Was Satan the First Mormon?

I read a book this past week entitled, “Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice.” It’s written by a respected pastor in the same denomination as The Crossing. I’m so glad I read this book. If you view this book on Amazon.com, and read some of the reviews posted below its listing there, you’ll notice a very thoughtful review by a Mormon who, while citing a couple of the author’s arguments he didn’t think were fair, overall he thought the book was accurate and fair in its description of Mormonism and its differences with Christianity.

When I’ve occasionally made the statement, whether in a sermon or another teaching situation, that Mormons are not Christians, I often hear people get offended and say in reply that Mormons are indeed Christians, but just another “denomination” of Christianity. But a person who believes that either does not really understand what Mormonism teaches, or they do not really understand what the biblical Christian faith teaches. Perhaps, more likely, they understand neither very well. Reading this book will change all that.

Like most people who grew up and lived in Missouri all their lives, I’ve had several friends who are Mormon. And over the years I’ve learned a few things from them about Mormon teaching. In listening to them, I’ve often thought that there are significant beliefs where we have common ground—that perhaps we agree on more than we disagree. But later I came to understand that, although the words we used to profess our beliefs were very similar, often with identical phrases, what was actually meant by those words and phrases were a universe apart. Reading this book will make that very clear.

Very much counter to the biblical Christian faith, Mormons declare that the Mormon “church” is the only God-authorized, authentically apostolic, revelation-receiving, keys-of-the-kingdom church on the face of the earth today. All Christian churches are excluded. Mormon systematic theologian Bruce McConkie makes these very revealing assertions in his prominent and best-selling book Mormon Doctrine: “If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . . . This Church is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, the only organization authorized by the Almighty to preach his gospel and administer the ordinances of salvation, the only Church which has power to save and exalt men in the hereafter.” [All quotations are cited in Mormonism Explained.]

Very much counter to the biblical Christian faith, Mormons declare that God had once been a man, and that a human could become a god, and that many gods together had organized (not created, because Mormons believe matter is eternal) the world out of chaotic matter. The Mormon belief is that God was once what we are now, and we can one day become what God is now. As Lorenzo Snow, the fifth Mormon President and Prophet once stated: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become.” God is simply ahead of us in the process of becoming a God. And there are many gods, not just God the Father and Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are other gods who have created other earths. And if you’re a good Mormon, someday you too will be a god just as much as God is God now. For Mormons, every human has the potential to grow in knowledge and power until he or she progresses into the glorified state of becoming fully equal with God. No difference.

Very much counter to the biblical Christian faith, Mormons declare that, while not liking the term polytheism, they do believe in the eternal reality of a plurality of gods. Brigham Young states: “How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds.” No matter how you spin it, Latter-day Saints (Mormons) affirm and teach a plurality of gods. That’s polytheism.

Very much counter to the biblical Christian faith, Mormons declare that human beings became human beings when they became the offspring of heavenly Father God and his wife. As spirit-offspring, everyone existed as a spiritual body, perhaps for billions of years, prior to receiving their physical human bodies on earth. We were all one big happy family of spirit-children in the spiritual world until we entered the material realm as mortals. Mortal living for Mormons is seen as a school in which they are gods-in-process. So to a Mormon, the term “salvation” means to progress to become another god equal with God.

All this, of course, reminds me of how the Bible says that Satan sinned by trying to be equal with God rather than view himself as God’s creature for God’s glory. And it reminds me of Genesis 3, where Satan tempted Adam and Eve with the same prideful delusion of being their own god.

If you’re someone who has reason for a better understanding of what “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” believes, and why no one should believe it, I highly recommend you read this book. It’s also available to read here on Kindle.

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