Blogalogue

Blogalogue


Who Gets to Define “Christian”?

posted by prothfuss

By Orson Scott Card
Each time a group of Christians comes up with an unfamiliar way of understanding the scriptures and our relationship with God, there are other Christians who are quick to insist that anyone who believes like that can’t really be Christian.
Much blood has been shed over these doctrinal differences; wars have been fought, boundaries have been changed, and people have gone into exile.
Whether it was the often bloody struggle between Arians and Athanasians, between Lutherans and Catholics, between the Church of England and the Puritans, people have been willing, it seems, to die, to kill, and to deprive others of their rights as citizens over differences of Christian belief.
In America, though, we long ago decided — though not easily — to put such things behind us. Many states refused to ratify the Constitution until it included provisions forbidding one religion to be given preference over others.
Besides the first amendment, there is this statement in Article 6: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
This didn’t mean that Americans stopped caring about doctrinal differences. Quite the contrary — America became a place where, if anything, we talked incessantly about religious differences.
I mean, what would have been the point of open religious discussion in Catholic France or Church-of-England Britain or Lutheran Sweden?
But in America, we agreed that people who had very different ideas of what it meant to be Christian could — and must — get along without violence.
Well, mostly without violence. There were many places in America where Catholics were not counted as Christians. And when we Mormons came along, well, we were clearly beyond the pale — for precisely the reasons that Dr. Mohler outlines (though for other reasons as well).
While Dr. Mohler sometimes couches his summary of our beliefs in terms we would not choose, I am happy that his explanation is generally clear and fair-minded. (His characterization of the Book of Mormon’s presentation of Christ is the exact opposite of the truth — the Book of Mormon makes every single point that he says it does not. But I don’t expect him to be an expert on the book, or even to have read it.)
I am also happy to agree with him that when one compares our understanding of the nature of God and Christ, we categorically disagree with almost every statement in the “historic creeds and doctrinal affirmations” he refers to.
The only major point on which I could criticize Dr. Mohler’s essay is that he begged the question in the first and second paragraph.
“Christianity is rightly defined in terms of ‘traditional Christian orthodoxy,” he says. “Thus, we have an objective standard by which to define what is and is not Christian.”
In other words, he began the discussion by saying, “We win. Therefore we can define anyone who is not us as ‘the losers.’”


When he defines “traditional Christian orthodoxy” as “the orthodox consensus of the Christian church [as] defined in terms of its historic creeds and doctrinal affirmations” he is ignoring the fact that these creeds were the result, not of revelation, but of debate and political maneuvering.
Arians and Athanasians got along about as well as Shiites and Sunnis; the Athanasians generally prevailed by the authority of the Roman state and force of arms. It is hard for us Mormons to understand why ancient force and bloodshed, rather than revelation from God, should be the basis for defining the doctrinal consensus of Christianity today.
Many evangelicals have as many doctrinal problems with calling Catholics “Christians” as they have with us Mormons. While they accept the (Catholic) creeds insofar as the various Protestant denominations accept them, they reject other Catholic beliefs that were, prior to the Protestant reformation, every bit as “orthodox.”
Which is why the Catholic (i.e., “universal”) Church branded the Protestants as heretics, using precisely the kind of arguments that Dr. Mohler is using against us Mormons.
Because Martin Luther (and his fellow Protestant reformers) rejected many parts of the traditional beliefs and practices of the Universal Christian Church as they had been defined for a thousand years in the West, they could not be considered Christians — they were heretics, and their ideas were forbidden for any good Christian to hear, let alone believe.
So the Christian world has been down this road before. Thank heaven we live in more tolerant times, where our debate takes place on the internet or from the pulpit or in quiet conversations in people’s homes, instead of on the battlefield or in the courtroom.
But what if we don’t let Dr. Mohler define the question in such a way as to specifically exclude Mormons before the debate begins?
What if we define “Christians” the way most people would: “Believers in the divinity of Christ and in the necessity of the grace of Christ in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God.”
Or, “People who believe Christ is the Son of God and the only way to please God is by following Christ’s teachings as best you can all your life.”
Or how about, “People who believe that the New Testament is scripture and that its account of the life, death, resurrection, and teachings of Jesus is true and that we should act accordingly.”
We can come up with a lot of definitions that do a much better job of describing what most people mean when they use the word “Christian.”
How many ordinary Christians actually know or care about the “historic creeds and doctrinal affirmations” that form Dr. Mohler’s definition-of-choice?
I remember, as a Mormon missionary in Brazil, how many times I would explain our doctrine of the nature of God, and the Catholic or Protestant family I was teaching would say, “But that’s what we believe.” And they were telling the truth.
Their theological-seminary-trained priest or minister certainly did not believe what we were teaching, but time after time we found that the ordinary church-going Christian already saw things as we did, and thought that our peculiar doctrines were what their church had always taught.
The theologian is bound to say, “Just because ordinary, ignorant Christians don’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity does not mean that their ignorance should prevail over our more-sophisticated understanding.”
I agree completely. When Baptist theologians define Baptist beliefs, it is their privilege to base it on as sophisticated an understanding as they please.
But when we are defining words as they are used in the English language, we all get a vote. Dr. Mohler does not get to speak for all Christians. Nor does he get to speak for all English-speakers. The ordinary meaning of the word “Christians” definitely includes Mormons; and when you say Mormons are not Christians, most would take that to mean that Mormons “do not believe in the divinity of Christ,” which would be flat wrong.
That’s why I appreciate the fact that Dr. Mohler made it clear at the start that by “Christian” he means “everybody but the Mormons,” so that if we accept his peculiar definition of the word, the argument is, indeed, over.
But it still makes me sad that he would single us out for rejection, when we really ought to be working together.
I remember a few years ago attending a conference with the Templeton Foundation, which brought together scientists, theologians, and science fiction writers to discuss the future of religion in relation to science.
There was only one theologian present, a man highly trained in all those creeds that Dr. Mohler insists define Christianity. As we listened to a group of brilliant scientists — and some science fiction writers who, unlike me, were also trained scientists — explain with marvelous clarity some highly sophisticated concepts, I was impressed by how eager they were to communicate clearly — to be understood.
But when the theologian spoke, he immediately did what the scientists could have done but chose not to — he plunged into the jargon of his own intellectual community, deliberately excluding non-experts from the conversation.
However, I had read and studied enough traditional Christian theology — and enough deconstructionist and multicultural mumbo-jumbo — to know the vocabulary he was using; and the more I listened, the clearer it became that with all his sophistication, this man did not actually believe in the literal existence of the God and Christ described in the New Testament. He didn’t even believe in the literal existence of the Trinity described in the Nicene and later creeds.
In fact, as I looked around the table, I realized that I was the only person in that room who believed that Jesus is the Savior of the world, the Son of God, and that God created humankind in his image for the purpose of bringing us to a joyful reunion with him, after we had learned to control the desires of the flesh and turn our lives over to him, and after the grace of Christ has cleansed us of our guilt for the many sins we have committed.
He was an ordained minister of the Church of England who did not actually believe in the God of any official Christian creed.
I was an ordinary Mormon, holding no lofty office.
But in that room, I was the only believing Christian.
Yes, Dr. Mohler. You and I disagree on exactly the points you listed in your essay. You are correct in saying that we Mormons completely reject the neoplatonic doctrines that were layered onto Christianity long after the Apostles were gone.
And just as you would put any reference to Mormons as “Christians” in quotation marks, we Mormons refer to those who believe as you do as “Christians” in exactly the same way.
Here’s the difference. While we have no patience with creeds that owe more to Plato and other Greek philosophers than to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, we do recognize and respect as fellow Christians anyone who confesses that Christ is the Savior of the world.
So I can go to “The Passion of the Christ” and be moved by it, even though Mel Gibson’s view of what the passion actually consisted of is very different from the Mormon view. I recognize and respect the sincerity of his faith, and I recognize that despite our doctrinal differences, his faith is in Jesus Christ.
It’s like the ancient Hebrew penchant for referring to God as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” They did not try to subject God to the limitations of human understanding; they did not define him in ways that would say more about the limitations of their own minds than about the nature of God.
Their definition, unlike yours, was simply to point to the great fathers of their religion and say, “The God they worshiped, that’s the God we worship, too.”
Can we not define God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in a similar way? “The God that Jesus prayed to, that is the God we pray to. The Jesus Christ of the New Testament, he is the one we believe has suffered to redeem the world from sin. He is the way, the truth, the life, as best we understand what he taught.”
That last phrase is a key to our getting along, I think. It is one of the central tenets of Mormon religion that our understanding is not perfect or complete, that we fully expect that many of our present ideas are incorrect, and we look forward to a day when we will be ready to receive a better understanding.
In the meantime, we do our best with what light and knowledge we have received. We might be in error. So might you. We all struggle to puzzle out things that are, in fact, beyond the ken of mortal minds.
The points of disagreement between us are not insignificant. In fact, they’re so important that we do not recognize the efficacy of baptism performed by any other denomination, and anyone joining our church must be baptized — for the first time, we believe — regardless of any previous Christian baptism they might have received.
In other words, at the level of religious practice we believe that we are the only Christians who act and speak with the authority of Christ today. So we can hardly take offense when Dr. Mohler and many other ministers and priests of other Christian churches return the favor and refuse to recognize us as Christians of their communities.
On the level of theology, doctrine, practice, ritual, and even history, we Mormons stand alone, neither Protestant nor Catholic. Just as Lutherans and Baptists and Presbyterians generally don’t accept the authority of the Pope, we don’t accept the authority of anybody except those that we believe hold the keys of the Kingdom of God on earth today.
And so when we send out our missionaries to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ as we understand it, it is perfectly fair for Baptist ministers and Catholic priests and any other religious leader to point out to their congregants precisely what we point out to them — that our beliefs are very different from theirs.
They call us wrong; we call ourselves right.
But that’s a matter of private belief and conscience. Those who put our religion to the test and come to believe in it don’t do so because we fooled them into thinking we believe just like Dr. Mohler.
If that was our message, who would join us? They could join the Baptist Church and accomplish as much (and it would be cheaper and easier, given the way we Mormons tithe and abstain from alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco).
We openly state that we teach a version of Christianity radically different from all others. We proclaim it.
But let’s remember now why we are having this discussion. It’s because Mitt Romney is running for President of the United States, and Mitt Romney is a Mormon.
Mitt Romney is not running for Pope of America, or Head Rabbi, or Minister-in-Chief. He is not running for any religious office. He is a citizen of this country, who has a distinguished record of achievement in business and government, asking people to vote for him to become the leader of our country and, perforce, the leader of the free world.
His religious beliefs are not irrelevant. Far from it. Americans should care very much about religious beliefs that will affect how a president would fulfill the duties of his office.
Here’s a man who is faithful to his wife, without a breath of scandal associated with him; he is a devoted father and grandfather; he tithes to his church; he doesn’t smoke or drink and never has. In other words, he not only claims to be a member of a particular church, he lives by the standards of that church.
I think that matters a great deal. It means he’s not a hypocrite, pretending to be religious when he needs the votes. He has put in the time, made the sacrifices — he has walked the walk.
So when Mitt Romney says, “I believe this is the right thing to do, and I’m going to do it,” then American voters can be reasonably confident that he really does believe it and he really will do it.
That’s something that I would look for about any candidate, from any religious tradition. Does he live by what his religion teaches? Or is he a member in name only?
His profession of membership in a Church gives us a way to find out about the standards of good and evil, of right and wrong, that his religion teaches. Where I would be worried is when we have a candidate who does not profess any religion, or does not live up to the standards of the religion he professes.
How then would we find out what he really believes? What his standards are? How well he keeps his commitments? It’s not impossible to determine that even with people whose religious commitments are, shall we say, skin deep. Certainly, for instance, it wasn’t hard to find out what Bill Clinton’s standards of truth-telling and word-keeping were before he was elected; he absolutely performed exactly as his past behavior had given us reason to expect. We got what we voted for.
So by all means look at Mitt Romney’s religion, and how well he has lived up to it. It’s a fair test.
But don’t look at his religion as if it were a complete guide to how he would perform as president. There are those who fear a Romney presidency because somebody’s been telling them that Mormonism is a “cult” and they think Romney would get all his instructions from Salt Lake City — or from what he imagined God might whisper to him.
May I suggest that before you leap to that conclusion, you consider carefully: Senator Harry Reid of Nevada is also a Mormon. As far as I know, he’s a Mormon in good standing. And he’s a Democrat — a liberal Democrat, on most issues.
If Salt Lake City is telling Mormon politicians what to do, they’re sure giving Harry Reid a different set of instructions from those they’ve been giving to Mitt Romney.
Like Harry Reid, I’m a Democrat. If my own party nominates somebody that I think would make a better president than Mitt Romney, I’ll vote for the Democrat. If my party doesn’t, and the Republican Party nominates Romney, I might well vote for him.
It won’t be because he’s a Mormon. It’ll be for a whole range of reasons — his political views, his announced plans, and my assessment of his character. And that assessment won’t be based on mere membership in the same Church as me. It will be based on how well I think he lives up to the commitments that Mormons make.
You don’t have to be a Mormon to use those standards.
Now, what if you are an American citizen who absolutely hates every Mormon doctrine you’ve heard about?
My advice is: Don’t join the Mormon Church if you feel that way. But what does it have to do with choosing a president?
Dr. Mohler has gone on record elsewhere as advising evangelical Christians not to vote for Mitt Romney, even though he’s the candidate whose life practices and whose professed beliefs are the closest to fitting the political agenda of many or perhaps most evangelicals.
Why? Because he fears that the election of Mitt Romney will lend “legitimacy” to Mormonism.
Guess what, Dr. Mohler. Mormonism has legitimacy. Millions of American citizens already believe in it. And not the dumbest American citizens, either. We’re above average in our education. We’re also above average in our religious activity, our charitable donations, our marital fidelity, and the time we spend with our families. We try to be good neighbors and good friends.
We are as legitimate, as citizens and therefore as potential officeholders, as anybody else in America. Because there is no religious test for holding office in America.
And if you try to impose one, by saying that all persons belonging to this or that religion should never be elected president, then who is it who is rejecting the U.S. Constitution? Who is it who is saying that people with certain beliefs are second-class citizens, for no other reason than their religion?
I urge all evangelicals Christians who are worried about a Mormon as president to consider this:
What if somebody were saying that no evangelical Christian should be elected president, solely on the basis of his religious beliefs?
Oh — wait — they already are.
Think about it. How often has President Bush been mocked because he believes he was born again? How often have his critics ridiculed him because he believes that when he prays, God hears him and even, sometimes, answers?
How many have, in effect, claimed that evangelical Christians have no business holding the office of President — that they are unfit for such a vital public trust precisely because of their beliefs about how God and human beings interact?
We Mormons don’t agree with you on many vital points of doctrine. But I hope we all agree with each other about this: In a time when a vigorous atheist movement is trying to exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion while in office, why are we arguing with each other?
You don’t want your kids to join the Mormon Church; well, I don’t want mine to join the Baptist Church, either. That’s because you think you’re right about your religion, and I think I’m right about mine.
But I would rather vote for a believing Baptist who lives up to his faith than for a Mormon who doesn’t take his religion seriously or keep the commandments he’s been taught.
And vice versa. Don’t you feel that way, too?



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Donald

posted June 28, 2007 at 7:40 pm


Someone should spell out for the ignorant (waves hand) exactly what you two are disagreeing about. I sorta know, maybe, but I’m not sure.



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Wienigma

posted June 28, 2007 at 7:48 pm


I enjoyed and agreed with the majority of your point of view until your last statement(s). Wiccans and perhaps atheist like others have their faith, beliefs, doctrines, creed, rules, rituals, etc. I would not vote for somebody just because they “on the outward apperance” followed their group to



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Wienigma

posted June 28, 2007 at 7:59 pm


Why is it, that the “news” media always points out that a Mormon or Amish person did this or that – yet you don’t hear John Doe the Lutheran, Catholic, etc. did this or that? Is it that deep down inside we actually look up to the Mormon or Amish because we know they work at living a better life than most of us?



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Joie

posted June 28, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Bottom line? The Word of God says there is only one way to heaven, that is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, Who, restored fallen man to relationship with God the Father. I was a mormon, and all the doctrine states that Jesus was a great teacher, not the Son of God, God Himself, part of the Trinity. He was with God in Genesis 1, and He was also there in the last Chapter of Revelation.
Anyone who claims to be a Christian, and does not profess Jesus Christ as Savior, is, by God Almighty’s definition, is not a Christian.
Christian means…little Christ. We are not to pattern our lives after a mere man, but after the Son of God, God Himself.
Can a man die to pay the penalty for my sin? The Word of God says only the Spotless Lamb, Jesus Christ, could die to save mankind. Not a man, as there is no “man” who is sinless.
All one needs to do to find the truth of Who Jesus is, is read a Bible that is not printed by the Deseret Press, the mormon publishers.
Would I vote for Mitt Romney? I campaigned for his father, George, way too many years ago. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I really don’t know.
I do seem to remember that the first decission by the Supreme Court, was rendered by Justic Jay (if my memory serves me correctly). He was asked if a Christian would be correct in voting for a non-Christian. Justice Jay took the question to the Bible and found that anytime Israel, God’s chosen people, aligned themselves with the non believing nations/Kings, they found themselves defeated and in ruin. His decision was that it would be srong for a Christian to vote for a non-Christian. Do we then as Christians, not vote if there isn’t a Christian running for office. Hmmm I think it is a question to take before the Lord.
Mitt Romney is a good man, from a good family, Unless he professes Jesus Christ as Lord…he is not a Christian. Not my opinion, but God Almighty’s. As set down in His Word.



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frank lievens

posted June 28, 2007 at 9:14 pm


Hey that smith character dabbled in murder child molestation . wierd gospel and he a fraud .Get over yourselves .Your just a cult . In fact you all look like your robots.



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frank lievens

posted June 28, 2007 at 9:16 pm


I say that with all due respect.



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frank lievens

posted June 28, 2007 at 9:20 pm


oh just to be fair . jesus is dead . Like elvis. he never rose and he aint coming back.



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David Ricard

posted June 28, 2007 at 9:50 pm


You state: “I don’t expect him (Dr. Mohler) to be an expert on the book (of Mormon), or even to have read it.”
Personally, I would be very surprised if that were the case. However, if this is your suspicion, why do you not just ask him if he has read it? You might find that he has and that he understands its teachings quite well. But beware, if this happens to be the case, you might have to face the reality that you do not understand either it or the Bible.



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Mike~FairyBear

posted June 28, 2007 at 10:36 pm


Hmmmm….. I like Mitt Romney, I liked his father and I liked his cousins that I knew when I was a “good” Mormon out in Salt Lake City.
When I was on my mission in Ireland I used to tell other missionaries that “We aren’t Christians-we don’t act like Christians!” With their sordid violent history I’m not sure I’d want to be a Christian… pograms, forced migrations, the Inquisition, the Crusades, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the Burning Times, priestly child molestations, need I go on?
I left the “Mormon” Church because, as a gay man, they pretty much forced me to leave. I tried my hand at being a “Christian” but it just didn’t suit me. So while I disagree with his politics I will give credit to Mitt for his sincerity.



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Clayton E. Bennett

posted June 28, 2007 at 10:36 pm


The esteemed Mr. Card,
I had wondered if you were a member of the LDS church. It was, of course, when I read the outstanding novel Ender’s Game. You had mentioned several different Christian sects to include Catholics, LDS, and some evangelical denomination, I believe, I can’t recall any other religions presently, but perhaps even Islam. I noted when I read that novel that there was a distinct Mormon overtone, but it was non-confrontational. Although I as a born again bible believing son of God don’t necessarily agree with the Baptist concept of confrontational evangelism or the fundamentalist understanding of separation from the world, I do believe that Christians as bearers of the Word of God, the light of Christ should do our best to share it at all times.
I find that, despite the strong missionary programs of the LDS Church, its members often don’t share their faith at all times like all Christians are instructed to do by the word of God as advocates for Christ.
The Book of Mormon states that there are but two churches, the church of Jesus Christ and the Church of the Devil. John in Revelation paints a clear picture of the Catholic church when he describes the great whore which sits upon many waters. The Reformation was a time of separation from that wicked church and reestablishment of the true Christian faith. I place the members of the Church of Jesus Chist of Latter Day Saints in the category of the church of Jesus Christ with a better understanding of the gospel than most of those poor deceived lost souls under the sway of the great whore of Babylon, but there are definite similarities between Catholics and Mormons. Catholics tend to believe that it’s acceptable to sin all week as long as they go to confession and even attend mass once a week. The attitude of my Mormon friends is that Sunday is a special day as the sabbath and that they must act differently on that day. Why act differently? We should give honor and glory to God every day of our lives not just once a week. The sabbath, the seventh day, was given as a day of rest from work, not from sinning.
I believe that the LDS Church has the true gospel mixed in with it’s false scriptures and not totally oblitereated as Islam does, but it all hinges on believing in Christ coming back again and again and that the bible is not enough and that the Book of Mormon is a necessary other testament of Jesus Christ. My mormon brothers, I tell you that when Jesus Christ comes the second time it will not be in secret, but a shout and a trump will be heard from the East and God will be praised, Amen.



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Theophilus

posted June 29, 2007 at 12:17 am


A well written and compelling presentation. As a Christian (in the traditional historic meaning of the word) I concede that Mormons are Christians, according to common usage. But as used in Scripture, Christians are disciples of Christ and the Apostles, and I do not agree that Mormons are Christians in that sense of the word, nor do I believe the Mormon Church is a Christian Church.
I understand your perspective, relative to your experience as a Mormon, it makes good sense. But just like the claims of Mohammad and Islam, your starting point begins with a man who fancied himself a prophet of God and believed that the Church of God was in fact the Church of the devil. The insanity of that position and what it says about God are two reasons I can not vote for Mormon Politicians.
BTW, I loved your book Ender’s Game.
~ Theophilus



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Elizabeth

posted June 29, 2007 at 2:55 am


In response to Clayton E. Bennet’s response:
I will try to contain the rage I feel about your assumptions about the Catholic Church whilst I write this post.
Do your research. Just because your preacher says that Catholicism is the great “whore of Babylon”, or because that’s what a group of preachers says, doesn’t mean it is true.
First of all, you wouldn’t have that bible you hold in your hands if not for the Catholic Church that you so detest.
So show me anywhere in the bible that it proves Catholicism is what St. John was describing in Revelation.
Second, have you ever heard of 1 Corinthians 11: 2? “I PRAISE you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you.” I’ll just go ahead and assume (you started it) that since you are baptist, you are anti-traditionalist. Well, your the editors of your bible might have changed the word to “teachings” in place of “traditions”. Moving on…
Third, Jesus said, “Judge not lest Ye be judged.” You might want to look at that one again.
Fourth, when you find yourself in Purgatory, maybe then you’ll believe it exists (for anyone who doesn’t know, we Catholics believe that Purgatory is for those souls who have not become totally and completely clean of sin before their death. It is always followed by Heaven, never Hell, and one can’t stay there for all of eternity. We Catholics believe God is merciful so that little Bobby, age 9, who got hit by a drunk driver, won’t go to Hell for stealing the piece of gum from his sister’s stash before he died).
Fifth…show me where in the bible it says that the word Bible…nowhere. How many times does it say Church?
Sixth…show me where in the bible it says “Once saved always saved”?
Seven…I’m praying for you right now that you become a better person and stop saying stupid things that will offend others and push them away from the truth of God.
Eight…It says, in the bible, James 5: 16, “Confess your sins to one another…” and also, in Ecclesiastes 4:31, “Be not ashamed to confess thy sins, but submit thyself not to every man for sin.” Hmmm…can anyone say…CONFESSION? I mean, right there in the bible, confess your sins to others, but not everyone. Jesus gave the apostles the power to bind and loose sins on earth, just as he did: John 20:23 “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven, and whose sins you retain are retained”, or Matthew 16:19: “And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven”, or Matthew 18: 18:”Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.” Apostles, church of Rome, apostolic succesion, divine revelation, maybe you can figure it out…or maybe not.
Nine…were I not a CHRISTIAN, I would call you some very nasty names, all of which, were I not CHRISTIAN, I would feel sure would apply.
Ten…Thank you. You have provided me with something to do for the past hour.



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Bill Kilpatrick

posted June 29, 2007 at 2:58 am


I won’t be voting for Romney but not because he’s a Mormon – and certainly not over some babble about whether he’s a Christian.
Romney is the worst kind of politician, the kind who say one thing to get elected and then switch their values once in office. But his flip-flopping is not nearly as bad as where he’s old his soul – not to some demon in Salt Lake City but to the golden elephant itself. Frankly, I had a higher opinion of the man when I thought he was merely an empty suit.
As for Romney’s Christianity, I always find it amusing when some group decides it has a monopoly on the term. There was a time, in fact, when Mormons might have been accused of intemperate language about other Christians. Of course, they probably had good reason – having been driven, by so many “God-fearing Christians” from state to state, and having to bury sons, daughters, husbands and wives on the icy plains as a result.
Truth be told, the Southern Baptists, themselves, were once regarded as un-Christian. So were the Pilgrims who came to America seeking religious freedom. So were many Protestants in Europe. In fact, some 500 years ago, you weren’t considered a “Christian” if you weren’t Catholic, except for the Orthodox within the Byzantine Empire – which is part of the Crusades was the invasion of Eastern Europe.
In by book, the moment you start telling other Christians they’re not Christian enough, that’s precisely when you’d better start checking to make sure the cross dangling around your neck isn’t dangling from something else.



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shi

posted June 29, 2007 at 4:10 am


Mormons are not Christian?
First let me say this; it is quite simple to explain Christianity; it is following the teachings of Christ Jesus.
In some ways, at least with my limited knowledge of Mormonism, I believe that they say that they follow His teachings but in other ways; just like many other religions who claim such; they do not.
If you don’t know what it means to be a Christian; one who follows Christ; it is not rocket science or a mystery; just get a red letter edition of the bible and read what He said; then just DO IT!
You do not need someone else; whoever; to tell you what He said; if you pray and read His words; He will reveal His Truth; providing you really seek His Truth and want to hear His Truth.
Mormon and whosoever; which includes me; go and do likewise….



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Donny

posted June 29, 2007 at 9:03 am


If a Mormon is following his or her’s religion, than according to the New Testament writers, those Mormons are not Christians, no matter what they say.
And remember, “Mormons” do not hold to the “Red Letters” of the Gospel being completely correct, any more than they do any other scripture.
Joseph Smith implanted in his religion an “Out Clause” to be used whenever it was “proven” that Mormonism is not a Christian endeavor.
This blog is about who and what is a “Christian.”
This is NOT about: What a person follows they should follow in completeness.
According to Christ Jesus and His apostles, that kind of thinking leads many to hell.
Clearly, according to the New Testament writers, Mormonism is not a Christian belief system. And if we are to believe any person coming down the line saying this or that, is bringing us word from God, then anything and anybody can produce a new Christianity whenever they have a dream or vision to do so whether or not Jesus agrees with them.
That is why Mormonisn is a flase religion when compared to the writings in the New Testament. And, of course why Mormons do not agree with scripture as it is written.



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Stephen Davidson

posted June 29, 2007 at 9:39 am


Orson Scott Card is devoted to his religion. Is his religion leading people astray?
It seems clear that Mr. Card says he believes that you cannot be a Christian unless you are “baptised” into the LDS (Mormon) church.
Here’s Jesus as quoted: (That is, “if” you believe that the words written in the New Testament are accurate. Mormons do not. The “Out Cluase.”)
Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us
38″Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39″Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40for whoever is not against us is for us. 41I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
Causing to Sin
42″And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. 43If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.[c] 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.[d] 47And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48where
” ‘their worm does not die,
and the fire is not quenched. 49Everyone will be salted with fire.
50″Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
\\\
They were first called “Christians” at Antioch. It is clear who and what was meant.
That is to say, those that were following the authentic Christ the authentic way.
Mormonism as described accurately by Mr. Card is a different take on the “Christian” witness.
And the individual Mormon will have to stand on that decision for all eternity. Leading people into a false belief is where the definition of sin is found in its absolute.
Are we forgetting that Mormons do not believe that Jesus is “the” God, but one of many, and one that we ourselves can be exactly like.
That sounds sinful to me.
I won’t vote for Mitt Romney because he, like an Atheist, thinks that a billion Christians; when it is broken down to the foundations, are completely wrong the way they think and believe.
I don’t want an Atheist President and for the same reason I do not want a Mormon President. Both look at Christians in an unhealthy way and I do not want a “leader” like that.
It is a good thing that with a Romney run, the truth of the Gospel will be declared. Notice that the Apostles had to deal with false prophets and false teachers as well.



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Chretien

posted June 29, 2007 at 9:56 am


No, Mormonism is not Christian. It is a Masonic, pagan, eternally polytheisitc/polygamist, cult.



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Therapon

posted June 29, 2007 at 11:20 am


As a Classical (Olympian) Polytheist I can assure you that Mormonism is not Pagan and would not pass as Pagan as far as most Neopagans are concerned.



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Peter Hill

posted June 29, 2007 at 11:24 am


As opposed to the traditional barbaric, pagan, monotheistic, and sexually repressed cult of Christianity… You’re all cult members. Just because the viral expansion of one meme has had more time to bloom than another doesn’t give you any more validity to your extraordinary claims to know that God exists and that you know His mind.
I was walking through NYC, and I came across a golden hotdog at my favorite lunch cart. With the help of the Angel Ted I was able to decipher the meaning of the condiments that were scrawled(God sometimes has sloppy handwriting) across this holy artifact. On that hotdog it was revealed to me that Jesus was not only a prophet, but he was also a zombie! Furthermore, God revealed to me that this hotdog I was holding was in fact the flesh of Jesus Christ made manifest, and that those crackers people have been eating are a sham. Unfortunately, there is no evidence of this hotdog because God ordered me to eat it and become a zombie myself. In order to honor my new incarnation of the Abrahamic God I am creating the Church of Latter Day Zombies. Our first order of business is to consume what little remains of Mitt Romney’s gray matter.



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Morgan

posted June 29, 2007 at 11:54 am


In response to Peter Hill…. Stop wasting people’s time with your ignorance, respectfully.



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Josh

posted June 29, 2007 at 12:12 pm


Mormons do believe in a Jesus, but not the same Jesus as the Bible teaches.
The Jesus of Mormonism is a created being, the half-brother of Lucifer, and the literal offspring of God the Father in the flesh, and one of many Gods among God the Father, God the Spirit, and who knows how many other gods.
The Jesus of the Bible is eternal, a being unlike Satan, was conceived through the Holy Spirit, and is the one true Eternal God.
The Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus of Mormonism are different. I could say I believe in Jesus too, but maybe the Jesus I believe in is my neighbor from Mexico. You must believe in the right Jesus to be Christian.
Mormons are very nice, but not Christian, though they often use the same terms, and people in discussing their beliefs.



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TOMinAZ

posted June 29, 2007 at 12:24 pm


If I wanted to run for public office in a heavily Mormon area (let’s say Salt Lake City UT or Mesa AZ), and I suddenly claimed to be Mormon, but rejected most of the basics of the LDS teachings, I’m 1,000% sure that LDS leadership would quickly point out that I was no Mormon.
Who defines what a Mormom is? Wouldn’t that be, oh, I don’t know….
the Mormons!?
LDS and historic Christianity differ on a few “MINOR” points, such as:
-the nature of God
-the nature of Christ
-the nature of the church
-the method of salvation
-the role of prophets/prophecy
-continuing revelations
-the nature of sacraments/sacramentals
-the role of priests/pastors/clergy/bishops
-the authority of the Bible
(by the way, saying “minor” was sarcasm)
I’m sorry, the differences are major and numerous.
I could say I’m a Mormon, and firmly ascribe to Trinitarian doctrine, a closed canon of scripture, and the divine and dual nature of Christ, does that mean the Mormon church would then endorse my faith publicly?
I think not.
If it walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it’s a duck.
If it talks like a Mormon, prays like a Mormon, and reads like a Mormon….



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Bill Langill

posted June 29, 2007 at 12:27 pm


Dear friend Orson
How Greek is this whole process of debating what we believe. It seems the church is a master at teaching argument and that goes for my Mormon friends as well. I agree with your premise that faith is not what you are against but what you are for. I believe the whole process of historical theology has sold us a Socratic bill of goods. It is time to return to the works of Christ and an unwavering commitment to the Christ we see in God’s word. There is I believe a storm coming and the old methods shall be found wanting in these Last Days before the return of the King.
Love in Christ
Pastor Bill Langill jr.



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James King

posted June 29, 2007 at 12:43 pm


It never ceases to amaze how people quote the Constitution to support their arguments about religion. We all speak English so we presume to be able to read a document that appears to be written in English. Unfortunately, language, unlike humanity, does evolve.
What a modern person would consider religion today is far from the definition of the word religion in an 18th century context. Today the word religion means any practice dealing with a perceived idea of deity. This includes Christianity, Islam and any other religion you may be able to think up. In an 18th Century perspective, religion was narrowly defined to mean Christianity. Anything else was not considered religion at all, but a pagan practice or ritual.
So when you argue things, like article 6 dealing with religious tests, using a modern translation of the word you are really altering the context of text. Everything in the Constitution dealing with religion was language to prevent a state church, like the Church of England, from being established.
Understand that most of the men who participated in the writing of the Constitution come from denominations that were persecuted by the Church of England or they had witnessed that persecution. The Constitutional language was to prevent this from happening here.
A more appropriate translation for the word “religion” in founding documents would be Christian denomination.



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Bubba

posted June 29, 2007 at 1:00 pm


According to Mr. Card, Mormons are Christians — without quote-marks — because of how most people define the word:
“But when we are defining words as they are used in the English language, we all get a vote. Dr. Mohler does not get to speak for all Christians. Nor does he get to speak for all English-speakers. The ordinary meaning of the word ‘Christians’ definitely includes Mormons; and when you say Mormons are not Christians, most would take that to mean that Mormons ‘do not believe in the divinity of Christ,’ which would be flat wrong.”
And YET he writes this to Dr. Mohler:
“And just as you would put any reference to Mormons as ‘Christians’ in quotation marks, we Mormons refer to those who believe as you do as ‘Christians’ in exactly the same way.”
So the ordinary meaning of the word “Christian” includes Mormons, but the fact that is must NECESSARILY include Baptists and Catholics doesn’t stop Mr. Card from wrapping the word in quote-marks when applying it to Baptists and Catholics. How nice.
He misses one key thing about the ordinary meaning of “Christian”:
Christians are MONOTHEISTS who affirm the divinity of Christ. Monotheism is taken for granted in so much of the Western world that the idea is there even if it’s implicit.
Even though they may affirm the divinity of Christ, they deny monotheism, the central assumption about Judeo-Christian faith. For that reason, they are not Christian.



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Matt

posted June 29, 2007 at 2:01 pm


To Elizabeth the Catholic regarding her comment below:
“Sixth…show me where in the bible it says “Once saved always saved”?”
The comment you made above shows your lack of understanding of Christian truth. You need to understand that God’s love for his people is not conditional. When a believer is born again and adopted into God’s family, this is decisive and final. It does not rest on what you do afterward. Just like a child of yours will always be your child no matter if they rebel, etc. If you don’t believe that salvation is final and definite, you will never live with the freedom in Christ that enables you to live a life honoring to Him. Instead you will be living in despair as you worry about trying to please Him in order to escape eternal condemnation.



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Richard

posted June 29, 2007 at 2:42 pm


Evangelical Christians are just one strain of Christianity, and prominent only in America and recently, one wonders why others from the Catholic & Apostolic traditions were not also invited to offer comment …..



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Rick

posted June 29, 2007 at 3:18 pm


At first you proclaim a wide path of acceptance with the wishful (not necessarily inaccurate, mind you) definitions of a Christian. Below,
“What if we define “Christians” the way most people would: “Believers in the divinity of Christ and in the necessity of the grace of Christ in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God.”
Or, “People who believe Christ is the Son of God and the only way to please God is by following Christ’s teachings as best you can all your life.”
Or how about, “People who believe that the New Testament is scripture and that its account of the life, death, resurrection, and teachings of Jesus is true and that we should act accordingly.”
Then you admit that your church is just as territorial, if not more so, than the many splintered Christian denominations.
“The points of disagreement between us are not insignificant. In fact, they’re so important that we do not recognize the efficacy of baptism performed by any other denomination, and anyone joining our church must be baptized — for the first time, we believe — regardless of any previous Christian baptism they might have received.”
Dr. Mohler and most Baptists are willing to admit there are many denominations that are Christians as long as they believe the core principles of scripture. Most protestant faiths simply require baptism of some form. Yet your faith doctrinially does not. It is the Mormon way or the highway. What I am writing is that if a Presbyterian showed up and said “I believe in the divinity of Christ and his life, death and resurrection”, your denomination would still not allow them to be a Mormon. Therefore, how is it that your faith, if it is a Christian faith, is not just like every other splintering of Christianity in time past?



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Scott

posted June 29, 2007 at 3:19 pm


Mr. Orson Scott Card wrote:
“…It is hard for us Mormons to understand why ancient force and bloodshed, rather than revelation from God, should be the basis for defining the doctrinal consensus of Christianity today.”
Dr. Mohler, I believe, is defining ‘traditional Christian Orthodoxy’ precisely as the faith (i.e. revelation) once [for all] delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3). In essence, Mr. Card is using historical divergence from this faith – subsequent debate, political [and ecclessiastical] maneuvering, and bloodshed – as an argument against the faith itself. Furthermore, Mr. Card attempts to demote Evangelical Protestantism to a mere historical development.
I would argue, and I think Dr. Mohler would agree, that the Protestant Reformation had everything to do with revelation – or more precisely re-revelation. Luther and Calvin, by God’s sovereign grace, recovered the power of the Gospel that had been waning in the Medieval Church – waning, but not completely snuffed out. This is an important point. The Mormon Church relies on the fact that the revealed faith had been completely snuffed out, hence the need for a new prophet making claims of new revelation. Claims which by any honest assessment contradict Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical claims of revelation.
This is the very point Dr. Mohler is making. After all, how is Joseph Smith really all that different from Muhammad, who also appealed to the perversion of the Bible of Jews and Christians as the basis of his own divine-given authority as a prophet? The only practical difference is that Muslims do not want to be numbered among the Christian fold.
The bottom line is that I believe it is disingenuous for Mormons to accept the ‘Christian’ label as applied to Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelicals. Their doing so, in my opinion, is basically a marketing scam to get more people in their doors. I take no offense if a Mormon gets honest with me and admits that they don’t consider me a true Christian. So why is it so insulting for an Evangelical to say that Mormon’s are not true Christians (or Catholics)?
The Enemy loves this strategy – “Hey, they accept you. Why can’t you accept them? You’re closed minded and bigoted.” Vatican II is the perfect example of this. But the conciliatory language of inclusion and tolerance is only cosmetic, an attempt at credibility to draw Protestants back into the fold. All-the-while the anathemas of Trent still stand. In many ways this is also my critique of Mr. Orson Scott Card’s article. He’s trying to have it both ways.



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Douglas Beaumont

posted June 29, 2007 at 3:45 pm


Card’s argument is seriously flawed for at least two reasons:
1. The Roman Catholic doctrines that make them Christian are the same that make Protestants Christian (and which, it is being claimed, make the LDS non-Christian). It is a red herring to cite non-theistic disagreements between orthodox Christians as if these were analogous to the Christian vs. LDS debate. It is not as though we are arguing over theological nuances like the exact relationship between faith and works or the timing of the rapture. Mormons are polytheists (or, more properly speaking, henotheists) who believe in multiple physical gods in human form (how much more “Greek” can one get?). This is nothing like the disagreements between Protestants and Catholics. (If it is between “Greek philosophy” and “Greek paganism” I’ll take philosophy any day! Speaking of which . . .)
2. The overused and spurious idea that the Christian creeds are simply based on Greek philosophy is seriously flawed as a critique. The Mormons or any other group can be shown to do the same thing. “Greek philosophy” cannot be avoided by anyone since the Greeks pretty much thought of everything first. So using this criticism is really just a matter of pointing out the particular Greek idea that matches some group’s claims and then blaming them for that “reliance”.)
P.S. Ender’s Game kicks butt!



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Andy

posted June 29, 2007 at 3:54 pm


Would you consider a Muslim a Christian when he calls himself as one? Since they do mentioned Jesus being a prophet in the Quran and do follow some of the teachings.
What about the Jehovah Witnesses? Moonies? etc…
Would you consider a Christian a Mormon if he calls himself as one?
If I decide to start a religion based on the Mormon theology but have a lot of changes (such as jihad, cursing those who speak against my church, eating dead human meat, believing that Satan would repent and become a god just like Jesus, etc) to it would you consider me a Mormon?



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AC

posted June 29, 2007 at 4:09 pm


Some of the differences between biblical Christians and Mormons:
Different God:
Christian: God is eternal (no beginning and no end)
Mormonism: God was once a man like us who then became a god (among other gods)
Different Jesus:
Christian: Jesus Christ, Himself being God, is co-eternal with the Father
Mormonism: Jesus came into existence after the Father
Christian: Jesus is the Creator of all things whether visible or invisible (this includes heaven, hell, the angels, the devil etc)
Mormonism: Jesus is the brother of the devil
Different Salvation plan:
Christian: Salvation is by grace through faith, not of works (lest anyone should boast)
Mormonism: Salvation is by grace through faith, after all you can do
Mormons believe in a different God, Jesus, and Gospel than biblical Christianity. The Mormon faith is also very relatively (200 years?) compared to biblical Christianity (2000 years). Which of the two was the Holy Spirit speaking of when He said “the faith once for all delivered unto the saints” 2000 years ago? Which one did the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, have in mind when he penned this:
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8
PS: I loved Ender’s game. It is actually the book that got me back into reading after an extremely long hiatus.



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secretprayer

posted June 29, 2007 at 4:12 pm


Very interesting. I like that Orson Scott Card and Harry Reid and I are the only “openly” Democrat members of the Church. There is ALOT I do not understand about the LDS church (of which I am a member). I felt a sence of peace when I read the comment posted by Pastor Bill Langill, Jr. “Why can’t we all just get along?” Okay, so when I pray, I pray to God thru his son Jesus Christ, I know Jesus Christ to be a few things, The Saviour of the World, The Son of God, Redeemer of Israel, and most importantly MY FRIEND! I know Jesus, because I spend alot of time on my knees talking to him. Establishing a personal relationship with Him is so personal NO ONE on this earth has the authority to flat out tell someone they are or are not a Christian! I won’t disagree there are many, many Mormons who are Clearly NOT Christians, guess what, there are many Evangelicals, Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, and so who also are NOT Christians.
Mitt Romney, is a Christian; Dr. Mohler, is a Christian; Bro. Card, is a Christian; President Bush… Yup! He’s a Christian too!
My other comment is this, for those of you who doubt the “Mormon People” you have not truely gotten to “know” anyone that is Mormon. As a person that struggles to put off the feelings of Same Gender Attraction (commonly refered to as GAY) you have never been in more loving accepting company as Mormons, no matter WHAT I have done, or said, or long long I have been lost, I am only greeted upon my return with cheery smiles, tear filled eyes, and hugs and kisses, and the only comments are simply “Welcome home.”
Now lets stop these STUPID debates! Okay, we need to hug and kiss and hold eachother up. NOT waste time with these insainely worthless debates!
God bless you Br. Card, AND YOU Dr. Mohler



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John

posted June 29, 2007 at 5:22 pm


Ok class sit up and take notes from Dr. John MacArthur
“There are only two religions in the world. That’s all. Just two. In spite of the myriad of claims, there are only two. One is God’s, one is Satan’s. One is called the religion of human achievement, that is Satan’s religion and it based upon man’s own effort and ability. The other is the religion of divine accomplishment, that is God’s and it is based solely and only on God’s sovereign ability. One, you see, depends on what man can do and the other depends on what God did. One is earned, the other is a gift. One is by human effort; the other is by divine grace. One is by works, one is without works, and sadly but clearly, most people on the face of the earth in human history have banked their time and eternal destiny on the religion of human achievement that says I’m good enough if I just behave myself and carry out certain religious functions, God will accept me.
Now the religion of human achievement comes in many, many forms and packages, but it is all really the same religion. It is all the satanic counterfeit and if God says that men are saved by grace through faith apart from anything they can do. Satan will say men are saved by what they can do and all religion falls into those two conflicting categories.
Whether you’re talking about the mighty IM movement, Mormonism, Islam, Eurancha, the One World Family, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Spiritualism, the Association for Research and Enlightenment, the Divine Light Mission, OASPE, Worldwide Church of God, Great White Brotherhood, Ascera Unification Church, the Way International, Scientology, the Roman Catholic system or whatever other system of religion you’re talking about in the world; they all fall into the category of the religions of human achievement. And they all say that through certain means you can better yourself. You can become pleasing to God or gods that be, you can attain salvation, you can take yourself to a better world because you have within you the ability to do that.
There’s only, I say it again, a choice between two religions: the religion of human achievement which comes under many labels and the religion of divine accomplishment which is revealed in the scared pages in the Word of God.”
Excerpt taken from a sermon preached by John MacArthur titled “Rejoicing in the Cross”. You can read the entire transcript or download the MP3 at http://www.gty.org



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B.E.Ready

posted June 29, 2007 at 5:32 pm


What’s the point of debating whether or not Mormons are Christians when we can’t even agree on a definition of the word “Christian”? I hope our esteemed commentators will spend more time detailing their theological differences, and their reasons for believing them (including, perhaps, a bit of cross-examination). That would at least be an enlightening discussion. If we get bogged down in defining the definition (redundancy intended) of Christianity, we will miss a golden opportunity for genuine dialogue. Mind you I think the definition of Christianity is important. I just don’t think there is any hope of settling that issue on this forum.
I do agree with Mr. Card that Dr. Mohler has, at worst, misread the Book of Mormon, the teachings of the BOM (minus the Modalism) are much closer to historic Christianity than the rest of LDS theology. It is really in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price and the non-canonical “King Follett Discourse” where the unique theology of Mormonism comes into play.
Mr. Card errors as well when he presents us with a false antithesis in saying “. . .(Mohler) is ignoring the fact that these creeds were the result, not of revelation, but of debate and political maneuvering. . . . It is hard for us Mormons to understand why ancient force and bloodshed, rather than revelation from God, should be the basis for defining the doctrinal consensus of Christianity today.” Revelation from God always trumps the opinions of men! No theologian would argue with that point. But how do we know which group is really receiving revelation and which group is just making it up as they go along? How does Mr. Card know that those early councils weren’t receiving revelation from God? Though I would not elevate the “creeds” to the status of Scripture, I most certainly believe that the Holy Spirit was involved in their creation. Saying that the “creeds” were a result of “political maneuvering” and that LDS theology is “revelation from God” is a false antithesis. Card cannot make such a claim objectively. Card claims that his beliefs are based on “revelation from God” rather than “political maneuvering.” But political maneuvering can be found in the background of Smith’s revelations as well. For instance, Joseph Smith revised his “revelations” multiple times. (If you don’t believe me get a copy of the Book of Commandments and compare it with a copy of the D&C). Official Declarations 1 & 2 were made in the midst of a tremendous amount of political pressure from outside forces over polygamy and racial equality and there is ample reason to believe that the revelation known as the “Word of Wisdom” was made to placate Emma who was tired of cleaning up after the tobacco chewing/pipe-smoking elders who met in the room upstairs above their apartment in the Whitney Store. Not to mention the fact that over 200 groups have broken off from the LDS movement over the years each claiming to exclusively hold the authority that Card believes only his church holds.
Are all 200 + branches of the Restoration movement equal? How do we know whose right? The same goes for the “Creeds” of Christendom. If Joseph Smith Jr. was inspired by God then Athanasius wasn’t. It’s as simple as that. Gentlemen, I for one would like to read your arguments. Who was right—Athanasius or Joseph Smith Jr.?



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Casey T

posted June 29, 2007 at 5:50 pm


I’m no fan of Al Mohler, and yes, we could argue for a long time about how to define “Christian orthodoxy,” but I think that Mohler’s argument holds weight. Mr. Card’s argument tends to wander to nearly every problem that he as an LDS has with Christians: violence perpetuated in the name of God, the inclusion of philosophy in Christian theology, etc. However, the heart of Mr. Card’s argument is incorrect.
Let me show my hand at the first, however. I am a Methodist. I hold to orthodox Christian doctrine: the Trinity as expressed in the Nicene Creed, the two natures of Christ in one person ala the Council of Ephesus, the authority of the Bible, etc. I do not think that Mormonism is part of the Christian house. Does that mean that Mormon’s won’t be on the other side of the pearly gates? Frankly, I don’t get to decide those issues. I can only be faithful to what Scripture says. However, I will say that even those without a stake in this debate agree that Mormons are not Christians. Please see Stephen Prothero’s “American Jesus”. To my best knowledge, Prothero is not a Christian or an LDS.
There are several errors in Mr. Card’s argument. First, the Arians and “Athanasians” (or pro-Nicene party) of Christians did disagree quite strongly BUT the Arians, as official heretics, were treated quite differently in being received by the orthodox/catholic Church. In short, Arians were Christians who simply had to confess their error. Moreover, this tired old Da Vinci Code argument that Nicene Christianity was an imperial push just isn’t accurate! There were tremendous numbers of people in the Roman Empire who were not happy with the Nicene Creed but, over time, realized its truth! Furthermore, Arians had opportunities to force their will on the empire when later Arian emperors took the throne. The fact is, the Church of Jesus Christ, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, came to a realization of the truth of the Nicene Creed.
Second, all the Reformation-era groups you cited were all orthodox Christians insofar as they held to the essentials in Christian practice and belief. Granted, everyone on all sides of the isle went too far with violence and killing. That’s a lesson in the corruption of power, not of religious truth. Catholics and Protestants have since made significant efforts at reconciliation. No one wants to kill Mormons anymore, even if they’re not Christians.
Third, sure Mormons can speak of Christ being “divine” only if you radically reinterpret the traditional Christian understanding of “divinity.” If people can be made “divine,” then divinity is a worthless category for speaking about God. Sad to say, but one way that Mormons attempt to identify themselves as Christians is by redefining important words like God, Jesus, Satan, heaven, etc. Changing the language does not a Christian make.
Fourth and finally, the argument that Christianity was corrupted by “Greek philosophy” or “platonism” is both true and false. Sure, Christians utilized the language and thought categories of the philosophy of their age to understand and express God’s self-revelation. But I have news for you, Mr Card: so do Mormons and Christians of every age. Greek philosophical concepts influenced books in the Bible, too! I’m quite certain the Mormonism has been influenced by the philosophical and cultural trends of 19th c. America, and continues to be influenced by the current trends in the 21st c.
That said, I have to ask: why do Mormons fight so hard to be called Christians? More specifically, why do the try so hard to look and sound like evangelical Protestants? Here’s my theory: because it’s easier to be an American Protestant than an American Mormon. Mormons are trying to reposition themselves within the (Protestant) Christian family because doing so will make their religion much more palatable to the average American.



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Clayton E. Bennett

posted June 29, 2007 at 6:05 pm


Friends, brethren, I apologize for veering from the topic of discussion, but I would like to respond to someone’s comment;
I thank you Matt for bringing up an excellent and concise point and thank you also Elizabeth for sharing your views; it is true rarity to find a Catholic who is familiar with the scriptures. I apologize for invoking your rage with my interpretation of the Word of God, but His word is clear to me and I suggest you study out Chapter 17 of the book of Revelation as well as the entirety of it. I neither hate nor judge the Catholic people who are misguided by this church, that is solely up to God; I indeed feel sorry for them and hope to show them the light of the truth of the Word of God. As a bible-believing Christian who seeks the truth and has yet to find a church that aligns perfectly with the Word of God as I understand it, though I faithfully attend churches, I am well aware of His desire that there be no division among those who follow Christ and encourage them to join me in seeking the complete truth.
Let me preface this paragraph with the fact that I am not aware of any bible-believing Christian who buys into any creedence of this purgatorial concept of the Catholic Church as much as I do. I ask you Elizabeth, what is salvation from? Is it from death? Is it from hell? Hell can be a place of eternal torment, but it was not created for the torment of men, but it was created for Satan and his angels. At the judgement death and hell deliver up the dead which are in them at which point
I wouldn’t have the bible in my hands if it wasn’t for the grace of God. Nothing is done but God allows it; “and we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 Many things are done not by commandment but by permission. God permitted such atrocities as those of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the inquisition of the Hugenots in France, the bloody attempt at a return to Catholicism by Mary Tudor of England aka Bloody Mary, and many other inquisitional events throughout history that worked not to toward the preservation of the Word of God but the monopolization of it. The Roman Catholic Church only sought to supplant and control followers of Christ by teaching another gospel Galatians 1:6-12 which is the gospel of works and not of grace. Gal 2:16, John 5:24, Rom 4:14, Rom 11:16, Eph 2:8-9 That is the gospel taught by the Catholics with their concept of purgatory and the Mormons with their insistence upon three different kingdoms of three different levels of glory. Mormons whom I have spoken to state that “It isn’t fair” that the backsliders should enter the Kingdom of God along with the faithful. Their insistence on the necessity of works and the fairness of said system detract from the gospel of grace and by it they boast.
Peace be with you all.



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Russell

posted June 29, 2007 at 6:07 pm


I’ve got a question: besides the argument that Mormonism does not accept the creeds, how can one say that Mormons do not follow Christ as their personal savior and exemplar? HOw does the BOM, D&C, or Pearl of Great Price say otherwise? Just for clarification.



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Paul Stone

posted June 29, 2007 at 7:09 pm


The post is entitled who gets to define “Christian” The reality is no one gets to define who a Christian is God has already done it in the Bible. Truth is not relative to what you believe, but grounded in the reality of God’s Word (no not the Book of Mormon) Any time there is a question about what we believe we should take it to the Bible and see whether its true or not, does it agree with the Bible. You can’t pick and choose what you want to believe about the Bible its either all true or none of it is true theres no middle ground. God did not leave room for middle ground.



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John

posted June 29, 2007 at 7:21 pm


The reality is no one gets to define who a Christian is
So true, unless you are a certain Southern Baptist Minister then it is up to you and you alone to divide up human population of this planet with your rapier sharp intelect holy discerning eye.
Remember when it used to be so easy to be a Christian and you just had to Love Jesus as Lord? Now there are all these hoops one must jump through, some of them alight with fire, just like the tigers in a circus. Well, line up the Hoops for those who want them but some of us are just gonna do it the old fashion way, love thy God and love thy fellow man.



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walter

posted June 29, 2007 at 9:15 pm


Your statement “the more I listened, the clearer it became that with all his sophistication, this man did not actually believe in the literal existence of the God and Christ described in the New Testament” about the speaker you listened to is the clearest statement in your entire presentation that shows the deception of your claims. You based your rejection of him as a Christian (you may deny you did that) on the fact that he did not believe in the God and Christ described in the New Testament. That is the very reason Mormons are not Christians.
You say you believe that God is a man with a body who has simply progressed farther up the divine trail that the rest of us and that “he once was we are now and as he is we shall be.” That is NOT the God described in the NT.
You say you believe in a Jesus Christ who is the brother of Satan and is only one of many gods who did not fully atone for the sin of the world through his death on the cross since we must accomplish certain works to attain the proper level of heaven. That is NOT the Jesus Christ described in the NT.
So your own beliefs, by your definition, define Mormons as non-christian.



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Theophilus

posted June 30, 2007 at 12:01 am


Russel: I’ve got a question: besides the argument that Mormonism does not accept the creeds, how can one say that Mormons do not follow Christ as their personal savior and exemplar? How does the BOM, D&C, or Pearl of Great Price say otherwise? Just for clarification.
I will use the example of a different religion to illustrate my answer.
There is a religion called Sant Mat. They have been around for generations, they are in fact Eastern Mystics. Every generation a leader rises in the movement whom they believe becomes the incarnation of the Christ, God manifested in the flesh.
These Perfect Living Masters – PLM (Yogis by another name) follow the example of Jesus Christ, whom they believe was also a PLM, albeit it one who was poorly represented by his disciples. They reinterpret His teachings according to the ideals of Eastern Mysticism, and the followers become disciples of the PLM, just as the apostles were disciples of Jesus. These folks believe they are true Christians and that their PLM is God manifested in the flesh.
Even so, they do not believe Jesus died for our sins on the Cross, and they do not believe He rose again physically or that He ascended to God – bodily. In sort they use the Gospel for their own purposes and the follow Christ’s example for their own ends, but they are anything but Christians.
As one whose family, starting with me, goes back to within 30 years of the publication of the Book of Mormon – 5 generations deep in the Mormon Religion, (albeit I was never a Mormon) I have known many devout Mormons. My own grandmother was devout LDS and my older brother is a devout member of the LDS Faith. Even so, I do not know any LDS Christians… you can not believe in the Mormon version of God and Christ and be a Christian… you can believe in God, end every prayer in Jesus name, and claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus… but if Your God is an exalted Man you call Elohim or “heavenly Father,” and your allegiance is to the LDS Church, the Quoarm of 12 apostles as headed by your “Living Prophet,” your no different from a disciple of Sand Mat and the current PLM.
Christianity has been around for nearly 2000 years. It is no mystery which Churches existing today have been around almost 2000 years. The Christian faith was established in Palestine, in Asia Minor, in Greece and in Rome – all within the first century. It is no accident that the first Epistle in the Cannon of the New Testament is to the Romans. The Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Orthodox Church – these are the Churches that have stood the test of time.
It was not the place of some would be prophet to point his boney finger at all of Christianity and denounce and condemn them all as being the Church of the devil, and his group – the only true Church, and his followers – the only true Christians. But this is what Joseph Smith did – and this is what the Mormon Church does with a smirk on its face – and that is the reality of the situation. Churches are Christian that believe in the Historic Faith of the Church, the less they believe of that Faith, the less “Christian” they are. In the case of the LDS Church, they do not believe in anything Historic Christianity believes in – therefore it is no stretch to say that the Mormon Church is not a Christian Church and Mormon people are not Christians.
And I say that as one who has two dozen or more Mormon Aunts and Uncles, hundreds of cousins and possibly closer to a thousand 2nd and 3rd cousins and LDS relatives.
Who gets to define what Christianity is? Obviously, the Churches whose existence reach back through history to the Apostles of Christ.
~ Theophilus



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Just some dude.

posted June 30, 2007 at 12:29 am


I always find it humorous when one christian sect claims that another isn’t *really* christian, because of this or that little point, yet as far as I’m aware they ALL use the canonized bible, which leaves out half the story.
If it’s based on the bible, it’s a christain sect, whether you like it or not. That includes all of the small churches, the big churches, the stanic churches, etc. They’re all based on the christian bible. But I guess they’re not “real” christians unless you personally agree with them, right?



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Curtis

posted June 30, 2007 at 2:19 am


What a sad state when “Christians” can call each other names in the name of Christ and condemn others who believe in Jesus as the Christ, their Savior and Redeemer, God, Creator, Begotten Son of God, etc. I have quite a few Mormon friends, and they are Christian to the core. I can’t have a religious conversation with them that does not include some kind of statement about their belief in Jesus.
Jesus said, “By their fruits shall ye know them.” Whether or not we agree on doctrine, they confess His name and do their best to live as they think He wants them to live. That’s all I was asked to do to obtain salvation; why do they need to do more? We are told we will be judged the same way we judge others. There certainly has been a lot of judging in these comments, and I wouldn’t want to be judged the way the Mormons have been judged here.



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Elizabeth

posted June 30, 2007 at 4:28 am


First, I will reply to Matt.
Matt, I believe God’s love for us is totally unconditional, albeit undeserved. You say I have a lack of understanding of this, but I understand it completely. Let me ask you a question, Matt. A man falls in love with a woman, a friend of his. He asks her out and they start dating. Things seem to be going well on his side, but the woman one day tells him that it just isn’t working out for her and she wants to break up. What would be the loving thing for him to do? Would he say to her, “no, you can’t do that! I was about to purpose to you and we were going to be married! Well, I love you no matter what, and I don’t care what you say, but we are getting married! You will marry me because I love you so unconditionally! You have to!”
You may say that this does not apply to what you are saying, but the fact is, that love allows free will. By your willful unrepentance of some grave sin (and by grave, I mean something you intended to do and it was clearly against God’s will, like having an affair, or murdering someone in cold blood, or molesting a child, etc) you can go to hell for it. God loves us so much that he will not make us come home to be with Him forever if we don’t want to. It’s right there in scripture: the prodigal son. The father lets the son leave. He didn’t lock him in his room, he didn’t tie him up in the front yard on a leash…no. He let him go. The father never disowned him either. God never disowns us…we disown God. If we, by our disobedience, choose a path other than God’s, God respects that. Even if someone says “I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior,” I believe that they are still liable to hellfire if they stray. Not because God rejects them, but because they have rejected God and he honors us even when we dishonor Him.
Also you posted: “If you don’t believe that salvation is final and definite, you will never live with the freedom in Christ that enables you to live a life honoring to Him. Instead you will be living in despair as you worry about trying to please Him in order to escape eternal condemnation.”
I DO believe salvation is final and definite. Jesus died once for all (Romans 6:10). It is our choice, at any given moment, about whether or not we are living in accord with God’s plan for our lives, and if we repent of our sins. I believe the grace from the cross working in our souls as God intended is how we are saved. Believe me my friend, I do not live in despair or worry about trying to please God. Jesus told us not to worry (Matthew 6:25), so I pray and lift up my anxieties to him. I am not trying to rack up brownie points to I can cross some moral finish line at the end of my life to get into heaven. I have freedom in Christ…freedom from the sins that once marred my soul, freedom from worry because I repent of my sins, freedom to grow in the love, mercy and grace of Christ.
Second, Thank you Douglas for this bit of genius:
The overused and spurious idea that the Christian creeds are simply based on Greek philosophy is seriously flawed as a critique. The Mormons or any other group can be shown to do the same thing. “Greek philosophy” cannot be avoided by anyone since the Greeks pretty much thought of everything first. So using this criticism is really just a matter of pointing out the particular Greek idea that matches some group’s claims and then blaming them for that “reliance”.
Paul was Greek and Christian. How can that be? I mean, he thought like Aristotle and Socrates and Plato…but accepted Christ as the Son of God whose death undid death’s chains? AND he helped the cause of christianity with his letters to different churches in different cities, and did used much Greek philosophy and argument? WOW!
What I really don’t understand is how a “born-again, bible believing Christian” (and this is with all sincerity and no attempt to ridicule or degrade anyone) can accept scriptures that are 2,000 years old (I accept them too), but then give the impression that they believe any cultural tradition with regards to Christianity during those 2,000 years must be evil because it is cultural or traditional and not in the bible (the bible being in total and complete canon form around the year 400 A.D)? What did the early Christians do? How did they worship if they didn’t have the bible in all its entirety?
Third, once again to Clayon E. Bennet:
A bit of trivia. Look up the word “Christianity” in the world Almanac. Look up the founders of the different denominations. What denomination does it say was founded by Christ? Please, for your own soul’s sake, be careful what you call the Catholic Church. She is not the whore of Babylon, but the Bride of Christ.
Also, good works are commanded by God:
Ephesians 2:10:
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 4:11-13:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
I want to be mature and fully in Christ. I don’t do good works in order to be saved, but I do them because I am saved and I act accordingly to God’s will, because God gives me the grace to do good works, and it would be a sin to let that grace be wasted. I don’t think that doing good works, once again, will earn me Heaven. I know I can’t earn Heaven because it is a gift. I can better this world though through works, and I plan to do so, to spread the gospel of truth. If people see my good example instead of just hearing how much I love God and have faith in God and trust God (which I do), then that witness speaks louder than any sermon from a person’s lips.
Another thing. The books of the bible, just like any other books, must be considered in the historical context in which they were written. When Paul talks about works in Galatians and Romans, he is speaking of works of the law, the Mosaic law. The false gospel he is referring to is being preached by converts from Judaism, who are trying to tell the pagans that, in order to be saved, the former pagans must be circumcised and follow other Jewish customs. These Jewish converts would accuse Paul of not preaching the full gospel since he “left out” the parts about Jewish custom which weren’t even there in the first place.
In Romans 4, Paul is laying out an argument (yes, Greek in nature ;) . He talks of Abraham not being justified on the basis of his works. He talks of forgiveness of unjust works, of sins, and God crediting righteousness to them that believe. Then, in verses 9-12, Paul says “Does this blessedness apply only to the circumcised, or to the uncircumcised as well? Now we assert that ‘faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.’ Under what circumstances was it credited? Was he circumcised or not? He was not circumcised, but uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal on the righteousness received through faith while he was uncircumcised. Thus he was to be the father of all the uncircumcised who believed, so that to them [also] righteousness might be credited, as well as the father of the circumcized who not only are circumcised, but also follow the path of fiath that our father Abraham walked while still uncircumcised.” That is what precedes Romans 4:14, setting up the historical context, letting any readers know that Paul is refering to Jewish custom, not good deeds.
Read a little further in John 5, and you will see the words, in verses 28-29, “the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.” Christ is saying that those who have done good deeds will be resurrected to eternal life. As for those who don’t do good or evil deeds, that is, don’t choose good or evil by their deeds, look at Revelation 3:15-17: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” So, the obvious choice for any true Christian, would be to do good deeds, lest he/she be spit out of God’s mouth or awake to the resurrection of eternal condemnation.
As for Romans 11:16, I gather that you are trying to say that the first fruits of Catholicism are unholy, that the root is unholy. Well, the early Catholic Church formed Councils in which the doctrine of the trinity (the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one God in three persons) was established. They gathered the letters that would later become known as the holy scriptures of the bible, they passed on the words of Christ, they performed miracles and healed in Christ’s name, cast out demons, etc. What do you mean that the first fruits of the Catholic (which by the way means universal) Church are unholy?
Ephesians 2:8-9 states that we have been saved through grace, not by our own doing so that we cannot boast because of works. But then in verse 10, “we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance that we should live in them”. Works are a part of the Christian walk. We cannot earn heaven, but works are a sign of a true Christian because of God’s grace and providence.
And let me address your references to Revelation 17, the harlot you insist represents the Church. Once again, let us take into account historical context. At the time Revelation was written, Rome was known for every kind of sin, especially hedonism. They persisted in paganism and indulgence, even as the Word of God became flesh and showed a better way to happiness. The rulers of Rome were corrupt and abused their power. Kings having intercourse with the harlot represents the kings of the earth adopting the cults of the emperors, who were treated as gods by their subjects. The blasphemous names on the beast are the names of the emperors who gave themselves divine titles. The harlot leads people to the idolatry of the beast, just as the hedonist culture and exuberance of Rome led people to the idolatry and paganism of worshiping the Roman emperors.
Funny enough, as I was compiling this argument, I ran across (seriously, perhaps through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) Revelation 14:13: “I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ said the Spirit, ‘let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.” Works accompanying the dead who die in the Lord. Works don’t justify, but they do follow us in death.
1 Peter 3:14-16: But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
The passage above is what I hope to do here, is to give an answer, an explanation, a defense of the hope that I have in Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and I hope I have done it with gentleness and respect.
The peace of Christ be with all of you.



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Prist

posted June 30, 2007 at 8:53 am


Thank you, Curtis.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Just wanted to get that out of the way before I start. Those of you who feel that because I am Mormon I have nothing worthwhile to say about Christianity, NOW’S the time to stop reading. ;)
I find it interesting how different faiths refuse to get along, how we focus on the differences instead of the things we have in common. I’ve seen it in many faiths, including my own at times, and it really makes me sad.
Because at the end of the day, Mormon or Catholic or Baptist or whatever, here’s what I think all of us who consider ourselves Christians believe:
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Without His amazing sacrifice, there is no way we could return to the Father.
With all I can do on this earth to be as good, kind, and perfect as I can be, I will fall horribly short of living up to what God would expect. I need the grace of Christ to help me make up the difference.
And while I know I will fall short, because of the teachings of Christ in the New Testament, I will pray to learn more kindness, love, true tolerance, and wise obedience to the counsel of God. I will do my best to follow Christ’s example.
I would hope that I would focus more on myself and my own shortcomings than I do on others. Some days I falter, but it’s something I’m trying to do. I’m learning to worry about my own pride, hypocrisy, and sin – knowing that I really am doing my best. I am learning to trust that those around me are doing their best as well.
I would hope that if someone professed to be a Christian to me, I would embrace that person as my brother or sister in Christ and be grateful that we shared so many things in common. I would not expect to give that person a test to see if they were Christian enough for me to care about and befriend. Just the same as I wouldn’t shun an honest Jew, a devout Muslim, or even a good-hearted Athiest. It’s not up to me to judge their hearts; only Christ can do that because He’s known all of us from the beginning. It’s up to each of us to prepare ourselves to meet God again, and help each other weather the storms of mortality.
Just my two cents. :)



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Erik

posted June 30, 2007 at 10:04 am


By any concise definition of Christianity, mormons are Christians.
Belief that Christ is their personal Savior?
This is from the Book of Mormon:
“And 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 2:26)
Belief that Christ is the only means of Salvation?
Also from the Book of Mormon:
“And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3:17)
Using the same bible as other Christians?
If you go here: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/nt/contents
You can see that Mormons use the King James version of the New Testament (and Old Testament, but I thought I’d use the New Testament as an example.) The edition of the bible the church publishes is the King James version, word for word. The church only ads footnotes. In most foriegn countries (Including Brazil, where I served my mission) the church doesn’t even publish a bible, but selects an existing translation they encourage church members to use in their daily study.
Belief that, if the Church of Christ were on the earth today, it would have the same structure as the church of Christ in his day, with apsotles and seventy and . . .
Wait, some people in this group are arguing that one makes Mormons LESS Christian.
Belief that true religion is visiting the sick and afflicted and the widows?
Belief that without charity we are nothing?
Belief that the way you can tell a true disciple is by the love they have for each other, that the greatest is the one who is humble and the servant of all?
Mormons and Protestants agree on all of these.



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Kevin Beauchamp

posted June 30, 2007 at 10:52 am


Before Christianity had even become “orthodox” by Roman Catholic or even Protestant standards, it was simply those people who followed in the teachings of Yahushua ha Mashiach (Jesus Christ). For instance, the Ebionites were most likely the very first “Christians” well before the so-called “apostle” Paul and the church in Rome “took over” Christian thought and commingled it with Greek gnosticism and Roman paganism.
Dr. Bart Ehrman has an excellent high-level commentary on the whole topic of what was historical Christian thought and a full century before Roman universalism started rewriting Christian history to conform to its period pagan orthodoxy. The book “Lost Christianities” is an excellent read.
So the point to the entire discussion here should more simply be this: Before we get into a discussion of whether or not Protestants or Catholics or Baptists or Mormons are really “Christian” because they believe in doctrines handed down to them by the pagan Roman Church, perhaps we need to go back a century further and look at the real history of the first “Christians” of the Jerusalem Church, who they were and what they were teaching and believing before there even was a universal “Christianity” to compare our modern beliefs with.
A FAQ on http://Ebionite.net has some interesting revelations that every modern-day Christian should know about.



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MattB

posted June 30, 2007 at 11:04 am


Prist said: Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Without His amazing sacrifice, there is no way we could return to the Father.
You list this as a common belief so can you clarify what you mean in returning to the Father? Is it your belief that we all were somehow with the father before our bodily lives? Thanks in advance for the clarification.



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King Cabreros

posted June 30, 2007 at 11:11 am


Wow! The two of you really know the viewpoints you are espousing, and so bravo to you good citizens. It was very enlightening and informative for me too. I live very near a Mormon Church and while I do not know many Mormons in that church, they are really decent people who do their Sunday worship very admirably. And they are good citizens too. So, Christian or not, they practice Christianity in the sense that they are very decent in the practice of their faith and beliefs. And so, while I am a Catholic myself (and maybe some people would call the Catholics not Christian, and who is a Christian?), I do admire the Mormons for their peace and harmony in the area.
And so, I like the arguments of Mr. Card and Dr. Mohler. They are enjoyable in their engaging styles.



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Michael

posted June 30, 2007 at 11:42 am


I’m a devout Christian, who has no problem voting for non-Christians. While I agree that Mormons are not Christian, what does that have to do with voting for a candidate?
Mr. Bush claims to be a Christian, yet he was the biggest mistake of this generation; Nixon was a QUAKER, and he turned out to be a war-mongering crook. Clinton was a lapsed, lying, non-practicing Baptist, but one the best Presidents in the last 100 years.
What does this prove: There is no direct correlation between claimed faith and character, morals, or Presidential acumen. Vote based on record not religion.



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Joy Dawson

posted June 30, 2007 at 11:46 am


I truly enjoyed your comments. I am a Community of Christ member and I am strongly considering voting for Romney, because I do know and appreciate the moral life of a Mormon. I would really like to know something about your statement of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” being different from yours??? Thank you for a well-written explanation of the Mormon Faith.



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Prist

posted June 30, 2007 at 12:19 pm


Hi MattB! *waves*
As far as your question goes – yes, we believe that our spirits existed before our earth life, but that we could only progress so far without coming to Earth and learning right from wrong and being given the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. We believe that we came to Earth to gain a body, to gain experience and learn, and believe that if we do our best in our time here we can be saved, through Christ’s atonement. So we acknowledge the necessity of Christ’s atonement. We also think that we need to do our best as well, to live Christ-centered and Christian lives.
If we do those things, we believe we can return to God (the Father, in my previous post) and live with Him again.
I hope that made sense. Sometimes it’s hard to cut through the jargon of a religion to what the terms really mean and express them in a way that is true and understandable as well. Hope that clarified a little for you! :)



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Benjamin Kruid

posted June 30, 2007 at 12:45 pm


I attent a Catholic college in the middle of Christian Reform West Michigan. The questions and comments I recieved from my friends, all of which are Christian Reform, regarding my choice of college bothered me. Both Christian Reforms and Catholics believe in the divinity of Christ, so I did not and still do not see what the big deal is. The same goes for the presidential race. The founding fathers left the term “Separation of Church and State” out of the Constitution for a reason. The founding fathers believed that an individual’s religion should play an important roll in their terms in office because a person’s faith plays a major roll in defining their character. The founding fathers believed that an individual’s character should be the focal point in an election, not their religion.



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Clare

posted June 30, 2007 at 12:56 pm


I read through many comments. A great deal of emotion was expressed but not many good arguments. I do not wish to argue with anyone, hence my reluctance to enter a post to begin with, but a few ideas kept repeating in my mind.
The written text which we are able to base our Christian history on sums itself up, Revelation 22:18-20. We may not add nor take away from the text as it is written. Also, so many refer only to the New Testament. I must say I find the Old Testament to be the primer to the new, as well as stock full of valuable information for leading a “Christian” life, and other data necessary for our spiritual growth.
Although raised Roman Catholic I had a difficcult time digesting ideologies that were not supported by the Word, hence the notion of purgetory, hell, etc… led me to do actual research. I found the church had made many changes, I guess, to maintain cohesivness among the masses. Another words changing the Word to keep their power by giving the people what they want.
As far as the Morman religion, they are not true Christians. They do not believe in Jesus as stated in the Bible, thus they do not profess the WORD as did the Apostles. This was the start of the movement called Christians, 1st century AD. It wasn’t until the third century AD the Roman Catholic Church came to be, 300 years later. If the Mormans do not believe in Jesus as the Christ, Messiah, Savior, Son of the living God, why do they want to be called Christians? As so many of you noted previously, The Muslim religion recognizes Jesus as a prophet but they certainly don’t want to be related to the Christian faith!



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MattB

posted June 30, 2007 at 1:47 pm


Prist: Thank you for clarifying! Given the clarification, your original post stated :
Because at the end of the day, Mormon or Catholic or Baptist or whatever, here’s what I think all of us who consider ourselves Christians believe:
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Without His amazing sacrifice, there is no way we could return to the Father.

What you attempted to give for common ground, after clarifying, simply isn’t. Protestants do not hold to a pre-existence.
I guess what I’m trying to point out is: the only way we can “reconcile” Mormonism and Christianity is to equivocate on all of our terms so it SOUNDS like we believe the same things, but in reality, when you say “return”, we don’t believe that.
So how then is it common belief between Mormon, Catholic and Baptist?
Perhaps a more interesting question is, why work so hard to find this elusive “common ground?” The fact is, different religions teach different things and they are mutually exclusive. From your first post, it seems you are concerned with how we treat those in disagreement, but your solution was to reconcile different religions. I suggest, the solution is in a courteous, polite dialouge exploring the important question: “which belief is true?”



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RD Miller

posted June 30, 2007 at 2:16 pm


Mr. Card never actually defines Christianity of Mormonism. He simply argues for a broad view, which, of course, Jesus Christ Himself condemned.
Bottom line: What happens when you die and how do you know?
Answer that and I’ll know, based on how ir agrees with the Bible, exactly where you stand.



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Elizabeth

posted June 30, 2007 at 2:51 pm


I challange anyone here to show me how Catholicism is the least bit pagan.
If you’re talking about belief in the saints and asking for their prayers before God Almighty, then you should also condemn the practice of asking your earthly neighbors to pray for you.
And fairly enough, if you would like to say that Catholicism what influenced by Greek culture in any way (I will agree that there are Greek elements to the Catholic Faith, however I don’t find this a stumbling block), then, with all due respect, I would like to point out that modern day protestant Christianity is highly mingled with the current American culture…contemporary christian music, movies, etc. Many books written by mainstream protestant Christian authors are heavily influenced by the “get more out of your religion” theme, which is directly related to the “get more out of life” consumerist attitude that drives the economic force in America today.
Why isn’t anyone attacking the Catholic Faith for being influenced by Judaism?
Another tidbit of information about the Good of the Catholic Church:
What organization, throughout history, has been the first that was responsible for the development of universities, libraries and hospitals…the Catholic Church. What organization gives more money to the poor than any other charitable organization…the Catholic Church.



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Pastor Bill Langill jr.

posted June 30, 2007 at 2:52 pm


After all this I am glad beyond measure that God checks the books at out time of judgment and reward. Men seem only to have the propensity to cook the books given enough time and circular reasoning. Owe no man,except to love him as Christ loved you.
Pastor Bill Langill jr.



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Pastor Bill Langill jr.

posted June 30, 2007 at 2:54 pm


Our time that is.



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secretprayer

posted June 30, 2007 at 3:08 pm


Since everyone else is posting more than one post I shall too. I know I am young and unexperienced, and I was even told due to my struggle with some personal issues I wouldn’t be able to “speak” clearly or my words would not be understood. But here goes, My Dad’s family goes back to the founding of Kirtland Ohio, and were some of the First members of the church, many or them have remained in either the LDS Church or The Reorganized Church of LDS(Community of Christ). With that said, I was brought up in a DOCTRINE soaked home, and the only things that I can wrap my finder around, isn’t Brigham Young’s discourses, or Joseph Smith III’s (CofC) reunifying of the Saints, the Trek west, where the BoM “REALLY” came from, or many other D&C POGP, JST Matthew, BLAH BLAH BLAH! I havent even received a testimony as to weather we did really have a pre-existance, weather Jesus and Lucifer are “literal” brothers, or that God really was once a “man” or if he is described that way to make him more approachable. WHO CARES!
As for myself, I believe IN Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, born of the Vrigin Mary, as it is thus written in the New Testiment, word by word line by line precept upon precept!
Prist, those two BoM quotes you posted are two of my favorite, I personally believe that I find my strength in Christ as it were. Not in any “bizzaire doctrine” Most Mormons are not Doctrine freaks. If we say we have a personal relationship with Christ, the only two “beings” that know that for sure are the two involved.
Now, one of my favorite verses will explain why petty bickering is a waste of time:
Book of Mormon (AV)
Ether 12:37
“And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.”
The Lord knows each of us and our hearts. Be faithful, and be true to him where ever you find him.
Note: the AV is owned by the Community of Christ (RLDS) it is one of the very first print copies of the Book of Mormon, the verse has remained unchanged in both the LDS BoM and the RLDS BoM.



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Tadhg

posted June 30, 2007 at 4:30 pm


I’m sympathetic to Orson Scott Card’s main point; indeed, as a Quaker I don’t believe there is any outward test of who is or isn’t a Christian–not adherence to a creed, baptism, or anything else. But he might begin by acknowledging that in this matter Mormons are hoist on their own petard. The official doctrine of the LDS Church (never changed as far as I know, though it gets soft-pedaled these days) is that not only are Mormons Christians, they are the only Christians. That the Christian Church ceased to exist around the end of the first century, and all were apostate until Joseph Smith rerstored it 1700 years later. It’s only in the past couple of generations that Mormons have even been interested in being accepted by other Christians as members of the same body, and it seems driven primarily by social and political concerns. It is disingenuous for Mormons to ask for acceptance as Christians on terms they aren’t willing to reciprocate.



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jude

posted June 30, 2007 at 5:52 pm


The essence of Christianity is:
To have a personal relationship with the Now Today, living Christ, yes He is Alive and wants to be involved in the details of our lives, but only comes when invited.
Anyone in any Christian church can have this relationship if they are seeking to know Christ and have given their hearts to him.
Christianity although organized is not defined through the various organizations, but through the relationship of the various individuals who have this relationship with Christ Himself, now, in this day and age.
The basic belief is that Christ has been born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life while tempted in all ways that we are; And so loved us that He willingly gave up His life for us so that we might
again have a relationship with HIS Father in Heaven. Because He died for us the barrier between God and man was bridged.
Then God raised HIM from the dead. So…Christ lived,died for us and was raised again. There is no mediator between man and God other than Christ Jesus.
Those people who scoff at this don’t realize that the reason they are scoffing is because they have never had the Experience of meeting with
this Risen Christ. Once you have………….you will never scoff!



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Lori

posted June 30, 2007 at 6:16 pm


I would vote for him reguardless of being LDS or not, & btw I am LDS & have been around it the past 12 yrs, but activly for at least 5 years. , but we need to be careful about mixing religion & politics together no matter your religious preferences. If this guy can serve as a good president & get things done why not vote for him just because he’s Mormon?Please, grow up people this is America the land of the free.Including the runners up for president.



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Tyler

posted June 30, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Very compelling arguement. Personally, I am think that as far as our understanding of the Bible goes, its pretty lousy. For any denomination. As long as someone lives a good life as best they know how, I think that the Lord will accept them into the Knigdom of Heaven.



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secretprayer

posted June 30, 2007 at 8:32 pm


Tyler, I have a hard time disagreeing with your thoughts/comments.



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Frances A Smith

posted June 30, 2007 at 9:22 pm


One of the major foundations of Christianity is The Word of God that was written for instruction and teaching and inspiration for mankind. Christianity has determined that there are 66 “God-Breathed” Books of the Christian Bible. The book of Revelation in Chapter 22 states that woe to someone who would add to or take away from The Words of this Book. Some might say those words are applicable only to the singular book of Revelation; however, I believe and know that because God has protected His Word throughout 6000 years, that it is not a coincident that the last book of the Christian bible was Revelation (because it was written last) and I would maintain that those words are not only applicable to the book of Revelation but applicable to the Christian Bible and its 66 books in entirety! While Catholics are indeed Christians, the additional 5 or 6 books used in the Catholic bible were in existence at the time that it was determined which books met the requirement of “God breathed” and those 5 or 6 were excluded as meeting all of the standards.
The Book of Morman written almot 1800 years later than Revelation clearly states in its introduction that it was written for the peoples of the new continent i.e. North and South America.
To believe this, would be to believe that the Creator of the Universe did not believe the original 66 books of the Bible (last written in I believe 93-97 A.D.?) covered North and South America because he didn’t know it would be discovered. That is ludicrous to think He didn’t know America was in the future of the world! There is no need for the words in The Book of Morman, which is the foundation of the Mormon Church, because the 66 Books in the Christian Bible is sufficient for all mankind on the face of the earth for entirety! The God I serve knew and planned for the existence and eventual discovery of North and South America and knew America would be the Christian light of the world. He even knew that Christopher Columbus, who it is believed to have Jewish roots, would be inspired by God to discover America and we are the Remnant of Israel!
So to believe in Mormonism as a Christian faith and based on The Book of Mormon would be to believe that God’s Original Word (last believed to be written 93A.D.-97A.D.) was not sufficient which would imply He i.e. God is not omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Which He clearly is and even gave warning to anyone that would add to or delete the Word of God.
Mormonism is not a Christian faith because it teaches from The Book of Mormon!



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sherrie

posted June 30, 2007 at 9:35 pm


I wonder what Mr. Card’s definition of “divine” is. I have just returned from a tour of Temple Square in Salt Lake City where more than one person of the LDS faith clearly stated that Jesus was not God. Like many other traditional Christian terms, “Christ’s divinity” has a different definition to the Mormon.
Even “the God of the world” means only of the planet earth as other men have become gods of other planets (with their bevy of wives as “queens”). You aren’t going to find that doctrine in the Bible.
A religion that was started less than 200 years ago by a man trying to justify his proclivity for multiple wives, that sees the Book of Mormon as also “scripture,” that has the arrogance of USA-centricity (Jesus came to the Americas, Christianity was “dead” between the prophets Jesus and Joseph Smith, with every “prophet” thereafter being American), that meets every question of logic or history with “you just have to have faith and let the holy spirit reveal something to you…you’ll know by how it makes you feel” is just too bizzarre to warrant legitimacy. Faith is indeed an element of Christianity, but I am thankful that God does not require me to ignore history and truth. The saddest statement I heard from our Mormon guide (when I asked why Jesus can get us into heaven but not a Mormon temple) was, “We don’t talk about the grace of Jesus Christ. We talk about his atonement. We need to do the right things to gain entrance to the temple.” Yes, Mormons are often right-living people, but for all the wrong reasons, because they believe it is hard work (like Jesus’ atonment) that matters, that we are saved by our selves, not by the grace of God.



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marlene reader

posted June 30, 2007 at 9:58 pm


the only thing i dont understand or believe is joseph smith if they sent a profit to america then why not all the other continants? and if he had the commandments on real gold how could you lose them i dont believe in more than one wife.I read a life story on him and he was a cruel man to his wives two tried to leave the church and he shot them one lived but her baby died ,I have been told this is false but if thats false then isnt having the commandments on gold wrong or false when he sent to his chosen man moses the commandments in stone.I have friends that are morman and they are great people but i have JESUS as my personal saviorand i feel no matter what church you go to as long as you have christ in your heart you are a member of GODS church and as long as you asked for forgiveness then thats all you need to do to be forgiven and you need to make it right with the person you have wronged.I love the LORD with all my heart but to put a morman in the white house i would question that because of his belief in multiple wives.even if that is only in eternityI dont believe we are married in heaven but all live as good friends it says nothing in the bible about marrage in heaven thart i know of. thanks for reading my opinion GOD BLESS each of you marlene



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secretprayer

posted July 1, 2007 at 12:16 am


Okay, can someone please respond intellegently to my question’s thoughts on this point. Here they are… Why is it that it’s always the “Main-stream” LDS-Church that comes under attack all the time? I mean this there are about 15 well-known “Denominations” of Latter-day Saints, example: Re-Organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(Community of Christ)-Independence MO, about 500,000 members world wide, women hold the priesthood, they are more socially liberal, and they also have a Prophet-President that receives revelation to guide the church. Next the Fundamentalist LDS-Church, Hilldale-Manti, UT, about 250,000 members, more socially conservative, practice pologamy, and most or the orrigional rites and temple ordinances, they also have a prophet. The Strangites, Vorhee, WI, about 25,000 members, so on and so fourth, Bickertonites, Rigdonites, Cutlerites, on and on. Why are these people never “attacked” after all it is the same “Joseph Smith” that started what they practice, yet they are never mentioned most of them are fundamentally the same just having accepted or rejected a few doctrines here and there. Some of them are even members of “Christian” organizations.
My next ponderance… Why would you put a very intellegent someone who has obtained a doctorate in the studies of his creed/religion, and a very intellegent “commoner” in the church who is a successful sci-fi writer? Why not a member of the Seventy, 12, or Presidency?
just some toughts for you all to ponder and hopefully respond to…



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Patata Brava

posted July 1, 2007 at 12:54 am


“You see, all Americans are Yankee baseball fans.”
“Um excuse me but I am an American, I was born here, I vote, I pay taxes, and I served in the Armed Forces. I am an American, but I like the Seattle Mariners.”
“You are most certainly not an American. True Americans root for the Yankees. You see, outside the United States, Americans are called ‘yankees’, and also baseball is America’s game. The nickname, the game, it all goes together! It really is so obvious, I don’t know why you are delaying the inevitable. You are not an American unless you decide to think like me and root for the Yankees.”
“I don’t understand. I already told you that I was born in America. I try to obey all the laws. I love this country and its Constitution and took an oath to defend it, doesn’t that count for something?”
“No, not really. You have to accept the Yankees and forget your silly little expansion team. Then, and only then can you be a true American.”



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Matt Evans

posted July 1, 2007 at 2:20 am


I’m a Mormon Christian and everytime I’ve read arguments that Mormons aren’t Christian has left me with a particular question. Hopefully someone here can answer it for me. Many commenters have argued that even though Mormons believe that Jesus was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that he died for our sins, that he was resurrected, and that salvation comes through Christ and in no other way (beliefs that to every non-Christian make us Christians), we are not Christians because of other, mistaken beliefs.
Now as I read the New Testament I see many people who accepted Christ as their savior during his ministry, and I presume and hope you consider them to be Christians. What I have noticed, however, is that Christ never told any of these people that they weren’t saved until they stopped believing in reincarnation, magic, the tooth fairy, or anything else. Because Christ taught that believing and following Him was sufficient for salvation, I don’t understand why you think my belief in a pre-mortal existence, or the Book of Mormon, or anything, would prevent the Christ of the New Testament from saving me when I call out to him.
Nutshell: if acceptance of creedal formulations of “traditional Christian orthodoxy” is necessary for salvation, why didn’t Christ teach them? Why didn’t He know that belief on his name was insufficient, like you do?



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mike

posted July 1, 2007 at 2:21 am


I was going to limit this post to talking about the article written by Mr. Card. Unfortunately, I was sucked into reading the other postings, and from what I saw, few people fully stucked to the article.
I have a few opinions I feel the need to express. The “Mormon” religion is greatly misunderstood, and greatly misrepresented. I have an analogy. 1+1+1+1=4, 2+2=4, 1+3=4, 5-1=4, 5-2+1=4. Now which one of these statements is true? Which on is the best way to arrive at the answer? Doctines in the Lds church have been misconstrued in this way. In one instance, an equation in scriptures will emphasize grace, where in another it will emphasize works. Which is correct? They both are, because underlying is the other half of the equation. Thoughts lead to actions, actions lead to habits, habits lead to character, character leads to destiny. I think Jesus would agree to that. The importance of works leads to the development of self. The development of self is what we are judged on. Of course, we’ll never fully live up. That’s Jesus’s grace. But even if you’re in a saved condition, you’ll never live up. But if you are saved, you’ll be doing the works, as I’ve understood it. And if you’re doing the works, unless you’re so hardened that the works have no changing effect on your person, you’ll find the answers of salvation. Can you do good and not feel good? and if you feel that goodness then you understand that “ah this is what christ is talking about, I think I’ll accept him and then act as he would want a saved person to act.” the misunderstanding between Mormons and other christians is just which equation we wanted to state our grace+works+faith=salvation. of course, then comes in the slew of doctrines defining each of those words… oh my, i guess you don’t really agree on anything, but then again, that’s not what mormons were accused of anyway. Oh philosophy… stirring up dust then complaining that it’s too dusty. so who’s got the next topic to scrutinize?
Forgive my spelling errors and other grammer mistakes, and written reasoning errors. I swear it made a lot more sense in my head than what I am capable of transmitting. I just don’t feel like editting this. Just consider it a mistake in translation. If it works for the mormons, it ought to work in my benefit as well…



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Anon

posted July 1, 2007 at 4:22 am


“It wasn’t until the third century AD the Roman Catholic Church came to be, 300 years later.”
That is completely inaccurate. The earliest references that we have using the word “Catholic Church” unambiguously refer to the Church led by the successors to the Apostles beginning with St. Peter.
“While Catholics are indeed Christians, the additional 5 or 6 books used in the Catholic bible were in existence at the time that it was determined which books met the requirement of “God breathed” and those 5 or 6 were excluded as meeting all of the standards.”
I find it ironic that Francis A. Smith tells us that the Mormon’s are disqualified in their decisions regarding scriptural texts because they were made 1800 years after Christ. He says this immediately after the above quote where he validates the Protestant decision to get rid of Biblical books around 1500 years after Christ. His validation is based upon a criteria that was invented by the Protestants at that time. He claims that Revelations forbids the changes – yet he applauds the changes Protestantism made. He would not even have his canon if the Catholic Church had not first assembled it.
In regards to Mormonism being Christian, there is little doubt that Mormonism took inspiration from Christianity. However, the same can be said of Islam.
You cannot claim to belong to a specific catagory simply by association and common names and ideas. The category has an essence to it that makes it what it is. The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the core essential attributes of Christianity, and it has been so since the beginning. To claim that you are Christian because no one else has the right to “define you out” is simple postmodern nonsense. It implicitly denies that “Christianity” has any meaning at all.
(With respect to my fellow Catholic, Elizabeth, the doctrine of the Trinity was not “established” in the Councils. The doctrine existed from the beginning, and testimony from that fact can be read in the texts of the earliest of the Church Fathers. The Councils established the use of the word “Trinity” to describe the doctrine, and they clarified it. But they did not establish the doctrine, itself.)



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Anon

posted July 1, 2007 at 5:00 am


There are a few things that should be clarified. There is an immense amount of mystery about how Christ redeems us. According to much of Christianity (including Catholicism), Christ died for the whole world. Mormon’s and others of non-Christian faiths may benefit from the redemption of Christ’s blood. A well established understanding in Christianity is that of Christ’s profound mercy–Mormon’s may be saved by Christ.
There is some mystery regarding who belongs to Christ. Even with incorrect teaching about Christ, it may be possible that a Mormon belongs to Christ in a special way. Even though he follows a non-Christian faith, he may be a Christian of sorts at heart. (As a Christian, I am forbidden to judge the hearts of men. Only God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has that authority, so I can only speculate.)
Inasmuch as Mormon’s follow Truth (and there is some truth in them), they follow the Universal (Catholic) Church of Christ. God is Truth. Again – there is a lot of mystery to that.
So making a judgment on the essence of Christianity, and determining that Mormonism as a religion is not within that catagory is one thing. Judging individual Mormons is a completely different proposition.
My hope is that Mormons and Christians will rejoice in the Truth in heaven where we will reconcile all of these things.



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O.W. Nelson

posted July 1, 2007 at 10:21 am


I don’t understand the problems of peoples faiths and doctrines. What is there so much indecision in what the truth in Christ Jesus is.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior,and that he will rule in only his rule when the time comes?
Do you believe that according to his word that you must be saved by water and accept the Spirit of Jesus Christ coming into you when you make him your one and only God? “Be Born Again?”
Do you believe in the Triune God? Do you believe that he and only he is Gpd? That there is none before him nor after him? That you can only be saved being washed in the Blood Of Jesus?…Believe that Jesus was sent to this world by the father to save this world from itself?
That we cannot save ourseles by our own doings,but being saved By Gods Holy Spirit? Will there be Baptist Churches in Heaven,Catholic Churches,and etc.? There will only be Jesus teaching as only he taught and only he can teach…Believe that he came,lived and died was resurrected….Believe that Gods truth is the only savings Grace…Believe that he is the father,son,and Holy Ghost…Let everyone believe what they may and leave them alone to worship the way they see fit,and leave the rest of us alone…I harm no one for what he believes…I will pray and know that God Is the only one who will Judge the world on that White Throne,and that his Judgment WILL BE FINAL…As for me, My Praise is HIS And HIS ALONE…Even at the dearh of this flesh that is on my bones,I WILL LIVE IN THE PROMISE OF THE TRIUNE GOD…Amen and Amen…Oke’



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O.W. Nelson

posted July 1, 2007 at 10:42 am


T don’t care what your religion is. Religion is not what is going to get you into heaven in the first place. Religion per say,can actually separate you from God. God is not religion. He is Love Truth,and Grace. w/o these things,religion is useless. Spend your times trying to bring people who don’t know Christ into the church for worship. Not religion!.Remember what it say’s in the book Of James…Faith w/o works is dead. So do what God say’s…Man is not you Savior…Man cannot get you into heaven…Amen & Amen…Oke’



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O.W. Nelson

posted July 1, 2007 at 11:03 am


You cannot have a relationship with God if you yourself don’t have one.Saying you have one doesn’t make it so..First off,you must have true faith and actions to support yout relationship w/him. How you show yourselves w/love,and truth w/others,this is witness of your faith to others…Working for your God is a way of showing your relationship is truthful…The razor tongue is not the way of showing respect to others or to God. We must all practice what we preach.Relationship w/God are made…Not Born!!!May God Bless us all.Here and everywhere,where thier is faith in him,and not in themselves…Amen And Amen…Oke’



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Anon

posted July 1, 2007 at 11:52 am


“What is there so much indecision in what the truth in Christ Jesus is.”
The Great Deceiver spreads confusion. Why should that surprise you? He has separated fervent Christians from their true authority, and with the authority compromised, they split up in many disagreeing doctrines.
“Let everyone believe what they may and leave them alone to worship the way they see fit,and leave the rest of us alone…”
If someone insists that they believe that Jesus Christ is a sprinkle doughnut, and they worship him thus, they are not Christian, and they compromise and confuse true Christianity if the true Christians let them get away with it. A corruption of Truth is a legitimate thing to protest, and it has far-reaching consequences.
“I harm no one for what he believes…”
As far as I can tell, no one in this thread has advocated harming others in any way. Rectifying truth and clearing away confusion does nothing to harm anyone. It is, in fact, a *charitable* thing to do.
“I WILL LIVE IN THE PROMISE OF THE TRIUNE GOD”
God bless you.
“Religion is not what is going to get you into heaven in the first place.”
Without religion, you would know nothing of the Triune God under whose promise you live.
“Religion per say,can actually separate you from God.”
“Can” does not mean “will.” And the ability of religion to separate you does not change the fact that religion was *necessary* to get you the message of the Triune God.
“God is not religion.”
God started the Church. The Church is largely a religion. (If you want to refine your understanding of “religion,” we might find some agreement here. But in general, a religion is understood to consist of a Church. Which means God mandates religion.)
“He is Love Truth,and Grace. w/o these things,religion is useless.”
Without a “religious” authority, there is nothing to convey that Love, Truth, and Grace.
“Spend your times trying to bring people who don’t know Christ into the church for worship. Not religion!”
If the churches are not built by a people of religion–by whom are they built?
“You cannot have a relationship with God if you yourself don’t have one.”
Interesting how you tell people it does not matter what they believe, but then you follow by telling them they cannot have this relationship unless they believe certain things.
I think you are very, very confused.



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anon

posted July 1, 2007 at 11:55 am


Point well taken. How DO you define christian? If we accept the generally recognized meaning of the word christian, meaning do mormons worship Christ, the answer would be… yes. Mormons do worship christ.
But even more poorly understood, specifically by a great number of mormons, is the fact that other values supercede practice of christianity in the mormon culture in much the same way as, shall we say… the glory of the sun outshines the glory of the moon.
These other values, and especially thier rank (over other traditional Christian values) is _never_ discussed in polite mormon company. So most mormons sincerely believe, that they are christians, in the truest sense of the word, and perhaps, some of the truest christians on earth.
I’m sure I will hear from many of them who read this post. (Thanks in advance for your concern about my salvation.)
The truth is: what mormons worship most of all, is the mormon church. Now before anybody gets all bent out of shape, (too late?) let me point out that I am expressing my opinion. But it’s an opinion based on a lot of personal experience and observation. And it is _not_ my opinion that mormons are bad people. Quite the contrary. In fact, I often feel sad that many of the wonderful mormon people I know can’t be better… well, how do I say this? …Christians.
One final thought.
Politicians have recently discovered just how useful connections with churches and other ideological organizations can be. Do you think the current flap about who is, or isn’t a christian would be making the headlines (the Headlines! Think about it.) if some political strategist somewhere didn’t thik it could advance thier cause?



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Elizabeth

posted July 1, 2007 at 3:39 pm


Thank you, Anon, for your clarification of the doctrine of the Trinity. I agree with you.
Have you read C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”? It is one of my favorite books, and from the sound of it when you were talking about Christ dying for all humanity and how Mormons, even if they are mistaken about core Christian beliefs, might still be saved because of God’s mercy, it sounds like you may have read it too. Lewis says (and I don’t remember exactly where) that even those who are not Christian on the surface-not professing the Christian faith-may belong to Christ in their hearts, a much deeper level.
If you haven’t read it, I think you should. You would probably enjoy it.



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Anon

posted July 1, 2007 at 4:19 pm


I read it a long time ago, Elizabeth. It was a very good read, but I don’t recall that aspect of it. Catholic teaching is my main guiding light for the above comments.
I really enjoyed Lewis’s discussion about stating “But if God is all powerful, God can ” in “Mere Christianity.” It was a good clarification for a young, irrational mind.
Clive Staples is a dear old friend, though. (Figuratively speaking–I was not quite born when he died.)



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Seth R.

posted July 1, 2007 at 5:16 pm


Actually, this whole Mormons Christian thing isn’t really about doctrinal differences.
It’s actually more about a bunch of Protestant ministers who are afraid this upstart religion with an aggressive proselyting program is going to lure away their parishoners.
The average Christian in America honestly doesn’t know or care about the theological arguments the Protestant elites are making. Heck, I’ve met plenty of devout Protestants who are under the impression that God does have a physical body (a supposedly uniquely Mormon thing) and are surprised to find out that their pastor probably feels differently. In short, the average church-goer in America has no clue what the doctrinal disagreements are.
But they all know they love Jesus.
So why not tell them Mormons don’t believe in Jesus? If anyone calls us out on it, we’ll just blame it on obscure doctrinal squabbles.
The “Christian?” debate is nothing more than a superficial scare campaign from an entrenched Protestant American establishment worried that maybe those Mormons are a little too successful.



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Donny

posted July 1, 2007 at 8:35 pm


If we’re worried about the success of Mormonism we shouldn’t be.
Seperating the wheat from the chaff shows us how much chaff there is and how few Christians there are in those calling thmeslves Christians.
Hitler is reported to have declared he was a Christian too. So seeing that non-Christians believe Mormons are Christians shouldn’t really bother the faithful.
So, Mormons, who are easily proven to not be Christians when compared to the New Testament record (just like Adolf), and can still declare that they are Christians then so be it. The more Bible-based Christians (which Mormons certainly are not) can still live in peace and growing numbers regardless of liars claiming membership in the Church.
I mean lets face it, if Democrats can call themselves Christians . . . ANYONE can.
Remember the parable of the wheat and the weeds? Jesus has the false believers thing already worked out.



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Michelle

posted July 1, 2007 at 9:07 pm


I think the Bible gets to define the faith that comes from belief in Jesus Christ. (Christian) Kind of a no-brainer IMHO.
Mormonism is indeed a different form of Christianity due to the additional beliefs they tag onto the Bible. (in the prophets ongoing teachings as well as the book of mormon, D & C, and pearl of great price)
I see Biblical Christianity and Mormon Christianity as different. I’ve practiced both in-depth and decided upon one of them. But they ARE different faiths.



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Patrick

posted July 1, 2007 at 10:58 pm


Okay, let’s say that it is the case that Mormons do truly believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and truly have given their lives to Him. What explanation do they have for The Book of Mormon which is reputedly either mythical and or a load of “claptrap”?
Their idea of the missing tribes of Israel? Their acceptance of their founder’s claims and did he truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
We are not to add to the Bible and yet the Book of Mormon allegedly adds to or supersedes the Bible. How do they justify that?



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Anon

posted July 1, 2007 at 11:08 pm


I think the Bible gets to define the faith that comes from belief in Jesus Christ. (Christian) Kind of a no-brainer IMHO.
It would be nice if it could. However, there are any number of reasonable interpretations of the Bible. A reasonable interpretation of the Bible might be that there is not a Triune God. So you have to have something more than scripture alone to interpret it as it was originally intended.
Also, I think there is a big difference between saying that Mormonism contains some errors and saying it is not Christian. Adding to the Bible or believing in some fictional tribe of Israel does not disqualify them as Christians. So it does us no good to beat them up for that. You must understand the essential nature of Christianity to make the judgment. Either Mormonism fits into the essentials of Christianity, or it doesn’t. (It clearly doesn’t.)



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Kyle P.

posted July 1, 2007 at 11:08 pm


I must admit Mr. Card, I was very disappointed with your rampant use of ad homonym often based on what I would deem to be educated guesses at best and prejudicial hatred at worst. I think you can do better next time. Please get to the issues and please don’t rattle off your personal attacks and experiences where they aren’t necessary and don’t make a logical point about the issues.



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Victor

posted July 1, 2007 at 11:39 pm


Why is it that the only sin Jesus won’t forgive is having an imperfect view of him?
When people say that Mormons are not Christians what they mean is they aren’t trinitarians. I can’t seem to find the word trinity in the bible. (At least the 2 KJV’s I’ve read, one of which was the red letter version)
The only one with any right to say who is and who is not a Christian is Christ himself.



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Spencer Ellsworth

posted July 2, 2007 at 12:01 am


What a load of ugly arguments.
Stop and think about whether or not it is a good activity for a Christian to spend their time arguing about who fits into the club and who doesn’t. And we wonder why atheism is such a force in the world.



