Me & Mormons – Part 4

After my debacle with a couple of Mormon missionaries I was quite excited to hear that some one was having more success than I was talking with Mormons. Dr. Craig Hazen from Biola University had started to report that he had been invited to some forums with some LDS scholars and he found them quite encouraging. He stated the discussions were on a much higher level and much more positive than anything he had ever encountered with LDS ever before.

As a result of these on-going conversations, a book was being published to raise the bar on Evangelical and LDS dialogue. It was called “The New Mormon Challenge“.

When the book was released there was a conference for it held at Biola University. I attended the kick-off lecture and there for the first time heard Greg Johnson of Standing Together Ministries speak. I had been looking for a new way to talk with Mormons and Greg offered me what I was looking for.

Previously, Evangelical interaction with Mormons had been most influenced by Ed Decker‘s “The God Makers.” Which I think was simply an attempt to scare people away from Mormonism and condemn it to Hell. Johnson stated that the relationship between Mormons and Evangelicals had been nothing but antagonistic for a very long time. Instead of approaching them as Christian heretics we should simply view them as a different faith altogether with a different culture. We should enter into conversation with them as we would anyone in a foreign country with a different set of values than our own. Leading with friendship and relationship-building first.

Given that Jesus taught a life of grace and peace and the example of how he approached people outside of the Jewish faith, we hardly should need someone to tell us that in regards to Mormons. But the message was fresh and new to me. I resolved that the next time LDS missionaries came to my door I would first invite them back for pizza and get to know them. Then on a later date get into the particulars of our faiths. I figured any missionary who actually knew my name and a little bit about me would have a harder time bolting out the door at the first sign of hearing something they didn’t like.

Now all I needed was some Mormon missionaries to show up at my door. . . .

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144 thoughts on “Me & Mormons – Part 4

  1. I don’t know… I think I’d rather be treated as a heretic. Mostly because I see it as more accurate: once you said we worshipped Christ in the wrong way, now you say we don’t even believe in Christ.

    Your ellipse suggests that you found your missionaries. I’m excited to read part 5.

  2. I don’t know; i think you’re putting words into his mouth. And not do drag out the old dead horse for another round of beatings again, but seriously, Mormon Jesus really is fundamentally different from Protestant Jesus (and both of them are different from Muslim Jesus); what’s wrong with acknowledging that, especially if it leads to more open understanding and communication.

  3. {stepping up to kick the dead horse} I see a big difference between “The Mormon concept of Jesus is fundamentally and dramatically different than that of Protestants; i.e., Mormons are heretics” and “Mormons are not Christian at all.” The latter is misleading at best, whereas the former is accurate.

    And the new strategy is exemplified by how Tim has posted here before, in a post titled “With Fear & Trembling — Mormonism Isn’t Christian,” (so I’m not putting words into his mouth).

    So, Kullervo, I think we agree that the best approach is to recognize the difference for just how deep it is. If we took just one question—whether Jesus and Heavenly Father are or are not the same being—that alone is a HUGE difference between Mormons and Evangelicals. My point is that I think the new approach is moving away from this.

  4. But if the Christian religion is defined by point of doctrine X, if Mormons reject doctrine X, then its fair to say they aren;t a part of the Christian religion, at least insofar as “the Christian religion” means the religion based on the nearly universally accepted Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.

    Even if Mormons actually have Jesus Christ in a significant (or even the most significant) place in their religious theology.

    Why are Mormons Christian if Muslims aren’t? They believe in Jesus, too.

    Whatever, I’m not going to keep arguing this. It’s completely ridiculous of Mormons to demand to be accepted by Christians as a fellow-Christians when they clearly have an obvious and massive doctrinal gulf between them, and one that really matters to Christians.

    And the point here is that if Christians see Mormons as something else, they’re actually more likely to treat Mormons with fairness and open dialogue. Demand to be Christian heretics, and you get Ed Decker and the God-Makers. You just can;t have your cake and eat it too. Sorry.

    You’re never going to be a part of the club. Accet it and get over it. You shouldn’t even want to be a part of it–Mormonism teaches that all the rest of the world’s religions are abominable anyway.

  5. Kullervo – now you are putting words in my mouth, arguing against arguments you assume I am making but I am not.

    Your first and second paragraphs are the “dead horse” that we both don’t want to beat: “But if the Christian religion is defined by point of doctrine….” I’m putting my stick down, since it’s not the point I’m trying to make anyway.

    Your third paragraph’s question has an obvious answer: Because Muslims don’t claim Jesus as God and Savior, whereas Mormons do. Also, Mormons, unlike Muslims, ask to be called Christians.

    “It’s completely ridiculous of Mormons to demand to be accepted by Christians as a fellow-Christians when they clearly have an obvious and massive doctrinal gulf between them, and one that really matters to Christians.”

    This is where you respond to some argument that wasn’t ever mine. Read carefully: the gulf matters to me too, and I don’t want to “be accepted” by Protestants, Evangelicals, etc. if what you mean by that is that they stop recognizing our differences and pretend that we’re all the same. So don’t put words in my mouth and say that I want to “be part of their club” when I never said any such thing.

    “And the point here is that if Christians see Mormons as something else, they’re actually more likely to treat Mormons with fairness and open dialogue.”

    Perhaps Tim can enlighten us on his point here, because that’s not how I read it. I read it as a new approach to actually reach out to Mormons instead of drive them away.

    I just don’t see what’s so offensive about being called a heretic: “Hey, BrianJ, a lot of what you believe about Jesus is heresy from my point-of-view!” “Okay, Tim, same to you!” “Okay, let’s discuss the points.” It doesn’t have to be Ed Decker-style.

  6. I’m perfectly willing to give up the “Christian” label for “Mormon” if the Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants are willing to start calling themselves “Trinitarian” instead of “Christian.” 🙂

  7. I don’t know, I might want to stay out of this one and just watch you guys go after each other. It’s much more fun.

    I quite intentionally tried to coast clear of the well beaten and overly dead horse on this one, but I guess there was no getting around it. 😦

    Regardless of whether or not I think Mormons are Christians (and whether or not other Evangelicals agree with me) there is no getting around the fact that WE DO INDEED have different faiths. My faith in Jesus as the everlasting, uncreated maker of everything is quite different than your faith in him as your elder brother. My faith in the one and only God is quite different than your hope of exaltation unto godhood. And depending on how influenced by Steven Robinson you might be, my faith in the grace of Christ being the only thing I can rest my hope for salvation in is different than “all you can do”. So I will hold to my assertion that we have different faiths (and let the symantec debate over the word “christian” pass for now).

    If you really wish to be viewed as Christian heretics than perhaps we should start looking at all of the New Testament passages that tell us how to treat heretics, false prophets and unrepentent sinners who wish to go on calling themselves “Christians”. It seems to me that the street preachers at General Conference might just have the right response.

    At the risk of infuriating visitors from Mormon Research Ministries, for making them hear the words one more time, the point Johnson was making was that we need to view Mormons as a unique culture rather than a heretical cult. For many reasons, I think that Mormonism IS better viewed as a fledging world religion with it’s own culture than as a cult.

    (different topic but viewing Mormonism as a culture gives me some insight into the justifications New Order Mormons attempt to make for rejecting belief and promoting the church at the same time.)

  8. As for Muslim belief in Jesus, the way I see it, if they wish to be called Christians, Muslims have just as much right to the title as Mormons. They have a belief in Jesus as a Prophet, and the only man to live a sinless life and be born of a virgin. You don’t think that’s enough because they’ve watered the requirements down and stripped him of his role as saviour. Which is too much for you.

    In the Evangelical understanding, Mormons too have watered the requirements down and stripped Jesus of a great many things most importantly his status as the one and only uncreated God.

    So all your doing is defining the term around the base requirements of your own beliefs. I’m not setting the requirement around my own beliefs, I’m pointing to what Christianity has historically defined a Christian to be.

  9. I’m LDS. What we should all do is just build upon common beliefs and unite there. I am sure you can agree with me that the world is turing black and white. No more gray. Now is a good time for all faiths to unite to a good cause. Don’t you think the Master Jesus Christ would be pleased if many came together to serve and love each other? We have great threats to our Freedoms to our Constitution and to our Country while we are put far into debt and our currency is dwindling. We should work together to become an Independent People again with good morals and convictions. You believe in Love and Charity so do I. You hopefully believe in the US Constitution so do I. You believe in Families and their importance to Society, so do I. You believe in standing for what is right so do I. We don’t have time anymore to be divided. Let’s work together to preserve this country so it doesn’t fall into the hands of corporate shareholders and we don’t lose all our freedoms altogether. If you don’t understand this my friend and brother and you are open-minding to take a look, might I suggest. http://www.mormon.org

  10. I find the whole debate about whether Mormons are Christian rather silly. It all depends on how you define the term “Christian.” If you accept the most common dictionary definition, the way the average American would define the term, then of course Mormons are Christian. Give it a more specialized theological definition, and then it depends on what you make the requirements to “qualify.” You can define the term to include or exclude whomever you want.

    Kullervo said: But if the Christian religion is defined by point of doctrine X, if Mormons reject doctrine X, then its fair to say they arent a part of the Christian religion, at least insofar as “the Christian religion” means the religion based on the nearly universally accepted Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.’

    Actually, Mormons would have no problem affirming the terms of the Apostles’ Creed (if you understand “holy catholic church” to mean “the church founded by Jesus Christ”), although we don’t teach it or use it. It uses mostly Biblical language and very well may date from apostolic times. The Nicene Creed? That’s another story.

    And you’re right: If belief in the Nicene Creed is what makes a person a Christian, then Mormons aren’t Christian. (Of course, that also would exclude the many, many evangelicals who believe in modalism, even if that isn’t what their denominations teach. But that’s an issue for another discussion.)

    Tim said: I’m not setting the requirement around my own beliefs, I’m pointing to what Christianity has historically defined a Christian to be.

    I know what you’re saying, and of course the LDS position is that there’s a reason we differ from the traditional understanding of true faith. But even if I were Protestant I’d be hesitant to base definitions on what has “historically” been believed. Not all that long ago in history, you would have been considered a non-Christian or at least a heretic, and even modern-day evangelicalism is a relatively recent development.

    Tim said (quoting someone else) “… we need to view Mormons as a unique culture rather than a heretical cult.

    I wouldn’t argue against that perspective. And I’d probably view certain movements in U.S. Christianity (such as the megachurch phenomenon) the same way.

    Tim said: … there is no getting around the fact that WE DO INDEED have different faiths.

    I wouldn’t argue against that either. On the other hand, I’ve been in both evangelical and LDS churches, and I firmly believe that what people experience if they’re trying to follow the teachings of Christ isn’t all that different if they’re Mormon than if they’re LDS. Both evangelicals and Mormons struggle with temptation, with pride, with many aspects of living a life of faith. And think that at some level what we experience in doing that, or when we pray, is very, very similar.

    I also believe the Holy Spirit is active in the lives of many non-LDS, and that many non-LDS are becoming more Christlike (which is what we’re commanded to do) and indeed are experiencing various aspects of salvation (which from an LDS perspective is a process, not an event). Mormon Christianity and evangelical Protestant Christianity may be different faiths, but that doesn’t mean there also isn’t much in common and much truth that is shared.

  11. Tim: “You don’t think that’s enough because they’ve watered the requirements down and stripped him of his role as saviour. … In the Evangelical understanding, Mormons too have watered the requirements down and stripped Jesus…”

    Yes, you are absolutely correct. Just as long as you agree that from the LDS perspective, Evangelicals are guilty of exactly the same thing (“watering down Jesus”).

