How we can explain to a Mormon the differences of the Bible and what their church is teaching to obtain salvation? To do this their position needs to be explained in detail, and compared to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the original apostles.
The Mormon lifestyle is governed by their teaching of obedience to celestial law. Doctrine and Covenants 88:22 states, “For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “To enter the celestial and obtain exaltation it is necessary that the whole law be kept...Do you desire to enter the celestial Kingdom and receive eternal life? Then be willing to keep all of the commandments.” (The Way to Perfection, p. 206). The Mormon is to prove himself worthy of exaltation by his obedience and they believe they can achieve perfection in this life. They point to the Bible for this where Jesus said “be ye perfect as your father in heaven is perfect.” The understanding of this Scripture comes from their non- biblical concept of sin. The sin which came from the garden in Mormonism is not the same definition as Christianity. To Mormon's, Adam did not fall in the Biblical sense, but instead was given an opportunity to become a god. Sterling W. Sill who served as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve explained Adams transgression as “Under Christ Adam yet stands at our head... Adam fell, but he fell in the right direction. He fell toward the goal ... Adam fell, but he fell upward. “(Deseret News Church Section, July 31, 1965)
"Properly understood, it becomes apparent that the fall of Adam is one of the greatest blessings ever given of God to mankind" (Apostle Bruce McConkie, NWAF, p. 87). Notice the difference, the Bible says man and the earth was cursed, and the Mormon position is that it was blessing. One cannot arrive at this conclusion from the Words God spoke, but can from the words the Devil spoke. For God did not bless them but punished them for this act of rebellion AGAINST His Word. Yet Brigham Young said, “The devil told the truth, what is the mystery about it? ...I do not blame Mother Eve, I would not have had her miss eating the forbidden fruit for anything in the world.” (Prophet Brigham Young, Deseret News, p. 308, June 18, 1873.) Jesus said the Devil was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, he has no truth in him. Immediately we are confronted with a very different concept of history as well as theology being presented.
Brigham Young also said “We are the sons and daughters of celestial Beings, and the germ of the Deity dwells within us. When our spirits took possession of these tabernacles, they were as pure as the angels of God, wherefore total depravity cannot be a true doctrine.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp.50-51)
So without the understanding of the encroachment of sin on mankind and how serious it is, brings the Mormons distorted view of Grace and what faith and works are.
The Bible teaches that what happened to Adam was the most horrendous act to man and destroyed our future estate that our creator had in mind for us. It was the worst human disaster in history. Even though it only affected two people initially, its repercussions would be felt to all mankind down through history. Satan who was a foreign intruder deceived and challenged man by alienating him from his best friend, God.
These views are two completely different stories and have two completely different solutions for the problem for our fallen human nature. There is only one solution to solve the problem of sin; one of these does not work. We need to keep in mind that Mormonism is claiming to give the restored gospel that was lost in Christianity. As we will see it is nothing more than the Galatian heresy that Paul refuted so clearly plus some custom additions of their own.
One of the additions according to Brigham Young “Sin is upon every earth that ever was created, and if it was not so, I would like some philosophers to let us know how people can be exalted to become sons of God, and enjoy a fulness of glory with the Redeemer. Consequently every earth has its redeemer, and every earth has its tempter; and every earth, and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through” (Journal of Discourses 14:71-72).
So what happened here as an attack by the spiritual terrorist Satan also repeats itself over and over in other places in the universe. This is certainly not Bible. Not a hint is given anywhere from Jesus and the apostles writings on such a repetitive act on other worlds. This is done to frame their philosophy of gods and goddesses populating and ruling other worlds as Adam and Eve did here.
The different solutions
The Book of Mormon teaches that Mormons must forsake all their sin to enter the celestial kingdom. Mormon doctrine states that Mormons must keep the whole Law, “But, notwithstanding all this, he (Jesus) kept the whole law of God, and remained without sin, showing thereby that it is in the power of man to keep the law and remain also without sin.” (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine p. 320)
Was this Jesus' purpose in living perfectly to show that we all can! That has been the postulation of theosophists and occultists throughout the centuries. The Bible teaches, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23-4). Paul goes on in v. 9-12 “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.
There is ONLY ONE who kept the law perfectly and Mormons recognize this, it Jesus. Their mistake is that we have the ability to keep the law exactly like He did. They can arrive at this erroneous view because they do not recognize Jesus as the God who made all things. Instead, He is another spirit begotten of the Father in heaven just as everyone else is who has come into this world. As Jesus came from heaven so does everyone else.
Rom 3:19-20 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Are Mormons under the law? Yes they are. What exactly is celestial law? “For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory." If a Mormon hopes to reach the celestial kingdom, he must abide by the celestial law”(Doctrine and Covenants 88:220). Apostle Orson Whitney said, “It does not mean any one thing; it means all things. It is the fullness of obedience: it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Conference Report, October 1910, p.53). This of course is not including the Bible but the laws and ordinances of the LDS church. Notice the words used --it means all things; fullness of obedience; every word. How are they able to do this is answered in Doctrines of Salvation “Individual (salvation) that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” (Doctrines of salvation vol.1 p.134)
Yet the Bible says the opposite, Gal. 3:11-12: “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Paul makes it clear we have a choice live by faith in the Son of God and accept his righteousness by his perfect life or by the law. If you choose to go by the law you are on your own. Miss obedience once and you have broken the whole law.
Previously Paul said Gal 2:16-19 “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” No man will be justified, Just as he stated in Romans 3, there is NONE that do good or seek to do good.
So the Mormon is in a dilemma when they say their book is a another testament of the Bible, because it contradicts the very basic teaching of the grace of God and the faith we are now instructed to live by in the New Covenant. Instead they are living by the Old Covenant concepts and have added their personal twist to it, with new laws unique to their church.
The Book of Mormon states “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. (Book of Mormon Moroni 10:32)
If the Mormon understands this verse he would realize that in order to receive this “grace” that is sufficient to merit salvation or eternal life one must do everything that is required of God and that no ungodly thing can be permitted to exist in his life. The Mormon must consider that the perfection that he is striving for is not Jesus' perfection (a completely sinless life) but a denial within himself of all ungodliness and even the desire to sin.
Because of this teaching of salvation by works Mormons try to be perfect like Jesus but can never reach it. So who is perfect? No one. But that is exactly the point, they must be perfect to gain their salvation. No perfection-- no salvation.
This becomes an impossibility as James states in 3:2 “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.” Who can do this, I present you the evidence-No one- except Jesus Christ.
To be perfect a Mormon must obey the celestial law of Mormonism. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “To enter the celestial and obtain exaltation it is necessary that the whole law be kept...Do you desire to enter the celestial Kingdom and receive eternal life? Then be willing to keep all of the commandments.” (The Way to Perfection, pg. 206).
President Brigham Young said, “If we obey this law, preserve it inviolate, live according to it, we shall be prepared to enjoy the blessings of a celestial kingdom” (Discourses of Brigham Young, pg.404). But if you do not…
Brigham Young made his perspective clear by teaching, “No man can be perfect without the woman, so no woman can be perfect without a man to lead her. I tell you the truth as it is in the bosom of eternity. If he wishes to be saved he cannot be saved without a woman by his side” (The Miracle of Forgiveness p. 245).
Perfection is the Goal
This concept of perfection is taken from Matt 5:47-48 “And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” In context Jesus is speaking of a non- prejudicial love, not to hate your enemies and love those you choose. (Greek word is teleios; means complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter; completeness: to be of full age, mature)
In Gal.3:3 Paul scolds the Galatians saying “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” They were trying to be perfect spiritually through means of obedience to the law. It is this kind of obedience the Mormons are asked to achieve, the very practice Paul is scolding them for keeping. (Greek word is epiteleo, it means to fulfill further (or completely), i.e. execute; by implication, to terminate, undergo: accomplish, do, finish, (make) (perfect), perform (X -ance). In other words, you can not accomplish what God has for you in your life by keeping laws.
Spencer W. Kimball the 10th President and Prophet of the Church makes it perfectly clear what this means as he quotes Doctrine and Covenants 58:43 “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins - behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” Forsaking the sin does not mean “for a while” (however long), or “until the next time you do it.” In the 1984 tract Repentance Brings Forgiveness, Mormon president and prophet Spencer W. Kimball quotes the verse Doctrine and Covenants 58:43. Immediately following, he wrote, “The forsaking of sin must be a permanent one. True repentance does not permit making the same mistake again.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Repentance Brings Forgiveness, p.7) It is clear he is giving a standard of forsaking of sin as a permanent one. You CANNOT make the same mistake again.” Have you ever made the same mistake, or committed the same sin more than once? Of course you have, we all have.
