Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be careful, the LDS church doesn't want you reading this.

It is pretty well known now that facebook will remove postings because it supposedly violates the terms.  However there is one as of late that seems to be getting censored rather quickly.  So in an effort to help you understand what is going on within the world of Mormonism we are placing the article here for you to read.

It is about an LDS missionary who is guilty of things we often hear about in the Catholic church or Kingdom Halls.  That is taking advantage of a child.  Now I can understand why they would not want this seen.  However that will not stop us from making sure then information is getting out.  Please follow the link below.  You may place any comments you like on our facebook page however should they be removed we may need to move it over to our discussion forum for your safety.  This posting has been removed at least 4 times from 2 different pages.

Click HERE for the article.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Earthly Permission Needed to Obtain Eternal Life?

I was encouraged to share this...

Several months back, I received a letter from my ex-wife's bishop. Here is the letter EXACTLY (minus the omission of some last names) as I received it, including spelling and grammatical errors.

Dear Joshua Hess,

This letter is in regard to Sara C**** a former spouse of yours. As you may already know Sara has remarried civilly and is currently seeking to go to the temple to be sealed to her current spouse, Tyson C****. Where Sara was previously sealed to you, she must go through the application process and receive a cancellation of sealing and submit the information to the First Presidency of the church for approval. Then if a cancellation is granted she will be allowed to proceed with the sealing to her new spouse.

Please promptly reply to this letter and include the following things:

  • your feelings about this application
  •  whether the applicant is current in financial obligations

Bishop Boyd Kent Rowe
Pocatello, Idaho

After some coercion and the ex-wife using my kids as leverage to make me write the letter, I wrote the following:

TO: Boyd Rowe
    RE: Sara C****


My records have been removed from the LDS church, and according to the official letter I received from the membership office in Salt Lake City, Utah, all temple blessings and sealings were removed, as well.

From a traditional biblical Christian perspective, I find it sad that people are still believing and falling for the nonsensical notion of "eternal marriage", "eternal families", and works for the dead. The Bible speaks plainly about such things, and the Book of Mormon even chimes in about it, too.

Jesus said in Matthew 22:29-30 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."

There is no need for marriage after death because we will be so happy glorifying God that EVERYTHING else will be secondary.

Hebrews 9:27 states "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." There is no waiting room or second chance to receive "the gospel" and the "saving ordinances" that are done in the temple. There is not one single mention of any of the LDS churches saving ordinances in the Bible, except for baptism for the dead. Paul mentioned it one time, but when read in context, he is condemning the act. I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 15 in context as to who Paul is addressing and why he is addressing them. Also notice the wording he uses. He chose to use "they" instead of "we." If baptizing the dead was something that was supposed to be done, don't you feel Paul would have said "we" meaning all believers?

Also, in the Book of Mormon... Alma 34:35 "For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked."

Notice the word "final." There are no second chances, thus rendering temple work useless.

No marriage in heaven or during the resurrection, and no second chances. So, why perform acts for people who's fate is sealed according to the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Since we can only depend on our earthly decisions, how can a person be saved and ensure we get to God? We are taught in Ephesians 2:8-9 "
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

There is nothing we can "do" to be saved. Nothing in the temple or otherwise that can save us. The Grace of God alone saves us. The Bible even calls our righteous deeds "dirty rags." (Isaiah 64:6) Why would God want our dirty rags? He doesn't.

Why would I care if my ex-wife wants to take part in cult activities with her husband? I am no longer a member of the LDS church because I used the brain God blessed me with and found far too many contradictions in the teachings and practices. If she chooses to reject the Word of God and make false promises in the temple, that is her choice, not mine. She is responsible for her own activities, not me.

Legally, however, Sara and her husband can not take my children, ***** ****** **** and **** ******* ****, through the temple with them to be sealed without my permission. I DO NOT AND WILL NOT GIVE MY PERMISSION FOR THEM TO DO SO!

I would encourage you to research your church. Read the original 1830 version of the Book of Mormon, and compare it to the current version. The differences are too many to disregard. Then read the Bible with the eyes of a child. The Book of Mormon and the Bible do NOT compliment each other. As soon as you read both, you will know.

I will be praying for you and all LDS people to accept the true and living Jesus of the Bible.

God Bless.

-Josh Hess

North Regional Director
Ephesians 2 Ministry

He replied:

Wow!  This isn’t what you were asked for at all but it’s all that I need to get Sara and her husband on to eternal bliss.  It’s unfortunate that you have pushed the truth out of your life.

Boyd Rowe

Of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to continue this conversation:

Your letter stated that you needed my feelings about the application. I shared my feelings about it, and also shared some biblical principals.

It's sad that you are unable to recognize that none of what goes on in the modern LDS temple has anything to do with what went on in the temples of the Bible.

I would be very interested in hearing more about what truth I have pushed out of my life.

Grace and Peace.

-Josh Hess

North Regional Director
Ephesians 2 Ministry____________________________________________________________

No response from him as of yet. I do find it interesting, however, that the LDS church requires what they consider an "apostate" to write a letter of permission for an ex-spouse to go to their temple to be sealed to someone else.

Apparently their God isn't big enough to make a decision like that.

Anyone else have similar stories? Please feel free to share them on the Ephesians 2 Ministry Facebook page:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Amazing Accuracy of the Prophet, Joseph Smith

It makes complete sense that if you are to trust what someone says, you consider several things: track record, honesty, integrity, openness, response to direct questions, etc. If you examined a broker’s track record and found he/she was wrong about which stocks to buy significantly more often than they were right, you would probably not allow them to invest your hard-earned green backs. 
Constant tardiness, poor work performance and excessive customer complaints would not yield an employee the vacant VP position at his place of employment.
A lying, crooked, money spending, self-centered politician does not encourage the votes of her constituents.
Obviously the track record of an individual is very important. The same is true when it comes to those who are to teach us the Word. It is an amazing responsibility and those of us searching for the Truth have a responsibility to research the track record of the would-be teacher.
The LDS organization holds to the belief that Joseph Smith Jr. was a prophet of God. This means that he received messages from the all-knowing, all-mighty, all-present God. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that any message we receive from this individual is absolutely, and beyond the shadow of a doubt, TRUE.
Deuteronomy 18:22 confirms this by stating:
When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
The introduction page of the Book of Mormon states that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon “by the gift and power of God” further emphasizing that Joseph Smith claimed direct contact with God and that his messages were directly from God.
It is, therefore, completely fair (and smart) to look at what Joseph Smith has proclaimed in the past…in other words: Let’s examine his track record!
First, Mr. Smith wrote in the Doctrine & Covenants 84:2-5 that a Mormon temple would be built in “the Western boundaries of the state of Missouri”. In verse four Joseph Smith narrowed the time line by stating the “temple shall be reared in this generation.
Let’s stop right here for a few seconds. We all know that when speaking plain English “this generation” means the generation in which the speaker lives and is a part of. We also understand that the speaker sees the generation in which he lives as separate from ones past and those to come. There is generally no confusion when this phrased is used. However, a man I know, who served two terms as a Mormon Bishop, and is still a dedicated Mormon, stated something to this effect:
“When reading scripture it is not possible to know exactly how long a generation is. Some say it’s 70 years others say it’s up to 100 or more.”
OK, let’s run with that line of logic and see where it takes us. We’ll examine it on three fronts.
 No way to tell how long a generation is:
Let’s say I predict that there will be a snow storm of such magnitude in England that busses will be covered in snow, travel will be impossible and a state of emergency will be declared. However I give no definite date. I leave it open ended. This basically tells everyone that I am predicting this will happen at some time between the moment I say it and the end of the world. How miraculous is that? Anyone could be a “prophet” if it was that easy. Personally I don’t see why anyone is to be admired for such a vague prediction.
Exodus 1: 6- Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.
Clearly this is Biblical confirmation that while the number of years each brother lived is not mention, they all are clearly seen to have belonged to one single generation- aka common sense.
Another example is found in Matthew 1:17 (NIV)
Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
When we put number to things or groups of things it is because we see a definite beginning, end and/or separation of those things- days, weeks, months, years and also generations.
 The use of the word this:  Smith used the word “this” to describe the generation of which he spoke. Plainly he understood that there was a definite beginning and end to the generation in which he lived. It was not a statement of indefinite time. It was a statement in which he showed that he knew there would be an end to the generation he spoke of and a beginning of another.
3.     Generation equals parent, child, grandchild, etc.
Stand in any public place with a father, son and grandson present and yell loudly while pointing to the trio, “These three are of one family, a father, son and grandson. How many generations are they?” The unanimous answer will be “Three.” So apparently the general public understands what a generation is without the need to know exactly how many years equal a generation.
When considering the accuracy of this prophecy Joseph Smith plainly failed! No matter how you look at it a generation is definable and Smith himself put a finite description on the generation he spoke of. That generation has long passed which means that this prophecy has failed, period.
Let’s look at the Civil War Prophecy next. It is found in Doctrine and Covenants 87: 1--4 which states
Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;
And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.
For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.
 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
I've underlined certain words to drive home important points. 
Smith claimed that this message was from The Lord and that this event was shortly to come. So if this was from God then it should have happened exactly as written shortly after Smith spoke it.
But, this is what we actually find in history:
·        South Carolina had already rebelled when Smith wrote of “the rebellion of South Carolina”
·        That rebellion did NOT spark the civil war (1833) - the war began in 1860.
·        War was not poured out on the entire nation.
·        The slaves did not “rise up against their masters” as a major part of the war... it was primarily a war of white men against white men, North against South.
Here’s another one to consider:
Doctrine & Covenants 103:13-25 speaks of the men of Zion's camp, who were organized to march to Missouri and RESCUE the Mormons there (verse 24). Verse 25 promises they would avenge God's enemies. 
But in the History of the Church, Vol. 3, page 39 and following describes the failure of Zion's camp to do as predicted! God's OWN presence supposedly went with them according to verses 20 and 26...but the whole thing failed!
When considering this prophecy we must understand that not only does general history record that this prophecy failed but the very organization that believes in and teaches of the accuracy of Joseph Smith’s prophecies has recorded this one as a failure.
That’s very significant, don’t you think?
How about Mr. Smith’s attempt at predicting the second coming of Christ? Before we investigate its accuracy let’s consider a Bible passage about this event.
Matthew 25: 1-13 is a parable that ends with verse 13 emphasizing that we 
do not know the day or the hour” of Jesus’ return. 
For anyone to then take it upon themselves to predict when Jesus would return is to contradict God- a.k.a. dangerous!
The “History of the Church”, Vol. 2, page 182 records that Joseph Smith said the coming of the Lord was…
“nigh — even 56 years should wind up the scene.” 
This statement was made in 1835. Add 56 years to 1835 and you get 1891. This seems to be a little off, by 121 years….and counting.
Again- this “prophecy” was not a prophecy at all. It is another FAILED attempt at prophecy!
One last prediction:
In Church History, Vol. 2, pp. 380-381, Joseph Smith said he saw, in a vision of the CELESTIAL kingdom,
“the 12 apostles of the Lamb who are now upon the earth.”
But the History of the Church later records the apostasy and final excommunication of 5 of the 12 apostles referred to in this vision:
·        Lyman Johnson Vol. 3:20
·        Luke Johnson - Vol. 2:528
·        William McLellin - Vol. 3:31
·        William Smith - Vol. 7:483
·        Thomas Marsh - Vol. 4:284
So according to Smith these listed men would one day be in the Celestial Kingdom with God. But, if they were excommunicated this means (according to Mormon philosophy) that they were doomed to never enter that realm. This contradiction means the LDS organization, again recorded a failed prophecy of their own prophet, leader and founder.
In closing
Deuteronomy 18:22 clearly states that if a predicted event does not come true then the person who spoke it did not speak on the behalf of God. Only one failure is needed in order to show that the speaker is a false prophet, ONE.
We have reviewed only a few of Smith’s multiple failed attempts at predicting the future. 
Furthermore the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints- the very organization he founded- recorded (in their own historic writings) the failures of their supposed prophet!
I pray that any Mormon who reads this will research it to see if anything said here is true. Pick up your Church history and read what is recorded, compare it to Smith’s predictions then ask yourself, “If he failed at prophecy, can he really be a prophet of God?”
Nothin’ but love for ya!!
Ephesians 4:15
Your friend,
S.T.I.L (Speaking Truth in Love)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Great Apostasy: Did This Mormon Taught Event Really Happen?

The Great Apostasy: Did this Mormon-taught Event Really Happen?
By E.S. “Taz” Bright

Religion, faith, beliefs…all these tend to evoke strong, deep emotions and have caused many debates and arguments through the ages. However, I think it is time we rise above the senseless, immature arguing and step into the arena of real, mature, positive, productive, adult debate. In that spirit I would like to pose a question, however, let’s give a little background first.
In Mormon scripture, the heading/introduction of 1 Nephi 13 states that Nephi saw certain things in a vision, including “the loss of many plain and precious parts of the Bible” which is the reason for “the restoration of the gospel, the coming forth of latter-day scripture...”
Joseph Smith claims that God the Father and Jesus appeared to him in the woods one day and told him not to join any of the churches of the time because they were “all corrupt”. This is stated not only in Mormon scripture but also in Mormon pamphlets, etc. The fact that the LDS religion teaches this is not something the LDS organization denies. It is pretty much common knowledge. The Mormon scripture says that Nephi had this vision/prediction between 600 and 592 B.C.
Before we go any further I would like you to picture a time line in your head- a straight line from left to right across a poster board or on a sheet of paper. Let’s say a small vertical line at the far left of that timeline represents when the Old Testament was written. Imagine another small vertical line in the very middle which represents the time of Christ’s crucifixion and closely after that another vertical line represents the death of the last Apostle. Now, with that visual let’s continue.
LDS teachings are saying that the Bible we read from today is missing many plain and precious parts. It would make sense that we look into history and archeology to see if there is any evidence to support this historical event. Is there a time into which we can look back and see there was a definite, concrete, real, verifiable “corruption”? The answer is NO. In fact when we look into archeology we see something very opposite.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have been dated to be thousands of years old. They are on display in the Holy land for all to see if they choose to make the journey. The scrolls are hundreds of copies of different parts of the Bible, preserved by God Himself to show that He is powerful enough to preserve His word through all time.
I understand that the LDS side of the debate may state that the Dead Sea Scrolls are not really the original of the Bible. However, when we compare the Dead Sea Scrolls with our modern day Bibles, they say the exact same thing. That is concrete proof that the words written in the Bibles we use today were written thousands of years ago and they have survived intact for so very long.
So my main questions for LDS members are this:
1.     Did the Great Apostasy really happen?
2.     If so, when?
3.     Where is the historical/archeological proof of the Great Apostasy?
4.     If the Dead Sea Scrolls are not the ancient copies of the Bible, then what are they?
        Note: This is not an "attack" on the Mormon religion at all. It is a little history followed by a few simple questions. At no point did I use negative words to describe the LDS people or the organization. So, if you feel attacked please do not reply to this article. Feel free to ignore it and move on. This is a chance for adult debate and discussion- nothing more. God Bless and let the discussion begin!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Book of Mormon: Translated Correctly?

In the June 1984 issue of the LDS magazine the Ensign, Monte Nyman wrote: "There is irrefutable evidence to show both the correctness of the translation and the Lord’s hand in it. The Three Witnesses, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, bore record that the voice of God declared unto them that the book had been translated by his power. Their testimony still appears at the front of each copy of the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, in a June 1829 revelation given to the three men through the Prophet, the Lord confirmed that Joseph had translated all that he had been commanded to do and that it was a true translation."

Joseph Smith presumptuously stated "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book,"  (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 461).

Emma Smith, the first wife of Joseph, in an 1856 interview spoke of the way the translation process worked.

"When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made a mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling, although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time."

David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses, and in whose home a majority of the translation took place, gave a very detailed account of the translation process.

"I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."

So, it's been made clear that the Book of Mormon was translated according to God's will, and was a correct translation, right?

In the October 1961 conference of the LDS church, Joseph Fielding Smith stated:

"During the past week or two I have received a number of letters from different parts of the United States written by people, some of whom at least are a little concerned because they have been approached by enemies of the Church and enemies of the Book of Mormon, who have made the statement that there have been one or two or more thousand changes in the Book of Mormon since the first edition was published. Well, of course, there is no truth in that statement. It is true that when the Book of Mormon was printed the printer was a man who was unfriendly. The publication of the book was done under adverse circumstances, and there were a few errors, mostly typographical — conditions that arise in most any book that is being published — but there was not one thing in the Book of Mormon or in the second edition or any other edition since that in any way contradicts the first edition, and such changes as were made were made by the Prophet Joseph Smith because under those adverse conditions the Book of Mormon was published. But there was no change of doctrine."

A simple examination of the original 1830 version of the Book of Mormon, and the more recent publications of the Book of Mormon, yield some surprising results when compared to what Joseph Fielding Smith claimed. There have been at least 3,913 changes made to the texts of the Book of Mormon, many of them to major doctrinal issues contained in them.

Logic dictates that if the Book of Mormon is "the most correct" book, and that if he read out loud the translation of the special characters, and the words would not disappear until the writing was accurate, then  why were there so many changes from the original version? Did God change his mind about the accuracy of the translation? Of course not! Not only are there MANY, MANY changes in the book, but Joseph Smith was satisfied with the original printing of it, and said is was completed. I'll ask again, why were there so many changes?

Many LDS leaders, and lay members claim that the errors in the original 1830 Book of Mormon are simply typographical. That is simply not the case.

Early Mormon historian, B.H. Roberts made it clear that he did not buy into the claims made by other LDS leaders. "That errors of grammar and faults in dictation do exist in the Book of Mormon (and more especially and abundantly in the first edition) must be conceded; and what is more, while some of the errors may be referred to inefficient proof-reading, such as is to be expected in a country printing establishment, yet such is the nature of the errors in question, and so interwoven are they throughout the diction of the Book, that they may not be disposed of by saying they result from inefficient proof-reading or referring them to the mischievous disposition of the 'typos' or the unfriendliness of the publishing house. The errors are constitutional in their character; they are of the web and woof of the style, and not such errors as may be classed as typographical. Indeed, the first edition of the Book of Mormon is singularly free from typographical errors." (Emphasis added)

The following graph shows just a few of the changes in the Book of Mormon from the 1830 version to the 1981 version.

As you can see, these are NOT minor "typographical errors." These are "errors" that not only change character names, alter the context of verses, but also change the divinity of Jesus.

Interestingly enough, John H. Gilbert, the man who helped to print the Book of Mormon, claimed that the Mormons did not want him to correct the grammatical errors which were in the manuscript:

"When the printer was ready to commence work, Harris was notified, and Hyrum Smith brought the first installment of the manuscript. On the second day — Harris and Smith being in the office — I called their attention to a grammatical error, and asked whether I should correct it? Harris consulted with Smith a short time, and turned to me and said: 'The Old Testament is ungrammatical, set it as it is written.' Cowdery held and looked over the manuscript when most of the proofs were read. Martin Harris once or twice, and Hyrum Smith once, supposing these men could read their own writing as well, if not better, than any one else; and if there are any discrepancies between the Palmyra edition and the manuscript these men should be held responsible." (Memorandum, made by John H. Gilbert, Esq., September 8, 1892, Palmyra, N.Y., printed in Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 1, Introduction)

It's interesting that even the man who did the publishing made reference to the fact that he pointed out issues with it, but the leaders of the early church told him to "set it as it is written." If those issues were acceptable at the time, why make so many changes?

There have been no official statements by the LDS church attempting to explain the changes, but there are plenty of sources stating that the changes are simply grammatical and typographical.

If the "prophet, seer, and revelator" Joseph Smith correctly translated the Book of Mormon by the direction and power of God as he, and many witnesses testify he did, then there would be no need for any changes to the text of the Book of Mormon.

Jeff Lindsay, an LDS apologist wrote the following: "The driving force for virtually all changes has been to (1) ensure that the printed text is faithful to the original manuscript and (2) to ensure that the text is accessible and readable. Alleged departures from the original text generally turn out to be simple clarifications or reworkings of awkward grammar rather than doctrinal changes."

I believe we can safely say that if the LDS church was trying to "ensure that the printed text is faithful to the original manuscript" they wouldn't have authorized any changes in the first place. That seems like a moot argument given the amount of changes from the original 1830 version.

As for the statement that they wanted to "ensure that the text is accessible and readable" is pure nonsense. When Joseph Smith and other early church leaders read the book off the printing press, they agreed that it was good, and what was written. If that was not the case, why would they teach from it, and sell it? That statement is self devastating. "Alleged departures from the original text generally turn out to be simple clarifications or reworkings of awkward grammar rather than doctrinal changes." Hmm... changing the divinity of Jesus seems like a pretty serious doctrinal change. Unfortunately for Jeff Lindsay, his theories were ill thought out, illogical, and easily disproven.

The number of people who have questioned the changes are many, and the answers they receive are few. The reasons are usually excuses, or easily disproven, as we have seen here.

Joseph Smith said it best when he said: "Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How Great Thou Art

                                                     How Great Thou Art
The house is quite now.  Everyone has slowly slipped into a peaceful slumber for the night but my mind still races, processing the events of the day. Finally, I stop. No longer considering the options that lie ahead of me, waiting like a an anxious puppy at the door. My thoughts now drift to the magnificents of God. I invision my family, each in their beds, safe and secure. But again I am reminded of the decisions I must make concerning them, and then I agian, I stop.

I begin to hear the gentle but powerful hymm "How Great Thou Art" play in my head. Softly I sing along with the music that has now consumed my every thought, careful not to wake anyone.

Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel he gentle breeze;

And when I think that God his son not sparing,
Sent him to die - I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin...

I begin to consider just how great He really is. I splender in the thought of all things created by Him. And I wonder how anyone could even imagine Him anything but great. Anything but the GREATEST. A god greater than He? A creator of MY GOD? How is that even possible, I think to myself. "Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,How great Thou art, how great Thou art". How can I sing such a beautiful song of praise if it not be true? How can I praise and worship a God that was created by a god greater than He? How can my God be great and yet created by another?  How can my God be the power through out the universe and not be the only God?

Reaching for my Bible I recollect the passages that cement my belief in monotheism. I remind myself of the verses I have learned to not only believe, but trust. The very words of God that teach me of His uniqueness, of His singularity but trinity in deity. Quietly I rustle through the pages waiting in great anticipation to recieve the comforting words of my Lord. "I, even I, am the Lord and beside me there is no Saviour". Isaiah 43:11 The written words bring me peace in knowing that He is my God, and besides Him, there are no others. Isaiah 45:5 "I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no other God." 

The large hanging clock ticking away each second, seems to echo through our solemn home. It brings to mind how God has always been. Psalm 90:2 "Before the Mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from ever lasting to everlasting, thou art GOD". Revelation 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." What great power my God has. But is He the power of all the universe? Again my Bible comes to comfort me. Genesis 1:1 "In the begining God created the heavens and the earth." The creator of the HEAVENS. Yes, He is indeed the power of the universe. The hour is late. My eyes sag from the seemingly massive weight of my eyelids. I must rest now. As I rise from my chair, I slightly stumble toward the table. Catching myself, my hand lands on my Bible. One more verse from my Lord I say aloud, forgetting that others are already asleep. I finger through the pages as though it were Christmas morning and I am 6 again tearing into a box marked To:Ernest.
Ah, finally, I find it. The passage that will see me throught the night
.   1Timothy 1:17 "To the King of ages, immortal, invisible,the only God, be the honor and glory forever and ever." Amen.  My mind is now set for rest in the knowledge that my Lord and my God is the supreme God of all in heaven and earth. I turn to Him as I lay my head to rest. Good night Dear Lord.                                   

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Tale of Two Cults

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

I could not have picked a better beginning for this article than the first paragraph from A Tale of Two Cities.
This classic's opener paints the perfect picture for the dawning of two religious sects. The emergence of two life changing schisms. The start of, "A Tale of Two Cults".

   The year was 1823. A troubled young man struggling with the truth of Christianity wandered into the dark and misty woods to ponder his future with the church of God.
   The year was 1870. A troubled young man struggling with the truth of Christianity wondered about hell, the diety of Christ and the Holy Spirit and his future with the church of God.
These are the beginings of what are perhaps the greatest manipulation of minds in the history of man.
The young man from 1823 (left) was Joseph Smith Jr. who founded "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" The Mormons.
The other from 1870 (right) was Charles Taze Russell, who layed the foundations of what would become the "Jehovah's Witnesses".
As we delve into these "religions" and breifly look at their beif systems, as well as their regulatory system, we will see a pattern emerge that clearly falls into the catagory of cultism. So as not to miss the tale tale signs, let us first define the word cult. What is a cult or what defines it?

CULT - Any group which deviates from Biblical, orthodox, historical Christianity. e.i. They deny the Deity of Christ; His physical resurrection; His personal and physical return to earth and salvation by FAITH alone.

These are but a few qualifications that we will be looking for in this article.

Let us first look at Mormonism. What is it that would cause us to classify them as a cult?
Joseph Smith taught, “God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!” Mormonism also holds to a plurality of Gods and contends that “as man is God once was; as God is man may become.” Additionally, the Latter-day Saints compromise the nature of the God-man, Jesus Christ. In Christianity, Jesus is the self-existent creator of all things. In Mormonism, he is the spirit brother of Lucifer who was conceived in heaven by a celestial Mother and came in flesh as the result of the Father having sex with the Virgin Mary. (That is a story within it's self.)
Also, in sharp distinction to orthodox Christian theology, Mormons do not believe that the Bible is the infallible repository for redemptive revelation. In their view, the Book of Mormon is “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.” Two further revelations complete the Mormon quad, namely Doctrines and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. Doctrines and Covenants is a compilation of divine revelations that includes the doctrine of polygamy. Not until threatened by the federal government did Mormon president Wilford Woodruff receive a revelation relegating polygamy to the afterlife. The Pearl of Great Price is no less troubling. It was this extra-biblical revelation that was used by Mormonism to prevent African Americans from entering the priesthood and from being exalted to godhood.
Now although these examples make it perfectly clear that Mormonism is not a Christian faith and contributes to the "cult" theory, lets look at what many would say REALLY makes Mormonism a cult.

