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A Christian Look at the Mormon (LDS) Faith September 15, 2013 By David Skarshaug 1.

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Presentation on theme: "A Christian Look at the Mormon (LDS) Faith September 15, 2013 By David Skarshaug 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Christian Look at the Mormon (LDS) Faith September 15, 2013 By David Skarshaug 1

2 A Snapshot of Mormonism The Mormon Religion is a Mission Religion & has grown rapidly From 1831 – 1947 (6 people to 1 Million) From 1947 – 1983 (1 Million to 3 Million) From 1983 – Present (3 Million to nearly 15 Million) Growth has leveled recently, & modern Mormons may/may not know their history The Mormon Religion has evolved & is evolving From their start until very recently, they prided themselves in NOT being Christian or “Sectarian” (what they call the Christian churches/denominations) Their modern marketing strategy is to sell themselves as a branch of Christianity 2

3 A Snapshot of Mormonism Mormonism is either a Cult or a Religion (depending how you look at it) To older Mormons, it is VERY DIFFERENT from Christianity To younger Mormons, they might view it as Christian Mormonism is less than 200 years old but it is a family-oriented faith Many families are 5 th and 6 th generation Mormons Many can trace their ancestry back to Joseph Smith & Brigham Young To leave the Mormon faith is to leave your family, ancestors, & risk “outer darkness” 3

4 Why Look at the Mormon (LDS) Faith The Mormon/LDS Church (in huge contrast to the AALC/LCMS) is among the wealthiest & fastest growing organizations in the world. There are about 14 million Mormons, they dominate the state of Utah in nearly every regard, they own/operate banks, universities, hotel chains, etc. They have 165 divisions. Nearly all of us know or will know Mormons or have Mormon friends. Most Mormons claim to be Christian, and many Christians take them at their word. Many things about Mormons are attractive to Christians: they appear sincere, religious, clean (free of vices), conservative, family-oriented, patriotic, model citizens…basically nice people. They are the largest sponsor of Boy Scouts in the US (17,000 troops). Mormons are a Mission people, who seek to convert all people to their faith. 4

5 Why Look at the Mormon (LDS) Faith The Mormon/LDS Church is NOT Christian; It is either a Cult or a different religion from Christianity. The Mormon/LDS Church does not accept Christian Churches as the true church. They teach that all churches outside of the Mormon Church are apostate (false). While selling themselves as “Christian” by using Christian phrases (which mean different things to Mormons) and side-stepping their controversial history & teachings, Mormons deny virtually every basic tenant of historic Christian teaching. 5

6 Things Mormons say that sound “good”. “Christ is our Redeemer and our Savior. Except for him there would be no salvation and no redemption, and unless men come unto him and accept him as their Savior, they cannot have eternal life in his presence.” (Sounds good until you understand what they mean by terms in red.) Mormons freely use “Christian” terms like God, Jesus Christ, grace, virgin birth, salvation, heaven & hell, scripture, the Bible, born again, the Aaronic priesthood, the priesthood of Melchizedek, etc. 6

7 Why Look at the Mormon (LDS) Faith Mormons teach their children (4 yrs of formal daily “seminary”), 2 yrs of mission work, to aggressively convert strangers and “friends” like you & me. Seventy-five percent of converts to Mormonism come from protestant churches. The Mormon Church is large, well financed (biggest financial institution west of the Mississippi River), well-connected, and increasingly accepted by Christian leaders who should know better.Christian leaders who should know better The Mormon Church is a dangerous organization that is actively leading people to an eternal separation from God. Still, Mormons--like all of us--are people God loves who need to be directed to the Biblical Jesus Christ. 7

8 Why Look at the Mormon (LDS) Faith As Christians, we need to know the truth about Mormon Beliefs. We need to recognize false teachings when we see them, and we need to recognize when our faith is under attack. We need to be prepared to defend our faith when it is attacked by Mormons (this is what they are doing when they ask you pointed questions about your faith). We need to be prepared to share the truth with Mormons about the true Christian faith. Now, let’s watch part 1 of a video that discusses more of this.part 1 of a video 8

