Voting for a Mormon

Can a Christian vote for a Mormon? Absolutely!

This document is written in response to a video clip made by Jerry Johnson in which he described why he will never vote for a Mormon. Web location: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CtTP1s8BYk

Hi Jerry, while I appreciate your zeal on this issue, I have some questions regarding the exegesis of the scriptures you cited for this position. Let me preface my questions by stating that I am not out to attack you and that I consider you a friend. However, this is an important issue and there is much disagreement by solid Christian leaders on this issue. I think we need to get it right since to misinterpret the use of scripture does not honor God and confuses His people. This is especially true in light of the very important election that our nation faces. I will be the first to admit that I am not infallible and that I may be misinterpreting your views or the teachings of Scripture. So, any constructive feedback you can give me would be appreciated.

First, I noticed that you began your argument by referring to a church congregational meeting and used the selection of a church minister as a model to start the logical justification for your position. You stated that the congregation has an obligation to choose a minister that 1) adheres to biblical authority and that 2) professes the orthodox Christian faith. You then stated that our selection of a civil ruler should require no less qualifications than if we were choosing a church minister. Now, is this biblically correct? We are talking about two different jurisdictions which God himself has established. Jesus reinforced this concept when he stated that we are to render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s and to God, the things that are God’s. The state is not the church - and the church is not the state. The Bible teaches that God rules both spheres but has different responsibilities and criteria of leadership for each. Both John Calvin and Martin Luther taught this same principle. The Reformed position has historically been that God rules both spheres but that there are separate jurisdictions with each having unique responsibilities.   

John Calvin echoed Luther's "two kingdoms" teaching in the Institutes of the Christian Religion:

There are two governments: the one religious, by which the conscience is trained to piety and divine worship; the other civil, by which the individual is instructed in those duties which, as men and citizens, we are bound to perform. To these two forms are commonly given the not inappropriate names of spiritual and temporal jurisdiction, intimating that the former species has reference to the life of the soul, while the latter relates to matters of the present life, not only to food and clothing, but to the enacting of laws which require a man to live among his fellows purely honorably, and modestly. The former has its seat within the soul, the latter only regulates the external conduct. We may call the one the religious, the other the civil kingdom. Now, these two, as we have divided them, are always to be viewed apart from each other. Let us now return to human laws. If they are imposed for the purpose of forming a religious obligation, as if the observance of them was in itself necessary, we say that the restraint thus laid on the conscience is unlawful. Our consciences have not to do with men but with God only. Hence, the common distinction between the earthly forum and the forum of conscience.

Second, you then made reference to Romans 13: 4 to further justify your position.

For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”

First, let’s consider the context. Paul wrote this while living under the rule of a pagan ruler named Caesar. Paul reveals here that Caesar was “God’s minister.” He is not a minister in the same sense that God describes a church minister - and which you appear to be inferring in your argument. If the same rules you are trying to apply to Romney were to be applied to Caesar, then according to your logic, Paul should actually have been advocating a rejection and rebellion against the pagan minister of the state - Caesar. But Paul does not do that. Instead, he recognizes the pagan Caesar as “God’s chosen minister.” And to reinforce the fact that Caesar is God’s chosen “pagan” minister, Paul instructs Christians to pray for him.

The point I am making here is that the duties to be carried out by the government minister are not the same as those of a church minister - as you inferred. Also, it is important to note that Paul recognized the pagan, new age Caesar as “God’s minister.” We can see here what Calvin referred to as God’s “common grace” which He gave to all human beings. Thus, even a pagan can be an effective minister of government for God. One who effectively fulfills the role of being a government leader. The Bible does not teach that we are restricted to theological purity for the selection of our government leaders. If we were restricted to your narrow interpretation of orthodoxy we could never vote for a Catholic, an Arminian, a Baptist, a Lutheran, a Pentecostal, a charismatic, a dispensationalist, a Methodist, and  most certainly not a heretical four-point Calvinist nor a non-Reconstructionist. As the Bible clearly points out, the state leader is not a church minister. He is God’s minister for the jurisdiction of the government and a pagan can do an effective job in that role.

