Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ever Wondered Why You Can't Remember the 'Pre-existences'?

by Rocky Hulse

     Mormonism teaches that we all lived in a pre-existent life before we were born on this earth.  Is this doctrine taught in the Bible?  NO! So this whole concept is outside the teachings of Christianity – it is in fact, anti-Christian!
     For those who have been to our seminar, find the “Mormon Plan of Eternal Progression” chart that we handed out and review the left hand side.  In the top left corner the chart begins with a globe labeled “Intelligences-Eternal Matter.”  Mormon doctrine believes that everyone who ever lived, or will ever live on this earth, always existed as ‘pure intelligence’.
     On the chart, the globe directly below “Intelligences-Eternal Matter” is labeled “Spirit World” and in between the two globes is inserted the statement: “Spirit Children born of God & Wife.”  The Mormon belief is that God has celestial sexual relations with his wife(s) and when she (they) become celestially pregnant, through a cosmic phenomena, some of the eternally existing ‘pure intelligence’ becomes the spirit that is carried  by the celestial wife of God, and nine months later is born as an infant spirit into the “Spirit World.”
     If we lived before, as the Mormon doctrine claims, why don’t we remember it?  Well, the Mormon Church has a rather bizarre explanation as to why we cannot remember our pre-existence.  Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt provided this explanation from a speech recorded in the “Journal of Discourses” and from his book “The Seer.”

(1)  “A great many people have supposed that the spirit which exists in the tabernacle [human body], for instance, of an infant, is of the same size as the infant tabernacle [human body] when it enters therein; No one will dispute that it is of the same size when it is enclosed therein; but how large was the spirit before it entered the tabernacle?  Was it a full grown male or female spirit, or was it a little infant spirit in its pre-existent state? We have no account that I know of, in any revelation which God has given, of any infant spirit coming from the eternal worlds to take infant bodies; but we have an opposite account in the revelations which God has given; for if we turn to the Book of Ether [Book of Mormon] we shall find that the Lord Jesus, who was one of these spirits, and the first-born of the whole family, was a personage like unto a man, without flesh, blood or bones, but a full-grown spirit, thousands of years before he came to take his infant tabernacle…When all these spirits were sent forth from the eternal worlds, they were, no doubt, not infants; but when they entered the infant tabernacle, they were under the necessity, the same as our Lord and Savior, of being compressed, or diminished in size so that their spirits could be enclosed in infant tabernacles. If their bodies die in infancy, do their spirits remain infants in stature between death and the resurrection of the body? I think not.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol 16, pp 333-335)(brackets mine)

     So, we have seen thus far that Mormonism believes we all existed in the pre-existent ‘Spirit World’ as adult sized spirits.  When we were born into this world, we had to be compressed to fit into our infant bodies.  Now, let’s see Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt’s explanation as to why we can’t remember our pre-mortal state:

(2)  “When Jesus was born into our world, his previous knowledge was taken from Him: this was occasioned by His spiritual body being compressed into a smaller volume than it originally occupied.  In His previous existence, His spirit, as the Scriptures testify, [Mormon scriptures] was of the size and form of man; when this spirit was compressed, so as to be wholly enclosed in an infant tabernacle, it had a tendency to suspend the memory; and the wisdom and knowledge, formerly enjoyed, were forgotten. …So it is with man.  When he enters a body of flesh, his spirit is so compressed and contracted in infancy that he forgets his former existence, and has to commence, as Jesus did, at the lowest principles of knowledge, and ascend by degrees from one principle of intelligence to another. Thus he regains his former knowledge; and by showing himself approved through every degree of intelligence, he is counted worthy to receive more and more, until he is perfected and glorified in truth, and made like his elder brother, possessing all things. (The Seer, p. 21)(brackets mine)

     Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, who would have been the fourth Prophet of the Church had he lived long enough, says the reason we cannot remember the ‘Pre-existence’ is because our adult sized spirits could not fit into our infant bodies at birth and when our adult spirits were compressed to infant size, we forgot: “When he enters a body of flesh, his spirit is so compressed and contracted in infancy that he forgets his former existence..”

     Folks, there is no Biblical support for ‘Pre-existence’, it is anti-Christian.  It is purely a Mormon unique doctrine; just one of many.  There is no fundamental or historical Christian support for this doctrine.  All Christian doctrines come from the Bible, God’s inerrant word.  To advocate that humans do not recall their ‘pre-existent state’ because their adult sized spirit had to be compressed to fit into an infant body, and that compression caused memory loss, is simply ludicrous!

