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Lies I Told as a Mormon Missionary
by Loren Franck

The Bible predicts a dreadful fate for liars. For instance, while banished on the island of Patmos, the Apostle John saw that “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Similarly, the beloved disciple writes, liars are doomed to an eternity outside of God’s presence (Revelation 22:15). Because Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), lying is extremely serious sin.

As a full-time Mormon missionary from 1975 to 1977, I lied for the church countless times. Like my colleagues in the South Dakota-Rapid City Mission, which served the Dakotas and adjacent areas, I spoke truthfully about my background, but touted many Mormon teachings that contradict the Bible. After my mission ended, however, I examined these doctrines more closely. The harder I tried to reconcile the contradictions, the more evident they became. So, after extensive prayer and study, I resigned my church membership in 1984. Cheated and betrayed, I lacked spiritual life for the next 17 years. But God, knowing those who are His (John 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:19), drew me to Christ (John 6:44) and saved me in 2001. My spiritual emptiness was replaced by the abundant life only the Savior can give (John 10:10). And now, like millions of Christians worldwide, I have everlasting life through my faith in Him (John 3:36; 6:47).

I can’t remember all of my missionary lies. Some were small, others grandiose, but all were false and misleading. Here are ten I’ll never forget.

1. We’re Not Trying to Convert You

Of all my lies, this was the most frequent. I learned it well while in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which was my first assignment. A standard door-to-door proselyting pitch began with, “We represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Interrupting, many people said they had their own religion. “Oh, we’re not trying to convert you,” I responded. “We’re sharing a message for all faiths.”

But Mormon missionaries have one overriding goal, and that’s to bring converts into the church. Clearly, this was the purpose of my mission. I didn’t trade the Southern California sunshine for the Dakota snow merely to build interfaith relations. My calling was to teach the church-approved missionary lessons and then baptize the people I taught.

2. The Bible is Insufficient

According to their eighth Article of Faith, Mormons accept the Bible as the word of God only when it’s translated correctly. How convenient for a missionary. When a non-Mormon’s interpretation of scripture differed from mine, I frequently blamed faulty Bible translation. And since I believed the Bible was missing “many plain and precious things,” as the Book of Mormon claims in 1 Nephi 13:28-29, I urged prospective converts not to trust it completely.

And yet, Mormon proof texts had few translation problems. Throughout my mission, I used only those Bible verses that steered prospects away from their church and toward Mormonism. But what kind of Christian believes that an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving God gave mankind an inadequate version of His word. Actually, the Bible is more than sufficient. With its 66 books, 1,189 chapters and nearly 740,000 words, it’s the divine road map to eternal life through Jesus Christ.

3. We’re the Only True Christians

For decades, the Mormon Church has tried to blend with mainstream Christianity. Accordingly, during my mission a quarter-century ago, I worked hard to convince prospects that Mormons believe in the biblical Jesus. But Paul warned of deceivers who would lure Christians away from “the simplicity that is in Christ.” These false teachers preached “another Jesus” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11: 3-4) and were accursed (see Galatians 1:8-9). How interesting that Paul also cautions against false apostles, such as those in the Mormon Church (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

So which Jesus and gospel do Mormons preach? While a missionary, I taught that Christ was the firstborn spirit child of the Father in a premortal life. (The remainder of humanity was born as spirits later in this “pre-existence.”) But I didn’t tell prospects this was a literal birth, the result of literal fathering, as Mormon prophets and apostles have claimed. If asked, I taught that the devil was born as one of God’s noble spirit sons during the pre-existence, but had rebelled and started a war in heaven.

Consistent with Mormon doctrine, then, Christ and Satan are spirit brothers. But the Bible teaches that Christ is God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; John 1:1), that He has always been God (Psalm 90:2), and that He always will be God (Hebrews 13:8). Born into mortality some 2,000 years ago, Jesus is “God… manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). He is far grander and holier than “our Elder Brother,” as Mormons dub Him. Jesus and Satan aren’t spirit brothers, and true Christians don’t believe such blasphemy.

4. We’re the Only True Church

I usually told this lie during the first of seven 30-minute missionary lessons, which presented the Joseph Smith story. According to our script, Smith prayed in 1820 about which church to join. He claimed the Father and Son appeared and told him that all Christian churches of the day were wrong. Smith said he was forbidden to join any of them, that their creeds were abominable and their professors all corrupt. “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,” the Lord allegedly added. “They teach for doctrines the commandments of men” (Joseph Smith — History, verse 19). In subsequent lessons, I told prospects that Mormonism is the true church God restored through Smith.

But the Bible says such a restoration was unnecessary. Admittedly, there was partial apostasy after Christ’s resurrection, but never a complete falling away. In fact, shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). During my mission, however, I argued that the gates of hell did prevail against Christ’s church.

Shortly after renouncing Mormonism, I learned a scriptural death blow to notions of universal apostasy. Addressing Ephesian believers 30 years after the Ascension, the Apostle Paul writes, “Unto [God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21). God received glory in the Christian church from the time of Paul’s writing to the present day, and He will receive such glory throughout all succeeding generations. Therefore, the church must exist from Paul’s day throughout eternity. This annihilates Mormon claims of complete apostasy and makes restoration of Christ’s church impossible.

5. We Have a Living Prophet

Whether in wintry Winnipeg or the balmy Black Hills of Rapid City, I criticized Christians because their church lacked a living prophet. Mormons claim the true church must have one. My favorite Bible proof text to back this claim was Amos 3:7, which reads, “Surely, the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

When prospective converts remained skeptical of living prophets, I quoted Ephesians 4:11-14, which apparently requires living apostles and prophets until believers unify in the faith and understand Christ completely. However, writing in the past tense, Paul is actually referring to apostles and prophets of Jesus’ day. Otherwise, verse 11 would read that the Lord “is giving” or “will give” apostles and prophets. Of course, God did reveal His will through Old Testament prophets, as Amos 3:7 affirms. But for the last 2,000 years, He has spoken to believers through Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2).

The truth about Mormonism’s living prophets is further illuminated in Deuteronomy 18:22. “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord,” the scripture reads, “if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Isaiah 8:20 contains a similar warning: “To the law and the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

False prophets who led ancient Israel astray received the death penalty (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20), and all who profess to be living prophets should consider the consequences. Mormon prophets might appear grandfatherly and sincere, but they’re not God’s living oracles. Since the Mormon Church was founded in 1830, its prophets have uttered a striking number of false prophecies. (See chapter 14 of Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s “The Changing World of Mormonism.”)

6. The Book of Mormon is Scripture

Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth, adding that man would become closer to God by following its precepts than by obeying any other book (“History of the Church,” Vol. 4, p. 461). Replace “Book of Mormon” with “the Bible” and Smith would have told the truth.

When teaching missionary lessons, I boldly maintained that the Book of Mormon is scripture. I spent myriad hours convincing prospects that it’s a sacred record of Christ’s activities in the western hemisphere. Yet many Christians I contacted realized the book “borrows” heavily from the Bible and other sources. And in stark contrast to the Old and New Testaments, virtually no archaeological and anthropological evidence supports the Book of Mormon. Why not? Because it’s fiction. When Christians want to read scripture, they turn to the Bible.

7. You’re Saved By Works

More than any other Mormon lie, this undermines Christ’s atonement, which is the most sacred doctrine of the Bible. Mormons usually equate salvation with resurrection. Likewise, they refer to eternal life as “exaltation.” I did both while teaching prospective converts. I relished the church’s third Article of Faith, which claims, “through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”

Trying to bridge the doctrinal divide between Mormons and Christians, I emphasized that salvation is by grace “after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). What classic Mormon double-talk. Unmistakably, the Bible says eternal life is a gift from God (Romans 5:15; 6:23) to those who believe in Christ (John 6:47), call upon Him (Romans 10:13) and receive Him as Lord and Savior (John 1:12). Contrary to Mormon dogma, this gift cannot be awarded meritoriously.

Equally clear is that salvation results from God’s grace through each believer’s faith, not from obeying a checklist of laws and ordinances (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). All who confess Christ and believe in Him from the heart shall be saved (Romans 10:8-13).

Most Mormons know little about imputed righteousness — and neither did I during my mission. Essentially, as Christians know, the Lord credits believers with His perfect righteousness and charges their transgressions to His sinless spiritual “account.” Paul explains this doctrine masterfully in Romans 4 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

When teaching the Mormon gospel, though, I emphatically denied imputed righteousness, which is the essence of the atonement. I stressed that eternal life is earned by perfect obedience to all gospel laws and ordinances. Yet the Bible says that “there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). As the Psalmist writes: “They are all gone aside. They are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3; compare Romans 3:10-18).

How many Mormons perfectly obey all gospel laws? None. As the Bible asserts, even the church’s current prophet can’t keep God’s laws thoroughly enough to merit heaven (1 John 1:8). And if he can’t, how can anyone else?

8. People Can Become Gods

Given its explosive nature, this tenet was rarely shared with prospective converts. Missionaries try to entice people into Mormonism gradually, and presenting the doctrine of plural gods is seldom the best way. Several contacts learned the concept from their pastors or read about it on their own, but it was new to most prospects.

“Our Father in heaven loves us so much,” I often said, parroting our lesson script, “that He provided a plan [Mormonism] for us to become like him.” I didn’t mention that Mormon godhood includes spirit procreation throughout eternity. Neither did I hint that the Mormon God was formerly a mortal man, had lived on an earth like ours, and had earned salvation through good works. However, such polytheism strips God of glory and sovereignty. No wonder the Bible condemns it so strongly. When discussing plural gods on my mission, I sidestepped Isaiah 44:8 whenever possible. “Is there a God beside me?” the passage reads. “Yea, there is no God; I know not any.” Other verses amply testify that only one God exists in the universe (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-11; 45:21-23).

When confronted with these scriptures as a missionary, I usually countered with, “Those verses mean we worship only one God, that there’s only one God to us.” And if that failed, I lied further: “The Bible isn’t clear on this subject. Fortunately, the Lord told Joseph Smith that mortals can become gods.” Smith might have had a revelation, but not from God.

9. You’re Born Again By Becoming a Mormon

One of my favorite missionary scriptures was John 3:5. “Verily, verily I say unto you,” the Savior explains, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” To Mormon missionaries everywhere, being born of water means baptism into the Mormon Church. Birth of the Spirit refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost, allegedly bestowed after baptism.

Unfortunately, during my mission, I didn’t know what it means to be born again. I completely misinterpreted Paul’s declaration that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17; compare Galatians 6:15). According to the Bible, believers in Christ are reborn spiritually as sons and daughters of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-2). They experience a complete Christian conversion of mind and heart. Membership in a church organization might foster social activity and fellowship, but it’s not spiritual rebirth.

10. Temple Marriage is Required for Eternal Life

I participated in well over 100 Mormon temple ceremonies from 1975 to 1982, including my own marriage in 1977. Based heavily on freemasonry, temple rites are the church’s most carefully guarded secrets. And “celestial marriage,” which supposedly weds men and women eternally, is probably the most important temple ordinance. While a missionary, I frequently told prospects they needed temple marriage to gain eternal life.

Yet the Lord says marriage between men and women is irrelevant to the hereafter. “The children of this age marry, and are given in marriage,” He declares. “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage… for they are equal unto the angels….” (Luke 20:34-36.)

The Bible does teach eternal marriage, but not the Mormon version. The union is between Christ, the Bridegroom, and His collective body of believers, who are the bride (Matthew 25:1-13; John 3:29; Romans 7:4; 2 Corinthians 11:2).

False Testimony

I close with a few words about “testimony,” which is a missionary’s emergency cord. When I couldn’t rebut an antagonistic statement scripturally, I fell back on my testimony. For instance, while proselyting in Grand Forks, North Dakota, I was once asked where the Bible mentions the secret undergarments Mormons wear. Caught off guard, I admitted that the Bible says nothing about them. I could merely testify that God revealed the need for these garments through living prophets. But my testimony wasn’t based on scripture or other hard evidence. Rather, it was founded on personal revelation, which is extremely subjective. Essentially, my testimony was nothing more than a good feeling about the church and its teachings. In Mormon parlance, it was a “burning in the bosom.” But burning or not, it wasn’t from God.

If you’re a Christian, I urge you to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). That faith, the pathway to heaven, is found only in the biblical Jesus (John 14:6). But if you’re a Mormon, it’s time to prayerfully re-examine your beliefs. Do you know you have everlasting life? No. Can you obey all the commandments perfectly and earn a place in heaven? You can’t.

I regret the many lies I told during my Mormon mission. When I received Christ, though, I confessed them (and my other sins) and received His forgiveness (1 John 1:9; Colossians 1:13-14). “He that heareth my word,” Christ assures us, “and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

Loren Franck lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife, Verlette, and their young son.

http://www.mrm.org/topics/evangelism-issues/ten-lies-i-told-a-mormon-missionary

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20 TRUTHS ABOUT MORMONISM
@
http://trialsofascension.net/mormon.html

Because my uncle is a Mormon Bishop, I have visited hundreds of sites that he would call “ANTI-MORMON” to study Mormonism. I was buying books and video on Mormonism before I had a computer. But this site has to be one of the top 20 sites on Mormonism.

The site is owned my a former Mormon. Mormons will say he is just a disgruntled ex-member who has an axe to bear. But even though he was born to Mormon parents. He was NOT born disgruntled with Mormonism. Obviously it was his experience with Mormonism that disgruntled him.

BECAUSE IT WOULD BE BEST FOR YOU TO SEE THE WHOLE SITE. And it is way to big to do even a series of post on. He has a page for each 20 truths about Mormonism. At a later date I may consider posting each page one at a time in a very long series. But if you interested in good material on Mormonism, I highly recommend this site.

Below is the Index, Introduction page and The owners testimony page.

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Introduction
1. Book of Abraham
2. Kinderhook Plates
3. Plagiarism
4. Polygamy
5. Emotionality
6. Changing Doctrine
7. False Prophecies
8. Lying for the Lord
9. Treasure Hunt
10. Blood Atonement
11. Vain Ambitions
12. Defections
13. BOM Changes
14. BOM Population
15. Lamanite DNA
16. Critics Squelched
17. Black Prejudice
18. Nephi or Moroni?
19. Archeology
20. First Vision

Observations
My Story
Resources

================================================================

Introduction

“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21

“Yes, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the brightest prize To which mortals or Gods can aspire; Go search in the depths where it glittering lies Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies. ‘Tis an aim for the noblest desire.” – John Jacques (LDS convert in 1845)

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man” – Bertrand Russell

“Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.” – T. H. Huxley

The desire for truth has been my only motivation in creating this website. I have compiled this information in a sincere effort to explore the validity of the claim that the LDS church is the “only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased.” (D&C 1:30) In so doing, I’ve tried to be objective and fair by including both my concerns and what I consider to be the strongest responses to those concerns by church apologists.

Based on this information, it is my conclusion that the LDS church is not the “only true church”. Having grown up and devoutly believed in the church for many years, I’ve decided to no longer be a part of it. I believe the truths cited herein clearly show that the church has misled its members as to the character of its founding leaders, the veracity of its doctrines, and the divinity of its origin.

Are illusions sometimes beneficial? I think so. I have no problem with my young children believing in Santa Claus right now; the belief fills them with hope and excitement. At the same time, as they mature I expect them to realize the myth for what it is and set it aside accordingly. I view the Mormon myth in the same light; it provides hope and direction for some people. However, like any myth it can also be a source of misinformation which leads to unhappiness.

If you are truly happy and fulfilled as a Mormon, perhaps there is no reason for you to read further. However, if you find your spiritual growth has stagnated and want to learn more about the origins of the Mormon church and what that implies for your own journey, read on.

Jim Day, Ph.D.

http://trialsofascension.net/mormon.html
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My Story

I grew up in the LDS church and have ancestors that go back to the early days of Mormonism. One of them was even a bodyguard for Joseph Smith 🙂 I was born and raised in Utah, but have lived in Texas for the past decade.

I served a mission in New South Wales, Australia from 1985-1987. In 1989 I graduated from BYU, and went on to graduate school in Texas. I have two small children that mean the world to me.

For most of my life, I had a strong testimony that the LDS church was “true” based on various spiritual experiences. I served in positions of responsibility, including being a counselor in a bishopric for 5 years. I believe the church was good for me in some ways, given the focus on principles such as family, service, integrity, and healthy living.

However, a couple of years ago I took a step back. At that point I had passed all the Mormon milestones and it only remained for me to “endure to the end” to ensure my exaltation. But I felt like my spiritual progress had stagnated. I was no longer growing, there was a general spiritual malaise, and I was bored with the pace of the Mormon hamster wheel. I was unsatisfied with the black and white lenses through which I saw the world, compared to the beautiful colors that I now appreciate. I found myself looking at other church members who seemed content, and realized that I didn’t want to stay in that rut for the rest of my life. The church was no longer meeting my needs.

This gave me some breathing room. Some Mormons may conclude that my motivation was due to a desire for sin, or because I was offended by someone. None of those things is true. My only motivation has been the desire to know the truth.

I wrote the following poem, which conveys the confusion, growth, and ultimate enlightenment resulting from my journey:

As a Child
As a child, it seemed so simple;
Every step was clearly marked.
Priesthood, mission, sweetheart, temple;
Bright with hope I soon embarked.
But now I have become a man,
And doubt the promise of the plan.

For the path is growing steeper,
And a slip could mean my death.
Plunging upward, ever deeper,
I can barely catch my breath.
Oh, where within this untamed wild
Is the star that led me as a child?

As I crest the shadowed mountain,
I embrace the endless sky;
The expanse of heaven’s fountain
Now unfolds before my eye.
A thousand stars shine on the land,
The chart drafted by my own hand.

I made a deliberate decision to open my eyes. I felt that the sincere pursuit of truth was more important to me than anything else. So I began to question everything. Were my spiritual experiences merely self-created emotional experiences, because I wanted to believe? Or were they perhaps genuine experiences from God that I had misconstrued as evidence for the authenticity of the LDS church? Is there really a God? Is there life after death? Was Jesus more than just a great teacher? And what about all the “Anti-Mormon” rhetoric I had encountered in the past? I had always brushed it off as the product of people with a personal agenda for converting me to their idea of truth. I had found it fairly easy to dismiss the points people had raised to me in the past. But now I really wanted to know if there was any substance to those concerns. I wanted to know if the LDS church was in fact the “only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased.” (D&C 1:30)

So I created this website. It covers what I consider to be pivotal questions regarding the church’s history, authority, and doctrine. I have tried to be objective in this process, and have collected information from all sources, both pro and con. I have given the Mormon church every opportunity to address these concerns. However, based on the strong evidence presented here, I ultimately decided to leave the church.

I have shared with my former church leaders that a “spiritual witness” is not sufficient to restore me to the church at this point. I have had many such witnesses in the past, and am no longer willing to trust them at the exclusion of my intellect. However, it’s not my intention to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Although I no longer “know” there is a God, I hope there is. I feel that I am following the pathway of truth, and am willing to go wherever it takes me. I can genuinely say that I am more integrated, more at peace, and happier in my life today than ever before.

Have you ever seen The Matrix? Like Neo, I have finally answered the phone and awakened to the real world. It’s not the utopia I thought it was, but at least my eyes are open. This is an exciting time. I feel like I’m growing again!

I hope that the information presented here is helpful to you in your own personal journey toward truth. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact me.

http://trialsofascension.net/mormon/story.html

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THE MORMON TEMPLE

The Mormon Temple is the very heart of the system of Mormonism. It is here that certain “worthy” Mormons perform secret ordinances that they believe will allow them to obtain the status of “a God” in the hereafter. Secret rituals are also done in behalf of the DEAD. No worship services are held in this building and non-Mormons are restricted from entering except for a brief period previous to its dedication.

Strange as it may seem, only about 20% of the Mormon population have been through the temple ceremony and fewer than that attend regularly.

Because the Mormon Church considers the temple ceremony as “sacred,” they have never published a dialog of the temple ritual or filmed the ceremony for benefit of the public or even their own people. The devout LDS will almost never talk about the secret activity that goes on behind temple doors.

However, there are numerous eye-witness accounts by “Temple Mormons” who became alienated from the church and have exposed all that goes on in the ceremony. Dozens of these accounts have been published over the years. One such testimony comes from a former temple “Veil Worker” who had performed over 1,000 temple ordinances! As recent as 1990 actual recordings have been made of the temple ceremony.

With all this information, we can accurately examine the secret activities performed in the LDS Temple. Certainly, truth has nothing to fear from investigation. The Bible even tells us to, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

The late Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, gave this information about the “Temple Ordinances”:

“Certain gospel ordinances are of such a sacred and holy nature that the Lord authorizes their performance only in holy sanctuaries prepared and dedicated for that purpose….They were given in modern times to the Prophet Joseph Smith by revelation,…” (Mormon Doctrine,1979, p. 779)

Even though Mormons believe that God is the source of these so called “sacred” and “holy” ordinances, the evidence that will be presented in this tract clearly shows that the Mormon Temple Ceremony is far from holy or Biblical and certainly NOT from God.

BLOODY OATHS

For almost 150 years the Temple Endowment ceremony included 3 specific oaths which Mormons believed couldn’t be tampered with or altered regardless of the criticism they had received.

Nevertheless, adjustments had been quietly made over the years in an attempt to make these oaths appear less violent and gruesome. However, in mid April 1990, the First Presidency along with the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church determined that now God wanted some of the “most sacred” elements completely omitted.

The following demonstrates the pagan nature of what is considered the “most sacred” part of the temple ritual, how it has changed, and why it has been removed. The first oath is considered the “First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood” and was printed as follows in 1931:

“We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the first token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so; WE AGREE THAT OUR THROATS BE CUT FROM EAR TO EAR AND OUR TONGUES TORN OUT BY THEIR ROOTS.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 18)

The wording of this oath was changed for modern Mormons to:

“I, (think of the New Name) covenant that I will never reveal the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER MY LIFE TO BE TAKEN.”

It is interesting to note that although the wording had been softened, the Officiator in the Temple Ceremony would still demonstrate these instructions prior to the taking of the oath which must be followed by each temple patron:

“The execution of the penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the !eft ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side.”

This oath as well as the representation of the penalty was completely removed April 10, 1990.

The second oath is considered the “Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood” and was printed as follows in 1931:

“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal the secrets of this, the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, grip or penalty. Should we do so, WE AGREE TO HAVE OUR BREASTS CUT OPEN AND OUR HEARTS AND VITALS TORN FROM OUR BODIES AND GIVEN TO THE BIRDS OF THE AIR AND THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 20)

The wording of this promise was also changed for modern Mormons to:

“I, (think of the first given name), covenant that I will never reveal the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER (all patrons pause and bring right hand to left breast) MY LIFE (patrons draw hand across chest to right breast) TO BE TAKEN” (patrons drop hands to side).

Again, this oath as well as the gruesome gesture was removed April 10, 1990.

The third oath is considered the “First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood” and was recited in these words by early Temple Mormons:

“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. SHOULD WE DO SO, WE AGREE THAT OUR BODIES BE CUT ASUNDER IN THE MIDST AND ALL OUR BOWELS GUSH OUT.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 20)

This was later changed to:

“I covenant in the name of the Son that I will never reveal the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty, RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER MY LIFE (patrons all draw their right thumb quickly across their body) TO BE TAKEN” (patrons all drop both hands to their sides).

This severe penalty along with the gesture was likewise ordered removed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of 12 Apostles April 10, 1990.

Even though the graphic penalties have been removed, all Mormons today will still learn the same secret names, signs, and passwords with a “solemn covenant” never to reveal them to anyone except the Lord when they are tested in heaven.

This whole means of gaining entrance into the presence of God by secret passwords, handshakes, and signs is totally foreign to the Bible. Rather than having to pass a heavenly test of secret combinations, the Lord in all His wisdom and power, simply gives us His absolute promise that “he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life,…” (I John 5:12,13).

OATH OF VENGEANCE

Another radical oath which was in the temple ceremony for over 80 years was so potentially dangerous that it was completely removed in 1927.

Just after the turn of the century, Mormon leaders were questioned in court at great length concerning this oath by the United States Government. The investigation produced eye witness accounts which verified that the oath of vengeance against the United States was an obligation received by Temple Mormons in substantially these words:

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.” (The Reed Smoot Case, vol. 4, pp. 495-496)

The conclusion of the U.S. Senate committee was: “the obligation hereinbefore set forth is an oath of disloyalty to the Government which the rules of the Mormon Church require, or at least encourage, every member of that organization to take….the fact that the first presidency and twelve apostles retain an obligation of that nature in the ceremonies of the church shows that at heart they are hostile to this nation and disloyal to its Government” (The Reed Smoot Case, vol 4, pp. 496,497)

Even before Joseph Smith’s death, this idea of “vengeance” was encouraged by Joseph Smith himself. The History of the Church gives this statement attributed to Joseph Smith:

“I told Stephen Markham that if I and Hyrum were ever taken again we should be massacred, or I was not a prophet of God. I want Hyrum to live to avenge my blood, but he is determined not to leave me.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 546)

The oath of vengeance was of such a violent nature that some early Mormons understood it to mean that they were to personally avenge the blood of Joseph and Hyrum under certain circumstances.

Under the date of Dec. 6, 1889, Apostle Abraham Cannon recorded the following in his diary:

“…Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in the massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs.” (Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, Dec. 6, 1889, page 205)

In 1927, after years of criticism, the First Presidency of the Mormon Church finally ordered the complete removal of this dangerous oath.

WORK FOR THE DEAD

Not only do Mormons believe that secret temple rituals are necessary for their own salvation, but they believe that certain ordinances such as baptism and marriage must also be performed in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, made this unbelievable declaration in a sermon given in 1844:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Joseph Fielding Smith, who became the 10th Prophet of the LDS Church, said this about the “greatest commandment”:

“The greatest commandment given us, and made obligatory, is the temple work in our own behalf and in behalf of our dead.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 149)

Nowhere in the Bible are we told to perform any rituals in behalf of the dead, or that any work done for a dead person will somehow help him in the hereafter. In fact, contrary to Joseph Fielding Smith, Jesus said that:

“… the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. THERE IS NONE OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE” (Mark 12:2931).

Because of the close association that temple Mormons have with the dead, many claim to actually have contact with the dead. Mormon President, Wilford Woodruff, delivered a discourse in the tabernacle in Salt Lake City where he made this shocking announcement:

“…two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them….These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 19, p. 229)

This man-made idea of attempting to redeem the dead is certainly out of harmony with the Word of God, the Bible. Psalms 49:7 clearly states, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.”

Furthermore, the Bible is absolutely clear that there is no “second chance” after death:

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
(Hebrews 9:27)

SACRED UNDERWEAR

Among the many unchristian aspects of the temple ritual is the obligation to wear a secret temple garment with mystical markings. This garment is to be worn next to the skin for life and is only to be removed for changing or bathing, and for certain “public appearance” exceptions. This underwear is placed upon the temple patron by a temple worker after he or she has gone through a ceremonial washing of various parts of the body. He is told that this garment will be a “shield and a protection” against the power of the destroyer.

While the original temple garment came down to the wrists and ankles and was not to be altered, the modern temple garment has been abbreviated. Mormon leaders are now placing more emphasis on the importance of the markings rather than the garment itself.

The mystical powers that these secret markings are believed to possess can be demonstrated by a letter sent from the First Presidency of the Mormon Church to presidents of stakes and bishops of wards in which the following appeared:

“Where military regulations require the wearing of two-piece underwear, such underwear should be properly marked, as if the articles were of the normal pattern. If circumstances are such that different underwear may be turned back to the wearer from that which he sends to the laundry, then the marks should be placed on small pieces of cloth and sewed upon the underwear while being worn, then removed when the underwear is sent to the laundry, and resewed upon the underwear returned.” (letter dated August 31, 1964)

It makes one wonder how people can get so committed to following their leaders that they would disregard their own ability to reason as well as shrug off guidance from the Word of God, the Bible. Proverbs 3:5&6 tell us where we should put our trust:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

While temple Mormons are taught that special undergarments will be a “shield and protection” to them, the Bible says that God and His Word is our shield:

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

RIDICULE OF PREACHERS

Since the days of Joseph Smith the temple ceremony contained a segment referred to as “The Lone and Dreary World,” which portrayed preachers as being employed by the devil. The following dialog is given:

LUCIFER: Do you preach the orthodox religion?

PREACHER: Yes, that is what I preach.

LUCIFER: If you will preach your orthodox religion to these people and convert them, I will pay you well.

PREACHER: I will do my best.

This mocking of non-Mormon preachers and orthodox doctrine caused so much criticism against the Mormon Church that Mormon leaders determined that now God wanted this “sacred” portion of the ceremony removed.

Therefore on April 10, 1990, this dialog as well as any hints of ridicule of preachers was eliminated.

Interestingly, although Mormon leaders are desperately trying to present a positive, wholesome image to the public, Mormon scripture still makes this sweeping attack on ALL non-Mormon churches:

“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;…” (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History 1:19)

CONCLUSION

Besides these serious problems, the incredible inconsistency of Mormon leaders, prove they are totally unable to reveal God’s will and shows that Mormonism is simply a man made religion changing whatever and whenever is necessary to find acceptance and accommodate the thinking of the world.

No doubt, if knowledge of the temple ceremony would promote faith in the LDS Church, Mormons would be eager to talk about it. But the Fact that it is kept secret from the world and even from the bulk of its members, casts suspicion upon its godliness, especially since Jesus made His teachings open to the whole world.

When questioned about His doctrine, Jesus responded:

“…I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing” (John 18:20).

We encourage you to put your trust in the simple message found in John 3:16:

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

http://www.challengemin.org/temple.html

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Inside the minds of LDS apologists – An examination of their tactics and thought patterns.

Formerly, the most visible Mormon apologetic efforts were found in FARMS Review Of Books, a print journal whose contributors were, for the most part, highly educated. With the advent of the Internet, however, defenders of the Mormon faith are much, much more common, and the amateurs can post their views just as easily–and as often–as the professionals.

Having interacted quite heavily with all varieties of Mormon apologists over the years, especially on Internet-based discussion boards, I have identified several key assumptions that dominate their thinking. This essay will help you “get inside their heads” so their defenses can be more easily anticipated. Their beliefs and assumptions are these:

All sources which are favorable to the LDS church are true. All sources which are unfavorable to the LDS church are false.

Author and historian D. Michael Quinn said it best: “Apologists extend the broadest possible latitude to sources they agree with, yet impose the most stringent demands on sources of information the apologists dislike” (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Revised and Expanded Edition. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998. p. 47). Like clockwork, any statement or document which makes the LDS church look good is automatically assumed to be 100% reliable, whereas any statement or document which makes the LDS church look bad is automatically assumed to be “biased” and “anti-Mormon,” which in an apologist’s mind immediately translates to “false.” Amazingly, they never see their own double-standard, namely that pro-LDS sources are usually just as (if not more) “biased,” only in the opposite direction.

This may seem like an over-generalization, and Mormon apologists are sometimes quick to point that out, but it is, amazingly, true: If one asks an LDS apologist which statement hostile to Mormonism is true and reliable, they are unable to come up with a response.

Anyone who disagrees–however slightly–with any aspect of Mormonism is automatically an anti-Mormon whose views can be dismissed out-of-hand.

Once again, the apologists themselves routinely deny operating this way, but “the proof is in the pudding:” In actual practice, if someone voices his or her disagreement with any part of Mormonism, then his or her views are immediately discounted as being “anti-Mormon,” no matter how many facts, sources, and documentation he or she uses to back up his or her statements.

For example, LDS apologists usually dismiss the horrific accounts of polygamy found in the book Wife Number 19, since the author was a critic of Mormonism. This is in spite of the following three facts:

The author was a former polygamous wife of Brigham Young,

As such, she was often privvy to the goings-on at the highest levels of Mormonism, and
All her formative years took place in early Utah when polygamy was at its height.

Apologists routinely discount her as “a disgruntled former member with an axe to grind.”

Unfortunately for them, she wasn’t born disgruntled. Pro-LDS people never admit that she had a number of extremely good reasons for becoming disgruntled in the first place.

Interestingly, this assumption often spills over onto sincere Mormons who are having struggles with some part of their religion and who innocently ask questions in order to resolve their concerns. Apologists often assume that the questioner is a “troll,” in this case an ex-Mormon trying to bait the apologists or otherwise set a trap for them. As a result of having been treated this way, more than one member has become convinced that LDS apologetics is intellectually bankrupt–along with the church itself–and left Mormonism entirely.

Apologists are unable to distinguish between possibilities and probabilities.

When they come up with defenses for their faith, LDS apologists and their sympathizers automatically assume that the scenario they’ve concocted, however unlikely, is “good enough” to provide Mormonism with an “out,” at which point all criticism is dismissed. For example, when it comes to the Book of Abraham controversy, the characters written down the left margins of three of the four manuscripts prove that the recovered papyrii were indeed the source of the Book of Abraham and not any “missing black and red scroll.” Yet some apologists say that the scribes went “maverick” and wrote the characters in the margins on their own without any input from Joseph. The fact is that Joseph was broken of his habit of loaning out scriptural manuscripts way back in 1828. The idea that he would let scribes “have their way” with such important documents may be an extremely remote possibility, but is not a probability by any means.

If a scientist or anti-Mormon is wrong about one thing, it is safe to assume that he or she is wrong about everything.

FARMS Review of Books was the pioneer of this apologetic tactic. Often, after sniping away at one minor quibble in a critical book, they discount everything in the entire volume and advise their readers to do likewise.

This tactic has since gained great popularity and is used by LDS defenders of all stripes. For example, nowadays, if an article appears showing how some prior scientific assumption has turned out to be incorrect, apologists then “take the ball and run with it,” making arguments which boil down to, “You see? Scientists are often wrong anyway. Therefore we can discount anything they say regarding the Lamanite/DNA issue.” Yet they fail to recognize that although scientists may be wrong about some aspect of the DNA controversy, it hardly follows that they’re entirely wrong on all aspects of it and that the Lamanites are, therefore, the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

Apologists routinely accuse critics of “telling us what we believe.” They follow up by saying, “We are the authorities on what we believe, not the critics.”

This line of thinking is more common among the less-educated apologists. This is because their ignorance of their own history has rendered them unable to recognize that their religion has changed and evolved over the years. Such apologists assume that the church they have come to know–three hours of church on Sunday, Boy Scount campouts, home teaching, Relief Society activity night, etc.–is the way Mormonism always was. Unfortunately, Mormonism in its early years had far more in common with the Branch Davidian compound than it does to Mormonism today.

Defenders of Mormonism put this catch-phrase to good use when they need to deny or discount embarrassing statements from past prophets, especially Brigham Young. They fall into the trap of interpreting all previous prophetic pronouncements through the lenses of modern-day Mormonism as opposed to going by the plain-English meaning. For example, when responding to Brigham Young’s teaching that Adam “is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do,” apologists assume that it is utterly impossible that he meant exactly what he said.

(Unknown to them, this sends the apologists on the slippery-slope of believing that their interpretation of the prophets’ words–not the prophets’ interpretations themselves–are correct. See my webpage on Internet Mormonism vs. Chapel Mormonism for a more in-depth exploration of this subject.)

Apologists often respond to a challenge with the phrase, “that’s been debunked countless times already.”

Although it is true that Mormon apologists have been active nearly as long as Mormonism has existed, it does not follow that all their attempts to refute their critics have succeeded. I am unaware of any objection to Mormonism that hasn’t been addressed to some degree, but at the same time I am aware of very, very few such objections that have ever been addressed competently or believably. Pro-Mormons almost universally fail to recognize that there is a huge difference between an “adequate refutation” and a “lame excuse”–and pro-Mormons produce far, far more of the latter than they do the former. For example, when an anti-Mormon brings up Joseph Smith’s marital infidelities, LDS defenders often claim that Joseph Smith was sealed to his already-married plural wives for eternity only–to provide salvation for them–and not for “time.” This excuse hardly counts as a “debunking” and is, of course, much closer to a “lame excuse,” since these women could just as easily have been sealed for eternity to their legal husbands as to Smith.

All arguments are made in a vacuum.

