Saturday, October 26, 2013

Things to Remember When Witnessing to Latter-day Saints


By Ryan Selga

   
    •    Having an understanding for what the Bible teaches is key when witnessing to Latter-day Saints.

    Nine times out of ten, Mormons love to quote from the Bible when witnessing to potential converts about their faith.  For example, Mormons usually tend to recite a verse found in the Book of James stating, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  (James 1:5)  The average Mormon (LDS) uses this verse as a Biblical example to explain that knowing truth comes from prayer and prayer alone.  According to Mormonism, if one is to pray about the validity of the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith with a “sincere heart”, they will receive a “burning in the bosom” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8) knowing that what they prayed about is true.  But, is James really relating to good feelings as way to knowing truth?  Mormons also quote from Jesus found in the Gospel of (John 10:16) where it says that there are “other sheep” that are not of the fold He was teaching to.  LDS believe that in this passage, of scripture, Jesus is referring to the Nephites and Lamanites of the Americas, which is recorded in the Book of Mormon, but again, it must be asked, is Jesus really teaching that?  
    If you are well versed and have a good understanding of what the Bible history and teachings are, then you should be quick to respond to the verses the Mormons will use with you.  If you are unsure or confused with a verse that a Latter-Day Saint brings up to you, the best way to respond to the claim is, “You know, that’s an interesting verse you brought to me and it definitely deserves some thought, but let me go home and research this a bit and let me get back to you on it and we can discuss it more then.”  But, most times the LDS will see you as an inexperienced person who barely knows anything about your own faith and will loose confidence in what you ever say to them in the future whether it is right or wrong.  The best way to avoid this type of confrontation is to know your Bible!  If you know the history and doctrine of the Bible, you will be prepared to take on any verse that any cult uses with you to prove that their faith is the “true faith”.  
    The Bible is the setting standard for Christianity and is of the “inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and has been preserved by the Holy Spirit through the ages (Isaiah 59:21) to be the book in which God reveals Himself unto mankind.  God’s word can be used to show the cultist what the Christian body believes when it comes to essential doctrines such as the Godhead, Jesus’s divinity, and salvation by grace alone through faith.  Knowing the verses by heart can make a key difference in witnessing to the Latter-day Saint.  
    Most Mormons are unaware of what the Bible really teaches and usually turn to their Articles of Faith where it states, “We believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”  The interpretation of scripture is done by the leadership of the church and not by reading and studying of scriptures.  It is interesting to note that Ezra Taft Benson, who was the 13th President of the Mormon Church taught, “Doctrinal interpretation is the province of the First Presidency…  No teacher has the right to interpret doctrine for the members of the church.” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 317)  In Mormonism, the thinking and doctrine is done by the leadership of the church and is to be followed no matter how strange or controversial it sounds compared to the Bible.  This can be a problem when showing Latter-day Saints the difference of beliefs when comparing Mormon doctrine to Bible doctrine, but it is not a hopeless battle to fight.     
    Hebrews 4:12 puts it perfectly, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  No matter who you are witnessing to, the Bible is your “handy side arm” that can help you out of any tight scrape you find yourself in spiritually.  When confronted with doctrines counter to what God has already revealed in His “inspired word”, we are told to “test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and be ready to “test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).  
    Knowing the doctrines of the Bible and showing how they differ from Mormon doctrine can make a huge difference in the witnessing moment, showing that there does in reality, exist a major difference between the beliefs of Mormonism and Christianity.  Ironically, Brigham Young the second President of the Mormon Church at one time stated, “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.126)

    •    A general understanding of Mormon history can go a long ways in a witnessing conversation.
    
