Why Should Christians Reach Out to Mormons?
I thought I would do a post explaining the reasons why I do this ministry. A recent discussion with a Mormon showed me that often the view is that people do this kind of ministry just because we have some hatred of Mormons or Mormonism and we just want to tear down a church they love. The term thrown around is anti-Mormon, if someone openly speaks against the LDS church that’s what they are and they are not to be listened to.
What I want to do is show that Christians like me seeking to reach out to Mormons are doing first out of a reverence for God, and secondly out of a deep love for Mormons and desire to present to the truth of Christ they so need to hear.
As well as this I want to speak to Christians who maybe wonder why it is worth speaking to Mormons anyway, surely our time is better spent reaching people who have no knowledge of God.
So this post is divided into these sections.
- 1, Christians have a duty to respond to Mormonism as doing so upholds the greatness of God and declares His glory, in the face of teachings about Him that seek to make Him something lesser than He is.
- 2, If Mormonism teaches a Christ that is different to the one in the bible, then this is a Christ that does not save and therefore Mormons are still dead in their sins.
- 3, If Mormonism is not the biblical gospel then through its laws and ordnances it is placing rules and restrictions on its members that weigh them with burden, down rather than let them live in the freedom that is found in Christ.
1, “As man is, God once was, as God is man may become” is a familiar quote that comes from Lorenzo snow an early Mormon president and captures the heart of the biggest problem of all in Mormonism, lets start with what the bible says about God.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within you.
1 John 3:20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
Isaiah 44:6-8 6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.
7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it;
Yes, let him recount it to Me in order,
From the time that I established the ancient nation.
And let them declare to them the things that are coming
And the events that are going to take place. ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.’”
Psalm 139:4-7 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it. 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
So just from these few verses we see that God has been God forever, created all things just by speaking it into being, that He is the only God, that He is able to do more than we could ever imagine He could do, and He knows all things as well as everything we will do or think before we do it, this is the God of the bible. He is so glorious that we see here the reason why He made us.
Ephesians 1:5-6 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Isaiah 43:6-7 “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
7 Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
This God created is so that we might glorify Him, some people says thats arrogant but if you consider just how great this God is, you see that He is worthy of this praise and He has created us in such a way that our ultimate satisfaction comes from Him, going back to psalm 139 we see this:
Psalm 139:5-6 5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
We see this heart from Paul also:
Philippians 1:21-23 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live onin the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;
God wants us in the process of knowing Him, and glorifying Him to love it, He is the ultimate source of human satisfaction, looking anywhere else for our satisfaction, and turning our God given desire to worship anywhere else leaves us lost and unsatisfied and denies the God of the bible of His rightful worship.
So what does Mormonism say about God.
Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism in His most famous sermon, the King Follet discourse said this:
I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.
In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.
We see this in Mormon Scripture Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as mans”.
What we see in Momonism is a change from God being the eternal all powerful God to a man who was exalted into the position of godhood, he is one of potentially billions of gods and is the god of our planet. Mormon apologists overcome the accusation that Mormons are polytheists which means the belief in many gods to called themselves henotheists which is the belief in many gods but the worship of one, either way Gods declaration in Isaiah 44:8 that He knows of no other gods, raises a big question.
Joseph Smith also said: “If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a Father? And where was there ever a Father without first being a son? (History of the Church, Volume 6, p.476)
As you might expect this leads to the implication that God was once a sinner like you and me, a friend of mine Aaron Shafovaloff in Utah has interviewed various Mormons on this subject, please take a look here.
So in Mormonism God becomes a man like us, subject to the same laws of creation that we are, just exalted to a higher position, this leads to the other natural conclusion that must follow from this thinking that God in heaven is creating spirit children with His wife, the teaching in the Mormon church is that as well as a heavenly Father we have a heavenly Mother.
In 1845, after the murder of Joseph Smith, the poet Eliza Roxcy Snow, published a poem entitled My Father in Heaven, (later titled Invocation, or the Eternal Father and Mother, now used as the lyrics in the popular Latter-day Saint hymn O My Father), acknowledging the existence of a Heavenly Mother. This hymn contained the following language:
- In the heavens are parents single?
- No, the thought makes reason stare.
- Truth is reason: truth eternal
- tells me I’ve a mother there.
- When I leave this frail existence,
- When I lay this mortal by,
- Father, Mother, may I meet you
- in your royal courts on high?
