Where is Jesus in Mormonism?

20 October

    I recently come across a pro-LDS website that had a list of things one LDS thinks the Mormons should do for 2008. After I read over this list it struck me that there is no mention of Jesus. The number one top thing on this list is what really caught my attention.   It said; “Make sure our testimonies of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and our new prophet is SOLID.

    How does having any kind of “testimony”, solid or flimsy, get you into Heaven with your savior Jesus Christ?  As a saved Christian, that’s the question I asked myself as I read that statement.  As a former Mormon, I knew where that line of thinking was coming from.  This all goes a back to what the LDS leaders teach the followers of this religion, and where they put Jesus in their lives.

     In the LDS religion Jesus is their elder spirit brother, not their God and Lord over their lives.  Ezra Taft Benson said, “It was there our elder brother Jesus, the firstborn of our Father’s children in the spirit, volunteered to redeem us from our sins”.  (December 1993 Ensign)

     On Sunday my Pastor said that many people put Jesus right beside them, like he’s their buddy. He said that we need to put Jesus right in front of us, where he should be, that we need to always be looking to him.

     I’m going to give you a few quotes by various LDS leaders to give you an idea of where the church member’s minds and hearts are in regards to Jesus, and the Bible vs. Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon.

   Let’s begin will the first thing they mention, the Book of Mormon. Their 8th Article of Faith says:” We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” See what they’ve done here?  In one sentence they compared the Bible, (the infallible Word of God) to the Book of Mormon and said that they can trust the Book of Mormon more.

     Past LDS Prophet Ezra Taft Benson said in the October 1984 General Conference;

 The Book of Mormon being true, then God did inspire his prophet Joseph Smith to translate it and did call him to do the holy work of restoring His church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God; and therefore Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is a prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, with its authorized servants to perform the ordinances of salvation today, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

 (November 1984 Ensign)

     Did you notice he’s saying that he wouldn’t have a testimony of Jesus Christ without the Book of Mormon?  The late LDS Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said in the April 2006 General Conference:

“Last year I asked members of the Church throughout the world to again read the Book of Mormon. The Prophet Joseph said in 1841, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book

(Also see History of the Church 4:461 and May 2006 Ensign) 

LDS church leader, Boyd K. Packer at General Conference in April 1974:

“And we are blessed with other scriptures, also books of revelation: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. When properly reviewed, such corrections become a testimony for, not against, the truth of the books”

(April 1974 Ensign)

     We need the Book of Mormon, and other books to get nearer to God?  The Bible alone won’t do it?  The Bible doesn’t tell us all we need for our salvation?

     I can only speak from myself on this one, but the only thing the Book of Mormon made me was very confused. It made me doubt the Bible, the literal Word of God. It made me think that it was better, and the Bible wasn’t worth reading. I praise God that now I know the truth. When I study the Bible now, God shows me things I never saw as a Mormon, because I wasn’t saved. God could have been hitting me over the head with a frying pan trying to teach me something, and I would not have known it. I was numb; I didn’t have that change of heart he gives you when he saves you.

    Let’s see, the next thing they mention is….oh yes Joseph Smith. Now the thing you need to understand is that the LDS can’t talk about Jesus without Joseph being too far behind, they go hand in hand in Mormonism. I don’t think you would ever attend an Easter, or Christmas LDS service without them mentioning Joseph right next to Jesus, if they mention Jesus at all.

     LDS Church leader, Dallin H. Oaks said in the General Conference of April 1996:

“On this beautiful Easter Sunday, I have chosen to speak about the Prophet Joseph Smith, and to emphasize some lesser-known aspects of his life that further affirm his prophetic calling.  But the Joseph Smith I met in my reading and personal research was a man of the frontier-young,emotional, dynamic, and so loved and approachable by his people that they often called him “Brother Joseph.” My studies strengthened my testimony of his prophetic calling”.

(May 1996 Ensign)

     LDS Church leader, James E. Faust in General Conference of October 2003 said:

“A testimony begins with the acceptance by faith of the divine mission of Jesus Christ, the head of this Church; and the prophet of the Restoration, Jos Smith. We can have a certain testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and Redeemer of mankind, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet commissioned to restore the Church in our day and time without having a complete understanding of all gospel principles.”  (November 2003 Ensign) 

Late LDS Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley said in the April 1994 General Conference;

“This year we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.   John Taylor, who was with them on that occasion and who was wounded, later wrote this appraisal: “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.”

(May 1994 Ensign)

Gordon B. Hinckley spoke again of the importance of Joseph in the October 2007 General Conference:

“We owe it all to Joseph the Prophet, the seer and the revelator, the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was foreordained to come forth in this generation as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth that which the Savior taught when He walked the roads of Palestine.

(Ensign November 2007)

     The last think thing that is mentioned is having a “SOLID” testimony of their current prophet. About a week ago their prophet Gordon B. Hinckley passed away, very soon they will have a new prophet take his place. They think very highly of their prophets current and past. They call these men “righteous” and believe they are right up there next to God.

     When I hear the LDS make comments like that I think of Romans 3:16 -“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one”.  They say they don’t worship Joseph Smith or their other prophets…really?  

     In their hymnals are two popular songs they sing regularly in their Sunday service and Conferences called “Praise to the Man” (pg27) and “We thank thee O God for a prophet” (pg19).

     These hymns give the impressions they need more than just Jesus.  The first verse of “We thank thee O God for a prophet” says “We thank thee O God of a prophet to guide us in these latter days. We thank thee for sending the gospel to lighten our minds, with its rays”.  Remember, they’re speaking of Joseph Smith “restoring” the LDS gospel to the earth.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 35:24 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.  Jesus is saying this; he’s telling us that the gospel, HIS gospel will not leave this earth. Even before Jesus came, God was telling the same thing to Isaiah in Isaiah 40:8- “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of God shall stand for ever.”

     On the Cross Jesus said “it is finished” (John 19:30). We don’t need anything extra after Jesus.  Jesus did it all.  His ministry on earth is complete.  He didn’t forget to tell us something, and didn’t need Joseph Smith to start a new religion.  He told us all we need to know in the Bible.  Psalms 119:81says:

“My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.”

     It’s called “the living word” for a reason, because each time we read and study it he is teaching us something new.  We can find answers to all of life’s problems and concerns in there.  It wasn’t just written for people who lived long ago, it’s for us too! God holds his word in higher esteem than his own name Psalm 138:2 says:

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”

    I want to end with a verse from Luke it says: (Luke 6:45)

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brigeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

    If you were to go to an LDS Fast and Testimony meeting, many of them would bear their testimonies of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and their current prophet. I can’t recall ever hearing members talk about Jesus in their testimonies, or what God had taught them that week in the Bible. I hope and pray if there are any members of the Church reading this, they will put Joseph and the Book of Mormon aside and concentrate on what God has to teach them in his only true word.  2 Timothy 3:16 God has taught us;

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

In Christ,

Melissa Grimes

melissa@lifeafter.org

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