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Do Contradictions Exist in the LDS Church’s “Standard Works”?


By Eric V. Snow



Here, listed below, are potential contradictions in the LDS scriptures that would need explanation.  I’ve chosen to limit myself to the (purported) revelations of Joseph Smith and others found in the Standard Works (i.e., the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price).


1.  Was polygamy condemned in the Old Testament period by God?


Jacob 2:24, 27-28 says it was:  “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. . . . Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord:  For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none.  For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.  And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.”


Doctrine and Covenants 132:37-39 says it wasn’t:  “Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they given unto him . . . David also received many wives and concubines, land also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.  David”s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant . . .”


2.  Is polygamy permitted today for New Testament Christians by God?


Doctrine and Covenants 132:51 says it was:  “Verily, I say unto you:  A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her . . . And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; . . . And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood--if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.  And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.”


Wilford Woodruff’s “Official Declaration 1” says it isn’t:  “I, therefore, as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of  Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false.  We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the [Utah] Territory. . . .  There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can reasonable construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved.  And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.”


3.  Is God a Spirit Being?


John 4:24 says He is:  “God is a Spirit:  and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

I Corinthians 15:45 agrees:  “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”

Alma 18:24-29 agrees also:  “And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him:  Believest thou that there is a God”  And he answered, and said unto him:  I do not know what that meaneth.  And then Ammon said:  Believeth thou that there is a Great Spirit”  And he said, Yea.  And Ammon said:  This is God.  And Ammon said unto him again:  Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth”  And he said:  Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth . . .”

Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 says He isn’t:  ‘the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man”s; the Son also . . .”


4.  Are angels made out of  spirit or flesh?


Hebrews 1:7 says they are made out of spirit:  “And of the angles he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.”


Doctrine and Covenants 129:1-2 says they are made out of flesh:  ‘there are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely:  Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones--For instance, Jesus said:  Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”


5.  Were people with dark skin cursed by God?


Moses 7:8 says yes:  “For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.”

2 Nephi 5:21-23 agrees:  “And he caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity.  For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; 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. . . . And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cured even with the same cursing.  And the Lord spake it, and it was done.”

Alma 3:6 agrees also:  “And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Same, who were just and holy men.”

3 Nephi 2:14-15:  “And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;  And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites . . .”


Official Declaration 2 says no by implication:  “Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color.”

Jacob 3:9 implies no also:  “Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins; neither shall ye revile against them because of their filthiness; but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers.”


6.  Is God one?


James 2:19 says yes:  ‘thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well:  the devils also believe, and tremble.”

Deuteronomy 6:4 agrees:  “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”

Gal. 3:20 also agrees:  “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”

Isaiah 44:6, 8:  ‘thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts;  Iam the first, and Iam the last; and beside me there is no God. . . . ye are even my witnesses.  Is there a God beside me” yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

Isaiah 45:5, 21-22:  “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:  I girded thee, though thou has not known me: . . . have not I the Lord”  And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:  for I am God, and there is none else.”

I Kings 8:60:  ‘that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.”

II Sam. 7:22:  “Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God:  for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with out ears.”

3 Nephi 11:27:  “And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.”

3 Nephi 11:36:  “And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.”

Mormon 7:7:  “. . . to sin ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.”

Ether 2:8:  “. . . should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.”

Alma 33:1:  “Now after Alma had spoken these words, they sent forth unto him desiring to know whether they should believe in one God . . .”

Mosiah 15:5:  “And thus the flesh become subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation . . .”


Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20 says no:  “. . . and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.  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.”

Doctrine and Covenants 132:37 agrees:  “. . . they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”

Abraham 4:1-7 is clearly polytheistic:  “And then the Lord said:  Let us go down.  And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. . . . the Spirit of the God was brooding upon the face of the waters.  And they (the Gods) said:  Let there be light: and there was light.  And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.  And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. . . .And the Gods also said:  Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divided the waters from the waters.  And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered.”


7.  Can God change?


Malachi 3:6 says no:  “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

Hebrews 13:8 agrees:  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

Moroni 8:18 agrees also:  “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”

Doctrine and Covenants 20:17:  “By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;”


Yet, traditional Mormon theology says God was once a man.  This is implied by Moses 7:35:  “Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.”


8.  Are the dead conscious in heaven or hell?


Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 10 says no:  “For the living know that they shall die:  but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward for the memory of them is forgotten.  Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. . . . Whatsoever they hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

Psalms 146:4 agrees:  “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts [or “plans” admittedly] perish.”

John 3:13:  “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man . . .”

Acts 2:34:  “For David is not ascended into the heavens:  but he saith himself . . .”

Psalm 115:17:  ‘the dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.”


Alma 40:11-14 says yes:  “Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection--Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state or rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care and sorrow.  And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil--for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore . . . these shall be cast out into outer darkness . . . Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.”

Mosiah 2:41 agrees:  “For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never ending happiness.”


9.  Does God or Christ live within Christians?


John 14:23 says yes:  “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:  and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

Col. 1:27 agrees:  “Christ in you, the hope of glory;”

Rom. 8:9-10 agrees also:  “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ be in you . . .”

II Cor. 13:5:  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; . . . Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except yet be reprobates”“

Phil. 2:13:  “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Alma 34:36:  “And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell;”


Doctrine and Covenants 130:3 disagrees:  “. . . the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man”s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.”

10.  Is baptizing little children proper?


Moroni 8:8 says it isn’t:  “Listen to the words of Christ . . . 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 . . . I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.  Behold I say unto you that this things shall ye teach--repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.”


Doctrine and Covenants 68:25-27 says it is:  “And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion . . . that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents. . . . And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of hands.”  [While “little children” is a subjective term, does one

seriously think someone eight years old can have a serious personal conviction of sin”]


11.  Did the Fall cause all mankind to become sinners by the doctrine of the Original Sin?


Mosiah 16:3 says yes:  “For they are carnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them; yea, even that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.”

Mosiah 3:19 agrees:  “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticing of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man  . . .”

2 Nephi 2:21 agrees also:  “For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.”

Alma 12:22:  “Now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind became a lost and fallen people.”


The second Article of Faith disagrees:  “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam”s transgressions.”

Eze. 18:20 also disagrees:  ‘the soul that sinneth, it shall die.  The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son:  the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”


12.  Did God create the universe from nothing, or from pre-existing matter?


Romans 4:17 says the former:  “[God] calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

Hebrews 11:3 agrees:  ‘though faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”


Doctrine and Covenants 93:33 says the latter:  ‘the elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness and joy.”

Abraham 3:24 implies the former also:  “And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him:  We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell.”


13.  Will Christians be married after being resurrected?


Luke 20:34-36 says no:  “And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:  But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:  Neither can they die any more:  for they are equal unto the angles; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”


Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20 says yes:  “And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them--Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection . . . it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity . . . Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue . . .”`


14.  Must people get saved in this life to avoid eternal condemnation?


Alma 9:24, 27 say yes:  “And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead. . . . But behold, it was not so; but it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which we have spoken, which is the end.”

Alma 34:31-35 imply yes:  “Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer, for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.  For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. . . . I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. . . . For behold, if ye has procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subject to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.”


Doctrine and Covenants 128:15, 22 say no:  “. . . let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation.  For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers--that they without us cannot be made perfect--neither can we without our dead be made perfect. . . . Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.”




Doctrine and Covenants 87--’the Civil War Prophecy”


The problem here is that Joseph Smith in v. 2 predicted the American Civil War would involve all nations:  “And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.”  Instead, this war stayed confined to the U.S.  Great Britain did not intervene (against v. 3), despite being tempted to.  Basically only American died in this war, not those of other nations, hence, this “war [wasn’t] poured out upon all nations.”  Further, this war leads up to Second Coming as Joseph Smith saw it (verses 6-8).  A “full end of all nations” has not occurred, although this war has been over for over 130 years. 


Pointing to South Carolina as the place the Civil War would start didn’t require the inspiration of God when this prophecy was given (December 25, 1832).  At that very time the Nullification crisis was raging, in which South Carolina wanted to nullify the tariff law of 1832 by its own legislative powers canceling out federal law.  November 24, 1832 was when a special convention in South Carolina passed “an Ordinance of Nullification,” which was to take effect February 1, 1833.  On December 10, 1832, President Andrew Jackson made a proclamation to the South Carolinians concerning this crisis, telling them (among other things):  “Disunion by armed force is treason.  Are you really ready to incur its guilt”“  Hence, with this crisis in the air at the same time this prophecy by Joseph Smith was given, it wouldn’t take the inspiration of God to see the South Carolinians as a bunch of hotheads who might start a civil war, but merely some basic political analysis (i.e. human reason).


Doctrine and Covenants 84-“the City and Temple Prophecy”


Here it is predicted that within the time of the generation then living that a city and temple would be built (v. 3) “in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.”  Here it is clearly said it has to be done within the time of the people then living (v.4-5):  ‘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.  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.”  Note also v. 3l:  “. . . the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed.” 


Can this prophecy be explained away by saying it can refer to any “generation”? However, various Mormons over the decades since this prophecy was given still thought it would be fulfilled in their lifetimes, such as Apostles George Smith, Orson Pratt, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph Fielding Smith.  It wasn’t conditionalized upon persecution occurring, etc., but contains flat statements of prediction.



Deuteronomy 18:21-22:  “And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken”  When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously:  thou shalt not be afraid of him.”



Links to elsewhere on this Web site:   /apologetics.html   /book.html   /doctrinal.html  /essays.html  /links.html /sermonettes.html  /webmaster.html     For the home page, click here:    /index.html


Does Islam cause terrorism?  Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Moral Equivalency Applied Islamic History 0409.htm

Is the Bible God’s Word?  Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Is the Bible the Word of God.htm

Why does God Allow Evil?  Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm

Is Christian teaching from ancient paganism? /Bookhtml/Paganism influence issue article Journal 013003.htm

Which is right?:  Judaism or Christianity? /Apologeticshtml/Is Christianity a Fraud vs Conder Round 1.htm

/Apologeticshtml/Is Christianity a Fraud vs Conder Round 2.htm

Should God’s existence be proven? /Apologeticshtml/Should the Bible and God Be Proven Fideism vs WCG.htm

Does the Bible teach blind faith?  Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Gospel of John Theory of Knowledge.htm