Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Chocolate Bust

This is the strange story of my September 1993 arrest at Kennedy Airport.  I wrote it down immediately afterwards so as not to forget the least detail, and later used it for a chapter in my novel Peppercorn Cafe.

Chapter 22
The Chocolate Bust

When Pierre and I boarded the plane I was carrying a little something more than my bag of necessities for the flight.  All summer long I had been smoking the wonderful Moroccan chocolate (hashish) that is so scarce in the United States, and was living in a culture where they roll joints next to granny and neither thinks anything of it.  My Spanish friends initially broached the idea of my bringing some back with me, saying that they smuggled small amounts every time they flew to America, and that they had never encountered the slightest problem in so doing.   So, recollecting that in my eight or ten times through Kennedy Airport I had never seen a dog, and reasoning that they were used only to search the baggage, which we passengers don’t see for several hours, I wrapped three bars of hash in plastic and stuffed them into my left shoe.  I was not in the least bit nervous during the flight, nor in casually disembarking the aircraft; then I came around the corner to enter customs and saw the beautiful little orange retriever about forty feet away in the lobby, whereupon my stomach collapsed.  My immediate impulse was to go back onto the plane and try to ditch my stash, but in an instant I thought that perhaps the dog was trained solely for marijuana, which has a much stronger aroma than hashish, and decided to remain cool and try and go through.  There were two officers there, and one unleashed K-9 and clapped his hands, saying:  “Find it!  Find it!”
I was about fiftieth in line; the dog went up and back sniffing at everyone’s feet, and when he reached my shoes sat down and looked up at me.  They sent him through again with the same result.  One of the policemen gently pulled me out of line by my elbow, at which point I started to defecate.  “Do you speak English?” he asked, but I was walking awkwardly with my legs squeezed together, totally concentrated on controlling my wastes, and could say nothing.  “Do you speak English?” he repeated. 
I had at last succeeded in not soiling myself, and very calmly replied:  “Yes, I’m an American.”
“Where are you coming from?”
“I was in Spain all summer.”
“Did you smoke any marijuana or hashish while you were there?”
“Yes I did.”
“Did you bring anything back with you?”
I hesitated, then nodded my head and answered:  “There’s some hash in my shoe.”
“Very good,” he replied.  “The best thing you can do for yourself is to cooperate fully.  Just wait here a moment.”
They finished checking the rest of the passengers on my flight, then the other officer took me to customs, where I was expedited, and then on to to get my backpack from the baggage conveyor.  While we were waiting for it to start coming in, I said:  “Look, I know I’ve done a stupid thing.  I just wasn’t thinking.  I’ve spent all summer in a culture where it is regarded as no different than smoking cigarettes.  Yesterday I was at these incredible fiestas in Lekeitio with about forty friends, who gave it to me as a going away gift.  (That was a lie, I had paid for it.)  I don’t need to make money, and my only intention was to share it with my friends.”
“Listen,” he replied.  “I look at you and know you’re not a drug smuggler, and that you brought it for personal use.  You’ve cooperated perfectly so far, and though what ultimately happens is out of my hands, I can say what I think.”
“Please do, because I need all the help I can get.”
My backpack arrived, which I was directed to take to a nearby table and open.  A customs official came out and went through it.  “There’s nothing in there, but I do also have this,” I explained, pulling out my money wallet and producing the hash pipe that was wrapped in plastic and hidden therein.  “It was a gift from a girlfriend and I wanted to keep it.” That was another lie, but the girlfriend card always plays well.  He gave my things a very cursory search, when I realized that I probably should have put everything in the fuming bag of socks and underwear that he gagged on when opening, and wherein he was not about to plunge his hands.
From there I was brought to an interrogation room, where I was told to empty the contents of my pockets onto the table.  By now there were the two officers who had pulled me from line and two customs officials coming in and out.  All four were pleasant and treating me with respect, and I began hoping that I might somehow be able to get off light.  I did as instructed, then was handcuffed and told to sit down.  The cuffs were very tight on my wrists, so I humbly asked that they be loosened, and was obliged almost apologetically.
One of the men started filling out a report, and asked me questions concerning my height, weight, date of birth and eye color.  Then they wanted to know what I did.  I was still euphoric from my long and wonderful holiday, so I told one more time the well-rehearsed story that had gotten red carpets rolled out for me all through Spain.  “I’m a writer.”
“Who do you write for?”
“No one, I’m a novelist.  I’ve written eight books for which I have three agents.  I’ve been away two and a half months and may already have contracts, which is what I came back to find out.”
“How do you support yourself?”
“I’ve painted houses, and sometimes work as a waiter.”
“Just whatever you can get?”
“Exactly.”
Following that I was uncuffed for a strip search.  The man who instructed me how to undress was wearing a cross, and I remember feeling very glad that I was about to expose the one hanging beneath my shirt.  Naked but for that I spread my cheeks (knowing they were quite smeared with the other chocolate) then turned around and lifted my privates.  Then I dressed, was recuffed, and sat back down.
Shortly thereafter the officer that had first caught me came in and read me the Miranda rights.  When he asked if I wished to give up the right to have an attorney present during questioning, I replied:  “I don’t know.  What am I facing?”
“Well, you’ve committed a felony, and could have to serve time.”
“A felony?”
“That’s right:  hashish is a felony, and marijuana is not.”
“But they’re the same thing,” I remarked incredulously.
“I know, but I didn’t write the law,” he answered.
“Look,” I said, picking up one of my three bars of chocolate.  “This is not very much hash.  Yesterday with my friends at the fiestas of Lekeitio, this is gone in just a few hours.  I told you I’d cooperate fully, and I have nothing to hide.  If we can work this out here I’ll tell you whatever you want to know, but if I’m facing a serious problem I have a good friend in New Haven who’s an excellent attorney, and I would rather consult with him first than to say something that will implicate me in the future.”
“I don’t decide what happens to you; the detectives who do are on their way, and we’ll have to speak with them first.  It also depends on the weight of the hashish.  Over twenty five grams is intent to distribute; under twenty five is considered for personal use.”
When I wasn’t talking I was praying might and main to God help me out of the situation, and to continue putting the right words in my mouth.  So far all was proceeding as well as it could for me, but I still hadn’t seen the detectives who controlled my fate, and was waiting to read their faces.  I had been there over an hour when they finally arrived.  There were three, and my first impression was that they looked mean, and that my little joy ride was about to come to an abrupt and bumpy end.  They scrutinized me without saying a word, then went into a huddle over the table with two of the officers and discussed me in whispers.  Then they all stepped back, and one of the detectives looked down at me and said:  “So you’re a writer?”
“Yes I am.”
“What’s your most famous novel?”
“Lorenzo’s Fat Head.”  They all started laughing, and I couldn’t help but to giggle along, and to start feeling better about my prospects.  “Look,” I continued, “I can’t explain it, but when I smoke marijuana I get very creative and inspired.  I’m a very peaceful man, and all I do is walk around writing my stories and novels.  I don’t drive a car, so I’m not even a risk in that way.”  They smiled at me, and asked me nothing else, but went back into the hall leaving me to wait.  There were now seven men involved with my case wandering in and out of the room.  At one point there was just me with one of the customs officials, an older man who was grumbling about the paperwork, and the younger officer who had caught me and read me my rights.  During a lull I thought of something that might be a good idea to say.  “Can I ask you a silly, totally irrelevant question?” I asked the officer.
He gave me a puzzled look, and replied:  “What’s that?”
“Are you following the baseball?  I’ve been away all summer and haven’t seen the standings once.”
“Who’s your team?”
Boston.”  I immediately regretted uttering the name of the city as it left my tongue, being New York’s arch rival.
“That’s my team!” he answered.   Of all the cops to ask, I managed to pick the Irishman from Boston.  After updating me on the Red Sox, he ran through the four divisions with me.
I was most pleased with his positive response, and decided to pursue it.  “Have there been any no-hitters, or anything else extraordinary?”
“Jim Abbott of the Yankees threw a no-hitter three days ago!”
“Really?  The one-handed pitcher?  How cool; he’s a class act, and no one deserves it more.  Hey, what about Joe Montana?” I continued.  “How’s he looking?”
The older man who was filling out reports suddenly put down his pen, turned to me and excitedly said that he had looked great in winning his first game, then reeled off some of the statistics he had compiled.
“And how’s Clinton’s approval rating?”
The younger officer pointed his thumb to the floor and responded:  “Down.  The reforms he needs to enact are going to take five years to work, but the congress is fighting him at every step, and doesn’t want to give them a chance to take effect.”
He went out for a few minutes, then came back in and said:  “Listen, they’re off making a few phone calls right now, and I think you might get lucky and be going home tonight.  I’m not promising anything, but cross your fingers.”
“I’m not going to cross my fingers, I’m going to kiss my cross,” I blurted.
He gave me a wry smile and returned to the discussion in the hall.  I couldn’t pick up much of what was being said, but I did overhear one say:  “Let’s just put a scare in him and send him home.”  And after that I kept hearing:  “Twenty five grams...twenty five grams...twenty five grams....”  That made me a little nervous as I knew I had bought over thirty, but I held out hope not only because I knew it had been cut by eye and not weighed on a precise scale, but also because they were dealing so reasonably with me that even if it was a little over I thought they might adjust the result in my favor.  I’ll never know for certain which was the truth, but the lead detective came back and said to one of the others:  “I’m writing down twenty three point four grams, and go throw the hash pipe in the garbage; paraphernalia is another set of paperwork we don’t need to deal with.”
He started filling out a summons and I wanted to leap for joy.  I knew that I was being released on a written promise to appear.  “This is a summons,” he said while he wrote.  “Have you ever received one before?”
“Yeah, about twelve years ago.”
“For what?” he inquired, looking up.
“Shoplifting.  I was a stupid teenager, now I’m a stupid adult.”  And now that everything appeared to be settled, I decided to come clean with a full confession.  “I also got busted in New Haven last December for misdemeanor possession.  My lawyer friend made a deal with the state and got the charges tossed.”
He just shook his head and chuckled.  “Well, you have to appear in court in Queens on the thirteenth of next month.  Just make sure you go, because if you don’t and you ever get in trouble in New York again, the computer will explode when your name gets punched in.”
“What should I expect to happen to me?” I asked.
“You’ll have to pay a small fine, that’s all,” he replied.
“I should be prepared to pay it that day, no?”
“That would be a good idea.”
“How much money should I plan to bring?”
“Five dollars.”
I was surprised at hearing so small a figure, and responded:  “One, two, three, four five,” counting with my fingers, “or are you speaking slang for five hundred?”
“No, five dollars,” he replied.  “You’re in New York City pal!”
They gave me the summons and directions to the Kew Gardens courthouse from the E train.  Then I said:  “Hey, whatever happened to David Lee Roth?”  He’s the famous rock star who had been arrested there that spring for buying a ten dollar bag of weed in Washington Square Park.
“I was the one!” he excitedly replied.  “That was my sting operation, and I wrote out his summons!”
“What, do you like David Lee Roth?” the older man still filling out paperwork asked.
“Not really,” I replied.  “I think he’s kind of repulsive.”   And their smiles told me that I had given yet another approved response.
They told me I could put my things back in my pockets, and that after they returned with my passport and ticket, which they had to photocopy, I was free to leave.  I got myself and my bags ready to go, and was waiting outside the interrogation room, when one of the detectives said to me:  “You’re just going to nickel and dime us to death, aren’t you?”
“What do you mean?” I answered, sincerely puzzled.
“You broke their balls in New Haven with a few joints in December, and now you’re breaking ours by coming in with under twenty five grams.  I hope we gave you something good to write about.”
“I’ll tell you, I got a helluva a short story out of them,” (‘The Stinky Bomber’, which is indeed another story, and a funny one too), “but you’ve all been too good to me, and I could never treat you that way.”
They told me my passport and ticket would be returned in five minutes, but when fifteen went by and they still hadn’t come back, the same detective said:  “What is taking them so long?  I know you must want to leave, so I’ll go get them for you.”  He went off and returned momentarily and sent me on my way.  I gave him my heartfelt thanks then went and phoned a friend in Washington Heights, who invited me to stay the night with he and his wife.  I almost ran out of the building, and experienced exhilaration when clearing the exit that I can’t begin to describe.  I was absolutely wired with adrenaline, and all I wanted to do was to take a puff.  I couldn’t begin to consider buying on the streets, and so resigned myself to a smokeless night.  On my way to the subway I met a young guy who was about to begin a year-long journey through Europe and Africa that would end in Brazil.  While standing on the platform I told him what had just happened to me.  I was lamenting my lack of anything to smoke when I put my hand in my pocket from the cold, where I discovered the little rock of chocolate nestled in the lint.  An hour later my friend and I enjoyed it in the solitude of his uptown apartment, and I went to sleep on the floor filled with ecstasy and thankful prayers.
So now, friends and strangers, you know what I did not; and should you decide to forsake this warning and take the risk, at least learn from me how to act when Fido reveals what you’re keeping secret.



