Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

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.
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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.
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If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

–The words of Christ in Matthew 19:17.
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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...

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

Mormons Are Christian

The name of the Mormon Church should be referred to at all times as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If one does that then there is no question as to whether the Mormons believe in Jesus Christ or are Christians.

The definition of a Christian is defined as ‘one who believes or professes…to believe in Jesus Christ and the truth as taught by him…one whose life is conformed to the doctrine of Christ.’ If being Christian means accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of our Heavenly Father and the Savior of the world, then the charge that Mormons aren’t Christians is entirely bogus.

Latter-day Saints pray to Heavenly Father and close ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’; they worship Christ each Sunday and partake of the sacrament which helps them renew the covenants they made with Him at their baptism; the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ; ‘Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way.’1 Above all, Jesus Christ is the central figure for the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The first Article of Faith in the church is: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”2 This article declares the belief in the Mormon Church.

Another misconception is the Book of Mormon and the criticism associated with it. Most will say that ‘it isn’t what the Book of Mormon says that is offensive to them – it is the Book of Mormon itself.’3 The rejection of the Book of Mormon is based upon nothing! How can one make a decision without actually reading, studying or researching? To know Christ, is to read the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Article of Faith #8 in the Book of Mormon reads, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”4 As one would study, research and pray to know if those things found in the Bible are true, so one must study, research and pray to know if the teachings in the Book of Mormon are true. Judgments cannot be made on something without having information. Both books of scriptures are based upon Christ and His teachings. If both are studied, then the answers come and the world would not question whether the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Christians.

For more information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Mormons please see the following websites:

http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDS_Intro.shtml
http://www.lightplanet.com
http://www.mormonwiki.com
http://www.whymormonism.org
Mormon Temple: Information From Answers.com

1 “Encyclopedia of Mormonism”
2 “Book of Mormon”, The Articles of Faith 1:1

3 “Are Mormons Christian?”, New Era, by Robinson, May 1998, p41

4 “Book of Mormon”, The Articles of Faith 1:8

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

 

 

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Christian Group that Admits LDS are Christians too

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).

Clearly this fellow believer has done proper research into the LDS church and I appreciate that he used valid sources for what LDS actually believe rather than obscure quotes or other things random people may have said throughout the years that isn’t a main-stream belief of the LDS faith.  In fact, I feel he is doing more good for the church than many of us members because he is not a member and they can trust him.

I hope that we as LDS Christians can do the same for our fellow Christians by acknowledging the common ground that we all stand on.  There are many other issues out there that we need to be united on that we can further the cause of good in the world by working together and not fighting against each other.
http://graceforgrace.com/2010/04/02/finally-a-christian-group-that-admits-lds-are-christians-too/

I decided to check out his blog and found a great “test” to see if Mormon’s, or LDS are Christians. Below is a comparison of what Christians believe in from the Bible to be saved and also what LDS believe taken from http://evangelicalsandmormonsforjesus.com.

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

A Quadruple Combination of the (scriptures) of – contains the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, all bound together. Ricardo630 07:45, 15 April 2006 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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

Richard Mouw, evangelical leader, says engaging Mormonism isn’t just about being nice | The Christian Century

Richard Mouw, evangelical leader, says engaging Mormonism isn’t just about being nice | The Christian Century.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity, Societal / Cultural Issues | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arise and Shine Forth

Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Meridian Magazine – The Trinity Creeds: Roadblocks to Understanding Christ’s Atonement – Meridian Magazine – LDS, Mormon and Latter-day Saint News and Views

Meridian Magazine – The Trinity Creeds: Roadblocks to Understanding Christ’s Atonement – Meridian Magazine – LDS, Mormon and Latter-day Saint News and Views.

April 23, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity, Societal / Cultural Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mormons are Christians so why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

 

One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as “unorthodox.” For example, the LDS definition of the Godhead differs from the Nicene Creed accepted by most Catholic or Protestant churches. The “cult” label is usually applied by Church opponents attempting to criticize or discredit the Church. However, sometimes it’s simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding. Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship. When people begin to see and recognize these things about Mormons, then their opinion of the Church usually changes, and old beliefs are replaced with new understanding.

Read other answers contributed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Answers are the sole responsibility of the members.

Lynn answered…

Some call Mormonism a cult because it is not a “traditional” Christian church. The primary complaint of the “traditionalists” (generally Protestant Churches) is that we do not believe in the doctrine of the trinity as it relates to the nature of the Godhead. The doctrine of the trinity was codified in the Nicene Creed in 325 AD, many years after the death of Christ and the Apostles. It basically says that the Godhead, The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, are one being in “substance.” Since Mormonism does not accept this doctrine, they say we believe in a different Christ than they do and therefore are a cult. It is curious that this “trinitarian” doctrine is not taught anywhere in the Bible.

Mormons believe the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible (and the early church established by Jesus and His Apostles) teaches that the Godhead indeed consists of The Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But, it teaches that they are: 1) three distinct individuals as expressed in Acts 7:54-60 where Stephen is being stoned. “He being filled with the Holy Ghost looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” And it teaches 2) they are one in purpose, not in substance (John 17 where Jesus offers his intercessory prayer, particularly verses 20-23.) This is what Mormons believe.

It is noteworthy that the early Christians were called the “sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5) and were considered a cult by the Sadducees and Pharisees, the predominant religions of the day.
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Garth answered…

I just saw news footage where a minister called the Mormon Church a ‘cult’ and the news commentator turned around and said it wasn’t. The news commentator was right. One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” ‘Unorthodox’ according to whom? Catholicism and over 2000 churches who broke off of the Catholic Church or the original teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ? We believe some of the original doctrines contained in … Show more

Jeff answered…

I think some call Mormonism a cult mainly because they don’t understand what it’s about. Before I was a Mormon, I used to believe that Mormons did not believe in the Bible, in Jesus Christ and a good deal of other things. I didn’t realize how incorrect I was. There have been some pretty amazing things that have happened in conjunction with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and if you don’t get the whole picture, then some of the stuff can sound pretty odd, and … Show more

Dan answered…

I grew up thinking, at one point, Mormonism was cult. I made this assertion based on nothing but hearsay, and didn’t actually know any tenets of the LDS faith. Now, as a person who has thoroughly investigated the sincerity and divine truthfulness of this Church, I can resoundingly say that the Church of Jesus Christ is by no means a cult. I find that the major reason why people think Mormonism is a cult is simply due to a lack of understanding of the Church. For instance, not …Show more

Michael Johnston answered…

Because we believe in continuing revelation through Prophets as in the days of old, i.e. Moses, Abraham, this is uncomfortable for some people because media has made our Prophets seem like evil men leading people astray, when they are just trying to teach us correct principles so that one day we all may return to live with our Father in Heaven.Another reason is because we believe in the sacred nature of temples, meaning only worthy members may enter the Temple so people think … Show more

Stephen Call answered…

In my opinion the real reason people say the Mormon Church is a cult because they don’t understand. saying that it is a cult is an easy way to excuse themselves from learn more about it. Its like saying “sushi is slimy raw dead fish” or “computers are of the devil” its easy not to try / learn about stuff if you pair it with a negative word like “devil” or ” slimy raw dead fish”

Suzanne answered…

I don’t know. Quite honestly when labels are used I think this comes from someone’s desire to quickly explain away something that they don’t understand. If they really took a hard look at the church it would be easy to tell that Mormons do not blindly follow any human being. I think maybe someone who might use that label could look at the level of commitment and obedience found among the members of this church and casually explain this away as blind obedience. They certainly do not see the personal struggles and the effort that maintaining a personal relationship with God requires. Like most Mormons I think, I do what I do out of devotion and love. It may start out as duty and habit, but as I have come to know God and His mercy and love (the big picture) I can’t help but want to keep the commandments. I don’t follow a person, I follow God and His Son and they help me every step of the way.
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Kevin answered…

I suppose that new and different things have always been a challenge for some. It seems possible that the New Testament Christians might also have been called a cult: they were few in number, taught new, or at least different, doctrines and were lead by strong, charismatic leaders (a study of the early apostles like Peter or Paul bears this out).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called the Mormon church) follows the teachings of Jesus Christ as contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We do not worship our founding prophet (Joseph Smith) or our current prophet (Thomas S. Monson). We teach that men are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrice on the cross and that as we strive to follow Him and keep His commandments, that redemption becomes personal.

If others persist in defining the Church as a cult, in spite of our rather obvious Christian beliefs and doctrines, then we will simply have to agree to disagree.
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Terry answered…

Mostly because of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about the Church. It’s easier for people to believe what they hear from other people (who heard it from someone else, who heard it from another person that read it on the Internet…) instead of making an effort to find out from the source.

In addition, there are small, secretive groups that are not part of our Church that use a modified form of the name of the Church for their own group, and have practices that are similar to our worship services and practices. These groups may be involved in illegal activities, especially polygamy, and when the media reports on them, they do not make an effort to distinguish between these groups and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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Elizabeth answered…

It’s funny, I used to call the Mormon Church a cult too. I just didn’t understand it.

Mormonism isn’t weird or strange. Its members don’t perform satanic rituals or brainwash teenage boys into walking around from door to door in suits and name tags (nor is anyone forced to — everyone who chooses to serve a mission does so out of their own free will and choice).
I used to call Mormonism a cult because it seemed foreign and unfamiliar, which I deemed scary. The same thing happened to Jesus’ first followers as well: they were accused of cult worship too! Others who understood little of what Mormons truly believe told me lies about so-called “practices” in the church which, in reality, were just made-up stories and falsehoods intended to give the church a bad name.
When it comes down to it, a lot of people just don’t understand this church, and lies about it spread like wildfire. Mormons believe that Jesus is the Christ. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world, plain and simple.
Is that so weird or cultish?
Today, there are close to fourteen million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide, and more live outside of the United States than inside. That doesn’t seem very cult-like to me!

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meridian Magazine – New Poll: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Surveys Mormons in America – Meridian Magazine – LDS, Mormon and Latter-day Saint News and Views

Meridian Magazine – New Poll: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Surveys Mormons in America – Meridian Magazine – LDS, Mormon and Latter-day Saint News and Views.

January 13, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity, Societal / Cultural Issues | , , , , , , , | 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

Book review: ‘The King James Bible and the Restoration’ provides some remarkable insights

http://www.deseretnews.com/m/article/705394919

November 26, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Economist: Mormons Are, in Fact, Christians – The Atlantic

The Economist: Mormons Are, in Fact, Christians – The Atlantic.

October 29, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, 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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Christ icon in Taizé

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

Meridian Magazine – LDS Group Creates Mormon Defense League – Meridian Magazine – LDS, Mormon and Latter-day Saint News and Views

Meridian Magazine – LDS Group Creates Mormon Defense League – Meridian Magazine – LDS, Mormon and Latter-day Saint News and Views.

August 5, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

True Freedom equals Freedom from Sin

Many people live under the false belief that God’s commandments are restrictive and that real freedom comes from doing whatever we want. But this is a lie. Only obedience leads to true freedom. Sin is real and it leads to bondage and destruction.

“And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away”
(2 Nephi 2:13).

The devil is real and is doing all he can to make us miserable like he is. To achieve this he deceives us and binds us with sin.
“Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

“And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God–he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God….

“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well–and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

“And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none–and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

“Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works” (2 Nephi 28:7-9;21-23).

To be free of Satan’s bondage we must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, and change our lives to live in obedience to God’s commandments and truths. Only then can we be truly free.

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Mormon Christianity | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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