By Eric Johnson
There are many Book of Mormon passages I like to use when I am witnessing to Mormons. Here are the 10 of the most common passages I cite regularly. After referencing the verse(s), I will, in about 100 words, explain how each can be used. Verses are cited in the order they are listed in the Book of Mormon.
- 1 Nephi 14:10: “And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.”
In this politically correct age, it is not uncommon to have the “stop judging” card used in conjunction with Matthew 7:1. Yet when a Mormon and Christian disagree, somebody has got to be wrong. According to 1 Nephi 14:10, either Evangelical Christians belong “to the church of the Lamb of God” or they belong to “the church of the devil.” Ask, “Which church is yours?” A Mormon will certainly answer the Lamb of God. Respond, “And which church is mine?” Here the Latter-day Saint will back pedal. According to Mormonism, all non-restored churches remain tainted by the Great Apostasy and therefore lack priesthood authority.
- 2 Nephi 25:23: “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”
This verse is more likely to be cited by a Latter-day Saint to the Christian rather than vice versa. When I used the verse with a Mormon in a recent discussion, he told me this could be found in the Bible. When I questioned him, he typed the information into his phone but couldn’t find it. Indeed, the idea that grace takes effect “after all we can do” is not a biblical concept. Instead, Ephesians 2:8-9 says that it’s by grace through faith, not works, that justifies a person. And how much can a person do (“after all we can do“)? Isn’t there always a little more that could be done?
- Alma 5:27-30: “Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins? Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life. Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless. And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions? Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
This passage says that unless a person is humble (i.e. “stripped of pride”), he or she does not have eternal life. Consider what a Latter-day Saint must do in order to qualify to attain eternal life. Each Mormon must be interviewed by the bishop and stake president in order to receive a temple recommend. By qualifying for the recommend, that person is considered “worthy” to go inside and do the necessary work. What a Catch 22! In addition, verse 30 says that anyone who “makes a mock of his brother” cannot be saved.
- Alma 11:26-29: “And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God? And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God. Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No.”
Zeerom was a wicked American lawyer who was not a friend of the Nephites. He questioned the prophet Amulek, who was righteous. According to Mormonism, there are multiple gods; in fact, every human has the ability to attain exaltation, or godhood. When Zeezrom asked if there was more than one God, Amulek replies that there wasn’t. If the LDS doctrine is true, this would have been the perfect opportunity for a prophet of God to explain the existence of multiple gods. The Bible is very clear that there is only one God in existence (Deut. 6:4).
- Alma 11:37: “And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.”
The problem with Mormonism is that nobody can know if they have done enough to qualify for the celestial kingdom. Mormons continue to work on their qualification, and yet they continue to repent, an admission that they have not kept the covenants they make in the temple and weekly at sacrament. I agree with one aspect of this verse in that it’s impossible to “be saved in your sins.” Mormonism teaches that it’s through keeping the commandments continually (D&C 25:15) and enduring to the end that qualifies people for “the kingdom of heaven.” According to the Bible, forgiveness is available through faith in Jesus and not by righteous works (Titus 3:5).
- Alma 34:32-35: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.”
Yes, it’s a long passage, but the context must be understood. According to Amulek, salvation cannot be worked out at any other time than this life. Therefore, he preached that nobody should “procrastinate the day of their repentance” since there can be no work done after death. In fact, Amulek goes on to say that those who do so “have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his.” If this is the case, then why is it that the majority of work that is done in the LDS temple is performed vicariously for those who are already dead?
- Mormon 8:32-33: “Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins. O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled. ”
Over the years Latter-day Saint leaders have criticized Christian pastors who receive money for their labor. (Of course, higher LDS leaders, including mission presidents, seventies, and general authorities, aren’t required to work outside of the church and yet they are compensated!) Here is a verse that can be used to critique those who accept payment for salvation. Accepting money for salvation is wrong. But wait a minute, aren’t Latter-day Saints require to tithe off their gross income? If they don’t, they are not allowed to get a temple recommend necessary to do eternal work for themselves and others. It sounds like a double standard!
- Mormon 9:9: “For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?”
This is a citation of Hebrews 13:8, a New Testament book penned hundreds of years before the Book of Mormon people groups emigrated to the Americas. (According to the note for this passage, this passage was written “between A.D. 400 and 421.”) How did the Nephites get a book from another continent long after their ancestors had left? In addition, God is said to be the same yesterday, today, and forever. If Mormonism teaches that God once lived as a human in a different realm, how can He be considered the “same”? In context, the passage is referencing miracles. What documented miracles have been done in the LDS Church?
- Moroni 8:18: “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”
The importance of knowing God is crucial, and according to this passage at the end of the Book of Mormon, God the Father is “unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” According to Mormonism, there was a time when God was not God. Moroni says it is impossible that he could have been limited only later to become infinite. While Mormons hesitate to get into a discussion about what preceded God and this earthly realm, the very idea that God is limited and that humanity has the potential to become gods is anathema to biblical Christians. For a video on this verse, see here.
- Moroni 10:32: “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”
The command in this verse is to be “perfected in him.” How is this done? First, it is necessary to “deny yourself of all ungodliness.” In addition, a person must “love God” with everything, making him the top priority in life. Notice the word “if.” It is a conditional clause. If you deny yourself of all ungodliness and love God with all that you are, only “then” does his grace kick in. As described by important LDS leaders and church manuals, the onus is on the individual’s back to earn the right to earn the grace.
OK, I know it makes #11, but I really have one more!
Bonus: Mormon 7:7: And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.”
When the topic of heaven comes up, many Latter-day Saints consider the Christian version to be “boring.” They envision it to be strumming on a harp while sitting on a cloud and watching eternity roll by. (Of course, it’s nothing like this, but this is the image it has.) In many minds of Latter-day Saints, heaven is being with family and beginning a new world (exaltation) as gods. So this verse is awesome! It states that dwelling “in the presence of God” is singing “ceaseless praises with the choirs above” “in a state of happiness which hath no end.” What a contrast to the boring view of heaven many Mormons have of Christianity’s heaven.
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