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Marv Cowan Interview Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2020 8:22 pm

Marv Cowan Interview Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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December 1, 2020 8:22 pm

Bill McKeever interviews Marv Cowan, who has researched Mormonism for many decades

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Mormonism 101, a book by Mormonism Research Ministries, Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, has helped many who want to understand what separates Mormonism from the Christian faith. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministries has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. Well, for as long as I can remember, Marv, I mean, as I was mentioning in an earlier show, you were certainly very instrumental in my early study of Mormonism. I was talking about your book, Mormon Claims Answered.

It was revised in 1989. I noticed on someone is selling this book for $38. Wow.

So, it's really gone up in value. You're still printing it. It's self-published now. Yes, it is. Okay, great. And if I remember correctly, Utah Lighthouse Bookstore sells it. Sander sells it.

Yeah, I've seen it there. So, I should have remembered that. It's a book that had a big influence on my life in my early years of studying Mormonism. And folks, it's not a large book. It's very concise, but it gets right to the point.

It hits all the pertinent information. In fact, you have a blurb on the back by John Ankerberg. It says, Citing almost exclusively from Mormon or secular sources, Marvin Cowan shows that one of Mormonism's most difficult problems rests in its own contradictory history. Even so, Cowan's style remains that of a friend rather than an antagonist, of the fellow truth seeker rather than combatant. It would be a shame for a Mormon not to read this book. It would be a worse shame if the non-Mormon did not follow Cowan's example of compassion and accuracy. That statement from John, I think, is something that I think all of us who are ministering to the Mormon people would hope for that kind of an accolade. Because certainly our desire is to come across with compassion for the Mormon people. They are not our enemies.

I don't know how many times I've said that when I speak across the country and even outside of the country. That's one of the first ways many people will often view Mormons when they hear of the radical departure that its theology has from the Christian norm. And they tend to look at these young missionaries more as enemies rather than people who have been deceived by a lie and need to have the lie exposed. And we've been talking about your conversion as a young man.

You're a teenager. And you mentioned how your family's history goes back to the time of Brigham Young. Now you weren't raised in Utah, though you spent many years ministering in Utah, but you lived in Idaho for a long time. Idaho and Colorado.

In Colorado. And of course both states have high LDS populations, especially Idaho. But let me ask you this, Mark, because this is a common event that I find in the lives of a lot of people who come out of Mormonism. Now you're a young man in your teens. And you've been talking to some Christian friends of yours. And as you mentioned earlier, you were quite honest. And I guess you could look back and say, as a Mormon, you probably slipped up when you said your goal in the next life was to become a god.

And that naturally took your friends unaware and a little off guard wondering where you got that. And you assumed at first it was in the Bible, which of course what you were thinking was the Lorenzo Snow couplet, as man is God once was, as God is, man may become. You thought that was in the Bible. But it caused you to start looking at what the Bible had to say as well as the standard works of Mormonism, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and of course the King James. You're starting to have questions.

How did your family respond? Dad was sort of non-committal. I think he was thinking through some of the stuff that I was kind of throwing out. But my mom, who had been a convert to Mormonism because of dad, really thought I was becoming too much of a zealot to push something. And I said, I'm not pushing anything other than Christ.

That's what I was seeing. But she thought I'd become a fanatic and that I needed to calm down a little bit. She said, the Mormon people are nice people. I said, I've never said they're not. Of course they are.

Isn't that funny how they draw that kind of conclusion? Because you disagree with them theologically that somehow you're impugning their character. And that's not what we're doing. We're merely disagreeing with the theology that they've been told. The theology, it concerned me because I began to see it's going to affect eternity. I really began to see what the Bible was saying about being prepared and so forth.

You know, that now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation. And when you put your trust in a church, in all kinds of laws, ordinances, and commandments and so forth, instead of in Christ, you're off base. One of the things that opened my eyes was reading Romans. Romans is not a good book that's supportive of Mormonism. Well, that's for sure. In that third chapter where I read that the law, by the law is the knowledge, that's what calls us sinners because it points out that we're sinners.

But nobody is justified by the law. And all of that bugged me because that's what I was counting on. I was trying to keep every law I knew about.

And still I had that uneasy feeling that I hadn't done enough. I really didn't find peace until after the passages that through Jesus Christ we have peace with God. That's Romans 5.1. Paul said we conclude that man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law or apart from the deeds of the law. And I couldn't understand that.

What's he talking about? Those are important. The third article of faith, you know, through the atonement of Christ we can all have salvation by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

All that kind of stuff. Anyway, I kept reading through the New Testament and when I got to 1 John 5 verses 9 and following, it really spoke to me. Verse 9 says, if you can believe the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.

And then it goes on in verse 11. This is the record or the testimony that God has given to us eternal life. He's given to us eternal life and this life is in his Son.

He that has the Son has life. He that has not the Son of God has not life. And these things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life and that you might believe on the name of the Son of God. And I pondered all of that for quite a while and then I realized what it was saying.

That life is in Christ, not in a church, not in the things that I've done, but in what he has done for me as my Savior. That's the reason he's called Savior is because he saves. And that had never even crossed my mind until I began to ponder some of those things that I was reading. And so I actually accepted Christ right at home as I was reading the Bible. I thought there must be more to it. I heard of people that were going forward in meetings and they were, you know, praying through or they were doing something.

And all I did is say, Lord, that's what I want. You know, it's amazing because you cite 1 John 5 and the principle verses of those are 5, 11 through 13. These things are written that you might know that you have eternal life. And I've often commented to Latter-day Saints, I says, notice it's interesting how John uses the expression eternal life, which of course in Mormon theology that's equated with exaltation or godhood. And yet that's what Mormons, as you yourself had said, that's what you're looking forward to.

But at the same time, you don't know if you've done enough. Now, why would John say that then? Why is it John says you may know you have eternal life, but yet when you ask a Latter-day Saint, do you know if you have eternal life? So many of them don't know. And I think you explained it perfectly. It's because there's so many things that an individual has to do. How can a person really know that they've done all these things? That's the experience that I've had with Latter-day Saints.

And so you went through that yourself, but your mother was the one that gave you the hardest time. She was the convert. Why do we see that so many times? The converts are the ones that seem to be more zealous in defending it. And even the Jack Mormons, those are not active. That's a title given to inactive Mormons, Jack Mormons. I find that they also are very staunch defenders many times.

Is it because they have guilt that they know they're not doing enough, that maybe they're going to earn brownie points with Elohim if they defend the faith, that they don't really want to live? I don't know. Just a thought. Yeah, I remember talking to a guy. He said, I'm a Mormon, but I haven't been to the church in 60 years. And I thought, well, what do you think of Joseph Smith and what he said he restored?

And boy, he shook his finger at me and he said, listen here, Sonny. Just because I don't go to church doesn't mean I don't believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and so forth. And I said, that's a strange way to express it by not doing anything. It is, especially since Mormonism is such a doing religion. And you can't say like that gentleman was trying to tell you that, well, just because I believe it, that makes everything okay. Not in Mormonism. You're not justified by faith in Mormonism.

You're justified by your actions. And of course you have to do the things that they tell you to do in the LDS church. And that becomes, I think, the soft underbelly when it comes to our evangelism efforts. If that's what they are supposed to be doing, and it becomes apparent when you talk to them that they're not doing it, then maybe that's an area that we as Christians need to explore a little bit more with the individual Mormon that we're talking to.

Getting them to see their lost condition in order for them to appreciate Jesus as the Savior. We want him not just to be the Savior generically, we want him to be their personal Savior. And I've often asked him, is he your Savior?

You use the expression the Savior, but is he your Savior? And that's where the question marks seem to pop up. Because I think a lot of Mormons want to hope that he is. But when you ask them some of those pointed questions, you find out that many of them don't know that. They would like that, no doubt.

They would like that, but they really don't know. We've been talking to Marv Cowan. Marv is with Missions Door. And the website that he has is And if you want to reach Marv through email, he'd be glad to take any questions that you might have.

It's pastormarv80, and that's the number 80, at And as we've been mentioning, Marv has been a missionary to the Mormon people in the state of Utah for decades. And he has a lot of amazing stories to tell. And I wanted to introduce you to him if you've never heard about Marv and his ministry. He does have a lot of very positive things that he could tell us about and educate us on. And so I want to continue this conversation in tomorrow's show. on Mormonism. your tax-deductible gifts are much appreciated and will be used to further our efforts at Mormonism Research Ministry.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-20 10:57:01 / 2024-01-20 11:02:12 / 5

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