Exchanging Mystery for Mystery

People who leave traditional Christianity for Mormonism often think that in doing so they are having big mysteries solved and gaps filled. In reality, they are exchanging one set of mystery and certainty for another set of mystery and certainty. The question is whether a given set of mystery and certainty is acceptable.

Mormonism says we can’t know if God sinned, but it does tell us the way to tithe.

It says we can’t know if God the Father submits in worship to another Heavenly Father, but we can know the correct mode of baptism.

It says we can’t know if God the Father is still learning, but we can know what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 15:29 about baptism for the dead.

It says we can’t know if God the Father invented eternal law or submitted to an external eternal law, but we can know if nuclear family units can persist in the afterlife.

It says we can’t know if God the Father knows the definite future, but we can know what happens to the unreached.

One’s value system and commitment to the Bible (or lack thereof) helps shape whether one thing or the other is acceptable mystery. Followers of Jesus and his word, the Bible, want to major on the majors, and minor on the minors. We celebrate both certainty and mystery. We do not want to be so arrogant as to turn God’s revealed clarity into mystery, or mystery into certainty. In other words, it is our duty as Jesus-followers to submit to both God’s revelation and God’s lack of revelation.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Exchanging Mystery for Mystery

  1. falcon says:

    Well let's try this out for a mystery. Can a person come to Christ in faith without getting a burning in the bosom? In-other-words, can I have a certainty in my eternal destiny without having an emotional and physical reaction which Mormons teach is necessary in proving the truth of Mormonism.
    I didn't feel any sort of bosom burning when I came to Christ in faith. I felt a total surrender and relief in finally pulling the trigger, after much searching, My certainty and what I know comes as a result of what God's Word says about my hopeless condition in sin and His plan for offering me eternal life. The Word says, in the writing of the Apostle John, "I write these things that you may know you have eternal life….." No mystery there. It's not a mystery because I know it. I know it in a different way than Mormons claim "to know". Mormons claim confidence in knowing because of their physical/emotional reaction. There's nothing in God's Word to support their technique of knowing either in style, substance or experience.
    I'm not much for mystery solving of spiritual matters based on my feelings or physical reaction (to those feelings). Mormons have taken a metaphor (bosom burning) and turned it into a test for the truth and a methodology for solving mysteries.

  2. Tommeltj says:

    Here's a few more that came to mind. I could probably come up with a dozen more if I spent more than 10 minutes thinking about it. I'm currently in an ongoing discussion with some missionaries and a mission president about some of these issues.
    -We can’t know what you did in premortal existence to deserve your current state or likely decisions, but at least we don’t have to argue about predestination/Calvinism and free-will/Arminianism.
    -We can’t know what archeological discoveries will eventually prove the truth of the Book of Mormon (though we know they’re there), but we can know that many plain and precious things were removed from the Bible (though we’re not sure where or how).
    -We can’t know exactly how Joseph Smith translated the Book or Mormon or other scriptures, but we can know that the Bible was corrupted by conniving priests and careless scribes.
    -We can’t know for sure what connection there is between Freemasonry and Mormonism, but we know that early Christianity was corrupted by Platonic philosophy.
    -We can’t know what current teachings and doctrines will be reversed or just ignored by future General Authorities, but we know that Joseph Smith restored the Gospel to its pristine state.
    -We can't exactly say what constitutes a valid testimony (burnings? still small voice? intellectual conviction?) but know that those described by other religions (whether Evangelicalism or Islam or something else) are unfortunate incidents of self-delusion.
    The complete lack of actual engagement with doctrine at official levels frustrates me no end. I, too, have searched for a LDS systematic theology without success. I think a prophet needs a revelation or 50 to clear this all up.

  3. falcon says:

    So then there's the matter of God. As pointed out above, the Mormon God is handcuffed by laws of the universe which he and all of the other gods must submit themselves to. So are these laws or principles of the universe really god? I don't know what Mormons think about that because I don't think they really think things through.
    I remember learning about God in parochial school. The awesome God I learned about bears no resemblance to the Mormon pantheon of gods and goddesses. God clearly reveals Himself in His Word. We don't know, nor will we ever know everything about God. We can grasp some of His attributes which reveals to us the fact that He is loving, merciful, kind, benevolent and all powerful, all knowing and ever present, not limited by time or space. We also see in God's Word reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Now there's a mystery! The early Christians understood that there is One God. For about four hundred years they struggled to find the language, the theological terms to express what they knew to be true.
    When I contemplate what the early Christians went through to find a way of expressing in precise terms who God is, I stand in awe and wonderment. Mormons think they have a really hot piece of information when they say that the word trinity is not in the Bible. Frankly I don't get the problem with that. It's a way of expressing the nature of God, that's all. It's a word that encapsulates a complexity of thought.
    That's what's so neat about who God is. We ultimately can't define Him. He defines Himself. We can only struggle in a very inadequate way, to express who He is. And here's the real mystery. We can know Him in a personal way, with our limited intellect. Jesus said that God would live in us. That's a real mystery. How does it work? But the beauty of it is that I don't have to fully comprehend any of it in order to receive the gift of eternal life that God offers.

  4. The_Hammer says:

    The Mormons Cant know if the prophets ever told the truth.

    The Mormons cant know what prophet is correct, since they all disagree with each other

    The Mormons cant answer our honest questions

    The Mormons cant know if they are saved

    Hows that for a sad belief system.

  5. bob says:

    You raise some good points here. One thing to contemplate is the stars on a clear night . When we see how large the universe is we shouild realize how insignificant we are. Mormons see God as an exalted man, christian see him as a spirit, part of a trinity and a person who sacrificed himself for us. The truth may be that neither one is exactly right. The big thing is what Jesus did. We are dealing with a concept that is hard to define.
    It is like dealing with large numbers. We can bring them down to simpler terms but still not comprehend the reality.

  6. Sam says:

    One thing that is nuts is loosing one's salvation. In the Mormon Church, there is never any surety about one's salvation (or "exaltation.") In Christianity, we know there is. It is literally selling one's soul to the devil.

  7. Violet says:

    Tommeltj. Welcome. We can't know. . . My mormon neighbor witnessed to me for a very long time. One of her riveting facts why the church was true was because of her own mother was searching for answers. Her mother was raised Catholic and had questions. Her priest said something about there are mysteries we do not know. My friend's mother was introduced to Mormonism by two sister missionaries. They gave her all the answers she was looking for and everything made sense. And this is why her mother joined mormonism and if I wanted the answers, she was there to give them to me. Funny thing though. As we were best friends, I never asked, but slowly, like planting seeds, I was told about everything, pre-existence, spirit children, marriage, SLC temple, there are no paid clergy, tithing, 3-hour Sunday services, Sabbath, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Even that one of our Founding Fathers (forget which one) wanted wives to be educated, not to work outside the home, but to educate their children inside the home. And being relatively paycheck to paycheck, told me BYU was free. (Meaning my children could get an education f.r.e.e.) Her child asked her one day, 'What happens when we die?' And she replied, in my kitchen, 'We don't know. We will have to wait and see."

  8. Sam said

    It is literally selling one's soul to the devil.

    We cannot sell our soul to the devil. If we do not live for Christ and are His, then we belong to the Devil. Jesus said about some, Your father the devil, and you do his works. We either belong to Christ, or we belong to the devil.

  9. clyde says:

    Does the parable of the forgiven servant-Matthew 18:23-25 deal with surety of ones salvation? Once saved always saved is a big mystery to me.

  10. Violet says:

    When my friend's child died, she said, 'I hope I am worthy.' The thought being she might be separated from her loved one in eternity. Its like holding the carrot in front of the horse. I thought it was not possible for her to become a more faithful mormon, but she is now super-bionic, but without as much joy.

Leave a Reply