Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Gift for Anti-Mormons

The allegedly Mormon scoundrels at MormonCult.org have taken their "cult-exposing" treachery to a new low, now providing anti-Mormons with carefully crafted tools to "prove" that Mormons aren't Christian. It would be easier to ignore this kind of foolishness if MormonCult.org didn't have Google's #1 spot for searches on "mormon cult" - obviously a popular and heavily-used resource for those looking for dirt on the Church.

But the MormonCult.org folks do have a good point, in all fairness: Most anti-Mormon efforts to "prove" that Mormons aren't Christian rely on distortions of LDS doctrine that quickly backfire on informed people.

There are numerous anti-Mormon brochures and Web pages out there which present tables of differences between Mormonism and Christianity (well, their particular flavor of Christianity). Frequently they are in two columns with something like "Mormon Beliefs" on the left and "Christian Beliefs" on the right. These can look impressive to the newbie, but they tend to have no credibility for readers who are LDS or familiar with actual LDS beliefs. The problem is that the "teachings of Mormonism" column tends to include a lot of questionable material such as sloppy distortions of our beliefs of quotations from unofficial sources. You're just not going to engage Latter-day Saints or LDS investigators by listing a lot of crazy stuff we don't really believe or by twisting our beliefs into offensive caricatures of LDS doctrine. Adam = God? Sorry, we don't believe that. Ron Paul = God? Closer, but still a resounding no.

Consider this hypothetical example:

Not too troubling for experienced Mormons, who will immediately recognize that all references to the divine nature of Mitt Romney are NOT part of official LDS doctrine, even if that gets taught occasionally in Gospel Doctrine classes by rogue Republican teachers. And on a more serious note, this stuff about "earning our way to heaven" on our own or not needing the grace of Jesus Christ is ridiculous. It is only through the Atonement of Christ that we have any hope.

Look, I've still got some of the Christmas spirit left, so in the spirit of being open-minded and reaching out to our critics, here's a little gift for anti-Mormons: a tip on improving your tactics. Taking a cue from MormonCult.org, I suggest this: cite OFFICIAL LDS scriptures when you compare Mormon teachings to your brand of Christianity. That way there will be no question about the reliability of the source, and less chance that people will think you're just making stuff up or getting it completely backwards. Use the LDS scriptures - our primary source for official doctrine, the "standard works" that take precedence over any stray statements from Church leaders or others.

In fact, for a real gift, you should know that MormonCult.org provides a devious table on "Mormonism vs. Christianity" that, in spite of its questionable nature, illustrates this technique of citing only official LDS scriptures to make your case. Since the table there is hard to read, unfortunately, I've reproduced it here in a more legible format. It compares some controversial Mormon teachings from the LDS scriptures to some popular flavors of mainstream Christianity, with troubling Mormon doctrines taken straight from the LDS scriptures so our critics can contrast our beliefs with their own to show that we aren't Christian - or at least that we aren't their flavor of Christian. Why would I be so generous with our religious enemies? Hey, we can disagree, but we can still be helpful and generous one with another, right? And open-minded, right? It just seems like the Christian thing to do.

Use this gift in the spirit that is intended and I'm sure you will be able to open some minds and maybe even touch a few hearts.

Mormonism vs. Acceptable Christianity:
1. Mormon Confusion about the Nature of God
Teachings from LDS ScripturesMainstream Christian Belief
Like Joseph Smith, witnesses in the Mormon scriptures claim to have seen God and Christ as two separate beings: "But he . . . looked up steadfastly unto heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God." 1True Christians know that God and Christ are one (John 10:30), namely one spiritual, indivisible Being of one substance without a visible body and certainly without a "right hand." And no man can see God (John 6:46), so the Mormon scripture is clearly false.
In the Mormon scriptures, Jesus says "My Father is greater than I." 2Christians believe that the Father and the Son are one Being and are absolutely co-equal.
The Jesus of the Mormons scriptures "learned obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." 3Christians understand that Christ did not need to progress or learn or be made perfect, but was complete and perfect eternally. And true Christians know that salvation, of course, is not a function of obedience!
The glorified Mormon Jesus after ascending to heaven is not spirit, but has flesh and bones. To alleged witnesses in the Mormon scriptures, he said, "Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." 4The Christian God, whether the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, is spirit, without body, parts, or passions. He does not have flesh and bones!
Spirit children of God?? "We are the offspring of God" 5 and God is "the Father of [our] spirits" 6 and "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." 7The reality is much more humble for mankind. We are created by God, but he is completely different. We are not "offspring" of God!
Mormonism vs. Acceptable Christianity:
2. Arrogant Aspirations: Becoming Like God?
The Mormon scriptures say God "hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, . . . that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature." 8 Also "now are we the sons of God, and . . . when he shall appear, we shall be like him." 9Christians are appalled at this blasphemy. God and Christ are infinitely different than us and we cannot become "like them" in the least degree.
Extending the theme of "being like God," Mormon scripture says that God will "change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself." 10Please! All true Christians know that God does not have a body. He does not need a body to "subdue all things."
Gods?? "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." 11 And this: "Is it not written. . ., I said, Ye are gods? . . .he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came." 12Christians are appalled at this. Frankly, this is so blasphemous that the author of these passages probably would have been stoned in the old days - and with good reason!
Joint heirs with Christ?? Glorified with him? "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." 13Christ is the Heir of God and is glorified alone. The exaltation of humans is pernicious Mormon doctrine that true Christians must reject.
Mormonism vs. Acceptable Christianity:
3. Confusion over Salvation
Teachings from LDS ScripturesMainstream Christian Belief
Mormons believe that we must "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." 14Christians have no need to fear, tremble, or to work out their salvation - Christ did it all for us, and gives us assurance now that we are saved.
The Mormon scriptures proclaim this heresy: "By works a man is justified, and not by faith only." 15Absolute perversion of Christianity! Christians believe that they are saved by faith alone, by faith only, and that our works play no role in our justification through grace.
When asked "What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?," the Jesus of the Mormon scriptures said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." 16

