Back on May 28, 2011, I posted a Feed Back article concerning the Mormon religion (Additional Scripture and the Mormon Religion).  Terry C. responded to my response with some challenges to my statements and my credibility.  I did not respond to Terry immediately as I have been swamped with a myriad of duties (professionally and personally) that have consumed a great deal of my time.  Evidently Terry assumed my silence as a sign of weakness and ignorance on my part.  Having said this, I will offer a quick reply to Terry at this time.  My responses will be interspersed with his.

From Terry C.

Pardon me, but I really don’t think you know very much at all about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is most evident from your reference to temple priests in the Mormon Church. There are NO SUCH THINGS as temple priests in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Response:

I did post an apology for the incorrect terminology used.  You are correct and I was in error referring to priests.  The proper term was bishop.

Further, your experiences in Arizona apparently did not teach you very much, but you apparently become well indoctrinated with hate.

Excuse me!  I do not hate Mormons or the Mormon church per se, but do take a stand against false teachings that are contrary to what the Bible says.  Scripture repeatedly warns against those who teach a false doctrine and the Mormon faith, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses are no exception.

Contrary to your experiences, I have a very good friend who indeed did leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but I can tell you point blank that he nor anyone else that I know of who simply leaves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has or will lose his family and especially lose his job. I have never heard of anyone who has left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints receiving death threats. You do not do yourself any good in making such ridiculous statements.

I take great offense to your implications that I am a liar and that none of what I wrote was true.

May I ask where you live and how old you are?  The reason I ask is that up until the 1980’s, Mesa, Arizona was very much run by the Mormon community.  The individual I referred to as having been a bishop in the temple was very much real.  His family was one of the early Mormon settlers that help found and build the city of Mesa.  His family ties to the Mormon church ran very deep and very strong.  He had worked his way up through the church hierarchy to hold a position as a bishop that presided in the large Mormon temple there in Mesa.  He conducted temple marriages and taught numerous classes on Mormon theology and doctrine.  He was highly esteemed for his knowledge and understanding of the churches history and philosophy.

When he left the Mormon church in the early 1970’s, his wife divorced him and got full custody of their kids (the presiding judge was Mormon).  His parents and siblings all told him that he was dead to them.  When he refused to recant his new Christian faith, he was excommunicated from the church.  The Mormon community in Mesa at the time was very strong and very influential.  Consequently, his successful and profitable business was black-balled by the Mormon community which accounted for over three quarters of his business.  Try as he could, he ended up going out of business within a year and had to file bankruptcy.  He sold his house and moved to a non-Mormon area of town as his home had been vandalized on numerous occasions and two separate death threats had been left in his mailbox.

Just because you may not have seen or heard of such things happening, does not mean it didn’t happen to others.  If you asked anyone in the Mormon church at the time, they would deny that any of this had taken place, but I saw his house and knew of his failed business.  I spent many hours with this man and saw his personal anguish and hurt as I witnessed his tears on more than one occasion.

I can also tell you the experience of several others who have had similar experiences with the Mormon community.  The auto mechanic I used back in Mesa was an ardent Christian.  He bought a new house in a nice subdivision in Mesa.  Everything was going fine for him and his family until his neighbors learned that he was a strong Christian and not a Mormon.  He said things changed for him and his family overnight.  None of the neighbor kids would have anything to do with his kids, except beating them up a couple of times.  None of the other housewives would talk to his wife.  The neighborhood atmosphere became so oppressive that he moved out of that neighborhood.  This is not an isolated account, I assure you.

As I learned from the former bishop what the true Mormon church taught its members, I would ask other Mormon friends of mine about certain issues.  At first, many of them would deny such teachings including that if you lead a good enough life here on earth that you too could become the god of your own planet in the next life.  However, when I continued to press them, some of them finally admitted to the teachings I was told about.

Over the years, I have met a number of Mormons in Mesa and other locations that were genuinely unaware of some of these teachings.  As they became aware of some of these teachings, some saw the unbiblical aspects of Mormonism and left the Mormon church to embrace true Christianity.

Terry, how would you feel or react if I said that I didn’t believe you or highly questioned some of your experiences and friends that I had never met or known about?  Your statement was extremely narrow-minded and bigoted and I took great offense to the personal attack that was made.

As to the sections of the Bible that you point out, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints indeed believe fully in such sections, and, in particular, very much with respect to John 14:6. Indeed, Jesus Christ is the way and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ. But, you see people like Gandhi who were never introduced to Jesus Christ in their sojourn on earth are not lost. They will have their chance to accept Jesus Christ, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have the full and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ which very clearly teaches how those such as Gandhi will have their chance to accept Jesus Christ. Too bad that people such as yourself want to close your eyes and your mind and with animosity condemn such men as Gandhi to hell simply because “all you have is the Bible.”

Now, you seem to be an authority on the Bible and is meanings. Lets see if you can explain 1 Corinthians 15:29 which says:

“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.”

Those of us who have the benefit of the full and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ know what baptism for the dead is and where it is performed. Do you?

If you read 1 Corinthians 15:12-34 in its entirety, you will realize that Paul is not condoning or teaching the practice of baptism for the dead. He is talking to the church in Corinth where a number of them denied the resurrection of the dead.  In verse 29 Paul uses logic in asking them if they don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, then why are some baptizing the dead.

The Mormon practice of baptizing the dead is based upon a verse taken out of context and even goes against the teaching of the Book of Mormon.  I suggest you take a look at Alma 34:35 which states:

For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

Returning now to the situation exemplified by Gandhi, can you tell what is meant by “in my Father’s house are many mansions” (from John 14:2)?

Again, another verse taken out of context.  Allow me the opportunity to point out that chapters and verse numbers were not part of the original texts.  In fact, the Geneva Bible was the first Bible to assign chapter and verse numbers, and subsequently used in most versions since including the King James Bible.  This does make it easier to refer to certain sections, however, it also causes some disconnect from one chapter to another, as is the case here in John 13 and 14.

In John 13, Christ has just told them that he would be mistreated by some of them and this had caused concerned.  John 14 starts out with Christ reassuring them, Let not your hearts be troubled. He continues his assurance by telling them that if they believe in God and Him that there is a place for all of them in heaven.  He uses the imagery of a mansion with many rooms as opposed to a tent or tabernacle that does not have same type of individual spaces or rooms.  By many rooms, he is telling them that each one will have a place in heaven.

Further, in 1 Corinthians 15:40-41 it is said, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.”  Can you, with “all you have is the Bible” explain these different degrees of glory? And then can you give any guess in which glory Gandhi might reside, and which glory he might achieve if he was baptized for the dead and if he accepts that baptism in heaven?

1 Corinthians 15:40-41 is a continuation of Paul’s address concerning the resurrection of the dead.  You need to go back and start with verse 35 where Paul writes:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

Paul’s reference to the different glories of the sun, moon and stars follows his differences between the flesh of people, animals, birds and fish.  The glories of the celestial bodies refer to their varying degrees of brightness as viewed from the earth.  It has nothing to do with other people or the dead.

Again, those of us who have the benefit of the full and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ know the answers. But, without additional scripture you are left with “all we have is the Bible.” Those of us who have benefit of the full and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ also know that temple rituals can be performed here on earth for people like Gandhi, and that if they accept those rituals in heaven, they will be able to achieve the highest glory which is living in the presence of God.

Which degree of heaven will you achieve? If “all you have is the Bible” there is no answer, and you really don’t have the foggiest idea of which degree of heaven you will accede to. If you would really open up your eyes and your heart and read the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants, you will be shown the truth and the full and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why would I want to equate a book presented by a man who professed to be a prophet of God but failed the tests of being one of God’s profits?  As I pointed out in my first response, Joseph Smith made a number of prophesies that never came true.  The test of a rue profit of God is that all of the prophecies are from God and therefore will always come true.  To start with, Christ never returned when Joseph Smith prophesied He would.  As a false prophet, he exemplifies the warnings of Christ who said;

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Matthew 7:15

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. Matthew 24:10-11.

And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. Mark 13:21-23.

I verily do not believe your attestation that you have read the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price or the Doctrine and Covenants. Otherwise you would never make the ridiculous statement that you have talked to several temple priests and that you learned a great deal from a gentleman that had once been a temple priest. As stated at the beginning of this post, there are NO such things as temple priests.

Please, now, with open eyes and an honest, open heart, do what you said you did. Read the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants. You then might become one of us very faithful Christians (yes, we are indeed Christians) who have the full and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Again, I take great offense by you calling me a liar.  You don’t know me or my background or anything about me, yet you feel qualified to make such characterizations based upon the fact that I did not believe the Mormon writings as you do.  I’ve also read the Koran, but did not embrace Islam either for the same reasons I did not embrace the Mormon writings.

How do I know if you have ever read the Bible?  How would you feel if I stated that I do not believe you read it because you did not embrace it?

When I challenge evolutionists and atheists that make rhetorical claims about biblical creationism, I don’t accuse them of never having read our material.  Instead, I ask them if they have read any.  I follow that with letting them know about all of the evolutionary authors that I have read.

When I was in high school, I was challenged by a close friend who was Mormon to read the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants.  I did read them and we had numerous conversations about them, but I did not embrace them.  Again, when I sat and met with the former bishop, he strongly suggested I read them again to become more familiar with them.  We then had a number of discussions concerning them and he pointed out many things to me that I had not noticed.

Mr. Jolly has yet to respond back. Does that say something about Mr. Jolly or his unfounded hatred of fellow Christians?

It seems to me that the hatred lies with the one making the accusations.  You perceive to know me, my background and my heart.  I do not perceive to know yours and would not be so vulgar and accusatory to make similar statements about you.  I dare say that your words do not seem to be those of a Christian, but I realize that we are all sinners, and as such, even though I have taken great exception to your accusations, I forgive you for speaking out of ignorance.

Marks of a Cult: A Biblical Analysis

In today’s religiously diverse and relativistic culture, labeling a group a cult may seem extreme to many people, not to mention rude. Even people who believe in absolute Truth and further believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life can get confused about just what constitutes real Christianity. Just why are Baptists properly considered Christians, but Mormons are not? Or why is the Jehovah’s Witness religion classified as an anti-Christian cult while Presbyterians or Wesleyans or Pentecostals are simply seen as denominations within the Christian faith?

With the explosion of different sects that claim to honor and follow Jesus, how does one differentiate between true Biblical Christianity and an aberrant religious movement? Just what are “the marks of a cult?” Join us for a journey into the heart of Biblical revelation and the constant struggle of truth against lies, the apostolic faith against the “doctrines of demons.”

This documentary from ApologeticsGroup.com does more than simply point fingers. It explains in great detail the absolute essentials of the Faith and just how and why Christians can properly and necessarily refer to certain sects as “cults.” Not only a tool for recognizing and understanding false teaching — and for reaching people held captive to it — The Marks of a Cult is also a powerful apologetic on the need for Christians to become more rooted in the Biblical historic faith, with its creeds and confessions, and to be better prepared to give “a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Featuring interviews with:

James R. White Craig Branch
E. Calvin Beisner Clete Hux
R. Fowler White James Walker
Jerry Johnson David Henke

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