Strategic Emotional Advertising

Bonneville’s Heart TugBonneville Communications is an advertising agency owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s web site explains,

“For over 30 years, Bonneville Communications has designed, produced and distributed public service messages for national nonprofit organizations.

“Long after people forget what they hear, they remember how they feel. So Bonneville creates those unforgettable feelings for those who request our support. Bonneville’s work has been internationally recognized for its ability to inspire and motivate.”

On the web site of Bonneville’s parent company, Bonneville International, we learn,

“Bonneville’s ability to touch the hearts and minds of audiences makes it an essential resource for organizations with vital messages.

“…the creative professionals at Bonneville Communications…unique strength is the ability to touch the hearts and minds of audiences, evoking first feeling, then thought and, finally, action. They call this uniquely powerful brand of creative HeartSell® — strategic emotional advertising that stimulates response.”

Marketing is an amazing thing. This uniquely powerful, strategic emotional manipulation of peoples’ feelings has been trademarked by the LDS Church. HeartSell® has proven to be a useful tool in advertising; it seems it’s also effective in LDS proselytizing.

The friend who pointed me to this information about HeartSell® (my thanks to Paul) said tongue-in-cheek,

“Next time a Mormon tells you the Church is true because they had a feeling, point them to the makers of those feelings: Bonneville Communications.

“‘That special feeling that you have about Joseph Smith being a true prophet? Well that’s been trademarked by Bonneville Communications; it’s called HeartSell®.'”

Though we can find humor in this, there is a serious side to the issue, something Ravi Zacharias has called “seduction of the eye.” At the Ligonier Ministries 2007 National Conference, “Contending for the Truth,” Mr. Zacharias pointed out that we are living in a time when people think with their feelings rather than with their minds. He quoted poet William Blake,

This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And goads you to believe a lie
When you see with and not through the eye.

Mr. Zacharias explained,

“We are intended to see through the eye with a conscience. We run into serious trouble when we see with the eye, devoid of conscience.”

Bonneville’s HeartSell® is a seduction of the eye. It strategically appeals to our emotions to stimulate a pre-determined response. It is a marketing ploy designed for us to watch with our eyes — devoid of conscience — and then be willingly catapulted to action.

As Mr. Zacharias said, truth is primarily a quality of proposition. Therefore, whether HeartSell® is delivered via video or LDS missionaries, the safer course for us all would be to see it through the eye of thoughtful, biblically informed discernment.

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 Truth, Honesty, Prayer, and Inquiry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Strategic Emotional Advertising

  1. Arthur Sido says:

    I like the new website design. Very eye-catching!

    The mormon church is an outstanding PR organization, from the regimented way it trains and controls missionaries, to the method and materials of proselytizing to it’s public image spin machine in the form of commercials and it’s preemptive attacks on opponents and non-“faith affirming” news articles and books. As a corporation it would be very profitable.

    Fortunately we are in the business of truth, not spin…the Gospel is not a product to be peddled or sold, a fact that not a few Christian churches have forgotten.

  2. Matt says:

    They have been involved in this type of emotional manipulation for many years, going back to the 1970s and the “Homefront” series of TV commercials.

    Many people were unwittingly moved and touched by these commercials, unaware that they are a part of a sophisticated marketing ploy for a cult-like organization that appears to be about love and religion but at the core, is focused on income, not truth.

  3. Qahal says:

    Good timing on this post. I was just driving the other day and listening to the radio when on pops this LDS commercial. It has multiple people responding to the question of whether they believe there is a God. All of the responses are akin to, “I don’t know.” Then the voice confidently proclaims, “After centuries of confusion the truth has finally been restored.”

    I had a good laugh. For starters, the build-up and the payoff of the commercial have absolutely no connection. Mormons are not claiming to clear up the confusion of everyday agnostics roaming the street. They are claiming to usurp the tradition and authority of Christianity. It’s an easy (and clever) way of creating “confusion” where there is none.

    Secondly, I found it laughable because I can’t imagine the institutional Catholic Church (to which I belong) airing radio spots. Maybe it would go something like this: “After centuries of people inventing new religions, the truth is still going strong. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, co-equal, co-eternal.” Hurry in now for all the holy water you can carry *wink*! Okay so the wink wouldn’t work on radio.

    There was actually a pretty funny Simpsons a few years back that had a Catholic TV commericial. Obviously part of the joke is that it just doesn’t happen.

    Great post, Sharon.

  4. Ginger says:

    Emotional manipulation?? Um. Okay. The LDS Church has made full use of the technology available (as many other churches have), but it’s laughable to you? Interesting.

