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MORMONISM’S FOUNDATION OF DECEPTION

This article explains how Joseph Smith, who claimed to be a latter-day prophet, was able to bring into being a religion that opposes every major doctrine in the Bible, in spite of the Bible being one of their standard works.

At the start the LDS church’s doctrines were similar to those of Christianity. For the first twelve years they worshipped the trinitarian deity, as is borne out by their 1835 printing of Doctrine and Covenants. (Note that at that stage Joseph taught that God was a spirit being.)

“….. We shall, in this lecture speak of the Godhead: we mean the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are two personages ….. They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fullness: the Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle ….. And he being the only begotten of the Father ….. possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit..” (1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Lecture Fifth of Faith, 5:1-2, pages 52-53, First edition.) (Writer’s italics)

The Book of Mormon, which was written by Joseph Smith prior to his change in deity, confirms his original trinitarian teaching given above. Note that the Book of Mormon also taught that there was only one God, who was a spirit being:

And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit? And he said, Yes. And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and on the earth? And he said Yes …….. (Alma 18:26-29)

….. Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God….. (Alma 11:44)

….. the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one ….. (3 Nephi 11:27)

….. to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God….. (Mormon 7:7)

Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No. (Alma 11:28-29)

….. there is but one God (Alma 11:35)
Suffice it to say that Mormonism of today has changed to the extent that it no longer bears any resemblance to Mormonism of the early days. It is a different religion altogether, with a different God (an ordinary saved sinner with a body of flesh and bone), a different Saviour (who fits in with their later doctrine of eternal progression), and a different atonement, gospel and salvation. (Links are given at the end of this page to relevant articles on these subjects.)

LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR THE DECEPTION

Records reveal that prior to the inception of the LDS church Joseph Smith was involved in the occult, spiritism and necromancy. He also had the reputation of being a confidence trickster, and for some years made money out of convincing folk that he could divine the whereabouts of hidden treasure through the use of his occultic stone. However, the treasure never materialised and he was eventually taken to court and prosecuted. Although he was found guilty, due to his age at the time (twenty) he was not given a sentence.

It is a fact that Smith never gave up his occultic practices. He died with an occultic talisman coin in his pocket. And he freely admitted that during the period that he was prophet and leader of the church, he received “prophecies and revelations” through his occultic stone — see the article on this site, “Joseph Smith, the Latter-day False Prophet.”

After he had joined the probationer’s class of the Methodist Church in 1828, it was pointed out to Joseph that his lifestyle did not fit in with the teachings and beliefs of the church; and that in order to stay in membership he would be required to confess his misdemeanours, repent and change his ways. However, he chose rather to resign. (c/f The Amboy Journal, April 30, 1879 page 1; June 11, 1879, page 1.)

Within two years he had started up his own church, which came to be known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Opponents of Mormonism believe that his story about the apostasy of the Christian church stemmed from his bitterness towards the church in general, as a direct consequence of what had happened to him when he had attempted to join the Methodists.

Although he had a poor education, Joseph was certainly not lacking in intelligence. He knew that his ideas on religion did not fit in with the teachings of the Bible, and that he would have to come up with an innovative explanation. He also realised that he needed to provide a plausible reason for starting up a new church.

Declaring himself to be a latter-day prophet, he claimed that God had revealed to him that after the death of Christ’s apostles the early church had become apostate, and that he had been given the task of restoring the true church. He also maintained that the Bible was not reliable as it had been incorrectly translated, and that large sections containing important teachings about salvation had been removed.

This meant that right from the very start, his followers had no reliable standard of truth against which to test whether or not his teachings were correct, thereby giving him free reign to introduce whatever unbiblical teachings fitted in with his agenda.

“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).

Although his followers accepted his claims about the Bible having been corrupted, Smith was wise enough not to bring about any radical departure from biblical doctrines until the church had become well and truly established.

Later on, when doctrines that directly contradicted biblical teachings were introduced, the LDS members were taught that because the Bible was unreliable, the best way to establish the accuracy of its teachings was to compare them with their own doctrines, their own scriptures and the words of their own true prophet. This teaching still applies today:

“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)

Perpetuating the deceptions that have been part and parcel of Mormonism ever since its inception, the following claim was made in a later LDS booklet for consumption by non-Mormons:

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 and Doctrinal Writer, Bruce McConkie, ‘What The Mormons Think of Christ,’ page 2)

THE INTRODUCTION OF ETERNAL PROGRESSION

Twelve years after the formation of the LDS church, in 1842, Joseph made his move, introducing his unbiblical “Law of Eternal Progression” with the following pronouncement:

“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see ….. God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 345, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith).

In order to avoid duplication, eternal progression will not be discussed in depth here, as a link is provided at the bottom of this page to an article that explains it more fully. But to put it briefly, the eternal progression teaching is that every living being originally existed as intelligent matter, then progressed, each in his own time, to the next stage by taking on a spirit form, and finally to the stage of taking on a physical body. The ultimate is to progress, or to be “translated” to godhood, which in Mormonism is eternal life. What this means is that deity and man have exactly the same origins and the same scope for advancement. The only difference between us and God is that He has reached a further stage of progression than we have, at this moment in time.

Although it may be hard for us to understand how so many sincere and well-meaning folk could have been taken in by his incredible deceptions, we need to bear in mind that Joseph Smith was a talented and persuasive orator. In his youth he had belonged to the local debating society, and he had also been a regular exhorter at the Methodist evening meetings for some time prior to his attempt at becoming a member of that church. (History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham’s Purchase, 1851, page 214). And let us not forget that he had already convinced his followers that the Bible was not reliable.

It is not the practice of the LDS to disclose their exclusive doctrines to outsiders. And they will go to great lengths to conceal them. Only after having been baptised into the LDS church is the initiate exposed to the full teachings of Mormonism, through a graduated system of indoctrination. For this reason, right up until fairly recently, few people outside the LDS membership were aware of the full extent of LDS beliefs.

However, since the advent of the Internet and the subsequent public disclosure of LDS teachings by ex-Mormons, there has been such widespread condemnation of their claim that Mormon men can become Gods (as well as of various other LDS doctrines and practices), that they have recently toned down the wording of their teachings. For instance, they now talk about becoming “like God,” whereas when the writer was still in the LDS, they didn’t mince their words, but said straight out that men were able to become gods in their own right, reigning over their own worlds, through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the LDS church. They often quoted a couplet from the pulpit, that went something like this:

As man is, God once was;
As God is, man can become.

In spite of toning down their wording, there has been no change in their doctrine of eternal progression, and the ultimate in Mormonism is still “translation” to godhood, which in “Mormonese” means eternal life.

“Here then is eternal life; to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God the same as all Gods have done before you” (Journal of Discourses 6:4; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 346, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith).

When Smith changed to the worship of a different deity many folk who had joined the LDS under their original belief system left the church. But he managed to persuade the majority to join him in his rejection of the biblical spirit God, and to follow instead his revolutionary new deity who had a body of flesh and bone, and had once been a sinner in need of salvation. He later claimed:

“I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter nor Jesus ever did. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I.The followers of Jesus ran away from Him, but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (The History of the Church Volume 6, pages 408-409). (Italics inserted by author.)

THE ONLY TRUE CHURCH

The LDS has a number of teachings that have been specifically designed to convince their members that they are the only true church. For instance, they are told that God removed His authority from the earth after the early church had gone into total apostasy but that He has restored His authority to them. They go on to claim that because they alone have God’s authority, salvation is only possible through their church. Another claim is that God restored, through the LDS church, the Levitical/Aaronic priesthood (which, incidentally is Old Covenant theology and has no place in the New Covenant), as well as the Melchizedek priesthood; and that eternal progression is only possible through the LDS priesthood. Then too, they maintain that they have the same organization as did the primitive church, which they say proves yet again that they are the true, restored church.

However, not a single one of these claims has any validity, as on investigation they are all disproved by the true facts.

To bolster up their claims Mormons are taught to “have faith” in Joseph Smith, his Book of Mormon and the LDS church through their feelings rather than through established facts (see the article on this site entitled, “The Mormon Testimony and Brainwashing.”)

Another deceptive ploy is their title, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” This gives the impression that they are both biblical and Christian, and they actually teach their members that their title proves that they are the true church. But in reality nothing could be further from the truth. They have had no less than five other titles up to the present time in history, and at one stage were called, “The Church of the Latter-day Saints.” (See the Article, “The Title of the LDS Church,” which is featured on this site.) Mormons worship a different God, their gospel is different and so is their salvation. And although they do everything “in the name of Jesus Christ,” the Jesus Christ they believe in is not the biblical Christ, a fact which their leadership admits (see the article “The LDS Jesus Christ is not the Saviour of the Bible.”

Furthermore, in order to give the illusion that their doctrines fit in with what the Bible teaches, the LDS has deliberately and consistently applied dishonest meanings to biblical terms. One glaring example is the term, “salvation by grace,” which according to the Bible means being saved from both the guilt and the penalty of our sins by the grace of God through faith in Christ. But instead the LDS applies this biblical term, “salvation by grace,” to universal resurrection, without the necessity for faith in Christ and without the forgiveness of personal sins. They go on to teach that the right to forgiveness of sins has to be earned through obedience to the laws and ordinances of their church organization (c/f Articles of Faith by Talmage, page 87).

However, this is what the Bible teaches:
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43, KJV)

Who His own self bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24, KJV)

For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28, KJV)

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7, KJV)

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5, KJV)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6, KJV)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12, KJV)

Although the LDS God was not always deity, but was once a fallen sinner in need of salvation, Mormons are given the impression that he is the eternal God of the Bible. In order to facilitate this deception, the LDS invented a new, exclusive meaning for the word “eternal.” They maintain it is only a title used by God in the same way as Mr. and Mrs. are titles when used in front of someone’s surname. But our dictionaries define the word “eternal” as meaning “without beginning or end of existence, everlasting, ceaseless and unchangeable.” And this is how the term “eternal” is meant to be understood when used by the Bible. (According to LDS teachings, gaining eternal life means exaltation to godhood, or enjoying the same type of life as deity, through Mormonism. But this is not what the Bible teaches.)

Their ongoing subterfuge indicates that in spite of the fact that Mormonism bears no resemblance to Christianity, and that it opposes every major doctrine taught by the Bible, it has nevertheless been deliberately dressed up in the guise of biblical Christianity. In other words, it is a counterfeit of Christianity.

Although in the past they distanced themselves from Christianity to the extent that their membership used to be told never to call themselves Christians but Latter-day Saints; at the moment the LDS is involved in a massive publicity campaign, and is pulling out all the stops to get themselves included in the Christian fraternity. Consequently, Mormons now become offended if one says they are not Christian.

As there is freedom of religion in America, one cannot help but wonder what their motive is in maintaining a Christian facade, when their religion is anything but Christian. (The articles listed in the index of the home page of this site give clear and overwhelming evidence, with references from their own literature, of Mormon opposition to everything that biblical Christianity stands for, apart from the morality issue.)

However, once one considers their roots, everything falls into place.

Joseph Smith’s religion of Mormonism is the biggest success story ever, in the arena of spiritual deception. The LDS church follows a false god, trusts in a counterfeit Jesus Christ, teaches a nonexistent salvation, and propagates Joseph Smith’s false gospel under the guise of “the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

THE REASON BEHIND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MORMONISM

Because Smith had stressed right from the earliest days that important teachings on salvation had been taken from the Bible, we realise with hindsight that from the very start his purpose had been to lead folk away from the way of salvation that God had revealed to us in the pages of the Bible, and to substitute in its place a false gospel that fitted in with his own agenda. And to confirm that this is precisely what he did do, we will compare the biblical gospel with what the LDS teaches, and which they deceptively call “the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

THE CHRISTIAN GOSPEL

The Christian gospel is a message intended for all the inhabitants of the entire world, regardless of belief, race or creed. It tells of the amazing love of a holy and righteous Creator God for the sinful, fallen and wayward race of mankind:

In His great mercy God devised a plan that catered for our fallen state. In order to rescue us both from the power that sin has over us as well as from its terrible eternal consequences; and also to enable us to become reconciled to His righteous rulership, He came down to earth in Christ, and took on a body of flesh. By becoming one of us He qualified to become our Redeemer. Although He was sinless He voluntarily, graciously, and humbly took upon Himself the burden of the guilt and the shame of our sins. Then He courageously paid the terrible price on our behalf, in our place, on the cross, so that we could be set free from condemnation. Only one condition applied: In order to qualify for salvation we have to identify Christ as being our Representative and Saviour, by trusting solely in Him, in His saving power, His ability, and His redeeming atonement on our behalf, on the cross. (See the article “What is Biblical Salvation?” listed on the Home page.)

This means that everyone, no matter what their past may have been, what sins they may have committed, what may be their race or station in life, or how weak their resolve may be, stands on level ground at the foot of the cross. And so there is hope for all, “in Christ.” What a Saviour!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, KJV)

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV).

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV).

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18, KJV)

But the LDS gospel is not like that at all. Mormonism was designed specifically to draw folk away from God’s way of salvation. We know that this is so because firstly, as already mentioned above, Smith had maintained from the start that important teachings on salvation had been removed from the Bible. And secondly, their gospel is aimed at Christians or at folk who are familiar with or who have been brought up in a Christian society. Very roughly, their gospel goes something like this:

THE LDS GOSPEL

In a vision God revealed to his latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, that the Christian church (for which Christ had died) had became apostate shortly after the death of His apostles. So he removed His authority for the gospel from the earth. But in these latter days He has restored both the true gospel and His authority to the earth, through his prophet, Joseph Smith.

The Bible that God gave us to use as our standard of truth, so that we could protect ourselves from spiritual deception or error, is not reliable due to incorrect translation and missing portions of important teachings on salvation.

As the LDS church alone has God’s authority for the gospel, salvation can only be attained through membership of their organization, provided we have faith in Joseph Smith as the true prophet of God, are obedient to the laws and ordinances of their organization, and live righteously, to the end. (See the article on this site on Mormon Salvation).

“Redemption from personal sins can only be obtained through obedience to the requirements of the [Mormon] gospel, and a life of good works ….. The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith Alone has exercised an influence for evil” (Mormon Apostle James Talmage, Articles of Faith, pages 478-479).

“There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 670).

“There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, page 188.)

As can be seen, the Mormon gospel would make no sense to anyone other than those with some sort of a Christian background or with at least a knowledge of biblical Christianity. It’s whole purpose is to create an environment where we turn away from God’s way of salvation through Christ alone and from the truths given to us in the Bible, to the deceptions taught by their false prophet, Joseph Smith.

Sadly, even if Mormons do eventually become aware of the many contradictions and errors in LDS doctrines, the majority of them have been so thoroughly indoctrinated that they will continue to avoid the Christian church like a plague and still be convinced that the Bible is unreliable. So even then Mormonism will have served its purpose. Whether he stays in their church or whether he goes, the Mormon has been indoctrinated to the extent that he is reluctant to have anything to do with what happens to be the true, biblical gospel. And what is more, because of having been so thoroughly deceived by the LDS church, he feels he can never ever trust anyone else again in the spiritual arena.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12, KJV)

CONCLUSION

If the reader is a Mormon I want to encourage you not to give up in your search for the truth.

Your best way forward is to begin reading the Bible in a new way, with a new attitude, giving yourself permission to accept that it is God’s proven standard of truth. (See the proof via the link below entitled, “Corruption of the Bible is an LDS Smokescreen.”)

It’s better to start with the New Testament, either with the gospels or else with one of the epistles, such as Philippians or Colossians, and to prayerfully read each book that you tackle in small portions, going right through from beginning to end, before going on to another, asking God to help you to understand what he wants you to learn from your reading for each day. It’s also helpful to keep a notebook, marked with the dates and the passages read, together with what you feel God has taught you from each particular reading.

You are welcome to write to this site and I will do my utmost to help and encourage you in any way I can. My email address is:

reply@bibtruth.com

There is an index of relevant articles listed on the home page of this site. The following are links to some of the articles referred to above:

Corruption of the Bible is an LDS Smokescreen
The LDS Jesus Christ is Not the Saviour of the Bible
The Apostasy is a Mormon Fallacy

LDS Authority Teaching Has No Basis
The Mormon Gods, Past and Present
LDS Pre-existence is Disproved by the Bible

The LDS Priesthood is Unbiblical
Joseph Smith’s First Vision and the Controversy Surrounding It
Joseph Smith, the Latter-day False Prophet
What is Biblical Salvation?

Copyright 2008 by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

http://www.bibtruth.com/decep.html

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Christianity True-Response To a Mormon Inquirer: An Honest Answer to An Honest Inquiry By Russ Wise

Dear Inquirer,

Thank you for your inquiry. I appreciate the fact that you are interested in a dialogue concerning your faith and Christianity. Note that I said – your faith and Christianity. I did not, nor do I, assume that Mormonism and Christianity are one and the same. I suspect you picked that idea up from my earlier writing which you referenced.

Before I begin my discussion of your questions let me ask you for clarification of a couple of earlier statements you made in your email.

First, you made the comment: I will be the first to agree, our Church leaders have and will continue to exclaim that The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints is the ONLY true living church upon the face of the whole earth. I sensed that you may not be in full agreement with their position. Perhaps you are! Then again I may be reading too much into your comment. I would appreciate a clarification.

Second, at the end of your second page you made the following statement: Who here on earth has the power and Authority to say what is really what? Christians say the Bible is our authority, I believe that, but Muslims don’t. My question for you is this, Is the Bible truly your authority? Or do you also accept the Book of Mormon as well? If so, then you have a dilemma, because, as a rule, the Bible does not agree with the Book of Mormon on points of theology. The only places that I would be in agreement would be those portions where Joseph Smith included major portions of Scripture (the Bible) into his text.

If you are still with me, let me make an attempt to answer your questions. Your first question is centered on the idea of whether Christianity is the true source of salvation. Can we know for sure – beyond doubt? I believe it is, and I also believe we can know that Christianity is the only true source for an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ – beyond doubt. Your second question (Who is to say Christians is the way, and not Muslims?) is similar, so I will blend the answer into one response.

You are indeed correct in that there are a multitude of options for one to be “saved” when it comes to religion. The question that we need to ask ourselves is this: Can I know for certain which understanding of salvation is true? Is there evidence for me to consider that offers substantial information regarding the truth claims that will affect my eternal condition? A kindred question is this: Can I have complete faith in the one who makes these truth claims? Another question would be, What is their authority? Can their claim be verified?

Christians have verifiable evidence to support the idea that Jesus is the only source of salvation, whereas others – including Muslims – do not. Let me explain: Hindus accept Krishna as their god and he is believed to be their way to enlightenment (salvation). Muslims accept Muhammad as their prophet and the one who has the final revelation from God regarding the state of mankind and salvation.

Christians, on the other hand, believe that Jesus was both fully human and yet divine. The issue that we need to address is this: Is there any verifiable difference between Jesus and the others? I contend that there is without doubt. Jesus is the only one who claimed deity and was able to justify His claim. Krishna, Muhammad, and all the other founders of their respective religions died and remain in their graves. Jesus, on the other hand, died but He, unlike the others, was resurrected. This one act sets Jesus apart from all other individuals who would claim to be man’s avenue for salvation. Jesus, through His resurrection, gave authentication to His claims. Jesus alone overcame death. The others, quite simply, could not pass the test!

What were Jesus’ claims? He not only claimed to be God, but He claimed to have bodily resurrected. First, let us look at His claim to deity. In John 8:58 we read that, “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” And what was the response, they picked up stones to stone Him because He made Himself to be God by saying He was the I AM -a claim to deity. John 10:25-33 gives us another indication that Jesus considered Himself to be one with the Father. Again, the response was to stone Him for saying that He and the Father were one. The Jews took up stones, not because of His “good works” but for blasphemy n Because You, being a Man, make Yourself God. In Hebrews 1:8-13 we find where the Father gives legitimacy to Jesus as God. He says, Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.

Jesus also accepted worship. If He were not God, but merely a man He would have been condemned. In Matthew 8:2 we read where a leper worshipped Him. Jesus did not correct the man and deny him. He accepted the leper’s worship – as God. John 9:35-39 likewise offers us another example of Jesus accepting the worship of a (formerly) blind man.

The Old Testament prophesied His coming. Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.1 Krishna and Muhammad along with all the other founders of religion fail the test.

Christianity in reality is not a religion as much as it is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is not a listing of Laws that one must obey to be acceptable to God. It is a relationship that is based on God reaching out to mankind through His Son – Jesus. Therefore, salvation is not determined by what I do, but what He did for me. In other words, Christianity is centered on what God did for us, not what we attempt to do for Him.

Your second question is perhaps the most important. Who is the final Authority? This question is partially answered in the discussion above. However, it is of most importance to recognize that Jesus is not only divine and therefore trustworthy as our God and Messiah, but also that His Word – the Bible, is equally trustworthy.

Our final authority is the Scripture. The Old and New Testaments alone. As Christians, we believe that no other text contains the authority that the two Testaments hold as the Word of God. They alone are inspired. The Qu’ran, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Book of Mormon, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Jehovah’s Witnesses), or any other text does not have the authenticity of the Holy Bible.2 The Bible, therefore, becomes our standard for truth. The question that begs an answer is this: Can I truly know that the Bible is the Word of God? Or is it simply one choice among many?

As Christianity stands or falls on the person of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, so our understanding of Jesus stands or falls on the reliability of the Bible. They are inter-twined. One is dependent on the other for authentication.

We can have faith in the Bible as our source for truth. We can likewise know that the Bible is God’s undeniable Word for us. The Bible is our guidebook for how to live a fruitful life for God. The Bible, unlike other religious texts, has archeological authenticity.

The greatest reservation that many have regarding the Bible is that it is said to have so many different translations and subsequent interpretations. Varying translations are of man’s creation, not God’s. Man has unwittingly imposed his own interpretation and conclusions on Scripture without adequate understanding of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Because modern man decides to impose a gender-neutral translation on the public or to speak of God as female or worse yet, an “it”, does not invalidate the original. When in doubt, look at the documentary evidence – the first century writings rather than the layered interpretations of finite men. When we attempt to interpret Scripture we must apply the internal evidence test. That is, we use Scripture to shed light on itself rather than using external sources – like our personal understanding or opinion.

As mentioned above, the Bible stands apart from all other texts in that it alone has archeological authentication. The Book of Mormon cannot claim such. Yes, I know the L. D. S. answer to the query, but it does not satisfy. If their pre-supposition is true, then why did God not take the other Testaments to the heavenlies as well? Personally, I’m not willing to stake my eternal security on the church’s (L. D. S.) weak belief. I am willing, however, to stake my security on the Bible and its verifiability. In short, I need more than the church saying, just trust me or just because!

I am going to forgo a lengthy discussion of biblical archeology at this time. There is overwhelming evidence elsewhere. See my endnotes for further reading and evidentiary material. Allow me to close with this final thought. When we seek a viable belief to put our faith in, we first need to ask ourselves several questions.

One, does the belief system have continuity? Does it contradict itself on any level? As an example: Is God believed to be a single deity or is He a multiple deity. Mormon apologist, Bruce McConkie in his revered text, Mormon Doctrine, makes this statement, “Three Separate Personages – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods (p. 576-577).” However, when we look at the Doctrine and Covenants we find the following, “And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship (20:19). Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end (20:28).”

Two, does the belief system have correspondence? Does it correspond with known evidence? As an example: How well does it match with, say, known archeological information? When archeologists conduct digs around the Middle East they often use the Bible to enhance their understanding. They do not use the Book of Mormon. The Smithsonian Institution released a document in the Summer of 1979 stating that they have never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a specific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book (letter on file). This letter was released as a result of Mormon missionaries telling prospective converts that the Book of Mormon was in agreement with archeology and the Smithsonian Institution used it as a matter of course.

Three, Does the belief system have comprehensiveness? In other words, does it adequately answer all questions? As an example: If it can be proved that Jesus was merely a man and never resurrected from the grave then it would have devastating consequences for Christianity. To put it another way, can the belief system be falsifiable? If Jesus were not resurrected from the dead then Christianity would be false. It would not be uniquely different from any other religion where they had a dead prophet or founder to serve. It would be just another false belief system.

However, when it comes to the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price we find a number of opportunities to question their veracity. As an example: When we consider the Pearl of Great Price we discover that the Book of Abraham is highly questionable and it does not correspond with known evidence. In essence, it does not have any verifiability with what is known. The reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics that is believed to be the Book of Abraham is in reality, The Egyptian Book of the Dead – a funerary text. It does not mention Abraham at all. The eleven papyrus fragments that Joseph Smith discovered were actually three different funerary writings. One was for a deceased woman by the name of Ta-Shere-Min. Another was for another female named Amon-Re-Neferinub. The third was a Book of Breathings, also known as Sen Sen because of the repetition of this word throughout the text.

A Mormon Egyptologist by the name of Dee Jay Nelson was given the task of interpreting the papyri for the Mormon Church. Upon finishing his work he came to the conclusion that the fragments believed to be the Book of Abraham were indeed Egyptian funerary texts and was fraudulent. As a result, the Mormon Church excommunicated Nelson and his family in 1975. He, Nelson, had previously written the First Presidency to give his findings regarding the papyri and to subsequently resign from the Mormon Church because of the fraud the church had perpetrated on the membership for decades (letter on file).

Tanner, as a result of the above material and volumes more I have in my research files, I cannot in good faith remotely consider the Mormon Church as a source for salvation. I submit the above with humility. My desire is not to “bash” or condemn, but to offer you points of concern that cause me discomfort in relation to a viable belief system. A belief system that best represents the material available to us. Whether it would be from archeology, theology, or known history. The Bible passes the test every time. The writings of Joseph Smith fail the test every time.

I encourage you to continue to ask the tough questions. But, even more so, to diligently seek out the answers – no matter where they may lead you. I have discovered over the years that those who would deceive us usually have a desire to limit our questioning. They do not want us to discover the truth of their weak and inadequate belief system. However, when it comes to Christianity – questioning is encouraged. Questions give rise to understanding and understanding allows us to recognize the trustworthiness and reliability of our God and Savior as the only source for salvation.

Thank you again for your inquiry. I have spent the time involved responding to you because you need an answer – not another cliché. I pray that Jesus will give you understanding regarding all that I have shared with you.

Endnotes:

1. McDowell, Josh, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Thomas Nelson Publishers, p. 168-192.

2. Ibid., p. 3-116, 333-349.

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Author’s Comments:
This article was written in response to an inquiring Mormon who desired a well thoughtout response to LDS theology.

http://www.christianinformation.org/article.asp?artID=30

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SALVATION EXPOSED TO THE LIGHT OF BIBLE

MORMON SALVATION

LDS teaching on salvation is that Christ’s atonement only covers universal resurrection, which amounts to damnation. They go on to say that the right to forgiveness of personal sins has to be earned by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the LDS organization, plus virtuous living. Furthermore, salvation is available through their church alone, and then only if you have accepted Joseph Smith as God’s true prophet:

Those who gain only this general or unconditional salvation will still be judged according to their works and receive their places in a terrestrial or telestial kingdom. They will therefore be damned. (LDS Apostle McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 669). (Author’s italics)

There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 670).

There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, page 188.)

The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins. As these sins are the result of individual acts, it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the [LDS] Gospel. (LDS Apostle James Talmage, Articles of Faith, page 87). (Author’s italics)

None of the above teachings will be found anywhere in the Bible. They are exclusive to Mormonism and actually contradict what the Bible teaches. Regardless of this fact, the LDS consistently uses biblical terminology when referring to their teachings, including their teachings on salvation. But in order to fit these biblical terms in with their unbiblical doctrines, they have had to give them completely different meanings (which will not be found in any dictionary). For instance, they call universal resurrection, which they say does not cover forgiveness of sins and amounts to damnation, “salvation by grace.”

A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BIBLICAL SALVATION

“Salvation” as a biblical term means being rescued or saved from both the penalty of sin and its power over us. So it covers the forgiveness of all our sins. And because our sins form an effective barrier between ourselves and a holy God, salvation from sin also has the effect of reconciling us to God, through Christ the Saviour.

