Comments about ‘LDS Christianity: Differences that matter’

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Published: Sunday, Nov. 27 2011 10:00 p.m. MST

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Lehi, UT

I've been having some wonderful conversations with some Baptist Pastors lately, and I've learned that we agree far more than I thought. I also agree very much with the statement that we would have no need for a restoration if nothing was lost. Some Baptists believe that a "recovery" was needed. They do this like most others, by re-interpreting creeds and scriptures.
Some of them feel LDS are cultists, and often reinterpret LDS Doctrine for us (as some here do)
Others can't accept doctrines that were taught by early Christians, dating back to the apostles and Jesus including: Deification (you weren't Christian if you didn't believe God became man so humans can become "gods" (See FAIR "The Christian Doctrine of Deification" Jones; "Christ, The firstfruits of Theosis" Cook etc); God incarnate (see Divine Embodiment: The Earliest Christian Understanding of God, Paulsen); Creation exmateria (see Mormon view of the creation/Creatio ex nihilo (exnihilo was a gnostic idea); etc etc

@Broken see FAIR "Salvation by Grace Alone?" etc. LDS accept the Biblical view of repentance, not the Heaven where we are forced to be good.
donn, not sure how you interpret: check Encyclopedia of Mormonism, FAIR etc "Virgin Birth."

Eagle Mountain, UT

"I've never spoken with an LDS person who has been able to reconcile 2 Nephi 25:23 with Ephesians 2:8-9. They are logically contradictory. Smith's choice of words in the Nephi verse are clearly alluding to the Ephesians passage, but polemicizing against it."

I think the way many look at 2 Nephi 25:23 is incorrect. I think a better understanding is "in spite of all we can do". Idiomatically it makes sense. "After all we can do" is often shown to be that we cannot do enough. "After all the Doctors could do, the patient still died" "After all I could do, my friend overdosed."

There is no act, no one thing I can do to merit salvation. My salvations is purely dependant on Christ. All I can is have a heart willing to receive it.

Mesa, Az

The irony is that the term Christian was never meant to be term of flattery, but it was originally a derogatory term, coined by non believers. However one would have to ask what is in a name? If you believe in something, but don't practice it, then are you really a Christain? Many of the churches today believe in a creed that was developed out of conference in the 4th Century in Nice. Many people lost their lives for not agreeing with that creed or teaching. I would argue that to be a Christian, that you would have to practice the teachings that the Savior taught us to do. Intolerance or persectution was not apart of the teachings of the Savior. The irony is that people who like to be called Christian and engage in persecution and intolerance are not Christian.

Bakersfield, CA

Thank you, DN, for highlighting this topic further. There is no more important issue than in Whom you are trusting for Eternity. Who is Jesus Christ, what is God's Word and Message, and where do you place your authority- in His Word, a priesthood, your leaders...?

I am banking all on the finished work of Christ on the Cross. My ordinances and good works/obedience can be a marker of my true spiritual rebirth, but the Bible warns that even some miracle workers will be denied entrance to the Father's Kingdom. Their motive was other than glorifying The Holy One; only His judgment call. All the rest of God's Word is for living out His plan and designs for my life: how to worship, obey, understand, share, disciple, teach.

It can be helpful for LDS to understand this vital distinction when they are upset at being denied membership in the "Christian Club". They want the moniker, but they've redefined the requirements. Then, as pointed out here, they exclude all other non-LDS from the only part of their heaven where God resides.

I love my Mormon family, but I left their revisions for Christ's Cross and His blood alone.

Somewhere in Time, UT

Dear Onlythecross: I'm sure your LDS family also loves you a great deal as we all do. I'm also sure that they are deeply saddened that you have chosen to give up the fullness of the truth for a partial truth--the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

These people, no matter how sincere, have been without the revelations of God for centuries. Now, that communication is again available--the Heavens are open. I'm so grateful that I have received personal revelation from God that confirms to me the truth of the Restored Gospel and the knowledge that we lived before we came here and can return to our Heavenly Parents with all our earthly families sealed for eternity. So many of these important truths were lost leading to the darkness of the middle ages and the confusion that exists among many churches today. Now that truth has been restored and it is the great stone rolling forth from the mountain.

I hope you will open your heart once again to the fullness of the truth.