- There is no mention of ther Heavenly Mother in Mormon scripture that I know of, the most recent LDS authority quote comes from Gordon B Hinckley who was the Mormon prophet up to his death in 2008.
- “Logic and reason would certainly suggest that if we have a Father in Heaven, we have a Mother in Heaven. That doctrine rests well with me. However, in light of the instruction we have received from the Lord Himself, I regard it as inappropriate for anyone in the Church to pray to our Mother in Heaven” (Gordon Hinckley, “Daughters of God,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1991, p. 100. See also The Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 257).
- Logic and reason, this logic and reason that applies to humanity is here implied that is must apply to God, with Christianity God made us in His image, He made us like Him in aspects of His nature and goodness, however we see in the bible that He is far above us, has always been God and is the only God. Mormonism brings God down to being in our image and applies our limitations to Him, this is blasphemy at a very high level and as Christians we have a duty to uphold our Gods glory, and respond to this, not only that we might communicate the truth of God to Mormons, but that we might declare His glory.
- On we go to point 2 which is If Mormonism teaches a Christ that is different to the one in the bible then this is a Christ that does not save and therefore Mormons are still dead in their sins.
- What we believe about Jesus is absolutely essential to our salvation, if we get that wrong no matter how good our lives are, or how sincere we are then we are lost.
- This is supported by Mormon Church owned, Brigham Young university (BYU) Professor Jeffrey Marsh.
- “There is no salvation in false doctrine, no redeeming power in misunderstanding about Jesus Christ, His divinity, nor His mission. As He declared, our ability to inherit eternal life is directly related to our understanding of Christ, and His doctrines (see 3 Nephi 27:15-17; John 17:3, 16-17)” (BYU Associate professor W. Jeffrey Marsh, “Doctrine of Christ restored to the world,” Church News, January 3, 2004, p. 6).
- Jesus said unless you believe that I am He, you will be dead in your sins (John 8:24) this is reffering back to Exodus 3:14 when God revealed Himself to Moses as being I am that I am. Jesus is the I am, He is God, all of the attributes of God then apply to Him, meaning uncreated, creator, we see this in Phillipians 2:1-10
- 1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
- Jesus in very nature with God did not grasp His equality with God but emptied Himself to be a man taking death for us, we see this in John 17:5.
- Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
- The glory which Jesus gets in Philippians 2:9-10 is not some reward for living out His plan of salvation which is what the Mormon church teaches, but a restoration of the glory He had before He came to the earth.
- The Mormon Church teaches that Jesus was the first spirit child to be born to His heavenly parents in Heaven and when there was a council in heaven of the gods deciding ho should be the saviour Jesus and His spirit brother Lucifer also born to these parents came up with their ideas. Jesus idea was chosen Lucifer and His followers, now demons rebelled and were cast down to hell.
- Jesus came to earth and while taking the price for us He was also living ut His wn plan of salvation, thus this glorification He recieved after that in Mormon theology was His exaltation which was a reward for Him for doing so good on the earth, Jesus needed to get a body and do this whether He was the saviour or not.
- 6th Mormon Prophet Joseph f Smith said this:
- “Even Christ himself was not perfect at first; he received not a fulness at first, but he received grace for grace, and he continued to receive more and more until he received a fulness” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, p. 68. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 153).
- 10th Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said this:
- “CHRIST GAINED FULNESS AFTER RESURRECTION. The Savior did not have a fulness at first, but after he received his body and the resurrection all power was given unto him both in heaven and in earth. Although he was a God, even the Son of God, with power and authority to create this earth and other earths, yet there were some things lacking which he did not receive until after his resurrection. In other words he had not received the fulness until he got a resurrected body, and the same is true with those who through faithfulness become sons of God. Our bodies are essential to the fulness and the continuation of the seeds forever” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:33).
The difference between us and Jesus, is that Jesus was the firstborn in heaven and so had the status of being a god right from the start, just coming to earth and doing what He did exalted Him further. Bruce Mckonkie a previous Mormon Apostle said this:
- “Christ stands preeminent among all the spirit children of the Father. While yet in preexistence he became ‘like unto God’” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ, pp. 442-443).
- This leads to the question where is the humility in Philippians 2? If Jesus coming to erth and dying for us actually led to greater glory for Himself why is this described in Philippians 2 as humility, letting go of His equaity with God and coming to earth as a man? This is what Mormonism misses, Jesus was fully God, glorious, eternal, creator everything that God is, before He came to earth and after, yet again Mormonism here brings down God to being subject to a humans reasoning and limitations, if we have to live out a plan of salvation so does Christ.
