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It is written:
Matthew 7:21-23-Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
John 8:32-And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
2 Peter 2:1-But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
1 John 4:1-Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Jude 3-Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
The Bible commands us as Christians to carefully examine the claims of other religions. This is done in a spirit of honesty like the Bereans demonstrate in that we search the Scriptures daily with a noble heart (Acts 17:11).
This of course will include investigating the claims of our friends in the church known as the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (known more commonly and referred to in this series of studies with respect and no ill-will as Mormons). The book of Mormon itself and many of the leaders of Mormonism tell us that we need to carefully examine the teachings of this religion.
“Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. 15 If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who wilfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an impostor cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith: Volumes 1-3, 3654-3661 (Kindle Edition); Salt Lake City, Utah; Deseret Book Company)
“Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test”. (Brigham Young, The Complete Journal of Discourses – Deluxe LDS Reference Edition – with Comprehensive TOPICAL Guide, Multiple Indexes, Speaker Biographies, & Over 12,500 Links by Erastus Snow, Orson Hyde, et al, 155629 (Kindle Edition))
Perhaps most amazingly:
“The nature of the message in the Book of Mormon is such, that if true, no one can possibly be saved and reject it; if false, no one can possibly be saved and receive it. Therefore, every soul in all the world is equally interested in ascertaining its truth or falsity. In a matter of such infinite importance no person should rest satisfied with the conjectures or opinions of others: he should use every exertion himself to become acquainted with the nature of the message: he should carefully examine the evidences of which it is offered to the world: he should, with all patience and perseverance, seek to acquire a certain knowledge whether it be of God or not. Without such an investigation in the most careful, candid, and impartial manner, he cannot safely judge without greatly hazarding his future and eternal welfare. If, after a rigid examination, it be found an imposition, it should be extensively published to the world as such; the evidences and arguments upon which the imposture was detected, should be clearly and logically stated, that those who have been sincerely yet unfortunately deceived, may perceive the nature of the deception, and be reclaimed, and that those who continue to publish the delusion, may be exposed and silenced, not by physical force, neither by persecutions, bare assertions, nor ridicule, but by strong and powerful arguments—by evidences adduced from scripture and reason. Such, and such only, should be the weapons employed to detect and overthrow false doctrines—to reclaim mankind from their errors—to expose religious enthusiasm—and put to silence base and wicked impostors.” (Orson Pratt, Orson Pratt’s Works, 2095 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added, M.T.); Salt Lake City, Utah; Deseret Book Company)
We investigate these matters carefully, as the Word of God commands us to. We apply our minds and carefully “reason” about these matters:
Acts 17:2-Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths REASONED with them from the Scriptures,
Acts 17:17-Therefore he REASONED in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.
Acts 18:4-And he REASONED in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
Acts 18:19-And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and REASONED with the Jews.
Acts 19:8-9-And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, REASONING and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, REASONING daily in the school of Tyrannus.
Acts 24:12-And they neither found me in the temple DISPUTING with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city.
Acts 24:25-Now as he REASONED about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”
The specified word used in these passages is dialegomai.
“dialegomai means “to reason, argue, prove, persuade…If we are to emulate Paul’s preaching and teaching, we must do much more than just talk. dialegomai involves preaching and teaching that harnesses reason and logic into a defensive and positive exposition of God’s Word to persuade and edify.” (William D. Mounce (General Editor, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1103 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)
Christianity utilizes the law of rationality, accepting only those conclusions which are warranted by the evidence (cf. Acts 26:25). Now, this is vastly different from what our Mormon friends are advised to do. Notice how this is different from Mormonism:
Moroni 10:4-And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
The Bible continually warns us against using our emotions as a standard of evaluating truth, for emotions are easily swayed.
Proverbs 14:12-There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 28:26-He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
Acts 17:11-These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-Test all things; hold fast what is good.
Let us carefully examine these matters as God’s Word declares.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.