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Re: Mormons #27665 10/21/03 03:17 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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I'm sorry, I haven't intended to skip anything. I'll look through and see what I've missed. I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know what I've skipped over as well.

Edited to add -- I've just looked through the thread, starting with when I started posting and I can't find anything from you that I haven't addressed. In fact, you haven't asked me anything aside from our discussion of the Kinderhook plates and one disagreement regarding the interpretation of John 10:16. I have addressed all of those things and I can't find anything else. Please be so kind as to direct me to what it is I'm missing.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27666 10/31/03 08:48 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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Since there is little action here I thought I’d try to tie up some loose ends and misconceptions from before I found the sight. It’s not true that only a select few get to know everything the church believes. We teach it all in Sunday School, it just takes a while to learn as would any belief system. Just so you know that I’ve got my facts straight, I have a position of ecclesiastical leadership in the church and I’ve been a Mormon for 29 years, I served a mission, I’ve taught Sunday school classes to every possible age group and I’m a history buff with a penchant for early Mormon history. You’d be hard pressed to find a more informed Mormon on the web, not including BYU based academics that are willing to share. As far as the inner workings of the church, I have a copy of the church’s general handbook of instructions for leaders of congregations and I’ve read it many times, so I think I’m quite qualified to answer any and all queries

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by anangelsarms:
i had some really good friends in high school that were mormon. they were straight-laced people who believe strongly in family and against birth control. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Not true, we leave the decision about birth control up to a husband and wife. The large families are due more to our belief that families can be the greatest source of happiness when united with the Lord – so the more the merrier.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by embie:
the fact of the matter is that Mormons deny the Diety of Christ. They believe that Jesus was just a prophet. The Book of Mormon is titled "Another" Testament of Jesus Christ. They also believe that they become gods when they work their way to a certain level.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Deity of Christ – He is God’s Son and the Savior of the world is that denying the Deity of Christ?
Jesus just a Prophet – Nope, he certainly did prophesy, but he was much more than a prophet
“Another Testament of Jesus Christ” – While the Book of Mormon does have this as a subtitle it would probably be more accurate to use “Another Testament about the Divinity, Work, and Glory of Jesus Christ pertaining to his Gospel as taught in the New World” but that’s not very catchy.
Becoming Gods – I’ve addressed that upthread already and it takes quite a bit to address it again. So look up thread for my first or second post on page 4 or 5 maybe?

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by anangelsarms:
i didnt know they didnt call themselves christian</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">We consider ourselves Christian, it’s everybody else that thinks we aren’t and they also seem to think they have a monopoly on the definition of the word.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">originally posted by Sarah: They have a seperate book called the Book of Mormon. They believe that (sorry I cannot recall his name) a man found a book (somewhere in Utah) made with gold-plated pages with more stories and books from God</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Yep we use the Book of Mormon as a companion scripture to the Bible. The book is an account of the ancient people’s of America and records their dealings with Christ and God. The location of the record, which was recorded on plates of gold bound by metal rings, was revealed to Joseph Smith, by an Angel in upstate New York outside of a little town called Palmyra. Mormons didn’t get to Utah until 1847 following several years of persecution.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">originally posted by Sarah: Most Mormons also try not to do drugs, drink, etc. Most do not drink caffeine for it is a form of drugs. This goes back to anangelsarms' post about how they treat thier body as a temple. This is very true, for most Mormons consider drinking as degrading to their temple, and also modesty is a must (for most of them, at least.)</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">We call it the Word of Wisdom and it is a commandment that was revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith in 1833 through revelation; stating that Alcohol, Tobacco, and Hot Drinks (specifically coffee and tea – not caffeine, although some Mormons think Pepsi and Coke are evil. They’re just plain crazy) are not for human consumption. Since 1833 as narcotics have emerged, subsequent prophets have made pronouncements forbidding their use unless proscribed by a competent physician. Also it would be nice if we all dressed as modestly as we should, but we aren’t perfect.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">originally posted by Steve: The mormon can't recognize the trinity because their belief system is based on God and Jesus being first human and through piety and personal holiness achieving Godhood. Yes they claim "Jesus" as their savior but they do not believe exactly as it is written in the bible.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">No, we don’t recognize the trinity because of reasons I outlined in another post (I think it was my first in this thread) and ironically it’s mostly stuff we read in the Bible that indicates (at least to us) that they are separate beings, but united in purpose as they seek to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Yes, it’s true that we believe God was once a man and progressed to Godhood, but I think I’ll post the whole detail on that later, because it’s obviously a doozy.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">originally posted by Steve: By that the Mormons deny His Godhood, that means from birth. The official Mormon contention is that he was born simply a man and through piety and works was elevated to Godhood. They beleive also that you and I can do that very same thing.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Absolutely false – our position on Christ is that he was the firstborn of the father both spiritually (As God is Father to us all) and physically. That Mary was his Mom and God was his Dad and for lack of a better term, Joseph the carpenter was his step-dad. We definitely believe that he was biologically the son of the Living God. While we do believe that mankind can become “god-like” we do not believe that we can do the same thing as Jesus. I can never be Savior & Redeemer to all mankind. I guess this begins to address our beliefs about becoming Gods, so I’ll save it for my next post. In short though, we can become like God, but regardless of how far we progress and grow in the eternities, God will always be our father and Jesus will always be our Savior, we will never attain the status of being their equals. For as we increase in glory they increase in glory because it is only in and through them that we can share in God’s work.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">originally posted by Steve: Sarah, keep in mind that the motus operandi of all "active" Mormons is to convert everyone they come across to "their faith."</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Yep. It should be every Christian’s modus operandi to convert people to their faith. If it’s not then maybe your faith isn’t that important. For me my faith is central to my life and a large part of how I define myself. After all, we believe it, it makes us happy, and we want to share it with those we love. Is that so wrong?

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">originally posted by Steve: Revelations 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">This is an oldie but a goodie. Steve, you know a thing or two about the Bible and so you probably know that there is strong evidence that John actually wrote the Book of Revelations prior to writing the Gospel of John. If this scripture would lead one to reject everything written after the Book of Revelations then it rejects the Gospel of John. In fact, it’s pretty obvious that this scriptures intent is to warn people who would change the Book of Revelations itself and does not apply to the entire Bible. Moreover in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 4 verse 2 we read a similar warning </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">So by applying your interpretation of Revelations 22:18, everything which was added to the Bible beyond Deuteronomy must be rejected as heresy.

Allen, The saintsalive.com site is run by antagonists of the church, people who have an axe to grind and nothing better to do than spend their lives tearing down the faith of people using half-truths and full blown lies. I wouldn’t rely on them for unbiased information. I would rely on God and the Holy Ghost through Prayer. The Utah Lighthouse Ministry site is run by the Deckers. Ed Decker is a man who was excommunicated and was so angry that he worked for years to get back into the church so he could go to the Temple and reveal ceremonies that we consider sacred and personal to the world. Needless to say he was excommunicated again. This man is a bitter son of gun who has thrown out originally for his own unrighteousness and is trying to pass off his personal failings as the fault of church.

Levels of heaven.
The LDS perception of the afterlife is different from mainstream Christianity, but it is all scripturally based. This also will require an individual post.

LDSboy16 seemed kind of angry in his posts and I don’t know that he was thinking clearly because some of what he said didn’t really seem that lucid. Yes we take the Bible literally and use liberally in companionship with the Book of Mormon in order to understand the gospel in its fullness. We do believe that there may be errors in the Bible as we don’t fully understand (nor can we ever) the motives of those who originally assembled the Bible. The fact that there were different versions of the Bible for many years competing with one another for acceptance throughout Christianity is enough for me to be a little concerned as to what else went on during that period of history. In short, I don’t trust the arm of flesh and much less the early Catholic fathers who put the book together.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">originally posted by Allen: If you truly believe the Book of Mormon, doctrinally, how do you accept the Doctrine and Covenants or Pearl of Great Price since these books teach different concepts?</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Come on. If you really are going to ask this question then you have to be confident that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. Otherwise how can you accept the Old Testament and the New Testament. John 1:18 says that no man can see God and yet in Exodus 33:11 Moses talks with god “face to face”. The Doctrine and Covenants is comprised of revelations given to Joseph Smith as a result of inquiries made seeking clarification of questions that arose from prayerful study of the scriptures. So yes it definitely expands on some things that are taught only briefly in the Bible and Book of Mormon, but it only contradicts as much as the Bible contradicts itself. In other words, as easy as it is to explain the apparent contradictions in the Bible, it is just as easy to explain the perceived contradictions in LDS scripture.

Plural Gods vs. Scriptural (in the Book of Mormon) statements regarding their being one God.
This is simple, while we do believe that man can become like God, it will not diminish the stature of God with us. He will always be our God regardless of what we become and as I said earlier. As the glory God’s children attain unto increases, his glory will increase exponentially as a result. So when Amulek says there is only one God he is right, there is only one God with which we have anything to do. It doesn’t really matter if there are others out there for we do not worship them.

Contradictions in the Book of Mormon regarding the trinity:
The Book of Mormon is no more contradictory within itself than the Bible regarding the nature of the trinity. There are several instances where Christ will say he is the son of God and at other times say that he is God. As I discussed in the first post I ever made, John 17 and the great intercessory prayer kind of clears up any and all statements regarding God and Christ being one. But then again, Allen, you said you don’t really care about the nature of the trinity and you’ll know the truth when you get there, so this is a moot point.

I think that’s all that I can address without devoting a lengthy post to specific topics. Let’s see, I’ve promised to discuss the following in detail in later posts:
Scriptural basis of the belief that mankind can become like God.
Mormon perception of the afterlife.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27667 11/03/03 10:19 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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I thought I’d tackle the Mormon perception of the afterlife, it will probably also answer some of the questions regarding the belief that we can become like God.

Before we came to earth we lived as spirit children of our Heavenly Father. Part of our Heavenly Father’s plan for us is that we don’t remember what happened in our premortal existence, but rather through faith important truths can be revealed to us to help us better understand our Heavenly Father’s plan for helping us to achieve eternal happiness.

We are literally His children. Before we were born, we were unique individuals already with some of the character traits that we brought with us to this life. Our spirits resembled the physical bodies we would one day inhabit. God intimately knew us and from time to time, he has provided evidence of his foreknowledge regarding who we are through revelation to prophets. In particular I’m thinking of Jeremiah in the old Testament when God says to him in Jeremiah 1:5 </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Our life with God prior to this life on earth is also evidenced in the quiet whisperings of the spirit in all of our hearts. How often have we read an obituary stating that a loved one has “…gone home to God…” The place called “home” is by definition a place where we have lived. We did live with God before we were born.

But we in many ways differed from our Heavenly Father. For example, He was much more developed than us spiritually. We did not have a physical body like He did. Like good kids, we wanted to be like him, we wanted to grow and develop and follow in the footsteps of our most worthy Father.

Like any good Dad, this is what our Heavenly Father wanted for us as well. To become like Him and receive all that he hath. Romans 8: 16-18 says </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> 16 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 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. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Through Jesus Christ (this is the plan) we are heirs of all that God hath, his glory, his power, and his dominion.

So our father directed the creation of the Earth through his son Jesus Christ. This was part of the plan for us to gain the experiences necessary to become more like him. We accepted the plan of our Heavenly Father and rejoiced in the blessings it would bring.

It means a whole heck of a lot to me to know how intimate God’s knowledge of me is and that he in fact has known me since I was created in the spirit. I am eternally grateful that he has prepared a plan to help bring us back into his presence and bestow upon us his glory.

Our life on earth is not meaningless, there is a purpose. It gives us an opportunity to become like our Heavenly Father and to prepare to return to Him. When we came into this life, each of us received a physical body. These earthly bodies are imperfect and mortal. Receiving a physical body is a step towards receiving a glorified, immortal body like our Heavenly Father's through the gift of Christ’s resurrection whereby we also will be resurrected.

Because we do not remember our premortal life with God, our choices in this life must be founded on faith. Our inheritance in postmortal existence will depend upon our choices in this life. Did we accept Jesus as our Savior and strive to live according to his commandments? Did we partake in the ordinance of Baptism which the Savior himself declared to be necessary in order to fulfill all righteousness? Did we learn to govern the appetites of our physical bodies, much as Jesus did in resisting Satan’s temptations? Through these and other experiences we learn more about and become more like our Heavenly Father.

This is why God sent us here. It was not some grand experiment, but rather a divine plan to educate us, test us, and try us to see if we would remain true and faithful to the Gospel. Where we fail, providing we repent, Christ has paid the price for our sins and will be our advocate with the father.

Since our physical bodies are mortal, someday we will all die. But physical death is a part of the plan of happiness that our Father prepared for us. Through death and the resurrection, our imperfect mortal bodies become perfect and immortal. With death, the spirit is separated from the body. The spirit continues to live, but it goes to a place that we call the Spirit world. This is simply a name that we’ve come up with to describe the place that Christ visited after his death, as explained by Peter in 1 Peter 3:18-20 </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">According to Peter, after Christ died he visited the spirits of men who had been disobedient in the time of Noah. What did he do there? Well Peter tells us that in 1 Peter 4:6 </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Like I said we call it the Spirit World, I think other religions have a similar concept and may apply a different name. Basically it is a place where we await judgement prior to the resurrection and where those who have not heard the gospel in this life will have it preached to them (that’s what Peter said Christ was doing, not me).

