Reply To A Video: 4 1/2 things Mormons believe that Christians don’t

22 Feb

I was going to comment on the blog that posted the video in question, but I found my comments to be far to long for a comment, so I decided to put this in my blog, mainly because I really wanted to.

So, this post is in reply to a video recently posted at Bearded Disciple titled “4 1/2 Things That Mormons Believe That Christians don’t.” This video was, in turn, a reply to a video that three Mormon men made titled “5 Things Mormons Believe that Other Christians Don’t.” There are several points I would like to make, and I will number them according to the video presentation.

But first, a brief mention of the introduction: You may notice the subtle difference in the titles of the videos. This is because the bearded one wants to deny that Latter Day Saints are, in fact Christian. This is, of course, false and misleading, but is a common point that has been addressed by many and I don’t think I need to go into full details here. I just wanted to point it out to the readers so that they will understand the man’s starting point when he makes his arguments.

I would also like to point out that the original video is not attempting to proselytize or convince anyone to join the church. The purpose is to simply provide information in a fun way. They are not saying “This is why you should should join the LDS church.” Rather they are simply saying “This is what the LDS church and its members believe that you don’t.” But the response frequently tries to dismiss the original with demands of proof or reasons why he should accept and believe these things as well.

1. Prophets

The three Mormons rightly stated that other Christians do not believe that God currently speaks through prophets. They also state that God always spoke through prophets, at least when he was speaking. In response to this is the claim that the first prophet was Samuel and that the only prophet in the New Testament was a woman. So, let us look at this claim briefly. Let us start with the Old Testament.

Genesis 20: 7 God calls Abraham a prophet. Deuteronomy 34: 10 No prophet greater than Moses, indicating that Moses was a prophet. Judges 6: 8 a prophet came to Israel. 1 Samuel 9:9 prophets used to be called a seer, showing that prophets existed long before this time.

In the New Testament, in Matthew 11: 9 John the Baptist was a prophet, and in Luke 7: 28 Christ declares that there is no greater prophet. Acts 11: 27 prophets came to Antioch from Jerusalem. 1 Corinthians 12: 28 in the hierarchy of the church Prophets were second to the apostles. Ephesians 3: 5 God was, at that time, revealing things to His apostles and prophets. James 5: 10 speaks of the prophets that spoke during the life of Christ.

Finally, to wrap it up, Luke 1: 70 God has been speaking through prophets since the world began. So, while many men are not directly called prophets in the scriptures, it is clear that from the time of Adam there were prophets on the earth.

So, while other Christians may not consider these men to be prophets, it is clear that those who wrote the Bible did consider them to be prophets, and not just having the gift of prophecy.

 

A final point here, in the original video they quote Mark 13: 22, which states “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” In the response the bearded one rightly acknowledges their point that this verse does not completely negate the possibility of future prophets, and then he focuses on Joseph Smith and asserts that there is still reason to reject him as a prophet. The problem is that many Christians deny the very possibility of modern prophets and have frequently said that the roll of a prophet ended with Christ and the early church. So, while the original video is made by Mormons, the point is that we believe in modern prophets. Rather than actually address this belief the response focuses on rejecting Joseph Smith. So, the real question is, if these three Mormons are right about what they say regarding the possibility of prophets, does the bearded one acknowledge the possibility of prophets.

 

2: Speaking Only to Ancient Israel

The three Mormons mention a common belief among many Christians that God did not speak to anyone outside of Ancient Israel. Now, the video does point out that this is not a universal belief, and so I think it should be amended to God has not revealed His Gospel to anyone outside of the Ancient Middle East. This is a better way of putting it because it is not only more in line with mainstream Christian beliefs, but because most of the Book of Mormon was God speaking to Ancient Israel, just a branch that was not in the Middle East.

However, I think that the main point that the three are trying to make is valid, though somewhat poorly worded, so let me re-iterate the basic meaning they were trying to get across. The LDS believe that God has visited members of many nations and revealed his gospel directly to them, calling prophets out of each nation to preach to the people of that nation. Again, it was poorly worded by the three Mormons in the video. However, they quoted 2 Nephi 29: 7-8 which does state this very clearly.

In the response the bearded first claims they are ignorant as to Biblical understanding and then points out times in the Bible when God spoke to non-Israelites. The problem is that none of his examples actually stand up against the point being made. The video did not deny that God, at times, sent prophets to preach to other people in the Middle East or Mediterranean areas. Rather they are saying that most Christians do not believe that God had an organized religion among these other peoples until an Israelite was sent to preach to them. God did not call a Ninevite to preach, but sent the Israelite Jonah. He did not call a Spaniard to be a prophet, but sent the Israelite Paul. And most Christians would say that God never called a prophet to preach to the America’s, but sent the European Christians.

Another topic on this point is Other Sheep: The original video quotes John 10: 16 and point out that it is talking about Christ personally visiting the other sheep, and thus the work of the apostles cannot be what the passage is talking about. The response wrongly claims that Christ taught the gentiles, as Christ never did. He blessed them at times, but he never taught them. In fact, in Matthew 10: 5 He tells the apostles not to go the the gentiles. Then in Mark 7: 27, when a Greek (gentile) woman approaches him to heal her daughter he calls her a dog and declares that the children must come first. Then there is the story of Cornelius in Acts 10, which is the first recorded baptism of gentiles and something that other leaders in the church (even some apostles) questioned. If Christ had been teaching gentiles all along why would the Apostles, all of whom had known and traveled with Christ, have been shocked at Peter’s actions.

As to the Samaritan woman, the Samaritans were of the House of Israel, though of mixed descent. Thus to teach the Samaritans was still to teach Israel.

On a final point the bearded one sets up a straw man argument with his saying that we don’t include the people of Asia and asking who is included in the other flock. This shows his ignorance, as we include every branch of Israel that was a separate nation at the time of Christ. Christ explained this to the Nephites. In 3 Nephi 16: 1 he declares “…I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister….” So, clearly before Christ visited America He visited other lands as well, and yet more lands after He visited America. Many lands are included in this, and while we don’t know every place He visited, we are confident that He visited all the House of Israel. This would include those living in the East (where the Wisemen came from) as well as the Lost Tribes in the North, and likely others.

 

3: Eternal Families

I am not going to make any comments on the scriptural nature of the doctrine, or on the passage that is debated (you can read the passage here or here). So I make no other comment here, as this is all that the bearded one talks of in the video.

 

4. Degrees of Glory

On this point the original video kind of rambles and again fails to effectively portray the topic. But the response to this is only to say “You haven’t proved it so I won’t believe it.” Not really effective either.

After that the bearded one makes a reply to something that was said under the topic of eternal families, and it is something that needs to be addressed. That is the idea that Heaven would not be heaven without our families.

Now, in the video it is implied that to have this opinion is to not truly love God. After all, it says in Luke 14: 26 that if we are to come to God we have to hate everyone else. The problem here is that the the bearded one does not actually understand what Mormons mean when they say that heaven would not be heaven without our families.

First, please note that every member of the church, who takes their faith seriously, is willing to give up their family for Christ’s sake. Truly, many members have had their families break over their conversion and have lost loved ones to become a disciple of Christ. Christ is the most important and His gospel is the only way. If following that means losing our families than we are prepared to do so.

Secondly, there will be many who enter the Celestial worlds without all of their family. It will still be heaven to them, even without their families. However, at the same time we all love our families and want to be with them forever. It is not so much that we wouldn’t feel it was heaven without our families, but that we cannot believe that Heaven would not at least have the possibility of our families remaining together.
Heaven would not be heaven without families; that is true. God Himself recognizes the eternal nature of families when He asks us to refer to Him as Father. Individuals may not have all their family with them, and some very unlucky ones may have none of their immediate family with them. But families will exist, and thus there is the possibility and the hope that our families will be with us. That is what makes it heaven. None of this puts Christ as second in our devotions. Rather it strengthens our devotion to Him, as what He has made possible is truly glorious.

 

5: Baptism

If you noticed the response also altered it to 4 1/2 things on the list rather than 5. This is the one they want to cut in half. The bearded one says that most Christians agree with the point, but then states that they don’t.

Just to clarify, the original video listed number five as “Mormons believe you should get baptized in the same way Christ did.” That is the statement, which is then clarified as ‘full immersion’ and ‘by fire of the spirit.’

The response video says that most Christian are going to agree with this, and then immediately says ‘we look at it and say that ultimately the way and the method that that’s done isn’t really important…’ The problem here is that the way and the method are exactly the point of the original video. It has to be by immersion, in the exact manner that Christ was baptized. The 3 Mormons even discuss to some extent the different methods and ideas surrounding baptism, and point out that Mormons don’t agree with them. So while most Christians may agree that you should get baptized, they do not agree that it should be done in the same way that Christ was baptized.

 

Sorry this is so long. I really didn’t want to break it up and I had a lot to say.

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