The Mormon Religion Is Not Trinitarian Christian

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The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
Lewis Carroll (The Walrus and The Carpenter)

Christians need to understand that there is a very clear difference between the traditional Christian faith, and the Mormon church.  We also need to get a backbone and stand up for our faith, stand up stand up for Jesus….

“…“From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are — I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent” (Brigham Young, October 9, 1859, Journal of Discourses 7:289). …”

The Pink Flamingo is well aware that I am going to be labeled a bigot.  I will be considered intolerant, and not very “Christian” for what I am about to do.  Frankly, I guess I do have a bit of my sainted great-whatever-grandfather Sir. Thomas Moore in me after all. If no one else in the blog world will stand up for their faith, against what is going on here, then I guess I’ll do it on my way to the figurative block.

This is not about very good men and women who just happen to be of the Mormon faith.  It is about theology. The Pink Flamingo has known people of the Mormon faith all of my life.  They are good, wonderful, salt of the earth people, as far removed from Mitt Romney’s Perfect Family, as I am Mr. Spock. This is about a fairly new “religion” that is, in many ways, very much a cult.  Oh, I know we aren’t to say that.  It might appear that we are bigoted, but it’s the simple fact.  It is not Trinitarian Christian.  If it is not Trinitarian, then it is not “Christian” in the strictest sense of the word.  Case in point is the Coptic Church.  They have a few little sticky points of theology.

There is a problem with religion – all religions.  For some strange reason, religions walk a fine line between a faith and becoming a cult.  Any church can evolve into a cult, all it takes is the right set of circumstances.  I’ve been in LDS churches (their wonderful family history centers) where there is no way the people of that specific church are a “cult”.  I’ve been in baptist churches where there’s no other way to describe them.  I’ve been a couple LDS churches doing genealogy, where the people were just plain creepy. That’s not the religion, it’s the people.  There are several growing groups of independent Christians who are forming their own churches, and growing.  They suck in other congregations, destroying those churches.  They’re nothing more than cult.

CARM

Taylor Petrey would have Christians believe the following.

“…Definitions of Christianity that seek to portray its essence are arguments about what that essences should be, not objective descriptions of fact.  They assume the very thing they are trying to prove.  Such definitions are rhetorical and ideological, producing similarities between themselves and what they see as authentic Christianity, and downplaying the differences.  Those that represent the boundaries as natural and fixed also represent themselves as atemporal, outside of the tumults of time and space.  But we know that such definitions fail the test of time.

If our definitions are always provisional, historically situated, and subject to change, what considerations should we make in determining the boundaries of Christianity?  One consideration must be the ethical.  As countless scholars have pointed out, the process of drawing boundaries can be fraught ethically.  Is it just to exclude a group who claim the title of Christians?  In answering this question it is useful to consider how defining some people as “outsiders,” as lacking a claim to some standard of authenticity, is the fundamental ideology behind so many of the ugly prejudices in this world. The Christianity police are often guilty of police brutality more than protection of their constituents.  Defining Mormonism out of Christianity sets, and follows, a troubling precedent.…”

The problem is that the LDS church does not believe in the Holy Trinity.  It’s that plain and simple.  In order to promote their version of what it is, they arrogantly tell those of us who are Christians, that 2000 years of our theology is wrong. From Mormon News Room. Org.  In order to know the difference between Christianity and Mormonism, you need to know a little Christian theology.  In order to know what all Christians have believed for two thousand years, you need to read the three creeds.  That will tell you everything.  According to the LDS church, these three creeds, that are the backbone of Christianity are wrong.

Mormon News Room

Ben Witherington explains the above, this way:

“…1) Mormons are polytheists, not monotheists. That is, they believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate beings, thus denying the essential monotheistic statements of both the OT and NT that God is One.

2) Mormons, thus, not surprisingly, deny the doctrine of the Trinity, calling it an amalgam of Greek ideas with Biblical ideas. Their basic view is that the original doctrine of God and of the ‘priesthood’ and key ideas about sacrifice, and leadership of the NT era were lost, as the church became entirely apostate and needed to be renewed, and that the NT church was not renewed until Joseph Smith came along in the 19th century (who btw, had an interest in Methodism whilst he was in Palmyra N.Y. and apparently took part in some of the revivals in the ‘Burnt Over District’ there in the first part of the 19th century). Mormons see the ecumenical councils which produced the Nicean creed or the Apostle’s Creed or the Chalcedonian creed as in essence contradictory to what Scripture teaches.

3) Mormons believe that even God the Father has, and apparently, needs a body, denying that God in the divine nature is spirit. Indeed they believe that God the Father is an exalted man!

4) Just as they believe that the early church became apostate, they also believe the Bible as we have it is not inerrant or always truthful and trustworthy, even on major issues like Christology, and therefore needs to be supplemented (and corrected) by subsequent prophetic revelation in documents like the Book of Mormon, or even The Pearl of Great Price.

5) in terms of soteriology, Mormons deny the sufficiency of Christ’s death for salvation. They suggest, as the linked article says, that each of us must do all we can and then trust in the mercy of God. In other words, the de facto position is that Mormonism is to a significant degree a works religion even when it comes to salvation….”

Pathos

Try this one:

“...Those who choose to remain single or do not enter into the covenant of celestial marriage while on earth are no longer in obedience to God or to LDS authorities. They will not advance to Godhood, but will be given menial tasks as angels for all eternity. “Many who practice celibacy do so out of an excessive religious devotion and with the idea in mind that they are serving their Maker. In reality, they are forsaking some of the most important purposes of their creation…” (Mormon Doctrine pg. 119). “Therefore, when they are out of the world they… are appointed angels in heaven… to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:16-17)….”

Mormon Curtain

Now that Mitt Romney is the nominee, there are elements within the Mormon church who are now seeking to mainstream their religion, and force the Christian world to change our definition of what a Christian is, to suit their constantly evolving theology.  That’s the problem.  Christian theology basically does not evolve or change.  What it is to be a Christian is defined in the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, and Apostles Creed.  The Mormon Church has made their own changes and adaptations to these.  They believe the early church became totally corrupt by the time of these creeds.

“...Mormonism and Christianity have a complex theological, historical, and sociological relationship. Mormons express the doctrines of Mormonism using standard biblical terminology, and have similar views about the nature of Jesus’ atonement, bodily resurrection, and Second Coming as traditional Christianity. Nevertheless, most Mormons agree with the typical non-Mormon view that the Mormon conception of God is significantly different from the Trinitarian view of orthodox Nicene Christianity, derived from the eponymous Nicene and Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creeds of 325 and 381. Though Mormons consider the Bible as scripture (insofar as it is translated correctly), they have also adopted additional scriptures. Mormons not only practice baptism and celebrate the Eucharist but also participate in religious rituals unknown to traditional Christianity. Although the various branches of Christianity have diverse views about the nature of salvation, the Mormon view is particularly idiosyncratic.

Focusing on differences, some Christians consider Mormonism “non-Christian”, and Mormons, focusing on similarities, are offended at being so characterized.[2] Mormons do not accept non-Mormon baptism nor do non-Mormon Christians usually accept Mormon baptism. Mormons regularly proselytize individuals actually or nominally within the Christian tradition, and some Christians, especially evangelicals, proselytize Mormons. A prominent scholarly view is that Mormonism is a form of Christianity, but is distinct enough from traditional Christianity so as to form a new religious tradition, much as Christianity is more than just a sect of Judaism.

The Mormonism that originated with Joseph Smith, Jr. in the 1820s shared strong similarities with some elements of nineteenth-century Protestant Christianity. Mormons believe that God, through Smith and his successors, restored these truths, and thus restored the original Christianity taught by Jesus. For example, Smith, in result of his “First Vision”, primarily rejected the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity (History of the Church); and instead taught that God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct “personages”–Jesus Christ and the Father having glorified immortalized bodies and the Holy Ghost a spirit body. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the largest Mormon denomination, while acknowledging its differences with mainstream Christianity, often focuses on its commonalities.

This where the LDS church is different from Christian churches.

“...Although the LDS Church has never officially adopted a doctrine of soteriology, most Mormons accept the doctrine of salvation formulated by B. H. Roberts, John A. Widstoe, and James E. Talmage in the early 20th century.  In contrast to early Mormons, modern Mormons generally reject the idea of original sin. The Fall of Man is viewed not as a curse but as an opportunity.

Mormons believe they must not only have faith and repent but also be baptized (by immersion and by a Mormon priest) and bring forth good works. Mormons consider their weekly Eucharist (the Sacrament) as a means of renewing their baptism and being repeatedly cleansed from sin. Although the grace of Jesus plays some role in salvation, each Mormon must “work out his own salvation.”

Mormons believe that people not baptized during their lifetime may accept salvation in the afterlife through the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead. Although the Book of Mormon rejected the doctrine of universal reconciliation, Smith later taught that damnation was a temporary state from which the wicked would ultimately escape after they had paid for their sins, to be resurrected into the lowest of three glorious heavens.

Mormonism takes an extreme view of Christian perfection, asserting that through the grace of Jesus, Mormons may become perfectly sanctified and thereby literally become gods or achieve Exaltation. To achieve Exaltation, Mormons must remain obedient to the teachings of Jesus, receive all the ordinances or Sacraments, which includes baptism, confirmation, receive the Melchizedek priesthood (for males), the Endowment, and being sealed to one’s spouse. To “make sure” the election of believers, Smith introduced a second anointing ritual,  whose participants, upon continued obedience, were sealed to Exaltation…”

To understand the LDS view of Salvation, you literally need a flow chart.

Wikipedia

Women who do not give birth, do not receive salvation.

CARM

“...In summary, section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants reinforces the doctrinal foundation for male dominance in LDS domestic life. Women are viewed as gifts and rewards for righteous living. Once given, they are spoken of as property or chattel. However, the most important point in this section however is that in order for a man to enter the highest degree of the Mormon heaven, he must be able to produce offspring. If he is faithful over a few things in this life (women are included in this grouping of things incidentally), he will be made ruler over many things (once again, women are one of those many things that he will rule over). This line of thinking is very similar to the Jihad’s hope for a harem of 70 virgins in the next life if he is faithful in his service to Allaah. For Mormon men, women are the producers of a never-ending stream of spirit progeny.

Modern Mormon women will stress the equality of the sexes by explaining that neither a man nor a woman can enter the celestial kingdom without a spouse. What they don’t like to discuss in particular is what their respective roles will be in the hereafter. Few are willing to connect the dots between the temple endowment ceremony, section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants and the smattering of pro-patriarchal scriptural references in the Old and New Testament. From these sources it is made evident that man is to rule over women, that godhood is achieved through the ability to have numberless spirit children and that a man, if faithful in this life will be made ruler over many wives in the next life. When viewed from a diagrammatical standpoint, the Mormon plan of exaltation is essentially a celestial pyramid scheme (ever wonder why those are so popular in Utah? May have something to do with the psychological impact this doctrine has on the minds of the members). …”

Want to understand Ann Romney’s very childish (5th grade level) speech and her mindset?

“…Women on the other hand, are indoctrinated in passivity. Many years ago I read an analysis in Sunstone of manuals for girls vs. manuals for boys, starting with Merrie Miss, going up through Laurels. I don’t remember statistics, but basically they counted things like use of the passive voice (things like “being taken to the temple” for girls vs. “going to the temple” for boys), encouragement to action/activity, encouragement to obedience/subservience, and so on.

Unsurprisingly, the girls got much, much more passive-reactive kinds of teaching and little active-proactive teaching, while boys were consistently given messages that empowered them, encouraged them to be outgoing, make decisions, take initiative.

Maybe what they were being told to do was whacked (we could certainly argue it!) but the underlying message is, you have control, you can make things happen for yourself. Girls were given a constant bombardment of messages that they must be reactive, passive, acted-upon rather than acting.

I think for men it may be easier to make those leaps in their thought processes when they don’t have this sort of mental Chinese foot-binding. Obviously it’s possible to resist in some way and lots of women make the leap, but after watching these situations on the DAMU for almost two years now, my developing theory is that the church teaches women to look to men (gender specifically) for their salvation. And in the temple particularly, in some ways, this is literal.

They are taught that they are, in critical ways, not the authors of their own lives. And when the man they have looked to as the one who the fate of their soul depends on, leaves the church, of course they freak out.

They don’t have the mental, psychological or emotional tools to deal with that. It’s just one more loss of control–not over anyone else, over themselves. How can they be expected to suddenly be “authors” of their own lives when “authority” (the word is directly derived) has always been denied them, except as parceled to them by men and always subject to and inferior to those same men.

A man leaves the church and, doctrinally, the woman is denied salvation. The sop that is given to women here is that (and note the language) she needn’t worry, she will be “given” to another “worthy priesthood holder” in the next life by God. In other words, she’s a commodity and she’ll be passed from hand to hand, perhaps with some choice in the matter, but there is nothing in the doctrine that would guarantee that. She still is not the “author” of her own fate.

…Of course, both men and women have the crap beat out of them in this talk. Both men and women are psychologically infantilized by the church–but women are so to a degree that is several orders of magnitude higher than for men. Of course it’s harder for them to leave the church. You have to be proactive to color outside the lines. Men at least are trained in proactivity. They have some internal structures and mental skills, and cultural approval of their proactivity.

Women, to the degree that they have absorbed and internalized these messages, have to overcome their indoctrination in passivity and the massive cultural disapproval that will come down on them for being proactive in ANY way–much less in challenging the mores of the church. And then, after slogging through all that–at the late age of 20 or 30 (or even 40) something, we still have to actually learn how to BE proactive. …”

MMoutreach

There is a bottom line here:

“…The attempt to trivialize important theological issues, and make them a mere dispute about words is frankly an insult to the earliest Christians, many of whom died for their monotheistic and Trinitarian beliefs. Yes indeed, it does matter what the content is of your religious belief….

…Zeal that is not according to knowledge does not honor the real God, and is misguided. Sincerity is not the same thing as true faith. A person can be sincerely wrong, indeed badly wrong however convinced they are of what they believe. So, yes some of these traits are commendable, if they are properly directed and guided and serving the God of the Bible and the good of humankind.’…”

Glenn Beck is Mormon.  He’s also nearly certifiable and crazy. He is part of one of those weird conservative branches that is an embarrassment to any religion, no matter if it is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. Because of his religion and his popularizing of his faith, he is doing his best, and he should, to present Mormonism as mainstream Christianity.  The real problem here is the fact that his brain-dead listeners believe everything he tells them.  To people like Beck, etc. if anyone says anything about Mormonism that is not glowingly positive, it is an attack. That’s the problem here, how defensive these people are.

What people like Beck don’t seem to comprehend is the fact that the Mormons are out to change the world and evangelize Christianity into their version of it.  When a person is young and zealous, you try converting say Catholics to Baptists, and Baptists to Presbyterians, and so forth and so on. It’s life in the religious fast lane.  Then, you grow up and realize that we all have the basic belief, only we just do a few things a little different.  The problem with the LDS church is that they don’t grow out of this phase.  They continue to want to change us, to believe what they believe.  In many ways, this zeal results in a tremendous amount of disrespect for what we believe.

Part of the problem is the rank and file member of the LDS church, doesn’t know what we believe, and really doesn’t know much of their own theology.  Bill MeKeever wrote:

“...When speaking to our Mormon friends about religious issues, it is not uncommon to hear them tell us, “We’re Christians just like you.” There could be many reasons for a response like this. Perhaps the Mormon with whom you are speaking does not really understand what Christians have believed over the centuries, or it could be that they are not really familiar with the positions of their own church. It could be that because both groups share a desire to live moral lives that this qualifies them as “Christian.” However, this conclusion is refuted by the fact that many religions emphasize wholesome living as a part of their beliefs. Christianity, as a religious faith, is known by its teachings (doctrine) and not necessarily by the behavior of its adherents (though we certainly hope that a Christian’s faith is reflected in their practice).

One thing we have found in most cases is it is very rare for the average Latter-day Saint to fully explain the unique teachings of Mormonism. In the LDS Church it is taught that milk must be given before meat. Since many Mormons know that some of their unique teachings will be questioned by their evangelical acquaintances, they often give an explanation of the LDS faith that is less than precise.

It is difficult to comprehend why Mormons would say they are Christians “just like us” given that the foundation of their church presupposes that all professing Christian churches outside of the LDS Church are in a state of apostasy. …”

Cultwatch

In many ways, this is about knowing what you believe.  If someone is a Christian, then lean a little theology. The same holds true of any faith.  A heck of a lot of this is about a song made popular by the immortal Aretha.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

It is not about bigotry to discuss the differences between religions.  This said, The Pink Flamingo was reading, the other day, that there is an inherent persecution “complex” deep within the Mormon faith.  That’s sad.  Yes, there was a heck of a lot of persecution at one time, but what they went through doesn’t begin to compare what has happened to Christians and Jews over the years.

And – this has nothing to do with Mitt Romney, it does though, have everything to do with the mess Glenn Beck is causing, but then again, Glenn Beck is an ass.  I guess that’s the real problem here.  People like Glenn Beck are giving the LDS church a very bad name.  Same thing with TBN, Jim & Tammy, and other sinful televangelists.

 

 

 

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