When we are judged by God we will also be resurrected. Resurrection is literally the reuniting of the spirit with the body in an immortal and glorified state. We will be judged before the Lord based on our faithfulness in following the path that He showed us. If we have followed this path, we will return to our Heavenly Father to live with Him in celestial glory. In the New Testament, this glory is compared to the glory of the sun. Those who inherit this glory will experience a fulness of happiness. They will become like our Heavenly Father or in other words, they will become Gods (again, not superior to or even equal to God, but if we are to inherit all that he has, what else will we be?)

Some people will not be faithful in obeying the commandments of God. They will not believe in Christ, will not not repent of their sins, and will not follow His commandments, and will not fulfill essential ordinances. They will not qualify for the fulness of glory in the plan of our Heavenly Father. They will also receive a degree of glory, but it will be lower.
Paul describes the differing glories in 1 Cor 15 and you really need to read the whole chapter to understand what he’s talking about. But in verse 35 he says “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” and then he answers this question in verses 40-44 </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Sometimes Christians may wonder what will happen with the millions of those who never heard about Jesus Christ in this life or never had the opportunity to be baptized. Would a righteous God condemn them simply because of the circumstances of their birth? No.

As I explained earlier, it was revealed to Peter (see above discussion of 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 1 Peter 4:6) that the Lord went to those who did not have the gospel in this life and they were taught so that they could make a choice and be judged. Every child of our Heavenly Father will have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel; therefore all will be justly judged.

This is why Mormons do geneology, we trace our ancestors to verify that they lived and then we go to our temples where we perform ordinances for them by proxy. One of the things we do in the temple is something we call “baptisms for the dead.” I know it sounds spooky. Basically, Christ explains in Matthew 3 that Baptism is necessary in order to fulfill all righteousness. He is baptized by John because John has the authority to perform that Holy Ordinance. So we are baptized by proxy (or in behalf of) for our deceased ancestors. They then, in the Spirit World have the opportunity to accept or reject that work based on the things they have been taught in the Spirit World. Paul refers to this ordinance in 1 Cor 15:29 (again the whole chapter is Paul discussing resurrection) </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> 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?</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">This great work for the dead shows the justice, mercy, and love of God towards each of His children.

It is important to understand that, while the doctrine of the redemption of the dead is taught in the Bible, that no other church teaches or accepts this doctrine. We owe a large part of our understanding of this divine Biblical principle to the Latter-day revelation received through Joseph Smith and modern prophets. Many other denominations teach that those who die without having an opportunity to accept Christ will have no possibility of salvation. Such a belief would be incompatible with God's justice and mercy. If you don’t accept “Baptism for the Dead” as a biblical principle, then explain to me what exactly Paul was talking about.

In earth life, our bodies have the power to create children. This power is a gift from God. It allows us to take part in the creation of life and train our children according to Gospel principles. In this manner we begin to become like our Heavenly Father.God commanded his children to limit this sacred power of creation to the family. The love between man and wife and between parents and children is the source of the greatest joys in life.

Family relations do not have to end with death. Through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord restored knowledge that spouses can be married for eternity through holy temple ceremonies. These ceremonies are conducted by the sealing power of the priesthood. Spouses obtain a promise that their family relations will be eternal if they remain worthy. This is one of the greatest blessings promised to the righteous.
In essence when we get married the last thing we hear isn’t “Til death do you part” rather we hear that we are married “For time and all eternity.”

Kind of nice if you like your spouse. On the other hand, you may be looking at death as a sort of escape hatch, then you might not find this so nice –- only kidding. It does mean a lot to me to know that the relationship I have with my wife is eternal and will not end with death.

So there you have it, your typical Mormon is married for all time and eternity and is striving to remain faithful in order to receive an inheritance from on High and become more like God.
That’s all for now.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27668 11/26/03 05:51 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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I found an article which more precisely explains some of the things I’ve been trying to explain. Specifically, when the Latter-day Saints are attacked for their beliefs and labled as heretics, there is a fundamental problem with these arguments. The beliefs and traditions that lead people to label Mormons as “non-Christian” are not central to the basic definition of a Christian as anyone or any group that believes in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Son of God. We believe this, yet Mormons find little acceptance for other beliefs. This is mainly due to people rejecting peripheral doctrines that they feel are not in accordance with “traditional Christianity.” The truth of the matter is that “traditional Christianity” is not in touch with its own history.

As I’ve explained before, Mormons believe that there was a falling away from the truth or a general apostacy following the death of Christ and the death of the Apostles. This apostacy did not begin over night, but it slowly crept in to the teachings and traditions of Christians after they were no longer lead by the authoritative voice of God as revealed to the Apostles, who had been wiped out by martyrdom. In essence, Mormons believe that the further the timeline progressed from the days when Christ walked the earth, the further Christian tradition was polluted. So in order to understand what Christ and his Apostles taught you would be best served by studying the teachings and traditions of the earliest Christians before the Apostacy was rampant during Dark Ages. What you’ll find is that the closer you get to the days of Christ, the more closely aligned Mormon doctrines and teachings are with those of the early Christians, before the apostacy was complete. Mormon doctrines that are under attack are amazingly similar to Christian beliefs held during the New Testament period and the generations immediately following.
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
Question: Does the New Testament define Christianity?
Interestingly, the Gospels lack any explicit treatment of the word Christian. Indeed, the word appears only three times in the New Testament, and never from the mouth of Christ himself. The word Christianity is entirely absent from the New Testament.

Acts 11:26 states that “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Here, the passive construction “were called Christians” suggests that the term was first used not by Christians, but by non-Christians. (The same way that the names Yankee and Mormon were first used by outsiders and then adopted by those they described.)

The term was probably modeled on such words as Herodian and Caesarian, already in circulation at that time, and meant nothing more complicated than Christ’s people or, perhaps, partisans of Christ. The Christian congregation at Antioch represented a wide range of backgrounds, including Jews and non-Jews. These believers displayed the whole spectrum of attitudes toward the Jewish law—from continued adherence to the traditions of Judaism to rejection of all things Jewish.

The next time we see the word Christian is in Acts 26:28, where Agrippa makes his famous reply to Paul: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Paul had just recounted the story of his conversion to Agrippa. The doctrinal content of Paul’s speech is simple and straightforward: Paul bears witness that Jesus had been foretold by the Jewish prophets, that he suffered and rose from the dead, and that forgiveness may be obtained through him. Paul described Christ’s mission as summoning people to “repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” (Acts 26:20.) The scriptural account gives no indication that Paul had to correct Agrippa’s use of the word Christian to describe one who believes in the most basic of Christian doctrines.