In your third point you made reference to Mathew Poole’s quote. He stated that the common end of both ministers is “the good and the welfare of mankind.” This description reinforces the Two Kingdoms jurisdictional view and the historic Reformed view on grace that even pagans can be effective government administrators for the good and welfare of mankind. This was clearly demonstrated by Paul during his era. Caesar was used by God to establish the Pax Romana, an era of peace in which the Gospel was allowed to flourish. Once again, we need to remember that Paul referred to this pagan as “God’s minister.” The Bible is filled with references to pagan rulers that accomplished God’s purpose for effective government administration. God’s people even helped these rulers to prosper and extend their pagan kingdoms. Joseph and Daniel are only two among many such examples. Yet, many Christians today consider these saints traitors to God’s Kingdom. They reason that these men should have chosen to die rather than helping a pagan kingdom to prosper. Yet, Paul taught we are to pray even for these pagan rulers. God has given sufficient grace that they can effectively fulfill the calling that God has placed on their lives as administrators of the government.

This point is also brought out by Dr. Wayne Gruden who states:

The Bible tells us to pray not just for Christians who happen to have government offices, but “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1st Timothy 2: 2). It is not just Christians in government but all governing authorities who are “instituted by God” (Romans 13: 1) and whom Paul can call “God’s servant for your good” (Romans 13: 4). (Grudem, Politics according to the Bible, p. 69)

In your fourth point you stated that the Apostle Paul would not campaign for one of the Judaizers (the same religion) to be a civil ruler. You then used this as your reasoning to justify that Christians should not campaign to get a Mormon elected as a civil ruler since Mormonism is a counterfeit religion. The Bible references you used for this justification once again refer to a “church” leader – not a civil ruler. You mixed jurisdictions once again. Remember that we need to honor this important distinction given to us by God. This is a common mistake made by many Christians. We have a tendency to mix the two jurisdictions and the unique responsibilities that apply to each. God judged Saul severely when he crossed this jurisdictional line and assumed the priestly duty of offering God’s sacrifices.  

The point here is that we are not electing a church leader. We are electing a government administrator to manage the government. With reference to Romans 13: 4, the New Geneva Study Bible states: The state’s authority is for society’s benefit; this is its normal function, and Paul assumes it may be realized in practical terms, even when the governments are professedly non-Christian.

So, according to what Scripture, historic Reformed references, as well as what Calvin and Luther taught - pagans “can” indeed be effective government rulers. During Paul’s era Caesar was the pagan ruler who looked after “the good and the welfare of mankind.” He provided the peace and order that initially allowed Christians to share the Gospel and establish the early church. As I mentioned earlier, the Bible is full of references to pagan rulers (God’s ministers) that provided a stable government under the auspices of God’s sovereignty.

Some may protest and point out that the Old Testament lays out parameters for electing a king. Well, that is applying a biblical principle out of its context. We are not living under a monarch within a theocracy. We live in a republic where even a talented pagan can be elected to the highest office. As shown earlier, the Apostle Paul taught that pagans can be effective as “God’s” ministers of government. However, the general principle regarding godly rulers still holds true in that it should motivate us to vote for the candidate that best upholds the values and laws of God.   

Can Christians work with unbelievers as co-belligerents to resolve common concerns about social issues? Past Reformers believed we could. More recently Francis Schaeffer popularized the use of the term co-belligerence to express the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. He explained, “A co-belligerent is a person with whom I do not agree on all sorts of vital issues, but who, for whatever reasons of their own, is on the same side in a fight for some specific issue of public justice” (Plan for Action, 68). Just because I help someone get elected that doesn’t have the same religious beliefs as I do doesn’t mean I am promoting their religious worldview. If their legislative values are more in line with Biblical principles than the other candidate, then I don’t see a biblical prohibition in helping them get elected. This is especially true when godly Christian men refuse to get into the fight by running for office.  While many scream that I am being pragmatic by choosing between two evil choices, well that is the nature of politics. Until Jesus runs for president our choices will always be between two fallen human beings with a bent toward sinfulness. As John Frame points out, we have an obligation to vote for the man that best represents God’s values even if he is a pagan or of another faith.

…in some cultures (like the ancient Roman, in which the New Testament was written) there is not much that Christians can do, other than pray, to influence political structures and policies. But when they can influence them, they should. In modern democracies, all citizens are ‘lesser magistrates’ by virtue of the ballot box. Christians have an obligation to vote according to God’s standards. And, as they are gifted and called, they should influence others to vote in the same way.

This is not to say that political choices are always obvious. Often we must choose the lesser of two evils. Candidate Mershon may have a better view of one issue than Candidate Beates, while Beates has a better view on a different issue. It is an art to weigh the importance of different issues and to come to a godly conclusion. Each of us should have a large amount of tolerance for other Christians who come to conclusions that are different from ours. Rarely will one issue trump all others, though I must say that I will never vote for a candidate who advocates or facilitates the killing of unborn children.”

-John Frame, Doctrine of the Christian Life, 617.

Those who think they are being super spiritual by not voting for either candidate are actually voting for Obama. Voting for a third party candidate is also once again casting a vote for Obama and his corrupt, pro-death agenda of infanticide. 

In conclusion Jerry, please examine this writing and correct my understanding regarding your position. If I have wrongly evaluated your position I apologize and look forward to your corrections. Same goes for my biblical interpretation. The upcoming election is critical and the Christian community can play a decisive role in how it turns out. Obama has affinities toward Islam, advocates the legalization of sexual perversions and has effectively helped to bankrupt the nation. I don’t want to see Christians help re-elect this committed communist that advocates both abortion and infanticide just because they bought into a possibly erroneous argument that they cannot vote for a Mormon. He has already proven how dangerous he will be if re-elected for another term. While Romney is not the ideal alternative, he will not be as radical as the Marxist Obama.

We also need to honor God by correctly interpreting his Word. We can’t twist it to push our agenda or to justify a position God never expressed. God holds teachers responsible for the way we interpret his Word and teach it to others. We need to approach the Gospel with humility and to speak with humility. This is especially true with regard to our brothers and sisters who, out of ignorance, may disagree with us. They may just need more enlightenment and we need to respond to them correctly – not with judgmentalism, nor with a superior haughtiness, of which both I and others have been guilty in the past. I look forward to your feedback brother.

For other references on this issue I refer readers the following posts.

Ravi Zacharias – voting for a Mormon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWLzHt8ImyE&feature=g-vrec

John MacArthur on voting for a Mormon

http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/political-and-social-issues/is-it-okay-for-a-christian-to-vote-for-a-mormon.html

Al Mohler, R.C. Sproul, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey

http://vimeo.com/47727464

Billy and Franklin Graham

http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=8998

Jeff Meyers - Summit Ministries

http://www.summit.org/blogs/summit-announcements/rapid-response-can-christians-vote-for-mormons/

Gary Demar on this topic at: http://godfatherpolitics.com/6518/is-it-ok-for-christians-to-vote-for-mitt-romney/

Gary Demar on Lesser of Two Evils: http://godfatherpolitics.com/6969/a-response-to-the-no-lesser-of-two-evils-crowd/#ixzz2626pDIFJ

Christianity Today – Three Views on Voting for a Mormon

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/september/is-it-wrong-to-vote-for-mormon-president.html?paging=off

 

 Other references:

1.      ^ Cf. Formula of Concord, article VI "The [Lutheran] Third Use of the Law. [1] Section 9

