Saturday, December 27, 2014

Can You Believe?

The following is copied from the tract booklet, “Can You Believe,” which was written by Carolyn J. Sexauer, and published by the Utah Christian Tract SocietyUtah Christian Tract Society was founded in 1956 and continued until 1990, when UCTS merged with Mormonism Research Ministry, who gave me permission to post it here.

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This is written with the sincere hope and humble prayer that it may cause some of you to stop and think - to search deep into your hearts and into God's Word.... Consider the following questions based on Mormon doctrines, together with the Bible's answers to them.  If you are a God-fearing, truth-seeking person, interested in the eternal destiny of your soul ----

1.  Can you believe that the Bible in its present form is not the authentic, inspired Word of God - that it is probably not translated correctly, therefore cannot be wholly depended upon as the divine guide for mankind? ("Articles of Faith," James E. Talmadge.   "Divine Authority of the Book of Mormon," Orson Pratt.)

Answer:  "Thy word is truth" - John 17:17.  "Thy word is true from the beginning" - Psa. 119:160.  "Thy word is very pure therefore thy servant loveth it." - Psa. 119:140.  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" - 2 Tim. 3:16.  "Prophecy
came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" - 2 Peter 1:21.

As to the correctness of the translation of the Old Testament, hear the testimony of Professor Robert Dick Wilson of Princeton Theological Seminary.  There is no greater authority on Hebrew and other ancient languages.  He says, "You can be absolutely certain that we have the text substantially of the Old Testament that Christ and the apostles had, and that was in existence from the beginning."

As to the correctness of the translation of the New Testament, the recognized authorities are Messrs. Westcott and Hort, compilers of the standard Greek New Testament.  They say, "If comparative trivialities, such as changes of order, the insertion or omission of the article with proper names and the like, are set aside, the words in our opinion, still subject to doubt, can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the New Testament." [See also the book, "Evidence That Demands A Verdict," by Josh McDowell]

 2.  Can you believe that the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and the writings of Joseph Smith are the inspired Word of God? ("Articles of Faith, " Joseph Smith)

Answer:  "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it" - Deut. 4:2.  "Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" - Prov. 30:6.  "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this Book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book; And if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this  prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the Holy City, and from the
things which are written in this Book" - Rev. 22:18-19.

3.  Can you believe that "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become"? (Couplet by Lorenzo Snow.  Accepted as doctrine.) That there are many gods - and that they are polygamous? ("Gospel Through the Ages," Milton R. Hunter.  Also "The Seer," Vol. 1, Orson Pratt).  That "you must learn how to be a God yourself, the same as all other gods have done before you?" ("Gospel Through the Ages," Hunter.  "Journal of Discourses," Vol. 6, Brigham Young).

Answer:  "There is none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many), but to us there is but one God." 1 Cor. 8:4-6.

Part of this cited scripture is quoted by Mormons to prove that there are many gods.  But a careful examination of the passage, and its context, shows that the meaning is exactly opposite of what Mormonism makes it out to teach.  The apostle here is contrasting the heathen belief in many gods with the Christian revelation that, "There is none other God but one." 
"For all the gods of the people are idols; but the Lord made the heavens" - 1 Chron. 16:26.  "I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God" - Isa. 44:6.  "I am the Lord and there is none else, there is no God beside me" - Isa. 45:5.  See also Isa. 43:10-11.  "God is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he
should repent" - Num. 23:19.  "I am God and not man" - Hos. 11:9.  "From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God" - Psa. 90:2.

Satan was the first being who became ambitious to be God.  He said, "I will be like the Most High."  God said concerning him, "Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell" - Isa. 14:15-15.

The first lie of Satan was, "Ye shall be as God" - Gen. 3:5.

God did not become God - but always has been, and always will be God!  He is perfect and changeless, therefore cannot "progress" as Mormonism teaches.  See the following Scriptures - Gen. 1:1; Malachi 3:6;
Matthew 5:48.

Now, how can you reconcile these Bible truths with the doctrine that men may become Gods - and that God was at one time mere man? 

Space will not permit a thorough treatment of this subject.  But I beseech you - study your Bible, with prayer for enlightenment.  You will discover that doctrines such as these are foreign to Scripture.

4.  Can you believe that "Adam is our father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do? (Journal of Discourses" Vol. 1, Brigham Young.)

