Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
In line with their doctrine of eternal progression, Mormonism maintains that man started off as intelligent matter. Then he took on a spirit form by being born into the family of our Heavenly Father and his wife through the normal marital process. When he had progressed sufficiently, he went on to the next stage by taking on a body of flesh and bone. But this time around he was born into a family of fallen, earthly parents.
Prior to progressing to godhood, our Heavenly Father had followed exactly the same processes as man. He too had started off as intelligent matter and has a Heavenly Father who had sired him spiritually, and who is his God … and who in turn has his own Heavenly Father, who is his God. As we can see, LDS teachings allow for innumerable Gods in the universe.
Mormon teaching is that by living in obedience to their laws and ordinances during our lifetime on earth, just as the Heavenly Father had done, we too can earn our right to full salvation, exaltation to godhood, and eternal life.
“The Father is a glorified, perfected resurrected,
exalted man who worked out his own salvation by obedience
to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the
same.” (LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, in A New
Witness for the Articles of Faith, page 64)
“Brethren 225,000 of you are here tonight. I suppose 225, 000 of you may become gods. There seems to be plenty of space out there in the universe.” (12th LDS President Spencer W. Kimball, The Ensign, November, 1975, page 80).
“As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.” (Teachings of the Prophets of the Church, Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 5, The Grand Destiny of the Faithful.)
Before we go any further, we need to make the point that Mormonism’s doctrine of eternal progression contradicts all the major teachings of the Bible.
The God of the Bible is the only real God who has ever existed (Isaiah 44:6). He is infinite and eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27), and so is His Word (1 Peter 1:24-25). This means that He has always been exactly whom He presently is, i.e. an unchanging God of purity, righteousness, goodness, perfection, power, truth and light. John 5:26 tells us that He has life in Himself (i.e. He is self-existing). And He is the source of all other life (Jeremiah 2:13). Everyone and everything that exists, including time and space, was created by Him and is upheld by His mighty power.
On the other hand, because the Mormon God lived as a fallen man on a planet similar to earth before he attained godhood, he could not possibly have had anything to do with either the creation of the universe or the laws that govern it. He is merely a product of the universe and is subject to it in the same way that we are. And as he is also a product of eternal progression, he is, has been, and always will be subject to change … eternally. Furthermore, he is only one of a myriad of Mormon Gods, all stemming from eternal progression.
The first commandment forbids the worship of any being other than the biblical God.
Mormons are taught that the Bible has been corrupted in two ways: Firstly, it has been incorrectly translated, and secondly, large and important sections were removed by evil priests.
However, the same biblical God who created and sustains the entire universe and all that is in it, gave us the Bible for our spiritual guidance and protection. So the Mormon claim that He was unable to protect it from corruption just doesn’t make sense.
Mankind was the pinnacle of God’s creation. When He made us He had something special in mind. He wanted us to enjoy His fellowship and to represent Him on earth by ruling over the rest of His creation (Genesis 1:28). That was why (unlike the animals), He made us in his own moral and intellectual likeness; with the ability to think in abstracts, reason, plan our actions in a logical manner, communicate in complex language forms and so on.
When the Bible says that God made us in His image, we know that this did not refer to His physical likeness because in other places it tells us that He is Spirit, and that His presence fills both the heavens and the earth (c/f John 4:24, Jeremiah 23:24, 2 Chronicles 6:18, Hebrews 4:13, Job 34:21).
Beings that are already in existence do not need to be created. So our common sense tells us that man had not existed prior to to when God had created him in Genesis. Joseph Smith’s attempt to justify his unbiblical theology by coming up with his own exclusive meaning of the Hebrew word for create is rejected by all Hebrew scholars of repute.
In Genesis 3:4-5 Satan assured Eve that eating the forbidden fruit would not bring about their deaths, as God had said it would. Instead, he said, it would make them like God. But he was the one who was intent on deception, not God. When they partook of the forbidden fruit, sin severed the spiritual link between themselves and God and they lost their fellowship with Him. They became dead to the things of the spirit and their bodies began the process of decay that would end in physical death.
Had mankind followed God’s ways, our lives would have reflected His glory. The whole earth would have been like the Garden of Eden … a paradise. And we would have lived in close communion with God in a relationship exuding joy, peace, togetherness and love both towards Him and towards one another. But instead Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan. And their actions resulted in a a fallen race and a cursed earth.
Although Adam and Eve were original creations, their descendents came into being through procreation. Consequently we inherited their sin-tainted natures. Their fall into sin brought about distrust, enmity, suffering, fear, anguish, disease and death. And we’re caught in a downward spiral, which has to end in God’s judgment.
Although mankind still bears the imprint of God’s image, it has been marred and distorted by sin. And instead of God being central in our lives, our fallen “selves” occupy that paramount position, which by rights belongs to God alone.
When considering Mormonism’s claims of man having the ability to progress to godhood, we need to remember that Satan’s own fall came about because of his attempt to raise himself to the level of God:
“For thou hast said in thine heart … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:13-15, KJV)
Mormonism teaches that the fall of Adam and Eve was part of a plan worked out by a heavenly council, during our pre-existence. (Notice that the Mormon God is not sovereign over all, but was part of the council.) They maintain that the fall was necessary as it would enable Adam and Eve to reproduce and thereby provide bodies for the spirits in heaven who were eagerly waiting to take on flesh so that they could continue with their journey of eternal progression. Consequently they look upon the fall as a blessing. Here is an extract from one of their relevant scriptures, written by Joseph Smith:
“And in that day [the day of the fall] Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we should never have had seed, and we should never have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:10.)
On the other hand, the Bible consistently refers to the fall as a tragedy that brought about the spiritual ruination of mankind.
Mormon salvation concerns man earning the right to forgiveness of his own, personal sins through obedience to LDS laws and ordinances. On the other hand, their idea of eternal life is related more to eternal progression than to salvation from sin. Consequently they link eternal life and godhood together. You cannot have one without the other. Their meaning of eternal life is eternal reproduction of their seed to populate worlds over which they will rule (c/f Doctrine and Covenants 132:18-20). For this reason, only Mormons who have been married in an LDS temple for time and eternity, will qualify for eternal life (i.e. godhood).
As we can see, in Mormonism, neither forgiveness of personal sins nor the attainment of eternal life resemble anything taught in the Bible.
The Bible assures us that trusting in Christ for salvation attains two things, forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.
The Bible is a spiritual book. So when it refers to life it does so in a spiritual way. And the same applies with eternal life. The spiritual birth (mentioned by Christ in John 3) amplifies what eternal life is all about. It is the beginning of a new, transforming spiritual dimension in our lives, that we had not known before; that commences the moment we trust in Christ and that will continue for eternity. This is the eternal life that the Bible teaches.
“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom
he hath sent.”(John 6:29, KJV).
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life ….” (1 John 5:13, KJV)
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39, KJV)
“… Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39, KJV)
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15, KJV).
Biblical salvation entails salvation from both the eternal consequences of sin and from the power of sin (c/f What is Biblical Salvation?).
The reality is that Mormonism and Christianity are two completely different religions with opposing doctrines. Christianity is strictly biblical. On the other hand, LDS teachings and scriptures tell a very different story to that of the the Bible. As Robert L. Millet, the well known Mormon apologist and former Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, puts it:
“… the Bible is not the source of our doctrine or our authority, nor is much to be gained through trying to “prove” the truthfulness of the restored gospel from the Bible.” (Getting at the Truth: Responding to Difficult Questions about LDS Beliefs, Kindle version, by Robert L. Millet.)
The following articles have relevance to what we have been discussing:
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