Apprising Ministries is an online apologetics and discernment work the Lord has raised up to help you see the abysmal apostasy spreading now even throughout the mainstream of the evangelical community.

1 Peter 4:17 judgments sent by Jesus Himself are falling upon His visible church as spiritual darkness grows. A good example today is the Christian Post piece Romney Not Cultist, Fuller President Says Cautiously.

Therein we’re told Richard Mouw, who in my opinion is an absolutely pitiful example of a Christian leader, continues trying to muddy the waters around the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons):

As Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has become an issue in the GOP presidential nomination race prompting the Latter-day Saints to launch an ad campaign, President of Fuller Theological Seminary Richard J. Mouw has declared, though cautiously, that Mormonism is not a cult.

“While I am not prepared to reclassify Mormonism as possessing undeniably Christian theology, I do accept many of my Mormon friends as genuine followers of the Jesus whom I worship as the divine Savior,” Mouw, head of the Pasadena, Calif., seminary wrote in an article on CNN Sunday.

But can Mormons be called Christians? Mouw said that’s a “complicated question.”
(Online source)

Here, let me help out this president of one of the most visible evangelical institutions in the United States: No, faithful Mormons cannot be Christians; Mormonism is a non-Christian cult, period. Who cares if Richard Mouw’s not prepared to reclassify Mormonism; he hasn’t any authority to do so anyway.

Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989), author of the classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults in his day was a universally recognized expert in the field of Comparative Religion and non-Christian cults having their origins in the United States. He wrote:

A cult, then, is a group of people polarized around someone’s interpretation of the Bible and is characterized by major deviations from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, particularly the fact that God became man in Jesus Christ. [1]

Martin classified Mormonism as a non-Christian cult because:

The Savior of Mormonism, however, is an entirely different person, as their official publications clearly reveal. The Mormon “Savior” is not the second person of the Christian Trinity,… Mormons reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and he is not even a careful replica of the New Testament Redeemer.

In Mormon theology, Christ as a preexistent spirit was not only the spirit brother of the devil (as alluded to in The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1-4, and later reaffirmed by Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses, 13:282), but celebrated his own marriage to “Mary and Martha, and the other Mary,” at Cana of Galilee, “whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified” (Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 4:259; 2:82)…[and] the Mormon concept of the Virgin Birth alone distinguishes their “Christ” from the Christ of the Bible. [2]

I have pointed out before that I’ve been in the ministry fields of counter-cult evangelicalism, apologetics, and Comparative Religion for nearly 24 years. I even had the privilege to live—as well as minister—in a heavily Mormon area of southwestern Wyoming for a good 10 of those years.

This afforded me the opportunity to study Mormonism from Mormons themselves; God be praised, I know it as well as they do. CP contributor Anugrah Kumar continues:

Mouw’s careful defense of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came two days after Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas called Mormonism a “cult.” He made the comments minutes after introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an evangelical Christian and Romney’s top rival, at Friday’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C… (Online source)

Regardless of whatever else you think of Jeffress’ decision to endorse Perry as an evangelical Christian, he is correct concerning Mormonism. Yet Kumar tells us:

Mouw disagrees, saying religious cults – such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology and Hare Krishna – are “very much us-versus-them.” “Their adherents are taught to think that they are the only ones who benefit from divine approval,” he wrote on the CNN blog. “They don’t like to engage in serious, respectful give-and-take dialogue with people with whom they disagree … Nor do they promote the kind of scholarship that works alongside others in pursuing the truth.”

Mouw said he had been co-chairing, with Prof. Robert Millet of the Mormon Brigham Young University, a behind-closed-doors dialogue between evangelicals and Mormons for over a decade. “We evangelicals and our Mormon counterparts disagree about some important theological questions,” he admitted. “But we have also found that on some matters we are not as far apart as we thought we were,” he added. (Online source)

There’s the problem; foolish interfaith dialogues that, just the same as ecumenical talks with the Roman Catholic Church, simply cannot go anywhere. The reason being, both of those religions have irreformable dogmas from supposed infallible spokesmen. The LDS, their “prophets,” and the RCC their popes.

