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March 18, 2021 9:08 pm
.1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when 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.
So glad you could be with us for this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM. What are the core beliefs and doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We been discussing this for the past few days and were getting a lot of our information from an article it's a PDF version of an article found on the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church of Jesus Christ.org and the question we been asking is if you were interested in joining the LDS church. Let's say you had a conversation with some Mormon missionaries, or perhaps your neighbor and you are intrigued by some of the things that they said and they encourage you to go to their official website and look up what the church believes. Let's say you went to the search box on their official site and you typed in basic beliefs or core beliefs you would see a number of links that go to articles that talk about some of the basic beliefs and if you looked at them you would notice.
Many of them are very vague. A lot of the descriptions are put within a paragraph or two.
It's not to say that there are not other articles that goes much deeper into individual topics.
But how would you know where to find those articles that go deeper. Most people probably wouldn't know where to look.
So were looking at this one paper called core beliefs and doctrines we looked at the nature of God and we talked a little bit about modern prophets in continuing revelation, but we also were looking at the subheading Christian as it starts off it says the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a Christian church but is neither Catholic nor Protestant and and yesterday show I read a portion from a book written by 15th Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley titled one of the Mormons worry makes it very clear that the theology of the LDS church is not in many regards the same theology that you find in other traditional Christian faith.
But it goes on in this section to say that Latter Day Saints believe God sent his son Jesus Christ to save all mankind from death and their individual sins that Eric based on your understanding of Christian theology. How would you interpret that sentence at face value. What is it saying to you. It seems like everybody who is ever born is going to have their sins forgiven. It sounds like that to me. But is that what the LDS church really believes no. Of course it doesn't. In fact, all you need do is look to the second column in this article to show that there is a clarification when it comes to that. It's under the heading baptism and confirmation. It says baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints requires full immersion in water by a person who holds the priesthood authority to baptize, it is the means by which people join the church. Those who are baptized into the church are cleansed of their previous sins and promised to live the principles of the gospel that you notice there is a qualification there.
If you want to be cleansed of your sins, your previous sins you must not only be baptized by someone who has priesthood authority in the LDS church, but you must also promise to live the principles of the gospel. So we see by that statement works are definitely involve well technically you could say baptism in water is a work at something that you have to do it would be considered. I would assume a righteous work, but then Titus 35 says were not saved by righteous works were saved by the mercy that is given to us by Jesus himself.
I think it's important to do.
Notice it says promise to live the principles of the gospel. But if you look at LDS scripture and the LDS leadership is not just a promise to live, but it's actually accomplishing that by living the principles of the gospel. That's an excellent point, a mere desire to want to keep all the commandments and to adequately repent of all your sins in the context of Mormonism, which is of course confessing your sins and then abandoning those sins never to repeat those sins again. That's how it's been described by Mormon leaders. It's not just merely a Lord forgive me of all my sins I did today has to be a little bit deeper than that in the context of of Mormonism. But getting back to this phrase Eric when it says to save all mankind from death and their individual sins that would certainly be what we call the doctrine of Universalism now, we wouldn't say in our understanding of the theology of the LDS church that they hold to a traditional understanding of Universalism, even though that sentence seems to imply it does, I would say probably most Latter Day Saints would question that sentence if we were to dig into it a little bit deeper with them.
They would have to agree yeah you're right. Not everyone is going to be saved in the true sense because of what Jesus came and did for mankind, but if that's the way it is, why does it read this way, who wrote these things.
That's the question I often asked to write a lot of these articles that we find on their official website because many of them are very confusing and if this is where were going to go to get a basic understanding of what our LDS friends and acquaintances believe, help us out LDS church be a little more clear on this because this is not clear. But even though I've said that this other article titled core beliefs which is found at the newsroom website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It states here that while respecting the divergent views of other people of faith, church leaders want to be clearer about the beliefs that help define Latter Day Saints and I almost find that kind of laughable because neither does this article titled core beliefs give you all that much clarity, but the one we been looking at here core beliefs and doctrines does not give you all that much clarity we wrote a book called Mormonism 101. We first wrote that in 2000 and later republished in 2015 with Baker books and our purpose was to show what Mormonism teaches. We go to the standard works into the leadership and the correlated curriculum to explain what they believe and then also to show what Christianity believes our biggest criticism that we have received from LDS critics is that we are not capable of being able to explain Mormon beliefs you want to go to them to be able to explain, but here you're saying you go to their website.
You're trying to understand this and the core beliefs are not well laid out and understood. It's very nebulous and so you have to kind of figure it out on your own, and I think I would probably agree with any Latter Day Saints that says well if you want to understand what we believe you should go to our sources, you'll notice folks on this show. That's what we do. We are often citing LDS sources we been doing it clearly in this series for the past three shows going right to what their website says on these very important teachings. But then it goes on in that same paragraph Eric under Christian it says the only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. The only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, not not taken away the teaching from the LDS church that you have to have faith in Jesus Christ to be truly saved, but at the same time, folks. You don't have to have any faith in Jesus Christ, according to Mormonism.
If you end up in a lower heaven such as the terrestrial or to list your kingdom. You have to have any faith in Christ at all, that ultimately end up there now. They might argue that by the time you're sent there. You probably will have some understanding that there exists the Jesus because of the judgment that you're going to face.
But up until that time. That's not necessary, you can be an atheist and end up in the terrestrial kingdom you can be an atheist and end up in the TLS you'll kingdom the second time. You could be a member of the earliest church, and end up in the terrestrial kingdom, probably not so likely in the tea last year but definitely the terrestrial because according to Joseph Fielding Smith was the 10th president of the church in his book, doctrines of salvation. 215 and bear in mind when I read this.
Keep in mind with this section, said Latter Day Saints believe God sent his son Jesus Christ to save all mankind from death and their individual sins yet. Joseph Fielding Smith said not half the Latter Day Saints to be saved. While that doesn't make me feel very encouraged does it because it not half the Latter Day Saints are going to be saved according to the 10th president of the church. How am I supposed to believe that Jesus came to save all mankind from death and their individual sins but yet as I said when you look across the page. The only way your sins are going to be cleansed is if you're baptized by someone with authority in the church. They must have the proper priesthood authority to baptize and when you are baptized into the church it says you are cleansed of your previous sins. But you must promise to live the principles of the gospel. I notice you have to be baptized by someone with authority in the LDS church, which means you're basically joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
So when it says the only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.
Based on what we read in the second column. We are not included in that because even though we may have faith in Jesus Christ and we do we have the faith that Jesus paid for our sins and by our faith in what he did on our behalf. We will not face the penalty of our sins, they are forgiven.
There is a section following that call, plan of salvation and this is what it says in part Latter Day Saints. Scripture teaches that all human beings are children of God and lived with him before this earth.
Five God presented a plan by which we could obtain physical bodies and a period of earthly experience.
It goes on and says while our bodies remain on the earth. Our spirits will reside in a state of rest or in a state of learning until the resurrection and judgment.
When all will be judged by a perfectly merciful and just God will inherit a place in a round of glory corresponding to our faithfulness to all human beings will receive the gift of eternal life or, in eternal union of the body, and spirit. God desires for us to live in such a way that we also received the gift of exultation eternal life with our families in God's presence, and we should add that is really what most faithful Latter Day Saints are looking forward to. They are looking forward to being exalted, and being with their families and it says in God's presence. Now this even becomes confusing because according to Mormonism, our heavenly father. They would say because of his righteousness as a mortal human at one time which I don't think it talks about how God was once a man in this paper, so if you were wanting to understand what Mormons believe regarding God that would be something you would be completely ignorant of, but they would say that it was through his good works that he eventually inherited his own world.
That's what most Latter Day Saints are looking forward to. Even though it really doesn't talk about this in this paper, but when it says that you we are to receive the gift of exultation. What you have to do in order to get the gift of exultation.
According to Mormonism, will Mormon leaders have been very clear about that. What are some of them said Eric well you mentioned Joseph Fielding Smith. He wrote this in the way of perfection. Page 206 to enter the celestial and obtain exultation. It is necessary that the whole lobby kept the word of the Lord is that they have the celestial world are those sanctified from all unrighteousness.
So even though it says that Jesus came to save all of mankind. And even though it says the only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.
It seems like there are a lot of other things that are absolutely essential if an individual hopes to seek that salvation.
Thank you for listening.
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