Pastor Jeffress: "Mormons Are Not Christians."
Just when you think its dead, this story keeps popping up in the news. Our lazy, agenda driven media is only showing one side of the story. In this work, it is not my intent to disrespect, bully or take issue with the Mormon Faith. I openly admit I do not agree in general with Mormon doctrines, but at some point in our overly-sensitive, politically correct dialog, an open and honest, respectful forum should be allowed to make some valid points that are otherwise swept under the rug.
My use of Mormon quotes are highlighted below to illustrate the lack of appropriate media objectiveness. If anyone is offended you are free to complain in the comments below. It is my reasoned intent not to offend anyone. - Harlan
Religion & Politics
Rule number one in most public venues is, religion and politics don't mix and mixing the two is akin to disseminating the black plague. Our friends in the media, however, have set their own agenda for years; mostly to build readership which they can use to sell advertising. Selling headlines is a money making business, even if it means spreading a little plague. Certainly, somewhere in the mix, the wealthy buy a little behind the scenes arm-twisting as well.
The between-the-lines media-made controversy at hand is two-fold:
Are Mormons Christian? and... a pastor who supports Rick Perry said, the Mormon Church is a cult. Oh what a tangled web we weave. Merely entertaining such ponderousness is like huffing cyanide, given that most LDS followers say they are Christian. And... having "Jesus Christ" in the official name of your church, is just icing on the cake; after-all, seeing is believing.
However, the media masters of illusion carefully divert our attention with "Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger", while they throw more wood on the fire and fan the flames to sell even more headlines. For this sleight-of-hand, we have Pastor Robert Jeffress of the Dallas, Tx. First Baptist Church who recently said, "Mormonism is not Christian, it's a cult." Granted, to publicly call another faith or church a cult is perceived to be offensive; unless of course were talking about the Charles Manson Family. The word "Cult" is like the N-word for churches. It gives us visions of Manson & Co. running around the 1960s, doing drugs and stabbing people. Personally, I don't know of any official Mormon Church sanctioned activity along these lines. My most recent "close-call" with a Mormon was at my front door. She lent me a pair of crutches for an injured family member and expressed her wishes for a speedy recovery; she didn't even threaten me with any missionaries! She is a good neighbor and a nice lady too.
What exactly is a cult?
cult [kuhlt] noun
1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
3. the object of such devotion.
4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
Interesting. According to the dictionary not only is Mormonism a cult, so is the fan club of the Boise State Bronco's Football Team. If you're Mormon, or any organized church member and a member of the Bronco's Fan Club, you're a cultist twice-over!
Now, I am forced to ask, why is Rick Perry bending over backwards in televised debates with Mitt Romney to emphitically state he doesn't agree with Pastor Jeffress? The dictionary agrees with Pastor Jeffress, in fact it appears to define all churches as a cult. Is Rick Perry suddenly a higher authority than the dictionary? Why are national journalists making a big deal out of what Jeffries said? Don't they have a dictionary?
Anyone with a scintilla of reasoning knows the only reason Pastor Jeffress comment made the headlines is because he stood up and supported Rick Perry and the media saw the opportunity to sell a few more headlines. Church leaders all over America say such things about other churches everyday and it never makes headlines.
Has anyone in the media even pondered why would Jeffress say that? Anyone mind if I take a guess? Its because, Pastor Jeffress believes Mormon's have a different Jesus than the Jesus of the Bible, and Mormon leaders have adamantly professed anti-christian sentiment since Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church. So again, what is the big deal? Why is the media trying to make everyone upset over this? Mormons have no more been slighted or attacked than any other church or football fan club.
Undoubtedly, our Mormon friends and family members are not jumping for joy, and LDS Presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman would also prefer such commentary be left out of the campaign headlines as such attention might lead to uncomfortable questions. Questions like, "Do you really believe you can become a god of your own planet?" "Are you trying to cut your future omnipotent teeth by first being president of America?" "Is the planet Kolob really the center of the universe like Joseph Smith said it is?" "Do you really believe pilgrims live on the moon?"
What's the big deal here? No one is saying Mormons are bad people. Is there some underlying rule when someone shares what they believe, we're all supposed to be uncomfortable and run away? Most Mormons are proud of their belief's and are happy to share them with anyone who asks, though they tend to leave topics like "becoming a god of your own planet" to the trained missionaries. People need to be transparent here. Share what you believe without judging, listen to what someone else believes. Share your differences without personal condemnation. As long as your faith doesn't mandate that you harm someone who is not your same religion then who cares?
So what do Mormons believe?
I think a better question is - what does their doctrine teach? From the Traditional-Bible Christian point of view, many of these things are contradictory to Jesus' teaching in the Bible. In contrast, Mormons teach that many of Jesus' teachings were were lost, and their prophet Joseph Smith restored those teachings. One of the hardest hurdles Mormonism has with critics is where Jesus says, "Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away."
