focuses on the Creation of the world and the ministry of Enoch; the "Book of Abraham," (a purported text Smith claimed to have translated form an ancient Egyptian scroll and which professes to be an account of the Patriarch [[Abraham]], with his early life in Ur, and the Creation which references to multiple "gods" in the act of creation, rather than one God), as Mormons do not accept the Trinity as discussed above. Some Mormons also interpret the "council of gods" mentioned in Abraham to possibly refer to pre-mortal human spirits which are here referred to as "gods" in the same manner that Psalm 82:6 calls those to whom the word of God has come as "gods" and various other texts by Smithto the way which the Savior refers to this scripture in John 10.
Additionally, Joseph Smith rewrote sections of the entire Bible "by inspiration" during his lifetime, making substantial additions to the text, deleting the Song of Solomon entirelywhich he claimed were originally there but removed, and otherwise shaping its text to conform to his own teachings (including an alleged prophecy of his own coming). While this text was never officially adopted by the main LDS church (it was adopted, on the other hand, by the Community of Christ), portions a portion of -Joseph Smith's reworking of Matthew 24- it appear appears in the ''Pearl of Great Price'' and as footnotes in the official LDS editions of the King James Version of the Bible (still , the KJV being the official English language Bible for the LDS Church. Lastly, there is a section in the "Pearl of Great Price," titled the "Articles of Faith." These are 13 basic statements of official LDS version)beliefs. Joseph Smith first wrote them in a letter to John Wentworth, an American newspaper editor, in response to Mr. Wentworth's request to know what members of the Church believed. They were subsequently published in Church periodicals. Eventually they were canonized.
==Mormonism and Polygamy==
Plural marriage was practiced by early Mormon church leaders. Many sources say that Smith had as many as twenty to thirty wives, <ref></ref> while Brigham Young counted fifty-two20 wives.<ref>Dhttps://www. Michael Quinn, ''The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power'', Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1994, 685 pages, ISBN 1-56085-056-6; Appendix 6, "Biographical Sketches of Officers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, 1830-47" pphistory. 607com/topics/religion/brigham-608)young.</ref> The Church of Jesus Christ Between 1852 and 1890, Mormons openly practiced "plural marriage," which was their term for their form of Latter-Day Saints practiced polygamy until 1890, when . Most plural families lived in Utah. Women and men who lived within plural marriage attested to challenges and difficulties but also to the love and joy they ended found within their families. They believed it was a commandment of God at that time and that obedience would bring great blessings to ensure Utah’s statehoodthem and their posterity.
Although some leaders had large polygamous families, two-thirds of polygamist men had only two wives at a time. Church leaders recognized that plural marriages could be particularly difficult for women. Divorce was therefore available to women who were unhappy in their marriages; remarriage was also readily available. Women sometimes married at young ages in the first decade of Utah settlement, which was typical of women living in frontier areas at the time. At its peak in 1857, perhaps one half of all Utah Latter-day Saints experienced plural marriage as a husband, wife, or child. The percentage of those involved in plural marriage steadily declined over the next three decades. During the years that plural marriage was publicly taught, not all Latter-day Saints were expected to live the principle, though all were expected to accept it as a revelation from God. Indeed, this system of marriage could not have been universal due to the ratio of men to women. Women were free to choose their spouses, whether to enter into a polygamous or a monogamous union, or whether to marry at all. Some men entered plural marriage because they were asked to do so by Church leaders, while others initiated the process themselves; all were required to obtain the approval of Church leaders before entering a plural marriage. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy until 1890, when they claim to have ended it after then Church President and Mormon Prophet Wilford Woodruff claimed to have received a "revelation" where God commanded the end of the practice. This came after 30 years of intense persecution for Mormons as the US government sought to use the force of law to compel Mormons into giving up their polygamous practices.<ref></ref>  Today about 70% of Utah is Mormon, and around . Around 60,000 or so are belong to polygamous, though splinter churches which the the mainline LDS Church sees as apostates. It excommunicates anyone advocating or practicing it. Other breakaway Mormon sects practice polygamy secretly. Despite the huge publicity campaign the LDS Church has constructed to disassociate itself from polygamy, Mormons and plural marriage are still commonly associated in contemporary culture. While it may have been renounced by the main LDS body, there is no doubt that Mormonism and its unholy practice of plural marriage remain closely entwined, especially since mainline LDS members are still required to affirm the propriety of polygamy when it ''was'' authorized by their church (prior to 1890).
The Orthodox Church condemns all forms of plural marriage as an unnatural practice.
*[[w:Mormonism|Wikipedia: Mormonism]]
*[ Community of Christ] (Website for the Community of Christ, the second-largest Mormon sect)
*[ To Those Who Are Investigating Mormonism by Richard Packham] (Packham is a former member of the LDS)*[ HBO’s Big Love] (Big Love is a television drama portraying Mormon polygamists living secretly in modern-day Utah)

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