Mormonism’s Restoration Revokes Changes Wrought by Christ

JesusCleansingTempleChristian theologian John Piper wrote about “How Christ Fulfilled and Ended the Old Testament Regime.” Dr. Piper noted, “with the coming of Christ virtually everything has changed.” He listed five specific elements found in the Old Testament that the coming of Christ changed. Interestingly, the “Restoration” — that is, Mormonism — reinstituted many of the things that were transformed at Christ’s coming.

Number 1 on Dr. Piper’s list:

The blood sacrifices ceased because Christ fulfilled all that they were pointing toward. He was the final, unrepeatable sacrifice for sins. Hebrews 9:12: “He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”

Mormonism has not officially reinstituted blood sacrifices. However, some Mormon leaders have taught that Christ’s blood was not sufficient to atone for some sins; therefore, the sinner will have to atone with his or her own blood.

“Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are com­mitted, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:135)

Number 2 on Dr. Piper’s list:

The priesthood that stood between worshipper and God has ceased. Hebrews 7:23-24: “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.”

Mormonism functions through the institution of priesthood authority. Though very different from the Old Testament priesthood, the Mormon priesthood is believed by Latter-day Saints to be the power and authority to act for God on earth in matters of salvation. According to Mormonism, this priesthood is necessary for people to have access to a relationship with God via baptism, washings, anointings, endowments, etc.

“No man has authority from God to administer to the children of men the ordinances of life and salvation [except] by the power of the Holy Priesthood. The power of that Priesthood is with the Latter-day Saints.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, 2004, p. 39. Brackets in original)

“The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God, through which He created the heavens and the earth and by which He governs the same. It is used to redeem and eventually exalt His children. As given in mortality, the priesthood is the power and authority to act in God’s name. By and through it, one is autho­rized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances and govern in the Church.” (“Priesthood Authority,” Church News, November 10, 2007, 16)

Number 3 on Dr. Piper’s list:

The physical temple has ceased to be the geographic center of worship. Now Christ himself is the center of worship. He is the “place,” the “tent,” and the “temple” where we meet God. Therefore Christianity has not [sic] geographic center, no Mecca, no Jerusalem. John 4:21-23: “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. …But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.’” John 2:19-21: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. …He was speaking about the temple of his body.” Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

PA_History_St.GeorgeTemple_AV090602_lsb001alt_290Mormonism centers itself in what is called “temple worship.” Mormon temples are believed to be the place where Mormons meet God and where they make covenants with God that they believe are necessary for eternal life.

“Let us truly be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. …Let us make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience. …All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. This is because the temple ordinances are absolutely crucial; we cannot return to God’s presence without them.” (Howard W. Hunter, “A Temple-Motivated People,” Ensign, February 1995)

“…temples are the most sacred place on earth-a place where earth and heaven meet and where we feel close to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ” (“Why Latter-day Saints Build Temples”)

Number 4 on Dr. Piper’s list:

The food laws that set Israel apart from the nations have been fulfilled and ended in Christ. Mark 7:18-19: “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him . . . (Thus he declared all foods clean).’”

Mormonism requires observance of a “commandment” called the Word of Wisdom. This rule calls for abstinence from things such as tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea. To imbibe in things prohibited in the Word of Wisdom is considered a sin and can cost a Mormon his or her place in the celestial kingdom.

“SALVATION AND A CUP OF TEA. You cannot neglect little things. ‘Oh, a cup of tea is such a little thing. It is so little; surely it doesn’t amount to much; surely the Lord will forgive me if I drink a cup of tea. Yes, he will forgive you, because he is going to forgive every man who repents; but, my brethren, if you drink coffee or tea, or take tobacco, are you letting a cup of tea or a little tobacco stand in the road and bar you from the celestial kingdom of God, where you might otherwise have received a fulness of glory?” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:16).