    So when we come together to discuss religion, we have to both agree that we see the other as attempting to understand but falling short and/or messing up.

    My worry with the “Mormonism is entirely different” approach is that it will ignore the fact that we have so much in common, and thus blur the real “problem”. Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh—these are truly very different cultures. Even Islam, to a large degree. Surely you don’t see Mormonism as being that different, do you?

  12. From an ethnographic point of view, I think its the similar cultures that can sometimes be the hardest to understand–you make assumptions because of the similarities. I think it’s extremely important to recognize the differences so you can see each other honestly.

    And what is gained by focusing on what you have in common? A self-congratulatory round of back-patting? The ability to more effectively proselytize each other after lulling the other into thinking you’re not that different after all?

    Seriously, what’s the point of celebrating the similarities? You can work together on common causes while still ebing drastically different and acknowledging yourselves as such.

  13. I hate it when I make typos and can’t correct them. I meant to say above: “On the other hand, I’ve been in both evangelical and LDS churches, and I firmly believe that what people experience if they’re trying to follow the teachings of Christ isn’t all that different if they’re Mormon than if they’re evangelical Protestant.”

    Kullervo said: Seriously, what’s the point of celebrating the similarities? You can work together on common causes while still being drastically different and acknowledging yourselves as such.

    I’m not sure the similarities need to be “celebrated.” I would just say that both similarities and differences need to be acknowledged and recognized if there if the goal is, as you put it, to “see each other honestly.”

  14. Tim,

    Something I’ve noticed is that whenever some evangelical figure like, Craig Blomberg, or Paul Owen, or this Greg Johnson tries to advocate a softer approach towards Mormons, they always get accused of getting friendly with the enemy and are denounced by the counter-cult community in general.

    Is it your experience that “Standing Together Ministries” tends to get overshadowed by the likes of “Mormon Research Ministries?” It seems to me that the harsher approach tends to get more air time.

  15. Maybe I missed it in reading the above, but I figure that the folks who’ve been around the longest have developed a working definition of their religion, Chrisitanity in this case. If a group/sect comes along and makes the claim of being Christian, then I would think that group whould have to meet some minimal doctrinal requirements of the original. Traditional Christianity has clearly defined for itself, for example, the doctrine of the nature of God and man. Now if someone wants to sit down and have pizza and have a nice chat with the Mormons at the door, why not? But I wouldn’t worship with a Mormon. What would be the point? We don’t worship the same God. It’s a fact. I asked some JWs at my door one day that I wasn’t interested in entering into a discussion, but could I pray for them. I thought I was going to have to call 911. From the looks on their faces they were going into cardiac arrest. They said, “We don’t worship the same god.” That’s true for the JWs as well as the Mormons. No need to get testy about it. Just admit it and move on.

  16. Of course, noclaf, remember that Mormons believe that the rest of Christianity are the heretics that changed Jesus’s pure and simple doctrine and warped and twisted it into the abominable creeds of modern Christianity.

    In other words, the heart of the issue I think is that Mormon theology claims that their gospel and doctine comprises the truths that were taught by Jesus, the prophets, and apostles, and everyone else has gone astray. Since Mormonism is the original eternal truth, it doesn’t make sense for anyone else to be able to claim “Christianity” to the exclusion of Mormons.

    That’s their point of view at least.

  17. Noclaf said: But I wouldn’t worship with a Mormon. What would be the point? We don’t worship the same God. It’s a fact.

    That’s interesting. I worship the God who created heaven and Earth, the God who was worshipped by the Israelites of the Bible, the one who sent His Son to die for us so that we could have eternal life.

    Which God do you worship?

  18. Eric, Mormons don’t believe in creation ex nihilo.

    When you really think about the implications of that, it becomes quite clear we really aren’t worshiping the same being the rest of the Christians are. On that, I am quite in agreement with traditional Christians.

  19. Come on, Kullervo. You could just as easily ask: “How much time needs to be spent pointing out the obvious and generally purely superficial differences?” Why would you ask such a strawman question?

    Do you really agree with:

    Evangelical:Mormon :: Evangelical:Muslim ??

    Seth R: I agree with you, to an extent. The problem is that I couldn’t say that I really (i.e., fully) know the being that I worship, and I doubt whether you or anyone else does either. To some degree we are all groping, and so in some ways I think it’s important to recognize that my god and Tim’s god and even your god are different beings, while at the same time I believe that we are all reaching for the same God. Of course, sometimes making the distinction is crucial.

  20. Because I don’t think the differences are superficial, but I think the similarities largely are, and talking about them as similarities mostly just glosses over the deap-seated ways that even the “similarities” aren’t really similar.

  21. I wouldn’t mind if Mormons took the position that they don’t worship the same God as Ev. Christians do. I would think that it would be to the Mormons’ advantage to make that distinction. This idea that we worship the same God but have a different concept or definition of Him is incorrect. I don’t worship a God that once was a man. By the way, there are at least four things I can’t find in the NT and have yet to have a Mormon show me where they are (in the NT). They are: 1) institution of the priesthood by theory or practice in the primitive NT Church, 2) plural marrage as practiced by the apostles, 3) progression to godhood as taught by the apostles, 4) that there is a mother and father god that procreate spirit children. Even as I write these things I keep wondering, when we have the Mormon missionaries in for a chat what exactly are we to dialogue about? Don’t get me wrong, I’m the friendly type and find the MM nice people but I don’t see any real resolution of these matters. About the best I can see here is to be cordial.

  22. You can’t find them in the New Testament because they aren’t there. I’m not one of those Mormons who claims that the modern LDS Church is a carbon-copy of Peter and Paul’s church.

    If we were, our record-keeping would be utterly atrocious!

  23. Regarding Ed Decker:
    “Which I think was simply an attempt to scare people away from Mormonism and condemn it to Hell.”

    And the problem with that was what?

    “Instead of approaching them as Christian heretics we should simply view them as a different faith altogether with a different culture.”

    Which is precisely what I stated in my poorly received debut here. I replied to a blog that stated “since telling the truth to Mormons often results in their leaving Christianity altogether, we should withhold the truth from them and make false converts using deception and false pretenses.” I responded simply that there is no need to worry about their leaving Christianity altogether, because they were never Christians to begin with. That was very offensive to you, but it looks like you have adopted the same stance that I have. Or at least you always did but were looking for a “nicer” way to say it. My feelings have always been that there is no nice way to tell someone that they are going to hell. As much as you might wish to draw the contrast between hateful mean self – righteous accusing fundamentalists like me and yourself, while that may get you through the door, ultimately just like everyone else Mormons will have to accept the only God as their Savior and thereby renounce putting their faith in churches, prophets, and dead works or burn in the lake of fire.

    You do realize that in this respect, the primary evangelism targets among fundamentalist and evangelical Christians do happen to be – gasp! – OTHER CHRISTIANS! People that were born and raised in the church and have attended church all their lives with varying degrees of regularity that have never been directly confronted with or come to personal grips with the true gospel. There are quite honestly tens of millions of professing Christians like this in America from every movement, denomination, and stripe that fill our pews on Sunday, buy our Christian movies and books, overflow our offering plates, and do so many great works. Talk about “taking the beams out of our own eyes before taking the motes out of someone else’s”! So if there is an urgent need to regularly explicitly confront so many of the members of our own churches with the true meaning of the gospel lest they perish, how much more so should it be done with Mormons, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and anybody else?

    I am seeing that there is this great concern among evangelicals of “driving people away.” I am sorry, but I have not seen one Bible verse that supports that notion. To me it seems to be human doctrine. The tag “legalist” and “pharisee” is often attached to fundamentalists, but Jesus Christ, Paul, etc. did not give that designation to people who believed in Christ but in the Jewish religious leaders that did not, and to people who felt that works of the law were needed for salvation. Far from worrying about driving people away, Jesus Christ Himself frequently drew complaints from the people that His teachings were too hard. He was constantly driving off and also did not bind Himself to people that did not believe in Him, but rather were only following Him because they were fascinated or wanted to benefit from His miracles or because they were putting their hope in political liberation instead of believing that He was God and seeking from Him absolution for their sins. It was those people that Jesus Christ drove off by saying “Before Abraham was I AM” and “eat my flesh and drink my blood if you want to have eternal life.” Of course, were a regular man to say those things, they would have been sins, blasphemies. Only the people that believed that He was something more than just a political liberator, prophet, or great teacher followed Him after that. And Jesus Christ went to them and asked “Will ye go also” and they, not even truly knowing just WHO or WHAT Christ was at that time, replied “We can’t go, we have left our families, jobs, respectable status in Jewish religious and social life to follow you, and you have the words of eternal life.”

    Jesus Christ wasn’t interested in those that could be driven away with the Truth, but rather in those who WOULDN’T be. In dealing with Mormons and everyone else, shouldn’t we follow after the example of Jesus Christ rather than the doctrines of men? bringjesusback@yahoo.com

  24. Seth R. said: Eric, Mormons don’t believe in creation ex nihilo. When you really think about the implications of that, it becomes quite clear we really aren’t worshiping the same being the rest of the Christians are. On that, I am quite in agreement with traditional Christians.

    Your explanation of the “different God” makes sense. I still wouldn’t use that terminology, but there’s a logic to it.

    That last post of mine was a bit flip, and my basic position still is that it’s pointless to get in discussions over whether we worship a “different” God or have a different understanding of the “same” God. It’s a semantic issue, nothing more, so it’s a waste of time (which doesn’t stop me from doing it) to argue over whether we worship the same God or a different God.

    I think we can all agree that the LDS understanding of who/what God is is substantially different than the traditional understanding. The real question is what we make of the difference. Some ideas we have about the nature of God make a difference in how we live our lives, and some don’t.

    Noclaf said: By the way, there are at least four things I can’t find in the NT and have yet to have a Mormon show me where they are (in the NT). They are: 1) institution of the priesthood by theory or practice in the primitive NT Church, 2) plural marrage as practiced by the apostles, 3) progression to godhood as taught by the apostles, 4) that there is a mother and father god that procreate spirit children.

    As Seth R. said, no Mormon can show you they’re in the New Testament because they’re not. But neither does the New Testament say those things don’t exist, so there’s no real problem for someone who believes in continuing revelation.

    And for what it’s worth, the idea of sola scriptura and the related idea of a closed canon aren’t in the New Testament either. I have yet to find an evangelical who can show me where they are.

  25. Thanks Seth for clarifying those points for me……those doctrines/ cannot be found in the NT. So what is the basis for Mormonism calling itself Christian? What’s the point of saying something has been “restored” that never was (there) in the first place. I don’t have a beef with Mormons regarding having their own home grown religion, but don’t make a claim to restoring original Christianity. The more critical question is, given that Mormonism is not Christianity, can it provide a pathway to salvation for it’s members?

  26. noclaf: try reading your comment (29) back to yourself, but from a Mormon perspective:

    “So what is the basis for Evangelism calling itself Christian? I don’t have a beef with Evangelicals regarding having their own version of a religion, but don’t make a claim to holding to original Christianity. The more critical question is, given that Evangelism is not Christianity, can it provide a pathway to salvation for it’s members?”

    It’s simply unreasonable for you to insist that Mormons refer to themselves as non-Christians and yourself as a Christian.

  27. “What’s the point of saying something has been “restored” that never was (there) in the first place.”

