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Mormonism, Christian or Cult?

Mormonism:Christian or Cult?


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These days there are many television, magazine and radio ads featuring such practical Christian principles as love, family unity, and clean, healthy living for young people. Fine artists such as the Osmonds and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir promote Christian living to the world in such an appealing way that many converts are won to the Mormon Church.

But some might ask, "Isn't Mormonism Christian?" I have to say "no" to this question, feeling appalled that so few Christians are aware that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known as the Mormon Church, is, in fact, a cult. After identifying myself, I would like to state some of their teachings to support my statement.

I was born and raised in a small Mormon town a few miles from Salt Lake City, Utah, the headquarters for the Mormon group which followed Brigham Young to Utah after Joseph Smith, the founder and the prophet of the Mormon religion, was killed. Some of my ancestors joined the Mormon Church in its infancy and since then, those in my family have been active, devout members.

My name was on the Mormon records from birth until September 1977, when I requested its removal. I had been a member of that church for fifty years.

My request to have my name removed from their records had to be written in letter form to the local branch of the Mormon Church. Then I was summoned to appear at a Bishop's court to voice my reasons for leaving the church, thus giving them grounds for excommunicating me, even though the choice was my own.

I made my decision to separate myself from the Mormon Church because I no longer believed their teachings were true. This came about after one of my sons accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior at a Christian Crusade in our area.

I began searching for the truth and soon found the Lord as my personal Savior. I thank the Lord that He has been working in my life these past three and a half years, opening my eyes by directing my to His Word, the Bible.

He has planted my feet upon the sure foundation of faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone, and His finished work of redemption. I found the way of truth by following the Apostle Paul's instructions: "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

I did a tremendous amount of studying, both in the Bible and into Mormonism, taking the Bible as my guide. I found that the Mormon religion, built upon the revelations of one man claiming to be a latter day prophet, has some strange, confusing, unbiblical beliefs.

Today, many of the original teachings of Joseph Smith or his successors are not taught, and others have been changed. Few Mormon members today are aware of the "Adam-God" doctrine or that blood atonement was practised in the early church.

I found, also, that each Bible verse quoted as proof for a particular Mormon teaching should be examined in its context, for verses are often twisted to fit false teachings.

There are Mormon teachings which are not only in disagreement with the Bible, but are in disagreement within their own books. An example is found in Jacob 2:24, 27, 28 from the Book of Mormon which condemns polygamy. God declares David's wives and concubines to be an abomination to Himself for He delights in the chastity of women. But Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 132:39, states that God gave those wives to David.

In the Book of Mormon, God condemns plural wives, but then sanctions polygamy in the Doctrine and Covenants. These are contradictory statements indeed.

Section 132 of Doctrine and Covenants contains the revelation on the new and everlasting commandment from God to Joseph Smith and his followers to practise polygamy, which Smith was already doing. Polygamy has been a problem for the Mormon Church from its beginning. A recent newspaper article from Salt Lake City stated that thousands of practising polygamists are living in Utah today and are tolerated by the state, although the Mormon Church has been excommunicating its members for the practise for many years.

The following examples are but few of the Mormon teachings which are not in accordance with the Bible:

1. The true Gospel was lost soon after the time of Christ and the apostles. It was restored by Joseph Smith in 1830. The Mormon gospel is the same gospel that Christ and the apostles originally preached.

2. God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, both appeared to Joseph Smith. They told him not to join any church for all churches were wrong.

3. Because Joseph Smith supposedly saw God and His Son, and because the Bible speaks of God's eyes, ears, nostrils, back, hand and arm, Mormon teachings indicate that God has a body of flesh and bones. Psalm 91:4 speaks of God's feathers and wings. Therefore it is reasonable to assume these bones are all figurative parts. John 4:24 says God is Spirit and Jesus Himself said "a spirit has not flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39).

4. Besides the Bible, the Mormon Church claims the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price are all "inspired" books.

5. The Book of Mormon agrees with the Bible in the fact that God is "one unchangeable God from everlasting to everlasting." However, Milton R. Hunter, noted member of the Mormon "Council of Seventy," summarizes the concept of God today quite differently, with the following statements:
Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life similar to that through which we are passing. He became God, an exalted being through obedience to the same eternal gospel truths that we are given opportunity today to obey.

6.Salvation Mormon leaders teach that Christ merely provided resurrection for all men. "All are heirs of salvation - saved by grace." But "exaltation" is dependent upon keeping laws and ordinances. "Salvation without exaltation is damnation." Only exalted men will reach celestial glory.

