Share This Episode
Viewpoint on Mormonism Bill McKeever  Logo

Appendix Definitions Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 4, 2021 8:43 pm

Appendix Definitions Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 662 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

February 4, 2021 8:43 pm

Eric Johnson is writing a new book that will be published next year by Harvest House Publishers called Introducing Christianity to Mormons. At the end of the book is an appendix defining unique Christian and Mormon terms used in the book. Bill and Eric take a look at some of the definitions and see if they … Continue reading Appendix Definitions Part 3 →


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 Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. In the past couple of broadcasts, we've been talking about how important it is for us as ministers of the gospel to be as accurate as possible when we explain to our listeners what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes regarding certain aspects of its faith. We received a letter from an LDS gentleman who objected to definitions found in Appendix 2 of the book, Sharing the Good News with Mormons. And of course, that's a book that Eric Johnson and Sean McDowell co-edited. It's a compilation of a number of essays dealing with various witnessing strategies. And at the end of the book was this Appendix 2, which was titled, 101 Mormon Terms Defined. This LDS gentleman, and I admit it, I know this gentleman, he's a nice guy, but he said, I don't know who compiled the article on Mormon terminology, but I will definitely say that the author does not have much comprehension of many Mormon terms.

And for that matter, he does not have much comprehension of some terms as used in the Bible. Well, the mystery is solved. We know who wrote this.

It was you, Eric. And so what we've been doing is going through some of the things that Eric said in Appendix 2. But as we admit, it's difficult to respond specifically because this individual, as he states in this letter, I started to make you a list of corrections, but I decided it is not worth the time or effort. And I doubt that the author would make the corrections in the next edition if I did tell him the errors. And as I mentioned, it's really an accusation that we're not honest here at Mormonism Research Ministry.

But the fact is, if you don't give us a list, if you don't give us some specifics, it's kind of hard to rebut the accusation. So what we've been doing is going through Appendix 2, looking at some of the words that were defined in that section, just haphazardly, because we can't do it specifically, to see if Eric did, in fact, define those terms accurately. So today we're going to begin with the phrase celestial kingdom. I said the highest kingdom of glory reserved for those Mormons who demonstrate complete obedience to LDS laws and ordinances. This is where one may enjoy the presence of God, the Father and Jesus Christ, as well as abide with one's family forever. This is what it says in True to the Faith. And as I've mentioned, True to the Faith is a manual published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It came out in 2004. On page 92, under the subheading celestial kingdom, it says the celestial kingdom is the highest of the three kingdoms of glory. Those in this kingdom will dwell forever in the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This should be your goal to inherit celestial glory and to help others receive that great blessing as well.

Such a goal is not achieved in one attempt. It is the result of a lifetime of righteousness and constancy of purpose. The next page says, From another revelation to the Prophet Joseph, speaking of Joseph Smith, we learn that there are three degrees within the celestial kingdom. To be exalted in the highest degree and continue eternally in family relationships, we must enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and be true to that covenant.

So Eric, I don't understand why that would be a problem for an average Latter-day Saint. It sounds like your definition certainly concurs with the definition that is given from this church manual. Bill, I also did the other two kingdoms of glory. The celestial kingdom, I said, is the lowest kingdom of glory to which, quote, liars, sorcerers, adulterers, and whoremongers, end quote, and that comes from the Doctrine and Covenants, are assigned for eternity after death. The residents of this kingdom will be visited by the Holy Ghost, but not by God the Father or Jesus. And then for the terrestrial kingdom, I said, it's the middle kingdom of glory to which honorable non-Mormons and less than faithful Mormons are assigned after death. The residents of this kingdom will be visited by Jesus Christ, but will be separated from God the Father throughout eternity.

Well, instead of going to the church manual, true to the faith, let me quote Mormon apostle Bruce McConkie when he talks about the telestial kingdom. He says, most of the adult people who have lived, lived from the day of Adam to the present time will go to the telestial kingdom. He goes on to say, they will be the endless host of people of all ages who have lived after the manner of the world, who have been carnal, sensual, and devilish, who have chosen the vain philosophies of the world rather than accept the testimony of Jesus, who have been liars and thieves, sorcerers and adulterers, blasphemers and murderers. I don't see how your definition conflicts with that.

It seems to be saying pretty much the same thing. Well, McConkie also talks about the terrestrial kingdom and he says, this is for accountable persons who die without law, which sounds like what you said just in a different way. Those who reject the gospel in this life and who reverse their course and accept it in the spirit world. Also, McConkie goes on to say under point number three, honorable men of the earth who are blinded by the craftiness of men and who therefore do not accept and live the gospel law. Again, I don't see the problem with what you said, and I should point out one more time listeners that what Eric was trying to do with these definitions was to give a very concise definition using less than 100 words.

I thought he did a pretty good job with that. So I'm really not sure what exactly troubled this LDS writer, but apparently he did not agree with what Eric said. And I'm not finding problems with your definitions, Eric. Here's another term covenants. And in parentheses, I put oaths and the definition two way promises made by members with God in baptism and confirmation, the weekly sacrament temple endowment and temple marriage in parentheses ceiling, all of which must be kept to gain exaltation. Well, I'm going to go back to true to the faith.

And the reason why I like this as a resource, because similar to what you did in appendix two, that's what this book does. It gives a term that is used in Mormonism and then gives a definition, although it gives a much longer, more in-depth definition than what you were trying to do. But under the word covenant on page 44, it says a covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person or group of people. It goes on in the next paragraph to say, for example, you made a covenant when you were baptized and you renew that covenant.

Each time you partake of the sacrament, the temple endowment and the ceiling ordinance also include sacred covenants. Again, where did you conflict with what that definition is telling us? I would think that a person reading your definition, though they might not have all of the details, would at least have enough to grasp what this term means to a Latter-day Saint.

I think you did a good job at that. Follow of Adam and Eve. I write Adam's transgression in parentheses, not sin that took place in the Garden of Eden, causing them to become mortal and making them subject to physical death.

It has been called, quote, a blessing in disguise, end quote, because without it, spirits would never have been allowed to enter mortality. We would find that under the category of the fall in the book, True to the Faith. And this is what it says, page 57, the fall is an integral part of Heavenly Father's plan of salvation.

It has a two-fold direction, downward yet forward. I don't see how your explanation conflicted with that. It goes on to say, Adam and Eve express their gratitude for the blessings that came as a result of the fall. So in Mormonism, the fall is looked at in a positive vein, not in a negative light. And of course, that would certainly differ from what Christians have historically taught regarding the fall.

The fall has always been looked at as a very negative event in human history. God the Father. In parentheses, I put Elohim and Heavenly Father as other names for God the Father. I define him as this first member of the Godhead who once lived as a righteous human in another realm before he became exalted.

He has a resurrected, tangible body of flesh and bones, and in parentheses, Doctrine and Covenants, section 130, verse 22 is cited, and is the literal father of every premortal human being in the spirit world. Again, I don't see any conflict with what Mormon leaders have taught on this issue. So I'm not quite sure why this individual has an objection to what you said. Bill, we've already looked at more than a dozen terms of the 101, and you and I together are not finding what could be a problem.

And now I've been skipping over some of the ones that are real basic kinds of things. An investigator, for instance, is someone who is considering joining the LDS church and is being visited by missionaries. I mean, nobody's going to say anything bad about that, but we haven't found one. Let me give you another one. This is an important one. Gospel.

One sentence. All doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for a Mormon to achieve exaltation. This is what True to the Faith has to say about that on page 76. In its fullness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom. The savior has promised that if we endure to the end, faithfully living the gospel, he will hold us guiltless before the father at the final judgment. It sounds like you're using the same exact words to describe what the gospel means to a Latter-day Saint. And here it is in this book, True to the Faith.

So again, what's the problem here? And yes, I did use the same words because I'm trying to be as close as I can without taking it word for word necessarily. But you can't say it in any other way in one sentence than the way that I was able to do so. How about this grace God's enabling power that is provided to all humans through the work of Jesus and his atonement. Because of this, everyone receives an inheritance to a kingdom of glory. I can't imagine any Latter-day Saint denying that grace is an enabling power.

David Bednar, a Mormon apostle, did a whole sermon on it in conference one year. But let me read you what it says in this book, True to the Faith. Because of the fall, everyone will experience temporal death. Through grace, made available by the savior's atoning sacrifice, all people will be resurrected and receive immortality. But resurrection alone does not qualify us for eternal life in the presence of God. Our sins make us unclean and unfit to dwell in God's presence, and we need his grace to purify and perfect us, after all we can do, citing 2 Nephi 25-23.

The phrase, after all we can do, teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fullness of the Lord's grace and be made worthy to dwell with him. The point in doing this short series is just to show that we are trying to be as accurate as possible in how we portray Mormonism. And though you might have a Latter-day Saint object to the way you've described it, you need to ask what specifically was inaccurate. I think you can tell what Eric has done in Appendix 2 of Sharing the Good News with Mormons was done appropriately and quite accurately.

Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our website at, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another Viewpoint on Mormonism. You just listened to today's broadcast of Viewpoint on Mormonism. But did you know that you can hear previous shows at your convenience? The Viewpoint on Mormonism podcast is free on the internet and will help you learn more about the LDS religion. Feel free to listen on your computer or download to your favorite listening device. Just go to and click on the right side where it says, On Air. All of our shows are here, so visit today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-27 21:29:27 / 2023-12-27 21:34:56 / 5

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime