ÆÆ DO THE NAG HAMMADI WRITING AND DEAD SEA SCROLLS
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
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
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 ÜfÜ
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 ÜfÜĆarrogant 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
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 ÜfÜĆwho 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
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 ÜfÜĆ(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
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 -
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