Mormonism: Another Jesus

In researching Mormonism I have discovered that many of them are extremely upset by those of us who will say that they worship another Jesus. They call this "shock talk" and accuse us of using these terms to scare people away from investigating Mormonism. (Michael Reed, "Lucifer, the Brother of Jesus?," (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR, August 2003) FAIR Brochure)

In response to the claim that the Mormons believe in another Jesus, another Mormon apologist said this:

"Simply put, just because one group has differing opinions about the traits of a Person than another group, it does not follow that those groups are describing different people."
(FAIR Review of Mormonism 101, by Steven J. Danderson: Mormonism 201, Chapter 2)

This admission that they do believe in different traits about Jesus cannot be overlooked. This is very significant. A Trait is defined as:

"a characteristic, especially one that distinguishes an individual from others."
(http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=trait)

So how can you take a trait, something about that person that distinguishes them from another person and instead believe in other distinguishing characteristics about that person? To do that changes what it is that sets that person apart from every other person and does indeed, make them a different person. It may not be a different physical person that truly exists. It is, however, a fictional representation of a person with the same name, but it is not the person they are pretending to be describing.

For example: Lets say Mary Jane is the wife of Frank, the mother of three kids, she attends Faith Church, teaches Sunday School and volunteers at the hospital. However, you want to believe that Mary Jane is single, has no kids, does not attend church and say that she doesn't care for the sick. While you may be saying this person is Mary Jane, this is a fictional characteristic of her made up by you, and does not describe the real Mary Jane. The traits that set Mary Jane apart from any other person with the same name must be applied in order for them to describe the real Mary Jane. Certainly, understanding the true traits about a person is important. To believe in different ones is to believe in a fictional representation of the first.

Mormons are not alone in believing different traits about the Lord Jesus. There are many false teachers that teach things contradictory to the Word of God. In the Bible Paul warned us about believing in another gospel, another Jesus and another spirit. He knew that there were those who were teaching that Jesus had different traits than what He truly had. Paul did not take this lightly. He proclaimed that anyone who taught another gospel should be eternally condemned.

Gal 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Paul said those who were turning to a different gospel were "perverting" the gospel of Christ. The Galatians were turning from the grace of Christ and starting to try to follow the law again. They still called this the gospel, but Paul said this was "really no gospel at all." Using the same name to describe it did not make it the same.

Paul also admonished the Corinthians for believing whatever anyone said. People were teaching another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel and the Corinthians were accepting whatever they said. Paul, however, warned them that these teachers were false apostles simply masquerading as apostles of Christ. They were not the real thing!

2 Cor 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough... 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Paul let us know, just because someone said they were teaching about Jesus, that did not mean they were teaching the truth about Him. They were actually, according to Paul, perverting the truth and teaching another Jesus and another gospel. If Paul were alive today, would he be labeled as using "shock talk?" To say that someone who teaches a different Jesus than we read about in the Bible are teaching another Jesus is not "shock talk" it is the truth.

May we all heed Paul's words and not put up with those who teach another Jesus and follow their teachings blindly, but rather let us do as he told the Corinthians to do. "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Cor 13:5) And how do we examine our self? We compare our beliefs with what Paul taught, with what the Bible teaches about the gospel. Do we believe what Paul teaches are we believing in another gospel? I would be cautious of anyone who does not let you test that on your own. If they claim that only they can interpret the Bible correctly, then they are trying to keep you from performing the test that Paul told us to take. We must stand firm in the faith that the Bible teaches and not allow ourselves to be burdened with false teachings that lead us into bondage rather than freedom.

Gal 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.



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Prosperity

In Mark chapter 8 we read the story of Jesus feeding the 4000. There were 4000 men present; more counting women and children. Jesus managed to feed this crowd with seven loaves of bread and a few small fishes. After they depart from the region Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees who were seeking a sign. When the Pharisees were gone Jesus says to the disciples:

Mark 8:15 "Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod."

What reaction do the disciples have? They think Jesus is mad because they had forgotten to bring bread! Jesus was teaching a spiritual lesson, but the disciples were fixed on the world, the physical realm. Look at the conversation that transpired.

Mark 8:16 They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread."
17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
"Twelve," they replied.
20 "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"
They answered, "Seven."
21 He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"

Jesus was not worried about physical food. He was able to provide what their bodies needed. In fact, he already had - twice. He was concerned about their spiritual well being. We can learn a lot from the mistakes the disciples made.

People today teach that God promises that we shall be wealthy, in spite of the fact that the many of the disciples and Jesus Himself were not. Paul said that he had been both rich and poor and learned to be content with whatever position he was in.

Phil 4:11-13 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Still, people cling to certain passages and in them claim that God promises wealth or health. The try to "claim" promises that were never made. These people have made the same mistake the disciples did. They took words the Lord intended spiritually and tried to apply them physically. Look at this passage that is often used to suggest that if you give money away (usually to them and their church) you will become rich.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

People say, see, if we give we will get more! But was Jesus speaking of a physical, financial blessing? No. The passage never implies that he does. A few verses earlier, in this same chapter of Scripture, Jesus says that those who are hated, excluded, insulted and rejected should rejoice and leap for joy. Why? Because their reward would be great. Did he mean, they would get a huge cash bonus? No, he specifically says that their reward would be "great in heaven." He then pronounces a woe to the rich, for they have received their comfort already.

Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
23 "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.

This entire context is teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, not wealth here on earth. We should not make the same mistakes the disciples did. They mistook Jesus words as meaning he was mad over bread, when instead he was trying to warn them against the false teachings of the Pharisees. We, too, should beware of the yeast of false teachers. Let us not follow those who focus on the bread and do not understand the spiritual lessons Jesus was trying to teach to us.

Matt 16:11-12 11 How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.



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