Session 4 - More on Mormonism I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet . . . " (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 408-409). In this session we will look at more Mormon teachings
Mormonism and the Priesthood Priesthood authority is very important in Mormon theology since it is the means through which the Mormon Church supposedly has authority to administer the ordinances which bring salvation to humanity, to preach the Gospel, and govern the kingdom of God on this earth "We believe that a man must be called of God by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof," (5th Article of Faith).
"What is the Priesthood? It is nothing more or less than the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family... by which they may baptize for the remission of sins and lay on hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and by which they can remit sin with the sanction and blessing of Almighty God. It is the same power and priesthood that was committed to the disciples of Christ while He was upon the earth..." (Joseph F. Smith, 6th Prophet of the LDS Church, Gospel Doctrine, 1919, p. 173; also see Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, 1966, p. 594).
Mormons frequently take great pride in the fact that they have this priesthood authority and no other churches on earth do. In essence, there can be no true Church or true administering of the ordinances unless priesthood authority is given. This is the same approach taken by the Catholic Church Anyhow, there are two classes of priesthood in Mormonism: Aaronic and Melchizedek. Interestingly, for younger converts to Mormonism, Aaronic Priesthood is conferred at 12 years of age and the higher Melchizedek Priesthood is conferred at age 18.
Passage #1: John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit...." The LDS Church claims that Jesus is speaking about ordaining the apostles to the priesthood, but this passage does not state anything about priesthood ordination. No where in all of the Gospels or in the entire New Testament do we find any reference for this doctrine. Ordain here simply means "to appoint" or "to point out." The apostles were appointed to go and bring forth fruit, which they did once they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; cf. Acts 2) and then went and preached the Gospel
Passage #2: Acts 8:14-20 mentions Peter and John laying their hands on the people of Samaria who then received the Holy Spirit. It is simply referring to people who received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. It does not mention anything about an Aaronic or Priesthood authority. To infer such a teaching is to misinterpret the text.
Passage #3: James 5:14-15, another passage that the LDS church uses, states, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." Again, this passage does not mention anything about an Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood authority. The "elders of the church" in James 5 likely refers to those older wise individuals who were given authority in the church (cf. 1 Tim. 5:1; Acts 14:23; 21:18).
Passage #4: Hebrews 5:4 states, "And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." This passage does not refer to any command for the church today to institute an ordained priesthood by laying on hands. Aaron was called by God, not by Moses or anyone else laying hands on him (Num. 18:7; cf. Ex. 4:27). Aaron was anointed, but so was the tabernacle (Ex. 40:13) and everything in it (Ex. 40:9-15).
In contrast to the Mormon Church's teachings, the Bible has quite different things to say about priesthood. First, the Aaronic priesthood was limited to Jewish male members from the tribe of Levi who were descendents from Aaron (Ex. 28:1, Num. 3:5-13; Heb. 7:5). The priesthood was inherited by descent from Aaron, not received through ordination. It was never supposed to be practiced by Gentiles (non-Jews). There is absolutely no teaching about this doctrine of Aaronic priesthood being practiced by Gentiles in the Old or New Testaments.
Furthermore, the Aaronic priesthood was done away with through Christ as the final priest (Heb. 7:11-12) who fulfilled the Law as the eternal Priest (Heb. 7:11-28; 8:6-7ff). The Old Testament priests were mediators, but now Jesus is the only Mediator between men and God (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 7:24-25; Jn. 14:6). Therefore, there is no need for this Aaronic priesthood authority today. Since Christ's work is finished (John 19:30), there is no need for a High Priest on this earth. Christ is the only mediator and High Priest in heaven (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:1-6).
Second, there is absolutely no mention in the entire Bible about a special class of Melchizedek priests. Melchizedek is mentioned briefly in the Old Testament in two places (Gen. 14:18-20 and Ps. 110:1). In Genesis 14, Melchizedek is a king and priest who blesses Abraham and to whom Abraham gives tithes.
Psalm 110, a royal Messianic Psalm, applies this priesthood of Melchizedek to Jesus who is also a priest and king (cf. Matthew 22:44; 26:64; Mark 16:19; Heb. 5:5-6). However, nowhere in the Old or New Testaments do we see the practice of ordaining males to the office of the Melchizedek priesthood. Jesus alone is mentioned in the New Testament as a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:1-4).
Instead, the Bible teaches that all believers have priesthood authority (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). Even in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was to be a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:5-6). However, Jesus is the unique High Priest (Heb. 7:23-8:13). Each believer has the authority to preach the Gospel, baptize, and govern the kingdom of God on this earth. It is not something that is limited to males who are above the age of 12 or 18. The Bible gives us an abundance of information on the priesthoods in the Bible, and it doesn’t line up with Mormon teachings
Baptism for the dead "Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?" (1 Cor. 15:29). In their practice, individuals go to their local Mormon temple, dress appropriately for a baptism, representatively adopt the name of a person who has died, and then the Mormon is baptized in water for that deceased person. This way, the dead person has fulfilled the requirements of salvation in the afterworld and can enjoy further spiritual benefits in the spiritual realm.
But, the Mormons are incorrect. They have usurped this verse and taken it out of context. So, let's examine 1 Cor. 15 briefly so we can see what Paul is talking about when he mentions baptism for the dead. In verses 1-19, the fact of Christ's resurrection is detailed by Paul. Beginning in verse 20 and going through verse 23, Paul speaks about the order of the resurrection. Christ was the first one raised - in a glorified body - and next will be those who are His at His return. Verses 24 - 29 then mention Christ's reign and the abolition of death.
This is when this controversial verse occurs: "Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?" Just north of Corinth was a city named Eleusis. This was the location of a pagan religion where baptism in the sea was practiced to guarantee a good afterlife. This religion was mentioned by Homer in Hymn to Demeter. It is probable that the Corinthians were being influenced by the religious practices found at Eleusis where baptism for the dead was practiced.
Paul used this example from the pagans in 1 Cor. 15:29, when he said, "...if the dead are not raised, then why are they baptized for the dead?" Paul did not say we. This is significant because the Christian church was not practicing baptism for the dead, but the pagans were. Paul's point was simple. The resurrection is a reality. It is going to happen when Jesus returns. Even the pagans believe in the resurrection, otherwise, why would they baptize for the dead?
However, some are not convinced by this argument and state that the word "they" is not in the Greek and, therefore, Paul is not speaking about the pagans. Let's take a look. Literally, the verse is translated as "Since what will do the being immersed on behalf of the dead if wholly dead not are raised why also are they immersed on behalf of them." The issue here is the word, "baptizontai" -- "they are baptized." It is the present, passive, indicative, 3rd person, plural. In other words, it is THEY ARE BEING BAPTIZED or, THEY ARE BAPTIZED.
I -- first person singularyou (singular) -- second person singularhe/she/it -- third person singularwe -- first person pluralyou (plural) -- second person pluralthey -- third person plural It is the latter form, the third person plural (they) in which the verb "baptizo" is found. Therefore, the best translation is "THEY are baptized."
Joseph Smith Prophecies "But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 "And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him," (Deut. 18:20-22).
Prophecy about Jesus' return within 56 years Prophecy about Jesus' return within 56 years - "President Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit.
He then gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending us while journeying to Zion--our trials, sufferings; and said God had not designed all this for nothing, but He had it in remembrance yet; and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, for the coming of the Lord, which was nigh--even fifty-six years should wind up the scene." (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 189)
Prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri within Smith's Generation "Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion,i which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. 3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. 5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house... 31Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed."(Doctrines and Covenants 84:2-5,31.)
All Nations would be involved in the Civil War "Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; 2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. 3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations," (Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-3).
Prophesy that the earth will tremble and the sun be hidden in "not many days" "For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree," (Doctrine and Covenants 88:87)
Prophecy that Isaiah 11 was about to be fulfilled "In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when 'they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,' but soon would come," (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith, History, verse 40)
The atonement by Christ Luke 22:44: “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” BYU professor Robert J. Matthews, who on page 282 of his book, A Bible! A Bible!, wrote, "It was in Gethsemane, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, that Jesus made his perfect atonement by the shedding of his blood-more so than on the cross."
Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie, stated, "Where and under what circumstances was the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God made? Was it on the Cross of Calvary or in the Garden of Gethsemane? It is to the Cross of Christ that most Christians look when centering their attention upon the infinite and eternal atonement. And certainly the sacrifice of our Lord was completed when he was lifted up by men; also, that part of his life and suffering is more dramatic and, perhaps, more soul stirring. But in reality the pain and suffering, the triumph and grandeur, of the atonement took place primarily in Gethsemane," (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, vol. 1, p. 774, emphasis mine).
Reconciliation is through the cross: "And might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity," (Eph. 2:16). "And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven," (Col. 1:20).
Our debt nailed to the cross "Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross," (Col. 2:14). He bore our sins on the cross • "And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed," (1 Pet. 2:24).
Reconciled through Christ's death – which occurred on the cross. "For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life," (Rom. 5:10). "Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach," (Col. 1:22.) “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”(1 Cor 2:2)
The Mormon Temple The temple is a peaceful, sacred place, set apart from the cares and turmoil of the world. All areas of the temple are beautifully and carefully maintained to preserve a spirit of reverence. The temple has many rooms to accomplish the ordinances performed there.
In the Bible, Jesus taught about baptism (see, for example, John 3:5). Because many people do not have the opportunity to be baptized in this life, the fonts in temples are used by the living to be baptized in behalf of those who have died. The baptismal font rests on the backs of 12 oxen. The oxen represent the 12 tribes of ancient Israel.
The celestial room symbolizes the exalted and peaceful state that all may achieve through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. This room represents the contentment, inner harmony, and peace available to eternal families in the presence of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
In a sealing room, a bride and bridegroom are married not only for this life but also for eternity.
Polygamy - “God” told Joseph Smith that Polygamy should be practiced by all male Mormons (It was an “everlasting covenant between them and God”) • The United States of America did not • like the practice… - Congress threatened to take away all the property of the Mormon church and ship all the Mormon’s the Mexico if they did not stop the practice… Then guess what happened!
- God changed his mind in 1890 Didn’t seem to stop the first two heads of the Mormon church… Joseph smith – 43 wives Brigham Young - 57 wives Why practice Polygamy? People groups can grow faster with polygamist practices
Who was the angel of light who appeared to Joseph Smith? “And our spirits must have become alike unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.” - 2 Nephi 9:9
Mormon Doctrine: Angel of Light: See Devil “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” - 2 Corinthians 11:14 That is also our memory verse for the week