Aerial View of LDS Church in Washington DC
Latter Day Saints Temple in Washington DC, Where Romney Would Likely Attend if He Becomes President

Mormonism is in the news like never before. The third biggest talker in the Land, Glenn Beck is a Mormon. The presumed GOP nominee for president, Mitt Romney is a Mormon. One of his potential running mates, Marco Rubio, used to be a Mormon, before converting to Catholicism.

Many Christians through the years have designated “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” (LDS) as a “cult.”  In the past, when used by evangelicals, the term had a fairly general meaning: any religion, which professed to be Christian, but which denied certain foundational doctrines of the church: Jesus Christ and his uniqueness as the only Son of God (fully divine and fully human), the Trinitarian Godhead, and the sufficiency of the Bible as our only Scriptural source of religious Truth.

Of course, some of these cults were founded by individuals who raised themselves up as latter day prophets, such as Joseph Smith (Mormonism) , Charles Taze Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science) and L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology), to name a few. These cults often believed that they were the only remnant left of the true Christian church.

But thing changed after Jim Jones murdered or helped over 900 members of his personality cult to commit suicide in the fall of 1978 by drinking “Kool-Aid” laced with poison.  About 40 members of another cult, Heavens’ Gate, killed themselves in a similar manner in 1997. The word cult, therefore, took on a much narrower meaning, having little to do with religious beliefs, and everything to do with strangeness. The word cult then became associated with brainwashing, doomsday fears, blind devotion to a single leader, communal and cloistered living, and often suicidal and/or anti-government tendencies.

Today this presents a problem, not because the Bible has changed, but because the connotation of the word has changed. The problem with using the word “cult” now is that Mormons currently have none of the latter characteristics associated with the word cult. They are not “strange” in the ways often associated with cults (in its new definition). And they make Evangelicals look silly when they use that word. So how should Christians identify Mormonism, if not as a cult? Instead, I suggest we should use phrases like “false religion” or “false doctrines” and call their leaders “false prophets”.

And indeed, in spite of the sleight of hand used by Mormonism’s leaders and many of its followers in trying to portray Mormonism as the same in substance as historical or Biblical Christianity, it is indeed a false religion. They deny all of the essential doctrines of Scripture: the Trinity, the eternality and divinity of Christ, the Bible as the only Word of God (adding the Book of Mormon and other writings), the belief in One God (they believe every good person will become God), and salvation by Grace Alone.

Just as a swindler can dress up in a three-piece suit to fool his victims (does anybody still wear those today?), we must not be misled. The Bible calls false apostles “angels of light” who are yet full of darkness.

86 comments
  1. Here are the
    characteristics of a cult:
    • Small? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) has 14 million members in 132
    countries. In America, there are more Mormons than there are Presbyterians or
    Jews.
    • Excessive devotion? Mormons are devoted to the Savior, but in appropriate
    measure He would approve of.
    • Unethical techniques? Ask the pie-throwers to name one.
    • Control by isolation? Even if Mormons wanted to, this would be impossible
    with 14 million members in 28,000 congregations throughout the world.
    • Control by threats? Again, evidence? Mormon missionaries may be exuberant,
    but do not threaten.
    • Dependency on the group? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is just the
    opposite. Mormons want members to be self-reliant and independent so they in
    turn can help others.
    • Powerful group pressure? Only if that’s the way the critics prefer to define
    love.
    • Strange? Guilty as charged. Mormons plead guilty to all the strange things
    that were done by Christians in New Testament times that were lost during the
    great falling away in the aptly named Dark Ages, among them temple worship, baptism
    by immersion by the father of the family, vicarious baptism for the dead,
    definition of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as separate but united in
    purpose, salvation requiring both grace and obedience to commandments, prophets
    and apostles, unpaid clergy, and continual revelation to guide His Church.

    1. You didn’t read the post, did you? Typical copy and paste job. It may not be a cult by the definition that you use, but it is a false religion. 

      1. David,  that is your opinion. Why not let God decide
        if evangelicalism is a false religion or not.

        We claim the
        privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of our own conscience,
        and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they
        may.

      2. They are “allowed the privilege” just as I am allowed to warn them that their doctrines are the original false religion proffered to Adam and Eve in the garden by Satan when he said they would become as gods.

      3. So.. you are saying that Satan was wrong in telling them they would become as Gods?    David.. what Bible are you reading?  If I open my Bible to Genesis 3.. verses 22 thru 24 this is what I read:

        22 ¶And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

        “The man is become as one of us”..  what???  Like God?  Satan did tell them the truth..  at least about this..  where he lied was in the fact that he told them they would not die.

      4. Nice bait and switch. God had forbidden them from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because this was a BAD thing. Mormonism thinks it was a good thing, a means to become God.

         It is quite apparent from the text you cite, that God is describing intimate knowledge of good and evil, KNOWING evil was a cursed thing – it means man experienced EVIL. He in know way has in mind the idea that men , because of the fall, would now become gods who would create their own worlds. Regardless, you have posited that Satan was speaking the truth and God was lying.

      5. 29 For verily, verily
        I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention
        is not of me, but is of the devil,
        who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to
        contend with anger, one with another.

        30 Behold, this is
        not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another;
        but this is my doctrine, that such things should
        be done away.

        31 Behold, verily,
        verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

        32 And this is my doctrine,
        and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record
        of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost
        beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father
        commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

        33 And whoso
        believeth in me, and is baptized,
        the same shall be saved;
        and they are they who shall inherit
        the kingdom of God.

        34 And whoso
        believeth not in me, and is not baptized,
        shall be damned.

        35 Verily, verily, I
        say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the
        Father; and whoso believeth
        in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of
        me, for he will visit him with
        fire and with the Holy Ghost.

        36 And thus will the
        Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost
        will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the
        Holy Ghost are bone.

        37 And again I say
        unto you, ye must repent, and become
        as a little
        child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.

        38 And again I say
        unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child,
        or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

        39 Verily, verily, I
        say unto you, that this is my doctrine,
        and whoso buildeth
        upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates
        of hell shall not prevail against them.

        40 And whoso shall declare
        more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of
        evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy
        foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods
        come and the winds beat upon them.

        41 Therefore, go forth unto this people,
        and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

      6. David,
        It appears you are just trying to stir up contention. Why are you fighting against Jesus Christ? I recommend we remember the words of the Savior in 3 Nephi Chapter 11 versus 29-33

      7. We read the article.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cult as the article says, but using false sectarian notions, and man made 4th century creeds to determine if a religion is false or not show a lack of understanding of the scriptures.

      8. You didn’t say it was an article, you posted as if you had written it.  The “notions” as you call them are not sectarian, but held in common by all Christians since the time of the Apostles. I find it (almost) humorous that a Mormon would act like the gathering of Saints to put in writing a summary of what they already believed is a “Creed” (as if that were a bad thing) when they rely on Joseph Smith who claims to have had a private meeting with God in the 19th Century, and rely on modern day “apostles” whose viewpoints change with the wind.

  2. Do Mormons believe in the Trinity?Mormons most commonly use the term “Godhead” to refer to the Trinity. The first article of faith for the Latter-day Saints reads: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” Latter-day Saints believe God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one in will and purpose but are not literally the same being or substance, as conceptions of the Holy Trinity commonly imply.

  3. Are Mormons Christian?Yes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church but is neither Catholic nor Protestant. Rather, it is a restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ as originally established by the Savior in the New Testament of the Bible. The Church does not embrace the creeds that developed in the third and fourth centuries that are now central to many other Christian churches.
    Latter-day Saints believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all mankind from death and their individual sins. Jesus Christ is central to the lives of Church members. They seek to follow His example by being baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17), praying in His holy name (see Matthew 6:9-13), partaking of the sacrament (see Luke 22:19-20), doing good to others (see Acts 10:38) and bearing witness of Him through both word and deed (see James 2:26). The only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.

  4. What do Mormons believe about God?God is often referred to in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as our Heavenly Father because He is the Father of all human spirits and they are created in His image (see Genesis 1:27). It is an appropriate term for God who is kind and just, all wise and all powerful. God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Godhead or Trinity for Mormons. Latter-day Saints believe God is embodied, though His body is perfect and glorified.

