THE CROSS UNVEILED
Last Update: 1/2017
Bible Verses Mormons Use to Support or Justify Their Doctrines and Beliefs
Below is a list of Bible verses Mormons typically use to support or justify their doctrinal claims. Mormon prophets and apostles from the beginning have made several pleas to compare the doctrines of Mormonism to the Bible and see if they will stand the test. So, that is exactly what I will do here as I go through these verses and compare to see if the Mormon interpretation are supported with what the Bible contextually reveals.
Brigham Young "Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-Day Saints with it and see if it will stand the test" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16:46, 1873).
Orson Pratt "convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the word of God and we will be forever grateful for the information" (The Seer, p.15).
Book of Mormon Prophesied in the Bible
Ezekiel 37:16-20 “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and [for] all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou [meanest] by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which [is] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, [even] with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.”
Is this really referring to the Bible (stick of Judah) and the Book of Mormon (stick of Joseph) being joined together to be the complete gospel? Let’s get some context around these verses to properly interpret what God is revealing. The book of Ezekiel was written to announce the coming judgment God is placing on Judah and gives the people one last chance to repent. As you recall, the unified kingdom of Israel was ruled by three kings non-concurrently over a 120 year period: Saul, David and Solomon. Israel was then divided into two kingdoms after the death of Solomon, Israel (North) and Judah (South), with each having their own king (1 Kings 12:16-24). Due to continued rebellion against God and sin, the northern kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17-18) around 722 BC. Then in 586 BC for similar reasons, the southern kingdom of Judah was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Ezekiel 37 was written about 585 BC just after Judah was taken into captivity. Ezekiel 37 prophesies of God's promise of deliverance and restoration from Babylon (Ezekiel 33-48). If all one does is simply read through Ezekiel 37:22 it becomes obvious what is occurring in this scripture.
Ezekiel 37:21-22 “And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:”
God is revealing through His prophet Ezekiel He will bring the two nations back together again and have one king over them, King David (Ezekiel 37:23-24). The prophet Ezekiel reveals this prophecy over Ezekiel 33-48. The two sticks were simply metaphors used for the two kingdoms and in no way could have represented a Bible and a Book of Mormon. The original Hebrew text does not even allow for the word to be translated into “book” or “scroll.” Ezekiel knew what a book/scroll was because he used that word in Ezekiel 2:9. However, he uses the Hebrew word “es” here in verse 16, which is used in the Bible hundreds of times, yet not once does it translate to book/scroll. In every case it translates into some type of wood in the words “stick,” “planks,” “timber” and “tree.”
Isaiah 29:11-14 “And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.”
When read in context, Isaiah 29:11 is simply a metaphor on spiritual blindness, which the entire chapter of Isaiah 29 speaks a great deal on. Reading from Isaiah 29:1, Ariel (Jerusalem) has chosen to be prideful in living for their own pleasures and not living for God. So God brings judgment upon Jerusalem. God shuts the mouths of the prophets just as the people wanted and pours out a deep spiritual blindness to the people. Isaiah writes they are drunken and stagger, but not because of wine. The reference to a “sealed book” is simply a metaphor of spiritual blindness. Without God in your heart and living for Him, it does not matter how educated or not you are, you will never understand the spiritual side of life.
Spiritual blindness as revealed in this chapter is caused by pride (Isa. 29:1) and brings us low (Isa. 29:4). It leads us to spiritual drunkenness (Isa. 29:9), sleep (Isa. 29:10), and illiteracy (Isa. 29:11-12). Spiritual blindness causes hypocrisy (Isa. 29:13) and makes us believe that God cannot know what we think, see, and do (Isa. 29:15). Spiritual blindness leads us to deny God as our creator (Isa. 29:16). God has mercy on us and shows it as we will be cured through humility and restored through the Lord.
The marvelous work and wonder spoken of in Isaiah 29:14 is not the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, but fulfilled with the coming of Jesus to reconcile us to God. In Matthew 15:7-8, Jesus, quotes Isaiah 29:13 when rebuking the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus is the marvelous work and wonder the Father sent in order to redeem us from sin.
Nephites Speak as a Voice from the Dust
Isaiah 29:4 “And thou shalt be brought down, [and] shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.”
Mormons teach this is a prophecy about the Nephites speaking with a familiar spirit out of the dust about discovery of the gold plates and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as written in Moroni 10:27, “And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?”
In context, this verse in Isaiah is describing the judgment God is placing on Jerusalem for following their own hearts and desires rather than after God. This is a prophecy declared by Isaiah around 725 BC regarding God using the Assyrians to besiege the city of Jerusalem (722 BC) bringing them so low because of their spiritual blindness caused by pride that their voices will be like evil spirits (familiar spirits) from the dust. Jerusalem had continued to follow the lusts of their hearts in sin and not after God, so Isaiah is prophesying the judgment God will inflict upon Jerusalem for their continued disobedience.
