OUR CHURCH AND OTHERS
I. Mormonism continued: The Theological Emphases
A. In general
1. Seems complicated, but not really.
2. Briefly stated, teaches that “man, as eternally pre-existent soul, is placed upon earth in order to gain ‘the remission of his sins’ through obedience to the laws and regulations laid down by the priesthood and ultimately that he reaches perfection by a continual advance and eternal progress.” (F.E. Mayer, p. 458).
B. Concerning God
1. Their Article I: “We believe in God, the eternal Father, and the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.” (quoted, F.E. Mayer, p. 458) (See Addendum)
2. Looks like a Trinitarian confession, but is not:
a. Mormonism denies the doctrine of the Trinity.
b. Rejects deity of Christ.
c. Rejects personality of the Holy Spirit.
3. They distinguish between:
a. Elohim, the Father, and
b. Jehovah, which they teach is name for Jesus in His pre-natal state, or the executive of the Father, or the firstborn of the spirit children of Elohim.
4. Is rather confusing when they say:
a. Elohim is the “literal” parent of Christ, who is also Jehovah, or Jesus, or even the Father.
b. Per revelation in June, 1916, the Father and the Son are said to be in the form and stature of perfect man.
(1) Each having tangible body pure, perfect and attended by a transcendent glory.
(2) A body of flesh and bone.
(3) But, Holy Spirit said to be not a body of flesh and bone, but a “personage of spirit”. (F.E, Mayer, p. 459)
5. Salt Lake City branch
a. Espoused theory of a plurality of gods.
b. Many contend references in The Book and in Doctrines and Covenants substantiate plurality.
a. Central to their teachings.
b. Hold that God is eternally progressive and had advanced from His original manhood.
c. Hold that man also progresses per maxim: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.” (quoted F.E. Mayer, p 459)
d. Sometimes speaks of:
(2) 144,000 or more.
(3) Or even of a Supreme Being distinct from Jehovah and Elohim.
C. Concerning Man
1. Have high regard for man’s spiritual ability.
2. Man considered to be a pre-existent disembodied soul procreated by God and temporarily embodied in order to pass through a time of probation.
3. Can not be punished except for own actual sins.
4. Denies doctrine of original sin.
5. Make Adam’s fall a virtue.
a. Commandment to tend Garden and multiply.
b. Eve fell; about to be cast out.
c. Adam chose to break lesser Commandment (to tend the Garden).
6. Man said to be able to reach perfection by passing through 3-fold probationary period:
a. In his pre-existence.
b. In his incarnation.
c. After death.
d. Jesus said to be like any other man in this.
7. Teach universal salvation.
8. Teach “eternal damnation” to be that so long as there is sin to be punished, there will be a hell.
D. Concerning Christ’s Work
1. Is really teaching that man might be obedient to laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
2. Christ’s chief work is that by His resurrection, He opened the way for man to work out his salvation after death.
3. Crucifix is particularly repugnant to them since He did not atone for mankind’s sin to them.
4. Their doctrine of atonement is hazy beyond man working out his own atonement.
E. Concerning Heaven
1. Teach that heaven is an eternal advancement along different lines.
2. Because, eternity is progressive and perfection relative.
3. Puts it in accord with their view of God’s essence which they associate with power of eternal increase.
F. Concerning the Priesthood
1. Demand to obey the laws and ordinances of the “Gospel” permeates.
2. First ordinance of “Gospel” said to be faith in Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, Baptism by immersion for remission of sins, and laying on of hands for the gift of Holy Spirit.
3. These first ordinances require obedience to a divinely established priesthood, which alone:
a. Has right to lay on hands.
b. To preach the Gospel.
c. To administer Gospel’s ordinances.
4. Faith: to recognize God’s existence and His claims upon man and to make man willing to suffer in order to reach goal of perfection.
5. System built on two-fold priesthood.
a. Aaronic: bestowed by John the Baptist upon Smith and Cowdery.
b. Melchizedek: given to Smith under direction of Peter, James and John.
c. With these, church empowered to:
(1) Prosecute work of gathering conferred by Moses.
(2) Exercise authority over living and dead conferred by Elijah.
(3) Dispense promise of blessings for all generations by Mormons conferred through Elijah.
d. Before 1829, there was no church, since there was no priesthood.
G. Concerning Marriage for Time and Eternity
1. Told that marriage is ordained of God that earth might fulfill its purpose.
2. Distinguishes between temporal and eternal (or celestial) marriage.
3. Hold that since man was created in image of God, male must like God become a father and the female a mother.
4. Celestial marriage of even greater importance.
a. Regards marriage as an eternal relationship of the sexes.
b. Eternal relationship requires authority directly from God, i.e. order of Melchizedek.
c. Only by special rites to those worthy to enter secret chambers of the temple.
H. Concerning Baptism for the Dead
1. Believe that disembodied spirit can not reach perfection without baptism by water.
2. Living descendant may stand proxy for departed ancestor.
3. But such a spirit must be obedient to “Gospel”, which he heard “in prison” from Christ or hears from a departed member of priesthood.
I. Concerning the Millennium
1. They assume that during the millennium two cities are to be established:
a. Jerusalem for the Jews.
b. Zion for the ten tribes of Israel.
2. Believe millennium ushered in when Jews accept Jesus as personal Redeemer and return to Jerusalem.
3. Christ will reign personally in Zion (Independence, Mo.)
a. He will establish a perfect theocracy.
b. He will administer both the Jerusalem and the Zion Kingdom under one authority.
4. During millennium, perfect peace, righteousness, and length of life prevail.
5. Near end, Satan will try in vain to establish his power.
6. At conclusion, earth will be “celestialized”.
7. Then, man may reach perfection and ultimately become literal offspring of the Deity.
II. Divisions in Mormonism
A. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
1. Headquarters at Salt Lake City.
2. Above discussion applies to this group.
B. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.
1. Headquarters at Independence, Mo.
2. Claims to be true successor of church founded by Smith.
3. Leaders, direct descendants of Smith, denounced Brigham Young assumption of leadership.
4. Protested Young’s espousal of polygamy and theory of plurality of gods.
5. Emphasis on social consciousness.
6. Hold that there is only one God.
7. Hold that Jesus is the Son of God, who came that we achieve more abundant life by making His teachings the basis for right living.
C. The Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
1. Organized in Bloomington, Illinois.
2. Organized by small group who:
a. Held that S. Rigdon had dedicated the Temple Lot (almost 3 acres) in Independence, Mo.
b. The Temple Lot said to be site to become center of priesthood during the “restoration”.
c. 1867: returned to Independence and bought the Lot.
d. Expend their energy maintaining legal right to Lot.
D. The Church of Jesus Christ
1. Divided into two groups.
2. Both denounce B. Young’s leadership and migration to Utah, and his:
a. Advocacy of polygamy.
c. Baptism for the dead.
a. After Wm. Bickerton
b. Originally in Pa., 1867
a. Originally in 1853 by Alphaeus Cutler
b. Believed temple was to be built in Nauvoo, Illinois.
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