What has happened to the simple principle of telling the truth? That question should be posed to the Mormon community. I’m not an expert on anything—but I do know a little bit about Mormonism—or, as they prefer to be called, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). My father was a Mormon for several years and many of his family were Mormons. I have also spent a considerable amount of time reading LDS literature. Again, that doesn’t make me an expert, but at least educated.
I have observed a notable change in the way the LDS Church presents itself to the general public, an effort that began sometime around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Prior to that, there was not a readily-apparent effort by Mormons to identify themselves as a form of Christianity. Joseph Smith believed that the Angel Moroni appeared to him because all of American Christianity had become apostate. He was the one true prophet and the religion he would establish would be the only true church. That’s boiler plate LDS 101. I remember a time when it was common for Mormons to be offended if you called them Christian. That was then.
Sometime around 2002 a very noticeable shift occurred. Suddenly they wanted to be accepted as a part of mainstream Christianity—you know, there are Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Mormons. During this time of “repackaging” a document was released titled, “The Living Christ, The Testimony of The Apostles” [available here]. It was a slick document stating what Mormons believed about Jesus. Why slick? To read it, you would think you were reading the doctrinal statement of an Evangelical Church. Now, even a peripheral study of Mormonism will reveal that the Jesus of Mormonism isn’t even in the same universe (literally) as the Jesus of orthodox Christianity. The Jesus of Mormonism is the “spirit child” of his “heavenly parents.” He is in no way part of a triune Godhead.
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