Paul Derengowski, ThM
Each year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon Church, comes more into the public eye with its positive message of family togetherness, and more and more people are equally impressed with the idea that Mormonism is just another denomination of Christianity. On the other hand there are those who are not quite sure what to make of the Mormon Church and one of the most frequent questions that I answer is whether or not it is a Christian church. Outwardly, the LDS use almost all the same language that Christians do, and they do seem to put forth the civic effort to be law-abiding citizens. So, why is it that so many, including myself, have such a hard time including Mormonism into the definition of Christianity? In other words, what is Mormonism? It is a cult? It is a sect? Is it another form of mainstream Christianity? Just what is it about Mormonism that leaves people wondering?
Perhaps the best way to answer those questions is to simply take a brief look at what Mormons believe about the basic doctrines that Christians have held dear down through the centuries, and then make a comparison. If Mormon truth claims are even remotely close to what Christians and the Bible have taught, then there should be no problem to include Mormonism under the umbrella of Christianity. Correct? So, let’s quickly examine ten basic beliefs, starting with the Bible, and then God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Man, Sin, Salvation, Angels, the Church, and Last Things. Statements from both sides of the issue will be given, and then we will draw a conclusion at the end, ultimately answering the question of just what Mormonism is. Hopefully, by doing it this way, we will not only gain a better perspective of what we’re seeing when we view a Mormon TV commercial, but we’ll better understand just where the dividing line is that separates Mormons from Christians, if there is a separation, and how to better witness to them when the opportunities arise. So, what do Mormons believe about the Bible?
First of all, the typical Mormon will tell you that he loves the Bible. In fact, if one is fortunate enough to have a missionary visit his door he will offer you a King James Version of the Bible for free. It is something that the LDS did not do years ago, when they were handing out copies of the Book of Mormon instead. Yet, although outwardly a Mormon might testify of his love of the Bible, inwardly he believes that the Bible is tainted. Not only does it contain many errors perpetrated by the “abominable church”—meaning the one that many Christians belong to—and scandalous scribes, but it is also missing many “plain and precious truths.” According to the late Mormon apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, “One of the great heresies of modern Christendom is the unfounded assumption that the Bible contains all of the inspired teachings now extant among men. Foreseeing that Satan would darken the minds of men in this way, and knowing that other scripture would come forth in the last days, Nephi prophesied that unbelieving Christians would reject the new revelation with the cry: ‘A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.’“ 1 In other words, the Bible is not a trustworthy document when it comes to Christian faith and practice, and to believe otherwise is to have one’s mind darkened by Satan. The remedy, as Mormons see it, is to introduce extra-biblical revelations, starting with the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the pronouncements of the current President of the Mormon Church, which is Thomas Monson.
Of course, historically Christians have loved the Bible for wholly different reasons. Christians do not believe that the Bible is deficient whatsoever, but that it is inerrant and trustworthy in matters of faith and practice. That, in the words of theologian Wayne Grudem, “Because God is a God who cannot speak a ‘lie,’ his words can always be trusted. Since all of Scripture is spoken by God, all of Scripture must be ‘unlying,’ just as God himself is: there can be no untruthfulness in Scripture.” 2 That, as biblical scholar, Sir Frederic Kenyon would say, “The Christian can take the whole Bible in his hand and say without fear or hesitation that he holds in it the true Word of God, handed down without essential loss from generation to generation throughout the centuries.” 3 Clearly, Mormons and Christians diverge over the issue of the integrity of the Bible, with the Mormons telling us that they love it, but then don’t live it, while Christians live it as they love it. Since Mormons have a less than appreciative view of the Bible, what do they have to say about its author?
