Five Basic Principles of a Mormon Testimony

A very popular new book (# 2 at this writing) found in the LDS bookstore chain Deseret Book is The Testimony Glove. According to the Testimony Gloves blog, “Testimony Gloves are a tool to help children understand the basic principles of a [Mormon] testimony.” This testimony is comprised of five points of knowledge:

  • God is their Heavenly Father
  • Jesus Christ is their Savior and Redeemer
  • Joseph Smith is a prophet of God
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s church on earth today
  • The church is led by a living prophet


The Testimony Glove uses a picture on each fingertip to remind children of what these points are. According to Deseret News, “Primary children put on the glove, which represents the Holy Ghost. Then, they put the pictures on the appropriate finger as they discuss each of the five points.”

The Testimony Glove is said to be very meaningful. Deseret News said:

  • It changes [people’s] lives
  • It helps prepare children for LDS baptism
  • It reactivates families
  • It teaches the gospel
  • It anchors adult’s testimonies

Kristen Oaks, wife of LDS apostle Dallin Oaks, said the five points of testimony “are core doctrines. There’s nothing fluffy about it. Those are eternal principles, and they [the children] will remember them.”

Reading about the Mormon Testimony Glove made me think of a Christian teaching aid that uses colors (instead of pictures) to teach five points of what Christians recognize as the Gospel. It’s called The Wordless Book.

In 1866 Christian pastor Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on Psalm 51:7 – “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” His sermon began,

“I daresay you have most of you heard of a little book which an old divine used constantly to study, and when his friends wondered what there was in the book, he told them that he hoped they would all know and understand it, but that there was not single word in it. When they looked at it, they found that it consisted of only three leaves; the first was black, the second was red, and the third was pure white. The old minister used to gaze upon the black leaf to remind him of his sinful state by nature, upon the red leaf to call to his remembrance the precious blood of Christ, and upon the white leaf to picture to him the perfect righteousness which God has given to believers through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ his Son.”

Over the years The Wordless Book has been expanded to include two more colors. Today, the book is usually found in this form:

  • Black: representing the sinful state of humanity by nature (Romans 3:23)
  • Red: representing the sacrificial blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7)
  • White: representing the perfect righteousness which God has given to believers through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ his Son (Psalm 51:7)
  • Green: representing one’s need to grow in Christ after salvation (2 Peter 3:18)
  • Gold: representing Heaven (Romans 6:23)

Unlike The Testimony Glove, which is a set of Mormon teachings children (and others) must affirm, The Wordless Book is a set of biblical truths God asks us to embrace; biblical truths that lead directly to forgiveness of sin and new life in Christ. The Wordless Book presents the Gospel – the Good News – that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). That though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). That the incredibly great free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23).

Charles Spurgeon anticipated an objection to the amazing message of The Wordless Book and therefore finished his 1866 sermon with this:

“There may be one in this place who is afraid to think that Christ will save him. My dear friend, do my Master the honour to believe that there are no depths of sin into which you may have gone which are beyond his reach. Believe that there is no sin that is too black to be washed away by the precious blood of Christ, for he has said, ‘All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men,’ and ‘all manner of sin’ must include yours. It is the very greatness of God’s mercy that sometimes staggers a sinner…poor sinner, you know that you do not deserve such grace as God delights to give. But the fact that it is of grace shuts out the question of merit altogether. ‘By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.’ God’s gifts are like himself, immeasurably great…God gives as God…So, sinner, go to the great God, with your great sin, and ask for great grace that you may be washed in the great fountain filled with the blood of the great sacrifice, and you shall have the great salvation which Christ has procured, and for it you shall ascribe great praise for ever and ever to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God grant that it may be so, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.”

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Forgiveness, Gospel, Mormon Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Five Basic Principles of a Mormon Testimony

  1. f_melo says:

    Besides being creepy, the testimony glove looks more like a juvenile attempt to better brainwash the children into subjection to the “brethren”. Too bad for the LDS church that even that kind of heavy brainwashing isn´t enough to obscure truth when God show its light in His mercy to people. That might help them get a stronger hold on children, but it isn´t enough to avoid the consequences of living as a faithful mormon – the fruits of mormonism will still show and they´ll still damage their lives just as they do today.
    What i find very interesting is that they´ve created somewhat of a five point creed and a creepy way to catechise a child. Will the bishop interview them for baptism using it? It would look quite elementary even for a 8 years-old, but hey, an “apostle´s” (plural spiritually)wife invented it, it must be holy… Maybe the mormon church should open its pockets a little wider and buy the rights to the Sesame Street characters, i´m sure that would work much better and it would be far more atractive – they are obviously not interested in teaching the children, but engraving upon their minds what they want them to believe no matter what. Btw, where´s the finger with free-agency on it?
    If they weren´t a non-Christian cult all fingers would have Jesus on it.

  2. falcon says:

    As has been pointed out before, in Christianity it’s all about Jesus and His atoning work on the cross, the love mercy and benevolence of the Father who stretches out his hand in forgiveness to offer us the gift of salvation through faith (in Christ)-justification, and finally the infilling/baptism of the Holy Spirit who leads us in our walk-the process of sanctification. Finally, glorification, being with the Father for eternity as a result of what Christ did for us; a gulf we could never have crossed on our own merit.
    What the Mormon five points do is attempt to lock a child in the LDS church for life. The LDS church is seen as the source by which a person faithful to the institution can reach the highest level of LDS glory, becoming a god. The conditioning that is attempted with the five fingers of the Mormon testimony is to insure a steady stream of money and workers that will keep the LDS institution chugging along.
    In Mormonism there is no accountability for the leadership because it’s a top down institution. Those above, judge those below on their devotion to the organization. There is no bottom-up where by the leaders are held to account for their actions.
    There is today a steady stream of members out of the LDS church. The glove and it’s lessons cannot keep a grip on those people willing to ask probing questions about the history, doctrines and practices of the Mormon church.

  3. canuck54 says:

    ` The Testimony Glove is said to be very meaningful. Deseret News said:
    ■It changes [people’s] lives
    ■It helps prepare children for LDS baptism
    ■It reactivates families
    ■It teaches the gospel
    ■It anchors adult’s testimonies `
    The glove changes people`s lives? Not Jesus?
    The glove helps prepare children for LDS baptism? Not an awareness of who Jesus is and what baptism is all about?
    It reactivates families? What, so that they once again become active tithe paying members?
    It teaches the gospel? A glove teaches the gospel?!
    It anchors adults testimonies? Not faith in Christ, studying the scriptures, praying, meeting withn other believers?
    I don`t know whether to laugh or cry.

    canuck

  4. Kate says:

    Great article Sharon. As I read through this I couldn’t help but notice that 3 of the 5 fingers are the LDS church. Can we really count the other 2? It shows a picture of Jesus, but in Mormonism Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. We all know that God is a Spirit 2 Crointhians 3:17, so how is it that he is pictured as a kindly old Grandfather on finger 1? Reading that part of the article took me back to my Mormon days. What sadness. There was no light of Christ in Mormonism.

    “It is the very greatness of God’s mercy that sometimes staggers a sinner…poor sinner, you know that you do not deserve such grace as God delights to give.”

    I love this. We are all sinners. God loves us still. Through his Grace and our belief and faith in him, he will Save us. He knows we aren’t perfect and that we will never be perfect. Striving in the Mormon system to be perfect is exhausting. Mormons believe that Christians feel they are free to sin and so they go out, live it up and sin away. I too believed this because it is what I was taught. How different the truth is. How different is the truth that as a Christian, I strive to live a better life to glory God, not to “earn” a brownie point towards my Salvation. As a Mormon I never understood the Grace of God. What a wonderful gift!

  5. grindael says:

    There is also something called the “Good News Glove”, where they obviously got the idea from:

    Package of 12 gloves

    The Good News Glove is a classic and fun tool to witness to children. This colorful glove helps children understand and remember the gospel. Each finger of the glove is a different color and each color communicates a basic spiritual truth in an exciting and game-like manner that captures kid’s attention and hearts. Can be used alone or with the Good News Comic Book.

    Pack of 12
    Plastic Glove
    ISBN 1563990741
    Life ConneXions

    http://www.campuscrusade.com/catalog/Good-News-Glove.html

    ~johnny

  6. falcon says:

    Kate,
    I don’t want to lecture an exMormon because you’ve been there and experienced life inside the system, but here goes my mini-lecture.
    The institution of Mormonism and the system that embodies it is more important than Jesus and the Mormon god, known as Heavenly Father.
    How can I make such an outrageous statement? Well first of all because I’m The Falcon and that is what I do, make outrageous statements.
    The Mormon system was/is responsible for making Mormon gods. In that sense the Mormon gods are subject to the system that created them. There is no “head god” in the pantheon of Mormon gods. There are only former men who went through the system and became gods and who are evolving even more in wisdom and knowledge. A Mormon god can’t make a man a god by fiat. The man must go through the system. The men are subject to eternal laws that make them gods.
    THE INSTITUTION MUST PREVAIL!!!!!!!
    Now none of this can be found in the Bible or in the history of the Church. It’s not there. I guess those rascally Catholic monks that left the Mormon system of god making out of the Bible also got to the writings of the Church Fathers and even the heretics and removed it there also.
    When Christians talk about “loving the Church” they are talking about the mystical Body of Christ made up of the people, the Bride, and Jesus, the Bride-Groom.
    A Mormon is subject to the institution of Mormonism. Christian are subject to Jesus Christ who loved us so much that He was willing to suffer, shed His blood and die that we might have eternal life.
    Mormons owe everything to the Mormon system. Without the system they will not become gods.

  7. falcon says:

    Kate,
    So if a Mormon man isn’t really interested in becoming a god and if he isn’t doing the work, then what’s the point of belonging to the Mormon church? None at all! In fact that Mormon would be much better off joining one of the other branches of Mormonism like the Community of Christ. They could still haul around their copy of the BoM and wouldn’t have to put-up with all of the pressure imposed by the religious organization out of Salt Lake City.
    Actually a better way to go would be to spend some time studying the history of the Mormon church including the life of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the BoM, and the ever evolving doctrines of the Mormon church and then to a compare and contrast with the teachings of the Bible as it relates to the nature of God, the nature of man and God’s plan of salvation.

  8. gpark says:

    Kate,

    Yes, such an amazing love God had, and has, for us! As Romans 5: 8-10 NKJV says, 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

    We didn’t have to become good enough. Jesus made us good enough! See, also, 1 Corinthians 1:30-31, NKJV 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

    And, see Jeremiah 9:23-24 NKJV 23 Thus says the LORD: “ Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

    New King James Version (NKJV), Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

  9. Sandi B. says:

    They forgot to add “after all you can do.” after Jesus being their Savior and Redeemer.

  10. falcon says:

    Sandi,
    What role is the “Savior and Redeemer” Jesus in Mormonism. Let me give it to you as I understand it. Please feel free to correct me.
    General salvation in Mormonism is a kind of universalist approach in that everyone who has ever lived comes under the blood of Christ. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world so everyone receives the benefit of His sacrifice. There is no hell. There is only outer darkness reserved for apostate Mormons
    The place that one ends up in after death, level of reward, is based on a person’s worthiness, right? So people like me who are orthodox Christian believers and who live a fairly decent life, will get a certain level of reward. Mormons who don’t make it successfully through the system to become a god get a lower level of reward; other than the Celestial Kingdom.
    Now help me out here. It is possible to do the work after you die, correct? That’s what the whole deal is about with baptism for the dead. Adolf Hitler was baptized in in the London Mormon Temple I believe.
    I guess a person couldn’t get all this on a glove. They should maybe come up with a sleeve attached to a glove and add it on up to the elbow. This is why Mormons are into “the church”. They have this mistaken impression that the LDS church has the system and the authority to basically assign folks to where they are headed after death.
    Now where do they get all of this knowledge and wisdom? Well wouldn’t you know it. It’s been “revealed”.
    It’s been revealed to me that the Mormon system is bogus.
    That there is One God and One Mediator between mankind and God and that is Jesus Christ.
    There is no other path to the Father!

  11. Sandi B. says:

    Falcon, yes that is about the size of it. The whole after all you can do, comes from the Book of Mormon, plagerized and that added to version of the Bible, It is by grace we are saved, by faith, after all we can do. While I was a mormon, I realized fairly quickly after my baptism that I wasn’t going to be able to “keep up the good works” so to speak (you can see by testimony under Sandi Bonner at mormoninfo.org) and was content that I was going to just make it to the lowest or terrestial kingdom. The blood of Jesus (or actually Jesus, Himself) is not talked about in the mormon church. According to mormon theologey, I am an apostate and am headed for outer darkness.

  12. Sandi B. says:

    Cont

    Oh they forgot to add another one on the glove. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. This is what I heard very consistently while a part of the church. “I know that the Book of Mormon is true, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, I know that THE CHURCH is the only true church on the face of the earth, I know that Spencer W. Kimbill (dating myself) is a true prophet of God.

  13. Mike R says:

    Canuck54, great comment ! I was thinking along the same line as Kate because I noticed
    right away that Mormon prophets and the Church merited 3 fingers while Jesus and His
    Father were left with the other two . Something seems strange here . In any event, I think
    that this Mormon glove when contrasted with the colors mentioned by Mr. Spurgeon will
    clearly show the difference between the religion of Joseph Smith and a relationship with
    Jesus Christ .

  14. Mike R says:

    I was thinking of this glove with it’s 5 fingers each representing an important aspect of
    Mormon belief. This apparently is to teach the youth . I thought that perhaps there might
    be an adult version , maybe the 5 Points of Fellowship , as revealed in the Temple ceremony.
    But then if I remember correctly , this truth , or most of it, has been discarded . Why?
    Maybe one day soon this glove will also drop some of it’s pictures : Joseph Smith, Thomas
    Monson, and the Church . May these be replaced with spiritual truths that directly affect
    a person’s salvation . That’s my prayer.

  15. grindael says:

    You know Mike, it’s interesting that you bring up the Temple Changes. Those occurred in 1990. A member of the Presiding Bishopric (Glenn L. Pace) also wrote the Presidency of the Church in that year. It is dated July 19, 1990, and is directed to the “Strengthening Church Members Committee” of the Mormon Church. In the memo Pace states that he has met with “sixty victims” of “ritualist child abuse,” and that “All sixty individuals are members of the Church.” In that memo he wrote:

    ‎”I’m sorry to say that many of the victims have had their first flashbacks while attending the temple for the first time. The occult along the Wasatch Front uses the doctrine of the Church to their advantage. For example, the verbiage and gestures are used in a ritualistic ceremony in a very debased and often bloody manner. When the victim goes to the temple and hears the exact words, horrible memories are triggered. We have recently been disturbed with members of the Church who have talked about the temple ceremony. Compared to what is happening in the occult along the Wasatch Front, these are very minor infractions. The perpetrators are also living a dual life. Many are temple recommend holders.” (Memo by Glenn Pace, page 4)

    Of course, these ritual killings had been going on for awhile, and were big news in Utah from 1987 onwards. In 1988 the Church did a survey about the Temple ritual. One of the questions was:

    Survey question 28: For a person who had been through the endowment ritual, “did you feel spiritually uplifted by the experience?” and “was the experience unpleasant?” and “were you confused by what happened?”

    Here is the Tanner’s newsletter that covers this in detail: http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no80.htm

  16. falcon says:

    Well what’s confusing to me is the Mormon claim that everything going on in the Temple is sacred. That it is ancient. That it is restored. That it is the way to become a god. Then we have a survey asking the members what their emotional experience was going through the endowment ritual. If these rituals are indeed sacred, ancient and necessary for deification, then why would they be changed based on how someone feels about them? Isn’t what was going on in the Temple a reflection of first century Christianity? Weren’t these things “restored” based on revelation from the Mormon god?
    The change really gets at the phoniness of Mormonism and the fact that these temple rituals are/were an application of what Joseph Smith learned as a Free Mason.
    It’s the same thing with polygamy. It was suppose to be the pathway to becoming a god. It was necessary. Then, bowing to social pressures once again, the Mormon church jettisoned the practice but still kept it on life support in the D&C.
    Well I guess as the Mormon god reveals more truth, wisdom and knowledge to this ever progressing religion, the fingers on the glove will be changed.

  17. Brian says:

    Just beautiful, Sharon. Thanks so much for your thoughtful posting. I think the Gospel bracelet distributed by Campus Crusade for Christ is based on The Wordless Book, with its similarly colored beads.

    Loved the sermons you featured from Charles Spurgeon! He is still among the finest preachers ever.

  18. Kate says:

    grindael,
    I read through the link you provided and that is just too creepy for words! I’m just sickened by that. I remember the big hoopla about the child abuse but I had never heard of the satanic rituals or cults. It makes one wonder if that did play a role in the changing of the LDS temple rituals. I’m wondering do you (or anyone else) know if the FLDS or the Church of Christ (RLDS) still perform the original temple rituals given by Joseph Smith?

  19. Kate says:

    Oh and falcon. I learn a lot from your lectures, so lecture away! 🙂

  20. falcon says:

    grindael,
    I also linked to the article. I’m very impressed by the work that the Tanner’s have done over the years and their integrity. It’s a long article but very well written. The topic is really creepy. Nasty, nasty stuff, but that’s what happens when people who have a proclivity for being weird anyway start messing around with the spirit that’s behind these rituals.

  21. Mike R says:

    Johnny, thanks for the link. I wonder why a picture the Temple was’nt on one of the
    fingers , or as Sandi B commented , the Book of Mormon either ? I like what Sharon
    said about the Biblical truths that the Wordless Book depicts , truths , ” that lead
    DIRECTLY to forgiveness of sin and new life in Christ.” It’s all there in a simple plain
    direct explanation , and it stands in stark contrast to the “plan of salvation ” that the
    modern day prophets of Mormonism have revealed. For 180 years now these men have
    issued a myriad of so-called “requirements ” for receiving eternal life . Some of these
    requirements have even been discarded in favor of newer ones . Most of these concern
    gaining entrance thru the “gate of heaven ” [ the Temple] , as one Mormon apostle called it.
    When I came to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior it was through the
    presentation of the scriptural truths called the Roman Road: Rom.3:23. 5:8,10; 6:23 ;10:9-13.
    This was something that I could understand as a twelve year old. No elaborate “plan ” , just
    me and Jesus . No Temple , and no one man as God’s mouthpiece issuing new requirements to
    gain eternal life . Aaron said it perfectly one time when he said that Jesus is our recommend,
    to enter thru the gate of heaven to eternal life all by Himself because He is the door to heaven,
    and eternal life. No signed piece of paper from a fellow sinner gets you permission to enter this
    gate. Thank you Jesus—Heb 7:25

  22. Rick B says:

    I was thinking, I could make two gloves, one for each hand. I could put on my ten fingers, ten reasons why I’m not a Mormon. Sad part is, Mormons would not care about all the serious issues found in Mormonism. Reminds me of a story in the Book Of Daniel. God wrote on the wall with His Finger. Daniel told the king one word meant,

    Dan 5:27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

    That really is the Mormon Doctrine, it is found wanting. Yet Mormons will give up eternal life for some moral life style here and know. The sad part is, I know many atheists , Like my mom and dad that are some of the most moral people you will ever meet, yet they dont know Jesus and will tell you if you try and talk about Him, they want nothing to do with Him. Really sad.

  23. falcon says:

    Mike,
    I have to point out that what people have to remember is that Mormonism promotes a two-tier level of salvation. The first tier is for everyone who has ever lived; a universalist view of salvation. The second tier is where Mormons get into what’s been characterized as the “god-maker” program. As I pointed out in my posts above, I really don’t know why a nominal Mormon would even mess with the Mormon religion if they weren’t intent on becoming a god. Their efforts that are less than what are required for god status and deification are really wasted. I suppose they could get promoted to a higher level of the three levels of Mormon heaven based on their works, but they aren’t going to become gods.
    In Mormonism you earn your reward. That’s the point of the Word of Wisdom, honoring your callings in the LDS church and the Temple ceremonies/rituals and work. The Mormon concept of “grace” is related to this works/reward system within Mormonism. The Mormon religion is so far out of the stream of even nominal Christian beliefs that it’s not considered a Christian religion. Mormonism isn’t the case of explaining the same thing a different way. Mormonism is just plain different (from Christianity). Mormonism basically borrows Christian terms but the definitions are entirely different. Mormonism borrows the Bible but the Mormon view of the Bible and they have a total lack of any discipline in interpreting the Biblical text.
    Mormonism is based on revelation, period. Mormon revelation is a Baskin-Robbins flavor of the day process. If there is a new doctrinal Tuti-Fruiti revelation on Monday, the Bubble-Gum flavor that was favored the Thursday before is no longer featured. Mormons like this and even see it as a real positive feature of the religion.

  24. falcon says:

    My edit:
    What I meant to say above was that the “Mormon view of the Bible is entirely different and Mormons have a total lack of discipline in applying any sound measures in interpreting the Biblical text.”
    When a Christian gives their testimony it usually includes how they were lost in sin, with no hope. They repented and received the gift of eternal life that God offers through faith in the finished work on the cross of Jesus Christ. That’s it! No pledge to a living man who claims to be a prophet. No pledge to a religious denomination. Christian don’t even talk about or swear allegiance to the Bible.
    Becoming a Christian and receiving the free gift of eternal life that God offers through faith in Jesus starts with recognizing the existence of sin in our life. There’s no need for a Savior if a person doesn’t agree they need saving. They’re lost just the same and they do “need” a Savior, they just don’t recognize the fact.
    Again, Mormonism is selling and promoting a system. That system is, in their view, what all of the gods have gone through on their way to deification. That is why LDS pledge their love and devotion to the (church) system.
    An LDS member needs to recognize that they aren’t going to become a god because there is only One and there aren’t any more. So with that fact in mind, the Mormon system is a colossal waste of time. I would say to that person, spend your time and efforts, your devotion, directed at Jesus. He’s the only one that can usher you into the presence of the Father. The Mormon system is an empty box wrapped-up like a present. There’s nothing inside.

  25. Kate says:

    Here’s the thing. Not all Mormons realize that their goal is to become a god. At church I was taught things like “so we can become LIKE our Heavenly Father” or “so we can be perfect, even as our Heavenly Father is perfect” I didn’t associate that with becoming a god. I wasn’t aware that becoming gods and godesses was the ultimate goal until I was well into my thirties. It was never discussed in lessons. Well I guess it was, it just wasn’t spelled out for me and was a little deceiving. So I’m thinking there has to be others as clueless as I was. The LDS church isn’t very forthcoming with it’s doctrines. Maybe Mormons don’t get to know the god stuff until after they go to the temple. Maybe I just lived my life oblivious because following the prophet no matter what was the important thing. The more I learn, the more I realize just how far removed from Jesus I really was. Mike thanks for sharing that bit by Aaron. Jesus is my recommend! I will be using this one at the family reunion!

  26. Mike R says:

    Falcon, I agree with your assessment of Mormonism being a system . It’s a complex system
    constructed of a long list of “obligations”, ” laws” , and “requirements” all said to be part
    of the ” gospel plan of salvation ” adherence to which is necessary to receive
    eternal life. The New Testament offers no such plan . The Roman Road scriptural
    presentation that I mentioned has been used since Jesus’ first apostles used it , it’s
    been reliable and plain . The “plan” offered by Mormon apostles , on the other hand, has
    been fickle , clearly being the precepts of men [ 2 Nephi 28 :31 etc ] . The Mormon people
    are decent people striving to gain God’s approval in their lives, unfortunately they have been
    detoured , as it were , by the precepts of men who claim authority from God to serve as their
    spiritual guides . This is why Jesus’ warning in Matt 7:15 ; 24:11 is so important to remind the
    Mormon people. It’s our desire that these precious people be freed from this detour so that they
    can find the true and complete freedom that only Jesus can offer — Heb 7:25 .

  27. Mike R says:

    Kate,

    Jesus is our Temple recommend . That says it all !

    John 10:9 ; 14:6

  28. falcon says:

    Kate & Mike,
    It makes sense to link righteous living with a Heavenly Father that is pleased by our behavior and our attempts to be “good”. We learn this from little on living in a family directed by a father and a mother. Good behavior is rewarded. Bad behavior is punished. So when we start thinking about salvation, that good vs. evil scenario gets transferred to it (salvation).
    I grew-up thinking that I’d go to heaven, maybe, if I was good enough. Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible then, for me to “merit” eternal life through righteous living. My motivation for righteous living, therefore, was to escape hell……..which in my twisted logic, is where God preferred to send me any way. God was intent on punishing me. Even if I died “in a state of grace” (long story), I’d probably end up in purgatory anyway to burn off any remnant of sins I’d committed and had even confessed.
    Now in this system, the dead could be rescued from the pain and suffering going on in purgatory, by the living. The living would do “works” for the dead. Maybe you’d pay $5 for a low mass or $10 for a high mass said in the person’s name which would add some merit to their account and spring them early (I won’t go into the differences between a low mass and a high mass but there’s a lot more incense burned).
    OK that’s religion; highly structured, very systematic, shame based, guilt imposing and wrong. It’s kind of like looking at the Gospel of Jesus Christ in it’s unadulterated form and thinking, “This was a good idea when it started.”
    What I described above was what I took from my Catholic training and why I bolted when I lost my fear.

  29. Mike R says:

    Falcon, you said , ” The living would do works for the dead. Maybe you’d pay $5 for
    a low Mass or $10 for a high Mass said in a person’s name which would add some merit
    to their account and spring them early….”

    That was interesting. It’s amazing how human ideas can come to be embraced as Godly
    counsel or as an important part of an individual”s religious lifestyle because of devotion
    to a prophet or similar religious leader. According to researcher Devery Anderson in his
    book, The Development of LDS Temple Worship 1846-2000, he quotes Pres. Joseph F.
    Smith : ” It is customary to pay such proxies a small sum, to partly remunerate them for
    personal expenses, usually a man receives 75cents , and a woman 50cents . ” This was in
    1905, in response to Mormons who were apparently to busy to attend the Temple, they were
    encouraged to pay someone to go in their place.
    Is this still practiced as part of the Mormon gospel today ? If not , why not ? Given how
    today’s society is so hectic , so busy , someone less encumbered could help out those who
    are over stressed by being paid for doing Temple work for them etc.

  30. falcon says:

    Mike,
    I’m guessing what I described was something like what drove Martin Luther to the steps he took nailing his talking points to the door of the cathedral. I suppose there wasn’t anything quite so dramatic as this when the various Mormon sects went/go their way. It’s interesting to do a side-by-side comparison of the different Mormon sects as to what they believe. One could look at the Community of Christ (formerly the “Restored” group), Church of Christ, and the Fundamentalist Mormons and the SLC Mormons and get a sense of the turmoil and confusion that rums rampant in Mormonism.
    There are all kinds of Mormon “prophets” that begin feeling their prophetic oats and proclaim things in an authoritarian voice and lingo and establish the true “restored” church.
    It would be fun to have them do a five fingered glove, a felt board or Power Point presentation because they are all convinced they have the true “restored” message.
    Do they look to the Bible as the standard by which to judge their revelations? Heavens no, that wouldn’t be any fun. Joseph Smith started a fine tradition of individuals hearing the voice of the Lord and getting personal revelation.
    That scenario played itself out when Smith met his untimely death and…………the restored church went into apostasy as confusion reigned and God raised up…………………
    You can finish it! It’s all good! Anything can work. Joseph Smith set the precedent. Go get your own glove and have a go at it!

  31. Mike R says:

    Falcon, when you mentioned how you left your Catholic training after you lost your fear
    that reminded me of how many Mormons are in that same situation , i.e. afraid to leave
    Mormonism because of a fear they possess , a fear that tells them that by leaving Mormonism
    that means they are leaving God . This is similar to how my wife felt when she was a member
    of a authoritative religion run by a prophet at the top. This teaching is embedded in members
    early on . They feel that God has provided a prophet to relay His truths to the rank and file ,
    so to doubt the teachings revealed by the prophet is akin to questioning God Himself. This
    scenario is not the type of arrangement Jesus instituted in His Church , the new Covenant /
    Testament . It’s note worthy to see that God has told His people once about this type of
    fear and control in relation to false prophets who try to exercise their authority over the
    people– Deut.18:22 . No need to fear the false prophet , he has no authority over you . His
    claims of being endorsed by God ring hollow because of his failed prophecy/false teachings.
    The Mormon people who realize their prophets and apostles have failed to accurately relay
    God’s truth to them on vital issues should’nt fear these men’s claimed authority . Jesus can
    rescue those Mormons who realized they’ve been detoured from the truth of God by these
    men . Jesus is in the rescue business . He is the ultimate prophet and He is completely
    trustworthy .

  32. Ok, well the glove is just creepy. And how’d they decide on what “Heavenly Father” looks like? Just an older (and yellow?) version of Jesus, perhaps?
    I totally agree with Kate, in that not every Mormon is into the godmaking business. Most converts don’t know about this, since it’s cleverly disguised as “becoming like our Heavenly Father”. When they finally DO hear about it, they’ve already accepted all kinds of other weird stuff, so at this point, why not become a god? I agree with falcon too. What’s the point of being Mormon if you’re not going to follow the whole program? I know so many “less active” Mormons who are just happy to make it into some sort of heaven. The reason they stay? The alternative is outer darkness. So they’re content to be “safe”. And what keeps them from recognizing the truth? Being told to stay away from anything that’s not “faith promoting”… which would be anything that challenges the Church.

  33. Consequently, this new generation of Mormons (along with converts) have no idea that the temple practices were changed. Or about the Hoffman scandal. Or about the obvious Bible verses that contradict their teachings (except those parts were all messed up by those darn monks). I know plenty of Mormons who have never heard of the King Follett discourse. One thought I’d made it up or got the info from some a*** site; however, lds.org has the whole thing for anyone to read. lol. Some have been told that the Church actually has the golden plates in their possession in Missouri. The tales of ignorance go on and on. The majority are happy to just go along with life, put their time in at the temple once in a while, teach primary, attend GC, and learn how to can in case zombies take over the world. What’s sad is that they’re missing an incredible life that Jesus has for them. And all it takes is trusting Him. Trusting that He’s able to preserve His word. Trusting that He can guide you w/o a self-proclaimed prophet. You wouldn’t think it’s that difficult, but for so many, it is.

  34. Kate says:

    So it’s general conference time again. As we were watching one of our favorite t.v. programs last night there was a clip of Thomas Monson played over and over during commercials. I was so irritated by the time we got to the actual news. The Tabernacle in Provo was destroyed by fire awhile back and it was announced that it is to be restored and made into a new temple. The news interviewed some people who were at the conference center and they were so amazed at the AHHHHH that went through the congregation from the excitement of a new temple there. It was also announced that 6 new temples are to be built around the world. Seriously? Where is Jesus in any of this? As for doing any kind of work for the dead, doesn’t the Bible say that we cannot redeem our brother? Psalm 49:6. Marriedamormon is right when she says “This new generation of Mormons” because they believe every whim and fancy that comes along. They discard what has been taught up until now as “just opinion” and they act like none of that stuff was ever taught as revelation or doctrine. I was taught growing up that it was, and so was Thomas Monson, he knows the truth about it and one day maybe he’ll find the courage to put an end to all the speculation. Today’s Mormonism (for the LDS anyway) is whatever you want it to be apparently.

  35. Kate says:

    Oops that scripture should be Psalm 49:7

  36. falcon says:

    MAM
    It’s kind of interesting that there are Mormons whose main motivation for remaining in the Mormon church is that the want to avoid going to Mormon Hell, Outer Darkness. I suppose that’s why some even avoid having their names removed from the rolls of the Mormon church. I guess they must think that the LDS church is the pathway to eternal life. As I wrote earlier, it’s all about the “system”.
    I was just wondering, do Mormon families reside together in the lower eternal reward areas? That is, if dad is kind of a Mormon slacker and he isn’t doing the work to achieve deification, is the whole family destined to reside outside of the Celestial Kingdom?
    Now it is also my understanding that there are levels of reward even within the Celestial Kingdom. Is that right? Stuck in this works-rewards system, I can see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is really a foreign concept to Mormons. I live the life I live because I want to not because I think I’m going to be achieving something as a result. I identify with Jesus. Because I identify with Jesus I want to walk in the manner He walked. It’s an internal motivation, not an external one.
    I’ve given my life to Christ and the life that I now lead is in thanksgiving and gratitude for what He did for me on the cross. I’ll never overcome my proclivity to sin, but I can avoid sinning. That’s one thing the Catholic system taught me; what sin is and how to avoid it.
    I think I have more of a Calvinist orientation to salvation than an Armenian simply because I don’t want to be constantly concerned, evaluating my sins, brooding over them. It’s a drag! I’d rather be oriented to love, mercy, forgiveness.

  37. falcon says:

    I’ve never been in an LDS worship service but my friend Andy Watson tells me that everyone he’s ever been in seems like a funeral. I would guess, however, that it feels enough like “church” to make the unknowing prospect think it’s regular Christianity.
    It was about 1972 and I was teaching out west and made friends with another first year (to that school) teacher. He had actually become a Mormon while teaching in another country the year before. He showed me the picture of his baptism. It looked like it could have been in a Baptist church. Then he began telling me a little about the Mormon church which I knew nothing about. When he got to the golden plates and the magic glasses I could have LOL but didn’t out of sensitivity for his feelings. Now this guy wasn’t some dumb bunny. He was/is very intelligent. It’s been forty years and he’s still a Mormon.
    I think what he really liked was the sort of success orientation and fraternal feel of Mormonism. I don’t know if he has ever done any digging into the whole program. And I guess that’s my point. If someone is satisfied with how Mormonism is working for them, why would they even bother to check it out?
    The problem is, their comfort with the Mormon system keeps them from knowing who God is and what His plan of salvation entails. It feels like church and provides a family atmosphere. Why quibble over details? When there is a discomfort level, or if the person is curious, or if the person has a lot of integrity then they may start checking things out.
    That’s what happened with Jim Spencer author of “Beyond Mormonism”. Things didn’t add up for Jim and he couldn’t leave it alone.

  38. Mike R says:

    Kate, MAM, Sandi B , it’s such a blessing for me to hear you ladies share your experiences
    when you were Mormons, but especially now that you’ve trusted in the true Lord Jesus Christ
    as your Lord and Savior . Thank you for being available here.

  39. Aw, thanks Mike. Except, I’ve been a born again Christian since I was 6. lol. But I can see how the name is misleading. Maybe I’ll have to change it, so I’m not confusing anybody. I have been called a “hybrid” by some Mormon friends before. Meaning I know enough to be one; I’m just not. My husband was raised lds, though. So that’s where my long time experience comes in to play.

    Falcon, from what I’ve been told, those who are sealed to their families, but are technically in a higher level of heaven, get to go visit the lesser family members. So mom is in the celestial kingdom and dad’s in telestial. Mom can visit dad, but not vice versa.
    I think the problem is that it’s viewed as a “nice religion”. They preach the “families are forever” and good works and all that, so people don’t go digging any deeper. I think a lot of men refuse to question, because they like the special priveledges they get. Men are treated as superiors (not just a leader of the family, but outright better and more important than women). It’s like crack for the ego.

  40. And then there are the women who think their man is super special, because they get these supernatural powers from God (just for being a worthy male). So when you tell these guys, “Hey, the priesthood is for ALL believers!”, of course they’re going to blow it off. Because in Christianity, it’s not about them anymore. It’s about Jesus. Not about how high up on the ranks they are or what kind of special abilities they get. It’s about serving an Almighty God. Like a Mormon once told me when I explained my purpose in life (to bring God glory), “What a selfish and egotistical God to want all that glory to Himself”… summed up their twisted view on God’s grace, His holiness, and our purpose of being here.

  41. ps. falcon, it IS like going to a funeral. Everyone is very somber. No clapping, no upbeat music… and virtually no smiles. It’s seen as “reverence”. I’ve tried explaining that reverence is an attitude of the heart, not whether you use an organ or a guitar. They look at me like I told them they just ate a booger.

  42. Getting back to the original topic, though. Wonder if Matt 18:6 would apply here? If Jesus was this serious about causing them to commit sin, wonder how He feels about teaching them they’ll get to become gods one day? Or that He’s the brother of Satan. Yikes.

  43. Mike R says:

    MAM, sorry for thinking you were once a Mormon. I do appreciate your comments though
    as your experiences are closer to Mormonism than I have experienced myself . When you
    mentioned about how men are viewed in the Mormon culture vrs the place women are
    placed, it reminded me of when certain aspects concerning this theme was dropped from
    the Temple ceremony in 1990 . [ It seems Mormon leaders had again traded “truth” for
    public opinion ] . I get the feeling that most rank and file members really don’t care that
    much about what their leaders do , it seems the Church life is so busy and demanding that
    they simply do what former Mormon Steve Benson states : pray-pay-obey . God help these
    precious people realize there’s a better way —-Jn 14:6

  44. Kate says:

    “Falcon, from what I’ve been told, those who are sealed to their families, but are technically in a higher level of heaven, get to go visit the lesser family members. So mom is in the celestial kingdom and dad’s in telestial. Mom can visit dad, but not vice versa.”

    I have been told this version as well. I have also been told that neither of them would make the Celestial Kingdom without the other. They would both be in a lower Kingdom along with any children they have because the man can not be exalted without the woman and vice versa. What’s funny is, let’s say dad isn’t Mormon and mom goes through the temple. Mom doesn’t need to worry because there will be a man in the Celestial Kingdom who will have her as a plural wife. It’s all so twisted. Those who are in a lower kingdom will have Jesus visit, but not Heavenly Father. Now who knows what the “official” story is here. This is one of those things that I have been told not to worry about how it’s going to be, just do the work.

  45. Brian says:

    “Just do the work.”

    Dear Kate,

    As I understand it, the LDS people believe they can perform certain works in the LDS temple on behalf of the dead, and it will be as if the dead person had done the work themselves.

    If I were to tell an LDS person that Jesus Christ has been judged in my place, making me eternally forgiven, I would probably not be believed. And if I told the same person that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, and has credited his perfect righteousness to my account, I would probably not be believed.

    It seems to me the LDS people believe their works can be imputed to another. But deny that Jesus’ works can be imputed to another. By this, they have supplanted God’s work. By this, they have made themselves gods.

  46. Kate says:

    Brian,
    “If I were to tell an LDS person that Jesus Christ has been judged in my place, making me eternally forgiven, I would probably not be believed.”

    Nope, you wouldn’t. The other thing about this is that Mormons believe that Jesus needs their help in Saving us. This is what it boils down to. Jesus just isn’t capable of Saving the dead. Mormons need to do all the necessary “works” for those who aren’t in Mormonism. Actually they even have to do the work of non active Mormons. What’s sad is they don’t realize that Jesus is fully capable. Just one more thing to show a Mormon why they aren’t Christian in my book.

  47. Brian says:

    Thanks, Kate! That is quite interesting. I wonder why they call Jesus “savior” if he doesn’t really save people? Since the LDS christ is not God, but an elder brother, maybe this is why they don’t believe Jesus is fully capable?

    As to saving the dead, the dead are the only ones Jesus saves, for we are born spiritually dead. As we read in the opening verses of Ephesians 2, Christians are told that once they were dead (before they were regenerated).

    Thanks for all the insights you bring to this forum, Kate. I pray that one day, the LDS people may come to know Jesus Christ as we know him.

  48. AaronW says:

    I don’t think the great divide between Mormons and Christianity is nearly as big as a lot of people like to make it appear.

    Take for example the doctrine of Grace. We are all born into this pit called Sin and we can’t get out of it by ourselves. Christ is the only one that can save us. Talk to any mormon or other flavor of Christianity and they all agree 100%. What is Christ’s grace? I imagine it like this:

    Through the atonement, Christ puts a ladder down into the pit so we can escape! Yay, we are all saved by the Grace of Christ. It is free!! Nobody else could have put that ladder there to save us. Traditional Christianity embraces that doctrine and they are 100% correct. Along comes a mormon and says, “great, we’re all saved by grace — now lets get to work and climb out of here.” – having faith that that ladder will actually save us, but claiming we must actually climb out ( be good neighbors, have faith, repent, baptism, help others find the ladder, basically all the things Jesus taught that we should do.)

    In my humble opinion, anybody spending their time trying to prove Mormons aren’t Christian by using obscure quotes and out of context references is trying to sell you something else. The same tactics are used equally well to try and discredit the Bible and Christianity in general. So if you are feeling smug in your [filtered profanity or slur]ism sentiment and think the claims made on this site are so well thought out and argued, just remember the same type of tactics are equally effective against your own beliefs.

  49. Pingback: Belonging: by belief or by behavior? | Reflections

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