Another issue with this verse in the way Mormons use it is the Nephites are described as a “familiar spirit.” Every time the phrase "familiar spirit" is used in the Bible it is in a negative context as it describes an evil abomination to the Lord as someone who speaks to the dead like a necromancer or a witch. Examples can be found in the following verses: Deuteronomy 18:9-12, Leviticus 20:27, 1 Chronicles 10:13, 2 Chronicles 33:6, and Isaiah 19:3.
Even the LDS scriptures topical guide has the definition of familiar spirits as is says these spirits are “evil or unclean; superstitions”
If that is not enough, former Apostle LeGrand Richards wrote this about familiar spirits regarding the Book of Mormon: “Now, obviously, the only way a dead people could speak ‘out of the ground’ or ‘low out of the dust’ would be by the written word, and this the people did through the Book of Mormon. Truly it has a familiar spirit, for it contains the words of the prophets of the God of Israel” (LeGrand Richards, Marvelous Work and a Wonder, 1988 Missionary Reference Library Edition, pp. 67-68). This book is still being sold at the Deseret Bookstore.
Baptisms for the Dead
1 Corinthians 15:29 “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”
This is the only reference to this kind of practice in the Bible so it is extremely important to understand the context so doctrines are firmly built on biblical principles. For this verse it is imperative to read what Paul had been talking about before 1 Cor. 15:29 so we can understand what he is saying and why he is saying it. Reading from 1 Cor. 15:12, we see Paul is speaking to people who do not believe in the resurrection, yet have introduced a ritual of baptisms for the dead. Paul informs them if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen (1 Cor. 15:13), and if Christ is not risen, then his preaching and your faith is in vain and we are still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:14-17).
He then asks them in 1 Cor. 15:29 if you don’t believe in the resurrection why are you baptizing for the dead? Paul argues what is the point of your practice of this ritual because there is nothing to be gained from it. This point is extremely clear because Paul is not including himself in the context because he says “they” and not “we.” This verse, being the only one mentioning this practice, is something Paul is obviously condemning. This verse does not teach the doctrine of baptism for the dead the way Mormons interpret it and there is no other mention of this practice in the Bible. If it were meant to be a doctrine practiced, it would have been made clear by the apostles. Interpretation of verses to determine doctrine must be built on the majority and not the minority.
Hebrews 11:40 "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
Mormons use this verse in support of their doctrine on baptisms for the dead and tie it into Doctrine and Covenants 128:15. The only problem with this is it is completely out of context. Hebrews 11 goes through the heroes of faith from the Old Testament. The writer is demonstrating the people after Jesus' finished work have more reason to have faith because these Old Testament people did not even get to see or hear from the promised Messiah they heard was to come. God provided something better for us in Jesus Christ and we get to enjoy the fruit of His finished work on the cross. Now these Old Testament heroes who had faith were saved "on credit" and in Abraham's bosom are now made perfect (complete) since Jesus Christ accomplished what He was sent to do.
Baptism as a Saving Ordinance
Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Mormon doctrine teaches baptismal regeneration in that it is a necessary saving ordinance you must have done or you cannot gain entrance to heaven. This is why Mormons are relentlessly doing baptisms for the dead in their temples. People who died without baptism can be baptized by proxy and have the opportunity to enter a level of heaven. Acts 2:38 is one of a couple verses they use to support this claim.
However, Christians do not believe baptism plays a necessary role in salvation. Christian belief on baptism is based on internal biblical exegesis in that baptism is very important as it is a public declaration in which the believer is identified with Christ and is a commandment every Christian should follow. Baptism is where Christians publicly identify themselves with Christ, not as one of many ordinances to be saved, but because they are saved. At baptism, symbolic of the death and burial of Jesus, we are immersed in the water and made dead to sin and our former life, and resurrected to life in Christ for eternity as we are raised from the water. We are declaring we are no longer slaves to ourselves or sin. It symbolizes our unity with all the other believers in Christ.
Critical to understanding the Mormon vs. Christian theology is the original Greek translation of the word "for" in this verse. In the Greek, the word used here is eis, which in Greek multiple translations. Given the context, the possible translations which can fit are “for” / “in order to get or obtain,” or "with regard to" or “because of / as a result of.” Before we answer the question, let’s quickly look at another verse using this same Greek word eis in the original Greek.
Matthew 12:41 states, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at [eis] the preaching of Jonas [Jonah]…”
Let’s translate the verse using the first translation: “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented for (or in order to obtain) the preaching of Jonas.”
And now the second translation: “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented with regard to the preaching of Jonas.”
And now the third translation: “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented as a result of the preaching of Jonas.”
I think it’s obvious the logical and intended translation is the third, “as a result of.” Now, let’s use the same logic in applying it to Acts 2:38.
Using the first translation: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for (or in order to obtain) the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Using the second translation: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ with regard to the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
And now the third translation: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ becauseyou have received the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Well the first and the third translation can work so we must expand our search into other examples of baptism in the Bible to support our doctrine or belief on baptism. We don’t have to go far in order to do this. In the same book of Acts, a few examples can be found which support Acts 2:38 should use the third translation above, “because you have received.”
In the very next chapter Acts 3:19 states, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
Just like Acts 2:38, this verse reveals how they received a remission of their sins, but notice this verse only tells them to repent without being baptized. As I have described in another area of this site, repentance is a component of a person’s faith in Christ. It is when we change or minds about Christ and the work he has done on our behalf, putting our trust in His work alone, relinquishing the trust we put in ourselves to become justified before God.
Another example is found in Acts 10:43-48. Peter preached to the Gentiles and they:
Received a remission of sins because they believed in Christ, period (Acts 10:43).
They then received the Holy Ghost (Acts 10:44-45). Notice there was no laying on of the hands either.
They were then commanded to be baptized (Acts 10:48).
These verses reveal a couple things which contradict Mormon doctrine. First, they received a remission of sins through their belief alone. Second, they received the gift of the Holy Ghost before being baptized and without the laying on of the hands.
Another example is found in Acts 16:30-33 where the prison keeper asks Paul and Silas what he must do in order to be saved. Let’s analyze Paul and Silas’ response to this prison keeper:
Believe in Jesus Christ to be saved (Acts 16:31).
As a result of their salvation, they were baptized (Acts 16:33).
Gotquestions.org adds the following: "In addition to Acts 2:38, there are three other verses where the Greek word eis is used in conjunction with the word “baptize” or “baptism.” The first of these is Matthew 3:11, “baptize you with water for repentance.” Clearly the Greek word eis cannot mean “in order to get” in this passage. They were not baptized “in order to get repentance,” but were “baptized because they had repented.” The second passage is Romans 6:3 where we have the phrase “baptized into (eis) His death.” This again fits with the meaning “because of” or in "regard to." The third and final passage is 1 Corinthians 10:2 and the phrase “baptized into (eis) Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Again, eis cannot mean “in order to get” in this passage because the Israelites were not baptized in order to get Moses to be their leader, but because he was their leader and had led them out of Egypt."
The Bible is consistent in that it informs us it is only by shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross we can receive the remission of sins (Romans 5:8-10; Colossians 1:14, 20-22; Ephesians 1:7, 2:13-16; Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5) and eternal salvation is based on trusting in the finished work on the cross by Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:20-28, 4:1-5, 11:6; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:8-9; John 5:24, 6:28-29, 6:40, 6:47, Acts 16:30-31). A remission of sins or eternal salvation through baptism as a necessary saving ordinance is not supported by these and many other examples in the Bible. So the answer as to which translation of the Greek word eis in Acts 2:38 becomes clear: we should be baptized because we have received the remission of sins and not for the remission of sins.
Another verse Mormons may use to support their doctrine is Mark 16:16 which states:
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
There is no doubt a surface scan of this verse does seem to support the Mormon doctrine. But we must not jump to conclusions, and just like before, we should analyze the verse and take into account all other biblical context to baptism.
First, we already see huge support for baptism not being a required saving ordinance from studying the Acts 2:38 example. Second, let’s break this verse down and see what is does and does not say in its entirety. If this verse were read in a vacuum, the first half of the verse suggests we need to first believe and then be baptized to be saved. This is where Mormon’s may tend to stop reading to support their doctrine though. The second half of the verse says only the person who does not believe shall be damned. If baptism is a necessary saving ordinance then it would have to be included in the second half of this verse, but it’s not. The bible is extremely clear in that there are only two possible destinations after life; heaven or hell. So what this verse is saying is your belief determines your eternal destination and nothing else, which again, is supported by dozens of other scriptures throughout the Bible.
Three Levels of Heaven
1 Corinthians 15:40-41 “[There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another. [There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory.”
These two verses are used to support the Mormon teaching of three levels of heaven, which are the celestial, terrestrial, and the telestial kingdoms. As you can see two of these three words are included in the verse, but telestial is a word not found in the Bible or any other piece of literature. So is this really what is being taught here? To get the answer we must again look to the context and see what God is revealing through Paul. Starting at 1 Cor. 15:35, the question is posed in how the dead will be raised up and what body will they come with? Paul likens the resurrected body to a seed. For example, a seed of wheat goes in the ground as a seed, but sprouts up as a stalk of wheat. It is amazing what can come from such a small seed. Similarly, we are sown into ground and will be resurrected and fully perfected in our glorious bodies.
Paul then describes the differences in the flesh of our current body versus our resurrected body. He describes the differences in earthly (terrestrial) flesh in beasts, fishes, and birds. He then describes the differences in glories between celestial (heavenly) bodies and terrestrial (earthly) bodies. He is explaining how our resurrected bodies will be suited for a heavenly life and not life on earth.
Paul uses the differences in glory of the sun, the moon and the stars (celestial/heavenly bodies) to again show how the resurrected body differs in glory as it will be adapted for life in heaven versus our earthly body as it is adapted for life on earth.
So, in context, Paul is answering the question of what body we will have in the resurrection. He explains this by contrasting the imperfect earthly body we have to the perfect and glorious body we will have in heaven we are resurrected with.
2 Corinthians 12:2 “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”
If you were not familiar with your Bible, your initial reaction to this verse is there are three heavens as Paul plainly states here. Yet, throughout the Bible we see this is just not the case. In antiquity, there were no words for atmosphere or space so everything not on the ground was in heaven. The first heaven is described in verses like Genesis 1:20 and Jeremiah 4:25 where the birds fly, which represents the atmosphere. The second heaven is described in verses like Genesis 1:15, 22:17 where the stars are, which represented space. The third heaven is represented in verses like this one, Deuteronomy 10:14, Job 22:12, and Psalm 115:3, which represents God’s throne or heaven.
Need for Prophets and Continuing Revelation
Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
Again, with this single verse we should be diligent and read the context of the verse for proper interpretation. In Amos 3:1 we see the prophet Amos is addressing the children of Israel. Then Amos 3:6 says if there is calamity (evil) in a city, will not the Lord have done it? When read together and seeing how God has historically operated with His people these verses contextually state the Lord will not send judgment upon us without first providing a warning though a prophet. It is not saying God will not do anything without a prophet. Amos is not the only book which uses a prophet to warn of God’s judgment. The books of Jeremiah, Daniel, Jonah, Isaiah, and Revelation all do the same.
Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us God spoke in various ways in the past through prophets in manners such as parables, prophecies, psalms, proverbs, and through things like a burning bush, heavenly visions, a still-small voice. But now, God no longer speaks through prophets, but through His Son, Jesus Christ, who was the full and final revelation. This is noted by the writers use of the past tense "spoken" in the verse. If he was not the final revelation, then His work on earth was not complete.
Luke 16:16 says the law and the prophets were in effect until the end of John the Baptist's ministry. Then the good news of the new covenant fulfilling the law and prophets was was ushered in. This new covenant based on grace by faith was far superior to the old law. It was based on a promise which was fulfilled in Christ and made everlasting.
1 Timothy 2:5 states there one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. False religions can't control you if you have direct fellowship and a personal relationship with Jesus, so they wedge in a fallible "prophet" as "one who speaks for the Lord."
Remember, the Lord no longer dwells in temples made by hands (Acts 17:24), but now dwells within each of His believers as we are temples (1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:5). This is also clears up any need for temples after Jesus because since the temple veil was torn in two with the sacrifice of Christ, all believers now have direct access to God. The Lord now dwells in our hearts and we are members of His body, the Church (Colossians 1:18, 24; Ephesians 4:15-16, 5:23-30; Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27).
Ephesians 2:20 “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];”
Mormons use this verse to support the claim the true church of Jesus Christ has always and will always be run by living prophets and apostles. Like everything else in the Bible, it is imperative to understand the context of the scripture before building doctrines around it.
In the verses leading up to Eph. 2:20, we see the Apostle Paul was teaching by the shed blood of Jesus Christ the partition (the law) that separates the Jew from the Gentile has been broken down (Eph. 2:13-14). His death abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances making peace reconciling us to God by the cross (Eph. 2:15-16). Jesus came and preached to those who were far off and peace to those who were near because through believe on Him we have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:17-18). Then Paul teaches the effect this has on the Jews and Gentiles. He says because of what he just taught (Eph. 2:13-18), we are no longer strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of His household (Eph. 2:19) build upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). In Him we become like building blocks which are joined together becoming a holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:21). In Him we are being built together to become a dwelling where God's lives in us by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:22).
When read in context, we now have clarity the church is the body of believers in Christ, and as believers, we are members of his body and have direct access to God. Paul, teaching to the Gentiles, says since we are no longer strangers but fellow citizens, we are all built on a similar foundation, being the original prophets and apostles (Colossians 1:18, 24; Ephesians 2:19-22, 4:15-16, 5:23-30; Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 12:12-13, 27; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:5).
Recall, the original apostles taught the Jews predominantly, but now Paul's calling and message of preaching the cross, trusting in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, brings salvation to the Gentiles too. The teachings of the original Apostles and prophets are the foundation for not only the Jews, but the Gentiles as well. This foundation has been preserved for us in the New Testament. The revelation provided here is timeless and does not ever need to be added to or taken away from. Foundations are firm and enduring, needing to only be built once and do not need to be replaced because they last. Suggesting living apostles and prophets need to guide the church with new revelation from God is suggesting the revelation God provided in the Bible needs to constantly be updated and refreshed. If living apostles and prophets were needed guide the church forever, the word foundation would not have been necessary. God would have the writers use a word like straw or sticks.
This is one belief every real Christian ministry teaches as gospel truth and every real Christian understands. Because if needing "living prophets" to provide continuing revelation was something debated or even slightly questioned, there would be many more churches started and/or guided by "living prophets." But this is just not the case as there is no question to this claim as the Bible makes extremely clear.
John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
God promises to us the Holy Ghost, which has been given to all believers in Christ, will teach us in all things, and bring all things his gospel teaches to us to our remembrance. So, if I have the perfect word of God through the gospel and the Holy Ghost guiding me and teaching me in all things, why in the world would I want to inject a prophet and apostles between which will only act as a barrier and distort the direct access and fellowship with God which Jesus came to provide through His sacrifice?
Additionally, at the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared in glory before Peter, James and John. Have you ever wondered why it was Moses and Elijah in particular who appeared with Jesus to discuss His impending death? Moses and Elijah symbolically represent the Law and the Prophets and were there to accept the death of Jesus would fulfill the Old Covenant, which made way for the better and everlasting New Covenant of grace. This is why the voice of God is heard saying in Luke 9:35 "This is my beloved Son: hear him." This is a clear statement the Law and the Prophets have been fulfilled because they immediately disappeared giving way to Jesus.
Pray for Truth
James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Mormons use this verse when explaining the first vision story about how Joseph Smith went to pray about which church to join after reading this verse. They also want prospective converts to pray over this verse before they read the Book of Mormon so they will receive a spiritual witness confirming the truthfulness of the book. Again, let’s look at the context to see if this is the biblical standard as to how we are to find truth.
In Acts 17:11, the Bereans searched the scriptures to find out if those things they were being taught were true. Why? Because the Bible tells us our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and he who trusts in his own heart is a fool (Proverbs 28:26). They did not pray and wait for a burning in their bosom or spiritual witness. The Bible tells us to “prove all things” in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. I am by no means suggesting prayer is not useful; it’s just not the keystone of determining truth.
James 1:5 tells fellow Christians (as noted by his greeting of the brethren in James 1:1-2), not non-believers, to pray and ask God for wisdom. This is important because they are already in the faith and know the truth; they just need to know how to apply the truth to trials they face in life. Also, James 1:5 tells us to pray and ask God for wisdom, not knowledge. Wisdom is properly using the knowledge we have, not the acquisition of knowledge. God never asks us to pray about what is or is not true. In context, James 1:5 is suggesting we ask God for wisdom (how to use the knowledge we have) during the trails we face in life (James 1:2); not to know if a book is true. If you want to know how deep a pool is you don’t pray about it, you get something which has been tested as true such as a tape measure to measure the depth. Likewise, the Bible is our tape measure for determining doctrinal truth as exemplified by the Bereans. Spiritual knowledge is gained from the Bible, not from your feelings, a spiritual witness or your heart.
You cannot use subjective feelings to determine objective truth. If praying and getting a burning in the bosom was enough to determine truth then why are there over 200 splinter groups of Mormonism all with their own prophets. Their followers all have the same spiritual witness they are the only true church and their prophet is the only true prophet on the face of the earth. Our feelings are subjective and easy to provoke, which makes them unreliable. Feelings reveal our emotional reaction to something, not the truthfulness of it. We must look to the Bible alone for determining doctrinal truth.
Truth is not something which is relative or subjective when it comes to the Bible and its doctrines. All the burning feelings, spiritual witnesses and prayers cannot change facts and truth and they never will. The very basic premise of Mormonism is the Bible is corrupt and Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet and restore lost truths to the Bible. Would you not think the very first thing God would have Joseph Smith do is point out these "plain and precious parts" which were allegedly lost? Yet, we have never heard one word about what is and what is not corrupt in the Bible.
And as I pointed out many times, the Book of Mormon adds no doctrine as Mormon doctrine comes from the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Would you not agree if the Bible were true, it would be in the best interest of a false prophet to first get you to doubt and not trust the word of God, but to trust in your feelings? By doing this a false prophet is able to get people to transfer their trust in the Bible to trust in the prophet. The prophet then becomes the ultimate authority, is unaccountable and untestable. Has Joseph Smith not followed this exactly? Not only does he try to get you to not trust the Bible by saying it is corrupt, but he really hammers the point home as his agenda is made clear with 2 Nephi 29:6 which says, "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible." It is clear in this verse Joseph Smith is attempting to convey God would suggest only a fool would say the Bible is the only inspired scripture. But since this completely contradicts the inspired and tested words of the Bible we know it is false teaching.
The “Other Sheep” are the People in the Americas
John 10:16 “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd.”
Mormons teach this verse is referring to Jews who traveled to the Americas, which are written about in the Book of Mormon. So let’s examine the context of the verse to see what this is revealing. First, you must realize the book of Matthew was written to Jews. The Bible foretells in various verses from the Old Testament Gentiles will join the Jews as God’s people. These can be found in Isaiah 49:6, 55:5, 56:6-8, and Psalm 86:9. Matthew 10:16 is plainly referencing Gentiles are the “other sheep” referred to in this verse.
Once Jesus atoned for our sins and was resurrected, He told us to go to all the world (Gentiles) and spread the gospel. This is exactly what was fulfilled as described in Acts 10:45, 11:18, Romans 11:11, and Galatians 3:8.
We Lived as Spirit Children of God in the Pre-Existence in Heaven
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
Mormons teach this verse confirms the doctrine of a pre-existence. It does say God knew Jeremiah before he was in the belly and came out of the womb, but does this mean there was a pre-existence? It seems like an easy answer to someone who does not know what the Bible proclaims about the power and omniscience of God. God speaks in many verses in the Bible about His foreknowledge of the world and what would happen. Just a few of the verses the Bible describes God in this manner are Psalm 139:16, Romans 8:29, Isaiah 46:10, Ephesians 1:4-5, Titus 1:2 and 1 Peter 1:20. God is not bound by time as we are. Everything that has ever or will ever happen has already been seen by God.
In fact, there are verses in the Bible which reveal just the opposite of a pre-existence. Zechariah 12:1 says the Lord forms the spirit of man within us. 1 Corinthians 15:46 says we are created first natural, then spiritual. Jesus says in John 8:23 we are from beneath (earth) and that he is from above (heaven); we are of this world and He is not of this world.
Total Apostasy of Christianity
1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”
Mormons teach prospective converts this scripture reference reveals Christianity was in a total state of apostasy, which is why the Book of Mormon was brought forth to restore the lost truths and plain and precious parts which were allegedly removed from the Bible. This verse though does not indicate a total apostasy, but only a partial apostasy by showing “some shall depart,” not that “all shall depart.” No total apostasy equals no lost truths.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”
This is another verse Mormons will point to which allegedly teaches a total apostasy. However, this verse plainly states what must occur before that day comes. First, a falling away from the truth, and second, the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. Maybe I am hiding under a rock because I have not seen or heard who the son of perdition is. This verse is informing the reader what must happen before the great tribulation is to occur and neither has occurred.
There are many verses in the Bible teaching just the opposite of a total apostasy. Isaiah 40:8, Psalm 100:5, Matthew 16:18, 24:35, and 1 Peter 1:23-25 are just a few of the verses stating the word of God will always be with us. If there was ever a total apostasy then Jesus would be made a liar and Christianity would be a false religion.
Amos 8:11-12 “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find [it].”
Again, here is another verse Mormons misuse to support their doctrine of a total apostasy. Instead of focusing in on two verses from the book of Amos without context, let's take a step back and see what Amos is describing in the chapters leading up to this point. Amos was written in about 750 BC, which is a couple decades before the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to Assyria in 722 BC. The entire premise and purpose of the book of Amos is God's declaration of judgment on Israel through the prophet Amos unless they repent and turn from their self-righteousness and idolatry. Over time the people of Israel have continued to seek after the desires of their hearts rather than after God. Amos 4-8 foretells of God's judgment and Israel's impending destruction. Amos 9 describes the restoration of the two Kingdoms of Israel from exile/captivity and the rebuilding of the city and temple.
Additionally, if you read the verse closely, it does not describe an apostasy in the sense that the word of God is gone because it speaks to a famine of the hearing of the words of the LORD, not the availability or preaching of the words. When you understand these people had been in self-righteousness and other sins for so long, their hearts were far from God. Because of this the people are so spiritually blind they do not even see or hear the words of God even when they are spoken by the prophet Amos.
Plurality of Gods
1 Corinthians 8:5 “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)”
Mormons typically use this verse from the Bible to support their doctrinal claim allowing for a plurality of gods. What they fail to realize in doing so is understanding the way the KJV translators language system separated a true God from a false god, because in Hebrew they use the same word, Elohim. False/pagan gods in the Bible are designated as “god” or “gods” using a lower case “g.” In context, the Bible is referring to a false god or gods people create in their mind, in other words, idols which do not represent the one true Jehovah God of the Bible. These “gods” are all over the Bible, especially in the book of Exodus when describing the gods the Egyptians worshiped.
John 10:34 “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”
This is another verse Mormons will use to support their claim of a plurality of gods so let’s examine this verse in context. Jesus had just claimed to the Pharisees He is God as demonstrated by their attempt to stone Him for what they felt was a blasphemous claim (John 10:33). Jesus responds to them in this verse quoting God from Psalm 82:6-7. Here God is speaking metaphorically about the judges as they were called “gods” because their earthly office gave them the designation of deciding the fate of other men. If it were referring to them as gods in the sense that we can become gods, then Psalm 82:7 exposes the error in this view as it states even though you are gods (earthly judges), you shall die like men and fall like princes. Jesus is simply exposing the ignorance of the Pharisees in how he responds to them here in John 10:34. God also refers to these earthy judges as “gods” in Exodus 21:6 and Exodus 22:8-9.
2 Samuel 12:8 “And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if [that had been] too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.”
This is a subject most Mormons do not want to research on so they typically assume what the LDS Church leaders teach them is true. Yes, polygamy is in the Bible and yes it is an abomination to God. God has never approved of the practice of polygamy as he makes this clear all the way back in Deuteronomy 17:17, “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away…”
The vast majority of Mormons feel the history of polygamy in the church was biblically justified simply because it was practiced by people in the Bible such as Lamech, Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon. While they did multiply wives to themselves, let’s see if we can take a step back and see the forest through the trees. Way back in Genesis 1:31 God pronounced the things He had created as being “very good.” Then “the fall” occurred and mankind fell into sin.
In Genesis 2, after Adam was created, there are several keys demonstrating God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman. First, He created a “helper” in Eve and not multiple “helpers.” If God intended for the earth to be populated quickly with spirits from heaven awaiting bodies on earth this would have been the best time to do it. Next, God took one rib from Adam and made one woman. Then God shows us the model for marriage in Genesis 2:24 where man will leave his father and mother, cleave unto his wife (not wives) and the two shall become one flesh.
The first account of polygamy in the Bible happens with Lamech (Genesis 4:19), a descendant of Cain. Remember, after the fall man fell into sin so God sent judgment upon the earth in the flood because of the sinfulness of mankind, including sins like Lamech's polygamy.
Then, well after the flood we see polygamy creep back into the Bible; even with the patriarchs of Israel mentioned above. We could stop here, but what does the Bible reveal to us in each of the cases of polygamous relationships? In the case of Abraham, it lead to a hurtful relationship between Sara and Hagar, which lead to the removal of Hagar and Abraham’s first son, Ishmael. With Jacob, it lead to Rachel being jealous of Leah and to Joseph’s betrayal by his half-brothers being sold into slavery. With David, polygamy lead to the rape of his daughter Tamar by his son Amnon (Tamar’s half-brother). This lead to Amnon’s murder by another brother Absalom. With Solomon, polygamy lead to his heart being turned to worshiping false gods and not the Lord. With proper Bible study, one may understand polygamy is in the Bible for a reason and teaches us this terribly selfish sin always leads one into spiritual blindness. God is not going to stop us from falling into sin.
With regards to 2 Samuel 12:8, we see a lesson from God regarding David and all God had given to him (and could have continued to give) and things such as polygamy God had allowed (not necessarily approved). No matter what God had given him, David selfishly chose the desires of his own heart over a relationship with God.
Historically, the Mormon doctrine of polygamy was declared an everlasting covenant and essential for exaltation and godhood (Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants). The basis for polygamy is made clear by Brigham Young who said, “This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, so that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 197). Brigham Young had a total of 55 wives and 56 children. How could you possibly be a proper husband and father to this many wives and children? You would never be able to spend the time with each to develop the loving and nurturing relationship they need. You probably would not even know all their names! This is not even close to how the Bible portrays a model marriage and parenting.
Although polygamy is not on the front-burner of the Mormon church, it is still very much doctrinal and practiced within the church today. First, it is still canonized scripture essential for attaining godhood as a part of the Doctrine and Covenants in section 132. The manifesto by Wilford Woodruff of 1890, if you actually read it, was not proclaimed as a revelation at all, but just his "advice" for the Mormons to stop polygamy. Second, it is still practiced in the temple ceremonies in that if your wife dies and you are married again, you can be sealed to your next wife (and any future wives) so you have them all as your wives in heaven. Current Mormon apostles Dallin Oaks, Russell Nelson and L. Tom Perry have all been sealed to multiple wives in the temple.
We know God will not contradict Himself and is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), so we have an apparent contradiction between the teachings of the Mormon Leaders versus what the New Testament proclaims with regard to marriage. We also know the Bible is clear that there will not be marriage in heaven as Matthew 22: 22-30 states. Here a woman asking Jesus which of her former dead husbands will she be married to in heaven. Jesus replies there is no marriage in the resurrection as we will be like angels in heaven. This does not mean we will not know each other in heaven; we just won’t need to worry about things like marriage.
The scriptures of the Mormon church are contradictory and confusing when talking about polygamy as to whether it is commanded or condemned. The Book of Mormon condemns polygamy as an abomination before the Lord in Jacob 2:23-27, and again in 3:5. However, section 132:1, 38-39 of the Doctrine and Covenants says polygamy was commanded for Abraham and wives were given to David. It also specifically states they did not sin in taking multiple wives. The account of Abraham in Genesis 16:2 does not have the Lord involved at all as the transaction was between Abraham and his wife Sarah. Abraham simply hearkened to what Sarah said. As you recall, God told Abraham he would have almost numberless offspring "as the dust of the earth" (Genesis 13:16). Abraham could not see how this was possible since Sarah was beyond child bearing age. Abraham second guesses God as he and Sarah ended up forcing the circumstances to bring God's will to pass by having Abraham sleep with their maid Hagar rather than allowing God's will to come to pass on God's terms. The result of their actions are still with us today in the Arab (Ishmael) - Israeli (Isaac) conflict.
More detail on the birth and practice of polygamy in the Mormon church can be found in the section entitled "Polygamy" under the Doctrine & Covenants link.
Chance to Hear Gospel After Death
1 Peter 3:19 “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”
When Jesus went to preach the spirits in prison (Hades) whose sin were committed in the days of Noah was not a message of preaching the gospel to those who had not heard it so one may choose to accept or reject as Mormons doctrine teaches. This was a message of judgment to these people that His victorious work on the cross was completed and their condemnation is final because of their wicked ways. If they had trusted in God and been obedient they would not have fallen into this condemnation.
So what happens to people who never hear the message of the gospel since the Bible says the only way to heaven is through Jesus (John 14:6, Acts 4:12)?
The simple fact is the Bible does not go into great detail on this topic but does reveal just enough to help the person who seeks what we need to know. The first part we need to understand is God is righteous, fair, and just (Psalm 98:8-9). Second, we need to realize the Bible demonstrates everyone has some level of knowledge of God (Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:18-20). We all have been given a conscience (i.e. the law written in our hearts), which is what triggers the understanding of right vs. wrong.
Romans 3:10-11 reveals no one is righteous and we do not seek after God. We are by nature born into sin by inheritance (Romans 5:12) and are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). The carnal nature of man rejects the spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:14) and because of this sin nature, we are not even able to subject ourselves to the things of God (Romans 8:6-7). So everyone who has ever been born into the world is by nature spiritually dead, against God and incapable of even seeking after Him. We cannot even come to Jesus unless the Father draws us to Him (John 6:44). Since God is righteous, fair and just, all those who have never heard the Gospel still have knowledge of God; we see it in all of creation. So people who live in remote jungles won’t necessarily go to hell because they did not believe in Jesus, but their judgment will be based on their belief/rejection of God (as revealed with creation) and what they did with what their conscience revealed.
Salvation is the same today as has been since antiquity (well before Jesus’ time). We have always been and are still saved by grace through faith as shown in Hebrews 11:1-2. Salvation for the people before Jesus was faith in God, and after Jesus (God incarnate), it is faith in his shed blood on the cross at Calvary. This is why the writers of Acts and John state salvation is through Christ alone.
1 Peter 4:6 “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
Again, Mormons use this verse as an opportunity to hear the gospel message after death so they may choose to accept or reject it. This sounds good, but would contradict the Bible has to say about a second chance after death?
This verse needs to be read carefully to properly interpret what Peter is conveying. Just like in 1 Peter 3:19 when Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison (Hades), He also went to proclaim His victory to those spirits in Abraham’s bosom who believed and trusted in God. This was a message their salvation they had hoped for long ago, was now secured in Jesus’ victory over death on the cross.
The Bible does not allow for a second chance to hear the gospel message after death. Hebrews 9:27 says after death is the judgment. This is why we have plenty of chances during this life to accept or reject the gospel of Christ. This is plainly evidenced in the scriptures with Luke 16:19-31 as an example. If there were a second chance, the rich man surely would have repented, but all he does is ask Abraham send Lazarus back to warn his brothers so they do not have to be cast into the same torment of hell he is in.
Ephesians 1:4 says those whose names are in the book of life were saved before the foundation of the world. God chose us; we did not choose him as we are incapable. To those who have been saved, a second chance is not necessary because their salvation is guaranteed in Christ. We were chosen by Him, we were saved by Him, and He will never let us go as we will always be secure in our eternal life because He promises these gifts (Romans 8:39, John 6:37, 10:28).