Too many Mormons look back

During a recent panel discussion Mormon apologist Scott Gordon talked about the Mormon doctrine of continuing revelation. He said,

“Continuing revelation means the Church learns and grows as well. And I think what we do is we often go back to the Evangelical fundamentalist viewpoint that if you go back far enough, you’re going back to the original source documents of the Bible, you will find the truth. You have to always look back, back, back, back, back. And in the LDS Church we have too many members that do that where we say you have to look back, back, back, back, back; when really, we’re trying to go forward, forward, forward, forward, forward and cast off our old things that we didn’t know. We’re trying to grow and learn from it and move forward. And so, I think [what] we have to do is focus on the recent comments [from Church leaders], the more recent comments, and give more weight to those than the older comments. I think it’s just the opposite we tend to do.” (1:07:42-1:08:26. See embedded video below.)

Mr. Gordon’s remarks bring a couple questions to mind. If Mormonism were, as it is claimed, a “restoration” of first-century Christianity, wouldn’t it be appropriate – indeed, necessary — to be looking back? Isn’t that what restoration means? To return something (go back) to what it once was?

Additionally, does it seem wise for “the only true and living church” to “cast off” old things by looking forward and not looking back (or minimizing what came before)? Doesn’t this run the risk of the Church moving away from the original teachings of the apostles and drifting into apostasy?

If we do look back to the teachings of the biblical prophets and apostles we find that looking back is exactly what God calls us to do. From Deuteronomy to Revelation God bids us “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children…” (Deuteronomy 4:9). “Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent” (Revelation 3:3).

The apostle Paul had much to say to Timothy about looking back. In both of the letters Paul wrote to the young leader he entreated Timothy to “guard the deposit entrusted” to him (1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14).  Paul wanted Timothy to “follow the pattern of sound words” that he had previously heard from Paul (1 Timothy 1:13). And not only was Timothy to guard that truth that had already been delivered, he was to pass that truth on – to “entrust [it] to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

Citing the example of people who have the appearance of godliness yet do not love God, people who are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth,” Paul exhorts Timothy, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:7, 14-15).

Timothy was to keep people from teaching “any different doctrine” so that they would not “devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.” Some people, Paul explained, had “swerved” from sound doctrine and sincere faith, and had “wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions” (1 Timothy 1:3-7).

In His Word God tells us to hold on to and contend for the faith that was “once for all” delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3) because “ungodly people [will] pervert the grace of our God.” We are commanded to guard and keep this faith – look back – “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven” (Colossians 1:23).

God calls us to look back to His promises, to God’s unchangeable character, holding fast to the hope set before us. This, God says, is our “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:13-20).

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 LDS Church and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Too many Mormons look back

  1. Mike R says:

    This statement by a Mormon apologist would’nt be his way of trying to dodge the
    track record of what Mormon apostles have offered as spiritual truth to mankind
    would it ? While what he said is consistent with what Mormon leaders have taught
    about taking the “living” prophets words over those of the “dead” prophets , still
    there should be nothing that past Mormon prophets have taught publically to their
    followers as “gospel ” truth that should bother any Mormon today —-unless past
    Mormon prophets have been guilty of “teaching for doctrine the commandments
    of men ” . We’re talking here about apostles who claim to be officers in the same New
    Testament church established by Jesus 1900 years ago and who have supposedly
    restored that church and it’s gospel , so we must test these “modern-day ” apostles
    teachings since false apostles were predicted to come —-2Cor 11:13.

  2. falcon says:

    Look this is just a “let’s cover our collective butts” kind of comment. It comes from the same sentiment that has given rise to the “folklore” or “folk-doctrine” claims by Mormons.
    When they look back they find a host of embarrassing, inane and just plain stupid comments, doctrines and practices within the Mormon church.
    Mormonism has to continually change because what was thought to be spiritual truth at one time, has been found to be an unencumbered stream of consciousness by it’s leaders. These guys have made all kinds of nutty observations. Take Joseph Smith and his men on the moon and Brigham Young’s men on the sun comments. It’s more than just a simple eye-roll can cover.
    Mormonism restored nothing but it gave a bunch of religious entrepreneurs a chance to play “let’s start a church”. Isn’t funny that Mormonism is supposed to have restored original first century Christian doctrine and practice yet we can’t find any of it in the Bible or in the writings of the church Fathers.
    The fact of the matter is that Joseph Smith and the rest of these dufuses just made it up. Mix in some stories about heavenly beings appearing and stir up some emotions and these charletons were in business.
    I have found it more than sad that Mormons have all of this misplaced piety, devotion and sincerity.
    If only they would come to a knowledge of the living God.

  3. falcon says:

    I’m sorry but when they were answering the young lady’s questions, I just wanted to slap those guys. How totally stupid! Idiots! Numbskulls! I think I’m ranting!
    She’s the only one who made any sense. She said she hadn’t been raised Mormon. I can see it. She’s logical, smart and not a run of the mill Mormon Kool Aid drinker. What in the world is she doing in the Mormon religion?
    What did that guy say? When the prophet’s mouth is moving he’s speaking truth? Let’s do a little rewind on Mormon history. There’s been a whole lot of mouth moving on the part of past prophets that the Mormon church does not want to claim today. What about Adam-god and blood atonement. Was that truth. Is truth only that which finally ends up in the D & C? Isn’t polygamy still simmering in there? Man they did not want to talk about blacks in the priesthood. You know, that little piece of Mormon “folk doctrine” that no one can figure out how it got started.
    I liked the young lady. She won’t be a Mormon long. The only way she’ll last is if she can accept the “all better now blankies” handed out by these men who, at some time in their lives, did the Mormon mind snap.
    Folks who ask serious questions and who won’t accept things like, “When the leaders speak, the thinking has been done.”, don’t survive in Mormonism.
    Can I make a case for Jesus here? He is the truth, the way and the life. No one gets to the Father except through Him. He is the alpha and omega; the beginning and end. It is through faith in Him that our sins are totally forgiven and our salvation secured.
    Following men like this is a dead end!

  4. matthias says:

    Man oh man, where to even begin?

    According to their doctrine everything that this apologist just said is completely irrelevant. If you play this video for a Mormon and break down what is wrong with this from a clissical Christian perspective then all they have to say in response is “this guy is not one of the Big 15 so this is just his opinion.”

    If the only things that matter to Mormons are 1) subjective spiritual testimonials, and 2) the words of their living Prophet, then why does the LDS church even have apologists? I know that FAIR, the Maxwell Institute, and Mormon Voices are all organizations that claim to not officially speak for the LDS church, and yet they are all funded by said church. They do all the philosophical heavy lifting, but then say that at the end of the day that what they are doing is irrelevant.

    LDS apologists only exist as a smoke screen. Period. All Mormons should do themselves a favor and not even give LDS apologists the time of day and instead study what the chain of their living Prophets have all said. This is a challenege I pose to all Mormons who will read this: why would you even want less than to be nourished by the teachings of ALL modern Prophets who have the restoration of all heavenly authority on earth? Study the Prophets, love God with all your minds along with your hearts, accept the fact that your spiritual testimony could be deception, and don’t inflict cognitive dissonance upon yourself, and you will find the truth.

  5. Mike R says:

    Matthias, you brought up some very valid points for Mormons to ponder. I agree with your
    assessment of Mormon apologists . It is normal for those to try and defend their beliefs but
    these apologists only give their own opinion , they don’t establish Mormon doctrine . What’s
    interesting is that Mormons have been going thru the teachings of their past prophets/apostles
    in church curriculum [ Teachings of The Presidents of The Church ] , so I guess this apologist
    that Sharon mentions above apparently wants to pick and choose which doctrines from past
    Mormon leaders should be placed on a ” recalled list ” because they are defective now . Is that
    what’s going on with this guy ? I hope the Mormon people can step back for a moment and think
    about what is it with their leaders that there is always so much explaining to do about what
    these men have taught faithful LDS to receive as ” gospel/ spiritual truths ” since they arrived
    on the scene in 1830 .

  6. falcon says:

    This is “standard operations procedure” in Mormonism.
    There is no prophetic direction. Just a bunch of silliness and odd, mindless speculation. It’s the foundation that Mormonism is built on. The prophets in Mormonism don’t really bring forth prophesy any more. They deliver some form of inspirational message that’s suppose to encourage the followers.
    Actually, the heart of prophetic manifestations comes forth today from the Pentecostal and/or Charismatic Christian groups. I watch them on TV and dismiss a good share of what they say.
    It’s kind of interesting to observe the heritage or link that Mormonism has with evangelical Christian revivalism. Smith captured the feel of the revival when he wrote the BoM. That’s what I think Mormons respond to thinking that the feeling is a message from God confirming the BoM.
    When I listen to modern day Christian prophets I’m looking for a couple of things. One is, “Does what they say, have a ring of truth to it?” This is where a knowledge of the Bible and spiritual discernment come in.
    The comment from one of the men in the video that when the Mormon prophet’s mouth is moving, truth is being spoken, is nonsense. Who would give themselves over to that type of thinking?
    In speaking of prophetic utterances and the manifestation of the gift of prophesy in the Body of Christ, the apostle Paul wrote:
    “And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”

  7. falcon says:

    The Mormon people have out-sourced their personal responsibility to judge what is true and what is false to a bunch of men who have no particular spiritual gifts and certainly no measure of truth for a foundation.
    Within the context of Mormonism, anything goes when it comes to the prophets and leaders. They are not held accountable. What the people are taught is to blindly follow and obey. The Mormon leaders have risen to the pinnacle of notoriety and success within a false religious system. They are led by a false spirit of a false god and what they proclaim is therefore false.
    The video portrays a lot of confusion. This is what the apostle Paul warned about.

  8. falcon says:

    Now the really funny thing is that the whole point of the “restored” gospel was all of the confusion that supposedly existed/exists within Christian doctrine. Mormonism has become what they charged as a major problem with Christianity. That problem, again according to Mormons, was/is confused doctrine within the various Christian denominations.
    First of all there’s about 100 different sects of Mormonism. Second of all, they each have their go to guy prophet who is supposedly hearing directly from the Mormon god. Thirdly, Mormon denominations can’t even agree who God is. Mormonism is a confused mess.
    Christianity has about eight to ten basic doctrines that all of them agree on. Not so in Mormonism.
    It’s actually painful watching the above video.

  9. Mike R says:

    Falcon, you brought up some very important points concerning the claims of Mormonism.
    Mormon leaders advertise that they alone have the true Church, and true gospel , the very
    gospel that Jesus’ apostles taught when He sent them out after His resurrection from the dead.
    Thus Mormon leaders claim to have the same appointment by the same Jesus to preach His
    same gospel , this gospel of salvation was supposedly restored in 1830 after 1800 yrs of
    being not available on the earth. Mormon leaders claim to offer the answer to the errors of
    all the other churches because all these other churches are said to have preachers who have
    preached a false gospel because they’ve mixed in their own human ideas and added to the true
    gospel of salvation, i.e. they’ve changed the gospel . Other errors are said to be that these
    apostate churches have altered gospel ordinances and transgressed God’s laws , in short there
    is confusion , unstable teachings, on what is necessary to live a lifestyle in accordance with God’s
    will and attain eternal life . While Mormon leaders have claimed to offer the remedy for this
    malady , they have been in point of fact guilty of much of the same behavior . Looking at what
    Mormon authorities have taught their people as spiritual truths since allegedly being appointed
    to do so in 1830 , we see an unstable pattern of teachings about what they’ve offered as their
    gospel . These men have altered the gospel by adding in their own ideas , they’ve exhibited
    confusion on ordinances , and they’ve vacillated on important gospel principles , laws , and
    doctrines . These men may be well meaning but that is’nt enough—Gal 1:8

  10. Stanley2 says:

    At 44′, Gordon’s condemnation of Billy Graham making statements about Blacks without giving an example is abominable. After the church bombing in Birmingham that killed the little girls, Graham held a revival one year later while under credible death threats communicated to him via the FBI. Not only did he hold the revival but he desegregated it. Earlier he did the same thing in Mississippi and after police refused to remove the seating barriers, Graham did it himself.
    Do his actions speak to being a racist as Gordon insinuates? Hardly

    Gordon should be ashamed, but I know that’s not possible.

  11. homeschoolmom says:

    Jeremiah 6:16- This is what the LORD says, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Leave a Reply