(We're not making this up - that's exactly what the Mormon scriptures say - in several places, actually!)

This departs from the most basic principles of Christianity. One does not have to do anything to be saved, but to believe and have faith in Christ. Christians believe that commandment keeping has nothing to do with salvation, though those whom Christ saves naturally tend to do good. But the answer, "Keep the commandments," is sure evidence that Mormons are not authentic Christians based on our objective understanding of Christian theology and historic tradition.
On judgment: "the Father . . . judgeth according to every man's work" 17 and God "will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, [God gives] eternal life." 18 Also consider this blooper: "he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." 19Only the wicked are judged by their works. The righteous are saved by grace, not by patient continuance in well doing or enduring to the end. Plus, seeking for "glory and honor" is a sin inspired by Satan, not God!
On works and "overcoming" through obedience: "He that overcometh shall inherit all things." 20Christians believe that it was Christ who did all the overcoming and that it is Christ who inherits all things from God - not Mormons!
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." 21Aargh! Christians reject this blasphemy and recognize that the throne is for Christ alone.
Mormons believe progression and diligence is needed to make their salvation sure: "giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; . . .But he that lacketh these things . . . hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." 22We rely on the diligence of Christ, not our own. Once we accept Christ, our calling and election is sure, and there is no risk of falling from grace.
Perfection: Mormons believe they must strive to be "perfect . . . even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." 23Only Christ is perfect. Perfections is a futile and non-Christian goal.
Mormonism vs. Acceptable Christianity:
4. The False Mormon Temple
Teachings from LDS ScripturesMainstream Christian Belief
Mormons believe the Temple or "Lord's House" is still important, and that even after Christ returns, true believers will "serve him day and night in his temple" 24. They also believe that the Second Coming, the Lord "shall suddenly come to his temple." 25 They also believe "in the last days, that . . . the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, . . . and all nations shall flow unto it." 26Christians believe that there was no need for the temple after Christ came. And it certainly won't be needed in the "last days" or after Christ returns.
Mormonism vs. Acceptable Christianity:
5. Scientific Errors in Mormon Beliefs
Teachings from LDS ScripturesMainstream Christian Belief
Mormon scriptures teach that the bat, a mammal, is actually a bird: "among the birds . . . not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, . . . the ostrich and the owl and the sea gull and the hawk, . . . and the stork, the heron . . . and the bat." 27A blatant error in Mormonism and their so-called scriptures. The Christian scriptures, on the other hand, are perfect, complete, and inerrant.


List of cited references from the official Mormon scriptures, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1979 edition:



1. Acts 7:55-56

2. John 14:28

3. Hebrews 5:8,9

4. Luke 24: 39

5. Acts 17:28-29

6. Hebrews 12:9

7. Romans 8:16 - 17

8. 2 Peter 1:3 - 4

9. 1 John 3:2

10. Philippians 3:21

11. Psalms 82:6

12. John 10:34 - 35

13. Romans 8:17

14. Philippians 2:12

15. James 2:24

16. Matthew 19: 16-17; see also Luke 18:18-22; Luke 10: 25-28; Mark 10: 17-22.

17. 1 Peter 1:17

18. Romans 2:6 - 8

19. Matthew 24:13

20. Revelation 21:7

21. Revelation 3:21

22. 2 Peter 1:5 - 10

23. Matthew 5:48

24. Revelation 7:15

25. Malachi 3:1-2

26. Isaiah 2:2

27. Leviticus 11:19




49 comments:

NM said...

Good post. I found it amusing =)

Did you create the Mormonism VS. Acceptable Christianity table? It stinks. =)

Deff Rock said...

Stinks?? It's exactly what I need. A great tool. Take that, cultists!

Kathleen said...

Ha. Very amusing indeed! I just posted on my blog about an antiMormon tract. One of my chief complaints was that the authors cited only from non-official LDS sources...and not once from the standard works.

John said...

Those pesky "mormon" scriptures. I can find every one of them in my sister-in-law's born-again bible! She'll have to ask her pastor about it because she can't trust the evidence of her own eyes. Heartrending, really.

Dom said...

HAHAHA Awesome. Good job!

Cynless said...

Try using the MormonCult.org table on unsuspecting Mormon missionaries! Now that would be fun to watch on YouTube.

Andrew Miller said...

I don't know who is behind mormoncult.org, but that is dang funny!

Anonymous said...

When I am dealing with my christian friends I insist that we treat all Bible scriptures with equal weight. When there is a contradiction is insist that both have equal weight and must both fit into the understanding of the Gospel.

NM said...

Anonymous,

I'm interested by what you said about treating all of Scriptures with equal weight. Would you mind telling me more about what you mean?

Anonymous said...

Saved by works and saved by grace.
Both must apply. You can't just choose which one you want because God gave both scriptures.

God is a spirit. However, Christ was physical, died went to spirit prison, then took on a phsical
resurrection. Is He (God) physical or spiritual or both. You can not pick one scripture over another. You must find compatibility in the Gospel.

This the problem I have with most Christians. They take one scripture and exclude all the other scriptures that are incompatible.

Todd Wood said...

Mormoncult.org - I didn't realize this. hmmm. The name. Doesn't sound like there is any interest in friendship building . . .

Thanks for the news.

Anonymous said...

I kinda thought the website mormoncult.org was just a wierd joke. The author seems to be saying that all religions are a cult according to the definition of the word...

am I wrong in my assumption that I thought the site was satirical and not really an 'anti' site

Mike Tea said...

Thanks for the gift. Believe me it is appreciated. I confess there are some real doughnuts out there who seem to get off baiting Mormons and scoring cheap shots using obscure historical sources. In the spirit in which you began allow me to offer a gift in return.

We all have to put up with criticism from time to time, much of it well meant and some of it even helpful if we would only take it seriously. Calling critics "Anti" anything is often just an avoidance mechanism. It is ungrateful, provocative and negative. It also makes you look bad. Mature believers are more robust.

Mormons can often come across as imperious and evasive in their intercourse with Christians and a little humility would go a long way. It would also help if they would settle once and for all exactly what is "authoritative" in the writings and pronouncements of their prophets. You may think we critics annoying but we are not dummies. We know Mormon history, theology and practice well enough to hold an intelligent conversation and all this "Mormons are misunderstood" nonsense is rather pathetic.

The same goes for that old "Mormons are persecuted" stuff. Mormons are not persecuted just because they take a little flack for believing some pretty unorthodox stuff and having a colourful history. If you want to be taken seriously, a little less whining and a lot more honest engagement would help.

Margaret Thatcher, someone for whom I have very little admiration, nevertheless once said one of the wisest things I ever heard: "If you have to tell someone your a lady - you are not". If you have to tell people you are a Christian..?

Christian churches have to deal with all kinds of criticism but I have never come across one that has to continually protest its bona fides as Christian.

Now you can complain about this and blame everyone else (those dreadful anti-Mormons) or you can take a good look at yourselves in light of the well-intentioned, often intelligent criticism brought by people who simply care to be engaged with you in constructive conversation, and its no good protesting that such conversations are not available. They are, if you would just stop complaining, blaming everyone else and crying "anti-Mormon" every time someone says, "I have a question."

Have a Happy New Year

Mike Tea

Madelene said...

Come on guys...mormoncult.org is definitely a satire--a pretty good one considering it's the first hit from Google. And I'm betting it is written by Jeff himself.

It did make me do a double take though...good stuff :)

Kathleen said...

Dude, that site is hilarious!! If I were a better, I'd second Madelene's bet that Jeff wrote it. :P

NM said...

HAHAHAHA!! The thought that Jeff wrote the site did enter my mind! Mormoncult.org is a little too zany above all other zany 'anti-Mormon' sites.

Then the thought that maybe it's not just Jeff but the LDS church was behind Mormoncult.org

I mean, why would Jeff happily delete (my) previous links to places like jesusnotjospeh-type of sites and mormoncult.org? Furthermore, why would Jeff happily even link to mormoncult.org?

Jeff, count yourself docked. Your reputation is in jeopardy! What is your plea. =P

NM said...

*sorry* I meant NOT mormoncult.org, that is, why does Jeff seem more than happy to polish his delete button when I link to 'anti-Mormon'-type sites and NOT mormoncult.org?

Mormanity said...

Mike Tea, I wasn't aware that I was calling anybody anti-Mormon, but surely you must recognize that there are such things as anti-Mormons and anti-Mormon literature. Where you draw the line between being mere questioning, debating, discussing, and "anti" is somewhat subjective, but there are extremes where "anti" is truly an appropriate word.

GB said...

mike tea: Margaret Thatcher,. . . once said . . . "If you have to tell someone your a lady - you are not".

GB: If you have to keep telling people Mormons AREN'T Christian..?

Herbal Tea said...

Mike:

If you would just stop complaining, blaming everyone else and crying "anti-Mormon" every time someone says, "I have a question."

Unjustified misrepresentation is often a reasonable gauge of what type of critic one is dealing with. So who on this blog has cried "anti-Mormon" everytime someone says "I have a question"?

Kathleen said...

Hey, I've yet to be called an anti and I questions everything.

Mike Peterson said...

That is hilarious. I love how all of the scriptural refernces are straight out of the Bible. (The last on eis my favorite.)

Anonymous said...

Mike Tea, said:


"The same goes for that old "Mormons are persecuted" stuff. Mormons are not persecuted just because they take a little flack for believing some pretty unorthodox stuff and having a colorful history. If you want to be taken seriously, a little less whining and a lot more honest engagement would help."

I need help with my persecutorial delusion. I would agree that most of the hard core church persecution receded after the 1900's when the government stopped trying to destroy the church and the church started to get back on its feet. Then persecution got some what less after 1987 with the priesthood issue being resolved. Then again in the 1990's when the law was recended that made it legal to murder Mormons. That one made me feel better knowing I live in a country that the constitutional law protects it's citizens in the freedom of religion.

Now most of the disagreements (persecution) comes in the form of books with little or no scholarship from good up standing Christians. Or people like Reverend Al Sharpton traveling to Salt Lake City to learn about the Mormons after he made derogatory statements against Mormons and then needed to apologize. Or when Mike Huckabee makes derogatory statements about our faith at which he also had to apologize. Now most of the criticisms comes in the same form as I here most Christians complain about, as when society try's to become more secular and do away with Christmas or rewrite the religious historical foundation of this country. It could not be considered religious persecution when Ron Paul makes comments about Mike Huckabee's political Christmas message, "It reminds me of what Sinclair Lewis once said. He says, 'when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.'"Or when Christopher Hitchens or other atheists state that people of faith in religion are stupid or if they teach their children religion in the home it is child abuse. As a convert, I won't go into the 30 years of religious bigitory I have seen but, I will just throw these in because I do consider myself a Christian.

"honest engagement would help."


We have been engaging the world for almost 200 years. Just as Jeff's web site has shown, however no matter how many Bible scriptures are shown to demonstrate our case, or early church fathers are marched out, or scholars from around the world that support our point of view, it will not satisfy your serious mind. Jeff just posted in simple form as a comparison contrast chart with Bible scriptures and you are still not satisfied. So what will it take? An angel or perhaps the Holy Spirit in prayer.

Here is when you would offer a serious question; if you have a topic on religion, and I think we can come up with the necessary scholars to muddle our way through.

Yours truly,
The Big Whiner

Mike Tea said...

"I need help with my persecutorial delusion. I would agree that most of the hard core church persecution receded after the 1900's when the government stopped trying to destroy the church and the church started to get back on its feet. Then persecution got some what less after 1987 with the priesthood issue being resolved."

You think coming under pressure for having a policy of racial discrimination during a period when equal rights was on the agenda is "persecution"? This kind of proves my point. Stop whining and put your hand up to some wrong your church did.

I understand BTW that Mormonism is, even now, re-writing the history of the Negroes and the priesthood saga, which, by the way, ended in 1977 not 1987. I should know, I was a Mormon then. Now the story goes that Mormons "don't know" why this doctrine prevailed for so long. Pull out an old priesthood manual, or Institute manual, or Ensign magazine of the time and you will likely find out why, but then do you want to know? Or am I just persecuting you?

"Then again in the 1990's when the law was recended that made it legal to murder Mormons. That one made me feel better knowing I live in a country that the constitutional law protects it's citizens in the freedom of religion."

Do you know that it is still illegal for the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster (London) to walk from his residence to Westminster Cathedral in his regalia? Roman Catholics do not cry foul however because they understand that the law is an anocronism. A throwback to darker times that no one takes seriously. But then, if you are determined to be a persecuted people any straw will do.

"Now most of the disagreements (persecution) comes in the form of books with little or no scholarship from good up standing Christians."

Now we come to the nub of my post. Everyone comes in for criticism, some of it spiteful and lacking intelligence. Most of us deal with it by ignoring the shallow reactionaries, minding the thoughtful and welcoming the chance to flex our spiritual/intellectual muscles. Mormons cry "persecution" every chance.

A Mormon in the Whitehouse? Can you imagine it? Every time a foreign dignitary questioned an American policy he would cry, "Stop persecuting me! I don't build up my nation by tearing down oth...Oh, yes I do actually."