  5. What Are the Core Beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
    The founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, wrote, “The fundamental principles of our religion are … concerning Jesus Christ that He died was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
    In addition to the above, Latter-day Saints believe unequivocally that:
    1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving Heavenly Father.
    2. Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever.
    3. Christ’s original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern times.
    1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving Heavenly Father
    Latter-day Saints believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all mankind from their sins (see John 3:16). God is a loving Heavenly Father who knows His children individually, hears and answers their prayers, and feels compassion toward them. Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate beings but along with the Holy Ghost (Spirit) are one in will, purpose and love.
    Latter-day Saints worship Jesus Christ as their Savior and Redeemer. He is central to the lives of Church members. They accept His grace and mercy; they seek to follow His example by being baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17), praying in His holy name (see Matthew 6:9-13), partaking of the sacrament (communion) (see Luke 22:19-20), doing good to others (see Acts 10:38) and bearing witness of Him through both word and deed (see James 2:26).
    2. Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever.
    Latter-day Saints believe that God has a plan for His children to return to live with Him and become “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). For members of the Church, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is central to God’s plan for our happiness. Although humans make mistakes and sin, Mormons view this mortal life as an opportunity to progress and learn. By following Christ’s teachings, embracing His mercy and accepting baptism and other sacraments, Mormons believe they are cleansed from sin through Christ’s grace and can return to live with God and their families forever.
    3. Christ’s original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern times.
    Members believe that Christ established His Church anciently on the “foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20; see also Ephesians 4:11-14) with “one faith, [and] one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). They believe this foundation of “one faith” was gradually undermined after the death of Christ’s apostles. As a result, the original foundation of authority to lead the Church was lost and needed to be restored (see Acts 3:21). Today, members preach that the Lord has indeed restored His Church with living apostles and prophets, starting with the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith.
    Church members understand that families are the most important unit of society. Accordingly, those who follow Christ and keep His commandments are promised to live with their families forever in divinely instituted eternal relationships.


    1. Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved ”

      Then Christ really saves no one, and people really only save themselves.

      1. David… Without Christ.. there is NO salvation.  If there is NO salvation.. there is NO opportunity for Salvation.  We are then all lost.

        The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians understood man’s part in his Salvation when he said:

        12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

        We don’t have the power to save ourselves… but though Christ and his atonement, by our obedience to the commandments of God.. we can be saved.

      2. You ignore the next verse. How is that we “work out” our salvation. It is because it has already been worked into us:

        “For it is God which worketh in you both
        to will and to do of his good pleasure”

  6. David Shedlock, you got the name of the church wrong.  Did you bother to use a style guide?  The name of the church is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

    1. Nitpicking will get you nowhere. Where did I get the name of the church wrong? I clearly identified the name of the church in the article (and its abbreviation). You used the term “Mormons” throughout your article.

  7. David Shedlock,
    “Latter Day Saints Temple in Washington DC, Where Romney Would Likely Attend if He Becomes President”
    Wrong, LDS do not “Attend” the Temple.  That is not the purpose of the Temple.  Weekly Sunday worship services are held at chaples for that purpose. The Temple is closed on Sundays.

  8. You falsely claimed LDS “deny the eternality and divinity of Christ”.  Book of Mornon 2 Nephi 26:12
    12 And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God;

    Christ (a Greek word) and Messiah (a Hebrew word) mean “the anointed.” Jesus Christ is the Firstborn of the Father in the spirit (Heb. 1:6; D&C 93:21). He is the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh (John 1:14; 3:16). He is Jehovah (D&C 110:3–4) and was foreordained to his great calling before the creation of the world. Under the direction of the Father, Jesus created the earth and everything on it (John 1:3, 14; Moses 1:31–33). He was born to Mary at Bethlehem, lived a sinless life, and made a perfect atonement for the sins of all mankind by shedding of his blood and giving his life on the cross (Matt. 2:1; 1 Ne. 11:13–33; 3 Ne. 27:13–16; D&C 76:40–42). He rose from the dead, thus assuring the eventual resurrection of all mankind. Through Jesus’ atonement and resurrection, those who repent of their sins and obey God’s commandments can live eternally with Jesus and the Father (2 Ne. 9:10–12; 21–22; D&C 76:50–53, 62).
    Jesus Christ is the greatest being to be born on this earth. His life is the perfect example of how all mankind should live. All prayers, blessings, and priesthood ordinances should be done in his name. He is the Lord of lords, King of kings, the Creator, the Savior, and the God of the whole earth.
    Jesus Christ will come again in power and glory to reign on the earth during the Millennium. At the last day, he will judge all mankind (Alma 11:40–41; JS—M 1).

  9. Why Mormons do not believe in Trinity- The word Trinity does not appear in the Bible. And many of its conclusions are not biblical.
    Gnostic Christians who were deemed apostate by some branches of Christianity as it formed after the death of the Apostles believed that matter was evil this idea crept into the formulation of the Nicene Creed.
    Gnostics believed God was a transcendent being and if Christ was equal to the Father then he had to be transcendent also. Thus they were of the same substance.  Hence they inserted the doctrine and beliefs into Christian doctrine.  How did Christ come to earth and take physical body and remain transcendent?  This is where the creed becomes difficult to say it came from the Bible.
    Gnostic doctrines were eventually determined apostate and John earlier   spoke against them in his last 3 works.
    Christ and his Apostles never taught the Nicene Creed, it was formed by a council of bishops and other leaders but not with apostolic authority. It was convened by a murderous pagan named Constantine who had absolutely no authority to assemble it. Constantine did his part to form the creed.
    This was all done after revelation had ceased and 300 years after the death of Christ. The Bible was not even a completely assembled book at the time. Since creeds formulation there have been many versions of it; each church revising it to fit their particular structure of belief. A Catholic encyclopedia notes that Trinitarianism doesn’t really appear until the last 25 years of the 4th century:
    The 3rd ecumenical council declared it unlawful to change the creed. Protestants did that. How can they explain the right to change it? At what point did they stop accepting Catholic doctrine?
    On top of all this there are many New Testament scripture that do not support the NC. To mention a few;  Acts 7:55-56; Matt. 3:16; Rom. 1:20; John 17:3; Rom. 1:20; act 1:11; John 17:21-22; John 20:17; Heb. 1:8-9.
    Mormons are called non Christian because we don’t accept the doctrine of the Trinity as found in the Nicene Creed, we will not call you non Christian because you do. Quit the name calling. We believe in Christ with all our hearts.

  10. Religious hatred is still religious hatred whether you use the word cult, false religion, etc.

    Trying to clean up your vocabulary and modernize your hatred of faiths that do not follow your man made doctrine of the pagan roman emperors and there theological puppets does not make it any less wicked.

  11. My, how “Christian” of you!  Look, you don’t have to agree with Mormons, but how about showing them just a little respect?  Say they aren’t “orthodox.”  Say they’re “wrong.”  Heck, even insist they are all going to Hell, if that’s what you believe. But don’t deny them their sincerely held Christianity!  The Mormons I know are sincere followers of Jesus Christ, which is more than can be said of folks who wear themselves out criticizing and dismissing those who have different theological beliefs from their own.

    1. I don’t know what “don’t deny them their sincerely held Christianity” means. Did I say they were not sincere? You can be sincere and be wrong. You can be insincere and be right. What was at issue was not sincerity, but truth. The Mormon religion is demonstrably false if one holds to the authority of the Bible.

      1. David,
        It appears you are just trying to stir up contention. Why are you fighting against Jesus Christ? I recommend we remember the words of the Savior in 3 Nephi Chapter 11 versus 29-33

  12. David,
         You actually know little about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Mitt Romney will not attend worship services in the Washington, D. C. Temple.  It is closed on Sundays. 

  13. Latter-day Saints (Mormons or “LDS”) not Christian? False religion? Leaders are false prophets?

    Let us refer to the words of Jesus Christ himself as recorded in Matthew 7:15 – 20:

     15  ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16  Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    Let’s look at the fruits of Mormonism. Do Latter-days Saints work hard to build solid communities and to support principles of democracy and tolerance (charity). Yes
    Do Latter-day Saints seek education and personal development to the fullest? Yes
    Do 
    Latter-day Saints  achieve significantly in science, government, education, and all other worthy human endeavors? Yes
    Do Latter-day Saints do humanitarian service? The Church’s Humanitarian service is second to none, as reflected in recent responses to major disasters worldwide.
    Do Latter-day Saints pay a full tithing? Faithful members pay a full 10% of their income, which is used to further the Lord’s work in the world.

    Latter-day Saints abide by the 13th Article of Faith, which states: We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. Indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul: We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. 

    Again – “By their fruits ye shall know them.” By Jesus own standard,
    this should settle the matter.

    1. It does not settle the matter at all. It is clear that by fruit, Jesus meant truth, not good works.

    2. Jon,

      “Faithful members pay a full 10% of their income, which is used to further the Lord’s work in the world.”

