(Continued from page 384)
The Mormon Christ
On the basis of the Mormon's false Book of Moses 'record' that Cain, the first murderer, was the progenitor of the Negro race, and his black skin a result of a curse by God, the Mormon church avoided and ignored blacks for years in their missionary work, believing that pre-existent souls which were considered less than valiant in the 'war in heaven' between Christ and Satan were punished by being assigned to black bodies during their mortality. Until 1978, they were denied all of the 'blessings' and 'privileges' of the priesthood, but a revelation of convenience by 'prophet' Spencer W. Kimball gave them full access to these glories and neatly removed the last major obstacle to the Mormon 'evangelization' of Africa and the rest of the free world. In a similar manner, the Indians, who are supposedly the descendants of the Book of Mormon's wicked Lamanites, have allegedly been cursed by the Mormon deity with dark skins as a punishment for the misdeeds of their forefathers. Mormonism is clearly a religion with a shameful history of white supremacist doctrines and practices.
Equally distressing to orthodox, born again, Christians is the Mormon teaching concerning Christ the Redeemer.
The record of the Bible concerning the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, is clear: there is but one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6), and Jesus Christ is His eternal Word made flesh (John 1:1; 1:14). It was the function of the second person of the Trinity, upon His reception by the sons of men, to empower them to be the sons of God (John 1:12); and this came about as a result of God's unmerited favour and His great love toward a fallen and lost race.
The Lord Jesus offered one eternal sacrifice for all sins, and His salvation comes not by the works of the law or any human works whatever (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:5), but solely by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). The Saviour of New Testament revelation existed eternally as God; lived a holy, harmless, and undefiled life, separate from sinners; and 'knew no sin.' He was 'a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief' (Isaiah 53:3), 'the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world' (John 1:29).
The Saviour of Mormonism, however, is an entirely different person, as official publications clearly reveal. The Mormon 'Saviour' is not the second person of the Christian Trinity, since Mormons reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and He is not even a careful replica of the New Testament Redeemer. In Mormon theology Christ, as a pre-existent spirit, was not only the spirit brother of the devil (as alluded to in the Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1-4 and later reaffirmed by Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses, 13:282), but celebrated his own marriage to 'Mary and Martha, and the other Mary,' at Cana of Galilee, 'whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified' (Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 4:259; 2:82). The Mormon concept of the Virgin Birth, alone, insults God and distinguishes the Mormon 'Christ' from the Christ of the Bible.
Sons of (which) god - 'Adam-god'?
In addition to this revolting concept, Brigham Young categorically stated that the sacrifice made upon the cross by Jesus Christ in the form of His own blood was ineffective for the cleansing of some sins. Brigham went on to teach the now suppressed but never officially repudiated doctrine of 'blood atonement' (p59)
To better understand Young's limitation of the cleansing power of Christ's blood, we shall refer to his own words:
Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and you put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands.
There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants. … All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. … I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. … This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it' (Journal of Discourses, 3:247; 4:219-220).
So clear-cut was Brigham's denial of the all-sufficiency and efficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Christ in the foregoing quotation that Mormons have had to develop an argument 'to explain' what the prophet really meant. We have heard, for example, the sad Mormon contention that a criminal is 'executed to atone for his crimes and this is all Brigham Young meant.' Reading the data on our web-pages makes it clear that this excuse does not wash and Mormons often try to completely omit any discussion of the fact that Young's statement is not dealing with this subject at all. Young's statement declared that what Christ's blood could not cleanse, a man's own blood atonement could. This teaches that in some instances human sacrifice, which Brigham states took place and which he sanctioned, was efficacious where Christ's blood was not!
The Mormons leaders clearly wanted no part of the Biblical doctrine of the all-sufficiency of Christ's Atonement, in the words of John: 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all unrighteousness' (1 John 1:7, emphasis added). This both contradicts Young and reveals the true Biblical teaching. There can be no doubt from the Biblical record that it is in Jesus Christ that we have redemption and that His blood is the means of the cleansing of the conscience (Hebrews 9:14) and of the loosening from sin (Revelation 1:5). It is the very basis of our justification (Romans 5:9).
The Christ of the Mormons cannot save for He is, as the apostle Paul describes him, 'another Jesus,' the subject of 'another gospel,' and the originator of a 'different spirit,' whose forerunner (the angelic messenger, Moroni) was anticipated by the apostle (Galatians 1:8-9) and who, along with the entire revelation, is to be considered 'anathema' or more literally from the Greek, 'cursed' by God.
It may be difficult for you to grasp what is in fact an incredible concept, but Mormonism fits perfectly into the descriptions given by the Word of God. The greatest of the apostles, in his second letter to the Corinthian church, after mentioning a counterfeit Jesus, gospel, and spirit, goes on to state that such occurrences should not come as a surprise to the Christian church (2 Corinthians 11:13-15):
'For such are false apostles, deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ, and it is not surprising, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. It is therefore no great marvel if his servants also transform themselves as servants of righteousness whose end will be according to their works'
It is clear that if any angel ever appeared to Smith, it was an 'angel of light.' This may sound like harsh language to a Mormon, but it is the language of God's choosing and it cannot be ignored by anyone who takes seriously the revelations of Scripture and apostolic authority. Mormonism, with its apostles, priesthood, temples, secret signs, symbols, handshakes, and mysteries, quite literally masquerades as 'the church of the restoration'; but at its heart, in its doctrine of the Messiah, it is found to be contrary to every major Biblical pronouncement.
Perhaps you are not familiar with the facts about the accuracy of the Bible versus the Book of Mormon, which is why You write:
'In fact, I'm sorry but the more I research in the Bible alone, the more I find it goes in circles and seems to contradict itself due to what I can only see as total mistranslations by those who were so far from the source and uninspired. Of course there is no way of proving what is mistranslation and which is not without another source, so I am sorry that you do not have the Book of Mormon which is very simple and clear and full of the Spirit of God.'
TCE: It is clear from the examination we have made here of the teachings of the Bible, that salvation by grace, through faith alone, is clearly taught in the Bible and our good works play absolutely no part in gaining or keeping our salvation. We have proved this beyond refutation. This is the tremendous assurance that orthodox evangelical Christians enjoy - not because of anything that we have done, so we cannot boast (Ephesians 2:8-10) - but because we place all of our trust in our Perfect Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ who is fully God Almighty and therefore can never fail. You certainly cannot realise the extent to which your leaders - mainly of the past but, nonetheless, supported by every Mormon leader since - have declared that your salvation as a Mormon depends on them and not on Jesus! Of course, Jesus predicted this would happen when He said (John 5:41-44):
41 'I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?
Your view that the Bible 'goes in circles and seems to contradict itself' is a result of the effects of the false teachings of Smith and Young, et al, for we have shown clearly that the teachings we believe in are clearly enunciated in the Bible alone. Again, your claim that you believe the problems you see are the result of 'total mistranslations by those who were so far from the source and uninspired' needs further examination, as does your claim that the Book of Mormon 'is very simple and clear and full of the Spirit of God.' We will return to these points in another communication.
Examination of Mormon literature reveals many statements of the kind that 'all men are saved by grace alone without any act on their part.' Although this appears to be perfectly orthodox, it is necessary to study all the Mormon statements relative to this doctrine in order to know precisely what is meant, for the truth about this teaching in Mormonism is very different from the orthodox Christian view, e.g. in the official Mormon publication (What the Mormons Think of Christ, Bruce R. McConkie, 1973), this interpretation is found:
Grace is simply the mercy, the love and the condescension God has for his children, as a result of which he has ordained the plan of salvation so that they may have power to progress and become like him. … All men are saved by grace alone without any act on their part, meaning that they are resurrected and become immortal because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. … In addition to this redemption from death, all men, by the grace of God, have the power to gain eternal life. This is called salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Hence Nephi was led to write: 'We labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.'
Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one's salvation. Many go so far, for instance, as to pretend and, at least, to believe that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept Him as our personal Saviour, we are thereby saved. His blood, without other act than mere belief, they say, makes us clean. … Finally in our day, he has said plainly: 'My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not.' Salvation in the kingdom of God is available because of the atoning blood of Christ. But it is received only on condition of faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end in keeping the commandments of God (pp. 27-33, emphasis added).
The above quote is a typical Mormon example of theological double-talk, which in one breath affirms grace as a saving principle and in the next declares that it is 'coupled with obedience to the law and ordinances of the gospel,' and ends by declaring that confession of Christ and acceptance of Him as 'personal Saviour' is 'utter nonsense' and 'palpably false.' McConkie decries the fact that Christ's blood 'without other act than mere belief … makes us clean' (p. 31).
However, the Biblical position is perfectly clear in this area, as we have shown - we are saved by grace alone, but it in no way enables us to 'have power to progress and become like Him.' By this we mean the supposed Mormon sense of such progression to become 'a god', which is very different from the Biblical doctrine of sanctification where the life of the believer is gradually brought into conformity to the Holy Spirit - as clearly enunciated in the epistle to the Romans (chapters 8 and 12).
Bruce McConkie's assertion that 'salvation by grace' must be 'coupled with obedience with the laws and ordinances of the gospel' in order for a person to be saved is consistent with the errors of Mormon legalistic observances and requirements which means that salvation is not by grace at all, but is, in reality, totally connected with human efforts: 'baptism, and enduring to the end in keeping the commandments of God' (p. 33). This is not the Christian doctrine of redemption that the apostle Peter described clearly (1 Peter 1:18-19, 23):
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. … Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever
In diametric opposition to the Mormon concept, the confession of Christ with the lips and the acceptance of Him as 'our personal Saviour' is indeed the very means of personal salvation. It is the Biblical record which states that 'with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation' (Romans 10:10). The gospel's command is 'believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved' (Acts 16:31). This is totally foreign to Mormon teachings. Jesus Christ did not die merely to insure our resurrection, as McConkie declares (p. 27), but He died to reconcile us to God, to save us by grace, to redeem us by blood, and to sanctify us by His Spirit. But such Biblical doctrines are rejected by Mormonism, for the heretical views of Smith and Young, et al, cannot conceive of a God who could save apart from human effort, and Nephi's statement betrays this: 'For we know it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do' (p. 28).
This leaves Mormons striving for perfection, sanctification, and godhood which are all unobtainable. Grace is left as a confused incidental in Mormonism.
That Brigham Young held a very confused idea concerning salvation is shown by his sermons:
'But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to continue to be the sons of God' (Journal of Discourses, 12:100-101).
Brigham expanded on this statement to make it clear what he meant:
'instead of receiving the gospel to become the sons of God, my language would be - to receive the gospel that we may continue to be the sons of God. Are we not all sons of God when we are born into this world? Old Pharaoh, King of Egypt, was just as much a son of God as Moses and Aaron were His sons, with this difference - he rejected the word of the Lord, the true light, and they received it.'
In agreement with the (false) Mormon doctrine of the pre-existence of souls, Young taught that men are already the sons of God and the acceptance of God merely enables them to 'continue to be the sons of God,' a direct contradiction of the Biblical record which states (John 1:12):
'But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name'.
The apostle Paul points out, with devastating force, the fact that (Romans 9:8, emphasis added):
'they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed'.
The apostle clearly declares that only those who are led by God's Spirit can be called the sons of God (Romans 8:14). It is therefore clear that Brigham Young was totally confused in his declaration that: 'Old Pharaoh, King of Egypt, was just as much a son of God as Moses and Aaron were His sons.' This is no surprise to us, for it was the same foolish man who promulgated the doctrine that Adam is the 'God' of this planet and came to earth to have sex with Eve to start the human race. This horrendous 'Adam-God Theory' of Brigham Young's was taught by him from Mormon pulpits for at least 25 years (1852-1877) and he clearly declared that '[Adam] is our father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do'! Incredibly, later 'prophets', such as Spencer W. Kimball, totally contradicted Young and tried to deny that he ever taught it (Ensign/Church News, October 9th, 1976) when the church's official records of his sermons in the Journal of Discourse prove it to be a doctrine he declared authentic! Kimball wrote: 'We warn you against dissemination of doctrines which are not according to scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine'. [emphasis added].
On April 9th, 1852, Brigham Young said: 'When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organise this world. He is Michael, the archangel, the Ancient of Days about whom holy men have written and spoken - He is our father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do' (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p.50, 51 - emphasis added).
It is easily shown that Young taught that Adam was God repeatedly and many further quotes from those who heard the sermons could be supplied. It is not a case of him being misinterpreted, or that he was merely expressing a personal opinion or hypothesis, for he said himself that when his sermons were written down correctly 'they were Scripture' (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p.95).
Far from denying its validity, Brigham emphasised this teaching: 'Concerning the item of doctrine alluded to ... that Adam is our Father and God, I have to say do not trouble yourselves, neither let the Saints be troubled about the matter ... If, as Elder Caffall remarked, there are those waiting at the door of the Church for this objection to be removed, tell such, the Prophet and Apostle Brigham Young has declared it, and that it is the Word of the Lord' (Millenial Star, Vol. 16, p.543; cf. the 1857 sermon recorded in Journal of Discourses, Vol. 5, p.331).
Many years later (Deseret News, June, 1873) he said, again: 'How much unbelief exists in the minds of Latter-Day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed to me - namely that Adam is our Father and God ...'
We could quote many other similar statements and prove from Church records and the records of eye-witnesses that this was official doctrine until at least 1903! Yet now the church would try and deny these facts. If Young's 'revelations' are contradicted at a later date by another 'prophet', what is the point of having a 'living prophet' who can also lead you astray? Where does the contradiction lead - to abandon the doctrine and try to preserve the integrity of the 'prophet' is impossible. To abandon the Adam-God doctrine is to abandon the 'prophet' who gave it - and admit he was a false prophet. To believe that Young was a true prophet and accept the Adam-God doctrine is to admit that the succeeding 'prophets' and the church are false! There is no middle ground! If God had seriously gone to all the trouble of 'restoring' His church through Smith and Young, et al, he would have corrected them immediately. It is an absolute no-brainer to suggest that He would then allow false doctrines to creep in through allowing 'personal opinions' expressed by His spokesmen on earth to be promulgated, as official Mormon doctrine, year after year.
This is just one example of Mormon confusion and contradiction and one of many reasons why we almost reel in disbelief at Mormon claims that the Biblical record is 'in error', and 'mistranslated' by 'uninspired men.' It is all too easy to prove the very opposite is true.
(Continued on page 386)