Evangelicals for Jef: Emily Maynard and Jef Holm had “Religion Chat”

In 2006, my husband and I created Evangelicals for Mitt in an effort to unite evangelical and Mormon support of the best candidate for President in 2012. Now, in 2012, evangelicals have united behind Mitt Romney like no one thought possible.  This means, of course, it’s time to turn our attention to much more important decision.

The Bachelorette!

Two weeks ago, Bachelorette Emily Maynard sent home the last remaining evangelical, Sean Lowe, meaning she had only two remaining choices:

  1. Jef Holm, raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  2. Arie Luyendyk Jr., who hasn’t mentioned his faith but lived with his last girlfriend and became a temporary “father figure” to her children before the horrible break-up.

With only two people left and a looming deadline, whom will Emily select in tonight’s season finale?

Jef has already said he is no longer a “practicing Mormon” though he attends church regularly.  Since Emily has said that her evangelical Christian faith is important to her, will is-he-or-isn’t-he-a-Mormon-Jef be eliminated due to religious differences?

According to the L.A. Times, Emily and Jef had a conversation on the show about their respective faiths:

So why didn’t we see the faith conversation take place?

“There’s not enough time,” Emily lamented.

“Faith is a huge part of my life, and there’s no way I could fall in love and potentially get engaged without having that conversation. He was very open and honest about everything.”

Though this is all very ambiguous faith talk, it seems that Jef and Emily and more aligned in their values.

That’s why at least one “Evangelical for Mitt” is an “Evangelical for Jef.”

No word from Charles Mitchell on his preference, but we have heard from David.

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About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • http://discoveringgrace.wordpress.com/ Melissa Grimes

    I haven’t watched this season of The Bachelorette so I can’t say which bachelor I prefer. That being said I think that if Emily truly is a born again believer in Jesus Christ she would know better than to think about marrying someone who isn’t a Christian. Unless Jef has truly left Mormonism and denounced his faith in the religion professing faith in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation she needs to run away from him as fast as she can. Christians are commanded to not be unevenly yoked with unbelievers, to do so would only lead to heartache in the end.

    • Matt

      Mormons are Christians. The official name of the “mormon” church is The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints.

      • http://discoveringgrace.wordpress.com/ Melissa Grimes

        Which “Jesus”? Your elder spirit brother and a created being, or the one who’s an uncreated being and God incarnate? You can name drop the name of Jesus all day long but if you have the wrong one it really doesn’t mean anything.

        • joe

          melissa- quit your “my god is better tha your god” rant and grow up . this is the 21 century where there is such a thing as religous tolerance.

          • http://discoveringgrace.wordpress.com/ Melissa Grimes

            Sorry Joe, I’m not going to “quit”, or give up just because some like you tells me to. Since you’re so big on “religous [sic] tolerance” then I’m guessing you would have no problem with people sacrificing virgins and children to their false gods, now would you.
            And yes the one true God is better than any other false god out there. ;)

          • Tony Todd

            Joe, you grow up. It’s not a “my god is better than your god” rant. It’s a “if we’re going to get married and raise children together, we better have the same religious views, or there will be problems…” rant. Her point is that, while the words “Jesus” or “Christian” may be employed by Mormons and Evangelicals, there are fundamental differences in what they mean when they use those words.

        • Agkcrbs

          Setting aside private theological interpretations of an invisible God, you’re right, Melissa, that an “unequal yoke” would still always exist between the two in faith matters, necessitating some kind of accommodation that may tax one or the other. I’m not sure that Emily’s mode of worship would contain anything unfamiliar or strange to Jef, though he may respond variously to this or that doctrinal position. On the other hand, if he were to return to the practice of his faith, that would include performances like an eternal marriage or “sealing” in an LDS temple that Emily may not be inclined to participate in, nor would she even be allowed to, without obtaining membership in his church to certify her belief in the legitimacy of the doctrine.

