Joseph Smith’s Death Not Inherently Significant?

As part of a discussion here at Mormon Coffee about Joseph Smith’s alleged “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter” comment, one of our Mormon commenters wrote,

“Joseph Smith never claimed that his blood would atone for sins, and neither have his followers,… Joseph never claimed to be giving his life and blood in a propitiatory way as Christ; rather, he used the scripture to explain that he intended to face his likely and unlawful death in the same innocent, calm terms that Jesus did.” (6/26/10)

“Again, you’re trying to claim that Joseph’s death should be understood as inherently significant (like Christ’s). This is not, and never has been, a Mormon position. In Mormonism, Joseph Smith is Martyr, not Messiah.” (6/27/10)

If the author of these statements meant to address the sole idea of propitiation or atonement for sin, I have no basis for disagreement. Mormons do not believe Joseph’s shed blood atoned for their sins. However, if the claim is understood in a broader sense, I respectfully disagree. There is no doubt whatsoever that Mormons, individual and corporate, understand Joseph Smith’s death as “inherently significant (like Christ’s).”

Consider the following statement that appeared in the official LDS Ensign magazine in 1994:

“As suggested earlier, the life of Joseph Smith was in some degree patterned after that of his Master, Jesus Christ. That pattern holds true even when extended to its tragic conclusion. Like his Master, Joseph Smith also shed his blood in order that the final testament, the reestablishment of the new covenant, might be in full effect (see Heb. 9:16).” (Robert L. Millet, “Joseph Smith among the Prophets,” Ensign, June 1994, 19)

This article states that Joseph Smith provided for the new covenant to be “in full effect” by the shedding of his blood. To support this claim Dr. Millet referenced Hebrews 9:16 which says, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator” (KJV).

Dr. Millet’s article went on to include a quote wherein Joseph Smith, just before his death, reportedly said,

“I have to seal my testimony to this generation with my blood. I have to do it, for this work will never progress until I am gone, for the testimony is of no force until the testator is dead.”

Joseph Smith claimed his death was necessary in order to make his testimony valid.

Consider this BYU-Idaho Devotional from 2005:

“Jesus was a lamb without spot or blemish. He was the sinless Son of God. And he chose to die at the hands of evil men so that salvation could come to all who believe and obey.

“…Joseph submitted to death at the hands of evil men so that salvation could come to all who believe and obey.” (Jack H. Goasling, “Joseph Smith’s Christlike Attributes,” June 28, 2005)

Mr. Goasling, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, said that Joseph Smith, like Jesus, died so that salvation could come.

Consider the Weber Stake Ward Teachers’ Lesson from June 1922:

“Christ sealed his testimony with his blood on Calvary. Joseph Smith sealed his testimony with his blood at Carthage, Ill. Who shall doubt the divine mission of these Saviours of mankind?”

This lesson taught that Joseph’s death had great significance “(like Christ’s).”

Consider this newspaper report from 1988:

“The Old Carthage Jail, where Mormon founder Joseph Smith was murdered in 1844, holds the same significance to his…followers as Calvary holds for Christians all over the world. That’s the comparison made by Ted Cannon, director of the Mormon Visitor Centers at Carthage and Nauvoo.” (Journal Star, Peoria, IL, Sunday, June 26, 1988, D3)

Mormon Ted Cannon suggested an understanding among Mormons that Calvary and Carthage have at least equal significance.

Consider these words from an LDS hymn:

“The Saints, the Saints, his only pride! For them he lived, for them he died…

“Unchanged in death with a Saviors love, he pleads their cause in the courts above…

“He died, he died, for those he loved. He reigns, he reigns in the realms above…” (The Seer, Joseph, The Seer, Hymns, 1975, #296)

This hymn claims that Joseph died for his followers and now intercedes for them before the judgment seat of God.

Finally, consider the writings of Rodney Turner, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Scripture (BYU):

“Jesus Christ and Joseph the Prophet came to bring life, light, and salvation to mankind. In doing so, they sealed their testimonies with their life’s blood. Both died because of who they were and what they proclaimed. For had they not lived the lives they lived and borne the witnesses they bore, they would not have died as they did. So Jesus died on the hill of Calvary; Joseph in the shadows of Carthage. Each triumphed in his own way.” (Rodney Turner, Jesus and Joseph: Parallel Lives, 169)

These statements all demonstrate that many Mormons do understand an “inherent significance (like Christ’s)” in Joseph Smith’s death. While they don’t believe Joseph died for their sins, his death was nevertheless necessary and efficacious for them in securing the full effect of the new covenant, the validity of Joseph’s testimony, and the coming of salvation.

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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80 Responses to Joseph Smith’s Death Not Inherently Significant?

  1. falcon says:

    I don’t get your point. Tell him I don’t want to answer his question? I thought that’s what I did in giving my rather lengthy explanation. His question isn’t that difficult to answer but having dealt with TBMs and giving lengthy, scholarly responses, I’ve found it a waste of time because it just turns into Mormon ping pong. He can look up the answer if he wants it. What’s also a total waste of time is giving a TBM our personal Christian testimony when they ask for it because it’s not an honest request.
    Mormons like nothing better than to chase sincere Christians hither and yon spending time researching information and formulating responses and then just blowing it off with a wave of the hand with no thought given to whats been presented.
    That’s one of your favorite tactics by the way!

