Reality is sometimes very hard to face. For instance, on July 26, 1969, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that members of the International Flat Earth Research Society still do not believe that the earth is round. They feel that the moon landing was "part of a great deception by NASA" and that the "astronauts are hypnotized into believing they go into space." It is easy to look at this and smile, but we who are honest with ourselves must admit that we also sometimes have difficulty facing reality.
One of the most difficult encounters we ever had with reality was when we discovered that the Book of Mormon was untrue. We found it very difficult to tell our friends that we no longer believed it was translated from gold plates.
One man, who had taught at the church's Brigham Young University for many years, made an extensive study of Mormon church history, but after spending much time and money to make this study, he was afraid to release his findings. He told us that the reason he would not disclose his findings was that he feared too many people would apostatize from the Church.
James R. Harris, who wrote a thesis for the Brigham Young University on the changes in the "Book of Moses," commented concerning the inability of church members to face reality:
During the writing of this thesis an occasional inquisitive friend would ask about the nature and extent of changes in the contents of the Book of Moses. Encouraged by their interest, a variety of examples were pointed out. The reaction varied in emotional intensity but always ended with a caustic question or prediction, such as: "Why did you pick such a subject?" or "This will disturb a lot of people Our well-meaning friends were so fearful of doing injury to the church that they would abandon the search for truth ("A Study of the Changes in the Contents of the Book of Moses From the Earliest Available Sources to the Current Edition," typed copy, p. 237).
Jesus once stated: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Why is it, then, that we fear the truth if the truth will make us free? Why do we stop our ears when the truth is proclaimed? It is because we love the bondage of our own preconceived ideas. We do not like to admit that we have been wrong.
Exalts the Pride of Man
The Mormon church, which professes to teach the true way of salvation, teaches many things that are not compatible with the teachings of Christ. For instance, Christ taught that a man must be meek and lowly: "... Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3).
Jesus also said:
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 18:9-14).
Mormonism, on the other hand, exalts the pride of man. Joseph H. Weston, who joined the Mormon church three days after completing his book, exclaimed:
Mormons don't grovel before God, prating their unworthiness and imploring mercy. They are not slaves! They are men, made in the image of God! They proudly stand, hold their heads high, and put out their hands to shake that of God in greeting, as any worthy son would be expected to respectfully but proudly stand before a wise and good father (These Amazing Mormons! p. 82).
The reader should compare this with the following statement made by Jesus: "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke 17:10).
Speaking of a Mormon sacrament meeting, Mr. Weston remarked:
The meeting opened with the ancient hymn, "How Firm a Foundation."... There was no group confession of sins. There was no groveling and humbling of the dignity of man, either mentally or physically...
Sitting erect in the pride and dignity of being a human being, each member took a piece of bread ...
The almost starting [startling?] effect, psychologically, of this ultra-simple communion service was to completely obliterate the feeling of supplication and meekness engendered at such a time in many other churches. A man didn't feel that he drew nigh—"Unworthy as to so much as gather up the crumbs from His table"—Not at all! He felt that he sat as an equal and guest at Jesus' table, and after he had eaten and drunk, he went away with a greater appreciation of his own table, his own body, his own life—all godlike if he would make and keep them so (These Amazing Mormons! p. 21).
In his M.A. thesis at the University of Utah, "The Social Psychological Basis of Mormon New-Orthodoxy," Owen Kendall White, Jr., made these interesting observations concerning Mormon theology:
This dual nature of Mormonism often obscures its liberalism so that many Mormons and non-Mormons alike misunderstand its subtle implications. Because of a commitment to biblical literalism, Mormon theology is frequently regarded as another expression of conservative orthodox Christianity. This popular notion is fundamentally inaccurate, for it fails to recognize that the basic liberal doctrines in Mormon theology oppose the central doctrines of orthodox Christianity.... The basic Mormon doctrines of God, man, and salvation are radical departures from traditional Christian thought....
In contrast with the sovereign God of Christian orthodoxy and neo-orthodoxy, the Mormon God is finite. This is indicated in the fact that God is not the only reality with necessary existence. That is, He is not the Creator of all that is (pp. 85-86).
From the above description of God, it should be apparent that the Mormon God is a heretical departure from traditional Christianity, and the traditional Christian terminology of omnipotence and omniscience are not justifiably applied to the Mormon God....
The Mormon conception of man is an even more heretical departure from Christian orthodoxy than the doctrine of God.... this very claim that the human predicament is not really a predicament in the traditional sense, that man's natural state, present state, is really more good than bad, is a radical denial of traditional Christian theology....
Mormonism rejects the notion that man's condition is best described by "depravity." Nowhere within Mormon theology is its optimism concerning man's natural condition more clearly apparent then in this denial of the Christian doctrine of original sin.... to the Mormon the fall is a fall upward rather that downward.... In the April session of the 1964 General Conference, Hugh B. Brown ... summarized much of what has been said in this chapter. He spoke:
"Our doctrine of man is positive and life affirming.... We refuse to believe, with some churches of Christendom, that the biblical account of the fall of man records the corruption of human nature or to accept the doctrine of original sin. We do not believe that man is incapable of doing the will of God or is unable to merit the reward of Divine approval; that he is therefore totally estranged from God and that whatever salvation comes to him must come as a free and undeserved gift...."
... the Mormon doctrine of salvation not only provides further evidence of Mormon optimism, but it also argues for a claim that Mormon theology, in opposition to traditional Christian theology, is man-centered rather than God centered....
Nowhere is the man-centered character of Mormon theology more clearly evident than in the Mormon conception of salvation. For, Mormon doctrines of salvation are radically different from the doctrine of salvation by grace which permeates Christian orthodoxy.... There is an almost complete dearth of Pauline theology within Mormonism. Generally, Mormons only refer to Paul on the subject of the resurrection or in his ethical exhortations. Seldom do they quote him on the subject of salvation, and, when they do, they distort his concept of grace to mean man will be physically resurrected by the gracious act of God. Mormonism denies traditional doctrines of grace.... Because of this emphasis upon salvation by merit and the idea that man's destiny is Godhood, the Mormon doctrine of salvation, along with the doctrines of God and man, stand as rank heresy within the orthodox Christian world.... Mormon theology on the doctrines of God, man, and salvation is a radical departure from Christian orthodoxy.
While the God of Christian orthodoxy is absolute, the God of Mormonism is finite ... the Mormon doctrine of salvation emphasizes merit instead of grace. Although the theology has a doctrine of grace in the notion that Christ overcame physical and spiritual death, it is not to be confused with orthodox Christian conceptions of grace. For exaltation, the real salvation of man, is dependent upon works....
If the author were to describe the fundamental difference between Mormon theology and orthodox Christianity in one sentence,
he would suggest that while orthodox Christianity is God-centered, Mormon theology is man-centered.... Mormon theology is much more concerned with the similarities between God and man than the differences between them ... it is the notion that God has a physical body that leads to Mormon claims that man is literally, not figuratively, the offspring of God. Through its entire history, Mormonism has employed its extremely anthropomorphic conception of God to illustrate the similarities rather than the differences between God and man (pp. 95, 96, 98, 100, 101, 103, 107, 108, 110-112, 118-120, 122).
It is certainly strange that Mormon leaders have rejected so many of the basic doctrines of Christianity, for these same doctrines are found in the Book of Mormon. As an example, the Book of Mormon teaches that man of himself is an enemy to God: "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord ..." (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:19).
President Brigham Young, on the other hand, taught that the natural man is a friend of God: "It is, however, universally received by professors of religion as a Scriptural doctrine that man is naturally opposed to God. This is not so. Paul says, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, 'But the natural man receiveth not the things of God,' but I say it is the unnatural 'man that receiveth not the things of God.'... The natural man is of God" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p.305). John Taylor, who became the third president of the church, said that "it is not natural for men to be evil" (Ibid., vol. 10, p. 50).
As Owen Kendall White, Jr., indicated, present-day Mormonism rejects the doctrine that salvation is by grace. The Book of Mormon, however, teaches this doctrine. In 2 Nephi 10:24 we read: "... it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved." The fact that the Book of Mormon teaches salvation by grace has caused some division in the church, and there are a few Mormon writers who are going back to the teaching of the Book of Mormon on this subject. (For more information concerning grace and works see our book, A Look at Christianity, pp. 8,17,18.)
When the Mormon leaders proclaim that man is naturally good, they not only reject the teachings of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but they are simply refusing to face reality about the nature of man. Karl A. Menninger, one of the world's leading psychiatrists, made these very revealing observations:
But today, after a long disgression, we have in a measure come
back to the sinfulness theory. For, in repudiating this theological tenet, modern science had reverted to the philosophy that man is the hapless prey, the potential victim of solely external forces, which is the philosophy of man as well as the helpless child; whereas to conceive of disease as related to sin recognizes the partial responsibility of the individual for his own fate. Instead of referring all danger to the outside world, or to the devil, it acknowledges the presence of danger from within (Love Against Hate, p. 199).
President Joseph Fielding Smith frankly said he believed that Mormons are "the best people in the world.... We are morally clean, in every way equal, and in many ways superior to any other people" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 236). Apostle LeGrand Richards maintained that "there is no people in this world that are evidencing their love of God by doing his will like the Latter-Day Saints are." Actually, the Mormons are very much like other people. Mormon writer John J. Stewart complained: "... Satan, the father of all lies,... is wrecking [sic] havoc among us in the sacred matter of marriage and morals,... the frequency of adultery, through unwarranted divorce and otherwise, and the number of illegitimate births, among teenagers and older adolescents as well, have reached an appalling figure" (Brigham Young and His Wives, p. 12).
James L. Clayton admitted:
... except for the distinctive personal habits prescribed by the Word of Wisdom (including an implied proscription against narcotics), there is really little quantitative evidence to distinguish Mormon behavior today from that of comparable groups. Distinctions are usually asserted, for example, between Mormons and non-Mormons in the areas of sexual morality, education, crime, patriotism, and sobriety. Statistical data, however, clearly shows that in 1960 Utah's rate of illegitimate births was higher than the rate of illegitimacy for the white population of Alabama, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and was comparable with the rate for the white population of South Carolina, South Dakota, and Kansas. Even in Provo the rate of illegitimacy is not much different than it is in Dubuque, Iowa.... Regarding crime, according to the most recent data, Chicago is safer than Salt Lake City (total 1966 crime index 2172 vs. 2349) ... In short, we are no longer so much a peculiar people as typical Americans with a peculiar history (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1968, p. 71).
The Salt Lake Tribune for February 22, 1976, reported that "Utah continues to outstrip the rest of the nation in divorces.... 5.1 per 1,000 population were filed, compared with an average of 4.8 per 1,000 nationally."
Harold T. Christensen observed:
It probably will come as a surprise to most Latter-day Saints that Utah is above average in its divorce rate....
One would expect it to be otherwise. Of the fifty states, Utah is unique in at least two respects: It is the most churched,... and it is the most homogeneous in church membership, meaning that religious affiliation is more concentrated into one denomination. .. Somewhere between two-thirds and three-fourths of Utah's entire population is Latter-day Saint.... the logical expectation would be for a lower than average divorce rate, rather than a higher one....
Now this is not to suggest that divorce is rampant among the Latter-day Saints ... there is evidence that divorces following temple marriage are disproportionately few in number. For example, in a record-linkage study of Salt Lake and Utah Counties—with the divorce records search for about ten years following each marriage—I found the following divorce percentages: civil marriages, 13.4; Latter-day Saint non-temple marriages, 10.2; non-Mormon religious marriages, 5.5; and Latterday Saint temple marriages, 1.8 percent divorced ... while the temple marrying group showed up with substantially the lowest divorce percentage, the Latter-day Saint non-temple group showed up with a percentage nearly twice that of all other churches grouped together....
