“Mormonism is a Christian denomination and I am a Christian.”
I want you to know that I have a high regard for my Mormon friends and the Mormon Church for the strong family values it espouses, its work with the poor, its incredible music, its emphasis on physical preparation, and its financial acumen. But I don’t believe that its theology is sound.
I realize this sounds terribly arrogant and presumptuous, but I am concerned about where you will spend eternity. I ran across a cardiologist named Maurice Rawlings, who has had many of his patients die. (He is either a great doctor who gets the worst cases, or a lousy doctor…) He is able to recusitate many of them, and has discovered that about half of them experienced light and joy in heaven and didn’t want to come back, while the other half experienced utter terror in hell, and didn’t want to die again. All of which compels me to realize that these matters are not merely academic discussions, but have to do with the REALITY of death and ask what is on the other side. You can see more here: http://www.freecdtracts.com/testimony/hellandback.htm.
The other reason I have become very interested in really knowing about the spiritual realm and life in that realm is that this country boy is getting older. The closer I get to the finish line, the more interested I am in what’s next.
I share this concern with you as a friend, and hope you will accept it in that light. I also hope that if you believed I was headed in the wrong direction (which you well may believe), that you would bring it to my attention. Our friendship does not depend on agreeing on everything, because it is based on respect for each other as persons. I have friends who are liberal Jews, agnostics, and Hindus; some of whom I can discuss these matters with, and some of whom I cannot. But I treasure their friendships. Our paths have crossed, and I am much richer for it.
You may know this, but I was raised as a Lutheran, then became a subjectivist, a humanist, a Marxist, and have attended various churches over time. I have enjoyed the journey, experienced great discussions about the meaning of life (usually with an adult beverage), and tried on these various world views. But as I get closer to the end of this life, I realize it is time for me to become serious about what happens next, and its implications for those who I care for. And I care for you. Although I am by no means an expert on Mormonism, I understand its basic tenets vary significantly from traditional biblical Christianity, and include:
- God the Father had a father, and used to be a man on another planet.
- God is married to his goddess wife (a mother god), and has spirit children.
- Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and were born as siblings in heaven.
- A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus’ plan was accepted.
- God had sexual relations with Mary to make the body of Jesus.
- There are many gods, and after you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god with your own planet, you and your wife giving birth to spirit babies that are then born on earth.
- Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins.
- If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation (including exaltation to Godhood).
- There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God
- The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible.
- One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; good works are necessary for salvation.
Source: “What Does Mormonism Teach?” by Matt Slick – http://carm.org/teachings-of-mormonism
These are not minor differences of theology, but another gospel, which is condemned in _________ (quote the passage).
“My original reason for becoming a Mormon had to do with being granted full custody of two high-school age sons when their mother and I divorced and she moved to Guatemala. They had been raised in that faith and I strongly believed that we needed a church family to survive. Being a good father and husband, as far as we believe, will be the first questions asked when we return to be with our Heavenly Father. If you can pass that test, and you two certainly can, then everything else should fall in place.
As you no doubt know, families are what we are all about to the extent that we believe that “families can be together forever!” And I am banking on that to be true which is the reason we make such an effort to afford those privileges to those who have died before having an opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior. But not for a second am I not grateful to be counted among your friends and those for whom you pray.”
The Bible is clear that entrance to heaven relies on a person repenting of their sins and accepting Christ as their savior. The qualities of “being a good father and husband” are insufficient for salvation. With regard to families in heaven, Jesus addressed this very issue in Mark 12:25, when He stated: “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”
“I don’t think I am any kind of exception, but I have always appreciated anyone who believed in an Almighty Beingwhile privately distrusting those who only believed in themselves. My best friend since the 10th grade, as you may recall, is a Society of Mary Catholic Priest. In fact, I probably have more Catholic friends than any others; stands to reason since there are a billion of them out there! And my favorite movie is “Shoes of the Fisherman.” We even sent our daughter to Catholic School in the eighth grade; great experience for her.
My sister, a Disciples of Christ member, is about to marry her Baptist dentist. My sister-in-law is a Methodist and we always enjoy the exceptional singing when we attend her church. Interestingly enough, it was in a Sunday school class in her church that we first met my wife’s present boss, Morehead State University’s president, who was teaching that class. I’ll never forget after that first lesson some 25 years ago, he looked over at me and without warning asked, “Ok, how giving us the Mormon point of view of this lesson!” You can bet that for years afterwards I was prepared for that question.”
I too appreciate those who believe in the Lord. Do you remember _______, who was the C.D. Specialist in Columbia? I will never forget the time I drove up from Arkansas to attend a conference in Columbia, and arrived the evening before the event. I went out to a Red Lobster, and ran into him, who was eating dinner by himself. He looked terrible – like death warmed over. Turns out, his wife had died a month earlier, and both he and she were atheists. As far as he was concerned, she ceased to exist, like a mosquito that was swatted. I haven’t heard, but he looked like he was about to follow her.
I, too, have had different religious experiences, which I have relished. In addition to attending a variety of churches, I have lived with (male) Moslems, Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, and Hindus. These have been wonderful folks, which I enjoyed getting to know. But the questions I am faced with (particularly now, as our daughter is returning from India), are:
- Are they all true?
- Is that even possible?
- How do we know what is true?
I hope to interact with our daughter about these questions soon. As you probably know, Hinduism is called “the embrace that smothers” because it claims to embrace all other religions. Hence it is attractive to many.