The Thinking Christian

Lately, when confronted with the opinions of my fellow Christians, I ask myself, "What were they thinking?" Truth is, I wonder if they've really thought through the opinions they put forth. In this blog I will attempt to provoke thought on some current issues. My thoughts might not mirror the popular view, but I hope they will help others consider the question, "What would Jesus think?"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How to Judge Sheep at the State Fair

In a recent straw poll at the Illinois State Fair, Mitt Romney won a landslide victory against the other Republican candidates. He also won at the Iowa State Fair. What do many Iowa and Illinois fair-goers have in common? They are mostly evangelical Christians who live in God-fearing communities tucked into the cornfields of the Bible Belt.

What is it about Romney that appeals to these folks? I believe they have fallen for his evaglicalesque persona and are convinced that voting for a moral, wholesome Mormon is almost as good as voting for an evangelical. I am not surprised that they are fooled. It is part of the Mormon agenda to appear as much like Christians as possible. But even a casual look at their doctrines exposes them as a cult that does not preach our Jesus nor walk in our light.

What they believe (from

God was not always God

Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught,

“that he was once a man like us” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.345; also cited in Gospel Principles, p.305).

In contrast to this, Psalm 90:2 states, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you have formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.”

God is a glorified, perfected human being with a body of flesh and bones

According to Joseph Smith,

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345. Also cited in Achieving a Celestial Marriage, p.129).

The Doctrines of Covenants, considered to be scripture by Latter-day Saints, teaches, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's” (130:22).

Jesus taught that God the Father was not a man at all. In fact, John 4:24 records Jesus saying, “God is spirit, and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

God is only one among many Gods

Joseph Smith said, “I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods.” (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.35).

Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS Church, once stated,

How many Gods there are, I do not know.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:334, October 8, 1859).

However, Isaiah 44:6,8 tells us that the God of the Bible knows of no other Gods. “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God…Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

Jesus is the spirit-brother of Lucifer

12th Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball wrote,

Long before you were born a program was developed by your creators ... The principal personalities in this great drama were a Father Elohim, perfect in wisdom, judgment, and person, and two sons, Lucifer and Jehovah.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 32-33).

Since The New Testament claims that it was through Jesus all things were created (John 1:3; Colossian 1:16, 17), it is difficult to assume such a familial relationship. Lucifer is described as an angel and angels, according to Psalm 148:1-5, are created beings.

Christians are saved by grace coupled with works

President Spencer W. Kimball said,

One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation” (12th Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.206; also cited in The Book of Mormon Student Manual, religion 121 and 122, 1996, p.36).

Though Christians are saved “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10), the good works of a Christians do not justify (or make right) the believer before God. The apostle Paul made this very clear when he wrote, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Humans can become Gods

According to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism,

Logically and naturally, the ultimate desire of a loving Supreme Being is to help his children enjoy all that he enjoys. For Latter-day Saints, the term ‘godhood’ denotes the attainment of such a state—one of having all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is” (2:553).

Historically, such a notion has been considered blasphemous by Christians. Never have Christians taught that mankind has the capacity to become ontologically like God. As God Himself said through the prophet Isaiah, “Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10).

Mankind must believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God in order to get into heaven

There is no greater prophet in any dispensation than Joseph Smith… Joseph Smith was a prophet, and all the calumny and aspirations to the contrary cannot controvert that fact. Anyone who has concern for the welfare of his eternal soul should give attention to this message. Every man who has lived since the days of Joseph Smith is subject to accepting him as a prophet of God in order to enter into our Heavenly father’s presence” (A. Theodore Tuttle, “Joseph Smith re-established fullness of true gospel, Church,” Church News, March 17, 2001, p.14).

The Bible declares that Jesus is the Christian’s living prophet and it is Jesus whom Christians must listen to and obey (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 5:46; 6:44; 7:40; Acts 3:22, 23; 7:37; Hebrews 1:1-2). Judgment has been given to Jesus alone by authority of the Father. “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22).

Christianity ceased to exist after the death of the Twelve Apostles

According to the LDS Church manual Gospel Principles,

One by one, the Apostles were killed. Because of the persecution, surviving Apostles could not meet to choose and ordain men to replace those who were dead. Eventually, local priesthood leaders were the only ones who had authority to direct the scattered branches of the Church. The perfect organization of the Church no longer existed, and confusion resulted. More and more error crept into Church doctrine, and soon the destruction was complete. The period of time when the true Church no longer existed on earth is called the Great Apostasy” (Gospel Principles, p.105, emphasis theirs).

