How Hateful Was Robert Jeffress's Mormonism-Is-a-Cult Line? Very, If You Know History.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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Alfredo Corchado has a story in today's Dallas Morning News about Mitt Romney's Mexican relatives: "Mitt Romney's relatives in Mexico are supportive but wary." It's a topic that has been in the back of my mind ever since Dallas's own Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of Dallas First Baptist, tried to help Rick Perry by calling Mormonism a cult.

Mormons settled in the mountains of Northern Mexico in the 1880s. The popular version is that they went down there to practice polygamy, but I think that's a little muddy. Back then people in the United States were still murdering Mormon families for being Mormon. Mexico offered a tolerant refuge. Anyway, the family of Mitt Romney was of the non-polygamist mainstream of Mormonism.

Corchado's piece touches on a part of Romney history that I know just a little bit about -- the family's return to the United States during the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Corchado writes:

"The bloody Mexican Revolution of 1910-20 prompted many Mormons to return to the United States and divided the Romney clan. Young George (Mitt Romney's father) followed his parents and settled in Idaho, Utah and later Michigan. While many of the Romneys returned to Mexico, George Romney charted a different course."
I interviewed George Romney in 1973 or '74 not too long after he came back to Michigan from his post as Richard Nixon's secretary of Housing and Urban Development. A former governor of Michigan, he had left politics then and retired to his large home in the affluent suburb of Bloomfield Hills. I was a reporter for The Detroit Free Press, and I was already 93 years old, so go figure. Or please don't.

Every time I hear people make jokes about Mitt Romney's impeccably neat appearance, I remember that interview and smile inwardly. Man, I know where the neat thing came from. The Romney home was the World High Temple of Neat. George Romney himself always had that combed-back, starched, bulletproof personal neatness that was, back then, commonplace among corporate chief executives, which he had been before politics. Think Robert McNamara. Or don't, if you're not 150 years old.

I drove out to Bloomfield in a car with a rusted-out hanging tailpipe. The pipe scraped loudly on George Romney's pebble driveway as I came in. I remember the driveway as having been combed like a Japanese garden, which may or may not be true.

I wound up writing a huge biopic masterpiece, I thought, about George Romney, which has been utterly forgotten as far as I can tell. But I did get a call from a political reporter in 2008, when Mitt Romney was running for president. He asked me about an anecdote I had brought back to the Free Press newsroom after that interview a zillion years ago. How does this stuff survive? I do not know.

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Via.
Mitt Romney, deep in the heart of Robert Jeffress's Dallas
In the interview I wanted George Romney to spill his guts about Nixon and HUD. Everybody has forgotten now about the HUD home-loan guaranty debacle of the '70s, a very Republican precursor of today's Fannie Mae disaster. Vast swaths of older cities were devastated when Nixon pushed HUD to finance white flight: He got HUD to make the federal government a co-signer on hundreds of thousands of transparently worthless mortgages.

Anyway, that was my quest. George Romney, a supremely confident and experienced politician by then, talked over me and swatted me away like a gnat. He never gave me a syllable about HUD. Instead, he was worried about my tailpipe.

In fact after the interview he followed me out to the car with a wire coat hanger and was down on his knees about to make a field repair. This is the former CEO of American Motors. I don't remember exactly how it ended, but I think in embarrassment I got the wire away from him and tied the damned thing up myself. Sheesh.

Anyway, I told the tailpipe story back in the city room. Somebody remembered it. A politics reporter from somewhere, not the Free Press, called me about it more than 30 years later. I can't find any mention now of the tailpipe story in anything anybody ever wrote in 2008, so maybe the reporter, whose name I forget, decided to go get some anecdotes from somebody else who could remember something. If so, good move, sir.

As head of American Motors, George Romney was sort of the original green CEO. He personally led a big national advertising campaign vaunting the Nash Rambler as a fuel-efficient car up against the "gas-guzzling dinosaurs" of Detroit. That was true heresy in Detroit back then, and it rubbed the rest of the industry the wrong way, but the public loved it, and Romney became a popular centrist Republican governor throughout the '60s.

I did tweak a little personal memory out of him in that interview. I say I tweaked it out of him. Maybe it's in 100 other George Romney interviews, but I did read about him pretty extensively before driving out to his house that day, and I never saw it anywhere else.

George Romney sat back at a point in our talk. He was in a big chair in a big den decorated with elephant-related sculpture and memorabilia -- the retirement throne-room of a great man. He told me he remembered sitting on top of a boxcar with his mother when they fled Mexico by train.

He had only a picture in his mind, scant detail. He would have been about 5. He told me the women and children were on the tops of the boxcars. The Mormon men, armed and on horseback, rode escort alongside. Gazing out the big picture window that day, he could still see the Mormon men riding their horses with rifles across the pommels. Unfortunately, the memory didn't last, because he could also still see my car out on the driveway.

He told me his father made and lost three fortunes in the construction business. As a young man George Romney worked in Washington as a lobbyist for the aluminum industry. I came across an anecdote somewhere from an author who had spotted the young George Romney out on the congressional links very early one morning, teaching himself this important power-game before reporting for work that morning. The author said George Romney was literally grabbing up his clubs and running as fast as he could from green to green in order to get in the maximum practice time before work. And I bet his hair was perfect.

In 1975 I interviewed John Ehrlichman, who had been assistant to the president for domestic affairs in the Nixon White House. He had just been convicted of perjury but had not yet reported to prison. He was coming through Detroit to promote a book. I met him at the airport. He made me carry his bags. He did not answer a single one of my urgently important questions about the Watergate scandal. It turned out I was his damn driver for the day. Welcome to the life of a general assignment regional market city desk reporter.

But he did get sincere, almost emotional at one point, very unexpectedly. He had been gazing out the car window in a long very determined silence, ignoring me, I thought. He turned and asked me if I had ever met George Romney. I said I had.

I can't quote much of what he said by now, but I remember the gist. He said that of all the people he had seen come through the White House and the cabinet in his years there, he thought George Romney was maybe the finest one -- a man of real integrity and decency. I do remember these words: "A truly good man."

So I thought of all this when I read Jeffress's hateful words designed to summon bigotry against the Mormons. I thought of what this kind of talk must call up in the hearts and minds of Mormons. These are people whose family lore includes death at the hands of torch-wielding mobs -- not in Mexico, here. In the stories they tell around the dinner table are sharp memories of political instability and flight. They have reacted to all of this in their own lives with hard work, family stability and personal integrity.

It seems so terribly ruthless, coarse and immoral to stir the pot of bigotry against them only to gain an edge for a favored candidate at the polls. If a man can do that to the Mormons, what would keep the same man from doing the same thing to any other minority, if he thought he could earn two bits by it?


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127 comments
Rick Estrada
Rick Estrada

Pastor Jeffress was absolutely correct. Mormonism is a cult. They are pushing their own false bible "the book of mormon". As a shepherd of God's flock, he is doing his duty to guard people from wolves in sheep's clothing. The bible is very clear:

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22:18-19God bless Pastor Jeffress for speaking the truth. The book of mormon is not Christianity. It is meant to deceive people in to false religion. Yes, mormonism is a cult.

Joseph Butler
Joseph Butler

Your reaction to Pastor Jeffress, along with most of the media, misses the entire point of the Pastor's statements. He is not a bigot, nor is he trying to stir up the past bad treatment of Mormons at all. You have done that. If you are going to argue by slinging mud, how about talking about the Mountain Meadow Massacre by the Mormons of the wagon train of settlers from Arkansas.

You need to read up on Mormon beliefs and you will find that their basic tenets are very far from Christian beliefs. Mormonism was begun by a man and Christianity by Jesus Christ, as Pastor Jeffress said. I admire Pastor Jeffress's courage and faithfulness to stand up for his beliefs, knowing the kind of reaction he would get from the media with their knee jerk reations to all things Christian.

Etu Mila
Etu Mila

there's no room for prejudice when it comes to campaigning. especially when you try and make some one look bad and end up making yourself look bad. like the old adage, " don't knock it til you try it". lol. church is true yaw!!...try it.... 

LowKey
LowKey

The author loses all credibility when he calls the undisputed fact that mormons sellted in Mexico to practice polygamy without being prosecuted as criminals "a little muddy."  Nonsense, it is clear as a mountain stream.  No one but the author disputes it.

Next he claims that mormons were being murdered for being mormon in the 1880s.  That's beyond muddy, that is a despicable lie that defames the good people of the United States.

Then he goes on to describe what a good man George Romney was.  Leaving out the story about how George Romney refused to obey a "suggestion" from a mormon apostle that he stop fighting for equal rights (The LDS church was fighting against equal rights in the 1960s).  Now that would have actually been relevant to the issue of whether or not mormonism is a cult or not.  But his whole article refuses to touch on the issue.

Someone needs to change the title of this blog to "George Romney was a nice man"

scottindallas
scottindallas

Wow, when are you gonna write a defense of Muslims?

Cbs
Cbs

What is interesting to me is that Jeffress called Mormonism a cult- a fact as he sees it. He did not call nor never suggested any poor or improper treatment of Mormons (or any other religious group).  Jeffress does not agree with the belief system of Mormons. Muslims do not believe in the belief system of Christians.  The distinction between the Jeffress position and the Muslim position is that certain Muslim sects believe they have an affirmative duty to remove Christians from this earth.

Jefress simply said don't vote for him as his belief system is not consistent with Jefress' worldview. No hate, no venom, just a frank opinion that Jeffress views Mormonism as incinsistnet with Christianity. Here is a shocker...Mormons agree.

What am I missing?

Minjae_Lee
Minjae_Lee

Thank you, Jim.  A very well written, entertaining, and informative column.  Don't see a lot of them these days.  The tail pipe story was particularly telling of the type of person George Romney must have been.  

John2247
John2247

If Romney would have the decency of being an African-American then he wouldn't have to worry about so many attacks on his religion.  

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

I think his bible would be more like _Bartlett's Familiar Quotations_ or the like.

OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

Thank you Jim for context and perspective.

The man's Mormon faith means little to me and should mean little to others....just like Kennedy's Catholicism shouldn't have mattered...Bush's faith shouldn't have mattered...Obama's faith shouldn't matter.

Labels seem very easy to attach...but as you found out after having an experience with George Romney...sometimes they just don't stick.

Marvin
Marvin

The newer a religion is, the more absurd the origin story sounds.  If Smith had found his plates 2000 yrs ago, it might seem more plausible.  We also know that the tribes Smith based the religion on never existed, so there's that.

If a Scientologist ran for office, would his/her religion be off limits?

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

In the Pro Cult column: Even as we speak, a bunch of Mormons are retroactively "saving" the souls of people long dead, including Jewish Holocaust survivors (who I would be willing to bet would prefer not to be "saved" by a bunch of Mormons in a cave somewhere). People who don't think all that soul-saving is a bunch of nonsense should be rightly offended (I wonder where Romney stands on the retroactive soul-saving of dead people of other religions?). I just think its disrespectful and idiotic.

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

"The LDS church was fighting against equal rights in the 1960s"

Like Christian conservatives were on the front line of the civil rights struggle...(Actually, I guess they were at that. Its pretty hard to spit on someone if you're way in back.)

scottindallas
scottindallas

What Muslim sects believe they have a duty to remove Christians?  That is a lie. 

Remy
Remy

That's a little disingenuous. He is out there attacking Mormonism as a cult while it just so happens that he is publically supporting Rick Perry (who happens to be running against....oh wait, a Mormon!). And we all know how nasty Perry gets when he is running. He's just doing it by proxy here. The word "cult" in and of itself is a negative word. Could you imagine if someone came out who was introducing a candidate and called Christianity a cult? The Christians would be howling!

evangelical
evangelical

Obama's faith shouldn't matter??? You've got to be kidding. Let's see; he attended a Muslim Madrassa in Indonesia while a child, he called the Muslim call to prayer the sweetest sound in the world, he attended a racist Black Liberation Theology church for 20 years that spews hatred of white Americans & Jews, then throws Israel under the bus as President, calls himself a Christian while not acknowledging any of the tenets of Christianity, and you say his faith shouldn't matter? A person's faith determines their view of the world and their role in it.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Or, perhaps the label is fine, just the pejorative associations are what don't fit.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Scientologists are too busy investigating South Park and everybody else to run for office.

Winston7ok
Winston7ok

Why was every white European explorer worshipped by the natives as the Great White God returning?

From Cortez, to Columbus, to Cook......

Fred E.
Fred E.

Your ignorance really shines out.

pumped_up_kicks
pumped_up_kicks

So?  Does it pick your pocket or break your leg?  Do you complain if somebody "prays for you" and you don't know about it?

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.  --  Thomas Jefferson

Winston7ok
Winston7ok

Who cares? If you beleive it's just hooey, so what? No harm no foul.

If someone wants to pray for me when I'm dead, light a candle, do a dance,  eat ice cream while standing on their heads, or whatever floats their boat, well then, I would be honored and flattered that they were so concerned for my eternal soul, whether I thought it was silly or not.

Let people worship how, where, or what they may. As long as they're not doing you any bodily harm.

Those doing the work are ancestors themselves. We're all related to each other if you go back far enough. Provided you believe the Adam and Eve scenario.

Live and let live and mind "your" own business.

And don't you ever access the LDS Geneological data base.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Interesting side note: The Mormon church posthumously 'saved' Martin Luther, the father of the protestant movement!!

JimS
JimS

So, Tad, where do you stand on the virgin birth? Drinking blood and eating flesh in  order to gain god-like powers? What about guys floating up into the sky without a jet-pack?

LowKey
LowKey

So mormons get a free pass from bigotry because other people were bigots?  You forget that mormons claim that their church is the only true church on the planet and that it is led directly by relvelation from Jesus Christ.

According to mormons god was a racist until 1978.

At least Mitt's dad George would not cave to the mormon racism.

John2247
John2247

I'll explain but it totally ruins it.  The point was, if Romney were African-American he would have to deal with racism, and not worry about religious attacks.

Rtgolden
Rtgolden

Remember what Jesus said about throwing the first stone?  Christians would be wise to examine the atrocities committed in the name of Christ, before they want to attack another religion or its adherents.  I am a believer of Christian tenets, but I have yet to find a Church which embraces them.  Like it or not, we have a secular society, with a secular government, and that is as is should be.  Obama's childhood school attendance? Really? Did you have a choice which school you attended as a child?  I didn't. I was sent to the same dingy public schools filled with apathetic teachers, cokehead jocks, meth-head rednecks, and glue/gas/marker huffing trenchcoat mafia dorks as all the other kids in my town.  I hope I've succeeded in expanding beyond the scope of my childhood and become more aware of the world I live in.  I know I've tried.  I don't agree with many steps President Obama has taken.  I didn't vote for him, and I wont vote for his second term.  As a vet, some of his viewpoints are highly offensive to me.  But, he is still my President, and as such, he deserves my support.  I will judge him on his results, not his past and not his beliefs.

JimS
JimS

This is racist slime.

Marvin
Marvin

If a Scientologist ran for office, would his/her religion be off limits?

I'm actually serious.  If a Scientologist ran for office, and Jeffress said Scientology was a cult, would anyone be upset.  Is it ever OK to call an intelligent moral person's deeply held faith just a little too out there to be taken seriously.  There's got to be a line somewhere.  Doesn't there?

JimS
JimS

This is absolute bullshit. American Indians called the whites "bees" became they came in mindless swarms and had a sting. You call that worship?

scottindallas
scottindallas

not sure there's a scintilla of evidence for that.  It is recorded that Columbus thought it funny that natives would reach to touch his sword, only to cut themselves on it.  Columbus, thought that FUNNY.  He reported, "these people will make great slaves."  After just 2 decades, the population of native peoples were but one tenth of what they were before they arrived.  That was not disease

RTGolden
RTGolden

People usually worshiped what they feared.  They probably remembered the savagery visited upon them when the Norse were pillaging North American shores and didn't want to anger these pale beings again.  Not everything has to have a supernatural answer, sometimes, it can be as simple as primitive people trying to explain something utterly foreign to them.  There is historical and archaeological evidence of Norse exploring and raiding parties up and down the eastern seaboard, even into the Hudson bay.

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

Like I said, it doesnt pick MY pocket since I think its all superstitionBut it DOES bother people with deeply held beliefs in other religions that people are trying to convert their loved ones to a religion that runs counter to everything theyve ever believed in.

I am often offended by things that impact others but not me. I'm insured, for example, but I'm offended by how many people in this country aren't. I dont live in a bubble. I speak out against all things I consider wrong whether they're directed at me personally or not. You should try it. The world would be a better place if people didn't act as though its every man for himself.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Your last statement puts the hypocrisy to the rest.  Live and let live and mind your own business.  Martin Luther's ancestors should have respected what the man believed, honored his courage in trying to change what he could and left him to history and his God to judge.  As it is, they 'saved' a man who's more obscure writings were used by the Nazi party to justify many of their atrocities.  Should have followed that live and let live advice, I'd say.

Winston7ok
Winston7ok

1Corinthians 15:29

Merely ordinances done as commanded. It's always up to the individual to accept or reject in the hereafter. Again, if you think this is bunk, then so what?

JimS
JimS

Oh, wait, I see your other comments. I think we're on the same page, at least on the jet pack. You could still be a cannibal.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Just to keep things in perspective, among all this "My christianity is more pure than your christianity" stuff:1)The Bible wasn't collected up, edited, proofread, marked up and presented until over 300 years after Jesus died.2)It took a pagan emperor, Constantine, to order the assorted churches of Rome's city-states to come up with a doctrine they could all agree on.  He didn't do it to save Christianity, he did it to save the Empire.  the christians were tearing each other to pieces, which would leave him nothing to feed the lions.3)At the same council of Nicea, one of the most heated arguments was about the divinity of Christ.4)Utah has no professional football team.5)Colorado has a professional football team, and they're no good at basketball either.

dhrogers
dhrogers

Nowhere does it say in the Bible that God has finished his work or that there will be no more revelation or that the cannon of scripture is complete. Two of the most quoted references which are twisted in an attempt to say this are the following:

Revelations 22:18-1918 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.Notice that nowhere in this passage does it say that God has finished his work, or that the cannon of scripture is completed. John says not to add to or take from “these things” and “this book” and “this prophecy,” which almost certainly means the book that John was writing at the time. The list of 27 books of the New Testament were not even proposed until 367 AD in Athanasius’s Easter letter. The composition of books selected to include were hotly debated for several more centuries.

Even if John were referring to the future New Testament, which was not yet assembled, his warning is an injunction that man is not to change Gods word, and not a statement which binds God so that God Himself cannot add more. Note that God gives us the same warning in Deuteronomy 4:2 saying “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

So, if this commandment not to add or take away from Gods word means that the cannon of scripture is complete, then everything after Deuteronomy is false. This would mean that the WHOLE New Testament and MOST of the Old Testament, which were added after Deuteronomy, must be discarded. Clearly, God did not mean that the cannon was complete.

The other scripture that is commonly cited is this:

Galations 1:6-96 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

See also 2 Corintians 11:4

The idea embodied in this scripture is why Mormons don’t accept the exra-Biblical creeds and some of the mainstream orthodoxy of today. Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles. Most of the wording formulations in these creeds cannot be found in the Bible. This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. It is well known to historians that Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.The bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rejected as non-Christian by many Christians of today.

In many areas of belief (probably the majority of areas) Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe the same as most other Christians. It is true that in some limited areas – some very critical ones – the beliefs of Mormons differ from other Christians. Likewise there are some major areas of difference between Catholics and Protestants and likewise between one Protestant group and the next. Every denomination could make the claim that the other groups are not Christian because those other beliefs differ from their own.

The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I don’t know what is. Christ never taught the need to believe in anything like the creeds. Those came later.

Mormon belief is very much like the teachings of the earlier Christians – before the creeds – and also matches the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. The further back in time you go the more Mormon-like Christian doctrine becomes. More on this later. Mormons are often portrayed as non-Christian when we don’t believe in the later extra-Biblical creedal formulations.

The early Christians did not have the extra-Biblical creeds of later centuries. Were they then not Christian? The ontological debates and the wording formations of later centuries are not found in the words of Jesus or the words of the Apostles or in the words of the pre-creedal Christians . There is not a word about a one substance god in the Bible or in the early beliefs. If believing in the creeds is necessary to be Christian then that makes the earlier Christians not Christian – it even makes Christ not Christian.

One other interesting aspect of this topic: Some Christians claim that we must get our beliefs and doctrines from the Bible only. It is claimed that God finished his work and no longer has prophets or gives revelation. They say the Mormons are wrong to have prophets and extra scripture. Consider this: If the Bible is sufficient and no post-Biblical revelation is allowed, then the post-Biblical creeds are not necessary and are not authorized by God. If God authorized the creeds then why aren’t they in the Bible? How could they be from God if the Bible is complete, if God has finished his work, and if there is no more revelation? They are extra-Biblical and no one should be held to them as a requirement to be Christian. It is so ironic that Mormons are criticized for having extra-Biblical revelation by people who themselves believe in extra-Biblical creeds. Once one puts on the glasses of the creeds then everything in the Bible is filtered to match the creeds. Mormons believe in original Christianity restored to the earth through revelation to new prophets. This restoration was necessary BECAUSE of a Changing Christianity as exemplified by the creeds and warned against by Paul in Galations chapter 1. Nowhere does the Bible say that God has finished his work, that the cannon of scripture is closed. It seems ironic to us that we Mormons are accused of adding to the Bible by people who have done just that – added creeds and metaphysical definitions to the Bible. We advocate for believing original Christianity.

Dwight

dhrogers
dhrogers

Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles. Most of the wording formulations in these creeds cannot be found in the Bible. This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. It is well known to historians that Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.

The bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rejected as non-Christian by many Christians of today.

In many areas of belief (probably the majority of areas) Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe the same as most other Christians. It is true that in some limited areas – some very critical ones – the beliefs of Mormons differ from other Christians. Likewise there are some major areas of difference between Catholics and Protestants and likewise between one Protestant group and the next. Every denomination could make the claim that the other groups are not Christian because those other beliefs differ from their own.

The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I don’t know what is. Christ never taught the need to believe in anything like the creeds. Those came later.

Mormon belief is very much like the teachings of the earlier Christians – before the creeds – and also matches the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. The further back in time you go the more Mormon-like Christian doctrine becomes. More on this later. Mormons are often portrayed as non-Christian when we don’t believe in the later extra-Biblical creedal formulations.

The early Christians did not have the extra-Biblical creeds of later centuries. Were they then not Christian? The ontological debates and the wording formations of later centuries are not found in the words of Jesus or the words of the Apostles or in the words of the pre-creedal Christians . There is not a word about a one substance god in the Bible or in the early beliefs. If believing in the creeds is necessary to be Christian then that makes the earlier Christians not Christian – it even makes Christ not Christian.

One other interesting aspect of this topic: Some Christians claim that we must get our beliefs and doctrines from the Bible only. It is claimed that God finished his work and no longer has prophets or gives revelation. They say the Mormons are wrong to have prophets and extra scripture. Consider this: If the Bible is sufficient and no post-Biblical revelation is allowed, then the post-Biblical creeds are not necessary and are not authorized by God. If God authorized the creeds then why aren’t they in the Bible? How could they be from God if the Bible is complete, if God has finished his work, and if there is no more revelation? They are extra-Biblical and no one should be held to them as a requirement to be Christian. It is so ironic that Mormons are criticized for having extra-Biblical revelation by people who themselves believe in extra-Biblical creeds. Once one puts on the glasses of the creeds then everything in the Bible is filtered to match the creeds.

Mormons believe in original Christianity restored to the earth through revelation to new prophets. Nowhere does the Bible say that God has finished his work, that the cannon of scripture is closed. It seems ironic to us that we Mormons are accused of adding to the Bible by people who have done just that – added creeds and metaphysical definitions to the Bible. We advocate for believing original Christianity.

Dwight

dhrogers
dhrogers

PART 4 - How about we believe what Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, and the early Christian Bishops believed:

As Paul taught in 1 Corinthians chapter 8, there is a duality to Christianity. Paul taught that there are many gods but only one that we worship, only one that is our God. Mormons hold to the doctrine of Paul and Jesus and not necessarily the doctrine of the “various Christian churches” because they no longer teach what Jesus and Paul taught. We do.

Joseph Smith once said “Mormons are the only ones who believe in the Bible. Everyone else believes in their interpretation of the Bible.” That probably sounds like a bold and even arrogant statement and I can understand how it would be offensive to some people. It is not our intention to offend people. However, if you look at real facts, real history, what the Bible and the early Christians really say (only some of which I have pointed out above) it turns out that Joseph is right. People regularly can’t see what the Bible really says because it is filtered through the lens of later orthodoxy and the extra-Biblical creeds. The divergence of Mormon theology from the theology of other Christians lies in the fact that Christianity has been modified and changed over the centuries and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is original Christianity restored to the earth. So, of course, there are differences. But I think Christians down through the ages have done the best they can without current revelation and have done remarkably well in many cases. It is, in a way, strange, that they criticize us for believing original Christianity. Seems to me that they would want to do the same instead of preferring the later creeds and counsels over the earlier version of Christianity.

If Athanasius, Augustine, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Cyril, Saint Maximus the Confessor, Saint Clement of Alexandria Jerome, and others, including C.S. Lewis in modern days, can teach the doctrine of deification, not to mention that Jesus Himself taught it as well as Paul and John and yet they are still accepted as orthodox Christians, why are Latter-day Saints said to be non-Christian for the same belief? The further back in time you go, especially when you get back before the creeds, the more Mormon-like the Christian doctrines become. Some of our doctrines are clearly at odds with mainstream churches of today, but that’s not because Joseph Smith was making up ludicrous doctrine. Long lost but true doctrines were restored through him as a divinely authorized prophet.

And if popular Christian Orthodoxy continues to hold to the current tradition of later ideas and creeds, then what are they to do with the teachings of the Early Christians, the apostles, and even Jesus Himself who did not teach the creeds? If Mormons are wrong and not Christian than so were the early Christians who taught the same things that Mormons are teaching. If Mormons are not Christian for these beliefs then this makes the Apostles and even Jesus Himself not Christian. Which Christians are right; the later Christians or the Early Christians? Who is right, Jesus, Paul, John, the Psalmist, and the early Christian fathers, or Christians who believe traditions developed centuries after Christ and the Apostles?

Dwight

dhrogers
dhrogers

PART 3 - How about we believe what Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, and the early Christian Bishops believed:

ATHANASIUSIn the early fourth century Saint Athanasius – that tireless foe of heresy after whom the orthodox Athanasian Creed is named – also stated his belief in deification:

“The Word was made flesh in order that we might be enabled to be made gods . Just as the Lord, putting on the body, became a man, so also we men are both deified through his flesh, and henceforth inherit everlasting life.” (Athanasius, Against the Arians, 1.39, 3.34.)

On another occasion Athanasius stated, “He became man that we might be made divine” (Athanasius, De Inc., 54.) – yet another parallel to Lorenzo Snow’s expression.

The possibility of human deification is taught again by that “champion of orthodoxy,” Athanasius according to Keith E. Norman. (e.g., see Keith E. Norman, “Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University, 1980, pp. 77-106; and Clyde L. Manschreck, A History of Christianity in the World, 2nd ed., Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1985, p. 62, both as cited by Ricks and Peterson, p. 78).

He (Athanasius) taught that we are “sons and gods by reason of the word within us.” (G.L. Prestige, God in Patristic Thought, London: 1956, p 73)

JEROME (the Pope’s secretary)St. Jerome explains Psalms 82:6 as did other early Christian fathers:“‘I said: You are gods, all of you sons of the Most High.’ Let Eunomius hear this, let Arius, who say that the Son of God is son in the same way we are. That we are gods is not so by nature, but by grace. ‘But to as many as receive him he gave power of becoming sons of god.’ I made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods. ‘I said: Ye are gods, all of you sons of the Most High.’ Imagine the grandeur of our dignity; we are called gods and sons! I have made you gods just as I made Moses a god to pharaoh, so that after you are gods, you may be made worthy to be sons of God. Reflect upon the divine words: ‘with God there is no respector of persons.’ God did not say: ‘I said you are gods,’ you kings and princes; but ‘all’ to whom I have given equally a body, soul, a spirit, I have given equally divinity and adoption. We are ‘all’ born equals. Our humanity is one of equality.” (Jerome, The Homilies of Saint Jerome, Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1964 pp 106-107)

Jerome goes on to explain that man has fallen from being heirs of godship; but that he can rise and gain back this heirship. He says:

“‘Yet like men you shall die.’ You see, therefore that man will die. God does not die. Adam, too, as long as he obeyed the precept and was a god, did not die. After he tasted of the forbidden tree, however, he died immediately. In fact, God says to him: ‘The day you eat of it, you must die.’ The Hebrew has a better way of expressing this: ‘But you like Adam shall die.’ Just as Adam was cast out of the Garden of Eden, so, likewise, were we. ‘And shall fall like one of the princes.’ Since the Lord had said: ‘all of you sons of the Most High,’ it is not possible to be the son of the Most High, unless He Himself is the Most High. I said that all of you would be exalted as I am exalted. But, you ’shall fall like one of the princes.’ It is precisely because we had been so elevated that we are said to have fallen.” (Ibid)

Jerome later indicates that after having become “mere men”, those men can still become gods. He quotes the scriptures and explains: “‘Give thanks to the God of Gods.’ The prophet is referring to those gods of whom it is written: I said: ‘You are gods;’ and again: ‘God arises in the divine assembly.’ They who cease to be mere men, abandon the ways of vice and are become perfect, are gods and the sons of the Most High.” (Ibid p. 353)

TERTULLIAN“If, indeed, you follow those who did not at the time endure the Lord when showing Himself to be the Son of God, because they would not believe Him to be the Lord, then call to mind along with them the passage where it is written, ‘I have said, Ye are gods, and ye are children of the Most High;’ and again, ‘God standeth in the congregation of the gods:’ in order that, if the scripture has not been afraid to designate as gods human beings, who have become sons of God by faith , you may be sure that the same scripture has with greater propriety conferred the name of the Lord on the true and one-only Son of God.” (Tertullian, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids Michigan: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1885, vol. 3, p. 608)

ORIGENLike other early Church Fathers, Origen, [A.D. 185-254], also teaches the same Biblical doctrine, of Genesis 1:1, that there is a head god who is “Lord of gods”, Origin teaches that there is a distinction to be made between “the God” and others who are also “gods.”

“Everything which, without being ‘God-in-himself’ is deified by participation in his godhead, should strictly be called ‘God,’ not ‘the God.’ The ‘firstborn of all creation,.’ Since he by being ‘with God’ first gathered godhood to himself, is therefore in every way more honored than others besides himself, who are ‘gods’ of whom God is the God, as it is said, ‘God the Lord of gods spoke and called the world.’ For it was through his ministry that they became gods, since he drew divinity from God for them to be deified, and of his kindness generously shared it with them. God, then, is the true God, and those who through him are fashioned into gods are copies of the prototype.” (Ibid p. 324)

He went on to teach: “The Father, then, is proclaimed as the one true God; but besides the true God are many who become gods by participating in God.” (Ibid)

Origen claimed that God “will be ‘all’ in each individual in this way: when all which any rational understanding, cleansed from the dregs of every sort of vice, and with every cloud of wickedness completely swept away, can either feel, or understand, or think, will be wholly God….” (Origen, De Principiis 3:6:3, in Roberts and Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 4, p. 345.)

AUGUSTINEFinally, Saint Augustine himself, the greatest of the Christian Fathers, said:“But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ [John 1:12] If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.” (Augustine, On the Psalms, 50.2 Augustine insists that such individuals are gods by grace rather than by nature, but they are gods nevertheless.)

ST. MAXIMUS“We find it in early Orthodox tradition as well, for the ‘chief idea of St. Maximus [who died in 662 A.D.] as of all of Eastern theology, [was] the idea of deification” (S.L. Epifanovic as quoted by Jaroslav Pelikan, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700). The Christian Tradition, vol. 2, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1974, p. 10, as cited by Peterson and Ricks, p. 79).

dhrogers
dhrogers

PART 2 - How about we believe what Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, and the early Christian Bishops believed:

Note that the early Christian fathers, the early Bishops and respected orthodox theologians, were good Mormons. Note what they taught:

“God became man that man might become God.” (St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinis in: Philip Barlow, doctoral candidate in American Religious History at Harvard: Unorthodox Orthodoxy: The Idea of Deification in Christian History, Sunstone, Vol 8, no 5, pp 13-16))

“He became what we are, in order that we might be what he is.” (Maximus in Ibid)“I may become God to the same extent as he became man.” (Gregory of Nazianus in Ibid)“The Holy Spirit aids man in being made God.” (Basil of Ceasarea in Ibid)

“Flee with all in your power from being man and make haste to become gods.” (Origin in Ibid)Speaking of the soul which seeks to become pure Clement of Alexandria said: “The soul, receiving the Lord’s power, studies to become a god.” (Clement in Ibid)

IRENAEUSIt has been claimed by some that this doctrine of becoming gods is an altogether pagan doctrine that blasphemes the majesty of God. Not all Christians have thought so, however. Irenaeus [A.D. 130-200], Bishop of Lyons, was instructed by Polycarp. Polycarp was personally instructed by the apostle John. Irenaeus became a prominent bishop in the Church in the second century. He became the most important Christian theologian of his time, and is considered orthodox by mainstream Christianity. Yet he taught:

“If the Word became a man, It was so men may become gods.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, bk. 5, pref.)Irenaeus also taught: “We were not made gods at our beginning, but first we were made men, then, in the end, gods.” (Ibid, also in (Bettenson, H., The Early Christian Fathers, [London: Oxford University Press, 1956,] p. 94.)

Also: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, of his boundless love, became what we are that he might make us what he himself is.” (Irenaeus in Henry Betteson, The Early Christian Fathers, London: Oxford University Press, 1956, p 106)

And: “While man gradually advances and mounts towards perfection; that is, he approaches the eternal. The eternal is perfect; and this is God. Man has first to come into being, then to progress, and by progressing come to manhood, and having reached manhood to increase, and thus increasing to persevere, and persevering to be glorified, and thus see his Lord.” (Irenaeus in Henry Betteson, The Early Christian Fathers, London: Oxford University Press, 1956, p. 94)

And :”How then will any be a god, if he has not first been made a man? How immortal, if he has not in his mortal nature obeyed his maker? For one’s duty is first to observe the discipline of man and thereafter to share in the glory of God.” (Ibid, pp. 95-96)

Indeed, Saint Irenaeus had more to say on the subject of deification:

“Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, ‘I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.’ For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that, what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies,4.38. Cp. 4.11)

“But man receives progression and increase towards God. For God is always the same, so also man, when found in God, shall always progress toward God.” (Ibid)

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIAIn the second century, Saint Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.” (Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks, 1; Also in Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus 1, (8,4), in Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, p. 244.)Clement also said that “If one knows himself, he will know God, and knowing God will become like God.. His is beauty, true beauty, for it is God, and that man becomes a god, since God wills it. So Heraclitus was right when he said, ‘Men are gods, and gods are men.’” (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, 3.1 See also Clement, Stromateis, 23.)

And also: “‘To him who has shall be added;’ knowledge to faith, love to knowledge, and love to inheritance. And this happens when a man depends on the Lord through faith, through knowledge, and love, and ascends with him to the place where God is, the God and guardian of our faith and love, from whom knowledge is delivered to those who are fit for this privilege and who are selected because of their desire for fuller preparation and training; who are prepared to listen to what is told them, to discipline their lives, to make progress by careful observance of the law of righteousness. This knowledge leads them to the end, the endless final end; teaching of the life that is to be ours, a life of conformity to God, with gods, when we have been freed from all punishment, which we undergo as a result of our wrong-doings for our saving discipline. After thus being set free; those who had been perfected are given their reward and their honors. They have done with their purification, they have done with the rest of their service, though it be a holy service, with the holy; now they become pure in heart, and because of their close intimacy with the Lord there awaits them a restoration to eternal contemplation; and they have received the title of ‘gods,’ since they are destined to be enthroned with other ‘gods’ who are ranked next below the Savior.” (Ibid pp. 243-244)

JUSTIN MARTYRStill in the second century, Saint Justin Martyr insisted that in the beginning men were “made like God, free from suffering and death,” and that they are “thus deemed worthy of becoming gods and of having power to become sons of the highest.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 124)

ST. CYRIL OF JERUSLEMHere is an interesting quote from St. Cyril of Jerusalem, an early Christian bishop. This fascinating quote is from his Prologue to the Catechetical Lectures:“When thou shalt have heard what is written concerning the mysteries, then wilt thou understand things which thou knewest not. And think not that thou receivest a small thing: though a miserable man, thou receivest one of God’s titles. Hear St. Paul saying, God is faithful. Hear another Scripture saying, God is faithful and just. Foreseeing this, the Psalmist, because men are to receive a title of God, spoke thus in the person of God: I said, Ye are Gods, and are all sons of the Most High. But beware lest thou have the title of ‘faithful,’ but the will of the faithless. Thou hast entered into a contest, toil on through the race: another such opportunity thou canst not have. Were it thy wedding-day before thee, wouldest thou not have disregarded all else, and set about the preparation for the feast? And on the eve of consecrating thy soul to the heavenly Bridegroom, wilt thou not cease from carnal things, that thou mayest win spiritual?”

dhrogers
dhrogers

PART 1 - How about we believe what Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, and the early Christian Bishops believed:

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” (John 5:19-20)

Jesus is God incarnate. This shows that God came to earth and took upon himself a physical body. This shows that God can have a physical body. Jesus was resurrected with that body and will still have it when he comes again. Here,in this passage in John, Jesus tells us that he does nothing - that’s NOTHING - but what he has seen the Father do. Jesus knows this because the Father shows the Son “all things that himself doeth.” Since Jesus does nothing but what he has seen the Father do then This tells us what the Father has done before.

Jesus taught the following:

“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

“Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

“The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God:” (John 10:31-36)

Here, the Jews wanted to stone Jesus ” for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” Jesus then reminded them of their own scripture which teaches that “, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” from Psalms 82:6.

After this the Jews had to back down. They could not stone him because they knew he was right. They knew that their own scriptures teach the same thing and they had no case against Him. Jesus reminded them that God had “called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken”.The Apostle Paul makes a similar point as recorded in the New Testament. Like Isaiah, he writes of false man-made gods in 1 Corinthians chapter 8. In addition to the false man-made gods on earth, he also writes of the existence of true gods in the heavens He says:

“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many and lords many,) But to us there is but one God.. .” (1 Cor. 8: 5-6)

Here Paul recognizes that there are both false gods on earth and true gods in the heavens, but out of them all, there is only one God for us. Some may doubt that Paul was referring to true gods when he said “in heaven” and “(as there be gods many and lords many,). Yet, among true Bible believers, who can believe that there are false gods in heaven? So, when Paul talks of gods in heaven, he can only be talking of true Gods. Here, the Apostle Paul speaking polytheistically about the gods in heaven but monotheistically when he says that only one of them is our God.

Psalms 8:4-5 teaches that man is “a little lower than the gods.” The King James Version (and most translations) give it as “lower than the angels,” but the word used in the Hebrew is gods. The Hebrew term “elohim”,or “gods” is used to describe human judges in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9. Here authorized servants of God are called “gods.” Exodus 7:1 says that Moses was to be “god to Pharaoh.” Note that these are with a small “g” recognizing the pre-eminence of the God we worship.

And Paul says in Romans 8:14-18: “For as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;”

And again Christ said to John the Revelator: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelations 3:21)

Peter says: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:2-3)

And note these:

“Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Ex. 15:11)

“For the Lord your God is God of gods, and the Lord of lords, a great God…“Thou shalt fear the Lord they God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.“He is thy praise, and he is thy God…” (Deu. 11:17, 20-21)

“God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.” (Ps. 82:1) Or as it is rendered in the NRSV translation “God has taken His place in the divine council, in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.”

“Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.” (Ps. 86:8)

“For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.” (Ps. 97:9)

“For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.” (Ps. 135:5)

“O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth forever.” (Ps. 136: 2-3)

“For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God.” (Deut. 10:17)

dhrogers
dhrogers

The Apostle Paul writes a lot about salvation by grace. This was to combat the tenancy in many early Jews who converted to Christianity to fall back on obeying the works oriented law of Moses. However, in Corinthians, Galations, Romans, and other places, Paul also stresses the necessity to obey the commandments. He gives lists of sinful behavior such as adultery, fornication, lying, and so forth, and says that people who do these will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. For instance see 1 Corinhtians 6:9-10. And let's not forget about James 2:14-20,24. Obeying God is clearly the other side of the coin to the teachings of Paul and James.

Note what Mormons believe taken from their own sources:... 2 Nephi 24:26"We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Nephi 25:26)

Alma 22:14 (from the Book of Mormon)14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

2 Nephii 25:23 (from the Book of Mormon)23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

Here is the entry in the Bible Dictionary which is published in the King James Bible that Mormons use:

Grace. A word that occurs frequently in the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul. The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.

It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. 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.

Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible. This principle is expressed in Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches (John 15:1–11). See also John 1:12–17; Eph. 2:8–9; Philip. 4:13; D&C 93:11–14.

2 Ne. 2:7-97 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.

evangelical
evangelical

Dr. Jeffress plainly said it was a theological cult, not a sociological cult. The posts here are by those who either have never examined the tenets of Mormonism, or from Mormons who get very nervous when their beliefs are exposed. Mormons call themselves Christians and use the name of Jesus in their religion, while denying that His death on the Cross paid the full price for our salvation. They believe that they must earn their salvation through perpetual works. They deny that the God of the Bible is the Creator of the universe, and the only God in the universe. They deny that God & Jesus are one and the same person. They believe that Jesus & Lucifer are brothers, which is heresy to a Christian. They believe they can become Gods in the afterlife, which is blasphemy to a Christian. They put Joseph Smith on a par with a sinless Jesus, yet Joseph Smith had 43 wives, and was a serial adulterer by stealing other men's wives and marrying them. Anyone who is a true Christian can plainly see the difference. I think Dr. Jeffress had every right to shine the light of truth on those who call themselves Christians but pervert Christianity.

scottindallas
scottindallas

depends from which part of the pyramid you're analyzing I imagine

scottindallas
scottindallas

Why shouldn't we offer the same scrutiny of Jews or evangelical Christians?  It role of Israel is critical to our foreign policy.  While Jews and Christians have varying beliefs about the way we should treat Israel, there are many who think it heresy to question anything that state does.  Those people's beliefs SHOULD be open for frank discussion, as it affects policy.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

Scientologists won't run for office, because it would involve disclosure of financial information.  The CoS isn't so much a cult as it is a pyramid scheme.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Which is why I have an equal disdain for ALL religions.

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

Interesting that he'll babble but still won't answer a simple question

RTGolden
RTGolden

Funny, up above you 'liked' a similar comment by one of your compatriots.

pumped_up_kicks
pumped_up_kicks

You assume facts not in evidence.

Typical, if you don't have a point, attack the messenger.

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

Instead of just stalking around telling people to ignore Mormons unless they're being physically assaulted by one, maybe you could do something useful.

Answer the question the other Mormon carefully skirted:

If its "commanded" to convert and save the dead, why are the Mormons the only ones doing it?

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

After that little incoherent babble, I think it might be time to take your meds.I'm guessing you must be a Mormon, you're pretty far from home here.Now what would bring someone with ties to Salk Lake City to a little blog in Texas about Mormons... oh wait, I got it! A feeling of victimhood!

You really ought to invest in a mirror. Everything you accuse someone of you're right in the middle of doing yourself.

pumped_up_kicks
pumped_up_kicks

I got it, it's the new American mantra. Jump up and down and claim victimhood until somebody feels sorry for you.

You haven't felt the same since you had your little crash, but you might feel better if they gave you some cash. -- Get Over It, Eagles.

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

Exactly, and I choose to be bothered by things that don't directly affect only me, even if that doesn't make any sense to someone who lives by a completely selfish, me-only world view

You'll just have to try not to let it bother you.

See what I did there? I pointed out how you hypocritical you are, telling me essentially to mind my own business, while sticking your own nose up my ass.

Don't worry, I dont expect you to get it

pumped_up_kicks
pumped_up_kicks

People who aren't "insured" pick your pocket.

The fact of the matter is, you get to choose what bothers you, nobody else. Get over it.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Perfect.  Instead of trying to answer and explain, ridicule.  And religious people wonder why they don't get taken seriously.

Winston7ok
Winston7ok

Incoherant and lame on your part.

Fred E.
Fred E.

One would think this way unless they invested adequate time in educating themselves on the matter. The answers are there and can be found if one were to ask, seek, and knock. 

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

As expected, you didnt answer the questionTry again

Why only the Mormons?

Winston7ok
Winston7ok

Yes

1Cor.15:29

Modern Day Revelation....The Great Apostasy.....The Restoration

Jacksonville Hamiltonitis
Jacksonville Hamiltonitis

If its "commanded" to convert and save the dead, why are the Mormons the only ones doing it? It would seem that all the other denominations are willfully ignoring something they've been commanded to do, or Mormons are the only ones who see the "truth" about this particular deed. So which is it? Are Mormons the one true religion able to understand what everyone else doesn't, or just the only ones who are sincere enough to bother doing it?

RTGolden
RTGolden

I guess, for me, it is the same thing, no matter the creed.  Each little belief structure thinks they're the only ones who have gotten it right.  All others are to be pitied, scorned, ridiculed, burned, beheaded, or converted to death.  I wonder if God doesn't look down, shake his head and think "Time for a little climate change".I never said it was bunk.  I'd like to believe there is something worth believing in, but human authored religions don't seem to be it.

Sharon Boyd
Sharon Boyd

Tad, I know you fags like your 'meat' but come on....

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

I am a cannibal, but more the Dahmerian than Christian kind.Wafers are a poor substitute for real human flesh.

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