In other words, defenders of the LDS faith are inconsistent and do not apply their logic in one scenario to all scenarios. A good case is the horse/deer debate surrounding The Book of Mormon. Specifically, they sometimes claim that Book of Mormon peoples used the tapir as a pack and riding animal, but since Joseph Smith was unfamiliar with tapirs he used the name of the animal that filled the same role in his own society–the horse. However, apologists conveniently forget their own argument when it comes to the curelom/cummom debate. They say that Joseph used the original Nephite words because he didn’t know the equivalent English names of these animals.

(This methodology also extends outside of Mormonism. Specifically, apologists rarely, if ever, apply their defenses of Mormonism to other religions. For example, they nearly always extoll the “milk before meat” approach to potential LDS converts, but castigate the Scientologists for their pattern of withholding vital information from their own recruits.)

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THE FIVE SKILLS OF A MORMON APOLOGIST

) Editorialize and label the criticism as “garbage,” point out that it is so foul that it would be undignified to even credit such a rank assault with an answer. Enlarge on how non Christ-like the author is, and thus declare victory in the debate.

2) Explain how nothing can be absolutely “proved” by evidence anyway, and besides the evidence is based on unacceptable assumptions and is therefore tenuous, and ultimately it is all a matter of faith. And remind the critic that the lack of evidence does not prove that something DID NOT exist. Declare the criticism refuted once and for all.

3) Carry-on as if the current criticism is exactly like past criticisms and therefore can be automatically discredited because the past ones are no longer published, presumably because they were all refuted (therefore the current criticism is ultimately invalid because it too will someday be disproved).

4) When confronted with an argument, suggest that if the same category of criticism were used against the critic’s religion that it would destroy all his basis for religious faith. Use this tactic to show the critic that his criticism is worthless because he is using a DOUBLE STANDARD.

Start out by insisting that incomplete information is the same as NO information, and with NO information there is no such thing as contradictory information.

Point-out that the critic is relying on “non-comprehensive” bodies of information to support his doctrinal positions and therefore does not have real proof to support his views either. Also insist that non-comprehensive information is not enough to discriminate between consistent and contradictory information.

Lastly behave as if the LDS “no evidence” situation and Christianity’s “non-comprehensive evidence” are the same thing because neither provides absolute proof of anything.

Declare the critic a hypocrite and a fool for playing with such dangerous kinds of information, and you have won the argument!

5) Provide a snow job of correct sounding, but distantly related trivia that are really irrelevant to the critical issue.

Declare victory once and forevermore, based on the sheer volume of your regurgitation.

http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_apologists.html

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How Joseph Smith created an illegal bank and stole thousands of dollars

While it is common knowledge that Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, few know of his attempt to found a bank in Kirtland, Ohio. This important event in Mormon history was reportedly done because of a revelation that Joseph Smith received. The following excerpt is from Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? page 531:

Warren Parrish, who had been an officer in the bank and had apostatized from the Church, made this statement: “I have listened to him [i.e. Smith] with feelings of no ordinary kind, when he declared that the AUDIBLE VOICE OF GOD, INSTRUCTED HIM TO ESTABLISH A BANKING-ANTI BANKING INSTITUTION, who like Aaron’s rod SHALL SWALLOW UP ALL OTHER BANKS (the Bank of Monroe excepted,) and grow and flourish and spread from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and survive when all others should be laid in ruins.” (Painesville Republican, February 22, 1838, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, page 297)

Wilford Woodruff, who remained true to the Church and became the fourth President, confirmed the fact that Joseph Smith claimed to have a revelation concerning the bank. Under the date of January 6, 1837, he recorded the following in his journal: “I also herd [sic] President Joseph Smith, jr., declare in the presence of F. Williams, D. Whitmer, S. Smith, W. Parrish, and others in the Deposit office that HE HAD RECEIVED THAT MORNING THE WORD OF THE LORD UPON THE SUBJECT OF THE KIRTLAND SAFETY SOCIETY. He was alone in a room by himself and he had not only [heard] the voice of the Spirit upon the Subject but even an AUDIBLE VOICE. He did not tell us at that time what the Lord said upon the subject but remarked that if we would give heed to the commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be well.” (“Wilford Woodruff’s Journal,” January 6, 1837, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, page 296)

A brief account of the failed bank is told in Mormon Enigma:

“Construction of the temple had temporarily boosted the economy of Kirtland, but after the dedication the economy declined as poor converts arrived in ever increasing numbers. The old settlers attempted to keep them out of Kirtland by economic pressures, but the Mormon population increased twentyfold while the landholdings only quadrupled. In November 1836 Joseph and other church leaders drew up articles for a bank to provide capital for investments. It was a desperate gamble. Oliver Cowdery went to Philadelphia for plates to print bank notes, and Orson Hyde went to the legislature in Columbus with a petition for a bank license. It was refused. Oliver returned with plates for the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, but Orson Hyde came back without a charter. The plates were so expensive that they printed some specie anyway, writing in “Anti” before the word “Bank” and “ing” after it. The notes read, “Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company,” and the paper passed as legal tender from a joint-stock company. At first the money circulated wildly. When merchants and businessmen who were more sophisticated than the Mormons began to redeem their notes, Joseph could see that a run would ruin the bank. After one month he and Sidney Rigdon resigned as officers but the bank failed. This affected Joseph’s status.

People who were convinced that Joseph had intended a swindle at the outset attacked him verbally and threatened him physically. This disruption forced Joseph to leave the city frequently….

In April 1837 Joseph went into hiding without seeing Emma before he left. (Mormon Enigma, pp. 62)

Fawn Brodie details this about the demise of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company:

“If the bank needed a final blow to shatter what little prestige it still held among the faithful, it received it when Warren Parrish resigned as cashier, left the church, and began openly to describe the banking methods of the prophet. Parrish was later accused of absconding with $25,000, but if he took the sum it must have been in WORTHLESS BANK NOTES, since that amount of specie in the vaults would have saved the bank, at least during Joseph’s term as cashier.” (No Man Knows My History, page 198)

“The toppling of the Kirtland bank loosed a hornets’ nest. Creditors swarmed in upon Joseph armed with threats and warrants. He was terribly in debt. There is no way of knowing exactly how much he and his leading elders had borrowed, since the loyal Mormons left no itemized account of their own claims. But the local non-Mormon creditors whom he could not repay brought a series of suits against the prophet which the Geauga county court duly recorded. These records tell a story of trouble that would have demolished the prestige and broken the spirit of a lesser man.

“Thirteen suits were brought against him between June 1837 and April 1839, to collect sums totaling nearly $25,000. The damages asked amounted to almost $35,000. He was arrested seven times in four months, and his followers managed heroically to raise the $38,428 required for bail. Of the thirteen suits only six were settled out of court-about $12,000 out of the $25,000. In the other seven the creditors either were awarded damages or won them by default.

“Joseph had many additional debts that never resulted in court action. Some years later he compiled a list of still outstanding Kirtland loans, which amounted to more than $33,000. If one adds to these the two great loans of $30,000 and $60,000 borrowed in New York and Buffalo in 1836, it would seem that the Mormon leaders owed to non-Mormon individuals and firms well over $150,000.” (No Man Knows My History, pp. 199-202)

Was Joseph Smith to blame for the failure of the bank or “anti-bank” as it was called? Robert Kent Fielding stated the following:

“It was natural that blame for the entire situation should be charged against the Prophet. They had gathered to Kirtland at his command; the idea of purchasing housing lots in the great subdivision scheme had his full support; he had inferred that the bank would not only succeed, but would one day be the most powerful institution of its kind….the Church populace was genuinely disillusioned when the bank failed. It was difficult for them to comprehend that a man who claimed to have divine revelation in religious matters could fail so miserably in economic affairs…. No amount of shifting of blame could obscure the fact that a prophet had failed in a grand project…. As the Sheriff appeared ever more regularly with summons and as the fortunes and anticipations of one after another of the leaders faced the humiliating prospect of publicly acknowledged incompetence and bankruptcy, the discipline and sense of responsibility, which are the heart of all organizations, broke completely and plunged Mormondom into ecclesiastical anarchy.” (“The Growth of the Mormon Church in Kirtland, Ohio,” typed copy, pp. 233, 234, 237 & 238, as it appears in Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? pp. 533)

In a thesis written at Brigham Young University, Gary Dean Guthrie stated:

“The State legislature refused the Kirtland Safety Society its charter upon which the name of the bank was changed to Kirtland Anti-Banking Society….Joseph and Sidney Rigdon were tried in court for violating the law, were found guilty and fined $1,000. They appealed on the grounds that the institution was an association and not a bank; the plea was never ruled upon as the bank suspended payments and closed its doors. Other lawsuits followed….

“During the summer of 1837, Joseph spent much of his time away from Kirtland to avoid these lawsuits…. Apostles Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and John F. Boynton were rejected and disfellowshipped.. “The blame of the bank failure fell heavily on Joseph. He had issued a formal invitation to his followers to take stock in the venture and the institution had been organized outside the law. Heber C. Kimball later was to comment that at this moment, ‘there were not twenty persons on earth that would declare that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.’ Six of the apostles came out in open rebellion….Joseph first established the bank by revelation and then had to later admit that because of poor management and other internal and external conditions the project was a failure.” (“Joseph Smith As An Administrator,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, May 1969, pp. 80, 81, 82, 85, 86 and 88, as it appears in Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? pp. 533)

For more information on the Kirtland Bank see the UTLM book The Mormon Kingdom, Vol. 1 pp. 11-20.

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Most Mormons know a little about the Kirtland bank but of course, church-published material spins the issue to make Joseph Smith come out looking completely innocent of any wrongdoing. What the church doesn’t tell you is that:

When Smith & friends applied for a state bank charter, they were turned down. Smith had already had bank note printing plates made which read “Kirtland Safety Society.” After their charter was rejected, Smith ordered the notes to be issued anyway, but they were stamped to read “Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Co.”, so as to skirt the lack of bank charter.

After the bank and the Kirtland community failed, several former bank executives (all Mormons) testified that Smith and Rigdon had placed a chest filled with junk in their bank’s vault, with a thin layer of silver coins on top, to serve as the bank’s “capital.”

Half of the original twelve apostles, and more than half of the total church membership, left the church because of the Kirtland failure.

In the midst of the troubles, Smith sought to escape them by going on a five-week “mission trip” to Canada. Upon his return, he found that half of his church members had “rallied around a young girl who claimed to be a seeress by virtue of a black stone in which she could read the future. David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and Oliver Cowdery, whose faith in seer stones had not diminished when Joseph stopped using them, pledged her their loyalty, and F.G. Williams, Joseph’s First Counselor, became her scribe.” (No Man Knows My History, p. 205.) (This tells us a lot about the mental states of the “witnesses” to the alleged golden plates.)

Upon being charged with bank fraud, Smith and Rigdon were forced to flee Kirtland on horseback at night to escape mobs who wanted to avenge their financial losses.

http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_kirtlandbank.html

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Demonic Names in the Book of Mormon

While I was studying some points of interest in Masonry, I came across some names within their books that sounded familiar to me. The familiarity became abundantly clear when I opened the Book of Mormon. I began researching some of the names in the Book of Mormon and their meanings. I compared them with the Bible, bible dictionaries and even Webster’s dictionary.

I found 57 names of people and places that are demonic or names of false gods and their derivatives, however I have chosen to narrow this down to three names that I thought was most relevant.

Someone mentioned to me in a recent letter to Saints Alive that what I see as wrong or demonic is not necessarily demonic to that person. We need to take a firm stand against this rationalization. Truth is not relative. The following names of places and/or people are demonic or ungodly and the LDS Church has twisted their meanings into something other than what they truly are.

Ammonites-

Biblical meaning of people: These were a nomadic people that were descendants of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his youngest daughter. Genesis 19:38: ‘And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day’. According to Unger’s Dictionary of the Bible, the Ammonite’s deity was Molech.

Book of Mormon’s definition of Ammonites: They observed the laws of Moses and looked forward to the coming of Christ. Alma 25:15-16. Their origin is actually from the Lamanites; Alma 24:17-8.

Mulek

Biblical meaning: This is a derivative of Molech. In Leviticus 18:21 it says; ‘And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD’. Molek is found in Strong’s Concordance and in Hebrew it means the chief deity (king) of the Ammonites. #4427-4432 gives the definitions and derivatives of this name.

Book of Mormon’s definition: Mulek was land in the north that God prospered and appointed. Mulek was a son of Zedekiah. Helaman 6:10.

Sidon

Biblical meaning: This is a land that was possessed by the Cannanite cults. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. Their goddess was Ashtoreth. 1 Kings 11:5. They brought nothing but misery to Israel. Jesus referred to the iniquities of the Sidonians in Matthew 11:21-3; ‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you’.

Book of Mormon’s definition: In 84 BC, Alma began baptizing the people in the river of Sidon. Alma 4:4. Sidon was also the river where the Nephites defeated the Amlicites & the Lamanites. Alma threw their bodies from the banks into the river so that they could cross to the other side. Alma 2:17, 27, 34-5. It says that the land where Sidon was became peaceful and prosperous.

In the book, Discourses of Brigham Young on page 257, he states; ‘I hope to see the time when we shall have a reformation in the orthography of the English language, among this people, for it is greatly needed. Such a reformation would be a great benefit, and would make the acquirement of an education much easier than at present’.

It’s obvious that this is exactly what they have done. Read, study, decipher what words and their origins mean. It is vital that we understand what we read and not take it for granted that what we read is always true. The only book that we can take for face value is the Bible.

I ask that you join me in prayer for the Mormons. I am praying Isaiah chapter 61 for them. And remember what it says in 2 Timothy 3:16; ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’. With Love in Christ; Michelle

http://www.lifeafter.org/demonic_names.asp

More Demonic and Ungodly Names in the Book of Mormon

Over five years ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Demonic and Ungodly Names in the Book of Mormon’. Since then I have been asked by numerous people to write more on this particular subject so here it is! Back by popular demand I went through my old notes and found some other names that I think would be of interest to the Mormon and non-Mormon alike. There were more than 50 names of people and/or places that contradict what the Biblical accounts report. Here are just a few of them.

Chemish

The name of Chemish so closely resembles the name of Chemosh from the Bible that it is hard to ignore. In Mormonism the name Chemish belongs to the brother of Ameleki. These two brothers and others were responsible for writing the book of Omni in the Book of Mormon. The official LDS website search engine says this about Chemish:

“The book of Omni: A book translated from the small plates of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. The book has only a single chapter, which contains an account of the wars among the Nephites and Lamanites. Omni wrote only the first three verses of the book. The plates were then passed in turn to Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and finally Amaleki. And it came to pass that I did deliver the plates unto my brother Chemish. He delivered the plates to King Benjamin, king of Zarahemla…”

In the introduction of the book of Omni it states:

“Comprising records kept by Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and Amaleki – Mosiah, leaving the land of Zarahemla, occupied by another colony from Jerusalem”.

It is evident from the writings in the Book of Mormon that they believe Chemish to be an honorable man, worthy of writing their ‘scripture’ and worthy enough to be listened to.

What is interesting to note in this however, is what the real meaning of Chemosh translates into. From the Jerusalem Publishing House Illustrated Dictionary and Concordance of the Bible, it says Chemosh is:

“The principle god of the Moabites who were also known as the “people of Chemosh” (Num. 21:29). He may have been the god to whom Mesha king of Moab sacrificed his son (II Kings 3:27)….Solomon tried to please his foreign wives by setting an altar to Chemosh “on the hill that is east of Jerusalem” (I Kings 11:7), thus incurring the wrath of the Lord (I Kings 11:33).”

Once again we see yet another of the Mormon ‘good boys’ that has a questionable name. It seems that the theme is the same as the last time I wrote on the ungodly names of the Book of Mormon. The theme: sex. The Moabites are the descendants of Lot who came from an incestuous relationship with one of his daughters.

Jared

This story is interesting because it shows two different accounts of what God did with the people involved with the tower of Babel. It seems that God is a god of confusion with his people if you believe the Mormon version.

As it turns out, Jared and his family are the only ones in the whole world that didn’t have his language confounded when God scattered the people at the time of the tower of Babel. After Jared told his brother to pray to the Lord to not confound their language, they somehow miraculously realized that God heard the brother of Jared’s cry. It’s also interesting to note that Jared’s brother never seems to have his own name.

Joseph Smith claims the people that descended from Jared are called the Jaredites. The Jaredites had grown to become a great god-fearing nation which moved to the Americas, thus the Book of Mormon. After many generations and hundreds of years they were destroyed by civil wars from caused from the disobedience unto the Lord.

Ether 1:33-4 says; ‘Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered. And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.’

Verse 35 tells us that their language wasn’t confounded. Then they prayed that even their friends’ language wouldn’t be confounded and theirs was spared as well. The Bible has always told us two things for sure:

God is not the author of confusion. 1 Corinthian 14:33 says; ‘For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.’ And then in Acts 10:34 we have Peter telling us that God is no respecter of persons.

With these two simple things in mind why would God decide that the rules were different for some and not all? What was so different about Jared and his non-named brother that they and their friends didn’t have the same treatment?

The story of the tower of Babel can be found in Gen. 11. Verse nine says; ‘Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of ALL the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth’.

Did you notice what it said in Ether 1:33? Let’s take a look at it again! It says; ‘…at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered.’

Two more things come to mind when I read this passage. 1-God can’t be trusted. If God ‘swore in his wrath’ that they would be scattered and he confounded the language then went back on what he said, it’s likely that he could be bought off the next time I sinned.

2-Did he or did he not confound the language? If he confounded the languages and then Jared’s brother started praying, did God have to give them back their languages? Call me picky but I think that knowing the God I worship is a serious business and I want to make sure I know it intimately!

Amaleki

This has to be one of the most confusing things I have ever had to study in Mormonism. There are two Amaleki’s mentioned in the Book of Mormon. What I originally wanted to point out are the disparities between the Amalekites of the Bible and the ones mentioned in the Book of Mormon, but alas that wasn’t all I found! Here are the characters in the Book of Mormon, their ‘jobs’ and the Amalekite people:

Amaleki #1 is described as a Nephite record keeper’ who died circa 130 BC, according to LDS.org. He was the 5th person to help author the book of Omni in the Book of Mormon. You can read his account in Omni 1:12-30 as he calls people to Christ (keep in mind it’s 130 BC), his handing over of the plates to King Benjamin (not the same King Benjamin as in the Bible) and the expedition to the land of Nephi.

Amleki #2 is one of the three brothers of Ammon. They were part of Zeniff’s group. They wanted to travel to the land of Nephi-Lehi from Zarahemla and ended up traveling in the desert for 40 days. They finally came upon a hill north of Shilom, pitched their tents and hiked it down to the land of Nephi. The four brothers were imprisoned by King Limhi but eventually freed when they explained that they were descendants of Zarahemla. This story can be found in Mosiah 7:6, it is said that this transpired circa 121 BC.

The Amalekites however are another story, there was nothing godly about these people, they were not the godly men great scholars that Amaleki #1 & #2 were. The Amalekites were a people that were apostates, originating from the Nephites. The Amalekites helped build a city called Jerusalem (Alma 21:2), their hearts were harder than the Lamanites (Alma 21:3) and were preached to by Aaron in their own synagogues (Alma 21:4). They were said to be from the order of Nehor. The Nehors were people who intentionally preached something other than the word of God. This all took place circa 90 BC as Aaron went to the sanctuaries to preach the scriptures of the crucified Lord Jesus. As the story progresses it talks of how Ammon even went out to preach in the synagogues in the land of Ishmael.

Now I could go on and on about the time-line part of preaching Jesus crucified and it still being 130 BC but bear with me here as I try to ignore that part of the story. Smith has made it hard to believe that anyone called by the name of Amaleki or its derivatives could be anything but horrible.

The Biblical accounts of the Amalekites spans from the book of Genesis to 1 Chronicles 4:43. Let’s see what the Bible says about them and why no mention of them is found after that. ‘And they [Israelites] smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day’. So it seems that there weren’t any Amalekites after this battle! How then did they make it all the way over the waters of the Atlantic ocean and survive being annihilated as well?

When I read the accounts of these people the stories are far too similar. I am also taken aback that anyone who is considered to be a ‘holy’ mouthpiece for the Almighty God would be touting a name such as Amaleki. Amalek is considered to be a descendant of Esau. They were the very first people who fought with Israel after they crossed the Red Sea! This is rather significant in the whole matter!

The Amalekites were a thorn in the side of Israel. They first met up with them in the region near Sinai, when Amalek tried to prevent the entrance of a new tribe into their region. Ex. 17:8-16. In the period of the Judges they aided the Moabites in raiding Israel and at a later time they even helped the Midianites to do the same thing, Judges 6:3.

The Illustrated Concordance and Dictionary of the Bible from G.G. The Jerusalem Publishing House LTD says this about the Amalekites; ‘Archeological surveys have shown that the kings of Judah strengthened their hold in the Negeb from the 10th Century B.C. and this led to the decline and disappearance of the Amalekites.’

There is also a problem here with who was preaching to whom. Why were the Amalekites being preached to by Ammon in the land of Ishmael? I have already established who Ammon was in my last article. The Mormons believe that he observed the laws of Moses. (Alma 25:15-6). The Bible says they [Ammonites] were a nomadic people who were descendants of Lot. Ammon’s deity was Molech. (Gen. 19:38).

My question is this; why was this ‘good prophet’ in the Book of Mormon out preaching to the Amalekites when in the Bible the Ammonites were bowing to Ba’al? Wouldn’t that mean that the Amalekites were getting another gospel?

http://www.lifeafter.org/demonic_names2.asp

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Manuscript Support for the Bible’s Reliability
by Ron Rhodes

Manuscript Evidence for the New Testament

There are more than 24,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament.

These manuscript copies are very ancient and they are available for inspection now.

There are also some 86,000 quotations from the early church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries (church-service books containing Scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity).

Bottom line: the New Testament has an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting its reliability.

The Variants in the New Testament Manuscripts Are Minimal

In the many thousands of manuscript copies we possess of the New Testament, scholars have discovered that there are some 150,000 “variants.”

This may seem like a staggering figure to the uninformed mind.

But to those who study the issue, the numbers are not so damning as it may initially appear.

Indeed, a look at the hard evidence shows that the New Testament manuscripts are amazingly accurate and trustworthy.

To begin, we must emphasize that out of these 150,000 variants, 99 percent hold virtually no significance whatsoever.

Many of these variants simply involve a missing letter in a word; some involve reversing the order of two words (such as “Christ Jesus” instead of “Jesus Christ”); some may involve the absence of one or more insignificant words.

Really, when all the facts are put on the table, only about 50 of the variants have any real significance – and even then, no doctrine of the Christian faith or any moral commandment is effected by them.

For more than ninety-nine percent of the cases the original text can be reconstructed to a practical certainty.

Even in the few cases where some perplexity remains, this does not impinge on the meaning of Scripture to the point of clouding a tenet of the faith or a mandate of life.

Thus, in the Bible as we have it (and as it is conveyed to us through faithful translations) we do have for practical purposes the very Word of God, inasmuch as the manuscripts do convey to us the complete vital truth of the originals.

By practicing the science of textual criticism – comparing all the available manuscripts with each other – we can come to an assurance regarding what the original document must have said.

Let us suppose we have five manuscript copies of an original document that no longer exists. Each of the manuscript copies are different. Our goal is to compare the manuscript copies and ascertain what the original must have said. Here are the five copies:

Manuscript #1: Jesus Christ is the Savior of the whole worl.

Manuscript #2: Christ Jesus is the Savior of the whole world.

Manuscript #3: Jesus Christ s the Savior of the whole world.

Manuscript #4: Jesus Christ is th Savior of the whle world.

Manuscript #5: Jesus Christ is the Savor of the whole wrld.

Could you, by comparing the manuscript copies, ascertain what the original document said with a high degree of certainty that you are correct? Of course you could.

This illustration may be extremely simplistic, but a great majority of the 150,000 variants are solved by the above methodology.

By comparing the various manuscripts, all of which contain very minor differences like the above, it becomes fairly clear what the original must have said.

Most of the manuscript variations concern matters of spelling, word order, tenses, and the like; no single doctrine is affected by them in any way.

We must also emphasize that the sheer volume of manuscripts we possess greatly narrows the margin of doubt regarding what the original biblical document said.

If the number of [manuscripts] increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be feared; it is in truth remarkably small.

The New Testament Versus Other Ancient Books

By comparing the manuscript support for the Bible with manuscript support for other ancient documents and books, it becomes overwhelmingly clear that no other ancient piece of literature can stand up to the Bible. Manuscript support for the Bible is unparalleled!

There are more [New Testament] manuscripts copied with greater accuracy and earlier dating than for any secular classic from antiquity.

Rene Pache adds, “The historical books of antiquity have a documentation infinitely less solid.”

Dr. Benjamin Warfield concludes, “If we compare the present state of the text of the New Testament with that of no matter what other ancient work, we must…declare it marvelously exact.”
Norman Geisler makes several key observations for our consideration:

No other book is even a close second to the Bible on either the number or early dating of the copies. The average secular work from antiquity survives on only a handful of manuscripts; the New Testament boasts thousands.

The average gap between the original composition and the earliest copy is over 1,000 years for other books.

The New Testament, however, has a fragment within one generation from its original composition, whole books within about 100 years from the time of the autograph [original manuscript], most of the New Testament in less than 200 years, and the entire New Testament within 250 years from the date of its completion.

The degree of accuracy of the copies is greater for the New Testament than for other books that can be compared. Most books do not survive with enough manuscripts that make comparison possible.
From this documentary evidence, then, it is clear that the New Testament writings are superior to comparable ancient writings. “The records for the New Testament are vastly more abundant, clearly more ancient, and considerably more accurate in their text.”

Support for the New Testament from the Church Fathers

As noted at the beginning of this chapter, in addition to the many thousands of New Testament manuscripts, there are over 86,000 quotations of the New Testament in the early church fathers. There are also New Testament quotations in thousands of early church Lectionaries (worship books).

There are enough quotations from the early church fathers that even if we did not have a single copy of the Bible, scholars could still reconstruct all but 11 verses of the entire New Testament from material written within 150 to 200 years from the time of Christ.

Manuscript Evidence for the Old Testament

The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the accuracy of the transmission of the Bible.

In fact, in these scrolls discovered at Qumran in 1947, we have Old Testament manuscripts that date about a thousand years earlier (150 B.C.) than the other Old Testament manuscripts then in our possession (which dated to A.D. 900).

The significant thing is that when one compares the two sets of manuscripts, it is clear that they are essentially the same, with very few changes.

The fact that manuscripts separated by a thousand years are essentially the same indicates the incredible accuracy of the Old Testament’s manuscript transmission.

A full copy of the Book of Isaiah was discovered at Qumran.

Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text.

The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.”
From manuscript discoveries like the Dead Sea Scrolls, Christians have undeniable evidence that today’s Old Testament Scripture, for all practical purposes, is exactly the same as it was when originally inspired by God and recorded in the Bible.

Combine this with the massive amount of manuscript evidence we have for the New Testament, and it is clear that the Christian Bible is a trustworthy and reliable book.

The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the copyists of biblical manuscripts took great care in going about their work.

These copyists knew they were duplicating God’s Word, so they went to incredible lengths to prevent error from creeping into their work.

The scribes carefully counted every line, word, syllable, and letter to ensure accuracy.

God’s Preservation of the Bible

The Westminster Confession declares: “The Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, being immediately inspired by God and, by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.”

The Westminster Confession makes a very important point here.

The fact is, the God who had the power and sovereign control to inspire the Scriptures in the first place is surely going to continue to exercise His power and sovereign control in the preservation of Scripture.

Actually, God’s preservational work is illustrated in the text of the Bible.

By examining how Christ viewed the Old Testament, we see that He had full confidence that the Scriptures He used had been faithfully preserved through the centuries.

Because Christ raised no doubts about the adequacy of the Scripture as His contemporaries knew them, we can safely assume that the first-century text of the Old Testament was a wholly adequate representation of the divine word originally given.

Jesus regarded the extant copies of His day as so approximate to the originals in their message that He appealed to those copies as authoritative.

The respect that Jesus and His apostles held for the extant Old Testament text is, at base, an expression of the confidence in God’s providential preservation of the copies and translations as substantially identical with the inspired originals.
Hence, the Bible itself indicates that copies can faithfully reflect the original text and therefore function authoritatively.

http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Manuscript.html

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Wacky Mormons Love to Baptize Dead Jews

The controversy over LDS posthumous baptisms continues. See, the Mormons have this thing in which they offer salvation to the dead by performing rites that “baptize” them in absentia, giving even us backward Jews a glimpse at heaven. Thanks, guys!

All kinds of celebrity figures, including Adolf Hitler and Irving Berlin, have been included in these rituals, as well as the ancestors of Mormon converts, and muy controversially, many victims of the Holocaust. Starting in 1995, Jewish groups began meeting with the LDS, attempting to explain why the practice was offensive to them. They attempted to communicate that these people died as a result of their identity as Jews, and that the practice tarnished the memory of what they died for and what their deaths mean.

Last Monday, Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the (deep breath) American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, walked out of negotiations with the LDS, charging that the Mormons were not doing enough to prevent this continuing practice. Meanwhile, William Tumpowsky, the head of Utah’s UJF, is determined to make this shit work, and will continue discussions.

The truly amazing part of the whole thing is that after 13 years of discussion, the two groups have achieved a level of communication approaching zero. The LDS representatives and many Mormon people (check the comments under Deseret News’ coverage) still seem to have no idea why this is offensive to Jewish people. They just can’t understand why, if the survivor groups do not believe in their religion, they would care. (Yeah, why?) And also, they don’t get why Jews don’t appreciate that they are doing it out of LOVE for our dead. Urm.

The AGHSD, (easier) the Simon Wiesenthal Center, (fun fact: Wiesenthal himself, apparently was vicariously baptized after his death) and other groups that protest the practice, make a lot of demands, and do things like walk out of meetings, and yell at the nice Mormons, who smile at them and then turn and whisper to each other: “Do you know what he’s talking about?” The LDS reps claim that they have already removed over 200,000 Holocaust victims from their roles, and just can’t get why these good Jewish folk are so durned angry. And on it goes.

AP’s coverage here.

http://www.heebmagazine.com/blog/view/1170/1

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mormon-claims1

Mormon Claims Answered
(1997 version) by Marvin W. Cowan

Utah Lighthouse Ministry would like to thank Marvin Cowan for graciously allowing us to post his book Mormon Claims Answered on our website. A paper copy of this book may be purchased through us for just $4.00. This book is also available in Spanish and Russian.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE BOOK  http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/mclaimscontents.htm

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXPLANATION OF ABBREVIATED BOOK TITLES

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1 – ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF MORMONISM

The Story As Told by Mormons
Evidence Against the Joseph Smith Story

The 1820 Revival and Joseph’s First Vision
A Biblical Response
First Vision Versions
Moroni or Nephi
Inconsistency about Church Membership
The 1826 Trial
Joseph Smith’s Death

 

CHAPTER 2 – GOD

The Trinity

God the Father
Mother God
Jesus Christ
The Holy Ghost
Polytheism

 

CHAPTER 3 – THE BIBLE

Incomplete and Incorrect Translation
Mormonism’s Inspired Bible
A Complete, Trustworthy Bible

 

CHAPTER 4 – THE BOOK OF MORMON

A Second Witness
Proof Texts from the Bible
The Importance of the Book of Mormon
Internal Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Changes in the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Clarifies Doctrine
External Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Translation Time
Origin of the Book of Mormon
The Witnesses of the Book of Mormon
Scientific Evidence for the Book of Mormon
The Ultimate LDS Test for the Book of Mormon

 

CHAPTER 5 – MORE LDS SCRIPTURE AND REVELATION

The Pearl of Great Price

Moses
Abraham
Joseph Smith – Matthew
Joseph Smith – History
The Articles of Faith
The Doctrine and Covenants

Changes Between Editions
Additions to the Doctrine & Covenants
Prophecies in the Doctrine & Covenants
Other Prophecies by Smith
Prophecies by Other LDS Prophets

 

CHAPTER 6 – PRIESTHOOD

Definition and Function
Origin of LDS Priesthood
Biblical Priesthood

 

CHAPTER 7 – THE CHURCH

Universal Apostasy
Restoration
Claims of The One True Church
LDS Church Offices

Apostles
Original LDS 12 Apostles
Prophets
Other Church Offices

 

CHAPTER 8 – SALVATION

Sin
Two Kinds of Salvation

General Salvation
Personal Salvation
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
Repentance
Baptism
Laying on of Hands
Church Membership
Keep the Commandments

  1. The Ten Commandments
  2. The Word of Wisdom
  3. Tithing
  4. Gaining Knowledge
  5. Be Fruitful and Multiply
  6. Be Virtuous
  7. Doing Good Works
  8. Accept Joseph Smith and Successors

 

CHAPTER 9 – TEMPLE AND TEMPLE ORDINANCES

Temples

Genealogical Work
Temple Endowments

Marriage and Sealing
Polygamy
Baptism for the Dead

 

CHAPTER 10 – THE ETERNAL STATE OF MANKIND

Eternal Progression
Three Heavens or Degrees of Glory
Immortality and Eternal Life
No Hell
The Unpardonable Sins
Blood Atonement

 

OTHER LDS INFORMATION AVAILABLE

===============================================================

Chapter 3

THE BIBLE

 

“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.”

8th Article of Faith by Joseph Smith

    LDS Apostle James Talmage wrote, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the Holy Bible as the foremost of her standard works, first among the books which have been proclaimed as her written guides in faith and doctrine” (A. of F., p. 236).

    And LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie said: “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known informally by the nickname Mormons) believe the Bible. Indeed, so literally and completely do their beliefs and practices conform to the teachings of the Bible that it is not uncommon to hear informed persons say: ‘If all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons.’ Bible doctrine is Mormon doctrine, and Mormon doctrine is Bible doctrine. They are one and the same” (What The Mormons Think of Christ, p. 2).

    Such statements have led many to assume that the LDS view of the Bible is similar to what Protestants believe, but such is not the case. Mormonism actually attacks the Bible on two counts: (1) it is mistranslated, and (2) it is incomplete.

 

INCOMPLETE AND INCORRECT TRANSLATION

    The mistranslation of the Bible is suggested in the eighth Article of Faith. Talmage explains, “There will be, there can be, no absolutely reliable translation of these or other scriptures unless it be effected through the gift of translation, as one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost… Let the Bible then be read reverently and with prayerful care, the reader ever seeking the light of the Spirit that he may discern between truth and the errors of men” (A. of F., p. 237).

    Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth Prophet of Mormonism also said: “There is not one principle pertaining to the salvation of men that is so clearly stated in the Bible, as it has come down to us, that men do not stumble over – not one thing. There is not one principle they can be united on that has been so clearly stated that they do not find their interpretations of it conflicting” (D. of S., Vol. I, p. 278).

    Joseph Smith also declared, “Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (T. of P.J.S., p. 327). And LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson said, “Many insertions were made, some of them ‘slanted’ for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, p. 4).

    LDS Apostle Orson Pratt also wrote:

If it be admitted that the apostles and evangelists did write the books of the New Testament, that does not prove of itself that they were divinely inspired at the time they wrote…. Add all this imperfection to the uncertainty of the translation, and who, IN HIS RIGHT MIND could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original? (Divine Authority of the Book of Mormon, pp. 45, 47; read all of this pamphlet for a detailed attack upon the Bible).

    In addition to this charge of an unreliable translation, Mormon leaders say that important doctrine as well as whole books have been deleted or added by corrupt men. Joseph Smith declared, “Upon my return from Amhurst Conference, I resumed the translation of the Scriptures. From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible or lost before it was compiled” (T. of P.J.S., pp. 9-11).

    The B. of M. also says, “Many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible… Thou fool, that shall say a Bible, we have got a Bible and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?” (II Nephi 29:3,6).

    Notice that only “fools” trust in the Bible alone! Verse 10 of the same passage goes on to say, “Wherefore, because ye have a Bible ye need not suppose it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.” The B. of M. declared that more revelation was needed and thus made way for its own existence!

    The B. of M. also predicts a great and abominable church has “taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away” (I Nephi 13:26).

    The bottom of that page of the B. of M. dates this perversion of the gospel around 600 B.C., which was long before the “gospel of the Lamb” was even given in the New Testament! LDS claim the B. of M. has restored these “plain and precious things,” and that it is the “fulness of the gospel” (B. of M. I Nephi 13:34-35; D. & C. 20:8-9; 27:5). But they are hard-pressed to point to anything that has been “restored” by the B. of M. Our chapter on the B. of M. discusses this problem further.

    Apostle Orson Pratt also claimed, “The Bible has been robbed of its plainness; many sacred books having been lost, others rejected by the Romish Church, and what few we have left, were copied and re-copied so many times, that it is admitted that almost every verse has been corrupted and mutilated to that degree that scarcely any two of them read alike” (The Seer, p. 213).

    Pratt made another familiar LDS charge against the Bible, saying:

The gathering together of the few scattered manuscripts which compose what is now termed the Bible was the work of uninspired man which took place centuries after John finished his manuscript. Among the vast number of professedly inspired manuscripts, scattered through the world, man, poor, weak, ignorant man assumed the authority to select a few, which according to his frail judgment, he believed or conjectured were of God, but the balance not agreeing, perhaps, with his peculiar notions of divine inspiration, were rejected as spurious. The few, selected from the abundance, were finally arranged into one volume, divided into chapter and verse, and named the Bible (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p. 3).

    Pratt goes on to say that this selection or rejection of the books of the Bible was done by a vote of those uninspired men as they met in councils (Ibid., pp. 36-38). Pratt shows indignation at the very idea of the early church fathers voting to accept or reject scripture. But, Talmage wrote concerning LDS scripture, “the works adopted by the vote of the church as authoritative guides in faith and doctrine are four: the Bible, the B. of M., the D. & C., and the P. of G.P.” (A. of F., p. 7). Therefore, the LDS Church accepted their four books of scripture by a vote! LDS must explain why it was wrong for the early church to vote on scripture and yet it was right for the LDS Church. Actually, about all those early church councils did was officially vote to endorse the books of the Bible then in use by the church. The Holy Spirit had already made the selection and guided them into all truth as Jesus promised He would in John. 16:13. There is absolutely no evidence that the books of the Bible were selected or rejected the way Pratt says they were.

    Pratt also condemned the Catholic Bible, declaring, “That the Romanists have continued in their apostasy until the present day is demonstrated from the fact that they have not added one single book to their canon since they first formed it” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p. 38).

    Pratt said the same thing about the “Harlot Daughters,” i.e. Protestants (Ibid., p. 40). We will discuss what the LDS have added to their original scriptures in our chapter “More LDS Scripture and Revelation.”

    Orson Pratt also attacked the Bible saying, “The voices of several hundred jarring, contending, soul-sickening sects, were constantly sounding in your ears; each one professing to be built upon the Bible, and yet each one differing from all the rest. Under this confused state of things, you have peradventure, involuntarily exclaimed: can the Bible be the Word of God! Would God reveal a system of religion expressed in such indefinite terms that a thousand different religions should grow out of it?” (Divine Authenticity of the B. of M., p. 47).

    What would Pratt say now that over 200 splinter groups have come out of Joseph Smith’s original church? (See Denominations that Base Their Beliefs on The Teachings of Joseph Smith by Kate Carter). Neither LDS prophets nor their scripture have eliminated church splits!

    It is strange that Mormonism attacks the reliability of the Bible while Talmage calls it their “first” book of doctrine! But, not all LDS leaders agree on which LDS scripture is the most important. For example, Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the LDS Church wrote, “In my judgment there is no book on earth yet come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine and Covenants, with all due respect to the B. of M. and the Bible, and the P. of G.P. which we say are our standards in doctrine. The book of D. & C. to us stands in a peculiar position above them all” (D. of S., Vol. III, p. 198).

    Obviously the D. & C. and the Bible cannot both be in “first” place above other LDS scriptures! But Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, said, “I told the brethren that the B. of M. was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book” (T. of P.J.S., p. 194).

    Thus, while Dr. Talmage said the Bible is the most important book to Mormons, Joseph Fielding Smith said the D. & C. was the most important, and the founder of Mormonism declared the B. of M. was the book that would get men nearer to God. As Mormons now practice their faith, Joseph Fielding Smith is really the most accurate because LDS believe the Bible has been corrupted and therefore is not too reliable. Furthermore, the B. of M. does not teach much Mormon doctrine, as our chapter on the B. of M. shows.

    LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explains their view of “scripture:” “The Church uses the King James Version of the Bible, but acceptance of the Bible is coupled with a reservation that it is true only insofar as it is translated correctly (Eighth Article of Faith). The other three (The B.of M., D.& C., and P. of G.P.), having been revealed in modern times in English, are accepted without qualification” (M.D. p. 764). This statement clearly shows that the LDS leaders question the reliability of the Bible, but not their other three books of scripture. However, three of their four books of scripture have been changed several times. The last time was in 1981. The only book of scripture they did not change was the Bible! Since it is the Bible they claim has all the problems, their actions are a bit strange. LDS leaders made changes (including doctrinal changes) in their B.of M., D. & C., and P. of G.P. when those books were already perfect enough to be “accepted without qualification.” Why couldn’t they correct the corruptions in the Bible if they really exist? Could it be that LDS leaders know that the Bible is not as corrupt as their own three books?

    According to LDS scripture, every LDS president is “a seer, a revelator, a translator and a prophet” (D. & C. 107:91-92, M.D. pp. 591-592). Yet, even though Joseph Smith re-translated the Bible, the LDS accept only the King James Version as their official Bible!

 

MORMONISM’S INSPIRED VERSION BIBLE

    According to the D.H.C., Vol. I, pp. 324 and 368, and Times and Seasons, Vol. VI, p. 802, Joseph Smith completed a translation of the Bible. Those sources and Andrew Jensen’s LDS Church Chronology show that the New Testament was finished February 2, 1833, and the Old Testament on July 2, 1833. In a revelation given on January 10, 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon are commanded to “continue the work of translation until it is finished” (D. & C. 73:4). Obviously this was not talking about the B. of M. which was published in 1830. Nor could it be talking about the Book of Abraham Papyrus which Joseph Smith saw for the first time on July 3, 1835 (D.H.C., Vol. II, p. 235). Furthermore, Joseph Smith was commanded by God in D. & C. 124:89 to “publish the new translation of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth” (see also D. & C. 94:10 and 104:58).

    In spite of these commands in LDS scripture the LDS Church never published the Inspired Version of the Bible until 1979. According to LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, the reason it was not published is that “…This inspired revision of the ancient scriptures was never completed by the Prophet” (M.D., p. 383). If that is true, Joseph Smith was a very disobedient Prophet because he was commanded to finish it (D. & C. 73:4) and publish it (D. & C. 124:89)! As previously mentioned, Smith himself claimed he did complete it, but it had not been published at the time of his death in 1844. When he was killed, the manuscript went to his wife who never accepted Brigham Young as the successor to her husband. Her son Joseph III later became the Prophet of the Reorganized LDS Church and published the new translation for the Reorganized LDS Church for the first time in 1867. Many LDS people have used the RLDS edition, but it has never been officially endorsed by the LDS Church because they did not trust the “apostate” Reorganized LDS Church. The ninth printing of the 1944 edition entitles it the Inspired Version The Holy Scriptures. Below that title it says “A New Corrected Edition.” On p. 3 of the Preface, we read: “As concerning the manner of translation and correction, it is evident, that from the manuscripts and the testimony of those who were conversant with the facts that it was done by direct revelation from God.”

    If the inspired translation was done by direct revelation and yet needed correction by revelation, will the revealed corrections need to be corrected by further revelation? Why couldn’t God reveal it correctly the first time? And why is about 90% of it a copy of the King James Version if that translation is as bad as LDS leaders have claimed it is? Since 1979, the King James Bibles published by the LDS Church have most of the Inspired Version in the footnotes and appendix, but they call it the Joseph Smith Translation or the “JST.”

    One of the LDS charges against the Bible is that many books have been lost. Talmage lists 20 “lost books” of the Bible, which include “The Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:7); Books of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14); Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13),” and so on (A. of F., p. 501). Even if all 20 of these books are mentioned in the Bible, does that prove they were intended to be books of the Bible? If so, Epicurean and Stoic philosophy should be included also since the Apostle Paul quotes it in Acts 17:18 and 28. Just because some writing is mentioned in the Bible does not prove that everything in that document is supposed to be part of the Bible! One would expect the Inspired Version to contain the “lost books” which LDS claim make our Bible incomplete. But, not a single “lost book” has been replaced in the Inspired Version or in any other LDS book of scripture. In fact, the Inspired Version only has 65 books because Joseph Smith deleted the Song of Solomon!

    Are the “mistranslations” which LDS claim are in the Bible corrected in the Inspired Version? One good example is in Is. 65:1, “I am found of them who seek after me, I give unto them that ask of me; I am not found of them that sought me not; or that inquireth not after me.”

    Paul quoted this verse in Rom. 10:20, but in Joseph Smith’s translation it says: “But Esaias is very bold and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.” Smith’s “inspiration” speaks for itself!

    The Inspired Version prophesies the coming of Joseph (Smith) in Gen. 50:24-33. But, you do not need to look beyond Gen. 1:1 to see that this is no ordinary Bible. Other texts that did not fit Smith’s doctrine were changed so that they did fit. For example, Ex. 33:20 says, “Thou canst not see my face and live.” But, the Inspired Version says, “Thou canst not see my face at this time. John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at any time.” But, the Inspired Version says, “and no man hath seen God at any time except he hath borne record of the Son” (John 1:19). I John 4:12 says, “No man hath seen God at any time,” but the Inspired Version adds, “except them who believe.” Since Joseph Smith claimed that he saw God and Christ in 1820, he made the Bible conform to his teachings! Smith changed hundreds of verses in his Inspired Version, but not one change can be substantiated by the original manuscripts!

    Thus, the charge against the Bible made by LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson certainly fits Joseph Smith’s Bible! He said, “Many insertions were made, some of them slanted for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, p. 4).

 

A COMPLETE, TRUSTWORTHY BIBLE

    Since the LDS god is just a glorified man, it may be difficult for LDS to believe he can protect his word. But, Christians trust the Bible as the Word of God for several reasons. Archaeology has verified many locations and events mentioned in the Bible which show that it is truly an historical document. Some Biblical prophecies are known to pre-date their fulfillment, which suggests divine guidance. These things, along with the Bible’s own claim that it is the Word of God, give Christians confidence in it.

    Isaiah wrote, “The Word of our God shall stand forever (Is. 40:8). Peter said much the same: “The word of God which liveth and abideth forever” and “The word of the Lord endureth forever” (I Peter 1:23 & 25). Jesus also declared, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Jesus who made that claim also said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). If He has all power in heaven and earth, and He says His word will not pass away, we ought to be able to believe it! Rev. 19:6 also calls Him “The Lord God omnipotent” (all powerful). And if God cared enough to give mankind His Word, then He ought to also be able to preserve it. If the All Powerful Lord God can “keep” believers (I Peter 1:5), it is reasonable to believe that He can keep His Word too!

    Gal. 1:8-9 warns against teaching any other Gospel than that which Paul had already preached. But, it is impossible for Mormons to show that Paul taught such LDS doctrines as: God is a glorified man, celestial marriage, a temporary hell, or protective sacred underwear.

    There is no Bible verse that says “this is the end of all scripture.” But, Paul did write in Rom. 15:19, “I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.” Peter also wrote in II Peter 1:3 that “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Paul said in Col. 2:10, “You are complete in Him” (Christ). Therefore, what could “more scripture” possibly add? Christians already have all things that pertain to life and godliness, because the gospel has been fully preached and believers are “complete in Him.” The only thing which can be added to that completeness is distortion or perversion which Paul warned against in Gal. 1.6-9. Jesus also said, “the word that I have spoken – shall judge him (man) in the last day” (John 12:48). Therefore, no new “scripture” can add anything helpful to the gospel.

    Sometimes Christians use Rev. 22:18-19, to show that nothing should be added to the Bible. LDS respond that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation. While it does apply to the book of Revelation, it also applies to the whole Bible since it is located at the end of the last book of the Bible. But, LDS claim that Duet. 4:2 and Prov. 30:6 teaches the same thing as Rev. 22:18-19, so most of the Bible should not have been written if that same logic is used with them. However, those texts simply say that the Word of God must not be changed by adding to or deleting from it. But, in his Inspired Version of the Bible, Joseph Smith did add and delete from the book of Revelation in texts like Rev. 1:1-8. Therefore Rev. 22:18-19 does apply to the LDS!

    The New Testament writers were “eyewitnesses” of Jesus’ earthly ministry (II Peter 1:15-18, I John 1:1-5) and recorded the things they heard and saw for our benefit. Although Paul was not a disciple during Jesus’ earthly ministry, he was specially chosen by the Lord as a witness while the other apostles were still alive (Acts 22:14-15; I Cor. 11:23; Gal. 1:11-17). He also testified concerning the same thing as the other writers: what he had seen and heard of the Lord. Although much more could be written (John 20:30; 21:25), there is no need for more because we already have “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3; John 20:31). Most people haven’t read the Bible through once, so more scripture probably wouldn’t get read even if it existed. We do not need more scripture, but we do need to know the scripture we have!

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Apostasy and Restoration

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claims that they are a restoration of Christ’s original Church and not just another denomination of Christianity. All other so-called “Christian Churches” are said to be in apostasy. On page 14 of a 1983 booklet titled, Apostasy And Restoration, the corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints states, “As Latter-day Saints, we testify that shortly after the death of the Lord’s original twelve apostles, there came seventeen hundred years of apostasy and darkness. Then in 1820, the resurrected Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and called him to be a prophet to all the world. Through him came the restoration of the priesthood, the gospel, and the true church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The booklet goes on to say, “We invite all men to test our claims, to know the truth for themselves.” (Ibid., p.14) We will accept this invitation by investigating some of the claims made in this booklet by the LDS Church and then compare those claims to what God says in scripture. There are four underlined portions in the following that we would like to discuss.

Under the heading, “The Great Apostasy- The Dark Ages” this booklet states, “Some may have known that the Messiah’s church, like the Messiah himself, would meet a violent death.” and “Following the death of the apostles, revelation ceased. The authority of God was no longer among men. Christianity sickened and died.” (Ibid. Pgs. 7,9)

This booklet also states, “Though the Messiah himself set up his true church on earth, yet Satan was able to set in motion- even during the lifetime of Jesus Christ and his apostles- those very countervailing forces that eventually led to the complete apostasy of the true church and the eventual creation of an apostate religion that has been responsible for the extermination of the Messiah’s true followers and the persecution of his chosen people, the Jews .The realization that the Lord’s true Church was not only vulnerable, but destructible, comes as a shock to many people. But if wicked men were able to put to death the Messiah himself, is it so strange that they should also have the power to destroy his church?” (Ibid. p.11)

According to the above, The Church of Jesus Christ met a violent death, sickened and died, fell into complete apostasy and was destroyed. This supposedly happened shortly after the death of the original twelve apostles. This is a very important point for Mormonism. In order for their claim of being the restoration of Christ’s Church to be valid, there needed to be a falling away of the original one. Did the first century Church really fall into complete apostasy? What did Jesus have to say about the subject?

Matthew 16:18- And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the Gates of Hades shall not overpower it. There is one major thing that we wish to point out in this verse. The Greek word for “overpower” is katischuo. It means, “against, and to prevail. To be strong against someone, prevail against or over. Used in a hostile sense, meaning to overcome, vanquish (Matt. 16:18);” (AMG Complete WordStudy Bible and Reference CD) The Greek word for “not” is ou. It means, “Not, no, expressing direct and full negation, independently and absolutely, and hence, objectively.” (Ibid.)

The first thing that needs to be realized about the above LDS quote, is that wicked men were allowed to put Jesus to death. Jesus was not overcome or triumphed over. He willingly laid down his life. In contrast to His willingness to die, He said that His church would not be prevailed over. It is a terrible jump in logic to think that because Jesus laid down His life, that He would allow His church to be overpowered also. Especially in the light of the fact that He specifically says that the Church will not be overpowered.

This is a clear promise made by Christ Himself. His church, once established, will not meet a violent death, sicken and die, fall into complete apostasy or be destroyed. We have one of two choices. Either Jesus was wrong, or the Mormon church is wrong. Jesus also stated, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) If Jesus is wrong, then He can not be trusted and must be viewed as either incompetent or as a liar. If the Mormon church is wrong, then there was no need for a restoration and their claims to be the only true church are false.

Another verse, which refutes the idea of a total apostasy, is Jude 3. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Notice that this verse says that the faith was delivered, “once for all.” If it was delivered “once for all,” then there is no need to deliver it again. Obviously Jude, inspired by the Holy Spirit, did not believe in a coming total apostasy.

Lastly, we would also like to appeal to the Book of Mormon, for the sake of our Mormon readers. The book of 4th Nephi describes a time when the “true faith” continued to thrive. An official LDS church manual states, “As the original twelve Nephite disciples chosen by the Savior passed away, new disciples were chosen to take their place. This practice evidently continued as long as the Nephites were righteous enough to have a church organization amongst them. The three Nephite disciples who were promised by the Savior that they should live on the earth until his second coming apparently continued to work with the people for several hundred years.” (Book Of Mormon Student Manual, Religion 121-122, 1979 p.450)

We have an unavoidable contradiction. In one official LDS church booklet, the church claims that the apostasy occurred “shortly after the death of the Lord’s original twelve apostles,” while another official publication says that the work continued for “several hundred years.” In the light of what the Bible has clearly stated regarding the endurance of Christ’s church, it is obvious that both LDS quotes are wrong.

http://evidenceministries.org/mormons.php?viewarticle=46

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BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY = An everlasting Gospel which has endured for “all generations”—never to disappear from the earth. Paul warned about those who would preach another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Jesus prophesied that the “gates of hell” wouldn’t prevail against His church, and in so doing, He ruled out complete apostasy (Matthew 16:18). Thus, the Gospel would never have to be restored (Jude 3). Ephesians 3:21 states: “to Him be the glory in the church…to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”1. How can an apostate church give glory to God throughout “all generations”?

GALATIANS 1:6-9: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.…but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”2.

2 CORINTHIANS 11:3-4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

JUDE 3: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once [for all time] delivered unto the saints.” 3.

HEBREWS 12:28: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

MATTHEW 16:18: “…I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

EPHESIANS 3:21: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. A-men”

1 TIMOTHY 3:15: “…that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

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INFANT BAPTISM EXPOSED! It’s History and Harm

Infant baptism is not a Scriptural doctrine. It is not found in the Bible. There is not one example in the Bible of one single baby being baptized. We will show that baby baptism is of pagan origin.

It is my purpose in this article to set forth my reasons for saying, as I often have said, that…

INFANT BAPTISM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SENDING MORE PEOPLE TO HELL THAN ANY OTHER RELIGIOUS ERROR.

From my point of view, it is a dreadful thing to baptize a baby and let him grow up believing that by that baptism he has been saved and is on his way to heaven.

As we have said so many times, we believe all babies and children below the age of accountability are protected by the Lord respecting their eternal soul. I do not believe-that any child below the age of accountability has ever gone to hell. Of course, there is no differentiating between those who were baptized as infants and those who were not.

Little children certainly can come to Christ when they are old enough to understand that Jesus died for them and shed his blood to pay for their sins. If that child is old enough to realize that he cannot take his sin to heaven, and that he is lost and a sinner, than that child is old enough to be saved. What age is that? I do not know. It varies from child to child. Billy Graham and James Dobson claimed they were saved at 4 years of age. I was saved at age 6. It depends upon the religious training environment a child is raised in too.

In fact, we adults must become like ‘little children’ and have child-like faith when we come to Him! Jesus did say in Matthew 19:14,

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

This verse is not teaching, however, that little infants, just born, are come to Christ by being baptized by a priest! As stated earlier, little children who die in infancy are covered by the Blood of Christ and will go to heaven. They are thus ‘covered’ until they reach the age that they can understand the Gospel, and at that point they must trust Christ on their own, of their own volition.

HISTORY OF INFANT BAPTISM

Infant baptism appeared in the Christian church history around the Second Century, coming from the pagan influences of Baal Worship, as we will show later, but It came about as a result of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration – the teaching that baptism is essential to salvation; or, if you want to turn it around, that water baptism saves the soul (or at least is a part of a person’s salvation). Consequently, as the teaching of baptismal regeneration started being propagated, it was natural for those holding to this doctrine to believe that everyone, should be baptized as soon as possible. Thus, baptism of infants still in the innocent state (and as yet unaccountable for their actions) came into vogue among many of the churches.

Once again I state: These two grievous errors baptismal regeneration and infant baptism – have probably caused more people to go to hell than any other doctrine.

WHERE DID THIS INFANT BAPTISM COME FROM?

Once has to go back to Genesis 10 and 11 where we read of Noah’s Great grandson, NIMROD, and his wife SEMIRAMUS, who started the great pagan BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION at the Tower of Babel. This great pagan religion was later known as ‘BAAL WORSHIP’ in the Old Testament, simply another name for Nimrod. The great book, TWO BABYLONS by Alexander Hislop gives us a little background on this Babylon Mystery Religion of ‘BAAL WORSHIP’ started by Nimrod and Semiramus.

BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION

In this mysterious Babylonian Religious System, Nimrod and Semiramis, along with their priests, were the only ones who understood ‘The great mysteries of God’ and since it was the only true religion… all others were false… therefore, only the Babylonian Priests could forgive and absolve sins…and administer salvation. Salvation could be achieved thru various Sacraments performed during the person’s life time. These SACRAMENTS were so-called ‘Channels of grace’ whereby salvation could be achieved. These Sacraments, necessary to salvation ..began at birth with Infant Baptism, other sacraments throughout life, ending with a final anointing with oil at death to prepare one for the hereafter. Now Since the Babylonian Priest was the only one who could administer these ‘sacraments’, the person was ‘bound’ to the Babylonian system helplessly for life! The first essential sacrament Semiramis taught was Baptism by water. The fact that such “Baptism” was practiced 2000 years before it was even mentioned and practiced in Christianity is an established fact, and it can be traced right back to Babylon and Semiramis herself! The ancient historian Bryant (vol.3 p2l,84) traces this pagan baptism back to the practice of commemorating Noah and his 3 sons deliverance thru the waters of the flood, emerging from the ark and entering a New life. To commemorate this event, the Priests of Nimrod would ‘baptize’ new-born infants the fathers chose to keep, and they would become ‘born-again’ and become members of the Babylonian Mystery Religion. (Hislop,Two Babylons, p134) The fact that the Devil practiced the ritual of Baptism over 2000 years before it was even used in Christianity has truly amazed historians!

WHERE DID THIS BABY BAPTISM COME FROM?

Armitage’s History (p73) explains the pagan civil law and social customs of that day. These pagans had no standard of morality as you and I have. Their marriage rites were not on the basis ours are. One man might be the husband of a hundred women, and he might be the father of several hundred children. The mother had no right at all to determine whether the child she bore was to live or not, that was le ft up to the FATHER. Just as the farmer would go down to the pigpen and pick out the pigs he wanted to keep and do away with the runts, so was the father the one who decided if the child was to be kept and allowed to live. The mother could not even name the child if it was kept, the pagan priest did that. If the child was decided to be kept, the daddy would take it down to the pagan priest and the ceremony would be arranged. The Priest first must ‘exorcise’ evil spirits from the infant by anointing the baby’s head with OIL. With the oil the priest puts the occult mark of Tammuz on the child’s head by marking a “T” with the oil. (later to become the ‘Sign of the Cross) The Priest then put SALT and SPITTLE on the baby’s tongue to preserve it from future influence of evil spirits. “HOLY WATER” is now sprinkled or poured over the baby’s head, and the baby is said to be cleansed from any original sin and is now “born-again” and a member of the Babylonian Religion. This process was known as INFANT CHRISTENING and was practiced hundreds of years before Christ, (Hislop,pl38) and is found NOWHERE in the Bible! There is not a single example of a baby being ‘baptized’ or ‘christened’ in the Bible! Knowing what you do now, WOULD YOU WANT YOUR BABY CHRISTENED?

This was called ‘Baal Worship’ in the Old Testament, and God called it an abomination!

MORE HISTORY ON BABY BAPTISM

The professed conversion of Emperor Constantine in A.D. 313 was looked upon by many as a great triumph for Christianity. However, it more than likely was the greatest tragedy in church history because it resulted in the union of church and state and the establishment of a hierarchy which ultimately developed into the Roman Catholic system. There is great question that Constantine was ever truly converted. At the time of his supposed vision of the sign of As we have said so many times, we believe all babies and children below the age of accountability am protected by the Lord respecting their eternal soul. I do not believe-that any child below the age of accountability has ever gone to hell. Of course, there is no differentiating between those who were baptized as infants and those who were not.

INFANT BAPTISM COMES TO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

At around the 3rd Century, traces of the Babylon Mystery Religion, now known as Baal Worship, infiltrates the Christian Church. Immediately, Bible Believing Christians reject the idea of baptizing babies and Baptismal regeneration – the teaching that baptism is essential to salvation; or, if you want to turn it around, that water baptism saves the soul (or at least is a part of a person’s salvation). These Bible Believing Christians were labeled slanderously as ‘ANABAPTISTS’ because they rejected this idea of baptizing babies as pagan and not Scriptural. They would ‘RE-BAPTIZE these infants when they got older and trusted Christ as Savior! Thus the term, ANABAPTISTS…which meant “RE-BAPTIZERS”! It was later shortened to ‘Baptists’. So you see, Baptists got the their name at this time, and the issue that started the name Baptists and separated them was this issue of ‘Baby Baptism’!!!! These ‘ANABAPTISTS’ were persecuted greatly because of this issue!

EVERY BABY MUST BE BAPTIZED

When Emperor Constantine made ‘Christianity’ the official ‘STATE RELIGION of Rome, one of the FIRST LAWS passed was the law decreeing infant baptism as the law of the land in 416 A.D. That simply meant that everybody within a certain age limit had to conform to it. When they passed that law in 416 that every baby in the Roman Empire had to be baptized at the hands of an authorized Roman priest… OR ELSE! Those who disagreed with teaching and rejected it were soon slanderously called “ANABAPTISTS”, and they were persecuted without mercy for not conforming. Historian J.M.Carroll declares, ” For 30 miles on the road leading out of Rome were stakes with gory heads of ANAPTISTS….”

INFANT BAPTISM BECAME THE LAW OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Occasionally someone will say, “Don’t you think infant baptism is beautiful to look at?” A.A.Davis replies, “If you knew the history of that doctrine, where it came from and the bloodshed that it brought into the world, you would never watch another such service in your lifetime.” (THE BAPTIST STORY, p67). He quotes historian J.M. Carroll from his TRAIL OF BLOOD “no other doctrine that ever found its way into Christendom has caused so much BLOODSHED in this world as the doctrine of INFANT BAPTISM.”

Armitage’s History (p7l-73) tells us that in the 6th century, Emperor Justin issued an edict commanding ALL UNBAPTIZED PARENTS to present themselves and their children for baptism at once. Leo III issued, another edict in-A.D. 723 demanding the forcible baptism of the Jews and Montanists (anabaptists). Toward the close of the 6th century the baptism of–.infants was turned to gain in the shape of FEES ($$$) paid for its administration; but, the charges soon became so enormous that the poor could not pay them. And yet lest their children should DIE unsaved, the frightened parents strained every nerve to get them baptized.” (Armitage’s history, p7l) He continues, “Suppose you owned a section of land with an oil well on it; you had a baby born into your home and you went to the priest to get the baby baptized. The priest would say I want the title to that section of land. When the thing was over, the priest would get the title to the land and the BABY would get a few drops of water on its head. He says this is how the Mother Church of Rome come to own Czechoslovakia, Mexico, etc.

One is reminded of Peter’s Scripture,

“and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of YOU..” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

We could spend pages here looking at the history books showing how the ANABAPTISTS (those who rejected infant baptism) were persecuted in ways almost too horrible to describe. Many were put in a special iron casket called the IRON MAIDEN, which had dozens of sharp spikes inside … or the anabaptist preacher who, in the 4th century, was laid upon the ground and a horse was hooked to each of his arms and feet, and the signal given so the horses would pull the pastor into 4 quarters…..Why?

… because he believed it was wrong to baptize BABIES. (BAPTIST STORY, p109)

The author continued to tell about those anabaptists who had HOT WAX poured into their EARS…or those who had their tongues pulled out with hot pincers. The wives of the anabaptists had their bodies mutilated in terrible ways, as parts of their bodies were cut off….Pregnant women had their stomachs ripped open and the offspring cast to wild hogs as husband was forced to watch. One anabaptist pastor was taken, his body CUT open, and ears of corn stuffed inside, and hungry dogs not fed for 4 days turned loose to devour the man’s entrails and corn inside. (BAPTIST STORY, p110)

THE ‘HOLY INQUISITION’ RESULTED FROM THIS ISSUE OF BABY BAPTISM

No wonder the Book of Revelation declared in Revelation 17:6 that this great HARLOT false religion had become ‘DRUNK with the BLOOD of the Saints’…Historian and Bible commentator Sir Robert Anderson estimated that thru out the middle ages OVER 40 MILLION people were murdered and martyred over this one doctrine of INFANT BAPTISM! To illustrate this great number of those anabaptists slain, Anderson said if you lined 40 million people in a line, four abreast and four feet apart, and they marched by at normal marching pace, it would take 4 years and 4 months for this number of people to march by!!!

ROME LAID DOWN THE LAW.. ..INFANT BAPTISM ESSENTIAL!

The General Council of Trent, Seventh Session (1547) Canons on the Sacraments in General:

(a) “If anyone, shall say that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, or that there are more or fewer than seven, namely baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony, or that any one of these seven is not truly and intrinsically a sacrament – anathema sit.”

(b) “If anyone shall say that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for every individual anathema sit.”

(c) “If anyone. shall say that by the sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred ex opere operato, but that faith alone in the divine promise is sufficient to obtain grace – anathema sit.”

THE BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION AT ROME TAUGHT THAT EVEN LITTLE BABIES COULD NOT BE SAVED AND GO TO HEAVEN UNLESS THEY WERE BAPTIZED…

The Priests of Rome taught-and still do-that it is NOT possible even for newly born infants to be saved so as to enjoy the delights of heaven unless they are baptized. The COUNCIL OF TRENT catechism states in black and white:

“Infants, unless regenerated unto God thru the grace of BAPTISM, whether their parents be Christian or infidel, are born to eternal misery and perdition.”

But what a horrible doctrine that was!! And what a contrast with the doctrinal beliefs of the anabaptists who believed that all those dying in infancy, whether baptized or unbaptized, are saved!

Lorraine Boettner, in his ROMAN CATHOLICISM, p190, declared,

“The Romish doctrine was so horrible and so unacceptable to the public that it was found necessary to invent a third realm, the Limbus Infantum… later shortened to ‘Limbo’…a place where unbaptized infants are sent, in which they are excluded from heaven but in which they suffer no positive PAIN. The Council of Trent and the Councils of Lyons and Florence declare positively that unbaptized infants are confined to this realm.”

Boettner continues,

“The primary purpose of the Church of Rome in excluding unbaptized infants from heaven is to force parents to commit their children to her as soon as possible … the pressure put on members of the Mother Church of Rome parents to see that their children are baptized EARLY is almost UNBELIEVABLE… ..a commitment which once she receives she never relinquishes.” (P 191)

BABY BAPTISM THROUGH THE DARK AGES

Consequently, as the teaching of baptismal of the Dark Ages which endured for more than twelve centuries – until the Protestant Reformation.

During this time God had a remnant who remained faithful to Him; they never consented to the union of church and state, or to baptismal regeneration, or to infant baptism. These people were called by various names, but probably could better be summed up by their generic name, Anabaptists, meaning rebaptizers. These people ignored infant baptism and rebaptized those who had been saved through personal faith.

NOW THIS IS STRANGE

Protestant Churches of the Reformation Bring Baby Baptism with Them!

The strange thing about these two diabolical doctrines of baptismal regeneration and infant baptism is that the great reformers (Martin Luther, for one) brought with them out of Rome these two dreaded errors – the union of church and state and infant baptism. Strangely enough, in those days not only did the Roman Catholic church persecute those who would not conform to its ways, but after the Lutheran church became the established church of Germany, it persecuted the nonconformists as well – of course, not as stringently so and not in such numbers as those before them.

John Calvin in France, as well as Oliver Cromwell in England and John Knox in Scotland, stuck to the union of church and state and infant baptism and used their power, when they had power, to seek to force others to conform to their own views.

BABY BAPTISM COMES TO AMERICA

Unaware to a lot of people, this thing came to the Americas well in the early days of this republic. Before the Massachusetts Bay Colony was twenty years old, the following was decreed by statute:

“If any person or persons within this jurisdiction shall either openly condemn or oppose the baptizing of infants, or go about secretly to seduce others from the approbation or use thereof, or shall purposely depart from the congregation at the administration of the ordinance after due time and means of conviction, every such person or persons shall be subject to banishment..”

Religious persecution existed even in the early days of the United States of America. Roger Williams and others were banished – when banishment meant to go and live with the Indians – because they would not submit to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration or the baptizing of infants.

However, it was the constitution of the Rhode Island Colony – founded by Roger Williams, John Clark, and others – that established religious liberty by law for the first time in thirteen hundred years (over the world).

Thus it was that Rhode Island, founded by a small group of believers, was the first spot on earth where religious liberty became the law of the land. The settlement was made in 1638, and the colony was legally established in 1663. Virginia followed, to be the second, in 1786.

As you can see, the doctrine of infant baptism has a long and bloody history, and it has been one of Satan’s chief weapons to condemn untold millions to hell.

I WILL ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN IT FURTHER

Many, of course, will ask, “What does the above have to do with us today?” A lot!

You see, the union of church and state continues today in most countries of the world. In these state churches, pastors and leaders christen babies – which means they “make them Christians” by baptizing them; thus the that has been christened as a baby believes he is on his way to heaven simply because he was christened (or baptized) in infancy. Having been taught all his life that this saved him, he naturally considers himself saved by the act of infant baptism.

The Roman Catholic Church still teaches baptismal regeneration and practices infant baptism. Its statement of doctrine says:

“The sacrament of baptism is administered on adults by the pouring of water and the pronouncement of the proper words, and cleanses from original sin.”

The Reformed Church says:

“Children are baptized as heirs of the Kingdom of God and of His covenant. ”

The Lutheran Church teaches that baptism, whether of infants or adults, is a means of regeneration.

Because of the following declaration, I believe the Episcopal Church teaches that salvation comes through infant baptism. In his confirmation, the catechist answers a question about his baptism in infancy by saying this:

“In my baptism. I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of God.”

(This is printed in the prayer book and can be read by anyone interested enough to look for it.)

Most people who practice infant baptism believe the ceremony has something to do with the salvation of the child. These are traditions of men, and we can follow the commandments of God or follow after the traditions of men; it is up to us.

THE CLEAR BIBLE TEACHING OF SALVATION

I believe the Word of God is clear regarding the matter of salvation. Jesus said:

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God … He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:18, 36).

Basically this tells us that there are two groups of people in the world today – those who believe on the Son and those who do not. Those who believe are not condemned; they have everlasting life (whatever church they may belong to). Those who believe not on the Son are condemned already, and they shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on them.

I believe this is the clear, unmistakable teaching and language of the Bible.

If you will notice, the Word of God never says simply believe and be saved; rather, it seeks always to identify the object of faith, which is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

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

It is not enough just to believe; a person must believe “in Him.”

The Philippian jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The Apostle Paul answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:30,31)

It was not enough simply to ‘believe’; that belief, that trust, that dependence had to be ‘in Him’…..

If a person is trusting in baptism for salvation, he cannot be trusting “in Him”. Christ is not ONE way of salvation; He is the ONLY WAY salvation.

There is no promise in the Word of God to those who believe partially in Christ. In other words, we cannot trust in the Lord Jesus 90% and in baptism 10%..

We must trust Christ and what He did at Calvary 100% and nothing else.

My friend, just because you were baptized as a baby does not save you!

You must trust Christ alone.