          Returning to the private interpretations, LDS do not believe Jesus was “created” on the level that the world and men’s physical bodies were created. The Catholic/Protestant Bible, accepted as definitive by all LDS, is clear that Jesus was the creative Agent beneath his father — God created all things “by” Jesus. Neither before his birth, during his life, nor after his resurrection was Jesus in exactly the same condition as we. Despite this difference, your “elder brother” description is apt, because LDS do hold that men are the literal spiritual descendants of God, and that once sanctified and saved by Christ, they become “joint-heirs” with Christ. Physical creation to LDS is not equivalent with the spiritual formation occurring before the world was made, in which Christ is considered the “firstbegotten” of many, as also he is the firstbegotten (but not lastbegotten) from the grave. In all things, LDS view Jesus as the forerunner and exemplar of man — then why not use the language of Jesus, “my Father and your Father… my God and your God”, or “whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my [family]“?

          Of course, if any Christian considers it blasphemous for a child of God to identify with God, let him at least retain his conviction of Christ’s identity with God, and LDS will affirm that shared conviction, because they too glorify God the Son, praying in his name, remembering his body and blood, following him down into the water, begging for his mercy in sin and more confidently approaching his throne in righteousness, and striving to adhere to all of his teachings. But to attempt to define the convictions of LDS people does require a little more care than repeating the cursory observations of spectators, who no matter their affiliation are often much too eager to misunderstand the beliefs of their fellow beings merely to reassure their own sense of superiority and rectitude. Such declarations of others’ falsity are not necessarily unallowable; God’s spokespeople do have such a prerogative; but they are far, far too often the refuge of the fearful and conflict-driven, not the informed nor the inspired.

          When you have the time, venture to inform yourself, Melissa. LDS doctrine does not bite, except at sin. In time, you may find, and Emily Maynard may also find, that LDS are more “Christian” than many Christians have concluded.

        • Dwight Rogers

          It is difficult to discuss Mormon belief compared to Evangelical Christian belief until you get the Evangelicals to recognize the difference between their brand of Christian belief and Original Christian belief. Many Christians (not just Evangelicals) suffer from the same problem the Jews suffered from at the time of Christ and the Apostles. The Jews could not recognize their own Messiah when he came because they no longer believed or no longer understood their own prophet’s teachings about the Messiah. There were at least 32 different Jewish groups at the time of Christ, each thinking that their doctrine was correct and the other 31 were apostate. Jesus came to set them straight but they preferred their traditions over current revelation from the Messiah.

          In like manner Mormons are usually accused of not being Christian in the same way that Jesus was accused of not being properly Jewish by the Jews of his day.

    • http://mormon.org Tracy Hall Jr

      Melissa,

      Christ does not care an awful lot about what you believe in this life, because errors of belief can be corrected in the spirit world. (Doctrine & Covenants 138:57, http://bit.ly/OiW06b). But he does care very much about what you DO during your mortal probation! As he so clearly and emphatically taught in his parable of the sheep and the goats, there will be many, at the last judgment, who had never even heard of Christ during their mortal probation but find themselves, to their surprise, at his right hand. How? Because of their charitable WORKS! “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:31-46) http://bit.ly/NgKXws

      Also carefully note that Christ refers to all mankind, even despised Mormons, as “my brethren.” This is the pure and true doctrine of Christ!

      If you read the entire parable, you find that it is a two-edged sword. Know that when you bear false witness against the “least of these my Mormon brethren,” you bear false witness against Christ.

      I urge you to carefully consider the the informative, charitable, and truthful response of “Agkcrbs.” As my own testimony, I offer the following excerpts from the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which has been available to honest seekers of truth since 1830. I testify that these words are true!

      The Title Page, translated from Moroni’s own cover plate, declares its purpose: ” . . . to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, THE ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations.” http://bit.ly/OiQS25

      “Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.” (2 Nephi 11:4) http://bit.ly/OiS5GF

      “I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel.” 2 Nephi 25:29 http://bit.ly/OiRq7Z

      “. . . come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption.” (Omni 1:26) http://bit.ly/OiRHb2

      “And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.” (Mosiah 3:8) http://bit.ly/OiS9WJ

      “I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” Mosiah 3:17 http://bit.ly/OiScC8

      “Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled. And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled. I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” (3 Nephi 9:15-18) http://bit.ly/OiSuJ2

      “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.” (3 Nephi 11:10-11) http://bit.ly/OiSCZ2

      Finally, in agreement with the doctrine of Christ in his parable of the sheep and the goats, Moroni (the same who as a resurrected being delivered the plates to Joseph Smith) declares:

      “Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” (Moroni 7:44,47) http://bit.ly/OiRdBV

      With all thy getting, get . . . charity!