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Jestrfyl

posted July 2, 2007 at 12:23 am


Folks, we have really confused doctrine, dogma, and faith. The first two, at best assist in the third, but they are never the source of the third. Lets look to scripture, someplace we are less likly to go when there are whole libraries fo Church History to argue instead. But, just for fun lets take a look.
What did Jesus expect of his disciples? To love one another as he loved them. O’ and to love their neighbors. Sadly, I am not feeling the love in most of these postings. There is too much “Survivor:Heaven” going on with everyone trying to vote everyone else out. All of this other stuff is proof that Christianity, universal and particular, has yet to get it right. My own brand is flawed, but at least we honor it, confess it, and accept God’s grace because of it. We are not more graceful or gracious, just grateful.
OK, the basic rules are these:
Treat everyone as honored guests, especially travelers, widows and children.
Love God with your whole heart mind and body
Love justice, do kindness and walk humbly with God (Ooh, the hardest thing to do)
Love your neighbor as yourself
Love one another as Jesus loved you.
Notice, lots of the use of “love” and absolutely no use of “exclude”. If the Christians, the Budhists. the Hindus, the Moslems, and anyone else does this – they are good. Mormons are no more or less an exception.
Nail the above list and the rest of the stuff will simply be ornamentation and organization.
By the way, the Enders/Bean books work this theme over an over. A most excellent story. So is the Hatrack River saga. Worth your time.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 2, 2007 at 1:00 am


It is apparent from many of the posts critical of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (or Mormons), that most have an abyssmal lack of knowledge concerning the Church.
One poster said he had just been to Temple square and had been told by LDS members that we do not consider Jesus Christ to be God. I just returned from Temple Square and from my experience that statement is wholly and irrevocably false.
Some average members of the LDS church have a blog at truthrestored.townhall.com where we are discussing the doctrines of the LDS Church. Anyone who is interested in a courteous and reasoned discussion about these doctrines is welcome, the same rules of conduct apply there as here. Those of you who think that Mormons are ignorant of or disrespectful of the Holy Bible, or who think that we use only a Mormon printed version of the Bible, be prepared to defend your assertions. Most of the quotes I make on the Blog are from the New Inspired version.



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Rally Miner

posted July 2, 2007 at 4:07 am


What is it that makes so many people angered to hear one say their religion falls under the category of Christian? Why would it anger someone say that they were a “follower of Christ” just because other details of their religion do not follow suit with their own?
I as a young person in today’s society am glad to hear such proclamations. Arguing over semantics is almost always a distraction from subjects of real importance. These arguments lead to further division.
As Christians it is our job to shine. There are enough divisions between those who do and those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, lets not create any more division amongst our own ranks than we must. What does a Jew think a Catholic man is? Wrong! What does he think a Mormon man is? Wrong! What is he likely to think about them bickering over their right to the title of Christian? The rules of conduct for this blog restrict me from commenting on that.
There are enough people in this world who do not believe in our God and our Christ. Lets not make ourselves look like bickering fools in front of them. Let us try to do what is most important, get everyone to believe in God and Jesus. I know it’s a long shot, but I believe it is only then that we should waste our time arguing semantics.
And now, if you start asking “which God and Jesus?” you are again missing the point of what I write. Be proud that you are one who has realized life is not a thing of chance or coincidence and share that knowledge, don’t create walls with it.



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Nicole

posted July 2, 2007 at 8:33 am


I marvel at the simple yet clearly logical and sequential approach Mr. Card has. He places all the rhetoric in perspective.



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Jubal

posted July 2, 2007 at 8:45 am


This is my response to Joie’s statement “I was a mormon, and all the doctrine states that Jesus was a great teacher, not the Son of God, God Himself, part of the Trinity.”
If you were a Mormon, you’re making things up it seems because perhaps you have some axe to grind against your old faith. Members of the LDS church certainly do believe that Jesus was the Son of God and God Himself and not just a great teacher as you misled us to believe, intentionally or ignorantly.



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Anonymous

posted July 2, 2007 at 9:52 am


There was no Traditional Christian Orthodoxy until they themselves started bickering over what was right and wrong, and even then, the early christians still split up over the situation…



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AC

posted July 2, 2007 at 10:20 am


Jubal Quote: “Members of the LDS church certainly do believe that Jesus was the Son of God and God Himself and not just a great teacher as you misled us to believe, intentionally or ignorantly.”
So Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is co-eternal with the Father? In other words the Son and Father have always existed as 1 God and will forever continue to exist as the only God. Jesus Christ never had to become God neither did the Father or the Holy Spirit, rather the 3 have always been the 1 true God. No other god has ever existed and there has never been a time when Jesus Christ was not God. There has never ever existed a god before this 1 Triune God and there never ever will exist another god after Him. (Isaiah 43:10) Jesus Christ, Himself being God, is the Creator of all things (John 1:3, Collosians 1:16-17) whether visible or invisible including the angels, devil, and hell. Is this what Mormons believe about the nature of God?



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Dave

posted July 2, 2007 at 10:21 am


It’s interesting to me that all you anti-mormons, all you guys who rantingly scream how non-Christian we are, all of you are standing there telling me what I believe.
How devoutly silly of you all.
To tell me, or anybody in any religion (with the possible exception of atheism) what they believe from outside that religion is utter hypocrisy of the primal order.
Stop telling me what I belive; stop teling me what my doctrine is, just as I will never tell you what yours is.



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Anon

posted July 2, 2007 at 10:59 am


The only one with any right to say who is and who is not a Christian is Christ himself.
What you are saying, then, is that the word can have no meaning unless Jesus Christ himself clarifies it. Two things.
1) This basically leaves us in a situation where the word can have no meaning at all. The word, then, becomes useless.
2) Jesus Christ himself did clarify it with the establishment of His Church.
Notice, lots of the use of “love” and absolutely no use of “exclude”.
Again, the only way you can maintain that this means Mormon’s (and Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims) are Christians is if the word “Christianity” has no meaning at all. It seems that some of the Mormon’s fighting to be categorized as Christians are actually fighting to make Christianity **meaningless**.
Additionally, God made the world with distinctions and categories. I am not going to categorize a clump of dirt in the subset of sprinkled donuts no matter how much someone insists that sprinkled donuts should include clumps of dirt.
Arguing over semantics is almost always a distraction from subjects of real importance. These arguments lead to further division.
Jesus said that He would divide us. It is also an amazing proposition to me that someone would say that ignoring falsehoods is a good thing. Satan leads us astray with falsehood. You ignore it at your own peril.
Yes, we should treat each other charitably. (I don’t believe I have written a single uncharitable word, but I am open to correction.) But that doesn’t mean we should allow a falsehood to be accepted.
It is further ridiculous to me for someone to complain that people are making distinctions in the comments, when it was the subject of OSC’s title. His whole purpose for the article was to explore these distinctions. If you didn’t want to see that discussed–why are you here?
There was no Traditional Christian Orthodoxy until they themselves started bickering over what was right and wrong, and even then, the early christians still split up over the situation…
That is a complete denial of reality. Orthodoxy, even today, is largely intact. The schismatic issues among Orthodoxy are *miniscule* compared to the chasms between Orthodoxy and Protestantism. (Catholicism considers the Orthodox Churches to have valid Orders and valid Sacraments.) The differences between Orthodoxy and Protestantism are much bigger, but still relatively small compared to the differences between Christianity and Mormonism.
All Churches have to protect themselves against heresy. The fact that the early Church did so is not a sign that there was no Orthodoxy. It is testament to the fact that there *was* already an Orthodoxy and an Authority. The entire Christian world was united in condemning those heresies, and the problems with schism came much, much later. (Centuries, in fact.) There are many more details showing this continuity that are available in the texts of the early Church Fathers. I would recommend that you read them.



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AC

posted July 2, 2007 at 11:22 am


I am sorry, and I say this with much love, but to me… Mormons give off a deceptive illusive vibe when questioned about their beliefs. It has been my experience that when questioned about their beliefs they will dodge or ignore the question. Hopefully My perception is wrong and totally off base. Maybe I am just not being articulate enough in my questions.
If you are a Mormon who is honest about his beliefs please answer these questions. Please answer with a simple “yes” or “no”. Thank you. (To be fair I am willing to answer any questions you have for me.)
1) Is Jesus Christ the One true God?
2) Is Jesus Christ eternal (no beginning and no end)?
3) Do you believe that there are more than 1 God in existance?
4) Has there ever existed a god before Jesus Christ?
5) Will Mormons one day become Gods?
6) Was the Father once a man who went on to become God?
7) If God the Father was once a man who went on to become God, who was God before Him?
8) Is Jesus Christ the brother of the devil?
9) Is Jesus Christ co-eternal with the Father?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 2, 2007 at 11:51 am


AC How lawyer like of you! Let me ask a few counter questions: 1) Is Jesus Christ the One true God?
1) Is the Father the one true God? Is the Holy Spirit one true God?
2) Is Jesus Christ eternal (no beginning and no end)?
2. Is the Father Eternal? Is the Holy Spirit Eternal?
3) Do you believe that there are more than 1 God in existance?
3) Do you believe that the Father is God? Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is God?
4) Has there ever existed a god before Jesus Christ?
4) Does Jesus proceed from the Father?
5) Will Mormons one day become Gods?
5) Do you believe Romans chapter 8, John 17, and Revelations 3:22?
6) Was the Father once a man who went on to become God?
6) Is Jesus God? Is he one with the Father? Did Jesus become a man?
Is Jesus God?
7) If God the Father was once a man who went on to become God, who was God before Him?
7) If Jesus was a man, and if he is God and if he is One with the Father, was the Father God before him?
8) Is Jesus Christ the brother of the devil?
8) Did God create the Devil?
9) Is Jesus Christ co-eternal with the Father?
9) Did God create all things Ex Nihilo? (out of nothing)?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 2, 2007 at 11:52 am


Chad,
our blog: truthrestored.townhall.com
Mike



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Anon

posted July 2, 2007 at 11:55 am


How devoutly silly of you all.
To tell me, or anybody in any religion (with the possible exception of atheism) what they believe from outside that religion is utter hypocrisy of the primal order.

I am unquestionably silly. I am most likely a hypocrit, too. But that has little to do with the question of **meaning** that we have before us. Why are you complaining (and calling people names) about the resolution of this problem, when the whole purpose of the OSC article is to resolve this problem? Is OSC a silly hypocrit, too?
Either Mormonism consists of the essentials of Christianity, or it does not. So far, we have a lot of claims being made that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. (What do Mormons actually mean when they say Christ is God?)
It is also a bit disingenuous to tell us that we cannot learn what Mormon doctrine is. We have studied it through the texts of the Mormonism and through discussions with Mormons, and the essence of what we learn from them makes it clear that Mormonism does not believe in the co-eternal Triune God. But when it comes to the question of Mormonism fitting into the Christian category, it seems the Mormon interlocutors generally avoid the question and say that Jesus is God, but then don’t elaborate on what that means.
If it turns out that Mormon doctrine actually does include the Triune God of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, (all co-eternal with the Father) then I might be persuaded to reconsider my evaluation of the categorization of Mormonism. But the refusal to clarify this tells me that you are hiding the ball.
“In the beginning was the Word the Word was in God’s presence, and the Word was God. He was present to God in the beginning. Through him all things came to being, and apart from him nothing came to be.” Jn 1:1-3
This tells us that the Word is co-eternal with God the Father.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory; the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love.” Jn 1:14
From Jn 1:14, the Word is *obviously* Jesus Christ. This is the belief–One of the core essential beliefs–of Christianity since the beginning of Christianity, and it included the Holy Spirit since the beginning of Christianity.
If I have it wrong, and LDS doctrine includes the Traditional co-eternal Trinity (In the *beginning* was the Word–The Word *was* God), then I would welcome you into Christianity. (I welcome you to Christ in any case.)



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AC

posted July 2, 2007 at 12:14 pm


I’ll answer your questions.
1. a) Is Jesus Christ the One true God?
Yes.
b) Is the Father the one true God?
Yes.
c) Is the Holy Spirit one true God?
Yes.
2. a) Is Jesus Christ eternal (no beginning and no end)?
Yes.
b) Is the Father Eternal?
Yes.
c) Is the Holy Spirit Eternal?
Yes.
3. a) Do you believe that there are more than 1 God in existance?
No.
b) Do you believe that the Father is God?
Yes.
c) Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is God?
Yes.
4. a) Has there ever existed a god before Jesus Christ?
No.
b) Does Jesus proceed from the Father?
Yes.
5. a) Will Mormons one day become Gods?
I dont know. You tell me.
b) Do you believe Romans chapter 8, John 17, and Revelations 3:22?
Yes.
6. a) Was the Father once a man who went on to become God?
No.
b) Is Jesus God?
Yes.
c) Is Jesus one with the Father?
Yes.
d) Did Jesus become a man?
Yes.
e)Is Jesus God?
Yes.
7. a) If God the Father was once a man who went on to become God, who was God before Him?
???
7) If Jesus was a man, and if he is God and if he is One with the Father, was the Father God before him?
(Sorry cant answer this with a simple yes or no)
Jesus did not become God, He has always been God, He is co-eternal with the Father.
8. a) Is Jesus Christ the brother of the devil?
No.
b) Did God create the Devil?
Yes.
9.a) Is Jesus Christ co-eternal with the Father?
Yes.
b) Did God create all things Ex Nihilo? (out of nothing)?
Yes.
Now please answer my questions. Thank you.



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Anon

posted July 2, 2007 at 12:27 pm


Question: 1) Is Jesus Christ the One true God?
Counter Question: 1) Is the Father the one true God? Is the Holy Spirit one true God?

The fact that you are making issue with this in a counter question shows 1) evasion, and 2) a clear indication that you do not believe in the essential Traditional doctrine of Chirstianity.
The answer to counter question number one is yes. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all three persons in the One true God. That is basic, essential Christian belief. If you reject it, you reject Christianity.
Question: 2) Is Jesus Christ eternal (no beginning and no end)?
Counter Question: 2. Is the Father Eternal? Is the Holy Spirit Eternal?

Yes. You should have read several times in the posts above that a point of contention is the *co-eternal* nature of the Trinity.
(See – so far there is no evasion here by asking counter questions. Will you follow up by facing the questions? We shall see.)
Question: 3) Do you believe that there are more than 1 God in existance?
Counter Question: 3) Do you believe that the Father is God? Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is God?

We believe the three are one. So, yes, we believe they are one God, and that there is only one God. It is one of the great mysteries of God, and one of the essential parts of Christian doctrine.
(By the way, I have no problem if you say this is very irrational. You would be wrong, but you can do that, if you want. But you would then be saying that *Christianity* is irrational, and you would be rejecting Christianity.
Question: 4) Has there ever existed a god before Jesus Christ?
4) Does Jesus proceed from the Father?

This is a great mystery that exists within eternity before time even existed. Since it is outside of time, it is eternal. Christ and the Holy Spirit proceeding from God the Father is part of the eternal nature of their existence. Thinking it in terms of an event is not thinking in eternal terms. There is no “before” and “after” in eternity. There is simply the eternal procession of the Son and the Spirit. So, yes, he proceeds from the Father in His eternal existence.
5) Will Mormons one day become Gods?
5) Do you believe Romans chapter 8, John 17, and Revelations 3:22?

I believe the Traditional Orthodox interpretations of those texts, yes. Do you believe yourself to be an authority on interpreting Scripture? If so, where did that authority come from?
Question:6) Was the Father once a man who went on to become God?
Counter Question: 6)Is Jesus God? Is he one with the Father? Did Jesus become a man?
Is Jesus God?

This time you are simply blatantly avoiding the question. Your questions have been answered above. Remember, the doctrine of the Trinity is One Eternal God in Three Persons. If you believe God was once a man (other than the incarnation of Jesus), you do not believe in the essential Christian doctrine.
Question: 7) If God the Father was once a man who went on to become God, who was God before Him?
Counter Question: 7) If Jesus was a man, and if he is God and if he is One with the Father, was the Father God before him?

This is just another example of you *resisting* the essential doctrine of the Trinity.
Question: 8) Is Jesus Christ the brother of the devil?
Counter Question: 8) Did God create the Devil?

In fact, Jesus created Lucifer along with all other angels. Remember John 1:3? “Through him all things came into being, and apart from him nothing came to be.” That refers to the Word, and we know that the Word was co-eternal with God, and we know that the Word was Jesus Christ.
Lucifer is a created being. Jesus is not. According to the Christian Creed, Jesus was **begotten, not made**. Basic, essential doctrine for Christianity, which LDS *rejects*.
Question: 9) Is Jesus Christ co-eternal with the Father?
Counter Question: 9) Did God create all things Ex Nihilo? (out of nothing)?

This question is answered in numbers 4 and 8 above. By asking the question, you demonstrate that you reject the doctrine, and thus you reject Christianity.
I would really encourage you not to take this approach. It does nothing to forward your position, and it only encourages the belief (expressed several times in this thread) that Mormons avoid the discussion instead of facing it.



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Paula

posted July 2, 2007 at 1:20 pm


If the Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as their savior…then they are Christians as they believe in CHRIST!! (By the way I am Lutheran)



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Anon

posted July 2, 2007 at 1:39 pm


If the Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as their savior…then they are Christians as they believe in CHRIST!! (By the way I am Lutheran)
Ah. Then you must believe my Atheist friend, who believes in Jesus, is a Christian.
Are you saying, then, that the doctrine of the Trinity is not essential to Christianity? Although I am no fan of him, I am pretty certain Luther would disagree.



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Anonymous

posted July 2, 2007 at 1:54 pm


There is a lot of emotionalism in this debate.
The reason for it is because many people who adamantly insist that Mormonism is not Christianity mean it as in “Mormonism is bad” because they themselves are Christian and for many of them, anything that is not Christian is bad.
This results in Mormons getting upset any time someone may argue that they shouldn’t be classified as Christian.
I am not Christian, and I don’t particularly care for Christianity or religion in general – I don’t have a dog in this fight.
I don’t consider Mormonism Christianity. That doesn’t mean I am a “Mormon basher” or that I am even interested in arguing the merits of Mormonism OR Christianity.
This is simply how I see it;
Christianity was one of several sects within Judaism – even today, there are sects within Judaism. Christianity was still Judaism UNTIL the material they added, which parted with established Judaic theology, caused the Jews to expel them. Then the followers of what had until then been referred to as “The Way” ceased to be Jews and became Christians – A brand new religion, albeit originating from another. It’s spread into Europe and the influence of the cultures there simply made it even more “un-jewish” as it developed over time.
Muhammad took the holy books of Judaism and it’s daughter religion of Christianity, and added more material, which parted with established Judeo-Christian theology, and became something else, something new, neither Jewish nor Christian. It became Islam. A brand new religion, albeit originating from another
The protestant reformation, on the other hand, is not marked by what people added, but by what they’ve subtracted, and the way they have re-interpreted existing scriptures. They are sects within a larger faith; like the Sadducees and Pharisees, who were very different in their interpretations and practices but both still working with the same core source material (The Tanahk) and so merely sects within a single religion. Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants all have the same core source material, though protestants have disregarded parts of it. Again, they ADDED nothing.
Mormonism on the other hand, has added new material – they’ve added the book of Mormon to the Christian bible, the way the Christians added the New Testement to the Old and Mohammad added the Koran on top of that.
I think this relates Mormonism to Christianity the same way Christianity relates to Judaism and Islam relates to both Judaism and Christianity: A brand new religion, albeit originating from another.



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Anon

posted July 2, 2007 at 3:18 pm


“Christianity was one of several sects within Judaism – even today, there are sects within Judaism. Christianity was still Judaism UNTIL the material they added, which parted with established Judaic theology, caused the Jews to expel them.”
That’s not precisely true. The idea of the Messiah was not a new one within Judaism. Judaism didn’t reject a sect so much as they rejected the *person* of Jesus Christ, and they rejected his authority. I don’t think that the doctrine of the Trinity had become an issue at that point.
“Then the followers of what had until then been referred to as “The Way” ceased to be Jews and became Christians – A brand new religion, …”
Not quite. Orthodox Christianity retained much of Judaism and grew from Judaism. Even the coming of the Messiah wasn’t brand new. The Jews expected it. Christianity retained the God Yahweh of the Jews, however, Christianity received greater Revelation about the nature of the God of Abraham. This additional Revelation (the Trinity) was rejected by some of the Jews, but this Revelation was in complete harmony with Jewish belief. In this respect, Orthodox Christians sometimes call themselves “completed Jews,” or similar things. All the same, it was a big departure of *new* thought, and it does seem to fit into your model somewhat. But the model doesn’t hold for new thought in general.
You see, the Jews themselves did not have any kind of “locked in” canon. (A small group tried to lock it in after Christianity started, but until then, there was no such thing.) They also had a long tradition of Revelation. Over many, many centuries new scriptures and new ideas were added to the Jewish Tradition. So does the new Revelation of Christianity really constitute a faith that was broken off from Judaism? Or is the new faith the intended result of Judaism?
It doesn’t really matter to me. You obviously don’t see a lot of Christians going around insisting that they be called Jews. Orthodox Christianity obviously did make some radical additions. (Though Roslyn Moss, a Catholic convert who was a Jew, was amazed at how much Catholicism resembles Judaism.) Christianity is fine for us to capture the essence of this “New Judaism,” and we don’t want to impose ourselves upon those Jews who are not Christian. Nor do we want to sow confusion. (These attempts to equate Mormonism to Christianity obviously sows confusion.)
“It’s spread into Europe and the influence of the cultures there simply made it even more “un-jewish” as it developed over time.”
Well, Judaism itself probably went through a much more radical change. Their Temple was destroyed, and some of their defining things were done away with. The whole practice of sacrificing the lamb in the Temple is gone. They did, however, retain much of the cultural heritage, while Christianity accepted in many new cultures.
Islam, on the other hand, did not start from within any religion. They pieced together fragments of a number of religions and built something entirely new. Most of the sources were Gnostic, as I understand it, and the Gnostics were considered heretics by the Christians. Mohammed knitted these things together and thought up a brand new way of thinking about all of them without benefit of interpretation from any other religion. It’s difficult to say it is “brand” new, because a car built of used parts is not brand new. But Mohammed took the used parts of different automobiles and built himself a new tree house with them. It wasn’t brand new, but it was something completely different.
“Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants all have the same core source material, though protestants have disregarded parts of it.”
I don’t agree with this, though it is not surprising that non-Christians would perceive it this way. The “core source material” of Orthodoxy is not just the Old and New Testaments. It includes a wealth of Tradition and it includes the Authority of the Majesterium. It also includes the work of many Councils of the Church. So, from the beginning, the Protestants reject much more than just the books they ripped out of the Bible.
“Again, they ADDED nothing.”
I would also disagree with this. They added plenty. They added the doctrine of sola scriptura as well as many, many other new doctrines. They reinterpreted the Bible in many new ways, and the came up with hundreds and hundreds of innovations in Christianity. However, the vast majority of them have retained some of the most essential parts of Christianity. One of them being the doctrine of the Trinity.
“Mormonism on the other hand, has added new material – they’ve added the book of Mormon to the Christian bible, the way the Christians added the New Testement to the Old and Mohammad added the Koran on top of that.”
Mormonism did far more than just add materials. They completely rejected much of the essential beliefs of Christianity. They interpreted the old sources in ways that completely departed from the body of Christianity. They completely ignore the 2000 years of Christian Tradition that is in full agreement about these things, and they produced new ideas that describe something that is completely unrecognizable as Christianity–regardless of the use of Christian names.
“I think this relates Mormonism to Christianity the same way Christianity relates to Judaism and Islam relates to both Judaism and Christianity: A brand new religion, albeit originating from another.”
I think your idea has some merit, but it needs development and refinement. There is more here than just the simple adding and subtracting of scripture. Much, much more.



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MormonMommy

posted July 2, 2007 at 3:39 pm


I think it’s a shame that “Christian” groups have to be so contentious. Plain and simple, a Christian is one who follows Christ and His teachings. For example, “Love one another”. Hmm….what a unique and novel concept. Now, who among us fits that bill? Would you say that those religions that hold seminars like “Mormons are the devil” and “Mormons ain’t Christian” and teach their parishioners to hate anyone who isn’t like them? Or perhaps it’s those who teach that we should be friendly and neighborly to ALL people, regardless of how their beliefs differ from our own? I know which ideology was taught in my sunday school, how about yours?
I have many friends of many beliefs, and contrary to what you might think, we really don’t have to argue theology all the livelong day. What’s the point? You go ahead and believe what you like, and I’ll do the same. If we both live the best way we know how, I have a feeling Christ will be glad to see both of us when our “little day” is over.
MormonMommy



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Anonymous

posted July 2, 2007 at 3:51 pm


The analogy doesn’t quite work in that Judaism means you derive from Israel, specifically the tribe of Judah. This is true of Jews but not true of Christians, at least not in the literal sense. But Christianity means derived from Jesus Christ. This makes Mormons Christian because their teachings, although rejecting the 2000 years of tradition, do not reject Jesus Christ or his teachings. Now, you may call them non-Trinitarians, which they will quickly agree to, but to call them non-Christian is to misrpresent their faith. There are many branches of Christianity and many branches of Judaism but both fall back to their roots. For Mormons it is Christ, and that makes them Christian.



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Anon

posted July 2, 2007 at 4:21 pm


“The analogy doesn’t quite work in that Judaism means you derive from Israel, specifically the tribe of Judah. This is true of Jews but not true of Christians, at least not in the literal sense.”
Your objection is far from clear. It also denies known history. We know for a fact that their were non-Hebrew Jews before the time of Christ.
“But Christianity means derived from Jesus Christ.”
Christianity means far more than being “derived from Christ.” Christianity is a coherent system of belief that came from Christ. If there is another system of belief that came from Christ which contradicts Christianity, it may be of Christ, but it isn’t Christianity. If the Mormons are correct, and they have a religion created by the True Jesus Christ, that makes Christianity a false religion. Why on earth the Mormons seem determined to become counted in a false religion is completely befuddling. Unless they are intentional enemies of Truth?
“This makes Mormons Christian because their teachings, although rejecting the 2000 years of tradition, do not reject Jesus Christ or his teachings.”
Christianity represents the body of Christ’s teachings, including the Trinity. If you reject those teachings, you reject Christianity. If you are saying that they are not actually the teachings of Christ, you are saying that Christianity is *wrong*. Regardless of whether or not Christ started your church, you are not Christians if “Christian” means anything. If you keep insisting you are Christians, you are basically insisting that “Christianity” is a meaningless word.
“Now, you may call them non-Trinitarians, which they will quickly agree to…,”
I have to laugh at this. Check the other thread. They do not so quickly agree to it. That is one of the frustrating things about discussing these things with Mormons. They simply don’t seem to want the semantics to be tacked down.
“… but to call them non-Christian is to misrpresent their faith. There are many branches of Christianity and many branches of Judaism but both fall back to their roots. For Mormons it is Christ, and that makes them Christian.”
No. It doesn’t. Because Christianity refers to people who believe in a Christ that is completely different from yours. You believe in some created being that you call Jesus Christ, and you base him upon the historical Jesus, but you do not believe in the same eternal being of Jesus Christ that is essential to the Christian faith. By calling yourselves Christians–*You* are being misleading, because you know for a fact that you’re referring to a completely different kind of being than the rest of Christianity. If I started a religion that I claimed was initiated by Jesus Christ, who in fact was a sprinkled donut that dried for my sins, I would not legitimately be a Christian. Nor would I want to count myself among those “false” Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is anything other than an old, stale sprinkled donut.
Why do the Mormons want to be counted among the false?
Why do they insist upon being called a name that they *know* implies entirely different beliefs?
Do they care about confusion?
Do they care about Truth?
It truly comes across to me as if you are intentionally deceptive. (Charity prevents me from insisting upon it, but it very much seems that way.)



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Anon

posted July 2, 2007 at 4:26 pm


MormonMommy,
The whole intention of the article was to explore these distinctions. I have done nothing to imply that Mormon’s are evil. I have only been exploring the proper understanding of Christianity, and whether or not Mormonism fits into it. That, my dear, is an exercise in discerning *Truth*. If you are not interested in discerning Truth, I’m not sure why you are here. But you should certainly not count yourself against those who are interested in discerning Truth.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 2, 2007 at 5:39 pm


Question: 1) Is Jesus Christ the One true God?
Counter Question: 1) Is the Father the one true God? Is the Holy Spirit one true God?
Anon: The fact that you are making issue with this in a counter question shows 1) evasion, and 2) a clear indication that you do not believe in the essential Traditional doctrine of Chirstianity.
The answer to counter question number one is yes. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all three persons in the One true God. That is basic, essential Christian belief. If you reject it, you reject Christianity.
Mike: Then Jesus was evasive because he often answered a question with a question. Actually I do believe That the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit are three persons in one true God. I believe that oneness is explained and expressed in John Chapter 17. I do not believe in the concept of trinity expressed in the post-biblical creeds that you espouse. They are extra Biblical and I have no need of them. It is basic orthodox Christian belief. It is not Biblical doctrine. I do not reject Biblical Christianity. I rejuect the creeds.
Question: 2) Is Jesus Christ eternal (no beginning and no end)?
Counter Question: 2. Is the Father Eternal? Is the Holy Spirit Eternal?
Anon: Yes. You should have read several times in the posts above that a point of contention is the *co-eternal* nature of the Trinity.
(See – so far there is no evasion here by asking counter questions. Will you follow up by facing the questions? We shall see.)
Mike: I believe all of these are eternal. I was not evading. When you answered the questions you qualified your answers with more than yes or no. That is fine, but it shows that yes and no alone can not always suffice.
Question: 3) Do you believe that there are more than 1 God in existance?
Mike: No because God is one see John 17.
Counter Question: 3) Do you believe that the Father is God? Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is God?
Anon: We believe the three are one. So, yes, we believe they are one God, and that there is only one God. It is one of the great mysteries of God, and one of the essential parts of Christian doctrine.
(By the way, I have no problem if you say this is very irrational. You would be wrong, but you can do that, if you want. But you would then be saying that *Christianity* is irrational, and you would be rejecting Christianity.
Mike: I believe that John 17 allows the unity of the Godhead without the irrationality of the creeds. I do firmly believe that the creeds are irrational.
Question: 4) Has there ever existed a god before Jesus Christ?
4) Does Jesus proceed from the Father?
Anon: This is a great mystery that exists within eternity before time even existed. Since it is outside of time, it is eternal. Christ and the Holy Spirit proceeding from God the Father is part of the eternal nature of their existence. Thinking it in terms of an event is not thinking in eternal terms. There is no “before” and “after” in eternity. There is simply the eternal procession of the Son and the Spirit. So, yes, he proceeds from the Father in His eternal existence.
Mike: I see no mystery if the Bible is believed. I think uninspired men who created the creeds made a mystery where one did not originally exist. I believe the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are Co-eternal. I also believe that we are all coeternal with them, as I reject Ex Nihilo creation.
5) Will Mormons one day become Gods?
5) Do you believe Romans chapter 8, John 17, and Revelations 3:22?
Anon: I believe the Traditional Orthodox interpretations of those texts, yes. Do you believe yourself to be an authority on interpreting Scripture? If so, where did that authority come from?
I believe the three scriptures mentioned. They tell us that those who believe God will one day be one with Him, be joint heirs with Him and sit with Him on his throne. My authority comes from God who has answered my paryers and from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Question:6) Was the Father once a man who went on to become God?
Counter Question: 6)Is Jesus God? Is he one with the Father? Did Jesus become a man?
Is Jesus God?
Anon: This time you are simply blatantly avoiding the question. Your questions have been answered above. Remember, the doctrine of the Trinity is One Eternal God in Three Persons. If you believe God was once a man (other than the incarnation of Jesus), you do not believe in the essential Christian doctrine.
I believe Jesus when he says that he has done nothing except that he has seen the Father do. So if Jesus came to earth as a man, and does nothing except what the Father has done, than the Father preceded him in this step. I do not believe in any orthodox doctrine that teaches anything contrary to that.
Question: 7) If God the Father was once a man who went on to become God, who was God before Him?
Counter Question: 7) If Jesus was a man, and if he is God and if he is One with the Father, was the Father God before him?
Anon: This is just another example of you *resisting* the essential doctrine of the Trinity.
Mike: Question 7. Paul said that there are Gods many and Lord’s many but to us there is but one Fathe3r and one Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter who came before. I worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Question: 8) Is Jesus Christ the brother of the devil?
Counter Question: 8) Did God create the Devil?
Anon: In fact, Jesus created Lucifer along with all other angels. Remember John 1:3? “Through him all things came into being, and apart from him nothing came to be.” That refers to the Word, and we know that the Word was co-eternal with God, and we know that the Word was Jesus Christ.
Lucifer is a created being. Jesus is not. According to the Christian Creed, Jesus was **begotten, not made**. Basic, essential doctrine for Christianity, which LDS *rejects*.
Jesus was the only begotten of the Father in the flesh. We are co-eternal with God as is Satan. But we are all the spirit children of God.
Question: 9) Is Jesus Christ co-eternal with the Father?
Counter Question: 9) Did God create all things Ex Nihilo? (out of nothing)?
Anon: This question is answered in numbers 4 and 8 above. By asking the question, you demonstrate that you reject the doctrine, and thus you reject Christianity.
Mike: See above
Anon: I would really encourage you not to take this approach. It does nothing to forward your position, and it only encourages the belief (expressed several times in this thread) that Mormons avoid the discussion instead of facing it.
Mike: I am certainly willing to continue this discussion, here or at the blog truthrestored.townhall.com
Mike



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MormonMommy

posted July 2, 2007 at 6:03 pm


I’m not interested in discerning “truth”, as a matter of fact, if “truth” is something that could be discovered by arguing semantics. I’m simply saying that Christian is not something you ARE, it’s something you DO. Anyone, no matter their religion or creed, who is doing their best to serve others and make themselves more like our Savior IS a Christian, and it doesn’t really matter what you or I or anyone else says about it. The point of this life is to become the sort of person Christ is. The kind of person He will be happy to welcome into His kingdom. And are we accomplishing that by beating each other with our respective sticks of “truth” as we see it, or would we do best to work together and strengthen each other?
MormonMommy
p.s. I really wasn’t speaking specifically to you. I don’t want you to think I was singling you out; I was just responding to the postings as a whole.



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sid

posted July 2, 2007 at 7:08 pm


This discussion has become painfully complicated.
The Bible states that the disciples of Christ were called Christians. Who cares what the creeds say? (Different denominations (Baptist, Methodist, Mormon or Catholic) certainly don’t adhere to the same creeds. If they did there would be no distinction between the denominations.)
“And the disciples [of Christ] were called Christians” (Acts 11:26)
The Book of Mormon defines “Christian” similarly:
“all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ” (Alma 46:15)
If I am a Christian, let me be known by my fruit. If I take upon myself the name of Christ through baptism and spiritual re-birth it is certainly between me and Him. I’m sorry, but Dr R Albert Mohler and his creeds, philosophy and restrictions have little to do with it.
In the end I believe Christ will judge our “Christianity” with the same judgment and limitations we dish out upon others and their Christianity. God help us if we close the boarders of our sandbox. It just isn’t a Christian principle.



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sinner2

posted July 2, 2007 at 7:09 pm


A few of you have it about right, Rally Miner, Mike Bennion, Jestrfyl are good examples. I hope I am within the rules of conduct in the following statements. But the following goes to the very heart of this question, Are Mormons Christians?
What I mostly see here is unsubstantiated musings. Like those stating that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints don’t believe Jesus is God, are dead in their tracks wrong. This is indicative of people who merely listen to others without getting their facts straight. I dare say few of those ranting against members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have ever bothered to set foot in a “Mormon Chapel” or attend our Sunday Sacrament Services. If they had, and they continued to espouse such falsehoods, they would be deceivers of men, plain and simple! I have on many, many occasions attended many Christian churches of differing denominations for extended periods of time, as I am of a very curious and learning nature.
I had lunch last week with a business acquaintance whom has become a good friend. I asked him his view of the Trinity. We had a lengthy conversation, in which he made several very interesting remarks. I am not certain but I believe he attends a Lutheran or other protestant denomination church. He explained that his church taught the historically accepted view of the Trinity, three in one? Then when I shared my understanding of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and The Holy Spirit, he said, paraphrasing “that’s what I have always believed the bible said, regardless of what they tried to teach me”. He told me his pastor had severely chastised him for even speaking to a “Mormon” let alone befriending one. He said he has not been back to his church since that conversation. He said he has had business and personal relationships with many “Mormons” and every single one, has been the kindest, most honest people he knows.
The question here seems to come down Dr. Mohlers accepted definition of Christian, especially as it pertains to the Trinity. I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, since my baptism at 8 years of age. I honestly can’t conceive of Dr. Mohlers understanding of the Trinity.
I believe the bible clearly indicates that God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are three separate entities. I don’t understand how one believes that Christ came to earth to do His own will and not that of His Fathers, or that he prayed to Himself and not to His Father as the Holy Scriptures state in Matt. 26:39, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
There are way too many scriptures wherein Jesus refers to his Father as a separate being, from himself.
John 5:
[23] That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
[30] I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
[36] But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
[37] And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
Can the scriptures be any clearer about this question? Jesus Christ says his Father sent him here. Why would he state that if he came of his own accord? Why would a large percentage of professed Christians go against the very teachings they profess and proclaim? I can only surmise they choose to be deceived not by what they read in the Holy Bible, but by the cunning craftiness of men who took it upon themselves to narrowly define Christianity as it fits their political and personal aspirations, I am speaking historically here. Christ saw this day when he warned in Eph.4:14 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
I choose to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit tells me that God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ are two separate beings.
A recent poster wrote: There was no Traditional Christian Orthodoxy until they themselves started bickering over what was right and wrong, and even then, the early Christians still split up over the situation…
Adding to this, Paul spent most of his time trying to correct the Saints in Corinth as they were found straying from Christ’s teachings. And this was immediately after Christ’s Resurrection.
Obviously, some things will never change!!!



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adelle

posted July 2, 2007 at 8:00 pm


I read a lot of these. Was a Mormon for years-at the mercy of our “faithful, Jim Jones like” parents. We were beaten, abused, sexually abused and the Bishop’s of the Gillette, Wyo Branch and the Belle Fourche Branch, S.D. did nothing. What can you say-they did not care, call the cops-nothing!
It falls on deaf ears! You go on, and in the end-GOD is our faith, hope and judge. People in Churches who use that as a venue to hurt children will be judged one day….no matter what Church you go to-the DIFFERENCE is that the Mormons are not what they seem-they are the wolf in sheep’s clothing!
We paid tithing even when we were starving, and the/any arguments that the Mormons have, you only have to ask previous members how nice they/Mormons are when they first meet you…then when you change your mind. It can get awful cold, you get snubbed big time and that is true also!
Read the book “The Godmakers”!!
Read it, it is the REAL them! It is like an X-File!
There are not many crosses in their churches-Joseph Smith and such are more important than God. Male dominance. Fear, and I am sure that all the naysayers/GOOD Mormons will say I/and others am full of it, but I do not care, because MAN hurts people in the name of God and Church, but I found peace at last and used common sense in deciding to be baptized when I was 40.
GOD would not go along with all that SO many of us have seen and heard in the Mormon Church! No Church is perfect, but also no church tries so hard to APPEAR so in tune with God. David Koresh thought he was right, so did Jim Jones-my parents saw what the Mormons did to us, did not care and thank GOD we got out and realized it was not us CHILDREN-you can’t make sense out of madness!
We were able to heal.
Anyone Mormon who denies the things-sick things that go on in the Temples, are liars and they know this.
Denial is big with them-so do not try and reason with them. Utah has the highest child molestation, and child abuse rate in the U.S!…If they are so great why is that so in Brigham Young’s great land?
We were sealed in the Logan Temple-and the rituals there? You talk about what goes on in the Temple-
They have your parents make a motion that they will have their throats slit, if you talk about what goes on. The women are each given a name, and when the husband dies and he chooses not to call her name-she is alone in the spirit world. My favorite is the men think they can populate their own planet, amazing!!! That day in the “temple”, was one of pure fear for us as children!
To this day many people can’t believe it because it IS way out there-but not if you are a CULT. I am now a Catholic, and it has it’s own problems, but again, each of us have choices every single day, and if you are wrapped in a false sense of security, if you choose to “believe” when your children are trying to run from it and you, to TELL you as you send them out the door with a “trusted” Church member, if you beat your kids because they do not believe, you will answer to a higher power-so this whole discussion is mute.
God loves us all, and those who choose to “go along” when it is clear stupidity, people out there who have LIVED it and BOOKS like “The Godmaker”,……this “Church” is not immune.
I do not want a reply to this, I am free of it, and have gone on. So blessed. God Bless, and no matter what church you are in, protect your children, do not try and make it seem perfect when it is like a CULT. THAT is the difference between everyone and the Mormons-we do not pretend to be what we are not-and if you do, it is something you will answer for! Don’t argue, go about your lives-life is too short! Christianity, aka “Christ”, is NOT Mormonism-and it is good to see that not all people fall for it!



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Anonymous

posted July 2, 2007 at 9:10 pm


“Christianity was one of several sects within Judaism – even today, there are sects within Judaism. Christianity was still Judaism UNTIL the material they added, which parted with established Judaic theology, caused the Jews to expel them.”
That’s not precisely true. The idea of the Messiah was not a new one within Judaism. Judaism didn’t reject a sect so much as they rejected the *person* of Jesus Christ, and they rejected his authority. I don’t think that the doctrine of the Trinity had become an issue at that point.

Yes, the idea of the messiah was not new, but the idea that the messiah was basically the incarnation of God in physical form was COMPLETELY new, and considered blasphemy by most.
“Then the followers of what had until then been referred to as “The Way” ceased to be Jews and became Christians – A brand new religion, …”
Not quite. Orthodox Christianity retained much of Judaism and grew from Judaism.

My point is that it grew into something else, no longer a sect but a separate religion.
Even the coming of the Messiah wasn’t brand new. The Jews expected it.
Yes, but their idea of what exactly the messiah was bore little resemblance to what Christianity made of it. That was THE radical difference that caused the latter to sheer off of the former.
Christianity retained the God Yahweh of the Jews, however, Christianity received greater Revelation about the nature of the God of Abraham. This additional Revelation (the Trinity) was rejected by some of the Jews, but this Revelation was in complete harmony with Jewish belief.
They apparently didn’t share that opinon. ;)
In this respect, Orthodox Christians sometimes call themselves “completed Jews,” or similar things.
Yeah, I know – Ask a Jew about that! lol (I have discussed that with some Jewish folks on another board).
Does the new Revelation of Christianity really constitute a faith that was broken off from Judaism? Or is the new faith the intended result of Judaism?
That is only a question if you’re a believer, I think. In terms of classifying things, in a sort of anthropological sense, it constitutes a change radical enough that the product of it is considered something separate from it’s origin.
“It’s spread into Europe and the influence of the cultures there simply made it even more “un-jewish” as it developed over time.”
Islam, on the other hand, did not start from within any religion. They pieced together fragments of a number of religions and built something entirely new. Most of the sources were Gnostic, as I understand it, and the Gnostics were considered heretics by the Christians. Mohammed knitted these things together and thought up a brand new way of thinking about all of them without benefit of interpretation from any other religion. It’s difficult to say it is “brand” new, because a car built of used parts is not brand new. But Mohammed took the used parts of different automobiles and built himself a new tree house with them. It wasn’t brand new, but it was something completely different.
Well, now we’re splitting hairs. It’s the difference between building a new car on a chassy you already had or welding a chassy together from spare parts. Neither one is the car(s) it was made out of – it’s a “new” car.
“Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants all have the same core source material, though protestants have disregarded parts of it.”
I don’t agree with this, though it is not surprising that non-Christians would perceive it this way. The “core source material” of Orthodoxy is not just the Old and New Testaments. It includes a wealth of Tradition and it includes the Authority of the Majesterium. It also includes the work of many Councils of the Church. So, from the beginning, the Protestants reject much more than just the books they ripped out of the Bible.

I was raised Catholic, I have studied history and theology and I know there is alot of tradition, with both the small case and capital “t”. (The Christian version of the Talmud, basically). Yes, that was all thrown away, but still the end product is a stripped down version of the original, not a new thing.
“Again, they ADDED nothing.”
I would also disagree with this. They added plenty. They added the doctrine of sola scriptura as well as many, many other new doctrines. They reinterpreted the Bible in many new ways, and the came up with hundreds and hundreds of innovations in Christianity. However, the vast majority of them have retained some of the most essential parts of Christianity. One of them being the doctrine of the Trinity.

The key word is “reinterpeted”. The doctrine of sola scriptura, (or Sola Fide, or Sola Gratia) is a new interpretation of the original – not a new thing.
“Mormonism on the other hand, has added new material – they’ve added the book of Mormon to the Christian bible, the way the Christians added the New Testement to the Old and Mohammad added the Koran on top of that.”
Mormonism did far more than just add materials. They completely rejected much of the essential beliefs of Christianity. They interpreted the old sources in ways that completely departed from the body of Christianity. They completely ignore the 2000 years of Christian Tradition that is in full agreement about these things, and they produced new ideas that describe something that is completely unrecognizable as Christianity–regardless of the use of Christian names.

Yes, but the Book of Mormon is enough to illustrate my point.
“I think this relates Mormonism to Christianity the same way Christianity relates to Judaism and Islam relates to both Judaism and Christianity: A brand new religion, albeit originating from another.”
I think your idea has some merit, but it needs development and refinement. There is more here than just the simple adding and subtracting of scripture. Much, much more.

I know there’s a mountain of differences, but one doesn’t need to sift through the mountain – a few huge, glaring issues are enough to classify it as something different.
Minor doctrinal differences or rejection of some, even many tenants aren’t enough to thrust something beyond sects or denominations. The addition of material, especially if it parts dramatically from the common source material on which the original religion revolves around, moves things into the realm of a new, seperate religion.
IMO.



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Seth R.

posted July 2, 2007 at 9:49 pm


Guys, we can argue doctrine all day if we want.
But I don’t think it’s going to get us anywhere in reconciling Mormonism with traditional Christianity. To see why, just turn to Joseph Smith’s own account of his vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ:
“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join… I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far rfrom me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.'”
And there you have it folks – the genesis of the Mormon religion. Mormonism is premised on the idea that establishment Christianity has, at the very least, misinterpreted Christ’s true Gospel badly. What is needed is not a reform program of the existing Protestant, Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches, but an entire overhaul, starting from scratch, with a new religion.
Mormonism was born ready to pick a fight.
And it will always be an inherent threat to the establishment. It directly undermines their legitimacy. Of course the Protestant elites don’t like us. Our very existence is a direct challenge to their power and legitimacy.
I really don’t see how we can avoid a fight. I wish we could, and so do many Mormons and traditional Christians. But if the Mormon church (as an organized church) is “true,” it most certainly follows that the traditional establishment Christian churches are false.
Not that the members of those churches are “false,” not that all of their individual beliefs are “false.” But as organizations, they are without God’s authorization. This is the claim of Mormonism. Our missionaries still openly declare it to the world. Mainline Christianity may be well-intentioned, it may be a benefit to humanity, but it is still apostate.
Regrettably, I cannot but conclude otherwise from Mormonism’s own core identity and beliefs.
That is why I cannot see the argument and contention ending. Each side risks losing its own identity if the other side be proved correct. Both cannot be the true Church of God.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:47 am


If the Church I belonged to was like the church that Adelle described, I would run screaming from it. That Church is not the Church I belong to. I am sorry that Adelle had a horrible experience. My experience growing up Mormon could not be further from her experience. I grew up in a warm, loving, wonderful family environment. I was cared for. loved and taught the concept that I could know for myself if the Church was true. I was encouraged to do my own asking. I was supported in my quest to receive an answer. God did indeed answer me. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. It is truth restored.
If Adelle’s story is true then a special kind of hell awaits her parents, and after 45 years as a member they are in the minority of those who I have known who are members of the Church.
One other thing. the Book, the Godmakers has even been discredited by other people critical of the Mormons. It was also singled out by the Anti-defamation league. (non-Mormon) as an embarrasment and as full of untruths.



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Maria

posted July 3, 2007 at 7:44 am


Orson Scott Card’s piece rambled incoherently on and on and on without answering its set question about the definition of Christianity. The answer to that is, Christianity, like any other ideology can be objectively defined. There are objective tests as to whether a sect is or is not Christian. Mormonism does not meet that criteria. It is not Christian. To say that is not a value judgement – which is the assumption underlying Card’s long-winded essay and the one he chooses to tackle rather than the question itself – it is merely a statement of fact.
Mormonism may be very nice. Mormonism may be good for you. But Christianity it is not.



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sinner2

posted July 3, 2007 at 9:42 am


One question for all of you who claim the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has, “reinterpreted the Bible”.
What one earth do you call, this. Wyclif, Tyndale, Coverdale,Geneva Bible, Bishops’ Bible, King James Version (1611),Douay-Rheims, New American Standard Bible, New Living Translation, New International Version, New King James Version, English Standard Version and this list only begins to cover the number of interpretive translations available. So, just take your pick, or pick and choose. Surely you can find whatever it is you want to believe in one of them.
Even if Joseph Smith wasn’t a Prophet, what gives the writers of these translations anymore authority than him.
Come on people, lets get real. Christ taught there is only one way to heaven. And is wasn’t doing whatever you want in this life, it was following Him, His teachings, and the Apostolic authorities he established upon the earth. Either the Catholic Church retains that authority or it has been re-established by Christ in these latter days. You can’t have it both ways, a good fruit cannot grow from dead trees.



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Anonymous

posted July 3, 2007 at 9:50 am


“Mormonism was born ready to pick a fight.”
I happen to live in one of the places Joseph Smith and his folk landed in Missouri (which they were subsequently run out of).
Local history tells us they were similar to David Koresh and the Branch Davidians – who also claimed to be Christian I guess. Anyway, there are stories of Mormon men taking peoples cattle (or wives or daughters!) with a sentiment along the lines of “God came to me in a dream and said to take what is mine”. I don’t know if thats true but for whatever reason the militias- not a posse of vigilantes, not a bunch of rednecks in white sheets, but Militias from three different counties with the backing of the Govoner: folks don’t organize and go to all that trouble just because a group of people has a mildly silly or annoying ideology. (Nobody formed an army to run off the Amish) They have to really tick people off for that to happen.
What I think is the original Mormons bore little resemblance to the mainline Mormon religion we have now, that Mit Romny is a part of. The original Mormons were more akin to the modern renegade sects that still practice polygamy, with all the same problems that those modern groups have with abuse and the like. Such groups are despised by almost everyone, and so probably were the original Mormons.



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Anonymous

posted July 3, 2007 at 10:09 am


I agree with Mike. I am sorry for Adelle’s experiences growing up. I was not raised in the Latter Day Faith but found it as an adult, after years of searching and praying to the God of Abraham and the Christ of the New Testament. I am an educated and Christian person. I raised my family with an understanding of the gospel in a loving, caring, home environment. And yes, I protected them from any who might want to hurt them. The evil she described is not limited to any faith, or club, or family. However, one cannot assume all people are bad because one is bad or that all families are horrid because their own was. I have been to several Latter Day Saint Temples, I have worshiped there. And the things I have read here are untrue. They are superstitious rantings of the worst kind. If you were to worship there you would not make signs of slitting your throat or any of the many other things I have heard from people who do not know, but only guess. I am glad for Adelle that she has found her way out of what she sees as a miserable faith. I pray for her scars to be healed and that she find peace. I fear she may not have found peace yet, because of her rage and I know that healing comes through Christ so that is my prayer for her. My prayer for everyone else is that you will not go to enemies to ask about any faith but go to that faith and ask them. If you want to know about being a Catholic, go to the Catholics. If you want to know about Judiasm talk to a Rabi. Protestants? Seek out a reverend, pastor, minister, whoever is in a position to tell you the truth. If you want to know about Mormons then go to A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (EVERYONE IS WELCOME), call a mormon friend, talk to our Missionaries, or visit our website. Just don’t go to someone who is not a member or who thinks they remember things from childhood accurately. Every person has their own memories of events. No two are alike even though they were at the same place and the same time. I will not proclaim to anyone what the churches I attended as a child believe even though I was quite active in several before I found my faith. Please give this same consideration to others. For those of you who have found your faith, I say good, well done. If you are happy, then I am happy for you. If you are searching then please search well so you can make an informed decision. And for any, of any faith, who have been hurt I am truly sorry and hope that you will also find peace for your soul and joy in your hearts through Christ Jesus. Amen



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Bayley

posted July 3, 2007 at 10:13 am


Mr. Card, if you’re bothering to read these comments, you have my utmost sympathy. I suspect much of what you said went right over people’s heads. You can’t expect to be an expert on a religion you’ve never practiced by reading wikipedia, or worse, chick tracts.
A wise man that I look up to, as a pagan, once said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself, For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged”. Whatever your beliefs, I can point to people in history who have perverted these in order to do evil, and I can point to doctrines in your faith that can easily be used to do evil. But instead, I choose to give you the benefit of the doubt; I choose to assume that you actually practice your teacher’s tenets of love and compassion, rather than behaving like the pharisees, who claimed that their religion was the only true one and set themselves up as the keepers of religion, denouncing all others as false prophets and stoning them to death.
Blessed be, and I do mean that.



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Chuck

posted July 3, 2007 at 11:13 am


I enjoyed the article. I am not a Mormon, so I kept waiting for this article to explain what exactly are the great differences. I’m still waiting! Will anyone enlighten me?



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Anon

posted July 3, 2007 at 11:20 am


My prayer for everyone else is that you will not go to enemies to ask about any faith but go to that faith and ask them. If you want to know about being a Catholic, go to the Catholics. If you want to know about Judiasm talk to a Rabi. Protestants? Seek out a reverend, pastor, minister, whoever is in a position to tell you the truth. If you want to know about Mormons then go to A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (EVERYONE IS WELCOME), call a mormon friend, talk to our Missionaries, or visit our website.
There are several Mormons responding to things on both Mr. Card’s and Dr. Mohler’s comments. By going directly to Mormons, I have at least three different stories. Some insist that they do not believe in the Trinitarian doctrine of Christianity. Some say they most decidedly do. Some say that God and Jesus were always Gods and eternally so. Others say that they weren’t. The sources from LDS that I’ve seen seem to be clear that they are not Trinitarians, but in some places they seem to claim they are.
There is a distinct postmodern approach in the Mormon arguments. They believe that people determine the nature of things when they use words. But that is wrong. Things have a nature unto themselves, and words refer to that nature. Christianity has had a nature–a very well understood nature–for two thousand years. There are essential qualities and essential things that make up what Christianity *is*. Not what it has been “defined” to be, but what it *is*. The postmodern approach of making words mean what you want them to mean instead of using them to refer to something real makes discussion incoherent, and it reduces words to useless things. It is Orwellian double-speak, and it is deceptive nonsense.
I really don’t know what to respond to any more. It seems like a completely futile effort to communicate with the Mormons (at least here.) I am left with the impression that Mormons do not care about Truth or meaning. That it is more important to them that they undermine the meaning of Christianity so that they can get away with saying they are Christians, too, and be better positioned to convert the less studied who are deceived into thinking they are simply becoming another kind of Christian. There is a pernicious quality to this discussion, and I think I have reached the end of my participation in it.



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Todd Little

posted July 3, 2007 at 12:22 pm


Heaven is NOT !!!
Anyone from any denomination, or no denomination;
may become a Christian.
GOD – Almighty, creator & sustainor of ALL the worlds
sent His only begotten son to die a cruel death on the cross to pay
for folks’s sins. Acceptance of this gift and repenting of our/your
sins will make us a Christian. It is our duty after that, to live like
the example Jesus Christ gave us, while he lived here on earth.
May GOD be with you !!!



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Anonymous

posted July 3, 2007 at 12:26 pm


Well to be fair, you shouldn’t go to just any Mormon off the street – you need to go to an official source, or someone who’s authorized by the official Mormon body to teach what they believe – Any religion with a sufficiently complex body of doctrine and theology that exists as a sort of tight knit sub culture (Jewish, Catholic, Mormon) will have a healthy population of people who are only Jewish, Mormon, or Catholic or whatever because they grew up in it (Secular Jew, Cultural Catholic, etc.) who know as much about their faith as I do about high school algebra (which ain’t much) – participating in the faith is, and has always been, for them just something they do because it’s expected of them, like homework or doing the dishes. These people often have a vague and shallow understanding of the finer points of their faith and misinterpret, misunderstand, or just plain don’t know what their Church actually teaches.
If you just interview random people, you’re going to get conflicting answers and probably wind up more confused than you started.



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two spirits

posted July 3, 2007 at 12:49 pm


Fundamentalism and its by product extremism, whether it be in the form of Christianity or Islam or Judaism or any other religion or even when it is disguised as nationalism or patriotism, is the most divisive force on our planet and the biggest obstacle to peace and understanding among all peoples.
It is not my place or anyone else’s place to impose our religious, social, moral, ethical or political beliefs on anyone else, It is the duty and responsibility of each of us to live according to our beliefs and by doing so to demonstrate the rightness of those beliefs to everyone we encounter. It is also incumbent upon each of us to accept and respect the beliefs of others and to honor them for standing in their truth. We do not have to necessarily agree with them or embrace their beliefs, but through acceptance and understanding we can create a dialogue of peace and brotherhood and equality.



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Bryan

posted July 3, 2007 at 12:51 pm


Why do mormons care about being put in the group of Christians? Well it all depends on your definition of Christian. If you take the complicated theological definition about orthodox creeds and what not then sure… mormons don’t fall into that definition. However, to most people, if you ask “Are you Christian?” then to them (whether they are mormon or not) you are asking “Do you believe in Jesus Christ.” Only a select few of elite religious people hear something else when you say the word Christian. It’s pretty logical then to understand why mormons are so adamant about being Christian. Jesus Christ is the very core of their religion. Their church is one of the few churches who actually professes Christ in their name (“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”) So if you were to go to a mormon and ask them to say they were not Christian, you might as well ask them to deny Christ. Because that’s what most people in this world understand the word Christian to be. It seems to me like the elite are trying to redefine or maybe “go back to the old definition” as they claim it. The problem is that if only a select few understand the “real” definition of Christianity and then the rest understand it to mean “Believes in Christ” Then the mormons are being discredited and misrepresented because of the confusion of definitions. But I think that’s what the leaders of other churches want… because the mormons tend to be converting a whole lot of people really fast… faster than any of the other religions in the world. So why shouldn’t pasters and priests be worried?
Sorry if this is a little disorganized. In summary: Most of the world believes the word “Christianity” to mean “Believes in Christ” So if you ask someone if they are Christian you are asking “Do you believe in Christ.” For anyone to say no to that would be to reject our Savior. Mormons have every right to testify of the Lord Jesus Christ and that is why they wish to be called Christian.



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AC

posted July 3, 2007 at 12:57 pm


Hey Brian,
I would like to challenge this statement by you:
“If you ask someone if they are Christian you are asking ‘Do you believe in Christ?'”
Muslims believe in Christ. Are Muslims Christians?



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Bryan

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:08 pm


Ok, so you can turn it that way. But that still doesn’t change my point. If you go up to I would say 75% of the Christian world and ask them if they are Christian. To them in their eyes, it is the same as asking if they believe in Jesus Christ. I guess you could add “Accept him as their Savior and Redeemer.” We could go on and add a whole lot of things to that… But my point still stands. If you ask any Christian whether they are Christian or not, they in their head will hear “Do you believe in Jesus Christ.” So if you are asking a mormon to deny his/her faith in Jesus Christ, then you are expecting a whole lot. Muslims don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, they just believe he was a prophet, so they would have no problem denying their faith in him. They don’t have any faith in him.



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Bryan

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:09 pm


oh and I spell my name with a “Y” thankyou very much. ;)



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AC

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:29 pm


Sorry about that BrYan :)
Another quick question before I respond to your comments.
Are Jehovah’s Witnesses Christians?



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Patrick

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:33 pm


Warren Jeffs



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Bryan

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:36 pm


I think you are missing my point. But that’s probably my fault. I am not the best at expressing my thoughts in words so that other people understand them. These questions don’t really challenge what I am trying to say anyways.



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Anon

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:38 pm


Crimeny. I thought I was done, but this is an important point.
However, to most people, if you ask “Are you Christian?” then to them (whether they are mormon or not) you are asking “Do you believe in Jesus Christ.”
Behind the question, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” is a depth of understanding of just *who* He is, and what kind of Being He is.
The average person may not explicitly state the understanding of Jesus as One of the Persons in One God, but they carry that tacit knowledge, and the vast majority of Christians will tell you that if you delve in deeper.
They do NOT think that they are saying they believe in “Jesus Christ who is a sprinkled donut.”
They do NOT think they are saying they believe in “Jesus Christ” who was not God in the beginning with God the Father.
They do NOT think they are saying they believe in “Jesus Christ” who is a separate god from God the Father.
And they do NOT think a whole lot of other things. They think specific things about Him, including his One Godhood with the Father and Holy Spirit.
You are playing with meaning. You are pretending that it doesn’t matter what “Jesus Christ” means when you speak of Him. You are making the name of “Jesus Christ” **meaningless** by engaging in this exercise of double-speak. In the long run, this practice of destroying meaning will hurt Mormonism very severely–much more than it will gain in its converts of confusion.
By this practice of the destruction of meaning, you are inviting Satan into the meaning. You bring your own destruction upon yourself.



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Gordon

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:46 pm


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one of the few churches on the face of the earth that even has the name of Jesus Christ in its title – responding to what Christ said, would identify His church. (Surprise surprise). It is the only church which claims the Bible to be the word of God and supports the doctrine that the Lord will continue reveal His will to the people on the earth, through a Prophet – as he did in ancient times. God has said over and over that “I am the same yesterday, today and forever” yet when his additional word is announced, those bringing it forth for the good of mankind are criticized for doing the very thing that God said he would do. He has given additional scripture which – if examined, will be found that it confirms what has been taught in the Bible – not contradict it. So God has spoken again – the same pattern as in olden times – prophet after prophet after prophet ——- (in our day) after prophet. Is this so hard to understand or is it that we just aren’t listening. It is not difficult to understand just hard to accept because of our hardened views of our own views of what should be rather than what God says it should be. So please open you hearts and minds to the idea that God does still care and that he is revealing his word just as he did in the past – through his prophets. We invite you to read it.



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Tara

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:49 pm


Well define christian? Its a person who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. They have accepted him as there Lord and savior. They pray to him alone and not to any other person or God, By that I mean some Catholics still pray to Mary. And believe that they cannot pray to the Lord. Christians do not have confession, as do Catholics. We ask God to forgive our sins, not a priest. We read the bible. And they are not allowed to. They do not even go to church with one. I know some
Catholics and I about fell down when they told me that.



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Gordon

posted July 3, 2007 at 1:53 pm


Are Mormon’s Christians? Well of course – what a silly question. They believe in Christ, the talk of Christ, pray in His name (as He indicated we should when he was on the earth), they preach of Christ and meet often in His name. All their meetings are begun and ended in the name of Jesus Christ, testimony borne of Him and his divine mission, they assist the world with many many offerings of major proportions and never ask for recognition (as Christ did) and continue to turn the other cheek even when those being helped turn their backs on them. As has been said so many times in the past, many may leave the Mormon church but they won’t leave it alone. Yet when any of those so doing, ask for a hand in fellowship – they get just that.
So again – are they believers in Christ and do they follow him – thereby making them Christians? I think we have adequately answered that question. The name of the Church is the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. Question answered.



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sinner2

posted July 3, 2007 at 2:02 pm


Very well said, Bryan! Wish I had the command of our language you do. I think you hit the nail on the head. The elite religious leaders want to discredit The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in an attempt to sway the lemmings to follow them and give no heed to the truth, or even talk to someone who may share it with them. It is a huge threat to their livelihood.
But, we have to remember, there are probably some on this blog who believe it is okay to perform abortions, live in an alternative lifestyle relationship, etc. as there are certainly other churches that openly embrace these sins, and still label themselves Christians.
I would like to add for those who know no better, that there is no paid clergy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at a local, regional or international level. It is my understanding that some who are called to serve full time only have their expenses reimbursed, excepting missionaries who serve at their own expense.



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Anon

posted July 3, 2007 at 2:17 pm


They pray to him alone and not to any other person or God, By that I mean some Catholics still pray to Mary. And believe that they cannot pray to the Lord.
Hello, Tara. Somewhere you have received some bad information about Catholicism. When Catholics pray to Mary, it does not mean to Pray as in worship. It means to *ask* her to pray for us. We ask her to pray for us much like Protestants ask others to pray for them. But there is no worship of Mary. She is very special in that she is the Mother of Christ, and she received many graces because of it. But we do not worship her as we worship God.
Additionally, the notion that we cannot pray to the Lord Jesus Christ is dead wrong. Of course we can pray to Him. We do it all the time. If you say that we should just always pray directly to Him and not ask Mary for intercession, then I would say you should just always pray to Him and not ask your fellow Christians for intercession.
Christians do not have confession, as do Catholics.
Well, since Catholics are Christians, some Christians do have confession. (I’m sure the Mormons can’t wait to see this argument ensue. But before getting too happy, they should ask the question: Is their gleeful celebration in the cause of Truth and meaning? Or is it in the destruction of Truth and meaning? Do they cheer for confusion?)
We read the bible. And they are not allowed to. They do not even go to church with one. I know some Catholics and I about fell down when they told me that.
This is also false, Tara. All Catholics are *encouraged* to read the Bible. There was a time in the past where there were some rather pernicious translations causing some bishops to halt the reading, but these are isolated cases. The historic discouragement of Bible reading in Catholicism is not nearly as widespread (or lasting) as most seem to think.
We are definitely allowed to bring our Bibles to church, but it isn’t quite as necessary because we have Bible Scriptures that we read from our Missals. In fact, there was a study done reviewing a lot of different Christian denominations to see how much Bible reading was done in Church services, and there was more reading of Scripture in the average Catholic mass than in almost all other denominations!!! (Even I was surprised to find that out.)
I hope that is helpful to you in discerning our differences a little better.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 3, 2007 at 3:28 pm


Chuck: I enjoyed the article. I am not a Mormon, so I kept waiting for this article to explain what exactly are the great differences. I’m still waiting! Will anyone enlighten me?
I wish I had time. I’m off to work. Back later tonight.
http://www.mormon.org
That link is a good start.
Mike



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David

posted July 3, 2007 at 4:33 pm


The real problem with Mormonism is that it relies on Social and Emotional ‘proofs’ that are wholly subjective. In fact, in interpreting Mormon history, ‘proofs’ (the First Vision, the BOM, etc) are also entirely subjective – reason, evidence, and serious study of them show that they are not ‘true’ in any objective sense of the word.
Having ‘gone through the temple’ literally hundreds and having learned the secret handshakes and passwords, it is patently obvious that the Mormon temple has absolutely no connection to historic Christianity (‘orthodox’, if you will). The temple ceremonies were copied from 19th century Freemasonry. I can attest to that as well, having been a Mason for over 14 years. It was my initiation into Masonry that led to my investigation into the temple rituals, and ultimately losing complete faith in Mormonism.
As a Christian now, I can look backward toward my conversion to Mormonism and see that it happened at a very emotionally fragile time in my life. It is my firm belief that Mormon missionaries try to identify the disenfranchised and the emotionally fragile and convert them into a social structure that is self-reinforcing.
Mormonism is an attempt to invent a form of Christianity with ‘authority’ – like Catholicism – that will prove itself to be ‘the one, true church’. The believer in Jesus Christ has a relationship with Him and derives ‘authority’ from the consent of the believers – his Church, and relies on the Bible for its ultimate rule of faith and morals. In spite of the weaknesses and frailities of humans, it has been preserved and passed on as that which refreshes and strengthens believers.
I spent 16 years trapped in Mormonism, and it took another 3 years to finally, ultimately give myself completely to Jesus Christ.



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Mark Owens

posted July 3, 2007 at 4:56 pm


Bottom line is that a Christian is one that is trying to be Christ-like.
One that believes and professes the fact that the Trinity – God, Jesus, and the Spirit (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) is one in the same.
One that believes that Jesus, born of a moman, was and is the Son of the Living God who created the Heavens and Earth, and not just another prophet. That he walked this earth for some 33 years teaching the Word of God. He was persecuted and sentenced to death – all part of God’s plan. Died on the cross, was buried, went to the depths of Hell and, on the third day, rose again to be with our Heavenly Father. His death was God’s gift to all who hear and accept that we may be saved from the slavery of sin, and through Christ, we are able to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Our Faith (belief in Jesus, the Son of God, who died for our sins) and God’s Mercy and Grace are what enables us to enter into Heaven.
Christianity was and is the original “religion” of the New Testament in the days when Christ walked this earth. The Apostles were trying to be like Christ in His teachings and His actions, and therefore were called Christians. Their Faith in the Living Christ, before and after His death and ressurection, kept the Christian name going.
It is every Christians responsibility and right to proclaim the truth in our Living Christ, The Son of God the Father, as part of the Trinity, and our Messiah.
There are no works or words other than our testimony of The Living Christ, that will Bless us with the name Christian.



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sinner2

posted July 3, 2007 at 5:21 pm


Okay, here we go again trying to have it both ways. Mark, you state that “God, Jesus, and the Spirit (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) is one in the same.” han later in the same post you write “He ……Died on the cross, was buried, went to the depths of Hell and, on the third day, rose again to be with our Heavenly Father”
Please, as I am trying to understand, how can Christ be the Son and the Father at the same time? How does He go to be with the Father if he is the Father?
It is our stated belief, supported by scripture, that Jesus Christ, and God the Father are two seperate entities. That Jesus Christ created the Earth and Heavens under the direction of His Father, And that they are one in porpose, and that purpose is to have all of Gods children return to their Father in Heaven. Why must everyone make this so complicated. But as stated in earlier posts, even the Saints who knew Christ, even his own Disciples argued over the finer points of doctrine, and Christ had to gently teach them time and time again. The more things change, the more they stay the same!



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Matt

posted July 3, 2007 at 6:40 pm


“Who gets to define “Christian?” Last time I checked it was the Bible. Not Creeds, not history, not personal experience (as valuable as those can be at times). Therefore, this debate should center on what the Bible teaches regarding the identification of true Christians. Since Mormons at least give a nod to the Bible, and orthodox Christians reject the Book of Mormon, the Bible seems to be the only common ground between Mohler and Olson. Forget the extra-Biblical sources. Forget personal experience. Forget creeds. Let’s get to some Scripture!!!



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Anonymous

posted July 3, 2007 at 6:41 pm


The Mormon church is a false church, just as Dr. Mohler has made clear. They deny the fundamental doctrines of orthodox Christianity, and have exchanged them for ideas that are FAR seperated from the teachings of the Bible. They then add to the Bible their own supposed revelation from their own prophets, something we are clearly warned about in the Bible. Personally, I find it unbelievably deceptive when they advertise themselves as a Christian religion and offer free copies of the Holy Bible when they are only going to deny what that Bible teaches when they get the chance and replace it with their own literature.
1 Timothy 4:1 gives us a clear warning about those who would seek to lead us away from the true faith: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”
True Christians are those who accept the Bible and ONLY THE BIBLE as God’s authoritative Word, and who apply it rightly to their lives. We should all be on our guard against dangerous and deceptive cults like the LDS Church.
As a final note, Mr. Card says of Dr. Mohler, “I don’t expect him to be an expert on the book, or even to have read it.” Knowing something of Dr. Mohler’s study habits, I would use such words with caution. It is quite possible that Dr. Mohler knows the Book of Mormon (and other false Mormon documents) better than Mr. Card himself.
I look forward to seeing as the debate moves forward.



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Alan

posted July 3, 2007 at 7:32 pm


I’m thinking of how the Pharisees charged Jesus with blasphemy for saying He was God. The Pharisees did not die with the supplanting of Judaism: their spirit lives on in the Christian church, and is alive and well, thank you.
Is Christ divided? Apparently. In fact, it looks like we’ve carved him up into denominational mince-meat: and that is not just the endless array of Protestants, it is true of the Catholic and Orthodox who split over incidentals.
All of this must give the Devil a great deal of satisfaction. He has managed to persuade all of us to focus on our traditions to spoil the unity of the faith and to make us the laughing-stock of the world with our endless theological bickering.
I think it is weak or immature faith that we are exporting to the world. We can’t love our brothers whom we have seen, and we thus mock our God who has received all who believe in His Son into His fold. He is no respecter of persons or human doctrines.
We bind our converts with heavy burdens, imprisoning them in exclusive clubs. Then we snipe at all the competition. It’s a sorry state that we have come to, and we are sure to be disciplined, until the glorious bride of Christ learns to love.
Theology is important, and wonderful to explore and discuss. But we tend to think of ourselves and our opinions more highly than we ought.
We can transcend these differences. Just like the Jewish believers learned to transcend their cherished approach to God in order to embrace the Gentiles. Now we Gentiles promote the same sectarianism toward one another.
As I’ve heard others mention, this era of the church is on its way out.
We will return to the understanding of the one Lord, one faith, one baptism that is not dependent on our private interpretations.



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Mark Owens

posted July 3, 2007 at 7:40 pm


The Trinity has always been a difficult thing to grasp. Jus when the understanding seems to be there, confusion sets in. But there are scriptures that allude to the fact thet jesus is God and The Spirit. That God is the Father, The son, and The Holy spirit.
Genesis 1
26Then God said, “Let (AE)Us make (AF)man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them (AG)rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
John 1
The Word Became Flesh
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
John 4
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman
23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 5
The Healing at the Pool
19Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
I am is a reference in which God used in the Old Testament:
John 8
58″I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
John 12
44Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
John 14
6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Imacculate conception is also a hard one to understand / grasp.
Matthew 1
18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23″The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d]—which means, “God with us.”
If we believe that God is the maker and creator of all, the beginning and the end with none before Him, we can try to understand the Trinity.
God (Creator – Father to all, Son of Man – manifested in a form we could understand, and Holy Spirit – which is the spirit of and to all life)
I don’t claim to be an expert – far from it. But the more I read the Word (The Bible), The more time I spend in prayer and fellowshipping in His Name, the more clear His Word becomes.



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Anon

posted July 3, 2007 at 8:29 pm


“Who gets to define “Christian?” Last time I checked it was the Bible.
Matt, that would be nice if it were possible. There are numerous reasonable ways to interpret any given line of scripture. How do you determine who has the right one? Even good faithful Bible Christians who ask for guidance of the Holy Spirit disagree with each other on different interpretations. So how do you get to the *intended* meaning? Without some Traditional authority, no one has any better claim over the other. That is the strength of Orthodoxy.
The Bible is a great tool for teaching, but without an authority to guide that teaching, you can wind up anywhere–including in Mormonism.



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Anon

posted July 3, 2007 at 8:38 pm


As I’ve heard others mention, this era of the church is on its way out.
We will return to the understanding of the one Lord, one faith, one baptism that is not dependent on our private interpretations.
As far as I can tell, you mean one of two things. Either you see a widespread return to Orthodoxy (a good time of repentance), or you see a widespread abandonment of meaning. (Where any belief is “okay.”)
As the rest of your post is ambiguous, I’m not sure which you are getting at.



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lebensfroh99

posted July 3, 2007 at 9:11 pm


Good Lord, non-Mormons are mean and nasty. Are you sure you are Christians? Why are you so afraid of the Mormons? Is it because your own religion makes no sense to you and you don’t understand it, and the Mormons actually understand theirs? Don’t know, but I do care, because we should all be getting along. If only those Mormons could be real Christians like us. We should be rounding them up and tar and feather and kill their leader … oh yeah… we already did that. I guess that didn’t work. Now what? Hey, let’s lie about them and say bad and ignorant things about them on the internet. Let’s see how that will work.



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POC777

posted July 3, 2007 at 9:13 pm


Why does every Mormon temple have an angel on the top and not a cross like many Christian churches do?



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Ralph Henson

posted July 3, 2007 at 9:54 pm


Dr. Mohler discusses theology and beliefs and the definition of Christian, as the topic suggests. Orson Card discusses Mitt Romney and legitimacy. While he does say that he believes Jesus is the savior, he doesn’t say if God was once a human, or that I can become a God. He neglects the Holy Spirit completely. He also says that I am not a Christian unless I am baptized by a Mormon. So the question for him is, are others Christian?
Error by others has nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of my beliefs. Just because Protestants did wrong doesn’t mean that Protestantism is wrong.
I wish Dr. Mohler had not used ORTHODOXY and stuff like that to show that Mormons are different. The basics of Christianity are easy to list. Not because we are orthodox, but because the Bible is our only authority.



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lebensfroh99

posted July 3, 2007 at 10:48 pm


Why do we care if the Mormons are Christians?



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Anon

posted July 3, 2007 at 11:25 pm


Why do we care if the Mormons are Christians?
Why do we care about meaning?



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Anon

posted July 3, 2007 at 11:31 pm


Why do we care if the Mormons are Christians?
To carry it further than just a glib counter question: Being Christian means something. (Have you read any of the other posts?) If you care about that meaning, you care whether it means Mormons are Christians. If you don’t care whether Mormons are Christian or not, then you don’t care about the meaning of Christianity.
I see the major thrust of this whole forum to be a struggle about meaning more than anything. If you destroy meaning–we got nothin’.
So, lebensfroh99, why is it you think meaning is not important?



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David

posted July 3, 2007 at 11:32 pm


Mormonism is a cult, plain and simple. Case in point:
I had a friend who had joined a polygamous sect in Manti, Utah. I corresponded with him via email and we discussed various topics.
Several weeks after the discussions, I was asked to meet with the Stake President. When I went in, I saw a copy of my email on his desk, along with a letter from Glen L. Pace asking him to find out my sympathies with polygamists. My personal email had been intercepted (the group was hosted on a domain in Utah-the mail server maintainer had made comments in the margins prior to his sending it on to Salt Lake City).
It was a chilling moment, and one I could hardly believe. That my personal correspondance could be intercepted and used as the basis for an investigation of my beliefs continues to strike me as – well, the image it conjures up in my mind is that of the SS or the Communist Party of the old USSR using whatever tactics justify its ends. The ends justify the means.
BTW, the Stake President who did this is still in office after about five years.
If that’s not cultic behaviour on the part of the leaders, then what is?



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Anon

posted July 3, 2007 at 11:42 pm


I think you have to be careful with the word “cult” these days.
At one time, “cult” refered to those religions that borrowed from Christianity, but whose doctrines were not Christian. It was more of a technical term, and *can* be used this way today. Mormonism does fit this description.
However, today it has come to mean much more sinister things. Although you may have had a sinister moment with them, it doesn’t mean that they deserve all of the sinister connotations that go with the modern usage of cult.
I understand that the Mormons will disown their own children if they leave the Mormon Church (I have a friend in this position, so I have first hand knowledge of this), but I don’t think they participate in any kind of brainwashing or strong-arming that is normally associated with the word “cult.”
I think in a gentleman’s discussion with participants of the religion being described, it is better to avoid the term unless all participants understand the technical usage and agree that that is how it is being used. That would be nigh impossible in this forum.



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Eric

posted July 4, 2007 at 12:05 am


Your “prophet” Joseph Smith wrote, “And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthoodif any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else. And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.”
One can see how Joseph Smith was darkened in his understanding. Judging from his word, he was corrupt and deluded by lusts.
I would recommend that any Mormon should seriously consider the following passages:
“Little children, keep yourself from idols.” – 1 John 5:21
Mr. Card, that you judged a fellow believer and tried to discredit his faith reveals your character.
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” – James 3:1
At the same time, Paul exhorts us to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” and I pray that the Lord will guide us all in this issue.



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 12:44 am


One can see how Joseph Smith was darkened in his understanding. Judging from his word, he was corrupt and deluded by lusts.
I don’t think the passages you read necessarily support the idea that Joseph Smith was corrupt and deluded by his lusts. I think it is misguided, but that is another thing. Nor do I think this kind of thing is productive in a discussion about doctrine and eligibility for office.
Mr. Card, that you judged a fellow believer and tried to discredit his faith reveals your character.
I think it is ridiculous to criticize Mr. Card for trying to argue the points of contention. I think Mr. Card was a perfect gentleman, and were I Dr. Mohler, I would not be offended in the slightest.
At the same time, Paul exhorts us to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” and I pray that the Lord will guide us all in this issue.
And you do this by bringing up very incendiary comments about their prophet that is completely irrelevant to the discussion? What a bunch of self-righteous crap.



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Seth R.

posted July 4, 2007 at 1:06 am


Anon,
Any religion has its ample share of followers who will disown their children if they leave the faith, as Mormon converts have often found out first hand.
David,
Pointing out the bad actions of isolated individuals within a religion is a sad excuse for real argument against a religion. You can find jerks in any segment of human society. What’s your point?
POCC7,
We have an angel because it symbolizes the joyous news of the Restored Gospel. Additionally, most Mormons regard the cross as a morbid symbol of Christ’s death. They prefer to remember His life instead.
I think this misinterprets what the cross means to many Christians. But it is how many Mormons feel just the same.



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 1:29 am


Any religion has its ample share of followers who will disown their children if they leave the faith, as Mormon converts have often found out first hand.
Seth, it might be an interesting topic to explore, but I was mostly trying to show a realistic approach to the point that I was making. I have no desire to rub anyone’s nose in it.
Pointing out the bad actions of isolated individuals within a religion is a sad excuse for real argument against a religion. You can find jerks in any segment of human society. What’s your point?
I agree. The Mormons who were using the same tactics against Christianity should heed your words.
Additionally, most Mormons regard the cross as a morbid symbol of Christ’s death. They prefer to remember His life instead.
For what it’s worth, the Catholic emphasis is on the sorrow of the crucifixion. We meditate upon Christ’s passion and death, and we offer to join our suffering with his. It is the bloody crucifixion that gives our pain and suffering meaning.
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.



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Anonymous

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:09 am


As a Mormon who hasn’t attended church in over 10 years, and having an atheist brother, I can tell you first hand, there is no “shunning” in Mormonism. Sure, family gatherings were a bit awkward when the brother would go outside to smoke and come in and mom would pretend that she didn’t smell it, but now she just rolls her eyes at him still trying to get away with something even after 30 years. Maybe she is more liberal than most, but I don’t think so. I think she is typical of Latter-day Saint mothers (and every other mother), just wanting happiness for her children.
The problem is this , if the non-Mormons can’t even get the basic social practices of the church down, how can we expect you to understand the intricacies of the doctrine.



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Confutus

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:21 am


In one sense, it makes no difference to the faith of Latter-Day Saints whether mainstream Christians accept us or not: we’ve been reviled as blasphemous impostors and worse ever since the first time Joseph Smith told a minister he had seen a vision. At least nowadays, these charges are not accompanied with torches and guns as they once were.
We do accept the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New, and generally speaking a lot more literally than many a so-called Christian scholar. Although we are not Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, we would not object to being recognized as a distinct branch of Christianity.
But for someone to exaggerate our differences in points of doctrine about Christ to say that we are not Christian at all seems close to slanderous. Even if we do think that Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants have inherited versions of Christianity that have been heavily censored and mingled with man-made doctrines, there is enough of a common core remaining that we don’t generally claim they are not Christian.
In another sense, though, it does make a difference in whether we can join with other Christians in the greater fight against the evils that are sweeping our society and the world in general. It is the father of lies who delights in stirring up bitter and angry fights about points of doctrine and in pitting the followers of Christ against one another instead of him.



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:36 am


The problem is this , if the non-Mormons can’t even get the basic social practices of the church down, how can we expect you to understand the intricacies of the doctrine.
I think you have it backwards. Social practices are much more complex and difficult to understand than intricacies of doctrine. However, I already concede the point about ostracism. It was ill-stated in spite of my good intentions, and I apologize.



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 3:05 am


In one sense, it makes no difference to the faith of Latter-Day Saints whether mainstream Christians accept us or not: we’ve been reviled as blasphemous impostors and worse ever since the first time Joseph Smith told a minister he had seen a vision. At least nowadays, these charges are not accompanied with torches and guns as they once were.
Nowhere in this discussion have I made issue about Mormons being blasphemous. In fact, I have openly suspended judgment of whether or not Mormonism is *true* in many of my comments. The primary focus that I have had has been on the meaning of Christianity, and whether or not Mormonism is part of Christianity. If Mormons are right, Christianity is *false*.
We do accept the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New, and generally speaking a lot more literally than many a so-called Christian scholar.
The problem with that is that a literal interpretation of the Bible is a very big error. If you believe that words are absolute, then meaning must be relative. If you believe that the meaning intended in Scripture is inerrant (as the Catholics do), then words can’t be absolute. Taking the words “literally,” they can be interpreted very reasonable in many different ways. But taking the originally intended meaning and understanding the words in that context is clearly far superior. So saying that you take words “more literally” (if such a thing can even be true) actually counts against you.
Although we are not Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, we would not object to being recognized as a distinct branch of Christianity.
There may be a compromise in there somewhere, but I doubt it. Saying something like a “Non-Trinitarian Christian” is really saying the same thing as a “Non-Christian Christian.” Still–It could be explored. But if I were in your shoes, I would prefer not to be counted among the Christians. It would lead people to error about your beliefs, and leading people to error is Satan’s work.
But for someone to exaggerate our differences in points of doctrine about Christ to say that we are not Christian at all seems close to slanderous.
It isn’t slander if the difference is *relevant*. Either Christianity has meaning, or it doesn’t. If it does have meaning and Mormonism conflicts with the essentials of that meaning, then Mormonism is not Christian. There is no exaggeration here. The doctrine of the Trinity has always been an essential part of Christianity. You take away that doctrine, and the coherent meaning of Christianity is blown away. To insist upon being Christian when you do not fit into the meaning of Christianity is to be an enemy to meaning and Truth. What is so difficult to understand about that?
Even if we do think that Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants have inherited versions of Christianity that have been heavily censored and mingled with man-made doctrines, there is enough of a common core remaining that we don’t generally claim they are not Christian.
That is charitable of you. However, I think you do yourself a disservice by trying to count yourself in a religion that you believe to be false. By clouding the meaning of Christianity in order to slip your own faith into it, you are destroying meaning, and creating a great opportunity for the devil to take advantage of the confusion you wrought.
In another sense, though, it does make a difference in whether we can join with other Christians in the greater fight against the evils that are sweeping our society and the world in general. It is the father of lies who delights in stirring up bitter and angry fights about points of doctrine and in pitting the followers of Christ against one another instead of him.
Then why sow confusion for him to delight in? Why wreak havoc on meaning so that the great deceiver can take advantage of the meaninglessness that you made? If you want Mormonism to mean anything, you should be an ally to meaning and accept the essential differences between Christianity and Mormonism. If you refuse, and you undermine meaning–Whose ally are you?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 4, 2007 at 4:06 am


Anon,
Thank you for your mostly even handed approach in speaking of my LDS Faith. I have read much of the Early Catholic Missionaries to California and have visited almost all of the California Missions.
In addition I read the accounts of the Journeys of Fathers Dominguez and Escalante through parts of what is now New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. I count these brave men as some of my heros.
They truly walked the walk.
Mike



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Bryan

posted July 4, 2007 at 5:21 am


This is a lot of reading. I read most of it. I skimmed some of the extra long posts… maybe more out of boredom. I’m a member of the LDS church. I have decided that according to the definition of some evangelicals, that Mormons are not classified as Christian. Then I thought about the next gospel related discussion I would have. They come up all the time when you’re mormon :). Here’s how I saw it go:
person: Oh so you’re a mormon?
me: Yeah.
person: oh, are you guys Christian?
me: no
person: Oh… well what do you basically believe in?
me: Well the core to all our beliefs is that Jesus Christ came to this world, lived a perfect life, and then suffered and died so that he might save us all from our sins if we have faith in him, repent, are baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. We believe that he is our Savior, our redeemer and that none can be saved but through him.
person: Wait… I thought you said that you weren’t Christian? You just said that you believe in Jesus Christ.
me: Well, yeah, but evangelicals were getting scared that the mormon church was growing so fast, so they came up with a definition of Christianity that excluded mormons. That way they could discredit them and hopefully scare away some who would have been converted.
person: Well what is their definition then?
me: It’s complicated, it took me about 3 hours of reading a blog to figure it out.
I think I remember someone mentioning that when mormons claim they are christian they are complicating things… this way seems a bit more complicated if you ask me…



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Brent

posted July 4, 2007 at 9:06 am


I do not believe that Joseph Smith saw a angel of God. I don’t believe that any Hebrews migrated to North or South America prior to European discovery. I do not believe that as man is God once was nor how God is man can be. I do not believe in celestial marriage.
Can I call myself a Mormon?
Mr. Card please post your answer to this question.
Thank You.



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lesa whitehead

posted July 4, 2007 at 9:40 am


I am saddened that a debate such as this exists. I was baptized in the Mormon Church when I was 14. Now I am 42 and no longer participate in the Church. Yes, I thought it was the “True Church” most of my adult years; however, personal wrong choices have led me to seek my Savior Jesus as never before. I am now reading and studying the Bible, KJV/NIV, etc. To me, we need not have to be told what a christian is nor believe in what some very smart “man” says a christian is. To me, a christian is someone who seeks Jesus and believes with all their heart that He is their Savior, lives their life loving others doing the next right thing. My belief may be simple, but I believe God did not intend for it to be hard, or follow rules other than what you know in your heart is true. To me in the long run, it does not matter what religion I choose, or what political party I belong to, those are just labels. It will come down to how I live my life, how I recognize my Savior, how I exercise my faith knowing that God has a plan for me and you and them. So are catholics, mormons, baptist, methodist, etc. christians – well that is up to them personally, not me nor anyone else. I realize that church doctrines are guidelines and serve to benefit those of a particular faith. But are those guidelines ours, putting substance in how we act, feel, etc. or do they hold us in bondage by not being able to accept others. A majority of the time, I like rules and being told what is expected of me. However, it is when I put my expectation is others, rather in Christ, that I become very disappointed and confused. Knowing that I am a child of God gives me such peace, Jesus did exactly what he said – Gave His Peace. God Bless, Lesa



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bernard b carman

posted July 4, 2007 at 10:45 am


HEAR HEAR! you touched on some very important points every Christian should consider, Lesa!
being “Christian” is to be “Christ-like”. it is foolish to argue over which church is the true Christian church, for they are ALL wrong to some extent!
i have been told i’m not a Christian because i don’t believe in the “Doctrine of Trinity”, created by the Roman Catholic Church. i’ve been told i’m not a Christian because i observe the weekly 7th day Sabbath and the annual Holy Days of God, rather than the “traditional orthodox” observances and practices. i’ve been told i’m not a Christian because i have long hair.
people who make such accusations are missing the boat, IMHO. however, if i were to believe i’m a Christian for any of these, i’d also be missing that boat! 8-)
as Christians, let us personally strive to observe, as best as we possibly can, the Greatest Commandments in the forefront of our minds, exemplified and taught to us all by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, YHWH (or by whichever name you understand Him by):
1. LOVE THY GOD
2. LOVE THEY NEIGHBOR
3. LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS CHRIST LOVES YOU
there is often much debate regarding numbers 1 & 2. i’m just beginning to learn how to avoid such debate by better putting #3 into practice more often. it’s not easy, and i fail often, but i believe it is Christ within me driving me onward to continue trying.
Godbless…
8-)
bernard baruch carman
•••



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Danielle Johnson

posted July 4, 2007 at 11:14 am


No, Frank needs to get over himself. How disrespectful. How did your negative comments benefit anyone? Fine you don’t believe in Jesus, but you missed the whole point on the discussion of politics and voting for someone with character. I am not Mormon, but believe they are Christians and as Christians we all need to love and respect each other and let God be the judge. And you don’t have to be a Christian to believe in respect!



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PakehaTohunga

posted July 4, 2007 at 12:27 pm


As Orson Scott Card seems to point out, the Book of Mormon paints a picture of Christ that is pretty close to that of traditional Christian orthodoxy. What he fails to mention, however, at least in his opening section, is that Mormon doctrine regarding God and Christ is really more determined by their other scriptures–Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. These are the texts that take them far, far away from historical Christianity and, in my opinion, are contradictory to the Book of Mormon, not just the Bible.
Probably the best way to see how far the Mormons have moved away from historic Christianity is to compare them to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (which I think is now called the Community of Christ, or something similar). While the people who would eventually become the Mormons followed Brigham Young to Utah, the people who would become the Community of Christ followed Joseph Smith’s son to Missouri. While the latter accepted the Book of Mormon and parts of the D&C, they reject almost all of the Mormon scripture that took their Utah cousins into a wonderland of theology.
As for Mitt Romney, I couldn’t care less about his religious beliefs. I just look at where candidates stand on the issues.



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M.B.

posted July 4, 2007 at 12:58 pm


WOW, that was ALOT of reading…and I skipped over most of it. It amazes me at how worked up people will get over religion. It’s like we all expect everyone else to believe exactly what we believe and if they dont than they are wrong. Throughout the history of the World men have gone to war with eachother and have lost the lives of thousands rather than listen to eachother and respect the other persons point of view. They would rather inflict the death and carnage of war on others so that they could be right rather than change their own hearts. Things really havent changed all that much between then and now. People STILL allow religious differences to creat a barrier of hate and intolerence between them and their fellow man. Almost everyone who has commented is claiming to be “Christian” but it seems that Christs teachings have fallen of deaf ears. He didnt preach that we should only love and respect those who share our same beliefs…he preached the exact opposite. He was criticised all the time because he went to the sinner and the harlot and those who didnt share the common beliefs of the people. HE was known at the PRINCE OF PEACE…..and here we all are using Christianity and using his name to do exactly the opposite of what he taught. ANY preacher or “man of God” who uses his title to preach messages of intolerance abou Mormons or any other religion or person is NOT a man of God. He is NOT fallowing Christs teachings. ANY person who claims to be “Christian” and does the same thing is NOT a Christian and is NOT better than anyone else (weather they be Mormon, Jew, Catholic or who ever else). I used to get angry at those types of people but now I just feel sorry for them and try to ignore them. All I know is that Jesus lives a perfect life and is the son of God and savior of the world and that it is only by him and through him that we will all be saved. By fallowing his example and living our lives the way he taught and Through his attonement can we live with God. SO I Will live my life the best way I can and do my best to fallow what he taught and I will let all the haters hate but it wont effect me. I am a “Mormon” but more importantly I am a fallower of Jesus Christ.



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Nonie Cornelison

posted July 4, 2007 at 1:03 pm


My familly history with the Mormons goes back to the original/first 12 with Joseph Smith – by “religious” profession I am a Catholic – by pracitce I am a “beliver” – That being said – the Mormons were the ones that furnished the rebuilt Christian Community Concern (Christian relief center)after Katrina. Everything about a “Mormon” reflects the gifts of the sprit and the pracitce of love thy neighbor – They saw only the need and not the name. As a Catholic I would tell you –
One of the messages from the Blessed Mother Mary in Medjagoria was: We hear ALL prayers – there is no prayer from a Mormon, a Catholic, a Chritian, a Muslum – only prayers from our children – we hear them all and we love them all”. In a time when our religious freedom and civil rights to practice openly have been taken away slowly and our country is falling apart – All of us should consider falling on our knees and pray for unity and guidance and if the person next to you is a Mormon or a “Christian” grab their hand and PRAY!! We need God’s help as a country not as a bunch of arrogant “religious” dictionaries!!



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Matt

posted July 4, 2007 at 1:14 pm


TO: “Anon” who responded to “Matt”
You wrote: “The Bible is a great tool for teaching, but without an authority to guide that teaching, you can wind up anywhere”
So what would you propose for an authority?



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Eric Withers

posted July 4, 2007 at 1:23 pm


Anon says: “I don’t think the passages you read necessarily support the idea that Joseph Smith was corrupt and deluded by his lusts. I think it is misguided, but that is another thing. Nor do I think this kind of thing is productive in a discussion about doctrine and eligibility for office.”
I find it interesting that in the Old Testament, anyone who claimed to be a prophet of God but prophecied incorrectly (falsely) was to be put to death immediately for blasphemy against God and anything they had taught was to be disregarded. A true prophet of God ALWAYS spoke the absolutle truth of God WITHOUT ERROR. In your own words, you are saying that you believe Joseph Smith was “misguided.” I think that means you believe he was wrong. And in fact, as is made obvious by the countless revisions and adjustments in Mormon history and doctrine, leaders of the mainstream Mormon church also believe him to have been wrong on a number of issues. But if he was wrong on even the smallest of issues, using the Bible as a test, which you claim to beleive, wouldnt that mean that Joseph Smith was a false prophet who should have been put to death and that his teachings should be disregarded as complete falsehood??? If we want to stand with God’s true Word as found in the Old Testament, then yes! Joseph Smith MUST be labeled as a false prophet and all of his teaching regarded as wicked, blasphemous heresy.
Another anonymous poster said, “The problem is this , if the non-Mormons can’t even get the basic social practices of the church down, how can we expect you to understand the intricacies of the doctrine.”
I don’t think we’re having a debate here over social practices. I think we understand the issue of abstaining from caffiene, alcohol, and tobacco. I think we understand the missionary efforts. I think we understand the emphasis on family. I don’t see those as having been the point of this discussion. Our discussion has, in fact, been about doctrine. Besides, how else can we understand whether or not a faith system is truly Christian without a discussion on doctrine. Dr. Mohler tried to make this clear, but Mr. Card seemed to completely ignore it.
So let’s talk about doctrine! Let’s talk about how Mormons reject one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, the trinity. Let’s talk about how Mormons believe in many gods, not the one true God. Let’s talk about how you think you can achieve god-hood through your good works and obedience to the teachings of the church. And while we’re at it, let’s talk about some of the more bizarre doctrines like baptism for the dead and blood atonement. So…let’s talk doctrine! We’re waiting!



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Mike Strehlow

posted July 4, 2007 at 1:59 pm


In response to Joie (Bottom line..), you claim to have been a member of the Church and claim that the doctrine of the Church says that Jesus Christ is just a great teacher. The LDS Church clearly believes and teaches that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. That has been stated here by Mr. Card and others. Frankly, I don’t believe that you were ever a member, or if you were, you slept through all your meetings and never read the scriptures.



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Rich Helm

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:02 pm


I have been a Christian since about age 5 and I have friends/relatives that are mormons. I do believe that mormons live a good lifestyle, but living good is not the requirement to being a Christian or to be born again. You MUST believe by faith that Jesus Christ is the ONLY living son of God and that only through accepting Him through His shed blood are we truly saved and forgiven of our sins. (Not through works alone should any man boast.)
I have had numerous conversations with mormon believing people and I have found that according to what you are saying in your explanation, that is not what the book of mormon teaches. The book of mormon teaches that Jesus was a great prophet and teacher, but not the true living son of God. You look to John Smith as being on the same level as Moses, Abraham & Jesus. How can that be right?
I do agree with the comments from “Joie” and everything that needed to be said was stated quite well and to the point.
I believe you are trying to hide behind words like doctrine and orthodoxy to make the Christian view-point to sound out-dated and irrelevant. I also believe the Dr. Mohler needs to speak and write on the Human level instead of hiding behind words that could have many meanings. Just come right out and say what you believe in plain old-fashioned words that everyone can understand.



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:16 pm


Thank you for your mostly even handed approach in speaking of my LDS Faith.
I will try and work on that “mostly” part. ;)
And thank you for your kind words.



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:26 pm


(Hypothetical dialog)so they came up with a definition of Christianity that excluded mormons.
Bryan, no one “came up with” a definition. If Christianity means something, we define it by what it actually *is*. I notice how you completely avoid the discussion about meaning. *Meaning* must be just a little too inconvenient to you.
You are the one who wants to “come up with” a definition that will blow away the meaning that reflects reality.
This has nothing to do with discrediting anyone. It has to do with respecting meaning and being honest about the meaning.
I think I remember someone mentioning that when mormons claim they are christian they are complicating things… this way seems a bit more complicated if you ask me…
I would much rather have to deal with complication and be honest than sow confusion and be destructive to meaning. I would much rather be concerned with Truth, than my own convenience. I would much rather be an ally to Truth and meaning than be an ally of Deception and Evil.
What would you rather do?



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:34 pm


Lesa, I completely respect the notion that you are in pursuit of Who Christ is, and I encourage you in that.
However, I am struggling against this attempt to destroy the meaning of Who Christ is in Christianity. Quite frankly, I am likewise struggling against an attempt to destroy the meaning of Who Christ is in Mormonism. By confusing meaning and wreaking their destruction, they are doing the Devils work by drawing people away from understanding and Truth. If they are successful, what Christianity means will be watered down so badly that it will be utterly meaningless, and prevent people from getting to know him.
I will not stand by and watch that happen. For your sake as much as for anyone elses.
God Bless you.



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:48 pm


So what would you propose for an authority?
(Paraphrased from my earlier quote of Zippy)
I propose the Rock of authority Jesus established in the Catholic Church, which includes text written by inspired human beings, traditions passed on by human beings, and a magisterium that remains quite fallen and human yet bears the protection of the Holy Spirit in doctrinal and sacramental matters.



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Henry James

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:48 pm


Mr Card is undeniably correct in his main points:
1. Defining who is a Christian is largely a political/power matter.
2. Mormons (i am an ex mormon) are clearly christians by any reasonable definition.
3. No one should vote against Mitt Romney purely because he is a Mormon.
One phrase caught my eye: “multicultural mumbo-jumbo.”
what might Mr Card mean? The fact that people of diverse multi-cultures, like Chinese and Hindus and Sikhs and Jains and Bahai and Muslims, have very different beliefs about God than mormons do?
are all these beliefs Mumbo-Jumbo (kind of a racist sounding term, wouldn’t you say?)? because they aren’t christian? or mormon? hmmm?
we don’t know, but i wonder.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:50 pm


Brett: “I do not believe that Joseph Smith saw a angel of God. I don’t believe that any Hebrews migrated to North or South America prior to European discovery. I do not believe that as man is God once was nor how God is man can be. I do not believe in celestial marriage.”
Mike: I know that Joseph Smith saw many angels of God. Amos 3:7 I know that At least three groups of Believers in Christ came fromthe old world to the new prior to European discovery. (See the Book of Mormon, http://www.lds.org under gospel library, scriptures. I do believe that men can, 1. Be like God. 1st John 2. Be one with God, John 17. 3. Be joint heirs of God. Romans 8. 4. Sit with God on his throne. Rev 3:22. I know that families can be together forever.
I also know that Brett is an ex-Moemon with a large ax to grind. We have spoken previously.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 4, 2007 at 2:56 pm


Anon: However, I am struggling against this attempt to destroy the meaning of Who Christ is in Christianity. Quite frankly, I am likewise struggling against an attempt to destroy the meaning of Who Christ is in Mormonism. By confusing meaning and wreaking their destruction, they are doing the Devils work by drawing people away from understanding and Truth. If they are successful, what Christianity means will be watered down so badly that it will be utterly meaningless, and prevent people from getting to know him.
Mike: I am happy to discuss, from the Bible, who Christ is. Some of us have a blog at truthrestored.townhall.com the discussion there centers on the doctrines taught by Christ.
Anon: I will not stand by and watch that happen. For your sake as much as for anyone elses.
Mike: I will teach the doctrines of Christ for the sake of all those who are seeking the truth. I will continue to my last breath.



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Anon

posted July 4, 2007 at 3:13 pm


Mike: I will teach the doctrines of Christ for the sake of all those who are seeking the truth. I will continue to my last breath.
I don’t fault you for that. I am not fighting against Mormon’s teaching about the figure they call Christ. I am fighting against their claims that their beliefs are aligned with the essential beliefs in Christianity. Do you have an objection to clarity and Truth?



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Elizabeth

posted July 4, 2007 at 4:43 pm


Imacculate conception is also a hard one to understand / grasp.
Following this statement in Mark Owens’ post, Matthew 1 is referred to. However, the conception of Christ by the Holy Spirit is not properly referred to as the “Immaculate Conception”.
The “Immaculate Conception” is a reference to Anna and Joachim’s conception of Mary, which was protected from sin by God Almighty. It is called Immaculate because God preserved her from the stain of original sin to be a proper vessel for our Lord and Savior. She is not sinless through her own power, but through the mercy and grace of God. She always leads to Christ, never away from Him, and this is one reason why Catholic Christians ask for her help in our Christian walk.
As for not being allowed to read the bible, that is not true of Catholics. As Anon said, we are encouraged to read the bible. I try to read the bible everyday with my boyfriend.



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Elizabeth

posted July 4, 2007 at 5:52 pm


As for criticisms that people have had throughout these postings of the faults of the Catholic Church, I ask anyone to show me a church without faults. Not only that, but the Catholic Church has been around for over 2000 years. How many organizations can say that they are still around after all that time?
Additionally, the Catholic Church has apologized for participations in corruption throughout history.
One of such apologies (addressed to the members of other Christian churches) can be found in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “UT UNUM SINT”, On Commitment to Ecumenism.
The doctrine of the Trinity was not created by man, but by Christ, as Anon corrected me in when I misspoke. There are many times in the Gospels which Christ mentioned that He and the Father are one, and the passages are the ones referred to many times in the postings above.
To David, who claims that Mormonism is an attempt to invent authority-like the Catholics do-simply read your bible, and you will find evidence that Jesus Christ instituted this authority. Jesus told built his Church on Simon Peter, “Peter” being the english translation of the Greek word “Petros”, and also in syriac “Kefa”, all meaning “stone”:
Matthew 16:18
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Jesus never babbled nonsense, for He is God Almighty. What was Jesus’ intended meaning if it wasn’t to give the apostles, specifically Peter, authority?
Once again, another passage that shows Jesus entrusted authority to His church on earth, is
Matthew 16:19:
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Keys of the Kingdom? Jesus literally gave the very keys of the kingdom of heaven to the apostles, who had authority to forgive sin as Jesus did: “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” -John 20:23
Man did not “make up” authority. God gave it to the apostles to found a Church, a universal, or “catholic”, church: “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”-John 17:21.



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Chris

posted July 4, 2007 at 7:43 pm


http://www.carm.org/lds/lds_christian.htm
Why is Mormonism a non Christian religion? It is not Christian because it denies that there is only one God, denies the true Gospel, adds works to salvation, denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator, distorts the biblical teaching of the atonement, and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible.



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Anonymous

posted July 4, 2007 at 10:55 pm


The idea that Mormons deny the grace of Jesus Christ is only told by non-Mormons. I also have heard that the Book of Mormon describes Jesus Christ merely as a prophet. Obviously this person never read the book.
I also read that “The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the core essential attributes of Christianity, and it has been so since the beginning.”
The problem is, the trinity was solidified in the 4th century. FOUR HUNDRED YEARS after the term Christianity was coined. Clearly it was noc since the beginning.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 12:17 am


The problem is, the trinity was solidified in the 4th century. FOUR HUNDRED YEARS after the term Christianity was coined.
That simply isn’t true. The doctrine of the Trinity was well known by the very first Christians, and a reading of the Early Church Fathers will make that clear. There have been times where the doctrine was clarified and explained. Many make the mistake in believing that the times of those clarifications were the times of invention, but that belief is due to their ignorance of the early church and a misinterpretation of the intentions of the Councils.
There have been many appeals for the non-Mormons to do their homework. Here is my appeal for the anonymous person who posted it to do theirs.



