Substantially Correct (part 2)

Last Monday (7 February 2011) I wrote about the first half of Daniel Peterson’s article, “God’s sheep recognize his voice” in which Dr. Peterson argues for the idea that Mormons (Mormonism) do not really reject non-Mormon religious experiences and doctrines. After referring to Joseph Smith’s First Vision in which Smith was allegedly told that all existing churches (in 1820) were wrong (etc.), Dr. Peterson explains that Smith’s denunciation did not mean that the churches were “totally wrong.” He writes,

“In fact, many mainstream Christian doctrines were and are substantially correct. There is indeed a God. He has a divine Son who came to earth, atoned for our sins, rose again on the third day and now sits at the right hand of his Father. Those who taught prayer, preached of the Savior and translated the New Testament during the centuries between the early apostles and the Restoration preserved and transmitted many central gospel truths.”

As discussed last Monday, LDS prophets and apostles throughout Mormon history have not agreed with Dr. Peterson’s opinion that many “mainstream Christian” (non-Mormon) doctrines were and are substantially correct. Nevertheless, Dr. Peterson provides a few examples of these doctrines, so let’s look at the first one he brings up, the doctrine of God.

While Dr. Peterson mentions the pretty basic teaching that a God exists, this is not a uniquely “mainstream Christian doctrine.” Every religion, Christian or otherwise, believes there is a God. So to examine the Christian doctrine we need to go a little deeper to see if the Christian doctrine is substantially correct according to Mormonism.

The Christian doctrine of God includes (of course) that He exists, but also that He is the only true God (Is. 44:8), self-existent (Is. 43:10; 48:12), transcendent (Num. 23:19; Ps. 50:21), immutable (Ps. 102:27; Is. 46:10; Mal. 3:6), eternal (Ps. 90:2; 93:2), omnipresent (1 Kings 8:27; Prov. 15:3; Is. 66:1; Jer. 23: 23, 24), incorporeal (John 4:24; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17), dwells in the believer (Eph. 3:17; 4:6; Rom. 8:9), and omnipotent (Job 42:2; Ps. 115:3; Matt. 19:26).

According to Mormonism, God exists (of course), but also is one of many Gods, was created or organized by his heavenly father, was once a human being, liable (obligated) to change, became a God, is limited in his presence, has a body of flesh and bone, does not dwell in the believer, and is subservient to his God. (For a fuller treatment of these doctrines please see “God the Father According to Mormonism” at

Though both “mainstream Christianity” and Mormonism teach that God exists; that basic fact is virtually the extent of agreement between the two religions regarding the doctrines of God. But according to Dr. Peterson, these differences don’t really matter. He suggests that these are merely inconsequential differences of opinion among Christians.

Carrying the idea a bit further, Dr. Peterson asks,

“But what about non-Christians? Do they worship false gods?

“…what of Islam? Isn’t ‘Allah’ a false god? No. According to the Qur’an, Allah created the earth in six days, placed Adam and Eve in Eden, and then inspired prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Sound familiar?

“…Muslims, Christians and Jews disagree about God, but that doesn’t create numerically different gods. My neighbor regards Senator Foghorn as the greatest orator since Daniel Webster; I think he’s a noxious windbag. But there is, mercifully, only one Senator Foghorn. Our different opinions don’t spawn multiple senators.”

Dr. Peterson is in conflict with LDS leaders who do not pretend a mere difference of opinion, but have often taught that Christians worship a different God than Mormonism’s god. For example, LDS President Spencer W. Kimball taught,

“Men with keen intelligence got together… [at] Nicea and created a God. They did not pray for wisdom or revelation. They claimed no revelation from the Lord. They made it just about like a political party would do, and out of their own mortal minds created a God which is still worshiped by the great majority of Christians.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 426)

Other LDS Authorities have taught:

“And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ.” (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 269)

“It is true that many Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Seventy Bernard P. Brockbank, Ensign, 5/1977, 26)

“In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President [Gordon B.] Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints ‘do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak.’” (Church News, week ending June 20, 1998, 7)

Nevertheless, Dr. Peterson does not appear to have any real concern for people worshiping what LDS leaders call “different” gods instead of the one true God. With a grand sweep of inclusion for any and all who claim to worship any god at all, he writes,

“But what of the non-Abrahamic religions? Are they too far wrong? It seems presumptuous to declare that mistaken but sincere devotion means nothing to our loving Father in Heaven…

“God’s sheep recognize his voice, even when it’s in a different language or imperfectly heard. They follow him as best they can and will not lose their reward.”

I think Dr. Peterson asks the wrong question. The best question is not, “Does mistaken but sincere devotion mean nothing to a loving God?” but rather, “What does this mean to God?”

There is no getting around the fact that God insists we worship Him and Him alone: “…you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). With very strong language He reprimands those who “whore after [other] gods” (Exodus 34:10-16) and informs us that those who take idols (false gods) into their hearts “are all estranged from [Him] through their idols” (Ezekiel 14:4-5). In the Book of Joshua we learn that God “is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good” (Joshua 24:19-20). Idolatry is “evil in the sight of the LORD” and provokes Him to anger, “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24-25).

It’s pretty clear by God’s own testimony that He will not overlook the worship of false gods by saying, “Oh, don’t worry. You were sincerely devoted to your idols. Therefore, enter into the joy of the Lord.”

But here’s the absolutely amazing thing. The true God is a jealous God, a “consuming fire” who brings judgment upon those who go after false gods; BUT this merciful God will forgive and restore if we turn to Him.

“Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations… that [you] may be my people and I may be [your] God” (Ezekiel 14:6, 11).

“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness (Joshua 24:14).

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in God the Father, Nature of God and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Substantially Correct (part 2)

  1. Sarah says:

    I shared this verse on another entry a few days ago, but I think it is very important in the context of this post as well. Thank you, Sharon, for these two posts. They are wonderful.
    Matthew 7: 21-23 states:

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  2. Violet says:

    Mormons believe they are the only ones who will enter. That is why they perform baptism for the dead. For those who didn't have a chance to be baptized in the mormon faith. They believe it is the non-mormon who are the evildoers and they are the ones who are 'doing the will of the father' by keeping commandments, word of wisdom and all the other rituals and traditions. When a mormon reads that, they feel sorry for the non-mormon. Not the other way around.

  3. falcon says:

    Excellent two part article. It really gets to the heart of the matter concerning Mormonism. Mormons acknowledge the existence of many gods and no matter how many gods they worship, Mormons are essentially polytheists who do not recognize the God of the Bible as God. Mormons spin their doctrine and their explanations in an attempt to sound Christian-at least to the general public. This idea that a person can be sincere in their unbelief and have it credited to them in terms of salvation is pure folly.
    And how do Mormons come to these ideas on the nature of God? Well naturally its been revealed to them. How do they know the revelation isn't just a fanciful invention of a very creative mind? Well that's because they felt something emotionally when they had these thoughts/revelations and that is an indication that God spoke truth to them. Mormons discount the idea that emotions can be created and felt about a variety of thoughts and experiences and it's a product of their own souls and not the Spirit of God. Demonic influences can also create all sorts of positive emotions as can be seen in everything from psychic healing to eastern/new age mysticism. Audience psychology can also play a major part in creating a positive ambiance where by people "feel" all sorts of spiritual (emotions). A dynamic individual with a persuasive manner of speaking and personality has the power to manipulate people into all kinds of "spiritual" experiences and emotions.
    The early Church battled this in the case of the Montanist prophets. These prophets claimed direct revelations from God. What they uttered was treasured and preserved by many as being authoritative teaching. They had in their possession, it was thought, a new and fresh truth that was Spirit-given and provided for the last days. These prophets prophesied from trance like states and in so doing provided an electric experience for the faithful.
    On the positive side of things, these Montanist prophets created an interest in holiness, prophetic teachings on things such as fasting, marriage, asceticism and healing.
    Tertullian wrote: "We have now amongst us a sister whose lot it has been to be favored with gifts of revelation, which she experiences in the Spirit by ecstatic vision amidst the sacred rites of the Lord's Day in the church. She converses with angels and sometimes even with the Lord. She both sees and hears mysterious communications. Some men's hearts she discerns, and she obtains directions for healing for such as need them. Whether it be in the reading of the Scriptures or in the chanting of psalms or in the preaching of sermons or in the offering up of prayers-in all these religious services, matter and opportunity are afforded her of seeing visions…"

  4. falcon says:

    One bishop of the Church wrote about some synods that were convened to address the controversy created by the Montanists. He wrote that a church in one region was "ringing with the noise of the New Prophecy". The objection to this Montanist movement were:
    1. Abnormal ecstasy. These folks would prophesy in a frenzy and they didn't bother to engage the rational mind. This was said to be "contrary to the manner which belongs to the tradition and succession of the church from the beginning."
    2. No controls. The prophets refused to submit to respected bishops and church leaders who sought to practice discernment regarding the prophets.
    3. Worldliness. Some questioned the Montanist financial dealings.
    4. Extra-scriptural revelation. These Montanist prophets were held by some in higher esteem than the Scriptures.
    5. False prophecies. Prophecies that didn't pan-out.
    There is this tension between the rationale/intellectual and the ecstatic spiritual in any religious body. The rationale/intellectual approach favors the study of the Scriptures using solid principles of Biblical exegesis. It's a discipline. The other side of the coin, the ecstatic/spiritual tends to be more dynamic and exciting. If the two aren't wedded properly what happens is that on the one hand we have what can become stuffy, dead religion. If the ecstatic/spiritual prevails what we get is a lot of excitement, enthusiasm and energy but no manner of knowing and understanding if what is being claimed and proclaimed is indeed true.
    This latter situation describes religious movements like Mormonism. They are rife with mindless speculation and riddled with error driven by the unbridled pronouncements of individuals impressed with their own inspirations. In the case of Joseph Smith, his "spiritual" experiences were the results of his dedication to occult folk magic which produced a type of spirit-ism. Because of their ignorance and/or desire to believe Smith's "visions", Mormons were/are willing to over-look the heretical and blasphemous teachings on the most important doctrine, that of the nature of God.
    (attribution: Christian History; Issue 51)

  5. falcon says:

    It's kind of odd when you think about it, a person gets hooked into Mormonism because they are told to read the BoM and if they feel something that means that God is confirming to them that it's a true, honest to goodness, real history of a real people. Then the funny thing is that if someone reports getting a feeling when reading and praying about it, then everything else that Mormonism promotes is by extension "true". But here's the deal. Mormons hide the really "good" stuff from the convert. You know like there are many gods and that Mormon men can become gods and on and on and on. I would think that at the very least, a person would look into these things, do some research, check it out while praying.
    In the Bible Paul goes to Berean and preaches the gospel. The Bereans then study the Scriptures to see if it's true. They check it out. If I remember right, Paul doesn't tell them to pray about it and if they get a feeling it's true.
    The point I'm trying to make is that anyone who uses the Mormon Moroni method for determining truth is a sucker. They are ripe for any con man that wants to pick them.
    There are no similarities between Christianity and Mormonism; zero, zilch. There is nothing in Mormonism that is by extension in Christianity, the Bible or the traditions of the Church. Mormonism is an ever changing religion that has more in common with Free Masonry and Buddhism than it does with Christianity.
    Jesus said that when the Spirit of truth comes, He will lead you into all truth. The spirit of Mormonism is not the spirit of truth.

  6. setfreebyjc says:

    Great post. now where are our Mormons?

  7. wyomingwilly says:

    when Mr. Petersen says he feels that not all beliefs of other churches are wrong I might start to agree with
    him, after all in a technical sense that is correct. However , what does that really amount to when the beliefs
    that are important, the ones that lead to a right relationship with God and eternal life with God are indeed
    wrong according to his church.? I think what he is doing here is trying to downplay a basic tenet of Mormonism,
    namely that all other churches are false , and the important teachings of those in said churches are an
    abomination to God. We can see the extant of this denunciation of all other " christians " by reading what
    those Mormon authorities that joseph Smith mentored taught after his death. I have to take their testimony
    over Mr. Petersen's, as his is only an attempt to smooth over this controversial topic.

  8. f_melo says:

    "Mormons believe they are the only ones who will enter"

    That´s true, and that reveals that Peterson´s talk is all PR, because if everyone´s beliefs is substantially right, and God cares about one´s sincerity so much so that it is more important than to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, then there would be no need for missionary work to be done in this life. All God had to do was to start the millennium, turn the earth the way it was in the Garden of Eden so nobody would have to work, and then let the people multiply and stay all day long baptizing the millions of people who never knew the one true God.

    That whole talk also makes the restoration pointless. If a true knowledge of God wasn´t important,why did God want to disturb Christianity the way it was going? Why didn´t He just let people sincerely worship Christ according to their own understanding of Him? That´s typical of the Mormon argument, it´s almost always self-defeating.

  9. f_melo says:

    “But what about non-Christians? Do they worship false gods?

    “…what of Islam? Isn’t ‘Allah’ a false god? No. According to the Qur’an, Allah created the earth in six days, placed Adam and Eve in Eden, and then inspired prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Sound familiar?

    “…Muslims, Christians and Jews disagree about God, but that doesn’t create numerically different gods. My neighbor regards Senator Foghorn as the greatest orator since Daniel Webster; I think he’s a noxious windbag. But there is, mercifully, only one Senator Foghorn. Our different opinions don’t spawn multiple senators.”

    That´s a silly argument. He´s almost saying that all paths lead to God. If not in this life, in the next. So, my "opinion" about Daniel Peterson is this: He isn´t a human being, he is a shape shifting reptilian alien from another dimension, infiltrated into society to deceive people into believing in his Kolobian space lord codenamed Elohim. See, i´m not talkin about a different Daniel Peterson, it´s the same, that´s just my opinion – and i wonder if he would like if i treated him as such…

  10. f_melo says:

    Worse than all of that is the fact that they even have "scholars" that try to defend it as truth. They have a whole department that specializes in spinning facts to fit. That´s proof enough the Mormon Church is all about power and control.

  11. f_melo says:

    It´s clear to me that JS, BY and others were completely ignorant of the Creeds of traditional Christianity, because it seems that they criticized the most the doctrine of the Trinity and Salvation by Grace through Faith alone. Those doctrines were the ones that kept them from having full control over the membership. The doctrine of men becoming gods is more convenient since it establishes a system of priesthood hierarchy, as well as gives them the possibility of setting up rules that men must keep to attain to it, rules which conveniently are revealed through that very same hierarchy. Also the doctrine of men becoming gods automatically destroys the doctrine of Salvation by the Grace of God, because since god is a man that became god by obedience to eternal rules, then no such thing as the Biblical definition of Grace is allowed.

    I think that´s especially true when one reads David Whitmer´s testimony of why he left the LDS. He talked about how Joseph had tampered with the "revelations" of God to grant to himself a power that was not even found in Scriptures, and how the Church of the Latter-Day Saints had departed from the Scriptures for guidance, and had themselves apostatized. David Whitmer also talks about how Joseph ignored clear "revelations" from God through the stone that forbid him from doing what he was doing, such as publishing the revelations that became the Book of Commandments and later the D&C; That´s is very revealing, that Joseph while may have started with a sincere heart, or maybe he pretended to be sincere to win followers, he then, little by little with the help of Sidney Rigdon(apparently the brains of the scheme), was wilfully ignoring early revelations and changing the doctrines to shift the focus of the church from actually saving people´s souls to establishing an earthly kingdom, with Joseph himself as the king. For that to become reality, for the Crown and the Cross to become one again, all other religions had to be discarded as false, because they would undermine the new king´s authority over people´s spiritual and temporal lives.

    That means that the PC answer "all religions have some truth in them" is just a PR tactic to try to get the Christian world to lower their guard so that the Mormon Church can trap them into believing the institution is their friend – but when the opportunity comes though they will back stab the Christians(and every other religion, Israel included) to establish their kingdom and subject all those who don´t accept their authority to the punishments they decide to inflict. Wasn´t BY who said that people would only enter the Kingdom of God with JS´ approval? I believe he meant that not just in a spiritual kingdom.

  12. f_melo says:

    When their conscience starts to hurt too much, they open the Book of Mormon and bear each other testimonies…

  13. Violet says:

    Shawn McCraney's show this week on, Esau and Jacob, explains bible study . He mentioned the 'Be Attitudes.' McCraney tells how he would have taught it, 'Be moral, Be humble, etc. Bible study though is in context with the old testament, new testament, all other writings, other books. Its in context with the whole bible as a book. McCraney explains that mormons study the bom and use the bible to back it up, whereas we use the entire bible to back-up the entire bible and study it solely, So, in a way, its not really mormons' fault because they are taught to keep an open mind with the bible but really don't study it. Use it to reinforce the bom.

  14. Question,

    Are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints actually interested in Jesus Christ?

    I've got to ask it, because I had assumed they were. It seems, though, they are more interested in their program of self-improvement. Also, (and I don't know if anyone else has this problem) I have found it almost impossible to get them to talk about their faith, especially how they view Jesus Christ. It's as if they don't want to know.

    I was at lunch on Friday (Chinese Yum Cha – very yummy!) and I was sitting next to a Mormon colleague, who I had earlier invited to see my blog and my posts on MRM (the discussion we were having about Mormons singing Christmas Carols). I asked "Did you get a chance to catch up with my blog?" He answered "Yes." End of conversation.

    I'm not going to harass the fellow, but I have to say that I'd really like to talk to him further. ,His response was a kind of "Yes, nothing to see here, let's move on". Maybe I misread him, but he seemed to be in no mood to initiate a conversation. I think that's sad, and it's definitely not what Peter had in mind in 1 Peter 3:15

    Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

  15. falcon says:

    The thing that I really appreciated about the work of Dr. Walter Martin, author of "The Kingdom of the Cults", was the clear way he presented the differences between orthodox, Biblical Christianity and heretical and/or aberrant religious sects. In his book he presents a historical back ground of these groups so that the reader can learn where they came from and how they developed. He would then compare the doctrine of the sects with the basics beliefs of Christianity.
    Jim Spencer, author of "Beyond Mormonism" references Martin's work when discussing his (Jim's) flight out of Mormonism. Jim's wife was born Mormon and was not happy about Jim's digging for the truth behind Mormonism. So Jim would leave the material he was studying in various locations around the house and his wife's curiosity would get the better of her. She talks about one time reading Martin's book and throwing it across the room and then retrieving it and continuing reading.
    I can't imagine what it would be like to have given your life to a religion, having "felt" certain emotions and believing that God had spoken to you and then to be faced with the truth that what you believed and felt was a lie. Betrayal doesn't even begin to describe what someone would feel.
    But there is a solution. I think it's so sad that so many Mormons become atheists as a result of their experience in Mormonism. Learning to trust again can be achieved but it takes time; time to flush the pain, and the disappointment and the anger from one's mind. jackg, who occasionally posts here, told me that it took him five years to get all of the Mormonism out of his mind. But God is faithful and will provide the means by which someone can be made whole again in mind, body and spirit. The Word of God is a wonderful avenue of renewal. Meditating on God's Word has a healing effect. God's Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of Truth. Jesus told us when the Spirit of Truth comes, He will lead us into all truth.
    In the second verse of the first chapter of the Book of Acts, we are told that Jesus gave His disciples instructions by/through the Holy Spirit. That's an interesting concept that Jesus, who is God, communicated His truth through the Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit that communicated the mind of God through Jesus to the disciples, is available for us today.
    I don't pretend to understand this process and maybe it's more simple than I imagine, but I believe the truth of it. God's Holy Spirit is His gift to the Church. The Church is the mystical Body of Christ that carries no denominational label. It is made-up of those who are born again by the Spirit of God and have come into right relationship with Him through the blood of the cross. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice that makes us right with God through faith in Him.
    That's why it's important to get God right. To know Him for who He is and to recognize what He did for us through His Son Jesus Christ is the pathway to salvation.

  16. setfreebyJC says:

    I think so much of what a Mormon believes in just in their own mind. What I mean is, a Mormon's "faith" is their trying to believe what they've been told to believe. That could actually be the definition. It's not a trust in what they've searched out, and found reason to be sure they can believe, without being 100% certain. It's the attempt to be 100% certain that, for instance, the church is true, and God is who they've been told he is, etc.

    Because of that, at least in my experience, a religious conversation in which a Mormon is involved is about their church work, their involvement with the ward, their "spiritual" experiences…. because theses are the only CONCRETE things that a Mormon has.

    When I begin to talk about Jesus, the Bible, the evidence etc…. they just have no concrete experience with these issues, and cannot continue to tread water as I talk… so they give up almost immediately.

  17. falcon says:

    I've never thought that it's a good policy to "resource out" your thinking to an individual or an organization. And that's the problem with Mormonism. Mormons "resource out" their thinking to the Mormon church and it's leaders because the faithful Mormon believes that these people are the oracles of God. Having been raised Catholic in the 1950s, I experienced the power of the official organization and the parish priest. Catholics of my era were in lock-step and wouldn't think of really questioning the authority structure. I haven't been a practicing Catholic for well over forty years and it seems that that religious body has undergone a change of sorts.
    I was talking with my brother recently, who is a very faithful Catholic, and I was surprised at his transformed manner of thinking. I don't know if it's the result of the priest sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic church or what, but I don't think the rank and file are as inhibited in their thinking as they were in decades past.
    Mormons can't think independently. That's just a fact of life as a Mormon. Mormons are taught that if they begin to feel bad about something, they should probe no more. The bad feelings mean that the "spirit" is not in it. The Mormon church is very aware that when someone probes the history of the church and its founder Joseph Smith, some very unflattering facts will emerge.
    It's no coincidence that two-thirds of those on the rolls of the Mormon church are "inactive". The number of people handling resignations at the HQ has increased significantly in the most recent past. I don't know of any religion, other than Mormonism, that has so many websites dedicated to debunking the myth of Joseph Smith.
    The bottom line is that Mormonism can't stand-up under scrutiny by a free thinking individual. I often think of Grant Palmer who was dis-fellow shipped as a result of writing the book, "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins".
    Know the truth and the truth will set you free would be something I'd recommend to any Mormon.

  18. wyomingwilly says:

    Prof. Peterson certainly seems to be in line with the leaders of his churchs' planned effort of trying to put
    a good face on one of it's fundamental doctrines. They've seen the benefit of casting the right image to
    appeal to non- LDS. In the Journal of Mormon History, Nathaniel Kogan wriote : " The LDS church's
    careful planning and it's sophisticated application of corporate branding techniques helped to create
    a new form of proselytizing and a new image that has increased the church's visibility and helped cast
    Mormon culture as part of the American mainstream. "Prof. Peterson 's article seems to be right in line
    with this plan. ww

  19. Falcon,

    Thanks for the reply. Speaking as an "outsider" I, too, think the Catholic Church has undergone a significant culture-change, but that's a topic for a different board. I pray that the LDS Movement would undergo a similar change, but what I've got to wonder that if it does, what will it be left with?

    At least the Catholics have the Bible and a deep respect for Church Tradition (and they seem to acknowledge the failures in their own house). In other words, it seems that they can say "we've lost the plot, so let's get back to what we were supposed to be in the beginning" without de-converting from Catholicism.

    (PS I'm not trying to single out the Catholics here, because I'd like to see a similar impulse in Evangelicalism)

    Can you imagine what would happen in Mormonism if they did the same thing?

    Oh yes, FLDS, polygamy, Masonic rites and all that.

  20. Setfree,

    Your comments match up to my observations very well.

    I've prattled on about post-modernism here before. It's a fancy word for what you describe, and it goes back to this idea that "the truth is within me", rather than "the truth is out there, and it can live within me if I let it in."

    According to the Christian Gospel, Jesus does not originate "within me". He is "out there" and He asks us to invite Him in (Rev 3:20). At first, it's like having a stranger at the dinner table, because He is not like us in so many ways. More often than not, we have to unlearn what we think we know about Him, and that's an uncomfortable business.

    The Jesus of the Gospels invites us to look outside ourselves, beyond our own internal thought-world. That's why, IMO, He became flesh and lived amongst us (John 1:14) – so that I could see that He is not me, or any part of me.

    Furthermore, He did everything in public, so that we could scrutinize Him, and He calls His followers to carry their crosses publicly, too (Matt 10:38). Christ's followers are called to be publicly scrutinized (Matt 5:14-16), and they don't get the luxury of deciding who does the scrutinizing.

    All this ought to give Jesus' followers a really robust attitude towards truth and their own perceptions of it. Perhaps the greatest scandal of the current LDS movement is what you say; that they protect an nurture their own internal perceptions, believing them to be "faith", guarding them closely from anything that might challenge them, and regarding any input from "out there" to be a threat.

    Ironically, "out there" also includes the pronouncements of earlier LDS prophets, which might explain why LDS people are so reluctant to engage them seriously.

    Anyway, that would explain why it's so hard to get these guys into a conversation.

  21. f_melo wrote

    So, my "opinion" about Daniel Peterson is this: He isn´t a human being, he is a shape shifting reptilian alien from another dimension, infiltrated into society to deceive people into believing in his Kolobian space lord codenamed Elohim.

    That made me laugh…maybe Doctor Who will come to the rescue (cue Theramin theme tune…Ooooo-eeeee-ooooo….)

  22. wyomingwilly says:

    Prof. Peterson asked a question about those who are sincere but mistaken in their devotion to God. Far
    from meaning nothing to God, it breaks His heart to see such people misled. God has done so much to
    reveal His truth, and I believe He's active even now in trying to get peoples attention. We notice how He has
    warned of those who come claiming that they are endorsed by Him, that they have His approval, yet they
    proceed to offer whats in their own mind, not the mind of God — Jer.23:21 . God does not look favorably
    on such spiritual leaders who direct people to homage other gods , or mislead them into embracing false
    concepts about the One True God — Rom.1:21-22. Where do Mormon prophets enter the picture ?

  23. falcon says:

    I think part of Peterson's thought process has to do with the Mormon practice/tradition of teasing out "knowledge and light" where ever they may exist. It started with Smith and his heavy borrowing of ideas from various sources. That would include the basics of the BoM, the ideas of which were in the environment at the time he lived (not to mention at least one book that contained those thoughts). Free Masonry provided the temple rituals, there was at least one free love type sect operating during this time, and the ideas regarding the Celestial kingdom were lifted from Swenborgenism. Smith would just co-op these things and call it revelation. Now add to this the occult folk magic and divination that Smith practiced and you get a real hodge podge of bizarre and aberrant thought.
    Thus we have the Mormons stating that this group or that group have part of the revelation but not the revelation in its entirety. It's a great way to throw a bone to other groups and promoting the idea that Mormonism has the whole package.
    Mormonism can't stand up to the light of day. Turning over a few rocks reveals some pretty nasty mold underneath.

  24. wyomingwilly says:

    Prof. Peterson says that Allah is not a false God. Would that then make Him a true God ? Perhaps an un-false
    God ? He is the true God going by another name to another people ? Whoever He is it's plain to see that He
    has a messenger, a make His will known to man . So how does Peterson feel about this prophet ?
    Is he a false prophet, or just an un-true one. ? The fact that the Quran says some correct things about God
    is great. What did Allah tell His prophet to relay to mankind about Jesus raising from the dead ? The Apostle
    Paul said that if Christ did'nt rise then our faith is worthless. Does Allah thru His word agree ? I think Peterson
    should take note of what an Mormon Apostle has said ; ' Without true prophets there is no salvation; false
    prophets lead people astray; men choose, at the peril of their salvation, the prophets whom they follow. "
    I think this is something to ponder when Prof Peterson starts talking about the Quran and other religions.

  25. clyde says:

    !These are Mr. Peterson opinions and ideas and I agree with most of them. We worship the same God, but our understanding of him is different. You can jump on that statement all you want I felt you guys need something because someone said where are the mormons. I was looking at falcons’ list of basic christian doctrine. Here are some comments.
    1The Bible is the Word of God. Yes it is I know there is a qualifying statement but it is the word of God and deserve study.
    2. The Trinity; One God, three persons. It has been a long time since the secular government forced the church to clarify church doctrine.
    3. The deity of Christ. He is God. Yes but there are some differences. These are my own ideas. Christ is so close to God that He identifies with Him. You might as well say he is God.
    4. The virgin birth of Christ. Yes Mary was a virgin. How she was impregnated is left anyones imagination.
    5Christ died for us. The blood atonement. Yes, He did.
    6. Jesus' resurrection. Yes, he was.
    7. Saved by grace, a part from works. Yes we are but we do not sit around like a bump on the log.
    8. Jesus second coming. Yes He will come again. When? only the Father Know.
    The judgment of God. Yes all of us will be judged. Some will get off easier than others but He will judge us.
    I agree with 8 out of 9 DOCTRINAL POINTS. There is truth in what you teach.

  26. wyomingwilly says:

    Clyde, thanks for sharing your personal opinion on these important doctrines. I think however that in
    order to ascertain whether the Mormon church is true or not we need to consider the authoritative claim
    made by it, namely that the prophet is the authority that not only clarifies the scriptures but who also
    interprets the scriptures. So this means we have to go higher on the " authority " ladder than you or
    Mr. Peterson. What do we see from the teachings of Mormon prophets/apostles concerning these
    fundamental doctrines ? These authorities claim to reveal , " the mind and will " of God, and they've
    gotten way more descriptive in proclaiming most of these 9 doctrines than what you have presented.
    What they have publically taught is not sound doctrine [ 2 Tim 2:15 ] ; therefore : 2Pt.2:1

  27. f_melo says:

    I agree with you 100%. Also they are prevented from going too deep in their understanding of doctrine. I´ve heard countless times stories of people who asked difficult questions to General Authorities who in reply said that they would only understand those difficult issues if they first understood the most basic issues. They would then tell them to stop thinking about that and to start studying basic gospel principles again and again until they finally could move on. Obviously that´s a thought-stopper.

  28. f_melo says:

    Martin, i don´t know if you have attended LDS meetings and if you did how often. General Conference usually reflects what goes on in the wards every sunday. There´s very little talk about Jesus, Jesus´ work is done, now it´s up to us to measure up and take advantage of His efforts as our chosen Messiah. The talks given during Sacrament Meeting are many times modeled after General Conference speeches, and the template goes something like this: 1)Explain the basics of the subject. 2)Have some quotations from Church leaders. 3)throw a scripture here and there to illustrate a principle. 4)Talk about your personal experiences as you´ve applied those principles in your life(if you have, if not just re-tell some General Conference story). So, the focus isn´t on Jesus and His Atonement, the focus is on how you´re applying the Church´s principles in your day-to-day life as you walk towards Exaltation. Jesus is just the bridge that enables you to overcome physical and spiritual death – and that´s how far their interest in Jesus will go.

    As to having a hard time getting a mormon to talk about religion, one of the reasons for that is the fact that belief in Mormonism is sometimes something very personal, intimate. You receive a testimony through a subjective spiritual feeling that many times comes as an answer to personal struggles, things that are only between you and God and no one else. To share why you believe you´d have to reveal some of your most vulnerable aspects and weaknesses, and i doubt anyone likes doing that with strangers. It´s also hard to deny that those things came from God since they seem to be direct answer to prayer… so no luck in expecting that person to question the provenience of that experience.

  29. f_melo says:

    You just described what my experience has been so far! Amen to that!

  30. f_melo says:

    Yes, because they believe that the ends justify the means, just as the Nephi decapitating Laban story exemplified.

  31. f_melo says:

    huauhauhauh, that´d be awesome!

    We could write a series to rival Battlestar Galactica. They have Kobol, so we would have to re-scramble the word Kolob into something else… we could use Bokol, or Lokob… :P, that´s going in my pile of long-term goals with mormon related subjects.

  32. f_melo says:

    "Prof. Peterson asked a question about those who are sincere but mistaken in their devotion to God."

    WW, here Peterson is playing to one of Mormonism´s "strengths". He´s bringing to focus the "wonderful" and "fair" mormon teaching that says that the people who are essentially good in heart/deeds but were either misguided or never had the chance to learn the "Gospel" will have another chance in either the spiritual world or during the Millennium. He´s inducing people to see the issue the way the Church wants people to see it, and when people do they´ll have the answer ready for those who have been seduced to believe that man is inherently good(the denial of the doctrine of original sin) and will be questioning God´s fairness in religions that deny that. Then Mormons will proudly say that they are true because they are the only ones who teach that people have a second chance. That´s a fine example of the Hegelian Dialectic.

  33. f_melo,

    Thanks for your response.

    I have only ever been to one LDS meeting – my boss (at the time) was baptizing his daughter. He mentioned it at work, so I turned up, to his surprise.

    Even so, I can readily identify with your observations about a personal, intimate religion. In my earlier years I was involved in the pentecostal/charismatic scene, and we had a very similar mind-set. I felt very vulnerable and defensive about my faith. The thought of talking to people who had a knowledge of the history of my religion terrified me. It still does, but I have found that the Christian Gospel has a sound historic foundation, and I don't worry as much as I did when the waves crash against it.

    The preaching also followed the pattern that you describe, though with a greater emphasis on Christ. My lasting impression was that the general focus was on what I was doing, and the fact that we didn't have revival meant that I wasn't quite doing it right. It wasn't always bad – occassionally we'd get a sermon about the life and work of Jesus, and I'd say in my heart "thank heavens!" I now go to a church where the Bible is taught, and it's "outward-looking-Jesus-focussed" in doctrine and practice (though we've still got a long way to go).

    I now believe that this "inward-looking-self-focussed" mentality is a product of Our Time. It contends with the Christian Gospel for reasons that I posted earlier. It's not uniquely Mormon, but modern Mormons appear to have picked it up and run a mile with it. I don't have a magic bullet solution, but I believe the situation is beautifully presented in Revelation 3:20

    Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.


    Jesus is "out there", and He can be found if we are willing to venture out of our own selves. Open the doors and windows, and let the fresh air blow in!

  34. Enki says:

    That is a great question, where are the mormons. I don't think they are really interested in dialog or debate. They are interested in telling other people what the the LDS belief is, however. I am a former member, as are probably many people in this blog. I will say that my life IMPROVED after disassociating with the faith. That was completely the opposite as to what LDS members are taught will happen. I feel better, have better self esteem, and have done better in school the second time around without it. The last semester I scored a 99.6% for the class overall, the highest score that the instructor had for the class ever! I was so humbly surprised actually, in case you are wondering if I am feeling arrogant or something. I'm not. So I just wanted to add that.

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