      How do you know what the tithing you pay is used for?

  14. You have not done your homework about members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  You are off base on many aspects.  You think you know what Mormons believe but your ignorance, hatred and bigotry is screaming so loud it is deafening.
    When are you going to start in on the Jehovah Witnesses, Hindus, Buddists, Shintos, and the myriad other religions.  We have the right under our Constitution to believe as we may.  You will never extinguish Mormonism.  You cannot stop the work of God.

    1. Both tares and wheat grow until the return of the Lord. Of course, the weeds of Mormon doctrine may continue to grow until the Coming of the Lord. 

      1. David,
        It appears you are just trying to stir up contention. Why are you fighting against Jesus Christ? I recommend we remember the words of the Savior in 3 Nephi Chapter 11 versus 29-33

  15. Presbyterians are famous Calvinists, as is Shedlock   (sans the famous part ). Talk about someone that can be called a false prophet.  Calvin consented to the murders of those who did not see it his way. Calvin taught God selected only a few of his creations to be saved, the rest he is to burn in the fires of hell for eternity. I guess for the fun of it. How can Shedlock worship a man like this?  I agree when thinking of Presbyterians one should not think of the word “cult” but something much more dangerous.
    Get the point Shedlock anyone can make ill of an others faith.   

    1. I do not claim prophet status for John Calvin nor did he, whatever his faults may or may not have been otherwise.

      So are you suggesting God can’t save anybody or that all of the Scriptures where God talks about eternal punishment aren’t true?  

  16. David,
         You belong to “Trinity” Presbyterian Reformed Church.  Your religion is a false religion.  Your “trinity” of one substance, a fiction arising in the 4th century and created by men, is not only non-Biblical, it denies the resurrection of Christ.  Christ remains a glorified resurrected being of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39) and this “same” Jesus will return to earth (Acts 1:11).  He has not died again or transformed Himself into something different or entered some other person’s body.  Your religion has no written theology,even a non-Biblical one, that can account for your claim that He transformed himself from a physical resurrected being of flesh and bones into some type of incomprehensible entity which you cannot logically explain.  You are merely a modern day doubting Thomas and need to figuratively place your hands in His hands and against His side.  You only claim to believe the Bible.  Your next most damnable non-Biblical heresy is that we are saved entirely by grace.  If that were true, all people would be saved.  All people are indeed resurrected, but not all people will be relieved of punishment for their sins.  Grace freely presents the opportunity for all of us to be freed from the effects of our sins, but that opportunity is lost if we do nothing toward our own salvation.      

    1. You are making it up as you go. There is so much hypocrisy found in your argument. In the 4th century Christians codified what they already believed in a “creed.” Meanwhile, you don’t bat an eyelash when one man claims 15 centuries later to get all kinds of new doctrine no one had ever heard of before.

  17. David Shelock,
    About me.  God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, 5 children and 6 grandchildren.  I have given 2 years of my life as a missionary promoting the word of God in 4 foreign countrie.s  I have served in multiple positions (all without any compensation, i.e. money), had numerous spiritual manifestations that Mormonism is God’s work.  Jesus is my Savior and Redeemer. 
    I have served in the Boy Scout program, coached many youth sports teams and volunteered for many charitable programs.  I have given monetary donations to help the poor and needy for over 50 years.
    You may claim that I am part of a cult but as the scriprtures say, by thier fruits ye shall know them.
    Nothng you can say can change what God has manifested to me.
    We understand that Mormonism is perceived as a threat to you and your kind but we cannot or will not deny the truth of things that have been spiritually manifested to millions of us.
    You cannot kick against the pricks, David.

  18. Nice try, but to call Mormonism a false religion because of your stated doctrines would be to call early Christianity false as well.  The Trinity is a 4th century contrivance of man.  The Bible did not exist then–they believed many books of scripture that are not included in todays Bible.  The divination of man was so common back then that there are some Evangelicals today calling for a reestablishment of that belief.  We DO believe in the eternality and divinity of Christ, and we DO believe in salvation by grace–just not as alone as you would like it to be.


    1. The divination of man was so common back then”

      Of course it was common. It has been taught by Satan since his appearance in the garden of Eden.

      1.  Funny you mention the Garden of Eden, where the serpent beguiled Eve with a promise that she would “become like God, knowing good and evil”

        Genesis 3:5
        5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

        But you evangelical types who use this to condemn mormons always stop reading.  The same chapter continues:

        Genesis 3:22
        22 ¶And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

        Interesting.

      2. It is interesting, because God said they had already become like God, in one way – knowledge of good and evil. And this was a description of a curse, not a blessing. They now had the intimate knowledge of evil.

      3. That’s not what the scripture says, it says that God had to separate Adam and Eve from the Garden as punishment. God gave them the punishment. The knowledge was not the punishment.

      4. No, the action of wanting to be like God was evil, they obtained it in one way only: a certain relation to evil.  Indeed, the punishment was banishment from the garden,

      5. So, the commandment to “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48) is in error?

        Or what about “now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) Did you catch that? WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM. But you say that is evil. I really wish evangelicals would read their Bible.

  19. Perfect stated Stephen Buck.

    Protestants that believe in the Trinity are following Catholic doctrine and rejecting their own belief that apostolic authority had already been taken from the earth. In other words they are 100% pure hypocrites on the issue of the Trinity.

    The Catholic have the right to change biblical teachings since they do not believe that apostolic authority has been taken from the earth. The Pope is STILL the mouthpiece of God by their beliefs.

    The Protestants have no authority or claim to authority and to claim that the bible gives them authority is like saying that because I have a law book I am a Judge or a Sheriff or because I have a Phone Book I am from the Phone Company.

    And by the definition of Cult is Webster’s dictionary All the Protestants and Catholics are members of a cult:

    Definition of CULT

    1: formal religious veneration : worship

    Or are you cultist Catholics and Protestants and Evangelicals claiming you do not have a “formal religious veneration”?

  20. David,

    You sound just like the Jews of old who continually fought against the Apostles and their “new” teaching.

    “But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.” Acts 17:13

    Just as the Jews have clung to the traditions of their fathers… so do you. As the Lord has set his hand the 2nd time to prepare the world for his 2nd coming, there will be those who will fight the Lord, his word, and his Messengers. Jesus Christ warned his Apostles about what to expect when teaching the truth that was different from what the people had been taught.

  21. >>
    essential doctrines of Scripture: the Trinity, the eternality and divinity of Christ, the Bible as the only Word of God (adding the Book of Mormon and other writings), the belief in One God (they believe every good person will become God), and salvation by Grace Alone.<<

    None of those things are really Biblical, except for the divinity of Christ, and the belief in one God, and we do believe those things. We do not believe we will become God, we believe we will be as God is, whatever that entails. 

    The word "trinity" appears no where in the Bible. The concept of the trinity as explained in the creeds is not in the Bible. 

    The Bible says nothing about the Bible. When the books of the Bible were being written, there was no such thing as the Bible. I believe God can add to His word when ever He wants.

    We are not a false religion. We are a real religion. We are just as real as any other religion.  

  22. Thank you for clarifying the meaning of a strong word that is tossed around alot- “Cult”- without proper explanation. I agree with you that Mormonism, even from the most antagonistic viewpoint, is not the same or on the same level as Jones’s group or Heaven’s Gate. Mormonism is much more comparable to Bahai or Sihkism, or Seventh-day Adventism, which are duly considered full-on and widely wacknowledged religions.

    While Russell, Eddy, and Hubbard all started movements that became religions, and all (from an evangelical perspective) led people astray as “false prophets”, it’s worth noting that none of the three claimed divine ordination or calling as prophet from the beginning, as Joseph Smith did. From a sociological standpoint they could be grouped with Smith, but from a self-claimed theological standpoint Smith is distinct from the others, and of the 4 he was the earliest and most influential in his time. So, while they can all be considered false religious leaders from an evangelical perspective, Smith is the only one who began his work with claims to be a latter-day prophet.

    As has been noted, Mormons do believe in the divinity and eternality of Christ, and that salvation comes only through Christ’s grace, which people accept through repentance and baptism, etc.

    (Also, on a minor/trivial note, I find it unlikely that Romney would attend the Washington DC Temple, or any Mormon temple, were he elected. He already takes jabs for his faith, and doing so would both take his time and attract more suspicion. Mormons are only required to attend a temple once, like a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, which Romney did decades ago. Any further attendance is optional.)

    All in all, this post is helpful in that it recognizes the need to label Mormonism distinctly from cult groups like Jones’, but it also belies superficial understanding and suspicion of Mormonism.

    1. Thank you LakersTrent for joining our site. Please clarify where you think I have misread Mormonism. This claim by Smith to be a “latter day prophet” goes to the heart of the matter. Either he heard from God or he did not. How can we tell? Does the Bible indicate that “revelation” shall continue (or rather reappear) after 19 centuries? Or were the apostles of the first century the ones referred to as the foundation of the church?  Almost as importantly, did a latter day prophet or do latter day “apostles” claim the authority to change the doctrines of God (clearly Mormons do). Is this according to the Bible? No, it is not. In fact, Mormons MUST denigrate the Scriptures in order to justify the addition of new scriptures. (“Scriptures as far as they are translated properly….Mormon is the word of God).

      Are the doctrines of Mormonism essentially new, never taught before Joseph Smith?  The answer is clearly yes. God was once a man? He had a father and mother?  These are only two among the dsoznes of doctrines that the church never heard of prior to Smith’s arrival. Most of the them clearly contradict the Bible or posit things never implied in the Bible.

      1. I think you properly read Mormonism, in that Smith did claim direct revelation and appointment from God, and that he believed his authority and office or calling was equal to that of 1st-cenutry apostles. Smith also believed that he was called to “restore” doctrines not found in the Bible, which he asserted had been taught anciently in the Abrahamic religion but lost before the laity gained access to the Bible in the reformation era. Smith was, from the beginning, a self-proclaimed prophet in the full sense of the word, comparable to Moses for his believers. In this way, his claims were unique from Russell’s, Eddy’s, or Hubbard’s.

        Smith’s successors, modern Mormon “apostles” claim authority to “reveal”, teach, clarify doctrines of God, so far as I understand, though I don’t think they view it as “changing” doctrines of God. They are, however, much more comfortable than most Christian leaders in defining Biblical doctrines and positing doctrines not explicitly contained in the Bible; their theology includes the Bible but doesn’t stop there. They seem to revere the Bible like any other believer, I wouldn’t say they denigrate it, but they see it as one piece on God’s chessboard of theological understanding, rather than as the sum-total of all spiritual truth.

        I’m not sure whether I’ve answered your question. I think you generally understand Mormonism’s claims, though perhaps not the attitudes they hold toward them. Mormons think, sincerely, that they follow and respect the bible as fully as the most evangelical believer. From their perspective, Smith did hear God, the bible does indicate continuing revelation and apostleship, and their teachings don’t denigrate scripture and aren’t new (more like long-forgotten). It seems like you view Mormonism as an intentional, conscious departure from biblical truths, slyly dressed in sheep’s clothing PR. My impression is that Mormons do differ substantially from typical biblical interpretation, but they sincerely consider themselves full biblical Christians; their frequent self-comparisons to Christianity are more than window-dressing, they really actually think their doctrines are fully in line with the bible, in it’s “original” intent. Sorry for the length here, I don’t think you’re far off on Mormonism from an evangelical viewpoint, I think you may misunderstand how they perceive themselves.

      2. I did not intend to suggest that all members intentionally denigrate Scripture, but rather that the overall leadership of Mormonism, in effect, has done that. In addition, as stated earlier, the fact that LDS hypes the phrase “as much as the Bible is translated correctly” but puts no such disclaimer on the Book of Mormon is evidence of the denigration. This puts the bookl of Mormon, not only “on par” with the Bible, but in fact puts down the Bible.

        Thank you for the opportunity to clarify my remarks.

      3. The Protestant theologians I read, such as N.T. Wright, acknowledge that the English texts if the various Bible translations we use are imperfect reflections of the original Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew texts that were compiled into the Jewish scriptures and the New Testament. It is always a challenge to ensure that a translation accurately reflects the original. If the King James Version, fir example, were a perfect translation, why have other English translations in an attempt to clarify the meaning and make it more accurately reflect the original texts, so far as they can be determined? Surely you do not claim godly authority for the interpolation by later post-Nicene editors of the Johanine Comma into the Epistles of John, in an effort to provide a (spurious) Bible proof text in support of the Nicene formulation? If you believe the Bible is perfect, surely you do not hold ALL translations equal in fidelity to the source.material, since they differ in meaning in many places. And you do not hold that Wycliffe and Tyndale had apostolic authority in writing their translations.

        Mormons in fact believe in the Bible very literally. They believe in the miracles ofnJesus, and if his suffering for mankind and hus resurrection. They believe that he will return to the earth to reign as its God, and that all people will be resurrected with physical bodies. They believe Adam andbEve are real people, as are Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah. They believe God is fulfilling his promisrs to Israel to gather them so he can bless them. Mormons know and believe the Bible more than the average Protestant, according to many objective studies. And the Book of Mormon attests to the truth of the Bible, in an age when many call the Bible merely literature.

      4. Mormons claim that infallibility in the Book of Mormon, however (without the caveat of “as far as it is translated properly”) thereby giving Joseph Smith more authority than the Bible itself.

        Where in the Bible does it teach that Adam is God?
        Where in the Bible does it teach that God has a father, let alone a wife?
        Where does it teach that Jesus is a created being?

  23. Sorry for you David. I didn’t see a single positive comment as of pm Saturday. Better luck next time . . . or should I say, better preparation next time. Try to present facts rather than your slanted bigotry.

  24. There are doctrines enough where you can find disagreement between Mormon teachings and your own without committing the sin of lying about Mormon beliefs.

    If you opened the Book of Mormon to the title page, you would know its purpose is to declare that “Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself to all nations”. It teaches that Jesus is Jehovah, the Creator and the God who gave the law to Moses.

    Mormons believe in a “Social Trinity”, as do many Protestants, including the theologians who support the thesis of the Openness of God. They agree with those theologians, who point to the pagan, non-biblical origin of the creeds’ denial that God has real emotions.

    Many Evangelical churches do not require that a person be able to recite the Nicene Creed, let alone the more difficult task of understanding it, before declaring them saved. After all, that would take “work” and you believe in salvation without works, even though James in the Bible says that “faith without works us dead”. Your insistence that “works” is non-Christian offends the Orthodox and Catholic faiths, who are amused that an Evangelical movement only two centuries old claims to excommunicate two thousand year old Christian churches which created the creeds. Those.churches also reject your idea that the Bible is sufficient without the Church, because the Church created and predated
    the Bible. You also should know that most Protestants actually follow one of the heretical versions of the creeds, such as Modalism, denying the separateness of the three persons in the Trinity, which the Nicene Creed insists upon.

    If you were knowledgable and honest, you would admit that Catholic and Orthodox churches regard your distinctive doctrines as false.

    Oh, and as for Christians becoming like God, that is a doctrine of both the Othodox and Catholic churches called Theosis. It is based in numerous statements by Christ and the apostles, such as in 1 Peter. Go google it.

    So thanks for acknowledging that Mormonism is not a cult. A religion of 14 million members worldwide, and at 6 million the 4th largest in the USA, including 15 members of Congress and the man elected by most Republicans to run for President, is not a “cult” in any meaningful way. Its members live in their own nuclear families, and work in normal careers, after earning college degrees. They pray to God the Father in the name of Christ, take the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and preach from the Bible. Oh, and like the original church, they have no paid clergy at the local level.


    1. Your insistence that “works” is non-Christian”

      You misread (or misrepresent) me, and those of the entire church age that have said, as Scripture teaches, that we are not saved BY works, but that those works would surely follow just as fruit comes from a healthy tree.  The good fruit does not cause the tree to come to life, or make it a healthier tree.  Good works are an evidence of salvation, but contribute nothing to the cause thereof.

  25. I can across this through Google searches for “Charles Taze Russell”. The article above wrongly attributes Russell as being the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization and of raising himself up as a latter day prophet. Actually, Russell did neither.

    Russell did not believein and he actively preached against authoritarian religious organizations such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Russell did not believe that any “outward organization” (such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization) should be thought of as “the true church”.

    Furthermore, the message preached by Russell, especially as related to Armageddon, was almost the opposite of that which the JWs preach. Russell believed in the “ransom for all” (Rutherford began to reject this doctrine about 1923), and that “Armageddon” is a period of time in which peoples of the nations are chastised (not eternally destroyed) in preparation for the blessings of the Kingdom.

    Russell never claimed to be a prophet at all; in fact, he disclaimed being a prophet many times. He only claimed to be a Bible Student, and as such, a student of prophecy. He presented his conclusions concerning prophecies as his own conclusions, and left it up to other Christians to accept or reject according to their own understanding; he was not speaking as the head of an authoritarian organization (such as the JW leadership does). He did not endeavor to force any of his fellow workers to accept his conclusion (indeed, many of his associates disagreed with him on many points).

    The JW organization did not exist in the days of Russell, although some amongst the Bible Students were already laying the foundation for such an organization. After Russell died, Rutherford, by means of deceit and legal trickery, gained control of the legal entity, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and used that legal corporation as a basis to create a new religion, a new religious organization, which he later called “Jehovah’s Witnesses” (in 1931).

    However, the Bible Students fellowship as a whole — represented by the majority — did not accept Rutherford’s new organization. By 1928, more than 75% of the Bible Students fellowship had rejected Rutherford’s new organization and his new gospel related to that organization. Thus, the majority of the Bible Students never became “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.

  26. The ugly truth Presbyterianism doesn’t look like the church Christ organized at all. Shedlock this should concern you but doesn’t seem to worried at all. .
    I can only conclude you and your church is not a cult but a flaming, lying, misguided sub branch of paganism that is totally false. You believe in a religion that denies the true Christ and likes to send innocent person to a burning hell. You sincerity does not matter. You might as well worship the devil.
    Did you yet see how easy it is to condemn another’s religion????

    1. ” likes to send innocent person to a burning hell”
      There is no one who seeks God, no not one.  There are no innocent persons in hell.

  27. How about we Mormon’s calling you evangelists false Christians who believe in a false conception of God (namely the 3 in 1 Catholic version of all the same substance), and we call your leaders false teachers who practice priestcraft?  Do you like that?  If the shoe fits, then wear it!

  28. Jesus taught the following:

    “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

    “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

    “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

    “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God:” (John 10:31-36)

    Here, the Jews wanted to stone Jesus ” for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” Jesus then reminded them of their own scripture which teaches that “, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” from Psalms 82:6.

    After this the Jews had to back down. They could not stone him because they knew he was right. They knew that their own scriptures teach the same thing and they had no case against Him. Jesus reminded them that God had “called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken”.

    The Apostle Paul makes a similar point as recorded in the New Testament. Like Isaiah, he writes of false man-made gods in 1 Corinthians chapter 8. In addition to the false man-made gods on earth, he also writes of the existence of true gods in the heavens He says:

    “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many and lords many,) But to us there is but one God.. .” (1 Cor. 8: 5-6)

    Here Paul recognizes that there are both false gods on earth and true gods in the heavens, but out of them all, there is only one God for us. Some may doubt that Paul was referring to true gods when he said “in heaven” and “(as there be gods many and lords many,). Yet, among true Bible believers, who can believe that there are false gods in heaven? So, when Paul talks of gods in heaven, he can only be talking of true Gods. Here, the Apostle Paul speaking polytheistically about the gods in heaven but monotheistically when he says that only one of them is our God.

    Psalms 8:4-5 teaches that man is “a little lower than the gods.” The King James Version (and most translations) give it as “lower than the angels,” but the word used in the Hebrew is gods. The Hebrew term “elohim”,or “gods” is used to describe human judges in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9. Here authorized servants of God are called “gods.” Exodus 7:1 says that Moses was to be “god to Pharaoh.” Note that these are with a small “g” recognizing the pre-eminence of the God we worship.

    And Paul says in Romans 8:14-18: “For as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;”

    And again Christ said to John the Revelator: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelations 3:21)

    John says: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3)

    In the first verses of the Bible, in the Hebrew, Moses refers to the head God who called forth the other gods. It is not rendered this way in English translations. Yet, scholars have noted that throughout the Bible there is a theme of a head God who presides over the other gods. Thus, the head God says “Let US make man in OUR image and after OUR likeness” ( Genesis 1:26-27, emphasis added)

    And “let US go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7, emphasis added).

    SOWD is the Old Testament Hebrew word for “assembly”, “circle of people in council”, or “confidential talk, secret.” It is similar in meaning to the New Testament “musterion” or mystery. For example, in the King James version, SOWD is translated “secret” (e.g. Amos 3:7, where it literally means “what is going on in the heavenly council”)

    Thus, Amos was referring to the idea that God makes known to his prophets the “secret,” or what goes on in the heavenly council. This is repeated throughout the Bible, for instance: “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.” (Psalms 82:1)

    As one scholar notes :

    “The existence of other gods is not denied in the first commandment of the decalog itself; in fact it presupposes their existence and forbids the Israelites to worship them.” (Roland de Vaux, The Early History of Israel, Philadelphia, 1968, p 463)

    “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Ex. 15:11)

    “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and the Lord of lords, a great God…
    “Thou shalt fear the Lord they God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
    “He is thy praise, and he is thy God…” (Deu. 11:17, 20-21)

    “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.” (Ps. 82:1) Or as it is rendered in the NRSV translation “God has taken His place in the divine council, in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.”

    “Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.” (Ps. 86:8)

    “For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.” (Ps. 97:9)

    “For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.” (Ps. 135:5)

    “O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth forever.” (Ps. 136: 2-3)

    “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God.” (Deut. 10:17)

    Note what early Christian doctrine really was. Let’s read what the early Christian fathers in the first several centuries following the time of the Apostles taught as Christian doctrine. These early Bishops and respected orthodox theologians, were good Mormons.

    “God became man that man might become God.” (St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinis in: Philip Barlow, doctoral candidate in American Religious History at Harvard: Unorthodox Orthodoxy: The Idea of Deification in Christian History, Sunstone, Vol 8, no 5, pp 13-16))

    “He became what we are, in order that we might be what he is.” (Maximus in Ibid)
    “I may become God to the same extent as he became man.” (Gregory of Nazianus in Ibid)
    “The Holy Spirit aids man in being made God.” (Basil of Ceasarea in Ibid)

    “Flee with all in your power from being man and make haste to become gods.” (Origin in Ibid)
    Speaking of the soul which seeks to become pure Clement of Alexandria said: “The soul, receiving the Lord’s power, studies to become a god.” (Clement in Ibid)

    IRENAEUS
    It has been claimed by some that this doctrine of becoming gods is an altogether pagan doctrine that blasphemes the majesty of God. Not all Christians have thought so, however. Irenaeus [A.D. 130-200], Bishop of Lyons, was instructed by Polycarp. Polycarp was personally instructed by the apostle John. Irenaeus became a prominent bishop in the Church in the second century. He became the most important Christian theologian of his time, and is considered orthodox by mainstream Christianity. Yet he taught:

    “If the Word became a man, It was so men may become gods.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, bk. 5, pref.)
    Irenaeus also taught: “We were not made gods at our beginning, but first we were made men, then, in the end, gods.” (Ibid, also in (Bettenson, H., The Early Christian Fathers, [London: Oxford University Press, 1956,] p. 94.)

    Also: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, of his boundless love, became what we are that he might make us what he himself is.” (Irenaeus in Henry Betteson, The Early Christian Fathers, London: Oxford University Press, 1956, p 106)

    And: “While man gradually advances and mounts towards perfection; that is, he approaches the eternal. The eternal is perfect; and this is God. Man has first to come into being, then to progress, and by progressing come to manhood, and having reached manhood to increase, and thus increasing to persevere, and persevering to be glorified, and thus see his Lord.” (Irenaeus in Henry Betteson, The Early Christian Fathers, London: Oxford University Press, 1956, p. 94)

    And :”How then will any be a god, if he has not first been made a man? How immortal, if he has not in his mortal nature obeyed his maker? For one’s duty is first to observe the discipline of man and thereafter to share in the glory of God.” (Ibid, pp. 95-96)

    Indeed, Saint Irenaeus had more to say on the subject of deification:

    “Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, ‘I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.’ For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that, what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies,4.38. Cp. 4.11)

    “But man receives progression and increase towards God. For God is always the same, so also man, when found in God, shall always progress toward God.” (Ibid)

    CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
    In the second century, Saint Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.” (Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks, 1; Also in Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus 1, (8,4), in Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, p. 244.)
    Clement also said that “If one knows himself, he will know God, and knowing God will become like God.. His is beauty, true beauty, for it is God, and that man becomes a god, since God wills it. So Heraclitus was right when he said, ‘Men are gods, and gods are men.’” (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, 3.1 See also Clement, Stromateis, 23.)

