.. ned a splinter group which broke off from the Mormon Church (Church History Timeline, p. 3). Federick G. Williams was one of the first high priests of the Church, and the second counsellor in the initial First Presidency (1833). Before joining the Church he was a prosperous and respected physician.
He became a close friend of Joseph Smith, and played an active role in building the temple at Kirkland in Ohio. He helped to select the revelations to be included in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. His list of accomplishments go on. Yet he was rejected as second counsellor in 1837 and excommunicated in 1838. He was restored to fellowship a year later, and died two years after that (Church History Timeline, p.9).
One wonders why a man who was so close to Joseph Smith, and so highly placed in the Church, should be excommunicated ever. William Wines Phelps was a scribe to Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Abraham, which is included in the authoritative scriptures of the Mormons. He also wrote much of what is included in the hymnal. Yet he was excommunicated in 1839 and readmitted in 1841 (Church History Timeline, p. 11). Thomas B.
Marsh was the first president of the Quorum of Twelve. He was also called to fill in as acting president of the Church when David Whitmer (third of the three witnesses) had fallen away. Marsh and his wife quarrelled with the Saints over a trivial matter and soon became alienated from the Church. He was excommunicated in March 1839 and came back eighteen years later (Church History Timeline, p. 11).
Why? Lyman Wight joined the Church in 1830, became an apostle in 1841, and was excommunicated in 1848 for rejecting the leadership of Joseph Smith’s successor. He moved to Texas to form his own splinter group (Church Timeline, p. 13). John C. Bennett was a doctor, mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois, and chancellor of the Nauvoo University.
He was also majorgeneral of the Nauvoo Legion. On April 8, 1841, Joseph Smith called him as assistant president in the First Presidency. Sexual misconduct led to his disfellowshipment in 1842 and his excommunication the following year. He then went on to publish a hateful book against the Church entitled The History of the Saints; or, An Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism. (Timeline, p.
14) Emma Hale Smith was the wife of Joseph Smith. When her parents did not agree for them to be married, Joseph eloped with her and they got married in 1827. She then helped Joseph with the Book of Mormon translation. She was also called to select hymns for the first hymnal, and was the first president of the Relief Society. God revealed that he had given Emma in marriage to Joseph. God’s sealing of this marriage would mean for Mormons that it is sealed for all eternity.
Emma is therefore admonished by God that she must cleave unto Joseph “and to none else,” otherwise God would destroy her (D&C 132:54). One is then surprised to find that three years after Joseph’s martyrdom, Emma married Lewis Bidamon. Nevertheless, she is buried next to Joseph (Timeline, p. 15). William Law was a wealthy businessman. He became a Nauvoo City councilman and was named second counsellor to Joseph Smith in 1841.
He broke with the Church over polygamy and was excommunicated in April 1844. Law openly opposed Joseph and helped to publish the Nauvoo Expositor, an antiMormon writing (Timeline, p. 18). Joseph Smith destroyed the press where the Nauvoo Expositor was published. This led to his arrest for treason. While Joseph and his brother Hyrum were in jail, on June 27,1844 a mob of 200 men gathered to kill him.
Joseph, somehow armed, shot back at them, but he and his brother both died that day. (Timeline, p. 18) Sidney Rigdon was one of Joseph’s closest advisors and was first counsellor in the First Presidency from 1833 to 1844. He helped Joseph to produce a new and corrected translation of the Bible, and worked with him also on the Book of Moses, which is included in the Mormon Scriptures. He claimed the right to lead the Church after Joseph Smith died in the summer of 1844.
But when the Church rejected his claim he refused to be a mere follower, and he was excommunicated in the fall of that year. He then moved to Pennsylvania and started his own church (Timeline, p. 19). Samuel Braman was baptized in 1833, and presided over the Eastern Saints. He was excommunicated in 1851 (Timeline, p.
22). Orson Pratt was one of the original 12 apostles. He was a writer, mathematician, and pioneer. He was excommunicated in 1843 and reinstated a year later. (Timeline, p. 22) From the above information it is clear that many of the most significant persons who followed Joseph Smith fell away from his mission during his lifetime or shortly afterwards.
Some came back, others stayed away permanently. The lack of consistency in these persons makes it difficult for an observer to have confidence in the truth of Joseph’s claim to be a spokesman for God. The above information is all taken from the writings which are friendly to the Mormon Church. One of those is a writing actually recognised as authoritative scripture for them. So the information cannot be biased against the Mormon Church.
If anything, the information should be favourable to the Church. We expect that an outsider book may not present the Mormon faith in good a light as these insider book does. Yet the light from these books is not bright enough to inspire the kind of confidence a person would dive for. The individuals spoken of above are not a few isolated individuals selected for sensationalism. They are most of those who had important positions with Joseph and his Church. What we have seen is sufficient to make us wonder about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, The three witnesses all fell away; two returned.
One of the eight witnesses claimed to receive revelations in a similar manner to Joseph Smith. The scribes who worked with Joseph to write down what he dictated of the revelations of God did not remain faithful. Oliver Cowdery left and did not return during Joseph’s lifetime. One hundred and sixteen pages of the translated book once placed in the hands of Martin Harris ended up into the hands of enemies who sought to destroy Joseph Smith by perverting his book. The book Church History Timeline, p. 4, says the pages were stolen from Harris.
But Doctrine and Covenants reveal that Harris himself was one of the enemies who sought to destroy the prophet (D&C 10:67). He no longer acted as scribe for Joseph after this incident (Timeline, p. 4). No, these were not isolated individuals. The book Church History Timeline highlights all of the most important persons in the Church’s history. On page 4, one person is shown.
He fell away. On page 5, two persons are shown. Both fell away. On page 9, one person is shown. He fell away.
On page 11, two persons are shown. Both fell away. On page 13, two are shown; one fell. On page 14, two are shown; one fell. On page 18, two are shown: William Law and Joseph Smith.
William disagreed with Joseph and fell away. On page 19, one person is shown. He went away to start his own church. On page 22, two persons are featured. Both fell away.
Many of these men, as we have seen, did come back into the Church. But their loss of faith at one time must be taken seriously. And what do we make of those who never came back? How Muslims can help Mormons Speak to Mormons with love and deep concern for their salvation in the life hereafter. Help them to see that the early Muslims remained devoted to the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in all circumstances, because they were thoroughly convinced that he was God’s messenger. They believed his words, rushed to carry out his orders, and risked their lives to defend the Qur’an.
Some of the worst enemies of the prophet eventually became convinced about the truth of his message, and once they announced their new faith nothing could later distract them. Muslims should also help Mormons to understand how much emphasis Muslims place on the reliability of witnesses. In order to even verify a single statement of the prophet Muhammad, pbuh, we need witnesses whose character and faith are without doubt. Those who relate sayings from the prophet must be known for their absolute honesty, impeccable piety, remarkable memory, and strict adherence to the prophet’s teachings. If Mormons can appreciate this principle of historical verification, they may look at Mormon and Islamic histories in a new way and decide for themselves which should inspire more confidence and faith. Help Mormons to become acquainted with the Qur’an, which is by itself alone a witness to its own truth by remaining in its original language and form for all to see. A Muslim would have a copy of the Qur’an in its original Arabic text, perhaps also with a translation into another language. Show your visitors that the angel who brought the message to the prophet did not take away the message but left it for all to see.
Yes, we do not have to rely on human witnesses alone. Although many persons did testify that they were present when the angel delivered the Qur’an to the prophet over time, and many others attested to the impeccable character and truthfulness of the prophet, pbuh, we do not have to rely on them alone. Today the Qur’an can still be examined. Millions of human beings have been examining this book throughout the centuries. Some study it in its original language, others through a translation. Millions now attest to the fact that the Qur’an is the best witness that it is indeed a revelation from God.
Perhaps you can help your Mormon visitors to know the Qur’an and be saved. Mormons are sincerely persons working hard to spread their message. You can help them redirect their energies to working for God’s message which he revealed to his prophet Muhammad, pbuh, through the angel Gabriel. God says in the Qur’an: If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. (Qur’an 3:85) Bibliography Works Cited Slaughter, William W Church History Timeline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Desert Book Co., 1996.
Doctrine & Covenants. Salt Lake City, Utah The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints., 1982.