The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of Scripture.
Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God, every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come and even now already is in the world. Well, welcome.
My name is Alex McFarland. You're listening to the Alex McFarland program, and with that scripture from 1 John chapter 4, 1 and 2, notice that one of the key litmus tests between truth and error is belief in what is called the deity of Christ, that Jesus Christ, as it says, God has come in the flesh, the incarnation. And with that, we welcome you to this program, the first in a series that we're doing on religions that use Christian terminology, but are not, in fact, biblical. And while they talk about God and eternity and salvation, they cannot really offer the forgiveness of sins and the assurance of eternity with the Lord. And the religion that we're going to talk about, this first in a series of cults, is Mormonism.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And let me say, going into this, that when we contrast traditional biblical New Testament orthodoxy, in other words, authentic Christianity, with non-Christian competitors that use Christian terminology, I want to say this, I want to be very clear. We're not saying that adherents of Mormonism are quote-unquote bad people. We're not saying that they're not well-intentioned. Yes, they are, only God knows another person's heart. But what we are saying is this, that they teach practices and doctrines that are not New Testament Christianity.
Very often when you critique another belief system or another worldview, people try to respond sometimes, and they bring personal subjectivism into this. And they'll say, well, I know so-and-so, and they are a good person. They're a person of good faith. They're well-intentioned.
Well, they may be. But let's remember that truth, and again, our definition of truth is that which philosophers have used from time immemorial, truth is that which corresponds to reality. In other words, truth, true truth, is the way things really are.
And so when we're talking about the most important truth subjects that we could bring up, our soul, and how to be in right relationship with God, it behooves any of us to set aside personal assumptions or preferences or even relationships of friends and family members, and let's look at what God has revealed and what Jesus Christ himself taught about the way to go to heaven. And so there is right now a religion in the world that numbers about 16 million followers. It's been around since the early 19th century, and that is the LDS Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, famously founded by Joseph Smith. And we're going to talk about some of the history, we're going to talk about the teachings, and then based on not only scripture, but what the Mormon Church itself says is the litmus test, we're going to look at if indeed this corresponds to reality in terms of how to know God, how to be assured of salvation, and what is Christianity. You know, sometimes people will ask me, they'll say, well, what is your definition of Christianity?
Well, Alex McFarland's definition, quote unquote, is immaterial. What Christianity is from the very beginning, I think one of the best definitions is found in the New Testament itself by the Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 15, three through five. And by the way, this, among several other parts of the New Testament, are what scholars call credal statements, statements of belief that had been circulated by the early church since within just weeks, two to four weeks after the resurrection of Christ, the church was circulating basic statements, codifications of belief. And Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, three through five, one of the absolute earliest parts of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul says, I delivered unto you that which I first received, how that Christ died, was buried according to the scriptures, the third day rose from the dead, was seen by the women, was seen by the disciples, was seen by up to 500 brethren at once. And Paul says, was seen eventually by me, one born late.
Okay. So the good news, the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God for the sins of the world. And so Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross.
Now, how are we saved? The Apostle Paul is recorded as having said in Acts 16 31, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. In the book of Romans, Romans 10 31, Paul says, whoever calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, and the word call means to believe in who he said he was and accept what he did on the cross.
And you call on the name of the Lord, you turn to God the Son, put your faith in him, you will be saved. The Apostle John in first John five one says, whoever believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is born of God. But let's look at what Jesus himself said in John eight 24, Jesus himself, and we have to trust that Christ understood his own identity regarding his Godhood, his Messiahship.
Jesus said, quote, if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins. Well, critical scholars often quibble about the Gospel of John because it's so overtly Christo centric. It so clearly portrays Jesus, the Son of God. But even critical scholars accept Mark.
You'll sometimes see in commentaries what they call Markan priority, M-A-R-K-A-N. In other words, the Gospel of Mark seems to in the minds of some trump, you know, Matthew, Luke and John. Although if you're a Bible believer, as we are in our organization and I am a Bible believer, we know all the Gospels are given by God. But even in the Gospel of Mark, which some of the most critical scholars do accept, in Mark 14, 61 through 64, Christ is before the high priest and they say, we demand you tell us, are you the Son of God, the Son of the Blessed One? And the way it's worded is, in other words, are you presenting yourself as equal with God the Father?
And Jesus quotes Exodus and Daniel. He says, I am. He attributes the great I am statements, the eternality of God to himself. I am and you will see me on coming on the clouds to judge the world at the end of time. Clearly, Jesus portrayed himself as God incarnate, Yahweh incarnate. And the way that we're born again, the way that we're saved, and this has been presented for two millennia now, is we put our faith in Jesus Christ and our sins are forgiven.
Well, when we come back, we're going to talk about the salient ways in which the LDS Church denies these things, deviates from these things, and will give not a personal attack, but a biblical analysis and critique of whether or not the Mormon Church truly is Christian. Stay tuned. The Alex McFarland program is back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.
Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. We live in a country where we have a lot of luxuries. We have a lot of things that we can get pretty easily. How convenience and comfort can be obstacles. An article by Will Addison. If we allow those things to be a priority in our lives, we'll find it hard to do the things that really matter, like preaching the gospel. We need to be careful that it don't stop us from fulfilling the great commission, which is making disciples.
To read this article, visit afa.net forward slash the stand. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland show. Welcome back to the program. In Galatians 1 verse 8, the apostle Paul says, if we or anyone else, even an angel from heaven, presents a different gospel than the one that we have preached, Paul wrote, then let him be accursed or anathema.
Well welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here and we're talking about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church. Very famously Salt Lake City, Utah. Although there have been and are Mormon enclaves in Missouri and on the road westward.
But let's talk about this. You know, in 2014, I had the privilege of spending 11 nights under the stars in the Grand Canyon, and there were some fossilized, really hardened mud, almost rock formations that we looked at. And there were tracks of the wagon trains, one of the Mormon pilgrimages, people heading west, and this was in Nevada. And I thought about how they went westward. And do you know, I don't know if you're aware of this, 12 battles, really wars, that Mormon settlers fought with the other pioneers. And there's one very famous one called the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The LDS Church has gone to great pains to try to suppress the knowledge of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. But that happened in 1857, was the Mountain Meadows Massacre, where there were roughly 120 non-Mormon pioneers that were butchered and killed. But up until 1872, the Mormons were engaged in essentially a dozen wars. I don't know if you know this, but up until 1976, in the state of Missouri, there was something called Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the Extermination Order, which basically said this, and I want to read some of the text of it. This was in 1838 by Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri. And the Extermination Order said, quote, the Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state of Missouri if necessary for the public peace.
Their outrages are beyond all description. And this executive order was on the books, believe it or not, until 1976. Now, if things like this are brought up, it usually from the LDS Church results in a response that speaks of the Mormons being persecuted. But what's interesting was that in 1867, the people of upstate New York, Palmyra, New York, you may have heard was really where Mormonism started, and I want to get back to that. But in 1867, 62 residents of Palmyra, New York who knew the Joseph Smith family testified as follows, quote, We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family, and I have no hesitation in saying that we consider them destitute of that moral character which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any community. End of quote.
Other statements went on like this. Both Joseph Smith and his father were considered by the residents of Palmyra, New York, quote, considered entirely destitute of moral character and addicted to vicious habits. Now, this is from one of the very first apologetics books printed in America. It was called Mormonism Unveiled. It was printed in 1834, four years after the start of Mormonism. It's interesting.
You'll see it online. And Unveiled is spelled U-N-V-A-I-L-E-D, not U-N-V-E-I-L-E-D. But it's interesting that this religious system was started by Joseph Smith, who was known for fortune telling. He would try to find money. He would charge people money and look through a glass, and he supposedly had this practice called glass looking. Glass looking was an occult practice which he used to really scam people out of their money. And it's funny, in 1826, four years before the start of Mormonism, Joseph Smith was arrested. And he was fined $2.68.
And the court documents are visible online. And this is just one example of how, you know, I think about L. Ron Hubbard who started Scientology, and Jim Jones of the Guyana cult. These were people that had tried to become rich by starting their own religion. And Smith was called a juggler by those who knew him. Now a juggler in those times in early 19th century northeastern America was a name for a con man.
In other words, you know, bait and switch, things like that. He tried fortune telling. He tried what were called peepstones, and he would put stones in a hat and for a fee try to tell people what they wanted to hear with his, quote, spiritual eyes. So for many that have honestly tried to look into the origins of Mormonism and try to discern if Joseph Smith actually was a true prophet of God, the idea that, you know, he was visited by an angel and shown golden tablets with cuneiform writing like Reformed Egyptian, which doesn't even exist actually. The idea, the fanciful origin story of his Mormon revelations really does comport with a guy who had tried various means of making money through the tricks of a con man, and then finally hit upon the one that really had legs, and he was able to start a movement, gather followers, they would leave houses and lands and trek with him over the Midwest, and finally out to Utah. You know, we're going to dig down deeper in the teachings.
What I've tried to lay out is some of the history, not only of the movement itself, but of the prophet, quote unquote, from whom the movement began. And there's a very famous cartoon, you ought to Google it, of a skull in Utah, and it shows people blindly going to their deaths, wandering into this skull. And it says, Hell on Earth, Utah.
Why? Why would Utah be described as that? Because, you know, Smith taught that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri and that Christ would return to Missouri. And there were a few places along the westward Mormon Trail where the new Zion or New Jerusalem was to be built, and ultimately followers would coalesce in Salt Lake City. But when we come back, we're going to talk more about their specific doctrines and how Mormon teaching actually fails its own litmus test for truth. And again, not trying to attack anybody, not trying to personally impugn anybody, but we're trying to say, look, salvation and where we stand with God is the most important thing in anyone's life.
And we've got to have the courage to look at what two thousand years of the Christian gospel says versus a mid 19th century cult that is recent, unbiblical, and has left a very tragic imprint on the world in its short existence. Stay tuned. The Alex McFarland program is back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics. Working in more than 2200 churches around the world, schools and college campuses, Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith, while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit alexmcfarland.com or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at alexmcfarland.com.
Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here. So honored that you're listening to the Alex McFarland program, Worldview Apologetics. And by the way, my website, alexmcfarland.com, has my speaking schedule. There are quite a number of events that I've been invited to speak at over the fall months, and so I would invite you to go to the schedule and find the calendar listings where we plan to be in your area between now and the end of 2022.
I do want to thank everybody for praying. We've had an amazing summer. We did four youth camps around the country, we did a number of conferences, and of course we have our ongoing live radio program, Exploring the Word, which is heard daily on the American Family Radio Network, then the weekend pre-recorded program, and then our television program which you can watch on the NRB television network, National Religious Broadcasters. But then something our board just approved, we are going to again retain the services of Hamilton Strategies. They're a publicity firm based out of Pennsylvania, not too too far from Philadelphia. For a number of years, up until the beginning of COVID, we had Hamilton Strategies on retainer. And you may have seen, and I give God the glory, but they got me interviews on CNN and the New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, many, many, many appearances on Fox News, and they were phenomenal.
Well, COVID came along and we did not renew our relationship with Hamilton because we simply didn't know how the finances were going to shake out if we could afford this. And because I absolutely feel called to speak out in the media and to go on all of these shows, and I've gone on dozens and dozens of political and cultural programs to give the biblical worldview position, and our board voted unanimously in the summer of 2022, we're going to re-engage Hamilton. And so I will be once again hitting the media rounds and trying to stand up for God and country, standing up for the gospel, standing up for constitutionalism, not only presenting the biblical worldview, but speaking out against the rise of socialism and the welfare state, trying to talk to all people, but especially young people, about the realities of our Judeo-Christian culture. And so, if you believe in what we're doing, and not only my own travels and writing and speaking, and very often I am the token conservative Christian on so many of these news panels, but also training young people. If you believe in what we're doing, if you think that America is worth fighting for and the gospel must be presented and even defended, then pray about helping us. You can give securely online at my website, which is alexmcfarland.com. You can write to us, P.O.
Box 485, Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, 27313. So much that is going on, we give God the glory, but we appreciate your prayers and support. But I want to conclude this first session when we look at non-Christian belief systems that use Christian terminology. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, founded in 1830 in upstate New York by Joseph Smith. You know, it's interesting that shortly after he died, there were a number of writers that tried to memorialize him as a prophet, although he did claim to be a prophet in his own lifetime. But in the book, Doctrines and Covenants, they said, quote, Joseph Smith, the prophet and seer of the Lord, has done more except Jesus for the salvation of men in this world than any other man who ever lived in it.
Isn't that something? Well, more than the Apostle Paul, more than St. Peter, more than Augustine, Aquinas, on and on a week ago. That's an incredible statement, certainly for one who really didn't meet the qualifications of a biblical prophet. And in fact, Joseph Smith himself said that, quote, this is Joseph Smith speaking of himself in 1844, I have more to boast of than any man ever had. I'm the only man that has ever been able to keep the whole church together since the days of Adam.
Isn't that something? Contrast that with the statement of Jesus, Matthew 16, 18, that he would build his church and the gates of hell would never prevail against it. And yet Joseph Smith said since Adam, he, more than Jesus, had done all necessary to keep the church together. So the claims of the founder really contradict the claims of the Savior.
But here's basically the problem. In the Articles of Faith on the LDS website, it says that we are not punished for Adam's transgression. Well, if you understand biblical soteriology, in other words, the biblical plan of salvation, we inherit the guilt of Adam and Eve.
That's called imputed unrighteousness. It's a legal universe. And we need to be born again, we need a Savior, because we are born with a sin nature. Now, there is Jesus, the second Adam. And 2 Corinthians 5, 20, and 21 talk about the fact that Jesus, who knew no sin, was made to be sin for us. And so, one of the big problems with the Mormon Church is a misunderstanding of God. They don't believe in the Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. A misunderstanding of humanity and the fall and sin. And certainly, denials of the doctrine of the infallibility and inerrancy of scripture, and the deity and atonement of Jesus Christ. Now, let's talk about how do we begin to converse with these people.
Okay. Let's begin the conversation and understand very often, like all cults. Now, cults, by definition, deny many of the core teachings of Christian orthodoxy, not the least of which is the deity of Christ. Is Jesus Christ, who he claimed to be, God incarnate? And yes, Jesus did claim that. Now on their doctrinal statement on the Mormon website, they'll say that they believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God, so long as it is translated correctly. And that's the equivocation where they will try to say, well, you know, if you say that Jesus is God incarnate, that's a mistranslation. Absolutely false.
But let me just say this. Part of the way that I've found some success in talking with Mormons is this. To say, do we both agree that the King James Bible is the Word of God? And they will say yes.
Okay. Do we both agree that we have a different gospel? I mean, salvation by faith in Jesus, that's what the churches preached for 2000 years, versus on the LDS website, the articles of faith include, quote, point three, obedience to the laws and ordinances. And on and on they go with their Mormon doctrines. Well, so we agree on the King James Bible, but yet we acknowledge we have a different message. And then they would say, well, what is the origin of the traditional Christian message? Christ and the apostles, Peter, Pentecost. What's the origin of the LDS church?
Palmyra, New York, April of 1830. Okay. Then turn to Galatians 1 verse 8 in this Bible that we've already agreed. We both accept as the Word of God. And Galatians 1.8, Paul says, if we were an angel from heaven, and that would include the angel Moroni, preach a different gospel, let him be anaphima, or damned.
Now, let me just say this, folks. What we believe about Jesus Christ is of utmost importance, because, you know, you read Matthew 7, 21 through 24, Christ said, many will say on the judgment day, did we not prophesy in your name? We use religious language. Did miracles cast out demons? Jesus says yes, but I never knew you. Salvation is not about works. It's not about keeping the doctrines of man. It's about a born again, living relationship with the risen Savior. And so understand that how we do this, we've got to pray, we've got to build relationships, but we have to realize Joseph Smith, when he said that all of the churches were corrupt, and that the reorganized church, I mean, are we really to believe that the gospel was lost for 1800 years and was not rediscovered until April 6 of 1830 in upstate New York? And as we go on, and we're going to talk about the Jehovah's Witness and other groups, you have to understand that the mid to late 19th century was a time, as many historians have said, of great religious fervor. And while the first great awakening in the middle 1700s was very cerebral and intellectual, and frankly, more biblical, the religious fires of the 19th century were very emotionally driven, and less cerebral, and certainly less biblical, and more emotive. And the people of the 19th century, while there were a lot of people that responded and rejected some of the upstart sects, like Christian Science, and the Watchtower, and the LDS, many people did fall for this.
So, we're going to have to come back, but I want to encourage you, you might check out my book, Ten Answers for Skeptics, you might check out my book, The God You Thought You Knew, exposing ten common myths about Christianity, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not New Testament Christianity, not salvation, and not a belief system that you want to invest yourself in. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ, and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at AlexMcFarland.com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of The Alex McFarland Show.
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