Monday, June 24, 2013

What Would President Jesus Do?

Recently on facebook I shared a graphic that was a picture of Bill Maher and a quote, who in speaking of Syrian President Assad, said:  “Using harmful chemical weapons to hurt your own people?  Who does this guy think he is, Monsanto?"    
Dan, a conservative who I have known almost thirty years, commented.
“Bob.  You posted a link of Bill Maher re. Republicans.  He shares your political views, sure.  That’s alright.  But you must know by now he’s a tirelessly outspoken atheist who thinks people who believe in God, especially Christians, are hypocrites and idiots.  That includes me and you brother.  There are so many links, quotes and videos I could post to back me up it’s a joke.  So I won’t.”
I replied:  “Seriously, Dan?  Should I shun Bill Maher because he’s an atheist?”
Dan responded:  “No, shun him for calling you an idiot.  I have atheist friends.  Woody was an atheist.  But he never thought I was a hypocrite, or stupid for being a Christian.”
I couldn’t sum up a response in just a couple of sentences, so several days later, here it is.
Dan, you published a link to Michael Savage.  The man is an utterly vile, absolutely foul antichrist spewing bilious vitriol.  Time wasted filling your head with his rubbish is time that could be spent immersing yourself in scripture.  How does spreading Savage’s gnarly filth honor Christ?  And typical conservative response on your part—to focus on the messenger and not the message.  You gloss over what should most infuriate you as a Christian—that Monsanto is unholy and ungodly and is poisoning the earth and its people.  That should evoke your outrage, not that Bill Maher is an atheist.  And the ‘Christians’ Maher mocks and derides are the phony variety.  Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Billy Graham are a few examples, though they abound in the millions.  I doubt Bill Maher has a problem with Christians who actually live by the values Jesus taught.
To be bluntly honest, Dan, I don’t even regard you to be a Christian.  According to my understanding, you’re a twenty first century Pharisee.  I read the Scriptures every day, and I wonder if you do at all, or ever have.  I would guess not.  Conservative ‘Christians’ are today’s equivalent of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who are discussed in detail in the Bible, and it isn’t pretty.  They are variously described as whited sepulchers, vipers, wolves, tares (weeds), goats, and the children of Belial (Satan).  They sport their faith on their sleeves pridefully, like broad phylacteries, by thumping their chests and loudly obsessing over the insignificant—God in the pledge of allegiance, prayer in school (which God abhors and Jesus denounced), gay marriage, imagined ‘wars’ on Christmas, feigned persecution of ‘Christians,’ invoking the name of God on our money, public monuments displaying the ten commandments—all in a vain effort to avoid giving God what He really wants and what they don’t have—a compassionate and merciful heart.  Jesus quoted Isaiah and said:  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth night unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Matthew 15: 7-8. 
Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is within you, and summed up the Old Testament in one sentence:  above all love God, and thy neighbor as thyself.  So how is choosing evil men and women to rule over them loving your neighbor as yourself?  It is not.  You say we can disagree politically but still be on team Jesus—I disagree.  Your vote reflects your heart.  You voted for Romney and Ryan, neither of whom are Christians.  Romney is a money grubbing Mormon, and Ryan’s hero is Ayn Rand, an atheist who publicly despised Jesus Christ.  I am a few months away from having a small measure of health protection for the first time in my life.  You call me ‘brother’ then vote for the wicked guys who ran on the promise of taking that away from me?  What kind of brother does that?  Taking that from me and turning it into cash and giving it to the warmongers to drop bombs on innocent people is not brotherly love nor is it Christian.  It is evil.
Since you call yourself ‘Christian’ I can only assume that you would vote Jesus for President if he ran for the office.  Jesus is a LIBERAL SOCIALIST who is left of Obama and every president we’ve ever had, and the government of his nation would lift up the poor, take care of all its own countrymen and open its arms to the rest of the world.  If you hate liberals and socialism, how can you hope to attain the kingdom?  And if you hate liberals, and socialism, then you are not with Christ.  If you are not with Christ you are against Christ.  Luke 11:23
Such are Republicans.  Jesus described them again here, in John 8:44:  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own:  for he is a liar, and the father of it.  Republicans lie, and lie and lie some more.  Republicans claimed tax breaks for the wealthy would create jobs.  Lie.  Unemployment soared.  They are the self branded party of family values.  Lie. How many families did they destroy sending men and women to Iraq and Afghanistan never to return?  How many families have they uprooted and ripped apart with this insidious private prison industry and the soaring incarceration rate?  The party of smaller government?  Lie.  The size of the federal government expanded under George Bush (who does still bear much responsibility for ongoing problems.  Eight years is a long time to inflict a lot of damage, and it can’t be undone overnight.)  The party of patriotic Americans?  Lie.  Sending troops to die in for profit wars based on lies, and then upon their return voting to cut veterans' benefits while opposing a bill that would have provided veterans jobs is downright treachery. The pro life party that cherishes the sanctity of life?  Lie.  From the moment they are out of the womb Republicans are denying our less privileged children health care, defunding their schools and ripping the food from their mouths.   The party of Biblical values?  Lie.  Conservatives mercilessly oppress the poor, and revere money above God.   The party of fiscal responsibility?  Lie.  Republican driven policy wrecked the economy, and now they are fighting with might and main to keep the economy down, so they can try to use it to political advantage by blaming the Democrats for the damage they caused.  The party of Jesus Christ?  Not by a long shot.  They are despicable hypocrites whose god is mammon
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Matthew 7:15-18.
Let us consider the fruit of the Conservative tree.  In Revelation 11:18 the Lord promises to ‘destroy them which destroy the earth.’  Do you seriously believe President Jesus would politically ally himself with big oil, the frackers and other polluters in advance of destroying them?  Conservatives kowtow to the NRA, and revere the rights of a mentally ill person desiring to slaughter children above the rights of those children to pursue life, liberty and happiness.  That is unholy depravity.  Jesus repeatedly denounced wealthy men, who give their hearts over to the love of money instead of love of the Lord—do you seriously believe that President Jesus would share a political agenda with Donald Trump and the billionaires club?  Conservatives empowered the banks that engineered the housing bubble whereby they squeezed people out of their savings and foreclosed them out of their homes—for all intents and purposes, STEALING them—do you seriously believe President Jesus would advocate and advance the politics that enabled these mammon grubbing devils?  Jesus preached peace, saying ‘blessed are the peacemakers.’  Do you seriously believe that President Jesus would side with the politicians who launched invasions of two nations based on a pack of flimsy lies, and would preside as commander in chief over for profit wars?  Jesus is the greatest healer that ever lived, and who healed everyone who came to him—do you seriously believe that President Jesus would oversee a government that would let its people sicken and die for lack of treatment, like conservatives would have?  That’s absurd.  Conservatives in congress are currently engaged in trying to enact steep cuts in food stamps—do you seriously believe that President Jesus would take food out of the mouths of poor children to finance generous subsidies for oil companies?  Do you seriously believe President Jesus would vilify teachers while destroying their unions, and cut funding for education and close schools while building new prisons run by private companies with inmate QUOTAS?  Do you seriously believe President Jesus would ignore the Scriptures and oppose liberal immigration laws?  And if a stranger sojourn with ye in your land, ye shall not vex him.  But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 19:33-34.  Do you seriously believe that President Jesus would support a company like Monsanto that GENETICALLY MODIFIES the food supply, because they can improve upon God's handiwork?  Do you seriously believe that President Jesus would work alongside the Devil to systematically dismantle social security, medicare and medicaid?  Do you seriously believe that President Jesus preaching love would coincidentally be politically confederate with the hate filled racist demographic?
The fruit you prepare and offer to God is your heart, and if you would choose the children of the Devil to rule over your neighbors then your heart is hard, cold and bitter; and being thus will be inedible to the Lord.
Now that we know conservative fruits are evil, and stem from corrupt trees which Jesus abhors, let us finish the passage in Matthew to read about their reward. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Matthew 7:19-23

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The First Horseman Of The Apocalypse



And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.  Revelation 6:2

Not all four horsemen of the apocalypse—Conquest, War, Famine and Death--are evil, as some would have you believe.  The anti semitic conservative wackjob Billy Graham, who gave his Christian endorsement to Romney for president even after declaring Mormonism a cult, and Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, co concoctors of the ridiculous rapture rubbish and rabid right wingnuts, are among the false prophets who purposely misunderstand scripture and preach that the first horseman, sent forth on a white horse to Conquer, is the Antichrist.  There is no mention of an Antichrist anywhere in the book of Revelation, and since LaHaye and Jenkins need one there to justify their idiotic fiction, this is their silly way of trying to sneak one in a side door. 

Many believe, as I see evidenced in Scripture, that the first horseman of the apocalypse is Christ, who reappears later in Revelation leading the armies of light in the epic battle in the heavens against Satan and his forces.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns. 
Revelation
19:11-12

Graham, LaHaye and Jenkins and the rest of their ilk reason that because when he appears in Revelation 19 Jesus Christ has many crowns on his head, while the first horseman of the apocalypse has only one, they are two different entities, Christ and the Antichrist.  Entirely untrue.  Jesus Christ was crowned king then sent forth into the world, to conquer the world.  Jesus is the son of David, whose kingdom is promised to endure forever, and see what David did when he conquered an enemy king (in this particular instance the king of the Ammonites).

And David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it; and it was set upon David’s head.  1 Chronicles 20:2

And so after conquering the kingdoms of the earth Christ reappears in heaven with many crowns upon his head, and Graham and LaHaye and Jenkins and their fellow false prophets who believe and preach otherwise are wrong: there is no Antichrist in Revelation, there will be no rapture of the righteous before the world is plunged into tribulation, and they and like minded pastors are not to be trusted with biblical interpretation nor in their wicked right wing politics, which evil they try to sanctify by warping the word of God.  In point of truth they are soldiers in the army of darkness marching alongside fellow blind antichrists.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chapter One of untitled new novel