Answer:  Compare these words of Brigham Young with the Bible truth concerning our Creator.  "I am the LORD thy God... Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them; nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..." Exod. 20:2-5.  See also Deut. 33:27; 1 Kings 18:39; Isa. 44:8, 45:22; 46:9-10.

“The first man Adam was made a living soul" - 1 Cor. 15:45.  "In Adam all die." - 1 Cor. 15:22.  "And unto Adam He (God) said, 'dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return'" - Gen. 3:17, 19. 

5.  Can you believe that God is not a Spirit, but an exalted man? ("Gospel through the Ages," Hunter)

Answer:  "God is a Spirit" - John 4:24.  "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" 2 Cor. 3:17.  God is omnipotent - See Gen. 17:1; Exod. 6:3.  God is Omniscient - See Psa. 139:1-6; Prov. 5:21.  God is omnipresent - See Psa. 139:7; Jer. 23:23.

6.  Can you believe that the "Mormon priesthood has divine authority to act for God; that men holding this priesthood possess part of God's power and are in reality part of God; that to reject this authority is to reject God?" (Gospel Through the Ages," Hunter.  "Articles of Faith," Talmadge.  "A New Witness for God," B.H. Roberts).

Answer: The Bible teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only mediator (priest) between God and man.  "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus" - 1 Tim. 2:5.  He is our eternal High Priest.  "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" - Heb. 7:24-25. (See also 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; Heb. 13:15)

7.  Can you believe that "Jesus Christ was not begotten of the Holy Spirit"?  That He is the son of Adam-God and Mary?  That the "Father had begotten Him in His own likeness" (And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family)". ("Journal of Discourses,:" Vol. 1, Brigham Young.  "Discourses of Brigham Young, " arranged by John A. Widstoe).

Answer:  "The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her id of the Holy Ghost" - Matt. 1:20.  Read this entire passage dealing with the conception and birth of our savior - Matt. 1:18-25.  See also Luke 1:27-38.
As to Jesus Christ, if He was not virgin born, He is not both God and man, and therefore He is wholly disqualified to act as man's substitute.  Not only because He cannot represent God, but because He is a mere creature, and does not have the disposal of His own life.

Right here, I should like to draw your attention to the genealogy of Jesus found in the first chapter of Matthew.  Note the changed expression in verse 16.  This is important.  It is no longer "who begat," but "Mary, who whom was born Jesus."  Jesus Christ was not "begotten" by natural generation.

8.  Can you believe that Jesus Christ was married at Cana, to the Marys and Martha, whereby "He could see his seed" before He was crucified? ("The Seer," vol. 1, Orson Pratt).
        
Answer:  I should like to quote the late Franklin G. Huling in the support of the Christian's belief that Jesus Christ was not married.  He says, "His divine Person, and His mission - coming into the world to be the divine Sacrifice for sins of all who will accept Him, are utterly incompatible with the idea of marriage.  The Lord Jesus Christ was, and is, God incarnate and the thought of His marriage to a human woman is wholly incongruous.  If Christ was married, then the silence in the Bible about that important matter is inexcusable.  The fact that the Bible is silent about Christ being married is decisive.  Christ was not married.  His 'seed' and 'generation' and 'increase' are solely spiritual."  See Isa. 53:8, 10.

9.  Can you believe that the Holy Spirit is an "ethereal substance diffused through grace"?  That this substance (Holy Spirit), like all others, is one of the elements of material or physical existence, and therefore subject to the necessary laws which govern all matter? ("Key to Science of Theology," Parley P. Pratt)

Answer:  The Holy Spirit is a divine Person - the third Person of the Holy Trinity.  "Howbeit when HE, the Spirit of Truth, is come, HE will guide you into all truth for HE shall not speak of HIMSELF, but whatsoever HE shall hear, that shall HE speak; and HE will show you things to come" - John 16:13.

Acts that can be attributed to only a person are ascribed, in the Bible, to the Holy Spirit.  He knows - 1 Cor. 2:11; He wills - 1 Cor. 12:11; He loves - Romans 15:30; He can be grieved - Eph. 4:30.

10.  Can you believe that there is only one mode by which the Holy Spirit  is conferred upon mankind - "the laying on of hands of those men who have themselves received it and are called of God to administer it"? ("Gospel Through the Ages", Hunter.  "The Scrap Book," vol. 1, Charles W. Penrose)

Answer:  The Holy Spirit came into the hearts of the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2) and on Cornelius and his household at Caesarea (Acts 10), because they had accepted Christ.  No hands were laid on them.  The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the hearts of everyone who becomes a son of God by receiving the Son of God as their own Saviour.  See 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19, 20; Eph. 1:13-14.

11.  Can you believe that God is a party to the sin of man - that it was His plan that man should fall?  That it was necessary for Adam to partake of the forbidden fruit, "else he would no have known good or evil - neither could he have had  mortal posterity?"  That the sin of Adam and Eve was the cause of great rejoicing? (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:22-25; also "Catechism," John Jacques)

Answer:  Man did not need to know evil by experience.  Nor was it necessary for him to partake of the forbidden fruit in order to have mortal posterity.  The plan for peopling the earth could be safely left in God's hands.  Remember, His command to Adam and Eve in the garden, before the fall, was, "Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth" - Gen. 1:28.  Man needed only to obey God.  As to their sin being cause for rejoicing - consider the following passages of Scripture, "And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid" - Gen 3:8-10.  "The wages of sin is death" - Rom. 6:23.  "He
hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who (Christ) knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" - Cor. 5:21.  "And being in agony He (Christ) prayed more earnestly; and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" - Luke 22:14.  CAUSE FOR REJOICING?

12.  Can you believe that Christ's sacrifice atoned only for the sin of Adam: That man will be punished for his own sins? ("Articles of Faith," Talmadge).
Answer:  The consequences of Adam's sin was that "many were made sinners" - Rom. 5:19.  "Sin" therefore, is the nature.  "Sins" are the manifestation of that nature. Compare 1 John 1:8 with 1 John 1:10, where this distinction appears.  Now please read the whole 5th chapter of Romans.  Note especially the following verses.  "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" - Rom. 5:12.  "Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the
righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification to life." - Rom. 5:18.  See also Rom. 3:21-28.

13.  Can you believe that “redemption from personal sins can be obtained only through obedience to the requirements of the Mormon church and a life of good works?” (“A Compendium,” F.D. Richards.  Also “Articles of Faith,” Talmadge.)  That the grace of God is a system of rules by complying with which, salvation may be gained?  That “justification by faith alone is a pernicious doctrine”? (“The Scrap Book,” Vol. II, E.F. Parry.  “Art. of Faith,” Talmadge.)

Answer:  There is a great gulf between Mormonism’s answer to these questions, and the true answers found in the Word of God.  Consider the following quotations from the Bible.

The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” - Romans 6:23.  “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. 2:8,9.  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His Mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our saviour”- Titus 3:5,6.  “Christ died for our sins” - 1 Cor.15:3.  “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this name (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” - Acts 13:38,39.

Now look at the inspired word of the Bible concerning Justification by Faith.

“For God so loved the world, the he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him (Christ) should not perish, but have everlasting life” - John3:16.  “He that believeth on him (Christ) is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” - John 3:18.  “What must I do to be saved?  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” - Acts 16:30, 31.  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” - Romans 5:1. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” - Romans 3:24.  “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” - Romans 4:5. 

14.  Can you believe that plurality of wives is an “eminent means of grace” - that the number of man’s wives and children increase his honor and glory in the world to come”? (Notice “his glory,” what about the glory of women in the world to come?). (See “Doc. & Cov. Section 132.  Also “The Real Mormonism,” Robert C. Webb).  That there will be marriage and the begetting of children in the next world? (See prev. refs.  Also “Gospel Through the Ages,” Hunter. “The Seer,” Vol. 1, Orson Pratt).

Answer:  Where in the Bible can anything be found to justify such beliefs?  In fact, everything in Scripture that deals with these subjects absolutely refutes them.  Let us look to the Word.  In the first place - the Bible tells us that marriage belongs to this world only.  In Matthew 22:30, we read, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (See also Mark 12:25; Luke 20:34-36).

Secondly, God’s Word has never sanctioned plurality of wives.  Polygamy in the Old Testament days was always punished.  The Bible teaches very plainly that in the beginning God intended the union of one man and one woman in marriage.  Remember, He gave to Adam not many wives, but ONE. (See Gen. 2:23, 24; Deut. 17:17; Matt. 19:4-6; Eph. 5:31, 33; 1 Tim. 3:2-12).

15.  Can you believe that it is scriptural for the living to be baptized for the dead, that it is the duty of living saints to trace back their genealogies that their ancestors may have vicarious baptism? ("Teachings of Joseph Smith," Compiled by Joseph F. Smith).

