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Do ancient writings confirm Mormonism

Written by: Computers for Christ    Posted on: 04/25/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

        DO THE NAG HAMMADI WRITING AND DEAD SEA SCROLLS                         CONFIRM MORMONISM                               or                   IS EINAR ERICKSON CONFUSED ?

    In recent years, Mormon lecturer, Einar C. Erickson, has given numerous talks to Mormon church groups concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi writings, Mandean Ginza and related Middle East finds. These lectures have been taped and widely distributed for use in converting the uninformed to Mormonism. Mr Erickson states that the writings discovered in the vicinity of Nag Hammadi, Egypt, are one of the greatest confirmations of the "truthfulness" of the Mormon church that anyone would find anywhere.     On one of his tapes, Mr. Erickson boldly declares that: "These documents and others leave without doubt evidence positive even on the best rules of evidence that an attorney might be able to assemble, that this gospel [i.e. the Mormon gospel] is true. You get no credit for faith anymore." Mr. Erickson attempts to convince his listeners that the writers of the Nag Hammadi were the true Christians, (based upon his allegation of their similarity to Mormonism) and that all others had slipped off into apostasy.     However; the Nag Hammadi writings are of "Gnostic" origin which were written during the first to fourth century A.D. The Gnostic heretics did cherish both the Old and New testament Scripture, but re-interpreted them in terms of a mythological Gnostic Redeemer. Gnosticism gave rise to the writings of a number of totally spurious apocalyptic books, false gospels and epistles that incorporated their own mysticism.     Gnosticism was a movement that vigorously contended with Orthodox Christianity for supremacy. Writings by the early Church Fathers show how widespread and influential Gnosticism was; and it was combatted as a lethal threat to the proclamation of the Gospel. The bishops pointed out the great gulf between Biblical Christianity and Gnosticism, even though the Gnostics made use of Biblical text. It is obvious that Paul, the Apostle, knew of the false ideas of Gnosticism, and spoke out against such doctrines several times in the Scriptures.     The Gnostics believed in the supreme being as an undescribable God. He is invisible, incomprehensible, and dwells unbegotten in eternal peace. Some names used to describe God and to stress His transcendence were "Father of All", "The Unapproachable God", "The Unknowable". Such a God could not possibly have direct contact with the material world; therefore, He does so through intermediates, each one answerable to the other. Each intermediate in descending order is less divine and more earthy as the chain nears the material world.     Mr. Erickson spellbinds his listeners when he tells them that the Nag Hammadi writings confirm the Mormon doctrine of the Heavenly Mother! What he fails to tell them is that this Mother God of the Nag Hammadi is the "Holy Spirit." Certainly this is in direct conflict with the Mormon concept of a Mother God, because in Mormon doctrine, the Holy Spirit is a male. The supreme being has a female counterpart which emanates from Him. She is known as "Mother of All" or "The Holy Spirit."     Other emanations that come forth from the Supreme Being in pairs are called AEONS; the lowest Aeon being "Sophia Akhamoth", she was so full of passion to understand or know God that she fell and was placed outside the Pleroma, God's heavenly dwelling. Because of her desire, she becomes fertile with a formless monster. This monster (Yaldabaoth, Samael or SATAN) is the Demiurge or inferior god who created this material world and brought forth man upon it.     According to the Gnostic, all matter is evil; therefore, only an inferior being could have created it. Satan is the creator-god of this earth and of man, and is an evil god. To the Gnostics, Satan is Jehovah of the Old Testament! After Jehovah (Satan) creates man and breathes life into him, he creates Eve. The demonic forces see the beauty of Eve, and proceed to rape her. Through this act, she conceives Cain and Abel.     Mr. Erickson often refers to the Hypostasis of the Archons of the Nag Hammadi and being direct parallel to the Garden of Eden scene of the Mormon Temple Ceremony. However, he fails to inform his listeners that the Hypostasis of the Archeons tells of the demons raping Eve! Nor does he point out that the serpent in the garden is really the Holy Spirit coming to give Adam and Eve the "true knowledge." He neglects to mention to his listeners that the "god" who comes into the garden to ask Adam and Eve what they have done is not the "Heavenly Father" but is Satan the arrogant Archon, the evil god. In this instance, Mr. Erickson is, at best, mistaken about the facts -- a fault which reappears throughout his lectures and tapes.     The authors of the Nag Hammadi writings taught a form of re- incarnation, and that marriage was evil, because it is of the earth. They believed the begetting of children was from Satan, since it merely increases the number subjected to the evil angels. Resurrection of the flesh is denied by these Gnostics, since earthly flesh is in itself evil, and can have no part in the spiritual scheme of God. All of these concepts are not confirmations of Mormon doctrine, but are direct contradictions of it!     Mr. Erickson, looking elsewhere in the Middle East for "proof," tells his audiences that the writings of the Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran are (also) a confirmation of Mormonism. His "evidence" for this is that they speak of baptism for the dead, baptism by immersion, priesthood and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. What he fails to mention to them is: according to the Mandaeans, Jesus was a rebel and a heretic who led men astray by betraying secret doctrine and making religion easier. The Mandaean sacred book tells of how Jesus perverted the Scriptures, and that Jesus told the Jews that He was the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Furthermore, the Mandaean book accuses Jesus perverting baptism by baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.     The Mandaeans were baptized many times throughout their lives. They baptized infants; and if an infant died before or during this baptism, a clay or dough image was made which they then baptized in proxy for that infant. Proxy baptism was also done for an adult who died before getting his last minute washings before death. In this case, an individual that looked like the deceased was baptized in proxy for the dead person.     The Mandaeans also had a ceremony of "eating for the dead" to give the deceased nourishment for his travels to the heavenly spheres. The Mormon people do not baptize infants, do not eat for the dead, nor do they have last minute washing rituals before death as the Mandaeans did. The Mormon proxy baptisms have less in common with the Mandaean baptisms than they do with Catholic infant baptisms, last rites ritual, and prayers for the dead. Clearly, the Mandaean concepts of Jesus and baptism are in no way similar to Mormon doctrine.     Those holding the Mandaean priesthood had to have a clean family history for a number of generations, and meet strict physical and mental qualifications. They had to be without the slightest physical blemish, and be of pure Mandaean blood. A man who was circumcised, impotent, or a eunuch could not be a priest for the body must be sound, pure, and perfect. If a man was already a priest and he received an injury which destroyed his manhood or robbed him of a limb, he could no longer officiate as a priest. There are no such restrictions within the Mormon priesthoods. The only things in common with the Mormon priesthoods and baptism and that of the Mandaean are the very words themselves!     Mr. Erickson makes false claims about the Dead Sea Scrolls community, as well. He states that those at Qumran baptized at the age of eight, just as the Mormons do. This is just simply NOT the case. They trained young men for their celibate monastic order for about ten years before they were baptized into their ranks. This baptism never took place before the age of twenty. Mr. Erickson states that the people of Qumran were essentially the first "Mormons." However, the people at Qumran didn't even believe in marriage! Rather they adopted in young men from other Essene groups who married only to beget children. By contrast, in Mormonism, marriage is absolutely essential to each member's salvation in the Celestial Kingdom of God.     Mr. Erickson claims that the Apocryphal books should be used as scripture. However, even the Mormon's own "latter day" revelation disagrees with him. In the introductory heading of Section 91 of the Doctrine and Covenants, it declares specifically that the apocryphal books are NOT to be accepted as scripture. Beyond that built-in contradiction, lies the fact that one need only to read some of these apocrypha for himself to quickly discover their singular lack of inspiration.     For example, two "Gospels" portray the life of the young Jesus, allegedly covering the "silent" years skipped over in the Bible. The book, "The First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus" portrays Jesus as a spoiled despot who curses another child for bumping into him, and a schoolmaster who was going to discipline Him for refusing to answer a question. After these two people are killed at Jesus' command, Joseph tells Mary, "we will not allow him to go out of the house; for every one who displeases him is killed." In Thomas' "Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ", we see Jesus causing the withering of hands, blindness, and again, death. This is clearly not the Jesus Christ of the Bible!     The conclusion is inescapable -- the claims by Mr. Erickson (and consequently other Mormons) that the Mormon doctrine is "exonerated" by the findings in the Middle East is totally without foundation. Mormon doctrine is not confirmed by these different religious sects, it is contradicted by them! It is apparent that these claims are just another chapter in the long history of false archeological boasts made by Mormons in the past.

NOTE: A full and completely documented study of Mr. Erickson's scholarship regarding the above topics has been written by Mrs. Melaine Layton entitled: The Truth About the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Writings in Reference to Mormonism. For further information, please write to the office of Computers For Christ - San Jose.

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