9 What is Authoritative? Mormons Claim Scriptures: (1) The (King James) Bible, as correctly translated*, (2) The Book of Mormon, (3) Doctrines & Covenants, (4) The Pearl of Great Price (includes The Book of Abraham) Their Prophets (past and present), so revelation is seen as evolving Your testimony via “A Burning in the Bosom” that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet The Truth God’s Word, as written in the Bible All things taught are compared to God’s Word 9

10 Who is God? Mormons Claim God (Elohim) is one of many Gods. He was born of other Gods, lived as a man, and became a God himself He lives on a planet that circles the star “Kolab” He is sovereign over the Earth (his planet) as other Gods are sovereign over their planets We can become Gods/Goddesses also 10

11 Who is God? The Truth God (the triune Godhead) has existed for all eternity In the “beginning” God created all things God is sovereign over all things There are no other Gods (nor will there be)…period “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. -- Isaiah 43:10 “This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. – Isaiah 44:6 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, -- Isaiah 45:5 11

12 Who is Jesus? Mormons Claim Jesus is the Old Testament “Jehovah” and also the first spirit child of Elohim, who made a special earthly appearance to physically impregnate the “Virgin” (they believe she was virgin only up to this point) Mary to create the baby Jesus. Jesus is the “spirit brother” of us, one of many children of God Lucifer (Satan) is another “spirit brother” These “spirit children” were born of God (Elohim) and his wives in order to populate the earth Jesus became a God because of his good works on earth (including his marriage) 12

13 Who is Jesus? The Truth Jesus is the only begotten son of God (John 3:16) Jesus is God In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:28 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. -- Romans 9:5 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, -- Colossians 2:9 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, -- Titus 2:13 Jesus, together with God, & the Holy Spirit have existed forever 13

14 What is the Trinity? Mormons Reject the concept of the Trinity, claiming (correctly) that the word “Trinity” never appears in the Bible They view God, Jesus, & the Holy Spirit as three Gods of this world. Hence, in a sense they are “Tri-theistic” Technically, Mormons are “henotheistic”, that is, worshipping a primary God (Elohim), while accepting the existence of many gods. Still others, argue Mormons are the most crazy polytheistic religion in existence, in that they believe there are an ever-increasing number of Gods, and they themselves are hoping to become Gods that will populate planets and be prayed to by their own spirit children offspring. 14

15 What is the Trinity? The Truth: The Trinity is a device used to explain 3 persons exist in 1 God GOD is ONE: As we’ve seen, the O.T. clearly says there is one God (Isaiah 43, 44, 45, etc.) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. – Deut. 6:4 The Father is God: John 3:16 show us that God is Jesus’ Father The Son is God: As we’ve seen in previous slide, Jesus was identified as God also The Holy Spirit is God Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” – Acts 5:3-4 God refers to himself in plural form (Gen. 1) and Jesus calls for trinitarian baptismal formula Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, -- Genesis 1:26a Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, -- Matthew 28:19 15

16 How do we obtain Eternal Life? Mormons Claim Mormons hold to the “Law/Plan of Eternal Progression” (will go over in detail on slide 20) They believe in numerous eternal destinations Upon death, folks go to 1 of 2 holding places: (1) spirit paradise & (2) spirit prison To get to Spirit Paradise, you need the “4 Fundamentals of the Gospel” Faith Repentance Baptism by Immersion (by someone holding the Aaronic Priesthood) or Baptism of Dead* Laying on of Hands (by someone holding the Melchizedek Priesthood)* To get to Spirit Paradise, you also need Continued Obedience to the “Gospel Rules & Principles” The rest of us go to Spirit Prison Most of us await judgment Those who have never had a chance to believe are witnessed to by Mormon Missionaries from Spirit Paradise (opportunity to have faith & repent, & receive Baptism & Hands while dead) 16

17 How do we obtain Eternal Life? Mormons Claim There are 3 Heavenly Kingdoms, derived from Joseph Smith’s peculiar interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:40-41: There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. – 1 Cor. 15:40-41 (KJV) For clarification, Paul was addressing a question posed about what kind of bodies people will have in heaven. He’s saying the sun, moon & stars are all glorious in their own way, and like wise our resurrected bodies will be different from our earthly bodies. 17

18 How do we obtain Eternal Life? Mormons Also use Paul’s words in 2 Cor. as “proof” of 3 levels of heaven: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. – 2 Cor. 12:2 Again, for clarification, folks in Paul’s time understood there to be 3 levels of heaven: our atmosphere, outside the earth’s atmosphere, and God’s abode. So Paul was not dividing God’s heaven into 3 parts, but rather explaining things in the understanding of his day. 18

19 How do we obtain Eternal Life? Mormons Claim Upon Christ’s return & Millennial Reign, there is the judgment… Mormons in Spirit Paradise proceed to God’s presence in the top of the 3 levels (or Kingdoms) of heaven: the Celestial Level (the sun level) Within the Celestial level, the top level is reserved for perfect Mormons who are destined to become Gods & Godesses & populate their own planet with spirit children for all eternity “Good” non-Mormons go to the 2 nd level: Terrestrial Kingdom (the moon level) Bad folks go to the 3 rd level: the Telestial Kingdom (the stars level) The worst eternal location to a Mormon is hell or “the outer darkness” reserved for Satan, Demons, and Mormons who leave the church. Hell is not eternal for most people, but a temporary purgatory. 19

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21 How do we obtain Eternal Life? The Truth There are two eternal destinations determined by the relationship you do or don’t develop with Christ during your one earthly life. Name them. Believe in Jesus Christ & Receive Him as Your Personal Savior For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. -- Eph. 2:8-9 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” -- John 6:28-29 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:43 21

22 Who controls entry to Heavenly Kingdom? Mormons say Joseph Smith They say the true church became apostate shortly after Jesus’ death (the “Great Aposty”) Joseph Smith “Restored” the true church 1800 years later and possesses the keys to heaven “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam…Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latterday Saints never ran away from me yet.” -- Joseph Smith “Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come.” -- Doctrine & Covenants 90:3 “…that no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith.” -- Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses Vol. 7, p 289 22

23 Who controls entry to Heavenly Kingdom? The Truth says Jesus Christ “I (Jesus) will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” -- Matt. 16:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. – Matt. 28:18 23

24 But Mormons believe in Grace, right? The LDS says… “Grace consists of God’s gift to His children wherin He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosever would believe in Him and comply with His laws and ordinances would have everlasting life.” – Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp 353-354 The Bible Teaches… “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. – Romans 11:6 24

25 Grace is a proportional thing, right? The LDS says it’s in proportion to our works… “Grace is granted to men proportionately as they conform to the standards of personal righteousness that are part of the gospel plan. “ – Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 339 The Bible Teaches it is in proportion to our sin… The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, -- Romans 5:20 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. -- Romans 4:16 25

26 And Jesus seems to see love proportionally too… Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. – Luke 7:40-45 26

27 So Grace is sufficient when? The LDS says… “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you…” – Moroni 10:32, The Book of Mormon The Bible Teaches… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. -- Ephesians 2:8-9 27

28 What makes justification operative? The LDS says… “As with all other doctrines of Salvation, justification is available because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, but it becomes operative in the life of an individual only on conditions of personal righteousness” – McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 408 The Bible Teaches… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. –Romans 3:24 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, --Titus 3:5 28

29 Are you a “saved-by-grace-alone” fanatic? The LDS says… “Certain saved-by-grace-alone fanatics flatter their followers into believing they can be saved through no act other than confessing Christ with their lips.” – McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 287 The Bible Teaches… That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9 (written by Paul, the original “saved-by-grace-alone” fanatic) 29

30 What is the archaeological evidence? The Book of Mormon Tells of ancient peoples (Jaredites, Nephites, & Lamanites) in Americas Jeredites supposedly came to America around 2200B.C. after Tower of Babel & died off around 600 B.C. Israelites, led by Lehi, came to America around 600 B.C. Lehi’s clan split into two great peoples: The white-skinned Nephites who were good The Lamanites were cursed with dark-skin (descendants of American Indians) These 2 peoples received the resurrected Jesus Around 400 A.D. the Lamanites killed off all the Nephites No names, cities, civilizations, locations, languages, or artifacts have been validated Materials, plants, & animals listed in the book did not exist in the Americas DNA Evidence fails to link any Native Americans with semitic peoples. The Smithsonian, National Geographic, & even Many LDS Archaeologists confirm the lack of any archaeological or genetic evidence of these 30

31 What about the Prophecies of Joseph Smith? Joseph Smith revealed that there were inhabitants on the moon, who were tall and dressed like Quakers. Brigham Young followed this by saying there were settlers on the sun. Joseph Smith also prophesied that Jesus would return to the New Jerusalem (and corresponding temple) to be built near Independence, Missouri in the 1800’s. It was not. (Perhaps he had it confused with World’s of Fun.) Joseph Smith prophesied that Christ would return in his generation. 31

32 What about the Prophecies of Joseph Smith? Scripture tells us… If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 3:1-3 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. – Deut. 18:21-22 32

33 What about the Prophecies of Joseph Smith? Scripture tells us… But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! – Galatians 1:8 All this talk about angels appearing to people with another gospel, brings us to our next step concerning how Joseph Smith started the entire Mormon faith. Let’s watch part 2 of the video segment…part 2 of the video 33

34 What do Mormons need to have to leave Mormonism? (According to a former Mormon) 1. A reason to doubt the truth of Mormonism 2. A Reason to believe in the reliability of the Bible 3. A Knowledge of what the Bible teaches about God, Christ, & Salvation 34

35 Reasons to Doubt Mormonism 1. Joseph Smith was a false prophet 2. The false nature of The Book of Mormon 3. The changing teachings of the LDS 4. The contradictions with Scripture 35

36 Reasons to Believe the Bible 1. The consistency of manuscripts 2. Outside proofs like archaeology 3. Inside proofs like scripture 36

37 A Knowledge of What the Bible Teaches 1. God is one eternal, spiritual being 2. Man is a created being 3. Salvation by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone (The 3 Solas) 37

38 Six Reasons for Hope (Perspective of former Mormon) 1. My forgiveness comes BEFORE I do any good works. For 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. – 2 Nephi 25:23 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! – Romans 4:7-10 38

39 Six Reasons for Hope (Perspective of former Mormon) 2. I don’t have the ability to be perfect. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. – Rom. 7:18 If we claim ourselves and the truth to be without sin, we deceive is not in us. – 1 John 1:8 39

40 Six Reasons for Hope (Perspective of former Mormon) 3. Christ saved me as a sinner And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God. – Doctrine & Covenants 82:7 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:6-8 40

41 Six Reasons for Hope (Perspective of former Mormon) 4. True Freedom from sin in Jesus For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. -- Psalm 103:11-12 41

42 Six Reasons for Hope (Perspective of former Mormon) 5. Eternal security in Jesus In the Mormon faith, your eternal life is dependent on your works rather than Christ’s atonement I give them, eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:28 42

43 Six Reasons for Hope (Perspective of former Mormon) 6. Hope has new meaning in Christ “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. – John 5:24 43

44 Concluding Tips on witnessing to Mormons Witness in Love (BUT, avoid “Missionary Dating” where you try to convert a boyfriend or girlfriend) Know your stuff & their stuff, because they might* (Comment) They need reason to doubt Mormonism (& different Mormons will know different things) They need reason to believe Bible They need to understand the plan of salvation Have a plan (road map) of what you want to cover & stick to it Don’t assume common word meanings—be prepared to explain & back up with scripture Stick to the basics: God, Man, Jesus, Salvation Avoid insulting them with side issues (underwear, temple rituals, polygamy, etc.) Don’t get distracted by side issues they present – say, “I’ll get back to you on that” Remember it is a long (family) road from Mormonism to Christianity, so give it time 44

45 Resources --access to official LDS website. Note: this is a PRO-LDS site. -- Site written by LDS members who question church teachings. Gives both sides of controversial Mormon issues, including current summaries & details of “arguments” used by both sides. – Alpha & Omega Ministires, website for Dr. James White, Christian expert on LDS/Cults. 100 Verse memory system. -- Great listing of helpful videos, podasts, websites, etc. -- Lighthouse Ministry, Ministry site of Sandra & Jerald Tanner, former Mormons “Living Hope Ministries” Videos on YouTube – Excellent videos explaining problems with Mormon teachings. 45

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