Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The January 2011 issue of the “Ensign” has an article by Dallin H. Oaks entitled “Fundamental to our Faith”. I was quite happy to see him explain how the Mormon Church is different from general Christianity in their ‘fundamental premises of faith’ which are:
1. The Nature of God
2. The Purpose of Life
3. The Threefold Sources of Truth about man and the universe
I was happy because it’s not very common that the leaders of the Mormon Church openly admit that they are different from Christians in their beliefs. However, I believe when they say different, they mean “more right”. When I say different, I mean “unbiblical”.
The Nature of God
Oaks explains, “For us the truth about the nature of God and our relationship to Him is the key to everything else. Significantly, our belief in the nature of God is what distinguishes us from the formal creeds of most Christian denominations.”
I could not agree more. And more importantly, the Bible teaches the same thing! The Bible teaches that the truth about the nature of God and our relationship to Him is key to everything else. And since the Mormon belief about the nature of God is not taught in the Bible, Mormon beliefs are definitely distinguished from the rest of Christianity.
Oaks continues, “We have this belief in the Godhead in common with the rest of Christianity, but to us it means something different than to most. We maintain that these three members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings and that God the Father is not a spirit but a glorified Being with a tangible body, as is His resurrected Son, Jesus Christ. Though separate in identity, They are one in purpose.”
Bible: “God is a spirit…” John 4:24
Oaks: “Our unique belief that ‘the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit’ (D & C 130:22) is vital to us.”
“God the Son told the young prophet that all ‘creeds’ of the churches of that day ‘were an abomination in his sight’… Joseph Smith’s First Vision showed that the prevailing concepts of the nature of God and the Godhead were untrue…”
‘The prevailing concepts of the nature of God’ that he is referring to is the Biblical teachings that God is only one God in three persons. Mr. Oaks is reminding us that Joseph Smith’s First Vision is declaring the Bible to be untrue.
Oaks, referring to the Book of Mormon: “This new book of scripture is a second witness of Jesus Christ. It affirms the biblical prophecies and teachings of the nature and mission of Christ.”
So does the Book of Mormon affirm the Mormon beliefs about the nature of God, or the Biblical teachings about the nature of God?
First of all, remember that the Bible teaches that nothing can be added to it, or taken away. (Revelation 22:18-19). So the fact that the Book of Mormon is a “new book of scripture” should be a HUGE red flag for anyone seeking truth.
Second, it does not live up to Oaks claims: It does NOT affirm any biblical prophecies of Christ. It does NOT affirm biblical teachings of the nature of Christ. And it does NOT affirm biblical teachings of the mission of Christ.
As Oaks describes the LDS testimony of Jesus Christ, he says, “He is the Savior, whose atoning sacrifice opens the door for us to be forgiven of our personal sins…” The LDS Church teaches that Christ only “opened the door” to forgiveness. We are responsible to follow a series of steps in order to repent and earn that forgiveness. In other words, Christ made it possible, but we must do the work.
The Bible teaches that we are completely forgiven when we believe in Jesus Christ and accept the work that HE did FOR us.
Bible: John 5:24 “Whoever believes in the Son, has eternal life.”
Oaks goes on to quote the 3rd Article of Faith: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
Bible: Ephesians 2: 8-9 “For by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The Purpose of Mortal Life
Oaks: “Our theology begins with the assurance that we lived as spirits before we came to this earth…”
There is not even a mention or suggestion of this in the Bible.
Oaks: “Our highest aspiration is to become like our heavenly parents, which will empower us to perpetuate our family relationships throughout eternity… by obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel [we] qualify for the glorified celestial condition and relationships that are called exaltation or eternal life.”
The Bible teaches that we are not the same nature as God.
John 8:23 “"You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.”
It also teaches that God is unchangeable and everlasting.
Psalm 90:2 “Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
If we can become “like our heavenly parents” and achieve Godhood then we would not be “everlasting”, which is the nature of God. We would become a God, then five minutes later, we would have only been a God for five minutes – not eternally, and not everlasting.
And once again, Oaks emphasizes obedience is required to gain eternal life. This belief keeps Church members under the bondage of the “Church” as an organization – to keep them obedient, paying tithing, and recruiting new members – who in turn will be obedient, pay tithing, and recruit new members.
Oaks: “Under the great plan of the loving Creator, the mission of His Church is to help us achieve exaltation in the celestial kingdom, and that can be accomplished only through an eternal marriage between a man and a woman (See D & C 131:1-3)”
Bible: Matt 22:30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”
Oaks: “We affirm that marriage is necessary for the accomplishment of God’s plan…”
The Bible teaches that God is all powerful – beyond our wildest dreams! But the LDS church is suggesting that this mighty, miraculous, wonderful, inconceivable God’s plan is somehow crippled unless we get married??? This minimizes God – His power, His holiness, and His nature.
Oaks: “[God] requires His children to obey His laws because only through that obedience can they progress toward the eternal destiny He desires for them… we will all be assigned to the kingdom of glory that is commensurate with our obedience to His law.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul told of a vision of a man “caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2). Speaking of the resurrection of the dead, he described ‘bodies’ with different glories, like the respective glories of the sun, moon, and stars. He referred to the first two of these as ‘celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial’ (1 Cor. 15:40-42).”
These verses from the Bible are either misunderstood or intentionally twisted in order to fit the doctrine of the Mormon Church. The “third heaven” is referring to the heaven where God is. The second heaven was understood as the stars and planets. The first heaven is the atmosphere including clouds, birds, etc.
The celestial bodies Paul was referring to can be understood in context of the entire chapter. Paul was talking about resurrection – and explained that there are celestial bodies (of heaven) and terrestrial bodies (of earth). He was NOT teaching about different degrees of heaven.
Oaks: “For us, eternal life in the celestial, the highest glory, is NOT a mystical union with an incomprehensible spirit-god.”
Being in the presence of my “Spirit-God”, Savior, King and Redeemer is the only kind of heaven I want.
The LDS Church minimizes the wrath of God for sin by denying the Biblical teaching of hell…
Oaks: “ With only a few exceptions, even the very wicked will ultimately go to a marvelous – though lesser – kingdom of glory.”
Sources of Truth
The Church teaches that the prophet of the church today has the same kind of communication with God as the prophets in the Old Testament. Oaks quotes a verse that is commonly used to support this notion: “the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)”
But under the new covenant, God no longer speaks through prophets to lead his people as a whole unit.
Heb 1:1-2 “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets…in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…”
Oaks goes on to explain that in addition to prophets, “each person can receive personal revelation for his or her conversion, understanding, and decision making.”
The Bible teaches that this is very dangerous because Satan can create feelings or impulses, or even a burning in the bosom.
Of course, the Church makes revelation conditional on obedience. “Revelation comes when we keep the commandments of God and thus qualify for the companionship and communication of the Holy Spirit.”
On May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46), Brigham Young issued a challenge: “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter Day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.”
I have accepted that challenge from Brigham Young.
In the January 2011 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion fails this test.