The Perspective of The Christian Research Institute
How many times have you heard “Mormons can’t be considered Christians,” only to be followed by standards that aren’t Biblical? Some of the largest and most well-respected “Christian” organizations are producing more and more information on the “Mormon Church,” and providing all the reasons why Mormons aren’t Christians. Is it warranted? Are their reasons Biblical?
On July 26, 2002, a friend of mine brought to my attention an article posted on the home page of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (referred to below as “The Church of Jesus Christ”).1 Since CRI is considered to be “the largest, most effective apologetics ministry in the world,”2 one might expect an article posted on the home page of this organization to be a well-written, scholarly piece of work.
With a mission statement that identifies the objective of providing “Christians worldwide with carefully researched information and well-reasoned answers,”3 one’s expectations of CRI’s work might be understandably high. With its leader, Hank Hanegraaff, President and Chairman of the Board of CRI and host of The Bible Answer Man radio program, and author of several books on Christianity, one might consider the probability of excellent scholarship to be reasonably good.
First, you be the judge. Here is the four-paragraph article in its entirety:
Better known as Mormons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now numbers over 9 million members in almost 130 territories around the globe. Are they really the true followers of Jesus Christ as they claim to be?
To quote one Mormon apologist: “Latter-day Saints are Christians because they emphatically believe in Christ, use His name in their official church title, and believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon which testify repeatedly of the reality of Christ and the truth of His teachings.” Jesus Christ, no doubt, plays a central role in Mormon theology. However, Paul warns that to be a Christian, one must believe in the true Christ–the Jesus of the Bible–and not another Jesus. In fact, we would all agree with the late Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie when he says, “it matters not that people simply say they believe in Christ, or think they are followers of Moses, or the Apostles. What counts is the reality.” And the reality is that Mormons believe in a Jesus vastly different than the Jesus of the Bible.
You see, Mormonism teaches that Jesus is just one of countless other gods–a belief known as polytheism. Now, a Mormon may try to deny being a polytheist by affirming the existence of other gods, while in the same breath worshipping only God the Father. However, don’t forget Christ’s proclamation in Mark chapter 12–that God’s most important commandment is to recognize that there is only one God and only one Lord.
Where does this leave Jesus in Mormon Theology? Well, Mormons say they believe that Jesus is Jehovah, the LORD, the God of Israel, yet they refuse to pray to Him, as Jehovah Himself commands in the Old Testament (cf. Deut. 4:7; 2 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 5:2; 32:6; Jer. 29:7,12)–the same Jehovah who knows of no other God besides Himself, the One worshipped and honored by all true Christians (Ex. 34:14; cf. Matt. 2:11; 14:33; Luke 24:52). And so, judging by its own teachings, Mormonism cannot be rightly considered Christian.
It is recognized that this article was not intended to be an exhaustive treatment of The Church of Jesus Christ. Additionally, it is realized the CRI article is only intended to address the issue of Mormons and whether or not they are Christian. But, this piece lacks just about every element one would expect to find in basic scholarship.4 Rather than spend any more time expressing my general concerns, allow me to break this up and demonstrate a few things:
- This article is not what one would expect from the self-proclaimed “largest, most effective apologetics ministry in the world.”
- The premise of the article couldn’t be more incorrect.
- The conclusion of the article couldn’t be more incorrect.
- Mormons are indeed Christian, Biblical and have the Jesus of the Bible.
CRI introduces the reader to The Church of Jesus Christ as follows:
Better known as Mormons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now numbers over 9 million members in almost 130 territories around the globe. Are they really the true followers of Jesus Christ as they claim to be?
With a couple clicks of the mouse, one can find that, as of the year 2000, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints numbered over 11 million members in over 160 countries and territories across the world.5 Is it asking too much for an organization that refers to itself as a “Research” Institute to update their “research” every few years? And by the way, where did CRI obtain this information? Perhaps their source is the problem. Perhaps their research is the problem. One will never know unless they document their work appropriately. The point is this: were the reader to solely rely on the Christian Research Institute for their facts and figures, they would be wrong, outdated and simply misinformed.