      Anyone who has so much as read the title page of “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ” must know that Latter-day Saints sincerely worship “Jesus Christ, THE ETERNAL GOD.” Those who read the entire book with a sincere and prayerful heart will certainly come closer to the living Christ.

      Tracy Hall Jr
      Klagenfurt, Austria

      • http://mormon.org Tracy Hall Jr

        A minor correction: The quote from Moroni 7:47 about charity is actually from Mormon, as recorded by his son Moroni.

    • Dwight Rogers

      Reverand Jeffress said. “And I still maintain there are vast differences in theology between Mormons and Christians.”

      This seems to be a common view among many Christians and actually they are right to say that there are some major differences, although there are more similarities than differences. However, there are also vast differences between current Christianity and Early Christianity.

      If Christianity means “historic orthodox mainstream Christianity” of today then I would agree that Mormonism is not historic Christianity; at least not in every doctrine. Although Mormons have much in common with other Christians Mormons also believe differently than historic Christians in some key areas. But the real questions to ask are 1) What is original Christianity? 2) Is mainstream Christianity of today the same as original Christianity? It turns out that Joseph Smith was right. Mormonism is a restoration of Original Christianity. It is not my intent to criticize Christians of today. However, with all the criticism of Mormonism it is important to notice that in many areas of belief Mormons are closer to original Christianity than are most Christians of today.

      Mormons believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Our first Article of Faith states: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. However “Trinity’ is a word that is not found in the Bible. Nor are the definitions and wording formulations in the extra-Biblical creeds found in the Bible. In 325 AD a council of about 300 (out of 1800 serving) bishops gathered in Nicea at the request of the pagan Emperor Constantine and formulated a creed that tried to reconcile the Biblical statements that there three persons called “God” and yet there was “one” God. They then forced all Christians to accept their solution as “gospel”, with varying results. Theological debates and other councils continued to tweak the concept for centuries which produced additional creeds.

      Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

      For example; in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is a non-Biblical creed, we read that “there is but one God, a most holy spirit, without body, parts or passions,” thus denying the resurrected Christ, for if Christ is not risen and we do not believe him when he tells us that he has an immortal body, we can then have no hope of a resurrection (Phil 3:21.)

      Contrary to the creeds, the resurrected Jesus taught: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and ones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39)

      From this passage we know that Jesus had his physical body after the resurrection. We also know that when Christ comes again, he will still have his physical body. (Zech. 14:4; 12:10; 13:6; John 20:24-28, Acts 1:9-11; Rev 1:7; 1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20, 35-42; D&C 93:33).

      It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles. Most of the wording formulations in these creeds cannot be found in the Bible. This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. It is well known to historians that Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.

      The Bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rejected as non-Christian by many Christians of today.

      In many areas of belief (probably the majority of areas) Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe the same as most other Christians. It is true that in some limited areas – some very critical ones – the beliefs of Mormons differ from other Christians. Likewise there are some major areas of difference between Catholics and Protestants and likewise between one Protestant group and the next. Every denomination could make the claim that the other groups are not Christian because those other beliefs differ from their own.

      Joseph Smith taught “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it”. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

      The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I don’t know what is. Christ never taught the need to believe in anything like the creeds. Those came later.

      Mormon belief matches up well with the teachings of the earlier Christians – before the creeds – and also matches the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. The further back in time you go the more Mormon-like Christian doctrine becomes. Mormons are often portrayed as non-Christian when we don’t believe in the later extra-Biblical creedal formulations.

      The early Christians did not have the extra-Biblical creeds of later centuries. Were they then not Christian? The ontological debates and the wording formations of later centuries are not found in the words of Jesus or the words of the Apostles or in the words of the pre-creedal Christians . There is not a word about a one substance god in the Bible or in the early beliefs. If believing in the creeds is necessary to be Christian then that makes the earlier Christians not Christian – it even makes Christ not Christian.