Anonymous said...

To be terribly honest Mike Tea, looking back at the posts, most of the "whining" is coming from you. You seemed fairly caught up on whining about how Mormons never stop whining. Is there a point to your post? Maybe it's just me, but to be terribly honest, whining seems to me to be a fundamental weakness of humans in general. There is a reason that when an individual rises to a challenge it is called valor and not just being normal. Most people in general whine about having to do anything challenging. So, again, do you have a point? Please don't respond with something like, "Well...Mormons whine a lot!" If you really believe that there aren't any Mormons out there who DO engage in honest discussion, rather than whining, than you are completely ignorant of, or have just plain ignored, an incredibly large amount of work done by Mormon apologists.

Mormanity said...

Mike Tea, help me out. We have a lot of tough questions thrown out here by non-LDS readers like Kathleen, NM, Teranno and Catholic Defender. Sometimes I've annoyed a couple of them by deleting comments with links to antagonistic sites or to videos, according to my editorial policies, and sometimes they have been misunderstood and viewed as antagonistic when it might not have been meant, but I feel my readers and I have established a reasonably good track record of trying to respond to sincere and sometimes unpleasant questions without "crying about persecution" and hiding behind the "oh, you're just an anti-Mormon" defense.

So what have I or my readers done to merit the scolding you have given? "A little less whining and a lot more honest engagement would help." Where have we relied on whining and dishonest evasion? I hope your comments aren't based on inability to recognize the tongue-in-cheek nature of some of my posts, like this "Gift for Anti-Mormons." You should recognize that it is a spoof of a real phenomenon, as Kathleen verified. The post is satire, not whining, IMHO.

You said, "all this 'Mormons are misunderstood' nonsense is rather pathetic." Really? When ministers all over the nation are telling their people that we don't believe in Christ, you don't think there is some level of misunderstanding? Statements like this make me wonder if you really were LDS, because it's awfully hard to be LDS and to engage people without realizing that there is still a vast chasm of misunderstanding.

Just a few days ago a highly educated senior business person approached me and said, "Jeff, you wouldn't believe the crazy things people all around say about the Mormons. And it would be easy to believe them if I didn't know you personally. Why is there so much misunderstanding?" And I hear this frequently.

Congregations in the US are still playing The God Makers and related videos and telling there people that Mormons are non-Christian, dangerous, a cult, etc. Don't you think that's indicative of some potential misunderstanding?

If you think all we do is whine and evade and call questioners names on this blog, then the chasm of misunderstanding is even deeper than I thought.

Kathleen said...

What Jeff wrote is correct. There are misunderstandings here, and us non-Mormons like to throw tough questions at the faithful, but hey! They never accuse us of being antis (because we aren't...I hope ;), and they NEVER complain or whine about it.

I keep coming back and discussing because the people here genuinely address my questions and concerns without whining or accusing me of being an anti or worse. To be perfectly frank, I see WAY more negative comments about Mormons coming from the evangelical world (which I happen to be part of) than I see going the other direction. Makes me a bit of an anomaly, but whatever...

Okay, that's all I have to say on this topic. Thanks again for the informative (and amusing) blog and thought-provoking discussion, Jeff!

Mike Tea said...

Jeff

I do appreciate your tongue-in-cheek approach and applaud your ability to laugh about some of this stuff. I did start my original post agreeing with you that there are some numpys out there who seem to feel that Mormon baiting is what it is all about. Maybe you missed that part.

You know, I was simply responding in kind by pointing out that maybe there were some things you could learn from an Evangelical believer who used to be a Mormon (whether you believe I was a Mormon, a Jack Mormon, an apostate Mormon, an inactive Mormon is no concern of mine. Choose whichever suits you).

Just as you may be tired of hearing the same old yadayadayada from your critics I thought it might help if you knew how tired and thin the typical Mormon response is to criticism. I wasn't especially getting at you or your friends, just making a general observatation.

I find the term anti-Mormon problematic. Not because I don't recognise that there are folk who fit the category all too well (what was the name of that nerd who did his "Christian" TV show dressed in temple garments? What a profound drip!) The problem I have is that it is a term used freely and frequently as a charge against the most unassuming critic, almost as a reflex.

I know a former Mormon who was determined that this wasn't going to happen to her - bless her. She spoke respectfully, refused to endorse "Godmakers" (as I do), used correct terminology, showed patience etc. She still became an "anti-Mormon" to the people she regarded as her friends.

On the subject of misunderstandings, you write that when Christians insist that Mormons don't believe in Christ that is a clear indication of misunderstanding. Not the case I am afraid. It is a moot point and an honest Mormon would understand that and allow that people of my faith and people of your faith mean something quite different when we speak of faith in Christ.

This is not an accusation, just a statement of fact. I do not believe as you do, nor you as I do, and the differences are profound. I haven't misunderstood, I have simply learned to tell the difference, and tell it to anyone who is interested. There was a time when Mormons used to "tell" the differences but now there seems to be a move to overlook the differences and find common ground. I wonder where that is going?

I apologise if I have offended, confused or hurt anyone with my posts. I know that my British (Welsh actually) way of expressing myself is different. I am also aware that Mormons are culturally different in different parts of the world and we don't always understand each other in those things. I know very well that Mormons who complain about "anti-Mormons" are as much addressing themselves to their own past bad experiences as to their present interlocutor and I fear I may have been doing the same thing.

I still enjoyed your post though and thank you for being patient with a guy with a bee in his bonnet - something I am sure you will understand.

Mormanity said...

OK, Mike, thanks. That really helps, and I better appreciate and respect where you are coming from.

GB said...

mike tea: I understand BTW that Mormonism is, even now, re-writing the history of the Negroes and the priesthood saga, which, by the way, ended in 1977 not 1987. I should know, I was a Mormon then.

GB: Actually it was June, 1978. I should know, I was a Mormon then (and still am).

Latter-Day James said...

GB doesn't stand for Gordon B. does it? :-)

Rotpada said...

I would like to comment on #3 "Confusion over Salvation."

I think what needs to be considered in this conversation is the definition of salvation. Through my conversations with Nicene and specifically evangelical Christians about salvation, I have found that resurrection unto life eternal is the definition used by most Christians in the modern world.

Most Christians focus their beliefs around the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus rather than the atoning sacrifice "Mormons" recognize in the Garden of Gethsemane. If we look at that distinction and respect that most of Christianity has become content with the act of resurrection as salvation, then we must agree with them based on that view that we must simply accept Christ (or, from an LDS perspective, not deny Him) to be "saved." But one must accept salvation to be resurrection only to be content with the typical Christian definition.

If we look simply at the Resurrection as salvation, then "Mormons are the MOST liberal Christians in the world when allowing mankind into Heaven.

Kathleen said...

Jeff, how come you always have to keep quoting from the Bible? Grrr....

=)

Anonymous said...

I don't pretend to understand what you have experienced or how you feel because of those experiences but I must respond to make sure I don't develop a persecution complex.

"There was a time when Mormons used to "tell" the differences but now there seems to be a move to overlook the differences and find common ground. I wonder where that is going?"

Here I agree. There was one of the early prophets that made a statement that the day would come when we would no longer be under persecution and that the church would be considered part of the main stream and that he feared this time more than the days of persecution.

"I wonder where that is going?"

This move is going on because of the "can't we all just get a long", PC correct, lets celebrate our common ground and down play our differences society we have going on here in the United States. On this point I don't care. The leaders and members will do what ever they feel is right and I am sure that some of change is because the whining of disaffected members, regular members, pleasing other religions so we can live in peace. The critics want us to change but will complain that we are trying to change or being deceptive in our change. Go figure. They are never happy.

"I know that my British (Welsh actually) way of expressing myself is different. I understand BTW that Mormonism is, even now, re-writing the history of the Negroes and the priesthood saga, which, by the way, ended in 1977 not 1987. I should know, I was a Mormon then. Now the story goes that Mormons "don't know" why this doctrine prevailed for so long. Pull out an old priesthood manual, or Institute manual, or Ensign magazine of the time and you will likely find out why, but then do you want to know? Or am I just persecuting you?

(June 1978) "but then do you want to know?"

Want to know that the church is changing? Where have you been? Someone needs to get out more.

If persecuting is your thing have at it. I grew up in the Southern United States and was a convert for 40 years and knew a number of blacks that were in the church before the priesthood was given to them and they did their duty in the church and did less whining than you have on this blog. I have lived racism, saw racism and after converting I traveled the United States getting to know Mormons from all walks of life and most of the members were not happy about the priesthood policy , were uncomfortable with it, but of course they were just secretly enjoying their racism. Your implication that we or the church is racist is dead wrong. If we are going to play that game and you are going to be truly honest, the Bible is one of the most racist books around and Christ, by today's standards was a racist. (What book do you follow again?) As for me and my house we will serve the Lord regardless of the policies He ask us to follow and regardless of what the world call us. I will be happy to defend the LDS church to the end regardless what you, the world or the members think.


"Do you know that it is still illegal for the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster (London) to walk from his residence to Westminster Cathedral in his regalia? Roman Catholics do not cry foul however because they understand that the law is an anachronism. A throwback to darker times that no one takes seriously. But then, if you are determined to be a persecuted people any straw will do."

Don't care and don't see what this has to do with anything, but it just sounds like you are grasping at straws to help some need to whine about Mormons.

"Everyone comes in for criticism, some of it spiteful and lacking intelligence. Most of us deal with it by ignoring the shallow reactionaries, minding the thoughtful and welcoming the chance to flex our spiritual/intellectual muscles. Mormons cry "persecution" every chance."

I can't imagine where you get all this persecution complex from. I here more from the TV evangelist about Christian persecution than I have ever heard from present day Mormons claming persecution. The only complaints I have heard is the "...spiteful and lacking intelligence…" good ol' Christians I grew up with.

A Mormon in the Whitehouse? Can you imagine it? Every time a foreign dignitary questioned an American policy he would cry, "Stop persecuting me! I don't build up my nation by tearing down oth...Oh, yes I do actually."
Yes, I can imagine a Muslim, a Jew and even you in the Whitehouse because my God is in control of the Governments and armies of this earth.
I can even imagine the surprised look on your face when you get to the other side and see Joseph Smith standing on the right hand of God.

Anonymous said...

Next to the right hand of Christ.

Sparrow said...

I'm not a morman, ex-morman or even an anti-mormon.

But as an ex-fundamentalist Christian who knows the 'references' I had a good laugh reading it. It pointed out a lot of discrepancies between the walk and the talk.

Although there are many topics that make me want to scream with boredom (cricket, politics and religion) congratulations on writing an insightful blogpost.

LifeOnaPlate said...

Brilliant.

Orangestreak said...

Just great!!!

All the time finding things that try to harshly judge us and classify us and I guess that's a way to "Christianly" "turn the other cheek".

Anonymous said...

I think that Mike and Anonnymous should stop fighting, it's quite silly really.

But I really enjoyed your blog, it was good to see all the bible scripture references that support our beliefs.

I do feel the need however to comment on the Priesthood for coloured people, and maybe share my opinion on the matter. Seeing as the church was organised in the 19th century, and black people were then slaves and not free to hold any power whatsoever, it's only fair to say that the world was not ready for such a thing, including new members back then because of the mentality of the people. People were taught to be racist, no one was ready for such a change, and as for the Prophets, they are not perfect, they are men who God uses as tools to send his message to his people, sure they are much more spiritual, but still not perfect.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is "Acceptable Christianity"? From what I've read and experienced with many religions, those who do good and are just by THEIR lord reach the salvation they deserve. Why is it that one "Voice" among religion should deny those who seek to do good by their god any right to do so? I being a "Soft" Atheist see nothing wrong with trying to be the best person you can be. Why should "Acceptable Christians" be placing judgment on gods children?

Anonymous said...

To all Christians out there that go with this anti mormonism... Pick up the Book of Mormon with an open heart and an open mind. You might find what you read to actually be the truth. If you do not believe that our Father and Jesus are two sepparate people, then get down on your "Holy knees" and pray about it. We Mormons actually have proof that Jesus is a perfect being and that we can be made perfect like unto Him. If you are too scared to get on your knees to find out that you might be wrong about Mormons, then get the courage. And if you think you have the courage, then use it. But to those of you who, "don't have the courage, or the will power." That is just an excuse for yourself being to pigheaded and stubborn to try. Too many of you out there go off of what your parents or friends tell you. You need to get the answer for YOURSELF! I am a Mormon, and I belive that our Father and Jesus are two different beings, and that Jesus was resurected and is of flesh and bone. If you don't like what I said, then you have a right not to, but if you are confused with religion,get down on your knees and pray. With an open mind and heart, you will get your answer. But beware of evil spirits, they will try to intervene the message you may recive from a Holier side. There is no necessary need to critisize Mormons for what they have known and believed to be true for thousands of years. Believe what you want, but all I ask is to get on your knees and ask for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Nice site Jeff. I was Agnostic as a young adult, then when I joined the Army I was classified as Protestant non-denomination because I didn't know what I was (didn't attend any services whatsoever), then went to a Catholic Church for a year, then to a Lutheran Church for a year, Calvary for a day (their bashing of other beliefs didn't seem Christ to me), Unity Church for a day (meditating didn't do it for me). One Church I didn't even consider was the LDS Church because of all the stigmas attatched to it. When I finally did go to an LDS Church I knew from the first day that this was it. This was Jesus Christs' Church. The only thing false about the Church were the stigmas attatched to it. For anyone to say that Mormons are not Christians simply are uniformed. Richard Bushman correctly stated that 'The intent of members participating in this religious conversation doesn't need to be to convert, he said, but to increase understanding. Piece by piece, the elements of the arguments against Mormonism can be dealt with." You can read his entire article at
http://mormonway.deseretnews.com/MITN_newsmakers.php?id=728

Hugh said...

