If two guys are both married to someone named Susan, does that mean they are married to the same person?

Of course not.  There are many women named Susan (and, if I trust my Johnny Cash songs, at least one man).  Pretty obvious, eh?  But that logic is ignored by Mormons claiming to be Christians and by the Christians nodding their heads at the Mormon claims.  They reflexively say that they follow Christ, so they must also be Christians.  And a bunch of Christians don’t think critically enough and they nod their heads with the Mormons.   But if the Christ they follow isn’t the same as the one we follow, then we are not worshiping the same being.

When you dig deeper you find that our definitions of Jesus are wildly and irreconcilably different.  Therefore, we aren’t the same religion and we can’t both be right.

Ironically, Mormonism was founded on a notion that the true church had left the building, so to speak, and that the Mormons were the only real church.  It is only in the last few decades that they made a clever marketing move to appear as just another denomination — albeit one that you really, really need to convert to.

I shared a brief dialogue with a Mormon who commented on my Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing blog  when I noted that Glenn Beck is not a Christian.  I didn’t say that in a mean way, just a factual one.  His reply:

Sorry, Christian means follower of Christ. Whatever you might think of the church that Glenn attends, he has gotten on bended knee, accepted Christ and reversed the damage that his sins have caused to others. Now he lives a life in Christ that he is willing to share on his radio and tv shows, evangelizing His sovereignty. I can think of nothing else that would be required to be a follower of Christ.

Back to the title and the opening sentence: Just because people claim to follow Christ doesn’t mean they are following the same Christ.

Side note: Even authentic Christians don’t “reverse the damage” our sins have caused to others.  We can ask forgiveness and try to make restoration where possible, but much damage can’t be undone.  We are just forgiven.

My response to the commenter:

I encourage you to read this piece where a Mormon — who admittedly doesn’t speak for the whole religion — conceded that we indeed worship different Christs and that he thinks mine is the wrong one. I submit that his views are more in line with historic Mormonism than yours.

Here is part of what that Mormon commenter conceded:

I can see that we do double speak, trying to stand on both sides of the line and often feint ignorance until called out. I found my self doing it with that last post. I almost took the polyandry references out because I wanted to protect other LDS readers who I know are following this conversation. I realize that I have this knowledge and my tendency is to hide it from less informed members of my faith. Ultimately I decided to leave it in and that is in large part due to reading your criticisms in other places and not wanting to be apart of this legitimate frustration.

I fully understand that as a Mormon, I am dishonest if I try to make our doctrines sound the same as yours so that we can get along better. They are different and I know that. When bloggers say, “Billy Mormon would never talk bad about your beliefs” it is just silly. By definition, our church proclaims that yours is wrong. We send out missionaries to say other churches are wrong, come be baptized here instead. I saw these types of comments and I recognize them for what they are.

It is ironic that the theological Liberals who obsess over Glenn Beck (such as false teachers Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis and Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie) ignore the fact that he is Mormon, or they assume that Mormons are Christians.  Just one more reason to avoid wolves in sheep’s clothing like that.

Are Mormons nice neighbors and co-workers?  Absolutely!  They can out-nice the best Christians almost any day of the week.

But do they worship the same God as Christians?  No.  That is a simple fact, not an insult, but too many people are either ill-informed or too politically correct to state the obvious.

People who claim that Mormons are Christians don’t know enough about Mormonism or Christianity — or they are deliberately misleading you.

Also see

Three great posts on the Mormon religion

Are Mormons really Christians? Are Christians really Christians?

A whole bunch of articles on Mormonism

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0 thoughts on “If two guys are both married to someone named Susan, does that mean they are married to the same person?”

  1. I think two of the best ministries to the LDS, and who have the best information about the LDS for anyone interested in learning more about that cult which claims to be Christian, are the Utah Lighthouse Ministry.
    http://www.utlm.org/

    And Mormonism Research Ministry http://mrm.org/

    I agree with you, Neil, that those who claim Mormons are Christians don’t know enough about either faith or are deceivers.

    Like

  2. I have been a Mormon for 35 years. I converted from being an active protestant at the age of 24. The idea that “I am right, therefore everyone else is wrong” is not realistic. Mormons have as much or more conviction about their beliefs as protestants do. I think that the reason you do not see very many Mormons trying to discredit other religions is because they do not feel threatened in their beliefs and that it is kind of lowering themselves to pick on others. Also, Mormons do not believe that you can convert someone by offending their beliefs.

    When I was protestant, my conviction was largely based on traditions that I was taught. My beliefs were supported by the many others who believed the same way and could interpret the bible the same as I. We had “educated” religious leaders whose word we could respect. I was able to overlook portions of the bible that spoke of things that were foreign to me. For example, the record of how the early Christians were communal and gave all of their substance to the church (Acts $;32 thru Acts 5:10).

    The Mormon church teaches how we can find out truth by ourselves and my conviction comes from a much deeper and secure source.

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    1. Peter,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I want to share a few thoughts that I hope you will take seriously. Hopefully Glenn will chime in as well, as he is an ex-Mormon.

      The idea that “I am right, therefore everyone else is wrong” is not realistic.

      1. It is also not the claim of this post. My claim is that we can’t both be right.

      2. Do you think you are right in saying, “The idea that “I am right, therefore everyone else is wrong” is not realistic,” or are you wrong? It sounds circular to me.

      Mormons have as much or more conviction about their beliefs as protestants do.

      I agree completely with that statement. The issue isn’t the degree of psychological confidence, but that our confident is in two different things. Therefore, we can’t both be right. That isn’t being mean, it is being logical.

      I think that the reason you do not see very many Mormons trying to discredit other religions is because they do not feel threatened in their beliefs and that it is kind of lowering themselves to pick on others.

      1. But Mormons do try to discredit other religions. I’d expect them to. All the Mormons I know and who come to my door think their beliefs are correct and they try to persuade others to join their “true” belief system.

      2. If you think you have the true path to God and that your view comes from a “much deeper and secure source,” wouldn’t the loving thing to be to correct the misconceptions of others?

      3. Your statement seems hypocritical to me. Wouldn’t your comment be an example — in your definition — of “lowering yourself to pick on others?” You wrote a whole comment to tell me that my religious views are wrong. I’m not offended that you wrote that, I just think you are incorrect.

      Are the Mormons who come to my door picking on me?

      Also, Mormons do not believe that you can convert someone by offending their beliefs.

      First, I’m not sure what you mean by “offending their beliefs.” The Gospel offends by its nature, and of course we don’t want to add to the offense. But if you think that it is offensive to tell someone they have cancer and that a cure is available, then we have different definitions of “offend.” I didn’t write this to offend Mormons, but to point to the truth: We don’t worship the same Jesus.

      For example, the record of how the early Christians were communal and gave all of their substance to the church (Acts $;32 thru Acts 5:10).

      I think you should study that passage again. Christians didn’t all give everything. Ananias and Sapphira weren’t destroyed because they didn’t give 100% but because they claimed to give it all while holding some back.

      Having said that, I agree that you should read the whole Bible, in context. But you haven’t shown in any way that it would lead to Mormonism. It does the opposite: But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8–9, ESV)

      If Mormons teach the Gospel Paul preached then I don’t need the Book of Mormon and the rest of your authoritative literature. I’ll just stick to the Bible. And if Mormons teach a different Gospel, then by the teaching that both claim to believe (the Bible), they are accursed.

      The Mormon church teaches how we can find out truth by ourselves and my conviction comes from a much deeper and secure source.

      Then why aren’t you sharing that secret with us? Why not deal with the post itself and demonstrate why I’m wrong in claiming that the Mormon definition of Jesus is different than the Christian version?

      While you are in the book of Acts, note the source they pointed to: The life, death and resurrection of Jesus. No “burning in the bosom,” just facts and reason.

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      1. Thanks Neil for the reply.

        The Mormon church works form an entirlely different paradigm than most Christian churces. the church relies on modern day revelation, The church also teaches from the bible. The bible gives historial support for the teachings of the gospel.

        The records that are compiled in the bible are obviously of great worth. But it is apparent from the many conflicting doctrines by well meaning bible scholars that the bible is not a very sure foundation. This is not because the bible is untrue. Since the records were not written to us, it leaves out important details that would give us sure footing.

        I believe that the hand of the Lord was instrumental in preserving the bible records. However, I think that total reliance on the words of dead prophets has always been a downfall for people trying to worship God. Hence, whenever there has been a dispensation from God to man, it has always been through living prophets.

        Mormons do rely heavily on personal revelation. Though revelation can come in various forms, sometimes it has been described as a feeling or burning in the bosom.

        To me, revelation is often a still small voice that is more of a feeling than a voice. It seems to come through the conscience, our gage for determing right and wrong. Everyone has experienced this kind of revelation but may not have been tuned in or not recognized it as such. On a few occasions the whisperings to me have been unmistakeable and life changing.

        When the spirit speaks directly to your spirit, it brings with it powerful understanding. It comes in response to a search for truth and a humble ackowledgement that truth can only come from God. It is as if you can see the issue from all angles at once. It create a sure knowledge, sort of a powerful aha experience. If you knew without any doubt whatsoever that God lives, this would provide a profound peace and joy that could be described as a burning in the bosom. You cannot have this powerful experience by just using reason to sort through ever changing evidence. This search is important but it must be accompanied by humility.

        The reaon for my conviction of the church is that I have had this experience with the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is truely the Christ , Joseph Smith really is a prophet and Gods church is truely on the earth.

        In response to your question of why I am not sharing the secret of how to know if it is true, it is generally because people discount revelation from God. Instead of dependence upon God, most people want to use their own reason and judgement, thereby leaving God out. It is a form of pride.

        The last chapter of the Book of Mormon provides the formula. Here is what it says:

        Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

        The formula includes, study, searching, pondering, faith, sincerely wanting to know, prayer, and turing to God.

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      2. The Mormon church works form an entirlely different paradigm than most Christian churces. the church relies on modern day revelation,

        And the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate why your modern day revelation should be trusted. “Burnings in the bosom” are meaningless in accomplishing that, by the way.

        The church also teaches from the bible. The bible gives historial support for the teachings of the gospel.

        Sure, most false religions have some element of the truth.

        The records that are compiled in the bible are obviously of great worth. But it is apparent from the many conflicting doctrines by well meaning bible scholars that the bible is not a very sure foundation.

        That’s odd, God didn’t think that was a problem. And it doesn’t seem to bother you that the Mormon doctrines are so problematic and irreconcilable with the Bible.

        This is not because the bible is untrue. Since the records were not written to us, it leaves out important details that would give us sure footing.

        Be sure to tell God.

        I believe that the hand of the Lord was instrumental in preserving the bible records. However, I think that total reliance on the words of dead prophets has always been a downfall for people trying to worship God. Hence, whenever there has been a dispensation from God to man, it has always been through living prophets.

        That is made up doctrine on your part. The prophets were alive when they wrote, and God used that as his was to communicate with us.

        I think that any reliance on false prophets has always been a downfall for people trying to worship God.

        Mormons do rely heavily on personal revelation. Though revelation can come in various forms, sometimes it has been described as a feeling or burning in the bosom.

        Please correct the people who come to my door.

        To me, revelation is often a still small voice that is more of a feeling than a voice.

        If you are quoting the Elijah passage, then please note that the “still, small voice” was an audible voice, not some inner feeling. Those are notoriously unreliable.

        It seems to come through the conscience, our gage for determing right and wrong. Everyone has experienced this kind of revelation but may not have been tuned in or not recognized it as such. On a few occasions the whisperings to me have been unmistakeable and life changing.

        Or they could be from Satan. How do you know which is right? Compare it to the real word of God.

        When the spirit speaks directly to your spirit, it brings with it powerful understanding. It comes in response to a search for truth and a humble ackowledgement that truth can only come from God. It is as if you can see the issue from all angles at once. It create a sure knowledge, sort of a powerful aha experience. If you knew without any doubt whatsoever that God lives, this would provide a profound peace and joy that could be described as a burning in the bosom. You cannot have this powerful experience by just using reason to sort through ever changing evidence. This search is important but it must be accompanied by humility.

        Satan masquerades as an angel of light.

        The reaon for my conviction of the church is that I have had this experience with the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is truely the Christ , Joseph Smith really is a prophet and Gods church is truely on the earth.

        Yeah, and Hindus, Muslims and other religions and cults have their personal experiences. Using your basis you’d have to concede that they are right.

        Please go re-read the book of Acts: Thirteen gospel presentations, lots of facts and logic (and the occasional miracle by the Apostles) and zero “burnings in the bosom” or even hints that it is how one should determine truth.

        In response to your question of why I am not sharing the secret of how to know if it is true, it is generally because people discount revelation from God.

        I know, just like you discounted God’s revelation through his word and the “dead prophets.”

        Instead of dependence upon God, most people want to use their own reason and judgement, thereby leaving God out. It is a form of pride.

        Yes, when they make up a “burning in the bosom” criterion instead of going by the word of God. Oddly, your “formula” didn’t include that.

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  3. I happened across this blog earlier today, but had to come back and leave a comment. Neil, you claim Mormons ignore your logic; but you give yourself too much credit. Logic is much more precise than your “Susan” analogy. Unfortunately, this type of vacuous reasoning gets way too much play under the guise of “logic.” Of course it doesn’t mean that two guys are married to the same person; but that’s hardly comparable with your premise that if Mormons believe something different about Jesus Christ than you, that they therefore have a different Jesus.

    For example: You can find lots of people in America today who have diametrically opposed views concerning Barack Obama. Some think he was born in Kenya–others in Hawaii. Some think he’s the worst president next to Jimmy Carter while others think he’s the best president ever and makes their legs tingle. The fact that they have differing views about him does not mean they each have a different Obama. That is just ludicrous.

    Catholics believe that Jesus had no siblings, that His mother was sinless and never died. Most Protestants believe he had both sisters and brothers; and that His mother was mortal and in need of a Savior. These varying views of Jesus don’t constitute another Jesus any more than varying views of Barack Omaba constitute different Obamas–at least not in this reality.

    That Mormons have varying views about the nature of Jesus Christ than do other Christians is obvious. That these differences constitute a different Jesus is as ludicrous as the concept of a different Obama. It’s utter nonsense and doesn’t even approach logic.

    Mormons accept every biblical statement about Jesus of Nazareth and look to Him as their Savior. People may assert that conceptual differences create alternate realities; but they’re simply wrong.

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    1. Unfortunately, this type of vacuous reasoning gets way too much play under the guise of “logic.” Of course it doesn’t mean that two guys are married to the same person; but that’s hardly comparable with your premise that if Mormons believe something different about Jesus Christ than you, that they therefore have a different Jesus.

      You are (deliberately?) missing the point. You are implying that I’m using an overly broad and literal definition of “differences.” Of course I’m not saying that if you have inconsequential differences about Jesus that it would mean we weren’t worshiping the same person. But the Mormons claim that God was a man who became God, that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer, that Jesus (as God) was created, and so much more. These are in no way the Jesus of the Bible.

      For example: You can find lots of people in America today who have diametrically opposed views concerning Barack Obama. Some think he was born in Kenya–others in Hawaii. Some think he’s the worst president next to Jimmy Carter while others think he’s the best president ever and makes their legs tingle.

      That’s an even worse example. Just because people have different opinions on someone doesn’t mean they aren’t the same person, and of course that isn’t what the post said.

      That Mormons have varying views about the nature of Jesus Christ than do other Christians is obvious. That these differences constitute a different Jesus is as ludicrous as the concept of a different Obama. It’s utter nonsense and doesn’t even approach logic.

      It is completely logical, unlike your comment. As noted above, whether Jesus is the uncreated creator is a big deal, whether he is the spirit brother of Lucifer is as well, and so on.

      Mormons accept every biblical statement about Jesus of Nazareth and look to Him as their Savior. People may assert that conceptual differences create alternate realities; but they’re simply wrong.

      No, you don’t, and even if you did, you add to it. I’d take the warnings of Galatians 1:8-9 very seriously. Remember, it isn’t just that your Jesus is different. Even if you worshiped the same Jesus, your works-based theology is an affront to the real Gospel, and, once again, not the same as what the Bible teaches.

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    2. The Mormons formulate a man they call Jesus and then say it is the same Jesus as in the Bible. However, since the identity of the two are complete opposites, the law of non-contradiction says only one (or none) can be true. If the Bible Jesus is true, then the LDS Jesus cannot be. You have a dandelion you call a rose, yet it remains a dandelion nevertheless

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  4. “I think that the reason you do not see very many Mormons trying to discredit other religions is because they do not feel threatened in their beliefs and that it is kind of lowering themselves to pick on others. Also, Mormons do not believe that you can convert someone by offending their beliefs”

    I would like to speak to this statement of Peter’s.

    Back in the 1980s I was an interpreter for the deaf in a Baptist Church. A couple of Mormon missionaries visited our Bible Class one Sunday morning. Both of them with name tags that read “sister”. They took the names and addresses of every deaf attendee, later visiting in their homes. In the worship service that morning, they sat right behind the deaf. It was Christmas time and we were in the balcony because there was no room in the front of the church. We were the only group up there. I was interpreting and could see them. The “sisters” laughed and cut up the whole time. An extremely disprectful act if you ask me. It was also very distracting for me as I could see and hear them. I really didn’t know how to handle the situation so I just did the best I could to ignore them. I later told the pastor about it and he said if they ever come again and behave in that manner to just excuse myself and get an usher to escort them out. They didn’t come back.

    What was the purpose of their coming in the first place and why were they so disrespectul? If I were to visit a Mormon Church…which I wouldn’t….but if I did….I would be respectful even if I didn’t agree with anything they taught. After all, I would be a guest in their place of worship and should behave myself in a respectful manner.

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  5. The Mormon church works form an entirlely different paradigm than most Christian churces.

    That’s because it isn’t a true Christian church!

    the church relies on modern day revelation,

    Modern revelation must not contradict Scripture, but LDS “revelation” aways does. Not only that, but your so-called prophet Smith had at least 50 prophecies that failed, which makes him a false prophet. Then your other prophets give doctrine which they claim is from God (Adam-God doctrine, blood atonement, e.g) and then later another prophet says this stuff isn’t true. So when you have modern-day revelation, which prophet is correct? Or is your god just fickle?

    The church also teaches from the bible. The bible gives historial support for the teachings of the gospel.

    But you do so “only as far as it is translated correctly” – as if you know when it is or isn’t. Yet the LDS has a record for not wanting to use Joseph Smith’s “translation.” So if the JST is accurately translated, why not use it?

    The records that are compiled in the bible are obviously of great worth. But it is apparent from the many conflicting doctrines by well meaning bible scholars that the bible is not a very sure foundation. This is not because the bible is untrue.

    The misuse and misunderstanding of Scripture is not the fault of the Bible. It is indeed a sure foundation. It is “God-breathed.”

    Since the records were not written to us, it leaves out important details that would give us sure footing.

    This is an assertion without any proof whatsoever. What details were left out? And, if the BOM is the so-called fullness of the Gospel, then where in the BOM do you find all the temple rituals, polygamy, baptism for the dead, eternal progression, etc? Seems the BOM left stuff out!

    I believe that the hand of the Lord was instrumental in preserving the bible records.

    But somehow God was then unable to keep everything in it He wanted?!?

    However, I think that total reliance on the words of dead prophets has always been a downfall for people trying to worship God.

    That’s because your dead prophets have their doctrine overturned! You have false prophets. The writings of a true prophet of God are timeless.

    Hence, whenever there has been a dispensation from God to man, it has always been through living prophets.

    Self-proclaimed prophets who give false prophecies and teachings which contradict not only each other but also the Bible. I don’t think I’d trust those kind of “prophets.”

    Mormons do rely heavily on personal revelation.Though revelation can come in various forms, sometimes it has been described as a feeling or burning in the bosom.
    To me, revelation is often a still small voice that is more of a feeling than a voice. It seems to come through the conscience, our gage for determing right and wrong. Everyone has experienced this kind of revelation…. If you knew without any doubt whatsoever that God lives, this would provide a profound peace and joy that could be described as a burning in the bosom. You cannot have this powerful experience by just using reason to sort through ever changing evidence. This search is important but it must be accompanied by humility.
    The reaon for my conviction of the church is that I have had this experience with the Book of Mormon.

    I suggest you read the following passages:
    Jer. 17:9; Prov. 14:12; Prov. 28:26; Eccl. 9:3. Then tell me you can rely on “burnings” or “feelings.”

    If the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is truely the Christ , Joseph Smith really is a prophet and Gods church is truely on the earth.

    I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the BOM is NOT true. And I can prove Smith a false prophet, who was a known necromancer and con-man.

    The last chapter of the Book of Mormon provides the formula. Here is what it says:
    Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
    The formula includes, study, searching, pondering, faith, sincerely wanting to know, prayer, and turing to God.

    I did as stated and God lead me to see it was false. How can you say I am wrong?

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