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  • tat

    The basic idea behind mormonism that God and Jesus were once both human and they EARNED their way to heaven. Christianity and the Bible (translated directly from the original language, not 20+ times like mormons claim) says that God is Alpha and Omega, He never changed, he is the same now, he was and will be the same. Jesus is the only Son, therefore, God in nature, not human. So there is a huge difference between the too religions. Mormonism is based on a ‘prophecy ‘ from a guy that was foaming at the mouth , Christianity is based on God’s word given through several people that have the same theme. God is powerful enough to ensure that He gives His word to us, why people want to trust one guy that can’t even get his story straight? I don’t know……..
    BTW, you cannot earn your way to heaven or goodhood, never! Jesus is the only way.

    • Agkcrbs

      Find the happy middle ground, Tat. It is possible to reject another religion without believing or reciting misrepresentations about it.

      LDS also aver that the qualities of divinity and divine truth are unchangeable; to them, this does not preclude divine increase, nor the achievement of divinity which all Christians expect in some form or another, through Christ. In the first place, LDS stand apart from the strict dichotomy of divine and non-divine that has permeated Middle-Eastern philosophy and religion. To LDS, the difference is gradable and reconcilable, not binary, not an eternal barrier between God and God’s children. With Jesus as a model, LDS do feel that God’s omniscience grows out of experience rather than being inexplicably innate, and that God has an interest in adding upon himself. God was God before creating this world as well as after, but there was one more world in the universe after, which he filled with his children. That doesn’t require that God was “changeable” or imperfect, although creation is a change. In the Bible, Jesus went from divinity to mortal condescenscion to greater divinity, having endured all and conquered all, and being given a name above all, meaning that he did not possess the name until it was given. That doesn’t mean he deviated from godhood, but it does show an expansion of his nature. And as soon as you, Tat, can move beyond prejudice and strife and put on Christ’s nature yourself, God will increase again to the degree of your sanctified soul.

      It’s certain that neither men nor devils disobey their way into heaven, nor talk their way in with false confessions. The thing that makes a confession true or false is whether or not it exists beyond its own verbalisation. And faith is living or dead depending on whether it is practiced or neglected. Men do not provide themselves with salvation, but they do work out their salvation. To cry for rescue is an act of self-help. We may be inspired to put ourselves in the path of grace; God may impel us, but we don’t understand that he compels us.

      While salvation is chosen, it’s not thought of as “earned”, because “earning” is laden with implications of self-congratulation, pride, comparison, and non-dependence. But LDS admit such motives themselves are disqualifiers of divine mercy. LDS could also choose to hastily interpret your views of grace, Tat, as a form of theological socialism, equalising good and bad, robbing man of essential humanity, and perverting justice; you then would have to explain that when you consider yourself “saved”, that does not free you to rebellion against him who saved you, but oppositely binds you to his service as an outgrowth of your having been saved. I submit to you that whether you pray for mercy and live, or LDS pray and live for mercy, neither are relying on their own ability to achieve what is clearly impossible for humans to achieve.

      Where one thinks God’s power is shown in ensuring his ancient word up to and including a culminating revelation and then never revealing again, another thinks God’s power is also displayed in speaking anew in all ages of the earth. Both are giving God the best honour they know. Rather than one “foaming” man, LDS lean on a continuing apostleship, having consisted of dozens of witnesses. When you gravitate toward disbelief of modern prophecy, Tat, I think you have seriously overestimated the popularity of Biblical messengers, and have failed to consider the Old and New Testament lesson that much less faith is needed to rest on accepted, ancient traditions of heavenly expressions than to respond to a modern expression. Of course, not all new claims are to be swallowed whole, whether in Palestine two millennia ago or today. But at the minimum, some humility is called for, when one’s own faith tradition began as a widely misunderstood “heresy” against the universally acknowledged verities of an older orthodoxy, the battling sects of which were at least united in resisting any addition to what was thought to already be God’s final revelation.

