Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hopping down the bunny trail…

Whenever the topic rolls around to evangelizing mormons or discussions of mormon theology, it seems almost inevitable that the conversation veers off into all manner of ancillary and minor stuff. Read a couple of days into a thread on Mormon Coffee and almost invariably the conversation veers into a number of different, more or less unrelated, topics. The moderators try their best to keep the conversation on topic, and have been pretty strict about it, but in spite of their best efforts the topics often wander. But all of the issues that people get distracted by: polygamy, horses in the Book of Mormon, blood atonement, etc. pale when compared to “the big issue” with mormonism.

The big issue with mormonism is idolatry.

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20: 1-6)

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Exodus 32: 1-6

What is interesting is that Aaron and the Israelites didn’t completely make up a god out of thin air. They even say that this golden calf is the god who brought them out of Egypt, thus tying their false idolatrous god into the God of the Bible who redeemed His people out of bondage. The best lies are the ones tinged with truth.

Mormonism, started by Joseph Smith and sustained by his successors throughout the last century and a half, created and worships a god of his own understanding. He clearly was a man who, despite his rudimentary education, had a keen intellect and an incredible imagination. Despite that and a typical religious upbringing in frontier America, he lived in a time of religious upheaval and because of that upheaval confusion ran rampant in religious circles. Because of that uncertainty, Smith decided that rather than study deeper into the Bible to figure out who God was, it was far easier to create a new god of his own imagination.

The god that Smith created and that is worshipped even today in thousands of mormon churches and hundreds of mormon temples is a god that bears very little resemblance to the God of the Bible. Where the God of the Bible is infinite, eternal and unique, the god of Smith’s imagination is finite, created, subservient and but one of an untold multitude of gods. It certainly is not the first time that an idol has been created by man in place of God (i.e. the golden calf) but mormonism has taken the extra step of claiming fidelity to the Bible while at the same time completing reinventing who God is. That makes it difficult to speak with mormons, as many have pointed out before, because we are using the same words but meaning something completely different.

If you want to witness to mormons, you first need to study up on who God is. We have a hard time, in my humble opinion, witnessing to people of other faiths, cults and aberrant religions because we don’t have any idea what we believe. We don’t know what the Bible teaches, who God has revealed Himself to be in the Scriptures and so when we are faced by someone with a radically false view of God, we know something is wrong, we just don’t know what it is. God’s people need to get back into God’s Word so we can talk to people who are lost, whether muslims, mormons or atheists, and declare to them the God who has revealed Himself. Otherwise we will just be arguing about minor issues that don’t matter in the long term, because if you don’t know God through His Word that has revealed His Son, you are lost and no amount of clever argumentation will change that. A good resource, and a free one, is an online book by Paul Washer The One True God. That is a great study resource to complement your reading of the Word.

God is hard to comprehend, and frankly I don’t want a God that I can comprehend too completely. But that does not excuse us from creating a god in our own image, whether we are doing so intentionally or out of ignorance of who He has revealed Himself to be.


gloria said...

Hello! I fell upon your blog tonight and I just wanted to post and say Praise God you are free and out of the bondage of the LDS cult!! Praise God!
I too was LDS for 19 yrs of my life. I gave my life to the Lord Jesus in Nov of 2007 and have not looked back!
I am very excited to read your blog as we too are a homeschooling family! We have been blessed with 10 children and live in rural Missouri.
My children praise God have accepted the Lord too!
My husband remains an active mormon, so please pray for him.
I am going to go to your other blog and read that one too!
Just so happy to run into other ex mormons sold out for Christ on the web!
God bless,
Gloria in Missouri

Arthur Sido said...

Gloria, I will certainly pray for your husband. That must be very hard, I was blessed that Eva followed me out of mormonism and we were able to come to faih in Christ together.