The Truth About "The Truth about the God Makers"
By Ed Decker
I have been asked to defend my book, The God Makers against charges made against it by Gilbert Scharffs, in his book, "The Truth about The God Makers."
A recent charge, by one of our Christian critics, was that my silence indicated my inability to respond to a devastating rebuttal. The truth is that, having read some portion of Scharffs' book, I personally would find the exercise too laborious and boring.
Perhaps my greatest fear is that, if I do respond, LDS book store shelves will soon be filled with some great volume aptly entitled "The truth about the truth about the truth about the God Makers".....and priced accordingly.
In the preface to his book, Scharffs says that during his research he kept asking himself, "Why spend time doing this when I could be out earning money on a summer job, playing golf with a son or fixing a leaking pipe around the house?" ( Scharffs, page xvi).
He shouldn't lament too deeply. I agree that I'm being catty when I say that I'm sure that when his royalty checks for the $17.00 answer to a $7.00 book came in, he could have easily hired the plumbing done.
But, I know the feeling he describes. I'd rather be taking a load of garbage to the Hobart dump than wade through what I consider to be a cleverly orchestrated but groggy attempt at discrediting The God Makers. Looking at Scharffs' academic credentials, I have to believe he was a bit more preoccupied with that lost golf game than he would have imagined.
With having qualified my waning interest in this project before it even begins, let me cover several points with regard to TTATGM
One of the most common problems with the book is that Scharffs continually misquotes GM and then defends the inaccurately quoted quotes.
I'll list just a few and that's all. If someone wants to challenge my "broad brush of accusation without substantial documentation"(as it is described by Sharffs), let them pay me $20.00 an hour and I'll crank out about 50 hours worth.
Scharffs: page 3: (Disrespectful, inflammatory, etc.)
"Reading the GM, I was disturbed when it charged that such blessings performed by Latter-day Saints are satanic and that by giving them I was placing my "children in occult bondage" (249:27)! The book further told me that the blessings that I as a father and church leader give are like "fortune telling" (249:13).
Now, when a critic reviews a book and puts quote marks around a reference to the book, along with the reference location, as Scharffs does with the above, you might expect to find the words enclosed in the quotes. Not so!
The page in question is talking about the patriarchal blessing and mentions that it was like...having one's fortune told. Later, talking about the mysticism associated with such forms of blessings, it mentions that "similar experiences are common among numerous occultists.
While we do speak about the general laying on of hands by regular church members in an earlier portion of the chapter, Scharffs has extrapolated what he wanted to out of the pages and placed false quote marks and incorrect references to make it fit his own form of offense and seem authentic. This is either blatant stupidity or bold deceit.
Scharffs, Pages 3, 4:
"I am told that I am really wearing "magic underwear" with occult, paganistic markings that "allegedly give it protective powers" (146:11)"
The referenced sentence, in context, said, "Mormons are obsessed with secrecy, which plays an important part in their religion. They even wear secret underwear with occult Masonic markings that allegedly give it magic protective powers."
In this case, Scharffs rewrote the line before the quote, omitting reference to the Masons, which he denies exists later in the book, and changed secret underwear to magic underwear, perhaps knowing that "magic underwear" would be far more inflammatory to his readers than the actual words in The God Makers. While I guess we can give him the benefit of the inventive rewrite outside the quote marks, he even misquotes the few words of the sentence he did put in proper quote marks.
It is clear that in the very chapter where he is trying to show that the GM was inflammatory, he has used a few dishonest techniques of his own to fan his own fires of righteous offense in his LDS readers.
Scharffs, page 155: quotes GM, page 105, lines 15-18:
"Ouija board, crystal ball, pendulum... or other divination devices...were commonly used by early Mormon Apostles," It is claimed without documentation."
First, let's again get the actual words right within the quote and watch very carefully where Sharffs put in his little dots to break up the quoted sentence. "There are too many examples to be ignored of people who began with make-believe, playing with a "Ouija board, crystal ball, pendulum, dowsing rod, or other divination devices (several of which were commonly used by early Mormon Apostles) without even believing in such devices, but were drawn into the occult as a result."
Why did Sharffs again omit words within a quote? In this case, the dowsing rod and the comment in brackets beginning with the words, several of which would expose the reader to that very commonly known area of early Mormonism and magic that dealt with the divination device called the dowsing rod.
Joseph reported receiving special revelation knowledge in April, 1829 that this was one of Oliver Cowdery's special gifts, "Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working the rod." (BOC, 7: 3.)
I would assume that Sharffs just didn't want to open up that particular bag of worms, or rods...as it were.
Again, the problem isn't whether Smith and Cowdery were into water witching. It is that Scharffs is selecting only what he wants his readers to feel upset about.
Scharffs' further comment that there was no documentation is another straw man. The misquoted sentence was part of the introduction to a section dealing with Opening the door to Demonic Power. The section is amply documented. The aside(in brackets) about some of the items being in use in the early days of the Church came from both general knowledge and other sections in preceding pages of the GM book. Scharffs cannot deny the statement. LDS author, Michael Quinn documented this area to the fullest extent in his book,
Early Mormonism and the Magic World View.
Scharffs, page 185: Quotes GM, page 135 lines 24-37.
"The North Visitors' Center portrays Adam and Eve kneeling before an altar that contains fruits, vegetables, and a sheaf of wheat, the very offering that God rejected" The authors feel that this is more evidence to tie the LDS Church to Satan."
In the next paragraph, Scharffs complains, "The authors, however, fail to point out that the North Visitors' Center statue does include a lamb." Yet, on page 135 of the GM, the very sentence immediately following his quote states, "The lamb that Abel offered and which was accepted of God is also shown in the statue."
An interesting affair, inasmuch as another charge of Scharffs' is found on page 154 of his book, "Again, the authors ignore evidence that is contrary to what they want the reader to believe even when it is on the same page of the source they were quoting." A little Goose with the Gander, Gilbert?
Scharffs, page 72. Quoting GM page 11, "Everything in the following pages has been thoroughly researched and fully documented"
Another classic line: Scharffs responds, "Hopefully the reader will note how many sweeping generalizations are not documented, have no footnotes and are from non-Mormon and unofficial Mormon sources." First, how many, Gilbert, where, what examples, why do you use such sweeping generalizations?
The God Makers is supported by 606 footnotes, quoting over 850 sources of very specific information. It's more than a fair effort. Give me a break, Gilbert.
Try these Sweeping generalizations on for size:
Scharffs, page 209: "Plural marriage, authorized at times, certainly has ample biblical support"
page 11: "This charge has been discarded by knowledgeable historians."
page 12: "Although 'amateur LDS archaeologists' have overstated the case, there is much internal and external evidence for the Book of Mormon"
page 13: "LDS history teaches that it was an unidentified angel of the Lord."
No greater work
Scharffs' page 309: Quotes GM page 220:
"[Joseph Smith considered] (see: he does understand how to add to or adjust a statement that is in quotes, after all!) himself to be greater than any person who ever lived, including Jesus Christ."
Scharffs then goes on to quote D&C 135:3 to show that we misquoted the statement and maligned poor Joseph once again.
However, once again, Scharffs plays games with the reader. He [must have] purposely placed a period after the words, Jesus Christ, and omitted the comma and the very next part of the SAME sentence in the GM," ("I have more to boast of than any man had"), footnote 27..."
Friends, that is just plain yellow bellied selective dishonesty. The truth about The Truth about the God Makers is that it is still not worth my time to respond to it or your time to read it.
In the long pull, Scharffs proves our basic charges. Remember that the God Makers was a book written to show that many of the base doctrines of Mormonism were heretical teachings inconsistent with Biblical truth and Orthodox position. The name of the book deals with on the most blatant anti-Christ doctrines. the teaching that men can become gods.
In just a few of Scharffs' responses, page 10: he doesn't deny it, he justifies it "Latter-day Saints believe each individual has the potential to become a god...To strive to become a god brings a selfless and altruistic attitude... Latter-day Saints must achieve perfection before becoming gods"
Scharffs, page 353:
He [correctly] quotes GM page 246, lines 4-8. "Continuously around the world, hundreds of times each day in secret ceremonies before thousands of Mormon temple patrons, all Christian ministers are ridiculed and slandered as absolute fools who are hired by Satan to deceive their congregations."
Sharffs then goes on to say, "This description is badly flawed. One minister is portrayed, but not with any indication that he represents all ministers. He is portrayed as a sincere seeker of truth who is misled by his beliefs. When further truths are presented to him, he embraces them."
That is an outright lie and misrepresentation of both the actual ritual and the very intent of its portrayal, in the ceremony. Every temple-going Mormon knows that Scharffs is lying. Let the actual ceremony speak for us!
In the LDS temple ceremony, when Lucifer discovers that Adam is "seeking a messenger", he interprets it to mean that Adam needs the religious instruction necessary to pass back into immortality. The Mormon Lucifer then tries to deceive Adam into receiving false doctrine and training from a Protestant minister who is portrayed as a dimwitted but willing hireling of Satan, ineffectively spouting what is poorly represented as true Christian theology.
The dialogue between Adam, Lucifer, and the Protestant minister is significant in that it demonstrates a clear mockery and rejection of orthodoxy. Every patron who passes beyond this point must consciously reject the very fundamentals of Christianity.
"Brethren and sisters, this represents the Telestial Kingdom, or the world in which we now live."
Adam, on finding himself in the Lone and Dreary World, builds an altar and offers prayer and these are the words he uttered:
(Adam) "Oh God, hear the words of my mouth. Oh God, hear the words of my mouth. Oh God, hear the words of my mouth."
(Lucifer) "I hear you. What is it you want?"
(Adam) "Who are you?"
(Lucifer) "I am the god of this world.
(Adam) "You? The god of this world?"
(Lucifer) "Yes. What do you want?
(Adam) "I am looking for messengers."
(Lucifer) "Oh, you want someone to preach to you. You want religion, do you? I will have preachers here presently.
Lucifer goes off:
(Lucifer) "Good morning sir."
(Preacher) "Good morning! A fine congregation."
(Lucifer) "Yes, they are very good people. They are concerned about religion. Are you a preacher?"
(Preacher) "I am."
(Lucifer) "Have you been to college and received training for the ministry?"
(Preacher) "Certainly! A man cannot preach unless he has been trained for the ministry."
(Lucifer) "Do you preach the "orthodox" religion?"
(Preacher) "Yes, that is what I preach."
(Lucifer) "If you will preach the orthodox religion to these people and convert them, I will pay you well."
(Preacher) "I will do my best."
(Lucifer) "Here is a man who desires religion. He is very much exercised and seems to be sincere."
(Preacher) "I understand you are inquiring after religion."
(Adam) "I was calling upon Father."
(Preacher) "I'm glad to know that you were calling upon Father. Do you believe in a god who is without body parts and passions? Who sits on the top of a topless throne? Whose center's everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere? Who fills the universe and yet is so small that He can dwell in your heart? Who is surrounded by millions of beings who have been saved by grace, not for any act of theirs but by his good pleasure. Do you believe in this great being? "
(Adam) "I do not. I cannot comprehend such a being."
(Preacher) "That is the beauty of it. Perhaps you do not believe in the devil, or that great hell, the bottomless pit where there is a lake of fire and brimstone into which the wicked are cast, and where they are continually burning but are never consumed."
(Adam) "I do not believe in any such place." (Preacher) "My dear friend, I am sorry for you."
(Lucifer) "I am sorry. Very, very sorry. What is it you want?"
(Adam) "I am looking for messengers from my Father."
Adam is saved in the nick of time by Peter, James, and John, who prove they are "true messengers" by the use of a secret handshake and sign. No one seems to wonder how they came to have physical bodies several thousands of years before they were born! The patrons are exhorted by Adam to "give strict heed to their counsel and teachings and they will lead you in the way of life and salvation!" Note that not once do they instruct Adam in the Biblical doctrine of salvation.
All this is a prelude to each patron being drawn into swearing a series of special "covenants" and blood oaths that bind him/her into satanic bondage.