What, if any, was Mormonism's role in the Elizabeth Smart abduction and captivity? Helen and I celebrate Elizabeth's return home and look to the justice system of our great nation to dole out justice mete for this horrible crime.
When the initial reports began coming in, detailing the events of Elizabeth's return, Helen and I began to notice certain statements that, if you know and understand Mormon Doctrine, seemed to parallel Mormonism. The initial reports identified Brian David Mitchell as a "street preacher" and religious fanatic. We speculated whether or not Mitchell was a Mormon. Within just a few days, Mitchell was identified as an excommunicated Mormon. We found it interesting those initial reports coming from Salt Lake City had called Mitchell a "street preacher" when they knew he was ex-Mormon. Mormons do not use the term "preacher" when referring to their own organization; rather, it has been used as a term of derision in their past against Christianity. It appears the Mormon Public Relations machine was at work trying to divert attention away from the Church.
Utah's "dirty little secret," polygamy, has reared its ugly head again in a terrible scenario. The news has reported with evidence outlined in the "Manifesto" Mitchell wrote called "The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah," of a polygamy connection. There is no doubt at this point that Mitchell abducted Elizabeth to make her a polygamous wife. Mitchell identifies himself as a Mormon Fundamentalist. Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism are synonymous.
"The Fundamentalists are a splinter group of Latter-day Saints which sprung up in the last few years in opposition to the Manifesto issued by President Wilford Woodruff. They hold to the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young without deviation, and still believe in the teaching and literal practice of polygamy. Some of them have been tried in the civil courts for violating the law against polygamous marriage, which law was enacted by congress and accepted by the authorities of all other branches of Latter-day Saints."1
The "Manifesto" that ended polygamy was issued by the 4th President of the Mormon Church, Wilford Woodruff, in 1890. Fundamentalist Mormons believe they are living true Mormonism. The official revelation on polygamy is contained in the Mormon canonical book titled "The Doctrine and Covenants." The revelation has never been removed, and is there today, listed as Section 132. It states the following in verse 1: "Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—" (emphasis mine).
This revelation starts out as "thus saith the Lord." According to Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church, since this revelation is still present in their scripture, polygamy is a direct commandment from the Lord himself. This revelation is 66 verses long and clearly lays out the Mormon Doctrine of Polygamy.
Verse 4 of this Mormon revelation tells us what happens if Mormons don't obey this commandment: "For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory." (emphasis mine) This verse calls this doctrine "a new and an everlasting covenant" that must be followed or the Mormon will be "damned." The wording is clear: everlasting means forever; and, if this revelation is not followed the Mormon is "damned."
The Mormon Church stopped practicing
polygamy only because it was trying to become a state and polygamy was against
the laws of the
The "Manifesto," which ended polygamy in Mormonism, really isn't that long, being only five paragraphs in length. The first three paragraphs are simply a denial that any polygamous marriages are being conducted or condoned. The remaining two paragraphs make statements that the Mormons won't practice polygamy any longer: "Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise."2 (emphasis mine)
The wording here is key: "I hereby declare my intention," and "use my influence." The "Manifesto" opens with "To Whom it may Concern." The issuing Mormon Prophet, Wilford Woodruff, says it's his intention and he will use his influence. Joseph Smith's original prophecy says "thus saith the Lord" and "if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned."
The last paragraph of the "Official Declaration," or "Manifesto" says: "There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably 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 (emphasis mine)
Notice the wording in this last paragraph: "I now publicly declare my advice," and "to refrain." It is easy to see why the Mormon Church has so many spin off groups and an underground that is practicing polygamy. Those splinter groups are simply looking at the facts of the case and are declaring that the 4th Prophet of the Mormon Church had no power, or authority, to overrule a direct prophecy from the Lord; certainly not with wording of "it is my intention," or "my advice," compared to Joseph Smith saying "thus saith the Lord."
Brigham Young, the 2nd Mormon Prophet, said: "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them."4 (emphasis mine)
The Fundamentalist Mormons are an embarrassment to the Mormon Church proper; however, within the context of Mormon Doctrine, they, the Fundamentalists, are right. Do not misconstrue what I am saying here: Within the context of Christianity and the laws of the United States , polygamy is wrong; however, within the context of Mormon Doctrine and Mormon historical teachings, polygamy is right. Herein lies the problem that the Mormon Church faces: (1) Agree with the Fundamentalists, thereby acknowledging that the 4th Mormon Prophet was in error, which absolutely undermines the "line of authority" teaching of the Church, or (2) Disagree with the Fundamentalists, stating that polygamy is no longer a doctrine, opening the door of criticism which points out the contradictions in Mormon scriptures.
The Mormon Church has chosen the latter, once again showing the contradiction of Mormonism. The Mormon Church proclaims Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. The Mormon Church also proclaims that Wilford Woodruff was a Prophet of God, and was the 4th in a line of succession, after Brigham Young and John Taylor. Yet, 46 years after Joseph Smith's death, Wilford Woodruff contradicts Joseph's "thus saith the Lord," with "it's my intention," and "my advice" to you is not to practice polygamy. Wilford Woodruff not only contradicts Joseph Smith, but also his successor, Brigham Young, who, as stated above, clearly preached that men cannot become Gods unless they practice polygamy. The Mormon Church cannot have it both ways; either the Fundamentalists are right, or Joseph Smith was a false prophet. Which is it? The Mormon Church is obviously caught between a rock and a hard place.
The Mormon Church chooses to deal with this dilemma by ignoring the embarrassment of Fundamentalist Mormon polygamy going on around them. Utah, which is 73% Mormon5, does not actively prosecute polygamy; to do so, would bring attention to the contradictions of Mormon Doctrine. Thus, Utah's "dirty little secret," polygamy, is alive and well. The Chicago Tribune reports "Government officials guess that the number of polygamists in Utah ranges from 30,000 to 50,000."6
While listening to, and reading the news reports, Helen and I picked up on 12 parallels to Mormon Doctrine:
1. 49 Wives
2. "The Manifesto" or "The Book of
Immanuel David Isaiah"
3. "Lost Blessing of Polygamy"
4. New Names
5. Name "Remnant Who Will Return"
7. Brian Mitchell Descendant of Joseph
8. " True Church"
9. Brian Mitchell a "Prophet"
10. "Special Authority"
11. "Call to Repentance"
12. "Knew Him Not"
These items may not mean much to most people as they read past them; however, if you understand Mormonism, and put these items together, there are simply too many parallels here to call them coincidental. Each of these items will be addressed in order:
Parallel (1) "49 Wives" and Parallel (2) "The Manifesto" will be covered together. Brian Mitchell in his 27 page "Manifesto" calls his wife Wanda Barzee the "most cherished angel" who is to "take into thy heart and home seven times seven sisters,..." Of course
7 X 7 = 49. What is so special about the number 49? This is the number of wives Joseph Smith had when he was killed in 1844. Coincidence? When taken alone it probably would be; but, when all these items are laid end to end, one must ask the question: Is this coincidental or mirroring Mormonism?
The statement about the "seven times seven sisters," comes from a document that Brian Mitchell called "The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah" and is referred to as "The Manifesto." The term "Manifesto" is the name given by the Mormon Church to the statement by the 4th Mormon Prophet, Wilford Woodruff, to rescind polygamy in 1890. Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel number (3) "Lost Blessing of Polygamy", as reported by the Chicago Tribune on March 22, 2003, "Mitchell, once a devout Mormon, was expelled from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last year vowing to restore the "lost blessing" of polygamy."7 Section 132 of the Mormon scripture, The Doctrine and Covenants, still exists in their canon today and is the Mormon "Revelation" on polygamy and states:
"For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world."8 Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel number (4) "New Names." Associated Press reporter, Rebecca Boone, provides information on the "new names" that Mitchell gave to himself and his troop:
Brian Mitchell - Immanuel David Isaiah
Wanda Barzee - Hephzibah Eladah Isaiah
Elizabeth Smart - Shear Jashub Isaiah9
Brian Mitchell was a "Stake High Councilor" and a " Temple Worker" prior to his excommunication from the Mormon Church.10 In the Mormon Temple Ceremony, right after the "washing" and "anointing" and receiving the "garment of the Holy Priesthood," patrons are given a "new name." Mormonism's Temple Ceremony provides new sacred names as part of the ceremony. Brian Mitchell, having been a Temple Worker, knew this concept well, giving himself and followers new names. Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel number (5) Name "Remnant Who Will Return". Brian Mitchell told his attorney that he wanted to rename Elizabeth, "Remnant Who Will Return."11 Mormonism teaches "After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us , and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north."12 "This great gathering will take place under the direction of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,..."13 With the Mormon teaching of the return of the "Lost Tribes" under the direction of the Prophet of the Church, is it a foreign idea to come up with a name of 'Remnant Who Will Return?' Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel (6) "Chosen-ness" and (7) Brian Mitchell Descendant of Joseph Smith, will be looked at together. Deseret News Religion Editor, Carrie Moore, says that Mitchell proclaimed himself a "prophet chosen by God," and entertained "Such grandiose notions of "chosen-ness"'.14 Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie states "The elect of God comprise a very select group, an inner circle of faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...To gain this elect status they must be endowed in the temple of the Lord (D. & C. 95:8), enter into that "order of the priesthood" named "the new and everlasting covenant of marriage"..."15 Once again the "new and everlasting covenant" rears its ugly head. Mormon writers R. Wayne Shute, Monte S. Nyman, and Randy L. Bott lay out very clearly in their book "Ephraim: Chosen of the Lord" that the Mormon people believe that they are Jews of the tribe of Ephraim and that Doctrine and Covenants Section 113 identifies Joseph Smith as a direct descendant of Jesus Christ. By Mitchell identifying himself as a descendant of Joseph Smith16 he is also, by Mormon definition, a direct descendant of Jesus Christ. Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel (8) " True Church." The Mormon Church teaches that they are the only true church on the face of the earth. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., First Counselor in the First Presidency of Mormon Prophet David O. McKay said: "My brothers and sisters, fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the only true Church on the face of the earth at this time..."17 Mitchell claimed in his "Manifesto" his sect is the "true and living Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in it's (sic) purified and exalted state."18 Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel (9) "Prophet." Joseph Smith called himself a prophet, and has always been identified as such by the Mormon Church. Jennifer Dobner, Deseret News Staff Writer, speaking of Mitchell's "Manifesto" says, "In it, he claims to be chosen by God as a prophet along the lines of Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith Jr."19 Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel (10) "Special Authority." Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt said "But who in this generation have authority to baptize? None but those who have received authority in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints: all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God;..."20 Deseret News Staff Writer, Jennifer Dobner said Mitchell "wants to be a modern prophet. To carry on what Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did. (Fundamentalists) all want to feel like they have holy blood. They all form some kind of delusion along those lines to give them special authority."21 Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel (11) "Call to repentance." Mormonism claims that there is no salvation outside the Mormon Church (If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)22 and that all of Christianity is fallen, that all Christian Creeds are an abomination and all their professors are corrupt (19. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt...).23 Brian Mitchell believes the Mormon Church has fallen into a state of apostasy because they are not practicing the fundamental teachings of Mormonism. "Like other fundamentalists, Mitchell calls for repentance and sacrifice—especially from those in the LDS Church, of which he was once a member."24 Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Parallel (12) "They knew him not." Brian Mitchell said in his "Manifesto": "And I, the Lord God, hid up my true servant Immanuel in the wilderness, and he is in their midst and they knew him not."25 A famous quote of Joseph Smith is, "You don't know me: you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don't blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself."26 A portion of the above quote, "No man knows my history," became the title of a biography of Joseph Smith's life written by Fawn M. Brodie. Of note, Ms. Brodie was the niece of the ninth Mormon Prophet David O. McKay and believed her research and book would be of great use to her beloved Church. Her efforts were rewarded by her excommunication from the Mormon Church. Brian Mitchell says "They knew him not." The most prominent biography ever written about Joseph Smith is titled by one of his most famous quotes "No man knows my history." Coincidence, or mirroring Mormonism?
Judge for yourself; are all of these parallels coincidence. I'm not a mathematician; however, the mathematical odds are significant that 12 parallels are not coincidental.
There is no doubt that this guy was a nut case and an evil man; but where did he get his ideas? I think there are simply too many coincidences here. Yes, this guy acted on his own; however, what fueled the fanaticism? The above parallels clearly point to the teachings of the Mormon Church. If the Mormon Church would simply open its archives and allow the truth to be told about Joseph Smith, the Fundamentalist and Mormons alike would see that he was a false prophet and that polygamy is a false teaching. Polygamy is not Christian, in fact, it is anti-Christian! The teaching that polygamy is required to become a God is grossly anti-Christian. God is God and man is not! Man will never become a God!! Period!!! Mormonism is a religion, but it is not a Christian religion. Mormons are sincere people, but they are sincerely deceived. We need to understand their teachings so we can prevent our family and friends from joining this false religion and so we can witness to them and bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
1 Mormonism and Inspiration, p. 363
2 Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration,
3 Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration,
4 Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 269
5 Church News, week ending
6 "Kidnapping of Smart stirs polygamy concern"
8 Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:5
9 "Elizabeth Smart's abductor considers her his
wife" Rebecca Moore,
10 Sunstone, May 2003, pg 72
11 "Elizabeth Smart's abductor considers her his
wife" Rebecca Moore,
12 Doctrine and Covenants Section 110:11
13 Mormon Doctrine pg 458
14 "From faith to fanatic delusion" Carrie Moore,
15 "Elect of God" Mormon Doctrine, pp 217-218
16 "Cousin may have been a target" Pat Reavy,
17 Conference Report, October 1960 p. 87
18 "Cousin may have been a target" Pat Reavy,
19 "Manifesto focuses on plural wives" Jennifer
20 The Seer, p. 255
21 "Manifesto focuses on plural wives" Jennifer
Dobner, March 15, 2003
22 Mormon Doctrine, pg 670, 1958
23 Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:19, 1820
24 Deseret News "Manifesto focuses on plural
wives" Jennifer Dobner, March 15, 2003
26 Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 11