Showing posts with label Are Mormons Christians?. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Are Mormons Christians?. Show all posts

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Baptist Minister Believes in The Book of Mormon

No, you didn't read that headline incorrectly.

Dr. Lynn Ridenhour, a Baptist minister from Kansas City, Missouri (yes, Missouri), gave an interview on the Book of Mormon for BYU TV that will either make you very, very angry (if you're an anti-Mormon, and especially an anti-Mormon Baptist), or very, very hopeful (if you're tired of being harangued by anti-Mormon Baptists with tired, overdone, unquestioned talking points they can't wait to use on you).

My favorite quote from the video, then I'll let you get on with watching it.

"I did not find one thing that contradicted the Bible. In fact, sometimes I tell my Baptist buddies the Book of Mormon is more Baptist than the Baptist hymnal."

Monday, October 15, 2012

How to investigate the LDS Church

How do I find out more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)

If you're wondering what the LDS Church is and how its members worship and understand its teachings, here are the steps I recommend. In general form (ignoring the LDS specifics below), these are the steps I recommend for when anyone is interested in learning the spiritual aspects of any religious organization and/or the truth of anything at all.

1. Use the Meetinghouse Locator to find and attend several meetings of your local congregation (called a "ward"). I suggest going for more than a month straight, so you can see broader picture (for example, differences between Fast and Testimony meeting on the 1st Sunday of every month vs. the regular sacrament meeting programs). 

2. Attend all three hours of each week's meeting block to hear what is taught in Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, and Priesthood (or Relief Society).

3. Attend at least one cultural event or activity outside of a Sunday meeting. There's usually at least one per month in every ward. Ask a member or look in the program flyer each Sunday for the latest announcements.

4. Read along with the classes that are being taught. Start with the essentials of the Gospel, through the Gospel Principals manual. Study the Our Heritage book for an overview of LDS Church history. Then, move on to the Sunday School manuals. This year's class has been the Book of Mormon. The classes rotate annually over a period of four years: Year 1: Old Testament, Year 2: New Testament, Year 3: Book of Mormon, Year 4: Doctrine & Covenants.

5. Ask the missionaries to teach you. Tell them you'd like a member of the Church who is not a full-time missionary to accompany them so you can get a second perspective from a "regular" member. Meet LDS Church members online and at church meetings and activities.

6. Visit LDS.org/conference and listen to the most recent words of apostles and the prophet.

7. Read a Church magazine, such as The Ensign (adults), The New Era (youth), or The Friend (children) and The Liahona (international).

8. For any questions you have about doctrine, the entire library of everything we teach in all of our weekly meetings is found online at LDS.org/manual

9. Visit a nearby visitor's center, historic site, pageant, or temple. Learn how the Church takes care of the poor and needy via its humanitarian programDeseret Industries and provident living (welfare) programs.


As you study and attend and discuss:

A. Set aside doubts long enough to feel the Spirit. "The Savior said, 'Come unto me' (Matthew 11:28) and 'Knock, and it shall be [given] you' (Matthew 7:7). These are action verbs—come, knock. They are choices. So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism." (Faith—the Choice is Yours, Richard C. Edgley, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric)

B. Live the teachings and doctrine (John 7:16-17) and pray to know whether what you've been taught is true. From Elder David A. Bednar's October 2012 conference talk on conversion:

"As Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He posed this penetrating question to His disciples: “Whom say ye that I am?”

"Peter responded forthrightly:

"'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'

"'And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven' (Matthew 16:15–17).

"As is evidenced in Peter’s reply and the Savior’s instruction, a testimony is personal knowledge of spiritual truth obtained by revelation. A testimony is a gift from God and is available to all of His children. Any honest seeker of truth can obtain a testimony by exercising the necessary 'particle of faith' in Jesus Christ to 'experiment upon' (Alma 32:27) and 'try the virtue of the word' (Alma 31:5), to yield 'to the enticings of the Holy Spirit' (Mosiah 3:19), and to awaken unto God (see Alma 5:7). Testimony brings increased personal accountability and is a source of purpose, assurance, and joy.

"Seeking for and obtaining a testimony of spiritual truth requires asking, seeking, and knocking (see Matthew 7:7; 3 Nephi 14:7) with a sincere heart, real intent, and faith in the Savior (see Moroni 10:4). Fundamental components of a testimony are knowing that Heavenly Father lives and loves us, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that the fulness of the gospel has been restored to the earth in these latter days."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book of Mormon Month - Day 10: The Book of Mormon: Strengthening Our Faith in Jesus Christ

Day 10 and we're 1/3 of the way through our 30 day reading challenge. Again, don't worry if you're not matching the 17.1 pages per day to actually finish. Stop and smell the flowers in this great book of scripture. Today's topic is using the Book of Mormon to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon: Strengthening Our Faith in Jesus Christ

Compiled from the teachings of prophets through several centuries, the Book of Mormon was written for a future time when a restoration of priesthood keys, along with a great gathering of the house of Israel, would prepare the world for the Savior’s return to the earth (see 2 Nephi 25; 27; 3 Nephi 21). Nephi described the sacred text as “the voice of one crying from the dust” (2 Nephi 33:13). Moroni declared: “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me” (Mormon 8:35). Read more or Listen

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Review: The Holy Bible & Mormonism

Here is a book review I have written on a book by Christopher Mills entitled The Holy Bible & Mormonism. Feel free to download the PDF and read it, send copies to friends, etc.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Are Mormons Christians? Notes the Debate (Part 1)

"After all, the Saints asked themselves, is not the name of our Church the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Do we not worship Christ? Is not the Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ?" - Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians?, page vii.

Recently, I had the privilege of aquatinting myself with Professor Stephen E. Robinson's excellent volume entitled Are Mormons Christians?. In this short work of only 133 pages, Professor Robinson lays out his arguments that affirms the above question. Now I am not unaware of the fact that this debate has been raging since the days of Joseph Smith, and I do not pretend to be able to answer this question definitively and finally once and for all. Since all human beings are agents unto themselves insofar as they have the ability to formulate their own opinions on these matters (though it should be remembered that just because one has an opinion that does not mean that said opinion is correct) the question as to whether or not Mormons are Christians is not likely to be resolved any time soon in the minds of critics of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-day Saints; particularly those of a fundamentalist Protestant influence.

However, I wish to offer some of my own musings on this subject in conjunction with the Book of Mormon. In other words, I wish to compliment and augment Professor Robinson's arguments that the Latter-day Saints are Christians with my own exegesis of the Book of Mormon. 

Much Ado About Nothing: An Introduction to the Problem

The Latter-day Saints, with their peculiar doctrines to contemporary Christians of modern Prophets, new scriptures, revelation and open heavens, have always been viewed, at best, as a quaint and tolerable little sect of no harm or consequence to bulk of Christendom. At worst, however, the Latter-day Saints are nothing more or less than a pernicious and evil cult, founded by a transparent fraud, designing to steal the righteous souls of Christians everywhere with their damnable heresies and pretentious claims to divine authority. Thus, as Douglas Cowan has explained, modern counter-cultists like "Dr." Walter Martin have striven long and hard to delegitimize the Latter-day Saints as non-Christians by a variety of tactics. After all, the likes of Martin reasoned, we can't have people claiming to be Christian who don't believe in the sole authority of the Bible or who claim that works play in role in salvation. Thus, because the Latter-day Saints don't adhere to Protestant doctrines such as sola scriptura or sola fides, to name only two doctrines, and because of their heretical beliefs such as theosis, plurality of gods and an open canon, they are not Christians. They might call themselves such, but don't be fooled! These dupes of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are no more Christians than Hindus are.

To the Latter-day Saints, the charge that they are not Christians goes beyond the absurd. It is simply ridiculous, they claim, that they are not Christians. While it is true that they differ substantially on a number of doctrines with other contemporary Christians, that does not change the fact that Jesus Christ is the center of their worship and devotion. Despite these protestations, the Latter-day Saints have had to bear the attacks of seemingly countless counter-cultist ministries, preachers and proponents. A steady and growing stream of books, pamphlets and even movies

 have been produced and distributed en masse by these crusading counter-cultists which all unequivocally declare one simple truth: Mormons are not Christians.

The Latter-day Saint response to this accusation has, for the most part, been to simply ignore these charges as nothing more than anti-Mormon rhetoric. Few Latter-day Saint authors have given the proposition that Mormons are not Christians little to no attention, since the claim is below contempt. Notwithstanding, some Latter-day Saints, both professional and lay member alike, have answered the accusations of the critics. Hugh Nibley, for example, delivered a series of lectures in the mid fifties designed to accomplish two things. First, Dr. Nibley sought to defend the Latter-day Saint view of prophets and prophecy in the face of contemporary Christian criticisms of such, which holds that prophecy and the need for prophets ended with the age of the Apostles. For the Protestants, the Bible is the sole authority, whilst the Catholics have the Holy See and the Catechisms to look to for guidance. Secondly, Dr. Nibley responded to the accusation that the Latter-day Saints are not Christians because they don't believe in a number of post-biblical doctrines such as the trinity. These lectures, delivered as a series of radio broadcasts with the immortal name Time Vindicates the Prophets, became the standard Latter-day Saint response to the charge that they are not Christian for several years.

