Mormons And Jesus

Yesterday I asserted that when Christians speak of Jesus and His work, we mean something decidedly different from Mormons. However, those in that cult would have us think otherwise.

Mormons are Christians. Mormonism is centered on Jesus Christ and His role as creator and redeemer. He is not only the center of Mormon worship, He leads the Church personally through revelation to His prophet (the President of the Church) and by giving the authority to church priesthood-holders to act in His name. Mormons are accused of not being Christians for two reasons: 1) because the Mormon Church has cannonized scriptures in addition to the Bible, and 2) because Mormons believe in “a different Jesus.” These accusations are difficult for Mormons to comprehend. Mormons wish they had even more scriptures and know that more will be given as they are more worthy to receive them. As for a belief in a “different Christ,” Mormons have more information regarding Christ than any other church on earth (from *Mormon Beliefs).

This “more information” is the problem, masked by the use of Biblical language.

From the *Mormon Wiki:

Every converted member of the Church (often referred to as a “Mormon”) holds a firm testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and a knowledge that only through His sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross can mortal man be saved in the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ and His teachings are the central focus of all Mormon scripture

Here’s another example:

Our belief in Jesus Christ is absolutely the most important doctrine in the Mormon Church. We believe that He is the Son of God and our Savior and Redeemer (from *True Mormon Doctrine).

From the Mormon Wiki again:

Many anti-Mormons and ex-Mormons attack the Church and claim that it is not Christian, because its teachings about Jesus differ from mainstream, traditional Christian teachings. There are, of course, differences between Mormon doctrine and Protestant and Catholic teachings, just as there are differences among the various Christian denominations. Mormonism teaches that its doctrines were restored to earth by Jesus Himself through living prophets after many centuries of apostasy in the world. Mormonism rejects the various medieval and modern creeds promulgated by the Christian world after Christ’s death, because the Mormon Church has revelations from God Himself about who He is. (Emphasis mine).

So what are those differences that this extra-Biblical revelation gives Mormons? For one thing, Jesus is one of three gods, not a person of the Trinity. From the LDS (Mormon) web site:

Latter-day Saints believe that the simplest reading of the New Testament text produces the simplest conclusion — that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are separate and distinct personages, that They are one in purpose. We feel that the sheer preponderance of references in the Bible would lead an uninformed reader to the understanding that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are separate beings.

In addition, Jesus was procreated by the father.

The Plan of Salvation teaches that God the Father is the literal father of our spirits, and that as spirits, we lived with Him before we were born with physical bodies into mortal life on earth. Christ was the firstborn of the spirit children of God the Father, and was more intelligent and gifted than all. Christ was chosen to save mankind by working out an infinite and eternal atonement—to come to this earth as the literal Only Begotten Son of God, and to put the whole plan of redemption, salvation, and exaltation in operation (from *Mormon Beliefs).

It’s hard to set aside all the errors in that short paragraph, but I want to focus in this post on Christ. Apparently his work of redemption, according to Mormon doctrine, was only a starting point:

In the Book of Mormon, the sobering realization that no one of us can make it alone is balanced by a consistent statement that the works of men and women, including the receipt of the ordinances of salvation, the performance of duty and Christian acts of service — in short, being true to our part of the gospel covenant — though insufficient for salvation, are necessary (from the LDS web site-emphasis mine).

Need I go on? There is more—much, much more. But here’s the point. When a Christian listens to what Glenn Beck says about his faith, it’s easy to be confused. Here’s what one pastor said about Beck:

I have listened and watched very carefully regarding clues to Glenn’s spiritual condition. I have interviewed several people who have been with him and have talked very specifically with him regarding his own personal salvation. Glenn has said unequivocally that that he relies on the atonement of Jesus on the cross for forgiveness for his sins, and those are almost the exact words. Few people use the term atonement. Glenn did.

I’m sure he did. The problem is, when he uses the word atonement, he doesn’t mean the same thing a Christian does any more than when he says Jesus Christ.

* Link can be found on line.

Published in: on September 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm  Comments (100)  
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