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Part 4: Theological Problems
Continue to Gentle Awakening Presentation Series.
Gentle Awakening PART 4 OF 5: THEOLOGICAL PROBLEMS Theological Problems What Happened to Christ? Testimony Glove (2008 Liahona) We are teaching our primary children: LDS testimony is only 1/5 based on Christ (20%) Joseph Smith, First Vision, Temples, and Prophets are 4/5 (80% majority) If this really were Christ’s true church, we would be teaching: “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 3:11) “There Is No Other Name” Which Church Is This? THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS THE CHURCH OF JOSEPH SMITH OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS “Ye Cannot Serve God and Mormon” JESUS CHRIST No emphasis on churches No emphasis on outward rituals No mention of true prophets Much mention of false prophets and deceivers Condemned self-righteousness and superiority Sought out the rejects and outcasts Much emphasis on love Much emphasis on heart LDS CHURCH Huge emphasis on The Church Outward rituals considered essential for salvation Constant emphasis on prophets No mention of false prophets “One true church” and all others are “whore of the earth” Cast the rejects out from temples Obedience over-emphasized Authority over-emphasized The Disappearance of The Christ-Centered Experience What has happened to Christ? Have we left Him out of our main tenants and only use Him to claim divine authority? We have changed His teachings We have ignored His heart-centered teachings and instead we have introduced many outward and false doctrines We cannot fully love as He wanted us to Christ’s Heart-Centered Gospel The Pharisees accuse Christ of breaking the commandments when He eats bread with unwashed hands. Christ responds: Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men … There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man … For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Mark 7:7,15; Matthew 12:34 Christ’s Position on Superiority JESUS CHRIST “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14) MORMON CHURCH “Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” (1 Nephi 14:10) Christ’s Dislike of Institutions “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21) “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9) “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11) “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23) Christ’s Warning of False Prophets “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many … insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:11) Christ’s Position on Temple Work “And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Luke 21:5-6) “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth.” (Matthew 5:33-35) “He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mark 12:27) “Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60) “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands.” (Acts 17:24-25) Sealing Powers as Necessary Pain caused to unsealed families “I won’t be with my family in the next life.” Pain caused to sealed but divorced families “We were supposed to be an eternal family” Pain caused to sealed but unhappy families “I would rather not be with my family eternally” Pain caused to sealed families with one or more people “gone astray” “We will have an empty chair at our table in heaven” “I will pressure him/her into become worthy of being with us in heaven” (lack of love, acting instead out of fear) Pain caused to same-sex couples “If I have a partner, I will never be with my family again in the next life” Christ’s Focus Jesus never said anything about: Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthoods New & Everlasting Covenant Tithing Family History Temple Ceremonies In order to gain eternal life. His focus was on: Purity of heart Mercy Love Christ was most critical of those who were strict and obsessive about commandments and beliefs, who were not open to change or admitting they were wrong Christ loved the humble, those who were different, those who were cast out, those who were rejected by society Christ loved difficult conversations and was willing to point out what was wrong with the religious practices of the day Fowler’s Stages of Faith Comparison of Stages 3 & 6 STAGE 3 – CONFORMITY Loyalty to the organization. “I know The Church is true.” “Obedience is the first law of heaven.” “Follow the prophet; he knows the way.” “I am active in The Church.” “God’s love is conditional on my worthiness.” STAGE 6 – UNIVERSAL LOVE Loyalty to the “King of Love.” “My life is guided by love and truth.” “Love is the first law of heaven.” “Follow the Truth and the Love.” “My mind and heart are still and open.” “God’s love is universal, and mine should be also.” Temple Recommend Questions: Mormon Criteria for Eternal Life 1. Do you believe in God, the Eternal Father, in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost; and do you have a firm testimony of the restored gospel? 2. Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator; and do you recognize him as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? 3. Do you sustain the other General Authorities and the local authorities of the Church? 4. Do you live the law of chastity? 5. Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church? 6. Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual? 7. Do you earnestly strive to do your duty in the Church; to attend your sacrament, priesthood, and other meetings; and to obey the rules, laws, and commandments of the gospel? 8. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen? 9. Are you a full-tithe payer? 10. Do you keep the Word of Wisdom? 11. Have you ever been divorced or are you now separated from your spouse under order of a civil court? If yes, (a) - Are you current in your support payments and other financial obligations for family members, as specified by court order or in other written, binding commitments? (b) Were there any circumstances of transgression in connection with your divorce or separation that have not been previously resolved with your bishop? 12. If you have received your temple endowment -- (a) Do you keep all the covenants that you made in the temple? (b) Do you wear the authorized garments both day and night? 13. Has there been any sin or misdeed in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but has not? 14. Do you consider yourself worthy in every way to enter the temple and participate in temple ordinances? Cult Practice of Shunning “Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?” Temple Recommend Interview Question #6 Christ’s Criteria for Eternal Life “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8 “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? … And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Luke 10:25,27 “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, … go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” Mark 10:17,21 “I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: … Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. … These shall go … into life eternal.” Matthew 25:35-36,46 Christ’s View on the Sabbath Day The sabbath is a sacred and Divine institution; a privilege and benefit, not a task and drudgery. God never designed it to be a burden to us, therefore we must not make it so to ourselves. The sabbath was instituted for the good of mankind, as living in society, having many wants and troubles, preparing for a state of happiness or misery. Man was not made for the sabbath, as if his keeping it could be of service to God, nor was he commanded to keep it outward observances to his real hurt. Every observance respecting it, is to be interpreted by the rule of mercy. The sabbath was instituted for the benefit of man, that he might refresh and renew his body, fatigued and worn by six days' labour, with the restful calm of the seventh; The force of the argument is this: The sabbath was made on account of man, not man on account of the sabbath. The sabbath, great and important as that institution is, is subordinate to man. If, then, the sabbath becomes hurtful to man, a new departure must be taken, and some amount of labour must be undergone, that man may be benefited. Therefore was Christ justified in permitting to his disciples a little labour in plucking these ears of corn on the sabbath day, in order that they may appease their hunger. For it is better that the rest of the sabbath should be disturbed than that any one of those for whose sake the sabbath was instituted should perish. Priesthood Power Priesthood = Power of God as it works through man By this definition, the priesthood is for everyone Example of deaconess and prophetess No “laying on of hands”: Example from Norman Vincent Peale, “The Power of Positive Thinking” (not a church member or priesthood holder) “I sought for guidance and found myself, quite to my surprise, standing beside him and placing my hand upon his head. I prayed, asking God to heal the man. I suddenly became aware of what seemed to be the passing of power through my hand which rested upon his head. I hasten to add that there is no healing power in my hand, but now and then a human being is used as a channel, and it was evidently so in this instance, for presently the man looked up with an expression of the utmost happiness and peace and he said simply, ‘He was here. He touched me. I feel entirely different.’ … Apparently the clogged channel in his personality through which the passage of power had been impeded was opened by an act of faith and the free flow of energy was renewed.” Hindering the Saints “Ye Cannot Serve God and Mormon” The Inclusive Christ Samaritan Leper Blind Sick Downcast Poor Publican Sinner Halt Eunoch Tax Collector . . . Everyone! There Are Many Wonderful People Outside of Mormonism “We’ve always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians. The counsel has been wise.” (“Follow the Rule,” BYU Devotional) Important Mormon Definitions faith = “if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21) apostasy = “a falling away from the truth” anti-Mormon = “one who opposes the truth” Disparity Between Mormonism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ CHURCH’S CLAIM ACTUALITY Continue to Part 5…