There is a lot of attention on the Mormon religion right now. Currently a Broadway play called The Book of Mormon is receiving wonderful reviews and enjoying sold-out crowds. But more importantly two Presidential candidates are members of the Mormon church: Mitt Romney, a front-runner, and Jon Huntsman. It would be a first in our country if a Mormon were elected to the White House. They liken it to when President Kennedy, a Catholic, was elected. (I beg to differ but no time to get into politics today.) To try to make this possible-historic-event happen, the LDS advertising machine has launched a major television campaign themselves. You'd have to be living under a rock (or possibly in a state that hasn't aired it yet) to miss the flood of commercials with the slogan "I'm a Mormon" which features everyday people of all races and ages. What they are trying to do, in my opinion, is combat the very negative view most people have of the Mormon religion and help us understand that Mormons are folks just like you and me.
But in talking with people lately and reading bits and pieces on the Internet, it is clear most people have no clue what the Mormons believe. One person said, "They're just another Christian denomination, right?" Wrong, wrong, wrong!
So I thought I'd tackle the subject here and tell you why I am NOT a Mormon.
First, a brief history. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. According to Smith, an angel named Moroni (who is actually the dead son of a great prophet and military leader named Mormon who supposedly lived in America in AD 385) led Smith to a secret location where a set of "gold plates" were hidden. Moroni supposedly hid those plates 1500 years before Smith found them. On the plates were ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics that could only be translated by using these special stone-glasses. The Book of Mormon, which Mormons claim as the most important holy book of their religion, is supposed to be a translation of those plates, which the angel Moroni conveniently took back to heaven with him so no one can see them now.
Far-fetched, you say? Read on.
Here are some basic beliefs of the Mormon religion that completely differ from Christianity:
GOD was once a human on another earth. He progressed to being God over our earth. He is married and has a father and mother who are gods over another world. Humans are literally the children of God and can become gods too.
JESUS is the spirit-brother of Lucifer (Satan). Although he was conceived by the virgin Mary, it was God the man-father who actually came to Mary, not the Holy Spirit as the Bible says. Jesus is one of many gods and is our "elder brother." His death on the cross is only the beginning of our atonement for sin. It wasn't the complete, final payment spoken of in Ephesians 2. It's now up to us to follow-up with good works.
The BIBLE is accepted by Mormons, but they believe it is inferior to the Book of Mormon and two other books written by Joseph Smith. They claim the Bible has been corrupted over the years and cannot be relied on to tell us what God really says.
The CHURCH cannot be any church other than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the "one true church". All other denominations are false.
HEAVEN and DEATH take on new meaning in the LDS church. After death but before judgement, the wicked get a second chance to make it to heaven, which has three levels: 1) LDS members are highest; 2) good people who aren't LDS members; 3) the unrighteous. The fourth group consists of Lucifer, his angels, and the unrepentant "sons of perdition." They all go to hell.
Everything Mormons believe--at least the major points--contradict the Bible. Sandra Tanner, great-great granddaughter of Brigham Young, directs a ministry called Utah Lighthouse Ministry to help Mormons find salvation through Jesus Christ. If you have questions about the Mormon faith--what they believe and how it differs from Christianity--check out their web site. There are just too many differences to go into here on the blog.
The bottom line is this: Mormons are not Christians. It doesn't matter if the name of their religion has the words "Jesus Christ" in it. Their religion and beliefs are based on the ideas and imagination of Joseph Smith, an adulterous man called a "deliberate charlatan" who was attacked and killed by a mob in 1844.
I'll leave you with this:
"But there were false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up." 2 Peter 2:1-3
This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Poland, United Kingdom, India, Zambia, Italy, Russia, Ukraine