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Friday, November 15, 2013

Dear Sally - A Critical Difference (7 of 7)

 Continued from the previous post, "Man With the Sketchy Plan."


Dear Sally:
    I see a critical difference - in Mormonism, a man was exalted to become a god. Supposedly, that god had a son called Jesus, who became our savior. But Christian faith has always taught that God humbled Himself to become a man. We know that Man as Jesus Christ, and that’s whom we trust as our Savior and follow as our Lord.


    The Jesus of the Bible is God Himself, in human form. He was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit in a miracle known in Christian tradition as the Incarnation.  None of us comprehend it, but all of us marvel at the thought that a holy God would humble Himself to become one of us and thereby qualify to become our Redeemer. The Bible calls Him Immanuel - “God with us:”


From Matthew 1:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

 
The prophet referred to by Matthew’s Gospel is the prophet Isaiah, whose book is found in the Old Testament:


14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Is. 7:14)

So Jesus is the Son of God, fully God and truly human. He is God’s “only begotten Son,” meaning unique in essence. There will never be another son like God the Son because....drum roll please.... THE SON IS GOD!


     Why is that an important distinction? Because the Son of God was, unlike the rest of us, the only One who ever pre-existed with and as God - if Joseph Smith had actually had a visitation from God as he claims, he would have seen ONE person, not two. The Jesus of the Bible was completely without sin, and therefore uniquely qualified to offer His life on the Cross for our sins.  That is why John the Baptist said of Him, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  It was the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the Cross that atones for our sins, something which anyone may appropriate by genuine repentance and faith. I realize that Mormons believe in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, but he cannot be the same Jesus that Christians follow, if he was “begotten” of an exalted man! A savior who came from a man who claims to be God is not the biblical Savior.



Friday, November 8, 2013

Dear Sally - The Man With the Sketchy Plan (6 of 7)

 Continued from the previous post, "Where Do I Start...!"

Dear Sally:
We could wrangle over the differences between Christianity and Mormonism for a long, long time - there’s a lot of them. The point that really matters, however, boils down to this one:  Joseph Smith taught his followers that Jesus was a son of God, just as anybody else (including angels) is a son of God. They do point out, however, that they believe Jesus is “the literal, only begotten son in the flesh.” Since Smith taught that “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man,” that can only mean one thing: Mormon-God (aka “Elohim”) had physical, sexual relations with Mary. Mormon-Jesus is “only begotten” because apparently that’s the only son Mormon-God produced that way. That would make Mormon-God an adulterer, by the way, since he is supposedly already has a spirit-wife in heaven.  If LDS teaching is “true doctrine,” as you claim it is, then the Jesus of the Book of Mormon is clearly not the Jesus of the Bible - he’s the product of an alien abduction!
 
    This heretical teaching is directly contrary to the Bible which states that the Holy Spirit would overshadow Mary: 


35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.  (Luke 1:35)


Jesus Christ was not conceived by a physical union!  Mormon doctrine reduces Jesus to being just a son of God (“HF”), like Brigham Young or Donnie Osmond or even Satan, whom Mormons maintain is the spirit-brother of Mormon-Jesus.  Again, here’s how Joseph Smith stated his “revelation:”
 



“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).


God used to be a man on another planet, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321; Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 613-614; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 345; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333).


 
So it would appear that Mormon-God (“HF”) was once a man on some other planet who managed to reach an exalted state that qualified him to be god (an exalted man) of planet earth. Right. Where do I even begin to untangle this rat's nest of error! Actually, blasphemy would be a good place to start because for a man - "exalted" or not - to take for himself the titles reserved for the God of the Bible is to blaspheme


    The way I see it, if Mormon-God was once a man, “as we are now,” then he is under the same curse of sin that Adam and Eve came under when they sinned in the Garden of Eden. That means Mormon-God is a sinner and incapable of doing anything at all to help me spiritually.  Yet Joseph Smith would have me believe that Mormon-God reached some type of “exalted state” to become a god and rule his own planet, which I assume is our earth.  Somehow Mormon-God pulled himself up by his bootstraps to overcome his sinful state and redeem himself, since he’s a god and all.  Or maybe Mormon-Jesus died for the sins of “Heavenly Father” since, as Smith claims, “he was once a man as we are now?” Maybe Mormon-Jesus has been engaging in interplanetary travel and was crucified for sins on each planet, including HF’s old planet. Maybe Mormon-God was from a planet with no sin problem. That would have put him on the fast-track to "exaltation," no question! And now in his “exalted man/god-ness” Mormon-God (HF) is supposed to be able to help me.  How? And to do what - work, work, work toward god-ness of my own?  How utterly exhausting, not to mention impossible!



    So just how did Mormon-God became “an exalted man,” anyway?  And if somehow reaching an “exalted state” is the pinnacle of Mormon-God’s plan of salvation, what does that mean for the folks who don't quite cut the mustard?  What if you die before you get married or before accumulating enough merit to reach an “exalted state?” Will you be assigned to parking cars or waiting on tables on some other spiritually successful Mormon’s planet?  And just how are you supposed to know when your “exalted state” is secured? Joseph Smith’s “plan of salvation” seems awfully sketchy to me.



To be continued...