    In (Matthew 7:20) Jesus warns us that we would know a false prophet “by his fruits” that he produces. The history of Mormonism has always been covered in a shroud of secrecy ever since the infamous “First Vision” in 1820 to the massacre at Mountain Meadows in 1857.  The Latter-day Saints, unlike most other religions in the world are well known for their strange and shrouded past of the church and its beginnings.  Most Latter-day Saints are unfamiliar with their history and are only familiar with what they are taught at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah and what their missionary handbooks tell them.  In our personal experience of witnessing with the LDS, we highly recommend that every person interested in witnessing to the Mormon people take a general study and interest into the history and beginnings of the Mormon Church.      Usually when the Mormon missionaries come to your door and want to share with you about what their church is, they usually tend to tell the listener about who Joseph Smith was, his “First Vision”, his translation of the Book of Mormon and so on.  If the Christian listener is knowledgeable of the true history of Mormonism and knows of the history that the Church is unwilling to talk about, it can definitely be used as a witnessing tool when dealing with LDS.  Usually, Mormon missionaries come across people who don’t know that much about the Mormon Church, so it should come across to them as a surprise when the Christian missionary knows exactly what they are talking about and knows where the Mormon religion came from.  Sometimes if the Christian is to explain his/her knowledge on basic LDS church history most Mormons will see that the listener is actually a person who has “done their homework” and will usually tend to take you more seriously and respectfully due to you taking the time to learn about them.  It may not sound like much but, it can go a long way in showing the Latter-day Saint that you are not some “lame brain” that doesn’t know anything.  
    When it comes to history and witnessing, it is always good to have references ready on paper or memorized in your head.  Most of the time when controversial history of Mormonism and its prophets is brought up, Mormons tend to dismiss the claims as being “anti-Mormon” and untrue.  But, if the Christian has references either on paper or memorized in his/her head it can definitely show the LDS that the facts you are showing them is true and not simply made up from people who hate the church.  It is interesting to note, most references that show some controversial and strange teachings in Mormonism are usually found within the Mormon Church’s own books and diaries!  
    Due to the space provided we will not discuss the specific problems of Mormon history here, but we will provide some references that are invaluable tools when it comes to history of Mormonism and using it when witnessing to the LDS people.

    1.  Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? By Jerald and Sandra Tanner of Utah Lighthouse Ministries.  Considered by many scholars of Mormonism to be one of the best works ever written on the subject of the LDS Church.  Covers an array of topics ranging from the history of Mormonism, to cover ups the church is responsible for, and church doctrine.  The book is full of references, quotations, and photocopies of statements, journal entries, sermons, and much more pertaining to the history and strange teachings of the church.  Highly recommended to scholars who wish to do a serious study into the history and doctrines of Mormonism.
    
    2.  No Man Knows My History By Fawn Brodie.  Fawn Brodie was a member of the Mormon Church who was excommunicated shortly after the publication of this book.  The book covers the biography of Joseph Smith Jr. the founder of the Mormon Church.  Covers in depth subjects pertaining to Smith’s involvement in money digging, the making of the Book of Mormon, the Kirtland Bank downfall, the translation of the Book of Abraham, polygamy, the formation of the Danite band, life in Nauvoo, and much more.  Good read for those who want to learn more about Joseph Smith and the secrets he had in his life.  

    3.  3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon By Jerald and Sandra Tanner of Utah Lighthouse Ministries.  Another book by the Tanner’s that doesn’t need much explaining just by the title.  Basically, the book is a photo reproduction of the 1830 Book of Mormon (the first edition to be published) and shows all of the changes that have been made in the book from 1830 to the second edition in 1837.  Changes include grammatical, historical, and doctrinal errors that have been added, deleted, or changed.  Most Mormons recite from the introduction of the book stating that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book of any on earth.  This book helps proving the opposite of the claim.  Great book to use when witnessing to Mormons on the validity of the Book of Mormon.  Also includes changes that were made in the recent 1981 version of the Book of Mormon as well.

    4.  Quest for the Golden Plates By Stan Larson.  Another great book written about archaeology and the Book of Mormon.  Larson tells of the true story of Thomas Stewart Ferguson who was the founder of the New World and Archaeological Foundation in Provo, Utah.  Thomas Ferguson was a Mormon lawyer from Northern California who had a unique and special interest into the history of the Book of Mormon.  The leaders of the Mormon Church funded Ferguson in the 1960’s to begin archaeological work in both Central and Southern America to prove to the world that the story of the Book of Mormon was factual with evidence.  After years of research and excavation in the Americas, Ferguson discovers that history of the ancient Americas did more to disprove the Book of Mormon than it did to prove it.  Shortly before he died, Ferguson wrote a series of letters to friends and scholars explaining to them that he had lost faith in both the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as being inspired of God.  Both a comprehensible and exciting book, Quest for the Golden Plates will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you taking notes at every discovery Ferguson made in his quest for truth.

