The Cults, Language, Revelation, and Secularism (1999)

I dug this gem out of my Microsoft Word due to a conversation on my Facebook. I was planning on going a different direction but after I found this from about 1999 via a debate in a forum on what is still SPACE BATTLES… it was late 99 or early 2000 that I cut my teeth on the Internet via Space Battles. I kept most of my debates from the 4 or so years I was on the forums there… at least my responses. This is one of those early debates — the main point here is that secularism is a religion. (I may add some media when I see fit):


SKEPTIC, YOU SAID:

  • I don’t know how you can say Jimmy Jones and the Branch Davidians weren’t believers in absolutism and God.

This is easy to say. Both rejected the God of the Bible, period. They were not Christians, period. They were cults who had sex with multiple partners and were power hungry and changed meanings of plain and clear scripture to get their way. This is important, because when anyone deals with a cult member, they need to realize that there is a language barrier. For instance, when a Mormon says he or she believes in Jesus, is this the same Jesus Christianity has preached for 2,000 years? How a bout the Jehovah’s Witness when they say they believe in Jesus?

JESUS

Mormons believe that Jesus is not God, but a god, they are polytheists. They believe that Jesus was born first in heaven in a spiritual body via sexual relations between “Heavenly Father” (God in Mormon terms) and one of his many wives. Lucifer also was a son born by “God” sticking his dingy in one of his wives. By the way, God was once a man like us, and now resides on the planet Kolob (according to the Pearle of Great Price – one of many added Mormon scripture). And be sure that all mentioned here have to take away, change, or add scripture to get their theology to work – just like Hitler and his cronies.

(SEE ALSO: “MORMON GLOSSARY: WORDS HAVE MEANING“)

Jehovah’s Witness’s believe that Jesus was the first created being, that is, Michael the Archangel. Jehovah (God) then created all things THROUGH Michael the Archangel. When Michael came to earth in bodily form he was known as Jesus. And now is not Jesus any longer, but once again under the name and title Michael the Archangel, the first-born.

Jesus, according to the historic Christian faith is God, the creator of everything in heaven and on earth. He is not bound by time-space; for unlike the two before mentioned perversions of plain scripture, Jesus is the Creator of the space-time continuum. He is God Almighty.

SALVATION

Both Jehovah’s Witness’ and Mormons believe that the sacrifices given on the cross by “Jesus” was only in remission of Adam’s original sin, opening the way for these sincere persons to “work” their way into heaven or “salvation.” Jehovah’s Witness’s believe that 100 hundred hours a week of going door-to-door or standing in front of donut shops handing out booklets will one of the many rules sufficient enough to allow them to be resurrected here on earth to live forever more (only 144,000 get to go to heaven). Mormons don’t drink caffeine, cuss, marry in the temple, wear special undergarments, tithe, all in the hopes of making to the “best” heaven.

Christianity teaches that we can do nothing to please God, all our good works are like leaves in the wind, they blow away. Salvation is a gift that only can be fulfilled by an immutable, perfect, gift… man can never attain this in his finite state. Salvation is through Christ alone. This is one of the many proofs that Christianity is divine, that is, if this were a man-made religion, man would have made it conquerable. So like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witness’ religious construct of lists of items to do for salvation to be attainable, Christianity has no such list. If man had made Christianity, there would be something we could do to please God for our salvation, in fact, we cannot. Christianity is unconquerable by man. (sorry, back to the point).

So when a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon come to your door and say, “we believe in Jesus,” or, “we believe in salvation,” and, “we are followers of Christ, therefore we are the true Christians,” you can break through the fog by understanding what is meant by terms used.

(From a debate with a J-Dub):

The main problem is that the Watchtower gives ALL truth that is to be believed by the Jehovah’s Witness. I will show an example, and I quote the founder, Charles Taze Russell:

If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible, topically arranged with Bible proof texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes THE BIBLE IN AN ARRANGED FORM. That is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself….

Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years – if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. on the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.

Even if you’ve read the Scripture Studies for ten years, and you lay them aside and read the Bible for two years alone, you enter into darkness?!

This is a revealing quote.

It shows how brainwashed Jehovah’s Witnesses are to the fact that the ruling council and president of the Watchtower Society dispense nothing but truth and reality while the rest of humanity who points out the misquotes and misrepresentations are shunned as devils (almost literally).

I will go out on a limb here and say, “if the devil were to create a religious group that undermines the true message in the Bible, would the devil require someone to read the Bible by itselfor would the devil want to add something to it that would interpret everything within?”

Same goes for our current discussion.

When Hitler uses the words Christians, Jesus, church, and the like, you know he had changed the Biblical absolutes to fits his relativistic pantheism/paganism that we know he believed. If Hitler came to our door today passing out tracts talking of Jesus’ non-Jewish heritage and that he was going to finish what Jesus couldn’t, namely the extermination of the Jews, then we would know that this is not Christianity, not absolutes, but fascism at it most perverted. Remember what a philosophy major once said:

  • “Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable” — Mussolini

Mussolini, Diuturna (1924) pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.

This is what Hitler did, Mussolini, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and all others who relativize God’s plainly stated truth to fit their particular needs or situation. And in doing so, they must change, reject, or add to the Bible or the historic Christian faith in order to do so.

SKEPTIC, WHEN YOU SAID:

  • That I agree with! Claiming a personal revelation can hid a host of evils. But it seems like the religious are more likely to do that then a humanist…. I am also arguing that a humanist who believes he contains within himself the ultimate determination of what is moral, would not do the things that these people did without, at least, the recognition that he is being evil. These nazis, Branch Davidians, terrorists, and kool aid killers are all more dangerous because they believe they are doing good.

I almost fell out of my chair. The Communists killed many, many millions believing they were doing good? God revealing this is not mandated by Mao is it? Special revelation isn’t only from God. One needs only to read the Humanist Manifesto’s or the Communist Manifesto to see revelation without God. Huxley called evolution a religion without revelation. However, there can be revelation in non-belief. For instance, consider the following excerpt from a letter written by Charles Darwin in 1881:

“I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit…. The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”

Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, I, Letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, p. 316; cited in Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (London: Chatto & Windus, 1959), p. 343.

Or:

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed. (New York: A. L. Burt Co., 1874), p.178.

How a bout this:

“No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilization will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest. But whatever the position of stable equilibrium into which the laws of social gravitation may bring the negro, all responsibility for the result will henceforward lie between Nature and him. The white man may wash his hands of it, and the Caucasian conscience be void of reproach for evermore. And this, if we look to the bottom of the matter, is the real justification for the abolition policy.”

Thomas Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews (New York: Appleton, 1871), pp 20-1.

One more before I head to humanism:

“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all…. If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy (New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942), pp. 161-162.

These seem very revelational, just revelations from nature.

John Dewey, signer of the Humanist Manifesto I, says this regarding education:

education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform…. In this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.

John Dewey, Education Today, “My Pedagogic Creed,” (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897), p. 15, 17.

You see, John Dewey argues that “scientific” education has made the notion of the supernatural “incredible,” and anticipates “the coming of a fuller and deeper religion” – Humanism. Dewey viewed public education as the vehicle to promote this “deeper religions.”

We certainly cannot teach religion as an abstract essence. We have got to teach something as religion, and that means practically some religion…. It is their business to do what they can to prevent all public educational agencies from being employed in ways which inevitably impede the recognition of the spiritual import of science ands of democracy, and hence of that type of religion which will be the fine flower of the modern spirit’s achievement.

Ibid – 1940 edition.

My point as I continue on here is that men are made for revelation, if God’s is thrown to the wayside, some other revelation will take its place. Roy Wood Sellers is also a signer of the Humanist Manifesto I, he says:

The center of gravity of religion has been openly changing for some time now from supernaturalism to what may best be called a humanistic naturalism…. There have been many steps forward in the past, for every age must process its own religion, a religion concordant with its knowledge and expressed of its problems and aims…. The coming phase of religion will reflect man’s power over nature and his moral courage in the face of the facts and possibilities of life. It will be a religion of action and passion, a social religon, a religion of goals and prospects. It will be a free man’s religion, a religion for an adult and aspiring democracy.

Roy Wood Sellers, The Next Step In Religion (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1918), foreword.

Here Sellers makes the case for atheistic, naturalistic Humanism as the next world religion, or revelation. Again:

But the humanist’s religion is the religion of one who says yea to life here and now, of one who is self-reliant and fearless, intelligent and creative. It is the religion of the will to power, of one who is hard on himself and yet joyous in himself. It is the religion of courage and purpose and transforming energy. Its motto is, “What hath man not wrought?” Its goal is the mastery of all things that they may become servants and instrumentalities to man’s spiritual comradeship. Whatever mixture of magic, fear, ritual and adoration religion may have been in man’s early days, it is now, and henceforth must be, that which concerns man’s nobilities, his discovery of, and loyalty to, the pervasive values of life. The religious man will now be he who seeks out causes to be loyal to, social mistakes to correct, wounds to heal, achievements to further. He will be constructive, fearless, loyal, sensitive to the good wherever found, a believer in mankind, a fighter for things worth while…. The religion of human possibilities needs prophets who will grip men’s souls with their description of a society in which the righteousness, wisdom and beauty will reign together…. Loyalty to such an ideal will surely constitute the heart of the humanist’s religion…. If religion is to survive, it must be human and social. It is they who insists upon a supernatural foundation and object who are its enemies. Man’s life is spiritual in its own right. So long as he shall dream of beauty and goodness and truth his life will not lack religion.

Ibid., p. 212, 215-216, 225.

Curtis W. Reese likewise signed the Humanist Manifesto I, he says quite plainly:

Within the liberal churches of America there is a religious movement which has come to be known as Humanism…. There is a large element of faith in all religion. Christianity has faith in the love of God; and Humanism in man as the measure of values…. Hypotheses, postulates, and assumptions in their proper realm are comparable to faith in the realm of religion. In this way I speak of the faith of Humanism.

Edited by Curtis W. Reese, Humanist Sermons, preface and “The Faith of Humanism,” (Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 1927), p. v, 39, 40

One last quote, as I could go on ad infinitum, another signer was Charles Francis Potter, he plainly states:

[Humanism] is a new type of religion altogether…. Is Humanism a religion? It is both a religion and a philosophy of culture…. Education is the most powerful ally of humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching.

Charles Potter, HUMANISM: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), p. 3, 114, 128

You can see that one revelation, say, “God exists,” is replaced with another that says, “God does not exist.”

Here is a quote from the famous 1961 court case, Torcaso v. Watkins:

  • Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.

See: Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia, 101 U.S.App.D.C. 371, 249 F.2d 127; Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, 153 Cal.App.2d 673, 315 P.2d 394; II Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 293; 4 Encyclopedia Britannica (1957 ed.) 325-327; 21 id. at 797; Archer, Faiths Men Live By (2d ed. revised by Purinton), 120-138, 254-313; 1961 World Almanac 695, 712; Year Book of American Churches for 1961, at 29, 47.

“Secular Humanism” is official atheism… BTW. It is a religion according to law, and why there are atheist (secular humanist) chaplains in the military.

Humanism is revelation, and just as “absolute” as the other.

  • Paul Kurtz says, “Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view.”
  • Dewey states, “Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class or race…. It remains to make it explicit and militant.”

Chesterton said,

  • “When a man ceases to believe in God he does not believe in nothing, he believes almost in anything.”

And so it is.


2021 EXCERPT


This is from APOLOGETIC PRESS:

Humanism is a religion, and the Supreme Court defined it as such in 1961 (Torcaso v. Watkins, 1961; the word “religion” or “religious” occurs 28 times in the first Manifesto, 1933). While the initial Manifesto is specifically religious, the subsequent humanist documents are not. However, the democratic humanism of the Secular Humanist Declaration (1980), and the “planetary” humanism of Kurtz’s Humanist Manifesto 2000, do not contradict the major premises of the first Manifesto.

The initial Manifesto most plainly declares humanism to be a religious enterprise. The very first section (or article) states: “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created” (1933, emp. added). Religionists familiar with the goals and practices of secular humanism may be surprised at the high praise of traditional religion in this seminal treatise:

Religions have always been means for realizing the highest values of life. Their end has been accomplished through the interpretation of the total environing situation (theology or world view), the sense of values resulting therefrom (goal or ideal), and the technique (cult) established for realizing the satisfactory life…. [T]hrough all changes religion itself remains constant in its quest for abiding values, an inseparable feature of human life (Humanist, 1933, Preface, parenthetical items in orig.).

So the secularist’s problem is not with religion per se, but with religious beliefs and practices that are antithetical to certain humanist norms and objectives. Secularists reject “salvationism,” which they regard as based on mere “affirmation” (Humanist, 1973). Practically all religion other than humanism falls into the category of religion that humanism would oppose. So, religion must be restructured into a humanist “faith” or belief system.

The first Manifesto unveils the humanists’ desire to reshape modern religion. “The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional values…. Religions the world over are under the necessity of coming to terms with new conditions created by a vastly increased knowledge and experience” (1933, Preface). In a sense, humanists see themselves as saving people from theistic religion: “There is a great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their significance and which are powerless to solve the problem of human living in the Twentieth Century…. Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created” (Preface-Section 1).

Because theistic religion is so “out of date” according to secularists, a mammoth adjustment is in order. Religion of practically every kind must be eliminated or restructured.

Today man’s larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfactions may appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation (Humanist, 1933, Preface).

Humanists seem to have as their primary religious activity expunging God from society and the minds of people (see “Humanists Praise,” 2007; “‘Church Polling Place’,” 2006). Only when God is out of the picture may humanists convert all humans to the religion of humanism (and this is precisely what they intend to do; see Ericson, 2006; Lyons and Butt, 2007).

(READ THE REST)

“YHWH” and “Elohim” in LDS and J-DUB Misunderstandings

The LDS Church teaches that “Elohim” properly refers to Heavenly Father, and that “Jehovah” refers to Jesus. While Mormons believe that both Elohim and Jehovah are “united in purpose”, Mormonism claims that “Elohim” and “Jehovah” are actually two separate exalted beings. This is significant, because it would mean that there are actually numerous “gods”—more than just one! But Christians claim that Jehovah (Or Yahweh) and Elohim are the same being, the One True God, who is uncreated and unchanging. Christianity teaches that there only ever has been and will be One Creator God. If Christians are correct, then the notion of eternal progression and exaltation are abominable and idolatrous. The idea that the Father and Son progressed to their current position is a blasphemous claim to the Christian! Therefore, the true nature of Jehovah and Elohim is a significant question! So what does the Bible teach? Does the Bible indicate that Elohim and Jehovah are two different gods “united in purpose”? Or does Scripture teach that Jehovah and Elohim are different names for the same being?

This is an update to an old post from my free blog from many yearn ago. It deals with certain aspects of Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witness’s understanding of a “bifurcation” (of sorts). Enjoy, I may re-edit this in the weeks coming. This edit is a shortening of the older debate (which itself references an even older discussion. I am thinking this was the late 90’s or early 2000s):

TRINITY

I recommend a book that will assist you in your understanding of Bart Ehrman, it is entitled, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus. Learning possibility aside, you believe that YHWH represents Jesus, and Elohim represents Heavenly Father, right? I will elucidate with an old debate:

You Jeff, are not arguing against me when I speak of sex in heaven, you are speaking or arguing against personalities further up the LDS-chain of command than yourself (I have posted this before):

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.48:

The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall be blessed with the fulness of his kingdom. In other words we will have the privilege of becoming like him. To become like him we must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful, then they also will receive the fulness of exaltation and partake of the same blessings. There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring. We will have an endless eternity for this.

An endless eternity of celestial sex is what that last sentence meant. Okay, I will leave you to argue with your ex-president in an LDS book Doctrines of Salvation.

How many Jesus’ are there?? Lets do a little Bible study in Genesis. I will post some scripture from Genesis 18 and 19. The pink highlights are what we are going to read (pink is for Jehovah’s Witnesses, green is for Mormons I will now have to add a bit of green to these verses as I can use them with LDS).

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So again, with your understanding of who Elohim and YHWH is, as before, your theology is less fit for what the bible displays as clearly Trinitarian. How can Jesus be three people, and then also speak to Himself in heaven while on earth? I mean, you say YHWH is Jesus, orthodox Christianity says this is one name for God (1x1x1=1), Elohim is another.

No Christian doctrine depends on the longer version of the 1 John:7-8. It never has, and Ehrman doesn’t reject the Trinity for this verse either. He does so because he is a philosophical naturalist. Matthew 28:19-20 states the concept of one God (“in name,” GK singular) expressed in three persons (“of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”) just as clearly as those words in 1 John.

According to you Jesus is “a” God, as well as other “persons before Heavenly Father as well as after Heavenly Father. However, the Old Testament states:

  • “See now that I, I am He, and there is no God besides Me” (Deuteronomy 32:39 NASB)
  • “Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after me” (Isaiah 43:10 NASB)
  • “Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none” (Isaiah 44:8 NASB)
  • “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:5 NASB)

However, Heavenly Father’s parents on another earth may themselves not have achieved exultation, whereas a person who at one time (on another planet in the myriad of Mormon worlds with possible gods that inhabit them) could have owned a brothel, but later was sealed in a temple ceremony and repented of his way may be an even more powerful God than Heavenly Father. Odd.

Just in case people here do not understand what Bot is doing, he is arguing against one infinite God and arguing for an infinite amount of finite Gods.

DIETY OF CHRIST

According to LDS theology, Jesus did not exist at one point in history at least until Heavenly Father had a bit of foreplay with one of his wives and maybe a martini or two (Brigham Young was the only distributor of alcohol in Utah for some time he’s exulted, right?) and a long night of hot – steamywell, you get the point, Jesus was born. This is not the belief of any Christian, the apostles, the church fathers, and the like. Only LDS believe this, not the church even for the first 100 years believed this, as the Scriptures make clear. Jesus created the space/time continuum, he was not pre-dated by DNA, matter, gods, or the like.

Heavenly Father didn’t create the eye, or the pancreas, these predate Heavenly Father, and were passed on to him via his parents “sexing it up.” And the DNA for eyes and pancreas’s were passed to them via an act of sex, and so on ad-infinitum.

Jesus and Heavenly Father were born into a cosmos that enforced its natural laws (both physical and moral) on Jesus and Heavenly Father, whereas these forces were created by God and didn’t pre-date God. The former is not deity, the later is.

IRR has a good short article where they answer the following:

  • The Hebrew word elohim is grammatically a plural form, and in a couple hundred occurrences in the Old Testament does mean “gods.” However, about 2,600 times elohim functions as a singular noun. We know this for four reasons

Also, LDS struggle with the following a tad:

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One of the best books I have read on the topic of the Trinity is by an ex-Oneness Pentecostal, Robert Bowman,

The rest of this book will be concerned with the biblical material relating to the Trinity, considering the arguments advanced by JWs to show that it is unbiblical.

We begin with the biblical teaching that there is one God. The JWs affirm that monotheism is the biblical teaching (p. 12), citing several Scriptures in support (p. 13). And trinitarians could not agree more. There is only one God, and this God is one. The oneness of God is the first plank in the trinitarian platform. For this reason I would agree with the booklet’s argument that the plural form elohim for God in the Old Testament cannot be evidence of the Trinity (pp. 13-14).

The Trinity and the Oneness of God

But two problems need attention. First, JWs claim that the Bible’s affirmations of monotheism mean “that God is one Person—a unique, unpartitioned Being who has no equal” (p. 13). As has already been explained, trinitarians do not regard the three persons as “partitions” of God, or the Son and Spirit as beings outside God yet equal to him. Indeed, if “person” is defined to mean an individual per­sonal being, then trinitarians will agree that in that sense “God is one Person.” Thus, in arguing as if these truths contradicted the Trinity, the JWs show they have mis­construed the doctrine. In fact, that God is one “Person” in this sense does not prove that he is not also three “persons” in the sense meant by trinitarians.

Second, biblical monotheism does not simply mean that the being of the Almighty God is one being. That is true enough, but the Bible also teaches simply that there is one God. The Bible is quite emphatic on this point, repeating it often in both the Old Testament (Deut. 4:35, 39; 32:39; 2 Sam. 22:32; Isa. 37:20; 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5, 14, 21-22; 46:9) and the New Testament (Rom. 3:30; 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; James 2:19; Jude 25). And the very meaning of the word monotheism is the belief in one God.

It is therefore important to note that the JWs flatly deny this most basic of biblical teachings. Although they admit that there is only one Almighty God, they claim that there are, in addition to that God, and not counting the many false gods worshiped by idolaters, many creatures rightly recognized in the Bible as “gods” in the sense of “mighty ones” (p. 28). These “gods” include Jesus Christ, angels, human judges, and Satan. The JWs take this position to justify allowing the Bible to call Jesus “a god” without honoring him as Jehovah God.

The question must therefore be asked whether Wit­nesses can escape the charge that they are polytheists (be­lievers in many gods). The usual reply is that while they believe there are many gods, they worship only one God, Jehovah. But this belief is not monotheism, either. The usual term for the belief that there are many gods but only one who is to be worshiped is heno theism.

The more important question, of course, is whether the Bible supports the JWs’ view. The explicit, direct state­ments of the Bible that there is only one God (cited above) cannot fairly be interpreted to mean that there are many gods but only one who is almighty, or only one who is to be worshiped, or only one who is named Jehovah. There is only one Almighty God Jehovah, and he alone is to be worshiped—but the Bible also states flatly that he is the only God.

More precisely, the Bible says that there is only one true God (John 17:3; see also 2 Chron. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20), in contrast to all other gods, false gods, who are not gods at all (Deut. 32:21; 1 Sam. 12:21; Ps. 96:5; Isa. 37:19; 41:23-24, 29; Jer. 2:11; 5:7; 16:20; 1 Cor. 8:4; 10:19-20). There are, then, two categories of “gods”: true Gods (of which there is only one, Jehovah) and false gods (of which there are unfortunately many).

The JWs, however, in agreement with most anti­trinitarian groups today that claim to believe in the Bible, cannot agree that there is only one true God, despite the Bible’s saying so in just those words, because then they would have to admit that Jesus is that God. Therefore, they appeal to a few isolated texts in the Bible that they claim honor creatures with the title gods without implying that they are false gods. We must next consider these texts briefly.

Are Angels Gods?

There are two kinds of creatures that the JWs claim are honored as gods in Scripture—angels and men. We begin with angels. The usual prooftext in support of this claim is Psalm 8:5, which the NWT renders, “You also proceeded to make him [man] a little less than godlike ones.” The word translated “godlike ones” here is elohim, the usual word for “God,” but (because plural) also translatable as “gods.” Since Hebrews 2:7 quotes this verse as saying, “You made him a little lower than angels” (NWT), the Witnesses con­clude that Psalm 8:5 is calling angels “gods.”

There are numerous objections to this line of reasoning, only some of which can be mentioned here. First, it is questionable that in its original context elohim in Psalm 8:5 should be understood to refer to angels and translated “gods” or “godlike ones.” This is because in context this psalm is speaking of man’s place in creation in terms that closely parallel Genesis 1. Psalm 8:3 speaks of the creation of the heavens, moon, and stars (cf. Gen. 1:1, 8, 16). Verse 4 asks how God can consider man significant when com­pared with the grandeur of creation. The answer given is that man rules over creation—over the inhabitants of the land, sky, and sea (vv. 6-8; cf. Gen. 1:26-28). What links this question and answer in Psalm 8 is the statement that God made man “a little lower than elohim,” which parallels in thought the Genesis statement that man was created “in the image of elohim,” that is, in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). This makes it quite reasonable to conclude that in its own context Psalm 8:5 is meant to be understood as saying that man is a little lower than God, not angels.

If this view is correct, why does Hebrews 2:7 have the word angels rather than God? The simple answer is that the author of Hebrews was quoting from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament prepared by Jewish scholars and in common use in the first century. The fact that the writer of Hebrews quoted the Septuagint does not imply that the Septuagint rendering he quoted was a literal or accurate word-for-word translation of the Hebrew text (after all, “angels” is certainly not a literal translation of “gods”). Rather, Hebrews 2:7 is a paraphrase of Psalm 8:5 that, while introducing a new understanding of it, does not contradict it. Psalm 8 says that the son of man (meaning mankind) was made a little lower than God; Hebrews 2 says that the Son of Man (meaning Christ) was made a little lower than the angels. The psalm speaks of man’s exalted status, while Hebrews speaks of Christ’s temporary hum­bling. Since the angels are, of course, lower than God, and since Christ’s humbled status was that of a man, what Hebrews says does not contradict Psalm 8:5, though it does go beyond it.

It must be admitted that this is not the only way of reading Hebrews 2:7 and Psalm 8:5. It is just possible that Hebrews 2:7 does implicitly understand Psalm 8:5 to be calling angels “gods.” If this were correct, it would not mean that angels were truly gods. It might then be argued that the point of Psalm 8:5 was that man was made just a little lower than the spiritual creatures so often wrongly worshiped by men as gods. This would fit the context of Hebrews 2:7 also, since from Hebrews 1:5 through the end of chapter 2 the author argues for the superiority of the Son over angels. That is, Hebrews might be taken to imply that even God’s angels can be idolized if they are wrongly ex­alted or worshiped as gods (which some early heretics were doing [cf. Col. 2:18]).

Moreover, this interpretation would also fit Hebrews 1:6, which quotes Psalm 97:7 as saying that all of God’s angels should worship the Son. Psalm 97:7 in Hebrew is a com­mand to the “gods” (identified in the immediate context as idols) to worship Jehovah. Thus, Hebrews 1:6 testifies at once both to the fact that angels, if they are considered gods at all, are false gods, and that Jesus Christ is worshiped by angels as Jehovah the true God.

There are other reasons for denying that angels are truly gods in a positive sense. The Bible flatly states that demonic spirits are not gods (1 Cor. 10:20; Gal. 4:8). Since demons are just as much spirits, and presumably are just as much “mighty ones” (though wicked) as the holy angels, it fol­lows that angels cannot be gods by virtue of their being “mighty ones. “

Furthermore, the translation of elohim in Psalm 8:5 as “godlike ones” runs into the problem of contradicting the Bible, which flatly and repeatedly states that none are like God (Exod. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kings 8:23; 1 Chron. 17:20; Ps. 86:8; Isa. 40:18, 25; 44:7; 46:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Mic. 7:18), though creatures may reflect God’s moral qualities (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2).

Finally, even if angels were gods in some positive sense, that would not explain in what sense Jesus Christ is called “God,” since he is not an angel—he is God’s Son (Heb. 1:4-5); is worshiped by all the angels (Heb. 1:6); is the God who reigns, not a spirit messenger (Heb. 1:7-9); and is the Lord who created everything, not an angel created to serve (Heb. 1:10-13).

Before leaving this question, it should be noted in passing that Satan is called “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4 Niv), but clearly in the sense of a false god, one who is wrongly allowed to usurp the place of the true God in the present age. That is the point of 2 Corinthians 4:4, not that Satan is a mighty one.

Are Mighty Men Gods?

The Witnesses claim that not only mighty angels, but also mighty men, are called “gods” in Scripture in rec­ognition of their might. This claim, however, is open to even more difficult objections than the claim that angels are gods.

The Bible explicitly denies that powerful men, such as kings and dictators and military leaders, are gods (Ezek. 28:2, 9; see also Isa. 31:3; 2 Thess. 2:4). In fact, frequently in Scripture “man” and “God” are used as opposite catego­ries, parallel with “flesh” and “spirit” (Num. 23:19; Isa. 31:3; Hos. 11:9; Matt. 19:26; John 10:33; Acts 12:22; 1 Cor. 14:2). In this light, texts that are alleged to call men “gods” in a positive sense ought to be studied carefully and alterna­tive interpretations followed where context permits.

The usual text cited in this connection, as in the JW booklet, is Psalm 82:6, “I said, you are gods,” which is quoted by Jesus in John 10:34. This verse has commonly been interpreted (by trinitarians as well as antitrinitarians, though with different conclusions drawn) to be calling Isra­elite judges “gods” by virtue of their honorable office of representing God to the people in judgment. Assuming this interpretation to be correct, the verse would not then be saying that judges really are gods in the sense of “mighty ones.” Rather, it would simply be saying that as judges in Israel they represented God. This representative sense of “gods” would then have to be distinguished from a qualita­tive sense, in which creatures are called “gods” as a description of the kind of beings they are.

There are good reasons, however, to think that the Isra­elite judges are being called “gods” not to honor them but to expose them as false gods. This may be seen best by a close reading of the entire psalm.

