The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (Mormonism)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints was started by a 14 year old farm boy named Joseph Smith. He claimed to be visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ out in the woods. They told him that all the churches on earth had become corrupt. Later, visitations from an angel named Moroni revealed to him that he would become the prophet of the restoration of the true church. The angel brought him gold plates, which he translated by looking into a hat. The document became the Book of Mormon.
Joseph Smith began to establish a structured church with leadership around him. He was the first Prophet, or President, of the LDS Church. 15 others have followed him. The growth of the LDS Church since the 1820s is due mostly to large family sizes and a dedication to missionary work. Today, there are just over 14,000,000 Mormons worldwide, and the membership has been doubling about every 20 years.
Is Mormonism Christian? This is the question that is so commonly asked, especially in the area that I live. To answer it appropriately we must distinguish between a particular person and a particular system. First off, any individual can be a Christian. Being a Christian is a matter of the person’s heart, and is irrespective of the person’s upbringing, background, and location he finds himself in.
With that said, even though certain Mormons may be Christians, that doesn’t mean the teachings of the LDS Church are the things that led them there. If a Mormon finds himself as a true Christian, the doctrines and teachings of the Mormon Church will begin to bother him. Sometimes, however, the fear of being abandoned by all the people close to you keeps the person from officially leaving the LDS Church. Sometimes the truth and reality is given more weight then whether they feel good and comfortable, and the person ends up leaving the LDS Church.
What do I mean when I say that the LDS doctrines and teachings don’t lead a person to true faith in Christ? Isn’t the LDS Church all about Christ? Jesus Christ is even in the title. Being in the title and being at the heart are you completely different things, and this is what I plan to show. LDS doctrines and teachings present a completely different God than the Bible teaches. It presents Jesus Christ, along with his purpose, much differently. The plan and purpose of salvation is worlds apart from Biblical Christianity. This is due to a skewed view of truth, coming from a false perspective of Scripture.
What is the LDS view of God? God was once a man on a different planet that had a father himself. Through good works and following the laws laid out by his God, he earned godhood himself (King Follett discourse). Now he is a man, about 6 feet tall, according to Joseph Smith’s first vision of him. He resides on a planet near Kolob, where the rotation of the planet takes 10,000 earth years (Abraham 3). Therefore God is not omnipresent, but an average sized body. He is not all knowing, because he is learning and progressing. He is not eternal, because he also had a physical father.
The Bible teaches of a much different God. God is omnipresent according to Psalm 139:7-9. God is all knowing according to Psalm 139:16 and 1 John 3:20. God is eternal. Psalm 90:2 says “from eternity to eternity, You are God”. The Bible says that God is incorporeal, he cannot be seen. 1st Timothy 6:16 calls God “the only One who has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom none of mankind has seen or can see.” (Joseph Smith could not have seen God the Father) John 4:24 says that God is spirit, Yet Mormon B.H. Roberts said we are wandering in darkness if we believe that God is without a body and immaterial.
Mormonism teaches a plurality of gods. Even the Trinity is taught to be 3 separate gods. Just as our Heavenly Father had a father and God, so we may also attain the same godhood as our God. LDS doctrine authority Bruce McConkie said “The Father is a glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same.” But Isaiah 43:10 says “No God was formed before Me, and there will be none after Me.” In Isaiah 44:6 God says “I am the first and I am the last, there is no god but me.” God clearly didn’t call a council of the gods because verse 8 says he doesn’t even know of any other god.
Furthermore, the LDS view of God is completely illogical. There would have to be and infinite regress of gods according to LDS doctrine. From my studies of the cosmological argument, I know that an infinite regress implies the actual existence of a physical infinite, which is impossible. A succession of events or physical attributes can never amount to infinity according to the definition of infinity.
There is also no logical standard for absolute morality within the LDS doctrine of God. There maybe other gods that have different preferences to the god of Earth. Who is to say what standard God should have? That standard that dictates what god ought to be would be the infinite, monotheistic God. As it appears in Mormonism, morality has to do with the preference of whoever happens to be God of that planet. If God gave over his authority to one of the other gods, would our structure of morality, right and wrong also change? If every God has the same exact structure of morality and preferences, then how does each maintain independence and individuality from the other gods? God, as explained in the Bible- infinite and eternal, the uncaused cause- is the only explanation for absolute origins and morality.
Now that we see the vast and profound difference between the God of Christianity and the LDS God, let’s look at another key difference: salvation. The Book of Mormon (the most authoritative writing according to Mormons), in 2nd Nephi 25:23, says that we are saved by grace “after all we can do”. Moroni 10:32 says that after we rid ourselves of all ungodliness, then is God’s grace sufficient for us. Bruce McConkie said that we do need the blood of Christ, “But it is received only on condition of faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end in keeping the commandments of God.”
The Mormon is striving to keep the law in order to merit for himself the grace needed for salvation and exaltation into the celestial kingdom (the highest of 3 levels of heaven). The Bible presents salvation much differently and warns about the danger seeking salvation through works of the law. Galatians 5:4 says “You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace!” Ephesians 2:8, 9 says it is “by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift- not from works, so that no one can boast.” Romans 4:5 says “But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares righteous the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness.” Jesus taught at least 7 times in the book of John that eternal life was for those that believe in him. The Bible clearly teaches salvation is by grace through faith, believing in Jesus Christ alone.
To summarize, Mormons may be Christians but Mormon doctrine is so far off from Christianity. The Bible teaches that God is eternal and unique, holy (nothing compares)! Jesus Christ is the third person of the Trinity, God the Son who took on flesh. He did this not to merit his own godhood, which he has had from all eternity, but to purchase our redemption, giving us the gift of being declared righteous before God. Thus we are saved by trusting in Him. We anticipate an eternity of knowledge and worship of God, not being God ourselves, ignoring the holiness and grace of the one true God.
If you are a Mormon reading this, I beg you to tears to seek truth. You have been lied to, and I can’t stand to see such kind and valuable people under such bondage. You are welcome to leave some inquiring comments.