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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    Mormonism v. Christianity - a quote from Dr. James White

    Mormonism, in its historical self-definition, is the "one true Church on earth." It, and it alone, possesses authority from God in the priesthood. It is the singular restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ after the church ceased to exist on earth shortly after the death of the last apostles. Its founder, Joseph Smith Jr., taught an extreme form of polytheism (LDS prefer the term "plurality of gods") wherein the distinction between God and man is abolished: God and man are of the same "species," and the difference between them is one of degree (exaltation) not one of being. God himself is an exalted man who lived on another planet, and today lives upon a planet that circles a star named Kolob. There were gods before him, there will be many gods after him. In fact, for many Mormons, the number of gods is infinite. God, in Mormonism, cannot create anything, he can only organize pre-existing matter. Jesus Christ has not eternally existed as God in Mormonism, which is hardly surprising in light of the fact that the Father (Elohim) likewise has not existed as God from eternity. Jesus is the first begotten spirit child of Elohim and one of his many heavenly wives (the current LDS hymnal makes reference to our "heavenly mother"). Despite the embarrassment of many LDS scholars, the consistent teaching of the LDS hierarchy over the years has been that God the Father, who possesses a body of flesh and bone (but no blood) sired, fathered, Jesus Christ naturally through a physical relationship with Mary. This is, in fact, why Jesus had the ability to take back his life, for he had, in Mormon theology, an immortal father. Jesus Christ, rather than being the eternal Creator whose all-sufficient death on Calvary redeems God's people perfectly, is but one god amongst many gods, one of our species, who began the work of "atonement" in Gethsemane, and only finished this upon Calvary. Mormonism has no meaningful doctrine of sin, atonement, holiness, justification, and, being a polytheistic religion, has never been able to produce a scholarly commentary on such books as Romans. It subjugates the Bible to Smith's "revelations," some of which, like the Book of Abraham, are so far removed from serious consideration as divine revelation that it is testimony to the power of deception that so many intelligent LDS continue to believe in them.

    Let's put it simply. Islam is closer to Christianity than Mormonism is. If that causes you to stumble, then you are clearly struggling to recognize substance versus verbiage. Mormonism uses our language, our terminology, but it fills those words with utterly foreign meanings. The most basic definition of a religion is whether it is monotheistic or polytheistic. Christianity is monotheistic. Mormonism is polytheistic. You can take all the Christian terminology you want and try to build it into a polytheistic base, and it simply doesn't work. The root gives form and definition to the branches. Start with a theomorphic man (a phrase taken from LDS sources) and you can never rise above that level. Start with polytheism, and you will never arrive at Christianity.

    Dr. James White, from his blog at www.aomin.org - 2/14/07

    Posted by John Samson on February 14, 2007 02:00 PM

    Comments

    While I won't deny that you can find all these concepts tucked away somewhere within the span of Mormon commentary (although this is a strained reading even of some of those), Dr. White has obviously been cherry-picking for the juiciest, most titillating concepts possible.

    Shall we now turn to everything Martin Luther said, IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE, pick out the juiciest comments, and construct a narrative from that? How about Augustine?

    The result would be a narrative that would embarass any modern Catholic or Lutheran. They would undoubtedly feel unfairly represented and misunderstood.

    Shall I insist that your Church be defined by these oddities until I can find a universal and unequivocal condemnation of every last one of them by modern leadership?

    If not, then please stop tarring my religion with the wacky stuff Brigham Young said over 100 years ago. Anyone who honestly investigates what Mormons believe today will find that much of what Dr. White portrays as our core-beliefs is actually relegated to fringe speculation in modern congregations.

    Joseph Smith's King Follet discourse was never canonized. Current Mormon doctrine has no idea whether God was ever a mortal man. Just about every Mormon I know of conceptualizes God as having ONE wife. No one under 60 years old so much as mentions Kolob in a Sunday school class anymore, and if they do, most class members chuckle and roll their eyes at the detour off the beaten path. I don't know anyone who believes that God had sex with Mary (yes, I know that long dead church officials implied that He might have - but they also happen to be long dead). We don't know whether God is subordinate to a "higher God" and neither do most of us care to pursue the question - seeing as there is no real answer to be had - either in holy scripture or in the long span of Mormon prophetic declarations and musings.

    And I would also request that the LDS faith be defined by its living prophets, and currently accepted canon, rather than long dead prophets and their passing fancies.

    Look, you want to believe that I'm not "Christian," fine by me. I understand that my religion is probably as far-removed from mainline Christianity as Christianity was from Judaism following the death of the Apostle Paul. I understand that Mormonism has an exceedingly radical theology that's hard to reconcile with historical Christianity.

    But take the time to actually investigate the LIVING, CURRENT Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, before you presume to know what we're thinking.

    Rathje,

    Thanks for your response. There is no doubt that historically speaking, the strange doctrines portrayed above are the actual beliefs of Mormonism and have been accurately portrayed by Dr. White. If there has been a drastic and dramatric change within Mormonism over recent years, are you able to show us official literature of the LDS where these former beliefs have been set aside?

    Where, for example, is polytheism renounced? Where has monotheism been embraced? How about God being an exalted man? Where is this notion disavowed? How about Jesus being the spirit brother of Lucifer?

    Rathje, can you point us to recent official publications of the LDS Church which categorically show that these former doctrines are no longer espoused?

    If you can, then I for one am "all ears," but if you cannot, then I would say, Dr. White's overall assessment of Mormonism stands.

    Oh my. As a former mormon, I wonder what exactly Rathje is talking about.

    >>And I would also request that the LDS faith be defined by its living prophets, and currently accepted canon, rather than long dead prophets and their passing fancies.

    The whole point of the authority of the current mormon prophets is that he has had the keys of authority passed on to him. I still have my letter from the man who gave me the “Melchizidek” priesthood, tracing his authority to do so all the way back to Joseph Smith who got it from Christ. Mormonism is built entirely on the claims of the early mormon church, take that away and there is nothing supporting it.

    >>Shall we now turn to everything Martin Luther said, IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE, pick out the juiciest comments, and construct a narrative from that? How about Augustine?

    The result would be a narrative that would embarrass any modern Catholic or Lutheran. They would undoubtedly feel unfairly represented and misunderstood.

    The problem with this argument is that as Protestants, we respect and read the works of Luther but Joseph Smith, Brigham Young et al are allegedly specially appointed prophets of God, recipients of the fullness of the restored Gospel. There is no correlation between how Christians view Luther and how mormons view Joe Smith.

    >>No one under 60 years old so much as mentions Kolob in a Sunday school class anymore, and if they do, most class members chuckle and roll their eyes at the detour off the beaten path.

    The song “If you could hike to Kolob” is still in the mormon hymnal and it still speaks of Kolob in the Pearl of Great Price, which I believe is still part of the mormon canon of scripture.

    >>But take the time to actually investigate the LIVING, CURRENT Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, before you presume to know what we're thinking.

    The “we are just misunderstood, don’t tell us what we believe defense” Well, I have been through the mormon temple, gotten my endowments in the D.C. temple and been sealed to my family in the mormon ceremonies that are direct knock-offs of Masonic rituals. I know what mormons believe, because I used to believe it. In fact, now that I am out and have been able to look at the history and theology of Mormonism without the mormon blinders on, I know far more about Mormonism than ever before. We were taught out of the Gospel Principles book when we joined Mormonism about ten years ago, and it states pretty clearly much of the oddities of Mormonism doctrine and that IS official church dogma. If you are going to defend Mormonism, at least be honest enough to stand up for what the mormon church has taught for over 150 years.

    "And I would also request that the LDS faith be defined by its living prophets, and currently accepted canon, rather than long dead prophets and their passing fancies."

    That intimates that today's living prophets are tomorrow's long dead prophets and that their fancies may well pass too. If there is no lasting foundation, if your doctrine morphs over time, I consider that a sure indication that it is false...and that's before comparing it with Scripture.

    And I would also request that the LDS faith be defined by its living prophets, and currently accepted canon, rather than long dead prophets and their passing fancies.

    I just love that dynamic, unchanging word of God!

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