Puritans vs. Mormonsby Rit Nosotro
Contrast a Puritan colony with Mormons under Smith and Young, What is the result of authority based on revealed absolutes?
The Puritans based their society on the foundation of the Bible which led to a virtuous society while the Mormons based their society on so called “divine revelations” which resulted in some bizarre and unbiblical practices.
-Mormonism was started by Joseph Smith
-The Puritans sought to purify church from Catholicism
-Mormonism is based on divine revelation and the Book of Mormon
-The Puritans followed a strict interpretation of the Bible
Early Puritans and Mormons both strove to reform what they saw as corrupted religion. Puritan leaders wanted to purify the church from any form of Catholicism. Mormon leaders, (compared to Islam) sought to add divinely revealed truth to existing theology. Puritans truly believed that they were on the correct path in every thing they did, as did the Mormons. They both developed under authoritarian hierarchy which tried to blend church and state. Puritans, with their Calvinistic doctrine of election, and Mormons, with the teaching of being set apart, believed they were uniquely chosen to propagate their beliefs. Both groups also experienced persecution from the religious majority. With this common sociological experience, what were the differences? It would be intriguing to listen to leaders from each group debating the basis of their authority.
One issue to hear would be on the practice polygamy, or marriage to more than one wife. Joseph Smith, who founded the movement, "was a polygamist with at least 27 wives (some say over 60 wives)." 1 For these and other practices, Smith was "murdered by a mob while he was held in jail in Carthage near Nauvoo, on June 27, 1844," 3 His successor, Brigham Young, also had over 20 wives and at least 47 children by the time he became the Governor of the Mormon colony in Utah. "In 1846, Mormons established the provisional state of Dereret, with Young as governor. . .but with the announcement in 1852 that polygamy was a basic tenet of the church, a public outcry prompted scrutiny by federal authorities." 2 Young was removed as Governor but retaliated with a "Mormon War" which resulted in the mass murder of 150 people who were thought to be against the Mormon church and the practice of polygamy.
Unlike the Mormons, however, the Puritans followed the Biblical teaching that leaders should be "the husband of but one wife" (1 Tim. 3:2). "Marriage was for joy - to escape 'burning' in hell; men and women were created different for each other's pleasure." 4 The Puritans, as was typical of the times, had large families. Puritans saw marriage and children as a gift from God.
Puritans were a "peculiar people" in the sense of Titus 2:14. "For them, 2 Corinthians made it clear: 'Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.'" 5 However, unlike the Mormons who believed they were the only true Christians, Puritans held the true gospel out to anyone. They held "distinctive emphases on four convictions: (1) that personal salvations was entirely from God, (2) that the Bible provided the indispensable guide to life, (3) that the church should reflect the express teaching of scripture, and (4) that society was one unified whole." 6 This provided a strong Biblically based community.
"According to Mormon writings. . .on a day in 1820, Joseph was praying in the woods when he received a vision from God the Father and Jesus. It was revealed to Joe that the church was in apostasy and he was the chosen one to launch a new dispensation." 7 This new 'dispensation' became known as "The Church of Jesus Christ," later known as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," known today as "The Church of the Latter Day Saints." Joseph was given a vision three years after the first one, telling him where to find "The Book of Mormon" that was written on gold plates. The Mormon Church believes that the writing on the plates is the true Bible despite the wild mistranslation of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Mormons made their own colonies away from the outside world, so they would not be persecuted. In this way they made their own system of government, until the west in which they had settled was bought up by the United States. Even after that, travel from the east to the west was not necessarily easy so this made it possible for the Mormons to convert new comers, or if not convert them, simply let them become used to the Mormon way of life. When the US government was finally able to keep up with the goings on in the west, they found it difficult to remove the fact that the Mormons had their own governor and set of laws. This resulted in the fact that today some of the western states have laws supporting polygamy, where as the eastern states do not. The Puritans too had fled persecution, only from the Church of England, which helped push them to the remote wilderness of the Plymouth Colony in 1620. They grew up under the respectable leadership of men like Richard Mather, John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, and Roger Williams. "Since religion was closely connected with the Puritan political structure, the congregational system spilled over into their civic institutions, which gave us the famous 'New England town meeting,' a form of pure democracy, though the church itself was not democratically organized." 8
Though the circumstances of these two groups seem to be similar, that appearance is merely an illusion when considering the basis of their claims to authority. Puritans rely solely on the Bible as the closed revelation of God. Conversely, Mormons use their unique translation of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Some portions of these scriptures have been supplanted by more acceptable revelation. For example, a year after the US Supreme Court ruled that polygamy did not fall under the right of religious protection, the leaders received a revelation in 1890 that polygamy was no longer official church doctrine. Likewise, after years of civil rights pressure, the Mormon leadership final announced in 1978 that they had been divinely instructed to allow black men in the priesthood.
Change is part of the Mormons' evolution to become Gods. Unfortunately for the Mormons, Revelations 22:18-19 says, "I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which 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 from the tree of life, and out of the holy city which are written in this book." By adding to the Bible, Joseph Smith and all those who believed him have done just what God's word says not to. History, archeology, and linguistics have discredited the Book of Mormon yet the LDS disregard this to their own destruction. Puritans have had no need to update the absolute Word of God.
The author did a good job of integrating a Biblical worldview by using appropriate scripture where it was needed. To improve their essay the author could’ve expounded upon the doctrines of Puritanism and include something about their belief that they would never know that they were saved until they died.
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