First Peter 4:16 [1 Pet. 4:16] is the last instance of the word’s appearance in the New Testament. This verse is virtually without doctrinal definition, merely assuring the believer that he need not be ashamed if he suffer as a “Christian.” Even here, the term may be one that persecuting outsiders were using. It may have derived from current Roman, that is, non-Christian, legal usage.

In each of these instances, the term appears to originate from someone outside the community of believers themselves. In neither of the two passages from Acts does Paul use the word himself; it is non-Christians who use it. Where the term is used, the stated and implied beliefs of the Christians are far different from the present-day beliefs used to deny that Latter-day Saints are Christians, as can be clearly shown.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">In other words wherever the Bible comes close to defining what it means to be Christian, the definition is very vague and certainly applies to Latter-day Saints (Mormons) as well as it does any other Christian denomination

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Question: Is it true that because Latter-day Saints reject the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, they are not Christians?

The Church’s first Article of Faith is “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” This is a straightforward statement of belief that there are three members in the Godhead. However, Latter-day Saints do reject the doctrines of the Trinity as taught by most Christian churches today. For the most part, these creeds—the most famous of which is the Nicene Creed—were canonized in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. following centuries of debate about the nature of the Godhead. Consequently, it is highly questionable whether these creeds reflect the thinking or beliefs of the New Testament church.

“The exact theological definition of the doctrine of the Trinity,” notes J. R. Dummelow, “was the result of a long process of development, which was not complete until the fifth century, or maybe even later.” As Bill Forrest remarks, “To insist that a belief in the Trinity is requisite to being Christian, is to acknowledge that for centuries after the New Testament was completed thousands of Jesus’ followers were in fact not really ‘Christian.’ ” Certainly the revelatory manner by which Joseph Smith learned of the doctrine of the Godhead pierces through the centuries-old debate on the subject.


Question: Is it true that because Latter-day Saints believe that human beings can eventually become like God, they are not Christian?

As even a cursory glance at early Christian thought reveals, the idea that man might become as God—known in Greek as theosis or theopoiesis—may be found virtually everywhere, from the New Testament through the writings of the first four centuries. Church members take seriously such passages as Psalm 82:6 [Ps. 82:6], John 10:33-36, and Philippians 2:5-6 [Philip. 2:5-6], in which a plurality of gods and the idea of becoming like God are mentioned.

The notion of theosis is characteristic of church fathers Irenaeus (second century A.D.), Clement of Alexandria (third century A.D.), and Athanasius (fourth century A.D.). Indeed, so pervasive was the doctrine in the fourth century that Athanasius’s archenemies, the Arians, also held the belief and the Origenist monks at Jerusalem heatedly debated “whether all men would finally become like Christ or whether Christ was really a different creature.”

According to an ancient formula, “God became man that man might become God.” Early Christians “were invited to ‘study’ to become gods” (note the plural).
Though the idea of human deification waned in the Western church in the Middle Ages, it remained very much alive in the Eastern Orthodox faith, which includes such Christian sects today as the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches. Jaroslav Pelikan notes, “The chief idea of St. Maximus, as of all Eastern theology, [was] the idea of deification.”

Is the subject of deification truly a closed question? After all, echoes of man becoming like God are still found in the work of later and modern writers in the West. For instance, C. S. Lewis’s writings are full of the language of human deification. Even Martin Luther was capable of speaking of the “deification of human nature,” although in what sense it is not clear.

Related to the claim that Latter-day Saints are not Christians because of their belief in deification is the assertion that if they hold to some kind of belief in deification then it must be that Church members do not view Jesus as uniquely divine. Such an assertion is totally erroneous. The phrase “Only Begotten Son” occurs with its variants at least ten times in the Book of Mormon, fourteen times in the Doctrine and Covenants, and nineteen times in the Pearl of Great Price. Basic to Latter-day Saint theology is the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh.
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Additionally, In 1998 Father Jordan Vajda wrote a remarkable master's thesis at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California, entitled "'Partakers of the Divine Nature': A Comparative Analysis of Patristic and Mormon Doctrines of Divinization." In this paper he states:
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> I firmly maintain that the Latter-day Saints are owed a debt of gratitude by other Christians because the Saints remind us all of our divine potential. The historic Christian doctrine of salvation theosis, i.e., human divinization for too long has been forgotten by too many Christians… Members of the LDS Church will discover unmistakable evidence that their fundamental belief about human salvation and potential is not unique nor a Mormon invention. Latin Catholics and Protestants will learn of a doctrine of salvation that, while relatively foreign to their ears, is nevertheless part of the heritage of the undivided Catholic Church of the first millennium. Members of Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches will discover on the American continent an amazing parallel to their own belief that salvation in Christ involves our becoming 'partakers of the divine nature.'</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Father Jordan wrote this paper while he was studying to become a Dominican Priest. While he was running the Newman Center at the University of Washington he met a couple of Mormon missionaries on campus. He joined the LDS church about 6 months ago despite the fact that it meant his career was over. Now back to the Original article

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Question: Is it true that because Latter-day Saints practice baptism for the dead, they are not Christian?

The argument that Latter-day Saints cannot be Christians because they practice baptism for the dead presumes that it has been definitely established that 1 Corinthians 15:29 [1 Cor. 15:29] has nothing to do with an early Christian practice of baptism for the dead. The argument ignores the fact that such second-century groups as the Montanists and Marcionites—who are invariably referred to as Christians—practiced a similar rite. The practice was condemned in A.D. 393 by the Council of Hippo, which certainly implies that it was still a vital issue. As Hugh Nibley has shown in great detail, many of the Church Fathers understood this verse literally, even when they did not always know what to make of it.

Mormon temple ritual in general is another source of controversy, largely because many think that the reticence to talk about it is not Christian. But the New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias has shown that “the desire to keep the most sacred things from profanation”—a concern shared by the Latter-day Saints—is widely found in the New Testament and in the early Christian community.

The second-century church father Ignatius of Antioch was known to have held “secret” doctrines. The historian Tertullian (second century A.D.) even takes the heretics to task because they provide access to their services to everyone without distinction. As a result, the demeanor of these heretics becomes frivolous, merely human, without seriousness and without authority.

The pagan critic Celsus (second century A.D.) probably referred to Christianity as a “secret system of belief” because access to the various ordinances of the church—baptism and the sacrament—was available only to the initiated. In his response to Celsus, Origen (third century A.D.) readily admitted that many practices and doctrines were not available to everyone, but he argues that this was not unique to Christianity. As late as the fourth century, some groups were making efforts to return to an earlier Christian tradition of preserving certain doctrines and practices for the initiated only.

Is it true that because Latter-day Saints do not accept the Bible as their sole authority in faith and doctrine, they are not Christians?

Latter-day Saints accept the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price as scriptural, in addition to the Bible. But the whole question of canon—which writings are sacred, inspired, and binding on disciples—has always been a complicated one in the history of traditional Christianity.

In the earliest period of the Christian church, it is difficult to see a distinction being made between canonical writings and some books not in the present Protestant canon. For example, the Epistle of Jude draws heavily on noncanonical books such as 1 Enoch and The Assumption of Moses. As E. Isaac says of 1 Enoch, “It influenced Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Hebrews, 1 John, Jude (which quotes it directly) and Revelation (with numerous points of contact) … in molding New Testament doctrines concerning the nature of the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the future, resurrection, the final judgment, the whole eschatological theater, and symbolism.”
The so-called Muratorian Fragment, dating from the late second century A.D., shows that some Christians of the period accepted the Apocalypse of Peter as scripture. Clement of Alexandria, writing around A.D. 200, seems to admit a New Testament canon of thirty books, including the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle of Clement, and the Preaching of Peter. Origen recognized the Epistle of Barnabas and the letter from the Shepherd of Hermas.

Even in more recent times, the question of canon has not been unanimously resolved. Martin Luther characterized the Epistle of James as “an epistle of straw”—largely because it seemed to disagree with his teaching of justification by faith alone—and mistrusted the book of Revelation. Roman Catholics and the Orthodox churches tend to accept the Apocrypha as canonical—books included in their Bibles but left out of most Protestant Bibles, including the current King James Version. In fact, Eastern Orthodox churches have never settled the question of canon. A number of scholars have pointed out that the church has priority, both logically and historically, over the Bible—that is, a group of believers existed before a certain body of texts, such as the books of the Old and New Testament, were declared canonical.

Is it true that because Latter-day Saints deny the doctrine of original sin, they are not Christian?

The notion of original sin as it is usually understood today in traditional Christianity is a distinctly late invention that evolved from the controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries. Tertullian (second century A.D.), who was very concerned with the idea of sin, says nothing of the doctrine of original sin. Indeed, very few of the Church Fathers up to the fourth century show any interest in it at all. It was not clearly enunciated until Augustine (fourth/fifth century) needed it in his battle with the Christian Pelagians, who denied the doctrine, and it came to be associated with the Council of Carthage in A.D. 418.

As Norbert Brox points out, “Pelagian theology was the traditional one, especially in Rome. But the Africans, under the theological leadership of Augustine, managed to make their charge of heresy stick within the church, thereby establishing the Augustinian theology of grace as the basis of the Western tradition.” Some modern scholars now raise the issue that Augustine, and not Pelagius, was the real heretic.

Is it true that because Latter-day Saints reject the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, they are not Christians?

Perhaps the most famous statement of the Latter-day Saint understanding of the relation between grace and works is in 2 Nephi 25:23: “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” [2 Ne. 25:23] This idea is sometimes called synergism—a term Van A. Harvey has used to describe Roman Catholicism.

The doctrine that salvation depends both on God’s grace and man’s good works is very old in Catholic theology. One of the canons at the Council of Trent specifically repudiates the notion of grace alone: “If anyone saith that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sin for Christ’s sake alone; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified, let him be anathema.” Are we to say, then, that Roman Catholicism is not Christian because it does not subscribe to the doctrine of salvation by grace alone?

The doctrine of salvation through faith alone, sometimes called solafidianism, is not a biblical doctrine: there are no instances in the New Testament of the phrases “grace alone” or “faith alone.” The philosopher-theologian Frederick Sontag argues that Jesus himself was interested not in words, and not even in theological dogma, but in action: For the Jesus in Matthew, he says, “Action is more important than definition.” Richard Lloyd Anderson shows that even in Paul’s major treatments of the doctrine of grace, particularly in Romans and Ephesians, there is a balancing element of works as well. Other New Testament writers, most notably James, make it clear that saving faith can only be recognized through works: “Faith if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17.)

The generations immediately following the New Testament period also recognized the need for both grace and works for salvation. The famous Didache—The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles—which dates back to before A.D. 70, is conspicuous for its moralism and legalism. It is also significant that “the oldest datable literary document of Christian religion soon after the time of the Apostles”—the letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, written in the last decade of the first century—emphasizes “good works, as it is in the Epistle of James, which may belong to the same time.” The second-century document Shepherd of Hermas contains twelve commandments. J. L. Gonzales writes that they “are a summary of the duties of a Christian, and Hermas affirms that in obeying them there is eternal life.”

Even F. F. Bruce, who contends that Paul taught a doctrine of salvation by grace alone, concurs sadly that the doctrine was not a part of the early Christian church: “The Biblical doctrine of divine grace, God’s favour shown to sinful humanity, seems almost, in the post-apostolic age, to reappear only with Augustine. Certainly the majority of Christian writers who flourished between the apostles and Augustine do not seem to have grasped what Paul was really getting at. … Marcion has been called the only one of these writers who understood Paul.”

Marcion, incidentally, was a second-century gnostic Christian who distinguished between the gods of the Old and New Testament. He felt that the Old Testament deity was a lesser deity than the God of the New Testament and rejected the Old Testament entirely, as well as any New Testament writing “tainted” with Old Testament ideas. Marcion produced a canon of scripture that recognized no Apostle of Jesus except Paul. He considered the other Apostles falsifiers of God.

By contrast, in the fourth century, one prominent Christian bishop was teaching the necessity of rituals. “If any man receive not Baptism,” wrote Cyril of Jerusalem, “he hath not salvation.” He also wrote about an ordinance of anointing, which he called “chrism”: “Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism, ye are called Christians. … For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had no proper claim to that title.”
The Eastern Orthodox churches also do not accept solafidianism, the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. “Eastern Orthodox Christians emphasize a unity of faith and works. For the Orthodox, being conformed to the image of Christ … includes a response of our faith and works.” Sensing the danger that a “grace alone” position could become “cheap grace” (to borrow an expression from the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer) or “a theologically thin, no-sweat Christianity,” some modern Protestant writers have adopted a similar position, recognizing that works also play a vital role in salvation.

With so many other past and present Christians rejecting the position that grace alone brings salvation, excluding the Latter-day Saints from “Christianity” for their belief in faith and works is not justified.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints easily meet the definition of a Christian as implicitly defined in the New Testament: they believe that ancient prophets foretold Christ’s coming, that Jesus Christ suffered for our transgressions, that he was put to death but rose from the dead, that through him we may obtain forgiveness of our sins, and that he will come again in glory.

The doctrinal reasons some Christians give for excluding the Latter-day Saints from Christianity make little sense, because many of the doctrines used by traditional Christianity are late developments, reflective of creeds formulated in the fourth and fifth century or developed during the Reformation.

Given the wide variety of beliefs among the various Christian churches, it is better to take persons claiming to be Christians at their word and to let the Lord be the judge.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That’s it, any questions?


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27669 12/12/03 09:45 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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I didn't want to get into too much Mormon stuff in my response to Kurt Kawohl's post in the "My Spiritual Experiences" thread that he started. I didn't want to incur Allen's wrath by proselytizing about Mormonism outside of this thread. tongue

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Kurt Kawohl:
Some will say that my personal experience of oneness with a supreme spirit is nothing but a dream or a vivid imagination. It doesn't matter whether you accept or totally reject my story. What does matter is that we evolve to a point whereby we can encourage open-minded people to offer feedback on how our religious beliefs can be brought into the 21st century. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I don’t think Kurt’s experience is the result of a dream or a vivid imagination, I just think he’s confused one step in the journey to enlightenment and thinks that’s he’s reached the end-point of said journey. As with all worldly philosophies what Kurt is talking about consists of Man’s thinking mixed with God’s reality in a failed attempt to understand God’s reality. And - as is the sad reality with mankind - Kurt has assumed that his powers of reasoning are superior to the knowledge revealed through revelations received by the prophets of God.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Kurt Kawohl:
Several nights later, it felt as if my spirit left my body and it experienced being in a place with a gathering of souls or spirits. I sensed great peace, tranquility and ecstasy -- a rapture that was beyond a person's imagination. I felt as if I was a part of ALL, a part of God. I was mentally communicating and in sync with everyone, including not only some of my deceased acquaintances and relatives, but many of the prophets of the bible, and historical people I had read about. There was no dominant force, no forceful leader. I somehow knew who everyone was. Every thought interacted with the whole community. I had no questions; it seemed as if everything was revealed and crystal clear. I saw the universe stretched out with spirits engaged in mental interaction like master craftsmen contemplating the creation of a new frontier. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">As I’ve written before in this thread, Mormons believe that before we lived on this Earth we lived with God. While living with God we were privy to what was going on here on the earth. We witnessed the whole of human history and may have sung in the very choirs that announced the birth of the Savior to the shepherds in the fields. We interacted with those who had yet to be born. When we came to this Earth, God passed a veil over our memory of our pre-earth life. As a result we can’t remember a dang thing about our pre-existence with God. Is it possible that we knew many of the biblical prophets before we came to earth? Yes. They lived with God too and for all we know we could have been best buddies with Moses and Elijah.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Kurt Kawohl:
Since that time I never really gave it much thought until the New York World Trade Center tragedy on 9-11-01. I went into deep meditation. I wanted to find an answer to why and how some misguided individuals could believe that their actions would be rewarded with their soul's eternal life with God. I then had a couple of experiences similar to the one I had at age fifteen of my spirit communicating with the "ultimate spirit." (God, Allah or whatever one desires to call him/her/it) One spiritual experience seemed to last throughout the entire night. My spirit observed the entire history and the evolution of the universe and our varying perceptions of God, as if in a fast-forward film. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">This isn’t so much a Mormon belief as it is my personal interpretation or ideas on some Mormon beliefs. I believe that when we were born and subsequently lost our memories of our pre-earth life with God, that those memories weren’t lost, but rather concealed from us within our own minds. Under rare circumstances, I believe we can tap into those experiences in our subconscious and recall some of our pre-earth life experiences. So, I don’t doubt that Kurt conversed with Prophets and deceased relatives or that he viewed the history of the world in fast-forward. I just think that it was a result of him somehow tapping into some concealed memories from before he came to Earth, when he was a spirit dwelling in the presence of our Father. Again, I want to emphasize that the ideas I’m talking about now are not official LDS/Mormon doctrines, but rather my own understanding and interpretation of some things and how I’ve made sense of them.

Other than that, I think that Kurt’s call for a re-evaluation of what/who God is, is kind of ridiculous. As I said at the beginning, I think Kurt has confused one-step in the journey with the end-point of the journey. He needs to keep searching.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27670 12/13/03 03:28 PM
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Joel, what if he just reached that end-point in a different fashion than you? You live by what you believe and are comfortable with, isn't that all he's doing after all? Perhaps Kurt doesn't feel his powers of reasoning are superior to anything. Perhaps his faith is so strong that he doesn't need to follow conventional teachings or beliefs to get to the same place. He speaks of collective... univererse... I see those words but what I hear is the The Mystical Body of...
I think recognizing and believing in a higher power to be more important than what we call it or perceive it to be. Perhaps his search is over and he is still saved even though he took a different journey.

Re: Mormons #27671 12/15/03 03:44 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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Kris,

I couldn't disagree more. You see, what bugs me is the cafeteria mentality of most people in regards to religion today. We forget that God is in charge and it is up to him to set the limits and bounds of what a Christian should be. We can't walk into the religion cafeteria and start picking and choosing concepts, ideas, and doctrines that seem to suit our lifestyle or our personal beliefs. The secret to true happiness is to seek out God's truth (which is absolute) and then follow it completely, wholly, and unwaveringly. God is not confused - it is mankind that has created multiple interpretations of his truth creating the strife and discord that exists even amongst Christian denominations.

The bible says </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. - Ephesians 4:4-6</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">There is one God, one faith, and one baptism. It is up to us to seek out the true character of that "one God" and to practice that "one faith" and be baptised according the method proscribed as the "one Baptism."

You also wrote:
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">You live by what you believe and are comfortable with</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That statement would have been correct had you ended with "what you believe." Simply put, I live by what I believe, but that doesn't mean that what God requires of me is always comfortable. Faith and its practice are not always intended to be comfortable.

Naaman wasn't comfortable when Elijah told him via messenger to wash himself seven times in the Jordan river to be cured of leprosy. In fact he was downright insulted.

Noah wasn't comfortable telling everyone they were damned and needed to repent and then building a boat and not selling tickets for passage to sinners.

Moses was a stutterer and not comfortable speaking in public settings.

Isaiah also had "unclean lips" and felt uncomfortable prophesying what God had revealed to him.

Peter wasn't comfortable allowing the Lord to wash his feet.

Saul/Paul certainly wasn't planning on leaving his lifestyle as a persecutor of Christians.

What all of these men have in common is that God's divine will was revealed to them -- and they obeyed. Despite the consequences, despite the fact that it went against conventional wisdom, and despite the fact that it might have been an uncomfortable thing that God had asked them to do.

All roads do not lead to Rome. The best way to get to the top of the mountain is to follow the trail blazed by the one who created the mountain.

It was actually this kind of conundrum which brought Joseph Smith (the first prophet of the LDS church in the Latter-days) to his knees in prayer to ask God which church was true.

It's really simple actually a God of such order and precision as was required for the creation of our universe, is most certainly not the author of the confusion and contention that abounds today in modern Christianity. There is one truth and it is absolute.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27672 12/16/03 02:21 PM
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Guess I didn't get my meaning of comfortable correct. I didn't intend easy/comfort.

Re: Mormons #27673 12/16/03 02:52 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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Comfort doesn't mean easy, you're right and that is not what I intended either. I guess my point is that it is not up to us to define how we approach and worship God.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Perhaps his faith is so strong that he doesn't need to follow conventional teachings or beliefs to get to the same place</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That statement right there is where I have trouble with what you said. No matter how strong our faith is we cannot circumvent the "straight gate and narrow way" that leads us back to our Father in Heaven. Consider the account in Matthew 3 of the Savior's own baptism </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The Savior comes to John the Baptist requesting baptism. Now if anyone's "faith is so strong that he doesn't need to follow conventional teachings" I imagine it would be Jesus. John even seems to think so and "forbad him." Jesus however corrects him by explaining that Baptism is necessary, even for him, to fulfil all righteousness. Now if Jesus needs to follow "conventional teachings" then we all do.

Otherwise, as I said earlier, it becomes like a cafeteria. And people can be free to define their own form of worship. That leads to confusion. Some people enter the cafeteria and say

"I'll take a little bit of Faith in Christ. I don't want any of the "Thou shalt not commit adultery" I kind of like adultery. I'll take a little belief in the New Testament, but I won't touch the Old Testament. And no thanks on the "being meek, humble and lowly" like the Savior was."

That's why Christianity is so diverse and messed up. Because people think that believing a part is equivalent to believing in the whole. It's not! If we are to truly have faith in Christ then we must exercise it by striving to keep his commandments... All of them. And then as we fall short we can exercise our faith unto repentence.

Matthew 7:13-14
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Kurt doesn't seem to believe that he needs to enter the "gate" and he also seems to think that walking on the "broad way" is just fine. Christianity exists because Judaism was fulfilled in Jesus Christ and is no longer a relevant means of worshipping God. Any form of worship that excludes the necessity of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ is insufficient to save and part of the "broad way" that leads to destruction.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27674 12/16/03 08:19 PM
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Gotcha. Boy, saying more sure makes our original words disappear. I very much liked your analogy of Jesus and John. That is clear and leaves no room for doubt about what is meant.

Re: Mormons #27675 12/17/03 04:47 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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Allen,

I checked over this thread again and found that I've only posted two lengthy excerpts from other sources. Everything else that I've clipped and pasted has either been other people's comments or Scriptural references. I also posted the LDS Articles of Faith - which would be fairly relevant considering the topic.

I guess I'm a little bugged to be compared to someone like Kurt who takes no regard for the questions posed to him and just posts away at random. I also haven't posted google search links to things I've written in some sort of bizarre self-aggrandizement scheme. The two things I've cut and pasted were in direct relation to issues taken up in this thread. One was the full-text of the article that you quoted out of context with regard to the Kinderhook plates, the other was an article that better expressed what I was trying to say regarding Mormons as Christians.

I love the discussion, the debate, and the dialogue that used to exist in this thread. I wish someone (Steve, Allen) would take it up again. It forces me to re-evaluate my beliefs and to ponder the teachings of the Savior. As I study out a response it re-affirms my own faith and is a real strength to me. At this point, I feel like I've addressed every single question posed in this thread and I'm just waiting for some more.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27676 12/18/03 04:12 AM
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I said a little wink You're posts were thoughtful and on-topic smile I just wasn't able to respond because the length seemed to make it difficult to respond fully without appearing to speak only to the parts I found easy targets wink


- Allen [Linked Image]
- I don't need things, I need people - mb © 2002
Re: Mormons #27677 12/18/03 03:47 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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Thanks Allen,

I'll try to be more brief.

How about this for starters:

Mormons are the most awesomest people ever and totally the coolest and greatest. laugh

Response?

Only kidding of course.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27678 12/18/03 06:25 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Sapharina in the "A Day in the Life" thread:
... I was visited by two Morman missionaries. Say what you want about them....but I admire the fact that they ARE out there....knocking doors...sharing what they believe...</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I found that knocking on doors was the best part of the whole deal. what I really liked best were the Norwegians who thought they were fluent in English opening the door and when realizing what we were doing would reply, "No, No Tank you, I am not wery interesting." to which I'd reply, "Oh, okay, are there any interesting people in your home."

Most of the time knocking on doors was a great way to get to meet people and Norwegians were generally very gracious. On one occasion I was greeted with a handgun and the trigger was pulled several times. Thankfully, the gun was apparently empty. On several occassions, I was greeted by angry Rottweilers. I found that I am a very fast runner. I just liked the excitement of not knowing what was behind the next door.

In one town, I knocked on every single door and started over in the five months I served there. It was a small town and by the end of my stay several of the townspeople knew me by name. It was surreal and it was amazing.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27679 01/15/04 05:15 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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Allen,

I've done some further research and I found that I was incorrect about some of the following...

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Joel33:
Allen, The saintsalive.com site is run by antagonists of the church, people who have an axe to grind and nothing better to do than spend their lives tearing down the faith of people using half-truths and full blown lies. I wouldn’t rely on them for unbiased information. I would rely on God and the Holy Ghost through Prayer. The Utah Lighthouse Ministry site is run by the Deckers. Ed Decker is a man who was excommunicated and was so angry that he worked for years to get back into the church so he could go to the Temple and reveal ceremonies that we consider sacred and personal to the world. Needless to say he was excommunicated again. This man is a bitter son of gun who has thrown out originally for his own unrighteousness and is trying to pass off his personal failings as the fault of church.
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I was wrong about who runs Utah Lighthouse Ministry – that is run by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. Ed Decker runs Saintsalive.com. Both do indeed use half-truths or full-blown lies. Actually only Decker uses full-blown lies where as the Tanners tend toward half-truths or only telling part of the whole story. What is interesting though is that the Tanners and Ed Decker can’t stand one another and have been bickering for years.

Also Ed Decker was only excommunicated once and it was because he cheated on his wife multiple times over several years with multiple women.

