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).

Biblical Response:

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

Biblical Response:

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).

Biblical Response:

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.

Biblical Response:

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

Notes

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.

See also, “The Mormons and Black Skin: The Racist Past of the LDS Church”

“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).

 

LDS Presidents/Prophets

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.

 

Notes

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:

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).

Notes

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. . . .[1]

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).[2]

The LDS faulty view of Christ[3] 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.”[4] 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.”[5] 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.[6]

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,[7] 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.[8]

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].[9]

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.[10]

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[11] 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.[12] The biblical data for the Trinity is massive.[13] 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[14]; 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

NOTES

[1] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345-47.

[2] Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 576-77.

[3] 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).

[4] Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, 33

[5] McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 281.

[6] 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).

[7] The LDS doctrine of Pre-existence is the so-called “prior state” of humans as “spirit children” before coming to earth.

[8] 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).

[9] Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:32.

[10] Ibid., 1:33

[11] Cf. Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; Jer. 10:10-11; 1 Tim. 2:5.

[12] 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).

[13] E.g., Matt. 28:19; Luke 10:21; 2 Cor. 13:14; Titus 3:5-7; etc.

[14] 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).

The titled page of the the Book of Mormon reads:

The Testimony Of Three Witnesses

BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens.. And the honor be to the Father, & to the Son, & to the Holy Ghost, which is One God. Amen.’ Signed: Oliver Cowdery & David Whitmer & Martin Harris

And Also The Testimony Of Eight Witnesses
BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold ; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

Signed: Christian Whitmer & Hiram Page & Jacob Whitmer & Joseph Smith, Sen. Peter Whitmer, Jun. & Hyrum Smith & John Whitmer & Samuel H. Smith

Who got the vision?

John Whitmer (David’s brother), one of the eight witnesses, wrote the following in his own history of the church, which later, of course, was crossed out: “God knowing all things prepared a man whom he visited by an angel of God and showed him where there were some ancient record hid . . . whose name is James J. Strang . . . and Strang Reigns in the place of Smith the author and proprietor of the Book of Mormon” (John Whitmer’s History, p.23).

Points to consider concerning of the so-called Three Witnesses

Most of the Three (including the eight) were blood related. In fact, all of the Eight were members of either the family of Joseph Smith Jr. or the family of David Whitmer’s father.

The Three Witnesses all of questionable character.

Commenting on the Three Witnesses, founder of the Mormon religion Joseph Smith said in 1838, “Such characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdry, and Martin Harris are too mean to mention; and we had liked to have forgotten them” (History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 232).

Also, consider this: All three *witnesses* were eventually excommunicated from the Mormon church.

Martin Harris:

Even after his testimony regarding the Book of Mormon, he was known for wavering as to what church to join! Over his whole life he changed his affiliation over 13 times.

He stated: “Testimony of three witnesses: We Cheerfully certify . . . The Lord has made it known to me that David Witmer is the man. David was then called forward, and Joseph and his counselors laid hands upon him, and ordained him to his station, to succeed him . . . He will be prophet, seer, Revelator and Translator before God.” Signed Martin Harris, Leonard Rich, Calvin Beebe (emphasis added).

>This however, never happened, for Brigham young became Smith’s successor.

The Mormon Church saw him as “became partially deranged . . . flying from one thing to another” (Millennial Star, vol. 8, p.124).

The Mormon paper, Millennial Star, reported that the Mormons said of Martin Harris and a few other men “a lying deceptive spirit attend them . . . they are of their father, the devil. . . . The very countenance of Harris will show to every spiritual-minded person who sees him, that the wrath of God is upon him” (Millennial Star, vol. 8, pp. 124-28).

Commenting on Harris’s wavering character and unstableness, the Mormon church says of him:

One of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, yielded to the spirit and temptation of the devil a number of years ago—turned against Joseph Smith and became his bitter enemy. He was filled with the rage and madness of a demon. One day he would be one thing, and another day another thing. He soon became partially deranged or shattered, as many believed, flying from one thing to another…. In one of his fits of monomania, he went and joined the “Shakers” or followers of Anna Lee. . . . but since Strang has made his entry … Martin leaves the “Shakers,” whom he knows to be right . . . and joins Strang. . . . We understand that he is appointed a mission to this country,… if the Saints wish to know what the Lord hath said to him they may turn to … the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and the person there called a “wicked man” is no other than Martin Harris … Elder Wheelock will remember that evil men, like Harris, out of the evil treasure of their hearts bring forth evil things. . . .

Just as our paper was going to press, we learned that Martin Harris, about whom we have written in another article, had landed in Liverpool,… there was a strangeness about him, and about one or two who came with him … A lying deceptive spirit attends them, and has from the beginning…. they know that they are of their father, the devil, who was a liar from the beginning, and abode not in the truth (Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star, vol. 8, pp.124-28).

David Whitmer

Years after he alleged that he “witnessed as to the Book of Mormon plates, Whitmer said, 1887:

If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to ‘separate myself from among the Latter-day Saints. . . . ” (Address to All Believers in Christ, p. 27, 1887).

Of course, no matter how clear the evidence is, LDS apologists still have no problem denying this. For several views have been promulgated. Example, struggling to somehow defend Whitmer’s statement, one LDS writer said:

He only mentioned the undefined voice at Far West once, in this last writing to fellow believers– but he had repeatedly testified of an audible voice authenticating the Book of Mormon. Those with him in 1830 in the New York grove certified that they had also heard God’s voice then, but neither Oliver Cowdery nor John Whitmer, both of whom left Far West with David at this time, say anything about the heavenly command of 1838. Whatever came to David Whitmer, the later experience fails to contradict his earlier divine command to testify of the ancient record. David Whitmer could have received true spiritual comfort because of the unjust methods that his former associates were using against him; or he may have only felt that God spoke to him because of the powerful indignation that swelled up in his soul; or if he gave way to the spirit of anger and retaliation, he invited Satan to inspire him and deceive him. For instance, once in later life he was tempted to lead, thereby dictating several revelations that he later considered false. The Far West “voice” might fall into this category (Richard L. Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (SLC: Deseret Book Co., 1981, pp. 163-64).

Note the theories, (“Whitmer could have . . . or he may. . . . “). The historical fact is, Whitmer denied the Book of Mormon and was excommunicated by the Mormon Church–later claiming that he only saw the Book of Mormon plates wit the eye of

Further, Whitmer later started his own church.

Oliver Cowdery

SAME AS Whitmer: He was excommunicated from the Mormon Church and joined the Methodist church.

In 1841, the Mormons published a poem which said: “Or Book of Mormon not his word, because denied by Oliver” (Seasons and Times, 2:482)

The Mormon church accused Cowdery of “adultery” and claimed he had joined “a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, and blacklegs”.However, Cowdery returned to the Mormon Church before his death, but note that David Whitmer claimed that Cowdery died believing that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet and that his revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants must be rejected:

I did not say that Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer had not endorsed the Doctrine and Covenants in 1836. They did endorse it in 1836; I stated that they “came out of their errors (discarded the Doctrine and Covenants), repented of them, and died believing as I do to-day,” and I have the proof to verify my statement. If any one chooses to doubt my word, let them come to my home in Richmond and be satisfied. In the winter of 1848, after Oliver Cowdery had been baptized at Council Bluffs, he came back to Richmond to live. . . . Now, in 1849 the Lord saw fit to manifest unto John Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and myself nearly all the errors in doctrine into which we had been led by the heads of the old church. We were shown that the Book of Doctrine and Covenants contained many doctrines of error, and that it must be laid aside. . . . They were led out of their errors, and are upon record to this effect, rejecting the Book of Doctrine and Covenants (An Address to Believers in The Book of Mormon, 1887, pp.1-2).

As seem above, Joseph Smith listed Cowdery as among those, “too mean to mention” Further, Cowdery died claiming that the book of Doctrines & Covenants must be abandoned.

For the Mormons admitted in 1846:

One day he [Martin Harris] would be one thing, and another day another. He soon became deranged or shattered, as many believed, flying from one thing to another, as if reason and common sense were thrown off their balance. In one of his fits of monomania, he went and joined the ‘Shakers’ or followers of Anne Lee. He tarried with them a year or two, or perhaps longer… but since Strang has made his entry into the apostate ranks, and hoisted his standard for the rebellious to flock too, Martin leaves the ‘Shakers,’ whom he knows to be right, and has known it for many years, as he said, and joins Strang in gathering out the tares of the field. ( Millennial Star, vol. 8, November 15, 1846, p. 124.)

LDS Apostle George Q. Cannon, a member of the First Presidency had stated,

[Cowdery] transgressed the law of God; he committed adultery; the Spirit of God withdrew from him, and he, the second elder in the Church, was excommunicated from the Church. (Juvenile Instructor, 1885, p. 360)

Despite these facts, LDS Apostle John A. Widtsoe does not agrees with their founder. Despite clear instability on these witnesses and certainly fertile imaginations, Apostle John A. Widtsoe states The Book of Mormon plates were seen and handled, at different times, by eleven competent men, of independent minds and spotless reputations, who published a formal statement of their experience. (Joseph Smith, Seeker After Truth, 338).

A Holy, Sacred and Divine Roll and Book; From the Lord God of Heaven, to the Inhabitants of Earth

As Jerald and Sandra Tanner, in their book, The Changing World of Mormonism point out:

It would appear that same of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon would follow almost anyone who had a peep stone or claimed to have been visited by an angel. Take, for instance, their willingness to believe in the claims of the deceiver James J. Strang who claimed to translate ancient plates with the Urim and Thummim. The reader will remember that Martin Harris even served on a mission for the Strangites. This was not the only time that Harris endorsed a religion which claimed to have a sacred book given directly by the Lord.

As we have already shown, in the Millennial Star the Mormons admitted that Martin Harris joined the Shakers: “In one of his fits of monomania, he went and joined the ‘Shakers’ or followers of Anne Lee.” The Shakers felt that “Christ has made his second appearance on earth, in a chosen female known by the name of Ann Lee, and acknowledged by us as our Blessed Mother in the work of redemption” (Sacred Roll and Book, p.358). The Shakers, of course, did not believe the Book of Mormon, but they had a book entitled A Holy, Sacred and Divine Roll and Book; From the Lord God of Heaven, to the Inhabitants of Earth. More than sixty individuals gave testimony to the Sacred Roll and Book, which was published in 1843. Although not all of them mention angels appearing, some of them tell of many angels visiting them—one woman told of eight different visions.

On page 304 of this book, we find the testimony of eight witnesses:

We, the undersigned, hereby testify, that we saw the holy Angel standing upon the house-top, as mentioned in the foregoing declaration, holding the Roll and Book.

Betsey Boothe.
Louisa Chamberlain.
Caty De Witt.
Laura Ann Jacobs.

Sarah Maria Lewis.
Sarah Ann Spencer.
Lucinda McDoniels.
Maria Hedrick.

Joseph Smith only had three witnesses who claimed to see an angel. The Shakers, however, had a large number of witnesses who claimed they saw angels and the Roll and Book. There are over a hundred pages of testimony from “Living Witnesses.” The evidence seems to show that Martin Harris accepted the Sacred Roll and Book as a divine revelation. Clark Braden stated: “Harris declared repeatedly that he had as much evidence for a Shaker book he had as for the Book of Mormon” (The Braden and Kelly Debate, p.173).

There is a Mormon source which indicates that Martin Harris claimed to have a greater testimony to the Shakers than to the Book of Mormon. In a thesis written at Brigham Young University, Wayne Cutler Gunnell stated that on December 31, 1844, “Phineas H. Young [Brigham Young’s brother] and other leaders of the Kirtland organization” wrote a letter to Brigham Young in which they stated: “There are in this place all kinds of teaching; Martin Harris is a firm believer in Shakerism, says his testimony is greater than it was of the Book of Mormon” (“Martin Harris—Witness and Benefactor to the Book of Mormon,” 1955, p.52) (Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism, chap. 5, pp. 106-07).

There is much more that can be said about the unreliability of the Three (and the Eight) Witnesses to the Book of Mormon plates. However, even if all eleven Witnesses affirmed that they really saw and even handled the Book of Mormon plates it does biblically validate the Mormon faith: The Mormon faith rejects Jesus Christ.

As seen, the LDS faith affirms

1. the existence of many Gods (polytheism).

2. God was a mere man on another planet before becoming God.

3. that God had to become God at a point in time (thus denying that God always existed as God).

4. that God the Father and Mary had *sexual intercourse* to procreate the physical body of Jesus Christ.

5. that God was married to His own spirit daughter, Mary.

6. that Jesus Christ is not the eternal God (i.e., denying that He always existed as God).

7. that eternal life (true salvation) is acquired by meritorious works.

8. that *black skin* (Indians, Africans, etc.) is a mark from God indicating that they are or were (depending on what LDS Prophet you read) cursed by God for their evil acts in their first estate in heaven (as *spirit children* before coming to earth).

Thus, it is not the major discrepancies and inconstancies that plague the history and origin of the Book of Mormon, nor is it the insurmountable problems with the Book of Mormon (internally and externally), but it is the God that the Mormons embrace that condemns them:

But the LORD is the true God;
He is the living God and the everlasting King
At His wrath the earth quakes,
And the nations cannot endure His indignation.

Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens” (Jer. 10:10-11)

When one examines the Book of Mormon and its teachings, what is interesting is that the Book of Mormon does not contain distinct LDS doctrine. The doctrinal essentials, according to Mormonism, which lead to salvation, are not the same essentials as taught in 1830. Why? Because Joseph Smith changed his teachings, with no explanation to the Mormon people.

The Book of Mormon for example, does not teach: God is an exalted man with a body of flesh and bones; the plurality of Gods; a Mother God in Heaven; Celestial, Terrestrial and Telestial heavens; Baptism for the Dead; Celestial marriage; the Law of Eternal Progression; Exaltation (i.e., man becoming a God); the Aaronic Priesthood, the Melchizedek Priesthood and the doctrine of Pre-existence.

These are distinctive LDS teachings that Mormons pride themselves on, but why then, do we not find these teachings before 1832? If Joseph Smith was speaking as God’s “prophet,” then what he taught in 1830 should be consistent with was is taught today by the Mormon Church. Truth does not change.

Early Teachings of Joseph Smith vs. Latter Teachings
One God or Many Gods?

“Testimony of the Three Witnesses”:

And honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God (Book of Mormon, Introduction).

Book of Mormon (1830):

And now, behold this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen” (2 Nephi 31:21; emphasis added).

And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God? And Amulek said; Yea, there is a true and living God. And Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No. Now Zeezrom said unto him again: How knowest thou these things? And he said: An angel hath made them known unto me (Alma 11:26-31; emphasis added).

Doctrine and Covenants:

In the early sections of the LDS scripture, Doctrine and Covenants, are clear teachings that there is only one eternal God:

By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them. . . . Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end (20:17; 1830; emphasis added).1

Smith wrote the Book of Mormon by 1830 and these early sections of Doctrine and Covenants were written in the same year. However, when we read the later sections we find that Smith’s teaching of one God radically changed:

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore they shall be from everlasting to everlasting, because the continue; then they shall be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject to them (132:20; 1843; emphasis added).

Pearl of Great Price:

We also find this doctrinal switching in the LDS scripture Pearl of Great Price. In the first book of the Pearl of Great Price is the book of Moses. The book of Moses text is an excerpt from Smith’s own translation of the Bible called the Inspired Version,2 which is from 1830.

And I, God said: Let there be light . . . And I, God saw the light . . . And I, God called the light Day; and the darkness, I called Night. . . . (Moses, 2:3-5; emphasis added)

And I, God made two great lights . . . And I, God set them in the firmament of the heaven . . . And I, God, said; Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. . . . (ibid., 16-17, 20; emphasis added).

However, when you turn to the next book (Abraham) in the Pearl of Great Price, you find something very interesting. When we compare the same verses in Abraham (ch. 4 was penned in 1842) with the book of Moses (penned in 1830) we find Smith’s doctrinal switching most obvious:

And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light . . . And they (the Gods) comprehended the light. . . . And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. . . . (Abraham, 4:3-5; emphasis added).

And the Gods organized the two great lights . . . And the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens… And the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life. . . . (ibid., 16-17, 20; emphasis added)

These are only a few examples of the verse-to-verse comparisons of the book of Moses (ch. 2) and Abraham (ch. 4).

The point is: the word “God” is singular throughout Moses chapter 2 and in the book of Abraham, which is, almost verbatim, the same account as in Moses, the word “God” is changed to “Gods” (“Gods” 47 times in ch. 4). Keep in mind that Smith penned this section of the book of Abraham in 1842 and Moses is from 1830.

Joseph Smith started out, in 1830, teaching that there is only one God but by 1844, Smith is declaring full-blown polytheism (i.e., many Gods):

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 (Joseph Fielding Smith, ed. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370; given August 15, 1844; emphasis added).

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 priest 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. . . . (ibid., 346; emphasis added).

God is Spirit

Along with Monotheism, that is, the belief in one God, Joseph Smith also started out teaching that God is spirit. And, just as he changed his doctrine of one God to many Gods, Smith, changed his teaching that God is spirit to the Father has a body of flesh and bones (cf. D&C, 130:22). But, to be sure, Smith did teach, early on, that God is spirit.

Book of Mormon:

And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believeth thou this? (Alma 22:10)

Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou are holy, and that thou wast spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever (Alma 31:15; emphasis added)

Doctrine and Covenants:

The original 1835 edition of Doctrine and Covenants contained a section called: Lectures on Faith. This section had about 68 pages and more than 20, 000 words. However, this section is now missing from the current edition of Doctrines and Covenants. The entire Lectures on Faith have subsequently been removed from both the RLDS and LDS Doctrine and Covenants. The reason why it was removed is evident:

There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things. . . . They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fullness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man (Lecture 5, 52-53; emphasis added)

“The Father being a personage of spirit,” is not what modern LDS teaches. Compare this to what the later sections of the current Doctrine of Covenants teach:

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as mans; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit (130:22; given April 1843; emphasis added)

Modalism

Joseph Smith did not understand the difference between the doctrine of the Trinity and the teachings of Modalism. Modalism or Oneness Pentecostalism 3 was the second century heresy that made the assertion that God exist as one person that reveals himself in different modes, manifestations or dimensions, but God is not three distinct Persons.

In other words, in Oneness thinking, since God is one, but in the Bible the Father is called God, Jesus is called God, and the Holy Spirit is called God, therefore Jesus is the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The one person (Jesus) has two natures, divine being the Father and human being the Son. Thus, in this doctrine, Jesus acts sometimes as the Son (human) and sometimes as the Father (God) and yet other times the Holy Spirit.

So, what does Modalism have to do with Joseph Smith? Answer: the Book of Mormon teaches both Trinitarian and Modalism. However, I find that the Book of Mormon is more modalistic than Trinitarian, though. First, observe these decidedly modalistic passages in the Book of Mormon. The introduction of Mosiah chapter 15 reads:

How Christ is both the Father and the Son–He shall make intercession and bear the transgression of his people. . . . (emphasis added).

