Summary: Jesus would say to a Mormon, "Who Do You Say That I Am?"
What Jesus Would Say to a Mormon
Rev. Brian Bill
I did something this week that I’ve not done for more than five years. I put it off as long as I could but decided that I could no longer procrastinate. Having hit the half century mark, I made an appointment with Dr. Watson to have my eyes examined. I’m not sure if this sign is up in his office but if not, it sure works for an optometrist: “If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.” I received some good news and some not-so-good news. My vision for seeing far away has actually improved but things up close are blurry, fuzzy and out of focus.
When I made this appointment, Beth and my daughters told me that I couldn’t pick out my frames on my own because for some reason they didn’t think that I’d choose the most attractive ones. I told them that I’d do fine on my own and came home with these bad boys! Iris Fulkerson, who works for Dr. Watson, actually went into the back room and got them for me just so I could play a trick on them. I actually like them, don’t you?
As we come to the final sermon in this series, some of you might wonder why we’re looking at a group that seems to be up close to us. Most of us understand why we would preach about Muslims, Wiccans and Atheists, but isn’t Mormonism a Christian religion? Others of you might be a bit fuzzy about what it is that Mormons believe. It’s my hope that by putting on the lens of Scripture our own faith will come into greater focus. We’ve been learning that the “frames” we put on has a lot to do with how we look at these various worldviews.
The Positives of Mormonism
Let me say up front that this sermon is not meant to be an attack on any individual and will not be presented in a spirit of arrogance or anger. I want to echo what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:5: “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Here at Pontiac Bible Church we want to love people just like Jesus does. There are many positive things about Mormons. Here are some that come to mind. Granted, these are generalizations, but I think they’re true for the most part.
• They are very kind.
• They love to serve. When Beth and I volunteered at the Food Pantry one time, two Mormon missionaries were already hard at work. They also worked tirelessly to help with the flood cleanup in this community.
• They care about what they put in their bodies. No alcohol, illegal drugs, coffee or tea are allowed.
• They are not afraid to stand up for moral matters. They worked very hard in California in 2008 to support Prop 8 which banned same-sex marriage.
• They care about our country. Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney, Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch are practicing Mormons.
• They are very family-oriented.
• They have outstanding music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
• They believe in education. Brigham Young University is world-renowned.
I don’t want to bore you with too much history, but it is important to understand a few things, especially as it relates to Joseph Smith, who was the first prophet and founder of Mormonism. You see, the entire Mormon Church rests upon the foundation of its history in America and it originates solely from the visions of Joseph Smith. The 10th Mormon President and Prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith, put it this way: “Mormonism must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith.”
It’s important to understand that Mormonism is only 190 years old. In 1820, at the age of 14, Smith claimed to have a vision when he was seeking God’s direction about which church he should join. He was told to join none of them because all of them were “wrong…that all their creeds were an abomination… [And] that those professors [of those churches] were all corrupt.”
Three years later, he allegedly had another vision and this time a person (or angel) named Moroni told him about some hidden golden tablets. He had four other appearances and eventually translated these tablets from “Reformed Egyptian” into the Book of Mormon in 1830. My friend Carl Walker reminded me that after he translated the golden tablets, he was ordered to destroy them, and that while translating them, if anyone else looked upon them they would die.
Smith also claimed that John the Baptist appeared to him and Oliver Cowdery and anointed them with the Aaronic Priesthood. They then baptized each other for the remission of sins. Several months later, Peter, James and John reportedly appeared physically to them and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon them.