>mormons.

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>i think my house has managed to work its way onto some sort of latter day saints’ database in manhattan resulting in a fruitful friendship with the mormons over the last two years. we’ve met with them every couple weeks in streaks over that time asking questions, learning, and solidifying what i believe to be true versus what they do.

there are major discrepancies. huge ones:
different levels of Heaven.
they don’t believe in the Trinity.
marriage/family is eternal.
women can only enter the highest realm of Heaven through marriage.
slight variation in text.
infinite grace from a God with no wrath.

on the outside mormons appear very similar to Christians, but the more i reasearch into it, the more i realized just how skewed and obscure what they believe truly is…and how different their Jesus truly is.

i’ve now had lengthy conversations with 6 different college-aged mormons regarding their faith and what they believe. they seem to be all about fulfilling a list of tasks in order to attain the highest level of heaven (a level that i’m not able to attain unless i accept the book of mormon and follow the ways of Joseph Smith – hereby denying a handful of truths i’ve believed and continue to believe now.

evidently, when Joseph Smith discovered the “Book of Mormon” he also discovered a list of passages in the original Canon that had been corrupted throughout the 1800 years after Christ – coincidentally it’s all the passages that don’t directly support the Church of the Latter Day Saints. hm.

their belief in Heaven really irks me. they believe that for all of us to even be on Earth, we’ve already found favor in God’s eyes. we start as spirits with God, and God sends the deserving ones to Earth. Therefore we ALL GO TO HEAVEN once we’ve made it this far. there is no hell for those who come to Earth, just different levels of Paradise. the celestial (read: those who are mormon) get to be with God again, the terrestrial (where my current status is apparently) have a middle-ground Heaven awaiting us, and the telestial is for those of us who aren’t the slightest bit righteous, but who God has infinite grace for and will save anyway*. we can deny Christ and still make it to Heaven. God has no wrath. no judgement. just infinite love and compassion and grace.

anyway. i could go on and on about their tactical antics. they avoid questions they dislike the answer to, and any Scripture that is presented that doesn’t support their views is quickly refuted/dodged via Smith’s Book o’ Biblical Corrections.

i guess i’m just left with a sense of sadness now. that people with enough faith to believe this extensively absurd business aren’t going to Heaven. that a lifestyle such as theirs can be utilized running in the wrong direction is disappointing. their hearts are so great too, but their faith is so off. i’m praying for their eyes to be opened to the lies they’ve believed. the Jesus they serve is not my Jesus. they simply can’t be the same.

more info:
mormon.org
EDIT: or read the second comment to this post.

-ap.

* 1 Cor 15:40-41 (KJV) – i consider it a misinterpretation. i dont understand how one warped perspective of one verse can lead to an elaborate hierarchal system like that.

3 comments

  1. >when I read that book about Mormonism that I was telling you, it BLEW MY MIND. that people can’t get to the highest level of heaven without being married with babies was so absurd, even to She Who Lives for Babies. I wish I could talk to some Mormon people.

  2. >Adam, I applaud that you have developed a friendship with the missionaries and listen to their messages. Keeping an open and respectful dialog with people of different beliefs helps us to understand what they really believe, and not someone elses interpretation. It also establishes mutual respect and we come to see the things we have in common.You are correct, there are many differences from Latter-day Saint doctrine and other religions. That's what makes us unique. Often there can be frustration when you learn new things and new ideas. However, with time and study the new ideas can become clearer. May I offer some points to ponder for clarification?The key to understanding the differences of doctrine between 'Mormons' and other faiths is actually understanding our core belief is founded in the Bible. The Bible teaches us that throughout time since Adam & Eve – God has spoken to the world. He spokes through chosen men called prophets and apostles – who then wrote down the words of God. Today we have those words compiled into books we call scripture – such as The Holy Bible. The Biblical prophets tell us that God loves His children on earth, and God gives rules (commandments), and words to guide and direct and teach them – by speaking through chosen prophets. Latter-day Saints ('Mormons') believe that God is speaking through prophets today. We believe that the church organization which Jesus Christ originally established was eventually lost from the earth after those chosen men with authority were killed, and an apostasy from the truth took place among the early followers of Christ (referred to as 'saints'). There eventually needed to be a restoration of that church and that authority, and the only one who could restore it was Jesus Christ himself. In 1820, a 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith went into the forest near his home to pray and ask God which church was right and which one he should join. An important event took place. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to this boy, through the power of the Holy Ghost (this event clarifies that the Godhead exists as 3 separate beings, who are One in purpose). Now, if this event indeed happened – then it was the most significant and exciting event to happen in centuries since Christ left the earth. God had chosen that it was time to speak directly to the earth again. Joseph Smith became a modern eye-witness of God and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ chose Joseph Smith to do many marvelous things, including restoring the ancient church organization in these 'latter days'! Whether one believes this happened or not is up to each individual. One must find out by study, and by sincerely asking God in prayer for an answer. Over 13 million people alive today believe it. And millions more who lived before.However, whether you choose to believe or not, I hope that this at least helps you understand why Mormons believe what they do. We believe that The restored Church of Jesus Christ is now established again. There is a prophet at the head, and 12 apostles. Not only do we have the written words of God's prophets from the ancient world (The Bible) but also written words of prophets who lived in the American continent (The Book of Mormon) and written and spoken words of modern prophets from Joseph Smith and continuing by succession on until today – all of these prophets teaching us God's words, and testifying that Jesus is The Christ, Savior and Redeemer! If God is speaking to the earth then it is His prerogative to give us modern, up-to-date messages and clarify, add instruct and reveal. The Bible tells us He always did this before – so, I don't think it is too hard to imagine that He is capable of doing it now. Our belief is that He loves us just as much, and He is speaking. Our invitation to you and anyone else is to learn about our beliefs, read the Book of Mormon which is another testament of Jesus Christ, and by most importantly just ask God. James 1:5. Ask in faith, nothing wavering, and you will receive an answer to your prayer. It is only through the power of God, sent by the Holy Spirit that any of us can know the truth. – Best wishes in your ongoing spiritual journey!

  3. >I’ll add a couple thoughts-Bear in mind that 6 different college-aged mormons are not theologians, they surely have received education in the home, in sunday school and briefly in a missionary training center, and it is quite remarkable that the general membership of the LDS church can speak in depth about our theology, but they should not be expected to be historical and religious experts. If you really want to understand the unique theology it is going to take some serious reading and study to understand Mormonism in the context of Christianity, in the context of the nineteenth century and in our modern day. I’d also say that some of the information you are receiving or interpreting is slightly off, including the last commenter’s statement that the our “core belief is founded in the Bible.” Our core belief is based on revelation and the pattern of God speaking to prophets which pattern is illustrated in the Bible (and for Mormons in the Book of Mormon and in the revelations of Joseph Smith) but that is different than being “founded on the Bible.” That clarification requires a change in thinking in regards to certain passages in the Bible and Mormon beliefs. The multiple levels or degrees of heaven for example in Mormonism in not based on 1st Cor but on a large section in the Doctrine and Covenants. In conversation Mormons will point to 1st Corinthians to show that similar imagery was used by Paul but we did not simply create a full blown doctrine from that one verse, we fundamentally are bound by a larger canon. Another big hang up in understanding I see from your post is understanding the difference between salvation and exaltation in Mormon theology. Salvation is a gift from the Savior available to all who turn their lives over to him. Exaltation is a process of refinement of the self after one has been saved. In rhetoric and conversation Mormons tend to focus on the second, the issue of salvation being past in their mind having already ended into a covenant with Christ at baptism, to focus on becoming the kind of person Christ would have us become. Other Christians often hear this rhetoric and think that we have glanced over the salvation part or do not focus on it enough or think we are trying to earn our way to heaven, all of which are false interpretations of Mormons’ behaviors. And we might not focus on it enough, some Mormons unfortunately grow up with a false belief that we earn salvation ourselves, if Christ is not at the center of the refinement process it is a false belief. Grace and wrath, I would say you were getting a rosy picture from the elders. Mormon scripture and theology has the same language of hell, wailing and gnashing of teeth, as mainstream Christianity. I think culturally Mormons have tended to emphasize elements of their theology that are more kind to sinners compared to the ‘all or nothing’ dichotomy of heaven or hell in ‘fire and brimstone’ traditions. But scriptures unique to Mormonism have the same warnings about hell, about the urgency of now and the choices made during this life. I think one thing we have to be careful of, you and me alike, is thinking that we have a perfect understanding of all the elements. The minute we close our minds is the minute we become unteachable and unmoldable in the hands of God.

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