When it comes to Mormons and Christians believing that God is our Father, as Jesus once taught his disciples to pray (Mt. 6:9), that is where the similarities end. For Mormonism teaches that God is not a spirit, as Jesus said he was, but that he is an exalted man, with a body of flesh and bones, like all human beings have. 4 That God lives on a planet, somewhere in the universe, nigh unto a star called Kolob, 5 with his polygamously married harem of wives (see the mandate on polygamy found in D&C 132). It is from this planet that God and his wives procreate “spirit-children,” and after they have grown, are sent to earth, where they are tried and tested, to see if they are worthy of eventually attaining the same god-status as God himself. Included in God’s procreative activity is the siring of Jesus, both in “heaven” and on earth. Mormonism has historically taught that when it was time for Jesus to leave star-base Kolob and become the savior of humanity, that God made a conjugal visit with Mary, his daughter, and sired Jesus in her womb. In the words of Brigham Young, “the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it.” 6 Bruce McConkie would later add, “There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for his is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says.” 7 Also, God the Father has relatives, namely a father, and a grandfather, and great grandfather, and a great, great grandfather, and so on, ad infinitum. Unfortunately, when asked about who the first “Father” was who started the whole process, the answer is there was no first Father or god. In other words, God became what he is through a process of what Mormons call the Law of Eternal Progression, and belongs to an infinite line of finite gods and goddesses, each of whom did the same as he had done, yet without a first god in the infinite chain. Go figure.
If you’re aghast over hearing this, you should be. For Christians have never held that God is a man, that he became what he is through some finite process of do’s and don’ts, or that he is married, let alone polygamously, to a harem of wives, and procreating spirit-children the old-fashioned way. Christians believe that God is spirit (Jn. 4:24), meaning that his essential, personal nature has the quality of spirit, not that he is a spirit along with others of the same essence, or that he possesses “a spirit” like humans do. Christians believe that God has always been God, from eternity past to eternity future, meaning that he is infinite, and not contingent, as well as eternal. Consistent with God’s eternality and infinity is his self-existence. The medical doctor, and author of the Book of Acts, Luke recorded the apostle Paul arguing to the Athenian philosophers, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things” (Acts 17:24-25). His words are a far cry from the Mormon “God” who needs many things, including creation, a wife, parents, sin, salvation, a god to worship, and a brother to help him to not only become “God,” but to maintain his god-status. Such a perverse view that the Mormons have about God adversely affects their view of Jesus as well.
Mormons often make a big deal out of how their church is a Christian church simply because they have Jesus’ name in the church’s title. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 8 He is the Savior. He is the Son of God, in the most “literal” way. He is God. Nevertheless, despite all the outstanding accolades, what most Mormons fail to divulge to the public, or “non-believing Christians,” is that the Mormon Jesus is also Lucifer’s, or Satan’s, spirit-brother. In fact, Satan is not only Jesus’ spirit-brother, according to Elder Joseph F. Merrill: Satan “is a spirit brother of ours” as well. 9 Also, as already noted previously, Jesus is the product of an illicit and illegal relationship between God and Mary. It was illicit in the sense that Mary was God’s literal daughter, whom he conceived in heaven with one of God’s wives; it was illegal in the sense that Mary was already married to Joseph when Humanly Father came calling on her to conceive Jesus, which was a violation of the Mosaic Law found in Deuteronomy 22:23-24! Furthermore, the Mormon Jesus was not God, very God, while on earth. Instead, he was a mere man, who progressed onto godhood after his death. And of course, the implications of such a view of Jesus are dire for anyone trusting in him for their salvation.
Christians, on the other hand, believe that Jesus is the second person in the triune Godhead. He is God, very God, from eternity past to eternity future. That he is the Creator of all things, including Lucifer (who would become Satan), and “apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3). That because he is God, very God, he could live a perfect life and offer himself as the perfect sacrifice to God the Father for the redemption of humanity. He was begotten of the Father, but not in a physical, sexual, materialistic manner that Mormonism teaches, but through the miraculous intervention on the part of the Holy Spirit, whereby Jesus took on both a human nature and a human body, both of which he did not possess prior to the incarnation (Jn. 1:14; Phil. 2:7-8). He was not married, nor did he have children, as some Mormons have postulated, 10 but will be the bridegroom in the end of the church age, when he receives his bride, the Church (Revelation 21:2, 9), to whom he will live with throughout eternity. Clearly, once again, the Mormon Jesus is not the same Jesus that Christians subscribe to, and neither is the Holy Spirit, to whom we now turn our attention.
The Holy Spirit (“Ghost”)
Those who come in contact with a Latter-day Saint regularly hear allusions to the working of the Holy Spirit, or Ghost, as he is commonly called. He is the one who confirms that the warm, good feelings the Mormon is having about whatever subject is on his mind, that it is in fact true. For example, the veracity of the Book of Mormon, when prayed over, with a sincere heart, will be validated by the physical manifestation of the Spirit in the inquirer’s bosom, as it “burns.” 11 The same is true when it comes to knowing whether or not the Mormon Church is true, as the subjective presence of the Spirit intuitively impresses himself upon the conscience of the person doing the asking. The Mormon knows that the Church is true, simply because he knows what he has experienced, and the experience cannot be falsified, since the Mormon Church has revealed that the Spirit is the one revealing both the experience and the knowledge. It is a question begging, circular argument, if there ever was one. What most Mormons, again, fail to do is to reveal that they believe that the Holy Spirit is a disembodied man, that he is a separate god from the Father and Jesus, and that he is fixed in time and space in the sense that he can only be in one place at a time. Also, what many Mormons do not know is that the Holy Spirit was at one time not even a person at all, at least according to early Mormon writings such as the Book of Commandments. Instead, he was the “mind of God,” whom both the Father and Son possessed. 12
Christians, on the other hand, believe that the Holy Spirit has always been God, very God, and the third person in the triune Godhead. That he is omnipresent, and specifically resides within each believer, fully, and always, which is why the believer can be confident of his or her redemption. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, said in respect to the Spirit that, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9). The point is, if one accepts the Mormon premise that the Spirit of God can only be in one place at a time, then there can only be one Christian in existence at any given time! And we know that that just does not make sense, since it is not true. Finally, the Spirit is not a disembodied man, but is pure spirit like God the Father is, and hence is not bound by time and space. He is everywhere at all times and places, but that does not mean that he is everything, or in everything, which a Pantheist or Panentheist might falsely assume. Therefore, when it comes to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Mormons and Christians are not talking about the same person. But, since they do not agree on heavenly beings, do they agree on earthly beings, like just what humanity is all about?
Obviously Mormonism teaches the reality of humanity, and also that humans are literally created in the physical image of God. That said, though, Mormons rarely go into further detail concerning human origins and human destiny, for Mormonism also teaches that all humans, including God, existed together as bodiless (incorporeal), eternal “intelligences” prior their coming to be in their current states. 13 After God managed to progress to his deified state he and wife began conceiving “spirit-children,” of which the personalities for these children were taken from the pool of intelligences. When they matured, and depending on their valiancy during the “war in heaven” between Satan and God over plans of salvation, they were sent to earth and to inhabit physical bodies their human parents had created, to be tested, like God was, to see if they were worthy to go onto godhood. And the distinctions we see among the races are explicitly due to the valiant nature of God’s children, with the more valiant possessing skin that is “white and delightsome,” and those who were less valiant being cursed with a “dark skin.” Finally, those who sided with the devil, including the devil himself, do not possess physical bodies of their own, but are in the business of trying to “steal” those that do not belong to them. 14
Christianity also teaches that man is created in God’s image, but that that image has nothing to do with physical appearances, given that God is pure spirit (Jn. 4:24). Also, prior to humanity being brought into existence, in time and space, there was no human existence. Men and women, boys and girls, although they were known in the infinite and omniscient mind of God did not actually exist until God brought them to be (cf. Jeremiah 1:5; Jn. 1:3; Rom. 4:17). Moreover, when humans began to exist, they were finite in nature and not eternal beings who were “gods in embryo” 15 as some Mormons have characterized them. Hence, human beings will always be finite creatures and never able to ascend to the lofty heights that Mormonism proposes, and that is to godhood. Finally, human beings are of a completely different species than God is, 16 and are distinct from the Creator. Humans need God to exist, but God does not need humans to exist. And speaking of needs, we come to another essential need proposed in Mormonism, in order that the human race may exist and propagate, and that is sin.
