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One of the dumbest blog posts I ever read :) And it looks like they tried to save themselves by saying it was for a "world religions course", which of course probably didn't exist until after the flap started.


But instead of helping themselves, they just dug themselves in deeper. Now not only do they have the Mormons mad at them, they also have anyone else who doesn't fit their extremely narrow bigoted version of who is a Christian mad at them.



Will NEVER use their Products - EVER


I think they may actually have some sort of 'world religions course' because of this post in the comments:




...I find the title of one of your online classes to be extremely derogatory to two faiths. "Are Mormons & Muslims Christian" I have yet to meet a Muslim that claims to be, and many would probably be insulted by the mere inference that they might be.

With Mormons, I like the duck analogy. If you describe a duck as white feathers and orange beak, you describe one particular type but leave out a lot of beautiful ducks. Just because Mormons, JWs and other groups don't believe exactly as you do, the important thing should be whether they accept Christ as their Savior. Your own doctrine says that people need to simply accept Him – it doesn't specify exactly how. Mormons do that and more – so by your own doctrine are Christian. Funny how you want to twist things.

I'm pretty sure the Savior wouldn't be appreciative of you attacking people that do good works in His name.

You want to spit in Mormons faces, yet still take their money. That's the utmost of hypocrisy, but does make them more like the Savior. After all, he is the one that blessed those that crucified him.


My mother is Christian as is her whole family and in my youth I grew up with the faith to a large degree as well and this is the first time I've ever heard of Mormons not being Christian. It was always a given that they are Christian to us!

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You're giving them too much credit.


If they didn't want to have controversy on their blog they should not have written a post most people would label rather controversial.


They're views are based on ignorance. They are not informed opinions. They make their money selling educational products. We should expect them to value education and to educate themselves on issues.


But they're rooted in and invested in promoting a certain worldview, not in learning about the views of others. That alone would keep me from ever using any of their products.




You're giving them too much credit.


If they didn't want to have controversy on their blog they should not have written a post most people would label rather controversial.


They're views are based on ignorance. They are not informed opinions. They make their money selling educational products. We should expect them to value education and to educate themselves on issues.


But they're rooted in and invested in promoting a certain worldview, not in learning about the views of others. That alone would keep me from ever using any of their products.


I'm not sure what the big deal is. Mormons and mainstream Christians have some overlap in our beliefs, but many, many differences. If that weren't the case, why do Mormons seek to convert people who already consider themselves Christians? It's not weird to me at all that someone coming from a traditional Christian background would view Mormon doctrine as mostly false, nor is it strange to me that my Mormon friends disagree with my theology. This isn't some stunning revelation, people.



I agree with you that it's good that Apologia makes THEIR beliefs clear. The problem is that they're not just talking about THEIR beliefs, they're describing OUR beliefs, and their description does NOT MATCH what we actually believe.


I don't think that anyone is offended that they are pointing out that there is a difference between LDS belief and the many varieties of "mainstream" Christian beliefs--OF COURSE there are differences. We like the differences. We point them out ourselves. They're important to us. We think the differences are what make us "right". ;)


And I don't think anyone is particularly concerned about Apologia asserting the opinion that LDS beliefs are false--naturally they would think that; if they thought LDS beliefs were true, they would probably become LDS.


The problem is that what they are putting forward as statements of what LDS people believe ISN'T what LDS people actually believe. They grossly misrepresent our beliefs, and they "back up" their claims with quotes taken out of context and interpreted in ways that no LDS person would ever interpret them.



As for why Mormons seek to teach people who already consider themselves Christian, it's largely because for us merely "being Christian" is not the ultimate goal. Eternal life with God is. Also, we feel that more truth is always a good thing, and we invite other Christians to keep all the truth they already have, and see if there's some truth in our beliefs that they could add to it. Also, there's the fact that just because a person says they're a Christian, that doesn't mean they really know Christ, or wouldn't benefit from a deeper relationship from Him. I don't think it would be right to withhold information from people just because they already know some stuff. I don't think it would be right to deny people the opportunity for a deeper relationship with God just because they already have one. We like to give people the option. (But we also believe that it is the Holy Ghost that "converts" people, not the missionaries. :) )

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I agree with you that it's good that Apologia makes THEIR beliefs clear. The problem is that they're not just talking about THEIR beliefs, they're describing OUR beliefs, and their description does NOT MATCH what we actually believe.


I don't think that anyone is offended that they are pointing out that there is a difference between LDS belief and the many varieties of "mainstream" Christian beliefs--OF COURSE there are differences. We like the differences. We point them out ourselves. They're important to us. We think the differences are what make us "right". ;)


And I don't think anyone is particularly concerned about Apologia asserting the opinion that LDS beliefs are false--naturally they would think that; if they thought LDS beliefs were true, they would probably become LDS.


The problem is that what they are putting forward as statements of what LDS people believe ISN'T what LDS people actually believe. They grossly misrepresent our beliefs, and they "back up" their claims with quotes taken out of context and interpreted in ways that no LDS person would ever interpret them.





As for why




What did they get wrong? (genuinely curious)

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What did they get wrong? (genuinely curious)



I'll have to go back and look at it again. I just skimmed through it yesterday. I have some housework to catch up on this afternoon, but I'll try to post again tonight or tomorrow after having a chance to poke through it a bit more thoroughly and find some documentation I can link to. :)

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I *think* what is wrong is more that people are saying that the sources he used were old and some of the things they said were what they USED to believe but no longer do, or gotten from a slanted source that didn't quite explain the true beliefs. Is that right LDS Mommies?

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Most of it was from two non-doctrinal sources ("Mormon Doctrine" which is not doctrinal, contrary to its title, and "Journal of Discourses"). Much of that was merely speculative writing by leaders, or second- and third-hand (or more) accounts of events or statements.


Some of it was technically accurate but HEAVILY taken out of context.


But it's also important to note that the LDS church believes in ongoing revelation, and anything the current Prophet says can 'trump' what an earlier leader said. It's an odd concept for a lot of people outside the church--especially people who want to dig up old material and cry foul about what we believe, or tell us that we just don't know what we believe.

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I would respect them more if they were better informed too. But they're not asking for my respect, they're just stating their position.

They didn't *leave* it at 'just' stating "this is what we at apologia believe and our curriculum is presented from this worldview". (it would have been much smarter from a business standpoint too. It could even be inviting for others to want to learn more about their worldview if they showed less sanctimoniousness towards those who don't share it.) they didn't. they deliberately made further comments claiming Mormons aren't Christian. (in the grand scheme of things - their opinion is irrelevant because it is God's to decide.).

I think that the things they have stated are commonly accepted in their culture (in spite of being poorly researched) and they have no reason to listen to people who contradict them because those who oppose their position are commonly accepted in their culture as being dishonest or intellectually challenged and therefore not worth taking seriously. It's part of the whole schema. Disparaging their character isn't likely to change that. They could just as easily view you and me (and probably do) as "knowingly promulgating" misinformation because THEY have pointed out what they regard as OUR falsehoods, and yet WE are sticking with what WE believe, just as THEY are sticking with what THEY believe. Are you a liar just because someone says you're wrong, and you insist on believing what you believe anyway?


we aren't going around claiming to know what apologia believes and teaching people that what apologia believes is wrong and those who do so aren't Christian so the reasoning doesn't fit. we are stating that what apologia is telling people about mormons is wrong - that is NOT the same thing as them writing column/blogs about what mormons believe from their own version of misinformation at best - knowing lies at worst (and considering how many times I"m sure they've been told in the past that mormons don't believe what they are telling people - they are dispensening misinformation knowingly). The best way to find out what someone believes is to go to that person/religion. (for those who are interested lds.org or mormon.org are good places to start.)


I think it is much more important to be studying what I am supposed to be doing to live a Christ-like life and doing it.


I've read through religions posts on the boards that were written by people who practice those religions under discussion, and have found them informative and I think a real asset - but I take with a grain of salt anything said about those religions by someone who doesn't actually practice them right now.


I recall the day my brother called me because his friend who belonged to I won't say what religion told him something mormons believed. the guy sincerely believed it - it still didn't make it correct, and it made him look like an idiot to be passing it around. I about fell on the floor I was laughing so hard. at least my brother learned his friend wasn't the best source of what mormons believe.


I think we can disagree without being disagreeable. We don't have to like what they say, we don't have to condone it (and I don't), but we can let them have their say, we can let them run their business as they see fit, and we can treat them the way we would like them to treat us when we say thing they don't agree with.


I liked the way Elder Falabella said it in the recent general conference:


When other people say we aren't Christian, whatever their reason, we should respond in ways that reflect our understanding of, and commitment to following the teachings of Jesus Christ; otherwise....well, otherwise they kind of have a point.


don't quite see how disagreeing with what they are saying about mormons, a religion they don't understand and don't believe, is interefering with their business. If it hurts their business - it's their own fault for having gone there in the first place. as above - they would have been far wiser to simply state "_ is what we at apologia believe and is part of our curriculum." (iow: take it or leave it.) they did NOT need to "go there" about what mormons believe and we aren't christian at all.

I agree with you that it's good that Apologia makes THEIR beliefs clear. The problem is that they're not just talking about THEIR beliefs, they're describing OUR beliefs, and their description does NOT MATCH what we actually believe.


and if apologia had left it at stating their own beliefs, I don't think anyone, anywhere, would have had a problem

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Personally I find great fault with what he says about Christian history and beliefs as well.


His horrificly craptastic "citing" is just embarrassing in someone publishing education materials, especially science.


It really makes any science he might be publishing be greeted with skepticism even when it is correct. If that makes any sense.

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Personally I find great fault with what he says about Christian history and beliefs as well.


His horrificly craptastic "citing" is just embarrassing in someone publishing education materials, especially science.


It really makes any science he might be publishing be greeted with skepticism even when it is correct. If that makes any sense.



Yes, I feel the same way.

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[ETA: Sorry this took so long. Something came up yesterday. :)]

Okay, so you asked what they got wrong. For starters I disagree with some of the things they claim the Bible teaches (I think they misinterpret it) and I think some of their claims about what “Christianity has believed for two millennia†are far too narrow to represent the beliefs of “Christianity†in general. But that’s not really the question, so I’ll just focus on what they got wrong about Mormons. It might take me a few posts, I hope you’ll bear with me.


The post offers 5 main points of supposed Mormon belief.

Point number 1 says: Is the LDS Church “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth†(Doctrine and Covenants, 1:30, President Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of, p. 164-5).

This is a true statement of our belief, as far as it goes. However, the blog then INTERPRETS it to mean that we despise other Christians, which is not the case.

What does the Mormon church teach that this means? Here are two discussions of this concept by leaders of the LDS church.


Dallin H Oaks (apostle) (2010) http://www.lds.org/l...church?lang=eng

Boyd K. Packer (apostle) 1971 http://www.lds.org/e...church?lang=eng


This excerpt from Elder Oaks does a good job of summing up (his address goes on to discuss his three points more fully).:

A revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1831, soon after the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke of those who had been given “power to lay the foundation of this church.†The Lord then referred to the Church as “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased†(D&C 1:30).

Because of this declaration of the Lord, we refer to this, His Church—our Church—as the “only true Church.†Sometimes we do this in a way that gives great offense to people who belong to other churches or who subscribe to other philosophies. But God has not taught us anything that should cause us to feel superior to other people. Certainly all churches and philosophies have elements of truth in them, some more than others. Certainly God loves all of His children. And certainly His gospel plan is for all of His children, all according to His own timetable.

So what does it mean that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true Church?

Three features—(1) fulness of doctrine, (2) power of the priesthood, and (3) testimony of Jesus Christ—explain why God has declared and why we as His servants maintain that this is the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth.


So the LDS church believes that it has the true doctrine, true authority, and the true testimony of Christ. And yes, we do believe that modern Christianity incorporates some errors and differs from the church established by Christ during his mortal ministry. However, you will also notice that Elder Oaks states that nothing in this should cause us to think we’re better than people of other faiths, and he specifically points out that all churches and philosophies have elements of truth, some more than others, that God loves all of His children (whom we view to be every member of humanity, not just Christians and certainly not just Mormons), and that the gospel is for ALL, according to God’s timetable.

What do Mormons believe about people of other Christian faiths?

Elder M. Russell Ballard (apostle): “We count it a great honor and privilege to take upon ourselves the name of Christ as Christians and as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet, while “we claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience,†we “allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may†(A of F 1:11). Further, just because people of other faiths don’t believe everything that we believe about Jesus Christ and His eternal ministry, we don’t deny that they are Christian. They are simply different from us in some of their beliefs. Although we may differ in points of doctrine, and although we may wish to share with them marvelous truths that we believe the Lord Himself has revealed in these last days, we will and must respect their Christianity and ask only that they likewise respect ours.†(From an address given at the Logan [utah] Institute of Religion on 17 February 1998, printed in the Ensign (church magazine) June 1998).


Elder Quentin L. Cook (apostle): “But notwithstanding the significance of our doctrinal differences with other faiths, our attitude toward other churches has been to refrain from criticism. They do much good. They bless mankind. Many help their members learn of the Savior and His teachings.†(General Conference, April 2009, “Our Father’s Plan—Big enough For All His Childrenâ€)

Is a positive attitude toward other Christians a new thing in the LDS church?

Here’s Joseph Smith (History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 498-99):

“If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe in Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship in their midst.

Here’s Brigham Young talking about members of other Christian faiths (From a speech given in August 1852, Journal of Discourses Vol 6, p283-298):

“With your mind's eye look at the millions of them in all nations who are doing according to the best knowledge they possess. What! The Roman Catholics? Yes, and then every one of her daughters down to the latest Protestant Church that has been organized. They are all doing just as well as they can, and living according to the best light they have—a great many of them, though not all. What shall we do with them? They pass from the world, their spirits go into the spiritual world, and their bodies go back to their mother earth, and there sleep, while their spirits are before the Lord.

Are they happy? Every son and daughter of Adam who live according to the best light and knowledge they have, when they go into the spiritual world, are happy in proportion to their faithfulness. For instance, take a view of some of our late reformers; take the best specimen of reformers that we have, who are all the time full of glory and happiness and full of praise to the Lord—who meet together oft to sing and pray and preach and shout and give thanks to the Lord Almighty; and in a great many instances and in a great degree they enjoy much of a good spirit, which is the Spirit of the Lord, or the light of Christ, which lighteth the world.

Now, this may be singular to some. What! They enjoy the Spirit of the Lord? Yes, every man and woman, according to their faith and the knowledge they have in their possession. They enjoy the goodness of their Father in heaven. Do they receive the Spirit of the Lord? They do, and enjoy the light of it, and walk in it, and rejoice in it.

What will be their state hereafter? Every faithful Methodist that has lived up to and faithfully fulfilled the requirements of his religion, according to the best light he had, doing good to all and evil to none, injuring no person upon the earth, honoring his God as far he knew, will have as great a heaven as he ever anticipated in the flesh, and far greater. Every Presbyterian, and every Quaker, and every Baptist, and every Roman Catholic member—every reformer, of whatever class or grade, that lives according to the best light they have, and never have had an opportunity of receiving a greater light than the one in their possession, will have and enjoy all they live for.

So what about those 18 footnoted things that the Mormon church supposedly believes? I’m going to mix and match a little for the sake of brevity and simplicity; and just to clarify in advance, the “numbers†I’m using are the footnote numbers on each point, as that seems the easiest way to refer to them in this format.

Numbers 1, 6, 8, 10, 12, 17, and 18 are referenced as coming from the 1979 edition of Mormon Doctrine, number 16 from the 1966 edition of Mormon Doctrine, and numbers 2 and 7 from unspecified editions of the same book.

§ Christians are not true “Christiansâ€[1]

§ Christianity is perverted and apostate[6]

§ Christianity is the anti-Christ[8]

§ Christians are liars and children of the devil[10]

§ Christians believe in a mythical Jesus[12]

§ Christianity will be hewn down and cast into the fire of no return[17]

§ Christians have no right to preach the Gospel[18]

§ Christianity is leading people to hell[16]

§ Christians have no salvation outside “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsâ€[2]

§ Christianity is evil and the Whore of Babylon[7]

I don’t have access to a 1979 edition so I couldn’t look those up to see what they might be referring to. There is a 1966 edition online here: http://shalyce.com/w...R McConkie).pdf. I attempted to look up the 1979 page numbers in the 1966 edition, but apparently the page numbers don’t correlate, so I don’t know what they’re referring to. I looked up page 419 in the 1966 edition, which is theoretically where number 16 came from, but I couldn’t find anything that even resembled Christianity leading people to hell. Maybe one of you will have better luck. I thought it possible that the entry for “Priestcraft†on the following page might be the source of this item, but even that would be quite a stretch. So the upshot is, I’m not sure what they’re referring to in these points. I looked for page 670, which is the reference for number 2, in which the edition is not specified, but it must have been in a different edition because this one only has 603 pages. The page listed for number 7 also contained no references that had anything to do with Christianity being evil, so maybe that’s from another edition as well.


It would probably be helpful to know that “Mormon Doctrine†is not an official church publication and does not in any way represent an official statement of belief by the church. It was published privately as an encyclopedic commentary on the doctrine of the church, and Elder McConkie included a statement in the beginning taking full responsibility for its contents, meaning that even he didn’t want the church held responsible for its contents. It was published without the knowledge, review, or approval of the first presidency of the church (who are responsible for delineating church doctrine). When they reviewed it following publication each noted that it contained many errors and expressed concern that because of its authoritative tone many people would mistake statements of personal opinion for official church doctrine. It does contain much that is correct and well stated, and has been used by many members of the church. But it has also caused some confusion both in the church and out of it regarding what actually constitutes church doctrine. You can read more about this controversy here: http://books.google....ctrine"&f=false.



Regarding the individual points, for number 1 see Elder Ballard’s and Joseph Smiths statements above, which both recognize the “Christianity†of Christians of other faiths. Number 6 I would say is an accurate statement of our belief, IF you understand “perverted†to mean altered from the original form, not morally degraded; we do regard modern Christianity as having “fallen away†(apostatized) as prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:3—we don’t think that means they’re thoroughly evil, just misguided in some ways. I have no idea what numbers 8 and 10 might be referring to. Regarding number 12, I wouldn’t say at all that it’s an accurate representation of the teachings of the LDS church, but I could sort of picture Elder McConkie engaging in this sort of hyperbolic remark in, perhaps, a discussion of the metaphysical differences between beliefs of modern mainstream Christianity regarding Jesus, and those of the LDS church (for example whether or not Jesus has a physical body while in heaven). I suppose if one is far enough away from what is true then at some point one drifts into the realms of myth, but I think most LDS people would agree that Christians believe in the same Jesus we do, even if they believe some different things ABOUT Jesus. For numbers 2, 16 and 17 refer to Brigham Young’s statement above regarding the fate of Christians of other faiths. Number 18 is probably a reference to our belief that proper priesthood authority is found only in the LDS church. Regarding number 7, this statement is not true, but is probably based on an erroneous statement McConkie made in Mormon Doctrine about the Catholic Church, which was one of the errors pointed out by church leaders, and which was edited out of later editions under McConkie’s direction. The subject matter is probably one that could generate a whole other discussion, but in general we regard the “Whore of Babylonâ€, or the “whore of all the earthâ€, or the “great whoreâ€, as referred to in the Bible and the Book of Mormon as anything that attempts to imitate Christ’s church (the bride) but is really motivated by evil and working against Christ. “Christianity†in its broad sense isn’t immune from pockets of that, but we certainly don’t regard the “whore†as symbolizing Christianity as a whole.


(To be continued...)

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The footnotes of these next three points all list Joseph Smith—History 1:18-19 from the Pearl of Great Price as the reference, which is nice because this is actual scripture in our church and considered an authoritative source of church doctrine. A couple of the footnotes also include additional references to other works which I have not looked up, but which I would guess offer commentary on the verses in question.

§ Christianity is wrong, corrupt, and unforgiven[9]

§ Christian creeds (doctrines of the past 2,000 years) are an abomination[3]

§ Christian Pastors are corrupt and blasphemous[14]


JS—H 1:18-19 says this:

18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.â€

The wording in this is certainly strong, and I can definitely see why Christians of other faiths might have a negative reaction to reading this statement. I would like to point out a few things about it that I hope might give some clarification as to what WE think it means, which is different in important ways from how it is being interpreted in this blog post. For information’s sake, the “personages†in this passage are the Father and the Son.

Please notice that it does not say “Christianity†is wrong; rather it says that the SECTS are wrong. We believe that “Christianityâ€, in its original and pure form is what is “rightâ€; however, as the sects evolved they diverged from each other and (we believe) to varying extents from the original, true Christianity. To the degree that they no longer represent true Christianity, the sects are wrong. Further, we would say that Christianity was always intended to be one single church, and the division into sects is, itself, wrong because it is incompatible with Christianity as instituted by Christ.

Next, it says that the sects’ creeds are an abomination. The blog interprets “creeds†to mean the “doctrines of the past 2,000 yearsâ€, but we generally interpret it to mean specifically the CREEDS, not every Christian doctrine taught over the past 2000 years (we regard all Christian churches as having some true doctrines (some more than others) mixed with some erroneous ones). To us this generally means that the content of the creeds is an abomination because the creeds contain some incorrect doctrines (mixed with truth) that were arrived at through scholarly debate by men rather than through revelation from God. It is also sometimes understood to mean that the idea of having a rigid creed in the first place is what is an abomination because the creed places limits on what truths may be accepted by the church, whereas we believe that all truth comes from God, and that God may choose to reveal additional truths, and it is wrong to refuse or exclude any godly truth from the church.

Lastly, where it says that the professors are all corrupt, we don’t generally take this to mean that they are dishonest, but rather that what they teach (and believe, because it’s what they were taught) has some aspects of God’s truth, but that is “tainted†or “polluted†(aka corrupted) with the admixture of man-made doctrines.

I hope that helps clarify.

On to item number 4 on the blog’s list:

§ Christianity is the Church of the Devil and is damned[4]

The footnote for this one references 1 Nephi 14:10 in the Book of Mormon (and a book I don’t own that most likely comments on this verse). This verse reads:

10 And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.


The LDS church doesn’t teach that “the church of the devil†in this verse refers to “Christianityâ€. From the LDS church’s Book of Mormon Student Study Guide (for the adult Sunday School class): “The “church of the devil†does not refer to a specific church but to any person, group, organization, or philosophy that works against the Church of Jesus Christ and the salvation of the children of God.†The idea is similar to what Jesus taught as recorded in the Bible: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.†(Matthew 12:30; see also Luke 11:23), and “For he that is not against us is on our part.†(Mark 9:40; see also Luke 9:50). There are ultimately only two sides, good and evil. No fence sitters.

Number 5 on the list is kind of colorful:

§ Christianity was hatched in hell[5]

This comes from a little poetic hyperbole that comes at the end of this speech: http://journalofdiscourses.com/6/26 . It’s a rambly, off-the-cuff-sounding discussion about various issues, many of them practical such as where church members might obtain enough food and clothing to make it through another year, and the need to share. It is not a reference to “Christianity†as a whole, but rather he’s referring to “the religions of the dayâ€, and specifically to those “in the Christian world†who sit in church and profess to trust their pastors with their eternal welfare, but then won’t give those pastors a dollar beyond their salaries and a few presents (ie. They don’t look after the earthly welfare of their ministers or fellow church members). It sounds to me as if he considers the people to whom he’s referring to be “in the Christian worldâ€, and outwardly “religiousâ€, but lacking substance as Christians. And he’s saying that some LDS church members are behaving like that too. But it’s a passing remark given with, as I say, a hyperbolic flair. At the beginning of the SAME speech, Brigham young says this about people of other faiths:

At the same time, all the morality, and good works, and good thoughts and words that tend to good, that are in the world, are of the Lord. Honest hearts, the world over, desire to know the right way. They have sought for it, and still seek it. There have been people upon the earth all the time who sought diligently with all their hearts to know the ways of the Lord. These individuals have produced good, inasmuch as they had the ability. And to believe that there has been no virtue, no truth, no good upon the earth for centuries, until the Lord revealed the Priesthood through Joseph the Prophet, I should say is wrong. There has been more or less virtue and righteousness upon the earth at all times, from the days of Adam until now. That we all believe. Men who have lived without the Priesthood will be judged according to their works, as well as those who have had the privilege of it. That is our doctrine. That is what the Lord has told us, through his servants, from the beginning. No matter where they have lived, or to what nation they have belonged, all people will be judged according to the works or deeds done in the body.

You kind of have to wonder why the blogger (or whoever he was quoting from) picked out the negative-sounding bit of fluff at the end and completely ignored the actual statement of belief and doctrine at the beginning of the same speech.

Number 11 is just hyperbole:

§ Christians know nothing of God[11]

Obviously this is an exaggeration. We believe that modern Christians know things about God, but we do think they have some serious misconceptions about God, though (they think the same of us, it’s one of the areas of genuine difference).

Speaking of which, let’s move on to number 13.

§ Christians believe in a Trinity that is a monster[13]

This footnote points me to “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smithâ€, page 372. I looked it up. In the passage in question Joseph Smith is commenting on John 17 where Jesus is praying to the Father. His comment refers to this part of the prayer: “21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:â€

As background, for those who don’t know, the LDS church teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct, individual divine beings who work as “one†in perfect unity and together as a group form a single unit of divine authority. This differs from the traditional (but not original, in our opinion) doctrine of the Trinity.

With that understanding, here’s the passage:

Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow--three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization. "Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for them which thou hast given me." "Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are." All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God--he would be a giant or a monster.

He does say that he finds the Trinity of mainstream Christianity “strange†and “curiousâ€. But what he’s pointing out is the really odd picture one gets when one reads Jesus’s prayer in John 17 LITERALLY with the assumption that the doctrine of the Trinity is correct. If all believers are to LITERALLY become one with Jesus in the SAME sense that Jesus is one with the Father, and Jesus and the Father are two of three “persons†constituting one being, then that one being would have to expand to incorporate millions, if not billions of “persons†within that one “beingâ€.

We don’t believe in the traditional doctrine of the trinity. We do think it’s odd and rather unintelligible, and doesn’t mesh well with a number of passages in the Bible. But we don’t habitually go around calling it a “monsterâ€.

I think the only item left from the list under the first main point is number 15:

§ Christians are fools for believing in the Bible alone – The Christian Bible is untrustworthy[15]

This footnote takes us to two passages from the Book of Mormon; 2 Nephi 29:6, and 1 Nephi 13:28. These are really two separate points with two separate references, so let’s look at them separately.

First, “Christians are fools for believing in the Bible aloneâ€. The verse they’re drawing this from is 2 Nephi 29:6:

6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?

To really get the context of this you really need to read the whole chapter (http://www.lds.org/s...29.6?lang=eng#5). But I think that would take up too much room here, so I’ll pull out a couple of bits that help clarify where this is coming from--but seriously, go read the whole chapter.


“3 And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. 4 But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people….â€

“5 O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.â€

“7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? 8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? …â€

“10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. 11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them…â€

So…yeah. We do think it’s kind of foolish to place limits on God and tell him that we will only listen to what he said before a particular date, and after that we won’t listen anymore; or to tell the God of the whole earth that we only care about words he spoke in a particular geographic region. For us, the question is not whether a given thing is “in the Bibleâ€, the question is whether it’s really “from Godâ€. And we believe that ALL of the words of God are important and relevant, and it’s foolish to ignore them. As Jesus taught, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.†EVERY word. Not just some of them. We absolutely believe that the Bible is the Word of God—we just don’t believe that man assembling and canonizing a Bible silences God.

So this item I would probably call bluntly worded, but pretty much accurate.

Which brings us to “The Christian Bible is untrustworthyâ€, and 1 Nephi 13:28:

28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.

One thing to keep in mind here is that the “great and abominable church†is not “Christianity†or a particular “churchâ€, but as I mentioned before, it’s all the people and elements that work against Christ. Also, I think the next verse would be useful to the discussion:

29 And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

To me it’s significant that the “plain and precious things†were “taken away†BEFORE “it goeth forth unto all the nationsâ€. It’s historical fact that many important Christian documents were lost in the persecution prior to the books in our current Bible being canonized and assembled into a single volume. It’s also true that even with the existing Bible to rely on, there is a lot of confusion and disagreement within the “big tent†of Christianity as to what exactly various passages of the Bible MEAN—“an exceedingly great many do stumbleâ€. It seems reasonable to me to believe that the additional “lost†Christian writings might have helped shed some light on various areas of doctrinal disagreement.

That said, within the LDS church the Bible is considered the Word of God, and a reliable source of doctrine (it’s part of our canon). We treasure it, we study it, we believe in it. Here’s what one of our apostles taught about the Bible in general conference a few years back:

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable†(2 Timothy 3:16). We love the Bible and other scriptures. That may be surprising to some who may not be aware of our belief in the Bible as the revealed word of God. It is one of the pillars of our faith, a powerful witness of the Savior and of Christ’s ongoing influence in the lives of those who worship and follow Him. The more we read and study the Bible and its teachings, the more clearly we see the doctrinal underpinnings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We tend to love the scriptures that we spend time with. We may need to balance our study in order to love and understand all scripture.

You young people especially, do not discount or devalue the Holy Bible. It is the sacred, holy record of the Lord’s life. The Bible contains hundreds of pages more than all of our other scripture combined. It is the bedrock of all Christianity. We do not criticize or belittle anyone’s beliefs. Our great responsibility as Christians is to share all that God has revealed with all of His sons and daughters.

Those who join this Church do not give up their faith in the Bible—they strengthen it. The Book of Mormon does not dilute nor diminish nor de-emphasize the Bible. On the contrary, it expands, extends, and exalts it. The Book of Mormon testifies of the Bible, and both testify of Christ.


Actually, it’s a beautiful speech, you should go read or listen to the whole thing: http://www.lds.org/g...-bible?lang=eng

Okay, that’s my analysis of the first main point on the blog. I’m going to have to quit for tonight and pick up the other points later. I hope someone finds this helpful. :)

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To put it another way, do we condemn orthodox Jews who clearly state that Messianic Jews are *not* true Jews? Of course not. Orthodox Judaism encompasses specific traditions and beliefs, and it does not include Jesus. That doesn't make them hateful or bigoted. It just means that they disagree with Messianic Judaism and have specific reasons for not considering it a legitimate form of Judaism.


This ignores:


1) That most Orthodox Jews are "messianic."


2) The so-called "Messianic Jews" already have a name for the religion they practice. It is called "Christianity."



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Lol...you guys are funny. All I did was look stuff up.


And Bill....never abandon hope. There is ALWAYS hope. Hope springs eternal. ;)




Okay, moving on to what's wrong with the next point from the blog:



2. Do Mormons Believe in One God or Many? Is there more than one true God?


I am sure that from a mainstream Christian viewpoint these seem like perfectly straightforward questions needing no further elucidation. As a starting point for interfaith dialogue and comparison, though, they’re not really very useful because they contain an assumption that both parties mean the same thing by terms like “believe inâ€, “Godâ€, “One Godâ€, “Manyâ€, and “true Godâ€.


Forming an answer to these questions from an LDS perspective is problematic.


Do Mormons believe in one God or many?


Well, if you mean “One God†in a mainstream Trinitarian sense, as described in, say, the Westminster Confession of Faith http://www.reformed....cf_with_proofs/, or this Baptist Confession of Faith http://www.spurgeon..../bcof.htm#part2 (because these were mainstream Christian things I could find quickly, not because I think all mainstream Christians view the Trinity only in these ways), then the answer would be that we believe neither in one God nor many. We don’t actually believe there are ANY beings in existence that match the Trinitarian description. Not because we don’t believe there is a God, it’s just that we think the Trinitarian doctrine is not consistent with what God reveals about Himself in the Bible (or elsewhere).


If your concept of “God†can refer to a “Godhead†in the sense of three separate, distinct beings, each of whom is divine and can properly be referred to as God, and yet who are also in perfect unity with each other, thinking and working in total harmony, and “one†in every way EXCEPT being a single individual being, who together form a single unit of divine authority with each divine being filling a distinct role within the whole—then I would say that we believe in one God, not many.


If by “One God†you mean a divine being that is all knowing, all-powerful, sovereign over the whole of existence, etc., then I would say that we believe God the Father to fit that description, because although all members of the Godhead are equally divine, the Son and the Holy Ghost submit to the sovereignty of the Father. Over the entire universe, the Godhead is supreme; within the Godhead, the Father presides.


If by “many†Gods you mean several separate divine beings or “godheads†that humankind can choose to worship or not, and all are equal to each other, or in competition with each other, or that sort of thing, then no, we don’t believe there are “manyâ€. There is only one. We can choose to follow him or oppose him, but there’s no one else we can choose to worship. There is one Godhead that is supreme over the universe, and one only.

However, if by “many†gods you mean additional divine beings who reside with God, are subject to God, worship God, and do God’s will, then yes, we so believe, in a vague sort of way, that there are many “godsâ€â€”this is why the Bible refers to God as the “God of gods†(in, for example, Deuteronomy 10:17, Joshua 22:22, and Psalm 136:2). But we don’t “believe in†them in the sense of worshipping them. We only worship the supreme Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. As Paul put it, “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.â€

What about the other question, “Is there more than one true God?â€


If by this you mean do we think those “godsâ€, or divine beings over whom the One God reigns, are “true†in the sense of “real†and “actually existâ€, then sure, there are more than one “true†god. But we don’t worship them, and we don’t think it’s okay to worship them. We hardly ever even refer to them, there’s mostly just a general sense that they are there, and they also worship God.


If you mean is there only one Godhead, only one supremely and intimately unified Godhead that forms a single unit of authority consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, then no, there is not more than one true God.


If you mean are the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost three separate and distinct divine individuals (working in divinely perfect unity), and is each of the members of the Godhead individually divine, individually “Godâ€, then yes, there is more than one true God—there are three. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God; together they form the Godhead, which we also sometimes refer to collectively as “God†even though the three Gods of which it is made up remain distinct.


I guess what I’m saying, frankly, is that I think with the way the questions in point number 2 are phrased, no simple answer that could be given would accurately describe LDS belief on these issues. It’s phrased to “push†mainstream Christian answers and to distort LDS answers. So part of what I think they got “wrong†here is that they start out by asking the “wrong†questions if they want to talk about LDS belief.


This does not stop the blogger, however, from presenting oversimplified “answers†on behalf of Mormons. To their credit, most of the points they offer are “technically†true of Mormonism, in a way, but in my opinion the way they are presented actually serves to distort our beliefs.


Before I go through those points, I’d like to point interested readers to this page on LDS.org, which describes our beliefs about the Godhead, including some links to supporting scripture: http://www.lds.org/s...=eng&country=nz It’s too long to cut and paste here.


Okay, so let’s go through those “The Mormon Church Believes†points from the blog. Again, I’ll refer to them by their footnote numbers, as this seems easiest.


§ There are many Gods (polytheism)[19]


I’ve already discussed a little about what we believe with regard to “many gods†in the “divine council†sense, and in the “each member of the Godhead is, individually, a God†sense, so I won’t rehash that here.

“The Mormon church†does not “believe†this constitutes “polytheismâ€, that’s a description added by the blogger. I’m not sure there really is an “-ism†that I think accurately fits our beliefs. But we don’t honestly worry very much about fitting into the box of a man-made philosophical “-ism†relative to God, we’re more interested in whether what we believe accurately reflects what God has revealed about God.


§ Many Gods made the world[20]


This footnote points us to the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, chapter 4, verses 1-31 (which is the whole chapter) http://www.lds.org/s.../abr/4?lang=eng. This is a creation story very similar to that in the first chapter of Genesis. I’m pretty sure that what the blogger is referring to here is that each part of creation is accomplished by “the Godsâ€, plural. What the blogger either doesn’t realize, or is ignoring, is that in Genesis 1 the word that is translated as “God†in the singular is actually a plural word (elohiym) in the original Hebrew http://www.biblestud...jv/elohiym.html. So to us there is no discrepancy here.


So whom do we believe “the Gods†in Abraham, and “elohiym†in Genesis refer to? The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost. Primarily, we believe that the Son (whom we identify as the same being as “Jehovah†in the Old Testament and “Jesus†in the New Testament, and whom John referred to as “the Word†(Logos)) created all things, under the direction of His divine Father. More on that here, under the sub-heading “Divinity of the Creation†http://jesuschrist.l...in-jesus-christ. I have heard some speculation that other subordinate beings may have been involved under the direction of the Son, but Jehovah was absolutely the prime mover in the creation, on behalf of, and under the direction of, and at the command of, His Father.


§ The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate Gods[21]


They got this part right (yay!). However, they did leave off the part about these three separate Gods being unified into a single Godhead. I don’t think that a statement of “What the Mormon Church believes†is remotely complete without both parts of that description, and I think it was “wrong†of them to only tell half the story and leave off the important part about unity and give too much importance to the separateness. The one Godhead IS three Gods, but the three Gods are ALSO one Godhead.


§ The Father has a wife, our heavenly mother[22]

This is true. But this is pretty much the extent of what we know on the subject, and anything that goes beyond this is almost certainly speculative in nature. This idea comes through modern revelation through Joseph Smith, and we feel it is compatible with the fact that when God created mankind in the divine image, the divine image included both male and female, which suggests a divine femininity. Further, we, who are created in the divine image, require both a father and a mother in order to produce offspring. It is logical that God, in whose image we are made, operates on a similar principle. However, we don’t pray to or otherwise worship our Mother in heaven, as we have been instructed to pray to the Father in the name of the Son, and so forth. No further information has been revealed about Mother in Heaven. (I sometimes imagine her as soaking in a nice, hot bubble bath, with scented candles, soft music, and a good book, and Heavenly Father standing outside the bathroom door saying, “You may NOT bother your mother right now, she’s had a long day; if you need something, you come to me.†But that is entirely a fictitious fancy on my part because that is what I would like to happen at my house…lol…)


§ We are the offspring of divine parents (in a literal sense)[23]

They got this one right too, though I think it is important to clarify that we believe our SPIRITS are the offspring of divine parents in a literal sense; we certainly acknowledge that our BODIES are the offspring of earthly parents.

Acts 17:28-29: “28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.â€

Hebrews 12:9: “9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?â€

§ God is an exalted man[24]


We believe this. Largely in the sense that we believe that man is a sort of zygotic “godâ€. Man was created in the image of God, so God resembles man, except in an infinitely greater, perfect, immortal, incorruptible, supremely glorious, omniscient, omnipotent, “exalted†form. Also, if one accepts that Jesus was a man during his incarnation (which we do) and has since returned to his exalted place in heaven as God (which we do), then Jesus, who is God, is a man, and is exalted.


§ God has a body of flesh and bones[25]


We also believe this. If you think about it, Jesus went out of his way, following his resurrection, to make sure that his apostles understood that he had a tangible, physical body of flesh and bone (see Luke 24), and that they SAW him ascend, in his physical, tangible body of flesh and bone, up into heaven (Luke 24:51). At the end of Philippians 3 Paul tells us that our vile (corruptible) bodies will be fashioned like Christ’s “glorious body†in the resurrection (which means Christ has one). And the Bible says that he was the express image of his Father’s person (Hebrews 1:3), and so forth. I have often thought it strange that other Christians DON’T believe that the Son, at the very least, has a physical body; and since the Son is God, then saying God has a physical body seems like a no-brainer to me. Especially if one believes that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all the same being (which I don’t, but I do believe that the Son is like the Father, and therefore the Father also has a body of flesh and bone; plus, he said so in a revelation to Joseph Smith, and Joseph Smith saw both the Father and Son) but now I’m just babbling, so I’m going to move on.


§ Good Mormons can become Gods[26]


We believe that every person ever born on earth has the potential to become gods (not just “good Mormonsâ€). We believe this is a highly Biblical teaching. For example:

“16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.†(Romans 8:16-17)

“18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.†(2 Corinthians 3:18)


“12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.†(1 Corinthians 13:12)


“21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.†(Revelation 3:21)


“2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.†(1 John 3:2)


We think that those children of God who inherit what Christ inherits, are changed into the same glorious image as Christ, see as He sees and know as He knows, and sit with Christ in his throne as he sits with the Father in his throne (possess and exercise delegated divine power and authority), and who are, in fact, “like†him, may be referred to as “godsâ€. We do, however, also believe that this is only possible through Christ’s atonement, never on our own merits, and that these “gods†will be forever subject to the “God of godsâ€.


So that’s the end of point 2 and its sub-points. Superficially it’s not that far off the mark, but the way it is presented represents, in my opinion, a distortion of what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually teaches.

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MamaSheep, you are fantastically elequent.


I have not yet heard anyone mention that per our own Articles of Faith, "We claim the privilege of worshipping almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege. Let them worship how, where, or what they may."


I guess we could also claim the privilege of purchasing Apalogia products....or not.

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So, point number three today:


3. Is Jesus Christ Satan’s Brother and the literal (physical) offspring of Mary and God?


I have to admit that I find both parts of this question a little bizarre—the first part because it’s a big, stinking deal to a lot of our critics and yet bears almost no significance whatsoever in LDS thought, and the second part because pretty much every Christian I know believes that Jesus is the son of God and Mary is his mother.


At any rate, let’s jump right to those sub-points.


Ҥ Jesus Christ, humans, angels, and fallen spirits including Satan are all eternal beings, never created and that are all spirit brothers and sisters.â€[part of note 27]


This touches on several areas of LDS belief where not much has been revealed, and most of what has been revealed is rather vague, so it is difficult to speak of it in much detail. We do believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, humans, angels, and fallen spirits including Satan, are all the same “species†(for lack of a better word) of being. This list seems odd to us, as it’s kind of like pointing out that we believe physicians, bakers, babies, and juvenile delinquents are all human beings. Yeah…and? What Mormons need to know is that this surprises people of other faiths because to them these are not only different “species†of beings, so to speak, they’re not even considered to be very similar to each other—to them it’s more like a list of the sun, rocks, air, and snakes—they’re not really even made of the same stuff, let alone “related†to each other. Only more so, in a way. (At least that’s the impression I get. Before anyone gets too worked up, this is just an analogy. I’m sure it’s riddled with holes. But maybe you get the general gist, which is all I was after.)


So, yes. We believe that all the items on that list belong in one category, and that the SPIRITS of all of them are literally the offspring of God the Father, and take after him in some ways (sort of like a zygote takes after its parents). As such, we are all literally brothers and sisters. Whenever you hurt someone, you’re hurting family, no matter who that person is or what their earthly relationship to you may or may not be.


We consider humans to be embodied spirits-children of God. We consider “angel†to mean simply “messengerâ€, and the term may be used to refer to pre-embodied spirits (who have not yet experienced birth), disembodied spirits (who have lived and then died), re-embodied spirits (who have lived, died, and been resurrected), or even a regular mortal person who has been given a task by God. Fallen spirits are some of God’s spirit children who rebelled and were cast out of the presence of the Father. They will never be born; they exist in a state of eternal stagnation.


One aspect of this sub-point that I think is over-simplified to the point of giving an erroneous impression is the “eternal beings, never created†bit. We don’t necessarily view “eternal†and “created†as mutually exclusive. To use an earthly metaphor, imagine that a sculptor goes out to a mountain (which already exists), evaluates a deposit of marble, and carefully chips out a big rectangular piece. He has “created†a marble block where none existed before (even though the materials to make it did exist). Then he might take it back to his studio and carve it to resemble a beautiful woman; now he has created a “statue†that has never before existed. Or consider a human body. In a sense, my body began to exist when a sperm met an egg and formed a new cell with a unique genetic code, which then proceeded to divide and differentiate, and grow into a “new†person that didn’t exist previously. However, that cell is made up of two cells that existed before it did, even though neither of them has the exact same unique genetic code that the “new†cell has. When it divides, the material that forms the new cells doesn’t just appear out of nothing, it’s constructed from already existing materials that are taken in as nutrients and chemically rearranged to make cell parts.


The blog’s author says that he believes that human beings start to exist at the beginning of their physical lives, but I suspect that even he would agree that the sperm and egg (and the DNA code contained therein) that created that very first cell of that person’s physical life did, in fact, already exist before conception occurred. That PART of the person existed before the beginning of their physical life. Where did it come from? The person’s parents. But they got it from their parents, who got it from THEIR parents, and so on back for however many generations it takes to get to Adam and Eve. In a sense, because our physical bodies are “offspring†of our physical parents, PART of each of our physical bodies has been around at least since God created Adam and Eve, even if you are a “mainstream†Christian who believes that a person’s SPIRIT is generated at the beginning of physical life.


For Mormons, though, the SPIRIT is also an “offspringâ€, not a new “creation†at the time of conception. We don’t know exactly how this works, but it does seem reasonable that if we are the “offspring†of God, then some part of us is derived from our eternal parents and therefore exists on an eternal scale rather than a mortal one. (There is reference to “intelligences†in LDS scripture, but it’s not really clear what exactly it is intended to mean. In some places it seems to be talking about “spiritsâ€, and in others it is identified with eternal light and truth. Some LDS people think it might refer to some other state of being in which we existed prior to being “born†as spirits. Others think it might be part of the “substance†that spirits are made of. For the purposes of getting on with the stuff of mortal life, it doesn’t really matter. The salient point is that our spirits are the offspring of God.)


At any rate, to US, a thing that is “eternal†in some respects can also be “created†in other respects, and this is what we believe about people. Some aspect of us is co-eternal with God, and was therefore no more “created†than God was. But we definitely consider our physical bodies to be “createdâ€. And when our eternal spirit joins with our created body we become, in a sense, a new kind of being, which is, in a sense “created†at the beginning of our mortal life, even though there are aspects of both our spirits and our bodies that existed prior to the beginning of our physical lives. (As a loosely-related rabbit trail tangent, I find it fascinating that the grammar at the beginning of Genesis in the original Hebrew is technically “In A beginningâ€, not “In THE beginningâ€. But that’s a whole other discussion.)


Anyway. Going back to that whole “brothers and sisters†part, the next point offered is:


Ҥ Christ and Lucifer (Satan) were two spirit brothersâ€

§ Christ supported the Heavenly Father’s plan while Lucifer did not (all above, note 27) [27]


From a “mainstream†Christian perspective this is a truly scandalous notion, because in that context Jesus is considered to be a “person†of the Trinity, which is fundamentally pure and holy and exalted, whereas angels, fallen angels, and Lucifer (Satan) are considered to be things that the Trinity created, and are fundamentally…not. To people looking at it through this lens, saying that Jesus and Satan are brothers either takes Jesus from the status of Creator to the status of creation, OR it sets Satan up as a sort of rival “godâ€.


But we’re not trying to “splice†the idea that Jesus and Satan are spirit-brothers into a Trinitarian context. Remember that we view the members of the Godhead as distinct, individual beings who are one in relationship to each other, not one in substance with each other. Through this lens, understanding Satan to be one of the “brothers†of Jesus doesn’t in any way threaten or pollute the divine status of God, nor does it do anything to elevate Satan above anyone else.


In the LDS context, merely stating that Jesus and Satan are two of an unimaginable number of “brothers†doesn’t say anything particular about their characters, or about their status. It does not in any way imply that they are, or were EVER, equals.


Christ is, and has always been, the Firstborn of the Father (a Biblical title that makes a great deal more sense to me from an LDS perspective than from a Trinitarian one). He is the choicest of all of God’s children, the “birthright†son, a member of the Godhead, “second†(in a sense) only to the Father and none else. He is the Great Jehovah who created all things under the direction of the Father. He is the “Word†who was in the beginning both “with Godâ€, and himself God. He volunteered to take on the role of Savior in the Father’s plan, humbly submitting his will from start to finish to the will of the Father so that he can offer the rest of us the possibility of an Eternal Life of peace and joy. We love and honor and worship Him, “giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.†(Colossians 1:12-15).


Satan, though at one time a “son of the morningâ€, an “angel†among the sons of God, rebelled against the Father, attempting to usurp the Father’s place by persuasion and by force. He was cast out of heaven, along with a third of our “brothers and sisters†who chose to follow him. He (and they) will never be born and experience life, but will exist forever in a state of stagnation and torment (they are still eternal beings). He became the Father of Lies, the enemy of all righteousness, and seeks to make others as miserable as he is. The fact that we view both of them as sons of God in the sense that we are all sons of God, and therefore “brothers†(in a sense…is Satan still a “brother†if he was thrown out of the family? I don’t know…) does not in any way indicate that we view them as “equals†now or ever.

This point is “wrong†in that it doesn’t communicate anything particularly useful, and it’s only real value is ‘shock value’--but it does that really well, that it’s usually why some people like to use it.


Moving on…


“§ Jesus Christ is “the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh,†(He was the literal “offspring†of the Father and Mary, “sired†by Heavenly Father as his only son in the flesh, so that he had two literal, physical parents—his immortal Father and his mortal mother Mary[28]


§ The LDS Church denies that Jesus was “begotten†by the Holy Ghost, since it understands “begotten†literally to mean sired by a physical father[29]â€


I’m going to lump these two points together since they both deal with the same issues.


It is true that we believe that in addition to taking Christ’s title of Firstborn quite literally, we also take the title Only Begotten Son very literally (also “Saviorâ€, and “Redeemerâ€, and “Lamb of Godâ€, and so forth—we think this stuff MEANS something, they’re not just fun made-up labels).


We do believe that God the Father is very literally the physical father of Jesus Christ, and that the virgin Mary was literally his physical mother. We believe that Jesus is the ONLY person whose physical father was God the Father, making him the “Only Begotten Son of Godâ€. He was fully divine, and fully human, and like every other human he had two parents.


However, we also believe that this conception was completed through the power of the Holy Ghost, preserving Mary’s virginity; not through a physical encounter between God and Mary (which is something our critics sometimes assert we believe—we don’t). So that second statement up there is somewhat problematic. We don’t believe that Jesus was “begotten†by the Holy Ghost in the sense that the Holy Ghost would be Jesus’s father. We do believe that the Holy Ghost facilitated the conception. (We don’t have any specifics as to HOW this happened, but if you, living in this age of fertility doctors can’t imagine a few ways that a God who can create living human DNA from the dust of the earth might be able to facilitate a long-distance conception via a third party, you should get your imagination examined. ;) )


One problem Trinitarians have with this concept (no pun intended) is that it would mean that God has a physical body—which we believe, but Trinitarians do not. So to them, the idea of the Trinity producing an actual child in any sort of physical reproduction is scandalous because the Trinity does not have any sort of physical aspect that COULD produce a physical child. To us I suppose it seems a little scandalous to presume that an omnipotent God would lack the power of procreation.


And I think I’m going to leave it at that for tonight. Except I would like to say that if anyone has questions or would like me to expand on something I’ve said in any of these posts, feel free to ask. I’ll probably finish off the set before I start in on answering questions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask. :)

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MamaSheep, you are fantastically elequent.


I have not yet heard anyone mention that per our own Articles of Faith, "We claim the privilege of worshipping almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege. Let them worship how, where, or what they may."


I guess we could also claim the privilege of purchasing Apalogia products....or not.


Lol! That's exactly what my husband said when I read him my first post (I'm not sure I should have done that because it made me notice the typos and the bad spacing that came from typing it up in a word processor and then pasting it over here...plus a couple of places where you can clearly tell I got interrupted and mangled what I was saying--like with that Brigham Young quote where I neglected to mention who was talking until the end...lol. Oh well.)


The thing is, though, they're not trying to tell us not to worship who or what we choose, they're just telling us how they think our religion differs from theirs, so that people can judge whether to purchase materials written from their point of view. They happen to be wrong about some things they think we believe, and to have distorted views of some things we actually do believe, but that's not the same thing as trying to prevent us from worshiping according to the dictates of our own conscience. I don't mind them saying it, particularly, sometimes saying stupid things (and then listening to the feedback) is how we learn. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. :)

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Could someone who is Mormon pls post a link that DOES show the current, up-to-date beliefs of their church? Thanks so much.



I'm not Mormon, but I subscribe to the str.org (Stand To Reason) newsletter, which is a classical Christian apologetics group. It just so happens that their September, 2012 Newsletter addressed this topic. To write this newsletter, the author, Greg Koukl, obtained a copy of LDS Beliefs—A Doctrinal Reference issued by LDS book publisher, Deseret Books to compare and contrast doctrinal similarities or differences. Since this documentation comes directly from a Mormon publisher, I thought it would apply.


The word doctrinal is important because it, not terminology, is what is important in discovering whether or not Mormons and Christians believe the same thing. We may share terminology, but do we share the same core doctrines? The first page is an introduction. The meat of the article begins on page 2.


Please, Christians and Mormons, don't shoot the messenger. I didn't write this article. You asked for a comparison and I'm just providing what I found. Please feel free to disagree if you wish :001_smile:


Here's the article: http://www.str.org/site/DocServer/DigitalSG_0912.pdf?docID=6601

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I'm sorry, I didn't mean to give you more than you asked for, I was just trying to answer your question. I think I need to finish the job so I don't leave someone else hanging, but I won't belabor it beyond that. (Though I'm still happy to answer other people's questions if they have them.)


