LDS Church Timeline & Fast Facts

CNN wrote a great article on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Fast Facts. It gives a great quick timeline of major events in the LDS church but leaves out some important events and facts. It also doesn’t really give many links to where readers can find more information on the topics mentioned, so we have made a similar timeline with more dates and expanded info, and more links to some sources so readers can check the facts for themselves.

LDS Church Timeline

1805 – Joseph Smith was born.

1819 – Joseph Smith is taught by his father to scry (a form of divination in which a “seer” looked into a seer stone to receive supernatural knowledge).

1820 – Joseph Smith goes with father to hunt for treasure using scrying, by placing his head into a hat with a seer stone inside. This is is the same technique Joseph Smith would later use to translate the Book of Mormon.

1827 – Joseph Smith is purportedly shown by an angel the burial site of engraved golden plates that tell the story of American prophets living in the New World.

1830 – Joseph Smith publishes “The Book of Mormon,” the translation of the golden plates deciphered through placing his face into a hat with special seer stones and supposedly receiving divine guidance.

July 17, 1831 – Joseph Smith claims to have received the revelation commanding the practice of plural marriage, but keeps it hidden from the majority of the church.

April 14, 1832 – Brigham Young is baptized into the church.

1835 – “Doctrine and Covenants” is published as a record of prophecies foretold to Smith. Smith writes in Section 132 that God has told him he can marry as many women as he wants.

1839 – Joseph Smith leads his followers to Commerce, Illinois, where he becomes mayor and renames the town Nauvoo.

1842 – Joseph Smith reveals new temple ceremonies (which are a copy of Freemasonry) and uses the Freemason’s principles of secrecy as an excuse to marry him self to multiple women and keep them secret.

1843 – Joseph Smith officially records a “revelation” of plural marriage to LDS Church, and with it comes the permission from “God” that if his current wife doesn’t agree to it, he can hide it from her (D&C 132:55).

February 1844 – Joseph Smith increases his ambitions and announces his candidacy for president of the United States.

February 1844 – Joseph Smith along with his brother Hyrum are jailed on charges of treason after using militia to protect Nauvoo from violence instigated by those opposed to Smith’s church.

June 27, 1844 – The jail in Carthage, Illinois, where Smith and Hyrum are held, is attacked by an anti-Mormon mob and both men are killed. The death of Smith causes the church to splinter into three groups. A large group follows Brigham Young. Others follow Smith’s son James and others follow James Strang.

1846-1847 – Young and his followers leave Illinois, settling in Salt Lake City. Young becomes president of the church.

March 4, 1851-March 3, 1859 – Dr. John M. Bernhisel becomes the first Mormon to be elected to the US Congress where he serves as the delegate for the Utah Territory in the House of Representatives.

February 8, 1857 – Brigham Young preaches about his doctrine of Blood Atonement in LDS General Conference, where he preaches that Jesus atonement wasn’t enough, and that it is sometimes necessary to kill a man to so that he can be forgiven of his sins, saying “love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood”.

September 11, 1857Mountain Meadows Massacre occurs, where where a group of Mormon men and their church leaders slaughtered a peaceful wagon train including 120 men, women, and children, which has been associated with Brigham Young’s Blood atonement doctrine.

March 8, 1863 – Brigham Young preaches that those in interracial marriages deserve “death on the spot”.

April 6-8, 1877 – Dedication for the first operating temple in Utah, in St. George. It is the only temple completed during Young’s tenure as president.

September 24, 1890 – The practice of polygamy is banned by the church. By 1910 members who continue the practice are excommunicated.

April 6-24, 1893 – The Salt Lake Temple is dedicated in Salt Lake City. It is the largest in square footage and takes 40 years to complete.

1917-1940 – William H. King (D-UT) is the first Latter-Day Saints member to be a US senator. He also serves in the House from 1897-1900.

January 4, 2007 – Harry Reid (D-Nev) is elected Senate majority leader, the highest office obtained by a Mormon in US history.

February 4, 2008 – Thomas S. Monson is chosen as the new president to replace Gordon B. Hinckley after Hinckley’s death January 27.

2008 and 2011 – Mormon and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a presidential aspirant for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, and is the Republican candidate in the 2012 election, and loses.

January 27, 2015 – After increased public pressure, church leaders pledge at a press conference to support anti-discrimination laws for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, as long the laws also protect the rights of religious groups. They also state that this pledge does not change church doctrine — including its opposition to gay marriage — though they say it is “unfair” to characterize the church’s announcement as a national nondiscrimination campaign.

October 25, 2016 – After increased public pressure, the church launches Mormon and Gay, a new section of its official website that’s intended to facilitate understanding and provide information on sexual identification, church doctrine and mental health resources.

August 8, 2017 – The church excommunicates James J. Hamula, the first dismissal of a major church leader since 1989, without giving a reason. Hamula had been serving as a member of The First Quorum of the Seventy, one highest order of priests in the mormon church, and his release is not because of apostasy, or abandonment of religious beliefs, the church says.

August 16, 2018 – The church releases a new style guide noting its preference for using the full name of the church and discouraging the use of any other nickname or abbreviation.

April 4, 2019 – The church announces that those in same-sex marriages will no longer be treated as “apostates.” Their children can be baptized without special approval from church leaders. It gives bishops choice as to how they will respond to same-sex marriages within each congregation.

April 6, 2019 – LDS church growth reported at lowest rate in 40 years.

May 6, 2019 – The church announces that couples who have been married civilly no longer have to wait one year before getting sealed in a temple wedding, which ceremony shares much in common with freemasonry.

August 2019 – The church changes its handbook to prohibit carrying lethal weapons on church property.

October 2, 2019 – The church announces that women will now be able to serve as witnesses to baptisms and temple sealings (which have masonic origins).

December 17, 2019 – The church responds responds to a whistleblower complaint that accuses the church of stockpiling $100 billion in accounts intended for charitable works, misleading members and avoiding taxes. 

LDS Church Statistics

LDS Church membership: 16.3 million

Congregations: 30,536

Temples: 162

Missionaries: 65,137

For more information, click any one of the inline links above.

LDS Church misled members on $100 billion tax-exempt investment fund, whistleblower alleges

Mormon Statue
Mormon statue blows trumpet, reminds us figuratively of the whistle blower letting the world know what’s going on behind the LDS corporation closed doors.

In breaking news from the Washington Post, a former investment manager for the Mormon church alleges in a whistleblower complaint to the Internal Revenue Service that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has amassed about $100 billion in accounts intended for charitable purposes.

According to the complaint, these funds were intended for charitable purposes, but instead were allegedly used for profit purposes in business deals.

“Having seen tens of billions in contributions and scores more in investment returns come in, and having seen nothing except two unlawful distributions to for-profit concerns go out, he was dejected beyond words, and so was I,” Lars Nielsen wrote, who’s brother sent the complaint.

A large and spacious building which LDS call a temple
A large and spacious building which LDS call a temple, is different in nature from a shopping mall which the LDS church has invested in.

The LDS church is known for having many large and spacious buildings which they call temples, that are extravagantly furnished. These temples are more religious in nature, but the LDS church has allegedly used their charitable funds for business purposes, such as building a large shopping mall.

Shopping mall allegedly funded from Mormon church members tithing.
Shopping mall allegedly funded from Mormon church members tithing.

“I wish to give the entire church the assurance that tithing funds have not and will not be used to acquire this property. Nor will they be used in developing it for commercial purposes.”

– LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinkley said in 2003 when plans for the shopping mall were introduced.

Despite the LDS church President (also called their “prophet”) saying that tithing funds wouldn’t be used to build the mall, the Washington Post article from the whistle blower reports that “Nielsen said the funds were taken specifically from the Ensign account that receives surplus tithing.” Nielsen filed a formal complaint with the IRS, including a signed Form 211, the formal piece of IRS paperwork for reporting tax avoidance, a notarized cover letter to officials, plus the 74-page narrative document co-written with his brother in which he detailed his allegations at length.

Unlike many large religious organizations, the LDS church does not reveal their finances to the public.

Unfortunately, hiding the truth and LDS church leaders caught lying are not new things for the Mormon church. Lies even go back to the very foundation of their church. Their founder and “prophet”, Joseph Smith, was caught lying to the public about not having more than one wife, when church documents show that he was in polygamous marriages with multiple women at the time. He has also been exposed as fraudulently translating multiple things, including the Kinderhook plates (where were shown to be phony), and even LDS scripture including the Book of Abraham (which experts say was really Egyptian funeral texts and having nothing to do with the text that he “translated”).

