Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Truth vs. Wisdom

"If you lack knowledge, go to school.  If you lack wisdom, get on your knees! Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge." ~Vance Havner

If you've ever met with Mormon missionaries or even talked with a Mormon I'm sure that you've been told that you just need to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  An argument you will often see is them using James 1:5-7 which states...

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
I have always stated that there is a big difference between truth and wisdom. So in order to better understand what James was getting at let's look at those definitions. Then we can go back and see if it clears things up a bit.

  1. A fact that has been verified.
  2. Conformity to reality or actuality.


  1. Accumulated knowledge or erudition or enlightenment.
  2. The trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight.
An example I like to use is the burner on your stove.  It is either on or off (True or False). Wisdom is being smart enough not to touch it if it's on.  So how can we apply this to the passage in James and especially praying over the Book of Mormon?  James says to pray for wisdom and I completely agree.  However when you hear "You just need to pray to see if the Book of Mormon is true" there is an instant issue.  Can the Book of Mormon be verified?  The answer is a resounding "NO!"  Is it reality or actuality?  Since there is no record of anything prior to Joseph's publishing in 1830 that is also a "NO".

When this point is going nowhere they will often turn to "The Spirit told me the Book of Mormon is true, and that is good enough for me."  Well there is a problem in that for the heart can't be trusted can it?

Jeremiah 17:9  
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
So if the heart can't be trusted, what can we trust to test if something is truth or not? Very simple.

Romans 12:2-3
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your MIND.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will."
So I think we can start to see a pattern here.  Romans is telling us to renew our MIND and wisdom is utilizing knowledge.  Now when we go back and look at the definitions listed above we can clearly see how this is not a standard for truth.  So asking for wisdom is to ask how to best use the knowledge "truth" we have already been given and the only way to know that truth is to compare all things through the lens of the Bible.  This example is made clear in Acts 17:11 when we read...

"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
Notice they didn't pray about it.  Instead they went to the written Word.  Jesus also used the written word to test truth.  We read this in Mathew chapter 4.

I pray this helps those who read this understand how Mormonisms methods for truth are not of God.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Is God Unchangeable?

By John Merilatt

Is God unchangeable from eternity to eternity,
Or was he a mortal like you or like me?

The Bible makes it clear that God always was and always will be,
Mormonism claims he was once a man like you or like me.

It would seem that Mormonism can't even get it's own story straight.
For the Book of Mormon even says that he is unchangeable in Moroni chapter eight.

Mormonism now lowers God to make him appear less than what he is,
For when it comes to works saving you it isn't yours, but His.

For if that isn't enough the Mormon god can't create.
For Jesus to be born unto Mary he had to procreate.

With Mormonism Jesus's blood won't cut it.
Your works play a role for your sins to omit.

Is God unchangeable as the Bible tells us?
Or just an exalted man as Joseph's story would tell us?

What is the need to change the nature of God,
And go out spreading this message abroad?

My guess is it all comes down to being exalted.
For it is mans ego that needs to be fed
And it's mans own opinions for which they are lead.

For if you can bring God down a notch and raise up man,
The need for Jesus isn't as high a demand.

So please make sure you read God's Word
And see that he IS unchangeable and your salvation
can be assured.

In Psalm ninety verse two we read that from everlasting to everlasting thou are God
Yet in Mormonism he was once a man that dwelled  near Kolob.

For we can read how Jesus is God made flesh.
And when you truly rely on him will you find rest.

Are prayers are that all Latter day Saints will understand his Word.
And that with his blood shed on the Cross can one be made pure.

May God bless you can keep you safe.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Why do you hate us"

"Why do you hate us?" This has got to be the most common type of statement made by LDS that we (along with every other ministry) come across.  What would give anyone the impression that they are hated?  Let's take a look at some things to try and figure out the underlining cause of this issue.

I can't speak for everyone but I can say that myself along with everyone else in our ministry have yet to meet anyone we hate in person or on the internet.  We may dislike their statements or theology but that doesn't mean we hate them.  It is quite the opposite actually.  We love the LDS so much that we want to share the Gospel with them even though they disagree.  We are willing to risk any kind of friendship here on this earth in order to let them know the power of his grace.  Even Brigham Young agrees with us on this.  He said...

"If I should hear a man advocate the erroneous principles he may have imbibed through education, and oppose those principles, some might imagine that I was opposed to that man, when in fact I am only opposed to every evil and erroneous principle he advances." Journal of Discourses V7 PG191

 I might word that a little differently for those LDS who think we hate them.  I might say "When I hear a Mormon explain their un-biblical doctrine they may have inquired through lack of education, and oppose those doctrines, some might imagine that I was opposed to that Mormon, when in fact I am only opposed to every evil and un-biblical doctrine they advance."

Not very different is it?  Same concept and yet I can't tell you how many times we get comments stating we hate them.  Even LDS apologists will take a statement like that and attempt to use it to show everyone we hate them.  Yet in their very same argument I can't tell you how many comments we get from apologists that could reflect they hate us.

It is this same "Anti-Mormon" type of statement in order to get a conversation going nowhere.  They want you to spend time defending why you want to share the Gospel instead of really sharing the Gospel.  As of late we have seen a rapid growth in both people willing to hear it as well as people willing to lie all the way to their grave in order to keep their people faithful tithing members of the church.

Another type of comment you will see is them asking why we are trying to tear down their faith in Jesus.  They will love to try and claim that they believe in the same Jesus that we do.  However just like it was in the days of Jesus there were Anti-Christ wanting to lead people down a path of destruction. Jesus claimed to be God made flesh.  Not a God, or just the son of God (which he is) but the God of Jacob, Isaac,and Abraham (Mark 12:26, Matthew 22:32, Acts 7:32).  So when they claim that Jesus is anything but that demeans him and his power and therefor is a different Jesus.  Not the Jesus of the Bible.  We only want everyone to realize the true power of the cross.

So what can we get from all this?  Why would anyone be offended by someone wanting the best for them just because it isn't what they are used to?  The underlining factor in all this is Jesus.  More people are offended by the name Jesus then any other name in history.  You will not see Muhammad's name used as a curse word.  You will not see Joseph Smith's name written in history outside of LDS literature.  How he is defined means everything.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Matthew 23 (Mormonized)

You teacher of the law and blind sheep that sit in your Wards. So you must obey your leaders and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on your shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the fig leafs on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the temples; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘ Apostle.’

“But you are not to be called ‘Elder’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant.For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Elders, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Elders, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Elders, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Elders, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Elders! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Elders, you hypocrites! 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. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Elders, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your temples and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of 
 Baker-Fancher wagon train, whom you murdered at Mountain Meadows. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.

“O Mormons, Mormons, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me until you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do your works play a role in your Righteousness?

I had the pleasure of talking with an LDS apologist named Stephen and I asked him what verses in the Bible he thought justified the LDS stance that our works play a role in our righteousness.  I am going to go through each of the 13 verses he gives one by one and we will see how LDS apologists will spin God's word in order to keep the members of their church in bondage.   He proceded these verses by starting with the following comment...

"John you will notice that a lot of these scriptures require an action of some kind on our part".

  • Verse #1. Acts 10:35 - but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

Well from the very beginning we can see that this verse isn't talking about a person and their righteousness.   It is about an entire nation.  However I am REALLY BIG on context so let's look at the paragraph that this verse is in.

Acts 10:34-38 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how HE went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

So as you can see the context of this passage has nothing to do with anything we do so let's move on the next one shall we...

  • Verse #2. Mathew 3:15  Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” 

Well this verse taken out of context would appear to prove his point but what is the "it" he is referring to?  Let's look.

Mathew 3:13-16 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 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 alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

Well we can see the "it" is Baptism now.  However is it something that must be done to be righteous? This isn't talking about anything we need to do.  It is talking about the Baptism of Jesus.  So this passage doesn't fit Stephens argument.

  • Verse #3.  Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

Does this passage need any further explanation?  I think anyone who wants to be closer to God has a hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Does this imply that anything we do achieves that goal on our own merits?  No.

  • Verse #4. Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you 

Yet again I think all believers would agree that we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  Does this ever imply we will achieve it on our merits?  No.  And what are these things that will be added to us.  It is talking about the small things in life for if he takes care of the plants and birds he will surely take care of us.  

  • Verse #5. Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Of all the verses he would try and cherry pick I think this is possible one of the worst to try and prove his case.  The one man's offense it is referring to is Adams, and then it goes into grace and the gift of righteousness.  If it is a gift then it wasn't anything you did to earn it.  Again the credit goes to Jesus and not us.

  • Verse #6. Romans 6:18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

O.K.  Maybe I was wrong.  This has got to be the worst possible verse to prove his case.  This tells us that we were set free from sin before we achieved any kind of righteousness.  Nothing leading up to.

  • Verse #7. Romans 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Well for starters I think we need to take a look at the prior verse.  It goes "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh".  Well there goes his argument with this verse.  Right out of the gate we see that our salvation is not dependent upon our merits.

  • Verse #8. 1 Corinthians 15:34  Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

Now we may just be getting somewhere.  This verse would appear to help his cause as it sits.  Let's look at the prior verses.  Verses 29-33 
Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Now this could go down a completely different issue when it comes to Mormonism with Baptism for the Dead.  Without going way off topic I think we can see that this has nothing to do with any merits on our part but in what company we keep.

  • Verse #9 Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness

Now again at face value this would appear to help his cause. However who is this passage addressing?  It is talking to those who are already Christians.  It is talking about the Armor of God in order to resist the devil.  I see no part of this section talking about us being able to make ourselves righteous.  

  • Verse #10. Ephesians 5:9 for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.  

I think we would all agree with this verse.  For if you have the spirit in you should display goodness, righteousness, and truth.  And if that isn't enough verse 8 says "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light".  The following verses say " And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light."  I think it is safe to say that this could be applied to Mormonism but not in the light Stephen was shooting for.  It is because of verses like this that I and many others stand up against Mormonism and its so called fruits.

  • Verse #11. 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Again Stephen I think we would all agree that we need to pursue righteousness.  I again see nowhere that it says anything we do will make us so.  If we read the context of this passage we see it again is talking about us standing up against those who proclaim the wrong message.

  • Verse #12. James 3:18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

I have no argument against this verse, but what does it have to do with any part of our merits making us righteous?  I would like to think the passage this verse is in is talking about wisdom and yielding to his spirit.  Not about any of our merits making us righteous. 

Last but not least...

  • Verse #13. 1 John 3:6-11 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Instead of me trying to explain this I will leave this to Pastor Marc Estes.

And Pastor Frank Damazio.

So in conclusion we can see that LDS apologists will make any efforts they can to sway the investigators to believing their efforts and yours have an impact on our salvation and righteousness.  I pray that the message of the cross can impact all members of the LDS church and help them realize their efforts are in vain and need to lay all their cares at the cross. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

A response to Greg West

This blog is a response to Greg West and his critique of my blog post (posted 19/05/2011).

I thank Greg for his time in replying. I also thank him for taking the interest in our small ministry of faithful believers.

I have responded to show misunderstandings he seems to have in my 'argument' and motives. Below is my response. Where Greg is quoted it appears as bold italics. When a part of my original article is quoted it is in italics.

Both articles can be read by following these links.

What do Mormons have against the apostles' creed? (original)

What do Mormons have against the apostles' creed? (Greg West's reply)

Firstly, Greg tries to summarise what he sees as the main points/argument from my article. However, he fails in certain respects. He does so by assuming my motives.

His first point in my supposed argument is to talk about the age of the creed. This is true, but it is not part of the main argument. I do not try and link its age to any part of the argument. I am merely giving a history to people who might think that “apostles' creed” means that it is from the apostles. The history is a kind of context setter, not part of the argument. I do not aim to say it is old therefore it should be obeyed, or any other fallacy appealing to age, 'authority', etc. etc. Reading the history part of the article introduces us to its origin and various uses in the early church which gave rise to its continued use in Christianity.

His summary point 2 : “The individual components of the creed are scriptural” is correct. They are scriptural. His summary point 3 is also correct. However, he later uses them contrary to their original purpose in my article.

However, point four is where the summary of the argument breaks down. My end analysis is to seek what can or cannot be an abomination in the apostles' creed. This I sought to show by two examples, firstly that the items were scriptural and secondly that creedal type statements exist in Mormonism. Hence I end with a question why is it such an abomination in Mormonism: “What is the basic problem with affirming the apostles' creed? What is so abominable? Perhaps a Mormon can shed some light.” He seems to assume my motive and then make a case on that. Had I rested a case on the scriptural elements being an abomination then I wouldn't have ended with a question but a statement.

His point 5 is just pointless. He writes:

“The author then seeks to portray the 13 Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a creed and wonders why it does not qualify as a creed.”

I do not wonder why it does not qualify as a creed for I say it does qualify as a creed. Also I state that an affirmation of “I believe” in any respect qualifies as a creedal statement.

Moving on, Greg then says he was going to write a long treatise to examine each point of the apostles' creed, but then changed his mind. A Jude moment indeed. Just as with Jude, we long to know what he would have written; yet we have to settle for this. Maybe he will write his article on the apostles' creed one day, and I'm sure it will be interesting if he does.

Let us examine Greg's response now. This reply does not deal with every point or word Greg wrote. Therefore, there will be parts in this response that do not flow one to the other. It is advised you read both my original post and Greg's response first.

“What challenges their unbelief is the First Vision. We don't need to parse the various iterations of the several creeds. That's not the point. We need to take every single person to the border of the Sacred Grove and invite them in.”

This I agree with in parts. I don't know anyone who evangelises by going: “Hey, let's examine the creeds of Christendom.” The foundation is God's word and his truth revealed in history. However, in saying, “What challenges their unbelief is the First Vision.” Okay, so you want to challenge my unbelief with the first vision. I ask, which one? The first one published? A version which takes all contradictory elements and harmonised them? The one which was used most often in the early church? The now “official” first vision which comes later than many versions? It seems if you want to challenge unbelief you should come with something concrete and that inspires faith and trust to be placed in it.

“If a latter-day saint was to agree and say, "Yes, I believe in the same things as those in the Apostles' Creed," would sectarian Christians accept us as fellow believers? Not at all.”

True. However, Greg, perhaps consider this. You use hymns of Christendom and apply your own definition to the terms. Why has Mormonism never taken the apostles' creed and done the same? It seems that when something is so in line with scripture and such a good summary of the basics that you could also take it up and apply your own definitions to it. This is what I sought an answer for in my original article. Why is it such an abomination and not used in Mormonism. We'll look further at this idea of heretical/unorthodox and orthodox both affirming the creed in a minute.

“The argument would then pivot to some other set of tenets like modern revelation, adding to the Bible, salvation by grace, or the priesthood of all believers. The author of the article is trying to set up a rhetorical trap. That trap has two parts, shown in arguments 3 and 4 above. “

Not at all. This “rhetorical trap” is the making of the author and not me. He assumes that scriptural parts and abomination must equal a catch-22. Believe it and be scriptural or reject it and be un-scriptural. As he said, we argue over definitions and other fundamentals, such as when authoritative-doctrinal revelation stopped, the authority structure of the church, etc. I have no doubt a Mormon could say the apostles' creed and have assent to it all, much as they can the bible, with their own definitions added.

It was suggested that, if there's nothing wrong with the Apostles' Creed and you can agree with it, then aren't you in opposition to the words of Jesus to the Prophet Joseph? If there isn't anything bad in the creed, then how can it be an abomination?”

Another assumption here on the part of Greg. Why would I suggest that if you don't agree to the apostles' creed, while accepting the fact one could say it with their own definitions behind it, mean that I suddenly set up a ‘believe scripture or believe Smith’ scenario? I seek to find what is an abomination about the creeds, as I mentioned in my introduction to this article. We both agree it is not the scriptural element of the creed.

The most essential doctrine to be accepted in this dispensation is the First Vision. It is the defining line between saint and sinner. Many people believe in Jesus Christ, but they are not part of his earthly kingdom. The ruse in the argument is to separate you from the Sacred Grove.”

Again, if it is so fundamental, why all the confusion and changing of the first vision?

He then goes off into a party broadcast for Mormonism, centring around the importance of the Sacred grove.

Greg goes on to say that the Articles of Faith cannot be a creed, as they are not a test of orthodoxy. However, he misses the point that nor was the apostles' creed to start with, but a summary of what they believed... oops just like the 13 articles! He seems to suggest that a creed has to be a test of orthodoxy – a later use for the creed - and this arbitrary definition makes sure his use of creedal statements is excluded from being defined as a creed!

However, his point is rather shallow. I am willing to bet that if someone didn't affirm one of the articles in the church then immediately they'd be judged to be unorthodox or erring! In fact, the whole world is 'heretical', of Satan, anti-Christs etc. because we do not believe, for example, the book of Mormon to be the word of God, nor Smith to be a true prophet.

Greg's use of “creed” seems to limit something to being a “creed” only when it is used to judge. A creedal statement is a set of beliefs. You cannot get round that definition. He quotes from the Catholic encyclopaedia to suggest that it has always been seen as an ex-cathedra statement. How can it be an ex-cathedra statement when it has changed, was found in different forms, and was employed for different uses? It is subordinate to scripture and a good summary of the faith. It is only later Catholics that want to make it out as some kind of infallible statement. Most branches of Reformed Christianity exclude many parts that do not have a sound basis in scripture. It is only infallible where the parts are scriptural. That means the creed isn't infallible, but the Scripture behind it is. Its authority is scripture itself; not its age, not who might have said it; nor what what some pope might think of it, nor the commentary some doctor of the church wrote on it; but scripture. However, it seems that the Articles of Faith are infalliable, even without scriptural support, just because Smith uttered them.

Christians in the Reformed tradition also don't use it as a nuanced test of orthodoxy. Roman Catholics say it, as does the Eastern orthodox etc. I suspect even a JW would have no problems saying it. However, we'd have problems with some of the things they believe, and vice-versa. As if that isn't enough, if someone was to come and say that they don't believe in God the Father or the resurrection of Christ, then it has become by default a test of orthodoxy, only in the fact that being derived from scripture, it shows that that someone has erred from scripture. It says nothing about how we view God the Father or how we view the resurrection. This deals with definitions and interpretations – something which goes beyond the actual basic words of the creed. (For example the homoosious clause in the creed of Nicea, and the initial working of the Nicene creed at the council, which Arians were willing to sign, even though it was meant to be “orthodox”.)

Yet he wants to claim it is used as an “us” and “them” thing. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Is it wrong to show someone they are actually erring and not in the faith? However, as I alluded to above, it is not by the creed that we’d show someone was wrong, but by scripture (or at the least, the creed as a framework for showing the biblical definitions and support). If, for example, the famous Bishop who denies the resurrection of Christ came to me, I’d show him from scripture that he is wrong. If a Mormon knocked on my door, I’d show them, among other things, from scripture that they are wrong. And I suspect you’d try to do vice-versa.

But if we were to do a quick 20 second summary of what I believed, I'd have no problems whipping off the apostles’ creed.

Perhaps the one precept that most significantly makes the Articles of Faith different from sectarian creeds is that they recognize that God can, does, and will continue to reveal his will in modern times. The heavens are not sealed to his Church.”

He tries to say that by using a creed it means God cannot speak today. This is false. I see nowhere where a creed says God cannot speak today. It is saying this is what we believe, and this is what the biblical truth is. This only seems to be a problem in Mormonism, where God likes to change what kind of being he is, his nature and the gospel plan he wants to hold to.

A creed cannot be used as reason for belief or non-belief in whether God speaks today or not (which all reformed-Christians would believe.) It merely means we do not believe that God changes his being, gospel, or plan of salvation. Hence we can take the bible and summarise it, and hold to the true faith and gospel which scripture tells us to guard and hold to.

It makes defending the faith possible, and to recognise error and strange doctrine. It doesn’t say God cannot speak. It says that all we need to be saved and live a godly life is found within the Bible.

Since this particular creed deals with historical facts and promises of God, which by definition do not change, how can it be wrong to use a creed to list them; and how does this suddenly mean that we do not believe God speaks today? We are not cessasionists when it comes to God speaking. We are cessasionists when it comes to revelation of doctrine and gospel plans. A huge difference.

“The articles of faith point to our belief in modern as well as ancient scripture, the anticipation and presence of spiritual gifts in the Church, and the reality of the future return of the lost tribes and the return of the Savior.”

And if one did not believe these things in the church, how would you show them to be following incorrect precepts? Surely it is by the Mormon scriptures. This is where your use of the creed fails. If someone doesn't believe a part of it, I don't say “Well, it's in the creed, believe it.” I say, “Well, consider these scriptures.” In the same way I don't suppose that you would say; “Well it is in the articles of faith, believe it”, without scriptural support. Nor would a Christian who understands both the importance of God's word and the use creeds.

However, you seem to suggest that by saying the 13 articles contain one type of belief – e.g. “spiritual gifts” and not another, that suddenly you’ve made it not a creed. This simply is fallacious.

No, the Articles of Faith are not a creed. They are not the basis of what is heretical or orthodox.”

Again, debatable. There are definitely things within that if you don't believe, regardless of interpretation, you'd be considered unorthodox. In the same way as I said above saying the creed doesn't make you orthodox (Reformed, Catholic, Eastern-Orthodox, etc.), it cannot be used as a blank test of orthodoxy on its own (if it could then later creeds and constant referral to scripture in the early church to combat heresy wouldn't have been needed). It can, however, show quite quickly, through key concepts, whether someone is or isn't a believer (e.g. lack of belief in the resurrection). Therefore, even as a test of orthodoxy, there is nothing wrong at all, as long as biblical definitions are supplied to the words.

I am willing to bet if someone didn’t believe in the future return of Christ, belief in the Book of Mormon as the word of God, return of the tribes of Israel, you’d be on to them pretty sharpish as schismatic, if not heretical, and in need of recovering.

Nice try, Joshua. Better luck next time. As for me and my house, we will stand in the Sacred Grove with the living, speaking God who called the creeds an abomination in his sight.”

So we reach the end and Greg has made a lot of assumptions and didn't deal with the question. He makes some desperate attempt to define “creed” as a test of orthodoxy alone and say something about a few person's uses of it a millennium later to show that it is an abomination. Hardly. It is no more an abomination than saying the words from the bible itself. While Christians would agree that its use for killing someone is wrong, it hardly makes the creed an abomination. It makes particular limited historical uses abominable.

If it is due to a test of faith, or someone misusing it, it hardly makes it an abomination. It is no more an abomination than people misusing the law makes the law an abomination. A test of faith is hardly wrong either. We are commanded to hold to the faith and defend it. As has been said above, this is something the creed cannot do by itself. However, in defence of the faith, using a summary of the Bible's teaching isn't wrong. If someone doesn't believe in the resurrection of Christ, his return, God the Father, etc. why wouldn't we want to say they are heretical and in need of the truth?

Why would God say it is an abomination? There is no good reason presented by Greg as to why it should be. I presented two elements which aren't what “abomination” is referring to – scriptural elements and creedal statements (they are used in Mormonism). Greg tried to make out that it locks us in to a belief that God doesn't speak today, which is incorrect. Had the creed said “and God doesn't speak today” then perhaps it would be a logical argument. Another reason was some misused it in history. This just doesn't cut it.

You stand in the Sacred grove. And when you go back to the original “first vision” account, which logically should be the correct and true one if Smith were truly a prophet, then come back. Until then, the rest of the world will just make the reasonable conclusion that Smith didn't see anything because the event never happened.

Greg tries to say this is the part Satan attacks most. Well, no. All it takes is for someone to read the standard works of the church which deal with the first vision, then to do a bit of playing historian. What is seen is that statements in Mormonism’s own history do not add up. That is not Satan. That is something fundamentally wrong with the reliability of Smith's claims. It isn't like it is “anti-Mormons” coming up with these alternative accounts. They are Smith himself, or other Mormons!

As for me and my house, we will stand with the Living God, through his Son Jesus Christ the Lord; being strengthened by the Spirit of God for service, through his authoritative word the Bible. This is the one who never changes, who knows what kind of being he is; and who has revealed his gospel 2,000 years ago - which has changed countless people over the millennia, long before Mormonism showed up, and still does: including me. Praise the Lord that he still speaks, and did so to me, changing me from my life of sin to the power of new life in Christ, and a life of sins forgiven and assurance of eternity with him.

I thank Greg for this chance to show the steadfastness of Christianity's beginnings compared to Moromonism's, and that our fundamental rock, Christ in the scriptures, is never changing and secure. I also thank him for the reminder that Mormon history is inconsistent on matters where it counts, even, in his own words “the most essential doctrine to be accepted in this dispensation” - the first vision (Hmmm… perhaps it should be the death and resurrection which provide forgiveness of sins! Or is it Smith who does the saving nowadays?).

Who'd have thought a post about the apostles' creed could lead to such an opportunity? Praise the Lord for his wonderful grace to share the gospel far and wide.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep looking to the risen Lord Jesus and his victory acheived 2,000 years ago through the death and resurrection, which is for all ages, not just 1830 onwards.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Why we do what we do.

When it comes to Mormon Ministries you have to be led by the Lord to do so.  Unlike ministries that feed the homeless most Mormons don't feel the need for anyone to share the Gospel with them because they already feel they have it.  Some ask why there are so many ministries out there.  I would like to say that a good reason for that is certain groups may have different ways of doing things.  Ephesians 2 and other ministries like us have gotten slack for not being a tax exempt, however it is the the goal of ministry to make money or share the Gospel with people? So if we aren't making money why do we do what we do?  In an effort to help explain things I asked some questions of Admin 1 from Mormon and LDS facts.

Question 1) What causes you to want to reach out to the LDS with the message of Jesus?
I desire to reach out the the LDS people for two main reasons: 
  • Because I believe with all my heart, and with a deep sadness, that they have been deceived by a false religion.
  • I desire to share with them the Biblical Gospel of salvation available in Christ alone. 

Question 2) Have you ever been LDS and if so what caused you to want to leave?
No, I have never been LDS.  However, I was challenged by an LDS relative to prayerfully read the BOM and consider the truthfulness of the LDS church.  He said that the only thing I knew about Mormonism I had learned from "Anti-Mormon" literature.  Well I consider myself an open-minded truth seeker and felt convicted by what he said. I figured that if the LDS church was really true, then I sincerely wanted to know because I love God, desire to please Him and live according to His will.  So I opened my heart and mind and took up the challenge to pray and study Mormonism but agreed to compare it to the Bible only.

My "truth-seeking" experience lasted about 1 year.  And in addition to praying and reading, I checked out LDS material from the library, met with missionaries and visited a local ward. By the end of this period I was more convinced than ever that the BOM and the LDS church was false and not inspired by God at all.  I was deeply impacted by the history of the church, it's internal contradictions and it's anti-biblical doctrines.  In addition to that, I had a few spiritual experiences that confirmed (line up with) what I was understanding intellectually.  I actually experienced God speak to me about Mormonism in ways that I had not anticipated. Prior to those experiences, I wanted to believe that Mormons might still be OK based on their religious sincerity.  But God corrected my thinking and confirmed to me with scripture.

Question 3) Well as a result of that I'm sure you have been labeled "Anti-Mormon". What is your take on that and what advise would you give to those first getting started in apologetics?
Yes indeed - I have been labeled as Anti-Mormon (among other things). But I'm not against Mormons - I LOVE the Mormon peole and pray for them.  And I try to encourage everyone to reach out to the Mormon people and pray for them.  And I try to encourage everyone to reach out to the Mormon people in love because the Bible says that if "we have not love we are nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2). But if someone labeled me "Anti-MormonISM" that would be more accurate and correct.  I am just as "Anti-Mormonism" as Joseph Smith was "Anti-Christianity".  And I feel a strong sense of duty to defend the Bible and the Christian faith.  If someone wants to get involved with apologetics I would suggest a couple of things:  

  • Make SURE that you're called by God and have a true heart (or burden for it).  Although rewarding, it can be draining and discouraging.  It is not for the thin-skinned or faint of heart.  Being called of God and filled with His Spirit is critical for effective ministry.  
  • Make sure the foundation of everything you do is based on speaking the TRUTH IN LOVE (so study and KNOW your Bible). Truth without love is obnoxious and ineffective.  And in my opinion, mean and/or ignorant Christians do more harm than good and should stay away from apologetics. We want to WIN the skeptical and the lost, not push them further away. Yet on the flip side, love without truth is equally ineffective and a great disservice.  You never know if you only have one chance to share the true gospel of Christ with someone before they die (because none of us is promised tomorrow).  If God sends someone our way and we don't share the truth with them, what will our answer to God be in our day of judgement?  But if we share the truth with them, now they have no excuse - and our hands are clean.  And lastly... Be accountable to one or more reputable spiritual leaders who show the fruit of mature Christian service.  And surround yourself with a supportive network of like-minded believers who will help you, as well as challenge you.  We are more effective as a unified community then out there own our own.

Question 4) Do you feel that there is any doctrinal common ground with Mormonism?  If not what would you say to those who feel there is?

I do believe that Mormons and Christians have common ground on many virtues and values - but sadly, not on doctrine.  Doctrine is defined as:


Based on the definition of "doctrine" I would have to make the case that Mormons and Christians do not share doctrinal common ground at all.  That doesn't mean there aren't points of agreement.  For example, both Mormons and Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God, BUT...of course, we can't really stop there because Mormons believe that the Bible has been corrupted (not reliable translated, is missing plain and precious parts and is not sufficient on matters of salvation.) Christians on the other hand have a significantly different doctrinal position about the Bible as being divinely inspired, being accurately and faithfully translated and fully authoritative on all matter of salvation and faith.  This dichotomy is true with virtually every major point of Mormon/Christian doctrine because our beliefs are so different.
For those who believe that Christians and Mormons have "doctrinal common ground", I would really challenge them to do some more study on what makes our faiths uniquely different.  If Christians do not understand what distinguishes true Christianity from Mormonism, then I believe that they are at risk of being deceived. And deceit can be deadly; following false prophets or gospels is hazardous to one's eternal destiny.

Question 5) I know that apologists think that groups such as Ephesians 2 are in this for the money even though we spent about 8x what we have received in donations.  Has your group gotten similar comments and if so how do you respond to them?

At 'Facts' we are fortunate to be able to operate at almost no cost because our ministry model is built on the powerful trend of social networking, which is free.  And every Admin is an unpaid volunteer. We have never asked for or received any donations - and have no plans to.  That's not to say anything negative about ministries that do receive donation - but with the advances in modern technology, we are able to help spread the gospel of Christ freely like never before.  Even maintaining a website or blog can be accomplished for 'next to nothing' and we are able to take care of that on our own.

That said, we have still been accused of being "in it for the money" and obviously that's not true. Those false accusers can't point to one single time we at 'Facts' have asked for anyone's money.  In fact, we have given lots of material and gifts away for free.  And we're not trying to sell anything there but the truth.  However, not every ministry can function that way and each is entitled to raise funds for their purposes (including the multi-billion dollar LDS empire).  In my opinion, your LDS critics should question the lavish financial dealings of their own church before worrying about your little "shoestring" budget.

Question 6) I'm sure that just like us there are critics from both sides.  What do you feel is the best way to keep the peace in order to continue spreading the Gospel?

There are a number of key scriptures that I believe all Christians need to keep in mind at all times:
  • John 15:12-13 (NKJV) - This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
  • Ephesians 4:2-4 (NKJV) - with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling
  • Hebrews 12:14 (NKJV) - Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
  • Matthew 7:1-3 (NKJV) - "Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
  • James 5:9 (NKJV) - Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned.  Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
  • Romans 14:4 (NKJV) - Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls.  Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

J.R., I think these verses (and others like them) truly need no explanation.  The real question is" Will each of us humble ourselves to truly walk out the high calling of an authentic Christian life? Not only in word, but also in deed?  God is the final judge - not any one of us.  We all need to work out (aka "walk out" - not work for) our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).

Well thank you Admin 1 for giving me the time.  Would you like to give any closing comments?

In closing, I would again like to reiterate that everything Christians do should be done with love.  We have God and truth on our side and Christians should endeavor to exhibit unity and the fruit of the Spirit of God in our lives.  We don't have to resort to being mean or hurtful to the LDS people - or to anyone who is lost.  We need to exhibit God's heart for the lost- which is to show them the love of Christ wrapped around the foundation of Bible truth.  This love was clearly manifested in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and IS the essential message of the Gospel
  • John 3:16-18 (NKJV) - For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And again...
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NKJV) - Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angles, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails...

I love it that the Apostle Paul explains to the Corinthian church that all their signs, gifts, works, etc.  MEAN NOTHING WITHOUT LOVE.  Without the love of God there is no profit and there is really no point.  We need both truth and love to win the lost to Christ.  And Mormons need to understand that we don't need a "restoration", "another testament", "another church", "another priesthood" or "another way". Everything we need for eternal life is in Jesus Christ and everything we need to know about Jesus Christ is in the Bible.