Biblical salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. In other words we don’t have to earn the right to forgiveness of sins. Christ earned the right to our forgiveness on our behalf, by taking the punishment we deserve on Himself in His atonement on the cross at Calvary. The following are just some of the very many verses in the Bible that teach salvation from personal sin by grace through faith in Christ:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, KJV)

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. (Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us ….. (Titus 3:5, KJV)

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14 KJV)

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, KJV)

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them ….. (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV).

And you, being 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). (Italics inserted by writer.)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12, KJV)

As will be seen, the above scriptures invalidate the following LDS claims regarding salvation:
That we have to earn the right to forgiveness of our personal sins; That we have to believe that Joseph Smith is the true prophet of God; That we have to obey the laws and ordinances of the LDS Church; and That salvation is only available through the LDS Church.

SALVATION THROUGH A SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE

The Bible is a fascinating book. Concepts that aren’t always all that easy to understand are explained by the use of types and “pictures.” One such concept is salvation from sin through a substitutionary sacrifice.

Nowhere in the Bible has God ever told mankind that they would have to earn the right to forgiveness of their sins. Instead, in the Old Testament He instituted the substitutionary sacrifice. The sinner was required to take an unblemished animal to the altar. Then he had to place his hand upon its head to indicate that it was to be his substitute and would die in his place, to cover his sin (Leviticus 1:4, 4:29,33). This was a picture of the coming, promised Messiah who would sacrifice His life to pay the full penalty for the sins of those who indicate by faith, that He is their substitute sin bearer.

Scattered throughout the Old Testament, starting in Genesis, God gave His people a series of ongoing messianic prophecies. And in fulfillment of those prophecies, in the fullness of time the Lord Jesus Christ came down to earth to give Himself as the final, once-for-all substitutionary offering for sin. He selflessly and heroically took our place on the cross at Calvary and bore the shame, the disgrace and the punishment that we rightly deserve, because of our sins. As Eugene Peterson so aptly puts it in ‘The Message,’ “God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43, KJV)

[John the baptist, who was God’s prophet] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29, KJV)

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV)

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree ….. (1 Peter 2:24, KJV)

BAPTISM PORTRAYS SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE

Besides being a public testimony of the believer’s faith in Christ, Christian baptism is also a symbolic rite that portrays Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice as it applies to the believer. For this reason it was the norm in the primitive church for believers to be baptized immediately after they had come to faith in Christ, and had been spiritually regenerated (Acts 2:41, 8:12, 16:15, 16:33, 18:18, 19:5.)

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4, KJV)

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. (Colossians 2:12-13, KJV)

As a believer, in undergoing baptism by immersion I symbolically re-enact Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s my way of publicly acknowledging that Christ is my Saviour. To free me from the condemnation of my sin, He became my substitute and took the punishment due to me on Himself, on my behalf. So when He died, it was the same as if I had died — He represented me, so “in Him” I died too. As I go under the waters of baptism, it portrays my death “in Him” to the penalty of the Law, as well as to the sinful fleshly life. When He arose from the grave, He arose as my substitute: It was the same as if I had arisen. So as I rise up out of the water, it portrays my resurrection “in Christ,” to a new life, “in Him.” This is what is known as the exchanged life. Paul describes it as follows:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galations 2:20, KJV)

From the moment of his salvation (i.e. his regeneration or new birth), the life of the believer is intrinsically intertwined with that of His beloved Savior.

THE REASON FOR THE OLD AND THE NEW COVENANTS

Had they fully kept all God’s laws and ordinances provided under the Old Covenant, the Israelites would have led a lifestyle that fulfilled God’s requirements for righteousness. But the sad fact was that they were unable to do this. In spite of having God’s laws, as well as His guidance and protection, they still kept falling into sin. The continuous pall of smoke arising from the sacrificial altar where they burned their sin offerings bore mute testimony to this fact.

The problem was not with God’s laws, but with mankind. His laws are good, but we are a fallen people. And try as we may, we cannot live up to His standards of righteousness. Not for long, anyway. No matter how hard man has tried he has never ever been able to overcome his tendency to sin in thought, word and deed.

Reformation, education and social upliftment don’t do the trick either, because the problem is not our environment, lack of opportunities or education; it is our fallen “selves.” Pogo hit the nail on the head when he said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” And as Dr. McGee so aptly put it, “You can take the man out of the slum, but you can’t take the slum out of the man.” It is a sad fact of life that countries enjoying a high standard of living, low unemployment, and excellent educational opportunities, still have overflowing prison cells.

The apostle Paul described his frustrations at one stage with his own personal battle to live a holy life, complaining that he kept doing the things he knew he shouldn’t do and really didn’t want himself to do. And that although in his mind he knew that God’s ways were good and right, he kept straying from them. (Romans 7:7-25).

The Bible makes it clear that because of our fallen natures we do not have it within ourselves to live according to God’s standards of righteousness. In order to bring mankind to the realization of the gravity of his situation and the dilemma he faces, God put into effect the Old Covenant of Law. And as we have seen, even although the Israelites were God’s chosen nation and enjoyed all the privileges and advantages that this entailed, they still failed miserably in their attempts to keep the His righteous laws fully.

That was because Laws and Ordinances didn’t have the power to save anyone. They merely declared the holiness of God and revealed the depravity of mankind. But then they were never intended to save. The epistle of Galations explains that God merely used the Old Covenant of Law as a teacher, to show fallen mankind his utter inability to live according to His standards of righteousness. This in turn revealed his desperate need for a Saviour:

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (Galations 3:21-25, KJV)

As Lehman Strauss says in his ‘Doctrine of Salvation,’ “The idea of attaining salvation through self-effort and good works is a fundamental characteristic of human nature. But try as hard as one will, he cannot remove the guilt and penalty of his own sins.”

For this reason, in His wisdom and mercy, God has provided a way of salvation through Christ, under the New Covenant of Grace, that was tailor-made for the fallenness of man and caters for every eventuality and possibility. Solely because of God’s undeserved mercy towards us, whosoever trusts in Christ will receive forgiveness of sins, freedom from guilt and reconciliation with God.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1, KJV)

THE CONSEQUENCES OF MORMON SALVATION

In spite of the clear and consistent teachings in the Bible on the forgiveness of our sins through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the LDS Church has deliberately led their membership away from the way of salvation that God Himself has laid down for us, and has decreed that Mormons must earn the right to their own salvation. They insist that this is far better than the way of grace that God Himself has provided. And in spite of the fact that God has proved conclusively that man couldn’t keep the Laws and Ordinances that they already had, the LDS has added more of their own.

Mormons need to ask themselves where their teaching came from, because it directly contradicts everything that God has taught us about salvation throughout the entire Bible. So it couldn’t have come from Him.

Just as the apostle Paul knew, Mormons also know deep down in their hearts that their lives don’t come up to God’s holy standards. But they placate themselves with the knowledge that going to the second degree of glory after they die won’t be so bad. After all, they have been taught that even the lowest degree of glory is more beautiful than anything they could ever imagine.

However, the LDS story of the three degrees of glory is not the way it’s going to be. They are the deceptions of a false prophet. God never ever gives His prophets revelations that contradict what He has already revealed to us. He is not a God of confusion. His Word is truth, and the main ingredient in truth is its consistency. It never ever changes. Nor is it contradictory. And God’s Word, the Bible very clearly teaches that there are only two final destinations after we die. We will either go to the place where Christ and God are, which is called heaven, or else we will be consigned to eternal separation from both the presence and the influence of God in a place called hell.

Heaven will consist only of folk who have elected to follow God’s ways, including His way of salvation from sin. Those in hell will be folk who would rather do things their own way. And God will allow them this right, eternally, but not in His kingdom of heaven. After all, if those who insisted on doing things their own way instead of God’s way were allowed into heaven, it would eventually become more like hell, wouldn’t it?

It’s not God’s desire that anyone should be end up in hell. But if we choose to spurn His way of salvation in preference to our own ideas, then we will we will end up facing His judgment.

Mormons need to give serious thought to the unlikelihood of their being able to earn the right to the forgiveness of their own sins, in the light of what the Bible reveals; as well as to the eternal ramifications of their choice; bearing in mind that the Bible clearly teaches only two destinations after death — heaven or hell.

The following articles explain the basics of the biblical way of salvation and the error in the LDS teaching on the three degrees of glory:

What is Biblical Salvation?

Biblical Salvation and the way of Christ

The Three Degrees of Glory

You are welcome to contact the writer at the following email address:

reply@bibtruth.com

Copyright 2008 by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

http://www.bibtruth.com/light.html

Christian Grace vs Mormon Grace

A Comparison of the Gospel of Grace

 

The Mormon Gospel

Grace consists of God’s gift to His children wherein He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him and comply with His laws and ordinances would have everlasting life. (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 353-354).


Grace is granted to men proportionately as they conform to the standards of personal righteousness that are part of the gospel plan. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 339).

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you (Moroni 10:32, Book of Mormon)

As with all other doctrines of salvation, justification is available because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, but it becomes operative in the life of an individual only on conditions of personal righteousness (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 408).

Certain saved-by-grace-alone fanatics flatter their followers into believing they can be saved through no act other than confessing Christ with their lips (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 287).

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The Christian Gospel

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. (Romans 11:6)

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20). Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace (Romans 4:16).

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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10).

 

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:5)

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. (Romans 10:9)

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The truth of the gospel is that God saves men freely and by His grace alone. Adding to God’s grace violates God’s intention and places one under the curse of God (Galatians 1:8-10, 5:2-4). Despite how often Mormons speak of the gospel, they have been given a false gospel that cannot save.

 

http://vintage.aomin.org/LDSGrace.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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