  5. Eric the Red says:

    First, let me comment on your new blog format. It downloads much more quickly than the other one. Don’t know why, but that sure is nice for those of us out in the middle of the Pacific with less than admirable Internet connection. Love the new layout. Makes me want to go grab another cup of coffee!

    The above article reminds us again that Christians and Mormons are laboring under two different standards. They are fighting two different wars. One is the success war and the other is the truth war. Of course, I sadly admit that many Christians are caught up in the success war as well. “Impression means everything” is not a biblical truism. Look at some of the prophets of the Bible, Elijah and John the Baptist to name a few. No marketing mavens they! Note well, Jesus’ choice of apostles. Consider God’s choice of David. Clearly external impressions were not the primary issue. How many Christian organizations now have marketing divisions? One can debate the merits of such methods, but human nature is a deceptive thing, and it doesn’t take long for these methods to become the “arm of flesh” in which we are warned not to put our trust.

    Over the years, I have seen the success of the “Heartsell” methodology in wooing many in our island nation to Mormonism. The whole LDS evangelistic machine is market driven. Each study is crafted to be positive, “faith building”, and painless. It will continue to succeed because such methods are of the world and therefore palatable to the world. We as true believers must never forget that the world hated Christ and will therefore hate us and our methods. It is only the Word of God and the work of the Spirit that can break through that inborn hatred to bring a man or women to Christ. Let us never forget that the wide road was the more pleasant one. Smoothly paved and sharply trimmed. The narrow road wasn’t as well marketed. Pocked with potholes and oppressively restricted. Was that a marketing failure on Christ’s part or was it purposeful? A thoughtful perusal of Christ’s evangelistic methods will quickly provide the answer.

  6. Neal says:

    Halelujah! You finally put into words what has been bothering me about the LDS Church for so long. I am sick and tired of how good it makes me FEEL! That sickening sweet peace as I read the scriptures or go to Sunday School — that is AWFUL. Or how about that warm satisfaction when I have prayed with my family or served in a church-sponsored project to make my neighborhood a better place — I hate that feeling! What you weren’t clear about is whether I should only have BAD feelings or if I should ignore my feelings altogether? Please address this is future posts for those of us who are tired of feeling that calming, peaceful, wonderful spirit that so many of us feel as we worship the Savior and learn of His teachings. Maybe I am better served to go to more mainstream, accepted Christian Church that would NEVER use emotion as a way to touch someone’s heart — maybe the Pentacostals — or perhaps Southern Baptists? Thanks again. This is a wonderful first step.

  7. Neal, the whole point is that organizations like the mainstream Mormon sect manipulate emotions apart from a concern with truth. Instead of encouraging a heart’s desire and emotion that is in response to God’s public revelation about himself in the Bible, Mormonism tries to get people to distrust the Bible and instead trust inward feelings over something that has been overwhelmingly been proven to be false. And that lends itself well to a marketing scheme.

    Mormonism might be the greatest invented religion in the world to arouse what seems like the best possible feelings, but if it’s invented, it’s not worth throwing your heart into.

    Besides, the truth will ultimately bring the greatest and most permanent happiness. When you extend your hand to give masonic temple handshakes to angels in heaven guarding the so-called “Celestial Kingdom”, you’re going to experience the deepest regret and shock and horror you ever imagined. Exchanging the truth about the only God of all reality for the euphoria from temporary emotional epiphanies will be an ultimate letdown.

  8. rick b says:

    Neal, Just because you feel good does not mean you have the truth.

    The LDS Church teaches all Churchs are wrong execpt for the LDS church. If you did a poll of other religions out their, Muslim, JW, Christian Science Etc, they would tell you they love their church and they FEEL GOOD in what they do, yet you would still believe they are wrong.

    Add to that, every year 100’s of people die due to drug overdose, Why do they kill themselves for a drug? Because it makes them feel good. Just because something makes you feel good does not mean it’s good for you. Remember Jer, 17:9 The heart is dectiful and wicked. Dont trust in Feeling, follow Acts 17:11 and search the scriptures. Rick b

  9. Neal says:


    Talk about manipulative! Posts on this site continually make generalized, universal statements and observations based on issues that are so removed from the daily thoughts, actions and beliefs of everyday members of the LDS Church and treat them as if they are important and relevant, all for the purpose of confusing and manipulating those whoa re unfamiliar with the church or are disaffected. Now I have no problem talking about issues that are in the past, on the fringe, controversial, misunderstood or otherwise out of the mainstream, but they ought to be identified as such.

    Secondly, a basic tenet of the church is that the Bible is the word of God. We believe that over the years certain problems have arisen over translation and errors have occurred. Any honest Christian must admit the same. If it weren’t true, why are there multiple translations? Why are there disagreements over doctrine even among mainstream Christian sects? Why in the world was there even a Protestant reformation? To say that we teach that people should distrust the Bible is a lie and you as someone who purports to want to bring people to the truth should be ashamed. The LDS Church is clear and candid in our belief that the Bible is the word of God and we seek to read it and understand it. When I went to Sunday School on Sunday we studied the New Testament. King James translation. Those who prayed before and after our class prayed to God in the name of Jesus Christ prayed that we might understand it and be able to bring our lives into harmony with the things we were reading. Nobody prayed that we might expose it or destroy it.

    Third, emotions are real and are God-given. They allow us to feel joy and pain and are a part of are eternal nature. Jesus certainly felt emotion. Emotions can bring comfort and peace. Emotions can warn of danger or prompt us to repent or turn away from evil. They cam be a means of communicating ideas and feelings across a diversity of cultural, educational, racial and other divides. They are NOT the only means of communicating messages, they are certainly not the only means of communicating truth, nor does the LDS Church EVER teach that emotions are the only means of understanding or communicating gospel messages. This is another example of your own dishonesty. If you wish to be successful in your ministry, you need to be more honest in your approach. Scripture that members of the LDS church hold as modern revelation are replete with instructions to “seek learning”, “seek wisdom even out of the best books”, “come, let us reason together”, “study it out in your own mind”, “all these things shall give thee experience”. These instructions are hardly appeals to emotion, but to reason and learning and study and experience.

    Emotion is a single layer of communicating a message — not perfect, but not illegitimate. How to you reason the existence of God to an athiest? How do you rationalize the atonement and resurrection of Christ with a secular humanist? Joy is an emotion, and so is despair. To help the desperate FEEL a twinge of hope is a STEP — a gateway — that can allow them access to learn of Christ, to find a fullness of hope and to begin a lifetime of study, prayer and service that lead them to know Christ and to have a desire to be like him. That will bring them Joy.

    I spent many years — through graduate school — learning, reasoning, rationalizing, debating, gaining knowledge of my chosen academic course of study. I think I know a little something about learning and gaining knowledge. In those times when that part of my self that is eternal has been touched by Truth, I have KNOWN in a way that is impossible to know in any other way that something is true. Sometimes that moment is accompanied by emotion. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I smile, sometimes I feel at peace. There may be those in the LDS Church who confuse all emotion with a spiritual experience. Nobody is perfect. I have absolute confidence that others in other Christian sects have the same experience. We learn and we grow together.

    Finally — I keep reading posts and comments about the “marketing machine”, the church being “out for money”, etc. My question is — who benefits? What is the point? Has the LDS church ever had a Jim Bakker-like scandal to show that someone is getting enormously wealthy from the Church? Or is the Church using its resources for other purposes — building chapels and temples for worship, humanitarian (dare I say Christian?) service, etc?

    Aaron — you state that the Church manipulates emotion apart from a concern for truth. I say the church recognizes that people’s emotions can be touched for the purpose of persuading people to seek the truth.

    Enough for now.

    Moderator’s note: Comments are now limited to 2000 characters and back-to-back comments are frowned upon and may be subject to deletion. Please try to keep comments succinct. This policy is to help encourage ongoing conversation with Mormons, not censor it.

  10. Neal says:

    Rick B.,

    I totally agree with all you said. That goes to my point above. If we rely SOLELY on emotion we have a problem. Plus you have to agree that there is a difference between PLEASURE and JOY. A drug may give me pleasure, but can never allow me to feel joy.

    Emotion can certainly be manipulative and misleading. It cannot be the only indicator or teacher, neither can it be ignored as a part of who we are. All emotions are not equal, some are more desirable, but we will never be devoid of them, nor should we try to be.

    Finally — I agree that people of all religious persuasions will say that living their religion makes them feel good. I totally agree! A primary belief in the LDS Church is that we embrace ALL truth. Anytime we do right we have the ability to feel right about it. True principles are always True. I may feel that my Muslim brother has an incomplete understanding of God, but he does believe God to be the Creator, he believes God to be omnipotent, personal, etc. These things are true! When he prays in faith according to his understanding, he will feel at peace. As a member of the LDS Church, nothing in the doctrine as I understand it prohibits me from sharing joy with all those who embrace truth, wherever it may be.

  11. Neal, for multiple reasons we aren’t going to limit our discussion of Mormonism to what is actively and explicitly taught and practiced today. Mormonism concerns not only what Mormons consciously believe, but also what they are willing to not denounce. Mormonism depends on a succession of human “priesthood authority” leadership and has taught that its leaders are inspired of God and will never lead the church astray. It’s hardly irrelevant that Brigham Young taught Adam-God from the General Conference tabernacle pulpit (something now considered damanable heresy) or that Mormonism has fostered a belief that God the Father could have lived a mortal probation wherein he was once a sinner.

    Like you have demonstrated in your comment, Mormonism seeks to foster a doubt in the word of God as we have it today so that more priority is given to human “priesthood authority” leadership.

    In overstating the case with regard to textual corruption in transmission and translation you provide a backup mechanism for Mormons who would rather trust the words of Joseph Smith than the authoritative word of God (cf. Isaiah 43:10). Can you offer for us even one example where a debate over a significant doctrine in Christendom decisively centers around a translation issue?

    If you want real and ever-increasing joy, then you need to become a Christian hedonist. If you think a person can even be remotely happy in a heavenly “kingdom” where Christ doesn’t personally reign and dwell then you have not even begun to understand true happiness.

    Child-molestors and serial rapists have feel-good emotions when they commit their crimes. Not all seemingly positive emotions are of God, and the word of God is more decisive in testing truth than emotion.

    Please consider this carefully. Grace and peace in Christ,


  12. rick b says:

    Neil you said Secondly, a basic tenet of the church is that the Bible is the word of God.

    I said this before to an LDS membder on this blog, it might have been you I dont recall the LDS members name, But you leave what you said short and hanging,

    You did not add, in so far as it is translated correctly

    This leads people to believe something even you dont, that is dishonest.

    Then this topic over all is a good one, but does not effect salvation as near as I can tell, So please answer the newest topic and give Honest answers if you can. Like why is their no such thing as reformed egypition, or how come their is over 4,000 changes to the BoM, when in the way JS translated, that could not be possible.

    I did state in that topic, I dont believe any LDS could or would give honest answers, I am going to give you the benifit of the doubt and believe you will answer those questions, but over all only time will tell if you do or can.

    I am going on feelings and wisdom from past experinecs here and guessing their will be no honest clear answers. Rick b

  13. As I was preaching to dozens of teens on the street in Orem, UT, just days ago I brought up Isaiah 43:10 which says, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” Their immediate response was, “well, we believe the Bible, but it’s been corrupted and translated many times.” By inferring Isaiah 43:10 couldn’t trusted they felt like they could avoid the obvious implications of the passage. This is just normal. Latter-day Saints may say they believe in the Bible as the word of God, but like Rick points out, they qualify it so they have a huge loop hole. In the end it becomes lip service.

    Mormonism never was and still isn’t a religion of prima scriptura. It is a religion centered around their concept of “continuing revelation” and the priority of living “priesthood authority” leadership. This is why the eleven other apostles didn’t flinch when Brigham Young took Orson Pratt to task over, among other things, rejecting his Adam-God doctrine. For the other apostles, it wasn’t an issue of whether Pratt was theologically correct. It was more important that he submit to living, human priesthood authority leadership. Today, some important doctrines of Brigham Young are largely considered damnable heresies in Mormonism. But because of Mormonism’s value system, it gives an indifferent shrug.

  14. rick b says:

    Neil, If A of F 8 is correct and you cannot fully trust the Bible due to errors, I have a few honest questions for you.

    1. Why do LDS still use it, they might be lead astray from truth if they are using a corrputed version.

    2. Why has no LDS ever “Corrected” these so called Problems

    3. LDS claim these problems by way of the J.S.T. Yet you guys never seem to pass that out or openly quote from it to the extent you quote from the “corrputed” version.

    4. Can you provide me with a list of verses at least 20 from the 100’s that are corrputed or is that to hard, and if you can provide them, I will give you my email adress to send them to, so you dont go over the word limit.

    5. If you cannot give me 20 at least, can you tell me why you cannot, and can you tell me how you can trust the verses if you cannot even provide them. thanks Rick b

  15. Qahal says:

    “We believe that over the years certain problems have arisen over translation and errors have occurred. Any honest Christian must admit the same. If it weren’t true, why are there multiple translations? Why are there disagreements over doctrine even among mainstream Christian sects? Why in the world was there even a Protestant reformation?”

    I am an honest Christian and I will not admit the same.

    If I was to retranslate the Book of Mormon this minute, and contend that mine is the valid translation and that yours is false, I will have created a disagreement over translation. Does the mere existence of my alternate translation discredit the previously assumed validity of yours? Of course not.

    This is an illogical presumption at the very core of the Mormon belief regarding the Great Apostacy. The mere fact that a disagreement arises between two camps does not mean that both camps are automatically presumed false. You can say that it is POSSIBLE that both are false, or you can argue that one or the other is true, but you cannot rule out both on that fact alone.

    If that was a logical assumption, than I could just as easily apply it to the LDS church. There is quite a division within your own faith, including the Reorganized Church, or the Community of Christ, who own the copyright to the Joseph Smith translation. Clearly, you would not agree that such disagreement about the proper translation and interpretation of your scripture is de facto evidence that both translations are corrupted.

    I would echo the challenge to come up with substantive historical evidence of the failure to properly preserve and translate Scripture.

  16. Neal says:

    Moderator — thanks for the note! I’ll work on my brevity and my timing!!

  17. This might save people some time: instead of counting your characters, you can simply type into the comment text box and it will alert you if you’ve gone over the limit. Happy dialoguing!

  18. Paul says:

    Having been born a Mormon and lived my religion for over 30 years, I now find the argument over the corruption in the bible to be so unbelievealbe.

    First off we have numerous versions of the same thing. All copies of the bible agree with each other (just written at different comprehension levels). If those evil priests did manage to change something then someone in another country would have set them straight or at least has a correct version. Someone would have thrown a fit about any changes. BUT I guess the whole world (French, English, German, Etc.) was in on it with Satan.

    We also have several manuscripts, dating less then 60 years after Christ’s death, that not only validate our current translations but show that almost no changes have ever occurred.

    Cross reference that with the 3000 changes to the Book of Mormon as well as the corruption that occurs when it is translated into any other language and WOW. Yes I have an 1830 BOM you can read the scanned pages here (Pay particular attention to Mary being “the mother of God” not “the mother of son of god” like in recent editions.)

    If I had to choose (and I did) my money is on the bible every time.

  19. rick b says:

    Neil, You claim we have many different translations of the Bible, so that means we have a problem, What about how JS said the German bible is the Most Accurate translaion of all, I dont see LDS using the German bible, I also dont see any hurry in replying to my questions, Can I again rely on feelings and experince and simply feel you will not answer them?

    Be honest, if you cannot answer them simply say so, but to either tell every one your Church is correct with out evidence, or simply waiting for these posts to fall into the arcives simply shows me you cannot handle honest questions. Rick b

  20. Last time I checked General Conference messages had to be translated from English to all sorts of languages. Even the supposed benefit of the Book of Mormon and a modern day prophet is channeled through translation for non-English speaking folks.

  21. Neal says:

    Hold your horses Rick B. I have never dodged a question you have asked me and I won’t dodge this one. I have a job and a family and I can’t always respond immediately, but I will respond, as I always have.

    And Aaron — never said there was a problem with translation per se, only that the LDS Church holds that we believe the Bible to be true insofar as it is translated correctly. Of course we need to translate to different languages. Stick with me, man.

  22. Christians believe in the Bible “as it is translated correctly” too. The difference is that “as it is translated correctly” functions as a convenient out for Mormons who choose human priesthood authority over the authority of God’s word, even when they aren’t even aware of a real translation or transmission issue. At the end of the day it’s not an issue of translation or transmission, it’s an issue of choosing one authority over another.

    By the way, I never saw this question answered: Can you offer for us even one example where a debate over a significant doctrine in Christendom decisively centers around a translation issue?

  23. Neal says:

    Aaron — I said earlier I would answer the question, and I will. In the meantime, you err when you say “human priesthood authority”. Priesthood authority is of God. Our belief is that God’s word is of valid whether he speaks it today or spoke it 2000 years ago. I believe God is omnipotent, while you want to limit His power to reveal His word to His children to a distant time.

    I promise an answer to your other question — I have some resources I need to accessand I need time so I can be accurate and helpful. While I am working on that — can you really tell me (honest question) that you are aware of NO doctrinal, theological disagreements between Christian sects who both claim the Bible as the final word? Also — are Catholics Christians? Again, honest question, I don’t know where you stand on that issue.

  24. Neal, Mormon history and doctrine show that the LDS human “priesthood authority” leadership is indeed human and not divine. It prevents Mormons from going to directly to Christ, the priest people ought to directly go to, for free and immediate forgiveness. The direct access to Christ as our only mediator is through trusting in the word of God, something we can read today without the controlling ordinances and ceremonies of man. On the other hand, Mormonism regulates and controls temple worthiness interviews and human-dependent ordinances and ceremonies and declares them necessary for obtaining forgiveness and entering to into the temple-presence of God. That’s like throwing out the entire book of Hebrews.

    “are [you] aware of NO doctrinal, theological disagreements between Christian sects who both claim the Bible as the final word?”

    This is a silly question. Of course there are. The issue is whether significant ones arise directly and centrally out of translation issues, a picture Mormonism frequently portrays to get their people to trust in the modern LDS leadership more than God’s written word.

    Because the eternal nature of God and the means of forgiveness are two of the most important doctrines, I would argue that, within Mormonism, there is far more substantial disagreement (and a jaw-dropping indifference) over important theology and doctrine. Notice, for example, the gap between the theology of Blake Ostler and traditional Lorenzo Snow couplet theology, or the broad disagreement between the perfectionism of Spencer W. Kimball and the neo-orthodoxy of writers like Stephen E. Robinson. Mormons can’t even agree on the basics (and in fact redefines what the basics are in a way that peripheralizes things like the eternal nature of God).

  25. inhimdependent_lds says:

    Aaron, i am also curious to know where you stand- are Catholics Christians?

  26. Qahal says:

    “God is omnipotent, while you want to limit His power to reveal His word to His children to a distant time.”

    I just want to point out this faulty proposition as well. It incorrectly assumes that accepting Scripture as a closed canon can only be an act of man limiting God. I suspect that this derives from the LDS idolization of the concept of “progression”. Otherwise, a rational person would accept the possibility that God has willingly chosen a set time and place for His revelation. To suggest as much has no affect on God’s omnipotence. Christ is the center of all history, He is the fullness of all truth. The Father revealed all through Christ and understanding came through the Holy Spirit. This is by God’s design and not by man’s.

    While I say that all has been revealed in Christ, you suggest that God is, for whatever reason, withholding information that he will reveal at a later time. To be frank, that sounds like a rather manipulative characteristic. Perhaps in your eyes that makes God appear more powerful. But it is incorrect to suggest that it is the only way an omnipotent God would behave. On the contrary, I would suggest that it is not the behavior of an ALL-LOVING, omnipotent God.

    P.S. I can’t speak for them, but the unifying characteristic of Christians is belief in one baptism in the name of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So I imagine that they would accept Roman Catholics as Christians. But that is not to say that they wouldn’t have extensive disagreements with me as well. I guess we will just have to wait for the Catholic Research Ministry 🙂

  27. Just last month I was talking to a Roman Catholic priest from Salt Lake City. I asked him what it took to be forgiven/saved and he basically said, “be a good person.” I asked some more questions and he admitted that while he gives weekly homilies he almost never reads the Bible and instead focuses on the practice of sacraments.

    This was tragic, because Christianity is about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. There are perhaps five pillars, you could say, of this relationship. One is knowing and enjoying who God is (and the Trinity is very important here). Two is trusting in the promises of Christ because of what he accomplished on the cross (i.e. the free, immediate forgiveness of all sins received by faith). Three is listening to what God has said in his personal, publicly revealed word (the Bible). Four is communicating to God in prayer out of a desperate, dependent faith, and a glad heart of gratitude. Five is worship, which can be fleshed out in song and in obedience and missions.

    I know Roman Catholics that are Christian, but it is in spite of Roman Catholicism. They pray to Jesus, not at all to Mary or other dead saints. For forgiveness they depend on God’s promises communciated in his word, not the ceremonies and ordinances administered by man. They directly confess their sins to God and receive absolution from his promises, not through another human priest. They practice holiness because they are justified by faith apart from works or merit, not in order to earn any merit from God or to contribute any righteousness to their justification.

  28. “While I say that all has been revealed in Christ, you suggest that God is, for whatever reason, withholding information that he will reveal at a later time. To be frank, that sounds like a rather manipulative characteristic.”

    I think we should be careful of talking like this, since there are clearly things John learned (as indicated in Revelation) that he is not yet able or allowed to reveal. I think we can say this: Whatever God has revealed to the Christian church is equally to be available to non-Christians. Whereas Mormons are often protective and secretive about their private doctrines, Christians are public and proud of the revelation God has provided.

    “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 29:29

  29. Arthur Sido says:


    I know Roman Catholics that are Christian, but it is in spite of Roman Catholicism.

    Well said.


    Far too much is made of doctrinal differences in Christian sects. On the foundational truths, there is remarkable unanimity in orthodox Christianity. We all hold to the necessity of baptism, although some baptize infants and some only believers. I hold to Reformed, Calvinistic Baptistic doctrines but I fellowship and recognize the legitimacy of my Presbyterian and Reformed brethren who baptize infants and my Baptist brethren who don’t hold to Calvinism. What unites us is far stronger than what divides us. The authority, inerrancy and clarity of the Bible. The deity of Christ and the Trinity. Justification by faith alone. These are the great truths of Christianity whether we have congregational church governance or Presbyterian, whether we baptize infants or adults. There will always be disagreements in the church, even as there was in the earliest days of the church between Peter and Paul, but that in no way legitimizes mormonism or delegitimizes Christianity.

    Better that some live in truth than all live in error.

  30. inhimdependent_lds says:

    Aaron, are you saying that when you use the word “Christian” you are using the word to refer to ONLY those people who are “saved” according to the way you understand things- and not to the rest of those that are sincerely trying to follow Jesus Christ but “not doing it right” in your view? In other words being saved “according to the way you understand it” is a prerequisite for having the word Christian applied to them.

    Would that be a fair assessment of your views?

  31. inhimdependent_lds, it’s ultimately not an issue of my opinion. Hear the apostle Paul for yourself:

    “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…” – Romans 4:4-5

  32. inhimdependent_lds says:

    Aaron, i am already very clear that “ultimately” it is not an issue of your opinion. I am not seeking an ultimate answer here. I am asking for your views and it is your opinion that we are talking about at the moment and would be helpful to know.

    What is the point of quoteing Roman 4:4-5 for me? I accept that passage as well as all scripture contained in the Bible. Your posting it tells me nothing about what i am asking you for.

    Here is the question again- put another way. Are people that are sincerely trying to follow Jesus Christ but are not “saved” according to how you understand it not really “Christians” according to how you define the word Christian?

    I dont see why this would be a tricky question.

  33. Qahal says:


    I don’t want to distract from the conversation, nor from your ministry to LDS, but if what you say about that priest is true, then he is a bad priest, and not representative of the Catholic Church.

    Secondly, the things that you would take issue with in Catholic practice and worship are actually properly understood as instruments that further our personal relationship with Christ. We have the same goal, we disagree about the best means of achieving it. You see the sacraments, intercessory prayer, and the ordained priesthood as impedences to that personal relationship. A Catholic properly views them as gift established by Christ to aid us in drawing in to a closer personal relationship with Him. They are worth nothing without the personal relationship.

    As for the Catholics you know that are Christian in spite of Catholicism. Based on your description they are not really Catholic, in the practicing sense. So I guess you would believe that Catholics are not Christian (though this is probably based on a cursory knowledge of Catholicism). That is a bold belief considering that there would be no modern day Christianity or Scripture upon which to base it were it not for the Catholic Church. And, frankly, that includes the LDS church, too (though they would never accept that).

    Moderator’s note: As Qahal has noted, a discussion on Catholicism takes this thread far afield from the topic. Please bring the conversation back to focus on issues related to Mormonism.

  34. Qahal says:

    Also, as to revelation, Aaron, your point is well taken. I should have distinguished between public and private revelation. While there is always ongoing private revelation, God has revealed all that is needed for His Church on earth through Christ (public revelation). And private revelation is always guided by His public revelation (or deposit of faith). In other words, if today I had a vision of Christ and He told me many things that altered the clear teachings of Scripture, I would say that the private vision is not authentic, because it conflicts with the deposit of faith.

    But to say that God is withholding revelation from his church sounds rather manipulative to me.

  35. rick b says:

    inhim said: Here is the question again- put another way. Are people that are sincerely trying to follow Jesus Christ but are not “saved” according to how you understand it not really “Christians” according to how you define the word Christian?

    I dont know how Aaron understands things, I cannot speak for him, As for me the Bible is clear. Just because you say I believe in Jesus, as the LDS claim to, they could have a false jesus and false gospel just as paul taught in Gal 1:8-9.

    So if you have a false jesus he cannot save, Jesus also said very clearly, not everyone who says Lord Lord will be saved, this show they thought they new Jesus but did not.

    LDS also claim they have the only true Church and we can only be saved by believing what they believe, so theirfore as a Christian I dont believe what you believe, I believe your Church is a false Church, so Tad tell me, they way you worded the question to Aaron, let me put it back on you. If your view is correct and I believe your Church is false, built on lies and false prophets, can I be saved simply because I am sincere? Rick b

  36. Jeff says:

    Good convo’s here. I’m pleased to see people not bashing others as it seems to come to quick when discussing religion. To be honest, I don’t like to put a word to my personal walk with Jesus. I believe the Bible is the word of God.. I think that The Bible isn’t called the Christian Book, or the Muslim Book, or the Jewish book, or the Book of Mormon for a reason. What I believe it all comes down to is your belief, your faith, and your love for Jesus Christ and plan of salvation he has given us. I don’t want to be called “Christian or Mormon or anything” because so many people and groups of people (church’s) have their own idea of what a Christian is. Who cares? I want to be called Jeff, the guy who loves his Lord dearly and put all trust/belief/faith in him and his word.

    I’m not saying I’m right in what I just said, thats just what I believe and how I feel. If you focus too much on things in the world, you’re looking forward, instead of focusing upward to Jesus in Heaven.

    I love you guys, I hope great things come of this site and conversation.

  37. rick b says:

    Inhim said in a reply to Aaron I dont see why this would be a tricky question.

    Just thought I would ask and say the same thing to Inhim about my question to him. Rick b

  38. inhimdependent_lds says:

    Rick b, you are correct- you cannot speak for Aaron. I am waiting to hear what he has to say on the matter.


  39. rick b says:

    I see you not able to answer your own question put back on you, and your not able to answer inme. How can you say you have the truth knowing you apper to lie by not being able to answer questions and use the sad excuse of, I just dont want to answer them?

    I really hope any LDS that simply come here and read see the truth by the fact many LDS cannot answer so many important questions. Rick B

  40. inhimdependent_lds says:

    The opportunity to interact and dialogue with others regarding ones faith is to me not a “right”- but rather a great privilege and honor. To me that privilege is something that should be treated with dignity and respect. It is my desire to engage in dialogue about such matters with other people who feel the same way and are able to engage in discussion in a manor that is constructive and pleasing in the sight of the Lord. I simply do not think you see it that way. Your comments are often rude, belittling, disrespectful and condescending. You have also made it clear in the past that you willingly embrace the spirit of contention as your bedfellow. I simply do not want any part of that and choose to invest my time in conversations with others that I feel can engage in discussion in a more mature way. Beyond that I often have a difficult time even understanding much of what you say or following a coherent train of thought in your posts.

    The fact that I am choosing to not answer your questions Rickb has nothing to do with my ability or competency- nor does it have anything to do with whether or not LDS have answers to your questions at all. Rather in my case it has everything to do with my choice not to interact with you or anyone else embracing the same “modus operandi”. The amount of time and energy I can justify posting here or online at all is very limited and I simply choose to invest that limited time elsewhere.

    I am growing weary of having to explain this to you over and over either here or at other blogs Rickb. Surely we do not need to repeat this conversation again in the future. You are more than welcome to think whatever you want, believe whatever you want and post whatever you want- it matters not to me and I wish you all the best.
    Just know that I choose to invest my time and energy in responses elsewhere.


  41. Interested says:


    Like so many before you; when the going gets tough you say the same thing; ” I choose to invest my time and energy in responses elsewhere.” That really sounds like evasion to me.

    Contention is necessary if progress is to be made.

  42. Jeff says:

    inhim.. I haven’t spoke a rude word yet on this site and don’t plan to.. I however am interested in the answer to the question that Rick B. directed to you.. You seem to be pretty learned, so I’m hoping you can clear those things up for me…

    Thank You

  43. rick b says:

    Tad said Your comments are often rude, belittling, disrespectful and condescending.

    Really? So far I dont recall one person here like Bill or sharon writting me off line or here on site saying I am like this and need to change, Or anyone other than you for that fact.

    Tad said
    You have also made it clear in the past that you willingly embrace the spirit of contention as your bedfellow.

    Really? I said that, Hmmm, Dont recall saying that.

    Tad said
    I simply do not want any part of that and choose to invest my time in conversations with others that I feel can engage in discussion in a more mature way.

    Seems you have time enough to reply about trival stuff, how about an honest answer instead.

    Tad said
    Beyond that I often have a difficult time even understanding much of what you say or following a coherent train of thought in your posts.

    Thats sad you think this way, I have had many people tell me I ask good honest thought provking questions, You dont like what I say, that is how I see it, Looks like Jeff liked my question to you, understood clearly what I said and would like a reply from you.

    Add to that, I dont recall on this site any LDS saying, Rick your losing me, I dont understand what your saying, please clarify, nor has any others person either that I recall, again seems to me you simply dont like my questions. Rick b

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