(Much of the following was taken from the pamphlet written by the Late Dr. William Pettingill on INFANT BAPTISM)

Copyright © 2003 Petersburg Gospel Center. All Rights Reserved.

Infant Baptism -part 1  (wma audio, by Dr. Max D. Younce, Th.D.)

Infant Baptism -part 2  (wma audio, by Dr. Max D. Younce, Th.D.)

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Doctrines/infant_baptism_exposed.htm

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more about “Defining the Word “Cult”“, posted with vodpod

 

 

 

 

Answering Mormon Bible Challenges

The following scripture verses are the main ones that I have been challenged with by Mormons. The list is nowhere near all-inclusive as Mormons have many other verses that they will throw at you to prove their theology. In some cases, I have not only answered the Mormon challenge but have attempted to turn the challenge around into a witnessing opportunity for you to use on them. Again, the list is somewhat short, so if you do not see the verse you are looking for, please contact us and we will work on providing an answer for you.

 

James 1:5 – “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Mormon missionaries like to use this verse when introducing you to the Book of Mormon. They will encourage you to pray to God for wisdom to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I like to answer this a few different ways.

1. Ask, “Can you show me where the Bible says to pray about it to see if it is true? Suppose I were to pray to God for wisdom to determine if the Bible is true and he said no? What if I prayed to God for wisdom to know whether the Muslim Quran is true and he said yes; how would I know for sure what to believe?” You may then want to state that the Bible never prompts its readers to pray to determine whether or not it is the Word of God. Rather, it says that we must “believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). You may also remind them that the Bereans were commended, in Acts 17:11, because they did not immediately believe everything the Apostle Paul said, but they tested Paul’s message by examining it in light of the available scriptures.

2. I also quote Proverbs 14:12 to them which states: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” I then tell them that by failing to practice the Biblical test to determine truth opens us up to believing in deceptive, changing feelings of man. In addition, we may also open ourselves up to the influence of deceiving spirits since Satan and his angels are well known to transform themselves into angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Therefore, what we believe to be truth from God may really be a satanic trick to fool you into believing a lie.

3. You may also want to explain to the Mormon the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is based on known facts. Wisdom is based on the application of those facts. I often ask a Mormon missionary, “Do you think I should pray to see whether 1+1=2”? Obviously the answer is no because that is an established fact. The Book of Mormon can be treated in the same way. Since, by testing it in the light of Scripture, we already have knowledge that it contains information that contradicts the established facts of the Bible, hence, we need not pray about its authenticity as coming from God.

 

Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

Mormons will often use this verse to prove that a prophet is needed on earth today and that without a living prophet, God cannot communicate to man.

1. It is true that in the Old Testament days of Israel, God communicated to the Jews through prophets. However, since we are now living in the days of the New Testament and have God’s complete revelation (the Bible) available to us we no longer need a living prophet. Since the coming of Jesus Christ, revelations of God spoken through prophets began to cease and are no longer necessary. Hebrews 1:1-2 backs this up by stating: “God, who at sundry times and divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son…” You may want to ask a Mormon to read Hebrews 1:1-2 and ask him: “Do you see that believers in the New Testament age are no longer required to seek revelation from living prophets, but have been given all we need to know in the person of Jesus Christ and His final revelation in the pages of the Bible?”

2. Secondly, for fun, let’s just give the Mormons the benefit of being correct in stating that mankind does need a living prophet who communicates God’s oracles to us. Since the test to determine if a prophet is from God is 100% accuracy in the outcome of his prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:20-22), let’s see if Mormon prophets pass the test. Ask your Mormon friends if they know that:

– Joseph Smith prophesied that the United States government would be overthrown in the 1800’s. (History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973, 5:394)

– Joseph Smith prophesied that the New Jerusalem would be built in Missouri within his generation. (Doctrine and Covenants 84:1-5)

– Brigham Young prophesied that the Civil War would fail to end black slavery. (Journal of Discourses, 1854-56, 10:250)

– Brigham Young said that the moon and the sun were inhabited. (Journal of Discourses, 13:271)

 

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Mormons are fixated on becoming perfect. They will tell you that Christ would not give us a commandment that we are unable to attain to. Although they may not say it, all of their works and church activities are done to help them to achieve perfection and subsequent exaltation to Godhood. Although Christians should strive to be all we can be in Christ, the context of this statement by Jesus is important. It was made by Christ during the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount was given to show men how their outward acts of religion and self-righteousness were not enough to earn them a place in God’s Kingdom. Jesus was setting up a standard of righteousness that no man can possibly attain to. The idea was to show men the impossible standard of outwardly attaining to God’s perfect law and lead them, by faith, to Himself as the only way one can become righteous enough to enter heaven.

This verse can be flipped on the Mormon and is one of the best verses you can use to witness to them about Jesus. Ask them, “Are you perfect, right now”? Of course they will say no. Tell them that Matthew 5:48 says to be perfect, not become perfect. The verse is in the present tense. We are not commanded to get it right in the future but to be perfect, right now! Just like your boss telling you to “be on time” doesn’t mean to be on time a month from now, but immediately. Once you get the Mormon to understand this (it may take a while), tell him that you are perfect, right now! Let it sink in. After they look at you with blasphemous eyes, have them read Hebrews 10:14: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified”. Notice the past tense. Jesus has already made those perfect who come to Him by faith, trusting in His finished work of redemption. I have had very good success with this verse. Some Mormons were even stunned by it. It is at this time that you must give them the gospel. They need to know that Jesus did it all for them on Calvary and that eternal life is not earned. Follow it up with Ephesians 2:8-9.

 

Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Mormons will use this verse as a proof text for their doctrine of the pre-existence. That is, that man existed as a spirit child in heaven before coming to earth in a physical body. However, this is not what is meant here. Mormons are reading into the text something that is not there. It has nothing to do with pre-existence, but pre-ordination. God was simply telling Jeremiah that before he was even born, God had called him and determined that he would be a prophet. A similar verse in the New Testament would be Galatians 1:15 where Paul said that God “separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace…”. The issue here is God’s foreknowledge enabling Him to “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17).

Since the Mormon doctrine of the pre-existence states that a man is first formed spiritually before physically, a good verse to use to refute it is 1 Corinthians 15:46: “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual”.

 

1 Timothy 4:1-2 – “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”

Mormons will use this verse to prove that there was a complete falling away of the true church on earth and a need to have it restored by Joseph Smith. Again, Mormons are reading words into the text instead of reading the text as is. The verse says that “some” shall depart from the faith, not everyone. There is no mention of a complete apostasy here. Nor is there in any other verses that they use such as Acts 20:30 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3. It is important to the foundation of Mormonism that they can demonstrate a total apostasy of the church. The LDS teaching is that there had to be a complete falling away to necessitate the establishment of the Mormon Church. Even if this teaching could be proven to be true from the Bible, there still would remain a great contradiction within the pages of Mormon scripture. The first being that The Book of Mormon claims that there are three faithful Nephite disciples who never died (3 Nephi 28:1-8). And, secondly, according to Doctrine and Covenants 7:1-8, the Apostle John never died either. The presence of these faithful Christians on earth would mean that true Christianity must have still existed.

However, the Bible is clear that the Christian church will remain on the earth. Although we will see a great apostasy during the end times, Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). Added to that, Ephesians 3:21 says, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ask your Mormon friend, “if your leaders are correct about the complete falling away of the true church on earth, how could Jesus be glorified through His bride throughout all ages, world without end?”

 

1 Corinthians 8:5 – “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many)”

Mormons will use this verse to prove that there are a plurality of Gods in the universe. It is amazing to see how a religious group can pull one verse right out of the text to establish a doctrine and blatantly ignore the immediate context. If they were to read verse 4 they would see that it clearly states “that there is none other God but one”. How can we reconcile this seeming contradiction? Easy. Paul was writing to the Gentile believers regarding food sacrificed to idols. The idea is that although idols are called gods by their Pagan worshippers, they are not true Gods, but false ones. There is only one true God.

Here are a few scriptural beauties that you want to have in your arsenal when dealing with a Mormon on the subject of Polytheism:

-Isaiah 43:10 – “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

-Isaiah 44:6 – “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of Hosts; I am the first and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

-Isaiah 44:8 – “….Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

I like to ask a Mormon, “What if God told you that you can’t become a God; would you believe him?” Have him then read Isaiah 43:10. Also, “if God had a father who was a God, would he know him?” When he says yes, let him read Isaiah 44:8.

 

Ezekiel 37:16-17 – “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join the one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.”

This verse is often sited to prove that there is Biblical evidence for the Book of Mormon. They will say that the stick of Judah is the Bible, and the stick of Joseph is the Book of Mormon. However, the two sticks mentioned here have nothing to do with the Bible or the Book of Mormon. The two sticks are clearly explained in verses 21 and 22 as representing two nations. These are the Southern Kingdom of Israel, which is named Judah since this tribe occupied the bulk of the southern land, and the Northern Kingdom, which is named Joseph here to represent the two tribes who occupied the majority of the northern land, Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph.

http://www.towertotruth.net/Mormon/witnessing/answering_challenges.htm#1timothy4

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Mormon Exaltation (eternal progression), Theosis, Apotheosis, and INTENTIONAL MORMON DECIET By Damon Whitsell

Spend some time researching Mormonism and you will eventually run into the Mormon argument that says, “early Christianity and eastern orthodoxy believe in Theosis so therefore Mormonism must be true Christianity”.

I had a Mormon that runs a blog @ http://mormonsarechristian.blogspot.com/ comment on a post at this blog.

After I unravel the deception in his comments, I will give you a link that shows MAC, (Mormons are Christian) already knew that what Mormons call “Theosis” is not what any Christian has ever called Theosis.

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Here is his comment

The Trinity:

A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration? The Nicene Creed’s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: “There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one.” Scribes later added “the Father, the Word and the Spirit,” and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. . Scholars agree that Early Christians believed in an embodied God; it was neo-Platonist influences that later turned Him into a disembodied Spirit. Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry on the Trinity says “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.” The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.

Theosis

Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was also part of Early Christian belief. St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox) wrote, regarding theosis, “The Son of God became man, that we might become God.” Irenaeus wrote in the late 2nd Century: “we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods” Justin Martyr in mid 2nd Century said: “all men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods,’ and of having power to become sons of the Highest” Clement of Alexandria explained “Saints . . pure in heart . . are destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.” The Gospel of Thomas (which pre-dates the 4 Gospels, but was considered non-canonical by the Nicene Council) quotes the Savior: “He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him,” (Gospel of Thomas 50, 28-30, Nag Hammadi Library in English, J.M.Robinson, 1st ed 1977; 3rd ed. 1988) The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) agrees with Early Christian church leaders regarding theosis.

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I will gloss over MAC’s Trinity paragraph with just a few observations I don’t know any Christians that use 1John 5:7 as a proof text for the trinity.

Many of MAC’s trinity arguments are the same as ONENESS Pentecostals. Who was Jesus praying too and who was Jesus talking too?? That is simple. The Father. A proper understanding of “Tri-Unity” of the Godhead dispels this misunderstanding. While God is 1, He is also 3.

WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE A MORMON FOR HIS WORD?
MAC says, “Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry on the Trinity says “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.” “

MAC conveniently (and dishonestly) quotes the first sentence of the final paragraph of this dictionary entry. Here is the rest of the paragraph:

“Nevertheless, the discussion above and especially the presence of trinitarian formulas in 2 Cor. 13:14 (which is strikingly early) and Matt. 28:19 indicate that the origin of this mode of thought may be found very early in Christian history.”

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SO WHAT IS THEOSIS 

Actually MAC gives a pretty good definition of Theosis in saying that Theosis is “Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans”. Although a little ambiguous in that at first glance “divinization” would seem to mean “becoming a God”, it does not as the following reference will show. But the later part “narrowing the space between God and humans” is a real good definition.

BUT NOTICE The bait and switch technique, There is a vast difference in between “narrowing the space between” and “becoming” Gods,, as expressed in his “out of context“ Church Father quotes. . Lets look at these references.

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Theosis

 (“deification,” “divinization”) is the process of a worshiper becoming free of hamártía (“missing the mark”), being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in bodily resurrection. For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation. Théōsis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the Life or Nature of the all-holy Trinity. Therefore, an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from the state of unholiness (hamartía — which is not to be confused with hamártēma “sin”) for participation in the Life (zōé, not simply bíos) of the Trinity — which is everlasting.

This is not to be confused with the heretical (apotheosis) (1) – “Deification in God’s Essence“, which is imparticipable.
(1) Apotheosis (from Greek “to deify”), deification or divinization is the glorification of an individual to a divine level. 
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Deification in MORMONISM
The doctrine of theosis or deification in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differs significantly from the theosis of Orthodox Christianity. In Mormonism it is usually referred to as exaltation or eternal life. While the primary focus of Mormonism is on the atonement of Jesus Christ, the reason for the atonement is exaltation which goes beyond mere salvation. All men will be saved from sin and death, but only those who are sufficiently obedient and accept the atonement of Jesus Christ before the judgment will be exalted. One popular Mormon quote, coined by the early Mormon “disciple” Lorenzo Snow in 1837, is “As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be.”[2] The teaching was taught first by Joseph Smith while pointing to John 5:19 of the New Testament, “God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46).

Some Mormons also suggest that discussions of theosis by early Church Fathers show an early belief in the Mormon concept of deification, although they disagree with much of the other theology of the same Church fathers, most notably the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Mormons’ belief differs with the Orthodox belief in deification because the Latter-Day Saints believe that the core being of each individual, the “intelligence” which existed before becoming a spirit son or daughter, is uncreated or eternal. Orthodox deification always acknowledges a timeless Creator versus a finite creature who has been glorified by the grace of God. The Mormons are clear promoters of henotheism (2), and the Church Fathers have absolutely no commonality with their view.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theosis

(2) Henotheism (Greek εἷς θεός heis theos “one god”) is a term coined by Max Müller, to mean devotion to a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.[1]

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As we see from this ORTHODOXwiki reference, Mormon exaltation is not Christian Theosis but rather Apotheosis and Henotheism. Christian Theosis has to do with becoming more God like, NOT becoming God.

Theosis in the Eastern Orthodox and the protestant sense means to be sanctified, set apart and becoming “holy”. The protestant form of Theosis is expressed by saying that as Christians, we are saved by grace through faith, FROM BOTH the penalty of sin, and the power of sin. We simply do not have to be a slave to sin any longer and through adoption as sons, we may partake in the nature of God if we “walk in the Spirit”. This does not mean however that we become like God ontologically or in position. In contrast, when Jesus says he and His Father are ONE, he is saying he and the father are ONE BEING.

Theosis in eastern orthodox and the early church fathers view was,” salvation from unholiness by participation in the life of God.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosis

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BUT WHAT ABOUT MAC’S QUOTES?? Don’t they show early church father believed in Theosis in the way Mormons do? NO THEY DO NOT.

MAC, other Mormons, and cult mebers in general will quote Pre-Nicene Church Fathers out of context to support their heretical doctrines.

MAC says “St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox) wrote, regarding theosis, “The Son of God became man, that we might become God.”

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The statement by St. Athanasius of Alexandria, “The Son of God became man, that we might become God”, indicates the concept beautifully. II Peter 1:4 says that we have become ” . . . partakers of divine nature.” Athanasius amplifies the meaning of this verse when he says theosis is “becoming by grace what God is by nature” (De Incarnatione, I). What would otherwise seem absurd, that fallen, sinful man may become holy as God is holy, has been made possible through Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate. Naturally, the crucial Christian assertion, that God is One, sets an absolute limit on the meaning of theosis – it is not possible for any created being to become, ontologically, God or even another god.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theosis

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CONVENIENTLY MAC fails to tell that Athanasius himself clarified this very thing in his third treatise against the Arians: “To become as the Father is impossible for us creatures.” http://www.archive.org/stream/selecttreatises00newmuoft/selecttreatises00newmuoft_djvu.txt

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So Then MAC quotes a few more Fathers. Lets see if his quoting is faithful to what the Fathers intent was, OR do Mormons intentionally use selective and targeted out of context quoting practices.? The responses to MAC’s quotations are in BLUE

The following quotes come from this post on this blog which contains many quotes showing church fathers did not believe Mormon doctrine.

Did The Early Church Believe Mormon Teac

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.” Irenaeus wrote in the late 2nd Century: “we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods”

Irenaeus Against Heresies, (A.D. 190) 1:10:1
For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the Apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, Father almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them…
.
Ibid., 1:22:1
We hold, however, the rule of truth, according to which there is one almighty God, who formed all things through His Word, and fashioned and made all things which exist out of that which did not exist….
Ibid., 2:1:1
Nor is He moved by anyone; rather, freely and by His Word He made all things. For He alone is God, He alone is Lord, He alone is Creator, He alone is Father, He alone contains all and commands all to exist.
Ibid., 2:11:1

It is easy to demonstrate from the very words of the Lord that He acknowledges one Father, Creator of the world and Fashioner of man, who was proclaimed by the Law and by the Prophets; and that He knows no other, this being God over all.

Ibid., 2:30:9

Of His own accord and by His own power He made all things and arranged and perfected them; and His will is the substance of all things. He alone, then, is found to be God; He alone is omnipotent, who made all things; He alone is Father, who founded and formed all things, visible and invisible, sensible and insensate, heavenly and earthly, by the Word of His Power.

Ibid., 2:34:2

…let them learn that to be without beginning and without end, to be truly and always the same, and to remain ever without change, belongs to God alone, who is Lord of all. All things, however, which are from Him, all that have been made and which will be made, receive each their own beginning of existence; and inasmuch as they are not unbegotten, in this way they are inferior to Him who made them. They perdure, however, and continue through a length of ages, according to the will of God their Maker; for indeed, He makes them to be in the beginning, and afterwards gives them continuance.

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Justin Martyr in mid 2nd Century said: “all men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods,’ and of having power to become sons of the Highest”

Justin, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (A.D. 155), 5
For whatever things exist after God or will at anytime exist, have a corruptible nature, and are such as may be blotted out and no longer exist. God alone is unbegotten and incorruptible, which is why He is God. Everything else after Him is produced and corruptible. 

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MAC next two quotes will be in red.

Clement of Alexandria explained “Saints . . pure in heart . . are destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.” 
I could not find any specific quotes of Clement on the nature of God BUT this wikipedia article will shed some light on MAC’s assertion that Clement taught men can become Gods.
Saint Clement of Alexandria 
He united Greek philosophical traditions with Christian doctrine and valued gnosis that with communion for all people could be held by common Christians specially chosen by God.[citation needed] He used the term “gnostic” for Christians who had attained the deeper teaching of the Logos.[1] He developed a Christian Platonism.[2] He presented the goal of Christian life as deification, identified both as Platonism’s assimilation into God and the biblical imitation of God.[1]

Like Origen, he arose from Alexandria’s Catechetical School and was well versed in pagan literature.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_of_Alexandria 

Notice that Mormon and Christian differences on the concept of Theosis can be seen in these statements here. He presented the goal of Christian life as deification, identified both as Platonism’s assimilation into God and the biblical imitation of God.[1]

The idea of IMITATION, thus theosis, of God is biblical ,,,, verses, Plato’s’ idea of “assimilation INTO God” which is UNBIBLICAL and from PLATO. 

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The Gospel of Thomas (which pre-dates the 4 Gospels, but was considered non-canonical by the Nicene Council) quotes the Savior: “He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him,” (Gospel of Thomas 50, 28-30, Nag Hammadi Library in English, J.M.Robinson, 1st ed 1977; 3rd ed. 1988)

Well Quoting from a Gnostic Gospel just shows how desperate Mormons are to validate their heretical and damnable doctrine of exaltation. We have Greek manuscripts of the 4 gospels that go back to 50 – 60 ad. The Gospel of Thomas dates around 90 ad. My Mormon uncle liked the Davinci code very much. I guess MAN and all Mormons do.

As with the early church fathers, Mormons will accept what lines up with their preconceptions, But will deny the fundamental tenants of Gnosticism and the Gnostic gospels, just to try and say they are not the only ones who believe that men can become Gods. Actually all occultist think they can become God. Google “occult secret doctrine” and see that Satan has been telling the same old lie that he told in the garden, that men can become gods. BUT the occultist believe Genesis 3:22 and the Luciferian doctrine that occultist draw from it.

Gnostisism denies the reality of ALL MATTER and believe it is an illusion. According to Gnosticism, There are really no humans, mush less any man exalted to Godhood with a physical body that will have physical sex to populate his own physical planet.

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SO HERE IS THE INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE AGAINST MAC
Don’t be deceived into thinking he is the only Mormon to use intentional deception. I found this Mormon blogpost http://heartissuesforlds.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/reynolds-on-orthodox-theosis-at-the-nsdc-ii/ in which MAC has commented. Here is the Content of the post. KEEP IN MIND This is a Mormon blog. It shows MAC was lying intentionally.

Reynolds on Orthodox theosis at the NSDC II

October 25, 2008 by Todd Wood Reynolds per Aaron this afternoon, live from Utah:

“The Orthodox notion of theosis is not what some Mormons say it is. It historically refers to imitating God’s energies or becoming like the incarnate Christ, but explicitly reject the idea that we can become like God’s essence”

This is coming from a Mormon AND,,, THE VERY FIRST comment from a Mormon after that typically expresses the popular Mormon Notion. Johndh “I’m aware that the orthodox concept of theosis is different from mine. It doesn’t bug me.”

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MR, “Mormons are Christian” and all other Mormons, IT IS NOT ONLY YOUR DOCTRINE that offends Christians and cause us to say Mormons are not Christian. IT IS ALSO the underhanded tactics you all use in arguing your positions. MAC, you knew full well that the Mormon Concept of THEOSIS is NOT what church fathers believed. But Still yet you come to this blog to post your intentional deception.

As we say in the south SHAME ON YA’LL. =========================================================

Here are some related post on this blog.

Did The Early Church Believe Mormon Teac

Mormon Missionaries Instructed in the Ar

HOW ANCIENT IS THE TRINITY DOCTRINE?

Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults

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AMENDMENT TO THIS BLOG Since making this blog, the owner of the Mormon blog I referenced, contacted me to inform me that he is NOT A MORMON but rather a Baptist pastor. So I was wrong in the context of my statement that MAC deliberately used deception. Although this does slightly diminish the truthfulness of my statement. It does not change the fact that MAC was still propagating his false Mormon rhetoric of “early Christians believed in Theosis in the same way Mormons do”,,,, in light of the fact that he knew there is an answer for that in the content of the post in which he commented. .

The definitions from the OthrodoxWiki shows conclusively that Mormons do not practice Theosis,,,, but apotheosis and henotheism.

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Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults
by James Sire

In debating and discussions with non-Christians such as Mormons or atheist, I have found many areas of twisting of the Scriptures. In the book “Scripture Twisting,” James Sire has a chapter devoted to each of the methods, and I have seen them ALL used from time to time.

1. INACCURATE QUOTATION: A biblical text is referred to but is either not quoted in the way the text appears in any standard translation or is wrongly attributed. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says, “Christ said, ‘Be still and know that I am God.'” Whereas this text is found ONLY in Psalms.

2. TWISTED TRANSLATION: The biblical text is retranslated, not in accordance with sound Greek scholarship, to fit a preconceived teaching of a cult. Example: the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate John 1:1 as “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the word was a god.”

3. BIBLICAL HOOK: A text of Scripture is quoted primarily as a device to grasp the attention of readers or listeners and then followed by a teaching which is so nonbiblical that it would appear far more dubious to most people had it not been preceded by a reference to Scripture. Example: Mormon missionaries quote James 1:5 which promises God’s wisdom to those who ask him and, then, follow this by explaining that when Joseph Smith did this he was given a revelation from which he concluded that God the Father has a body.

4. IGNORING THE IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: A text of Scripture is quoted but removed from the surrounding verses which form the immediate framework for its meaning. Example: Alan Watts quotes the first half of John 5:39 (“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life”), claiming that Jesus was challenging His listeners’ over emphasis of the Old Testament, but the remainder of the immediate context reads, “and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (verses 39-40), which shows that Jesus was upholding the value of the Old Testament as a testimony to Himself.

5. COLLAPSING CONTEXTS: Two or more verses which have little or nothing to do with each other are put together as if one were a commentary of the other(s). Example: The Mormons associate Jeremiah 1:5 with John 1:2,14 and thus imply that both verses talk about the premortal existence of all human beings; Jeremiah 1:5, however, speaks of God’s foreknowledge of Jeremiah (Not his premortal existence) and JOhn 1:2 refers to the pre-existence of God the Son and not to human beings in general.

6. OVERSPECIFICATION: A more detailed or specific conclusion than is legitimate is drawn from a biblical text. Example: The Mormon missionary manual quotes the parable of the virgins from Matthew 25:1-13 to document the concept that “mortality is a probationary period during which we prepare to meet God.” But the parable of the virgins could, and most probably does, mean something far less specific, for example, that human beings should be prepared at any time to meet God or to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

7. WORD PLAY: A word or phrase from a biblical translation is examined and interpreted as if the revelation had been given in that language. Example: mary Bake Eddy says the name Adam consist of two syllables, A DAM, which means an obstruction, in which case, Adam signifies “the obstacle which the serpent, sin, would impose between man and his Creator.”

8. THE FIGURATIVE FALLACY: Either (1) mistaking literal language for figurative language or (2)mistaking figurative language for literal language. Example of (1): Mary Baker Eddy interprets EVENING as “mistiness of mortal thought; weariness of mortal mind; obscured views; peace and rest.” Example of (2): The Mormon theologian james Talmage interprets the prophesy that “thou shalt be brought down and speak out of the ground” to mean that God’s Word would come to people from the Book of Mormon which was taken out of the ground at the hill of Cumorah.

9. SPECULATIVE READINGS OF PREDICTIVE PROPHESY: A predictive prophesy is too readily explained by the occurance of specific events, despite the fact that equally committed biblical scholars consider the interpretation highly dubious. Example: The stick of Judah and the Stick of Joseph in Ezekiel 37:15- 23 are interpreted by the Mormons to mean the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

10. SAYING BUT NOT CITING: A writer says that the Bible says such and such but does not cite the specific text (which often indicates that there may be no such text at all). Example: A common phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible.

11. SELECTIVE CITING: To substantiate a given argument, only a limited number of text is quoted: the total teaching of Scripture on that subject would lead to a conclusion different from that of the writer. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses critique the traditional Christian notion of the Trinity without considering the full text which scholars use to substantiate the concept.

12. INADEQUATE EVIDENCE: A hasty generalization is drawn from too little evidence. Example: The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that blood transfusion is nonbiblical, but the biblical data that they cite fails either to speak directly to the issue or to adequately substantiate their teaching.

13. CONFUSED DEFINITION: A biblical term is misunderstood in such a way that an essential biblical doctrine is distorted or rejected. Example: one of Edgar Cayce’s followers confuses the eastern doctrine of reincarnation with the biblical doctrine of being born again.

14. IGNORING ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS: A specific interpretation given to a biblical text or set of text which could well be, and often have been, interpreted in quite a different fashion, but these alternatives are not considered. Example: Erich von Daniken asks why in Genesis 1:26 God speaks in the plural (“us”), suggesting that this is an oblique reference to God’s being one of many astronauts and failing to consider alternative explanations that either God was speaking as “Heaven’s king accompanied by His heavenly host” or that the plural prefigures the doctrine of the Trinity expressed more explicitly in the New Testament.

15. THE OBVIOUS FALLACY: Words like OBVIOUSLY, UNDOUBTEDLY, CERTAINLY, ALL REASONABLE PEOPLE HOLD THAT and so forth are substituted for logical reasons. Example: Erich von daniken says, “Undoubtedly the Ark [of the Covenent] was electrically charged!”

16. VIRTUE BY ASSOCIATION: Either (1) a cult writer a ssociates his or her teaching with those of figures accepted as authoritative by traditional Christians; (2) cult writings are likened to the Bible; or (3) cult literature imitates the form of the Bible writing such that it sounds like the Bible. Example of (1): Rick Chapman list 21 gurus, including Jesus Christ, St. Francis and St. Theresa, that “you can’t go wrong with.” Example of (2): Juan Mascaro in his introduction to the Upanishads cites the New Testament, the Gospels, Ecclesiastes and the Psalms, from which he quotes passages supposedly paralleling the Upanishads. Example of (3): The Mormon DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS interweaves phrases from the Gospel of John and maintains a superficial similarity to the Gospel such that it seems to be like the Bible.

17. ESOTERIC INTERPRETATION: Under the assumption that the Bible contains hidden, esoteric, meaning which is open only to those who are initiated into its secrets, the interpreter declares the significance of biblical passages without giving much, if any, explanation for his or her interpretation. Example: Mary Baker Eddy gives the meaning of the first phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven,” as “Our Father-Mother God, all harmonious.”

18. SUPPLEMENTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: New revelation from post biblical prophets either replaces or is added to the Bible as authority. Example: The Mormons supplement the Bible with the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

19. REJECTING BIBLICAL AUTHORITY: Either the Bible as a whole or texts from the Bible are examined and rejected because they do not square with other authorities – such as reason or revelation = do not appear to agree with them. Example:Archie Matson holds that the Bible contains contradictions and that Jesus himself rejected the authority of the Old Testament when he contrasted His own views with it on the Sermon on the Mount.

20. WORLD-VIEW CONFUSION: Scriptural statements, stories, commands or symbols which have a particular meaning or set of meanings when taken within the intellectual and broadly cultural framework of the Bible itself are lifted out of that context, placed within the frame of reference of another system and thus given a meaning that markedly differs from their intended meaning. Example: The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi interprets “Be still, and know that I am God” as meaning that each person should meditate and come to the realization that he is essentially Godhood itself.

NOTE:
This material comes from the appendix of James Sire’s Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults, and summarizes his indepth treatment of each of these points. This book should be part of every Christian’s library.

http://www.ovrlnd.com/Apologetics/scripturetwisting.html

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Dispelling Myths about Christianity

Myth #1. Christians think all you have to do is say a little prayer to go to heaven, then you can live like the devil and still be saved.

Fact: Christians do NOT believe this. There is nothing magic about “the prayer.” People who just a say a little prayer to “cover all the bases” are not demonstrating saving faith. True Christians do not believe in what is referred to as “cheap grace” or “easy-believism;” the concept that one can just say a prayer and then go on living a lifestyle of sin. It is true that Christians believe a person praying from the heart, with real intent, asking for salvation, will indeed be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone, and that good works will not add one iota to his salvation. However, they do not use their salvation as an excuse to do wrong.

There is a difference between justification and sanctification. When a person puts their trust completely in Jesus Christ, praying in faith for salvation, he is immediately justified, or put into right standing before God. He has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus and the righteousness of Jesus is credited to the person’s account. The biblical definition of salvation is being saved from the wrath of God (eternal hell) and living eternally in heaven with God.

Sanctification is a process occurring over time as the Holy Spirit works in the life of a Christian, purging him of the desires of the flesh. We are sinners by nature, so of course Christians stumble and fall in their walk with the Lord, but they do not make sinful actions a pattern of living. For example, a person claiming to have been born-again who year after year lives with his girlfriend, cheats people in business, doesn’t read the Bible or pray, and consistently lives as the world lives, would need to “examine [himself] as to whether [he] is in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). The Holy Spirit equips a Christian for godly living. As a Christian becomes more mature in his walk with the Lord, he begins to love the things God loves and hate the things God hates. His sin begins to bother him and doing what pleases God becomes delicious to him.

What is one of the signs that we have been saved? “And hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). The Greek word for “keep” in this context is the same one that sailors used for being guided by the stars. Pastor Adrian Rogers—beloved by millions of Christians and who recently passed away—used the following analogy. He said that sailors in ancient times would chart their course at sea by the stars, so they would know where they were going. There might be occasions when the captain fell asleep at the helm and drifted off-course, but it would not be long before he was able to adjust his direction and arrive at his intended destination.

This practice of navigation was called “keeping the stars.” Likewise, keeping the commandments is similar for a Christian. He may “fall asleep at the helml” (sometimes called backsliding) or occasionally go off course, but If his eyes are upon Jesus and the desire of his heart is to please God, he will arrive safely into heaven’s harbor.

Myth #2. Either the Mormon Church is true or the Catholic Church is true. It could not be the Protestants because they broke off from the Catholic Church.

Fact: Not exactly. The church of Jesus Christ was already established long before the Roman Catholic Church came along. Whenever “church” was referred to in the New Testament, it meant “the called out ones;” it is the Greek “ekklesia.” The Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon explains what “church” has meant from New Testament times onward:

[Church] in a Christian sense. An assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting., a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake., those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body., the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth., the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven. (Strong, J. 1996. The exhaustive concordance of the Bible: electronic edition)

Galatians 3:26-29 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

To rephrase that in modern language, “There is neither Baptist nor Lutheran, Calvary Chapel nor Nazarene, Methodist nor Pentecostal, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Denominations may differ in some regards, but our salvation comes through a saving relationship with Jesus alone. That is what makes us members of His church. The Roman Catholic Church is a man-made institution. It was organized by men and many of its doctrines and practices were made by men. The protestant denominations came out of Catholicism only to get back to what the original church was; the body of believers saved through Christ’s atonement; the priesthood of believers; deriving their authority from the Word of God. (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Ephesians 2:18; Romans 12:1; Revelation 1:6)

Myth #3. All the denominations argue about which one of them is right.

Fact: There is no arguing going on. No single denomination claims to be “The True Church” or “The True Denomination” or “The Only Way” through which a person can come to Jesus Christ. A favorite expression among Christians concerning denominations is; “In essentials unity; in non-essentials diversity; in all things charity.” All the Protestant denominations agree on the nature and character of God, who Jesus is, the means of salvation (grace alone by faith alone through Jesus alone), and the inerrancy of the Bible.

When I left Mormonism and began looking for a church to attend, I was surprised at how well the various churches in the area got along. I had been taught as a Latter-day Saint the myth of fighting denominations each trying to gain more members for themselves. I visited several churches of different denominations. Over the ensuing weeks several people I had met called me and said that they hoped I would start coming to their church, but wherever I decided to go their prayers would be with me. When I found a church that was not too much of a culture shock coming out of the Mormon Church, my pastor often said over the pulpit to visitors that he hoped they would make Shadow Hills Baptist Church their home church, however, there were many other good churches in the area that taught sound biblical doctrine. My pastor met monthly with pastors and ministers from several denominations for lunch where they would discuss important issues, pray together, and be supportive of one another. This is not to say that individual fellowships do not have their share of disagreements on occasion, but the over all attitude among the denominations is one of love.

Myth #4. The Bible is missing a bunch of books and is not translated correctly.

The Old Testament we have now is the same one the Jews had in Jesus’ day. Jesus authenticated the Old Testament by quoting from every part of it. There are books mentioned by Old Testament writers, such as the Book of Jasher and the Books of the Wars of the Lord, but that does not mean they were inspired. Jesus did not quote from any of these so-called missing books. The apostle Paul quoted from Greek poets, yet their writings or complete works are not found in the New Testament. From an LDS perspective the Book of Mormon is missing “the sealed portion” and Brigham Young claimed to have seen wagon loads of metal plates and other writings beneath the Hill Cumorah. Does this mean books are missing from the BoM and therefore make it unreliable? A Mormon would say, “No, of course not.” So why set a double standard for the Bible?

The God Who had the power to call forth the universe into existence is certainly powerful enough to preserve His holy word! Hebrew children were immersed in scripture from a young age. In school, the rabbi would place a bit of honey on the child’s tongue before having him memorize scripture so the child would begin to see God’s word is sweet and precious. Scribes committed their whole lives to carefully preserving the word of God. They would painstakingly copy letter for letter and if anything were amiss they would destroy the page and start all over. Everey time they came to God’s name they would get new ink to write it with—that is how much they revered the word of God. There was no such thing as a careless scribe as LDS leaders want you to think.

