Many people think the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is just another “Christian denomination” because they teach about Christ and the Bible. On their website, they state:
“We believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Begotten Son in the flesh … We accept the prophetic declarations in the Old Testament that refers directly and powerfully to the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of all humankind. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the fulfillment of those prophecies.”
Hardly would a Christian disagree with the above (though as we proceed, you will understand what is packed beneath the first line).
Most pseudo-Christian religions gain converts by first teaching what most Christians will readily agree with. Their heresies are usually introduced little by little until the convert is so indoctrinated that he is ready to defend these lies.
But a major way to identify a cult is to check their Christology. Once it is defective, what they have is a false gospel and behind it is a false spirit.
My quotes will be mainly from their scripture, the book of Mormon, as well as teachings of their prophets (both early and modern) which are equally authoritative.
Joseph Smith says “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the mind of God … the Word of God and the power of God unto salvation” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:4).
“Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth…” (Alma 11:38-39).
“…Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son.” (Ether 3:14)
The Christological heresy espoused here was known in the early church as modalism or sabellianism. It taught that God was one God who variously manifested Himself in three modes of existence, as the Father, later as the Son and then the Holy Spirit.
It totally did away with the distinction of persons within the Godhead. This was the initial Christological error Joseph Smith held to.
The Bible however, distinguishes between the Father and the Son (Mt. 5:16; 11:25; Jn. 10:29; 20:17 etc) and between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:16; 16:5-15; Jn. 7:39, Acts 8:5-25 etc).
This is where the Mormon misconception of the Christian Trinity stems from.
2. Pre-mortal Godhood
“[A]ll men lived in a premortal estate before they were born into this world; all were born in the premortal existence as the spirit children of the Father. Christ was the firstborn spirit child … Christ, the Word, the Firstborn, had, of course, attained unto the status of Godhood while yet in premortal existence” (What Mormons Think of Christ, 1976, p. 25).
Christ was not created and didn’t have to attain the status of Godhood. He is and has always been God. He is eternal, “the first and the last” just as the Father is (Rev. 1:17-18; Is. 48:12).
The creation of man by God negates pre-mortal existence. Mormon theology seems to be closer to Greek paganism than to the Bible.
3. A Firstborn of gods
“In modern times he has said: ‘I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn. And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same and are the church of the Firstborn. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father” (Doctrines and Covenants 93:21-23).
This is a gross misunderstanding of the Biblical concept of Jesus as the firstborn.
Colossians 1:15-19 is offered as proof but this actually presents Jesus as the Creator. The Greek word for “firstborn” is prototokos which means “preeminence” and “eternal preexistence.”
Also, humans do not share in God’s glory nor become gods at any time (Isa. 42:8). Such a teaching is a lie of the serpent.
4. Lucifer’s brother
“And the Lord God, spake unto Moses saying: “That Satan, whom thou has commanded … came before me, saying – Behold, here I am, send me. I will be honor. But behold, my Beloved Son which was my beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me – Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses, 4:1-2)
Mormons believe Jesus and Lucifer were among the spirit children born by God, but Lucifer rebelled when God accepted Jesus’ salvation plan and rejected his.
However, the Bible says of Christ: “For by him all things were created” (Col. 1:16). Lucifer was one of the angels created by Christ and is not on equal footing with Him let alone be His “spirit brother” as LDS teach.
Jesus Christ, who is the exact image of the Father, has received an excellent name above angels.
5. The Polygamist Christ
“Jesus Christ was married at Cana at Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children.” (Journal of Discourses 2:210)
“The Scriptures says that He, the Lord, came walking in the Temple, with His train; I do not know who they were unless His wives and children.” (J of D, 13:309)
The plan of God has been that the Saviour should become man, not to have physical children, but to produce godly seeds – sons of God – on earth by new birth and sanctification (Heb. 2:10-12).
But the Christ of Mormonism couldn’t even be Lord unless he was married! That’s not the Jesus of the Bible but an attempt to tailor Jesus in the image of Joseph Smith who was a polygamist.
Jesus is spiritually married to His church – His people. “I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” (2 Cor. 11:2).
He illustrated this with a parable in Matthew 25:1-10 and there is the “wedding Supper of the Lamb” at His second coming (Rev. 19:6).
6. Atonement in Gethsemane
“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it to be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people” (Mosiah 3:7)
“[Jesus] took his apostles into a garden called Gethsemane where he subsequently began to pray, and being in great agony he bled at every pore. Thus did he assume the burden of men’s sins” (The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 1979, 170-76).
In other words, the Mormon Jesus paid the price for the sins of mankind by suffering at the garden of Gethsemane and not by His death at the cross. This is a defective view of the atonement that ignores and rejects several plain passages of Scripture.
One, the wages of sin is death, not “great agony” or “anguish” (Ezk. 18:20; Rom. 3:23).
Two, one of the Messianic prophecies is that Christ will be “pierced” hands and feet (Ps. 22:16) and “cut off from the land of the living” (Is. 53:8). The events culminating in Christ’s crucifixion are fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Note this carefully the next time a LDS claims they “believe that Jesus of Nazareth … is the fulfillment of those prophecies.” By denying His sacrifice at the cross, they have embraced a false gospel.
Christ was made sin for us and bore it in His body on the cross and died there (2 Cor. 5:21; 1Pet. 2:24). Just as the spotless lamb was killed during the Jewish Passover, He is the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world (Jn. 1:30).
Through His death on the cross, redemption – purchase from the marketplace of sin and death – was made possible (1 Cor. 6:20). Through it, reconciliation and propitiation for man’s sins was achieved.
Without the cross of Christ there is no redemption, no forgiveness and no salvation. Consequently, Mormonism is a doomed ship taking millions to a Christless eternity.
7. A Rejection of the Blood of Jesus
“It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it [the blood of Christ] can never remit.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:54)
“…We may talk of men being redeemed by the efficacy of his [Christ’s] blood, but the truth is that that blood has no efficacy to wash away our sins. That must depend upon our own action” (Apostle Amasa Lyman, J of D 7:299).
This is simply the next logical step from a defective atonement.
If “the blood of Jesus…purifies us from all sin” and Jesus has “provided purification for sins,” there is no reason to claim that we can somehow add to its efficacy (1 Jn. 1:7; Heb. 1:3).
There is no amount of human action that can purge man from his sins. Conclusively, the “Jesus” of the LDS is not the Jesus revealed in the Bible.