Are Mormons Christians? That is a very important question. If the Mormons are Christians, then we should view the Mormons as brothers and sisters in the Lord. However, if in fact the Mormon Church is not a Christian church then we should, in the name of Jesus Christ, pray for them to be set free from the darkness of being separated from the true God and eternal life. And witness to them, for they are lost without the real Jesus Christ. But, are the Mormons Christians?
Many people have asked that question. Of course, the Mormons will boldly confess to be Christian. They will point to all the “good works” that the LDS Church does, and all in the name of Jesus Christ. Not to mention the “feed the hunger” programs that the LDS Church is involved in. Hence, it is fair to say that over all the Mormon Church possesses all the appearance of a bona-fide Christian church.
So, let us deal with the recurrently asked question: are Mormons Christian? Well, the answer will depend on how one defines the term “Christian.” If being “Christian” is only defined by Christian language: “One God,” “Jesus is Lord,” “Trinity,” “Saved by grace,” etc., then, the Mormons are definitely Christians, for they certainly integrate these terms in to their vocabulary and communicate them in their church services.
If in fact Christian language is the ultimate standard in which to decide what is and what is not Christian, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Oneness groups, Unitarians, Unity School of Christianity, The Way International, The International Church of Christ, Christadelphians are all Christian!
However, it is the biblical definition that decides what is Christian. So, how does Scripture define what a Christian is?
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they [Christians] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer” (Acts 2:41, 42; emphasis added).
Hence the biblical definition of a “Christian” is: the one following the doctrines or teachings of the apostles (Ibid.). The Apostle Paul was very concerned about false teachings that did not square with the teachings of the apostles:
“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can refute1 those who oppose it. . . . You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Tit. 1:9; 2:1; emphasis added).
Do Mormons teach doctrines that are “opposed” to God’s Word? The answer is, unequivocally, yes. Mormons reject the teachings of the apostles as well as the prophets of the Old Testament. The Lord God was concern that mere men may know, believe, and understand that God is one (e.g., Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8). Ontological monotheism (i.e., One God by nature) is the fundamental difference that disallows Mormons from a true relationship with God, and hence, true salvation. I cannot emphasize enough: The Mormons are lost, perishing with Bibles in their hands. That is why Christians must reach out to the Mormons. If we love them, we will tell them.
So, let us recall some main points of LDS theology, which are antithetical to the “apostles teachings,” that is, biblical theology:
LDS Teachings of God the Father
God the Father (and Jesus) was once a mere man that lived on an earth similar to this one. As a man, He had to go through the same ordeals and experiences that men go through on earth. Mormons tell us that God had to earn his salvation by obedience to law and thus becoming the God of this world. In LDS theology then: God has not always existed as God.
This point cannot be dismissed as a minor difference. That God had to become God cuts through the heart of biblical theology. The God of biblical revelation has eternally been God. He did not have to become God at some point in time. The LDS god is not the God of the Bible. There is a fundamental different. Christians and Mormons do not worship the same God.
Joseph Smith declared:
For I am going to tell you how God came to be God. 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 (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345; emphasis added).
1) Psalm 90:2: “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
2) Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding” (Is. 40:28)
3) Malachi 3:6: “For I am the LORD, I change not. . . . ”
LDS Teaching that God the Father is an exalted man with Body Parts
Mormons assert that God the Father is not spirit. “God the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as mans” (Doctrine of Covenants, 130:22; emphasis added). God the Father had/has sexual relations with His wife (or wives) in Heaven to produce spirit babies in order to populate the earth.2
1) John 4:24: God is Spirit. In Luke 24:39, Jesus defines a spirit: “For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (emphasis added)
2) Jeremiah 23:24: God is omnipresent (exists everywhere): “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (emphasis added; cf. 2 Ch. 6;18).
3) 1 Timothy 1:17: God is an invisible spirit: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be the honor and glory for ever and ever.” Colossians 1:15: “Who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible [Gk. aoratou] God. . . . ” (emphasis added; cf. John 1:18).
4) The LORD God refutes this LDS false teaching: “for I am God, and not man. . . . ” (Hos. 11:9; emphasis added)
LDS Teaching of Many Gods (i.e., polytheism)
The Mormons teach that all Mormon males (potentially) can become Gods just as all the Gods have done before them. Founder Joseph Smith declares to his followers:
I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370).
Brigham Young also confirmed:
there was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 22, 23).
1) Isaiah 43:10: “before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”
Isaiah 44:6: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel . . . 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 of not one.”
Isaiah 45:5: “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . ” (cf. Deut. 4:35; Jer. 10:10; esp. Mark 12:29).
2) The fundamental difference that excludes Mormonism from Christianity is ontological monotheism: there exists one God by nature (Gal. 4:8) hence all other things called God are false gods or idols. False gods do not exist, only the true God does exist, in whom salvation is given.
LDS Teaching of Jesus Christ
Mormons teach that Jesus was Lucifer’s spirit brother. Jesus’ body was procreated by sexual relations between God the Father and the Virgin Mary (His own daughter; see my article: The Paternity of Jesus Christ). And, Jesus was not the eternal God but merely one God of a pantheon of Gods. Jesus also had to earn His own salvation and become a God.
1) Colossians 1:16ff, Jesus is Creator of all things including angels (which Lucifer is; cf. John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:10)
2) That God the Father had sexual relations with His own daughter is a teaching that is utterly pagan!
3) Jesus is eternal, John 1:1: “In the beginning was3 the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
In John 8:58 Jesus claims to be the “I AM” of the Old Testament which the Jews understood to mean the Eternal One.4
Philippians 2:6 as well demonstrates that Jesus was always the Eternal God, contrary to LDS teaching.5
1, At Titus 1:19 the term translated “refute” (NIV) comes from the Greek word elencho which is defined as: the exposure and confutation of false teachers of Christianity . . . to find fault with, correct (see Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 202, 03; same word is used at Eph. 5:11; 1 Tim 5:20; and 2 Tim. 4:2).
2, In Mormon theology, spirit babies are sent to earth to receive their mortal bodies by their earthly parents. However Mormons teach that Jesus Christ, is the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, that is, the Father had sexual relations with His Own spirit daughter Mary. Hence Jesus, Mormons say, was the only person that had God the Father as His mortal and literal father.
3, In John 1:1: “In the beginning was [ēn] the Word, and the Word was with [pros] God, and the Word was God,” the word “was” (ēn) is an imperfect tense, indicating, in this context, that the “Word” (who is Jesus; cf. 1:14) was always existing. Hence Jesus was always God the Eternal Word, distinct from the Father (cf. the Word was with (pros) God the Father. For study on John 1:1 and the LDS Church, see The Christological Assertions of the LDS Church, pertaining to John 1:1.
4, Significant I AM passages: Mark 6:50; John 8:24, 28; 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8. These passages read in the KJV: “I am he” or “it is I.” However in the original Greek text the “he” does not appear, hence “I am” (ego eimi) and not “I am he” and in Mark. 6:50 the original reading is “I am” not, “it is I.” The original New Testament Greek manuscripts (autographs) were written in all capital letters called “uncials.”
5, Philippians 2:6 reads: “who being in the form (morphē; NIV “nature”) of God. . . .” What is noteworthy is that the word “being” (huparchon) denotes subsisting or existing. Huparchon is a present active participial, which indicates that Jesus was always in existence or subsisting in the very nature or substance of God (cf. Heb. 1:3). Notwithstanding the preponderance of textual support that denotes the eternality of the Word as the eternal God, distinct from God the Father, which is vehemently denied by virtually every non-Christian cult.
LDS theology presents God the Father as an exalted man with body parts. This view has been the center of Mormon teaching. Church founder Joseph Smith taught:
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. . . .I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form-like yourselves in all the person, image and very form as a man. . . . (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345; emphasis added).
This teaching is clearly declared in the Mormon scripture: Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s. . . .
However, Smith changed his doctrine later in life. He stated out teaching the converse (see my article: The Early Teaching of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon Contradict Present- day LDS Theology).
The biblical teaching that God IS spirit is completely rejected in Mormondom. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie states:
False creeds teach that God is a spirit essence that fills the immensity of space and is every where and nowhere in particular present. In a vain attempt to support this doctrine, formulated by councils in the early days of the great apostasy, it is common for apologists to point to the statement in the King James Bible which says, “God is spirit.” (John 4:24). The fact is that this passage is mistranslated; instead, the correct statement, quoted in context reads:
The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. For unto such hath God promise his Spirit. And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth (Inspired Version,1 John 4:25-26)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 318; emphasis added).
