In a December 11, 2007 Associated Press article written by Libby Quaid, the question of whether or not Mormonism teaches that “Jesus and the devil are brothers” was addressed. In response to this inquiry, Quaid noted that a spokesperson for the LDS Church said such a “question is usually raised by those who wish to smear the Mormon faith, rather than clarify doctrine.” Sadly, Kim Farah, the spokesperson in question, missed another opportunity to be unambiguous with the American people. Rather than answer this with a simple yes or no, she questions the motive of anyone who dares to ask the question in the first place. She then launched into an explanation that was anything but lucid.
In the early 1990s we wrote two articles and an unpublished manuscript about the mistake that we believe Joseph Smith made in the Book of Mormon regarding the origin of Jesus’ birth. We received immediate feedback from the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), an organization based at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, telling us that our research was flawed. Several criticisms were published by the group, including a paper by Daniel Peterson, William Hamblin, and Matthew Roper in 1995 entitled “On Alma 7:10 and the Birthplace of Jesus Christ.”
It is obvious that this is a very sensitive issue with these Mormons. According to them, Alma was referring to the surrounding area of Jerusalem and not the city itself. They insist that Alma was a real person, so to credit him with saying that Christ would someday be born in Jerusalem and not in Bethlehem would be a serious faux pas. To say otherwise casts doubt upon the historicity of Mormonism’s sacred Book of Mormon.
Many scriptures remind us that our salvation has been purchased by the final, perfect sacrifice of Christ. However, in the article The Law of Sacrifice (Ensign, Oct 1998, pp. 6-13) LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard reflects a different point of view – one more in keeping with the view that salvation must be earned. To some it may appear that he is merely describing the ‘sacrificial’ nature of living for God. It shouldn’t take much examination to realize that Ballard is saying more than that. This becomes evident early on with such statements as “While its practice changed during the New Testament period, the purposes of the law of sacrifice remained in place even after the Atonement of Christ fulfilled the law of Moses.” In other words, Christ’s offering of Himself on the cross did not make a final end to the need for sacrifices, but this provided an important part of the plan.
By Bill McKeever
Each spring millions of Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of their Lord. In light of the fact that this is one of the most important events within the Christian tradition, it is important for us to examine and understand the spiritual significance of Christ’s sacrifice in light of the teachings of past LDS leaders.
By Edward Mellott
Each occupant of the First Presidency, from Joseph Smith onward, has been, in addition to other things, the highest occupant of the Melchizedek priesthood. Each has served for some length of time, after which he has died and been succeeded by another. What is significant about this fact is that the pattern bears more resemblance to the history of the Levitical priesthood than it does to the priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Dan Brown’s fictional novel (emphasis on fictional) The DaVinci Code insists that Jesus was married and that he had a child named Sarah with his wife Mary Magdalene. Such a theory is hardly unique. Several Mormon leaders insisted that Jesus was married, but like Brown, none of them offered any more than pure conjecture to support such a claim. Unlike Brown, LDS leaders have gone on record saying Jesus was not only married, but that he was a polygamist as well!
You might think that the Mormon people celebrate Christmas like a good Christian denomination would. But a doctrinal issue broods over the Mormon people, a historic issue that prevents many Mormons from appreciating the Christian meaning of Christmas. Indeed, it is an issue that prevents many Mormons from having a saving relationship with the real Jesus Christ. Just who is that Jesus in the manger? How was he conceived? And what kind of salvation does he freely offer to those who want eternal life and the forgiveness of sins?
One of the fundamental tenets of Christianity is that Christ was born of a virgin. The Bible teaches that though she had not yet had physical intercourse with a man, Mary miraculously conceived and bore a son. Mormons insist that they do believe in the “virgin birth”, yet many of them have described it in a way far removed from what Christians have believed for two millennia. While individual Mormons are divided over this issue, to this day the Mormon Church has no unequivocal official position on whether the immortal Heavenly Father had sexual intercourse with his mortal spirit-daughter Mary to conceive Jesus.