What We Believe (with critique notes at the end)
ROBERT L. MILLET
Robert L. Millet was the dean
of Religious Education at Brigham Young
University when this devotional address was given on 3 February 1998.
I am honored to be asked to speak at the devotional assembly this morning. Because the weekly devotionals at Brigham Young University have been such a significant part of my life, I have taken this invitation very seriously. My topic is "What We Believe."
Sooner or later you and I will be approached by men and women not of our faith--persons either sincerely interested in what we believe or else opposed too much of what we stand for (1). This is particularly true as the Church grows and as our influence spreads throughout the world. Perhaps it would be worthwhile for us to entertain a few questions about what we believe, questions frequently asked of the Latter-day Saints concerning scripture, God, Christ, and salvation. For example:
1. How can the Latter-day Saints justify having additional books of scripture and adding to the Christian canon?
I remember very well sitting in a seminar on biblical studies at an eastern university many years ago. One of the things that stand out in my mind is our discussion of the canon of scripture. For at least two hours the instructor had emphasized that the word canon--referring, of course, to the biblical books that are generally included in the Judeo-Christian collection--was the "rule of faith," the standard against which we measure what is acceptable in belief and practice. He also stated that the canon, if the word meant anything at all, was closed, fixed, set, and established. He must have stressed those words at least 10 times as he wrote them on the blackboard over and over.
I noticed in the second session on this topic that the instructor seemed a bit uneasy. I remember thinking that something must be wrong. Without warning, he stopped what he was doing, banged his fist on the table, turned to me, and said: "Mr. Millet, will you please explain to this group the Latter-day Saint concept of canon, given your people's acceptance of the Book of Mormon and other books of scripture beyond the Bible?" (2)
I was startled. Stunned. Certainly surprised. I paused for several seconds, looked up at the blackboard, saw the now very familiar words under the word canon, and said, somewhat shyly, "Well, I suppose you could say that the Latter-day Saints believe the canon of scripture is open, flexible, and expanding." We then had a really fascinating discussion!
Joseph Smith loved the Bible. It was through pondering upon certain verses in the Epistle of James that he felt directed to call upon God in prayer. Most of his sermons, writings, and letters are laced with quotations or paraphrased summaries of biblical passages and precepts from both the Old and New Testaments. The Prophet once remarked that one can "see God's own handwriting in the sacred volume: and he who reads it oftenest will like it best" (3) (Teachings, p. 56). From his earliest days, however, he did not believe the Bible was complete or that religious difficulties could necessarily be handled by turning to the Old or New Testaments for help (see JS--H 1:12). Nor did he believe in either the inerrancy or the infallibility of the Bible. The Prophet stated:
From what we can draw from the Scriptures relative to the teaching of heaven, we are induced to think that much instruction has been given to man since the beginning which we do not possess now. . . . We have what we have, and the Bible contains what it does contain: but to say that God never said anything more to man than is there recorded, would be saying at once that we have at last received a revelation: for it must require one to advance thus far. [Teachings, p. 61; see also The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1984), pp. 297301] (4)
Occasionally we hear certain Latter-day Saint teachings described as unbiblical or of a particular doctrine being contradictory to the Bible. Let us be clear on this matter. The Bible is one of the books within our standard works, and thus our doctrines and practices (5) are in harmony with the Bible. There are times, of course, when latter-day revelation provides clarification or enhancement of the intended meaning in the Bible (6). But addition to the canon is not the same as rejection of the canon. Supplementation is not the same as contradiction. All of the prophets, including the Savior himself, were sent to bring new light and knowledge to the world; in many cases, new scripture came as a result of their ministries. That new scripture did not invalidate what went before, nor did it close the door to subsequent revelation. We feel deep gratitude for the holy scriptures, but we do not worship scripture. Nor do we feel it appropriate to "set up stakes and set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty," to tell God, essentially, "Thus far and no more" (Teachings, p. 320; see also p. 321). As the Lord declared through Nephi, "Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written" (2 Nephi 29:10). (7)
In short, we believe God has spoken through modern prophets (8), restored his everlasting gospel (9), delivered new truths, and commissioned us to make them known to the world (10). We feel it would be unchristian not to share what has been communicated to us.
2. What do the Latter-day Saints really believe about God? Is it true that they believe man can become as God?
Joseph Smith’s First Vision represents the beginning of the revelation of God to man in this dispensation. We will no doubt spend a lifetime seeking to understand the doctrinal profundity of that theophany. This appearance of the Father and Son (11) in upstate New York had the effect of challenging those creeds of Christendom out of which the doctrine of the Trinity came--a doctrine that evolved from efforts to reconcile Christian theology (12) with Greek philosophy. (See Adolph von Harnack, What Is Christianity? [New York: Harper, 1957]; Edwin Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity [Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1970]; Henry Chadwick, The Early Church, rev. ed. [New York: Penguin Books, 1993], pp. 77, 8990; Jaroslav Pelikan, Christianity and Classical Culture [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993], pp. 2829, 74, 8485, 23147; Dallin H. Oaks, CR, April 1995, pp. 11213.) President Gordon B. Hinckley has observed:
To me it is a significant and marvelous thing that in establishing and opening this dispensation our Father did so with a revelation of himself (13) and of his Son Jesus Christ, as if to say to all the world that he was weary of the attempts of men, earnest though these attempts might have been, to define and describe him. . . . The experience of Joseph Smith in a few moments in the grove on a spring day in 1820, brought more light and knowledge and understanding of the personality and reality and substance of God and his Beloved Son than men had arrived at during centuries of speculation. [TGBH, p. 236]
By revelation Joseph Smith came to know that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost constitute the Godhead. From the beginning the Prophet Joseph taught that the members of the Godhead are one in purpose, one in mind, one in glory, one in attributes and powers, but separate persons (14) (see Teachings, p. 370).
God is the Father of the spirits of all men and women (see Numbers 16:22, 27:16), the source of light and truth, the embodiment of all godly attributes and gifts, and the supreme power and intelligence over all things. From the book of Moses (15) we learn that among the ancients God the Father was called "Man of Holiness," and thus his Only Begotten Son is the Son of Man of Holiness, or the Son of Man (Moses 6:57). The title Man of Holiness opens us to a deeper understanding of deity. We believe that God the Father is an exalted man (16), a corporeal being, a personage of flesh and bones.1
That God has a physical body is one of the most important of all truths restored in this dispensation (17); it is inextricably tied to such doctrines as the immortality of the soul (18), the literal resurrection (19), eternal marriage, (20) and the continuation of the family unit into eternity. In his corporeal or physical nature, God can be in only one place at a time (21). His divine nature is such, however, that his glory, his power, and his influence, meaning his Holy Spirit, fill the immensity of space and are the means by which he is omnipresent and through which law and light and life are extended to us (see D&C 88:613). The Father's physical body (22) does not limit his capacity or detract one wit from his infinite holiness, any more than Christ's resurrected body did so (see Luke 24, John 2021).