    Of course, you’d first have to prove that Doctrine X didn’t exist in biblical times (not just that the NT is silent about it). Nevertheless, if Mormonism claimed that every detail was a restoration, then that would be false. But that’s not the claim. The claim is that certain important truths, etc were lost and have been restored. For example, we believe that the Apostles held the priesthood, but that was lost, and it was restored. Thus, something that existed on earth, then didn’t, now does again. On the other hand, no one has made the claim, for example, that the Word of Wisdom prohibition of tobacco was around in biblical times.

  28. Here’s the problem brianj, you have no historical documentation for your claims. In 1830 Mormonism appeared out of thin air. Go back over the previous 1800 years (before Mormonism made the scene) and see if you can find even a hint of the basic doctrines of the Mormon church. There not in the NT or any ancillary sources that I know of.

  29. It would be interesting to compare modern evangelicals with the likes of Martin Luther and Calvin and see how they stack up.

    Job, if you really do feel sorry to tell us that we are going to hell, it might help if you could do so with a little less relish. You almost sound as if you’re enjoying the thought, or at least really enjoying telling us.

  30. noclaf: “see if you can find even a hint of the basic doctrines of the Mormon church”

    Seriously? All I have to do is find a “hint”? Just by issuing the challenge you imply that anyone who thinks there is any support for LDS restoration doctrine is a complete moron (or liar). Is that what you mean to imply?

    Seth R: could you explain why the comparison would be interesting; it’s not obvious to me. Maybe I really am a moron (as noclaf suggests).

  31. For one thing, neither of them were big fans of the idea of sola scriptura as far as I can tell. I imagine there are several other ways in which modern evangelicalism actually represents a radical departure from the original reformers.

  32. Where does the Bible say that God created the world ex nihilo? It seems to me that you have just as much faith in ex nihilo creation, as I do in any Mormon doctrine.

    Please see this excelent article by Blake Ostler; it’s a good one!
    “In this section I review the arguments that have convinced many, perhaps most, biblical scholars that Genesis 1 states that God created by organizing a preexisting chaos in precisely the sense taught in Mormon scripture.”

    http://www.fairlds.org/New_Mormon_Challenge/TNMC04.html

  33. Both of them were pretty adamant that ordinances must be administered through the Church structure (though they distinguished from Catholicism, of course) in order to gain salvation. A very un-evangelical notion that…

  34. brianj,
    I stated a fact. If you want to personalize it as some sort of insult that’s your perogative.

    I can’t find any of the following in the NT:

    1. plural marrage as practiced by the apostles.
    2. the priesthood as practiced by the apostles.
    3. god once being a man as taught by the apostles.
    4. man progressing to becoming a god as taught by the apostles.
    5. temple rituals/endowments as practiced by the apostles and the NT Church.

    So how could Joseph Smith restore something that isn’t in the NT.

  35. The question isn;t properly whether these things were in the NT, but whether they were taught and practiced by Jesus. Keep in mind that historically Mormons have viewed the Bible as a deeply flawed and deeply suspect document.

    Originally, Mormonism taught that those doctrines were taught by Jesus and his apostles as the true and everlasting gospel, but that the “plain and precious truths” were removed form the Bible by wicked men and wicked institutions. So these doctrines were either not written down in the NT, or they were rmeoved later on during the Great Apostasy.

    Modern Mormon apologists have sort of retreated from this position a bit, and now you’re more likely to hear people claim that these doctrines might not have been practiced or preached in their fullnedss in ancient times because God reveals progressively more in each new dispensation. This being the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, all the truth gets revealed now in preparation for Jesus’s imminent return and the ushering in of his thousand-year reign on earth folowed by the end of the world and the final resurrection.

  36. noclaf, I don’t care one way or the other about insults. But I have no desire to try to have a discussion with someone who has already decided that I am a moron.

    Now, you asked for a “hint”, didn’t you? Is there really no “hint” or suggestion that the Apostles held some kind of priesthood? Or how about a little hint that man can become a god: When Jesus prays that we can become one with him and the Father—well, that seems like at least a “hint.” And you missed perhaps one of the biggest Mormon doctrines: that Jesus and the Father are individual beings (certainly an important doctrine in Evangelicals’ eyes, since it supposedly makes us non-Christian). Anyway, is there really no hint of that in the Bible? Lastly, LDS have 12 Apostles today (a basic, core doctrine of the LDS Church); is there any hint of that in the NT?

    I’m fine, by the way, with you or anyone arguing that I am simply mistaken in how I interpret the Bible. I think you’re wrong too, but at least I try to see things from your POV.

  37. brianj,
    Why the bitterness and insisting that someone is calling you names? I don’t get it. Your defensiveness is either a ploy or you have some real heart problems. I don’t see any point of interacting with you as was the subject of this thread any way.

  38. noclaf,

    You’re not responding to the argument. I find it usually best to ignore these little imagined slights and personal tiffs. They tend to distract from the argument at hand.

    Do you have a response to brian’s examples, or do you prefer to ignore them in favor of the insult issue?

  39. Tim, I am still sorting out in my mind, Standing Together Ministries and these present day missiological approaches.

    Some time I need to post on this. It has just been sitting on the backburner. And maybe I have just been trying to avoid this.

  40. noclaf, no bitterness or imagined name-calling. And even if you blatantly called me names, I wouldn’t care: I’m already convinced that I am not a moron, so whether you agree or not doesn’t affect me personally.

    But it does affect how I debate with you. I’m questioning whether you think or assume that I am logical, rational, and intelligent. See, you’re asking me to engage in a logical, rational, and intelligent debate on the LDS restoration doctrine, but if you a priori have decided that nothing logical, rational, or intelligent can ever come out of Mormonism, then it seems impossible for me (or any Mormon) to respond to your challenge: you have already shut the door. Sort of a “Planet of the Apes” situation.

  41. Brianj,

    If I understand you correctly this is a response to the Mormon/Christian/other religion debate. I apologize for its length.

    For others that try to say people cannot judge who is a real Christian. God lays it out in His Word and He defines what a real Christian is, what a false Christ is, and who He is.

    Why want to be called a Christian when the Mormon church has this to say about Christianity?

    From Mormon text:

    1. “But who in this generation have authority to baptize? None but those who have received authority in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints: all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who receives Baptism or the Lord’s supper from their hands will highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people. Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the “whore of Babylon” whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent of the un-holy and impious act. Orson Pratt, (The Seer, page…. 255, 1854).

    2. “We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense….It is a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol; it is as corrupt as hell; and the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work that the Christianity of the nineteenth century.” John Taylor, (Journal of Discourses, Vol 6, page…. 167).

    3. There was a question about who founded the Roman Catholic church: The answer according to Orson Pratt (The Seer, page…. 205, 1854) was……
    answer: The devil, through the medium of Apostates, who subverted the whole order of God by denying immediate revelation, and substituting in the place thereof, tradition and ancient revelations as a sufficient rule of faith and practice.

    The question of did the great Protestant Reformers restore the Church of Christ to the earth?

    The answer: No: for they had no inspired Apostles, Prophets, or Revelators among them, without which the Church could not be restored.

    Question: But did not the first Protestant Reformers receive their ordination and authority from the Catholics?
    Answer: Yes: and in this manner they received all the authority that their mother church was in possession of; and the mother having derived her authority from the Devil; could only impart that which his Satanic majesty was pleased to bestow upon her,” Orson Pratt (The Seer, page…. 205, 1854)

    4. “Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth.” Brigham Young. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, page… 176).

    5. “The Christian world, I discovered, was like the captain and crew of a vessel on the ocean without a compass, and tossed to and from withersoever the wind listed to blow them. When the light came to me, I saw that all the so-called Christian world was groveling in darkness.” Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, Volume 5, page….73).

    6. “And Christianity, at the present time is no more enlightened than other systems have been. What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing; …Why, so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God.” Johy Taylor (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page….225)

    7. “What! are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.” John Taylor (Journal of Discources, Volume 6 page….25).

    8. ” The Christian world, so called, are heathens as to their knowledge of the salvation of God.” Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, Volume 8 page….171).

    9. “…Heber C. Kimball was beset by a number of Baptist priests who had been attending a conference. He read them all down out of the New Testament. ….With regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world.” Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, Volume 8, page….199).

    Here’s more from more current teachings:

    1. This official Mormon Church pamphlet is used currently by L.D.S. missionaries. The Prophet Joseph Smith’s Testimony, pp 3, 4.
    “My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. …I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which all of the sects was right-and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight; that those professors were all corrupt; …” The Prophet Joseph Smith’s Testimony, pp. 3, 4.

    2. A part of the L.D.S. Temple Ceremony representing the Telestial Kingdom, or the world in which we now live. The wording may differ from one temple to another but the idea is the same. “The Lone And Dreary World”

    3. “Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one’s salvation.” What the Mormons think of Christ, L.D.S. pamphlet, page…. 22.

    4. “The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all churches…-which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation…There is no salvation outside this one true Church,…” “There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. (Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 2, pp 1-350.)” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp, 137, 138, 670.

    5.”Hence, true and acceptable Christianity is found among the saints who have the fulness of the gospel, and a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christendom. In these circles it is believed and taught that Christianity had its beginning with the mortal ministry of our Lord. Actually, of course, Adam was the first Christian, …” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page.132.
    The discples of Christ were the first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26) Salvation through faith in the Blood of Christ was not mentioned in the Old Testament so how could Adam be the first Christian? (Romans 3:25)?

  42. 2. A part of the L.D.S. Temple Ceremony representing the world in which we now live. The wording may differ from one temple to another but the idea is the same. “The Lone And Dreary World”

    “The Lone And Dreary World”

    Lucifer: Oh, I see, you want religion. You want someone to preach to you. I’ll have some preachers here presently.

    Preacher: My! A fine congregation!

    Lucifer: Oh, are you a preacher?

    Preacher: Yes.

    Lucifer: Have you been to college and received training for the ministry?

    Preacher: Why, certainly. A man cannot preach unless he has been trained for the ministry.

    Lucifer: Well, do you preach orthodox religion?

    Preacher: Yes, that is what I preach.

    Lucifer: Well, if you’ll preach your orthodox religion to this people and convert them, I’ll pay you well.

    Preacher: I’ll do my best. Good morning sir.

    (what is this all about? well, the church is trying to say paid preachers are working for the devil and it convinces their followers not to listen to preachers other than the Mormon church).

  43. Uh, FFF, where did you get that “Lone and Dreary World” thing? I went to the temple tons of times… and I’ve never heard that.

  44. Hello –

    Katyjane, I have been through the temple many times too and I do remember those words about the lone and dreary world or something really similar. But Eve and Adam’s fall did make this a lone and dreary world. You would agree, correct? This is world we now live in, is not the paradise that Adam and Eve first dwelt in. Correct?

    Brianj, in the temple ceremony, Satan does make it quite clear that other religions other than the LDS are of him. That is for sure. In the first vision of Joseph Smith, the entities that appeared to him also stated that all religions are an abomination to him (meaning God the Father). I do not remember the conversation as you have written it here. Satan did ask Adam if he wanted preachers to teach him man’s philosophy but it did not happen qute the way you have in protrayed. It wasn’t a “preacher” but Adam that Satan was speaking with. Satan also states very clearly that if you leave the church you will become his. It strongly implies that you will be lost forever, if you are not Mormon. It is a major scare tactic to say the least. It makes it really difficult for a person to leave the church once they have been through the temple to hear this statement. Nobody wants to hear that they will belong to Satan. I don’t! But I had to weigh this all out when I decided to leave the church. My take on this is: if Joseph Smith lied to us about so many other doctrines, how can this be true too? It is not true. I have assuration of my salvation (even prior to joining the church) and I KNOW that if I were to stop breathing at this very moment, I would be in the arms of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I would not need to wait for my burial plot to be consecrated before my spirit could go join my Savior in Heaven. And it would not be because I was Molly Mormon and followed all the rules of the church.