- As a side note the Mormon church also teaches that the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost as they call Him will also one day have to come to earth in a body and live out His plan of salvation.
- Joseph Smith said that, “The Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual body and is waiting to take to himself a body, as the Savior did.”[Joseph Smith, Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith’s Teachings, edited by Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q. Cannon (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997)]
- “The Holy Ghost is now in a state of probation which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has.” (Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245; Sabbath address, Nauvoo, 27 August 1843. Reported by Franklin D. Richards.)
- So we see that the Christ Mormonism believes in is not the Jesus of the bible, the Jesus of the bible stepped down in coming to earth and gave Himself for us, the Jesus of Mormonism actually earned His exaltation through coming to the earth and ultimately was exalted for His work on the cross and in Gethsemane. Yet again we as Christians must speak up against this when we have the opportunity too, for the sake of the salvaion of Mormons and the glory of God.
- Ok final point. If Mormonism is not the biblical gospel then through its laws and ordnances it is placing rules and restrictions on its members that weigh them with burden, down rather than let them live in the freedom that is found in Christ.
- So a Mormons goal ultimately is to live out all of the laws and ordnances of the Mormon gospel so that they might recieve the same exaltation that their heavenly Father did.
- Joseph Smith said:
- “When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel-you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348. See also Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 305).
- Current Mormon Prophet Thomas Monson said
- “It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings must be earned” (Thomas Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1988, p. 56).
- And how are they earned?
- “The Celestial inheritance is for those who have accepted the Gospel of Christ and have rendered valiant service in the cause of righteousness; those who have yielded obedience to all the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (James E. Talmage, The Vitality of Mormonism, p. 287).
- Thats right all of them, and here they are:
- 1. We must be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.
- 2. We must receive the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- 3. We must receive the temple endowment.
- 4. We must be married for time and eternity.
- In addition to receiving the required ordinances, the Lord commands all of us to–
- 1. Love and worship God.2. Love our neighbor.
3. Repent of our wrongdoings.
4. Live the law of chastity.
5. Pay honest tithes and offerings.
6. Be honest in our dealings with others and with the Lord.
7. Speak the truth always.
8. Obey the Word of Wisdom.
9. Search out our kindred dead and perform the saving ordinances of the gospel for them.
10. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
11. Attend our Church meetings as regularly as possible so we can renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament.
12. Love our family members and strengthen them in the ways of the Lord.
13. Have family and individual prayers every day.
14. Honor our parents.
15. Teach the gospel to others by word and example.
16. Study the scriptures.
17. Listen to and obey the inspired words of the prophets of the Lord.
All of these must be obeyed for exaltation, which for Mormon is the fullest meaning of salvation. Mormons that seek to be in good standing and obey these have a life of pressure and expectation. The The Mormon church owned newspaper Deseret News identified in 2007 that Utah a state that is 68% Mormon has the highest rate of depression in the USA (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695231614/Utah-leads-the-nation-in-rates-of-depression.html)
This article shows that More people in Utah think about killing themselves than anywhere else in the United States.
Can we honestly think the pressures of Mormonism has nothing to do with this?
Yet again what does the bible say:
Romans 4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,
Compare that to the big list, if you do not work but trust Jesus you are righteous, this righteousness is all you need to be acceptable to God.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Salvation is a work of Christ of His grace. We are supposed to be free from burden by knowing Christ not immersed in it. Does this mean Christianity teaches we can be saved and do nothing? In a sense yes as none of our works save us, however as the Ephesians 2 quote above says we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, so when we are saved God has plans for us and things for us to do, however these are works of love that comes from having from having the love of Christ in us. Not works that a slavemaster requires of us if we want to earn big rewards.
That’s the difference between following Christ and Religion, His burden is light, religions burden is ever increasing in weight.
So if your a Christian reading this please remember this the next time you meet a Mormon, they are fantastic people subject to a religion that puts much pressure on them for something Christ would love to give them if they would only trust Him, tell them about Him.
If your a Mormon reading this please understand that my motives and the motives of others like me is not hate or a desire to tear down, but love and a desire to show you how great Christ is and how much He loves you and has for you. Even if you disagree with what I have said which you likely will, I want you to understand the heart behind this ministry.