The guy that was excommunicated twice was Dick Bear (Ed Decker’s former associate). According to his son Sterling Bear he was excommunicated the first time for Adultery and Child Abuse.

There is a great website documenting Ed Decker’s sordid history called The Truth about Ed Decker if you are interested. It’s kind of a lot of info but it is truly fascinating. It also includes information on the 8th or 9th page about The Tanners as well as other prominent anti-Mormon critics. On the 9th or 10th page I believe there is a list of “honest” anti-Mormon critics who are given to using misleading tactics or full-blown lies.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27680 01/16/04 12:42 AM
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I want too respond in a non judgemental way, I hope. Okay, here goes my try, please forgive me if I offend someone..

Mormons can be Christians as long as they believe Jesus paid the price for their sins on the Cross. However Joesph Smith was No Profit from God!! And excommunicating people from Church isn't what God wanted. God wants us be honor Him and Love Him, and "Forsake not the assembling of of ourseleves" at Church. We need to love one another as God said in His Word John 15:12.

I myself am a Christian, and have been approched by Mormons and others I'll not mention. I let them know I am Christian and that I believe in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Plus God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity. However Mormons are really educated in all wittessing towards many religions, please be careful.


Your Sister Forever in Christ,

Re: Mormons #27681 01/16/04 01:03 AM
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Hi Kristi!

I will limit my comments to the part about excomunication. It is actually a scriptural principal. It is reserved as a last resort to preserve the sanctity of the "church" against unrepentant, unremorseful sinners. If a person is approached and does not change or even try (heck we know change takes time) then they need to be asked to leave until they do repent. Here it is in scripture:


Matthew 18:15 "If your brother sins against you,[2] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[3] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

That doesn't mean that we stop trying to minister to them, it just means that they should not be in the body, infecting it with their spoiled fruits. Here is another scripture on how having someone in sin can change the dynamic of a whole congregation.

Galations 5:7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9"A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."

In many places in the old and new testament it refers to yeast as bad thinking and or sin (Matthew 16:5 for example)

Anyway, no condemnation sister, just had to defend a scriptural principle!

God bless ya!


"I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made - I'm a disciple of HIS.
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Re: Mormons #27682 01/16/04 03:12 PM
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Thanks Steve,

Being a position of some authority on a local church level, I've been involved in working with some people where excommunication was a distinct possibility. Two out of the three cases I was involved with dealt specifically with young men who were using their position in the church to lure young women into compromising positions. Each of these young men had robbed three or four girls of their chastity and virtue. We're not talking about rape or abuse (all were consenting adults), but rather more of a targeting of innocent and naive women in the church and then convincing them that having sex was okay because these men were actively participating in the church.

Sound Christian? We didn't think so either.

Had this only happened once the young men would not have faced the possibility of excommunication. However, because it was a repetitive thing we had to take them aside and essentially ask them to repent. In one case the young man repented and was not excommunicated. In the other case the fellow said he would repent and then went out and found a fourth target and was excommunicated.

Any leader in any church finds themselves in a dual role. We are equally responsible for the one lost sheep as we are for the 99. We have to save the soul but we also have protect the rest of the flock. When wolves are found within the fold, they must be turned out unless they are honestly willing to repent.

Moreover, excommunication in our church is not all that bad. You don't get shunned, you can still come to church, and if after a years time you've demonstrated that you have truly changed, you can be re-baptized into the church.

Also -- you're right, Joseph Smith isn't a "Profit of the Lord", He's a Prophet of the Lord. laugh
We don't worship him we only look at him and the subsequent prophets of the church as a sort of Modern day Moses or Paul or Peter or someone of that ilk.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">However Mormons are really educated in all wittessing towards many religions, please be careful.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I can only wish that we were all so "educated," I spend half of my life trying to convince members of my own church that daily prayer and study of the scriptures is essential for their own lives. The rest of my time I have to try and convince them that they might wanna maybe think about possibly taking a chance and mentioning to their friends and neighbors that they are Mormons. I've written more earlier about the qualifications of our missionaries and believe me when I say - the qualifications are minimal.


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27683 01/20/04 09:04 PM
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Joel33 Offline
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I've got a question?

What is it about Mormonism that gets mainstream Christians so all-fired hot and bothered? Is it really about the doctrine?

I've noticed that mainstream Christianity really has it in for the LDS church and Jehova's Witnesses. The only thing we have in common is that we both proclaim to be the one and only organization on Earth to be legitimate in God's eyes. Otherwise I've had more disagreements with J-dubs than anyone else.

I've read alot of objections in this thread and it seems that most of the opposition has its foundation in misunderstanding or a negative experience with a person from the church, and I'm sure bad or insensitive people exist in every organization and that Mormons don't have a monopoly.

Why do Christians have such a vitriolic hatred for Mormons? Is it because we say we are the only true church? Is it because we have living prophets? Is it because we use the Book of Mormon in addition to the Bible? Or is it simply because our missionaries disturbed your dinner last week? What is it that Christians hate so badly?


I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! -- Joseph Smith History 1:17
Re: Mormons #27684 01/21/04 01:27 AM
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Hey Joel, Great question.

I know in a lot of Charismatic Churches they prach about cultism and warn to stay away from it. JW and Mormonism fall into that catagory. Before I really offend you let me quantify that...

Cultism according to mainstream Christianity is anything that on the surface appears to be Christian but is not. Sometimes it goes to violent extreems such as the Branch-Davidians who were hoarding guns and sometimes it does not.

What qualifies the Mormon brand of faith (in our eyes) is that 1. (As close as I can put it) The LDS beleive that Christ (and God) ascended through personal Holiness from wholly human beginnings. (and through our works we can also to some extent) 2. There is an addition to the bible past the cannonized 66 books.

The Jehova's Witness are in because they support a "works" based salvation and that Heaven is limited to the original 144,000 in Romans 11 and that we will not go but are restricted to wait in the grave until the "New Heaven and New Earth"

As a side note many people believe that Catholicism is also cultic because of their works based teachings and because of the supernatural elevation of the preisthood (ie. can forgive someone their sins, can pray for the salvation of the deceased, can cause someone to "become" a saint) and because they pray to many, many dead folks, versus God Himself.


What makes Christians so volatile on this issue is two-fold. One, fear of the unknown. (all the preaching in the new testament about the "beast" and warnings about false prophets and the spirit of the anti-Christ. And 2. Brash spiritual immaturity, that same mob-mentality that sparked the inquistion and other wonderful massacres in Christian history. As a "not-Christian Look-alike" The LDS represent a threat (percieved) of deception and "intentional" deceit.

Hope that help, tho' prolly not what you wanted to hear!

God bless ya!


"I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made - I'm a disciple of HIS.
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