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An email about Mormonism

An email about Mormonism

Postby steve » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:20 pm

I received this email, and sent the following response:

Steve,

Yesterday, a caller was discussing the Mormons religion with you. Your response surprised my wife and me. You were not definitive about this particular cult/false religion.

What has been simple for me is to inform someone that if a Mormon is practicing Mormon doctrine, he/she could not be also a born again Christian. Why? Because the Mormon gospel doctrine states that Jesus is a brother of Lucifer. That demotes Jesus to merely an angel--taking away His deity.

If, however, a Mormon is simply a jack Mormon and does not know the Mormon doctrines, he/she may very well be saved. A good evidence of being saved would be to shortly pull away from the cult. Hope that helps.
—Ron



Hi Ron,

As for the Mormons, I have always been clear that their doctrine about Christ is seriously wrong. What I am not competent to judge would be whether this means they actually worship "a different Jesus" or simply have a very flawed understanding of the same Jesus. Jesus is not merely the sum total of theological propositions that may be made about Him. Since Jesus is a real person, about whom people may have more or less accurate perceptions (we behold Him as through a glass—2 Cor.3:18), it is hard to know how many propositions one may be ignorant of while still loving the true Jesus. My children had very limited understanding of me when they were infants. As they grew to know me better, I did not become a different person. I was the same person, but they simply gained a better grasp of who I am and what I am like.

We understand Christ to be the second Person of the Trinity. The disciples did not know this when they left their nets to follow Him. Nor did they understand this, years later, after following Him for some time (John 14:9). They had a deficient understanding of Jesus, but it was the real and only Jesus whom they followed. They learned more of the truth about Him as they continued to be Christians and were led into all truth by the Spirit. Yet they were His disciples long before they understood His deity. They became His disciples when they committed themselves to Him. The rest was gradual growth into their eventual full understanding of who this man was whom they had come to follow.

If we could go back in a time machine and interview any of the disciples a year before the crucifixion, we would find their Christology very inadequate, compared to ours. However, we would have to acknowledge them to be Christian disciples (even apostles!), despite their sub-Christian Christology. When I meet a person today who seems committed to Jesus, but who has very defective understanding of who He is, I am not able to judge whether Jesus sees him/her as a very ignorant, but true, disciple, or whether He sees him/her as a disciple of another (false) Jesus. It is thus easy for me to critique the theology of a group without forming ultimate judgments about individuals who may be deceived within the groups (Roman Catholics or Oneness Pentecostals, for example).

If it were my assignment from God to determine which of these people are "saved" and which are not, I would be in a lot of trouble. Fortunately, this is not my assignment. My assignment is to know Him and make Him known to others. Everyone, including I, needs to know Him better than currently. In the course of trying to make Christ better known to everybody, I may be able gradually to draw a Mormon (among others) into a less-heretical view of Christ, but I will not know at what point God comes to recognize him as His disciple. That is something I am not necessarily required to know.

Steve
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Re: An email about Mormonism

Postby Singalphile » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:48 pm

I mostly agree with the response.

I'm currently listening to an audio book about Mormonism and Joseph Smith.

Leaving aside Smith and all the history, the modern LDS organization, with its own Scriptures and rituals, could certainly qualify as a different religion. But then Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are perhaps equally different to all outer appearances. My main problem with Mormonism is not the different religious rituals nor all of their unique opinions; its their sectarianism and divisiveness, which I believe is the primary NT meaning of the Greek word hairesis. But then again, many in the RC and Protestant religions/denominations are often guilty of that same behavior (though not so much, anymore at least).

So I find it impossible to declare that no Mormon is a Christian, as some do. I have never spoken with a Mormon. It would be interesting.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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Re: An email about Mormonism

Postby Singalphile » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:28 pm

I finished listening to the audio book about LDS history that I mentioned. I've been reading and watching other LDS stuff too.

I am least interested in their peculiar views, and I'm most interested in how to bring them into fellowship with the broader Christianity that they now claim to be a part of. That seems like it will be very difficult.

A) The LDS church is more organized than Protestants (maybe more than RC and Orthodox too), which is probably more attractive (to some) than a more typical, loosely-knit church/fellowship.
B) On the flip-side, they seem to be more cult-like than other denominations, which makes it difficult to leave without facing major personal and financial repercussions.
C) The rest of Christendom is not going to accept the unique LDS views and practices, and Mormons aren't likely to give up the practices (at least).

As with most people (imo), I guess that most Mormons are keen on being recognized as intelligent and/or respectable, as much as anything. So I don't know. Seems like a tricky situation.
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Re: An email about Mormonism

Postby Timios » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:23 pm

They say that Mormons are Tritheists, that they believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate Gods who are in full agreement. Trinitarians also believe in three who are in full agreement, but believe that the three are somehow just one God. So both believe that Jesus is God. So in what way do Mormons have a heretical view of Christ? I just don't understand.
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Re: An email about Mormonism

Postby Singalphile » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:51 pm

Timios wrote:They say that Mormons are Tritheists, that they believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate Gods who are in full agreement. Trinitarians also believe in three who are in full agreement, but believe that the three are somehow just one God. So both believe that Jesus is God. So in what way do Mormons have a heretical view of Christ? I just don't understand.


Yes, as far as I can tell, the official LDS position affirms multiple Gods. Practically speaking, it doesn't all seem so different from most Christians, though I don't agree with it. They seem to affirm the main biblical statements about Jesus (He is Savior, Lord, Son of God, lived in the flesh, died and was raised), and then they have extra, non-biblical stuff they throw in, not unlike many denominations, imo. I suspect that none of us understand God and the relationship between the Father and Son and Holy Spirit correctly. I suppose that we will understand when we are with Him face to face.

I'm listening to another audio book about the LDS org, Leaving the Saints by Martha Beck. (I picked it b/c the public library has it.) Some of it is very interesting, though it reads a lot like fiction at times, and I don't overly trust it.

In any case, my main concern is that Mormons, some of whom are no doubt fellow Christians, will abandon Jesus altogether when they abandon the LDS organization. The latter choice is extremely reasonable, I think, but you hate to someone throw out the baby with the bathwater. As for the LDS organization itself, I hope for its demise.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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Re: An email about Mormonism

Postby Homer » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:18 pm

But the Mormons believe there are many Gods and that men can become Gods in the future life and rule their own planet.

Years ago a young engineer was transferred to the plant I worked at. He invited me to a bible study and gave me a "picture" of Jesus in a red robe. I didn't get what the red robe was about. Anyway, when I asked him about becoming a God over your own planet I asked him who the God was with the power and authority to assign the new Gods to their planets. There must be a God above the others to accomplish this. He had no answer and ceased to talk to me about religion.
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Re: An email about Mormonism

Postby Singalphile » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:19 pm

Homer wrote:But the Mormons believe there are many Gods and that men can become Gods in the future life and rule their own planet.

Years ago a young engineer was transferred to the plant I worked at. He invited me to a bible study and gave me a "picture" of Jesus in a red robe. I didn't get what the red robe was about. Anyway, when I asked him about becoming a God over your own planet I asked him who the God was with the power and authority to assign the new Gods to their planets. There must be a God above the others to accomplish this. He had no answer and ceased to talk to me about religion.


That is a lot of the "extra, non-biblical" stuff that they throw in. It's often silly and unnecessary, I would say to them, but it doesn't damn them, afaik. It's just a wrong opinion, and they believe it, if they do, because their church leaders - their highest authority on such things - tells them to believe it. If their church tells them otherwise tomorrow, then they'll believe otherwise.

On the first point, the mainstream Christian view is arguably not so different. We believe we'll be given eternal life, we'll never get sick, never suffer, and we'll reign with Jesus in some kind of glorified bodies. That's sort of god-like, isn't it? I/we would not refer to ourselves as such, though, I agree.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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Re: An email about Mormonism

Postby Homer » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:45 pm

I believe there is a huge chasm between evangelicals and Mormons regarding faith and works:

http://mit.irr.org/mormon-view-of-faith-and-works
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Re: An email about Mormonism

Postby Singalphile » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:39 pm

Homer wrote:I believe there is a huge chasm between evangelicals and Mormons regarding faith and works:

http://mit.irr.org/mormon-view-of-faith-and-works


Keeping in mind that I'm about the opposite of an expert on Mormonism ...

I think that article is pretty good, mostly. It correctly points out, I think, that the LDS view is close to universalism. From what I gather, unless you're a Mormon apostate, you're pretty much guaranteed to make it to some level of "heaven". So God's grace and Jesus and faith gets them in the door, as in regular Christian theology, but then they apparently think they have to work really hard to get a good seat with their family or something like that.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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