Interestingly enough, research by Professor David Paulsen of our (23) Philosophy Department indicates that the idea of God's corporeality was taught in the early Christian church into the fourth and fifth centuries (24) before being lost to the knowledge of the people (25). (See David L. Paulsen, "Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity: Origen and Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses," Harvard Theological Review 83, no. 2 [April 1990]: 10516; "The Doctrine of Divine Embodiment: Restoration, Judeo-Christian, and Philosophical Perspectives," Brigham Young University Studies 35, no. 4 : 794.)
On the one hand, we worship a divine Being with whom we can identify (through the Holy Spirit). That is to say, his infinity does not preclude either his immediacy or his intimacy. "In the day that God created man," the scriptures attest, "in the likeness of God made he him; in the image of his own body (26), male and female, created he them" (Moses 6:89). God is not simply a spirit influence, a force in the universe (27), or the First Great Cause. When we pray, "Our Father which art in heaven" (Matthew 6:9), we mean what we say. We believe God is comprehendible, knowable, approachable (28), and, like his Beloved Son, touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).
On the other hand, our God is God. There is no knowledge of which the Father is ignorant and no power he does not possess (see 1 Nephi 7:12, 2 Nephi 9:20, Mosiah 4:9, Alma 26:35, Helaman 9:41, Ether 3:4). Scriptural passages that speak of him being the same yesterday, today, and forever (29) (e.g., Psalms 102:27; Hebrews 1:12, 13:8; 1 Nephi 10:1819; 2 Nephi 27:23; Alma 7:20; Mormon 9:811, 19; Moroni 8:18, 10:7; D&C 3:2, 20:12, 17, 35:1) clearly have reference to his divine attributes--his love, justice, constancy, and willingness to bless his children. In addition, President Joseph Fielding Smith explained:
From eternity to eternity means from the spirit existence through the probation which we are in, and then back again to the eternal existence which will follow. Surely this is everlasting, for when we receive the resurrection, we will never die. We all existed in the first eternity. I think I can say of myself and others, we are from eternity; and we will be to eternity everlasting, if we receive the exaltation (30). [Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., comp. Bruce R. McConkie (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 195456), 1:12; emphasis in original. See also Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1978), p. 166.]
We come to the earth to take a physical body, to be schooled and gain experiences in this second estate that we could not have in the first estate, the premortal life (31). We then strive to keep the commandments and grow in faith and spiritual graces until we are prepared to go where God and Christ are (32). Eternal life consists in being with God; in addition, it entails being like God (33). A study of Christian history reveals that the doctrine of the deification of man was taught at least into the fifth century by such notables as Irenaeus (34), Clement of Alexandria (35), Justin Martyr (36), Athanasius (37), and Augustine (38) (see Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christian? [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], pp. 6061). Because we know that many plain and precious truths were taken from the Bible (39) before it was compiled (see 1 Nephi 13:2039 and preface to D&C 76), we might not agree with some of what was taught about deification by such Christian thinkers, but it is clear that the idea was not foreign to the people of the early Church.
For that matter, no less a modern Christian theologian than C. S. Lewis recognized the logical and theological extension of being transformed by Christ. "The Son of God became a man," Lewis pointed out, "to enable men to become sons of God" (40) (Mere Christianity [New York: Macmillan, 1952], p. 154; see also The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses [New York: Macmillan, 1980], p. 18). Further, Lewis has explained:
The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him--for we can prevent Him, if we choose--He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said. [Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 17475; emphasis in original] (41)
All men and women, like Christ, are made in the image (42) and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:27, Moses 2:27), and so it is neither robbery nor heresy for the children of God to aspire to be like God (43) (see Matthew 5:48, Philippians 2:6). Like any parent, our Heavenly Father wants his children to become and be all that he is (44). Godhood comes through overcoming the world through the Atonement (45) (see 1 John 5:45; Revelation 2:7, 11; D&C 76:5160), becoming heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (46), who is the natural Heir (see Romans 8:17, Galatians 4:7), and thus inheriting all things, just as Jesus inherits all things (see 1 Corinthians 3:2123; Revelation 21:7; D&C 76:55, 95, 84:38, 88:107). The faithful are received into the "church of the Firstborn" (Hebrews 12:23; D&C 76:54, 67, 94, 93:22), meaning they inherit as though they were (47) the firstborn. In that glorified (48) state we will be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus (see Romans 8:29, 1 Corinthians 15:49, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 John 3:2, Alma 5:14), receive his glory, and be one with him and with the Father (see John 17:2123, Philippians 3:21).
Although we know from modern revelation (49) that godhood comes through the receipt of eternal life (see D&C 132:1920), we do not believe we will ever, worlds without end, unseat or oust God the Eternal Father or his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ; those holy beings are and forever will be the gods (50) we worship. Even though we believe in the ultimate deification of man (51), I am unaware of any authoritative statement in LDS literature that suggests that we will ever worship any being other than the ones within the Godhead. We believe in "one God" in the sense that we love and serve one Godhead, one divine presidency, each of whom possesses all of the attributes of Godhood (see Alma 11:44, D&C 20:28).
In short, God is not of another species (52), nor is he the great unknowable one; he is indeed our Father in Heaven. He has revealed a plan whereby we might enjoy happiness in this world and dwell with him and be like him (53) in the world to come.
3. Do the Latter-day Saints believe that salvation comes through their own works rather than by the grace of Christ? Are they "saved" Christians?
The theological debate over whether we are saved by grace or by works is a fruitless argument that is much "like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary" (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 129). Latter-day Saints have often been critical of those who stress salvation by grace alone, and we have often been criticized for a type of works-righteousness. The gospel is in fact a gospel covenant--a two-way promise (54). The Lord agrees to do for us what we could never do for ourselves--to forgive our sins, to lift our burdens, to renew our souls and re-create our nature, to raise us from the dead and qualify us for glory hereafter. At the same time, we promise to do what we can do--receive the ordinances of salvation, love and serve one another (see Mosiah 18:810), and do all in our power to put off the natural man and deny ourselves of ungodliness (55) (see Mosiah 3:19, Moroni 10:32).
