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THEO 301 T04-05 - Mormonism

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Hartmut Scherer

on 15 September 2015

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Transcript of THEO 301 T04-05 - Mormonism

Thelma “Granny” Geer
Trinitarian view of God
(3 Nephi 11:27)
December 23, 1805
History of the Mormons
Founder: Joseph Smith Jr.
Moving to the West
Brigham Young (1801-1877)
Joseph Smith Jr. born in Sharon, Vermont
The 1st Vision
("God" reveals that all denominations are wrong)
September 1820
September 21, 1823
2nd Vision; The angel Moroni reveals the location of the "golden plates" from which Joseph will "translate" the Book of Mormon.
Allowed access to plates and begins translating them
September 22, 1827
Oliver Cowdery joins Joseph Smith;
both receive the "Priesthood of Aaron"
Book of Mormon goes on sale; financed by farmer Martin Harris
March 26, 1830
LDS church begins with 6 members in Fayette, New York
Most of the church moves to Kirtland, Ohio. (Brigham Young joins the church)
April 6, 1830
Move to Independence, Missouri (Revelation of Zion)
1831 (6 months later)
Move to Nauvoo, Illinois
January 1838
Revelation of polygamy
Joseph Smith runs for president
June 27, 1844
Joseph and Hyrum Smith killed in jail in Carthage, Illinois. (Joseph had 49 wives). Joseph had killed several men in the incident with his 6-shooter.
Move from Illinois to Utah
At Young's death there were 150,000 Mormons
"The church has between $25 and $30 billion in assets . . ."
Total Church Membership 14,441,346
Missionaries 55,410
Congregations 28,784
September 9, 2012
Sources of Authority
Mormons have five different sources of authority– four scriptures, called “Standard Works,” and one “living prophet.”
1) The Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith claimed that the angel Moroni revealed golden plates near his home in Palmyra, New York, and allowed him to translate this book, which he published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon.
It tells of Jews who supposedly left Jerusalem before Babylon destroyed the city and sailed across the Pacific Ocean, landing in South America.
2) Doctrine and Covenants
This is the most important Mormon book of doctrine. It is a collection of declarations, mostly by Joseph Smith.
3) The Pearl of Great Price
This has a mixture of different kinds
of books, and also teaches some very important Mormon doctrine. Of particular importance is the Book of Abraham . . . . It teaches that there are many Gods (Abraham 4-5), that God lives near a star named Kolob (Abraham 3:2-3, 16), and
that the human soul pre-existed
from eternity (Abraham 3:19-28).
4) The King James Version of the Bible
While Mormons also use the Bible,
they imply that the Bible is not always trustworthy, saying “many plain and precious things have been taken away from the book” (1 Nephi 13:28) and saying they only believe the Bible is “the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”
5) The Living Prophet
In addition to all of the Mormon scriptures, they also believe the president of the LDS church is a living prophet. He has the authority to give a direct revelation from God.
Lost his only copy
Transforming Worldviews
- spiritual transformation is the work of God in the
life of a sinner
- has a human dimension
Intrinsic (Bounded) - Relational (Centered) Sets
set of beliefs and practices
Do you believe this to be true?
Christians must also live godly lives
single decision
initial decision
Did you turn to God and reject false gods?
Book of Commandments
-> Doctrine and Covenants
Book of Abraham
Dedication of 1. Mormon Temple (1836)
13 Articles of Faith (Creed)
Doctrinal Distinctives
- Mormon doctrine is filled with inconsistencies
- Mormon doctrine contradict each other in
some cases
- the book of Mormon contains almost no Mormon
The Godhead
Here Jesus is speaking: “
. . . verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

