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Probe Ministries > Q & A: Probe Answers Our Email > Cults and World Religions > Your Comments About Mormonism Are Nonsense


Your Comments About Mormonism Are Nonsense Print E-mail

I have read your statements in your article A Short Look at Six World Religions. I happen to be Mormon and have heard this nonsense before:

"Mormonism is not Christian because it denies some of the essential doctrines of Christianity, including the deity of Christ, salvation by grace, and the bodily resurrection of Christ. Furthermore, Mormon doctrine contradicts the Christian teaching that there is only one God, and it undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible"

1. We never have denied the deity of Christ. Christ is Jehovah, the great I am. This is within our doctrine.

2. We are saved by grace. No doubt about it. It's part of our doctrine.

3. We have always taught that Jesus took his body the third day the same as it is recorded in the Bible. I don't know where you recieved your info on that, but we never have denied the resurrection of Christ. In fact when serving my mission it was common for other Christian groups to say that Christ is only a spirit. We had to teach them that Christ in reality took his body the third day.

4. We believe that there is one Godhead. We believe in one Elohim.

5. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." Joseph Smith.

Christ taught that we should not judge. It seems to me that many so called "Christians" judge other Christians who don't believe as they do. Let the Lord do the judging.

Thank you for responding to my article. I don't know if you will be able to receive what I have to say, since the Mormon use of Biblical terms seems to differ from what the rest of us mean by it, but I will attempt to respond to your argument.

1. We never have denied the deity of Christ. Christ is Jehovah, the great I am. This is within our doctrine.

When orthodox Christians say "deity of Christ," we mean that He is one with the Father. There is one God of the Bible, although He exists as three persons, and Jesus is—and has always been—as fully God as the Father. As I understand it, Mormon doctrine is that Jesus was a created being, which would put Him on a different—inferior—level to the eternally-existing Father. So the Father existed before Jesus did, which would make Him (Jesus) less than the eternally-existing Creator of the Universe. Which the Bible proclaims that He is:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Rev. 1:8)

"In Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).

Of Jesus it was announced: "These are the words of Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again" (Rev. 2:8); the same claim made by God Almighty: "This is what the LORD says—Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God" (Is. 44:6). Also, compare Rev. 22:13 with Is. 48:12.

Also as I understand it, Mormon doctrine is that Jesus is Jehovah, and the Father is Elohim, and they are different Gods. But in the Old Testament, these are two names for the same, one, God.

James Talmage, one of the Mormon authorities, states: "This [the Trinity] cannot rationally be construed to mean that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are one in substance and person" (A Study of the Articles of Faith, p.40).

James Talmage states: "Jesus Christ was Jehovah...Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of scripture, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah...The Father has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol.1, p.11,27).

Joseph F. Smith stated, "Among the spirit children of Elohim, the first-born was and is Jehovah, or Jesus Christ, to whom all others are juniors" (Gospel Doctrine, p.70).

In contrast, the Bible uses the names Elohim and Jehovah interchangeably for the one true God. The English form "Jehovah" was developed from four consonants (YHWH) from which we get the word "Yahweh," translated "LORD." The words "Yahweh" and "Elohim" are used together hundreds of times, as in: 'LORD our God', 'LORD my God', 'LORD his God', 'LORD your God'. For example: "The Lord [Jehovah] our God [Elohim] is one Lord [Jehovah]" (Deut. 6:4). See also Gen. 2:4-22; Deut. 4:1; Judges 5:3; 1 Sam. 2:30; Is. 44:6.

2. We are saved by grace. No doubt about it. It's part of our doctrine.

The Bible's definition of grace is undeserved, unearned favor. It's a gift from God with no strings attached and no way to earn it. Apparently the Mormon definition of grace is very different, including man's efforts:

The LDS Third Article of Faith states: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel" (Pearl of Great Price: Articles of Faith). (emphasis mine)

Joseph Fielding Smith explains what that last phrase means: "that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.134).

James Talmage explains: "...redemption from personal sins can only be obtained through obedience to the requirement of the Gospel, and a life of good works" (James Talmage, in A Study of the Articles of Faith).

In the Bible 'salvation' means deliverance from the consequence (eternal separation from God) of our sin. As I understand it, Mormon leaders have redefined the word "salvation" to have a two-fold meaning: a) forgiveness of sins and b) universal resurrection:

"There will be a General Salvation for all in the sense in which that term is generally used, but salvation, meaning resurrection, is not exaltation" (Stephen L. Richards, Contributions of Joseph Smith, LDS tract, p.5).

"All men are saved by grace alone without any act on their part, meaning they are resurrected" (Bruce McConkie, What Mormons Think of Christ", LDS tract, p.28).

3. We have always taught that Jesus took his body the third day the same as it is recorded in the Bible. I don't know where you recieved your info on that, but we never have denied the resurrection of Christ. In fact when serving my mission it was common for other Christian groups to say that Christ is only a spirit. We had to teach them that Christ in reality took his body the third day.

Upon doing further research, I was able to ascertain that I was wrong in saying that Mormon doctrine denies the bodily resurrection of Christ. I apologize and I have removed that part of my article.

4. We believe that there is one Godhead. We believe in one Elohim.

Orthodox Christianity teaches that there is one God. Period. The Godhead consists of one God in three persons, not three Gods. Not a plurality of Gods.

Bruce McConkie states: "Three separate personages---Father, Son, and Holy Ghost---comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, these three are the only Gods we worship" (Mormon Doctrine, p.576-7). (emphasis mine)

5. "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." Joseph Smith.

How do you know when the Bible has been translated correctly? There are thousands of manuscripts in existence that allow us to check the reliability of the Biblical documents. The Bible was written in human language, which we can easily check because of the existence of so much collateral literature in the same language, unlike the Book of Mormon, supposedly written on golden plates in angelic language. Where is the fallibility test for that book?

Christ taught that we should not judge. It seems to me that many so called "Christians" judge other Christians who don't believe as they do. Let the Lord do the judging.

In the very same chapter as the "Judge not" verse, the Lord also says, "Beware of false prophets." How else will we distinguish between true and false except by judging the words and behavior of what men say? Of course, we cannot judge another's heart, which explains His command not to judge; but in order to be discerning about truth and deception, we MUST judge their fruit by comparing it to the only absolute we have, the Bible.

The Bible's standard for a prophet is 100% accuracy. By that standard, Joseph Smith is a false prophet. If he were a true prophet,

• Jesus would have returned in 1891 (Documentary History of the Church (DHC) 2:182)
• The Civil War would have poured out upon all nations (D&C 87:1-3), the wicked of Smith's generation would have been "swept from off the face of the land" (DHC 1:315)
• A temple would have been built in Independence Missouri by the generation living in 1832 (D&C 84:4,5)

I'm sorry, but the differences between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity are not "nonsense." They are significant, and need to be explored.

Respectfully,

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries


About the Author

Sue BohlinSue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

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