Spencer W. Kimball stated “We can hardly be too forceful in reminding people they cannot sin and be forgiven and sin again and again and expect repeated forgiveness. The lord anticipated the weakness of man which would return him to his transgression and gave this revelation in warning Doctrines and Covenants sec 82:7 And now verily I say unto you I the lord will not lay any sin to your charge, go your ways and sin no more but unto that soul that sinneth shall the former sins return saith the lord your God.”
The God of Mormonism, remembers past transgressions and promises if one sins again all the sins return upon them leaving worse off than when they began (saith the lord your God.) Let me make this teaching clear by Spencer W. Kimball saying that the standard for the Mormon- “The very urge must be purged out of your life.” “We also have to forsake the sin and never to repeat it not even in our minds, in order to remain forgiven we must never commit the sin again (Mormon Missionary Discussion F, Uniform systems for teaching families p.35-36)
“And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end” (3 Nephi 27:19).
“If there is one divine law that he does not keep he is barred from participating in the kingdom and figuratively guilty of all, since he is denied all” ( J. Feilding Smith Answers to Gospel questions vol.3 p.26)
The apostle Paul described his own life as unable to do this. As he said he did what he did not want to do at times, yet he continued to be saved and serve the Lord.
From this misunderstanding of Jesus Mormons are presented with an “unreachable goal” to gain them eternal life within the lifestyle of Mormonism. Spencer W. Kimball “Christ became perfect through overcoming. Only as we overcome shall we become perfect and move toward godhood. As I have indicated previously, the time to do this is now, in mortality” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 209-210)
In their Articles of faith the first two requirements contained in the Gospel of Mormonism is “faith and repentance” followed by numerous other standards of obedience that need to be completed. Repentance in Mormonism? It is actually a five-fold process. 1) Feel sorrow for sin 2) abandon sin or forsake sin 3) confession of sin to a bishop or other Church authority 4) restitution as far as possible that which was damaged and 5) live all the commandments of the Lord.LDS church insists that “obedience” is to the whole law as the requirement for exaltation. Not just faith and repentance.
When a Mormon repents he proves he is not living up to the standard set by LDS teaching, therefore he is not obeying celestial law. If he were obedient, he would then have no need to repent. But he can only repent once never to repeat the sin with the goal of reaching perfection. I'm not saying all Mormons are aware of this but the quotes do speak for themselves.
Christianity teaches that we have all inherited a fallen nature from Adam and continue to have the fallen nature until we are ushered into God's presence. In the meantime we are made new creature by a new nature along with our sin nature. We have been imputed with righteousness of Christ. We don't have to work for it , it was given by grace “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-4).
The very nature of Mormonism contradicts this. As we find that Lucifer who was created perfect sinned, Ezek 28:15 “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” When he sinned he was no longer perfect. Just as when Adam and Eve sinned they too were found to be in the perpetual state of sin. It is the removal of sin that can only make one perfect in God's sight. And sin can only be removed by believing on Christ’s sacrifice alone without any addition of self-works which Mormonism emphatically denies. So they are in a quandary to solve this, they do not want to accept the grace benefits of the cross and abandon their human efforts to gain Christ’s work done for them.
In the LDS Tract entitled, What the Mormons Think of Christ, p.31 “Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one's salvation. Many go so far, for instance, as to pretend, at least, to believe that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept him as our personal Savior, we are thereby saved. His blood, without other act than mere belief, they say, makes us clean.”
Rom 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Justification is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins when he is still in a sinful state. It is a legal declaration God declares because of the Law of being satisfied through Christ. the sinner is now pronounced righteous -- as though he had not sinned.
In the Book of Mormon Alma 34:32 “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
Alma 34:33 “ I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.” A Mormon must repent, again this means to forsake all sin to be perfect to enter Mormon celestial glory.
The Bible teaches unless we see ourselves as sinners in need to be saved, we cannot call on the savior to save! After we are saved, we see ourselves as sinners that have been set aside for the masters use, we are saints, yet still sinners in nature. Nothing this side of heaven will bring us to perfection.
A question I ask a Mormon, do you think you are perfect? Do you think you will one day be perfect here on earth? If so, then you are calling God, THE God a liar. This is not my opinion but His Word. If we say we have no sin we are calling God a liar and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:5-9). No one can live up to the requirements these men have set forth. It is impossible unless you are perfect Jesus Christ!
Didn't Jesus live the perfect life as our example for us to follow? Yes, but we're unable to live up to His example. His sinless life “condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3) and is the standard by which mankind will be judged. Only he kept all of God's law perfect, not only in his actions outwardly but in his heart and mind inwardly. His perfection both condemns the sinner and qualifies Him to be our Savior, for only One that is perfectly Holy could die for the sins of others.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15) from the penalty God's justice demands on sin (Ps 9:8, 96:13). “to call sinners to repentance” (Mat 19:13). Christ saves only those who, believing in Him, admit to being sinful and repent of being lost, guilty sinners, unable to please God or to save themselves. Here is the truth that sets us free! One cannot believe they must work for salvation and be perfect to receive it, Christ did not come to receive the righteous.
It is Christ's total obedience, not our partial obedience that saves a believer in God's sight (Romans. 5:19). When we come to Him by faith, His righteousness is “imputed” (or “added”) to us to our account (Romans. 4:1-8). Only His righteousness will satisfy the demands of a Holy God. Nothing less will do. It is only when we rely on this biblical fact that we can have the assurance of God's forgiveness. As long as a person insists that this salvation is dependent on his good works and individual righteousness, he will continue to be frustrated and bear the heavy burden of guilt.
Jesus did not die to make resurrection possible for all mankind; He came to remove all (not “some”) of the believer's sins (Col. 2:13) so we can have a relationship with the one true God.
Lowell Bennoin former director of the LDS Institute of Religion said “Salvation is not a gift of God which comes to man through the decree of Deity or through the sacramental action of the Church. It is a gift of God which man must work diligently to achieve” (The Religion of the Latter-day Saints, p. 160 Lowell L. Bennion).
Paul writes in his masterful theological letter Romans v 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Why would Paul say this unless he was making a point? He again states in Titus 3:7 “that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Mormonism gives there own people a goal that is so unobtainable that no one could accomplish it. Real Christians recognize our everyday failure to live the whole law or to reach a point where we can stop sinning in this life. While Christians strive for righteousness and holiness, we have to rely and trust on God's mercy at Jesus' expense of His life to give us the righteousness of Christ in order to dwell with our Heavenly Father forever and forever. For Mormons seeking Truth this is good news -- Jesus died for you and that by one offering he has perfected you for all time. That His grace is sufficient for you even in your weakness and transgressions, for righteousness ( your right standing with God) could not come by keeping God's commandments, otherwise Jesus died in vain.
Mormonism does not have the gospel of Jesus which is based on grace, his favor toward us because of our inability to fulfill what God requires. It is a teaching that will poison their soul and prevent one from seeking peace from God through Jesus Christ. If you want to be deceived instead of loving the truth, the Lord Himself will allow you to be deceived, however He loves you and asks you to return to the true teachings of His Word.
God has said,” Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. David also described the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works” (Romans 4:4-6).
What is ironic is that within the very scripture Joseph Smith used to receive his new revelation to start the Mormon Church it refutes the practice they need to obtain the celestial kingdom. James 1:2-5 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Notice it is by faith, trusting in God having patience through trials that we become mature or perfect. For the believer it is not for salvation but the complete and making us mature is for the work of God. Then we come to the Scripture that had Smith go into the woods to ask God which Church is right. “that If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
One needs to surrender to God's Gospel to be saved, and depend on His work and merits to be saved. As a Mormon who is looking to please God, please consider what the Bible says.
Rom. 3:19-24 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.” This is Romans 10 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom.10:4-5 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”
So here is the choice set before anyone who is religious whether they are Mormon or any other religion that is trying to use the Bibles standards to be righteous. Scripture is clear “ by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39) One is accepted and received by God by faith in Christ, something the law which came from God could never do.Don't be shy to say to the Mormon “I bear you my testimony” of being saved by God's grace, through faith alone in Christ's work on the cross.
Because it is just as the Bible teaches “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-4).This is a Christians testimony