Clarifying Mormonism

On Monday (27 June 2011) Deseret News online published an article that began,

“Misconceptions about Mormons were cleared up accurately, but not by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Sounding rather surprised that non-Mormons could get it right, Joey Ferguson’s article “CNN accurately explains beliefs and misconceptions of LDS Church” reports on two recent CNN videos that clarify Mormon beliefs and practice.

The first one, “Explain it to me: Mormonism” by CNN religion editor Dan Gilgoff, briefly (in 4 minutes and 40 seconds) covers things like: The name of the LDS Church; the founding of the Church; abandoned polygamy; missionary work; the Church’s ethnic diversity; and “Beliefs.” The section titled “Beliefs” takes 55 seconds to discuss the corporeal nature of God, eternal families, continuing revelation, the Word of Wisdom, sacred under garments, and member modesty. The LDS Church is so pleased with this CNN video that its Newsroom links to it in an article that praises the video’s accuracy.

The second CNN video included in the Deseret News article (embedded below), in my opinion, did a better job of explaining Mormonism. The objective of the Faces of Faith video interview with Anthea Butler, associate professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania, was to compare Mormonism with other religious faiths—namely, Christianity. The video began with Dr. Butler explaining,

“Some [people on the street] would tell you that they don’t believe Mormons are Christians. But I think they fit within the rubric of what is Christianity, albeit that they have some very different beliefs.”

Yet, by the end of this nearly 5-minute video Dr. Butler had drawn a specific and definite distinction between Mormonism and “Christianity” no fewer than 6 different times.

When asked about the relationship between the Book of Mormon and the Bible, Dr. Butler said, “For Christians, the Bible is it…But the Mormons consider this [the Book of Mormon] to be Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” In explaining how important the Book of Mormon is to Mormons, Dr. Butler said that it is “used just as much as a tool in Mormonism as Christians would think about the Bible.”

Dr. Butler was asked how Mormons view Jesus Christ. She answered that in Mormonism “Jesus is the Son of God. Okay, He’s not exactly the way the Christians think about this as God Himself. Although in Mormonism you can become a God, but that’s another piece of the theology.” She went on to explain the Father and Son in Mormonism: “You need to think of these as two different entities and God and Jesus both have physical form.”

Perhaps Dr. Butler realized that her remarks thus far had not supported her opening assertion that Mormonism fit within the rubric of Christianity; in fact her language had served to completely polarize Mormonism and Christianity. In her next statement she qualified her phrasing when she said the Mormon doctrines regarding the Father and the Son constitute “a very important distinction between Mormonism and what I would consider to be mainstream Christianity.”

The host of the program, T.J. Holmes, made a clumsy effort to incorporate the qualified term “mainstream Christianity,” but it didn’t stick. He asked Dr. Butler to list some key differences “between Christianity — uh, as most people would see it as mainstream Christianity — and the beliefs of Mormons.”

Dr. Butler said, “Well, first, Mormons believe in a pre-existent life.” She went on to explain a bit about this pre-existence, about earth life, and about the three degrees of glory that comprise eternity in Mormonism. Then the contrast: “In Christianity, you don’t talk about a pre-existence, you’re born, you work things out, if you’re an Evangelical Christian you believe you can be saved, or not, and then you have a choice of going to heaven or hell.”

Another “key difference” Dr. Butler talked about was “the books you revere.” She listed the three unique books of LDS scripture and said, “There’s a whole ‘nother canon for Mormons that is different than Christianity.”

I found it significant that throughout the entire interview, with one exception noted above (i.e., mistakenly calling out salvation as an Evangelical belief), all of Christianity was consistently identified as one faith, a faith distinct from Mormonism. Try as they might to portray Mormonism as a Christian faith, it just didn’t work. Indeed, it can’t work because Mormonism does not fit within the rubric of what is Christianity.

Dr. Butler’s comment about the Mormon godhead would apply equally well to the relationship between Mormonism and Christianity, because, in reality, “You need to think of these as two different entities.” For such they are.

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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108 Responses to Clarifying Mormonism

  1. falcon says:

    Jesus is the end of the revelation.
    Jesus completes the covenants made by God initially with Abraham.
    There is no lost gospel or need for additional information regarding who the Son of God is and what He did to secure salvation for those who would turn to Him in faith.
    After His resurrection, Jesus said in Luke 24: 44 “……These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Jesus completed the promise God had previously made. He is the fulfillment of the prophesies made regarding the Messiah.
    In Luke 24:45 it says, “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” That’s the problem with Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses and any of the other sects that claim new revelation and additional “light”. There is none!
    Here’s the Gospel as explained by Jesus in Luke 24:46-47. “and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
    The claim of additional revelation is a product of a lack of understanding of who Jesus is, what He accomplished on the cross, and what the end result of faith in Him is for those who come to Him in faith.

  2. My access to the blog is being denied on my laptop and my iMac, and I’m on my phone now, which isn’t good for long posts, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to finish my previous comment or respond to more recent ones.

  3. Briefly, for all those who believe my statement that the Bible does not contain all the doctrines Latter-day Saints believe were later revealed, the criticism is equally applicable to all Christians. The Trinity, as well as creation ex nihilo, an anti-anthropomorphic deity, and numerous other defining aspects of mainstream Christianity are utterly foreign to the Bible and were developed well afterwards. People have found ways to read their doctrines into biblical texts so they have proof texts, but those readings are demonstrably alien to the original contexts of the composition of those texts.

  4. 4fivesolas says:

    The Holy Trinity is an understanding of God’s nature derived from Christian Scripture. I am convinced of this truth. This is a false accusation you are making.
    On the other hand, as Aaron noted (and to which you essentially agreed), all of the “restored” doctrine does not have any historical artifact attesting to Joseph Smith’s restoration. And absolutely no grounding in Scripture whatsoever (as you acknowledge). The only place these doctrines are found is beginning in early 1800s North America. Isn’t that odd….or rather, isn’t that revealing? Mormonism is not a restoration, but rather the creation of a false prophet.

  5. Rick B says:

    So Daniel,
    will you simply ignore everything we wrote? or will you adress it?
    Every mormon, even Helen admits the reformed Egyptian does not exist. They can dismiss it by saying evidnece has not yet been found, but zero evidence is still zero evidence and rather damning to your cause.

    Or what about God the father saying, their are no other Gods, did he Lie? What About God saying, to Moses, tell them, I AM sent you. Yet Jesus claimed to be that same I AM. The Jews wanted to stone Him for saying He was God. You seem to rather choose to belive lies and lack of evidenec and yet we are not talking about getting a job here, we are talking about having eternal life verses eternal damnation for ever if you choose to reject the truth in favor of lies.

  6. grindael says:

    Daniel said: The Trinity is “demonstrably alien”. Hmmm. Care to back that up? _johnny

  7. grindael says:

    Daniel did say that he needed some time to get some computer issues worked out, Rick. I for one would hate to dialog with only a phone. Give him some time.

    I would be really interested in having a discussion on how he thinks the Trinity is ‘demonstrably alien’ to the New Testament. At best, he can only come up with a stalemate, depending on how one interprets certain passages. But Mr. McClellan, I’m sure, already knows this. I am just curious as to how he arrives at the ‘demonstrably alien’ notion of his. How would one explain the first few chapters of John? Even Jewish scholars are divided over ex-nihilo. To say that “The Trinity, as well as creation ex nihilo, an anti-anthropomorphic deity, and numerous other defining aspects of mainstream Christianity are utterly foreign to the Bible and were developed well afterwards” is calling into question a lot of pretty intelligent scholars.

    So Daniel, are you really all that? You definitely can prove all this to the satisfaction of the world? You sure make statements like you can. Shall I call the news media and get some people on this? You have all the answers that show Christians as wrong for the last 2000 years? This must be good. I can’t wait. _johnny

  8. Rick B says:

    I understand the phone/computer issue. I am just reminding him, since I see it all the time and even saw it with him on this topic. He avoids what he wants and then acts like he answered us and we are clueless.

  9. liv4jc says:

    Daniel, as for your complaint that James R. White has not responded to your posts I think Dr. White has made it pretty clear that he hardly had time to respond to you in the first place. Dr. White has a lot of irons in the fire and has become much busier since he began his ministry to Mormons a couple of decades ago.

    As is typical, you as an LDS apologist close your eys and plug your ears and yell, “LALALALALALALA” as the Christians expend thousands of characters giving statements from the early church fathers specifically identifying the Trinity hundreds of years before Nicea. You do the same with official statements from LDS General Authorities contradicting your statement that Mormons and Christians have a different Jesus. You ignore the verses in the BoM pointed out by Rick B that prove that Joseph Smith had a misunderstanding of the Trinity and instead wrote Modalist statements that Jesus is the Eternal Father. The ECF (especially the Apostle John in John 1) went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that it was understood that Jesus is God, but not God the Father, being one in essence, but not person. The Holy Ghost is also God, but not the Father or the Son, although God is one.

    I thank God, however, that your ignorance and your deadness in sin is on full display for every lurker and seeker to see. Words have meaning, and only

    To quote my good friend Andy Watson, “Repent.

  10. liv4jc says:

    ….stupid character limits….as I was saying: Words have meaning, and only someone who is so entrenched in their traditions and beliefs (Christian and non-Christian alike) will refuse to believe words that are right in front of their face. The foundations of the doctrine of the Trinity are clear in the Bible and the writings of the ECFs, and they were defined in the later creeds to refute heresy. Your claim that the Trinity was not spoken of until Nicea holds no water.

    I do however like your admission that you are relying on revelation for your doctrinal beliefs and not any sacred writings. Take a good look at Daniel, LDS lurkers. He is proof that if you continue in the LDS faith your god and the standards of your salvation are subject to change with every issue of Ensign, every General Conference, and with the death and replacement of every one of your apostles and prophets. They claim to speak for God. Are these the men you want to place the fate of the eternal state of your soul in? Even the scholarly Daniel cannot keep up with their contradictory statements throughout the life of your church, although the Christians here can easily point them out. To rely upon them instead of the unchanging Word of God is to set aside reason.

    Repent. Now.

  11. falcon says:

    I think you better spend a little more time reading Church history and the principles of Biblical interpretation and a little less time with Hebrew.
    The doctrines of the Church were in response to the heretics. In an odd sort of way the heretics did the Church a great service. The Church stepped-up to the challenge of defining the basic doctrines in response to the heretics and in so doing had to create theological language to clarify what the Bible already taught. You’ve got it backwards of course.
    If we want to play the Mormon game, we can say that these doctrines of the Church were part of continuous revelation.
    But I stick with my proposition that it’s a pretty useless exercise debating heretics and cult members because the spirit that guides them blinds their spiritual eyes to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No one can get to the Father without the Holy Spirit’s leading. You’ve decided to reject God and His Christ for a God and Christ of your own making. In so doing you’re not responding to the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6 does a good job of outlining spiritual warfare and how we Christians are to arm ourselves for the battle we face in the heavenlies.

  12. falcon says:

    I think if anyone wants to see the fruits of continuous revelation in Mormonism, pick up a copy of Jon Krakauer’s book “Under The Banner of Heaven”. One of my favorite parts in the book is when the author writes:
    “But perhaps the greatest attraction of Mormonism was the promise that each follower would be granted an extraordinarily intimate relationship with God. Joseph taught and encouraged his adherents to receive personal communiques straight from the Lord. Divine revelation formed the bedrock of the religion.”
    Now the problem that this caused was that if anyone can receive these on going revelations from the Lord, who’s to say that Joseph’s were any better than anyone else’s”. The book is chock full of accounts of latter day prophets that are hearing from the Lord. Mormons holding to a belief in continuous revelation are stuck with the nuts and crack pots that call Mormonism their home.

  13. falcon says:

    Here’s another point that shouldn’t be missed. When the Bible translators work to put the sacred text into the hands of people, the translator must not only be an expert in the languages but also in the culture (of the people). The translator is charged with finding the idioms, vocabulary or language structure that will best communicate what the original text is saying.
    Those who seek to deconstruct Christianity and its doctrine don’t understand this. It’s the same with the Church Fathers battling the heretics. They had to find words to express themselves, reflecting what the Scriptures were saying.
    Take the word “homoousios”. It means “of the same substance as”. When applied to the “Logos” it proclaimed that the Logos was divine in the same way as God the Father was divine-not in an inferior, different, or nominal sense. If the Logos was homoousios with the Father, he was truly God alongside the Father. The word gives the Son equality with the Father. The word doesn’t appear any where in the Scriptures but is a means of attempting to communicate the relationship between the Father and the Son.
    Let me point out one final thing. Mormonism has no systematic theology to guide it that’s why it’s a hodge podge of whatever thought crosses the mind of a claimed prophet .
    The Church Fathers were bright guys with superior intellect, however they saw themselves being guided by the Holy Spirit in realizing the truth of the gospel.
    (attribution: Christian History; Issue 85).

  14. falcon says:

    Every once in a while we’ll get these Mormons like Daniel show up here with a creative interpretation of Hebrew that appears to give credence to the Mormon notion of who God is. I always like to ask them if what they are proposing is what Jews at the time of Jesus believed about the nature of God and if these Mormon apologists can find some orthodox Jews living today who believe the Mormon notion of the nature of God.
    Given what Daniel and other Mormons are trying to tell us, we’d have to believe that modern day orthodox Jews believe that there are many gods and that they, the Jews, plan on becoming gods and procreating spirit children into eternity as they rule their own planetary systems with their goddess wives-plural no less.
    I don’t know why this modern day Jews don’t have temples like the Jews of old had where they performed rituals borrowed from the Free Masons who lived in Egypt-I guess.
    Remember, at the end of the day, Daniel and his fellow Mormons have rejected the notion of a monotheistic God.

  15. falcon says:

    I have a book here that I picked-up a couple of years ago titled, “Early Christian Doctrines” by J. N. D. Kelly. The description of the book reads:
    “This revised edition of the standard history of the first great period in Christian thought has been thoroughly updated in the light of the latest historical findings. Dr. Kelly organizes an ocean of material by outlining the development of each doctrine in its historical context. He lucidly summarizes the genesis of Christian thought from the close of the apostolic age to the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century-a time teeming with fresh and competing ideas. The doctrines of the Trinity, the authority of the Bible and tradition, the nature of Christ, salvation, original sin and grace, and the sacraments are all extensively treated in these pages.”
    I wouldn’t recommend this book for light reading, it’s 499 pages, but it is an excellent resource book for anyone wishing to explore the history and the thought processes of those who articulated the basic doctrines of the Church in the first five centuries. It really does make Mormon thought look like amateur night at karaoke down at the local pub.

  16. falcon says:

    What the Scriptures say isn’t all that important in Mormonism because revelation by men claimed as (Mormon) prophets is seen as more reliable and trust worthy in determining the truth about God. There is no basic set of criteria or standards within Mormonism when it comes to issues of doctrine and practice. Revelation does not need to be consistent. In fact Mormons seem to enjoy an ever changing point-of-view of their god.
    What the Mormon prophet says at any given time trumps any Scripture and in fact trumps what any prophet previously revealed.
    The Bible is quite clear that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is also clear about what the criteria is in order for someone to be considered a prophet.
    There’s a fallacy about the “restored” gospel in that the Mormon gospel is an ever changing inconsistent mish mash of strange ideas and bizarre doctrine. But to a true believer it doesn’t matter!