    •    Learning Mormon doctrine from their sources is essential!  

    Mormon doctrine and Christian doctrine are two separate things and must be made clear that there is no bridge between the two viewpoints.  Mormon doctrine is derived from 4 sources.
    
    1.  The Book of Mormon: The first book of scripture that came forth during the infant years of Mormonism.  Joseph Smith claimed that he translated The Book of Mormon from a set of gold plates that were supposedly hidden in the hill of Cumorah near his home in upstate New York.  Smith claims that in the year of 1823 he received a visit from an angle called Moroni who appeared in Smith’s room and told him of the location of the Gold Plates.  In 1827 Smith would finally retrieve the plates from the hill and begin his translation of the “Reformed Egyptian” (the language the plates were supposedly written in) into the English language.  Smith at first used the aid of the Urim and Thummim (stones as recorded in the Old Testament) but after an incident involving the loss of the book’s first 116 pages, Smith would later resort to his “seer stone” as the instrument he used to finish translating the plates.  
    Smith was recorded as using the stone for his translating just as a fortuneteller uses a crystal ball as a means to determine one’s future.  According to David Whitmer, one of the three main witnesses to The Book of Mormon, he describes the process of how Joseph Smith used the stone to translate the “Reformed Egyptian” into English.  He states as follows:

“I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph would put the seer stone into a 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.” (An Address To All Believers In Christ, by David Whitmer, 1887, p. 12)  

    Today, the Mormon Church depicts pictures of Joseph Smith usually translating the golden plates by just staring at the book itself and reading it in English to his scribe.  The church today tries to distance itself from the story of the seer stone due to its affiliation to the black magic practices that were practiced extensively in Smith’s early years.  
    The Book of Mormon story takes place between the years of 600 BC to about 421 AD and tells of the story of two groups of Israelites that migrated to the Americas after the fall of the Tower of Bable as recorded in the Old Testament.  The Book of Mormon claims that the first group to migrate over to the New World was known as the Jaredites.  Later on it would be the Nephites who would later come over lead by a man named of Lehi and his sons Nephi and Laman.  Laman would later rebel and be cut off from the family and begin his own group of descendants known as “Lamanites.”  In 1 Nephi 12:23 we read of a prophecy concerning the Lamanites stating that they would become a “dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people.”  
    The book goes on to tell stories of the many wars that happened between the Nephites and Lamanites until the years surrounding 421 AD.  It was during this time that the Nephites are beginning to retreat from the victorious Lamanite army to the small hill of Cumorah in upstate New York.  It was here at Cumorah that the last great battle is fought between the two armies, but the Nephites are overrun and are all killed.  After the battle, a lone surviving Nephite, Moroni (son of Mormon), writes his final words in the golden plates and closes with a testimony that most Mormons quote when talking with those interested in the church.  The testimony is as follows:
    “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4)
    
    Most of the time when talking to converts the Mormon missionary will use this verse to lead the person to pray about the book, to see if it is inspired of God or not.

    2.  Doctrine and Covenants:  A compilation of revelations given by the prophet Joseph Smith during his leadership of the church.  If there is one main source that LDS will go to alone to point out their major doctrines of their faith, it will usually be found in the revelations.
      At first his revelations were recorded by scribes and only kept for reading aloud to his followers at meetings or gatherings.  It wasn’t until 1833 that the leadership would officially agree on publishing his revelations in a book known as The Book of Commandments.  However, the Book of Commandments did not last for long due to the issue that the printing press was destroyed as a result of civil unrest between the Mormons and the citizens of Missouri in the year 1833.  As a result, very few copies of the book are around to this day and are considered priceless to most Mormon historians.  Thankfully in the year 1961, a Mormon scholar by the name of Wilford Wood, published a reproduction of the Book of Commandments in a book titled Joseph Smith Begins His Work volume 2 and is now available to this day for purchase.  Later in 1835, the Mormon Church again would publish Smith’s revelations in a book known as Doctrine and Covenants.  This publication would stay the same up until the years of the 1880’s when it would be changed again to include new revelations such as Joseph Smith’s infamous revelation concerning polygamy found in section 132.  
    To this day thousands of changes have been made in the text of the Doctrine and Covenants.  David Whitmer has much to say concerning the changes made between the 1833 and 1835 in his pamphlet An Address To All Believers in Christ.  Some of the changes range from historical changes, doctrinal changes, and additions and deletions made to the text to hide embarrassment.  
    One of the major changes that was made in the revelations was concerning polygamy.  In the 1835 edition, Joseph Smith responded to the rumors that were spreading around during his day concerning his practice in polygamy.  

    “Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 Edition, page 251)

    However in the current reading of the Doctrine and Covenants we read in the heading of section 132:

    “Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of marriage covenant, as also the plurality of wives.  HC 5:501-507 [History of the Church].  Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the prophet since 1831.”

    Notice how the heading states that polygamy “doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the prophet since 1831.”  If this is true, than that means Joseph Smith would have been deceitful about his 1835 teachings about calling polygamy a “crime of fornication.”  If polygamy were considered a crime as Smith claimed in 1835, then wouldn’t he have been committing a crime himself back in 1831 when he was both teaching and practicing it?  
    With that said, there are many more changes that are worth mentioning, but we do not have the space here to talk about.  For more information concerning the major changes made to the revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants, read David Whitmer’s pamphlet An Address To All Believers In Christ.  

    3.  The Pearl of Great Price:  This book of scripture contains five books within named The Book of Moses, The Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith-Matthew, Joseph Smith-History, and The Articles of Faith.  

    A:  The Book of Moses
    The Book of Moses is Joseph Smith’s translation of one of the many books that has been supposedly lost from the Bible as recorded in the 1 Nephi 13:26-29.  However, some historians feel that this book was written in response to Thomas Pain’s book, The Age of Reason.  One of the claims Pain made in his book was that if the book of Genesis were truly written by Moses, why didn’t Moses ever say that the Lord spoke unto him concerning the events of the creation period.  Ironically in Smith’s Book of Moses he states sayings worded as “and the Lord spake unto Moses” and then adds the creation story.  Although it is not for certain that Smith was a reader of Pain’s works, it still could not be overlooked that Smith seems to answer almost every one of Pain’s accusations to the Bible.  For more information on the Book of Moses see Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s book Mormon Scriptures and the Bible.

    B:  The Book of Abraham

    Another one of the books found in the Pearl of Great Price (POGP) is the Book of Abraham.  The story behind this is long but we will try to simplify it here.  
    In 1835, a traveling curator by the name of Michael Chandler visited Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio.  Chandler in his past travels of revealing mummies and old Egyptian manuscripts to the people heard of what Joseph Smith did in translating golden plates from “Reformed Egyptian” into English.  Chandler looking for a way to sell the mummies thought that maybe Joseph Smith would be interested in making a purchase agreement.  Once Chandler arrived in Kirtland and began displaying his artifacts and mummies, Smith noticed that Chandler had a few papyrus fragments on him that caught Smith’s eye.  After looking through the papyri for a few moments Smith told Chandler that these were the writings authored by both Abraham and Joseph of the Old Testament.  Smith purchased both the papyri and mummies since Chandler wanted to rid of the collection fast.  
    In the coming days Smith would begin his translation of the supposed Book of Abraham and begin composing an Egyptian Alphabet listing Egyptian hieroglyphs and their English meanings right next to each other, and then would later use it as a tool in the translation of the Book of Abraham.  Smith never did finish his translation of all of the papyri, but he did manage to translate all of the facsimiles found in the papyri and some of its writings.  Smith published parts of the translation in the Church owned Times and Seasons in March 1, 1842.  Later on it would be reprinted in the England published booklet titled The Pearl of Great Price where it remains to this day.  
    After the death of Joseph Smith in 1844, the papyri and mummies were passed on to Smith’s widow Emma Smith and later the papyri would land in the city of Chicago where it was rumored that the manuscripts were lost during the Chicago fire of 1871.  However, in 1966, the papyri would be rediscovered in the Metropolitan Museum in Brooklyn, New York by a University of Utah professor by the name of Dr. Atiya.  Atiya, a non-Mormon, but friend to the church, immediately called upon the LDS church leaders and informed them of his miraculous discovery.  It wasn’t until the next year in 1967 that the papyri that Joseph Smith had in his collection finally came over to the state of Utah and has been there ever since then.
    Ever since 1967, many scholars in the field of Egyptology have studied the papyri and translated it to determine how well Smith did on his translation of ancient Egyptian to English.  Unfortunately, for the Mormon Church the translation of the manuscripts did not turn out to mention or name Abraham or his religion at all, but instead were common Egyptian funerary texts know widely as the Book of the Dead.  Richard A. Parker of Brown University translated Smith’s papyri and came out with a text describing funerary language instead of the way Smith said the papyri read.  His work and discoveries can be found in the 1968-summer article of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 3, no. 2, p.98.  
    Today, the Mormon Church does not like to talk about the discovery of the Book of Abraham nor the translation that took place during the late 1960’s that proved that Joseph Smith had no knowledge whatsoever of the Egyptian language.  Mormon apologists usually try to brush the issue aside by going under the banner that Smith was not translating the papyri but he was rather being lead by God under the gift of “inspiration.”  Strangely enough Smith never mentioned in his diaries or his history once that God was assisting him in his process of bringing forth the Book of Abraham.  
    For more information regarding the translation of the Book of Abraham we highly recommend Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s book, Mormonism-Shadow or Reality? and By His Own Hand by Charles Larson.  Larson’s book provides detailed pictures of the papyri in color and gives an excellent review of the entire story of the Book of Abraham from its days in 1835 to the events of the 20th century. 

    C:  Joseph Smith-Matthew

    Basically, this is Joseph Smith’s translation of what the book of Matthew should have read.  However, Bible scholars do not take Smith’s translation seriously enough due to the fact that the earliest manuscripts we have to date on the book of Matthew do not line up with the “translation” of Smith’s version of Matthew.  No manuscript to this day exists at all to support Joseph Smith’s translation of the Gospel of Matthew and with that being said his “translation” of other books found in the Bible is also called into question.  We will have more to say on this later.

    D:  Joseph Smith-History

    The History of the Mormon Church is usually found in a seven-volume set known as The History of the Church written by the Prophet Joseph Smith, but due to its significance in today’s Mormonism the Church has simplified the first volume of the history into the POGP to include the story of Joseph Smith’s “First Vision.”  
    The “First Vision” is an event that took place as a result of a young thirteen-year-old Joseph Smith who went into the woods to pray regarding which of the churches he should join.  According to Smith he was answered by a pillar of light that later appeared to show both God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ physically appearing before him.  They told him that he was to join none of the churches for they were all wrong and that their creeds and preachers were both an abomination and corrupt (see History 1:19).  
    Strangely enough, this is one of three different stories that Smith told of concerning the “First Vision” each of which contradicts the other.  
    The first account of the “First Vision” is found in Smith’s 1832 diary where he mentions that it was only Jesus who appeared unto him in the first place but does not have Heavenly Father with Him.  Jesus does not come to tell Smith about which church to join, but rather tells him that his sins are forgiven instead.  Smith also mentions a different age as told in the official version as being sixteen instead of thirteen.  This account is now available today for anyone to examine in republications of Smith’s 1832 diary.  
    The second account that Smith tells of the vision was rewritten again in his 1835 diary and gives another story of what happened in his vision.  His second account leaves out both Jesus and God the Father and tells that he was visited by angles during his fourteenth year.  The account also leaves out the story of which of the churches he should join and instead mentions the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the Mormon Church to follow.  This is account is also found not only in Smith’s 1835-1836 diaries, but is also found in the church owned Deseret News, vol. 2, no. 15, May 29, 1852.
    Then finally, there is the third account that we know of today as Smith receiving a visit from God the Father and Jesus Christ telling him not to join any of the churches.  This version was published in the church publication of The Times and Seasons in 1842 alongside with Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Abraham.  
    With the telling of three different stories and three different age periods that these events supposedly took place in, it is hard to consider if Smith even witnessed these amazing events at all.  Sometimes Mormons have tried to answer this by saying that Smith was revealing the story one bit at a time, line upon line precept upon precept, to get the final result of the two personages and the knowing of which church to join.  This can easily be refuted with the consideration that all three stories contradict each other and serve as no “building blocks” that lead up to the final story of two personages.  If it is “line upon line” then why did Smith in 1835 mention that it was angles and then in 1842 leave the angles out completely and say that it was the Father and the Son?  That is not “line upon line” but more of “changes upon changes.”  