At first glace, Jesus and Joseph Smith are at odds here. The question looming over-head is, how did Joseph Smith restore Jesus' words, if Jesus said they would never pass away? In the Christian's mind, the Mormon witness is asking Bible believers to reject what Jesus said, and believe the claims of Joseph Smith, which in Smith's time were brand new to the religious public, making such claims a very hard sell. But there is more to this than meets the eye. The Mormons do not teach about the same Jesus as the Christians do. Their Jesus is a completely different person, so there is no controversy here for the Mormon in their doctrine, only the Protestant Doctrine. The controversy is: who has the real Jesus? That is for each person to decide, its called faith. Who has the real Jesus is also the core root of the controversy. Examples like this one are why some critics like Pastor Jeffress, say Mormonism is a cult.
Let's compare Mormon Jesus with Bible Jesus....
Are they the same? Or Different?
* Born in pre-existence as a spirit baby in Heaven and was our older brother.
* Was the brother of Lucifer.
* Born on earth in bodily form when the Heavenly Father came to earth and had physical sex with Joseph's wife Mary.
* Jesus' father Adam, was once a man who became the god of this planet, one of many other like planets, and who is also everyone's Heavenly Father.
* Paved the path for the faithful to earn their way back to heaven or even Godhood.
LDS 3rd Article of Faith states, "We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
"We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." -- II Nephi 25:23.
Heavenly Father wants all of His children to return to Him. The help or strength He gives us through the love of Jesus Christ is called grace. The things we must do are called works. To gain eternal life, we need both grace and works. Besides repentance, our works also include receiving ordinances, keeping covenants, and serving others. - New Era Magazine, March 2005, LDS.org.
"And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he (Christ) took a tabernacle (body), it was begotten by his Father in Heaven, AFTER THE SAME MANNER as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven." - Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:50-51.
"The Christian denominations believe that Christ was begotten not of God, but of the spirit that overshadowed his mother. THIS IS NONSENSE. Why will they not believe the Father when He says that Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son? Why will they try to EXPLAIN THIS TRUTH AWAY and make mystery of it?" - Joseph F. Smith, 'Box Elder Times,' Sep. 22, 1914.
Becoming a God...
"As man is, God was. As God is, man can become."
This means the Mormon man evolves into Godhood. You become a God of your own planet. Jesus Christ was our literal brother. The only difference between you and Jesus is he volunteered to be the savior.
Lucifer volunteered too, but his plan of salvation was rejected. You could have presented a plan, but you didn't.
The Mormon Faith believes in three heavens. The more you do good works, the higher heaven you get to go to. If you do enough good works, you progress into Godhood.
The Bible Jesus
Is he the same? Or Different?
* Created by Immaculate Conception by the spirit of the Holy Ghost
* Not the brother of Lucifer, or anyone else.
* Not born of physical sex with Mary by God the Father
* Was the Word of God made flesh, Jesus was God in the flesh
* Paid for the sins of all the world with his righteous blood.
* No works salvation, just faith that Christ paid it all.
Let's ask the Mormons... Is the Jesus of traditional Christianity the same Jesus of Mormonism?
"The Christ followed by the Mormons is not the Christ followed by traditional Christianity. It is true that many of the Christian Churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshiped by the Mormons” - LDS General Authority Bernard Brockbank, 147th General Conference, The Ensign, May, 1977 pg.26.
In 1998 LDS President Hinckley responded to claims that ‘Mormons do not believe in the historical Christ’ and whether or not he regarded the Jesus of Christianity as the same Jesus of Mormonism:
“No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak."
This is not intended as a criticism, but to illustrate the two differences in doctrine of who Jesus is within the LDS faith and a traditional Christian faith. By their own words, they are not the same Jesus. This is why a pastor of another faith, would call another faith, a cult. He did not say it to be mean or to insult Mormons, he said it because it is what he believes based on statements published by LDS leadership.
But lets be fair. Have Mormon leaders ever said such things about other churches? Following are a few quotes from the founding prophets of the LDS church regarding the Mormon Faith. At the end, you decide who is attacking who. Whether you're LDS or some other denomination your comments are welcome. I have tried very hard to present all this without favoritism toward any one stand on faith. All my hubs allow complete transparency of feedback, so beat me up if you feel so inclined, you are most welcome to publicly do so.
Pastor Robert Jeffress
Yes, Jeffress said it...
Recently, Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Dallas Baptist Church (whom personally supports Texas presidential candidate, Governor Rick Perry,) made the now famous comment about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's faith in Mormonism (Rick Perry distanced himself from the comment as if it had leprosy.) The central focus of the media is that Pastor Jeffress made the statement "Mormonism is not Christian, its a cult".
What's the big deal? LDS church leaders from the beginning of time have adamantly professed Mormonism is not Christianity and Christianity is not Mormonism. LDS church leaders even go so far as to call all other churches "the Whore of Babylon" in their writings. As for the "cult" part of Jeffress comment, it was received by the general public along the lines of calling someone a racist term. Whether the LDS faith is a cult or not, is not really the issue here, rather Its the appearance of taking an insulting swipe at many good and decent people within that faith. Be not dismayed, the LDS leadership has said similar things for over 100 years. American's got a taste of what churches do to one another all the time - and they didn't like it. If you are offended by Pastor Jeffress comment, don't be. Such things have been and are said from the pulpit of churches, about other churches, everyday; its just business as usual.
I have studied most mainstream religions in depth throughout my life and concluded that many followers have no idea what their religion teaches, and many who do know, don't always follow it...shamefully, that includes me too sometimes. In this case, the media seems determined to make it big news that someone said "Mormon's are not Christian. Likewise, the media spin on this is "how dare they say such things?"
Are you brainwashed yet? Are you now hating Pastor Jeffress for his insensitive, hateful remarks? Are you strutting around quoting the Bible verse, "Judge not, lest ye be judged?" (Mt. 7:1)
But I'm asking, how dare they not tell the whole story?
Remember the day when reporters actually researched a story and the relative background surrounding it? The "how dare they" spin in the media shows their complete and utter ignorance of Mormon doctrine. Likewise, given the breadth of Mormon owned business in America, they may be playing it safe. I would not advertise my business in a media that bashed my church either.
So what did the founders of Mormonism have to say about Christianity? Dare we have a peek? Yes. Let's have a look, but before we do, I have one more Bible verse for you to add to the "thou shalt not judge," verse. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24) If you add this verse to the above verse, its not saying do not judge, its saying judge righteously. I think one could write a whole book on that alone.
Why even write this? I find theology interesting, its all over the news right now, and I am simply trying to fill in the some details the media conveniently left out. Details like...
Jon Huntsman replies...
Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman replies on CNN, " lets stick to the big issues that really matter and leave religion off the table. Last I looked, that wasn't a prerequisite or a requirement for the presidency."
Good reply. But then Huntsman keeps talking... and he says...
"anyone willing to stand with someone willing to make those comments, ought to stand up and distance themselves in very bold language."
Lets poke the bear...
Mr. Huntsman, does that include standing up and distancing yourself from your own church prophets who make those kinds of comments? Somehow, I doubt it.
Prophet Joseph Smith.
Regarding Other Churches of the Day, LDS Church Founder said...
"they [other churches] were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt" (from Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith-History 1:19).
"What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.270).
The Mormon Founder's Comments on Christian Churches :
Churches are: Wrong, An Abomination, All Corrupt.
"The hope of salvation is the smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil..."
Question: If you truly believed this, would you call yourself Christian?
Mormon Apostles also say, "Mormon's Are NOT Christian."
So what's the big deal?
"With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world" (Journal of Discourses 8:199);
"And who is there that acknowledges [God's] hand? ...You may wander east, west, north, and south, and you cannot find it in any church or government on the earth, except the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.24)
Brigham Young was a polygamist with 55 wives, most of whom he converted to Mormonism. Young fathered 56 children during his lifetime. As Utah's first territorial governor, Young is also credited in many historical accounts as being a key figure in America's over-all westward expansion during the 1850s.
Christians Are: a more ignorant people, they do not acknowledge God's hand, only Mormons have true theology.
Christianity is Nonsense...
"We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense... it is as corrupt as hell: and the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than Christianity of the nineteenth century." (John Taylor, 3rd President of LDS Church, Journal of Discourses, Volume 6, page 167.)
Note: " Christianity of the 19th century, is the same as today."
“What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing...Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God." (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225)
Christianity is: a perfect pack of nonsense, corrupt as hell, invented by the devil. Christians: Know nothing of God, are the veriest fools.
Its a pack of nonsense...
Which is that great and abominable church?
"All other churches are entirely destitute of authority from God; both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the whore of Babylon whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent of the unholy and impious act." Orson Pratt, LDS Church Apostle, The Seer, Pg 255.
Christian churches are: Destitute of God's Authority, the Whore of Babylon, Denounced by the Lord, corrupting the earth with fornication and wickedness, going to hell.
Willford Woodruff 4th LDS President Church
America is the Whore of Babylon, Sodom and Gomorrah...