    And also: “‘To him who has shall be added;’ knowledge to faith, love to knowledge, and love to inheritance. And this happens when a man depends on the Lord through faith, through knowledge, and love, and ascends with him to the place where God is. . . .because of their close intimacy with the Lord there awaits them a restoration to eternal contemplation; and they have received the title of ‘gods,’ since they are destined to be enthroned with other ‘gods’ who are ranked next below the Savior.” (Ibid pp. 243-244)

    JUSTIN MARTYR
    Still in the second century, Saint Justin Martyr insisted that in the beginning men were “made like God, free from suffering and death,” and that they are “thus deemed worthy of becoming gods and of having power to become sons of the highest.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 124)

    ST. CYRIL OF JERUSLEM
    Here is an interesting quote from St. Cyril of Jerusalem, an early Christian bishop. This fascinating quote is from his Prologue to the Catechetical Lectures:
    “When thou shalt have heard what is written concerning the mysteries, then wilt thou understand things which thou knewest not. And think not that thou receivest a small thing: though a miserable man, thou receivest one of God’s titles. Hear St. Paul saying, God is faithful. Hear another Scripture saying, God is faithful and just. Foreseeing this, the Psalmist, because men are to receive a title of God, spoke thus in the person of God: I said, Ye are Gods, and are all sons of the Most High. But beware lest thou have the title of ‘faithful,’ but the will of the faithless. Thou hast entered into a contest, toil on through the race: another such opportunity thou canst not have. Were it thy wedding-day before thee, wouldest thou not have disregarded all else, and set about the preparation for the feast? And on the eve of consecrating thy soul to the heavenly Bridegroom, wilt thou not cease from carnal things, that thou mayest win spiritual?”

    JEROME (the Pope’s secretary)
    St. Jerome explains Psalms 82:6 as did other early Christian fathers:
    “‘I said: You are gods, all of you sons of the Most High.’ Let Eunomius hear this, let Arius, who say that the Son of God is son in the same way we are. That we are gods is not so by nature, but by grace. ‘But to as many as receive him he gave power of becoming sons of god.’ I made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods. ‘I said: Ye are gods, all of you sons of the Most High.’ Imagine the grandeur of our dignity; we are called gods and sons! I have made you gods just as I made Moses a god to pharaoh, so that after you are gods, you may be made worthy to be sons of God. Reflect upon the divine words: ‘with God there is no respector of persons.’ God did not say: ‘I said you are gods,’ you kings and princes; but ‘all’ to whom I have given equally a body, soul, a spirit, I have given equally divinity and adoption. We are ‘all’ born equals. Our humanity is one of equality.” (Jerome, The Homilies of Saint Jerome, Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1964 pp 106-107)

    Jerome goes on to explain that man has fallen from being heirs of godship; but that he can rise and gain back this heirship. He says:

    Jerome later indicates that after having become “mere men”, those men can still become gods. He quotes the scriptures and explains: “‘Give thanks to the God of Gods.’ The prophet is referring to those gods of whom it is written: I said: ‘You are gods;’ and again: ‘God arises in the divine assembly.’ They who cease to be mere men, abandon the ways of vice and are become perfect, are gods and the sons of the Most High.” (Ibid p. 353)

    TERTULLIAN
    “If, indeed, you follow those who did not at the time endure the Lord when showing Himself to be the Son of God, because they would not believe Him to be the Lord, then call to mind along with them the passage where it is written, ‘I have said, Ye are gods, and ye are children of the Most High;’ and again, ‘God standeth in the congregation of the gods:’ in order that, if the scripture has not been afraid to designate as gods human beings, who have become sons of God by faith , you may be sure that the same scripture has with greater propriety conferred the name of the Lord on the true and one-only Son of God.” (Tertullian, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids Michigan: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1885, vol. 3, p. 608)

    ORIGEN
    Like other early Church Fathers, Origen, [A.D. 185-254], also teaches the same Biblical doctrine, of Genesis 1:1, that there is a head god who is “Lord of gods”, Origin teaches that there is a distinction to be made between “the God” and others who are also “gods.”

    “Everything which, without being ‘God-in-himself’ is deified by participation in his godhead, should strictly be called ‘God,’ not ‘the God.’ The ‘firstborn of all creation,.’ Since he by being ‘with God’ first gathered godhood to himself, is therefore in every way more honored than others besides himself, who are ‘gods’ of whom God is the God, as it is said, ‘God the Lord of gods spoke and called the world.’ For it was through his ministry that they became gods, since he drew divinity from God for them to be deified, and of his kindness generously shared it with them. God, then, is the true God, and those who through him are fashioned into gods are copies of the prototype.” (Ibid p. 324)

    He went on to teach: “The Father, then, is proclaimed as the one true God; but besides the true God are many who become gods by participating in God.” (Ibid)

    Origen claimed that God “will be ‘all’ in each individual in this way: when all which any rational understanding, cleansed from the dregs of every sort of vice, and with every cloud of wickedness completely swept away, can either feel, or understand, or think, will be wholly God….” (Origen, De Principiis 3:6:3, in Roberts and Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 4, p. 345.)

    AUGUSTINE
    Finally, Saint Augustine himself, the greatest of the Christian Fathers, said:
    “But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ [John 1:12] If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.” (Augustine, On the Psalms, 50.2 Augustine insists that such individuals are gods by grace rather than by nature, but they are gods nevertheless.)

    ST. MAXIMUS
    “We find it in early Orthodox tradition as well, for the ‘chief idea of St. Maximus [who died in 662 A.D.] as of all of Eastern theology, [was] the idea of deification” (S.L. Epifanovic as quoted by Jaroslav Pelikan, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700). The Christian Tradition, vol. 2, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1974, p. 10, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, p. 79).

    As Paul taught in 1 Corinthians chapter 8, there is a duality to Christianity. Paul taught that there are many gods but only one that we worship, only one that is our God. Mormons hold to the doctrine of Paul and Jesus and not necessarily the doctrine of the “various Christian churches” because they no longer teach what Jesus and Paul taught. We do.

    To paraphrase Origin’s thoughts in the words of Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie: “There is and can only be one who is supreme, who is the head and to whom all others are subject”. Becoming like God is not saying we will ever be equal to Him, frankly we won’t and can’t He, and only He, will forever be worshipped by us.”

    Joseph Smith once said “Mormons are the only ones who believe in the Bible. Everyone else believes in their interpretation of the Bible.” That probably sounds like a bold and even arrogant statement and I can understand how it would be offensive to some people. It is not our intention to offend people. However, if you look at real facts, real history, what the Bible and the early Christians really say (only some of which I have pointed out above) it turns out that Joseph is right. People regularly can’t see what the Bible really says because it is filtered through the lens of later orthodoxy and the extra-Biblical creeds. The divergence of Mormon theology from the theology of other Christians lies in the fact that Christianity has been modified and changed over the centuries and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is original Christianity restored to the earth. So, of course, there are differences. But I think Christians down through the ages have done the best they can without current revelation and have done remarkably well in many cases. It is, in a way, strange, that they criticize us for believing original Christianity. Seems to me that they would want to do the same instead of preferring the later creeds and counsels over the earlier version of Christianity.

    If Athanasius, Augustine, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Cyril, Saint Maximus the Confessor, Saint Clement of Alexandria Jerome, Terfullian, even Augustin, and others, including C.S. Lewis in modern days, can teach the doctrine of deification, not to mention that Jesus Himself taught it as well as Paul and John and yet they are still accepted as orthodox Christians, why are Latter-day Saints said to be non-Christian for the same belief? The further back in time you go, especially when you get back before the creeds, the more Mormon-like the Christian doctrines become. Some of our doctrines are clearly at odds with mainstream churches of today, but that’s not because Joseph Smith was making up ludicrous doctrine. Long lost but true doctrines were restored through him as a divinely authorized prophet.

    And if popular Christian Orthodoxy continues to hold to the current tradition of later ideas and creeds, then what are they to do with the teachings of the Early Christians, the apostles, and even Jesus Himself who did not teach the creeds? If Mormons are wrong and not Christian than so were the early Christians who taught the same things that Mormons are teaching. If Mormons are not Christian for these beliefs then this makes the Apostles and even Jesus Himself not Christian. Which Christians are right; the later Christians or the Early Christians? Who is right, Jesus, Paul, John, the Psalmist, and the early Christian fathers, or Christians who believe traditions developed centuries after Christ and the Apostles?

  29. Contrary to what the author says Mormons do believe that Jesus is God Incarnate and is divine.

    John 1:1-2,14
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    2 The same was in the beginning with God.
    14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    2 Nephi 11:7 (From the Book of Mormon)
    7 For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fulness of his own time.

    2 Nephi 26:12(From the Book of Mormon)
    12 And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God
    e.

  30. THE WAY IN WHICH JESUS AND THE FATHER ARE ONE

    In the Book of Mormon we read:

    “And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (2 Nephi 31:21)

    And in the LDS book, the Doctrine and Covenants we read:

    “Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end.” (Doctrine & Covenants 20:28)

    This is consistent with the prayer Jesus offered to the Father, saying:

    “…keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are… And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one…” (John 17:11, 19-23).

    Here, Jesus prays that we will be one with Him in the same way that He is one with the Father. This, then is a certain kind of oneness. Certainly it does not mean a oneness of substance. It doesn’t mean that we will be physically morphed together into one being with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and all become one substance with them. So, what kind of oneness does it mean?

    We have many witnesses in the scriptures that this is a doctrine of unity of purpose and mind between the Father and the Son as well as man’s potential to share in that unity with the Father and the Son. Note that this is the doctrine taught in the Bible:

    “good…for brethren to dwell together in unity.” (Psalms 133:1)

    “Can two walk together, except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3).

    “serve him with one consent” (Zeph 3:9)

    “all continued with one accord in prayer” (Acts 1:14)

    “multitude…of one heart and one soul.” (Acts 4:32)

    “we being many, are one body in Christ.” (Romans 12:5)

    “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10)

    “Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind.” (2 Cor. 13:11)

    “ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28)

    “Keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one spirit” (Eph. 4:3-4)

    “…one spirit, with one mind.” (Philip. 2:2)

    “…he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.” (Heb. 2:11)

    “…be ye all of one mind.” (1 Pet. 3:8)

    This is similar to the oneness that should exist in marriage: “and they shall be one flesh” (Gen 2:24; Matt. 19:5-6; Mark 10:7; 1 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 5:31). This statement -“and they shall be one flesh” – does not mean that husband and wife are to literally merge together into one person. Even though they become very close; unified in purpose, behavior, characteristics, and partners in pro-creation, yet they remain separate physical individuals. The idea of oneness in marriage is similar to the idea of the unity we should have with each other and our unity with the Father and the Son. (See Eph 5:22-32, esp vs 23-24,30,32)

  31. THE WAY IN WHICH JESUS AND THE FATHER ARE SEPARATE

    The First Article of Faith in the LDS Church is “We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” So, if belief in the Trinity means believing in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, then Mormons believe in the Trinity. But if belief in the Trinity means a belief in the one substance god of the extra-Biblical creeds, then Mormnons are not Trinitarians.

    We should be careful to believe what the scripture says about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and not add non-scriptural definitions.

    At Jesus’s baptism He is in the water. The voice of the Father comes from heaven, and the Holy Ghost descends upon Jesus. Was Jesus was a magician and a ventriloquist, who was trying to confuse and deceive the people? (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22)

    In Matthew 17:5 the Father speaks from heaven and the Son is on the earth. Was Jesus just a ventriloquist or did the Father really speak from heaven to the Son on earth?

    Christ was begotten by the Father. Did Jesus beget himself?

    The Father sent Jesus into the world. (John 3:16-17; John 8:18) Did Christ beget himself and is he his own Father?

    Jesus prayed to the Father. (Matthew 26:39; Luke 23:46) Was the Lord praying to Himself?

    The Father is greater than Jesus. (John 14:12,28). What? – Is Jesus greater than Himself?

    After his resurrection, Jesus says that he had not yet ascended to his Father (John 20:17).

    Jesus is on the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56; 1 Peter 3:22) Is this a trick with mirrors or should we believe the Bible for what it says?

    The Father does not judge. The Son will judge (John 5:22).

    We should believe in the honesty of the Lord and accept his teachings. We should accept the Biblical record of events concerning the Lords life and teachings. If the scriptures say that Jesus was on the earth, and that he prayed to the Father, who was in heaven, then we should accept this. This is the word of the Lord to us. It is recorded in the Holy Bible. Jesus was not praying to himself. The Bible says He was praying to the Father. This is easy to understand and accept. We should accept it.

  32. Reverand Jeffress said. “And I still maintain there are vast differences in theology between Mormons and Christians.”

    This seems to be a common view among many Christians and actually they are right to say that there are some major differences, although there are more similarities than differences. . However, there are also vast differences between current Christianity and Early Christianity.

    If Christianity means “historic orthodox mainstream Christianity” of today then I would agree that Mormonism is not historic Christianity; at least not in every doctrine. Although Mormons have much in common with other Christians Mormons also believe differently than historic Christians in some key areas. But the real questions to ask are 1) What is original Christianity? 2) Is mainstream Christianity of today the same as original Christianity? It turns out that Joseph Smith was right. Mormonism is a restoration of Original Christianity. Many Christians of today are following non-Christian traditions developed in later centuries and are just calling it Christianity – no offense intended – that’s just history.

    Mormons believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Our first Article of Faith states: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. However “Trinity’ is a word that is not found in the Bible. Nor are the definitions and wording formulations in the extra-Biblical creeds found in the Bible. In 325 AD a council of about 300 (out of 1800 serving) bishops gathered in Nicea at the request of the pagan Emperor Constantine and formulated a creed that tried to reconcile the Biblical statements that there three persons called “God” and yet there was “one” God. They then forced all Christians to accept their solution as “gospel”, with varying results. Theological debates and other councils continued to tweak the concept for centuries which produced additional creeds.

    Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

    It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles. Most of the wording formulations in these creeds cannot be found in the Bible. This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. It is well known to historians that Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.

    The Bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rejected as non-Christian by many Christians of today.

    In many areas of belief (probably the majority of areas) Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe the same as most other Christians. It is true that in some limited areas – some very critical ones – the beliefs of Mormons differ from other Christians. Likewise there are some major areas of difference between Catholics and Protestants and likewise between one Protestant group and the next. Every denomination could make the claim that the other groups are not Christian because those other beliefs differ from their own.

    Joseph Smith taught “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it”. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

    The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I don’t know what is. Christ never taught the need to believe in anything like the creeds. Those came later.

    Mormon belief is very much like the teachings of the earlier Christians – before the creeds – and also matches the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. The further back in time you go the more Mormon-like Christian doctrine becomes. Mormons are often portrayed as non-Christian when we don’t believe in the later extra-Biblical creedal formulations.

    The early Christians did not have the extra-Biblical creeds of later centuries. Were they then not Christian? The ontological debates and the wording formations of later centuries are not found in the words of Jesus or the words of the Apostles or in the words of the pre-creedal Christians . There is not a word about a one substance god in the Bible or in the early beliefs. If believing in the creeds is necessary to be Christian then that makes the earlier Christians not Christian – it even makes Christ not Christian.

    One other interesting aspect of this topic: Some Christians claim that we must get our beliefs and doctrines from the Bible only. It is claimed that God finished his work and no longer has prophets or gives revelation. They say the Mormons are wrong to have prophets and extra scripture. Consider this: If the Bible is sufficient and no post-Biblical revelation is allowed, then the post-Biblical creeds are not necessary and are not authorized by God. If God authorized the creeds then why aren’t they in the Bible? How could they be from God if the Bible is complete, if God has finished his work, and if there is no more revelation? They are extra-Biblical and no one should be held to them as a requirement to be Christian. It is so ironic that Mormons are criticized for having extra-Biblical revelation by people who themselves believe in extra-Biblical creeds. Once one puts on the glasses of the creeds then everything in the Bible is filtered to match the creeds.

    Mormons believe in original Christianity restored to the earth through revelation to new prophets. Nowhere does the Bible say that God has finished his work, that the cannon of scripture is closed. It seems ironic to us that we Mormons are accused of adding to the Bible by people who have done just that – added creeds and metaphysical definitions to the Bible. We advocate for believing original Christianity.

  33. Many Christians adhere to the doctrine of “Sola Scriptura” which means Only Scripture, meaning, Only the Bible. They say that only the Bible is authoritative in establishing orthodox Christian doctrine and theology.

    The doctrine of “sola scriptura” was first taught by an Englishman named John Wycliffe in the 14th century and it was not until the Reformation in the 1500’s that the 66 books of the current Protestant Bible became the “sole authority” for Reformed Christians. I guess Christians prior to that didn’t know what they were doing and weren’t really Christians. These people who held to Sola Scriptura were the “cult” according to the “orthodox” Christianity of the time – the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman church claimed that the Bible, their traditions, and the pronouncements of the Pope were all authoritative in Christian doctrine and practices.

    For centuries the “orthodox” Christian church in Europe prevented most people from even reading the Bible upon pain of death. Even among Protestants, men were burned at
    the stake for translating the Bible into the language of the common people.

    Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox churches even today still use Bibles containing seven additional books of the Apocrypha. These additional books were part of Martin Luther’s first German translation and every other Bible published prior to that time. The Apocryphal books were even included in the 1611 first edition of the King James Version.

    So, “Only the Bible” is a relatively new doctrine that was not developed until about 1500 years after the time of Christ. Does that make Christians prior to 1500 not Christian?

    Two of the most quoted references which are twisted in an attempt to say that the Bible is complete and there can’t be more revelation or more scripture this are the following:

    Revelations 22:18-19
    18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    Notice that nowhere in this passage does it say that God has finished his work, or that the cannon of scripture is completed. John says not to add to or take from “these things” and “this book” and “this prophecy,” which almost certainly means the book that John was writing at the time. The list of 27 books of the New Testament were not even proposed until 367 AD in Athanasius’s Easter letter. The composition of books selected to include were hotly debated for several more centuries.

    Even if John were referring to the future New Testament, which was not yet assembled, his warning is an injunction that man is not to change Gods word, and not a statement which binds God so that God Himself cannot add more.
    Note that God gives us the same warning in Deuteronomy 4:2 saying “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

    So, if this commandment not to add or take away from Gods word means that the cannon of scripture is complete, then everything after Deuteronomy is false. This would mean that the WHOLE New Testament and MOST of the Old Testament, which were added after Deuteronomy, must be discarded. Clearly, God did not mean that the cannon was complete.

    The other scripture that is commonly cited is this:

    Galatians 1:6-9
    6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
    7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
    8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
    9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

    See also 2 Corinthians 11:4

    The idea embodied in this scripture is why Mormons don’t accept the extra-Biblical creeds and some of the mainstream orthodoxy of today. Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups are the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on, including the Westminster confession of faith. These are all extra-Biblical and no one should be held to them as a requirement for being Christian. These later doctrines are often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. Yet, historically, factually, and Biblically, it turns out that it’s the Mormons who are adhering to Original Christianity and Mainstream Christians of today who are holding to later forms of Christianity.

    Mormons believe in original Christianity restored to the earth through revelation to new prophets. This restoration was necessary BECAUSE of a changing Christianity as exemplified by the creeds and warned against by Paul in Galations chapter 1. Nowhere does the Bible say that God has finished his work, that the cannon of scripture is closed. It seems ironic to us that we Mormons are accused of adding to the Bible by people who have done just that – added creeds and metaphysical definitions to the Bible. Mormons believe original Christianity with the added benefit of current revelation from Christ. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then, of course, He will continue to give revelation to prophets just as he has always done so long as the people will receive it.

  34. Dependence on the grace of Jesus Christ is one of the central beliefs of Mormons. It is the critics of Mormonism who say that Mormons believe they are going to earn their way to heaven by their works. Mormon’s don’t teach that. Mormons don’t teach that we can earn our way to heaven without the grace of Christ. You see, the critics are so determined to make Mormonism look non-Biblical that they have to invent straw-man Mormon doctrines.

    Note what Mormons believe taken from their own sources:

    Alma 22:14 (from the Book of Mormon)
    14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

    2 Nephi 25:23 (from the Book of Mormon)
    23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

    2 Nephi 24:26 (from the Book of Mormon)
    “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)

    2 Nephi 10:24-25 (From the Book of Mormon):

    24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
    25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.

    In the Bible we find both the teaching of salvation by Grace and the teaching of repentance and obedience to the commandments. They are both true. They are both Biblical. Some Christians cherry pick the teachings of the Bible, focusing on one thing that they like and ignore the other parts. Mormons believe ALL of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We try our best to understand and believe all of it. Grace and Works are two sides to the same coin. The Apostle Paul writes a lot about salvation by grace. This was to combat the tenancy in many early Jews who converted to Christianity to fall back on obeying the works oriented law of Moses. People who think they can work their way to salvation have missed the grace side of the coin. However, in Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, and other places, Paul also stresses the necessity to obey the commandments. He gives lists of sinful behavior such as adultery, fornication, lying, and so forth, and says that people who do these will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. For instance see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. And let’s not forget about James 2:14-20,24.

    The Apostle Peter tells us that even after accepting Christ one must turn from sin and obey lest he fall from grace:

    2 Peter 2:20-22
    20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
    21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
    22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

    Obeying God is clearly the other side of the coin to the teachings of grace in the Bible. It is incomplete to stress only Grace or only Works. They are both part of the gospel as taught in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Even confessing that Jesus is our savior is a work that we must actually do. If we were saved from sin solely on grace alone than salvation would be automatic regardless of what we do. There would be no need to even confess Jesus as our Savior let alone try to live a good Christian life.

    Mormons are often accused of ignoring Christ’s grace and of trying to work their way to salvation. However, an accurate look at what Mormons actually teach shows a very balanced approach which mirrors the balanced teaching of Grace and Works found in the Bible.

    One Evangelical Christian author wrote of his sudden discovery that his previous beliefs about salvation were very different from those held by the early Christians:

    “If there’s any single doctrine that we would expect to find the faithful associates of the apostles teaching, it’s the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. After all, that is the cornerstone doctrine of the Reformation. In fact, we frequently say that persons who don’t hold to this doctrine aren’t really Christians…

    “Our problem is that Augustine, Luther, and other Western theologians have convinced us that there’s an irreconcilable conflict between salvation based on grace and salvation conditioned on works or obedience. They have used a fallacious form of argumentation known as the “false dilemma,” by asserting that there are only two possibilities regarding salvation: it’s either (1) a gift from God or (2) it’s something we earn by our works.
    The early Christians [and Latter-day Saints!] would have replied that a gift is no less a gift simply because it’s conditioned on obedience….

    “The early Christians believed that salvation is a gift from God but that God gives His gift to whomever He chooses. And He chooses to give it to those who love and obey him.” (David W. Bercot, Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today’s Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity, 3rd edition, (Tyler, Texas: Scroll Publishing Company, 1999[1989]), 57, 61–62)

  35. David

    You may be sincere in your beliefs, and that is as it should be. We who are active, believing members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also sincere in our beliefs.

    We suggest that those who write about another religion either get it right or at least be respectful of our beliefs, as we are taught to be respectful of others’ beliefs.

    There is a test all can make. Ask God with sincerity if the Church is true. If you follow James 1:5 properly you can receive an answer.

    Phillip C. Smith, Ph.D.

    1. It is irrational to suggest that the purpose of asking God for wisdom is to determine whether some false doctrine is true. Many people have prayed about committing some sin, only to find that they received “an answer” that the sin was okay. I do not need a subjective and personal answer from God about something that is objectively false.

      1. Have you asked God with an open mind? This means approaching him without any preconceived positions, seeking only to understand His will.He can tell you the truth in a way that will reach you, if you are truly open to his communication. Try James 1:5 as the Bible suggests we all do.

        Phil Smith

      2. In Philippians 4 it reads:
        Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NIV
        1John 5:14-15
        14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
        15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
        James 1:5-6
        5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
        6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
        Christ said ask and you will receive.  We ask in prayer, there are no restrictions placed on those who petition God. We may ask God what is true to discern falsehoods, if you don’t believe this Biblical teaching; you might be one of those with little faith.

  36. What a hateful, unChristian article. I came here to see if this was a site I might benefit from, but this makes me sick. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has Jesus Christ in its very name, because He is the center of their faith. They literally could not possibly be any more Christian than they are. Try educating yourself about their Christian beliefs at Mormon.org and stop bearing false witness against over 14 million good people who have done you no wrong.

  37. I accept the fundamental notion that Mormonism is a false religion, but I truly believe it remains at the same time a cult.

    The author here writes well, but I wonder about the premise that the meaning of “cult” has somehow morphed following Jim Jones.  I have looked at research into cults by Steven Hassan and the so-called “BITE” model he developed.  It clearly supports the notion that Mormonism is a cult. 

  38. David,
    It appears you are just trying to stir up contention.  Why are you fighting against Jesus Christ? I recommend we remember the words of the Savior in 3 Nephi Chapter 11 versus 29-33

  39. David,
    It appears you are just trying to stir up contention. Why are you fighting against Jesus Christ? I recommend we remember the words of the Savior in 3 Nephi Chapter 11 versus 29-33

  40. Reply to earlier comment:

    The Apostle John did say that we shall be like Him, but it is clear from the context in I John (And the rest of Scripture) that this is referring to a moral perfection not his Divinity:

    2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of him.

    3:3-5 And every man that hath this hope in him purifiethhimself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committethsin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression ofthe law.  And ye know that he was manifested to takeaway our sins; and in him is no sin.

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