Then, in 1992, Professor Robinson came on the scene and offered his rebuttal to this criticism. As one with some rather respectable credentials, Professor Robinson's work soon became something of the standard work next to Dr. Nibley's earlier arguments as the Latter-day Saint response to the accusation that the Latter-day Saints are not Christians. 

Opposition in All Things

Lehi informed his children that there must be an "opposition in all things." According to 2 Nephi 2:11:

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.

In other words, according to Lehi, there must be contradiction and opposition in all things so that one can determine the difference between two factors, ideas, morals, etc. It is the standard idea that we know there is darkness around us because of the absence of light. The Prophet Joseph Smith likewise taught that only by “proving contraries, truth is made manifest.”

How does this relate to the question of wether or not Mormons are Christians? It shows to me that the Latter-day Saints should not “shirk or shun the fight”, so to speak, when confronted by these accusations. Both Lehi and Joseph Smith understood that the Latter-day Saints need to equip themselves to deal with issues by facing the opposition and proving those contraries, as to better flesh out the truth.

In This Series

In this new series of posts, which I will expand upon in the coming weeks, I wish to analyze the arguments of Dr. Robinson in the light of the teachings of the Book of Mormon. I understand that not all of his arguments are readily applicable or relevant to a Book of Mormon exegesis, but a number of them are.

It is hoped that by the end of these posts the reader will come to realize that the Latter-day Saints are Christians in every aspect of the word.


1 Douglas Cowan, Bearing False Witness? An Introduction to the Christian Countercult (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003).

2 Martin was the writer of the dreadful screed The Kingdom of the Cults, which is something of the Bible of counter-cultists. Martin also made a number of claims about his credentials that were later discovered to be fraudulent, such as the claim that he was had a legitimate doctorate. On such, see Robert L. and Rosmary Brown, They Lie in Wait to Deceive, vol. 3, (Mesa, Arizona: Brownsworth Publishing, 1993).

3 Sandra Tanner, that indefatigable anti-Mormon sleuth, opined that Mormon theology “is as close to Christianity as Hinduism” in the horrid anti-Mormon video released by the Southern Baptist Convention entitled The Mormon Puzzle. Professor Daniel C. Peterson (FARMS Review, 10/1) in reviewing these materials, commented wryly: “One would very much like to pose a few questions to Ms. Tanner: What, for example, is the role of the Vedas or of the Upanishads in Latter-day Saint devotions? How central is the concept of karma to Mormon theology? What have the leaders of the church had to say about reincarnation, or the transmigration of souls? Is there any passage in Mormon scripture that advocates a rigid and complex caste system? Has an atheistic form of Mormonism, analogous to the Hindu atheist movements, been a fruitful element in Latter-day Saint intellectual history? Which is closer to Hindu monistic teaching, the Mormon concept of the Godhead or classical post-Nicene trinitarianism? Can Ms. Tanner name any Latter-day Saint hymn devoted to Vishnu? Would she care to comment on the rising bhakti movement among the followers of Joseph Smith? On the chanting of saffron-robed Mormon missionaries at American airports? (Hare Joseph!) As of yet—and these questions have been in print and available for many months—I have had no answer from Ms. Tanner. Perhaps she is still working her way through Whitney’s Sanskrit Grammar or Stenzler’s Elementarbuch der Sanskritsprache, and prefers to delay her response until she has a more secure command of the primary sources. I can sympathize. My copies of Stenzler and Whitney have lain largely untouched for years. Sanskrit is a dif´Čücult and intimidating language. Ms. Tanner can take whatever time she needs. I can wait. I am waiting.”

4 The most recent attempt was in 2007 with the release of The Search for the Truth: Jesus Christ vs. Joseph Smith. This insipid and pedestrian anti-Mormon video was reviewed by volunteers with the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research. See: http://en.fairmormon.org/Search_for_the_Truth_DVD

5 The distribution of these anti-Mormon materials unsolicited to Mormons and non-Mormons alike in bulk is, for example, a favorite tactic of the decidedly anti-Mormon Institute for Religious Research.

6 Dr. Nibley’s series has been republished multiple times. The most current offering is by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies in 1987 as The World and the Prophets (Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987).

7 According to the his brief biography in his book, Dr. Robinson received his PhD in Biblical Studies at Duke University. He has published with both LDS and non-LDS venues, such as FARMS, Revue de Qumran, Journal for the Study of Judaism and Society of Biblical Literature.

8 History of the Church, 6:428.

9 “True to the Faith”, number 254, Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1985)