Mormons Change Their Name

In a class at church one of the fellow parishioners mentioned this August 20th show by Albert Mohler where he discusses the official doctrinal change of the Mormon Church. MORMONISM RESEARCH MINISTRY (MRM) notes the difficulty in the change:

….The next morning’s edition of the Deseret News, a daily paper owned by this religious organization, made an interesting point in the front page article with the banner headline reading “A Seismic Shift from Salt Lake City.” It reads:

  • The announcement and style guide raised questions about the future of the names of famous church institutions like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, LDS Business College and the Mormon Channel…. What will happen to the names of mormon.org, LDS Charities, Mormon Messages, the “Meet the Mormons” movies or LDS Philanthropies? (August 17, 2018, A1).

The journalist reported that church leaders “declined to comment on specifics, pointing to its statement, which added, ‘In the coming months, Church websites and materials will be updated to reflect this direction from President Nelson.’”

As of August 29, 2018, the church’s two main websites (lds.org and mormon.org) as well as “mormonnewsroom.org” have not had their domains changed, an obvious contradiction to the edict. (One would have thought the leaders would have made these format changes before making the big announcement.) At this time, the choir’s name is the same as well as the college and TV channel. Apparently, though, changes will be coming soon. It seems strange that the church would mess with such a recognizable brand name (“Mormon”) that is obviously more familiar to outsiders than the church’s official title. (Can anyone imagine a prospective convert searching on the Internet for “missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” Obviously, not.) Could the leaders have made a terrible mistake similar to what the Coca-Cola leadership did in the mid-1980s when it created “New Coke” and abandoned the traditional formula? The similarities are very similar……

(MORMON RESEARCH MINISTRY)

How Many “First” Visions?

(Imported here 4/2014 [originally posted HERE 12/2007])

(above) Joseph Smith’s Handwritten Account of His Vision in His Diary

Ronald Said (an old debate many yearn ago):

“And about what Joseph Smith believed, he SAW the Father and Jesus Christ, at the same time. He saw that they had bodies like ours, except glorified….To say that Joseph Smith believed that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost were the same is laughable, at best.”

Well, I will quote again the latter part of your comment for clarity, “To say that Joseph Smith believed that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost were the same is laughable, at best.”, unfortunately you are laughing at the Book of Mormon. I added nothing to this book, or took anything out. So when you laugh, you’re laughing at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Secondly, the “vision” that defines for you who God (and his subsequent nature) is commonly referred to as the First Vision, is very important to LDS theology. And separates it from historical Christianity. The First Vision sets up the following, and thus Smith’s

  1. Prophetic authority,
  2. Teaching concerning the nature of God, and
  3. Condemnation of historical Christian beliefs is all dependent upon the credibility of this first vision account.

I would invite anyone who can examine evidence and delineate between what is truth and what is false [who were reading this real-time exchange… slightly edited for readability]. However, this invitation excludes Ronald because he already knows it to be true… how? Due to a feeling he received in his chest when he prayed over the book of Mormon. His only criterion is a sensation, which, if allowed or caused by a fallen angel, Ronald would have no recourse in testing this phenomenon.

Keep in mind that the Mormon Church believes in a form of tri-theism. In other words, the Father has a body of flesh and is a completely separate being than from Christ. Christ has his own body and was in fact born (by sexual union) by heavenly mother in heaven (the Planet Kolob) ~ [could you imagine Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard teaming up!?]. If Christ was not born, Heavenly Father would still be God, they are separate – corporeal – beings. And the Holy Ghost is a God as well, but has a spirit body, still quite discernible. I presume much like Casper the Friendly Ghost’s body. [For more info, see my 4 Trinity Posts on page 3]

The First Vision

Smith’s official account of this pivotal event was published in Times and Seasons in 1842, twenty-two years after the episode allegedly took place. This account is now published in the Pearle of Great Price, and is accepted as Scripture by Mormons. However, Mormon authorities suppressed at least three additional earlier accounts of the first vision, all by Smith, because they contradicted the “official” story. And the official first vision was not published until 1840.

For example, the earliest account we now posses, from 1832, varies in key details from the official 1842 version. There are discrepancies in Smith’s age, in the message given and the number of divine personages in the vision. There are also details added, such as the presence of an evil power, Smith’s reason for seeking the Lord, and the existence of a revival. All this lends serious doubt to the credibility of the official account.

Consider for instance, the divine persons in the revelation. In this version (1832) only “Jesus” appears. What happened to God the Father? The first handwritten account of Joseph Smith does not even mention the existence of the Father – who plays so crucial a role in the official version.

It is absolutely impossible for us to believe that Joseph Smith would not have mentioned the Father if he had actually appeared…. We feel that the only reasonable explanation for the Father not being mentioned in the account that was suppressed is that Joseph Smith did not see God the Father, and that he made up this part of the story after the writing of the first manuscript. This, of course, throws a shadow of doubt upon the whole story.

Consider yet another of Smith’s accounts written between 1835 and 1836. In this case there is no mention of God or Christ at all – only many spirits who “testified” of Jesus. But here again, the authority of the account – and of Mormonism’s “divine origin” – is called into question. No longer is it God and Jesus telling Joseph Smith to begin a new church because all the others are abominations; it is now only a group of nebulous “spirits.” why should anyone accept the word of a fifteen-year-old boy claimed he talked with some unidentified spirits? Even if he did, why should anyone trust such spirits in the first place? If my fifteen-year-old boy claimed he saw a vision of God or Jesus giving him divine authority, why should Mormons believe him?

So what do we have?

We now have three different handwritten manuscripts of the first vision. They are all written by Joseph Smith or his scribes and yet every one of them is different. The first vision account says there was only one personage. The second account says there were many, and the third says there were two.

The LDS Church accepts the one with two personages. If I were to accept one, it would be the first account. It was written six or seven years closer to the event. Also, this account, which mentions only one personage (Jesus), is the only account in Joseph Smith’s own handwriting (his diary).

In fact, as Fawn Brodie explains:

The description of the vision was first published by Orson Pratt in his Remarkable Visions in 1840, twenty years after it was supposed to have occurred. Between 1820 and 1840 Joseph’s friends were writing long panegyrics; his enemies were defaming him in an unceasing stream of affidavits and pamphlets, and Joseph himself was dictating several volumes of Bible-flavored prose. But no one in this long period even intimidated that he had heard the story of the two gods. At least, no such intimidation has survived in print or manuscript…. The first published Mormon history, begun with Joseph’s collaboration in 1834 by Oliver Cowdery, ignored it altogether… Joseph’s own description of the first vision was not published until 1842, twenty-two years after the memorable event….

If something happened that spring morning in 1820, it passed totally unnoticed in Joseph’s hometown, and apparently did not even fix itself in the minds of members of his own family. The awesome vision he described in later years may have been the elaboration of some half-remembered dream [keep in mind his first account in his diary] stimulated by the early revival excitement and reinforced by the rich folklore of visions circulating in his neighborhood. Or it may have been sheer invention, created some time after 1834 when the need arose for a magnificent tradition to cancel out the stories of his fortune-telling and money-digging.

So no one besides Joseph Smith in his diary even mentioned this vision for twenty years!? Unlike the resurrection report of Jesus, we have papyri dating to A.D. 55, Dead Sea scroll illusion dating to A.D. 49, and early creeds and catacomb writings dating to A.D. 44. These all describe the resurrection (as well as the belief that Jesus was God almighty). These are all based on earlier beliefs, so we can get the date even closer. But the point is this; such an event is well remembered and talked about. For the most important foundation for the origin of the Mormon Church to not even be mentioned in the throes of massive copying and writing seems to be the most serious objection to the vision being valid.

And, like I have shown, the Mormon Church has made sweeping changes to the Book of Mormon and Doctrines and Covenants, as well as other important Church writings. So it wouldn’t surprise me if they massively tampered with the official account of the first vision as well. This all shows that the foundation for the existence of the Mormon Church is called into question. But that’s okay Ronald, you can grasp onto that “burning in the bosom,” cause it’s all you got buddy.

“Undeniable” Occult Connections in the Mormon Faith

(Originally posted in April of 2014)

Pic above is linked to an in-depth review of the Temple symbols ~ FYI

This is a tough topic to deal with. Mainly because there are many who talk about the same topic who insert many wild-eyed conspiracy stories and points of view that include the New World Order, and many other historical reinterpretations that dilute both the goal and the veracity of the truth of the matter. However, there are many LDS respected, Mormon authors, that have come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith borrowed heavily from Freemasonry, which is really modern day Gnosticism (see #7 in my run-in with actor, Michael Berryman). One video presentation that includes a BYU Professor/Mormon, that speaks about this occultic connection found in Mormonism is the following video:

The Mormon author/professor who is mentioned in the above video, Dr. Quinn, wrote a book that caused a brow-or-two to raise within the Mormon church. His fellow compatriots that is. It is entitled Early Mormonism and the Magic World View. Here is a partial review of the book from MRM:

as far as books on the life of Smith are concerned, probably no volume has stirred more overall controversy than D. Michael Quinn’s 1987 first-edition book entitled Early Mormonism and the Magic World View [hereafter Early Mormonism]. (The only single volume that may have caused even more hand-wringing from LDS apologists is probably Brent Metcalfe’s book entitled New Approaches to the Book of Mormon. It caused such controversy that the reviewers at the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) dedicated an entire volume of their series entitled Review of Books on the Book of Mormon to criticize it.)

Quinn is a former professor at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University who was excommunicated in 1993 for apostasy based on his historical writings. Instead of trying to deny Joseph Smith’s penchant for occultic activities, Quinn—who says he “remains a DNA Mormon“—concluded that Smith’s background truly did involve divining rods, seer stones, a hat to shield his eyes in order to see hidden treasures, amulets, incantations, and rituals to summon spirits. Smith was a magician first class, Quinn believes, but he holds that Mormonism’s founder was also a man of God who used his magical tools to communicate with the Almighty God of this universe.

To say the book caused LDS leadership consternation is truly an understatement. The original volume, which used numerous “subjunctives, qualifiers, and qualified-qualifiers” such as “possibly,” “might,” and “apparently” due to the insistence of his editors who did not want Quinn to lose his church job, went out of print because “escalating publishing costs” made it so that they could not even reissue a paperback version for the 1987 hardcover price. Also, Quinn asked the publisher not to reprint the book until a revised version was ready. Thus, “by the 1990s otherwise-poor college students were paying $100 for a battered copy, while avid collectors shelled out $350 for a ‘mint-condition’ copy of (it)” (p. ix).

As he pointed out on pages ix-x, Quinn’s changes to the revised version were four-fold. One, he switched to endnotes rather than citing within the text, and he dropped a booming bibliography that he claims would have taken 80 pages to print. Second, he added new information. The third change was the addition of material extremely harsh towards his vocal critics—most of whom are LDS scholars—for the abuse he had taken in the previous 11 years. Finally, he wanted to take care of some errors and refine the text.

To read this book will require plenty of time and careful patience. Early Mormonism is not a book to be rushed through. After all, Quinn is famous for his copious endnotes. The book has 685 pages, and 257 of those pages—close to 40 percent of the book!—are endnotes

…read more…

I wish to temporarily step away from the occult connections and temple rites to look simply at the divergent theology of the two faiths, which are Christianity and Mormonism:

  • Jesus of Historic Christianity: Jesus is eternal, there never was a time when He did not exist.He is the creator of the time/space continuum which includes the entire known and unknown universe, all the planets and stars, energy, gravity, natural laws, and the like – all this places him as part of the Trinity.Because of His all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-presence nature, he is rightly called God Almighty.
  • Jesus of the Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses): Michael the Archangel is the first creative act of God, after that God creates everything else through Michael the Archangel.When Michael comes to earth he is known as Jesus Christ, but when back in heaven once again takes his place as Michael the Archangel.
  • Jesus of LDS (Mormons): Jesus was the first begotten son by Heavenly Father and Mother (one of many mothers, but presumably this one is the most important.Polygamy is practiced in the Mormon top-tear heaven), Lucifer was also born of a sexual act in heaven, so Jesus and Satan are literally brothers – as we are all brothers and sisters, albeit most likely half-brother or sister.During the judgment period Elohim, Jesus, and Joseph Smith will judge every Mormon and according to his works.(I say his, because in Mormon theology women are consecrated to a Mormon man, so her salvation depends on his good works.If he does not make it, in heaven she may become one of the many wives of a Mormon male that did make the cut, so-to-speak.) Again, Jesus had to become exalted Himself to also attain the best Heaven so he to can be a god of his own world.This godhood exaltation goes back to infinity in Mormon theology.So Heavenly Father was once a man on a planet much like our, and he too had to attain exultation, he had a father, that father had a father, and so on. (see video below)

As I point out in my chapter on Mormonism, the “god” Mormons worship is too small. Why? Because Jesus is understood to be part of the ETERNAL Holy Trinity, and thus, as God proper, created even the space-time-continuum. Why is this significant? I will explain from an old post that turned into my chapter:

I mentioned the contradistinction between LDS “creation” and historic Christian “creation” theology. I said in Mormon theology Heavenly Father didn’t create the first eye, or kidney, or coccyx and make sure that this information would continue on in the production of offspring with that information encoded in DNA and RNA.I stressed that in Mormon theology when Heavenly Father was born to his parents they had eyes already, because even his parents parents parents had the genetic code physically for eyes, thus passing on (not creating ex nihilo) genetic information from previous generations. The Mormon “God” didn’t create the eye, he merely performed a sexual act which continued his lineage. The historic Christian belief is that God not only created the first eye, liver, toe, and the like, but even spoke time into being as well as the environment and all the genetic machines to make sure this newly developed/created code would continue.

I then brought up something else that crossed my mind a few months back in a discussion on this blog about almost the same issue (really, a debate of sorts… the person finding my blog via comments I left at the Washington Times blog), and that is that matter and gods predated the Heavenly Father of this world. I asked them why they think that whenever an atheist debates the issue of God they never debate against the Mormon concept of God? The newbie was quick (“ooops” number two) to say he didn’t know, I then said, I will tell you. “It is because he would be arguing against himself.”

This time I got an inquisitive look from both of them. “Let me explain why this is,” and so I continued.I mentioned that when a person is born here on earth matter (atoms, quarks, dirt, water, air, etc) doesn’t begin to exist at the same time they are conceived, matter, in fact predated them. The earth, the stars, and the like were here long before the hypothetical 45-year old atheist.Not only that, but natural laws such as the law of gravity, the laws of motion – right then the new guy chimes in with a law (for the life of me I cannot remember what it was, but at this point he is helping me make my case…Classic!) – were also before this person being born and so, this person is subject to them. In the same way when Heavenly Father was birthed in his heaven first by his “Godley” parents he was born into an environment that worked with laws in place, even granting he was born with a spiritual body. I granted that in this heaven the laws may be a bit different — hypothetically speaking — but that laws had to be in place nonetheless, even genetic parameters (DNA, amino acids, etc) were in place and that this God was subject to them, much like the “gods” of Grecian lore, even being controlled by wild emotions.

Heavenly Father
Born into an environment that imposes forces on him that are both older than him and because of their (these laws) imposing forces on him (gravity, causality, entropy, etc) while he has to live in a body that can only take up that space where he is, is, well, more powerful than he.

Atheist
Born into an environment that imposes forces on him that are both older than him and because of their (these laws) imposing on him (gravity, causality, entropy, etc) while he has to live in a body that can only take up that space where he is, is, well, more powerful than he.

Again I pointed out that in classical Judeo-Christian theistic thinking, God created even the laws of the weak and strong nuclear force and the like.Material, energy, even time was brought into existence at some point by my God.I then mentioned that “I was going to use a phrase by someone smarter than I and say that ‘there God is too small’.” At that point the seasoned young man chimed in and said that the church doesn’t teach officially that Heavenly Father was born to parents like us. At which point I got up, walked over to my bookshelf and pulled my copy of “Achieving Celestial Marriage (Student Manual)” off the shelf and brought it over to where I was seated and sat. I turned it over to the back cover and asked them who published the book I was holding. They of course did not what this book was, all they know knew was upon looking at the familiar “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” emblem that the book was published by their church – officially. The sinking feeling was tangible.

I turned it over to reveal that this was a manual for couples to read prior to being married in the Temple, an official student manual to be exact. I opened up to page 129 and read the second emboldened title down the page aloud, “GOD WAS ONCE A MORTAL MAN” (capitals in the original), and then I read the next line underneath that that reads as follows, “He Lived on an Earth like Our Own.” The seasoned guy squirmed, the new guy almost right then went to his testimony, where I cut him off quite forcibly by saying I have a testimony of my own, and I gave what I could remember of my paragraph response when they give their testimony:

  • I too have a testimony… I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Christ and Savior of the world… that He died for my sins and was resurrected. I know that I am saved by grace and not by works and will inherit heaven upon that principle. I also know that God hears and answers prayer. I know all this not only by the feeling I have from the inner witness of the Holy Ghost but by the reliability of God’s Word, the Bible, which declares it to be so. And, I also know that because of my relationship with Christ, Jesus has changed my life and continues to bless me!

thus, beating him to the punch not allowing him to close the discussion (one) and two not letting him feel secure in this all too often used psychology of shabby belief.

Do you understand? One would be better off worshiping information (as found in DNA: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine) rather than “heavenly father.” Information, so-to-speak, is more powerful than the Mormon god. Hell, gravity is as well. Two completely different Gods — the Christian vs. LDS.

Again, to be clear, Mormons are not a Christian sect in the same vein as say, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Evangelical, or the like. Many LDS say they are Christians, but here is a simple example to show that they are waaay off following their conclusions to logical ends.

Imagine if you will, myself walking into a Mormon stake (church) and proclaiming myself a Mormon. To which, when asked/quizzed, I elucidate:

I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe that God was once a man or that men can become gods.
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe the Mormon Church is the only true church or that we need human prophets to guide the church.
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe the Book of Mormon is the Word of God.
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe temples are necessary or that couples can be married for eternity.

A knowledgeable Latter-day Saint would defy that such a person was, in fact, a true Mormon. why? Because this person who claims to be Mormon denies the very doctrines that make Mormons what they are. At the same time, however, a Mormon who claims to be Christian denies the very doctrines that make Christians what they are.

Indeed, Mormonism denies or distorts the basic tenants of Biblical Christianity. The two religions are incompatible. The areas of difference include the doctrine of God, the basis for authority, and the idea of salvation for mankind.

Enough said to make it clear we are talking about two separate — completely separate — faiths, we can wade back into the occult aspect of the LDS faith.

A hidden camera was brought into a temple ceremony that collaborates well the following video presentation showing the pre-1990 ceremony (which was replaced heavily with video presentations versus actors). The LDS church’s theology and ceremonies are always in flux, even the “historical” First Vision has been changed many times over.

The hidden camera footage (found here) is interesting because near the end the slits in the fabric wall are explained, and as we shall see in yet another video, these tie into the “magic Mormon underwear.” But first, the classic presentation of some of the temple ceremonies:

Here are a few of the similarities listed between Masonic and LDS temple ceremonies which cause HONEST Mormons to agree with historical evidences of Joseph Smiths involvement with Freemasonry, as well as well as aesthetic comparisons:

1) Masonic Preparation Room
The candidate is ushered into the preparation room where he meets the Junior Deacon and Stewards who divest him of all his clothing except his shirt. He is then handed an old pair of drawers, which he puts on.

Mormon Dressing Room
The initiate is divested of all his clothing, and then directed to the washing and anointing dressing rooms where he eventually puts on a special pair of under garments.

2) Masonic Compass
The candidate then enters, the Senior Deacon at the same time pressing his naked left breast with the point of the compass.

Mormon Compass
The point of the compass is sewn into the left [breast] of the garment.

3) Masonic Square
As the candidate enters, the angle of the square is pressed hard against his naked right breast.

Mormon Square
The square is sewn into the right side of the garment.

4) Masons Washing Ceremony
Master orders the basin of the perfumed water and a clean napkin to be brought to him, and directs candidate to wash his hands, which he does…Master takes a box of perfumed ointment and anoints candidate on his head, eyes, mouth, heart, the tip of his right ear, hand, foot, and says – “You are now, my dear brother, received a member of our society.”

Mormon Washing Ceremony
The initiate is washed, and various organs of his body (head, lips, breast, ears, hand and feet, etc.) are anointed with holy consecrated oil.

5) Masons Presenting New Name To Candidate
“I also present you with a new name; it is CAUTION”

Mormon Temple Worker Presents New Name To Candidate
” I give you a new name which you should always remember, and which you must keep sacred, and never reveal … The name is ____.”

6) Man Representing Adam In Masonic Ceremony
Thrice Puissant Grand Master, representing Father Adam, is stationed in the east. (This occurs in the Knight of the Sun Degree.)

Man Representing Adam In Mormon Ceremony
Elohim — (Turning to the audience) – “This man who is now being operated upon is Michael who helped form the world. When he awakes … he will be known as Adam”

7) Man Representing Deity In Masonic Ceremony
One of the members now personates the Deity, behind the bush, and calls out “Moses! Moses!” (This occurs in the Royal Arch Degree.)

Man Representing God In Mormon Ceremony
A temple worker dressed in white clothing, representing Elohim, comes from behind the curtain.

8) Masons Use A Mallet
He gives a rap with the common gavel or mallet.

Mormons Use A Mallet
One of the temple workers, … gives three raps with a mallet.

Masonic entered apprentice vs. First token of the Aaronic Priesthood

9) Masonic Penalty Sign
Made from the due-guard by dropping the left hand carelessly; at the same time raise the right arm and draw the hand, still open, across the throat, thumb next [to] the throat, and drop the hand perpendicular by the side.

Mormon Penalty Sign
“The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the left ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side.”

10) Masonic Grip
The right hands are joined together as in shaking hands and each sticks his thumb nail into the third joint or upper end of the fore finger.

Mormon Grip
The token is giving by clasping the right hands and placing the joint of the thumb directly over the first knuckle of the hand.

…many more similarities…

Of course, even after all the above, many Mormons will brush aside dealing with these challenging presentations to their theology. And thus reject truth for religious ideology. Faith is even viewed differently in LDS theology than it is in Christianity:

Certain words can mean very different things to different people. For instance, if I say to an atheist, “I have faith in God,” the atheist assumes I mean that my belief in God has nothing to do with evidence. But this isn’t what I mean by faith at all. When I say that I have faith in God, I mean that I place my trust in God based on what I know about him.

William A. Dembski and Michael R. Licona, Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 38. (emphasis added)

I know God is unchangeable (Hebrews 13:8), cannot tell lies (Hebrews 6:18-19), again, does not lie…

Isaiah 43:10-13; 44:6, 24; 45:5-6, 18-19; 46:9-10

(10) “You are My witnesses” — this is the LORD’s declaration — “and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. No god was formed before Me, and there will be none after Me. (11) I, I am Yahweh, and there is no other Savior but Me. (12) I alone declared, saved, and proclaimed — and not some foreign god among you. So you are My witnesses”— this is the LORD’s declaration— “and I am God. (13) Also, from today on I am He alone, and none can deliver from My hand. I act, and who can reverse it?”

[….]

(6) This is what the Lord, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, says: I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but Me.

[….]

(24) This is what the LORD, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says: I am Yahweh, who made everything; who stretched out the heavens by Myself; who alone spread out the earth;

[….]

(5) I am Yahweh, and there is no other; there is no God but Me. I will strengthen you, though you do not know Me, (6) so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is no one but Me. I am Yahweh, and there is no other.

[….]

(18) For this is what the LORD says — God is the Creator of the heavens. He formed the earth and made it. He established it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited — “I am Yahweh, and there is no other. (19)I have not spoken in secret, somewhere in a land of darkness. I did not say to the descendants of Jacob: Seek Me in a wasteland. I, Yahweh, speak truthfully;…

[….]

(9) Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like Me. (10) I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.

Within Mormonism — if you were diligent to follow the above conversation — there is an endless line of gods, many, many gods in fact…. into infinity; that would negate truth being told us from either Elohim or Yahweh. To wit…

I don’t want to get into the further division of “Elohim” and Yayweh” speaking in these texts. While I have dealt with it well, I would suggest for [my] time’s sake, going to CARM’s article entitled, “Jehovah is Elohim.” Needless to say a further complication in LDS theology working out coherently — towards truth — considering it’s own internal suppositions.

I will end with this presentation that is a good — humorously of course… but with an air of warning — connecting the Temple ceremony with the vaunted magic Mormon underwear, is this presentation by John Safran, entitled, “John Safran vs God – Masonic Mormon Underwear Exposed (pardon the pun..)” Here it is, enjoy:

An LDS Workbook for “Celestial Marriage” Explaining gods Attributes

(Originally posted in April of 2014)

This post is intimately tied to my chapter in my book on the Mormon concept thusly the attributes assigned to “god.” It is from a seminary level book all seminary level LDS have to read. Right click and choose “open link in new tab” in order to see it larger. The first three smaller scans are the publishing date and rear/front covers. I also cataloged these as part of my “Conversation Series” because the link to my chapter is partly from an actual conversation I had with two LDS missionaries. (I will also be importing and beefing up my “Mormon” tag.)

The larger pages (below) are the meat of the issue dealt with and specifically referenced (and thus explained) in my chapter in my book, linked directly below. I was just reading veraciously on this topic then and was fine-tunes to respond, so, enjoy the read if you link to my chapter on it:

CLICK TO ENLARGE IN NEW WINDOW

Mormon Glossary (Words Have Meaning)

In any discussion with a Mormon, the following redefinition of biblical/ Christian terms must be kept in mind. Although Mormons themselves may be ignorant of some of the definitions cited below, they represent true Mormon teaching as proven by an evaluation of standard Mormon theo­logical works. (Mainly from John Ankerberg’s and John Weldon’s book, Cult Watch: What You Need To Know About Spiritual Deception)

FIRST, here is a good site where an easy online access to a glossary is found at TRUTH IN LOVE (you may have to sign up [free] to access it), via an adult study at church. Enjoy the below.

  • Christianity: sectarianism; a false and damnable apostate religion.
  • God: “Elohim”; one of innumerable self-progressing bodily deities; for­merly a man, a finite creature. In early Mormon theology, Adam (of the Garden of Eden) was considered by many Mormons as the true earth deity.
  • Jesus Christ: a self-progressing deity (“Jehovah” of the Old Testament) and the first spirit child of “Elohim” and his wife.
  • Holy Ghost: a man with a spiritual body of matter.
  • Trinity: tritheistic; coordinated under general Mormon polytheism; thus the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are separate deities.
  • The Gospel: Mormon theology.
  • Born-again: water baptism into Mormonism.
  • Immortality: Mormon salvation by grace (limited to the universal resurrec­tion of all men).
  • Atonement: the provision God has supplied for an individual to earn their true salvation “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith, 3).
  • True salvationleternal life/redemption: Exaltation to Godhood in the highest part of the celestial kingdom based upon individual good works and personal merit; exaltation incorporates ruling a new world and sexual procreation in order to produce spirit children who will eventually be embodied and inhabit that world, each then having the opportunity to be exalted.
  • The Fall: a spiritual step upward; a blessing permitting the production of physical bodies for preexistent spirits to inhabit and thus have the possibility of attaining their own “exaltation” or Godhood.
  • Death: generally a step upward; death represents the possibility of a form of salvation (if not exaltation) for those who have never heard of Mormon­ism.
  • Heaven: three “kingdoms of glory” comprising various spiritual grada­tions.
  • Hell: generally purgatorial; possibly eternal for a very few (primarily apostate Mormons).
  • Virgin birth: the birth of Christ through a physical sex act between God the Father (the Mormon earth god “Elohim”) and Mary (hence, not a virgin birth).
  • Man: a preexistent spirit with the potential to earn Godhood by obedience to Mormon dictates.
  • Creation: the reorganization of eternal matter.
  • The Scriptures: the Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; The Pearl of Great Price; and the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith, 8).
  • The Bible: an erring and often unreliable inspired record, properly inter­preted only by Mormons and only in light of Mormon theology.

Compared


MORMONISM

CHRISTIANITY

BIBLE

  • Unreliable
  • Incomplete as it is
  • Adds new revelations to God’s Word
  • Unbiblical theological presupposisitions utilized in interpretation

BIBLE

  • Reliable
  • Complete as it is
  • Rejects new revelations
  • Accepted historical, grammatical prin­ciples utilized in interpretation

GOD

  • Tritheism/polytheistic – Many (polytheistic) Evolving (changing) Material (physical/sexual)
  • Physical (evolved man)/Finite
  • Morally questionable/imperfect (requiring salvation)
  • Organizer of eternal matter
  • Sexual polygamist

GOD

  • Trinity/monotheistic – One (monotheistic) Immutable (unchanging) Immaterial (spirit) Nonsexual
  • Spirit
  • Infinite
  • Eternally Holy
  • Creator of matter from nothing
  • Nonsexual/Celibate

JESUS

  • A god
  • Created (by sexual act)
  • Earned salvation (exaltation to Godhood)
  • Not virgin born
  • Polygamist (married)

JESUS

  • Uncreated God
  • Eternal
  • As eternal God neither salvation nor exaltation was required
  • Virgin born
  • Unmarried

SALVATION

  • By works
  • Denies biblical atonement
  • Possible after death

SALVATION

  • By grace
  • Affirms atonement
  • Impossible after death

DEATH

  • “Purgatorial”
  • three celestial king­doms
  • almost universalistic

DEATH

  • Eternal heaven or hell
  • no purga­tory
  • not universalistic

This is a common comparison I have used over the years:

Jesus of Historic Christianity: Jesus is eternal, there never was a time when He did not exist.  He is the creator of the time/space continuum which includes the entire known and unknown universe, all the planets and stars, energy, gravity, natural laws, and the like – all this places him as part of the Trinity.  Because of His all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-presence nature, he is rightly called God Almighty.

Jesus of the Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses): Michael the Archangel is the first creative act of God, after that God creates everything else through Michael the Archangel.  When Michael comes to earth he is known as Jesus Christ, but when back in heaven once again takes his place as Michael the Archangel.

Jesus of LDS (Mormons): Jesus was the first begotten son by Heavenly Father and Mother (one of many mothers, but presumably this one is the most important.  Polygamy is practiced in the Mormon top-tear heaven), Lucifer was also born of a sexual act in heaven, so Jesus and Satan are literally brothers – as we are all brothers and sisters, albeit most likely half-brother or sister.  During the judgment period Elohim, Jesus, and Joseph Smith will judge every Mormon and according to his works.  (I say his, because in Mormon theology women are consecrated to a Mormon man, so her salvation depends on his good works.  If he does not make it, in heaven she may become one of the many wives of a Mormon male that did make the cut, so-to-speak.)  Again, Jesus had to become exalted Himself to also attain the best Heaven so he to can be a god of his own world.  This godhood exaltation goes back to infinity in Mormon theology.  So Heavenly Father was once a man on a planet much like our, and he too had to attain exultation, he had a father, that father had a father, and so on.

You can see some of this “fleshed out” in my routine I typically follw with Mormon Missionaries that come to my door — as outlined somewhat in my chapter on Mormonism:

Infinitely Finite – Mormon … by on Scribd

Witnessing to Mormons

BTW, if you can, memorize the following, and after they give you their testimony, you can give them yours:

I too have a testimony… I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Christ and Savior of the world… that He died for my sins and was resurrected. I know that I am saved by grace and not by works and will inherit heaven upon that principle. I also know that God hears and answers prayer. I know all this not only by the feeling I have from the inner witness of the Holy Ghost but by the reliability of God’s Word, the Bible, which declares it to be so. And, I also know that because of my relationship with Christ, Jesus has changed my life and continues to bless me!

This is the actual footage of an witnessing encounter outside of the Mormon Temple in Mesa, Arizona. If you see one encounter between a Christian and a Mormon we hope it is this. This is took place during Apologia Church’s evangelism outside of the Mormon Easter Pageant. We believe that this footage shows that Mormons and Christians can and should break down the walls between their communities in an effort to talk about the Word of God. Truth matters. Mormons and Christians can in fact have gracious and loving arguments about the truth. This video demonstrates that. For more, go to http://apologiastudios.com.

This is, without question, one of the most heartwarming and powerful conversations we have had outside of the Mormon temple in Mesa, Arizona. This young man has been watching our videos and read our tract. He came to the temple to seek our Jeff to have a conversation. He was struggling with some important questions and some contradictions within Mormonism. This is the actual footage of what took place. If you’ve ever shared a video from Apologia, if you have any Mormon loved ones, or if you care about reaching Mormons with the Biblical Gospel, then, please consider joining us in sharing this footage. We believe it has the potential to help many, many Mormons and Christians. Get more content at http://apologiastudios.com. You can join us in ministry by signing up for All Access. When you do you’ll get access to every radio show, every TV show, every After Show, and Apologia Academy (where you can learn to witness to Mormons yourself). But more importantly, you’ll partner with us in ministry and help to make more content to reach the world with the Gospel.

The above man changed his heart and accepted Christ! I will post the description BELOW the video:

This is a very special video. It’s an actual recording of a conversation between Jeff Durbin and someone who was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was also a Mormon missionary. He made contact with us because of our online apologetics content (Thank you to our All Access partners for making that content possible). He has spent a lot of time struggling through issues related to his Mormon faith and he even showed up at the Mormon Easter Pageant to have a conversation with Jeff…

….ABOVE

…Yesterday, he came into our studio and sat down with Jeff to ask a series of questions that both he and Jeff hope will be helpful to Christians and Mormons. We believe that this content can truly bless people and we would be so honored if you joined us in sharing it. Please pray for him and for the large segment of Mormons who are struggling with their faith. 

God and Christopher Hitchens (Daniel C. Peterson)

Daniel C. Peterson discusses Christopher Hitchens’ book, “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”…  KEEP IN MIND, this is a Mormon apologist defending in parts Mormonism — However, Dr. Peterson spells out some grand church history and other common defenses of the faith. AS WELL AS the low threshold of scholarly aptitude in Hitchens work.

Why We Left Mormonism

  • “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take the veil away” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).[1]

Lynn Wilder and Corey Miller are among 4 scholars who tell their story of leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the new book “Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Mind.” They engage with Mormon believer James Holt as they discuss Jesus, Joseph Smith, polygamy, testimony, the Book of Mormon and more. For more on this program, see HERE.

One can also read my chapter on Mormonism, “Infinitely Finite – Mormon Materialism: Are Mormons Really Dialectical Materialists?

[1] James A. Beverly, Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions: A Comprehensive Introduction to the Religions of the World (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009), 368. 

Soviet and Mormon Worldviews Closely Related

This is an old conversation from many years ago with a Mormon woman who read some of my chapter in my book. This is merely a cut-n-paste (with some slight edits for ease of reading) I kept from the forum.

My moniker is the “gears,” Johnna (the Mormon) is the “person.” And LDS, Latter Day Saints… are synonyms for Mormons.

Enjoy.

Johnna,

Hope your busy week was productive.  I am coming up to crunch time myself here soon with this round of classes.

Johnna said:

I do admit there are fellow saints who look at it this way.  My husband is one of them.

I wish here to applaud Johnna, she is at least admitting that many “Saints” view Heavenly Father’s nature this way.

  • Thank you Johnna for being honest. 

For the reader to continue they must understand what Johnna just did. Often times when Mormon Elders come to your door they will shy away from this because you are not initiated into the Latter Day Saint Church. And so, I will define the LDS “god” so the conversation is fully understood. I will pull some from my chapter, but first start out with a layman’s understanding of the Mormon “god,” and then get into the weeds a bit.


Defining the LDS “god”


  • Jesus of LDS (Mormons): Jesus was the first begotten son by Heavenly Father and Mother (one of many mothers, but presumably this one is the most important.  Polygamy is practiced in the Mormon top-tear heaven), Lucifer was also born of a sexual act in heaven, so Jesus and Satan are literally brothers – as we are all brothers and sisters, albeit most likely half-brother or sister.  During the judgment period Elohim, Jesus, and Joseph Smith will judge every Mormon and according to his works.  (I say his, because in Mormon theology women are consecrated to a Mormon man, so her salvation depends on his good works.  If he does not make it, in heaven she may become one of the many wives of a Mormon male that did make the cut, so-to-speak.)  Again, Jesus had to become exalted Himself to also attain the best Heaven so he to can be a god of his own world.  This godhood exaltation goes back to infinity in Mormon theology.  So Heavenly Father was once a man on a planet much like our, and he too had to attain exultation, he had a father, that father had a father, and so on. (Me)

Okay, here are some excerpts from my chapter further defining “god” by LDS leaders and Christian Apologists defining “god” more… first up is a seminary level Textbook for Mormon’s entering marriage via the Temple[1]:

“By definition, exaltation includes the ability to procreate the family unit throughout eternity. This our Father in heaven has power to do. His marriage partner is our mother in heaven. We are their spirit children, born to them in the bonds of celestial marriage.”

[….]

  • GOD WAS ONCE A MORTAL MAN
    • (1-2) He Lived on an Earth like Our Own
    • (1-3) He Experienced Conditions Similar to Our Own and Advanced Step by Step
  • GOD IS NOW AN EXALTED MAN WITH POWERS OF ETERNAL INCREASE
    • (1-4) Our Father in Heaven Lives in an Exalted Marriage Relationship
    • (1-5) We Are Literal Children of God, Part of His Family Unit

In other words, one with an elementary idea of the Judeo-Christian God can start to see a line of separation between the Christian God and the LDS “god.” Continuing with another LDS source:

The Father and The Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by The First Presidency and The Twelve — The scriptures plainly and repeatedly affirm that God is the Creator of the earth and the heavens and all things that in them are. In the sense so expressed, the Creator is an Organizer. God created the earth as an organized sphere; but He certainly did not create, in the sense of bringing into primal existence, the ultimate elements of the materials of which the earth consists, for “the elements are eternal” (D. & C. 93:33) [2]

A friend comments on the issue:

The Latter-day Saint god lacks eternal omniscience, aseity, supremacy, sovereignty, and omnipotence…. The god of Mormonism does not need to exist for the intelligibility of human experience. He cannot supply the transcendental conditions that are needed for the laws of logic, love, and morality. Van Til contended that “the general precedes the particular” in our reality. This implies that the particular exalted man of Mormon theology cannot supply the general and universal realities that must be, for the necessary and unavoidable transcendental conditions listed above. A restricted and fixed exalted man cannot be the indispensable foundation for the unity of experience and knowledge.[3]

Richard Abanes points out some of these ideas in his exhaustive history of the Mormon Church:

…there is a “limitless” amount of cosmic spirit matter known as “intelligence,” out of which Elohim and Heavenly Mother made countless spirit babies via celestial sex.  Their ethereal unions somehow siphoned off portions of that great ocean of cosmic “intelligence” and clothed each of these portions with a spirit body. The resulting offspring not only bore their image, but had resident within them the potential for godhood, an attribute of Heavenly Father and Mother…. Countless souls, say LDS leaders, have already attained godhood. Orson Pratt theorized: “If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds.”i Brigham Young, much less willing to calculate the number of gods, admitted: “How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods.”ii These teachings inspired the popular Mormons couplet: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”iii [4]

To make this point further, Francis Beckwith mentions that “[s]ince [g]od the Father of Mormonism was himself organized (or spirit-birthed) by his [g]od, who himself is the offspring of yet another [g]od, and so on ad infinitum, Mormon theology therefore implies that the [g]od over this world is a contingent being[5] in an infinite lineage of gods.”[6]  Concurring, Mormon theologian B. H. Roberts, a member of the First Council of Seventy, writes:

Not even God may place himself beyond the boundary of space: nor on the outside of duration. Nor is it conceivable to human thought he can create space, or annihilate matter. These are things that limit even God’s omnipotence. What then, is meant by the ascription of the attribute of Omnipotence to God? Simply that all that may or can be done by power conditioned by other eternal existences—duration, space, matter, truth, justice—God can do. But even he may not act out of harmony with the other eternal existences which condition or limit him.[7]

This is very important, because it makes the god Mormons here on this world worship contingent on other beings and parameters for his being and godhood, which has deep ethical consequences:

Hence, when a Mormon says that god is omnipresent he is asserting that god’s influence, power, and knowledge is all-pervasive, but that the focal point of God’s being (that is, his body) exists at a particular place in time and space. Because the Mormons do not believe that the universe is contingent upon God to sustain its continued existence,[8] there is no need for the Mormons to defend the classical view of omnipresence…. Since God Himself came into being as God (although he existed in some state eternally), He cannot be the source and sanction of values. He Himself obeys laws and affirmed values for whose existence he is not responsible.[9]


Footnotes


[1] Achieving Celestial Marriage (Salt Lake City, UT: Church Educational System Department of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, 1998), 129.  I will attach this entire page in the appendix.

[2] James E. Talmage, A Study of the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1959) 465-466. (Emphasis added.)

[3] Mike Robinson, Presuppositional Apologetics Examines Mormonism: How Van Til’s Apologetic Refutes Mormon Theology (Denver, CO: Outskirts Press, 2007), 71-72.

[4] Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church (New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002), 285, 286-287.

i Orson Pratt, February 18, 1855, Journal of Discourses (Liverpool, F.D. Richards, 1855; lithographed reprint of original edition, 1966), vol. 2, 345. In The Seer, Pratt wrote: “We were begotten by our Father in Heaven; the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again He was begotten by a still more ancient Father, and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient, until our minds are wearied and lost in the multiplicity of generations and successive worlds, and as a last resort, we wonder in our minds, how far back the genealogy extends, and how the first world was formed, and the first Father was begotten” (Orson Pratt, “The Pre-Existence of Man,” The Seer, September 1853, vol. 1, no. 9, 132; cf. Orson Pratt, “The Pre-Existence of Man,” The Seer, February, 1853, vol. I, no. 2, 23-24).

ii Brigham Young, October 8, 1859, Journal of Discourses (Liverpool: Amass Lyman, 1860; lithographed reprint of original edition, 1966), vol. 7, 333.

iii Lorenzo Snow, MS, vol. 54, 404. Quoted in Hunter, 105-106.

[5] Concept of contingent being:

Contingent beings have their explanation or sufficient reason in something other than themselves. A contingent being is anything that depends on something else for its existence.

Ronald H. Nash, Faith & Reason: Searching for a Rational Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988), 127.

[6] Francis J. Beckwith, Carl Mosser, and Paul Owen, gen.ed. The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 224.

[7] B.H. Roberts, Seventy’s Course in Theology: Third and Fourth Year (Salt Lake City, UT: Caxton Press, 1910), 4:70; quoted in The New Mormon Challenge, 225;

[B.H. Roberts] added that “even [God] may not act out of harmony with the other external existences [such as duration, space, matter, truth, justice] which condition or limit him. “ Mormon theologian John Widtsoe maintains that belief in creation out of nothing does nothing but cause confusion: “Much inconsistency of thought has come from the notion that things may be derived from an immaterial state, that is, from nothingness.”  In addition to this assertion, Widtsoe asserts that God cannot create matter [out of nothing] nor can he destroy it: “God, possessing the supreme intelligence of the universe, can cause energy in accomplishing his ends, but create it, or destroy it, he cannot.”  The sum of matter and energy, whatever their form, always remains the same.

The New Mormon Challenge, 104, [see fn#6].

[8] The Bible has a different view on this, matter, let’s read from Colossians 1:16-17, first from the NASB, then from the Message Bible:

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995);

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

Eugene H Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002).

[9] Francis J. Beckwith and Stephen E. Parrish, The Mormon Concept of God: A Philosophical Analysis (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991), 43, 44. (Emphasis added.)

I don’t know if this clears up the defining aspect of the LDS “god,” but this is what Johnna is referencing as believing. Publicly! Not trying to obfuscate their understanding to a non-Mormon.


Continuing w/Convo


I may add here that she also admits that her husband thinks this way as well, she didn’t need to share this private nugget with us, but she chose to, thanks again.  Remember (speaking to the reader), it really doesn’t matter what Johnna thinks on the matter, her “goddess-hood” (i.e., salvation to the highest LDS heaven — or — she will be sealed to another LDS man/god she has never met) isn’t based at all on her thoughts on the matter. It is based entirely upon what her husband believes.  That’s the bottom line.

Johnna said:

I do believe that God (the Father, and the Son) are co-eternal with matter. Actually, I believe in some sense, as a child of God, I am co-eternal with matter, and so are you.

So the question is this then, based on what you said Johnna… how did the first “god” appear? The Judeo-Christian (theistic) God does not encounter this problem: “all that began to exist has cause.” YHWH (God) did not “begin” to exist, so He could’t have been created. However, these infinite regress of gods in LDS theology all had a cause. What kicked off the original “cause.” As an aside, we know an actual infinite regress of historical events is impossible. We know this from an ancient philosopher’s paradox of motion, Zeno. 

We would never reach an end of these historical events. In other words, you would not be “here” right now conversing about this matter. To extend my thinking on the possibility of these “gods” really evolving from this more base “eternal matter” are these quotes by Marxists philosophers showing Mormonism has more in common with atheistic dialectical materialism:

  • “…. ‘The electron is as inexhaustible as the atom, nature is infinite….’ Any form of matter possesses a complex structure and an infinite variety of internal and external connections and properties.”

~ V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 14, 262.  Found in Marxist-Leninist theory: The Fundamentals of Marxist-Leninist Philosophy (trans. from the Russian by Robert Daglish; Moscow, U.S.S.R: Progress Publishers, 1974), 76.

  • “And again: ‘The indestructibility of the atom, its inexhaustibility, the mutability of all forms of matter and of its motion, have always been the stronghold of dialectical materialism.’  Proceeding from the scientific facts of the structural heterogeneity and the inexhaustibility of matter, the diversity of the laws of motion, Lenin formulated a generalized [original spelling] philosophical concept of matter.”

~ Ibid, 280-81. Found in, Ibid, 74-75.

  • “Time is an objectively real form of the existence of matter in motion.”  [In other words, if matter is eternal, and the atoms motion is eternal, these need places to move and exist, ergo, time is eternal as well.]  “It characterizes the sequence of the occurrence of material processes, the separateness of the various stages of these processes, their duration and their development. ‘There is nothing in the world but matter in motion,’ Lenin wrote, ‘and matter in motion cannot move otherwise than in space and time’.”

~ Ibid., 175.  Found in, Ibid, 85-86.

  • “The Marxist-Leninist doctrine of the infinitude of the universe is the fundamental axiom at the basis of Soviet cosmology.” …. it is the first concern of Soviet scientists to refute the conclusions of an unavoidable ‘heat death’, which is often drawn from the second law of thermodynamics.  Since, according to this law, energy that has been transformed into heat cannot again be turned back entirely into higher forms of energy, our universe must be tending towards a state of affairs in which all higher forms of energy have been changed into heat and the latter in turn has been equally distributed throughout the entire universe, with the result that all macrophysical processes would have come to a standstill.”

~ Gustav A. Wetter, Dialectical Materialism: A Historical and Systematic Survey of the Philosophy in the Soviet Union (trans. from the German by Peter Heath; New York, NY: Frederick A. Prager, 1958), 436.

  • “Rozental’ and Yudin’s Short Philosophical Dictionary gives the following definition of ‘substance’: ‘….  For Marxist philosophical materialism, substance, i.e., essence, the ground of all things, consists in self-moving and eternally developing matter.”

~ Ibid., 292.

  • “The concept of space and time.  All material bodies have a certain extension: length, breadth, height.  They are variously placed in relation to each other and constitute parts of one or another system.  Space is a form of coordination of coexisting objects and states of matter.  It consists in the fact that objects are extraposed to one another (alongside, beside, beneath, above, within, behind, in front, etc.) and have certain quantitative relationships.  The order of coexistence of these objects and their states forms the structure of space…. Space and time are universal forms of the existence of matter, the coordination of objects.  The universality of these forms lies in the fact that they are forms of existence of all the objects and processes that have ever existed or will exist in the infinite universe.”

~ Alexander Spirkin, Dialectical Materialism (trans. from the Russian by Robert Daglish; Moscow, U.S.S.R: Progress Publishers, 1983), 77-78.

  • “To sum up, all objects and processes in the world are finite.  But the totality of finite things and processes is infinite.  The universe had no beginning, has no end and is inexhaustible…. The concept of beginning is meaningful when applied not to the universe as a whole but only to separate, specific things and processes, that is to say, to the finite.  We can set no limits to the universe as a whole.  It categorically forbids us to do so.  It is ageless [e.g., matter and motion].  It is infinitely old and eternally young.”

~ Ibid., 81-82.

Again, all this is to say is that Dialectical Materialism/Marxism has more in common with Mormon theology/philosophy than Mormon theology/philosophy has in common with Christian theology/philosophy. Both say matter is eternal. Both say consciousness came from this eternal state. Both say you can move through a thesis/antithesis to a synthesis. Both say this “evolving” never ends – and note the Mormon “god” continues to accumulate knowledge.

Johnna said:

Of course, I continue to consider myself Christian, and I certainly don’t consider myself an atheist.

An atheist could adopt a similar view in that evolution to a state where control of matter in a godlike fashion would be possible. Many naturalists hold to Eatern metaphysics, who have a similar view of matter being eternal. At this point I merely responded with an adapted excerpt from chapter one of Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson’s book, Questions to Ask Your Mormon Friend: Effective Ways to Challenge a Mormon’s Arguments Without Being Offensive (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1994):


Are They (LDS) Christians?


…The twelfth Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball said:

Latter-day Saints are true Christians. We cannot understand how anyone could question our being Christians. It would certainly be a reflection upon anyone who would say such a thing, because if they attended even one session of any meeting of this church, they would come to realize that every prayer and every song and every sermon is centered in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the true followers of Jesus Christ; and we hope the world will finally come to the conclusion that we are Christians, if there are any in the world. (Edward L. Kimball, ed., The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 434).

Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie stated:

Mormonism is Christianity; Christianity is Mormonism; they are one and the same, and they are not to be distinguished from each other in the minutest detail…. Mormons are true Christians; their worship is the pure, unadulterated Christianity authored by Christ and accepted by Peter, James, and John and all the ancient saints. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 513)

Rex Lee, the president of LDS-owned Brigham Young University, felt that it was “ridiculous” to not consider Mormons as Christians. He added:

I assume that qualification as a Christian turns mainly on belief in Christ. Mormons not only qualify as Christians under that definition, but they have also given broader meaning to the definition itself. (Rex Lee, What Do Mormons Believe?, p. 19)

The LDS Church has been striving in recent years to gain acceptance as a Christian religion. Although the LDS Church has been very successful at polishing its image, it has never backed off from its many heretical doctrines, which distinguish it from Biblical Christianity. While many Mormons claim that they should also be entitled to the name “Christian,” many of these same Mormons would be equally offended in Bible-believing Christians insisted on being called “Mormons.”

>>>>>>>>>>>

Imagine the Mormons’ reaction to the following statement:

I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe that God was once a man or that men can become gods. I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe the Mormon Church is the only true church or that we need human prophets to guide the church. I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe temples are necessary or that couples can be married for eternity.

A knowledgeable Latter-day Saint would defy that such a person was, in fact, a true Mormon. why? Because this person who claims to be Mormon denies the very doctrines that make Mormons what they are. At the same time, however, a Mormon who claims to be Christian denies the very doctrines that make Christians what they are. 

Indeed, Mormonism denies or distorts the basic tenants of Biblical Christianity. The two religions are incompatible. The areas of difference include the (1) doctrine of God, (2) the basis for authority, and the (3) idea of salvation for mankind.

Brigham Young University professors Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks ask “anti-Mormons” to refrain from calling Mormonism a cult. They ask that “more neutral terminology [be used], such as ‘religious movement,’ ‘religious group,’ or ‘church.’” I would do this, but in return I would ask the Mormon Church to quit attempting to use the name “Christian” to describe its “religious movement.”

Unlike many contemporary Mormons who desire to have equal status within Christianity, many LDS leaders have gone out of their way to deride these same Christian churches. Throughout the history of the LDS Church, its leaders have continually taught that Mormonism is far superior to the Christian denominations.

Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, made the first attack on Christianity when he claimed to have asked God, in 1820, which of all the churches was correct.  He was answered that “I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight; that those professors were all corrupt…” (Joseph Smith’s Testimony, 1:13).

According to Smith, Christianity was not in need of reformation. Rather, its corruption was so severe that a complete restoration was necessary. Drs. Peterson and Ricks attempted to downplay the severity of Christianity’s “depravity” by claiming that Smith merely referred to the local churches at the time of his youth. They write:

What the Lord told Joseph Smith in the grove was that the churches and creeds of 1820 were defective and distorted by error. He did not say that they were entirely and utterly wrong (since they preserved much truth), nor did he say that each and every Christian church would always be wrong…. He did not say that Christianity, as such, is false. There is nothing logically wrong with saying that the churches of 1820 were incorrect on many important issues (“corrupt”), and then saying that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (organized in 1830) is true (Peterson and Ricks, Offenders for a Word, pp. 170-171).

Was Smith really referring only to the churches of 1820? To draw such a conclusion undermines the very existence of the LDS Church as well as goes against the pronounced statements of many Mormon leaders. Contrary to what these professors claim, Bruce McConkie seems to be more consistent with Mormonism’s overall attack on Christianity. Following a quotation of the Athanasian Creed, he concluded:

Is it any wonder that the Lord of heaven, as He stood by His Father’s side on that glorious day in 1820, speaking of all the churches in all Christendom, told young Joseph “that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight”? (McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 117, [emphasis mine])

What Smith supposedly was told by God – that there could only be one true church upon the earth – is supported by the Book of Mormon itself. It reads:

And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth ( Nephi 14:10).

McConkie described the “church of the devil” when he wrote:

What is the church of the devil in our day, and where is the seat of her power?…. It is all of the systems, both Christian and non-Christian, that perverted the pure and perfect gospel…. It is communism; it is Islam; it is Buddhism; it is modern Christianity in all it parts.  It is Germany under Hitler, Russia under Stalin, and Italy under Mussolini (McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, pp. 54-55, [emphasis mine]).

Doctrines and Covenants 1:30 confirms this idea of exclusivity when it says that smith’s restored church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased….” Expounding on the idea that only two churches exist – the Church of the Lamb and the Church of Babylon – George Q. Cannon, a former member of the LDS First Presidency, said:

The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon. God is not the founder of them, yet there are many sincere people who belong to them. These Elders of the Church are commanded to warn, and they commanded to gather out. The Spirit of the Lord moves upon the people who will listen to His servants to leave Babylon and join the Church of the Lamb (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, p. 324, [emphasis mine]).

As indicated by the pretense of his statement, Cannon believed any non-LDS Church is part of Babylon or, as the Book of Mormon puts it, “the church of the devil.”

Christians and Mormons may believe in Christ’s literal resurrection, but Christians do not believe that Jesus went to Americas after His resurrection, nor that His resurrection merely paves the way for men to be resurrected (earlier post on salvation); they do not hold that Christ’s birth was a result of God the Father having sexual relations with Mary; nor do Christians believe that Jesus is a created being who was the spirit-brother of Lucifer.

Christians have never worshipped a God who, as the offspring of another God, became a mortal man and eventually attained godhood. Thay have also never worshipped a being who resides near a planet called Kolob.

Peterson and Ricks write:

At least until recently, Mormons have thought of conservative Christians as, in many ways, their allies…. Most Latter-day Saints can only shake their heads, therefore, at the claim that Mormonism is not Christian (Offenders for a Word, p. 57)

Despite the arguments made by these writers, Gordon B. Hinkly, first counselor to LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, disagreed that the differences are minor. Speaking of the uniqueness of his church while classifying it as Christian, he wrote the following in an LDS Church tract:

They [Mormons] are generally classed as Protestants, since they are not Catholics. Actually they are no closer to Protestantism than they are to Catholicism. Neither historically nor on the basis of modern association, theology, or practice, can they be grouped with either…. Suffice it to say that its theology, it organization, and its practices are in many respects entirely unique among today’s Christian denominations (What of the Mormons?, p. 2)

Mormon leaders since Joseph Smith’s day have continually emphasized the differences, not the similarities, between Mormonism and Christianity. A Christian who is approached by a Mormon who says Mormonism is “just the same” as the historical Biblical Christianity needs to realize that this Mormon either does not know Mormonism or does not know the tenants of the Christian faith.  As Clansman (a Mormon I debated on this particular web site where I posted this response) and others have consistently shown.

  1. That an actual infinite is possible;
  2. That there is an infinite regress of gods;
  3. The universe and gods exist co-eternally;
  4. That Jesus death on the cross was only for Adams sin;
  5. That Jesus is a god (one of an infinite), not God;
  6. That God didn’t create the space-time continuum;
  7. That any Spirit child could have done what Jesus did if he advanced as quickly as Jesus did. . . (in fact there could be a Jesus up there right now that has been exulted before getting his physical body, like Jesus did);
  8. That blacks were cursed spirit children who stayed neutral in the heavenly (Kolobly) war;
  9. That blacks will become white in heaven/Kolob, or a planet/heaven of their own;
  10. That Joseph Smith and others said ALL other churches were corrupt;
  11. That Joseph Smith has multiple First Vision accounts;
  12. That Joseph Smith used occultic practices to translate the Book of Mormon;
  13. That he had many, many wives;
  14. That LDS have added Scripture;
  15. That Brigham Young ordered the deaths of innocents;
  16. That Brigham Young had many, many wives;
  17. That Jesus had many, many wives (at least according to LDS);
  18. That the Book of Mormon claims to be a historical book yet not one iota of evidence for it can be found;
  19. That Heavenly Father has many, many wives (that yes, he screws for eternity, the LDS and Islam have something in common – also occult connections as well);
  20. That god, Heavenly Father, was once a man on a planet that may have owned a 7-11 type business and have been unfaithful to his wife before being exulted and following a LDS like path to it – exultation/salvation;
  21. That Heavenly Father had a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother who were also once human;
  22. On, and On, and On, and On – ad infinitum!

“Teach by Contrast” | Walter Martin’s Last Time on TBN

This from MORIEL MINISTRIES (2011) explaining a bit about the above:

In light of another Calvary Chapel pastor making an appearance on TBN’s Praise-the-Lord program, I thought it apropos to share a tape in my collection of how a Bible believer should behave when invited onto TBN or any of the other errant “Christian” networks. What sort of message is communicated when a solid Bible teacher shares the platform with heretics and does not bring reproof? Certainly it gives the impression that the guest endorses the teaching of the hosts and /or founder of the Christian network.

Some argue that if they can’t go on TBN due to its corruption, then they couldn’t show up on ABC, NBC or CBS either. They don’t understand the distinction between being salt and light to the unsaved world and practicing biblical separation from so-called Christians who are spreading false teaching against Jesus Christ. To the unsaved, we can use their media to spread the Gospel, but to the errant brother we are to bring correction and divide if they do not stop their false teaching. For a proof-text consider 1 Corinthians 5:11:

“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner””not even to eat with such a person.”

When Calvary Chapel Albuquerque’s pastor Skip Heitzig went on TBN last week acting like he and his host Phil Munsey were old friends, it was a shame to the spirit of that passage. Phil Munsey and his brother Steve Munsey are two of the most infamous extortioners in the field of Christian television. Munsey has used new age ideas of paradigm shifts and panentheism to spread his unbiblical dominionist views.

In contrast to the compromisers, the late Walter Martin tried to bring correction the last time he made an appearance on TBN. This video tape has never circulated and has not been available anywhere until now that I have posted it to YouTube.

Back in 1985 my younger sister was Martin’s secretary. She and my older sister and I all regularly attended his weekly Bible study. I used to share my research with him and also with my friend author Dave Hunt. Walter and Dave disagreed on many things regarding their styles of apologetics and discernment. Whenever there was a difference of opinion between the two of them, I usually agreed with Dave.

I had had some discussion with Dr. Martin over Dave’s book, The Seduction of Christianity. Walter had been critical about it on the radio having never read it but based his criticisms upon what his personal editor had told him.

One day my older sister was watching Praise-the-Lord when Hal Lindsey was a guest. He was her pastor at that time. Back then Hal used to challenge the teaching of other TBN regulars and Paul Crouch put up with it. However, that got old with the Crouches and when Hal wouldn’t stop criticizing the Kingdom Now doctrine, he was put on the shelf until he learned to kow-tow to them. When my sister heard Hal bring up Walter’s name in the show, Paul and Jan agreed that he was a brilliant man and Hal said you should have him on some time. They both responded – oh sure we will.

So she informed our little sister who told Walter and Walter told her to call TBN and arrange it which she did. However, the Crouches wouldn’t host him so they got prophecy teacher Doug Clark to do so. My younger sister called me on the day of the taping saying that Walter wanted me to go through Dave Hunt’s book, The Seduction of Christianity and highlight things he would be in agreement with. I was happy to do so for him. He used that information to challenge TBN’s blackballing of Dave Hunt and other whistle-blowers.

I stayed home to work the VCR I didn’t know how to program, while my two sisters attended, one in the green room and one in the audience we had stacked with many friends. Walter gave it to them with both barrels. Not only was the program not replayed at its regular slot, but the tapes were not available when people followed up to request one. Back in those days any Praise-the-Lord program could be bought on audio cassette for a small fee. And both Walter Martin and Doug Clark were never invited back. We had heard years later from Doug Clark that during the interview he kept receiving notes from the stage manager telling him to “shut that guy up” and other nasty notes….

The Distinctive Traits Of Cults ~ Anthony Hoekema

Anthony A. Hoekema (1913-1988) was a Christian theologian of the Dutch Reformed tradition who served as professor of Systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary for twenty-one years.

Hoekema was born in the Netherlands but immigrated to the United States in 1923. He attended Calvin College (A.B.), the University of Michigan (M.A.), Calvin Theological Seminary (Th.B.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.D., 1953). After pastoring several Christian Reformed churches (1944-56), he became Associate Professor of Bible at Calvin College (1956-58). From 1958 to 1979, when he retired, he was Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

(BTW, Hoekema was an Amillennialist. I do not personally hold this position. Likewise, this position has very little impact on the whole of these “traits” of aberrant beliefs… if any. A good 9-minute challenge to a main portion of his “Kingdom” view is HERE.)


  • Anthony A. Hoekema, The Four Major Cults: Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventism (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1963), 377-388.Hoekema four major cults - book 330

[p.377>] THE DISTINCTIVE TRAITS OF THE CULT

In setting forth what I believe to be the distinctive traits of the cult, I do not wish to give the impression that not the slightest trace of these characteristics is to be found in the churches. If we are honest with ourselves, we shall find vestiges of these characteristics in the churches too. I venture to affirm, however, that [p.378>] the traits which will now be described are so uniquely character­istic of the cult that any group in which they play a leading role can no longer be recognized as belonging to the true church of Jesus Christ.

(1) An Extra-Scriptural Source of Authority. As the first of these distinctive traits of the cult, I instance the presence of an extra-Scriptural source of authority. Hutten aptly calls this trait “a Bible in the left hand.” Recalling the ordination of a Sweden-borgian minister, who held a Bible in his right hand and one of Swedenborg’s books in his left, Hutten observes that every cult has such a “Bible in the left hand,” which actually supersedes the Bible in the right hand. It should be added here that the cults face a kind of dilemma with respect to the question of authority. Since, in distinction from non-Christian religions, they claim to be Christian groups, they must somehow appeal to the authority of the Bible. Yet in order to justify their peculiar doctrines they must either correct Scripture, reinterpret Scripture, or add other sources of authority to Scripture. Their attitude toward Scrip­ture is therefore always an ambivalent one: a mixture of apparent subjection to its authority and of arbitrary manipulation of its teachings.

That this matter of ultimate authority is of determinative im­portance in evaluating the cults has already been implied by the inclusion of a section on “Source of Authority” in the discussion of each of the cults treated in this volume. It was found that every cult discussed did, indeed, find its ultimate ground of authority in some extra-Scriptural source. Mormons, it was seen, consider the Bible to be full of errors and in dire need of supplementary ma­terial; hence their ultimate source of authority is found not in the Bible, but in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. If there should be a contradiction between what is taught in the Bible and what is taught in these. supplementary sacred books, it is the teachings of the latter which are determinative for Latter-day Saints (see above, pp. 18-30), For Christian Scientists, the final source of authority is Mrs. Eddy’s Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures; although the Bible is read at their Sunday services, it is Science and Health which determines how the Bible is to be understood (see above, pp. 182-86). Though Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the only basis for their teachings is the Bible, it has been seen that their New World Translation is a biased rendering of the Scriptures [p.379>] into which they have smuggled many of their own heretical teach­ings, that their method of using Scripture is to find passages which seem to support their view and to ignore passages which fail to provide such support, and that they insist that the Bible may only be understood as it is interpreted by the leaders of the Watchtower Society (see above, pp. 237-48).

The reader is reminded of the discussion found on pages 30-33, above, where it was pointed out that the Bible itself condemns the attempt to supplement it with any additional source of authority. These “Bibles in the left hand” are never innocent appendages to Scripture; they always overmaster and overshadow the truth of Scripture. Whenever a cult raises a book or a set of books to the level of Scripture, it does violence to the Word of God. God is no longer allowed to speak as He does in the Bible; He may now speak only as the sect deems proper. Thus the Word of God is brought under the yoke of man.

The claim of the cults to have a source of revelation beyond the Scriptures – for that is what these “Bibles in the left hand” really amount to — is a claim which places them outside the pale of Christian churches. It may be added, by way of warning, that whenever a denomination of Christendom gives so much venera­tion to a human teacher or group of teachers that he or they are thought to be virtually infallible, it is in this respect mani­festing a trait of the cult! People in the Corinthian Church who said that they belonged to Paul, Apollos, or Cephas were rebuked by Paul as being carnally minded; they were told, instead, that Paul, Apollos, and Cephas belonged to them! (I Cor. 3:21-23). Christians today who might be tempted to say that they belong to, say, Calvin or Luther, should learn from this passage that the Biblical way of expressing our relationship to human leaders is this: they (the human leaders) belong to us, but we belong to Christ. If these leaders belong to us, their writings may never be considered superior in authority to the Word of God. Sola Scriptura must remain the motto of every truly Protestant Church!

(2) The Denial of Justification by Grace Alone. A second distinctive trait of the cult is the denial of the doctrine of justifi­cation by grace alone. Grace is no longer considered the free gift of God to the unworthy sinner, but a reward which has been earned by the faithful keeping of various conditions and requirements. Hutten, in fact, calls this trait the most basic character- [p.380>] istic of the cult. The Reformation, he contends, asserted the principle of solo gratia: man is saved by grace alone. Salvation, the Reformers taught, does not depend on any human or ecclesias­tical co-operation with God. The concept gratia implies that salvation is given freely by God apart from any conditions which man may fulfill or which the church may make available. Even those responses to the Gospel which take place in man through the working of God’s Spirit — his faith, his conversion, his works, and his walk — are not meritorious, since they are all the fruits of God’s grace. Precisely because salvation is all of grace, it can never be a ground for Pharisaic pride but must always move us to deep humility and gratitude.

This demand for humility, however, goes against the grain of human nature. Man wants to be his own lord and master. This is especially so in the matter of his salvation. He shrinks from taking the leap of faith — a leap in which he must trust wholly in God for his salvation. He prefers to take his future destiny into his own hands; he does not wish to surrender this destiny to a strange, unknown power. This fundamental human drive, Hutten continues, is the real root of the cult’s protest against the church. The basic antithesis of the cult to the church is therefore the cult’s antipathy toward the central message of the Reformation: the message of justification by grace alone and by faith alone (.cola gratia, solo fide). Though there are variations in the degree to which the different cults reject this doctrine, they all do reject it. As a matter of fact, Hutten adds, the church must always be on its guard against slipping into this cultic manner of thinking about the way of salvation. Only when the church has completely conquered this cultic tendency within its own borders, will it have the strength to oppose the cult on this point.

It will not be difficult to show that the trait described above is found in the cults we have studied. Mormons, as has been seen, reject the doctrine of justification by faith as a pernicious doctrine which has exercised an influence for evil in the church. They further teach that individual salvation (entrance into one of the three Mormon heavens) is to be merited by man through his own acts, and that one can only become eligible for the highest degree of salvation by keeping the commandments of the Lord in all things (see above, pp. 59-62). Christian Scientists decisively reject justification by grace alone; for them, salvation from sin is accomplished when one ceases to sin, or when one stops believing that there is such a thing as sin — on either interpretation salva‑ [p.381>] tion is achieved by human works and not by the grace of God (see above, p. 212, and compare pp. 209-12). Though Jeho­vah’s Witnesses claim that salvation is of grace and that all credit for salvation belongs to Jehovah (see above, p. 283), a careful study of their writings will reveal that they, too, reject justification by grace. In the case of the 144,000, man saves himself by exer­cising faith, repentance, and dedication to Christ (functions in which he is said not to be dependent on God), by showing himself worthy of being selected as a member of the anointed class, and by carrying out his dedication to Jehovah faithfully until death (see above, pp. 282-83; compare pp. 279-83). In the case of the other sheep, these, without having had their natures renewed, are able to exercise faith in Christ, to dedicate their lives to him, and to remain faithful to the end — this faithfulness to be revealed chiefly by diligent witnessing (see above, pp. 283-85). After the millennium has begun, these other sheep, whether as survivors of Armageddon or as resurrected beings, are to be judged on the basis of their obedience to Jehovah during the millennium. If they continue to obey God during Satan’s final battle, they will be “justified,” that is, given the right to perfect life on the new earth — this “justification,” however, is based not on faith, but on works. As far as others are concerned, billions of those who, though sincere in their belief, lacked an opportunity to learn of righteousness from God will be raised during the millennium, will be instructed in God’s law, and will receive everlasting life on the new earth if they now obey God’s commandments.

It is clear, therefore, that these three cults definitely and deliber­ately reject the doctrine of justification by grace alone. Though they may speak of the grace of God, their theologies have no room for grace in the real sense of the word. For, as the Bible says, “If it [the remnant according to the election of grace] is [saved] by grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace” (Rom. 11:6). Note also the severe judgment leveled by Paul against this position in Galatians 5:4, “Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.” Crystal clear is Titus 3:5: “Not by works done in righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to [p.382>] his mercy he saved us….” By taking the position sketched above, therefore, the cults deny one of the cardinal teachings of Scripture.

(3) The Devaluation of Christ. In the third place, all cults are guilty of a devaluation of Christ. Hutten points out that, since the cult has assumed a determinative role in the distribution of salvation, the result is bound to be a minimizing of Christ as the only Mediator. This, he adds, does not need to mean a com­plete denial of Christ’s mission and work; it may express itself simply in a shifting of emphasis. We shall see this tendency revealing itself in a twofold way: in a devaluation of the Person of Christ and in a depreciation of His work. The latter is par­ticularly characteristic of the cult; since salvation for the cult is not determined by the grace of God revealed at the cross of Christ, that cross is robbed of its unique soteriological significance.

Let us see how this trait can be found in the cults we have studied. Mormons teach that Jesus Christ was the firstborn of the spirit-children of Elohim; since, however, all men are spirit-children of Elohim, it is evident that the difference between Christ and men (even, for that matter, between Christ and Satan) is one of degree but not one of kind (see above, pp. 53-54). Christ is considered by Mormons not to be equal to the Father; he shared with other pre-existent spirits like Adam and Joseph Smith the task of “creating” this earth, and his incarnation is not unique, for other gods before him were incarnated on other earths (see above, p. 54). In fact, Christ’s incarnation was only illustrative of what happens to every man who perfectly fulfills all the ordinances of the Gospel: he, too, was once a pre-existent spirit, is now incarnate, and will some day be a god (see above, pp. 54, 61-62, 72). As far as the work of Christ is concerned, Mormons affirm that the atoning death of Christ was necessary to deliver all men from death, and did provide for all the right to be raised from the dead (see above, pp. 57-58). As was just observed, however, Christ’s atonement does not provide individual salvation for man since this is to be merited by man’s own acts; thus the Mormon Christ does not save in the full sense of the word but only gives man an opportunity to save himself (see above, pp. 58-61).

According to Christian Science, Jesus was not God but only a man, whereas Christ is the name for a certain divine idea: the idea that sickness and sin can be healed through Christian Science (see above, pp. 200-202). Jesus was therefore simply a man who demonstrated a divine idea. So unimportant, in fact, is Jesus in [p.383>] Christian Science that Mrs. Eddy could say that if such a person as Jesus had never existed, it would make no difference to her! (see above, p. 203). As far as the work of Jesus is concerned, Christian Scientists deny that he atoned for our sins by shedding his blood on the cross — after all, since sin has no real existence, why does it need to be atoned for? Jesus’ work was rather that of demonstrating the truth of Christian Science and of setting us an example of the kind of life we must live. Even this example, however, is not uniquely distinguished from that of the apostles (see above, pp. 207-9).

What Jehovah’s Witnesses do with the person of Christ is well known: he was, for them, not equal to Jehovah, but the first crea­ture of Jehovah. In his prehuman state he was a created angel; during his stay on earth he was nothing more than a man; and after his stay on earth he was again nothing higher than a created angel, though now endowed with immortality. In none of these three stages, therefore, was or is Christ equal to Jehovah (see above, pp. 270-76). As regards the work of Christ, the Witnesses teach that Christ did lay down his human life for his people as a ransom. By means of this ransom Christ redeemed man from inherited sin and from the prospect of eternal death as a result of that sin (see above, pp. 276-77); his ransom pro­vides a resurrection from the dead for all except certain classes of people (see above, p. 317). Christ did not, however, earn the right to everlasting life in heaven for the 144,000 since he earned only a perfect human life with its rights and earthly prospects; the 144,000 must themselves earn the right to heavenly life by sacrificing their earthly prospects (see above, p. 283). As for those who will spend eternity on the new earth, they, as we saw, will receive this blessing only if they have obeyed Jehovah’s commandments during the millennium. Neither the 144,000 nor those who will inhabit the new earth, therefore, are really saved by the work of Christ; Christ’s ransom has only served the purpose of enabling them to earn their future blessedness, either in heaven or on earth, by their own achievements.

It is quite clear, therefore, that the cults leave us with a Christ who is not the Christ. Neither in his person nor in his work is the Christ of the cult the Christ of the Bible. For the cultist, it is not really Christ who saves but man who must save himself. This position, however, cuts the very heart out of the Bible: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). The words of Paul to the Galatians, directed against those who in that day taught that one was saved partly [p.384>] through faith in Christ and partly through performing certain works of the law, are equally applicable to the cults of our day: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).

(4) The Group as the Exclusive Community of the Saved. A fourth distinctive trait of the cult is that it absolutizes itself as the exclusive community of the saved. Hutten points out that the anti-ecclesiastical polemic which is so characteristic of the cult is but the converse side of its own self-justification. Since the cult is convinced that it is the only true community of God’s people, it must try to show that the church is either an apostate organization or an actual instrument of the devil. There is among the cults no appreciation for the Biblical doctrine of the “one holy catholic Church” — that is, of the universal church of Christ, composed of Christ’s true people of all the ages and from all the nations. Every cult says, “We alone are the people of God.” The cult, so to speak, takes God by the arm, insisting that His evaluation of people must agree with its own.

Let us see how this trait is found in the cults we have studied. Mormons contend that the church of Jesus Christ was in a state of apostasy until God revealed Himself to Joseph Smith in 1820; when Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic and Mel­chizedek priesthoods from heavenly messengers in 1829 and 1830, the Restoration of the Church took place. The Mormon Church is therefore the only true church — because it alone has the Priest­hood of the Almighty, and it alone since the time of Christ has received and may still receive divine revelation. One of the early apostles of the Mormon Church claimed that non-Mormon churches have no right to call themselves Christian since Christ has nothing to do with them, and a recent Mormon writer has said that there is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see above, pp. 62-64). It may be noted that the possibility of salvation for those who died in ignorance of Mormon teaching only confirms the point under discussion since such people can be saved only if Mormons have been baptized for them (see above, pp. 64-66).

Christian Science also claims to be the only true church. Since Mrs. Eddy is said to have received the final revelation of the divine principle of scientific mental healing, and since Science and Health is said to be the voice of truth uncontaminated by [p.385>] human hypotheses, it follows that, according to them, no group outside of Christian Science has or knows the truth (see above, pp. 183, 212-13). Though individual Christian Scientists may express appreciation for other Christian groups, it is clear from the statements just alluded to that the views of all other churches about the Bible and the way of salvation must officially be con­sidered basically erroneous while Christian Science is held to be unerring and divine (see above, p. 184).

In Jehovah-Witness ecclesiology we reach the ultimate in bigotry. It is said by them that Jehovah’s Witnesses alone are God’s true people and that all others, without exception, are fol­lowers of the devil. The Watchtower Society is now the only instrument or channel whereby Jehovah teaches His people on earth (see above, p. 247). The “great whore” of Revelation 17 is organized religion, Christian as well as heathen. The visible part of the devil’s organization on earth includes all of Christen­dom, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic. The religious clergy are, in fact, the direct link between mankind and the demons (see above, pp. 285-86). At Armageddon all of earth’s inhabitants except Jehovah’s Witnesses will be wiped out of existence (see above, p. 311). Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, therefore, will survive Armageddon; during the millennium non-Witnesses who are raised from the dead will be given an opportunity to save themselves in response to the preaching and teaching of the princes, prominent among whom will be those who occupied leading positions with the New World Society on earth (see above, pp. 318-21).

Whenever a group takes the position that it is the only com­munity of the saved, however, it violates an important aspect of Scripture teaching. Christ Himself warned against this type of bigotry when his disciples said to Him, “Master, we saw one casting out demons in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.” Jesus replied, “Forbid him not; for he that is not against you is for you” (Lk. 9:49, 50). We should therefore remember that whenever a denomination slips into a kind of thinking similar to that described above, it reveals a tendency toward cultic behavior.

(5) The Group’s Central Role in Eschatology. The last dis­tinctive trait of the cult I would like to mention is this: the cult plays a central role in the eschatological climax of history. The cult is convinced that it has been called into existence by God for the purpose of filling in some gap in the truth which has been neglected by the ordinary churches. The birth of the cult thus marks the final climax of sacred history, the beginning of the [p.386>] latter days.    Eschatology thus plays a determinative role in the

theology of the cult: it becomes the arena in which the glorifica­tion of the cult will complete itself. The cult is therefore the mes­senger and way-preparer for the imminent return of Christ; it is God’s partner in the drama of the end-time; it is the ark of safety for the coming flood; it is the instrument of divine judgment on un­believers; it shall finally triumph in the sight of all the world as the group particularly favored by God.

This type of procedure Hutten calls a cultic perversion of Biblical eschatology. Whenever the cult has developed an escha­tology, he continues, it places itself in the very center of it. The drama of the last things thus becomes the means whereby the cult is glorified and all its enemies are overwhelmingly defeated. Though the cult may now be small and insignificant, when the final climax of history arrives, it will receive from God the place of honor it deserves as a reward for its faithfulness to His com­mandments. The antithesis between God and Satan which has run through history will in the last days reach its climax as an antithesis between the cult and the rest of mankind, particularly the church.

As we attempt now to see how this trait is revealed in the cults we have studied, we must first make an important exception. Because of the absence of a real historical dimension in Christian Science, the latter has no general eschatology; hence it cannot be precisely fitted into the category just described. Christian Science denies that there will be a literal Second Coming of Christ, a gen­eral resurrection, a final judgment, and a new earth (see above, pp. 219-21). Though there is a kind of individual eschatology in this system, there is no general eschatology in the sense of a final, dramatic climax of history. Yet Christian Scientists do manifest a trace of the characteristic in question, since Mrs. Eddy con­tended more than once that what the Bible calls the Second Com­ing of Jesus Christ actually coincided with the rise of Christian Science (see above, p. 219). By statements such as these Mrs. Eddy did, in a sense, place Christian Science in the center of eschatology.

[p.387>] It will not be difficult to show the presence of the trait under discussion in the other two cults being considered. Mormons very definitely place themselves in the center of the eschatological drama, giving themselves a position of special privilege in it. The Mormons, God’s “Latter-day Saints,” consider themselves the bearers of the Restored Gospel – the Gospel which must now be proclaimed by them to all the world as God’s last word to man­kind (see above, pp. 62-64). Before Christ returns, there will be a series of gatherings. Ephraim or the Ephraimites must be gathered first to prepare the way for the rest of the tribes of Israel when the time comes for them to be gathered to Zion. Since most Mormons today are said to be Ephraimites, it is ob­vious that the gathering of Ephraim is going on at the present time. Ephraim is being gathered to Zion, the gathering-place on the

North American continent. The “lost ten tribes” will later be gathered to Zion, where they will receive “crowning blessings” from Ephraim – that is, from the Mormons. During the mil­lennium Christ will rule over the Mormon Zion as well as over Jerusalem in Palestine (see above, pp. 67-69). At this time Mormons on earth will be joined by a heavenly group, the City of Enoch (see above, p. 69). Also during the millennium Mor­mons will preach to non-Mormons who are still alive, and will be baptized for the dead who have lived from the beginning of time (see above, p. 70). In the final state Mormons who have fully kept the commandments of the Gospel will enjoy the highest grade of blessedness in the celestial kingdom; non-Mormons can enter the celestial kingdom only if Mormons have been baptized for them (see above, pp. 66, 72-73). Most non-Mormons, however, will spend eternity in one of the two lower kingdoms, the terrestrial or the telestial (see above, pp. 73-74).

Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that the kingdom of God was not established until A.D. 1914, that this kingdom is now the ruling part of God’s universal organization, and that this kingdom is comprised of Jesus Christ and those members of the 144,000 who are now in heaven (see above, pp. 295-97). These heavenly members of the anointed class (who were, for the most part, Jehovah’s Witnesses on earth) not only rule with Christ now, but are actually changed from human beings to divine beings (see above, p. 304). Between 1918 and the Battle of Armageddon, a judgment of the nations is taking place, in which all those who do not accept the Jehovah-Witness message and who show no kindness to its bearers are doomed to destruction at Armageddon [p.388>] – a destruction from which there will be no reawakening (see above, pp. 306-7). The Battle of Armageddon will therefore be a stupendous victory for Jehovah’s Witnesses, who will be the only survivors of this worldwide catastrophe (see above, p. 311). Armageddon survivors will have a favored position on the renewed earth during the millennium; many of them will be made princes (see above, pp. 311, 314, 318). Jehovah’s Wit­nesses who have died before Armageddon will have the privilege of being raised from the dead before the rest of earth’s inhabi­tants. Those who were active in the New World Society before the millennium will take a leading part in instructing newly-resurrected people in the laws of Jehovah (see above, pp. 318-­19). For Jehovah’s Witnesses, therefore, the climactic anti­thesis of history will be that between God’s true people, the Wit­nesses, and all others, including the churches of Christendom.

Whenever a religious group places itself in the center of the eschatological drama, it makes itself guilty of spiritual pride. Over­looking its own shortcomings and sins, it magnifies the sins of others. It blandly assumes that because of its own superior worthiness it has become God’s special favorite. When Christ came across a similar kind of pride among the Jewish leaders of His day, He rebuked it in no uncertain terms: “I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness. . .” (Mt. 8:11, 12).