Then, starting at verse 1:

And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself [the Father] shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son. The Father because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son. And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God. . . . (Mosiah 15:1-5; emphasis added)

That Jesus is the Father, is a teaching that is clearly taught in Smith’s, Book of Mormon:

Behold, I am the he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am the Father and the Son. . . . (Ether 3:14; emphasis added)

Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Alma 11:38-39; emphasis added).

Amazingly, a mere five verses later the Book of Mormon seems to be teaching to what resembles the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity:

but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit , which is one Eternal God. . . . (ibid., 11:44; emphasis added).

And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen” (2 Nephi 31:21; emphasis added).

And as previously quoted, the “Testimony of the three Witnesses” do not agree with the present-day LDS teaching (three separate Gods). Rather, the converse is stated:

And honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God (Book of Mormon, Introduction).

The nature of God is not the only doctrine that Joseph Smith changed in his lifetime. However, it is the doctrine of God that would determine one’s salvation. Only the true God is able to save- the God of biblical revelation, a false god does not exist. Jesus was very concerned as to the different beliefs of Him, which would deceive mankind. Jesus taught that having accurate knowledge of Him was a prerequisite to salvation:

I SAID THEREFORE TO YOU THAT YOU WILL DIE IN THE SINS OF YOU; FOR IF YOU BELIEVE NOT THAT I AM. . . . (John 8:24; lit. Gk.; emphasis added; also cf. Ex. 3:14; Is. 43:10).

In the end, plainly, early LDS doctrine is fundamentally different then present-day LDS doctrine. Smith started out teaching that God was spirit and there is only one eternal God. Then, Smith did a doctrinal U-turn, teaching heresies that deny who God is, and all the while, claming it was God that was giving him these revelations.

Hence, if the Joseph Smith really had restored the “plain and precious truths” that were allegedly lost and if Smith restored the so-called lost church, then, God’s truth in the nineteenth century should be consistent with God’s truth today. But the fact is: Joseph Smith believed in revolving gods that change who they are and altered their doctrines. Unlike the God of Scripture Who said:

“I the LORD do not change. . . . ” (Mal. 3:6; NIV)

Notes

1, These passages in the LDS scripture Doctrine and Covenants directly renounce the LDS doctrine of Eternal Progression which states that God the Father was once a man that had to become a God. Plainly taught by Joseph Smith:

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. 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. and that 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… 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 priest 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, 345-47; emphasis added).

Hence, in LDS theology God has not eternally existed as God. Joseph Smith gave this address in 1844, whereas Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 20 was given in 1830. Thus, the evolution of Smith’s teaching is obvious.

2, The interested reader should note, that 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 (cf. Gk. and Heb., as well as recognized translations of the Bibles) actually says in order to support his preconceived teachings. Example: John 1:19 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, July 2, 1833 at Kirtland, Ohio, Smith stated: “this day finished the translating of the Scriptures. . . . ” (History of the Church, 1:368).

3, Known also as the “Jesus only” churches, the United Pentecostal International Church being the largest. See my article on Oneness Pentecostalism.

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As with virtually all non-Christian sects salvation is by meritorious works of the individual. Mormons are no different. Mormons convolute the biblical doctrine of salvation-, which is by grace alone, through faith alone, whereby reducing it to a crass works/salvation system.

LDS theology has two types of salvation; unconditional (general) and conditional (individual).

Unconditional or general is a salvation is for everyone regardless of their spiritual standing with God. This type of salvation is granted to everyone because of the Atonement. Mormons believe that Jesus’ Atonement at the cross only provided a “resurrection” to immortality for all men, where they will, depending how well they performed, end up in one of the three heavens. Even the worst of sinners will eventually end up in the lowest heaven (telestial kingdom), where they will live in glory.

This is what Mormons call “saved by grace” meaning everyone will be saved (i.e., resurrected, immortal) but not everyone will receive “eternal life.” In Mormonism the term “eternal life” is synonymous with exaltation (i.e., becoming a God). So, when Mormon missionaries say “eternal life” they mean, becoming a God.

Conditional salvation is eternal life or true salvation, (Godhood). This is what Mormons call “exaltation”. Mormons call it conditional because they have to prove themselves worthy by works and try to live a perfect life, obeying all the laws of the LDS Church and the Mormon gospel. In the LDS doctrine, this kind of salvation is: salvation in its truest sense, the kind of salvation followers of Jesus longed for.

In Mormon terminology then, salvation, true salvation, means eternal life = exaltation = Godhood (all synonymous terms). This, undeniably, is another gospel (cf. Gal. 1:6-9). Near 12 million members are taught: the way to true salvation is by works. On the subject of unconditional or general salvation, Mormon favorite Bruce R. McConkie informs readers:

Unconditional or general salvation, that which comes by grace alone without obedience to the gospel law, consists in the mere fact of being resurrected. This kind of salvation eventually will come to all mankind, excepting only the sons of perdition. . . . Those who gain only this general or unconditional salvation will still be judged according to their works and receive their places in a terrestrial or a telestial kingdom. They will, therefore, be damned; their eternal progression [i.e., progression to become a God in the celestial kingdom] will be cut short; they will not fill the full measure of their creation, but in eternity will be ministering servants [i.e., angels] to more worthy persons (Mormon Doctrine, 669; emphasis theirs).

Fundamentally then, the LDS system of true salvation is by works, as Bruce R. McConkie goes on to say:

Eternal life, the kind of life enjoyed by eternal beings in the celestial kingdom, comes by grace plus obedience (ibid., 671; emphasis added).

In the Mormon Scripture, Pearl of Great Price, in the third Article of Faith, we read:

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by the obedience of the laws and ordinances of the Gospel (emphasis added).

Even more, the Book of Mormon reinforces this false notion:

Be reconciled to God: for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do (2 Nephi 25:23; emphasis added).

Brigham Young goes so far as to teach the Mormon people that salvation (i.e., true salvation, Godhood) only comes through Joseph Smith:

No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are (Journal of Discourses, 7:289).

Constantly let us be mindful of Mormon vocabulary. The term “salvation” in Mormon thinking, in one sense means: unconditionally (general salvation) all men will be resurrected and become immortal. He or she will afterwards, live in one of the levels of Heaven regardless of what standing with God that they had.

The highest level of Heaven is the celestial kingdom. This level is reserved only for faithful Mormons who are worthy wherein they can become Gods, presiding over their own planet and endlessly procreating spirit babies to fill their planet, as does the God for this earth (individual salvation). For the Mormon, progressing to this level (Godhood) is not an easy journey. The Mormon must strive for perfection. Mormons indefatigably, must struggle to follow all of their church’s mandates and gospel laws. Also, the Mormon to achieve true salvation must be WATER BAPTIZED INTO THE MORMON CHURCH (see: Water Baptism a Deed/Work of Righteousness).

Temple Rituals

Additionally, Temple rituals are an integral part of Mormon salvation. Mormons who are trying to attain Godhood perform these highly secret ceremonies in the LDS Temple. However the first LDS Temple sprang up around 1836 in Kirkland Ohio. But in this first Temple, they did not implement the Temple rituals and endowments. It was not until 1842 right after Joseph Smith became Master Mason1 that they started this. Hence, the LDS ceremonies are almost identical to the ceremonies that are practiced by the Masons.

The foremost ritual is the “Endowment.” The Endowment ceremony includes washing and anointing the body (in intimate places), receiving the holy underwear (for protection), and receiving a new name. Also, Mormon couples look forward to being married in the Temple where they can be “sealed” (i.e., the marriage ceremony where the Mormons are sealed “for time and all eternity”). In other words, they can be the Father and Mother God of their own planet. For the Mormon woman, her hope is eternal pregnancy, giving birth to thousands of spirit children ad infinitum to populate their world. An eternity of childbearing, which doesn’t sound to wonderful for the Mormon woman?

Temple entrance is closed to non-Mormons. Without exception, only “worthy” Mormons that have their “Temple recommend” can participate.2 To be saved in the truest sense (i.e., eternal life, exaltation to Godhood) Mormons say they must have been married in the Temple, where they were sealed and received their endowments.3 Additionally, the Mormon male must be ordained to the “Melchizedek”4 Priesthood for him to progress to Godhood.

Moreover, sealing, endowments, and baptism can be done in proxy (i.e., substitution for the dead). This work is practiced consistently by faithful Mormons to ensure that people, who died that did not receive the Mormon gospel in their life, will get a second chance, an opportunity to progress to a higher level of heaven, even Godhood.

Mormons are taught that after death people immediately go to “spirit prison.” Mormons say that they are Mormon missionaries in spirit prison, that witness to the men and women who never had the opportunity to become became Mormons in their life. And if the person in spirit prison accepts the Mormon gospel, and if someone preformed proxy rituals (i.e., endowments, baptism, and sealing if marriage is involved) they may become a Mormon and leave spirit prison to progress into a higher kingdom.

If the person rejects the Mormon gospel then they will eventually reside in the lowest or middle the three levels of heaven depending how good (or how evil) they were in their life on earth. However, if a Mormon dies, then the Mormon will immediately go to “paradise” and after the resurrection they proceed to one of the three levels or kingdoms of heaven. Consequently, the Mormon Church spends countless hours on genealogies. The quest of the LDS is to proselytize every person who ever died starting with their relatives and then all others that are in “spirit prison.”

And this, in Mormon certainty, is the way to eternal life or true salvation. It is, without a doubt, a total works/salvation construct. In the end, their works, obedience, and dedication to the LDS Church will determine their salvation and to which level of the three heavens they will dwell in.

Biblical Teaching

Scripture does not, in any way, shape or form, make a distinction between general and individual salvation. Jesus gives one kind of life: Life Eternal. As seen, Mormons reject the idea that true salvation, is by grace alone through faith alone. To the Mormons, this teaching is patently false. Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie tells us:

one of the untrue doctrines found in modern Christendom is the concept that man can gain salvation (meaning in the kingdom of God) by grace alone without obedience (Mormon Doctrine, 671).

John 5:24

However, contrary to LDS doctrine, Scripture speaks unambiguously on the subject of salvation. The centrality of Scripture can be summed up in this question: “How is a man justified?” Is not that the question of the ages, from the first man to the present? How can man be reconciled to God? How can man be declared not guilty in the sight of a perfect God? More so, how can man be saved? I think we would do well to allow Jesus Christ, the authority on the matter, to answer clearly:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, HAS [echei] eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24; emphasis added).

The LDS would be wise to breathe in the grammatical significance of the words of Christ.

The grammar of the text (5:24) speaks the opposite. Starting with the first clause: “He who hears [akouōn] My word, and believes [pisteuōn] Him who sent Me” (emphasis added). The Greek verb akouōn (lit. “hearing”) is a singular present active participle. The verb pisteuōn (lit. “believing”) is also a singular present active participle. Note that both verbs are in the present tense, literally: “the one hearing and the one believing.”

Then the phrase: “has [echei] eternal life.” The verb echei (“has”) is the singular present active indicative of echō. The indicative mood of the verb indicates the absolute certainty of the event (i.e., “eternal life”). That echei is in the present tense shows that the one believing possesses de facto eternal life presently and continuously. For this reason, the one believing will never come into God’s wrath and judgment (cf. John 10:28).

We now come to the last clause of the passage: “but has passed out of death into life” (emphasis added). The verb metabebēken (“has passed”) is the perfect active indicative of metabainō. The perfect tense indicates a completed action that normally occurred in the past, which has continuous results into the present.

Hence, the reason as to why the one believing (apart from works) “does not come into judgment” is that he “has passed out of,” completely and indicatively (an assured certainty), spiritual death. I submit, therefore, the full force of what Jesus was literally saying:

He who presently and continuously hears My word and believes Me (who I really am), I promise that he will presently and continuously possess, without end, eternal life, that is, salvation. And he will NEVER come into condemnation. He has, in times past, been called to be declared righteous (justified) and then glorified, whereby passing out of death into life with Me forever.

See also John 6:47 and 1 John 5:12 [as discussed below] where the present indicative echei is utilized to indicate the certainty of eternal life for the one believing. In point of fact, never is creaturely works (e.g., water baptism, obedience, etc.) grammatically or contextually connected to salvation in John’s gospel. God justifies His people freely apart from their meritorious performance. What is more, Paul anathematizes those who would assert that creaturely works are a necessity or requirement for justification (Gal. 1:6-9).

Hence, verses like 5:24 specify that justification is the sole work of the Triune God. They grammatically and contextually support that regeneration precedes faith.

The main theme of John’s letter was (a) the full deity of Jesus Christ (e.g., 1:1; 18, 8:24, 58; 20:28; etc.) and (b) eternal life/salvation (e.g., 1:12; 3:16; 6:37-40, 47; 10:27-29; etc.). That all those salvation passages in the Gospel of John never once connect water baptism with salvation is something that should be seriously pondered by the ICC. Salvation is exclusively by faith/belief ALONE. If works like water baptism were, in fact, an indispensable means of salvation as the LDS teaches, you would think that John or Jesus would teach it—at least once. Justification by faith alone is uniquely Christian as clearly taught in the pages of the Holy Writ. God justifies His people freely. That water baptism, circumcision, ordinances, rituals, ceremonial or ethical old covenant laws, or any works to add to one’s justification, places one firmly under the anathema of the Judaizers: cursed by God.

In the end, looking at all the non-Christian cults and world religions we do find doctrinal harmony on at least two points. The first, of course, is that they all reject Jesus Christ as eternal God, that is, they impugn the Tri-Unity of God in some way or other, and second, they attack and deny the doctrine of JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE. They all add some kind of creaturely work to their system of salvation. Yes, indeed, it is difficult for mere man to comprehend that through faith alone God freely justifies the sinner. However we cannot rely on our faulty emotions to test truth. For notwithstanding our limited finite conventional wisdom and understanding, the Apostle Paul who wrote as the Holy Spirit enabled him declares:

Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works. . . . (Rom. 4:4-6; emphasis added; cf. John 6:47; 10:28-29; Rom. 5:1; 8:1; Eph. 2:8).

The Apostle Paul speaks on Justification by Grace Alone Through FAITH ALONE

Contrary to the LDS Church

Inquiring of salvation the jailer had asked the Apostle Paul (an authority on the subject):

Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. . . (Acts 16:30, 31).

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:28).

The Apostle Paul’s epistle to the church at Galatia was specifically an anti-Judaizer polemic. Paul was very concerned as to the pervading heresy of the Judaizers. The Judaizers taught that “faith in Christ” was not enough. Hence, one had to add the Old Testament ordinances especially circumcision and the keeping of the ethical and ceremonial laws, to the finished work of Christ:

Some men came from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom [Law] of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1; cf. Gal. 2:1ff).

This kind of teaching, in the apostles’ mind, was not a doctrinal “on the rim” issue. By teaching that man must co-operate with God’s grace by adding works (any works) to his faith, the Judaizers stripped Jesus’ atonement of its efficacy. So toxic was the works/salvation doctrine of the Judaizers that the apostle wasted no time (from his the opening statement) in sharply anathematizing (i.e., pronouncing a divine curse) men and even angels from heaven who promulgate it:

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed [anathema]! As we have said, before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Gal. 1:6-9; emphasis added).

Paul never gets tired impressing to the Galatians: justification is through faith ALONE; i.e., faith apart from, without, modifications or additions of works:

knowing the a man is not justified [ou dikaioutai] by the works [ex ergōn; “from works”] of the Law but through faith [dia pisteos] in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that [hina, purpose clause] we may be justified by faith [dikaiōthōmen ek pisteōs] in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified (Gal. 2:16; emphasis added).

You foolish Galatians, who as bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you; did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Even Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Gal. 3:1-3, 6; emphasis added).

Paul further declares that it is through faith (dia tes pisteōs) alone that enables one to be adopted as sons of God.

For you are all sons of God through faith [dia tēs pisteōs] in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized [i.e., unified, see above] into [en] Christ have clothed yourself with [eis] Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; emphasis added).

Justification by Faith Alone

Romans 4:4-8

In fact, in the entire Pauline corpus, salvation by grace alone through faith alone is clearly the theological starting point for the apostle. There are scores of verses that teach clearly: the righteousness of Christ is the sole ground of justification (man excluded) and the sole means is faith alone apart from works. However, space precludes us from citing all. In Romans though (and esp. Gal.) Paul presents solid grammatical arguments for justification by faith alone. Let us examine 4:4-8:

[4] Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a favor, but as what is due.

[5] But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

[6] just as David also speaks of the blessings on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

[7] “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,

AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.

[8] “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT” (NASB).

Consider the following:

1. In verse 4, Paul explains that wages from work are not credited as “a gift” or a favor, but “what is due.” The literal rendering is even clearer: “Now to the working one, the reward is not reckoned [or “imputed,” logizetai] according to grace [charin; Paul’s normal word for “grace”], but according to debt [misthos].” In other words, if an employer, after giving a paycheck to the employee, says, “Thanks a lot, here is your gift,” the employee would object stating that he or she earned that or worked for it! Hence, it was not a gift. Exactly the argument Paul makes here: wages are the result or reward from works (viz. “what is due”). In verse 5 he then contrasts “wages” that one earns by works with being “credited” or imputed as righteousness by faith (or “belief,” pistis) ALONE—apart from additions or modifications. This contrast cannot be missed: works vs. faith.

2. Paul presents two kinds of people here: the one working and the one not working: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him . . . his faith is credited as righteousness.” Note that the same participle (ergazomenō, “working”) is used for both verses 4 and 5. However, Paul inserts a negation in verse 5:

4: tō de ergazomenō, lit. “but the one working.”

5: tō de mē ergazomenō, lit. “but the not working one.”

It is God, Paul declares, “who justifies the ungodly.” The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the sinner’s account when they are justified and the sinner’s sins are imputed to Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21).

3. In verse 6, Paul now shows that David understood that “God credits righteousness apart from works [chōris ergōn; emphasis added].” The verse literally reads: “Blessed is the man to whom God imputes or credits righteousness WITHOUT works [theos logizetai dikaiosunen choris ergōn].” Again, Paul does not here limit works only to “works of the Law” (a Catholic assertion). Please note once again, Paul does not (in this context) use the phrase ho nomos, “the Law,” but ergōn, “works”—any works.

To avoid the plain and straightforwardness of Romans 4:4-8, some would appeal to Ephesians 2:10 (“created . . . for good works”). However, in this passage, Paul is simply teaching that salvation is chariti, “by grace,” and dia pisteōs, “through faith,” and ouk ex ergōn, lit. “not of works” (2:9). Hence, works are the result (not the cause) of genuine faith (as pointed out above). The Apostle James draws the same point: genuine faith does not result in a deedless life.

4. Then in verses 7 and 8, Paul quotes David (Psalm 32:1-2):

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (emphasis added).

When the sinner is justified (through faith), he is legally declared: NOT GUILTY!

Justification is a one-time declarative act in which God pronounces the sinner just or righteous. Hence, God does not count their trespasses against them (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19). Note the strong and specific language that Paul uses in verse 8: “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (emphasis added).

Many times the full import of particular passages is lost in translations, which is the case here. As in John 6:37 (and 10:28 as noted above), Paul employs a double negative (ou mē) followed by the aorist subjective (logisētai). In first century Greek, there were several ways to negate (i.e., to say “No”) something. Each way had its own, to some extent, nuance. The strongest possible way, however, to deny or negate a future possibility was to use the double negative (ou mē) followed by a subjunctive verb (i.e., generally, the verb of possibility, e.g., “I might go to the store,” hence, “might” being in the subj. mood). This construction was only used about 85 times in the New Testament.

In verse 8 Paul uses this construction, which was more emphatic than simply saying ou, “no”: “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord ou mē, “will not” [“never, never”] take into account.” The NIV reads, “whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Paul is denying that there is even a possibility (due to the subj. verb logisētai, “take into account” or “count”) that the Lord will count sins against the one justified. Jesus used the same construction (i.e., double neg. + the subj.) in John 10:27-28:

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow me and I give eternal life to them, and they will never [ou mē] perish; and no one can snatch them out of my hand (emphasis added).

Therefore, there is not, Jesus says emphatically, even a possibility, of His sheep perishing. Jesus uses the double negative to emphasize that the eternal life that He gives is not dependent on man’s self-determination, for man can fail. But rather eternal life is the promise to those who He has justified, to those whose sins will never be counted against them, to those who He imputed His own righteousness to their account; they are declared righteous and they, by no means, will ever perish—not even a possibility! To be sure, the Apostle Paul saw justification as an essential and fundamental teaching. To deny justification through faith ALONE, meaning: without additions or modifications, was the same as denying the deity of Christ! This is clearly seen in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The main purpose of Paul’s letter was to pointedly refute the heresy of the Judaizers (cf. Acts 15:1ff; Gal. 1:6ff.).

What was the grand heresy that caused Paul, directed by the Holy Spirit, to pronounce divine condemnation (anathema; 1:8, 9) on those who were pervading it? It was the heresy of the Judaizers who taught that faith ALONE was not enough for God to justify a sinner. They loaded men down with a crass faith + works = salvation doctrine. In which Paul sharply proved false. Justification is the sole work of God (cf. Rom. 8:33). To add to God’s work—is to add to Scripture. “Who,” Paul rhetorically asks, “will bring a charge against God’s elect? . . . who is the one who condemns? . .” (Rom. 8:33-34). Hence, how can anyone undo the work of God? In justification, it can only be God alone who declares the sinner eternally righteous.

Aside from Romans 4:4-8 and many other verses that plainly and exegetically teach justification is through faith alone, Romans 5:1 especially reveals the consciousness of Paul on this central doctrine: “Therefore, having been justified [dikaiōthentes; the aorist passive participle of dikaioō (justified/ made righteous). Note, the mood of the verb is passive, hence it is not the sinner who justifies him or herself, but God alone], by faith, [ek pisteōs; lit. “from faith”] WE HAVE [echomen; present indicative] PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1)– Sola Fide.

I

Romans 5:1

Therefore having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (emphasis added).

Paul constantly taught that justification comes not by works, formulas, or laws but rather: a man is declared rightness before God through faith alone:

Paul was theologically precise as to how the sinner is justified before the presence of God. Notice first that the sinner having been justified has peace with God. The verb dikaiōthentes, translated “having been justified,” is the aorist passive participle of dikaioō. Grammatically, the aorist here tells us that the action of the verb dikaiōthentes, “having been justified,” was a past action (as rendered in most translations). Furthermore, the verb dikaiothentes is in the passive voice. This indicates that the action of being justified was not of the sinner in any way (lest the verb be in the active voice), but rather the justification was done to the sinner, in the past, which was solely a divine act of God (cf. Rom. 8:33). Thus, the ones having been justified now “have” [echomen, the present active indicative plural of echo] peace pros ton theon, “with the God.”

It is not the action or work of the sinner which then results in justification, rather Paul simply says “through faith” (ek pisteōs; “from faith”) “having been justified.” This is important to realize that if Paul thought that “baptism” or “works” were an aspect or a requirement of justification, he could have easily modified the clause to say, “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, baptism, and works, then, let us has peace with God” (as in LDS soteriology) But, Paul was clear and consistent in all of his letters: justification is through faith alone, with no additions or modifications. This is wonderful news, the unregenerate sinner who was called has been legally declared righteous (regenerated) in the sight of God, whereby has present active and continuous peace, that is, final reconciliation and fellowship with God. In his definitive exegesis of Romans Wuest can say of this beautiful passage:

Therefore having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).

Paul was theologically precise as to how the sinner is justified before the presence of God. Notice first that the sinner having been justified has peace with God. The verb dikaiothentes, translated “having been justified,” is the aorist passive participle of dikaioō. Grammatically, the aorist here tells us that the action of the verb dikaiōthentes, “having been justified,” is a past action (as rendered in most translations). Furthermore, the verb dikaiōthentes is in the passive voice. This indicates that the action of being justified was not of the sinner in any way (lest the verb be in the active voice), but rather the justification was done to the sinner, in the past, which was solely a divine act of God (cf. Rom. 8:33). Thus, the ones having been justified now “have” [echomen; present active indicative] peace pros ton theon, “with the God.”

It is not the action or work of the sinner which then results in justification, rather Paul simply says, “through faith” (ek pisteōs; lit. “from faith”) “having been justified.” This is important to realize that if Paul thought that “baptism” or “works” were an aspect or a requirement of justification, he could of easily modified the clause to say, “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, baptism, and works, then, let us have peace with God.” But, Paul was clear and consistent in all of his letters: justification is through faith alone, with no additions or modifications. This is wonderful news, the unregenerate sinner who was called has been legally declared righteous (regenerated) in the sight of God, whereby has present active and continuous peace, that is, final reconciliation and fellowship with God. In his definitive exegesis of Romans Wuest can say of this beautiful passage: In his definitive exegesis of Romans Wuest can say of this beautiful passage:

The word “therefore” reaches back to the contents of chapter four—therefore being justified, not by works (1-8), not by ordinances (9-12), not by obedience (13-25), but by faith, we have peace. The first three never give peace to the soul. Faith does. . . . The context is didactic. It contains definite statements of fact. It is highly doctrinal in nature. It has to do with a sinner’s standing before God in point of law, not his experience. As Denney [James Denney, D. D.] says; “The justified have peace with God,… His wrath (1:18) no longer threatens them; they are accepted in Christ. It is not a change in their feelings which is indicated, but a change in God’s relation to them (Romans in the Greek New Testament, 75-76).

Hence Paul announces to the Christians at Ephesus: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS, so that none may boast” (Eph. 2:8; emphasis added). “If it is by grace,” Paul says, “it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom. 11:6). We can go on from here and cite many other passages that explicitly teach that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone without any mention of modifications of the necessity of water baptism: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30f). How are sins forgiven? Scripture is clear:

Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone WHO BELIEVES ON HIM RECEIVES FORGIVENESS OF SINS (Acts 10:43; emphasis added).