But Jesus promised to be with His Church unto the “end of the world (or age)” (Matthew 28:20).

The Garden of Eden was located in Missouri

Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe wrote,

Latter-day Saints know, through modern revelation, that the Garden of Eden was on the North American continent and that Adam and Eve began their conquest of the earth in the upper part of what is now the state of Missouri.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, p.127).

In view of these facts, evangelical voters must beware. Mitt Romney is not someone who is “almost an evangelical” or “pretty much a Christian.” He is a member of a cult that is a variance with God’s Word in almost every detail. Even if he’s moral and wholesome, there are dangers in electing someone of the Mormon cult, and it worries me that Christians are not investigating Romney’s connection to the Mormon Church, what it believes and what its agenda is.

The authors of The Mormon Corporate Empire: The Eye-Opening Report on the Church and It’s Political and Financial Agenda charge “that the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints has developed an $8 billion financial/corporate empire whose influence on U.S. society is of concern. Once small and much persecuted, and now widely respected, the Mormon church, the authors contend, is a 'rising, authoritarian, powerful group,' with some five million members worldwide, whose little-understood purpose is to supersede other religions and take 'political and economic control' of the U.S. in preparation for the Second Coming." {Publishers Weekly}.

“To take political and economic control” of the US….” What better way to achieve this goal than to put one of their members in the Oval Office? So, my fellow Christians, when you go to judging sheep at the state fair, have a very close look and make sure that there is not a wolf with an agenda hidden under the sheep’s skin.

From Up There, There are No Boundaries

Once upon a time, a woman who lived south of the border fell in love with a man who lived north of the border. She packed much of what she owned in her ancient, run-down vehicle and took her child and her two cats over the border so she could be together with the man she loved. And so she became an illegal alien in a land where she didn’t speak the language….

What feelings does the above story evoke in you? Disgust? Resentment? Impatience? Outrage? Despair over the unrelenting issue of illegal immigration? Or can you muster any compassion for that woman as she feels lost in a place where not one single sign she sees is written in her language and no clerks in the store can understand her? Have you any understanding for her plight? After all, she just wanted to be with the man she loved and to enjoy being a family with him.

I ask because I was that woman. When I married Thomas in Quebec, north of the border, I became an illegal immigrant for three years until he could get his green card and we could return to the United States.

As a world traveler and former illegal alien married to an immigrant to the United States, I have a different perspective on the issue of immigration, whether legal or otherwise. I have great compassion and sympathy for those among us who are from other lands. Because of these feelings, I have grown heartsick over the increased hostility and even racism toward immigrants that I see displayed by my Christian brothers and sisters.

What does God say about the aliens in our lands? Does he support our exclusion and separatism? What should the Christian’s attitude be toward aliens, immigrants, and strangers in the United States? I do not look to politics for the answers. I look to the Word of God. Do you spend time reading what the newspapers have to say about the subject? I implore you to take the time to look at what God has to say. Here’s what the Bible says:

Exodus 22:21
"Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. (And unless you are Native American, your ancestors were once aliens in this land as well.)

Exodus 23:9
"Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt.

Leviticus 19:33
" 'When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him.

Leviticus 19:34
The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 25:35
" 'If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. (This says that they financially supported the aliens)

Deuteronomy 10:18
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 10:19
And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

Okay, you say, but this is Old Testament Jewish stuff. What does Jesus have to say on the subject?

The Sheep and the Goats

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger (same word as alien) and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

In the musical “Camelot,” Merlin the wizard changes the young Arthur into a hawk and sends him flying above the earth. “What did you learn as a hawk that you did not know as a man, Wart?” the old magician asks when the boy returns to earth. “I could see no boundaries,” Arthur answered.

When God looks down on earth from Heaven, what does he see? These days we don’t need to be changed into hawks to see it. Look at any satellite photo of the earth and you will see it as God does. There are no lines, no demarcations. Only the one planet God created to house His people. I do not see borders in this world that God gave us. I like to see the world from His viewpoint and from up there, there are no boundaries.