The 10 Myths Mormons Believe About Christianity: Introduction

Posted: August 14, 2022 in Michael Flournoy, Mormon Studies, The 10 Myths Mormons Believe About Christianity

by Michael Flournoy
Latter-day Saints often complain that Evangelicals misrepresent their beliefs, and they aren’t wrong. Mormon doctrine is flexible and nuanced, and it consists of moving parts that shift over time.

What keeps Christians from fully grasping Mormonism, is it exists in a different paradigm than what we’re used to. The problem is exacerbated by the tendency of Mormons to use words associated with our paradigm to describe their beliefs. However, it should come as no surprise that this rampant misunderstanding is a double-edged sword that plagues both our communities. When Mormons try to disprove Christian ideals, they come across like archers intoxicated with wine, missing their marks by a long shot.

This can leave Christians flabbergasted, wondering if Mormons even know what they’re aiming at. My diagnosis is that Mormons don’t understand Christian doctrine, and it’s more problematic for them than misunderstanding Mormonism is for us. Why? Because their whole belief system hinges on us being wrong.

Mormonism boasts that it is a restoration of true Christianity. It teaches that the church Jesus established fell into apostasy after the apostles died because there was no more priesthood or revelation. Allegedly, when Christ appeared to Joseph Smith he told him not to join any of the Christian sects because they were all wrong, their creeds were an abomination, and their professors were corrupt. He went on to say, “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith-History 1:19)

Such an occurrence depicts Christians the world over as lost in a doctrinal maze of misunderstanding and lacking any semblance of faith. One must ask: if Mormons are so eager to hedge their bets on a restoration, why haven’t they researched Christianity to see if it’s truly as corrupt as they’re told? This behavior is akin to betting your life savings on a racehorse without seeing its stats. Only this carries more risk because Mormons are gambling away their souls.

I spent ten years as a Mormon apologist, and six years after that debating Mormons after I converted to Christianity. In that time I have identified 10 pervasive myths that Latter-day Saints believe about Christianity. They are as follows:

    1. Biblical Christianity apostatized.
    2. The Bible has been corrupted.
    3. Biblical Christians believe in cheap grace.
    4. Biblical Christians believe Christ prayed to Himself.
    5. The Biblical Christian God is a monster who sends good people to hell just because they never had a chance to hear the gospel.
    6. Biblical Christians worship the cross and the Bible.
    7. Biblical Christians have no priesthood.
    8. Biblical Christian Pastors and Apologists practice Priestcraft – they’re only in it for the money.
    9. Biblical Christians hate Mormons.
    10. Biblical Christianity is divided into over 10,000 sects, all believing in different paths to salvation.

These myths are so vital to Mormonism, that disproving even a few of them would be detrimental to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

If Biblical Christianity didn’t apostatize, then there was no need for a restoration. Joseph’s prophetic mission becomes suspect and his First Vision account loses credibility. Every unique LDS doctrine collapses.

The overarching point of these myths is to prove that Christianity fell away. But by addressing these points, we can prove that the gates of hell did not prevail against Christ’s church, and therefore Mormonism is false.

In this series, Christians from a diversity of denominations and theological camps will join together for the purpose of refuting these myths, one article at a time. If you’re a Latter-day Saint, I encourage you to read them with an open mind. Ask yourself this question: “If I’ve misunderstood these ten points, how would that affect my faith?” Here is my response, in the form of a series of propositions, to that question as a former Latter-day Saint:

  • If the Bible has been preserved and is sufficient, it does not need other scripture or living prophets to interpret, remediate, or expound upon it.
  • If Christians are saved by grace and changed by grace, it takes away whatever moral high ground Mormons think they have. At best, it leaves them equal with other Christians, at worst, Mormons are found lacking in their understanding of grace. And if Mormons miss the mark on grace, then they don’t understand the gospel.
  • If the Christian understanding of the Trinity is true, it disproves many LDS concepts: namely, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate Gods, and that the Father and the Son possess bodies of flesh and bone identical to those of human beings. One God who has always been the sole God of the universe also hurts their concept of eternal marriage, divine lineage, and the ability to become gods.
  • If God is justified in condemning sinners, whether they have heard the gospel or not, and despite them being good by human standards, it disproves the three degrees of glory. It means God did not have to set up missionary work in the afterlife to make things fair. And it leaves any Mormons insisting that they “could never worship a God like that” without any excuse besides hating God.
  • If our work was done vicariously on the cross, and Christ’s righteousness is accredited to our accounts, it means there is nothing we must do but accept it. The LDS ordinances are rendered worthless. Even the idea of exaltation fails because there is no righteousness we can obtain that exceeds Christ’s.
  • If Biblical Christians have the priesthood, they have the right to preach the gospel and administer its ordinances, rendering the LDS church, and its prophets and apostles with their priesthood keys unnecessary.
  • If pastors aren’t in it for the money, but because the Spirit calls them into ministry, it hurts the LDS narrative that only their leaders are inspired by God.
  • If Christians they deem as “anti-Mormon” are actually reaching out in love, it leaves Latter-day Saints without excuses to ignore their preaching.
  • Finally, if the Protestant sects are unified in their primary doctrines, it dismantles the view that the church fell away because of conflicting ideas, that every sect interprets the Bible differently, and that their disunity is proof of apostasy.

Of course, any Mormon examining this list will think there is no valid Christian defense. They will, no doubt be thinking things like,

    • How could there be no apostasy when the Bible explicitly prophecies it?
    • How could the Bible be preserved when there are so many variations and missing books?
    • How can Christians believe grace is given regardless of obedience and not abuse it?
    • What could possess a loving God to throw His own children into a lake of fire and brimstone?
    • How can Protestants even claim priesthood when they broke away from a church they admit is apostate?
    • How can Christians claim to love Mormons when they’re so rude to them?
    • If Christianity is unified, then why are there so many denominations?

If you’re a Latter-day Saint, all I ask is that you give us a chance to defend our position. No pressure, but it’s really a matter of agency isn’t it? You can choose to read these articles or not. However, if you choose not to, you cannot truly choose between your religion and ours because knowledge is the lifeblood of agency, isn’t it?

It also falls in line with the Golden Rule. If we said your beliefs were an abomination, wouldn’t you want the chance to defend them? And wouldn’t you want us to approach your arguments with an open mind, with the humility to lay down our pride and admit we could be wrong?

Truth is always worth the risk. If Protestants really are apostates, we won’t be able to defend our beliefs logically or satisfactorily. Therefore, you have nothing to fear if you are right. The only reason not to read is for fear of being wrong. If there is hesitancy, there is the question I must ask you: If Mormonism were false, would you want to know about it? Will you step out of your comfort zone and seek knowledge, regardless of the outcome? Do you accept this challenge?

The articles that follow this brief introduction will give you ample opportunity to do exactly that. And on that note I will simply leave you with the well-known words of the late, great Latter-day Saint First President (in the David O. McKay administration), J. Reuben Clark to ponderize on…

“If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”
(J. Reuben Clark, “The Church Years”, p 24. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, edited by D. Michael Quinn)

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