In 1820, a man Joseph Smith around the age of 14 years old supposedly received a vision while in the woods of upstate New York. In this so-called vison Smith says, God told him that all churches were wrong and that he was to start the “only true church.” But wait there is more madness to add to the beginnings of this cult. At age of 17, he claims that he was directed by an angel whose name was Moroni to a set of buried hidden golden plates. These plates contained the history of ancient America and the what he called the “fullness of the everlasting gospel.”
The words were written in Egyptian-like hieroglyphics, which Smith could not read. In order for him to decipher the text he was given transparent stones through which he could read the golden plates. Again, my mind goes to a place of logic and automatically comes back with a boisterous, “this is an absolutely insane claim.” Yet here we are in 2019 and this is one of the fastest growing beliefs. After his teaching was rejected in New York, Smith moved with a few followers to the state of Ohio, Missouri, and then Illinois. Seemingly everywhere he went controversy came with him.
This led to him being killed by a group of men who broke into a jail where he was being held. This opened the door for a new leader, so enters a man named Brigham Young. Young was leading a group out west in the city now called Salt Lake City, Utah. He was on a big push to get his followers out of the country as missionaries. The Mormons have always had an incredible missionary presence around the world. Because of this effort the group referred to as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has grown to 14 million followers, 6 million in the US alone.
Core Beliefs of Mormons
The traditional Christian teachings are rejected as apostasy by Mormons. They feel strongly that the Christian Doctrine of justification by faith alone is wrong. A man named James E. Talmage goes as far as to say, “the sectarian dogma of justification by faith alone has exercised an influence of evil.” In Mormon theology God’s grace alone does not save. What a sad way to live to not believe in the saving grace of God. To this point a Mormon man named Spencer Kimball made the point that “one of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.” The Mormons believe you have to work and strive in doing good works in order to be saved.
So, in essence they think they have to earn their way into the Kingdom of God. In this cultic group the Bible is used, but The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price is their ultimate authority. This group believes and considers their book to be “perfect,” even though the Book of Mormon has undergone over 2,000 corrections. The biggest proof of a man-made religion is the fact that no evidence exists for the plates it came from, nor the great civilizations it refers to. The Mormons ultimate goal is godhood. Brigham Young for example said, “the Lord created…to become Gods like unto our Father in Heaven.” But this is not just limited to what someone does in mortality but what he has already done in premortality and will do in post mortality. They believe exaltation to godhood is an extended process.
A List of Key views Mormons believe:
- God: He is a man with a body like ours. Jesus is just like us other than being the first-born spirit son and having a unique birth. The trinity is viewed as three separate Gods.
- Mankind: We are all the literal offspring of the Heavenly Father and Mother. We can become gods our self-one day: “As man is, God once was; as god is, man may become.”
- Salvation: Jesus provided immortality for all people, though only devout Mormons can reach the highest of the three eternal kingdoms and become gods themselves.
Keys for Evangelism:
- Mormons often use feelings (“burning in their bosom”) to validate their faith. Point them to solid truth as the answer.
- Mormons redefine biblical terms, so read verses in context.