Bobby Teaching on Mormonism at Stockport Evangelical Church

We had a great time the other night at Stockport Evangelical Church, for anyone interested the full talk is above. You can also get the audio below. Teaching at local Churches and Christian organizations such as Bible Colleges is a key part of our ministry. If you would like to have one of us come and speak please get in touch.

Bobby Teaching on Mormonism at Stockport Evangelical Church

(left click to listen, right click save link as to download)

Categorised in: UK Partnerships for Christ, Why reach out to Mormons, Witnessing to Mormons

12 Responses »

  1. Bobby, where’s the white shirt and tie?:-) To add some more context to Joseph Smith’s martyrdom; Joseph Smith turned himself over to the authorities voluntarily to face the charge of ordering the destruction of a printing press. Being aware of the intense personal hatred against him from the authorities and his accusers, he considered leaving the area to avoid going “as a lamb to the slaughter”, but did not flee and voluntarily turned himself into authorities. While he was jailed with 3 others awaiting court, a group of 200 armed men attacked the jail. Joseph Smith sought to defend and protect those with him along with himself with a 6 shot pistol against estimated 200 armed men. The fact that Joseph Smith sought to defend his friends and himself does not diminish in any way the fact that he died as a martyr, in fact, considering early American history, it makes him an even greater hero. As you know, in America, we have very strong historical cultural feelings about defending others and ourselves against tyrannical forces, especially against all odds.

    • Hi there Michael

      Firstly, thanks a lot for listening to this talk. It really helps me to have someone who is LDS listen and tell me where I have represented what you believe well, or badly and there is at least one comment you have made here which is going to result in changes to future talks.

      I would be interested to know what you thought of the tone of this talk? My intention is to be loving and respectful, not belittling Mormons or even their faith but to show the hows and whys of dialoguing with you guys etc. I am open to feedback or thoughts on that too.

      You have left 5 comments here, so what I will do is number my points 1-5 and go through them all.

      1, Regarding the death of Joseph Smith. Firstly I have no problem with the fact that he shot back, however I do have a problem with his death being called a Martyrdom in light of this.

      A dictionary website puts it this way

      a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.

      Joseph Smith did not willingly die, the very reason he was in the prison in the first place was certainly not because of his faith. Joseph Smith was by all means murdered but not martyred, if you compare what he went through to the Apostles in the New Testament being willingly crucified for their faith there is no comparison.

      The way the LDS Church has handled this over the years, often outright missing out the part about Smith shooting back is evidence enough of the problems this holds to the idea of Joseph dying a martyr. As a result I have often had Mormons deny that this is even the case.

      Bill Mckeever talks about this here:

      This is worth a watch.

      2, On this point I am going to concede I put this wrongly. I am going to adjust this in my notes and from now on put it like that rather than saying both plans were presented and Jesus side won. My apologies, from doing some research into this I have to agree you are absolutely right.

      3, Certainly Mormonism of today seems to much prefer the 2nd half, however that does not change the fact for a second that many, many Mormons hold strongly to the first half, because their church has repeatedly taught it over the years. The first half of the couplet is not supported at all by traditional Christianity, there are not even any quotes from the early church to be used to support this.

      However that does not change the boldness by which this has been taught by Mormon leaders over the years and until they publically and officially deny this, I will carry on teaching that this is a part of traditional Mormon belief.

      That does not mean to say that all Mormons believe this, I hope you picked up in my talk that I was not saying that every Mormon would believe Mormonism as I was presenting it, however this is far from gone within Mormonism.

      4, Now, firstly I did not say handshakes are a requirement for heaven, here is exactly what I said.

      “in the temple you learn these handshakes, the idea is that when you die and go before God, you will again stand before God or stand before an angel, and in doing these handshakes it will prove that you lived worthily enough to go in the temple in this life, and prove that you are worthy of this exaltation.” (46m)

      This I still stand by, the handshakes prove that you went to the temple and learned them, and that you were therefore worthy to go into the temple.

      Brigham Young said

      Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of heaven and hell. (Journal of Discourses vol 2 p.31)

      We of course both know that in the temple this must be done before you enter into the celestial room, and that this is symbolic of passing into the celestial kingdom. Are you saying you dont believe you will actually have to do this to enter in when you die? In which case I am very glad to hear it, but that does not mean this has not been taught for a long time.
      (being as careful as I can not to go too far in talking about temple stuff there).