© Copyright 2002 Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved. —Permission is granted to reproduce, provided content is not changed and this copyright notice

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Love Jesus; How Can You Say I Am Not Christian?

by Staci Lee

One of the most difficult things about witnessing to a Mormon is how they want to show that we are in agreement. In fact, it's hard to even know where to begin showing them that we are not agreeing. We are conversing with the same terminology after all, right? We use the same words like God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, repentance, scripture, faith and heaven. We both believe that Jesus was born in the Jerusalem area, that He lived a perfect life and that He died on the cross and rose three days later. We both claim to be Christian. But our ‘agreement’ is effectively keeping us from a meaningful discussion, and the Mormon from true salvation.

You see, each of the words listed above (and many others) have been redefined in Mormonism. According to Mormonism, God is not the God, but a god; god's name is Elohim and we are his literal spirit children by one of his many goddess wives. Jesus is not God but the eldest of Elohim's children; he's our and Satan's spirit-brother. Repentance is the process of turning from each specific sin, to never repeat it again, and making restitution when possible. Scripture includes the books written by Joseph Smith and latter-day prophets.

I was Mormon, so I when I finally read the Bible without trying to find my LDS beliefs in it, it got a lot easier to understand... and told a different story than I expected. The Bible only allows for one God- YHWH - who is eternally self-existent in three 'persons', one of which is the virgin-born Hebrew Yeshua (YHWH becomes Salvation). Repentance is not abandonment of sin, but the change of heart/mind that accompanies realizing that Jesus is God come to earth to take the punishment we deserve and believing on Him as Savior. Heaven is not layered, with divisions according to the righteousness we displayed in our 'mortal probation', but it is where God is, which is why it is Paradise. 

The LDS will chalk these differences in meaning up to a different interpretation of scripture. They believe that Christians are the ones who do not understand; that when Joseph Smith restored true Christianity to the earth, he corrected what had been ruined and/or misunderstood. LDS will also try to point to specific Bible verses they've been taught, to justify their beliefs. But the differences cannot be explained away by simple misinterpretation; and Smith's 'restoration' is completely contrary to the most fundamental truths of the Bible. Mormons do not even know that they are taught a system of Biblical eisegesis which injects LDS beliefs into the Bible, instead of searching the Bible to see what it teaches.

And there's more.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gives people a false Jesus not just by redefining Him, but by allowing Mormons to simply incorporate Christ into their lives. In Mormonism (as perhaps in many religions), a person can begin to do what they think is more Christ-like -- donating money to charity, visiting the sick, praying, etc. -- without ever having to personally meet and go up against God one-on-one.

Christianity is not this way. There is no making Jesus a part of the life you already have. When I first was saved, I tried to do that. I wanted my worldly life and God's grace, too. But God was emphatic. He absolutely broke me down until all there was left to do - and I knew it - was to say, "I surrender. You are God." I was not good; I finally understood that. He alone is good; and He expected me to die to myself, to kill my fleshly desires, so that I could have the ONE THING that I was really looking for - Him.

Mormonism gives people the right words to hold, the good ideals to shoot for. What it does not and cannot give its people is GOD Almighty. Believing God is my father and Jesus is my brother makes salvation/atonement not as significant an issue. The belief that I can become a god(dess) keeps me from prostrating myself before the One unimaginably Worthy and Holy God that there ever is and ever will be, in fear, admiration, and utter awe and worthlessness. My salvation came when I finally saw God for who He truly is, and myself for who I truly am – this is the truth that has set me free. And I had to fully reject my Mormon thinking to do come to that place.

I hope that you can see why I believe a Mormon who believes the LDS doctrine is not a Christian. I have no doubts that there are some LDS who, in their hearts, worship only One God, and will be saved. But it is in spite of their religion that they do this, not because of it. I've been told by some Mormons that I am trying to create my own super-exclusive definition of the word "Christian" - but I am only trying to put the right words to my understanding of the term as I find it in the Bible. A family-oriented, hard-working, good-as-can-be, church-attendee is not, by biblical definition, a Christian. A person who knows they deserve to die because of their sin against YHWH, who has turned to the Jesus of the Bible as the only solution and believes He alone is the way to be reconciled with God... is.

A few pertinent verses: Luke 18:19; Mark 10:18; Romans 3:9-13,23, 5:8, 6:23; John 1:12-13, 3:15-17, 5:24,28, 11:25,26,27, 12:24-25, 14:16; Galatians 2:16, 3:10-14; Colossians 1:15-17, 2:4-20; Hebrews 10:10-12; 1 John 1:1,5,8-10, 2:1-2, 5:10-13; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:8-9.

© Copyright 2002 Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved. —Permission is granted to reproduce, provided content is not changed and this copyright notice

Rocky and Helen Hulse

Rocky and Helen Hulse
Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine