The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints Is NOT Jesus’ Church
The Truth about Mormonism
- On the front cover of Sports Illustrated is a picture of Jabari Parker considered to be “the best high school player since lebron james... but there’s something more important to him than nba stardom: HIS FAITH – he is a Mormon.
- Mitt Romney the expected nominee for the Presidency of the Republican Party made news when he a Mormon gave the commencement speech at Liberty University founded by Jerry Falwell founder of the University and Liberty Baptist Church and who called Mormonism a cult– one of the most conservative universities in America.
Mormonism is the fastest-growing religion in American history reports a U.S. News & World Report study. Last year the LDS sent 60,000 missionaries to 120 countries and won 306.000 converts. (PWB 11-24)
If you were here a couple of Sundays ago I defined a few words that are important – let me review them:
- A cult of Christianity is a group of people who claim to be Christian, yet embrace a particular doctrine or system of doctrines taught by an individual leader or group of leaders which denies one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the Bible.
- A cult is a group that deviates doctrinally from the host religion; They teach false doctrines
- I would characterize Mormonism is a cult founded upon the teachings of Joseph Smith (1805-1844). There are some 100 Mormon sects; the 2 largest are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS for short) – headquartered in Salt Lake City and the Community of Christ, formally called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, headquartered in Independence Missouri.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons qualify as cults of Christianity because they claim to be Christian – they claim to be the only true Christian group on earth.
- A sect is a religious body that has broken from a larger denomination. They claim to adhere to the basic Christian doctrine but reject the organized group of believers. Sect can refer to a genuine Christian group that has distanced themselves from the organized Christian Church.
- The word Occult should not be confused with the word cult. The word occult comes from a Latin word mean hidden or secret.
- The occult normally is classified into 3 specific areas: spiritism, fortune-telling, and magic.
- Occultic practices may include the use of accessories such as Ouija boards and tarot cards.
- Heresies are factions or division over a doctrine or teaching. These teaching oppose the essential of the Christian faith.
- I believe it is important for Christian to understand Mormonism because of the influence it is having on our culture. The Mormon Church has power, wealth and influence.
- It is the 4th largest religion in the US.
- It maintains over 60,000 missionaries who actively engage in proselytizing (sheep stealing) activities throughout the world
- The estimated gross income per year is $5.9 billion
- Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney claims to be a Mormon.
- How did Mormonism originate and how important are the supernatural revelation to the founding and sustain of the Mormon Church?
- Like almost all religions Mormonism claims divine inspiration as its source. Mormons argue that their religion was divinely instituted in 1820 when God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith Jr. in a dramatic vision.
- Joseph Smith was born Dec. 23, 1805, the fourth child of Lucy and Joseph Smith Sr. His father was a self-proclaimed mystic, who spent most of his life digging for buried treasure. He was particularly interested in digging for Captain Kid’s treasure. Joseph Smiths mother was given to extreme religious views and most trivial superstitions. Joseph Smith Sr. was attempting to make his own treasure and was arrested for counterfeiting money.
- In 1820 at the age of 15, living in Manchester, New York Smith proclaims that a religious revival took place in which he participated. Smith was trying to decipher what church denomination was the most accurate according to the Bible. During an intensive prayer time he alleges that God the Father and God the Son materialized and spoke to him in a neighboring wood.
- Smith asking God for guidance on which denomination’s teaching was correct. He quotes James 1:5 James 1:5 (NIV) 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
- He believed that God answered his prayer that he should not join any of them. “… for they were all wrong, and the Personage who addressed me [presumably] Jesus Christ said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight: that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines and commandments of men, having a form of godliness…”
- In his book the "Pearl Of Great Price" the two personages took a rather dim view of the Christian Church, and for that matter the world at large, and announced that the restoration of true Christianity was needed, that he had been chosen to launch the new dispensation.
- On September 21, 1823 Smith wrote that he was visited by an angel who told him where a set of gold plates were – they eventually became the Mormon scriptures known as the Book of Mormon.
- These tablets told of a tribe of Jewish people known as the Nephites who had migrated to America in ancient times.
- Smith reported that he had received 135 direct revelations from God – helping the new movement to solidly grow.
- He saw many spirits of the dead saints of the early church like Peter, James, and John the Baptist.
- He used peep stones – mystical stones that look underground for buried treasures. This kind of practices border on the occult – especially using revelations from the spirit world and devices to find his tablets.
- On Sept. 21, 1823, at age 18, Joseph Smith Jr. had his second vision in which, the messenger Moroni an Angel appeared unto him and told him where Golden Plates and a breastplate, which contains the Urim and the Thummin, were buried in a stone box.
- He had four other appearances and eventually translated these tablets from “Reformed Egyptian” into the Book of Mormon in 1830. My friend Carl Walker reminded me that after he translated the golden tablets, he was ordered to destroy them, and that while translating them, if anyone else looked upon them they would die.
- Smith also claimed that John the Baptist appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery and anointed them with the Aaronic Priesthood. They then baptized each other for the remission of sins. Several months later, Peter, James and John reportedly appeared physically to them and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon them.
- After moving around because of persecution over their practice of polygamy, Smith was arrested and later killed by the militia in Carthage, Illinois in 1844. A struggle for leadership ensued, with Brigham Young becoming the next president and prophet. He led them westward where they founded Salt Lake City.
- According to their own statistics as published in their official magazine called, “Ensign,” as of 2009, there were 14 million Mormons meeting in about twenty-five thousand congregations. In addition, they have around 60,000 full-time missionaries and 130 Temples. With a presence in over 140 nations, some have said that if Mormonism continues to grow at its present rapid rate, there will be five hundred million Mormons by the year 2040.
- If Smith’s revelations deny, contradict, and oppose the Bible then whatever their source, they cannot possibly have originated in God. And if they did not originate in God, they have no divine authority and should not followed. Every one of us has the responsibility to be certain that what he or she believes and maintains is really from God.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV) 1 Test everything. Hold on to the good.
- 1 John 4:1 (NIV) 1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
- Basic beliefs of Mormonism: There is so much material as it relates to Mormon beliefs that I’m going to have to just pick a few areas and summarize. I think it will become readily apparent that Mormon doctrine differs greatly from biblical Christianity.
A. Authority: Mormons consider the Bible to be very important, though they use only the King James Version, and then only if it’s their “corrected version.” They also follow the “Book of Mormon,” “The Doctrine and Covenants” and “The Pearl of Great Price” which are revelations for the Americas.
1. Let me quote from the beginning of the Book of Mormon to show the place they give to their sacred writings: “The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.” This is what Joseph Smith said a few paragraphs later, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
2. Everything is filtered first through the Book of Mormon. This book even refers to Christians as fools for only believing in the Bible. Listen to this quote from 2 Nephi 29:6 – “Thou fool, that shall say: ‘A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible…’”
3. A pastor who lives in Salt Lake City that deals with Mormons wrote about how difficult it is to appeal to the Bible because Mormons follow other writings and the “Living Prophet,” which is the President of the Church. The President of the Church speaks infallibly and authoritatively when addressing doctrinal and church matters because they believe God is giving continual revelation to him and through him to the church.
a. An example of this is what happened in 1978 when the head prophet declared a new “revelation” that allowed African American men to be ordained to the priesthood, reversing a doctrine that had been in place for 140 years.
- Ezra Taft Benson, the 13th President of the Mormon Church, said this in 1980: “The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.” That would be not only the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, but also the Bible.
- Smith said he found the plates on which the Book of Mormon is written – though it has been changed many times as prophecy are not fulfilled. He said that the angel had forbidden him to show the plates to anyone until they had been translated from their original "reformed Egyptian" language. Smith dictated a translation using a seer stone in the bottom of a hat, which he placed over his face to view the words written within the stone. Smith published the translation in 1830 as the Book of Mormon.
- Smith eventually obtained testimonies from eleven men, known as the Book of Mormon witnesses, who said they had seen the plates. After the translation was complete, Smith said he returned the plates to their angelic guardian. Therefore, if the plates existed, they cannot now be examined. Latter Day Saints believe the account of the golden plates as a matter of faith, while critics often assert that either Smith manufactured the plates himself or that the Book of Mormon witnesses based their testimony on visions rather than physical experience. Sounds a little secret code activities wnet on here.
