Mormons believe the church founded by Jesus and the apostles was destroyed from human history by the time of Constantine
. Yet the Bible had not changed for it was fully recorded in the first century and most of it before 65 AD; therefore, no matter how damaged or lost one may think the Church had become, there was always still a remnant because the word of God has not changed in the 66 books.
Have you read Revelation chapters 2 & 3? The third church period was called Pergamum
which means "high tower" that began with Constantine which has since passed away. What Rev. 2 & 3 does is show the problems the Church will encounter through the mystery age of the Church and each subsequent church period. The Church was not destroyed, for as long as the Holy Spirit is working the body of Christ remains.
There was no prophetic message and foretelling in Scripture of some guy named Joseph Smith who was suppose to come along to fix it and tell us what we knew the word of God said was not true after all. What great confusion! Who is the author of confusion? Would a loving God act like that? "Not as writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning - that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love" (2 John 1.5,6). If you make false claims and say the Church disappeared for centuries, what love is this?
Joseph Smith arrived in the early 19th century during the Philadelphia church period of the Brethren in 1828 who wanted to be called just Christians, not Mormons or Reformed or by any other name. And they taught the proper organizing of the Church according to Scriptural locality built by regional Apostles appointing Elders of a locality, e.g. "church of Jerusalem in the churches of Judea."
The common characteristics of new religious movements are many and varied, but particularly for the Mormons there are some common features similar to other cults. "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves" (Matt. 7.15). What is common among these cults is the claim of some special messenger
who is the founder of the new religion and will fulfill the work of Jesus and even claims to be greater than Jesus. Paul warned about this serious heresy about those who follow after "another Jesus" who is not the same Jesus revealed in Scripture (2 Cor. 11.4).
1) Often there is a "new authority" or new revelation besides the Bible from which adherents to the group must find ultimate truths, thus adding to the word of God against God's will.
2) The group is focused around a central figure
(not Jesus): a prophet-founder "chosen" by their god to deliver a special message to the modern world that is not found in the Bible, has not been known to genuine Christians throughout all church history, or to recover the teaching of the ancient church that has allegedly been lost through the centuries. Joseph Smith and Muhammad are similar in this regard and both reject the Triune God. Both claim to follow the Bible.
3) Often the group teaches that the Bible foretold the coming of its particular group or leader with great effort by contorting the Scriptures. An example of this is Mormon's misuse of Ezekiel 37.
4) The group claims that it is compatible or in harmony with the Bible and traditional Christianity, but in fact it reduces and discounts the Bible
or otherwise adds to the revelation of Scripture that does not confer. The question is raised, how can it be compatible but then discounted or reduced? Read Revelation 22.18,19. Progressive revelation is often cited as the reason similar to evolution in atheism. One can't help but notice a certain element of atheism in these cults, because the evolution is whatever they say it is.
5) The group has usurped traditional Christian vocabulary, but has redefined and reinterpreted concepts from the Bible - making its words do "double-duty"
in order to defend aberrant doctrines. Their language is pliable and has no fixed meaning
. Who is the author of confusion?
6) The group denies at least one central truth of Christianity - such as the work of Christ on the cross, the authority of Scriptures, salvation by grace through faith alone, the bodily resurrection, the doctrine of eternal punishment, God alone from everlasting, etc.
7) The group denies both the doctrine of the Trinity and/or the Incarnation.
8) The group teaches a "salvation by works" system whereby members must ultimately save themselves. How is this possible though for God is infinitely greater? Nobody, therefore, could save themselves. Nobody could keep themselves saved.
9) The group emphasizes experience over basic Christian doctrine which circumvents experience that follows and is founded on doctrinal truths according to God's will.
10) The group dabbles in the occult and spiritism. Joseph Smith was notorious for this and convinced of it, then fleeing the authorities for the just punishment of such crimes.
11) They take from other belief systems and try to mold and weild them into Christianity such as atheism's infinite regress and polytheistic concepts of eastern religions.
Christians must recognize that our spiritual enemy is not the new religion but, rather, Satan (2 Cor. 11.12-15).
"Many deceivers have gone out into the world" (2 John 1.7).