04
Dec
09

Who Is Jesus?

 

     Signs of another rapidly approaching Christmas are all around us.  Therefore it is only appropriate to address the question of who is it whose birth we celebrate each Christmas.   As is the case with so many other teachings, Mormonism answers this uniquely. 

     After quoting the angel’s announcement of Christ’s birth to Mary as it is recorded in Luke 1:35, Gospel Principles goes on to say, “Thus, God the Father became the literal Father of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father.  That is why He is the called the Only Begotten Son.” (p.53)   Although Christians have frequently portrayed this LDS teaching crassly and wrongly, it still must be acknowledged that Mormonism and Christianity view Jesus’ conception very differently.  I know of no Christian church that would agree with the above quotation.

     Another answer that Mormonism gives to this question is that Jesus was “the great Jehovah of the Old Testament”.  I have always found this puzzling for a couple of reasons.  In the King James Version, “Jehovah” is consistently translated with LORD (all capitals).  And quite often it is found in the combination LORD God.  In the original Hebrew this is literally Jehovah Elohim.  This is interesting because Mormonism identifies Elohim as the Father.  Therefore, in Mormonism, LORD God translates into Son, Father – quite an awkward construction.  But what is even more striking is that often the LORD God speaks in the singular, not in the plural.  For example, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.  I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18)  Why would the Bible so frequently use LORD God as a description of one person when it is, according to Mormonism, two persons?

     But it gets even more complicated.  For example, the LDS Bible rightfully refers Isaiah 50 to the Messiah.  One of the things it states in its chapter heading is “Messiah shall have the tongue of the learned.”  That refers to verse 6 which states:  “The LORD God has given me the tongue of the learned.”  Again, if LORD (Jehovah) is Christ then this has Christ giving Christ the tongue of the learned.

     Or how does Mormonism handle Isaiah 45:21?  “who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.”  How does the Father fit into that verse? God here is again the Hebrew Elohim.  Therefore Jesus here is saying that he is Elohim.   And how could Jesus be God before coming to earth and receiving a body, since, according to Mormonism, having a physical body is essential for godhood?

     Who is Jesus? As can be seen, Mormonism answers that question quite differently from Christianity.  Although it is not usually meant in this way, it is true that Mormonism has a different Jesus than Christianity.

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116 Responses to “Who Is Jesus?”


  1. December 4, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Mark,

    I think you are aware, that the LDS teaching concering the conception of Christ, is something not often spoken of in most LDS sunday schools. Yes, the teacing is there in the writings of their leaders. I will say that I have met many LDS who do not believe that, or embrace that belief. Some are even very offended when you bring it up to them. I believe that the LDS church is trying to distance themselves from such controversial teachings, and thus it is rare to hear this spoken of much anymore in LDS circles and Sunday school classrooms. The reason, I believe is obvious.

    gloria

  2. December 4, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I don’t consider the mechanism of Christ’s conception to be theologically important in the least.

    Believe that God impregnated her magically, or physically. It all amounts to the same thing and I personally have a hard time caring one way or the other.

  3. 3 Andy
    December 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Seth doesn’t care either way – good/too bad for him. I’m glad that not all Mormons have the attitude that he does. There are Mormons out there that have NOT seared their conscience (1 Timothy 4:2) over to Joseph Smith’s gospel and his make-believe Jesus.

    The Mormon jesus is “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4) and their own leadership concurs with that statement. The Mormon jesus is the brother of Lucifer. The Bible says that Jesus created the angels and that includes Lucifer. He is not God, but rather “a God” – big difference. Mary was married to the Mormon god and thus procreation occurred between them as it does for human beings today. Mormonism teaches that Jesus was NOT begotten by the Holy Ghost (in direct conflict with Matthew 1:20). The Mormon jesus was born in Jerusalem (Alma 7:10). The Jesus of the Bible was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1). The Mormon jesus was a polygamist just like the Mormon god who lives near Kolob, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, etc. (Documentation and references available for anyone that is interested)

    Here is what Mormonism has to say regarding those that want a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ:

    “There are yet others who have an excessive zeal that causes them to go beyond the mark. Their desire for excellence is inordinate. In an effort to be truer than true they devote themselves to gaining a SPECIAL, PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST that is both IMPROPER and PERILOUS. (LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, “What is our relationship to members of the Godhead”, Church News, March 20, 1982, page 5)

    The Mormon jesus is a half-pint:

    “There was in Palestine a couple, Joseph and Mary. She, heavy with child, traveled all that distance on mule-back, guarded and protected as one about to give birth to a HALF-DEITY. He lived in a lowly home, the only man born to this earth HALF-DIVINE and HALF-MORTAL.” (The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, page 10)

    Who wants a half-pint savior? I need a Savior who is capable of dying for my sins past, present and future, justifying, sanctifying and giving me the free gift of eternal life by trusting in Him alone and completely NOW. Jesus isn’t half anything in the Bible. He is fully God while fully human. The Jesus of the Bible is “the Mighty God” (El Gibbor) of Isaiah 9:6; He was God at the incarnation (Matthew 1:23) – not half anything! Jesus is the Alpha and Omega/First and Last in the Old and New Testament (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:8, 11, 17; 22:13, 20). He is the Lord God Omnipotent (Revelation 19:6)

    The Mormons aren’t allowed to pray to Jesus:

    “We always pray to our Father in Heaven, and to him alone…We do not pray to the Savior or to anyone else. To do so would be disrespectful of Heavenly Father and an indication that we do not properly understand the relationship of the members of the Godhead.” (Missionary Preparation Student Manual Religion 130, page 40).

    Jesus was prayed to in the Bible and He told us to do so. Despite the attempts of the spin doctors at BYU (Robert Millet) to try to redefine their jesus in a sanitized way so the rest of the world will be duped into thinking that their jesus is orthodox, the Mormon General Authorities have stated otherwise and the documentation is there for anyone earnestly wanting to look at it. Discussions about grace, works, etc., are all good and fine, but if one has the wrong Jesus, then discussions about grace, works, mercy are meaningless because it’s being referenced to a “jesus” that doesn’t exist except only in the minds of the devout LDS who have seared their conscience apparently like Seth and others have done.

    The starting point is this: WHO IS JESUS? Jesus Christ asked this very question Himself in Matthew 22:41-42 and it’s probably the most important question asked in Scripture.

  4. 4 Echo
    December 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Seth said: “Believe that God impregnated her magically, or physically. It all amounts to the same thing and I personally have a hard time caring one way or the other.”

    I believe caring is important because it impacts who Jesus is and what he has done. Only the ONE TRUE Jesus saves us, therefore it is important to know who he is lest we be led astray by a false Jesus to our eternal destruction. I hope you have a change of heart about that Seth.

  5. 5 noclaf
    December 5, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Andy is spot on! There really isn’t any need to have any discussions with Mormons except that which relates to who God is. Any other discussion is merely a form of cross cultural communication because Mormons view all matters through the lens of a heretical and aberrant gospel and a false god and a false christ. Joseph Smith was an occultist who was led to spiritual destruction by the spirits he conjured through the use of second sight vision and any other means including scrying with his magic peep stone. How foolish these Mormons are to reject God for a god of their own making who is nothing more than a fallen man with a self-improvement program. Until Mormons understand who God really is, any discussion on any other matters is pointless. I would suggest that Christians not waste their time with these folks and go and assist those Mormons who are truly looking to find God and salvation through the real Jesus.

  6. 6 Echo
    December 6, 2009 at 12:26 am

    nodaf, A a NON Mormon myself, I found your post disrespectful and unloving towards Mormons.

  7. December 6, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Andy, do you act like a sock-puppet for Ed Decker on every blog you participate on?

  8. 8 Andy
    December 6, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Seth,

    Pretty typical response of a Mormon who has nothing intelligent to offer biblically or otherwise regarding the subject matter or topic – attack the person. You can mock. You can have your militant attitude. You don’t have to care. You have that right/agency/freewill – whatever you want to call it. Many other Mormons do care and are willing to look at the information instead of just blindly “swallowing” what the Mormon GA’s dish out at Conference.

    No, unlike you, I don’t make the rounds on numerous blogs. I don’t have time. I post and write articles on one blog occasionally. That’s about it. The majority of the time I prefer real life interaction with Mormons right here in my city. LDS Institute is great for this!

    No, I don’t work for Ed Decker. I work for the real Jesus Christ of the Bible out of gratitude. He’s the Jesus that you don’t know and have hardened your heart towards. I hope someday you will come to Him. The Mormon jesus can’t save you.

    Like Mark Cares said, and I couldn’t agree more, “It is true that Mormonism has a different Jesus than Christianity”. Mark, great topic!

    Have a nice weekend.

  9. December 6, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Well, it was about the response you deserved.

    I am happy to announce that unlike everyone else’s Jesus, my Jesus has a has a nasty tennis serve.

  10. 10 noclaf
    December 6, 2009 at 4:12 am

    Echo,
    Here’s the thing, I deal in facts. If you want to have a love fest with Mormons and watch them go to hell, you need to reexamine your motives. Is it to be well liked? Mormons like Seth will chew you up and spit you out and think nothing of it. I really don’t have time for people who claim they have a restored gospel and blaspheme the name of God and Jesus Christ. I didn’t attack anyone personally in my post. I laid-out the facts. Are you ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you willing to risk not being liked in order to speak the truth in love. Believe me, love is concern. It’s not some romantic feeling.

  11. December 6, 2009 at 7:39 am

    I can hereby state, with all clarity and soberness, that Echo and have never done anything “romantic” together.

    We’ve never even held hands or traded email addresses.

  12. December 6, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Ouch..

    I was LDS for 19 yrs, and in 2007 surrendered my life to Christ.

    One of the things I enjoy doing from time to time is witnessing to the Mormons both online and in real life. I have found that presenting the truth in love & compassion works.

    Our love is followers of our Lord Jesus should shine thru our writings, our dealings or conversations, etc.

    If we have not love we are nothing.

    Something to perhaps consider when witnessing to Mormons.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  13. December 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Seth,

    I chuckled when I read your response. ( the part about Jesus having a nasty tennis serve)
    Thanks,
    gloria

  14. December 6, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Seth,

    I have met a number of LDS who would agree with you. They do not view this point as very critical to LDS theology. I would say though, from the Christian perspective , that the opposite is true. The virgin birth and conception, is part of most Christian Church’s statements of faith, thus I think the reason why so many Christians find this LDS teaching a bit disturbing to say the least.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  15. December 6, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Seth,

    You are on a roll… thanks for another good laugh.

    gloria

  16. December 6, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I believe we should earnestly contend for the faith , but can we not do so in love?
    I agree, we are to be careful of the “leaven” of the Pharasees and such, but honestly I think we can see more progress if we handle the LDS with honey vs. vinegar? What do you think? You are right, you did not personally attack. The thing is your comments come thru a little ‘harshly’…. and perhaps you don’t intend for them to come thru this way. I know email and online communication is not always the best way to communicate ‘tone’ and such. As a fellow believer, I just wanted to suggest perhaps re-reading your posts before clicking that “send” button and ask yourself if your response shows forth the love of Christ? Just a thought.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  17. December 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I wish people wouldn’t knock romantic love-fests with Mormons until they’ve tried it.

  18. 18 Echo
    December 6, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Nodaf said: ” you need to reexamine your motives. Is it to be well liked? Mormons like Seth will chew you up and spit you out and think nothing of it. I really don’t have time for people who claim they have a restored gospel and blaspheme the name of God and Jesus Christ.”

    Imagine what would happen to you and I if Jesus “didn’t have time” for people who chewed him up and spit him out. We would all be going to Hell for eternity! Instead, Jesus had so much compassion and love for those very people that hated him. Not only did he love them enough to be willing to be chewed up and spit out by them, he was willing to be tortured and crucified as their substitute paying the penalty that they themselves deserved so that they wouldn’t have to pay it, so that they could be declared: “Not guilty”. Jesus did All of that out of compassion and unconditional love for them so that they would know they were freely forgiven and could have certainty of spending all eternity with him. His suffering and dying in our place shows us that Jesus has fully forgiven us, even in our sins.
    Therefore, let us go and do likewise.

  19. December 6, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Amen & Amen.

    In Christ,
    gloria

  20. 20 Echo
    December 6, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Heh heh…good one. :)

  21. December 7, 2009 at 4:05 am

    By the way.

    I’ve been much too biting in my recent participation here. I’m letting my frustrations do the talking.

    I still don’t think there is any further point in debating the whole “grace vs. works” thing (which seems to be Mark’s main theme). But if that’s true, I ought to stay out of the conversation altogether, rather than sitting around making unhelpful sarcastic remarks.

  22. 22 Echo
    December 8, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Seth, your posts are welcome here. Your truthfulness about your being “biting” and “sarcastic” is refreshing and admirable also.

    When you said: “But if that’s true…” Are you referring to the grace vs. works thing or something else?

  23. December 8, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Grace vs. Works thing.

    I think the topic has been pretty-much exhausted with no resolution.

  24. 24 Echo
    December 8, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Fair enough Seth, SAD to see you won’t be posting though.

    The doctrine of Grace is the doctrine of all doctrines.
    The very doctrine on which the church stands or falls.
    The very doctrine on which our eternal destinies rest.
    The very doctrine through which faith comes.
    The doctrine of Grace is the whole of the Gospel message.
    The doctrine of Grace is the doctrine of our reconciliation with God.
    The doctrine of the gospel of God’s Grace is the only message we have.

    Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

    2 Corinthians 5:18 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

  25. 25 faithoffathers
    December 8, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Mark,

    Mormons are guilty of believing that Jesus is literally the Son of God. I don’t think that means they “have a different Jesus than Christianity.” I would guess that a significant percentage of people who consider themselves Christians would agree that Jesus was and is literally the Son of God.

    It truly baffles my mind that individuals within Christianity feel compelled to toss LDS out of the club over this thing.

    The angel told the virgin Mary: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” It is difficult to see how the LDS view does not agree with this scripture.

    While we do not claim to understand the details, we claim Christ was literally, physically the Son of God. As modern science has discovered, this does not require physical relations to achieve. Conception is possible without those relations.

    We can get lost in arguing over the terms of deity in the old testament- it is quite interesting, but tends to become quite contentious. Bottom line is that it is not perfectly clear- lots of experts have very divergent opinions on the matter. I have heard more than one scholar claim that the names of Jehovah and Elohim can be used almost in an interchangable fashion while not referring to the same being.

    Understand that it is perfectly appropriate in LDS terms for anybody in the Godhead to say “there is no God beside Me.” THIS CREATES NO PROBLEM FOR OUR THEOLOGY. But one has to understand the context and meaning of such statements. “God” can mean all three persons. The term can also refer to just one of them. This is certainly no more confusing than the trinitarian take on the three in one etc.

    fof

  26. December 9, 2009 at 3:16 am

    FoF,

    Who says we want in “the club” in the first place?

  27. 27 Echo
    December 9, 2009 at 5:06 am

    FOF said: “I don’t think that means they “have a different Jesus than Christianity.”

    The Mormon Jesus was once a man, progressed to a God and is one of many God’s.
    The Biblical Jesus is God from all eternity, always existing, always God. Thee God, not one God of many.

    That is a very different Jesus.

  28. 28 Andy
    December 9, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Echo,

    What you said about the Mormon Jesus is actually what the Mormons believe about Heavenly Father (was once a man and progressed to a God – “eternal progression”). The Mormons believe Jesus was a god before he got here (one of many), but didn’t reach a fulness until after the resurrection.

    “Our Savior was a God before he was born into this world, and he brought with him that same status when he came here. He was as much a God when he was born into the world as he was before. The Savior did not have fullness at first, but after he received his body and the resurrection all power was given unto him both in heaven and earth. Although he was a God, even the Son of God, with power and authority to create this earth and other earths, yet there were some things lacking which he did not receive until after his resurrection.” (Doctrines of Salvation 1:32-33)

  29. 29 Andy
    December 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    FoF,

    The reason why the Mormon jesus and the Jesus of Christianity is different, among many reasons, is because Mormon GA’s have said so:

    “It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a DIFFERENT Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons. Christ followed by the Mormons is not the Christ followed by traditional Christianity.” (Bernard P. Brockbank, Elder, First Quorum of the Seventy, 147th LDS General Conference, Ensign, May 1977, page 26)

    I have many questions and references I’d like to ask you about, but I will at this time only ask you these: This statement by one of the Seventy at Conference, was it true? If not, why was it put out at Conference? This statement was not rebuked by the First Presidency so how do I reconcile this in accordance with D&C 68:3-4?

    That is one reason out of hundreds why Mormonism is “out of the club” in their desire to be accepted as mainstream Christianity. Mormon GA’s have fulfilled 2 Corinthians 11:4. They have condemned themselves according to Matthew 12:37.

  30. 30 faithoffathers
    December 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Seth,

    I have never wanted into the club I speak of. I dont think the GAs want in that club either. But the EV critics of the LDS church certainly like to think that they guard the door of Christianity. They think they are the ones who determine who is Christian with absolutely no authority to do so. While I don’t care about being the same in any way with them, I refuse to allow them to define us and speak for us.

    The simple fact that we believe that Christ was really the Son of God does make us different than them, and I do not shy away from that difference for one second. They take the utterences from Paul as more literal and binding than the utterances from God and His Son.

    Modern EV Christianity is much like the international body meeting to fight global warming. Pretentions of authority and truth from such bodies do not necessitate that we follow the their crowd.

    Andy- are you arguing that Christ did not lack a physical body before his birth?

    fof

  31. 31 Echo
    December 9, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    FOF, NON LDS don’t determine who is Christian on their own authority. They determine who is christian based on God’s authority. God himself has defined in his word who is Christian and who isn’t. NON LDS are simply conveying God’s message.

  32. 32 Andy
    December 10, 2009 at 1:40 am

    FoF,

    You didn’t answer my questions from my post. That speaks for itself. I guess you need to let that sink in. I understand.

    You seem to be a very confused individual who can’t make up his mind. You express anxiety in your earlier post on why Mormonism can’t be in the “club”. Now you tell Seth you don’t want to be in the club and the Mormon GA’s don’t want to either. Nice try, but it doesn’t work. I could cite you many examples within in the last 5 years that shows the trend of the LDS Church in trying to tone down their once blatant heretical doctrines that used to offfend Christianity. For example, instead of teaching outright the doctrine of exaltation and telling people they want to become gods, Mormons now say they want to become “like God”. Again, nice try, but underneath it all nothing has changed. You might be interested to know that I recently was in the Philippines and the LDS missionaries over there go around telling the locals that they will become gods one day – straight out. Why is that? Well, the people over there are ignorant of what the LDS Church teaches and can’t access the information. That message can fly over there in third world countries, but not here. Exaltation is still in, but it’s only talked about within LDS circles. I read the Mormon Times and the Church News weekly when it comes in my mailbox. Consider this quote and tell me that the LDS Church still doesn’t believe what has always been taught in D&C 132 about exalatation:

    “We are charged with the responsibility of getting people out of their ruts and routines, out of their problems and their pain, out of their little arguments and ignorance and sins, and take them to the Gods – to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost – ultimately WE ARE TO TAKE THEM TOWARD THEIR OWN GODHOOD.” (Mormon Apostle Jeffrey Holland, Church News, “Divine Companion: Teaching by the Spirit”, page 15, week ending July 4, 2009)

    Another example would be your own BYU professors (“spin doctors”) on their road tour with uninformed evangelicals for the “Standing Together” college performances. Why should the Mormon GA’s have to do anything when they have Robert Millet, who has no authority to speak for the LDS Church officially and is not a GA either, going all around in scholastic settings spinning Mormonism in a sanitized way so the world can be duped into thinking Mormonism has changed? Millet continues to write books such as “A Different Jesus”, but after having read it myself, Millet does have to admit that there are major differences between the Mormon jesus and the Christian Jesus. Millet is a con-artist of the highest order in spinning Mormonism to the world so it can be bought by the masses while the Mormon GA’ sit in their “ivory towers” and remain speechless. I call that gutless and non-authoritative. So much for continuing revelation!

    Two more examples would be the LDS Church recently rewriting “Gospel Principles” so the message would be toned down. I look forward to attending a Gospel Essentials class with my old copy and asking why the changes were made especially on the chapter regarding exaltation. Lastly, the LDS Church’s newest printing of the Book of Mormon at the introduction where “they are the PRINCIPAL ancestors of the American Indians” now reads “they are AMONG the ancestors of the Americann Indians”. Yes, I guess after the DNA evidence has come in there would necessitate a change and reprinting of the BoM.

    Yes, evangelical Christians, not Mormons, guard the door of Christianity because we are Christianity and have been since the 1st century. We determine what is Chrisitanity because Chrisitanity was never lost. Yeah, it’s a great conspiracy theory put out by the Mormon Church so they can somehow claim a reason for their existence. Guess what? You’re not alone! The Jehovah’s Witnesses have the same theory that the Mormon Church does so they can claim their reason for being here by their false prophet putting them on the map in 1879. The JW’s and the Mormons have a lot in common in many ways especially in their beliefs. Your screen name “Faith of Fathers”…what fathers? LDS fathers? I’ve read the writings of the Church Fathers from the Ante-Nicene era (first 300 years of the Church). Mormon doctrines are non-existennt in their writings. What is in their writings? Jesus is fully God and equal to the Father in nature and essence, the Holy Trinity, the Father is incorporeal (without a body), etc. I would recommend you read Novatian, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Minucius Felix, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Barnabas and Origen for starters. You won’t find anything in their writings supporting what Mormonism believes today.

    Authority? The LDS Church has no authority from God because they have redefined who God is into a god that fits their heretical theology. The Mormons get their perceived authority from Joseph Smith who was a false prophet. Christians, like myself, have authority. Where do I get my authority? I’m glad you asked – John 1:12. Look down at the footnotes of your LDS Bible at 12b. You see that word? GR (Greek – “exousia”) AUTHORITY. I get my authority from Jesus Christ because I am one of his children because I have received him. Mormons are still children of the devil because they have received another jesus (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:4).

    I won’t define who you are or speak for you. I let the Mormon GA’s speak for themselves through their writings and talks. That is why I give plenty of references and quotes that you and other Mormons can check for themselves. Conversely, myself and Christendom will not allow you, Robert Millet, Thomas Monson or any other Mormon attempt to speak for Christianity or define us or speak for us. Mormons have learned about Christianity the same way that Jehovah’s Witnesses have learned about Christianity: from their false leaders who don’t have a clue or who are liars or both. It’s that simple.

    You prove my point by thinking that we don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Where have you been? Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Guess what? We also believe that Jesus is God the Son. There is a big difference between those two statements. Mormons, like JW’s, will say that Jesus is the Son of God, but NOT God the Son. You know what we don’t believe that Mormons do believe and were taught?

    Mary was married to Heavenly Father:

    “The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph HAD ANOTHER HUSBAND. On this account infidels have called the Savior a bastard. This is merely a human opinion upon one of the inscrutable doings of the Almighty. That very babe that was cradled in the manger, was begotten, not by Joseph, the husband of Mary, but by ANOTHER BEING.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 11:266)

    “The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been ASSOCIATED TOGETHER IN THE CAPACITY OF HUSBAND AND WIFE; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the LAWFUL WIFE OF GOD THE FATHER; we use the term lawful wife, because it would have been blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully. He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary IN THE CAPACITY OF HUSBAND, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another, for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself, or to prescribe rules for his own conduct.” (Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 158)

    We don’t believe your two prophets when they contradict Matthew 1:20:

    “(The Son of God was) sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, NOR WAS HE BEGOTTEN by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father.” (Ezra Taft Benson, 13th LDS President, “Come Unto Christ”, Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1983)

    “When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was NOT BEGOTTEN by the Holy Ghost…Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:50)

    Mormons believe it was sexual relations between their god and Mary (which would be incest if you think about it in terms of Mary being his daughter in the preexistence):

    “I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father and also my Savior, Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh and THERE WAS NOTHING UNNATURAL ABOUT IT.” (Heber Kimball, Journal of Discourses, Vol.8, page 211)

    “Now, we are told in scriptures that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God in the flesh. Well, now FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE OLDER ONES, HOW ARE CHILDREN BEGOTTEN? I answer JUST AS JESUS CHRIST WAS BEGOTTEN of his father … Jesus is the only person who had our Heavenly Father as the father of his body” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Family Home Evening Manual, 1972, pp.125,126)

    “And Christ was born into the world as a literal Son this Holy Being; he was born in THE SAME PERSONAL, REAL AND LITERAL SENSE that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. He was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events (Mormon Doctrine, p. 742).

    “The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the RESULT OF NATURAL ACTION. He partook of flesh and blood, was begotten of his Father, as we were of our father” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 115)

    That’s just a sampler of the heresy that the LDS Church has put out that defines them in what they believe. No, Christianity doesn’t believe any of the above heretical statements. We offer no apologies for it and say to the Mormon people, “We love you and desire that you come to real Jesus of the Bible, but if you remain in your false religion founded by a false prophet which is a different jesus, well, then, in the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6-10: ‘let him be accursed (anathema)'”.

    In regards to your question that you asked of me regarding the nature of Christ at the pre-Incarnation, I will be happy to answer that when you have answered my questions in the earlier post where you seemed to be “in the dark” about your Church claiming to follow a different jesus.

    Andy

  33. December 10, 2009 at 4:34 am

    I think Evangelical counter-cultists are just bitter that they don’t get to have a monopoly on defining us to the rest of the world anymore.

    So of course they are resentful when Mormons define themselves in ways that don’t match up with the childish caricatures they’ve been peddling for the past centuries.

    Cry me a river Andy.

  34. 34 Andy
    December 10, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Seth,

    It’s Mormondom that keeps trying to redefine itself to the world. Your religion can’t make up it’s mind on what doctrines are in or out. The ones that offend the world they try to hide as to deceive. Christians don’t like deception and that’s what Mormonism is trying to do now by watering-down and sanitizing some of its old doctrines just like they have done with their past prophets. Mormons don’t like Brigham Young’s teachings in the Journal of Discourses, but they sure love the bumper stickers “Y” on their cars with their university named after him not to mention the statues of Brigham Young in Salt Lake City.

    Mormonism hasn’t been around for centuries so we haven’t had long to deal with your new religion passed on to us by Joseph Smith. You are free to call the Bible truths “childish caricatures”, but the Word of God, the Bible, doesn’t support Joseph Smith’s view of God. In Christianity, we don’t call it “childish”. We call it “anathema” (the divine curse) and that is what Mormons are under for following a false jesus, god and gospel.

    I cry for the Mormon people who are deceived. You’ve seared your conscience (1 Tim 4:2). You have the freedom to do that. If that is the case, then I’m not talking to you because you can’t hear the real Spirit because you are under a “strong delusion” (2 Thes 2:11). Your an apologist for the Mormon religion. That is why your nestled in here and have been for quite some time. You’re only here to offer rebuttals when someone else happens to show up and challenge Mormonism. You’be been going back and forth with Mark Cares for a very long time and it’s a game for you. His articles and what he says means nothing to you spiritually in efforts of trying to reach you. You’ve hardened your heart and camp out here with your snarky, sarcastic attitude. You don’t add to the discussion other than two-bit wise cracks that usually turn into personal slams that have nothing to do with the subject. Mormons like their comfort zones where the subjects and the people don’t inquire of them their beliefs in a false prophet. When Mark Cares states to you and the Mormon people in this post that they follow a different Jesus, well, then that is something you aren’t used to hearing because it’s not grace/works. Grace/works discussions are meaningless until one has chosen the correct Savior.

    What do I have to cry about outside of the deceived cultists like yourself that have decided to follow a false gospel and are on their way to outer darkness? I am happy and joyful. I have the assurance that ALL of my sins have been forgiven; I have the gift of eternal life NOW and I know that when I die I will be with Heavenly Father for all eternity; I have God’s Word to confirm that to me and I can know exactly who God is from the Bible. Mormons, like yourself, can’t explain or demonstrate from Bible Scripture the “God who is an exalted man” theory/doctrine as hatched by Joseph Smith at the King Follet Discourse. If I were a Mormon I would be crying about that. The only verbal crying I hear and read about is the LDS Church still begging mainstream Christianity to accept them and call them “Chrisitian”. Keep shedding “tears” – it’s not going to happen as long as you believe in Joseph Smith’s 19th century religion.

    Any explanation on the quotes of your spiritual leaders as referenced above? I guess not.

  35. 35 faithoffathers
    December 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Andy,

    Can you show me where I expressed the desire to be in the club that EVs think exists? My point was that EVs think there is a club and that they have authority to determine who is a Christian. They have no authority to make either claim. (claiming some vague authority from the Bible does nothing- we have the Bible too. How is your authority superior to ours if that authority comes from the Bible?).

    As far as your question and quotation- I agree. To the degree that non-Christians follow apostate doctrines, the Christ we follow is different. We believe, for one thing, that He was and is the Son of God. EVs believe that is merely metaphorical. They believe this was only symbolic and that He was God Himself- the very same person. We believe we were created in the image of God. EVs believe that is merely metaphorical.

    I served a mission and taught people every day that God’s plan for His children was for them to be exalted- to be like Him. There has been no change in our doctrine- not in the least degree. You can read through any general conference report and find this doctrine taught clearly and consistently.

    I said it before and will again- apostate Christianity is like the conference meeting to fix global warming- led by supposed consensus and wisdom of “experts.”

    fof

  36. December 11, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Oh, I never called the Bible truths “childish caricatures” Andy – just your screwed up private interpretation of them.

    If you’d like to spit on God’s messengers for their humble attire and imperfections, be my guest.

    You’ll find out in the end just how utterly arrogant and unreasonable you’ve been.

  37. 37 Andy
    December 11, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Yes, I do “spit” on false prophets who deceive people by the millions. I then “shake the dust” from my feet and then proceed not to “throw pearl to swine” after that. I’m sure you are familiar with those texts.

    When it comes to arrogance and being unreasonable I think some self-reflection on your part would be admirable. It would have been nice if you could have added something worth discussing in regards to the topic at hand. I guess the quotes by your leaders are hard to explain to those that the LDS Church is crying to accept them into mainstream Christianity. Mormonism and its followers are anathema. Take it up with the Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:6-9). If ignorance was bliss you would be very happy.

  38. December 11, 2009 at 6:02 am

    And you will pay for it Andy.

    I find it unfortunate that you have decided to worship the false God of your own personal fundamentalist insecurities rather than the living God. But unfortunately, your conscience appears to have been seared such that you cannot concede an inch, and instead cling stubbornly to your own personal misinterpretation of the scriptures.

    One thing I’ve noticed about Christian fundamentalism. It is largely founded in a faithless sort of fear. Often masked by a facade of self-righteous attacks on others who don’t “measure-up.”

  39. December 11, 2009 at 6:11 am

    But let’s go over this again Andy.

    What do you expect me to do to truly accept Christ in your view?

    What changes would you like me to make in my situation?

    What works are you asking for to prove my saved status?

    Or are you going to be two-faced about this and say I’m not saved by works, even as you pompously yell at me for not doing what you want me to do?

    And what assurance do I have that your private interpretation of the Bible is the correct one – other than your own utterly unsupported assertions? Who says you have the correct view on Paul? And why should I accept your scholars instead of mine?

    Quite frankly, I don’t trust your private interpretation as far as I could kick you. And your Jesus-screaming here has done nothing to change that.

    There’s an old legal saying:

    “When you have the facts on your side – argue the facts.
    When you have the law on your side – argue the law.
    When you have neither – pound the table.”

    Keep pounding Andy.

  40. 41 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 1:13 am

    Seth,

    I see that you are still unable to do any self-reflection at this time. Instead of quoting anonymous legal sayings I would like to recommend that you follow my example in making an attempt at actually contributing something positive to this topic in the form of references and quotes from your leaders that I have done along with some Scripture references. You’d gain more credibility at least in my book. The topic is about the identity of Jesus – not me.

    You can worship your false “jesus” if you want to. As I said earlier, if that is your choice then consider my posts here directed at other Mormons who haven’t given their mind completely over to Joseph Smith’s 19th century religion. By the way, I am happy to see that you have picked up on at least one thing I have mentioned in my posts and that is 1 Tim 4:2 – “seared conscience”. We’re making progress. Look up the other verses and study the references made by your false prophets and make an attempt at explaining to our reading audience how their blatant contradiction of the Scriptures is acceptable and should not be an area of concern.

    Merry Christmas!

    Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son!

  41. 42 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 1:36 am

    FoF/Mormons:

    I would highly recommend that if you want to see if there was a so-called apostasy of Christendom that you do some research outside of your Mormon comfort zones. That would entail reading the early Church Fathers. If Mormonism really is the original teachings of the disciples of Jesus, then there should be clear evidence from the massive amount of writings by these Church Fathers the first 300 years prior to the Council of Nicea. Mormonism and its teachings should be easily traceable back to the beginning if what Mormonism claims is in fact true. In my post above I listed several of these Fathers by name. A good collection would be this one:

    http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=30823&item_code=WW&netp_id=133622&event=ESRCN&view=details&action=New+Ticket

    This is a 10 volume set and covers the first 300 years of Church history. I will warn you, be prepared for a shock as you will find no support from any of these Fathers on the teachings of Mormonism. They taught that Jesus is fully God who is equal to the Father in nature; the Trinity (over 100 years before Nicea); the Father is incorporeal (without body/parts). Anyway, if you can devote two hours a day to reading, have good comprehension and you’re a fast reader, you can have these 10 volumes probably finished in one year. After completion of these volumes of historical writings you will have your answer on who is in fact in apostasy from what was taught by Jesus, His disciples and then passed on to the Church Fathers and then down to us.

    I know a Mormon here in my city who is a bishop. He is a professor at the university and has a doctorate in religious history. His father is a member of the Quorum of the Tweleve. Earlier in the year we discussed this and we looked at the writings of Origen, Augustine, Novatian and Tertullian. I told him that if he could demonstrate to me a successive line from the beginning of the Church to now in support of Mormon doctrines and teachings from the early Church Fathers, then I would be willing to relent/submit to the claims of Mormonism. At the end of two months I asked him why none of the Church Fathers taught the doctrines of Mormonism and instead, why did they teach that the Father was a Spirit being (incorporeal) – the opposite of what Mormonism teaches (D&C 130:22) in addition to many other teachings of Mormonism that have NO TRACEABLE HISTORY.

    His response: “It’s problematic”

    I’ll say…and then some. I also asked of him to please show me from the Bible the Mormon doctrine/teaching that God is an exalted man who wasn’t always God, but became God/a god through eternal progression after being birthed from his god parents at some unknown location apart from Kolob. He couldn’t and I find that problematic.

    I concur with Mark Cares that the “jesus” and “god” of Mormonism is a different “christ” and “god” completely just as it is stated in 2 Corinthians 11:4. The God of Christianity is easily definable and identified in the Bible.

    What puzzles me even more is why Mormons cannot demonstrate even from the Book of Mormon the belief of their god being an exalted man who didn’t used to be god, but becamse god at some point after eternal progression. In my study of the Book of Mormon I find it actually states the opposite of what Joseph Smith claimed of God from the King Follet Discourse.

    Do the research and find out for yourself.

  42. 43 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Andy,

    Seth probably may have one day done some research if you didn’t chew him up and spit him out. But since you have. He will probably take your advice given to me when you thought Seth would chew me up and spit me out…your advice…”I have no time for them”

  43. 44 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 2:56 am

    ANDY

    My apologies Andy, I got you confused with nodaf because your posts are harsh like his was. Truly sorry about that, I put words in your mouth you didn’t say, nodaf said them. It was nodaf who gave me the advice to not take time for Seth. Again, please except my hearfelt apologies! Excuse me while I go kick myself.

  44. 45 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Echo,

    I didn’t give you any advice on what to say and do here. Noclaf told you that in his post. Please pay attention to detail before you start making accusations. You’re naive and that is to be expected. I’ve been on and off of this blog for two years. I used to post as “Berean”, but now go by “Andy” since I am a writer at Mormon Coffee. Go back in the archives on this blog at the year 2008 from the Spring through September and see for yourself. I left the first of October on a research project after that and didn’t return until this year. Seth has the information and doesn’t want to look into anything. He is only here to play games with Mark Cares to his posts/thread topics, offer counter-rebuttals for damage control against the LDS Church and bully well-meaning Christians who haven’t learned when and where to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3) when the time is appropriate: the identity of Jesus (this thread topic).

    If you had the slightest idea of what you were doing here you wouldn’t openly criticize your fellow brothers in the faith who are “contending for the faith” for the name of Jesus and who He is, but would instead ask the moderator or me for my email address and talk to me about it privately. You didn’t do that so I have no choice but to say that to you openly since you have stated this to me openly on this forum. That was even more naive and a big mistake. I find it puzzling that Mark Cares hasn’t said one word to me about what I have said here, but you have. I also find it puzzling that you supposedly find it acceptable the vitriol and sarcastic attitude of Seth and remain silent.

    With all due respect – get a clue and be beneficial for the Kingdom of God against the cults, take a sabbatical for a few years and study Mormonism and learn that not all Mormons are the same in their beliefs and attitude and the approach in talking with them differs depending on what is being said. If you doubt this you can go to Mormon Coffee where I write articles and post regularly. Mormons there don’t have the attitude that Seth has (ones that do get booted after repeated warnings are not adhered to) and thus what I say is very different. If you want to discuss it further, contact Mark Cares and he’ll give you my email address.

    In Christ,
    Andy Watson

  45. 46 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Andy, my apology was posted a few minutes before your last post. We probably were posting at the same time by the looks of the length of your post. Again, my apologies. Thanks for the rebuke, I appreciate it and deserve it.

    But I won’t apologize for treating Mormons with love and respect.

    you said: “He is only here to play games with Mark Cares to his posts/thread topics, offer counter-rebuttals for damage control against the LDS Church and bully well-meaning Christians who haven’t learned when and where to “contend for the faith”

    I disagree, call me naive again. I’m okay with that. I think Seth is just passionate about what he believes. But even if that’s not true and he is doing what you say. I still think he’s worth treating with love and respect.

    My apologies again.

  46. 47 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 4:00 am

    Andy said: “If you had the slightest idea of what you were doing here you wouldn’t openly criticize your fellow brothers in the faith who are “contending for the faith” for the name of Jesus and who He is, but would instead ask the moderator or me for my email address and talk to me about it privately.”

    If you don’t want me to openly criticize you, why do you openly criticize Seth? Shouldn’t you be getting his email address and d talking to him privately? Do you see your own hypocrisy?

  47. 48 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Echo,

    I would never expect you to apologize for treating Mormons with love and respect nor did I ask you to do that. Why would I? It’s the right thing to do. Contrary to what you may believe, and you don’t know anything about me nor what I do in ministry, I strive with God’s help to treat even the most defiant and arrogant Mormons with respect even though it is not returned or given to me. Seth was treated with an overwhelming amount of respect in proportion to what he was giving out. Seth is a bully and has been not only here the last two years but also on the “I Love Mormons” blog that Jessica hosts. He makes the rounds slamming every chance he gets. He doesn’t post on Mormon Coffee because his attitude and personal degrading remarks would get him tossed off like other Mormons that come around just to start a fight without adding nothing to a thread topic that is positive for a discussion.

    Look at the top of this thread. I concur with what Mark Cares says in his article about Mormons serving/worshipping another Jesus. I express regret that Seth doesn’t care and then contend for the faith and name of Christ by talking about the subject at hand in consideration of the Mormon lurker who is reading this post but won’t post. I support my statements with authoritative references from Mormon leaders and Bible verses. What does Seth offer? Yep, straight into his typical one-liners focusing in on me and making it personal. He adds nothing to the topic nor did he at anytime in this topic and he made that clear. As usual, he is here to only deflect and cause events like this. Congratulations, you’ve given him a lot of satisfaction. Again…big mistake.

    You are naive and clueless as to what I have done and do now for the Mormon people that I love very much. I love them enough to tell them the truth and am willing to risk being hated in exposing the lies of Mormonism. I love them enough to have studied for years what they believe by reading their materials, scriptures, attending their classes, talking with them when I am up in Utah and here where I live and sitting in their wards to make sure I have it right and understand exactly where they are coming from. My conversations and written dialog with the LDS bishop/university professor who is the son of one the members of the Quorum of the Twelve was nothing like it is with Seth. He didn’t have the attitude that Seth does and the “Seth’s” of Mormonism bring him embarrassment from what he has told me. If you’d like to read an online sampler of how a dialog can be with a very firm believer of Mormonism when respect is returned and doesn’t turn into personal snaps, I refer you to the article I wrote back in May entitled “Discovering The God of Christianity”:

    http://blog.mrm.org/2009/05/discovering-the-god-of-christianity/

    Ralph, who is LDS and lives in Australia, and I discuss these matters with mutual respect for one another and it’s topic focused. Ralph is very firm in what he believes and has said to me:

    “Andy, if Joseph Smith told me to kill people and rob banks I would do it!”

    Now it doesn’t get more serious than that! Ralph and I have had many discussions online and offline on various topics. He’s not a wise-guy with a smart mouth and a bad attitude. I understand that the Seth’s of Mormonism are very devout. I am devout in what I believe. If Seth wants credibility in a discussion then he needs to add to it and stick with the topic and leave all the other garbage out of it. He is unable to do that. I was and have been very patient with Seth and could have responded in a very different way to him out of the flesh in my sin nature that would have been very ugly. I won’t be bullied and I won’t be a “punching bag” for Seth or any Mormon with his kind of attitude. I would like to think that his sacreligious remarks and non-funny remarks about his jesus would have disturbed you, but I guess not. This blog is not policed and moderated very well and that is one reason why I don’t come here much anymore. This topic of “Who is Jesus?” motivated me to come by to contend for the faith.

    I was expecting much worse from Seth to be honest about it. Last year, he was having to apologize almost weekly for his stupid remarks. I told Seth that I was attending the Gospel Essentials classes at the wards. Seth accused me of going to the ward with the intentions of luring children into the bushes to have sex with them. Again and again he put his foot in his mouth. He would apologize and then start right back up again. Go and read it for yourself. You’re coming in late in the game here, Echo.

    I will fight when a fight is called for. This is one topic (“Who is Jesus?”) worth fighting for. I won’t allow the Seth’s of Mormonism to detract from the message that needs to get out that the Mormon jesus is a false christ and let the readers know what Mormon leaders in the past have said by giving well documented references. Seth never made any rebuttal or any comment to those quotes from his leaders. I would suspect that is from embarrassment.

    I accept your apology…of course. Thank you. I hope what I said here makes sense.

  48. 49 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Andy, you said: “You didn’t do that so I have no choice but to say that to you openly since you have stated this to me openly on this forum.”

    So it’s okay for you to criticize Seth openly and I should be silent? I don’t think that’s right. In response to you doing that to Seth and borrowing your own words: “I have no choice but to say that to you openly”

    You said: “With all due respect – get a clue and be beneficial for the Kingdom of God against the cults,”

    If you have all knowledge and have not love, you are only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

    You said: “If you doubt this you can go to Mormon Coffee where I write articles and post regularly. Mormons there don’t have the attitude that Seth has”

    No thanks, A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. I have enough pride to rid myself of, I don’t need to make the problem worse.

    You said: “(ones that do get booted after repeated warnings are not adhered to) and thus what I say is very different.”

    Well send those rejects that you have booted out over here, I’ll welcome them and I’ll try to make them feel unconditioanlly loved.

    I wonder if Jesus would give you the boot after you have been repeatedly warned against not adhereing to his standards? His standard is perfection as you know. And your pride among other things is certainly far from meeting those standards don’t you think?

    Your not a Lutheran, are you.

  49. 50 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Echo,

    You need to learn the difference between criticism of beliefs by false religions, criticisms of words spoken by false prophets and criticisms of a human being not being able to stick with a topic and going personal when compared to openly attacking a person with off-the-wall comments that nothing to do with the Bible topic at hand. I am critical of Mormonism and its false claims. I back up what I say with LDS references that I have researched along with LDS Scriptures. What does Seth offer? He’s got a jesus with a mean back swing? Yippie! Naive and well-meaning Christians come on here and give him support for his ridiculous and sacreligious statements telling Seth what a comedian he is with “kicks and giggles” and offer no support for their supposed brothers in Christ, but instead give criticism and fight against those on the same team. I have to tell you, that is disgraceful.

    Hypocrisy? Again, please read carefully what I said. My comment to you about your concerns for my tone or subject is underlined with the supposed understanding that you are a born-again Christian and a sister in Christ. Seth is not my brother in Christ. He is a child of Satan (John 8:44) because he has chosen a false christ hatched in the mind of a false prophet, Joseph Smith. He has not received the real Jesus of the Bible (John 1:12). The problem with many Christians today is that they are too afraid and weak to state boldly exactly what the spiritual facts are to Mormons like Seth who are arrogant and defiant. What I would say to the Seth’s of Mormonism is not what I would say to another Mormon who is on a different level. Echo, that is called discernment. There isn’t a stamped, one-size-fits-all for all Mormons.

    You need to learn the difference between being critical of the beliefs of someone who believes in a false christ who is not my brother in the Lord compared with someone who serves the same Christ that I do that I have a difference of opinion with.

    This is a blog. Seth is a Mormon. Seth and I are not united in faith and we are not brothers in the Lord. The topic is about the identity of Jesus. I am here to discuss this topic. I will treat Seth and any Mormon with respect. It’s a mutual effort. I won’t be bullied or mocked for the sake of personal laughs from a Mormon apologist that wants to hang out on a blog to offer the newest spin from FARMS, FAIR or BYU. Mark Cares ignores Seth for the most part and allows him a place to camp out. That’s his choice and that is fine since this is his blog. I have the utmost respect for Mark Cares, his ministry and his love for the Mormon people. If you live in Idaho, then you know how much the Mormons dislike Mark Cares especially now with this billboard campaing going on. That takes a lot of guts and I commend him and his stafff for making that bold step.

    What I have to say to Seth and any Mormon poster can and should be stated here for the benefit of others to read. I offer my email to any Mormon who wants to discuss these things offline. I post my email address after my articles on Mormon Coffee and some of my posts. Some Mormons have done that and we have had great discussions. Many of them will never post on a blog. They will only read. They have questions that will not be answered at the ward. I attempt to do that and will do all that I can to help any Mormon who is truly seeking answers from the Bible or who is having serious doubts about their faith in the religion of Joseph Smith,

  50. 51 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Echo,

    You are free to think whatever you want and draw whatever conclusions you want. This thread topic was not about me, but you made it me…good job. It’s obvious you don’t understand what I am trying to tell you and now you’re backtracking on your earlier apology. That’s fine.

    For the record, I don’t boot anybody off at Mormon Coffee. I don’t run that blog. Bill McKeever does and he has taken a very hard line with Mormons and their bad attitudes that post on there. They get one warning and then they are gone permanently. I am just a guest writer from time to time. I have nothing to do with the policy making over there. I just know what the rules are because Bill has made them very clear to everyone: Christians and Mormons alike.

    I don’t live up to Jesus’ standard/example in regards to being sinless – nobody does because I have a sin nature and will sin daily whether in thought, word or deed. I can ask for His forgiveness, confess my daily sins and have the assurance that they have been forgiven (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 10:17).

    No, I’m not a Lutheran. Yes, I am perfect (Hebrews 10:14) just like Mark Cares and millions of other Christians who have put their trust in the real Jesus of the Bible because I have imputed perfection throught Jesus Christ who is perfection for me. When the Father sees me He sees my Advocate (1 John 2:1) thus declaring me perfect and “not guilty” (Romans 5:1; 8:1). If you are a Christian, then you fit in that category. God bless you in your efforts to reach the Mormon people whatever way you feel led to do.

    Andy

  51. 52 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Andy said: “You are naive and clueless as to what I have done and do now for the Mormon people that I love very much. I love them enough to tell them the truth and am willing to risk being hated in exposing the lies of Mormonism. I love them enough to have studied for years what they believe by reading their materials,”

    Andy it is you who is naive and clueless as to what “I” have done and do now for the Mormon people I love. You mention how loving you are. You said: “I strive with God’s help to treat even the most defiant and arrogant Mormons with respect even though it is not returned or given to me.”
    I messed up and attributed something someone else said to you (by accident and not defiantly or arrogantly) and you didn’t strive to show me respect. You showed disrespect here:

    ” You’re naive and that is to be expected” How do you know?

    “If you had the slightest idea of what you were doing here you wouldn’t openly criticize your fellow brothers in the faith who are “contending for the faith”

    How do you know I havn’t the slightest idea of what I am doing in openly criticising you for openly criticising someone else? See the hypocrisy?

    “That was even more naive and a big mistake”

    “get a clue”

    Those aren’t respectful.

  52. 53 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 6:17 am

    I am not backing out of my earlier apology. I meant it and still do.

  53. 54 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Andy said: “If you had the slightest idea of what you were doing here you wouldn’t openly criticize your fellow brothers in the faith who are “contending for the faith”

    You and I cannot work together for the truth as fellow brothers in the faith because of our doctrinal differences. False teaching can be potentially harmful and fatal even in Christian circles.
    If I gave you the impression that our doctrinal differences don’t matter, I would potentially be putting you in harms way and I sincerely wouldn’t want any harm to come to you and your faith. Doctrinal differences do matter and you need to know that so that you don’t fall prey to false teachings. Keep searching for the truth, be open to having God change your mind, don’t think that differences don’t matter.

    Take Care.

  54. December 12, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Unlike you, we don’t require any book of scripture to be complete and exhaustive on all Gospel truth. So your complaint about what the Book of Mormon does or does not contain is quite beside the point.

  55. December 12, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Andy, you’ve done very little to prove to me that you are actually worth much of a detailed response.

  56. December 12, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Oh, you’re Berean.

    Yeah, I remember talking with you over at Mormon Coffee.

    That explains a lot.

  57. December 12, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Berean, here’s what really happened on Mormon Coffee.

    I started weighing in there trying to be fair about things and trying to see both sides of the issue.

    I got little such behavior from the Evangelical commenters in return. I quickly discovered that the blog’s regulars were not interested in objective discussion, but were rather driven by their own agenda of discrediting Mormonism by whatever means necessary. But this was not what really drove me off.

    What drove me off was when Aaron started changing the rules of the game.

    First, he started requiring a log-in to comment. OK, no big deal. Then he started putting a limit on how many comments a person could make per day. He claimed it was to prevent the same people from monopolizing the conversation.

    Sounds fair, right?

    Well, think again. Actually what it really did was unfairly weight the conversation in favor of the Evangelical commentators and handicap the few Mormons who were there. The sheer number of the Evangelical commenters meant that they could basically barrage me with all sorts of attacks without exceeding their comment limits, while I and about one or two other Mormons there were unable to respond to everything effectively becaus of the two-post per day rule.

    OK, I tried to cope with this by simply saving my responses for after all the Evangelicals had their say.

    At this point Aaron suddenly introduces a word-limit on contents, and I started to smell a rat. Basically, I was being prevented from effectively responding to criticisms by the blog rules. Private emails with other Mormons confirmed that this wasn’t the first time Aaron had done this. Apparently, he tends to institute these kind of convenient engagement rules anytime a fairly intelligent Mormon commenter gets involved in Mormon Coffee. Stupid, unsophisticated, and easy-target kind of Mormons however, get all the airtime they want.

    I also noticed about this time a highly uninformed female Mormon commenter who tended to make very poor logical arguments, cite scripture incorrectly, and use a lot of black-and-white fundamentalist thinking.

    Oddly enough, Aaron’s rules about two posts per day and word limits didn’t seem to apply to her.

    At about this time, I started being regularly accused of lying and being dishonest by several of the Evangelical regulars. Never by Aaron of course. He prefers to remain above-the-fray over at Mormon Coffee and let his thugs do most of the personal attacks and insults.

    At this point, I pretty-much concluded that Mormon Coffee was a complete and utter waste of bandwidth, and refused to comment over there anymore. The same story has been played out with dozens of other educated Mormons who’ve tried to engage over at that mental black hole.

    I declared my intent to no longer legitimize the conversation over at that blog by playing token Mormon whipping boy in an unfairly weighted debate environment. And I’ve stuck to that resolution.

    Although the hypocritical, shallow, and self-defeating nature of many of the posts over there has made it very, very hard to refrain, I can tell you.

  58. December 12, 2009 at 8:41 am

    “For the record, I don’t boot anybody off at Mormon Coffee. I don’t run that blog. Bill McKeever does and he has taken a very hard line with Mormons and their bad attitudes that post on there. They get one warning and then they are gone permanently.”

    Yeah, no kidding.

    Apparently, the only people allowed to hurl insults over there are Evangelicals.

    Well-spotted Berean.

    I’ll make Bill McKeever a deal, I’ll consider coming back to Mormon Coffee once he agrees to ban Falcon. How about it?

  59. 60 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Seth,

    I don’t recall talking to you on Mormon Coffee. My conversations with you have been on this blog mainly last year.

    What Bill McKeever does and what decisions he makes about Mormon Coffee are up to him. You’d have to work that out with him. I do know that Falcon has been warned and his comments have been deleted. I have talked to him offline about it.

    If you don’t think Mormons get a “fair shake” at Mormon Coffee I’d recommend your reading the comments by Subgenius, Defender of the Faith, iamse7en, Olsen Jim and others that post regularly. They were quite vocal in the current thread:

    http://blog.mrm.org/2009/12/celebrate-christmas-by-rejecting-mormon-leaders-who-have-rejected-the-virgin-birth/comment-page-2/#comment-22621

    That current thread and this one are almost identical: Christmas and the birth of Jesus.

  60. 61 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Echo,

    What are those doctrinal differences? I think you are confused between DOCTRINAL differences and DELIVERY differences. The doctrine I have stated here is that Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son. He is fully God and fully human. He is the 2nd Person of the Trinity. I don’t appreciate being accused of false teaching on the fundamentals of the faith. You point out DOCTRINALLY what I said that is in error APART FROM DELIVERY style that doesn’t line up with your chosen delivery style and we can discuss it. If you find that doctrinal statements regarding the identity of Jesus Christ and who He is in line with the Bible verses that I gave in support are orthodox, then I expect you to retract your statement about my “false teaching” and apologize to me for accusing me of false teaching. That is a serious charge and I find that very offensive. You show me where what I said about the deity of Christ and the Bible verses I used are in error. You’ve got a lot of nerve and are way out of line and you’re dead wrong calling me a false teacher in me proclaiming the deity of Jesus Christ as being God the Son and being born fully God at the Incarnation and conceived by the Holy Ghost – all opposite views of Mormonism. You need to decide what camp you want to be a part of.

    I’ll tell you what I see is the epitomy of hypocrisy on your part on this blog. First, you aren’t the blog moderator. That’s the job of Mark Cares and for some reason he has decided to not post on this thread after he wrote it. That is his choice. If he has appointed you as the blog moderator, then he or you need to make that known. Second, on that note, you have a lop-sided form of criticism and judging who is loving and who is not. What I see is your open criticism pointed only at your supposed fellow Christians who don’t talk, think or respond like you; those that don’t have your style of delivery. You have plenty to say to me and to noclaf. All the while, you were silent and “sat on your hands” when Seth had plenty to say that was unloving and off-topic. You were silent when Seth wasn’t loving and openly sacreligious in his off-hand, non-comical statements about Jesus. You were silent on Seth’s “sock puppet for Ed Decker” remark to me. Why is that? After this statement and his statement: “my jesus has a nasty tennis serve” you respond not with criticism but with this to Seth when he decided to cut out the sarcasm and off-the-wall comments:

    “SAD to see you won’t be posting”

    That’s great, Echo. You’re a real hero. You have no problem with Seth’s remarks and want him to continue when he makes sacreligious remarks about Jesus and says unneeded statements to other Christians who are contending for the faith/deity of Christ which is the topic of this article

    I believe in consistency. If you are going to openly criticize people for not being loving in your believed view, then make it sweeping across the board – Christians AND Mormons alike. If you have taken it upon yourself to be the “love police” for all content on this blog, then be a good “cop” and apply your “law” to all on here who appear to be unloving in your view. Don’t be a hypocrit. Equally direct your criticism to all parties that don’t agree with your chosen style of evangelism. Looking at the evidence above it is a one-way deal for you. I find that disrespectful.

    Lastly, if you don’t agree with what I said about being perfect in accordance with Matthew 5:48 and Hebrews 10:14, then I recommend you read Mark Cares book “Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons”. That was the primary focus in the content of that book and it is Scriptural.

  61. December 12, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Yes, I read the original post, and some of the comments. I can’t speak to how Mormons are being treated over there now. Perhaps the MRM folks have grown less underhanded over the years. I do know that Aaron himself has become a bit less polemic over the past year or so. So I guess it’s possible.

    It was however quite tempting to wade in when I read Aaron protesting that he doesn’t think sex is dirty, and that wasn’t his motive behind bringing up the virgin birth.

    I had to smile at that one.

    Oh really? Then what, pray tell, is the theological significance of the virgin birth, other than “it’s in the Bible?”

    I suspect the main reason that the virgin birth is theologically significant to Aaron at all, is a lingering Protestant notion that sex is dirty, and therefore the Mother of God could certainly not have had it. Christ had to come from a pure vessel. So dirty, filthy animal behavior like sex is dead out.

    Aaron is fond of beating Mormons over the head with sexual themes because he knows the sexually repressed mob in his own church will have nothing to do with Mormonism if there is even a hint of sexuality in the enterprise. It’s a marketing ploy that has worked well for him, and strongly plays off the ignorance of his fellow Protestants.

    Really, all you have to do form ranks in some Protestant circles is yell “sex” really loudly, and just about everyone turns off their brains.

    Well played Aaron.

  62. December 12, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    MarkCares rarely post replies on his own threads.

    It’s his stance as a blogger, and I respect it.

    He has my email address, and he is welcome to email me at any time and set ground rules for my participation here. I usually make every attempt to abide by those guidelines when they are pointed out to me – even when I think they are unreasonable.

  63. December 12, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Oh, and sorry about the identity thing. Wrong “berean” wrong blog.

  64. 66 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Seth,

    I think one of the reasons why Aaron brought up this topic, other than the obvious theme of the season that we are in (Christmas), is that there appears to be a lot of confusion and inconsistency with many Mormons on how the Mormon god, who has a male body, and Mary, who has a female body, became pregnant outside of normal copulation. In Christianity, we believe that God the Father is a Spirit (John 4:24) and not a man (Isaiah 31:3) because “a spirit does not have flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). We also believe what Matthew 1:20 says when it states that it was the Holy Ghost. Mormon prophets have stated the exact opposite.

    Some Mormons say it wasn’t sexual intercourse. Others say it was. Other don’t know and don’t care. It’s been my experience that temple worthy Mormons seem to know very clearly that it was a sexual union between the Mormon god and Mary. The Mormons that I have known all have told me that it was taught to them verbally. I stated this in my post on that thread at Mormon Coffee.

    Ralph, one of the Mormons that I talk to at Mormon Coffee and offline, has told me that he doesn’t think sex is involved and that the Mormon god and his wives don’t engage in normal copulation when they want to bring spirit children into existence. I have always been puzzled how the Mormon god and his wife, who have physical bodies, produce a child that is spirit only. Mormonism claims to be able to explain and make sense that which is not understandable, but they fail to explain that one.

    From my study of Mormonism the conclusion is obvious: the Mormon god engages in normal sexual relations with his wives and he obviously did the same with Mary. It’s a no-brainer for me. I think it would be helpful if the LDS Church made a clear statement to their people as to clear this up since this is an important issue (the Incarnation/birth of Jesus). I think the LDS Church is reluctant to do so publicly (stating that their god had physical sex with Mary) because they know it would be a PR nightmare. I say: just come out with! If it was sex, then say it! Just be consistent and get the Mormon people all on the same “page of music”.

    “Wade” on over to Mormon Coffee and participate in the discussion if you wish. You’re welcome over there as there are many Mormons there especially on this subject. Faith of Fathers used to be a regular over there. Bring him with you. I have posted numerous quotes by LDS leaders that I would like for Mormons to help explain to me. I want to understand why and what your spiritual leaders were saying in those references.

  65. 67 Echo
    December 12, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Andy, I sent you an email.

  66. December 12, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Andy, and what does a range of possible doctrinal interpretations within Mormonism have to do with Aaron or MRM? Why does having a range of theological interpretations within our religion even matter?

    If some isolated Mormon outlier wants to believe that God had physical intercourse with Mary (and believe me – they are in a decided minority), that’s his business. As long as he doesn’t disrupt LDS community with his views, and as long as he is willing to “mourn with those that mourn” and “comfort those that stand in need of comfort” and make and keep covenants with God, I don’t really care what his personal doctrinal quirks are.

    It’s a non-issue.

    I guess it would matter to Protestants who think we’re all saved by orthodoxy. But the LDS position is not that we are saved by orthodoxy, but rather by covenant. We missed that whole philosophy craze you guys had in the 3rd and 4th centuries. It’s really much ado about nothing as far as we’re concerned.

  67. 69 Andy
    December 12, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Seth,

    Aaron went out and did street interviews with Mormons outside Temple Square. That is the video on top of the topic thread. The Mormons he interviewed had non-consistent answers. Some say your god had sex with Mary, some say he didn’t, some say what it says in the Bible at Matthew 1:20 being the Holy Ghost specifically, others thought it was too sacred to talk about and others could have cared less.

    Yes, it’s apparent that the varying range of opinion within Mormonism is there. I guess that’s another one of those areas within Mormon doctrine where their people can and do have wide ranges of opinions and beliefs and it’s not a problem.

    In orthodox Christianity the virgin birth/Incarnation is of paramount importance because it directly goes the deity of Christ. The idea of God having sexual relations physically with Mary is heresy for Christianity. Christianity can’t understand this view, within the view of Mormonism’s view of the preexisence, because that would mean that your god was having sexual relations with his daughter. That would mean God is breaking his own commandments and in sexual sin and that cannot be in light of Hebrews 6:18 or Mormonism’s Enos 1:6/Ether 3:12.

    I guess Aaron is curious as to what the Mormons think on this so he likes doing the Temple Square interviews. I am curious as to what the majority believe because it would help me understand some of the references that surely imply sexual, physical relations with Mary and your god.

  68. December 12, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    So, your objections seem to be twofold:

    1. The idea that God is a physical being (which, I’m afraid, is a completely different debate topic and should probably be kept out of this discussion)

    and

    2. The moral implications of a “father” figure having sex with a “daughter.”

    Correct?

  69. December 12, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    As for Aaron’s numbers…

    He’s going to have to conduct a rigorous, well-documented survey that has a good claim at objectivity and getting a good cross-section of Mormonism before he impresses me that much.

    Basically, he needs to present us with numbers that other groups like FAIR will be able to verify and replicate.

  70. 72 faithoffathers
    December 13, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Andy,

    I believe that Jesus was literally, physically the Son of God the Father. I don’t think that causes problems for a person’s belief that Christ was devine. Do you?

    I understand your other contentions. I too am not comfortable with the idea of a physical relationship between God and Mary. But I have no authority to say anything more than what has been revealed on the topic, which is that Christ was literally and physically the Son of God the Father.

    Were Brigham, Orsan, Bruce, etc. simply making conclusions without the benefit of modern scientific understanding? Who knows.

    Bottom line is that you know no more than we do on the topic, yet you do not feel compelled to provide a detailed, explicit explanation for how Christ was conceived. Nor should you feel so compelled.

    Why do you feel it necessary to compel us to make similar explanations? The church really doesn’t have an official explanation more than what I have stated above. Bottom line is that we believe the literal interpretation of the Bible that Christ was and is the Son of God. And there are perfectly acceptable ways that that could be accomplished without breaking moral law. Claiming we believe a sexual union occured simply is not honest. We simply don’t know any more about it.

    I really do not believe Aaron at Mormon Coffe is “curious to know what Mormons believe” about anything. He has his gig and formula for getting the responses he wants in making us look bad- which seems to be his sole purpose. I have not found him to be honest or ethical in his “ministry.” In fact, he has admitted as much before.

    fof

  71. December 13, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Aaron has a pretty firm personal opinion on “what Mormons believe.”

    Just try and challenge that opinion sometime with additional information. You’ll quickly find out just how interested he is in “learning more.” And he’s definitely not asking Mormons to gain new insight. It’s more like checking a crime scene for clues.

    Aaron is well past the learning stage. All he’s doing at this point is honing apologetic tactics.

  72. 74 Andy
    December 13, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Seth,

    In answering the questions you asked in the numbers you listed:

    1. Yes, I believe that God the Father is a Spirit (John 4:24) thus incorporeal as stated firmly by the early Church Fathers long before Nicea.

    2. Yes, the moral implications of the Father having sexual relations with one of his supposed spirit daughters disturbs me a great deal. I see it as incest. Wouldn’t most people?

  73. 75 Andy
    December 13, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I think it would be very hard for Aaron or anyone to conduct a scientific survey amongst the Mormon people on what they believe took place with Mary at the Incarnation. I believe it would be most helpful if the First Presidency would just say something very official and definitive on the matter and then it would be settled.

  74. 76 Andy
    December 13, 2009 at 7:09 am

    For a very long time now I have always tried to get my information from Mormon sources. I learned Mormonism from Mormons. That meant attending the ward, going to various classes, speaking with teachers after class and service, inviting Mormons to my house, reading the LDS Scriptures, studying Mormon history, reading Church manuals or enrolling in LDS Institute, reading the Mormon Times/Church News, speaking with Mormons here where I live and in Utah, etc. I don’t live in Utah, but I am in Utah five days a week and know many people that are LDS. I have had meaningful conversations with many Mormons that live here in my city and have learned a great deal.

    One thing I have learned is that not all Mormons believe the same thing on very serious subjects. I can’t understand how this is possible, but it seems to be to me. I would expect consistency on the majors. I know that Bill McKeever calls Mormon’s picking and choosing what doctrines they like and don’t like “salad bar” Mormonism. In all honesty, I think there is some truth to that from the many Mormons that I have spoken to. Many Mormons seem to have their own hybrid form of Mormonism that is concoction of what they have put together.

    It’s very rare for me to give a blanket statement to Mormons of “You believe…” because that doesn’t apply to most. Mormon doctrine seems to be a “slippery eel” to nail down. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on what is a firm belief of Mormons, Conference comes out and changes it or a new Church manual comes out that has many changes in it. It’s hard to keep up with. I ask Mormons and they aren’t aware. I spoke with one lady at the ward one time who told me that the LDS Church believes in the Trinity! I know for a fact that isn’t true!

    The only time I can pinpoint something as 100% sure in what Mormons believe is if it’s a current statement by the First Presidency or in the latest printing of an Institute manual. For example, I have a 1883 Doctrine & Covenants that has the Lectures on Faith included. Missing, of course, is D&C 138 and Declarations 1 & 2 and for the majors. I also have a 1888 Pearl of Great Price. I have paid big bucks for these, but it would be useless to bring these to the ward for a Gospel Doctrines class because nobody would have one and the material inside my books is not in theirs and some things in their books is not in mine. It’s always the latest printing or revision.

    I have no other choice but to believe that what I have in my LDS library and what I am reading and being told today is in fact what the Mormons believe. That is why I don’t pay attention to the professors at BYU like Robert Millet. They don’t speak for the Church and have no authority whatsoever to do so.

    What you’re saying of Aaron could be said of the folks over at FARMS or FAIR. They have the information and are doing their best to defend or give apologetics for what they believe.

  75. 77 Andy
    December 13, 2009 at 7:31 am

    FoF,

    You said: “I believe that Jesus was literally, physically the Son of God the Father. I don’t think that causes problems for a person’s belief that Christ was devine. Do you?”

    You would need to explain to me what “literally” and “physically” means in the LDS view. Jesus Christ took on flesh at the Incarnation (John 1:14). He is the Son of God and God the Son – fully God and fully human. Christ physically becoming/taking on human flesh does not mean, to me, that it happened via copulation between God and Mary.

    I also would like to know what Young, Pratt, McConkie and others meant when they said the things they did. That is why I posted their statements on MC and asked the Mormon people questions about those statements as to their meaning. Heck, even a good guess would be okay, but the Mormons there have ignored them.

    I can only tell you what the Gospel account in Luke and Matthew says of the conception of Christ: It was by the Holy Ghost. It was miraculous and Mary was a virgin who did not know a man sexually at the of her conception and giving birth to Christ.