The Dead Sea scrolls refute the idea that things were taken out and/or added to the Old Testament. For example, the book of Isaiah found in the Dead Sea scrolls was one thousand years older than any manuscript in existence at the time. With only a few variations in spelling, it was correctly transcribed word for word! There are over 5,000 manuscripts in existence today containing all or part of the New Testament. The earliest fragments have been dated to 100-150 A.D.. The manuscripts in other languages combined with the Greek bring the total manuscripts in existence to over a stunning 24,000 in number! The mountain of evidence for the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible is overwhelming. A good book for in-depth information on this topic is The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.

Myth #5. The Council of Nicea is where a bunch of relgious leaders were locked in a room and told they could not come out until they agreed on their ideas about God. They also voted on which books to include in the Bible.

Fact: This myth is utter nonsense. “The facts of history demonstrate, however, that the New Testament was not formed hastily, nor was it formed by the councils. It was the product of centuries of development, and its official ratification came in response to the practical needs of the churches.”

Developments that forced the Church to Establish a Canon: 1) Need for a Scripture to spell out the message of the Apostles, 2) Need to decide on what should be read in the churches, 3) Need for a true canon to answer heretical ones, 4) Need to establish authoritative truth to answer error, 5) Need to decide which of the many books claiming to be canonical were false, 6) Need to decide which books to die for when possession resulted in martyrdom (Vos, H. F., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996. Exploring church history.)

Archaeological evidence now proves that the New Testament books were written by the end of the first century. These books were already circulating among the churches to be read in worship services. Within a short period of time, however, heresies began to creep into the church. Writings started to pop up that were claimed to be authored by some of the apostles (such as the book of Thomas) and other writings were introduced into variuous churches as new revelations. To protect the church (the ekklesia; Christians), a standard had to be set to keep the Scriptures pure. Writings thaat could be proven authentic of the apostles and those close to them were kept. Writings that did not have a basis in truth or had no evidence for their origin as apostolic writings were rejected.

As for the creeds, they formalized what the Bible already revealed about God. The LDS Church puts forth its Thirteen Articles of Faith as a statement of what Mormons believe. The Nicene Creed, Apostolic Creed, and other confessions do the same thing. The creeds are nothing more than statements of faith so Christians everywhere could readily share their beliefs with others.

JUST as the New Testament canon developed in response to a need in the church, so did the creeds. In the days before the canon was formulated and when there were few copies of any of the New Testament books in circulation, believers required some standard to keep them in the path of truth. Moreover, they needed a standard by which to test heretical opinions. So very early, possibly near the end of the first century or beginning of the second, a rule of faith came into existence.

Assuming different forms in different churches, it generally taught that Christ, the Son of God, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and died, was buried, rose again, and ascended into Heaven—for the remission of sins. This rule of faith, which has come to be called the Apostles’ Creed, reached its present form about 750. In the early church, candidates for baptism often were asked if they assented to the various clauses of this standard of faith. (Vos, H. F., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996. Exploring church history, electronic version)

It was creeds such as this—the Apostles’ Creed, which clearly laid out Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—that Joseph Smith said were abominations.

http://www.equippingchristians.com/DispellingMythsAboutChristianity.htm

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Reviewed by Patti (Batavia, NY), May 19, 2008

This is a very informative book about what the Latter Day Saints teach and practice. Jackson has certainly done his homework, which is evident as he spells out clearly what Mormon’s believe and why they believe the way they do. While it is full of information, the author has a very easy-to-read style. Mormonism Explained is one of the most thorough books on Mormonism I ever read. It covers their history, beliefs, theology, and their diversity in beliefs. This book clears up some confusion I had about what Mormons really believe. I want to note that Jackson does not put down Mormonism as he explains their beliefs, not as a critic but as a teacher. It is a good book for those who want more insight into this religion.

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QUOTES FROM THE BOOK

1. “As a result, within Mormonism the Bible is functionally subordinate and subject to clarification and revision by the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price” (13).

2. “Early Mormonism reflected many of the common Christian trends of the times: having an authoritarian prophetic leader and being noncreedal, staunchly Arminian, fervently restorationist, evangelistically driven, end-time-focused, and characterized by isolated communal living” (18-19).

3. “Although, many Mormons take pride in rejecting historical Christian creeds, they have creeds themselves” (190f7).

4. “Although LDS authorities have often denied Joseph Smith’s treasure-hunting, he was found guilty of disorderly conduct and treasure-hunting through the use of divination on March 20, 1826 in Bainbridge, New York” (25).

5. “Mormons believe that April 6 is the birthday of Jesus Christ himself and thus connect the incarnation of Jesus Christ with the birth of the first Mormon church” (29).

6. “It is important to understand that early Mormons were not simply interested in building churches and temples within cities; their vision was to become a church that consisted of a large network of Mormon cities, with the city of Zion as their capital. Mormons wanted whole cities, not simply a portion of them. It is no surprise that the Mormon vision of building and dominating cities created significant tension wherever they settled among non-Mormon citizens” (39).

7. “Mormons believe that American Indians are the direct ancestors of the Book of Mormon’s Lamanite people and thus are also direct descendants of Israelites” (191f26).

8. “Numerous Ohio revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants are the direct result of Smith’s revision of the Bible” (40).

9. “Attempting to get a new start, reestablish authority, and obtain badly needed finances, Joseph Smith changed the name of the Mormon Church to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 26, 1838, attributing the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1-10 to himself instead of Jesus Christ” (46).

10. “Although Mormons do not worship Joseph Smith, they do acclaim his status of preexistent greatness and latter-day calling to a level of superiority that is unprecedented in the history of Christianity” (189f1).

11. “Joseph Smith’s death lead to a bitter succession crisis not unlike what had occurred following the death of Muhammad” (50).

12. “Immediately following the appointment of the new Mormon successor, there was a major split between Brigham Young and Joseph Smith’s wife Emma. In fact, it seems rather revealing that Young never even visited Emma after Joseph’s death” (51).

13. “The LDS President and Prophet is the single authorized mediator between God and Mormon leaders and members” (78).

14. “Because not a single person, place, or event unique to the Book of Mormon has been proved to have existed, Mormons emphasize that a subjective heart experience—what they call a burning in the bosom—proves the authenticity and truth of the Book of Mormon” (86-87).

15. “In fact, the worldview constructed and promoted by Mormonism mirrors several aspects of ancient paganism, Egyptian and Greek mythology, Hinduism, and New Age, and is foreign and destructive to a biblical Judeo-Christian worldview” (94).

16. “According to Mormonism . . . The human mind or spirit has no beginning and will have no end” (96)

17. “Although Mormonism does not like the word polytheism because it is too closely reflects a pagan worldview, there is not doubt that Latter-day Saints believe in the eternal reality of a plurality of gods” (97).

18. “In fact, the LDS Church describes the Godhead—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—more as the supreme heavenly presidency of three gods than as the historically and universally accepted Christian doctrine of the eternal triune nature of one God” (113).

19. “Although in my view Mormons are somewhat contradictory in their own writings, Dr. Craig Blomberg told me that many informed Mormons would unequivocally say that their understanding of deification means that one day we will share perfectly God’s communicable attributes only. They do not claim we will ever be omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. They stress that we will always be dependent on and contingent on God. We will never become beings that anyone else worships. All worship for all eternity will be reserved for God, through Christ, in the power of the Holy Ghost. We must ask, then, why spirit-children of the Father worship Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who are themselves other spirit-children who progressed into gods. If it occurs today, why wouldn’t it logically occur in the future? (200-201f52).
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An Interview with Dr. Andrew Jackson, author of “Mormonism Explained”

The Christian Manifesto recently had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jackson about his upcoming book.

First of all, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with us, Dr. Jackson. I know I said I would call a little later, but class got out earlier than expected. Is this a good time?

It’s no problem. Really. Actually, this is a great time.

I guess we’ll dive right into our questions here, then.

Fire away.

Your new book is titled, Mormonism Explained: What Latter-Day Saints Teach and Practice. Why this subject and why now?

Well, I am one of the pastors at an Evangelical nondenominational church in Mesa, Arizona, a city that was originally founded by the Mormons. One block down from our church is the Arizona [Mormon] Temple. The area still has a very strong Mormon culture; it is very much a part of our social fabric here.

Because of that, it has led me to teach quite a few seminars in the surrounding area called “Mormonism Explained.” Many Christians have no idea what Mormons teach or believe and the seminars were a way of communicating that and fielding questions and reconciling misconceptions. Eventually, Crossway [Books] approached me about adapting the seminar into book form.

The timing also seems correct right now because of Mitt Romney’s bid for president. It has put Mormonism front-and-center for a lot of people and there is a lot of confusion as to what they believe.

That’s really interesting. How did you go about researching for Mormonism Explained?
(Laughs)

It was a challenge really. Once you get into the question of “What is Mormon orthodoxy?” and “Who can explain Mormon orthodoxy in a systematic way?” is very difficult to find. I found that Mormon missionaries tended to be some of the worst sources for finding out about Mormon beliefs. The same went for Mormon bishops. I ended up contacting and working with Dr. Steven Robinson, Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University as one of my scholarly sources. One of the problems he cited with many missionaries and bishops is that they have no theological training in Mormonism itself. A lot of them, especially the bishops, don’t actually work for the church. They have full-time work outside the church. Accordingly, when you question them about Mormon orthodoxy, you’re not likely to get a very good answer.

So, I ended up leaning on Steven Robinson, Robert Millet, a few of the new Mormon scholars who have been interacting with evangelicals as of late, and the writings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young for source material. I found that there are really two streams of Mormonism, which I explain a little in my book.

What are some of the distinctive features of Mormonism? Are Mormons Christians or do they diverge from Christian orthodoxy?

Of course, Mormonism arose in New York because that’s where Joseph Smith was from. But, it also arose during a time of the revival and restoration movements that were sweeping across the US. In that respect, Mormonism definitely emerged out of a Christian culture. However, Joseph Smith really did create his own thing, excluding himself very early on from accepted Christian orthodoxy.
According to Mormon teaching, Smith received his first vision at the age of fourteen—all of Mormonism is based on this visitation. Mormonism is also regarded as an exclusive movement outside of historical Christianity. This is partially due to the fact Smith believed there was a strong apostasy movement that started as early as the time of the writing of the New Testament documents. Thus, in Smith’s view, even the church that arose out of this time emerged apostate. Mormons believe that Smith was told in his vision to restore the church and now, at their core Mormons believe they are the true and only church on earth.

So, it’s almost like the Catholic teaching that they are the only church that holds the fullness of the Gospel?

I would say that it goes even deeper than that. They believe they’re the only church on earth. Everyone else is apostate.

Do you feel your work is more of an academic endeavor (i.e. more of a textbook) or that the average Christian ought to sit and read your book?

I wrote in a way that the average Christian can read it, but it is heavily footnoted. So, while it’s accessible, if you want to go deeper and check out some of the resources, you have that option, too.
So, what is it you hope people will get out of Mormonism Explained? Who is it written for?

My main purpose is really [to be] educational. A lot of Christians don’t know what Mormons systematically teach. So, I’m really hoping to present something that will introduce them to what Mormons believe. Mormonism Explained isn’t as apologetic as many Christian books about Mormonism. This is more of an explanation of belief than anything else. To often little pieces are presented here or there. I’m trying to present a more comprehensive introduction to the topic.

Though, at various points throughout the book I contrast the teachings of Mormonism with Christian orthodoxy. So, while the primary audience will likely be Christians, I’m hoping that a Mormon or nonbeliever can pick it up and learn something.

You’re hoping Mormons will pick your book up, too?

Yes. I have relationships with a number of Mormons and I hope they read it.

So, a Mormon picks up a copy of Mormonism Explained. Do you think they view it more like a Christian views Dawkins’ The God Delusion, or do they think you handled their beliefs with integrity, whether they agree with your final conclusions or not?

That was actually a concern I had from the beginning. When I first started to write about this subject I contacted an organization called F.A.I.R., a Mormon apologetic organization, and got about 20 or so people from that network to dialogue with me about the topic. That helped to keep things balanced.

So, I think a Mormon reading my book will find it to be very fair and very well-documented. I tried not to follow too many rabbit holes looking for obscure quotes and references to discredit Mormonism. I just tried to show it as it is.

One last question. And we have to ask it. Mitt Romney is running for US President and is open about the fact he is a Mormon. Many Americans have expressed fears about having a Mormon in the White House? Would having a Mormon in the White House, in your opinion, be any different than having a Catholic or a Baptist?

I do believe there is a distinction, between someone running [for president] as a person with Orthodox Christian beliefs and someone running as a Mormon, not that I would fear it. A concern would be that it would give an obvious platform to the Mormon Church. In actuality, it already has. They wouldn’t necessarily control a Mormon president, but the LDS Church would definitely use a Mormon president [to their advantage]. It would help enhance the reality of the Mormon Church in the eyes of the American populace.

Thanks so much for your time, Dr. Jackson. We look forward to reading your book when it releases in March.

No problem. It was great talking with you, too.

http://thechristianmanifesto.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/an-interview-with-dr-andrew-jackson-author-of-mormonism-explained/ 

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8 Characteristics of a Counterfeit Christian Church
By Eric Johnson

With the leaders of thousands of different religions and churches attempting to make their beliefs appear authentic, it behooves a person to carefully ascertain truth from error. In fact, many leaders of these faiths may call themselves “Christian” and even attempt to convert Christians into their churches.

After all, Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” This is why John warned the believers in 1 John 4:1 to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:21 adds, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 23:27 that they were “like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” How can we tell whether or not a particular religious leader (like the Pharisees) ought to be believed, especially when such a person may appear authentic and even claim to be Christian? Let’s then consider eight basic doctrinal characteristics of counterfeit groups.

1. Denial in the true nature of God
The rejection of fundamental Christian tenets such as the historical definition of God should be a major warning sign to any perceptive believer. Groups that deny the Christian viewpoint of the deity of Christ and the Trinity typically follow in point-by-point succession each of the other characteristics in this article. One example is The Way International, a group founded by Victor Paul Wierwille, (He once served as a former evangelical pastor. In fact, several cult leaders had their start in authentic Christian denominations and churches.) Wierwille’s view of God is Unitarian rather than Trinitarian as he denies that there are three persons in the Godhead. He also claims that Jesus was not God, teaching that the deity of Christ was not a Christian teaching for the Christian church’s first 300 years. This is a common (though false) assertion of many cult leaders. Because Wierwille and his church deny the very essence of what makes God who He is, this is a group to avoid.

2. Works-emphasis salvation
Although a counterfeit’s doctrine may include the idea that God’s grace is important in the role of salvation, the leader normally emphasizes the idea that “salvation” ultimately comes through one’s own efforts. Take the Hare Krishna devotees, for instance. These dedicated followers believe that they are in the middle stage of their reincarnation cycle. The way for a dedicated devotee to be born into the next level of existence is to deny himself on this earth while performing good works, including the repetition of the Hare Krishna mantra a total of 1,728 times a day. It may take a devotee who wakes up at 4 A.M. several hours a day to maintain this goal. Those who belong to such work-oriented groups are normally told that they can never know if their works are good enough to please God; instead, they are told to keep trying even harder.

3. The true church
Counterfeit Christian churches often make it a point to cast doubt and suspicion on other churches or denominations, with the leader oftentimes claiming that only his church is true. While many groups hold that the Christian churches do have partial truth, it is taught that full truth has somehow been lost and can now only be found in the “one true church.” This may involve utilizing Christian terminology while having a different meaning behind those particular words. An example is the Watchtower Society, also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This group, founded by Charles Taze Russell in the 19th century, teaches that those who belong to any church outside of “Jehovah’s” church are doomed to annihilation. Only those who belong to the Watchtower organization have a chance to attain “Paradise Earth.” This is why Jehovah’s Witnesses are adamant in sharing their faith door to door, even attempting to convert those who already attend Christian churches. The Jehovah’s Witnesses will often use words that sound reasonable to a nominal Christian (i.e. “Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses,” “salvation,” “Jesus Christ,” etc), but they are usually reluctant to tell potential converts that the meanings behind these words are completely different than what has been historically meant.

4. Authoritative leadership
A group where the leader(s) has an authoritative role, even to the extent that they say they speak for God, is another cause for concern. Such leaders claim to have special revelation with God, and their words hold special precedence over their followers. A classic example is Jim Jones, who led almost 1,000 followers to their deaths in the jungle of Guyana in 1978. When men in his charge killed Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA), a congressman who was visiting “Jonestown” in response to complaints from the relatives of church members, Jones called for his followers to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. The majority of the people willingly followed his commands because they had come to accept his words as truthful and from God. Those who refused were shot. Trusting someone so much that you listen to any command, even to the point of moving to another country and then taking your own life, is something that God never intended.

5. Regimented giving requirement
Another heretical trait is when a church regulates the giving of its people or requires a certain amount of financial giving in order to receive certain privileges related to salvation. For example, the Church of Scientology teaches that people need to discover their true nature through a process called “auditing.” This is accomplished by “clearing Engrams” from one’s life. One Los Angeles Times article on Scientology religion estimated that it would cost a full “Operating Thetan 8” participant between $200,000 to $400,000 from the beginning of the lessons to the completion. Without these courses, the adherent is unable to clear himself of these unwanted “Engrams.” Using finances as a requirement to reach salvation goals is much different than what Jesus, Paul, and Peter preached.

6. Loss of salvation for leaving
Many counterfeit Christian churches insist that if a member decides to leave the group, for whatever reason, they jeopardize their salvation before God. One group with such a belief is the Boston Church of Christ, also known as the International Churches of Christ. The leaders of the ICC teach that there should only be one church in any particular city, which they say is the New Testament model. Members who decide to leave are considered spiritually lost and their salvation is considered negated. This is true even for those who leave because they decide to attend a Christian church outside the ICC network. Since the ICC does not recognize the baptisms of other denominations, and since the doctrine of baptism is considered a necessity in order to receive salvation, leaving the ICC negates the baptism that was given when the person joined the church. Holding a person’s salvation hostage in such a way is certainly not biblical.

7. Authority beyond the Bible
Although the Bible is sometimes utilized and even considered beneficial by a number of counterfeit groups, it is not considered as a completely authoritative scripture. Therefore, extrabiblical writings are necessary. Normally these scriptures are considered to have more authority than the dated Bible. The Christian Science religion is one example. Those who inquire into this religion are told that Mary Baker Eddy’s 1875 pantheistic book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is a “reference book for life,” which is needed by a person who hopes to discover “practical, spiritual answers for health and healing, security, and lasting relationships.” This book must be studied in order to ascertain full truth. When the Bible contradicts Eddy’s book, then the Bible is considered to be wrong or misunderstood.

8. Unique truths never before revealed
The idea that a hidden mystery or new truth is available through a particular church should be taken as a strong sign that this group is a counterfeit Christian religion. In addition, many such groups may change their doctrines over time. Christians believe that God has very clearly shown His truth through the pages of the Bible; therefore, new or fluctuating doctrine—especially that which contradicts the Bible—ought to be taken with a great deal of caution. The Unification Church (numerous front names include “Association of Families for Unification and World Peace” or “Family Federation for World Peace and Unification”) was founded by Korean “Rev.” Sun Myung Moon. He teaches that Jesus never fulfilled his mission. Therefore, Moon says that he was commissioned to finish the job that Jesus never finished. Moon’s followers (often known as “Moonies”) accept Moon as a Christ-like representative on earth whose teachings supersede the Bible. The Unification Church theology has evolved over time, and there may be some drastic changes once he dies in the very near future.

Conclusion
Not all counterfeits may be characterized by every one of these traits. However, a person should be cautious when considering a church that is marked by one or two of these characteristics, especially any of the first three in the list. Churches with three or more of the above characteristics ought to be avoided at all cost. In addition, there are some Christian churches that may not have doctrinal problems but are rather sociological abusers. For instance, some churches have controlling “discipleship” programs or church memberships with high levels of guilt or feelings of inadequacy. These types of groups also ought to be avoided. If you believe that your church has problems in either doctrinal or sociological areas, you would be wise not to get involved. If you are already a member, you need to consider leaving. As John 8:32-33 says, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

http://www.mrm.org/topics/introductory-issues/8-characteristics-a-counterfeit-christian-church

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JOSEPH SMITH’S FIRST VISION AND THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING IT

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Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. It was the parting of the curtain to open this, the dispensation of the fulness [sic] of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by, is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and his Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life. (Quote from LDS President Hinckley, at the world-wide General Conference on October 4, 1998 by the Church News, October 10, 1998, page 17.)

Contrary to the above statement, a study of the history of the early years of the LDS church reveals that during the first twelve years of their existence nobody knew anything at all about what is now known as “the official version” of the first vision, where God had supposedly talked with Joseph Smith. Instead Mormons were told that Joseph Smith’s first vision concerned an angel and the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. For that reason their focus was on the Book of Mormon. The “Messenger and Advocate,” the principle LDS publication during that period, never mentioned a first vision from God the Father and his Son.

There are presently nine known different versions of Joseph Smith’s first vision. And these are not minor variations of the same basic story that could be explained away. They are different stories. The differences include his age at the time, where he was when he had the vision, how many beings he saw, whether they were angels or deity, and what was actually said to him. Moreover, one of the versions that was written in his own handwriting contradicts the official version featured in the Pearl of Great Price. Evidence reveals that he changed his story radically each time he retold it, until it finally evolved to what the LDS now calls the “official version.”

The fact that he couldn’t stick to the same basic story indicates that he wasn’t telling the truth. If he’d genuinely had this incredible vision, it would have been indelibly printed on his mind. For instance, he wouldn’t have been confused as to whether it was a single angel who had appeared to him or whether both God the Father and His Son had appeared to him together, and so on. Nor would he have been confused as to whether he’d had the vision in his bedroom or in a grove.

Although some of the earlier versions of his first vision were known by the early LDS church, Mormon literature reveals that up until 1838, eighteen years after the event was supposed to have taken place, not a single soul had heard of the official version that they believe in today. It was news to everyone. Not even Smith’s own family had heard of it. We know that the story he told his mother bore little resemblance to it.

Most Mormons are unaware of the fact that for the first twelve years of their church’s existence, i.e. right up until twenty-two years after his supposed first vision, Joseph Smith led the LDS in the worship of the trinitarian deity. Then on the strength of his newly revealed vision (that was supposed to have happened twenty-two years before), he persuaded them to abandon his previous teachings in favour of his revolutionary, man-centred doctrine of eternal progression, that described God as being a man of flesh and bone, who had once needed salvation from sin. His latest version of the controversial vision fitted his new doctrines as if it had been tailor-made for them. But, as previously mentioned, it is invalidated by an earlier, completely different story, recorded in his own handwriting.

In the official version of his first vision Smith says that he’d had no idea that all of the religious sects were wrong. But in the earlier version written in his own handwriting in 1832, he maintained that he’d been an avid reader of the Bible from the age of twelve, and that by the time he’d reached fifteen years of age he’d come to understand, solely through his own studies of the scriptures, that all the Christian denominations were wrong. Furthermore, he only mentioned one being appearing to him, who identified Himself as the Lord who was crucified, in other words, Christ. (c/f “The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith” by Dean C. Jessee, Salt Lake Deseret Books, page 14).

His mother traces the origin of Mormonism to a visit to his bedroom by an angel, who told him that none of the churches were true. (First draft of Lucy Smith’s History, page 46, LDS Church Archives).

Yet another differing version was published in 1834-35 in the periodical, “Latter-day Saints Messenger and Advocate,” Volume 1, pages 42, and 78-79, that was written by his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, assisted by Joseph Smith. This indicates that Smith had dictated it to Cowdery as he wrote it down, which was the way they had worked. It tells of a revival in 1823 that caused the then 17 year old Joseph to become concerned about religion. He wanted to know for himself the certainty and reality of pure and holy religion and prayed that if a supreme being did exist, he would have an assurance of being accepted by him and a manifestation that his sins were forgiven. He said it was then that he had his “first vision,” when an angel appeared to him in his bedroom to tell him that his sins were forgiven. But this account has nothing in common with the official version.

JOSEPH SMITH, THE MAN

It is a well recorded fact that Joseph Smith came from a family of occultists and that he was deeply involved in both the occult and spiritism. He was a persuasive orator and was also a known confidence trickster. Before his LDS days he would convince his victims that for a cash consideration he would be able to divine the whereabouts of hidden treasure through the use of an occultic peep stone. But the hidden treasure never ever materialized.

Because of complaints about his fraudulent activities he was formally charged and found guilty in a court of law. The relevant court records are still in existence. There are also affidavits that confirm his dubious ways of earning a living, as well as his involvement in the occult. The LDS’s excuses that these records are all counterfeits, and that everybody keeps on making up lies about their prophet and founder because the true church is always persecuted, just do not hold water.

THE METHODIST CHURCH

In his official version of his first vision, Joseph Smith maintains that he was persecuted by all the churches in his area because of his claim to have had this vision. However, Orsemus Turner, an apprentice printer in Palmyra until 1822, had belonged to the same juvenile debating club that Smith had frequented. He recalled that “after catching a spark of Methodism, Joseph became a very passable exhorter in evening meetings” (History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham’s Purchase, 1851, page 214).

Furthermore, in June, 1828, eight years after he had maintained that God had told him in this first vision that he should not join any of the churches because they were all wrong and that their teachings were an abomination in His sight, he nevertheless joined the probationary class of the Methodist Church.

At this stage the subject of his bad reputation was raised by one of the church members. The Minister had a talk to him, pointing out that his questionable way of earning a living and his involvement in the occult were contrary to what the church stood for. Nevertheless they were prepared to keep him in membership provided he confessed his misdemeanours, repented and promised to reform. He was given the choice of either appearing before a committee to clarify his intentions, or of formally requesting that his name be removed from their membership list. He asked for his name to be taken off their list.

It is quite clear from the above that he was not persecuted by the churches of the day. Instead, the opposite was the truth. He deliberately and voluntarily separated himself from the Christian churches for the sole reason that he was unwilling to give up the unethical type of lifestyle to which he was so strongly drawn.

Smith’s participation in their mid week evening meetings and his joining the Methodist church utterly destroys the validity of his so-called first vision that he claimed to have had eight years previously. Furthermore, it leaves us with the firm conviction that his story of having had a vision was just another one of his many deceptions.

As a matter of interest, he never did give up his old practices. It is common knowledge that he used the same occultic seer stone that he had used in his treasure seeking scams to enable himself to write the Book of Mormon, as well as to receive so-called “revelations from God” during the time that he was leading the church. Furthermore, when he died he had an occultic talisman coin in his pocket, which was claimed by his mother as he’d always carried it on his person and she wanted to keep it in remembrance of him.

Mormons need to bear in mind that the Bible groups the occult in the same category as witchcraft, spiritism and idolatry, as they are all influenced by deceiving spirits.

PERSECUTION

The following is an extract from Smith’s History in the Pearl of Great Price, written approximately twenty years or so after the supposed events:
“I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects, all united to persecute me.” Joseph Smith – History 1:22).

Common sense tells us that if a mere boy had been persecuted as bitterly as he claims he had been for having had a vision from God, the local newspapers would have made some mention of it at the time. It’s the sort of thing that the press thrives upon. But there is no record anywhere, not even in Mormon publications, either of this supposed vision or of any persecution arising because of it. Nor is there any evidence whatsoever that Smith had ever related the official version of his first vision to anyone at all, not even to his nearest and dearest.

The LDS publications, “Dialogue,” Autumn 1966, pages 30-31 and “Saints’ Herald,” June 29, 1959, page 21 both confirm that there had been no knowledge of the official version of his first vision until eighteen years later. Furthermore, pages 30-34 of “Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought,” Autumn 1966, reveal that the general church membership did not receive any information about it until the 1840’s, a full twenty years after the supposed event.

LDS STATEMENTS ABOUT THE FIRST VISION

Mormon Apostle Hugh B. Brown declared:
“The First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith constitutes the groundwork of the Church which was later organized. If this First Vision was but a figment of Joseph Smith’s imagination, then the Mormon Church is what its detractors declare it to be — a wicked and deliberate imposture” (“The Abundant Life,” pages 310-311). (Italics inserted by author.)

LDS Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith stated:
“Mormonism as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an imposter cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures. ” (LDS Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, 1954, page 188. (The author’s italics)

But Joseph Smith’s many, varying versions of his first vision are filled with contradictions and his doctrines do not stand up to the light of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Furthermore, Mormonism itself is full of contradictions, i.e. the Book of Mormon contradicts Smith’s revelations in Doctrine and Covenants, as well as the Pearl of Great Price, and they all contradict the Bible. Also, Smith taught Mormons to worship two different Gods at different periods in their history. They worshipped the eternal spirit God of the trinitarian deity for the first twelve years, yet today they ridicule that teaching and worship an exclusively Mormon God of flesh and bone, who was once a sinner. If that isn’t a contradiction, then what is it? Furthermore, Smith’s Book of Abraham has been unanimously declared to be fraudulent by every Egyptologists who has examined it. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. How much more evidence is necessary?

The following links will take you to articles discussing Joseph Smith’s false prophecies, the various Gods worshipped by the LDS during their early history, and his fraudulent “Book of Abraham”:

Joseph Smith, the Latter-day False Prophet

The Mormon Gods, Past and Present

The Book of Abraham and its Rejection by Egyptologists

Copyright 2007, by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

http://www.bibtruth.com/1vis.html

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OUR EXPERIENCES WITH KENNETH COPELAND by Tom Killingsworth  @ exwordoffaith.blogspot.com

I would have left the Word of Faith on the basis of that denomination’s Gnosticism and the abuses of the Prosperity Gospel. But I would have parted peacefully. The abuses of human beings that I saw at the hands of leaders in the Word of Faith, particularly Kenneth Copeland, his daughter Terri Pearsons, and other leaders at Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) and Eagle Mountain International Church (EMIC) are the reasons that I am blogging all this. Copeland needs to be exposed as a tyrant and a fraud!

Let me tell you what happened and you can judge for yourself.

My wife and I had been followers of Kenneth Copeland since 1990. We believed everything he said. While not members of Eagle Mountain International Church (the church affiliated with KCM and pastored by Copeland’s son in law), we did go there. We always wanted to work for KCM, and in August of 2003, we both got our chance. We were so excited! This was the opportunity of a lifetiime — to be able to help Brother Copeland put legs to his vision and help expand the Kingdom of God!

Yeah. We were in for a rude awakening! It was one thing to see KCM and EMIC from the outside. It was quite another to be insiders.

What we saw was nothing short of spiritual abuse and Shepherding. Remember, in a previous article, I mentioned two separate sources that prove that Kenneth Copeland married the Word of Faith with Shepherding. Keep that in mind as you read our experiences.

While I was at KCM, a nationally famous minister came in to encourage us at one of our staff “chapels.” He said “Don’t ask questions. Just do what you’re told. If you ask questions, then you aren’t in faith.” If we were going to do our job, didn’t we need to know what we were doing, and didn’t that mean we had to ask questions? This was nothing less than Shepherding, a restatement of “Don’t touch the anointed!”

A friend of mine who attended EMIC, began to become concerned about the direction the church was headed. It seemed all he heard were sermons on prosperity. So, he wrote the pastor a letter outlining his concerns. The next week, the pastor stood up and held up my friend’s letter and said “I have received a letter from a member outlining some concerns with our church. These are legitimate concerns and questions and I want to answer them. So, next week, I will answer this letter, question by question.”

The following week, the senior pastor remained seated, in a very submissive manner. His wife, Terri Pearsons, the senior associate pastor and Copeland’s daughter, stood up and took the microphone. In front of a congregation of 3,500 people, she said “Some of you have questioned what is taught in this church. If you don’t like it, I suggest you go find another church that you can more easily manipulate, because it won’t happen here.” My friend said that his blood ran cold because he knew the pastor’s wife was talking about him. Then the pastor’s wife led the congregation in an oath of allegiance to the pastor. I was there that day. I refused to take the oath, and I never returned after that Sunday. Oddly enough, KCM did not have a job requirement commanding employees to be members of EMIC, so we left and went elsewhere. An oath of allegiance? Total obedience to the pastor is a concept of Shepherding. I no longer ask myself why this woman said what she said. If Shepherding is a part of the official doctrine of KCM/EMIC, then she was just doing what she thought she was supposed to do.

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That was not the only occasion, either. We later learned that the pastor’s wife also publicly humiliated and eviscerated the head of the greeter department, simply because the head greeter refused to require all her ladies to wear dresses, and allowed a few to wear pants suits. In other words, the pastor’s wife, a member of the Copeland family, enacted the Shepherding practice of telling someone how to dress.

I have a friend who worked at KCM at the same time I did. While she worked there, her mother “came out of the closet” and declared herself to be a lesbian. A coworker took my friend aside and said that her mother couldn’t be her family anymore because she was going to Hell. Her coworkers were her family now. This cut my friend to her core! I don’t know the motivations of the woman who said this to my friend, but the end result was spiritual abuse. This is a sign of Shepherding, a belief that they have the right to tell us who our friends and family ought to be.

During my tenure at that ministry, I experienced quite a bit of indirect Shepherding. I say indirect, because these were rules that were hinted at, not given to me directly in writing or as a verbal warning. The appearance of what was appropriate was more important to leadership than our spiritual walk with God. So I knew I had to wear a mask of correct behavior and not admit to liking things that were frowned upon by the Copeland family (in my case, comic books, science fiction stories, unbridled sex for pleasure with my wife, and the theological works of non-Charismatic ministers). If any of us employees did mention these “unspeakables” in public, it was not uncommon for us to be silenced and told that if management found out, we could be fired. It grew wearying after a while, and I felt dehumanized after working there for four months. I was told that it was a great honor to work at that ministry, yet I felt totally dishonored as a person.

Shortly before my wife left KCM, it imposed a gag order. In a rather stridently written memo, management said that employees were not to talk to anyone, including family members, because they never knew who they would be talking to. That person could be a news reporter. I should think that an employee would know if his or her spouse or child is a reporter! This memo did nothing to help build marriages and strong families. Instead, if taken literally, it would build suspicion, distrust and paranoia within the families of employees. I’m sorry, but to me, this is Shepherding; management by fear and coercion, putting loyalty to the church above loyalty to family.

Parties are meant to be fun, to be celebrations of accomplishment, a holiday season, or just for the heck of it. But it is difficult to celebrate when your invitation to the party pretty much says “you are required to attend, required to have fun, and if you don’t, you will be fired.” While not putting it in exactly those terms, we knew that when the ministry invited its employees to a party, that if we valued our jobs, we should go. This is not just a rhetorical reading of the memo, either. Another friend of mine who worked at that ministry, decided to not attend the Christmas party one year. They were serving barbeque beef, something he doesn’t care for, so he went off site for a sandwich. When he returned, he was hauled into his supervisor’s office, given a written reprimand, and told me that the only reason he wasn’t fired was that he was too good at his job. His supervisor told him that when the ministry invites you to a party, it is a high honor and privilege so he better go!

Invitations to special conventions and teaching engagements were treated the same way. Like it or not, we knew we had to go, or lose our jobs.

That kind of action did nothing to enhance our spirituality or walk with God. If anything, that kind of action tore it down.

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Are some Christians practicing Witches Unaware? Prosperity Gospel to blame for economic woes? 

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I was a licensed Word of Faith minister for several years, and during that time I had a friend who was a pastor at EMIC. At one time, we were very close. But when I became a minister, things changed. He began to take it upon himself to mentor me, without my permission. At the time, I had a ministry to Goths, and he would tell me to teach prosperity to the Goths, tell them to stop wearing black, tell them to stop reading poetry, and go get jobs in the corporate world. I was trying to reconcile Goths to Jesus; if I had done what he said, I would have alienated them further. When I didn’t do what he said, he called me rebellious. Uh … I was licensed by a totally different church, so he was not part of my ecclesiastical chain of command, so how could I be rebelling? When I found out that KCM/EMIC was merged with Shepherding, I saw his actions for what they were – part of the theological platform that made up his job.

I left KCM as part of a massive layoff in 2004. My wife was fired in late 2007 … for posting a photo of her Halloween costume online. Before you go and scream at us for celebrating Halloween, I have to point out that she and I are old theatre people and take any opportunity to put on costumes. To us, it’s a reason to “dress up.” If we could do it in April and July, we would. We weren’t engaging in any sorcery or fright fests. Yet, a Halloween costume photo, on my wife’s personal blog, was a reason for this ministry to fire her. They were actually looking for a reason to fire her; her opposition to the Prosperity Gospel was becoming well known. My wife did something that was against the written and spoken doctrines of the church. Shepherding allows no independent thought or feelings by congregation members.

As soon as my wife was fired, I began to be stalked on my Xanga blog by employees of KCM. As many as 50 anonymous “footprints” (ISP addresses) would appear on my blog daily. Through Xanga’s footprint tracking system, I could easily tell that they originiated inside KCM. This lasted from mid-October, 2007 until early 2008. I guess they grew weary of me after I made my blog private. Stalking of ex-members is a Shepherding technique. I was perceived as a threat and had to be monitored.

Six friends left me. Two were very close, and I considered them to be two of my best friends. These friends left me, not just because of a theological dispute, but because they chose loyalty to the doctrines of men and to EMIC over loyalty to a human being. This was shunning in action.

The day after my wife was fired, several of our friends who worked at KCM at the time were hauled into their superiors’ offices and grilled about their connection with my wife and me. They were told that KCM had checked out their background thoroughly … one can only ponder what THAT meant! Most were given a “clean bill of health.” Two of these friends had restrictions placed on them by the pastors of EMIC, preventing them from having any future contact with us. I did not hear what the consequences would be if they ever ran into us in Wal-Mart. Shepherdists dare to tread only where our mothers did … in believing that they have the right to tell people who their friends will be. Some people are gullible enough to believe they have to obey.

Since our departure from KCM and the Word of Faith, we have found out more about Kenneth Copeland and his true nature. The way he is behaving is so much like a Shepherding preacher, or a cult leader, that I can’t tell the difference.

First, Senator Grassley launched an investigation into six televangelists. I’ve read the questions Grassley sent them. The questions to Copeland are the most extensive and the most damning. To read them yourself, click here.  Why did Copeland use a church owned airplane to fly to Colorado on a vacation? Why is there a for-profit cattle company operating on ministry land? What happened to the funds donated for investment in the Revival Capital of the World theme park, which shows no signs of being built? These are legitimate questions, and Grassley would not be investigating if there were not some evidence of wrong doing by Copeland. Did Copeland answer Grassley? No. He refused. What he sent as an answer to the Senator was a mere pie chart, their IRS statement, and the address to the IRS. In other words, KCM gives the appareance of having much to hide. If they had nothing to hide, then why not tell all to the Senator? Maybe that’s why KCM erected a wrought iron fence, complete with lockable gates, around the ministry property … to keep IRS and ATF agents out. They place does look more and more like the Branch Davidian compound.

Following an impromptu interview by a local reporter, Copeland attended what was supposed to be the dedication ceremony for KCM’s new Partner Services Building. Instead of reading the Bible or praying, Copeland spent half an hour blasting the reporter and calling him names. Gloria Copeland had to publicly remind him that he was there to pray for the building.

Two friends of mine, who are also ex-KCM employees, and now ex Word of Faith, agreed to be interviewed for a news broadcast in which they pretty much called Copeland a liar. The day after the local news broadcast (to read the transcript, click here;  to see the actual broadcast, click here), which was also two days after Senator Grassley launched his investigation into KCM, Copeland convened a “chapel,” which is more of a business propaganda meeting than any spiritual event. During the “chapel,” Terri Pearsons called Grassley, the local news reporter, and my two friends, Nazis and possessed of the anti-christ. Her rant was published on the KCM website, and everyone that I know who saw it all said the same thing; “She’s demon possessed!” The hatred and terror at someone catching her father’s hand in the cookie jar was palpable.To see her rant for yourself, click here.

In late November, Copeland had presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on the Believer’s Voice of Victory broadcast, giving a politician a week’s worth of free publicity. This is from a man who demands that Senator Grassley respect the separation of church and state, but is unwilling to recognize that same separation where an Evangelical candidate is concerned. That was just blatant hypocrisy. To see them for yourself, click here. You won’t have to scroll down very far. The dates are November 26 – 30, 2007.

It gets better!

Copeland revealed his true colors at his Ministers Conference, held January 22 through 24, 2008, at EMIC. He didn’t appear as a Shepherdist, but he did use the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper.

First, he turned the conference into a fund raiser for Huckabee. It was supposed to be a conference for ministers and by ministers. Instead, he turned it into a political platform, raising $111,000 in cash for Huckabee, and a million dollars in pledges. Oh, sure, the KCM spin doctors are saying Copeland did everything right. They say that Copeland never endorsed Huckabee, and that he dismissed the conference (early), and said that if anyone wanted to come back, they could. So, it was a private meeting. They also say that Copeland rented a room at EMIC to Huckabee, and that the fundraising happened there. The KCM spin masters say that EMIC has a tradition of renting rooms to ministers at the conference. Well … my wife was responsible for the Ministers Conference from 2004 through 2007, and began to set up for 2008. She told me that at no time did Copeland, KCM or EMIC rent rooms to anyone, especially during the Ministers Conference. The conference is tightly controlled, and KCM does not want a lesser known party trying to sell books behind the scenes. So, the publicly stated habit of renting rooms is a bold faced lie! This is total political pandering, using a religious meeting to garner money for a political candidate, and a violation of the U.S. Constitution. If this fund raising had happened in a hotel room after the conference, there would be no problem. But it happened inside a church, during the dates set for a ministers’ conference. That is a total violation of the separation of church and state. To read one news article on this, click here.

As if that wasn’t enough, during the Ministers’ Conference, Copeland declared war on the U.S. Senate. First, he said that his reply to Senator Grassley was “a six page lesson in ‘no!’,” meaning Copeland didn’t reply to Grassley’s request for information. Copeland said that the ministry’s finances belonged to God and that Grassley had no business looking at them. Furthermore, Copeland said that he could tell Grassley the truth, but wouldn’t, because Grassley didn’t know the truth. Finally, Copeland dared Grassley to subpoena him, throw him in jail, or execute him. That is sheer arrogance, and total hypocrisy from a man who for decades has preached patriotism and obedience to Romans 13:1-7. The website, Wittenburgdoor.com, has posted clips from Copeland’s rant. To see them for yourself, click here.

Now, CBS Evening News thinks Copeland has gone too far and has accused him of fraud, finding two more ex-employees who spoke out about their former boss. To see CBS’ video, click here.

So … Kenneth Copeland. Preacher of the Gospel, or Shepherdist madman? You decide.

Some of you may not like what I said about Copeland. You know what? I don’t care! What I wrote is the truth. I suffered much abuse from the hands of this man, and I owe it to Jesus to expose the apostasy in KCM. I do not want revenge, but like any rape victim, I do want to see justice and see the rapist go to prison. So does God.

You have to decide what the truth is for yourself. If you can continue to follow Kenneth Copeland with a clear conscience, then please do so. But I cannot. My conscience demands that I stand up, say something, and oppose what I see as a Gnostic-Shepherding preacher who is leading many sheep into destruction.

http://exwordoffaith.blogspot.com/2008/02/our-experiences-with-kenneth-copeland.html

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AUDIO SERMON: 

What Mormons won’t tell you at your door

by Keith and Lorrie Macgregor of Macgregor ministries.

I got this sermon from Sermonaudio.com several years ago but it is no longer available there. So I decided to upload it to share it out and include it in this post. You can listen to the sermon by clicking the PLAY button on the gray bar above. OR you can right click this link, and “save target as” to  DOWNLOAD THE SERMON HERE

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Documentation for many of these statments can be found at www.mrm.org

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they believe your Church is wrong, your Christian creeds are abomination to God, and you pastor or Priest is a hireling of Satan.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there is salvation only in their church; and all others are wrong.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that those who have been through their temples are wearing secret underwear to protect themselves from “evil”. This “evil” includes non- Mormons like you.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU about their secret temple rites at all. If they did, you would spot them as non-Christians immediately.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they think “familiar spirits” are good, and that their Book of Mormon has a “familiar spirit”. Leviticus 19;31 says familiar spirits defile one, and are to be avoided at all costs.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that women receive salvation only through their Mormon husbands, and must remain pregnant for all eternity.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they intend to be gods themselves some day, and are helping to earn their exaltation to godhood by talking to you.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they intend to have many wives in heaven, carrying on multiple sex relations throughout eternity, until they have enough children to populate their own earth, so they can be “Heavenly Father” over their own planet!

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that you were once a spirit-child of their heavenly father, and one of his numerous wives before you were born on earth.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the Virgin Mary really wasn’t a virgin at all but had sex relations with their heavenly father to produce the Mormon version of Jesus Christ

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they believe Jesus had at least three wives and children while he was on this earth.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the “heavenly father” they ask you to pray to with them, is really an exalted man that lives on a planet near the star base Kolob, and is not the Heavenly Father of the Bible at all.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that Jesus was really Lucifer’s brother in the spirit world, and it was only due to a “heavenly council” vote that Jesus became our redeemer instead of Satan!!

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there are over one hundred divisions in Mormonism. They conveniently “forget” this while criticizing the many denominations within the body of Christ

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that all their so- called scriptures such as the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, and even their official “Mormon Doctrine” statements contradict each other on MAJOR doctrinal points. The King James Bible is likewise contradicted.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the reason the Book of Mormon has no maps is because there is not one scrap of archaeological evidence to support it!

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the state of Utah, which is predominately Mormon, has a higher than the national average of wife-beating, child abuse, and teenage suicide.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their prophet Joseph Smith was heavily involved in the occult when he founded Mormonism.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that that they encourage visitations from dead relatives from the “spirit world”, a practice forbidden in the Bible. (Deuteronomy 18:10- 12.)

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there are many accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision besides he one they present to you, and all are different

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their secret temple oaths are based on the Scottish Rite Masons.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that for years they considered the Negro race inferior, and even one drop of Negro blood prevented a person from entering their temple.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they expect Christ to return to their temple in Missouri, but they haven’t built the temple He’s supposed to return to, because they don’t own the property. (It is owned by the “Temple Lot Mormons” who have plans o of their own, and won’t let the Salt Lake City group buy it).

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they consider the Bible to be untrustworthy and full of errors.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that Jesus’ death on the cross only partially saves the believer.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that that according to Anton Lavey’s Satanic Bible, the demon god of the living dead is called “Mormo”. Is it just a coincidence that the Mormons are so concerned with the dead?

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that on their Salt Lake City Temple they prominently display an upside-down star which is a Satanic symbol known as the Goat’s head.. Why?

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they believe the Archangel Michael came down to earth with several of his celestial wives, and became Adam in the garden of Eden.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that that they believe the angel Gabriel came down to earth and became Noah in the days of the flood.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied falsely many times. For example, he foretold the second coming of Christ for 1891. The Bible teaches that one false prophecy puts a prophet under death sentence. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their Prophet Joseph Smith did not die as a martyr as they claim, but was killed during a gun battle in which he himself killed two men and wounded a third.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU about the Mountain Meadows Massacre in which they brutally murdered an innocent wagon train of settlers, of over one hundred men, women, and most of the children, traveling through Utah.

MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that Joseph Smith taught that there were inhabitants on the moon, and Brigham Young taught there were inhabitants on the sun as well! 

WHY WON’T MORMONS TELL YOU THESE THINGS?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, are well aware that if these facts were known to the convert prior to baptism, they would have very few converts! The Missionaries are well trained to keep most of these facts from their potential converts.

Tragically, many Mormons may not even be fully aware of the doctrines and history of their own church. Every statement on this tract is true. Mormons are encouraged to check out their own publications for documentation of the above. After all, if the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) has the truth, it can stand any amount of investigation.

Please do not be afraid to investigate. We are not Ex-Mormons, but Christians defending the Christian Church and its beliefs.

Excellent documentation etc. can be found in the Mormon Ministry web sites from our link page.

http://mmoutreach.org/mormon/articles/facts_mormon_wont_tell.htm

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CORRUPTION OF THE BIBLE IS AN LDS SMOKESCREEN

The LDS maintains that the Bible has been corrupted and is, therefore, unreliable. Their unsubstantiated claim is that some parts have been incorrectly translated, and that sections that had originally contained Mormon doctrines have been removed. However, they have never been able to come up with any proof to back up their allegations. The first part of this article is devoted to the evidence that supports the accuracy and reliability of the Bible. And the last section deals with the various LDS theories on the subject.

THE BIBLE’S RELIABILITY

If we have any doubts about the Bible’s truth or accuracy, we’ll read it with a jaundiced eye, and will always be wondering about the trustworthiness of some verse or the other. This will leave us open to being easily led astray by false teachers, false prophets and the like, whom the Bible warns us appear to be messengers of light:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, KJV)

When it comes to deception Satan is a master of the art, and we are no match for him. So God has provided us with spiritual armour for our protection (Ephesians 6:12-17). And part of that armour is the Word of God (verse 17). When we use the Bible as our standard of truth, it serves as a spiritual sword, capable of decimating spiritual deception and error.

When Paul preached the New Covenant gospel of Christ to the Jews at Berea, they checked in their Bibles daily to see whether the things he was telling them were true (Acts 17:10-12). And sure enough, the prophecies about the coming Messiah lined up with what Paul had been telling them about Christ and his atonement for the sins of mankind. So many of them trusted in Christ for salvation.

If we follow the example of the Bereans by conscientiously checking up on whether or not the spiritual teachings we receive line up with the Bible, we will not be led into error. But in order to have the will to do this, we need to have faith in the Bible’s reliability, bearing in mind that faith isn’t a blind, mindless belief, an emotion, or a warm feeling in our bosom, as Mormons have been taught to believe it is. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to have faith in our feelings. Feelings are notoriously unreliable. Having faith doesn’t mean that we have to be gullible or throw our brains out of the window.

The following facts reveal the Bible to be a reliable standard of authority and truth, in which we can safely trust:

THE BIBLE IS HISTORICALLY TRUE

In the early 1800’s, the University of Paris printed an academic paper denouncing the Bible. They mentioned more than eighty historical facts that they claimed were untrue. However, within the next 100 years archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the biblical record concerning every one of those so-called errors.

We have literally thousands of ancient, independent documents that support the trustworthiness of the biblical record. And archaeologists have confirmed the existence of biblical cities, nations, and individuals. They’ve also unearthed countless coins, artifacts, and evidence of civilizations and wars recorded in the Bible. Yet they’ve never found anything that has contradicted or disproved the Bible’s accuracy.

Compare this with the dismal record of absolutely no proof at all ever having been found concerning the LDS’s foremost scripture, the Book of Mormon, which they maintain is more accurate than the Bible. The evidence in favour of the Bible is overwhelming, and there is no evidence at all in favour of the Book of Mormon or of Mormon doctrine. Yet the LDS continues to throw stones both at the Bible and at biblical Christianity.

ACCURACY OF OUR COPIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Strict regulations were enforced in the copying of Old Testament scriptures. An authentic specimen had to be used, and copyists weren’t allowed to deviate from it in any way. Nothing was permitted to be written down from memory, not even a dot. If any mistakes were made, the faulty copies were either burned or buried, as was every document that showed any sign of wear. Many other precautions were also taken, some even more elaborate than these, such as the counting of every letter on each page. So it’s unlikely that errors would have crept into the copying of the Old Testament.

It doesn’t make sense to imagine for one moment that people who were so fanatically fastidious about the accuracy of their scriptures, and so in awe of them, would adulterate them or hack out great big portions of them; or allow others to do so. Those Jewish folk guarded their scriptures jealously and reverentially. Don’t forget that the primitive church was completely Jewish, and a large number of the early church consisted of converted Jews, all of whom had this very same reverence for scripture.

In 1947 an Arab shepherd boy discovered a vast quantity of ancient manuscripts in some caves, which became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. They pre-dated anything we’d previously possessed, and included portions of every Old Testament book except Esther. Many of the scrolls were in fragments, but those they have pieced together agree with our modern Bibles.

The LDS Church maintains that parts of the book of Isaiah (the sections that don’t agree with their ideas), have been incorrectly translated. But we can now prove to them that this is not so, and that it is the LDS doctrines that are incorrect, not the Bible. Amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls was a complete copy of the book of Isaiah, written in an early form of the square letter. This dates it as far back as the second century before Christ, which makes it the same rendering of Isaiah that was read and quoted by the Lord Jesus. He accepted and proclaimed it as the true Word of God. And this very ancient copy of Isaiah agrees with our modern English translations of today. So the LDS will need another excuse to explain why their teachings don’t agree with the book of Isaiah.

Furthermore, Dr. Sidney B. Sperry, the LDS’s own Brigham Young University’s Professor of Old Testament History, Literature, and Languages, wrote the following in his publication, “Progress in Archaeology”:

“After reading the [Dead Sea] Scrolls very carefully, I came to the conclusion that there is not a line in them that suggests that their writers knew the gospel as understood by Latter-day Saints.” (page 52)

ACCURACY OF OUR COPIES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

As we’ve learned more about ancient biblical languages we have been able to translate them more precisely. But this hasn’t changed the actual meaning of the content in any way.

We possess more than 3,000 New Testament manuscripts dating from the fourth century. A few of these have minor variations. However, as most of them do agree, it’s an easy matter to sort out which are the reliable texts.

Some copies of John’s writings dating from 200 AD have come to light. They agree with our Bibles. We also have the writings of the apostolic fathers and the church fathers. (The apostolic fathers were the disciples of the apostles, and the church fathers were the disciples of the apostolic fathers.) Their combined writings contain the entire New Testament, except sixteen verses, which are only the introductions to the epistles. And their versions of the New Testament scriptures agree with our modern translations. So we can rest assured that our modern New Testament is in line with the original writings.

In their book “Eyewitness to Jesus,” German and British scholars Drs. Carsten Theide and Matthew D’Ancona refer to a fragment from the Gospel of Matthew, that scientific evidence revealed was written before AD 70, possibly as early as AD 30. This means that this gospel was written and circulated during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses to the events recorded. So they would have been able to vouch for its accuracy.

Because of the overwhelming evidence available, it is unlikely that errors could have crept into our versions of either the Old or New Testaments.

THE BIBLE IS OUR STANDARD OF TRUTH

The Bible is the standard of truth provided by God to enable us to test all spiritual teachings. But once we start relying on it, Satan knows that he will have lost the battle for our souls. So he puts a great deal of effort into trying to discredit it. And he’s very subtle. Remember what he said to Eve in the garden of Eden? He insinuated that perhaps God didn’t quite mean what he’d said so she shouldn’t take it too seriously. And she believed Satan, instead of taking God at His Word. As a result both Adam and Eve lost their righteous natures, their immortality and their fellowship with their Creator.

Satan is carrying on that same campaign of disinformation today, except this time it’s against God’s written word, the Bible.

CONTRADICTORY LDS STANCE ON THE BIBLE

When it comes to the Bible, the LDS church speaks with a forked tongue. On the one hand they maintain that it is their standard scripture, “the first” among their written guides in faith and doctrine. But on the other hand, they insist that it has been so badly corrupted that it cannot be relied upon.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the Holy Bible as the foremost of her standard works, first among the books which have been proclaimed as her written guides in faith and doctrine” (LDS Apostle James Talmage, Articles of Faith, page 236).

“Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known informally by the nickname Mormons) believe the Bible. Indeed, so literally and completely do their beliefs and practices conform to the teachings of the Bible that it is not uncommon to hear informed persons say: ‘If all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons.’ Bible doctrine is Mormon doctrine, and Mormon doctrine is Bible doctrine. They are one and the same” (LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, “What The Mormons Think of Christ,” page 2).

But saying doesn’t make it so. The second quote is both false and deliberately misleading. The LDS leadership is well aware of the fact that their doctrines are not biblical. Moreover, they admit that the Jesus Christ that they follow is not the Christ of the Bible either (see the relevant article). And eternal progression, the foundational doctrine on which the LDS stands or falls, is anti-biblical to the point of being blasphemous, as are their doctrines on deity and the atonement.

Contrary to apostle McConkie’s false claims mentioned above, the Bible vigorously opposes LDS doctrines, and in order to justify this very obvious discrepancy the LDS church teaches their members that the Bible has been corrupted to the extent that it is not reliable. They are instructed to use their own scriptures and revelations as the standard against which to measure the accuracy of the Bible.

“The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.” (Church News, June 20, 1992, page 3, quoting a letter from the First Presidency [Presidents Benson, Hinckley and Monson] dated May 22, 1992, to all of the Church)

There are a great many LDS teachings on the unreliability of the Bible. Here are just a few:

“Many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Volume 1, page 245)

“Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 327).

“… who in his right mind could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?” (LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, “Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon,” Page 47.)

In light of the above, one can only assume that their earlier, dishonest statements about their teachings conforming completely to those of the Bible, were nothing more than a deliberate smoke screen designed to conceal the fact that Mormonism is an unbiblical religion and that their doctrines are exclusive to the LDS church alone.

The Book of Mormon goes one step further in the LDS tirade against the Bible. It declares that only a fool would believe that the Bible is an adequate spiritual guide. (This crude statement gives the Book of Mormon a reason for its existence.)

“Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. ……..Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.” (2 Nephi 29:6, 10)

“….. for behold they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men” (1 Nephi 13:26-27)

Mormon literature provides many more statements along the same lines, but the above sufficiently proves the point that on the one hand the LDS claims that the Bible is their foremost scripture, that they honour and respect its authority, and that their doctrine so utterly conforms to biblical teaching that if all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons. On the other hand they maintain that the Bible has been corrupted to such an extent that it can’t be trusted, that only fools would consider it to be an adequate spiritual guide, and that Mormons should use their own LDS revelations and teachings to gauge whether or not what the Bible says is correct.

The above two irreconcilable LDS stances are what some would term, “running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.” In other words, they enable the LDS to put forward whichever opposing point of view suits them best at any given time.

Let’s tackle some of the LDS’s accusations regarding their allegations about the Bible being corrupted and unreliable:

DIFFERENCES IN MANUSCRIPTS

There are minor variations in some of the available manuscripts. However, because of the vast number that are now in our possession (many thousands), it is an easy matter to sort out those that do not agree. Concerning those that do vary, scholars have come to the following conclusions.

“A careful study of the variants of the various earliest manuscripts reveals that none of them affects a single doctrine of Scripture. The system of spiritual truth contained in the standard Hebrew text of the Old Testament is not in the slightest altered or compromised by any of the variant readings found in the Hebrew manuscripts ….. It is very evident that the vast majority of them are so inconsequential as to leave the meaning of each clause doctrinally unaffected” (Gleason Archer, “A Survey of the Old Testament,” page 25).

“Only about one-eighth of all the variants had any weight, as most of them are merely mechanical matters such as spelling or style. Of the whole, then, only about one-sixtieth rise above ‘trivialities,’ or can in any sense be called substantial ‘variations’. Mathematically this would compute to a Text that is 98.33 percent pure.” (Norman Geisler and William Nix, “A General Introduction to the Bible,” page 365).

And Professor Richard L. Anderson, of the LDS’s own Brigham Young University, had this to say:
“For a book to undergo progressive uncovering of its manuscript history and come out with so little debatable in its text is a great tribute to its essential authenticity. First, no new manuscript discovery has produced serious differences in the essential story. This survey has disclosed the leading textual controversies, and together they would be well within one percent of the text. Stated differently, all manuscripts agree on the essential correctness of 99 percent of all the verses in the New Testament.”

“LOST” BOOKS

The LDS maintains that manuscripts are missing out of the canon. But there is a valid reason why not all available documents were included. Some failed to meet the strict criteria deemed necessary to qualify for inclusion.

ALLEGED CORRUPTION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

In attempting to explain why there is no mention of LDS doctrines in the Bible, LDS Apostle James E. Talmage suggested that some time during the fourth century Mormon doctrines and teachings must have been removed from the Bible.

However, besides having been recorded in the Bible, the apostles’ teachings were also quoted in numerous sermons, letters and documents. And by the time the fourth century came around these writings, as well as the biblical record, had been copied a great many times and widely circulated. So if Mormonism had been taught by the apostles there would have had to have been a record of it somewhere. But nobody, anywhere, has ever found so much as a trace of anything even remotely resembling Mormon doctrine prior to the establishment of the LDS church by Joseph Smith.

Critics of Mormonism are of the opinion that Joseph Smith used the excuse that the Bible had been corrupted as a dishonest ploy to justify the fact that the doctrines he taught were radically unbiblical.

LDS historian Hugh Nibley felt that the reason Mormon teachings weren’t mentioned in the Bible was because the original New Testament had been sabotaged before any copies had been made. But scientific evidence to the contrary discounts his theory. As already mentioned, a fragment of the gospel of Matthew was scientifically dated before AD 70 and possibly as early as in the AD 30’s. This means that it was written during the lifetime of the very people who had been witnesses to the events it mentions. And they would have objected it it hadn’t recorded the true facts correctly.

Other complete documents available are dated between about AD 70-807. At this stage in the history of the church, Christ’s original apostles would have been teaching and training those who were earmarked for leadership. And there was an extremely strict criteria laid down in the New Testament for selecting leadership. They would had to have been godly, mature, spirit filled Christians of the highest moral and spiritual calibre, whose doctrine was sound, who knew the scriptures and were capable of correcting error, and whose faith had already been tested and proved.

Furthermore, it would have been necessary for the entire Christian church, including the leadership, from every single area in the world where there had been Christians, all to have become apostate simultaneously. And at the same time as apostatising they would all have had to, once again simultaneously, reject their previous doctrines and adopt an entirely different belief system that opposed and did away with the very tenets the church had sacrificed, suffered and died for.

This idea is too far fetched to even warrant consideration.

Over all these long years that they’ve been in existence, the LDS has never ever been able to produce any evidence whatsoever, biblical, historical or archeological, that so much as suggests that either a complete apostasy of the early church or a corruption of the Bible ever took place, as they maintain they did. They have the same amount of evidence here as they have for their Book of Mormon being true, precisely nil. In fact they have never ever been able to produce any evidence that backs up any of their claims concerning their church being legitimate or that backs up their false accusations that biblical Christianity of today is not legitimate.

Surely, if either of these two claims had any substance, something would have been found by this time, to back them up.

The fact that Mormonism is an evolving religion should not be glossed over. LDS beliefs of today bear no resemblance whatsoever to their earlier beliefs. Twelve years after the establishment of the LDS church Joseph Smith introduced his new teachings on eternal progression, which brought about a complete change in their entire doctrinal system. Since then they have believed in an exclusive and unbiblical God, Christ, gospel and so on. (See the lead given at the end of this page to the article, “The Mormon Gods, Past and Present.”)

In other words, although they started off worshipping the biblical trinitarian, eternal, unchangeable, spirit God, twelve years later they changed over to the worship of a God of flesh and bone, who had once been an ordinary man.

In light of this, and their many other radical changes in doctrine, we can’t help wondering why the LDS should maintain that because the Bible doesn’t contain any of their current teachings it must have been corrupted. Do they expect the Bible to change its teachings every time they do so?

The main ingredient of truth is its consistency. It never, ever changes. So, unlike as is the case in Mormonism, the teachings of the Bible have never changed, and the Christian church of today (which the LDS accuses of being apostate) still uses exactly the same doctrines that Christ’s Apostles in the primitive church taught, adhered to and died to defend, as recorded in the Bible.

On the other hand, the LDS church has continued this pattern of changing their doctrines whenever they have deemed it convenient.

The Almighty God who created the universe, and who upholds it by His power, gave us the Bible as our standard of truth, both for our spiritual guidance and for our protection against spiritual deception. And He’s perfectly capable of safeguarding that same Bible from contamination or error. However, the LDS infers that He wasn’t able to do this, although, conversely, they insist that He is able to keep them from error.

But worshipping different Gods at different times, or for that matter, changing their other doctrines, clearly reveals that they must either have been in error prior to the changes in their doctrines or else that their present doctrines are incorrect. It would be impossible for both to be right.

If God allowed Joseph Smith, His chosen prophet, to teach doctrinal error on something as important as deity, and to lead them in the worship of the supposedly wrong God for over 12 years, why should we for one moment imagine that He doesn’t allow the LDS leadership to teach error today? And how do Mormons know that it wasn’t the second God, a glorified man, whom Joseph Smith taught them to worship, that was the wrong deity? How do they know whether or not they are guilty of the sin of idolatry?

The first link given below will take you to an article that discusses the three different Gods that have been worshipped by the LDS, each for a lengthy period of time. Quotes from LDS literature, providing irrefutable evidence that can be checked, are given. The second link leads to an article on the reliability of the Bible:

The Mormon Gods, Past and Present

The Bible and its Reliability as a Spiritual Weapon

Copyright 2007, Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

http://www.bibtruth.com/corup.html

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Anti-Mormon: The Mormon N-Word
By Bill McKeever

Speaking at its annual conference held in Detroit in July 2007, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called on the American public and the entertainment industry to stop using the “N-Word.” Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick added, “Today we’re not just burying the N-word, we’re taking it out of our spirit.” I applaud this effort, and with it I offer my own challenge to Mormons everywhere to bury their own infamous “N-word,” that being the word “anti-Mormon.”

As with the word “nigger,” the word “anti-Mormon” is meant to be nothing more than an ugly pejorative. It is usually slapped on anyone who questions or disagrees with the teachings of the LDS faith and implies that the perceived critic is somehow “against” (anti) Mormons (as individuals). I’m certainly not against Mormons; in fact, I personally feel I have something better to offer them than what they already claim to have. Technically, that makes me “pro-Mormon,” though I admit I am against Mormonism.

Far too many Mormons automatically assume that Christians who wish to challenge LDS presuppositions are somehow motivated by hate. Such an assumption seems to be borne more out of laziness on the part of the accuser rather than the result of critical thinking skills. It is easy to accuse someone of hatred; after all, that word gets a lot of mileage in our dumbed-down culture. The intellectually indolent person somehow feels no need to evaluate what has been said once he has successfully assassinated a person’s character. However, when Mormons flippantly throw down the hate card, they certainly run the risk of bearing false witness.

I would be the first to admit that this disparaging label had some real meaning during the early and mid-1800’s, but it certainly does not fit the great majority of people Mormon apologists have attached it to in modern days. Articles from LDS apologetic groups such as FAIR and FARMS (now the Neal Maxwell Institute) are peppered with this word, sometimes to the point of monotony. The irony is that while such organizations desperately want to be recognized for their “scholarship,” they fail to realize that true scholarly material tends to refrain from such ad hominem. This behavior has not gone unnoticed by those known for their thoughtful contributions to this subject. In their book Mormon America, Richard and Joan Ostling note, “The FARMS team is particularly shrill in its rhetoric, an odd pose for an organization that seeks to win intellectual respectability for the church. All too often Saints use the label ‘anti-Mormon’ as a tactic to forestall serious discussion” (p. 376).

Modern Mormons who equate questions and disagreement with persecution need to do some serious rethinking. In my opinion, Mormons who lump those who challenge the truth claims of Mormonism with the persecutions of the past actually bring dishonor to the Mormon pioneers who truly suffered. Considering what some of the early Mormons went through, I am sure they would view with contempt a modern Mormon who whines about being “persecuted” simply because someone challenged their faith.

Thankfully, some Mormon thinkers disagree with fellow members and have chosen to refrain from using this unnecessary language. They recognize that even though some folks have sharp theological disagreements with Mormonism, their purpose is not at all to bring harm to the LDS people. “Anti-Mormon” is an overused moniker that needed to be jettisoned long ago, and I call on every Mormon to bury their own “N-word,” once and for all.

http://www.mrm.org/topics/miscellaneous/anti-mormon-the-mormon-n-word

 

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Critique of The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop

by Pastor Gary J. Hall


Alexander Hislop arrives at his conclusions after carefully comparing and examining the background and teachings of the two systems, that is of ancient Babylon and the religion of the Roman Catholic Church. He actually follows three lines of investigation which includes that stated above alongside the prophesies contained in the book of Revelation.

When the comparison is made the author shows the remarkable fact that Roman Catholicism, far from being founded upon Biblical truth, is deeply rooted in and derived from pagan practices in line with Babylonian religion. Almost every part of Roman Catholic practice, worship (of Mary, saints), ritual, teachings and leadership finds its counterpart in the mystery religions of Babylon or paganism.

The influence of Babylon is traced until it reaches its climax in the Roman Empire (which adopted many of the pagan gods and worship of the nations it conquered). Roman mythology is proven to be exactly the same as that seen with Babylonian mythology (though with names and titles changed). The Holy Roman Empire under the power of the papacy continued the same mythology but disguised it with Christian terminology and symbolism. This brought into being a paganised mythical Christianity that had little semblance to Biblical Christianity.

The pope of Rome, as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, can be traced back via Roman paganism to Babylon rather than to some supposed apostolic succession. Therefore revealing that right across the board Roman Catholicism cannot be considered as a Christian Church.

He also proves beyond doubt, through the evidence presented point by point, in The Two Babylons that the Roman Catholic Church is as pagan as all the pagan religions of the past and present. Not only, on comparison, does the papacy practice almost the same things as non-Christian religions, but it fulfils exactly the prophecies relating to the Great Whore and Mother of Harlots in the book of Revelation.

As Babylon was the chief seat of idolatry and paganism in the ancient world, Imperial Rome in the New Testament world, so too is the Roman Catholic religion in the modern world before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Alexander Hislop further shows that this false church is the religion of Satan.

Infant Baptism (commonly called christening) is taught in the Roman Catholic Church as the sacrament that brings a child into church and so receives salvation. The Catholic system sees infant baptism as the point where a person is regenerated – born again, thus becoming a child of God. Without this the unbaptised infant would never be able to go to Heaven if it died.

Alexander Hislop attacks both infant baptism and baptismal regeneration since in reality they are linked together within Catholic theology. Yet his main aim is to prove that baptismal regeneration, even the version practised by some Protestant denominations, cannot be substantiated by the Word of God. He states on page 131, “The word of God knows nothing of it”. He reveals that baptism does not communicate salvation (to either infant or adult) but is a sealing of what already exists in the believer’s heart. It is by saving faith in Christ that a person is redeemed which cuts right across both infant baptism and baptismal regeneration. He is correct when he shows that the Bible only presents believers (adult) baptism.

From pages 132 onward the author proves that neither infant baptism or regenerational baptism originates with Scripture but is a product of pagan religion. The rite of baptism with its “salt, spittle, anointing oil, and sign of the cross “are all equally pagan” (page 138). Both doctrines can be found with Babylonian mythology and relate with child sacrifice to the various gods, infant baptism being simply a bloodless re-enactment of this. Rev. Hislop makes it very clear that both these teachings are absolutely pagan in nature and have no bearing on the Bible or true Christian practice. He see them as an offence to Christ and a corruption of Biblical water baptism.

http://www.lwbc.co.uk/two_babylons.htm

THE TWO BABYLONS
by Alexander Hislop
Chapter IV
Baptismal Regeneration

It is well known that regeneration by baptism is a fundamental article of Rome, yea, that it stands at the very threshold of the Roman system. So important, according to Rome, is baptism for this purpose, that, on the one hand, it is pronounced of “absolute necessity for salvation,” * insomuch that infants dying without it cannot be admitted to glory; and on the other, its virtues are so great, that it is declared in all cases infallibly to “regenerate us by a new spiritual birth, making us children of God”:–it is pronounced to be “the first door by which we enter into the fold of Jesus Christ, the first means by which we receive the grace of reconciliation with God; therefore the merits of His death are by baptism applied to our souls in so superabundant a manner, as fully to satisfy Divine justice for all demands against us, whether for original or actual sin.”

* Bishop HAY’S Sincere Christian. There are two exceptions to this statement; the case of an infidel converted in a heathen land, where it is impossible to get baptism, and the case of a martyr “baptised,” as it is called, “in his own blood”; but in all other cases, whether of young or old, the necessity is “absolute.”

Now, in both respects this doctrine is absolutely anti-Scriptural; in both it is purely Pagan. It is anti-Scriptural, for the Lord Jesus Christ has expressly declared that infants, without the slightest respect to baptism or any external ordinance whatever, are capable of admission into all the glory of the heavenly world: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” John the Baptist, while yet in his mother’s womb was so filled with joy at the advent of the Saviour, that, as soon as Mary’s salutation sounded in the ears of his own mother, the unborn babe “leaped in the womb for joy.” Had that child died at the birth, what could have excluded it from “the inheritance of the saints in light” for which it was so certainly “made meet”? Yet the Roman Catholic Bishop Hay, in defiance of very principle of God’s Word, does not hesitate to pen the following: “Question: What becomes of young children who die without baptism? Answer: If a young child were put to death for the sake of Christ, this would be to it the baptism of blood, and carry it to heaven; but except in this case, as such infants are incapable of having the desire of baptism, with the other necessary dispositions, if they are not actually baptised with water, THEY CANNOT GO TO HEAVEN.” As this doctrine never came from the Bible, whence came it? It came from heathenism. The classic reader cannot fail to remember where, and in what melancholy plight, Aeneas, when he visited the infernal regions, found the souls of unhappy infants who had died before receiving, so to speak, “the rites of the Church”:

“Before the gates the cries of babes new-born,
Whom fate had from their tender mothers torn,
Assault his ears.”

These wretched babes, to glorify the virtue and efficacy of the mystic rites of Paganism, are excluded from the Elysian Fields, the paradise of the heathen, and have among their nearest associates no better company than that of guilty suicides:

“The next in place and punishment are they
Who prodigally threw their souls away,
Fools, who, repining at their wretched state,
And loathing anxious life, suborned their fate.” *

* Virgil, DRYDEN’S translation. Between the infants and the suicides one other class is interposed, that is, those who on earth have been unjustly condemned to die. Hope is held out for these, but no hope is held out for the babes.

So much for the lack of baptism. Then as to its positive efficacy when obtained, the Papal doctrine is equally anti-Scriptural. There are professed Protestants who hold the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration; but the Word of God knows nothing of it. The Scriptural account of baptism is, not that it communicates the new birth, but that it is the appointed means of signifying and sealing that new birth where it already exists. In this respect baptism stands on the very same ground as circumcision. Now, what says God’s Word of the efficacy of circumcision? This it says, speaking of Abraham: “He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised” (Rom 4:11). Circumcision was not intended to make Abraham righteous; he was righteous already before he was circumcised. But it was intended to declare him righteous, to give him the more abundant evidence in his own consciousness of his being so. Had Abraham not been righteous before his circumcision, his circumcision could not have been a seal, could not have given confirmation to that which did not exist. So with baptism, it is “a seal of the righteousness of the faith” which the man “has before he is baptised”; for it is said, “He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Where faith exists, if it be genuine, it is the evidence of a new heart, of a regenerated nature; and it is only on the profession of that faith and regeneration in the case of an adult, that he is admitted to baptism. Even in the case of infants, who can make no profession of faith or holiness, the administration of baptism is not for the purpose of regenerating them, or making them holy, but of declaring them “holy,” in the sense of being fit for being consecrated, even in infancy, to the service of Christ, just as the whole nation of Israel, in consequence of their relation to Abraham, according to the flesh, were “holy unto the Lord.” If they were not, in that figurative sense, “holy,” they would not be fit subjects for baptism, which is the “seal” of a holy state. But the Bible pronounces them, in consequence of their descent from believing parents, to be “holy,” and that even where only one of the parents is a believer: “The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now they are HOLY” (1 Cor 7:14). It is in consequence of, and solemnly to declare, that “holiness,” with all the responsibilities attaching to it, that they are baptised. That “holiness,” however, is very different from the “holiness” of the new nature; and although the very fact of baptism, if Scripturally viewed and duly improved, is, in the hand of the good Spirit of God, an important means of making that “holiness” a glorious reality, in the highest sense of the term, yet it does not in all cases necessarily secure their spiritual regeneration. God may, or may not, as He sees fit, give the new heart, before, or at, or after baptism; but manifest it is, that thousands who have been duly baptised are still unregenerate, are still in precisely the same position as Simon Magus, who, after being canonically baptised by Philip, was declared to be “in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity” (Acts 7:23). The doctrine of Rome, however, is, that all who are canonically baptised, however ignorant, however immoral, if they only give implicit faith to the Church, and surrender their consciences to the priests, are as much regenerated as ever they can be, and that children coming from the waters of baptism are entirely purged from the stain of original sin. Hence we find the Jesuit missionaries in India boasting of making converts by thousands, by the mere fact of baptising them, without the least previous instruction, in the most complete ignorance of the truths of Christianity, on their mere profession of submission to Rome. This doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration also is essentially Babylonian. Some may perhaps stumble at the idea of regeneration at all having been known in the Pagan world; but if they only go to India, they will find at this day, the bigoted Hindoos, who have never opened their ears to Christian instruction, as familiar with the term and the idea as ourselves. The Brahmins make it their distinguishing boast that they are “twice-born” men, and that, as such, they are sure of eternal happiness. Now, the same was the case in Babylon, and there the new birth was conferred by baptism. In the Chaldean mysteries, before any instruction could be received, it was required first of all, that the person to be initiated submit to baptism in token of blind and implicit obedience. We find different ancient authors bearing direct testimony both to the fact of this baptism and the intention of it. “In certain sacred rites of the heathen,” says Tertullian, especially referring to the worship of Isis and Mithra, “the mode of initiation is by baptism.” The term “initiation” clearly shows that it was to the Mysteries of these divinities he referred. This baptism was by immersion, and seems to have been rather a rough and formidable process; for we find that he who passed through the purifying waters, and other necessary penances, “if he survived, was then admitted to the knowledge of the Mysteries.” (Elliae Comment. in S. GREG. NAZ.) To face this ordeal required no little courage on the part of those who were initiated. There was this grand inducement, however, to submit, that they who were thus baptised were, as Tertullian assures us, promised, as the consequence, “REGENERATION, and the pardon of all their perjuries.” Our own Pagan ancestors, the worshippers of Odin, are known to have practised baptismal rites, which, taken in connection with their avowed object in practising them, show that, originally, at least, they must have believed that the natural guilt and corruption of their new-born children could be washed away by sprinkling them with water, or by plunging them, as soon as born, into lakes or rivers. Yea, on the other side of the Atlantic, in Mexico, the same doctrine of baptismal regeneration was found in full vigour among the natives, when Cortez and his warriors landed on their shores. The ceremony of Mexican baptism, which was beheld with astonishment by the Spanish Roman Catholic missionaries, is thus strikingly described in Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico: “When everything necessary for the baptism had been made ready, all the relations of the child were assembled, and the midwife, who was the person that performed the rite of baptism, * was summoned. At early dawn, they met together in the courtyard of the house. When the sun had risen, the midwife, taking the child in her arms, called for a little earthen vessel of water, while those about her placed the ornaments, which had been prepared for baptism, in the midst of the court. To perform the rite of baptism, she placed herself with her face toward the west, and immediately began to go through certain ceremonies…After this she sprinkled water on the head of the infant, saying, ‘O my child, take and receive the water of the Lord of the world, which is our life, which is given for the increasing and renewing of our body. It is to wash and to purify. I pray that these heavenly drops may enter into your body, and dwell there; that they may destroy and remove from you all the evil and sin which was given you before the beginning of the world, since all of us are under its power’…She then washed the body of the child with water, and spoke in this manner: ‘Whencesoever thou comest, thou that art hurtful to this child, leave him and depart from him, for he now liveth anew, and is BORN ANEW; now he is purified and cleansed afresh, and our mother Chalchivitylcue [the goddess of water] bringeth him into the world.’ Having thus prayed, the midwife took the child in both hands, and, lifting him towards heaven, said, ‘O Lord, thou seest here thy creature, whom thou hast sent into the world, this place of sorrow, suffering, and penitence. Grant him, O Lord, thy gifts and inspiration, for thou art the Great God, and with thee is the great goddess.'”

* As baptism is absolutely necessary to salvation, Rome also authorises midwives to administer baptism. In Mexico the midwife seems to have been a “priestess.”

Here is the opus operatum without mistake. Here is baptismal regeneration and exorcism too, * as thorough and complete as any Romish priest or lover of Tractarianism could desire.

* In the Romish ceremony of baptism, the first thing the priest does is to exorcise the devil out of the child to be baptised in these words, “Depart from him, thou unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost the Comforter.” (Sincere Christian) In the New Testament there is not the slightest hint of any such exorcism accompanying Christian Baptism. It is purely Pagan.

Does the reader ask what evidence is there that Mexico had derived this doctrine from Chaldea? The evidence is decisive. From the researches of Humboldt we find that the Mexicans celebrated Wodan as the founder of their race, just as our own ancestors did. The Wodan or Odin of Scandinavia can be proved to be the Adon of Babylon. (see note below) The Wodan of Mexico, from the following quotation, will be seen to be the very same: “According to the ancient traditions collected by the Bishop Francis Nunez de la Vega,” says Humboldt, “the Wodan of the Chiapanese [of Mexico] was grandson of that illustrious old man, who at the time of the great deluge, in which the greater part of the human race perished, was saved on a raft, together with his family. Wodan co-operated in the construction of the great edifice which had been undertaken by men to reach the skies; the execution of this rash project was interrupted; each family received from that time a different language; and the great spirit Teotl ordered Wodan to go and people the country of Anahuac.” This surely proves to demonstration whence originally came the Mexican mythology and whence also that doctrine of baptismal regeneration which the Mexicans held in common with Egyptian and Persian worshippers of the Chaldean Queen of Heaven. Prestcott, indeed, has cast doubts on the genuiness of this tradition, as being too exactly coincident with the Scriptural history to be easily believed. But the distinguished Humboldt, who had carefully examined the matter, and who had no prejudice to warp him, expresses his full belief in its correctness; and even from Prestcott’s own interesting pages, it may be proved in every essential particular, with the single exception of the name of Wodan, to which he makes no reference. But, happily, the fact that that name had been borne by some illustrious hero among the supposed ancestors of the Mexican race, is put beyond all doubt by the singular circumstance that the Mexicans had one of their days called Wodansday, exactly as we ourselves have. This, taken in connection with all the circumstances, is a very striking proof, at once of the unity of the human race, and of the wide-spread diffusion of the system that began at Babel.

If the question arise, How came it that the Bayblonians themselves adopted such a doctrine as regeneration by baptism, we have light also on that. In the Babylonian Mysteries, the commemoration of the flood, of the ark, and the grand events in the life of Noah, was mingled with the worship of the Queen of Heaven and her son. Noah, as having lived in two worlds, both before the flood and after it, was called “Dipheus,” or “twice-born,” and was represented as a god with two heads looking in opposite directions, the one old, and the other young (Fig. 34). Though we have seen that the two-headed Janus in one aspect had reference to Cush and his son, Nimrod, viewed as one god, in a two-fold capacity, as the Supreme, and Father of all the deified “mighty ones,” yet, in order to gain for him the very authority and respect essential to constitute him properly the head of the great system of idolatry that the apostates inaugurated, it was necessary to represent him as in some way or other identified with the great patriarch, who was the Father of all, and who had so miraculous a history. Therefore in the legends of Janus, we find mixed up with other things derived from an entirely different source, statements not only in regard to his being the “Father of the world,” but also his being “the inventor of ships,” which plainly have been borrowed from the history of Noah; and therefore, the remarkable way in which he is represented in the figure here presented to the reader may confidently be concluded to have been primarily suggested by the history of the great Diluvian patriarch, whose integrity in his two-fold life is so particularly referred to in the Scripture, where it is said (Gen 6:9), “Noah was just a man, and perfect in his generations,” that is, in his life before the flood, and in his life after it. The whole mythology of Greece and Rome, as well as Asia, is full of the history and deeds of Noah, which it is impossible to misunderstand. In India, the god Vishnu, “the Preserver,” who is celebrated as having miraculously preserved one righteous family at the time when the world was drowned, not only has the story of Noah wrought up with his legend, but is called by his very name. Vishnu is just the Sanscrit form of the Chaldee “Ish-nuh,” “the man Noah,” or the “Man of rest.” In the case of Indra, the “king of the gods,” and god of rain, which is evidently only another form of the same god, the name is found in the precise form of Ishnu. Now, the very legend of Vishnu, that pretends to make him no mere creature, but the supreme and “eternal god,” shows that this interpretation of the name is no mere unfounded imagination. Thus is he celebrated in the “Matsya Puran”: “The sun, the wind, the ether, all things incorporeal, were absorbed into his Divine essence; and the universe being consumed, the eternal and omnipotent god, having assumed an ancient form, REPOSED mysteriously upon the surface of that (universal) ocean. But no one is capable of knowing whether that being was then visible or invisible, or what the holy name of that person was, or what the cause of his mysterious SLUMBER. Nor can any one tell how long he thus REPOSED until he conceived the thought of acting; for no one saw him, no one approached him, and none can penetrate the mystery of his real essence.” (Col. KENNEDY’S Hindoo Mythology) In conformity with this ancient legend, Vishnu is still represented as sleeping four months every year. Now, connect this story with the name of Noah, the man of “Rest,” and with his personal history during the period of the flood, when the world was destroyed, when for forty days and forty nights all was chaos, when neither sun nor moon nor twinkling star appeared, when sea and sky were mingled, and all was one wide universal “ocean,” on the bosom of which the patriarch floated, when there was no human being to “approach” him but those who were with him in the ark, and “the mystery of his real essence is penetrated” at once, “the holy name of that person” is ascertained, and his “mysterious slumber” fully accounted for. Now, wherever Noah is celebrated, whether by the name of Saturn, “the hidden one,”–for that name was applied to him as well as to Nimrod, on account of his having been “hidden” in the ark, in the “day of the Lord’s fierce anger,”–or, “Oannes,” or “Janus,” the “Man of the Sea,” he is generally described in such a way as shows that he was looked upon as Diphues, “twice-born,” or “regenerate.” The “twice-born” Brahmins, who are all so many gods upon earth, by the very title they take to themselves, show that the god whom they represent, and to whose prerogatives they lay claim, had been known as the “twice-born” god. The connection of “regeneration” with the history of Noah, comes out with special evidence in the accounts handed down to us of the Mysteries as celebrated in Egypt. The most learned explorers of Egyptian antiquities, including Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, admit that the story of Noah was mixed up with the story of Osiris. The ship of Isis, and the coffin of Osiris, floating on the waters, point distinctly to that remarkable event. There were different periods, in different places in Egypt, when the fate of Osiris was lamented; and at one time there was more special reference to the personal history of “the mighty hunter before the Lord,” and at another to the awful catastrophe through which Noah passed. In the great and solemn festival called “The Disappearance of Osiris,” it is evident that it is Noah himself who was then supposed to have been lost. The time when Osiris was “shut up in his coffin,” and when that coffin was set afloat on the waters, as stated by Plutarch, agrees exactly with the period when Noah entered the ark. That time was “the 17th day of the month Athyr, when the overflowing of the Nile had ceased, when the nights were growing long and the days decreasing.” The month Athyr was the second month after the autumnal equinox, at which time the civil year of the Jews and the patriarchs began. According to this statement, then, Osiris was “shut up in his coffin” on the 17th day of the second month of the patriarchal year. Compare this with the Scriptural account of Noah’s entering into the ark, and it will be seen how remarkably they agree (Gen 7:11), “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the SECOND MONTH, in the SEVENTEENTH DAY of the month, were all the fountains of the great deep broken up; in the self-same day entered Noah into the ark.” The period, too, that Osiris (otherwise Adonis) was believed to have been shut up in his coffin, was precisely the same as Noah was confined in the ark, a whole year. *

* APOLLODORUS. THEOCRITUS, Idyll. Theocritus is speaking of Adonis as delivered by Venus from Acheron, or the infernal regions, after being there for a year; but as the scene is laid in Egypt, it is evident that it is Osiris he refers to, as he was the Adonis of the Egyptians.

Now, the statements of Plutarch demonstrate that, as Osiris at this festival was looked upon as dead and buried when put into his ark or coffin, and committed to the deep, so, when at length he came out of it again, that new state was regarded as a state of “new life,” or “REGENERATION.” *

* PLUTARCH, De Iside et Osiride. It was in the character of Pthah-Sokari-Osiris that he was represented as having been thus “buried” in the waters. In his own character, simply as Osiris, he had another burial altogether.

There seems every reason to believe that by the ark and the flood God actually gave to the patriarchal saints, and especially to righteous Noah, a vivid typical representation of the power of the blood and Spirit of Christ, at once in saving from wrath, and cleansing from all sin–a representation which was a most cheering “seal” and confirmation to the faith of those who really believed. To this Peter seems distinctly to allude, when he says, speaking of this very event, “The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us.” Whatever primitive truth the Chaldean priests held, they utterly perverted and corrupted it. They willingly overlooked the fact, that it was “the righteousness of the faith” which Noah “had before” the flood, that carried him safely through the avenging waters of that dread catastrophe, and ushered him, as it were, from the womb of the ark, by a new birth, into a new world, when on the ark resting on Mount Ararat, he was released from his long confinement. They led their votaries to believe that, if they only passed through the baptismal waters, and the penances therewith connected, that of itself would make them like the second father of mankind, “Diphueis,” “twice-born,” or “regenerate,” would entitle them to all the privileges of “righteous” Noah, and give them that “new birth” (palingenesia) which their consciences told them they so much needed. The Papacy acts on precisely the same principle; and from this very source has its doctrine of baptismal regeneration been derived, about which so much has been written and so many controversies been waged. Let men contend as they may, this, and this only, will be found to be the real origin of the anti-Scriptural dogma. *

* There have been considerable speculations about the meaning of the name Shinar, as applied to the region of which Babylon was the capital. Do not the facts above stated cast light on it? What so likely a derivation of this name as to derive it from “shene,” “to repeat,” and “naar,” “childhood.” The land of “Shinar,” then, according to this view, is just the land of the “Regenerator.”

The reader has seen already how faithfully Rome has copied the Pagan exorcism in connection with baptism. All the other peculiarities attending the Romish baptism, such as the use of salt, spittle, chrism, or anointing with oil, and marking the forehead with the sign of the cross, are equally Pagan. Some of the continental advocates of Rome have admitted that some of these at least have not been derived from Scripture. Thus Jodocus Tiletanus of Louvaine, defending the doctrine of “Unwritten Tradition,” does not hesitate to say, “We are not satisfied with that which the apostles or the Gospel do declare, but we say that, as well before as after, there are divers matters of importance and weight accepted and received out of a doctrine which is nowhere set forth in writing. For we do blesse the water wherewith we baptize, and the oyle wherewith we annoynt; yea, and besides that, him that is christened. And (I pray you) out of what Scripture have we learned the same? Have we it not of a secret and unwritten ordinance? And further, what Scripture hath taught us to grease with oyle? Yea, I pray you, whence cometh it, that we do dype the childe three times in the water? Doth it not come out of this hidden and undisclosed doctrine, which our forefathers have received closely without any curiosity, and do observe it still.” This learned divine of Louvaine, of course, maintains that “the hidden and undisclosed doctrine” of which he speaks, was the “unwritten word” handed down through the channel of infallibility, from the Apostles of Christ to his own time. But, after what we have already seen, the reader will probably entertain a different opinion of the source from which the hidden and undisclosed doctrine must have come. And, indeed, Father Newman himself admits, in regard to “holy water” (that is, water impregnated with “salt,” and consecrated), and many other things that were, as he says, “the very instruments and appendages of demon-worship”–that they were all of “Pagan” origin, and “sanctified by adoption into the Church.” What plea, then, what palliation can he offer, for so extraordinary an adoption? Why, this: that the Church had “confidence in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil,” and to transmute them to “an evangelical use.” What right had the Church to entertain any such “confidence”? What fellowship could light have with darkness? what concord between Christ and Belial? Let the history of the Church bear testimony to the vanity, yea, impiety of such a hope. Let the progress of our inquiries shed light upon the same. At the present stage, there is only one of the concomitant rites of baptism to which I will refer–viz., the use of “spittle” in that ordinance; and an examination of the very words of the Roman ritual, in applying it, will prove that its use in baptism must have come from the Mysteries. The following is the account of its application, as given by Bishop Hay: “The priest recites another exorcism, and at the end of it touches the ear and nostrils of the person to be baptised with a little spittle, saying, ‘Ephpheta, that is, Be thou opened into an odour of sweetness; but be thou put to flight, O Devil, for the judgment of God will be at hand.'” Now, surely the reader will at once ask, what possible, what conceivable connection can there be between spittle, and an “odour of sweetness”? If the secret doctrine of the Chaldean mysteries be set side by side with this statement, it will be seen that, absurd and nonsensical as this collocation of terms may appear, it was not at random that “spittle” and an “odour of sweetness” were brought together. We have seen already how thoroughly Paganism was acquainted with the attributes and work of the promised Messiah, though all that acquaintance with these grand themes was used for the purpose of corrupting the minds of mankind, and keeping them in spiritual bondage. We have now to see that, as they were well aware of the existence of the Holy Spirit, so, intellectually, they were just as well acquainted with His work, though their knowledge on that subject was equally debased and degraded. Servius, in his comments upon Virgil’s First Georgic, after quoting the well known expression, “Mystica vannus Iacchi,” “the mystic fan of Bacchus,” says that that “mystic fan” symbolised the “purifying of souls.” Now, how could the fan be a symbol of the purification of souls? The answer is, The fan is an instrument for producing “wind”; * and in Chaldee, as has been already observed, it is one and the same word which signifies “wind” and the “Holy Spirit.”

* There is an evident allusion to the “mystic fan” of the Babylonian god, in the doom of Babylon, as pronounced by Jeremiah 51:1, 2: “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind; and will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land.”

There can be no doubt, that, from the very beginning, the “wind” was one of the Divine patriarchal emblems by which the power of the Holy Ghost was shadowed forth, even as our Lord Jesus Christ said to Nicodemus, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Hence, when Bacchus was represented with “the mystic fan,” that was to declare him to be the mighty One with whom was “the residue of the Spirit.” Hence came the idea of purifying the soul by means of the wind, according to the description of Virgil, who represents the stain and pollution of sin as being removed in this very way:

“For this are various penances enjoined,
And some are hung to bleach upon the WIND.”

Hence the priests of Jupiter (who was originally just another form of Bacchus), (see Fig. 35), were called Flamens, * — that is Breathers, or bestowers of the Holy Ghost, by breathing upon their votaries.

* From “Flo,” “I breathe.”

Now, in the Mysteries, the “spittle” was just another symbol for the same thing. In Egypt, through which the Babylonian system passed to Western Europe, the name of the “Pure or Purifying Spirit” was “Rekh” (BUNSEN). But “Rekh” also signified “spittle” (PARKHURST’S Lexicon); so that to anoint the nose and ears of the initiated with “spittle,” according to the mystic system, was held to be anointing them with the “Purifying Spirit.” That Rome in adopting the “spittle” actually copied from some Chaldean ritual in which “spittle” was the appointed emblem of the “Spirit,” is plain from the account which she gives in her own recognised formularies of the reason for anointing the ears with it. The reason for anointing the ears with “spittle” says Bishop Hay, is because “by the grace of baptism, the ears of our soul are opened to hear the Word of God, and the inspirations of His Holy Spirit.” But what, it may be asked, has the “spittle” to do with the “odour of sweetness”? I answer, The very word “Rekh,” which signified the “Holy Spirit,” and was visibly represented by the “spittle,” was intimately connected with “Rikh,” which signifies a “fragrant smell,” or “odour of sweetness.” Thus, a knowledge of the Mysteries gives sense and a consistent meaning to the cabalistic saying addressed by the Papal baptiser to the person about to be baptised, when the “spittle” is daubed on his nose and ears, which otherwise would have no meaning at all–“Ephpheta, Be thou opened into an odour of sweetness.” While this was the primitive truth concealed under the “spittle,” yet the whole spirit of Paganism was so opposed to the spirituality of the patriarchal religion, and indeed intended to make it void, and to draw men utterly away from it, while pretending to do homage to it, that among the multitude in general the magic use of “spittle” became the symbol of the grossest superstition. Theocritus shows with what debasing rites it was mixed up in Sicily and Greece; and Persius thus holds up to scorn the people of Rome in his day for their reliance on it to avert the influence of the “evil eye”:

“Our superstitions with our life begin;
The obscene old grandam, or the next of kin,
The new-born infant from the cradle takes,
And first of spittle a lustration makes;
Then in the spawl her middle finger dips,
Anoints the temples, forehead, and the lips,
Pretending force of magic to prevent
By virtue of her nasty excrement.”–DRYDEN

While thus far we have seen how the Papal baptism is just a reproduction of the Chaldean, there is still one other point to be noticed, which makes the demonstration complete. That point is contained in the following tremendous curse fulminated against a man who committed the unpardonable offence of leaving the Church of Rome, and published grave and weighty reasons for so doing: “May the Father, who creates man, curse him! May the Son, who suffered for us, curse him! May the Holy Ghost who suffered for us in baptism, curse him!” I do not stop to show how absolutely and utterly opposed such a curse as this is to the whole spirit of the Gospel. But what I call the reader’s attention to is the astounding statement that “the Holy Ghost suffered for us in baptism.” Where in the whole compass of Scripture could warrant be found for such an assertion as this, or anything that could even suggest it? But let the reader revert to the Babylonian account of the personality of the Holy Ghost, and the amount of blasphemy contained in this language will be apparent. According to the Chaldean doctrine, Semiramis, the wife of Ninus or Nimrod, when exalted to divinity under the name of the Queen of Heaven, came, as we have seen, to be worshipped as Juno, the “Dove”–in other words, the Holy Spirit incarnate. Now, when her husband, for his blasphemous rebellion against the majesty of heaven, was cut off, for a season it was a time of tribulation also for her. The fragments of ancient history that have come down to us give an account of her trepidation and flight, to save herself from her adversaries. In the fables of the mythology, this flight was mystically represented in accordance with what was attributed to her husband. The bards of Greece represented Bacchus, when overcome by his enemies, as taking refuge in the depths of the ocean (see Fig. 36). Thus, Homer:

“In a mad mood, while Bacchus blindly raged,
Lycurgus drove his trembling bands, confused,
O’er the vast plains of Nusa. They in haste
Threw down their sacred implements, and fled
In fearful dissipation. Bacchus saw
Rout upon rout, and, lost in wild dismay,
Plunged in the deep. Here Thetis in her arms
Received him shuddering at the dire event.”

In Egypt, as we have seen, Osiris, as identified with Noah, was represented, when overcome by his grand enemy Typhon, or the “Evil One,” as passing through the waters. The poets represented Semiramis as sharing in his distress, and likewise seeking safety in the same way. We have seen already, that, under the name of Astarte, she was said to have come forth from the wondrous egg that was found floating on the waters of the Euphrates. Now Manilius tells, in his Astronomical Poetics, what induced her to take refuge in these waters. “Venus plunged into the Babylonia waters,” says he, “to shun the fury of the snake-footed Typhon.” When Venus Urania, or Dione, the “Heavenly Dove,” plunged in deep distress into these waters of Babylon, be it observed what, according to the Chaldean doctrine, this amounted to. It was neither more nor less than saying that the Holy Ghost incarnate in deep tribulation entered these waters, and that on purpose that these waters might be fit, not only by the temporary abode of the Messiah in the midst of them, but by the Spirit’s efficacy thus imparted to them, for giving new life and regeneration, by baptism, to the worshippers of the Chaldean Madonna. We have evidence that the purifying virtue of the waters, which in Pagan esteem had such efficacy in cleansing from guilt and regenerating the soul, was derived in part from the passing of the Mediatorial god, the sun-god and god of fire, through these waters during his humiliation and sojourn in the midst of them; and that the Papacy at this day retains the very custom which had sprung up from that persuasion. So far as heathenism is concerned, the following extracts from Potter and Athenaeus speak distinctly enough: “Every person,” says the former, “who came to the solemn sacrifices [of the Greeks] was purified by water. To which end, at the entrance of the temples there was commonly placed a vessel full of holy water.” How did this water get its holiness? This water “was consecrated,” says Athenaeus, “by putting into it a BURNING TORCH taken from the altar.” The burning torch was the express symbol of the god of fire; and by the light of this torch, so indispensable for consecrating “the holy water,” we may easily see whence came one great part of the purifying virtue of “the water of the loud resounding sea,” which was held to be so efficacious in purging away the guilt and stain of sin, *–even from the sun-god having taken refuge in its waters.

* “All human ills,” says Euripides, in a well known passage, “are washed away by the sea.”

Now this very same method is used in the Romish Church for consecrating the water for baptism. The unsuspicious testimony of Bishop Hay leaves no doubt on this point: “It” [the water kept in the baptismal font], says he, “is blessed on the eve of Pentecost, because it is the Holy Ghost who gives to the waters of baptism the power and efficacy of sanctifying our souls, and because the baptism of Christ is ‘with the Holy Ghost, and with fire’ (Matt 3:11). In blessing the waters a LIGHTED TORCH is put into the font.” Here, then, it is manifest that the baptismal regenerating water of Rome is consecrated just as the regenerating and purifying water of the Pagans was. Of what avail is it for Bishop Hay to say, with the view of sanctifying superstition and “making apostacy plausible,” that this is done “to represent the fire of Divine love, which is communicated to the soul by baptism, and the light of good example, which all who are baptised ought to give.” This is the fair face put on the matter; but the fact still remains that while the Romish doctrine in regard to baptism is purely Pagan, in the ceremonies connected with the Papal baptism one of the essential rites of the ancient fire-worship is still practised at this day, just as it was practised by the worshippers of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah. As Rome keeps up the remembrance of the fire-god passing through the waters and giving virtue to them, so when it speaks of the “Holy Ghost suffering for us in baptism,” it in like manner commemorates the part which Paganism assigned to the Babylonian goddess when she plunged into the waters. The sorrows of Nimrod, or Bacchus, when in the waters were meritorious sorrows. The sorrows of his wife, in whom the Holy Ghost miraculously dwelt, were the same. The sorrows of the Madonna, then, when in these waters, fleeing from Typhon’s rage, were the birth-throes by which children were born to God. And thus, even in the Far West, Chalchivitlycue, the Mexican “goddess of the waters,” and “mother” of all the regenerate, was represented as purging the new-born infant from original sin, and “bringing it anew into the world.” Now, the Holy Ghost was idolatrously worshipped in Babylon under the form of a “Dove.” Under the same form, and with equal idolatry, the Holy Ghost is worshipped in Rome. When, therefore, we read, in opposition to every Scripture principle, that “the Holy Ghost suffered for us in baptism,” surely it must now be manifest who is that Holy Ghost that is really intended. It is no other than Semiramis, the very incarnation of lust and all uncleanness.

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MORMON OPPOSITION TO THE CROSS

May it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galations 6:14)

The cross is the symbol of Christianity and has been central to the preaching of the gospel of the church of Jesus Christ since its inception (1 Corinthians 1:23). To the Christian the cross represents salvation and eternal life, because it was there on the cross that Christ atoned for our sins. It reminds us of the awful cost of our redemption, and of how much we owe the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our hero, our Saviour and our life.

However, Mormon women do not wear a crucifix as jewellery. And the LDS will not permit a cross to be displayed anywhere on their premises. Strangely, seeing they insist that they are Christians, they don’t display any of the other symbols of Christianity anywhere on their premises either. Instead, the inside of their temple is decorated with Masonic/pagan symbols, and the external masonry with pagan, occultic and satanic symbols. (As a matter of interest, the cross is never featured alongside that type of symbolism because they oppose one another.)

The LDS Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith gave the following reason for the LDS’s rejection of the cross as a symbol:

“…….. such a custom is repugnant and contrary to the true worship of our Redeemer. Why should we bow down before a cross or use it as a symbol? Because our Savior died on the cross, the wearing of crosses is to most Latter-day Saints in very poor taste and inconsistent to our worship ….. We may be definitely sure that if our Lord had been killed with a dagger or with a sword, it would have been very strange indeed if religious people of this day would have graced such a weapon by wearing it and adoring it because it was by such a means that our Lord was put to death.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, Volume 4, pages 17-18).

It should be borne in mind that the LDS wrongly teaches that Christ’s atonement took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, which effectively does away with the importance of, or even the need for, the cross. Furthermore, they maintain that His atonement only covered Adam’s sin, merely reversing the fall of Adam and the curse of death, and thereby guaranteeing universal resurrection. This effectively nullifies the true gospel of Christ that proclaims forgiveness of sins. (See the article “The LDS Gospel is Not the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” a link for which is provided at the bottom of this page.)

Because of these unbiblical LDS teachings Mormons are taught that they have to earn the right to the forgiveness of their own personal sins through obedience to LDS laws and ordinances, good works and a virtuous life. So they can never be sure whether or not they will eventually make the grade. And this diminishes the work of Christ in their eyes. Consequently, they could never ever be beholden to Christ in the way that Christians are. Nor could they ever enjoy the same saving relationship with Christ as do Christians.

None of the LDS doctrines are biblical. Nor do they bear any resemblance to Christianity. In fact their teaching on the atonement opposes the foundational doctrine of Christian salvation, as preached by the apostles in the primitive church. For this reason Mormons cannot even begin to imagine the joy, freedom from guilt, peace of mind and overwhelming gratitude that accompanies the Christian’s assurance that Christ Himself earned the forgiveness of “my sins” when He bore my penalty in my place, that day on the cross at Calvary. Nor do they realize the utter devotion to Christ that is part and parcel of the Christian life. To the Christian the cross represents salvation from sin. It reminds us of what Christ achieved on our behalf, as well as of the tremendous cost to Himself.

THE REASON FOR THE CROSS

Contrary to what the LDS maintains, the cross wasn’t merely a weapon that was used to execute Christ. It was on the cross at Calvary that Christ defeated Satan, sin, death and hell, and earned our salvation (c/f John 12:31-33). So in the mind of a Christian, the cross is symbolic of all these things.

Furthermore, Christ wasn’t merely “killed,” as the LDS puts it. He went to the cross of His own free will and voluntarily laid down his life for the specific purpose of earning our salvation from the consequences of sin. He could have turned from the cross at any time. But instead He deliberately set His face steadfastly towards Jerusalem, knowing full well what awaited Him there (Luke 9:52). Then He gave His life on that cross, in our place, as our substitute, to pay the penalty for our sins, as was fore-ordained and so graphically illustrated in the “pictures” provided by the Old Covenant sacrificial system.

Throughout the Old Testament God has used the picture language of rituals to explain hard-to-understand concepts that were to become part and parcel of the coming New Covenant of Grace. And salvation from sin through a substitutionary sacrifice was one of these important concepts. You will find a more in-depth explanation of this fascinating topic in the article, “Baptism, Salvation and the Use of Biblical Symbolism,” a lead to which is provided for your convenience, at the bottom of this page.)

Christ’s whole purpose in coming to earth had been to sacrifice His life on that cross at Calvary, so that we could be set free from the stranglehold of sin. And moreover it was the will of God, as foretold by His prophets in the Old Testament.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man take it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again ….. (John 10:17-18, KJV) (Italics inserted by writer.)

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43, KJV)

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. ….. (Isaiah 53:5-6, KJV)

And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. (Acts 8:30-35, KJV)

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3, KJV)

And you, being [spiritually] dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Colossians 2:13-14, KJV) (The writer’s italics.)

… Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24, KJV)

The LDS detracts from the true meaning of the cross twice over, firstly by saying that the cross was where Christ was killed, intimating that the cross was nothing more than an instrument of execution, and then compounding this by wrongly teaching that Christ’s atonement took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. One can’t help but wonder what their motivation is in teaching these false doctrines, as they will not be found anywhere in the pages of the Bible, no matter how long or hard you search. On the contrary, the above scriptures very clearly tells us that Christ atoned for our sins on the cross at Calvary. Christ was fully aware that His suffering and death on the cross was the terrible price He would have to pay to cancel our debt of sin. But He voluntarily and selflessly chose to go through with it, for the likes of us:

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. (John 12: 31-33, KJV).

(Christ said:) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-15, KJV)

From that time forth began Jesus to shrew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Matthew 16:21, KJV)

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51, KJV)

THE CHRISTIAN’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE CROSS

The church I attend has a large cross behind the pulpit, with a crown of thorns resting on it. Hanging down next to it is a banner that reads, “He died for me”. This is very effective in stimulating sincere and fervent worship. And every time I enter the church, I am deeply humbled at the sight of that cross. It reminds me that the best, the bravest and most selfless Person ever, suffered and died for me, in my place, because of my sins. And my heart fills with gratitude. But that is just why the cross is there. It is to remind us of who we are, who Christ is, what He did for us, and how much we owe Him.

Mayer Pearlman had this to say concerning the Christian’s attitude towards the cross of Christ:

“The cross is the dynamo which generates in the human heart that response which constitutes the Christian life. ‘I’ll live for Him who died for me,’ states the dynamic of the cross. The Christian life is the soul’s reaction to the love of Christ. The cross of Christ inspires true repentance …..” (Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible, Part Two)

CHRIST’S SHED BLOOD COVERS THE SINS OF ALL WHO TRUST IN HIM

The LDS ignores what the Bible so clearly teaches, and insists that Christ’s atonement only covers the penalty for Adam’s sin and guarantees universal resurrection, thereby opening the way for us to earn the right to forgiveness of our own personal sins. Here are some scriptures that prove without a shadow of a doubt that Christ was crucified to pay the full price of all the sins of those who trust in Him for salvation:

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou salt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21, KJV)

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew. 26:28, KJV)

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3, KJV)

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10, KJV)

… Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5, KJV)

CONCLUSION

We see from the above that Christ’s death on the cross was vicarious, in that He died in our place, to pay the price of our sins. And that’s why the cross was always central to the gospel message preached by the primitive church:

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24, KJV)

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18, KJV)

Christians wear a cross as a testimony to their allegiance to Christ and as a symbol of their faith in His atonement for their sin through His sacrificial, substitutionary sacrifice on their behalf on the cross. And churches that follow the teachings of the Bible always prominently display a large cross at their place of worship, as a constant reminder to the congregation of who they once were (condemned sinners) and of what Christ has done for them (set them free from the guilt and the penalty of their sins). It also effectively reminds us of the terrible price He paid for our forgiveness.

The first lead that follows is to an article on the LDS temple, which includes a discussion on the banning of the cross as well as the use of inappropriate symbolism for a church that claims to be Christian. The second lead is to a discussion of some of the symbolism used by the Bible to explain hard to understand concepts such as salvation through a substitutionary sacrifice and so on. The third lead explains the differences between the LDS gospel and the gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught both by Himself and by His apostles in the New Testament.

LDS Temples Compared with those of Biblical Times

Baptism, Salvation and the Use of Biblical Symbolism

The LDS Gospel is Not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

http://www.bibtruth.com/cross.html

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THE APOSTASY IS A MORMON FALLACY

Records reveal that Joseph Smith joined the Methodist church in June, 1828, eight years after the date that he later claimed he’d received a vision from God instructing him not to join any of the churches (mentioning the Methodist church by name), as they were all corrupt and their teachings were an abomination in His sight,

After he had joined the Methodist church, the Minister was informed about Smith’s bad reputation, as well as his involvement in the occult. (He had earned his living by promising to divine the whereabouts of hidden treasure, which never ever materialized.) He discussed this with Joseph, explaining that these activities were against everything that the church stood for. However, he was told that he could remain in membership provided that he repented and convinced the church board that he would change his ways. But if he was not prepared to do this, he would be required to formally resign from the Methodist church. Rather than give up the unethical type of lifestyle to which he was so strongly drawn, Joseph chose to resign.

Within two years he had started up his own church (the LDS), claiming that the Christian church had become apostate shortly after the death of Christ’s apostles, and that God had appointed him, as His latter-day prophet, to restore the true church.

Contrary to Joseph Smith’s claims, there has always been a remnant of faithful believers.

Ever since the inception of the Christian church they have been subjected to ongoing persecution, as well as attacks by false prophets, false teachers and the like. But history records a long line of Christian martyrs who have embraced sacrifice, suffering, torture and death rather than compromise their biblical beliefs. And it is a fact that Christians are still being persecuted and martyred today in various places in the world, for the same reason.

The Bible itself clearly disproves the LDS’s completely unsubstantiated claim that the early Christian church went into total apostasy shortly after the death of Christ’s apostles. Firstly, it teaches that the great apostasy will occur right at the very end times, shortly before the second coming of Christ, and will herald the appearance of the anti-Christ, who will display himself as God in the Jewish temple. That time hasn’t arrived yet, as the Jews still have to rebuild their temple.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, KJV)

Secondly, Christ made the following promises concerning His body of followers (i.e. His church):

… upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18, KJV).

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20, KJV)

….. And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20, KJV)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29, KJV)

….. I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:16, KJV) (Italics by author)

….. I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. ….. I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world … (Revelation 3:8, 10, KJV)

Thirdly, one of the themes that runs steadfastly throughout the Bible is that God has always kept a remnant of faithful believers. The following are some of the scriptures that bear this out:

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. (1 Kings 19:18, KJV)

Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.(Isaiah 1:9, KJV).

And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:16, KJV).

Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved. (Romans 9:27, KJV)

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5, KJV)

Fourthly, shortly before his martyrdom, the apostle Peter warned the church against false prophets and false teachers, but then he went on to assure them that God always providentially protects those who are His own, against temptation and apostasy:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1, KJV)

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations ….. (2 Peter 2:9, KJV)

In his book “The Trail of Blood,” Dr. J. M. Carroll traces the martyrs of the church of Jesus Christ from its inception right up to the present times.

Then too, history also records that there always has been a faithful remnant who refused to compromise. Many of them paid for this privilege with their own blood.

The LDS church cites many of the practices of Catholicism as proof that the church of Jesus Christ had gone into total apostasy. However, they are wrongly tarring everyone with the same brush. Roman Catholicism does not represent Christendom. What about the faithful remnant of Christ’s true church that history so clearly records were cruelly persecuted by the Roman Catholic church? What about Catholicism’s infamous, cruel and bloody inquisitions? History reveals that faithful Christians have been persecuted, tortured and killed for refusing to compromise the gospel throughout the ages, right up to this present moment in time. Remember all the burnings at the stakes in England, of Christians who refused to recant their biblical beliefs and who remained faithful even in the face of torture and death by burning?

Fox’s Book of Martyrs, still in print, should be a graphic eye-opener to members of the LDS church regarding the faithful remnant of Christ’s true church. Mormons are encouraged to read this book, if they can bear to do so.

There has always been a faithful remnant of the church of Jesus Christ. And don’t be confused by numbers. The Lord Jesus said:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14, KJV)

Copyright 2007, by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

http://www.bibtruth.com/apos.html

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A Few Troublesome Questions
by Kathleen Baldwin

Have you ever had a niggling question? One that plagues you for years. As a Mormon I had a few. When I became a Christian those questions and inconsistencies went away. However, I’d like to share some of them with you because they are still relevant questions for anyone still in the LDS Church.

1. If God was once a man like us, lived righteously, married, died and became a God, who was His God? Who was God before Him? Who was the very first God? Where did He come from? And how come He didn’t have to be a man first?

2. Why are children sealed to their parents? If they do things right, and make it to the Celestial Kingdom, aren’t they going to go off and be Gods someplace else? Is it just so that parents and children can visit each other? If so, can’t they visit each other without being sealed? After all, they’ll all be Gods, right? or can’t God do that–visit His children?

3. Speaking of fathers and children, why won’t God, the Father, visit His children in the Terrestrial Kingdom? Doesn’t He love them? These are supposedly the millions of devoted church goers, Christians and Mormons, who lived good lives but didn’t quite cut the mustard. Don’t they count? Sure, it’s a nice place, but why won’t He visit?

4. If the temple and its ceremonies were revealed to Joseph Smith by God, why is it so different from the temple and its ceremonies as revealed to Solomon? Or the tabernacle and ceremonies as they were revealed to Moses? God gave very detailed instructions to Moses and Solomon. How come LDS temple layouts aren’t like those? Why are the ceremonies so different? How come the details aren’t similar? For instance, God commanded Moses to make the veil in Exodus five layers thick, woven of blue and purple and scarlet. The LDS temple veils are made of normal white cloth, available for purchase in almost any material store. Doesn’t the LDS Church teach that God revealed the temple as it had originally been established?

5. While we are on the subject of the veil, that thick veil tore in half when Jesus Christ completed His sacrifice. God opened the Holy of Holies. He exposed it to mankind. We were given access to the throne of God, the mercy seat. Why did Joseph Smith hang up a new barrier (veil) between God and man?

6. Now that the government is so liberal, gays are being married, etc., shouldn’t the LDS Church be trying to legalize polygamy? They teach that it is part of the “new and everlasting covenant of eternal marriage.” Shouldn’t they be pushing for the right to exercise their religious freedom? Or would that be a politically incorrect move? Why would they care about social acceptance if it meant compromising their beliefs?

Questions are good things. They make people think. Try asking your friend some ‘to the point’ questions. Maybe when he or she goes searching for the answers she’ll find the truth.

I constantly thank God for answering my questions with the true Gospel–the good news. God is truth, and His ways are never convoluted. May He bless you and your LDS friends with the peace that comes from only Him.

http://www.answeringlds.org/index.html?insTroubleQuestions.html

 

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Dr. Ironside Meets With Two Mormon Missionaries
(Originally published in 1932)

What Is the Gospel?
by Dr. H. A. Ironside

A Mormon gentleman introduced himself as a “minister of the gospel, doing missionary work among the mountain towns” of California, and stated that he would be pleased to put before me some of “the principles of the gospel.” Intimating that I myself was also seeking to give forth God’s good news to poor sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), he was told that if such was indeed his object, I would be glad to converse with him; so asked him to be seated.

The Mormon Gospel Stated

“And now, sir,” he was asked, “would you kindly favor us” (a number were present) “with a short statement of what the gospel really is?”

“Certainly,” he replied. “The gospel consists of four first principles. The first is repentance; the second, faith; the third, baptism for the remission of sins by one duly qualified; while the forth is the laying on of the hands of a man having authority, for the reception of the Holy Ghost.”

“Well, and supposing one has gone through all this, is he then saved?”

“Oh, of course, no one can know that, in this life. If one goes onto the end, he will be exalted in the kingdom.” Thereupon he proceeded to open a little Testament, with which, however, he was but slightly familiar, and pointed us to proof texts showing conclusively that the Lord and the apostles preached repentance and faith, as also that Peter spoke of “baptism for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; let the reader carefully note the verse and its context), and that in at least two instances (Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-6) apostles laid their hands on people in order to their receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. An effort was also made to find a verse to prove that no one can know he is saved now; but in the face of Ephesians 2:4-8; 1 Peter. 1:9; 1 Corinthians. 1:8; 2 Corinthians 2:15; and 2 Timothy 1:9, this was an utter absurdity, though he pointed to Matthew 24:13, “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved;” in defense of his position.

As to this, one need only say that endurance certainly is a proof of reality. One who said he was saved, yet did not endure, would thereby prove the emptiness of his profession.

“I quite agree with you,” I said, “as to the fact that Scripture speaks of the four points you mention; but, possibly, you did not understand my query. I asked you for a statement of the gospel. If these so-called ‘four principles’ be indeed the gospel, then you have a gospel without Christ; in other words, a gospel with the Gospel omitted. And if you are correct, then surely the apostle Paul, at least, labored under a most serious delusion, for he gives us a clear statement of his Gospel, and actually says nothing of either one or other of the various points upon which you have dwelt. No doubt you will recollect the passage?” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

He did not, however. He was not aware of any such direct statement on the subject. In fact, it was soon evident that, with the exception of a few verses on his favorite themes, his Bible was practically a sealed book. He turned, however, at my direction, to the fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians, to which I would invite the reader’s careful attention.

Paul’s Statement of the Real Gospel

Commencing at the first verse of this precious and wondrous portion of Scripture, we read: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, with also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (see Isaiah 53:5-6) “and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

“Now,” I said, turning to the Mormon, “we have here a statement of the Gospel — the Gospel which Paul preached; and it is dangerous to preach any other, as we find from Galatians 1:8-9 that the person who does so, even though it be an angel from heaven, is under a curse, or devoted to judgment. I understand that you teach that your gospel was revealed to Joseph Smith by an angel. If true, that would prove nothing, if it be found, upon examination, to be other than that proclaimed by the apostle to the Gentiles. His gospel had been received by the Corinthians; in it they stood; by it they were saved, if real believers. It was not, you will notice, a careful obedience to certain ordinances or a walking according to certain rules, such as you mentioned a few minutes ago, that would insure their salvation, however blessed such might be, if properly understood; but it was keeping in memory this gospel.

Two Gospels Contrasted

“I noticed, then, to begin with, that the Biblical Gospel is concerning a Person, and quite a different person the person you brought before us. Paul’s Gospel message is ‘concerning the Son of God,’ as Romans 1:3 tells us. Your gospel did not have a word about Jesus in all its four points. The subject of Paul’s gospel has not a word about anyone or anything except Christ. Perhaps we might say it also could be divided into four points, though more properly three; but even divided into four (to go as far with you as we can), what marked differences do we find!

Your four points are all concerning the poor sinner, and might be put this way:

1. The sinner repents;
2. The sinner has faith;
3. The sinner is baptized;
4. The sinner has hands laid on him.

“Now, in contrast to this, see how the true Gospel can be put:

1. Christ died;
2. Christ was buried;
3. Christ has been raised again;
4. Christ is the object for the hearts of His own.

“Surely the two gospels have nothing in common. You teach, I believe, that Christ died for Adam’s transgression, not for ours; but you maintain that while Adamic sin is met by the Cross, our sins as individuals must be washed away by baptism. Paul’s gospel tells us that He died for our sins; and if that be so, and ‘the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin,’ where does baptism in your sense apply? If all my sins are met by His precious blood, if they were borne ‘in His own body on the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24), how many are left to be cleansed by baptism? Assuredly none. But, alas, this is but one instance in which the false gospel of Mormonism is opposed to the precious Gospel of grace of God as revealed in the Bible.

“But I go on to the second point. Christ not only died, but ‘was buried’; yet it was written of Him, ‘Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption’ (Acts 2:27; Psalm 16:10). His burial declares the reality of His death, and surely speaks of His being forever through with the place He took on earth. It is the end of all the relationships in which He previously stood, and tells us He is dead to the law — having paid my penalty — and to sin — not his own, but mine — which He bore, and I am ‘buried with Him by baptism unto death’ (Romans 6:4); so that I am not left where Mormonism would leave me, as a poor, struggling soul on earth, striving to continue to the end in order to be saved, but I am accounted as one who, with Him, has been buried to it all: thus I am brought to the third point:

“Christ was raised from the dead, and I am raised with Him (Ephesians 2:6). His place is now mine as to acceptance with God. ‘He was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification’ (Romans 4:25); His resurrection being God’s open declaration that the believer is cleared from all charge of sin, because our Substitute, Christ, is raised from the dead.

“And now the One who is alive forevermore (Revelation 1:18) is presented as an object for the hearts of His own. ‘He was seen’; and the same apostle exclaims, in another place, ‘We see Jesus!’ (Hebrews 2:9). Poor sinners are first led to see the utter impossibility of improving or rendering themselves more fit for God’s presence. The eye of faith is then directed to the One who died, in whom believing, they are justified from all things (Acts 13:38-39). Now they have also an object for the heart, even Christ in glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). How different this is from what you have presented! Here, we have Jesus first, Jesus last, and Jesus all the way; while you are cast entirely on yourself.”

Mormon Doctrine of Authority

“But now, another question. You spoke of men with authority to baptize and lay on hands. Where do you get that in Scripture?”

For an answer, he turned to Hebrews 5:4, and read, “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”

“What ‘honor’ is here referred to?” I asked.

“The honor of the priesthood giving authority to baptize and confer the Holy Ghost.”

“No,” I answered, “the first verse (of Hebrews 5) contradicts this. It is not a question of the ‘priesthood’ at all. As all believers now are priests (1 Peter 2:5), there is not special priestly class in Christianity, as is clearly shown by referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, called of God, as noted in Hebrews 5:6. Nor is there a word (in Hebrews 5:1) about baptism or imposition of hands; but it is a question of ‘offering gifts and sacrifices for sins’ (cf., Hebrews 2:17), and then of succoring His people in this world of trial. To apply such a Scripture to human ministry is simply ‘handling the Word of God deceitfully’ (2 Corinthians 4:2), and deserves the severest censure.”

Such was, in substance, what I sought to put before the misguided young man; but, alas, so deceitful is the human heart, that man would rather be occupied with his repentance, his faith, or his anything, than with God’s Christ; and I found this preacher of “a different gospel, which is not another” (Galatians 1:6-7, 2 Corinthians 11:3-4), to be of the same class as thousands of others. The Scriptures brought before him had but little weight compared with “present-day revelation,” despite the word of Paul in Romans 15:19 that he was made a minister “to fully preach the Word of God;” so he went on his way, trusting to his fleshy religion and ignoring the “Gospel of God.”

Before dismissing the subject, I might remind the reader that neither faith or repentance is ever presented in Scripture as the ground of salvation. The Cross alone is that. Brought to it by the Spirit of God, the sinner will indeed repent. In its Biblical sense, repentance is self-judgment; the owning that one is lost and guilty, righteously deserving the wrath of a Holy God. Faith is trusting in Christ, whose finished work puts away sins forever. It is not simply crediting the statement that God exists, or that the historical Jesus was the Son of God. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

Christ, and Christ alone, is your only way of salvation. Discarding all else, turn, then, to Him alone. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

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Archaeology & the Book of Mormon

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–In the last part in this series, we saw that the Bible is reliable, being textually pure and verifiably accurate in many places. Therefore, the Mormon can have confidence that the Bible is the Word of God and that it can be accurately translated. In this chapter we will examine the Book of Mormon to see how it holds up to the historical test. The Mormons at your door will tell you that many findings within archaeology have confirmed the Book of Mormon time and time again. Is this true? What does the historical data we have tell us about the events recorded in the Book of Mormon?

1. There is no specific confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology.

A. What Mormon archeologists say.

Brigham Young University (BYU) is owned by the Mormon Church and has a department of professional archeologists who are dedicated to archaeology as it pertains to the Book of Mormon. These professionals, who are practicing Mormons, are to be applauded for their honesty. What many of them have to say will be a shock to the lay Mormon who is unaware that archaeology and the Book of Mormon are at odds with one another. The lay Mormon is told by the Mormon Church that archaeology continues to confirm the Book of Mormon, while Mormon scholars, who actually study archaeology for a living, have something quite different to say.

“[It appears that the Book of Mormon] had no place in the New World whatsoever…. [It] just doesn’t seem to fit anything … in anthropology [or] history…. It seems misplaced” (endnote 20, continuing from endnote 19 in Part 2).

“The first myth that we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists. Titles on books full of archaeological half-truths, dilettante on the peripheries of American archaeology calling themselves Book of Mormon archaeologists regardless of their education, and a Department of Archaeology at BYU devoted to the production of Book of Mormon archaeologists do not insure that Book of Mormon archaeology really exists” (endnote 21).

“What I would say to you is there is no archeological proof of the Book of Mormon. You can look all you want. And there’s been a lot of speculation about it. There’ve been books written by Mormon scholars saying that ‘this event took place here’ or ‘this event took place here.’ But that’s entirely speculative. There is absolutely no archeological evidence that you can tie directly to events that took place” (endnote 22).

“Now, I’m an archeologist, and I work in Mexico where some people think that the events occurred. So a lot of Mormons ask me every week if I find any evidence. And I tell them, ‘No.’ … [T]he question of how to translate what the Book says in terms of real evidence that we can grab in our hands, archeologically, is still a huge problem” (endnote 23).

Keep in mind that all of these are practicing Mormons who are professional Book of Mormon archeologists!

B. What non-Mormon archeologists say.

Earlier we read from the Smithsonian Institution’s statement “The Bible as History.” We saw that archaeology confirms much of the Bible and that professional archeologists use the Bible in their work. The Smithsonian also has a “STATEMENT REGARDING THE BOOK OF MORMON.” This statement can be requested at the same address. Every one of the statements are damaging to the reliability of the Book of Mormon. Here is the first of eight statements: “The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.”

In 1989, Michael Ammons wrote to the National Geographic Society requesting information on the Book of Mormon and archaeology. The Society replied in a letter dated April 26, 1989:

“Neither the Society nor any other institution of equal prestige has ever used the Book of Mormon in locating archaeological sites. Although many Mormon sources claim that the Book of Mormon has been substantiated by archaeological findings, this claim has not been verified scientifically.”

Also in 1989, Linda Hansen wrote to the Department of Archaeology at Boston University with a similar request. In a reply letter dated April 5, 1989, Julie Hansen of the department responded:

“The Archaeological Institute of America has never used the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide in locating historic ruins on the Western Hemisphere…. Over the past 30 years The New World Archaeological Foundation, located at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has conducted numerous scientific excavations in Mesoamerica, originally with a view to confirming the claims in the Book of Mormon. They have discovered no evidence that supports the Book of Mormon in any way. Nonetheless, they have published in full detail the results of their excavations in Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation, Volumes 1-55, 1959 and following…. They are accepted by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society of American Archaeologists as legitimate scientific investigations and the New World Archaeological Foundation is to be commended for publishing the results of their work that essentially refutes the basic beliefs of the Mormon Church on which the Foundation is based” (endnote 24).

Therefore, there is a consensus from professional archaeologists, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, that there is no specific confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology.

2. The lack of archaeological evidence is sometimes damaging.

A) The Book of Mormon claims that the ancient inhabitants spoke and wrote in “Reformed Egyptian” and Hebrew (endnote 25). If this were the case, we would expect to find artifacts with writings in these languages. However, the Smithsonian’s eighth statement regarding the Book of Mormon says:

“Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.”

B) The Book of Mormon states that the two peoples mentioned (Nephites and Lamanites) had Jewish beliefs that became Christian when the resurrected Christ appeared to them. However, there is no evidence that the ancient inhabitants in the Americas had either Jewish or Christian beliefs.

C) Hill Cumorah is located in New York, southeast of Rochester. Joseph Smith claimed that when Moroni appeared to him, he was told that Moroni’s father, Mormon, buried the gold plates upon which the Book of Mormon was based on the hill Cumorah just before the great final battle there (Mormon 6:6). In the Pearl of Great Price, Smith writes that the day after his second vision, he went to a large hill outside of the village where his family lived (the hill Cumorah) and found the gold plates (endnote 26). This identifies the hill where Smith dug up the plates as the same hill where Mormon buried them and where the great battle took place. In Mormon 6:10-15, it is claimed that hundreds of thousands of people were killed on or near the hill Cumorah during that final battle. It says that “their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth” (Mormon 6:15). In other words, their bodies were left there, unburied.

To help you understand the magnitude of casualties at hill Cumorah, let us consider another major battle. During the Battle of Gettysburg of the American Civil War, 55,000 soldiers were wounded, including 6,000 of them killed on the battlefield and 4,000 more whose wounds were mortal. Eyewitnesses said that there was so much blood from the dead and injured that there were parts of the battlefield that seemed like streams of blood. So many men and horses died that all could not be buried at once and many corpses were left on the battlefield until a few days later when others were hired to do the task.

If 6,000 men died on the battlefield at Gettysburg, what would a battlefield look like with hundreds of thousands dead? Since they were left unburied at hill Cumorah, wouldn’t there be some artifacts made of metal and stone? Bullets by the thousands are found at Gettysburg. Nothing, however, has been found at hill Cumorah.

University of Rochester paleontologist and stratigrapher Carl Brett has worked in the Palmyra, N.Y, area where hill Cumorah is located and is familiar with the hill and its geologic conditions. He says that if hundreds of thousands were slaughtered at the hill and not buried, there would still be skeletal remains on the surface today, even after 1,600 years. Scavengers and weather conditions would account for why much is gone, but there would still be quite enough left to look at. Metallic artifacts from weapons and armor would also be easily found (endnote 27). But nothing has ever been found at hill Cumorah.

3. Attempts by Mormons to answer the archeological problem fail.

During a series of conversations I once had with a Mormon friend and some Mormon missionaries, I turned to them in the first meeting and said that one objection I had to Mormonism was that there is no archaeological evidence to support the stories in the Book of Mormon. One of the missionaries smiled confidently and claimed there was a lot of evidence from archaeology to support the historical truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I asked him to show me some. He said he did not have any information with him but would bring some to our next meeting. He did. Needless to say he was shocked when I quoted the Mormon scholars below who refuted the very materials he had in hand!

“Few of the writings they have produced are of genuine consequence in archaeological terms. Some are clearly on the oddball fringe; others have credible qualifications. Two of the most prolific are Professor Hugh Nibley and Milton R. Hunter; however, they are not qualified to handle the archaeological materials their works often involve” (endnote 28).

“Those volumes which most flagrantly ignore time and space and most radically distort, misinterpret, or ignore portions of the archaeological evidence are the popular Farnsworth volumes. Also inadequate, from a professional archaeologist’s point of view, are the well intentioned volumes by Milton R. Hunter and a number of smaller pamphlets and works by various authors…. New World Old World comparisons have been less popular but fraught with problems. The best known examples are the two volumes by Nibley which suffer from an overdose of Old Worlditis…. He does not know New World culture history well, and his writing ignores the considerable indigenous elements in favor of exclusively Old World patterns” (endnote 29).

“In situations where sources of religious and secular authority conflict with each other, a Latter-day Saint sometimes finds himself in a quandary. He has been assured by a folklore transmitted in lessons, talks and church literature that archaeologists (usually Gentiles) are steadily proving the Book of Mormon authentic, while through his formal education and secular literature he has become aware that in actuality the experts seem to contradict the scripture” (endnote 30).

“Science does not arrive at its conclusions by syllogism, and no people on earth deplore proof demonstration by syllogism more loudly than real archaeologists do. Yet, Mr. Jakeman’s study is nothing but an elaborate syllogistic stew. The only clear and positive thing about the whole study is the objective the author is determined to reach” (endnote 31).

Again, every one of the above are practicing Mormons. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, BYU is owned by the Mormon Church and has a department dedicated to Book of Mormon archaeology. According to BYU anthropologist John Clark, virtually all of the professional archaeologists there admit that archaeological finds which specifically tie the past to events in the Book of Mormon are missing. These practicing Mormons call books and their authors that list sensational findings not qualified, inadequate, and speculative.

Some Mormons will respond that these archeologists do not represent the official church position, so their opinions are not credible. But why trivialize and dismiss the findings of the overwhelming consensus of practicing Mormons who are professional archaeologists, yet accept, without question, the official Mormon Church position? Could it be that the ground’s silence is indicative of a Mormon Church position that is false? After all, if it is false, silence from archaeology is precisely what we might expect to find.

It is fair to mention that professional Mormon archaeologists claim there is general confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology, citing peoples existing where it is thought Book of Mormon peoples may have existed. This general confirmation, however, does not show that the Mormon picture of history is true. These same archaeologists (Johnson, Clark) admit that conclusions regarding the findings are pure speculation. The issue is not, “Did people exist in the Americas between 600 B.C. through A.D. 400?” We know that they did. The issue is, “Can we identify these civilizations as the ones mentioned in the Book of Mormon?” And the answer from virtually all professional Mormon and non-Mormon archaeologists alike is no.

In the last part of this series we saw that the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts in our possession today allow us to have an accurate translation of the Bible. Therefore, even by Mormon standards, we can be confident that we have the Word of God. We also saw that secular history has attested to the accuracy of the Bible so that we can know with certainty that many of the events recorded in it took place. Unfortunately, the Mormon cannot have this same confidence when it comes to the Book of Mormon. Archaeology and secular history are silent when asked if the events took place. Not only is this silence disturbing to professional Mormon archaeologists, but it is evidence against Mormonism when no artifacts turn up in areas which should be abundant with relics such as the hill Cumorah. However, as damaging as these may be, Mormonism’s greatest challenge concerns another one of their scriptures, the Book of Abraham, which will be the subject of the next part in this series.
–30–
Mike Licona is the director of apologetics & interfaith evangelism at the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

ENDNOTES

20 Dr. Ray Metheny, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. Address at the Sixth Annual Sunstone Theological Symposium, Salt Lake City, 8/25/84.

21 Dr. Dee Green, Former Editor of the University Archaeological Society Newsletter “Book of Mormon Archaeology: The Myths and the Alternatives,” in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), pp. 77-78.

22 Dr. David Johnson, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. In a personal telephone conversation, 7/23/97.

23 Dr. John Clark, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. In a personal telephone conversation, 7/25/97.

24 Copies of the reply letters from the National Geographic Society and Boston University were provided by Jim and Judy Robertson of Concerned Christians.

25 Mosiah 1:4; Mormon 9:32-33. Also see Joseph Smith. History 1:64.

26 Joseph Smith. History, verses 51-52. Hill Cumorah is located in Manchester, N.Y., about 25 miles east of Rochester. Smith lived in Palmyra, about five miles away from the hill.

27 A personal telephone conversation on September 8, 1997.

28 John L. Sorenson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Sociology, BYU. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 1, No. 1 (Spring 1966), pp. 145-246.

29 Dee Green, General Officer, Univ. Archaeological Society. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), p. 74.

30 John L. Sorenson, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), p. 81.

31 Dr. Hugh Nibley, quoted by Dee Green. Book of Mormon Archaeology, p. 75.

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Acts 2:38   Satan’s Favorite Bible Verse!  By James L. Melton

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

The above verse of scripture is a favorite among many religious groups. One can hear it several times on Sunday morning radio programs, as well as from the pulpits of numerous groups, and it can be found in much religious literature. The verse is a favorite because, on the surface, it seemingly states that one must be baptized in order to be saved, and without baptism one is not saved. So, those who believe that water baptism is essential for salvation make it a regular habit of using Acts 2:38 as scriptural support.

The problem is that Acts 2:38 isn’t the only verse in the Bible which deals with salvation. While many claim to “speak where the scriptures speak and remain silent where the scriptures are silent,” they practically ignore most of the New Testament teaching on salvation. The only verses that such false teachers quote and reference are the ones they feel they can use to promote their “water gospel.” The fact is that most of what the New Testament says about salvation doesn’t include baptism at all! (John 5:24, John 11:25-26, John 14:6, Romans 4:5, Romans 10:9-13, Eph. 2:8-9, etc.), and the few places that do mention water baptism do not include it as part of one’s salvation. Water baptism follows salvation as one of the first steps of obedience for the new believer.

In spite of this obvious truth, the cultists remain steadfast in their heresy, insisting that Acts 2:38 sets forth water baptism as a requirement for salvation. Thus, this verse of scripture has become Satan’s favorite Bible verse. In fact, many are trusting water baptism alone for the salvation of their souls! Indeed, Satan has deceived multitudes by his perversion of Acts 2:38.

Rather than ignore Acts 2:38 by quoting “our favorite verses” instead, it is more appropriate to face this popular verse of scripture and see if the cultists are right in what they claim it teaches.

The Truth about Acts 2:38

First, please notice that verse 38 isn’t the only verse in Acts 2. In Peter’s message, a great deal was said before verse 38 came out of his mouth. In fact, he even told his listeners how to be saved before verse 38! In Acts 2:21, Peter quotes from Joel 2 and says, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” His words preceding verse 38 were so convicting that his listeners were “pricked in their heart” in verse 37. So, to use verse 38 out of its context causes a misrepresentation of God’s word. The verse does not stand alone, and, in fact, a totally different meaning is conveyed when one makes it stand alone.

Another error that many make with Acts 2:38 is the error of assumption. It is assumed that the word “for” must mean “in order to get.” That is, being baptized “for” the remission of sins supposedly means to be baptized “in order to get” remission of sins. However, a closer look at the scriptures will reveal that this isn’t the case at all.

Notice Luke 5:12-14: “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Jesus made this man clean in verse 13, yet in the next verse, verse 14, Jesus tells him to go offer a sacrifice “for thy cleansing” as a “testimony.” Here the word “for” cannot mean “in order to get” because he had already gotten his cleansing in verse 13! It obviously meant “because of” his cleansing. If a man goes to jail “for stealing,” then he goes there “because of” the stealing that he’s already done, not “in order to get” a chance to steal again.

Some like to argue that the Greek word “eis” means “in order to,” but this isn’t always the case. Jesus said in Matthew 12:41, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” The Greek word for “at” is “eis.” Does this mean that the men of Nineveh repented “in order to get” the preaching of Jonah? No, they repented “because of” the preaching of Jonah. So, even “the Greek” doesn’t demand the popular interpretation of Acts 2:38. The word “for” can be used different ways, not just one, so it is wrong to assume that it must mean “in order to get” in Acts 2:38.

Another factor which is commonly ignored is the JEWISH factor. Every person in Acts 2 is a Mosaic law observing Old Testament Jew. In fact, they are all gathered together to observe a JEWISH FEAST called Pentecost (verse 1). A fair reading of the whole chapter (especially verses 4, 14, and 36) will clearly reveal that no Gentiles (non Jews) are present. Since this involves Jews, it involves a NATION (verse 36!!), not individuals. No one asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The question asked concerned the NATION of Israel: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (verse 37) Not, “What shall I do,” but rather, “What shall WE do?” Acts 2 presents a NATION of people who come to realize that they have murdered their blessed Messiah and they’re asking what THEY must do. It’s a question concerning NATIONAL salvation. Isaiah 66:8 says, “. . . shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” The “nation” is Israel! Romans 11:26 says, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Acts 2:38 is dealing with NATIONAL salvation. The Messianic Kingdom is still available to the Jews (until Acts 7:60 when they kill Stephen), so national salvation remains an issue until then.

This is clear from what follows Acts 7. In Acts 8, an individual from Africa is saved (before baptism). In Acts 9, an individual from Asia is saved (before baptism). In Acts 10, an individual from Europe is saved (before baptism). Why didn’t these individual conversions occur before Acts 7? Because the first seven chapter of Acts deal with Israel (1:6-8; 2:36; 3:12; 4:8-10; 5:31; 6:7-14; 7:1-60). The question of INDIVIDUAL salvation is asked and answered in Acts 16:30-31: “. . . Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Those who fail to make this distinction are guilty of violating II Timothy 2:15 where we are told to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the word of truth.

The Bible says the gospel is to go to the Jew FIRST (Rom. 1:16), so they are the FIRST to receive the gospel in the book of Acts (chapter 2), but they are not the last to receive it. Acts doesn’t end with chapter 2, so we should be cautious of anyone who develops their doctrine in Acts 2 while practically ignoring the next 26 chapters! If God didn’t stop in Acts 2, then why does anyone else? Could it be that the later chapters in Acts contain information which the cultists want hidden from us? Could it be that there are other scriptures in Acts which do not agree with the wording of Acts 2:38? Could it be that Peter himself, the one preaching in Acts 2:38, says something different when speaking to individual Gentiles like you and me? One only has to read Acts chapter 10 to get the answer. Peter is preaching again in Acts 10, except only to individual Gentiles, and something very interesting occurs. In Acts 2:38, the Holy Ghost was promised to be given to the converts AFTER they were baptized, yet in Acts 10:44 the Holy Ghost falls upon the Gentiles BEFORE they are baptized! Now, Paul tells us in Romans 8:9, ” . . .if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Having God’s Spirit is synonymous with belonging to God or being saved (John 3:6-8), so the Gentiles in Acts 10 were saved BEFORE they were baptized in water. Why don’t the Acts 2:38 cultists ever point this out? Answer: It destroys their perverted doctrine that water baptism is essential for salvation.

The fact is that Acts 2:38 is NOT the “model” plan of salvation, nor are any of the other “water verses” which the cultists use. Only by taking such verses out of their context can one teach such heresy. All of the Bible is true, not just the favorite “proof texts” of the cults. Baptism saves no one. It only serves as a testimonial picture of the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ AFTER one has believed on Christ (Acts 8:36-38). Paul said in I Corinthians 1:17 that “. . . Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” This “gospel” is defined by Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4, and it does NOT include water baptism. The dying thief was not baptized, yet Jesus saved him (Luke 23:42-43), and John wrote that we are washed in the BLOOD of Christ (Rev. 1:5), not in the water. In fact, the saints in Heaven claim to have gotten there by the blood of Jesus (Rev. 5:9), not by water. By faith in the blood of Jesus Christ one is saved (Rom. 3:25). Water baptism only follows this faith as an outward step of obedience.

Friend, if you have fallen for the water gospel, why not repent of your sin and trust Jesus Christ alone? Acts 10:43 says, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Why not believe on Christ 100% right now and quit trusting something you DO for salvation? “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Why not right now?

Copyright © 2000 James L. Melton

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