Jeff, great work my friend. I couldn't have done better myself. Now as to the non-mormon who thinks mormons are whiney, I'm sure you are right in the circles you have traveled, or at least I'm sure that is the way you have percieved them to be. And that's ok, I am sure some are very whiney. But I can assure you we are not all that way, and many of us do encourage good exchange of ideas, without arguing. And as to the Negro's and the Priesthood perhaps many of you need to consider some facts you may not know about. 1. It was God who withheld the Pristhood from the Blacks, not the LDS Church. If you doubt this let me ask you one simple question? Show me anywhere in the Bible where a Negro has ever held the Priesthood? The Priesthood has been on earth since Adam and yet since Cain was cursed by God none of his posterity has ever held the Priesthood. They have come close, but God channeled it away from them. I speak of the case of Esau, Isaac's firstborn who's right it was to receive the Priesthood blessing from his father, but it was given to Jacob instead. And God did not disapprove. In fact even before Jacob and Esau were born, God told Rebekah, their mother, "the elder shall serve the younger. The point is, if Isaac had given the birthright to Esau as he intended, Esau's firstborn was black, since he married two Hittite women. The Hittites were black.(Negro) And the Priesthood would have been given to descendants of Cain. But through Rebekah this was avoided and the Priesthood was instead given to Jacob, as the Lord intended.."The elder shall serve the younger." Had the Priesthood been given to Esau, it would have completely missed the whole house of Israel. But the Lord wasn't about to let that happen. And the point is, the LDS Church did not withhold the priesthood from the Negro's, the Lord did, since the days of Cain. So if you need to call someone racist, you better look toward the sky's, He lives up there, not here on earth.
Now as to the different Jesus', yes we do believe in a different Jesus. Ours is found in the Bible and Book of Mormon, the D&C, and PofGP. But I think you will find, it is not so much a different Jesus, but a different perspective of the same Jesus. does that make us non-Christian? Why? Because you who called yourselves Christian first, say so? You who borrowed your Christ from the Catholic Church? The same Catholic Church who concocted Jesus and God 75 years before there was a Bible, that could have been used as a guide? And you call us non-Christian! Go ahead if it makes you feel better, we know different. We know who and what and why we worship. We really do not need your approval..Just a few of my thoughts...Later...Hugh

Anonymous said...

we can have a debate w/ the mormonz ........ i love mormonz....this is the true church if u just look unto it.......

Anonymous said...

some stupid people are making our lives stupid also.....
anti- mormonz needz a visit from a missionaries in their area so that they too can have their salvation......
"everything is made simple, but not simpler..." albert einstein

Anonymous said...

Mormons never sees to amaze and amuse me. Read the book of mormon, pray, let missionaries come over and insult your intelligence. BLAH.BLAH,BLAH. You can lead a horse to water. But can you make him drink? Yeah Kool-Aid. if hes got his blinders on

bree said...

mike tea:
I love using bible sources to quote my beliefs,because,it is the same bible as in many, branches of the christian world.and I have to agree with mike peterson,that I love how the table uses only bible references(king james version)and thus is probably the book that the author of this table believes in.
wouldnt it have been better to use the book of mormon against us? instead of using the book that most christians accept as the truth?
for the record,I love it when people ask me about my religion,the most common two commments I ever get when I say Im mormon are.the mormons?wait are you the polygamists?,
and: the mormons? who are they?
and I am more than happy to tell them about our beliefs.its even better if they want to share their religious views.some of the best conversations have been about religion,and in my mind someone is only really an anti-mormon when they try to tear down and disproove the lds church,instead of presenting their church/beliefs for consideration.asking a question certainly doesnt make me go"anti-mormon alert!!!dont persecute me"-run and hide-.besides if I had to resort to that Id feel kind of pathetic.others might do this(although Ive never seen this happen,or heard of it happening in my life,and that is perhaps their way of dealing with it, but I cant speak for them.
as for me I much prefer an intelligent conversation any day.its even better if we are truly discussing our seperate beliefs,as opposed to me defending my beliefs from an attack of,"your church is wrong,mine is right,now let me tell you why".its so unimaginitive,and when the other person gets half of they dont even quote properly and know little or nothing about mormons the lose credibility and their debate loses all power.

one more thing that I need to state.just because someone says youre mormon,or atheist,or satanist,or 22 years old,or that the sky is green,doesnt make ANY of these statements true does it?and if someone said any of these things to you, you would correct them unless it were true,or you agreed with their statement.likewise just because the world says "mormons arent christian"....dont we have the right to correct that misconception without being told that because we corrected the misconception(of mormons arent christians) it cant be true.

a religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ and who is a member of a Christian denomination

following the teachings or manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus Christ
(www.wordreference.com)
by this definition we are indeed christianas we both believe in Jesus Christ as well as follow his techings.
I dont particularily care abou dictionary definitions,but if this is what it takes to proove that we are christians(because our standard works(the word of god) (including our book of mormon(another testament of Jesus Christ-also the word of god) and our name"the church of Jesus Christ of latterday saints"dont do the trick,then,who knows,maybe a dictionary definition will.

Anonymous said...

Visit this mormon blog please
sofismaslm.blogspot.com
Is in Spanish

handmaiden said...

Remember, the cult of Mormonism is the problem, not the people.