In the early 1500’s, a man named Martin Luther figured out something important — the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a devout member, was abusing its power. Among other things, the church was selling — for money — forgiveness and passes to heaven.
Luther could see that the Church was in error because Luther had thoroughly studied the Holy Bible.
In Luther’s day, the Catholic lay-people knew little of what was in the Bible. The Catholic clergy used a Bible written in Latin, a language that the common people did not speak or read. The clergy, by keeping the Bible to themselves in this way, were free to misinterpret the holy book to their own benefit — and thus they did.
In an attempt to end the wrongful practices of the Church upon the people, Luther himself translated the Bible into German. Though he did not, at the time, particularly agree that a few of the books belonged in the Bible, he did not presume to add to, nor take away from, the Bible as it was. He translated God’s Word, making it accessible to the masses.
Skip ahead three centuries. In the early 1800’s, a man named Joseph Smith produced a book called the Book of Mormon, which condemned the Catholic Church for its errors, calling it the “great and abominable church”. It should be understood that the “Reformation”, a movement that had started with Martin Luther, would have been widely recognized by Smith’s day.
This is a good time to add just a little more information about the Reformation. According to Theopedia.com,
“The theology of the Reformers departed from the Roman Catholic Church primarily on the basis of three great principles:
* Sole authority of Scripture,
* Justification by faith alone, and
* Priesthood of the believer. ”
In other words, in the view of the Reformers (who had read and studied the Bible for themselves), where the Catholic Church was most errant was in
1- Going above/around the Bible for spiritual/religious doctrine
2- Teaching that justification had more requirements than faith in Christ
3- Claiming exclusive “priesthood” for the religious elite, rather than for each born-again believer (1 Peter 2:9).
Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon claimed that the Catholic Church had erred by taking many “plain and precious truths” from the Bible, and that he was the one to restore those truths. This post is not going to address his work on the Bible, other than to state that it is easy to prove that what Joseph “restored” came from his creative imagination and desire to prove himself a prophet.
The question for this post is, given that Mormonism in its inception considered the Catholic Church to be the church of the devil (or at least the main face of said church), why has it done the exact same thing?
1- The Mormon Church claims that there is authority over and above the Bible: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price (all produced by Joseph Smith), and the teachings of the LDS authority figures.
2- The Mormon Church has added to faith many other requirements.
3- The Mormon Church teaches that priesthood is only for worthy LDS male members.
The Catholic Church was able to keep its people subjugated to the Church, its leadership, and its false teachings by keeping them away from a knowledge of the Holy Bible.
Martin Luther, by exposing people to the biblical gospel and making the Bible more accessible, freed people financially, emotionally, and spiritually from the religious wrong-doings of the Roman Catholic religion.
The Mormon Church keeps its people subjugated to the Church, its leadership, and its false teachings by keeping them away from a knowledge of the Holy Bible.
The LDS have the Bible in their homes, in their own language. But their religion still keeps the Bible truth out of their minds and hearts in at least five ways:
1- The LDS religion insists that the Bible can not be trusted (cf. the 8th Article of Faith).
2- The LDS religion has created and taught new definitions for terms in the Bible, so that when a Mormon reads the Bible, s/he is confused. Some examples of this are the teachings a) that there are two God the Father’s (one above the other), b )that “salvation” equals universal resurrection by grace, distinguished from exaltation by works/merit, and c) that ‘priesthood’ is an authority or power that gets handed down from one faithful (to the church) Mormon man to another.
3- The LDS religion emphasizes Book of Mormon reading over Bible reading. The Book of Mormon contains plagiarized sections of the KJV Bible, with minor wording removed or inserted. It contains Bible stories with new character names and reworked story details. It also contains separated and recombined Bible passages. Because a Mormon is typically more familiar with the Book of Mormon than the Bible, Bible comprehension is negatively affected by the reader’s Book-of-Mormon ‘lenses’.
4- The LDS religion has an official version of the Bible, the KJV. The King James Version, written in Old English, contains uncommon words and phrasing. More modern Bible translations, such as the NKJV or the NASB, are much more easily understood by the modern reader.
5- The LDS Bible comes with chapter headings. These headings look like they are brief overviews of each chapter. However, they are really used to promote Bible-contrary LDS church doctrine. For instance, the chapter heading for 1 Corinthians 8 teaches that there are many real gods, just as Joseph Smith did from this same piece of scripture.
I was a Mormon. Like Martin Luther, I’m protesting that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is keeping their members away from a knowledge of the truth of the Bible. My efforts, and those of people like me, will probably not bring the Mormon Church to its knees. But my prayer is that many Mormons will still find the Bible, and because of it, be freed from Mormonism and saved into the Life of Jesus Christ.