Last month (30 June 2008) the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle ran a short article profiling four Latter-day Saints from the Rochester, New York area. Dorothy Holmes was one of the Mormons interviewed. The article mostly covered Mrs. Holmes’ family and her life-long activity in the LDS Church, but she is quoted as providing the following testimony:
“I believe the doctrines of the church,” she says. “And our church teaches a lifestyle that encourages us to live well and to serve other people. Even if our doctrines were wrong, you wouldn’t lose anything.”
I don’t know what Mrs. Holmes meant by the word “anything,” but biblically, sound doctrine matters.
Christian pastor John Piper exlpains,
“God gives good press to doctrine… In God’s book, knowing his Son and believing true things about him is liberty. ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). God’s self-revelation in the Bible is not a wax nose. Paul calls it ‘the standard of teaching to which you were committed’ (Romans 6:17). It’s a standard, a yardstick, a pattern. You measure truth by it. Elsewhere he calls it ‘the whole counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27), and the ‘pattern of the sound words’ and ‘the good deposit entrusted to you’ (2 Timothy 1:13-14). It does not change. Our everlasting salvation is determined by whether we believe it: ‘Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son’ (2 John 1:9). Depart from the doctrine, and you depart from Christ. Or, better, keep watch over your doctrine and “[by so doing] you will save [both] yourself [and your hearers]” (1 Timothy 4:16).
When Mrs. Holmes says Mormons who live a good lifestyle wouldn’t “lose anything” if the doctrines of the LDS Church were wrong, she’s advocating for a wholly works-based belief system. In this view, eternal happiness is based on how well a person does at living morally and helping others. Proponents of this view apparently think human beings are able to perform righteous and holy deeds sufficient to equal the perfect holiness required by God (but see Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 3:10-20).
God says this: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Knowledge of who God is, is doctrine.
Mormon doctrine says, among other things, that God the Father was once a man on another planet who achieved Godhood by obeying the LDS Gospel; he is a being of flesh and bone; he is of the same species as mankind; he is but one of many gods in a long line of gods stretching back through eternity; he is subject to natural law.
In contrast, Christianity has always held that the doctrine of God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible is this: He is eternally God; the only true God, past, present and future; a Being of spirit; transcendent and unique; Creator of all, subject to none.
If the Mormon doctrine of God is wrong, Mormons don’t lose anything, they lose everything. Take care, friends. Anyone following and trusting the wrong god has built his spiritual house upon the sand. The rain will fall, the floods will come, and the winds will blow and beat against it, and great will be the fall of it (see Matthew 7).
For more information see God the Father According to Mormonism
I enjoyed this piece, because it really sums up the importance of everything else we have talked about.
Mormonism may look great, produce wonderfully nice and responsible people, and it may feel even better, but it is wrong. And no matter how nice it looks or feels, wrong is wrong is wrong. It will lead to an eternity in hell.
This is hard for many to grasp, but failure to grasp it is catastrophic. The truth hurts.
I believe that Mrs. Holmes left off a phrase at the end of her sentance. I think that what she meant to say was that even if “Mormonism” was wrong “we wouldn’t lose anything” that is fundamental to our salvation. The doctrines of Jesus Christ are taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the fundamental values of the church are compatible with the New Testament, Old Testament and other revealed scriptures.
I remember in my Mormon days making this statement: “Even if the Church weren’t true, it’s still the best church on the earth, and I would never join another church.” Naturally, this view was the product of the belief that denominational Christianity lacked unity of belief and must, therefore, all be wrong. This view was tainted because of my belief in JS first vision account. I have been saved by the grace of God, because I was as stubborn in my defense of the LDS faith that many Mormons on this site demonstrate of themselves. God’s prevenient grace was always present in my life, and I believe it is true of everyone. God works faithfully and diligently to lead us into truth. I had to hit rock bottom before I was sufficiently humble to confess to God that I did not know if JS was a prophet or if the Church was true. And, I think that is the crux of the situation: the arrogance to cling to a testimony even in the light of revealed truth that contradicts the teachings of JS and the LDS Church. There’s a lot of humble pie in recanting a testimony in which one says “I know such and such to be true…” It’s a human inclination to save face. It’s walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. The thing that puzzles me about LDS is the great emphasis on knowledge (“The glory of God is intelligence”), and then the seemingly naive approach to serious Christian apologetics and the LDS instinct to defend with a subjective testimony. My heart goes out to them because they are victims of an institution that has brought back to life legalism, and denies the freedom from such bondage as found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I’m little disturbed by an incident. My wife works at a public school in Utah. We have been going through some medical treatments. Her colleages know this, and she has been asked by many of them to see the local ward Bishop for blessings. She has been convinced by them about some “miracles” happened in the colleage’s lives. My wife is a non-offending person, so she tried not to offend anyone by saying anything about the faith. Now one of the colleage told her that she has given my wife’s details on some paper and has given to the temple.
