The Cult of Christianity

After Sunday worship in recent months, Mormon bishops around the country gathered their congregations for an unusual PowerPoint presentation to unveil the church’s latest strategy for overcoming what it calls its “perception problem.”

Top Mormon leaders had hired two big-name advertising agencies in 2009, Ogilvy & Mather and Hall & Partners, to find out what Americans think of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Using focus groups and surveys, they found that Americans who had any opinion at all used adjectives that were downright negative: “secretive,” “cultish,” “sexist,” “controlling,” “pushy,” “anti-gay.”

On seeing these results, some of those watching the presentation booed while others laughed, according to people at the meetings. But then they were told that the church was ready with a response: a multimillion-dollar television, billboard and Internet advertising campaign that uses the tagline, “I’m a Mormon.” The campaign, which began in 2010, was recently extended to 21 media markets, and features the personal stories of members who defy stereotyping, including a Hawaiian longboard surfing champion, a fashion designer and single father in New York City and a Haitian-American woman who is mayor of a small Utah city.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ website says, “One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as “unorthodox.” For example, the LDS definition of the Godhead differs from the Nicene Creed accepted by most Catholic or Protestant churches. The “cult” label is usually applied by Church opponents attempting to criticize or discredit the Church. However, sometimes it’s simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding. Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship. When people begin to see and recognize these things about Mormons, then their opinion of the Church usually changes, and old beliefs are replaced with new understanding.”

Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, which gave rise to Mormonism. Smith is regarded by his followers as a prophet.

Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, the fourth child of Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. By 1817, Smith’s family had moved to the “burned-over district” of western New York, an area repeatedly swept by religious revivals during the Second Great Awakening. Smith family members held divergent views about organized religion, but they believed in visions and prophecies and engaged in folk religious practices typical of the era.

According to Smith, beginning in the early 1820s he had visions, in one of which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates, inscribed with a Christian history of ancient American civilizations. In 1830, he published an English translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon, and organized the Church of Christ, as the restoration of the early Christian church. Church members were later called Latter Day Saints, Saints, or Mormons.

Joseph Smith made many false prophecies and yje Book of Mormon is filled with errors and discrepancies. Remember, that YHVH defined false prophets in the Torah. Please note that having several fulfilled prophecies and even a single false prophecy still means that the person is not a true prophet of God.  The test for a prophet is not if he gets them most right, but all right.

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’– when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
(Deuteronomy 18:20-22 ESV)

Joseph Smith not only a false prophet, but he changed Scriptures and even wrote the Book of Mormon as an addition to the Holy Bible that was “corrupt and translated incorrectly” according to him.

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.
(Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV)

Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
(Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
(Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(Galatians 1:6-12 KJV)

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)

In 1831, Smith moved west to Kirtland, Ohio intending to establish a city of Zion in western Missouri, but Missouri settlers expelled the Saints in 1833. After leading Zion’s Camp, an unsuccessful expedition to recover the land, Smith began building a temple in Kirtland. In 1837, the Kirtland Safety Society, a bank established by Smith and other church leaders, collapsed. The following year Smith joined his followers in northern Missouri, where earlier settlers fearing the rapid growth of Mormon communities fought them in the 1838 Mormon War. The Saints were defeated and expelled from Missouri, and Smith was imprisoned.

After being allowed to escape state custody in 1839, Smith led his followers to settle at Nauvoo, Illinois on Mississippi River swampland. There he served as both mayor and commander of its large militia, the Nauvoo Legion. In early 1844, he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. That summer, after the Nauvoo Expositor criticized Smith’s practice of polygamy and called for the repeal of the Nauvoo Charter, the Nauvoo City Council ordered the paper’s destruction. During the ensuing turmoil, Smith first declared martial law and then surrendered to the governor of Illinois. Although the governor promised his safety, Smith was killed while awaiting trial in Carthage, Illinois.

Smith’s followers regard many of his publications as scripture. His teachings include unique views about the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. He is seen as one of the most charismatic and inventive figures of American history, and his followers regard him as a prophet of at least the stature of Moses and Elijah. Smith’s legacy includes a number of religious denominations, including the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Missouri-based Community of Christ, which collectively claim a growing membership of more than 14 million worldwide.

The Book of Abraham is a 1835 work produced by Joseph Smith that he said was based on Egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. According to Smith, the book was "a translation of some ancient records, purporting to be the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus". Smith's translation of the papyri describes a story of Abraham's early life, including a vision of the cosmos. Upon examination by Egyptologists, the papyri were found to bear no resemblance to Joseph Smith's interpretation, and were common Egyptian funerary texts, dating to about the first century BC. As a result, the Book of Abraham has been the source of significant controversy, with Mormon apologists offering a variety of explanations as to the reason for the differences.

So is the issue really an attempt to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Is the issue simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding? Do they have a perception problem or are they being fairly criticized?

The first thing someone will notice when looking at the cover of the Book of Mormon is that is proclaims itself to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul warned of exactly this kind of deception in his epistles to the churches in Cornith (G2882),  Greece (G882) and Galatia (G1053).

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
(2 Corinthians 11:1-4 ESV)

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)

In the Torah, YHVH commanded us, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV) and “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV).

In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon wrote, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV).

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John wrote, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19 ESV).

One common tactic that Satan uses to deceive people is to claim new revelations that aren’t in the Bible. His bag of tricks includes written “revelations” like the Book of Mormon and the Qur’an.  These extra-Biblical revelations are often very seductive because they offer alleged secret knowledge that wasn’t revealed in the Bible.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints considers itself not just a Christian denomination, but rather the only true expression of Christianity. However, the history, theology and practices of Mormonism show this religious movement to be outside of orthodox Christianity.

Mormons believe that their church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30), the only organization authorized by the Almighty God to preach His Gospel and administer the ordinances of salvation, and the only Church which has power to save (Mormon Doctrine; 1977 ed, p. 136).

Mormons either deny or pervert every essential doctrine of historic Christianity, including the uniqueness of God, the virgin birth, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture (by relegating it to a position below their other sacred writings), and salvation by grace through faith.

Individuals who, while claiming to be Christians, reject one of more central key doctrines of the Christian faith are considered heretics. Groups which reject such doctrines while claiming to represent Christianity, are considered cults of Christianity. A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible. Thus, while Mormons profess to be Christians, they are outside orthodox Christianity and the Mormon Church is considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity.

Is Mormonism Christian? No, Mormonism is not Christian. Why is Mormonism a non-Christian religion? It is not Christian because it denies that there is only one God, denies the true Gospel, adds works to salvation, denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator, distorts the biblical teaching of the atonement, and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible.

Mormon theology teaches that God is only one of countless gods, that he used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god on that world, and that he brought one of his wives to this world with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus. The second was Satan, and then we all followed.  The Bible says that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6-8; Isaiah 45:5), that God has  been God eternally (Psalm 90:2) , which means he was never a man on another planet.  Since the Bible denies the existence of other gods (and goddesses), the idea that Jesus is the product of a god and goddess couple is rejected.  The Bible tells us that the Jesus of Mormonism is definitely not the same Jesus of the Bible. Therefore, faith in the Mormon Jesus is faith misplaced because the Mormon Jesus doesn’t exist.

In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible.  The 8th article of faith from the Mormon Church states, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”  This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn’t trustworthy.

The interesting thing is that Joseph Smith (the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) allegedly corrected the Bible in what is called , though it is not used by the Mormon church.  Though they claim they trust the Bible, in reality they do not.  They use Mormon presuppositions to interpret it instead of letting it speak for itself.  For example, where the Bible says there are no other gods in the universe (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8), they interpret it to mean “no other gods of this world,” which is not what those verses say.  They do not trust the Bible and they often state that the Bible is not translated correctly.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also have many unusual rituals, such as baptism for the dead and eternal marriage. Mormons are also taught secret handshakes and are given secret names that are said to be necessary to enter heaven. Through these temple rituals men and women can become gods and goddesses, according to the Mormon Church. It claims that these rites were a part of early Christianity but were sabotaged by false teachers. However, these Mormon temple rituals are not supported by the Bible, ancient Jewish literature, or early Christian history. Many the rituals and symbolism found in Mormonism have roots in paganism and Freemasonry.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1 ESV)

So is the issue really an attempt to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Is the issue simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding? Do they have a perception problem or are they being fairly criticized?

Nobody that calls Mormonism a cult is unfairly attempting to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The problem with Mormonism is not a matter of characterization that has grown up over time through a lack of understanding. The problem with Mormonism is Mormon Doctrine which is entirely unorthodox. The problem with the Mormon Church is that they worship “another Jesus” who is Satan’s brother and a god who used to be a man on the planet Kolob before he was exalted to become a deity.

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