Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mormon Cult info...

The following all comes from Equip.org which is the online ministry of The Christian Research Institute which includes the Bible Answer Man - Hank Hanegraaff.

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WHAT IS MORMONISM?

You’ve probably seen their well-groomed missionaries riding around your neighborhood on bikes. You’ve probably heard of Donny and Marie Osmond, and you might have even heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir — or even visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. But what’s the straight scoop? What does Mormonism really represent?

The Mormons, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, is now the largest U.S. cult. In fact, it boasts more than 12 million members worldwide, and over 40,000 full-time missionaries. Not to mention their splinter groups. All of this arose from the humble beginnings of a boy named Joseph Smith Jr. In 1820, Joseph supposedly saw a vision at Palmyra, New York. In it, God supposedly told him not to join any church, he said, because “they were all wrong... their creeds were all an abomination and all their professors were corrupt” (The Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 1:18,19). Three years later, he claimed the angel “Moroni” visited him and led him to some golden plates. These plates were supposedly written in “Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics.” After translating these plates through a pair of magical “spectacles,” the Book of Mormon was born.

This book, along with Doctrines and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price, are now considered by Mormons to be of equal authority with the Word of God “as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith, Article 8)

Remember that it isn’t the Christian church that is attacking Mormonism. It is Mormonism that has attacked the Christian church — believing or stating that true Christianity disappeared from the earth for over 1800 years — and let’s not forget that. Contrary to biblical teachings they also believe in more than one God, that God is a literal man, that men can become gods, that Jesus was the spirit brother of Lucifer, not to mention salvation by works and not by grace (Isa. 43:10; Mark 12:29; John 4:24; John 1:1-14; Gal. 2:14-16; Eph. 2:8,9).

Of course this inevitably leads Christians to classify Mormonism as a non-Christian cult — and its prophets, of course, are either deceived or they’re deceivers. And, by the way, to have this evidence and then not present it to the body of Christ or to Mormons is the most unloving thing you can possibly do.

MORMONS—CAN THEY BE CONSIDERED CHRISTIANS?

Better known as Mormons, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now numbers over 9 million members in almost 130 territories around the globe. Are they really the true followers of Jesus Christ as they claim to be?

To quote one Mormon apologist: “Latter-day Saints are Christians because they emphatically believe in Christ, use His name in their official church title, and believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon which testify repeatedly of the reality of Christ and the truth of His teachings.” Jesus Christ, no doubt, plays a central role in Mormon theology. However, Paul warns that to be a Christian, one must believe in the true Christ—the Jesus of the Bible—and not another Jesus. In fact, we would all agree with the late Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie when he says, “it matters not that people simply say they believe in Christ, or think they are followers of Moses, or the Apostles. What counts is the reality.” And the reality is that Mormons believe in a Jesus vastly different than the Jesus of the Bible.

You see, Mormonism teaches that Jesus is just one of countless other gods—a belief known as polytheism. Now, a Mormon may try to deny being a polytheist by affirming the existence of other gods, while in the same breath worshipping only God the Father. However, don’t forget Christ’s proclamation in Mark chapter 12—that God’s most important commandment is to recognize that there is only one God and only one Lord.

Where does this leave Jesus in Mormon Theology? Well, Mormons say they believe that Jesus is Jehovah, the LORD, the God of Israel, yet they refuse to pray to Him, as Jehovah Himself commands in the Old Testament (cf. Deut. 4:7; 2 Chron. 7:14; Pss. 5:2; 32:6; Jer. 29:7,12)—the same Jehovah who knows of no other God besides Himself, the One worshipped and honored by all true Christians (Ex. 34:14; cf. Matt. 2:11; 14:33; Luke 24:52). And so, judging by its own teachings, Mormonism cannot be rightly considered Christian.

WAS JOSEPH SMITH A PROPHET OF GOD?

Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, claimed to be a prophet of God. Was he?

In determining whether Joseph Smith was a prophet of God we need first to look at Smith’s so-called “first vision,” in which God supposedly instructed the would-be prophet to start a new church — what was to become the Mormon church. The evidence shows, however that Smith’s testimony suffers from a host of internal discrepancies. For example, the earliest recorded account of Smith’s “first vision” makes mention only of Jesus Christ, whereas other accounts report the appearance of both Jesus and God the Father, or of an angel, or a group of angels. Whatever the case may be, it’s clear to see that such conflicting reports only serve to cast doubt on the veracity of Smith’s testimony. Keep in mind that several of these accounts came from the same man — Joseph Smith himself.

Turning now to prophetic accuracy, we find that Smith fares no better than he did in recounting his alleged encounter with God. According to Deuteronomy 18:22, God’s prophets have a one hundred percent rate of accuracy — that is to say, their prophetic predictions never miss the mark. Unfortunately for Smith, such standards proved too much for him. We note, for example, that Smith predicted that a Mormon temple in Missouri would be constructed before all of the people living in 1832 pass away. This did not occur.

But even if Smith were flawless in all his predictions (which certainly was not the case), according to Deuteronomy 13:1-3 he would still not qualify as a prophet of God because he was speaking for a false god — a god other than the One revealed in Scripture. The facts lead us to draw only one conclusion: that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet, but a false prophet. And remember, the irony is that it was Joseph Smith who attacked Christianity by saying that all its teachers were corrupt.

REACHING OUT TO MORMONS

Are there some practical strategies for dealing with Mormonism? What’s the best way to witness to Mormons?

Harry L. Ropp, a Christian author who, by the way, served as a missionary to Mormons, said that creating doubt in a Mormon’s mind is an effective way to overcome ingrained teachings which inhibit Mormons from accepting the gospel. Let’s look at these teachings and consider some effective ways to deal with them.

First of all, Mormons are taught that the Bible has been corrupted through the years and is no longer reliable. In response to such claims, show that the Bible has been copied and translated accurately, and that modern scholarship has vindicated the reliability of Scripture. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946, for example, texts were found that were about 1,000 years older than any previously-known Old Testament manuscripts like the Masoretic Text. And when compared with the later texts, these writings proved to be virtually the same.

After establishing the Bible’s trustworthiness, show Mormons that they should instead focus their doubts on the Mormon scriptures. Try to concentrate on a single topic — such as the nature of God — and demonstrate the inconsistencies among Mormon doctrines and scriptures. For instance, while Mormons teach that there is more than one god, the Book of Mormon is clear in proclaiming that there is only one God.

By pointing out the internal discrepancies which plague official Mormon teaching and canonical writings, any subjective testimony that Mormons may offer concerning their scriptures becomes either minimized or nullified. And once a vacuum has been created, it may then be filled with sound Christian doctrine, further emphasizing the unbiblical character of Mormon theology. At this stage, take care to define terms since Mormonism has attached its own set of meanings to biblical persons and concepts.

When speaking with Mormons let us, above all, allow God’s Holy Spirit to direct our attitudes, our words, and our actions.

8 comments:

Marty & Mary Beth Scherr said...

Hey Chris -
I found your blog when reading Brenton Balvin's blog recently. I attend Quarry Church in Monticello. I too was approached by the Mormons about 4 years ago when I lived in a apt in Coon Rapids. I too challenged their reasoning and tried to present the truth of the Bible too them, but I don't think I made much of impact. I sensed that the two gentlemen at my door step were "brainwashed" in their thinking and it felt like they could not respond with anything other than a set of canned statements based on their Morman training. I appreciate your efforts to convince your Morman visitors that what they believe in not Biblical and therefore is not Christian. I've enjoyed reading your blogs. I have recently started a blog: scherrnthoughts.blogspot.com Just a brief background on me: I am a Database Administrator by vocation but I have recently felt a call to pursue to the minsitry of Christian Camping. I wanted to encourage your ministry and I trust that God will use you for his glory and purpose in some amazing ways.

In Christ,
- Marty

mrclm said...

I had a couple of classes with Brenton over the past 3 years, he's a really neat guy (can guys be "neat"?) Thanks for visiting my blog! As for the Mormons, how often they come depends on both where you live and on what kind of success they had on previous visits. Thus my ruminations on whether my fiancee's parents is now black listed. I'm fairly certain at least that those two particular missionaries won't stop back.

Chris

DLW said...

It'd be cool to hear what you think of the post-conservative evangelical movement that I've linked to about recently.

Mr. Marysville said...

A couple of corrections to your posting:

-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in over 160 countries.
-There are over 12 million members, not seven million.

Just minor errors, but you're evidently drawing from outdated sources.

It is deceiving when you refer to our Church as a cult. That term is often used to convey negative connotations, but it's important to remember that the early church, following the Savior's death, had the same attributes that would fit the description of a cult. Would you refer to it as a cult?

I am a Mormon and I love the Savior Jesus Christ. My life has been changed by his sacrifice and I can't thank Him enough for the peace I feel. You may dispute our doctrine, but you have to be careful when you question a person's relationship to God and Jesus Christ (I noticed you avoided that, thank you). The doctrine of the gospel is rich, deep, edifying and wonderful. It's truly a blessing to have it.

I appreciate your sincere desire to teach Mormons of Christ. I believe you are sincere. Your "creating doubt" method may be effective on some, but conviction from the Spirit is much deeper than that. Especially when I (and millions of others like me), have gained a firm conviction of Jesus Christ through the Bible and The Book of Mormon and have experienced that "peace, which passeth all understanding." It's more important that He views me as a Christian than whether you do.

Thanks brother.

mrclm said...

Dill,
The sources were just from equip.org, so they are as current as whenever the actual articles were written. I suspect they were written in the past 5 or so years, but if you dig around their web site I would guess you can find the actual publishing dates. The post is a combination of their quick little answer sheets.

As for my use of the word cult, that was very intentional on my part. I do not embrace the membership of the LDS church as fellow Christians. You use the same words, but have different meanings behind them. Things like salvation mean different things to you and me. I KNOW I am saved, do you? You can KNOW, not having to live in doubt. While I cannot specifically speak on the salvation of any other individual in an absolute sense, I do not believe Mormons are worshipping the One True God.

mrclm said...

I accidently hit send...

While the LDS church certainly has a complicated theology, that does not make it a Christian theology. I think the LDS church is equally misguided as the Watchtower Tract Society (Jehova's Witness). I have no doubt that you are sincere and committed to your faith, but your faith needs to be based on the Bible alone, throw out the garbage Joseph Smith Jr. plagued us with. Galatians 1:6-8.

DLW said...

Just thinking out loud,

Did you know that Catholic investors have formed groups that refused to invest in any funds that would go against their Catholic beliefs and acheived a good return?

I am wondering if a similar thing could be done by Evangelical investors who would refuse to invest in funds whose owners/profits go to support the Mormons?

Let me look into it...
dlw

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

Y'all might be interested in the following:

http://www.theopedia.com/Mormonism