Most Mormons have more of an aversion toward sin than many Christians do. The simple reason for this is that it is incumbent upon the Latter-day Saint to perfect him or her self in this life, by abstaining from sin, as a prerequisite, if he or she expects to attain “true” or Individual Salvation in the next life; more on that shortly. That said, though, sin also plays an unusual role in the Mormon belief system, for without it the human race would have never been propagated! According to the Book Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:22-23, 25, and speaking of the fall of Adam and Eve, it says,
And now, behold if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. 23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
From this one may surmise that sin was a necessity. Without its presence, and human participation in rebelling against God (1) Adam and Eve would have remained in the Garden, in an innocent state, without the possibility of bearing children, (2) there would have been no human race beyond Adam and Eve, (3) Adam and Eve would have had no joy, (4) They would not have done any good. But, since they sinned, they were driven from the Garden, had children, were joyful, and did “good” as well.
Christianity, on the other hand, has never taught that sin was necessary for the existence or propagation of the human race. Sin has always been looked upon as a detriment to society, and something which always inevitably led to chaos and death. Proverbs 14:34 tells us that, “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people,” and the oft-quoted Romans 6:23 declares that, “the wages of sin is death.” Finally, John the Beloved informs us that “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness,” (1 John 3:4), and that “the one who practices sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). So, clearly sin has absolutely no beneficial feature to it, it is not necessary, let alone as a requirement for the propagation of human life. In fact, prior to Adam and Eve’s fall into sin they were already commanded to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), meaning that having children was not contingent upon first disobeying God, thereby defying the Mormon distortion from the outset. Nevertheless, if a person does sin, then what does Mormonism have to say about redemption and/or salvation?
Salvation in Mormonism is perhaps one of the most confusing doctrines for Christians to understand when the subject comes up. The reason why is that most Mormons present a distorted view of so many concepts related to salvation, that the Christian regularly comes away from a conversation with a Mormon knowing that something is wrong, but he is not quite sure what it is. To dispel the fog all one has to do is remember that Mormon salvation is divided into two levels of thinking. One level is what some Mormons call General or Unconditional Salvation. General Salvation simply means that everyone is saved—not can be saved, but is saved—because of Jesus’ atonement on the cross. Salvation in this respect means resurrection, or that universally speaking, Christ’s atonement enabled everyone to be resurrected, and hence will spend eternity somewhere in a kingdom regardless of what they believed about Jesus. 17 The second level of salvation in Mormonism is termed Individual or Conditional Salvation. At this level the individual Saint must work for what former LDS apostle, Bruce McConkie, would call “true” salvation. That work would include keeping all the laws and commandments of God, being married to the right person, in the right place, by the right authority, paying an honest tithe, acting as “saviors” for the dead by being baptized by proxy for them in a Mormon temple, denying himself of all ungodliness, and that is just for starters. According to former Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball,
In our journey toward eternal life, purity must be our constant aim. To walk and talk with God, to serve with God, to follow his example and become as a god, we must attain perfection. In his presence there can be no guile, no wickedness, no transgression. In numerous scriptures he has made it clear that all worldliness, evil and weakness must be dropped before we can ascend unto “the hill of the Lord.” 18
From the preceding it should be obvious that what Mormonism teaches about salvation, and what Christianity teaches about salvation are like night and day. Christians have never taught or believed that salvation occurs on two levels, or confused salvation with resurrection. Furthermore, Christians do not believe that a person can merit their salvation by performing good works, but that good works are a result of a person already being saved. The Apostle Paul told the Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Then he tells them, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (v. 10). New Testament scholar Peter O’Brien comments that, “These ‘good works’ cannot be the ground of our salvation or the subject of our boasting since they are the goal of the new creation. They are the fruit of salvation, not its basis or cause.” 19 Therefore, when it comes to salvation, not only are the Mormons confused as to the function of works in a Christian’s life, he perpetuates a confused multi-leveled form of salvation that I’ve had some Mormons personally tell me is humanly impossible to achieve. Perhaps in their pessimism they should have remembered the angelically revealed message of 1 Nephi 3:7 which says, “…for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them,” and then subsequently reconsidered just what it is that they are telling people. Nevertheless, speaking of angels, surely Mormonism advocates a Christian view of them doesn’t it? Hardly, as we will now see.