In Psalm 82:1 Jehovah God is spoken of by the psalmist in the third person: “God takes His stand He judges” (NAss). The psalmist says, “God [elohimi takes his stand in the assembly of God [el]; he judges in the midst of the gods [elohimr (my translation). Here we are confronted with two elohim: God, and the judges, called by the psalmist “gods.”

In verses 2-5 God’s judgment against the Israelite judges is pronounced. They are unjust, show partiality to the wicked, allow the wicked to abuse the poor and helpless, and by their unjust judgment are destroying the founda­tions of life on earth.

Then in verse 6 we read, “I said, ‘You are gods….‘” This is a reference back to the psalmist’s calling the judges “gods” in verse 1: “He judges in the midst of the gods.” The succeeding lines make clear that although the psalmist referred to the wicked judges as “gods,” they were not really gods at all and proved themselves not up to the task of being gods. This is made clear in two ways.

First, the second line of verse 6 adds, “And all of you are sons of the Most High.” What can this mean? The similar expression “sons of God” is used in the Old Testament only of angels (Gen. 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1), unless one interprets Genesis 6:1-4 to be speaking of a godly line of men. The Israelite judges were neither angels nor godly men. Hosea 1:10 speaks prophetically of Gentiles becoming “sons of the living God,” but this has reference to Gentiles becoming Christians and thus adopted children of God (Rom. 9:26). The judges were not Christians, either. The easiest, if not only, explanation is that they are called “sons of the Most High” in irony. That is, the psalmist calls them “sons of the Most High” not because they really were, but because they thought of themselves as such, and to show up that attitude as ridiculous (see a similar use of irony by Paul in 1 Cor. 4:8). If this is correct, it would imply that they were also called “gods” in irony. Thus the thought would be that these human judges thought of themselves as gods, immortal beings with the power of life and death.

The next lines, in Psalm 82:7, confirm such an inter­pretation: the judges are told that they are ordinary men who will die. The clear implication is that though they seemed to rule over the life and death of their fellow Isra­elites, they were no more gods than anyone else, because—like even the greatest of men—they will die.

Then, in verse 8, the psalmist addresses God in the sec­ond person, “Arise, 0 God, judge the earth!” (NASB). In other words, the judges have proved themselves to be false gods; now let the true God come and judge the world in righteousness.

This way of reading Psalm 82 does not conflict with or undermine Christ’s argument in John 10:34-36. When he says, “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35 NASB), nothing in the text demands that the “gods” be anything but false gods. Jesus’ argu­ment may be paraphrased and expanded as follows:

Is it not written in the Law which you call your own, “I said, `You are gods”? The psalmist, whom you regard as one of your own, and yourselves as worthy successors to him, called those wicked judges, against whom the word of God came in judgment, “gods.” And yet the Scripture cannot be broken; it must have some fulfillment. Therefore these worthless judges must have been called “gods” for a reason, to point to some worthy human judge who is rightly called God. Now the Father has witnessed to my holy calling and sent me into the world to fulfill everything he has purposed. That being so, how can you, who claim to follow in the tradition of the psalmist, possibly be justified in rejecting the fulfillment of his words by accusing me of blasphemy for calling myself the Son of God? How can you escape being associated with those wicked judges who judged unjustly by your unjust judgment of me?

By this interpretation, Jesus is saying that what the Isra­elite judges were called in irony and condemnation, he is in reality and in holiness; he does what they could not do and is what they could not be. This kind of positive fulfillment in Christ contrasted with a human failure in the Old Testa­ment occurs elsewhere in the New Testament, notably the contrast between the sinner Adam and the righteous Christ (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45).

To summarize, the judges called “gods” in Psalm 82 could not have been really gods, because the Bible denies that mighty or authoritative men are gods. If they are called “gods” in a positive sense, it is strictly a figurative expres­sion for their standing in God’s place in judging his people. But more likely they are called “gods” in irony, to expose them as wicked judges who were completely inadequate to the task of exercising divine judgment. However one inter­prets Psalm 82, then, there is no basis for teaching that there are creatures who may be described qualitatively as gods.

We conclude, then, that the biblical statements that there is only one God are not contradicted or modified one bit by the prooftexts cited by JWs to prove that creatures may be honored as gods. There is one Creator, and all else is created; one Eternal, and all else temporal; one Sovereign Lord, and all else undeserving servants; one God, and all else worshipers. Anything else is a denial of biblical monotheism.

Robert M. Bowman, Why You Should Believe In The Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1997), 49-58.

WAYNE GRUDEM:

An In-Depth four-part-series on the Trinity in Christian theology.


Two SCRIBD Papers


A Letter I Wrote A Co-Worker by Papa Giorgio

Apologetics – Trinity Defined by Papa Giorgio

The Mormon “god” Is Captive To The Cosmos

(Video Description) Shannon asked me at the 2 minute mark: “Could it be possible that God was also saved, and also became a new creature, and therefore was fully capable of becoming a god?” August 29, 2019, at the BYU vs Utah game (GOD NEVER SINNED) Multiple women that I spoke to from the anti-vax group promoted conspiracy theories. The last conversation of the night I have was, no joke, with a flat-earther who supposed we hadn’t landed on the moon. I encouraged her to read my article, “Christians, Don’t Waste Your Life on Conspiracy Theories

This video can be found on YouTube, HERE. The reason I uploaded it to my Vimeo was to enhance the lower “discussion” volume for better understanding.

  • Joseph Smith said, “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take the veil away…. God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man”” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345-346).
  • Brigham Young said “It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being” (Desert News, November 16, 1859, page 290).
  • LORENZO SNOW‘S famous quip: “As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.”

I have pointed out the “sin” aspect of this since reading a book titled, “The Mormon Concept of God: A Philosophical Analysis (Studies in American Religion),” by Francis J. Beckwith and Stephen E. Parrish. But Aaron Shafovaloff’s description of a “regional god,” a “most high god over a region of the cosmos” is a great added description to make a point with a Mormon.

Here is a portion of my chapter on the matter


INFINITELY FINITE:
MORMON MATERIALISM


I had a Saturday off and was watching my nephews as well as my boys (not watching as much as making sure serious injury did not occur as oft happens with young boys); my wife was off shopping at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart. Just prior to her getting back my nephews were picked up (not by child protective services, by their mother) and I came out to help unload the car when my wife pulled up. As I was doing so she asked who the guys with name tags on their shirts and ties were that go door to door.

Wondering why after almost twenty years of discussing such matters and having hundreds of books on both Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses lining our walls she would be asking such a question, I responded, “Mormon elders.” She responded, “Well, they just walked around the corner of our building.” Giddy, I started gathering my thoughts just in case they came to our door. I had compiled a new “routine” to use with Mormons that I thought would be an effective dismantling of their worldview and make them hunger for the truth. Sure enough, as I was carrying in a heavier item I could see through our kitchen window two clean cut guys come to the door. I directed their attention through the screen of the opened kitchen window by telling them I would be with them in a moment. I gave the wife a glance and she gave me that “go get’em Tiger” “look” that Spiderman gets from M.J.

After inviting them in, getting settled, with some small talk and the ritual offering of something for them to drink, they asked if I had any questions for them. I said, “I do in fact have a question, and the question stems from the previous election year and the exchange between Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney (via the media) who were both running for the Republican nomination.” They were quick to say that the church does not support any one candidate, that they are politically neutral. After their disclaimer I continued, “in an off-cuff remark to a reporter, Mike Huckabee mentioned that Mitt Romney and Mormons believe that Jesus and Lucifer are literal brothers. When Mitt Romney heard about this comment from Huckabee, he responded that this is a canard used by people against the church” (rough quote).

  • “So, my question is this gentlemen, maybe you can answer it, are Lucifer and Jesus brothers?”[1]

I got a decidedly more open answer than I expected, but they fell short of getting to the point I was fishing for, which is: that Heavenly Father (whom they consider God) and one of his wives had celestial sex in order to produce children whom relate to each other as siblings, making us all at least half-brothers and sisters (as there are many wives/goddesses in the Mormon heaven), and this god and goddesses were themselves conceived in much the same way.[2]One author makes the point that due to this heavenly progeny we are all children of these beings, so “Jesus, Joseph Smith, Noah, Adam, John the Baptist…. Lucifer, who would become the Devil (a.k.a. Satan), Napoleon, George Washington, Joseph Smith, Louis Armstrong, Donny and Marie Osmond, Senator Orrin Hatch, U.S. President George W. Bush, and everyone else who has ever lived on this planet”[3] are siblings.

I retrieved off of one of my bookshelves a manual meant for preparing young Mormons for marriage in the temple on a seminary level. It is entitled, Achieving Celestial Marriage.[4] (I WILL ATTACH THIS ENTIRE PAGE IN THE APPENDIX.) Reading from this should be short and sweet; all you are doing is making sure they understand the church’s stance on the issue, thus, clearing up any misconceived ideas on their part.

“If you gentlemen will indulge me, I want to read from the church’s own understanding of this topic,” I then typically show them that this manual is indeed printed and published by the church, and then I read:

“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.”[5]

Continuing, I read just the headings and subheadings of the next sections:

  • 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

This quick and simple reading from their own church’s seminary level publication gets us both on the same page quickly.[6] I do not argue this point with them, I merely move on with this assumption in mind, that their god at some point in the finite past did not exist in bodily form (at all actually) — was born in a heaven similar to ours, born again on the earth, and was exalted into the position he is in now. In other words, at one point in the finite past, Heavenly Father did not exist as we know him today. It is from this premise I continue without missing a beat. “So, according to official church doctrine, Mormon theologians, and Mormon apologists, there is an infinite regress of gods being born and giving birth to other gods. So ‘Heavenly Father’ himself was given birth to in a similar fashion we were, and that father of your ‘heavenly father,’ in turn had a father as well. So in a sense there is a great grandfather god, and so on as you regress backward into time.” Again, this is not a point to argue, if they try, just point to the manual and say you are going off of official Mormon understanding of the issue, and then continue.

Make the point next then, that this differs from the historic, theistic understanding of God.[7] In the Judeo-Christian understanding of creation, even the space-time continuum was created.[8] The Mormon concept has gods being born into an already established, eternally, existing space with an already eternally existing form of matter. In other words, natural laws, moral laws, mathematical parameters and concepts, spatial components, logic, and the like, must have pre-dated Heavenly Father (the Mormon god of this world). The eye, kidney, inner ear, were not created like the Christian understands that God created them. The Christian has in mind that God created DNA and its accompanying RNA, the coccyx, brain, epidermis, the ability to pro-create, when He spoke Adam and Eve into existence. Prior to that these “items,” if I can flippantly refer to them as such, did not exist.

In Mormon theology, on the other hand, DNA pre-dated Heavenly Father, and in fact, he only passes on these as traits to his offspring as they were passed on to him by his father in a sexual act with other goddesses. These forces, the laws of biogenesis, inheritance, gravity, math, moral laws, all impose onto these gods then.[9] The God in Christianity is above these. Actually, the God of the Judeo-Christian reality authored or is the genesis of these concepts; the god in Mormonism is in a sense secondary to these forces or laws imposing upon him in some fashion.[10] Author and pastor Mike Robinson adeptly points this out when he writes:

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.[11]

As we will see, even the potentiality of all of us becoming gods is connected to the primordial “sea” — if you will, of “souls” which Mormons refer to as our preexistence — that when used in connection with the birth of these spirit children allow them to be able to become gods in exaltation. This makes these gods, however, dependent on something that is either co-eternal or preexistent to their godhood being conferred on them; or, alternatively, their godhood being realized. This again makes the Mormon gods secondary and dependent on that which precedes them or is co-eternal with them.[12]

Here we will step away from the general conversational points one can make with these young Mormon missionaries and get into the knitty gritty for the readers edification, if we haven’t already done so. We will pick up the more general talking point in a bit. James Talmage, Mormon Apostle and theologian, in his very important Mormon text, Articles of Faith, says the following:

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)[13]

What are these infinite properties that pre-date and in some sense coexist eternally in some form with these gods from which they derive their “eternality” from? 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[14]

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[15] in an infinite lineage of gods.”[16] 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.[17]

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,[18] 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.[19]

However, this gets beyond even the debate between Christian theology and Mormon theology, as we will soon see. Returning now to the conversation a bit. I often ask these Mormon elders, if the conversation allows, “why they think that whenever an atheist debates the issue of God in a university setting or formal debate, they never debate against the Mormon concept of god?” Of course they do not know because this question is rarely — if ever — posed to them. “I will tell you,” continuing, “It is because the atheist would be arguing against himself.” This always gets inquisitive looks and they always will ask why this is.

“Let me explain why this is,” and so I continued. I mentioned that when a person who is a lifelong atheist is born here on earth, matter (atoms, quarks, dirt, water, air, etc) doesn’t then begin to exist at the same time they are conceived; matter predated the birth of any person here on earth. The earth, the stars, and the like were here long before the not too hypothetical 45-year old atheist. Not only that, but natural laws such as the law of gravity, the laws of motion were also before this person being born and so, this person is subject to them, and in fact, lives under their sway and effects on the entire cosmos. 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.” (Here one may grant that in the Mormon heaven the laws may be a bit different than here on earth — 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.) So here are two important definitions to express to these young men in some form or fashion:

Heavenly Father

Born into an environment that imposes forces on him that are both older than him and because of there (these laws) imposing forces on him (gravity, causality, entropywhatever) 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, entropywhatever) 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 point to the classical Judeo-Christian theistic thinking on matters such as these: God created even the laws of the weak and strong nuclear force and the like, matter, energy, even the space-time were brought into existence at some point in the finite past by my God. I will right about now mention that this little presentation I just gave them is what I like to call “the ‘your god is too small’ presentation.”

FOOTNOTES

[1] This has become my standard opener in steering these young men down the “rabbit-trail,” so-to-speak. Often times they are not aware of the whole dynamic of their own faith, theology, and all that it entails.

[2] John Ankerberg and John Weldon, What Do Mormons Really Believe? (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2002), 54-59

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

[4] (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.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Usually I make this point – that Heavenly Father was a mortal man – early in the conversation, and, will revisit this idea of Heavenly Father being a man born into a world of his own by stating the argument another way. I will point out that it is possible that their god owned a gas station, worked at a grocery store as a clerk, went to college, or, even like myself, could have been convicted of crimes and done jail time before becoming “exalted.”

[7] A definition here is warranted:

Theism is the worldview that an infinite, personal God created the universe and miraculously intervenes in it from time to time…. God is both transcendent over the universe and immanent in it. The three great theistic religions are Judaism, Islam, and Christianity…. The World Was Created Ex Nihilo. [In-other-words] The world is not eternal. It came into existence by God’s fiat (decree). Its existence is totally contingent and dependent. The universe was not created from pre-existing material (ex materia), as in materialism, nor was it made out of God’s essence (ex Deo), as in pantheism. It was brought into existence by God, but from nothing.

Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 722-723.

[8] Another short definition of this “before time” concept:

Time and space are creations of God that began at the Big Bang. If you go back beyond the beginning of time itself, there is simply eternity. By that, I mean eternity in the sense of timelessness. God, the eternal, is timeless in his being. God did not endure through an infinite amount of time up to the moment of creation; that would be absurd. God transcends time. He’s beyond time. Once God creates the universe, he could enter time, but that’s a different topic altogether.

Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Towards God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 104.

[9] 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), 148.

[10] Ibid., 223

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

[12] This idea of derivative or dependent deity in polytheism is explained by professor Roy Clouser:

In many polytheistic traditions there are ac­counts of how the gods came into existence. This means that the divinity of such gods is clearly regarded as derived and secondary as compared to what­ever is divine in the sense of having unconditional reality and accounts for their origins (from now on I will call this the status of being divine per se). Take, for example, the account of the gods of ancient Greece as found in Hesiod and Homer. In Hesiod’s account, the natural world in an undifferentiated state is what just is; it exists unconditionally and gave rise to everything else after it generated a gap between the earth and the heavens he called Chaos. Following that initial change, all other specific forms of existence were generated includ­ing the gods. According to Homer the primordial reality was Okeanos, a vast expanse of watery stuff from which arose all else including the gods. Despite their differences, then, both accounts agree that the gods are dependent on a more basic reality so the gods are themselves derivative realities. This is why no one of them — nor all of them together — could be called “creator” in the sense that God is in Genesis. Moreover, the gods are not only secondary divini­ties because of their optic dependency upon something else that is divine per se. They are also secondary in the noetic sense, since the beliefs about them depend upon the belief in Okeanos or Chaos. For no individual being could be believed to be a god — that is, a being with more divine power than humans possess — unless it was already believed that there is a per se divine source of all other things which confers varying degrees of power upon them. The same is true of the myths of ancient Babylonia. In them, too, the gods acquire their divine status and power derivatively.

    • For according to them, the origin of all things was the primeval watery chaos, represented by the pair Apsu and Tiamat…. With them the cosmogenic theogony begins.

The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories (Notre Dame, IN: Uviversity of Notre Dame Press, 2005), 17-18 (emphasis added).

[13] 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.)

[14] Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, 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.

These footnotes for the quotes within the quote are taken from One Nation Under Gods, 577.

[15] 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.

[16] The New Mormon Challenge, 224.

[17] 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.

[18] 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).

[19] 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.)


APPENDIX


CLICK TO ENLARGE IN NEW WINDOW

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:

Read my chapter discussing Mormon Theology titled:

Infinitely Finite – Mormon Materialism (PDF)

 

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!