Is the Mormon religion first century Christianity?

When LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard encouraged LDS Church members to “[Share] the Gospel Using the Internet,” he said,

“I love my present calling, which allows me opportunities to share the message of the Restoration of the gospel to the world and to testify that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1820. Through Joseph, the gospel that Jesus established in New Testament times was brought back. It had been lost with the deaths of the Apostles of old. I can share with the world the knowledge that priesthood authority, the doctrine, and the ordinances of the New Testament Church are once again on the earth. (Ensign, July 2008)

He was, of course, referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the restoration of the true church established by Jesus Christ in the first century. The LDS book Gospel Principles supports Mr. Ballard’s claims:

“The Church of Jesus Christ today teaches the same principles and performs the same ordinances as were performed in the days of Jesus.” (“Chapter 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today”)

One of our online friends who participates in our conversations here at Mormon Coffee wrote on another thread:

“Mormons believe that this quest for sinless perfection and godhood is the original Christianity of the Apostles. That’s what we really should be spending our time discussing: Is the Mormon religion first century Christianity?”

That’s a good question. According to the LDS Church, it is. According to non-Mormons, it isn’t.

So, is the Mormon religion identical to first century Christianity? Talk about it.

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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96 Responses to Is the Mormon religion first century Christianity?

  1. My Mormon friends would have me believe there was a vast conspiracy to remove explicit mention of the continuation of an ordained priesthood authority system in the New Testament.

    But I’m not one for conspiracy theories, especially ones without any evidence.

  2. Bryce says:

    Explicit mention of the continuation of an ordained priesthood authority in the New Testament?

    “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach…” (Mark 3:14)

    “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16).

    “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed” (Acts 14:23).

    “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Tim. 2:7).

    “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5).

    “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb. 5:1).

  3. mormonsoprano says:

    Yes, I believe wholeheartedly that it is! Our invitation to the world is to find out for themselves. To study our church, the scriptures and pray for the Holy Spirit of God to send that confirmation. The Bible records the prophecy and prediction that the authority of God would be lost from the earth, an apostasy would take place, and a restoration would need to happen. Here are just a few scriptures to ponder:
    1. Acts 3: 19-21 states that Jesus Christ’s second coming cannot occur “until the times of restitution of all things”. Something cannot be restored unless it has been lost.
    2. Amos 8:11-12 speaks of a time when there shall be “a famine in the land…of hearing the words of the Lord”. (prophets lost from the earth)
    3. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
    4. Revelation 13:7 the apostle Paul forsaw that the power of Satan would overcome the followers of Christ, and “all kindreds, and tongues and nations”
    5. Ephesians 1:9-10 “…in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ”.

    The pronouncement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that God ushered in the “fulness of times” with the restoration of a prophet upon the earth, Joseph Smith. The lost priesthood of God was bestowed directly from John the Baptist, & Peter, James and John appearing as heavenly beings to Joseph Smith. The organization of the church with a prophet and 12 apostles was then restored as Christ organized before His ascension. The name of the church is “The Church of Jesus Christ”. The designation “of Latter-day Saints” was added to distinguish the modern church members(“saints” see Ephesians 2:19, 2 Cor. 8:4; 1 Cor 14:33)from the early church & saints.

  4. iamse7en says:

    “Mormons believe that this quest for sinless perfection and godhood is the original Christianity of the Apostles.”

    I don’t have time to list all the scriptures in the New Testament that teach us to seek perfection, and seek to be like God. I’m sorry, but you will lose this argument every time. Okay, maybe I’ll post a few:

    Theosis or deification is discussed in the following biblical scriptures:

    Psalm 82:5-6 (cf. John 10:34-36)
    Dan. 12:3
    Matt. 5:48 (cf. Luke 6:40)
    Matt. 24:45-47
    Acts 17:29
    Rom. 8:16-17,32
    2 Cor. 3:18
    1 Cor. 15:49
    2 Cor. 8:9
    Gal. 4:7
    Phil. 3:14-15
    Phil. 3:20-21
    Heb. 12:23
    1 John 3:1-2
    1 Pet. 3:7
    2 Pet. 1:4
    Rev. 3:21
    Rev. 21:7

    Jesus himself commands us to be perfect, and 1 Jn 3:1-2 says, “We shall be like” God. The Book of Revelation says the righteous shall sit upon a throne, inherit all things, and have the name of God written upon their foreheads. Again, with many Mormon principles, there are a lot more scriptures in the Bible that support the deification of man, than oppose it.

    Even 2nd and 3rd Century Christians believed it as well. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, and Augustine all wrote of our potential to godhood. May I leave you all with a quote by Saint Irenaeus, who may justly be called the first Biblical theologian among the ancient Christians, was a disciple of the great Polycarp, who was a direct disciple of John the Revelator:

    We were not made gods at our beginning, but first we were made men, then, in the end, gods.

    My fellow Christians, come back to original Christianity, and seek the blessings of the Lord, where through grace, we may be exalted and “inherit all things.” “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

  5. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Bryce…nice try. However the only passage you managed to locate that had the word “priest” in it is referring to the High Priest. Hebrews was written to Jews and trust me they were well aware that there was only ONE high priest at a time and he was from the Tribe of Levi and specifically a direct descendant of Aaron. The whole system of cities of refuge worked around the death of THE high priest (one at a time).

    Now please notice I didn’t use the phrase “out of context.” 🙂

  6. LDSSTITANIC says:

    iamse7en…now I have to burn another dadgum post…I posted this link an another thread but please read it thoroughly and I think you will clearly see that the concept of “theosis” is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the Mormon idea of eternal progression…Blessings!!

  7. Mike Cucuk says:


    Not only did I ponder your text proofs of a total apostasy, I read the whole chapter and researched the summaries of each chapter and verse therein. Here’s what I came back with.

    1) Acts 3: 19-21 refers to the restitution of sins and repentance. Nothing here about a total apostasy.
    2) Amos 8:11-12 refers to the destruction of ancient Israel in the Old Testament. Nothing here about a total apostasy.
    3) 2 Timothy 4:3-4 is the letter to Timothy referring to a falling away in his area of ministry. Nothing here about a total apostasy.
    4) Revelation 13:7 refers to a vision of “the beast” (the Roman Empire) and its fall. Nothing here about a total apostasy.
    5) Ephesians 1:9-10 refers to the blessings that the gospel reveals. Nothing here about a total apostasy.

    Even if there were a total apostasy and a need for a restoration, how do you explain the presence of the apostle John in D&C 7:1-8 and the Three Nephites in 3 Nephi 28:1-8? 3 Nephi even states that they “shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls.” If this is the case, why was Joseph Smith supposedly told in his first vision that all the churches were wrong? Wouldn’t those who converted under the tutelage of these men be considered a part of the true church?

  8. mobaby says:

    I believe Jesus when he said the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. The gospel throughout the New Testament is so simple and direct it is impossible to imagine that anything could have been lost from “for you have been saved by grace through faith, and not of yourselves, it is a gift from God – not by works, so that no one can boast” and “come unto me all who are heavy laden, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mormonism asks me to believe that Jesus (God come in the flesh) did a lousy job of setting up His Church – so lousy in fact that it almost immediately disappeared from the face of the earth despite the Holy Spirit and God doing his best. God waited until a treasure-seeking peep stone spiritist came along so He could restore true religion. Supposedly where Jesus (God Himself) failed, Joseph Smith succeeded. Joseph Smith, we are to believe, restored temple rituals as they were in the first century (which also leaves me to wonder – Where were all these temples? Where is the evidence they participated in these rituals? – Utterly and completely destroyed just like the church and all Book of Mormon archaeological evidence I suppose?? We know how the temple in Jerusalem was used – the Bible tells us – and it has NOTHING to do with Mormon ritual. Mysteriously, all evidence of these rituals is absent from the historical and archaeological record. Finally, if the Church was utterly destroyed before, it could happen again. We wouldn’t know that perhaps it already has happened? Brigham Young did say that if the Mormon Church ever turned away from polygamy that the devil would rejoice.

    Even if the Church should utterly and completely fall away from the truth (and impossibility if we believe the promises of Jesus) I am certain any “restoration” would not look like the Mormon Church.

  9. 4givn says:


    Sorry, those don’t exactly point to Smith. They seem to be pointing out quite the opposite of what you might want to hear. For instance lets take 2 Tim. for example. It speaks also of myths, which is in direct correlation of what Smith proclaimed, that the natives are of Hebrew descent, great wars, large cities, people that lived on the moon, etc. It seems to get deeper and deeper. That is not sound doctrine by any means, unless truth and facts have no ground for making something sound.
    As for Rev.13 The scriptures clearly state that the “beast” will be proud and blasphemous, that sounds like Smith though. So That may be speaking of Smith.
    And as for Ephesians 1 It speaks that the Grace is there and the fullness is when Christ returns to reap.
    Paul wrote to warn EVERYBODY of what was to come. He warned of false prophets, myths, etc. Christ even warned us of false Christs’.

    I don’t think that they are first century Christians. W/LOVE

  10. Bryce says:

    “For every high priest taken from among men…” sounds like multiple priests to me.

  11. Bryce says:

    John wrote:

    “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:6)

    “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:10)

  12. germit says:

    to my LDS friends/posters: let’s get on ‘paper’ a short list of what we are all waiting to be shown as ‘restored’ by JS and his sp. family.

    (this is by no means a complete list: help me add to this as needed, one and all)

    the continuation of the Levitical priesthood
    the ‘continuation’ of the priesthood after the ordr of Melchizedek
    the use of temples, and the rites and ordinances that reflect current LDS practice (and the adjoining ‘paraphenalia’)
    baptism for the dead
    baptism of all kinds done ONLY by those with the proper priesthood authority
    word of wisdom admonitions and commandments
    LDS church offices and overall structure
    eternal exaltation to godhood

    this is a ‘starter list’, if your church is indeed restored, I will expect not only NT backup; but early church fathers writing strongly about the above (if they were ‘dying out’, one would expect them to do their very best with their ‘last gasp’, and preserve what they could)
    Listing the church fathers and saying “they said” without ANY reference to a specific work and page number is WEAK, if the evidence is ABUNDANT, as FaithofFathers said, please give us a citation, we will try and return the same. This should be somewhat of a wild time: PLAY NICE KIDS !! We are either christians, or posing as the same, either way, show some love. GERMIT

  13. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Bryce…burning out for the day…if you don’t believe me call up a synagogue and ask them how many high priests there were.

    Have you read Leviticus lately? The HIGH PRIEST was only allowed to go into the holy of holies on the day of atonement and offer incense and put blood on the mercy seat. Can you offer any references from the Old Testament or the New that mention more than one high priest?

    Again…keep in mind Revelation was written by the very Jewish apostle John. There are more allusions to Old Testament passages in Revelation than in any other book. There were those in the early body who still kept the Law of Moses (still are today – Messianic Jews). Gentiles are not obligated to keep the Law. Blessings until tomorrow!!

  14. falcon says:

    OK so NT Christians wore sacred underware and performed Masonic rituals in “temples”? The apostles practiced polygamy. The apostles taught that God was once a man who became a god? They believed that there was a mother god that procreates with a father god to beget spirit children. Yea, that was a big part of the Jewish religion from which Christianity sprung. Oh, and don’t forget that all of the apostles had their very own special magic rocks that they could use to practice scrying. Get serious!

  15. Arthur Sido says:


    I am not sure where you copied and pasted that list from, but even a cursory glance at the Scriptures you list reveals nothing about becoming gods. Let’s look at one example you cited:

    “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. (Matt 24:45-47)

    Um, what does that have to do with becoming gods and spawning spirit children? The big verse you roll out, 1 John 3:1-2 does not say we will be “like” God in the sense of being God. Let’s actually read it instead of just throwing it out there.

    See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1-2)

    Why are we God’s children? Because we are embryonic gods? No because He has adopted us through faith, a central theme of the New Testament.

    But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.(Gal 4:4-5)

    Geez, I am like a broken record with this. I would assume it would start to stick at some point. The fact is that the Biblical record shows us a church and a doctrine that is completely foreign to mormonism. So mormonism cannot be a restoration of first century Christianity when it is not Christianity of any sort.

    Your whole falls into the shotgun approach, throw a ton of material out because posting and space restrictions make it hard to refute every false claim.

  16. GRCluff says:

    Since you brought it up, are you ready for some heavy study materials?

    Try this:

    Mosheim asked: Was the conversion of the Doctors a blessing or a curse for the Church? to which he replied: “I must confess myself unable to decide the point.” In the third century this led to serious clashes between popular faith and the sophisticated theology of the Doctors. J. Lebreton, “Le desaccord de la foi populaire et de la theologie savante,” Revue d’histoire ecclesiastique 19A (1923): 481-83.

    The Doctors won hands-down. The authority of Alexandria prevailed, “recasting the permanent elements of the church’s doctrine in harmony with a religious philosophy of Grecian character. What the Apologists were compelled to do, these men willingly sought to accomplish.” Reinhold Seeberg, Text-Book of the History of Doctrines, vol. 1 of History of Doctrines in the Ancient Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1952), 160.
    By the beginning of the second century, “with perfect impunity . . . they proceeded to do violence to the scripture, blithely disregarding the original teachings, . . . busily working out elaborate structures of syllogisms. . . . They deserted the Holy Scriptures for . . . Euclid, . . . Aristotle, and Theophrastus.” Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History V, 28, 13-14, in PG 20:516.

    The Churchmen embraced Hellenism even though they knew it had overcome early Christianity. Justin, in PG 6:1316, Question 74.

    Now we see the “real” roots of mainstream christianity.

  17. GRCluff says:

    So, did John Wesley think the 1st century church was still around? I wonder what he would think of Mormonism, especially if he felt the witness of the Holy Ghost on the matter as I have.

    John Wesley, founder of an influential sect, declared that the distinctive gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer with the Church, having been taken away on account of the unworthiness of professing Christians, whom he characterized indeed as heathen, with only a DEAD FORM of worship. See John Wesley’s Works, 7, pp. 26, 27.

    Leading Christian scholars commonly acknowledge,, that by the fourth century A.D., Christianity’s basic doctrines had undergone a “radical change from the theology of the New Testament Church.”
    McDannel and Lang, Heaven: A History, page xiii.

    The extent of this change is illustrated by the Harvard Theological Review’s recent publication of a skillful article by BYU’s David Paulsen, which documents that “ordinary Christians for at least the first three centuries” after Christ believed that God had a body.
    David L. Paulsen, “Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity: Origen and Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses,” Harvard Theological Review 83 (1990): 105.

    Brother Paulsen shows that, beginning in the fourth century, Christianity gradually abandoned its belief in God’s physical body, because that idea was unacceptable to the Greek philosophy that pervaded the Roman empire.

    So the generally accepted God of the 1 century church, is the God that Mormons believe in today.

    The God of mainstream Christianity? The Hellenized god of Greek philosophy.

  18. JessicaJoy says:

    Is the Mormon religion first century Christianity?

    Well, first century Christianity was kicked off at the cross by this significant event:

    “… and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst” (Luke 23:45)

    The book of Hebrews explains how, now that the veil has been parted, believers in the New Covenant have access into the holiest of holies by the blood of the Lamb (Heb. 10:19).

    This is the “new and living way” (Heb. 10:20), a “better covenant,” (8:6) “better hope” (7:19) established upon “better promises” (8:5) because of the “better sacrifice” (Heb. 9:23-26) of Christ as compared with the animal sacrifices and “carnal ordinances” (Heb. 9:10) that took place under the old covenant.

    The symbolic nature of the blood sacrifices in the temple looked ahead to the “once for all” sacrifice of Christ on the cross which is why Hebrews describes the temple of the old covenant as “a figure” and limits it to “the time then present” (Heb. 9:9). Obviously, the time period for the symbolic nature of the temple was over at the time of the writing of Hebrews.

    Further, the Masonic rituals that take place in the LDS temple have nothing to do with the animal sacrifices that looked ahead to the sacrifice of Christ or any of the other symbolic aspects of the Old Covenant temple worship. The point is this – if you read the entire book of Hebrews, a theme emerges loud and clear and can be summed up in Heb. 10:9: “He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.”

    Why, if the Old Covenant has been taken away through the body of Christ by whom we enter into a new and living way, would we need to return to an Old Covenant form of earthly temples and an Old Testament priesthood?

    Peter says believers in Christ are a “holy priesthood” and that Jesus is the cornerstone of a “spiritual house” and that each believer is a living stone that is built on the foundation which is Christ.

  19. JessicaJoy says:

    (cont from last post)

    “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man (Hebrews 8:1-2)

    Joseph Smith did not point people toward our reigning high priest in heaven, however, or boast about how Jesus Christ was the foundation of the church.

    “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him, but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (“History of the Church” vol. 6, pp. 408-9)

    Joseph’s goal also did not appear to be the restoration of true Christianity. At a recent local museum exhibit on Freemasonry a couple weeks ago, I read a display about Joseph Smith’s family connections with Freemasonry and how it was speculated that Joseph was concerned about the departures in Freemasonry from its pure form. It was stated that the parallels between LDS temple rituals and Masonic rituals appeared to some as indicative of Joseph’s possible attempt to restore Freemasonry to its pure form.

  20. Berean says:

    Cluff said:

    “Now we se the ‘real’ roots of mainstream Christianity.”

    To all:

    QUESTIONS: If in fact that is the case, why is the Mormon Church desperately wanting to be mainstream and blend in with Christianity in movements such as “Stand Together”? Why does the Mormon Church want to be called “Christian”? Why put Robert Millet out there to spin this thing with Christian pastors so we will sign up for the Mormon program? Why do elderly Mormons I know say to me that my beliefs and their beliefs are “almost identical” if in fact what was quoted above is true? Seems to me the LDS Church would be in a full gallop to get away from mainstream Christianity if that was the case. I guess survival of the LDS Church is an issue since 2/3 of the Church is out to lunch right now. Don’t believe it? Google or YouTube Paul Dehlin and listen to one of your own give you the hard numbers.

    MORE QUESTIONS: I guess the Apostle John apostasized along with the three Nephites (3 Nephi 28:4-9) in not obeying the command given to them by the Lord to “bring lost souls unto thee” and “prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people” (D&C 7:2-3), correct? They violated 1 Nephi 3:7. There shouldn’t have been an apostasy if 4 men with priesthood authority was on earth, eh? What was John doing between 2 AD and 1820 when Joseph Smith came on the scene? Permanent vacation in Turkey? When is he coming to Salt Lake to meet the new prophet? The Mormon Church said John never died and is here. If the LDS Church would like to multiply in size x100 overnight all they have to do is to have Thomas Monson and John the Beloved hold a press conference and “prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people” as John was commanded to do. The future and survival of the LDS Church is at stake. John “the beloved” should do something.

    For the record: John died in 101 AD and was buried in Ephesus. Do the research. So much for D&C 7.

  21. Bryce, you have sloppily quoted KJV passages with the word “ordain” which have nothing whatsoever to do with the continuation of the Aaron priesthood system, let alone any supposed Melchizedek priesthood to be passed onto people other than Jesus Christ. KJV passages that use the word “ordain” are rooted in a Greek word that could be translated “appoint” or “choose”. That Christ appointed apostles or that early Christians appointed elders doesn’t help demonstrate that this was part of a hierarchical, Aaronic priesthood system, etc.

    In other words, your agenda depends on the reader importing the massively extra-Biblical Mormon worldview into the term “ordain”.

    The only passage you have offered that had anything to do with ordaining an Aaronic priest is Hebrews 5:1. But I’m not sure how this helps your cause, as the Epistle to the Hebrews goes on to argue that the Aaronic priesthood is weak, useless, done away with, and that not even Jesus was an Aaronic priest. “For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.” (Hebrews 7:14)

    In fact, a big part of the argument in Hebrews for the supremacy and definitiveness and finality of Christ rests in the premise of the obseletion of the Aaronic priesthood brought about by the non-Aaronic sacrifice accomplished in the atonement and the mediation of the resurrected Messiah. In effect, by arguing for the continuation of the Aaronic priesthood one is arguing against the supremacy and definitiveness of Jesus Christ. Not something you want to mess around with.

    The Bible is very clear that an Aaronic priest had to be of the lineage of Levi and Aaron. Hebrews 5:4 reminds us “And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.” This not only applies to the high priest, but to priests in general. Are Mormon males called by God as Levitical priests just like Aaron was? Absolutely not. Next time a Mormon establishes that his lineage is of Aaron and is ordained by putting his hands on a bullock and ram, and the blood and fat and kidneys are ceremonially dealt with, please, by all means, tell us. I’d love to see what the LDS temple workers do with all that blood after it spills over the expensive white carpets.

    I am still looking for compelling, contextualized, 1st century evidence of the divinely-prescribed continuation of an ordained priesthood authority system that doesn’t require pouring 21st century Mormon meaning into 1st century language.

    Grace and peace in Christ, who was never an Aaronic priest,


  22. falcon says:

    If we want to play the “great apostasy” game, we could do it quite easily with the Mormon religion. Here are some narratives that I think, there are probably some on this blog better equipt to handle than I.
    After he received the BoM and the Book of Commandments circa 1832 Joseph Smith fell into “great apostasy”. He introduced such abominable practices as plural marrage and doctrines regarding the nature of god which went away from the doctrine as presented in the BoM. He cheated people with the failing of a phoney bank and violated civil laws by attacking the printing press of a rival exposing his sins. The original revelation has been restored by the blah blah blah…….
    Here’s another: After the death of the prophet Joseph Smith, great confusion gripped the Saints. A false prophet arose by the name of B. Young who taught such abominable doctrines as Adam-god and he led the people in a great murder plot called Mountain Meadows……..The great apostasy was completed when a church prophet in 1890 put forth a false prophesy ending plural marrage which is the only way to the highest of exhaltations. The apostasy continued when the priesthood was given to dark skinned men……..
    Conclusion: today there are many denominations of Mormonism each claiming to be the original of the revelation given to Joseph Smith. The apostasy lives on…
    Can anyone do better than that? It was just off the top of my head basically which tells you what the top of my head contains besides thinning hair.

  23. falcon says:

    If I were to titled an article it would be “Why the Mormons Need the Great Apostasy”. The premise is, of course, that without an apostasy there’s no need for something like Mormonism. The idea that Mormonism is the restoration of first century Christianity is laughable and tragic at the same time. Laughable because Mormons, in order to make their faith system work, have to go through all kinds of contortions and mind bending to come up with plausable explanations. It reminds me of the explanations for “horses” becoming “deer” in the BoM because there weren’t any horses on the continent at the time of the BoM tale. Tragic, because there are people who dig no deeper than the slogans handed out by the Mormon leaders.
    So we have the “great apostasy” and the falling away from all of the doctrines and practices of first century Christianity which later was restored as 19th century Mormonism. In order to make this work we also have to have the “great conspiracy” which of course left what turned out to be 19th century Mormonism, from the Bible. So then, the Bible also has to be corrupt because of the resulting conspiracy.
    I sit in amazement as I read the intellectual contortions our Mormon friends have to go through to make this fantasy work. Mormons, in my view, are among the absolute worst when it comes to giving an interpretation of a Biblical text. Their ineptness at any kind of serious exegesis provides a vision of someone attempting to shoe horn a size 13 foot into a size 8 shoe. But then I remember it’s all about feeling with Mormons. The more unsystematic and speculative something is the better. It gives rise to folk doctrine and historic urban legends, but man does it feel good and it has the added bonus of being revealed by the Mormon god….who it turns out changes his mind quite frequently when communicating with the Mormon living prophet.

  24. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Cluff shared this quote from Eusebius: “By the beginning of the second century, “with perfect impunity . . . they proceeded to do violence to the scripture, blithely disregarding the original teachings, . . .” (see Cluff’s comment above for the whole quote.)

    I’m uncertain of the point Cluff was trying to make, but it seems he was suggesting that this demonstrates the development/corruption of Christianity in the second century. I looked up the source (though a different translation than Cluff cites) and found that Eusebius was writing about “The Heresy of Artemon and Theodotus.” To provide a bit more information, here is the passage with the ellipsis restored:

    “They have not been afraid to corrupt divine Scriptures, they have rescinded the rule of ancient faith, they have not known Christ, they ignore Scripture but search for a logic to support their atheism. If anyone challenges them with a passage from Scripture, they examine it to see if it can be turned into a conjunctive or disjunctive syllogism. Abandoning the holy Scripture of God, they study “geometry” [earth measurement], for they are from the earth and speak of the earth and do not know the One who comes from above. Some of them study the geometry of Euclid and revere Aristotle and Theophrastus, and some virtually worship Galen. In using the arts of unbelievers for their heresy, they corrupt the simple faith of the Scriptures and claim to have corrected them.” (translation by Paul Maier)

    Eusebius called this heresy a “blasphemous falsehood.” The early Christian church did not allow heresy to go unchallenged, and this is but one example of the church standing firm for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

  25. BornagainMormon says:

    Yes, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the same as first century Christianity. It is so not because it has a corner on true faith in Christ but because it provides the ordinances that Christ instituted to compliment this faith. There is a good reason why other Christians try to devalue the importance of baptism. It is because they can’t explain how it could be essential as well as merciful. If you look carefully at the posts on here about baptism, they all end up backing away from baptism as essential. I believe this is because they cannot explain it. It is essential. For those Christians who argue otherwise, I don’t understand how you can claim that the New Testament is the ultimate source of doctrine and deny that baptism was an essential part of Christ’s ministry. Just because you really don’t have an answer to how it could be both essential and merciful is not a reason for assuming it is not essential. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the same as first century Christianity, because it provides for faith in Christ as well as the ordinances performed in the first century church. This is consistent with the New Testament. Yes faith in Christ was taught in the first century church; so was baptism. This is the flaw with many evangelical churches. They have the faith, but they have backed away from the ordinances, watering them down as good but not essential because they can’t explain how they could be essential as well as merciful. No one has really answered this question, because they can’t. Without baptism for the dead a true Christian has to back away from baptism as essential because to do otherwise is inconsistent with a merciful God. I would suggest that accepting baptism for the dead is not as much of a stretch as denying the need for baptism.