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MMC

posted July 5, 2007 at 1:42 am


“There are a number of arguments used supposedly to “prove” that we [LDS/aka Mormons] are not Christian. It is important to recognize that none of them have anything to do with whether or not Latter-day Saints believe in Jesus Christ. Rather, what they basically boil down to is this: Latter-day Saints are different from the other Christian churches… [The] arguments against the Latter-day Saints being Christian generally fall into six basic categories:
Exclusion by special definition
1 What is a Christian? The term is found three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16), but it is not defined in any of those passages. According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, the term Christian may be defined in a number of ways, but the most common is “one who believes or professes … to believe in Jesus Christ and the truth as taught by him … one whose life is conformed to the doctrines of Christ.” The second most common meaning is “a member of a church or group professing Christian doctrine or belief.”
Under either of these two definitions, Latter-day Saints qualify as Christians. However, if a special definition is created under which Christian means “only those who believe as I do,” then others might claim Latter-day Saints aren’t Christians—but all this would really mean is that while Mormons believe in Christ, we don’t believe exactly as they do. Excluding us in this way by inventing a special definition for the word Christian is like defining a duck as an aquatic bird with a broad, flat bill, webbed feet, and white feathers, and then concluding that mallards aren’t ducks because their feathers are the wrong color.
If the term Christian is used, as it is in standard English, to mean someone who accepts Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God and the Savior of the world, then the charge that we aren’t Christians is false. However, if the word Christian is given an overly narrow definition, then it is merely a way of saying LDS Christians differ in some degree from other Christians. No one “owns” the term Christian or has the right to deny it to others who worship Jesus as the divine Son of God.
Exclusion by misrepresentation
2 Some people insist on condemning Latter-day Saints for doctrines the Saints don’t even believe. They say, in effect, “This is what you Mormons believe.” Then they recite something that is certainly not taught by the Latter-day Saints. It’s easy to make LDS beliefs seem absurd if critics can make up whatever they want and pass it off as LDS doctrine.
A good example of this kind of misrepresentation took place when the subject of the Latter-day Saint pioneers came up in my daughter Sarah’s school classroom a few years ago. One of her classmates said, “My daddy says Mormons are people who live in Utah and worship idols.” Sarah quickly answered back, “Well, I’m a Mormon, and we don’t worship idols.” But many of her classmates never did believe her, largely because they had already accepted the misrepresentation.
Another form of misrepresentation is to claim something is official LDS doctrine when it may merely be an individual opinion or even speculation. The official doctrine of the Latter-day Saints is clearly defined and readily accessible to all… Other churches claim the right to define and interpret their own doctrines and policies and to distinguish between official church teachings and the opinions of individual members. Surely the Latter-day Saints must be allowed the same privilege.
Name calling
3 Name calling has often been used in religious controversies. At one time, Catholics called Protestants “heretics,” and Protestants called Catholics “papists.” But this sort of tactic amounts to nothing more than saying, “Boo for your religion, and hurrah for mine.”
The negative term most frequently flung at the LDS is “cult,” a term which can suggest images of pagan priests and rituals. But the truth is there is no objective distinction by which a cult may be distinguished from a religion. Use of the term cult does not tell us what a religion is, only how it is regarded by the person using the term. It simply means “a religion I don’t like.”
Though non-LDS scholars have made many attempts to define a “cult” in a way that would distinguish it from a “religion,” to date every such attempt has failed. So far the major difficulty has been that any definition of “cult” that fits the LDS Church also fits New Testament Christianity! But that’s not bad company to be in.
Exclusion by tradition
4 It is sometimes argued that to be truly Christian, modern churches must accept both biblical Christianity and the traditional Christianity of later history. In other words, one must accept not just biblical doctrines, but also the centuries of historical development—the councils, creeds, customs, theologians, and philosophers—that came along after New Testament times. Since the Latter-day Saints do not accept doctrines originating in the early Church after the death of the apostles and prophets, we are accused of not being “historical” or “traditional” Christians.
In fact, we believe that revelation to the early Church stopped because of the death of the Apostles and the growing apostasy, or falling away, from the truth. In the absence of Apostles, the church eventually turned to councils of philosophers and theologians, for guidance. These councils, after lengthy debates, in turn interpreted the gospel according to their best understanding. Often they drew upon the philosophies of respected men (like Plato), concluding, for example, that God has no body or physical nature; or that the three separate persons of the Godhead—the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—are only one being. The declarations of these councils are still generally accepted today by traditional Christian churches as official doctrines. Yet these creeds were formulated centuries after the deaths of the Apostles and the close of the New Testament.
Were the Twelve Apostles Christians? Of course. But if it were true that one must accept the whole package of historical Christianity in order to be a Christian, then it would be impossible for early Christians, including Jesus and his disciples, to qualify—since they lived centuries before these traditions came to be. On the other hand, if the New Testament Saints can be considered Christians without accepting all the traditions of men that came later, then so can the Latter-day Saints, and the historical exclusion is invalid.
The canonical or biblical exclusion
5 The term “canon of scripture” refers to the collection of books accepted by any group as the authoritative word of God. For most Christians the canon of scripture is limited to the Bible. But Latter-day Saints have a larger canon of scripture that includes the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. The canonical exclusion, in its simplest form, says that since Latter-day Saints have books of scripture in addition to the “traditional” Christian Bible, they cannot be Christians.
One of the problems with this canonical exclusion lies in the assumption that there is only one “traditional” Christian Bible. Over the centuries, there have been a number of different versions of the Bible, and many Christian churches and individuals have disagreed about which books should be included. Even today, the Bible used by Catholics contains a number of different books than the Bible used by Protestants. Yet Catholics and Protestants continue to call each other Christians—even though they have different canons of scripture.
When revelation stopped after the death of the early Apostles, people were forced to draw one of two conclusions: (1) either revelation had stopped because God had already said everything they would ever need, or (2) revelation had stopped because the church lacked apostles and prophets to speak for him. Traditional Christians accept the first explanation; Latter-day Saints accept the second.
Sometimes critics cite Revelation 22:18–19 [Rev. 22:18–19] as evidence that the Bible forbids adding to or taking away from the canon of scripture. In these verses, John curses those who would add to or take away from “this book.” But when John wrote Revelation, the Bible in its present form did not yet exist. He was simply referring to his own book, the Book of Revelation, rather than to the whole Bible.
The truth is that prophets have usually added to the scriptures—almost all the biblical apostles and prophets did this. There is, in fact, no biblical statement whatever closing the canon of scripture or prohibiting additional revelation or additional scripture after the New Testament.
Some non-LDS Christians believe that the Bible contains all religious truth. However, the Bible itself says nothing of the sort. The word Bible never appears in the Bible—for the Bible never refers to itself. Thus all these claims about the Bible are unbiblical. The Bible itself never claims to be perfect, never claims to be sufficient for salvation, and never claims to grant its readers authority to speak or act for God. Rather, such claims are made by those who have lost priesthood authority and have lost direct revelation and, instead of trying to find them again, are trying desperately to maintain that their loss doesn’t matter.
The doctrinal exclusion
6 This type of argument claims that since the Latter-day Saints do not always interpret the Bible as other Christians do, we must not be Christians. But, in fact, other denominations also differ among themselves doctrinally, and it is unreasonable to demand that Latter-day Saints conform to a single standard of “Christian” doctrine when no such single standard exists.
For example, the Latter-day Saints are accused of worshiping a “different god” because we do not believe in the traditional Trinity. “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (A of F 1:1) as taught in the New Testament. What Latter-day Saints do not believe is the non-Biblical doctrine formulated by the councils of Nicaea (A.D. 325) and Chalcedon (A.D. 451) centuries after the time of Jesus—the doctrine that God is three coequal persons in one substance or essence. We do not believe it because it is not scriptural. As Harper’s Bible Dictionary states: “The formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.”
Jesus didn’t teach the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity. The New Testament writers didn’t have any idea of it. The doctrine itself wasn’t invented until centuries later. So one can’t say the Latter-day Saints are not true Christians for not accepting it, unless one also excludes Jesus, his disciples, and the New Testament Church, who similarly did not know or teach it.
Latter-day Saints do believe that God the Father has a physical body. This view is attacked as “non-Christian” by critics who often cite John 4:24, which states in the King James version that “God is a spirit.” However, since there is no indefinite article (a, or an) in the Greek language from which this verse is translated, the consensus among biblical scholars is that there should not be an indefinite article at John 4:24. It should simply read “God is spirit.” In other words, this scripture does not limit God to being only a spirit, but merely includes spirit as one of his attributes. After all, we also read that “God is light” (1 Jn. 1:5) and “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8), and yet no one interprets these verses to mean that God is only light, or God is only love. Certainly, the member of the Godhead called the Holy Ghost is spirit, but that fact tells us nothing about whether or not God the Father has a physical body.
Finally, quite often we hear that Latter-day Saints are not Christians because true Christians believe in salvation by grace, while the Latter-day Saints believe in salvation through our own good works. But this is a misunderstanding. Yes, Latter-day Saints do believe we must serve God with all our “heart, might, mind, and strength” (D&C 4:2). But the Book of Mormon makes perfectly clear that it is impossible for us to completely earn or deserve our blessings from God (Mosiah 2:21, 24); that redemption can never come through individual effort alone, but only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (2 Ne. 2:3, 5–8); and that—after all we can do (Alma 24:11)—we are saved by grace (2 Ne. 10:24; 2 Ne. 25:23).
Conclusion
We have discussed arguments some people use for claiming that Latter-day Saints are not Christians. Notice that not one of these addresses the question of whether we accept Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God and Savior. Our critics don’t address this—the only issue that really matters—for the LDS position here is an unassailable matter of record. Our first article of faith [A of F 1:1] declares our belief in Jesus Christ. We meet every Sunday and partake of the sacrament to renew our faith in and our commitment to Him as the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
I have frequently asked non-LDS critics exactly which Book of Mormon teachings about Jesus Christ they disagree with. Invariably the response has been that it isn’t what the Book of Mormon says that is offensive to them—it is the Book of Mormon itself. Most anti-Mormons reject the LDS scriptures without knowing or caring what those scriptures actually teach about Christ. You see, it isn’t really the LDS doctrine of Christ that is objectionable; rather, it is the claim that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is God’s word, and that the gospel has been restored to the earth in the latter days.
Both the Book of Mormon as scripture and Joseph Smith as a prophet bear witness to Jesus Christ as Savior. The Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price bear that same great witness, as do all of the modern prophets and apostles. Though all the world may say that Latter-day Saints do not know or love or worship Jesus Christ, the truth is that we do. If this is not enough to be counted as Christian, then that word has lost its meaning.”
(http://tinyurl.com/mjmfc)



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lesa whitehead

posted July 5, 2007 at 2:36 am


Dear Nonie,
What an effective witness you are! Such wisdom and clarity! God puts the right people in our life at the right time. I find comfort in the scripture – THERE IS NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK, THERE IS NEITHER SLAVE NOR FREE, THERE IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE, FOR YOU ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. GALATIANS 3:28.
Dear Bernard,
A kindred spirit indeed!



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Leroy Morte

posted July 5, 2007 at 3:26 am


I really, really wish that religious beliefs played absolutely no part in elections at all, period. Because, as you can see from the posts on this thread, it can bring out the worst in people. There are so many people posting here, sincerely convinced of the “rightness” of their own beliefs and interpretations of god and religion. I dare say, each of them also sincerely believes the majority of the others are damned and doomed for all of eternity for not believing as they do. All of them have their prophets and groups of wisemen who have claimed revelations from god and deliberated countless times over their exact meanings. Is Jesus, or Buddha, or Mohammed, or Joseph Smith really any more valid than any other prophet? Is any ones holy book any more credible than any other? So does it really matter if Mormons are really christians or not? The election of the President of the United States of America shouldn’t be about which particlar religious cult you belong to, it needs to be about the best man or woman possible to lead our country in these very trying times. I personally would rather it wasn’t someone who thinks their god talks to them. Or someone who uses their religious beliefs to make decisions about important issues such as birth control, global warming, abortion, war, stem cell research, education, and alot of other things. These issues require brains, not prophets.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 3:40 am


MMC, I notice that you completely ignore my argument. You have the “doctrinal” category, but it does not include my argument which actually pays attention to what Christianity *means*.
If the nature of Christianity includes the Trinitarian doctrine, it is not something you can avoid. But you clearly evade it above.
You wrote: Notice that not one of these addresses the question of whether we accept Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God and Savior.
This, again, completely avoids the problems with meaning that the majority of the Mormon interlocutors on this forum have continuously avoided. There are **meanings** behind those words.
The Mormon meaning is different from the Christian meaning is different from any number of other meanings.
What it seems to mean to a Mormon:
“Notice that not one of these addresses the question of whether we accept the figure we call Jesus Christ who is not One of Three Persons Who are One God, but a very different kind of *seperate* being, as the divine Son of God and Savior.”
What it doesn’t mean to a Mormon:
“Notice that not one of these addresses the question of whether we accept Jesus Christ Who is one of the Three Persons Who are One God as the divine Son of God the Father and Savior.”
What it *could* mean to someone else:
“Notice that not one of these addresses the question of whether we accept Jesus Christ, who is a sentient Jelly Donut from Mars, as the divine Son of God the Father and Savior.”
Your entire argument rests on the premise that meaning doesn’t matter. You play games with meaning by making statements as if they meant the same thing to everyone in the discussion, when you know for a fact that they don’t. This is dishonest. This is chicanery. You do violence to Truth, and you sow confusion.
I really think that the Mormons who are using these tactics are doing great damage to the credibility of Mormonism. That may not be fair–but by continuously avoiding meaning and using tactics of confusion that undermine meaning, it is what they are doing.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 3:45 am


There are so many people posting here, sincerely convinced of the “rightness” of their own beliefs and interpretations of god and religion.
For the record–almost none of my arguments have been about the “rightness” of Christianity or the “wrongness” of Mormonism. My arguments have focused on the meaning of them both, and the destruction of meaning that many are trying to accomplish.



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Anonymous

posted July 5, 2007 at 9:26 am


Shame on you who call yourself Christians yet judge.
I am Mormon and a former Catholic. I investigated the church from 1996. Why? One, I polled my own family and they not only could name the Gospels and their message, but could noy even say what order they came in.
You should not speak of what you do not understand. This is ignorance.
In the Catholic Church, not one Bible was in the pews. And, we study the Bible and the Book of Mormon (I noted you said you have not read it? everyday and pray together as a family in all things. We have home stdies of the Bible and Book of Mormon. In Ezekial for one Scripture, it prophesizes about a Book that will come forth (not a scroll) but must remained sealed until a certain time). Family is first and foremost in everything and church does not stop when the doors close.
I investigated all faiths and if it was not for the Relief Soiety and the Church, I would have lost my home long ago. I am divorced, my husband left me, and my Bishop and the church helped me an today, I still have my home.
The missionaries have come to ask “What can we do for you?” They have raked my yard, helped me with anything and everything I needed and the members of the Church are there for me 24/7. When I was sick and could not swallow solid food, three times a day, a member of the church went to shop and make me food I could eat, bought me groceries when I fell on hard times and did not want any thanks in return. They came around the clock to see me in the hospital everyday. I cannot say this of any other Church.
The Book of Mormon is another Testament to Jesus Christ who we love as our Lord and Saviour and live it everyday. I have a strong Testimony to this. Children are taught early on how to be young men and young ladies. We are clean cut in dress and these children are some of the most well mannered children you would ever meet. I cannot say this of what I have seen consistantly of any other faith.
Not to mention how hard workers and the hard work ethic we have, taught early on to children by having them help out and do chores to learn the value of service and work. We are some of the strongest proponents of higher education, and help not only members of our Ward, but anyone in need. We seek out the needy and never do this to encourage them with an alterior motive to be baptized LDS.It is done simply to be Christ like and love as Christ loved in all ways.
We emphaisize being humble and modest. The missionaries give up 2 years of their lives to go where they are called and bring people to Christ. Come rain, the worst cold, or snowstorm, they still go out becasue they want to. Often they would come to my door becasue they knew they could asking for a cup of hot chocolate fromt he bitter cold, or water from a schorching hot day, always asking, “Can we do anything for you? “Calling to just to check in, and see how you are to let you know we are here.” No Priest, or Pastor has come close in doing any of the above, especially when I was in need. When I was Catholic or belonged to a Protestant Christian Church, I was lucky if a Priest or Pastor came by at all or maybe one or two times at best.
I investigated many faiths, and never found such love and love for Christ, our Heavenly Father, and an outpouring for others.
Finally, the Vatican sets forth doctrine, does it not? The Pope lives like a King in a palace when he should exemplify how Jesus lived. All that money in the massive Palace the Pope resides in could go to the needy. He should live in the utmost of modest means if he is to be an example of our Heavenly Father on Earth. He is not “The Heavenly Father” on Earth. There is only one and that is God, and to call the Pope “The Heavenly Father” is contradictory to what is taught. We have one Heavenly Father, and again that is God. and He is everywhere. The Pope is treated like a King, a Monarch, his hand kissed as if royalty and lives like royalty, Christ did not. So I say to the Pope, “Leave and give up all and sell all of your belongings and come follow me.” As Jesus said to a very wealthy man. You should know the Scripture I speak of if you are a Christian.
We are Christians and and make scrifices everyday with prayer, not just during Lent for Holy day of obligation.
Of all faiths, I have never seen a husband treat his wife with such love. They take their wife’s hand lovingly walking into church and have their arms around them. We love God so much and we are so greatful for the atonement of God giving His only Son.
If you wish to judge us, you must be able to cast the first stone, or come and investigate the Chruch (you don’t have to join, we don’t force that on anyone) and study the Book of Mormon on nites they are held or with the Missionaries for several months to educate and ask questions and learn about the Latter Day Saints before you (especially the one who wrote the essay) deem us not to be Christians.
Do this for many months as if you were studying for college. otherwise, do not speak of what you do not know and have not sought out to educate yourself (yourselves) before damning us as non Christians. People bring up the bad things of the past. (without knowing what happened at that time). Today, everytime I pick up the paper or wath the news, another Priest molested a boy. It is well known that many in the Priesthood are not heterosexual. This is not opinion, but a fact. We frown on that highly, and you will not find that desacration in one Mormon. We believe in traditional family and family home evening study. I have known Pastors that cheated on their wives. You will never see that happening in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We value marriage and family so much that it is not just for “until death do us part.” We keep the Sabbath as it was in the time of Christ. We rest as God designated Sunday a day of rest when he created the world and all things in our world. We rest and spend time with family and friends. We can all shop Monday thru Saturday with good time managment and plan ahead to get our errands and work done to keep the Sabbath Holy. We gather around the table as a family on Sunday ( and everyday) and sit down to a meal when many go out out and patronize businesses and restaurants who do business on the Sabbath (Sunday). My goodness, aftr what Christ went thru for us on the Cross, is it that hard to give one day COMPLELTEY devoted to Him, the Sabbath and family?
As a Christian, I must forgive and love those who will persecute me for my posting and my Christianity as a Latter Day Saint. In advance, I forgive any of you and will love you as Christ loved His persecutors and His Crucifiers. “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do,” as He lay in unspeakable agony dying a horriffic death that crucifixion is. In that same Christ Like love, I keep it for those who shall hate me too. If that is not Christian, than I do not know what is…rather, on the other hand,….I do.
Denice Marie



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 10:32 am


If you’ll pardon my changing the subject for a moment-this is, as Mr. Card emphasized, about whether we should be voting for Mitt Romney. The fact that it’s become a 200+ comment argument about whether Mormonism is Christianity is an indicator of how sensitive the issue is. But I digress.
I’m an atheist who’s made only a light study of Christianity and none of Mormonism, so I’m not even entering that argument. Rather, I’d like to debate Mr. Card’s point that he’d rather have someone who’s known for following his beliefs than an atheist someone else who is, essentially, a wild card. (I’m not even going to touch on his arguments regarding the ‘vigorous atheist movement,’ better known as the ‘worldwide atheist conspiracy.’)
Please understand that I’m not insulted by any of this, although I do have a healthy and functioning sense of pride. I got past being generally disliked or distrusted by those who are devoutly religious a while back. However, I do find Mr. Card’s argument somewhat… curious.
Mr. Card has himself made the point in the past that (loosely paraphrased) ‘even atheists have religion, they just don’t know it.’ He then goes on to define religion as simply a set of rules governing ones behavior and actions. So, Mr. Card, which is it? Do we have beliefs, or don’t we? And if we don’t-well, this may seem silly, but if the atheist without strictly outlined religious beliefs still does the right thing, then hasn’t he had to fight harder to discover the difference between right and wrong? Romney’s been told by his religion. But how does an atheist who doesn’t cheat on his wife, drink (to excess, at least), and turns the other cheek know what to do?
One last point, and then a quick question. “The Relation of Science and Religion” by Feynman is worth reading, if only as a reminder that a lot of atheists are not baby-eating soulless sharks.
http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/49/02/Religion.htm
My question, and please pardon me if it comes off sarcastically; it’s a question born of honest curiosity that I’ve asked of a handful of my Mormon friends and that none of them have been able to answer. Can you drink teas, such as Rooibos (a rare red tea), which are not naturally caffeinated? (Actually, come to think of it, I’m not entirely certain that Rooibos isn’t naturally caffeinated. I don’t particularly like the stuff and so haven’t made a great study of it. But the premise of the question still stands.)



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Ted

posted July 5, 2007 at 10:37 am


Mr. Card:
You say:
–“In a time when a vigorous atheist movement is trying to exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion while in office, why are we arguing with each other?”–
Mr. Card, the victim hood posture of believers is neither respectable nor mature.
Whatever else I may be, I am not an athiest.
Regardless of ones beliefs or non-beliefs, Mr. Card you and many, many other believers are tone deaf to the freight train that is right in front of you.
Mr. Card it is not that anyone of influence seriously wants to “exclude religious people from participating in American public life.”
Yes, regrettably there are atheists who are every bit as bigoted as Osama Bin Laden and Jerry Falwell. A plague on all their intolerant houses.
The vigor of the atheist/skeptical movement is largely attributable to the fact that decent, patriotic Americans in a modern society are tired of having religion forced upon them with the blunt instrument of law and politics. Yes, it is that simple.
Need examples? Not the vigor and hysteria of Bush and the GOP to intervene in the Teri Schaivo case? What about “states right”?
Then there are the two Bush veteos of stem cell research funding.
I am tired of politicians, like Bush, who when clerics tell them to jump, the politicians ask “how high?”
We have a separation of Church and State, designed so that politics and religion do not corrupt each other, especially in a modern, pluralistic society. We also have Thomas Jefferson’s “Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom.”
Yes sir, it really is that simple.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 10:45 am


This is ignorance. In the Catholic Church, not one Bible was in the pews.
Denice Marie, that is either an excessively ignorant statement yourself, or a deliberate distortion.
Since you were Catholic, you know that the readings from Scripture are readily available in the Missals. You also know that the Mass is a liturgy that has prayers and participation. When we are not reading Scripture, we are doing other things, including witnessing the consecration of the Eucharist, so having additional Bibles is superfluous. Catholics do Bible study outside of the Mass.
Shame on you for distorting the truth.
I don’t have time for other issues in your tyrade, right now, but I will handle them later.



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Jessica

posted July 5, 2007 at 12:16 pm


I became a Christian while being raised by devout mormon parents. My father was a high priest…my mother served as relief society president. And I served as the president of our ward’s youth organization. Dubbed as “special” and “spiritual”, I was often asked to give “talks” during weekly services. Monday nights were reserved for our Family Home Evenings, and we concluded each day on our knees in prayer. At 8 years old, I heard the true gospel for the first time when I attended a neighborhood Christian church with a friend. For the first time, I heard a preacher describe my internal struggle with sin perfectly. For the first time, I heard someone describe the sin nature that accompanies each physical birth, and its need for redemption. For the first time, my eyes recognized the cross as the point of origin, where sin dies and new life begins…not a weapon of destruction (which is the perception of mormons whose confused theology denegrates the cross as a weapon used to kill rather than the instrument of salvation.) And finally, I heard the divinity of Christ exalted as the One and Only Way of salvation… Not one of many gods…nor the created son of one of many gods…but the One true God over the heavens and earth through whom all things were made. At 18, I abandoned mormonism, following the Lord’s lead to a Bible Study. After nine years of intense study, God’s Word succeeded in peeling away the scar tissue of deceit, grafting in the truth found only in the Bible.
Do I hate mormons? No, they are not the enemy. I remember what it felt like to be ostracized and abused by many well-intentioned Christians.
Would I vote for a mormon president, who met the qualifications and was a “good” man? Absolutely not… A man caught in such a gruesome web of spiritual deception could not possibly lead a country-in-crisis with God’s strength and discernment. A man who believes that he will one day become a god of his own world will not lead under the yoke and in submission to the God of this universe. Remember Jesus’ words to those deceived by appearances, “Woe to you… You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean…” Matt. 23:27
Do not lower your defenses against this seemingly harmless, peace-loving cult… Heed the warning…”And no wonder, for satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness…” 2 Cor. 11:14-15



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Russ Lopushinsky

posted July 5, 2007 at 1:32 pm


It is strange that the Morman church says that they are the one true way, when they change the Scriptures to satisfy their ways when the Holy Bible says that we are not to do that.
For example,the Mormon Bible says that Adam came with his wives, when the Holy Bible says that God created Adam and Eve.
Makes you wonder what else is changed.



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Anonymous

posted July 5, 2007 at 1:36 pm


So from the above, I understand you would rather have a “Christian” like Al Gore, whose child is found speding with pot in his car, or Bush whose children are partying, or Guillani who abandsons his family or Clinton who has affairs with intern after intern? Romney’s moral compass is solid. He has a stable and joyous marraige. His children are strong moral upstanding people. By their fruits you will know them. How sad that you do not recognise the true Christian in the bunch.



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Anonymous

posted July 5, 2007 at 1:37 pm


Russ, can you give reference to the “Mormon Bible” and all those wives. Didn’t think so. Run along and belive your lies.



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summathetes

posted July 5, 2007 at 1:40 pm


To Everyone – Mormonism is a fraud because Joseph Smith is a fraud. When Joseph Smith said God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared before him in his bedroom in upstate New York, he didn’t realize that he was proclaiming that he exclusively witnessed the Second Coming of Christ. We know that after Christ ascended into heaven, that when He returned to Earth, His appearing would not be to 1 man or a group of Mormons regardless of what your eschatological views are nor would it be peaceful so as to not make a grand entrance. If Mormons uphold the Bible “in so far as it is correctly translated” and Joseph Smith, according to his testimony witnessed the return of Christ, than why is everyone still here? Joseph Smith is a false prophet that has added nothing of worth to mankind except for Mormons.
To All Atheists – You say there is no God. In essence you claim to have “all knowledge” elevating yourself to be like a god. You could say that those who believe in God also are claiming to have “all knowledge” and I would agree, but the difference is, those who claim Jesus Christ to be God lean upon evidence. Your claim that there is no God is like claiming there are no white rocks with black dots anywhere in the world. You can’t make that claim without having all knowledge.
To Mr. Card – As a writer, I thought your arguements would be more perspicuous and profound. I found your arguements to be self refuting, relying on good works, and based on genetic fallacy.



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Penguin

posted July 5, 2007 at 2:18 pm


I loved “Ender’s Game”. This article, not so much.



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gfw

posted July 5, 2007 at 2:27 pm


This blog post is ahistorical.



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Lisa W

posted July 5, 2007 at 3:24 pm


I am so appreciative of the comments I have read from Orson Scott Card over the past year – especially in clarifying Mormonism to many people.
I joined the Church 38 years ago and it still amazes me how many people do not believe we are Christian. Especially the person who said he was raised “Mormon” and was taught Jesus was a great teacher, but not the Son of God or that Mormons do not profess Jesus Christ as Savior. I fear he may have been napping in the back during Sunday School class.
I went from Church to Church searching for the truth. I loved them all. They were filled with many good people following the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. As part of an area Interfaith group – together with Hindu’s, Muslim’s, Sikh’s and a numerous variety of Christian denominations, we strive to use “the faith community to better the entire community”. We do not try to convert each other or argue points of doctrine.
It is so unclear to me why many people who claim to believe in the Bible and to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, spend so much time tearing down other religions (including other Christian denominations). Or worse, are so antagonist as to define who is a Christian and who isn’t. If, as one person commented, ‘Mormon’s are not Christians because Christianity quite simply is following the teachings of Christ Jesus’ – then they themselves are not following the teachings of Jesus Christ when He stated, “Judge not according to the appearance…” (John 7;24)
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I would never have joined any church that did not believe or teach that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God. He is my Savior and Redeemer. I love Him and do my best to follow Him in faith.
I have no desire to judge others or tear them down or speak to what they believe or don’t believe. I only know that as a Mormon, I am most definitely a follower of Christ. I love Him and try to love others because that is what He expects of me.
If any person has a true desire to know what Mormons believe – PLEASE – ask a Mormon. Don’t get your information from an inaccurate PBS documentary, or blog or an “unofficial” LDS website. And most of all, please don’t ask an “ex-Mormon”. It’s ironic how some people can leave the Mormon Church, but they can’t leave it alone.
The most important message I hope to leave with anyone willing to listen with an open mind and heart is that “contention is of the devil”. Satan wants us to contend with one another – over politics, social issues, religion – whatever!! If we do nothing else, we should come together as “followers of Christ” no matter which Church we attend, and do our best to overcome evil, and serve and love each other. That’s certainly what Jesus has already done and what Jesus would do if He walked the earth today.
And here in the United States of America, where we believe that “united we stand – divided we fall” that is even more reason to love one another with all of our might, mind, heart and soul.
God Bless You and God Bless America!



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Anonymous Atheist

posted July 5, 2007 at 4:03 pm


summathetes: I was unaware that by declaring my atheism I had invited attacks upon my beliefs, but apparently I did, so let me defend myself for a moment. I don’t want my personal beliefs to damage my arguments.
I don’t have a problem with people who believe in God. My brother does. Some of my good friends believe in some form of God or another, or at absolute least some kind of a guiding force in the universe. Heck, the only girl I’ve ever dated is an extremely devout Christian. So I don’t have a problem with people who believe in God. I just don’t happen to be one.
Furthermore: I don’t think I know everything. I study theoretical math and read a lot, so I’d like to think I know more than many, but I don’t think I’m a God. Pardon the mildly circular logic, but if I thought I was a God, I wouldn’t be an atheist.
This is where the Feynman essay I linked to comes in. He says-and I personally believe this-that religion is a matter of belief and science is a matter of doubt. Where in religion, you say, “I believe,” in science, you say, “I doubt very little.” Well, I’m sorry to say it, but I doubt very much that there is a god. (There’s a particular professor of philosophy whose name I can’t recall who put it brilliantly, but I can’t even begin to reconstruct his language. Essentially, for me, lim(belief)->0, for those of you on here who are fluent in math.)
Also, I don’t believe that Jesus Christ didn’t exist, or that his teachings were bad. Rather, his moral code was incredible, and I give an immense amount of credit to anyone who can follow it strictly. I just don’t believe that he was essentially divine.
Right. Now that we’ve established that I am not an intolerant soulless baby-eating shark, does anyone have anything to say about my original arguments?



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Anonymous Atheist

posted July 5, 2007 at 4:06 pm


Whoops. Right after posting this I noticed the brilliant irony here:
“This is where the Feynman essay I linked to comes in. He says-and I personally believe this-that religion is a matter of belief and science is a matter of doubt. Where in religion, you say, “I believe,” in science, you say, “I doubt very little.””
This should read:
“This is where the Feynman essay I linked to comes in. He says-and I personally doubt this very little-that religion is a matter of belief and science is a matter of doubt. Where in religion, you say, “I believe,” in science, you say, “I doubt very little.””



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HillRat

posted July 5, 2007 at 4:31 pm


The greatest thing I look forward to in this Republican presidential cycle is the clear destruction of the alliance of convenience between the Christian Right and Mormons. This debate between Card and the other guy (who died and made him St. Peter, anyway?) is perfect because it exposes the cultural hypocrisy that exists between Christian orthodoxy and Mormonism.
/grabs bag of popcorn



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Anonymous

posted July 5, 2007 at 5:35 pm


Read the letters to the 7 churches in Revelations – starting on Chapter 2.
True followers of Christ may be in any church denomination claiming to be a Christian church, as well as those who claim to be but are not. Whether we as humans / man or woman try to define Christianity and what it takes to be a Christian, only God knows our true heart.
This leaves little to argue / discuss as to what we think. If we read the Bible and follow and obey the teachings as are written, either through Gods word written by man (Old Testiment mostly) or as written by the Apsostles who walked with Jesus, we should be able to discern what it means to be a Christian.



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Stuart

posted July 5, 2007 at 5:57 pm


summathetes:
Why should people give your comments any credence once they realize that you don’t even have basic facts correct: The Father and Son appeared not in his bedroom but in a grove.
Again with your own logic, you would be wrong. Christ’s Second Coming would have come occurred when he taught the “other sheep,” unless you beleive that Christ was only making it up…since most traditional, orthodox Christians have no answer as to what constitutes the other sheep. (btw the Gentiles were not the other sheep, read the verse!)



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summathetes

posted July 5, 2007 at 6:11 pm


Anonymous Atheist –
I don’t understand how you knowing Christians exhonerates or accuses you of not liking Christians. I never claimed Atheists did either.
I appreciate your sincerity in not thinking that you claim to be a god, but I would ask you, what is the basis of you not believing in a diety? If it’s based on evidence, I would enjoy hearing what you have to say.
It seems to me that an illogicial deduction has occured when you claim the moral code of Jesus was incredible and that he followed it so strictly. How could you be so willing to respect Jesus if he claimed to be God and yet you deny the existence of a God?



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LW

posted July 5, 2007 at 6:23 pm


I think it important for everyone on this thread to go to
http://www.mormon.org or http://www.lds.org
to discover what Latter-day Saints truly believe. It’s difficult to conduct a discussion about mormonism when many of the comments about the Church are false.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 8:30 pm


This Denice Marie is so far gone, I probably should just ignore her. But I am not a wise man, and there were many things she said about Catholicism that just plain weren’t true. So here are my corrections:
Shame on you who call yourself Christians yet judge.
For those who would judge the hearts of Mormons and the eternal destination of Mormons–I am with you.
However, God did not forbid us to think, and along that line there is no shame in making judgments (a very different kind of judgment than the previous example) about meaning and morality. (After all, you make that kind of judgment yourself when you say “Shame on you…”)
I am Mormon and a former Catholic. I investigated the church from 1996. Why? One, I polled my own family and they not only could name the Gospels and their message, but could noy even say what order they came in.
There are a few issues here. First, you shouldn’t base your judgment on Catholicism based upon the ignorant or the unfaithful. I don’t judge Quantum Physics based on the knowledge of the average 5th grade school teacher.
Second, the order of the Gospels doesn’t tell us much about the message within them. A Catholic is constantly fed Scripture in the Mass, and over time the Gospel is explored deeply and comprehensively. It is excessively…ahem…judgmental to criticize the faith of others based upon irrelevant data. After all, can you–without looking–list the order of all the books of both the Old and New Testament? Should I judge your faith based upon the result? How extremely petty that is.
Third, Catholicism consists of far more than just the Bible. Catholicism is a loving response to our King and Redeemer by doing what he commands. It is about receiving the Sacraments that he commanded. It is about immersing ourselves in prayer and being in His presence in as many ways as possible, and as often as possible. It is about joining with the prayers of heaven by participating in the prayer of the Mass. We join our voices with the Angels of heaven in the book of Revelation who continuously sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord!”
The Bible is our Holy Scripture, but it is not our tabernacle. We do not worship the Bible as some denominations seem to. We worship and seek the love of our God through obedience.
You should not speak of what you do not understand. This is ignorance.
In the Catholic Church, not one Bible was in the pews.

I have already dealt with this tersely, but let me add some detail.
The Mass consists of two liturgies. The longer of those two liturgies is the Liturgy of the Word. In this liturgy we always have at least two readings from Scripture, and on Sunday we have three. One of those readings is always from one of the Gospels. During the Liturgy of the Word, we also have Psalm readings. We participate in prayer as we read the Psalms. The Bible is profusely integrated into our Mass.
In the second liturgy of the Mass, words from the Bible are also continuously spoken.
You may have missed my post earlier that told of a study that was done that surveyed the amount of Scripture read in the services different denominations. The Catholic Church came out way ahead of almost all other denominations. To distort the Truth–the Truth that you must know if you were Catholic, is shameful.
Another thing is that Catholicism does not stop worshipping outside of the Mass. We do study the Bible outside of Mass. (Although I dare say we get a better study of it in Mass than many Protestants get. The Mass covers the Bible comprehensively as it cycles through, and I am often aware of Scriptures I heard and read in Mass that Protestants knew nothing about.) We also have a lot of prayer that is Scripturally based. The Rosary is a meditation upon Christ’s life in the Gospels, and the prayers within it are almost entirely Biblically based.
Catholics may not generally be Bible scholars–but they are immersed in Scripture and ever present in its *meaning*.
Family is first and foremost in everything and church does not stop when the doors close.
If you mean family comes first after God, sure. I don’t think you would find disagreement from any faithful Catholic that “…church does not stop when the doors close.”
I investigated all faiths…
I doubt you know all of the faiths, but I will accept that you did some investigation. Still–your investigation of Catholicism was obviously not well done.
…and if it was not for the Relief Soiety and the Church, I would have lost my home long ago. I am divorced, my husband left me, and my Bishop and the church helped me an today, I still have my home.
The missionaries have come to ask “What can we do for you?” They have raked my yard, helped me with anything and everything I needed and the members of the Church are there for me 24/7. When I was sick and could not swallow solid food, three times a day, a member of the church went to shop and make me food I could eat, bought me groceries when I fell on hard times and did not want any thanks in return. They came around the clock to see me in the hospital everyday.
God bless them all. I must say that pretty much every Mormon I have ever met in person has been a right fine person. I know that they do good works, and I think Christ–whether He is the Person of Christianity or the figure of Mormonism–will smile upon them for it. Keep in mind, Denice Marie, that I have not made any judgments about Mormonism in general in this discussion. I am making judgments about *meaning*.
I cannot say this of any other Church.
Well, this is a pretty silly thing to say. To imply that other churches do not do charitable work and help people is outrageous and excessively uncharitable of *you*. I give the Mormons credit for helping you. Let’s give the other denominations credit for their good works, too.
The Book of Mormon is another Testament to Jesus Christ who we love as our Lord and Saviour and live it everyday. I have a strong Testimony to this. Children are taught early on how to be young men and young ladies. We are clean cut in dress and these children are some of the most well mannered children you would ever meet. I cannot say this of what I have seen consistantly of any other faith.
I respect that to a degree. However, you must understand that the Catholic Church reaches into the most hopeless of places to bring the grace of God, and we will teach the Hope and Glory of Christ to them no matter how they dress and no matter how their culture has formed them. We do not exclude them from the Graces of God due to their upbringing or their haircuts.
No Priest, or Pastor has come close in doing any of the above, especially when I was in need. When I was Catholic or belonged to a Protestant Christian Church, I was lucky if a Priest or Pastor came by at all or maybe one or two times at best.
I’m sure there are a million anecdotes out there from people who didn’t get the attention they wanted. Priests, in general, get no rest at all. They are constantly visiting the sick and the poor. They are constantly working in venues to spread the word of God. They are constantly administering the Sacraments of marriage and attending funerals. It is a bit disingenuous to judge them all by your one isolated experience.
I investigated many faiths, and never found such love and love for Christ, our Heavenly Father, and an outpouring for others.
Then you didn’t “investigate” very hard. I know of many faiths that have very loving people in them. Mormons are not the only people with love in the world. I praise them for treating you well, and if there were any Catholics or others who treated you badly, I rebuke them. But this attempt to paint the Mormons as the only charitable people and that they never, ever fall short is nothing short of delusional. Give credit where credit is due.
Finally, the Vatican sets forth doctrine, does it not?
That depends upon what you mean by “set forth.” The Vatican protects the doctrinal knowledge in the Deposit of Faith that Jesus Christ gave directly to the Church. And with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it mostly clarifies and preserves what is already there. But the Vatican does not make doctrine.
The Pope lives like a King in a palace when he should exemplify how Jesus lived.
The Pope’s life is not his own. The Pope serves 24/7. He does not live like a King. The demands upon him are *endless*. I would not trade my blue collar place for his in a million years. I know that isn’t a convenient description for you since you are obviously looking for reasons to condemn him, but that is the truth.
All that money in the massive Palace the Pope resides in could go to the needy. He should live in the utmost of modest means if he is to be an example of our Heavenly Father on Earth.
You have no idea what you are talking about. You clearly have no clue what goes on in the Vatican and what its purpose is. You are looking for reasons to condemn Catholicism by chasing made-up images in your head.
He is not “The Heavenly Father” on Earth. There is only one and that is God, and to call the Pope “The Heavenly Father” is contradictory to what is taught. We have one Heavenly Father, and again that is God.
Catholics neither call him “Heavenly Father” nor consider him the Heavenly Father on Earth. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ. The Pope is the successor of Peter the Apostle to whom Christ explicitly handed the Keys to the Kingdom. His Seat, the Seat of Peter, is a Holy Seat, and he is in a holy role as commanded by Christ. But he is not the Heavenly Father, and as a former Catholic, you should know that. If you are deliberately distorting the truth, you should be ashamed of yourself. If, on the other hand, you are just ignorant of these things, then you are a hypocrite for criticizing your parents’ ignorance. These are very basic things in Catholicism.
and He is everywhere. The Pope is treated like a King, a Monarch, his hand kissed as if royalty and lives like royalty, Christ did not. So I say to the Pope, “Leave and give up all and sell all of your belongings and come follow me.” As Jesus said to a very wealthy man. You should know the Scripture I speak of if you are a Christian.
I find it quite interesting that such a self-righteous person as yourself thinks you are in a position to tell the Pope what Christ would have him do. You are not Christ, and you do not have his authority. You have no place telling the Pope what he must do.
{Snipped out a bunch of similar “Mormons are better than everybody” tripe.}
Do this for many months as if you were studying for college. otherwise, do not speak of what you do not know and have not sought out to educate yourself (yourselves) before damning us as non Christians.
I am not damning you at all. It is *reality* that makes you not Christian, not me, and I never once claimed that part of that reality was your damnation. I’m just articulating the truth of that reality.
Today, everytime I pick up the paper or wath the news, another Priest molested a boy. It is well known that many in the Priesthood are not heterosexual. This is not opinion, but a fact. We frown on that highly, and you will not find that desacration in one Mormon.
Catholicism frowns on these things, too. Catholicism rejects sin even if it is the sin of its own members. Satan does everything he can to hurt us.
But we are not alone in fighting sin among our members. I have seen pedophilia charges placed against Mormons, as well as other sexual abuse problems. Do you really want to play that game? These are *saddening* things for all of us, and I do not judge Mormonism by those cases.
As a Christian, I must forgive and love those who will persecute me for my posting and my Christianity as a Latter Day Saint.
You consider the condemning and vitriolic language that you used **loving**? This tirade of cheap shots and deception is **loving**? You vilify Catholics with dripping spite, yet you say we should not cast stones? Your hypocrisy is so utterly profound that you reduce your writing to self-parody, and you completely destroy any credibility you might have had.
Of all the people who have posted on this list, you, Denice Marie, are the one I pity most. Only a very injured and miserable person could have written these deceptions with the acid and spite that you did.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 8:51 pm


Anonymous Atheist, you seem like a pleasant fellow. I’ll first look at the things of interest from your first post.
Mr. Card has himself made the point in the past that (loosely paraphrased) ‘even atheists have religion, they just don’t know it.’ He then goes on to define religion as simply a set of rules governing ones behavior and actions.
Mr. Card does make a very salient point. When we belong to a belief system, we don’t “decide” what it means to belong to that system. People don’t define atheism any more than they define Christianity. These systems are what they are *independently* of how the members want to define them. You can debate what they are–but you cannot make them something they are not through debate.
… this may seem silly, but if the atheist without strictly outlined religious beliefs still does the right thing, then hasn’t he had to fight harder to discover the difference between right and wrong? Romney’s been told by his religion. But how does an atheist who doesn’t cheat on his wife, drink (to excess, at least), and turns the other cheek know what to do?
That’s easy. In spite of not believing that God exists, you still live in His created world. And in His created world there exists natural law. Atheists can perceive the Good in natural law, and they can respond to it. And it is the hope of Catholicism that God will have mercy upon them when they die and face judgment. (Even if you die an atheist, you will be judged by what you were dealt. And if, through no fault of your own, you have missed the teaching of Christ–even if that means you rejected it because of an irrational or uncharitable representation of it–then you might be saved.)
As far as the perspective of science is concerned, I think you should examine the fact that every scientific idea has its roots in ideas that are unprovable leaps of faith. There is no more proof in science than there is in theology. You may not be able to “prove” anything, but you can certainly *know* all kinds of things that you cannot prove.
The ideologies of materialism and positivism are false and do not work. And the credibility of religious knowledge can be far greater than you realize. But that probably isn’t a discussion that can receive due justice here.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 8:53 pm


By the way, natural law is one kind of God’s revelation. It is worth exploring Divine Revelation, as well.



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Anonymous Atheist

posted July 5, 2007 at 9:19 pm


summathetes-
Okay, I apologize. I was reacting to what you proposed my counterargument might be, and probably overreacting. I’ve been on other forums with people I don’t know and instantaneously had to defend myself against accusations of A. dislike of deists and B. generalized proselytization of my atheism, neither of which is true for me. So I suppose I’m a bit more defensive than I’d like to believe I am. (Also, the quality of the grammar in your first post reminded me strongly of a particularly bad case of ignorant Christian proselytizing.)
As for my lack of belief, it’s not particularly evidence-based. It’s more just that I never saw any separation between religion and deism, and as my synagogue continued to alienate me, I just gradually lost my belief in a god. That’s really it.
I can construct counter-arguments to most of the faith-based arguments, but really, all of those come down to whether you believe or whether you don’t. A “he said-she said” type of thing. So I generally shy away from those unless someone gets in my face about my atheism, at which point I start to actually argue the points.
Last thing-his claiming to be something I don’t believe in doesn’t mean that, from a purely moral standpoint, his teachings were necessarily flawed. If my eighth grade english teacher claimed to be the daughter of god, it wouldn’t change that I learned from her more than any nearly other teacher I’ve had since.



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Anonymous Atheist

posted July 5, 2007 at 9:42 pm


That’s easy. In spite of not believing that God exists, you still live in His created world. And in His created world there exists natural law. Atheists can perceive the Good in natural law, and they can respond to it. And it is the hope of Catholicism that God will have mercy upon them when they die and face judgment. (Even if you die an atheist, you will be judged by what you were dealt. And if, through no fault of your own, you have missed the teaching of Christ–even if that means you rejected it because of an irrational or uncharitable representation of it–then you might be saved.)
That’s somewhat reassuring, and would be more so if I believed in an afterlife. But my point was rather badly made, and I’m afraid was missed-my question was of Mr. Card, how he can purport that he’d rather have the specific case ‘Mitt Romney’ for president than the general case ‘atheist,’ even if the specific case of the atheist was just as good as Romney, and without his religion to guide him. My point was more of a complaint about generalization than anything else.
As far as the perspective of science is concerned, I think you should examine the fact that every scientific idea has its roots in ideas that are unprovable leaps of faith. There is no more proof in science than there is in theology. You may not be able to “prove” anything, but you can certainly *know* all kinds of things that you cannot prove.
A fair point and a large part of the reason that I treat more with math than with science. Math, I hope we can all agree, is, in fact, provable. We can show absolutely that x^r + y^r = z^r has no solutions for r>2 such that xyz!=0. (Fermat’s last theorem.)
At the same time, the fact that I don’t like making massively unprovable generalizations in science doesn’t mean that I like making the same sorts of generalizations in religion.
(And there is evidence for many things which are generally referred to as leaps of faith. For example, there was a science paper not too long ago which measured energy levels that corresponded to how the universe should be if the Big Bang had occurred. The paper had residuals too small to even graph, which is rather incredible. And, if we’d like to argue creationism, there is copious visible evidence for evolution. Tuberculosis, for example. If we begin to argue intelligent design, we start to get back into a “he said-she said” situation.)



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Defensor

posted July 5, 2007 at 10:03 pm


Is this Mormon so arrogant and self-absorbed that he honestly thinks he has the right and accuracy to judge this “theologian” as not believing in Christianity? Is he so dillusional that he felt he could summarily judge the hearts and souls of everyone in that room to give himself the sole title of “Christian”? Or was it God or Moroni who shared all of this to him in some “personal revelation” after the fact?
Either way, this Mormon looses all credibility in his argument, and actually underlines the preconceptions of Mormons coming into it.



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Leroy Morte

posted July 5, 2007 at 11:04 pm


“To All Atheists – You say there is no God. In essence you claim to have “all knowledge” elevating yourself to be like a god. You could say that those who believe in God also are claiming to have “all knowledge” and I would agree, but the difference is, those who claim Jesus Christ to be God lean upon evidence. Your claim that there is no God is like claiming there are no white rocks with black dots anywhere in the world. You can’t make that claim without having all knowledge.
Posted by: summathetes | July 5, 2007 1:40 PM”
You think because atheists don’t take your word that there is a god, that they think they are a god? Very funny, LOL. Exactly what proof do you have that you are right? A collection of books written for wildly different reasons, by wildly different men, over 2700 yrs. The fact that so many people have believed in them over the intervening years doesn’t make them any kind of empirical evidence. For many generations, many people also believed the world was flat. For many years people believed the planets and stars revolved around the earth. For many years seemingly intelligent people believed Native Americans were the Lost Tribes of Isreal. Some people still believe in the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and Nazis living at the center of the hollow earth. Some people still believe Native Americans are Isrealites. I’m sure they all have faith in their opinions. But that doesn’t make it true. Exactly what proof do you have other than your faith? Won’t heaven be a very lonely place if only the people who believed like you are there? Exactly what is the tolerance margin you have to believe in to get into your heaven? The “Rightness of Christianity” or the “Wrongness of Mormonism” is really moot, in my opinion. It’s like 2 children trying to convince me their imaginary friend is “Cooler” than the others. It still doesn’t prove either one is anything other than a figment of their imagination. And endlessly arguing over it doesn’t get anyone anwhere, nor does it prove you are correct. People have been arguing, killing, ostracizing each other, depriving each other of liberty and property, and innumerabe other things in the name of gods and religion for all of recorded history. Is it really all that misguided of me to think that maybe religion in general hasn’t worked so well, and maybe we need something else? Maybe all of the energy used on these arguments should be put toward making the world a better place, instead of worrying about whose imaginary friend is bigger. I do not consider myself a god, but I also do not believe anyone knows anything more about the subject than anyone else. Because no ones evidence can be proven. By quoting someone elses book, your merely relying on someone elses imagination, not proving your correct. Arguing religion is just mental masturbation, ultimately fruitless in the end.



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Anonymous Atheist

posted July 5, 2007 at 11:31 pm


Leroy.
You just offended me more than any of the deist posts I’ve seen on here.
I do hope you’re proud of yourself.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 11:41 pm


I would like to apologize to Denice Marie. I should have been more gentle with you. I intended to simply correct the falsehoods about Catholicism you presented, but as I got rolling, I got a little worked up. I do hope that you can lose some of the anger inside you, and I am sorry if I worsened it. I also hope you can learn from the substance of what I said and get a better perspective of our differences.
Please accept my apologies.
God bless you.



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Anon

posted July 5, 2007 at 11:49 pm


Anonymous Atheist wrote: had to defend myself against accusations of A. dislike of deists and B. generalized proselytization of my atheism, neither of which is true for me.
For the sake of clarity and accuracy, it should be noted that a “Deist” is not the same thing as a “Theist.” I think what you intend to say above is “Theist.”
A Deist believes God created the world, then abandoned it. They were prevelant among the core Founding Fathers of the USA. A Theist is someone who believes in God, and it usually means One God as a Supreme Being and the Creator of the world.



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Anonymous Atheist

posted July 5, 2007 at 11:54 pm


Oh, my apologies. My friend who generally knows a lot more about the whole thing than I do tends to use the word deist. I did think that deist/atheist was a bit odd, but I always assumed that it was just an instance of English being badly designed.
So yes. I indeed mean theist rather than deist. My apologies again.



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Leroy Morte

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:06 am


I’m sorry you consider my opinion less valuable than the other posts here. Was it my attempt at humor you found offensive? Or is there a flaw in my reasoning? Maybe we should squabble over the nuances of our non-belief like they do over their beliefs? Telling children that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy don’t exist isn’t a fun experience for either you or the child, but aren’t they better off in the end?



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Anon

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:11 am


Well, AA, we are, of course getting way off topic here, but that hasn’t stopped anyone else. Besides–at least we aren’t condemning each other to hell.
A fair point and a large part of the reason that I treat more with math than with science. Math, I hope we can all agree, is, in fact, provable. We can show absolutely that x^r + y^r = z^r has no solutions for r>2 such that xyz!=0. (Fermat’s last theorem.)
Not really. Your statement about math is based upon things we *know*, but are not provable. You have a consistent system that you can demonstrate works in one way according to the rules–but those rules are *known* not proven.
Knowledge is a mysterious thing, and all knowledge is really just an approximation of reality. This is also true when dealing with abstract symbols.
What materialists and positivists generally underestimate is our ability to *know* things about spirit. We know that we are aware, yet there is no possible way this immaterial awareness can be explained or produced by materialism. And that is only the start. (It is also probably articulated poorly, but it’s a start.)
At the same time, the fact that I don’t like making massively unprovable generalizations in science doesn’t mean that I like making the same sorts of generalizations in religion.
I’m not sure what you mean there.
(And there is evidence for many things which are generally referred to as leaps of faith. For example, there was a science paper not too long ago which measured energy levels that corresponded to how the universe should be if the Big Bang had occurred. The paper had residuals too small to even graph, which is rather incredible.
I like the Big Bang theory because it theorizes that before material was formed, there was no time. The Big Bang theory is *scientific evidence of timeless eternity*, and it also leads to philosophical questions about what started it. If could not be a physical cause, because a physical cause in eternity would have to be an eternal thing–and a physical cause is a discrete thing. It must have been something that was not physical, like maybe a spiritual mind? It must have been a very powerful cause. And when you look at the balance of the universe, it must have had an intelligence. All these things point to God–thanks to science!
And, if we’d like to argue creationism, there is copious visible evidence for evolution.
Maybe. Depends on what you mean. Evolution is grossly insufficient to explain the irreducibly complexities of the molecular machines in our bodies. Looking at these machines, we may not have a scientific reason that we know they are created– but they obviously are created. (There is no *scientific* reason that we know that a Leer Jet was created–but we would know it was obviously created if we found something like it on another world. And the Leer Jet is simple compared to the fantastic complexity of life.)
Francis Crick was an atheist, and when he discovered the amazing complexity of the machines involved with DNA and cellular biology, he was convinced that life on earth was designed. (He sought other wild speculations than God to explain it, but he came to the design conclusion nonetheless.)
I also think that Evolution is very dogmatic. They don’t have near the evidence they pretend to, and much of the evidence has been discredited. Science has never once shown us natural speciation.
Tuberculosis, for example. If we begin to argue intelligent design, we start to get back into a “he said-she said” situation.)
Don’t know quite what you mean by “he said-she said” in this context.



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Anonymous Atheist

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:31 am


First off, Leroy, as a general rule, atheists have to fight harder than others to be accepted-forget race, we’re statistically the least-liked minority in America-and second, throwing their beliefs in their face generally doesn’t actually shake faith, just hardens it. So you’re pointlessly proselytizing and meanwhile generally damaging the reputations of everyone who isn’t. So yeah, I’m annoyed.
Second off, actual discussion (which I’m quite enjoying, by the way):
Not really. Your statement about math is based upon things we *know*, but are not provable. You have a consistent system that you can demonstrate works in one way according to the rules–but those rules are *known* not proven.
I accept that 1=1, and you can extrapolate a lot from that. Don’t you?
I’m not sure what you mean there.
Just that science’s leaps of faith don’t excuse religion’s.
I like the Big Bang theory because it theorizes that before material was formed, there was no time. The Big Bang theory is *scientific evidence of timeless eternity*, and it also leads to philosophical questions about what started it. If could not be a physical cause, because a physical cause in eternity would have to be an eternal thing–and a physical cause is a discrete thing. It must have been something that was not physical, like maybe a spiritual mind? It must have been a very powerful cause. And when you look at the balance of the universe, it must have had an intelligence. All these things point to God–thanks to science!
Again, you’re misinterpreting my point slightly. My point was simply that there is provable evidence that many things that are held to be ‘leaps of faith’ actually occurred. (I believe Mr. Card actually said that of the Big Bang, but I couldn’t point to precisely when.) What caused that event-well, that’s a matter of faith for now.
Maybe. Depends on what you mean. Evolution is grossly insufficient to explain the irreducibly complexities of the molecular machines in our bodies. Looking at these machines, we may not have a scientific reason that we know they are created– but they obviously are created. (There is no *scientific* reason that we know that a Leer Jet was created–but we would know it was obviously created if we found something like it on another world. And the Leer Jet is simple compared to the fantastic complexity of life.)
Don’t know quite what you mean by “he said-she said” in this context.
Exactly that. We don’t know whether we were made by God or aliens or flying spaghetti monsters or good luck or what. So it’s a bit impossible to argue about it.
.I also think that Evolution is very dogmatic. They don’t have near the evidence they pretend to, and much of the evidence has been discredited. Science has never once shown us natural speciation.
That way my tuberculosis example. But, in any instance, I’d agree that the public face of evolution could use some work. Mr. Card wrote an essay on the same premise, I believe. The fact of the matter is, though, there’s more evidence that some degree of evolution occurs than that we were created by God/aliens/FSM. What started the process is arguable, but that it continues to occur is much less so.
Well, AA, we are, of course getting way off topic here, but that hasn’t stopped anyone else. Besides–at least we aren’t condemning each other to hell.
I know. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s certainly a nice change of pace from most of the online discussions about religion I’ve had.
I’m also now amused by that my initials also spell out ‘Alcoholics Anonymous.’



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Anon

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:36 am


Leroy Morte wrote: The fact that so many people have believed in them over the intervening years doesn’t make them any kind of empirical evidence.
Most of us are not materialists because we have found the thinking behind materialism flawed. It begins with false assumptions about knowledge, and it disregards the ability to know things without “proof,” even though materialism, itself, does not provide “proof” for anything.
But we can *know* many things that are not provable. (Science, in fact, depends upon that fact. Without that fact, science would not be able to exist.) There are many ways we can know things about faith and God. One of them is Divine Revelation. Another is our spiritual experience. (And there is much cause and effect in that experience.)
But let’s take Divine Revelation as one factor.
Divine Revelation includes the Revelation given to us by Jesus Christ. Hundreds of eye-witnesses observed His death on the cross, and then witnessed Him alive after the fact. Many of them were tortured and martyred for their testimony. Keep in mind that people die for what they believe, not for what they know is false. For their witness to be false, it would have meant that they *knew* they died for a lie. This is very dramatic testimony.
Divine Revelation includes the prophecies. The life and death of Jesus Christ was prophecied in great detail. There were many very unlikely aspects of those prophecies–but they all came true. With almost two hundred different variables in the prophecies, it is mathematically implausible to think that these prophetic books were not true and Divinely inspired books.
There are other examples of Divine Revelation, but there are also examples of private revelation. Less than 100 years ago, there was the apparition of Mary at Fatima. After revealing herself to three individuals, she promised great signs for others. The sign was a miraculous movement of the sun that sort of spun like a pinwheel. (Probably a very inadequate description.) Over 60,000 people showed up for the sign, and some of them were journalists and atheists who had the intention of being witnesses that it didn’t happen. But it did happen, and those journalists and atheists gave testimony to that fact. This extremely dramatic sign is why there are so many “Our Lady of Fatima” churches in Europe.
Then there is the revelation of natural law. Eventually, if you realize there is a natural law and an absolute Good, you have to ask where it comes from. God is Good. It is one of his eternal and endless attributes.
These are, of course, very cursory and inadequate examples. Each of them deserves far more time and study. By studying them with a rational mind, you will discover the most amazing things–and it will be amazing what you can *know*, just as if they were rules of mathematics.
The knowledge of God and the understanding of God can be found in many different ways. Some of those ways are experiential, but many of those ways are quite rational and accessible.
Materialism does nothing to refute that knowledge, either.



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Anonymous Atheist

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:54 am


Fair enough.
I’m not going to try to refute your faith. When it comes down to it, you have it or you don’t, and I don’t. But your having faith doesn’t challenge my not having it, and it appears that the reverse is also true.
Your argument that natural law is derived from God actually reminds me of the theory of the natural god-that there is a deterministic Godlike being that is just the sum total of natural laws, such as the chaos system of weather, evolution, etc. But in the end I don’t believe in God and you do, and that’s that.



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Anon

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:03 am


I accept that 1=1, and you can extrapolate a lot from that. Don’t you?
Sure. But what does “1” mean, and how do you know? What does “=” mean, and how do you know? How can you be sure your mind truly understands what “1” is? (By the way, another remarkable thing that points to a Creator is that we can trust what our minds think at all. The survival of the fittest does not provide for the immaterial things that we know, and that what we perceive and think is anything close to reality. We know that we are thinking rational thoughts that go way beyond survival. And we trust it. Why? It’s a huge leap of faith, and it is really a leap that accompanies the Creator who made it work.)
Just that science’s leaps of faith don’t excuse religion’s.
But without leaps of faith, we literally cannot think about anything. We either rely upon those leaps of faith to have knowledge of the world and of God, or we give up to complete futility.
Again, you’re misinterpreting my point slightly. My point was simply that there is provable evidence that many things that are held to be ‘leaps of faith’ actually occurred. (I believe Mr. Card actually said that of the Big Bang, but I couldn’t point to precisely when.) What caused that event-well, that’s a matter of faith for now.
Actually, I didn’t so much misinterpret you as go off on my own tangent. It’s sort of like you held up a snap dragon to study its anatomy, and I said, “Ooooh! Pretty!”
Exactly that. We don’t know whether we were made by God or aliens or flying spaghetti monsters or good luck or what. So it’s a bit impossible to argue about it.
You make it sound like it is futile to explore. Knowledge of something isn’t necessarily gained by math. Sometimes we get to understand something better by continuous observation and exploration. *Most* of the time, the depth of understanding we have come to is nearly impossible to articulate in any complete fashion. It is a great mystery why we perceive that knowledge. But we can still be confident in what we know about things. This is true of material things and spiritual things. We can’t know anything absolutely with all explanations for it (we aren’t God)–but we can know an immeasurable amount about a lot of things. We shouldn’t discount that knowledge just because we haven’t “figured out the math.”
That way my tuberculosis example. But, in any instance, I’d agree that the public face of evolution could use some work. Mr. Card wrote an essay on the same premise, I believe. The fact of the matter is, though, there’s more evidence that some degree of evolution occurs than that we were created by God/aliens/FSM.
I completely disagree. You cannot make such a statement without making radical and completely blind leaps of faith. Evolution has not been observed *at all* or *in any way*. But there are many, many things with which I have direct experience that gives me evidence of God.
What started the process is arguable, but that it continues to occur is much less so.
Oh? When have we ever observed the process of evolution?
I know. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s certainly a nice change of pace from most of the online discussions about religion I’ve had.
I hope so. I’m really getting close to running out of gas, though. I’ve been hitting it pretty hard for several days. I may “conk out” on you for a few days, but I’m enjoying the exchange, so maybe I’ll come back to it. I will probably be much more coherent with some rest, anyway.
I’m also now amused by that my initials also spell out ‘Alcoholics Anonymous.’
;)



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Anon

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:06 am


Your argument that natural law is derived from God actually reminds me of the theory of the natural god-that there is a deterministic Godlike being that is just the sum total of natural laws, such as the chaos system of weather, evolution, etc.
Okay–but I don’t believe in that.
But in the end I don’t believe in God and you do, and that’s that.
Well, He believes in you. ;)



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CrossWise

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:41 am


The Laws of Logic state: “Where there exists any two diametrically opposing propositions; they may both be wrong, but they cannot both be right.”
The question is WHAT is a “Christian”, and who may claim right to that descriptor?
And the answer will only be rightly arrived at when the source of the term (the Bible) is consulted.
Mormons would have us forsake the historic & grammatical context into which the term was born in favor of their own re-definitions of it.
According to the record of Luke in Acts 11:26; the followers of the historic Christ were first called “Christians” in 1st Century Antioch.
Well known, or available to be known were the FACTS concerning the real Jesus. They had Paul & Barnabas right there in Antioch at that time, as well as many surviving eye-witnesses who had first-hand knowledge of Jesus and his teachings.
And while there were those foolish enough to try, NONE got away with passing off a different Gospel, a different Jesus, and a different Spirit whilst these folk survived.
And throughout the centuries we have seen the repeated attempts of others who would do so, yet the testimony of these same eye-witnesses ever lives on to testify against them.
THIS is why it is key to the Mormon, or any other cultists to first discredit the reliability of the Bible, and in the process transfer an individual’s trust to their own proposed source authorities.
NEVER, in their wildest dreams could they ever measure up to the historical, Biblical definition of what it means to be a “Christian”!
Facts are what is so, and not what we “vote” them to be.



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Carolyn-Anne Templeton

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:03 am


I know that these comments have mostly all been made… perhaps to an exaggerated point, but still I find I must post, if only as a way to determine my own thoughts and belief. The essential question posed is, of course:
Is Mormonism Christianity?
While this does pose an interesting question, I find that both debaters are flawed by a limited point of reference. They argue the definition of Christianity and, as such, non-Christianity. This is much like judging the political climate in America only by looking at Democrats and Republicans. A more complete view analyzes these parties in comparison to the global development of political theory. To ignore the rest of the world is rather arrogant, just as to ignore the other major global religions is both arrogant and short sighted.
Granted, I am a confirmed agnostic, so I may be dismissed as an atheistic liberal by both sides. However, I give much respect to the spirituality of the LDS and born-again churches, however I may taken back by the practices of both sides at times, so I would like to be granted the same consideration given to fellow members of your respective churches. My personal beliefs (and I do have them) taint my views, but so do yours.
But back to the original question. First another question, does Mormonism share tenents, doctrines, beliefs, and fundamental background with traditional Christian churches? Absolutely. No one, Mr. Card, can argue otherwise. The kinship in belief between the Church of Latter Day Saints and say, for instance, the Baptist Church is remarkably close. They hold the same foundation.
However, they same can be said in comparison to Islam and Judaism. I recognize these religions in particular, because they also share literature with the traditional Christian church. One can find certain spiritual connections between nearly all religions… and for that matter folklore and mythology, but that is best left to experts such as Joseph Campbell to argue. As is my understanding, Judaism recognizes the Christian church as close kin who differ slightly in literature and in the position of Jesus Christ in the course of human events. The New Testament is an interesting book, but flawed. Christ is a prophet, but not the Son of God. There is slight but significant change that makes Christianity a seperate religion.
Chrisitanity is to Judaism as Mormonism is to Christianity. One could even see the Church of Latter Day Saints as the next step in the Judeo-Christian line. Or the next branch, I should say. Yes, it shares similar roots, but it is simply not the same thing. If Judaism is a seperate religion from Christianity, then the Church of Latter Saints must also be considered seperate.
I make no judgements in this statement, nor even any implication. I am not saying that Mormons follow the Devil- which is a preposterous idea to my mind. That, in a way, is granting LDS a closer tie to traditional Christianity than I think is present. The only way for a church to deliberately follow that opposite of the strict ‘Christian’ faith would be to completely surrender themselves to the original Christian ideals. The Church of Latter Day Saints does no such thing… they recognize the good teachings of the past and then evolve them into a seperate entity. Whether this a good thing or not is up to the eye of the beholder. It certainly should not affect the election of a president. Personally, I would never vote for Mitt Romney. Not because I hate Mormons, nor because I think that he belongs to a cult. I don’t like Mitt Romney because I don’t like Mitt Romney.
This country is beyond such petty distinctions. I don’t care about the religious beliefs of a leader. Frankly, I would elect a member of a cult if I found their actions and beliefs before the election to be exemplary. Do spirituality and religion play and important part in politics? Absolutely. Our political system is composed of men of all faiths who make decisions and their decisions are effected by their morality which is in turn heavily influenced by religion and/or spirituality. However, no religion, that I know of, is an accurate predictor of actions. There are good and bad men universally… being Mormon, Baptist, atheist, or Wiccan does not change human nature. Politics cares not how the actions are arrived at, but at what they are. Religion is simply an inadequate factor in determining a man’s nature. As such, it should not be a factor when voting.
But I fear I have rambled. But I found it necessary none the less. Hopefully someone else does as well.



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Rick

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:40 am


Is it Christian to believe that skin color indicates spiritual worthiness?
Mormon doctrine states that humans existed in Heaven before they were born. In a War in Heaven, before being born, spirits (meaning humans) who were not as valiant are now punished by being born with brown or dark skin color. If true, how is that not spiritual racism?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:55 am


This is a statement made earlier on this thread by a critic of my church:
“To Everyone – Mormonism is a fraud because Joseph Smith is a fraud. When Joseph Smith said God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared before him in his bedroom in upstate New York, he didn’t realize that he was proclaiming that he exclusively witnessed the Second Coming of Christ. We know that after Christ ascended into heaven, that when He returned to Earth, His appearing would not be to 1 man or a group of Mormons regardless of what your eschatological views are nor would it be peaceful so as to not make a grand entrance. If Mormons uphold the Bible “in so far as it is correctly translated” and Joseph Smith, according to his testimony witnessed the return of Christ, than why is everyone still here? Joseph Smith is a false prophet that has added nothing of worth to mankind except for Mormons.”
First: This poster has displayed his his or her total ignorance of the subject at hand in the second sentence of the above statement.
Joseph Smith’s first vision of the Father and the Son was, according to Joseph’s first hand account, in the woods near his Father’s farm on a beautiful spring morning in 1820.
Second: Paul apparently witnessed the second coming as well, if we follow the logic (and I use the word very loosely) of the statement above, since Paul saw Jesus Christ after his ascension. thsi would also be true of Steven the martyr, and John the Beloved.
Third: It always amuses me that people think that there would be no ground work laid for the second coming. Which brings up an interesting question: When the Lord, Jesus Christ does return again, (and Mormons do believe this doctrine), and opens his mouth to speak, will all those who say the Bible is sufficient put thier hands over their ears, cl;ose their eyes tightly and hum loudly so that they do not hear any further word of God?



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Gus

posted July 6, 2007 at 9:29 am


Ilove pissing matches between religions. You people are all nuts.



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TB

posted July 6, 2007 at 10:30 am


I am a christian who finds that the LDS teachings, scriptures, etc. strengthen my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank goodness it is God who will decide whether I am “True Christian” or not.
Gus, you are right, this whole blog is just a “pissing match”



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summathetes

posted July 6, 2007 at 11:51 am


Leroy Morte –
By definition, God is Omnicient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent. No human could exert any one of the three. One who claims to know that there is no such thing, whatever it may be, claims to have “all knowledge”.
By reason, one can read the Bible and understand, if he seeks understanding, that it is coherent, written for the purpose of proclaiming God (who He is), who man is (a created being who defied the obligations of his Creator), man’s need for reconciliation to his Crerator, and God’s provision for man’s reconciliation.
I would venture to claim, as I have read a few things you have stated, that you have entrusted from learning what you have written, which we all have done, otherwise, what do we really have to say apart from learning and understanding?
I agree with you that faith alone does not make one thing true over another. I suppose your beliefs are based on evidence as our mine. The proof that I have other than my faith are the writing’s not only of the New Testament accounts of what men, not only Jews, Jews who followed Christ, Pharisees who became Jews, Roman Emperors, Jewish Historians, and Philosophers who, could have at any time sought to elevate themselves for their own benefit, or at any time could have publicly denounced what the NT promulgates, but never did.
What is the tolerance margin to get into heaven? I think one must first ask, what’s the standard by which the tolerance you are seeking is measured? Next, ask yourselve, who has the authority to obligate a person to uphold that standard? These questions are the reason why the rightness of one thing over another is not moot, if, in this life one wants to ensure for himself a place in heaven for eternity. Once that standard is discovered, than one can either choose to obligate themselves to it or not.
I don’t think heaven will be a lonely place, because I don’t think anyone will be there who is exactly like me. Besides, I don’t think heaven is about me at all. Heaven is about the Creator reconciling his creation to himself. It is a place without pain, suffering, death, sorrow or hate. It is perfect life. Heaven is for all people. Murderers, liars, cheats, rapists, thieves, etc… However, without the forgiveness that can only be given through Jesus Christ, imperfect beings cannever reside with a perfect Creator.
The problem that often distorts one’s understanding of God and heaven and those who profess faith in the work of Christ is that man often compares his life to the life of other men. So one man says well I’m not as bad as that guy and so forth. But the Bible calls man to evaluate his present condition to the perfect Creator. So regardless of whether your an axe murderer or a child who has stolen a piece of gum, compared to perfection, we are all imperfect. That is why only a perfect savior could pay the debt of imperfection we owe to God as his creation.
I agree with you, religion in general isn’t the solution. That is why you have people who are trying to follow Christianity in its purity. Christianity is about the relationship of a person and the Creator. Creation’s response to the Creator was given in the Bible and specifically, Jesus Christ, who proclaimed to be God in the flesh. Religion is man’s distortion of what God has given.
Your last sentence was very disheartening. I consider those, like yourselve to be worthy of respect. Matter of fact, I enjoy the conversations I have with everyone, regardless of what they make believe. I would hope that we could seek the truth and learn together without argumentum ad hominem.
Take Care.



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Tom

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:44 pm


It’s easy to claim to be Christian if you limit the definition to being a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. But, that definition doesn’t seem complete enough for many persons. These persons should examine what Jesus Christ Himself believed about the nature of God, as far as that is possible.
Did Jesus Christ believe God to be His Father with a Holy physical body?
Did Jesus Christ believe that He would rise from the dead to physically sit next to His physical body God and Father?
Or, did Jesus Christ believe that He would rise from the dead and be a part of an immaterial Trinity until His Second Coming?
The answers to the above can be found in Mormon scripture, but then you might find yourself converting to that religion.
The irreconcilable difference between Christians and Mormons lies in the definition of God, and that can’t be defined out from the definition of what it is to be a modern Christian. Mormons may be Christians, but not as Christians define themselves today.



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David Chiu

posted July 6, 2007 at 1:59 pm


I once encountered an elderly fellow in Taipei, Taiwan — he asked this question of me (an ordained ministered of the Lord Jesus Christ):
“How can you claim that ‘God so loved the world’ when you deny everlasting life to those who fail to ‘believeth in Him'”.
He really thought it was a telling point that there seemed to be a contradiction between universal love and conditional salvation!!
God really does love all of us perfectly, and no matter when or where we may have been born, He will grant us a full and fair opportunity to earn salvation as defined by the Lord in John 3:15.
Not matter how much we do, it is ultimately grace that saves — I thank God that He invites all.
Some may doubt God’s omnipotence, thinking that grace will not cover those who (as Mormons) accept Jesus as their personal Savior, the promised Messiah, and Lord.
I’m thankful to trust that He is not so limited.



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Jim

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:41 pm


This subject interests me, although probably not in the same way it interests most of you. It’s of a more personal nature to me, because I profess to be a Christian. What’s more, I think it is of utmost importance that this turn out to be actually the case. But from my view the answer to the question, “Who gets to define Christian?” isn’t quite that hard to answer. The problem is, it is subjective and will be different for each of us. Because the way I understand it, there will be a day when I will stand before my savior and that question will be brought up–am I a Christian? The answer will be important to me because it will determine whether I’m on the right hand or the left, whether I am a sheep or a goat, a wheat or a tare, and what I end up doing for the rest of eternity. On that day, I won’t give a rat’s behind what Dr. Mohler thinks, or how Orson Scott Card feels, or the pope or the prophet or even St. Peter, for that matter.
The only opinion that makes any difference whether or not I am a Christian, is Christ’s himself.
You guys can talk until you’re blue in the face about whether it’ll be by grace or works, whether Jesus has a body or is part of a immaterial trinity, who has more accurate scriptures or who is a cult. I’m just going to make good and sure that I do everything I can so that answer to that all-important question is in the affirmative.



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Norman Doering

posted July 6, 2007 at 4:45 pm

TB

posted July 6, 2007 at 6:50 pm


Jim,
Thanks for your fair and objective view of the subject. Unfortunately according to Evangelical Christians you will spend eternity in hell because you made and believe the statement: “I’m just going to make good and sure that I do everything I can so that answer to that all-important question is in the affirmative.” Christ’s grace apparently is undone by those trying to live a life full of good acts. Now you are no better off than a Mormon.



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Dale

posted July 6, 2007 at 7:48 pm


Intellectualism is a very troubling thing. The brain squeezes the love right out of the discussion. It seems to me antithema to “debate” Jesus Christ, or discuss the Gospel of Jesus Christ with hate and anger in our hearts. The very nature of the “debate” makes of us judges while it exposes the tremendous beam hanging from our eye as we wield the hatchet to remove the mote from our lost brothers eye. What I know of the Christ is this … He gave his life (all of it)to mend the broken, heal the sick, and deliver the captive. May we do likewise. The question for us all might be, “Am I more like Jesus or the Pharasee?”



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Anon

posted July 7, 2007 at 12:04 am


Orson Scott Card’s anti-atheist bigotry
For something to be bigotry, it requires hate. I saw nothing in Mr. Card’s article that showed hate.
You might say he has a “prejudice,” but there is not a soul on earth who doesn’t have prejudices.



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Jestrfyl

posted July 7, 2007 at 12:14 am


Wow, from the length and energy indicated by these postings I can see why the LDS folks feel a bit outside of things. Many electrons were sacrificed just in the couple of days over this one. Here’s a thought…
My wife has a theory – in response to name droppers everywhere – It is not very interesting to hear about who you know or with whom you say you are associated. It is much more impressive to have that famous person or renowned group say they know or are associated with you. So to answer the question, Who decides is aperson or group is Christian – ask the one whose title is being tossed around so lightly. Short of doing that, our own answers are just sneezes in a hurricane.



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achristian

posted July 7, 2007 at 2:12 am


I except Jesus Christ as my Lord, Savior, and the Son of God. I except that Jesus Christ died for my sins. What else do I need to do to become a Christian?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 7, 2007 at 4:09 am


Dear achristian,
Do you really want to know or are you just asking so you can argue about what I tell you?
I would like to dicuss this question in a calm and reasoned, kindly way. I find this works better when we can have a quiet two way conversation. If you are interested in what I have to say, (and I will support my statements with Bible scripture), my email is paisme@hotmail.com
Mike



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Kevin

posted July 7, 2007 at 8:03 am


Such an interesting read, both the original debates and the many comments. I hope to answer the questions posed by A.C. As and initial comment I am a believing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe its doctrine to be true. I believe much of that doctrine is still not completely understood. Joseph Smith taught many things that I don’t completely understand, I do not believe a complete understanding of those things as essential to my own or anyone else’s salvation (except perhaps to Joseph Smith’s own personal salvation). It is in my opinion that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and his personal understanding of God far exceeds my own. All of the things he taught I believe to be true, but many of them are beyond my personal understanding.
Some on this blog have asked why Mormon’s feel a need to be considered Christian. I personally feel that to be called non-Christian misrepresents me, to me is seems to communicate that i do not believe in Christ as my savior and that is false. I accept Christ as the Son of God and the only means of salvation.
I guess I had more to say than I expected, but now to attempt an honest yet complete response to the questions. Do not take what I say to be official doctrine, much of what I express is my opinions in areas where our mortal limitations in understanding eternity leave some things unknown. I do not consider the answers to most of these questions essential to salvation, Salvation comes through the Grace of Jesus Christ and by no other means. I answer these questions both as an effort to provide A.C. with answers as well as an effort to introspectively evaluate exactly what I believe concerning them.
1) Is Jesus Christ the One true God?
I believe In God the Father, in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I believe God the Father, to whom Jesus Christ prayed, to be the One true God. I believe that Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament, Jehovah. And I believe that the unity of purpose of these three beings is to such a degree that as a group they are the One true God, also in that sense each of the three is the One true God.
2) Is Jesus Christ eternal (no beginning and no end)?
Yes, but I feel it important to note that I believe our understanding of eternal is very limited in our mortal state. I believe it likely that our existence in “the beginning” was different than our current state. I believe in a concept of Eternal progression, thus I believe we have progressed considerably from our original state to attain the state we are currently in. I do not claim to comprehend how anything could have no beginning, but I simply believe that in any way that we can currently comprehend eternity, Christ is eternal, he has no beginning and he has no end.
3) Do you believe that there are more than 1 God in existence?
I believe that to be a distinct possibility, I do not know if more than 1 God exists at present but I believe we have the potential to progress Eternally to have all that the Father has. God has all knowledge, all power, all virtue etc. If we progress to have all that the Father has, in my understanding we will become just as He is now. How exactly all of that works I do not know. I do not know if there is more than one God now, but I do believe that in the eternities there will be more than one being who is at or beyond the state of Eternal Progression that God is currently at now, I believe that at some level of meaning that exceeds my mortal comprehension God the Father will continue to progress. But I believe God the Father will always be my God.
4) Has there ever existed a god before Jesus Christ?
I believe in a Spiritual Creation. This creation took place under the direction of God the Father. I believe that as a result of this Spiritual Creation we had a pre-mortal existence. At some point in this pre-mortal existence, and possibly before we gained this pre-mortal existence Jesus Christ became God, this very well may have occurred so early in our mortal understanding of eternity to have happened in what I will call, before “the beginning”. I do not believe this Spiritual Creation to have been the beginning of the our existence, but rather a step in our progression. This is similar to our birth and mortality being a step, as well as our death, and resurrection being steps. The key point is that as far as our mortal existence allows us to understand eternity, God has always been God, and Jesus Christ has always been Jesus Christ, and along with the Holy Ghost, these three have always been God.
5) Will Mormons one day become Gods?
I do not believe that this is something reserved only to those who are Mormons in this life, but yes I believe some of us will progress to have all that the father has, and therefore progress to have Godhood. I believe the opportunity to complete the ordinances, such as baptism, that are required to do so will be given to all, and to many that opportunity will not occur in this life. Christ’s own baptism shows the importance of ordinances as part of his Church, and I believe those ordinances have everything to do with our eternal progression.
6) Was the Father once a man who went on to become God?
I do not know much about this personally, I understand that Joseph Smith taught this, and because I accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God I accept it as correct teaching. Without having studied the context in which this was taught, I can not comment much further on it except to say that within the context of eternal progression which I have tried to explain, this idea is not that hard to believe or to understand at least on a rudimentary level.
7) If God the Father was once a man who went on to become God, who was God before Him?
I do not have any idea. As far as I know Joseph Smith nor any other Church authority has every taught anything about who may or may not have been God before him. It is in my opinion that nothing is known about this because God is the only God that we have need know about. I believe again that our mortal limitations regarding comprehension of eternity make this question impossible to fully have answered in this life.
8) Is Jesus Christ the brother of the devil?
I believe that in our pre-mortal existance Satan was cast out because he rebelled against god. Prior to that time Satan, Lucifer, was in a sense our Spiritual brother as Jesus Christ was also in a sense our Spiritual brother. They both owe their existence in that state to God the Father, as we all do, and in that sense they are brothers, just as we all are Spiritual brothers.
9) Is Jesus Christ co-eternal with the Father?
I believe that as far as our mortal comprehension of eternal is able to understand Jesus Christ is co-eternal with the Father. I believe at some level beyond our mortal comprehension Jesus Christ owes his existence to the Father. And in that sense he is both our Brother and our Father. The complexities of that is again beyond my comprehension.
Please do not let these questions of doctrine overshadow the most important belief which I have, and which Mormonism teaches: The only way to be saved is by the Grace of Jesus Christ. I believe that anyone who shares that belief is a Christian. May we all be just a little bit more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
If anyone has further questions please let me know, or send me an email at the_burnham@yahoo.com.



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Norman Doering

posted July 7, 2007 at 8:54 am


Re: Orson Scott Card’s anti-atheist bigotry
Anon wrote:

For something to be bigotry, it requires hate.

Says you. A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from his or her own. It doesn’t require hate. It usually does accompany hate, but it’s not required.

I saw nothing in Mr. Card’s article that showed hate.

You can’t easily fear that much without also hating. The fact that he pumps up a threat that doesn’t exist is lying and using us as a scapegoat. Seems hateful to me.

You might say he has a “prejudice,” but there is not a soul on earth who doesn’t have prejudices.

Yes, Mr. Card has a “prejudice,” but he is also a bigot who lies, making atheists out as a threat when they are not.



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Anon

posted July 7, 2007 at 12:11 pm


I wrote: For something to be bigotry, it requires hate.
Says you. A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles, or identities differing from his or her own.
If that were true (though it isn’t), there wouldn’t be a man alive who isn’t a bigot–so the point is moot. That includes you. You are clearly intolerant of my opinion. You are clearly intolerant of a lifestyle that includes the rejection of atheism. And, as much as we can tell about Mr. Card, we can also tell that you are intolerant of identities (people who reject atheism) differing from your own.
Now–you may reject the second two, because “we don’t know you.” But they are as easily rejected of Mr. Card, because we don’t know him. Your statements are excessively judgmental, so you can’t criticize me or Card for making judgmental statements. The first item you obviously cannot reject. You explicitly state your intolerance.
It doesn’t require hate. It usually does accompany hate, but it’s not required.
If that is the case, we really have no way to truly distinguish bigotry from pejudice, and since everyone without exception has prejudices (which include intolerance of ideas, lifestyles, and “identities”), it becomes a pretty useless word that is really only used by dishonorable name-callers.
I wrote: I saw nothing in Mr. Card’s article that showed hate.
You can’t easily fear that much without also hating.
That is an excessively prejudice thing to say. It is probably also hateful because it insists that the object is hateful when you really have no idea if he is hateful. You are coming off very much like a hypocrit here.
The fact that he pumps up a threat that doesn’t exist is lying and using us as a scapegoat. Seems hateful to me.
This is where you really start losing credibility. For all we can tell, Orson Scott Card is completely sincere about what he wrote. He is probably perfectly sincere about his concern regarding the threat. By making wild (hateful?) remarks that he is *lying*, you show that you really have no objectivity in the matter. Sure, he might be *wrong*, but that is another matter alltogether.
Additionally, I think you mau misunderstand Mr. Card’s intentions. I don’t think what he wrote intends to imply that the majority of atheists are involved in some movement. However, it is quite clear that some atheists have been very busy bringing their agenda to the government–specifically for the purpose of abolishing anything Christian from public places. Whether you agree with it, or not, that is a bit of an atheist movement that we know is occurring. There is at least some truth to what he says, whether you believe it need qualifications, or not.
I wrote: You might say he has a “prejudice,” but there is not a soul on earth who doesn’t have prejudices.
Yes, Mr. Card has a “prejudice,” but he is also a bigot who lies, making atheists out as a threat when they are not.
And with such vituperative and irrational spite, you seem to reveal your own hate and your own bigotry. You condemn him based upon the stereo type of his character that you have created. I don’t see such condemning words from him.
Take a deep breath, and give him the benefit of a doubt. If you don’t give him that benefit, you are clearly the bigot here.



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Joy Dawson

posted July 7, 2007 at 12:42 pm


I have read so many of your writings with great interest. I would not be afraid to vote for Romney because I think he is a moral man. Most of the differences in my church http://www.cofchrist.org and the Mormon church take place in the hereafter, so if they are wrong about some of those beliefs, it doesn’t matter anyway. I do believe that all scripture can be plenary (direct from God) or conceptual(what the writer thinks God is saying). Our church, though a part of the original church, cannot believe in polygamy, celestial marriage, Adam/god (all men can become like God), Jesus being the brother of Satan, only white priesthood, only men priesthood, and some other differences. The Mormons finally decided polygamy was wrong and they finally said, “let the black man become priesthood”. They have not allowed woman to become priesthood, as yet.
I do think Joseph Smith saw and heard the instructions of the angel Moroni(one of the writers in the Book of Mormon) in his bedroom. I do think Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son in the grove. I do believe Joseph went through all of that “hell” in his life to bring that book to life. Because Joseph Smith is a man, I believe he may have taught some things contrary to God OR others said he taught them. There’s not much proof in many wives, but there is some proof of adultery.(And who has not sinned, even Peter and David, throw the first stone.)
Anyway, all scripture is subject to some error through “conception” of men and through translation of men. Our church has taken out the documents in D&C that we believe to be in error, and placed them in the back of our D&C. We also do not accept the Pearl of Great Price. We do believe that from time to time our Prophet/President receives spiritual direction from God for our people all over the world. We just received Document # D&C 163.(It is on our church site.) And it was through a document #D&C 156 that I was, a woman, ordained to the office of priest. (Apostles, Seventy, elders, priests, teachers, deacons are some of the offices).
All of the above is by way of explanation of some of the differences. Now—with that said, what is our real purpose in life? It is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and to be His servant, to accept Him as our Savior, to know we can have a personal relationship with our God, to trust Him, and to move out into the world and accomplish God’s purposes of caring for the sick, clothing the hungry, etc.—all of the things Christ said we should do to inherit the Kingdom. We are saved by Grace, and our good works are just a by-product of that salvation.
I cannot be critical of anyone’s faith. I have all I can do to try to be like Christ. I do believe that like the Bible (which is a history of the Jews, the coming of our Savior,etc) the Book of Mormon is a religious history of three different groups of people who were led to America. The name “Mormon” comes from one of the writers in the book, a righteous man named Mormon, who did some abridging of all the records he received, before he gave them to Moroni to hide in the earth. (Isaiah 29–“…they will speak low out of the dust.”) There was no one left of their civilization who was righteous, and the people were killing each other off, and Mormon knew the records must be kept safe. It is in this book that we read of Christ’s visit to the people in America after his crucifixion and ascension to the Father—and he preaches the same things he preached that we read about in the Bible.(And he did say in the Bible, “There are other sheep who are not of this fold, and they too shall HEAR MY VOICE.) The Book of Mormon does not teach polygamy, Adam/God/,celestial marriage, or anything contrary to the Bible. It does make very clear that little children do not need to be baptised until the age of accountability, that they are “saved in Christ” until then. The Book of Mormon also teaches that the person in the world, who dies, who never knew the law will not be held accountable for the law of Christ.(This probably includes a lot of prisoners today) It also is specific as to the method of baptism—to go down into the water and be submersed. So—do I think everyone is going to hell who does not belong to my faith or believe as I believe? NO, I DO NOT!
Our Heavenly Father loves us, will be fair with us, will answer our prayers, will be with us—if we make the effort to have a relationship with him, and to trust Him.
Now–about my priesthood. I was ordained in 1986 to the office of priest. I do not feel that I am taking the place of any man. I have not always been as valiant in this office as I should have been, but since I have not had children since the age of 42, it has given me much good work to do. I have helped families, asked God to heal the sick, stood by during administration for the sick, taught adult classes, and preached sermons. And always,when I have made the effort, I have felt the Spirit of God there, just as many of you have.
I have learned to buy fewer things that I might share what I have with the world’s poor and destitute. I pay my tithing, but I make the decision as to what amount I will pay. I also decide on what amount my contributions will be for the sick and hungry.
I am 81 years of age now, getting a sermon ready for tomorrow on “Jesus, the Rock of our Salvation” And I am quoting scriptures from the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. They all agree—Jesus is the rock—the only means by which we can have salvation. We all just want to be in the Kingdom where Christ will reign, where there will be no more sorrow and pain, where there will be love, and work to do (I hope). Let’s live here on earth with lots of love for each other so that all of us can be there. Im counting on “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, the things the Lord has in store for those who love Him.”



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Will64

posted July 7, 2007 at 4:28 pm


A previous poster brought up that it would be easier for Mormons to convert people if those converts thought they were simply changing forms of Christianity. If Mormons are defined as Christians, then no harm done. If Mormons are superficially trying to be defined as Christians, while knowing they are not, then that is something else.
If Mormons are honest in defining themselves as Christians, then we can’t criticize them for successfully using marketing techniques that are available to other churches to gain converts. Of course Mormons will try to find persons who are searching for answers and who may be going through stressful times or a personal crisis. Must Mormons only try to convert the devout Catholic priest?
Many posters have stated that they believe in Christ and that is enough, and that these disputes and discussions are not important and are unnecessary. They’ve forgotten that the news of Christ must be shared, and that people need to and must ask questions. If someone asked them about Jesus, they wouldn’t answer by just telling them to believe without explaining what to believe in and on what that belief is based. If they’re new in Christ, then they might have to turn to an authority, whether the Bible or a pastor, priest, minister, etc. Christianity can’t be explained without definitions, and whether a religion is Christian is very important to someone seeking Christ.



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Norman Doering

posted July 7, 2007 at 5:56 pm


Anon wrote:

You are clearly intolerant of my opinion.

Oh really? Is thinking you’re wrong intolerant. Is pointing out why you are wrong intolerant? What have I done to keep you from expressing your opinion? Have I told lies about your intentions? Mr. Card has lied about atheist intentions. Have I claimed that there are no Mormons in foxholes? People are always saying there are no atheists in foxholes even after they’ve heard about Pat Tillman. Have I accused you of trying to suppress others? Is disagreement intolerance?

You are clearly intolerant of a lifestyle that includes the rejection of atheism.

What in the hell are you talking about? I don’t know anything about your lifestyle nor do I care to.

If that is the case, we really have no way to truly distinguish bigotry from pejudice,

Not true. Prejudice, to pre-judge, doesn’t necessarily imply active measures against people, Bigotry is more active.

and since everyone without exception has prejudices,

Yes.

(which include intolerance of ideas, lifestyles, and “identities”),

No, prejudice doesn’t automatically include intolerance. You can pre-judge something as silly and then not fear and act against it.

That is an excessively prejudice thing to say.

Let’s look at the evidence you ignored. My first post was a link to my blog where I laid out the evidence. It’s becoming clear you never realized the statement was a link to the evidence. This is what Mr. Card wrote:

I hope we all agree with each other about this: In a time when a vigorous atheist movement is trying to exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion while in office, why are we arguing with each other?

It’s a blatant lie and I’m sure that Mr. Mohler does agree. I don’t think Mr. Card does really believe it (because he is claiming to be a Democrat but I don’t really know – if he does believe then he’s really ignorant). Mr. Card, I think, is merely feeding Mohler’s bigotry with what he knows are lies and using a minority as a scapegoat because he knows Mr. Mohler is a bigot.
We atheists are only about 3 percent of the American population, 9 percent if you include everyone called “non-religious.” That cannot be called a vigorous atheist movement. That’s Mr. Card’s first lie. We’re the least trusted group of Americans according the polls. At best only 45 percent of the population would vote for an atheist, and that’s the bigotry Mr. Card wants to plug into and he knows Mr. Mohler buys that crap. We are the real victims of the prejudice and bigotry Mr. Card talks about.
Sure, some atheist books are selling well but no where near the way the “Left Behind” books which have sold more than 62 million copies are. According to Mr. Card this atheist movement is “trying to exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion while in office.”
Please explain exactly how we are trying to exclude religious people or silence them? By pointing out how crazy their statements are? By pointing out the lies they tell?
If you can’t present evidence for that you’re probably lying. Will you and Mr. Card start accusing the ACLU now?
I’m disgusted by all the god-blathering politicians have to do to get elected but all I do is point out how crazy and false it is. I cannot nor would I silence you.
If pointing out lies is intolerant – then, yea, I’m intolerant. If fighting for your rights is intolerant, than yes, I’m intolerant. You can’t be tolerant of the intolerant can you?



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Will Friday

posted July 7, 2007 at 6:06 pm


I thank all of you for this example of why all religion is completely idiotic. It would be funny if it were not so sad. You might as well argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I don’t care who accepts whom in the never ending debate about religious ideas.
The very fact that people can’t agree about what God is or wants should suggest to a thinking person that there actually is no such thing as God. Clearly, God is imaginary and therefore this argument can never be resolved. There will never be any way to determine who has the correct view of God because it is nonsense. Religion is nothing but glorification of ancient superstitions. Are we still ignorant savages who need to wrap our understanding of the universe in such blindingly stupid dogma? Haven’t we learned about the danger of blind faith from the tragedy of 9/11?
The debate and these comments do nothing but demonstrate the sheer uselessness and divisiveness of religion in human affairs. We have enough things to disagree about without quibbling over who has the best imaginary friend or who is more devoted or more correct in their worship of it. Can’t we just stick to facts about real things?
What we should consider when deciding on a candidate is what we know of their agenda and any political track record they may have. In other words we should consider their actions because we will never know what goes on inside their skull. Choosing a president is difficult enough without bringing people’s fantasies into it.



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Richard

posted July 7, 2007 at 7:32 pm


Lots of reading, good stuff…spent the last hour plus here…but I must say the debate is moot. Let me state one thing, although I would never speak for all Latter Day Saints. I do not seek, nor desire to be numbered among mainstream Christian churches. Some here, and others elsewhere state that Mormons are “seeking” for this acceptance. The only acceptance I seek is that of MY SAVIOR.
I am not offended that you dont consider me Christian.
Additionally, its my observation that Mitt Romney does not bring up his religion. Its only a matter of public discourse because media types, perhaps driven by others, has sought make it so. You’ll note that he has the same response whenever it is brought up…that its values and outcomes that people should use to measure the man, not the words on the paper of their religious texts.
Noone can define my relationship with Christ but Him. That is what makes me a Christian. If He accepts me as a disciple, that is all that has or ever will matter. Peace in Christ.



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Norman Doering

posted July 7, 2007 at 9:25 pm


Richard wrote:

…my observation that Mitt Romney does not bring up his religion.

Mitt Romney almost said what Mr. Card was saying: “We need to have a person of faith lead the country,” (and he received a standing ovation from his audience for saying it). Why do you need a person of faith? It sounds anti-atheist, but you can’t be sure (do atheists have “faith”? It’s like anti-atheist code. What are you afraid of?
At least it wasn’t Mr. Card’s blatant lie:

In a time when a vigorous atheist movement is trying to exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion while in office…



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Will64

posted July 7, 2007 at 9:57 pm


What is so shocking about people who belong to any organized religion being anti-atheist?
For the vast majority of people who claim to be religious, it is impossible to comprehend that an atheist can be moral. Maybe this is because religious leaders instill this fear into them to keep them under their yoke.
I’ve found that most religious leaders would rather chance getting their flocks to Heaven ignorant and blind, or out of habit, versus a follower actually questioning the dogma for him/her self to become a stronger follower. I would think that most people who honestly and deeply question their religion end up quitting religion altogether. And, doesn’t this show that they had no religious faith to start?



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WhoWalksWithGod

posted July 8, 2007 at 1:16 am


So much debate over what a christian is, or what a mormon is, yet the real point of the matter is the question that was asked; what is a christian?
The answer is simple, so simple that it is missed.
This was predicted in the Old Testament.
So many ruls, regulations and religions to figure out how to follow God.
He already gave the answer…hundreds and thousands of times in the bible.
Yes, every religion could be bashed because they do not CONFORM to another religious belief.
So the simple answer is this:
LIVE FOR GOD, NOT YOURSELF!!!
Many will ty to enter, yet few shall be saved. Remember Jesus said that?
Enter by the narrow gate.
They will be ever hearing, but never understanding. Ever seeing, yet still blind.(Paraphrased)
What are the sacrifices of God, read Psalm 51 a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.
Jesus rebuked the pharasees for their traditions which they put above God’s law.
What would He say about religion today?
Be born again. Born in the Spirit.
Deny yourselves, carry your cross daily.
To enter the Kingdom, you must be like little children.
the simple answer is this: Die to yourself and live as Christ lived. He came to serve, not to be served. He was gentle and humble. He followed the will of God perfectly.
Not my will be done, but yours.
Faith is the key, faith is the answer. Give control of your life to God and God alone, deny the flesh and live by the Spirit.
Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life, there is no other way to heaven but by Him.
Give up control of your life to Jesus and our reward shall be great, for what on this earth can be taken with you when you die?
Nothing, absolutely nothing.
What good is it if man remembers what you have done on this earth when you stand before the judgement seat? Shall not heaven and earth pass away?
Live by the Spirit, live by the perfect example that we have. Live as Jesus lived, for if not, then heaven shall not be your reward.
Is salvation eternal? Read Revelations 3:14-22.
Look at the warnings in the gospels, many will say they are christians, yet Christ will say that HE never knew you if His way is not followed. Let the bible be your judge and let no man judge you, for all must figure out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
Peace be to all.



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Will64

posted July 8, 2007 at 2:57 am


To WhoWalksWithGod:
Many Christians believe that belief in Christ is all that is needed for salvation. It seems that they forget or ignore that Christ had His disciples set up His church. That means that belief in Him and fellowship/membership in His authorized church are both needed. Christ’s disciples didn’t just sit still while anyone set up His churches. They acted in His name and authority when they administered to His followers.
Which church is authorized to administer the Sacrament? Which church is authorized to baptize for the remission of sins? What about Laying on of Hands for the Holy Ghost? Shouldn’t the gift that is Christian salvation be nurtured and developed in Christ’s authorized church? Which specific church is Christ’s authorized church today?



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WhoWalksWithGod

posted July 8, 2007 at 9:53 am


Paul was a man like us, he was a pharasee, who followed the law to the letter, yet did he not then call his past rubbish for the sake of serving Christ?
Those who study the scriptures day and night seeking truth will find truth. Not on their own but by seeking God with all of their heart.
Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind and stregnth, and love your neightbor as yourself.
You want an answer to your question Will64, read what the bible says. There is no need or cause for debate over this question for the answers that you seek are in the entire bible. Ask for truth, wisdom and guidiance from God and He will give it. Seek first the kingdom.
Did Jesus follow the rules and regulations of the pharasees?
No, they condemned Him to death because He followed God’s law and pointed out their hypocrisy, so they hated Him without cause.
They said He did not follow their laws, and He plainly told them that they set their traditions above the law of God.
God did set up His church, but you must seek it with all of your heart.
Does this offend you?
Why?



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onlooker

posted July 8, 2007 at 10:33 am


“5) Will Mormons one day become Gods?
I do not believe that this is something reserved only to those who are Mormons in this life, but yes I believe some of us will progress to have all that the father has, and therefore progress to have Godhood. I believe the opportunity to complete the ordinances, such as baptism, that are required to do so will be given to all, and to many that opportunity will not occur in this life. Christ’s own baptism shows the importance of ordinances as part of his Church, and I believe those ordinances have everything to do with our eternal progression.”
Here’s a little stumbling block that lots of folks overlook: God is uncreated. He has always existed. He will always exist. Nobody created God.
Us, on the other hand are created, that’s how we came to exist. And even though God is Omnipotent there are actually some things He cannot do. Lie, for one thing. And make creatures be uncreated.
It is a common misunderstanding to claim that God will elevate human beings to the “God class” of being. That’s not going to happen. The only way to possess “Godhood” is to exist “uncreated”. Nobody has ever demonstrated a strategy for achieving that, and there is certainly nothing in the Bible that suggests such a strategy.
A simple reading of Galatians Chapter 1 goes a long way to winnowing out the chaff..,



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Quin

posted July 8, 2007 at 10:36 am


When a person says a Mormon (or any other believer of Jesus Christ) is not a Christian, the message communicated is that the person in question does NOT believe in Jesus Christ … that he or she either does not believe in Jesus’ existence, or does not believe Jesus was who He said He was.
In the case of Mormons, who most certainly DO believe in Jesus Christ’s life, divinity, words, death, resurrection and atonement, the implication of the statement “Mormons are not Christians” contradicts the truth, and is therefore false. People who make such statements, when confronted with the fact of Mormons’ belief in Christ, resort to theological hair-splitting (“Well, Mormons don’t believe in the same Jesus I do”) as a second emergency parachute deployed when the first accusation (“Mormons aren’t Christian”) fails to catch the air of truth.
Those who oppose the Mormon faith in this way, by saying Mormons are not Christian, are not speaking in truth or honesty. Those unfamiliar with the Mormon faith will conclude, by such statements, that Mormons do NOT believe in Jesus Christ at all … an entirely erroneous conclusion. Yet an alarming number of self-proclaimed Christians are not only satisfied with this false conclusion, they encourage it. They are, in fact, BEARING FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THEIR NEIGHBOR, which is expressly forbidden by one of the Ten Commandments. Such reckless statements are not made in the interest of truth and clarity. They are intended to quickly discredit and invalidate another person’s faith in an easy, convenient catchphrase.
Let such people take issue with individual Mormon beliefs ABOUT Christ if they will. Hardly anyone would begrudge them for it. Simply labeling Mormons as non-Christian, however, is false, deceitful and decidedly un-Christian. How such people can call themselves Christian, while labeling millions of people as non-Christians, who believe in Christ and live as He did, is beyond me.
Ultimately, it is Jesus Christ who will decide who has rightfully taken upon them His name. Ours is not the obligation, right or privilege of stripping other believers of their beliefs. Nowhere in Christian scripture is license given to lie or mislead about others’ faith, even when we feel it is misplaced, incomplete or false. Those who truly wish to be called Christian should act accordingly, and not as the hypocritical pharisees so vigorously condemned by Christ, who used so-called ‘orthodoxy’ instead of the heart and the Spirit of God as the measure of a person’s faith.



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Will64

posted July 8, 2007 at 2:02 pm


WhoWalksWithGod:
You didn’t answer my questions. Here are my responses to your questions:
Paul did forsake his past. And, then he joined Christ’s authorized church. He did not start his own ‘Church of Paul in Christ.’
Jesus didn’t follow the rules and regulation of the pharasees. He authorized his disciples to set up new, correct rules and regulations for His church.
I’m not offended by anything you wrote. I’m disappointed that you didn’t answer my questions, especially that you didn’t name a specific church that is authorized by Jesus Christ.
You did write that the answers are in the whole Bible. Which Bible? The KJV (or the NKJV, ESV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, Updated NASB, LB, NLT, Modern Language, Worldwide English, etc.), or maybe the Catholic Bible?



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WhoWalksWithGod

posted July 8, 2007 at 5:09 pm


But I did answer your questions. You want the truth, read a bible with the truth in it. If it is any of those that you listed, so be it, if not, than find a true one.
Be like the Bereans, search the scriptures dilligently as they did with Paul to see if what he said of the gospel was true.
Like food and water, the Word must be within you everyday in order to be nourished, if not, then you will fall spiritually.



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mariericcardo

posted July 8, 2007 at 5:37 pm


All the posts were incredibly sincere and insightful – though most of you disagree. What crossed my mind was the words of a favorite hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers”….verse 3. Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
(Refrain)

Perhaps it should be removed from all the hymnals – the lyrics dont make sense to me anymore.
Question: What if we’ve all got it wrong?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 8, 2007 at 7:27 pm


Mariericcardo,
Why not ask God?



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Whitney Johnson

posted July 8, 2007 at 7:58 pm


I applaud Mr. Card for talking so publicly about his beliefs, particularly because from an educational/professional standpoint he is significantly out-matched.
What I especially liked was his call for people of faith to look for the common ground, to use descriptors that bind us, rather than separate us.
“We Mormons don’t agree with you on many vital points of doctrine. But I hope we all agree with each other about this: In a time when a vigorous atheist movement is trying to exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion while in office, why are we arguing with each other?”
Whitney Johnson
http://www.knowyourneighbornet.com



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Norman Doering

posted July 8, 2007 at 11:21 pm


Whitney Johnson wrote:

What I especially liked was his call for people of faith to look for the common ground, to use descriptors that bind us, rather than separate us.
“We Mormons don’t agree with you on many vital points of doctrine. But I hope we all agree with each other about this: In a time when a vigorous atheist movement is trying to exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion while in office, why are we arguing with each other?”

By using atheists as scapegoats.



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Danny

posted July 9, 2007 at 11:04 am


Anon needs to sell his mom’s computer and get a job. Thanks for hijackin the comments.



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WestPilton

posted July 9, 2007 at 1:49 pm


I am often impressed by the forcefulness and clarity of Mr. Card’s arguments, and this one is no exception. However, there were a couple of interesting points where I thought he kind of stumbled.
Card writes:
“Now, what if you are an American citizen who absolutely hates every Mormon doctrine you’ve heard about?
My advice is: Don’t join the Mormon Church if you feel that way. But what does it have to do with choosing a president?”
According the Card, quite a lot. He mentions a few times the importance of character in his assessement of a presidential candidate (he being the one person in the country who can see through the hurricane of political spin apparently), yet he doesn’t consider the tenets and ethos by which that person has chosen to live his life an important part of his character? So if a candidate has committed EVERY part of his being to a church whose every doctrine you hate, you can’t use that as an indicator of a character you might not approve of in a president? The only indicator Card seems interested in is hypocrisy. Can we assume, if a committed Satanist who has strictly adhered to the doctrines of his church runs for president, Card will give him a fair shake?
Also, how on earth am I supposed to know whether or not Romney (or any other politician) has cheated on his wife, cheated on his tithe, or drank tea, anymore than I know how if Bill Clinton betrayed the tenets of his own religion? Most people try to make an informed decision based on a little research on her/his life, how she/he comes across in interviews, whether the things she/he is promising seem plausible or sensible. Rather than saying, “well he’s a mormon, and he says he does everything a mormon should. He must be telling the truth!”
Finally, when Card says,
“And if you try to impose one, by saying that all persons belonging to this or that religion should never be elected president, then who is it who is rejecting the U.S. Constitution? Who is it who is saying that people with certain beliefs are second-class citizens, for no other reason than their religion?”
He is, when he indicates he wouldn’t vote for an atheist.
Incidentally, I don’t think that being a mormon should exclude Romney from the office of the President. A right Card is not willing to extend to me, as an atheist.



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Norman Doering

posted July 9, 2007 at 3:21 pm


WestPilton wrote:

He is, when he indicates he wouldn’t vote for an atheist.

Did Mr. Card actually say he wouldn’t vote for an atheist? I don’t think he would, but I accused Mr. Card of lying when he said:

…a vigorous atheist movement is trying to exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion while in office…

Where is there any evidence for this? What has any atheist done to “exclude religious people from participating in American public life unless they promise never to mention or think about their religion”? If Mr. Card can not present evidence for this being done, he has lied to us.
Perhaps Mr. Card means we won’t let doctors prescribe exorcisms? Perhaps he means we won’t let teachers teach creationism or Intelligent Design? Which would mean Mr. Card doesn’t know the difference between science and atheism.



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Adam5151

posted July 9, 2007 at 4:17 pm


It’s still too early for me to make my final decision about Mitt Romney. The claim that his change on abortion was to get support from the “religious right” may be true. That, in my mind, would reveal someone who lacks personal integrity.
Although I’m not religious, or atheist, or agnostic, I could vote for Mitt Romney. Since he is Mormon, and Republican, I expect the “liberal” media will dig up any dirt on him, if there is any. If it turns out that Mitt Romney, like Mr. Card, is against atheists, then I won’t vote for him because the president is supposed to represent everyone, including atheists. I think we’ve had enough of a president who is divisive and only cares about his base.
Christ would be the one to define who is Christian. Unless the Second Coming occurs within our lifetimes, we may have to wait till the next life. In the meantime, we can continue to dispute and disagree about Mormons being Christians. The effect on Mormons seems to be very minimal. They’re still having much success in converting people. Most of them seem to be living true Christ-like lives.
Personally, I like when people convert to Mormonism. Why? It’s a tough religion. It’s tougher than being a Christian. Mormon converts usually get their lives in order. They stop drinking, smoking, and using drugs. (Boy, that Word of Wisdom is the best!) They strive to do goods works, and the world can sure use more good works!



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B

posted July 9, 2007 at 8:29 pm


Norman, may I recommend reading “Godless” by Ann Coulter. It at least gives one very bias view of how religion is being pushed out of public life.



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Pastor Larry McCune

posted July 9, 2007 at 8:59 pm


want truth about Joesph Smtih go here–http://josephlied.com/what.html
Anybody who denies the Diety of Christ is not saved nor a Christian



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Norman Doering

posted July 9, 2007 at 9:55 pm


B wrote:

Norman, may I recommend reading “Godless” by Ann Coulter. It at least gives one very bias view of how religion is being pushed out of public life.

You’ve been lied to by Ann Coulter’s book more than by Mr. Card.



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Secretprayer

posted July 9, 2007 at 10:48 pm


Dr. Mohler only compares Mormons to “Traditional Orthodoxy” Well Mormons are not from the same stalk as “traditional orthodoxy” I have NEVER heard anyone in the Church bear a testimony of… Kolob, Being a God in a distant Galaxy, God physically (doin you know what) with Mother Mary. Those things are all silly. Just because someone in the LDS Church who may be regarded as a General Authority may say something about a certain subject, doesn’t mean it is instantainiously cannonised. Brigham Young said some Whacked out stuff, no doubt. So have alot of us. So have alot of other people. I love(d) and respect the Late Jerry Falwell, he ‘prophesied’ many great and wonderful things. I don’t know a Mormon that doesn’t praise the Moral Majority. I don’t know many people that condoned alot of some of his near hateful things either.
Now, at a time when morality is going down the tubes many “Christian Preachers” are gettin tough on amorality. I welcome it.
Brigham Young had to be extreme in his ways, like Jack van Impe, Jerry Fallwell, and so on. Like then, now is a VERY DANGEROUS time.
To you my “E-free Christians, Baptists, and other crew of GOOD CHRISTIAN people” lets not confuse the enemy. Satan, no matter who the holy heck he is! Lets work togather to combat Satan, Pornography, Homosexuality, attacks on the True and Traditional Family, Violence and Abuse.
Mormons! Lets not use the knowledge we have to diminish the greatness of others! Most OTHER Christian Chruches are not “out to get us” Most have a fear of the unknown. I grew up in a small community, A Lutheran Church Mo. Synod, was on the corner of Oak and Minnesota AVE. A Free Christian Church was on Oak and Columbus. A Baptist Church Southern Convention was on Oak and CoRd 3, and an LDS Church was on Oak and School Street ( a renovated Lutheran Church in which the CROSS was left [we are not afraid of the cross or its meaning] and stained glass windows of different BIBLICAL scenes)
The only Churches in many miles. We all got along very well no hate preaching anywhere, and often times we hosted community events where everyone would commune.
My idea of what Heaven is REALLY like.
God Bless you in the name of Jesus Christ.



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WhoWalksWithGod

posted July 9, 2007 at 11:30 pm


What good is religion if all it does is cause dissensions and squabbles. Isn’t the idea of having a religion supposed to put an end to all of that?
Fear drives alot of people to do things, yet in the end, most of the time, the thing that you fear the most is what brings you down. Therefore, to not have fear, is to not worry about what is going to happen.
This debate of whether someone is a mormon or not, really does not have a definitive basis, is it not fear of someone not accepting you for what you are that drives these debates?
Do we not elect officials, and if, according to the majority, they are failing in the office, is not the right to remove the offender in place as well?
What each person believes affects that person, that’s what works for them, should what they believe be forced on another so that they will conform to that individuals belief system?
Many attrocities have occured due to this way of thinking; The terroist wars of this century, the fire and brimstone preaching of the last century, the hatred of one race for another, to wit, the nazi regiem the slavery wars, the civil war, the inquisiton, the crusades…what was accomplished with all of these examples, nothing but to show that hatred and bigotry exist everywhere and everywhen and that it solves absolutely nothing. And yet, we still fall into the same pattern of bigotry and animosity with these debates. Let the truth of each religion prove itself, it will either stand or it will fall, because a house divided against itself cannot stand.
For instance, the religion that I choose to follow, in it’s basic and simple form has stood the test of time for over four thousand years, if something isn’t real, it will not remain. New religions and doctrines spring up all the time, yet if they are not based on the absolute truth, they will fall.
So, is Chritianity, as we know it today truth, or Mormonism truth, or any other religion for that matter, truth?
Take away all of the dross, and look at the simple truth of each religion…should not the end be that of living in unity and harmony with one another instead of hating each other because one person doesn’t follow the rules and regulations of someone else’s religion.
It is about free will, not force, that we are able to choose what we follow.
Peace be to you all. Amen.



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Anon

posted July 10, 2007 at 10:51 am


I seems that your question has been answered globally. It’s the POPE!!!
NEWS: LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy (7/10/2007) Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.



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Shrubbery

posted July 10, 2007 at 7:14 pm


The biggest problem I see with the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, having attended several services and having a close relationship with a Mormon missionary and a few lay Mormon citizens, is EXCLUSIVITY. On this subject I shall write for a moment.
The point on which I quote you is your definition of a ‘Christian.’ I quote:
“What if we define “Christians” the way most people would: “Believers in the divinity of Christ and in the necessity of the grace of Christ in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God.”
Or, “People who believe Christ is the Son of God and the only way to please God is by following Christ’s teachings as best you can all your life.”
Or how about, “People who believe that the New Testament is scripture and that its account of the life, death, resurrection, and teachings of Jesus is true and that we should act accordingly.””
Now, ignoring the unsupported statement that ‘most people’ would define Christianity this way, I will point out a blatant error in your definition(s). None of them include the exclusivity of the Christian teaching: a Christian is not only a person who believes the Old and New Testaments are God’s word, but someone who believes that they ALONE are God’s word. A Christian is one who believes that the sacred truths conveyed by Christ in the New Testament are the ONLY sacred truths, and the ONLY way by which one can please God.
The Old and New Testaments explicitly contradict the doctrine of polytheism. Let us assume that these scriptures are the word of God: they then automatically disqualify the Mormon doctrine for two reasons. Firstly, Joseph Smith’s first vision (of the Father and Son, the former saying ‘This is my Son, listen to him’) was a polytheistic vision. The Father does not, in Christian theology, have a seperate body from Christ–they are one. In other words, for all the new agers out there, it is like the body, mind and spirit: Christ is the body, God is the mind, and the Holy Ghost is the spirit. They are intrinsically unified, and the mind does not have a body of its own because Jesus Christ IS the body. This is illustrated in the shared sacrament we have: Communion/Eucharist.
Furthermore, the teaching in the book of Mormon and the Church of the L.D.S. proclaims the idea that we can, by means of righteous living and redemption, become Gods of our own worlds and universes. We are, according to the Mormon teaching, the spirit-children of God (the Heavenly Father, and when we spiritually ‘Grow Up,’ we can become like Him. THIS IS POLYTHEISM. What you in other words believe is that there are many Gods, and that the God who created us was once mortal. This concept directly contradicts not only the Old and New Testaments, but the writings of every single Christian scholar and the teaching of every Christian university to date–excluding Mormons.
You asked, “How many ordinary Christians actually know or care about the “historic creeds and doctrinal affirmations” that form Dr. Mohler’s definition-of-choice?” I can answer you this. Ask any Catholic or Episcopalian churchgoer to recite the Nicene Creed, and they will do it for you. Many other protestant denominations require this as memorized doctrine as well. It begins, “We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.” It later continues, “And in ONE Lord Jesus Christ, the ONLY-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father BY WHOM ALL THINGS WERE MADE;” (Emphases Mine).
Now, answer me this: if the God whom we worship ‘became’ God and was once, in fact, a man, then who made that God? There has to be a first cause–and this is the point at which the Mormon doctrine, for me, begins to deteriorate. Who worship this ‘Heavenly Father’ if something must have fathered him? Why worship a God who was not here before time-space reality? Why worship a God, in other words, who was created by another, more powerful God?
In my book, the perfection, divinity, and wonder of God lies in the fact that He alone was here before Creation: he has no external cause for existence; he just exists. In that, he alone is perfect, as all other deities find their cause for existence outside of themselves, while God does not. A God who was created by something else is not a legitimate God to worship, and certainly is not in line with any Christian doctrine, including the Nicene Creed.
I quote again: “So I can go to “The Passion of the Christ” and be moved by it, even though Mel Gibson’s view of what the passion actually consisted of is very different from the Mormon view. I recognize and respect the sincerity of his faith, and I recognize that despite our doctrinal differences, his faith is in Jesus Christ.”
Even an atheist can enjoy and ‘be moved by’ the Passion of the Christ. I can see an atheist saying that ‘despite our doctrinal differences, [I recognize that] his faith is in Jesus Christ.’ This statement does not make the atheist a Christian–he does not believe in the Christian God. Neither do Mormons.
So, although your emotionally moving tirade for equality and acceptance may line up with many of my views for secular America, the acceptance of vegitarians, and a democratic dream, it does not strengthen your cause. Logically, Christian orthodoxy is significantly more accepting than Mormonism is. Mormons believe that unless you accept the Mormon revelation, you will rot for eternity in a ‘spirit-prison’ of sorts (unless you convert after death.) Christians, on the other hand, believe that if you accept Christ as your EXCLUSIVE (there’s that word again) Lord and Savior, you will be saved and have everlasting life. Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, etc. are all united under this theology: any born-again or reasonably educated Christian will be able to tell you this. Mormons stand completely opposite this doctrine, both in your view of the afterlife and the nature of God. You are polytheistic; Christians are monotheistic. You believe you can become a God; Christians believe we are forever inferior and will never be equal to the one almighty God. You believe that the book of Mormon is revealed Scripture; Christians believe that it is not. Clearly, Mormons are not Christians.
The trinity, monotheism, the singular nature of Christ, and our view of Scripture are sacred truths upon which the whole of Christianity rests. Though I respect your views and understand that you see them as true, we need to recognize that our truths are different. I don’t think it’s fair to blame Christians for being small-minded because we see your beliefs as different: you are entitled to them, and I don’t believe that this will cause hinderance in discussion and communication. But before open-mindedness can take place, we must define where it is we agree and disagree: having done that, it is obvious that the Church of the Latter-Day Saints is not a Christian Church.
God be with you all.
Postcript: I am fourteen years old and I was raised in an atheist household before fairly recently coming to Christ. I am politically liberal except on several isolated issues. If I were able to vote, the difference between Christians and Mormons would be an extremely minor factor in my decision–in the end, people’s credibility in this life has precious little to do with their doctrinal beliefs.



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GB

posted July 10, 2007 at 8:08 pm


Shrubbery
Long post. Lots of naked assertions. It appears that you haven’t read all the posts on this thread or the other threads on this debate. Perhaps you should.



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Sue Renelle

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:32 am


It is my experience that often people will think that they dislike, disagree or even feel spiritually threatened by a faith before they really know what that particular faith is. I am LDS. I was not always LDS. That does not mean that I believe anyone elses faith is one of the devils. I do want to suggest that our faith does believe in Christ as our personal Savior. I mean, the name of the faith is, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints”. I love Jesus and He is my Lord and Savior. I pray, I love my family, I go to church and there I hopefully walk away learning how to be a better mother, person and/or friend. I am certain however, that my religion is not the only one that teaches that. Alot of my friends are awesome and they are Baptist, Presbyterian, Luthern and Jewish. In loving Christ and having Faith that He has paid the price to allow us to be with Him in Heaven…we are changed…in really loving Him, our actions, choices, examples and thoughts will show that, no matter what we are, per sae. Mormons are definitely Christian, and in so being Christian could not be the “Church of the Devil”–



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:32 pm


Clayton Bennett, you are dead wrong. Orson Scott Card has *never* referred to Islam as “Christian” in any of his books.
Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of mankind, that He died for our sins, that He was crucified and resurrected. Islam denies those doctrines. The word Christian was invented at Antioch to identify those who believed in Jesus’ resurrection. Believing that Jesus had risen from the dead was what made you food for lions in the Roman Empire. The Roman empire owed its existence to a reign of terror. Cruficixion to the Romans wasn’t just about killing someone, but about humilliating them, showing the Roman state’s utter power over the body. You who preach to us about “orthodoxy,” where are all your supposed convictions when preists in your own churches deny the literality of the resurrection?
Tend to your own houses, and get your own congregations right with the Lord. Then let’s talk about whether your Constantinian post-400AD theologies are closer than our beliefs to Jesus’ actual teachings.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:37 pm


“Anybody who denies the Diety of Christ is not saved nor a Christian”
Anyone who claims that Mormons “deny the deity of Christ” has not bothered to read the title page of the Book of Mormon. If you want to know what Mormons believe, read our scriptures, the teachings of the living prophet, or go to an LDS church and pay attention. Don’t go to the websites of professional liars. Ask a Mormon, “Pastor.”



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Anonymous

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:25 pm


Excellent Summary!



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Clare

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:43 pm


Defining Christianity has its roots in the first half of the first century of this time, the one which began being defined with suffix A.D. There was no formal document, just the teachings of Jesus whose coming as the Messiah was prophesized in the writings of the Hebrew texts over and over by the prophets for centuries throughout B.C. We had very reliable sources, especially since the stories were cross refenced. The Aapostles put pen to paper and recorded the most important parts of Jesus’ ministry here on earth and his predictions of what was to come – to him personally and to the to world. His details were descriptive, even if difficult for us common humans to figure out all details. Maybe that was because God had no intention of informing us of everything. Throughout history he never revealed all. We are simply humans and he is God. I was only a child when I learned presumption was a sin, that is assuming to be as great as God, deserving too be informed simply because we are special.
The Bible reads clearly as a guide for our salvation. The New Testament repeats so many rules and laws God set down throught the ages of what he expects of our behavior if we want to be considered for the new kingdom. Many interpretations I have heard from preachers from churches have given altered views of the teachings of the Messiah. It’s too bad because they will drag down the congregation with them since God warns against the false prophets. If you read the last paragraph of the Bible, Rev.22:18-20. It’s a trip, he threatens anyone who adds to the words of the scroll will be afflicted with the plagues written herein, and anyone who takes away from the words of the scroll of the prophecy, God will take away his portion from the trees of life and out of the holy city things which are written about in this scroll. Without further research I believe that means he’s removed from the book of life. In any event, I’ve noticed lot’s of people made alterations to the Word, thinking it was harmless. I suppose they didn’t read through the end of the Bible. Based on the evidence portrayed throughout the Old Testament, God keeps his word. The prophesies have all come true.
Churches have changed their rules to increase congregations. They wanted to make religion more appealing but in so doing they have beccome lax in some of the fundemental principals that God set down as rules to follow. These things don’t fit with societal structures today, but tell me, do you like the path we are traveling morally, socially, sexually, business ethics, ecologically, and how about the the the biggest threat Terrorism (I’m sure God directed the formulation of that religion – Jesus is a prophet of their’s too!).
Thanks for hearing me out. I tend to run on, but I think religion is in big trouble, and we can’t make a Christian religion out of a group of people who do not believe Jesus was sent by God, encompassed the favor of God along with his gifts, was resurrected by God to heaven (setting the stage for the revelation), and added all kinds of new things to the scroll (also changed by taking away from the original scroll no matter what they they say – Jesus is God).
For my last statement, I hope I don’t turn too many away, but I do believe in Satan. Shouldn’t be too hard to imagine after my statements of belief in Bible text. Satan will try to win the war here on earth by altering the Bible. He’s accomplishing this. The churches have changed a great many of their doctrines so they no longer coincide with the Word but to please the people. Also I see a strong trend of religions becomming involved with politics. I think most of us can remember Jesus saying “Give that to Caesar that which is Caesars and Give to Godd that which is God’s”. Lately, especially with the upcoming election where we have a Christian, Islam, Morman, Catholic, Evangelist and then some. The issue gives me a scarey feeling for I feel it’s getting attention it shouldn’t. Religion is not a funtion of the state – separation of church and state – but anyone who says it’s not and that it’s harboring an undermining agenda is dreaming.



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WhoWalksWithGod

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:04 am


God is God, man is man, the church belongs to God and man belongs to the world.
People can say they follow Jesus Christ all they want, yet Jesus was also very specific about who would enter heaven and who would not.
He also said that many would try to enter by climbing over the fences, and he called them thieves and robbers.
Jesus is the gate and He does shephard His true followers, while the others would be cast out with gnashing of teeth, or great anger and frustration.
The way to follow Jesus, the only way, is to obey His commands, that is by Loving God and Loving your neighbor as your brother. Those are His words throughout the entire bible from beginning to end.
At this point, all people who say they follow Jesus should stop and take a look at themselves, examine their ways and test them according to what the scriptures say, not what man says.
Warning after warning has been given, and soon there will be a time when all things will come to an end.
All of this bickering and fighting trying to prove who is right and who is wrong is a tool of Satan and the carnel nature within us all.
You think you are right in your position and that you know God and what He wants, look at the book of Job, Job’s friends thought they knew the answer too, yet what did God do in the end, He rebuked Job’s friends for not telling the truth and disgracing His name. Only by Job’s prayer were they given pardon.
So sit down, look at the bible, the entire old testament and new testament, and consider your ways, examine them and test them and make sure they are in accordance with all of the Word of God.
Who is right, who is wrong, on earth, no one is, only the bible given by God through His messengers is correct and they will back each other up one hundred percent.
The words of the bible are not written by man, he was not the author, God was, and what does the bible say about God in Genesis, and what does God say about discerning the things of God in the John.
God is spirit, His words are spirit.
Salvation comes only through Jeus Christ, by obeying His commands, and they are simple, love God with all that you are, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Tradition and religion have no meaning in that theology because it is not needed, for by following what Jesus taught His commands were, you will follow all the laws of God and God will pour His Spirit out and then you will do works by way of the Holy Spirit.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:25 pm


WhoWalksWithGod Says:
The way to follow Jesus, the only way, is to obey His commands, that is by Loving God and Loving your neighbor as your brother. Those are His words throughout the entire bible from beginning to end.
Mike’s Question:
Which commands did Jesus give besides to “love one another” in the Bible?



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:32 pm


” group of people who do not believe Jesus was sent by God, ”
Mormons believe that Jesus was sent by God. Next?
“encompassed the favor of God along with his gifts, was resurrected by God to heaven (setting the stage for the revelation), and added all kinds of new things to the scroll (also changed by taking away from the original scroll no matter what they they say – Jesus is God). ”
We believe all of those as well.
Where do you get these doctrines that you think that we believe? Is this what your pastor tells you that mormons believe? Why doesn’t he spend more time telling you about Jesus, rather than fictions about what Mormons believe?



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Lori Daniel

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:00 pm


Thank you very much Dr. John MacArthur. You have explained in a clear and percise manner, the only two religions in the world. Your insite is so valuable and I hope that others appreciate what you have written for all to read and to be educated by.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:15 am


“It’s still too early for me to make my final decision about Mitt Romney. The claim that his change on abortion was to get support from the “religious right” may be true. That, in my mind, would reveal someone who lacks personal integrity.”
I’m glad that at least someone out there is making up his mind on whether to vote for Romney, based on something *other* than his religion.
The president of the United States is not a religious office, and if I belived that an atheist would protect our religious rights and serve our country better than any of the other candidates, I’d vote for that atheist.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:19 am


“And, of course why Mormons do not agree with scripture as it is written.”
That seems like an hypocritical accusation, since so many of our so-called “Sola Scritura” Protestant friends here want to resolve the question of whether mormons are Christians based on whether we meet the requirements of the Nicene Creed and other NON-SCRIPTURAL traditions.



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Peter Christian Nuttall

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:56 am


It’s amazing how Anon and others can go on anon anon anon about the “definition” of Christianity, without ever saying WHAT that definition is. Apparently it’s whatever Mormons don’t believe, whatever that is.
The Nicene Creed was never treated as a definition of Christianity — it was a definition of ORTHODOXY.
Here’s the Wikipedia description of “the core concept of Christianity:”
“The core Christian belief is that, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans are reconciled to God and thereby attain salvation and the promise of eternal life.”
I’m not offering this as authoritative, but as a starting point, because no one here seem willing to give a simple DEFINITION of Christianity. Do you agree or disagree that salvation through our Savior Jesus Christ is the core concept of Christianity?
Just how far are you willing to depart from scripture and add fringes and complications to the core doctrine of Christianity, just to exclude us?



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WhoWalksWithGod

posted July 13, 2007 at 7:34 am


Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Hope that answers your question Mike.



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Abe Yonder

posted July 15, 2007 at 10:44 am


Many people don’t know their history, like when Will Tell shot the apple off of Goliath’s head. A lot of Christians believe that Christianity started with Jesus. There were Christians in Antioch and Tarsus and other Greek University town long before Jesus. They had Dionysus and many had Apollo as their Christ. Paul was the Jewish Pharisee who introduced Jesus to the Christians as “Christianoi” and Antioch was the first place that Greek Christians accepted Jesus and called him Christ. The word means the anointed one. In Aramaic Messiah means much the same thing but is seen a bit differently. To a Jew the messiah is the son of God, (as all Jewish kings are called the sons of God) but not considered to be the actual offspring of a god, because in the Jewish mind God is not a man that can have a wife or son. But to the Greek, the Christ, is the actual offspring of Zeus, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born to a human virgin girl. (This is Greek thought)
All Christi were born of a virgin girl and conceived by the overshadowing of the Spirit of God. All Christi from Hercules down through Buddha and on down the line, had virgin mothers named Mary that were made pregnant by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus became a member of the trinity god of the Roman Christians, these stories were added to the gospels of the New Testament. Most Christians will not believe this, most do not study the origins of their own beliefs.



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Don Layton

posted July 16, 2007 at 5:48 pm


One’s Christianity is defined in the way he or she follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Thus, many LDS are Christians, even in the purely Biblical sense. There never was a Biblical litmus test to determine one’s Christianity based upon theological convictions.



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Harry McDougall

posted July 17, 2007 at 12:48 am


Sadly, as Don did, Christianity is defined by “one’s” or mine, and who are you to say? Don, it’s not “one’s”;it is defined by what is in the bible, jstu as you said it isn’t. To think that anything can be defined by “one’s” is to entirely abrogate the definablity of the thing. It becomes undefinable in any sense. Which is belied by the fact that you feel you are able to define it for someone else. In fact your subjectivizing of all Christian Doctrine is belied by the fact that youare here, reading opinions and feeling strongly about anything. Who are you to say about “one’s” own?
Don seriously, exactly what does Ephesians 2:8-10 mean? Anything? or is it open for definition?
Oh, and Don?…That litmus test that doesn’t exist? You just tried to slide one under the door. How isn’t one doesn’t exist but you just made one up that suits anybody at any time?
By Don’s litmus test, which isn’t really there, any person of any religion is a follower of Christ as long as they behave as Don thinks they should.
sneaky Don!
Harry



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Harry McDougall

posted July 17, 2007 at 12:54 am


Abe,
Please.
Jesus is mentioned in how many extrabiblical documents? If all that you say is true, then what were the Rabbis in the Talmud so upset about? What had Maimomedes (sp?) undies in a bundle? How is it that they speak of him by name, but this is all some convlouted myth that spiraled out of control?
C’mon, Abe.
Harry



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Kelly berkey

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:08 am


Wow, I can’t believe that everyone is making such a huge deal out of someones personal beliefs. I have to agree with Card, being christian is to be a believer in Christ. And if Christ means anointed one like Abe said; then I believe that Christ is the anointed one. Anyone else agree? I personally feel as though this subject is very petty. I am a believer in Christ and I strive to be Christ like. You are all very sad people to be debating a good thing. If you feel so strongly about your own faith, then live it. As far as I know, the lord would not want us to judge each other, that is his job. I know many people that almost get an enjoyment about talking awful things about being Mormon as if following the church doctrines and doing your best to make the world a better place is a bad thing. It’s like they just want to argue, no matter if they are right or wrong. In my own personal belief. I believe that all religions that teach faith, hope and charity in order to show an eternal love is a good thing and close to god. I didnt necessarily get these beliefs from my church. They are from life experience and the closeness I have to my heavenly father. I hope that I will one day be able to sit at his feet with all of you and laugh at the argument we once had. I truly believe in Jesus Christ and will for the rest of my life do my best to accept others (no matter their religion) and attempt in making this world a better place. I am Mormon. I believe in Christ. I believe that he is the redeemer and our guide to a better life after we die. And in this thought (of my own) I truly believe that I am christian. I will proudly stand as a christian soldier if needs be. I’m tired of all the mockery that is said about where we as Mormon’s stand. I believe in Christ, he is our king and our way into eternity. Oh and Harry, your just being petty. I hope that you have better things to do with your time than to make petty arguments.
I’m just tired of reading and hearing all the flack about my faith of choice. I chose this because of the love that comes from it. I know that this argument will not end because of me. I simply ask that you allow us to continue in the belief that we are christian. This definition found in the Merriam Webster dictionary explains what I believe and why I feel this way. I may not be “of the Christian faith” but I am a dedicated christian. If you don’t really have an understanding, then please don’t knock it. I have yet to find a Mormon who knocks another’s faith. With that in mind if you see or receive a good deed, pass it forward. For that is Christ like.
Etymology: Latin christianus, adjective & noun, from Greek christianos, from Christos
1 a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ b (1) : DISCIPLE 2 (2) : a member of one of the Churches of Christ separating from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 (3) : a member of the Christian denomination having part in the union of the United Church of Christ concluded in 1961
2 : the hero in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
Kelly Berkey; college student studying criminal justice, army wife (my husband is currently in Iraq), and mother of 2 very little girls. Just to let you know.



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Michael F. Gast

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:54 pm


Abe: please do not post your version of hysteria and call it Christian history of belief. We have a hard enough time trying rationally to discuss and disprove all of the evangelical nasty comments made about LDS scripture, the church and the idea of revelation without your claim that “all Christi . . . had virgin mothers named Mary . . .” Where did this come from? I believe I know “where” my beliefs came from . . and not from your ideas, that’s for sure.-



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lex

posted July 17, 2007 at 5:47 pm


LDS is a cult; it is not mainstream christianity, but neither is Christ according to Paul.



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ROCK

posted July 20, 2007 at 7:02 am


IF WE WOULD STAMP OUT ALL “EVIL IN THE WORLD TODAY”, AMEN! WHEREWOULD WE BE TOMORROW?
POINT:HOW COMW WE KNOW THE BETER CHOICE OF EVIL, BUT CHOSE NOT TO TO?
A.SOMETIMES PAIN CAN BE PERFECTED,,,,A BETTER PERSON. AMEN!
B. JESUS SAID: I AM SENDING YOU OUT LIKE SHEEP AMONG WOLVES. THEREFORE BE AS SHREWD AS SNAKES, AND AS INNOCENT AS DOVES. MATTHEW 10:16 *
PS….THE SERPENT WAS MORE SHREWD THAN ANY OF THE WILD ANIMALS, THE LORD GOD HAD MADE.
JUST SEEK THE KINGDOM AND LISTEN AT WHAT JESUS SAID TO DO,AND NOT BE SO CRITICAL ABOUT WHO SAID AND THINK WHAT. AMEN!



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Donny

posted July 22, 2007 at 9:28 pm


An “unfamiliar way of understanding the scriptures,” is not where Mormonism dwells.
It is all too clear what way Mormons understand the scriptures.
Wrong.



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Carl

posted July 23, 2007 at 6:48 pm


The only real question I have regarding Mormonism is… Is the Bible complete? Or do you have to add the Book of Mormon to it?



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GB

posted July 24, 2007 at 2:37 pm


Carl,
You ask “Is the Bible complete?”
The so-called lost books of the Bible are those documents that are mentioned in the Bible in such a way that it is evident they are considered authentic and valuable, but that are not found in the Bible today. Sometimes called missing scripture, they consist of at least the following: book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21: 14); book of Jasher (Josh. 10: 13; 2 Sam. 1: 18); book of the acts of Solomon (1 Kgs. 11: 41); book of Samuel the seer (1 Chr. 29: 29); book of Gad the seer (1 Chr. 29: 29); book of Nathan the prophet (1 Chr. 29: 29; 2 Chr. 9: 29); prophecy of Ahijah (2 Chr. 9: 29); visions of Iddo the seer (2 Chr. 9: 29; 2 Chr. 12: 15; 2 Chr. 13: 22); book of Shemaiah (2 Chr. 12: 15); book of Jehu (2 Chr. 20: 34); sayings of the seers (2 Chr. 33: 19); an epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, earlier than our present 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 5: 9); possibly an earlier epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 3: 3); an epistle to the Church at Laodicea (Col. 4: 16); and some prophecies of Enoch, known to Jude (Jude 1: 14). To these rather clear references to inspired writings other than our current Bible may be added another list that has allusions to writings that may or may not be contained within our present text, but may perhaps be known by a different title; for example, the book of the covenant (Ex. 24: 7), which may or may not be included in the current book of Exodus; the manner of the kingdom, written by Samuel (1 Sam. 10: 25); the rest of the acts of Uzziah written by Isaiah (2 Chr. 26: 22).
The foregoing items attest to the fact that our present Bible does not contain all of the word of the Lord that he gave to his people in former times, and remind us that the Bible, in its present form, is rather incomplete.
Then you ask “Or do you have to add the Book of Mormon to it?”
The Book of Mormon thoroughly explains the Gospel that Jesus taught. It is a companion to the Bible and is another testament of Jesus Christ.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 26, 2007 at 2:13 am


Carl said: The only real question I have regarding Mormonism is… Is the Bible complete? Or do you have to add the Book of Mormon to it?
Mike’s response: Show me the scripture in the Bible that says that there will be no more words of God, then we can talk about the book of Mormon.



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David

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:10 am


Yikes, a little agressive but it’s cool. I do agree with the whole band together and be strong for the faiths against atheism, however I also believe that it is our enlightened debate that compells us to better know our own religions. The human desire to argue and be proven right drives us to study and memorize scriptures and profess faith. We of course have our personal beliefs in salvation and deliverance, but their is also the mortal aspect of our faiths.. we are drive to behave as chimpazees. Yes I know, cruel comparison, but also true when a teacher must parade around on stage screaming in his prayers and constantly glorifying us as believers….. hmmmm. I think we should band together as at least “Believers (in something greater than ourselves)” and try to be such a big portion of society that darwinist and athiest have to accept us as a valid part of society, the world is trying to squeeze us out like a windows 95 program. What was the fatal mistake of the native tribes… they didn’t follow the whole “Bundle of arrows” thing, they didn’t stay together… at least we are natives to this land, we can fight together for that…. I think believers should do that first… then debate later.



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haytch

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:06 pm


By figure of speech; I have yet to see a Mormon start a game on the offensive end of the court. Infact,they always seem to be playing defense. Why is that?



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haytch

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:09 pm


In utilizing a figure of speech: I have yet to see a Mormon start the contest on the offensive end of the court, or I have yet to see a Mormon throw the first punch in this game of debating. Why is that?



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Kerry

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:48 pm


There are so many comments here, and I really stumbled upon this article by accident, but after all is said and done, I have but one question. Why does any Christian of any denomination feel it is right to criticize and contend with others? I have been teaching Moromon Doctrine for 29 years. Before that I was a Catholic for 20 years. I have never heard in my years as a Latter-Day Saint, NOT ONCE, any rude comment or argument against any Church. We are not taught to fight or contend. None of our class time is ever wasted teaching the members of our church how to degrade or demean or in any way belittle another faith. You will never hear it spoken from the pulpit. We consider it unchristlike and a waste of time. Chrit’s instructions were to go forth and teach all nations, not spend time with all of this fighting among believers. HAS ANYONE EVER STOPPED TO CONSIDER WHAT THE ONLY REAL ENEMY, SATAN, WOULD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS KIND OF FIGHTING AND BADMOUTHING? I AM SURE HE IS ABSOLUTLEY THRILLED THAT INSTEAD OF GOING OUT AND DOING GOOD TO SOMEONE WHO IS IN NEED OF HELP,OR TEACHING THE GOSPEL TO SOMEONE IN NEED, THAT 300+ FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST ARE TIED UP FIGHTING AMONG THEMSELVES. It is very interesting to me having lived on both sides of the fence, and having served a mission in a foreign country, to watch the behavior of members of all different religions. I personally love teachers, speakers, and authors from EVERY church and have learned wonderful things, gained incredible insights, from teachers of all faiths and have quite an extensive library to prove it. “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormomism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” (Joseph Smith) With so much to learn and so many in need of help, my only concern is that I find a way to help people learn to incorporate the teachings of Christ into their lives. Joyce Meyer does it very well. So do some in our church and so did some Catholics who taught me. Can we agree that most of the problems in our world have a moral or spiritual basis? Given the challenges we face in society – fatherless homes, child and spouse abuse, divorce, poverty, spreading crime and delinquency, can we afford to waste time bickering? Can we agree that the ultimate transformation in society will come through the application of the teachings of Christ in the lives of each person? Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, whoever….I have met you all and there are good people everywhere! GO TEACH!! God is using more than one people to do his work. It is too big for any one group to do alone. (I actually read this idea in a book titled “The Influence of a Righteous Man” by Robert Millet, a member of the LDS church. This is a prime example of how we are taught and what we are taught. To cooperate, to unite, to focus on teaching the gospel and not on contention.
And we would be blessed to have such a moral, brilliant President like Mitt Romney. DO NOT LET SATAN WIN ON THIS ONE BECAUSE OF PETTY ARGUMENTS AND NIT PICKING AMONG YOURSELVES.



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JeffNTX

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:45 pm


The founder of the Church, Joseph Smith, said:
“While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the Universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; he views them as his offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men.”



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Mike Bennion

posted July 30, 2007 at 1:14 am


Great quote.



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Jeff

posted July 31, 2007 at 4:35 pm


Kerry, you said:
“I have never heard in my years as a Latter-Day Saint, NOT ONCE, any rude comment or argument against any Church. We are not taught to fight or contend. None of our class time is ever wasted teaching the members of our church how to degrade or demean or in any way belittle another faith. You will never hear it spoken from the pulpit. We consider it unchristlike and a waste of time.”
Now, I don’t doubt that you haven’t heard negative things said of other faiths, but it seems to me that you didn’t do some of the studying I have in that regard. Read below of some quotes from an apostle and a few presidents of the LDS church. Yeah, sounds like they aren’t badmouthing other faiths at all, your right!. I have actually attended an LDS ward EVERY sunday for the past 3 years (my wife is LDS). I haven’t heard it too often, but there has been times when I heard a Gospel Doctrine (might have been principles) teacher say something negative about the orthodox Christian view on a certain subject.
Now, naturally in this century, it is understood that badmouthing a competing organization/person, you shouldn’t bad mouth them because it only really lets the person know about you and what’s in your own heart. I work at a flight school. If I bad-mouthed other flight schools near me to recruit a student, an intelligent person would start to think that I’m trying to make up for a lack of what my school offers, further showing that I have no confidence that my school is the best for them and what they want to accomplish. Hope that makes sense. Anyways, read on my brother.
———————————————
Heber C. Kimball (First Counselor to Brigham Young)
“Christians – those poor, miserable priests Brother Brigham was speaking about – some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth …” (Journal of Discourses 5:89).
———————————————
Brigham Young (Mormonism’s Second President)
“The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God” (Journal of Discourses 8:171).
“With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world” (Journal of Discourses 8:199).
“… the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting the Pagans” (Journal of Discourses 22:44).
——————————————–
Joseph Smith (Mormonism’s founder)
“Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth” (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10).
——————————————–
John Taylor (Mormonism’s 3rd President)
“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense …the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century” (Journal of Discourses 6:167).
“What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing …Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God” (Journal of Discourses 13:225).
———————————————



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Bryan

posted July 31, 2007 at 4:54 pm


Who defines a christian.
What did Jesus say.
NIV
Jn 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be , you will indeed die in your sins.”
Mormons claim many things that Jesus never taught,
In my debates with Mormons not one has denied the follow teaching.
Jesus is the brother of satan. In fact it is defended still
Jesus, according to Milton Hunter of the LDS First Council of the Seventy, is the brother of Lucifer. “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind”
(The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).
http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Brochures/Is_Lucifer_the_Brother_of_Jesus.pdf
I can list other teachings not found in the bible nor taught by Christ that mormons believe and still defend. When was the last time they have denounced such errors against Christ, bottom line LDS thelogy is not christian



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:53 pm


Jeff,
You quote from the Journal of discourses. Do you know the LDS church’s position on the Journal of discourses? Well here it is:
The Journal of Discourses is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a compilation of sermons and other materials from the early years of the Church, which were transcribed and then published. It includes practical advice as well as doctrinal discussion, some of which is speculative in nature and some of which is only of historical interest.
Of course you limited quotes make it very possible that you have taken them out of context.
“Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth” (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10).
Isn’t that similar to:
Matt 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
Mark 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Of course if Nephi would have used similar words you would have accused him of plagiarism.



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GB

posted August 1, 2007 at 12:01 am


Bryan,
Does the Bible contain everything Jesus said (taught) and did?
Answer NO!!!
John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
Acts 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Where are the things that Jesus taught for forty days to be found?



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Mike Bennion

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:56 am


Bryan Said:
In my debates with Mormons not one has denied the follow teaching.
Jesus is the brother of satan. In fact it is defended still
Jesus, according to Milton Hunter of the LDS First Council of the Seventy, is the brother of Lucifer. “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind”
(The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).
http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Brochures/Is_Lucifer_the_Brother_of_Jesus.pdf
Mike’s response:
Way to lose context Bryan!
Elsewhere in the Link that you quoted, Michael Reed, the author of the brochure on the link, says:
Since the “long explanation” required for thoroughly addressing this topic won’t fit this simple brochure, I am somewhat limited in what I can share with you. Should you be interested in learning more, however, a link is provided at the end of the article in order to give you a more thorough explanation—AN EXPLANATION THAT CRITICS USUALLY NEGLECT TO PROVIDE THEIR AUDIENCE.
I did a search using, Lucifer brother of Jesus of the search topic on http://www.fairlds.org . The linkbelow is a result of that search. Those who are fair minded will wonder why Bryan quoted one pargraph out of a two page explanation and go read the explanation for themselves.
The link below
http://www.fairlds.org/cgi-bin/search/search.pl?Terms=Lucifer+brother+of+Jesus&SEARCH.x=10&SEARCH.y=11



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GB

posted August 1, 2007 at 9:49 am


Bryan,
Here is another good link to help you in your search for more understanding regarding this topic.
http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai222.html



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Bryan

posted August 1, 2007 at 9:50 am


It is IMPOSSIBLE for Jesus and satan to be brothers. Jesus is FULLY God. satan is a created angel who sinned. the bible no-where teaches such great error. In my debates with mormons not one has denied this teaching.
Scriptures clearly teach Jesus is ” LORD GOD ALMIGHTY ”
NIV through-out
Isa 6:3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy , holy is the LORD Almighty;the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Rev 4:8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
Rev 4:9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,
Rev 4:10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
NOTICE carefully
Rev 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.
NOTICE angels are created and the LORD created them
Ps 148:2 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Ps 148:3 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars.
Ps 148:4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
Ps 148:5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.
WHO created ALL things JUST as YOU said Jesus did.
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Jn 1:2 He was with God in the beginning.
Jn 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made
Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Col 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
satan is a CREATED angel who SINNED. In Ezekiel 28
Eze 28:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
Eze 28:14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
Eze 28:15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
Eze 28:16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
So once again HOW can Jesus and satan be brother when the FACT is that JESUS is the CREATOR of ALL things, including satan BEFORE satan sinned
One God who is Savior
Isa 17:10 ,Isa 43:3 ,Isa 43:11 ,Isa 45:15 ,Isa 45:21 ,Isa 49:26 ,Isa 60:16 ,Isa 62:11 ,Isa 63:8 ,Jer 14:8 ,Hos 13:4 ,Mic 7:7 ,Hab 3:18.
Jesus is savior
Lk 1:47, Lk 2:11 , Ac 5:31 , Ac 13:23, Phil 3:20, 1Ti 1:1 , 1Ti 2:3, 1Ti 4:10, 2Ti 1:10 , Titus 1:3, Titus 1:4, Titus 2:10 , Titus 2:13 , Titus 3:4, Titus 3:6, 2Pe 1:1, 2Pe 1:11, 2Pe 2:20, 2Pe 3:2, 2Pe 3:18 , 1Jn 4:14, Jude 25,
One God who brings salvation
,Isa 12:2 ,Isa 12:3 ,Isa 25:9 ,Isa 26:1 ,Isa 26:18 ,Isa 30:15 ,Isa 33:2 ,Isa 33:6 ,Isa 45:8 ,Isa 45:17 ,Isa 46:13 ,Isa 49:6 ,Isa 49:8 ,Isa 51:5 ,Isa 51:6 ,Isa 51:8 ,Isa 52:7 ,Isa 52:10 ,Isa 56:1 ,Isa 59:16 ,Isa 59:17 ,Isa 60:18 ,Isa 61:10 ,Isa 62:1 ,Isa 63:5 ,Jer 3:23 ,La 3:26 ,Jnh 2:9 ,Zec 9:9,
Jesus brings salvation
Lk 1:69, Jn 4:22, Ac 4:12, Ac 13:47, Ac 28:28, Ro 1:16 , Eph 1:13, 1Th 5:9, 2Ti 2:10, 2Ti 3:15, Tit 2:11, Rev 7:10 , Rev 19:1,



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Bryan

posted August 1, 2007 at 10:04 am


it does not matter how LDS abuse scriptures. facts wil not change.
Jesus is God ( trinity ) who clothed Himself in human flesh
Phil 2:6 Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
Phil 2:7 but made himself nothing,taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness.
Phil 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Jesus is called GOD
Heb 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Heb 1:4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father” ?
Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son” ?
Heb 1:6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
Heb 1:7 In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.”
Heb 1:8 But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.
and is worshiped as God
Mt 14:33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Mt 28:9 Suddenly Jesus met them.“Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
if Jesus was not fully God, did He sin then by allowing Himself to be worshiped ?
Jn 20:28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
satan is a CREATED angel who sinned
they cannot be brothers



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Bryan

posted August 1, 2007 at 11:15 am


I do not believe Jesus would give two totally different gospels. Mr Smith did not “restore” the lost gospel, the church never died. Question did the faithful christian martyrs die for nothing, a dead church?. the witness of these faithful people are against the LDS teaching that the church Christ started died.
FOXE’s BOOK of MARTYRS
http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/martyrs/index.htm



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Mike Bennion

posted August 2, 2007 at 2:34 am


So then, Bryan.
The alternative that you would prefer?
God created Lucifer?
Did he create him Ex Nihilo?
If so, then God appears to be responsible for evil?
Why would God do that?
Is there another alternative?



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Bryan

posted August 2, 2007 at 9:26 am


God ( Jesus ) created Lucifer as a GOOD angel
Eze 28:12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “ ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
Eze 28:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
Eze 28:14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
Eze 28:15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created
BUT God also allowed FREEWILL in His creation, So through Lucifer’s FREEWILL he SINNED.



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GB

posted August 2, 2007 at 10:22 am


Bryan,
You keep quoting Eze 28:12-15. Sorry pal, but that scripture doesn’t have any thing to do with Lucifer. It is talking about Tyrus which apparently was a wicked city (see Eze 26).



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Bryan

posted August 2, 2007 at 1:17 pm


Bryan,
You keep quoting Eze 28:12-15. Sorry pal, but that scripture doesn’t have any thing to do with Lucifer. It is talking about Tyrus which apparently was a wicked city (see Eze 26).
———————–
ESV through-out
Lets see.
You do know that chapter divisions were ADDED to the bible?
1 message to PRINCE
ESV
Eze 28:1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre.
2 message to KING
11 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me:
12 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre
3 message to Sidon
20 The word of the LORD came to me:
21 “Son of man, set your face toward Sidon,
Lets have a look at the second message. Notice how the king is described as
CREATED NOT BORN
“You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God
You were an anointed guardian cherub
were on the holy mountain of God
O guardian cherub
I cast you to the ground
Luke 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
11 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me:
12 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared.
14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.
16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.
18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you.
19 All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.”
this is clearly talking about satan being a created angel who sinned



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 1:34 pm


Bryan,
Amen, brother! How about this from Isaiah 14?
12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
16They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
18All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.
19But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.
20Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.
Lucifer was a created being. Some biblical scholars think he was the most powerful heavenly being, even as strong or stronger than Michael. They speculate that it was his job to lead the praise of the heavenly host, and that he coveted that praise for himself. Thus, the fall from heaven.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 2, 2007 at 1:41 pm


So do you believe that God created Lucifer who sinned and became Satan.
So Lucifer is God’s creation. You can call him Son or creation or thing or angel or whatever, but he belongs to God’s creation.
Do you also believe in Creatio Ex Nihilo? Creation out of nothing?
If so, how can you reconcile free will. God who according to you has all power creates a being out of nothing who then rebells. Dosn’t God, who is responsible for his creations if they are out of nothing, bear the responsibility for all the evil in the world. After all, it wasn’t there before if he created it out of nothing. So evil is God’s fault under your construct.
If however all matter is co-eternal. And God organized matter, rather than making it from nothing, the matter has pre-existing properties and thus poseeses agaency which a perfect God would not abridge.
2nd Nephi Chapter 2 is a solid docrinal treatise on this subject:
THE SECOND BOOK OF NEPHI
CHAPTER 2
Redemption cometh through the Holy Messiah—Freedom of choice (agency) is essential to existence and progression—Adam fell that men might be—Men are free to choose liberty and eternal life. Between 588 and 570 B.C.
1 And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my afirst-born in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren.
2 Nevertheless, Jacob, my first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine aafflictions for thy gain.
3 Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed, and thou shalt dwell safely with thy brother, Nephi; and thy days shall be aspent in the service of thy God. Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast bbeheld that in the cfulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men.
4 And thou hast abeheld in thy youth his glory; wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and bsalvation is cfree.
5 And men are instructed sufficiently that they aknow good from evil. And the blaw is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is cjustified; or, by the law men are dcut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
6 Wherefore, aredemption cometh in and through the bHoly cMessiah; for he is full of dgrace and truth.
7 Behold, he offereth himself a asacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto bnone else can the cends 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, asave it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who blayeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the cresurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make aintercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
10 And because of the intercession for aall, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be bjudged of him according to the truth and choliness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the dpunishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the eatonement—
11 For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no apurpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the bjustice of God.
13 And if ye shall say there is ano law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not bthere is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and alearning; for there is a God, and he hath bcreated all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be cacted upon.
15 And to bring about his eternal apurposes in the end of man, after he had bcreated our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the cfowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the dforbidden efruit in fopposition to the gtree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should aact for himself. Wherefore, man could not bact for himself save it should be that he was centiced by the one or the other.
17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an aangel of God, according to that which is written, had bfallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a cdevil, having sought that which was evil before God.
18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he asought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all blies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, cknowing good and evil.
19 And after Adam and Eve had apartaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of bEden, to till the earth.
20 And they have brought forth children; yea, even the afamily of all the earth.
21 And the days of the children of amen were prolonged, according to the bwill of God, that they might crepent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of dprobation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were elost, because of the transgression of their parents.
22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no achildren; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no bjoy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no csin.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who aknoweth all things.
25 aAdam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.
26 And the aMessiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may bredeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are credeemed from the fall they have become dfree forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the elaw at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
27 Wherefore, men are afree according to the bflesh; and call things are dgiven them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to echoose fliberty and eternal glife, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be hmiserable like unto himself.
28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great aMediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the aevil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to bcaptivate, to bring you down to chell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.
30 I have spoken these few words unto you all, my sons, in the last days of my probation; and I have chosen the good part, according to the words of the prophet. And I have none other object save it be the everlasting awelfare of your souls. Amen.



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 1:58 pm


Mike Bennion,
-Did God create evil?
That question has intrigued scholars for centuries. The answer is no, God did not create evil. He created sentient beings who had the capacity for good and evil. Why? He wanted glory and praise and honor, but he wanted it and still wants it in spirit and in truth. If He created a group of beings that HAD to worship Him because that’s how they were created, that worship would not be authentic. Read the Scriptures – God wants, above all else, our hearts. We are to love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, but above all with our hearts. Why? Solomon tells us that the heart is the “wellspring of life” (Prov 4:23). “In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” (Ps 33:21)
So God created Satan, who fell to the sin of pride, rebelled and took a third of the angels with him, and now is the god of this world, prowling around like a roaring lion seeking those whom he could devour. He is evil because he hates God for casting him out, and wants nothing more than to thwart God’s plans at every turn. This is where evil came from, from an angel who was not content with his lot in life, and the lies that he has spread from time immemorial to try and separate God from men.
That is spiritual evil, the evil spread by Satan and his demons. There is also natural evil, like hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, tornadoes, and the like that have come about because God cursed the ground when Adam and Eve fell. Things like thorns and thistles, weeds, meat-eating animals, and all of the bugs and snakes and other things that can hurt or kill men came from, from the curse put on creation. Moral evil is the evil that men do to themselves. We tend to think of things like the Holocaust, or the Inquisition, or Stalin’s purges, or even abortion when we think of moral evil, but we have done evil one to another even on this thread. I am guilty of some of that myself, when I have let my emotions override my intellect. Anything that opposes the commands of Christ and pays homage to the flesh could be considered in one way or another moral evil.
Whew! I hope that sheds some light on the subject for you. So many people want to believe that evil isn’t real and if we all could just have better environments and better home lives to nurture us in then evil would go away. That just isn’t the case.
The last thought on evil is: Why doesn’t God just get rid of it? why doesn’t He say ‘today, at 4pm EST, I will do away with evil.’? A couple of thoughts on that. One, whenever we have asked that question, and I have myself, what are we really asking God to do? To get rid of true evil, or just get rid of the things that I think are evil? You have to be really careful with that question, because what you consider evil and what God considers evil are probably 2 very different things. If evil did cease to exist today at 4pm, a lot of things that I hold dear and friends that I love and family members might disappear, so you have to be careful what you ask for. Secondly, God has tarried in having Christ return so that everyone has a chance to hear the Gospel and make the decision either for life or death. He does not destroy evil now because there are evidently more people in the world who need to hear the message of the Gospel.
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” I Tim 2



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Bryan

posted August 2, 2007 at 2:56 pm


Do you also believe in Creatio Ex Nihilo? Creation out of nothing?
———————-
Yes. I reponded to this in another post
http://blog.beliefnet.com/blogalogue/2007/07/by-orson-scott-card-there.html#comments
you are aware that Joseph Smith simply plagiarized the KJV



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Bryan

posted August 2, 2007 at 3:00 pm


If so, how can you reconcile free will. God who according to you has all power creates a being out of nothing who then rebells. Dosn’t God, who is responsible for his creations if they are out of nothing, bear the responsibility for all the evil in the world. After all, it wasn’t there before if he created it out of nothing. So evil is God’s fault under your construct.
—————————-
You do know that God sent His Son to deal with human “evil”
and one day satan will be bound forever in hell.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 2:50 am


Bryan: You do know that God sent His Son to deal with human “evil”
and one day satan will be bound forever in hell.
Mike: Yes I do. but that does not solve your paradox.
And frankly, the LDS construct of Creatio Ex Materia is at least as plausible and probably more free of paradox than Creatio Ex Nihilo.
There is really no verse in the Bible that supports Creation out of nothing.
Bryan: you are aware that Joseph Smith simply plagiarized the KJV
Mike: All primary documents concerning the coming forth of the Book Of Mormon as well as the texts of the Bible found in the Daed Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Maunuscripts make it increasingly unlikely that this is so. I treated this in another post as well.
http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/bom_plagerize_kjv.htm
http://www.mormonfortress.com/bible5.html



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 3:01 am


Hebrew scholar, John Tvedtnes, has studied these changes and has demonstrated that the Book of Mormon variants accords well with other ancient Isaiah texts, and often provide a superior reading to our KJV Bible (Tvedtnes, 1984, 165-77). Tvedtnes notes, for instance, that the longer 1QIsa, scroll from Qumran (Dead Sea Scroll) “supports the Book of Mormon Isaiah text in a number of cases.” (Tvedtnes, 1994b, 246.) The critics tend to overlook this aspect.
The scholars at FARMS have observed the “extensive, intricate consistencies within the Book of Mormon. Passages tie together precisely and accurately though separated from each other by hundreds of pages of text and dictated weeks apart.” (FARMS Updates, Oct. 1987.) FARMS notes for example that Alma 36 quotes 21 words verbatim from 1 Nephi 1:8, and that Helaman 14:12 quotes 20 words from Mosiah 3:8. And of course as many a critic has noted, the Book of Mormon quotes Isaiah at length. Such internal consistency and lengthy quotes would not be possible with quick memorizations of selected Bible verses, such a feat would require either inspiration or a fantastic memory.
Several years ago the critics claimed that the phrase “faith, hope, and charity” from Moroni 7:44-46 was lifted from 1 Corinthians 13:13. Dr. Nibley, however, demonstrated that
the whole passage, which scholars have labeled “the Hymn to Charity,” was shown early in this century by a number of first-rate investigators working independently (A. Harnack, J. Weiss, R. Reizenstein) to have originated not with Paul at all, but to go back to some older but unknown source: Paul is merely quoting from the record. (Nibley, 1989, 216.)



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 3:04 am


The quotes from the post above and thos post and the next post are form the links about plagerism which I included above:
Two Book of Mormon characteristics which the critics often cite as evidence that Joseph Smith copied from the Bible are the changes in the Book of Mormon to words which are italicized in the Bible, and the inclusion of Jesus’ sermon on the Mount in 3 Nephi. Let’s deal with the italicized words first. Royal Skousen writes:
In 1991, as a part of a course on textual criticism of the Book of Mormon, three of my students (William Calhoun, Margaret Robbins, and Andrew Stewart) wrote research papers on various aspects of this question. Calhoun and Robbins examined various copies of the King James Bible (including a good number that were printed in the early decades of the 1800s). As one might suspect, they found examples of variation in the use of italics, even in King James Bibles published after the supposedly final revision of 1769. Moreover, Calhoun notes that he found only one Bible (printed in London in 1800) that actually mentions (in an introduction) what the italics mean. The original 1611 edition does not explain the use of italics; in fact, it silently borrowed the idea from the Geneva Bible, which does explain the use of italics. Given the general lack of knowledge even today about what the italics mean in the King James Bible, one might surely wonder if Joseph Smith himself knew this, especially in those early years when he was translating the Book of Mormon.
Calhoun and Robbins also compared the italicized words in the King James Bible with the original text of the Book of Mormon (as found in the two manuscripts). And both discovered many examples where Joseph Smith deleted, added, or altered words that are not in italics in any of the King James printings they examined. Each concluded that there was no direct connection between the italics and the original Book of Mormon text. Simply giving examples where changes correspond with italics means nothing; one must look at all the changes, including the ones that occur independently of italics. (Skousen, 1994, 127-8)



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 3:06 am


Matthew Roper points out another example, that of the Book of Mormon’s usage of the term “Son of God” and “Son of the Most High God” (1 Nephi 11:6-7) which the Tanners see as obvious New Testament plagiarisms. As Roper points out, however, “both titles have recently turned up in an unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragment written in Aramaic from before the time of Jesus. Although it is unknown to whom the prophecy refers, the fragment states: [X] shall be great upon the earth. [O king, all (people) shall] make [peace], and all shall serve [him. He shall be called the son of] the [G]reat [God], and by his name shall be hailed (as) the Son of God, and they shall call him Son of the Most High.” Roper quotes a writer for the Biblical Archaeology Review who states, “‘This is the first time that the term “Son of God” has been found in a Palestinian text outside the Bible. . . . Previously some scholars have insisted that the origin of terms like “Most High” and “Son of the Most High” were to be found in Hellenistic usage outside of Palestine and that therefore they relate to later development of Christian doctrine. Now we know that these terms were part of Christianity’s original Jewish heritage.’” “If one small fragment,” comments Roper, “can change our understanding of this term, is it really that hard to believe that other ideas and phrases found in the Book of Mormon, heretofore thought to be anachronistic, might also be verified in the future?” (Roper, 1991, 173-4.)



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 3:07 am


This brings us to the Book of Mormon inclusion of the words of Jesus from the NT sermon on the mount as contained in 3 Nephi. Welch’s study demonstrates that at the points where the Book of Mormon and Bible differ in the sermon text is evidence for the Book of Mormon’s ancient origin. Welch’s study “concludes that there are enough important differences between the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at the Temple that the relationship between these texts cannot be attributed to a superficial, thoughtless, blind, or careless plagiarism. On the contrary, the differences are systematic, consistent, methodical, and in several cases quite deft.” (Ibid., 93) For example (one of many examples), “The KJV of Matthew 5:22 reads, ‘Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause (eik) shall be in danger of the judgement.’ The Sermon at the Temple drops the phrase ‘without a casue.’ So do many of the better early manuscripts.” (Ibid., 161-2.)
Joseph’s translation process produced a text that interestingly agrees with what appears to be the Aramaic words that Jesus originally spoke in Matthew 5:10. The Sermon at the Temple comes closer to the likely original intent of Jesus in this case than does the ancient Greek of the Sermon on the Mount. It is commonly assumed that Jesus usually spoke to his disciples in Aramaic (when and by whom the Sermon on the Mount was soon translated into Greek is unknown). When Jesus spoke to these fishermen and to the popular multitudes in Judea, he probably spoke to them in their local, native language. Accordingly, some scholars have worked hard, although not definitively, attempting to put the Greek of the New Testament back into what might have been the Aramaic of Jesus, to learn what that might tell us about his original intent. In the Sermon on the Mount, several passages have been studied along these lines, but only a few have been detected where the Greek has likely misunderstood an underlying Aramaic word or expression. In most cases, the nuances are very fine and the distinctions rather inconsequential.
The case in Matthew 5:10 is an interesting example of this. Several scholars speculate that the Greek New Testament may have mistranslated the purported Aramaic original. Lachs argues that the word saddiq (“righteous one”) was in the original form of Matthew 5:10, but that it was wrongly read as sedeq (“righteousness”) and accordingly rendered into Greek as dikaiosune. Thus, the Greek reads “blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” But this makes awkward sense compared with the Aramaic idea that one would be blessed for enduring persecution for the sake of the “Righteous One.” The latter is far closer to the translation offered by the Sermon at the Temple: “Blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake” (3 Nephi 12:10). Accordingly, Joseph’s inspired translation in this detail finds significant independent support from biblical studies.
In the course of this study, I have also explained why, in my opinion, the superficial label of plagiarism does not fit the Sermon at the Temple very well. I consider this an interesting secondary concern of this study. The Nephite text differs for sound reasons from the Sermon on the Mount. These differences are significant and often subtle and, along with many other factors, show that the Sermon on the Mount was not crudely spliced into the text of 3 Nephi. There is much more in the Sermon at the Temple than the theory of plagiarism can account for. (Ibid., 143-4; 180)



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 3:10 am


Other problems arise if we assume that the Joseph Smith simply plagiarized the Bible when dictating the Book of Mormon. “If Joseph worked blindly,” asks Christensen “why the complex parallels to ancient year-rites, the accurate details of catastrophic earthquakes and volcanoes, the inclusion of the Hebrew pesher teaching, and the themes of the early Christian forty-day and descensus literatures? If Joseph plagiarized, where did he get the stuff?” (Christensen, 178-9.)
Now, Bryan,
I expect an explanation for how Joseph Smith “borrowed” things from the Dead Seas Scrolls and other ancient documents and literature that were not even dug out of the ground when the Book of Mormon was published.



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Anonymous

posted August 3, 2007 at 1:04 pm


their is evidence that Joseph Smith plagiarized the KJV.
http://www.carm.org/lds/1830_BOM/mosiah.htm
14
came from
Isaiah 53
THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM is from genesis
and smith even gets Abraham name WRONG
Tell me why please, in the the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham, why Abraham does NOT say anything of the GREAT HONOR that God changed his name.
I myself would think it a GREAT honor if the God of the universe changed my name and blessed me
THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM
2 And it came to pass that I, Abraham, took Sarai to wife, and Nahor, my brother, took Milcah to wife, who was the daughter of Haran.
Genesis 11:29 (King James Version) 29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.



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Chief1989

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:07 pm


I’ll tell you why I think the overuse of “ask God if it’s true, he’ll tell you” worries me:
Mohammed, who interestingly enough was very mindful of religious things, was furious that his hometown, Mecca, was polytheistic. He asked God ‘sincerely, and with real intent’ about that, and ‘god’ sent him a messenger to say that previous Scriptures were corrupted and here is a ‘new revelation’. He received the Koran from an angel.
What makes Joseph Smith’s testimony more valid than Mohammed’s?
Sun-Myung Moon thought the world was falling into apostasy, so he asked God about that, and God revealed to him, through visions, that Moon was in fact the resurrected Jesus. Moon had asked this sincerely.
What makes Smith’s revelations more valid than Moon’s?
David Koresh, Jim Jones, the list goes on and on. Men who asked God if certain things were true, and god answered them yes. So either God is very capricious and has a cruel or weird sense of humor, or some people are charlatans or delusional.
That is why applying James 1:5 and Moroni 10: 4 in the manner Mormons talk about is so dangerous when you don’t use the foundation of Scripture to filter the message. If you don’t have absolutes that form the foundation of belief and faith, you can be pretty sure that whatever you are desiring or wanting to be true will become truth through your ‘testimony.’ God does not contradict Himself; if any ‘revelation’ is opposed to the Word of God, you can be sure the source is either man or the devil. Remember, Satan masquerades as an ‘angel of light.’
In closing this out, Ron Rhodes has a piece on his website where he answers questions people send in. One person wanted to know about the ‘being of light’ that people who have near-death experiences often claim to see. Could this be Jesus welcoming them to the afterlife? Here is his response:
Who is the being of light encountered in near-death experiences?
One of the most common characteristics of the so-called near-death experience is encountering a being of light. This being is said to emanate love and warmth.
It has been claimed by numerous (not all) individuals who have had alleged near-death experiences that the being of light they encountered was none other than Jesus Christ. As appealing as the idea may initially sound, this identification seems to be flawed in view of the fact that the so-called being of light typically says and does things contrary to the Christ of the Bible. Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), it would be impossible that these are one and the same Jesus. I believe that many of the individuals who go through near-death experiences actually encounter a counterfeit Christ.
The “Jesus” (being of light) typically encountered in near-death experiences teaches such things as:
* Death is good and is not to be feared.
* Sin is not a problem. In fact, this “Jesus” often responds to human sin and shortcomings with humor.
* There is no hell to worry about.
* All people are welcome to heaven, regardless of whether one has placed faith in Christ.
* All religions are equally valid.
In view of the fact that these ideas clearly go against what the biblical Jesus taught, I think we have good reason to conclude that this “Jesus” is in fact a lying spirit (see John 8:44). We must remember that Satan has the ability to appear as an “angel of light” and as a “servant of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). His goal, of course, is to lead people astray. He is happy to mimic a being of light if the end result is that he can lead people away from the true Christ of Scripture.
Consistent with the above is the fact that many who have had near-death experiences come out of the experience with a lower view of Scripture. One person concluded that “the Lord isn’t interested in theology,” and another said that God “didn’t care about church doctrine at all.” The true Christ of Scripture, however, is most certainly interested in correct doctrine (see John 8:31-32).
Now, other individuals — particularly individuals affiliated with non-Christian religions — claim that the being of light was Buddha, or Krishna, or some other leader of a particular world religion. Certainly this should raise “red flags” in the minds of Christians. Satan, the great counterfeiter, is seeking to keep people of ALL religions away from the true Christ of the Bible.
—————-
I believe that many people over the centuries who have claimed to have been visited by ‘angels’ or ‘personages’ have encountered these types of beings, beings who do not have our best interests in mind. Don’t ever forget to apply the 1 John 4 test to any spirit or revelation that claims to have come from God.
Good night, and God bless!



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B

posted August 4, 2007 at 2:31 am


The fruit of the LDS Church is good. The members are always called “cultists” but often in the same breath, they are told how good, kind, and Christlike their behavior is. Well, by their frults…
That’s how you know a prophets message is true. Read the Book of Mormon, that is the fruit of Joseph Smith, and it is joyous and soul filling.



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Anonymous

posted August 4, 2007 at 9:28 am


the fruit of the LDS theology NONE of which is found in the bible
Jesus brother of satan = NOT fully God = a time when Jesus did NOT exist
Jesus born a “spirit” child of God the Father.
God the Father has a body of flesh and bones.
God the Father has GRANDFATHRER gods to infinite regression.
creation from pre-existing matter
I can name more but I think my point has been made. by the FRUIT of LDS theology it is NOT Christian



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Anonymous

posted August 4, 2007 at 9:39 am


Posted by: Chief1989 | August 3, 2007 11:07 PM
———————-
VERY nice post. I hope you do not mind if I use it once and awhile



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 3:19 am


Anon:
the fruit of the LDS theology NONE of which is found in the bible
Mike Bennion: We shall see. However, since the bible does not exclude the possiblity of further revelation this is irrelevent. Show me where it says, in th ebible that God will never speak to men again.
I double dog dare ya.
Anon: Jesus brother of satan = NOT fully God = a time when Jesus did NOT exist
Mike Bennion: Mis-statemet of LDS doctrine. Jesus is co-eternal with God the Father. Alternative for traditional Christians: An all powerful God creates evil out of nothing and knowingly lets evil loose upon the world.
Anon: Jesus born a “spirit” child of God the Father.
Mike Beenion: So before Jesus came ot earth and got a body was he not a Spirit? Is not God his Father? Jesus seems to think so since he keeps calling him “Father”
Anon: God the Father has a body of flesh and bones.
Mike Bennion: Jesus said:
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he aseeth the bFather do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
So the Bible says that Jesus only does what he sees the Father do.
Did the son take upon him a body of flesh and bone? Looks biblical to me.
Anon: God the Father has GRANDFATHRER gods to infinite regression.
Mike Bennion: Show me where it say this in canonized LDS Scripture.
Anon: creation from pre-existing matter
Mike Bennion: I begin with a caution: we must protect against the unwarranted assumption that the very use of the word “create” means “creation out of absolute nothing.” As Stanley L. Jaki, a Catholic priest of the Benedictine Order, stated:
The caution which is in order about taking the [Hebrew] verb bara in the sense of creation out of nothing is no less needed in reference to the [English] word creation. Nothing is more natural, and unadvised, at the same time, than to use the word as if it has always denoted creation out of nothing. In its basic etymological origin the word creation meant the purely natural process of growing or of making something to grow. This should be obvious by a mere recall of the [Latin] verb crescere. The crescent moon [derived from crescere] is not creating but merely growing. The expression ex nihilo or de nihilo had to be fastened, from around 200 A.D. on, by Christian theologians on the verb creare to convey unmistakably a process, strict creation, which only God can perform. Only through the long-standing use of those very Latin expressions, creare ex nihilo and creatio ex nihilo, could the English words to create and creation take on the meaning which excludes pre-existing matter.2
This caution is significant. In fact, look at the very title C&C adopt for their article which assumes that the term “Creator” must mean creation ex nihilo. However, a person who organizes materials in a completely new way is a creator. For example, God “created the earth” by organizing the existing matter available in the proto-solar system whether he organized eternally existing matter or previously created that matter ex nihilo. Certainly, a painter is properly said to be the creator of a painting and a craftsman is a creator of, say, a new chest that had never before existed, even though they use existing materials to create them. Indeed, I will argue that God created all that is made, and there is not anything made that he has not created. I will show that this is precisely the sense in which God is said to create in the earliest Christian texts. However, organizing in a new way all that is made does not mean that materials were not used in the new creation.
Also, prove to mne that “In the Beginning” the first words in Genesis have reference to the absolute beginning. Are you sure God didn’t pull of some other creation over in the next corner of the universe that he decided we didn’t need to know about?
Anon: I can name more but I think my point has been made. by the FRUIT of LDS theology it is NOT Christian
Mike Bennion: I don’t think you r point is made at all. I am sure you will come out with more and I’m sure Mormons will have answers as usual. Just because Mormonism doesn’t agree with your creedally based religious thought doesn’t mean it is not Biblical



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Bryan

posted August 5, 2007 at 11:21 am


the fruit of the LDS theology NONE of which is found in the bible
Mike Bennion: We shall see. However, since the bible does not exclude the possiblity of further revelation this is irrelevent. Show me where it says, in th ebible that God will never speak to men again.
I double dog dare ya.
Answer
What makes LDS claims true and Muslim claim false, Hindu, Buddha etc. Or for that matter someone who is mentally ill. Or a christian claims to have a revelation from God saying LDS theology is NOT from God.
1Jn 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Anon: Jesus brother of satan = NOT fully God = a time when Jesus did NOT exist
Mike Bennion: Mis-statemet of LDS doctrine. Jesus is co-eternal with God the Father. Alternative for traditional Christians: An all powerful God creates evil out of nothing and knowingly lets evil loose upon the world
Answer
In my debates with mormons they have STRONGLY DEFENDED this.
Jesus, according to Milton Hunter of the LDS First Council of the Seventy, is the brother of Lucifer. “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind” (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).
FAIR Topical Guide
Jesus as a Brother of Satan
http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai222.html
Anon: Jesus born a “spirit” child of God the Father.
Mike Beenion: So before Jesus came ot earth and got a body was he not a Spirit? Is not God his Father? Jesus seems to think so since he keeps calling him “Father”
Answer
You seem to ignore the CONTEXT of the question.
WHO was Jesus BEFORE the incarnation
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Anon: God the Father has a body of flesh and bones.
Mike Bennion: Jesus said:
John 5:19 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.
So the Bible says that Jesus only does what he sees the Father do.
Did the son take upon him a body of flesh and bone? Looks biblical to me.
Answer
This has NOTHING to do with God the Father having a body of flesh, you need to read that INTO scriptures,
you do know that God PUT ON FLESH.
Phil 2:6 Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
Phil 2:7 but made himself nothing,taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness.
Phil 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Jn 4:24 God is spirit,
Question. if Jesus came and PUT ON FLESH on earth What happened to his OTHER body of FLESH in heaven.
Anon: God the Father has GRANDFATHRER gods to infinite regression.
Mike Bennion: Show me where it say this in canonized LDS Scripture.
“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22. Compare with Alma 18:26-27; 22:9-10)
Doctrine and Covenants 130:22
22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not ddwell in us.
It would seem that the LDS god NEEDS the universe to exit other wise even the LDS god will die when the universe dies
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345)
According to Orson Pratt (September 19, 1811 – October 3, 1881) was a leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and an original member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.) in his writings “The Pre-Existence of Man” The Seer 1 (September 1853)He wrote that
“the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by still more ancient Father; and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient, untill our minds are
wearied and lost in the multiplicty of generations and successive worlds.”
Since the LDS teach that the universe never had a beginning in time, this view implies that there are an infinite number of mormon gods, each one whom had another god as his father. The particular God who is the god of our earth is just one link in an infinite chain of mormon gods.
Question
the mormon god was once a man like us then HOW can the mormon god know the end from the beginning
How can he be the creator if he was a man like us, did he not he need food and air who created your god. WHO DID YOUR god WORSHIP.
I suggest the article
Is Creatio Ex Nihilo A Post-Biblical Invention? An Examination Of Gerhard May’s Proposal
http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/article_exnihilo_copan.html
I am sure you believe God has a HEALTH mind with NO mental illness, so tell me, HOW do you explain the VERY big differences between LDS and Christian theology.
once again LDS theology has been judged by its fruits and found wanting and is NOT christian.



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Kari

posted August 5, 2007 at 7:00 pm


I had to laugh at this posting that was written previous to mine — someone actually thinks God can create something from NOTHING??????
If I’m going to make a loaf of bread, I surely couldn’t do it without flour!!!!!! Of course God needed ‘matter’ of some sort to make this universe!!!!!!
oh my oh my oh my
and Bryan, have YOU ever gone to a LDS meeting to see WHO is is they worship and preach about??????? oh yeah, that would take a little bit of effort more than all this typing does.
By their fruits ye shall know them, indeed, as Christ Himself said.
He also said that His people, His church, would not be popular among the Pharasees and Saducees.
He was correct in everything He said, it appears.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 6, 2007 at 3:41 am


the fruit of the LDS theology NONE of which is found in the bible
Mike Bennion: We shall see. However, since the bible does not exclude the possiblity of further revelation this is irrelevent. Show me where it says, in the Bible that God will never speak to men again.
I double dog dare ya.
Bryan’s Answer
What makes LDS claims true and Muslim claim false, Hindu, Buddha etc. Or for that matter someone who is mentally ill. Or a christian claims to have a revelation from God saying LDS theology is NOT from God.
Mike Bennion’s reply:
This isn’t in the Bible. You say the Bible is all we need. Don’t ask rhetorical questions. Quote the Bible. Nothing you said here prohibits God from speaking to Men.
Bryan’s Answer: 1Jn 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Mike Bennion’s reply:
This scripture doesn’t say that God will never speak to men again.
How do you test the spirits? I think the Bible tells you to pray about it. (James 1:5) The verse doesn’t say that there are no true prophets. It just says to watch out for false prophets.
You need to do better than this, Bryan.
Anon: Jesus brother of satan = NOT fully God = a time when Jesus did NOT exist
Mike Bennion: Mis-statemet of LDS doctrine. Jesus is co-eternal with God the Father. Alternative for traditional Christians: An all powerful God creates evil out of nothing and knowingly lets evil loose upon the world
Bryan’s Answer:
In my debates with mormons they have STRONGLY DEFENDED this.
Mike Bennion’s response: I did not say that Lucifer was not a creation of God.
Mormon Doctrine does not say that there was a time when Jesus did not exist. This is a mis-statement of our doctrine. You are in error.
Mormon doctrine confirms that Jesus is fully God. Any statement by you to the contrary is a mis-statement of our doctrine. I stated that the alternative to all things being co-eternal with God, and his creation of all things by organizing pre-existent matter, is that God created all thing out of nothing. This would make God responsible for creating evil, and is at least as problematic and most likel;y more so than the Mormon construct.
Jesus, according to Milton Hunter of the LDS First Council of the Seventy, is the brother of Lucifer. “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind” (The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).
FAIR Topical Guide
Jesus as a Brother of Satan
http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai222.html
Mike Bennion’s response:
I’m glad that you listed the fairlds.org website. those who want the wohole context will go there.
Anon: Jesus born a “spirit” child of God the Father.
Mike Beenion: So before Jesus came to earth and got a body was he not a Spirit? Is not God his Father? Jesus seems to think so since he keeps calling him “Father”
Bryan’s Answer:
You seem to ignore the CONTEXT of the question.
Mike Bennion’s response: You seem to be dodging the obvious.
Bryan: WHO was Jesus BEFORE the incarnation
Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Mike Bennion’s response:
We are both in agreement that Jesus was with God before he was made flesh. He is co-eternal with God the Father. This does not say that God’s other creations were not with God in the beginning. A negative does not prove a positive.
Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Mike Bennion’s response:
Jesus took a body. He did it because he had seen the Father with a body. He does nothing but what he sees the Father do. These doeth the Son likewise.
Stephen saw them standing together at his death:
Acts 7:55 But he, (Stephen) being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of cGod, and Jesus estanding on the right hand of God,
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen saw the Father and the Son standing side by side, with Jesus at the “right hand of the Father”. Joseph smith saw the same thing.
Jesus took a body. Jesus is God, he is fully God. If we follow the logic of the Trinity that you all keep pushing on us, then God has a body becaue Jesus does, and god is one. Or if you follow the truth.
Jesus took upon him flesh becasue he had seen the father posessing the same type of body and he was seen by Stephen and by Joseph Smith. “In the mouths of two or more witnesses shall every word be established
Anon: God the Father has a body of flesh and bones.
Mike Bennion: Jesus said:
John 5:19 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.
So the Bible says that Jesus only does what he sees the Father do.
Did the son take upon him a body of flesh and bone? Looks biblical to me.
Bryan’s Answer:
This has NOTHING to do with God the Father having a body of flesh, you need to read that INTO scriptures,
Mike Bennion:
Says you. I quoted Acts 7 to prove the context. You gave your own opinion.
Bryan’s answer:
you do know that God PUT ON FLESH.
Mike Bennion:
Yes, we both agree that this is true.
Phil 2:6 Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
Phil 2:7 but made himself nothing,taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness.
Phil 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Mike Bennion:
26 ¶ And God said, Let us make cman in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and bfemale created he them.
So God (The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost) created man in their image. Men look like God. Then Jesus came and took upon him flesh. He clothed the Spirit that looks like man, with a body that is in the image of man. This is so because we are all created in the image of God the FAther, who Stephen saw standing with Jesus. And Jesus did this and said that he does nothing except what he sees the Father do.
Bryan: Jn 4:24 God is spirit,
Mike Bennion’s response:
Finish the quote. “And they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth” Do we have to leave our bodies to worship him? and it says “God is Spirit” not God is (A) spirit.
Bryan’s question: if Jesus came and PUT ON FLESH on earth What happened to his OTHER body of FLESH in heaven.
Mike’s response: He didn’t have a body of flesh and bone in heaven. His Father did, however, and Jesus, seeing this, came and put on a body of flesh and bone, He only does what he has seen the Father do.
You really haven’t read enough to know that was a silly question have you?
Anon: God the Father has GRANDFATHRER gods to infinite regression.
Mike Bennion: Show me where it say this in canonized LDS Scripture.
Bryan: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22. Compare with Alma 18:26-27; 22:9-10)
Mike: I don’t see any mention of a grandfather here. Do you?
Bryan: Doctrine and Covenants 130:22
22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not ddwell in us.
Mike: Nope, no “grandfather” here either. Hmmm.
Bryan: It would seem that the LDS god NEEDS the universe to exit other wise even the LDS god will die when the universe dies
Mike: You are totally unclear here. but it doesn’t matter. the universe is eternal and so is God. You are ascribing doctrine to Mormons that Mormons never taught.
Bryan:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345)
According to Orson Pratt (September 19, 1811 – October 3, 1881) was a leader in the Latter Day Saint movement and an original member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.) in his writings “The Pre-Existence of Man” The Seer 1 (September 1853)He wrote that
“the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by still more ancient Father; and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient, untill our minds are
wearied and lost in the multiplicty of generations and successive worlds.”
Mike: I asked you for canonized LDS scripture with the word grandfatther in it. refering to your point. None of the last three quotes are Canonized LDS scripture.
Paul however understands the situation:
1st Cor 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one aGod, the bFather, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one cLord Jesus Christ, by whom are dall things, and we by him.
Bryan: Since the LDS teach that the universe never had a beginning in time, this view implies that there are an infinite number of mormon gods, each one whom had another god as his father. The particular God who is the god of our earth is just one link in an infinite chain of mormon gods.
Mike: Nice speculation. but it isn’t a canonized Mormon scripture.
See Paul’s 1 Cor 6 quote above for the proper Biblical inference.
We worship the Father, the Son and th eHoly Ghost. That’s all we need to worry about. Paul understood.
Bryan’s Question:
the mormon god was once a man like us then HOW can the mormon god know the end from the beginning
Mike Bennion’s response
By the Power of Godliness within him. He has promised to share that power with those who beleive in Jesus See John 17, Romans 8, & 1st John
Bryan: How can he be the creator if he was a man like us, did he not he need food and air? Who created your god. WHO DID YOUR god WORSHIP.
Mike: I’ll answer the above questions when you give me the exact things that God did, outside of time, before he made time and all things out of nothing. Come on Bryan, we both know that this whole discussion is outside the purvue of what god has revealed. I’ll be interested to get the details some time in eternity. Until then Paul’s answer will suffice.
Bryan: I suggest the article
Is Creatio Ex Nihilo A Post-Biblical Invention? An Examination Of Gerhard May’s Proposal
http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/article_exnihilo_copan.html
Mike: Since you believe the Bilble is all we need to explain anything I don’t need to read the article, as you believe it is not scripture, so why is it wourth my time. And why is it that you believe in the Trintiy? I don’t see that word in the Bible, that you say is sufficient and infallible.
Bryan: I am sure you believe God has a HEALTH mind with NO mental illness, so tell me, HOW do you explain the VERY big differences between LDS and Christian theology.
Mike: That would be the Apostasy, that required a Restoration that we have been trying to tell you about. And don’t tell me that God would not allow the Church to fall, and then tell me that he created Satan and then let Satan be evil. You would look silly.
Bryan: once again LDS theology has been judged by its fruits and found wanting and is NOT christian.
Mike: Once agian Bryan has been trying to put words in out mouths that we never spoke, and knocking down straw men like mad. Much sound and fury. Not many results.
Have a nice day,
Mike



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Anonymous

posted August 6, 2007 at 8:11 am


Mike Bennion’s reply:
This isn’t in the Bible. You say the Bible is all we need. Don’t ask rhetorical questions. Quote the Bible. Nothing you said here prohibits God from speaking to Men.
answer
true. BUT by what do we JUDGE or test if it is from God or NOT. My question goes to the HEART of LDS claims. HOW are we to judge. So far LDS theology has FAILED the biblical test.
NIV throughout-out
1Jn 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Mike Bennion’s reply:
This scripture doesn’t say that God will never speak to men again.
How do you test the spirits? I think the Bible tells you to pray about it. (James 1:5) The verse doesn’t say that there are no true prophets. It just says to watch out for false prophets.
You need to do better than this, Bryan.
Answer
True. I had a friend who “prayed” about the BOM and what she got is that it is NOT from God. So tell me what do you do about ALL those who “pray” and get the same answer my friend got. Do you answer shop until you get the answer you want. So it seems that God just lets you have the answer you want because you will NOT listen to Him anyway.
I think this verse fits God giving you what you want to believe
Ro 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
1Ti 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1Ti 4:2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
Mike Bennion: Mis-statemet of LDS doctrine. Jesus is co-eternal with God the Father. Alternative for traditional Christians: An all powerful God creates evil out of nothing and knowingly lets evil loose upon the world
answer
you do now that even angels have freewill
Mike Bennion’s response: I did not say that Lucifer was not a creation of God.
Mormon Doctrine does not say that there was a time when Jesus did not exist. This is a mis-statement of our doctrine. You are in error.
Mormon doctrine confirms that Jesus is fully God. Any statement by you to the contrary is a mis-statement of our doctrine. I stated that the alternative to all things being co-eternal with God, and his creation of all things by organizing pre-existent matter, is that God created all thing out of nothing. This would make God responsible for creating evil, and is at least as problematic and most likely more so than the Mormon construct.
Answer
So was “Milton Hunter of the LDS First Council of the Seventy” a HERETIC to say that Jesus is the brother of satan. it cannot be both ways. either you believe Jesus IS FULLY UNCREATED GOD therefore it is IMPOSSIBLE for Jesus to be the brother of something He created with FREEWILL or Jesus is the brother of something he created which is still IMPOSSIBLE.
I see from your answers that you read things INTO scriptures something that is NOT wise and you have NO idea of who the christian God is. So instead of answering each one here is an bible study I did for my self with the help of
“”Making Sense of the Trinity: Three Crucial Questions by Millard J. Erickson (Paperback – May 1, 2000)””
The Perichoresis of the One God. NIV
Perichoresis is a Greek term used to describe the triune relationship between each person of the Godhead. It can be defined as co-indwelling, co-inhering, and mutual interpenetration. How is this view in the bible, Jn 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. Notice that is says that the Spirit searches the deep things of God, 1Co 2:10…The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. In the next verse it is turned arround, Notice it says God knows the thoughts of the Spirit of God, 1Co 2:11…In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. In Hebrews we see. Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. In the NASB the word is nature, From Strongs
G5287
hupostasis
hoop-os’-tas-is
From a compound of G5259 and G2476; a setting under (support), that is, (figuratively) concretely essence, or abstractly assurance (objectively or subjectively): – confidence, confident, person, substance.
From Thayer
G5287
hupostasis
Thayer Definition:
1) a setting or placing under
1a) thing put under, substructure, foundation
2) that which has foundation, is firm
2a) that which has actual existence
2a1) a substance, real being
2b) the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing
2c) the steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, resolution
2c1) confidence, firm trust, assurance
Also in it makes it clear the Jesus is in the nature of God and is equal to God. Phil 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, “equality” from Thayer Definition: G2470 isos 1) equal, in quantity or quality
The One God creates,, 1Co 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. Isa 37:16 “O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Ps 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Jer 10:11 “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’ ” Jer 10:12 But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. We see
The Father creates, Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 1Co 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
The Son creates, Jn 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Col 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. Heb 1:8 But about the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, Heb 1:10 He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
The Holy Spirit creates, Ge 1:2…the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Ps 104:30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.
We see the words of Jesus, Jesus says He is truth, Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth Later Jesus says God’s word is truth, Jn 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. Jesus is the Word, Jn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jn 1:14 The Word became flesh In John 14:8-11, Here it shows the interpenetration of the Father and the Son. Jn 14:8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jn 14:9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Jn 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Jn 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. Wen Jesus prays He says that God is in Him, Jn 17:21…Father, just as you are in me and I am in you Jn 17:23 I in them and you in me. Jesus sanctifys Himself, Jn 17:19 For them I sanctify myself,
Because of this Perichoresis of the One God, it is made clear that the ONE God is our savior in the following scriptures, 1Ch 16:35, Ps 65:5, 68:19, 79:9, 85:4, 1Tim 2:3, Titus 1:3, 2:10, 3:4, God our Savior, Then notice this, 1Tim 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, Jude 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
It was Jesus who died on the cross, Jn 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Jesus had the authority to lay down His own life, Jn 10:17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. Jn 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
We also see the work of Holy Spirit in renewing christians, Jn 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Jn 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. Jn 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ Jn 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
The trinity idea can be seen in the following. Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, The Father send the Son, Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 1Jn 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Ro 3:25 God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
Jesus did the work of God by the Holy Spirit of God, Mt 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit, Lk 10:21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, Mt 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. Mt 12:28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God,
With the Perichoresis of the one God, they all experienced the cross, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit because of the indwelling of each, they as ONE God knew the cross because it is not possible for God to divide Himself, what one feels the other feels as well. Although not directly experiencing that suffering as their own, did experience the Son’s experience of it, thus also suffering vicariously. With this view we see God brings the sufferings of the world on Himself.



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Anonymous

posted August 6, 2007 at 8:21 am


Mike: I asked you for canonized LDS scripture with the word grandfatther in it. refering to your point. None of the last three quotes are Canonized LDS scripture.
Answer
I seen this excuse many times, its either “official or UNofficial”
So you deny God was once a man like us who LEARNED to be God.
tell me
Has the LDS suffered apostasy by denying Polygamy when other more “faithful” Mormons DO practice it. following the example of smith
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/132
THE
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
SECTION 132
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—
2 Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.
3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an 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.
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.
it seems that if one does NOT believe Polygamy he is lost



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GB

posted August 6, 2007 at 3:54 pm


Who ever you are that Posted by: | August 6, 2007 8:21 AM, you are jumping into this game very late. The issue of polygamy has already been addressed in the threads on this blog. After you have read them all, then you are qualified to make an intelligent comment.



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Anonymous

posted August 7, 2007 at 9:15 am


Who ever you are that Posted by: | August 6, 2007 8:21 AM, you are jumping into this game very late. The issue of polygamy has already been addressed in the threads on this blog. After you have read them all, then you are qualified to make an intelligent comment.
Answer
they are your scriptures,
I wonder if polygamy would be ok if women were allowed to marry any number of men just like men do. just think one women can have 3 husbands.
One to make all the money,
One to keep the house clean and cook,
One to take care of the any children.
OH no wait she might need more money better marry two more men to make more money.
but then again a bigger house might be needed. So she better marry two more men to help with the children and cleaning and cooking.
OH NO. this is really getting out of hand better just obey what God wanted from the beginning with ONE man and ONE wife being ONE flesh
Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Mk 10:6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’
Mk 10:7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
Mk 10:8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.
Mk 10:9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
Eph 5:31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
So polygamy is just an excuse for men who cannot keep it in their pants and cannot control themselfs



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GB

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:56 am


: OH NO. this is really getting out of hand better just obey what God wanted from the beginning with ONE man and ONE wife being ONE flesh.
GB: What? I don’t see “ONE wife” in any of those scriptures you quote. What do you do if God wants you to practice polygamy?
: So polygamy is just an excuse for men who cannot keep it in their pants and cannot control themselfs
GB: Sounds like you have a dirty mind. Your statement says more about you than about those of whom you speak.
You are still being intellectually lazy and not reading the rest of the posts in these threads.



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Bryan

posted August 7, 2007 at 7:24 pm


if God wanted polygamy why did he give Adam ONE wife.
if God wanted polygamy why did He say, ONE man ONE women ONE FLESH
Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
why is it ONE WIFE
1Ti 3:2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife,
1Ti 3:12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife
Tit 1:6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife,
What mormons do when no real answer is coming is through around innuendos with no real evidence.



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The Bryan who came first.

posted August 7, 2007 at 8:59 pm


Bryan, we have the same name… that is neat.
If you are going to quote bible verses, then you might want to consider the ones in the bible where God accepts polygamy. Are there verses in the bible that say only one wife? Yes. Are there verses in the bible that show that God gave more than one wife to prophets? Yes. Abraham is one. If you want to logic your way around that one and say it was a single case then look at 2 Samuel 12 1-10 or so. More specifically 8 where the Lord tells Daniel through his prophet Nathan that he gave him wives (note it’s plural) and concubines and would have given him more if it was not enough.
In a similar notion think about this. Did God command us not to kill? Yes. Then why did God reward the many murders in the old testament? There was more than a fair share of killing there. And God even commanded a lot of it. And is wasn’t always in times of war either.
It looks like you need to reconcile your beliefs with the bible before you use the bible to prove your beliefs.
All of this has been said before on this blog as well. In fact, all we are doing is going in circles. Someone comes in and says “HEY you believe this! How can you believe that?!” Then a mormon replies using the bible and logic and whatever means the person is asking. Then they ignore that and say the same thing again. The someone else answers and settles it. Then someone new comes in who hasn’t read the blog and asks the same question. And so it gets answered or referred back to the old answers. Then the original inquisitor forgets that his question was answered and accuses mormons of the same thing. And around we go in a circle. Oh how fun it is!



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professor20

posted August 7, 2007 at 9:26 pm


I am quite amused at the words thrown to the wind in these conversations. The definition (www.dictionary.com) of a CULT would include all Christians, Muslims, Lutherans, and many other religions of present and former times.
The definition of CHRISTIANITY (www.dictionary.com) includes Mormons, Seventh-Days, and even the Amish and Mennenites.
All you “Christians” sound like the southerners of the 1800s who would argue that blacks were livestock, and weren’t included in the category of “all men” that Jefferson so delicately penned.
The reality is that Mormons, Seventh-Days’, Amish, Mennenites, Lutherans, and everybody else spend a lot of time researching, and trying to emulate the actions and life of Jesus in their own lives (even if their interpretations of scripts from thousands of years ago is different).
Either we call all of you cult members, or all of you Christians. It’s illogical to do anything else since your beliefs are based upon faith in Christ, which by definition isn’t provable one way or the other.
It would be nice to see people get off of their self-righteous-high-horses and see the light in the people around them no matter what religion they belong to.



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Anonymous

posted August 8, 2007 at 10:53 am


If you are going to quote bible verses, then you might want to consider the ones in the bible where God accepts polygamy. Are there verses in the bible that say only one wife? Yes. Are there verses in the bible that show that God gave more than one wife to prophets? Yes. Abraham is one. If you want to logic your way around that one and say it was a single case then look at 2 Samuel 12 1-10 or so. More specifically 8 where the Lord tells Daniel through his prophet Nathan that he gave him wives (note it’s plural) and concubines and would have given him more if it was not enough.
Answer
1)
what God “ALLOWS” is different then what God wants.
Dt 17:17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.
2) Christian are under the NEW COVENANT not the OLD
Jer 31:31 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
Lk 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
1Co 11:25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
2Co 3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Heb 8:8 But God found fault with the people and said : “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
Heb 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Heb 12:24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
the Old Covenant is DEAD
Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
2 Corinthians 3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone,( Exodus 34:29-35 ) came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,
8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.
11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! , Here the Old covenant is fading away because it only brought death,
The New Covenant brings LIFE.
The Ten Commandments
written on tablets of stone (v. 3)
the letter that kills (v. 6 )
a ministry that brought death (v. 7
engraved in letters on stone (v. 7)
came with glory (v. 7)
the ministry that condemns (v. 9)
no glory now in comparison (v. 10)
it came with glory (v. 11)
it is now fading away (v. 11)
The New Covenant
written on the heart
the Spirit that gives life
a ministry that brings life
ministry of the Spirit (v. 8)
even more glorious (v. 8)
the ministry that brings righteousness
the surpassing glory
much greater glory
will last forever
Now under the NEW COVENANT it is ONE WIFE
1Tim 3:2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife,
1Tim 3:12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife
Titus 1:6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife,
The New covenant is older then you think.
The new covenant is God’s “eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).
Jesus (the Lamb) “was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
We were redeemed from our empty way of life by the blood of Christ, who “was chosen before the creation of the world” (1 Peter 1:18-20).
God’s “work has been finished since the creation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3).
It was God’s purpose to choose humans for salvation “before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).
The kingdom we are to inherit has been prepared “since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
God’s purpose to save us and call us to his grace “was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:8-9).
The new covenant has been eternally in existence. It is “the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2).
Matthew 13:35… “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” Colossians 1:26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 1 Corinthians 2:7 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. Galatians 3:8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”
NO-WHERE in the NEW COVENANT are christian commanded to kill



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Bryan

posted August 8, 2007 at 10:59 am


I am quite amused at the words thrown to the wind in these conversations. The definition (www.dictionary.com) of a CULT would include all Christians, Muslims, Lutherans, and many other religions of present and former times.
The definition of CHRISTIANITY (www.dictionary.com) includes Mormons, Seventh-Days, and even the Amish and Mennenites.
All you “Christians” sound like the southerners of the 1800s who would argue that blacks were livestock, and weren’t included in the category of “all men” that Jefferson so delicately penned.
The reality is that Mormons, Seventh-Days’, Amish, Mennenites, Lutherans, and everybody else spend a lot of time researching, and trying to emulate the actions and life of Jesus in their own lives (even if their interpretations of scripts from thousands of years ago is different).
Either we call all of you cult members, or all of you Christians. It’s illogical to do anything else since your beliefs are based upon faith in Christ, which by definition isn’t provable one way or the other.
It would be nice to see people get off of their self-righteous-high-horses and see the light in the people around them no matter what religion they belong to.
what did Jesus say.
Jn 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be , you will indeed die in your sins.”
Jesus NEVER claimed claimed to be the brother of satan.
What does Jesus say about false prophets, NOTICE verse 21-23
Mt 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Mt 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Mt 7:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Mt 7:18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Mt 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mt 7:20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mt 7:22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
Mt 7:23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
it seems that they “THOUGHT” they were “christians” but the were NOT



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Mike Bennion

posted August 8, 2007 at 12:31 pm


Bryan says:
Jesus NEVER claimed claimed to be the brother of satan.
Mike’s response:
The Bible says thatyou cannot make that postive assertion because you do not have all the things that Jesus did and said within the Bible.
John 21: 25
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be awritten every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the bbooks that should be written. Amen.
Bryan says: What does Jesus say about false prophets, NOTICE verse 21-23
Mt 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Mt 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Mt 7:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Mt 7:18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Mt 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mt 7:20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mt 7:22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
Mt 7:23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
it seems that they “THOUGHT” they were “christians” but the were NOT
Mike’s response:
Since the Bible teaches us of true prophets as well, this cuts both ways. Since the Bible is based upon the concept that God has spoken in the past to men by his voice, by miracles, by angels, and by a personal divine ministry, and he promises to come again, those who deny that there can be any more revelation could also qualify.



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Bryan

posted August 9, 2007 at 8:38 am


Bryan says:
Jesus NEVER claimed claimed to be the brother of satan.
Mike’s response:
The Bible says thatyou cannot make that postive assertion because you do not have all the things that Jesus did and said within the Bible.
John 21: 25
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be awritten every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the bbooks that should be written. Amen.
Answer
The VERY nature of who Christ IS excludes any possibility of Christ being the brother of satan. You have NO idea WHO Jesus is.
ONE OT God,
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Pradis CD-ROM:
One God who brings salvation
Ex 15:2, 2Sa 22:3 ,2Sa 23:5 ,1Ch 16:23 ,2Ch 6:41 ,Ps 9:14 ,Ps 13:5 ,Ps 14:7 ,Ps18:2 ,Ps 27:1 ,Ps 28:8 ,Ps 35:3 ,Ps 35:9 ,Ps 37:39 ,Ps 40:10 ,Ps 40:16 ,Ps 50:23 ,Ps 51:12 ,Ps 53:6 ,Ps 62:1 ,Ps 62:2 ,Ps 62:6 ,Ps 62:7 ,Ps 67:2 ,Ps 69:13 ,Ps 69:27 ,Ps 69:29 ,Ps 70:4 ,Ps 71:15 ,Ps 74:12 ,Ps 85:7 ,Ps 85:9 ,Ps 91:16 ,Ps 95:1 ,Ps 96:2 ,Ps 98:1 ,Ps 98:2 ,Ps 98:3 ,Ps 116:13 ,Ps 118:14 ,Ps 118:21 ,Ps 119:41 ,Ps 119:81 ,Ps 119:123 ,Ps 119:155 ,Ps 119:166 ,Ps 119:174 ,Ps 132:16 ,Ps 149:4 ,Isa 12:2 ,Isa 12:3 ,Isa 25:9 ,Isa 26:1 ,Isa 26:18 ,Isa 30:15 ,Isa 33:2 ,Isa 33:6 ,Isa 45:8 ,Isa 45:17 ,Isa 46:13 ,Isa 49:6 ,Isa 49:8 ,Isa 51:5 ,Isa 51:6 ,Isa 51:8 ,Isa 52:7 ,Isa 52:10 ,Isa 56:1 ,Isa 59:16 ,Isa 59:17 ,Isa 60:18 ,Isa 61:10 ,Isa 62:1 ,Isa 63:5 ,Jer 3:23 ,La 3:26 ,Jnh 2:9 ,Zec 9:9,
One God who is Savior
Isa 43:11 I, even I, am the LORD,and apart from me there is no savior.
Dt 32:15 ,2Sa 22:3 ,2Sa 22:47 ,1Ch 16:35 ,Ps 18:46 ,Ps 24:5 ,Ps 25:5 ,Ps 27:9 ,Ps 38:22 ,Ps 42:5 ,Ps 42:11 ,Ps 43:5 ,Ps 65:5 ,Ps 68:19 ,Ps 79:9 ,Ps 85:4 ,Ps 89:26 ,Isa 17:10 ,Isa 43:3 ,Isa 43:11 ,Isa 45:15 ,Isa 45:21 ,Isa 49:26 ,Isa 60:16 ,Isa 62:11 ,Isa 63:8 ,Jer 14:8 ,Hos 13:4 ,Mic 7:7 ,Hab 3:18.
ONE God who is the Rock.
TRINITY. Hab 1:12 O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die.O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.
Ge 49:24, Dt 32:4, Dt 32:15, Dt 32:18, Dt 32:30, Dt 32:31, 1Sa 2:2, 2Sa 22:2, 2Sa 22:3, 2Sa 22:32, 2Sa 22:47, 2Sa 23:3, Ps 18:2, Ps 18:31, Ps 18:46, Ps 19:14, Ps 28:1, Ps 42:9 , Ps 62:2, Ps 78:35, Ps 89:26, Ps 92:15, Ps 94:22, Ps 95:1, Ps 144:1, Isa 8:14, Isa 17:10, Isa 26:4, Isa 30:29, Isa 44:8, Da 2:34, Da 2:35,
ONE God who is the Redeemer
Isa 48:17 This is what the LORD says- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go
Job 19:25, Ps 19:14, Ps 78:35 , Isa 41:14 , Isa 43:14, Isa 44:6, Isa 44:24, Isa 47:4, Isa 48:17, Isa 49:7, Isa 49:26, Isa 54:5 , Isa 54:8, Isa 59:20, Isa 60:16, Isa 63:16, Jer 50:34
ONE God who is creator
Gen 1:1,21,27, Gen 2:4, Gen 5:1-2, Gen 6:7, Dt 4:32, Ps 104:30, 148:5, Isa 42:5, 45:12, 45:18, Eze 28:13, 15, Mk 13:19, Eph 3:9, Rev 4:11, 1