All these facts can be verified via the inline links above.

The Book of Mormon has Anti-LDS doctrines

Most LDS church members (mormons or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) aren’t aware that the Book of Mormon contains no LDS exclusive doctrines, and explicitly forbids the adding of new doctrines. We (the authors) were once LDS church members, and were blind to this fact, as we suspect most mormons are. If readers of the Book of Mormon held to only what the Book of Mormon says, they wouldn’t be mormon. The Book of Mormon presents no doctrines that are uniquely mormon, and explicitly says that there should be no more doctrines than given in the book (3 Nephi 11:40), yet the LDS prophets came out with a whole new set of doctrines contained in their books of “Doctrine and Covenants”, “Pearl of Great Price”, and multitude of scriptural sermons including Journal of Discourses.

The Book of Mormon has Jesus quoted as saying:

“And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.”

That doesn’t seem to leave much room for additional doctrine, does it?

The Book of Mormon doesn’t even talk about the LDS’s biggest unique doctrine, their temple work! There is no even any mention of baptism for the dead, another of their unique doctrines. If the Book of Mormon were written “for the latter day”, as why wouldn’t they have any of the most differentiating mormon doctrines?

If there is no mention of uniquely Mormon doctrines in the Book of Mormon, then why do the LDS missionaries have potential converts pray about the book to determine whether the book is true?

President Ezra Taft Benson declared in general conference, “The Book of Mormon … was written for our day. The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us.” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 6.)

If the LDS temple ceremonies are supposedly old ceremonies that were restored, why is there no mention of temple work in the Book of Mormon? The simple explanation seems to be that when Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon he hadn’t gotten the idea of the new temple ceremonies. Joseph Smith didn’t come up with baptisms for the dead until later, and he didn’t come up with the masonic based temple ceremony until less than 2 months after he became a Freemason. This also explains why much of the LDS temple ceremony is an exact duplicate of what is done or said in Freemasonry.

For more information about the connection between Freemasonry and Mormonism (including the identical match of symbols), please see:

https://ldsfacts.org/joseph-smith/joseph-smith-copied-freemasonry/

Mormon Blood Sacrifice connected to Mountain Meadows Massacre

Brigham Young advocated in multiple sermons that people should be killed for committing certain sins, because Christ’s sacrifice was not enough to cover for these sins. This is also known as the mormon law of Blood Attonment. The sins that the mormon leader considered to fall under Blood Atonement even included black interracial marriages, and apostasy from the mormon church. There seems to be a direct link between Brigham Young’s sermons, which are recorded in LDS scripture, and the murder of over 100 innocent people by mormons and their church leaders, in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

As pointed out in other articles, the Journal of Discourses has been considered scripture for many years, and though they try to distance them selves from it mormon leaders still categorize it as scripture. Even if you don’t want to trust the Journal of Discourses, the same sermon from Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses about “blood atonement” was also printed in the Deseret News. Deseret News was the official church publication of the day, that went out to all the local saints in the Utah area. And an even stronger link between Brigham Young’s words about blood atonement and the Mountain Meadows massacre is that the dates line up perfectly. They happen in the same year!!! The Mountain Meadows Massacre happened September 11th, 1857 (yes this was the first 9-11), and Brigham Young’s sermon on Blood Atonement was given earlier in the same year, on Feb. 8th 1857.

Here are several paragraphs directly from the sermon, that was just months before the Mountain Meadows Massacre:

“Now take a person in this congregation … and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, “shed my blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?”

All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?

I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection there will be) if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil … I have known a great many men who left this church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them, the wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbids this principle’s being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind.”

(Sermon by Brigham Young, delivered in the Mormon Tabernacle, Feb. 8, 1857, printed in the Deseret News, Feb. 18, 1857; also reprinted in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pp. 219-20)

Even if the saints in Utah didn’t hear it directly from Brigham Young’s lips in the tabernacle, they would have had the chance to get the sermon in the Deseret News and read and ponder it for a few months before the Mountain Meadows Massacre occurred. Doesn’t the sequence of events make so much sense? It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say Brigham Young’s words seem to have had a direct influence on the Mountain Meadows Massacre!

