Thursday, 31 January 2013

Mormon and Bible Contradictions

Book of MormonHere’s a helpful look at the problems facing Mormon claims in light of clear contradictions between the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

 

The "Book of Mormon" was published in 1830 by Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To the LDS church, the "Book of Mormon" is a holy and divinely inspired text. The text contains portions of the King James Bible, but also has original content that is not mentioned in the Bible. Mormons use a combination of the "Book of Mormon" and the Bible in their worship, but the two books contain conflicting information.”

 

The rest of this great article by Missi Maynard can be read here

Monday, 28 January 2013

What is a Christian Mormon?

These days Mormons will frequently be heard referring to themselves as Mormon/Christian. In a world in which it seems alright for people to self-identify as Jedi Knight against the “religion” question on census returns Mormon/Christian doesn’t seem such a stretch.

Making a lot of Joseph

You will note that I have changed the order of these words in my title. It is deliberate and a kind of word play. You might read it, “What is a Christian/Mormon?” or you might read it, “What is a Christian, Mormon?” Lame perhaps but I hope it makes you think because the claim to be a Mormon/Christian is a much greater stretch than it might at first appear.

In a nice little piece for the Briefing magazine Marty Sweeney wrote about spending the day with Mormons and coming away with some clear thoughts on whether Mormons are Christians. I strongly recommend you read the article. He highlights six reasons why he thinks Mormonism isn’t Christian and picks up on key issues every time. Two in particular caught my attention because they are true, because he expresses them very well and because Mormons adamantly deny them. He writes,

“Their devotion to Joseph Smith—the Prophet—is parallel, if not greater, to that of Christ.”

“They have a sense of the sacred (places and times) that originate from their view of Joseph Smith. Any significant place Smith dwelt is somewhat of a mecca for them.  I am curious if they view historic sites in Jerusalem and Israel in the same way?”

Making a lot of Jesus

I remember a Christian friend offered to send a CD of Christian choruses to a Mormon on a discussion forum I once frequented. The Mormon accepted the offer, details were exchanged privately, and the disc was sent. A couple of weeks later the Christian, on the forum, asked the Mormon what he thought of the songs. The Mormon was delighted with the disc, saying that his children loved to dance to it and it was a success with the whole family.

"One thing that did strike me about those songs though", the Mormon remarked. "You do seem to make a lot of Jesus."

Now every true Christian here is sighing as they recognise how telling that innocent remark is.

Yes, we are utterly sold out to, totally in love with, 100%, died in the wool, can't get enough of him, tell me the old-old-story mad about Jesus. And the confession that Mormons are not, the surprise expressed by this Mormon that we do seem to make a lot of him in comparison to his own Mormon experience speaks volumes and gives the lie to the claim that Mormons are Christians.

What is a Christian, Mormon?

What on earth did he think a Christian was? The clue is in the name - CHRISTian. Of course, if you think being so sold out to Jesus is freaky it can only mean you have no idea what Jesus has done for sinners. Mormonism teaches that Jesus is part of God's great plan of happiness, of which old Joseph Smith is another part.

For me, as a Christian, Jesus is the very ground of my being, the light of my life, my North star, the very plan itself, set in motion from before the foundations of the earth. The one who has lifted me from the miry clay and set my feet on a rock, the rock on which my house of faith is founded, the reason for my being, the object of my worship, my comfort in times of sorrow, my strength in times of trial, my peace in the turmoil of life, and my sure hope for eternity.

He has taken from me a heart of stone and placed in me a heart of flesh, he has opened my eyes to truth, renewed my mind, brought me to my spiritual senses and made me see that I am deeply stained to the very marrow with sin and that sin was paid for IN FULL on a cross outside Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

He has kept me up to this moment, given me today as a gift and eternity as a sure hope. He has conquered death so that I have no need to fear that enemy, he has washed away my sins so that I need not fear condemnation and he has clothed me in his righteousness so that I need not fear being seen in my filthy sin-soaked rags.

He is my exemplar, the one who commands, "live this way", and my constant strength, the one who supplies my every need that I may indeed live this way for him.

He is with me in trials, laughs when I laugh, rejoices when I rejoice and weeps when I weep. He is closer than a brother, dearer than the dearest friend. He always hears me, always answers, bids me come closer and tell him everything. He is always glad to see me, and grieved when I neglect him, yet forgiving when I repent of my shoddy neglect.

There is none like him, he is God the Son, the one who was there in the beginning, laid the foundations of and has kept this creation by his power to this day, and the one whose coming I await eagerly. His service is my pleasure, his glory is my joy, his reputation is my constant concern, his name is my treasure.

Yes, I suppose you could say I am a Jesus freak, but if you call me by his glorious name, Christian, that will serve quite well enough. I guess only those who have been to the foot of the Cross and laid their burden there could say such things. Otherwise, I suppose they simply don’t know the Jesus of the Bible, his saving grace and keeping love and so wonder what all the fuss is about.

Read more about Joseph and Jesus

What has been your experience of Mormonism? Why not share your thoughts in the comment box below?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

7 Mormon Habits of Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey

In 2011 Stephen R Covey was voted one of the fifty most influential management guru’s in America. His management and training programmes have influenced Christian leaders and his personal development books, such as 7 Habits for Highly Effective People,(SH) can be found on pastor’s book shelves. Stephen Covey, who died in July 2012, was a devout Mormon and people rightly ask how much his faith influenced his thinking and whether Christians ought to be influenced by him.

Bob Waldrep, president of Crosswinds Foundation for Faith and Culture wrote an insightful article for Watchman Fellowship addressing these questions. He describes the extensive Mormon influences as well as New Age thinking in Covey’s work. Below is an excerpt. You can read the full article here.

 

“[Stephen Covey’s] book, The Divine Center (DC) is about centering one's life in the god of Mormonism and reads like a LDS primer. In fact, it seems to be the basis for SH as many of the ideas Covey wrote in it in 1982 are included and built upon in the SH, published in 1989.

7 Habits is the author's way of conveying ideas previously presented in DC to a non-LDS audience. He advises fellow Mormons, "…we shouldn't hesitate to work within the vocabularies of others to communicate our meanings …we can teach and testify of many gospel principles if we are careful in selecting words which carry our meaning but come from their experience and frame of mind." (DC p. 240) This blurring of distinctions is a common tactic used by LDS in dialoguing with non-Mormons, particularly Christians.

In SH Covey claims these are universal principles, not "unique to any specific faith or religion, including my own. These principles are a part of most every major enduring religion as well as social philosophies and ethical systems." (p. 34) "The more closely our maps or paradigms are aligned with these principles or natural laws, the more accurate and functional they will be." (p.35)

Yet, in DC Covey reveals that the only true and correct map is found in the LDS Church and that God appeared to Joseph Smith and rejected all existing maps. (p. 16) During that alleged encounter with God, Smith specifically names the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians as having what Covey refers to as "incorrect maps." (History of Joseph Smith 1:9-10, 18-19, DC p.16) Covey says it is actually the adversary that distorts the maps in non-Mormon minds getting a stranglehold on them "because most people never question their maps". (DC. P. 17) He continues, "No wonder Joseph Smith under inspiration identified the "creed of the fathers" as "the very mainspring of all corruption." (ibid.)

According to DC, those who use Covey's material without embracing LDS teaching, have an incorrect map "that distorts the knowledge of who we really are, who our Heavenly Father is, who Jesus Christ really is, and who the Holy Ghost really is, that it imposes enormous limitations on…those who 'buy into it.'" (P. 80) He says "The true map, on the other hand, tells us what Elder Lorenzo Snow summarized in this couplet:

“As man is, God once was; As God now is, man may become." (p.81)”

The full article can be found here.

NB The Mormon teaching  manual for 2013 is The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow. On the Mormonism Investigated blog you can follow weekly commentary as Mormons go through Lorenzo Snow’s teachings this year.

Have you read 7 Habits? How has it influenced you? Why not share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

5 Questions for Mormons

It is always good to have some basic questions to ask a Mormon when the opportunity presents itself. As we listen to the Mormon story we find a religion that challenges the authority of the Bible, the authenticity of the church, the final revelation in Jesus, the assurance of grace and the work of the Cross. Falling back on God’s sure word in the Bible we might reasonably ask:

 

If “All Scripture is God-breathed…so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the Bible ‘contains the fullness of the gospel’ (BOM Introduction) why do we need the Book of Mormon?

If Jesus promised, “the gates of hell will not overcome” His church [not overpower it, resist it, fail to succumb to it, i.e. rob it of its power and authority] (Matthew 16:18) what was Joseph Smith restoring?

If Jesus is the prophet of the last days and God’s clearest declaration of Himself (Hebrews 1:1-4) why does Mormonism give this title to Joseph Smith?

The Bible declares “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works…” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Why does the Book of Mormon say the opposite, “It is by grace we are saved, after all we can do”? (2 Nephi:25:23)

If Jesus “[made] peace through His blood, shed on the Cross” (Colossians 1:20 c.f.2:13) why do Mormons believe it was through His blood shed in the Garden of Gethsemane? (Mosiah 3:7; D&C 19:15-19)

Why not share your thoughts in the comments below? What questions would you ask?