Las Vegas, NV

I came from a Lutheran, Baptist and Catholic Family. From exposure to many Christian faiths I discovered what Joseph Smith realized! To get an answer, one must seek God directly.

Without knowledge of Mormonism or Joseph Smith and after reading James also, I arrived at the same conclusion. On Dec 10, 1964 at age 14, I sought the Lord in private vocal prayer to confirm my decision to become a Lutheran.

I had an almost identical experience, was told "...join not with the Lutheran faith or any other earthly faith for they teach the doctrines of men... Study and expand thy mind and one day I will be lead to the Household of my true faith wherein thou shalt become for me a fisher of men."

Without knowledge of Mormonism, at age 17 I entered the Woodland Hills LDS Chapel on a 107F day to get a drink of water. While alone, staring at a painting in the foyer I was again spoken to, "...Thou has entered into the household of my true faith. Join ye now herein and become for me a fisher of men!"

Christian or not! I am LDS now and know the undeniable truth!

Las Vegas, NV

Meant to say 1966, not 1964... Sorry. 1964 is a typo.

Las Vegas, NV

Having made my statement of faith in an historic context (though I actually mistyped and meant, 1966, not 1964) the word "Christianity" as it should apply ALL of us means simply where two or three are gathered together in the Lord's name.

My acceptance of the LDS distillation of Christian thought by no means negates my love and acceptance of all Christian believers in the "greater" Christian body (larger church). All believers that Jesus is the Christ, Savior and Son of God are Christians. Many of our faiths may disagree on specific nuances of what that means. We all agree that Christ suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.

We believe HIS way, light and word especially as expressed in Christian virtue, are a binding salvation for all Christian believers; be they Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Mormon or Presbyterian, etc.

Mormons like other Christians believe in a loving an benevolent God expressed perfectly in Christ's own life. So what if everyone's fine print is existential to self. Love of Christ is still the center to all his believers in common regardless of faith. Gather in HIS name and rejoice with all.

Harwich, MA

I'll worship Zeus. Makes more sense.

Steve R

The Comparison Chart on the Evangelical side needs a lot of work to be accurate.
Most Evangelicals are NOT 'Creedal' in doctrinal orientation. The Chasm between God and Man has been bridged by Christ in the Evangelical belief, yet the chart states just the opposite to that. Evangelical believe that revelations of God is still on going. In nature- God is revealed, in Prayer God's will is revealed and soforth. So I consider this Comparison Chart to be very inaccurate.

Lehi, UT

Thank you all, for all the wonderful Christian comments. I really enjoyed Louis above, and several others. One of my friends had a similar experience. He had studied to become a monk.

Salvation seems to be the biggest misunderstanding today so Ill explain my feelings. I believe that most LDS are banking all on the finished work of Christ. Salvation, as I understand LDS doctrine, is by grace alone. (see article and Darrel above). We are rewarded according to our works, as the Bible teaches, but are saved from death and sin by grace. Salvation from death is universal, and many who were not LDS will be saved in the Celestial Kingdom, with God (although many Christians feel LDS will burn in Hell). In studying Jesus I understand that we are saved from sin, not in sin. We must repent, have faith etc.
Grace doesnt come unjustly, randomly forcing some to stop sinning, while others burn. Grace leading to salvation from sin comes by faith. Jesus, and His disciples plainly taught that we must keep His commandments, repent, be baptized etc to enter, we must "do" more than call Him "Lord" to receive Salvation FROM sin.

safety dictates, ID

"Latter-day Saints are probably as guilty of misrepresenting traditional Christian beliefs as Christians are of misrepresenting ours," Millet said.

How guilty are Latter-day Saints of misrepresenting their own beliefs? Brother Millet has addressed, in his book "More Holiness Give Me", the issue of Jesus being too casually considered as our big brother in a family setting rather than being worshiped as God the creator of worlds without number. Another rather common belief is that each world has its own Savior when church leaders have clearly taught that Jesus is the Redeemer of those worlds as ours. Jesus seemed to use his time in teaching, by example and precept, how to live and be redeemed from our sins. Hopefully we nor the Evangelicals will not fail to do that because we spend our time looking beyond the mark.

Payson, UT

I find the idea that Christ prayed to himself ludicrous.