Many thanks to Bible Gateway for their free Bible search engine online.  God Bless!! 

If you would like to ask any follow Mormon and LDS facts on Twitter click here. To ask any follow up questions feel free to email Facts here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mormonisms side affects

An interview with Gloria
by John Merilatt

This is the story of a lady named Gloria. We want you to understand what Mormonism does to families when one spouse chooses to leave the church. If this happens to you please don't hesitate to ask for support. That is one of the BIG reasons why this ministry exist.

Are you or have you ever been LDS?
Yes, I have been LDS.

Have been? For how long and why did you choose to leave?
I was LDS for 18 yrs. Joined in 1989 and left in Nov. of 2007. I chose to leave because I found that the grace of Jesus is all I needed for a salvation. In a nutshell, I found JESUS - or He found me!

We hear from Mormons all the time that they believe in Jesus just like we do. Why did you not feel you had Jesus while a member of the LDS church?
  • I believe Jesus "persued" me as a Mormon. I was saved while I was a Mormon Once I found Him ~ He brought me out of the LDS church. He brought me into a relationship with Him. I no longer needed the LDS church. Nor could I continue to embrace the doctrines that were not biblical.

Can you explain what led you to think the LDS church wasn't true?
  • I came to Christ first, and then found the LDS church to be false. Christ saved me FIRST and then He opened my eyes and showed me how the LDS doctrines are often times not compatibable with Biblical teachings. That happened primarily through reading the Bible. As I studied the Bible, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and revealed truth.

What is the main difference you see between Christianity and Mormonism?
  • The nature of God. God for the Mormons was once a man like us. He progressed to becoming a "god"of this planet called earth. He is a created being for the LDS. VS. the Biblical view that there is only ONE GOD eternally existent uncreated Isaiah speaks in detail about this. That is key. Because if they don't understand truly who God is..... then... what do they have?

What reactions did you get from friends and family for choosing to leave?
  • My extended family, who are Christian for the most part were relieved. They had been praying for me for the many years I was LDs. They wept. Their prayers were answered. My dad told me he had prayed every night for me to realize the truth. Most of my LDS friends could not believe I would leave the LDS church for Jesus. They didn't see the "need" to do so. The hardest part was my husband. He was very upset with my decision to leave. My children praise God, came out of the LDS church shortly after I did.
Is your husband still LDS? If so how has this affected your family?
  • Yes, he remains LDS. He is in the process of divorcing me. He can not accept that I have left the LDS church. To him, this is a "deal breaker". It also upsets him that my children have come to Christ, and no longer wish to be LDs.

So how much involvement has the Bishop had with your family with the result of you and your children leaving?
  • My husband's bishop has been supportive of him divorcing me. Our prior bishop was a soft spoken man and didn't interfere much, although we would get visits from the primary president trying to get my kids "back" to church. I finally had to insist they do not return. They would not take "no" for an answer, no matter how I put it. This new bishop is more aggressive.

So I take it your husband has left the house already? What are his plans for moving on?
  • Under his bishop's orders, my husband has chosen to remain living in the house, while we divorce. He refuses to move out and move on. Thus, it makes things tense to say the least.

Do you attend a different church now?
Yes! We were led to a small church here, a non denominational evangelical congregration.

Is your husband open for discussing the differences?
  • At this point, no. He has chosen the LDS church over his family, marriage, etc.

What has happened when the topic is brought up?
  • " Grid-lock"is the best word to describe it.Fruitless and pointless. While he recognizes I worship and love Jesus, it is unacceptable for him to see that I have left Mormonism.

So how would you try and help those in similar situations?
  • Well, first of all encourage them to find Christ first and foremost with Him all things are possible! After that , just be an encouragement to them, pray for them, and help them as best I can.

Is there anything you would like to say to those who are afraid to speak their concerns about Mormonism because they feel their path could be similar to yours?
  • Yes, I would say choose TRUTH........... to live an authentic, truthful life is worth the cost. To be true to oneself first and fore most and to embrace the truth of God, thru Christ Jesus our Lord! The TRUTH sets one Free! I have counted the cost of being a disciple of Christ Jesus, and have found that it is all worth it, all loss I count for gain for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. , for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I MIGHT GAIN CHRIST.
  • Phil. 3:8
  • Jesus is worth the cost. I have absolutely no regrets.
Please understand that we do not in anyway hold any anger to members of the church. For the real love of Jesus is reflected in the hearts of people such as Gloria even in the hardest of times. Mormonism will try and gain a foothold in every aspect of your life even well after you have left. We are here for you. Don't ever think that you are alone. In closing I leave you with this...

Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.