We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Monday, November 26, 2012

Are Non-Mormons Considered Christians by the LDS?


Mormons are always complaining about real Christians saying that Mormons are NOT Christians.  The charge is usually that we are attacking them and that they never attack us - that they don’t denounce us as non-Christian.  Of course, anyone who dares challenge the Mormon faith is immediately labeled an “anti-Mormon,” but if they challenge the Christian they certainly don’t want to be called “anti-Christian”!  It’s all part of their victimology; the claim that they have been persecuted.

Which brings us to a recent article by the LDS apologetic group, FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research), which doesn’t hesitate to call “anti-Mormons” non-Christians.  Notice that they abuse the Scripture to support their position (which is normal for any position in the LDS).

But note what they claim in this article:  “Never mind that there is no book or pamphlet published by the Church that attacks, denigrates, undermines or belittles the beliefs of any other church....”

Well, what is the truth?  Ironically this very article states that “anti-Mormons” are not Christians.  The fact is, that from the very founding of the Mormon faith the true Christian church has been attacked by Mormon leaders.

Joseph Smith’s story of the “First Vision” is in every copy of the Mormon “scripture,” The Pearl of Great Price.  This book is usually found bound together with the Doctrine and Covenants, and every Mormon has a copy.  In fact, the “First Vision” is part of the primary beginning teaching of the LDS; it is foundational to all their other beliefs.  Here is what Smith claimed took place:
“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join.  No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) - and which I should join.”

Now, just prior to this passage Smith states that two personages stood before him and were identified as God the Father and Jesus Christ, with “God” telling Smith to listen to his son.  Smith wanted to know which sect of Christianity was correct, so as to be able to join them.  Now, the sects of Christianity at that time would have been every mainline denomination, as well as numerous break-off assemblies (albeit not as many as there are currently).  So Smith says he wants to know which one is correct.  Here is the response given by Smith’s “Christ”:
“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.’”

Smith claims that he was told that God considered all the creeds of Christianity to be abominations, meaning the sects themselves would be abominations; all sects of Christianity were “wrong.”  Smith stated that he was told that all who were members of such sects (professors) where themselves corrupt.

This is the first thing Mormons teach - that according to God, all Christians who are not Mormons are corrupt and members of abominable sects; yet FAIR said nothing like this was in any LDS publication!

For over 100 years the LDS temple ceremony presented Christian pastors as agents of Satan, and yet FAIR has the audacity to make the statement cited above!  

Well, let’s look at some more teaching of the LDS, which are indeed in books published by the LDS:

“After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth.  They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon.  The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organization, have one common origin.  They all belong to Babylon.”  George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, 2:56.

“The Roman Catholic, Greek, and Protestant church is the great corrupt ecclesiastic power, represented by great Babylon which has made all nations drunk with her wickedness... Great, and fearful, and most terrible judgments are decreed upon these corrupt powers, the nations of modern Christendom; for strong is the Lord God who shall execute His fierce wrath upon them, and He will not cease until He has made a full end, and until their names be blotted out from under heaven.”  Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 6, pp.84-85.

“The gates of hell have prevailed and will continue to prevail over the Catholic mother of harlots, and over all her Protestant daughters...”  Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 3, p.44

“The people called Christians are shrouded in ignorance, and read the Scriptures with darkened understandings.”  Brigham Young, October 8, 1859, Journal of Discourses, 7:333.

“Should you ask why we differ from other Christians, as they are called, it is simply because they are not Christians as the New Testament defines Christianity.”  Brigham Young, July 8, 1863, Journal of Discourses, 10:230

“What does the Christian world know about God?  Nothing; yet these very men assume the right and power to tell others what they shall not believe in.  Why so far as the things  of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God.”  John Taylor, 3rd LDS President, The Gospel Kingdom, p.75.

“There are a good many people who profess to be Christians, but they are not founded on the foundations that Jesus Christ himself has laid.”  Joseph F. Smith, 6th LDS President, November 2, 1891 [Stake conference message], Collected Discourses, 2:305.

“That portion of the world in which so-called Christianity prevails - as distinguished from heathen or Mohammedan lands - is called Christendom.  The term applies to the whole body of supposed Christian believers; as now constituted this body is properly termed apostate Christianity.”  Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p.131

“And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ whom they suppose to be a spirit essence who is incorporeal uncreated, immaterial and three-in-one with the Father and Holy Spirit.”
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p.269

“The whole Christian world, in the days of the Prophet, believed falsely that God was a mystical spirit essence that filled the immensity of space and was everywhere and nowhere in particular present - all of which proved only that they were all heretics, that the apostasy was universal.  Heresy is false doctrine... There is no salvation in a false doctrine.”  Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p.352 (ellipses mine)

“False creeds make false churches.  There is no salvation in believing a lie.  Every informed, inspired, and discerning person is revolted by the absurdities and scripture-defying pronouncements in the creeds of Christendom, whose chief function is to define and set forth the nature and kind of being that God is.”  Bruce McConkie, The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 1:30, footnote 2.

“Wherever creeds are found one can also expect to find a paid clergy, the simple truths of the gospel cloaked in the dark robes of mystery, religious intolerance, and a history of bloodshed.”  BYU Professor Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig Ostler, Revelations of the Restoration, p. 964


I could fill a couple more pages of quotes from LDS leaders, all condescending to the true Christian faith, but I think this should suffice to demonstrate that the LDS has historically attacked the Christian faith.  And yet Mormons will continue to claim they never do so.

The bottom line is that it is not “anti-Mormon” to expose the LDS for the fraudulent belief system that it is.  It is not “un-Christian” to expose lies and falsehoods pretending to represent true Christianity.  Nor is it “hate” or “bigotry” to state that Mormons are not Christian. 

6 comments:

Neil said...

Great summary -- they love to market themselves as just another Christian denomination but that is a lie.

Connor Carpenter said...

From what I've been taught in the Mormon church, a Christian is anyone who believes in and follows Jesus Christ. We believe we are the only completely true brand of Christianity, because Jesus Christ himself appeared to Joseph Smith and said that. However, I've never heard in my experience in the Church that those of mainstream Christianity should be denied their title of Christianity.

We reconcile the many outdated quotes that you presented (most from the 1800s century, some from early 1900s) by understanding the relationship early Mormons had with mainstream Christians. These WERE NOT late 20th century Christians. No matter how misplaced the persecution complex of Mormons today, they had good reason to feel that way 200 years ago! It's easy to find the facts about how Mormons were driven from their homes and victimized then, often in the name of religion.

Mormons and Christians alike have problems generalizing a group as a result of the actions/words of individuals. Even the Mormon Prophet/Apostles is subject to this. As Mormons, we don't believe the words of one Prophet or one Apostle alone defines our beliefs. We believe only in that which is corroborated many times by our leaders. It's easy to paint a hateful picture of Mormonism, and Christianity, by picking and choosing leaders' quotes. We should all try to avoid that.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Conner,

The problem is that the LDS believes in and follows a different Christ than who is defined in the Bible. I have posted information about this difference in previous articles. Which makes the LDS a false “brand” of Christianity.

Whether or not you have heard that we Christians are not real Christians is irrelevant to the facts.

You marginalize the citations by claiming they are old. But the very first citation is by Joseph Smith, making claims about what he was told by Jesus Christ. He claimed that Christ said ALL of our creeds were corrupt and that ALL of the churches were wrong. Now, we have the exact same creeds and the exact same denominations as during his time. You can say that is old stuff, but Joseph Smith is the foundation of your faith, and if you discount what he said, then you are being inconsistent. That tale of Smith’s is in every POGP, as I stated, and every Mormon has a copy.

The first point for me is that FAIR made a claim that the LDS have never in any publication made statements “that attacks, denigrates, undermines or belittles the beliefs of any other church...” I proved that this statement is a lie.

To say that these statements were dealing with “mainstream” Christians of the 1800s and not “late 20th Century” Christians is very, very disingenuous. We are the same Christians now as we were then - same beliefs, same creeds, etc.

I am very, very familiar with all of the LDS history, and the claims of being “victimized.” Don’t get me started there.

You say that you “don't believe the words of one Prophet or one Apostle alone defines our beliefs”. Mormons are intellectually dishonest. You claim these men were prophets of God; these men (Brigham Young, e.g.) stated they got their teachings from God. Yet you decide that these older prophets are not to be accepted as for what the LDS faith believes because your god changes his mind and you are to only listen to the modern prophets. Your teachings are like trying to stick Jello on the wall; they change at the whim of keeping up with the culture: receiving flak about racism?- new revelation gives blacks the priesthood; receiving flak about polygamy - new revelation to remove it from the church; receiving flak about temple ceremonies denigrating Christian pastors - new revelation removing it from the ceremony. Every one of these examples were originally revealed from your god as something which was to be eternal. You god cannot make up his mind, and is always trying to please the culture around you.

It it not a “hateful picture” to paint the truth. Truth only sounds like hate to those who hate the truth. What I painted in this article was the consistent teaching of the LDS church, which is still published by the LDS (contrary to claims by FAIR). It is not “picking and choosing.”

Connor Carpenter said...

Totally understand how you came to believe Mormonism is not Christianity. That's fine and reasonable. I don't believe my faith is part of Christianity as secular historians or Christians themselves would define it (although I like to think of myself as a Christian, using my own definition of the word)

Ask Mormons if every word uttered from the mouth of Joseph Smith was objectively true, unaltered Scripture, directly from God. The majority of Mormons will disagree with this. That's because we've had around 200 years of dealing with the fact that leaders have said some pretty crazy stuff. Brigham Young taught Blood Atonement and that Adam was God. But the Church has come out to say that those teachings weren't true.

I personally think it's pretty reasonable to believe in a Church lead by humans that don't always know whats going on. That God would allow them to use and misuse their own faculties to arrive at truth. The fact is, if God came down and spoke all truth to us clearly and perfectly... there wouldn't be any reason to be here. It would be impossible to exercise our faith towards good or evil, so compelling a case that God would give. That's why He allows imperfection in our Prophets, today, and since the beginning.

I can see how that could seem intellectually dishonest. Like all truth, it depends on how you look at it.

The point of my reply was that many leaders, Joseph Smith included, probably resented and blamed Christians for the persecution they experienced. That could have colored their teachings in a way contrary to the inspiration they received.

You say that our God cannot make up His mind. I say that occasionally, Mormon leaders have difficulty in correctly discerning the inspiration that the Holy Spirit places in their heart. Any Christian should be able to sympathize with getting inspiration and emotion mixed up.

My purpose in replying was to answer your question "Are Non-Mormons Considered Christians by the LDS". I inferred from this question that you were asking whether the LDS members, of this day, believe Non-Mormons can be Christian. I've only been Mormon for 22 years, but I can confidently state with my heart and soul, that YES, we believe that people of other religions can be true followers of Jesus Christ. I consider them my brothers and sisters in the faith. That's what I've been taught all my life.

Now, if you want the answer to whether Non Mormons are Considered Christian by EARLY CHURCH LEADERS... yeah, you'll probably receive a different answer.

And yeah, I won't defend them, it seems like FAIR is full of it in their statements.

P.S. I apologize for including the phrase "paint a hateful picture". I understand how that could be read as inferring that you, Glenn, were being hateful. That was not my intention. I, as I would guess many early Church leaders did, have a problem getting what I actually mean into words.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Conner,
I’m not interested in how secular historians would define Christianity, or even how religious historians would define it (especially since most would call Catholicism orthodox Christianity). I’m interested only in how the Bible defines it. The LDS Christ is to the Biblical Christ as a dandelion is to a rose. They are not the same.

Let’s see if I understand you. If Joseph Smith said that he got revelations from God, you would sift the claim through 180 years of historical insights? And therefore you might not accept everything he said in that regard as being objectively true? If this is the case, then how do you determine which of his revelatory claims is true or false?

The LDS claim is that God DID come “down and spoke all truth to us clearly and perfectly” in regards to what he told Smith at the “First Vision.” So then by your own statement, there is now no longer a reason for us to be here.

Brigham Young stated that he got his revelations about Blood Atonement and the Adam-God doctrine directly from God. If he “misunderstood” what God was saying, why didn’t God correct him?

“That's why He allows imperfection in our Prophets, today, and since the beginning.”
I challenge you to show me from the Bible where a prophet declared a revelation from God but a later “prophet” said he was mistaken. If God has a message, a teaching, for people, he doesn’t allow imperfection to infest the original message. People may twist God’s words later, but the words themselves still stand. You would have us believe that BY just misunderstood God and God allowed the misunderstanding to remain while many people were murdered under the Blood Atonement doctrine.

When Smith had his “First Vision” where he was told all other Christian creeds and denominations were abominations and corrupt, Smith had not previously had any persecution. To claim it was persecution that these comments were directed at, and that they were only directed at the specific Christians doing the persecution, is to twist such statements completely out of their context!

If I smack someone up the side of the head and they hit me back, can I claim persecution by the one who hit me? That is what 90% of LDS claims of persecution are. Smith would start troubles and when he was treated harshly for the troubles he caused, the cry would be “persecution.” I don’t want to take this subject any farther because that is not the topic of this post, but I just wanted to make that point against your claim that the statements against Christians had to do with persecution.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Conner, part two:

”I say that occasionally, Mormon leaders have difficulty in correctly discerning the inspiration that the Holy Spirit places in their heart. Any Christian should be able to sympathize with getting inspiration and emotion mixed up.”
So you are saying that the revelation that polygamy was to be eternal and yet later it was called to a halt (although D&C 132 still makes it binding), that was not because God was fickle but rather Smith and company didn’t properly discern God? Are you saying that all the revelations and teachings about blacks being cursed and not being able to hold the priesthood until all eligible whites had it, and then the new revelation of God changing his mind and allowing blacks to hold the priesthood wasn’t because God was fickle and changed his mind but because Smith, Young, et al didn’t properly discern God? Are you saying that temple rituals which Smith received from God and which were to be eternal, and yet were later changed because of political correctness, wasn’t because God changed his mind but rather that Smith and his followers all didn’t properly discern what God told them?

Have you looked at my list of prophecies by Smith which never came true? Were these because Smith misunderstood God?

If non-Mormons today think Christians are already “Christian,” they why do they find the need to proselytize them to the LDS faith? If they are already true Christians, then why try to convert them?

And, by the way, I’ve never met a single Christian who was hateful towards Mormons.