Reading: Mormon Doctrine

An Insider's Guide to Mormonism, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

What does your neighborhood LDS church teach? They call themselves Christians – is that an accurate label? I’m reading a book by Coke Newell, an important LDS who lives in Utah. The book is called Latter Days: A Guided Tour Through Six Billion Years of Mormonism (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000). Though this is different “fare” from usual Reformed Reader posts, it is something I’m reading, and I think it is important to at least know a little about one of the fastest growing religions (c. 1 million new members each 3 years). Also, it is coincidental that I post this right after Andrew posted one on the same topic: we surprised each other! Here are a few blurbs from the book on a few points of what the LDS believe.

“Far, far away…and long, long ago, you and I were born as spirit children of God, and naturally, a Goddess, actual beings of glorified human form and substance. Our home and theirs was a brilliant orb, a crystalline sphere, where the pure light of the greatest of all stars, Kolob, shone endlessly…. The children of the Gods looked like the Gods: in the image of God they created us” (p. 7).

“The firstborn spirit son we knew as Jehovah was like our Father in every respect but that of having gained a physical, then glorified, body” (p. 8).

Was Adam/Eve’s eating of the fruit a sin? “To the contrary, the ‘transgression’ of Adam and Eve was in fact a brilliant move, a bit of prescient genius (on the part of Eve primarily).” Since the first commandment they received was “be fruitful and multiply,” the only way they could do that was to eat the fruit, so they did, in brilliance. “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2.25).

“Joseph Smith referred to Jackson County, Missouri, as the ancient site of Eden as early as 1832” (p.18).

“Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are children of Israel” (p.29). This means literal blood descendants of Israel.

“With his own perfected [post-resurrection] body, …Jesus then visited the American continent” (p.47, cf p. 54-5).

Joseph Smith’s vision of 1820 (he had others, to be sure) was one where he saw “personages” (God the Eternal Father and Jehovah-Jesus-Messiah) who forbade him to join any church, but to start a new one (p.67). He later wrote, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true” (p.67). Smith’s “revelation” in 1820 is the cornerstone of the Mormon church, even if they do not describe it that way. All of Smith’s visions are part and parcel to Mormon doctrine.

Mormon churches “are not a Bible-only church. …We take the given scripture where it is and move forward, with new Scripture, new prophets, and new personal visitations from God and other heavenly messengers” (p.250). The Book of Mormon says, “Because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man…” (cf. 2 Nephi 29.7-9).

In summary, before the beginning of creation, a god and goddess had many spirit-children, you, I, and Jehovah included. Jehovah had/has a physical body that can be seen. Jehovah/Yahweh/God is a son of [a] God. Adam and Eve did not sin in eating the fruit – it was a step of obedience to a higher goal: multiplying. Eden was/is in Missouri. Jesus came to America at one point after the resurrection. Mormons are blood-descendants of OT Israelites. Joseph Smith’s visions of God the Father and Jehovah are the sinews and bones of the LDSs. On-going revelations, visions, and dreams are the flesh and blood of the LDSs.

I trust you see that this is exactly what the Bible does not teach. Mormon anthropology is contrary to the Bible’s, Mormon theology proper is a satanic perversion of Scripture, Mormon doctrine of scripture is contrary to the Bible’s own teaching, and so forth. I suppose many Christians know this, but as with most cults/sects, the deeper you get into it the further from the truth you go. Mormons cannot call themselves Christians unless the name “Christian” is sucked dry of all its biblical and theological meaning.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

8 Replies to “Reading: Mormon Doctrine”

  1. Shane, just a few differences to what you stated in your post. Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are indeed Christians.

    Firstly, Christ is the cornerstone of our church NOT the Book of Mormon. You erred in your understanding. We believe that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church who passed away early this year, stated,

    “He is the chief cornerstone of the Church that bears His name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no other name given among men whereby we can be saved (see Acts 4:12). He is the Author of our salvation, the Giver of eternal life (see Hebrews 5:9). There is none to equal Him. There never has been. There never will be. Thanks be to God for the gift of His Beloved Son, who gave His life that we might live and who is the chief, immovable cornerstone of our faith and His Church.”

    Your arguments premise that Mormons are not Christian therefore does not hold.

    As I stated the Book of Mormon is the Cornerstone of our religion, meaning that if it is true, then the Joseph Smith did indeed receive divine revelation to translate the Book of Mormon, and that he did in very fact see Jesus Christ and God the Father on that day in 1820, and then it follows that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the TRUE CHURCH restored to the Earth today. If the Book of Mormon is false then all of it is false. That is the key, thus why it is called the keystone. If it is true, it supports it all, if it is not it does not. That is simple logic. A–>B–>C, etc.

    The Book of Mormon, is called thus, because Mormon was a Prophet, much like Moses, Matthew, John, etc. The subtitle of the Book of Mormon is–as you conveniently left out–ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST.

    I testify that I know the Book of Mormon is a true Book, that comes from the words of Prophets who were inspired as those in the Middle East were. I know this because I asked GOD, in prayer if it was so. And He confirmed to my heart that it is true. I know that Christ lives. I know that GOD is the ultimate source of knowledge. NOT the Bible. The Bible is a manifestation of God, but it is NOT God in and of itself. You can talk to God and ask Him if the Book of Mormon is true, if you will read it and ask him in Faith.

    This I so testify, in the name of my Savior, my Redeemer, and Leader, even Jesus Christ, Amen.


    Dallas T.

    P.S. See,5232,23-1-851-30,00.html to look at how the Book of Mormon and the Bible walk hand in hand to Testify of Jesus Christ.


  2. “I testify that I know the Book of Mormon is a true Book, that comes from the words of Prophets who were inspired as those in the Middle East were. I know this because I asked GOD, in prayer if it was so. And He confirmed to my heart that it is true.”

    Isn’t this the same LDS rhetoric that comes a’ knockin’ on my door every so often…..

    If A) historic Christendom has agreed that God has spoken in a collection of books and B) those books reflect certain truths that are contradicted by statements in your psuedo-Christian literature, then C) both cannot be true simultaneously. I’ll accept your invitation to logic and invoke the law of non-contradiction here.

    The Christian Scriptures teach an anthropology and view of divine revelation contradicted by the Mormon texts. Both cannot be true at once.

    And by the way, Marcion and Arius would have agreed with basically everything in Hinckley’s quote. These were branded as heretics, so I am not sure what that gains you in terms of credibility. The real issue is over the Christology found in the historic creeds.


  3. Yeah, really KC! :)

    Oh something about charismatic snake handling . . . that’d be a riot!


  4. Mormonism is pure ,undiluted Pelagianism. I documented this in my assessment of BYU professor and Mormon apologist, Robert Millet in his book ‘Another Jesus: The Christ of LDS’-published by Eerdmans and carrying a Foreword and Afterword by Fuller seminary president Richard Mouw-cf. my chapter,” The Reformation,Today’s Evangelicals and Mormons” in ‘By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification’, edited by GLW Johnson and GP Waters (Crossway,2007).


  5. Thanks Shane. Fascinating exchange and very helpful. This is something we don’t often talk about in our circles, but what could be more Reformed than defending the Christ of the Scriptures?


  6. Dalltho: Thanks for the interaction. I was not intending to touch upon every point of Mormon doctrine, I simply wanted to discuss a few items I read from Newell’s book. I do want to be honest in describing Mormon doctrine, so I do appreciate the comments.

    A few notes: First, you said that Jesus is the cornerstone, but also the book of Mormon is the cornerstone. I’m not sure I follow.

    Second, you said that you know this is true because God told you. This is quite subjective, and open to criticism. I don’t think the internet is the best place to debate/discuss (Starbucks is better!), but I just want to make clear that historic Christianity is not true “because God told me in my heart.” Cults and sects from the 1st century onwards have used that refrain.

    Finally, again, I do want to explain Mormon doctrine honestly; however, in doing so, I re-affirm my (and other comments above) original thesis, that the Mormon doctrine and Christian doctrine are worlds apart.

    I do not wish to carry this discussion on further here; feel free to email me if you have further questions and comments. I would be happy to have a civil discussion in private.

    shane lems


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: