I came upon a tangled web of lies produced by the Church that I had no idea existed. So today we’re taking a look at events that took place at the transfiguration and comparing the Bible with what the LDS Church has to say about it.
I’m certain this won’t be the last discovery on Mormon history I find, but what it does right now is add to the long list of reasons why I am beyond grateful the good Lord plucked me out of my nightmare. Thank You Jesus!
Who was transfigured? Does it matter? What did Joseph Smith teach about it? Let’s begin by looking at God’s inspired word.
Mark 9:2-8; “And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.”
Now this event is rather significant for a handful of reasons so let’s do a quick review. Jesus took three of His disciples (Peter, James and John) up to Mount Hermon with Him to give them a greater understanding of who He was. It was just a few weeks after the time He told them that He would die and be raised to life (Luke 9:22). While they were there praying, He was transfigured with his clothes and face shining with heavenly glory.
When this happened a cloud came down and Moses and Elijah appeared as well. The presence of Moses and Elijah served as a representation of the Law. The Bible tells us that soon after the cloud came down a voice told them to listen to Jesus. It was a sign to them the age of grace had arrived. After the cloud went back into heaven, the apostles looked at Jesus and He had returned to ‘normal’.
The miracle of Jesus’ transfiguration manifested the deity of Christ and also served as a reminder for them when He was resurrected. Because we’re not one of the three from that inner circle of Jesus’ friends at the time, we can only kneel in wonderment and awe thinking about what they must have seen! Can you just imagine? I know it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it.
LDS Version of Events
Listed below are several examples of Joseph Smith refuting what the Bible says. The statement that not only was Jesus transfigured, but John, Peter and James were transfigured as well is found in each reference.
Ensign, ‘I Have a Question,’ October 1973; “‘The priesthood is everlasting. The Savior, Moses, and Elias [Elijah, in other words] gave the keys to Peter, James, and John on the Mount when they were transfigured before him. The priesthood is everlasting—without beginning of days or end of years; without father, mother, etc.” – Alma P. Burton, professor of Church history and doctrine, Brigham Young University
General Conference, ‘The Keys that Never Rust,’ October 1994– JAMES E. FAUST
John the Baptist Transfigured
Now, as if producing erroneous info about the transfiguration wasn’t bad enough, the Church thought it’d be a good idea to incorporate even more heresy from their own writings as well. In Joseph Smith’s inspired version of the Bible (JST) he noted the following in Mark 9:3 –
JST Mark 9:3; “And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses, or in other words, John the Baptist and Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.”
And because this wasn’t confusing enough, the Church also refuted its own teachings from the JST not just once, but twice –
Ensign, ‘I Have a Question,’ April 1983; “Elder Bruce R. McConkie gives us the following explanation about John the Baptist being on the Mount of Transfiguration:
“It is not to be understand that John the Baptist was the Elias who appeared with Moses…Rather, for some reason that remains unknown—because of the partial record of the proceedings—John played some other part in the glorious manifestations then vouchsafed to mortals. Perhaps he was there, as the last legal administrator under the Old Covenant…(Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965, 1:404.)”
Bible Dictionary, Elias; “The curious wording of JST Mark 9:3 does not imply that the Elias at the Transfiguration was John the Baptist, but that in addition to Elijah the prophet, John the Baptist was present (see Mark 9:4 note a).” – LDS.org
Forging ahead in Mormon history and their fixation with the transfiguration, we find even more accounts of people being transfigured. Thus far we’re up to five people…
3 Nephites Transfigured
3 Nephi 28:15; “And whether they were in the body or out of the body, they could not tell; for it did seem unto them like a transfiguration of them, that they were changed from this body of flesh into an immortal state, that they could behold the things of God.”
Joseph Smith Transfigured
Liahona, ‘I Remember Joseph,’ December 2008; “Emmeline Blanche Wells wrote: “In the Prophet Joseph Smith, I believed I recognized the great spiritual power that brought joy and comfort to the Saints. … The power of God rested upon him to such a degree that on many occasions he seemed transfigured. … The glory of his countenance was beyond description.” 2”
Brigham Young Transfigured
On 8 August 1844 Brigham Young addressed the Saints on the topic of who should succeed Joseph Smith. While he spoke he was transfigured in the eyes of many and took on the voice, the gestures, and, to some, the features of Joseph Smith. The following are first-hand accounts from those who were witnesses to this event. They are listed in alphabetical order with the age of the individual in August 1844.”
Moses was Transfigured
Moses 1:11; “But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.”
The info we provided here is merely a small representation of the articles written and stories the Church has come up with on this subject. Looking at all the evidence provided by the Church we’re left with no other option but to disregard every Mormon teaching on this subject. Just looking at the rabbit trails of what they’ve produced has boggled my brain and given me a heavy heart.
The only reliable reference in this scenario is the Bible. It hasn’t changed in two millennia and has continued to operate in the same manner it did from the first time the Lord revealed Himself to man in Genesis.
What we do know and can rely on is God – all the time it’s always God Who stands firm with no agendas, no bait and switch games, and no other mission than to see you saved.
Isaiah 40:8 says;
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
Isaiah 40:8 should always be kept in the forefront on our minds when reading any claim touted by those who say they have insight about God that no one else has proclaimed.
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18