Mormonism and the United States Constitution

With the 4th of July celebration of America’s independence on our minds, a look at Mormonism and the Constitution seems timely. I originally wrote the following article in 1999 after an experience I had while participating in a Christian outreach at a Mormon temple open house event. Though it is possible that the Mormon Church has modified its ways over the last 12 years (I did not experience this same sort of behavior at the Kansas City temple outreach earlier this year), in light of the ongoing Facebook reader-initiated censorship of pages that challenge Mormonism, the article remains relevant today.

Constitutional Liberties

When Christians evaluate a group claiming to represent God, the measuring rod used is generally doctrinal. The secular cult-watching community has a different perspective. They are not concerned with beliefs, but instead look at behaviors. Using these criteria, Mormonism, with its highly moral, family-centered image appears pretty benign to those unconcerned about heaven and hell. Yet, many behaviors associated with radical cult groups are subtly present in Mormonism. I was recently confronted with one in particular–information control–while ministering at the LDS temple open house in Madrid, Spain.

The focus of our outreach was to give temple visitors information which would help them better understand both the doctrines of the LDS Church and biblical teachings on the same issues. The literature compared LDS and biblical temples along with their rituals. Also included was a concise comparison of the basic doctrines of Mormonism and those of historic, biblical Christianity.

The accuracy of the literature was never challenged. Several Mormons commented on the truthfulness of what it said. Even so, many thought of us as “enemies.” Those in authority at the temple did their best to control the information we wanted to share.

The first day of the outreach the LDS Church assigned their missionaries and volunteers to: distract us by engaging us in extended conversation; block our access to the public by forming human barriers in front of us; follow after visitors we’d had contact with to ask them to throw away the literature; become our “shadows,” countering our literature with their own. These are the tactics commonly employed by Mormons at outreaches within the United States. And in the US, because of our Constitutional rights, this is generally all that can be done to keep people from receiving non-Mormon information. Not so in Spain.

As I mentioned, the LDS Church had their people on the street handing out literature right beside us on the first day of outreach. They also had people all over Madrid distributing invitations to the temple open house. On the second day of outreach these Mormons were pulled off the street. Temple security called the police, complaining that our team was in violation of a local litter law that prohibited the “mass distribution” of printed material. After the police explained the ordinance, we consulted with several local attorneys and learned that we could continue our outreach if we first spoke with the people and asked if they would like more information. So we modified our approach to be within the letter and spirit of the local ordinance.

Yet LDS temple security again called the police. Again they came, intimidating and warning us of the necessity to be consistent with the law. Later, temple security called the police again. Again they came. And on it went, repeating the cycle a dozen times or more.

Spain does not share America’s Constitution, but it does uphold the freedoms of expression and information. These rights are very dear to the Spaniards with Franco’s reign still a vivid memory. Even so, LDS Church officials unabashedly harassed our outreach team through manipulation of the local police with total disregard for civil rights.

I found this behavior interesting in light of the LDS view of the rights granted under the US Constitution.

In February LDS Apostle Russell Ballard said, “[the] principles and philosophies upon which our constitutional law is based are not simply the result of the best efforts of a remarkable group of brilliant men. They were inspired by God, and the rights and privileges guaranteed in the Constitution are God-given, not man derived…sacred, essential and inalienable.” (Church News 2/27/99 p. 6)

Third LDS prophet John Taylor taught, “Besides the preaching of the gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom, and the rights of man.” Taylor also said, “We expect Latter-day Saints…to avoid lawlessness of every kind and interference with men’s rights in any shape.” (The Gospel Kingdom, pp. 222, 308)

Eighth LDS prophet George Albert Smith claimed that the United States government, with all its liberties, is “to be an example unto the nations of the earth…” (Sharing the Gospel With Others, p. 169)

Ninth LDS prophet David O. McKay maintained that it is everyone’s duty and obligation “to preserve not only the Constitution of the land but also the Christian principles from which sprang that immortal document.” (Gospel Ideals, p. 315)

