Ten Reasons to be Mormon
A Christian Evaluation
Recently an LDS posted a Facebook link to her page giving reasons that a person should become LDS. It is a well thought out and heart felt list. She is no doubt sincere and not intentionally leading anybody down a bad path. Since this person’s list has already hit the attention of several of my friends, I figured it was a good opportunity for me to respond.
It is so easy to give abrupt and disingenuous responses, which can easily become the Christian’s tendency. What I support is to give well thought out responses that first glorify God, support truth (are Biblical) and are potentially persuasive.
Here are her claims with my responses.
“Jesus Christ is the center of our faith”
This claim is the thing that we are trying to determine. Having the name and being under the authority of the name are to completely different things. Christ Church in England is certainly far from being Christ-like. People with names like Chris, Christy, Christen, Jesus have no more propensity to be submitted to the truth as anybody else. Having Jesus Christ in the name is not enough to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is more pleased with that system than another.
What we need to determine is whether Jesus Christ really is at the center of the system of beliefs. I have heard that the message of Jesus actually goes quite untaught in LDS services. I believe that He is not at the center of the LDS faith because of the heretical errors about Jesus. They’ve taught that Jesus is the sexually conceived son of a physical God from another planet, he was not always God (neither was his father), he’s the spirit brother of Lucifer as well as the rest of us, earned godhood, we can potentially be equal with him. They teach his blood is efficacious “after all we can do”. I think I am being mild when I say that Jesus is not pleased with such error.
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21)
2. “God still speaks to the world through a prophet”
A couple verses should suffice to show that this is not the way that God intends the church to act presently.
Jesus, the Son, has eliminated the need to have a prophet as the voice for God on earth:
Hebrews 1:1-2: “Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son…”
The time of the prophets ended with John the Baptist:
Luke 16:16: “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed.”
Instead… Matthew 24:24: “False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”
3. “The Book of Mormon is MORE evidence of Christ”
How should I briefly evaluate what the Book of Mormon really is? What we have with the Bible is an unbroken chain of historicity all the way back to the actual events. We have archaeological attestation of it’s factuality and accuracy. We have widespread manuscripts of the early copies that assure of it’s consistency through time.
We have none of these with the Book of Mormon. Instead we have zero manuscripts, zero originals, zero archaeological support, no historical lineage that attest to it. I consider the Book f Mormon a writing in the same genera as the Gnostic writings of the second century- just 1600-1700 years later.
4. “No paid clergy”
I don’t see what is wrong about paying the people that work full time for the cause of Christ. It is, in fact, biblical that they get paid- 1 Timothy 5:17,18: “The elders who are good leaders should be considered worthy of an ample honorarium […] the worker is worthy of his wages.”
Certainly the criticism is toward the overly wealthy, greedy, TV “evangelists”. I don’t put myself in agreement with them and have a whole blog against their type of work. But their greed does not imply that no one therefore should get any wages for doing church related work.
With all the money circulating through the LDS church, some of it does hit the workers that dedicate a lot of their time. Though I agree that clergy should get paid, I am not entirely critical toward the ways that the LDS use their donations. Their aid programs are beneficial to a lot of people. Certainly their giving is generous and helpful to many people.
5. “Biggest missionary program EVER!”
I wonder how this appeal went over for all those years that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had the bigger missionary organization. Do number make it more true? Does might make right? Now it is commendable and courageous that these young men and women would dedicate 18 to 24 months of their young adult life in a foreign land to try to up church attendance. But it’s even more astounding the work that Jehovah’s Witnesses put in. I don’t think any mormon would admit that that makes them more likely to be true. I also don’t think it would be reasonable to say that as Mormonism grows bigger, it becomes truer.
At the end of this topic I would still argue that no organization has come close to the effect that missionaries and witnesses standing as simple Christians for the gospel of Jesus Christ have had. No group has endured such persecution and no message has so impacted the world.
6. “Death does NOT separate families”
The family unit of heaven is not like the family unit of earth.
Matthew 12:48-50: “Who is My mother and who are My brothers? And stretching out Hs hands toward His disciples, He said, here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, that person is My brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 12:24: Jesus told them, “Are you not deceived because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage”.
This wishful thinking stems from a heart that is more eager to behold the presence of familiar people in heaven than behold the presence of God.
Not that LDS temples resemble biblical temples in any way, but we no longer have a need for temples. Jesus is the fulfillment of the temple.
The temple was for making atoning sacrifices, which Jesus completed once and for all (Hebrews 9:12).
Matthew 12:6: “Something greater than the temple is here!”
There is a reason that the curtain in the temple was torn when Jesus was crucified. He broke down that barrier between sinful man and a pure, holy God.
Believers are the temple of the living God because God dwells in them (2 Corinthians 6:16)
There is deliberately no temple when God establishes His kingdom reign on earth- Revelation 21:22-23 (KJV)
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
8. “Authority from God”
The Word of God is the authority of God (both the Word, Jesus, and the word, Scripture)
2 Tim 3:16-17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
All authority on heaven and earth was given to Jesus (Matthew 28:18), not to a church, though Jesus distributed gifts as He saw fit.
9. “We aren’t perfect but we have the same goals”
Unfortunately, perfection is what Jesus commands if you are to earn your spot in heaven (Matthew 5:20). That’s why it is a healthy thing to admit if the gospel is to take effect in your life. It’s nice that you try to be good people, but attempting to please God through your good deeds is actually something that alienates you from God. “All who rely on the works of the law are under a curse” (Galatians 3:10).
It’s not by my own righteousness (Philippians 3:9).
Either you have to be perfect or someone has to be able to represent you as perfect. God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that we could have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21).
I think the goal of the Christian and the Mormon are different. The Christian wants to live a life living out a gratitude for grace while the Mormon lives a life under bondage of the law in hopes that grace may contribute. The Mormon’s top goal is an eternal family unit governing their own planet. The Christian’s top goal is to intimately know God (John 17:3).
10. “HAPPINESS FOREVER!”
Happiness is not a gauge for truth. Jesus was a man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3). Blessed are they that mourn (Matthew 5:4). Jesus never won people over to “happiness”. All of the disciples got tortured for their beliefs. 11 of the 12 were martyred. Not that the Christian isn’t filled with joy, but it is made most evident in a their brutal hardships.
I appreciated that the original blog went beyond simple appeals to emotion and actually made some truth claims. Claiming it was the one true church, etc. I hope my response, though whipped out rather quickly, has shed some light on the biblical and stance (and sometimes a personal, reasonable stance) on the ten topics originally given as reasons one should be a mormon.
I still think the claim for truth is still desperately lacking for the LDS at large after this. That’s because the LDS church largely hinges on an emotional appeal with recited catch phrases. There are many other strands of truth that go untouched by the LDS community. That’s because they are desperate to maintain their emotional comfort zone in the face of evidence to the contrary. The cost of truth is high my friends.