"The narrative of the year 1849 forms A remarkable Chapter in the History of the world. Perhaps no single year has embraced a greater number of important events or involved so great & lasting consequences in such a variety of relations. [Description of calamaties, national turmoil and change] Shows clearly to the reflecting mind who has any portion of the Testimony of Jesus Christ that the Great God has Commenced his Controversy with all Nations. And that Great Babylon is Coming in Rememberance before God. And when we turn our attention to the western Hemisphere the United States of America, any true Seer might Justly say that notwithstanding thy Nation O Land like the Antediluvian world & Sodom & Gomorrah boast of their union strength goodness greatness & glory Yet is here that I behold the signs of the times big with Events. It is here that I behold the Clouds thicken the Heavens gather Blackness, And the wrath of God ready to fall upon thy head.
For thou art worthy notwithstanding, O America thou are blowing aloud thy trumpet of fame & honor to all the world in sympathizing with Cossuth and other Brave Hungarians and offering a Home to the oppressed of All nations. Still thou art the man [America] who dare commit the blackest deeds of the Earth. " - Wilford Woodruff.
Christian America: is The Great Babylon, is Sodom and Gomorrah, has God's wrath upon its head, commits the blackest of deeds on earth.
We have just seen many characterizations that are the Mormon Prophetic view of Christians and America. Who can seriously read those comments and conclude that, "Yes, Mormons consider themselves Christian." ?
Why would Jon Huntsman, or Mitt Romney have any problem with Pastor Jeffress comment? Given the teachings of their church prophets, shouldn't they should be shouting AMEN!? Shouldn't they be headed for the football stadium in their favorite colors?
Is this just too logical?
Historical Note: LDS Persecution
The Edmunds Act, passed in by Congress in 1882, outlawed polygamy and declared it a felony. Thousands of Mormon men and women were rounded up and imprisoned for refusing to adhere to the law. John Taylor hid in exile and continued to preside over the church from a secret location. In 1886 Taylor received a revelation from God, restating that the commandment to practice plural marriage was permanent. Church leaders later claimed that the validity of Taylor's vision could not be substantiated and abandoned the practice of polygamy.
Joseph Smith claims to do more than Jesus ever did...
" I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go."
- Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-409
The media has made a big fat hairy deal over the comments of a Southern Baptist Pastor who said, Mormons are not Christian. I am well aware that most Mormon's today consider themselves Christian, as many in my family are LDS. The irony of it all is, Mormonism was founded on the premise that Christianity is the corrupt Whore of Babylon and Christians are ignorant fornicators preparing to split hell wide-open. Why on earth would any Mormon want to call themselves a Christian? In comparison, I don't know of any Christian who insists on calling them-self a Satanist. Rest assured, despite how far Rick Perry has fled from the issue, there is no hateful, anti-Mormon, conspiracy against Mitt Romney, John Huntsman or Glenn Beck for that matter.
So why did the media make a big deal out of this? Why has not one reporter mentioned one comment by an LDS founder who openly preached Christianity is the Whore of Babylon? Its not about Mormons or Christians or what they believe. It's about transparency in reporting, but that is not what consumers of news are getting today.
The bottom line is there are wonderful people in all religions that everyone loves to be with, and likewise people in all religions who are annoying, control-freaks who you'd love to shove in a soda-bottle and super-glue the cap on.
I agree with presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman's comment , " As far as I'm concerned, lets stick to the big issues that really matter, and leave religion off the table. Last I looked, that wasn't a prerequisite or a requirement for the presidency."
But Huntsman drops the ball saying, "anyone willing to stand with someone willing to make those comments, ought to stand up and distance themselves in very bold language."
Even when its your own church founder calling Christians the Whore of Babylon?
I think Pastor Jeffress comment, "its a cult," pales in comparison.
Will Huntsman stand up and distance himself in very bold language from LDS prophets who say Christianity is the Whore of Babylon? Or will he continue to run around and seek to equate himself with the same corrupt, lost, Whore of Babylon? Either way, I won't hold my breath. I don't need to, Jimmy Jones is knocking at the door. ( If you remember Jimmy Jones from Guyana, you're getting old!)
Side Note: If you are unaware, some Mormons and Baptists have had a theological wrestling-match going on almost since the founding of Mormonism. The match is largely limited to tongue-in-cheek swipes at opposing doctrines and long written dissertations. Occasionally a Christian pundit will take a swipe at the Mormon Faith and the Mormon pundits respond with gestures like books entitled, Baptists at our BBQ, and/or Donny and Marie Osmond. Regardless, many close friendships are forged with such tongue-in-cheek cheap shots among co-workers and colleagues etc. Life is interesting.
If you are Mormon and find this offensive. I'm sorry that is not the intent at all. I do not judge you, or your faith. I have made no comments or professions against the LDS faith in the slightest. I respect and hold you in as high a regard as anyone. You are welcome to speak freely in the comments.
Was the media biased in the way it handled this story?
Do you believe Christianity was hatched in hell by Satan and is the Whore of Babylon?
Would you rather huff cyanide than mix religion and politics?
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