Written on Sunday, July 8, 2012 by Ralph Barker
Mormonism is an issue right now because Mitt Romney, a Republican, is a candidate for President of the United States. He is a Mormon, and by all accounts a very devoted one.
Because Mormonism is getting national attention in this election cycle it is important to know who the Mormons are and what they believe. Are they just another Christian denomination or are they as many claim, a cult? If Mormonism is a cult, is that important to the voters?
It is vital to know what, if any, impact or influence Mr. Romney’s church could have over him if he were elected. A person’s faith will influence their decisions and actions. There was a similar concern and debate in 1960 when JFK, a Catholic, was the Democratic candidate. Both the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church have strong top down leadership and influence over its flocks so it could be a factor. This is another reason why we must know what Mormon’s believe.
Mormons do claim to be Christians, but most Christian apologists will still classify them as a cult. Walter Martin, for example, dedicated a major portion of his classic book Kingdom of the Cults to exposing Mormonism. There are countless books and articles written by non-Mormons and former Mormons alike affirming the faith’s cult status. For the record, I do believe Mormonism is a cult, but I leave it to the reader to do his or her own research and decide.
Let me interject here, that the meaning of the word “cult” has morphed over the last forty years. There is a current debate as to what a cult is and how the word should be currently defined. Due to this change in definition, even some evangelicals have promoted Mormonism to the “mainstream” category.
The word isn’t as clearly defined in Christian thought as it was in the 1970s when there was a lot of cult evangelism taking place. Back then there was much discussion in Christian circles and the churches about the cult status of Jehovah Witnesses, Moonies, Krishnas, Mormons, Christian Scientists, the Children of God, The Local Church, and others.
For my purposes I am only going to use just two widely accepted standard markers that are common to identifying cults. The first is extra biblical authority. The Jehovah Witnesses, for example, have the Watchtower. Christian Science has Mary Baker Eddy’s Science, Health, and Key to the Scriptures. And the Mormon’s have the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrines and Covenants.
The second marker is a heretical understanding of Jesus Christ. Christian Science does not accept Jesus as deity. Jehovah Witnesses believe Jesus is a created being but is “a god” and not the God, as part of the Holy Trinity. The Mormons also believe Jesus is a created being and not himself God. When a Mormon uses the terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, they don’t mean the same thing evangelical Christians mean. This is very problematic for the uninformed and one reason many see no problem with Mormonism.
Matt Slick, founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry says this about the Mormon Jesus:
…Please understand that the Mormon Church uses Christian terms, but has radically changed the meaning of those terms. So, when it says that the Mormon’s believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, they are really saying they believe in a God from another planet, with a goddess wife, who literally is the father of Jesus, and that there is a spirit being, the Holy Ghost, who is another God. (You can read the entire article here: http://carm.org/mormon-beliefs.
Mormons believe Jesus is one of three separate individuals Here are a few more bullets from Slick’s summary of Mormon beliefs about Jesus:
• Therefore we know that the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men: each of them possesses a tangible body….of flesh and bones. (Articles of Faith by James Talmage, p 38).
• The birth of the Savior was as natural as the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood – was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 115).
• Elohim is literally the father of the great spirit of Jesus Christ and also the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh….(First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, 1916, God the Father, compiled by Gordon Alfred, p. 150).
In fairness, the Mormon faith does offer a lot of good things that should be emulated by the rest of us. They have one of the best missionary outreaches in the world. Most young Mormons, after graduating from high school, go directly into missionary work for two years.
The Mormon Church strongly encourages this commitment. Their dedicated efforts have been greatly rewarded because the faith is growing by hundreds of thousands of new converts each year. The current membership is over fourteen million.
Some well-known Mormons aside from Mitt Romney are Glenn Beck, an American Idol favorite David Archuleta, Governor John Huntsman, John Heder, Katherine Heigl, Wilford Brimley, Amy Adams, and Donnie and Marie Osmond. Mormons are found in every strata of society around the world.
Mormons exhibit great discipline in living clean, moral lives. They generally do not smoke, cuss, drink alcohol or caffeine drinks, or engage in other questionable behavior. We could all learn from their example. Their lifestyles are a very positive reflection on their faith and church.
The Mormons, unlike most Christians, take seriously the Dominion Mandate found in Genesis 1:28 which says:
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
Their birth rate is nearly double that of the general population. Last time I checked they have already taken over Utah. The idea of bringing godly souls into the world and taking dominion is a biblical concept and they understand that. Doing this ensures the future for upcoming generations.
Mormons are usually generous financial supporters of their Church. They have an enviable charity system that churches and our government should look to copy. They take care of their own while requiring responsibility of those who use the resources. Mormons are very generous people. They give to others and share their faith freely. It is both personal and effective.
Mormons believe in a strong family unit and assess homosexuality as a sin. Again, Mormons have a strong sense of right and wrong. We can understand from what we learn about them why so many people are converted to the Mormon faith.
As Mormonism is discussed during this election cycle, it will behoove us all to know more about the faith of Mitt Romney who could be our next President.
Will Romney’s faith be a factor in who votes for him? Yes, without a doubt. The vast majority of Mormons will vote for him for sure. A fair percentage of people in the Bible Belt and in the evangelical community will not vote for him simply because he is a Mormon. In what is predicted to be a squeaker election the Mormon factor could be a deal maker or breaker.
My conclusion is that there is and will be a Mormon factor in the upcoming Presidential election? Unlike Obama, I do not believe that Mr. Romney would ever throw his faith and church under the bus. The Mormon connection is much too strong for that. We each have to decide whether Mr. Romney’s faith is or isn’t that important to us when we vote in November.