The Bible strongly disagrees with Mormon theology on this essential point. Unequivocally God reveals to us, in Scripture, as to His nature: God is an invisible spirit that is not man.
Jesus referring to God the Father says:
No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John1:18; emphasis added)2
The Apostle Paul writing by the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, informs us:
He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible [aoratou] God, the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15; NASB; emphasis added)
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, [aorato] the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Tim. 1:17; emphasis added)
God is Spirit, not a man with flesh and bones
Jesus Christ, who is the final authority, specifically and ontologically3 defines the Father in John 4:24:
God is spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth (emphasis added; see also endnote # 1).
Then Jesus defines what a spirit is NOT:
But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit… And he [Jesus] said unto them… Behold my hands and feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have (Luke 24:37-39; emphasis added).
If, as the Mormons teach, God has a body of flesh and bone, it would necessarily follow then, He could not be omni-present (i.e., everywhere at the same time). Scripture however is quite clear as to the omni-presence of God.
But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! (2 Ch. 6:18; emphasis added).
Am a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secrete places that I shall not see him? Saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD (Jer. 23: 23, 24; emphasis added).
Interestingly the Book of Mormon teaches that God is spirit: Alma 31:15 says:
Holy, Holy God… we believe thou art holy and thou wast a spirit, and thou art a spirit, and thou will be a spirit forever (see The Early Teaching of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon Contradict Present- day LDS Theology).
Also in Alma 18:26, 28 says that, “God is a “Great Spirit.” In fact you will find not one statement in the Book of Mormon that says that God is an exalted man with body parts. As mentioned, Joseph Smith changed his theology later in life.
The god of Mormonism is not the one true God of the Bible. God plainly tell us:
For I am God, and not man: the Holy One in the midst of thee. . . . (Hos. 11:9; cf. Num. 23:19; emphasis added).
To try and prove their unbiblical position Mormons point to all the Old Testament passages that speak of God having body parts. Example: In Exodus we read that, “The LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as man speaketh unto his friend.” And how Moses saw the back of the LORD. Also, we read of the ear, hand, eye, feet, etc., of the LORD.
However, God used metaphors or anthropomorphisms to describe His activity in human terms so we could understand. Literary metaphors (or more technically; anthropomorphisms) were extremely common in the Old Testament. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did not understand the art and science of biblical interpretation. If they were to stay at all logically consistent in their literal interpretations, they would be forced to admit: God is a big bird:
He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge (Ps. 91:4)
Or, God is actual fire (Duet. 4:24); Jesus is a loaf of bread (John 6:35); Jesus is a gate with hinges (John10:9) and the list goes on.
Dealing with Exodus 33:11 we read, Moses saw the LORD “face to face” The phrase “face to face” in Hebrew is used as a metaphor to describe the personal, intimate, friend to friend encounter of Moses and the LORD. This was not a physical image being described.
The Hebrew word for “back” in this context could easily be interpreted as the after-effects of the glory of the LORD, which passed by. This would fit the contextual meaning, since the Bible clearly teaches that God is invisible and lives in an unapproachable light whom no one has ever seen, or can see him (cf. John1:18; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 4:12). Thus, the term “back” is not to be taken literally as we can plainly see.
We worship God in spirit and truth, on His terms how He revealed Himself to us.
1, With no formal education in the field of biblical language, the unlearned Joseph Smith made his own version of the Bible. It was called The Inspired Version of the Bible. The Inspired Version contains numerous alterations to what the text actually says (cf. authoritative translations/recognized Bibles). The rendering: “For unto such hath God promise his Spirit” is not found in any Greek manuscript! As with the Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible: The New World Translation, Joseph Smith changed the text to force his own theology into the text. The literal reading of John 4:24 is: “God is spirit” ( pneuma ho theos). The word “spirit” ( pneuma) is an anarthrous predicate nominative that comes before the subject (lit: “spirit the God” ), hence grammatically, “spirit” cannot be translated indefinite: “a spirit,.” but rather qualitative: “spirit,” denoting as to the quality of God- namely as to His nature: He is spirit, thus the text does not read: has a spirit but is spirit. Mormons typically confuse possession with identity due to their unacquaintedness of Greek grammar.
Another example: John 1:19 (v. 18 in most translations) of Joseph Smith’s translation states: “No man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the son; For except it is through him no man can be saved” (emphasis added). Compare this with John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” There is not one Greek manuscript in existence that would support Joseph Smith’s alterations of the Bible. The common response by most Mormon missionaries is that Joseph Smith had never finished his translation, however Smith wrote a letter, dated July 2, 1833 at Kirtland, Ohio, wherein he states, “this day finished the translating of the Scriptures. . . .” (History of the Church, 1:368; see also, 324). Smith began his translation in 1831.
2, Mormons will argue that John. 1:18 (see above) is mistranslated, because since Jesus is God (in LDS: one God of many) people did indeed see Jesus, see above reference to John. 1:18. However the context is clear in John 1:18: Jesus reveals the Father hence it is the Father that no one has seen or can see (cf. Col. 1:15; 1 John 4:12). Jesus took on another nature- the nature of man, that is, at the the Incarnation (cf. John 1:14; Phil. 2:6-8).
3 The “nature” or “being” of something.
It is not surprising to me, that the vast majority of LDS (Mormons) are in a dense fog when it comes of historic LDS doctrines. Their understanding of their religion is quite uncritical and basic, which does not normally range prior to the current decade. Hence, many LDS today (esp. garden variety Mormon missionaries) are totally unaware and even deny the LDS teaching in regards to the way the physical body of Jesus Christ was brought into this world never engaging in any deep-diving research on the topic.
However, the historic LDS view, as exampled below, is that God the Father had sexual relations with the virgin Mary to produce the “physical body” of Jesus. This awful, ant-Christian, and profoundly pagan doctrine was unambiguously affirmed in both the 19th and 20th century by founding and foundational LDS authorities such as Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, Joseph Fielding Smith, esp. James E. Talmage, J. Reuben Clark, Ezra Taft Benson, esp. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie whose work was considered to be a standard on Mormon doctrine, and many more could be cited. .
In fact, as cited below, Young and others, taught that God the Father was actually took Mary to be His wife.
To try to avoid decidedly paganish and anti-biblical doctrine, some not all, LDS apologists and BYU professors typically claim that this is merely 19th century speculation (e.g., LDS teacher, Stephen Robinson). However, as we will clearly demonstrate, this is not the case. For most of the statements provided below were made by the LDS General Authorities from the 20th century! (note, several current LDS apologists, however, affirm the doctrine, see note 1 below).
It should also be pointed out: LDS apologists and BYU professors are not LDS General Authorities–thus they do not have the authority to determine doctrine for the LDS Church–their assertions, therefore, are mere speculation and commentary, not official. For that reason, this examination is confined solely to the statements of the General Authorities and official LDS Church publications, which are distributed to the LDS people. Here below are clear and in context examples:
19th Century Teaching
Second President, and Prophet of LDS Church, Brigham Young:
When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle [body], it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. . . . (Journal of Discourses [hereafter, JD], 1:50; emphasis added).
Young is in error, with the assertion that Jesus “was not begotten by the Holy Ghost”–contra Matthew 1:18. Further, notice that he says Jesus was begotten “after the same manner as the tabernacles” of Cain and Abel. And how are the tabernacles, that is, bodies, of Cain and Abel and the rest of humanity begotten? Young explains further:
The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood–was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers. . . . (JD, 8:115; emphasis added).
When the time came that His first-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it…. (JD, 4:218; emphasis added).
In LDS theology, we were all spirit children procreated by sexual relations between the Father and His wives in heaven before coming to earth. After which we were then sent to earth to receive bodies. However, the LDS assert that Jesus was not only the firstborn spirit child, (His brother Lucifer being the second), but He was also the only physical offspring on earth, of Mary and God the Father. This is why Mormons refer to Jesus as “the Only Begotten in the flesh.”
Even more absurd, other LDS General Authorities taught that God the Father was actually married to Mary!
LDS Apostle, Orson Pratt:
it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called the Only-Begotten of the Father; that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father. There were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of the world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father. . . . The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. . . . He had a lawful right to over- shadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself, or to prescribe rules for his own conduct. It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give Mary to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 158; emphasis added).
LDS Apostle Heber Kimball:
I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it” (JD, 8:211; emphasis added).
Nothing unnatural about it?! Kimball says Jesus was begotten just as he was: in the flesh! Is this not what Brigham Young and Orson Pratt taught?!
But what about present-day Mormonism? Do they now repudiate the clear teachings of former leaders? Of course, this would make Young and other LDS leaders, false teachers. If so, then the entire LDS Church fell into apostasy deviating from their own prophets and apostles. Or, is it as BYU professors assert: “only 19th century speculation?” Again, the assertions made by BYU professors are only speculation and commentary, they do not speak for or determine the official doctrine of the Church. They are not General Authorities.
In analyzing the official LDS position on the paternity of Jesus Christ, we find that the majority of the statements made by the General Authorities and publications printed by the LDS Church on this teaching; were made in the 20th century! Hence, it is complete error to assert that this doctrine is simply 19th century speculation.
LDS Apostle and scholar, James E. Talmage:
The relationship of the Christ to the Eternal Father has been set forth in such plainness that I do not think any wayfaring man amongst us can fail to understand. We recognize in Jesus Christ the Son of the Eternal Father, both in spirit and in body. There is no other meaning to attach to that expression, as used by the Eternal Father Himself–“Mine Only Begotten Son.” Christ combined within His own person and nature the attributes of His mortal mother, and just as truly the attributes of His immortal Sire… This simplicity of doctrine has shocked many, but the truth is frequently shocking just because of its simplicity and consequent grandeur (Conference Report, April 1915, 121; emphasis added).
Please note, Talmage refers to the Father as Jesus’ “immortal Sire.” Talmage frequently uses the title “Immortal Sire” in his writings:
Born of a mortal mother He inherited the capacity to die; begotten by an immortal Sire He possessed as a heritage the power to withstand death. . . . (Jesus the Christ, ch. 3, 22; emphasis added).
A natural effect of His immortal origin, as the earth-born Son of an immortal Sire, was that He was immune to death except as He surrendered thereto (ibid., ch. 25, 418-19).
Tenth President of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith:
THE FIRSTBORN. Our Father in heaven is the Father of Jesus Christ, both in the spirit and in the flesh. . . . CHRIST NOT BEGOTTEN OF THE HOLY GHOST. I believe firmly that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh. He taught this doctrine to his disciples. He did not teach them that He was the Son of the Holy Ghost, but the Son of the Father… Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:18; emphasis added; caps. theirs).
LDS Apostle, scholar and prolific writer, Bruce R. McConkie:
These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers (Mormon Doctrine, 546-47; emphasis added).
Begotten in the same way as mortal men? In this same book McConkie declares:
God the Father is a perfected, glorified holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says (742).
In his book: The Mortal Messiah, McConkie utilizes the same term Talmage uses- “Sire.” McConkie writes:
She [Mary] shall conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and God himself shall be the sire. It is his Son of whom Gabriel is speaking. A son is begotten by a father: whether on earth or in heaven it is the same (1:319; emphasis added).
Family Home Evenings:
The Mormon Church also provides publications designed for the family. One such publication is: Family Home Evenings, copyrighted by the Corporation President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This booklet clearly represents the LDS view:
We must come down to the simple fact that God Almighty was the Father of His Son Jesus Christ. Mary, the virgin girl, who had never known mortal man, was his mother. God by her begot his Son Jesus Christ, and he was born into the world with power and intelligence like that of His Father… Now, my little friends, I will repeat again in words as simple as I can, and you talk to your parents about it, that God, the Eternal Father, is literally the father of Jesus Christ (125-126; 1972 ed.; emphasis added).
Following this statement there is some pictorial artwork to help explain this doctrine to children. A figure of a man is drawn and under the man the title “Daddy” is placed and next to him a drawing of a woman with the title “Mommy” underneath. In between the figures “Daddy” and “Mommy” there is a + sign. From these two figures, pointing down, there are two arrows pointing to a drawing of a child with the title “You” Family Home Evening
Obviously, this diagram teaches children how they are conceived. Right below this diagram, there is another drawing. It’s the same diagram but the titles are changed. The title “Our Heavenly Father” is in place of the “Daddy” and the title “Mary” are in place of the “Mommy.” And guess who is in the place of the child figure titled “You?”—-you got it– “Jesus.”
To view the page containing the pictorial artwork see –Family Home Evening.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
This four-volume set is a treasure for Mormons. It contains numerous statements and teachings from LDS scholars and General Authorities. And it is sold in most LDS bookstores.
For the Latter-day Saints, the paternity of Jesus is not obscure. He was the literal, biological son of an immortal, tangible Father and Mary, a mortal woman… Jesus is the only person born who deserves the title “the Only Begotten Son of God. . . .(under the subject title: Jesus Christ, emphasis added).
Latter-day Saints recognize Jesus as literally the Only Begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh… This title signifies that Jesus’ physical body was the offspring of a mortal mother and the eternal Father. . . . It is LDS doctrine that Jesus Christ is the child of Mary and God the Father, “not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof (ibid., emphasis added).
My primary reason for this rather lengthy list of citations is because of the simple fact: LDS doctrine is not determined by LDS apologists or BYU professors but by the General Authorities and “official” LDS Church publications. Again, this doctrine has been consistently taught by LDS General Authorities, and has never been denied by any General Authority.
The LDS position that God the Father, an exalted physical man with a voracious sexual appetite for women both in heaven with His wives, and with His creatures (viz. His literal daughter Mary) is categorically pagan and thus, refuted by the Scripture in many places, such as Matthew 1:18-20 :
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost [lit. “she was pregnant by means of the Holy Spirit,” heurethe en gastri echousa ek pneumatos hagiou] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her public example, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”
To LDS Church is not a true church, they reject the nature of the triune God and reject the gospel of the Jesus Christ of biblical revelation – – they are strangers of God, “having no hope, and without God [ἄθεοι, ‘atheist’]” (Eph. 2:12). Only if God grants the LDS salvation, repentance and faith, will they be delivered from the darkness of the LDS Church.
1. Article by Kevin Barney of the LDS apologetic group, FARMS (Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research)
The Sexual Generation of Jesus
March 9, 2005
By Kevin Barney (of FARMS)
In the May 7th issue of The Christian Post, there is an article entitled “What Religious Beliefs are Shaping American Christians Today?” I noticed the following in that article:
“The journal features an article written by Cky Carrigan, national interfaith evangelism missionary with the North American Mission Board and visiting professor of missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. on the theology of Mormonism, one of the nation’s fastest-growing religious groups. Carrigan’s article focuses on the Christology of Mormonism, which includes the atonement and the belief that Jesus Christ was born as the result of sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”
[As an aside, I’ve actually met and talked with Cky (pronounced like the Greek conjunction “kai”). He attended a FAIR Conference once in an admirable attempt to get his facts straight about what Mormons believe; several of us spent about two hours after dinner one night trying to help him avoid misrepresentations in his thesis.]. Anyway, what I want to focus on in this post is “the belief that Jesus Christ was born as the result of sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”
Critics of the Church of course love this scandalous nugget (some conflating it with the Adam-God Doctrine to have Adam having sexual intercourse with Mary). It is a commonplace in anti-Mormon literature and websites. And since on its face it appears blasphemous, we have a tendency to recoil from it, to be (overly?) defensive about it, and increasingly to reject it. My usual tack when asked about it is to point out that the idea is not now and never was doctrine; it was a speculation. It is not binding on anyone, and in fact my impression is that it has become very much a minority view in the Church, and that most Mormons do not accept this characterization of the physical generation of the mortal Jesus.
I will confess, however, that I actually like this idea. Maybe it is because I have a streak of old fashioned Mormonism somewhere inside me. But I find it appealing on several levels. First, there is a certain naturalism to the idea. I presume the mortal Jesus had 46 chromosomes, and that 23 came from Mary, but where did the other 23 come from? As a Mormon, I’m not big on the idea that they were created ex nihilo for this specific purpose. I like being able to say that Jesus really did have a father, not in a metaphorical sense only (the language of begetting in the creeds doesn’t mean literal begetting), but in a physical sense. He really was the Son of God.
