Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/Christianity corrupt and Satan replaces God

Table of Contents

Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity?

A FairMormon Analysis of: Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes

The Quotes

One Nation under Gods, page 86 (hardback and paperback)

Mormonism "officially still teaches that all Christian churches are corrupt," and that "Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity."

The References

Endnote n24-25 (hardback); page 517 (paperback)

The Problem

Abanes cites two articles for this claim—one is an article by Kent Jackson from the Ensign, and the second is Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine. There is nothing in either of these articles which argues that "Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity."

Jackson

Jackson's article details the biblical prophecies of the apostasy, as well as evidences of its spread. Jackson's article concludes:

As we have seen, the Lord knew, and his Apostles knew, that the Saints would turn away from the true faith that had been taught to them. We have seen also that it happened—slowly at first, but with increasing speed in each succeeding decade. And, as we have seen, with the rejection of true religion came the rejection of true authority as well....With the last Apostle gone from the church, the night of apostasy was upon it; and so it would remain until the dawn of another day—the day of the Restoration.

Unless Abanes is Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic, surely he must agree that the church of the Middle Ages had sunk into apostasy—if not, there was no need for a Reformation. Does Abanes not likewise believe that Roman Catholicism was, in some important senses, "corrupt"?

McConkie

McConkie's work contains two relevant entries:

"Christians":

"...As the day of the great apostasy set in, the term Christian continued to be applied to the supposed followers of Christ, even though in reality they had departed from the true doctrines. Today those who purport to believe in Christ though they may not actually accept him as the Son of God, are called Christians.

"Christianity":

"...Christianity is the religion of the Christians. Hence, true and acceptable Christianity is found among the saints who have the fulness of the gospel, and a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christendom."

Again, does Abanes not believe that Roman Catholicism represents a "perverted Christianity," which may contain some truths but also some error? How is Abanes' attitude toward Catholicism any different from the Saints' attitude toward other denominations?

Indeed, why have a new denomination (of which there are thousands) unless one believes that all existing denominations are missing something essential—i.e., that they are "corrupt" in some sense. This does not mean that they have no value whatever, or that they have no truth.

Elder William Grant Bangerter asked BYU students:

Do we believe that all ministers of other churches are corrupt? Of course not. . . .
It is clearly apparent that there have been and now are many choice, honorable, and devoted men and women going in the direction of their eternal salvation who give righteous and conscientious leadership to their congregations in other churches. Joseph Smith evidently had many warm and friendly contacts with ministers of other religions. Quite a few of them joined the Church: Sidney Rigdon, John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt, and others in America and England.
Some of them who carried the Christian attitude of tolerance did not join the Church. There are many others like them today.[1]

Said Ezra Taft Benson:

God, the Father of us all uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes. It has been true in the past, it is true today, it will be true in the future.

Elder Benson then quoted Elder Orson F. Whitney from 1928:

Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along. They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else…God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people…They [other churches] are our partners in a certain sense.[2]

Answer


These authors clearly disagree with some doctrine in other denominations, but to say they regard God as "replaced by Satan" is not supported by these quotations. The author is also guilty of a double-standard, and ignores similar (or worse) remarks by other Christian denominations against each other during the same time period.

Notes

  1. William Grant Bangeter, “It’s a Two-Way Street,” address delivered on 4 August 1985, in 1984-85 BYU Speeches of the Year (Provo: Brigham Young University Publications, 1985), 161; cited in Robert L. Millet. "Joseph Smith and 'The Only True and Living Church': Reactions, Reflections, and Implications," Address to BYU Religious Education Faculty, 24 September 2004, 19.
  2. Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report (April 1972), 49. Citing Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report (April 1928), 59.


Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims