Many people are simply mislead or uninformed on what Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) believe about doctrines concerning Jesus Christ, the Bible, and temples. I can testify that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”) believes in all the teachings that Jesus Christ has given us thus far, as well as in following continuing revelation given by modern day apostles and prophets. The Church teaches its members to love and serve others, and to keep the commandments of God. Mormons support the Bible as well as additional inspired scripture, such as the Book of Mormon, that have been given to the world by revelation. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ is guided by Jesus Christ and is in harmony with Him and His teachings. I’ve felt the Holy Spirit testify this to me as I’ve striven to keep the commandments, follow the ordained prophet of God, and serve those around me.
As a result of much misunderstanding and disagreement on what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe concerning the Bible and other doctrines, D. Lauritsen, a Mormon professor, addresses some of the reasons some mainstream Christians oppose the Church (“Mormonism”) in this article below:
Why Do Some Mainstream Christians Oppose Mormonism?
Brief Answer: For some mainstream Christians and their ministers, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is seen as threatening, even diabolic, because of its rapid growth, prosperity, and increasing influence. Other Christians shun the Latter-day Saints because of doctrinal differences—differences that upon closer examination reveal the Latter-day Saints (original Christians) to be in closer harmony with the pattern and teachings of Christ’s ancient Church than today’s mainstream Christian denominations are.
Detailed Answer: Among mainstream Christianity’s most commonly stated reasons for opposing and denouncing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the false allegations that (1) Mormons add to God’s word; (2) Mormons don’t believe in the Bible; (3) Mormons conduct bizarre, secret rituals in their temples; and (4) Mormons are of the devil and are leading millions of people to hell. These public allegations will now be addressed.
Reason 1 for opposing Mormons: The Bible specifically says, in its final chapter, that “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (revelation 22:18). Therefore, many mainstream Christians say that Mormons are cursed, blasphemous, and anathematized because they have “added to these things” by publishing the Book of Mormon and claiming it’s a continuation of God’s word.
Response: Most Bible scholars agree that John’s book of revelation was not the last of the Bible’s sixty-six books to be written, and that it wasn’t placed at the end of the Bible until much later, when all the books of the Bible were gathered in current form. Thus, while John rightly threatened a plague on anyone who tried to “add unto these things” (his writings), he clearly was not inferring that his writings signaled the end of God’s revelation to his children. Otherwise, John would have been denying or overturning the words of his old Testament predecessor, Amos, who had solemnly declared, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
The Latter-day Saints testify that these words of Amos are as true today as they were when he spoke them: God does continue to reveal his will to his living prophets and apostles. Because mainstream Christianity no longer believes that God reveals his will to living prophets, it must put its total reliance on the Bible. From the viewpoint of mainstream Christianity, the Bible contains all of God’s word—past, present, and future. In other words, mainstream Christianity believes that God has no more to say to his children. Although he continued to speak to his Jewish children across one generation to the next, across one century to the next, across one millennium to the next, God somehow didn’t need or want to communicate with his children in other parts of the ancient world nor with his children of today’s world. If this type of reasoning is correct, then what God said to Moses should have been sufficient, and there would have been no need for him to have spoken to Samuel. Indeed, some Israelites likely said, “We have all of the Lord’s words in the five books of Moses. We don’t need a book of Samuel.”
Similarly, some of Ezra’s people probably said, “We have the books of Moses and Samuel. We don’t need the words of Ezra.” The same could be said with the people of Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, and so on. In this manner, men have unwittingly attempted to silence God during their own era. It was precisely this situation that the Lord prophesied through his ancient American prophet, Nephi, referring to the last days:
And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. . . . Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations [ancient Israel and ancient America] is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. . . . And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. . . . For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall speak unto all the nations of the earth and they shall write it (2 Nephi 29:3, 8–12).
Reason 2 for opposing Mormons: Mormons don’t believe in the Bible or that it’s perfect.
Response: The Latter-day Saints have always believed in the Bible, firmly and faithfully. However, as stated in the eighth article of faith, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (emphasis added) (Articles of Faith 1:8). One example of serious mistranslation is found in Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.” As this sentence stands, it is clearly false and misleading, for no one can “go on unto perfection” by “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ.” Was Paul, therefore, preaching false doctrine? No; the scribe who recopied or translated Paul’s epistle (or the seventeenth century printer who set the type) obviously left out one small, but very crucial word, not. The scripture should read, “Therefore not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.”
Regarding Judas’ death, the Book of Matthew says: “And [Judas] cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). Yet the Book of Acts says: “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:18). These scriptural passages are in obvious conflict. Which one are we to believe?
And regarding Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:7 says, “And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless hearing a voice, but seeing no man.” Yet thirteen chapters later we read, “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spoke to me” (Acts 22:9). Again, the Bible contains contradictory information. Which account are we to believe? yet, contradictory information is not the only imperfection in the Bible— the Bible does not contain all of God’s word. The Bible—a compendium of sixty-six separate books of scripture—cites more than a dozen books of scripture that are not found within the Bible:
Book of the Covenant Book of the Wars of the Lord, Book of Jasher, Book of the Acts of Solomon, Books of Nathan and Gad, Prophecy of Ahijah and Visions of Iddo, Book of Shemaiah, Book of Jehu, Acts of Uzziah, Sayings of the Seers, an earlier (missing) epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, another (missing) epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, an epistle of Paul from Loadicea, (missing) an earlier epistle of Jude Prophecies of Enoch (Exodus 24:7; Numbers 21:14; Joshua 10:13; 1 Kings 11:41; 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 12:15; 2 Chronicles 20:34; 2 Chronicles 26:22; 2 Chronicles 33:19; 1 Corinthians 5:9; Ephesians 3:3; Colossians 4:16; Jude 3; Jude 14).
By citing some of the errors, contradictions, and missing books of the Bible, the object is not to degrade nor discredit the Bible; rather, it is to point out that mainstream Christianity’s adamant claim—that the Bible contains all of God’s word in perfect, unquestionable form and therefore contains the fulness of the gospel—is both inaccurate and misleading. It is not blasphemous nor heretical to acknowledge this fact.
Reason 3 for opposing Mormons: Mormons conduct bizarre secret rituals in their temples.
Response: This time-worn allegation has been shown to be totally false. A detailed response is contained in the answer to Question 12.
Reason 4 for opposing Mormons: Mormons are of the devil, and they are leading millions of people to hell.
Response: Interestingly, this same accusation was leveled at Jesus as he went around doing good (Matthew 9:32–34; 11:18–19; 12:22–28). But oddly enough, the accusations did not come from the common people; they came from the prevailing religious establishment of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees (Matthew 12:24). Today, the Latter-day Saints are known worldwide for doing good, not only among themselves and their own families, but in reaching out as first responders with massive relief aid to victims of natural disasters and the chaos of war.
In virtually every nation, Latter-day Saints are well known for their good citizenship, patriotism, cultural achievements, strong families, and devotion to Jesus Christ. Indeed, the lives of members who sincerely practice the teachings of the Church reflect the fruits of their religion clearly and unmistakably. Thus, today when the prevailing religious establishment—mainstream Christianity—accuses the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of being of the devil, the establishment has failed to heed Christ’s twin admonitions: “ye shall know them by their fruits. . . . A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. . . . Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:16–20), and “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1–7). Paul echoed the Savior’s words: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, o man, whosoever thou are that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself” (romans 2:1).
Mormons are Christian. Learn more at the official site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
D. Lauritsen, Mormons Under a Microscope, (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, Inc., 2010), 31-35.