Latter-day Saint neighbors, please be brave and “study it out in your mind” (D&C 9:8)! Do not mentally disassociate or “shut down.” A lot more is at stake than you realize.
At least consider that Joseph Smith said that his teachings in the King Follett Discourse are comprehensible and “simple.” D&C 93 says that, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” Mormon apostle Orson Pratt taught,
“We should not get into that old sectarian notion, that we have no right to know anything about this, that or the other, and that we must not pry into this, that or the other. That is an old sectarian notion, which we have fought against all the day long, and we do not want it to creep into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the privilege of its members to let their minds expand, and to ponder upon the things of God, and to enquire of him, and by and by, when we have prepared ourselves by getting all the knowledge we possibly can from that which is written, God will give us more.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 336)
Jesus himself says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your *mind*.” (Matthew 22:37)
So, Latter-day Saints, by the teachings of your own scripture and prophets, you have good reason not to “shut down” with, “That’s not essential [or relevant] to my salvation”, or, “That’s not official doctrine”, or, “I don’t need to think about that”, or, “That’s deep doctrine” — ESPECIALLY when the teaching in question is of an LDS leader that had significant impact on the lives and beliefs of LDS members throughout history. Be curious. Be dogged in your quest for knowledge. If you have the truth, you don’t need to be afraid.
“If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.” – J. Reuben Clark; D. Michael Quinn, J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1983, p. 24.
Interesting point. When I worked at a summer camp we used to sing a song that had the line, “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!” I think that could pretty well summarize a lot of Mormons who are happy, they know they are happy, so they figuratively clap their hands in response.
The testimonies I find interesting are from former Mormons who were happily tooling down the LDS highway of life, oblivious to the Mormon back-story and then out of left field, BAM!!!!, something happens to shake-up their happiness and contentment.
One such Mormon, who’s story I read, talked about driving to work in Utah listening to a CD and the Mormon speaker mentioned Joseph Smith’s polygamy. It got the guy’s attention and he began to look into the matter and came across the information that Smith had “married” a fourteen year old girl. The guy couldn’t get passed that because his own daughter was fourteen. The thought of such a union made him nauseous.
Despite talks with his bishop he couldn’t get passed the fact of Smith’s polygamy and what its impact was. He could no longer sing, “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!”
That’s the dilemma that “happy” Mormons face. Why in the world would they want to do anything to disrupt their happiness? Well I can give a couple of reasons. One is personal integrity. It’s not easy to disassociate from facts if you have integrity. Sticking one’s head in the sand merely leaves your butt sticking in the air.
Most importantly, however, is the case for obtaining eternal life. Mormonism does not have the correct answers when it comes to who God is and what His plan is for mankind. To find that, one needs to look to God’s Word.
Something sure is happening in Mormonism the last few years , a lot of unrest seems to be
coming from the membership. Church hierarchy and apologists are working hard at trying
to answer all the questions , more and more rank and file members are finding out things
about their history and doctrine that trouble them . It’s seems that we are hearing phrases
like ” that’s not essential for my salvation” , or ” “that’s only his opinion ” etc. crop up
more readily . The rise in these types of rationalizations are signs of a movement and I
think a few more years and will boil over to a major splint in membership . It’s kind of
underneath the radar right now but it’s here and gaining steam . Perhaps one result of
all this would be that the Temple doors would be unlocked and all LDS could enter for
worship instead of it being a private club type arrangement where only a minority of
members are deemed clean enough to enter . Just my musings .
I think Mike may have something here. I don’t know if it will come in the form of a revelation or just sort of a rule change. Remember when the sacred temple ritual got changed because it was such a turn-off especially to women?
I don’t know if the underwear will go, but the Morg could make some pretty big inroads by going to a more traditional wedding format and letting anyone attend. They could do the super secret ceremony prior to the public (ceremony).
They’re going to have to make some changes to keep the young people in the program. But we all know it’s about power and control something that the tradition bound Mormon hierarchy is loath to adjust. It there’s power to the people, it becomes more difficult to control the membership. On-the-other-hand, when membership drops and less money is flowing into SLC, it would be a crisis indeed.
There seems to be sort of a predictable attrition rate in Mormonism. People really have to want to be involved in the program and my guess is that many would simply opt to go with a Mormon lite form of involvement.
I think young people are less inclined to look the other way and stuff their doubts about Mormonism.
What I think is sad is that Mormons could transfer their sincerity, piety and devotion to Jesus and not miss a beat as far as maintaining involvement in religion (for lack of a better word). This is what happens when Mormons discover the things that typically push them out the door but maintain faith in Jesus.
Because of the increasing effort by Ministries like MRM , as well as some Mormon researchers
who are concerned that information about Mormon history/doctrine , which has not been
readily accessible to rank and file members (for various reasons) , be made available . There’s
the question of where does the faithful’s money go, how much do Mormon General Authorities
get paid etc ? What’s in the Church archives or First Presidency’s vault that is off-limits to
faithful followers ? So there’s the perception of a hierarchy that in many ways is detached from
those that support them . Sure these men look well dressed and act polite but what do they know
but have’nt revealed for fear of damaging their written promises to their followers ? On Fox
News recently reporter Megan Kelly mentioned the falsehoods traded between in the current
Presidential campaign by both party leaders , she asked a Democratic leader in South Carolina if
truth matters etc, he said “no, ” because as he said it was all in the perception (advertising ?) .
In other words it’s the way political party strategists create an image to the public that’s counts
to them.It reminded me what may be happening with the unrest currently going on with rank
and file Mormons , what they have come to find out about their leaders written promises
to them to NEVER teach/condone false doctrine or the promise that Mormon history is the
most important and accurate history in the world , are being seem as big on advertising , but
weak on substance. There were Mormons disturbed to find out what was quietly edited out of
a recent church manual on B.Y.,for one example.
I don’t shut down I look back at history. I listen to christians today and hear them say catholics aren’t christian, lutherans aren’t christian and calvinist aren’t christian. Then I say to myself I might as well stay here. When they say Christian are made up of mystical believers I say that sounds gnostical. I also don’t see any church that would help me work out my salvation with fear and trembling. So I might as well stay here.
I too listen to Christians today. Actually – I am a Christian. And I don’t hear people saying this group or that denomination is not Christian. I hear the exact opposite – that believers covered under the blood of Jesus, who have that simple faith that He has paid the ultimate price for our sins on the cross, that no matter where one worships the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – if you have that simple child-like trust in the finished work of Jesus death and resurrection – you will inherit eternal life with God and live together with Our Lord in the resurrection. Sure, we have our doctrinal differences and they are important – but God has called His own, is gathering His children , the wheat of harvest, from among the tares in every Church. I think there are possibly even some Christians who don’t really get the Mormon program, who had a Christian background growing up and don’t understand all the Scripture twisting that goes on, who have that simple faith in Jesus even in the LDS religion. My only fear is that the more one persues the LDS religion, the further from the truth they go. I would much rather be in a Church that builds up the Lord Jesus Christ – focuses me on the forgiveness given through His cross – and the more I dig into the truth of the faith the closer I get to Jesus love. I encourage you to read the Bible -to see the love of Jesus and everything He has done for our salvation, and to not push aside or say no to the truth that God reveals to you there in His Word.
I don’t see that I need to believe like you do. I don’t believe in the trinity. I see God, Jesus and the holy spirit differently and it makes more sense when reading the story of Abraham. We may believe in different things but we have faith in that belief. One thing that is absolutely true is that when we die only then will we know how correct our faith has been.
4Fivesolas, well said. I enjoy your input here.
This idea that you heard someone say something regarding who’s a Christian and who isn’t; so you may as well as stay where you are, sounds like excuse making to me. I don’t care what someone says. What’s there authority in saying it? I hear opinions all day long about various things but I don’t turn power over to the person it to make up my mind.
Again, this idea about waiting until you’re dead to get the truth is a risky proposition. I wouldn’t recommend it.
I’m the one who talks about believers being the Mystical Body of Christ. I don’t see what is gnostic about that. It’s a common phrase. If you looked out into any church gathering, you’d have no idea who’s saved and who isn’t. It’s a spiritual concept regarding the Church. It’s mystical. It’s the Bride of Christ talked about in the Bible.
I would suggest that you need to read the Bible. Start with the Gospel of Luke and then when finished with that read the Book of Acts. You’ll get the whole picture and perhaps come to understand who Jesus is, what He did for us and how you can obtain the gift of eternal life.
I wouldn’t wait until you’re dead to figure it out.
In clyde’s comment I can see somewhat of a theme of “confusion” as he references different Christian theological points of view. I have to remind him that what these different perspectives present is a point of view, not dogma. I’ve listed the basic beliefs of all Christian churches here often. The most basic deal with the nature of God, the nature of man, the inspiration of the Word of God, salvation and the final judgement.
As an intellectual exercise, Christians delve deeper into the Word of God and provide opinions most notably on how people come to God and the maintenance of their faith.
One of the charges against Christianity, by Mormons, is that they say there is all this confusion reflected in the various Christian denominations. Christians aren’t confused. They are quite firm in who God is, who Jesus is, how man is separated from God by sin and finally how man is reconciled to God.
Just as a side note, I think it’s important to point out the confusion that reigns in Mormonism. This is not only because of the various denominations of Mormonism but due to the unsettled nature of Mormon doctrine.
So for clyde and other Mormons, it’s all pretty simple. At least I think it is. clyde needs to come to an understanding of who God is. Is he going to cling to the false notion that God is a former man who progressed to become a god just like millions and billions of other men have done or is he going to recognize the One, eternal. everlasting and unchanging God who provides for us, eternal life?
A false god provides false hope. Only God can provide for us the gift of eternal life. Waiting for death to find truth is not a good idea.
I know the comments are “off” in the above audio presentation, first thread, but I’m going to comment.
Excellent interview. I listened to all three segments. They fit in very nicely with our topic at hand on this thread.
I never thought about the fact that Mormons wouldn’t have heard an unadulterated presentation of the Gospel message. So basically all they know about the Christian message is what the Mormon church tells them.
I guess I have noticed over the years that Mormons posting on this blog have some incredible ideas of what Christianity is all about. So when we ask in this current article for them not to shut down, what we are saying is take time to consider the Gospel message.
This message, the Gospel, the Good News is plainly presented in the NT. The message is that mankind is separated from God because of our sin. God is holy, loving and merciful but He is also just. We can’t atone for our sins and make ourselves acceptable to Him no matter how hard we try. God took it upon Himself to reconcile us (to Him) by providing the perfect sacrifice for sin. The Bible says, “For God so loved the World that he gave His only begotten Son that who so ever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.”
We receive this gift of eternal life through faith. We can’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. In First John it says, “I write these things to you that you may know that you have eternal life.”
God wants us to have assurance that our sins are forgiven, that we are right with Him and that He has made provision for us to be with Him when we die. Repenting and turning to God in faith is key.
“I never thought about the fact that Mormons wouldn’t have heard an unadulterated presentation of the Gospel message. So basically all they know about the Christian message is what the Mormon church tells them.”
A question for you. Would you place Mormon converts that where previously believing members of mainstream Christianity in this summery, or would you argue that those people have heard the Gosple message but have now rejected it?
Great question! Quite theological actually. I’m processing while I’m writing so I reserve the right to amend my comments at a later date.
Actually it depends on how we define “Christian”.
I doubt very much if someone who is truly “born again” by the Spirit of God would become a Mormon convert. I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who have sat in the pews of Christian denominations, but weren’t ever born again, would become Mormons.
You might ask if it’s possible for someone to be a “member” of some Christian denomination and never have been born again? Absolutely! We hear about it all of the time. There’s the great story of John Wesley who was raised in a Christian home by a very devout Christian mother and whom himself was a missionary to the Indians in America.
The problem was he never had any assurance of his salvation. When crossing the Atlantic he had encountered some Moravians who had remained calm during a potentially deadly storm. Wesley wanted this same depth of spiritual assurance and he sought out Peter Boehler, who became John and his brother Charles’ spiritual tutor.
Boehler had a simple message. It was that a proper faith will result in a clear sense of assurance of salvation. A person can’t have one without the other. Both of the brothers finally received this assurance. It’s an interesting story especially as John is concerned.
So my answer is, if someone has repented and come to Christ in faith and has received the assurance of their salvation, been born again, I’d say it was impossible for the person to become a Mormon.
The reason is quite simple, becoming a Mormon would require a person to renounce God and Jesus as their Savior. Mormonism has a different God and gospel.
Here’s the other part of the equation. That is, what will someone who’s never heard the Mormon gospel be told?
This is just one personal experience story but I think it illustrates my point. A couple of years ago I met a young guy who had just recently left the Mormon church. He had been a convert and really hadn’t been in the Mormon church for a lengthy time. The woman he married was a life long Mormon. Anyway he told me that he had no idea regarding the most fundamental doctrines of Mormonism. He thought he was joining something akin to the Lutheran Church he had grown up in. Without going into the whole story, he and his wife both left the LDS church and resigned.
So did he hear the Mormon gospel? No, he hadn’t. There’s enough anecdotal evidence out there that being up front and explaining the entire program is not part of the conversion process in Mormonism. If even a nominal Christian pew sitter heard the whole story, they wouldn’t join Mormonism.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is plain. All someone has to do is pick-up a copy of the NT and they will get the picture. All they would have to do is read Peter’s sermon in the Book of Acts chapter two on the day of Pentecost and they’d get it. The Gospel message isn’t hidden or shaded in a way so that a person wouldn’t get all of the information.
I know you practice your own particular brand of Mormonism, but my guess even with your own particular take on (Mormonism) my guess is you’d have trouble winning converts even with the average pew sitter.
Another good question is, “How can a person sit in a Christian church and not become born again?”
Concerning TjayT’s question . I do feel that a person that is a ” new babe ” in a Christian church
can be misled into joining the Mormon Church . Right now I know of those in my Church who
might see Mormonism as just another christian denomination and as such they could embrace
what the Missionaries them tell is the gospel etc. If I were to run into this type of person soon
after they joined the Mormon church would I look at them as not true believers , not saved?
I personally have to thread lightly here , I would be cautious about relegating them to be not
saved at that time. That being said I also know that ANYONE who sits in a Mormon Ward every
Sunday is under obligation to check out what Mormon leaders have taught about God/Jesus /
salvation beyond entry level information since Mormonism is rather famous for withholding
( or at least down-playing their “unique” doctrines ) information about doctrines that have a
direct bearing on a person’s salvation, i.e. who is God , Jesus, how is salvation received .Because
to embrace certain false doctrines can be lethal -Gal.1:8 ; 2Pt 2:1. So once a person who is a new
convert to Mormonism hears all the truth about what Mormon leaders have offered as spiritual
truth about God /salvation, then at that moment they have a huge decision to make — either
submit to Mormon leaders and their teachings or walk away . Mormon apostles have given
abundant evidence that they do not offer the true gospel nor the true God .
So you may ask, “How can someone sit in a Christian church/denomination and not get born again?”
There are a lot of Christian denominations that take that concept for granted. What I mean is that they figure if the person was baptized, say as an infant, went through confirmation and then participated in the other sacraments of that denomination, they have secured eternal life through the Church.
I had a number of relatives that belonged to a certain brand of Lutheranism and (I) attended their funerals. The sermon at the funeral was very straight forward in pointing out that the sacramental aspect of that denomination secured eternal life for the departed.
I succumbed to my wife’s wishes and consented to my daughter going through the confirmation process in a certain Lutheran denomination. After two years of instruction the students went through the ceremony. It was very good. All the points were covered as far as what the Gospel is. I was very impressed. Now I have no idea how many of those young people were born again as a result of their instruction and confirmation commitment.
The whole deal may have been a total blow-off to some who may have been doing it as a rite of passage to please the family and get twenty bucks from grandma at the family party afterwards.
However I know my daughter got what it was all about. But I spent a lot of time investing in the spiritual component of her life.
So there are a lot of aspects to this whole idea of repentance and conversion.
Very interesting point you made about the new believer in Christ. In the audio presentation on the first thread here, Chip Thompson and Bill McKeever make a point of the fact that Mormonism uses the same Christian terms but they aren’t forth coming regarding the differences in the definition.
So a new believer in Christ would think that it’s the same thing. In fact we hear stories all of the time about people who were in Mormon churches for years and didn’t catch on to the differences in the definitions.
I am confident if people do a side-by-side straight up comparison and check into the history of the Mormon church and the ever changing doctrinal program, they’d not choose Mormonism.
Even to the average person on the street, Mormonism is just too bizarre.
What is wrong with this statement?
We may believe in different things but we have faith in that belief. One thing that is absolutely true is that when we die only then will we know how correct our faith has been.
Falcon, I guess I’m trying to say that we need to be careful and not judge a person who sits in
the local Mormon Ward as automatically an unsaved individual. We don’t know the story
behind every person , that’s why I personally am not quick to judge etc . The thing we do know
is that Mormon leaders detour well meaning people into potentially accepting an imitation
gospel of salvation , and a false God . I once talked to a lady in a religion very similar to that of
Mormonism ( one prophet thru whom God restored His long lost fundamental truths through
etc) , she told me that even if her prophet taught false doctrine that since she was sincere
in following God’s arrangement for her by submitting to the prophet’s leadership , that
therefore God would not hold her accountable , just the prophet etc . How sad. I think that
Isa. 9:16 and Matt 15:14 speak to this type of rationale . Jesus warned us all to BEWARE of
false prophets—Matt 7:15 . False prophets can be “nice” individuals , so those sincere people
who walk through the doors of Mormon Wards every Sunday , beware .
The problem with your statement is what the end result will be if you get it wrong. This, “I’ll wait until I die to get the truth.” is a dangerous game to be playing, philosophical or not.
The Bible is very clear about who Jesus is and what the meaning of His death on the cross is. I’m not waiting until I die to see if that’s true or not. I don’t know of any other pathway to the Father except through Jesus Christ.
I’m not all that concerned about ancillary religious issues that people express opinions about. I can take it or leave it. But one thing I know and that is what God’s plan of salvation is and it’s clearly expressed in the Bible.
Mormonism makes God into something that He is not. Mormonism makes Jesus into something He is not. Mormonism has a totally different plan of salvation then what is expressed in the Bible. In order to make the Mormon scenario work, Joseph Smith had to declare the Bible a corrupted revelation. Once someone who calls himself a prophet can convince people of that the door is wide open for them to promote anything they want. There is no such thing as universal salvation that requires only that people believe in something, anything and it’s all OK. Just having faith in some nebulous concept of god and it’s all good won’t work.
The falseness of Mormonism and its prophets isn’t that difficult to figure out. There are all kinds of these religious false prophets with false gospels and revelations running around.
For people who are embracing them, waiting until they die to know the truth is a bad plan.
Gee falcon You’re reading something that is not there. It is a simply statement that is true. It has nothing to do with waiting till one dies it is what one finds out when they die.
So my answer is, if someone has repented and come to Christ in faith and has received the assurance of their salvation, been born again, I’d say it was impossible for the person to become a Mormon.
Many Mormons have a similer view of those that leave the LDS church. I find that interesting. I personally would be wary of that reasoning because I would think it would cast doubt on being able to ever know if you are truly saved. But that’s just me.
You said “So you may ask, “How can someone sit in a Christian church/denomination and not get born again?””
Not really. Back in my Anti-Christianity secular days I spent a bit of time in Christian churches and found them as lacking as the LDS churches of my youth. But again that’s just me. Maybe I’m not one of the predestined elect and I’ve been destined for hell from before the world was formed. Guess we’ll see 😉
So you want to wait until you die to find out if Mormonism is true? I’m not reading anything into your statement. This is what you said.
I think the topic of “election” is fascinating. Now this is one of the topics that I’m comfortable in saying that we’ll know after we die exactly what Paul is talking about in terms of election in Ephesians chapter one. It’s a topic that I like to ponder but the fact of the matter is a person’s position on this isn’t something that I’d label as “essential” Christian doctrine.
What is essential, however, is who a person thinks God is. If I remember right, you have this sort of meta-physical view of the gods that you’ve worked out. I would be more inclined to read the Bible where God reveals who He is and go with that.
He’s clearly told us He is “I am”. Jesus said He was “I am”. The whole point of the Hebrew religious experience was the belief in one God. That set them apart from their neighbors.
Jesus is God incarnate. Not a created being as Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses believe.
Now you can come up with your own point-of-view regarding who God is but when you stand before Him, will he recognize you as a person who has believed in Him?
I get it that it’s kind of fun being a rebel and sort of quirky and independent. I can appreciate the intellectual rush and the feeling of independence that comes with setting your own course on these matters.