Skye shares his thoughts after returning from the Global Church Forum and then the guys answer listener questions – ranging from religion vs. relationship to science vs. creation! PLUS a discussion around a recent Pew study that says America is less than 50% Protestant Christian for the first time in history. This week on the podcast!
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Phil said he thinks Catholics are Christians too. (Admittedly, he said it while singing on his ukulele, so…)
I am in awe that you don’t welcome members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Christian. Just like the early saints, we’ve been given a moniker, Mormons, that was/is used derisively.
I know this whole debate is argued on the internet ad nauseum. Just consider reading the Book of Mormon one time and then tell me that I’m not Christian. As Phil noted, the word Christian appears only three times in the New Testament. In the Book of Mormon, it appears in two different chapters. Here’s one:
“And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.”
There are even more references to “taking upon ourselves the name of Christ.”
Notice how many different sects there are in Christianity. We all have different beliefs. I recognize you guys as Christian even though you believe different things than I do. I am baffled by “mainstream Christianity’s” lack of reciprocation. It’s like telling a D.O. that he’s not really a doctor because he’s not an M.D. You can repeat the mantra all you want and as loud as you want, but it doesn’t make it true.
Skye, I was at the Global Church Forum. I could only make it to the panel discussion on Wednesday, but I thought you did a good job MCing. Thanks for doing it.
Rulds – I can’t speak for Phil, but I would be happy to engage in your discussion.
It appears that you are seeking common ground with Christians by trying to emphasize the similarities in their history, texts, and implied beliefs. In fact, based on my experience with talking to other LDS members, this is a typical starting point in order to remove barriers. There’s nothing wrong with trying to remove obstacles, however, but asking someone to read the Book of Mormon for doctrinal comparison to Christianity is misleading since the BoM really doesn’t contain the huge contentious pillars of your faith. I’m sure you are aware of this. That is why it takes several discussions before a newcomer to the Mormon set of beliefs is exposed to the Doctrines and Covenants as well as the Pearl of Great Price (for those not familiar, these are other foundational books to the Mormon faith that introduce many new doctrines not found in the Bible or even in the Book of Mormon).
However, my goal is not to antagonize you, not at all, rather I’m happy to have a conversation with you about this topic.
In my opinion, the whole discrepancy between Christianity and Mormonism can be boiled down to just a few key differences.
1.) Who is God the Father? Christian faith says Father God is eternal, He has always been, He has always had all power, and He was never created by any other, because there is none before Him or greater than him. The Mormon faith says that Father God had parents who created him, that he was a man once (just like us, but on a different planet), and that he was not always all powerful. Both faiths talk about God with the same “name”, but we are talking about very different versions that do not agree.
2.) Who is Jesus? Christians say that Jesus is God (a part of the Trinity), he was the creator of all things and present at and participated in the creation of the world and all things, He lowered himself from his throne in Heaven to take on a body and become a man to pay for the sins of all men on the cross. Mormons say that Jesus is not God and there is no Trinity, but rather he is our brother, that Jesus was created by God the Father along with all of us and our spirits before we were sent here to earth. That Jesus is just another spirit, like us, that came up with the plan for propitiation of sins. And that Jesus and Satan are brothers. Both faiths talk about Jesus with the same “name”, but we are talking about very different versions that do not agree.
3.) How do you get to Heaven to spend eternity with our Heavenly Father? Christians say that we are saved by GRACE through FAITH and that there is nothing we can do to earn our way to Heaven and eternity with God, but we must accept Christ’s payment for our sins as our only means of atonement with God. Mormons say you must accept Christ as well, but that just gets you “salvation” (not the same meaning as Christians), which only gets you to the bottom level of Heaven where God the Father cannot go. In fact there are 3 Mormon heavens, all with their own levels (10 levels in all, I believe) and that Father God can only visit the 3rd level and in order to get there the Mormon faith says you MUST do a whole bunch of things (to earn your way to eternity with God the Father). Things like being baptized only in the Mormon temple by a Mormon approved High Priest, being married in the Mormon temple by a Mormon High Priest, wearing the special Mormon undergarments, paying 1/10 of your income to the Mormon Church (you can’t get to the top level of Heaven unless you always fully do this), there are many many things that are prescribed by the Mormon Church that you must do to EARN your way to Heaven with Father God. Both faiths talk about getting to Heaven with God the Father, but we are talking about very different versions that do not agree.
Bottom line: On the surface, Christianity and Mormonism sound compatible, and even if you read the Book of Mormon you might think they could be, but they are different faiths using similar terminology to describe very different beliefs that do not agree.
I am always amazed when Mormons seek to say that Christians and Mormons are on the same team, because the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, said that God personally told him that the Christian church was an abomination and that that the Christians had messed up God’s ‘true’ plan for people. How can it be that Christians are an abomination AND that Mormons want to be considered Christians? This is just one of many differences that Joseph Smith and other early leaders of the LDS church believed compared to their teachings of today.
I just want to conclude with a statement about myself. I have had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ since I was a young boy. I have never been a part of the LDS church and I don’t have a grudge or ‘bone to pick’ with any Mormon believers. All of the statements above and my conclusions are from me alone and the result of my own personal research into the LDS faith. I have had many conversations with Mormon members and I have friends that are Mormons. Often times I find that Mormons don’t like to be confronted with the challenges of their beliefs and how they don’t correlate with the Bible. And the common reaction is to assume that I have been “anti’d” against the church by former LDS members who are spreading false stories. This is not the case with me and I am open to hearing your rebuttal to my arguments and comments in a respectful and thought-provoking manner as I have tried to do with you. I would honestly like to one day find someone in the Mormon faith who is a believer of the same Christian God and the same Christian Jesus and the same Christian salvation… But I never have. If and when I do, maybe then we could sing a whimsical song that says “some of them are Christians too!”
It is an old terra firma but the things on it are young. It is both/and not either/or. I don’t care what you call me-Christian or not-Jesus loves me so you should too. Why classify yourself when others will do it for you based on your actions.
Then the same would hold true for ALL flora and fauna, not just human beings, right?Will there be a septraae heaven for slugs and viruses or will they be there with the humans?THAT would be wierd angels with head colds. +9