Apologist v. Apologist: Are Mormons Christian?

Posted: December 5, 2021 in Apologist v. Apologist, Christ, Jesus Christ, Michael Flournoy, Mormon Studies
An Ex-Mormon Apologist Faces His Most Formidable Foe: His Past Self

by Michael Flournoy
I confess that I looked away when the Mormon looked at me with a pained look and asked, “Are you saying we’re not Christian?” It’s the most awkward part of discussing theology with Latter-day Saints. As Evangelicals, we’re left speechless. We can’t simply say no because of their reaction. To them, they are so obviously Christian, that any assertion to the contrary is simply absurd – laughable in fact. Ridiculous! Absurd! Stupid beyond words!

To them, it’s just the excuse they need to write us off forever. Clearly, we’re just hateful antis who are more interested in fighting against God than having a fair discussion. I have had many conversations end here, with Latter-day Saints walking away shaking their heads, and I’m not alone, I’m sure.

I have come to realize that our response to that question should be, “That’s an interesting question. Why do you think you’re Christian?” This encourages dialogue instead of stifling it. It opens a door rather than slamming it shut with the sound of deadbolts being pulled. We can then go point by point, and give each argument the attention it deserves rather than simply being shut down and out. To illustrate, let’s consider my old Mormon Apologist arguments through fresh eyes, and explain why the typical Evangelical response left me unconvinced back in the day.

Case in point, in my book, “A Biblical Defense of Mormonism”, Michael the Mormon Apologist attempted to persuade Evangelicals that Mormons were Christian too. I spent half a chapter trying to scare them out of preaching to Latter-day Saints. After all, I argued, Mormons could be Christian. I pointed to the apostle Paul, who persecuted Christians but later said he was the least of the apostles because of it. Clearly, the only thing to be gained by messing with Mormons was a future of shame and regret.

To that, today’s Michael the Ex-Mormon Apologist calls, “Baloney!” He says, “You’re telling me that I’m supposed to avoid preaching to someone because they might be saved and that would be embarrassing? How exactly? I would be tickled to find a Mormon I preached to in God’s Kingdom, and I think they’d feel the same about me. No one says ‘I told you so’ in heaven, do they, Mr. Mormon?”

Here’s the reality. The possibility that I didn’t preach to an unsaved sinner because he seemed Christian is the graver error. The end result of that isn’t a little awkwardness. It’s a soul damned for eternity. Christians should be too afraid not to preach the gospel.

I also find it fascinating that my old Mormon Apologist equated preaching with persecution. Granted, there are times Evangelicals heap real persecution on Latter-day Saints, but challenging their theology doesn’t fit the bill. Stated plainly, disagreement is disagreement, not persecution. After all, if it is then Mormon Missionaries are some of the biggest persecutors on the planet, aren’t they? After all, they are called by their church with preaching to those that they disagree with, aren’t they? And that’s exactly what they do, isn’t it?

Latter-day Saints should welcome the challenge. If their theology proves stronger, it’s a chance to win us to their side. The fact that most of them prefer to throw out pejorative names like “anti-Mormon” instead of talking is a major sign they’re in a cult instead of a religion. To this day, I agree with Mormon Apostle, Orson Pratt when he said,

“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 ever be grateful for the information and you will ever have the pleasing reflections that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you see enveloping their minds.”
(Orson Pratt, “The Seer”, p. 15)

In my book, I defined a Christian as someone who believes in Christ and accepts Him as their personal Savior,

“So whether The Book of Mormon is true or Joseph Smith was a prophet are irrelevant to this specific point.

For this question, all that really matters is whether we believe in Christ or not. As it turns out, we do. We believe Jesus was more than a prophet. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, and our Hope. Nephi of The Book of Mormon said, “…We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy 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).”
(Michael Flournoy, “A Biblical Defense of Mormonism”, p.34)

It has always amazed me how quick Mormons are to quote the dictionary like it is scripture. The current edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a Christian as, “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Yet, my Mormon Apologist self was careful not to define a Christian simply as one who believes in Christ. If he had, I would have pulled out my Bible and read James 2:19 (ESV) which says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!”

So, according to the dictionary, demons must be Christian, right? But that’s clearly not enough, is it? There’s more to being a Christian than having the knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah. We must accept Him as Lord and Savior as well, mustn’t we?

Michael the Mormon Apologist did, in fact, assert that “we must accept the Lord”, but he and I have different ideas of what that means. He believed it meant receiving LDS ordinances and keeping the commandments. I believe it’s receiving His righteousness through faith alone.

My old self tried to create a choke point by dismissing the need to talk about Joseph Smith or The Book of Mormon. To that I say, let’s broaden the playing field. Believing in false scripture and prophets does matter, particularly when they teach a pseudo gospel, just as Paul warned us: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”
(Galatians 1:8 ESV)

The Greek word used for accursed is anathema, which implies ex-communication by an ecclesiastical leader. In Mormonism, ex-communication and salvation are mutually exclusive propositions.

My Mormon Apologist counterpart pointed out that many Latter-day Saints think that having Jesus in the name of their church proves they are Christian. I wrote:

“It should come as no surprise then, that Latter-day Saints are flabbergasted when someone says we aren’t Christian. It’s very common for us to say, ‘Look at the name of our church, it has Jesus’ name in it. Of course we’re Christian!'”(Michael Flournoy, “A Biblical Defense of Mormonism”, p.35)

If your church’s name makes you a Christian, then what’s to stop me from starting my own church and naming it “The Church of Jesus Christ of the Better Latter-day Saint Restoration”? Would that make a Latter-day Saint? Would that make me a Latter-Saint Restorationist? Would naming myself Jesus Christ make me the Messiah? Of course not. Going further, back then I wrote:

“So maybe we do believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate Gods, and maybe we do believe the Father and Son have bodies of flesh and bone as tangible as man’s. But you know what, it’s still irrelevant…

The Bible places emphasis on knowing God, not knowing about Him. Thus we can assume that a simple disciple who has a relationship with God is better off than a scholar who knows all about Him, but hasn’t bothered to get to know Him personally.”
(Michael Flournoy, “A Biblical Defense of Mormonism”, p.35)

Obviously, there’s a lot to unpack here. In this highly contrived hypothetical situation, it’s true that an unlearned disciple is better off than an unsaved scholar. But that doesn’t mean God will overlook an incorrect ontological view of Him. The Bible says it like this,

“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”
(Acts 17:29-30 ESV)

In other words, it’s a sin to view God incorrectly. And while Michael the Mormon Apologist had no problem classifying Evangelicals as Christian, Michael the Ex-Mormon Apologist now sees far too many differences now for us to have the same Jesus. Specifically, our Jesus was never created. Our Jesus was always God. He never had to take a body to become complete. Our Jesus is one in essence with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Our Jesus saves sinners despite their works, not because of them. Michael the Mormon Apologist would have been appalled at this. Back then I argued,

“How much ignorance are we allowed to have before God withholds His grace?

Here’s why I ask: some Christians believe Melchezidek was Christ, some describe the Trinity in terms of Modalism, some Christians believe God chose who would be saved before we were born, and others think He’s the type to let us choose. Many Christians I’ve been in discussions with have even said the Trinity is mysterious.”
(Michael Flournoy, “A Biblical Defense of Mormonism”, p.36)

I, the Mormon Apologist, then quoted Acts 17:23 (KJV) where Paul pointed to an altar with the inscription: ‘To the unknown god’, and said, “Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” My argument was that God could be worshipped in ignorance. Otherwise, even Evangelicals couldn’t be called Christian due to their fragmented beliefs. But my arguments were misinformed. The Trinity is mysterious, but not in regards to the descriptions given in the Bible. We know what kind of a Being God is. As far as Modalism, they too are outside the bounds of Christianity and need repentance.

That might sound like nitpicking to Latter-day Saints, but even they have their limits. After all, they wouldn’t consider Muslims to be Christian, but I could use their logic to argue that they are. After all, don’t they believe in Christ? Sure, they don’t think He’s divine, and maybe they mistakenly call Heavenly Father “Allah”, but that’s just ignorant worship. Based on the dictionary, they’re Christians too, right?

Mormons can win the argument for their deviant form of Christianity, but merely on a technicality. Relying on a textbook definition to be saved is like relying on another driver’s blinker to keep from being hit. It’s the intentions that matter, not whether someone has their blinker on.

If I could tell Latter-day Saints anything, I’d remind them that Christ isn’t bringing a dictionary on Judgment Day. If our names aren’t written in the Book of Life, we’ll be damned forever. Salvation is an intensely personal matter. It’s not the name of our church that’s found in the Book of Life. We can’t get in under the prophet’s umbrella. It’s our names we should worry about. 

So the right question isn’t, “Are Mormons Christian?” The real, right question is for the individual, “Are you a Christian? Are you on His right hand? Is your name written in The Book of Life, and if so, by whose merits – your own flawed sin-tainted works, or His flawless, perfect, and holy work?”

There are thousands of nominal Christians in the world today who show up for church and go through the motions. If asked, they’ll claim Christianity as their religious affiliation. But that’s not the same as being born again. Jesus couldn’t have been clearer on this,

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
(Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Friend, there’s no participation trophy for being in a Christian church. Even if we’ve done good works and ordinances in Christ’s name, they won’t count towards righteousness. In the end, all that really matters is whether or not we know Jesus – that is the real Jesus of time, space, and history that can be found and is revealed in the Bible. Fictional, man-contrived Jesus’s (and, trust me, there are many, many, many false Jesus’s) simply don’t count, do they?1

So in the end, can a Latter-day Saint be a Christian? Absolutely. Christ can save someone anywhere, at any time, be it in a temple, a prison, a mosque, a bar, or a gutter. He can and will save us right when and where we are right now. Just as we are – ugly, broken, bitter, dirty, and damaged. Period. In fact, He does it every day!

So the better question is this: Does the LDS church truly meet the requirements to be called a Christian church since it teaches another God, another Jesus, and another gospel than what is taught in the Bible? In other words, can the true Jesus of the Bible save a Latter-day Saint despite the false teachings of the LDS Church rather than because of those teachings? This is a question that simply never dawned on Michael the Mormon Apologist as a possibility – but it’s intriguing, isn’t it?

However, that also is another conversation for the Ex-Mormon Apologist to have with the Mormon Apologist on another day (or maybe two, or three). Stay tuned to this channel, there’s more – a lot more – to come!

The front cover of “A Biblical Defense of Mormonism”


1 Case in point, please consider the False Jesus of Self-Realization Fellowship:

“Jesus Christ is very much alive and active today. In Spirit and occasionally taking on a flesh-and-blood form, he is working unseen by the masses for the regeneration of the world. With his all-embracing love, Jesus is not content merely to enjoy his blissful consciousness in Heav­en. He is deeply concerned for mankind and wishes to give his followers the means to attain the divine freedom of entry into God’s Infinite Kingdom. He is disappointed because many are the churches and temples founded in his name, often prosperous and powerful, but where is the communion that he stressed — actual contact with God? Jesus wants temples to be established in human souls, first and foremost; then established outwardly in physical places of worship. Instead, there are countless huge edifices with vast congregations being indoctrinated in churchianity, but few souls who are really in touch with Christ through deep prayer and meditation.

“To reestablish God in the temples of souls through revival of the original teachings of God-communion as propounded by Christ and Krishna is why I was sent to the West by Mahavatar Babaji….

“Babaji is ever in communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age.”
(Paramahansa Yogananda, “The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You”, Introduction; also see “Spiritual Lineage” Self-Realization Fellowship website)

Banner Art: An image from the iconic Mad Magazine, “Spy v. Spy” cartoon series. (copyright Antonio Prohias, the Prohias Estate, Mad Magazine, and Mad Book) 

Comments
  1. Michael Flournoy could not have been much of a defender of the Gospel of Jesus Christ if he did not long ago know why these claims are too lame to be credibly asserted.

    “So, according to the dictionary, demons must be Christian, right?” No, that’s not what the dictionary says. The argument here deliberately conflates awareness of Jesus’ divinity with the affirmation of his teachings. The dictionary definition cited here is “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” No demons do that. Moreover, “belief” is itself an ambiguous term; does it refer to mere affirmation or does it translate into action or behavior as, “[someone who] follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.” (Collins dictionary)

    “It has always amazed me how quick Mormons are to quote the dictionary like it is scripture.” Um, no. Many, almost all, people (not only Latter-day Saints) refer to dictionaries as sources for the commonly understood meaning of words in the common language, in this case English. You would think that even Michael Flournoy would know this. It should scarcely be a source of amazement or, worse, sarcasm. But what Flournoy wants to do here, wrongly, is to tie the word Christian so specifically to the theology and practice of the Protestant Reformation as to exclude those who might understand just how flawed that theology and practice actually is. There is zero justification for doing that.

    “In other words, it’s a sin to view God incorrectly.” This is really risible. Evangelicals thinking that they have figured out the divine metaphysics enough to know that the Lord demands the right answer as a condition of salvation, itself a term that Evangelicals only poorly understand. This claim, by the way, actually makes a mockery of the grace of God; a grace that these very same Evangelicals claim that they understand while the poor deceived “Mormons” do not. No. Nothing in the scriptures tells us that salvation results from a theology exam, or of getting the metaphysics of trinitarianism right. In fact, such a proposition is directly contrary to the idea that salvation is unearned.

    But that gets me away from what is wrong with the statement, “In other words, it’s a sin to view God incorrectly.” The principal error there is in the phrase, “In other words.” Reformed apologists do this literally all the time; they refer to a decontextualized pericope of scripture and then paraphrase it as meaning something very different from what a decent exegesis would supply. The commandment to which Paul refers on Mars Hill (Acts 17:30) was not a commandment to anticipate trinitarian dogma by 300 years or so; the commandment referred to is the commandment of repentance for all transgressions against the law of God, the “Lord of heaven and earth.” (v. 24). Paul was declaring doctrine that is either rejected by Reformed theologians or accepted only conditionally, namely, the doctrine that we are God’s children (v. 28) and that we should seek and find him (v. 27) and thereafter live righteously according to his commandments, in order to be judged by him according to that righteousness (v. 31) at the resurrection (vv. 31-32). It has not one little bitty thing to do with “view[ing] God correctly,” by which Flournoy apparently means “correctly” (in his view) understanding that the unity of the Godhead (v. 29) has something to do with a numerical census of divine “Beings” or whatever the indecipherable (and unbiblical) claim is supposed to be. As a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it has been remarkable for me to observe just how rapidly any conversation with my former co-religionists (Evangelicals or similar) devolves into internally inconsistent (and even un-arithmetic) assertions about how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit somehow have to be understood as being all mashed together in a way that no one can quite explain.

    I could keep going but anyway the point is that Michael Flournoy could not have been much of a defender of the Gospel of Jesus Christ if he did not long ago know why the claims in his essay are too lame to be credibly asserted.

    Like

    • Herb Tuten says:

      Mr. Anderson, let me see if I understand correctly. You disagree with the statement, “it’s a sin to view God incorrectly.” Is that right?
      Obviously, one could exegete the daylights out of Acts 17:29-30. The ignorance God once ‘winked at’ can no longer be tolerated in light of the full Gospel of Christ. You hit a few highlights from Paul’s speech (employing your own brand of “in other words”)… but snippets of numerous verses from the entire Bible could support Acts 17:29-30.
      Obviously, Mr. Flournoy’s article was kept brief and focused. I have no idea why you would find his concise restatement of the Apostle Paul’s simple truth laughable… so I’ll ask again; do you disagree with the conclusion that we must view God correctly? Note: ‘How’ we define this correct view is a broader topic, and separate from what I’m asking.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “Michael Flournoy could not have been much of a defender of the Gospel of Jesus Christ if he did not long ago know why these claims are too lame to be credibly asserted.”

      Well in the words of renowned scientist and philosopher, Edzard Ernst:

      “Eventually, I realised that an ad hominem attack often is an important signal indicating that the attacker is wrong, very wrong indeed. It is nothing else than an open admission by “the other side” that they have no more reasonable arguments, that they are resorting to unreasonable notions, and that they have lost not just the plot but also the debate. In other words, being personally attacked in this way is a compliment and an unfailing sign of victory – and, if that is so, we should be proud of every single ad hominem attack we get after a well-reasoned debate.”
      (Edzard Ernst, “Ad hominem attacks are signs of victories of reason over unreason”; https://edzardernst.com/2012/12/ad-hominem-attacks-are-signs-of-victories-of-reason-over-unreason/ )

      So I guess at this point Mr. Flournoy can declare victory over your unreasonable notions, eh, Mr. Anderson?

      Nevertheless, we continue…

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “So, according to the dictionary, demons must be Christian, right?” No, that’s not what the dictionary says. The argument here deliberately conflates awareness of Jesus’ divinity with the affirmation of his teachings. The dictionary definition cited here is “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” No demons do that.”

      And yet the demons fight, attack, and try to undermine and destroy Christ’s teachings in our lives, don’t they Mr. Anderson? So if they don’t believe them then why are they fighting them?

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “Moreover, “belief” is itself an ambiguous term; does it refer to mere affirmation or does it translate into action or behavior as, “[someone who] follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.” (Collins dictionary)”

      And we have a Goal Post Move via a Semantic Fallacy. Also from the dictionary here is the unambiguous definition of the word, “belief” – please note definitions 2 and 3 in particular.

      belief
      noun
      be·​lief | \ bə-ˈlēf \
      Definition of belief
      1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
      her belief in God
      a belief in democracy
      I bought the table in the belief that it was an antique.
      contrary to popular belief

      2: something that is accepted, considered to be true, or held as an opinion : something believed
      an individual’s religious or political beliefs
      especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
      the beliefs of the Catholic Church

      3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
      belief in the validity of scientific statements
      (see https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belief)

      Mr. Anderson, I think it’s safe to say that the demons DO indeed accept the truth and reality of Christ’s teachings or they wouldn’t be fighting against them so hard with lies, would they?

      Mr. Flournoy’s logic and reasoning is, therefore, sound in his argument isn’t it?

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “It has always amazed me how quick Mormons are to quote the dictionary like it is scripture.” Um, no. Many, almost all, people (not only Latter-day Saints) refer to dictionaries as sources for the commonly understood meaning of words in the common language, in this case English. You would think that even Michael Flournoy would know this. It should scarcely be a source of amazement or, worse, sarcasm….”

      Strawman via Cherry-Picking. That wasn’t the FULL argument that Mr. Flournoy was making here, was it? Please note what follows the pull-quote that you have Cherry-Picked from. Here is the quote is its full context:

      ‘So, according to the dictionary, demons must be Christian, right? But that’s clearly not enough, is it? There’s more to being a Christian than having the knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah. We must accept Him as Lord and Savior as well, mustn’t we?

      Michael the Mormon Apologist did, in fact, assert that “we must accept the Lord”, but he and I have different ideas of what that means. He believed it meant receiving LDS ordinances and keeping the commandments. I believe it’s receiving His righteousness through faith alone.’

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “But what Flournoy wants to do here, wrongly, is to tie the word Christian so specifically to the theology and practice of the Protestant Reformation as to exclude those who might understand just how flawed that theology and practice actually is. There is zero justification for doing that.”

      First, Mr. Flournoy didn’t appeal to the Reformed Faith in his article to support his argument did he? Rather, he appealed to the Bible, didn’t he?

      And speaking of Bibles, if the biblical doctrine of Sola Fide (Faith Alone) is so flawed in theology and practice and if there is zero justification for the doctrine, then I guess Joseph Smith didn’t get the memo from LdS Church headquarters. Here’s how he “corrected” Romans 3:28 in his Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (aka “The Inspired Version”):

      “Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone without the deeds of the law.”
      — Romans 3:28 Joseph Smith Translation (JST); http://www.centerplace.org/hs/iv/iv-rom.htm#v3.28

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: ““In other words, it’s a sin to view God incorrectly.” This is really risible.”

      Again, apparently, Joseph Smith missed THAT memo too:

      “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another.”
      (Joseph Smith, “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith”, p.345; http://www.boap.org/LDS/Joseph-Smith/Teachings/ )

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “Evangelicals thinking that they have figured out the divine metaphysics enough to know that the Lord demands the right answer as a condition of salvation, itself a term that Evangelicals only poorly understand. This claim, by the way, actually makes a mockery of the grace of God; a grace that these very same Evangelicals claim that they understand while the poor deceived “Mormons” do not. No. Nothing in the scriptures tells us that salvation results from a theology exam, or of getting the metaphysics of trinitarianism right. In fact, such a proposition is directly contrary to the idea that salvation is unearned.”

      Really? Exactly what Evangelical has made this claim? And could you please show me where this exam is so I can make sure that I’m studying up for the right questions?

      In other words: Strawman argument.

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “But that gets me away from what is wrong with the statement, “In other words, it’s a sin to view God incorrectly.” The principal error there is in the phrase, “In other words.”’

      I see. So it’s NOT a sin to NOT know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, Mr. Anderson? Really?

      So then, it’s perfectly alright to worship the Christ of the Self Realization Fellowship that’s noted in footnote 1 of Mr. Flournoy’s article? That’s not a problem at all, sir?

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “Reformed apologists do this literally all the time; they refer to a decontextualized pericope of scripture and then paraphrase it as meaning something very different from what a decent exegesis would supply. The commandment to which Paul refers on Mars Hill (Acts 17:30) was not a commandment to anticipate trinitarian dogma by 300 years or so…”

      These Ante-Nicean Church Fathers would disagree with you, Mr. Anderson:

      Tertullian (160-215). African apologist and theologian. He wrote much in defense of Christianity.

      “We define that there are two, the Father and the Son, and three with the Holy Spirit, and this number is made by the pattern of salvation . . . [which] brings about unity in trinity, interrelating the three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are three, not in dignity, but in degree, not in substance but in form, not in power but in kind. They are of one substance and power, because there is one God from whom these degrees, forms and kinds devolve in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” (Adv. Prax. 23, PL 2.156-7).

      Origen (185-254). Alexandrian theologian. Defended Christianity and wrote much about Christianity.

      “If anyone would say that the Word of God or the Wisdom of God had a beginning, let him beware lest he direct his impiety rather against the unbegotten Father, since he denies that he was always Father, and that he has always begotten the Word, and that he always had wisdom in all previous times or ages or whatever can be imagined in priority . . . There can be no more ancient title of almighty God than that of Father, and it is through the Son that he is Father,” (De Princ. 1.2., PG 11.132).

      “For if [the Holy Spirit were not eternally as He is, and had received knowledge at some time and then became the Holy Spirit] this were the case, the Holy Spirit would never be reckoned in the unity of the Trinity, i.e., along with the unchangeable Father and His Son, unless He had always been the Holy Spirit,” (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975 rpt., Vol. 4, p. 253, de Principiis, 1.111.4)

      “Moreover, nothing in the Trinity can be called greater or less, since the fountain of divinity alone contains all things by His word and reason, and by the Spirit of His mouth sanctifies all things which are worthy of sanctification,” (Roberts and Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 255, de Principii., I. iii. 7).

      Also see: http://apostles-creed.org/confessional-reformed-christian-theology/theology/early-church-fathers-quotes-trinity/

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “… the commandment referred to is the commandment of repentance for all transgressions against the law of God, the “Lord of heaven and earth.” (v. 24). Paul was declaring doctrine that is either rejected by Reformed theologians or accepted only conditionally, namely, the doctrine that we are God’s children (v. 28) and that we should seek and find him (v. 27) and thereafter live righteously according to his commandments, in order to be judged by him according to that righteousness (v. 31) at the resurrection (vv. 31-32).”

      OK, and if I don’t believe in the God that Paul declared boldly on Mars Hills then I can still be saved, Mr. Anderson? Really?

      Then exactly WHY was Paul calling the Stoics on Mars Hills to abandon their gods and worship the ONLY true and living God, sir?

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “It has not one little bitty thing to do with “view[ing] God correctly,” by which Flournoy apparently means “correctly” (in his view) understanding that the unity of the Godhead (v. 29) has something to do with a numerical census of divine “Beings” or whatever the indecipherable (and unbiblical) claim is supposed to be.”

      It was APPARENT in the article that Mr. Flournoy was arguing for the God of the Bible, nothing more. This attempt at misrepresenting his arguments speaks for itself.

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “As a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it has been remarkable for me to observe just how rapidly any conversation with my former co-religionists (Evangelicals or similar) devolves into internally inconsistent (and even un-arithmetic) assertions about how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit somehow have to be understood as being all mashed together in a way that no one can quite explain.”

      Oh, you mean like this?

      ‘…where Latter-day Saints differ from other Christian religions is in their belief that God and Jesus Christ are glorified, physical beings and that each member of the Godhead is a separate being…

      The Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bones, and the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit (see D&C 130:22).

      Although the members of the Godhead are distinct beings with distinct roles, they are one in purpose and doctrine. They are perfectly united in bringing to pass Heavenly Father’s divine plan of salvation.’
      (“Godhead”; https://www.lds.org/topics/godhead?lang=eng ; retrieved December 15, 2016)

      So you were saying, Mr. Anderson? Apparently, the issue is important to The First Presidency of the LdS Church or they wouldn’t be taking pains to make sure that their understanding of the nature of God is clearly understood, correct?

      So why is it a problem when Mr. Flournoy and other outsiders do EXACTLY what YOUR leaders do inside the LdS Church after all, again…

      “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another.”
      (Joseph Smith, “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith”, p.345; http://www.boap.org/LDS/Joseph-Smith/Teachings/ )

      So did Joseph Smith get it wrong too, Mr. Anderson? And if it’s good enough for Joseph Smith, then, by golly, it’s good enough for me too. How about you, sir?

      Leighton Anderson (@L8NA) says: “I could keep going but anyway the point is that Michael Flournoy could not have been much of a defender of the Gospel of Jesus Christ if he did not long ago know why the claims in his essay are too lame to be credibly asserted.”

      And yet both I and others have shown plainly that Mr. Flournoy’s claims CAN be credibly asserted, haven’t we?

      But that said, we end where we began, by noting yet another ad-hominem in a long string of your ad-hominems of Mr. Flournoy, don’t we? So I too shall end where I began my response – with a quote from Edzard Ernst:

      “Ad hominem attacks are signs of victories of reason over unreason.”
      — Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

      source: https://edzardernst.com/2012/12/ad-hominem-attacks-are-signs-of-victories-of-reason-over-unreason/

      Like

  2. Tom Hobson says:

    Leighton must not have been much of an Evangelical (to use his way of speaking) if he thinks the triune God is unarithmetically “all mashed together.” It’s not a matter of getting our math right. God makes it abundantly clear in both OT and NT that there is only one God, and that God is not an exalted male human, while the NT makes it clear that Jesus and the Holy Ghost are God. Rather than the triune God being an anachronism in NT times, later Christians simply unpacked what was already there. Plus, like it or not, if God the Father is not an exalted male human who had many ancestors, then to worship this God is idolatry, plain and simple. While idolatry itself is not an automatic ticket to hell over any other sin, who wants idolatry at the center of their worship life? Actually, this guy’s snide, insulting attacks on Michael Flournoy, the author of this article, undermines any love of enemies he may profess, which is a chink in the righteousness that he says that God requires.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ldconverted says:

    Response to Herb Tuten:

    To be clear, I objected to the silly idea that Acts 17:29-30 could possibly be interpreted to say, “It’s a sin to view God incorrectly.” And I don’t see where Herb Tuten claims otherwise. Herb then says that I “hit a few highlights from Paul’s speech (employing [my] own brand of ‘in other words’),” but that’s equally silly. I mean, there’s a difference between exegesis and eisegesis, and nowhere in this passage is Paul presenting anything like the idea that Flournoy claimed.

    The abstract proposition that there is “sin” in “viewing God incorrectly” is too vague to permit affirmance or denial. I am sure that some “views” of God would be considered sinful. That might even apply to a view of God as having created most of his children knowing that he would condemn them to an eternal torture of his devising. I think that is likely sinful. But trinitarianism? Come on. It’s not even in the Bible, let alone does God make it a sin to disaffirm it.

    And that’s where you really miss the point. You fellows want to proclaim God’s grace, and say that Latter-day Saints somehow deny or reject it (we don’t), and then turn around and say that everyone needs to get the metaphysics right or God will torture them forever. You can claim that that’s “grace” if you want to, but don’t turn around and tell me that salvific grace is unearned and not dependent on anything we can do or not do to save ourselves. Because you just claimed to establish a (very weird) minimum requirement.

    Response to Fred Anson:

    Michael Flournoy is proclaiming his alleged status as a former “apologist” as a basis to establish credibility and authority. It is perfectly reasonable to suggest that his claim is not well founded, which is exactly what I did here. The ad hominem thing is nonsense.

    You missed the whole point of how and where Flournoy was misusing the dictionary definition of Christian. The fact that even evil forces recognize the Savior’s divinity does not make them Christian in any sense of that word. Latter-day Saints can be classified as Christian because they explicitly accept his claim (and the testimony of scriptures) to be the Son of God and seek to follow him. He is also the chief cornerstone of the Church. (Eph. 2:20.) We also accept him as our personal Saviors, which is what I was taught in my Evangelical youth was necessary for salvation, but that’s not actually the point of religious classification.

    We could have – and others with far greater scholarship – could have a long discussion about early church fathers’ view of the Godhead. It’s just a historical fact, not really subject to dispute, that trinitarian theory did not show up until hundreds of years after the time of Christ.

    You say, “It was APPARENT in the article that Mr. Flournoy was arguing for the God of the Bible, nothing more. This attempt at misrepresenting his arguments speaks for itself.” Actually, I am arguing for the God of the Bible and didn’t misrepresent anything. One of the ways we can tell is that you say that I attempted to misrepresent Flournoy’s argument without actually showing where or how I did that. Mostly, I just quoted him. Clearly Flournoy was indeed claiming that the affirmation of trinitarianism is necessary for salvation, even though no one is ever really very clear on what the trinitarian claim actually is. But, again, my point is that you and others want very much to insist that the consubstantiality of the Father, Son and Spirit, or that the are three Persons in one Being, or whatever formulation you want to use, is somehow the sine qua non of salvation itself. And the biggest problem with that is that you can’t find that spelled out anywhere in the scriptures.

    For the rest, I certainly get that you think sarcasm substitutes for theology, but I’m not playing.

    Response to Tom Hobson:

    I don’t know “how much of an Evangelical” you think you can judge me to have been. I was raised by Christian parents in Evangelical churches. I responded to calls issued in those churches to accept Jesus as my Savior. I considered myself then, as I do now, born again. I read and studied the scriptures and listened to many many sermons from the pulpit about Jesus, salvation, grace, all of those things. I listened carefully to explanations of the Trinity of the Father, Son and Spirit. So it makes you feel better to disparage that experience and, believe me, I get that. I totally understand why you would want to do that.

    You mention, “the NT makes it clear that Jesus and the Holy Ghost are God.” Yes. You’re right. I agree with that. So, there you go; it was all your misunderstanding that somehow I imagined otherwise. I am glad to be able to clear that up for you.

    I’ll go further. Then and now, I fully accepted and accept the literal truth of every word written in the Old and New Testaments about Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Every word. So do all faithful Latter-day Saints. I actually think that I know now (because I have studied the scriptures more, not less) since my Evangelical youth what it means to accept the literal truth of every word written in the Old and New Testaments about Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and what the implications of that acceptance are, but the point is that I take all of it at its word. I actually think that you and your co-religionists should do a better job of that yourselves.

    It’s sad that you want to cast that sincere and knowledgeable faith as idolatry, but, as above, I get how it works for you as a defense mechanism. If you call others names and demean their faith, it helps you feel better about your own, yes? I see that all the time.

    Conclusion:

    Despite everything else, thank you for posting my comment. I was worried that it was being “moderated” away. So, I appreciate that much anyway. I wish you guys would be more honest and respectful though. To clarify, I did not go straight to Latter-day Saint baptism from acceptance of Evangelical dogma – there was many years of atheism for me in between. But I can easily compare my faith now to what it was then, in part through conversations with family members who still accept “the Old Time Religion” (as the hymn has it), as well as with those who have gone elsewhere. In the 22 years now since my conversion, I have engaged in countless conversations, like this one, in which the self-proclaimed Christians try to persuade me away from faith in Jesus Christ, the idea that the Lord still speaks to his children through apostles and prophets, and the truth that there was more to reveal than was revealed before his priesthood was taken from the Earth. None of that is even remotely un-Biblical, and in fact I have found how it unlocks the Bible, and makes more of it more meaningful to my life today, than anything ever taught to me in the churches of my youth.

    Like

    • NOTE TO READERS: “LDSConverted” is an aliased account that is used by Leighton Anderson.

      Thank you.

      Like

      • Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “Response to Fred Anson: Michael Flournoy is proclaiming his alleged status as a former “apologist” as a basis to establish credibility and authority.”

        No sir, he is simply stating a fact. Michael Flournoy is INDEED an Ex-Mormon Apologist as the book that he published when he WAS a Mormon Apologist attests.

        As you know as an attorney, the best defense against slander and/or libel is the truth, and THAT is the truth. Your accusation that he is using his former role to establish credibility is your opinion and you are entitled to it. However, sir, you are NOT entitled your own facts.

        Leighton Anderson wrote, “It is perfectly reasonable to suggest that his claim is not well founded, which is exactly what I did here. The ad hominem thing is nonsense.”

        In a word: Baloney.

        From the Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary:

        ad hominem
        1: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
        2: marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

        To quote from the Wikipedia article on Ad-hominem tactics:

        “An ad hominem, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”), is an attempt to persuade which links the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise. The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy…

        Ad hominem abusive
        Ad hominem abusive usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to invalidate their argument, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”
        ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem )

        ANYTIME you are attacking the person making the arguments rather than the arguments you are arguing “to the man” and are ad-homineming, Mr. Anderson. Sir, your attempts at character assassinating Mr. Flournoy have been exposed for what they are: Appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made.

        If I were YOUR counselor I would advise you to drop it at this point since the body of evidence is clearly against you, isn’t it?

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “You missed the whole point of how and where Flournoy was misusing the dictionary definition of Christian. The fact that even evil forces recognize the Savior’s divinity does not make them Christian in any sense of that word.”

        Based on how Mormons apply the dictionary definition it does, Mr. Anderson, doesn’t it? THAT was Mr. Flournoy’s point despite your attempt to obfuscate from it.

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “Latter-day Saints can be classified as Christian because they explicitly accept his claim (and the testimony of scriptures) to be the Son of God and seek to follow him. He is also the chief cornerstone of the Church. (Eph. 2:20.) We also accept him as our personal Saviors, which is what I was taught in my Evangelical youth was necessary for salvation, but that’s not actually the point of religious classification.”

        OK, and exactly WHERE is ANY of that in the dictionary definition that Mormons use to prove that they’re Christians?

        Can you see what you have just done, Mr. Anderson, you have just PROVEN, Mr. Flournoy’s point in the article: The dictionary definition alone simply isn’t sufficient for determining who and who isn’t a Christian, is it?

        THAT was his point in his article. Thank you for proving it for us so nicely.

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “We could have – and others with far greater scholarship – could have a long discussion about early church fathers’ view of the Godhead. It’s just a historical fact, not really subject to dispute, that trinitarian theory did not show up until hundreds of years after the time of Christ.”

        Sigh… I call evidence denial. I think that the Church Fathers are quite capable of speaking for themselves, aren’t they? And at Nicea all they did was affirm what had always been taught about the nature of God, namely:

        – There is one, and ONLY one God, Yahweh, THE LORD.
        – God the Father is Yahweh, THE LORD.
        – God the Son (Jesus Christ) is Yahweh, THE LORD.
        – God the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) is Yahweh, THE LORD.

        Therefore the ONE God, Yahweh, is three in person but still ONE, and only one, God. That’s it.

        And, BTW, what I gave you was only the tip of the iceberg from the Patristic Fathers, just say the word and I can give you much, such as…

        Polycarp (70-155/160). Bishop of Smyrna. A disciple of John the Apostle.

        “O Lord God almighty . . . I bless you and glorify you through the eternal and heavenly high priest Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom be glory to you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever,” (n. 14, ed. Funk, PG 5.1040).

        Justin Martyr (100?-165?). He was a Christian apologist and martyr.

        “For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water,” (First Apol., LXI).

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “You say, “It was APPARENT in the article that Mr. Flournoy was arguing for the God of the Bible, nothing more. This attempt at misrepresenting his arguments speaks for itself.” Actually, I am arguing for the God of the Bible and didn’t misrepresent anything.”

        And yet you fail to cite from the Bible in your arguments…

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “One of the ways we can tell is that you say that I attempted to misrepresent Flournoy’s argument without actually showing where or how I did that. Mostly, I just quoted him.”

        Yes, you Cherry-Picked – just as I DID show using the original text of the argument from the article in its full and complete context.

        So you were saying…?

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “Clearly Flournoy was indeed claiming that the affirmation of trinitarianism is necessary for salvation, even though no one is ever really very clear on what the trinitarian claim actually is.”

        Please show us where Mr. Flournoy said, “affirmation of trinitarianism is necessary for salvation” in his article, Mr. Anderson. Thanks.

        And no one is clear on what the Trinitarian actually is? Really? And yet Christians have been citing the Nicean, Chalcedonian, and Athanasian Creeds for centuries. Tell you what, read through the circa 6th Century Atahanian Creed and then tell us how and why it’s in ANY way unclear about what the doctrine of the Trinity, Mr. Anderson: https://beggarsbread.org/2016/01/24/the-athanasian-creed/

        So you are saying, sir?

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “But, again, my point is that you and others want very much to insist that the consubstantiality of the Father, Son and Spirit, or that the are three Persons in one Being, or whatever formulation you want to use, is somehow the sine qua non of salvation itself. And the biggest problem with that is that you can’t find that spelled out anywhere in the scriptures.”

        I see. Well, both the Church Fathers and 21-centuries of Christian Theologians clearly disagree with you, Mr. Anderson. And if it’s not in the Bible anywhere then explain to us how and why modern Theologian Rob Bowman is able to support the Trinity solely from the text of the Bible: https://irr.org/biblical-basis-of-doctrine-of-trinity

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “For the rest, I certainly get that you think sarcasm substitutes for theology, but I’m not playing.”

        As I was saying about Ad-Hominems… so thank you for showing us again that reason has triumphed over irrationality via your chronic ad-homineming. It’s surely appreciated!

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “Conclusion:
        Despite everything else, thank you for posting my comment. I was worried that it was being “moderated” away. So, I appreciate that much anyway. I wish you guys would be more honest and respectful though.”

        And exactly where and how have we been either dishonest or disrespectful, Mr. Anderson?

        And, I must say, that your accusations fall flat given your propensity to disrespect your debate opponents via ad-hominems and deceptively misrepresent your debate opponent’s arguments via straw-manning, cherry-picking, and other less than honest tactics. So… about that beam in your eye, sir?

        Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”) wrote, “To clarify, I did not go straight to Latter-day Saint baptism from acceptance of Evangelical dogma – there was many years of atheism for me in between. But I can easily compare my faith now to what it was then, in part through conversations with family members who still accept “the Old Time Religion” (as the hymn has it), as well as with those who have gone elsewhere. In the 22 years now since my conversion, I have engaged in countless conversations, like this one, in which the self-proclaimed Christians try to persuade me away from faith in Jesus Christ, the idea that the Lord still speaks to his children through apostles and prophets, and the truth that there was more to reveal than was revealed before his priesthood was taken from the Earth. None of that is even remotely un-Biblical, and in fact I have found how it unlocks the Bible, and makes more of it more meaningful to my life today, than anything ever taught to me in the churches of my youth.”