Answer:  You will find as you prayerfully study God's Word that water baptism is not essential to salvation.  It is an ordinance enjoined upon us after we have been saved - after we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and have been "born again."  (John 3:6).  When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and are born again, we receive the baptism of the Spirit, which is the true baptism of salvation (See 1 Cor. 12:13)

Upon 1 Cor. 15:29 the whole structure of Mormon ordinance of baptism for the dead is built, but there is not a trace of Scripture in Corinthians or any other part of the Bible to substantiate such a perversion of the truth.  I can find no better words to refute the erroneous interpretation of this text than to quote from the writings of Dr. Louis T. Talbot, Chancellor of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.  He says, "Paul's argument all through 1 Corinthians 15 is that Christ is risen from the dead; and because he lives, we too shall live.  The resurrection of Christ is the foundation stone of Christianity.  Without it our faith is vain, and we are still in our sins.  In the resurrection of Christ God demonstrated the sufficiency and the efficacy of the redemption price that our Lord paid when He died on Calvary.   Baptism is a picture of our association with Christ in His death and resurrection.  It speaks not only of death, but also of our being risen with Him.  But if Christ is not risen from the dead, as some evidently contended, then, as Paul asked, 'What shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?  Why are they then baptized for the dead?' (1 Cor. 15:29).  In other words, if Christ be not risen from the dead, then we have been baptized unto a dead man, and of what significance or value could that be?  Baptism speaks of resurrection as well as death; but if
Christ be not risen, the ordinance of baptism loses all its significance; for then we should have been baptized for (i.e. "unto") the dead (or "a dead man") which would have no meaning at all.  The whole trend of the argument Paul follows in 1 Corinthians 15 makes it conclusive that this is what Paul is talking about, for he says in verse 20; ' But now IS Christ risen from the dead, and became the first-fruits of them that slept.'" (Now read 1 Tim. 1:4; Titus 3:9; 2 Tim. 3:7).

16.  Can you believe that "Gods, angels and men, are all one species, one race, one great family, widely diffused among the planetary systems?" ("Key to Science of Theology," Parly P. Pratt).

Answer:  Let us segregate the different items contained in the question.  Look to the Bible for enlightenment:
GOD - (gods?) "There is none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven, or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many), but to us there is but one GOD" - 1 Cor. 8:4-6.  "For all the gods of the people are idols; but the LORD made the heavens" - 1 Chron. 16:26.  "I am the LORD and there is none else; there is no God beside me" - Isa. 45:5.  (See also Hosea 11:9; Num. 23:19; Psa. 90:2; Deut. 33:27; Isa. 44:6-8)
MAN - "The first man Adam was made a living soul" 1 Cor. 15:45.  "In Adam all die" - 1 Cor. 15:22.  "And unto Adam he [God] said... dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return" - Gen. 3:17-19.  (See also Job 33:12; Psa. 90:3; John 1:18; 1Cor 2:11)
ANGELS - Angels (messengers) are an order of created spirit beings whose chief attributes are strength and wisdom.  To quote, in part, Dr. C. I. Schofield, "The word 'angel' is always used in the masculine gender, though sex, in the human sense, is never ascribed to angels (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25).  They are exceedingly numerous (Matt. 26:53; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11)  Their power is inconceivable (2 Kings 19:35).  Their place is about the throne of God (Rev. 5:11; 7:11). Their relation to the believer is that of 'ministering spirits' sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation, and this ministry has reference largely to the physical safety and well being of believers (1 Kings 19:5; Psa. 34:7; 91:11; Dan. 6:23; Matt. 2:13, 19; Luke 22:43)."

17.  Can you believe that there is no salvation outside the Mormon church?

Answer:  There is only one True Church in the Bible.  It is an organism, not an organization.  It is spoken of as the body of Christ, which He loved and purchased with His own blood. (Eph 5:25; Col. 1:24; Acts 20:28).  Christ is the Head of the church and all believers are the members (Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 12:12, 27).  Local churches are merely groups of these believers gathered together for worship and the study of God's Word (Acts 2:47; 20:28)

For entrance into this true church, the Body of Christ, you must receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your own Saviour; Trusting Him alone for your salvation.

"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" - John 1:12.  "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" - John 3:36.  

Read again these wonderful salvation verses.  (John 3:16; 5:24; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 6:23)


There is nothing about denominations here .  The Lord Jesus Christ says, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." - John 6:37.

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