By Jason Carlson and Ron Carlson
The October 17, 2005 issue of Newsweek magazine featured a cover story titled, “The Making of the Mormons”. In 2005 the Mormon church celebrated the 200th birthday of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, which Newsweek describes as a “Christian denomination”.
As part of their reporting on the Mormon church Newsweek interviewed the man who was then President of the Mormons, Gordon B. Hinckley (1995-2008). Unfortunately, though, Newsweek failed to ask Mr. Hinckley the tough questions and therefore did not provide its readers with an accurate understanding of what Mormons truly teach and believe.
This Newsweek interview provides a classic example of why our ministry labels Mormonism a “pseudo-Christian cult”. A religion that looks and sounds like genuine Christianity, while in reality is far different.
In order to provide a more helpful analysis of what Mormons truly teach and believe, we’d like to offer the rest of the story, the truth that Newsweek failed to document. Let’s examine just two of Newsweek’s questions and the responses provided by Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley. When seen in the light of Scripture, it becomes quickly apparent that Mr. Hinckley is promoting something much different than historical, biblical Christianity.
Newsweek: “What do you believe is Smith’s most meaningful contribution, not only to the church but also to the world?”
Hinckley: “His greatest contribution I think is defining the nature of deity. He saw the Father and the Son. He spoke with them. They were beings of substance. They were in the form like a man. And they could express themselves and he could speak with them. Such an interpersonal relationship. And such a warm and reassuring thing to know the nature of God.”
The Truth: Joseph Smith was the founder of the Mormon church. Smith was a polytheist, as are all Mormons today. Mormons believe that there are literally millions of gods; these gods populate their own planets and rule over them. Joseph Smith taught that the god of planet Earth has a body of flesh and bone, he was once a human being like us and he evolved to become a god himself. They believe god is married to a goddess wife and that they sexually begot all people on earth, whom previously were spirit children waiting for bodies on Earth to possess. Joseph Smith taught polygamy in the early years of Mormonism as an eternal and everlasting covenant (until 1890, when they received a “revelation” from god calling for its abolishment, conveniently after the U.S. federal government declared that it was not legal). Polygamy was for the purpose of mass-producing human bodies on earth for these spirit babies to possess, so that they could also evolve to godhood, just as mother god and father god did. Joseph Smith taught that the goal of every male Mormon is to strive to become a god. In fact, Mormon prophet Lorenzo Snow described this official doctrine like this, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.”
These Mormon doctrines are in direct conflict with the truth that God has revealed to us in Scripture. First, God has told us that he alone is God; there are no other gods besides him (Isaiah 44:4-8; Isaiah 45:5-22; Isaiah 46:9). Second, God has told us that he is not a man, he does not have a body of flesh and bone; he is spirit (John 4:24; Luke 24:39; Matthew 16:15-17). Third, God has told us that he has not evolved; he has always been the one and only God (Malachi 3:6; Psalm 90:2). Finally, God has told us that nobody ever has or ever will evolve to become a god (Isaiah 43:10).
When you examine the truth found in Scripture, the real truth about God’s nature and his distinctiveness from humanity, it becomes apparent that the Mormon doctrine of God is absolutely false. Mormons have adopted a heretical view of God and a heretical view of man’s ability to become a god. They have bought into the same lie that Satan used to get Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden of Eden. Satan said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).
Newsweek: “Are Mormons Christian?”
Hinckley: “Of course we are Christians. He’s the whole cornerstone of our faith. His name is in the name of the church. And this book [the Book of Mormon] is another testament of him.”
The Truth: Mormonism is far different from biblical Christianity. Calling themselves “The Church of Jesus Christ” is really false advertising on their part. They are the church of Joseph Smith, a false prophet who taught that Jesus is the literal spirit brother of Satan and was not born of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary, but was conceived through physical incest. Mormons claim to follow Jesus Christ, but theirs is a different, false Jesus Christ. This shouldn’t surprise us, Christ himself warned us of false religions that would come seeking to deceive us, using the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:23-24). Jesus also warned, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). So, simply appealing to Christ’s name does not by any means make you Christian.
Second, to claim that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ is truly amazing. The book of Mormon does not bear any of the marks of Divine inspiration that we find in the Old and New Testaments (except for the 25,000 words and whole chapters Joseph Smith plagiarized verbatim, word for word, out of the King James Bible). Since 1830 the Book of Mormon has undergone over 4,000 changes. The Book of Mormon does not find any corroboration in history, archaeology, geography, or anthropology. Though they claim it is a real history of the western hemisphere, the Mormons refuse to produce a map of anything found in the Book of Mormon. Mormonism’s claim in the Book of Mormon, that American Indians are Jews who came from Jerusalem has absolutely been destroyed by modern DNA studies. The Book of Mormon has been shown to be an absolute fraud, a collection of fictional stories and plagiarisms written by Joseph Smith with no Divine inspiration whatsoever.
Finally, if Mormons are truly Christian, then why is it that you will never find a cross on any Mormon church or temple? The cross is the central symbol of the Christian faith (1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 6:14). Without the cross the Christian faith is meaningless. Yet, Mormonism is totally devoid of the cross of Jesus Christ. Mormons have created a system of works and human effort whereby they believe that they might attain their own personal godhood. Mormons are taught that salvation (elevation to godhood) comes through the Mormon church, by baptism into the Mormon church, obedience to the Laws and Ordinances of Mormonism, temple works, good works, plus membership in the Mormon church. This is a far cry from true Biblical Christianity. For true Christians, our faith is found in the proclamation of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 5:11-13).
In light of Biblical truth it is apparent that Mormonism is not another “Christian denomination” as Newsweek and Mormon President Hinckley would have us believe. It is not the fastest growing denomination in America. In fact, they are at zero growth in the United States, with probably half their members no longer active. When Mormons claim growth statistics, this is growth outside the United States, largely in Catholic countries like the Philippines and Central and South America where people have easily been led astray by their false teachings cloaked in Christian terminology.
Mormonism is a false religion that has enslaved millions of men and women into a system of human works that cannot save anyone. For those of us who know the truth, we need to be in prayer for our Mormon friends and neighbors, but even more so, we need to be willing to share the truth with them about the real God of the Bible- who is not a man, who is not evolving and changing- and we need to introduce them to the grace of Jesus Christ found at the cross of Calvary and in Christ’s shed blood for our sins.