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Friday, December 9, 2011

Mormons and the Wrong Jesus

Mormons are often criticized for teaching the "wrong" Jesus, or a "false" Jesus. This claim is one of the justifications used to classify the LDS church as non-Christian and is primarily based on our rejection of several points of the Nicene Creed, especially regarding the trinity.

The first Article of Faith of the LDS church states, "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." However, while we do believe in the three members of the Trinity, we do not subscribe to the idea that they are one in essence. We believe that they are three separate personages, one in heart, mind, and purpose, but physically separate.

Regarding this view, Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley said,
 "As a Church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say. Our faith, our knowledge is not based on ancient tradition, the creeds which came of a finite understanding and out of the almost infinite discussions of men trying to arrive at a definition of the risen Christ. Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation who saw before him the great God of the universe and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. They spoke to him. He spoke with Them. He testified openly, unequivocally, and unabashedly of that great vision. It was a vision of the Almighty and of the Redeemer of the world, glorious beyond our understanding but certain and unequivocating in the knowledge which it brought. It is out of that knowledge, rooted deep in the soil of modern revelation, that we, in the words of Nephi, 'talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that [we and] our children may know to what source [we] may look for a remission of [our] sins'" (2 Nephi 25:26).
So while the LDS church does have a different conception of Jesus, is that enough to disqualify them as Christian? After all, don't all churches have a unique view of who Christ was, even regarding the nature and attributes of the Christ?

For example, Catholics believe in a God that speaks through a Pope, Protestants do not. Logically, one of them must have a false conception of God. He can't speak and not speak through the Pope. One of their Gods must be false. Catholics believe in a God which provides Purgatory, allows prayer to Saints, and performs transubstantiation during Communion, while Protestants do not. Catholics believe that salvation comes through baptism and may be lost or regained by sin and repentance. Protestants believe salvation comes through grace and is unconditional. Logically, God can't do and not do these things. They are teaching two separate conceptions of God, one of which simply must be false.

Even among specific denominations, there are differences in how we define God. Catholics believe that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. Orthodox holds that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father only. Christ can't be and not be the source of the Holy Ghost. They are referring to two different conceptions of Christ. One must be false.

Some churches believe God sanctified Sunday as the Sabbath, some do not. One must be false. Some churches hold that God allows female clergy, some do not. One must be false. Some churches believe in a God who uses church leaders, such as Bishops and Popes, as sources of doctrine, others do not. One must be false.

If God is the source of all truth, then any instance of conflicting truths between two denominations is an indication that those two denominations do not teach of the same God. In other words, no two churches teach the same God.

So if anyone were to tell me that I teach a different Jesus, I'd ask, "Don't we all?"


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