      This is for me a massive proof of the non Christian nature of Mormonism, God knows my heart He knows whether I am truly His or not, He does not need nor require me to do anything of this nature to prove my worthiness for eternity with Him.

      5, You are welcome anytime buddy, just let me know when your coming so I can get some herbal tea in:)

      Thanks Michael I am sure you will have some thoughts on the above, but again it genuinely helps me to have an LDS member listen to this talk and tell me where I have not represented your faith correctly, and certainly at least on point 2, changes will be made.

  2. Bobby,in reference to pre-mortal existence, Grand Council, War in Heaven, Mormons believe that the Plan presented which included choice between good and evil, moral agency, atonement of Jesus Christ, eternal progression, etc was always Father’s Plan and Jesus agreed to carry it out and fulfill the role of Savior whereas Lucifer challenged Father’s plan with his own plan that would not include our moral agency, would NOT include eternal progression for us and Lucifer demanded Father’s position as God, Father of all. Jesus was chosen to become our Savior within Father’s plan. Lucifer rebelled and a third part followed him: Revelations 12: And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Isaiah 14: 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

  3. In reference to Lorenzo Snow’s couplet form the 1840’s, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”, I would argue that the first part is not a focus or core belief of Mormonism, but that the second part, “As God is man may become” is a core belief of Mormonsim and of Christianity if we believe Christ’s words in Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” or Paul’s words, Romans 8: 16 “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; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

  4. Mormons do not believe handshakes will get them into heaven. The handshakes are symbolic gestures in the more important process of covenant making. Christ taught, “.If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

  5. Finally, a cup of herbal tea with a bit of honey would be great – thx Bobby!

  6. Bobby, (Thanks for the numbering system – it helps)
    1) Here’s the Merriam Webster definition of “martyrdom” – “the suffering of death on account of adherence to a cause and especially to one’s religious faith.” Joseph was in jail because he voluntarily turned himself him while stating, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter…” to face charges of ordering the destruction of a printing press of the Nauvoo Expositor. It was NOT the jail or the court that led him to state, “I am going as a lamb to the slaughter”. Even back then, if he had been found guilty, he would NOT have been sentenced to death. It was the intense Anti-Mormon sentiment of the time. The Nauvoo Expositor’s first edition was “a statement from the “Seceders from the Church at Nauvoo” which made harsh accusations against Joseph’s leadership of the Church and his teachings or accused teachings. It was a direct attack against Joseph Smith in his leadership role of the Church and his faith. The 200 armed men who attacked the jail hated Joseph for his teachings and accomplishments in establishing Zion in Nauvoo. They shared the same anti-Mormon mentality as the mobsters who massacred innocent early Mormons at Haun’s Mill years before in Missouri and brutally gang raped innocent Mormon women, burned down innocent Mormon houses, ransacked Mormon businesses and farms and the list of crimes against early Mormon pioneers/believers in Zion goes on and on. Joseph Smith died/was murdered because of his religious beliefs and teachings. By Merriam/Webster’s’s definition, Joseph Smith died as a martyr
    3) Here’s the most recent statement from President Hinckley concerning the first part of the couplet in a 1997 interview,
    Question: “about that, God the Father was once a man as we were. This is something that Christian writers are always addressing. Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?”
    Answer from President Hinckley: “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.”
    4) The particulars of the Endowment ceremony include symbols designed to help individuals remember those covenants and seek to live up to them through Christ on their journey to eternal life. Living up to those covenants through Christ is what Mormons believe provides the way to eternal life, not handshakes, tokens, etc.
    I do appreciate your tone. You had a few zingers here and there. I would say that comparatively speaking, evangelical doctrine is more challenging to pin down with so many differing evangelical leaders and their interpretations, wouldn’t you?

    • Thanks Michael

      1) Ok Lets agree to disagree on this for now, I will do some further looking into it, I am slowly working my way through Rough Stone Rolling, I assume that will have some useful things to say on this?

      3) I think this is a big subject and is worth some time, for starters what do you take from this interview?

      4) Well, I think this is one of those things that will vary from Mormon to Mormon, the difficulty people on my side of the fence have is that Mormons can’t really talk about it, however looking at the statements made in the early days of the temple this is far from fully the case.

      You raise an interesting point here:

      I would say that comparatively speaking, evangelical doctrine is more challenging to pin down with so many differing evangelical leaders and their interpretations, wouldn’t you?

      On the one hand you in all seriousness have an excellent and challenging point.

      There is a whole world of disagreement from leaders and lay members of evangelical Churches today. Much of it is honest disagreement on secondary matters such as are we predestined to salvation, should women be in church leadership etc.

      However more concern worthy is the rising of people going with culture instead of the Bible and seeking to totally reinterpret scripture in light of what sounds good to them rather than what scripture says. I see 2 Timothy 4:3 in action in quite a lot of the Christian Church today.

      If Evangelicals believed that their leaders were Prophets on the earth today speaking with the authority of scripture today we would really have a problem, arguably a much bigger problem than what I see the Mormon Church having.

      However the massive difference between Mormon Prophets and Apostles and Evangelical Leaders is this. Mormon leaders speak with the authority of scripture, Evangelical leaders are subject to the authority of scripture, if my leader says something problematic its very easy to dismiss it. The problem for me is that many Christians do not understand this and follow leaders over scripture.

      To be fair I know this is not totally black and white and many Mormons do not take every word their Prophets say as scripture. However looking at the 14 fundamentals of following the Prophet they expect to be listened too and obeyed.

      This is why I by no means see us in the same predicament, Evangelicalism is generally accepted even by LDS members to have a more robust systematic theology (albeit a wrong one) we genera;y agree very solidly on who Jesus is, the Nature of God and how to be saved. Many less essential areas however, do have much disagreement, I would argue it is often because they do not know how to properly understand the Bible.

      So to help me understand you better, what do you consider to be authoritative from your leaders? Why do you take the words of Hinckley in an interview to be more authoritative than Joseph Smith in a sermon? This will be helpful for me in further dialogue with you.

      For me any evangelical leaders are there to help expound scripture, but never speak with the authority of it.

      • 4) Elder Andersen 2012, “There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find. The leaders of the Church are honest but imperfect men. Remember the words of Moroni: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father … ; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” With regards to the King Follett sermon, this was the last speech given by Joseph Smith. It was during a funeral of a man named King Follett, “A full, verbatim account of the speech does not exist, but notes exist”. These notes were taken by several different individuals who were present and were later complied to get what we know today as the King Follettt sermon. The couplet, created by Lorenzo Snow or Brigham Young, later followed. The first part of the couplet, (the origin of God) never gained broad/universal acceptance among the Brethren from generation to generation as demonstrated by Joseph F. Smith’s decision not to publish the King Follett sermon in the History of the Church 1902 edition and later President Hinckley’s comments in that interview. As you pointed out, there is no direct scriptural mention of the Origin of God, The first part of the couplet remains in the unknown or speculative category.
        There is plenty of scriptural mention of the doctrine that we are children of God and as such hold the potential to become “…heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ:…” so much so that Christ Himself gave us the aspiration/direction to “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” The second part of the couplet (Our Identity and Purpose) is part of Mormon doctrine,

      • Thanks Michael, so a quick question before this goes any further.

        I accept that you do not believe God was once a mortal man, I share this belief that God has been God forever. So my first question is are you saying that this is your belief as a Mormon? Or are you saying that this is the authoritative teaching of the LDS church and that the many LDS members that do believe this have got it wrong?


  7. Personally, I don’t know the origin of God, the Father and as President Hinckley stated, “I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.” There are scriptures that describe God, but their descriptions seem to initiate more questions than answers. There is the concept you have described from the 1840’s which has NOT developed into formal Mormon doctrine, but has remained in the category of well meaning speculation. God’s origin is much less important to me and much less important to Mormon theology and our journey to eternal life than our purpose, identity and potential as God’s children.. .

  8. ok, will leave it there then. My point here is that there is more than enough material in Mormonism to justify the many Mormons that believe God was once a mortal. I made the point in my talk that not all Mormons will see things the way I am saying, however it was still a reasonable thing to say on the basis of much Mormon material.

    Thanks for the friendly critique bud it was really appreciated.

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