Figured I'd just get it out straight.
I've been turning this blog post over in my mind for awhile. Long before I promised it to you in my last post. To give you a little of the immediate background, in case you missed it, I published A Letter to My LDS Friend, which I borrowed from StreetFishing.org (an AMAZING blog, by the way). A couple of LDS women took exception to the letter in the comments. If you are interested, its worth going and reading them and then coming back, just to have context. One of the ladies accused the author of the letter of cherry-picking verses and taking them out of context to come up with an anti-Mormon message. In order to attempt to avoid this entirely, I am going to focus on two different points that set Mormonism apart from Christianity, taken straight from their Articles of Faith. There are literally entire web sites devoted to delineating the false teachings of the LDS Church. I don't have the energy or the time to devote to such a task, so I will try to make this as simple and straightforward as possible. I believe that although it would be valid to cover several areas, it really can and does boil down to just two simple things. So, here goes.
Mormon.org has the following to say regarding their Articles of Faith: Two years before he died, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote them in a letter to a newspaper editor, John Wentworth, who had asked for information about the Church. Ever since the Articles of Faith were written, they’ve inspired and directed us in the basic principles of our gospel. They enhance our understanding of certain doctrines and help us commit to living them. They invite further thought. And they’re a good tool for explaining our beliefs to people unfamiliar with them. With that considered, I think its fair to trust these points as a direct communication of the belief system of Mormons.
The first of thirteen points in the Articles of Faith says this:
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
At first glance, this appears to be what Christians believe. But when you take a second look, with an eye for what is not said, you will notice that they do not believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one God, eternally existent in three Persons. Or simply, they do not believe that God is God, Jesus is God and that the Holy Spirit is also God. My experience with one-on-one conversation with Mormons reflects this conclusion. They seem to be confused as to how a person could really believe that God is a triune God, eternally existent in three distinct Persons. (For an excellent, detailed theological presentation of the Trinitarian nature of God, please see this blog post of Kevin DeYoung's.)
This is one of the MAJOR doctrinal differences between the LDS Church and Christianity, and the main thing that disqualifies them to be called a Christian church. You cannot misunderstand this about God and still be a Christian. Jesus said it Himself in John 8:24: "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." Who did He claim to be? He claimed to be God. And He claimed it so much, they eventually nailed Him to a cross because of it (His charge was blasphemy, claiming to be equal with God).
The next point of attention for me is the third point:
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
This is what I will address in Part 2.
*I CANNOT believe its been since July that I posted. I'm so sorry to have promised a post I took so long in delivering. Blogging has been the last thing on my mind, but I am going to attempt to get Part 2 up before the end of the week. So we'll see. :)