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.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What do Mormons have against the Apostles' Creed?

This blog looks at the Apostles' creed, asking why is it so abominable to recite and believe?

A brief history
The apostles' creed is the earliest creed used by the Christian church. It has changed over the years, but is essentially a summary of the Christian faith. It deals with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It also deals with the church and second coming.

However, its name is misleading. It was not written by the apostles themselves. In fact, they probably knew nothing about it. It comes from the era after the apostles, following 100 AD onwards. There was a legend, which started in the 5th or 6th century AD that the apostles came together before they were about to set off and spread the gospel. Supposedly they each contributed one item to the creed as a basis of what they taught. As the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says, though, this story is “absurd.”

Known early on as “the rule of faith”, variations of the creed appear in early works of the Christian church. The writer of the ISBE article states: “We have accounts given us of its contents (besides the Old Roman Form) in Irenaeus, Tertullian, Novatian, Origen, etc.; and they show substantial unity with a certain freedom of form in expression.”1 This means that essentially the same information appears but worded differently.

For the actual apostles' creed, there are two forms which we possess today; a shorter version, probably Roman in origin, and a longer form. Below are the two versions.


“I believe in God the Father Almighty. And in Jesus Christ His only (begotten) Son our Lord, who was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary; crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost; the holy Church; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; (the life everlasting).”


“I believe in God the Father Almighty; Maker of Heaven and Earth; and in Jesus Christ His only (begotten) Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; [He descended into hell]; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven; and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy [catholic]2 Church; [the communion of saints]; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; [and the life everlasting]. Amen.”

The shorter form seems to be the oldest, and the longer, or 'received' form is what most know and use today. Philip Schaff, in Volume 2 of History of the Christian Church shows what was added in the sixth or seventh century. These are marked with square brackets [] above.

The creed started off as a baptismal confession and was expanded over time. It was also employed for other uses. In the middle of the second century, a heresy known as Gnosticism threatened Christianity. The confession became used as a 'rule of faith' or 'rule of truth' to test if someone was holding to the true faith or not. (Irenaeus in the mid-first century is an example of its use as a rule of faith. Hippolytus, early third century, is an example of its use as a baptismal confession. See Appendix 1)

However, while it was used to test the faith, it never became greater than Scripture. Scripture was never set aside in favour of the creed alone. If the creed could not be shown to be scriptural then it was worthless. If it did not help guard the true faith of Christianity and allow the true meaning of Scripture to prevail, then it had failed its task.

The contents
Schaff writes about the creed: “It follows the historical order of revelation of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, beginning with the creation and ending with the resurrection and life eternal. It clusters around Christ as the central article of our faith. It sets forth living facts, not abstract dogmas and speaks in the language of the people, not of the theological school. It confines itself to the fundamental truths, is simple, brief, and yet comprehensive, and admirably adapted for catechetical and liturgical use.”3

Anyone reading the creed can see immediately that its contents are from Scripture. Despite the later additions, there is nothing un-scriptural about the creed. The only dubious phrase is “he descended into hell.” Yet, surely no one could find any problem with this creed as a summary of the Christian faith? Surely as a baptismal confession or 'rule' by which to test false hood, it does its job?

This is why it is so puzzling that it should be classed as an “abomination” by the Mormon church! Do they not believe these things?

In the official first vision account of the Joseph Smith, he writes that he went into the woods to seek from the Lord which sect of Christianity he should join. Two persons appeared, one God the Father, the other his Son, and Jesus spoke to Smith. He was told that all of the sects were wrong, “all their creeds were an abomination in his sight”, and that all the professors of Christianity were corrupt. Therefore, this creed must also be an abomination.

Yet, the question has to be: What is so abominable about this creed? Is it belief in God the Father Almighty? Belief in the resurrection of Christ after three days? Belief that there is an eternal life, with a judgement preceding it? Even the addition of a descent into hades cannot be an abomination in Mormon theology.

It also cannot mean that creeds in themselves are an abomination. The thirteen articles of faith in Mormonism are a creed. Creed comes from the Latin credo and means “I believe”. The thirteen articles each start with “We believe”. Oliver Cowdery also gave a creed in the early Mormon church similar to the thirteen articles.4 Despite the use of “We”, they are definitely creedal statements and fall under the definition of a creed. Every time someone says “I believe” Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God etc., then they are using a type of creed.

Yet, perhaps it isn't an abomination. If it isn't, then why not affirm it? If you do, however, will that then make you corrupt also? Why would God tell Smith that something so fundamentally in line with Scripture is an abomination?

We have to end by echoing Schaff's words in Creeds of Christendom Vol. 1. Although the attacks he writes about were different, the same implication is true. He writes: "The rationalistic opposition to the Apostles' Creed and its use in the churches is therefore an indirect attack upon the New Testament itself. But it will no doubt outlive these assaults, and share in the victory of the Bible over all forms of unbelief." If you don't believe the apostles' creed, then you do have a problem with the New Testament itself.

What is the basic problem with affirming the apostles' creed? What is so abominable? Perhaps a Mormon can shed some light.

Appendix 1:
Irenaeus gives us an example of it employed as a rule of faith. Hippolytus knows it as a baptismal confession. These appear below.

"This faith: in one God, the Father Almighty, who made the heaven and the earth and the seas and all the things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was made flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who made known through the prophets the plan of salvation, and the coming, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily ascension into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and his future appearing from heaven in the glory of the Father to sum up all things and to raise anew all flesh of the whole human race"

"When the person being baptized goes down into the water, he who baptizes him, putting his hand on him, shall say: 'Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty?' And the person being baptized shall say: 'I believe.' Then holding his hand on his head, he shall baptize him once.

"And then he shall say: 'Do you believe in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was born of the Virgin Mary, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and was dead and buried, and rose again the third day, alive from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father, and will come to judge the living and the dead?'

"And when he says: 'I believe,' he is baptized again. And again he shall say: 'Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, in the holy church, and the resurrection of the body?' The person being baptized shall say: 'I believe,' and then he is baptized a third time."


2. This does not refer to the Roman Catholic church but the universal church of Christ


4. Messenger and Advocate 1(1), October 1834, p. 2

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jesus takes a back seat

By John Merilatt

Why is it in Mormonism Jesus takes a back seat,
To priesthoods, temples, and milk with no meat.

You pray for truth and hope for good feelings,
And go through rituals for baptisms and sealing.

You place all your faith in a "living prophet".
With no zeal for God and no concern of it.

To remove the cross for the Garden of Gethsemane.
Only to demean the cross and its Grace o'plenty.

You claim that you need to prove you are worthy,
And miss the verses that say your works are filthy.

You claim that you, Jesus, and Satan are brothers,
And say Hitler is saved like all the others.

Why is it in Mormonism Jesus takes a back seat,
To white shirts, nice ties, and hair cuts so neat.

You stand up in meetings and say what you "Know",
Without any understanding and nothing to show.

You claim that Joseph was a prophet, seer, and revelator,
Yet with your Grace he keeps you forever the debtor.

Forgiveness is conditional on your doing "all you can do".
Yet you miss the verses where Christ makes things new.

You pay your tithe, avoid coffee and tea.
Yet only with Jesus is there comfort and glee.

Why is it in Mormonism Jesus takes a back seat.
He isn't even good enough to wash your own feet.

We only want you to realize that with Jesus there's more,
And that when it was finished the veil he did tore.

May God bless you and keep you safe.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

From the Depths of Our Souls

By John Merilatt

To our LDS friends and family we bid you a fond hello.
We please ask that you listen as we speak from the depths of our soul.

You claim that you are Christian and although we disagree,
We ask that you read God's Holy Word and not just rely on a wretch like me.

For in God's Holy word he makes it very clear,
That only if you call on the one and only true Jesus will you and he draw near.

For Jesus Christ is God made flesh as it states in John 1.
For God consists of the Father, Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ His Son.

For the blood of Christ paid the price for sin once and for all,
And it is his Grace that saves us as we read in the words of Paul.

We agree with James, that faith without works is dead,
But to place any burden or workload upon your shoulders demeans the blood he shed.

You would rather trust the words of a self proclaimed prophet than trust God's Holy Word.
But if you had read his word to begin with, it's through his blood your salvation is rest assured.

From the depths of our soul we ask you take a look
At the real history and claims of your prophets and the church.

We love you dearly and will do what we can
To show you God's Word and not the words of man.

May God bless you and keep you safe.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

They say "Anti-Mormon", we say "Anti-Christian".

If your ever in a conversation with someone who is LDS you will no doubt hear them call you an Anti-Mormon. So what makes one an Anti-Mormon? When your in those conversations I would suggest you ask the person your talking with to define it. Because of this I will be taking a look at some comments made by LDS apologists and show you how they will generalize you in with everyone else.

"On any LDS forum that is open to the general public, individuals who are hostile to the Church will inevitable gather and attack our beliefs. It is the manifest hostility that is apparent that makes them anti-Mormon. It is an obsessive compulsion that drives them to almost continual confrontation with latter-day saints. The qualifying mark of the anti-Mormon is the level of obsession."

"Anyone hostile to the church." Now that is interesting because because I think we need to take a look at the definition of hostile if we are to get an idea of what he is referring to.


of, pertaining to, or characteristic of an enemy: a hostilenation.
opposed in feeling, action, or character; antagonistic: hostilecriticism.
characterized by antagonism.
not friendly, warm, or generous; not hospitable
a person or thing that is antagonistic or unfriendly.
Military . an enemy soldier, plane, ship, etc.

O.K. So I wouldn't say that we are their enemy would you? We have nothing against them personally so that would rule out definition number 1. Opposed in feeling is kind of broad so we would need to clarify that first. Because if we are talking about feelings on if the Book of Mormon being true then yes. However I wouldn't say that character is that far off. And what about antagonistic? I will give that one for a select few but not to the extent that they try and use it. So option 2 is possible and I will get to that which falls in with option 3 later. And since I have been labeled Anti-Mormon by them I can tell you number 4 doesn't apply because I am extremely friendly until you give me a reason not to be. Warm is subjective to feelings and we all know about that don't we? My favorite about option 4 is generous and hospitable because I have invited them into my home and fed them so that we could talk (see our meeting with missionaries videos on YouTube). Option 5 we gave pretty much gone over and 6 doesn't apply.

This part makes me laugh. "It is an obsessive compulsion that drives them to almost continual confrontation with latter-day saints. The qualifying mark of the anti-Mormon is the level of obsession." I love my daughters to the point I will go to the ends of the earth to makes sure they have what they need. Is being obsessed a bad thing if it is done out of love and concern? For I know for a fact that all of us in this ministry and all the other ministries we work with don't do what we do because we hate them. We want them to rid themselves of religion and come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. By no means is this done out of anything but love. So with this in minds we need to ask them what we have personally done that they would consider hostile.

Now this next part I couldn't make up if I tried. He trys to give an analogy to show what it is those of us to try and share the gospel do. Here we go...

"I have a friend who has a fantastic Dodge truck. His father has always owned Dodge trucks. His brother owns a Dodge truck. He is devoted to Dodge trucks. To him, nothing else comes close. Another friend owns a Chevy truck. Sometimes, when the two of them are together, there is some friendly teasing that goes on about trucks, Dodge vs. Chevy. Now, lets suppose that my friend who loves Dodge trucks decides he wants to convince my Chevy-owning friend that he likes the wrong kind of truck. Is he going to succeed? It's possible that, if the Chevy-owner decided to test drive the Dodge, he might find features that he liked. He might like them well enough to "convert." That's an unlikely possibility, knowing these two friends. They each have their strongly held preferences, but the occasional wisecrack or teasing doesn't do any harm. Now let's suppose that the Chevy-truck guy decided he wanted to eliminate Dodge-truck owners altogether. Instead of saying that his preference is for Dodge trucks and recognizing that others might like something different, he sets up a blog or web site and begins to publish his prejudices along with some half-truths and outright lies about Dodge trucks. Instead of promoting Chevy as the best truck, he spends all his time trying to prevent people from buying Dodge. He actually becomes so involved in the anti-Dodge work that the attention he gives his Chevy pickup begins to take its toll and it starts to have some mechanical problems. It chugs and coughs and smokes, but it's still the best to him. Pretty soon, he doesn't even drive his Chevy because his anti-Dodge work takes up all his time. In the process, the attention he brings to the Dodge actually becomes a form of free advertising. His behavior escalates. Before long, he stands out in front of the Dodge dealership with a sign, shouting at the people that they're making the wrong choice. He vandalizes and defaces the Dodge trucks on the lot. He tries getting into confrontations with car shoppers. He eventually, he decides to vandalize the Dodges and make physical threats to scare people away from the Dodge lot."

Now I don't know about you but I highly doubt that the kind of vehicle one drives has an impact on where a person spends eternity. However the manner in which a person decides he will try and get there does so for the sake of argument I will give this to him as funny as it may be. Did you happen to catch this part "Now let's suppose that the Chevy-truck guy decided he wanted to eliminate Dodge-truck owners altogether"? Can you see how he tries to stretch this to make it personal? How many of you want to get rid of them altogether? It is the churches doctrines we oppose and not the people but because you oppose their doctrine you must hate them as individuals as well.

He also makes a comment that we all post half-truths and outright lies. Is this the raisin making fun of a grape? I can't tell you how many times I've been in a conversation with these apologist and try and get a simple answer out of them about something very minimal and they have to dance around the issue rather than give Biblical support for their statements. They want to try and call you a liar before the truth comes out. I believe this is done in hopes that those on the outside may question your motives and discredit you first and any evidence is subjected to prejudice. He also claims that we need to spend our time promoting ours instead of preventing them from buying into theirs. How did Mormonism start again...Oh that's right. All our creeds are an abomination, professors corrupt.... yeah I can see that one, NOT. The issue is that when they are using the same terms as us but with completely different meanings we have to help people understand where Mormonism changes the definition so we can present our side of things. We have to understand the differences first.

I believe I saw you shaking your head at this statement...

"He actually becomes so involved in the anti-Dodge work that the attention he gives his Chevy pickup begins to take its toll and it starts to have some mechanical problems. It chugs and coughs and smokes, but it's still the best to him. Pretty soon, he doesn't even drive his Chevy because his anti-Dodge work takes up all his time."

Does he honestly think that we give up our faith so we can invest more time in tearing down his? At what point is he going too far? We are more than happy to talk with Mormons but how can you have an honest dialog with someone who writes this kind of stuff? By focusing your conversation on the Word of God.

Why is it that these LDS apologists are wanting so badly to silence us? He made a comment that we give the LDS church free advertising. Somehow I highly doubt that. Although there are some who stand out on the streets yelling I don't think it will convince someone who isn't LDS to becomes so. It is his next statement that is the icing on the cake. "He tries getting into confrontations with car shoppers. He eventually, he decides to vandalize the Dodges and make physical threats to scare people away from the Dodge lot." Really? Now I realize that in our small part of the world we don't see much interaction however just because a church is vandalized doesn't mean it was done by anyone who opposes Mormonism. There are countless churches that have been vandalized, burned down, and ridiculed and I have never heard of anyone accusing Mormons. Is this to show the extent to try and make it seem like they are being persecuted?

Now as funny as his little scenario was we need to look at what I feel makes an Anti-Christian. Let me make this very clear from the beginning that not all Mormons fall into this definition. I would say that it is people such as the one who wrote the article in question who fall into it. It is those who are so desperate to defend Mormonism they will label you as they please to make them feel better about themselves. It is those who are so offended by those who disagree with their beliefs they will label you with such hatred to the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Osama Bin Laden. It is those who refuse to allow people to do research on their own without chastising them for not having a pre-disclosed opinion on the churches history, statements, and doctrine before looking at it.

I again want to state that those of us involved in ministry to the LDS are not Anti-Mormon, that would be better classified as Anti-Mormonism. We love the people. So much in fact that we are willing to loose an earthly friendship in order to tell you the truth. Because we are called to be salt and light to the earth. Salt on an open would hurts and light will cause those who have been blind to strain their eyes.

I hope this helps you in your efforts to reach the LDS. Be prepared that if you haven't been labeled Anti-Mormon already you soon will be. Don't let that be a hindrance in you sharing the Gospel. For if we don't share the Gospel then Satan has already won.