WIth upcoming elections, you can rest assured that the faith of Mitt Romney will be “in play”. Both sides will seek to use it to their advantage. I couldn’t care less from that standpoint. I recommend that voters vote for POTUS, not Pastor. Vote based upon the issues. My intent in this post is to make Christians aware of the theological differences which by definition preclude Mormonism from being a “Christian” denomination.
I want you to imagine this scene in your head. The batter steps up to the plate. All eyes are on him. The pressure is on and he knows he needs to perform. He grips the bat tightly and prepares himself. The ball hangs mid-air, he swings, misses by a fraction of an inch, and is called out by the umpire.
What did you imagine… this?
What if I told you I was describing this?
Wait, that doesn’t make sense. There is no bat, no ball, no home plate, no umpire. It’s not the same thing.
Exactly. If I fundamentally re-define the words I use, and apply them to things which are entirely different, I cannot claim them to be the same things. This use of langage is absurd and can cause great confusion to the uninformed.
This brings us to Mormonism, which uses distinctly orthodox christian terms to describe things which are entirely different. Listen to a commercial from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) or “Mormon” Church and you will hear terms which sound very familiar: God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, Heaven, Salvation, etc. The problem is, these terms have been radically redefined. You cannot compare this to a simple difference in orthodox christian denominations. No, Mormonism is something entirely separate.
A very brief background: Joseph Smith, a 14 year old boy, went into the woods to pray about which church/denomination he should choose. God the Father, and Jesus Christ both appeared to him in physical form and told him ”
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all awrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that thosebprofessors were all ccorrupt; that: “they ddraw near to me with their lips, but their ehearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the fcommandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the gpower thereof.”
20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.” – History of the Church, Vol 1 Ch 1 (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng)
So we see, from the very first claimed visitation, that this was not simply another denomination.
3 years later, an angel (Moroni) appeared to Joseph Smith as he lay in bed with the following message:
“34 He said there was a abook deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the bfulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;
35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a abreastplate, constituted what is called thebUrim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted c“seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.” – – History of the Church, Vol 1 Ch 1 (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng)
Here we have another/different/additional set of scriptures revealed which would contain “the fulness of the gospel”.
I can’t state this strongly enough; Yes, there are differences between christian denominations. However, what we have here is an entirely different religion. Below, I’ll contrast orthodox christian doctrine with LDS/Mormon doctrine so you can see the extent of the differences on virtually every core doctrine: The Father, The Son, The Redemptive Plan, Authority of Scripture, etc.:
NOTE: I have sourced each of these differences directly from official LDS documents, and linked directly to the official website of the church. I am not using secondary sources or “conspiracy theory” pages. This is the most academically sound, and “fair” method one can use. These are their beliefs, in their own words, from their own documents, linked on their own website for you to review and verify in context, in it’s entirety.
View of God:
- There is only one God (Isaiah 43:11; 44:6,8; 45:5).
- God has always been God (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 57:15).
- God is a spirit without flesh and bones (John 4:24; Luke 24:39).
- There are many gods, and you can become a god yourself: “Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you” – Joseph Smith, The King Follett Sermon (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1971/04/the-king-follett-sermon)
- God was once a man, like you and I: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345) (http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=dc48b00367c45110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=da135f74db46c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD)
- God has a physical body of flesh and bone: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s,” – Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/130.22?lang=eng#21)
View of Jesus:
- Jesus is the eternal Son. He is second person of the Trinity. He has two natures. He is God in flesh and man (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2;9) and the creator of all things (Col. 1:15-17).
- Jesus was born of a Virgin (Luke 1:26-35 / Matthew 1:18-23 / Isaiah 7:14)
- His blood cleanses us of all sin (I John 1:7 / Romans 5:9 / Ephesians 1:7)
- Jesus is the literal spirit-brother of Lucifer, a creation (D&C 93:21)
- The brothers, Jesus and Lucifer presented conflicting plans of salvation. Jesus’ was chosen and Lucifer rebelled. (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1986/06/i-have-a-question)
- Jesus was conceived as God had intercourse with Mary: Journal of Discourse Vol 4. Page 218, Vol 8, Pg. 211, Vol. 8 Pg. 115) (scriptures.byu.edu)
- “The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood- was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” (Brigham Young)
- “Man may commit certain grievous sins… that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ.” – Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, Pg. 135
23 For we labor diligently to write, to apersuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by bgrace that we are saved, after all we can cdo. (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/25?lang=eng)
I could continue, but I think the point should be painfully clear by now. Mormons hold a different view of God, Christ, Redemption, Justification, and Glorification than the historic Christian faith. They are, by definition, not Christian. I’ll wrap up this up with a summary and you make the call:
Joseph Smith, and 14 year old boy from New York, testified that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in physical form in 1819 revealing to him that all denominations and “sects” were corrupt and that God would restore the Kingdom on earth through his prophet, Joseph Smith. In 1823, the Angel Moroni visited Joseph Smith and delivered to him the Book of Mormon:
“The Prophet Joseph received these ancient metal records written in “reformed Egyptian” from the heavenly messenger Moroni and translated them by “the gift and power of God”2 into the Book of Mormon. The sacred writings chronicle God’s dealings with his people in the western hemisphere centuries ago.
The prophetic work of Joseph Smith rapidly unfolded as the Book of Mormon went “before the world.”3 Joseph declared that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”4″ – http://josephsmith.net/josephsmith/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=c08679179acbff00VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRD&locale=0
Core beliefs of this faith, as detailed above, are that God was once a man as we are now and that he achieved Godhood. In the same way, we too may one day become Gods.
Ask yourself, does any of this sound like the historical, orthodox, christian faith? Of course not.
So, understand, that when a Mormon, be it Mitt Romney, or Glenn Beck, is using terms like “God”, “Jesus”, “Salvation”, they are absolutely not speaking of the God of the Judeo-Christian faith.
As always, drop me an e-mail with questions!
Soli Deo Gloria,