Robert M. Bowman Jr.

Mormons often argue that if, as Christians believe, Jesus can be God and man, then they can have no objection to the Mormon belief that we may become Gods. This article explains why this argument rests on a basic misunderstanding of Christian doctrine.
The idea of priesthood offices and the roles determined by them are integral to the hierarchy and structure of the LDS church. However, when compared to the Bible both in function and in principle, one can see that the LDS concept of priesthood offices and roles differs greatly from the same roles and their function in the biblical context.
Mormons claim that the Bible is incomplete because it mentions various books that are not found in the Bible. Were any of these books ever regarded as part of the canon of Scripture?
In this study, we will examine what the Bible teaches about temples and compare that teaching with the LDS view of temples and of the ordinances it performs in them. We will then take a close look specifically at the practice of baptisms for the dead and consider the claim that this practice is endorsed in 1 Corinthians 15:29.
A detailed, point-by-point response to the December 2013 article on LDS.org
In this article, we examine what the Bible says about prophets - who they are, what they do and how do we identify true from false. We also look at what the LDS Church says about prophets, especially the men that lead the Mormon religion today.
Some doctrinal issues are less important than others. Such is the case when it comes to matters pertaining to the Sabbath and other religious special days and observances. Understanding why these things are not to be treated as essential matters of the Christian faith is important. We turn to consider briefly three questions in relation to the LDS teachings and practices pertaining to the Sabbath and fast days.
Start here for an objective, fair-minded overview of what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches, based on its current teaching publications.
In this study, we will put the LDS missionary movement in its historical and religious context, and then give some attention to the message that LDS missionaries are spreading throughout the world.
This article examines the claims made in Gospel Principles, chapter 4, and discusses how the claims of preexistence and free moral will compare with what the Bible teaches.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like virtually all other professing Christian churches, practices a rite of baptism. In this article, we will examine some key differences between evangelical and LDS views of baptism that are reflected in the chapter.
Responds to recent attempts to defend the First Vision in light of earlier accounts in which Joseph Smith did not mention seeing God the Father.
Peter says believers have become “partakers of the divine nature.” Does this statement support the Mormon doctrine of humans becoming Gods?
Covenant Theology is a critical part of interpreting both Mormonism and Christianity. Starting with the Abrahamic Covenant, one must take a careful look at God's covenants with his people, and the important differences between LDS covenant theology and historical Biblical covenant theology.
Aspects of LDS doctrine about the spirit world do not fit with the teachings of the Bible. Some of the issues here may seem of interest only to professional theologians, such as whether spirit is a form of matter. However, when these seemingly academic issues are put into the larger perspective of the whole belief system of the LDS religion, they turn out to be of extreme importance.
An easy-to-follow historical overview of Mormon teaching on the subject from Joseph Smith to the present, with links to relevant resources
The focus of this chapter of Gospel Principles is on “the Word of Wisdom,” found in Doctrine & Covenants 89. Much could be said about this subject, but we will limit ourselves to one important question: Is the Word of Wisdom really a revelation from God?
A Scriptural study of the creation theology found in Gospel Principles Chapter 5. This Bible Study Guide focuses on the importance of a single, infinite creator, and differentiates between Him and His creation.
This article responds to the LDS doctrine as laid out in chapter 21 of Gospel Principles. It addresses the following key questions: What is the “gift of the Holy Spirit”? Is a ritual required to receive the gift? Who can give us this gift? How can we recognize the Holy Spirit?
In Revelation 3:21, Jesus says that we will sit down on his throne. Does that mean we will become Gods like him?
Covenant Theology is a critical part of interpreting both Mormonism and Christianity. Starting with the Abrahamic Covenant, one must take a careful look at God's covenants with his people, and the important differences between LDS covenant theology and historical Biblical covenant theology.
A list of online articles, periodical articles, and books on the subject, including many by LDS authors
There is probably no topic or doctrine like that of the person and work of Jesus Christ in which there is so much agreement and disagreement between the LDS and biblical Christian teachings. In this chapter we look at extensive points on both sides, as well as how the LDS Church justifies making changes to the historic and biblical teachings on Jesus Christ.
In this study, we will not be offering any critique of these two chapters of Gospel Principles. Instead, we will discuss the relevance of the two basic Christian values of love and truthfulness that the two chapters so commendably articulate to a very controversial issue: the expression of religious and theological disagreements between Mormons and evangelical Christians.
This study, in two parts, examines the final chapter of Gospel Principles and its teaching that men can become gods. Part One looks at the historical background to the LDS teaching on 'exaltation' and where it conflicts with LDS scriptures.
Turning to chapter 38, which focuses specifically on eternal marriage, we will address two questions. (A) Is there any biblical basis or support for the doctrine of eternal marriage? (B) What is the real origin of the Mormon doctrine and practice of eternal marriage?
A look at how this LDS Scripture is used out of context to justify using feelings to know truth.
This article discusses the Mormon doctrines on the Fall, and on Adam, and compares them to the Bible. Answers questions about Adam and the Ancient of Days, and Michael the Archangel.
In this response to chapter 22 of the LDS doctrinal manual Gospel Principles, we will put this question in historical and biblical context. We will then discuss some of the more important claims that the LDS Church makes with regard to its “restoration” of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Looking at Chapter 1 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles in light of what the Bible clearly teaches.
Mormons sometimes appeal to the teaching of “deification” by the theologians of the early church, known as the church fathers, as precedent for the Mormon doctrine of exaltation. This article provides an overview of this sometimes confusing issue.
The LDS Church’s claim to be the restoration of the original, only true church on the earth is obviously foundational to its very existence. If it is indeed such a restoration, then all believers in Christ ought to unite with the LDS Church. On the other hand, if it is not the restoration it claims to be, then its very reason for existence falls to the wayside.
In this study, we will examine two crucial claims that the LDS Church makes about this Restoration. The first is its claim that Joseph Smith’s ministry was that of a prophet of God who prophesied about events preceding the Second Coming of Christ. The second is its claim that the Bible actually prophesied the LDS Restoration.
It’s natural for those who have lost confidence in their religion, such as Mormonism, to ask whether it still makes sense to believe in God or Jesus Christ. These resources will help anyone struggling with such fundamental questions.
Robert M. Bowman, Jr., examines eleven Mormon explanations for Joseph Smith’s failed prophecy that a temple would be built in Independence, Missouri, before the people living in 1832 had all died.
Did Jesus really bleed from every pore in Gethsemane? Was this what paid for our sins? In Mormon theology, does the atonement guarantee eternal life for anyone? Mormons and Christians share important terms that relate to forgiveness and eternal life, but define and understand these terms in radically different ways. This article explores these key concepts that define our eternal destiny.
Evangelical Christians have some fundamental disagreements with the LDS view of salvation and works. Unfortunately, there is widespread misunderstanding (and not just among Mormons) as to what the evangelical view of works really is. The two chapters of Gospel Principles under discussion here provide an excellent opportunity to clarify this issue.
Part Two of this study looks at how LDS teaching on exaltation (and what it implies about the nature of God and man) matches up to what the Bible teaches.
In this response to chapter 7 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles, we compare LDS teaching about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to the Bible’s teaching, and focus especially on the issues of the identity, indwelling, and witness of the Holy Ghost.
Some of the religious activities of the LDS church are similar to the activities of most Christian chur-ches. In some important respects, Mormons view the sacrament much the same way that most evan-gelical Protestants do. While acknowledging these substantial similar-ities, we should also re-cognize some important differences.
Looking at Chapter 2 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles in light of what the Bible clearly teaches. Do you have a mother in heaven?
The belief that if we are good enough or obedient enough God will kindly forgive us for our shortcomings and grant us entrance into the celestial kingdom is a far cry from what the Bible means by faith in Christ. To have faith in Christ means to trust in him alone for our salvation. It means depending on Christ alone.
In this study, we will put Joseph Smith’s teaching on this subject in some theological context and examine the LDS Church’s teaching on the Millennium in light of the Bible.
A brief, simple overview of the issue of race and the priesthood in Mormonism, especially intended for those needing a quick explanation.
The LDS conception of priesthood represents a rejection of the biblical teaching that God is the absolutely unique Creator in whom all power eternally and intrinsically resides. Rather than viewing the personal Creator God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ as the ultimate, eternal Power, LDS doctrine identifies as that ultimate Power an impersonal force called "the Priesthood" that both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ attained through a process of exaltation.
Start here for a simple, clear overview of the basic issues concerning the Book of Abraham.
Mormons and evangelicals have considerable agreement about the family. Yet they also have some very significant differences in their beliefs about the family as it pertains to its relationship to heaven or eternity.
In this study, we will examine what chapter 46 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles teaches about the important subject of judgment, including the LDS doctrines concerning the various possible eternal destinations of human beings and how those relate to the gospel of salvation
In this article, we examine what the Bible says about praying to and worshipping Jesus Christ, and consider what God must be like—and what the Bible says he is like—in order to hear and answer prayer.
Occasionally those who deny that Jesus Christ is God have argued that Philippians 2:6 should be translated to say that Christ existed “in the form of a god” instead of “in the form of God.” Greg Stafford is a notable recent advocate of this translation. This article refutes Stafford’s argument, explaining the following points. (1) The absence of the definite article in Greek before the word for “God” (theos) does not change the word’s meaning, (2) Paul, like the other New Testament writers, regularly uses the word theos with or without the article to mean “God,” and on those rare occasions where it means a “god” he makes that clear. (3) In the same sentence, Paul says that Christ did not seize or take advantage of being “equal with God,” an expression hardly anyone has suggested might mean “equal with a god” (and for very good reasons). (4) In context, the expression “equal with God” confirms the standard understanding of the preceding expression to mean “in the form of God.” (5) Similar passages elsewhere in the New Testament about Christ make parallel statements about his deity that also confirm the correct translation to be “in the form of God.”
Some doctrinal issues are less important than others. Such is the case when it comes to matters pertaining to the Sabbath and other religious special days and observances. Understanding why these things are not to be treated as essential matters of the Christian faith is important. We turn to consider briefly three questions in relation to the LDS teachings and practices pertaining to the Sabbath and fast days.
The teaching of the LDS Church that tithing is an obligation or “law” is not particularly unusual. What is unusual and worth careful evaluation is the teaching of the LDS Church that those who tithe are promised to be spared from the fiery judgment at Christ’s second coming.
Looking at Chapter 3 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles: Is Jesus God, or just an exalted spirit child?
There is no question about the fact that repentance is an essential aspect of the gospel—or more precisely of our response to the gospel. But what is repentance? In this article, we will examine what chapter 19 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles says about repentance and compare it with the teaching of the New Testament.
Every year, the LDS Church produces a pageant in the little town of Manti, Utah, telling the story of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the origins of the Mormon faith. This review separates history from myth in the Mormon Miracle Pageant.

