Mormonism and The Pattern of all False Religions

By Robin Schumacher

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A False salvation

Nearly all false religions have a works-related path that earns the right of its practitioner to live eternally with God. For example, Mormonism is quite open that faith in Jesus and God's grace does not lead to salvation: "One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God, that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation." [8]

In a similar vein, Islam makes it clear that working one's way to heaven is the only way: "Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy - They will attain salvation: But those whose balance Is light, will be those Who have lost their souls; In Hell will they abide." [9]

Whatever non-Christian religion is consulted, grace by faith alone and through Christ alone is not found where salvation is concerned.

What About Christianity?

While the names, writings, and descriptions may change, the overall pattern does not. The path of a false prophet using a false authority to proclaim a false god, christ, and salvation is found in every non-Christian faith.

"Hold on a minute," says the skeptic, "how can you say Christianity isn't like those other religions? It seems to follow the same model!"

A fair question. Let me give three brief defenses regarding how Christianity differs.

First, while the failed prophecies in false religions are legion, no prophet of God ever uttered a prophecy that failed to materialize, proving his claim that he spoke for God. On this subject, Blaise Pascal wrote: "I see many contradictory religions, and consequently all false save one. Each wants to be believed on its own authority, and threatens unbelievers. I do not therefore believe them. Every one can say this; every one can call himself a prophet. But I see that Christian religion wherein prophecies are fulfilled; and that is what every one cannot do." [10]

Second and similarly, God substantiated His prophets through miraculous works that provided evidence that the words they spoke were true. No such things can be substantiated in other faiths [11], while in Christianity, the crowning miracle of all Jesus resurrection from the dead can be strongly argued for on historical, philosophical, and theological grounds.

Lastly, ever other religion in the world can be categorized in one of three ways: (1) epistemic: if I just learn something I'll be better; (2) pragmatic: if I just do something I'll be better; (3) existential: if I just experience something I'll be better.

By contrast, Christianity is ontological. It is grounded in a Person that cannot be separated from the faith. Buddha admitted that he could be removed from his faith and it would not change, but not so with Jesus. This is why Paul said in 2 Tim. 1:12: "For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed" (and not "what I have believed" — emphasis added).

For these reasons and others, Jesus Christ and Christianity are unique and stand alone among the sea of competing belief systems. All other religions and their adherents that preach a false god, christ, and gospel receive this warning from Jesus: "They are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit" (Matthew 15:14).

Notice that both the deceiver and the deceived go into eternity lost. Perhaps this is why every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings against false prophets and their teachings, which underscores the fact that there is nothing else that should be taken more seriously than spiritual truth and error.

1. The actual number of messengers differs in Mormon history.
2. Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1978), 1:40-42. See online source.
3. Smith, 4:461. See online source.
4. Orson Pratt, "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," in A Series of Pamphlets (Liverpool, England: n.p., 1851), pg. 47. See online source.
5. A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (San Francisco: Harper, 1961), pg. 1.
6. Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages (Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1958), pg. 104. See online reference.
7. Scott Cunningham; Wicca.
8. Spencer W. Kimball: quoted in Book of Mormonism Student Manual (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1990), pg. 697. See online source
9. Sura 23:102-3.
10. Blaise Pascal; Thoughts, Section XI, "The Prophecies."
11. Even where miracle stories appear in other faiths, they are much like in Islam where such accounts only appeared after Christian apologists confronted Muslims with the miracles of the Bible.

Image Credit: Trodel; "The Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"; Creative Commons

TagsControversial-Issues  |  Current-Issues  |  False-Teaching

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Published 3-10-14