^ [2] St. Louis edition of Luther's Werke, vol XI pp1726ff 1900

^ Madison to Schaeffer, 1821

^ John Locke, On the Difference between Civil and Ecclesiastical Power

  1. Romney is not the first Mormon to run for the U.S. presidency. In fact, Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder and first prophet of the Mormon Church, was the first Mormon to aim for that high office. See ”Joseph Smith: Campaign for President of the United States,” Arnold K. Garr, Ensign, Feb. 2009 (http://www.lds.org/ensign/2009/02/joseph-smith-campaign-for-president-of-the-united-states). Ensign is a magazine officially published by the Mormon Church and found at an official website, www.lds.org.
  2. Other well-known politicians who are Mormons include Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who currently is the Senate Majority Leader.
  3. http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Romneys-Mormon-Faith—views-of-the-mormon-religion.aspx, accessed 29 August 2012.
  4. For a fuller discussion of this question, please see, Kevin James Bywater, “Mormonism: A Survey and Biblical Critique” (http://www.summit.org/resources/essays/mormonism-a-survey-and-biblical-critique/).
  5. Citations of Mormon teachings will reference only official websites of the Mormon Church, such as www.lds.org, www.mormon.org, www.mormonnewsroom.org, www.ldschurchnews.com, and www.byu.com (including its subsidiary library sites, such as The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, http://eom.byu.edu).  We will be citing LDS prophets, apostles, and general authorities, as well as official teaching publications of the LDS Church. Do note that we will supply only a small sampling from the ocean of quotes available. It is recommended that any quote in doubt by the reader be read in its context. Usually hyperlinks are provided.
  6. The prefix pseudo means false, fake, or counterfeit.
  7. In philosophical parlance, this is known as equivocation (using the same word but with different meanings).
  8. See, “Apostasy,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Apostasy; also, Gospel Principles (2011) (an official LDS adult Sunday school manual), “Chapter 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today” (http://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-17-the-church-of-jesus-christ-today). • The Bible teaches that the church remains forever. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus declared, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Given that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, we can trust that this promise would not fail (Matthew 28:18). While there are several passages that refer to an apostasy, it is never said to be a universal or complete apostasy (e.g., Acts 20:30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1) as Mormonism teaches. Rather, we know that God will be glorified in the church throughout all ages (Ephesians 3:21), and that Christians have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28; cf. Daniel 2:44).
  9. Sample quotes: “Restoration of the Gospel”: “God’s reestablishment of the truths and ordinances of his gospel among men on earth. The gospel of Jesus Christ was lost from the earth through the apostasy that took place following the earthly ministry of Christ’s Apostles. That apostasy made necessary the restoration of the gospel. Through visions, the ministering of angels, and revelations to men on the earth, God restored the gospel. The Restoration started with the Prophet Joseph Smith . . . and has continued to the present through the work of the Lord’s living prophets” (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/restoration-of-the-gospel, accessed 28 August 2012). • Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, “The True and Living Church” (April 2008): “The Apostles, after the Ascension of Christ, continued to exercise the keys He left with them. But because of disobedience and loss of faith by the members, the Apostles died without the keys being passed on to successors. We call that tragic episode ‘the Apostasy.’ Had the members of the Church in those days had the opportunity and the will to exercise faith as you have today, the Lord would not have taken the keys of the priesthood from the earth” (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/the-true-and-living-church?lang=eng&query=apostasy, accessed 28 August 2012).
  10. Sample quotes: Robert L. Millett (a Professor at Brigham Young University), “The Eternal Gospel,” Ensign, July 1996 (Ensign is an official magazine published by the LDS Church): “Knowing what we know concerning God our Father—that he is a personal being; that he has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as our own; that he is an exalted and glorified being; that he was once a man and dwelt on an earth—and knowing that this knowledge was had by many of the ancients, should we be surprised to find legends and myths throughout the cultures of the earth concerning gods who have divine power but human attributes and passions?” (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/07/the-eternal-gospel?lang=eng&query=robert+l.+millet,+eternal+gospel,%E2%80%9D+ensign, accessed 28 August 2012). • Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young (1997), “Chapter 4: Knowing and Honoring the Godhead”: “President Brigham Young taught the Latter-day Saints to worship God the Father and address prayers to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. He taught further that God the Father was once a man on another planet who ‘passed the ordeals we are now passing through; he has received an experience, has suffered and enjoyed, and knows all that we know regarding the toils, sufferings, life and death of this mortality’” (http://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-4, accessed 28 August 2012). • “The Fulness of the Gospel: The Nature of the Godhead,” Ensign, January 2006: “Not only do we know that God possesses a glorified body of flesh and bones, but from this restored understanding of the nature of God flows the Latter-day Saint belief regarding our nature and potential. The Prophet Joseph Smith once taught: ‘It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, … and that He was once a man like us. … When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them’” (ellipses in original; http://www.lds.org/ensign/2006/01/the-fulness-of-the-gospel-the-nature-of-the-godhead, accessed 29 August 2012). • God has always been God (Genesis 21:33; Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 40:28). God is spirit, not an exalted man with flesh and bone (John 4:24; Luke 24:39; Hosea 11:9; Numbers 23:19). God does not change (Malachi 3:6), nor does he grow in knowledge (Isaiah 40:13). There is none like him, he is unique, he is the only true God (Exodus 8:10; 2 Samuel 7:22; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6–8; 45:5, 21–22; 46:9; 1 Corinthians 8:5). (Note that though Jesus, being God, did become human in his incarnation [John 1:1, 14], this is quite different from a man progressing to become a god.)
  11. See, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Mother in Heaven,” http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Mother_in_Heaven.
  12. Sample quotes: Primary 2: Choose the Right A (a Sunday school guide for teachers of Mormon youth), 1995, “Lesson 3: I Am a Child of God,” “Explain that we all lived in heaven with Heavenly Father before we came to this earth. We are his children. That is why we call him Heavenly Father. We also lived with our heavenly mother and all the rest of Heavenly Father’s children. Everyone who has been born on the earth is a child of Heavenly Father” (http://www.lds.org/manual/primary-2/lesson-3, accessed 28 August 2012). • “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (1995), The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny” (http://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation, accessed 28 August 2012). • Gordon B. Hinckley, then First Counsellor in the Presidency of the LDS Church, and later Prophet, did not reject the teaching but strongly discouraged Mormons from praying to their Mother in heaven (“Daughters of God,” October 1991, http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1991/10/daughters-of-god?,  accessed 28 August 2012).
  13. The Bible teaches that the Father is God, the Son is God (John 1:1; 20:28) and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3–4); and that they are distinct Persons in the Godhead — not to be confused with one another (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4–6). There is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 1 Corinthians 8:4). • See the brief discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity here: “Thinking about the Trinity,” by Kevin Bywater (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=396). For Mormon rejection of the Trinity, see, for example, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Godhead,” http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Godhead. See also the notes below.
  14. Further on the LDS view of God, see, Kevin James Bywater, “Mormonism and Lesser Gods” (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=656).
  15. Sample quote: In 1998, then President Gordon B. Hinckley declared, “In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints “do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak” (“Crown of gospel is upon our heads,’ Church News, Saturday, June 20, 1998, http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/31188/Crown-of-gospel-is-upon-our-heads.html, accessed 28 August 2012).  • The Mormon view of Jesus is not the biblical view of Jesus. Indeed, the apostle Paul warned that some would teach “a different Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15).
  16. Sample quote: Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (a church teaching manual), “Chapter 2: God the Eternal Father”: “Joseph Smith taught the following in April 1843, later recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 130:22: ‘The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.’ ‘I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods” (http://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-2, accessed 28 August 2012).
  17. The Mormon Church espouses not monotheism (belief in one God) but polytheism (belief in many gods). Sample quotes: Dallin H. Oaks (one of the Mormon twelve apostles), “Apostasy and Restoration,” Ensign, May 1995: “In common with the rest of Christianity, we believe in a Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. However, we testify that these three members of the Godhead are three separate and distinct beings. We also testify that God the Father is not just a spirit but is a glorified person with a tangible body, as is his resurrected Son, Jesus Christ…. In contrast, many Christians reject the idea of a tangible, personal God and a Godhead of three separate beings. They believe that God is a spirit and that the Godhead is only one God. In our view, these concepts are evidence of the falling away we call the Great Apostasy” (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1995/05/apostasy-and-restoration, accessed 28 August 2012). • News Release, 20 July 2007, “Elder Oaks Interview Transcript from PBS Documentary”: “Before the close of his ministry, in Illinois, Joseph Smith put together the significance of what he had taught about the nature of God and the nature and destiny of man. He preached a great sermon not long before he was murdered that God was a glorified Man, glorified beyond our comprehension, (still incomprehensible in many ways), but a glorified, resurrected, physical Being, and it is the destiny of His children upon this earth, upon the conditions He has proscribed, to grow into that status themselves. That was a big idea, a challenging idea. It followed from the First Vision, and it was taught by Joseph Smith, and it is the explanation of many things that Mormons do — the whole theology of Mormonism” (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/elder-oaks-interview-transcript-from-pbs-documentary, accessed 28 August 2012).
  18. Sample quotes: Gospel Principles (a standard adult LDS Sunday school text): “Jesus was willing to come to the earth, give His life for us, and take upon Himself our sins…. Satan, who was called Lucifer, also came…. Jesus Christ Became Our Chosen Leader and Savior . . . After hearing both sons speak, Heavenly Father said, ‘I will send the first’…” (http://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-3-jesus-christ-our-chosen-leader-and-savior?, accessed 28 August 2012). • For further discussion, see, Kevin James Bywater, “Mormonism: Testimony to Another Jesus Christ” (http://www.summit.org/resources/essays/mormonism-testimony-to-another-jesus-christ/).
  19. Sample quote: Bruce R. McConkie (an apostle of the LDS Church), “The Salvation of Little Children,” Ensign (April 1977): “Christ himself, the Firstborn of the Father, rose to a state of glory and exaltation before he was ever suckled at Mary’s breast” (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1977/04/the-salvation-of-little-children, accessed 28 August 2012).
  20. Sample quote: Ezra Taft Benson (then an apostle of the LDS Church), “Five Marks of the Divinity of Jesus Christ,” New Era (an official publication of the LDS Church), December 1980: “I am bold to say to you young people tonight: Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The body in which He performed His mission in the flesh was sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. He was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father!” (http://www.lds.org/new-era/1980/12/five-marks-of-the-divinity-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng&query=sired, accessed 28 August 2012).
  21. Sample quotes: Gospel Principles (2011), “Chapter 2: Our Heavenly Family”: “’God is not only our Ruler and Creator; He is also our Heavenly Father. All men and women are literally the sons and daughters of God. “Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 335)” (http://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-2-our-heavenly-family, accessed 28 August 2012). • See also Encylopedia of Mormonism, “Jesus Christ: Only Begotten in the Flesh”: “It is LDS doctrine that Jesus Christ is the child of Mary and God the Father, “not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof” (http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Jesus_Christ#Jesus_Christ:_Only_Begotten_in_the_Flesh, accessed 28 August 2012).
  22. Sample quote: Preparing for Exaltation: Teacher’s Manual (an adult Sunday school manual published by the LDS Church), “Lesson 3: The Fall of Adam and Eve”: “Express your gratitude for Adam and Eve and the choice they made. Encourage class members to follow Adam and Eve’s example and choose good over evil…. Encourage class members to continue to be like Adam and Eve, following their righteous examples” (http://www.lds.org/manual/preparing-for-exaltation-teachers-manual/lesson-3-the-fall-of-adam-and-eve, accessed 28 August 2012). • Further discussion of this issue is found in Kevin James Bywater, “Mormonism on the Fall” (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=241), and “Mormon Theology, God, and the Original Catch-22” (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=157).
  23. The Bible teaches that humans are created, not procreated, by God (Genesis 1:26; 2:7). Our existence begins in the womb of our mothers (Psalm 139:13). Humans cannot compare themselves to Jesus and his pre-existence, for they are not deities, while Jesus is. He pre-existed because he is God (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; 17:5; Philippians 2:6–7). Jesus alone is from heaven, we are from the earth (John 3:13, 31; 8:23–24). Humans cannot become gods (Isaiah 43:10). Humans are created beings, unlike God, who has always been (Genesis 21:33). God will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 42:8).
  24. See the discussion and notes below, under “4. How Does One Acquire Salvation?”
  25. Sample quotes: Gospel Principles, “Chapter 10: Scriptures”: “”Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord has expanded our understanding of some passages in the Bible. The Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph to restore truths to the Bible text that had been lost or changed since the original words were written. These inspired corrections are called the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. In the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible, selected passages from the Joseph Smith Translation are found on pages 797–813 and in many footnotes” (http://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-10-scriptures, accessed 28 August 2012). • God has promised that his word, the Bible, would stand forever (Isaiah 40:3). We know that his word is true (John 17:17), contains wisdom unto salvation, and thoroughly equips God’s people for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15–17). God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:2).
  26. While this may be hard to believe, see the illustration of Jesus as a creditor who refinances sins provided by Boyd K. Packer (an apostle of the LDS Church), “The Mediator,” Ensign, May 1977 (http://www.lds.org/ensign/1977/05/the-mediator); also, Gospel Principles (2011), “Chapter 12: The Atonement” (http://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-12-the-atonement).
  27. This small group is comprised of those called “the sons of perdition,” and include people who have left the Mormon Church or otherwise committed the unforgiveable sin (see, “Sons of Perdition,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism [http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Sons_of_Perdition]).
  28. The three Mormon heavens are the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms. • The context of 1 Corinthians 15:40–41 (a key proof text for their teaching) is the contrast between resurrection (celestial, heavenly) and pre-resurrection (terrestrial, earthly) bodies, not heavenly kingdoms. The Bible does speak of three heavens, but not in the Mormon sense: the atmospheric heaven, where birds fly and from which the rains fall (Genesis 7:23; 8:2); the astronomic heaven, where the stars and planets reside (Genesis 1:14, 15; 22:17); and the third heaven, the throne of God (Matthew 6:9; Revelation 4:2).
  29. Sample quote: Gospel Principles (2011), “Chapter 47: Exaltation”: “What is exaltation? Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation. If we prove faithful to the Lord, we will live in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven. We will become exalted, to live with our Heavenly Father in eternal families.… What are some blessings that will be given to those who are exalted? Our Heavenly Father is perfect, and He glories in the fact that it is possible for His children to become like Him… These are some of the blessings given to exalted people: 1. They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ… 2. They will become gods… 3. They will be united eternally with their righteous family members and will be able to have eternal increase….” (http://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-47-exaltation, accessed 28 August 2012).
  30. See, Russell M. Nelson (an LDS apostle), “Celestial Marriage” General Conference address, April 2012 (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/celestial-marriage).
  31. Those who receive Jesus will have eternal life, but the wrath of God remains on those who reject him (John 3:36). While Christians are called to keep God’s commandments (e.g. John 14:15), salvation is in no way based on our own righteous deeds (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5–8). It is through the atonement of Christ that we are made perfect (Hebrews 10:13–18). • For further discussion, see, Kevin James Bywater, “Not a Religion but a Relationship?” (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=618).
  32. For further clarification, see, Kevin James Bywater, “But I Am a Mormon…Aren’t Christians Mormons Too?” (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=523), and “Learning a Lesson from the LDS Newsroom” (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=554).
  33. See the fuller discussion and comparison in Kevin James Bywater’s essay, “Mormonism: A Survey and Biblical Critique” (http://www.summit.org/resources/essays/mormonism-a-survey-and-biblical-critique/).
  34. See, Kevin James Bywater, “A Few Quick Thoughts on Citizens as Voters” (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=669).
  35. See the discussion in Kevin James Bywater, “Do Muslims, Mormons, and Christians Worship the Same God?” (http://www.kevinbywater.com/?p=561).

Most references came from Summit Ministries article.

Comments