By the way, if you want to look up the 122 different modern LDS General Conference talks that quote from Journal of Discourses, here is a link:
http://lds.org/search?query=%22journal+of+discourses%22&lang=eng&collection=general-conference

Some of the talks quote from Journal of Discourses multiple times. The first talk listed quotes from Journal of Discourses 8 separate times, different quotes! If it wasn’t a valid source for Brigham Young’s word, then LDS General Authorities wouldn’t be quoting from it. But again, the local Mormons in Utah who participated in the Mountain Meadows Massacre probably heard it during General Conference in the tabernacle, or from Deseret News.

Can you see how the Mountain Meadows Massacre seems to be a direct result of Brigham Young’s doctrine of Blood Atonement?

The LDS Church says their prophet will never guide you astray. In the Bible, Jesus says many false prophets will come, and that we should judge them by their fruits. Jesus says if a tree has bad fruits, the whole tree is bad (see Mathew 7:20-27). Joseph Smith has plenty of bad fruits, such as his lies about his own adulteries, to which the LDS church has recently acknowledged, but had hidden for many years.

All these facts can be verified via the inline links above.

We would advise readers to examine these things critically, that LDS “prophets” have taught, and see how they contrast very much from the teachings of Jesus and his apostles in the New Testament from the Bible.

The truth about Mormon Polygamy

The current LDS church is not following following true mormonism, and is (according to their doctrines/leaders) in a temporary state where they are not following polygamy, which they say is a “eternal” principle. If you look at all the doctrines of the current LDS Church, polygamy is just temporarily not being practiced right now, but their doctrines still teach it is a true principal.
 

Joseph Smith (the founder of mormonism was married to over 30 women, including women who were still married to living husbands (by the way, it is called polyandry, when a women is married to multiple men):

In this chart, you can see the age of the women at the time they were married (and some of them were just 14 years old).
 
Brigham Young the second Mormon prophet taught:
“Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). 
He also said:
“The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).
 

In 1869 Wilford Woodruff, Mormonism’s future fourth president, taught:

“If we were to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and kingdom. Do away with that, then we must do away with prophets and Apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians and do as the world does, then all would be right. We just can’t do that, for God has commanded us to build up His kingdom and to bear our testimony to the nations of the earth, and we are going to do it, come life or come death. He has told us to do thus, and we shall obey Him in days to come as we have in days past” (Journal of Discourses 13:165 – p.166).

Even as late as 1879, Joseph F. Smith was insisting that plural marriage was essential for LDS exaltation. Speaking at the funeral of William Clayton, Mormonism’s future sixth president, stated:

“This doctrine of eternal union of husband and wife, and of plural marriage, is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man in any age of the world. Without it man would come to a full stop; without it we never could be exalted to associate with and become god…” (Journal of Discourses 21:9).

If you don’t think these quotes are accurate, you can look them up for your self on the BYU website (BYU is the Mormon church’s officially sponsored institution), where they cite the Journal of Discourses as scripture:

 
By their own declaration, the only reason that the LDS church stopped polygamy, was because it was against the law, and the USA government finally enforced that law, which you can see in the Mormon official declaration:
 
“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.
Willford Woodruff, Official Declaration ( http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/od/1?lang=eng )
Because the Official Declaration only cited the laws of the land as the reason, and not because of God’s commandment, there were many people who simply put them selves outside of the laws of the land (moved to Mexico, etc.), and continued to practice polygamy. This is why the Fundamentalist LDS Church (FLDS) exists, as they continue to practice true mormonism as preached by the Mormon prophets. It seems that the FLDS can still call them selves Mormons, since they practice all that is preached by the Mormon prophets.
 
Even in more modern times, LDS church leaders point out that it they are only temporarily without polygamy:
“Obviously the holy practice [of polygamy] will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium.”
Bruce R. McConkie, in the book Mormon Doctrine
If you consider the FLDS under the word “Mormon”, then some Mormon’s do practice polygamy even today, as they follow the words of early mormon prophets, and even LDS mormons accept doctrine that teaches the principle of polygamy, even if they try not to talk about it in public.
 
Joseph Smith is also recorded in Church history lying about his adulterous polygamy.
 
If you’re interested in learning more about the damages of modern day polygamy, please see the site for the non-profit 501(c) (3) called Sound Choices Coalition.