Would it surprise you to know that it was 1990-1991, over 10 years ago, when The Church of Jesus Christ had less than 9 million members in less than 130 countries,6 as CRI reports? This is not critical information, but most “research” organizations are pretty picky when it comes to publishing accurate statistical data. CRI doesn’t appear to be. Is this what we can count on from the rest of CRI’s “research?” Unfortunately, yes.
CRI continues to summarize the LDS claim to Christianity:
To quote one Mormon apologist: “Latter-day Saints are Christians because they emphatically believe in Christ, use His name in their official church title, and believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon which testify repeatedly of the reality of Christ and the truth of His teachings.”
This is fair enough. But, most researchers will provide proper references and/or documentation in their research. Usually this is done with simple footnotes or endnotes or sometimes, just simple citations within parentheses in the text. However, no documentation exists for this reference to the quote from an anonymous “Mormon apologist.” Who is this person and from what document or speech is this quote taken? What was the context of this statement? Is this a published writer, a scholar, a professor, a lay apologist? We don’t know.
Jesus Christ, no doubt, plays a central role in Mormon theology. However, Paul warns that to be a Christian, one must believe in the true Christ–the Jesus of the Bible–and not another Jesus.
Once again the readers are left without any reference material that may document CRI’s claim. This author, for one, is unaware of any passage in the Bible where Paul defines the term “Christian.” As a matter of fact, there isn’t one use of the term “Christian” by Paul, much less some definition of the term. What’s more, one searches high and low but finds no description at all in the Bible, by Paul or anyone else, that lists any specific requirements one must meet to be considered “Christian.”
With that said, certainly, one would agree that to be a follower of the Jesus of the Bible, one would need to believe in the Jesus of the Bible (circular reasoning notwithstanding). The implication here by CRI, however, is that The Church of Jesus Christ believes in “another”…even a “false” Jesus, not the one spoken of in the Bible. We will address that in greater detail below, but here are a few words from former leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ that may prove helpful in establishing a foundation of the Jesus in whom the Mormons believe:
Ezra Taft Benson, who was the President of The Church of Jesus Christ at the time, said, “The fundamental principle of our religion is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”7 Spencer W. Kimball, who was the President of The Church of Jesus Christ at the time said,
“There can be no real and true Christianity, even with good works, unless we are deeply and personally committed to the reality of Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of the Father who bought us, who purchased us in the great act of Atonement.”8
Joseph Smith, the first President and Prophet of the Church said,
“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”9
Can one be unsure as to who is at the center of our faith? Can one be uncertain as to what Jesus Christ we worship? It is doubtful. It is the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
The article from CRI goes on to say:
In fact, we would all agree with the late Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie when he says, “it matters not that people simply say they believe in Christ, or think they are followers of Moses, or the Apostles. What counts is the reality.” And the reality is that Mormons believe in a Jesus vastly different than the Jesus of the Bible.
For the third time, we are left without documentation. Fortunately with modern technology, a reading of every book published and talk given by Bruce R. McConkie to find this quote, is not required There was a need to find this quote, by McConkie to determine its context. CRI uses this quote from McConkie to justify its judging others in determining whether or not they are Christian. Is this what McConkie is saying here? Let’s take a look at the context of the quote (the underlined portion is what CRI quotes):
There are degrees of belief in Christ and his gospel, and it is for this very reason that there are degrees of salvation…It matters not that people simply say they believe in Christ or think they are followers of Moses, Peter, Paul, or any of the ancients. What counts is the reality. If they truly believe in Christ and correctly understand the revealed word that has come down from them of old, they will believe the restored gospel, gain the testimony of Jesus by revelation from the Holy Ghost, and abide in the everlasting covenant.10
So, now we find that McConkie’s statement had nothing to do with the label of “Christian” and whether or not a group of people earned the right to that label. His statement had nothing to do with defining or describing the criteria of a “Christian.” Rather, McConkie is discussing our salvation. In the eyes of God, he seems to be saying, it won’t matter if we simply profess to believe in Christ, but what will matter is whether or not we “truly” believe.
Until now, CRI has given no real reasons to reject The Church of Jesus Christ as Christians. But in the last two paragraphs, the attempt is made, due to the recognition by The Church of Jesus Christ of “other gods,” to paint a unbiblical picture of the Mormons. CRI first claims the following fallacy:
You see, Mormonism teaches that Jesus is just one of countless other gods–a belief known as polytheism.
Allow me to unequivocally state in the clearest terms I know of: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not believe or teach that Jesus is “just one” of countless other gods. This has never been taught or believed, nor is it today. To posit this erroneous claim is either a result of utter ignorance or complete dishonesty. The reader may make that judgment, as to why the Christian Research Institute would make such a statement, especially in light of doctrinal statements by leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ and scriptures to the contrary.
Unmistakable documentation from the scriptures, official Church publications and statements of Church leaders, will indeed be provided, below, for the purposes of demonstrating the reverential, worshipful, unique, divine, extraordinary and distinctive perspective of the LDS view of Jesus Christ by the Church of Jesus Christ (would it be silly to point out the name of our Church at this point…probably).
First, I refer to statements from our current Church leaders, below.11 These are excerpts from talks they have given regarding their testimony and witness of Jesus Christ. Ask yourself, as you read these statements, if these men simply view Jesus as “just one of countless other gods.”
Gordon B. Hinckley, Apostle and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (revered as the Lord’s chosen Prophet to lead and guide the Church):
But of all the things for which I feel grateful this morning, one stands out preeminently. That is a living testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One…He the Son of the Father, came to earth. He condescended to leave His royal courts on high–where He stood as Prince, the Firstborn of the Father–to take upon Himself mortality, to be born in a manger, the humblest of all places, in a vassal state ruled by the centurions of Rome. How could He have condescended further?
…And then, to fulfil His Father’s plan of happiness for His children, He gave His life as a price for the sins of each of us…I have become His Apostle, appointed to do His will and teach His word. I have become His witness to the world. I repeat that witness of faith to you and to all who hear my voice this Sabbath morning.
He is my Savior and my Redeemer. Through giving His life in pain and unspeakable suffering, He has reached down to lift me and each of us and all the sons and daughters of God from the abyss of eternal darkness following death. He has provided something better–a sphere of light and understanding, growth and beauty where we may go forward on the road that leads to eternal life. My gratitude knows no bounds. My thanks to my Lord has no conclusion…He is my God and my King. From everlasting to everlasting, He will reign and rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. To His dominion there will be no end. To His glory there will be no night.
None other can take His place. None other ever will. Unblemished and without fault of any kind, He is the Lamb of God, to whom I bow and through whom I approach my Father in Heaven.
Does this sound like just one of countless other gods? Hinckley continues:
And the Prophet Joseph, speaking in this dispensation, declared:
“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father.” (D&C 76:22-23).
To which I add my own witness that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Him]” (John 14:6). Gratefully, and with love undiminished, I bear witness of these things in His Holy name, even the name of Jesus the Christ, amen.12
Thomas S. Monson, Apostle and First Counselor to President Hinckley:
With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I testify as a special witness that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. “Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives!’13
James E. Faust, Apostle and Second Counselor to President Hinckley,
As I look back over my life, I recognize one source of singular strength and blessing. It is my testimony and knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. I am profoundly grateful that all of my life I have had a simple faith that Jesus is the Christ. That witness has been confirmed to me hundreds of times. It is the crowning knowledge of my soul. It is the spiritual light of my being. It is the cornerstone of my life.
As one of the least among you but in my calling as one of His Apostles, I testify of the Christ as our Savior and the Redeemer of the world.14
It is indeed amazing for a Latter-day Saint to time and time again hear our leaders, who we revere as prophets, seers and revelators, bear their solemn witness and testimony of Jesus Christ being at the center of the gospel. It is His gospel. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord and our Master, our Exemplar, our Messiah. Yet, groups like CRI want the rest of the world to believe that Latter-day Saints see Jesus as “just one of countless other gods.”
In the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, we find on the title page that this book was written, “to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD.”
Further, for those who have taken the time to read the Book of Mormon, one realizes that it testifies of Christ almost on every page. For example, the Book of Mormon consists of 6,607 verses. Over half of those verses, 3,925, refer specifically to Jesus Christ. This amounts to a reference to Jesus Christ for every 1.7 verses in the Book of Mormon.15
So, the Book of Mormon starts with a testimony of Jesus Christ, it is filled with more testimonies of Jesus Christ, His Lordship, His role as Savior, Judge, Creator, etc. in every other verse, on average. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ almost on every page. How does the book end? On the last page of the Book of Mormon, one will find the following passage:
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.”16
No wonder the Book of Mormon is followed by the subtitle, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Jesus is the central figure in the Book of Mormon. Those who lived before Christ came to the Earth in the flesh prophesied of His coming. Christ actually came and taught the people in the Book of Mormon after His resurrection. Then, those who lived after that time taught the teachings of Christ, until the people fell into apostasy. It is another testament of Jesus Christ.
CRI continues its explanation of just why The Church of Jesus Christ aren’t Christians, by their view of multiple gods:
Now, a Mormon may try to deny being a polytheist by affirming the existence of other gods, while in the same breath worshipping only God the Father. However, don’t forget Christ’s proclamation in Mark chapter 12–that God’s most important commandment is to recognize that there is only one God and only one Lord.
With CRI’s unwillingness to provide the reader with specific references, this forces one to embark on a wild goose chase, which I am generally unwilling to do.17 I am willing, however, to demonstrate the Biblical position of The Church of Jesus Christ regarding the whole issue of multiple gods or one God.
The Church of Jesus Christ does indeed recognize the existence of multiple gods, just as the Bible teaches. This does not necessarily mean that The Church of Jesus Christ is a “polytheistic” church. There is no worship of any “other gods” in the Church. So, the question becomes, can The Church of Jesus Christ worship one God, while acknowledging the existence of “other” gods? The answer is a resounding yes. For one to hold a Biblical view, one must indeed hold to this perspective.
Paul taught the Corinthians,
“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”18
Now, while some would say that Paul is talking about worshiping “idols,” because he mentions that “an idol is nothing in the world,” in the previous verse. It is clear, however, that Paul makes the distinction in verse 5. He says that while there are those that are “called gods,” it is true, but he clarifies and distinguishes his meaning in two separate ways.
First, Paul follows this statement, referring to those that are called gods, with the words, “whether in heaven or in earth…” Now, I have never seen heaven, but I do not expect to find any idols there for people to worship as gods. So, while “idols” may indeed be inclusive in those that are “called gods,” it is by no means an exclusive term, with the qualifier that follows.
Secondly, Paul acknowledges that “there be gods many, and lords many.” Then he brings the point home, by saying “to us,” however, “there is but one God” and “one Lord.” He clarifies his point: We are only to worship one God, not many gods, although they do exist. We only follow one Lord, not many Lords, although they do exist.
One other item of note regarding Paul’ clarification regarding the existence of “other gods.” It is important to notice what Paul did not say. He did not say that “there be many false gods and false lords,” but “gods many and lords many.” It would seem that if Paul was referring to “false” gods in this passage, he would have clarified such.
Now, this recognition of many gods was not new to Paul. He said nothing new here. Paul’s scriptures, the Old Testament, were replete with references to many gods, to which God was God.
“Who is like unto thee, 0 LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness fearful in praises, doing wonders?”19
“The LORD your God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great god, a mighty…”20
“The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth…”21
“The house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods”22
“God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods”23
“Among the gods there is none like unto thee, 0 Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works”24
“The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods”25
“I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods“26
And so it is. The Old Testament and the New Testament are consistent in proclaiming the existence of multiple “gods.” However, Latter-day Saints do not recognize any other god as “our God.” “To us, there is but one God, the Father,” and “one Lord, Jesus Christ.” See, our God is the “God of gods.”
So, is the position of The Church of Jesus Christ biblical? Absolutely! Why would anyone want to exclude a religious group (one that regards the Bible as the word of God and believes in Jesus of Nazareth) from Christianity based upon a clear biblical teaching?
And does this make Mormons polytheistic? Not unless they started worshiping other Gods, which is not the case. We place no other god before God, as commanded in Exodus 20:3.
We could get into a long (and frankly boring) philosophical discussion regarding definitions of polytheism (worship of multiple gods), monotheism (worship of one god), and henotheism (acknowledging many gods while worshiping only one god, who is above all gods…this one is also debatable). But, rather than going that route, I believe it is sufficient, considering the above passages, that The Church of Jesus Christ’s acknowledgement of multiple gods, while worshiping one god, our God, is certainly a biblical teaching. You can apply whatever label to this concept you desire. For me, the two labels I will apply are “truth” and “biblical.”
CRI continues with the following interesting proclamation:
Where does this leave Jesus in Mormon Theology? Well, Mormons say they believe that Jesus is Jehovah, the LORD, the God of Israel, yet they refuse to pray to Him, as Jehovah Himself commands in the Old Testament (cf. Deut. 4:7; 2 Chron. 7:14; Pss. 5:2; 32:6; Jer. 29:7,12)–the same Jehovah who knows of no other God besides Himself, the One worshipped and honored by all true Christians (Ex. 34:14; cf. Matt. 2:11; 14:33; Luke 24:52).
Readers are to believe, according to CRI, that Mormons aren’t Christian because they don’t pray to Jesus or Jehovah. I must say that CRI is correct in assessing to whom Mormons pray. We do not pray to Jesus or Jehovah. We pray to our Father in Heaven (e.g. God, the Father). We pray according to the specific instructions given to us by Jesus, Himself. Here is the specific command of Jesus: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven…”27 Now, this is, of course, from the King James Version of the Bible. Let us take a look at other Bible translations just to make sure this is clear for our Catholic and Protestant friends that may use those other versions:
“Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven…” (NASB)
“Pray like this: Our Father in heaven…” (NLT)
“So talk to your God like this: Our Father in heaven…” (WE)
“Thus therefore pray ye: Our Father who [art] in the heavens…” (YLT)
So, it is abundantly clear in Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount that we are instructed, indeed commanded (contrary to CRI’s claim), to pray to the Father. Nowhere in the New Testament are we instructed to pray to Jesus. Nor, am I aware of any passage of scripture in the New Testament that records any person approaching Jesus Christ in prayer as opposed to the Father.
Yes, it is correct to say that Israel prayed to Jehovah, who was the same person as Jesus. But should we do all that the Israelites did? Should we perform all that the Jews did for Jehovah? Should we continue animal sacrifice? Should we continue in the practice of circumcision? No, of course not. The Law of Moses was fulfilled in Jesus. So, just as many of the practices under the Law of Moses should not be practiced today, due to the teachings of Jesus and His apostles and prophets, nor should we use the Old Testament as our guide at the expense of Jesus Christ’s words and commands to pray to the Father.
There is no other command, in regard to whom we should pray, but that of Jesus to pray to the Father. Latter-day Saints have been taught in kind. We do indeed pray to the Father. Does that make us unchristian?
Now, one might rightly ask, “what about Jesus Christ? Why should we leave him out?” The answer is simple: Latter-day Saints don’t leave Christ out. Again, it is Christ’s instructions that Latter-day Saints follow. Just as He taught us, we pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus said:
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”28
Further, when Jesus was instructing the apostles, he repeats this theme with more detail:
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”29
I can’t help but wonder in this situation (when people claim I’m not Christian because I don’t pray to Jesus), why would Jesus tell the apostles to pray to “the Father, in my name,” if He really wanted them to pray directly to Him? The answer is obvious, is it not? Jesus wanted them to pray to the Father. Nowhere does Jesus command us or even suggest that we pray directly to Him.
Why? Because just as we come unto God, the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ for salvation and Eternal Life, we also come unto God, the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ, in prayer. It is perfectly consistent.
It is important to share one last piece of instruction, by Jesus unto His apostles. As Christ prophesied to them of his death and how soon they would not see him any longer, for He would go to be with His Father. He tried to console them at this disheartening news and then told them:
“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (John 16:23)
Once again, we find the clear distinction between asking Christ and asking the Father. Jesus clarifies that once He is gone out of their presence and ascends to Heaven, they are not to ask Jesus for anything. They are to pray unto the Father in His name. This is the third time Christ repeated this charge to His apostles. Certainly, this must be important, to be repeated time and time again by Jesus. Yet CRI and other groups have decided to exclude The Church of Jesus Christ from being considered Christian, for simply following the clear Biblical teaching on the matter, from the lips of Jesus Christ Himself.
We have Christ commanding us to pray to the Father, by example. Then we have three separate instances where Jesus repeats this instruction (not to mention other examples of Christ praying unto the Father). But, try as one might, there isn’t one passage that instructs us to pray to Jesus. Not one. Yet CRI wants to make this a prerequisite for being a Christian. Amazing, isn’t it?
Now, if there are those who are Christian and Bible believers who wish to pray directly to Christ instead of to the Father in Christ’s name, then so be it; that is their choice. But to use this practice as a club to beat the Mormons with and declare them unchristian is quite a different thing.
What’s left? What else does CRI have to say about the Mormons being Christian? Only one conclusion:
And so, judging by its own teachings, Mormonism cannot be rightly considered Christian.
Amazing! In a few paragraphs, CRI declares The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unworthy to be considered Christian. Why? They believe there are multiple gods (absolutely biblical) and they pray to God the Father, instead of Jesus Christ (absolutely biblical).
Which Jesus do the Mormons have? As has been demonstrated, it is the Jesus of the Bible. It is Jesus of Nazareth. It is Jesus, who preached His gospel throughout Palestine. It is Jesus, who suffered great agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and suffered and died on the cross at Calvary to pay for my sins, that I might be cleansed from them. It is Jesus, who was resurrected on the third day and forty days later ascended into heaven to be with His Father–our Father.
Perhaps CRI should take the advice of one of the most well known religious minds in this generation, C.S. Lewis, when he said:
It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men’s hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense… When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.30
I know many Christians, some Protestant Christians, some Catholic Christians, and some other Christians. But, as a group, I know of no one who reveres and loves Jesus Christ (the Jesus spoken of in the Bible) more than members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Christians. I have witnessed many tears shed as Mormon Christians have voiced their indebtedness to Him for the sacrifice He made. I have shed many tears with a broken heart for what He had to endure, because of my sins. Through the witness of the Holy Spirit, I have a firm testimony of Christ’s divinity. I know that the story of Christ as told in the Bible is true. I truly know that He was and is the only begotten son of the Father, the Savior of the world. He is my Master and Lord.
And anyone who says I don’t believe in Him does not know me…does not know what is in my heart.
1 Christian Research Institute, “Mormons, Can They Be Considered Christian,” < www.equip.org/free/CP0300.htm > (26 July 2002).
2 Christian Research Institute, “Our History,” < www.equip.org/inside/history.html >.
3 Christian Research Institute, “Our Mission,” < www.equip.org/inside/mission.html >.
4 There are no footnotes or endnotes. With the exception of the last paragraph, there are no citations or references or any documentation.
5 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “The Missionary Program,” < www.lds.org/media2/library/display/0,6021,198-1-168-6,FF.html > (30 July 2002).
7 Ezra Taft Benson, “Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer,” Ensign (June 1990), 2.
8 Spencer W. Kimball, “The Savior-The Center of Our Lives,” Fireside address given February 25, 1979 at the University of Utah Special Events Center; New Era (April 1980); The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982), 68.
9 Joseph Smith, The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, edited by Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 121.
10 Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985), 24.
11 These three leaders make up the current First Presidency, which includes the President of the Church, whom we revere as the Prophet of God on the earth today, and his two counselors. All three are ordained Apostles of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and are special witnesses of Jesus Christ.
12 Gordon B. Hinckley, “My Testimony,” Address in 170th Semiannual General Conference, April 2, 2000; Ensign (May 2000), 69
13 Thomas S. Monson, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” Ensign (April 1990), 2
14 James E. Faust, “A Growing Testimony,” Ensign (November 2000), 53
15 Susan Easton Black, Finding Christ through the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1987), 16-18.
16 Moroni 10:32-33.
17 Somewhere in the 12th chapter of Mark, CRI thinks that Christ said the most important commandment is to recognize that there is only one God and one Lord. I can only make a guess that CRI is referring to verse 29, but CRI has changed the text. It actually says “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:” This does nothing to eliminate the existence of other gods. In other words, this passage is not mutually exclusive, in any way, with the biblical teaching of the existence of other gods. It is only declared that “our” God is one Lord. You will never find a Latter-day Saint who would contradict that claim.
18 1 Corinthians 8:5-6.
19 Exodus 15:11.
20 Deuteronomy 10:17.
21 Joshua 22:22.
22 2 Chronicles 2:5.
23 Psalms 82:1.
24 Psalms 86:8.
25 Psalms 95:3.
26 Psalms 135:5.
27 Matthew 6:9.
28 John 14:14-15.
29 John 15:16.
30 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1952), 11.