Previously we discussed the first three of seven myths that Mormons project onto the general public to try and get it to believe that they are something other than the adherents of an anti-Christian religion. It is a response to the ongoing campaign by the Mormon Church to bolster its image in light of the possible election of Mitt Romney as President of the United States. Those first three myths were that (1) Mormons believe in God, (2) Mormons are Monotheistic, and (3) Mormons pray to God. Clearly in each instance, after looking at Mormon sources and thinking through to the logical conclusion of such ideas, each were nothing more than mythical in content.
In the second part of our brief survey we will look at the remaining four myths, namely, that (4) Mormons trust the biblical Jesus, (5) Mormons believe in the Trinity, (6) Mormons love the Bible and (7) Mormonism is a Christian religion. The same approach will be taken on each of these as well. Upon conclusion of the examination it should be clear that these beliefs are every bit as much of a myth as those found in Part 1. Therefore, let us take at Myth #4: Mormons trust in the biblical Jesus.
4. “Mormons trust in the biblical Jesus.” Belief or trust in Jesus is an integral part of anyone’s relationship with God as a Christian. In fact, one cannot truly claim to even know God without first acknowledging just who Jesus is and what he has done to bridge the gap between man and God by paying the sin debt, in full, of man on the cross. Mormons believe that they are Christians because of their trust in Jesus. When quizzed on their “Christianity” an almost knee-jerk response is, “Of course we’re Christians; we even have the name of Jesus in the title of our church’s name.” But, when pressed on the issue, one discovers rather quickly that the Jesus the Mormons trust or believe in is not the same character that walked the earth in first century Israel and was eventually crucified for his revolutionary doctrine and actions. No, they are trusting in “another Jesus,” to coin the Apostle’s Paul terminology. They are trusting in a mythical Jesus. But, how is the Mormon Jesus different or mythical to the one found in the Bible?
First of all, the Mormon Jesus is a creature after the same order as all other creatures. He was “only begotten” only in the sense that Heavenly Father was credited with actually siring him in the flesh instead of allowing some other man to “do it,” as Brigham Young once argued (Discourses of Brigham Young, 50). In other words, Jesus is a created being, meaning that he was not always God, very God, as the Bible records (Jn. 1:1, 18; Col 2:9; Tit. 2:13), but became a god sometime after he left planet earth in death. As BYU professor Robert Millet explains, “Jesus did not possess a fullness of the glory of the Father at the beginning of his life and ministry…Later, in the resurrection, he received a fullness of the glory of the Father…” and then goes on to quote a Mormon source as the basis for his statement (A Different Jesus?, 67). With the exception of Jesus becoming a god, what we have here is a restatement of the old Arian heresy, which also propagated that Jesus was a created being, that he possessed divine attributes to be able to create everything that God did not create, meaning that he was a sort of demigod, rather than God himself. It is a common doctrine found in other heretical groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christadelphians.
Even though Jesus was nothing more than a creature, the bright side is that he was the “offspring” of God, meaning that he was a “son of God,” like everyone else as well. This is the usual argument to try and mitigate the blasphemy of subordinating the person of Jesus to the level of a creature. A favorite reference Mormons use to substantiate the offspring comment is found in Acts 17:29. Bluntly stated, offspring to a Mormon naturally means that God had sex with Heavenly Mother, a spirit child was born, and it came to earth to take up a physical body, so that it could eventually progress on to become a god or goddess through a process known in Mormonism as “The Law of Eternal Progression.” But, such an understanding has no place in Acts 17. In fact, Jesus paternity is nowhere in sight. Rather, the context is dealing with Paul’s rebuttal of pagan ignorance of just Who the Creator of all things is. “Offspring” (translated from the Greek word genos) simply means that because of God’s creative ability humans became a “race.” And if anyone knows anything about the Bible, it is quite clear that when God created the human race, it was not due to God copulating with a goddess (see Gen. 2:7-ff.)!
But subordinating Jesus to the status of a creature is not blasphemous enough to a Mormon. When asked about Satan as Jesus’ “spirit brother,” they do not even bat an eye. Why? Because Satan is simply considered another of God’s sexually produced creations too! Rather than go into a protracted rebuttal of that ungodly thought, I’ll simply point the reader to an article which explains in detail why such a notion is unacceptable. What will be done here, though, is to address the dismissal of a classic biblical reference, Colossians 1:16, which completely destroys the whole Jesus-Satan brotherhood blasphemy.
In Stephen W. Gibson’s—a Mormon writer—book One-Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions he first admits that Colossians 1:16 “is in sharp contradiction to the passages cited above [like Acts 17:29] and others on the subject.” Of course it is in sharp contradiction because Gibson’s, like all Mormons approach to interpreting scripture, is flawed at best, because it is based on a hermeneutic that injects meaning into the biblical text rather than extrapolates it. Paul’s writing is so plain to understand that no amount of Mormon eisogesis can even distort it. What Gibson fails to recognize, though, is that the Bible is a unified whole. It is not going to contradict itself, as much as certain Bible critics have tried to make the case.
Gibson continues, “…Paul’s point in Colossians is not to assert that God the Father did not have spirit children, but rather to emphasize the preeminence of Jesus as he did the will of the Father (v. 18).” Actually, that is not Paul’s point at all. Paul’s point in Colossians was to emphasize the deity of Jesus, in its fullness (1:19; 2:9) in light of the proto-Gnostic attack upon the person of Jesus, which wished to subordinate Jesus to something less than God. Sound familiar? So, Paul would write to the Colossians, “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.” First-born is an expression which credits Jesus as the preeminent Creator, not that he was the first one to be born as a creature. Prototokos (“first born”) is not the same thing as protoktisis (“first creature” or “first creation”). If Jesus was the first born creature, then Paul would have had to use protoktisis, not prototokos in verse 15.
He goes on to explain in verse 16 Jesus’s role as the Creator by stating, “For by Him all things were created, in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him.” If Jesus, then, is the “image of the invisible God,” who possesses the “fullness of Deity” (1:19; 2:9) and Creator of “all things,” “visible and invisible”—which would include Satan himself—then he cannot be a created being himself! The Creator cannot be the creature, in other words. Moreover, Jesus cannot be a “spirit brother” of Satan either.
Therefore, when the Mormons say that they believe in the biblical Jesus, it is a myth of diabolical proportions. Mormons not only have subordinated Jesus to the status of a creature that has progressed to a demigod status, they believe he is the spirit-brother of Satan through some rather poor twisting of the biblical text to make him such. Mormons, then, follow “another Jesus,” not the biblical Jesus.
5. “Mormons believe in the Trinity.” Whenever a Mormon talks about the Trinity it is usually in the context of the Godhead, of which he believes that there are three separate gods which comprise it. Former Mormon apostle James Talmage provided a classic example of this kind of thinking when he wrote, “This unity [of the Godhead] is a type of completeness; the mind of any one member of the Trinity [namely, Father, Jesus, and Holy Ghost] is the mind of the others; seeing as each of them does with the eye of perfection, they see and understand alike” (Articles of Faith, 37). Now some might say, “Well, gee, Paul, what’s wrong with that? Cuz, that’s what I believe too.” There’s plenty wrong with it, starting with the idea of separation.
The Bible teaches, and Christians have taught, that there is only one true God, not three. That one true God is represented in three distinct, not separated, persons, all of whom coequally and coeternally share the same essence of what it means to be God. God’s essence, or all of those things which make God what he is, cannot be “separated,” as if one were to separate the yolk from an egg or cream from milk. It is one of the reasons why so many analogies to explain the Trinity in such terms will always be flawed. Therefore, as soon as the Mormon injects the idea of separation into the Godhead to explain the Trinity, he immediately has wandered away from the biblical concept of the Trinity. He is posing a polytheistic view of gods, where if there is one true God, then all the rest necessarily MUST be false, simply because they have a completely different make up or essence than does God. Otherwise, they would be unified with God, as God, and not separated from Him.
