Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

A Comparison of Mormonism and Christianity

Evidence that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church or LDS) has a Christian Foundation

Compiled by Cal Fullerton

How can the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Salt Lake City, Utah, live up to its claim to be a Christian organization when they teach so many eccentric and extra-biblical doctrines?

It is because the LDS does adhere to the essential message of the New Testament — not only the teachings that we all must adhere to for salvation in Christ (for example, “God exists”), but more significantly, teachings that effectuate, or bring about, salvation.

It is also because all their false teachings concern nonessential issues. Non-essentials are principles that may be important for spiritual growth but on which someone may be in error without losing their status as a forgiven, born-again, blood-bought, heaven-bound child of God.

The vital question is, “Does the Mormon Church encourage people to make Jesus Christ their personal Lord and Savior?” The answer is unequivocally yes.

Please take the crash course of fast facts below that show the Bible’s essential doctrines in juxtaposition to corresponding LDS doctrines. Key words are in dark red.

Bible
“‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’” (Acts 16:31).
Mormon Church
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel. It is necessary to our salvation” (Gospel Principles [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997], 117).“Salvation cometh to none . . . except it be through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Mosiah 3:12, Book of Mormon, quoted in Gospel Principles, 117).
Bible
“Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:5).
Mormon Church
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: . . . second, Repentance (Joseph Smith, The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1:4).
Bible
“‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness’” (2 Timothy 2:19).
Mormon Church
“We must forsake our sins.” (Gospel Principles, 124).
Bible
“And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).
Mormon Church
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: . . . fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith, 1:4).
Bible
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14 KJV).
Mormon Church
“It is the Spirit that is the most effective teacher in any given situation. . . . We should . . . carefully listen for and record the unspoken impressions given by the Holy Ghost” (Daniel K. Judd, “Nourished by the Good Word of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 94-95). “The adversary labors to dull our sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit. . . . When we invite the Holy Ghost to fill our minds. . . . we feel strengthened, filled with peace and joy. We possess spiritual energy and enthusiasm.” (Elder Keith K. Hilbig, “Quench Not the Spirit Which Quickens the Inner Man,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 37- 38).
Bible
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.” (1 John 4:15).
Mormon Church
“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ” (Articles of Faith, 1:1).
Bible
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).
Mormon Church
Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ)” (Elder David B. Haight, “The Sacrament–and the Sacrifice,” Ensign, Apr. 2007, 16).
Bible
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (1 John 4:2).
Mormon Church
“‘The Word was made flesh’. . . . the Word is Jesus Christ” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981], 10). “‘[Jesus] shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay’” (Mosiah 3:5, Book of Mormon, quoted in Gospel Principles, 63).
Bible
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).
Mormon Church
“And behold, he shall be born of Mary . . . she being a virgin . . . who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God” (Alma 7:10, Book of Mormon). “Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary” (Gospel Principles, 63).
Bible
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Mormon Church
“I know that he lives. . . . He is our Lord and our God” (President Joseph Fielding Smith, quoted in “He Lives! The Witness of Latter-day Prophets,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 10).
Bible
“God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25).
Mormon Church
“The Savior atoned for our sins by suffering in Gethsemane and by giving his life on the cross. . . . We accept Christ’s atonement by placing our faith in him” (Gospel Principles, 73, 75). “He [Jesus] took our sins upon himself” (Gospel Principles, 19).

Many of the Bible verses above tell us that you will be saved if you believe or do what the verses say. Therefore, the corresponding and agreeing LDS quotations give us evidence that the LDS is Christian.

If certain other Mormon teachings seem to contradict what has been spelled out here, our next move should be to interview LDS representatives–such as missionaries–and ask them, “Which is it? You can’t believe both.”

I can tell you that their other teachings do not contradict what they say in the above quotations–but don’t trust me! The Bible says, “Don’t put your trust in mere humans” (Isaiah 2:22, NLT). I suggest you do your own investigation and trust the Lord Jesus to guide you with His Holy Spirit.

Insurance Round

The following comparisons of Mormon beliefs to Bible verses constitute an insurance round–confirmations of the evidence already presented. For years, I personally confirmed and reviewed the Christian core of the LDS over and over again. I had to do this because my well-meaning fellow evangelicals as well as the devil himself tried to cause me to doubt what God had revealed to me.

Bible
“For by grace are ye saved
through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God”
(Ephesians 2:8 KJV).
Mormon Church
“The Apostle Paul taught that we
can’t save ourselves; we need
the Lord’s grace: [and then they
go on to quote the very Bible
verse I’ve quoted] ‘For by grace
are ye saved through faith; and
that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest
any man should boast’” (no author,
“We Believe,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 56).

 

Bible
All have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Mormon Church
“Except for Jesus Christ . . .
everyone who has lived upon the
earth has sinned” (Gospel
Principles, 122).

 

Bible
“For what I received I passed on
to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures, that
he was buried, that he was raised
on the third day according to the
Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Mormon Church
“The fundamental principles of
our religion are the testimony of
the Apostles and Prophets [of
the LDS], concerning Jesus
Christ, that He died, was buried,
and rose again the third day, and
ascended into heaven; and all
other things which pertain to our
religion are only appendages to
it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Smith
, quoted in Spencer J. Condie, “The
Fall and Infinite Atonement,” Ensign,
Jan. 1996, 22).

 

 

To fully understand LDS people, we should know that they often redefine common Bible terms. This is why even direct quotations from official LDS publications can be deceptive and often are deceptive when anti-Mormon non-Mormons generate the quotations. I’ve done my best to avoid any such deception in the comparisons above (my knowledge of “Mormonese” enables me to do this).

 

 

Sources

Joseph Smith, The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, translated by Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981) is used alongside the Bible as scripture.

All Scripture quotations above, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Ensign is an official magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gospel Principles (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997) is used in Sunday school classes.

James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981). James Talmage was one of the twelve apostles of the Church.

ORIGINAL POSTING SITE: http://evangelicalsandmormonsforjesus.com/fast-facts.htm

A Quadruple Combination of the (scriptures) of...

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Salvation and Works

Does the LDS church have everything 100% correct? Of course not. Does any denomination or church have everything 100% correct? Of course not.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:26

I believe.

Regarding the idea of works being necessary:

1 John 1:7-10
1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

John is instructing us about the obligation we have due to receiving atonement through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness does not remove from us the obligation to keep the commands of God. The law of God is not done away once we are under the blood of Jesus Christ. His death paid for our past sins. Though His death will pay for sins committed after our original forgiveness, we are urged not to break God’s laws. Sinning without serious regard and deep appreciation for Christ’s death brings us into danger of committing the unpardonable sin (Hebrews 10:26, 28-29). A disciplined and robust effort to obey God’s commands witnesses to Him the depth of our appreciation for the grace He gives through Christ.
———
Consider the words of Christ in Luke 9:23-24:

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
———
If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

–The words of Christ in Matthew 19:17.
———
The truth is that we are saved by the grace of Christ which is offered to us through a covenant, a two-way contract: if we accept Christ and do our part, following and obeying him, then Christ does everything else, forgiving us, cleansing us, healing us, and giving us power to return to the presence of the Father – not because we earned it, but because we accepted the terms upon which he offers his infinite grace and mercy. Even in the days of Moses, the Lord proclaimed that God “shows mercy to those that keep his commandments” (Deut. 5:10), a principle that has not changed. The mercy or grace offered through a two-way covenant with Christ is implied in the Third LDS Article of Faith, and in the teaching of the prophet Nephi who wrote in 2 Nephi 25:23:

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

The Church’s emphasis on personal responsibility and the need for self-disciplined obedience may seem to de-emphasize the role of Christ’s grace; however, for Latter-day Saints, obedience is but one blade of the scissors. All of LDS theology also reflects the major premise of the Book of Mormon that without grace there is no salvation: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). The source of this grace is the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ: “Mercy cometh because of the Atonement” (Alma 42:23).

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

The Baptist Version of The Book of Mormon

The Baptist Version of The Book of Mormon

Protestant Doctrines within the Book of Mormon

by Lynn Ridenhour, Southern Baptist Minister

I’m a licensed Southern Baptist minister and I embrace the Book of Mormon.

That is, I believe the truths recorded in it. No, I’m not a convert to the Mormon faith, nor am I a member of any particular “spin-off” restoration group such as the RLDS (Reorganized Latter-day Saints), Hedrikites, or Strangites. I’m still a Baptist minister. To be exact, I’m “charismatic Baptist.” That is, I still embrace the “born again” experience. I still believe you’re saved by grace. By the shed blood of Christ. Salvation is by faith alone in His finished work on Calvary. I still believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. I believe and embrace those cardinal doctrines of Protestantism.

And you know what?…

I still believe the Book of Mormon too!

I know. I can hear you now. “…A charismatic Baptist minister who believes the Book of Mormon?! Impossible. That’s like a Protestant Pope…” No, it’s not. It’s not a contradiction.

The two go hand in hand, really–Protestant doctrine and the Book of Mormon. They’re not at odds. The Book of Mormon is filled with Protestant cardinal doctrines, believe it or not. In fact, I discovered, the Book of Mormon is more “Baptist” than the Baptist hymnal in places. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s so. I read the Book from cover to cover and found as a Baptist minister, there is absolutely nothing in it that contradicts the Bible.

For example, the book uplifts the blood of Christ (Mosiah 1:118), declares that salvation is only by God’s grace (2 Nephi 7:42), defends the grand theme of salvation (Mosiah 1:108), and proclaims that salvation comes only through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ (Mosiah 3:8,9). Other themes such as repentance, atonement by Christ’s blood, redemption, and forgiveness run like a scarlet thread through the book as well (Alma 3:86, Helaman 2:71, Alma 13:13, Mosiah 2:3,4). Thus, our “tongue ‘n’ cheek” title, The Baptist Version of the Book of Mormon. I’m telling you, the grand themes of Protestantism are found recorded through and through. From cover to cover.

A Word About My Background…

Reared in a small conservative Baptist church back in the hills of the Ozarks, I was taught with strong convictions that Mormons were no different from Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, or Armstrong followers. They all sooner or later knocked on your door. We were instructed by our parents to “…let none of them in the house. And don’t buy their materials…” All were cults. Certainly the Mormons were not within mainstream Christianity.

I was taught that the Book of Mormon was a lie. We have the Bible and no man was to add to the scriptures lest his soul be damned. And I was taught that the rapture could occur any minute. Establishing a literal kingdom on this earth was pure nonsense. And I believe my convictions were typical. Most protestant/pentecostal Christians today share similar sentiments.

So what are we faced with concerning the Book of Mormon? Is it…

Adding to the Bible or Duped by the Canon

“…You don’t really believe in that book, do you?” Or “…you surely don’t believe the Book of Mormon is equal with the Bible, do you?…”

These are questions my friends now ask me, wondering if I haven’t erred from the truth.

What’s my response?…

I have chosen to follow the style of the Master. When asked a probing question, He often responded with one. The Pharisees once asked Him about John the Baptist, and…

“…Jesus responded, ‘I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you…’” –Matt.21:24

When my friends ask, “…do you believe in the Book of Mormon?” I respond, “I will answer that, but first I would like for you to answer my question, ‘Why do you believe in the canon of scripture? Would you give me your reasons?’”

Most can’t. They’ve never thought it through.

That’s really the issue, you know—not whether or not I believe in the Book of Mormon, but whether or not we as Christians are to embrace the concept of canonization. For that’s the perception here—that by embracing the Book of Mormon I’ve violated scripture’s canon. My friends are convinced I’ve added to the Word of God. I’m convinced we’ve been duped by the canon.

To get to the point—not many evangelical Christians realize (I didn’t), the concept of canonization became popular with the Church around the time of Constantine, a period when the Church became infiltrated with nationalism and worldly teachings. Closing the canon to 66 books was the outcome of man’s wisdom and man’s heresy. Canonization has its origin in worldly tradition, is not found in the Bible, and was not practiced by the early Church. And I’m aware—that’s a shocker.

A bit of trivia–God would not end His book with the numbers ’66.’ That’s one “six” short of 666—the number of the Anti-Christ. God’s number has always been “seven,” not “six.”

I have discovered, there are two extra-biblical teachings propagated by Protestantism that must be dealt with before most of us will take the Book of Mormon seriously: 1) the doctrine of canonization, and 2) the teaching of the rapture. Both are cardinal doctrines of Protestantism and both are extra-biblical teachings. That is, neither is supported by the Word of God.

The other Protestant myth…

The Rapture

“…Joseph Smith can’t be taken too seriously because he believed in a literal city of Zion.” I must say, that doesn’t sound so strange these days. Many evangelical Christians no longer embrace the rapture.

What about the rapture? Where did the doctrine come from? Did the early saints believe in it?

For eighteen hundred years the saints did not believe in the rapture, pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, or mid-tribulation. The teaching is new. In the light of church history, it’s new. Again, perhaps that’s a shock to some of us.

I find it very interesting—both the rapture theory and the restoration of the gospel came forth in the same year: 1830! When the Lord moves in the earth, the Devil usually attempts his imitation of the real.

For instance, which does the Bible teach: removal or restoration?

Joseph Smith, Jr. was called to restore primitive Christianity to the Church in 1830 and Margaret MacDonald, a fourteen year-old Scottish girl, went into a trance that same year. She described a vision where she saw the saints leaving the earth at the return of the Lord. Her “revelation” occurred while living in Port Glasgow, Scotland. The vision was recorded in two books written by R.N. Norton, M.D., and printed in London, England in 1861. Two Brethren ministers, Edward Irving and John Darby, popularized her vision. The Plymouth Brethren accepted the vision as valid and the rapture doctrine “took off” during prophetic meetings at Powerscourt House in Ireland.

Irving’s views influenced C.I. Scofield, whose Bible notes popularized the new theory among fundamentalist/evangelical Christians in the West. The rest is history. However, as I said, many fundamentalist/evangelical Christians today have second thoughts about the doctrine, having re-evaluated their position. They no longer believe Christians will be “raptured out” of the tribulation.

There they are—two Protestant myths that must be dealt with before one is likely to take the Book of Mormon seriously: the doctrines of canonization and the rapture.

Let’s suppose…

…that God still speaks today—that the canon is still open—and that there’s not going to be a removal of the saints but a restoration of His creation (which includes His people), then perhaps the message of the Book of Mormon is not so “far fetched” after all.

Speaking of the message of the Book of Mormon, what exactly is its message? What is its central theme? Restoration of the covenants in these latter days. That surprised me, blessed me, and witnessed to me.

No, the book is not meant to be used as a tool to proselyte you into some weird sect or cult. No, it’s not meant to be used to “make a Mormon” out of you. The Book of Mormon is the most nonsectarian book I’ve ever read! It’s meant for Catholics, for Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Charismatics, Seventh Day Adventists, for Baptists, Pentecostals…you name it. It speaks to all.

I’ll say it again. The central message of the Book of Mormon is—restoration of the covenants in these latter days! And that message is meant for all God’s children.

“…For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have been taken away…” –I Nephi 3:168,169

Its Central Theme

Let’s explore the central theme of the Book of Mormon—restoration of the covenants. Somehow our generation has overlooked the obvious: the Bible is a covenant document!

And what’s a covenant?

It’s the missing revelation among God’s children, among the church at large. That’s what it is. And how sad. Like Mephibisheth, the majority of today’s Christians do not know they have a covenant with the King. And as believers we don’t miss the covenant because we don’t know we have one. We have no idea—we were destined to sit at the table with the King.

Like in King Josiah’s time (II Kings 23), “covenant” has been forgotten among us. I would say—since the early 1800s we’ve lost the revelation. We’re a generation without a covenant, without a mandate, without dominion. Yes, today’s Church, by and large, has taken away “…many covenants of the Lord…”, has taken away from the gospel “…many parts…”

Let me give a brief prophetic history of the church age. John speaks of different ages in his book of Revelation. Seven churches represent seven approximate time periods. For example, Ephesus represents that period approximately 29 AD to 100 AD. Smyrna represents 100 AD to 300 AD. Pergamus, 300 to 350 AD. Thyatira, 350 to 500 AD. Sardis, 500 to 1500 AD, the dark ages. Philadelphia, 1500 to 1830 AD, the Reformation. And the Church at Laodicea, 1830 to present—the age of the lost and forgotten covenants of the Lord.

Please consider that last point—we’re living in an age of “…the lost and forgotten covenants of the Lord.”

Selah—ponder that for a moment.

The Laodicean age—no real commitment to covenants and contracts. The fruit of the Reformation (sectarianism) changed the concept of biblical salvation “oh so” subtle among the majority of Protestants. And in the process, the covenants were lost. Protestantism for the past 150 years has preached salvation by decision-making, not covenant-keeping. That’s a caricature of the real thing. “…Invite Jesus into your heart,” “…Make a decision for Christ,” are buzz words of the modern Protestant movement. The problem is—you don’t make a “…decision for Christ.” You enter into a covenant with Him. You make a covenant with the King of the universe that begins in time but lasts throughout eternity. There’s a world of difference between entering into a covenant and making a decision. One is binding throughout eternity; the other, more times than not, is mere mental gymnastics.

You say, “Ridenhour, you’re just playing with words…semantics.” No, I’m not. The implications are far deeper than a mere play on words.

The Book of Mormon is a revelation of the covenants being restored among His people in these latter days. When a people sign a contract they act differently (especially if the contract is with God!). They weigh the consequences. In these latter days we will again begin to know what it means to sign a contract with the Lord of Hosts, and act accordingly. A revelation of biblical salvation will return to his people. Praise His name.

In other words, the central message of the Book of Mormon is—to repent and come unto Christ, which means to establish a covenant with Him. And that message is coming to light in these latter days. And that’s why I embrace the Book of Mormon. Our generation knows very little, if anything, about establishing a covenant with Christ. Protestantism doesn’t teach it. Unfortunately, most of us are products of “cheap grace” and “decision-making” Sunday School preaching. Hosea described a people who were “…half baked” (Hosea 7:8). Like a cake not turned. Sadly, my generation fits the bill.

Listen to the words of the ancient prophet.

“…Behold, I [the Christ] have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin; therefore whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive; for of such is the kingdom of God.” –3 Nephi 4:51

To make sure we understand…

Scriptural salvation is entering into a personal covenant with Him; thereby coming unto Christ for all our temporal and eternal needs and wants. The contract is binding throughout eternity while effectual in time.

Let’s go on…

Back to the title of our pamphlet, “The Baptist Version of the Book of Mormon.” Setting aside the title’s “tongue ‘n’ cheek” tendency, there is an element of truth I’m getting at. As I said earlier, having read the Book of Mormon through as a Baptist minister, I was astonished at how often I kept running into Protestant themes. Themes such as: the plan of salvation, salvation by faith in Christ, salvation by grace alone, repentance, the gifts of the Spirit, the filling of the Spirit, sanctification, justification by faith, forgiveness and redemption. I could go on.

I kept thinking as I was reading, “…wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were some piece of writing available that listed all these themes from the Book of Mormon.” I searched and searched for such a work and never found it. (I’ve noticed, since becoming a part of this wonderful restoration movement, there are very little, if any, writings concerning the restoration written to “non-restoration” saints.) So I decided, I would write to non-restoration believers. Make available materials on the restoration to our Protestant, Pentecostal, Catholic brethren. Hence, another booklet.

What I’m going to do for the remainder of this booklet is list various Protestant themes taken from Book of Mormon scriptures. If I seem a bit repetitious, it’s deliberate. I want you to get the full impact of the spirit of the wording. And my prayer is—may the Spirit of God bear witness to your spirit as you read.

First, Book of Mormon scriptures on the…

Born Again Experience

I was delightfully surprised to find so many “born again” scriptures in the Book of Mormon. For example…

“…For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold, I am born of the Spirit. And the Lord said unto me, Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men, and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; Yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God…” –Mosiah 11:186-188 (all scriptures quoted from RLDS 1908 version)

That verse, I must say, sounds so “Baptist.” And I believe every word of it.
“…And now I say unto you, that this is the order after which I am called; yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren; yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; Yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you, the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again; Yea, thus saith the Spirit, Repent all ye ends of the earth, for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand; yea, the Son of God cometh in his glory, in his might, majesty, power and dominion…” –Alma 3:85-87

“…Now I say unto you, that ye must repent, and be born again: for the Spirit saith, If ye are not born again, ye can not inherit the kingdom of heaven…” –Alma 5:24

“…after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God…” –Mosiah 11:190

“…Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? ..” –Alma 13:49

“…Yea, and from that time, even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost…” –Alma 17:22

“…my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God…” –Alma 17:21

“…and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceeding great joy in the fruit of my labors; for because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God…” –Alma 17:23

“…Now my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me, which maketh these things known unto me: for if I had not been born of God, I should not have known these things…” Alma 18:6

Author’s Comments:

One of my favorite hymns of the early restoration saints is: YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

A ruler once came to Jesus by night,
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain
“Ye must be born again.”

“Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again,
I verily, verily say unto thee
Ye must be born again.”

–W.T. Sleeper

One other thing. I discovered, Joseph Smith meant exactly what I meant when he used the phrase “born again.” He wasn’t saying one thing and meaning another; that is, he wasn’t playing with semantics. I found the above scriptures to be so comforting to my spirit. So believable. So “…plain and precious” to the soul.

Here’s another Protestant theme…

Plan of Salvation

“…he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations. O how merciful is our God!…” –Alma 14:38

“…For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of salvation?…” –Jarom 1:3,4

“…if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partook of the tree of life, he would have lived for ever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; Yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated…” –Alma 19:85,86

Plan of Redemption

“…Now if it had not been for the plan of redemption, which was laid from the foundation of the world, there could have been no resurrection of the dead…–Alma 9:42

“…if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life, they would have been for ever miserable, having no preparatory state; And thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated…” –Alma 9:44,45

“…And they began from that time forth to call on his name; therefore God conversed with men, and made known unto them the plan of redemption, which had been prepared from the foundation of the world…–Alma 9:49

“…God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; For on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God…” –Alma 9:52,53

What blessed scriptures. What a blessed theme—the plan of redemption!

“…But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid,) saying: If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine only begotten Son…” –Alma 9: 54

“…he expounded unto them the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world…” –Alma 12:119

“…And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures, from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state, and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name…” –Alma13:45

“…I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance, and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might be no more sorrow upon all the face of the earth…” –Alma 15:53

“…therefore, only unto him that has faith unto repentance, is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption. Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save…” –Alma 16:217,218

What a verse!

“…I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time, and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God…” –Alma 16:227,228

“…Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people, as well as unto their children?..” –Alma 19:26

“…And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside,) as soon as they were dead, their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord…” –Alma 19:92

And now we turn our attention to one of the most central and cardinal Protestant doctrines of all…

Salvation

“…And then at that day, will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation?..” –I Nephi 4:20

“…And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand, Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said, Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught. And Alma said, If thou believest in the redemption of Christ, thou canst be healed. And he said, Yea, I believe according to thy words. And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying, O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk…” –Alma 10:95-100

What a powerful passage!

“…Yea, even that ye would have so much faith as even to plant the word in your hearts, that ye may try the experiment of its goodness; and we have beheld that the great question which is in your minds, is whether the word be in the Son of God, or whether there shall be no Christ. And ye also beheld that my brother has proven unto you, in many instances that the word is in Christ, unto salvation…” –Alma 16:203,204

“…these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles by the gift and power of the Lamb; And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation…” –I Nephi 3:185,186

“…And then at that day, will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation?…” –I Nephi 4:20

“…Yea, and all the earth shall see the salvation of the Lord, saith the prophet…–I Nephi 5:256

“…I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer: for thou hast beheld, that in the fullness of time, he cometh to bring salvation unto men…” –II Nephi 1:63

“…For the Spirit is the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free…” –II Nephi 1:65,66

“…Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say, O Lord, I will praise thee for ever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation…” –II Nephi 3:50

“…Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord, JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation…” –II Nephi 9:133,134

Sure sounds like Isaiah!
“…For there is nothing which is good, save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil, cometh from the devil. And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth, ye will be saved…” –Omni 1:45-47

“…For behold as in Adam, or by nature they fall, even so the blood of Christ atoneth for their sins. And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given, nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent…” –Mosiah 1:115,116

“…But men drink damnation to their own souls, except they humble themselves, and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent: For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been, from the fall of Adam, and will be, for ever and ever; But if he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint, through the atonement of Christ, the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come, when the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people…” –Mosiah 1:118-121

Sounds like some good ole Baptist preaching to me!

“…For behold, if the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time, has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state; I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long suffering towards the children of men, And also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord…And there is none other salvation, save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved…” –Mosiah2:8-9,12

“…There is no other name given, whereby salvation cometh, therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God…” –Mosiah 3:11

“…And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand, Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said, Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught. And Alma said, If thou believest in the redemption of Christ, thou canst be healed. And he said, Yea, I believe according to thy words. And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying, O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk…” –Alma 10:95-100

Again, what a powerful passage!

“…Yea, behold, I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven, save it be this Jesus Christ of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved…” –II Nephi 11:39

“…And I pray the Father in the name of Christ, that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom, at that great and last day…” –II Nephi 15:15

The Lord Jesus Christ

Like the Bible, the central theme of the Book of Mormon is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are over 160 passages in the Book of Mormon that speak of the Lord Jesus Christ. There were 22 men named in the Book of Mormon who saw Christ. Some form of Christ’s name is mentioned on an average of every 1.7 verses. The New Testament mentions a form of Christ’s name on an average of every 2.1 verses. The name of the Savior appears nearly 25 percent more frequently in the Book of Mormon than in the New Testament. When we realize that a verse usually consists of one sentence, we cannot on the average read two sentences in the Book of Mormon without seeing some form of Christ’s name.

“He is Lord” rings loud and clear from its pages like a London cathedral choir harmonizing on a Sunday morning. The sound is resonant throughout the book’s pages. The Spirit’s witness is there. That same Jesus I discovered in the Bible is also present in the pages of the Book of Mormon. Praise be to His holy name!

I mention but a few of the many passages that speak of our blessed Savior.

“…And according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” –II Nephi 11:36

“…Yea, behold, I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven, save it be this Jesus Christ of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved…” –II Nephi 11:39

“…And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also, that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God; and that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost…” –II Nephi 11:78

What a blessed verse.

“…And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers. And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God…” –II Nephi 12:82,83

“…I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell…” –II Nephi 15:7

I have always liked this verse. One of my favorites, for sure.

“…Wherefore, we search the prophets; and we have many revelations, and the spirit of prophecy, and having all these witnesses, we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus, and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea…” –Jacob 3:7

“…And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things, from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary. And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men, even through faith, on his name…” –Mosiah 1:102,103

“…We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things, who shall come down among the children of men…” –Mosiah 2:4

“…And I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come; yea, the Son, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world; yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name…” –Alma 3:83,84

“…And according to the spirit of prophecy which was in him, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who should come to redeem his people from their sins…” –Alma 4:10

“…And it came to pass that there were many who died, firmly believing that their souls were redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ; thus they went out of the world rejoicing…” –Alma 21:74

“…O remember, remember, my sons, the words which King Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world…” –Helaman 2:71

“…I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ…that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls…” –III Nephi 2:103

“…And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” –III Nephi 2:109

“…As many as were converted, did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed…” –III Nephi 3:63

“…Behold I am Jesus Christ, the son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name…” –III Nephi 4:44,45

That name which is above every name, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is found throughout the pages of this blessed book—the Book of Mormon.

On to another central Protestant doctrine…

Repentance

“…And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they can not be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, hath spoken it…” –II Nephi 6:48-50

“…For behold, I say unto you, That as many of the Gentiles as will repent, are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent, shall be cast off; For the Lord covenanteth with none, save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel…” –II Nephi 12:77,78

“…And the Father said, Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my beloved Son…” –II Nephi 13:14

“…Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you…” –Mosiah 2:16

“…Except they repent, and turn to the Lord their God, behold, I will deliver them into the hands of their enemies…” –Mosiah 7:32

“…The time is at hand that he must repent, or he can not be saved…” –Alma 3:55

“…Preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you, the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again…” –Alma 3:86

“…Thus saith the Spirit, Repent all ye ends of the earth, for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand; yea, the Son of God cometh in his glory, in his might, majesty, power and dominion…” –Alma 3:87

“…The Spirit saith unto me, yea, crieth unto me with a mighty voice, saying, Go forth and say unto this people, Repent, for except ye repent, ye can in no wise inherit the kingdom of heaven…” –Alma 3:89

“…Now I say unto you, that ye must repent, and be born again: for the Spirit saith, If ye are not born again, ye can not inherit the kingdom of heaven…” –Alma 5:24

Sounds like Nicodemus and Jesus in John chapter three, doesn’t it?

“…Melchisedec having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood, according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchisedec did establish peace in the land in his days…” –Alma 10:12,13

“…And now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words unto them, he stretched forth his hand unto them and cried with a mighty voice, saying, Now is the time to repent, for the day of salvation draweth nigh…” –Alma 10:18

“…And we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name…” –Alma 12:180

“…And also, what is this that Ammon said: If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day?…” –Alma 13:37

“…There was a time granted unto man, to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God…” –Alma 19:84

“…And it came to pass that they did repent, and inasmuch as they did repent, they did begin to prosper…” –Helaman 2:49

“…Blessed are they who will repent, and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved…” –Helaman 4:70

“…O all ye that are spared, because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, If ye will come unto me, ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me. Behold I am Jesus Christ, the son of God…” –III Nephi 4:41-45

On to another central Protestant doctrine…

Faith

“…And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father concerning the things which he saw in a vision; And also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost; which power he received by faith on the Son of God; And the Son of God was the Messiah who should come…” –I Nephi 3:23-25

“…Behold they are righteous for ever; for because of their faith in the Lamb of God, their garments are made white in his blood…” –I Nephi 3:117

“…We are made alive in Christ, because of our faith…” –II Nephi 11:46

“…Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far, save it were by the word of Christ, with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save; Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men…” –II Nephi 13:28,29

“…I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ, that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment seat…” –II Nephi 15:8

“…Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions…” –Jacob 2:49

“…Beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him, through the atonement of Christ, his only begotten Son. That ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first fruits of Christ, unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him, before he manifesteth himself in the flesh…” –Jacob 3:16,17

“…For he had said unto me, Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it. And I had faith, and I did cry unto God, that he would preserve the records; And he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth…” –Enos 1:24-26

“…And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites. And it came to pass, that after I had prayed, and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me, I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith…” –Enos 1:17,18

“…There are many among us who have many revelations: for they are not all stiff-necked. And as many are not stiff-necked, and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith…” –Jarom 1:8,9

“…Wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God; for salvation cometh to none such, except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ…” –Mosiah 2:4-6

“…We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things, who shall come down among the children of men. And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words, the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come…” –Mosiah 2:4-6

“…Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things both in heaven and in earth; Believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; Believe that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend. And again: Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you: And now, if you believe all these things, see that ye do them. And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness, and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceeding great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long suffering towards you unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily…” –Mosiah 2:13-21

“…This day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him, and have become his sons and his daughters…” –Mosiah 3:9

“…And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God, to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? I say unto you, Can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day, Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth…” –Alma 3:27-32

“…And now as I said concerning faith: Faith, is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. And now, behold, I say unto you; and I would that ye should remember that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word…” Alma 16:143,144

“…If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith; yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. Now we will compare the word unto a seed…” –Alma 16:151,152

Truly, one of my favorite passages in the Book of Mormon.

“…Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith, for it was by faith that Christ shewed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead…” –Ether 5:7

And now, perhaps the keystone doctrine of the Protestant reformation…

Grace

“…Redemption cometh in and through the holy Messiah: for he is full of grace and truth…” –II Nephi 1:71

“…How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. Wherefore, he is the first fruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men…” –II Nephi 1:73-76

“…O the wisdom of God! his mercy and grace! –II Nephi 6:19

“…And remember after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved…” –II Nephi 7:14

The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, teaches that salvation is by grace through faith.

“…My soul delighteth in his grace, and his justice, and power, and mercy, in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death. And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people, that save Christ should come, all men must perish…” –II Nephi 8:11,12

“…I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come; yea, the Son, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world; yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name…” –Alma 3:83,84

“…I have come, having great hopes and much desire that I should find that ye had humbled yourselves before God, and that ye had continued in the supplicating of his grace, that I should find that ye were blameless before him…” –Alma 5:4

“…not many days hence, the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity and truth, full of patience, mercy, and long suffering, quick to hear the cries of his people, and to answer their prayers…” –Alma 7:40

“…Blessed are they who will repent, and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved. And may God grant, in his great fullness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace, for grace according to their works. And I would that all men might be saved…” –Helaman 4:70-72

“…The Lord spake unto me, saying, Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness; and if men come unto me, I will shew unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness, that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak thing become strong unto them…” –Ether 5:27,28

…May the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you for ever…” –Moroni 9:28

“…Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in no wise deny the power of God. And again, if ye, by the grace of God, are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father, unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy without spot. And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.” –Moroni 10:29-31 The end.

I find it both uplifting and somewhat unique that the Book of Mormon ends by focusing on the themes of: coming unto Christ, God’s grace, the shed blood of Christ, the power of God, sanctified in Christ, the covenant, and the remission of our sins.

How Protestant!

There you have it—The Baptist Version of the Book of Mormon: Protestant Doctrines within the Book of Mormon.

…Born Again Experience
…Plan of Salvation
…Plan of Redemption
…Salvation
…The Lord Jesus Christ
…Repentance
…Faith
…Grace

What a book!

Perhaps the late John Henry Evans (1872-1947) said it best when he penned an overview of the Prophet’s life with typical nineteenth century eloquence:

“…Here is a man,” says Evan, “who was born in the stark hills of Vermont; who was reared in the backwoods of New York; who never looked inside a college or high school; who lived in six States, no one of which would own him during his lifetime; who spent months in the vile prisons of the period; who, even when he has his freedom, was hounded like a fugitive; who was covered once with a coat of tar and feathers, and left for dead; who, with his following, was driven by irate neighbors from New York to Ohio, from Ohio to Missouri, and from Missouri to Illinois; and who, at the unripe age of thirty-eight, was shot to death by a mob with painted faces.

Yet this man became mayor of the biggest town in Illinois and the state’s most prominent citizen, the commander of the largest body of trained soldiers in the nation outside the Federal army, the founder of cities and of a university, and aspired to become President of the United States.

He wrote a book which has baffled the literary critics for a hundred years and which is today more widely read than any other volume save the Bible…”
–Joseph Smith, An American Prophet, 1933 preface

Joseph Smith “…wrote a book which has baffled the literary critics…” So true.

One other quote. Hear Henry A. Wallace, one of our late Vice Presidents:

“…Of all the American religious books of the nineteenth century, it seems probable that the Book of Mormon was the most powerful. It reached perhaps only one percent of the United States, but affected this one percent so powerfully and lastingly, that all the people of the United States have been affected.” –New York Times, Nov.5, 1937

Summary

Let’s focus briefly on the man, Joseph Smith. What kind of man was he? The man whom God used to commence the restoration in these latter days. What did he have to say concerning truth and doctrine?

Well, first of all, Joseph was extremely tolerant of sects, of those not sharing his Christian point of view. This is a side of Joseph that’s not well known even by those inside the restoration movement, let alone by those outside it.

On one occasion, in a sermon, he said, “…If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear down on them? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better. I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by force or reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship. I am just as ready to die defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination.” –Sermon, 1843

That last statement especially was quite a statement; “…I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian…”

“…Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other…” is also quite a statement.

While mayor of Nauvoo, Joseph passed an ordinance “…that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals…and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free tolerance and equal privileges in this city…”

It was “against the law” not to show charity and tolerance toward those of other sects in the city of Nauvoo, the city Joseph built.

Again, what kind of man was he?…

One Sunday morning—among a group of prominent politicians, Attorney Butterfield, Judge Douglas, Senator Gillispie, and others—these gentlemen wanted to know about Joseph’s Christian beliefs. Butterfield asked what the main difference was between his faith and that of other Christians.

Joseph responded,

“…The most prominent difference is this: Sectarians all circumscribe by a peculiar creed, which deprives them of the privilege of believing anything not contained therein. The Latter-day Saints, on the contrary, have no creed, but stand ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time.”

I thought that was well put. In other words, truth remains dynamic. Revelation of truth continues throughout our lifetime. Creeds, on the other hand, tend to become static and inflexible with time.

One last anecdote…

The Prophet is appealing to the President of the United States on behalf of his people. Terrible atrocities have occurred back in Missouri. He had obtained a meeting with President Van Buren. While at the capital, the Prophet preached the gospel to bureacrats. One of the representatives, a certain Matthew S. Davis from New York state, tells about one of the meetings held in the capital by Joseph.

This United States representative, who met Joseph Smith face to face, I believe answers our concerns (better than I could ever address them) in a letter he sent to his wife back home. The congressman writes…

“…I went last evening to hear ‘Joe smith,’ the celebrated Mormon, expound his doctrine. I, with several others, had a desire to understand his tenants as explained by himself.

He is not an educated man; but he is a plain, sensible, strong-minded man. Everything he says, is said in a manner to leave an impression that he is sincere. There is no levity, no fanaticism, no want of dignity in his deportment. In his garb there are no peculiarities; his dress being that of a plain, unpretending citizen. He is by profession a farmer, but is evidently well read.

During the whole of his address, and it occupied more than two hours, there was no opinion or belief that he expressed, that was calculated, in the least degree, to impair the morals of society, or in any manner to degrade and brutalize the human species. There was much in his precepts, if they were followed, that would soften the asperities of man towards man, and that would tend to make him a more rational being than he is generally found to be. There was no violence, no fury, no denunciation. His religion appears to be a religion of meekness, lowliness, and mild persuasion.

Towards the close of his address, he remarked that he had been represented to be a Savior. All this was false. He made no such pretensions. He was but a man, he said: a plain, untutored man, seeking what he should do to be saved.

Throughout his whole address, he displayed strongly a spirit of charity and forbearance. I have taken some pains to explain this man’s belief, as he himself explained it. I have changed my opinion of the Mormons. They are an injured and much-abused people.”

“…I have changed my opinion…” said the U.S. representative.

Concerning the Book of Mormon and the man, Joseph Smith, it is my prayer—so have you.r

About the Author:

Lynn Ridenhour grew up in the heart of Missouri near the Ozarks. A licensed Baptist minister for over 38 years, Lynn read the Book of Mormon and had a marvelous conversion experience to the restoration gospel as proclaimed by Joseph Smith.

Dr. Ridenhour has a Ph.D in literature with a specialty degree in composition theory from the University of Iowa. He has taught creative writing in both Christian and secular universities. Dr. Ridenhour has also pastored Baptist churches for years, has taught at Jerry Falwell’s university, and has been involved in the charismatic renewal since 1972.

Lynn is the founder of WinePress Publishing Co., and has a heart for evangelism. Paperback copies of Dr. Ridenhour’s booklets may be purchased for $3 per copy.

Write:
WinePress Publishing Co.
3601 S. Noland Rd., PMB 230
Independence, MO 64055

Dr. Ridenhour’s email address is: htrails@solve.net

Should you want Dr. Ridenhour to come and speak in your church, or organization, simply email him, giving him the details. Lynn travels extensively for speaking engagements, sharing his testimony and conversion.

Lynn, his lovely wife, Linda, and their teenage daughter, Lori, make their home in Independence, Missouri.

ORIGINAL POST: http://centerplace.org/library/bofm/baptistversionofbofm.htm

Depiction of the Tree of Life vision from the ...

Depiction of the Tree of Life vision from the Book of Mormon

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Response to The God Makers by Ed Decker

The God Makers

How much truth is there in the movie The God Makers? This page provides resources that explain the truth behind the claims made in the movie.

A MORMON CHALLENGES “THE GOD MAKERS” MOVIE
(formerly called “Errors, Distortions And Untruths In The Movie “The God makers”)
–by Robert Starling Revised January 10, 1995

The movie “The God makers” is described by a multi-denominational group, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, as “making extensive use of ‘half-truth’, faulty generalizations, erroneous interpretations, and sensationalism. It is not reflective of the genuine spirit of the Mormon faith.”

Unable to accept this assessment, the supporters of the film have demanded specific examples of the above-mentioned faults. The following is a partial list of such specifics in the approximate order that they are found in the film.

1. LDS temple services are said to be “reserved for an elite few”. In actuality, great efforts are made to assist all members to align their lives with the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that they may enter the temples. They are not “reserved” for the “elite”. If not all members worship there, it is by their own choice, and represents a fulfillment of the Biblical truth, “many are called, but few are chosen”, for “strait is the gate and narrow the way, and few there be that find it.”

2. After LDS mission president Harold R. Goodman described the interview for receiving a temple recommend, a misleading film edit was made so that he seemed to say, “that is the only way we can be with our Heavenly Father”. While it is true that certain of the highest heavenly rewards are contingent on making covenants with God in the temple (and living up to them), this is not required for salvation and entrance into the Celestial Kingdom where we will be in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Anyone familiar with LDS doctrine knows this, and the film was edited in such a way as to create a deliberate deception.

3. It was said that “many Mormons came thousands of miles and stood in the rain” to tour the Seattle temple before its dedication because “this may be the only time they may be allowed to enter a Mormon temple” as one of the “select few”. In view of #1 above, any LDS member who cared enough about the temple to make that kind of a journey would certainly find it easier to obtain a recommend and attend a temple nearer home. The statement was absurd and unfounded.

4. The Mormon “gods” were said to have “worked their way up” to become gods. This is alien to LDS theology. While we believe that we are the “offspring of God”, (Heb. 12:9, Acts 17:29, Ps.82:6) and “joint heirs with Christ”, (Rom.8:17, 1 Jn.3:2, Rev. 3:21) we can no more “work ourselves up” to godhood than a piece of coal can “work itself up” to become a diamond or a caterpillar can “work itself up” to be a butterfly. In each case the potential is there, but it is God who must work the miracle. He is the only “God maker”!

LDS strive to follow the Savior’s admonition to “Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”(Matt.5:48) And yet we know that “we have all sinned and come short” of that perfection. In fact, we know that we won’t achieve it in this life, and that we must all rely on the Grace of Christ to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. But “we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him”(1 John 3:2).

Following the admonition of Paul, we as Latter-day Saints “let this mind be in (us) which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:5,6) We do not apologize for believing the Bible. Most Christians consider themselves “a child of the King”, yet they don’t know what that really means. Latter-day Saints believe the Bible when it says the faithful children of our Heavenly Father are to inherit the kingdom, receive a throne, and sit at the right hand of God. (Rev. 3:21)

5. The quote “As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become” was credited to James E. Talmage. It was Lorenzo Snow who said this. This is a small thing, but it’s evidence of poor research and a disregard for accuracy. Almost any LDS high school seminary student could give the correct attribution for this quote.

6. To demean God’s Biblical command to “be fruitful and multiply” by referring to “endless Celestial sex” is an example of the tasteless sensationalism decried by the National Council of Christians and Jews in their report which totally discredited this film.

7. The principles of Celestial Marriage and Eternal Progression were said to be “secrets” that “Mormons don’t talk about”. This is untrue. While the principle of man’s becoming like our Heavenly Father is not discussed in our church meetings nearly as much as one would believe from reading anti-Mormon literature, it is certainly not a secret.

8. Mormonism is described as being far removed from “orthodox” Christianity. It must be remembered that orthodoxy is often subjective in its definition. Christ himself flew in the face of the religious “orthodoxy” of His time. But who was right? Our Lord, or the Scribes and Pharisees? In reality the LDS church is much closer to the “orthodoxy” of the original first century Christians than other churches in the world today. (The popular Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith alone is itself far removed from the historic Catholic theology by which “orthodoxy” was defined for over 1,000 years!)

9. A story is shown in animation of Elohim growing up as a mortal on a planet and later becoming God, our Heavenly Father. Somehow this is implied to be a fantastic and un-Christian doctrine. Yet this is exactly like the story told in the four Gospels of the mortal existence of our Lord Jesus Christ, who later rose from the dead and received the fullness of His glory as God the Son, equal in power and dominion with His Father. Jesus said that he did nothing that he had not seen the Father do. (John 5:19) If Jesus is God, yet lived as a mortal, then why could not His Father have done the same?

10. Blacks are described as being “neutral” in the war that was fought in heaven against Lucifer and the spirits who followed him. This is incorrect. LDS are taught that there were no neutrals in that conflict.

The implication in the film that the LDS church is racist is unjustified. Many blacks and other minorities hold responsible positions of leadership in our Church, and our Indian Placement Program (where LDS members open their homes to assist in the education of Native American children) is unequaled by any other Christian denomination.

11. God the Father (Elohim) is pictured “returning to Earth in human form from the ‘star base Kolob’ to have sex with the Virgin Mary in order to provide Jesus with a physical body”. The caricature of the Lord of the Universe knocking on the door of a home in Nazareth in the middle of the night is a total perversion of LDS beliefs and has rightly been called “religious pornography” by many Christians who have more taste than the people who produced this film.

Two marvelous events happened on that wondrous night (or day) when Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb. According to the Bible, (1) the Holy Ghost came upon her, and (2) the power of the Highest “overshadowed” her. The first was necessary because no mortal can endure the presence of God the Father without the protection of the Holy Ghost. But Jesus is not the son of the Holy Ghost. God the Father is “the Highest”, and it is He who is the father of Jesus. To say otherwise is to “wrest the scriptures”.

12. A few speculative remarks from early LDS leaders regarding Jesus having married and fathered children is implied to be official Church doctrine, which it is not. However such a doctrine would not be un-Christian, since the Bible is silent on the subject. (In fact a Presbyterian minister in West Virginia has written a book giving Biblical reasons why he believes that Jesus was indeed married!)

13. Joseph Smith is described as “a young treasure seeker”. Although he did once hire out as a laborer for a man looking for treasure, this derogatory term is a definite “half truth” and in no way accurately describes his usual occupation or character. It is also highly questionable whether it can be substantiated that he was “known for his tall tales”, or if this is merely an invention of the film’s authors. His mother said he shared stories from the Book of Mormon history with family members, but these are no more “tall tales” than telling about Moses parting the Red Sea.

14. Statement from the film: “The Mormons thank God for Joseph Smith, who claimed that he had done more for us than any other man, including Jesus Christ.” This is patently false. The original quote from D & C 135:3 said Joseph Smith had done more for the salvation of men”save Jesus only” than any other man who had lived in the world. There is a world of difference in the two statements, and difference is the truth of what was said versus the deception of those who have deliberately misquoted Joseph Smith.

Defenders of the film have confused this misquote with another reference in LDS Church history (taken from the book also titled The God makers, not the movie, which is what I am dealing with here) where Joseph Smith said of “keeping a whole church together” that “neither Paul, John, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I!” (Let the reader compare the three quotes to see where the deception lies!) Here, Joseph did not say that he was greater than Jesus as the anti-Mormons have claimed, but rather that he had done a greater work than Jesus. Was this blasphemy? Or fulfillment of a prophecy made by Jesus himself? In John 14:12, the Lord said of whoever believed on Him; “the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…”

Perhaps Joseph did get a little carried away in his boasting of what happened to be a true fact of history. But this is a human fallibility that Joseph shared with many other Biblical prophets (see Paul in 2 Cor. 11:16-33).In no way does this negate his prophetic calling nor invalidate the truthfulness of the church he restored. To even mention it shows how desperately the critics of the LDS church are grasping at straws. A quick reading of Joseph’s speeches or writings would show immediately that neither he nor his followers have ever considered him to be greater than Jesus Christ.

15. It is stated that “the Mormon church pressures individuals into divorcing their spouses when they are not measuring up to the Church’s standards.” This is totally untrue. Several ex-Mormons interviewed in the film said they were counseled by their Bishops to divorce. A quick look at handbooks for Bishops will reveal that the official Church policy is quite the contrary. LDS couples are counseled to make every effort to strengthen and preserve their marriages and families. If Ed Decker knows “literally hundreds of families with stories like this” (being advised to divorce), then why did he have to hire actors to portray 2 of the “estranged husbands” in the film? (These were in addition to two other actors playing attorneys.)

16. One of the major allegations of the film is that “there is a whole area of psychiatric care dealing with depression in the Mormon woman”. Much has been made of a 1983 TV documentary produced by KSL television in Salt Lake City called “Mormon Women and Depression”. (I watched it and have it on videocassette.) It is never mentioned, however, that this was only one part of a series of programs on depression in various segments of the Utah population. Its importance has been blown out of proportion… another example of the “half truths” in this film which were condemned by the investigators from the NCCJ.

It should also be noted that in the last few years there has been a rise in the awareness of depression in women in general (some think it’s brought on by the feminist movement), and a recognition of illnesses like Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, etc. If one is to believe the multitude of commercials heard on Christian radio stations (at least in the LA area) which advertise counseling and PMS treatment centers, it could more legitimately be said that “there is a whole area of psychiatric care dealing with depression in CHRISTIAN women”. To single out Mormonism as a cause of depression is at best false and misleading. I have no doubt that virtually 100 percent of LDS women who feel depressed would say if asked that their faith in Christ which they’re taught in the Mormon church is their greatest help in OVERCOMING that depression.

17. According to Ed Decker in the film, “Heaven to the Mormon woman is being pregnant for all eternity, one spirit baby after the next”. A mental picture is thus drawn which is supposed to be repugnant to today’s “liberated” women and somehow un-Christian. In reality, God has not yet completely revealed the process by which spirit children are added to His eternal family (of which we are all a part). But surely the process is more sophisticated than the nine-month gestation period and pregnancy through which mortal women suffer to give birth. It was only after the Fall that God said to the woman Eve, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”. Therefore “pregnant” is a term which in all likelihood is applicable only to the post-Fall mortal condition.

18. Sandra Tanner is described as “considered to be one of the greatest living authorities on Mormonism”. Considered by whom? Anti-Mormons? Being an “expert” on only one side of an issue doesn’t make one an “authority”. Dr. Jan Shipps, a non-Mormon professor at Indiana University At Indianapolis is a much more believable “expert”. Her book entitled Mormonism, A New Religious Tradition is acclaimed as an objective alternative to Tanner’s polemic tome.

19. Mrs. Tanner says Utah (67% LDS) has a higher rate of divorce and suicide than the national average. Teen suicide is supposedly much higher than nationally. “This is partly due to the fact the Mormons emphasize perfection”, she says. (For more details on the questionable statistics, see #44 below)

Is it un-Christian to strive for perfection? Was it not Christ himself who said “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”? (Matt.5:48) And though we, like Paul, have not “already attained” perfection, but “follow after” as we “press toward the mark”(Philip 3:12), is not the purpose of the church “for the perfecting of the saints”(Eph. 4:12)?

A truly heart-rending and tragic case is presented of 16-year old Kip Eliason who committed suicide in 1982. When he approached LDS counselors regarding his “sexual feelings that were in direct conflict with the teachings of the Church”, they lovingly reinforced those teachings and standards. This is implied to have led to the boy’s death, and therefore is supposedly another proof that the LDS Church is not Christian.

Ironically, an almost identical case of a teen’s suicide after receiving counseling from a religious leader has led to a landmark lawsuit filed by the second boy’s parents. Except in this case the defendant is not a Mormon but a leading figure in the Evangelical Christian community who is also an ardent supporter of “The God makers”. Did not Jesus say that we should cast out the beam in our own eye before worrying about the mote in the eye of our neighbor? Clearly, this kind of tragedy can happen in any church. Such exploitation of the Eliason family’s grief by the film makers is unforgivable!

20. Ed Decker charges that the Book of Mormon calls the “Christian body” the “whore of Babylon”. Actually two churches are mentioned in 1 Nephi 14:10–the “church of the Lamb of God” and the “church of the devil”. It is the latter which is described as “whore of all the earth”. However this church is further described in 1 Nephi 22:23 as actually a collection of “all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world”…etc. Only those churches which fit this description need worry. (and according to the complaints of many Christians, there unfortunately seems to be quite a few of them)

21. Ed Decker also charges in the film that the LDS temple ceremony “mocks the Christian pastor and calls him a hireling of Satan”. The depicting of a nameless clergyman in the temple instruction is simply a teaching device where he recites the traditional creeds regarding the nature of God, which we believe to be in error. No disrespect or “mocking” of any Christian pastor or any denomination is intended. In fact, the minister’s integrity is demonstrated when he repents and changes his ways after he learns the truth from the apostles Peter, James, and John. (Note: Recent changes in the temple films have deleted the above altogether.)

22. The film’s narrator states that: “Mormons are instructed to use Christian terminology when talking to potential converts. Words such as ‘God’, ‘Jesus’, and ‘salvation’ all have different Mormon meanings which the outsider may not be aware of…”

LDS members use no different terminology when talking to non-LDS than when talking to each other. The sort of sinister deception that is implied simply does not exist. Any deviation from the Biblical usage and definition of the above words lies with the film’s authors, not with the Latter-day Saints.

23. Reference is made to “nine versions” told of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, “each of which contradicts the other”. These “unpublished” accounts are supposedly “deliberately kept from you by Mormon leaders” to conceal the truth. As a point of fact, the different versions were published in a feature article by James B. Allen in the official LDS church magazine The Improvement Era (April 1970) with the express approval of the “Mormon leaders”, for all to see. An in-depth article on this subject by Dean Jesse was also published in BYU Studies (Spring 1969).

A careful comparison will show that there is no more “contradiction” among the accounts than one will find in comparing the four descriptions of the life of Jesus found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In each case, different aspects of the events were emphasized or highlighted according to the needs of the intended audience at the time of the writing.

Similarly in Acts 9,22,&26 we find three different accounts of Saul’s “first vision”, with discrepancies as to who fell down and whether those with Saul saw the light or heard the voice, etc. Yet both Saul’s and Joseph’s visions did take place. (They are actually quite similar.)

24. The film points out that there have been many changes in the LDS scriptures in their various editions. This is implied to be a fatal flaw. If so, then the rest of Christianity must share the same deficiency considering the thousands of changes made in the Bible in the hundreds of translations and editions that have been printed. Usually changes in LDS scripture have been made to correct typographical or punctuation errors, or to make the text either (1) agree more closely with the earliest editions, (2) seem more grammatically palatable to the modern reader, or (3) express under inspiration a clearer meaning of the original intent. (see #28 below)

25. Statements said to be made by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young regarding the possible inhabitants of the sun and moon were reported from journal entries or from third-hand memory, and are suspect. To imply that those quotes really represent LDS doctrine is another in a long list of distortions in this propaganda film.

But the real issue is, can a prophet believe something which is found to be in error by the science of a later age? If the Bible is true, the answer is yes. Leviticus 11 and Deut. 14 list the hare as an animal that chews the cud, which science has disproved. And Gen.30:35–43 says that placing striped sticks in view of mating animals results in striped offspring. …Moon men? These examples sound equally absurd in light of modern day scientific knowledge. The Rev. J.R. Dummelow in his One Volume Bible Commentary said something about the author of Genesis which could equally be applied to Joseph Smith or Brigham Young: “His scientific knowledge may be bounded by the horizon of the age in which he lived, but the religious truths he teaches are irrefutable and eternal.”

26. Decker says: “The true doctrine (of the LDS church) teaches that there is no eternal life without a polygamous relationship”. This is blatantly untrue. The church teaches that the highest heavenly rewards are reserved for those who enter the “new and everlasting covenant” of eternal marriage, but they can be married to just one person and receive the same rewards as anyone in a “polygamous relationship”.

On polygamy:(the practice of which was officially ended by the LDS church in 1890) –if Joseph Smith seemed reticent to tell his wife Emma about this law of God at first, it is an understandable human foible. (Especially if you knew Emma!) But this no more disqualifies him from the office of prophet than the similar frailties seen in Abraham’s lie to Pharaoh about Sara being his sister, or in Moses’s boast to the Children of Israel that he would give them water from a rock in the desert. (Num. 20:7–12. His failure to acknowledge God on that occasion kept him out of the Promised Land as punishment, but did not negate his prophetic calling or nullify the scriptures he wrote.)

In addition, it should be noted that these same ancient prophets –and their followers– also practiced polygamy… with the approval and sanction of God.

27. Sandra Tanner charges that LDS church historical records are hidden from the members in some sort of dark cover-up. Obviously the rare and valuable documents must be protected from public access, just like the closed stacks in many libraries and museums. Nor would the Church see the need to admit a known anti-Mormon like Mrs. Tanner.

Incidentally, Mrs. Tanner and her husband have made a substantial business of publishing those same LDS church historical records that are supposedly “hidden”. They must not be too hard to get hold of!

28. Decker says that Christian scholars are “always refining” the scriptures in the quest to “improve and validate the authenticity of the Holy Scripture”. Then he says, “In Mormonism it’s completely opposite”. And yet when LDS efforts are made to “refine” scripture, resulting in changes, he decries these changes as proof of the non-validity of LDS scriptures. (see #24 above)

Come on, Ed… you can’t have it both ways!

29. Dr. Charles Crane is presented as an “expert on Mormon archaeology”. He is actually a Church of Christ minister with advanced degrees in “Ministry”, “Divinity” and Psychology, (not archaeology) who in correspondence with me says he has “sought to study the archaeology of the Book of Mormon”. He revealed no details on the extent of his study, so I must question his “expert” status.

30. Both Crane and Tanner claim that because the cities of the Book of Mormon are not found on modern maps, “there is no evidence for the book, any yet it’s supposed to be a historical record”. Dr. Richard Fales (“author, lecturer, archaeologist”– what are his credentials?) says “not one single artifact has been found that even remotely relates to the (Book of Mormon) civilizations”. He calls the book a “fairy tale”.

Point of fact: Many books have been written detailing dozens of archaeological parallels between the Book of Mormon and the history of ancient America. The Book of Mormon’s claims regarding wheeled vehicles, great walled cities with prayer towers, baptismal fonts, the use of cement, the presence of horses and elephants, etc. seemed absurd in 1830 when it was published. Yet these claims have been vindicated by archaeological discoveries since that time.

In addition, one particular artifact (Stela 5 Izapa from Chiapas, Mexico) contains a large and detailed drawing of the Tree of Life which appears to be a direct connection with the Book of Mormon. Competent scholars have found over 50 elements in Stela 5 which correspond to parts of a long and involved vision given by God to the prophet Lehi in the 8th chapter of 1st Nephi. This artifact was discovered by a Smithsonian dig in 1941, and to date no non-LDS scholar has offered a viable alternative interpretation of the inscription. –Not bad for a “fairy tale”! (see the Ensign June 1985 pp.54–55.)

A note on the film’s statement that “archaeology has been able to prove the existence of all great civilizations”: It was only in the 1800’s after many years of struggle against the archaeological “establishment” that the explorer Heinrich Schliemann finally found proof that unearthed the ancient city of Troy described in Homer’s epic poems. Until that time they were considered to be in the realm of “fairy tales”. Who’s to say that in a year or two the great Book of Mormon cities of Bountiful or Zarahemla will not be uncovered and make news around the world? What will the anti-Mormons say then?

Anyone sincerely wishing to study scientific evidences of the Book of Mormon should contact the Foundation for Archaeological Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) for a catalog of scholarly papers on a wide range of topics.

Their address is P.O. Box 7113 University Station, Provo, Utah 84602.

31. The film states that: “Mormon missionaries are converting people throughout the world by explaining to them that archaeology has “proven” the Book of Mormon to be true.” This is false. Sometimes archaeological evidences are shared with people to pique their interest and get them to seriously consider the book, but LDS missionaries are trained to teach people that the ultimate test of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is through an answer to prayer and a personal witness from the Holy Ghost, as described in James 1:5,6. It is only through the Spirit of God that true conversion takes place.

32. Regarding the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, which was revealed to Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God: The film says, “Several famous Egyptologists have now translated it (the Egyptian Papyri associated with the Book of Abraham) and have found that it doesn’t have anything to do with the time of Abraham at all”.

At least one of these “famous Egyptologists” –Dee Jay Nelson– made false claims about his academic background and his alleged employment as a translator for the LDS church. How many other holes are there in “The God makers” story?

The sincere investigator on this topic will find a wealth of information in Dr. Hugh Nibley’s articles in BYU Studies (1968 and 1971) as well as those in the Improvement Era almost every issue from Jan. 1968 to May 1970, plus one in the Ensign, March 1976. Also see Michael Rhodes’s study in BYU Studies 17 (1977). Also Nibley’s book, “The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri” (1975)

33. The 1978 revelation to President Kimball to give the LDS priesthood to blacks was said to have come because of “social pressure”. This is wrong. The greatest period of pressure of this nature came in 1971. By 1978 it was hardly an issue because the civil rights movement was at a comparative ebb. The revelation came as an answer to prayer from God’s prophet and mouthpiece on Earth, at a time when increasing numbers of blacks were beginning to join the LDS Church. Church leaders desired to extend all blessings of membership to these people, and after much supplication God heard their prayers.

34. The film says that “the finality of Mormon theology is not based on evaluation by scriptural evidence”, and that LDS missionaries do not encourage the people they’re teaching to read from the Bible, only the Book of Mormon. This is untrue. In the Uniform System for Teaching Families, (the basic lessons that LDS missionaries use all over the world) they are expressly instructed to: “use only Biblical references with investigators”. Nothing is taught in LDS doctrine that is in conflict with the Bible, and every opportunity is taken to point this out by studying the relevant Bible verses. (LDS prefer the King James Version)

35. The witness of truth by the Holy Ghost in the heart of the individual person –described as a “burning in the bosom”– is said to be a “totally subjective” process. This is incorrect, as many Christians will testify. There are many times when one is walking in the Spirit that “the heart will be told what the mind cannot know.” And yet the reliance by LDS on the Spirit for guidance and inspiration is implied to be somehow un-Christian! The makers of “The God makers” would prefer to gamble their Eternal Salvation on someone’s (usually theirs) subjective interpretation of this Bible verse or that. (My Baptist friends tell me that when you get any three Baptists together on a Bible verse you’ll get at least five opinions!)

Latter-day Saints rely heavily on the Scriptures, both the Bible and our own. But we believe that “no prophecy of the scripture is of private interpretation”(2 Pet. 1:20) “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God…. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”(1 Cor.2:10–13) This is the real test.

The Saints in the days of Paul relied on the witness of the Spirit instead of hermeneutics. The Saints of these latter-days believe that true Christians must still do the same. It is the “rock” of revelation from God to man (as the Christian singer Sandi Patti so eloquently puts it in her wonderful song) on which the true church of Jesus Christ is built; not someone’s Biblical interpretation, however learned. The “Born Again” experience itself necessitates the Holy Spirit witnessing to a person that Jesus is indeed their personal savior, Lord, and Christ. It cannot come by Bible study alone.

36. The “re-enactment” (so-called) of LDS temple ceremonies is perhaps the most disappointing and offensive part of this film. An utter disregard is shown by the film makers for the sensitivities of other human beings. Ceremonies that are considered sacred by millions of people are trampled upon, ridiculed, and distorted, with definite purpose and malice aforethought. A great many right-thinking Christians have expressed revulsion at this kind of propagandistic approach.

The producers of the film have admitted their use of deception to obtain stock footage of temple interiors from the LDS church information services, and to arrange interviews with church officials who appear in the film. These despicable tactics speak for themselves.

The LDS temple ceremonies are said to be “Mason-like” and “occultic”. There is nothing “occultic” about the covenants that LDS people make with our Heavenly Father in the temples, nor about the work done there for the dead. In fact one of these ceremonies –baptisms for the dead– was mentioned as a practice of the early Christians by the apostle Paul in 1 Cor.15:29. This is merely a way in which these necessary ordinances can be performed as a vicarious service for those who have died without the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accept Him as their Savior through baptism. (Most Christian denominations have a hard time explaining what happens to these people.)

What is described as a “fanatical program to evangelize the dead” is simply the fulfillment of prophecy in the last verse of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:6) that in the last days God will “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers”. What is so “fanatical” or sinister or “occultic” about that?

If there is anything “Mason-like” about the LDS temple ordinances, it might be explained by the fact that the Masonic order began among workers on the great Temple of Solomon. If God is “the same yesterday, today and forever”, then the same ceremonies were performed by God’s righteous believers in the Temple of their day. If God then revealed the ordinances to the prophet Joseph Smith in our day, a corrupted version handed down through the centuries by the Masons might still bear some resemblance to the original.

37. The sacred undergarment worn by LDS who have made special covenants with God in the temples is said to be “unattractive” and “de-humanizing”. (Why should it be attractive since it is not meant to be seen? It’s an undergarment!) These garments are patterned after the garments of skins that God made for Adam and Eve when He cast them out of the Garden of Eden. (Gen.3:21) Perhaps the film makers should take up their complaints with the original Tailor!

A parallel to the LDS temple garment can be seen in a similar item of under-apparel worn by the most orthodox Jewish sects– a holdover from Israel’s righteous days when they performed temple worship thousands of years ago. It should also be noted that a similar item is mentioned in the earliest Jewish and Christian writings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi codices.

The extreme measures referred to in the film that are supposedly taken by LDS to avoid ever losing physical contact with the temple garment are totally incorrect. There are many occasions such as visits to a doctor, swimming or playing basketball, etc. when “temple Mormons” rightly do not wear the garment. The film portrayed a caricature that does not exist.

38. Another caricature is built up of Joseph Smith as a “treasure seeker” who was “involved in the occult”. This description does not fit the man as all, as revealed in many accounts regarding him written by his contemporaries. (See #13 above) The mistake is also made of trying to judge Joseph, who lived in the mid-1800’s, by the culture and practices of the 1980’s. Similarly a person in the next century might say that having a Jack o’lantern on Halloween is a sure sign of being “involved in the occult”, and the hobbyist with a metal detector is a “treasure seeker”!

39. An avowed Satanist’s book is used as an authoritative source to come up with a mythical god “Mormo” whose followers are allegedly called “Mormons”. Obviously if the same book were to have reference to a god “Metho” whose followers were called “Methodists”, they would give it no credence or notice, except perhaps for a good horse laugh. To stoop to such antics in a supposedly serious “documentary” is inexcusable.

40. Likewise, the claim that the Chinese word “Mormon” means “gates of Hell” relies on an extremely tortured translation and is meaningless. It’s just another example of sensationalism. The National Enquirer would win a Pulitzer Prize in comparison to the writers of this film!

41. Some sort of sinister implication (complete with evil-sounding music to match) is made in speaking of the “wealth” of the LDS church and great land holdings. The narrator fails to mention that virtually all of the Church’s real estate is identified as meetinghouses for LDS members (built with as little as 4% of the cost paid by the local congregations), schools, and farms where food is raised to feed the needy in the model LDS welfare program.

The LDS church does have some stock in the parent corporation that owns the LA Times, but can hardly be considered a “major stockholder”(especially in view of some of the articles unfavorable to the Church which have appeared in that paper and its sister publication in Denver).

42. Money is said to be “extracted” form LDS church members in a “mandatory” tithing program. These buzz words are by now quite tiresome, and again they are totally false! Tithes and offerings are no more “mandatory” for Mormons than for other Christians. As with any principle of the Gospel there are certain rewards (both temporally and spiritually) for obedience. But to show the picture of the young Deacon gathering Fast Offerings and imply that he was “shaking down” the Mormon mother for tithing… come on now! (The Fast offering is a separate contribution where members fast for two meals on the first Sunday of every month and give the cost of the meals into a special fund to feed the needy. This practice is now being picked up by some other Christian churches.)

43. Mormons are said to “own a substantial portion of Hawaii”. It is not indicated whether they are referring to individual LDS members or to the Church. In either case the truth is probably stretched quite a bit.

44. Utah (identified as 75% Mormon–actually it’s closer to 50%) is said to “rank among the highest” of the states in divorce, suicide, child abuse, teenage pregnancy, venereal disease, and bigamy.

Utah (according to Atlanta’s Communicable Disease Center) is 47th among the states in venereal disease. This is hardly “among the highest”. In view of this kind of error, the rest of the statistics cited are highly suspect. The following, however, might explain any unexpectedly high figures for the state of Utah if they proved to be correct:

Utah is among the lowest states in abortions, which accounts for more teenage pregnancies carried to term. And since most young LDS people don’t plan to be “sexually active” as do teens in other states, they are more likely to become pregnant when they do make mistakes. And since they try harder to “do the right thing” by getting married when they get pregnant, there are more teen marriages and hence more divorces. And since Utah has some of the most strict child abuse reporting laws in the nation, (you must legally report even any SUSPECTED abuse) there is perhaps more reported child abuse than in other states. (Not necessarily more abuse.)

Therefore it can be seen that the supposedly damning statistics reveal in actuality the good “fruits” of the LDS church. The film makers failed to mention that of active LDS church members married in the temple, the number of divorces is only ONE-FIFTH the national average.

45. The film says that “Mormonism undercuts the Bible”, which is definitely false. Our 8th Article of Faith states, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.” We believe it to be “verbally inspired” as do other Christians. That is, that it was “inerrant” as it flowed from the mind of God through the pens of the original writers. However we believe (along with most Christians) that copying and translation errors do occur. No Christian would accept as God’s word any verse of the Bible which scholarship proves to be mistranslated, and neither to Mormons.

The film also says that Mormonism “undercuts all the other churches”, which is misleading. Although we believe that the complete fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found only in our church, we believe that almost all religions contain some of God’s truth and are beneficial to mankind.

It is not the Latter-day Saints who brand another faith as a “cult” and seek to exclude its members from fellowship with other Christians. We leave that activity to the anti-Mormons.

46. It is said in the film that many LDS church members only remain in the church because “Mormonism is a nice place to raise your family…it’s the easy road”. That description may be true in Utah, but it does not account for the rapid growth of the LDS church in other parts of the world like Latin America and Japan, where becoming a “Mormon” is anything but “the easy road”. Many millions of people have decided to follow Christ as the Holy Ghost has led them by joining the LDS church, and in doing so have lost their jobs, families, –everything. Sometimes even their lives.

47. “I learned that the God of Mormonism was not the God of the Bible.” This statement near the end of the film shows that the person who uttered it has an incomplete knowledge of both Mormonism and the Bible. The God of Mormonism is not the God of the Nicene Creed, but He definitely IS the God of the Bible.

48. “But there’s fraud…deliberate misrepresentation”. This quote from Dick Baer aimed at the LDS church applies more aptly to his propaganda film “The God makers”, as has been pointed out herein.

The foregoing 48 specific points constitutes a partial list of the errors, distortions, and untruths in the film. These comments will also apply equally to the same problems found in the book of the same name, written by Ed Decker and Dave Hunt. A more complete response to the book has been written, but the major points of emphasis will probably not vary a great deal from those of the film which have been dealt with here. The book is called “The Truth About The God makers”, and it is available at almost any LDS book store. Or more information on the book response may be obtained from the author, Gilbert Scharffs, 2898 Mill Creek Rd., Salt Lake City, Utah 84109.

It is unfortunate that the authors and producers of the “God makers” film and book have felt it necessary to expend such great amounts of money, time and energy to persecute the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is equally unfortunate that so many good Christians and pastors have unknowingly “aided and abetted” in this persecution by opening their churches and their pulpits to those who have been perpetuating it. Hopefully, this response will shed some light and lead to a better understanding between Latter-day Saints and their fellow disciples in the Body of Christ.

In his brilliant essay on “What it Means to Be a Mormon Christian”, BYU English professor Eugene England shared a quote from the great reformer Martin Luther: “The kingdom of God is like a besieged city surrounded on all sides by death. Each man has his place on the wall to defend and no one can stand where another stands, but nothing prevents us from calling encouragement to one another.” England then goes on to say, “It would be tragic if we Christians, standing each in our different places, were to desert our place on the wall…to turn on each other.”

Intolerance has no place among Christians. Jesus himself taught that lesson when his apostles came to him saying they had forbidden one casting out devils in His name because “he followeth not with us”. The Savior said: “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.”(Luke 50:49). Likewise in Acts 5:27-39 we find: “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” This is a commandment from Jesus that the producers of “The God makers” and those who assist them need to learn and obey.

The foregoing is my own work and does not represent any official statement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Robert D. Starling
12242 S. 1740 W.
Riverton, UT 84065

Note: These concepts and others will soon be presented in an expanded form, in a book the author is currently writing entitled Inside Mormonism; Confessions of a Latter-day Christian. This essay is considered to be in draft form until publication, and your comments, corrections and suggestions are welcomed.

I especially welcome the opportunity for clarification or dialogue with non-LDS readers.

Copyright 1986–1995 Robert D. Starling All Rights Reserved

Permission is hereby granted for this work to be duplicated without cost and distributed by any means including electronic or computer transmission, provided it is done in its entirety and without alteration.

http://www.lightplanet.com/response/godmaker.htm

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...

October 24, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brief Overview of Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints Mormons

Joseph Smith is the founding prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints. Also know as the LDS church or the Mormon church. Each prophet is succeeded by another prophet so that there remains a prophet on the earth in this dispensation, until the return of Jesus, the Son of God. After the time of the prophets ended with the arrival of the Son of God, no further prophets remained on the earth at any time until Joseph Smith. God restored prophets on the earth due to the falling away of the truth, the Gospel of God, which was restored by the revealing of the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith with assistance. The Book of Mormon is the recorded history of the ancient peoples of the Americas including the history of Jesus’ time here. And yes, this does mean that mohammad was not a prophet of God, and indeed, issued not one prophecy. He simply was one of the many false prophets and false christs that the Holy Bible warned would come to lead the elect away from the true God and His Son Jesus, if it was possible. (It isn’t, as no person who truly knew the truth would ever turn away to falsehood and darkness such as found in islam.)

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Islamorealism, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Families Can Be Eternal

Gospel Principles
Unit 8: Family Salvation
Chapter 36: The Family Can Be Eternal
Comments and Resources

“Our associations (family) are not exclusively intended for this
life… We live for time and eternity… who are there besides the
Latter-day Saints who contemplate the thought that beyond the grave
we will continue in the family organization?” (Joseph F. Smith,
Gospel Doctrine, p. 277.)

“Among the saints the family is the basic unit of the Church and of
society, and its needs and preservation in righteousness take
precedence over all other things. True family organization is
patriarchal in nature; it is patterned after that organization which
exist in heaven.”
(Ephesians 3:14-15)….

“Eternal families have their beginning in celestial marriage here in
mortality…By obedience to the laws of the gospel, Latter-day Saints
families begin here and now to enjoy much of that peace, joy, love,
and charity which will be enjoyed in eternal fullness in the exalted
family unit” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 273).

During the study of this topic we will learn that the family can be eternal.

Resources:
Gospel
Principles:
chapter
36
A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, chapter 14
The Articles of Faith, Chapter 24, pp. 442-446

Scriptures:

3 Nephi 17:1-3
“1 Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these
words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto
them: Behold, my time is at hand.
2 I perceive that ye are
weak, that ye cannot
understand all my words
which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.
3 Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and
ponder upon the things which
I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may
understand, and prepare your
minds for the morrow, and I
come unto you again.”

D&C 68:25-28;
131:1-4;
D&C 132
D&C 68:25-28
“25 And again, inasmuch as
parents have children in
Zion, or in any of her stakes
which are organized, that
teach them not to understand
the doctrine of repentance,
faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the
gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when
eight years old, the
sin be upon the heads of the parents.
26 For this shall be a law unto the
inhabitants of Zion, or in
any of her stakes which are organized.
27 And their children shall be
baptized for the
remission of their sins when
eight years old, and receive
the laying on of the hands.
28 And they shall also
teach their children to pray,
and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”

D&C 131:1-4
“1 In the celestial glory
there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the
highest, a man must enter
into this order of the
priesthood [meaning the new
and everlasting covenant of
marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom;
he cannot have an increase.”

D&C 132
“Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo,
Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting
covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, as also
plurality of wives. HC 5: 501 507. Although the revelation was
recorded in 1843, it is evident from the historical records that the
doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known
by the Prophet since 1831.
1-6, Exaltation is gained
through the new and everlasting covenant;
7-14, The terms and
conditions of that covenant are set forth;
15-20, Celestial
marriage and a continuation of the family unit enable men to become
gods; 21-25, The strait
and narrow way that leads to eternal lives;
26-27, Law given
relative to blasphemy against the Holy Ghost;
28-39, Promises of
eternal increase and exaltation made to prophets and saints in all
ages; 40-47, Joseph
Smith is given the power to bind and seal on earth and in heaven;
48-50, The Lord’seals
upon him his exaltation;
51-57, Emma Smith is
counseled to be faithful and true;
58-66, Laws governing
the plurality of wives are set forth.”

Official Declaration -1

Psalms 127:3-5
“3 Lo, children are an
heritage of the Lord: and the
fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man that
hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they
shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Mark 10:2-16
“2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for
a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement,
and to put her away.
5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your
heart he wrote you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a
man leave his father and
mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more
twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath
joined together, let not man
put asunder.
10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and
marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to
another, she committeth adultery.
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch
them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto
them, Suffer the little
children to come unto me,
and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom
of God as a little child,
he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and
blessed them.”

Ephesians 5:21-33;
6:1-9
Ephesians 5:21-33
“21 Submitting yourselves
one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives,
submit yourselves unto your
own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the
head of the wife, even as Christ is the
head of the
church: and he is the saviour
of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the
wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands,
love your
wives, even as Christ also
loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify
and cleanse it with the
washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not
having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be
holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that
loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet
hated his own
flesh; but nourisheth and
cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of
his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and
shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be
one flesh.
32 This is a great
mystery: but I speak
concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his
wife even as himself; and the
wife see that she
reverence her husband.”

Ephesians 6:1-9
“1 Children,
obey your parents in the Lord:
for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and
mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers,
provoke not your
children to wrath: but bring
them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
5 Servants, be obedient to
them that are your masters
according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of
your heart, as unto Christ;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the
servants of Christ, doing the
will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing
service, as to the Lord, and
not to men:
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall
he receive of the Lord,
whether he be bond or free.
9 And, ye masters, do the
same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your
Master also is in heaven;
neither is there respect of
persons with him.”

Abraham 5:14-18
“14 And the Gods said: Let us make an help meet for the man, for
it is not good that the man should be alone, therefore we will form
an help meet for him.
15 And the Gods caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and he
slept, and they took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in the
stead thereof;
16 And of the rib which the Gods had taken from man, formed they a
woman, and brought her unto the man.
17 And Adam said: This was bone of my bones, and
flesh of my flesh; now she
shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man;
18 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and
shall cleave unto his wife,
and they shall be one flesh.”

The
Family: A Proclamation to the World

Topical Guide:
Family,
Children, Duties of
Family,
Children, Responsibilities toward
Family,
Eternal
Family,
Love within
Family,
Patriarchal
Honoring
Father and Mother
Marriage,
Celestial
Marriage,
Continuing Courtship in
Marriage,
Fatherhood
Marriage,
Motherhood
Parent

Bible Dictionary:
Family
Marriage
Patriarch,
Patriarchs

Guide to the Scriptures:
Family
Child,
Children
Father,
Mortal
Marriage,
Marry
Mother

———————————————————-
Moroni 10:4-5
“4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that
ye would ask God, the
Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not
true and if ye shall ask
with a sincere heart, with
real intent, having
faith in Christ, he will
manifest the
truth of it unto you, by the
power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may
know the
truth of all things.”

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August 16, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicago area Mormons, Presbyterians visit Nauvoo together

Chicago area Mormons, Presbyterians visit Nauvoo together
Author: Jill Brim
Source: For Mormon Times
24 September 2010 5:30am

WHEATON, Ill. — This summer, the Wheaton Ward of the Naperville Illinois Stake hosted the First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton on a tour of the historic sites in Nauvoo and Carthage, Ill. Departing from the Naperville Stake Center, Bishop Reed Nuttall and the Rev. Dr. Jay Moses greeted 91 participants from both congregations as they travelled 250 miles from the Chicago suburbs to Nauvoo.

To become better acquainted before the trip, members of the Wheaton Ward invited the First Presbyterian Church members to the LDS chapel for a fireside and social on May 6. Presentations on life in 1840s Nauvoo were given, followed by a 19th-century stick-pulling demonstration and refreshments typical of the pioneer era. Conversations that evening revealed that one guest had attended dances in Nauvoo as a young girl. Presbyterians Bob and Marge Stevens had lived in Ogden, Utah, and met LDS neighbors who shared bread-making techniques. Former schoolteacher, Pam Ballard, had taught a Wheaton Ward family’s autistic son, developing a close bond with the family.

The joint group was welcomed to Nauvoo upon arrival by public affairs missionaries Elder Dean Hughes and Sister Kathleen Hughes as all strolled together through the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center and Monuments to Women Garden. Elder Hughes began by placing the story of the Latter-day Saints in the context of the 1840s midwest history.

In the evening, the group walked down the Trail of Hope along Parley Street, retracing the steps of the Mormon pioneers as they left their beloved city of Nauvoo, in the bitter cold of February 1846. The Rev. Moses was particularly moved by the plaques along the trail with journal quotes of several Nauvoo residents who were forced to leave their homes and temple in order to avoid further persecution.

At the Mississippi River’s edge, Taylor Phillips, a Laurel in the Wheaton Ward’s Young Women, told the moving story of her pioneer family’s attempt to secure provisions for the destitute Saints while risking personal safety.

The next morning, the bus arrived at the Nauvoo Temple grounds where Sister Hughes explained the significance of temple worship to families worldwide. She explained President Hinckley’s vision of the Nauvoo Temple and the Salt Lake Temple standing as two bookends facing one another. In the Old Burying Grounds on the outskirts of Nauvoo, Joe Bell, high priests group leader from the Wheaton Ward, described the sacrifices of his pioneer ancestors as they arrived in Nauvoo. Reese Nuttall, a priest in the Young Men, told the story of his ancestral family and their contributions to the growth of the 1840s church. Members of both congregations walked through the pioneer cemetery, reading headstones and sharing feelings of the sacrifices required of one’s faith.

The group then traveled to Carthage Jail, site of the shooting of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on June 27, 1844. Again, the senior missionary couples gave thought-provoking insights into the events leading up to the martyrdom, the tensions in Hancock County, and the impact of the lives of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

At the conclusion of the trip, several participants from both congregations expressed what the Nauvoo trip had meant to them personally.

Celeste Colton, Relief Society president of the Wheaton Ward, said, “As we literally sat shoulder to shoulder in the Seventies Hall together, the Spirit was manifest and my testimony was strengthened.”

Mimi Hill added, “I loved the perspective that the First Presbyterian church members provided. I was able to see and experience Nauvoo and its historic sites as if for the first time.”

Ed Ballard of First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton remarked, “What a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and learn about the importance of Nauvoo to the Mormon faith. The places we visited and the people who shared their faith and their history with us brought the Mormon experience to life.”

The Rev. Moses and Bob Stevens composed a page on the First Presbyterian Church website with pictures and commentary on the Nauvoo trip. The Rev. Moses wrote, “It is imperative that we enter into each other’s sacred spaces and places, into each other’s tragedies and joys, if we truly seek to know each other as we seek to be known: that is as children of God. Nauvoo is a symbol for the intersection of both of these occurrences in a community life, joy and tragedy.”

Bishop Nuttall concluded, “In Nauvoo, we felt a kinship with our forebears, while making new friends of the Presbyterian congregation, walking the streets of Nauvoo together. We hope to continue interfaith activities, including joint service projects, in our community to build relationships of faith.”

Jill Brim is the assistant public affairs director for the Naperville Illinois Stake.

Original Article: http://www.mormontimes.com/article/17339/Chicago-area-Mormons-Presbyterians-visit-Nauvoo-together?s_cid=newsline

Photos from First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton: http://www.firstpreswheaton.org/news/Nauvoo0510.shtml

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected Jesus Christ, as depicted in the Christus Statue in the North Visitors’ Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City

January 24, 2011 Posted by | Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Greatest Gift

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sign Petition to Insure Religious Freedom

December 4, 2010 Posted by | Christianity / God, Constitutional Issues, Mormon Christianity, Pending Classification, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Plan of Happiness

God’s Plan of Happiness

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
1 Corinthians 15:22

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“Where did I come from? Why am I here?”

It’s hard to move forward when we don’t know where we are headed or why. God’s plan gives us the answers to life’s most basic questions like, “Where did I come from?” “What’s my purpose here?” And, “What happens when I die?” Knowing the answers gives us hope and helps us find peace and joy.

A Plan for You

Our lives didn’t begin at birth and they won’t end at death. Before we came to earth, our spirits lived with Heavenly Father who created us. We knew Him, and He knew and loved us. It was a time during which we were taught God’s plan of happiness and the path to true joy. But just as most of us leave our home and parents when we grow up, God knew we needed to do the same. He knew we couldn’t progress further until we experienced mortal life. So He allowed us to come to earth to experience the joy—as well as pain—of a physical body.

One thing that makes this life hard at times is that we’re out of God’s physical presence. Not only that, but we can’t remember our pre-earth life which means we have to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:6-7). God didn’t say it would be easy, but He promised His spirit would be there when we needed Him. Even though it feels like it sometimes, we’re not alone in our journey.

God’s Plan for Us

God’s plan for us is beautiful and simple. He wants us to have joy and to become more like His Son Jesus Christ.

That doesn’t mean He expects us to be perfect in this life. He knows we won’t be. But He does expect that while we are here on earth we will try to the best of our ability to be more like Him and that we will learn and grow from our mistakes. Each time we make a poor choice with painful consequences, we may be forgiven through the Atonement of our Savior. Likewise, choosing good leads to happiness and helps us become more like Heavenly Father.

Receiving our physical body

“Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have”
Luke 24:39

Your Physical Body

Just as God created the earth as a place for us to live and gain experience, He created us, and gave us bodies of flesh and blood in the likeness of His. In the Old Testament God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Moses spoke with God “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). In the New Testament, when the resurrected Christ appeared to His Apostles, He told them, “Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

Adam and Eve Gave Us the Gift of Choice

We may know the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but do we know it was they who paved the way for the rest of us to come to earth, make choices, and become like our Heavenly Father?

As God’s first children on earth, Adam and Eve lived in a garden paradise. They didn’t feel any sorrow or pain, which might seem desirable, except that without it, they also couldn’t feel joy. They didn’t remember their pre-earth life. If they hadn’t eaten the forbidden fruit, they would have lived forever and “they would have had no children” (2 Nephi 2:22-23). Mankind never would have been born or the world populated.

Gift of Choice

As we know, Adam and Eve partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil despite God’s command not to do so. As a consequence, they were separated from God’s presence physically and spiritually—an event referred to as the Fall. They became mortal—just as we are—subject to sin, disease, all types of suffering, and ultimately death. This was all a part of God’s plan for us. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). As Adam and Eve were obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ and exercised faith in the Savior, they were still able to receive God’s inspiration, revelation, and blessings even in their fallen state.

Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Once out of the garden, they were able to progress and learn to become more like our Heavenly Father. In addition, they could have children, which meant the rest of God’s spirit children (all of us) could come to earth, receive physical bodies, and be proven by our daily choices. Just as with Adam and Eve, there are consequences to all our choices, good or bad. Lasting happiness and progression come from choosing to do what God wants us to do. The key word is “choosing.” God does not step in and prevent us from making the poor choices Satan tempts us to make. He will, however, offer His love, mercy, and divine guidance, when we open our heart to Him.

The Secret of Happiness

Regardless of what we do or don’t have in this life, our deepest, most lasting happiness will come from knowing God’s plan and following it.

We often fall into the trap of thinking a new car, job promotion, beauty makeover, or some level of fame will make us happy. And often they do—for a time. But it never lasts because wealth, power, beauty and fame simply don’t bring lasting happiness, as much as we wish they would. Rather, true happiness comes from following Christ’s example and developing Godlike attributes such as goodness, love, justice and mercy. Lasting happiness comes from serving others and helping them to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. It comes from learning self-control over our physical bodies and following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It comes from working hard and having a healthy lifestyle, friends, family, and personal achievements. Regardless of what we do or don’t have in this life, our deepest, most lasting happiness will come from knowing God’s plan and following His Son. Regardless of what you do or don’t have in this life, your deepest, most lasting happiness will come from knowing God’s plan and following His Son.

When Bad Things Happen

Sometimes bad things happen–even when we make good choices.

We get sick. Loved ones die. We lose our job or home. Our children struggle. It’s hard not to ask why God allows us to suffer so much. While God takes no pleasure in our suffering, regardless of its cause, our difficulties can bring us closer to Him and even make us stronger if we endure faithfully (2 Nephi 2:2). Because our Heavenly Father has given all men their freedom to choose, bad things do happen.

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It’s comforting to know that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, suffered all things. He understands our pain and can help us through our trials. When we have faith in Christ, we can be assured that there’s a purpose to all that happens to us here on earth. Our time here is short compared to our eternal life. As the Lord told Joseph Smith, a prophet of God, during a period of intense suffering:

“Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7-8).

Coping with adversities can strengthen us and make us more compassionate. It can help us learn, grow, and want to serve others. Dealing with adversity is one of the ways we are tested and tutored in our life here on Earth. Our loving Heavenly Father has the ability to compensate us for the pain and injustices we may be called upon to endure in this mortal life. If we endure faithfully He will reward us in the life to come beyond our ability to comprehend. Amazingly, with God’s help we can experience comfort even in times of trial, and face life’s challenges with a spirit of peace.

What Jesus Christ Did for Us

“For behold, I . . . have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer . . . even as I”
Doctrine & Covenants 19:16-17
What Jesus Christ did for you

Heavenly Father knew we would stumble, commit sin, and hurt others and ourselves in this mortal life.

Seeing the pain we’ve caused and feeling the misery of remorse, shame, and guilt can be overwhelming and devastating. We wonder if we can ever overcome our sins and feel the peace of being forgiven.

Jesus Christ Suffered For Us 02:21

We unequivocally can, thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We can confess our sins to God, make necessary changes, and ask His forgiveness. And He’s promised that He’ll “remember them no more” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42). This is possible because Heavenly Father sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to voluntarily suffer and pay for our sins and sorrows by atoning for them Himself. We can’t fully understand how Jesus suffered for our sins. But we know that in the Garden of Gethsemane, the weight of our sins caused Him such agony that He bled from every pore. Later, as He hung upon the cross, Jesus willingly suffered a painful death by one of the cruelest methods ever known. However, His mental and spiritual anguish went well beyond the physical pains of the crucifixion.

The Savior tells us, “For behold, I . . . have suffered these things for all . . . Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-18).

In addition to asking God’s forgiveness, He also wants us to ask forgiveness of those we’ve harmed, see if we can repair the damage we may have caused, and strive to keep the commandments. Then we can move forward feeling God’s love and the incredible peace and joy that come from being fully forgiven.

To make His Atonement fully effective in our life, we need to:

* Exercise faith in Jesus Christ.
* Repent.
* Be baptized.
* Receive the Holy Ghost.
* Choose to follow His teachings for the rest of our lives.

Mormons believe Jesus Christ is their Savior. Why do we need a Savior?

Jason answered …

We need a Savior because we are not able to perfectly keep the … Show more

We need a Savior because we are not able to perfectly keep the commandments our Heavenly Father has given us. In order to receive forgiveness for the human mistakes we make, we need a Savior who has paid the penalty for our sins through his suffering and crucifixion. We do not have power to overcome our sins by ourselves. We require the help of Jesus Christ. He provides us hope that we can return to our Heavenly Father again in spite of the mistakes we make on this earth. Show less

Tyson answered …

The Savior is vital to God’s plan. He suffered for the sins of all … Show more

The Savior is vital to God’s plan. He suffered for the sins of all those that have lived, are living, and are going to live. He makes it possible for us to get to Heaven. Show less

“What happens when I die?”

Picture your hand inside a glove. The glove moves only when your hand does. Take your hand out and the glove sits lifeless on the table. This is an easy way to visualize what happens when we die. Imagine your body is the glove being operated by who you really are—your spirit. When we die our bodies get left behind, lifeless like a glove, but our spirits continue to live.

Countless scriptures and personal accounts by prophets throughout time have told us this is true.

Our physical death isn’t the end, but rather is a step forward in Heavenly Father’s plan.

When we are the ones left behind—the ones losing friends or loved ones—the pain of that loss is very real. But there is comfort in knowing we’ll see them again. And because of Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection, at some point our spirit and body will be reunited (resurrected) and made perfect, never to be separated again.

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What do Mormons believe happens to us after we die? What do Mormons believe about life after death?

Roberta answered …

At death our spirits go to the spirit world (paradise). Those who chose to … Show more

At death our spirits go to the spirit world (paradise). Those who chose to follow God in this life will live in a state of happiness, peace, and rest from troubles and care. Those who chose not to obey God in this life and did not repent live in a state of unhappiness. Life after death (after judgment) will be in one of the three kingdoms of glory, based our choices between good and evil and how we lived our life. Jesus Christ made it possible for everyone to be resurrected–for their soul to reunite with their bodies never to be separated again. Everyone who has ever lived on earth will receive immortal bodies and each person will receive their reward in whatever kingdom they have qualified for based on how they lived their life. Those who gain Eternal Life will live with the Father and the Son in the celestial kingdom, which is the highest degree of glory where they can be with their worthy family members forever. Show less

Heather answered …

Imagine a glove. When a glove is on a hand, the glove moves. But when you … Show more

Imagine a glove. When a glove is on a hand, the glove moves. But when you take the glove off the hand the glove no longer moves. We believe that it is essentially the same thing with our body the glove and our spirit the hand. At death the body and the spirit are separated. The body is left on the earth and is buried in the ground and the spirit returns yes, we believe that we all lived with Heavenly Father before we came to earth so you would be returning to wait for the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Show less

Immortality—One of God’s Greatest Gifts
Resurrected Jesus Christ

If we could have one wish, what would it be?

Many of us would say we want to live forever. That’s exactly what God gave to each of us when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die for us and to atone for our sins. It’s called resurrection and everyone born on earth will receive this gift of immortality (1 Corinthians 15:22).

On the third day after His Crucifixion, Jesus Christ became the first person to be resurrected. His spirit was reunited with His immortal, glorified, perfected body. When Christ’s friends went to visit His tomb, angels said, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6). His resurrection opened the door for all people to be resurrected someday.

November 26, 2010 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Iglesia De JESUCRISTO De Los Ultimos Dias

La Iglesia De JESUCRISTO De Los Ultimos Dias

"http://www.iglesiadejesucristo.org.co"  


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mormonism and Christianity

To see how Christianity is related to Mormonism, we must first define Christianity.

Jesus Christ in Book of Mormon

Christianity is defined by most people one of two ways:

1. Broad Definition: Christianity is a religion which preaches the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Christians also believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ; that is, that He died for the sins of the world and by so he gave everyone the opportunity to be saved. Many people, Christian and non-Christian alike, accept this definition.

2. Narrow Definition: Christianity is a religion which accepts the beliefs set forth by the Nicene Creed, a statement of faith written in 325 AD and revised in 381 by a council of bishops. The creed was affirmed in 1974 by a group of religious leaders from around the world and resulted in a document called “The Lausanne Covenant“.[1] Together, these creeds acknowledge the doctrine of the Trinity as well as the competency and completeness of the Bible. Fundamentalist Christians generally accept this definition of Christianity.

Catholic and Protestant Denominations

There exist many different Christian denominations as well as a rapidly increasing number of “non-denominational” Christian churches, and more detailed, specific beliefs vary among these denominations. Upon stepping back, however, one can agree that despite many differences, the two groups have in common the belief that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that it is by learning and accepting such that one might be excused from his or her mistakes in this life and be saved in the life to come. In most cases, both Catholics and Protestants accept the Nicene Creed. Both are clearly Christian religions.

Mormonism and the Broad Definition of Christianity

Let us now consider Mormonism: Joseph Smith, the man who organized the religion explained that: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and the Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

Mormons believe that it is through the testimonies of modern-day prophets as well as those of ancient-prophets (contained in the scriptures) that one can learn more about Jesus Christ and thereby gain his or her own assurance that He is truly God’s son and the Savior of all mankind. It is, then, by following the example of Jesus Christ and trying to live like Him that Mormons believe they can be forgiven of their sins and live with God after this life.

Another evidence of Mormons’ foundational belief in Jesus Christ is the very name of the church. The Mormon church is officially named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it is believed that it is the same exact church as was established by Jesus Christ Himself during His time on the earth. As we read in the Bible, Jesus established a certain organization within His church: He called prophets, twelve apostles, missionaries, and other leaders as were needed in order to teach His doctrine throughout surrounding cities and countries and create a church with a firm foundation. Mormons believe that Jesus Christ has reestablished the same church through Joseph Smith. In the same way that He led Peter, James, John, Paul, and other prophets after His ascension to heaven–that is, through revelation–He continues to lead His church today, through the prophet Thomas S. Monson and the twelve apostles.

Not only, then, do Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of us all, but they also believe that His ongoing teachings can be heeded and followed today as He is believed to be the very head of the Mormon church. Mormonism, then, can indeed be called a Christian religion. And just as there are differences between the specific beliefs in each and every Christian sect, the differences in Mormonism in no way affect its being founded on the doctrine of Jesus Christ. To embrace Mormonism, then, is clearly to embrace Christianity, as defined by the broad definition.

Mormonism and the Narrow Definition of Christianity

Mormons do not accept either the Nicene Creed or the Lausanne Covenant. They do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, but instead believe in a Godhead of three personages, God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are one in purpose but separate physical entities John 17:11, 21-23. [2] They believe the Bible to be the revelations of God to man, and believe the Bible to be the word of God, “as far as it is translated correctly.” Mormons believe God has always desired and continues to desire to speak to mankind. Thus, they have more scripture and expect to receive more scripture.

Mormons contend, however, that acceptance of the Nicene Creed should not be the standard for defining a person as a “Christian” as the implications of being “unchristian” extend beyond lack of acceptance of the Nicene Creed. Being “unchristian” implies not believing in the teachings of Jesus Christ and living one’s life in a manner that Christ would not approve of.

October 23, 2010 Posted by | Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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