Not only does Utah, which is largely Mormon, have a higher-than-normal divorce rate, but average marriage duration is significantly shorter than in most states, and the proportion of divorces involving children is higher than in most states (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter 1972, pp. 21-23).
Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball has recently admitted that ten percent of the temple marriages end in divorce:
PROVO (AP)—President Spencer W. Kimball ... said Tuesday the church recommends that members marry partners who have the same racial, economic, social, educational, and religious background....
He said 10 percent of the marriages in the church's temples end in divorce. This is below average, but the church is still "chagrined that any temple marriage ends on [sic] divorce," he said (Salt Lake Tribune, September 8, 1976).
Church Not Lost
Mormon leaders have made the tragic mistake of pointing their people toward a church instead of toward the Saviour. They claim that their church is the only true church and that all
others are false and have no authority. This tends to make people more concerned about an organization than about their relationship with Christ.
Mormonism teaches that shortly after the death of Christ, the whole Christian world fell into a state of apostasy. In the Bible, however, Jesus said "... upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).
Orson Pratt did not seem to believe the words of Jesus for he claimed: "Jesus ... established his kingdom on the earth.... the kingdoms of this world made war against the kingdom of God, established eighteen centuries ago, and they prevailed against it, and the kingdom ceased to exist" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 125). "... the former-day kingdom no where exists on the earth, but has been prevailed against and overcome, and nothing is left but man-made churches and governments ..." (Pamphlets by Orson Pratt, p. 116).
Apostle Pratt's words are in direct contradiction to Jesus' statement that "the gates of hell shall not prevail" against His Church. While it is true that there was a great apostasy throughout the Christian world, there is no evidence that there was ever a time when there were not true Christians upon the earth. In John 1:12 we read: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." We believe that in all ages some people have believed in Jesus and have "become the sons of God," and these people were members of His Church. Although at times the numbers may have been small, Jesus promised that "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).
Our Own Testimony
Statement by Jerald Tanner. I was born and raised in the Mormon church, and before I was eight years old I felt that it was the only true church. I remember being told that a certain man who was excommunicated from the church was possessed with the devil. I can recall walking past this man's house and being afraid of him because I firmly believed that he was possessed of the devil. I believed that a person would almost have to be possessed of the devil to leave "the true church." My conviction was so strong that I was shocked to hear a boy in Sunday school say that he didn't know for certain that the church was true. I felt that it was strange indeed for a person to be a member of the Mormon church and yet not know it was the only true church.
I believed very strongly that Joseph Smith was a prophet of
God and that I belonged to the only true church. When I was about eighteen years old I had to face reality. I can remember that the first time I saw David Whitmer's pamphlet, An Address to All Believers in Christ, I threw it down in disgust. After throwing it down, however, I began to think that perhaps this was not the right way to face the problem. If David Whitmer was wrong in his criticism of Joseph Smith, surely I could prove him wrong. So I picked up the pamphlet and read it through. I found that I could not prove David Whitmer wrong, and that the revelations Joseph Smith gave had been changed. I later went to Independence, Missouri, and saw a copy of the original Book of Commandments, which confirmed David Whitmer's statement that the revelations had been changed.
Since that time I have found more and more proof that the church in which I was raised is in error. The most important thing that I found, however, was not that the church was in error, but that I myself was in error. I found that I was a sinner in need of a Saviour. The Mormon church had taught me good morals, but they had not taught me much concerning the power of Christ that could change my life. There was much talk about Joseph Smith, but very little talk about Christ. Consequently, I began to think I had the power within myself to overcome sin, I didn't see how much I needed the help of God to overcome it. So I turned from one sin to another until I was deeply in bondage to sin. I found no help in the Mormon church; they were too busy preaching about the glory of the church, Joseph Smith, etc. They were too busy singing "praise to the man who communed with Jehovah" and "We thank thee O God for a prophet" to tell me about the Saviour I needed so badly. They were too busy talking about missions, tithing, the welfare plan, etc., to talk about the Christ. Consequently, there was almost nothing in the services that could give life and peace to my dying soul. Perhaps I should mention, however, that there was one thing that really touched my heart, and that was when we sang the song, "Oh, It Is Wonderful!" by Charles H. Gabriel.
I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me;
I tremble to know that for me He was crucified—
That for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled, and died.
Oh, it is wonderful that He should care for me!
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
I marvel that He would descend from His throne divine,
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine;
That He should extend His great love unto such as I;
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
When we sang this song my heart burned within me. I have since learned, however, that even this song was borrowed from the Protestant faith. But regardless of where it came from, it touched me very deeply. It made me think of my Saviour and the great debt I owed to Him. If there had been more songs like this in the Mormon church and if Christ had been preached instead of Joseph Smith, I would, perhaps, have received Christ into my life in the Mormon church. As it was, however, I was nineteen years old before I heard the true message of Christ preached, and that was in another church. A short time later I received Christ into my life and found peace, joy, and deliverance from sin. As the Apostle Paul expressed it: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17).
Statement by Sandra Tanner. Since I was born and raised in the Mormon church, and am a great-great-grandchild of Brigham Young, I had very strong ties to the Mormon faith. I was about seventeen before I ever attended another church. As a teenager my life centered around the Mormon church. Because I was active and paying my tithing I thought I was in pretty good standing with God. I knew I sinned but I felt my activity in church would somehow outweigh what I did wrong. I believed (as the Mormons teach) that I was inherently good. I had no fear of God's judgment. Besides the things that were wrong in my own life, I began to have doubts about my church. Could it really be the only true church? Was polygamy really right? Why couldn't the Negro hold the priesthood? Was temple marriage really so important? Why were its rites kept such a secret? Did God actually command Mormons to wear special undergarments? I had many questions going through my mind.
When I started college I enrolled in the Mormon Institute of Religion class. I started asking questions in class, trying to find answers to my doubts. But one day my institute teacher took me aside and told me to please stop asking questions in class. There was a girl attending the class who was thinking of joining the church and I was disturbing her with my questions. What a surprise! I had hoped to find answers to the many things that were bothering me and now I had been silenced.
Shortly after this I met Jerald and we began studying the Bible and Mormonism together. As we studied I began to see the contradictions between the Bible and the teachings of the
I had grown up thinking that Brigham Young was one of the greatest men that ever lived. He was always presented to me as such a holy man—God's prophet, seer, and revelator. Then Jerald had me read some of Brigham Young's sermons in the Journal of Discourses on blood atonement. I was shocked! I knew what Brigham Young was saying was wrong but I couldn't reconcile these sermons with the things I had always been taught concerning him. I knew these were not the words of a prophet of God.
Jerald also showed me the changes that had been made in Joseph Smith's revelations. The thought kept coming to me that if God had actually given those revelations to Joseph Smith why would they need rewriting? Surely the Creator of the universe could say it right the first time!
As I studied I not only found errors in Mormonism, I also began to comprehend there was something wrong in my own life. As I studied God's Word I realized I was a sinful hypocrite. In spite of my sins I had thought I was right with God. Yet the Bible says: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).
After Jerald and I were married we started visiting the different Protestant churches. As I listened to the sermons I began to realize that God was not concerned with peoples' church affiliations, but with a personal relationship. Christ taught a way of love, not a religious system. He stated: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). Paul taught that we should "walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us..." (Eph. 5:2).
God reaches out to man, not because he deserves it, but because God loves him. John wrote: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). Paul wrote: "But God, who is rich in mercy.... even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ ... For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:4,5,8,9).
I now want to share with you the particular events of the day I surrendered my heart and life to Jesus Christ:
Early one morning (October 24, 1959) 1 decided to listen to the radio for a while. I turned to the Christian radio station and listened to a sermon. The minister was preaching on the great love of God and the mercy offered to us through Jesus Christ. Nothing ever struck me with such force. I opened my heart to God and accepted Christ as my own personal Saviour. The Holy
Spirit flooded my soul with such joy that I wept for over an hour. After the sermon the station played this song written by Elton M. Roth—
I love the Christ who died on Calv'ry,
For He washed my sins away;
He put within my heart a melody,
And I know it's there to stay.
In my heart there rings a melody,
There rings a melody with heaven's harmony;
In my heart there rings a melody,
There rings a melody of love.
(Copyright 1924. Renewal 1951. Hope Publishing Co., owner. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)
This song fully describes the way I felt. How glorious to know Christ died for my sins so I could have a new life in Him.
Our lives testify to all we meet whether or not we are truly Christians. Paul wrote: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
Mormonism a Shadow
Hal Hougey stated: "The LDS use the Bible to try to prove the Book of Mormon; then they leave the Bible behind, and urge the prospect to read the Book of Mormon. Does not the Bible tell anything about Christ's mission?" (Review of Mormon Missionary Handbook, p. 66).
The Mormon church is certainly not built upon the teachings of the Bible. Mormon Apostle LeGrand Richards has alleged that "the 'everlasting gospel' could not be discovered through reading the Bible alone ... this is the only Christian church in the world that did not have to rely upon the Bible for its organization and government..." (A Marvelous Work And A Wonder, p. 41).
Although many Christians realize that Mormonism has left the Bible far behind, they are surprised to learn that it is not even based on the Book of Mormon. Mormon writer John Henry Evans said:
... the Book of Mormon bears no more basic a relation to the work known as "Mormonism" than the other visions and revelations given in this dispensation.... If the Nephite record had not been revealed at all, in this dispensation, it is doubtful whether the body of "Mormon" belief would in any essential particular be different from what it is. I do not say this in disparagement of the Book of Mormon.... but I call attention to the fact as showing
how little the whole body of belief of the Latter-day Saints really depends on the revelation of the Nephite record (Improvement Era, vol. 16, pp. 344-45).
Mormon writer Robert J. Matthews has observed that most of present-day Mormonism cannot be found in the writings of the earliest period of Mormonism:
What did the faithful convert of the Church in 1830-1831 accept as essential "Mormonism"? Was he instructed concerning marriage for time and eternity? Of the three degrees of glory in the resurrection? Was he taught concerning the temple endowment, of baptism for the dead, of patriarchal blessings, or of the word of wisdom? Was he instructed in detail concerning the various offices and quorums in the priesthood from the deacons up through the teachers, priests, elders, seventies, and high priests? Was he taught concerning the quorums of the Presiding Bishopric, the First Council of Seventy, the Patriarch to the Church, the Council of the Twelve, and the First Presidency? To each of these questions the answer must be "no" for the simple reason that these matters had not yet been revealed in this dispensation and were known, if at all, only by the scant mention of some of them in the Bible and the Book of Mormon (Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1971, p. 401).
With the changes and additions that have come since those simple days, the understanding of the true message of Christ has long since vanished. Today converts are swarming into the Mormon church, but very few of them really know much about Mormonism. We feel safe in saying that many of them are converted to the social program of the church rather than to its doctrines. Those who were born in the church in many cases "know" it is true but don't know why it is true. Many Mormons will stand up in testimony meeting and dogmatically assert that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that they belong to "the only true church," but very few of them check to make sure that their faith is based on reality. Many members of the Mormon church prefer to let their leaders do their thinking ("when our leaders speak, the thinking has been done"); it is so easy to let someone else do our thinking. The Bible warns: "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord" (Jer. 17:5).
We sincerely hope and pray that the Mormon people will begin to awaken to the true message of Christ, realizing that in Him, and Him alone, can we have salvation—salvation that brings genuine deliverance from sin and real fellowship with the God who loved us enough to die for us.