    E:  The Articles of Faith
    
    The final entry to the POGP that contains the Mormon Church’s “creeds” and belief systems in a few verses.  These verses are usually quoted at LDS ward meetings during a time of fasting and are recited aloud by members who have been chosen to bear their testimony that the church is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  It should be interesting to note that in verse 8 it reads, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
    
    4.  The Holy Bible (King James Version only):  The final and last piece of scripture the Mormons use in their system of theology.  The only condition is, is that it has to be a King James Version (KJV) only.  Shortly after the publication of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith began working on a revision of the Bible planning to add in the “plain and precious parts” that were supposedly lost during the reign of the early Christian Church.  Smith’s translation of the Bible is now (mostly) found in the back of modern LDS Bibles under the title of “Joseph Smith Translation.” 
     Smith covers most of the Old Testament books including the book of Isaiah and the New Testament books such as Matthew and John.  Much study has been done on the Smith translation of the Bible compared with old manuscripts that say a completely different thing.  One of the most important mistranslations, was Smith’s prophecy of himself he added into the book of Isaiah saying that he would come forth and deliver the words of a book (Book of Mormon).  Yet today, now that we have possession of the infamous Dead Sea Scrolls, a set full of Old Testament books written in Hebrew, we can now determine to see if Smith’s translation is valid or not.  
    The reason why the Dead Sea Scrolls should help prove that if Smith’s translation is valid or not is due to the fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls go before the time and founding of the Christian church.  The LDS church claims that it was during the time of the Christian church and after the death of the apostles that the “plain and precious parts” of the Bible would begin to become lost.  Thankfully, the Dead Sea Scrolls go back before the time of Christ and the church, so they should be completely free from being tampered with as the Mormons claim.  Instead of finding a prophecy concerning the coming Joseph Smith we still get an accurate translation that reads very similar to what our modern day Bibles have to offer.  To this day, the Mormon Church does not take seriously the Dead Sea Scrolls findings and tries to distance itself from them due to the fact that it proves more to the favor of the Bible being more correct and punctuate then it does to Smith’s translation of how its supposed to be read.  More can be found in this subject in detail in Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s book, Mormon Scriptures and the Bible.

5.    “If you won’t tell them, who will?” 

     It was my sophomore year around early 2009; I was sitting at my bedside listening to a tape that my mother had given me titled “Mormon Claims on Trial by Dick Baer.”  I sat here in my room for over two hours listening to Mr. Baer as he explained how Mormonism was another gospel that the apostle Paul warned us in his letter to the Galatians.  In those two long hours after all of the facts and doctrines were brought to light concerning the truth of Mormonism, all I could think of was my Mormon friends.  Somebody has to tell them, they live their lives in such a way to please God but in reality their works are seen as a threat to the free grace that God has given us in His Son Jesus Christ.  
    I finally got it!  It’s not by works and it can never be!  If it were by works, then Jesus would have absolutely no reason to come here to earth to die on the cross for our sins because we would work it out on our own.   It’s called a “gift” for a reason!  
    In 2 Nephi 25:23 it states that you are saved by grace “after all you can do”; in Moroni 10:32 it elaborates more on grace saying that you must “deny yourselves of all ungodliness” and then is God’s grace sufficient enough for you.  Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th prophet of the Mormon Church stated in his book The Miracle of Forgiveness, 

    “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and pro- pounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 206.)

    On page 207, he continues, “And however powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exalta- tion to no man who does not comply with the works of the gospel.”
    Is that possible?  Can we really deny ourselves of all ungodliness?  Can we totally stop sinning and be considered “worthy” enough to receive God’s grace?  Can we completely stop sinning at all?  In the book of Romans, Paul states bluntly that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that there is no one who is righteous (Romans 3:10).  Paul responds to our state of a sinful life in the next chapter stating, “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace” (4:16) that we are saved by instead of our own deeds doing it for us.
    Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” 
    We must remember that Mormons are not the enemy, but they are the victims to the law of works.  They are a good and moral people with outstanding values that almost every person living should learn from.  But, the problem is, is that they believe that their works are going to get them to the kingdom of heaven and to hopefully become a god someday to a planet of their own.  Although, the system and theology of Mormonism comes across as unusual to most Christians we must think back to them as being another lost soul that has not found God’s true grace yet.  This is the calling card for us Christians, to stand up, and let our voices be heard to those who have never heard of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
    As I listened to the final words of Mr. Baer’s presentation, I began to think about what would a true friend do if he saw someone else’s soul in spiritual danger.  Would you go and pray for that person?  Would you just let the matter alone and hope that God will do some miraculous work later on in the future to bring that person out of Mormonism?  Then it hit me.  We are called to be ambassadors for Christ here on earth (2 Corinthians 5:20) and to go and preach the gospel to all the nations (Matthew 28:19) and to not be ashamed of it (Romans 1:16)!  If I had a good friendship with my LDS friends then why am I not acting like a true one when it comes to their own spiritual need?  A good neighbor will call his neighbor at work if his house is burning and a true Christian friend would inform his non-believing friends that their souls are heading for one.  The cost is great and people will not like to hear what your saying, but think to yourselves, what would Jesus do?  When Jesus appeared to His people in the New Testament, He was never afraid to speak the truth and never afraid of what people would do to Him as a result of His teachings.  He was willing to die for truth rather then skirting around a controversial topic.  Today many of us face a problem that is rampant in the Christian Church.  Most people just want to keep to themselves and not share their faith with their friends because it could affect a relationship.  
    Just take the time to ask yourselves, “Am I being a true Christian friend to my buddies by not saying anything to avoid conflict or am I true friend in telling them the truth and not being afraid of what may happen?”  
    As the tape began to roll towards the end, Mr. Baer had one final thing to say, “If you won’t tell them, who will?”  I began to think to myself over and over again in tears, “If I won’t tell them… who will?”  Then I came to my senses, “Well I better get to it.”  
    
Conclusion

    This information was put together not just for the purpose of learning, but it was also meant for the purpose to be shared in love with your Mormon friends.  Most Mormons are unaware of the true doctrine and history of their church as a result of the secrecy and dishonesty that exists in the higher echelon of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Be that true friend to the LDS people and get out there and share the gospel of grace with your fellow Mormon neighbors before it is to late.  Be a pleaser for God instead of one for man.  
    Closing with the words of Paul in (Galatians 1:10), “For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”
    




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2 comments:


  1. How do you measure genuine love? Do people who love you flatter you or do they tell you the truth? Helen and Rocky have told people the truth about the differences between genuine Christianity and LDS doctrine. There is no "common ground" between Christian and LDS beliefs. Ryan Selga's post is "right on!" People who are "truth tellers" may not always be appreciated. They may actually be hated and vilified; however, they will emerge triumphant because they stand for God, and He is Truth! He stands for them and with them, and they ultimately prevail!

    So, I stand with Helen and Rocky! I am proud and honored to call them friends!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment on Ryan Selga's article. It is well written and shows the heart of a young missionary, whom we were blessed by him allowing us to share it.

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Rocky and Helen Hulse

Rocky and Helen Hulse
Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine