In the midst of the lively and sometimes heated discussion about Mormonism in recent days (Is it a cult? Is it not a cult but still heretical? Is it part of mainstream Christianity?), there is one question that no one seems to be asking: Do Mormons believe that Christianity is a cult?
Let’s remember that Mormonism did not begin as a reformation movement within the 19th century Church but rather as a repudiation of the Church of the day. According to the Book of Mormon itself (1 Nephi 14:10), there are only two churches, “the one is the Church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore whoso belongeth not to the church of the lamb of God belongeth to that great church; which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.”
For the first Mormons, the devoted followers of Joseph Smith, there was no mistake about what this meant: Those who adhered to their faith, who were part of the Church of Latter Day Saints, belonged to “the Church of the Lamb of God”; everyone else belonged to “that great church; which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.”
As explained by early Mormon leader George Q. Cannon (1827-1901), “After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christiandom [sic], though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They belong to Babylon.” (See his Gospel Truth, p. 324.)
To this day, if you are a baptized Christian and you join the Mormon Church, you are told that you need to be baptized again as a Mormon, even if you were already baptized as an adult believer in Jesus. Obviously, your first baptism doesn’t count in the eyes of the LDS Church. What does this imply? And if Mormons accept the validity of another Christian’s faith, why are they proselytizing that person?
According to the Documentary History of the [LDS] Church, “Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Introduction, xl) Precisely.
Why else did Joseph Smith allegedly receive his revelations? It was because all the other churches had departed from the faith. As stated in Joseph Smith History 1:19, in response to Smith’s question to the angelic beings about joining a church, “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt . . . .”
That’s why Mormons have additional books they call scripture, grouped together in the Book of Mormon, which claims to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” In contrast, other reformation groups that arose within the Church have simply argued for a reinterpretation of the Bible itself as opposed to claiming to have new, additional books of revelation, equal to the Bible.
According to Brigham Young, “The Christian world, I discovered, was like the captain and crew of a vessel on the ocean without a compass, and tossed to and fro whithersoever the wind listed to blow them. When the light came to me, I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness.” (JD 5:73)
These were clearly the views of the first generations of Mormons. As expressed by Mormon apostle Orson Pratt (1811-1881), “The Roman Catholic, Greek, and Protestant church, is the great corrupt, ecclesiastical power, represented by great Babylon. . .” (Orson Pratt, Writings of an Apostle, “Divine Authenticity,” no.6, p. 84). Yes, “Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the ‘whore of Babylon’ whom the lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness.” (Pratt, The Seer, p. 255)
In recent decades, LDS missionaries have presented themselves as fellow-believers as they reach out to Christians, and in some ways, Mormons seem to be moderating their views. But the question they must answer is this: Do they believe that mainstream, historic Christianity is a cult (or, at the least, a departure from the biblical faith)? If so, let them declare it. If not, why does anyone need to leave their church to join the Mormons?
Below is a video from James White broken up into three parts which shows White interacting with a video from Young-Earth Creation Science advocate Kent Hovind on the history of the Bible, and why the King James Version of the Bible is the “real” Bible. Dr. White has interacted extensively with King James Onlyists, writing a book on the subject and engaging in debates, and so he is thoroughly versed in their arguments and mindset.
What I find particularly important about this video, other than serving as a thoroughly amusing debunking of a common KJV-Only line of reasoning, is what Dr. White mentions in part 3 concerning the danger of this sort of simplistic, factually deficient teaching:
The reason i address this… is that a person who believes this, could never defend this against a knowledgeable opponent to Christianity. A Bart Ehrman would feast on this really bad information, as would a Shabir Ally, Muslims and secularists. We can’t be producing this kind of bad apologetic and putting it out there. Can you imagine a young person, and this is all they have, and they go into a secular situation? They are going to be destroyed, because they were not given the right information, and that’s what makes it really important.
Below then is the video from Kent Hovind, with responses from Dr. White interspersed. The purpose in posting this is not to go after Kent Hovind, but rather to show why we need to get our facts straight when presenting our reasons for believing what we do, and be lovers of truth before being defenders of our positions. As we present our positions in the cultural landscape of ideas, we must do our research!
BTW, if after watching part 3, you’re intrigued as to how a Christian book could be described as “the single most error ridden book I’ve ever read in English,” check out this video from a debate between White and Riplinger, for an example of some remarkable KJV-Only “God-given” acrostic algebra from the book Hovind mentions as a recommended resource.
Marcus French is Editor of Voice of Revolution, and also helps produce the daily radio show, The Line of Fire. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today on the Dividing Line: Dr. Michael Brown and A Queer Thing Happened to America
05/12/2011 – James White
My sincere thanks to my good friend and brother, Michael Brown, for giving us over an hour of his time today to discuss his new book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, which is available in our Amazon bookstore, here. Please take the time to listen to this interview and consider the issues it raises. This is one of the most important cultural issues of our day, and we dare not ignore it. Here’s the program.
Be sure to tune in to this lively and informative debate, as Dr. James White and I debate the deity of Jesus and God’s tri-unity with Sir Anthony Buzzard and Mr. Joseph Good on Jonathan Bernis’s Jewish Voice Broadcast, airing on major Christian TV networks from Nov. 1-14 (a different segment of the debate will air each week). You don’t want to miss these lively and highly informative debates! For TV listings, or to watch online once the shows air, go HERE.
You can watch by clicking here and searching for programs labeled “The Deity of Messiah”.