Faith, Politics, and the 2012 Presidential Election (part 2 of 3)

(This is part 2 of a 3 part series on Faith, Politics, and the 2012 Presidential Election. In part 1 I tried to express my concern about evangelical Christians being distracted by one thing – President Obama and the desire to get him out of office – while something more sinister – Governor Mitt Romney – might be on the horizon. I fear that the enemy is faking us out and we are concentrating on the wrong thing. In this post I want to outline some of the basic beliefs of Mormonism and how those beliefs differ from Christianity. I find it interesting that Christians and conservatives attacked the church the Obama’s attended in Chicago but have not even taken the time to educate themselves about the teachings of the LDS Church. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think regardless if you agree with me or not.)

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I know a person’s faith, or lack of faith, does not disqualify, or qualify, that person for the presidency. I also know while every President to date has claimed to be a Christian, that does not necessarily mean they were Christians or that their Christian faith affected their personal life or public policy or influenced their presidency and the decisions they made in any way at all. I also value the fact that our country strongly believes in freedom of religion and allows people to believe, or not believe, whatever they desire. A person’s faith, or lack thereof, should not be a litmus test of their ability to run for any public office, even the POTUS.

However, what concerns me about Romney’s faith is the deceptiveness of it. He, like other Mormons, wants everyone to believe they are Christians when they are not. At least Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and Atheists are honest enough to admit they are not Christians. It is easy to point out the differences between those world religions and Christianity. It is easy to have discussions with other world religions because no one is trying to convince anyone they are something they are not.

Not so with Mormonism.

What Mormons believe is hard to pin down and hard to explain because they use the same terminology as Christianity but what they mean by those terms is not the same as what those terms mean in Christianity. Mormonism is deceptive and deception is worse than an out and out lie. I can’t help ask myself if Romney is comfortable about deception when it comes to his faith, what other areas of his life would he be comfortable with deception. I don’t have to agree with my president, but I do have to trust him or her, and I just can’t bring myself to trust Mitt Romney.

In this post I want to outline the basic beliefs of Mormonism. In an effort to be fair, the first thing I will share are the 13 articles of faith found on the official website of the LDS Church. The articles of faith are what Mormons say they believe. Then, I will outline what they mean by what they say when it comes to the key differences between Mormonism and Christianity. It is my understanding that by the age of 13, every Mormon has memorized these 13 articles of faith.

13 Articles of Mormon Faith

  1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
  2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
  3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
  4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
  6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
  7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
  8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
  9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
  10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
  11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
  12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
  13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Now, here are the basic differences between Mormonism and Christianity:

The Sacred Scriptures (4 of them)

1. The Book of Mormon 

a. “…the most correct book on earth” (Joseph Smith).

b. See “The Book of Mormon” from www.mormon.org

2. Doctrines and Covenants

a. 3 years after writing the Book of Mormon, Smith wrote the Book of Commandments.

b. 2 years later he substantially revised this book and called it Doctrines and Covenants.

c. Includes many of the well-known Mormon beliefs, such as eternal progression…polygamy, and the ability of humans to become God.

3. Peal of Great Price

a. A “translation” by Joseph Smith from various Egyptian artifacts he had acquired.

b. Contains his own “correct” translation of the Book of Moses and the Gospel of Matthew, along with the Articles of Faith.

c. Non-Mormon scholars have determined that the artifacts were remnants of a common Egyptian funeral text.

4. Holy Bible

a. “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”[1]

b. Smith believed and taught that every translation of the Bile was corrupt, so he did his own “translation.”

(1) He did not know Hebrew or Greek.

(2) He simply made thousands of changes to the King James Version.

(3) The Mormon version of the Bible includes a passage in Genesis 50 that predicts the coming of Joseph Smith.

Below is a chart that shows the differences between the Mormon’s view of the Bible and Christianity’s view of the Bible.

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The Bible – Mormonism                                     The Bible – Christianity[2]

Unreliable                                                                      Reliable

Incomplete                                                                     Complete as it is

Adds new revelations to God’s Word                      Rejects new revelations

Unbiblical theological presuppositions                 Accepted hermeneutical rules

utilized in interpretation                                             in interpretation

____________________________________________

The Nature of God: (Two important Mormon beliefs)

1. Eternal progression.

a. God is not the eternal, self-existent, all-powerful God of the universe.

b. God is nothing more than a man who became God.

(1) “As man is, God once was, as God is, man may become” (Lorenzo Snow, 5th Mormon President & Prophet.)

(2) God was created by another god who existed before the Father God, who rules the universe today.

(a) And that God was created by a god before him, ad infinitum.

(b) This belief that God was once a man leads to the belief that God still has a physical body.

2. Polytheism (belief in more than one god)

a. Since the present Father God is descended from an eternal progression of other gods, than any Mormon can become a god.

b. Potentially, there are as many gods as there are Mormons who in the past obeyed the “eternal Gospel truths.”

Below is a chart that shows the differences between the Mormon god and the Biblical God:

____________________________________________

The Mormon God                                                          The Biblical God[3]

Many (polytheistic)                                                          One (monotheistic)

Evolving (changing)                                                         Immutable (unchanging)

Material (physical)                                                           Immaterial (spirit)

Sexual                                                                                    Asexual

Polygamist                                                                           Celibate

Morally imperfect (e.g. requiring salvation)              Eternally holy (not requiring salvation)

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The Person of Jesus.

1. Father God was created, he grew up as a man on another planet (in another universe) and then became God.

a. He then had sex with Mother God and had “millions” of spirit children.

b. The firstborn of these spirit children was Jesus.

c. The second born was Lucifer.  (Jesus was chosen to be the Savior, which ticked off Lucifer, so he rebelled.)

2. Father God came up with a plan for the rest of his spirit children to populate and live on earth and be tested, only to return to him after death.  (See “The Plan of Salvation”; www.mormon.org)

3. Sometimes refer to Jesus as the “elder brother.

a. Jesus grew up, got married, and had several children.

b. Died on the cross, was resurrected with a new body, and returned to heaven.

c. He is presently waiting to take the place of the Father God, who will progress to even greater realms.

Below is a chart describing the differences between the Mormon Jesus and the Biblical Jesus:

___________________________________________

The Mormon Jesus Christ                                              The Biblical Jesus Christ[4]

A created being; the brother of Lucifer                                Uncreated (eternal) God

Earned his own salvation (exaltation)                               As God, Christ required no salvation

Common (one of many gods) and of                                    Unique (the Second Person of the

minor importance in the larger                                              Godhead) and of supreme

Mormon cosmology                                                                   importance throughout eternity

and in all creation

Conceived by the physical act of the                                      Conceived by the Holy Spirit who

Father (Adam or Elohim) and Mary                                      overshadowed Mary, a true virgin

A married polygamist?                                                               An unmarried monogamist

____________________________________________

Humankind.

1. Every person who has ever been born once existed as a spirit in heaven – doctrine of preexistence.  (See, “Where Did I Come From”; www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1117-1,00.html.)

2. By being born you are following the pattern of Father God and Jesus.

3. By becoming a Mormon and obeying Mormon teaching, you can progress toward godhood.

4. If you get married in a Mormon temple, you get your own planet.

5. Once you have become a god, you can have spirit children of your own, and they will eventually come to earth and repeat the cycle.

Sin and Salvation.

1. All people, once spirit children, were born in an innocent state.

2. Sin is not a condition of rebellion against God, but more like having poor judgment or making a mistake.

3. Salvation is not how you get right with God.

a. Salvation simply means you will be resurrected and have a body.

b. You are not “saved” by believing in Jesus and accepting Him as your Savior.

4. All people are saved eventually (universal salvation), and you are saved individually by doing good works and by obeying “the laws of the Gospel” – the beliefs of the LDS Church.

5. Different types of salvation

a. General Salvation (“salvation by grace”).

(1) Occurs to all men.

(2) Restricted to resurrection from the dead and immortality.

(3) Does not decide a person’s specific residence or degree of glory in the next life.

b. Individual Salvation.

(1) Determines which one of the 3 heavens you will go to, and whether or not you earn true “eternal life” (godhood).

(a) Telestial Kingdom: lowest kingdom of glory; the place where most of humanity will reside; will be excluded from the presence of God and Christ.

(b) Terrestrial Kingdom: the place where “good Mormons,” and those who accept Mormonism after death will go.

(c) Celestial Kingdom: gained by “complete obedience” to gospel law; this kingdom has 3 parts; only in the highest part is salvation in the fullest sense found—absolute godhood and eternal sexual increase.

General salvation is based on “grace”; individual salvation is based on “good works.”

Obviously a few blog posts cannot fully explain Mormon theology. What I have tried to do is to outline basic Mormon beliefs. By doing so I hope to encourage you to study more on your own. My intention is not to try to influence anyone to vote one way or another. All of us must vote our conscious. At the same time, however, it is our responsibility to learn as much as we can about the candidates. As I have stated previously, it concerns me that we (as followers of Jesus) are so quick to dismiss one candidate and blindly endorse another.

___________________________________________

[1] “Summary of Beliefs,” #8 (www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1598-1,00.html)

[2] John Ankerberg & John Weldon.  1991 (16).

[3] John Ankerberg & John Weldon.  1991 (19).

[4] John Ankerberg & John Weldon.  1991 (24).

 
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12 thoughts on “Faith, Politics, and the 2012 Presidential Election (part 2 of 3)

  1. As you pointed out at the first of the article, one’s religion is not a litmus test for POTUS, and America embraces the free exercise of religion. Romney is a Mormon. I know that Mormon doctrine is very different from Christian doctrine; however, I am electing a President, not a pastor. Plus, which is worse, being a Mormon and being open about it, or claiming to be Christian but having every policy go against what scripture teaches.

  2. So, how is Romney conspiring to get Americans to believe Mormon doctrine? Has he already written his election night speech to seduce Americans into rejecting the biblical doctrine of grace? Is he writing devilish details into future bills to promote his non-Trinitarian stance? Has he made a pact with Ryan to get him to convert to Mormonism too? Is he assemblying a cabinet that will approve moving the White House to Missouri?

    All this is so surreal–this supposed sinister threat lurking behind a Romney victory, when we know that Obama is playing cards left and right which are overtly anti-Christian.

    • James,

      Thanks for your “kind” post. Please understand, I am not voting for Obama, so all the “negative” stuff you say about him is really not needed. My concern is that I feel many well-intentioned, conservative Christians are blindly following a false-prophet. (Romney was a bishop in the LDS Church, not just a regular member. His roots are deep in that religion.)

      There are plenty of reports out there about how Mitt Romney was strongly pro-life until he ran for governor of Mass. He knew he could not win being pro-life so he went to Salt Lake and got permission from the LDS Church leaders to campaign as pro-choice. The LDS Church gave their blessings because of the importance they feel of having Mormon’s in high political office. Now that he is running for President, the only way he could get the Republican nomination was reverting back to a pro-life stance. (Here is one link to an article that talks about this. There are others.)

      I don’t think there is going to be a mass-conversion to Mormonism. But Mormonism is highly deceptive, and a Romney president will simply be another step away from our country being a Christian country.

      Here is another link, although I am sure you will not like the source.

      Here is a link that shows some interesting stances Romney has had around gay rights issues.

      James,
      I know you will vote your conscience, and I respect that and consider you a brother in Christ. All I ask is that you allow me to vote my conscience and respect my choice as a brother in Christ.

      • Invoking the sentiment of a mutual friend: if Paul could have voted for an emperor, he would not have sat out the election cycles until a Trinitarian Christian ran for the office. Rather, he would have voted for the emperor who would have been more open to a Christian ethos than the candidate bent on persecuting the Church. I myself would easily have voted for Claudius over Caligula. And we have that same choice this year.

        Thus, it is entirely needed and relevant to show how Obama is so much more like Caligula, and Romney more like Claudius.

        I have no doubt that Romney will enact conservative Republican legislation if we vote enough conservative Republicans into office.

        True, I am not confident in Romney’s pro-life position if he doesn’t have a conservative majority. He has flipped flopped, clearly. But this all but disproves your conspiracy theory that he’s going to secretly make America Mormon. To salvage your conspiracy theory, you claim that he had a clandestine meeting where LDS gave him permission to run as pro-choice in order to situate himself into a chance for the presidency. This really is a theory of desperation. There are plenty of other Mormons out there in politics who would not have had to flip-flop on this issue (Orrin Hatch ran for president in 2000; cf. John Huntsman); for the LDS to say, “Well, Romney is our best hope of implementing our conspiracy, so we might as well give him a pass on the pro-life issue” appears to me as bordering on whacko.

        I simply cannot see how an informed committed Christian could vote for Caligula over Claudius.

      • I think your entire premise is wrong. I don’t think Paul, nor Jesus, would have voted for either Caligula or Claudius. I don’t think they would have any part in the sordid affair. Instead, they would have stayed on the outside and prayed and built disciples; just like they did. Personally, I cannot vote for a false-prophet, no matter how “Christian” their politics may be.

        Also, Mormons have a doctrine called “free agency” that allows for their leaders to hold different views from the church if it furthers the “gospel.” So, in Utah, Hatch and Huntsman do not need to be pro-choice.

        You can dismiss all of this as bogus conspiracy theory if you like. I don’t think it is, but everyone has a right to their own opinion. Let people do the research and decide for themselves. My contention is that many conservative Christians have become so blinded by their mislike of Obama that they are not even taken the time to investigate Romney. “Anyone but Obama” is not a wise way to go about this election, in my opinion.

  3. Jesus and Paul would have sat out of the hypothetical imperial elections? Hardly. Citizen Paul may not have felt called to put his energy into campaigns, but he would have urged citizens to be good citizens and to do their civic duty to promote a society reflecting a Christian ethos. He’d have voted for the anti-slavery candidate, for example. If it is right for Christians to influence community by being a little league coach, how much more so for Christians to be involved in politics.

    Just as some Christians might be called to be educators to influence children, Paul would have encouraged those called to politics to do the best they could to use their office for the good of the community. Admittedly, teaching in the public school system is as much as a sordid affair as electing an emperor, but our involvement in such affairs is all a part of being salt and light.

    • Your dogmatism based on speculation is astounding. Not only do you know, without a doubt, Paul would vote, you know how and who he would vote for. I am greatly impressed.

      And I do not have a conspiracy theory. I have simply stated the different beliefs and historical background of Mormonism, and I have provided places people can go to decide for themselves if what I have said is accurate. i don’t expect anyone to take my word for it. All you have done is make accusations and expect everyone to agree based on your opinion only.

      I just don’t get how people can so quickly decide it is ok to vote for a person who belongs to a religion based on deceit. If he will deceive others with what he believes, what else will he deceive others in?

      Vote for Romney. I don’t care. Just know what you are voting for.

      If Santorum would have been the nominee, I probably would have voted for him. I could have easily voted for Bachman. In no way would I have voted for Newt.

      • It is not difficult to speculate that Paul and Jesus were committed to engaging their culture for social change, and that they would have voted for the hypothetically best imperial candidate available. Of course, preaching the gospel was their priority, but that whole “salt and light” thing is a mandate for Christians to engage their culture, not withdraw. If voting were a civic duty of the Roman citizen, do you really think Paul would tell people to avoid voting for either imperial candidate, whether Claudius or Caligula, when Caligula was so much worse than Claudius?

        There is no moral high ground in refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils. A refusal to vote for the lesser of two evils is nothing less than helping the worse of the two evils.

        And Obama is such a bad president all the way around that “anyone but Obama” is a pretty good creed and entirely justifiable, and not to be discarded on the basis of the Mormon conspiracy theory.

        Btw, providing links that support the Mormon conspiracy theory is hardly providing evidence for the theory. I likewise could have provided links directing people to the Obama Muslim conspiracy which would be so much more numerous and credible than the evidence for the Mormon conspiracy. But really, I’ll let people decide for themselves which is a more credible threat–Romney being a Mormon or Obama being a Muslim.

  4. Back to the conspiracy theories…. I find this entire blog so unfounded that it begs an explanation. Is it possible that you’re trying to create some reason to divert Christians away from voting for the party which has had a monopoly on key Christian values for the last 30 years? Is it possible that, at heart, you’re not a Republican, and you’re trying to come up with reasons to break the Republican hold on Christian voters? Is it possible that your issues with Republicans has planted and watered your conspiracy theory? Well, that’s my conspiracy theory about your conspiracy theory.

    All this Mormon conspiracy theory is so unsupported. If we’re going to go down the conspiracy trail, isn’t it so much more believable that Obama is in reality a Muslim, and that so many of his policy decisions have been clandestine actions meant to destroy Christianity in America and to promote Shariah law? I, of course, don’t believe this, but it is so much more believable than the Mormon conspiracy theory.

  5. Pingback: Faith, Politics, and the 2012 Presidential Election (part 3 of 3) « revkev43

  6. Why would you have voted for Santorum, a follower of Catholicism which also differs from the Evangelical Christian doctrine, but not Romney? How is 1 better than the other?

    • I don’t consider Catholicism a cult. Catholicism is part of Christianity. Most Catholics I know (in the US at least) are Christians. Catholics believe in the same Jesus as I believe in. Personally, I have deep respect for the present pope. He is a theological conservative.

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