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References: Mormon vs Biblical Teachings about Man
Bible quotations are from the New American Standard version. For information on sources of Mormon quotations, see the section titled "Mormon Documents".
1. The Mormon church teaches that man was a pre-existent spirit and that mankind is of the same species as God. Our origin is supposed to have been as procreated children of God, born as spirits in some other realm. In that spirit world existence we progressed as far as was possible, but to become truly like our Heavenly Father we needed to obtain physical bodies. We also needed to learn the difference between good and evil. Since our Heavenly Father has progressed so far that He cannot allow evil into His presence, it was necessary for us to leave Him for some place where we could encounter and overcome evil ourselves:
- "The mind of man is as immortal as God Himself...God never did have the power to create the spirit of man at all" (Times and Seasons 5:615 and History of the Church 6:310-311).
- "We were first begotten as spirit children in heaven and then born naturally on earth" (Journal of Discourses, 4:218).
- "Before coming to this earth, all humans were begotten by our heavenly parents and were born with spirit bodies" (Mormon Doctrine p. 428, 516-17).
- "all had a previous existence, thousands of years ago, in the heavens, in the presence of God" (Journal of Discourses 1:62).
So, according to Mormon teaching, this world was prepared as a school, where we have been sent to obtain physical bodies and to learn the lessons of mortality:
- President Spencer W. Kimball stated: "We would be expected to gain knowledge, educate ourselves, train ourselves. We were to control our urges and desires, master and control our passions, and overcome our weaknesses, small and large. We were to eliminate sins of omission and of commission, and to follow the laws and commandments given us by our Father" (The Miracle of Forgiveness p. 5).
According to Mormon teaching, two of man's older brothers, Jesus and his spirit brother Lucifer, both wanted to be savior. When Jesus was chosen, Lucifer rebelled and convinced one third of the spririt brothers to fight with him and revolt. All pre-mortal humans participated in this war. Those who fought on the side of Lucifer became the demons. Those who fought most valiantly on the side of Jesus and Elohim were born in Mormon families.
Milton R. Hunter summarized this doctrine by stating that "we are as eternal as God Himself. But to achieve perfection and godhood, we must go through at least four stages of life: In the first stage each of us were conscious eternally existing beings called 'intelligences'. In that realm, we experienced good and evil, love and hate, free agency and so on until we had completed our work there" (The Gospel Trough the Ages, pp. 126-129).
2. The Bible clearly teaches that God created Adam, the first man, and all other men after him. This is in direct contrast with the Mormon teaching that man had a pre-existent life before being put on this earth.
- "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Gen 1:27).
- "Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him" (Zech. 12:1).
- "Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its offspring, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it " (Is 42:5).
- "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6).
- "But now, O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand" (Is. 64:8).
- "Where were you [man] when I [God] laid the foundation of the earth?" (Job 38:4).
- One verse commonly used by Mormon missionaries is Jer. 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you..." But this verse is not talking about pre-existence. It is talking about Gods ordination and appointment of Jeremiah to be a prophet to his nation. Look at the whole verse: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
- How could Jesus say this if the people he addressed were pre-existent with Him? "Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matt. 7:21-23).
- 1 Cor. 15:46-50 says, "However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven". He mentions the nature of man in the proper order: natural then spiritual. Paul continues on, "As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
The Mormon doctrine about pre-existent spirits is linked to their teaching about eternal progression. The argument goes like this: 1) Jesus was eternally existent (which is biblical); 2) Jesus progressed from a man to become a god; 3) therefore man must also be eternally existent if he can progress to become a god.
3. The Mormon church teaches that God, men, angels, and devils, are of the same nature, but at different levels of progression (Mormon Doctrine p.238-239, 192-195; Gospel Principles p.9; Gospel Through the Ages p.15; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p.345, 346, 370). For example:
- LDS Apostle Parley P. Pratt wrote, "God, angels, and men are all of one species, one race, one great family, widely diffused among the planetary systems as colonies, kingdoms, nations, etc...Angels are of the same race as men. They are, in fact, men who have passed from the rudimental state to the higher spheres of progressive being
They have not a single attribute that man has not. But their attributes are more matured, or more developed, than the attributes of men in this present sphere of existence" (Key to the Science of Theology, 1978 Deseret Book reprint, pg. 21,69).