Angels play an integral role in Mormonism, probably because of their unique character. In fact, one of the most prominent angels in Mormon thought is seen on top of all LDS Temples in statue form. His name is Moroni. But, there are other angels as well, some of whom you have probably heard of, and didn’t even know they were angels. For instance, in Mormonism, Peter was angel, and so was James the brother of Jesus, John the Baptist, Moses, Elijah, and Elias, and others. Now, if you’re thinking, now wait a minute; those are men! You would be correct. But, according to LDS authorities angels are nothing more than “translated” or “resurrected” human beings, that have either already lived on the earth, or are destined to live on the earth at some time. 20 In fact, we may encounter angelic humans and not even know it apart from actually touching his physical body, like say, with a hand shake. 21 Only then will you know he is an angel, as opposed to a spirit, who is not allowed to touch a mortal, but can still deliver whatever message he has from God. 22 Of course, there are also demons, which are angels of a different variety—some are humans, some are merely rebellious spirits—who do not possess physical bodies of their own, but are in the business of body snatching when the opportunities arise (and here you were probably thinking this stuff only happened in sci-fi movies). In their normal state, though, they may present themselves, but they cannot be touched, due to the lack of having a body. Hence, all that will happen is that one will be deceived by the illusion of their presence. 23
Although there is not enough time to discuss angels and their nature right now, suffice it to say that the Bible does not teach that angels are translated or resurrected human beings. They are, instead, a special class of creatures that God has created to not only minister to God, but to humanity as well. They non-physical beings, or incorporeal, in nature, and they certainly do not walk about the earth shaking hands with the living and delivering extra-biblical messages that contradict God’s previous revelation found in the Bible. Hebrews 13:2 mentions that some hospitable Christians had entertained angels and not known it, but there is no indication that these angels were translated human beings. The same applies to demons. They are not translated human beings either, nor are they “spirit-children” of God’s, who rebelled in some cosmic war when our elder brother, Satan, got upset over the rejection of his salvific plan, and then decided to go his own way. They are rebellious angels, though, who make it their task, not necessarily to be body-snatchers, but to thwart the will and plan of God under the direction of Satan. Their attack is aimed primary at God, but indirectly accomplished through attempts to destroy Christians, or the Church; a subject we now examine briefly.
Mormons obviously believe in the church, yet their belief about the church is as distinct from what Christians believe, as has been seen thus far with every other doctrine. In fact, according to the Book of Mormon, there are actually two churches that exist. One is the church of the devil, or the one that all religious, non-Mormons belong to. The other is “the church of the Lamb of God,” or the Mormon Church (1 Nephi 14:10), or as Joseph Smith called it, “the only true and living church upon the face of whole earth” (Doctrine & Covenants 1:30). The reason why Mormons believe that they belong to the “only true church” is because a supposed “great apostasy” took place sometime after the last of the apostles died, and all kinds of corruption infiltrated the church, whereby the church essentially ceased to exist from off the face of the earth. It would not be until Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s founder, would come along 1800 years later and restore the church to its original setting.
Of course Christians reject Mormonism’s notions about the church as it does in everything else that Mormonism espouses. There is no biblical precedence for a “Great Apostasy” ever taking place in the past, and the only passage in Scripture which speaks to the subject is in reference to a coming day when the anti-Christ will arise and rule for a short time on the earth. The apostle Paul tells the Thessalonians “Let no man in any deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Also, in accord with the anti-Christ’s rise is the coming of the Lord. This is not to say that the Church has not undergone serious challenges to its existence, for even Jesus predicted that “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33), but despite the tribulation, he never said that the church would ever go out of existence. In fact, he stated just the opposite when he said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, perhaps the simplest way of dealing with the Mormon contention that the church dissolved in the past, and has been resurrected through the leadership of Joseph Smith is to ask the Latter-day Saint who was the anti-Christ when all things allegedly went awry, and when did Jesus return? Also, when did the Great Tribulation take place and why has no one said anything about a vast city, the New Jerusalem, hovering above the earth. Thus far, I have yet to have one Mormon ever give me a straight answer to any of those questions, meaning further that “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims.” 24 It is with this in mind that we look at our last subject: Last Things.
Although last things could entail several different subjects, for the sake of time we’ll only look at the Mormon doctrine of postmortem salvation. Mormons believe that everyone is going to be saved somewhere, either in the Celestial, Telestial, or Terrestrial kingdoms. There are some people, though, who because of whatever circumstance are unable to hear the Mormon gospel before they die. It is for these people, who end up in “spirit prison” hell that Mormons work feverishly behind the walls of Mormon temples performing what is called “baptism for the dead.” It is believed that by doing this work as “saviors” 25 that the less fortunate will be visited by Mormon missionaries, have the gospel preached to them, and then upon acceptance, the person is freed from “prison,” hopefully with their spouse, and hence can go on to attain godhood, or “true” salvation. 26
Christianity has never taught that there are any second chances, after a person dies, to be saved. Granted, some Christians did practice baptisms for the dead (1Corinthians 15:29), but not in the manner in which Mormonism portrays it. In fact, the general consensus among biblical scholars is that they don’t really know, yet, what Paul meant by baptizing the dead. 27 The Bible is quite clear, however, that upon death judgment ensues (Heb. 9:27). If a person is a Christian, his judgment has already taken place at the cross and hence he enters the presence of God. A later judgment, called the Bema Seat judgment (2 Cor. 5:10), is a reward seat, where the Christian’s works are examined for their value, but penal judgment is nowhere in sight. If a person is lost, however, his judgment takes place in hell, where he will be until he is resurrected to a Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), and his works will be examined to mitigate and/or intensify his further punishment in the Lake of Fire. There is no second opportunity at salvation, though. There are no infernal missionaries. There is no escape. In fact, there is no communication from the deceased to warn about impending danger to currently living family members (Luke 16:27-31), despite the eerily occultic assertions from the LDS that certain “faithful” Mormons are able to pull it off. 28
What is the conclusion? What exactly is Mormonism? Mormonism is a caricature of Christianity. It has managed to deny or distort every major Christian doctrine ever taught down through church history, as the preceding discussion only briefly demonstrated. Yet, being a caricature, which simply means that it is a distorted imitation, one will find some appealing things about Mormonism. Who can deny the melodious sounds of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or the pleasant mannerisms of most Mormon missionaries, or the industriousness of Mormon business ventures? But outward appeal is no indication of inward verity. Mormons speak the Christian language using redefined terminology which describes something wholly different than what biblical Christianity has represented for millennia.
Therefore, despite the appearances, Mormonism has absolutely nothing in common with Christianity. And Christians, apart from attempting to reach a Mormon with the truth of the gospel, would do themselves a favor to have absolutely nothing to do with those in Mormonism. Be friendly, not a problem. Witness to them, absolutely. Work with them in a secular occupation; it’s unavoidable; therefore do your best to get along. Dialogue, and try to find common ground, or involve oneself in some social venture with them, absolutely not. One cannot take fire into one’s bosom and not get burned (Proverbs 6:27), and one cannot get too friendly with those espousing a counterfeit gospel and not be burned as well. Mormons espouse a counterfeit gospel. Therefore, Caveat emptor! Buyer beware!
- Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 83. ↩
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 82. ↩
- Sir Frederic Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1958), 55. ↩
- Doctrine and Covenants 130:22. ↩
- The Pearl of Great Price, “Abraham” 3:9. ↩
- Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1856) 4:218; Discourses of Brigham Young, compiled by John A. Widtsoe (Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1978), 50. ↩
- Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 742. ↩
- This is actually a grammatical error that most Mormons are not even aware, for it makes the Church of Jesus the product of the Latter-day Saints, rather than how it ought to appear The Church of Latter-day Saints of Jesus Christ. Is it a minor oversight? When dealing with the devil, there are no minor oversights. ↩
- Joseph F. Merrill, General Conference Reports (April 1949) on IGLCD. ↩
“Now, we have no reason to suppose that this increase would continue, unless through the laws of generation, whereby Jesus, like His Father, should become the Father of spirits; and, in order to become the Father of spirits, or, as Isaiah says, “The Everlasting Father,” it is necessary that He should have one or more wives by whom He could multiply His seed, not for any limited period of time, but forever and ever: thus He truly would be a Father everlastingly, according to the name which was to be given Him.” Orson Pratt, The Seer, 159.
“I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last Conference, that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children.” Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 2:210. ↩
- “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” Doctrine & Covenants 9:8. ↩
- The Lectures on Faith in Joseph Smith Begins His Work, 2 vols. (United States: Wilford Wood, 1995), 2:57. ↩
- “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence” (Doctrine & Covenants 93:29-30). ↩
- Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, ), 1:65. ↩
- “We have drink appetites, eating appetites, flesh appetites. They are all good. Without such appetites we would soon choke or starve or the race would peter out. It is the control of them which makes us gods in embryo. God gave us sex and prescribed uses and times and seasons and proprieties. We came on this earth to prove ourselves. It is in the disciplining and controlling of ourselves that we approach perfection.” The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, compiled by Edward L. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 170. ↩
- “We teach that man is not of a lower order or different species than God. This, of course, makes many of our Christian friends extremely nervous (if not angry), for it appears to them that we are pulling God down and thus attempting to bridge the Creator/creature chasm.” Robert L. Millet, A Different Jesus? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 144. ↩
- “Unconditional redemption is a gift forced upon mankind which they cannot reject, though they were disposed….Redemption from the original sin is without faith or works; redemption from our own sins is given through faith and works. Both are the gifts of free grace; but while one is the gift forced upon us unconditionally, the other is a gift merely offered to us unconditionally. The redemption of the one is compulsory; the reception of the other is voluntary. Man cannot, by any possible act, prevent his redemption from the fall; but he can utterly refuse and prevent his redemption from the penalty of his own sins” [emphasis his]. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:10. ↩
- Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969), 26. ↩
- D. A. Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), s. v. “The Letter to the Ephesians” by Peter T. O’Brien, 178. ↩
- Robert L. Millet, A Different Jesus?, 189. ↩
- Doctrine &Covenants 129:4-5 states, “When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. 5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.” ↩
- Doctrine & Covenants 129:6-7. ↩
- In references to a demon, Doctrine & Covenants 129:8 states, “If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.” ↩
- James Talmage, The Great Apostasy (Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1964), iii. ↩
- “One of the great principles underlying the doctrine of salvation for the dead is that of the mutual dependence of the fathers and the children, of ancestors and posterity…As the children learn that without their progenitors they cannot attain perfection, their hearts will be opened, their faith will be strengthened, and good works will be attempted for the redemption of their dead; and the departed, learning from the ministers of the Gospel laboring among them that they depend upon their children as vicarious saviors, will seek to sustain their mortal representatives with faith and prayer for the perfecting of those labors of love.” James E. Talmage, A Study of the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1984), 137. ↩
“Missionaries from paradise visit the spirit prison to teach the gospel. There are three classes of spirits to whom the gospel is preached: those who have never heard the gospel (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith—Vision of the Celestial Kingdom 7–9); honorable people who rejected the gospel while on earth because of being blinded by the “craftiness of men” (D&C 76:75); and the wicked and disobedient who “rejected the prophets” (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph F. Smith—Vision of the Redemption of the Dead 29–32). These last include those described by the Apostle Peter as being disobedient during the time of Noah (see 1 Peter 3:18-20)
“After spirits in prison accept the gospel and the ordinances performed for them in the temples, they may prepare themselves to leave the spirit prison and dwell in paradise.
“Those who reject the gospel after it is preached to them in the spirit prison suffer in a condition known as hell…After suffering in full for theirs sins, they will be allowed to inherit the lowest degree of glory, which is the telestial kingdom.” Gospel Principles (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981), 280. ↩
- Reaume claims that “More than two hundred interpretive solutions have been proposed, but only a few remain as legitimate possibilities.” John D. Reaume, “Another Look at 1 Corinthians 15:29, ‘Baptism for the Dead,’” Bibliotheca Sacra 152 (October 1995): 457. ↩
- “In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, or warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.” Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1986), 436. ↩