    • Dwight Rogers

      Dependence on the grace of Jesus Christ is one of the central beliefs of Mormons. It is the critics of Mormonism who say that Mormons believe they are going to earn their way to heaven by their works. Mormon’s don’t teach that and it is a straw man argument invented by anti-Mormons. Mormons don’t teach that we can earn our way to heaven without the grace of Christ. You see, the critics are so determined to make Mormonism look non-Biblical that they have to invent straw-man Mormon doctrines.

      Note what Mormons believe taken from their own sources:

      Alma 22:14 (from the Book of Mormon)
      14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

      2 Nephi 25:23 (from the Book of Mormon)
      23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

      2 Nephi 24:26 (from the Book of Mormon)
      “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)

      2 Nephi 10:24-25 (From the Book of Mormon):

      24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
      25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.

      In the Bible we find both the teaching of salvation by Grace and the teaching of repentance and obedience to the commandments. They are both true. They are both Biblical. Some Christians cherry pick the teachings of the Bible, focusing on one thing that they like and ignore the other parts. Mormons believe ALL of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We try our best to understand and believe all of it. Grace and Works are two sides to the same coin. The Apostle Paul writes a lot about salvation by grace. This was to combat the tenancy in many early Jews who converted to Christianity to fall back on obeying the works oriented law of Moses. People who think they can work their way to salvation have missed the grace side of the coin. However, in Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, and other places, Paul also stresses the necessity to obey the commandments. He gives lists of sinful behavior such as adultery, fornication, lying, and so forth, and says that people who do these will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. For instance see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. And let’s not forget about James 2:14-20,24.

      The Apostle Peter tells us that even after accepting Christ one must turn from sin and obey lest he fall from grace:

      2 Peter 2:20-22
      20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
      21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
      22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

      Peter said clearly that he was talking about people who had been evil (see prior verses) but “have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 2:20) and about people who “have known the way of righteousness.”(2 Peter 2:21). Peter says that even the angels can sin and be cast out of Heaven and down to hell (2 Peter 2:4)

      Obeying God is clearly the other side of the coin to the teachings of grace in the Bible. It is incomplete to stress only Grace or only Works. They are both part of the gospel as taught in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Even confessing that Jesus is our savior is a work that we must actually do. If we were saved from sin solely on grace alone than salvation would be automatic regardless of what we do. There would be no need to even confess Jesus as our Savior let alone try to live a good Christian life.

      The specific teaching “once saved always saved” is not in the Bible and must be derived by placing specific interpretation on several Bible verses. Then there’s the problem that it contradicts Peter. Jesus taught that we will abide in His love “If ye keep my commandments.” (John 15:10; see also John 14:15,21,23; See also John’s teaching: 1 John 2;3-4.).

      In other words, we abide in his love (grace) after we have done our best to keep his commandments. Granted, that we cannot keep his commandments on our own, we fall short, and we desperately need His help, and His Grace, to be able to do so. And even after our best effort we fall short which means that we desperately need His Grace. We can’t earn our way to Heaven! See also John’s teaching: 1 John 2;3-4.

      We read the teaching of the Savior where He lists some of the commandments we must keep to “have treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21; Luke 18:20-22). Again, we can’t keep those commandments without His grace. We can’t do it on our own. Nevertheless, we can’t deny Jesus’ words that we must do it.

      Jesus taught that whoso breaks the commandments, even “the least of these” and “teach men so” will be “the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19). Here, Jesus is saying the same thing that Mormons say, or more accurately, Mormons teach what Jesus taught. Mormons are following the teaching of Jesus concerning keeping the commandments when we “do and teach them.” Those are the words of Jesus: “do and teach them.”

      Mormons are often accused of ignoring Christ’s grace and of trying to work their way to salvation. However, an accurate look at what Mormons actually teach shows a very balanced approach which mirrors the balanced teaching of Grace and Works found in the Bible.

