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".


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why Were We Created? Do Mormon and Jehovah Witnesses agree with Christianity?

                      Why were we created? Do Mormon and Jehovah's Witnesses agree with Christianity?         

Why were we created? The Bible is very clear as to why God created man, so Mormonism as well as Jehovah's Witnesses, both claiming to be Christian and correct, should agree with what Christianity teaches about this question. Right? Weeeeeell let's just take a look and see. Shall we?

In order to establish a basis on which to answer the question as to whether Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses agree with Christianity on why God created man, we need to know what the Bible says about this.
1.  We were created in the image of God to glorify Him.
.  . . I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
–Isaiah 43:7
2.  We were created for His pleasure.
Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and power: for
Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were
–Revelation 4:11
3.  We were made for fellowship/relationship with God and with others.

             "...our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
               -1John 1:3
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make a helper for him . . . And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . . And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are thou?
–Genesis 2:18; 3:8 and 9
4.  We were made to rule over and take care of His creation.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
–Genesis 1:26
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
—Psalm 8:6-8
It’s obvious as we read the above verses that we were created for God's Glory.    Numbers 2 -4 all bring glory to God. Now that we have established a base line on which to build our answer, let's look at what Mormonism teaches about this subject.

Mormonism teaches that before we were born on the earth we existed as spirits and lived in a spirit world in the presence of God, our Eternal Father. We developed talents and gained knowledge. We created friendships and made promises. We also had our agency to choose.
Latter-day revelation teaches the eternal nature of spirits, that all things (including us) were first created spiritually, before physically:    
"For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.... And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them" Moses 3:5
   Well, perhaps it was to "till the ground" after we became "physical" beings.  Let's keep looking.
The plan of the parent gods goes like this: Life did not begin here on earth. You lived before you were born you will live on in the spirit world after your mortal life is ended.” “We all once lived in the presence of God the eternal father. In the world before your were a spirit child of his. With this divine parentage, your destiny, through righteous living, is to become like your Father in Heaven and return to his presence (The Purpose of Life Pamphlet handed out at the Temple on BYU campus).

By golly I think we have something here. "...your destiny, through righteous living, is to become like your Father in Heaven...".  Ok, I think we have an answer. We were created to become gods. Hmm.

Now, as we already know, The Bible teaches that we were created to glorify God, not become gods. Soooo, that is strike number one. Also it is not through "righteous living" that we "become like our Father" or more accurately, "Christ like" it is through the inputation of Jesus' righteousness that we are saved and become like him. Strike two. Strike three for Mormonism is that not one verse in their Book of Mormon tells us why we were created. You will only find such things in their other literature. 
   Well, it is very difficult to reconcile Mormonism to Christianity if they can't even agree as to why we are here. So let us now take a look at what the Jehovah's Witnesses say about it.
   Jehovah's Witnesses say that Jehovah, God created mankind as an expression of his love—he wanted to share life and happiness with humans. They go on to say, God experienced great joy in fashioning physical creations of all kinds, so that man would be surrounded by beauty and plenty. Above all, humans were to have a meaningful relationship with their Creator, knowing him and communicating with him. They were created to live forever under perfect, peaceful conditions.—Genesis 3:8, 9; Psalm 37:11, 29.
Jehovah also assigned humans fulfilling and meaningful work to do. God told the first humans: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28

Wow, not one mention of the "Glorification of God". Hmm.  What else do they have to say? Well, I'll tell you.  Nothing! Their New World Translation apes the Bible, but unfortunately it has been "translated" so poorly (see my previous blog) it is not trustworthy. Even so, I have been unable to find a Jehovah's Witnesses web site or any writings (other than what was listed in this blog) out side their NWT that discusses why we were created.  It is my contention that if we don't even know why we were created, then it is impossible to know what God's plans are for us is.

Christianity teaches that we were created to glorify God. And how do we do that? By putting our trust and faith in Jesus Christ and living according to his will. This pleases the Lord and glorifies HIM!  Well, it seems quite obvious that Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses do not agree with Christianity on the subject of  "Why Were We Created". Your prayers for them are needed and appreciated.

May the truth of the Lord be your goal.
Ernest Eulenfeld