        Your anecdotal evidence and testimony bearing are so noted. And this is relevant how exactly?

        Would you like us to bear our testimonies and share our anecdotes now too?

        I’m sure that we would be delighted to do so, but what would THAT prove either, sir?

        Thank you for your time.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Tom Hobson says:

    I was no more disparaging of you than you were of Michael, when I found fault with your disparaging of the triune God. You claim to believe that Christ and the Holy Ghost are God, but what you mean is that they are divine, but that they are beings separate from God the Father; you do not mean that they are all “one God.” You claim to believe every word of God literally. Therefore, you say God has hands? Isaiah 40:12 says, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” Those must be big hands of his! And God must have big arms to carry us all in his bosom (Isaiah 40:11). Hebrews 1:10 says that the heavens are the work of God’s hands; how can a finite being of flesh create the stars and planets? Exodus 15:8 says, “At the blast of thy nostrils the [Red Sea] waters piled up” – God must have huge nostrils! (According to Psalm 91:4, God must even have wings and feathers.)
    Yes, Isaiah saw God, but the train of God’s “robe” was so big that it filled the Temple. God’s “body” is so big that by comparison, “the nations are a drop in a bucket, and accounted dust on the scales” (Isaiah 40:15). And God says in Isaiah 66:1, “Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool; where is the house you would build for me, and where is the place of my rest?” What Isaiah saw was so massive and awesome, he could only describe it in non-literal language.
    Eventually, the belief in a God with a human body crashes and burns on the issue of God’s omnipresence. In Jeremiah 23:24, God asks, “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” Solomon says to God, “Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27) God’s body is everywhere! David says to God in Psalm 139:7-10, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” God’s hands are everywhere! Proverbs 15:3 tells us, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch over the evil and the good.” (Similarly, 2 Chronicles 16:9 says “The eyes of the Lord roam throughout the whole earth.”) Either God has a lot of eyes, or this is symbolic language designed to communicate the fact of God’s omnipresence.
    Colossians 2:9 says, “For in (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (somatikōs). What would the point of that verse be, if God already has a human body? Paul’s point here is that in Christ is the only place where God resides bodily. In every other place or person in all the universe, God dwells only through his Spirit.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. popcorn2106aabe452ea says:

    Response to ldconverted’s response:

    Please reread Paul’s discourse at the Areopagus… many times. If Acts 17:29-30 doesn’t convince you we should view God correctly, surely Paul’s appeal in verse 23 will. “Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.” The entire message is “you’ve got Him wrong, and need to understand rightly for your soul’s sake!” Of course, many listening that day called it silly, too.

    Is it sin to view God incorrectly? The Greek word ‘hamartia’ is used in the New Testament, derived from ‘missing the mark’, as in archery. We don’t always hit the bulls-eye in this walk of faith, but if you’re not even trying to aim well, calling the target ‘silly’… yep, that’s sin.

    But that’s the issue; isn’t it? On the simple question of viewing God correctly, you can’t simply agree with its importance. I might even meet you halfway, if you answered “yes, except for the word ‘sin’.”

    World religions try a thousand different ways to know God, so getting it right IS a big deal. Viewing Him correctly IS a big deal. Call it ‘silly’ at your own peril.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NOTE TO READERS: “popcorn2106aabe452ea” is an aliased account for Herb Tuten.

      Like

    • @Leighton Anderson (aka “LDSConverted”), to segue off of Herb Tuten’s (aka “popcorn2106aabe452ea”) last point I would ask you to consider this:

      If it’s NOT a sin to view God incorrectly then why did Paul directly tell the Stoics,

      “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:29-30 KJV)

      If it’s NOT a sin to view God incorrectly exactly WHAT would they be repenting for, Mr. Leighton? Are you telling us that there was really NO problem now that Paul had informed them that their view of God was wrong and relieved them of their ignorance?

      I would agree based on the text that NOT viewing God correctly out of ignorance might be something that God “winks at” at (see verse 30. BTW, this is rendered “overlooks” in modern English translations) but once someone is relieved of their ignorance are they NOT at that point indeed accountable to God for INCORRECTLY viewing Him? Is that NOT what Paul is calling them to repent of, sir?

      So, yeah, this “viewing God correctly” thing seems to be pretty important to God. I am in complete agreement with Joseph Smith’s word when he said…

      “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another.”
      (Joseph Smith, “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith”, p.345; http://www.boap.org/LDS/Joseph-Smith/Teachings/ )

      … why aren’t you, Mr. Anderson? Are you telling us that Joseph Smith got it wrong, sir?

      After all, I think that God was pretty clear when He said the following, wasn’t He?

      Exodus 20 KJV
      3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

      4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

      5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

      6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

      So would you REALLY tell us, that it’s OK to violate God’s commandments by conjuring up an incorrect view of God and ignoring His true character, Mr. Anderson? That wouldn’t be a sin at all, sir? How does continuing to worship a false god rather than the true God of Israel after one has been relieved of their ignorance of God’s true nature and character NOT qualify as sin and thus put that person’s soul in peril, Mr. Anderson?

      Would you tell us, sir, that it’s perfectly OK if the Self Realization Fellowship worships the “another Jesus” that’s in footnote one of Mr. Flournoy’s article (see above), it’s really NO sin at all? Do they REALLY have nothing to fear from worshiping their idolatrous, conjured-up Jesus? Are their souls in NO peril of the kind of eternal damnation that the Bible and the Book of Mormon speak so frequently of in their pages?

      I look forward to your good answers to these questions, Mr. Anderson.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.