I also find it fascinating that people see this idea as being so totally offensive. To me, that speaks not only to our radically different conception of God and man as being of the same species, our literalist notion of divine paternalism and our radical materialism, but also to our Puritan heritage. If it is so disgusting to suggest God sired a son by sexual intercourse, why, I wonder, did God ordain that to be the natural method by which we conceive our own children? Is that just some sort of a cosmic joke? Does God sit in yonder heavens and look down on his creatures and laugh at their disgusting and dirty and ridiculous actions? Isn’t it possible that, if God ordained sexual intercourse as the means by which we create children, that it is divinely appointed and not disgusting or dirty at all?
I freely concede that the old fashioned Mormon speculators didn’t think all the way through this idea, and there are theological loose ends, to be sure. But I am curious: does anyone else here kind of like this old notion, or is it Mormon materialism run amuck? And whatever your opinions on the speculation itself, do you agree with me that it is a dying idea in Mormon thought, and that in another generation or two it will be completely dead?
“But let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332).
When Mormon missionaries come to the door of literally thousands of potential converts they will assure the unsuspecting that they represent “Jesus Christ” and are preaching His Gospel. However, that is not the case on many accounts. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) cannot escape their racist past.
For nearly 150 years, the Mormon Church had taught that ALL blacks were cursed. Hence, a black Mormon male could not hold the highly regarded LDS Priesthood1 because of his dark skin. And since he could not hold this Priesthood, he could not enter the Mormon Temple.
This doctrine in no way, shape, or form can be substantiated in Scripture. Only in the LDS scriptures does this racist doctrine exist.
To determine official LDS doctrine from unofficial speculation let us read the statements that were made by the General Authorities of the LDS Church as well as citations from the LDS “standard works.” So then, official LDS teaching cannot be evaded or denied as many Mormons (especially uninformed missionaries) often do.
Cursed in Pre-existence
But, before we read what LDS leaders have taught concerning the “cursed line,” we will need to go back and discover as to why dark skinned people are cursed. Then we will have a better understanding of Mormon thought on this issue. Mormons teach that when the “council of the Gods” were planning how to redeemed mankind Jesus desired to save man by giving them their free choice, however Lucifer objected and wanted to force men to serve God. LDS scholar Bruce R. McConkie tells us:
When the plan of salvation presented . . . and when the need for a Redeemer was explained, Satan offered to come into the world as the Son of God and be the Redeemer. “Behold here am I, send me,” he said. . . . But then, as always, he was in opposition to the full plan of the Father, and so he sought to amend and change the terms of salvation; he sought to deny men their agency and to dethrone God (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 193).
Therefore, the Gods rejected Lucifer’s plan, which resulted in a war between the good spirit children, and the spirit children that sided with Lucifer (a third of them). But there was a group of spirits that were less valiant in this war. Hence, God (the head God) was very displeased with them so He turned their skin black. Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith explains:
There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there [pre-existence] received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less. . . . There were no neutrals in the war in Heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61, 65-66; emphasis added).
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie furthers this teaching:
Those who were less valiant in pre-existence and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions impose on them during mortality are known to us as the negroes. Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God, and his murder of Able being a black skin. . . . Noah’s son married Egyptus, a descendant of Cain, thus preserving the negro lineage through the flood. . . . the negro are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concern. . . . ” (Mormon Doctrine, 527-28; 1966 orig. ed., changed in the current ed.).
Now, we can have more of a clearer perspective as to why the LDS would teach such blatant racism that Scripture never condones. Now we will read what LDS General Authorities had taught concerning the, what they termed, “cursed lineage,” that is, dark skinned people (particularly Negroes).
Joseph Smith first president, prophet, and founder of the Mormon Church
Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 270; History of the Church, 5: 218).
“Thursday, 8–Held Mayor’s court and tried two negroes for attempting to marry two white women: fined one $25, and the other $5” (ibid., 6: 210).
“and the rebellious niggers in the slave states. . . .” (Millennial Star, 22:602).
When Mormon Historians reprinted this in the History of the Church, they change it to read: “and the rebellious negroes in the slave states. . . ” (History of the Church, 6:158; emphasis added).
Brigham Young second President and Prophet:
You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. . . . Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another cursed is pronounced upon the same race–that they should be the “servants of servants;” and they will be until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree (Journal of Discourses, 7:29).
Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be (ibid., 10:110).
Brigham Young stated that his sermons (as cited above) are Scripture: “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of man, that they may not call Scripture” (ibid., 13:95).
John Taylor, third President and Prophet:
after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham’s wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God. . . . (ibid., 23:304; emphasis added).
That the “curse lineage” (dark skin) is Satan’s representation on earth, was taught clearly by the third President and Prophet of the Mormon Church, John Taylor. Taylor goes on to teach:
When he [Satan] destroyed the inhabitants of the antediluvian worlds, he suffered a descendant of Cain to come through the flood in order that he might be properly represented upon the earth (ibid., 23:336).
Wilford Woodruff, who became the fourth President and Prophet of the LDS Church:
What was that mark? It was a mark of blackness. That mark rested upon Cain, and descended upon his posterity from that time until the present. To day there are millions of the descendants of Cain, through the lineage of Ham, in the world, and that mark of darkness still rest upon them (Millennial Star, 51:339; emphasis added).
Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth President and Prophet:
In 1963, Look magazine interviewed, at that time, the leader of the LDS Church; Joseph Fielding Smith. Concerning negroes, Smith stated:
I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. ‘Darkies’ are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church (Look magazine, October 22, 1963, 79).
Smith also taught that “Negroes” were inferior to other races:
Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was place upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning… we will also hope that blessings may eventually be given to our Negro brethren, for they are our brethren–children of God—notwithstanding their black covering emblematical of eternal darkness (The Way to Perfection, 101-02).
And, as previously quoted, Smith stated that “There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. . . . The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61, 66).
LDS General Authorities
Orson Pratt, LDS Apostle:
Among the Saints [Mormons] is the most likely place for these [pre-existent] spirits to take their tabernacles, through a just and righteous parentage [white parentage]. They are sent to that people that are the most righteous of any other people upon the earth. . . . The Lord has not kept them in store for five or six thousand years past, and kept them waiting for their bodies all this time to send them among the Hottentots, the African negroes, the idolatrous Hindoos, or any other of the fallen nations of the earth. They are not kept in reserve in order to come forth to receive such a degraded parentage [African negroes] upon the earth; no, the Lord is not such a being (Journal of Discourses, 1:63).
Mark E. Peterson, LDS Apostle:
President Woodruff added, ‘The Lord said, ‘I will not kill Cain, but I will put a mark upon him, and that mark will be seen upon every face of every Negro, upon the face of the earth. And it is the decree of God that [the] mark should remain upon the seed of Cain, until the seed of Able shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood until the time of that redemption. Any man having one drop of the blood of Cain in him cannot receive the Priesthood’ (Race Problems– As They Affect the Church, address given by Mark E. Peterson at BYU).
In the same address, Peterson goes on to say:
Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man or was it God?. . . The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the negroes we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that He placed a dark skin upon them as a curse–as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. . . . And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line. Think of the Negro, cursed as to the Priesthood. Are we prejudiced against him? Unjustly, sometimes we are accursed of having such a prejudice. . . .
This Negro, who, in the pre-existence lived the type of life which justified the Lord in sending him to the earth in the lineage of Cain with black skin, and possibly being born in darkest Africa–if that negro is willing when he hears the gospel to accept it, they may have many of the blessings of the gospel. In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . .If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would be cursed as to the Priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the Priesthood? If there is one drop of negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. . . .
There are 50 million Negroes in the United States. If they were to achieve complete absorption with the white race, think what that would do. With 50 million Negroes inter-married with us, where would the priesthood be? Who could hold it, in all America? Think what that would do to the work of the Church! . . . Now we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest kind of education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that that they have all the advantages as they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change it?” (ibid.)
LDS Apostle George A. Smith:
There is not a man, from the President of the United States to the Editors of their sanctorums, clear down to the low-bred letter-writers in this Territory, but would rob the coppers from a dead nigger’s eyes, if they had a good opportunity (Journal of Discourses, 5:110).
LDS Apostle and prolific writer Bruce R. McConkie:
Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty… The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them. Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned. . . . (Mormon Doctrine, 477, 527-28; 1966 orig. ed., changed in the current).
Cain was cursed with a dark skin; he became the father of the negroes, and those spirits who are not worthy to receive the priesthood are born through that lineage (ibid.,109; 1966 org. ed., changed in the current ed.).
Cain, Ham, and the whole negro race have been cursed with a black skin, the mark of Cain, so they can be identified as a caste apart, a people with whom the other descendants of Adam should not intermarry (ibid., 114; current ed.).
Is this consistent with biblical Christianity? Did Jesus or the Apostles teach prejudice on the basis of skin color? These racist teachings, which were clearly taught by the leaders of the Mormon Church, echo those of the Skinhead, K.K.K. and other destructive groups. This, is not Christianity: “Then Peter open his mouth, and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34).
Let us conclude by examining the LDS scriptures, which indicates plainly that dark skin was a sign of Gods curse:
Book of Mormon
1 Nephi 11:13 (Mary) “she was exceedingly fair and white.”
1 Nephi 12:23 (prophecy of the Lamanites) ” became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.”
1 Nephi 13:15 (Gentiles) “they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people [Nephites] before they were slain.”
2 Nephi 5:21 “a sore cursing . . . as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”
2 Nephi 30:6 (prophecy to the Lamanites if they repented) “scales of darkness shall begin to fall. . . . they shall be a white and delightsome people” (“white and delightsome” was changed to “pure and delightsome” in 1981).
Jacob 3:5 (Lamanites cursed) “whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins. . . .”
Jacob 3:8-9 “their skins will be whiter than yours… revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins. . . .”
Alma 3:6 “And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion.”
Alma 3:9 “whosoever did mingle his seed with that of the Lamanites did bring the same curse upon his seed.”
Alma 3:14 (Lamanites cursed) “set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed. . . .”
Alma 23:18 “[Lamanites] did open a correspondence with them [Nephites] and the curse of God did no more follow them.”
3 Nephi 2:14-16 “Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites and . . . became exceedingly fair. . . . ”
3 Nephi 19:25, 30 (Disciples) “they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness. . . . nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof… and behold they were white, even as Jesus.”
Mormon 5:15 (prophecy about the Lamanites) “for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us. . . .”
Pearl of Great Price
Moses 7:8 “a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan. . . .”
Moses 7:12 “Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were [i.e., except] the people of Canaan, to repent. . . .”
Moses 7:22 “.for the seed of Cain were black and had not place among them.”
Abraham 1:21 ” king of Egypt [Pharaoh] was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.”
Abraham 1:27 “Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood. . . .” (emphasis added to above citations).
The truth is: Mormonism does not represent Jesus Christ or His Church. The LDS teachings of the “Negro” are not consistent with, as well as, contradict Scripture.
In 1978, the LDS god changes his Mind
Because of this racist teaching, the LDS Church was under enormous political pressure. Hence, June 8, 1978, the twelfth LDS President, Spencer W. Kimball, after spending many hours in the “Upper Room” of the LDS Temple, claimed that God had removed the curse. All worthy black men could now receive the Priesthood.
This, was a major doctrinal change. Mormons will usually argue: “But it was said that eventually the curse would be removed.” However, this assertion cannot be found before 1978. Therefore, we will again, appeal to the official teachings of the LDS General Authorities. What the LDS General Authorities did teach was that the curse would not be removed in this life. LDS Prophet Brigham Young explains, under, so-called, divine revelation. 2
How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam [white men] have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed. When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain, and they will receive blessings in like proportion (Journal of Discourses, 7:290-91).
Young was clear: “they [blacks] never can hold the Priesthood . . . until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof.” The time when the descendants of Adam (white men) are redeemed is at the resurrection, not in this life. According to Mormonism that has not happen yet. Again, Young declared: “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of man, that they may not call Scripture (ibid., 13:95).
LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson agrees: “And it is the decree of God that [the] mark should remain upon the seed of Cain, until the seed of Able shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood until the time of that redemption (Race Problems– As They Affect the Church, address by Mark E. Peterson at BYU; see above). LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie comments as to the duration of the curse:
Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty… The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them…. (Mormon Doctrine, 477, 527-28; 1966 org. ed., changed in the current; see above).
As observed, and with most non-Christian cults, the god of Mormonism is a changing god. It changes its mind. The God of the Bible does not change: “For I am the LORD, I change not. . . .” (Mal. 3:6). “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou are the same, and thy years shall have no end” (Ps. 102:25-27).
Even the Book of Mormon agrees with this point: “Now, the decrees of God are unalterable. . . . (Alma 41:8).3 Mormonism teaches: “The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them. Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned. . . . ” (McConkie, see above).
In the end, Mormons reject the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: Preach the Gospel to all nations (cf. Matt. 28:19-20), thus “all nations” certainly includes Africa.
1, In the Mormon religion there are two priesthoods: Aaronic and the Melchizedek. The Aaronic is the lesser of the two. To have eternal life (i.e., exaltation to Godhood) the “worthy” (and married) Mormon male must be ordained to this higher Priesthood (Melchizedek). This Priesthood is excluded from all females. Thus for nearly 150 years, the Mormon Church taught that dark skinned people (particularly, Africans) could not gain true salvation, eternal life (i.e., Godhood in the highest heaven: the celestial kingdom).
2, Just as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Peter, and Paul were actual prophets and apostles, in LDS theology the titles, “Prophet” and “Apostle” are literal. Thus, Mormons say that when they are giving sermons they are in fact, speaking for God.
3, Concerning the “decrees” of God, LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson stated: “And it is the decree of God that [the] mark should remain upon the seed of Cain, until the seed of Able shall be redeemed, and Cain shall not receive the Priesthood until the time of that redemption” (Race Problems– As They Affect the Church, address by Mark E. Peterson at BYU; emphasis added; see above).
Trusting one’s eternal life on a so-called, Burning of the Bosom (Moroni 10:4-5; D&C 9:8)
Only a fool trust his own heart (feelings)
“Just pray about it, and the Holy Spirit will confirm Mormonism to you by causing a burning in your bosom”
says the rosy cheek bright-eyed Mormon (LDS) missionary at your doorstep.
However, relying on one’s feelings (as with the so-called burning of the bosom as taught in the Book of Mormon,) can lead you to great error: “For there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death (Prov. 16:25). Proverbs 28:26 clearly opposes the LDS so-called test of truth: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (KJV). We must test doctrine by Scripture, not by feelings and emotion, which according to Scripture, is foolish.
The LDS rejects the Jesus Christ of biblical revelation in that they teach that Jesus is one of many Gods. One of the fundamental differences between Christianity and Mormonism is that the LDS Church teaches polytheism (i.e., the belief in many true Gods). Note for example some teachings from past LDS Apostles and Prophets including the founder and first Prophet of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens . . . it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. . . I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345-47; 370; emphasis added)
Brigham Young (second LDS President and so-called Prophet):
“There was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 22-23).
Orson Pratt (LDS Apostle):
“In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods, each one of whom has his own wife or wives which are given to him previous to his redemption; while yet in his mortal state” (The Seer, 37-38; emphasis added)
The LDS claim that they only worship one God while acknowledging the existence of other “true” Gods—which they claim they do not worship. However, whether one worships “those other Gods” or not, is an irrelevant point, the question is: how many true Gods are there? In sharp contrast to the LDS position, God has always condemned the pagan idea of many so-called Gods (see Isa. chaps. 40-45; esp. Jer. 10:10-11; Gal. 4:8). That is the biblical reason as to why the LDS Church as a false church.
In contrast, the Bible teaches that there is only one eternal God, not many (Deut. 4:35, 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6-8, 24). God has always been God (cf. Ps. 90:2) and Jesus Christ, God the Son, has always been God (John 1:1; Phil. 2:6; Heb. 1:8, 10-12). Biblically, there is one God revealed in three distinct Persons, which the LDS deny.
Clearly, the God and Jesus of the LDS do not represent one true God of biblical revelation—they embrace a false concept of God (which is idolatry). Thus, we must preach the gospel to the LDS missionaries and pray that God grants salvation to them setting them free from the spiritual bondage of the LDS Church.
Ever since Mitt Romney became the a presidential candidate, the hot media topic these days centers on his Mormon religion, formally called, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Unfortunately, many Christians are unfamiliar with the fundamental differences between the LDS doctrine and historic biblical Christianity. However, when Christian leaders and pastors do not understand even the central differences and thus declare the Mormon faith as a truly “Christian” faith, there is no excuse. This kind of irresponsible thinking and lack of discernment removes the evangelical necessity to the Mormon people.
Demonstrative of this, Richard J. Mouw, President of Fuller Seminary, said in a CNN interview (Oct 9th), that Mormonism is not a “cult.” He further stated: “While I am not prepared to reclassify Mormonism as possessing undeniably Christian theology, I do accept many of my Mormon friends as genuine followers of the Jesus whom I worship as the divine Savior.”
Here we have the president of a recognized Christian learning institution stating that many of his Mormon friends are “genuine followers of the Jesus” whom he worships. Really? Do they actually worship the same Jesus? Did Mr. Mouw examine the basic core teachings of the LDS Church, which all members embrace? Is he really that uninformed as to “essential” LDS doctrines such as the pagan polytheistic notion of many Gods; God as a physical exalted man; men becoming Gods; salvation by works; and the teaching that God the Father had sex with the Virgin Mary (who they believe is the Father’s literal daughter) to produce the physical body of Jesus?
In the same way, recently, Joel Osteen was interviewed on Fox News. In one segment, the host asked Osteen: “Is a Mormon a true Christian?” In which Osteen replied with a smile, “In my mind they are.” However, we should not be surprised at Osteen’s answer. Based on his own teachings and other interviews, it seems that Osteen just does not see the importance of having accurate biblical theology—everyone is good and anything goes.
So there is no misunderstanding regarding the LDS faith, let us briefly look at a few fundamental LDS doctrines that controvert and deny historic Christian doctrine.
Polytheism & Man Becoming God
Aside from the countless theological distortions, the main fundamental difference between biblical Christianity and the LDS doctrine is ontological monotheism, that is, there exists one true God (monotheism) by nature (ontological; cf. Gal. 4:8). The LDS are taught that there exist many true Gods. The basis of this revolves around two distinctive LDS doctrines: Eternal Progression and Exaltation.
Eternal Progression is the alleged progression that man experiences: First, there is man’s “pre-existence” before coming to earth existing in heaven as the literal spirit children of God the Father and one of his wives (what Mormons call, “first estate”), after which they are sent to earth to receive their physical bodies (i.e., mortality), which is called, the “second estate.” Then when people here on earth die, they first go to the “spirit world” to await their final destination, which will be one of the three levels of heavens, the celestial, terrestrial or the telestial, being the lowest. Thus, Eternal Progression is the process from pre-existence to earth then to the final abode, which is one of the three heavens, or hell, if one becomes a “son of perdition.”
Exaltation is the doctrine of man becoming God. LDS Apostle Lorenzo Snow, who later became the fifth President of the Mormon Church, sums up the LDS man-to-God doctrine in a short couplet that has been frequently quoted by LDS leaders: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become.” The doctrine teaches then that God the Father was a mere man that had to become a God. Thus, the LDS Church does not hold to the biblical teaching that God the Father (and the Son) existed eternally as God, rather, the doctrine holds to the false notion that God had to become God at a certain point in time by obedience to His Father, back on another planet similar to earth.
President, founder, and so-called Prophet of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, at the April General Conference called, The King Follet Discourse (which was a funeral sermon of Elder King Follet, with 20,000 attendees) Smith stated to the Mormon people:
I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God was. . . . God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens . . . for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and suppose that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see . . . he [God] was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. . . .
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, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one. . . . (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-347; emphasis added).
Furthermore, Milton R. Hunter, of the First Council of the Seventy said: “Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man. . . . He became God” (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 104).
Even more, in the LDS Booklet: Celestial Marriage–Key to Man’s Destiny, we read: “God was once a man who, by obedience, advanced to his present state of perfection; through obedience and celestial marriage, we may progress to the point where we become like God. . . . God became God by Obedience to Law” (p. 1; emphasis added). Thus, the doctrine of Exaltation clearly results in polytheism—namely, many Gods. Brigham Young, second LDS President and Prophet taught: “There was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds. . . .” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 22- 23; emphasis added). Note what LDS Apostle Orson Pratt states:
In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods, each one of whom has his own wife or wives which are given to him previous to his redemption; while yet in his mortal state (The Seer, 37-38; emphasis added).
Again, we will reference Joseph Smith since his words are authoritative in the LDS Church. June 16, 1844, just days before he died (he was shot on the 27th), Smith proclaims:
I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage. Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370; emphasis added).
There are literally hundreds of statements made by LDS General Authorities (mostly by LDS Prophets and Apostles) confirming this polytheistic doctrine. The teaching of many Gods sharply opposes the biblical teaching of monotheism. It is an anti-Christian doctrine (cf. Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; Jer. 10:10-11; John 17:3; Gal. 4:8; 1 Tim. 2:5). In Isaiah 44:6, 8, the LORD states clearly: “I am the first I am the last; apart from Me [singular] there is no God. . . . You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one” (emphasis added). In Isaiah 44:24, the Lord says, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone” (emphasis added).
LDS Doctrine of the Physical Body of God the Father
Along with the pagan system of polytheism, the LDS boldly claim that God the Father is a physical man! “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible man’s” (Doctrine & Covenants, sec. 130:22). Again, let us cite Joseph Smith on the subject: “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, p. 345; emphasis added). This again opposes the biblical position that God the Father is an omnipresent invisible spirit who does not have flesh and bones. In contrast to the LDS notion, Jesus says in John 4:24: “God [the Father] is spirit” (John 4:24). And after His resurrection, Jesus clearly defines the nature of a spirit. “A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39). Hence, the Father is spirit, not a man with flesh and bones as the LDS claim. Further, in 2 Chronicles 6:18, we read: “The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain You” (cf. Jer. 23:24). God says in Hosea 11:9: “I am God and not a man” (cf. Num. 23:19). God the Father is invisible (cf. John 1:18; Col. 1:15; esp. 1:Tim. 1:17; 6:16).
So, are Mormons Christians? Are they “genuine followers of Jesus” as Mouw says? Do we embrace them as fellow Christians as Osteen does? If we merely define a “Christian” as someone who “professes” Jesus Christ as Lord, born of a virgin, died and rose again, and shows love to others, well then, I guess Mormons are true Christians. However, if we apply that definition, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Oneness Pentecostals are also true Christians—for they all make this same profession.
Here is the point: Jesus said in John 17:3 that eternal life consists of “knowing” the “true God” and His Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, having accurate knowledge according to Scripture of who God is determines true Christianity. Yes, it is true: “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But the question is: which Lord is it that one is calling on? Which Jesus is it that one addresses as Lord? It does matter in which Jesus one believes (cf. John 8:24). Only the Jesus of biblical revelation is “the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Only that Christ, the eternal God, second Person of the holy Trinity, is the true Savior.
As seen, the Mormons call on a Lord who was once a man that had to become a God. According to this LDS idea, there is no quality difference between mortal man and Jesus. The only difference being, Jesus is exalted as a God presently, while man must live out his life here on earth hoping for a future exaltation. This is why Mormons refer to Jesus as their “elder brother”—literally. The LDS God is a physical exalted man, one of countless Gods on other worlds—that’s not Christian doctrine.
The LDS teachings presented above only represents a few of many heresies that separate the LDS from true Christianity. The LDS Church rejects the true God of Scripture who is immutable, eternal, and triune. In contrast, the Bible teaches that there is only one eternal God, not many (cf. Deut. 4:35, 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6-8, 24). God has always been God (cf. Ps. 90:2) and Jesus Christ has always been God (cf. John 1:1; Phil. 2:6; Heb. 1:3. 8, 10-12), which the LDS deny. Clearly, the God of the LDS faith does not represent one true God of inspired Scripture—they embrace a false concept of God. Thus, the Mormons are not Christians. So, we must proclaim the true gospel to the LDS missionaries that come to our door and pray that God grants them salvation setting them free from the spiritual bondage of the LDS Church.
Ontological Monotheism: The belief in one God by nature (biblical Christianity).
LDS system of God, Polytheism: The belief in more that one true God (technically, the LDS embraces Henotheism: i.e., worshiping only one God, while acknowledging the existence of many true Gods):
LDS founder Joseph Smith: (April 7, 1844, conference of the Church in Nauvoo, Illinois):
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. . . !
for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. 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. . . .
Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you. . . .
Joseph Smith (Meeting in the Grove, east of the Temple, June 16, 1844; Smith was murdered [shot] just days later on June 27th):
I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370).
Brigham Young, second President and Prophet:
There was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 22-23).
Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt declared:
In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods, each one of whom has his own wife or wives which are given to him previous to his redemption; while yet in his mortal state (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 135).
In devastating contrast to LDS doctrine, Scripture has always taught that there is only one true God. Anything can be called a god, money, your job, your car, etc. However, the position of Scripture is unavoidable- ontological monotheism, that is, by nature there exists one God. John 17:3 states: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Whereby all other so-called gods are false.
The apostle Paul makes a crystal clear demarcation of false gods and the one true God in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5, “There is no God but one… many ‘gods’ many ‘lords’ yet for us there is but one God.” Underlining this central theme of Scripture, Paul reminds the Galatians, when they did not know God- they were slaves to those who by nature were not gods (cf. 4:8). Mormons champion polytheism, thus by maintaining this false notion, the Mormons have deviated from the essential truth of God.
Again, this must be stressed: the fundamental difference between historic orthodox Christianity and Mormonism is that Christianity maintains the belief in one immutable, Eternal God by nature. He does not grow, change, or progress (cf. Mal. 3:6). He is God from all eternity, Creator (not organizer)1 of everything that exists. Absolute monotheism has always been the distinctive principle “norm” of the Jews and Christians alike. Never has the church or any of the church Fathers held to the pagan doctrine of many Gods.
Pure monotheism (ontologically) is the core of Christian theology from which all other doctrines flow. The first lie ever told to humankind was from Satan, in the Garden of Eden. “Ye shall be as gods. . .” (Gen. 3:5).
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (Deut. 6:4)
Literally: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah.” The Mormons argue: “we don’t worship those other Gods.” But, whether or not someone worships these “other Gods” is wholly irrelevant, the question is: how many Gods are there? For the Mormon there is an infinite number of Gods.
To ensure that no one will be confused God explains again and again that no other Gods exists! Particularly in the book of Isaiah, where absolute monotheism (one God by nature) is incontrovertible:
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 (Isa. 43:10).
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of host; I am the first, I am the last; and beside me there is no God (Isa. 44:6).
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know of not any (Isa. 44:8).
God asks the question: “Is there a God beside me?” The Mormon who believes the LDS doctrine would have to say yes, but God responds sharply: “NO, there is no God, I know of not any.”
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from tee womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretch forth the heaven alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself (Isa. 44:24).
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . (Isa. 45:5).
All throughout Scripture God consistently affirms that He is the only true God:
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightiest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him (Deut. 4:35)
Know ye that the LORD he is God (Ps. 100:3)
In the New Testament, one of the scribes had asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus answered: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.”
The polytheistic teaching of the LDS Church certainly contradicts the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Reducing God to the same species as man while denying that God was always God for eternity
Mormons worship a changing god that is not eternally God. What he was before, he is not today. Mormons say that God was once a man that lived on a planet similar to this one. He progressed and was exalted to become the God of this planet by His Father God Who Himself is an exalted man that lives on the planet Kolob.2 Without question, the faithful followers of the Mormon Church reject the Word of God: “For I am the LORD, I change not. . . . ” (Mal. 3:6).
The doctrine of many Gods then, will always be the primary and fundamental difference that excludes the Mormon religion from bona fide orthodox Christianity and hence true salvation. Polytheism is the radical corruption that disturbs sound biblical theology. Christianity is cradled in monotheistic Judaism: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Remember, Joseph Smith did not invent polytheism: “the day you eat thereof . . . you shall be as god. . . ” (Gen. 3:5).
Standard Mormon Arguments
1) Gen. 1:26, 27, “Let us make man in our image.”
Response: Verse 27 says God created man: “in His own image.” Not- ” in their image.” Man is not in the image of angels hence the Members of the Trinity were conversing (cf. John 14:23). Also, God is invisible He does not have physicality (cf. 2 Ch. 6:18; esp. John 1:18; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16).
2) John 10:34, (Ps. 82:6) “I said Ye are gods.”
Response: First of all in John 10:34 Jesus said, “Ye are gods” is in the present tense, ruling out the possibility that they were really true Gods on earth. Note that in LDS theology, the hope of becoming God is in the future. Thus, this passage provides no comfort for Mormons.
In John 10:34, Jesus is quoting from Psalm 82:6. The defining context of verses 1 through 8 is speaking of wicked judges. Verse 2 says, “How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?” Verse 5 says, These wicked judges “walk in darkness” Verse 7 says, “ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” Die like men? That does not sound like true Gods.
The context of John 10:30-36 is clear. In verse 30, Jesus claims to be equal with God. Because of that, the Jews wanted to kill Him (v. 31). In verse 33, the Jews understood His claim to be God. Jesus then quotes Psalm 82: “Ye are gods.” Jesus here (John 10:34-36) that the Father called them “gods” (Ps. 82) not because they were true deity but they were “to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35) and were supposed to be the representatives and judges for God (called Elohim).. However, the genesis of men being representation of and even called Elohim is back in in Exod. 18:17-27. Thus (because they represented God) subsequently these judges were actually termed Elohim starting in Exod. 21:6; cf. 22:8, 9, etc.
These judges in Ps 82, however, were wicked; hence, God called them “gods” in irony. In verse 36, Jesus goes on to explain if the wicked Judges were called gods in irony, how can you stone me for claiming I am the true Son of God?
Even LDS scholar and Apostle James E. Talmage agrees. In his book Jesus the Christ, Talmage explains John 10:34-36 under the heading : “Divinely Appointed Judges Called Gods-In Psalm 82:6. . . .” (James E. Talmage, Jesus The Christ, 501; 15TH ed.).
3) Matt. 3:16, 17; Ac. 7:55, 56, Two personages (hence in LDS thought: 3 separate Gods).
Response: These verses do not conflict with the doctrine of the Trinity that states there is three distinct (not separate) Persons that share the nature of the one Being (cf. Matt. 28:19; John 1:1; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18).
In Acts 7:55, Stephen sees the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. The term “right hand” must be understood in a Jewish context. “Right hand” was a Jewish idiom that meant, “place on honor” or “position of authority” (e.g., Exod. 15:6, 12; Job 40:14; Ps. 48:10; 73:23; Isa. 41:10; Matt. 26:64). The text does not say Stephen saw two Gods.
4) 1 Cor. 8:5, “many gods and many lords.”
Response: The entire context of the chapter deals with idols. You can call anything a god: money, car, job, hay, wood, stubble, but these would be false gods (idols). By nature, there is exists one true Eternal God (Gal. 4:8). Notice Paul declares that there is only one God (v. 6).
For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens and the earth (1 Chron. 16:26).
There exists one Eternal God by nature that has always been God: e.g., Deut. 4:35; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8, 24; 45:5; Ps. 90:2; 100:3; Jer. 10:10, 11; John 17:3; Gal. 4:8
Note the plain reading of Isaiah 44:6, 8:
Thus saith the LORD [Jehovah] 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. . . .
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is NO God; I know NOT ANY (emphasis added).
1, In LDS theology God does not create anything He merely “organizes” eternal matter. Joseph Smith explains:
I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house–tops that God never had the he power to create the spirit of man at all (Teaching s of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 354).
Of course, this idea does not, in no way shape or form, square with Scripture. The Bible presents God as Creator (e.g., Gen. 1:1; Isa. 44:24; 45:18; Jer. 10:10, 11; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-18; Heb. 1:2, 10).
2, Pearl of Great Price: Abraham, 3:9.
A Distortion of the Trinity
Before examining the Christological teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (i.e., Mormons, hereafter LDS), the LDS doctrine of Exaltation must be defined. Basically, it teaches the idea of man becoming a God. According to the LDS, it is salvation in its “truest sense”—“eternal life.” It is ultimate goal of every “devoted” Mormon male. Exaltation is the very heart of LDS theology. First President and founder of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith Jr., explains that
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. . . . for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. 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. . . . he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. . . . you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves . . . the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another. . . .
Consequently, the Mormon Jesus (and the Father) had to learn also how to become a God “the same as all Gods have done before.” Hence, the LDS envisage Jesus as one of the three separate Gods (but “one” in purpose) for this world. Further, LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, who was honored for his scholarship by former LDS President, Ezra Taft Benson, comments on the LDS version of the Godhead:
Three separate personages—Father, Son, and the 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. . . . these three are the only Gods we worship (emphasis added).
The LDS faulty view of Christ starts with their faulty view of the Trinity (“Godhead” in LDS vernacular)—as thee separate Gods.
The LDS Main Assertion: Jesus became a God
As with many ancient and current heresies (e.g., Adoptionism), the LDS teaches that Jesus obtained His “full deity” at a point in time. Though they assert He was a God in a sense before coming to earth, as discussed below. Just like His Father, He lived as a mortal man learning and “growing in wisdom” on earth. We are told that He had “worked out His own salvation” and eventually, after His resurrection, was exalted to full Godhood. Presently, as the LDS maintains, Jesus exists as one of the three separate Gods for this world. In LDS thinking, all who are Gods now (as with the Father) were once mere men who became Gods.
LDS Apostle Lorenzo Snow (who became the fifth President of the LDS Church), sums up the LDS man-to-God doctrine in a short, but most quoted, couplet: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become.” So, in LDS theology, man and God are of the “same species.” In other words, according to the LDS, there is no quality difference between mortal man and Jesus. The only difference: Jesus at present is exalted as a God, while all men here are still mortal only hoping for a future exaltation after death—if deemed worthy enough.
The LDS teaches that Jesus was the “firstborn” (cf. Col. 1:15), that is, the first “spirit child” (while Lucifer being second spirit child born) of God the Father and the Mother God (one of His wives) in heaven—by sexual relations. In his definitive doctrinal glossary (i.e., Mormon Doctrine) under the title “Firstborn,” McConkie affirms that “Christ is the Firstborn, meaning that he was the first Spirit Child born to God the Father in pre-existence.” In his book The Promised Messiah, McConkie goes on to say:
Implicit in his spirit birth as the Firstborn is the fact that, as with all the spirit children of the Father, he had a beginning; there was a day when he came into being as a conscious identity, as a spirit entity, as an organized intelligence.
What is extraordinarily problematic in LDS Christology is the question: How did Jesus become a God in a sense in His pre-existent life before going through a “probationary time” on earth as a mere mortal man? This is a prerequisite and vital part of becoming a God (Exaltation) in LDS theology. This entire process: pre-existence, to mortality (on earth), to the Spirit world, then, Godhood (if worthy enough) is what the LDS call Eternal Progression. It explains man’s “progression” from their “first estate” as spirit children in heaven, to their “second estate” on earth where they acquire mortality, then, after their death and resurrection (from the so-called “Spirit world”), they will proceed to their final abode: one of the three kingdoms or heavens.
However, the question remains: Since according to the LDS, Jesus was a God in some sense before coming to earth, how then did He become a God without going through the so-called eternal progression? Not much literature has been written on the subject. Yet, tenth President of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, gave an explanation in his Doctrines of Salvation, under the title: “CHRIST WORKED OUT HIS OWN SALVATION”:
CHRIST BEGAN MORTALITY AS MEN DO. Our Savior was God before he was born into this world, and he brought with him that same status when he came here. . . . But as far as this life is concerned it appears that he had to start just as all other children do. . . . John records that “he received not of the fullness at the first,” but had to progress “from grace to grace, until he received a fullness.” Paul wrote, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” [Heb. 5:8].
A page later, Smith explains that even though Jesus was “God before he was born into this world,” He was not God in the fullest sense until after His resurrection:
CHRIST GAINED FULLNESS AFTER RESURRECTION.
The Savior did not have fullness at first, but after he received his body and the resurrection, all power was given unto him both in heaven and in earth. Although he was a God . . . yet there were some things lacking which he did not receive until after his resurrection. In other words he had not received the fullness until he got a resurrected body, and the same is true with those who through faithfulness become sons of God.
By maintaining that Jesus in His pre-existence was a God, in some sense, before going through His probationary state as mortal man and before He was supposedly married contradicts the LDS fundamental doctrine of Eternal Progression. To circumvent this doctrine, LDS General Authorities like Fielding Smith simply assert that Jesus was “lacking some things which he did not receive until after his resurrection.” The denial of the full deity of the Son, Jesus Christ, is a common feature of every non-Christian cult. The LDS Jesus was an incomplete God—nothing unique, nothing special about this God only that He is now one of the separate Gods for this world.
A BIBLICAL REFUTATION:
To effectively refute LDS Christology, an adequate understanding of the Trinity must be first apprehended.
The Trinity teaches that there is ONE eternal God who has revealed Himself in three co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent distinct Persons—not separate Gods. Note: the very foundation of the Trinity is ontological monotheism. The biblical data for the Trinity is massive. That Jesus did not eternally exist as God and was the “literal brother” of the created angel Lucifer, as the LDS teach, is easily and clearly refuted by a few biblical points:
1. Jesus is presented in Scripture as eternally existing as God (e.g., John 1:1, 18; Phil. 2:6-11; Heb. 1:3).
2. Jesus created “all things” including all the angels as with Lucifer (e.g., John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:8-10).
3. Only God is to be worshipped (cf. Exod. 20:5), yet Jesus was worshipped: e.g., by wise men (Matt. 2:11); by a leper (8:2); by His disciples (14:33; 28:17); by a blind man (John 9:38); by all the angels (Heb. 1:6); by all of creation (Rev. 5:13-14).
The Mormons claim (along with other non-Christian cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Oneness Pentecostals) that “Jesus Christ is Lord,” but, to be sure, they are speaking of a different Christ and thus, a different God than that which has been revealed in Holy Scripture (cf. John 8:24; 17:3).
SEE ALSO: The Christological Assertions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Exegetical Refutations
 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345-47.
 Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 576-77.
 The LDS also believes that in the OT, Jehovah (“LORD”) is Jesus and Elohim (“God”) is the Father. However, the compound phrase, Jehovah-Elohim (or more properly, Yahweh-Elohim) refers to the one true God (e.g., Deut. 6:4)—occurring over 500 times. Further, Jesus is called Elohim at places such as Isa. 9:6; 40:3; Ps. 45:6-7 and the Father is called Jehovah (Yahweh, “LORD”) at Isa. 53:6. Even more, false gods are called Elohim (e.g., Ps. 96:5; Jer. 10:11).
 Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, 33
 McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 281.
 McConkie, The Promised Messiah, 165. The LDS also uses the term “firstborn” and well as “begotten in the flesh” to show that (a) Jesus was the first spirit child born in heaven and (b) as to His physical body on earth, He was sexually procreated by God the Father and the Virgin Mary (see McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 546-47, 742). However, an unfamiliarity with biblical languages causes LDS teachers to misdefine and confuse the Greek words prōtotokos, “firstborn” (meaning, “supremacy/preeminence,” cf. Ps. 89:27; Col. 1:15-17) and monogenēs, “begotten” (meaning, “unique one,” “one and only,” not “created one,” cf. John 1:18; Heb. 11:17). As pointed out below, what quickly demolishes their argument is that Scripture presents Jesus as the Creator of “all things” (cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:8-10), whereas Satan, who the LDS claim was Jesus’ “literal” spirit brother, was a created angel (cf. Ezek. 28:13).
 The LDS doctrine of Pre-existence is the so-called “prior state” of humans as “spirit children” before coming to earth.
 The supposed three levels of heavens are called the Telestial being the lowest, the Terrestrial, and the Celestial kingdom being the highest where Mormons who made it to Godhood dwell. Hell, on the other hand, is a temporary holding place where all the wicked will be tormented, then, after their resurrection, they will go on to the Telestial heaven. Thus, Hell will have an end. But the Devil, his angels, and the sons of perdition (e.g., folks that speak-out against the LDS) will be tormented in “outer darkness” forever (cf. Mormon Doctrine, 349-50, 746).
 Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:32.
 Ibid., 1:33
 Cf. Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; Jer. 10:10-11; 1 Tim. 2:5.
 Ontology is the study of “nature” or “being.” Thus, ontological monotheism means that there is only one true God by nature. Mormons believe that there are countless “true Gods” that exist on other worlds, thus they worship only the God for this world. However, opposing this polytheistic view, the Apostle Paul states that “when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods” (Gal. 4:8).
 E.g., Matt. 28:19; Luke 10:21; 2 Cor. 13:14; Titus 3:5-7; etc.
 Phil. 2:6 reads: “who being [huparchōn] in very nature [morphē] God.” The term translated “being” is huparchōn, which is a present tense participle indicating a “continuous existence,” “continually subsisting.” (cf. Thayer). Thus, the Son always (continually) existed in the nature (morphē) of God (cf. Heb. 1:3).