I'm not Mormon, but I subscribe to the str.org (Stand To Reason) newsletter, which is a classical Christian apologetics group. It just so happens that their September, 2012 Newsletter addressed this topic. To write this newsletter, the author, Greg Koukl, obtained a copy of LDS Beliefs—A Doctrinal Reference issued by LDS book publisher, Deseret Books to compare and contrast doctrinal similarities or differences. Since this documentation comes directly from a Mormon publisher, I thought it would apply.


The word doctrinal is important because it, not terminology, is what is important in discovering whether or not Mormons and Christians believe the same thing. We may share terminology, but do we share the same core doctrines? The first page is an introduction. The meat of the article begins on page 2.


Please, Christians and Mormons, don't shoot the messenger. I didn't write this article. You asked for a comparison and I'm just providing what I found. Please feel free to disagree if you wish :001_smile:


Here's the article: http://www.str.org/s....pdf?docID=6601



Interesting article. I just skimmed, didn't read carefully, but it looked like he got most of what we believe pretty correct even though it's written with obvious bias and not as an objective comparison. (I'm not saying bias is a "bad" thing, just that it's clear that this author takes one side over the other, a fact which the author himself states outright.) A couple of things to remember:


1) The LDS church doesn't claim to be "just another denomination of classical Christianity" in the sense that this author defines "denomination" and "Classical Christianity". It claims to be a restoration of original Christianity. To the degree that LDS doctrine differs from "classical Christian" doctrine, we believe that the LDS doctrine represents that taught in the Bible, and that "classical Christian" doctrines (the ones that are different) represent "another gospel" to which people have "fallen away". This author draws a narrow "circle" when delineating what he considers to qualify as "Christian"--at the center of his circle, as the reference point, he places "classical Christianity". That's fine, but it doesn't mean we have to use his narrow, exclusionary definition just because he doesn't like our broader, more inclusive one. The "circle" we draw centers on "original Christianity" as its reference point, which we believe to have held to the same doctrines as LDS Christianity (since one is a restoration of the other). However, our "circle" is broader and includes denominations of "classical Christianity" even though they are varying distances, so to speak away from the center point because of the erroneous doctrines to which they hold.


2) Just for future reference, the fact that a book is published by Deseret book doesn't make that book an official statement of LDS doctrine. Official church documents are published directly through the church's publication department. Deseret book is an independently managed subsidiary company, and although it publishes books that are generally in accord with LDS doctrine, many of the books they publish contain interpretive and speculative material regarding doctrine, as well as regarding ideas about which there is no official doctrine and church members are perfectly free to form and share their own opinions without any other church member being bound in any way to agree with them. The particular book used by this author is written by leading LDS scholars and is probably decently reliable, but it is not written by church leaders or published as an official declaration or delineation of what constitutes church doctrine.


Thanks for sharing, though . :)

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I am somewhat short on time tonight, so this is going to be kind of a drive-by version without much in the way of documentation. If anyone wants references on a particular point just ask and I’ll look something up when I have a few minutes. :)


Before I get started, I want to just say that what I have been doing in these posts is to compare what the Apologia blog post said about LDS beliefs with ACTUAL LDS beliefs. I have not touched much on how LDS beliefs line up with what the Bible says. If someone is interested in talking about this issue from that angle, I’d be happy to do that too. (Spoiler—I don’t think the Bible says what the blog claims it says on a number of these issues. For example, it claims that the Bible says that the 66 books of the Bible are the only word of God, but the canon was not established until many decades after the Bible was written, and the Biblical text contains no list of endorsed books. But as I say, I’m trying to just compare actual Mormon beliefs to Apologia’s representation of Mormon beliefs, not to the Bible, in this particular exercise because the question was about what they got wrong about Mormons. )


Okay, so point number 4:

4. Is Salvation by our good works, and can those who reject Christ still go to heaven?


“The Mormon Church believes:â€

Ҥ Humans must become worthy in order to obtain forgiveness of sins and eternal life in the presence of God the Father through obedience to all the commands of the LDS Church, including exclusive Mormon temple rituals.[30]â€


This is pretty much backwards, actually. We believe humans must obtain forgiveness of sin in order to become worthy to dwell in the presence of God the Father. Forgiveness is obtained by entering into a covenant relationship with Christ. That covenant is formalized through baptism and the receiving of the Holy Ghost. We turn from sin (repentance) and demonstrate our sincere faith in, and love for Christ by keeping His commandments. If we do not strive to keep His commandments (even knowing we will make mistakes—probably a lot of them—for which we will also need to repent), our “repentance†is insincere and cannot bring us closer to Christ. When our repentance is sincere (even if imperfect), Christ forgives us and cleanses us from our sins. Temple ordinances help us better understand and deepen our covenant relationship with Christ.


Ҥ Good works and ritual ordinances are requirements for this full, individual salvation, and Christ’s atonement makes up what is lacking in a Mormon’s best efforts [31]â€


Mormons don’t believe we “earn†any part of our salvation either through “good works†or through “ritual ordinancesâ€. Christ’s atonement does make up what is lacking in us, heals us, cleanses us, assists us in our efforts to be ever more and more Christlike. He is present with us in our efforts, giving us guidance to know how to proceed, as well as grace to carry on. We don’t believe Christ sits off in some remote place watching us struggle until we reach a certain point and only THEN reaches out to help us. He is with us through it all. However, we also believe that regardless of all we can do, we can never do enough to “deserve†salvation, we must rely on Christ’s grace through His atoning sacrifice.




Ҥ The atonement assures resurrection and immortality to all people, including those who reject Christ in this life.[32]â€


This is straight from the Bible: “22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.†(1 Cor. 15:22) It’s a clear and direct parallel. We don’t have to “believe in†or “accept†Adam in order to be subject to physical death. Similarly, we don’t have to “believe in†or “accept†Christ in order to be made physically alive. “Eternal Lifeâ€, though is something different from mere immortality.


Ҥ Only faithful Mormons and those who accept the Mormon gospel in the afterlife can live in God the Father’s presence – most others will be given immortality in a heavenly kingdom of lesser glory, even those who rejected Christ in this life [33]â€


Well, we wouldn’t call it the “Mormon gospelâ€, we’d call it the gospel of Christ. Only those who enter into a true covenant relationship with Christ either in this life (for those who had the opportunity) or in the spirit world between death and resurrection (for those who didn’t have a true opportunity during mortality) can live in God the Father’s presence. And yes, except for those who outright and knowingly rebel against Christ (who will spend eternity with Satan and his angels), most others WILL be given immortality (but not Eternal Life) in a kingdom of lesser glory, even if they must first suffer for their own sins first because they rejected Christ.


And finally, point number 5:

“5. Is the Bible unreliable, incomplete, and corrupt?â€


“· The Mormon Church believes:â€

Ҥ The Bible has been corrupted, is missing many “plain and precious parts,†and does NOT contain the fullness of the gospel [34]â€


I touched on this one back in my first “what they got wrong†post, and as tempting as it is to add to that, I’m about out of time so I will just leave it there. We love the Bible. We trust it. But we don’t believe unicorns just because some translations of the Bible use that word.


Ҥ The Book of Mormon is more accurate and reliable than the Bible[35]â€


This last statement is downright silly from an LDS point of view. We don’t view the Book of Mormon and the Bible as “competing†with each other in any way. We believe that they complement, support, and validate each other. In fact, we believe that one of the primary purposes of the Book of Mormon is to testify to the truthfulness and reliability of the Bible. As the Book of Mormon puts it:


“40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.†(1 Nephi 13:40)


Anyway. Must run. Hope this helped. :)

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