Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry

Finding heretics in strange places

A very interesting post at Mormon Matters, reviewing a 1989 book titled “Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up?” The book was written by an attorney who grew up a Jehovah’s Witness, then became an Evangelical Christian. That lasted until he conducted a thorough reading the original writings of the pre-Nicene Church Fathers.

The author discovered a variety of doctrines embraced by early Christians but repudiated by the post-Nicene Church. This led to the author’s disenchantment with modern Evangelical churches. He wandered a bit, then finally affiliated with the Mennonites, who trace their roots to the Anabaptist movement, sometimes termed the radical branch of the Reformation. That was the best match the author could find to his own laundry list of early Christian doctrines.


The post makes some quick comparisons between the author’s list of early Christian doctrines, LDS doctrine, doctrines of 19th-century Restorationist sects, and the Mennonites. For Mormon readers, the post should make them read more carefully when LDS histories cover the 1830 conversion of Sidney Rigdon to the LDS Church. Rigdon was a minister in the Restorationist Campellite movement who brought many members of his congregation into the LDS Church with him. He quickly became a close confidant of Joseph Smith and was eventually made a member of the LDS First Presidency.

For Evangelical readers, the post and the book suggest a bit of caution when applying the label “heretic” on the basis of doctrinal disagreement.


It’s worth noting as well that the author was an attorney by training, not a scholar of early Christianity or ancient languages. So the book (which is only 190 pages) appears to be more of a general treatment of the topic, not a scholarly treatise. And I’m not suggesting readers go join the nearest Mennonite congregation after reading the post or the book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Danny Haszard

posted July 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm

The Watchtower first published in 1879 had the slogan: advertise,advertise,advertise the King and his (1914) Kingdom.
JW are a spin-off of the second Adventist which all came from the Millerite movement.
American war of 1812 army captain William Miller is ground zero for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Yes,the “great disappointment” of Oct 22 1844 has never died out… it lives on in the Seventh day Adventist (who admit it) and the Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny it. The central CORE doctrine of the Watchtower,yes the reason the Watchtower came into existence was to declare Jesus second coming in 1914.When the prophecy (derived from William Miller of 1842) failed they said that he came “invisibly”.
Ergo,no 1914 then there can be no 1918 inspection and sealing of the ‘anointed’ so the entire Watchtower Bible and Tract Society doctrinal superstructure comes crashing down like a house of cards.

The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world.
Danny Haszard Bangor Maine
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pat grimm

posted August 9, 2009 at 8:30 am

Let’s all put aside doctrines – ALL doctrines, they distort God’s word and intentions for us. Jesus Christ is the portal to God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. If one reads and studies the Holy Bible, there are the answers. No Jehovahs, Mennonites, Catholics, etc. are necessary, they are a barrier to God.

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