Another flaw inherent in the Mormon belief in the Trinity is that the oneness of God only pertains to love and purpose. It is their way of trying to get around the biblical idea of the monotheistic view of God and yet try and retain at least the verbiage. Mormon authors Eric Shuster and Charles Sale make this very argument. To them, “The authors of the New Testament frequently referred to the Godhead as three individual beings having a perfect unity of love and purpose. Nowhere is God described in this testament as the mystical union of three divine ‘persons’ or personalities in a single divine being” (The Biblical Roots of Mormonism, 58). There are two major problems with asserting that God’s oneness only pertains to love and purpose. First of all, if God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all three called God, and yet there is only one true God (Deut. 6:4; Jn. 17:3), then in order for them to be perfectly unified in purpose is going to require that they be unified in essence as God. Second, since there is only one true God, there cannot be any other beings making the same claim and the statement remain true. God’s being is mutually exclusive from all other beings. His being is self-existent, while all others are contingent upon His being for their existence. Yet, three characters in the Bible are called God in the Bible—God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. So, Mr. Shuster and Mr. Sale are in error by asserting that nowhere in the New Testament is God a mystical union of three persons in a single being. Obviously, since there is only one being called God, then whoever is making the claim to be God, must share in that one single being or essence, otherwise their claim is false and they are ultimately false gods.
So, when a Mormon claims to believe in the Trinity, it is a myth. What he believes in is a tritheistic view of God, which is clearly outside the description given in the biblical text. Tritheism is nothing more than a rudimentary form of polytheism which was discussed earlier in Part 1, and is patently incompatible with the monotheistic view of God.
6. “Mormons love the Bible.” Imagine coming home sometime, opening up the door, and telling your wife or husband how much you love them, only to turn right around and start going through a litany of just how flawed they were. “Honey, why, you’re the sweetest thing I’ve ever met, but, you sure could lose a few pounds, you slob. Oh, and by the way, those gray hairs are disgusting as well, and would you please take a bath; you’re disgusting stink is making me sick. But, I sure love you.” Would anyone in their right mind watching or hearing such degrading nonsense believe for a moment that the spouse really loved the person he or she was married to? Yet, the Mormons want everyone to believe they love the Bible, as they say similar things about it.
As a prelude to the Mormon’s “love” for the Bible they typically refer to the eighth article in the Mormon creed which states, “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.” Please note the “loving” disparity in devotion. So long as the Bible is “translated correctly,” then the Mormon believes it is God’s word. Yet, since the Book of Mormon has been assumed to be translated correctly (even no one to this day has ever come up with a “reformed” Egyptian text, much less the one Joseph Smith allegedly referred to when he “translated” the Book of Mormon), then the Mormon believes it regardless.
The problem, though, is that the Mormon does not believe that the Bible has been translated correctly, even though most Mormons do not have the first clue how to translate the biblical languages. Evidence of this is seen in Joseph Smith’s blithering attempt to completely re-do the Bible in the form of the Joseph Smith Translation. Second is the oft-repeated presupposition that “many plain and precious things [truths]” have been removed from the Bible by “the great and abominable church” (which is referring to the Roman Catholic Church). When pressed on the issue to provide manuscript evidence to support either the mistranslation or removal of translated material from the Bible, the typical response one receives is a deer in the highlights look or a quick change of the subject.
The fact of the matter is one cannot love anything by willfully, maliciously, and intentionally disparaging it in the same breath with “I love.” A husband cannot truly love his wife by telling her how much he loves her out of one side of his mouth and demeaning her person out of the other side. And the Mormons cannot love the Bible by claiming that it is the word of God, only to turn around and demean it with all kinds of doubletalk, asserting that it is either full of errors or missing many plain and precious truths, and then provide nothing to back up either demeaning presupposition. The real reason the Mormon cannot love the Bible is because it contradicts everything he believes. Therefore, there is an implicit hatred of the Bible, not a love for it, in the Mormon. He only feigns affection for it because it fits the faulty image he has of Christianity that he has been taught by those who also hate God’s word. Their myth has become his, as he uses and abuses the Bible to promote the myth of Mormonism: that it is a Christian religion; the seventh myth Mormons believe and disingenuously present to the general public.
7. “Mormonism is a Christian religion.” If the preceding is not enough to cause a person to stop and think something has gone awry with Mormons, the outright claim that Mormonism or Mormons are Christian, in spite of it all, should. For what thoughtful person would stop and say, “Mormonism must be Christian,” after reading the preceding? The answer is that no one would. So, how is it, and why is it, that the Mormons keep telling everyone just how Christian Mormonism is and they are? The late Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley gives us some insight in a General Conference address given in October 1983 and recorded in the November 1983 edition of the Ensign magazine, which is an official publication of the Mormon Church. In response to criticisms that Mormons are not Christians he offered a two-fold response, as flawed as it is, which serve to answer our questions.
First, he asks, “Would a true follower of Christ, a follower of him who was the epitome of love and mercy and consideration, so seek to injure another?” He does not answer the question, nor explain what relevance it has to the criticisms. He merely asks, and leaves it for the audience to ponder. This is a classic example, though, of the logical fallacy known as argumentum ad ignominiam or the “appeal to shame” as a defense. To him it is indicative of a Christian to not ask questions or to “examine everything carefully” (1 Thess. 5:21). To open and swallow everything one hears or reads is apparently what the Christian should do when it comes to faith and practice.
Hinckley also thinks that the epitome of love, mercy, and consideration among Christians is to look the other way. Don’t beware of false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing would be his counsel, for that is not the loving, merciful and considerate thing to do. Just let them mingle among the flock; everything will be just fine.
Finally, to Hinckley and the Mormons, criticism of Mormonism which exposes all the falsehoods in history and doctrine, and the complete misrepresentations through caricature, is construed to be inflicting non-Christian injury upon “true” followers. Therefore, those criticizing Mormons and Mormonism should be ashamed of themselves. How dare they “tear down” another person’s faith!
Secondly, though, he goes on to deal with the critics by stating, “We ask only that we be judged by our fruits.” This line of argumentation is a form of special pleading and is a fallacy as well. He wants to deflect attention away from that which is false to get the critic to look at all the wonderful things Mormonism has to offer. It something that Joseph Smith’s father and grandfather implemented in their thinking and then passed on to their son and grandson from their Universalist days, another aberrant group which would later be linked to Unitarians because of their common beliefs.
Jack Mendelsohn, writing on Why I Am a Unitarian, shares the pragmatic worldview of Unitarianism by explaining, “We are believers, but our beliefs are centered in a method, a process of the religious life, rather than in closed articles of faith” (32). In other words, who cares what a person believes, so long as the end justifies the means? Who cares if the fruit is poisonous enough to kill the person eating it, so long as the fruit is pretty to the eye and pleasant to the lips? The problems with such thinking are so many that space precludes going into all of them. Suffice it to say that such an argument is self-refuting and contradictory to everything the Bible teaches and what the Christian is to say when the critic comes calling. What a person does believe, doctrinally speaking, does matter, given that not all fruit is healthful to the person consuming it, regardless of how pretty it looks. In fact, it is the doctrinal distinction that separates the true Christian from those feigning to be one.
Therefore, for a Mormon to claim that his Mormonism is Christian or represents Christianity is nothing but a myth. There is nothing wrong with Christians destroying the foundations of the fortresses of those that have been erected against Christianity (2 Cor. 10:3-5). And when the critics of Christianity offer their criticisms, the Christian should respond with a solid biblical answer (1 Pet. 3:15). He is not to cower behind the relativistic worldview of pragmatism as a response. The only reason that the Mormon would continue claiming that Mormonism is a Christian religion is in spite of what Christian history and biblical doctrine teach, not because of them.
This concludes the debunking of the seven Mormon myths. Additional information on Mormonism can be found on the Christian Apologetics Project website. New information is provided regularly. Questions are always welcome. Finally, for those who would like Paul Derengowski to come and speak at a church function on Mormonism, or any other subject dealing with apologetics, cultism, and biblical doctrine and history, invitations are welcome as well. Contact may be made by writing firstname.lastname@example.org.