MORMON TERMINOLOGY/WORD STUDIES
For the sake of brevity suffice it to say the Mormons do not speak the same English that you and I speak. After prayer, this rivals the most important subject to focus on when mentoring a Mormon. They have been taught that simple words carry a double meaning or they are just outright opposite of their true meaning. This is one of the main reasons they have been so confused while being a Mormon.
I will give you a few examples of how to do word studies and then you and/or the Mormon pick the subjects that most interest you! At the time of this writing I’ve been out of the church for about fourteen years and I’m still doing word studies! I found that even after I knew the “Mormonism in me” was gone, I still needed those word studies to give me a deeper understanding of His word and thereby enriching my walk with Him.
There’s an article on our website www.lifeafter.org titled Mormon Terminology. Feel free to go there for examples of words to study. I wrote this article after looking back on my personal journals throughout my own exodus from the Church. These were the words most important to me when I began my new life as a Christian; however this is not to say that this list is complete or the only words that must be used! Allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide all of you in the decision making.
One of the most important things to a Mormon is to know they are being reverent towards God. They are taught to refer to God as “Heavenly Father”. If they want to be extremely reverent they would use the term “elohim” but this is used only sparingly. The significance of this name for God cannot be overstated! The word “elohim” is one of the real Hebrew names for God. There are actually three definitions of this word.
The first meaning for “elohim” is the fullness or deity of God. You can find this in Strong’s. It is listed under the word for “God” and it is # 430. The first example for a verse that I would use is Gen. 1:26;
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
The key word in this verse is “us”. This word is translated to “elohim”. The reason I would use this particular verse is twofold. It shows the Mormon the truth about the meaning of the word “elohim” in regards to the creation of the earth (meaning it wasn’t created through a “Council of gods”) and that there is only ONE God. Remember Mormons believe that they can become gods someday.
Now there are literally hundreds of verses in the Bible where the writer has used the word God with the understanding that he is referring to “elohim”. What you’ll want to do is list a handful or so verses that Strong’s lists for “elohim”. Take the Mormon to each of those examples throughout the Bible for them to get a full picture of God in this sense and then you’ll want to do the same thing with each of the words and their derivatives.
The second meaning of “elohim” is pagan gods. An example of this can be found in 1 Sam. 28:13; “And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.” The key word in this verse is “gods”.
This is when the witch Endor brought a spirit up out of the fire at the request of Saul. King Saul wanted the dead prophet Samuel to come and speak to him personally with a message from God. This type of act is called necromancy and is strictly forbidden by God. The Mormons have an affinity to communicate with their dead relatives. The LDS Church tells the members that these types of spirits are their dead relatives – this is a lie; they are pagan gods.
The third meaning for “elohim” is rulers and/or kings. You can find this in Psalm 82:6; “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” As you can see the key word here is once again “gods”. Jesus actually referred to this scripture when speaking with the Pharisees. He quoted the scripture as an example to say they were indeed all gods; they are rulers of their money, their homes, and their own little lives.
Now the lesson for the Mormon here is rich. LDS Doctrine does not ascribe to the true teachings of the Bible in regards to the Trinity, or the Deity of God. If they are calling their Heavenly Father by the name of “Elohim” and they don’t believe in the Trinity, then who are they worshipping?
The next word I suggest studying would be covenant. In the Hebrew this word is “beriyth”. It means a compact made by passing between two pieces of flesh. You could use examples of covenants that God made with men beginning with Noah, Abraham, Moses and the ultimate covenant that of course being Jesus Christ. Explain to the Mormon the foreshadowing of these men’s covenants and how the only unconditional covenant that God made with man was the covenant of placing Jesus on that cross. Jesus was going to hang there regardless of your actions, thereby making this unconditional.
For examples of covenants we read how God promised Noah in Genesis 6 that He would do two things. First He would save Noah and his family from certain death if he built the ark and secondly, He’d place a rainbow in the sky as His promise that He wouldn’t flood the earth again to destroy man. The covenants He made with Abraham begin in Genesis 15. Explain who Abraham is and what his purpose was in life. Most Mormons have never studied the life of Abraham and have only heard the name Abraham because it is the title in one of the books from the Pearl of Great Price.
God made a covenant with Moses in Exodus 12 with the celebration of Passover and then again instituting the Law in Exodus 19. If time permits and you’re up to it also point out how blood covenants were used by men by showing them the covenant made between Jonathan and Samuel from first Samuel. Studying these examples will explain to the ex-Mormon how blood covenants are in effect.
Hebrews 9:16 says; “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.”
Choose some of your favorite scriptures that prophecy about Jesus coming and also use some epistles and gospels from the New Testament. Just one or two from each should suffice for the examples.
Some other suggestions for word studies would be creation, salvation, justification, baptism, adopted, forgiveness, nature of man, eternal, etc. When you begin these word studies it’s also important to remember the derivatives of the word. For example – create, created, creation, creature. Learning the true meanings of these words helps to erase the false teachings of Mormonism. They will be amazed when the fog begins to dissipate from their thinking!
One more thing to keep in mind in regards to terminology. As the ex-Mormon begins their new life in Christ and spends time in the word, at church and being around other Christians, they will obviously see/hear phrases and words that were used by the LDS Church. Terms like “many mansions”, “pearl of great price”, “church of Jesus Christ”, “words of wisdom”, etc., can have an adverse reaction at first so reassure them through scripture how these things are legitimate and of God.
The ex-Mormon is going to be somewhat skeptical about various subjects and understandably so! Assure them they’re not alone in this and to investigate the subject so they have a clear understanding of what they’ve encountered. The Lord will be faithful in showing them how to trust Him in all things so they can use this example in their spiritual lives as a foundation to build upon.
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