Thirteenth LDS prophet Ezra Taft Benson declared that the Constitution “was established ‘for the rights and protection of all flesh according to just and holy principles’ (D&C 101:77-80).” (The Red Carpet, p. 284, emphasis added)

So great is the LDS commitment to Constitutional liberties that President McKay said, “Next to being one in worshiping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States.” (Gospel Ideals, p. 319)

Apparently the LDS Church believes fiercely in the divine inspiration of this document. Yet it’s not only committed to the document, but to the principles upon which that document is founded. While pledging to uphold and defend these inalienable rights throughout the entire world, the LDS Church concurrently hinders the free exercise of those very rights when they conflict with its desired outcomes.

When asked why we would distribute non-Mormon information outside the LDS temple in Madrid we answered: Without information, there is no freedom. The Spaniards knew this was true. The framers of the Constitution knew this was true. And the Mormons knew this was true. In its exercise of oppression, for whatever higher purpose it may have imagined, the LDS Church showed its true colors.

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.
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29 Responses to Mormonism and the United States Constitution

  1. Mike R says:

    Sharon, I ran across an article by Joel Groat ( emnr.org) where he shared his experiences
    in outreach to Mormons in Mexico and Latin America in 1999. He states : ” It became very
    clear as I interacted with LDS people throughout Latin America, that key to the LDS Church
    success was extensive information control. This enabled Mormon leaders to position them-
    selves as closely as possible to the Christian mainstream Leaders of the LDS church desire
    the legitimacy and approval afforded ” Christian ” churches, as this will certainly assist their
    proselytization efforts.”

    He states that Latin American LDS leaders , such as Bishops, Stake Presidents denied to his
    face many of the more “unique” Mormon doctrines such as ,Mother in heaven ; God an
    exalted man; Temple ceremonies as indispensable for exaltation :

    ” In most cases this was not due to ignorance of LDS teaching, but an attempt to keep up the
    Christian facade in front of uninformed members or investigators that were listening in on
    the conversation or had been exposed to our literature. ”

    It seems that in other countries that may not have fast readily available information on the
    doctrines of Mormonism information control is a key reason why Mormons are able to get
    their message into the minds of investigators with little resistance . People deserve to know
    what the Mormon Church teaches , thank God for ministries like MRM which help provide
    people with information they may not be getting from Mormon Missionaries or the Mormon
    PR dept . Thanks Sharon for your ministry to the Mormon people because these precious
    people been detoured from the whole truth about Jesus by their leaders.

  2. falcon says:

    Mormon authorities aren’t real interested in people knowing the truth about Mormonism. The whole point is to suck people into the church without telling them what the church is all about. As long as a prospect thinks that the LDS church is just like the First Baptist Church, the (LDS church) has a chance of sucking the prospect in. They don’t want people knowing what Mormonism is all about. They are counting on getting the person to join and slowly indoctrinating them into the fold. It’s kind of how pimps seduce young girls into turning tricks for them. They don’t have them on the street the first night. It’s a slow but steady process.

  3. Clyde6070 says:

    Do you realize that we will not know for an absolute surety whether there is a God in trinity, a mother in heaven or that God is an exalted man until we die. Also could you post some pictures of mormon missionary outside christian church buildings of any denominations and tell me how christian treat them?

  4. falcon says:

    It’s very simple clyde.
    Please find in the Bible a case for a mother-god combo living near or on the planet Kolob who procreate spirit children. The case for the triune God is found in the Bible. Jesus is God. There is One God. Do you really want a lecture on the doctrine of the Trinity?
    I would personally encourage MM to stand in front of Christian churches engaging (Christians) in a discussion of how Christianity and Mormonism differ.
    Mormonism flies under the radar screen of most Christians. Having Mormons proselytize outside of Christian churches would bring a rash of sermons on Mormonism, its history and ever changing doctrine.

  5. Mike R says:

    Clyde, you’re reasoning is strange. Should we be concerned about Jesus’ warning about
    false prophets coming to deceive ? Should we be concerned with false apostles , who may
    be very well dressed cordial individuals, and the false gospel they teach ? The Bible says
    that we all should be concerned about this. That being the case we need to test Mormon
    prophets/apostles teachings . If you want us to become Mormons then you’re going to have
    show where the Bible teaches that God is an exalted man , and where it teaches that there is
    a God the Mother , a Heavenly wife of God . Mormon authorities promote these as true
    doctrines . Are they ? Can a person live a moral lifestyle yet embrace a false prophet’s
    false teachings about God and still go on to receive eternal life ? Do you understand the
    whole point here ? We’re trying to warn you of the consequences of following false apostles
    our respect of you comes with that warning , please consider this . Rev 2:2

  6. Kate says:

    I don’t see Mormon missionaries outside my church, but I do see them on my doorstep, even after I have requested in writing I want NO contact. Mormons bother others, they just do it in a different way. LDS missionaries are on the campus of my son’s University. They’ve been following him around for 4 years now. They don’t take no for an answer. The only way for these college kids to get away from them is to go to the library. Missionaries aren’t allowed in the University library. Yes, Mormon missionaries DO the exact same thing, yet it’s considered harassment by the LDS when another religion defends their beliefs. As I was reading Clyde’s post I was asking myself why he doesn’t know for sure about the Trinity, God not being an exalted man and heavenly mother. The truth is in the Bible. In black and white. Or in the case of heavenly mother…..not there at all. Maybe men shouldn’t just make stuff up and put it out there as truth, or maybe Mormons should just study the Bible as it is written. The part that really bothers me is the LDS claim they are the only true Christianity, Joseph Smith waltzed right in and took over a whole religion and threw out the precious teachings that had been taught for over 1800 years. He managed to get followers and it’s OK for these followers to knock door to door spreading their beliefs, but it’s not OK for followers of traditional Christianity to stand up for what has been taught from the Apostolic Fathers on down for the past 2,000 years? If those who stand up for Christianity are aunt tye Mormon then aren’t Mormons aunt tye Christian?

  7. falcon says:

    clyde wants to wait until he dies to know the truth. Personally, I think that’s a bad move!
    The whole point of the Good News is that of reconciliation of sinful man who is separated from a Holy God. He gave the law to demonstrate to us how hopeless our situation is. The law, even though it is good, can’t make us righteous. We can never get ourselves right with God even when attempting, in good faith, to please Him. We’re like bad fruit. Rotten fruit can’t be changed.
    So what the law couldn’t do, weak as it were in the flesh, God did sending His only Begotten Son, who took on a body of sinful flesh, and sacrificed Himself for us. Through faith in Christ Jesus, we are declared righteous.
    Now clyde, do you really want to wait until you die to find out if this is true or not? Do you want to die and learn that there is no mother-father god who spiritually procreated you? Do you want to die and find out that you’re not going to become a god?
    I would put my faith and trust in the Bible and what it says about the gift of eternal life that God is offering you.

  8. Mike R says:

    Kate, I mentioned some pertinent information for you to perhaps utilize with your family
    members when witnessing to them about the Christian faith . It is back on June 9 . It may
    prove helpful to you . Also , my wife and I have an e-mail address, if you would like it please
    ask the moderators . We’re praying for your family ! Take care .

  9. Rick B says:

    My thoughts on this are,
    Mormons claim to be Christian, so why can’t we share info if we according to LDS believe the same thing? The LDS will only say we dont believe the same thing when it comes to us sharing our info with people, but we believe the same thing when it comes to them saying they are Christian.

    Then the Mormons are famous for crying persecution, but seems they are good at doing this themselves.

  10. Clyde6070 says:

    I have created some misunderstanding. I know that God is an exalted Man. You know that God is a triune God. We each have our scoffers. We also have Faith in these concepts of God. We believe them others don’t. We have so much faith in them that we believe them as truth. When we pass then we will know for sure how correct we are.

  11. falcon says:

    clyde,
    Doesn’t sound to me like you’re too confident in what you believe. I thought the key phrase in the Mormon testimony is the “I KNOW……….”. It’s supposed to give the Mormon all this projected confidence and the err of having received “revelation” knowledge.
    Now you’re pointing to death to “KNOW” for sure. So I guess you really don’t “KNOW” in the sense of having complete confidence.
    I think this is a rather bad game you’re playing not only with your eternal destiny but that of your family. The pathway to eternal life is through faith in the qualified Savior. Do you KNOW the qualified Savior clyde?
    As it stands now, you know an invented being called Jesus who is the favored off-spring of the Mormon god and one of his many wives. You don’t even KNOW the meaning of the Cross or for that matter where the atonement took place.
    On what basis, clyde, do you have the assurance of eternal life? You don’t even KNOW what eternal life is. You think it means that you’ll (maybe) get to become a god. I say “maybe” because you have no assurance of this even happening; if you’ve completed the course, done all of the right things.
    clyde, if you really want to KNOW if you have eternal life, you need to KNOW who Jesus is. He’s not the invented being that was hatched in the creative imagination of Joseph Smith. The Bible is a trustworthy guide to lead us to the truth. As it stands now, you are depending on the word of some fallible men who themselves don’t KNOW the pathway to eternal life.
    They are lost shepherds blindly leading a flock of sheep who are depending on them for guidance and truth. They are blind shepherds.

  12. Kate says:

    Hi Mike, thanks for the information and the prayers! I have had so much going on the past couple of months I really haven’t had time to get on here. Crazy busy! My mom had an old friend that she hadn’t seen since high school stop by awhile back and this lady had been raised Jehovah’s Witness but had converted to Christianity and one thing she told my mom was that she had a ‘”new relationship with Jesus.” My mom said that was weird and asked me what she meant. I gladly explained it to her. As a Mormon I had no relationship with Jesus. Isn’t He the focus of Christianity?? My mom is very defensive when it comes to the LDS church so this is why I just share Jesus. I understand it too because I was the same way. For our “type” of Mormon, it’s extremely hard to break through the fantasy.

  13. falcon says:

    Kate,
    Good point about your mother wondering what having a relationship with Jesus Christ was all about. I was about 19 years old, sort of a modified heathen (hadn’t quite hit my atheist stage) and a woman told me she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
    I had no idea what she was talking about. I was raised Catholic and was still practicing the faith at that time. What she told me sounded like some strange religion. I remember just being somewhat perplexed by the concept.
    Being a Catholic meant that I was in a religious system. God was represented by the rules, regulations and rituals of the Church.
    My internalization of the religious concepts I was bound to, made God a quite angry deity who, if truth be told, was waiting for me to mess-up so that he could smite me and send me to hell. Jesus death on the cross meant that I could receive eternal life if I was good enough.
    I was never so happy then when I saw it all as hypocrisy and freed myself from the tyranny of the religious system. I went merrily into sin. I enjoyed sin and the freedom of no guilt. I was a pretty good habitual sinner if I do say so myself.
    Your mom is in a religious system but it seems to work emotionally for her unlike the Catholic church that didn’t work for me. I think you are wise to talk to your mom about Jesus since pointing out the obvious flaws of the Mormon system will just make her defensive. However, you never know. The Mormon pattern of finding their way out is often times cloaked in secrecy. She could be having doubts but not revealing those (doubts).

  14. Mike R says:

    Kate, I just love seeing how God is operating in your Mom’s life by bringing her in contact
    with an old friend , a friend who, like your Mom, knows what it is like to belong to a
    autocratic organization. Your Mom now is a little bit closer to understanding the great
    difference between knowing about Jesus vrs knowing Him personally ! All the religious
    activity and striving to live a moral lifestyle is good but it should’nt be equated with having
    an authentic relationship with God because a relationship with Him all starts with personally
    coming to Jesus which allows Jesus to then introduce us to the Father. It’s THROUGH
    [ Jn14:6] JESUS first that we can only then gain access to the Father [Eph 2:18].
    May one day soon your Mother come to realize that the Christian life is about a one on one
    inter-action with Jesus , commencing with prayer to Him and consisting of sweet on going
    prayer with Him . We say that we love the Father ? then we should tell Him so in prayer.
    We say that we love the Son ? Then we should tell Him so in prayer. Daily .
    Thank you Father for sending your Son !
    Kate, we will never stop praying for your family .

  15. Ralph says:

    While on my mission I visited 3 different churches – the Finnish Lutheran Church, a Pentacostal tent meeting and a Finnish church called the Vapaa Kirkko which was similar to the Pentacost church meeting. I also went to a Missio convention which was similar to a show with a number of Christian churches putting up stalls to discuss their theologies to pull in recruits – of course the LDS church was not invited.

    At the Lutheran meeting my companion and I were avoided like the plague and the looks we were given, well what can I say…

    At the Pentacostal meeting we were ignored.

    The Vapaa kirkko was interesting. Around the middle of the meeting they had their clergy going around with the little bag for donations. During this time the congregation were encouraged to stand up and sing and have their hands raised and their faces raised with their eyes closed. The person who brought the bag around to us gave us a death stare then ran all the way down to the front and stood discretely at the side of the stage calling the main speaker over to the side. They exchanged a few words then the person left and went back to the congregation, the main speaker walked to the middle of the stage and said – “the Spirit has whispered to me that there are two people in the congregation who are in the ways of sin. If they come down the front and call for forgiveness and be prayed over and accept Jesus they will receive forgiveness and heaven.” I almost yelled out that that’s the first time I have seen the Holy Spirit wear a red jumper (pullover for you yanks). Just my experiences.

  16. Ralph says:

    As far as ‘upholding’ the American constitution, I have never been taught that. I have been taught to uphold the laws of the country I live in. I know nothing about the American constitution, but I do know that there is no right for freedom of speech written into the Australian laws. But we still allow people to say what they want.

  17. Rick B says:

    Ralph said “the Spirit has whispered to me that there are two people in the congregation who are in the ways of sin. If they come down the front and call for forgiveness and be prayed over and accept Jesus they will receive forgiveness and heaven.”

    Ralph,
    I would have wanted to yell out, The Pope’s not here so he cannot come forward. I think I would have been jumped real fast.

    Ralph said I also went to a Missio convention which was similar to a show with a number of Christian churches putting up stalls to discuss their theologies to pull in recruits – of course the LDS church was not invited.

    It’s not exactly like the LDS church invites us Christians to join them in teaching or open honest debate. So I guess you could say, the feeling is mutual.

  18. Clyde6070 says:

    You have confidence. A seemingly fanatical sense of confidence. I am trying to be practical. I believe in life after death. There are a lot of people who don’t believe that. There are lot of people Who are hindu, moslem and buddhist who don’t believe as we do. They as well as we will only know when we die what the truth was.

  19. falcon says:

    Sorry clyde,
    That’s not the way it works. Jesus said that no one gets to the Father except through Him. The message of the revelation is that sinful man is separated from a holy God. Jesus reconciled us to the Father through the shedding of His blood on the Cross. The revelation is clear that the means to eternal life is through accepting the gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus, the qualified Savior.
    It seems clear, by your posts, that you have no confidence in the means of salvation that the Father has provided.
    clyde, the Father has revealed to me that Jesus is the Christ. He has further revealed to me that Jesus’ sacrifice is the only means by which a person can be saved. If you are inclined to go another direction, that is your choice. As for me, I don’t know of any other Gospel that is sufficient to save mankind from its sins.

  20. Kate says:

    “As for me, I don’t know of any other Gospel that is sufficient to save mankind from its sins.”

    And there it is. This is what it’s all about. The Gospel. The true Gospel of Christ. It’s not about the Mormon word of wisdom, secret (yes secret, not sacred) temple rituals of the Free Masons, tithing, prophets, laws and ordinances of the LDS church, etc…. It’s about the Savior and his sacrifice on the Cross. It’s about the Savior and his resurrection. It’s about how God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son so that we may be forgiven of our sins and through belief in the Son, by Grace, we may have eternal life. Jesus said that there would arise many false Christs’, do Mormons not take this seriously? When pres. Hinkley said in public that he does not believe in the traditional Christ of the Bible, but instead believes in the Christ revealed in this dispensation to the prophet Joseph Smith, doesn’t that raise a huge red flag? Jesus said this would happen and it has. Who is to be believed then? Jesus? Or pres. Hinkley?? Following a false Christ does nothing but rob you of your eternal Salvation. Believe it or not, but that is more important than how good you look to other Mormons by how you live your life ( word of wisdom, temple garments (be sure to wear white shirts so people can see them) prophets, laws and ordinances of the LDS church, etc….)

  21. Clyde6070 says:

    Falcon
    You don’t understand what I am saying and since you are just like han[filtered profanity or slur] I can’t say more.

  22. Clyde6070 says:

    Wow it worked! I didn’t think it would but it did. Falcon you sound like a ( gee I am going to have to look up some other words).

  23. falcon says:

    clyde,
    I understand perfectly what you are saying because I know Mormonism. Now I think it would behoove you to understand what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is.
    You are depending on a religious system to make you a god if you follow all of its precepts, rules and ordinances. This is not the revelation that was received by the (Christian) Church from Jesus the Christ. The idea that the Gospel was lost and needed restoration is a gimmick that has been used by countless religious prophet wanna bees.
    There is a clear distinction regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed to His disciples and the religious folly created by Joseph Smith and “enhanced” by various Mormon false prophets over the years.
    You are without excuse clyde because you have had the Gospel clearly presented to you here. You have seen fit to reject God and His Christ for another gospel which is really no gospel at all. There is no “good news” in the Mormon gospel of Joseph Smith. Just a string of lies bolstered with false hope.
    You need to study the Good News which was delivered once and for all and contained in the Scriptures.

  24. Rick B says:

    Clyde,
    If your going to say, I cannot know and no one can know for sure until they die, what is really going on, then why are you a Mormon and why are you here?

    You cannot trust your prophets and scriptures if you dont really know. If none of us can really know for sure, than that makes God a liar, since He said we can know and we can trust Him. So Either I trust God, Or I believe You. I choose God.

  25. Clyde6070 says:

    Falcon
    I am glad you know Mormonism. I am not saying what I say because of Mormonism. I am being universal in my approach which is when we die then and only then will we know. Don’t forget about Han[filtered profanity or slur]. Gee isn’t that neat?

  26. Rick B says:

    Clyde said

    I am being universal in my approach which is when we die then and only then will we know.

    Clyde, Why do you teach people Mormonism and try and tell us we are wrong, if you cannot know that what you believe is right? Why not just be an atheist? Also you cannot trust God to tell you the truth is He says, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, if in fact you cannot know if what was said was true or not.

  27. Clyde6070 says:

    Rick B
    I am wrong but so are you. We won’t know the truth of that statement until we die.

  28. Rick B says:

    Clyde,
    If your going to claim I am wrong, then you need to back it up. You cant just say I am wrong and leave it at that. By doing that, with out evidence, well it makes you look like a person who has no clue and no one can or will take you seriously. As it is, I dont. Your vague, replys make no sense most of the time.

  29. Clyde6070 says:

    Rick B
    One more time to explain what I am getting at. We put faith in what we believe however someone might see it as a fairy tale. We know it is true but they don’t. When we die we will know how correct our faith has been.

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