- The God Makers II
"The God Makers II "is an
anti-Mormonmovie produced by Ed Deckerand Jeremiah Films. The film claims to be an exposé of secrets of the MormonChurch. The film is a followup to Decker’s earlier film "The God Makers".
Overview of the film
The introductory segment contains the following warning:
Due to the nature of the subject matter, this program is recommended for mature audiences. All the following information pertaining to Mormon theology can be verified using Mormon publications.A photo of the
Salt Lake Templeis shown twisting and distorting. A voiceover by Decker comments on his earlier films "The Godmakers" and "Temple of the Godmakers", stating that the earlier films “caused mayhem within the Mormon empire,” and suggests that his films caused the church to “modify several so-called unchangeable sacred doctrines” as a result.
Decker introduces himself with the statement that he was an active member of the Mormon church for 19 years.
Financial power of the Mormon church
The Mormon church is described as a huge business enterprise. John Heinerman, Mormon author of the book “Mormon Corporate Empire” describes various business ventures that the church is involved in. [Heinerman is also the author of the book ‘’People in Space’’] Heinerman states that 25% of the church’s holdings are in agribusiness. John L. Smith, Director of ‘’Utah Missions, Inc’’ states that the men at the top of the “Mormon empire” are extremely wealthy and hold a lot of the corporate power in the country.
Decker states that
Joseph Smith Jr.“actively enjoyed at least 27 other wives” and describes his first plural wife as a “barely pubescent teenaged relative.” Decker relates how the cessation of this practice by the church resulted in the formation of many fundamentalist splinter groups who continue the practice today. A series of interviews follows with men and women from some of these fundamentalist groups as they relate their experiences with polygamy.
Thelma Greer, identified as a “Former Mormon” and the author of the book "Mormonism, Mama and Me," talks about her great-grandfather
John D. Lee. [Lee is infamous for his involvement in the Mountain Meadows massacre, for which he was eventually executed.]
A man identified only as “Art, Polygamist, Mormon Fundamentalist Prophet and Leader” is interviewed as he stands in front of the LDS church office building in
Salt Lake City.
Lillian LeBaron Chynoweth relates her experiences living in a polygamous fundamentalist group. Chynoweth, identified in the film as “Lillian, Former Mormon Fundamentalist,” was the daughter of
Ervil LeBaron. LeBaron was the leader and prophet of the Church of the Lamb of God, although the name of the church is not identified in the film and is instead referred to by Chynoweth as the “Mormon Church.” Chynoweth states that the group was sincere in practicing “all aspects of Mormonism” and describes her father as controlling every aspect of their lives through revelation.
James R. Spencer, identified as a “Former Mormon” and the author of the book, "Beyond Mormonism", states that any “honest” Mormon needs to be polygamous. [Spencer runs the anti-Mormon web site www.mazeministry.com. Spencer has authored or co-authored the books "Mormonism’s Temple of Doom", "Whited Sepulchers:The Hidden Language of the Mormon Temple", "Have You Witnessed to a Mormon Lately?", "Beyond Mormonism: An Elder’s Story", and a novel called "Holy Murder: Polygamy’s Blood."]
A practice referred to as “
blood atonement” is discussed.Decker states that the concept of blood atonement “glorifies the atoning power of the blood of the Mormon sinner,” and refers to statements regarding “blood atonement” made by LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkieis his book " Mormon Doctrine", claiming that McConkie contradicts himself on a single page.
Chynoweth relates the account of the murder of her husband, her brother-in-law, and his eight-year-old daughter by her half-brothers on the 27th of June, the 144th anniversary of the death of Joseph Smith Jr.. She states that their names were “on the list to be atoned for” because her father believed that they were “traitors to God’s cause.” At the end of Chynoweth’s interview, she states that if anything happens to her that the “Mormon” church will be responsible. Immediately following this statement, a text overlay states that shortly after the interview, Lillian was found dead in her home of a gunshot wound.
The Los Angeles Times (September 20, 1992) listed her death as “suicide.” It should be noted that in "The God Makers II", Lillian LeBaron Chynoweth refers to the “Mormon Church” as being responsible for the killings. The film does not make clear that the “Mormon Church” referred to by Chynoweth is actually the “Church of the Lamb of God.” The film also makes no mention the suicide and instead infers that Chynoweth was killed.
Changes to the Book of Mormon
Decker refers to “4000 changes” in the Book of Mormon since it was first published. In addition, Decker states that church leaders have ”covered up thousands of historical and archeological errors,” while contrasting this with the statement that the Bible is “historically and archaeologically” accurate. Interspersed with Decker’s comments are statements from David Breese, author of the book "Know the Marks of a Cult".
pirit wives and “celestial sex”
The film include segments of the animation video from "God Makers", which depicts God the Father surrounded by numerous, blonde, identical “spirit wives” who are caring for “spirit children.”Greer states that Mormon men are promised that they will have “unlimited eternal sex” and that the Mormon woman is promised a life of “eternal pregnancy.” Greer also states that if Mormon men do not marry in a Mormon temple that “they will be castrated” and “made eunuchs” as the result of “an operation” that will take place after they reach heaven. Decker later follows up on this theme by stating that the goal of every Mormon man is to “enjoy everlasting, celestial sex with thousands of goddess wives.”
BYU Jerusalem Center
Chuck Sackett, identified as “Former Mormon” and author of the book "What’s Going on in There?" appears outside of Jerusalem dressed in Mormon temple clothing. Referring to the BYU Jerusalem Center, Sackett states that he wants to warn the Jews about the “deception and misrepresentation that was employed in building this Mormon edifice” and claims that the true purpose of the structure is to proselytize the Jews. Sackett also makes a number of statements that he claims represent Mormon beliefs, including the following:• a claim that Mormons believe that they are the only “true Jews” on earth today.• a claim that Mormons believe that they all come from the tribe of Ephraim. [ This statement appears to be related to lineage statements that are made in the Mormon
Patriarchal Blessing, in which members are “adopted” into a lineage of Israel. Although many are said to be from Ephraim, other lineages are also claimed.] • A statement that, upon baptism, Mormons believe that their blood actually changes to the blood of Israel. [This appears to be based upon a statement attributed to Joseph Smith, in which he stated that the result of baptism was to “purge out the old blood, and make the convert actually of the seed of Abraham.” cite book| last=Smith| first=Joseph F| title=Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith| year=1977| p=150] Church doctrine states that through baptism members become part of the house of Israel, however there are no claims of any sort of physical change taking place. The video accompanying this statement does not show a baptism, but instead shows two men in dressed in white, one of whom is making hand motions over the other.
New Age practices
The film shows what are said to be “New Age” related practices, including a woman wearing a pyramid on her head and a man who appears to be having a seizure. During this segment Heinerman states that “people of the new age movement are often more open to the truths of Mormonism.”
Goddess wives and the temple
Decker states that, “The goal of every Mormon man is to become the duplicate of the Mormons' concept of God: to reign over planets and solar systems and enjoy everlasting, celestial sex with thousands of goddess wives.” [The source of Decker’s repeated assertions of “endless celestial sex” is not specified. The line first appeared in the original movie "
The God Makers".] Decker claims that temple attendance is required to achieve this goal, but that 75% of LDS members will never enter a temple. He also suggests that the requirement to wear “sacred temple underwear” places the LDS members under bondage.
William Schnoebelen, listed as “Author, Former Mormon, Former Satanist,” appears in front of the
Los Angeles Temple. Schnoebelen states that he was a former “high priest of Satan” who attended the temple, and that he was “ultimately very satisfied by it because [he] thought that this was in fact a profound satanic initiation ceremony.” Both Schnoebelen and Decker equate Mormon temple practices with Satanism. Regarding these allegations of satanic practices, Decker states that the “LDS church has officially acknowledged that we were right,” referring to a “secret internal report” allegedly written by LDS general authority Glen Pace.
Decker discusses the Mormon ordinance of
baptism for the dead, stating that this is “when the dead are called up to convert to Mormonism,” and that the dead will “seek out” those who enter the temple.
Decker claims that Joseph Smith Jr. was a sorcerer and fortune teller and that “ [i] t is therefore quite natural to surmise that Smith’s followers would be involved in the same practices that he advocated.” Decker also claims that Smith was convicted of sorcery and “crystal ball gazing or fortune telling” by courts in New York. He states that Smith traveled to the hill Cumorah annually to “conjure up the spirit” of the angel Moroni from the dead. A picture of a decomposed skeletal body in a coffin is shown as Decker suggests that there is “strong evidence” that Smith had to dig up the body of his brother Alvin and bring part of his body to the hill in order to obtain the
Decker claims that Smith used “blood sacrifices in his magic rituals” in order to locate treasure. Decker quotes C. R. Stafford.
Decker states that Smith was found to be in possession of a “magic talisman” at the time of his death that would bring him “wealth, power and success in seducing women.” [This talisman is also discussed by Sandra Tanner in the 2007 video "Search for the Truth".]
Allegations against church leaders
A dying AIDS patient named Charles Van Damme is interviewed. Van Damme claims that he arranged women and booze for church leaders (including
Gordon B. Hinkley). These comments are interspersed with video of several people carrying protest signs near Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Commenting on the lack of news responding to these allegations, Decker states that the Church executed “an extraordinary media blackout” and that they “stopped the hottest story of the ’80s.” Decker further states that the “Mormon church” has the “ability to control virtually all media programming.”
Responses to the film
The film "The God Makers II" provoked a number of responses from both supporters and critics of Mormonism, with both groups claiming severe inaccuracies in the information presented Harv|Introvigne|1994|p=154. [Says
Massimo Introvigne, "the second book and film are worse than the first: they include an explicit call to hatred and intolerance that has been denounced as such by a number of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish organizations." ] Among the critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that challenged the film were Jerald and Sandra Tanner, despite Sandra Tanner’s involvement in the first "God Makers" film Harv|Tanner|Tanner|1993. When Decker was denounced by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, he went so far as to accuse them of being in the pay of the LDS Church and even of being "demonized" themselves. Decker and his associates offered to exorcise the Tanners’ demons, and expressed great sadness when they refused Harv|Introvigne|1994|pp=166-167.
The film provoked bomb threats against LDS meetinghouses and death threats against members Harv|Peterson|Ricks|1998|pp=4-5 fn. 6.
Church involvement in business enterprises
One LDS reviewer of Heinerman’s book points out that his description of the church’s involvement in “agribusiness” is highly misleading, as it implies the production of food for profit, rather than acknowledging that the food grown on church owned farms is produced for the purpose of donating it to the needy through the Church Welfare System Harv|Jacobs|1985.
BYU Jerusalem Center
A segment in the film focuses on the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern studies located on
Mount Scopusoutside the old city of Jerusalem. The center was constructed in 1984, and teaches curriculum concerning Near Eastern history, Hebrew and Arabic language, and the Gospels in the New Testament. Part of the agreement which allowed its construction was that students are forbidden to proselytize. If a student breaks this agreement, he or she is sent home. The center was closed during the period between 2000 and 2006 due to security concerns as the result of the Second Intifadaand reopened in 2007.
Lillian Chynoweth’s description of the “blood atonement” administered by the followers of Ervil LeBaron is briefly described in
Jon Krakauer’s book " Under the Banner of Heaven". Although not explicitly named in the film "The God Makers II", the list that Chynoweth referred to was called ‘’The Book of the New Covenants’’, and was written by Ervil LeBaron before his death in prison. The document contained a list of individuals that LeBaron believed deserved to die. Upon receipt of the list by several of his sons, they proceeded to administer this punishment Harv|Krakauer|2003|p=266-67.
With regard to the statement of Lillian Chynoweth’s death after the completion of the film, "The God Makers II" does not make it clear that she committed suicide in 1992, and instead leaves the impression with the viewer that she was murdered as the result of the “blood atonement” threat. The Tanners take issue with the manner in which this is presented in the film, stating
This statement certainly suggests to all those who see the video, that Lillian Chynoweth was murdered in cold blood. What the producers of The God Makers II fail to tell the viewer is that Lillian took her own life. The Los Angeles Times for September 20, 1992, listed Chynoweth’s death as ‘suicide’ Harv|Tanner|Tanner|1993.
The Tanners, who do make the claim that the Mormon Church practiced “blood atonement” in the 19th century, state, “Unfortunately, The God Makers II has presented the material concerning blood atonement in a way that has caused many people to believe that the Mormon Church is still involved in the practice” Harv|Tanner|Tanner|1993. The LDS church claims that this doctrine was never practiced in the 19th century church at all, and formally repudiated the allegations of this practice in 1889. [cite web| last=Roberts| first=Brigham H| title=Blood Atonement| url=http://www.angelfire.com/sk2/ldsdefense/blood.html| accessdate=2007-03-08]
Allegations of sorcery and necromancy
Joseph Smith was never “convicted” or even tried on charges of sorcery, crystal ball gazing or fortune telling. In 1826 a written complaint was filed against Smith as a “disorderly person.” This resulted in what is referred to as the “1826 trial” of Joseph Smith (see
Early life of Joseph Smith, Jr.). The charge was “glass looking,” in reference to Smith’s use of a stone to assist in the search for treasure during the time that he worked for Josiah Stowell. Contradictory accounts of the trial exist, and the outcome is not specified Harv|Hill|1972.
The allegation that Joseph Smith dug up and took with him a part of his brother Alvin’s body to the hill Cumorah is unconfirmed.
Fawn Brodiein her biography of Smith: " No Man Knows My History" accepts Joseph Smith Sr.’s story on face value where he states that the family, “heard a rumor that Alvin’s body had been exhumed and dissected. Fearing it to be true, the elder Smith uncovered the grave on September 25, 1824 and inspected the corpse” Harv|Brodie|1971|p=28.
The story of the exhumation of Alvin’s remains gained new life with the “discovery” of
Mark Hofmann’s forged Salamander Letter. The forger is believed to have borrowed heavily from the affidavit of Willard Chase, published in the book " Mormonism Unvailed" in 1834. Chase states that the angel told Joseph Smith Jr. to bring his brother Alvin with him to obtain the plates Harv|Howe|1834|pp=242-243. Alvin died on November 19, 1823, well before Smith’s second visit to the hill on September 22, 1824. Although Chase’s statement makes no further comment regarding Alvin, Hofmann’s forgery adds a claim that Smith said to the angel, “he is dead shall I bring what remains but the spirit is gone.” This statement reintroduced speculation regarding the exhumation of Alvin’s body for the purpose of satisfying the requirements for obtaining the plates. Jerald and Sandra Tannerpoint out that the only known source of such a requirement is the discredited Salamander Letter and suggest that Decker relied upon this letter as the source of his claim Harv|Tanner|Tanner|1993|p=7.
Author Dan Vogel, in his book , speculates that the allegation is in fact true and that Joseph Smith Sr. stated there was a rumor, or even started it himself, merely to create a pretext for the exhumation. Vogel suggests that the family would not have had to dig up Alvin’s grave in order to see if it had been tampered with. Further, accepting Chase’s testimony in "
Mormonism Unvailed", Vogel states that the timing of the exhumation (September 25, close to the equinox during which Lucy Mack Smith states Joseph Jr. made his visits to Cumorah) further suggests it was part of an attempt to secure the golden plates Harv|Vogel|2004|p=56-7.
authorlink=Richard Lloyd Anderson
title=The Alvin Smith Story: Fact and Fiction
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
place=Salt Lake City, Utah
No Man Knows My History
Alfred A. Knopf
id=ISBN 0679730540 .
title=Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial: New Evidence and New Difficulties
Brigham Young University
author-link=Eber Dudley Howe
url = http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/1834howb.htm .
title=The Devil Makers: Contemporary Evangelical Fundamentalist Anti-Mormonism
title=(Review of) The Mormon Corporate Empire
title=Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
id=ISBN 0385509510 .
authorlink=Daniel C. Peterson
authorlink2=Stephen D. Ricks
title=Offenders for a Word: How Anti-Mormons Play Word Games to Attack the Latter-day Saints
Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies(FARMS)
id=ISBN 0934893357 .
Given1=Jerald and Sandra
authorlink=Jerald and Sandra Tanner
title= Problems in the Godmakers II
Utah Lighthouse Ministry
place=Salt Lake City, Utah .
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4816055229487356909&q=godmakers&hl=en The God Makers II] on Google Video
* [http://www.jeremiahfilms.com/products/TG2D The God Makers II DVD produced by Jeremiah Films]
* [http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no84.htm "The God Makers II: Under Fire From Within and Without] , Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Salt Lake City Messenger, April 1993.
* [http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/nccj.htm Charges Against the God Makers by the NCCJ: A Response] Ed Decker's response to criticism of "The God Makers II".
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