In the 1980s my family and I went to Temple Square and were given a tour. The young, attractive, articulate lady was impressive. The tour concluded in a theater with a Mormon produced film about the two disciples on the road to Emmas that was Hollywood quality. In her concluding remarks she said, “We are Christians.” That is New Mormonism.
1. What is New Mormonism, See Part 1
2. What does New Mormonism Teach?
A. About God the Father
Joseph Smith preached his last public sermon given on 16 June 1844. He offered biblical support for the idea that God the Father had a father. He found it in the language of the King James Version’s translation of Rev 1:6: “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father . . . [italics added],” in accordance with which, he says, there clearly exists “a God above the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Smith was incorrect in seeing this as the true implication of the passage, a better translation being “unto his [Jesus’] God and Father” (see, e.g., niv).
Ronald Huggins in a JETS article refutes this claim and many other claims of Mormonism.
1) God the Father had a father
God the Father had a Father, (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 476; Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 19; Milton Hunter, First Council of the Seventy, Gospel through the 4ges, p. 104-105).
2) God the Father was once a man
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).
3) God the Father has a physical body
“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…” (D&C 130:22). Jesus said about God the Father, “God is Spirit” (John 4).
God had sexual relations with Mary to make the body of Jesus, (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, 1857, p. 218; vol. 8, p. 115).
B. About Jesus Christ
1) The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129).
2) Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163; Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).
3) “Christ Not Begotten of Holy Ghost …Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!” (Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith, 1954, 1:18).
4) Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, 1856, p. 247).
In Colossians 1:15-17, Paul teaches that Christ is the image of the invisible God (therefore God the Father cannot have a body) and that Christ is the creator of all things. Jesus is the eternal Son of God who never had a beginning.
C. About the Fall of Man
One of the Mormon doctrines what is watered down in public forums but still adhered to in private was spoken by Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president of the Mormon church: As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.
Fuller Seminary President Richard Mouw believes evangelicals are “bearing false witness” against Mormons for saying Mormons still believe the sound-bite spoken by Lorenzo Snow. Mouw says this doctrine no longer has a functioning place in Mormonism.
Ronald Huggins in a JETS article provides the following evidence that refutes this claim by Mouw:
On 7 April 1844, Joseph Smith provided public conﬁrmation to the theology of Snow’s couplet in the famous King Follett Discourse. This is clearly seen in the following excerpts:
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! . . . I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea. . . . Eliza R. Snow Smith, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News, 1884, 10. Ibid. 46).
Mouw’s assertion concerning the teaching of Lorenzo’s Snow’s couplet is remarkable given the fact that (for most of this writer’s lifetime, at least) it has fallen into the category of things Mormons know even if they know nothing else about their faith.
The Osmond Brothers even included a song that alluded to this teaching called Before the Beginning on their 1973 album The Plan.
If by “no functioning place” Mouw means that the couplet is no longer taught or mentioned in ofﬁcial and semi-ofﬁcial Mormon publications, then he is again incorrect. On that level all one needs to do is ﬂip through the pages of the LDS Church’s ofﬁcial weekly newspaper, the LDS Church News, in order to ﬁnd examples of the couplet being taught. The September 13, 1997 issue, for example, included this quotation from Albert E. Brown: “Temple Marriage is not just another form of church wedding; it is a divine covenant with the Lord that if we are faithful to the end, we may become as God now is.”
This passage not only quotes the couplet, it also clearly explains its continuing functioning place as a lynch-pin doctrine of the LDS Church relating to Temple Marriage.
D. About Salvation
Glen Beck on his morning radio program was discussing the Obama campaign doing a push polls to RCC. Catholics for Obama had been making push poll calls in support of the president’s re-election bid. Among the questions being asked, he said, was “How can you support a ‘Mormon’ who does not believe in Jesus Christ?”
Beck responded, we do believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior, all Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior.
They use the same vocabulary but have a different dictionary.
First, there is universal salvation or immortality
This is defined in Mormon doctrine as, that which comes by grace alone without obedience to the law and consists in the mere fact of being resurrected. In this sense salvation is synonymous with immortality . . . this kind of salvation eventually will come to all mankind, except the sons of perdition [Mormon apostates] (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City, UT, Bookcraft, 1966), p. 669). The person would have to opt out by rejecting Mormonism.
Secondly, there is individual salvation by works for those who would obtain godhood
This is described in Mormon Doctrine as, that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation (Salt Lake City, UT, 1958), vol. 1, p. 134).
Part of the works for salvation and godhood includes the Mormon Family:
This full salvation is obtained in and through the continuation of the family unit in eternity, and those who obtain it are gods (McConkie, p. 163).
Now, this introduces the concept of the eternal family. A Mormon slogan says, “Families are forever”. If you want to make it to the highest heaven, the celestial heaven; if you want to obtain this individual salvation, then the faithful Mormon man must have a celestial marriage in the Mormon temple to a faithful Mormon woman and, as they progress, he will eventually become Elohim and she will be one of his celestial wives (Stephen Davey).
Does a Mormon get saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone? In addition to works, believing in Joseph Smith is also necessary.
Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ are equally necessary in mankind’s redemption.
Joseph Smith’s Doctrines of Salvation say: There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if he told the truth when he said that he stood in the presence of angels sent from the Lord, and obtained the keys of authority, and the commandment to organize the Church of Jesus Christ once again upon the earth, then this knowledge is of the most vital importance to the entire world. No man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (Smith, pp. 189-190). Mike Slick at CARM.org provides the following documentation:
1. “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation,” (Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 206).
2. Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, 1856, p. 247).
3. Good works are necessary for salvation (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 92).
4. “As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements — ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,’” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 79).
5. “This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts,” (LDS Bible Dictionary, p. 697).
6. “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do,” (2 Nephi 25:23).
Joseph Fielding Smith explained, in Doctrines of Salvation: Water is an element of this world, and how could spirits be baptized in it? The only way it can be done is vicariously, someone who is living acting as a substitute for the dead. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation (Salt Lake City, UT, 1958), vol. 2, p. 141).
The belief, by the way, that living Mormons can vicariously save deceased individuals has been the motive behind the creation of the most comprehensive genealogical research and recording system in the world, and it is owned and operated within the Mormon Church. Recently, the Mormon Church created a web site for the public to log onto and search their family trees.
E. About the Bible
Book of Mormon: The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible, (History of the Church, 4:461).
3. What should our Response to New Mormonism Be?
A. Can we vote for a Mormon President?
A new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that 25 percent of Americans would not vote for a Mormon candidate in the 2012 presidential election.
Martin Luther the protestant reformer who lived five centuries ago, allegedly made this statement: “I’d rather be ruled by competent Turk than an incompetent Christian.”
Mr. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, agrees with the alleged Martin Luther statement because he has endorsed Romney. The Republican evangelical and former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee told delegates at the Republican National Convention said, ”I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church, than I do about where he takes this country.”
B. Don’t let them in your house to teach (2nd John 7-11).
John instructs believers not to let false teachers into your home to expose you and your family to damning doctrines. We should seek to win Mormons for whom Jesus died. But not allow them to infiltrate our homes.