By Rocky Hulse
I picked up the Sunday, January 29, 2011 issue of Mormon Times and noticed the regular column, “Defending the Faith,” by Daniel C. Peterson [Daniel C. Peterson is a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at BYU, where he also serves as editor in chief of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative and as director of outreach for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship (formerly Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) BYU’s Mormon Apologetic arm). He is founder of MormonScholarsTestify.org.] The article was titled: “His sheep recognize his voice.”
Mormonism Is All Inclusive
The first four paragraphs of this article set the stage of falsehood:
“Trying to make their view seem merely a minor logical extension of my own, several atheistic acquaintances have assured me that there is little difference between us: They just happen to disbelieve in one more god than I do.
They seem to imagine that being a Latter-day Saint entails rejecting all non-Mormon religious experiences and disbelieving every doctrine of every other faith. This, however, is not true.
When Joseph Smith learned that the then-existing Christian churches were corrupt, that didn’t mean that they were totally wrong. To say that something is “corrupt” means that it has been damaged. We speak of “corrupted texts” or “corrupted files,” intending to say that they have been infected or tainted—not that their original content has been replaced by something completely different.
In fact, many mainstream Christian doctrines were and are substantially correct. There is indeed a God. He has a divine Son who came to earth, atoned for our sins, rose again on the third day and now sits at the right hand of his Father. Those who taught prayer, preached of the Savior and translated the New Testament during the centuries between the early apostles and the Restoration preserved and transmitted many central gospel truths.”
This attempt at revising the “First Vision” of Joseph Smith is grossly deceptive. Set in Mormon scripture is the “First Vision” of Joseph Smith which is day one, hour one, minute one, second one of Mormonism: “18. My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.’” (Joseph Smith History, Ch 1:18-19)
Here in the “First Vision,” Joseph Smith says the “Personage” who addressed him (later identified as Jesus) told him all churches were wrong and all of their creeds were an “abomination.” The Christian Creeds are Christian doctrine. The word “abomination” is defined as follows: “1: something abominable 2: extreme disgust and hatred: LOATHING.” It is quite clear from the text that, according to Joseph Smith, Jesus has “extreme disgust, hatred and loathing” of the Christian creeds and specifically defines all churches as wrong and teaching the doctrines of men. Yet, in the first four paragraphs of this article, Daniel Peterson very deceptively tries to gloss over Mormonism’s absolute attack against all churches, all Christian doctrine and all who profess Christianity.
Lest anyone say this is out of context or not the belief of early Mormonism, let me provide a quote of Brigham Young following a discourse by John Taylor who would replace Brigham as the 3rd Mormon Prophet: “Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and kicked on to the earth.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol 6, pg 176).
Allah is God!
Unbelievable as it may seem, this BYU professor and Mormon Apologist goes on in this article teaching that the Allah of Islam is the God of the Bible:
“But what about non-Christians? Do they worship false gods?
Jews certainly don’t. Believing Jews accept the Old Testament, venerating the God who brought Israel out of Egypt, spoke through the prophet Isaiah and was proclaimed by Jesus (a Palestinian Jew).
But what of Islam? Isn’t “Allah” a false god? No. According to the Qur’an, Allah created the earth in six days, placed Adam and Eve in Eden and then inspired prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Sound familiar?”
To draw the conclusion that “Allah” is the God of the Bible because a fictional book of scripture, the Qur’an, plagiarizes the characters and stories of the Bible is ludicrous, however, not without precedent. Mormonism does the same thing in our time. Mormonism draws from its fictional book of scripture, the Pearl of Great Price, claiming in creation that all human beings were born into a pre-existent world, having been sired by God the Father, who has a body of flesh and bones, and that Jesus was the first offspring of this Deity and that Lucifer was the second. This being foundational Mormon doctrine, Jesus and Lucifer are brothers, and these two procreated beings are our older brothers in this non-Biblical doctrine.
“Allah is the Eternal Father”
Daniel Peterson continues:
“‘Allah’ is simply the Arabic equivalent of English ‘God,’ related to the Hebrew ‘Elohim.’ Moreover, Allah is the God not only of Muslims but of all Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews. ‘In the beginning, (Allah) created the heavens and the earth,’ reads Arabic Genesis. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (Allah), and the Word was (Allah),’ says the Arabic version of John 1:1. ‘We believe in (Allah), the Eternal Father,’ says the first Article of Faith in Arabic, ‘and in his Son, Jesus Christ.’”
This is pure blasphemy of John 1:1. Jesus was the Word that became flesh and then “dwelt among us” (John 1:14), not Allah! “The first Article of Faith” is a Mormon document listing 13 Articles of Faith depicting Mormon beliefs. Just because it is translated into Arabic and says Allah is God the Eternal Father, doesn’t make it so; it just makes it another falsehood of Mormonism!
Daniel Peterson’s next point is as follows:
“Muslims, Christians and Jews disagree about God, but that doesn’t create numerically different gods. My neighbor regards Senator Foghorn as the greatest orator since Daniel Webster; I think he’s a noxious windbag. But there is, mercifully, only one Senator Foghorn. Our different opinions don’t spawn multiple senators.”
This argument is pure Mormonism. Trying to justify a different definition of who God is has been a trademark argument and rationalization of Mormons trying to justify their false doctrine of God from the very beginnings of Mormonism. There is only one God. Period!
II Corinthians 11:4 “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
15th Mormon Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, who passed away in January 2008 said the following about Mormonism’s Jesus: "In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints 'do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness [sic] of Times'" (Church News, June 20, 1998).
“I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is.”
“I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 345)
The above statement, made by Joseph Smith on April 7, 1844, is a complete departure from all that the Bible teaches about God, yet it is a foundational teaching of Mormonism.
Peterson then attempts to discount a just God by saying the following:
“But what of the non-Abrahamic religions? Are they too far wrong? It seems presumptuous to declare that mistaken but sincere devotion means nothing to our loving Father in Heaven.”
It is obvious that Daniel Peterson has never studied the Book of Matthew, or chooses to ignore it: “7:21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
There is no question that this text in Matthew 7 is clearly identifying those who are declaring “sincere devotion” to the Lord; and he says “depart from me, I never knew you.”
In Acts 17:24-28, Paul is preaching God is Zeus?
In another grand deception, Daniel Peterson attempts to make the claim that Paul is actually equating the God of Israel with the Greek god Zeus. “When the apostle Paul, preaching on Mars Hill, sought to connect with the pagan Athenians (Acts 17:24-28), he identified Zeus with Israel’s God: “For in him we live and move and have our being,” he taught, quoting the words about Zeus of a sixth-century B.C. Cretan philosopher. “As some of your own poets have said,” he continued, citing a third-century B.C. philosopher’s verse about Zeus, ‘“we are his offspring.’”
This attempt at saying that Paul is preaching Zeus is the God of Israel is beyond the pale of deceit. Acts 17:23 clearly contradicts Peterson: “23. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”
There is no question that Paul is talking about the UNKNOWN GOD, not Zeus. This is truly deliberate deception and is despicable.
The “Chronicles of Narnia”- scripture?
Peterson finishes his article thusly:
“In the final volume of C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia,” a Calormene soldier named Emeth (=Hebrew “truth”) has been a sincere worshipper of the false god Tash all of his life. When, at the end, he meets Aslan and recognizes the true God, he expects severe punishment. But Aslan graciously reassures him that “all the service thou hast done to Tash, I accept as service done to me,” explaining that, although Emeth had been unaware of it, his honest devotion was actually to Aslan, rather than to Tash. ‘No service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him.’”
This teaching by BYU Professor Peterson is absolute blasphemy. Trying to use the “Chronicles of Narnia” as scripture to rationalize that any worship given to any god will be accounted by the God of the Bible as valid, is the epitome of reaching for straws; it’s pathetic really. God will not be mocked. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life! There is none other and any devotion offered to false gods will not be accepted by the God of the Bible as worship to him. The Old Testament is clear that God is a jealous God and will not tolerate worship given to false gods; however, since Mormonism has incorporated polytheism (many gods) into their doctrine, the god of this world has blinded their eyes (II Cor 4:4).
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