Last month (30 June 2008) the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle ran a short article profiling four Latter-day Saints from the Rochester, New York area. Dorothy Holmes was one of the Mormons interviewed. The article mostly covered Mrs. Holmes’ family and her life-long activity in the LDS Church, but she is quoted as providing the following testimony:
“I believe the doctrines of the church,” she says. “And our church teaches a lifestyle that encourages us to live well and to serve other people. Even if our doctrines were wrong, you wouldn’t lose anything.”
I don’t know what Mrs. Holmes meant by the word “anything,” but biblically, sound doctrine matters.
Christian pastor John Piper exlpains,
“God gives good press to doctrine… In God’s book, knowing his Son and believing true things about him is liberty. ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). God’s self-revelation in the Bible is not a wax nose. Paul calls it ‘the standard of teaching to which you were committed’ (Romans 6:17). It’s a standard, a yardstick, a pattern. You measure truth by it. Elsewhere he calls it ‘the whole counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27), and the ‘pattern of the sound words’ and ‘the good deposit entrusted to you’ (2 Timothy 1:13-14). It does not change. Our everlasting salvation is determined by whether we believe it: ‘Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son’ (2 John 1:9). Depart from the doctrine, and you depart from Christ. Or, better, keep watch over your doctrine and “[by so doing] you will save [both] yourself [and your hearers]” (1 Timothy 4:16).
When Mrs. Holmes says Mormons who live a good lifestyle wouldn’t “lose anything” if the doctrines of the LDS Church were wrong, she’s advocating for a wholly works-based belief system. In this view, eternal happiness is based on how well a person does at living morally and helping others. Proponents of this view apparently think human beings are able to perform righteous and holy deeds sufficient to equal the perfect holiness required by God (but see Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 3:10-20).
God says this: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Knowledge of who God is, is doctrine.
Mormon doctrine says, among other things, that God the Father was once a man on another planet who achieved Godhood by obeying the LDS Gospel; he is a being of flesh and bone; he is of the same species as mankind; he is but one of many gods in a long line of gods stretching back through eternity; he is subject to natural law.
In contrast, Christianity has always held that the doctrine of God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible is this: He is eternally God; the only true God, past, present and future; a Being of spirit; transcendent and unique; Creator of all, subject to none.
If the Mormon doctrine of God is wrong, Mormons don’t lose anything, they lose everything. Take care, friends. Anyone following and trusting the wrong god has built his spiritual house upon the sand. The rain will fall, the floods will come, and the winds will blow and beat against it, and great will be the fall of it (see Matthew 7).
For more information see God the Father According to Mormonism