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August 20, 2020 5:08 pm
Viewpoint on Mormonism. The program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint on Mormonism, is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry since 1979.
Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism.
Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry. And with me today is Erik Johnson, my colleague at M r m. Today, we're going to be looking at the May 2020 issue of Insigne magazine. The May issue is always the conference addition. And within the pages of this particular issue, you will find the transcripts of the various talks that were given at the last general conference, which, of course, would be a month prior to the release of the May issue in this edition. There is a conference message that was given by Jeffrey R. Holland, who is of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. Mormons view him as one of the 12 apostles. It was titled A Perfect Brightness of Hope, and it starts on page 81. Now, Eric, you wrote an article going through this talk that hall and gave. Where can our listeners see that article that you wrote in that we are going to follow during the series?
Go to MRM, dawg. Our Web site slash seven ways. Hollan the number seven hyphen Ways hyphen Holon. And the article that I wrote is titled Seven Ways. Jeffrey R. Hollins April 2020 Conference Talk Attacks Christianity and its followers. I found this talk to be interesting because the background of the 2020 General Conference on the focus on the bicentennial of Justice Smith's first vision of God, the father and Jesus showing up to Joseph Smith in 1820 is very much the theme of this entire conference. And so he doesn't give this talk until Sunday morning of that weekend in April. What I found interesting about this in his talk, a perfect brightness of hope as he's trying to show how Christianity to not have the answers for the people who would have looked toward God and Jesus. But instead of the great apostasy, they had no hope at all. And so he's trying to show here why there was no hope and then how there was hope after Joseph Smith restored the true church in 1830. But it started with this first vision when Joseph Smith supposedly was 14 years of age. And so I came up to seven things that I find offensive. And he's going against what traditional Christianity has been about.
Well, let's look at what you had to say. Let's point number one.
Point number one is Christianity's corrupted God. And this is how Hollin starts as his article. Last October, President Russell M. Nelson invited us to look ahead to this April 2020 conference by each of us in our own way.
Looking back to see the majesty of God's hand in restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ Sister Holon, and I took that prophetic invitation seriously. We imagined ourselves living in the early eighteen hundreds. Looking at the religious beliefs of that day in that imagined setting, we asked ourselves what's missing here? What do we wish we had? What do we hope God will provide in response to our spiritual longing? Well, for one thing, we realize that two centuries ago we would have dearly hope for the restoration of a truer concept of God than most in that day had hidden, as he often seemed to be behind centuries of error and misunderstanding.
Now, that seems like a pretty clear stab at what Christians believe today, because there hasn't been a whole lot of change between what Christians were believing during that period that Holland is talking about in our modern era now. So what he's saying here is that there was error and misunderstanding and this error in misunderstanding had been going on for centuries. But let me ask you this, though, Eric, when he says that his wife, sister Hollon, says what's missing here? What do we wish we had? What do we hope for? When they say that? Well, for one thing, we realize that two centuries ago we would have dearly hope for the restoration of a truer concept of God than most. In that day had. Would they have really looked for that because this is something that Joseph Smith brings up. We don't really find anyone else proclaiming that the God of the Bible, as understood by the Christians, was in great error. Joseph Smith is the one who comes up with that idea. How many people really would have come up with that on their own? So is this something that Jeffrey Hallen and his wife would have come up as something that's really missing?
Why would that be? It doesn't seem to make any sense to me. That was unique to Joseph Smith. Not something that a lot of people were worried about. You see that in history?
Well, according to the Joseph Smith history, chapter one, verse 19 in the Prolog, great price. This is what it says. And by the way, I've looked throughout this conference edition and I haven't been able to find this verse being quoted. They quote all around it, but they don't give it. It's very offensive. It says all there. And he's referring to the Christian creeds were an abomination in his sight. This is God speaking. That those professors or pastors were all corrupt, that they, the pastors and ultimately modern Christians draw near to me with their lips. But their hearts are far from me. They teach for doctrines, the commandments of men having a form of godliness, but they deny the power there. This would be the first instance where we learn that there was such a thing as the great apostasy. Bruce McConkey talked about this true concept of God being lost. This is what he said in a BYU devotional. He said it follows that the devil would rather spread false doctrine about God and the Godhead and induce false feelings with reference to any of them than almost any other thing he could do. The creeds of Christendom illustrate perfectly what Lucifer wants so-called Christian people to believe about deity in order to be damned.
But we don't find any verses that support this God who has a body that is as tangible as man's. We don't find try theism being the norm in Christian worship in the Bible. We don't see any of these things. They are all unique and they go back to Joseph Smith. So this is the problem that I'm having here. They're trying to make it out like the problem is us when we would say no. The problem is you. The problem is Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith comes on the scene and starts saying things that you can't defend from the Bible. Even this idea of God having a body of flesh and bones. Do we get that from the first vision? Joseph Smith wasn't even teaching that concept of a first vision till 1838. Nobody would have thought of that as being tied to the first vision at that time. So we see a lot of this goes back to Joseph Smith. And because Joseph Smith isn't following the pattern of a true prophet of God, according to Deuteronomy 13, he is introducing a God who is foreign to what Christians believed and therefore he would have been exposed as the false prophet. But because people like Jeffrey Holland have no respect to what the Bible has to say about God, they summarily accept what Joseph Smith says and reject what Christians had been believing all along.
Bill, the second point I have is Christianity's judgmental God. And this is what Hollon says in his talk. He says, yes, our hopes in 1820 would have been to find God speaking and guiding as openly in the present as he did in the past. A true father in the most loving sense of the word. He certainly would not have been a cold, arbitrary autocrat who predestined a select few for salvation and then consigned the rest of the human family to damnation. No, he would be one whose every action by divine declaration would be for the benefit of the world. For he loveth the world and every inhabitant in it, that love would be his ultimate reason for sending Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, to the Earth.
This kind of talk always irritates me because it tends to ignore one major doctrine of Mormonism, and that is the war in heaven, where one third of God's spirit children are kicked out not only to go to a lower heaven, but instead to go to outer darkness. They become demons. According to Mormonism, Lucifer becomes the devil. But where is this loving God in the context of. I'm just using the context of Mormonism that Jeffrey Hallen is trying to use here. Where is God's love when it comes to those one third of his own spirit children who messed up one time and never get an opportunity to make up for that? And yet they go to outer darkness, a place that most human beings will never even go who probably transgressed or sinned against God. Far more many times than you would say the spirit children that were kicked out as a result of the war in heaven.
Bible teaches an unjust God. And the reality of an eternal hell as well. It's Jesus himself who says in Matthew Chapter seven, that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction. And many there B which go there at straight is the gate and narrows the way which lead it on to life. And few there be that find it. We have to understand God is a God of love. The Bible says at first, John Chapter four, verse seven. Love is of God and everyone that love it is born of God and now with God. But he's also a just God. The two worked together and Jeffrey Holland doesn't like that idea. And I think you're right. As far as the idea of predestination of a select few for salvation, when you look at Mormonism, it teaches that there have been people that have been predestined, such as Joseph Smith. He was already working in heaven to be able to set up a place here and many of the other leaders of this church. So this is not unique to Christianity.
And I also think that Holland's hatred for the doctrine of predestination and you cannot escape this, folks. That word is in the New Testament more than once. But I think what bothers them about this is because Mormons have this idea that humans are worthy of being saved. They have a completely different view when it comes to the fall in this of man. As Christians, we see men as totally depraved. He's not as bad as he possibly could be, but certainly he's to the point where he wants nothing to do with God, according to Romans Chapter three in Psalm 14. But Holland has the idea that man is worthy of being saved, almost as if God has an obligation to go out of his way to save mankind. Who rebels against him? We would hold the position that no, he lovingly saves those then whom he will, but he does not have to save anybody. Eric, he didn't have to save you. He didn't have to save me. And that very fact causes me the all the more wonder at why he did that in the first place. My love for him, for my sins forgiven, is enhanced because of that very fact. There was nothing that I did that deserves that God should save me. He does that because of his love for me. Why? I don't know.
You could almost say that it would be fair to send all people to hell. And what's on fair is that anybody get salvation. But when you take a look at the Bible, hell is a real place. It's eternal separation from God and how that is. I mean, the Bible tries to give descriptions of that, and I'm not sure we fully grasp what hell is. I just know it's not a place you want to go to. Jesus says you don't want to go there. There's great gnashing of teeth. But let's not just say the Bible teaches this. Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon the most correct book on earth. And yet it describes an everlasting hell where people are going to be bound forever. If you go to MRM dawg slash seven hyphen ways hyphen Holon. There are over a dozen references I give. There are verses left and right that teach according to the Book of Mormon. Hell is a real place as well.
Tomorrow we're going to continue looking at Jeffrey Holland's talk, titled A Perfect Brightness of Hope, that was found in the May 20 20 issue of Insigne magazine.
Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding Morman is a research ministry. We encourage you to visit our Web site at w w w dot m r m dot org, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.
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