Posts Tagged ‘LDS’


Mormonism’s Road to God: Rituals and Rules

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in Mormonism

Your Path to Heavenly Father

The July 2016 issue of Friend, a Mormon periodical for teaching children, includes an article entitled “Your Path to Heavenly Father.” The article presents a game to teach children to recognize the “necessary steps” to salvation or to going back to Heavenly Father, and to distinguish those steps from other mundane activities such as biking or reading. Here is the list of “steps to salvation”:

  1. Premortal life
  2. Get a body
  3. Be baptized
  4. Receive the Holy Ghost
  5. Take the sacrament
  6. Keep the commandments
  7. Go to the temple
  8. Be sealed to your husband or wife
  9. Be resurrected

Strikingly, the list says nothing about repenting of one’s sins or putting faith in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior. Instead, the “steps” are all about undergoing rituals and following rules. Read the rest of this entry »

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In an essay on IRR’s website, “Did Not Our Heart Burn within Us: Luke 24:32 and the Mormon Testimony,” I have argued that the “burning” of the disciples’ hearts was not the means by which the disciples became convinced of the truth of the gospel. Rather, they had experienced that “burning” feeling while still in a state of disbelief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What convinced them that Jesus had risen from the dead was God’s gracious “opening” of their eyes to recognize that it was Jesus who had physically appeared to them, talked with them, and broken bread with them (Luke 24:30-31, 35). They knew because they saw—and they saw because God graciously allowed them to see what was right in front of their eyes.

This explanation of Luke 24 receives interesting confirmation and support from a new article by Dane C. Ortlund, a Bible editor at Crossway Books. The article, “‘And Their Eyes Were Opened, and They Knew’: An Inter-canonical Note on Luke 24:31,” appears in the new issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (Vol. 53, No. 4, Dec. 2010), pages 717-28. Ortlund shows that the quoted statement by Luke alludes to Genesis 3:7, where the same statement is made about Adam and Eve’s eyes being “opened” when they ate of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Ortund’s conclusion is worth quoting:

“The first eye-opening with its attendant knowledge ushered humanity into a new moral universe of darkness, exile, sin, and death. The second eye-opening with its attendant knowledge pulled back the eschatological curtain to allow Jesus’ distraught disciples to perceive that he himself had inaugurated the long-awaited new world of hope, resurrection, restoration, and new creation” (728).

Christians know that the gospel is true, not because they have a “burning” feeling in their hearts (something they may or may not experience), but because they perceive the truth that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.

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Gospel Principles and the Priesthood

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in Mormonism

Mormons are studying chapter 13 of their Gospel Principles manual this weekend, the first of two chapters focusing on the LDS priesthood. I have written a response to that chapter that is now available on the IRR website. In my article I make a number of observations that I will merely summarize here:

  • In LDS doctrine, “priesthood” is an impersonal divine power, the power that Heavenly Father obtained in the process of his exaltation to Godhood and that he used in creation, and that human beings can also obtain through the ordinances of the LDS Church.
  • The above conception of priesthood appears nowhere in the Bible, the LDS scriptures, or the teachings of Joseph Smith.
  • In New Testament teaching, there is no such thing as an earthly office of priest in the Christian church.
  • Priesthood in the Bible was an earthly type of the heavenly ministry of salvation that Jesus Christ alone performs for us. Christians now have something better than that priesthood.
  • The LDS Church distorts the words of Jesus and other passages of the Bible to support its notion of priesthood.

This is an extremely important issue in LDS religion. I offer my analysis and response in the hope that some members of the LDS Church will take a good hard look at what they have been taught.

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This is the first in a series of posts examining the LDS doctrine that God has restored the office of apostle in modern times. I will begin by examining the question of whether, or in what sense, the New Testament apostles were “ordained.”

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The State of Book of Mormon Studies

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in apologetics, Mormonism

The October 2008 issue of Sunstone—a liberal Mormon magazine—includes a lengthy article by John-Charles Duffy entitled “Mapping Book of Mormon Historicity Debates—Part I: A Guide for the Overwhelmed” (36-62). The article is available online as well as in the print magazine; the online version has the advantage of easy access to links to numerous online resources. Duffy, a doctoral student in religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has written a must-read article on the state of Book of Mormon studies. Read the rest of this entry »

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On Sunday, October 5, 2008, the LDS Church’s semiannual General Conference came to a close. LDS Apostle Robert D. Hales gave an address in which he called on Mormons not to respond contentiously to criticism. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Hales as saying, “More regrettable than the [LDS] Church being accused of not being Christian is when church members react to such accusations in an un-Christlike way. Surely our Heavenly Father is saddened-and the devil laughs-when we contentiously debate doctrinal differences with our Christian neighbors.” Read the rest of this entry »

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