Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Four Heresies All Mormons Believe



To hear a full conference-style presentation of these issues, please refer to my YouTube channel to see parts one and two.

"Mormonism" is a large, nuanced religion that contains a wide range of beliefs, varying from member to member. However, there are at least four beliefs that every Latter-day Saint holds to, being definitional to the religion in some sense. Each of these four beliefs is heretical, meaning it rejects clear, biblical teaching on the issue. To learn more about what those teachings are, check out this episode of the Do Theology podcast, as well as this chart.


1. "The Book of Mormon is true."

This is the most fundamental point of Mormonism. The Latter-day Saint missionaries knocking at your door have one immediate goal in mind: to introduce you to a new testament of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon. It is their goal for you to bear a "testimony" of this cornerstone scripture of their faith.

This is a summary of the Book of Mormon's storyline taken from the Church's official website: "The Book of Mormon records the visit of Jesus Christ to people in the Americas following His resurrection…Moroni, the last of the Nephite prophet-historians, sealed up the abridged records of these people and hid them in about A.D. 421."

As Luke Wilson and Sandra Tanner have both rightly noted, the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible on several serious counts. It teaches and affirms each of the following anti-biblical notions:

  • Children have no sin nature
  • It was necessary for Adam and Eve to sin by eating the fruit
  • The Bible would become corrupted by men who would remove precious truths from it
  • The Christian church existed as early as 147 BC
  • The title of "Christian" was used as early as 73 BC
  • The New Covenant promise of the Holy Spirit was given as early as 545 BC
  • Jesus was born in Jerusalem

The Book of Mormon is not Christian literature. In fact, the Book of Mormon is heretical in light of the truths God has given us in the Bible. Interestingly, as CARM.org rightly points out, there are several areas in which this book even contradicts Mormon theology, let alone biblical theology.

Sadly, there are many people who are willing to believe the Book of Mormon is divine scripture. Once they give on that point, they are then expected to embrace the rest of LDS teachings that are not found in the Book of Mormon, but in their other religious works. Many of these teachings are heretical, just as the ones listed above. Here's a partial list of those additional beliefs:

  • We all lived pre-earthly existence, the details of which we cannot know now
  • Marriages and family unions can exist eternally through the LDS Church's ordinances 
  • Jesus is not the one, true God of the universe and the Trinity is rejected
  • Heavenly Father is an exalted man of flesh and bone
  • An infinite number of gods exists
  • You must perform ordinances in the LDS Church to achieve exaltation in the next life
  • There are modern-day prophets and apostles who exist as mouthpieces for God


2. "Evangelicalism is a result of false churches."

Latter-day Saints hold to the presupposition that there should only be a universal church, not diverse local churches. This means that there should not be any denominations within the Christian faith. They believe that a "true church" is evidenced by its never splitting or dying. Therefore, all Christian churches (whether denominational or not) are apostate in the sense that they were born out of a split with some other expression of Christianity and have not been continuously existent since the time of Christ.

For this reason, some Mormons have said that either their church is true or the Roman Catholic Church is true (they believe Peter was the first pope). Since all Protestant traditions were born out of a split with Catholicism, none of them can be the "one, true church." Additionally, they say that the Bible used by Christians today is lacking many "plain and precious truths" because God did not providentially preserve what He desired humans to know. Joseph Smith went as far to say that all of the creeds of the churches were "an abomination."

Therefore, as Joseph came along and introduced a restoration of God's true church, he offered a new authority (priesthood) for men, which he claimed was lost on the face of the earth. When he "translated" the Book of Mormon, he offered a new sacred text, which he claimed was the "the most correct of any book on earth." These two offerings -- priesthood authority and a new testament of Jesus Christ -- were foundational to the restoration of God's one, true church on the face of the earth and they are the bedrock for Mormonism today.

This view of the church is heretical. Jesus stated plainly that He would build His Church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it (Matthew 16). Jesus taught that He would be with the Church until the end of the age (Matthew 28). Scripture says that God does whatever He pleases (Psalm 115) and He is pleased to dwell with man (Isaiah 57) and preserve a remnant (Romans 11). This Almighty, omnipotent God does not desire that His people or His word vanish; therefore, they don't.


3. "We're all going to heaven."

This heresy doesn't fall in line with the other three listed here. Typically, when a religious movement makes an exclusive claim about its authenticity as a church, there is punishment for rejecting that claim. It would be logical to conceive that Mormons believe a person would go to hell for rejecting their church. However, Latter-day Saints believe that the overwhelming majority of people who have ever existed have ended up in one of the three kingdoms of heaven -- even the worst of sinners among us who have rejected Jesus.

According to their teaching, the top kingdom is the Celestial Kingdom, reserved for faithful Latter-day Saints who fulfilled the Church's ordinances. This is where men become gods and have all that Heavenly Father and Jesus have. The middle kingdom is the Terrestrial Kingdom, made up of "good people" who didn't obey all of the commandments. They perhaps believed the LDS gospel after their death in the spirit world, but that is not a requirement to make it to that kingdom. Finally, the Telestial Kingdom is composed of those who rejected God on earth and lived as they pleased. Joseph Smith said that the Telestial Kingdom has an indescribable glory.

Jesus, on the other hand, taught us that there is a place of everlasting punishment for those who reject Him. This place is where God crushes both soul and body (Matthew 10), where many people are inescapably sentenced to (Matthew 23), and where people are tormented forever and ever (Revelation 20). This is the due penalty for one who dies in his sin (John 8). However, since Latter-day Saints reject the biblical doctrine of total depravity, they have no problem erasing the doctrine of hell and the lake of fire.


4. "Personal revelation and feeling override all else."

Very rarely will a Latter-day Saint come out and say plainly that his or her own feelings and perceptions are the ultimate authority, but that is what they each believe. Their own literature states, "You must study [The Book of Mormon] out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right." As Matt Slick has rightly pointed out, this is not the way human beings are to discern truth. Neither a sensation nor a shiver constitute a Divine affirmation of a person's thinking.

The Bible teaches us that the human heart is full of deceit (Jeremiah 17); consequently, human beings must rely on God's objective word to know who He is and who we are (Matthew 4). It is man's responsibility to pay attention to Scripture and submit to it, because it is the word of God (2 Peter 1). Any feelings of inspiration a person has must be submitted to the authoritative Bible. To place one's own "revelation" over the Bible's testimony is heresy.

At the end of the day, Mormons are Mormons because they believe God has revealed truth to them in a personal, supernatural way and no one can reverse that experience. It is nigh impossible to argue with someone who believes this, but it is able to be refuted.


For my responses to these heresies, please check out this video where I walk through the biblical truths concerning these topics. 

No comments:

Post a Comment