Bad Arguments against the Personhood of the Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Does this mean that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal power of God?
The Hebrew and Greek words for “Spirit” come from roots meaning air, breath, or wind. So, is the Holy Spirit God’s breath?

Canon

Doctrine

In this study, we will examine the LDS Church’s teaching about the “gathering” of Israel. It turns out that this doctrine is directly tied up with its founding document: the Book of Mormon.

Historical

Take the 2004 ABC documentary with a grain of salt.

Inerrancy

This article explains why anyone who believes in Jesus ought to believe Scripture to be inerrant because Jesus viewed Scripture that way.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Trinity

How the Watchtower Misrepresents the Doctrine of the Trinity

Mormonism and the Bible

Robert M. Bowman Jr. examines the Filson quote cited by LDS apologists, and carefully and concisely puts it into its proper context, demonstrating how Mormon apologists misuse the quote and misrepresent the thrust of Filson’s arguments.

Primary-source documentation from early Mormon leaders:

Questions About Mormonism

The Joseph Smith Translation

Several changes to the book of Hebrews in Joseph Smith’s “translation” reflect Smith’s lack of understanding of the Bible.
Is the LDS view that the Bible is corrupted and untrustworthy a fair and accurate assessment? Did Joseph's changes to the Bible restore parts that were lost from the original manuscripts? In this response to GP chapter 10 we provide an overview and short evaluation of each of the major Mormon scriptures and how they compare to one another and the Bible.

The Restoration

This article looks at Amos 8:11-12 in its historical and biblical context and responds to the Mormon claim that this passage predicts a total apostasy.

Translation

Turning to chapter 38, which focuses specifically on eternal marriage, we will address two questions. (A) Is there any biblical basis or support for the doctrine of eternal marriage? (B) What is the real origin of the Mormon doctrine and practice of eternal marriage?
How should we view Joseph taking about ten teenage girls, including two who were only 14 years old, as wives?
Response to skeptic Dan Barker’s analogy caricaturing the God of Christianity.
Documented biography of Mitt Romney and his involvement in the LDS Church, with links to related resources.
A dozen or more of Joseph's plural wives were legally married to other men at the time. The evidence shows that he had sexual relations with at least some of these married women and even had at least one child by such a union.
Shows that the Mormon belief in Heavenly Mother is not taught in the Mormon scriptures or by Joseph Smith, and explains the significance of this fact.
Introduction to IRR's chapter-by-chapter study articles on Gospel Principles, with quotations from other LDS publications and careful discussions of the biblical teachings on each subject covered in the manual.
David and Solomon did indeed have many wives. However, the Old Testament makes it clear that in having many wives they were disobeying God.
An overview of the subject in light of the LDS Church's statement that appeared on its official website in October 2014.
Detailed, multi-page outline citing about a thousand biblical texts, showing that the doctrine of the Trinity is deeply grounded in the teaching of the Bible.
Robert M. Bowman discusses the appearance of large sections of the King James Version of the Bible in the Book of Mormon, and how much of the Bible Joseph Smith may have memorized.
Was Fanny Alger the first plural wife of Joseph Smith, or a case of simple adultery?
Joseph Smith claimed to have over a dozen visitations from the angel (resurrected being) Moroni as well as a dozen or so other visions or visitations from heaven, most famously his “first vision” in which he says he saw the Father and the Son in 1820. This article lists these reported experiences of Joseph Smith and provides basic information and references for each of them.

Additional Resources

A response to a 2003 FAIR lecture by Mormon Egyptologist Michael Rhodes entitled “The Book of Abraham: Dealing with the Critics.”

Alleged Early References to the First Vision

Some Mormon apologists have cited this newspaper parody of the Book of Mormon as the earliest reference to the First Vision—in some cases not even getting the date right.
This article examines an 1831 newspaper article that reported that Mormons were proclaiming that Joseph Smith had seen God—several times.
This statement is sometimes cited as the earliest reference in LDS scripture to the First Vision. Is it?
Some LDS apologists cite this article as evidence for the First Vision story—but “censor” the vision part of the account.

Biblical Topics

LDS Testimony

Is the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus a model of knowing something is true on the basis of a “burning” feeling in your heart? Rob Bowman explains why this is not the case by examining Luke 24:32 in context.

More Resources on Polygamy

Seven reasons why Mormon polygamy, though no longer practiced in the LDS Church, still raises relevant critical issues about its claim to be the only true church.