A Conversation With a Mormon

Hello Friends,

I had a conversation with a Mormon today. I was defending Christianity within a chatroom, and he asked me for my denomination. I told him, and then he said he was Mormon, and after some discussion he asked me to explain to him why Mormonism is not part of Christianity (Christianity being Protestantism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy). Here was the discussion. I’m going to skip down to the core of the discussion, starting after he mentioned Baptism of the dead.  After I touch on that, it really picks up. I post this in a humble spirit, and hope God uses it to reach out to Mormons, and equip fellow believers with some additional knowledge. Enjoy:

<Kannoth>: Actually, may I ask a simple question before we go further?

<Kannoth>: Since you mentioned baptism is needed to enter heaven.

<Lord`Saladin>: Go on then.

<Kannoth>: Answer yes or no, please: Is Baptism needed in order to go into heaven?

<Lord`Saladin>: Yes.

<Kannoth>: Is Baptism needed for salvation, which thus leads to heaven?: Yes or no.

<Lord`Saladin>: Understand, however, Baptism is not simply the act of immersion, but also the covenant that goes with it.

<Lord`Saladin>: Yes.

<Kannoth>: Alright, so you’re clarifying Baptism. Baptism is obviously asked upon by every Christian as a means of acknowledging one’s faith publicly. This is the traditional understanding of baptism. However, you’re saying that Baptism is needed to go itno heaven and have salvation.

<Kannoth>: In other words, you’re saying an ack of works is needed in order to get into heaven…

<Kannoth>: Since we’re talking about physical baptism (baptism of the dead), and not just some concept of spiritual baptism.

<Kannoth>: So the act of baptizing is then needed to enter heaven, correct?

<Lord`Saladin>: Yes.

<Kannoth>: Well we have a problem. This contradicts our source of Righteousness (Romans 1:16-17). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast,” (Eph. 2:8-9, NIV).

<Kannoth>: So no act of our own can mitigate whether we get into heaven (ex.: baptism), but it is only by the gift God gives to us.

<Lord`Saladin>: Again, however, it is the covenant of Baptism that also accompanies the physical act that makes it so important…

<Kannoth>: There is the problem with baptism needing to be a requirement to enter heaven: It is poor theology. No work leads to salvation. It is purely a gift from grace. Baptism is only a public declaration of faith. An act the Christian should do in obedience. However, it will not nullify one’s entrance into heaven.

<Lord`Saladin>: The immersion and subsequent upcoming from beneath the water represent a new life, and also an act of cleansing away any previous sin before that point.

<Kannoth>: That only touches into one of the main areas of Doctrine (salvation). Now, may I define the central Christian Doctrines that Mormonism will have to agree to to be considered Christian?

<Kannoth>: Saladin, the act of Baptism is only a public represntation of the TRUE baptism; that of the Spirit. The ‘born again’ Jesus tells Nicodemus. It is no physical requirement needed to get into heaven.

<Kannoth>: But I don’t want to go down that tangeant, I’d like to define Christianity.

<Kannoth>: May I?

<Lord`Saladin>: Go on then.

<Kannoth>: There are 5 Central Key Theological issues. If Mormonism disagrees with any of them, it cannot be considered Christian. In addition, there are three essential other Doctrines as well.

<Kannoth>: Here are the first five:

<Kannoth>: All three branches can agree upon these central Doctrines (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox): 1) the Deity of Christ (John 8:58), 2) Salvation by Grace (Eph. 2:8-9), and 3) Resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:14), 4) the Gospel (Gal. 1:8-9), and 5) Monotheism (Exodus 20:3). Before we even progress, would you say Mormonism is in agreement to all these central doctrines?

<Kannoth>: Before we even progress, do you agree all five of these are central to being considered ‘Christianity’. If not, we don’t need to go on.

<Lord`Saladin>: Yes.

<Kannoth>: Alright, good. Now there are three others:

<Kannoth>: Secondary essential Doctrines: 1) Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 1:14-16), 2) Jesus’ virgin birth (Matt 1:23), 3) The doctrine of the Trinity (Matt 28:19).

<Kannoth>: Do you disagree with any of those three?

<Lord`Saladin>: No.

<Kannoth>: Which?

<Lord`Saladin>: <Kannoth> Do you disagree with any of those three?

<Lord`Saladin>: <Lord`Saladin> No.

<Kannoth>: Alright then, good.

<Kannoth>: So if I were to show that Mormonism conflicts any of these eight, can we say Mormonism is not Christianity, but an offshoot?

<Lord`Saladin>: If you mean show in terms of demonstration of lack of understanding of LDS doctrine, no.

<Kannoth>: Alright, let me hit a first point then.

<Lord`Saladin>: Which also means, rather than bulldozing over any word I have to say, you bring up each point, and I will confirm or otherwise.

<Kannoth>: The divinity of Jesus, and the character of the Monotheistic God.

<Kannoth>: THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS SECTION 130 says “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.”

<Kannoth>: Mormonism teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones (D. & C. 130:22) and that Jesus is a creation. It teaches that he was begotten in heaven as one of God’s spirit children (See the Book, Jesus the Christ, by James Talmage, p. 8). This is in strict contrast to the biblical teaching that he is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14), eternal (John 1:1, 2, 15), uncreated, yet born on earth (Col. 1:15), and the creator all (John 1:3; Col. 1;16-17).

<Kannoth>: This is denying the Trinity, denying Christ’ divinity, and denying the nature of God.

<Kannoth>: Then and there, just stating God the Father as having a body of flesh and bone’s as tangible as man’s, is outside Christianity.

<Kannoth>: For that alone we can classify Mormonism as what it is: Mormonism.

<Kannoth>: There are many more points we can move to as well.

<Lord`Saladin>: Right.

<Lord`Saladin>: Then let me cover this.

<Kannoth>: Sure.

<Kannoth>: There are followup points regarding the divinity of Jesus and the nature of the Trinity as well.

<Lord`Saladin>: John 1:14 reads: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

<Lord`Saladin>: Which brings about John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…

<Lord`Saladin>: It is stated Christ was begotten of God.

<Lord`Saladin>: In multiple places.

<Kannoth>: Ah yes, I agree. That’s the trinity. Begotten, hints at the Trinitarian relationship: Three parts of a whole. However, Mormonism disagrees here. Mormon Theology teaches three distinct parts that form the office of the trinity.

<Kannoth>: Also, context of John 1 also highlights that the Word was with God, and before all creation.

<Lord`Saladin>: I am just coming to the Trinity…

<Kannoth>: Yup.

<Lord`Saladin>: Matthew 28:19 reads: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

<Kannoth>: Yup.

<Lord`Saladin>: It lists them as separate. Now, of course, they are one in the sense of purpose.

<Lord`Saladin>: Their purpose is one and the same.

<Lord`Saladin>: God and Christ each have physical bodies, physical bodies that have attained perfection.

<Kannoth>: No no. It does not list them as three seperate beings. To say they are three seperate entities is to say there is this office called the trinity, and there are three persons in it.

<Lord`Saladin>: The Holy Spirit, which dwells in each of us who accept it, is in spirit form so it can dwell within.

<Kannoth>: If you say God and Christ have seperate bodies, than you’re saying the trinity isn’t one being with three persons, but three seperate persons acting together.

<Lord`Saladin>: Neither, Kannoth, does it say they are one.

<Lord`Saladin>: Find where it says they are one being of three parts.

<Kannoth>: Of course. God is one. A center to Christianity is Monotheism. To reject monotheism is the reject Judeo-Christianity, which is the point I’m trying to make. By seperating them, you’re denying that central Doctrine of Monotheism, yet also running into problems with the Trinity, and the divinity of Christ.

<Kannoth>: Mind you, the Trinity is never mentioned in scripture. You used the verses to devise the concept of the trinity, however what I just posted of the Doctrine and Covenants talks about God and Jesus having different bodies, physical ones, meaning they are seperate.

<Kannoth>: You’ve agreed with this. And to agree with this is to deny monotheism, which would deny the title of Christianity.

<Kannoth>: We haven’t even touched the nature of the Gospels, how forgiveness of sins is attained, etc.

<Lord`Saladin>: Hm.

<Kannoth>: That nature of God is distinctly un-Christian.

<Kannoth>: Do you have facebook?

<Kannoth>: My name is Leonardo by the way.

<Lord`Saladin>: I see you are a good manipulator of words.

<Lord`Saladin>: My name is Saladin.

<Lord`Saladin>: I have Facebook, yes.

<Kannoth>: I do not think I am manipulating anything, rather scripture is scripture.

<Kannoth>: Would you like to exchange Facebooks, perhaps if we ever wish to have discussions (I have to leave work soon).

<Lord`Saladin>: It is not for online acquaintances.

<Kannoth>: Understandible.

<Lord`Saladin>: Scripture is scripture yes.

<Lord`Saladin>: The bible, we also know, has been changed to suit the designs of man

<Lord`Saladin>: Multiple times

<Kannoth>: Also, Mormon theology completely goes against the Doctrine of Monotheism (God used to be a man on another planet, Mormon Doctrine, p. 321. Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, Vol 5, pp. 613-614; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol 2, p. 345, Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333.)

<Kannoth>: Lord, that’s a red herring. We have the most accurate texts any generation has had. I study the greek, and the accuracy of the New Testament in comparison to any other ancient text is uncomparible.

<Kannoth>: Plus, if you want to say the doctrine has been changed to suit the designs of man, what stops me from saying that’s exactly what a Mormon is trying to do

<Kannoth>: ?

<Lord`Saladin>: Oh, I know.

<Lord`Saladin>: However, consider this…

<Lord`Saladin>: Perhaps as a closure to this discussion…

<Kannoth>: It’s an unprovable. However, I can open up my Greek, and point to where every Greek verse comes from (the Papyrus, it’s century, etc).

<Kannoth>: Sure. Although I would have liekd to continue this.

<Kannoth>: There are a plethora of other points where Mormonism disagrees outright with Christianity.

<Lord`Saladin>: Look at the structure of Christ’s church, that He set up whilst in this world…

<Lord`Saladin>: Tell me ANY denomination where it is the same.

<Lord`Saladin>: There is only one.

<Kannoth>: Wait. We agreed that if Mormonism disagreed with any of those 5 Doctrines, it isn’t Christian. It was clear there was a disagreement between the Monotheism of God. I think the case is set.

<Kannoth>: Christ’s church is simply the collective body of believers, not a physical institution.

<Kannoth>: It was never a single entity, but a loose collection of house churches.

<Lord`Saladin>: Now, who decided the definition of Christianity?

<Lord`Saladin>: Was it God?

<Lord`Saladin>: But, step away from any belief you may have.

<Kannoth>: We define Christianity through the source of Righteouss, the Bible.

<Lord`Saladin>: Oh dear.

<Lord`Saladin>: My friend, I am afraid to say you sound near robotic,

<Lord`Saladin>: *.

<Kannoth>: If you want to ignore the bible, you’re putting into question your source of righteousness and truth.

<Kannoth>: You’re not degrading me personally instead of discussing and debating the ideas. That’s usually an end to a conversation.

<Kannoth>: You agreed that it had to adhere to all those 5 central Doctrines, and it did not.

<Kannoth>: You now are questioning the definition of Christianity. That’s not what you yourself agreed to above.

<Lord`Saladin>: Hm… How to explain this…

 

<Lord`Saladin>: Hm.

<Kannoth>: Do we mean the Doctrine of Monotheism?

<Lord`Saladin>: Damn, if only this had taken place at a time other than 20 past one in the morning when my back is murdering me.

<Kannoth>: Friend, get some rest.

<Lord`Saladin>: Okay.

<Kannoth>: I do not want to bring you any uncomfort, honestly.

<Kannoth>: Let me say this, it was a pleasure talking to you.

<Lord`Saladin>: Let me give you the answer to your every question…

<Kannoth>: Sure. This being that of Monotheism and how God and Jesus can both have seperate physical bodies?

<Kannoth>: Alright, I would ask of you only the same. This is no academic teaching, but rather a study of the Bible, God’s word.

<Kannoth>: It was a pleasure talking to you.

<Lord`Saladin>: My friend, I have done the same.

<Lord`Saladin>: On multiple occasions.

<Kannoth>: Have a good day. God Bless, and merry Christmas.

 

Pray.

Leonard O Goenaga

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