Let us pause and think; why is it that over and over the New Testament teaches that eternal salvation is explicitly tied to faith or belief alone with no mention of water baptism if in fact water baptism was essential to one’s salvation? 24 Paul’s own statement refutes the notion that water baptism was an indispensable means of salvation:

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . . (1 Cor. 1:17).

Let us pause and think, why is it that over and over the New Testament teaches that eternal salvation is explicitly tied to faith or belief alone with no mention of HUMANS WORKS such as water baptism, if in fact works or water baptism was essential to one’s salvation? (e.g., John 5:24, 6:47; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8; Titus 3:5). Paul’s own statement refutes that the idea that water baptism was an indispensable part of salvation: For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel.

God the Holy Spirit inspires Paul to speak on the GIFT not reward of salvation:

By grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8)

Notice, that “faith” that saves comes from Christ not of ourselves. Salvation is a gift. We cannot achieve it by meritorious works nor do we deserve it. The sole reason why men come to Christ is because the Father gives them to Christ and He will raise them up at the last day:

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44; cf. vv. 37-40, 65)

One cannot help to admire Paul’s unceasing passion: salvation is by the grace of Jesus Christ and solely through faith alone. The addition of works, any kind of works, to attain salvation is by definition alien to the Apostle Paul. In Scripture, water baptism is defined as an “act” or deed “to fulfill [not to receive] righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Yet, Paul clearly refutes this idea:

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:5f; emphasis added).

the law was our school master to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24)

Man can never work enough to be justified in front of a perfect God, justification comes by faith alone. The Prophet Isaiah sums it up:

all our righteousness are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6)

Through Christ, Christians are declared perfect (positional) in front of a perfect God even though practically we still sin. The Mormons could never say that he or she is perfect NOW in God’s eyes.

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified… And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more (Heb. 10:14, 17; emphasis added)

No General Salvation

The Bible clearly communicates that after death man will reside in one of two places: Heaven for the saved or Hell for the unsaved. Hence, eternal separation from God is the fate of the person who rejects the Jesus of Scripture (cf. John8:24).

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

Jesus was a masterful communicator. And with that in mind Jesus makes a clear dichotomy of heaven or hell for the destiny of all mankind. Jesus never gave the idea that there is an intermediate state or a temporary place in which man may or may not end up at:

“He that believeth on the Son has [echei] 5 everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth [Gk. menei] on him” (John3:36; emphasis added).

It should be noted that in the above verse (John 3:36) the word “abideth” (menei) carries the idea of a continuous action (e.g., John 1:33; 2:12; 8:31). So, for the one that rejects the Person of Christ (of the Bible) God’s wrath continues to remain of him.

To illustrate that there are only two possibilities Jesus gave some insightful parables; In Matthew 13:30, wheat and tares. Matthew 13:49, wicked and the just. Also in Matthew 25:32, Jesus compares sheep (believers) and goats (unbelievers) and says that the goats will go to eternal punishment (kolasin; see below) and the sheep or righteous will go to eternal life.

Moreover in Luke 16:20ff., Jesus describes “Hades” as a place with two compartments; Abraham’s bosom and torment. And there was a “great gulf fixed” so that no one could pass from compartment to compartment. For the rich man in torment, there was no escape. Therefore, biblically there are only two possibilities heaven or hell, saved or unsaved hence, as with the rich man in Hades, the Mormons have cold-shouldered biblical truth.

The unsaved will be separated from God, thrown in the lake of fire wherein they will experience conscience torment forever and forever (Matt. 25: 46; 2 Thes. 1:9; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10, 15).

Matthew 25:46: “everlasting punishment” The word translated “punishment” is kolasin. Greek scholars universally agree the word means punishment. (see Moulton and Milligan’s, The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament; Joseph Thayer’s, Greek-English Lexicon). Furthermore, the parallel between “everlasting life” and “everlasting punishment” indicates duration (eternity).

Revelation 14:11: “Their torment rises for ever and ever… no rest day or night…” The word “torment” (basanizo) Thayer defines as “To be vexed with grievous pain” (Thayer).

Revelation 20:10, 14: “The Devil, the false prophet and the Beast were thrown in the lake of fire where they will be tormented forever and ever.”

Notes

1, Joseph Smith stated:

“In the evening I received the first decree in free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assemble in my general business office” (History of the Church, 4: 551)

2, For a Mormon to gain entrance into the LDS Temple, he or she must first receive a “Temple recommend.” To receive this E- ticket to the Temple the Mormon must be counted as “worthy.” “Worthy” Mormons are those who prove themselves “worthy.” This comes after about a year or so of being a member of the LDS Church, unless the Mormon was raised in the LDS Church, then the candidate would generally wait until they are ready for a mission or marriage. At the discretion of the local Bishop, a Mormon can be deemed “worthy” and ready to enter the Temple. First, the Mormon, or Mormon couple preparing for marriage would have to attend a temple preparedness class. Then, by way of interview, the Bishop will ask a series of questions about tithing, obedience, church attendance, and any other questions the Bishop can think of that he feels would be pertinent. After which, if he determines the candidate is worthy, the Mormon or couple must then repeat the whole interview process with someone from a higher level in the LDS Church (i.e., stake presidency). And if worthiness is determined, a “Temple recommend” card is issued. A “Temple recommend” has to be renewed annually, and, of course, renewal is predicated on tithing. Without the “Temple recommend” the Mormon cannot go into the Temple to take out his or her endowments, or be married and sealed. However, as seen, Jesus completely annihilates this false notion in Luke 18:10-14. There is simply no mention of a “Temple recommend” in Scripture.

3, The “Endowment,” what Mormons call a gift, is actually drama play that worthy Mormons have to watch in the Temple. At this play (now it is a video) they learn how Elohim (God the Father) instructed Jehovah (Jesus) and Michael the arch-angel (Adam) how to organized this world. In LDS theology God does not create He merely organizes or fashions the eternal matter and intelligences. Joseph Smith said that God “never had the power to create” (Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith, 354).

4, 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. This priesthood was excluded to all blacks until 1978 (see my article: Mormons and Black Skin) and is excluded from all females presently.

5, The verb “has” ( echei) is a present tense indicative that expresses continuous present action. When the person believes in Christ that person HAS continually and presently eternal life (cf. John 5:24; 6:47; 1 John 5:12).