    Instead of trying to convince Mormons that they believe in a different Jesus Christ (mentioned in a statement above), why not present the differences of what Joseph Smith dictated to the LDS church v. what God says? I really believe a whole lot of Mormons believe they are believing in the “right” Christ because they are so deceived. It is the teaching that I have a problem with, which does bring into play who is the Jesus of the LDS church? I was told that Jesus Christ was a man on another planet who progressed to the point of becoming a god and came to die on the cross here on earth. If he was a man with sin, how could he become sinless for our world?

    I was a Christian prior to joining the Mormons. (I know, how could a Christian join? Well, for lots of reasons that I won’t go into at this point. Plus, I look back and I believe I was in training. How can you talk to someone unless you KNOW what they are about and what they truly believe. )That is the one thing that bothers me about the Christian churches. They have a tendency to go off on the Mormons without knowing the whole truth of what the Mormons do believe. I have problems with that. The following are things that God showed me that convinced me I was in the wrong church.

    First, I want to say that the Mormons have some VERY good things that we Christians could learn from them. They are as Christ-like as they can be (this was one of the main things that drew me to the LDS church), they have an excellent missionary program, they have an excellent welfare program, and their service to others is impeccable. Plus their beliefs regard the family. BUT these are used to help a person progress in the next life. Oh, yes, they say they do it because of their salvation (which it shoudl be) but it really boils down to, doing it to progress (just like paying tithes – I happen to believe in paying tithes but not for the purpose of being “worthy” to go to the temple). Ask a Mormon if they were to die right this second and were standing before God, and He would ask them: “Molly Mormon or Peter Priesthood, why should I let you into My perfect Heaven?” Listen to their answers. It is amazing! Some of them know why they would go to Heaven but the majority of them that I have asked, it is because they tithe, go to the temple, go to church, service performed. keep the commandments perfectly, etc. Not the real reason.

    God said His Word would not change one tittle. (Matt 5:18) If that is true, which it is because it God’s Word, then why does Doctrine & Covenants 42:18,79 teach through Joseph Smith’s “revelation” to the LDS church that if anyone commits murder will not, in this life nor the life to come, find forgiveness? God says in Mark 3:28-29 that EVERY sin (murder is not an exception) is forgiveable EXCEPT blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Who is lying? Sorry, Mormons, but someone is lying and it is not God because He cannot lie. (James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8, Hebrews 6:17-18; Psalms 89:34; Titus 1:1-2 for examples)

    These scriptures stand up against the Word of Wisdom, too, which states we are to avoid certain foods because “God revealed” this to Joseph. When in Hebrews we are taught that God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). If He is the same everyday, He cannot change His mind 17 + centuries later to say to avoid coffee, tea, meat etc that it states in D&C 89 when His Word states in I Timothy 4:4 that as long as we receive with prayer and thanksgiving, it will NOT harm us. I am not saying that refraining from some things is not good but don’t say that God revealed it as a change to His Word because that would not be true. Again, I ask who is lying to us? God or Joseph Smith?

    Paul told the Galatians in 1:6-9: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what we have preached, let him be accursed.” This was a huge factor in my leaving the Mormon church to follow Christ. Mormons have trouble with this scripture. They do not have a valid answer to give to counter act it. There is nothing they can say, actually. They cannot really use the “God gave Joseph Smith revelation to be relevant to our world today.” That goes against God’s Word. I have a question: If God is going to change His mind about this, how do I know He won’t change His mind about something more important, like salvation? They try to avoid it like the plague. (This reminds me of our judicial system, in particular the Supreme Court, changing the constitution and state laws to flow with the changes in society. How can we trust our Constitution anymore when it changes with the wind? That is another topic of sermon! lol)

    I asked God for the Truth, His Truth, not the Mormons nor the Christians. Neither the Mormons nor the Christians knew what I was praying to God! The answer had to come from God and only Him. I wanted to know what He had to say. He showed and told me what He had to say. I do not want to be accursed, thank you very much. I have too much to lose to continue to follow Joseph Smith instead of the Christ, Jesus.

    I thank God that He showed me HIS truth. I love the Mormon people so much! You cannot help but love them because they are so searching for the Truth, as I was when I joined their church many years ago (I was Mormon for 16 years). I pray they find the Truth before it is too late.

  45. I am sorry. The comment to Brianj should be FFF. Also, after reading more in depth the first comments, I have this to add to the above statement.

    What did Jesus say we are to do? We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. That is the most important thing we can do, whether they are black, white, polkadot, gaym lesbian, Mormon, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, whatever the title. It doesn’t matter. We are to love them. That doesn’t mean we have to accept their beliefs. We love the sinner, hate the sin.

    If we do things in love, it will be a better world.

  46. These guys are going off an old and outdated version of the temple ceremony. The part with the preacher was removed sometime around the early to mid-eighties. It’s not in the current temple ceremony. I think FFF and DJ are just unaware that the target has been moved and they’re shooting blanks.

    We do it deliberately FFF and DJ, just to piss funny people like you off, so’s you know.

  47. Kullervo, Tittle is what is says in the Bible. It like the tail of a Q. It is a very small part in the Hebrew language.

  48. Seth’s right. Many people thing the radically changed temple ceremony (or rather the fact that it has changed so much) is problematic in itself. Many faithful mormons don;t think its a big deal.

  49. I was in the temple too, many times, Seth and Kullervo. They have changed the ceremony many times to flow with the flow. But why? God doesn’t change. I would hate to worship a god who changes at every whim he had or he thought people had. How can you trust him?

  50. Well, DJ, I would say this happened because the leaders of the LDS Church, a purely human institution, changes whatever suits them whenever it suits them. It has virtually nothing at all to do with any real God, if God even exists.

    Why do people make assumptions?

  51. Only in a specific sense Kullervo. God’s surroundings and circumstances are changing all the time. In the sense that we are a part of God, He changes through us.

    And I believe (though I can’t be sure) that He is willing to be surprised by us.

  52. I think that’s typically slippery. God is constant and unchanging when you’re criticizing other religions for changing their doctrines and practices, but when you do the same, it’s okay.

  53. Kullervo, I don’t criticize other religions for “departing” from the original doctrines. I used to, but I know better now.

  54. Interesting observations, Seth R! But what do you do with the Bible verses that says God the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is unchanging and unchangable? If He changes, then how could we possibly trust Him without any doubts? He is not human so He doesn’t NEED to change. We as humans need to change. We need to change to be more like Him – unchangable in the right things! By the way, Seth, I am not criticizing the Mormons. I am just pointing out inconsistancies in the religion. I was Mormon. I just Mormon now. The MOST important issue at hand is not whether you are Mormon or not. The MOST important issue at hand is where are YOU going to spend eternity? There is only ONE WAY to Heaven. I want to ask you this question, Seth: If you were to die right now and found yourself standing before God the Father and he asked you: “Seth, My Heaven is perfect. Why should I let you in to My Heaven?” What would your answer be?

    Kullervo, you are hard to figure out. You play both sides. Which side are you on? Is there a God?!! What is that about? Of course there is a God and He has absolute truth. Do you?

  55. For what it’s worth, I don’t play both sides. That’s absolutely ridiculous and it rests on extremely faulty assumptions about what someone on “each side” should say.

    I’m an ex-Mormon, and I generally think Mormonism is full of shit. On the other hand, I was a faithful Mormon for almost all of my life (so far) and I know the Church and its history and doctrine pretty well. I have a lot of good friends who are Mormon (not to mention my whole family). So when people like you level allegations against Mormonism that are ignorant, stupid, confused, or oversimplified, I will call you out for it. There are enough actual problems with Mormonism without having to resort to distortion and exaggeration. Just because I am angry, bitter, and resentful about Mormonism doesn’t mean I’m going to be a baby about it and support any anti-Mormon assertion, no matter how baseless and ignorant.

    I’m a fan of Christianity but I’m not a believer. I’ve tried; it just doesn’t seem to work out. I believe in the possibility of the existence of the divine (call it what you will, although the vote is still out on whether it exists objectively and separately from us or whether it’s just some deep part of our psyche, and I think for all practical purposes the distinction is irrelevant), but I do not believe in a personal God. I think fundamentalist anything is stupid and ignorant. And possibly brainwashed (courtesy of self or someone else).

    Put simply, DJ, you don’t know half of what you think you know.

  56. Seth, there is ONE reason for God to let you in His Heaven. You do not seem to know the answer. I would be glad to share that with you. And no, you don’t have to necessarily leave the Mormon church either. You may want to but that would be between you and the Lord. I do believe there will be Mormons in Heaven with the Lord as there will be some Baptists, Episcoples, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, non-denominationals, a little of everybody. But everybody will have to come in the same way. Jesus, God’s ONLY begotten Son, was born to bridge the gap that sin caused between us and Him. When Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for us, He took on our sins; your’s, mine, Kullervo’s, everybody who was, is or will be in this world. Thus John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him shall not perish but will have everlasting life. That word “believe” is not just a knowledge of Him (because Satan and his demons believe – has knowledge of Jesus but they will NOT be a part of Heaven) but it is a relationship with Jesus. It is very easy to start a relationship with Him. Do you know you have sin in your life?

    Kullervo – whoa! Did I hit a nerve or what? I am so not full of pooh! I am quite curious as to why you are so “angry, bitter, and resentful about Mormonism”? (- your words, not mine) Why are you “a fan of Christianity”? What do you know about Christianity? You accused me of “leveling allegations against Mormonism that are ignorant, stupid, confused, or oversimplified,” and my response is prove it to me, don’t just accuse me! They are not ignorant because I have chapters and verses to back up what I said. So that makes me NOT stupid nor confused. Maybe I did oversimplify things but why over-exaggerate it? Not necessary. I think the thing that has triggered your spouting is that what I have said is the truth and that bothers you because you are on the fence and what I said pushes you to the other side a bit more than you are comfortable with. I KNOW how hard it is to leave the Mormon church. VERY VERY difficult. But the important thing is: what does the Bible say about false prophets? They were to be stoned to death in the OT. And as I said previously,Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ said if anyone teaches anything other than what was taught by the men of God, given to them by the Power of the Holy Spirit, they are to be accursed. That is pretty plain and simple. BUT you have a deeper problem. You don’t know what you believe. You have not had a personal experience with the Lord in all of your life. Do you know you are a sinner? That has to be the beginning. God is such a Gentleman, He will not force His will on anyone. It is His will that none should perish but have everlasting life with Him. But it is your personal choice. He has given us the second most precious gift, choice. We have the choice to follow Him or Joseph Smith. Everybody has the choice. The BEST choice is to follow Jesus, of course but not everybody will. It is my prayer that you and Seth will make the right choice and choose the right – choose Jesus Christ. He IS the answer and the ONLY answer.

  57. “Seth, there is ONE reason for God to let you in His Heaven. You do not seem to know the answer. I would be glad to share that with you.”

    I stopped reading your comment after that phrase DJ. I’ll probably read the rest later, but just real quick…

    You’re being extremely presumptuous. You think I’ve never heard of grace? You think I’ve never heard of Christ’s Atonement? You think that Mormons don’t have their own scriptures on the subject? You think we reject the Atonement?

    If so, you are pathetically uninformed about Mormons.

    Let me be plain. There is no way for a Mormon to return to God’s presence without Christ’s Atonement. I have done nothing in my life that makes me any sort of candidate for exaltation. The only hope I have is in Jesus Christ, my own advocate with the Father.

    I know in your own strange little world, they’ve been telling you that Mormons don’t accept Jesus.

    You sir, have been misinformed. Don’t presume that you have even the faintest clue of what I do or do not know. I’ll read the rest of your comment later. For now good night.

  58. Just kidding; you’re a moron. I don’t feel like I owe you any answers, but I’ll give you some anyway.

    I am quite curious as to why you are so “angry, bitter, and resentful about Mormonism”? (- your words, not mine)

    Because I was a faithful member for my entire life, and then I discovered it was all a load of BS. My whole world crumbled around me, it was a terrifying and painful experience, and my family blames me for it. Furthermore, growing up Mormon has left me with a lot of ways of thinking that aren’t easy to just set aside and “stop thinking that way.” It’s been frustrating, like coming out of an abusive relationship and not being sure how to ever trust anyone again.

    Why are you “a fan of Christianity”? What do you know about Christianity?

    This is a weird question, and it assumed that most people don’t know much about Christianity, which is stupid. I don’t have to prove my christian credentials to you. In fact, why don’t you go ahead and assume that I know at least as much about Chritianity as you do. For what it’s worth, I find Christianity appealing, but I don’t actually believe any of it.

    You accused me of “leveling allegations against Mormonism that are ignorant, stupid, confused, or oversimplified,” and my response is prove it to me, don’t just accuse me! They are not ignorant because I have chapters and verses to back up what I said. So that makes me NOT stupid nor confused. Maybe I did oversimplify things but why over-exaggerate it? Not necessary.

    I may have confused FFF’s comments with yours. Apologies.

    I think the thing that has triggered your spouting is that what I have said is the truth and that bothers you because you are on the fence and what I said pushes you to the other side a bit more than you are comfortable with.

    ? Nope. You’re quite the psychologist, aren’t you. I utterly reject Mormonism already. What you say doesn’t “push me” at all. Sorry. I am most certainly not on the fence. But I think there are enough legitimate problems with Mormonism to not have to go exaggerating or blowing things out of proportion (which you may not have done–again, I confused you with FFF).

    I KNOW how hard it is to leave the Mormon church. VERY VERY difficult. But the important thing is: what does the Bible say about false prophets? They were to be stoned to death in the OT. And as I said previously,Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ said if anyone teaches anything other than what was taught by the men of God, given to them by the Power of the Holy Spirit, they are to be accursed. That is pretty plain and simple.

    Blah blah blah. I already don’t believe the Mormon prophets are real prophets. I also don’t believe the Bible, so you’re not going to get very far quoting it to me, because I already know what it says.

    BUT you have a deeper problem. You don’t know what you believe. You have not had a personal experience with the Lord in all of your life.

    True. Is this necessarily a problem? Maybe.

    Do you know you are a sinner? That has to be the beginning.

    I know that you and the Bible say I am a sinner, but I’m not sure I believe either of you. It’s only the beginning if we’re talking about mainstream Protestant theology focusing on a penal substitutionary atonement, DJ. It’s not so obvious that either of those are correct, or what the apostles originally believed.

    God is such a Gentleman, He will not force His will on anyone. It is His will that none should perish but have everlasting life with Him.

    Blah blah blah free will blah blah blah.

    But it is your personal choice. He has given us the second most precious gift, choice. We have the choice to follow Him or Joseph Smith. Everybody has the choice.

    Not if you believe what the Calvinists say.

    We have the choice to follow Him or Joseph Smith.

    Only two choices? Dang.

    The BEST choice is to follow Jesus, of course but not everybody will. It is my prayer that you and Seth will make the right choice and choose the right – choose Jesus Christ. He IS the answer and the ONLY answer.

    See, it’s putting it in all-caps that makes it so convincing. I might not have decided to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior if you hadn’t put things in all caps.

  59. OK DJ, I read the rest of it.

    What makes you think that Mormons don’t already believe most of your first paragraph? If you’d ever actually read the Book of Mormon, you’d know it’s almost a bigger advocate of Christ’s Atonement than the Bible itself is. In fact, the only difference between the Mormons and Protestants on the idea of “grace,” is that we believe grace unto exaltation is only available through certain sacred ordinances administered by the holy church.

    Oh yeah, and we don’t believe you get sent to an eternal hell just for not accepting Christ. So threatening us with hell is usually a good way to make any Mormon ignore you.

    Incidentally, I do follow Jesus Christ. I agree with Joseph Smith and follow his teachings to the extent that they follow Jesus Christ. And I find that they do. So it’s really not an either-or choice.

  60. Kullervo: “Just because I am angry, bitter, and resentful about Mormonism doesn’t mean I’m going to be a baby about it and support any anti-Mormon assertion, no matter how baseless and ignorant.”

    You word so well why I love reading your comments, and even debating with you.

    Seth R: Cherylem has an interesting take on “unchanging God.” (Read it here.) Her point: “unchanging” is the converse of “turning away from”, so while man may turn away from God, God will never turn away from his promises to man. Repentance is re-turning to God.

  61. Hello Seth – I apologize for not writing sooner but between family commitments and a severe sinus infection, I have been out of pocket for the last few days.

    You assume I do not know the BoM. I have read it. I was Mormon. You said “In fact, the only difference between the Mormons and Protestants on the idea of “grace,” is that we believe grace unto exaltation is only available through certain sacred ordinances administered by the holy church.” Your statement there is so Mormon. It is through the working of the sacred ordinances that Mormons believe they will receive exaltation. I am sorry but that is not the truth. Mormons also believe that you have to do certain handshakes in order to gain entrance to the Celestial Kingdom which is Heaven and the Father. Exaltation and entrance to God the Father comes from accepting Christ as Lord and Savior not through a church’s ordinances. God’s holy church is the people who belong to Him through accepting Christ as their Savior, not any certain religion(s) made by man here on earth. Jesus plus or minus nothing. Period. Jesus said it well on the Cross: “It is finished!” Jesus paid it all and nothing more was/is/will be needed for us to obtain our salvation once we accept what He did. Our salvation was bought and paid for at that moment. The only thing we need and must do is choose to accept what He did at that moment. That is our choice. We don’t have to work to get there. Jesus said it was done. He did not say, “Ok, it is almost done, as soon as the people do the ordinances of the church that Joseph Smith is going to establish in My Name in the 1800’s.” Again this goes back to the basic concept of Joseph Smith changing what God said to make things easier to accept. I know, God is a just God and doesn’t want to punish anyone. But because He is a just God, our sins have to be justified. Justice is that we should die for our sins. But grace says: I will pay that price for him/her so they don’t have to pay. It is a free gift. If I were to offer you a gift, would it be a gift if I said I’ll give it you if you will wash my car? NO! You would be EARNING it. It would not be a gift. The Bibile says in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life.” But EVERYONE has a choice. That is why Mormons say: “Choose the right!” I agree with that! Choose the right. Choose Jesus and what He did PLUS NOTHING. Him alone.

    Seth, I have said all of this but maybe this is the real problem of Mormonism v. Christianity. Mormons do teach that Jesus was a man just like you on another planet who worked at exaltation and was able to become god here on this earth. That is not the Jesus that I was explaining above. The Jesus that I am speaking of was NOT a man from another planet. He came to earth as God in the form of man but he was not a man like you in the sense he was born from “normal” relations between a man and a woman which is what Brigham Young teaches (that God the Father came down and had relations with Mary in order to conceive Jesus. I have read it in the Relief Society Manual when they were doing the study of Brigham Young a few years ago! It is there in the church doctrine. They just do not like to discuss it very much because it goes against what the Bible teaches about the immaculate conception and is a pretty ridiculous doctrine. Plus they cannot really explain it very well.) The Jesus I know, came as a man so that He could go through every temptation known to man and not fall to those temptations, tried as a man, rejected as men are so that He understands everything we go through. But the difference was that He remained sinless. This is the thing that I question about the Mormon Jesus: if he was a good man but had sin in his life on the other planet, was able to work out that sin through exaltation, how could he still be sinless when he came here? He still had the sinful nature, was a sinful man because he was like us. We all have sin in our lives. That is confusing to me. Can you explain that to me?

    Joseph Smith said in Moroni 10:32 “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him (DJ’s question: how can we be perfected in him?) and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, (DJ’s question: is this the answer to my previous question? How can I deny myself of ALL ungodliness when MY very best righteousness is as filthy rags fit to be burn – Isaiah 64:6? I cannot do anything without him. Acts 17:28: “For in him we live, and move and have our being:…” But with Him, I can do all things through Him who gives me the strength.) and love God with all your might, mind and strength, THEN (That one word ruins this whole scripture! His grace is sufficient period. There is nothing more that you or I can do to make His grace to be sufficient.) is his grace is sufficient for you (that is an awful lot of stuff I have to get through to obtain His grace, don’t you think?) that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” I totally agree with this last part that by His grace (the only way) I can be perfect in Christ and I cannot deny the power of God. That is totally true. See there is some truth in what the Mormons teach.

  62. Ok Kullervo, now on to what you said to me. You said: “Because I was a faithful member for my entire life, and then I discovered it was all a load of BS. My whole world crumbled around me, it was a terrifying and painful experience, and my family blames me for it. Furthermore, growing up Mormon has left me with a lot of ways of thinking that aren’t easy to just set aside and “stop thinking that way.” It’s been frustrating, like coming out of an abusive relationship and not being sure how to ever trust anyone again.” That is a very traumatic experience you went through. Here you are believing something as the whole truth to find out that it was wrong, is devastating to say the very least. Not to mention that you basically “lost” your family in the midst of this trial. And yes, it would feel as if you were coming out of an abusive relationship. It is a form of spiritual abuse. It would be difficult to trust after coming away from a situation like that. I totally agree and I am so sorry that you went through this ordeal. I came out of an abusive relationship (marriage) so I do understand that feeling. And yes, I felt the same way when I came out of the church a couple of years ago. It is very difficult to stop thinking along those Mormon lines. I catch myself all the time saying something that is totally Mormon. I have to ask myself: “What does the Bible say about this?” The Bible is our guide line and I have to hang on to it. Sometimes I have to go look it up or ask someone that I trust to tell me the truth and to explain how this Mormon belief is different than what is in the Bible. (For instance: I recently heard on KWVE – Calvary Chapel radio station – a preacher talking about a certain subject. I had to go to my friend whom I explicitly trust to explain how this worked.) I don’t trust all Christians to say the truth when it comes to things about Mormons because they do not always know what the Mormons believe. I have one person that God used to show me His truth. I had been praying about the Mormon church and whether it was really true or not. Something wasn’t settling in my spirit. NOBODY but God knew what I was asking Him. I told him the answers had to come from Him and Him alone. I was not asking the Mormons nor the Christians but Him. He answered my questions through this one person. I would ask God a question-in my mind/heart, and then this person would answer with what the Word of God said about my question. This happened MANY times. To the point that I finally had to say yes to Christianity and no to Mormonism. I have not looked back since that time. I love the Mormons. I want to reach out to each and every one of them and shake them so scales of their eyes will be cleared like mine and won’t fall into hell. But it is their choice not mine. If I had it my way, (which by the way would be Satan’s way so that would not be good) I would have every Mormon to believe the way I do. But then they would not have the choice the the Lord gave them. His way is let them choose whom they will serve. And that is the perfect way. Not my way. I just don’t want Satan to win at anything or anyone.

    I accept your apologies.

