Saturday, November 25, 2006

Question of the Day

Is the Church of Latter-Day Saints heretical?


Keith Taylor said...


Some of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

(1) that Jesus and Satan (Lucifer) are co-equal brothers of the God. Both presented God with a plan for salvation for fallen man and God chose Jesus' plan. Thus the rebellion. So, Satan and Jesus are equal siblings of God. God also has millions of "literal" children, but Jesus is "first". Is that heretical?

(2) Due to (1) the whole belief in the trinity is kinda out the window. Is that heretical?

(3) "As man in now, God once was, as God is now, man will be". Mormons believe that each of us are actually "evolving" towards godship. That at one point in the ancient past, God was a man and "evolved" into what he is now. At some point in the far distant future, they will become "gods" and will each have their own "universe" to create and rule over. Is that heresy?

(4) while it is not tolerated due to state and federal law, the official writings of the LDS church is that plural marriage is part of Gods plan for mans enlightenment. That the more wives and the more children a man has, the more he is like "God". Is this heresy?

(5) Joseph Smith says that while he was in upstate NY he went into the woods to pray. An angel named Moroni appeared to him and showed him a book of gold plates and a seer stone that allowed him to translate them from an unknown language. The Book of Mormon is derived from the translation of these gold plates. However, after being buried for "eons" in NY, the book of gold plates simply "vanished" after Smith completed translating them. This is where the story of the American Indians being the "lost tribes of Israel" and such comes from. The truth is that this was a lie and a scheme to get gullible folks in the early 1800s to pay into a "digging" scheme that Smith and his brother were running. Folks would give them money to "find" these artificats. Smith actually kept their money and fabricated everything else. At least half of the rituals of the LDS church is derived from Free Masonry. Is this heresy?

Read the book One Nation Under Gods by Richard Abanes. It is one of the best histories of the Mormon Church I have ever read. The sad part is that most everyday Joe and Jane Mormon don't know what their own church believes.

see-through faith said...

In a word YES

codepoke said...

Not a church.

Brian said...

I'd argue that the average joe and jane methodist/presbyterian/episcopal/catholic, etc. probably don't have a thorough understanding of their church's theology either.

I'd agree that mormon theology sounds downright wacky. But then sometimes I think the only difference between catholics and mormons is that the catholics had the good sense to stop making stuff up 1500 years ago.

But aside from all of the theology, I know a lot of mormons. And at the risk of stereotyping them, they tend to be very good, caring, hardworking and honest people that truly love God and frankly do a lot more to embody Christian love than many other Christians.

That being said, I don't have a lot of enthusiasm for deciding whether they are heretics or not. While Joseph Smith was probably a total kook, most of his followers today are not. I think God probably has room for them too.

Anonymous said...

They do not believe in the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus and they have a "scripture" that supersedes the New Testament. They do not meet classic definitions of "Christian" although there are clearly similarities with Christianity.

I know they are good people and I too suspect that God probably has room for them, but that has nothing to do with meeting the criteria for being Christian.

Keith Taylor said...

Brian wrote,

...That being said, I don't have a lot of enthusiasm for deciding whether they are heretics or not. While Joseph Smith was probably a total kook, most of his followers today are not. I think God probably has room for them too.

Brian, I do believe that as well. I know that the majority of Joe and Jane Morman are putting their faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation and as such, they are not heretics. They are just as much a Christian as John Wesley or the Apostle Paul. I fault them for not being smarter about what the LDS church believes, but you rightly point out that many mainline Christians don't know what they believe as well.

The problem I have is with their church hierarchy and leadership that perpetuates the lies and erroneous teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the rest and keeps it from the average Mormon in pews.

Frank S. said...

When I was at Asbury, one of the most influential classes I took was Steve Tsoukalas's class on sects, cults and religious movements. Steve would definitely say, and I agree, that Mormons are not Christians.

As part of my own background for that class, I read the book, "Mormon America" by Richard and Joan Ostling. The Ostlings are veteran religious reporters for the secular media. They are not far-right evangelicals with axes to grind (as unfortunately some of the authors of literature in this are are.)

In this far-ranging book, there is a chapter called, "Are Mormons Christians?" The Ostlings tackle this seriously, but must conclude the answer is "no." There are far too many differences between the two religions about who Jesus is for this to be the case.

I would recommend anyone wanting to know more about Mormons and what they believe to read this book, along with others.

After taking this class, for me things boil down to this:

1) The radically different view of everything, from creation, to God the Father, to Jesus, to Heaven and Hell, to what's necessary for salvation, to the basis of belief (go with your innner feelings), to who people are (on their way to being gods with their own planets to rule) Well actually that's only for men. Women get to be eternally pregnant with "spirit children."

2) The absolutely suspicious origins and non-historicity of the Book of Mormon and the other attendant "scriptures."

3) Joseph Smith's confused life, personal shenanigans, fakery and snake oil tactics.

4) The Mormon belief that the orthodox Christian church is totally corrupt and that they are the only ones with the truth. They are NOT ok with us.

I have no idea what God will do with the vast majority of hoodwinked Mormon followers---or with those in other pseudo-Christian movements. But I suspect there is a special place in hell for Joseph Smith and others like him who found these things.