      One Evangelical Christian author wrote of his sudden discovery that his previous beliefs about salvation were very different from those held by the early Christians:

      “If there’s any single doctrine that we would expect to find the faithful associates of the apostles teaching, it’s the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. After all, that is the cornerstone doctrine of the Reformation. In fact, we frequently say that persons who don’t hold to this doctrine aren’t really Christians…

      “Our problem is that Augustine, Luther, and other Western theologians have convinced us that there’s an irreconcilable conflict between salvation based on grace and salvation conditioned on works or obedience. They have used a fallacious form of argumentation known as the “false dilemma,” by asserting that there are only two possibilities regarding salvation: it’s either (1) a gift from God or (2) it’s something we earn by our works.
      The early Christians [and Latter-day Saints!] would have replied that a gift is no less a gift simply because it’s conditioned on obedience….

      “The early Christians believed that salvation is a gift from God but that God gives His gift to whomever He chooses. And He chooses to give it to those who love and obey him.” (David W. Bercot, Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today’s Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity, 3rd edition, (Tyler, Texas: Scroll Publishing Company, 1999[1989]), 57, 61–62)

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  • Stacy

    Wow. I am quite shocked reading all these comments. I am a Mormon. I am a women I served a mission for my church and I have friends of various faiths. I believe in the Jesus Christ whom was born of Mary the Virgin and who died for all of us. I think we all believe in that Jesus right? My religion is different in some ways then others but I never have said a negative thing about another religion. Religion brings you closer to God and brings you joy and peace why would I take that away from someone else. If they are interested in learning more about my religion then yes I share. If they are happy in there own then I understand because I am happy in mine. I don’t judge I don’t say false things or negative things. That is a shame. Emily is a big girl and she commented in an article that religion is a big deal and had a talk with Jef about it so really don’t you think she can make that decision for herself without thinking she is going to hell for being with a Mormon or possibly joining Mormonism as you call it. I sure never thought that of my friends in other churches kind of wish you all did research it more. You don’t have to like it you don’t have to believe it. But it would be nice after all these years of intolerance to have a little respect. My name is Stacy I am Christian and yes Mormon are Christian. I will not reply to those that want to fight. Just hope this opens up your eyes to what you are doing. We are all bothers and sisters and Jesus himself was among sinners and love EVERYONE! So if you want to name drop that you are Christian well then you better love like one.

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  • Sean

    It seems there is some good discussion, some misrepresentation and some anger on both sides of this argument. This all seems to indicate to me that 1) what is being discussed is important and 2) there is some disagreement.

    In regards to 1, it would seem that implications for eternity are at stake. There are four overall options for us in relation to claims about eternity, one of most importance being “how does one enter heaven, or paradise, the afterlife etc…” : 1. Both Mormon/LDS and Evangelical claims are true (I’m using Evangelical to simplify) 2. Both Mormon and Evangelical claims are false. 3. Mormon claims are true but Evangelical claims are false. 4. Mormon claims are false but Evangelical claims are true.

    It would seem that neither side would agree with 2, why would someone believe in something they thought to be false? (this is a simple comment, not some extensive, claim for claim argument to be clear) 1 also would be stricken from the record, since the idea of an afterlife is quite different in LDS theology vs Evangelical theology. That leaves us with 3 and 4. One is right or the other is. This is generally speaking. I’m not saying 100% of LDS theology is incorrect or 100% of Evangelical theology is incorrect. There are important differences that matter for eternity as I stated before. Some of those differences have been hashed out already. I don’t want to focus on the differences, what first needs to be looked at is how did we get to this point?

    For the evangelical, the bible is seen as inerrant and infallible, for the mormon it is not. From my understanding, the LDS belief is that Joseph Smith prayed to God on which church to join and God’s response was “none” because all had been corrupted. This is where the crux of the argument comes to a head. We need to evaluate, based on internal (inside each opinion) and external evidence two claims. For the evangelical: that the Bible has not been changed and that the evangelical faith is the faith of Jesus. For the mormon: that the Bible has been changed, though it is not entirely corrupted, as long as it is correctly translated and that the mormon faith is the faith of Jesus.

    How will we go about this? For the Evangelical it would seem that claims should be taken seriously from the Mormons. Let us study the scriptures entirely, allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. If the bible is corrupted it would seem that it would not be internally consistent. It would also seem that God would let us know somehow as we read it. Perhaps this would be a good test, perhaps not. For an individual it might be helpful, but it could easily be an argument of “he said, she said” with opposite opinions, since this test would be very subjective, based on the reader’s point of view.

    A question might be asked, how would we know if it is corrupted or not without some sort of standard to measure it against? This is a good question to ask, because both sides have to answer and both have to examine outside evidence. For the evangelical, it could pointed out that there is manuscript evidence, of the 24,000+ manuscripts we have of the bible which show a transcription (copying) accuracy of around 98%, with errors mainly falling into transposition errors (changing the order of letters) and insignificant things like that. No major evangelical doctrines are at stake. Even without this manuscript evidence, quotations from early church fathers could nearly replicate the entire bible, just from their quoting of it. This is evidence of some external evidence for the evangelical side. Google “manuscript evidence for the bible” and read what some of the authors say. http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=manuscript+evidence+for+the+bible&oq=manuscript+evi&gs_l=hp.3.0.0l4j0i30l6.24.191.1.1836.3.2.0.0.0.0.231.377.0j1j1.2.0…0.0…1c.rpcBypVMwM4&pbx=1&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=620f4183c90141be&biw=1280&bih=653
    This gives positive evidence for the Bible being reliable. It is now up to the Mormon side to demonstrate that the bible has been corrupted in order to refute this external evidence for biblical reliability.

    As far as the Mormon side goes, one cannot make a statement and use that as justification or evidence for that statement. I don’t think that is what the Mormon claim is. If the claim is, “the bible is corrupted” that is not a good claim if it is without evidence. As I stated before, internal evidence, like internal inconsistencies could be a test for corruption. As I also stated though, that is very open to individual opinion and is therefore not the best test. A better test I think would be to stack up external evidence. Since the claim is made by Joseph Smith, we should probably check to see if he is a trustworthy source for making such a claim, we would have to evaluate whether or not he is truly a prophet of God. “If you are a Mormon, you maybe thinking: here comes the anti-Mormon hate.” My aim is not hate, but evaluation. If evangelicals can be open to have their views debated, and critically examined, which will often involve disagreement and evidence, so must Mormons.

    How might we evaluate whether someone is or is not a prophet of God, or some sort of teacher from God? Joseph Smith is not alone in claiming to be a prophet. Prophets have special teachings from God that may or may not include predictions of future events, just to be clear. Jesus himself claimed to have special knowledge of God, as did Muhammad, as did Joseph Smith as have many people. They can not all be from God if they teach contrary things. We should evalute them, but we are focusing on Joseph Smith right now. One way we could evaluate Joseph Smith would be to examine his teachings and revelations and see if they are consistent. Here is one case of such an evaluation, look at it for yourself: http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/contradictionsinldsscriptures_verses.htm#Moroni8v22-23 As I have made the case that inside evidence can often be interpreted differently by different people, again this may not be the best test. For some people this is the only test they will do, of any opposing belief system, religion, etc. We need to move beyond this alone though and look at external facts, so we can work against our own biases. One thing to check would be did Joseph Smith live up to the guidelines that he set out in his own teachings? A case against this would be in his revelation of plural marriage of virgins, when he himself also married current wives of other men: http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no112.htm#Virgins . Judge for yourself whether this content is true or not. There are many things to examine. http://www.utlm.org/ has reprints of older Mormon publications, newspapers, etc. It has things in print so that the reader can make up his/her own mind.

    For me and I think all of us, this is a very important issue. Spiritual consequences for eternity are at stake. I have not spent my whole life studying this issues like Sandra (great, great granddaughter of Brigham Young) and Jerald Tanner. They love the Mormon church and people in it. I too love my friends and family that are Mormon. God loves them more than any person can though overall. As you can guess I am an evangelical. I don’t think that the LDS faith, as I understand it, has a full understand of who Jesus is and how to have a saving faith in him. Ultimately God will judge us all, but we do need to reason with each other from the scriptures as Jesus reasoned and as Paul reasoned. We have the Bible in common, let us read it and pray that God will give us understanding. Let us also have understanding of each other where we can listen, but also challenge.

    • Becca

      A very well stated end to this discussion.


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