What is considered LDS scripture?

Some mormons are under the impression that an LDS prophets words are only considered binding or scripture if the prophet says “thus saith the lord”. There are multiple General Conference talks that tell us this is not true. To clear things up, here are some excerpts from an LDS General Conference talk, which is quoting President Ezra Taft Benson:

The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything” (Ezra Taft Benson)
“give heed unto all his words and commandments” (D&C 21:4 emphasis added)
“The prophet will never lead the Church astray” (Ezra Taft Benson)
The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture.” (Ezra Taft Benson)
The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the first presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.”  (Ezra Taft Benson)

You can read the full talk here if you like: http://lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/obedience-to-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=prophet+scripture

In that general conference talk he is quoting another article, which is from Ezra Taft Benson, and in that talk he even quotes from Journal of Discourses to support his statements on what scripture is, implying again that Journal of Discourses is scripture. Here is an excerpt from the original article, which was a talk, and was also reprinted in the from the June 1981 church magazine as the First Presidency Message:

Sixth: The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.

Sometimes there are those who argue about words. They might say the prophet gave us counsel but that we are not obliged to follow it unless he says it is a commandment. But the Lord says of the Prophet, “Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you.” (D&C 21:4.)

And speaking of taking counsel from the prophet, in D&C 108:1, the Lord states:

“Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Lyman: Your sins are forgiven you, because you have obeyed my voice in coming up hither this morning to receive counsel of him whom I have appointed.”

Said Brigham Young, “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not callscripture.” (Journal of Discourses, 13:95.)

As you can see, President Benson even quotes the Journal of Discourses, showing that all the sermons Brigham sent could be considered scripture. The full article is here:
http://lds.org/liahona/1981/06/fourteen-fundamentals-in-following-the-prophet?lang=eng

Even though the LDS try to distance them selves from the Journal of Discourses, another way you can tell it’s still trusted todays is because 122 different modern LDS General Conference talks that quote directly from Journal of Discourses, here is a link that shows this on the LDS.org website, the official church website:
http://lds.org/search?query=%22journal+of+discourses%22&lang=eng&collection=general-conference

The Journal of Discourses was even endorsed by the LDS first presidency.

Brigham Young also said he had never given any counsel that was wrong:

“I am here to answer.  I shall be on hand to answer when I am called upon, for all the counsel and for all the instruction that I have given to this people.  If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason.”  (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 161).

Many mormons find them selves in a corner because of the terrible things Brigham Young said, such as  modern day mormon blood sacrifice (shedding people’s blood who commit certain sins), including killing those in interracial marriages with black people, or killing people who have left the church, but those things are still in LDS scripture today.

The mormon’s have a song which they have little children repeat, “follow the prophet! follow the prophet!” and makes no qualifications about when to follow the prophet, just “follow” him. This seems like a rather dangerous proposition, especially considering the some of the abhorrent things that mormon prophets have said.

 

LDS Scripture says those in interracial marriages should be killed

Prophet Brigham Young is quoted in LDS Scripture as saying that those in interracial marriages with African people should be “put to death”. Here is a quote directly from Brigham Young giving a sermon to LDS people about the African race which he considered to be the descendants of Cain:

“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty.”

– Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 10, p. 110 (March 8, 1863)

You can find the Journal of Discourses, where this quote comes from, still referenced as scripture, in the LDS church’s official university resources: http://scriptures.byu.edu/

This quote also goes along with Brigham Young’s preaching on Blood Atonment, where he says there are some sins that cannot be covered by Christ’s atonement, and must instead be covered by shedding of the sinner’s blood. Having a child with a black person is one of the sins that Brigham Young categorizes as such.

The Journal of Discourses has been considered LDS scripture for many years, and is still sold in the LDS book store.

For more information about what is considered mormon scripture, please see:
https://ldsfacts.org/mormon-church-history/what-is-considered-lds-scripture/

All these facts can be verified via the inline links above.

LDS Church Hides Historical Facts

LDS church leaders have admitted that they hide certain historical facts from their members that would not be faith promoting.

Here is a excerpt from an interview on a PBS special about mormonism where mormon church apostle admits in an interview that they don’t put things in historical books that might make their faith look bad:

Continue reading LDS Church Hides Historical Facts