Kumar explains the general reasons why Mormonism can never be considered Christian; but even so, Mouw then really bends over backward in support of it:

Mormons reject one of Christianity’s central tenets – the Trinity, the belief in one God in three Persons. They also believe Joseph Smith Jr. is the first latter-day prophet who restored the original Christian church in the 19th century in America. They believe the entire structure of Christian orthodoxy affirmed by the post-apostolic church is corrupt and false. Additionally, Latter-day Saints are often criticized for their belief in “divine” books of scripture, aside from the Bible, including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

But the Fuller president said Mormons “talk admiringly of the evangelical Billy Graham and the Catholic Mother Teresa, and they enjoy reading the evangelical C.S. Lewis and Father Henri Nouwen, a Catholic. That is not the kind of thing you run into in anti-Christian cults.”
(Online source)

It’s hard to believe those are the words of the president of an ostensibly evangelical seminary. I wonder if he purposely misstated the Christian position. We aren’t saying Mormons are “anti-Christian”; we’re saying Mormonism is not Christian. Frankly, many Mormons act more like Christians than Christians.

That’s not the issue at all. The issue is: The teachings of the LDS Church, e.g. concerning Jesus Christ and God, are not at all in accord with what Christians believe. Therefore, it cannot possibly be considered Christian; that Mormonism is not Christian is just about as easy to spot as it gets in the kingdom of the cults.

However, at best, Mouw’s friendship with LDS apologist Robert Millet clouds his judgment. In the Afterword of Millet’s book A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-day Saints (ADJ) Richard Mouw muses:

I think that an open-minded Christian reader of this book will sense that Bob Millet is in fact trusting in the Jesus of the Bible for his salvation. That is certainly my sense.[3]

Hmm, that’s Mouw’s “sense”; an interesting choice of words. This is his impression even after Millet has already told us in ADJ he also believes that, “Jesus was the firstborn spirit child of God the Father.”[4] As you are about to see in detail, this is classic Mormonism and a definitive denial of the eternal Deity of Christ.

Now I’ll show you from primary LDS sources their view of Who Christ Jesus is. Following is the Mormon “Jesus” as he might introduce himself:

I am the Jesus Christ of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). My original Church went through a total apostasy and I took the Priesthood from the earth. In 1820 by one account—as there are nine different accounts—I appeared, with Heavenly Father, to Joseph Smith who would be the prophet to restore my Church. I told him that everything the historic Christian Church had taught was an abomination in my sight and that all who believe in those doctrines are corrupt. I am the spirit child who was born first to Heavenly Father, whose name is Elohim, and who has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.

Elohim was once a man who lived on the planet Kolob. He died and was resurrected by his father—after earning his way to godhood—as did his father before him, and so on back. Heavenly Father pro-created all of us through sexual relations with one of his celestial wives, and we are all his spirit children. I was born first; next was Lucifer, and then on down the line comes you. When the head of the gods—of which there are countless numbers—called a council of the gods I came up with a better plan of salvation than my brother Lucifer did. So I became the Savior for Heavenly Father’s children on earth. I was conceived for my earthly mission when Heavenly Father came down and had sexual relations with his daughter the Virgin Mary.

I sweat great drops of blood for your sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then on the cross I finished my work; and because of that atonement, all persons on this earth are going to be resurrected. And so now you have a chance to earn your way to becoming a god, just like me, by working the Gospel Principles taught by the Mormon Church. But be careful because my blood was not sufficient to cover some of your sins as my prophet Brigham Young once taught for me. He said, “There’s not a man or woman who violates the covenant made with their God that will not be required to pay that debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. [And y]our own blood must atone for it.”

Let us first consider this from Gospel Principles, which is an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The following comes from chapter 2:

God is not only our ruler and creator; he is also our Heavenly Father. “All men and women are . . . literally the sons and daughters of Deity. . . . Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body.” (Joseph F. Smith, “The Origin of Man,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, 78, 80)

Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:21), so he is literally our elder brother (see Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 26). Because we are the spiritual children of our heavenly parents, we have inherited the potential to develop their divine qualities. If we choose to do so, we can become perfect, just as they are. (Online source, emphasis mine)

And then in the next chapter we read:

We needed a Savior to pay for our sins and teach us how to return to our Heavenly Father. Our Father said, “Whom shall I send?” (Abraham 3:27). Two of our brothers offered to help. Our oldest brother, Jesus Christ, who was then called Jehovah, said, “Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27)… Satan, who was called Lucifer, also came, saying, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1).” (Online source, emphasis mine)

How about this from the book Our Search For Happiness–An Invitation To Understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—written by Mormon Apostle M. Russell Ballard:

our spiritual selves, if you will — existed along with the rest of our Heavenly Father’s spirit children. Jesus was the greatest of these spirits. He was the first-[one]-born…and He held a special place of honor with the Father “before the world was”… In that capacity He helped implement the plan that would bring us all to earth to obtain physical bodies and experience the vicissitudes of mortality so we could grow in our ability to obey God’s commandments once we heard and understood them. [5]

In the LDS book of “Scripture,” known as The Doctrine And Covenants, Jesus is alleged to have spoken this to the so-called prophet Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church:

And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn; And all those through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are of the church of the Firstborn. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;… (93:21-23).

Then we have this from the official website of the Mormon Church where we read:

Jess L. Christensen, Institute of Religion director at Utah State University, Logan, Utah. On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. (Online source, emphasis mine)

You should be able to see this is not the Jesus of the Bible, which is the only One there is, and the One preached and believed by the Christian Church. I’ll begin to close this, for now; as a practicing Mormon here’s the LDS god Mitt Romney would believe in. We begin with the below from the Gospel Library Gospel Topics section of the LDS website itself.

Under God the Father we’re taught:

God the Father is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is the ultimate Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things. He is perfect, has all power, and knows all things. He “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22).
(Online source)

The “D&C 130:22” above refers to Doctrine And Covenants, which is one of four books considered Scripture by the LDS Church; the others being the King James Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price. D&C contains alleged, “Revelations Given To Joseph Smith, The Prophet, With Some Additions By His Successors In The Presidency Of The Church.”

We’re told that section 130 features, “Items of instruction given by Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Ramus, Illinois, April 2, 1843.” So the following, D&C 130:22, is from the founder of the LDS Church himself. Telling us that he was the “prophet” chosen to “restore the church” Joseph Smith says God revealed to him that:

The aFather has a bbody of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of cSpirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not ddwell in us. (Online source)

It’s important to keep in mind here that in Mormonism the Trinity has also been redefined; instead of, within the nature of the one God there are three co-eternal, co-equal Persons Who are the one God, the LDS Church teaches that Heavenly Father (Elohim), Jesus (Jehovah), and the Holy Ghost, are three separate gods working together with one purpose.

Then from the LDS publication Gospel Principles, which Mormons use for Sunday School, under Our Father in Heaven we’re informed:

Because we are made in his image (see Moses 6:9), we know that God has a body that looks like ours. His eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). God’s body, however, is perfected and glorified, with a glory beyond all description.
(Online source)

Now here’s Joseph Smith on the nature of God from “one of the classics of [the LDS] Church literature,” which is known as The King Follet Discourse:

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man;…

I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see… It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did;…

Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power…

In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted [prepared] a plan to create the world and people it… (Online source)

We’ve now been told by the founder/prophet of Mormonism that God was once human as we are; in addition, there are other gods, and we also must “learn how to be gods as well.” And then under Godhead from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism there’s the following concerning Smith’s theology:

On June 16, 1844, in his last Sunday sermon before his martyrdom, Joseph Smith declared that “in all congregations” he had taught “the plurality of Gods” for fifteen years: “I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods” (TPJS, p. 370)…

Although the three members of the Godhead are distinct personages, their Godhead is “one” in that all three are united in their thoughts, actions, and purpose, with each having a fulness of knowledge, truth, and power. Each is a God. (Online source)

It’s an incontrovertible fact that Mormonism is polytheistic (many gods c.f. Abraham 4:1), whereas Christianity is monotheistic (one God c.f. Isaiah 43:10). We’ve seen that the LDS Heavenly Father—whose name is Elohim—has a body; however, the eyewitness testimony of the Apostle John in his Gospel deposition quotes the real Jesus.

He tells us that the one true and living God of the Bible — is spirit (John 4:24). So Bill McKeever of the leading Christian work Mormonism Research Ministry is proven correct in his God the Father According to Mormonism when he tells us:

The Mormon doctrine of God is not the same as the historic Christian view. It holds that God and man are essentially of the same species, and that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones. He is not uniquely self-existent, transcendent, or eternal…

The traditional Mormon view of God is summed up by the famous Lorenzo Snow couplet, “As man is God once was, as God is man may be.” The historic understanding of this strongly implies that God the Father was once a sinner, and that we ourselves may model our mortal experience unto godhood after the mortal experience he once participated in.” (Online source)

The god taught by the LDS Church is not the God of the Bible; the fact is, the Mormon god doesn’t even exist.


End notes:

[1] Walter R. Martin, The Rise of the Cults, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978], 12.

[2] Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults, Ravi Zacharias, Gen. Ed. (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2005), 252, emphasis mine .

[3] Robert L. Millet, A Different Jesus?: The Christ Of The Latter-day Saints [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005], 183.

[4] Ibid., 20.

[5] M. Russell Ballard, Our Search For Happiness–An Invitation To Understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1982], 9, emphasis mine.

See also: