As Gladys Knight performed last weekend, she shared the story of her conversion nine years ago from Baptist to Mormon.
Knight led her 100-member [Mormon] choir, Saints Unified Voices, and preached to 3,000 people during two services over the weekend at the Suitland Stake Center, headquarters for 12 Mormon congregations in the District and Southern Maryland.
The weekend events were LDS “firesides,” intended to reach out to the community. An African American man in attendance, Bryan Powell, was interviewed by the Washington Post. He converted to Mormonism 12 years ago from a Pentecostal church.
Powell said he paid a price to become a Mormon. “People were saying, how could you join that white man’s church? I corrected them to say that it wasn’t the white man’s church, but the Lord’s church. This is why the [Gladys Knight] event was so important because it showed that the church is open to all races, creeds and colors.”
I’m having trouble understanding Mr. Powell’s comment. What can he mean that the LDS Church is “open to all…creeds”? The whole purpose of the Restoration, the formation of the Mormon Church, was to do away with the creeds of Christendom which God allegedly told Joseph Smith were an abomination to Him.
During General Conference in October 1972 LDS Apostle LeGrand Richards spoke on the “Strange Creeds of Christendom.” He said,
I would like to say a few words this morning about the statement the Savior made that “their creeds are an abomination in my sight.” When Satan was cast out of heaven, the cry went out: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth … for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Rev. 12:12.) “And thus he goeth … seeking to destroy the souls of men.” (D&C 10:27.) And how does he try to destroy people? By taking a little truth and mixing it with a lot of error to deceive the hearts of the people.
That is what Isaiah meant when he said: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! … For thou has said in thine heart, … I will exalt my throne above the stars of God … I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:12–14.) For he is the man who made the earth to tremble, who did shake kingdoms, and thus deceived the nations. (See Isa. 14:16.) That is what Jesus came to tell us, that “their creeds were an abomination in his sight” because Satan has deceived the nations. (Ensign, January 1973)
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie also supported the idea that the creeds are the work of the devil. He wrote,
Actually, the spirit which imposed [the creeds] on people in the early days was from beneath. (Mormon Doctrine, “Creeds,” page 171)
More recently, LDS Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said in General Conference,
“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (A of F 1:1). This first article of faith epitomizes our doctrine. We do not accept the Athanasian Creed. We do not accept the Nicene Creed, nor any other creed based on tradition and the conclusions of men. (Ensign, November 1998)
So what does it mean to say the LDS Church is open to all creeds? It doesn’t accept any creeds; it thinks the creeds originated with Satan; and it proclaims that God calls all creeds an abomination. But the LDS Church is nevertheless open to these creeds?
I don’t get it.