Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints often complain that Christians persecute them and attack their religion. Is it fair to critically examine other religions? As a former agnostic, I had to critically examine Christianity in order to come to faith in 1988. I think that all religious people should critically examine their religion for truth - including those who are Christians. The Bible encourages a kind of faith based upon reason (see The Role of Reason in Christianity).
The LDS church does not encourage critical testing of their faith, but, in fact, discourages it. Mormons and potential converts are encourage to pray to determine if their faith is true. Since the Mormon religion is based upon a feeling that it is true,1 can one person's feelings be tested against another's?
LDS attacks on Christianity
If the LDS church made no truth claims about their religion and other religions, testing would be difficult. However, since it's inception, the Mormon church has attacked and accused all of Christianity of being apostate and being an "abomination" in the sight of God. The accusation is not backed by specifics, but merely through a "revelation" by its founder, Joseph Smith.2 Official LDS scripture states that the Mormon church is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth."3 The accusation that all of Christianity is apostate is still taught in current official LDS church publications, such as Gospel Principles.4
The purpose and calling to defend the faith
Why do we criticize other religions? Our purpose is not to try to make people feel bad, but to lead them to the knowledge of the truth. Jesus said many false prophets would arise in the end times to deceive people from true faith.5 These people would claim to be apostles of Christ,6 but lead people into religious bondage.7 In fact, the Bible commands us to reprove and rebuke false teaching,8 since we do not want people to remain in darkness:
The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
In reality, we are not attacking the Mormon church, but merely defending ourselves from the original accusation leveled at the Christian church by Joseph Smith. Since the Mormon church continues to this day to accuse the Christian Church of being false, it would be expected that we Christians would have the right and responsibility to defend the indestructible Church that Jesus Christ established in the first century.9
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3) [written in the first century]
- Why the LDS Church is a Cult- Differences Between Christian and LDS Doctrines ( Acrobat file)
- Contradictions in LDS Doctrines ( Acrobat file)
- One God or Many? ( Acrobat file)
- Does God the Father Have a "Body of Flesh and Bone"? ( Acrobat file)
- Does "Progression" Exist or is God Unchangeable? ( Acrobat file)
- Read the Book of Mormon and Pray to Determine if it is True - Is this Good Biblical Advice? ( Acrobat file)
- Will There be Marriage in Heaven?
- Having conversed with over a dozen LDS missionaries, I
have been encouraged to read the Book of Mormon and pray to determine
if it is true. The advice comes from their Doctrine and Covenants:
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. (Doctrine and Covenants: Section 9:8)
None of the missionaries have ever quoted it in context. In fact, none have ever suggested that I actually critically study the scriptures, but merely read the Book of Mormon. None have ever suggested that I read Doctrine and Covenants or Pearl of Great Price, where most LDS doctrines are found. Why is that?
- My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)�and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith�History of the Church Chapter 1:18-19)
- And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually- (Doctrine and Covenants: Section 1:30)
- “More and more error crept into Church doctrine, and soon the
destruction of the Church was complete. The period of time when the true
Church no longer existed on earth is called the Great Apostasy.”
Gospel Principles. 1997. THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST IN FORMER TIMES. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, p. 105.
- And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:11) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
- For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)
- And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage (Galatians 2:4)
- I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of
Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing
and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (2 Timothy
One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. (Titus 1:12-14)
These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:15)
'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.' (Revelation 3:19) [Jesus to the church of Laodicea]
- And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
Last Modified August 31, 2006