Thank you for taking the time to document exactly what it is Mormons believe verses the Bible. I am married to a Mormon. I am a Christian and stand firm by the tenets of the Faith exactly as you have listed them. What seems clear to me is like talking to someone from a foreign country. As you know they think we came from Heaven. He recently asked me where I came from and I was not able to give him a solid biblical answer. What do you suggest?
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words for the work we do here at Mormonism Research Ministry. I’m so glad you have found it helpful.
I’ll try to address your question. The Bible tells us that we were created by God for His sovereign purpose. God creates our physical bodies, and He creates our spirits as well.
Psalm 139:13-16 talks about God forming our “inward parts,” knitting our bodies together in our mother’s womb. Here we learn that God knew us–knew who He would create us, individually, to be, knew our birth dates and death dates — before He had yet made us.
Zechariah 12:1 tells us that God “formed the spirit of man within him.” That is, God creates the spirit and places it in the physical body that He has already created. (See 1 Corinthians 15:46 that says the natural [in this context we could say physical] precedes the spiritual.)
Isaiah 42:5 says that God created the heavens and the earth, and gives breath and life to the people who inhabit it.
Romans 4:17 says that God is the giver of life and “calls into existence the things that do not exist.” (See also Romans 11:36, Hebrews 11:3, Colossians 1:16 and Acts 17:24-25 which all reiterate that all things are created by God and He gives life and breath to mankind.)
The problem many Latter-day Saints have in understanding these biblical teachings is that they start with the premise that God did not/could not create the spirit of man. Joseph Smith taught, “The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is coequal with God himself…God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all…The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself.” (King Follett Discourse, Journal of Discourses 6:6-7)
But the Bible teaches (and Christianity affirms) that God and mankind are not the same sort of beings. God is Creator, eternally self-existent, in need of nothing (Acts 17: 24-25, Psalm 90:2, John 1:1-5); man is created by God and helpless without Him (Psalm 100:3, Colossians 1:17). God is the source of all life; man is dependent on God for the life he has. Until God creates us, we do not exist anywhere (except in the mind of God, who knows all things).
So, the biblical answer to “Where did we come from?” is this: we came from God, the source of all life, who created us, body and spirit. As David so beautifully put it, “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
I hope this will help. For greater understanding of the way Latter-day Saints defend the LDS doctrine of the preexistence and argue against the Christian position, you might find this article on the MRM website helpful:
For questions on the Mormon use of biblical proof-texts, check out the sections in the above article titled “Biblical Considerations” and “Additional Biblical Evidence.”
Thanks again for your email, Millie. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything more I can help you with. May the Lord shower His tender mercies upon you and your husband.
Leaning on Jesus,