  2. Andy Watson says:


    I love theology. Yes, let’s do theology. I am puzzled that Mormons would even use this word since they have no systematic theology. This isn’t taught at BYU or at the LDS Institute in my city. Anyway, I can only be brief here since this morning’s study and assignments are waiting so I’ll do my best to answer your “theological” questions very simply.

    You said: “So falcon, is the biblical notion of returning to the presence of God to receive a final judgment something that is conditioned upon Christ’s intercession?”

    It’s not a biblical “notion”. The resurrection of believers is a fact (John 6:40). You wrongly combine the judgment of believers (“Bema Seat”) with the judgment of unbelievers (“Great White Throne Judgment”). Your question is flawed and makes no sense in light of the Christian doctrine of justification. The elect/redeemed of God are not under judgment/wrath (Rom 5:1; 8:1). Our High Priest, Jesus Christ intercedes for “us” (Rom 8:34). He isn’t interceding for the entire world who are not His “sheep” and that includes the Mormon faithful who do not see Him as fully God equal in nature, essence, substance and eternality with the Father.

    You said: “I know that Evangelicals, unlike Mormons, do not believe that our human resurrection is conditional upon Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection is instead merely seen as a sign and assurance of our final resurrection and redemption.”

    Mutu, you “know” wrongly again. This is the problem when Mormons learn Christianity from non-Christian teachers at BYU and the LDS ward/stake. What Mormons are being taught at their institutions is a perversion of what Christianity really is. Orthodox Christianity realizes that if Christ didn’t rise from the dead in reality (not a sign), then we are dead in our sins and our faith in vain (1 Cor 15:14, 17). We have no resurrection if Jesus wasn’t REALLY resurrected.

  3. Andy Watson says:


    Your denial of one of the key attributes of the nature of God – omnipresence – further defines the Mormon religion and puts Mormonism outside of Christianity as believed and taught in the Bible (Psa 139:7-12; Jer 23:24; 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chr 6:18; Matt 18:20) and written of extensively by the Patristic Fathers. Any religion that views God as not being omnipresent is outside of orthodoxy and is heresy. Mormonism is forced into this position because of its heretical view of a God who is corporeal and isolated on the Mormon planet Kolob. The Bible and the writings of the Patristic Fathers are emphatic that God is incorporeal. Also, Mutu, you are wrong again on who the Person is who will be doing the final judgment of unbelievers and supervising all other judgments – the Son (John 5:22) – not the Father.

    You know what makes me “weep”? It’s the sadness in reading the words of Mormons like yourself who have been lied to by false prophets, apostles and teachers being told that there is no assurance for the believer in Christ in regards to salvation despite verses as 1 John 5:13; John 6:37; John 10:27-29; John 6:47; Ephesians 4:30 and the list could go on and on. The elect of God were chosen by God the Father and placed IN the Son BEFORE the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Their names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life at the same time (Revelation 13:8; 17:8).

    Mormons have been fed a false gospel, a false “christ” and a false spirit despite the constant warnings of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6-10 and 2 Corinthians 11:4. Mutu, it is my claim that is what would make Paul weep in the same way that he did for the nation of Israel in Romans 9:2-3. You have the Word of God (the Bible). You are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

  4. Andy Watson says:

    I also noticed that Mutu wrote the phrase “essential Mormon Christianity”. If this weren’t so alarming it would be hilarious. (I did laugh when I read it – just not for long). This ought to be the example given in the dictionary under the word PARADOX. Nothing could be more polar opposite than Mormonism and Christianity. The teachings and beliefs have no similarity whatsoever. Sure, in the minds of the deceived Mormons who desperately want and cry to have the label of “Christianity” applied to themselves it seems plausible. It worked for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she wanted to be back in Kansas by clicking her heels three times. That may work in fictitious tales, but not when it comes to Bible doctrine and theology. But, sure, do you mind if I play along?

    I say that Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God. I say that Thomas Monson is not a prophet of God. I say that the Book of Mormon is a work of religious fiction concocted in the mind of a deceiver who dabbled in the occult. I say that the LDS Church is not the true church. I now say that I am a Mormon, okay? What? Not okay? Why not? Well, I can be anything spiritually that I want to be if I only say it and believe it despite the clear teachings of that false religious system. I can’t be a Mormon and state the above if I want to? In reality, this is what Mormons are doing by floating this delusionary claim of being Christianity because Mormons denies the tenets of historical, orthodox Christianity.

    Mormon Christianity? Okay, will this work:
    Jehovah’s Witness/Watchtower Christianity
    Islamic Christianity
    Buddhist Christianity
    Hindu Christianity
    Satanic Christianity
    Unification/“The Moonies” Christianity
    Wiccan Christianity
    New Age Christianity
    Scientology Christianity
    Universalist Christianity
    Bahai Christianity

    Mutu, pontificate to us, the ignorant in your heretical mind, how your religion inserted with this label is somehow different. Ridiculous and absurd. Repent. Now. Have a nice day.

  5. falcon says:

    I do really admire your posts and the clarity with which you contrast Mormonism with Christianity. I say admire because you and I both know that mutu and oj and all of the other TBMs will throw it in their own personal mental circular file. A person really has to be called to this ministry to spend the time in research and having the staying power that it takes when dealing with deceived people. Spiritual blindness can only be healed by the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately our TBM friends reject the healing.
    Anyway, good job as always. I’m confident that your efforts here will be of great help to what jackg calls the contemplative Mormons.

  6. setfree says:

    Loved it Andy. Thanks for your terrific work.

  7. mantis mutu says:

    Andy, just to round out your list—and to additionally clarify some of the distinctions of soteriology:

    Catholic Christianity: those who accept that the sacraments/ordinances of Christ’s Church are necessary for salvation, and are administered by a ministerial priesthood descending from Christ & the Apostles. Further, they accept Augustine’s notion that Christ, as God, is ontologically distinct from redeemed humanity (a tough notion to swallow in light of such scriptures as John 17: 11 & Romans 8: 17).

    Orthodox Christianity: like the Catholics, recognize an apostolic, ministerial priesthood for the essential sacraments of Christ’s Church. However, they reject Augustine & his claim of ontological distinction between God/Christ and redeemed humanity.

    Traditional Protestant Christianity: reject the notion of an apostolic, ministerial priesthood, & of the essential nature of the sacraments in Christ’s Church. Consummate salvation in Christ is instead a gift that is at some point assured during a process of prayerful, faithful study of the Christian Bible.
    As for the ontological relationship between God/Christ & redeemed humanity, they generally follow the Augustinian/Catholic belief.

    Evangelical (Post-Calvinist) Protestant Christianity: like all Protestants, reject the notion of an apostolic, ministerial priesthood, & essential sacraments. Consummate salvation in Christ is a gift that is instantaneously realized by those who have been fore-chosen of God, and accept Jesus as their Redeemer over death & hell. Prayerful, faithful study of the Christian Bible is regarded as the essential path of the Redeemed Christian, but it is not necessarily the path through which redemption is first realized.
    As for the ontological relationship between God/Christ & redeemed humanity, they rigidly follow the Augustinian/Catholic belief.

  8. mantis mutu says:

    Clearly, Mormon Christianity belongs as a distinct branch in the above religious tradition, rather than with your proposed groups such as Islam & Bahai, who reject Jesus as the central figure of salvation, or Buddhist & Hindu, who do not even recognize Jesus as a marginal figure in their religion. Outside of your apparent, weak attempt at mockery, Andy, your list is quite useless. But if it found humor for you, I suppose your reward was attained regardless of my clarifying critique.

    While I don’t hold the same disdain for Evangelicalism as you do for Mormonism, it does concern me that such a persuasive form of Christianity reads Jesus’ distinction between the saved and unsaved primarily as a warrant of a particular form of Christian religion rather than as a warning to believers. The 6th chapter in John that you cite very plainly states that we shall live from day to day by the flesh and blood of Christ. All pre-Protestant Christians saw an essential part of this teaching fulfilled in the weekly partaking of the Eucharist—but certainly also understood that real life (that is, the “eternal life” offered by Christ) was to be realized both in this world and the next by the continual feasting upon Christ. If we do not choose to live by him in this world, then we would fail to live by him in the next. Understanding this, Luther couldn’t take himself to fully repudiate the saving power of the Christian sacraments. They are clearly implied in many of the admonitions of faithfulness preached by Christ (as in John 6, as you cite), & even Calvin—who rejected the essential nature of the sacramental portion of this ideal—still wouldn’t have dared to suggest that personal salvation was something that could be assured without a sustained faithfulness of living by the flesh & blood of Jesus. In the traditional Protestant understanding, consummate salvation in Christ wasn’t something you could simply be assured of at the camp meeting or a moving sermon.

  9. mantis mutu says:

    First, you tasted of the hope of Christ’s salvation, then you faithfully lived day to day in accordance with that hope, & in the case of Calvinism, the believer would find assurance of personal salvation somewhere along the path of life. Luther & Calvin took very literally Jesus’ teaching that one lived in Christ only as a day to day trust in him. They rightly understood John 6 to say that faithful devotion to Christ was as necessary to the spiritual life of the believer as the nourishment of bread & liquid was necessary for the continued life of his/her body.

    Unfortunately, since the original mass-excommunication of Luther & his followers, Protestantism has also always existed with an obsession to assure personal salvation to the believer. That’s what was taken from the Protestant heretics by Catholicism (or so the Roman Church claimed), & so Protestantism has always been in the business of assuring salvation to their followers. After all, Christ’s central message was salvation—oh, wait—no, his central message was discipleship—discipleship which ended in eternal life or eternal rejection (or in some of the parables, two allotments of blessedness, & a third allotment of curse).

    For Paul, Christ’s redemption of humanity was universal (As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive – 1 Cor 15: 22), but the question remained, Were the resurrected to find real life with God & Christ (to be raised again), or were they to find some lesser life outside of God’s presence? And in that case, Jesus could assure to his disciples an inheritance with him in the hereafter only according to their faithfulness to him in this life. Would they follow him to the end, casting off all that they had, would they follow him half-heartedly, or would they eventually reject him?

  10. mantis mutu says:

    In the future, I encourage you to read your Bible in this light, Andy. Mormons are hardly the only Christians (yes, “Christians”) who reject the presumptuous & clannish soteriology championed all too often by Evangelicalism. And we are hardly the only ones who read Christ’s warning of eternal condemnation in John 6 in the same vein as the warning we find in Matthew 7: 21-23:

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Sorry for the good ol’ KJV)

  11. falcon says:

    Your last paragraph there quoting Matthew 7:21-23 applies perfectly to Mormonism. Mormons do not know God. Mormons don’t know Jesus. Mormons don’t know the Holy Spirit. Mormons wouldn’t have even made good heretics. The heretics of the first four centuries would have seen Joseph Smith as a total joke, as he is (a total joke).
    Andy’s right when he says that Mormons learn their Christianity from people who are totally clueless about Christian history and systematic theology. Mormons tell themselves stories about Christianity to justify their perverted religion and prophet. It all began with Smith’s goofy tale that the true gospel was lost after the death of the apostles and it took him to restore it. Funny thing, we can’t find any remnant of Mormonism any where including the Bible and Church history. So Mormons then invent fantastic conspiracy theories to explain away the absence. Mormonism is driven by ignorance and childishness.
    Mormonism is not Christianity. It does not hold to the basic doctrines of the Christian church as handed down by the apostles and safe guarded by the Holy Spirit.

  12. falcon says:

    So folks I guess it’s time for me to post the list of essential Christian doctrines that a religion that wants to be known as “Christian” subscribes to.
    1. The Bible is the Word of God. Mormons pervert this.
    2. The Trinity; One God, three persons. Mormonism; many gods and men can become gods.
    3. The deity of Christ. He is God. Mormonism, Jesus is a created off spring of mother & father god.
    4. The virgin birth of Christ. Mormonism; the father god had physical sex with Mary.
    5. Christ died for us, the blood atonement. Mormonism, Christ’s death was a compassionate act where by everyone is saved regardless of their belief system. In fact the passion in the Garden has significance. The cross as a symbol is rejected but occult symbols are displayed prominently on Mormon temples.
    6. Jesus’ resurrection. Mormonism, Jesus visited the American continent.
    7. Saved by grace a part from works. Mormonism, works are the pathway to becoming gods.
    8. Jesus second coming. Mormonism, Jesus will touch down in Jerusalem before heading for the temple in Independence, MO.
    9. The judgment of God. Mormonism, what’s the point? Everyone gets saved and assigned to a reward level and the real lucky ducks get to become gods.
    Yea, Mormons are Christians all right just like Christians are Mormons and Thomas Monson is Elvis in hiding!

  13. mantis mutu says:

    Falcon, there’s a reason Hollywood doesn’t cast its big screen dramas through the medium of cartoon. Instead, they spend millions of dollars on real actors and on state of the art audio-visual tech capable of giving some semblance of a real-life setting.

    Your cartoon reproduction of the Mormon faith is obvious to all who grown to realize Les Miserables as something rather distinct from Finding Nemo.

  14. falcon says:

    Well mutu,
    I can see you’re not in the mood to engage me in any type of substative discussion but instead have tried to minimize and marginalize the points I’ve made. I’ve had Mormons do this before when I’ve asked them on this blog, “OK, tell me where I’m wrong.” Guess what? They can’t do it. You obviously practice a form of Mormonism that is nothing like that which is presented by Mormon leaders past and present. Now if you where a member of the Community of Christ, I’d say you’d be talking a different type of Mormonism here. But as far as I know, you’re a SLC Mormon. You want to have deep, meaningful theological and intellectual debates because you can then try to find some justification for the simplistic and nonsensical cartoon character religion you espouse. I don’t know if Mormonism is more like a situation comedy, a horror film, but it best resembles the TV series “Lost”.
    You need to wise up and see that all of your attempts to intellectualize Mormonism can’t cover the fact that it’s a false religion created by a false prophet who was pretty much a joke.

  15. falcon says:

    I guess you can’t really blame some of these believers in Mormonism for trying to intellectualize the religion. As it stands, Mormonism was started by a bunch of hayseeds that use to run around the countryside at night with magic rocks looking for buried treasure. These guys had all kinds of spirit sightings, visions and revelations and the founder even had a pair of magic glasses with which he was able to translate reformed Egyptian written on plates of gold. Led by a spirit guide, the founder unearthed the ancient record of a bunch of Jews that eventually morphed into Indians.
    Where does someone go with that when they’ve bought that kind of nonsense?
    The attempts of these types of Mormons, who have bought into the myth, are likened to putting lipstick on a pig. Walter Martin was right when he said that Mormons are able to think rationally in all areas of their life except when it comes to their religion.
    They’re stuck with it so now they must attempt to come up with really smart sounding explanations for what is a comical hoax.

  16. falcon says:

    So what do you do when you’re a Mormon who wants to have deep theological, intellectual dialogue about spiritual matters and you’re stuck in a religion that was started by a bunch of yahoos who couldn’t think their way out of a wet paper bag? There’s just too much information on the inane and vapid mental meanderings of these prophet leaders to contend with. It’s OK when these smart people entertain each other with their deep philosophical musings however when they step out of the confines of the cozy Mormon club, it’s all exposed for what it is, nonsense.
    So I guess the only thing for these folks to do is retreat to the safety and comfort of the BYU lounge.
    There are different types of smart Mormons of course. There are the ones who have figured it out and keep their mouths shut because they have to preserve their standing within the larger LDS club. Sandra Tanner reports on these types that she runs into at the Mormon historical association meetings. They know the score. Then there are the FAIR/FARMS set who keep trying to rescue the religion from itself but keep digging the hole they’re in deeper with every paper they produce.
    Guys like Michael Quinn and Grant Palmer get run off and are banished from the smart people click. Bushman is smart enough to get his toes up to the line but not cross over. He gets to remain in the hierarchy of the smart by being evasive.
    Anyway we cut it, in the end Mormonism is a religion that demands that the smart people commit intellectual suicide.
    Man, and the have to prove their loyalty by wearing magic underwear.

  17. mantis mutu says:

    Falcon, there’s two sides to every story.

    Even the tidying-up of Christian history in Constantine’s time & before couldn’t forever hide the fact that Christian history was anything but neat history. And even what remains in our current New Testament assures that the original Christian revelation was anything but convenient revelation.

    If early Christianity teaches us anything it’s that God calls men from inconvenient places & circumstances to deliver very inconvenient news.

    A blessing to the faithful; and a curse to the unbelieving.


  18. Andy Watson says:


    I am always amazed at what BYU is putting it out in the form of “christian” education to its naive and vulnerable students on the distinctions in soteriology in historical Christianity. To put it simply, your definitions of the Christian traditions are seriously lacking and are filled with error. If any student handed into me what you wrote as a soteriological disctinction between the traditions I would give them an “F”. If this is scholarship via BYU style I would ask for a refund of my tuition. Time and space does not permit me to define and refute what you have listed. However, I will comment briefly on one area.

    First, the term “post-Calvinist” is foreign to me. Is there a “pre-Calvinist”? Either one is Calvinistic in their soteriology or they are not. It’s called Reformed Theology and was the basis of the Reformation (rejecting the Roman Catholic view of synergism). Again, just as “Mormon christianity” is a paradox so is “Augustinian/Catholic belief” not only as it is stated but for you to list that under Calvinistic/Reformed tradition is ludicrous. Augustine was staunchly monergistic and that was brought out very quickly in him refuting the heretic Pelagius. What Roman Catholicism and a good portion of Protestant traditions embrace is what Reformed supporters call “semi-Pelagianism” which centers itself around a synergistic soteriology.

    Reformed Christians do not believe that the office of apostle can be held today in light of Acts 2:21-22 for starters. The priesthood is of all believers/the elect (1 Pet 2:9). Sacraments would include baptism and the Lord’s Supper among all Reformed Christians and others in that tradition would include paedobaptism and paedocommunion in view of covenant theology while honestly stating that there are no direct New Testament texts in support thereof in regards to those two sacraments. None of these sacraments hinge on election and salvation. Salvation is completely and totally of God (Jonah 2:9) – monergism.

  19. Andy Watson says:


    Of course you found my list of other religious systems with the label “Christianity” useless to you. And, of course, you found Mormonism to be the exception to the rule – big shock! All these other religions have their form of “jesus” in their system and it’s a false christ just like it is in Mormonism. The JW’s say that Jesus is the Savior. They also say that he is nothing more than an angel – Michael the Archangel. Is the Jehovah’s Witness a Christian in your view? The next time they knock on your door will you promptly invite them in and say, “Come in, dear Christian brothers/sisters let’s share a meal together and read the Scriptures.” No? Exactly (hypocrisy and goofy lip service). The Mormon jesus is another jesus and not the Jesus of Christianity (2 Cor 11:4).

    “It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons. Christ followed by the Mormons is not the Christ followed by traditional Christianity.” (Bernard P. Brockbank, Elder, First Quorum of the Seventy, 147th LDS General Conference, Ensign, May 1977, page 26)

    What part does your “jesus” play in any of your temple work in your heretical and deceieved attempts at gaining your own planet one day for eternal, celestial procreation so your offspring can then pray to you instead of the god you pray to on Kolob? Your vain attempts at LDS exaltation all center around on you. Your “jesus” gave nothing but universal resurrection to all of mankind through his supposed death. Mormonism is the epitomy of the heresy of Pelagianism especially in view of original sin and the condition of man as defined in the LDS Articles/Creeds of Faith #2.

    “When he (Jesus) became our Savior, he did his part to help us return to our heavenly home. It is now up to each of us to do our part and become worthy of exaltation.” (Gospel Principles, page 19)

  20. Andy Watson says:


    Please define for me what is being taught at BYU these days of the different versions of Mormonism and what makes the Utah denomination correct when all four recognize Joseph Smith as the prophet and have the Book of Mormon:

    1. Utah/Brigham Young Mormonism
    2. Community of Christ Mormonism
    3. Temple Lot Mormonism
    4. Fundamentalist Mormonsism (and the over 100 branches that stem from it)

    Other requests:

    1. Please reference and LDS systematic theology work that I can add to my library. For example, instead of having to get the Mutu version of Mormon soteriology I can instead look up officially what is believed and taught according to the Utah tradition of Mormonism.
    2. Please provide exegesis of Ephesians 1:4-5, Romans 9:11-16, John 6:37-44, Ephesians 2:1-5 and explain where LDS synergism and free agency fits in with these texts.
    3. Please define for me the LDS position or definition of the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement. This is a fundamental Christian position. Therefore, since Mormonism is begging to be called Christian, here is Mormonism’s big chance to get on the Christian “radar screen” and give a clear position and definition on what they believe about this. By the way, not your words – somebody official – say Monson or one of the Quorum of the Twelve since they claim to be seers.
    4. Please notify me of any LDS prophet or apostles that are fulfilling 2 Cor 12:12 so I can take a leave of absence from my studies and work and behold it with my own eyes.

    I will not be reading my Bible in light of LDS eisegesis – thank you very much. I have the Patristic writings and the writings of the Reformers to clearly define me what is and what is not historical Christianity. Whatever is being put out at BYU regarding Luther and Calvin brings to mind just about everything that is dished out by these false teachers at BYU and other LDS love nests – heretical spin.

  21. Andy Watson says:


    I have a problem that I really need your help with in the area of defining what is/is not or who is/is not a Christian. Here is the situation:

    I recently had a discussion with someone who lives there in the Salt Lake City valley who is a male approaching the age of 60. He was a Mormon for the most part of his life. Several years ago he decided that Mormonism wasn’t his “cup of tea” (pardon the pun). He felt cramped and found Mormon law to be “stuffy”. So, he bailed out and became a free spirit. His wife realized I guess that now her attempts of becoming a goddess were now dashed and so was her resurrection since her husband had become an apostate thus nullifying his calling her new name given at the endowment ordinance leading to her resurrection to then begin eternal procreation of spirit babies. They divorced and he is now even more of a free spirit.

    As our conversation went along I let him know that I was a Christian. He quickly responded, “Yes, so am I!” When I asked him to explain to me when and how he came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ he had a very unique answer. He said, “What do I need Jesus or a Savior for? I don’t have any sin nor do I sin. I am already perfect. There are many ways to God and I believe in doing good to my fellow man and living a life of peace. That is all that is required.”

    We had an interesting conversation from that point on and I won’t bore you with what I shared with him. I was able to sniff out and asked him if he was Universalist/Unitarian and he affirmed that he was. Now, Mutu, he says that he is a Christian and is adamant about it. He gave “the bird” to Mormonism and based on his statement above he is a rebel sinner in light of Christianity. Is he a Christian? If not, why not? His Unitarian Church there in Salt Lake City says they are Christians. Does Mormonism say they aren’t Christians? If not, why not? Unitarians believe in Jesus just like Utah Mormons.

  22. Andy Watson says:

    Edit: My Scripture reference of Acts 2:21-22 in my first post should be Acts 1:21-22. Sorry for the typo.

  23. liv4jc says:

    If anyone is interested, check out Dr. Jame’s White’s examination of Glenn Beck’s recent comments regarding personal salvation by grace alone on his television show. Here is a link to the Monday July 19 Dividing Line.

    Glenn Beck is sounding very Evangelical these days while still stating that he is a Mormon. It doesn’t appear that Glenn Beck knows all that much about LDS soteriology. This brings up the issue that Andy was getting at. There is no compass in Mormonism that points North. There is no defined LDS Systematic Theology and it seems that most modern Mormons shy away from works such as Bruce R. McConkies’ “Mormon Doctrine” as being too confining. Apparently each Mormon is given their own compass when they join the faith. This compass points in a general Northerly direction, but each Mormon is allowed to proclaim that his compass needle is pointing to true North. When the LDS GA’s won’t come out and make definitive statements either condemning or affirming the teachings of past “profits” and apostles it is left up to opinions expressed by apologists like Mutu, OJ, Ralph, or BYU professors who have no authority to define doctrine. Yes, there are differences in Protestant Christian theology, but our core doctrines regarding the nature of God and salvation are based upon the bible alone, which is the standard.

  24. falcon says:

    OOOOO mutu,
    Getting a little militant with your blessings and curses aren’t you? You sound like one of the radical Mormons. I see you’re falling back on one of the favorite militant TBM tactics which is to forget about defending the prevaricator with the magic rock and attacking Christianity.
    You see you can sing your praises to Joseph Smith and try to clean the guy up but at the end of the day what you have is a false prophet who decided he wanted to become a god. You sound frustrated which is pretty much a standard response from Mormons when their back is against the wall and they have no where to go. I realized a long time ago, that if we are patient, eventually Mormons reveal a lot about themselves and their character and it’s often not a pretty picture.
    Mormonism is a pretty simple con, repeated over and over again by those who exploit religion for their own gain. First of all the con artist has to convince people that he has a new super duper revelation. He must also convince the gullible that the orthodox faith is in error. That’s why we get Mormons attacking the Bible, saying it’s full of errors and can’t be trusted. So what can be trusted? Well the new revelation by the new prophet of course.
    So we have a couple of Mormon sects that rejected all of the goof ball stuff Smith started to promote-the Community of Christ and the Temple Lot group, and we have a bunch who embraced it all and refuse to go along with the SLC-that’s the Mormon fundamentalists, and then we have the SLC bunch in the middle that has to reinvent itself about every generation because it all gets too much to defend.
    The result for the SLC sect is that they can’t hold on to members because despite their attempts to modernize the cult, they’re still stuck with the 19th century leaders who were way to prolific in their writing and speech making.
    So then we get the smart TBM BYU types who try to put a coating of intellectualism on all of the nonsense but at the end of the day, it’s still a cult of Smith, the man with the magic rock.

  25. mantis mutu says:

    I can see that the cream has miraculously settled to the bottom of this exchange. hmmmm.

    First, sorry to disappoint you Andy, but I’m afraid BYU is more ignorant in its teaching of Christian theology & the history of Christian theology than even you imagine. Nothing too disruptive or devious coming from there — in fact, unless it’s dramatically changed in the last 13 years, there’s nothing of it at all (which I admit is (& was) an absolute shame). There certainly wasn’t anything in the (non-accredited but mandatory) religion department. I was never presented Mormon theology in a way that I’d call critical, never mind comparative. There may have been a class or two in the history department that touched on the history of Christian theology, but as an English Major I can assure you that there wasn’t even a class on the history of the English Bible (I know, because I complained to the department head about it). Everyone knows well that BYU is a religious institution, not a religion school.

    Again, sorry to disappoint, Andy, but my knowledge of Christian history & theology is largely from books. Most of them quite contemporary. Educated Mormons can quickly gauge that my preferred reading is not LDS publications or BYU lectures. In any event, as a non-Mormon Christian who claims to know something of theology, your criticism of my nomenclature strikes me as overly-technical. And in my reading, your use of “Reform” as a blanket term for Calvinism is not always followed in academia.

    While “Reform” theology does sometimes appear in reference to the global expansion of key tenets of Calvinism into, say, British/American Anglicanism, Congregationalism, Methodism, & even Baptist faith, often the term is used more strictly in reference to the more direct descendants of Calvin’s mainland congregations—including Scottish Presbyterianism.

  26. mantis mutu says:

    Regardless, your criticism of my comparison between Catholic & Protestant Christianity in the free will vs predestination debate actually goes beyond my comparison. My contrast between Catholic & Orthodoxy concerned only the issue of God’s being versus humanity’s redeemed being, & I pointed out that Protestant theology follows Catholicism (naturally, as it descends from it). Are you denying that Orthodox theosis is not repudiated by traditional Protestantism as it was by Catholicism? Or that Augustine was not the key & foundational figure in its repudiation? Ironically, the dictator of the Nicene creed, Athanasius, was clearly a promoter of theosis, as was Origen, who he excommunicated postmortem.

    As for your fly-by friend—the ex-Mormon Unitarian—if he calls himself a “Christian,” he has certainly placed himself in a position to explain why he is a Christian. Should we dismiss his claim before he’s explained his case? Of course not. He’d have my ears, for sure. While many contemporary Unitarians have denied Christ’s central role as a Savior of mankind, & therefore have certainly strained the pedigree of Christianity including Catholicism, Orthodoxy & Protestantism, the Christian tradition is broad enough & the Christian Bible ambiguous & pithy enough, I’d certainly be open & curious to hear his case. My own judgment would come no sooner.

    My subtle purpose in expanding your “Christian List,” Andy, was to show that in the theological gap between Catholicism vs Orthodoxy vs Protestantism, the general place of the sacraments & Christ’s ministerial priesthood forms a rather sharp divided—with Western (Catholic) & Eastern Orthodoxy, & even Mormonism on the one hand, & Protestantism on the other. Of course, in your opinion that gap is not one that distinguishes Protestantism as non-Christian. However, you’ve come to a dilemma if you use the writings of the Patristic fathers & early Church councils as a standard for clarifying what is & isn’t “Christian.”

  27. mantis mutu says:

    As I’ve pointed out before on this board, the essential place of the Church sacraments & the ministerial priesthood was never an issue debated by the Church fathers & councils – rather, it was a presumption; a given. The Arians & the Athanasians both were in agreement on this issue. Even the “Gnostic” sects not invited to the Nicene powwow recognized the centrality of the Christian sacraments & Apostolic priesthood. Their divergent views & claims on the matter are what kept them out of the party.

    As a Protestant, Andy, I hope you can at least be honest enough to admit that your rejection of an Apostolic, ministerial priesthood & the essential place of the sacraments would have found you kicked to the same Nicene curb with severe heretics such as the “Gnostics.” Given that reality, what do you make of the Arians & Gnostics? What’s your logical basis for excluding either of these groups from the appellation of “Christianity,” yet somehow justifying it for yourself? If you turn to the doctrine of monotheism you’d have a hard time disqualifying the Arians, who were strict monotheists. (They didn’t deny Christ’s divinity so much as exclude him from the Neo-platonic ideal of the indivisible God—incidentally, using a logic similar to the non-Platonic JWs, who you call to question as rightful “Christians”). As for the diverse “group” known as “Gnostics,” its best known sects took a Platonic (rather than Neo-platonic) stance on God, with Jesus’ Father recognized as the indivisible God/Truth, & YHWH of the Old Testament as a lower, corporeal demiurge unknowingly fulfilling God’s will in the Creation; consequently, Jesus is the holy emanation from the Father sent to redeem humanity from the fallen world of the demiurge. Theoretically speaking, both the Arians & Gnostics were more monotheistic than the Trinitarian Athanasians could ever hope to be,

  28. mantis mutu says:

    so the Protestant who rejects either position as “Christian” must ultimately do so on the rather arbitrary basis that neither group accepted the Neo-Platonic mystery of the divided (yet undivided), mutable (yet immutable) God of the Trinity. But aside from the Athanasian purging in Constantine’s era, what good basis do you have for championing this as the foundational criterion for making a Christian a “Christian?” Knowing the bloody history of Protestantism, are you honestly comfortable in basing your most fundamental Christian identity on a doctrine set in place by the original Catholic crackdown? To me, the intellectual disconnect in this is mind-boggling.

    While ultra-conservative Evangelicals who dare to classify Catholicism as “un-Christian” are made a laughingstock in the scholarly world outside the snug quarters of Bible belt academia, logically speaking, they are the only Protestants who have a right to deny “Christianity” to the Arians & Gnostics as well. If you can’t take yourself to fully denounce the Mother you’ve otherwise divorced yourself from, then you can’t rightly denounce her evil sisters either. Trinity aside, on many essential points you, as a Protestant, have less in common with her than do her sisters, the Gnostics & Arians. Or do the Mormons, for that matter—who also adamantly recognize an Apostolic, ministerial priesthood, & the essential nature of the Christian sacraments.

    Which brings us back to the logical dilemma of an Evangelical (or any Protestant) turning to the Patristic fathers as their foundational source in interpreting the Christian Bible—as you admit to, Andy. An open sore in modern Protestant scholarship is the case of the 19th century Greek & Latin scholar, John Henry Newman. As the key figure in Protestant scholarship’s current love affair with Patristic studies, Newman in his later years ironically converted to Catholicism.

  29. mantis mutu says:

    While believing Protestants surely see in Newman’s apostasy a case of spiritual tragedy (or perhaps just the tough luck of Monergism), for others, it’s a telltale of not only the thoroughly un-Protestant form of Christianity embraced by the Patristic fathers, but also of how convincing Ecclesiastical faith becomes for Bible-reading Christians when their Protestant goggles are put aside. It’s a major reason why Luther—ever in a love-hate relationship with Augustine—could never fully depart from Ecclesiastical faith, even though some of his doctrines laid the groundwork for its utter rejection by Calvin & others.

    New Testament Christianity is clearly not a religion of the book. Paul had a book in mind—the Torah, no less—when he soundly rejected “the Law” as the basis of Christian faith. Although this is a reading that Luther didn’t fully understand, still, he could plainly see that Paul’s treatises on doctrine & praxis assumed an apostolic & ecclesiastic context. For Paul, there was of course no Christian Bible yet—so for Luther to build his Christianity on such a book he had to do it on the bold rationale that the Church in Rome was utterly corrupt (Babylon the Whore), & had long forfeited the authority of the Apostles. The Good Book was all that God had left for the humble, true believers of Christ. It’s the best that Luther could offer them.

    Given the strictness of the monotheistic principle embraced by the non-Trinitarian Jesus-claimers of the 4th century (see, I too can avoid the C-word when referring to the Arians & Gnostics), Trinitarian Christians of any persuasion stand on very shaky ground in making too much hubbub over the Mormon’s understanding of God (Father & Son, & beyond) as a shared henotheism rather than monotheism. Even the biased & very broken historical record of the 4th century proudly recognizes the Trinitarians as the victors over the true Monotheists. What’s harder to accept logically?

  30. mantis mutu says:

    That an indivisible God is plainly (& mysteriously) divided? or that God’s pronouncements of His singularity & sole supremacy in the Bible were intended, not as a reflection of His cosmic being, but as a warning to humans tempted to worship other, man-imagined deities? If you take Neo-platonic ideals out of the Old Testament (as most scholars do), you end up with a plural heavenly host (the “elohim”) ruled by a corporeal sovereign, YHWH (also an “elohim”). This is the theological model recognized by Mormons, & as a few scholars insist, it was the older form of Biblical religion maintained by many Jews & Christians in the early Common Era. A Platonic re-envisioning of God is not clearly found in Jewish sources until Philo of the 1st century, but it’s general & unmitigated acceptance by Jews is not recognized before Maimonides, the unapologetic student of Aristotle from the 12th century. Unfortunately, the theological variety that we know existed in ancient Judaism was wiped out by the Nicene victors nearly as thoroughly as they obliterated the variety among the Christian losers. (Oops, I used the C-word presumptuously there, I suppose.)

    Though contemporary Christians like to cite Jewish theologians as proof of the Judeo-Christian God’s immaterial, omnipresent nature, we know that this ideal was not universally accepted by the Jewish community till a full millennium after the Nicaea’s council. The Hellenistic Judaism of the Philo & the Sadducees seems to have died out in the late antiquity. Not surprisingly, then, the Septuagint was preserved by Christians, not by Jews. For most Jews of late antiquity, such as the Talmudic Rabbis, God was fully corporeal—& so He remained till Maimonides in late medieval times. He was a God hidden in the distant heavens—not some invisible force or spirit.

    As for the challenge of justifying the expansive Mormon sacraments w/in in the known Christian tradition, I will gladly do so, if you request it, Andy.


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