Anchorage, AK

megen posted: but the Articles of Faith say they are saved by "by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel".

To believe or have faith in Christ is a commandment (law). Failure to have faith, will short circuit Grace. Grace is conditional, upon faith, which is a commandment.

Las Vegas, NV

Darryl, I've never met a non-LDS person who can reconcile the very real experiences I had absent any knowledge of all things LDS, at the age of 14 and 17, nor some other beautiful witnesses of the divine acting within our live since then. I don't fret over little word issues on the English side or the BOM texts. But I do take seriously the very scholarly and undeniably unexplainable inclusion of the many then (1830) largely unknown Egyptian names, place-names and grammatical constructions that appear in a book purporting to be an English translation of such ancient records as the plates upon which was engraved the language (culture) of the Hebrew people but utilizing the compact written glyph structure of the Egyptians.

We have since found many such historic examples of such constructs. Therefore the Book of Mormon is far harder for critics to explain away as fabrication today after scholarly language analysis. This isn't 75 years ago. But I didn't need to know any of that to know I had a similar experience at the ages of 14 and 17 and was lead to the Household of true faith by God.

Miami Area, Fl

"you have chosen to give up the fullness of the truth for a partial truth"

"I am LDS now and know the undeniable truth!"

"join not with the Lutheran faith or any other earthly faith"

And you wonder why the LDS get dissed by the others.

Can you really not see? It is all over these boards.

If people say the same about you, you get all bent out of shape.

Let me suggest that you keep your religious superiority comments to yourselves.

Either that, or grow thicker skin.

Newport Beach, CA

I am LDS, and I do not believe that "God is an exalted man" -- at least, not in the sense that there was ever a time when God was not God, or that God rose from non-divine mortality to Godhood. The Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants are very clear that God has been God for all time: "infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God."

When somebody canonizes the King Follett discourse, so that it stands on an equal footing with the Standard Works -- and when a prophetic authority clarifies that it actually means that God was once a mere mortal man -- then it can properly be said that that's what Mormons believe. Until then, this Mormon, and anyone who believes the Standard Works, doesn't. Dr. Millet is off base.

Anchorage, AK

Vanka posted: Nevertheless, LDS baptize (sinless) 8-year old children "for the remission of sins".
They also partake of the sacrament. But until they are baptized and enter into a covenant, the sacrament has no effect (simply a training exercise). Like the Savoir, they enter waters of Baptism to fulfill all righteousness (failure to be baptize would be 1st sin) . Thereafter, the proper renewal of covenants during sacrament is an incremental application of Christ's Grace to remove recently accumulated sin. If you have faith in Christ to repent, his grace will be freely applied.

Newport Beach, CA

Mormons *do* believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one "being," or entity. That entity is "God." The Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants are clear that there is only one God. That is, Christ, his Father, and the Holy Ghost are separate individual beings, but not three separate Gods. God is one being, or entity.

An imperfect analogy is a corporation, which is a distinct entity despite that its constituent members -- its stockholders, officers, and employees -- also have their own separate individuality. (Please spare the usual uninformed blather about corporate personhood -- a corporation's been treated as a separate legal entity since the Middle Ages.)

Classical Trinitarian theology (not Modalism, which is what most Mormons mistakenly believe Trinitarianism to be) is actually a lot closer to what Mormons actually teach about the unity of the Godhead, and the distinctiveness of its constituent persons, than anybody seems to think.

Newport Beach, CA

"Brother Millet has addressed, in his book "More Holiness Give Me", the issue of Jesus being too casually considered as our big brother in a family setting rather than being worshiped as God the creator of worlds without number."

It's worse than that. The danger in making Christ too much like us, and not enough like God, is not so much that we'll treat Him too irreverently, but that we may treat our religious authorities too much like Christ.

If Christ is not fundamentally different from us in a critical respect -- that is, he's God and we're not -- then, recognizing his obvious holiness, we might tend to view him, and the people on earth we associate with "holiness," in mostly the same way. That is, we might come to see Christ as a kind of glorified General Authority. But He's more than that, and General Authorities, as good as they are, are less than Christ. "Put not your trust in princes" includes princes of the Church. They are to be sustained in the exercise of their calling -- nothing more nor less. Christ is the ultimate authority, and the ultimate Judge.

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