- If you want to look at the earliest writing of the Holy Bible you can. The difference between the Book of Mormon the Bible is the secrecy and hidden tablets. The Scripture is available in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic to translate.
- 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NIV) 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work
- Revelation 22:18-19 (NLT) 18 And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.
- God the Father: Joseph Smith said this in his “King Follet” sermon, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man.” He is married to a physical wife and has “progressed” to godhood as one of many gods. Joseph Smith said it like this in his own words: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…” (“Doctrine and Covenants,” 130:22).
- The Bible clearly teaches that God is spirit, lives outside of space or time, is eternal and unchanging, and is triune, that is, one being but three persons.
- By the way, they teach the lie that angels come from people. The truth is that angels were created as angels, a separate order of creation from people.
- If you take a close look at Mormonism teaches polytheism – plural gods. You can become a god according to Mormonism. Our Judeo-Christian Scripture teaches in One Triune God.
- Isaiah 43:10 (NIV) …. so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.
- Hosea 11:9 (NIV) … For I am God, and not man-- the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.
- Jesus: Mormons believe that Jesus is the elder brother of Satan and He lived a sinless life as a model for how others can earn their own exaltation. They believe that Jesus was also married.
- Jesus Christ is God; He is eternal and therefore was never created – in fact the Scripture is clear that He was involved in creating the universe (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17; Isaiah 9:6)
- They believe that Jesus was married to Mary and Martha
- Simply the Mormons do not believe in a biblical Jesus.
- Sin: Mormons believe that Adam’s sin was actually a good thing because it fulfilled God’s purpose of populating the earth. They don’t talk much about sin, preferring words like bad habits, mistakes, and poor judgments. According to their doctrine, Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins (“Journal of Discourses,” Vol. 3, p. 247, 1856).
- Really it is kind of neat not to have sin – we do not need to repent or confess. We can just do our own thing without any accountability.
- But what do we with all the passages that talk sinful acts?
- Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV) 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
- Salvation: Exaltation is attained by good works, not by grace alone: “We know it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). The Mormons believe we receive heaven, one of 3, by our good deed. And this is from Joseph Smith’s “King Follet” sermon: “This then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves.”
- Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
- John 6:47 (NIV) 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
- We cannot earn salvation – it is a gift of grace given to us that we must accept.
- Afterlife: People either go to spirit prison or to paradise after they die. Faithful Mormon men will be exalted and some will become gods, ruling and populating their own earths. Women can be exalted only if sealed in marriage to a Mormon man. If a man and woman are “sealed” in the Mormon Temple then when they die they will be with each other in the afterlife, and once they become gods, they will have spirit children and populate their own planet: “We were first begotten as spirit babies in heaven and then born naturally on earth” (“Journal of Discourse,” Vol. 4, p. 218).
- According to Mormon teaching the lukewarm make it – Jesus says that our luke- warmness makes Him sick – He is about ready spit us out. (Rev. 3:16)
- The highest level is for those that have done enough right things – they have earned the right. We can never earn salvation.
- The true Church. From the very beginning, Joseph Smith believed that all churches were apostate, an abomination and corrupt and that his church was the only one true church.
- Here’s how it’s worded in Doctrine and Covenants 1:30 – “And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased…”
- The Christian Church is the Body of Christ. It is not exclusively the Methodist or Baptist or the Roman Catholic. We are called to be the Church of Jesus Christ through His grace we become part of His family.
- Authentic Christianity is coming under the loving Lordship of Jesus Christ and being joined together in a community of imperfect people who are trying to live a new life in a new way.
If I had to distill their doctrine down to one sentence, it would be something like this: They lower God and lift up man. I would put them squarely outside the biblical frame of Christianity and classify them as a cult. I know that sounds strong but I say that for three reasons.
• They have an exalted and unquestionable leader.
• They have special writings which are equal to or above the Bible.
• They claim to be the only group that has the truth.
“The Facts on the Mormon Church” by John Ankerberg, John Weldon, & Dillon Burroughs
Mormonism Explained” by Andrew Jackson
“Reasoning From the Scriptures with Mormons” by Ron Rhodes.
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.