  26. falcon says:

    Well I see we’re at baptism now. I thought it was a pretty good topic (as I read the above post) and I thought we could kick baptism around a little bit until I get to the bottom and I see our friend is talking about baptism for the dead. The early Church did not baptize for the dead. We’ve beaten that horse to death and a serious exegises of the scriptures blows the whole Mormon argument out of the water. Every Christian denomination that I know practices baptism in some form. Let me give you a little Catholic theology from my school boy days. They believe that there is baptism by water, desire and blood. Water is the conventional route. Blood is for someone who has received Christ as Savior but for some reason didn’t have the opportunity for water baprism and was killed for their faith. Desire is the same idea but dying before being baptized. Death bed conversion for example.
    So Christian denominations handle the question differently but Christianity and Mormonism are different systems. Mormonism is not original Christianity and you can haul out the baptism red herring and argue it all day, but at sundown Mormonism still won’t be original Christianity or even a distant cousin.

  27. BornagainMormon, it looks like you have it backwards. There is a good reason why Mormons have a doctrine of baptism for the dead: the Mormon God decided baptism under the hands of an Aaronic priest was an absolute prerequisite for forgiveness, justification, and being born again. In asserting yourself, you are simply begging the question.

    The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that 1st century Christianity had a prescribed continuation of the Aaronic priesthood, let alone for those not of the lineage of Aaron.

    Then, you need to demonstrate baptism under the hands of an Aaronic priest was taught in scripture as an absolute prerequisite for the remission of sins.

    Then, you need to demonstrate that Mormon men are today called as Aaron was.

    Or shall I assume that you, like my Mormon friends, believe in the conspiracy theory that all explicit references to such distinctively Mormon theology were systematically removed from New Testament literature in geographically distant locations?

    I would rather trust the New Testament, which teaches that the Aaronic priesthood system was “set aside because of its weakness and uselessness” (Hebrews 7:18).

    In Christ, who was never an Aaronic priest (Hebrews 7:13-14),


  28. iamse7en, aren’t you begging the question of what Mormon position you take on deification? Mormon leaders have historically been divided over whether humans can become equally omniscient and omnipotent with God.

    If you believe, like Brigham Young, that we will ever-increasingly grow in the knowledge and power of God, then I would agree. Where I disagree with Young, of course, is over whether God is still progressing in such a manner, and whether we can become appropriately worshiped and prayed to by our own spirit children.

    If you believe, like Orson Pratt, that we will max out / cap out in knowledge and power, and become equal with God in such attributes, then don’t you need to deal with Brigham Young’s official rebuke of Orson Pratt in a First Presidency statement, which criticized Pratt for holding this very position?

    Before you start asserting your view of deification, don’t you think you need to specify which Mormon position on deification you take? The two main Mormon positions are very different. And you need to explain why you think you are wiser to take your position than Mormon prophets and apostles who have taken a contrary position.

    Read more on this matter here:

    Christianity Has a Far Greater View of Eternal Progression than Mormonism Does

  29. germit says:

    soprano: you might want to read Eph 1:9,10 a little closer: the “summing up of all things” is actually something much bigger than ANY church, mormon or evangelical

    ANAKEPHALAIOO: to sum up, gather up, to present as a whole; to sum up all things in the heavens and on the earth in Christ, a consummation extending beyond the limits of the Church, though the latter is to be factor in its realization. [Vines,expanded p.1105]
    “the times….fulfilment”: an arrangement or administration to be carried out when the appointed period has been completed and the time is ripe. God’s purpose is not limited to man’s salvation, it is a cosmic intention to BRING ALL THINGS….TOGETHER in heaven and earth under the control of Christ (see Heb 2:5-8)

    the focus is not even the church, any church, as it is God’s great plan of bringing everything under the mastery and Lordship of Jesus Christ (church included). read thru Eph 1 and see if you can make “the summing up of all things” mean anything else. Gal 4:4-6 shows how our ADOPTION is a key part of this summing up, as Sido noted. Still not seeing a lot of mormonabelia in this.
    CLUFF: I’d quote French back to you, but my wife would start to wonder …je m’excuse. GERMIT

  30. germit says:

    BornAgain: fervent plea for 1st century status, but you are LONG on passion, short on substance. Saying something is so, is not the same thing as giving strong reason to believe something is so. Your post is devoid of evidence of any kind. We know (by now) that YOU are very convinced of the LDS ‘mega-narrative’ (for the post-mods out there). Show us some history and/or scripture please. If you decide to go the scripture route, I DON”T recommend pasting long lists of verses that you think prove your point without some kind of explanation. Bryce has tried that with ‘ordination’ [Tit 1:5;Heb5:1;8:3…KATHISTEMI: to make or set, to appoint a person to a place of authority] problem is, it does NOT have to carry the modern flavor of clergy and formal ordination, the same word is used of servants over households (Matt 24 and 25); a judge (Luke 12); a governor (Acts 7) you get the point, the NT usage was not what JS had in mind in 1830, he tended to take things very literally . Some would call that a strength, I suppose.

    Not seeing a big response to this thread, what a shock…..where’s all the abundant evidence, folks???? We wait for the rush of validation for God’s annointed , surely there it’s there. GERMIT

  31. GRCluff says:

    Thanks for responding in kind with good research, and for staying on topic. Your feedback is welcome and done very well.

    You address my concern, perhaps even my conviction that 2nd and 3rd century heresy resulted in significant change in Christianity that solidified into a belief in a false God.

    John Wesley recognized that fact, but failed to fix it, since fixing that problem required a “restoration of all things”, an event directed FROM God towards mankind. Mormonism is unique in embracing that need, by accepting modern revelation.

    I am curious if your research could include the Harvard Theological Review I mentioned. I would love to come to concensus with this group on what type of God the early Christians really worshiped.

    I guess I am just tired of hearing the rote “The Mormons worship a different God”. I would prefer to hear “The Mormons clearly worship the same God as 1st century Christians”. Has a much better sound, does it not?

    Berean asked:
    ” If in fact that is the case, why is the Mormon Church desperately wanting to be mainstream and blend in with Christianity”

    No one likes to be excluded– and good Christians everywhere have much to contribute. I see nothing wrong with focus on shared beliefs, common standards and valuable collaboration.

    I think most of us (Mormons) would prefer to stand out rather than blend in. Now that we are into our 2nd century, we take the same risk as the saints of ther earlier 2nd century. If we blend in too much we could loose our true doctrine to old heresies.

    Our only advantage today is the “foundation of apostles and prophets” (Eph 2:20). Ongoing revelation is the only sure foundation, both for the doctrines of the Church and for personal testimony as the foundation for faith.

    The 2nd century after Christ lost its foundation of ongoing revelation by killing all the apostles and prophets. That is how/why 3rd and 4th century Christianity lost so many plain and precious truths.

  32. Jeffrey says:

    Wow. This is possibly one of the most enjoyable threads I have read. It really gets down to the foundation of it all. I’m interested and waiting to read some good arguments by the LDS posters on here. We will see which side has a little more weight at the end of the posting on this thread I guess.

    There have been some good arguments about the aaronic priesthood and how it doesn’t even remotely resemble the first century church. It’s got the same name though, thats a start for Mormonism!

    I personally wish LDS wouldn’t say there was a total apostasy and that ALL the apostles/prophets were killed off. Do they not give any credit to John and the Nephites for tarrying? A good question has come up. Has John just been on a 1800 year vacation? How come he didn’t come to Joseph Smith and preach the fulness of the gospel as he was commanded to do. It would have maybe done away with the annoying 9 first visions issue.


  33. GRCluff says:

    falcon said:
    “Mormons, in order to make their faith system work, have to go through all kinds of contortions and mind bending to come up with plausable explanations”

    The Harvard Theological Review I reference above goes through no contortions, no mind bending and no blind faith(I’m sorry to say) to arrive at a plausable explanation. It simply uses detailed and painstaking research into the authors and language of 1st, 2nd and 3rd century histories. It concludes that the God they worshipped then is MUCH more like the God the Mormons worship today than the God that came out of the Nicean creed.

    Have you ever read the Nicean creed? There you will find some REAL contortions. The best definition of nothing that has ever been published is the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicean Creed. What they define, or try to define, is something that doesn’t exist.

    This creed tells you that God is three, and yet he is not three, he is one; the Father and the Son are the same, yet they’re not the same; they’re different, yet they’re not different. And it clarifies things beautifully and led to hundreds of years of controversy.

    So where did the false God of mainstream Christianity come from?

    From eight doctors. Four Greek doctors and four Latin doctors. They are the ones that really give us the basic theology of the modern Christian world-Catholic, Protestant, and all the rest of them. They are ones who are constantly cited, for example, in the controversies of the Scholastics and also in the controversies of the Reformation. The reformers referred to them every bit as much. In fact, they used the doctors more than the priesthood before them in the Middle Ages who were not nearly so learned. Notice they don’t include some of the great ones like Origen, but they include two cousins, Gregory of Nazianzus and St. Basil, and then John Chrysostom and Athanasius.

    They are the REAL Godmakers. Lets hold them up to the same bright lights and examination that we use here

  34. Arthur Sido says:


    “This creed tells you that God is three, and yet he is not three, he is one; the Father and the Son are the same, yet they’re not the same; they’re different, yet they’re not different. And it clarifies things beautifully and led to hundreds of years of controversy.”

    God is an eternal being, it seems pretty silly for someone to assume that people who live for 70-80 years can understand and comprehend God in His true nature. Rather than try to drag God down to some sort of anthropomorphic being, try to grasp what He has shown us is His Word. He explains through the witness of His Son who the Triune God is, but even with 9 extra credits in religion from BYU it is difficult to understand. That doesn’t make it less true, just requiring greater study. As we established in the prior post, mormon doctrines is horribly confused as well but that doesn’t stop you from crowing that it is the truth. The Creeds are not authoritative but they do state what the Bible teaches, that God is eternal and exists in three persons. God revealed Himself in Scripture to show man his sin and His Son as redeemer, not to “clarify” things for you.

    The standard for truth is not how simple or non-contrversial a truth is, it is whether it agrees with redemptive revelation. Christ frequently claims divinity in the NT, His apostles confirm it and He is worshipped as God by His disciples. The false notion that the doctrine of the Trinity comes from Greek philosophy has as much valiity as the Da Vinci Code.

  35. mobaby says:

    If Brigham Young was correct the Mormon Church already has fallen away when it rejected polygamy. Young said the devil will rejoice if the Mormon Church ever turned away from polygamy. Doing a quick search on the topic reveals that other apostles said similar things. With the ever changing eternal temple rituals (last revised in 1990), changes to the Book of Mormon, changes in the doctrine of God (Adam God – eternal truth or damning heresy depending on when you were taught), polygamy, and other serial changes I absolutely believe that the Mormons have it completely backwards. The Mormon religion is constantly changing and adapting – denying today what was “prophetic truth” yesterday.

    Christianity has consistently and fervently maintained the scriptures, doctrine, and truth handed down by the Church fathers. First century, second century, third century,…., and 21st century Christianity bear no resemblance to Mormonism. Joseph Smith founded a new religion. A religion of gods and goddesses and secret sacred temple rituals, a religion that exalted man and diminished the eternal creator God. Mormons attempt to convince Christians that all these strange beliefs somehow date to the first century despite a complete lack of evidence. Supposedly there was a mass conspiracy to change the nature of Christianity so that it…what?? why?? Man didn’t want to think he was going to become a god? They put in the Bible the parts about the path to hell being broad and many that enter there, and took out the part about the Telestial kingdom and how nearly everybody gets to at least that level of exaltation?? A conspiracy so complete and exhaustive that there is NO evidence these teachings ever existed, there is NO evidence of these temples and the rituals ever being taught before the 19th century. Imagine what would have to happen today to completely eradicate any reference to Mormon teaching of polygamy from the face of the earth. Impossible. Doesn’t mean some won’t try.

  36. JessicaJoy says:

    Wow… I was expecting to see more historical information or Biblical references from the LDS bloggers documenting this huge apostasy they speak of. There are some awesome posts on here refuting the idea…

    It’s clear to me from Scripture there will be an apostasy, but it will occur in “the last days” (II Timothy 3:1, Matthew 24:3, 24-26),

    As we are quite obviously growing closer to the last days than we were in the 2nd century, I’m very cautious of any “new religions” or ideologies that have cropped up in the past couple hundred years: i.e. JW’s, Evolution, Mormonism, Relativism, etc., along with a host of aberrant sects and cults out there (many of them the fruit of Joseph Smith’s work) claiming to be “the only true church,” especially if they promote a view of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit/salvation/etc. that does not align with the faith which was “once delivered unto the saints.”

    The truth regarding the faith which was “once delivered unto the saints” can be clearly seen from a careful study of the New Testament as former LDS missionary, Micah Wilder, found when he was challenged to actually study it for himself to try to prove that Mormonism was Biblical. Now he’s a born-again Christian and declaring unashamedly the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

  37. GRCluff says:

    Falcon said:
    “The early Church did not baptize for the dead. We’ve beaten that horse to death”

    I’m sorry about your dead horse, but I found some quotes on the matter from early Church sources myself, and I beg to differ. Maybe you’ve been beating the wrong horse?

    For a little light reading, try the Pastor of Hermas. one of the most trustworthy guides to the established beliefs of the early church.

    The Latin version reads: “These Apostles and teachers who had preached the name of the Son of God, when they died in possession of his faith and power, preached to those who had died before, and themselves gave them this seal. Hence they went down into the water with them; but they who had died before went down dead, of course, but ascended living, since it was through them that they received life and knew the Son of God.” Codex Vaticanus 3848.

    Needless to say, this text has caused a great deal of embarrassment to interpreters, ancient and modern. The source of the trouble is obvious: there are two classes of living persons referred to, those who enjoy eternal life, and those who have not yet died on this earth. The apostles (or whoever “they” were) belonged to the latter class when they went down living to be baptized for those who had gone before; a sharp contrast is made between their state—they being alive both before and after the ordinance—and that of those who were actually dead and yet received eternal life through the ministrations of baptism. What is PERFECTLY CLEAR is that the apostles while they were still living performed an ordinance—the earthly ordinance of baptism in water—which concerned the welfare of those who had already died.

    That it was an earthly baptism which could only be performed with water is emphatically stated in the sentences immediately preceding those cited.

    The seal is of course, the water.

  38. Arthur Sido says:


    “What is PERFECTLY CLEAR is that the apostles while they were still living performed an ordinance—the earthly ordinance of baptism in water—which concerned the welfare of those who had already died”

    Yet oddly there is no command to baptize people for the dead, no record of the aposptles baptizing for the dead and no theological basis for baptism for the dead in the New Testament. You seem to have gone to great trouble in copying and pasting random quotes from the early church out of any sort of context. Kudos. But the Bible, which is the recorded revelation of the teachings of Christ and the apostles makes one passing mention of baptizing people for the dead. That is it. If you want to know what the apostles taught and believed, wouldn’t it make sense to read what THEY were writing in the 1st century. There is no command and no example to baptize for the dead in the writings of the apostles (please refer back to the earlier discussion of description versus prescription)

    It is strange that you quote people who followed the apostles when we are told that the church fell into error and apostasy with the death of the apostles, so you are using apostates as references. Strange indeed.

    The issue at hand is whether or not mormonism is first century Christianity. The consistent teachings of the apostles and Christ Himself throughout the New Testament is of a different Gospel than what Smith, Young and now Monson declare. The need for a restored priesthood, a prophet, a temple, eternal progress to godhood, all are absent from the Bible. That is our reference point for first century Christianity.

  39. Ralph says:

    Regarding baptism for the dead, on a Christian website
    discussing this notion the writer states “Still others have suggested that there may have been a cult that existed in Corinth which baptized its members on behalf of the dead, much like modern Mormonism. Commentators have noted that if this is the situation, that we must remember that Paul does not confirm or deny this practice; it is simply used as an illustration of the importance of the resurrection. The weakness of this view is that history does not record any cults that included the baptism for the dead during this time period in Corinth.” Note the bold – Paul NEITHER CONFIRMED NOR DENIED THIS PRACTICE. So before you say that the verse means that Paul is against baptism for the dead, think again. Yes, this site does say that there are no historical records which down-plays the LDS view but I am being honest in presenting the whole quote.

    Now about God’s character, there are at least 4 Bible Dictionaries I know of that state straight out that the Trinity as described in the creeds is not found in the NT, but it appears to be the evolution of an idea that started towards the end of the first century. One of these Bible Dictionaries is the Harper’s which is written by the BSL, one of the largest Biblical scholarly groups in the world as far as I know. This is a non-LDS source. Although they may not prescribe to the LDS view of God, the Bible certainly shows 3 beings – Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. At least once they were separate in substance – which negates the Trinity – and that was when Jesus was on the cross. Heavenly Father left Him alone as Jesus had to go through this Himself without any help. Then when Jesus was resurrected, He first met Mary at the tomb and told her He had not yet ascended to the Father. If they were ‘inseparable’ in substance then how can this be?

  40. Berean says:


    I am really disappointed in you after you gave us your LDS credentials in another thread. It appears that you are guitly of putting out bad information, plagiarizing and much of it is not the position of the LDS Church.

    Let’s start with Hermas. He wrote a book called “The Shepherd of Hermas”. In this book Hermas outlines a theological view of Jesus called “adoptionism” which taught that Jesus was merely a human when he was born and later became God at some point later in his life. This was considered heresy by the early church fathers because it flew in the face of the Trinity and on the deity of Jesus Christ. Thus, this book was rejected from being in the biblical canon and was so goofy that it wasn’t even on the “short list” to be put in the Catholic’s Apocrypha.

    Cluff, why do your words sound exactly the same as Hugh Nibley, a former BYU professor, in his book entitled “Mormonism & Early Christianity”? Your funny catch phrases don’t even appear to be your own, but Nibley. If you are going to quote to us a work from the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship in an article taken from chapter 4 called “Baptism for the Dead in Ancient Times” from Nibley’s book, I think it would be honest, scholarly and responsible on your part to give the reference and then state what it says at the top:

    “The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and DO NOT REPRESENT the position of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS”


    From the article you linked, you said, “I am being honest in presenting the whole quote.” The whole quote? What about the beginning:

    “Many people are confused by the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead, a practice WHICH CERTAINLY SEPARATES Mormonism from Biblical Christianity. God’s word repeatedly stresses the need for individual acceptance of the gospel; not salvation bases upon another’s good works.” [emphasis mine]

  41. Ralph, I would agree that 1 Corinthians 15 alone doesn’t prescribe or proscribe baptism for the dead. One must look more holistically at the New Testament to make a conclusion.

    “At least once they were separate in substance – which negates the Trinity – and that was when Jesus was on the cross.”

    This is a real question: were you joking when you said this, or are you just not aware of how historic Christians have used Trinitarian terms like “substance”?

  42. germit says:

    To Cluff,Ralph, and friends: just a friendly reminder as to what this thread is supposed to be about, and what NOT about. I’m happy to defend the trinity, the bible AND church fathers are quite keen on that truth, but that WAITS FOR ANOTHER THREAD. Hellenistic influences on the early church were seen, without a doubt, another interesting FUTURE THREAD. We are supposed to be seeing the evidence for 1st century mormonism, form history and the scriptures (and if you want to do a live interview with John the Apostle, we might take that as well) We are in such suspense for the abundant evidence, please do not allow yourselves to get off onto rabbit trails that don’t follow Sharon’s original question. “IS MORMONISM REALLY 1ST CENTURY CHRISTIANITY??”

    I’m sure Ralph has some freaky sources to give us, he never disappoints. By the way Cluff: which of the early church fathers DO you like, other than the author of “Hermas” ?? Just wondering. What about temple practices, Cluff, do we get a specific Dead Seas reference in this thread??? Play nice kids, DAddy is watching, GERMIT

  43. falcon says:

    Good writing and good scholarship. I was going to insist also, that our Mormon friend provide us with his direct source. In my part time retirement gig as a college instructor, I insist that my students give me the sources of their information and/or provide me with the article.
    In our Mormon friend’s case he makes a statement regarding what the study “concludes”. Now that says to me that if I read the article there would be a “conclusion” or “summary” section that would directly state what he says it did. So in other words, the authors would have said “it is the conclusion of this study that the God the Mormons worship is more closely aligned with first century Christianity than that of present day Christian denominations.” He’s leaving us with the impression that that is what the study says in the conclusion section. So we would then have to conclude that the authors believed that first century Christians believed that God is an exhalted man, that there are countless gods with their own planetary systems, that these gods have goddess wives that they have continual celestial sex with in order to get the population of their planets up to speed. That’s what first century Christians believed? Right!
    Again Berean, thank you for doing the heavy lifting on this one.

  44. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Morning all…ran across this while surfing…it is rather lengthy but there is some really good information here. We musn’t forget that the “earliest” followers of Jesus were mostly all Jews who of course knew there was but ONE God and we aren’t (or ever will be) Him.

  45. falcon says:


    Thanks for linking that site. I read most of it but ran out of time so I skimmed the rest. I really enjoy reading about early Church history. I have to be frank however. I didn’t find any Mormonism there. Not even a subtle reference to Mormon beliefs and practices with the exception of Arianism. Could the authors of the article also be part of the great conspiracy that kept Mormonism out of the NT?
    Nothing about god being an exhalted man, or man being able to progress to godhood, or mother god and the procreation of spirit children to inhabit the planetary system of the man-god and woman-goddess. Nothing in there about Christian temples and costumes worn when performing Masonic rituals. No sacred underwear. No mention of sacred magic rocks used to divinate. No priesthood restoration. But these conspiracies are widespread so the fact that they aren’t mentioned just proves that there is a conspiracy.
    Come to think of it, I don’t think any of this stuff appears in the BoM either so my guess is that it was left out of there also by the conspiracy. This conspiracy could be deeper and more widespread than previously imagined.

    To those Mormons who may come here and read but never post, might I say, never be afraid to ask the hard questions. You will find it quite liberating.

  46. JessicaJoy says:

    Thanks for your research, Berean. When Cluff made the statement “For a little light reading, try the Pastor of Hermas. one of the most trustworthy guides to the established beliefs of the early church” I was thinking to myself, “that is NOT what I have heard about the Shepherd of Hermas… I have only heard things that made me think it was heretical and a document to be leery of…”

    Of course that is not the only work claiming to be “scripture” that I am leery of…

  47. Andrea says:

    falcon, I missed you. Happy to see you again!

    mormonsoprano: The name of the church is “The Church of Jesus Christ”. The designation “of Latter-day Saints” was added to distinguish the modern church members from the early church & saints.

    Originally it was called “The Church of the Latter Day Saints”. “Jesus Christ” wasn’t even added until the early 20th century –long after the deaths of JS and BY. And the current logo, with “Jesus Christ” being bigger than the rest of the words, wasn’t designed until the 1960’s when the church began its big PR push to look more like mainstream Christianity.

    Cluff: If we blend in too much we could loose our true doctrine to old heresies.

    True and it’s already happened. In an effort to appear more mainstream Christian, later prophets have renounced the doctrines laid down by the early prophets and called them opinions, theories, and no longer applicable (Adam-God, blacks having priesthood, polygamy, etc).

    “What is PERFECTLY CLEAR is that the apostles while they were still living performed an ordinance” Actually, it’s not perfectly clear. When I read “These Apostles and teachers who had preached the name of the Son of God, when they died in possession of his faith and power, preached to those who had died before” I interpret that the dead are preaching to the dead. (note “these apostles and teachers…when they died…)I see no where in the English translation of this quote that while they were still living they went into the water to be baptized for those already dead.

    Ralph: “If they were ‘inseparable’ in substance then how can this be?” If they were inseparable in substance then how could Jesus have been born and lived on earth? Where does it say they are ‘inseparable’?? I think this view puts physical limitations on a God that SPOKE the universe into being. If he can know the name of every star, he can do whatever He wants with the “laws” of physics –He created them.

  48. Arthur Sido says:


    “Note the bold – Paul NEITHER CONFIRMED NOR DENIED THIS PRACTICE. So before you say that the verse means that Paul is against baptism for the dead, think again. Yes, this site does say that there are no historical records which down-plays the LDS view but I am being honest in presenting the whole quote.”

    Very true, but how does that support baptizing for the dead? It is a passing reference to something some people apparently were doing. What is quite clear is that the explicit command of Scripture is to baptize people who have professed Christ. There is a positive commandment to do this. There are also plenty of examples of people being baptized after confessing faith. That is all very apparent. What is missing is any example of Christians performing baptisms for the dead and the utter lack of any command to do so. 1 Cor 15 is not a proof text for baptism for the dead, and if anything you are arguing from silence, i.e. because it doesn’t specifically prohibit baptism for the dead, it must allow for it.

    Random quotes from cluff and one obscure observation by Paul do not equate to a widespread practice presribed by the first century church.

  49. 4givn says:


    You, my friend, don’t waste any time on bringing up the things that need to be addressed. The rituals, are the most disturbing part of the LDS “restoration”. I am still waiting for them to give clear explanation of where those are derived from. I don’t think that will be resolved with all the discusions still pointing to the proxy issue. I want some meat. By the way, if you look at the gnostics, you will see some more things that are interesting.


    That is some interesting stuff that you brought in. That sheds some new light on the claims that have been made. Thanks

    Remember kids, play nice. W/LOVE

  50. GRCluff says:

    Berean said:
    “Your funny catch phrases don’t even appear to be your own, but Nibley.”

    Come on now, Nibley said nothing about beating a dead horse, that was from falcon. And I DID mention the light reading, you know a latin interpretion and all? Did I not reference the original source?

    I will admit that paragraph starting “Needless to say” is not my own, but Hugh Nibley. I am surprised to find you reading that source. I added the emphasis. He lists 17 different 1st century sources that CLEARLY indicate the the first Christians practiced baptism for the dead. I just picked one out at random. I couldn’t let falcon’s forgone conclusion go unchallenged when evidence enough can be found to the contrary.

    mobaby said:
    “If Brigham Young was correct the Mormon Church already has fallen away when it rejected polygamy. ”

    I think if we look at families in the first century church (the topic of this blog) they would look a lot more like 1st century Mormon families that families today. Yes, 1st century Christians practiced polgamy.

    Ironicly enough, if you are going to slam Mormons for abandoning the practice, then you have to slam 2nd and 3rd century Christians for the same error.

    As orthodox a figure as Saint Augustine knew that the prohibition of plural marriage in the church of his day was only a matter of Roman custom: “Again, Jacob the son of Isaac is charged with having committed a great crime because he had four wives. But here there is no ground for a criminal accusation: for a plurality of wives was no crime when it was the custom; and it is a crime now, because it is no longer the custom …. The only reason of its being a crime now to do this, is because custom and the laws forbid it.”
    Augustine, Reply to Faustus, 22.47; see Philip Schaff, ed., The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerd-roans, 1983), 4:288.

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