There is an article in the LDS Newsroom that I wish to respond to. My responses are in italics. This is the "FAQS" about Mormons, as presented by the article, which can be found at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-101#C13
Are Mormons Christian?Yes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church but is neither Catholic nor Protestant. Rather, it is a restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ as originally established by the Savior in the New Testament of the Bible. The Church does not embrace the creeds that developed in the third and fourth centuries that are now central to many other Christian churches.
Latter-day Saints believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all mankind from death and their individual sins. Jesus Christ is central to the lives of Church members. They seek to follow His example by being baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17), praying in His holy name (see Matthew 6:9-13), partaking of the sacrament (see Luke 22:19-20), doing good to others (see Acts 10:38) and bearing witness of Him through both word and deed (see James 2:26). The only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.
No, it is not Christian. I've addressed this in past blogs. First, the LDS church is not a historical or spiritual restoration of the early Christian church. It looks nothing like it. Second, rejection of those creeds rejects some very sound and foundational biblical teachings that the apostles held quite sacred. While it is true that salvation is through faith in Jesus, Mormons also believe that works are required--see the Third Article of Faith.
Genesis 1:27). It is an appropriate term for God who is kind and just, all wise and all powerful. God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Godhead or Trinity for Mormons. Latter-day Saints believe God is embodied, though His body is perfect and glorified.
God does not have a body (John 4:24). Further, the above statements are somewhat deceptive, as Mormons don't just believe that they are created in God's image, but that God is the literal spirit father of us all and that we were procreated.
The Bible "implies" that conception of the Trinity, too. Mormons reject some very clear teachings of the New Testament in rejecting the Trinity as Christians understand it. Further, it makes them polytheistic (or henotheistic) rather than monotheistic, despite very clear teachings in the Bible that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10).
There is no reason to believe in a preexistence, biblically speaking. Nor are we here to be "tried and tested," because that begs the question, for what? Mormons believe it is for exaltation and progression, but that is not a biblical belief. Sin is not desirable, as it would be if it were necessary for testing and proving ourselves. Jesus' atonement is not an "out" because of something that we have to undergo to prove ourselves. That cheapens Jesus' suffering and triumph at best. We got ourselves into sin, and only Jesus can get us out, and the question is not proving ourselves, but whether or not we choose Jesus, who proved himself, so that we might live with God. That's quite a big difference.
Bible as the word of God, a sacred volume of scripture. Latter-day Saints cherish its teachings and engage in a lifelong study of its divine wisdom. Moreover, during worship services the Bible is pondered and discussed. Additional books of scripture — including the Book of Mormon— strengthen and reinforce God’s teachings through additional witnesses and provide moving accounts of the personal experiences many individuals had with Jesus Christ. According to Church apostle M. Russell Ballard, “The Book of Mormon does not dilute nor diminish nor deemphasize the Bible. On the contrary, it expands, extends, and exalts it.”
While Mormons do regard the Bible as scripture, there is a caveat: "As far as it is translated correctly." (Second Article of Faith) However, there is good scholarship proving, time and again, that the Bible is translated correctly. The other Mormons scriptures often contradict the Bible and each other, not to mention the plethora of issues with the Book of Mormon that make is historicity and authenticity highly suspect at best.
It would help if the Book of Mormon did not have issues such as anachronisms, contradictions with the Old Testament Law and practices, evidences of 19th century origin, being written in King James English when that was not spoken at that time, no definite historical setting or archeological support, etc.
2 Chronicles 2:1-5). Latter-day Saint temples are likewise considered houses of the Lord by Church members.
To Latter-day Saints, temples are sacred buildings in which they are taught about the central role of Christ in God’s plan of salvation and their personal relationship with God.
In temples, members of the Church make covenants with God to live a virtuous and faithful life. They also offer sacraments on behalf of their deceased ancestors.
Mormon temples are also used to perform marriage ceremonies that promise the faithful eternal life with their families. For members of the Church family is of central importance.
Temples (plural) did not exist throughout Biblical times. There was only one temple, which began as the tabernacle, and it fulfilled a very, very specific set of purposes which were fulfilled in Jesus' atonement. This is also why it was destroyed within a generation of Jesus' atonement, as Jesus prophesied--it was no longer needed. Marriage, endowments, and ordinances for the dead never took place in the Biblical temple. Mormons spend billions on these lavish temples, and the ordinances done with in can be kept quite secret, with the excuse that they are "sacred"--which is rather strange, because normally sacred things are shared and celebrated and taught, even if their access is restricted, such as the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament. The fact that Mormon endowment rituals closely resemble Masonic rituals is lost on most Mormons.
apostles constitute the First Presidency (consisting of the president or prophet of the Church and his two counselors), and, together with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, they have responsibility for leading the Church worldwide and serving as special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each is accepted by Church members in a prophetic role corresponding to the apostles in the Bible.
It would help if their first prophets were true prophets. There are many documented false prophecies, most of which can be found in D&C or in the History of the Church volumes and the Journal of Discourses--all written/recorded by Mormons and approved by "prophets." The current prophets do not prophesy, they just lead the church, more as businessmen and spokesmen than anything else.
Revelation, in its broad meaning, is divine guidance or inspiration; it is the communication of truth and knowledge from God to His children on earth, suited to their language and understanding. It simply means to uncover something not yet known. The Bible illustrates different types of revelation, ranging from dramatic visions to gentle feelings — from the “burning bush” to the “still, small voice.” Mormons generally believe that divine guidance comes quietly, taking the form of impressions, thoughts and feelings carried by the Spirit of God.
Most often, revelation unfolds as an ongoing, prayerful dialogue with God: A problem arises, its dimensions are studied out, a question is asked, and if we have sufficient faith, God leads us to answers, either partial or full. Though ultimately a spiritual experience, revelation also requires careful thought. God does not simply hand down information. He expects us to figure things out through prayerful searching and sound thinking.
The First Presidency (consisting of the president or prophet of the Church and his two counselors) and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles receive inspiration to guide the Church as a whole. Individuals are also inspired with revelation regarding how to conduct their lives and help serve others.
There is little "revelation" that has come forth in quite a while, and most of it seems rather uninspired when examined. For instance, blacks were allowed the priesthood in 1978. The fact that civil rights pressure and expansion of the church (and building of temples) in countries where there are many citizens of color seems to have played quite a role in this "revelation."
Galatians 3:28). In the family, a wife and a husband form an equal partnership in leading and raising a family.
From the beginning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints women have played an integral role in the work of the Church. While worthy men hold the priesthood, worthy women serve as leaders, counselors, missionaries, teachers, and in many other responsibilities— they routinely preach from the pulpit and lead congregational prayers in worship services. They serve both in the Church and in their local communities and contribute to the world as leaders in a variety of professions. Their vital and unique contribution to raising children is considered an important responsibility and a special privilege of equal importance to priesthood responsibilities.
This is quite a deceptive answer. The real answer should be no. Women lead the women's organizations under the leadership of the men. Women cannot fulfill many, many leadership roles outside of that. Their "preaching from the pulpit" are the same assigned talks that any member can be asked to give. The authority of men--the priesthood--is ultimate in the church, and the women are subject to it. While it is not wrong to choose to have men only fulfill certain leadership positions on theological grounds (such as complementarian Christians do; I am one), the Mormon church has overstepped this to a chauvinistic level at times, restricting women even from giving a blessing of healing to their own children and such, even though the Bible does not restrict the spiritual gift of healing--and many other spiritual gifts that Mormons restrict to male priesthood authority--from women. The big issue is really the Mormon priesthood, which is not a biblical priesthood, but which Mormons put complete trust in and give all authority to.
Romans 8:16-17). Through following Christ's teachings, Latter-day Saints believe all people can become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).
This wishy-washy answer is actually outright deception. Prophets beginning with Joseph Smith and advancing all the way through Gordon B. Hinkley, and perhaps even the current prophet Thomas S. Monson, have espoused the doctrine of eternal progression from the pulpit, which says that God was once a man and that people can become Gods. Joseph Smith introduced this doctrine in his King Follett discourse, and most Mormons who have been in the church for long enough believe it. When Mormons says that they believe that God wants us to become like Him, it is meant literally, although not all Mormons--especially new converts--realize exactly what they are saying. The doctrine is in their scripture, however. D&C 132 speaks of people becoming gods.
Romans 8:16-17). The Church does not and has never purported to fully understand the specifics of Christ’s statement that “in my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2).
Yes, they do. Their prophets have taught it, and it is a logical outgrowth of their eternal progression doctrines and their idea that God lives near a start called Kolob, according to their scriptures (Book of Abraham). Many Mormons, believing that God is an exalted man and that we are His literal spirit children and that He organized this planet for us (also in the Book of Abraham), believe we too can be exalted and have our own spirit children and planets/galaxies/universes. They even sing about this stuff, such as in the song "If You Could Hie to Kolob." I believe that is Hymn 284.
Biblical scripture contains many references to the wearing of special garments. In the Old Testament the Israelites are specifically instructed to turn their garments into personal reminders of their covenants with God (see Numbers 15:37-41). Indeed, for some, religious clothing has always been an important part of integrating worship with daily living. Such practices resonate with Latter-day Saints today.
Because of the personal and religious nature of the temple garment, the Church asks all media to report on the subject with respect, treating Latter-day Saint temple garments as they would religious vestments of other faiths. Ridiculing or making light of sacred clothing is highly offensive to Latter-day Saints.
The temple garments are also thought to be protective. They have masonic symbols stitched into them--I think two symbols on the top, over the breast, very small and discreet but definitely there. I never wore them myself, by I did my family's laundry, and my parents wore them, so I grew up seeing them. The garment has evolved with society and cultural standards. They once went to wrists and ankles, but now resemble boxers and a t-shirt. They are supposed to be a reminder of the endowment covenants in the temple.
strictly prohibited in the Church. The general standard of marriage in the Church has always been monogamy, as indicated in the Book of Mormon (see Jacob 2:27). For periods in the Bible polygamy was practiced by the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, as well as kings David and Solomon. It was again practiced by a minority of Latter-day Saints in the early years of the Church. Polygamy was officially discontinued in 1890 — 122 years ago. Those who practice polygamy today have nothing whatsoever to do with the Church.
Well, not one of them is supposed to be a polygamist according to the standards of the mainstream church. Some do, though they often end up in one of the fundamentalist sects after becoming polygamists. The command for polygamy still exists in their scriptures, however, in D&C 132. Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets practiced it, and it was a requirement for exaltation for quite a while, as Brigham Young pointed out more than once. It was given up due to social pressure. The sects that still practice it follow the examples and teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young closer than mainstream Mormons do. It is still practiced spiritually, in that men may be sealed to more than one woman (such as in case of the death of a first wife and remarriage) but women cannot be sealed to more than one man.
2 Nephi 26:33). This is the Church’s official teaching.
People of all races have always been welcomed and baptized into the Church since its beginning. In fact, by the end of his life in 1844 Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opposed slavery. During this time some black males were ordained to the priesthood. At some point the Church stopped ordaining male members of African descent, although there were a few exceptions. It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but it has ended. Church leaders sought divine guidance regarding the issue and more than three decades ago extended the priesthood to all worthy male members. The Church immediately began ordaining members to priesthood offices wherever they attended throughout the world.
The Church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church. In 2006, then Church president Gordon B. Hinckley declared that “no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.”
Joseph Smith flip-flopped on the issue of abolitionism. He embraced it purely for his presidential campaign. Brigham Young and subsequent prophets were very racist, as their documented statements in the church-published Journal of Discourses bears witness to. That is precisely where the restrictions on blacks holding the priesthood came from--Brigham Young went so far as to declare it as doctrine that no blacks would receive the priesthood until all white races did. The Book of Mormon also makes is clear that dark skin is a curse. The above verse from the Book of Mormon is probably just Joseph Smith paraphrase of Galtatians 3:28, and does not really reflect the rest of the Book of Mormon which, while not outright racist, does have some white supremacist overtones because of dark skin being a curse and white skin being preferable.
Although its still really weird to think of Missouri as the Garden of Eden...not to mention, the fact that the New Jerusalem is supposedly going to be there. Particularly since the Bible clearly mentions the Euphrates river when describing the general location of the Garden of Eden--and that, for those who don't know, is most definitely not in Missouri.
John 3:5). For those who have passed on without the ordinance of baptism, proxy baptism for the deceased is a free will offering. According to Church doctrine, a departed soul in the afterlife is completely free to accept or reject such a baptism — the offering is freely given and must be freely received. The ordinance does not force deceased persons to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or “Mormons,” nor does the Church list deceased persons as members of the Church. In short, there is no change in the religion or heritage of the recipient or of the recipient's descendants — the notion of coerced conversion is utterly contrary to Church doctrine.
Of course, proxy baptism for the deceased is nothing new. It was mentioned by Paul in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 15:29) and was practiced by groups of early Christians. As part of a restoration of New
Testament Christianity, Latter-day Saints continue this practice. All Church members are instructed to perform proxy baptism only for their own deceased relatives as an offering of familial love to one’s ancestors — any other practice is not sanctioned by the Church.
Physical water baptism is not a requirement for salvation, only faith is. Mormons would do well to take a very close, long, careful reading of all of John 3, not to mention other New Testament passages on the requirements of salvation. Baptism by the Spirit is a requirement, but that comes automatically when one is saved by grace through faith. Water baptism is no more than a symbol--one that shouldn't be neglected, but still a symbol just like communion/sacrament. Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that there isn't a second chance after death (Hebrews 9:27). There is no proof that early Christians practiced baptisms for the dead, or that it was condoned by Paul when he mentioned it, particularly since he refers to those who do it as "they," when he usually says "we" when talking about Christians. He merely mentioned it to support his arguments for resurrection; it would not have been the only time that he used non-Christian beliefs, practices, or sayings to prove his point.
health code for Latter-day Saints is based on a teaching regarding foods that are healthy and substances that are not good for the human body. Accordingly, alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee and illegal drugs are forbidden. A 14-year UCLA study, completed in 1997, tracked mortality rates and health practices of 10,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California, indicating that Church members who adhered to the health code had one of the lowest death rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease in the United States. It also found that Church members who followed the code had a life expectancy eight to 11 years longer than the general white population of the United States.
While Mormons may be physically healthy because of their Word of Wisdom, there are many other problems that the Word of Wisdom does not fix. Utah, with its high concentration of Mormons, is top in the nation for internet porn searches, teen/young adult suicide, anti-depressant use for women, boob jobs, and some kinds of financial fraud, among other things.
I also want to address a picture that accompanied the FAQs:
Mormons might be the most "knowledgeable" as far as some basic scripture trivia goes just because they teach the same lessons on it over and over and over again, but next to someone who has actually studied the Bible, their theological and biblical knowledge is quite lacking. I did not know much of the Bible when I was a Mormon, and though I'd read the whole New Testament, much of the epistles were incomprehensible to me because they taught the opposite of many Mormon teachings. I was not unusual amongst Mormons. Most Mormons have never read their whole Bible, more or less the whole New Testament, through. Its far more likely for them to have read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, even multiple times.
While Mormons are family-focused, they do so to the point of idolatry, often putting forever-family first even over God. So while their family values are good, their motives behind it are misplaced.
Mormons have a giving faith precisely because they are required to give in order to go to the temple, and they have to go to the temple in order to get a forever-family and exaltation. Donations go almost exclusively to the church, and the church does not disclose its finances in countries where it is not required to do so. However, what they have released is very telling. They've spent more on a single mall in Salt Lake city than they have on charity in 25 years. So yes, Mormons give...to Mormons.
Furthermore, while the Mormon church claims over 14 million members, statistics show that it is probably less than half this number in reality, as there is no more than a 50% retaining rate for new converts. However, despite half or more of new converts ceasing attendance within a year, those converts are still claimed as membership. Not all of the active membership would be "temple-worthy," either. At best, there's probably less than 5 million active and temple-worthy Mormons. And despite more membership being outside of the U.S. than inside, it is still a very American faith. It is run in America, mostly by Americans, and America is the central focus of the Book of Mormon and of the future restoration of the 10 tribes and the gathering of the New Jerusalem, according to their scriptures.
So there you have it. My take on the FAQs and representations the Mormon church is trying to present to the public to make themselves appear acceptable and desirable. I'm just not buying it.