The truth that turns the world upside down.
“Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
1 John 4:4
Possibly related posts:
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.
Sharon, that was a powerful description of the gospel of Jesus Christ ! What a difference
there is between the true gospel of Jesus available in the New Testament compared to the
“restored gospel” of Mormon prophets .
Wow! Awesome video. Only through Jesus can we go and do. In and of ourselves we can do nothing but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
The beginning of the presentation, while not “seeker friendly”, lays out the case of who we are without Jesus. It’s very strong, direct, and without compromise regarding our unsaved position before God. In Romans 3:23 Paul summarizes our hopeless condition. The solution to our hopeless dilemma is through receiving the gift of eternal life that God offers us through His Son Jesus Christ.
The problem with Mormonism is that while they may say that Jesus is the center of their faith, He isn’t. The Mormon system is the center of the Mormon restored gospel. Mormons teach that if someone leaves Mormonism, they will go to outer darkness which is the Mormon hell. Leaving the Mormon system is not acceptable. If Jesus was truly the center of Mormonism generally and Mormons specifically, then it shouldn’t matter whether or not someone is in the Mormon system.
As a Christian, my hope is 100% in Jesus Christ. I don’t place my faith in some religious system or denomination. The Mormon Jesus is also not the Jesus that we as Christians put our trust in. The Mormon Jesus is the offspring of a man who made himself a god and one of his many wives. The Mormon Jesus is not the one, only eternal God who alone can provide for us eternal life.
I turned on the radio today and a Mormon woman from Utah was calling in to defend her church against the claim of a previous caller who said that Mormonism was a cult. The Mormon woman said; “We are Christians. Jesus is the center of our lives (or religion…I can’t remember exactly which she claimed).”
I thought a good follow-up question would be, “Can you tell us how Mormonism differs from what many would call mainstream Christianity. Specifically could you tell us how the Mormon of the doctrine of the nature of God is different from say an evangelical Christian (doctrine of the nature of God)?”
I wonder how the woman would answer? Would she even know? I read an article by a BYU type intellectual and one of her “snicker, snickers” was of people saying that Mormons believe that they will rule their own planets. She was quite condescending intimating that saying such a thing is so shallow and typical of those who really don’t understand Mormonism.
I often wonder if what Mormon authorities have written in the past about such matters is being creatively reinterpreted by modern day Mormons who can’t reconcile themselves to the amateurish pronouncements of these leaders. Let’s face it, there is a treasure trove of inane, foolish and just plain stupid statements by those who shaped Mormon thought. Mormons are generally left to fend for themselves to reinterpret and otherwise clean-up after those who defined the religion in the early days.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the same as it was when the disciples first preached it. That is, man is lost, he needs a Savior, God offers the free gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. This gift is received through faith.
I would like Mormons to do the old essay question format of “compare and contrast…….” regarding the Mormon restored gospel and the Gospel as preached by the Apostle Paul and embraced by mainstream, orthodox Christianity. I can see where an unquestioning Mormon might get all excited over the (ever changing) Joseph Smith first vision story. For those folks so inclined, I could provide countless similar stories from people claiming similar experiences, many of them contemporaries of Smith himself. I can even see where a Mormon could generate all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings over the BoM. I get it!
However it’s difficult for me to understand how a Mormon could miss it when it comes to knowing and understanding the Gospel as preached by the apostles, including Paul who wrote a good share of the NT and the gospel of Joseph Smith. Smith BTW didn’t start out with the gospel he ended up with. The gospel according to Joseph Smith was even “improved upon” by those who followed him. Interestingly enough, Joseph Smith’s official wife and his son didn’t follow the developed version rather opting for the gospel (Smith) started with.
In Galatians 1:11-12 the apostle Paul states the source of his revelation. This revelation was confirmed by the Apostles (Galatians 2:2) and this same revelation of Jesus Christ has been preached by the Church for 2,000 years. Paul was troubled by those who would come up with another version of the Gospel as he explained in Galatians 1:1-8. Mormon missionaries have been instructed to simply say that the Mormon gospel isn’t a “different gospel”.
When the Gospel that was revealed to Paul is compared to the gospel invented by Joseph Smith it can be clearly seen that there is no similarity. One of them has to be wrong.
I think a good question to ask is what is the difference between the “salvation” that the presenter in the video is referencing and “Mormon” salvation.
“The Mormon church teaches two kinds of salvation, neither of which can be found in the Bible. One of these kinds of salvation is an unconditional or general salvation which comes by grace alone without any obedience to gospel law and consists in the mere fact of being resurrected after death. The Latter Day Saint believes that all people will automatically be resurrected from the grave. This convenient belief down plays the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They choose to believe in different levels of heaven or glory rather than in the existence of a hell, therefore the savior would seem to be of no real importance.
The second kind of salvation taught by the Mormon Church is a conditional or individual salvation. This salvation also comes by grace, but requires gospel obedience, is based on works and consists of reaching a higher level of heaven, the highest being the Celestial Kingdom of God.” http://contenderministries.org/mormonism/know.php
Mormon salvation is the result of a “different gospel”. The salvation of Mormonism is linked to men supposing that they can become gods by obedience to the principles of the Mormon system. So this “gospel” is to result in men becoming gods. The Mormon gospel can’t be found in the Bible or even the BoM. It is the result of a religious entrepreneur and his fruitful imagination, labeled as revelation and confirmed by “feelings” which are thought to be spiritual and from God.
If I were self-diluted and sufficiently narcissistic, I could easily come up with a “gospel”, make it sound and “feel” spiritual and even confirm it with a report of visions.
So what is the purpose of Mormon salvation? It is to become a god. How is that to be accomplished? It is by works flowing through the conduit of the Mormon system. Where do Mormons get this idea of men becoming gods? Joseph Smith (supposedly) had it revealed to him. The Mormon gospel and salvation have nothing to do with Christianity. Why do Mormons believe it? I can see how it happens when someone grows up in the religion and knows nothing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Converts aren’t told about the two levels of Mormon salvation and what it takes to achieve the goal of becoming a god.
“………the Bible teaches that Christ is a propitiation for all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). The Bible describes those who are saved as people who have confidence in Christ’s finished work, rather than in their own works. The sacrifice of Christ in our behalf is sufficient to save us. Salvation is not a debt, but is given to us by a forgiving and loving God. We don’t have to be worthy of heaven as the Mormon Church teaches. We only have to have faith. Good works will follow as the fruits of the spirit become evident in our lives.” (ref. above)
It’s not difficult to see the enormous difference between the “restored” gospel of Mormon
apostles with that of the gospel preached by Jesus’ true apostles which has changed lives
for 2000 years now . The true gospel is all about Jesus , He is the WAY unto being totally
forgiven and being given a right relationship with God , that’s why the WAY to salvation,
to receiving eternal life is thru Him, asking Him to forgive you of your personal sins .
Contrast this arrangement with the gospel preached by Mormon apostles which seems to
always stress the way to salvation (exaltation) is through an elaborate system of rules, laws,
commands, obligations, the obedience to which is a reward based on individual merit , earning
salvation , then a future after death of creating kingdoms through eternal increase and being
worshiped as Gods . It’s all man centered . The short video Sharon posted is just the opposite ,
it’s all about JESUS ! His un-merited grace , love, mercy . May the Mormon people exchange
the gospel of Mormon apostles with that of the authentic gospel . May they step back and see
the saving truths of the gospel spread by Jesus’ original apostles for what it is — sufficient ,
powerful, trustworthy , stable . Comparing the” restored” gospel message Mormon apostles
have provided their followers since 1830 we see a vacillating list of “doctrines” ” ways” ,
“standards of the Church” , taught as necessary for receiving a right relationship with God and
eventual eternal life. The answer to all this Mormon behavior of teaching , ” the precepts of
men ” [ 2 Nephi 28:31], is to stick with the gospel Jesus gave in the N.T.–Heb7:25
Paul warned of those men who would come after he was gone and proceed to introduce false
doctrines concerning not only who Jesus is, but also these men would preach a false gospel, a
counterfeit way to receive eternal life . What seems to stumble many people is that some these
false apostles also will teach a moral lifestyle , and this the case with Mormon apostles . This is
one reason Jesus said to beware of false prophets , they will introduce an inaccurate plan of
salvation that comes piggy back on a message of living a moral lifestyle. The gospel that Jesus’
apostles preached was clear: no one is good enough [ Rom.3:23]; no one can do enough to
merit/earn eternal life [ Rom. 5:8; Eph.2:8] , everyone deserves eternal separation from God
forever [ Rom.6:23; Isa 59:2], Jesus paid our sins penalty , we can stand before God clothed in
Jesus’ righteousness and are made right with God and receive eternal life [ Rom 10:9-13 ] , this
all happens by surrender of our will and asking Jesus to forgive us , then we see a want,
a delight, a urge to show our gratitude to Jesus for His relationship with us , and we praise Him
and the Father for their mercy and giving us eternal life. Contrasting this simple plan with the
way to eternal life , the elaborate plan, preached by Mormon apostles : ” The gospel of Jesus
Christ is the plan of salvation. It embraces all of the laws,principles,doctrines,rites,ordinances,
acts,powers,authorities,and keys necessary to save and exalt men in the highest heaven….”
[ The Promised Messiah,p549, by McConkie] . cont.
Since the Mormon people have been detoured by their apostles into believing the claims of
these men to be personally directed by Jesus to preach His gospel, and that the spiritual
guidance from these men would therefore be trustworthy and consistently reliable , such
that their followers would not need to worry about being taught false doctrine , a counterfeit
gospel, the promise is thus proclaimed that : ” These apostles and prophets, the revelators of
God , were to act as a protection for the people against false prophets and teachings….If you
want to know what the word of God is , go to the Council of the Twelve or the First Presidency.
….they will keep you on track so that you will not need to worry. ” [ Apostle Mark Petersen ] .
What a false sense of security Mormon apostles promise. If that does’nt produce allegiance to
these men’s teachings then subtle intimation might : ” It should be remembered that Lucifer
has a very cunning way of convincing unsuspecting souls that the General Authorities of the
Church are as likely to be wrong as they are to be right.” And : ” Any Latter-day Saint who
denounces or opposes , whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the
‘ prophets,seers, and revelators ‘ of the Church is cultivating the spirit of apostasy . ”
[ Deseret News, 5-26-1945 ] . Rather than fear God’s judgement by rejecting the gospel
of their apostles , faithful LDS simply submit to these men. This mind-set has caused the Mormon
people ,since 1830, to be tossed to and fro [ Eph 4:14] with all the vacillating laws, commands,
counsel, which is the Mormon gospel
I’m always amazed how some Mormons, typically the “intellectual” Mormons, rework the Mormon gospel to make it something different then what was clearly taught by early Mormon apostles and prophets. It doesn’t take long to determine that there’s a serious disconnect between what Mormons will say they believe and what is actually documented in Mormon writings. A person doesn’t have to read “anti” material to get a real sense of the shifting sands and outright contradictions in the maze of Mormonism.
From an apologetic website seeking to clear the matter up we read:
“Now to answer your question with the foundation being laid, do we believe that we will become gods, ruling our own planets? We believe that through Christ all men and women can be made perfect as God and his son Jesus Christ are perfect. Nowhere in scripture does it explicitly say we will rule our own planets. Truth is, we don’t know exactly what will happen in heaven, except that we will continue growing and learning. We will just have to wait until after this life is over to find out what it means to become perfect like God and Jesus are perfect.” http://www.whatdomormonsbelieve.com/2008/09/what-do-mormons-believe-becoming-gods-and-ruling-planets/
Here’s what Mormon prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said on the topic:
“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.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:48, quoted in Achieving a Celestial Marriage Student Manual, 1976, p.132)
Brigham Young wrote:
“All those who are counted worthy to be exalted and to become Gods, even the sons of God, will go forth and have earths and worlds like those who framed this and millions on millions of others.” (Journal of Discourses 17:143)
The first quote above from the Mormon apologists bears no resemblance to what Fielding Smith and Brigham Young taught. So this is where Mormons get into the “counts, doesn’t count” dilemma, wanting to believe one thing when in reality something entirely different is being taught. What’s happening is that these modern day Mormons are reworking the Mormon gospel to suit their own sensibilities.
I need to ask, did these modern day Mormons receive their view of the Mormon gospel by way of “revelation”. It doesn’t take long, when dealing with the modern day Mormons, for a Christian apologist to wonder if he’s losing his mind. There are mountains of evidence to support what the Mormon church has taught about there being millions and billions of gods, men can becoming gods by following the Mormon system and that these man made gods will have their own planetary systems to rule.
And yet the modern day Mormons will contend that none of that counts. I must ask then, why do all of the temple hocus pocus? The system was established early on to support the notion of men becoming gods and having their own planetary system.
The bottom line is that modern day Mormons simply apply their own meaning to Mormon doctrine and teachings, recreating a religion that is more palatable to them and less embarrassing than old time Mormonism.
Mormonism isn’t a distortion of the Gospel revealed in the Bible. It is clearly a different gospel. No amount of tinkering around the edges is going to erase what was taught by those who formed the religion. Modern day Mormons would do better to go to God’s Word and see what is taught about the nature of God, the nature of man and God’s plan to reconcile man to Himself.
So what is the central component of the Mormon gospel? What did Brigham Young teach regarding the nature of God and man?
This is what Brigham Young said:
“Man is made an agent to himself before his God; he is organized for the express purpose, that he may become like his master. The Lord has organized mankind for the purpose of increasing in that intelligence and truth. . . until he is capable of creating worlds on worlds, and becoming Gods, even the sons of God.” Believing that “the power of choice all intelligent beings inherit from the Gods of eternity. . . is innate,” (“The Reflections of Brigham Young on the Nature of Man and the State,” by J. Keith Melville, BYU Studies, vol. 4 (1961-1962), Num. 3 and 4 – Spring and Summer 1962, p.257)
One of the fall back positions of modern day Mormons is to say that all of this (re. BY’s writings) was a long time ago therefore it isn’t applicable for today. That really raises havoc with the fundamental doctrines of Mormonism and brings into question, I would think for Mormons, the credentials of those men identified as Mormon prophets.
We’re not talking about subtle nuanced meaning and the searching for the right theological language to explain a doctrine. The Mormon prophets were uncompromising and straight forward regarding the Mormon restored gospel and its implications regarding the nature of God and man.
BY said that “man is an agent to himself”. What he’s clearly stating is that as an agent unto himself man must work to achieve the status of a god. That’s the whole point of the Mormon gospel. A Mormon doesn’t get to become a god by grace. A Mormon becomes a god by buckling down and doing the work.
First off, Thank you Sharon for finding and sharing this. This is a succinct and very powerful declaration of the Good News.
Being a follower of Christ, I understood the different parts of the Gospel at least basically. I gained a new understanding of the taking on the Name of Christ. I knew it was not just a name of a religion, I knew it was a sign of my devotion to Him, of being His, but I don’t think I quite realized what a privilege it is, an unfathomable honor it is to be the bearer of God’s Son’s Name and to represent God on Earth. I knew of the responsibility, but never quite appreciated yet another awe-inspiring gift and condescension of God to us.
I’ve always lamented the neglect of the “post-decision” life of a Christ-follower in many congregations. It often seems we’ve lost sight of discipleship and that too many meetings of too many congregations are reduced to the lowest common denominator of “everyone needs Christ” and “live better”. There’s not a lot of talk about the work of the Holy Spirit in the follower- about how, as He changes you from the inside your tastes and joys change from those of this world and your old man to those of God’s. You lose more and more of your old self (distraction and self-medication) and take more and more joy and peace in the things of God.
But another part of the video that I thought was good for Christians and, in a different way of course, for LDS is the part about God living in and through you. For Christians we hear this (and “let God”) but we may not get the implication of (cont.)
God living in us and doing all the work, and the victory gauranteed because God is the one doing it. As the video said, we often think its about us changing and becoming better. This happens and it is by the work of God, but primarily it is the Good News that God uses us in our weakness to show His power and glory and acheive His victory. We hear things like “when we’re weak, He is strong” but we may not realize that we are always weak, He is always strong. Yeah, we’ll change over time and become more like Him (sanctification), but the Good News is that He acts through us now. His victory is everyday through us, now. It’s Awesome, and Very Good News! This is obviously different than the teachings of LDS. In history and in my own personal experience, it is not God living in and through you but the Spirit “leading” and “guiding’ your decisions. Very different. In fact, we can learn quite a bit from doing a comparison of the Gospel of Christ and the Gospel claimed by the LDS church (as has been the topic discussed so far here) using this video. Soooo…
Gospel of Christ (via Bible) vs. LDS Gospel with the Video as outline (with some commentary):
1. “You are a rebel”, “natural disposition”, “in a prison cell” – as is often said the sense of sin often determines the view of Christ. So it is with LDS – we are born sinless and completely free agents. (Yet children do things we would call sin but we don’t count it against them because they are not of an accountable age? Wouldn’t that be their nature they are displaying then? Or do children learn to sin (without accountability) from their greatest influencers – their parents?) Thus Christ doesn’t change us, we are not broken, his sacrifice simply cleans us and we learn from his doctrine how to grow.
2. ~”Grace of God to awaken us to the fact that we are lost and can’t get out”~- I wonder how LDS think of this aspect of reality and conversion. Obviously it is a difficult topic to understand. But if we are not broken, then all we need is a fair presentation of the Gospel to choose the right. (see Lectures on Faith-#2).
3.”You’re doomed” – In Christianity we are doomed eternally without Christ. In LDS we are simply doomed to extinction if it wasn’t for Christ. Then, b/c of Christ we are now doomed to eternal damnation (a.k.a.-stopped progression). In fact, even if we have a “relationship” with Christ we are still damned to stopped progression unless we have a relationship with the LDS church.
4. “Intercessor… He takes the blow… penalty” – Its interesting that LDS should believe that Christ defeated death only and won us immortality and yet give more honor to his Gethsemane suffering of bearing our sins than His death on the Cross.
4.(contd.) If he took only our death, then his death should be paramount. If he has taken our sins, then we are sinless. If we are sinless, then we are simply pure humans scarred. If “by his wounds we are healed” or otherwise “fixed” when we get to Heaven, then we are pure humans as God made us. Why would our “Heavenly Father” reject pure humans from his presence?
5. “God died for you”-see 4 on Gethsemane burden vs. Death on Cross.
6. “Justified, forgiven, redeemed” – in Christianity, Jesus redeems us – we are reinstated (upon acceptance) into a previous position (see Genesis-communion with God). Not so, in LDS, rather, while we are cleaned of previous sin, our existence is not changed – we are still not-broken humans who are yet to be judged according to our performance.
7. “Blood was shed for more than forgiveness” – this is an elaboration of 5. Again, Jesus does more than just clean us of our past, leaving us as newborn but now accountable babies…
8. “Dealt with the problem of Sin” – This reminds me that it would be interesting to hear about an LDS person’s understanding of sanctification. If we are not broken, then there is no fixing. Just “leading”. But for Christians, Christ did more. He not only saved us from the penalty (mercy), He has made us perfect (Grace).
9. “Invitation into His Very Near Presence”-Again Christ did more. And God offers more than LDS god and “Jesus”. By His sacrifice we are not just left to work, nor are we just forgiven of all (past, present, and future sins), we are brought back into relationship with God (see 6.) But not just that either…
9.(contd.) We are offered something else (spoiler alert – the last thing in the video) that we didn’t even have in Eden. It leaves you speechless and LDS don’t have it at all.
10. “Adopt as His child”-As opposed to already being “Heavenly Father’s” “spirit child” (or spirit bodied fellow intelligence – see Joseph Smith Jr.) and being offered some type of relationship in his kingdom and yet a progression of progeny of ones own (on a planet, planets, or something else that would seem to necessitate a distancing from the Father just for sheer populations of physical bodies), Christians believe we are creatures plain and simple but offered the extraordinary honor of becoming children of their Creator.
11. “Commissioned to represent Him… bear His name… image… reputation of God Almighty” – For Christians it is not our brother’s name we carry, but that of the express image of the One and Only God Almighty. (see 10)
12. “Give me your body, I will come in and make my home”-from 9 we have that which is completely absent and impossible in LDS, the indwelling and intimate communion of God with His adopted children. Not just living “together” in the Celestial Kingdom, but a co-existence of the greatest intimacy. (I find intimacy is foreign to LDS religion).
13. “my hands… feet… mouth… eyes… heart” – Again, we are fixed, we are made new, we are not what we were- we were not innocent. Listen to the video again – we do not learn – intelligence is not the Glory of God – God is the Glory of God. And He offers His “hands”, “feet”, “mouth”, “eyes”, and “heart”.
14. “Will you allow Me to overtake your life” “dwells within his children”…
14. (contd.) – Again, completely foreign to historical and present LDS (unless the particular LDS is bringing in his own ideas – possibly Christian ones since he was probably “christian” before converting?…) God is above all, even ourselves at the fulfillment, not just in time/progression/lineage as is the only real difference between the LDS god and man. No, even at our perfection, it is God’s perfection that we are filled with, it is God’s Glory that is the Glory of God, not his progeny and his progeny’s deification.
15. “God is in control” – there is a greater signficance to this statement for the Christian than the LDS, though it is hard to describe beyond that the relationship between us and the Father seems to necessitate a greater significance.
16. “Greater is He that is in Us than is in the world” “Send us with You in ourselves, firmly planted within our souls”- If He is IN us than we are not simply “led by the Spirit” nor “guided” we do not struggle to do the right things to be found righteous. we “don’t have to fail any longer” we know “we can’t muster the discipline, the intellect, the strength, the perseverance and fortitude” We don’t have to learn how to love, how to have joy and peace, He “fills you with Himself… love through you… God of Joy… God of Peace” He, the God of Joy and Peace and Love, indwells us. We… YOU do not have to be a “miserable replica in (your) own strength” any longer.
All praise, honor, and glory and awe and fear and everything, everything bow down to GOD.
Wow, words fail me after watching this beautiful and powerful video. Simply amazing.
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