Lets start with "The Keys of Priesthood". Perhaps the most power that the Mormon leaders have on it's members. What are the Keys fo Priesthood? Well, "President" Joseph Fielding Smith explained:
These keys are the right of presidency; they are the power and authority to govern and direct all of the Lord’s affairs on earth. Those who hold them have power to govern and control the manner in which all others may serve in the priesthood. All of us may hold the priesthood, but we can only use it as authorized and directed so to do by those who hold the keys” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 98; or Ensign, July 1972, 87).

Who Holds the Keys of the Priesthood?

According to Mormonism, Jesus Christ has always held all of the keys of the priesthood. When He first called His twelve Apostles, Jesus gave all of them the priesthood. John 15:16.
Before He was crucified, Christ gave the keys of the priesthood to Peter, James, and John. This was done on the Mount of Transfiguration. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 158; Matthew 17:1–9 However, in the centuries that followed the death of the Apostles, these keys were lost; and before men could exercise the priesthood again, these keys had to be restored. For this reason the Lord sent Peter, James, and John to the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore the Melchizedek Priesthood and the keys of that priesthood. D&C 27:12–13.
These sacred keys have been given to all the Apostles and prophets of the Church and are held by the prophet and Apostles of the Church today.
Imagine the control this "religion" /cult has on it's members teaching this kind of herecy. It's members actually believe that the appointed President or "prophet" has the full power and authority of Jesus Christ.
WOW! No wonder it is so difficult to convert or share the truth of God with these people. They actually believe that they are obeying Christ.

Mormon missionaries are controled by strict rules and conditions. The following link will explain those conditions, for I haven't the room to list them all here. The list is quite extensive.
Women are not exempt from the control of Mormonism either. Again, due to room constraints, I am forced to post a link that shares some incredible testamonies of former Mormon women. The tyranny they endured is heartbreaking to say the least. To say the most infuriating!
As we can see, Mormonism fits the criteria of a Cult.
Let's now take a quick look at the Jehovah's Witnesses. What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe? Close scrutiny of their doctrinal position on such subjects as the deity of Christ, salvation, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and the atonement shows beyond a doubt that they do not hold to orthodox Christian positions on these subjects. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the archangel, the highest created being. This contradicts many Scriptures which clearly declare Jesus to be God John 1:114, 8:58; 10:30. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe salvation is obtained by a combination of faith, good works, and obedience. This contradicts countless scriptures which declare salvation to be received by grace through faith John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the Trinity, believing Jesus to be a created being and the Holy Spirit to essentially be the inanimate power of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the concept of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and instead hold to a ransom theory, that Jesus’ death was a ransom payment for Adam’s sin. As we can clearly see Jehovah's Witnesses, also fit into the little box called a CULT. But what about that control thing? Does the Johovah's Witnesses have any control on it members? Well, lets look at a few things..
Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to accept blood transfusions for themselves or their children, believing that this is the same as eating blood and is forbidden by the Bible. Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have died because of this restriction the Watchtower Society has placed upon its followers. In the past the Watchtower Society has forbidden its followers to get vaccinations or accept organ transplants, many people died needlessly before the Watchtower Society changed its rules and allowed these procedures. They still hold fast to the prohibition of receiving blood transfusions.  Nationalism: Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to salute the flag of any nation, recite the pledge of allegiance, stand for or sing the national anthem, run for public office, vote, or serve in the armed forces.
Holidays: Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to celebrate Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, or any other holidays, claiming they all have pagan roots. Associates: Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to associate with non-Witnesses including family. Exceptions are made if the non-Witness family member is living in the same household.               Well, it seems, though these are but a few of the controling factors of the Jehovah's Witnesses, that they too are in perfect alignment with the CULT definition. The control of the Jehovah's Witnesses leaders are in full force. Dictating ones personal lives is not faith in, or the gospel of, Jesus Christ.
The serpent has been decieving man since the begining and he had two major victories in the 19th century in the "Tale of Two Cults".