number of gods
ruling the universe

(Alma 11:28-29)
when the question is asked, “
Is there more than one God?
” and the answer is an unequivocal “no.”
- these teachings were superceded by Joseph Smith
himself in later writings
- by 1844, God was no longer perceived as a singular
"And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light: and there was light (Book of Abraham 4:3)
There is only one God (Isaiah 43:11; 44:6,8; 45:5)
Sources and Image Credit
Partly adopted from "Mormonism: Its Sources of Authority" by Bob Rogers at http://bobrogers.me/2012/03/27/mormonism-its-sources-of-authority/; retrieved Sept 9, 2012.
Adopted key thoughts from Ruth Tucker,
Another Gospel
(Zondervan, 1989), 49ff.
The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions
, Kindle location 764.
Source: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-stats; retrieved Sept 9, 2012.
Adopted from Matt Slick, "A Comparison Between Christian Doctrine and Mormon Doctrine;" http://www.carm.org/lds/compare.htm. Accessed March, 2005.
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345)
God has always been God (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 57:15)
"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's" (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22. Compare with Alma 18:26-27; 22:9-10)
God is a spirit without flesh and bones (John 4:24; Luke 24:39)
The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. "That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man." (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35.)
The Trinity is the doctrine that there is only one God in all the universe and that He exists in three, eternal, simultaneous persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Brigham Young also claimed that “we are created ... to become Gods like unto our Father in heaven” and that “man is the king of kings and lord of lords in embryo.”
The Mormon eternal law of progression: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.
“Indeed, this doctrine of plurality of Gods is so comprehensive and glorious that it reaches out and embraces every exalted personage. Those who attain exaltation are gods.” (Mormon theologian Bruce McConkie)
is at the very core of Mormon teaching
Elohim is the god of this planet
The greatest of Elohim's offspring was Jesus
"The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8: p. 115)
Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23)
Jesus is the literal spirit-brother of Lucifer, a creation. (Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15)
Jesus is the eternal Son. He is second person of the Trinity. He has two natures. He is God in flesh and man (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2;9) and the creator of all things (Col. 1:15-17)
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is not a force. He is a person. (Acts 5:3-4; 13:2)
Mormonism distinguishes between the Holy Spirit (God's presence via an essence) and the Holy Ghost (the third god in the Mormon doctrine of the trinity).
The Holy Spirit
Mormons believe that all human beings preexisted as spirits prior to their birth in physical bodies
Preexistent Spirit Life
This concept of preexistence presents a picture of a parent-child relationship between God and every human being
The preexistent spirits were the “offspring of celestial parentage.”
Salvation is the forgiveness of sin and deliverance of the sinner from damnation. It is a free gift received by God's grace (Eph. 2:8; Rom. 6:23) and cannot be earned (Rom. 11:6).
The second effect is to open a way for
Individual Salvation
whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 78-79.
"The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of
General Salvation
For a Mormon, salvation is exaltation, which comes through the “gate” of
celestial marriage
"We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. . ."
8th Article of Faith of the Mormon Church
The inspired inerrant word of God (2 Tim. 3:16). It is authoritative in all subjects it addresses
Only through a temple marriage can a Mormon receive the highest exaltation in the after life
"Civil Marriage Makes Servants in Eternity" and "Celestial Marriage Makes Gods in Eternity." (J. Smith,
Doctrines of Salvation
- based on special revelation for a very exclusive group
of people
- at the beginning of the millennium, the wicked will be
'burned as stubble,' and at the end they will be raised
and given a second chance
top level:
The 4 Levels of Final Destiny
Celestial Kingdom
second level:
Terrestrial Kingdom
third level:
Telestial Kingdom
fourth level:
Father & Son dwell
only the Son visits
no Father or Son
Orthodox Response:
no such thing as a celestial heaven; dwelling place of God (Matthew 6:9; Rev. 22:4); Christians will be with Jesus in paradise (Luke 23:43)
a place of punishment for angels and humans who reject God; (Matt. 10:28; Matt. 5:29-30; 11:23; 13:40-41; 13:49-50; 22:13; 23:15, 23; 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 12:5)
- find common ground in terminology
Reaching out to Mormons
- establish that the Bible is reliable
- view Mormon missionaries as dedicated people who
have been misled
- emphasize Jesus Christ
Goal: is not to win an argument but to try to lead a
sincere person to the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
- particularly concerned about Mormons who left
Sweden and Denmark
Fredrik Fransen
, the founder of The Evangelical Alliance Mission (late 19th century)
Jerald and Sandra Tanner
- challenged Mormon doctrine and
tradition through publishing and
scholarly research
- the story of her pilgrimage from Mormonism
to evangelical Christianity
- through her testimony, many Mormons have
been converted to Christianity
Persistence, strong arguments, and genuine concern for Mormons can be effective ingredients for productive evangelism among Mormons.
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