I don’t know the rituals they did behind this, but why the Mormons have to do this without the consent of the whole family? Secondly, I hate any religious rituals for miracles or healings – I believe only in Jesus Christ. How can I reject the rituals?
When we were mormons and I was struggling with the Book o’ Mormon, one of the church leaders came over and told me something similar, even if it wasn’t true it was still better than anything else out there. For mormons, the fact that many mormons are nice, well dressed and groomed people, it must be a good church. But what better guise for Satan than a church that appears holy on the outside but worships a false god inside.
Jackg, I don’t think it is arrogance that leadsthem to cling to their testimony, it is desperation. Mormons have “I know this chuch is true” so embedded in their head that it is terrifying to contemplate the possibility even that it is not. There are certainly arrogant mormons, but I think the primary reason they cling to their testimony is that they don’t have anything else.
Pallathu, in Mormon temples, during the endowment ceremony, names of people in need of prayer are placed on an altar. At a specific point in the ceremony the officiator says a prayer, which members circling the altar repeat in unison. The prayer differs from time to time, but always includes prayers for “those people whose names are lying on this altar.” The names have been written on individual slips of paper and are enclosed in a pouch before being placed on the temple altar for prayer. The names are not revealed to the group, nor are the specific prayer needs. So all this means is that your wife was prayed for in a generic prayer said in a Mormon temple. If you have more questions, please email us at contact[at]mrm[dot]org.
Sharon, thank you for your reply. I’ll write to you personally.
I have contacted my pastor and group to pray on this matter. My wife and I don’t believe in rituals. We grew up in India as Christians. We’ve lived among many rituals even groups pray to Jesus for making things happen. We don’t believe in those except in the saving and miracle power of Jesus as said in the Holy Bible.
Have I heard this comment before? Yes. But always in response to atheistic and agnostic naysayers. Their premise….since you cannot prove there is a God, why would you bind yourself down to following the teachings of prophets. It is restrictive. It doesn’t make any sense to them. So the natural rebuttal is, “my lifestyle, relationships, safety, security, etc. are preferable to the way of the heathen. If there is no God, my life would still be happier than yours.” It is dealing with them on their level, the carnal world.” I have never heard this used in reference for other “believers”.
A word about testimony. You all remember the story of Jesus and how He was the bread of life and those who want eternal life must partake of Him. Many disciples turned away. Jesus asks Peter will he leave also….”Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Do I dare expound on that. It seems to speak for itself….Lord we have a testimony (which came and can only come by revelation), where else can we go? Do we cling to our testimony? Absolutely and unfailingly to the bitter end. “There is no certitude without revelation” (Origen) Arthur: do we have anything else? No, neither do we need it. A testimony that Jesus is the Christ is the spirit of prophecy. That has always been enough for the faithful. What do you think of Paul’s defense before King Agrippa? Is that all you have Paul is that crazy story of God(Jesus) appearing to you and enlightening you? That’s all you have is a testimony? Please, don’t you have some documents or historical evidence or something concrete to back your claims? “Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” Sorry Paul, insisting on clinging to a testimony is not enough. Ludicrous, right? Things have not changed and I will remain true to my revealed testimony
DoF, the difference is that their testimony was never at odds with the Word of God. Their testimony was a testimony of the Word. If they had testimony that opposed or was contrary to the Word, their words would have been anathema. The apostles ALWAYS appealed to the Scriptural record.
I was once a mormon and it is MY testimony that through prayer and study and most importantly the soveriegn intervention of the Holy Spirit, I have come to realize that mormonism is false, the BoM in not the Word of God and Joseph Smith is not a prophet, nor any of his successors. We both have testimonies and they cannot both be right as they are mutually exclusive. So how to figure out which one is right?
The difference between our testimonies is that I can and do go to the Bible as my source of authority, you go to your experience because you cannot appeal to the Bible. I was once as convinced that my experience trumped everything else, but that pride was shattered by the unchanging Word of God.
I am a practicing mormon and have had many of the same questions all of you have had. I believe the bible to be the word of God as far as it has been translated correctly. I also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God as it has not been translated over and over again by uninspired people.
As I have said to others it is important to remember where all scripture originated from. They came from the accounts of men who walked and talked with God as did enoch. The Bible is not and has not been from all eternity to all eternity. Gods word may be Authoritative and lasting but the bible has a source and that is through the gift and power of god.
So then can man know true revelation from false? Yes just as moses having tasted the true glory of God could discern satan from the true and living God. One simple test is to ask our selves through study and prayer, is this thing in my life, this information or practice leading me to fallow and obey Christ or to deny him.
I love and study the Holy bible, Book of Mormon and all the words of our lord. studying the scriptures is where my testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints: Christ being central to all that we do: began. And I wish to say to all of you in the Name of Christ that the mormon church is True, and that Jesus is the Christ. I KNOW IT AS MOSES KNOWS IT.
Visions and the ministering of angels did not stop with joseph smith or the prophets of old! Seek and ye shall find, nock and it shall be opend to you.
Many of you will say, “but why then have I not seen and angel ect.” ponder these words. Gods work is first spiritual then temporal and then again temporal than spiritual. We are now in a temporal state awaiting to receive a higher spiritual state. we must first prove ourselves worthy in all temporal commandments and labors our lord requires of us only then can the veil be removed permanently so that we can take upon our selves a greater spiritual work. He who serves the master knows him.
I do not know what context this lady is speaking in soI cannot comment fully on what she is saying. But I think DoF has a point in that it is in response to an atheistic/agnostic questioning for a paper article. It is also her personal opinion despite what context it is in. I have never heard any member of the LDS church say something like this before, but it does not surprise me as I have heard other Christians say this.
In fact, on my mission in Finland which is predominately Lutheran, when asked if God directly came down and told them that the LDS church was true would they join it? Their response was usually “No, I am quite happy with what I have.”
So this lady could be answering an atheistic question or she could be someone who just does not care about things. All in all, it is not a common held belief or saying in the LDS church from my experience.
In my opinion, my eternal salvation is inportant and if I find the truth I will stick with it. And I believe, after much studying, that I have found the truth in the LDS church.
Matt Miller, Can you (or anyone else) please give some examples where the Bible has been translated incorrectly? Also, how can you test if the BOM is translated correctly when the original gold plates are no where to be found? Does the Bible and BOM contradict one another? Remember, only one can be correct.
The issue is about FALSE prophets. You want me to believe that JS was a prophet, which means I have to believe that God had a beginning and a need for redemption. Where in God’s revealed word (and I mean ONLY the Bible) does it speak of God have a beginning and needing redemption because He was once a man as we are. If that’s not heresy, I don’t know what is. So, you see, it’s a blanket issue of prophets, but false prophets that we as Christians fight against. You can go ahead and believe in a JS version of God, which goes against all the prophets with whom you try to compare JS. You are so proud of your “revealed” testimony. Just consider who might be revealing a testimony to you that consists of a humanized god who needed a Savior Himself. And, I’ll stick to my testimony that God is Eternal, without beginning and without end, who has ALWAYS been God, and never was a man in need of redemption because of sin. I believe my testimony is backed up by God’s revealed word and confirmation by the Holy Spirit. If you say yours is as well, then someone is being lied to.
Here is just one example. The King James version renders the first words of the bible “In the beggining God created the heaven and the earth” The hebrew reads “Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits” lets analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; sheit, a grammatical termanation. now Baurau signifies to bring forth; Eloheim is the word Eloi, God, in the singular form; and by adding heim, it renders Gods. therefore it should read In the beggining the head god or head of the gods brought forth the gods and said let us organize an earth.
Any of you who speak a different language know that things don’t translate directly word for word but it is imperative that we use enough words that the understanding of what is written stays in tact.
Paul also said “there are Gods many and Lords many” Now I would like to address Defender:
There is an old saying “A little learning is a dangerous thing. Drink deep, or taste not the pierian spring, There shallow Draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us up again. I could open the scriptures more to your view on how God most certainly is from all eternity to all eternity and yet has a father of his own as the scriptures say but doing so would do little good. Instead I will rebuke you and say Gods thoughts are not your thoughts nor his way your way just as his ways are higher than yours for who can search the deep secrets of Godliness. No First start at the beginning and consider carefully the messages mormons have to share, and seek God in the name of christ for the answers through more careful study and prayer. Avoid accepting something just because its what you have been taught all your life. God will answer the man who carefully considers and fallows James 1:5-8.
I say to you in Jesus name Man also has no begging in the same way god does. Now go try to find out what that means I will say no more.
Matt, you seem quite the scholar of Hebrew. What is your baackground in Hebrew that lead you to that translation? I am just curious, because since you seem to have such a deep knowledge of the ancient languages, I would encourage you to call Dr. James White, toll free, and explain to him what you are saying. He is a pretty fair scholar as well, I would love to hear you interact with him.
You may also want to try posting the entire verse to support your idea, when Paul said “the are gods many”, he is not saying that there are many gods. Read the whole thing: “For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth–as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”– yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”(1 Cor 8:5-6)
He is instead describing the false nature of other gods named and reiterating that there is but one God, the God of the Bible and no other.
Matt Miller, you didn’t respond to my reply on “God is not honored by Blind Faith.” – You practically posted the same thing you wrote on that blog on this, so I will post my reply on this so people don’t fall victim to your poor understanding of the scripture you feel proves “God the grand-father” and “pray to receive confirmation of truth”
Matt Miller, let me ask you something
You quoted Psalms 82:1-8… Did you purposely capitalize the G in gods, when in scripture it is not capitalized? *Update* – you Capitalized the G and L in “gods many and lords” many. There is a reason they are small g and small l, so knock off the butchering of the verses.
Do I have to quote on what the Bible means when it mentions there are many “gods” (small g)?
You also quote Revelation 1:6 as if it references that God the father also has a father. But you simply just read it wrong. “Unto God and His Father” means unto the God we worship, and the Father of Jesus Christ, who is the same God. Read the NIV translation if you need it laid out in a more simple way for you to understand.
You then quote James 1:5. I’m surprised you didn’t change out the word wisdom for the word knowledge. Do you not know the difference between WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE? google it.
Just as Arthur Sido mentioned, how bout you quote the verse in context. In that very same passage it says that there is only One God. I pray the lurkers reading what you write actually look into the whole passage, you’re taking verses out of context, even capitalizing letters to support your idea.. [Presumption of intent statement removed by moderator.]
Very interesting. For everyone’s information (if you have not researched it yet), Matt quoted directly from Smith’s Sermon on Plurality of Gods, as printed in “History of the Church”, Vol. 6, p. 473-479. James White answers with the following quote:
“The kindest thing that can be said of Smith’s interpretation is that he could have used a few more years of instruction in Hebrew. Elohim is plural indeed; but it is most often used with a singular verb, and hence properly translated as a singular. Bara in Genesis 1:1 is singular, and hence is properly translated, “God created,” not, “the Gods created.””
Do you have any other mistranslations? And if this is mistranslated in your KJV why do Mormons keep using the same words as everyone else?
Matt Miller: “we must first prove ourselves worthy in all temporal commandments and labors our lord requires of us”
Romans 3:23 -for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
James 2:10 -whoever keeps the whole law but stumbles on one point is guilty of all
Therefore, John 5:3 -we keep the commandments to demonstrate our love for God, not to prove ourselves worthy (again Rom 3:23)