We believe that more is required of men and women than a verbal expression of faith in the Lord (56), more than a confession with the lips that we have received Christ into our hearts. The scriptures of the Restoration add perspective and balance (57) to the majestic teachings of the apostle Paul on the matter of salvation by grace. We know, without question, that the power to save us, to change us, to renew our souls, is in Christ. True faith, however, always manifests itself in (58) faithfulness. Good works evidence our faith (59) and our desire to remain in covenant with Christ, but they are not sufficient. (See Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 196573], 2:499500; and Dallin H. Oaks, CR, October 1988, p. 78). The real question is not whether I am saved by grace or by works but rather, in whom do I trust? On whom do I rely? (See 1 Nephi 10:6; 2 Nephi 2:8, 31:19; Moroni 6:4.)
Too often we are prone to view grace as that increment of goodness, that final gift of God that will make up the difference and thereby boost us into the celestial kingdom, (60) "after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23). To be sure, we will need a full measure of divine assistance to become (61) celestial material. But the grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, is available to us every hour of every day of our lives. "True grace," as one non-LDS writer has suggested, "is more than just a giant freebie, opening the door to heaven in the sweet by and by, but leaving us to wallow in sin in the bitter here and now. Grace is God presently at work in our lives" (John F. MacArthur, Jr., Faith Works: The Gospel According to the Apostles [Dallas: Word Publishing, 1993], p. 32). The grace of God is a precious gift, an enabling power (62) to face life with quiet courage, to do things we could never do on our own. The Great Physician does more than forgive sins. He ministers relief to the disconsolate, comfort to the bereaved, confidence to those who wrestle with infirmities and feelings of inadequacy, and strength and peace to those who have been battered and scarred by the ironies of this life (see Isaiah 61:12, Alma 7:1113).
Few things would be more serious than encouraging lip service to God but discouraging obedience and faithful discipleship. On the other hand, surely nothing could be more offensive to God than a smug self-assurance that comes from trusting in one's own works or relying upon one's own strength. Understanding this sacred principle--the relationship between the grace of an infinite Being and the works of finite man--is not easy, but it is immensely rewarding. The more we learn to trust the Lord and rely upon his merits and mercy, the less anxious we become about life here and hereafter. "Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him," C. S. Lewis wisely remarked, "it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, (63) a less worried way" (Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 129).
Are we then "saved Christians"? (64) Whereas the ultimate blessings of salvation do not come until the next life, there is a sense in which people in this life may enjoy the assurance of salvation and the peace that accompanies that knowledge (see D&C 59:23). True faith in Christ produces hope in Christ--not worldly wishing but expectation, anticipation, assurance. As the apostle Paul wrote, the Holy Spirit provides the "earnest of our inheritance," the promise or evidence that we are on course, in covenant, and thus in line for full salvation in the world to come (Ephesians 1:1314; see 2 Corinthians 1:2122, 5:5). That is, the Spirit of God operating in our lives is like the Lord's "earnest money" on us--his sweet certification that he seriously intends to save us with an everlasting salvation. Thus, if we are striving (65) to cultivate the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are living in what might be called a "saved" condition.
One of the most respected Evangelical theologians, John Stott, has written:
Salvation is a big and comprehensive word. It embraces the totality of God's saving work, from beginning to end. In fact salvation has three tenses, past, present and future. . . . "I have been saved (in the past) from the penalty of sin by a crucified Saviour. I am being saved (in the present) from the power of sin by a living Saviour. And I shall be saved (in the future) from the very presence of sin by a coming Saviour" . . .
If therefore you were to ask me, "Are you saved?" there is only one correct biblical answer which I could give you: "yes and no." Yes, in the sense that by the sheer grace and mercy of God through the death of Jesus Christ my Saviour he has forgiven my sins, justified me and reconciled me to himself. But no, in the sense that I still have a fallen nature and live in a fallen world and have a corruptible body, and I am longing for my salvation to be brought to its triumphant completion. [Authentic Christianity from the Writings of John Stott, ed. Timothy Dudley-Smith (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1995), p. 168]
President David O. McKay taught that
the gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, is in very deed, in every way, the power of God unto salvation. It is salvation here--here and now. It gives to every man the perfect life, here and now, as well as hereafter. [GI, p. 6; emphasis in original. See also Brigham Young, JD 6:276 and 8:12425.]
Too many of us wrestle with feelings of inadequacy, struggle with hopelessness (66), and in general are much too anxious about our standing before God. It is important to keep the ultimate goal of exaltation ever before (67) us, but it seems so much more profitable to focus on fundamentals and on the (68) here and now--staying in covenant, being dependable and true to our promises, cultivating the gift of the Holy Ghost. President Brigham Young taught:
Our work is a work of the present. The salvation we are seeking is for the present, and, sought correctly, it can be obtained, and be continually enjoyed. If it continues to-day, it is upon the same principle that it will continue to-morrow, the next day, the next week, or the next year, and, we might say, the next eternity. [JD 1:131]
In short, salvation is in Christ, and our covenant with Christ, our trust in his power to redeem us, should be demonstrated in how we live. The influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives is a sign to us that we are on (69) course, "in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17), and thus in line for salvation.
4. Are the Latter-day Saints Christian? Or do they, as some have suggested, worship a different Jesus?
We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, in the One sent of the Father to "bind up the brokenhearted" and "proclaim liberty to the captives" (see Isaiah 61:1, D&C 138:1118). For us, the Jesus of history (70) is indeed the Christ of faith (71). He was and is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh (72) (see John 3:16, 2 Nephi 25:12, D&C 20:21). Although some may exclude us from the category of Christian for this or that doctrinal matter, our behavior must be consistent with our profession; those who claim new life in the Spirit are expected to walk in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25).
"Are we Christians?" President Gordon B. Hinckley asked.
Of course we are. No one can honestly deny that. We may be somewhat different from the traditional pattern of Christianity. But no one believes more literally in the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ. No one believes more fundamentally that He was the Son of God, that He died for the sins of mankind, that He rose from the grave, and that He is the living resurrected Son of the living Father.
All of our doctrine, all of our religious practice stems from that one basic doctrinal position: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." (73) This is the first article of our faith, and all else flows therefrom. [Meeting with Religion Newswriters Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 14 September 1997; excerpted in Speaking Today, Ensign, February 1998, p. 73]
In the long run, all we can do is live what we preach and bear testimony of what we feel in our hearts and know in our minds. Although we do not want to be misunderstood and we certainly would like for others to recognize the centrality of Christ (74) in our lives, we do not require the imprimatur of the religious world to substantiate our claim. We are who we are and we know who we are, and if all the world should think otherwise, so be it. Our primary thrust in the religious world is not to court favor. Our desire to build bridges of understanding does not excuse us from the obligation to maintain our distinctive position in the religious world. Our strength lies in our (75) distinctiveness, for we have something to offer the world, something of great worth . No one wants to be spurned, misunderstood, or misrepresented. But sometimes such is the cost of discipleship (76) (see Matthew 5:1012).
As to whether we worship a different Jesus, we say again: We accept and endorse the testimony of the New Testament writers: Jesus is the Promised Messiah, the resurrection and the life (see John 11:25), literally the light of the world (see John 8:12). Everything that testifies of his divine birth, his goodness, his transforming power, and his godhood, we embrace enthusiastically. He has broken the bands of death and lives today. All this we know. But we know much more about the Christ because of what has been made known through latter-day prophets (77). President Brigham Young thus declared:
We, the Latter-day Saints, take the liberty of believing more than our Christian brethren: we not only believe . . . the Bible, but . . . the whole of the plan of salvation that Jesus has given to us. Do we differ from others who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? No, only in believing more. [JD 13:56]
Our conduct and our way of life cannot be separated from our doctrine, for what we believe empowers and directs what we do. A number of years ago an article appeared in Christianity Today entitled "Why Your Neighbor Joined the Mormon Church." Five reasons were given (or were they given?):
1. The Latter-day Saints show genuine love and concern by taking care of their people.
2. They strive to build the family unit.
3. They provide for their young people.
4. Theirs is a layman's church.
5. They believe that divine revelation is the basis for their practices.
After a brief discussion of each of the above, the author of the article concluded:
In a day when many are hesitant to claim that God has said anything definitive, the Mormons stand out in contrast, and many people are ready to listen to what the Mormons think the voice of God says. It is tragic that their message is false, but it is nonetheless a lesson to us that people are many times ready to hear a voice of authority. [Donald P. Shoemaker, "Why Your Neighbor Joined the Mormon Church," Christianity Today 19, no. 1 (11 October 1974): 1113]
The Savior taught of the importance of judging things--prophets, for example--by their fruits, by the product of their ministry and teachings (see Matthew 7:1520, 1 John 3:7) (prophets are not needed – Hebrews 1:1). He also explained that "every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:13). Evil trees cannot bring forth good fruit. Works of men eventually come to naught, but that which is of God cannot be overthrown (see Acts 5:3839).
In short, we proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (78). We have taken his name upon us, eagerly acknowledge the redeeming power of his blood, and seek to emulate his perfect life.
Let me close by sharing with you three simple suggestions--learned through both sad and sweet experience--on how we might effectively deal with difficult questions posed by those not of our faith. First, stay in control. There is nothing more frustrating than knowing the truth, loving the truth, sincerely desiring to share the truth (79), and yet being unable to communicate our deepest feelings to another who sees things differently. Argument or disputation over sacred things cause us to forfeit (80) the Spirit of God and thus the confirming power of our message (see 3 Nephi 11:2830). We teach and we testify. Contention is unbecoming of one called to publish peace and thus bless our brothers and sisters. In the words of Elder Marvin J. Ashton, "We have no time for contention. (81) We only have time to be about our Father's business" (CR, April 1978, p. 9).
Second, stay in order. The Savior taught that gospel prerequisites should be observed when teaching sacred things (see Matthew 7:67; see also Boyd K. Packer, Teach Ye Diligently [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1975], chapter 11; The Holy Temple [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980], chapter 2). A person, for example, who knows very little about our doctrine will probably not understand or appreciate our teachings concerning temples, sealing powers, eternal life, or the deification of man (82). Joseph Smith the Prophet explained, "If we (self-focus) start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we (self-focus) start wrong, we (self-focus) may go wrong, and it [will] be a hard matter to get right" (Teachings, p. 343). It is always wise to lay a proper foundation for what is to be said; the truth (lie) can then flow more freely. The apostle Peter is said to have explained to Clement:
The teaching of all doctrine has a certain order, and there are some things which must be delivered first, others in the second place, and others in the third, and so all in their order; and if these things be delivered in their order, they become plain; but if they be brought forward out of order, they will seem to be spoken against reason. [Clementine Recognitions III, p. 34; cited in Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company and FARMS, 1988), p. 97]
Third, stay in context. As we have already noted, we love the Bible and cherish its messages. But the Bible is not the source of our doctrine or authority (83), nor is much to be gained through efforts to "prove" the truthfulness of the restored gospel from the Bible. Ours is an independent revelation (84). We know what we know about the premortal existence (85), priesthood (86), celestial marriage (87), baptism for the dead (88), the postmortal spirit world (89), degrees of glory, etc. (90), because of what God has made known through latter-day prophets (91), not because we are able to identify a few biblical allusions to these matters. Some of our greatest difficulties in handling questions about our faith come when we try to establish specific doctrines of the Restoration from the Bible alone (92). There is consummate peace and spiritual power to be derived from being loyal (93) to those things the Almighty has communicated to us in our dispensation (see D&C 5:10, 31:34, 43:1516, 49:14, 84:5461). President Ezra Taft Benson stated:
Our main task is to declare the gospel and do it effectively. We are not obligated to answer every objection. Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand. [Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1988), p. 5]
I testify to the truthfulness of these remarkable doctrines (94) about which I have been speaking. I know, by the witness of the Holy Ghost to my soul, that God is our Father, Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of the living God (95), and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed the kingdom of God on earth (96). These things I know, because I have studied and searched and sought to understand (97). These things I know, because I have read and pondered and prayed and pleaded for light and knowledge (98). What has come to me is as settling and soothing to my heart as it is stimulating and enlarging to my mind. This work is true, and because it is true it will triumph (99). The First Presidency of the Church in 1907 declared:
Our motives are not selfish; our purposes not petty and earth-bound; we contemplate the human race, past, present and yet to come, as immortal beings, for whose salvation it is our mission to labor; and to this work, broad as eternity and deep as the love of God, we devote ourselves, now, and forever. [CR, April 1907, appendix, p. 16; cited in Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1994), p. 59]
I pray that we will come to know what we believe, by study and by faith, and then with boldness but quiet dignity share those saving truths with others (100), in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. If the 14-year-old Joseph Smith did indeed learn of the Father's corporeality in the First Vision, he did not state it specifically in his various accounts of that vision. The Prophet explained in Ramus, Illinois, that "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's" (D&C 130:22). That statement was recorded in April of 1843. However, the Saints were teaching of God's corporeal nature at least as early as 1836. (See Milton V. Backman, Jr., "Truman Coe's 1836 Description of Mormonism," Brigham Young University Studies 17, no. 3 [spring 1977]: 34755; see also The Words of Joseph Smith, eds. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook [Provo: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 1980], pp. 60, 6364.)
1) Christians are to speak the truth that the gospel was not lost and rediscovered in the 19th century.
Jude 1:3 (NKJV) Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
2) Scientific evidence via Archaeology and DNA has proven the Book of Mormon to be fiction.
Sources: National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institute, numerous scientists, etc.
3) Joseph Smith was ignorant and uneducated that led to his numerous misinterpretations of the Holy Bible.
No Man Knows My History, page 168: His own lack of formal schooling had had always felt as a frustration, since the New England reverence for education permeated every village in which he had lived.
4) Joseph Smith was plagued throughout his entire adult life and is not in heaven today.
Revelation 22:18-19 (NKJV) For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
5) Robert Millet will contradict himself on this point several times during this speech.
See critique note numbers 39, 49, 57, and 83.
6) Joseph Smith twisted the Scripture of the Holy Bible to his own destruction.
2 Peter 3:14-16 (NKJV) Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
7) The Scriptures of the Holy Bible will point to Jesus Christ not a fictional person named Nephi.
Hebrews 10:7 (NKJV) Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”
8) God does not use modern prophets.
Hebrews 1:1-4 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
9) The Christian Gospel and Church were never lost nor had to be restored.
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV) “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
10) True Christians will be witnesses of Jesus Christ not of a false church based in Utah.
Acts 1:8 (NKJV) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
11a) The Apostle John disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
John 1:18 (NKJV) No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
11b) Jesus Christ disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
John 6:46 (NKJV) Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
11c) The Apostle Paul disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
Colossians 1:15 (NKJV) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
12) The knowledge of the infinite one God has been made known to mankind via the Holy Bible.
Colossians 2:1-3 (NKJV) For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
13) The Apostle John again disagrees with Joseph Smith, Robert Millet, and Gordon Hinckley.
1 John 4:12 (NKJV) No one has seen God at any time.
14) The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are separate persons yet one God.
John 10:28-30 (NKJV) “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
15) Sidney Ridgon was not satisfied with the Holy Bible and used Joseph Smith to elevate his ideas.
Sidney Rigdon, A Portrait of Religious Excess - page 72: Although Mormon usage designates this Bible revision as the Joseph Smith Translation (JST), ancient manuscripts were not used, nor were Smith or Rigdon familiar with foreign languages. From Smith’s description of the process the procedure was an “inspired revision,” not a translation.
16) The prophet Moses disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
Numbers 23:19 (NKJV) “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.”
17) The Apostle Paul again disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV) Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
18) The soul is not the body, but mankind is comparable to God as a trinity.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
19) God the Father was not raised from the dead.
Acts 3:14-15 (NKJV) But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
20) There is no eternal marriage in Christian thought or doctrine according to Jesus Christ.
Matthew 22:30 (NKJV) “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.”
21) God the Father Himself is omnipresent and is not limited by a body.
Psalm 139:7-8 (NKJV) Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Note: Cult members will have a difficult time following the personal pronouns in context.
22) Jesus Christ again disagrees with Joseph Smith and Robert Millet.
John 4:23-24 (NKJV) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
23) Brigham Young University professors are notorious for biased research.
Book explores the life of Islam’s founder; BYU author aims to educate Westerners; Deseret Morning News; August 11, 2007.
24) Early Church Fathers taught the Holy Bible in context not Greek Mythology.
2 Second Clement 20:5 “To the only God, invisible,” the Father of truth, who sent forth to us the Savior and Founder of immortality, through whom he also revealed to us the truth and the heavenly life, to him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (The Apostolic Fathers, page 78)
25) Early Church Fathers taught the Holy Bible in context not Greek Mythology.
26) God the Father created mankind in His spirit image since He does not have a body.
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
27) Jehovah’s Witnesses error on intangibility while Mormons error on the tangibility of God.
Watchtower magazine February 15, 1998, Page 13: Jehovah used his holy spirit, or active force, to beget Jesus as his spiritual Son, in order to bring him to heavenly glory.
28) Sinful mankind cannot approach a holy God except by the Holy Spirit via the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 6:13-16 (NKJV) I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
29) Robert Millet has confused the Father and the Son as being the same distinct person.
Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
30) Joseph Fielding Smith and Robert Millet are greatly mistaken about eternity.
Revelation 5:13-14 (NKJV) And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne (figure of speech),
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
Note: God the Father never died and was resurrected.
31) Cults will often redefine the English language to suit their unbiblical doctrines.
Webster’s Dictionary: creation – the act of bringing into existence.
32) A Christian’s purpose is to be Christ-focused not self-focused.
John 15:5 (NKJV) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
33) Cults will often redefine the English language to suit their unbiblical doctrines.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Webster’s Dictionary: like – similarly to; example – she sings like a bird.
34) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
1. It is proper, then, that I should begin with the first and most important head, that is, God the Creator, who made the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein (whom these men blasphemously style the fruit of a defect), and to demonstrate that there is nothing either above Him or after Him; nor that, influenced by any one, but of His own free will, He created all things, since He is the only God, the only Lord, the only Creator, the only Father, alone containing all things, and Himself commanding all things into existence.
35) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
And once more by Isaiah. And this utterance I will repeat: I am, he says, I am the Lord; I who speak righteousness, announce truth. Gather yourselves together, and come. Take counsel together, you that are saved from the nations. They have not known, they who set up the block of wood, their carved work, and pray to gods who will not save them. Isaiah 45:19-20 Then proceeding: I am God, and there is not beside Me a just God, and a Saviour: there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and you will be saved, you that are from the end of the earth. I am God, and there is no other; by Myself I swear. Isaiah 45:21-23
36) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
There will be no other God, O Trypho, nor was there from eternity any other existing, but He who made and disposed all this universe. Nor do we think that there is one God for us, another for you, but that He alone is God who led your fathers out from Egypt with a strong hand and a high arm. Nor have we trusted in any other (for there is no other), but in Him in whom you also have trusted, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob.
37) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
2:14. Arguments from Scripture against Arian statements.
He also who suggested to them this heresy, while tempting Him, in the mount, said not, 'If Thou also be a Son of God,' as though there were others besides Him, but, 'If Thou be the Son of God,' as being the only one. But as the Gentiles, having fallen from the notion of one God, have sunk into polytheism, so these wonderful men, not believing that the Word of the Father is one, have come to adopt the idea of many words, and they deny Him that is really God and the true Word, and have dared to conceive of Him as a creature, not perceiving how full of impiety is the thought. For if He be a creature, how is He at the same time the Creator of creatures?
38) Cult members will always deceptively misquote the Church Fathers.
There is, accordingly, a good which is alone simple, and therefore alone unchangeable, and this is God. By this Good have all others been created, but not simple, and therefore not unchangeable. Created, I say—that is, made, not begotten. For that which is begotten of the simple Good is simple as itself, and the same as itself. These two we call the Father and the Son; and both together with the Holy Spirit are one God; and to this Spirit the epithet Holy is in Scripture, as it were, appropriated. And He is another than the Father and the Son, for He is neither the Father nor the Son. I say another, not another thing, because He is equally with them the simple Good, unchangeable and co-eternal. And this Trinity is one God; and none the less simple because a Trinity. For we do not say that the nature of the good is simple, because the Father alone possesses it, or the Son alone, or the Holy Ghost alone; nor do we say, with the Sabellian heretics, that it is only nominally a Trinity, and has no real distinction of persons; but we say it is simple, because it is what it has, with the exception of the relation of the persons to one another. For, in regard to this relation, it is true that the Father has a Son, and yet is not Himself the Son; and the Son has a Father, and is not Himself the Father. But, as regards Himself, irrespective of relation to the other, each is what He has; thus, He is in Himself living, for He has life, and is Himself the Life which He has.
39) Robert Millet has contradicted himself in his speech. Please see note number 5.
40) Christians have become children of God through adoption.
Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
41) It is Jesus Christ working in us and through us to do His good will and pleasure.
Mere Christianity, Book Two – Practical Conclusion by C.S. Lewis
That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or-if they think there is not-at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.
42) We were created in the spirit image of God.
Galatians 6:18 (NKJV) Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
43) Robert Millet applied Holy Scripture about Jesus Christ to himself and that is heresy.
Philippians 2:5-8 (NKJV) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Note: Cult members rarely humble themselves.
44) God the Father wants mankind to worship Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
45) Satan thought he could become God and was cast down.
Isaiah 14:12-17 (NKJV) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. “Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, Who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’
Note: Mormons are actually followers of Satan and should not be confused as Christians.
46) Christians have become heirs of eternal life through the death of Jesus Christ for their sins.
Galatians 4:1-5 (NKJV) Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
47) In context, firstborn refers strictly to Jesus Christ and Christians belong to Him.
Hebrews 12:22-24 (NKJV) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
48) In the glorified state Christians will be worshipping God not themselves.
Revelation 19:1 (NKJV) After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!”
49) Robert Millet has contradicted himself in his speech. Please see note number 5.
50) Mormon theology is similar to Greek mythology.
Isaiah 43:10 (NKJV) “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.”
51) Mormon theology is similar to Greek mythology.
Isaiah 44:6 (NKJV) “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.
52) Mormon theology is similar to Greek mythology. World Book Encyclopedia.
Zeus, pronounced zoos, was the ruler of the gods in Greek mythology. Zeus was a sky and weather god, especially associated with rain, thunder, and lightning. The Greeks believed he was all-knowing and all-seeing. The Greeks considered Zeus a father figure and a protector, especially of guests and strangers. The Roman god Jupiter was equivalent to Zeus (see JUPITER).
Zeus was the son of Cronus and Rhea, members of an earlier race of ruling gods called the Titans. Zeus and the other children of Cronus defeated the Titans. Zeus then took Cronus' place and ruled from his home on Mount Olympus. He headed a family of 12 major gods and goddesses called the Olympians. Some lesser gods also lived on Olympus. Zeus's brothers were the gods Hades and Poseidon. Hades ruled the underworld, and Poseidon ruled the seas. The goddesses Demeter, Hera, and Hestia were Zeus's sisters.
At the time Zeus was introduced in Greece, the religion of that area was based on fertility. Each community had a major fertility goddess and a male god associated with her. Zeus eventually took the place of many of these male gods, and became the husband or lover of the goddesses. Later, Hera became Zeus's wife, and other goddesses took a lesser status.
Zeus had many love affairs with goddesses and mortal women and fathered many children. His children included the goddess Aphrodite; the gods Apollo, Dionysus, and Hermes; and the mortal heroes Perseus and Heracles (Hercules in Latin). Zeus alone gave birth to the goddess Athena.
53) Mormon theology is similar to Greek mythology.
Isaiah 45:5 (NKJV) “I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
54) The Christian Gospel is strictly about Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:1-5 (NKJV) Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
Note: Mormons are not saved according to the Apostle Paul.
55) Christians are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live godly lives.
Galatians 5:16-18 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
56) Christians have made the sincere confession of faith. Have you?
Romans 10:8-10 (NKJV) But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Note: Mormons do not preach the word of faith.
57) Robert Millet has contradicted himself in his speech. Please see note number 5.
58) True faith is not defined as good works.
Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
59) Good works is evidence of a Christian being focused on Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
60) Grace should not be confused with your works.
Romans 4:4 (NKJV) Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
61) Grace should not be confused with your works.
Romans 11:6 (NKJV) And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
62) Godly power in a Christian’s life is evidence of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NKJV) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
63) Godly power in a Christian’s life is evidence of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (NKJV) And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
64) Assurance of salvation is central to a Christian’s faith in Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NKJV) For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
65) Christians will strive to preach the Gospel in word and in deed to a lost and dying world.
Philippians 1:27-28 (NKJV) Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.
66) Assurance of salvation frees a person into true service for God.
Authentic Christianity by John Stott, page 170. Salvation is freedom … It includes freedom from the just judgment of God on our sins, from our guilt and our guilty conscience, into a new relationship with Him in which we become His reconciled, forgiven children and we know Him as our Father. It is freedom from the bitter bondage of meaninglessness into a new sense of purpose in God’s new society of love, in which the last are first, the poor rich and the meek heirs. It is freedom from the dark prison of our own self-centredness into a new life of self-fulfilment through self-forgetful service. And one day it will include freedom from the futility of pain, decay, death and dissolution into a new world of immortality, beauty and unimaginable joy. All this – and more! – is ‘salvation’.
67) Christians will keep Jesus Christ ever before them as they are focused on Him.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
68) Christians will keep Jesus Christ ever before them as they are focused on Him.
Titus 2:11-15 (NKJV) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
69) Christians are ambassadors for Jesus Christ not for prophets, baptism, or a church.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NKJV) Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
70) Jesus Christ was not created from a sex act between God the Father and Mary.
Elder James E. Talmage has written: "That Child born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof; and the offspring from that association of supreme sanctity, celestial Sireship, and pure though mortal maternity, was of right to be called the 'Son of the Highest'" (Talmage, 81). Doctrines and Covenants Encyclopedia, Hoyt W. Brewster, 1996.
71) Mary conceived Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit not sex with God the Father.
Matthew 1:20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
72) Begotten is defined as raised not physical conception in the Holy Bible.
Acts 13:33 (NKJV) God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’
73) Cult members will use Christian language to deceive you.
Colossians 2:4-5 (NKJV) Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
74) The Mormon Jesus was married and was a polygamist.
As to the doctrine of Deity, the "Address" declares: "We believe in the God-head, comprising the three individual personages, Father, Son and Holy Ghost." As this declaration stands here, it will not perhaps suggest Tritheism or Materialism to Christians unfamiliar with Mormon theological terms. But when the full doctrine of the Deity, as taught in Mormon congregations, is known, it will at once be seen that no Christian can accept it. In fact, the Mormon Church teaches that God the Father has a material body of flesh and bone's; that Adam is the God of the human race; that this Adam-God was physically begotten by another God; that the Gods were once as we are now; that there is a great multiplicity of Gods; that Jesus Christ was physically begotten by the Heavenly Father of Mary, His wife; that, as we have a Heavenly Father, so also we have a Heavenly Mother; that Jesus Himself was married, and was probably a polygamist—at least so it has been printed in their publications and taught among their people; and that the Holy Spirit is of material substance, capable of actual transmission from one person to another. (B. H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907], 2: 268.)
75) The distinctiveness of the Christian is their focus on Jesus Christ and not themselves.
Philippians 3:7-11 (NKJV) But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
76) Christians are willing to suffer for Jesus Christ.
Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Note: Jesus Christ should not be confused with a church or false prophets based in Utah.
77) God does not use prophets anymore.
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.
78) Christians will proclaim Jesus Christ who died for your sins.
1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NKJV) For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
79) Jesus Christ is the truth not self exaltation to becoming a Mormon god.
John 14:6 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
80) Christians will strive to preach the Gospel in word and in deed to a lost and dying world.
Jude 1:3 (NKJV) Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
81) Christians will strive to preach the Gospel in word and in deed to a lost and dying world.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (NKJV) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
82) Christians will strive to preach the Gospel in word and in deed to a lost and dying world.
Acts 8:4-5 (NKJV) Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
83) Robert Millet has contradicted himself in his speech. Please see note number 5.
84) Robert Millet has denounced the Holy Bible and should not be considered a Christian.
1 Corinthians 14:36-37 (NKJV) Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
85) Cults will often redefine the English language to suit their unbiblical doctrines.
Webster’s Dictionary: creation – the act of bringing into existence.
86) The Levitical Priesthood has been done away with.
Hebrews 7:11 (NKJV) Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?
87) There will be no marriage in the resurrection.
Matthew 22:30 (NKJV) For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.
88) Pagans not Christians baptize for the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:29-30 (NKJV) Otherwise, what will they (pagans) do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they (pagans) baptized for the dead? And why do we (Christians) stand in jeopardy every hour?
Note: Cult members have a difficult time following simple rules of grammar.
89) There will be no second chances in the after-life.
Hebrews 9:27-28 (NKJV) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
90) Christians will receive degrees of rewards not glory in the resurrection.
Matthew 19:29-30 (NKJV) And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
91) LDS prophets have been found to be false prophets by the testing of the Holy Bible.
1 John 4:1 (NKJV) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
92) Sadly, Mormons believe in fables.
1 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
93) Loyality is a cult catch-word and is not Christian.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
94) The Apostle Paul rebukes Robert Millet over the centuries.
1 Timothy 1:5-7 (NKJV) Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
95) Joseph Smith was dead less than three months after giving the blasphemous King Follet sermon.
2 Peter 2:1 (NKJV) But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
96) The kingdom of God is not a church based in Utah.
Romans 14:16-18 (NKJV) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
97) Christians will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Have you?
2 Peter 3:17-18 (NKJV) You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
98) Sadly, Robert Millet forgot to consult the Holy Bible in context.
Romans 10:16-17 (NKJV) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
99) God is true not a church based in Utah.
John 3:33 (NKJV) He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.
100) Christians will preach Jesus Christ as the truth.
2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (NKJV) For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Basic LDS beliefs emphasized a
The Deseret News
Saturday, February 7, 1998
By Edward L. Carter, Staff Writer
For the second time within a
week, a speaker at Brigham Young University emphasized basic beliefs of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ways to deal with proselytizing
members of other religions.
Millet, BYU dean of religious education, spoke to students on ``What We
Believe'' during a weekly devotional at the Marriott Center Tuesday.
Millet's words clearly resonated with those delivered
Sunday by President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the LDS Church's Quorum
of Twelve Apostles.Millet's talk consisted of the answers
to four questions "frequently asked of Latter-day Saints.'' The questions dealt
with scripture vs. continuing revelation, the nature of God, the church's
beliefs about Jesus Christ and the definition of salvation.
Millet also offered three suggestions for church members to handle difficult
questions posed by those of other faiths.
was not assigned the topic by church leaders, and the similarity of his message
with that of President Packer was coincidental, he said. Although neither
speaker said so, both messages apparently were aimed at preparing LDS members in
Utah for Southern Baptist Convention to be held in June in Salt Lake City.
Thousands of Southern
Baptists are expected to include door-to-door proselyting as part of their
visit. In preparation for that convention, the Southern Baptists have produced a
video saying Latter-day Saints are not true Christians. Both President Packer
and Millet focused heavily on refuting that assertion.
"For us, Jesus of history is
indeed the Christ of faith,'' Millet said. ``He was and is
the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh.''
emphasized that LDS Church members who are approached by missionaries of other
religions must exercise the Christian qualities they preach and cannot hope to
persuade through argument. He said members should testify of their beliefs but
not dispute over doctrinal points.
"Contention is unbecoming of
one called to publish peace and thus bless our brothers and sisters,''
He advised church members to
stay in control of their emotions, to stay in order concerning the profundity of
their beliefs and to stay in context in terms of modern-day revelation vs.
ancient scripture. In the end, Millet said, individuals
must take a stand based on their personal beliefs.
"We are who we are and we
know who we are, and if all the world should think otherwise, so be it,'' he
said. ``Our primary thrust in the religious world is not to court favor.''
reminded students that their church teaches that the Bible is not the only book
containing the word of God. While the church accepts the Bible as part of its
canon, members must also realize that God continues to speak through prophets on
Earth, he said.
In describing the nature of
God and the definition of salvation, Millet alternately
described similarities and differences between the LDS Church and traditional
Christian churches. Although the differences may cause criticism, they are to be
"Our strength lies in our
distinctiveness, for we have something to offer the world, something of great
worth,'' he said. ``No one wants to be spurned, misunderstood or misrepresented.
"But sometimes such is the
cost of discipleship.''
invoked the words of both LDS and non-LDS scholars from several centuries to
describe the church's concept of the Godhead. He said that God, Jesus Christ and
the Holy Ghost are separate beings with one purpose. Also, he contradicted the
idea that Latter-day Saints who aspire to become like God commit heresy.
On that point,
Millet quoted philosopher C.S. Lewis, who described the
Lord's command to be perfect as very literal. Also, Millet
said,". . . the doctrine of the deification of man was taught at least into the
fifth century by such notables as Irenaus, Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr,
Arthanasius and Augustine.''
Millet said, there is no basis to support the claim that God's children will
ever worship anyone other than the three members of the Godhead.
Millet attempted to clarify the church's doctrine regarding faith and works.
Grace is not, as even many members of the church believe, ``that final gift of
God that will make up the difference and thereby boost us into the celestial
kingdom,'' Millet said. Instead, grace is a gift that enables individuals to
daily accomplish things they could not do on their own.
"In short, salvation is in
Christ, and our covenant with Christ, our trust in his power to redeem us,
should be demonstrated in how we live,'' he said.
For those who continue to misstate the church's doctrine, the message was clear: Latter-day Saints don't need their approval.
Robert L. Millet Teaching Deception to Brigham Young University Students
The Grand Enterprise of Mormonism
July 8, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY - Of all the institutions in the modern world that have learned the art of give and take with the news media, religion has perhaps had the most difficult time adjusting. Religious matters, with all their miraculous narratives and complicated histories, don’t easily lend themselves to neat explanations. The demands and rigors of journalistic objectivity are not always aligned with the subjective nature of religious experience. So it is with Mormonism.
The enterprise of Mormonism (1) goes far beyond any passing media narrative or sensation of the moment. It aims higher by seeking to explain the ultimate questions of existence: what it means to be a human being and what it means to belong to the larger human family (2). The longing for family connection — between those who have gone, those who are here and those who have yet to come — finds a home in the Mormon worldview (3) and in the lives of Latter-day Saints who subscribe to it. Furthermore, as one comes closer to knowing divinity, one likewise comes closer to knowing oneself (4). No other place facilitates this process better than the temple. (5) These sacred spaces serve as the point where heaven and earth meet (6), where the generations of mankind come together (7).
In his book titled The Complete Christian, Elder Robert S. Wood of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and former international affairs advisor, recounts an experience he had with a Russian diplomat that illustrates this point. “In the mid-1980s,” he writes, “I participated in a series of discussions between officials from the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The subject of the talks was the possibility of naval cooperation between America, Britain, and Russia.” On one of these occasions during the course of the negotiation process, Elder Wood happened upon the leader of the Soviet delegation, who was lost in deep thought. Their conversation turned to religion (8). The Russian diplomat then asked Elder Wood if he had ever heard of Joseph Smith (9). Taken aback by the question, Elder Wood answered that not only had he heard of Joseph Smith but that he was also a member of the Church he founded. Having been introduced to Mormonism by a book entitled A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, the Russian diplomat proceeded to offer his profound, sincere summary of this religion’s meaning (10):
“As I understand it, Joseph Smith brought together two ideas that are generally in conflict with each other and combined them in a remarkable synthesis. On the one hand, the Latter-day Saints believe that mortality is but a moment in eternity and that men and women do not spring into existence at birth (11) and are annihilated at death. We existed before birth (12) and shall persist after death. Moreover, there is a link between those who are yet to be born, those who now live, and those who have passed beyond the grave (13); there is, in fact, communication across those seeming barriers. Some who have lived have returned and communicated with the living (14), and there is a great cooperative enterprise (15) that links the unborn, the living, and the dead, aimed at their mutual salvation (16) and perfection.”
As temples continue to be built around the world, barriers between generations fall (17). All mankind is interconnected and responsible toward one another (18). The separations and deprivations that time and place have imposed on humanity will ultimately be erased (19), allowing those who never heard of Jesus Christ an equal opportunity for salvation (20) as those who did. Thus, in the words of Joseph Smith, “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us (21), is to seek after our dead.” Moreover, “It is necessary that those who are gone before, and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us” (22) (Times and Seasons 5:616).
1) The grand enterprise of Mormonism should not be confused as being Christian. 1 Corinthians 1:23
2) Mormonism is truly a humanistic religion where their god was once a man. 1 Corinthians 2:2
3) The Christian Gospel is about Jesus Christ not about family connections. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
4) Christians will yearn to know Jesus Christ not themselves. John 8:19
5) God does not dwell in temples made with Mormon hands. Acts 17:24
6) A Christian’s body is sacred not a building made with Mormon hands. 1 Corinthians 6:19
7) Generations of mankind will come together before the throne of God not in a building. Revelation 20:11-15
8) A confused person’s sincerity is never evidence for the truth. John 8:32
9) Joseph Smith the false prophet who died young has deceived many. 2 Peter 2:1
10) This confused person forgot to test Mormonism by Scriptures from the Holy Bible. 1 John 4:1
11) Cults have to redefine words such as create that means to bring into existence. Genesis 1:27
12) Only God is eternal past, present, and future. Romans 16:26, Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 13:8
13) The link for all of mankind their sin and need for a Savior. Romans 3:23-26
14) The people who returned never went to a Mormon temple. Matthew 27:52, Luke 7:15, Luke 8:55, John 11:44
15) Everyone is responsible for their own sins. Deuteronomy 24:16
16) Everyone must come to Jesus Christ in their own faith. Philippians 2:12
17) Jesus Christ is greater than Mormon temples. Matthew 12:6
18) Everyone is responsible for their own sins. Ezekiel 18:20
19) Anyone who has rejected Jesus Christ has no recourse. John 15:26, Mark 3:29, Luke 12:10
20) There won’t be any second chances after death. Romans 1:20-21, Hebrews 9:27
21) The greatest responsibility for Christians is to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8, Matthew 25:31-46
22) Christians who are focused upon Jesus Christ will not follow the false prophets of Mormonism. Jude 17-21
WORD FAITH INDEX