The sun was only just rising behind the church when two men met on its steps.
“Thank you for meeting me here so early,” said Rolando Desjarlais to the man he was awaiting and was pleased to see.
Frederick Strunk was just as happy to see Rolando.  As he approached he stopped and pulled up the sign which read:  FOR SALE by Strunk Realtors.  Then he went to Rolando, warmly shook his hand and replied:  “Rollo, please, it is I who must thank you, for enabling me to take down this sign.  This church was on the market almost five years.  Today you’ve made me a very happy real estate agent, and this morning there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here handing you these.”
With a flourish he held out a set of keys and dropped them in Rollo’s palm.  Rollo opened the door and led them into the entryway of the church.  Fred set his sign down behind the door then followed Rollo. 
“It’ll be some work, but I plan to have it ready for its inaugural service this coming Sunday,” Rollo explained.  “It won’t be perfect by then, mind you, but certainly clean enough to worship the Lord in.”
The church was in somewhat disarray.  Furniture was pushed and stacked against the faded, peeling walls.  It had been previously Russian Orthodox, and ornate d├ęcor and several icons were visible through the sheen of dust.  They stepped into the spacious nave, which had a capacity for over two hundred persons.  Most of the worn pews were intact, but a few were broken out and leaned against one wall.  Along the bottom of the opposite wall was a row of seven air conditioners and in the middle of the room there was a table stacked with hymnals and prayer books.
“That’s an ambitious schedule,” Frederick said, “but you are an ambitious man for trying to start a bank and a church in the same week.”
“In many ways the two go hand in hand,” Rollo answered.  “Both need local support to thrive, and I can invite the bank customers to join me in praising the Lord, while offering my congregation a safe place to keep their money.  I’m new to town, and need to build a trust.”
“You will start meeting everyone today,” Fred replied.  “I should get going.  I too have an office to open.”
“My first service is this coming Sunday,” Rollow explained, “ and will be followed by an all day potluck open house meet and greet.  The whole town is invited, so please spread the word to everyone you know.”
Rollo walked him out, where they shook hands again then parted.  Rollo was a man about fifty who had a full head of hair that was still thick and dark, and skin still youthfully smooth.  He wore a fake pair of round spectacles, because he thought they made him look more intellectual and trustworthy.  He also sported a gaudy gold ring on a finger, and a gold watch on his wrist.
He was moving to St Petersburg to open the Neighborhood Bank and Trust, as well as a non denominational ministry of Christ.  He had been in banking all his adult life, and had several heavyweight investors backing his venture.  He had also always preached the word almost every Sunday for just as long, and thus was versed in both vocations.  He returned inside and started inspecting the premises more closely, assessing what was necessary to make the church presentable, and concluded that it was going to require copious quantities of paint, cleaning supplies and elbow grease.
He wandered into the office, where he was surprised by the sound of snoring.  There was a large oak desk piled with random books and pages, and lying on the floor behind it was a man wrapped in a sleeping bag.  Rollo stood over and looked down at the man.  He was black, with a face wizened by hard wrinkles and gray stubble.  His head was bald and his stature diminutive. 
“Who are you?” Rollo boldly asked, tapping him lightly with his foot.
The man stirred, and his eyes fluttered as he brought his hand up to shield them from the light.  He shook his head then replied with the same question:  “Who are you?”
“I just purchased this church,” Rollo answered.  “And you?”
He sat up on his elbows.  “I’ve been sleeping here for a little while.”
“What’s your name?” Rollo asked.
“Radford Veen, everyone calls me Raddy.  Please to meet you,” he said, extending Rollo his hand.  Raddy had offered his hand to be shook, but Rollo used it to pull him to his feet.  Rollo looked around and noticed dirty clothes beneath the desk, and some packaged food and empty wrappers. 
“A squatter,” he muttered under his breath.  “How long is a little while?”
“A couple weeks, maybe a month,” Raddy answered.
Rollo knew the law protected squatters, and how quickly they could become headaches, and that the more swiftly and decisively they were dealt with the better.  Raddy was only about five foot four, and Rollo a full foot taller.  He tried to use this height difference to seem intimidating.
“I’m afraid I have to ask you to leave,” he coldly stated. 
“Please, man…come on!  I have nowhere to call home,” Raddy protested.  “I had no idea the church had been sold.  At least give me a couple days to find a place to go.”
“The insurance doesn’t cover tenants, and if anything were to happen I’d be liable.  Unfortunately I’m afraid I have to stand firm.”
“I could help you start cleaning up,” Raddy offered, taking a few steps back into the sanctuary and pointing to the mess.  “I would have started already but I didn’t want to touch anything out of respect for whoever might buy it.”
“How do you get in here?” Rollo asked.
Raddy pointed to the bank of air conditioners along the west wall.  “The sixth one is missing.  See?  I crawl in and out the hole.”
“You fit through that small opening?” Rollo mused, then looked down his eyeglasses at Raddy.  “I suppose you do.  I’ll have to fix that first thing.”
“Aren’t you going to hire painters and cleaners?” Raddy asked.  “If you are, you can hire me, and if you plan to do it yourself, I can help.  I’m a handyman by trade, and would love to find some work.”
“What I don’t do myself I plan to contract out,” Rollo answered.  “It wouldn’t be right of me to tell them who to hire.  But you can drop back by in a couple or few days, and if I can use you then I’ll put you to work.  I just need a day or two to sort things out.  And the church opens this coming Sunday, and everyone is invited, so please tell your friends and please come along yourself.”
Rollo’s eviction registered with Raddy, and he started back to the office, muttering:  “I see how it is…you’re one of those cold hearted preachers.”  He quickly gathered his things into a little bundle and Rollo led him to the front door.
“I’m really not one of those cold hearted preachers,” Rollo explained.  “Whatever that means.  I just need to err on the side of caution.  I did invite you to come back, and as I get the church going we’ll be able and willing to help you back to your feet.”
“You did just help me to my feet, only to lead me to the door, showing me the way out,” Raddy said contemptuously.  “Like I said, one of those preachers.”  He walked away. 
“You’re wrong about that,” Rollo protested.  “Come back in a couple days and you’ll see.”
Rollo still had a couple hours before he had to be at the bank for the grand opening, and he was nervous with energy for the big day, and decided to burn some by tackling the mess.  He’d been sliding furniture around for a few minutes when he heard a knock on the door.  He opened it to find that Fred had returned.
“I forgot my sign,” he said, pointing to it behind the door.  “I need to post it on another property this morning.”
“Of course,” Rollo said.  “Hey, while you’re here, could you give me a quick hand moving a couple of heavy things?”
“Sure, by all means,” Fred answered.  They had moved one large wooden table and were picking up a second when they heard rustling at the front of the church.  They looked to see Raddy slither through the hole and back inside.
“What are you doing here?” Rollo asked.
“I thought it was because I forgot my toothbrush but I see now that the Lord led me back to see how things really are,” Raddy observed.  “Your white friend is good enough to help you, but not a brother, and a brother in Christ at that.”
“It’s not that at all,” Rollo said, clearly bristling.
“Who is this?” Fred asked.  “How do you two know each other?”
Raddy quickly answered before Rollo could.  “This abandoned house of God has been my home for the past few weeks, and now this man, who is coming to establish a house of Christ, has asked me to leave that house.  If a man would do that to his brother, we can’t really be of the same family.”
“Really?  Is that true?” Fred asked, looking to Rollo for an explanation. 
“That’s not exactly correct,” Rollo answered defensively.  “I just need a couple of days to organize my thoughts into a plan, and to get started.  I told him to stop by later in the week, and invited him to Sunday’s open house service.”
Fred’s eyes looked on Rollo scornfully, while Raddy’s were hopeful.  Rollo knew Raddy was manipulating him with shame, and had no choice but to give in.  “Listen,” he continued.  “You’ve actually given me an idea.  Stay in the office while you look for a place and you can help me out here in exchange.  Let me think about the specifics and I’ll come up with an equitable arrangement.”
“All right!” Raddy exclaimed.  “I’ll grab my things!  They’re right in the yard!”  He ran back to the hole and crawled out.
Fred gave Rollo a curious, scrutinizing look.
“Let’s move this table there and then I’ve got to get along to the bank,” Rollo said.  They did so quickly then Fred took his sign and they left before Raddy had returned.


  




Thursday, February 7, 2013

Telltale Signs Of Phony Christians -- Part Three



One of the phony Christian’s favorite issues to speak out on is abortion.  They rend their clothes and wring their hands and sit in sackcloth and ashes and cry for aborted fetuses, putting their righteousness on display for all the world to see while believing that their stand on abortion washes them clean of their other sins—oppressing the poor, worshipping earthly wealth, expressing love for their neighbors as themselves by electing evil people to rule over them, and so forth.  They call themselves pro-life then let children live in shabby homes and attend shoddy schools, and go hungry and without health care, hypocrites that they are.  This ignorance belies a lack of understanding of Scripture and the mystery of God, and great weakness of faith.
Infanticide and the killing of children have been intrinsic to mankind from its incipience, and God knows every last child.  There have also been many occasions when God mysteriously condoned or allowed the horror by tacitly watching over while it came to pass.  He moved a bear to kill the forty two children who mocked the prophet Elisha for being bald.  He sent the angel of Death to strike down the firstborn of Egypt when Pharaoh refused to release the Hebrews from servitude.  And when Herod sought to slay the infant Christ, God only warned Joseph by an angel in a dream of the impending bloodshed, then allowed the slaughter of innocents.  If the thief on the cross has his place in paradise, how much greater the seat of those babes?
We know that with God all things are possible, and that He brings good from evil.  Consider Joseph—the other Joseph—when his brothers had cast him into the pit.  I doubt he understood at the time that it was done so that God might preserve lives.
And Joseph said unto them, Fear not; for am I in the place of God?
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive
.  Genesis 50:20
So is it with abortion, when God turns the most abominable evil to the greatest good, death and darkness into life and light, and that which men cast off into salvation for thousands of millions.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels to do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.  Matthew 18:21
There it is: all dead children go to heaven.  But these liars calling themselves Christian cry forced tears while loudly proclaiming that abortion diminishes the kingdom of God.  They are wrong, and the converse is the actual truth; for if those babes were brought into this world and subjected to the hatred and oppression and misery and penury imposed upon them by living with these same hypocrites, only then would they would risk losing the salvation that they are now guaranteed.  And besides all that the Bible tells us straight that abortion does not deprive the kingdom of even one inhabitant.
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.  John 6:39
Did you catch that?  NOTHING.  If Jesus loses NOTHING, how can abortion deprive the kingdom of even one soul?  It cannot. 
Jesus commanded that we let the dead bury the dead, and the phony Christians with their faux concern should listen to the Lord and be far more worried about their own salvation rather than condemning their neighbors they are not fit to judge.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Telltale Signs Of Phony Christians -- Part Two


Many self professed Christians despise socialism, many of whom, hypocrites that they are, benefit from social programs like social security, medicare, medicaid and food stamps.  Either ignorant of or intentionally ignoring the Bible, they regard not that shortly after the crucifixion the apostles carried on in the manner that the Lord had taught them.
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus:  and great grace was upon them all.  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet:  and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.  Acts 4:33-35.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is a socialist collective, and such is the kingdom of heaven.
Speaking of socialism, phony Christians also revile liberals.  A Christian cannot despise a liberal—a Christian is liberal.
Here is a selection of words:  not bound by authoritarian, orthodoxy, or traditional forms.  Free from bigotry.  Tending to give freely…marked by generosity.
Those words describe Jesus Christ.  They are dictionary definitions of the word liberal.  You can’t love Christ and hate liberals; that is a house divided, which can only fall.
Phony Christians dislike our neighbors and oppose immigration.  That is not what Jesus would have, nor what the Bible teaches.
And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.  But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt:  I am the LORD your God.  Leviticus 19:33-34
Phony Christians love to say ‘God Bless America,’ and become indignant when our leaders and others overlook to speak those words; words which Jesus would never utter.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  John 17:9
Jesus warned that whited sepulchers and wolves in sheepskin would come, and so are they among us now, claiming to speak of the Lord when in truth they chatter like devils.

Monday, January 28, 2013

What The Bible Says About Mormons

This is the ten part series I wrote in summer 2012, compiled and revised and completed and in one place.  What a monumental load off and wash of my hands.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  Matthew 24:11
Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name:  I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them:  they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.  Jeremiah 14:14
The Mormon church was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, who the Mormons regard as their Great Prophet.  He lived in America from 1805-1844.  Smith claimed to have had numerous visions, to have been visited by an angel named Moroni, and to have been guided by Moroni to the text of the Book of Mormon, which was engraved in hieroglyphs on golden plates hidden under a rock in a hillside.  The Book of Mormon claims to be another testament of Christ, but it reads like bad fiction, and there is absolutely zero archaeological evidence to support any of the history it purports.  Since many points of Mormon doctrine directly contradict the Bible’s authority, and since Mitt Romney believes this grand lie, I thought it meet in this election year to dissect the false religion by comparing it to true Christianity.
My sources were the 2007 PBS Documentary, The Mormons, which can be viewed online here; The book, THE MORMON EXPERIENCE:  A HISTORY OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS; and the Latter Day Saints website.
When Joseph Smith was fourteen he claimed to have been plagued by the question of which of the many sects of Christianity was the true church of Christ.  He went into a grove of trees near where his family lived in Palmyra, New York, where he prayed aloud for God to answer him.  There are numerous versions of the event—the story evolved over the years as required to support the evolution of the Mormon church.  (Read one of the accounts of the vision in Smith’s own words here.)  The essence of the event was thus:  Brilliant light flooded the trees, and the forms of two men appeared hovering before Smith.  One was God and the other Jesus Christ.  God looked at Smith, pointed to Jesus, and said:  “This is my Beloved Son!  Hear him!”
This is in direct contradiction to Jesus Christ, who said:  No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared Him.  John 1:18
Did Jesus Christ really contradict himself by appearing with God before Joseph Smith?  Read on and decide for yourself.
Smith maintained the presence of mind to ask which sect was the true one that he should join.  The answer that he received from God and Jesus was that he should join none of them, as they were all abominations, and their adherents corrupt.  God and Jesus went on to tell young Joseph that he would later be used as an instrument to restore the true church to the earth.
How monumentally arrogant, to claim that after Jesus was crucified and the last apostle died, that every church and all its congregants founded in His name were abomination in his sight—for EIGHTEEN CENTURIES!  Smith’s claim renders Christ irrelevant to the billions who lived and died during those eighteen hundred years.  And that Smith was the chosen one to bring clarity back to the world—would a precocious prophet truly be so shamelessly bold?
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  Luke 14:11
So after his visitation from God and Jesus, what did the pubescent, self styled prophet Joseph Smith do?  Did he study the Scriptures, wherein it is written:  Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold?  Proverbs 8:10
No.  Did he seek and pray for wisdom, because it is written:  How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!  and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!  Proverbs 16:16
No.  Did he become a true follower of Jesus Christ?  because it is written:  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  1 Peter 1:18-19
No, he commenced on his lifelong quest for his true god—the gold.  Rather than seeking the divine, he sought to divine.  He dreamed of finding buried treasure, and with his father began to search their farm and the land around Palmyra for gold—by which search Smith’s heart revealed its true lusts after earthly wealth.
The large Smith clan had a reputation for being superstitious ‘money diggers.’  They tried to divine the location of treasure hidden in the earth using peep stones:  magical stones which, when placed in an upside down hat and gazed in upon, revealed secrets to a special few blessed with the ability to see them.  Joseph Smith claimed to be just such a seer, and armed with a  hat and some rocks, he started selling his services as a treasure hunter.
As throughout his life Smith was an abomination to the Lord.  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD.  Deuteronomy 18: 10-12
Although Joseph Smith received his first ‘revelation’ when he was fourteen, he never recorded a final account of it until 1838, when he was 33.  The Mormon church had existed for eight years, and he’d had plenty of time to tailor the event to his needs.  So did his second momentous encounter have years to incubate in his imagination before he offered a final version of it.
After money digging for a couple of years, Smith claimed he realized he’d gone astray and lost his way.  In 1823, when he was seventeen, he repented, and one night in his room offered up to God a prayer for forgiveness.  It was answered that night by the appearance of the angel Moroni.  He was the last prophet of a race that had vanished from ancient America.  He revealed to Smith the existence of a collection of golden plates containing the history of the religion of his people.  Moroni explained that he and his father, Mormon, had engraved them with Egyptian hieroglyphs many centuries before.  Moroni told Joseph that he was chosen to go get them.
Moroni appeared three more times that night and the following morning, and directed Smith to the location of the plates that very afternoon.  Smith went to a hill ‘convenient to the village of Manchester,’ and on the slope found a round stone beneath which was hidden a stone box containing the golden plates and an instrument for translation:  two transparent stones fixed like eyeglasses to a breast plate that Moroni identified as the Urim and Thummim used by ancient Israelite prophets.  He tried to remove the objects from the box but could not, and was chastised by the angel for ignoring the commandments of God and intending to use the plates to get rich.  Moroni commanded him to return to the hill once every year ‘until the time should come for obtaining the plates.’  Then the angel departed.
Most mormon temples have huge golden statues of Moroni mounted atop their spires.  Here is a good link for a few photos and more information about how the statues fit into LDS tradition.  
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:  for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.  Exodus 20:4-5
Furthermore it is also written:  The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire:  thou shalt not desire the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein:  for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.  Deuteronomy 7:25
Smith’s twenty first year brought several major life events.  He had returned to the hill Cumorah once every year, and on the fifth visit, when he was twenty one, he was able to take the plates away with him. 
That same year Smith was brought to court.  Treasure divining and money digging were illegal activities, and Smith had hired himself out to a man named Josiah Stoal, also of New York, to find the location of a silver mine in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.  The charge was brought by Stoal’s relatives, who wanted to prevent their kinsman from wasting any more money on Smith.  The charge was classified a misdemeanor, and at least twelve witnesses were issued subpoenas.  There are varying accounts of the outcome.  In some, Smith was acquitted by Stoal’s testimony, in others, he either escaped or was convicted and left town.
Also in his twenty first year he married Emma Hale, who Smith had met while searching for the silver mine in Susquehanna.  Following the trial Joseph and Emma left New York for Pennsylvania, to translate the golden plates.  Their trip was financed by a prosperous local farmer named Martin Harris, who had heard of the golden plates and taken great interest.  Smith had worked for Harris in the past; Harris gave the couple fifty dollars for their trip then followed them shortly thereafter.
The translation of the plates was a process of dictation from Smith to his wife or Harris.  Smith positioned himself behind a curtain, then upturned his hat, placed the seer stones therein, and thrust his face into the darkness of the hat, making a point to exclude all light before ‘reading’ the Book of Mormon aloud.
Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you.  Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you:  for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  John 12:35
In a series of revelations over the course of the months of the translation, Joseph received the account of the ancient peoples of the Americas.  Their history begins with that of the Hebrews.  Around 600 BC, at the time Israel was being carried into its captivity in Babylon, a prophet Lehi and his family were divinely inspired to leave Jerusalem just before the conquest and journey to the Indian Ocean.  There they built boats and sailed to the west coast of the Americas and resettled.  They spent the ensuing centuries—when not engaged in war with one another—building elaborate cities and temples.  Conflict eventually divided them into two tribes, the Nephites and the Lamanites.
The Nephites were descended from Nephi, a son of Lehi.  They were at first a righteous people.  The Lamanites descended from Laman and Lemuel, Nephi’s rebellious brothers.  The Lamanites are described as cursed by God with a skin of blackness for their wickedness and corruption.  Immediately after the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus Christ appeared to both tribes to announce that he was come to organize his church.  For two centuries the two tribes co existed in peace; then strife arose, and they warred until the fifth century, when the Lamanites destroyed the backsliding Nephites—Moroni’s tribe.
The Book of Mormon asserts that the Lamanites were the ancestors of the North American peoples.  Notwithstanding that archaeologists have found no shred of evidence that the Nephites and Lamanites ever existed, and that scientists have genetically determined that Native Americans are primarily descended from northeast Asians, and Polynesia people descended from southeast Asians.  But the Book of Mormon asserts many things that simply are not true—it is a work of FICTION.
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
  2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
After completing the translation of the golden plates, Smith returned them to the angel Moroni, which made it conveniently impossible for him to ever validate his claim by producing them.  Instead for proof he offered several witnesses who swore to having seen the plates.  One of these was a man named Oliver Cowdery, one of Smith’s earliest followers.  One day in May of 1829, Smith and Cowdery went into the woods to pray to God specifically regarding ‘baptism for the remission of sins.’  Their prayer was answered by the appearance of a being who identified himself as John the Baptist.  John placed his hands on their heads and conferred unto them the ‘priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of the baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.’
If they were lying—and the truth states that they were—then how great the lie!  And to make God, Jesus and John the Baptist part of it…how much greater the condemnation!
Smith and Cowdery immediately baptized each other, then commenced to baptizing proselytes.
Publication of the Book of Mormon was financed by Martin Harris, and the book was published in 1830.  On April 6, 1830, Smith’s Church of Christ formally established itself in Fayette, New York.  Joseph Smith boldly proclaimed that ‘his was the one true church since the death of Christ’s apostles.’  The arrogance is staggering, to state that eighteen centuries of civilization had lived without the true church of Christ; that all of mankind was lost until Joseph Smith came to bring them light.
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  Matthew 24:23-24
As Smith’s church slowly grew he sent out missionaries (a euphemism for reconnaissance scouts) to Ohio, then in 1871 led seventy five followers to Kirtland where they joined a preacher named Sidney Rigdon and his congregation of one hundred.
Let them alone:  they be blind leaders of the blind.  And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.  Matthew 15:14
There Smith used the basic and effective psychological ploy of telling his congregants what they wanted to hear.  To this end he started referring to them as ‘latter day saints.’  Again, Smith usurped God’s authority when he sanctified others.
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment; yea, I judge not mine own self.  For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified:  but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts:  and then shall every man have praise of God.  1 Corinthians 4:3-5
Once settled in Kirtland, Smith sought to grow his church by sending missionaries to fan throughout America seeking converts.
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  Matthew 23:15
The church grew gradually in Kirtland, and in December of 1832, Smith convened nine priests in prayer, and they claimed to have received a revelation that spanned two days in which they were told the only way into the presence of God was through the temple.  Very true…
What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  1 Corinthians 6:19
…yet Smith’s understanding of that seems wildly misinterpreted.  Instead he and his followers constructed not a Christian church in Kirtland, but a temple inspired by the Old Testament, ‘a house of God and a school for the Prophets, dedicated unto the Lord from the foundation thereof, according to the order of the priesthood.’  Comprised of a lower and upper court spanning three stories, the edifice was a combined place of worship, school and Mormon office, as well as a place of secret rituals of anointing and blessing that connected the latter day saints to God.  Following consecration of the temple, Mormons claimed to have experienced three months of miracles within its walls, which they likened to Pentecost.  They heard rushing of wind, and angelic choirs; they witnessed angels fly in through the windows, and God standing beside Joseph Smith.
In the Bible, New Jerusalem appears in revelation.
And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  Revelation 21:1
Joseph claimed to receive all knowledge through revelation, and proclaimed to his followers that new Jerusalem, or the city of Zion, was to be located in Independence, Missouri, where one of his followers had purchased a tract of land.  In a vision he saw it as the gathering place of the saints in the last days, and that he was to build a temple there.  He also began teaching his followers that the garden of Eden was also in the site in Independence, which begs the question:  where are the rivers?  And Assyria and Ethiopia?
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.The name of the first is Pison:  that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;And the gold of that land is good:  there is bdellium and onyx stone.And the name of the second river is Gihon:  the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.And the name of the third river is Hiddekel:  that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria.  And the fourth river is Euphrates.  Genesis 2:10-14

**********

About the Bible, Joseph Smith wrote:  “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”
About itself, it is written in the Bible:  You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.  Deuteronomy 4:2
The Mormons staunchly professed the authority of the Bible, and were quick to quote its verses, particularly those that supported their doctrine.  But the Book of Mormon protected them from the passages that ran contrary to their beliefs by proclaiming:  many ‘plain and precious things’ had been lost or expurgated from the Scriptures.  In this manner anything in the Bible that contradicted doctrine was explained away as mistranslation, which arrogantly questions God’s ability to keep the word perfect in any language over any length of time.
When a commandment or sentiment of particular importance appears in the Bible, it is frequently repeated for emphasis.  So it is when warning men of the dangers of tampering with the word of the LORD.
Every word of God is pure:  he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.  Proverbs 30:5-6
Despite the stern warnings contained in its pages, and despite the fact that he knew neither Hebrew nor Greek (the languages in which the Old and New Testament were written), from 1830-1833 Joseph Smith undertook to ‘translate’ the Bible, which, according to his claim, had been circulating in mistranslation for eighteen centuries.  Working from the King James translation, and guided by revelation, Smith produced the Joseph Smith Inspired Translation of the Bible.  Despite all its preposterous and glaring shortcomings, the Mormons still link to it on their website here.
To get a little sampling of Joseph Smith’s butchery of the Scriptures I decided to do a side by side comparison of some verses from the Gospel According to Saint John.  Here are three for you to decide if Smith’s handiwork qualifies as adding to or removing from the word of God. 
King James version, John 1:1:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joseph Smith’s Inspired Translation, John 1:1:  In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son.  And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the son was of God.
King James version, John 1:16-17: 
16And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The Joseph Smith Inspired Translation of those two verses is so clumsy and verbose that it becomes three verses.  John 1:16-18:  
16For in the beginning was the Word, even the Son, who is made flesh, and sent unto us by the will of the Father.  And as many as believe on his name shall receive of his fullness.  And of his fullness have all we received, even immortality and eternal life, through his grace.17For the law was given through Moses, but life and truth came through Jesus Christ.18For the law was after a carnal commandment, to the administration of death; but the gospel was after the power of an endless life, through Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father.
And here is Smith’s reworking of the very verse that refutes and disproves his contention that God Almighty himself appeared to Joseph Smith on several occasions.  Notice how it is conveniently altered to be availed in support of Smith’s claim.
King James version, John 1:18:  No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Joseph Smith Inspired Translation, John 1:19:  And no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son; for except it is through him no man can be saved.
Now let us turn to the very last words of the Bible, where the warning about tampering with the Word is yet again made crystal clear and gravely dire.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.  Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus.The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen.  Revelation 22:18-21
The Mormons are adamant that the Scriptures are the word of God.  I agree, and it is plainly written therein that the false prophet Joseph Smith went on to suffer from plagues and deprivation and all the punishments for blasphemy.

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But the prophet, who shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken presumptuously:  thou shalt not be afraid of him.  Deuteronomy 18:20-22
Since Joseph Smith feared not to make bold in regarding himself a prophet, it naturally followed that he issued prophecies to bolster his masquerade.  These are recorded in the Doctrines and Covenants, one of the sacred Mormon texts, which was largely dictation of his ‘revelations’ by Joseph Smith.
Some of the prophecies did come to pass, and others did not; and some were ambiguously worded.  This has led to their being used by both his supporters and detractors:  his supporters cite the prophecies that came to pass, or yet may still, as evidence verifying that Smith was divinely inspired, while his detractors cite the failed prophecies in their denunciations.
But since every last one of Christ’s prophesies have fulfilled with uncanny accuracy, and since Smith claimed to be the chosen prophet to establish the one true church of Christ on earth, which had been astray for eighteen centuries, since the death of the last of the apostles, we ought to expect the same from Smith; for if that were the truth then so would have been every word out of his mouth, and it is fair to hold him to a standard of perfection.
For anyone interested in exploring it, there is a Wikipedia page which details many of Smith’s prophesies and their outcomes.  I am just going to present three here which corroborate my understanding that Smith was a false prophet.
1)      “Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the
restoration of his people, as he had spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.  Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the state of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.”  From a revelation through Joseph Smith, received in Kirtland, Ohio, September 22nd and 23rd, 1832 as it appears in Doctrines and Covenants, 84:2-3
That never came to pass, and the Mormons were driven out of Missouri in the late 1830s.
2)                  “Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; and the time will come that the war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.  For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.”  From a revelation received by Joseph Smith on December 25th, 1832, as it appears in Doctrines and Covenants, 87:1-3
This is another clearly false prophesy.  Mormons point to the civil war as the fulfillment of this prophesy, but the Civil War started in Virginia, not South Carolina, and did not escalate other nations and eventually all nations.
3)                  “I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following:  Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.”  April 2, 1843, as it appears in Doctrines and Covenants, 130:14-15
Joseph Smith died at age 39 in a gunfight with authorities while incarcerated in Illinois in 1844.  The Mormons deny this being a failed prophesy, as Smith did not live to be 85, but I say that his death was like the fulfillment of another biblical prophecy, in that the Lord made the same example of Smith as He did of Hananiah.
Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.  Therefore thus saith the LORD; behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth:  this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.  Jeremiah 28:15-16

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In the Mormon church the Three Witnesses are the three men, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and David Whitmer, who signed a statement attesting that they had seen firsthand the golden plates of the Book of Mormon.  False witnesses are plentiful throughout history and in the Bible.
Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none:  yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none.  At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.  Matthew 26:59-61
In 1835 Joseph Smith established the Quorum (i.e. Council) of the Twelve Apostles, by asking the Three Witnesses to name the twelve, who were to be the ruling authority of the church.  Because every false Christ needs to surround himself with twelve apostles to bolster the authority by which he deceives his followers. 
By 1838 the Mormon population of Kirtland had risen to 2000.  Joseph Smith founded a bank and launched other business enterprises.  It was actually a brilliant business model:  bring fresh strangers into town while receiving their money, whether through tithes or in the stores and the bank.  It’s like sitting and fishing all day while others keep stocking the lake.  Smith also claimed to have started the bank in response to a command from God. 
Warren Parrish, who had been an officer in Smith’s bank and member of his congregation, and who had renounced Mormonism, was quoted in The Painesville Republican on February 22, 1838 as saying:  “I have listened to him (Smith) with feelings of no ordinary kind, when he declared that the audible voice of God instructed him to establish a banking anti-banking institution, which like Aaron’s rod shall swallow up all other banks—the bank of Monroe excepted—and grow and flourish and spread from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and survive when all others should be laid in ruins.”
It is a natural thing that the prophet chosen to restore the church which had been fallen for eighteen hundred years since the death of the last apostle should open a bank.  Judas Iscariot was the apostle who handled Jesus Christ’s finances. 
For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.  John 13:29
Like Judas, Joseph Smith was beholden to his love of money, the root of all evil; and like Judas, Joseph Smith was an unclean man who betrayed Jesus Christ.
For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.  John 13:11
And both Judas and Joseph Smith betrayed the Lord for money:  Judas for the infamous thirty pieces of silver; and Smith by propagating false truths about Jesus Christ in the name of God, for ready cash in tithes and bank deposits.
The bank eventually collapsed, and lots of people lost lots of money.  There were also numerous rumors of sexual improprieties involving Smith, including affairs with other men’s wives.  These rumors were later effectively validated in 1842, when Smith announced his revelation of God’s commandment to engage in ‘celestial marriage,’ a euphemism for polygamy, which he proclaimed that certain special individuals were permitted to practice, himself being one.  In his revelation Joseph Smith claimed that God commanded that “his people live in plural marriage, and that by doing so they would progress to the highest level of heaven as gods.”
Joseph Smith had as many as thirty wives, ten of whom were married to other men.  He pressured these women, telling them it was the Lord’s will, that he was the Lord’s prophet, and that if they were to please God they had to comply.  He told them that blessings would come not only to them, but to their whole family, and that they would all be blessed by being sealed together in this relationship with the prophet.
Brigham Young, who took up Joseph Smith’s mantle and led three thousand Mormons on the long and harsh migration to Utah, was a staunch advocate of polygamy who had more than fifty wives and produced fifty seven children.  Here are a couple of quotes to give you a glimpse into the mind of the second great prophet of the latter day saints. 
“The only men who become gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.”  Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, volume 2, p. 269
“No man or woman in this dispensation will even into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol7, p. 269
That is false prophets passing bad doctrine down the generations.
In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.  Matthew 15:9
Mormons also believe that marriage is for eternity.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.  Matthew 22:29-30
It is no surprise that practicing a false religion which abused Jesus Christ, and defrauding people of their money, and having carnal relations with other men’s wives, had aroused enough anger in the community that Joseph Smith and his followers were forcibly driven from Kirtland by the middle of 1838.  They continued westward, and tried to settle in Smith’s prophesied ‘promised land’ of Independence, Missouri, but they were met with such violent opposition there that on October 27, 1838, Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs took the extraordinary measure of issuing ‘Executive Order 44,’ or, the Mormon Extermination Order, which read, in part:  “Mormons had committed open and avowed defiance of the law…had made war upon the people of this state…and the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond description.’
The Mormons continued their westward migration, and settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1839, where Joseph Smith had purchased 18,000 acres of land.  That’s a huge tract of land for a man to purchase who worked no trade and had just had his attempt at starting a bank fail.  Since the money the bank took in and lost went somewhere, Smith seems more like a thief than a prophet.
In Nauvoo, the Mormons who had followed Joseph Smith were joined by European converts, and they set out to build a city and create a society in preparation for Christ’s return.  The population grew quickly, and by 1844 had swelled to twelve thousand, which rivaled Chicago.  In Nauvoo, Joseph Smith was described as obsessed with increasing his military and political power.  He scripted the Nauvoo city charter to grant himself greater authority.  He was elected mayor and had himself appointed Chief Justice of the city court.  He was named Lieutenant General of the Nauvoo Legion, an armed militia.  He created a church council of fifty which sought to establish a theodemocracy,’ and to that end the council elected Joseph Smith prophet, priest and king of the coming millennial monarchy (doubtless a reference to Christ’s one thousand year reign after the devil is bound up in Revelation 20).  In 1844 Joseph Smith launched a third party candidacy for President of the United States.
The earthly titles Smith held and the powers he sought were in disregard of Jesus Christ, who taught:  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even Christ.  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  Matthew 23:10-11 
In Nauvoo, Joseph had two major ‘revelations.’  The first was the aforementioned one regarding ‘celestial marriage.’  The second was that of the baptism of the dead, in which he explained to his congregation that God gave Mormons the authority to baptize deceased family members into the church, so that they would be reunited in the bliss hereafter. 
This is yet another Mormon doctrine that is in direct contradiction to that of Jesus Christ, who said:  Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.  Matthew 8:22
There are two prevalent interpretations of this scripture, either of which can be applied to the bizarre Mormon practice of baptism for the dead.  The first is that it means to let the ‘spiritually’ dead human beings bury the ‘physically’ dead.  For their practice of the rite of baptism for the dead, and for the rest of their doctrine, Mormons are indeed ‘spiritually’ dead.  The second interpretation is to take the scripture literally (the interpretation which this author has always believed to be the meaning of the verse).  In this case the Mormons can be considered to tamper with that which Christ forbid.
A fee was charged for the performing of this rite, which revenue generating practice continues in the Mormon church unto this day.  There was a recent scandal in the Mormon church where it came to light that they were using their ritual baptism for the dead to convert dead Jews to Mormonism.  This bizarre twist on their bizarre practice came to light when a request was made to baptize Jewish holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who is still living. 
It is also written in the Scriptures:  And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter:  should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?  To the law and to the testimony:  if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.  Isaiah 8:19-20
Because Mormons contravene the law of Moses, and controvert the gospel of Christ, there is no light in them.  The Bible says so.
When Christ went to the cross it was in complete submission to his enemies, to whom he had done no wrong.  God was glorified.  When Joseph Smith met his death it was as a deluded thing and a power mad bully.  A false prophet was slain.
On June 7, 1844, a man named William Law published the first and last edition of a newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor.  Law was a former Mormon, and in his newspaper he accused Joseph Smith of polygamy and of coercing young women into sexual relationships; and of wielding dictatorial political powers.  The Nauvoo city council quickly declared the newspaper a public nuisance, and on June 10th Smith ordered the city marshal to destroy the newspaper and its printing press.  Residents of surrounding counties were horrified by this act, so contrary to the constitution held so sacred, and there were calls for Smith to be put to death.  Warrants were issued for his arrest on the charge of treason.  On June 18th Smith ordered 5,000 members of the Nauvoo legion to arms and declared martial law.
The governor of Illinois became involved, promising Smith protection in exchange for surrender, and on June 25th Smith and his brother Hyrum turned themselves in to authorities, and were incarcerated in a jail in Carthage, Illinois.  On June 27th a vigilante mob of 200 men attacked the jail.  As they approached one of the nervous jailers informed Smith of what was happening.  Deluded to the end, Smith told the jailer that they were rescuers come to liberate he and Hyrum.  A gunfight ensued—Smith was armed with a pepperbox pistol that someone had given him earlier in the day—and Smith and his brother were shot dead.  God was not glorified; a devil was exterminated.
I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing:  they commit adultery and walk in lies:  they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are of them unto me as Sodom and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.  Jeremiah 23:14

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I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me.  Song of Solomon 1:5
For almost a century and a half from its inception, the Mormon church was shamelessly ingrained with racism.  Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, until 1978, for colored people to be fully allowed into the Mormon priesthood.  And while outwardly they have acquiesced to God, and federal law, it’s difficult to imagine that racism doesn’t dwell to this day in many Mormon hearts.
The foundation was laid with Joseph Smith’s cockamamie fictional history of the righteous Nephites and the wicked dark skinned Lamanites, and as it evolved the doctrine of the Mormons traced the evil black people to the first men. 
The best way to illustrate this is to let their own mouths testify against themselves.
“Cain slew his brother.  Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings.  This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin.  Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race—that they should be the ‘servant of servants,’ and they will be until that curse is removed, and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree.”  Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 7:290
“After the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed.  And why did it pass through the flood?  Because it was necessary the devil should have representation upon the earth as well as God.”  John Taylor, Mormon prophet and third president of the LDS.  Journal of Discourses 23:204
“And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and rebellion.”   The Book of Mormon, Alma 3:6
“The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence.  At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the negroes we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that He placed a dark skin upon them as a curse—as a punishment and as a sign to all others.  He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of the extension of the curse….”  Mark Peterson, LDS Apostle, from an address given at BYU called, Race Problems, As They Affect The Church.
“Cain, Ham and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry.”  Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p.14
Which all means that the Mormon church would not recognize the marriage of MOSES and Zipporah. 
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married:  for he had married an Ethiopian woman.  Numbers 12:1
Having justified themselves by their own tradition, the Mormons went on to become very nonchalant about their racism. 
“Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with black skin and have been denied the privilege of the Priesthood and the full blessings of the Gospel.”  From, The Way To Perfection, by Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth LDS president, from 1970-1972
“There is not a man, from the President of the United States to the editors of their sanctorums, clear down to low bred letter writers in this Territory, but would rob the coppers from a dead nigger’s eyes, if they had the opportunity.”  George Smith, LDS Apostle, from the Journal of Discourses, 5:110
“But let them apostasize, and they will become gray-haired wrinkled and black, just like the Devil.”  Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol 5, p. 32
“I would not want you to believe we bear any animosity toward the negro.  Darkies are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church.”  Look Magazine, October 22, 1963, p. 79
Jesus was surely a darkie.  Unless the angels protected him with sun block everywhere he went in the desert, including the forty days in the wilderness when he was tempted by Satan.  Can you really call Jesus cursed and then hope for his salvation?
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men:  but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  Matthew 12:31
According to the Scriptures we all have the same father—
And call no man your father upon the earth:  for one is your Father, which is in heaven.  Matthew 23:9
—and therefore we are all brothers and sisters.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?   1 John 4:20 
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The Mormon church was dragged kicking and screaming along with contemporary America, gradually renouncing polygamy, while opposing civil rights and equal rights before accepting them.  Even until today their racist and bigoted hearts still periodically reveal themselves.  Boyd Packer, the current president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stated that the three greatest threats to the church were homosexuals, feminists and intellectuals.  “The dangers I speak of come from the gay lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever present challenge from the so called scholars or intellectuals.”  From a talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council, May 18, 1993.
Each year more than 50,000 Mormon missionaries set out on a two year journey to win converts to the faith.  These missionaries are referred to as God’s Army.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  Matthew 23: 15
Today the Mormon church’s greatest love is money.  Over the years of its existence the church’s financial growth was fueled by sacred taxation.  To be of good standing all Mormons must tithe ten percent of their gross income.  Today the church assets are well over thirty billion dollars, and it is the wealthiest church per capita in the United States.  The Mormon church is unusually secretive about the vastness of its wealth and the extent of its holdings.  Most large American religious groups give financial accounting to their members, but the details of the Mormon finances are not revealed even to its members, much less the rest of the world.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Matthew 6:24
The LDS church’s extensive multi-billion dollar business empire includes ownership in media entail newspapers, radio stations, a television station, a publishing and distribution company, extraordinary real estate holdings that include malls, parking lots, office parks and residential buildings, livestock and agricultural interests including citrus, sod and timber, great stock portfolios, agribusiness, mining, insurance, manufacturing, movie production, defense contracting, retail stores and banking.  They built a two billion dollar mega mall in Salt Lake City, and a highly lucrative Polynesian Theme Park in Oahu, Hawaii.  Despite forbidding their own membership to gamble, the LDS church has been heavily invested and influential in the Nevada gaming industry since the great expansion of Las Vegas in the 1950s. 
There is no denying the enormity of the church Joseph Smith founded, and the economic, political, spiritual and cultural power it wields.  And these millions truly believe Joseph Smith to be the great prophet he claimed to be.
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
Joseph Smith once arrogantly stated:  “I have more to boast of than any man had.  I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam.  A large majority of the whole have stood by me.  Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it.  I boast that no man ever did such work as I.”  History of the Church, vol 6, pp. 408-09.
In speaking of the Second Coming of Christ, it is written in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4:  Let no man deceive you by any means:  for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
While of this false prophet’s ridiculous claim Jesus simply said:  the servant is not greater than his Lord.  John 13:16
One final note.  From his youth Mitt Romney was groomed for prominence in this bogus, mammon worshiping church.  He went from missionary to bishop and finally to stake president, serving as the highest ranking Mormon leader in Boston—the equivalent of a Roman Catholic cardinal.