I originally posted this commentary in a response to South Park's photo announcing the Season 7 Battle Royale Winner, "All About Mormons"; this episode includes a typically nice, perfectly likeable Mormon family sharing the "true" story of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon which is why it's just too damn funny. I then shared the photo on my profile along with my commentary. I thought the commentary merited rescue from the certain doom of Facebook obscurity, so I added it to Facebook Notes on 23 July 2013.
Why the Mormons Matter
by Matt Wallace
This page was last modified on 7 August 2013.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormon Church, serves a useful function in that it provides a contemporary example of how a new religious tradition can be established by grafting obvious nonsense onto an ancient religious tradition to appropriate its authority. The Mormons assert that The Book of Mormon, their holy book which was first published in 1830 having been "brought forth" from the hidden depths of a New York hillside written in an otherwise unknown ancient language on mysterious metal plates which were returned quite conveniently after being "translated" into English by the "Prophet" Joseph Smith who was the only person allowed to do any of these things by the Godly messenger Moroni, is the "Third Testament" of the Christian Holy Bible which they also accept as their religious text. Thus Mormonism provides a readily accessible template for studying the origins of Christianity which began almost 2000 years ago as a Near Eastern mystery religion cobbled onto the ancient Hebrew religious traditions. Much as the Mormons have done more recently with their religious texts, the early Christian fathers assembled an obviously back-written, self-serving, self-justifying holy book, "The New Testament," and attached it to the Tanakh, the Bible of the Jews, which the Christians condescendingly refer to as "The Old Testament" in their Holy Bible. If not for our experience with Mormonism, perhaps the truth of Christianity would be forever lost in the shimmering mirage of an imagined past. My lack of God bless Joseph Smith and the Mormons!