Our church recently had a session on Mormonism largely in response to Mitt Romney’s candidacy for president and Joel O’Steen’s remarks. This isn’t about whether you should vote for Romney or not. My thoughts are that Romney is not a Christian since he is a Mormon, but the values that the Mormons do practice are more often Christian values.
However, my main concern is Joel O’Steen’s ignorance on this topic, especially since he’s seen as an evangelical leader. Joel O’Steen is the author of a number of popular books right now such as “Become A Better You” and “Your Best Life Now.” Unfortunately, he’s more of a health and wealth teacher whose Christianity seems largely about psychological help and making sure you have money in your wallet.
He was recently interviewed at the following link by Mike Wallace.
WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I’ve got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that’s what I believe, so, you know, I’m not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don’t think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that’s what I felt like.
Yes Mr. O’Steen. Let’s not judge the little details which I’ll be getting into soon. Please note this people. Saying Jesus is not enough. I could just as well say the Muslims believe in God. The problem is that word has no meaning until we understand the context it’s used in.
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
Apparently, Chris Wallace did his homework. This is only scratching the surface of Mormon doctrine though. Let’s see what O’Steen said in reply.
OSTEEN: I probably don’t get hung up in them because I haven’t really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know.
I certainly can’t say that I agree with everything that I’ve heard about it, but from what I’ve heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that’s a common bond.
Here’s a little tip O’Steen. If you didn’t know, say you didn’t know. It would have gone a lot better. Unfortunately, you spoke where you were ignorant and we as Christians who know what we’re talking about will have to pick up the pieces where you blew it. Let’s see what Mormonism teaches though and I am getting this from Mormon.org straight from the LDS website. This is a source recognized by Mormons. These are all doctrines we disagree with:
God has a body that looks like yours, though His body is immortal, perfected, and has a glory beyond description.
The divine truths your Heavenly Father desires you to know have been restored by God for the final time—never to be removed from the earth again—through the latter-day prophet Joseph Smith. As Moses and other biblical prophets received revelation from God, so Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ and was chosen to testify of Them and to restore the gospel and His Church.
The Holy Bible contains a record of Jesus Christ’s dealings with and ministry to the people in the Holy Land. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is a record of Christ’s dealings with and His appearance to the people of ancient America. Both books teach about our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and of Their love for us.
Your life did not begin at birth, nor will it end at death. You have a spirit body (sometimes called the soul) and a physical body. Heavenly Father created your spirit, and you lived with Him as a spirit before you received your physical body and were born on earth. This period is called pre-earth life? or premortal life.?
Throughout your pre-earth life, you were taught the principles and commandments? that would lead to happiness, with freedom to choose to grow in intelligence and love of the truth, or not. During this pre-earth life, Jesus Christ, then known as Jehovah was chosen as the Savior and you learned that, through Him, you would be able to overcome the effects of any wrong choices.
God’s purpose—His work and His glory—is to bring to pass the immortality (resurrection) and eternal life (life with God) of His children. He desires every one of His children to find peace in this life and a fulness of joy in His presence after this life. Heavenly Father knew that you could only progress to a certain point without the experience of mortality. In order to become more like Him, you would need to:
- Receive a physical body.
Thus, God our Father is the creator of our spirits, and we are created in His likeness physically.
- Gain experience from overcoming trials and temptations.
- Learn to walk by faith.
- Learn to choose between good and evil.
Thus, your Heavenly Father instituted His plan to help you reach your divine potential.
Note: The section on where your life began is all one section. I urge anyone to go to the Mormon website and look at the doctrines. More coming.
Modern-day revelation confirms these teachings from the Bible?. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith in the spring of 1820. Joseph revealed that the Father and the Son each have a “body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” ( D&C 130:22) . The Major difference is the Father and the Son have glorified, resurrected, immortal bodies.
The following is from LDS.org and a quote from the fifth Mormon president, Lorenzo Snow:
“As man now is, God once was; as God is now man may be.”
( The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, ed. Clyde J. Williams , 1.)
This is the teaching of eternal progression whereby man becomes God for God was once a man.
Friends. This is again only scratching the surface. I could write much more on the different things Mormons believe but rest assured, Joel O’Steen is wrong and the church is suffering for it. Now let him go off and make that error. I fear he will do so again. Don’t you make the same one though.
When the Mormons knock on your door, be ready. If you wish to learn what they believe, by all means go to their websites and read their materials. Check it out and see if it holds up. Compare it, however, to the evidence for orthodox Christianity. (A little example, the NT has much archaeological confirmation, while the Book of Mormon has none.)
We can’t afford more ignorance in the church.