MERGED Questions about Mormonism

  1. How do Mormons view the Bible, especially in relation to the Book of Mormon? Does one take precedence over the other? Is Mormonism sola scriptura? How much weight is given to Joseph Smith’s writings and interpretation of the Bible?

  2. Can non-Mormons go to heaven? How long does it take to become a Mormon, and what does the process entail? What if a Mormon left the church – what would happen to him from the community’s perspective?

Thanks

Hi Bezant,

I will try and answer your questions as best as I can. I’m a lifelong member of the church so I know a thing or two but I’m not perfect :slight_smile:

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. Due to the translation for Hebrew and Greek to English and due to man, some simple and basic truths were lost. However, we believe the Bible to be just as important of scripture as the Book of Mormon. The main difference between the two books is that one was written in the Old World (Jerusalem) and the other was written by prophets in the New World (the Americas). There was a prophet that lived in Jerusalem that sailed to the Americas about 600 BC and he and his family were the beginning of civilization in the Americas. They became a numerous people and among them lived prophets, just like the prophets in Jerusalem.

We believe that the true and everlasting gospel is found in the scriptures but we also believe in modern day revelation. We have a prophet on the earth today and his name is Thomas S Monson. He guides the Church and presides over it. Joseph Smith actually didn’t write any scriptures (with the exception of his own personal history which is in the Pearl of Great Price). He received golden plates that were buried in a hill that contained the writings of the prophets that lived in the Americas. The writings begin in 600 BC and end around 400 AD and included in them is the visit of Jesus Christ to the Americas after His resurrection in Jerusalem.

Anybody can go to heaven. Christ taught that a man must be born of the water and the spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5) and we believe that the person that performs the ordinance must have the authority to perform the ordinance (the priesthood). Of course, they must also endure to the end by obeying the commandments, repenting and serving others. In order to become a member of the church, one simply has to accept the gospel and live its teachings to be baptized. It can happen in as little as a few weeks but may take longer. The missionaries teach 5 lessons and invite the person to live the teachings and be baptized.

Anyone that leaves the church is free to do so on their own. The members of the community/congregation, when appropriate, will encourage them to participate but will/should never force anyone to do anything against their own will and choice.

I hope that answers your questions. Please just let me know if I missed anything or if you have any additional questions!

In all honesty, Mormons do not truly believe in the Bible. Anytime someone says, “I believe, but…”, they really do not believe

They also believe that only Mormons will go to the highest level of heaven and be in presence of God. No one will get there without Joseph Smith’s approval

Golden tablets, you say?

I heard it was a peep stone:
mormonstories.org/top10toughissues/peepstones.html

There is another problem I have with Mormonism (and which every man ought to have a problem with). It is the issue of flexibility in doctrine. The Roman Church, the Orthodox Churches, and all the Protestant groups rightfully acknowledge that Christ taught one truth. This of course has led to the fracturing of Protestantism into thousands of rivaling factions all teaching different Gospels (to some small degree or another). At very least, however, they acknowledge that the objective truth is rigid and immalleable. Luther’s doctrines were Luther’s from the moment he broke from Rome. Same with Calvin. When Wesley broke with the Church of England, Methodism maintained a doctrinal rigidity different from Canterbury, yet equally as rigid.

Yet Mormon doctrine has not maintained this concept of consistency. For example, take the issue of polygamy.
mormonstories.org/top10toughissues/polygamy.html
In 200 years, Mormonism has NEVER had any consistency with concerns to marriage. Its prophets and its doctrines have on many occasions contradicted each other. Smith contradicted himself on the issue many times.* Explicitly.*

If the Mormons wish to pass themselves off as teaching the truth, “the truth” cannot change every 5, 10, 15, 25, 50, 100, 200, or even 1000 years. Doctrine must be consistent or you have no theology. Just whims.

In my personal opinion, based on my experience is that they “hold” their scripture (BofM, D&C and Pearl of Great Price) higher than they do the Bible, because they believe the Bible contains errors.

Again from what I was taught, is that non-Mormons can go into heaven, but there are three degrees of Heaven. In order to get to the highest degree of Heaven to be with the Father you must follow their teachings on earth, tithing, Temple ordiences, Word of Wisdom etc… They also believe that souls can be taught the “true” gospel in the afterlife and can coverted to their beliefs.

What if a Mormon left the Church? You will hear varying stories from ex members on this forum. Some won’t leave the church because of family and other lost friends. For me, my ex family told me I was possessed by the Devil, all the friends I made during my time in the church no longer call or email. They acted so concerned but once they found out I was not coming back, they cut the ties. That is why I think the preception of LDS Family and Community is skewed. Family only matters if you are Mormon and same with Community. If they believe they can convert you, they will do everything they can, rake your yard, help you move etc… but once they know you have no intentions, you no longer see that “community”

First of all, welcome to this forum. I just have a few question for you based upon some of your comments:

Don’t you really mean as far as it agrees with Mormon doctrine? If it has been translated incorrectly, and you know that with certainty, then why don’t Mormon scholars just go ahead and translate it correctly rather than accept the KJV?

And when there are conflicts between biblical scripture and purported “modern day revelation”, which one wins? For example, the Bible is disinctively monotheistic, yet Mormonism is distinctively polytheistic in light of so-called “modern revelation”:

"I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected the text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Diety, it has always been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a 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. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural, and who can contradict it?

(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1976)

Does not one, in addition to accepting the gospel, also have to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet, the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price?

After which one then begins to learn of those things they were not told in the beginning. In contrast, entry into the Catholic Church takes a minimum of one year of study, and many times two to three years, in which the fulness of Catholic teaching is presented and must be accepted before one can be baptized and enter the Church. We have no surprises. My question is this: Why is certain information withheld from those inquiring into your faith?

Thanks.

For question #1…which book of the Bible do you view as having precedence? Is James more inspired than Revelation or Romans? Is John more inspired than Matthew?

Question #2…not long from what I understand from friends…the “discussion” then a set date for baptism and confirmation…it take a year of faithful living…including tithing…to be allowed access to the temple for temple ordinance…adult male converts are put on a “fast track” to the Melchisedec priesthood…which all Mormon males aspire to hold.

Information is witheld IMO because the mormons are just a little bit dishonest. They make it fast and easy to get in.
But getting out and off the rolls is a different story. Their are two ways to leave mormonism.

  1. Ask for and undergo a humiliating excommunication trial.

  2. Ask that your name be removed from the membership roll. They resist this and send hometeachers to try and get you back, and it takes years and at times legal action to get your name out of the rolls.

Many people just forget about it, don’t want to go through the wait and go to a different church. Their names are still on the records and they are claimed as still mormon.

That is why the mormons have such inflated membership claims. Many people are no longer mormon, but still claimed.

I would like to see only active Mormons included in the claims of members, the “membership” would drop by half I wager.

That sound like what I have experienced. Whenever I showed them something in the Bible that went against their Mormon beliefs, suddenly the Bible was wrong.

Bottom line, they don’t believe the Bible is inerrant, and the Catholic position is always wrong. Never mind that the Catholic Church decided what books are in the New Testament.

Peace
David

Unfortunately, the same could be said of many Catholics. While no one will hassle you for leaving the Church, there are a great many Catholics in name only. You see them at their baptism, marriage and funeral. One of my prior priests told me that he thought his job had come down to “hatch 'em, match 'em and dispatch 'em”. :slight_smile:

Jack-Catholics? :smiley:

We believe the teachings and truths held within the bible to be correct and from God, insofar as they are translated, interpreted and understood correctly. I believe this would be the Catholic view also.
We believe that Joseph Smith’s translation of The Book of Mormon, as well as his interpolations in the Bible and the texts ‘from’ the various papyrus (as canonised in our standard works) to be produced by divine inspiration and guidance from God and the Holy Spirit.
This, however, does not mean that every word that JS spoke is automatically true and correct (men on the moon for example).

This question really needs to be split up:

The simple answer is yes, absolutely.
Our doctrine states that we are judged according to what we did, but also how we acted on the knowledge and understanding that we had. i.e. it is not just to condemn someone for doing/not doing something of which we had no knowledge,

How quickly would you like? :smiley:
Generally (I believe) you would be expected to have attended a few meetings, and had the basic lessons from our missionaries; as well as professing faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of sin. Timescale-wise this could happen within a few weeks, but for some they have taken years of study, prayer and discussion before finally desiring to be baptised.

Well now, do you simply mean stopped attending? Or do you mean they did something unacceptable to our doctrines and practises? Or do you mean they became openly against the church?
Very little happens to anyone who simply stops attending (like my sister); they are still welcome at any activity and meeting, their friends within the church will still see them and treat them the same as ever.

Actually, neither of these are true.

For an excommunication trial, you would have to have done something severely against our doctrines. While the trial and decision would still go ahead; you don’t need to attend, and are probably more likely to be excommunicated if you don’t. However, the process is far from humiliating; on the contrary it is full of love and concern for the spiritual welfare of the individual concerned. However, this is only perceived if the person has a humble and penitent attitude towards the proceedings, as it is not a comfortable experience (why would it be, bringing up the worst of what they have done in front of a number of people who they know well; its embarrassing naturally - but this is not the focus nor the reason)

If you guys do not mind, I would like to elaborate to clarify as to what Bezant asked. First part anyway.

As to the first question in particular, didn’t Joseph Smith translate Genesis and Matthew? So then isn’t it true that you do use his translation? So how does this work, that which is obviously bogus is disregarded and that which could be applied is used?

How much weight is given the KJV Bible in regards to what is actually stated in Matthew and Genesis? Or is this more to the tune as “SteveVH” stated…Don’t you really mean as far as it agrees with Mormon doctrine?

Now when its stated “Joseph Smith actually didn’t write any scriptures (with the exception of his own personal history which is in the Pearl of Great Price).” Ah but he translated them into his own interpretation…NO?

Now as to the Pearl of Great Price [isn’t there 3-4 others similiar to this?] what significance does it hold to your congregations, as oppoed to the Bible? Same situation I would assume? So the bottom line still is Mormon teaching is the calling card and its simply you teaching is its own truth?

So…“Mormon_Cultist” in light of whats been stated in this thread and in regards to your “sister”. So then she is allowed to go about her business without pressure, confrontation, or guilt placed on her? So you still respect your sister, and view her no differently than if she was attending as you do? How exactly does that work?

Peace

Come, neither of us believe in ‘Sola Scripture’, so let us consider religious writings in general, and more specifically the writings of early church members, fathers etc. The reason for this is because the books included within the Bible were chosen by the Catholic church originally, and therefore obviously contain only things which you agree with so the point and comparison I am about to make would have little point in reference only to that particular portion of canon.
Many writings during the early church (and much later) did not conform to stated Catholic doctrines and beliefs: or were later shown not to be in line with new developments in theological understanding. The church wasted no time in labelling these as heretical, and dealing with those responsible.
When reading any religious text, do you disregard every portion of the text the moment you find one discrepancy? Or do you accept the incorrect portion because the rest of the text conforms? I doubt it; I expect that when the text says something that contradicts the doctrines you know, you realise that it must be a mistake or misunderstanding on the part of the writer. Naturally this is the obvious course to make, and the way we also treat these things. When it comes to the scriptures, it seems that in places some of the original meanings of the text have become misunderstood or distorted in translation. One of the first examples I remember coming across in study is that in Exodus where Moses asks Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. The scriptural text suggests that the Lord hardens Pharaoh’s heart against Moses’ requests; but this makes no sense from a loving Lord - making Pharaoh do something to cause him to anger the wrath of the Lord (or, indeed, making anyone do anything). Thankfully the Joseph Smith Translation interpolates hat it was, in fact, Pharaoh who hardened his own heart against it.

No need for the ‘inverted commas’; I am speaking about my literal sister, not simply in a gospel sense. She absolutely goes about her life without anyone pressing her for anything. She still attends the odd church meeting (usually only when she has been invited to another member’s house for dinner afterwards - cheeky); members still visit her and contact her as she has expressed no wish for this not to happen, and seems to still welcome it. I view it as entirely her decision, privately I think it a shame that she does not see the truth of the gospel as I do, given we were brought up in the same household, attended meetings etc; but many (/most) of my friends and colleagues do not share my beliefs either, and I do not esteem them any less because of it. God is no respecter of person’s, why should I be?
I would presume (/hope) that you apply similar principles in your life? That you welcome all, regardless of creed, including those who have left the Catholic faith, while still feeling within yourself that there is so much more they could have in their lives through Christ?

TexanKnight; it seems that you are very angry with the LDS church, your responses on these threads are extremely argumentative and intentionally ignorant of the facts that you should already know, and that are represented to you in case you have forgotten. It would be appreciated if you could adopt a tone of peaceful discussion instead of argument.

[quote=TexanKnight]They also believe that only Mormons will go to the highest level of heaven and be in presence of God. No one will get there without Joseph Smith’s approval
[/quote]

This is not true, and shows either a misunderstanding, or lapse of memory regarding temple ceremonies, their meaning, their intent and the true scope of the priesthood sealing power.
TK already knows this, but for those who do not understand where his misconception originates, allow me to explain;
We teach that marriage is not for this mortal life alone: that a marriage performed by the priesthood of God, applying the sealing power (as given to Peter to bind on earth as in heaven) in a sacred temple ceremony will last for not only time, but for all eternity. Our scriptures teach us that only those who’s marriage has been so sealed can achieve the fullest degree of glory in the presence of our Father in Heaven.
Therefore it may appear, at first reading, that our doctrine excludes all non-LDS from achieving this; however it must be further understood that we believe, as the early Christians did, that essential ordinances such as this may be performed by those who are living, on behalf of those who have died. This is one of the primary focuses of much of our temple work and our genealogy research, so that all may be entitled to receive those same blessings, even when their lives did not allow them to attain all necessary ordinances in mortality. Thus the plan of God continues, and the gates of hell do not prevail against His children.

[quote=TexanKnight]BY was very clear that only those approved by Joseph go to heaven.
[/quote]

This has never been adopted as doctrine at any time. I have never been taught it, it is not published in our canon, it is not included in our teaching courses. While Brigham Young no doubt believed it as he said it, and it was likely a well intentioned statement; it has no doctrinal or scriptural basis that I know of.

[quote=TexanKnight]Not true. I asked my name to be taken from the roles and, instead, was excommunicated. I was ridiculed by members and the Bishop, I was told I had sinned against the Spirit and could NEVER be forgiven. I do not know how often Cultist has been excommunicated, but he is wrong
[/quote]

I would agree with you that the individuals involved here do not seem to have acted appropriately: nobody but those directly involved ought to have been made aware of any church disciplinary action taking place. Obviously I cannot speak for your specific circumstances, but I have had very close experience of the discipline process and excommunication scenario - more than I would be prepared to share with anyone, let alone strangers online. I can tell you that those involved have nothing but the eternal welfare of the individual in mind when considering their decisions - excommunication is actually less of a punishment, than a relief of burden for the person. But it is easy to enter with the wrong perceptions - I did.
I do find it odd how much you seem to still care about the way you were treated, given you tend to be very vocal about how pleased you are to have ‘escaped’. You ‘got out’ why does the manner of your ejection matter?

The fact remains Mormons believe you have to be a Mormon, i.e., accepting the Mormon religion and baptism. Mormons thinking this is possible after death.

However, we are judged at the time of our death. There isn’t a second chance-by-proxy.

[BIBLEDRB]Hebrews 9:27[/BIBLEDRB]

As for your ad hominems against TexanKnight. :tsktsk: Forum rules, my friend, encourage us to discuss the topic, not each other. It would be appreciated if you could, in fact, stick to the topic. (Which isn’t TexanKnight.)

wow. Very passive-aggressive, ie, giving back-handed slaps to your sister while all the while explaining how very accepting LDS are. FYI, this is the sort of arrogance that makes people who have left Mormonism want to run from it even faster.

She herself admits it. Just this last Sunday she was there, and I immediately knew she must be going for dinner. Sure enough when I asked her, she just laughed her confirmation that this was, indeed, her only reason for turning up.

Mormoncultist: you are darrn tootin’ right. I am very angry at the mormon church. They took advantage of me during a low point of my life emotionally. They provided an instant set of “friends”, when I was lonely and needed friends desperately.

They were in such a rush to dunk me (I had already been baptised years before), that they dunked me without telling me of all the unusual parts of mormon teaching like Mrs God, God a former human who worked his way up to Godhood, Jesus and Satan “brothers”. The absolute falsehood of the “great apostacy”. It just goes on and on, ad infinitum.

Yes they absolutely deceived me, had I known all that hidden teaching of mormonism, I surely would have never let them dunk me.

And know what? As soon as I left mormondom all of those new “friends” vanished instantly.

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