Number 5 on Dr. Piper’s list:

The establishment of civil law on the basis of an ethnically rooted people, who are ruled directly by God, has ceased. The people of God are no longer a unified political body or an ethnic group or a nation-state, but are exiles and sojourners among all ethnic groups and all states. Therefore, God’s will for states is not taken directly from the Old Testament theocratic order, but should now be reestablished from place to place and from time to time by means that correspond to God’s sovereign rule over all peoples, and that correspond to the fact that genuine obedience, rooted as it is in faith in Christ, cannot be coerced by law. The state is therefore grounded in God, but not expressive of God’s immediate rule. Romans 13:1: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting.”

Joseph Smith with SwordToday Mormonism does not overtly attempt to hold theocratic rule over all people (although some residents of Utah might disagree with me, but Mormonism’s founding prophet, Joseph Smith, took steps to establish a theocracy, which was continued by Brigham Young.

“In the Nauvoo church paper, Smith said in 1844, ‘I go emphatically, virtuously, and humanely, for a THEODEMOCRACY, where God and the people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteousness.’ Eight years later, [Lieutenant John W.] Gunnison said, ‘They call their system of government, a “Theo-Democracy;” and that, in a civil capacity, they stand as the Israelites of old under Moses.’” (Bigler and Bagley, The Mormon Rebellion, 21)

“The Prophet established a confidential Council of Fifty, or ‘Ytfif,’ comprised of both Mormons and non-Mormons, to help attend to temporal matters, including the eventual development of a one-world government, in harmony with preparatory plans for the second advent of the Saviour.” (John J. Stewart, Joseph Smith The Mormon Prophet, 204)

As Dr. Piper noted, Christ “unleashed these massive changes in the world.” They are wonderful and glorious! They demonstrate the absolute fulfillment of the law in Christ. They tore down barriers and opened the gates of Heaven. They set God’s people free. But Mormonism has discounted this finished work of Christ, re-erecting barriers and re-instituting an Old Testament-type of religious system that relies on covenant-keeping (laws and ordinances) for developing personal righteousness – the basis for earning eternal life.

God has provided something much better.

“The law was kept perfectly by Christ. And all its penalties against God’s sinful people were poured out on Christ. Therefore, the law is now manifestly not the path to righteousness, Christ is. The ultimate goal of the law is that we would look to Christ, not law-keeping, for our righteousness.” (John Piper, “How Christ Fulfilled and Ended the Old Testament Regime”)

May God’s amazing provision in Christ never be rejected.

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
-Romans 10:4

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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19 Responses to Mormonism’s Restoration Revokes Changes Wrought by Christ

  1. falcon says:

    My hobby horse: If the basic premise for Mormonism is wrong, then Mormonism presents a different gospel, one that is not consistent with Biblical revelation.
    I have yet had a Mormon present to me any evidence that what they believe, teach and practice is what the first century Christian church believed, taught and practiced. In order to have the lost gospel scenario work for them, Mormon leaders had to convince their followers that the Bible is corrupt and cannot be trusted.
    Believing those false assertions have resulted in the Mormon people following false prophets who preach a false gospel. Interestingly enough, Mormons who begin to read the NT with a fresh set of eyes find that what they have been taught and accepted by the LDS church isn’t any where near the Biblical revelation.
    One interesting side observation. I think that Mormons who come out of that false religious sect after reading and absorbing the Biblical revelation, most often come to a personal relationship with the Savior. Unfortunately, those who come out because of what they’ve discovered regarding the historicity of Mormonism too often end up as atheists.

  2. Mike R says:

    Sharon, great article !

    Mormonism is like a onion , the more layers you peel the more about it is revealed , and sadly you began to see that it is not what it claims to be — Jesus’ church and gospel “restored” .

    It’s amazing how the use of half truths play in the selling of Mormonism to the public by it’s leaders .
    There’s seems to be always just enough truth in advertising it to fool people into accepting it’s claims of authority .
    The claims :
    Mormonism claims to be the exact same church which Jesus established through His apostles , and the very same gospel which Paul preached .

    Wrong on both accounts .

  3. historybuff says:

    Mormonism has a lot of issues that we members used to put on the proverbial “shelf” so that we could figure them out later. The first issue that we usually ran into was this concept that Joseph Smith restored the original Christian church (hence the term “Restoration”). This was the first issue simply because it was often the first thing the missionaries mentioned.

    Sure, we reasoned (correctly), he called twelve apostles and he established a “priesthood.” But it seemed like lots of churches had “apostles”, and the Catholics had always had priests. As for the temples, well, lots of churches built temples, too. And the temple ordinances were things we had never read about in the Bible or any historical documents. Eternal marriage, temple covenants and rites, and baptism for the dead were puzzlers to us.

    To our knowledge, none of the early Jews or Christians had taught eternal marriage, so how was it being “restored.” We didn’t know much but even the less bright among us knew that Joseph Smith had “borrowed” our temple rites from the Masons, and the Masons were of fairly recent vintage, at least by Biblical standards.

    Baptism for the dead seemed a more likely candidate to have actually been restored because it was at least mentioned in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 15: 29 But it was only mentioned once, and the context was curious: “We” weren’t baptizing for the dead; “they” were. It was like Paul was saying,

    “Of course there’s a physical resurrection, you guys! EVERYONE knows that, even those heretical clowns over there! Why would they be baptizing for the dead if the dead aren’t going to be resurrected!” (Oddly, historians seem to believe that was probably the way he meant it, using the heretical Cerinthians and Marcionites to prove his point.)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism_for_the_dead

    We were even relieved to know that at least baptism for the dead was known in Biblical times, even though it was a bit disturbing to learn that it was practiced by the known heretics.

    Basically, we fervently believed that Joseph Smith had restored all things from the early Christians, but we had no idea what those things were. That proverbial shelf was getting heavier and heavier…

  4. Mike R says:

    Mormonism is the “restored church ” of Jesus Christ , and true Christianity “restored ” ?
    That’s an incredible claim , but fact of the matter is that’s a picture that simply does not hang straight.

  5. historybuff says:

    As far as the priesthood of God is concerned, a credible case can be made that if the Mormons ever had even a sliver of that priesthood, they have lost it now. Just look at the Church’s history. The Church stands condemned by its own scripture:

    “[B]ut when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” Doctrine & Covenants 121: 37
    https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/121.37?lang=eng

  6. falcon says:

    There’s a very good reason why feelings equal truth in the Mormon paradigm. If they can get a prospect to believe that he/she is receiving a message of truth from God when they get a good feeling about the BoM, the sect can close the deal. But if someone doesn’t buy the proposition that their feelings and emotions are a message from God, no deal is closed.
    It does all sound super spiritual and special though, doesn’t it?

  7. historybuff says:

    Mormons base their religion on a claim of revealed truth, which creates a major burden for them. While other religions can admit mistakes, Mormons can’t. If they did, it would be admitting that either their prophets aren’t really inspired, or that their prophets ignore God’s promptings. Either way, it’s bad.

    For that reason, over the past 170 years LDS leaders have chosen to conceal many episodes of their checkered history. This worked very well until the age of the Internet, but now it’s difficult to keep those secrets. Any inquiring Mormon can now find the truth on the Web if he or she has the courage to look. Even something as basic as Wikipedia is helpful. For example:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Joseph_Smith%27s_wives
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_polygamy

    Pray for them. After all, it is a difficult decision to look for the truth, especially when they can’t ask questions at home or at church for fear of being ostracized.

  8. falcon says:

    I’ve been following the big rhubarb going on within the LDS community regarding the policy of not allowing children of gay individuals to be baptized until they are 18 years old. The interesting thing here is that when the “secret” was let out of the bag, TBMs saw it as a lie being promoted by the anti crowd. Then when it was determined that the policy was indeed the policy, the TBMs did a 180 degree flip and where totally on board. They see this now as a form of revelation.
    On one fb page I saw where there is a lawyer out in Happy Valley, former Mormon who handles resignations for those wishing to leave, says he’s been inundated with requests for assistance. I remember the number something like 1,000 to 1,400 members who wanted to jump ship.
    I got to thinking, is this a way for the LDS church to rid itself of non true believing members? A sort of test? So here’s my question. If the policy makes an LDS feel good is it a revelation from the Mormon god? If it makes them feel bad is it not a revelation from god? If the policy makes the LDS feel bad is it a trap of Satan trying to get those with weak faith/testimony to leave the one true church?
    This fluid revelation that is the cornerstone of the LDS religion can get sort of pesky. But remember this. Always follow the leaders. They will never leave you astray. When the leaders speak, the thinking has been done.

  9. historybuff says:

    Falcon —

    Too true. You have captured in a couple sentences the essence of the Mormon true believer. They have to divorce themselves from logic, even from reality, and accept whatever their leaders say. And if their leaders reverse themselves, as happens fairly often, the Mormon true believers need to reverse course, too, without stopping to think about the ramifications.

    That’s why you so often hear Mormons say, “We don’t think about that.” While it sounds naive and foolish to us, to Mormons it’s their way of saying, “I follow the current Prophet and don’t ask questions, and if he is wrong I won’t be held accountable.” This, of course, is similar to a Government bureaucrat or a soldier saying, “I was just following orders”, but the LDS just don’t seem to grasp the significance.

    My relatives in Utah tell me that the bumper sticker that receives the harshest condemnation there — and there are quite few that deserve it — is the one that says simply, “Challenge authority!” There’s a moral in there somewhere…

  10. historybuff says:

    I believe we should take the LDS prophet at his word. President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the Church’s foundation when he said:

    “Our whole strength rests on the validity of [the First] vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.”
    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2002/10/the-marvelous-foundation-of-our-faith?lang=eng

    I agree with him. So, here are the facts; you be the judge.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Vision#Differences_in_written_accounts

  11. makeitshine says:

    I’m seeing the typical response from TBM’s on my page. It was first, wait what is this, it doesn’t seem right. Followed by, well the church said it so it must be right, followed by. It all comes down to testimony, if your testimony is strong you will understand this is from God.

    Falcon you are right, they are trying to get rid of the fence sitters and it’s working. These are the people who are actually listening to the Spirit and comparing what they are being fed with the Jesus they have read about in the Bible and things arent adding up.

    Mormons have been lied to about how the Spirit of Truth works. He always leads to Christ (who is truth) If it doesn’t end with Christ, it comes from a spirit of deception. It’s a really hard concept to get through because Mormons are equating spiritual feelings (some which very well may come from the Holy Spirit) that they have had within the church, to that meaning the Church is true and Joseph is a prophet because that is what they have been told that it means. This was one of the hardest things for me to understand after leaving.

  12. falcon says:

    So here we go again. Is this policy a revelation? Is it a doctrine? In order for it to be true blue I was under the impression that it had to be spoken about from the pulpit at GC and then voted on by the members in attendance. But how foolish of me. Does it really make any difference? The only time it does is when everything starts falling apart and the LDS folks have to come up with some rationale as to why it doesn’t count any more. Dare we review how many times this crew has had to back track?
    My favorite one is when, like in the blacks in the priesthood fiasco, where all the mouth pieces were saying, “We have no idea where that came from.” It certainly wasn’t doctrine. Heavens no. It just sort of sneaked in there when no one was watching. Maybe they’ll try the “opinion” option or the folk doctrine talking point.
    I never thought of the personal impact of this policy. What does a woman do who had a couple of kids with a guy who was a closeted gay and now he’s gone? What if she marries a priesthood holder and he adopts the kids? That’s why the whole thing is really stupid. What gay couple with kids are going to be members of the LDS church or even attend?

  13. falcon says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong. A really big deal in LDS land is the concept of “agency”. This is what the rest of us call “free will”. Another big deal for the LDS folks is that there is no “original sin”; people are responsible for their own sins. I’m open to correction on both of these.
    But if this is true, what did the kids who have a parent who is gay, do to deserve this treatment by the LDS church. It wasn’t their fault that their parent is gay. Does the LDS church think that if they let a child with a gay parent participate fully in their religious club that they, the LDS church, are giving assent to homosexual sex acts?
    So is the LDS current policy on children of gays, consistent with their own doctrine of sin? Let me mention this. The LDS church has no systematic theology. LDS doctrine is a grab bag of ideas that floats through the air of each generation and then is often discarded by the next generation or when things get to hot socially. Progressive revelation sounds like a lot of fun on the surface but its result is a huge mess of conflicting doctrines and teachings.

  14. makeitshine says:

    Falcon – its descrimination pure and simple, on the basis of “we don’t want the children confused”

    Its ok for a child who lives with parents who live a self righteous judgemental “lifestyle” to get baptized, but not the child of a person who lives a homosexual “lifestyle” Both are sinning, one just more openly. Both sins will keep you “out of heaven.” Satan fell by egotism alone.

    They are lumping all married homosexual people into a group and assuming because they are living this lifestyle, that they are teaching their kids its ok in Gods eyes. Some of them might be, but I would bet most of them aren’t and certainly think not if they are believing mormons of some sort.

    I know it’s sinful to eat to much, I can teach my kids its not good for you, but I still eat too much sometimes. All of us need Gods mercy and doors shouldn’t be shut on people who are seeking it even if it appears to everyone else that they are “living in sin” gasp!

    Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

  15. falcon says:

    shine
    I admit it’s a tough topic so we go back to Scripture and see what the Word of God has to say. It’s pretty clear that homosexual behavior is a sin in the eyes of God. But like you pointed out, so are a lot of other behaviors. Having been raised Catholic in the era I was, religious sects were very strict, not just the Catholics. So now society has changed and does the church have to change to correspond to society’s changing norms? A couple of decades ago, there was a church in my area that wouldn’t let a family become members because they owned a beer distributorship. They could attend, but not be members. I can tell you with all confidence that wouldn’t have been a problem for a Catholic church.
    But consider the LDS church that brags about apostles and prophets in their midst and they do such stupid things. Makes me do a flashback to Mark Hofmann and how he took the brethren for a load of cash peddling fake Mormon artifacts.
    I agree with you. If the LDS church isn’t going to allow sinners to have their kids baptized then they may as well stop baptizing all together.

  16. historybuff says:

    The reason the LDS policy on children of same-sex parents doesn’t make sense to you is because you’re looking for doctrinal reasons for the policy. You have to think like a Mormon leader to figure it out.

    There’s no logical extension of LDS doctrine here. The Church simply doesn’t want sweet little children of same-sex couples being blessed during LDS meetings, where the whole congregation witnesses the humanity of same-sex families and may empathize with them. LDS leaders are trying to immunize their congregations against any kind of warm feelings toward homosexuals. It’s not very kind to the children but, as you’ve pointed out already, LDS leaders have already decided to throw those families, children included, under the bus.

    Mormons have taken the Biblical admonition, “You must be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves,” Matthew 10: 16 and modified it a bit: “You must be wise as serpents and twice as mean.”

  17. makeitshine says:

    You have to wonder how much of the bias against homosexuals has to do with their worship of a Male deity. The only choice for a homosexual to become a God and enter the celestial kingdom and have a spirit family would be to become heterosexual or at least pretend to be one for that purpose, which is what many have done. I am guessing those who chose celibacy in this life will be rewarded with heterosexuality after death and then proxy married to woman in the next.

  18. falcon says:

    Don’t you have to kinda wonder what gays did in the pre-existence to be assigned to same sex attraction? Mormon folklore has all kinds of explanations for why some people are born with handicaps regarding the pre-existence. Then their are sociopaths, psychopaths, pedophiles and a whole host of other assignments. Makes you wonder.
    Here’s what we know though according to LDS teaching. No one goes to hell. Everyone gets saved and many, if they have the work done for them, have an opportunity for the CK. So given that, it would seem no big deal to baptize a child who has a gay parent. Unless of course they did something in the pre-existence to deserve this fate.

  19. falcon says:

    I know it’s probably way too much to ask but why didn’t the prophet of the LDS church stand up at the last GC and announce the church’s policy towards the children of those who are gay? Was this an actual revelation or did some nameless faceless committee come up with this policy? The rank-and-file are accepting this like it’s revealed truth.
    It all goes along with the article above. Don’t these people get it? And yes, you have to think LDS in order to get it. Like Dr. Walter Martin said: LDS are capable of rational thought in all aspects of their lives accept when it comes to their religion.
    If only they knew that the way to the Father is through faith in Jesus Christ and not some religious sect. Especially a false one.

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