    I understand what you are saying, but what am I and orthodox Christianity supposed to think and say when we read reliable quotes by Mormon leaders that are very easy to understand and really doesn’t require a person to have much common sense to grasp hold of? What about all the Mormons who seem to know for a fact that is was sexual? I have more than one ex-Mormon who told me that they were verbally taught the doctrine after having been in the LDS Church a number of years. What would you think if you were me?

    I don’t know Aaron very well personally. I have only met him one time and it was one day. He is a hard worker for Christ, loves Christ and the Mormon people and I think strives to reach out to them. That’s the way it appears to me. I don’t feel led to go to Temple Square and do interviews, but he does and that is fine. Recently, I spent the entire afternoon at the university for the annual Jehovah’s Witnessed Assembly where it was a packed house. I was sandwiched between several people I knew that got me in there and I was up almost on the front row. I was there for a purpose. After the assembly I went out in the foyer area and had a group of JW’s gather around while I asked them question after question while I wrote it down in my notebook. We were there until they pretty much locked the doors. I enjoyed doing that because there was a reason why I was there. Aaron and many others might not have gone and did that. I don’t know…just a guess. I believe that Aaron and the staff ar MRM truly love the Mormon people and are tryig to reach those that are honestly searching.

  76. December 13, 2009 at 7:40 am

    The difference is that the FAIR people admit up front what they are up to. Defending turf. Period.

    Aaron likes to act like he’s just curious or genuinely seeking for information without agenda.

    And you’re making a mistake in your study of Mormonism if you are trying to go in seeking for orthodoxy.

    Orthodoxy is the peculiar disease of creedal Christianity. I thank God that we’ve managed to avoid this kind of self-destructive religious behavior so far – though that may change in the future.

    In fact, I blame orthodoxy and the placing of it at the head of religious life as the primary cause of the Great Apostasy.

    The moment we send Mormonism off to a sure and predictable orthodoxy is the moment we’ve killed the living Gospel of Jesus Christ. In my vocabulary, orthodoxy is just another word for dead religion.

  77. December 13, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Why should they speak on issues that God has chosen to remain silent on?

    And why should they have to micromanage the internal beliefs of everyone in the Church. That’s the responsibility of the membership.

    Our leaders have better things to do than chase down doctrinal boondoggles from MRM.

  78. December 13, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Yeah, except that you’re talking about God here.

    For example, what exactly are the aspects of a father sleeping with his daughter that make it repulsive to society?

    So far, you’ve merely called it “incest” and expected that everyone would automatically rally around the slogan-word. The counter-cult community seems fond of this tactic. But not good enough here.

    Spell it out for me.

    Why is incest harmful, immoral, and unacceptable to us in modern society?

  79. December 13, 2009 at 8:23 am

    If you want a pretty good example of where this misguided obsession with orthodoxy has led creedal Christianity, check out this thread:

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/12/how-my-passion-for-ministry-almost-ended-my-marriage/

    Here we have what ought to be a rather straightforward ethical and relational inquiry about what God is really telling a person to do, how he should have involved his wife in the equation and didn’t (until berated by a friend), and what our true sphere of influence in the world is and ought to be.

    And what happens in the comments section?

    It devolves into an utterly theoretical and tangential debate over how to read some verses from Paul about wives obeying husbands, or verses in which Jesus admonishes us to put God’s work first and family second. All ethical, relational, and missional concerns are thrown out the window in favor of a myopic scripture-chase exercise.

    After all, who cares whether this minister treated his wife well, or whether he really interpreted God’s calling in his life correctly, or whether he even had a clear vision of what he ought to be doing, and for whom?

    What really matters is whether his wife was obligated to submit to him according to Paul. Or whether he should have just ditched her and forged ahead when she proved stubborn.

    Talk about missing the forest for the trees!

    And I think this is exactly what an obsession with orthodoxy does to people.

    Instead of focusing on genuine religion, the worshipers are moved instead into an involvement with “theoretical religion” – where the truly saved are not the most kind or the most virtuous, but rather the people with the best intellectual theological framework.

  80. 82 faithoffathers
    December 13, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Andy,

    I respect your dependence upon real sources instead of youtube videos and anti-mormon “researchers” which is unfortunately so common.

    I would offer one thought. Consider how vast the ground that is covered by “mormon doctrine.” (not the book by McConkie). In other words, our theology spells out a great deal about pre-earth life, post-earth life, big picture stuff. And with that vast territory of doctrine comes significantly more areas and concepts to question and think about, sometimes coming up with different ideas and conclusions than other people.

    I do not think the “salad bar mormonism” idea is fair or real. The more basic the doctrine, the more uniformity. The further out on tangents you get, the more variety in perspective. And with Mormonism, the doctrine takes you out much further than almost any other religion.

    I mean this as no criticism of your religion or perspective at all. But to compare from where I sit, look at the evangelical viewpoint. Humans come into existence at birth (or conception). Those who accept Christ and believe in Him will be saved in God’s Kingdom. There they will exist in some form for eternity to give Him honor. The rest really is just details. The philosophy behind it is not extremely developed. And I do not say that as any type of proof that it is false. Just a comparison of the amount of conceptual material to digest and disagree upon.

    I actually believe that explains in large measure the fascination of some EV critics with our doctrine- it really is pretty interesting, even if a person doesn’t believe it.

    Does any of that make sense?

    fof

  81. 83 markcares
    December 13, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Actually, just recently an LDS blog talked about how many Mormons are middle-way Mormons and how common cafeteria picking and choosing is in Mormonism.. It’s at http://www.mormoninquiry.com/2009/12/were-all-middleway-mormons.html#more

  82. 84 Andy
    December 14, 2009 at 12:12 am

    FoF,

    I think the “salad bar” Mormonism expression is justified because the vast majority of Mormons that I have spoken with all over the place when it comes to what they believe or in what they are willing to accept as teaching. It’s a “pick and choose” type of theology. Orthodox Christianity is the exact opposite when it comes to the essentials of the faith (nature of God, Deity of Christ, salvation by grace alone, Trinity, etc.). In the non-essentials there is allowed to be differing opinions (eschatology, music in church, frequency of communion, Calvin views on election, Armenian views of salvation, etc.) On the major things that I would think important in Mormonism this is where the Mormons are all over the place. That is what is so puzzling to me. I’m just trying to find a spot in Mormonism where there is consistency outside of saying the standard LDS testimony bearing.

    I’ve heard very young children saying this and I know they haven’t a clue to what they are saying. Some of them aren’t even old enough to read so how are they supposed to test by Scripture what Joseph Smith said about the nature of God among other things? They are repeating a testimony that their parents have taught them. I was taught John 3:16 when I was a kid and I looked at it in the Bible when my mother pointed to it. Mormon children seem to appear to me to be taught the testimony of their parents. They run up to the microphone on Fast Sunday and slowly repeat what their mother told them the night before. It’s like watching children at a Christmas play when they have forgotten their lines. They pause or stop. Look up at the ceiling and then down at the floor. They either run off the stage after forgetting to include the line about Thomas Monson being the prophet today. I don’t see this as genuine. This seems to me to be the way Mormons are with their doctrine.

    I understand that the presentation of the after-life by the LDS Church may appear exciting to many. It supposedly answers a lot of questions. However, the questions I have asked I have been given no answers. The LDS view of all things related to eschatology don’t reconcile with the Bible so I have rejected them. God is going to tell us the truth the first time and what Joseph Smith and other Mormon prophets have said have been in direct contradiction.

    Yes, as a man, I have to tell you that the idea of becoming a god one day with my universe/planet, numerous wives, having continuous celestial sex bringing forth spirit children so they can go to their “earth” and then pray to me really appeals to my sin nature (lust, power, pride).

    To sum up, yes, what you said makes sense because I understand what Mormons believe about this and what they mean when they say what you did. I may understand it, but that doesn’t mean I can accept it when I have to test it by the Word of God – the Bible (1 Thes 5:21).

    Andy

  83. December 14, 2009 at 1:49 am

    And this is a problem, why exactly Mark?

    We have plenty of consistency. Just not in theological trivia.

    In short, we have our priorities straight.

    You guys can chase after fables all you want on your own time. I refuse to feel even one iota bad about the fact that the LDS Church is not similarly wasting its time.

  84. December 14, 2009 at 1:54 am

    And I find it utterly comical that you guys are implying that the rest of Christianity has anything even remotely resembling theological continuity.

    So what was that whole bit with the Reformation?

    The entire Evangelical movement is essentially one big salad bar. And every last Evangelical out there is already in the buffet line.

    The only difference is that you guys call it “pastor shopping.”

  85. December 14, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Actually the word Evangelical is probably too limiting.

    It really applies to all Protestants.

  86. December 14, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Not sure why you have such a hang-up with more than one wife in the hereafter.

    After all, as a Protestant, I assume that you believe you will eventually be united in God with everyone else to makes it to heaven. So in reality, your view of the afterlife is one big mental orgy with every other saved person on the planet.

    Seems your own expectations are radical enough you might want to think twice about casting stones at us for putting a ritual face on something you’re essentially already assuming about the hereafter.

  87. 89 faithoffathers
    December 14, 2009 at 2:10 am

    Mark and Andy,

    I would say that the more important the doctrine (also the most fundamental), the more uniform the church is. It is when you get to doctrines that don’t affect our lives NOW that there is more variety of opinion. Which doctrines motivate us to faith in Christ and repentence? That is the big question. This is where there is less relative variety. If you go around asking LDS how many wives God has or where the 3 Nephites live, yep- you are gonna get a lot of funky answers simply because it is all speculation.

    You discusion about the testimonies of children is a common one among critics. My 5 year old daughter stood up for the first time last week without any encouragement from us and said exactly what every other child says. We never told her what to say. We didn’t give her hints or anything else. It is totallly different from the testimonies of her parents, but exactly like her peers. She was mimicking what she sees other kids her age do. And she was doing what she thought was a good thing. It is a simple act for a little kid.

    This is used as an example by critics to argue that we somehow brainwash people like robots. I would argue that the LDS church encourages, even pleads with its members to “find out for themselves” the truth behind the church’s claims rather than taking anybody else’s word for it. Your point about kids applies to any church that encourages the teaching of children. Young children are going to adopt the beliefs of their parents- and that is a good thing. It is just that in the LDS church, there is an open forum for kids to express such things publicly. I don’t know- do other church allow the kids to stand up in front of the congregation and “bare a testimony?”

    “Gaining your own testimony” is as common a theme (other than the atonement) as any other in the church. I spend considerable time with my 4 kids encouraging them to read, study, experiment with the scriptures, and pray for guidance and their own knowledge. And I do not think I am peculiar as an LDS parent.

    fof

  88. December 14, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Everyone brainwashes in our society.

    TV brainwashes.

    Elementary school brainwashes.

    Evangelicals brainwash.

    Mormons brainwash.

    Football camp brainwashes.

    Drama club brainwashes.

    The only issue is what kind of brainwashing.

    In the case of Mormons – the best kind, of course.

  89. 91 Echo
    December 14, 2009 at 4:14 am

    Seth said:

    “And I find it utterly comical that you guys are implying that the rest of Christianity has anything even remotely resembling theological continuity.”

    That’s true Seth. I agree with you 100% there is no theological continuity among the different denominations. The majority of those denominations believe they are “UNITED” in essentials and they don’t believe nonessentials are reason to divide over. So you’re right in what you say ONLY because those denominations tag themselves as “UNITED” rather than divided. That’s like comparing the RLDS with the LDS which isn’t fair to do because you acknowledge that you are separate from them and not in unity with them.

    Truth is, there is division in the total scope of Christianity even in what “they” define as: essentials.

    That said,

    A small number of denominations in Christianity, my church included, believe in having 100% agreement in ALL doctrine before we declare “UNITY” with other denominations.

    The WELS Lutheran denomination I belong to declares itself separate rather than united with the rest of Christianity and it is 100% united in doctrine. So in this regard, I would have to disagree with what you said. The LDS church should be 100% united in doctrine, but it is divided in doctrine.

  90. December 14, 2009 at 4:29 am

    I just don’t get why certain creedal Christians expect us to be unified on everything beyond our core essentials when even they haven’t managed that trick successfully yet.

  91. 93 Andy
    December 14, 2009 at 4:38 am

    FoF,

    I can’t speak for all churches, but I have been in many churches (Protestant and Catholic) in various denominations in various parts of the world including and I have never seen a child get up and bear their testimony of their redemption in Christ. The format in which Mormons bear their testimony I have never seen played out like that in any of the churches that I have been in. The testimony of a Christian isn’t a standard 5 part testimony that is given by all Mormons that is identical alike. The testimonies given by Christians are like mini-autobiographies of the person’s spiritual journey and what led that person in coming to Christ for salvation and forgiveness of sins.

  92. 94 Echo
    December 14, 2009 at 4:57 am

    That’s true. I agree.

  93. December 14, 2009 at 5:39 am

    Different cultures, I guess.

  94. 96 Echo
    December 14, 2009 at 5:58 am

    Seth,

    I believe *All* of God’s truth is essential for unity. Those who love God, love truth and hate all that is false:

    Proverbs 13:5 “The righteous hate what is false”

    John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed in him, Jesus said,: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples”

    Mathew 28:20 “…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”

    Revelation 3:8-10 (The church was praised because it kept God’s word)

    Revelation 2:13-16 (The church was faulted because it mixed truth with error)

    2 Corhinthians 7:1 “…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit…”

    1 John 1:5-6 “…in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”

    2 Corinthians 13:8 “For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.”

    Psalm 119:30,31,103-105 “I have chosen the way of truth…I hold fast to your statues, O Lord. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path”

    As a WELS Lutherans, we only considers to be in unity with those who are in 100% doctrinal agreement with us. So I can ask you the question: Why isn’t the LDS have 100% doctrinal agreement?

  95. December 14, 2009 at 6:07 am

    “Growing up in evangelical churches meant I was trained to tell the story of my life. That story was called a testimony, for which the rough formula was ‘I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.’ John Newton, the man who penned that hymn, had a spectacular testimony himself. He had been captain of a slave ship, a profiteer of torture and atrocity, and he had renounced his evil deeds after, as we put it, he accepted Jesus into his heart. The basic narrative of evangelical experience has survived virtually unchanged in this form for several centuries, longer if you count the famous conversion stories of Saints Paul and Augustine. When I was growing up, the best testimonies came from ex-angry young men, ex-drug addicts, ex-fornicators, et cetera. The more spectacularly wicked you had been, the better Jesus looked for having saved you.

    “As a kid, I was pretty sure I hadn’t been wicked enough to have a real testimony. But all Christians have a testimony, a well-meaning Sunday school teacher once told me. The implication, of course, was that if you didn’t have a testimony, you weren’t a Christian.

    “But, as it happened, I really didn’t have a testimony. I had been attending church since I was an embryo, and I had been loving God and trying, more or less, to be good the entire time. When, at age five, I took the all-important step of asking Jesus into my heart, nothing in particular seemed to happen. I tried asking a few more times then gave up, figuring he must be in my heart by now. I was pretty sure, if you asked, he wouldn’t say ‘no.’ But there was no change in my life—not even the warm feeling inside that I had been so sure would come.

    “When I got asked to share my testimony in Sunday school, or later on, as a summer camp counselor, I said I had been bad before asking Jesus into my heart. I had embellished my picture-books with crayon; I had thrown toys at my brother; I had run with scissors. Or, in some unspecified way, I had ‘realized I was a sinner.’ But I was lying. I hadn’t realized I was a sinner, because back then I’d barely had any time to sin.” ~ Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical, Hannah Faith Notess (ed.), xi-xii.

    I share all that excerpt I think there is a standard testimony format in evangelical Christianity: the “I once was lost but now I’m found” format where your life was bad before, then you found Jesus and everything changed for the better. (Ironically, FoF’s own testimony of finding the Book of Mormon sounds an awful lot like the standard evangelical narrative. That’s an observation, not an insult, FoF.)

    And I think young children are sometimes pressured to develop it and share it.

    I don’t think the problem is as prevalent or systematic in evangelical Christianity, but it is there.

  96. December 14, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Should we be in such agreement?

    What would be the benefit?

  97. 99 jm
    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 am

    The only issue is what kind of brainwashing.

    In the case of Mormons – the best kind, of course.

    From: Steven Alan Hassan is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is an expert on destructive mind control issues.

    What is the difference between a destructive cult and a benign cult?

    A destructive cult is a pyramid-shaped authoritarian regime with a person or group of people that have dictatorial control. It uses deception in recruiting new members (e.g. people are NOT told up front what the group is, what the group actually believes and what will be expected of them if they become members). It also uses mind control techniques to keep people dependent and obedient. The BITE mind control model is my way of understanding the phenomenon. Dr. Robert Jay Lifton has his Eight Criteria for Thought Reform. Dr. Margaret Singer has her Six Conditions for understanding Destructive cults typically seek to “clone” recruits in the image of the cult leader, rather than respect and encourage their individuality, creativity and self-will.

    Benign cult groups are any group of people who have a set of beliefs and rituals that are non-mainstream. As long as people are freely able to choose to join with full disclosure of the group’s doctrine and practices and can choose to disaffiliate without fear or harassment, then it doesn’t fall under the behavioral/ psychological destructive cult category.

    Yea right

  98. 100 Echo
    December 14, 2009 at 9:25 am

    I believe agreement in nessesary because God commands it. He also commands us to seperate from those who cause divisions that are contrary to the teaching we have learned. There are benefits to pure doctrine and consequences resulting from false doctrine.

    Some benefits off the top of my head:

    Pure doctrine reveals to us who Jesus is and what he has done for man
    Pure doctrine reveals the pure gospel through which we are saved.
    Pure doctrine glorifies God
    Pure doctrine protects the church
    Pure doctrine builds faith and protects faith from all harm
    Pure doctrine builds up the believer
    We recieve praise from God for pure doctrine
    Pure doctrine feeds and nourishes body and soul
    Pure doctrine reveals who God is
    Pure doctrine reveals what God is like
    Pure doctrine enables walking in the light
    etc.

    All false teaching is potentially harmful or fatal to faith. That can be avoided by having pure doctrine. God wants us to avoid all false teaching and to seperate ourselves from it.

    If we “know” of a false teaching in our church and fail to seperate ourselves from that church, God will hold us responsible and guilty for all the harm that false teaching does (and keep in mind false teaching can destroy people’s faith) God holds us accountable for sharing in that wicked work simply because we failed to seperate from it.

    He also holds us guilty of rejecting truth. Truth cannot be compromised. False teaching cannot be tolerated as it is in many Christian circles today. This in one of the reasons Lutherans seperate from all error. Denominations that work together to share the gospel or exchange teachers etc. but that aren’t in doctrinal agreement, share in the wicked work of one another. False teaching is always dangerous to souls. False teaching is poison. 2 John 1:10 “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.” Standing by silently and doing nothing about a false teaching that we know about in our church still holds us as accountable for it and for all the damage it does.

    One false teaching is like a little yeast working through the whole batch of dough. One false teaching spreads and effects other teachings so that they become corrupted as well.

    We also want to seperate from a Church who teaches something false to warn others in that church of the danger to their own souls.
    False teaching is poison for the soul. It weakens and/or destroys faith.
    Not to mention, all the benifits of pure doctrine diminish or vanish all together.

  99. December 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    JM, those criteria are so vague that they could apply to any number of societal institutions we all accepts as good and necessary.

  100. 102 jm
    December 15, 2009 at 7:05 am

    There’s nothing vague about it. And as Steven Hassan said after studing salt lake mormon’s
    he said: if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck. It was a destructive cult.

  101. December 15, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Right. We’re a “cult” because you’d like a scary word to apply to us.

    Got it.

  102. 104 jm
    December 15, 2009 at 7:30 am

    I did not say you were. Steven hassan said you were.

  103. December 15, 2009 at 7:57 am

    You do realize that a good chunk of his (quite vague) criteria don’t apply to the LDS Church, right?

    For instance, we do tell new recruits what we believe.

    True, we don’t tell them stuff that you THINK we OUGHT to believe (yet don’t). But that’s your problem, not ours.

    And who, pray tell, are we trying to “clone” new recruits in the image of?

    Aside from Jesus, of course…

  104. 106 jm
    December 15, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Jesus did not wear a dark suit, white shirt and tie.

    You do not tell them the truth about what you believe. That is your problem.

    It’s only a little chunk.

  105. December 15, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Are you freaking kidding me?

    That’s your big beef with the LDS Church?

    They make you wear a tie?

    So sorry we don’t wear blue jeans at church. Sorry we’re not trendy enough for you. So sorry you can’t treat worship services like casual Friday. Mormonism must be a really rough thing for you.

    Would it help if I lent you a motivational cassette tape so you can recover from the evil inflicted on your life by a pinstripe wool blazer?

    Poor dear.

    Tell me JM, when’s the last time you told a new investigator of your church what a logical self-defeating mess the doctrine of the Trinity is? When’s the last time you taught them how slaves are supposed to obey their masters? When’s the last time you taught them how all the Hindu children are going to hell? When’s the last time you told them that God only talked to ancient people because apparently he cared more about them than he cares about you?

    And while you are pondering the answers to those questions, maybe you can also ponder what it feels like to have your enemies call you dishonest simply because you refuse to frame “core doctrine” the way they want you to.

  106. 108 jm
    December 15, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Your oitiful Seth.

  107. 109 jm
    December 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Your pitiful Seyh.

  108. 110 markcares
    December 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Please rfrain from personal comments and attacks. Please keep comments civil.

  109. December 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    For the record, I don’t really care how Evangelicals want to dress for Sunday services. I happen to agree that it’s what’s in the heart that counts most with God.

    But I really wish they’d reciprocate and acknowledge that dressing up for worship services is a perfectly appropriate sign of respect that people can make for God as well.

  110. 112 Andy
    December 15, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Seth,

    I couldn’t agree more with that statement. I am bothered at how many people dress when they go to church in Christian churches. Yes, it’s between them and the Lord, but some of it is just plain disrespectful. We have many people at our church that like to come to church dressed up in their football jerseys like they are going to the game or coming from the game straight to church. Some people look like they woke up right out of bed and just drove to the church and are looking for the donuts and coffee to wake them up. I find it be personally deplorable, but that’s just me. We have others that are dressed casually and then there are many, mainly the older generation, that are dressed in suits/shirt and tie for the males and I really like that.

    The only people I know that are super crazy about their outer clothing for all occasions more than the LDS people are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. At least they are around here. I’ve been to a few kingdom halls and they appear all trying to out-do each other in their clothing. They are very judgmental about the outward and that is where it can go overboard and not correct in motive.

    Many in the evangelical/Protestant, Catholic, etc., churches could take some lessons from the Mormons and the JW’s when it comes to dressing decent for worship services.

  111. 113 ADB
    December 15, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I agree as well, but I must say, whether a Christian shows up in a football jersey or a dressed to the nines, he sure looks good robed in Christ’s righteous perfection, doesn’t he?

  112. 115 Echo
    December 16, 2009 at 12:34 am

    I agree as well. It isn’t the clothes we wear that are important. But I don’t think jm intended it to be taken that way.

  113. 116 jm
    December 16, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Your so right Echo.


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