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Mormonism and Eternal Truth

Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
(Henri-Frederic Amiel)

COMPARING MORMONISM WITH CHRISTIANITY

SCRIPTURE

Christians believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. It is their standard of truth and all their doctrines are biblical.

Mormons maintain that the Bible has been incorrectly translated and that large portions are missing. They have their own scriptures — the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Although they use the King James Version of the Bible, their own teachings take precedence over what the Bible says:

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

(LDS doctrines are based upon their law of eternal progression, which contradicts the basic teachings of the Bible c/f Mormonism’s Doctrine of Eternal Progression. However, they consistently use biblical terms, to which they have applied their own meanings. So unless you have a good understanding of both Mormonism and the Bible, you could quite easily gain the mistaken impression that their teachings are biblical.)

DEITY

Christians worship the God of the Bible (c/f John 4:24, Jeremiah 23:24, 1 Timothy 6:16). And they believe there always has been and always will be only one real, eternal and unchanging God (c/f Isaiah 43:10, 44:6, 46:9).

Mormons worship an exclusive God who is a product of eternal progression. At one stage in his progression he was an ordinary, fallen, mortal man who earned his own salvation and the right to be exalted to godhood. He presently has a body of flesh and bone, leads a married life and lives on a planet near Kolob. He has his own God who in turn was also once a man, and so on. According to their doctrine of eternal progression there are countless Gods in the universe.

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

The [Heavenly] Father is a glorified, perfected resurrected, exalted man who worked out his own salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same.” (LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, page 64

As he has a body of flesh and bone, the Mormon God can only be in one place at a time (c/f Journal of Discourses 6:345, The Articles of Faith, LDS Apostle James Talmage, page 39)

Their Jesus also differs radically from the Christ of the Bible. They maintain that He had the same origins as did mankind and that He was our full, biological brother in a prior existence. They defend their stance by insisting that scriptures that invalidate their version of who Christ is, have been incorrectly translated (c/f The Mormon Jesus and Understanding the Trinity).

Their teachings on the Holy Spirit also differ from the those of the Bible (c/f The LDS’s Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost).

MANKIND

Christians believe that Adam and Eve were literally created by God, as is taught in the book of Genesis. Prior to that they had not existed. Their descendants, i.e. the entire human race, came into existence (also for the first time) through procreation. Because of the fall we have inherited fallen, self-oriented natures. And we do not have the inherent ability to change our status quo. No matter how hard we try, sooner or later we sin in word, thought or deed.— hence our need for salvation from an external source.

Mormons maintain that all of mankind, as well as Christ, Lucifer (Satan), the angelic beings and the demons, were begotten in the normal physical manner by their God and His wives in a prior existence. In other words, we were all his literal offspring. In order to progress further, mankind took on human bodies by being born to earthly parents, in the same manner as their God had done before them. The difference between their God and ourselves depends solely upon how far we have progressed

“God and man are of the same race, differing only in their degree of advancement.” (Mormon Apostle, Dr. John Widtsoe [1872-1952], Gospel Through the Ages,; Milton R. Hunter, page 107)

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

“The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself …”(ibid, page 353.)

SALVATION

Mormonism has two different types of salvation, both of which are unbiblical. Their general or universal salvation, which they say is covered by Christ’s atonement on the cross, does not require a belief in Christ or in God. Nor does it need faith, repentance or works. But it only provides for universal resurrection. Their second type of salvation (individual or conditional salvation), requires earning the right to attain forgiveness of their own, personal sins through obedience to LDS laws and ordinances, participation in their rites and temple ceremonies, full payment of tithing and so on (c/f Different Types of Mormon Salvation).

On the other hand, Christian salvation is strictly as is taught by the Bible: by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, solely because of His substitutionary death on our behalf that paid the penalty for all our sins on the cross at Calvary And it includes the gift of eternal life (c/f 1 John 5:13 and What is Biblical Salvation?).

ETERNAL LIFE

The LDS’s idea of eternal life is also unbiblical. It includes exaltation to godhood (c/f Doctrine & Covenants 131:1-3; 132:19-20), and it consists of living the same type of life as they say their God does, i.e. reproducing offspring eternally. Only Mormons who are married for time and eternity in an LDS temple, and who attain the highest degree of glory in the LDS’s version of the afterlife, qualify for their type of eternal life (c/f The LDS Version of Eternal Life).

But these beliefs are neither Christian nor biblical. The Bible is a spiritual book about spiritual matters and it discusses life and death from a spiritual perspective. Spiritual death relates to separation from God (who is spirit c/f John 4:24), and the process of decay that leads to physical death sets in. Eternal death is eternal, permanent separation from God after judgment, which is known as hell..

Conversely eternal life is a new, spiritual dimension that begins the moment we put our faith in Christ for salvation from sin. John chapter 3 describes this as being born again, or being born of the Spirit (c/f The New Birth, Biblical and LDS Viewpoints.) Addressing the followers of the biblical Christ (who is not the same Christ in whom Mormons believe), the apostle John assures them:

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life …” (1 John 5:11-13, KJV)

CONCLUSION

Mormonism and Christianity are two completely different religions, embracing irreconcilable beliefs. The differences include a radically different, God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost, gospel, salvation and eternal life. Mormon doctrines bring deity down to the same level as man. Consequently, their religion is centered on man, his authority and abilities.

Christianity is centered on Christ, who was God manifest in flesh:

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh …” (1 Timothy 3:16, KJV)
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4, KJV)

The following links lead to articles that are relevant to what we have been discussing:

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Copyright © 2013 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.

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