By Sharon Lindbloom
8 June 2016
Morgan Scalley, the defensive coordinator for the University of Utah’s football team, addressed single adult Mormons last week, urging them to “master the fundamentals of the gospel” in order to achieve success. “What are the fundamentals of the church?” he asked rhetorically. “They are everything you’ve been taught since you were a [3-year-old] Sunbeam [in the Church’s children’s program].”
Sixteen-plus years of Sunday School lessons surely encompass a lot of doctrinal fundamentals to be mastered! The LDS Church publishes a teaching manual titled Gospel Fundamentals that includes 36 chapters explaining the “basic principles of the [restored] gospel.” From the first chapter, “There is a God,” to the final chapter titled “Eternal Life,” according to the Preface, “The principles explained in this book are true.”
Because Morgan Scalley didn’t provide any specifics in his call to Latter-day Saints to master the fundamentals of the gospel, it might be helpful to those interested to read a few excerpts from the Mormon Church’s Gospel Fundamentals manual.
“Our Father in Heaven is not an idol or an animal. He has a body of flesh and bones. His body looks like a man’s body, but it is different… Our Father in Heaven is the only being we should worship.” (2-3. Note, however, that lds.org says Jesus Christ, a “separate being” from God the Father, is “the central focus of our worship.”)
“Every person who lives on this earth was our brother or sister in heaven. The oldest child in our heavenly family was Jesus Christ. He is our oldest brother.” (5)
“Only Jesus could pay for our sins. We receive the full benefits of His sacrifice by believing that He lives and by keeping His commandments. We must be sorry for our sins. We must not do them anymore. We must follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Then our Father in Heaven forgives our sins.” (59. Emphasis mine. See The Impossible Gospel.)
“Jesus obeyed our Father in Heaven, and therefore He lives with our Father in Heaven.” (203)
“Jesus has told us we should work to become like Him and our Father in Heaven. He would not have told us to do this unless He knew we could do it.” (127)
“Our Father in Heaven knows it is possible for all of us to live the gospel and receive eternal life. Since we are His children, we have the power to become like Him… Now is the time to do all we need to do to receive eternal life… Now we need to do the right things… Our Father in Heaven has asked us to accept the gospel. To do this we must first have faith in Jesus Christ… repent of our sins… be baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints… receive the gift of the Holy Ghost from one who has the priesthood… obey commandments… obeying the law of chastity, paying tithing and giving offerings, obeying the Word of Wisdom, being honest at all times, and keeping the Sabbath day holy… In order to become like our Father in Heaven we must also receive ordinances given in the temple, known as the endowment. We need to be sealed there so we will be together with our families for eternity. We should then search for names and information concerning our dead relatives and give what we find to the Church, in order to have the necessary ordinances done for them in the temple. Jesus has commanded us to do many things. These include telling others about the gospel, loving and helping them, and being a good example to them. We should also keep all the promises we make to our Father in Heaven, attend our Church meetings regularly, teach our family the gospel by studying the scriptures daily, and pray alone and with our family every day. If we have faith in Jesus Christ and try to obey all His commandments, we will receive eternal life and become like our Father in Heaven.” (203-204. See the LDS scripture 2 Nephi 25:23 which sums up: “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”)
“To live in the highest part of the celestial kingdom is called exaltation or eternal life. To be able to live in this part of the celestial kingdom, people must have been married in the temple and must have kept the sacred promises they made in the temple. They will receive everything our Father in Heaven has and will become like Him. They will even be able to have spirit children and make new worlds for them to live on, and do all the things our Father in Heaven has done.” (201. Emphasis mine.)
“It will help us to remember that our Father in Heaven was once a man who lived on an earth, the same as we do. He became our Father in Heaven by overcoming problems, just as have to do on this earth.” (204. Emphasis mine.)
These are but a few LDS gospel fundamentals, yet still quite a bit to learn and master. Much of this can be simplified and pared down into a “little couplet.” Early LDS leader Lorenzo Snow claimed divine revelation in 1840 when he summarized: “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.”
This is Mormonism.
- Proclaiming a God who was once a man who was able to achieve godhood.
- A Savior who is able to be in heaven because He obeyed Heavenly Father’s commands.
- A humankind who is just like God was before He became a God, each person having the opportunity to also become Gods – in the same way God the Father was able to become a God – by overcoming problems and obeying all the commandments.
- An eternal life marked by procreating spirit children and making and governing new worlds for them to live on.
These are some of the gospel fundamentals that constitute the religion of Mormonism. But none of it is in the Bible.
- The Bible proclaims a God who has always been God, the only God. (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 43:10)
- A Savior who is in heaven because He is God. (John 1:1-5, 14)
- A humankind of a different sort, created good by God but, due to rebellion, now broken and sinful and lost, deserving of God’s wrath. But God, in His mercy toward us, provided a sacrificial lamb to satisfy justice, taking our sin and nailing it to the cross, where Jesus died for us, in our place, so we could be reconciled to God. (Psalm 8;Romans 3:10-18; John 1:29; Colossians 2:13-14; Titus 3:5-7)
- An eternal life that is freely given to all who trust in Christ completely; and that eternal life is marked by joyful devotion to God – our great reward. (Romans 10:9-13; Genesis 15:1)
Any idea that Mormonism and biblical Christianity are fundamentally the same is mistaken. They proclaim different gospels and different gods.
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)