7. Temple, or "Celestial," marriages are encouraged for all "worthy" couples. This marriage ceremony is solemnized in the temple with secret vows, covenants, washings, names and signs, and a special underwear to be worn thereafter, which is believed to have a protective power. The celestial ceremony supposedly seals a couple for time and eternity, as husband and wife. Any children born are sealed to them as well, and a family unit is insured for the hereafter, as it is on earth. Temple marriage is essential for "exaltation."

8. The priesthood of Mormons constitutes the "authority" or the "holding of keys" to officiate in God's name and to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel (baptism, laying on of hands, etc.).

The Priesthood is composed of two categories - the Aaronic (lesser) and the Melchizedek. The Aaronic was supposedly conferred upon the heads of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by John the Baptist. Under the Aaronic priesthood young male members are ordained deacons, teachers and priests - deacons being 12-year-old boys. 1 Timothy 3:12 says on the contrary, that deacons are to be married men.

The Melchizedek priesthood was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by Peter, James and John, giving them the power of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Under this priesthood the offices include elders (missionaries), baishops, seventies, high priests, patriarchs, apostles and prophets.

My own patriarchal blessing was given to me when I was a teenager. Our local Patriarch laid his hands upon my head and pronounced a special, but very general, blessing. One thing that is of particular interest to me now that I've become a Christian is the fact that my blessing declares that I am from the lineage of Joseph through Ephraim. However, one thing I know about my ancestry is that I am not Jewish.

Each succeeding Mormon president is given the title of today's "prophet, seer, and revelator." Leaders try to use the Bible to support their church organization and to substantiate their priesthoods. However, examination reveals many differences from Bible teaching.

In the Bible, the Book of Hebrews clearly indicates that Christ is the Lamb of God, the sacrifice, and that He is our High Priest as well. He fulfilled all the law and the prophets, and because He lives, He is our only needed mediator or High Priest. Since the coming of Jesus Christ, we have no need of prophets or high priests. Today God speaks through His written Word.

9.Genealogical Research, Baptism for the Dead:Paul warned Timothy (1 Timothy 1:4) "neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies" and (in Titus 3:9) he says to "avoid foolish questions and genealogies." Yet today there is a tremendous genealogical research activity within the Mormon Church.

"Climbing the Family Tree" is a popular Mormon TV commercial which encourages people to become interested in their ancestry. By sending for this material, the way is paved for a visit by Mormon missionaries.

As a result of genealogical research "baptism for the dead" became a vital teaching. It is based on one verse, a question asked by the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:29), "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" Mormon leaders teach that the spirits of people who have died without the Gospel cannot enter the kingdom of heaven without water baptism, for baptism is essential for salvation. Therefore, baptism by proxy, administered by one in authority, allows the spirit of the dead to accept or reject his temple works. If he accepts them, he has a chance to hear the gospel preached in the hereafter, which will enable him to progress to a higher degree of glory, on the way to becoming a god.

It may be interesting to note that the Book of Mormon, which claims to contain the "fulness of the everlasting gospel" does not mention the doctrine of "baptism for the dead."

10. Archaeology: Mormon members have been taught through the years that the Smithsonian Institute uses the Book of Mormon in its archaeological work, and also that the Institute has dug up evidences proving the historical claims made by the Book of Mormon. These are false statements. The Smithsonian Institute Office of Anthropology, Washington, D.C., has had so many inquiries regarding the Book of Mormon, that a paper has been prepared entitled "Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon" which they mail to anyone upon request.

Perhaps the following words from a Mormon publication most clearly reveal the enslavement of the members to the church and its leaders:
"Lucifer wins a great victory when he can get members of the church to speak against their leaders and to do their own thinking...When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they purpose a plan, it is God's plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction it should mark the end of controversy."

The faith and trust of Mormons is not in the shed blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary, but in the Mormon Church and its leaders. These people are deceived and are deceiving others unknowingly.

My purpose in writing this article is to alert people to the fact that Mormonism is indeed a cult. Christ Himself warned us "not to be deceived" but to "beware of false prophets and false teachers coming in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves" (Matthew 7:15, Matthew 24:11).

Our best weapon to combat false teaching is the Bible. We should be so thoroughly grounded in the Word of Truth that we can recognize deception whenever it appears, even though it may be cloaked in a beautiful outward appearance. The Bible warns that Satan and his ministers, while appearing to be apostles of Christ, are transformed into angels of light and ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Further, an angel supposedly appeared to Joseph Smith in 1823 and directed him to dig up golden plates from a hill near his home. From these golden plates the Book of Mormon is said to have emerged and a new gospel was brought forth.

However, Paul warned "though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accused" (Galatians 1:8).

-Lorna C. Hays


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