  17. helenlouissmith says:

    Falcon seemingly sagacious revelation, “But perhaps the greatest attraction of Mormonism was the promise that each follower would be granted an extraordinarily intimate relationship with God. Joseph taught and encouraged his adherents to receive personal communiques straight from the Lord. Divine revelation formed the bedrock of the religion.”
    Now the problem that this caused was that if anyone can receive these on going revelations from the Lord, who’s to say that Joseph’s were any better than anyone else’s”

    What Falcon does not accept is the further teaching of our doctrine which shows the relationship between personal revelation and prophetic revelation. His statement rings true in regards to the muddled and confusing many voices of the mass if, and I highlight (“if”) his statement had any merit.

    Elder Oakes writes:
    Search your own experience. You have already received revelations, and you can receive more revelations because communication from God to men and women is a reality. President Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901) declared that it is “the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint … to have the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives.”
    In the Book of Mormon, inside the book of Alma 32:23 we are told: “And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.


  18. helenlouissmith says:

    Revelation is communication from God to His children. This guidance comes through various channels according to the needs and circumstances of individuals, families, and the Church as a whole. When the Lord reveals His will to the Church, He speaks through His prophet. Prophets are the only people who can receive revelation for the Church, but they are not the only people who can receive revelation. According to our faithfulness, we can receive revelation to help us with our specific personal needs, responsibilities, and questions and to help us strengthen our testimony.

    Before one assumes, one should first understand the principles and doctrine they unwittingly misrepresent.


  19. grindael says:

    There’s a fallacy about the “restored” gospel in that the Mormon gospel is an ever changing inconsistent mish mash of strange ideas and bizarre doctrine. But to a true believer it doesn’t matter!

    Couldn’t be more true, and the link to ‘revelation’ at does nothing to refute this statement, and the very meaningless statement: “Before one assumes, one should first understand the principles and doctrine they unwittingly misrepresent.”

    Falcon is VERY aware of what Mormon ‘doctrine’ is, and understands it perfectly well. Obviously Helen/Louis forgot all about Adam-god, blood atonement, their racist priesthood doctrine, Smith’s Modalistic period, polygamy, and a host of other false teachings, that are too numerous to even try to cover in this limited forum. As for ‘personal’ revelation, that is why Jesus came, and God no longer speaks through prophets as our LEADERS. We don’t need them, since we all have direct access to Jesus Christ. But this point will never be understood by some, who place themselves willingly under the yoke of bondage and regulations, and are perfectly happy with their other gospel that these men have pawned off on the unwitting and those that are too entrenched to see or want to see the truth. _johnny

  20. helenlouissmith says:

    I assume that throwing in other criticisms helps your case in proving me wrong about personal revelation versus Prophetic revelation. A very nice way of obscuring the thread and changing direction for what might seem personal lack of focus.


  21. Kate says:

    How right you are! You see all those “other” doctrines that you listed, don’t count anymore, why? It’s called “continuing revelation” by LDS prophets. I’m wondering where the revelations are. Where? There hasn’t been anything written in the D&C since 1978! How long was it before that? Did god quit revealing to the LDS prophets? Other Mormon sects are still putting revelations into their D&C , does that mean they are the real prophets of god? He seems to be speaking to them, but is curiously silent with the LDS. Revelations are to be given out to the masses at general conference twice a year. Forgive me, but “don’t watch pornography” and “discriminate against anyone who is gay” is not revelation. I think that if I were to become some type of Mormon again, I would have to become FLDS, they follow the real teachings of Joseph Smith and their prophets have continuing revelation!

  22. Kate, I actually told that to my husband a long time ago. That from what I’d witnessed and researched, the FLDS seem to be more in tune to what JS originally taught. I wasn’t about to join in any cult, but I wanted to make him realize that his church had forsaken its original teachings. And I’ve often thought about the “prophet’s” lack of prophecy lately too. Seems like the same ol’ same ol’ is being discussed at every General Conference, yet somehow all the Mormons are super inspired. Actually, most of them were all buzzing about Elder Oakes this last time around instead of the prophet. Seems strange God hasn’t given them ANY new revelation for the whole church, yet all the other sects seem to keep hearing from him?? Or maybe He did give them new revelation, it just came towards the middle when everyone was already zonked out on their couches and pews. 😉

  23. jackg says:

    To tell the church membership that they are all entitled to receive personal revelation is rather disingenuous. I say this because one’s revelation must line up with official church doctrine. So, basically, it’s not personal revelation more than it is aligning one’s thinking with that of church leadership. If a church member were to go to his bishop and say that he received personal revelation that the LDS Church was a false church, and that he was going to leave the church, he would be told that he is not really hearing from God. This is why I say this whole premise of personal revelation is disingenuous in the LDS Church. They want you to think you’re having personal revelation when you’re merely living out LDS doctrine shaped by the false teachings of false prophets.


  24. It looks like I suddenly have access again to this blog. It will take some time for me to respond to each post that has been addressed to me since my access was blocked, but I would like to offer a few clarifications that should take care of several concerns.

    First, none of my arguments concerning other gods in the Bible or the development of the Trinity has anything whatsoever to do with revelation or LDS ideology. Aaron challenged me concerning particular Latter-day Saint beliefs, which is entirely separate from our discussion regarding what the Bible says about other gods, and I pointed out that Latter-day Saints believe those ideologies were revealed in the restoration. The discussion of whether or not the Bible acknowledges the existence of other deities is quite different from the discussion of whether or not the Bible acknowledges unique LDS ideologies. I am not here to argue that the Bible presents a manifestly LDS point of view. It does not. It also does not present a mainstream Christian point of view. Things like the Trinity, creation ex nihilo, anti-anthropomorphism, sola gratia, monotheism, etc., are not biblical ideas, but things developed afterward based on contemporary socio-religious expediencies and climates. My arguments concerning the other gods of the Bible depend in absolutely no way whatsoever on LDS theology.

    It seems my posts are now limited to 300 words, so I will have to end this one. I would appreciate it if others would give me the chance to catch up before they start piling on more posts for me to respond to, especially if I’m limited to 300 words a post and six posts a day.

  25. Next, it doesn’t really matter if early Christians got very close to the notion of the Trinity in the second century or the third century. My entire point is that they were nowhere near it in the first century, which means it is not an appropriate criterion for determining who is and who isn’t a Christian. If I had nothing but time I would very happily go through and chart the development of the different aspects of the Trinity and the way its earlier proponents differed in their ideas from its later, but I do not have that much time, and it’s not critical to my argument.

    Justin Martyr is late enough to show that the Trinity was nowhere in sight in the first century CE. Grindael has insisted that Justin argues Christ emanated from God “not by abscission,” and thus isn’t really “another God.” Justin rejected abscission to avoid the notion that Christ’s generation took away from the Father, not to insist they were the same being. His comparison with the fire perfectly illustrates this. If I take a burning stick from one fire and start another fire I can and do call it “another fire.” It is not by abscission, since the first fire is not diminished, but it is indeed another fire (just as Justin calls Christ “another God”). The substance is divided. It is a separate entity. Justin describes Jesus as “another God” and a distinct being that is one with God in will, not numerically.

    @4fivesolas – You don’t have to believe they’re lying or wrong, you just have to recognize it’s hyperbolic rhetoric. Compare the rhetoric in Isa 40:17, 23; 41:11, 12; 44:9. The nations and people aren’t non-existent, they’re just insignificant. The rhetoric is identical.

  26. @Rick B – You’re using empiricism to spread doubt about a religious truth claim. This is problematic, since your own religious truth claims are flatly undermined by empiricism. You must accept them on faith. Why do you not extend the same courtesy to Latter-day Saints? Where is the evidence for millions of people traipsing across the southern Sinai? We have the remains of hundreds of unrelated camps scattered around the peninsula that were as small as a dozen people, but we have no evidence whatsoever of a group even as large as a thousand, much less millions, ever setting up camp there. What about a parting sea? What about a flying man who came back from the dead? What about a talking donkey? What about a floating axe head? What about a six thousand year-old earth? What about a thousand other things from the Bible that not only has no evidence, but is flatly precluded by natural law? You will insist that the supernatural is not governed by natural law, which is true, but that doesn’t actually do anything to evince its truthfulness. If you’re going to reject Mormonism because of a lack of empirical evidence, you totally undermine your own religion. Both are accepted on faith. Neither are supportable by evidence. I can acknowledge that. Can you? Additionally, I also have a BA in ancient Near Eastern studies, but I was referring earlier to graduate degrees. No one has confounded me, they’ve just insisted on their dogmatism instead of on evidence.

    I recently posted a thread on CARM that explains why the Bible must be understood to acknowledge the existence of other gods:

  27. 4fivesolas says:

    Daniel – If the aim was hyperbolic rhetoric as you claim, that is not clear from the text and it is incredibly misleading. If your premise were true, God failed to communicate clearly and has caused nearly all who read His Word to conclude there is only one true and living God. That is a huge failure on God’s part, or He has been intentionally misleading if there are actually many innumerable true and living gods. On the other hand, we can take the Scriptures for what it says and conclude that God has clearly communicated that there are no other true and living gods beside Him – God doesn’t know any other gods. Your other Scripture references are unconvincing. These nations worship false gods who are literally nothing – the power and position of these nations based on these false deities is also nothing. The Scriptures acknowledges many false gods – and then affirms that they are idols, creations of men out of stone and wood. Likewise, those nations who depend on the benevolence or try to appease the wrath of these false gods have no standing.

  28. Rick B says:

    First let me say, I also am having computer issues, I need to use a different computer to reply, so it’s not just you. Then everyone, even me is on a 6 limit post and 300 word count, so you know, It’s not just you.

    now here is the problem with what you said. As far as the trinity goes, everything I said was taken from the Bible, Not man made ideas of the trinity. The principle of the trinity is all in the Bible. But you avoided that. As I said, You can tell me all you want about your BA’s and you BLT and BS and other stuff, Paul said he counts it all as rubbish in light of Christ and the truth.

    Then when you talk about talking donkeys and floating Ax heads, It is not jsut a matter of mere faith. If the Bible can be proven true, and it has by many sources, then those things must be true. The BoM has zero evidence saying it is true, Your prophet lied and has so much evidenec showing he was a false prophet and a liar.

    Then your church changes it’s story like you change your socks. It is so full of contrdictions it’s not funny. It’s just a matter of you want to believe what you want to believe. Even as far as God hating athiests goes, You could show them Noahs ark in a macy day parade and they would still reject God.

    No matter what evidence we show you it’s never good enough. Then since you reject scripture why even say you believe the bible when it is clear you dont?

  29. Rick B says:

    The God of the Bible says, I know of no other Gods and no gods were formed before me or after me.
    How can God say that, but then later in the Pearl of Great price say the exact same thing in one chapter, it is almost like reading Genisis, God alone created the heavens and the earth. But the a few chapters later in the Pearl of great price, God says, I sat in the councel of the gods and we created the heavens and the earth.

    How can God in one breath say, He is the only, then later say He sat with other gods and they created. I know you will have your slick little answer and it’s not an issue for you. But this is one of many examples that show you dont care about the truth and want to believe what you want to believe.

  30. @Rick – I haven’t been able to get to your post yet. I’m not going in order. Now is as good a time as any, though. You state that the plural nature of elohim in Genesis indicates 3 in 1. It does no such thing. First, the simple plural can’t just be asserted to refer specifically to three. Second, the plural elohim has singular referents because it is a concretized abstract plural. It occurs with the singular in reference to the God of Israel and to other gods. For instance, in 1 Kgs 11:33 the author lists some of the gods of the nations, using the plural to refer to each: “Ashtoreth, the deity of the Sidonians (אלהי צדונים), Chemosh, the deity of Moab (אלהי מואב), and Milcom, the deity of the Ammonites (אלהי עמון).” The fact that the first deity listed is feminine and the noun is the masculine plural shows that it’s an abstract plural. It literally means nothing more and nothing less than “divinity,” and it can be applied to any god in the Bible, real or imagined. It can also be understood abstractly or concretely.

    Next, regarding Deut 6:4 and your texts from Isaiah, I’ve already addressed this and have linked to a post at CARM where I specifically address each of the texts you listed. Regarding Exodus 3, the text did not originally refer to an angel. The angel was interpolated much later. I discuss that in detail here:

    The notion that “Holy, holy, holy” is meant to refer to the Trinity is silly. In the same verse in Revelation is says God “was, and is, and is to come.” Does this also refer to the Trinity? It’s just repetition for the sake of emphasis, like in Rev 8:13 where the angel says “woe, woe, woe.”

  31. @Rick – Regarding all the NT texts you said insist Jesus is God and not a god, you’re trying to insist the New Testament used an appellative as a personal name, and there’s simply no indication that was the case. John 1:1 is a predication, not an identification. Rom 9:5 is better translated “Christ, according to the flesh, who is above all, God blessed forever.” Tit 2:13 is better translated “our great God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ,” referring to two separate beings. 1 Jo 5:20 refers to God as the True God, not Jesus. The referent is the “his” of “his son Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:4 in no way identifies the Holy Spirit as God. Elsewhere the Spirit is clearly identified as an agent of God. Regarding Matt 28:19, “the name” is distributive. It is used once but refers separately to each of the three genitives that follow, since the definite articles appear before each of the three nouns. There’s nothing special about this construction.

    Your arguments about who is responsible for the death of Christ relies on imposing a univocal understanding on the Bible, and that is not merited. Regarding creation, you’re synthesizing three distinct periods of belief. In the earliest, it was God’s spirit that aided in creation. In the second, the notion had developed of God’s wisdom, which was conceived of as a female assistant which helped with creation. In the third, Jesus was identified with this wisdom. In all three God is responsible for creation with an intermediary as the acting agent. None of this indicates the Trinity.

    As the above shows, the Trinity is only found in the Bible by people who presuppose it is there and don’t pay much attention to what the texts actually say.

  32. Rick B says:

    Seeing as how their is so much evidence proving your church wrong, and yet you LDS reject truth and God in favor of Lies and JS, let me just say this.

    When you wake up in the near future here, or are awake to witness people all around you just disappear, and the rapture just happened, dont go onto believe the lie that aliens took us, or Mother earth killed of people who did not go green, or what ever excuse they give.

    Just remember the Christains that said Mormonism is wrong, were not only correct on that, but were right about the rapture also. It will happen very soon, we are so being set up for it, I believe it will happen soon, and no I am not talking about the crack pot guy that set set dates, we cannot and I am not. I am sure you will just blow this off, and I’m not looking to start a new topic with it. I’m just saying it will happen and you and Helen and millions of people who choose to believe lies will be left behind.

  33. @Rick – I see that you’re not going to respond to any of my concerns, but are just going to testify to me that I’m going to hell. In light of that, I will save myself the trouble of responding to any more posts of yours that I may come across.

    @Sharon – I am still hoping you will offer your definition of “Christian” for me. I would think that would not be particularly troublesome after writing a blog post about how Mormonism doesn’t qualify as “Christian.”

  34. 4fivesolas says:

    Daniel – Asserting that “Holy, holy, holy” as being one indicative in Scripture of the Holy Trinity is “silly” is your viewpoint. I find nothing silly about it, but rather see it as just one more attestation of Scripture of God’s triune nature. Does this one amazing thing contain within it the entire doctrine of the Trinity? No. But it is an another way the truth of God’s nature is there in the Old Testament, to be fully illuminated by the New Testament.

  35. grindael says:

    Daniel said: Grindael has insisted that Justin argues Christ emanated from God “not by abscission,” and thus isn’t really “another God.” Justin rejected abscission to avoid the notion that Christ’s generation took away from the Father, not to insist they were the same being. His comparison with the fire perfectly illustrates this. If I take a burning stick from one fire and start another fire I can and do call it “another fire.” It is not by abscission, since the first fire is not diminished, but it is indeed another fire (just as Justin calls Christ “another God”). The substance is divided. It is a separate entity. Justin describes Jesus as “another God” and a distinct being that is one with God in will, not numerically.

    And you ignore Tertullian, who states there are NOT two Gods, and Ireneaus, who made his statements within 50 or so years of John’s death. And the fire analogy? One can say that the essence of the fire is the same, as in ontology, for it sprang from the same source, which is exactly the argument they use in relation to the Word, NEVER that he was a begotten spirit child… Justin’s conclusion at the end of the analogy tells us what he meant: “and yet that from which many can be kindled is by no means MADE LESS, BUT REMAINS THE SAME.” And, “that which has been kindled by it likewise APPEARS TO EXIST BY ITSELF.” (Dialogue with Trypho, LXI)

    It is a given that they had the same will. What the argument was all about was that they are the same SUBSTANCE. Justin taught that the Word sprang out of the essence of the Father, as an act of will, as an intermediary, another ‘God’ in that sense, but still unbegotten, AND UNIQUE. In

  36. grindael says:

    no way can anyone get Mormon theosis out of this. Irenaeus and Tertullian crystallize what Justin meant in their apologia, firmly declaring there is only ONE GOD. And they do it long before the Council of Nicaea.

    Daniel: I am not here to argue that the Bible presents a manifestly LDS point of view. It does not. It also does not present a mainstream Christian point of view.

    Then what does it show, that EVERYONE is wrong? LOL. Perhaps you should become a Jehovah’s Witness then. Your gospel is so foreign to the Bible, that you refuse discuss it. And if ex-nihilo is such a post New Testament invention, why are the Jews divided over it? _johnny

  37. grindael says:

    LOL, H/L lack of focus? Take a look at the OP. Everything I said is right in line with misconceptions about Mormons. The Mormon misconception that their leaders did not teach such things. Mormons are NOT Christians for those very reasons. And your comment didn’t clarify anything. The only ‘obscuring’ done here, is by Mormons. _johnny

  38. @4fivesolas – If you want to read it that way that’s your prerogative, but you’re just reading something into the text that wasn’t originally there. When it comes to giving evidence for the presence of the Trinity in the New Testament, that kind of eisegesis does not hold.

    @grindael – First, we’re talking about Justin Martyr, not Tertullian or Ireneaus. Their own writings have no bearing whatsoever on what Justin Martyr believed when he wrote his Dialogue with Trypho. I agree that Justin believes they sprang from the same substance, but this is more closely related to the doctrine of emanation than the Trinity (and thus a heresy), and it still divides the substance, which was heresy for Athanasius. Springing from the same substance is not the same thing as being one substance. The analogy with the fire makes that explicit. When you kindle a second fire with the fire of the first you have created two fires. The second comes from the same substance, but it does not share its substance with the first. That is not the Trinity.

    LDS notions of theosis have nothing to do with that conversation, and your question about the Jews being divided on creation ex nihilo doesn’t really make sense to me. What does their division on the subject have to do with when it developed?

    @liv4jc – Creating a ten-part response to my post is a funny way of not having time to respond in the first place. If he doesn’t have time to follow up then he shouldn’t post to begin with. The rest of your post manifests a lack of understanding regarding what is actually taking place between the other posters and me, and I don’t have room to try to correct your misunderstandings.

  39. Daniel,

    I am very patient and forgiving of the early church fathers being somewhat naive or messy or inconsistent in their philosophical attempts to make sense of the Trinity. But none of them affirms a wholesale tritheism or infinite genealogy of the Gods or a Heavenly Grandfather, and none of them deny in essence the deity of Jesus. One sees a very natural progression in the early church to the Trinity as articulated in Nicea, since they were trying very hard to bring together convictions of the uniqueness of the nature of God, the deity of Jesus, and the multiple persons in the Godhead.

    I call upon you to show how early church fathers taught or believed in the traditional Mormon view of Jesus being spirit-birthed by a Heavenly Mother / the massive genealogy of the Gods / becoming Gods worshiped by their own future spirit children / deity and humanity being of the same species.

    Until then, no more comments from you. This is a gauntlet. If you want to play, you’re going to actually have to reveal your own theology and defend your Mormonism (assuming that you are actually Mormon and not just an agnostic “New Order Mormon”).

    Take care,


  40. I would direct y’all to these resources (which themselves have other links):

    Homoousios in Conversations Between Mormons and Christians, by Ron Huggins

    Trinity (Theopedia)

    Development of Trinitarian theology (Theopedia)

    Eternal generation of the Son (Theopedia; see especially links at bottom by Jung S. Rhee)

  41. Daniel writes (in the deleted comment),

    “The ECFs were not Mormons, nor did they teach Mormon doctrines. My first ever publication in biblical studies was a warning to Latter-day Saints not to try to find LDS ideologies in Patristic literature.”

    Thank you for that much, Daniel. Now what’s left is for you to reveal (and give a basic defense for) your own personal Mormon theology. Until then, no posting privileges. Put your cards on the table.

  42. Rick B says:

    I will admit that everyone got off topic and now you are told to answers certain questions.
    That aside, before you point your finger at me and tell me I am avoiding your questions and you wont respond to me until I answer them, Let me remind you I also asked you some questions before I even replied to you and you avoided them, So in reality you dodged and I figured, typical mormon, so why should I bother to keep answering when you wont?

  43. Rick B says:

    Daniel, I will get back to the questions you missed later.
    To answer your question on who is a christian it is like this.

    Read the Bible, Jesus started the Church, prior to Jesus coming as a man, the church did not exist, Neither did Christians. In the O.T, First we just had the Human race, that was from the time of Adam and Eve until God took Abram and made Him abraham and made Him the father of the great Nation of the Jews.

    From that point on we had Jews and Gentiles, Gentiles were/are non-Jews. Then After Jesus came along He, Jesus said He would build His church upon this Rock and created the Church, but even then the Church did not exist until after Jesus died and rose again. Because the church is not a building, but us people. We the people are the Church. Now add to that, Christian was used a a degeroty term, like calling names.

    Now Paul goes on and so does the New Testament, saying that false prophets and wolves in sheeps clothing will arise from with in our own ranks to kill, lie steal and lead astray. Paul said anyone who teaches any other gospel than what he taught will be damned. Paul did not teach the gospel of mormonism and teaches things that contrdict mormonism.

    You cannot say we LDS believe in Jesus, or God, or being saved by grace, and say see you believe that also. Your not a christain and will not be if you teach and believe what you do. A christian is some one who believe the Bible and what is taught in it.

    I know you and ALL LDS say we believe what you do, but thats a lie.

  44. Rick B says:

    We do not have the same gospel, many here have quoted LDS prophets/presdients and apostles saying Christains are from hell or we dont believe in the same Jesus. And every LDS when given the chance throws the Bible under the Bus. No honest believer will do that. Thats a way of rejecting scripture and to do that says you dont really believe the Bible, so why do you claim to believe it, yet say it is so full of error it cannot be trusted?

  45. Rick B says:

    Daniel, this was one question you missed.

    The God of the Bible says, I know of no other Gods and no gods were formed before me or after me.
    How can God say that, but then later in the Pearl of Great price say the exact same thing in one chapter, it is almost like reading Genisis, God alone created the heavens and the earth. But the a few chapters later in the Pearl of great price, God says, I sat in the councel of the gods and we created the heavens and the earth.

    How can God in one breath say, He is the only, then later say He sat with other gods and they created. I know you will have your slick little answer and it’s not an issue for you. But this is one of many examples that show you dont care about the truth and want to believe what you want to believe.

  46. 4fivesolas says:

    Daniel – Junia or Junias is can be a male or female name. The passage you reference is a listing of names of people to greet, etc. and it is not clear whether he is saying they are Apostles, or are just known by the Apostles. The Biblical interpretation model is always to interpret unclear Scripture in light of clear Scripture. Paul clearly distinguishes between the roles of men and women in the Church elsewhere (1 Cor 14:33 – 35, Eph 5:22 -33, 1Tim 2:11-12). This reminds me of Joseph Smith taking one verse on baptism and using it as a basis baptism for the dead. Rather than looking at the whole of Scripture, and interpreting the passage in a way consistent with all of God’s revelation, he pulled it out and invented an entirely new doctrine which has lead to endless meaningless water immersion over and over of the same people in proxy for the dead. Endless works without end and without true meaning. One can always find verses to pull out and try to prove some peculiar doctrine, rather than honestly looking at what the entirety of Scripture has to say.

  47. Rick B says:

    As a Mormon who does not believe the Bible is the word of God and is in error, you just dont get it and never will.

    Broken down the Bible is not just one book or two books. It is 66 books written by 40 different authors from many countries written over 1,000’s of years. And as if that is not enough, it is from start to Finish a love letter from God to His people and a story of redemtion and love.

    That does not describe the BoM. Jesus Quoted from the OT, so if it was not correct why did He or the other apostles quote from it? And why do they never quote from the BoM or ever mention people from it if they existed at the same time. Example, the BoM gives a different story of the Tower of babel. Jesus even said the scriptures testify of Him and it is all about Him.

    That does not describe the BoM. Daniel said

    Regarding believing the Bible, I don’t read anywhere in the Bible where it ever even acknowledges the existence of the Bible, much less predicates salvation or identification as a Christian upon an inerrant view of it.

    Also read Job, God confronts Job and calls Him to account for getting things wrong about God. God holds us accountable if we get the facts wrong.

    Please tell me in your words Daniel, When Paul says, If any man preaches another gospel than what Paul preached, let him be damned. So tell me, What Gospel did Paul preach from what you can tell, and is it Mormonism? If so provide quotes only from the Bible to support your view.

  48. Rick B says:

    Add to all that, The Bible has around 1,800 prophecys to back up the Bible saying it is from God. and over 300 prophecys just on Jesus, and were He will be born, how He will Die, what things will happen before He dies, and while He is on the Cross, and all sorts of things. Thats evidence to support the Bible. That cannot be said of the BoM. Then you have the issue of what looks like plagrisum in the BoM, We have word for word phrases from the Bible in the BoM. If we remove all those, then their is not much left to the BoM, and what is left is fiction that tells us nothing about the savior, how to be saved or anything. Why is that Daniel?

  49. More comments from Daniel have been removed. Daniel, I was serious. Until you reveal your own personal theology and give a personal defense of it, no posting comments. This is me forcing your hand. Put your theological cards on the table.

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