- Brigham Young claimed, "Angels are those beings who have been on an earth like this, and have passed through the same ordeals that we are now passing through
They are persons who have lived upon an earth, but did not magnify the Priesthood in that high degree that many others have done who have become Gods, even the sons of God. Human beings that pertain to this world, who do not magnify or are not capable of magnifying their high calling in the Priesthood and receive crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives, will also, when they again receive their bodies, become angels and will receive a glory" (Journal of Discourses, 9:102).
- B. H. Roberts asks, ""What are angels? They are intelligences of the human species. Many of them are offspring of Adam and Eve. That is they are men, who have, like Enoch or Elijah, been translated; or, like Jesus Christ, been raised from the dead; consequently they possess a material body of flesh and bones" (The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pg. 256).
- The Mormon view of angels is linked to their belief that the angel Moroni, who supposedly appeared to Joseph Smith. According to LDS tradition, Moroni was once a human and a commander in the Nephite army (a supposedly ancient people of the Americas). Moroni was instructed by his father Mormon to bury the gold record just prior to the Nephites' annihilation by their dark-skinned Lamanite enemies. These plates would later be "translated" by Joseph Smith and eventually come to be known as the Book of Mormon.
The Mormon church also teaches that man may progress to become a god. Therefore, they also teach that "God was once a man who achieved godhood". In Mormon theology, those who achieve godhood will have spirit children who will worship and pray to them just as we worship and pray to God the Father (Gospel Principles, p.290). This has been taught by a large number of prominent LDS leaders, including its founders:
- Joseph Smith taught: "I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is...God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret...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, and take away the veil, so that you may see" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.345);
- Joseph Smith continues: "God himself...is a man like unto one of yourselves...God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth...You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves" (Times and Seasons, vol.5, pp.613-614); "Here then is eternal life---to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves...the same as all Gods have done before you...To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.346-347).
For more complete coverage of this doctrine, refer to the section on eternal progression.
4. The Bible teaches that God, men and angels are separate beings of different nature.
According to the Bible, men and angels are created whereas God existed from eternity. Therefore the idea of men turning into angels has no biblical support. The Bible declares that angels are a distinct creation of God; in other words, an angel was created as such, and is not a being that has undergone some sort of spiritual development or physical evolution.
- Psalm 148:2,5 clearly demonstrates that angels were created as angels when it says, "Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts
Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created."
- Colossians refers to both men and angels: "For by Him [Jesus] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities --- all things have been created through Him and for Him" (Col. 1:16).
5. Mormon doctrine teaches that Adam's fall was a 'fall upward' and it was not sinful.
Mormonism maintains that Adam's sin was necessary for the propagation of the human race: As Mormon scriptures state:
- "Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy" (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:25).
- "And in that day Adam blessed God...saying...for because of my transgression my eyes are opened and in this life I shall have joy" (Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses 5:10-11).
Mormon writers explain:
- Adam's sin was "a necessary step in the plan of life and a great blessing to all mankind" (Gospel Principles, p.31).
- Joseph Fielding Smith stated: "The fall of Adam came as a blessing in disguise...nor do I accuse Adam of a sin...it is not always a sin to transgress a law...we can hardly look upon anything resulting in such benefits as being a sin" (Doctrines of Salvation 1:114-115).
- "Adam fell, but he fell in the right direction. He fell toward the goal...Adam fell, but he fell upward" (Deseret News, p.7, July 31, 1965)
- John A. Widtsoe stated: "Adam's fall in the Garden of Eden "became a necessary and honorable act in carrying out the plan of the Almighty" (Joseph Smith---Seeker After Truth, p.160).
Is this Mormon teaching inconsequentially different from Paul the Apostle's exposition in Romans 5:12-21? No:
- "Mormonism rejects the notion that man's condition is best described by 'depravity'. Nowhere within Mormon theology is its optimism concerning man's natural condition more apparent than in this denial of the Christian doctrine of original sin" (Owen Kendall White, Jr., The Psychological Basis of Mormon New-Orthodoxy", p.101-104, University of Utah thesis, June 1967).
6. The Bible teaches that Adam's sin caused spiritual and physical death for all men:
- "Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Rom. 5:12).
- "For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many died" (Rom. 5:15).
- "for on the one hand [Adam] the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation" (Rom. 5:16).
- "For if by the transgression of the one [Adam], death reigned through the one [Adam]" (Rom. 5:17).
- "So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men" (Rom. 5:18).
- "For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners" (Rom. 5:19).
Man has been punished because he thought he could make himself to be like God: Ez 28:1-10:
- "Yet you are a man and not God, Although you make your heart like the heart of God" (Ez. 28:2).
- "Because you have made your heart Like the heart of God...I will bring strangers upon you...They will bring you down to the pit" (Ez. 28:6-8).
- "Will you still say, 'I am a god', ...Though you are a man and not God" (Ez. 28:9).
Man's sin was not the result of the plan of God:
- "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death" (James 1:13-15).
- "Then to Adam He [God] said... 'Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life...By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground...For you are dust, And to dust you shall return" (Gen 3:17-19).
- While Adam's sin was not in the plan of God, God did redeemed us out of it: "The gift [salvation] is not like that which came through the one [Adam] who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification " (Rom. 5:16).
7. The Mormon church teaches that man can marry for eternity and has the potential to rule over a planet of his own spirit children. One of the requirements to reach this goal is what Mormons call "celestial marriage.
Today celestial marriage is simply defined as a marriage in a Mormon temple designed to last not just until death but throughout all eternity. Couples joined in such marriages are considered "sealed" to each other. Their children afterward are automatically "sealed" to them as well. This, they believe, ensures that their family will continue in heaven eternally as a complete unit. Those who become Gods will each have his own world and with his wife (wives?) procreate spirits who will be raised to maturity and go into bodies on the new world. These new people will worship those who procreated their spirits, in the same way we worship God the Father. (in Gospel Principles, 1986 ed. pp. 9, 190-191 and older editions).
- Apostle Bruce R. McConkie stated: "Exalted parents are to their children as our Eternal Parents are to us. Eternal increase, a continuation of the seeds forever and ever, eternal lives -- these comprise the eternal family of those who gain eternal life. For them new earths are created, and thus the on-rolling purposes of the Gods of Heaven go forward from eternity to eternity" (The Millennial Messiah, p.23).
- McConkie continues: "Every person married in the temple for time and for all eternity has sealed upon him, conditioned upon his faithfulness, all of the blessings of the ancient patriarchs, including the crowning promise and assurance of eternal increase, which means, literally, a posterity as numerous as the dust particles of the earth" (The Millennial Messiah, p.264).
- Bruce McConkie wrote, "Celestial marriage is the gate to exaltation, and exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit in eternity. Exaltation is
the kind of life which God lives" (Mormon Doctrine pg. 257). Celestial marriage is an absolute necessity to reach this desired goal. Its importance in the place of salvation and exaltation cannot be overestimated. "The most important things that any member of (the LDS Church) ever does in this world are: 1) To marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority; and 2) To keep the covenant made in connection with this holy and perfect order of matrimony
" (Mormon Doctrine p. 118).
- Apostle Orson Pratt stated: "Each God, through his wife or wives, raises up a numerous family of sons and daughters; indeed, there will be no end to the increase of his own children: for each father and mother will be in a condition to multiply forever and ever. As soon as each God has begotten many millions of male and female spirits, and his Heavenly inheritance becomes too small, to comfortably accommodate his great family, he, in connection with his sons, organizes a new world, after a similar order to the one which we now inhabit, where he sends both the male and female spirits to inhabit tabernacles of flesh and bones" (The Seer, p. 37).
- Orson Pratt continues: "Thus each God forms a world for the accommodation of his own sons and daughters who are sent forth in their times and seasons, and generations to be born into the same. The inhabitants of each world are required to reverence, adore, and worship their own personal father who dwells in the Heaven which they formerly inhabited" (The Seer, p. 37).
Of course, this Mormon view of 'eternal life' is only available to those whose marriage is sealed in a Mormon Temple, who perform Temple ordinances, etc. and eventually reach the celestial kingdom.
- Joseph Fielding Smith stated: "Those who are married in the temple for all time and eternity obtain the blessing of eternal lives. I put stress on eternal lives. Eternal life is God's life... To be married outside of the temple is for time only" (Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 4, p.197).
8. The Bible does not teach that man can be married for eternity; nor is earthly marriage connected with salvation.
While the Bible teaches that it is good for man to marry (Gen. 2:24, 1 Cor. 7:2,9), it is not a requirement for salvation, nor is marriage designed to last for all eternity:
- The Sadducees put a hypothetical question to Jesus about a woman married successively to seven brothers: 'In the resurrection, ...which one's wife will she be? For all seven had married her?' (Mark 12:23). Jesus replied: "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven" (Mark 12:25).
At face value and according to historically interpretation, Jesus appears to be saying that heaven will be much different than life as we know it on earth.
Mormon leaders have interpreted this passage quite differently:
- Bruce R. McConkie wrote: "What then is the Master Teacher affirming by saying, 'in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven'? He is not denying but limiting the prevailing concept that there will be marrying and giving in marriage in heaven. He is saying that as far as 'they' (the Sadducees) are concerned, that as far as 'they' ('the children of this world') are concerned, the family unit does not and will not continue in the resurrection. Because he does not choose to cast his pearls before swine, and because the point at issue is not marriage but resurrection anyway, Jesus does not here amplify his teaching to explain that there is marrying and giving of marriage in heaven only for those who live the fulness of gospel law-a requirement which excludes worldly people" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 1:605,606).
- David H. Yarn, Jr., a BYU professor emeritus of philosophy and religion, said, "The Lord did not say there would be no people in the married state in the resurrection but that there would be no marriages made in the resurrection" (A Sure Foundation, p. 115)
According to the Bible, in heaven Christ is married to his church collectively and perhaps individually. This seems to be why there is no marriage between men and women:
- "the marriage of the Lamb [Christ] has come and His bride [the church] has made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7).
- "I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband...Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb" (Rev 21:2,9).
- "He who has the bride [the church] is the bridegroom [Jesus]" (Jn. 3:29).
- "Let the bridegroom [Messiah] come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber" (Joel 2:16).
9. Mormon leaders have taught that polygamy is a righteous principle and even that its practice is necessary to attain the highest level of heaven. They justify this doctrine in part on the observation that in the Old Testament both unbelievers (i.e. Lemech, the son of Cain, and Belshazzar, the king of Babylon) and believers (i.e. Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon) were known polygamists.
While a Mormon might be excommunicated for practicing polygamy today, the command to engage in plural marriage is still included in modern editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 132:4 declares: "For behold, I reveal unto you a new and everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory."
- "the doctrine of plural and celestial marriage is the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on earth, and that without obedience to that principle no man can ever attain to the fullness of exaltation in the celestial glory" (William Clayton in Historical Record, p.266);
- Brigham Young stated: "the only men who become gods, even the Son of God, are those who enter into polygamy" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p.269).
- Heber C. Kimball (first counselor to Brigham Young) declared, "You might as well deny 'Mormonism,' and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p.203).
- Brigham Young stated, "We are told that if we would give up polygamy--which we know to be a doctrine revealed from heaven and it is God and the world for it--but suppose this Church should give up this holy order of marriage, then would the devil, and all who are in league with him against the cause of God, rejoice that they had prevailed upon the Saints to refuse to obey one of the revelations and commandments of God to them" (Journal of Discourses, 11:239). Later in the sermon President Young asked, 'Will the Latter-day Saints do this? No'.
- Mormon President John Taylor accused those who opposed polygamy within the LDS Church as "apostates." He said: "Where did this commandment come from in relation to polygamy? It also came from God...I consider them apostates, and not interested in this Church and kingdom" (Journal of Discourses, 11:221).
- In 1869 Wilford Woodruff, Mormonism's future fourth president, taught, "If we were to do away with polygamy...we must do away with prophets and Apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians and do as the world does" (Journal of Discourses, 13:165 - p.166).
- Joseph F. Smith insisted that plural marriage was essential for LDS exaltation. "This doctrine of eternal union of husband and wife, and of plural marriage, is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man in any age of the world. Without it man would come to a full stop; without it we never could be exalted to associate with and become god..." (Journal of Discourses, 21:9).
- Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt said, "...if plurality of marriage is not true or in other words, if a man has no divine right to marry two wives or more in this world, then marriage for eternity is not true, and your faith is all vain, and all the sealing ordinances, and powers, pertaining to marriages for eternity are vain, worthless, good for nothing; for as sure as one is true the other also must be true." (Journal of Discourses, 21:296).
- Brigham Young stated: "Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be dammed..." (Journal of Discourses, 3:266).
- President Wilford Woodruff signed what has come to be known as The Manifesto, or Declaration 1. The Manifesto can be found following section 138 in the Doctrine and Covenants. This document was basically a promise to the United States stating that the LDS Church would submit to the laws of the land and desist from solemnizing plural marriages.
- Joseph F. Smith: "Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation of mankind...I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned...I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that" (Journal of Discourses, vol.20, p.28-31).
This doctrine has been downplayed by recent church leaders but its stated requirement for exaltation by the LDS founders can be well documented.
- Bruce McConkie: "Obviously the holy practice will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millenium." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 578).
10. The Bible teaches that plural marriage is an abomination to God.
The clearest Biblical statement on polygamy condemns it as an abomination:
- "He [your king] shall never again return that way [to Egypt]. Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away" (Deut. 17:16-17).
- In I Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6, polygamy disqualified a man from holding church office.
Although there are examples of men who practiced polygamy in the Old Testament, it is extremely important to note that polygamy was merely tolerated by God, but never commanded or even endorsed by Him.
- The mere fact that in the beginning God created just Eve for the companionship of Adam points to the monogamous relationship between a man and a woman.
- This is confirmed by such passages as I Corinthians 7:2 where the apostle Paul states that "every man should have his own wife," not wives.
- Jesus condoned monogamy when He stated "they two shall be one flesh." (Matthew 19:5) .
- polygamy violates the principle of God/Christ being married to one bride (Joel 2:16; Jn. 3:29; Rev. 19:7; 21:2-9).
In the Bible, polygamy is treated the same as divorce:
- "Because of the hardness of your heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way" (Matt. 19:8).
11. The Mormon churches teaches that it has been uniquely entrusted with administration of the priesthood. One of the unique doctrines of the Mormon church is its exclusive claim to the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods.The priesthood is held by most male members 12 years and older. The Aaronic Priesthood was allegedly given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by John the Baptist on May 15, 1829, and before August 1830 they received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Apostles Peter, James and John.
The structure of the LDS church is as follows: The first presidency (the prophet/president and his counselors) along with the men who are under them are called the General Authorities. Each gets his authority for assigned responsibilities from the president/prophet while he is living. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, twelve men, just under the Prophet, also have the same authority and "keys" as the President, but can only partially use them as authorized by the President.
- Joseph F. Smith said: "What is a key? It is the right or privilege which belongs to and comes with the Priesthood, to have communication with God" (Gospel Doctrine, page 142).
- Bruce McConkie states: "They [the keys] can only be fully used by the apostles when there is no president, and that historically has seldom happened for long periods. With no prophet (or when Jesus died) the apostles had the keys, all the authority (Mormon Doctrine, pages 591, 49).
When the priesthood was allegedly restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery it was done by Peter, James and John, three of the apostles. Mormons maintain that the Apostle John is the only apostle, of the original twelve, left on earth. According to Mormonism John was to live until the Lord came (Doctrine and Covenants section 7). Mormons also cite the gospel of John as saying John would never die:
- "Jesus said to him [Peter], 'If I want him [John] to remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:22).
Of course, John himself denies this in the next verse:
- "Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?'" (John 21:23).
The Mormons claim that, because John had all the "keys" (all authority), he could appoint and ordain new apostles and keep the Lord's church going on earth.Thus, holding the Aaronic and Melchezidek priesthood is their authority from God to act in his name and do his work. The LDS church maintains that Jesus gave the 12 apostles the authority to baptize but that Jesus did not give them the authority to pass on that authority to others. Thus, they teach that Christians lost their authority to baptize until the time when the priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith.
This Mormon doctrine is closely related to their teaching that the Christian church went through a great apostasy following the death of the original apostles (except John).
- "Apostasy was universal...And this darkness still prevails except among those who have come to a knowledge of the restored gospel" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol 3, p.265).
- Bruce McConkie states: "Thus the signs of the times include the prevailing apostate darkness in the sects of Christendom and in the religious world in general" (The Millennial Messiah, p.403); "a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christendom" (Mormon Doctrine, p.132); "virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ" (Mormon Doctrine, p.269);
12. The Bible says that Jesus Christ has superceded all Old Testament priesthoods.
The authority claimed by the Mormon Church through an "Aaronic Priesthood," cannot be valid since Jesus abolished this priesthood when He took its place (Hebrews 7:11-19, 8:6-13). Likewise, the "Melchizedek Priesthood" never existed as any operative "priesthood", even in Old Testament times. No priestly succession is mentioned. Jesus is our only High Priest and He alone holds this permanently (Hebrews 7:15-28, 9:11-15).
Why is the idea of priests and priesthood important?
- The inevitable result of this Mormon teaching is that the person and work of Jesus Christ is minimized and given second place to the teaching that man himself will become a God. In Mormon doctrine, holding the office of the Melchizedek priesthood is essential to eternal progression so that without it celestial exaltation will not be achieved.
- Each occupant of the First Presidency, from Joseph Smith onward, has been the highest occupant of the Melchizedek priesthood. This contradicts the teaching of Hebrews chapters 7-9 and lessens the importance and uniqueness of Jesus.
Here is what the Bible says about the uniqueness of Jesus' priesthood:
- In these last days God speaks through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2).
- Jesus is our only High Priest (Hebrews 7:15-28).
- He alone holds this permanently and no one else (Hebrews 9:11-15).
Jesus was not merely another in succession of priests, but His priesthood was unique. There had not been one like it before, and there will not be one like it again. His priesthood is the climax and culmination of priesthood before God.
Why was Jesus' priesthood unique? According to the Bible:
- Jesus' priesthood is superior due to a better calling. Other priests were chosen, but Jesus was called with an oath (Heb. 5:5; 7:21). God, who could swear by no greater than Himself, proclaimed Jesus to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.
- Jesus' priesthood is superior due to a better covenant (Heb. 7:22; 8:6; 9:15). God found fault with the old covenant in that it could not accomplish the salvation of Israel. So He made a new covenant, and Jesus is the mediator of that covenant (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5-6).
- Jesus' priesthood is superior due to a better sacrifice (Heb. 9:11ff). Those who served in the Levitical priesthood offered sacrifices annually according to commandment. Those sacrifices did not serve to put away sin. Jesus, however, by one sacrifice, forever put away sin, and now sits at God the Father's right hand (Heb. 9:24ff; 10:12).
- Jesus' priesthood is unique due to an indestructible life (Heb.7:16). Many men over several centuries served in the Levitical priesthood, yet none of them could continue because of death (Heb. 7:23-25).
Furthermore, the Bible states that all Christians are now priests:
- "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation" (1 Peter 2:9).
- "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5).
The believer-as-a-priest concept is important because in other religions and in many cults a priest serves as an essential intermediary between man and God. A fundamental uniqueness of Christianity is that Jesus abolished this:
- "For there is one God and one mediator also between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim.2:5).
- "Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins" (Heb 10:11), but "He [Jesus], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time" (Heb. 10:12) "has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14) so that "There is no longer any offering for sin" (Heb. 10:18).
- Therefore, the Bible says that "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us through His Son" (Heb. 1:1).
13. Mormons teach that all men are children of God, hence there is a general salvation.
"All men and women are...literally sons and daughters of Deity" (Gospel Principles, p. 11).
This doctrine is related to other Mormon teachings that claim:
14. The Bible teaches that one becomes a child of God only through faith in Christ Jesus.
- "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (Jn. 1:12).
- "For you [the Christians in Galatia to whom Paul is writing] are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26).
The Mormon teaching that all men are children of God contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible that all men are inherently sinful and in need of redemption:
- "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him" (Is. 53:6).
- "as it is written, there is none righteous, no not one" (Rom. 3:10).
- "You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience" (Gal. 2:1-2).
- We "were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (Gal. 2:3).
- Outside of Christ, all are "darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart" (Eph. 4:18).
- "Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire'" (John 8:42-44).
- "Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me" (Matt. 7:21-23).
If all men are by nature children of God as Mormon teaching suggests, then why, according to the Bible, must everyone who comes to Christ be transformed by God into a new creation with a new heart?
- "if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold new things have come" (2 Cor. 5:17).
- "Since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" (Col. 3:10).
- "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self, which in God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Eph. 4:23-24).
- "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Rom. 8:9).
- "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
- "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone...and I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes" (Ezekiel. 36:26-27).
In the Bible, becoming a child of God is intimately linked with placing our total trust in Him for salvation. This is not something that happens to everyone but is clearly conditional:
- "Through His name every one who believes in Him has received forgiveness of sins " (Acts 10:43).
- "He who hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and does not come into judgement" (Jn. 5:24).
- "Every one who beholds the Son, and believes in Him, may have eternal life, and I myself will raise him up on the last day" (Jn. 6:40).
- "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe on His name" (Jn. 1:12).
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