Six Teachings in Mormonism Antithetical to Historic Christianity

I just finished reading Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds and thought it might be helpful to share some statements made within Mormon Doctrines that Christians should be familiar with. (LDS stands for Latter Day Saints which is the name of the Mormon Church)

#1: Mormonism teaches that a man is saved by grace only after exerting all of their own effort. “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23) This is supported by Mormon apostle and prophet Spencer Kimball who says “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.”1 This is another gospel that the Apostle Paul warned about. (Galatians 1:6-9) This is counter Christian. It is in direct conflict with Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith… not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Sola Gratia. Grace alone.

#2: Mormonism teaches that man can become a capital “G” God . Brigham Young (Joseph Smith’s successor) stated that “The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like Himself.”2 This is very close to the lie that Eve fell for in the Garden. “The day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.” (Genesis 3:5) Just in case you want to argue that this is perhaps a different meaning of the word God, proceed to the next point.

#3: Mormonism teaches that God was once a man. Lorenzo Snow, another Mormon prophet and apostle who was a contemporary of Smith, stated that “If ever there was a thing revealed to man perfectly, clearly that there could be no doubt or dubiety, this was revealed to me, and it came in these words: ‘As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.’”3 Joseph Smith approved of this truth. When Snow told him about it, Smith replied, “Brother Snow, that is true gospel doctrine, and it is a revelation from God to you.” Malachi 3:6 states rather plainly “For I, the LORD, do not change.” Psalm 90:2 states “even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” From everlasting is clearly stating that no matter how far you go back in eternity God was still God and He does not change.

#4: Mormonism teaches that God the Father is flesh, physical in nature, and was born of a woman. The sixth Mormon president and prophet stated that “I know that God is a being with body, parts and passions… Man was born of woman; Christ, the Savior, was born of woman; and God, the Father, was born of woman.”4 And just in case you want two witnesses the tenth Mormon president, Joseph Fielding Smith, said, “Our Father in heaven, according to the Prophet, had a Father; and since there has been a condition of this kind through all eternity, each Father had a Father.”5 God would seem to think otherwise “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.” (Isaiah 44:6) God is the first, therefore He could not have had a Father. God goes on to say “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.” (Isaiah 45:5) For God to have been born there would have had to have been some kind of God before Him, His Word says otherwise. Finally, John 4:24 blatantly teaches that God is spirit not flesh.

#5: Mormonism teaches that the gates of hell did prevail against the church. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Joseph smith thought otherwise. He taught that he was used to restore the church that had been completely overpowered during the Great Apostasy. After the twelve died, the church fell and remained in a fallen state for roughly 1700 years. Listen to Smith’s words “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam… Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.”6

#6: The Book of Mormon is racist. Although modern Mormon leaders have and do teach against racism the LDS scriptures are clearly racist. Alma 3:6 states that “The skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgressions and their rebellion.”7 This is commonly called the “curse of Cain.” Another obviously racist verse is found in 3 Nephi 2:15 “And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.”8 Overall, there are 26 LDS scriptures that at face value are racist.9  Furthermore, until 1978 blacks were forbidden from holding a priesthood10 and could not attend Brigham Young University until the 1960s.11 An argument could be made that Christians are guilty of great racism too, and I fully concede that point. However, the distinction is that these racist teachings are in the Mormon scriptures whereas the Bible was revolutionary with inclusive verses like Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” One can easily assume that this verse teaches that there is neither black nor white as well.

Christians cannot consider the LDS a true church. We must not compromise on this when their teachings are so contrary to what the Bible teaches. We must love our Mormon neighbors by not allowing them to believe that we think they have an essential knowledge of the truth. (Romans 10:2) We must seek to respectfully and gently engage in discussion that brings them to the life giving Word of God and away from the false gospel and false god that has ensnared them. There is only one God who saves. There is only one Gospel that saves. There is only one Truth that sets free. Every Mormon desperately needs the true God, the saving Gospel and the only Truth. May we be faithful to share it with them in great love and unwavering truth.

(On a side note, while Leaving Mormonism was a great book and a very informative read, I must say that I am critical of Chapter 5: Wrestling with Nature and God. While I appreciate James Eccles honesty and many of his thoughts, he is too liberal in his theology for me to endorse. (he is a self-described moderate Protestant and I agree with his self-description) I would definitely consider him a brother in Christ, but his dogmatic elevated view of science and placing it on an exact par with God’s Word is an untenable position, from my perspective, for a Christian to hold. I will be having a five part blog series related to this topic shortly. I enjoyed reading someone of a much different perspective, but there were other areas of concern as well, especially his over focus on God’s love without drawing necessary attention to His other attributes as well, such as His wrath and His justice. This chapter makes me uncomfortable about recommending this book to a Mormon in a faith crisis and who could be influenced by what I see as theology that is approaching a dangerous level. Not dangerous yet, but nearer to that line than I would want someone reevaluating their faith to be influenced by.)    

Bibliography:

  1. Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds; Corey Miller, Lynn K. Wilder, Vince Eccles, and Latayne C. Scott; (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2017) Ch:2 In Search of the Good Life, 45
  2. Ibid. 60; quote from: Brigham Young, August 8, 1852, Journal of Discourses 3:93
  3. Ibid. 75; quote from: “Unchangeable Love of God”, September, 18, 1898, Collected Discourses 5.453
  4. Ibid. 77; quote from: Search These Commandments: Melchizedek Priesthood Personal News, (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1984), 152
  5. Ibid. 77; quote from : Doctrines of Salvation 2:42
  6. Ibid. 28; quote from: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 7 vols., ed. B.H. Roberts, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Desert Book Co., 1978), 1:19
  7. Ibid. Ch 4: Social Consequences of Mormon Teachings: Finding Post-Mormon Mental Health,171
  8. Ibid. 172
  9. Ibid. 172
  10. Ibid. 158
  11. Ibid. 159

* All Christian scriptures from: NASB Thinline Bible, Zondervan, (2002: Grand Rapids, Michigan)

leaving

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

7 thoughts on “Six Teachings in Mormonism Antithetical to Historic Christianity

  1. Well, you certainly address many complex things is a very short space, and I don’t think you fully understand the doctrine of the church. There is not time or space for me to address everything you said, but I would like to make a few points.
    But before I do I would like to say that I agree with you concerning the idea of placing scientific endeavors on the same level as the revealed word of God. I have seen many people do this, even in our church, and it is discouraging.

    1. Saved by grace: To truly understand the church’s doctrine on this point you must understand that we do not believe in a single form of salvation, or a simple “Heaven and Hell” dynamic. We believe in many gradations or levels of salvation. It is the doctrine of the church that salvation from Hell is a free gift through the Grace of God (and to all men, not just those who believe). But it is after we are saved from Hell that our own actions come into play to determine what level of salvation we receive.
    I have written a brief series myself on this point (with many references) and you are welcome to come and discuss it more there. The first one can be found here: https://shematwater.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/the-full-scope-of-the-atonement-part-1-grace/

    2. Becoming gods: No, it is not true that we can become “a capital ‘G’ God.” We can be gods, or like God, in that we live as God lives, but that is all that has ever been taught. There has been speculation by many members, but none of it is official doctrine.
    I personally like this essay on LDS.org that very nicely covers the official doctrine on this point: https://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng

    3. Racism: Please note first that God has, for most of human history, restricted the use of his priesthood based on race. From the time of Moses to Christ no one outside of the House of Israel could hold the priesthood of God. So, restrictions to priesthood based on race are entirely Biblical.
    Secondly, in reading the Book of Mormon, if you ever have, you would see that it is the farthest from being racist than any other book. Me, I like this passage best: “he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” 2 Nephi 26: 33

    I will leave it at that. But you are welcome to join me over at my postings to discuss things further, or we can discuss a few of them here.

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    1. Hello I appreciate your detailed response and your respect for revealed Word over science. It is always nice to talk with someone who has that mind set. Furthermore, I appreciate the tone of your response and will try to reflect it as best I can. (However, I am known for being a rather blunt person, but please know it is not my intent if something does not seem like it is coming from a heart of kindness or respect, yet I am passionate for the truth)

      In regards to your first point the Bible is crystal clear that only believers will be saved from Hell. John 3:36 says “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” If you don’t believe, you don’t see life. II Thessalonians 1:8-9 is pretty clear too “taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” Being punished with everlasting destruction sure sounds like Hell to me. Even the Book of Alma seems to imply that there will be people who go to Hell for eternity “For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.” (Alma 34:32-35) Being sealed by the devil as his and not having any place for the Spirit of the Lord in you sounds like Hell, especially if it is a final state. Unless someone is fully covered in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, grace that is given by placing their hope in Him only, they will not see life and will spend an eternity in Hell away from His presence.

      In regards to your second point your LDS website article was interesting, but it just seems inconsistent and the explanations insufficient to an outside observer when contrasted with clear statements made by your prophets like the ones I mentioned. A couple others are by your forth president and prophet Wilford Woodruff “for all this they will receive their reward, they will become Gods.” (Journal of Discourses 18:39) Or by Snow when talking about Joseph Smith’s views “taught that man by constantly progressing may eventually develop into a divine being, like unto his Father in Heaven.” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, 2) God warns us about false prophets in Jeremiah 23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord…The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth… Is not My word like fire? declares the LORD… Therefore behold, ‘I am against the prophets,’ declares the LORD, ‘who steal My words from each other. Behold I am against the prophets’ declares the LORD, ‘who use their tongues and declare, “The Lord declares!” Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,’ declares the LORD, ‘and related them and led my people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,’ declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:16-32) Prophets words should be taken very carefully and those who claim to speak for God should be tested. (I John 4:1, Deuteronomy 13:1-5)

      On your third point it seems to completely overlook the fact that the restricted Jewish priesthood was established for the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant things changed. You can see this by connecting Revelation 1:6, which is John referring to Christians in their present state as being priests to God the Father, and Revelation 5:9-10 “hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Notice how people from every kindred, tongue, people and nation are included as being priests. To deny that is what it is saying one would have to do a couple of exegetical back flips. The priesthood extends to all believers in the New Covenant, regardless of race, that is Biblical. And the verse from 2 Nephi that you picked out is great but it deflects from the verses I pointed out and to get around them is extremely difficult and again requires some more exegetical gymnastics, that from an outsider seem to be untenable explanations. Joesph Smith himself said in the Messenger and Advocate (vol. 2, no. 7) that “the project of emancipation is destructive to our government, and the notion of amalgamation is devilish!-And insensible to feeling must be the heart, and low indeed must be the mind, that would consent for a moment, to see his fair daughter, his sister, or perhaps, his bosom companion, in the embrace of a NEGRO! ”

      Jesus said “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-16) If a prophet thinks that someone must be insensible to feeling and even low in mind to embrace a person based on the color of their skin that is a pretty telling sign of their fruit quality. The Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians about false apostles and false teachers saying “so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” (II Corinthians 11:12-15) LDS.org and many LDS apologists can give some great arguments and very creative explanations but God’s Word is fire and when looking at the truth of a belief system it is important to look at the teachings as they come from the original source and to see if they look like good or bad fruit. The Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said “even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8) Even an angel from heaven. From an outside perspective and with all of the warnings in Scripture about false prophets I just can’t see how Joesph Smith passes the test.

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      1. Don’t worry about the tone. I am very much the same way. Also, I would like to make it clear that it is not my intention to convert you or anyone else. I only want to clarify the doctrine of the restored church of Jesus Christ. I have long thought that to disagree with false information is meaningless, but to disagree when we have a true understanding makes our decision to disagree more forceful.
        So, going back to your reply to the points I made:
        1. Again, I would really suggest going to the blogs I wrote on the subject as it gives a more detailed and full account of the doctrine. But I would like to address the passages you quote. Understand that we believe every passage you cite, but understand it differently. I give only the reference in order to conserve space and time.
        John 3: 36: Note that hell is not actually mentioned here. Also recall that we believe in levels of salvation. Everlasting Life, which is the subject that John addresses here, is the highest level and is only for those who believe and follow the gospel. The unbelieving will not attain Everlasting Life, and the wrath of God is on them, but not necessarily to the point of casting them into hell, but rather to a lower level of salvation.
        2 Thessalonians 1: 8-9: This is true, as all those who do not believe and are baptized will be cast into everlasting destruction (which is hell) when they die. However, they will be brought out at the time of their resurrection and are thus saved from Hell eventually. As it says in Revelation 20: 13 “…death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them…”
        Alma 34:32-35: This passage does not speak of the unbelieving, but rather those who do believe, and yet openly rebel and come out in opposition to God. We generally refer to such people as the ‘Son’s of Perdition.’ These people, after being brought out of Hell at the resurrection, will then be cast back into Hell. Thus they have received the salvation from hell that all receive, and then reject it, and this is called the second death (Revelation 20: 14).

        2. I think the trouble here is coming from a misunderstanding as to what is mean by the word god. First note that the Journal of Discourses is an imperfect transcription of what leaders have said. This is most especially true in punctuation and capitalization. This is why it is not generally help up as a source of official doctrine.
        However, more to the point, I never denied we can become gods, and the church does not deny this. In the 132 section of our Doctrine and Covenants, in verse 20, this very doctrine is clearly stated. “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.”
        We will be gods, which term refers to a state a being, a perfection of knowledge, power, and glory. What it does not refer to is authority. Thus we will be gods, with a little ‘g.’ We will never be the supreme being that our Father is, for He is God, with a big ‘G.’

        3. On this point I am not going to get into any great discussion. I think in the modern political climate when any criticism can be labeled as racist it does very little good. I have read the Book of Mormon many times and there is nothing in it that promotes or justifies truly racist ideology. Picking a few quotes from it that are taken out of context and without an understanding does not change that.
        Revelation 5: 9-10: Those who are saying this are already in heaven, and are praising God for His plan of salvation and the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. No race is barred from heaven, and in heaven they will all be Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses. Now, I admit that the restrictions under the Law of Moses have been changed. I merely referenced them to show precedent under the laws of God for such to be the case in other periods of history.
        As to the Messenger and Advocate, I would ask if you read the entire thing or just the quote you reference. Never does it say or imply that any race is inherently inferior to another. Rather, it says that because of the situation that then existed these things would be dangerous, and I agree with that. More than once they expressed their desire to have the gospel go to the slaves, but advocated that it first go to the slave owner in order to preserve the peace that was upheld by the law. But, if such quotes are taken out of context, and without an understanding of the culture and situation that then existed they can be made to promote anything.

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      2. I absolutely agree with your thoughts about knowing what you are disagreeing with, but it is always my intention to convert someone, just so we are clear on intentions. “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

        I read the one blog you linked to before my first reply. Although John does not specifically mention hell, the entire literary framework of his Gospel is built around life or no life (death). John 5:24 makes reference of passing out of death to life. There is an idea of of spiritual life and death that is developed even on a cursory reading. This second death or spiritual death is better understood when we look at the context of Revelation 20 that you mentioned. “And Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:13-15) The dead are only brought out of Hades to receive their Judgement. If they are not wearing “wedding cloths” they will be thrown into “outer darkness” (Matthew 22:12) which is the lake of fire, the second death. Eternal life which is to know the “only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3) Or eternal death and punishment in outer darkness and eternal fire. (Jude 7, II Peter 2:17) Only two options.

        We definitely disagree with the thoughts on God vs god and what that entails but the level of concern that arises when you combine the thoughts about being a God or god are great when related to many statements made about the physical nature of God and the plethora of Gods that, at least from my understanding of your beliefs, are taught to exist in Mormon doctrine. “Is there any God besides Me… I know of none.” (Isaiah 44:8)

        I believe understanding context is huge, I constantly see people abuse it with the Bible and I do not claim to know the context of your scriptures nearly as well as you do. Yet, just claiming the context is taken out of context doesn’t do much for someone wanting an explanation. Not saying you have to give at all, but those texts are tough to get around. I’ve heard an explanation or two before, but have yet to hear one that is satisfactory to me at least. And nope I’ve never read the Messenger and Advocate. That is great that they had a concern for the slaves but that quote I mentioned, combined with former LDS teachings and other scriptures is still tough to deal with.

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  2. Sorry for the late reply. I have been having computer trouble. Had to replace the power source, and the new one (from an old Dell computer) doesn’t actually fit right. But oh well.

    Well, you certainly address many complex things is a very short space, and I don’t think you fully understand the doctrine of the church. There is not time or space for me to address everything you said, but I would like to make a few points.
    1. Saved by grace: To truly understand the church’s doctrine on this point you must understand that we do not believe in a single form of salvation, or a simple “Heaven and Hell” dynamic. We believe in many gradations or levels of salvation. It is the doctrine of the church that salvation from Hell is a free gift through the Grace of God (and to all men, not just those who believe). But it is after we are saved from Hell that our own actions come into play to determine what level of salvation we receive.
    I have written a brief series myself on this point (with many references) and you are welcome to come and discuss it more there. The first one can be found here: https://shematwater.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/the-full-scope-of-the-atonement-part-1-grace/

    2. Becoming gods: No, it is not true that we can become “a capital ‘G’ God.” We can be gods, or like God, in that we live as God lives, but that is all that has ever been taught. There has been speculation by many members, but none of it is official doctrine.
    I personally like this essay on LDS.org that very nicely covers the official doctrine on this point: https://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng

    3. Racism: Please note first that God has, for most of human history, restricted the use of his priesthood based on race. From the time of Moses to Christ no one outside of the House of Israel could hold the priesthood of God. So, restrictions to priesthood based on race are entirely Biblical.
    Secondly, in reading the Book of Mormon, if you ever have, you would see that it is the farthest from being racist than any other book. Me, I like this passage best: “he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” 2 Nephi 26: 33
    I will leave it at that. But you are welcome to join me over at my postings to discuss things further, or we can discuss a few of them here.

    Don’t worry about the tone. I am very much the same way. Also, I would like to make it clear that it is not my intention to convert you or anyone else. I only want to clarify the doctrine of the restored church of Jesus Christ. I have long thought that to disagree with false information is meaningless, but to disagree when we have a true understanding makes our decision to disagree more forceful.
    So, going back to your reply to the points I made:
    1. Again, I would really suggest going to the blogs I wrote on the subject as it gives a more detailed and full account of the doctrine. But I would like to address the passages you quote. Understand that we believe every passage you cite, but understand it differently. I give only the reference in order to conserve space and time.
    John 3: 36: Note that hell is not actually mentioned here. Also recall that we believe in levels of salvation. Everlasting Life, which is the subject that John addresses here, is the highest level and is only for those who believe and follow the gospel. The unbelieving will not attain Everlasting Life, and the wrath of God is on them, but not necessarily to the point of casting them into hell, but rather to a lower level of salvation.
    2 Thessalonians 1: 8-9: This is true, as all those who do not believe and are baptized will be cast into everlasting destruction (which is hell) when they die. However, they will be brought out at the time of their resurrection and are thus saved from Hell eventually. As it says in Revelation 20: 13 “…death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them…”
    Alma 34:32-35: This passage does not speak of the unbelieving, but rather those who do believe, and yet openly rebel and come out in opposition to God. We generally refer to such people as the ‘Son’s of Perdition.’ These people, after being brought out of Hell at the resurrection, will then be cast back into Hell. Thus they have received the salvation from hell that all receive, and then reject it, and this is called the second death (Revelation 20: 14).

    2. I think the trouble here is coming from a misunderstanding as to what is mean by the word god. First note that the Journal of Discourses is an imperfect transcription of what leaders have said. This is most especially true in punctuation and capitalization. This is why it is not generally help up as a source of official doctrine.
    However, more to the point, I never denied we can become gods, and the church does not deny this. In the 132 section of our Doctrine and Covenants, in verse 20, this very doctrine is clearly stated. “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.”
    We will be gods, which term refers to a state a being, a perfection of knowledge, power, and glory. What it does not refer to is authority. Thus we will be gods, with a little ‘g.’ We will never be the supreme being that our Father is, for He is God, with a big ‘G.’

    3. On this point I am not going to get into any great discussion. I think in the modern political climate when any criticism can be labeled as racist it does very little good. I have read the Book of Mormon many times and there is nothing in it that promotes or justifies truly racist ideology. Picking a few quotes from it that are taken out of context and without an understanding does not change that.
    Revelation 5: 9-10: Those who are saying this are already in heaven, and are praising God for His plan of salvation and the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. No race is barred from heaven, and in heaven they will all be Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses. Now, I admit that the restrictions under the Law of Moses have been changed. I merely referenced them to show precedent under the laws of God for such to be the case in other periods of history.
    As to the Messenger and Advocate, I would ask if you read the entire thing or just the quote you reference. Never does it say or imply that any race is inherently inferior to another. Rather, it says that because of the situation that then existed these things would be dangerous, and I agree with that. More than once they expressed their desire to have the gospel go to the slaves, but advocated that it first go to the slave owner in order to preserve the peace that was upheld by the law. But, if such quotes are taken out of context, and without an understanding of the culture and situation that then existed they can be made to promote anything.

    Oh, I would say your intention was very clear and I have no problem with you trying. I am not saying that I do not want everyone to be converted to the true Christ and His gospel. Just that I do not think I have the power to bring about such a conversion, especially over the internet.

    I agree that John presents a theme of life vs. death, but what does he mean by this? Spiritual death is separation from God, and death that all men endure while in mortality, for as in Adam all die. But through faith and obedience the grace of Christ brings us back into the presence of God and are thus we are saved from Spiritual death, sometimes within this life. This is what John is speaking of. The second spiritual death comes after the resurrection some will be once again cast out of God’s presence.
    Thus, in the sense of life and death there are only two options. Either you are in the presence of God or you are not. But for those who are in His presence the question becomes, how much of His presence. There are those who cannot abide the fullness of His glory, and so they will be place farther away, where the full presence of His glory will never touch them. Others will be brought closer, and only a few will stand at His side and partake of the fullness of His presence.
    As Paul said concerning the resurrection, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” Three different glories in the resurrection, thus three different degrees at which people may enjoy the presence of God.

    As to God, again the trouble arises mainly in a misunderstanding of what we mean when using the word god. There are many gods, or many who exist in an exalted and perfected state. However, there is only one God or Supreme Being over this creation that we worship and who is our Father. We have no other God, nor will we ever have another God.
    (If you want a more detailed explanation you can read it here.

    As to the question of racism, I think the problem comes largely in misunderstanding of what racism really is. But as I said earlier, I am not going to get into a debate on that subject given the current climate of our society. I don’t know to what extent you would use the term, and so I have no reference point from which to address it.
    But, as regards the Messenger and Advocate, all you need to do is to consider the conditions that then persisted to understand what is meant. The black race was kept in a state of mental inferiority due to laws preventing their education. They were, to a large extent, encouraged to be immoral (as such would tend to produce more slaves). Then, if a white woman was to marry a black man (or vice versa) they would be outcast in nearly all the country. Their children would be subjected to the worst treatment, and may even be taken and sold into slavery themselves. Anyone who would willingly see their precious daughters enter into such a life is beyond feeling. But it had nothing to do with the fact that they were black, but with the fact current circumstances were against them in the extreme. As to the question of the abolitionists and emancipation, at the time that this was written it was a danger to the government. The very idea eventually led to Civil War which almost destroyed the country. Those who pushed for it and agitated for it were guilty of sedition against the government, such as John Brown, who was eventually hanged for treason. These are the things that are being opposed. There is also a certain fear that because of the way the blacks were treated (as I mention above) that simply letting them loose would be a danger to others as they had not been trained to be a part of society. In this same article (or at least the same issue of the Messenger and Advocate) it is stated that setting them all free would be a good thing, as long as they were taken back to Africa and were thus not made a burden to society.
    But again, none of these opinions are based in race, but rather are in consideration of the situation that currently existed. It actually reminds me very much of the refugee question of the modern day. It is not racist to say that you want to help the refugees in their own land, but don’t want them coming in mass to our land. This consideration has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the very legitimate concern that such a massive influx of people, who are not accustom to our culture, would have the end result of destroying our culture and thus our country.

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    1. I don’t think I have the power either, it is only God who calls His elect and no one can come to the true Jesus Christ unless it has been granted by the Father. (John 6:65) Yet, I hope you can appreciate that I am being consistent with my beliefs. I believe that if someone does not come to know the true Jesus Christ and believe in the only Gospel in this life only, they will then spend an eternity in constant punishment and torment enduring the eternal wrath of God. No second chances. When you feel that weight for another person’s soul it is some serious motivation to try to get someone to get converted. (Romans 9-10)

      I agree that John is speaking about spiritual death not physical death. But that is the point, if you do not believe in Jesus Christ in this life you will suffer spiritual death. Your name will not be found in the Book of Life and you will be resurrected but to Judgement. You sins are not atoned for and as “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) you will be judged accordingly. (John 5:29) As Jesus says the world hates Him because He testifies that “its deeds are evil.” (John 7:7) We can practically feel Him pleading with people as He says “I go away and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin… unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:21-24) Those who die in their sins will be judged according to their deeds and as the deeds of those not in Christ are evil, that is not a judgement I want to face. And as “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27) there are no second chances. People are either resurrected to life or to judgement. (John 5:25-29)

      
In reference to I Corinthians 15:41 that you quoted in defense of three different glories of the resurrection, that is not at all what Paul is saying. Maybe you can get that belief from other Mormon scriptures but a proper exegetical look at that passage shows that is not at all how it should be interpreted. If someone can get three different glories in the resurrection from that verse they could probably get the Bible to say anything they want. The context of that passage revolves around Paul arguing with those who either did not believe in a resurrection or those who did not at all understand what the bodily resurrection was like. (15:12, 15:35) As he does in other places he uses things in the natural world to describe how things work spiritually. That is what he is doing with seeds in verses 36-38, flesh of animals in verse 39, and he then argues from another natural example found in creation in verses 40-41, sun, moon, stars and contrasts the difference between earthly bodies and spiritual bodies. But what is the point of his argument? He makes it clear in verse 42 “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it raised an imperishable body..” Then he contrasts dishonor/glory, weakness/power, natural/spiritual, earthly/heavenly. His argument is against people who think our bodies will be raised the same they are now and he uses a variety of examples from nature to do that. Nowhere in this text is any indication of “three different degrees at which people may enjoy the presence of God” given. When asked by the Sadducees about marriage after the resurrection Jesus accused them of being “mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures.” (Matthew 22:29) Such accusations given by Christ should make us look at passages carefully and not ascribe meaning that is not there. Furthermore, the entire concept of being in different levels of His presence insults the work of Christ that He performed for His bride the Church. Ephesians 5:26-27 says that Christ’s offering allows Him to present the Church “in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she would be holy and blameless.” Those who have been made holy and blameless will enjoy the the presence of God forever. All those in the true Church will be given this on account of Christ’s work and not their own.

      In regards to God, He is God over ALL creation not just “this.” (Hebrews 11:1-3 and pretty much the entire Biblical narrative)

      In regards to racism, we do seem to have different thoughts on what that word means. Yet this one isn’t as big a deal to me. Not that I don’t care about the issue, but it does little to convince me one way or the other that Joseph Smith was or wasn’t a false prophet.

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