    I am so sorry that your experiences in life has left you without much hope or belief in what God has to offer you. He does have a plan for your life if you will allow Him to bring it forth. But you would need to believe in His word which is the Bible.

  63. Mormons do teach that Jesus was a man just like you on another planet who worked at exaltation and was able to become god here on this earth.

    That’s stupid, DJ. Mormons really, really don’t believe or teach that Jesus was a normal man on another planet.

    Mormonism does teach that God the Father lived a mortal life on another world. But my understanding of this doctrine when I was a Mormon was that God the Father was the Savior/Messiah on that world, like Jesus is on our world.

  64. Well. that is not what my former bishop told me. But the whole thing is false your way or mine. That is the point.

  65. The “Are Mormon’s Christians” debate seems to be simply a polemic invented to:

    1) dissuade people from considering Mormonism,
    2) keep Mormons out of a particular community
    3) To monopolize the prestige of the “Christian” moniker to a particular sect or group within Christianity.

    Clearly all Mormons are disciples of Jesus of Nazereth and “take upon the name” of Christ at baptism and in every church service, and always pray in his name. By any fair general definition of “Christian” it would seem they would be included. Of course you can define Christian in a way to include or exclude any group you want. (Mormons could easily do the same thing by excluding everybody else as real “Christians”). I think part of the motivation for the debate is that non-Mormons are generally threatened by Mormonism while Mormons are generally not threatened at all by Protestant theology. Mormons actually don’t generally use theology to convert, but rather the Book of Mormon, i.e. if it is from God then so is Mormonism.

    Not including Mormons in a definition of Christian would be like not including Motorcycle Racing in the definition of “Sports” I.e. those who are playing football are likely to point out that motorcycle racing is so far removed from historical “sports” as to fall outside the definition. Indeed motorcycle racing is completely different than football, but clearly there the “family resemblances” between football, ski jumping, bobsledding, tennis etc. extend also to motorcycle racing and it should properly be considered a sport. To exclude it would be to give “sport” some special definition that does not fit with the general usage of the word.

    To make a stronger point, and to borrow more closely from Wittgenstein’s classic example, no matter how different they are in principle and practice, it is strange and incorrect to claim that football and bridge are not both “games”.

    Similarly I think the classification of Mormonism outside of Christianity is generally inconsistent by those who consider unorthodox but brilliant thinkers like Paul Tillich as being Christian. It would be, I think, strange to say that Tillich, considered by some to be one of the greatest Protestant theologians of the twentieth century, was not a “Protestant” because his theology differs radically from that of Baptists. Clearly his writings seem to be as different from the Apostles creed as many of the canons of Mormonism.

    I think from a perspective outside “christianity” the entire debate would seem quite petty.

    The arguments that Mormons don’t believe in the same Jesus because they attribute different things to him are silly. Conceivably the same argument apply to each and every different belief people may have about Jesus, i.e. Catholics worship a different Jesus than Baptists since their Jesus was born from a different mother (Catholics have radically different beliefs about Mary). Or arguint that John worshiped a different Jesus than Mark since the man they describe in their Gospels is not quite identical.

  66. DJ said, “Mormons also believe that you have to do certain handshakes in order to gain entrance to the Celestial Kingdom which is Heaven and the Father.”

    Well, yes, those are supposed to be important somehow (it’s not actually made clear in the temple why one needs to know those).

    HOWEVER… let’s say that in Mormonism you did need to know those to get into the Celestial Kingdom… there will be little old ladies and men helping you remember the words when you got there, I’m sure, because they have them at the temple every time you go.

  67. DJ, it’s pretty obvious that grace is not just a matter of walking down the aisle at church one Sunday yelling “I’m saved!”

    Even good evangelicals realize that the idea that you can “be saved” and then forget about the rest of your life is a load of self-serving garbage from people who are just looking for excuses to keep living their lives without changing anything.

    I think the bible makes it pretty clear that “me, my Jesus, and my Bible” ain’t the way it shakes down. The need for a Holy Church is quite clearly a theme. Baptism is pretty clearly a necessity and I would add the ordinances of the LDS faith to that.

    Secondly, Christ’s grace in Mormonism is truly a free gift. Everyone gets it, gets resurrected, and then inherits a kingdom of glory – free of charge. One of these kingdoms really isn’t that far different from the Protestant idea of heaven anyway. That’s Christ’s grace.

    If there’s anyone who does NOT believe in free grace, it’s the Protestants, actually. Many of whom are more than happy to tell me, I’m going to hell because I don’t understand or believe their nonsensical, un-biblical belief in some strange same-but-different trinity nonsense.

    You are the one who believes Christ’s Atonement is conditional. Not me.

    But to continue as Gods in the full presence of the Father, something more than grace is required. As for the handshakes and stuff. They’re SYMBOLIC. Do you get that? Symbolic? Like eating Christ’s blood and body? Get it?

    You’re trying to make a cheap attempt at ridicule here based on the fact that Mormonism isn’t what a lot of people are used to. Very tacking sir. And it shows an astounding lack of awareness of how stupid your religious ordinances and beliefs look to other outsiders.

  68. Indeed. There are plenty of things seriously wrong with Mormonism. The fact that they have rites and rituals is not one of them. The fact that their rites and rituals don’t suit you is only wrong in the purest of subjective senses (which I’m okay with putting into the rubric, but people like DJ who bluster about absolute truth and whatnot might not be as comfortable with).

    Yeah, Mormonism’s rites and rituals are just made up by some guy (or pinched from the Masons). On the other hand the rites and rituals from EVERY RELIGION were either made up or pinched at one point or another.

  69. On the other hand, Seth, as one of my law professors always says “whenever anyone says ‘clearly,’ I reach for my wallet.”

    I would like to maintain in the strongest terms that the case against “me, my Jesus, and my Bible” and the case for a Holy church and Baptism/ordinances are not nearly as clear as you’re saying they are. If you want to find those things in the Bible (and as a Mormon, you really need to), you can find them there, but they’re really not as obvious as they make it sound in Seminary classes.

  70. Not including Mormons in a definition of Christian would be like not including Motorcycle Racing in the definition of “Sports”

    wouldn’t this analogy have been better if Cheerleading had replaced Motorcycle Racing?

  71. Seth, have you read the book of Romans, seriously? I recommend that you do. Then we can discuss your answers to me. Grace is…

  72. What type of practice are you planning to go into? How long till you have your degree? I am working on my degree to be a Paralegal. We have had some really interesting discussions in classes.

  73. DJ, why is it that Evangelicals always act like the book of Romans is the only book in the Bible? My experience is that Evangelicals tend to overemphasize Romans at the expense of other books that would provide a little bit more nuance to the big picture.

    They also seem to enjoy quoting Paul – even at the expense of quoting Jesus Christ himself. I’ve read Romans. I’ve also been referred to it by almost every Evangelical I’ve ever spoken to. But unfortunately, that’s not the only book we’re supposed to be focusing on. There’s that matter of the Old Testament to be dealt with, and Christ’s most inconvenient focus on obedience to COMMANDMENTS that proves most irksome for this happy little “free grace” business that Evangelicals are always mining Romans for.

    Sorry but, while I think Romans is great and all, it just isn’t the most important book in the New Testament, or the Bible.

  74. I love the book of Romans. It is full of what I have to deal with all the time. The struggle of my old nature and my new nature in Christ. It is about grace and how it works. Even though grace abounds much more where there is sin, we are NOT to keep sinning to get more grace as Paul so well put it in the Book of Romans. So that blows your little theory that evangelicals are saved and then continues to live their life of hell. Not true! Bad assumption on your part and everyone else who is clueless as to what Paul was saying in the Book of Romans. In fact, if there is not a change of life and heart which is notable to other people (hence the Mormons favorite: You shall know them by their fruit). Paul also said in 2 Cor 5:27 that if any man is in Christ he becomes a new creature (the rebirth or the 2nd birth). If he is not a new creature then did the man really mean his prayer when he asked Christ in his heart? Only he and God knows for sure. But on the other hand, we are human beings and we have a sinful nature that we inherited from Adam and Eve. No we did not inherit their sin but sinful natures have been passed down from generation to generation and everyone of us has sin in our lives. Whether we want to admit it or not. Personally, I would rather be perfect which will happen soon, very soon, when Jesus comes to remove His church (the people who belong to Him – not a religion) in the rapture. It has been my experience to find out the Mormons do not know much about this event that is about to happen at anytime now. There are no Biblical prophesies that need to be fulfilled before Jesus comes to take His bride (the church – the people who belong to Him) to Marriage Supper of the Lamb for 7 years while there is literal hell on earth, when the Anti-Christ will be revealed and loosed to reign on earth. After the 7 years, Jesus and us will be back for the Battle of Armigedon (not sure I spelled that correctly) when Jesus will win over Satan, Satan will be thrown in the bottomless pit for a thousand years and then he will be loosed for a season (probably to try to deceive us again. I have my own theory on this but it is mine and not Gospel). Then the Great White Throne Judgement will take place. That is when EVERY knee will bow and proclaim that Jesus is Lord and we will receive the rewards or judged for our deeds we performed while on earth. The Tribulation period is almost here which is why I am trying to reach out to you. You don’t want to be here! It will be very, very, very bad. Sadam Hussein will look like a pussy cat compared to the Anti- Christ. Jesus gave us signs to look for. They are here and it is coming fast. It is my prayer that you won’t be here to have to endure that to the end. The only way anybody will be able to “endure” (eat, buy needs, gas, etc) will be to take the mark of the beast. If you do that, you will never make it to Heaven. You will be Satan’s forever. But I don’t know your heart, only you and God knows that for sure.
    I just encourage you to look into this and do a study on it. The Mormons don’t teach it because they don’t understand it or something. II Thess is a good place to start to study the rapture. Or Ezkeial and Daniel for the OT.

    The thing is: what if I am right and your are wrong? I know you will ask me what if you are right and I am wrong. What will happen to me? I would be on the second level and happy. If I am right and you haven’t accepted the true doctrine and Gospel of the true Christ as your Savior for real, where would you be? Are you willing to take the chance of being separated from God for an eternity?

    Oh, I have question: this is something that has bothered me for several years. If Joseph Smith says that if anyone commits murder, they will not have forgiveness in this life nor the life to come. Then how can Moses, Paul or Joseph Smith be in Heaven? Heaven is perfect and without sin. Sin has to be forgiven in order that the person who committed the sin, can be released from that sin. How does that work? Moses killed the Egyptian person, Paul killed Christians and Joseph Smith killed a man before he was shot, right?

    One more question, Seth: who do you pledge your allegiance to God or Joseph Smith? You cannot have two gods. One will override the other.

    Please study this out for yourself. Don’t just take my word on it. See for yourself what God says to you. Let’s keep talking about this. Ok?

  75. One more question, Seth: who do you pledge your allegiance to God or Joseph Smith? You cannot have two gods. One will override the other.

    That is a really ignorant question.

    The rrest of your comment is a total mess, by the way. Rhetorical hair-splitting. End-times interpretations of scripture that haven’t historically been a part of Christianity, etc.

    Not that it matters.

  76. “One more question, Seth: who do you pledge your allegiance to God or Joseph Smith? You cannot have two gods. One will override the other.”

    I don’t even get why you are asking this question. I would have thought it was obvious we don’t worship Joseph Smith. Where are you coming up with this stuff?

    Nice to see you acknowledge that righteous works at least have something to do with a person’s salvation. As for the rapture, Mormons have their own detailed teachings on the subject. We just don’t call it the “rapture.” We call it the Second Coming of Christ. The Doctrine and Covenants elaborates in detail on those anticipated events.

    “The thing is: what if I am right and your are wrong? I know you will ask me what if you are right and I am wrong. What will happen to me? I would be on the second level and happy. If I am right and you haven’t accepted the true doctrine and Gospel of the true Christ as your Savior for real, where would you be? Are you willing to take the chance of being separated from God for an eternity?”

    So, let me get this straight… You’re saying that even if I don’t believe in your religion, I ought to pretend I do, just to be on the safe side – as an insurance policy against hell?

    Well, THAT’S a winning attitude.

    Honestly, I think that fear pretty-much sucks as a motivation for religion and produces a very shallow commitment to God.

    Besides, I don’t believe in the Protestant view of hell anyway. But a lot of Protestants think that threatening me with hell is supposed to impress me for some reason.

  77. Honestly, I think that fear pretty-much sucks as a motivation for religion and produces a very shallow commitment to God.

    Besides, I don’t believe in the Protestant view of hell anyway. But a lot of Protestants think that threatening me with hell is supposed to impress me for some reason.

    Agreed. Completely.

  78. Seth, I did not say your good works will help in your salvation! It doesn’t. Jesus plus or minus nothing. Jesus only is your salvation. When you accept Christ you do good things because it is your new nature to do good. And you are rewarded for what you do at the Great White Throne Judgement. You misquoted me on that. Also, I never said anything about pretending your salvation! God knows the heart and would know if you are pretending to be a Christian, Mormon or whomever. It wouldn’t work as fire insurance. Sorry to disappoint you.

  79. By the way, I am not “sending” you or anyone else to hell. Any person who goes to hell, goes there themselves not because of someone else. I do not have the power to send you, Kullervo and anyone else to hell. I haven’t even said you are going to hell. What I am saying is that ANYBODY who does not believe (have a relationship) in Jesus Christ will not have everlasting life with Him. I know the Mormons believe everlasting life is for everybody no matter how bad they are, they will live. True to a point. Everybody will be conscious of the state they are in when they die. People in Heaven will have life. People in hell will have hell. (It is really convenient that the Mormons believe in 3 levels of consciousness so nobody will have to pay for their sins. It makes death a little more platable to think you can live like the dickens here on earth and when you die, oh well, you will exist in a place better than earth. How can anyone lose? What do you do with the Scripture: “For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is life.”? Everybody will die except the people who are caught up in the rapture when Jesus removes us from the judgement of God. If you need references about how God protects His people from His judgement, look at Noah’s Ark story because it is a type of the rapture as are other OT stories. See we Christians do read the OT to learn from it! lol) Let me ask you this: Is spending eternity in hell, life? I don’t think so. I would not call it life. I would call it hell. Hell is being without Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father. Jesus, the Father, nor the Holy Spirit cannot dwell with sin. So if you Mormons are correct, the people on the telelestial world who have no forgiveness of their sins because they were really bad people such as Sadam Hussein, Hitler, Stallin, Charles Manson, etc. then how can the Holy Spirit dwell with them on that level of consciousness? The Holy Spirit is God too. God is perfect and He cannot look on sin. How can you explain that to me?

  80. Katyjane, you said “HOWEVER… let’s say that in Mormonism you did need to know those to get into the Celestial Kingdom… there will be little old ladies and men helping you remember the words when you got there, I’m sure, because they have them at the temple every time you go.” You did say one portion of that correctly, “..in Mormonism…” That is Mormon doctrine but it is not correct. Does not that limit the only people who can enter into the celestial kingdom to good standing Mormons who have paid their tithes (paid their way in to “celestial kingdom”) so they have been able to go to the temple and had the temple rites? That is very biased of God to allow only those people into His Kingdom. Especially when Jesus said “WHOSOVER” in John 3:16. That would make Him a liar if that Mormon doctrine were true. That would make Jesus a sinner and not a good substitute for our sins because He would have sin in His life therefore, we would all be in the same boat. I have HUGE problems with that doctrine! Jesus did NOT say “Whosoever goes to the Temple to learn the rites to enter into God’s Heaven.” Don’t you think this would be something of importance for our salvation and wouldn’t He have told us simply how to do it? He DID tell us (“whosoever believes in Me shall have everlasting life”). He is the Way, the Truth, the Life and no man comes unto the Father except by (through) Him. We don’t have to do through the “sentinals that are guarding God” and therefore we need the secret handshakes and mantras to get past them to the Father. That is what Mormons are taught about in the temple as to why they have to know these things prior to their deaths. Well, it is just not true! This is why I have asked: WHO DO YOU PLEDGE YOUR ALLEGIANCE TO, GOD OR JOSEPH SMITH?” If you follow and pledge your life to God then you will follow His Word. If you follow Joseph Smith’s words (the BoM) then you are pledge your allegience to him and his teachings which are false. Granted there is bits and pieces of truth in his words so that people will believe the poison that is imbedded in the truth. (The Lord showed me something a few years ago that would help explain what I am saying right here, I HATE snakes. I cannot stand to watch, see and Heaven help me encounter one. One day I was flipping throught the TV channels when there was a nature show on. I started to watch it until there was a snake. I changed it immediately. The Lord told me to go back and watch, He wanted to show me something. (I asked for His Grace to be able to watch it.) This rattlesnake came up on a little cute mouse and zapped it. That little mouse tried to fight but became paralyzed from the poison the snake injected into it. Then the narrator was saying that the snake had to work the mouse around to devour it HEAD first because if he did not do this, devoured it feet first, the snake would not be able to digest the mouse and the mouse would then kill the snake. Then the Lord told me the comparisons to Satan and us. Satan injects us with his venom poison which goes to paralyze us. Then he tries to devour us through our minds and if he can succeed at that, he has us. But if we wash our minds with the water of the Word, Satan’s venom will be powerless over us. We will then have crushed him with our heels.) That would make Jesus to have said another lie. Joseph Smith changed too much of what God said to make salvation obtainable through laws and regulations of that church. He was a false prophet and has led many many people astray. That is really sad! That breaks my heart. That is NOT who and what God is about! If this offends any of you, sorry, but I have to speak the truth and sometimes the truth hurts. At least you will not be able to stand before God and say, “I never knew that!” Because now you do know which makes your responsible for your actions.

  81. Hmmm, DJ, you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth. Don’t you think that Jesus would want you to contribute to building up his kingdom by paying tithing and giving offerings? That’s not buying your way into heaven.

    And, really, arguing with you is pointless because, as Kullervo has said before, you have great adventures in missing the point.

    And I call BS on anyone (including you) who says that people who have heard your hate filled mantras will not be able to stand before God and say, “I never knew that.” I’m sorry–but what you say first of all doesn’t make sense, and second of all doesn’t give me any reason to listen nor does it fill me with the peace that God brings. (By their fruits ye shall know them, eh?) The fruits you bring aren’t good.

    There is plenty wrong with the Mormon church. There is plenty to criticize, and plenty that makes it not true. However, you don’t seem to know what those are, and instead preach hate and call it Jesus Christ.

    All I have to say to that is, not MY Jesus Christ. 😉

  82. You are entitled to your opinion. I am sorry that you misinterpret what I am saying as being hateful and not from Christ. I am just telling you the truth. It is your perogative to believe what you want. No qualms there and if you choose to not hear, that too is your option. The Bible says “let them who have ears hear, eyes see.” What can I say?

  83. “The Bible says “let them who have ears hear, eyes see.”

    And I suppose you think that’s you, right? I could say the exact same thing about you.

    I don’t swear allegiance to Joseph Smith. No Mormon does.

    I don’t believe in your hell. And I don’t believe in the God who supposedly created it. And you’ve done very little to make it all look any more attractive. It’s really that simple.

  84. Oh, I need to address your statement about tithing Katyjane. I totally believe in tithing and giving to the Lord. He blesses us for that obedience. But I don’t have to tithe to obtain the celestial kingdom. The Lord promised that if I would tithe, He would open the windows of Heavens and pour down blessings that will fllood me. If I want to have that blessing and the blessing that He will rebuke the devour (Satan) for me, then I need to give so that His storehouse has meat. I want all that the Lord has for me because it so much more than I could ask or think. If you don’t tithe in the Mormon church you are not allowed in the temple. If that is not buying your way in, what is? According to Mormon doctrine, unless you go to the temple and do the temple rites, you do not have a chance to get to the celestial kingdom. Is that not a correct statement? And what is one of the first questions that you are asked in your temple recommend interview? “Are you a full tithe payer?” So, if I said no, I would not get the recommend and therefore not be allowed to attend the temple to obtain the keys that are needed to enter the celestial kingdom. Is this not true? That is what I was told. If I don’t pay my tithes for whatever reason and I am not allowed in to the temple, then I don’t have the opportunity to be with God the Father. I will be stuck somewhere else on another planet. This is what aggrevates me about the Mormon religion. I HATE being lied to and the church lied to me. I tithe because I love the Lord and want to further His Kingdom over the world. That is what it is for. I know that what I have said seems mean, but it IS the truth but you and other Mormons don’t want to hear it. I was there at one point. I didn’t want to hear the truth either about Mormonism. I thank God He kept giving me the truth and I finally heard it. I pray you will hear it too. I know it messes everything up in your life when you hear it for real. It makes you come to a choice. It is not an easy choice either!!! I understand that totally. I am sorry that you have the opinion that I don’t know of what I am speaking. I do know what I said is the truth whether you want to accept it or not. It is your choice and I don’t expect you to be making that any time soon. But there will come a time that the Lord will ask you, What do you believe, Katyjane? You will have to answer Him not me.

  85. I haven’t tried to make hell attractive, Seth. It is not! It is to be avoided at all cost. And yes, God created it for Satan and his group. If you are not for God you are against Him as the Bible says. If you are not on His side, whose other side is there? Only one, Satan’s.

  86. DJ- If you are trying to enlighten Mormons you are doing it all wrong, mainly because you look like a dumb-ass. You get the gist of Mormonism so wrong that it makes you look just like the dumb-ass evangelicals who attack Mormonism without knowing much about it, making you the same as the dumb-ass Mormons who think they got the only truth out there and believe everything that Joseph Smith said was straight from God.

    On a broader note, to me all of these doctrinal attacks seem stupid when coming from a position that is just as weak as the position you are attacking.

    An Evangelical’s reliance on in-errency of scripture (as they define and interpret it) is just as unjustifiable by any universally accepted basis of proof as a Mormons’ reliance on the truth of modern revelation over previous Christian views.

    The only enlightening debate/discussion seems to be that which is based on common ground rather than stupid rants about doctrine and the reasons people believe, and venting anger about how the Mormons lead you and others astray.

    Give me something that makes me think I should care about your point of view…

  87. BTW= Competitive Cheerleading is a sport.

    The telling question is, why would you argue against the proposition that Cheerleading is a sport?

    My point is that ultimately the reasons for the argument are the most revealing part about such a debate.

    Its as if the Gymnnastics community is trying to exclude the cheerleaders as unworthy of the designation of “athelete”

    Clearly its difficult to justify a difference in principle between Gymnastics and competitive Cheerleading. Gymnasts just don’t want inferior gymnasts getting any of their attention and prestige.

  88. (forgive the bad spelling and grammar, I should spell check my comments before posting….I am such a dumb-ass)

  89. Competitive cheerleading is a sport. And it needs to be seriously regulated. Those girls are pulling stunts, throws, flips, catches without hardly ANY foundational training at all. The sport has a disturbingly high rate of fatalities and serious paralyzing back injuries.

    The problem is, when you go into gymnastics, they start you out slow on the foundationals. You gain a good physical awareness and fitness from which to branch out into more and more difficult stuff.

    It’s not like that in cheerleading. They just give you a pep talk and throw you in the air and hope you’ll land correctly. It’s probably the most dangerous sport in high school right now.

    DJ,

    You just don’t get it. I didn’t say you were trying to make hell attractive. I did say that the picture you paint of God is just plain unattractive to me. Your view of hell is a part of that.

  90. Wow to that thread!

    Tim, do you get as uncomfortable when the DJ’s of your faith represent your worldview, as internet Mormons get when chapel Mormons try to represent our worldview?

  91. Tim,
    DJ said a lot, but could I get your take on a couple things he said. Do they represent mainstream EV thought:

    “The Jesus I know, came as a man so that He could go through every temptation known to man and not fall to those temptations, tried as a man, rejected as men are so that He understands everything we go through. But the difference was that He remained sinless. ”

    “But on the other hand, we are human beings and we have a sinful nature that we inherited from Adam and Eve. No we did not inherit their sin but sinful natures have been passed down from generation to generation and everyone of us has sin in our lives.”

  92. I was surprised by the first quote. This feels more Mormon than Evangelical. Do EVs believe then that God took upon him flesh to learn and to “progress”, to use a very Mormon term? He is saying that God increased His empathy.

  93. Tim, with regards to the second quote, do EVs believe that the Fall of Adam was by design? In other words, did God have His hand in it?
    Can you point me to anything that you’ve written on the Fall of Adam and Even? I would really like understand the EV perspective.
    Thanks!!

  94. No, we don’t believe Jesus was “progressing”. Gaining an experience, in the Evangelical mind, does not cause God to become a “greater” being. For Evangelicals we don’t believe that God is in any way progressing. Had he not created the universe he would still be worthy of the same praise.

    I’m not sure if I have any thing specifically about the fall. We don’t believe it was by design and think it was the worst thing that ever happened to creation because it introduced sin and corruption into everything. You might be interested to read this article about the evolution of thought within Mormonism on the Fall. It wasn’t always viewed as a necessity or a positive.
    http://thepierianspring.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/understanding-the-fall-in-mormonism/

  95. Let’s make this clear though: Evangalicalism isn’t a distinct religious organization with a hierarchy and a specific dogma. It’s a trend within American (and global) Protestantism over the last century or two. This can be hard for Mormons–who have a tendency to imagione that all Christian churches are more or less analogous to Mormonism–to understand

    Which means that asking “What do Evangelicals believe about X” may not be the right question. Evangelicals are Protestants. Not all Protestants ascribe to precisely the same theology. There’s not a Pope of Protestantism that can issueBinding Revelations on Protestant Belief. There is a tradition of orthodox belief in Christianity, but even then the specifics can differ.

    We can talk about what most American Evangelicals believe (penal substitutionary atonement, for example, which, coincidentally, I also believed as a Mormon), but in order to appreciate the context, you’re going to need to wrap your head around at least the basics of the historical development of Christian theology.

  96. Thanks Tim! I enjoyed the series on the history of mormon thought on the fall that you linked to.

    “it was the worst thing that ever happened to creation because it introduced sin and corruption into everything”

    How did God want it to go down and what was the world suppose to look like? In other words, if Adam and Eve had not partaken, what would the world be like? Would we all be living in an Edenic, immortal state? And if that was God’s plan, then why put that damn tree in the Garden in the first place?

    “Gaining an experience, in the Evangelical mind, does not cause God to become a “greater” being”

    Please explain further. My mormon worldview is not letting me wrap my mind around what you are saying here. Was God more empathetic because of his earthly experience, and if so, what does that imply? I am genuinely trying to understand it.

  97. Thanks Kullervo….I am with you. That is why I asked Tim about DJ’s comments, because I assume that there is lots of different strains of thought, but I wanted to get a feel for if DJ was the norm.
    I am trying to learn more of the “basics of the historical development of Christian theology”. I started with the Trinity this year and am still trying to sincerely understand it. Parts of the Christian Trinity really resonate with my wife, where the Mormon godhead teachings don’t really do it for her. I just haven’t been able to see the appeal of it yet.

    Did I read somewhere that you and your wife now go to an Episcopal church?

  98. You might find this helpful. I attempted to illustrate some different cosmologies.
    https://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/the-nature-of-god-illustrated/

    Would we all be living in an Edenic, immortal state?

    Yes. and we will return there in the new heaven and the new earth.

    And if that was God’s plan, then why put that damn tree in the Garden in the first place?

    Because God values free-will. Without at the very least a tree, there would be no way to express the will to freely choose to obey God.

    Was God more empathetic because of his earthly experience

    No, I don’t think God became more empathetic. If he did, empathy is not really a core defining principle of His nature. As “eating a tomato” isn’t necessary to say that I lived a human experience.

  99. One of my favorite books, C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra, explores what happens when Adam and Eve (ON VENUS!) don’t Fall. It’s fairly staggering.

  100. Just finished with Perelandra. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for the recommendation. I am assuming this was pretty much 100% speculative theology, since EVs have no scriptural text to base it on? I was surprised how Mormon it felt with the idea of multiple worlds and little g gods. Even the idea of Adam and Eve being called up as King and Queen.

  101. Just finished with Perelandra. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Did you read Out of the Silent Planet first? Perelandra is the second book in a trilogy. Are you planning on reading That Hideous Strength?

    I am assuming this was pretty much 100% speculative theology, since EVs have no scriptural text to base it on?

    You do realize that Perelandra is a science fiction novel, right? It’s fiction that deals with theological themes, but it’s not “theology” of any kind. It’s fiction.

    Also, C.S. Lewis (the same author who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, which, I guess I should warn you so as to avoid confusion, are also works of fiction) was not an “EV.” He was an Anglican. Not that it matters, because again, Perelandra is not a theological treatise; it is a work of fiction that explores theological themes in a fantastical manner. A work of fiction.

    To be honest, the fact that I have to spell that out for you after you read the book seriously does not bode well for this discussion.

    I was surprised how Mormon it felt with the idea of multiple worlds and little g gods. Even the idea of Adam and Eve being called up as King and Queen.

    Really? You have seriously missed the forest for the trees. Perelandra‘s central focus is on a Creation/Fall narrative that is totally at odds with Mormonism. Not only are Perelandra‘s “multiple worlds and little g gods” absolutely nothing at all like Mormonism’s, but they are completely incidental to the central theme, except to the extent that the book’s genre is science fiction. Also, “the idea of Adam and Eve being called up as King and Queen” is not in any way a unique or characteristically Mormon idea; it is a reasonably common Christian idea.

    To be fair, this is one of my pet peeves: both Mormons and Evangelicals are super guilty of grossly distorting C.S. Lewis in order to claim that he is somehow consistent with their theology.

  102. There’s a pretty prominent Reformed pastor in the town where I used to live who was asked specifically about whether or not Lewis was a Calvinist (NOTE: HE WAS NOT). The pastor replied, “He is now.”

    See the debacle unfold for yourself…

  103. Mostly I disliked the whole, “He is now” comment.

    That link doesn’t go anywhere, BTW. I’m not a Calvinist expert, but I’ve read a couple of books about it — one written by the pastor in that video, in fact. I’m not just going off of what Mormons say about Calvinism on the Internet. I don’t particularly care for it.

  104. Oh, d’oh. I defeated my own wittiness! It was a link to our exchange in Into the Hills about Total Depravity.

    The “he is now” comment is indeed lamely snarky–that kind of arrogant confidence is like nails on a chalkboard. Hilariously though, I have definitely has at least one conversation with a Mormon who asserted with similar confidence that it is obvious C.S Lewis has embraced the Restored Gospel in spirit prison.

  105. My point is, in my opinion, the pastor in that video makes a compelling case, not that C.S. Lewis would have identified as a Calvinist, but that there are discernable Calvinist influences on C.S. Lewis’s theology.

  106. “You do realize that Perelandra is a science fiction novel, right? It’s fiction that deals with theological themes, but it’s not “theology” of any kind. It’s fiction.”

    What do you think I was talking about? I was commenting on the theological themes in the book. I am not trying to make C.S. Lewis anything! I read Perelanda upon your recommendation to try to get a better understanding of what is so appealing about the unsatisfying view that God didn’t intend for the Fall to occur.
    I definitely wasn’t implying that Perelandra lined up with Mormon theology, but that I was surprised to find some interesting commonalities that i did not expect to find. You, being a former Mormon, I don’t see how you can’t see that. Seems like you are being a bit defensive and disingenuous.

    “To be honest, the fact that I have to spell that out for you after you read the book seriously does not bode well for this discussion.”

    Condescending prick alert!!

  107. I definitely wasn’t implying that Perelandra lined up with Mormon theology, but that I was surprised to find some interesting commonalities that i did not expect to find.

    Honestly? You did not expect to find “some interesting commonalities” because, as you have amply demonstrated, you are basically completely ignorant about non-Mormon Christianity.

    You, being a former Mormon, I don’t see how you can’t see that. Seems like you are being a bit defensive and disingenuous.

    A a former Mormon who is not completely ignorant about non-Mormon Christianity, I have a better sense of what is in fact a commonality and what is not, and which commonalities are remarkable or noteworthy and which are typical or expected.

    It also helps me not make mountains out of molehills: like I said, the “commonalities” you pointed out are really not commonalities at all.

  108. I wasn’t making mountains out of the commonalities I see. Stop overstating everything.

    Kullervo, I stated early on in the discussion that I didn’t know a lot about non-Mormon Christianity, which is why I’ve enjoyed this forum. I am trying to rectify that. That is why I appreciated YOU pointing me to Perelandra to get a better feel of what “non-Mormon Christianity” thought is regarding life with no Fall.

  109. I wasn’t making mountains out of the commonalities I see.

    Years ago, right after my mission, Iw as chatting about religion with a Muslim friend. I was trying to point out the similarities our faiths shared: we both believed in chastity, abstaining from alcohol, and in the importance of prophets.

    But it was like I was speaking a foreign language to him. For him, the fundamental religious idea was pure monotheism: one sovereign god and one only. Things like alcohol or prophets were totally irrelevant to him if we disagreeed on that fundamental point.

    Kullervo, I stated early on in the discussion that I didn’t know a lot about non-Mormon Christianity, which is why I’ve enjoyed this forum. I am trying to rectify that.

    This “forum” is probably not a good source for basic background information about world religions. If you want to learn about non-Mormon Christianity, you should read about non-Mormon Christianity and attend non-Mormon Christian services, not read comments on a blog.

    That is why I appreciated YOU pointing me to Perelandra to get a better feel of what “non-Mormon Christianity” thought is regarding life with no Fall.

    No, I did not say you should read Perelandra “to get a better feel of what ‘non-Mormon Christianity’ thought is regarding life with no Fall.” I said Perelandra explores what happens when Adam and Eve don’t Fall. That’s all.

  110. Tampinha, if you like Lewis’s sci-fi, you might enjoy Michael Ward’s work on Lewis. He’s written two books arguing that the Chronicles of Narnia series is structured around the seven planets of medieval cosmology:
    Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis (Oxford University Press, 2008) – This is based on his PhD so is fairly academic in style.

    The Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens (Tyndale House/Paternoster, 2010) – This is the same material presented more briefly and accessibly.

    He also presented a BBC documentary called The Narnia Code which is available on DVD. The trailer is available to watch on Youtube.

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