by Sharon Lindbloom
16 March 2020
Russel M. Nelson, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently released a video invitation to his friends. Leading up to Easter and in accordance with the church’s 2020 focus on Joseph Smith’s First Vision, President Nelson said,
“My dear friends, today I wish to share with you a special invitation. There are a few wonderful occasions in the scriptures when our Heavenly Father personally introduced His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, with a specific charge to ‘Hear Him!’
“Today, this most-important invitation from our loving Heavenly Father to listen to the voice of the Lord and to follow His teachings is extended to us.
“In this special year as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, I invite you to think deeply and often about this key question: How do you hear Him? #HearHim.” (as reported in Deseret News, 2/26/2020
Christian evangelist Justin Peters suggested, “If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear him speak audibly, read it out loud.”
The Bible is God’s Word to us — God-breathed, unchanging truth that teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains us for righteousness (Psalm 119:89; 2 Timothy 3:14-17). In it we find the basis for discerning truth from error (see Acts 17). God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Christian pastor Kevin DeYoung put it this way:
“Scripture does not give exhaustive information on every subject, but in every subject on which it speaks, it says only what is true. And in its truth we have enough knowledge to turn from sin, find a Savior, make good decisions, please God, and get to the root of our deepest problems.
“The word of God is more than enough for the people of God to live their lives to the glory of God.”
So biblical Christianity answers President Nelson’s question, “How do you hear Him?” with an appeal to God’s Word: We hear Him through His revealed Word, the Bible.
Mormonism, on the other hand, rejects the sufficiency of the Bible, asserting that this revelation from God is incomplete and plagued by error. Therefore, if one is to “Hear Him,” one must also listen to and obey the words of LDS prophets, with Joseph Smith’s First Vision the first and foremost thing to consider. In an Ensign article from 2004, under the sub-heading “Knowing Jesus through Joseph,” then-President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “It is because of him [Joseph Smith], and his singular and remarkable experience [the First Vision], that we know the Savior as we do” (“Knowing the Savior through Service Emphasized at Christmas Devotional,” Ensign, February 2004, 74).
Both Christianity and Mormonism agree that we should listen to and follow Jesus. But if we start with hearing Him through the Bible (a book the LDS church claims to value and acknowledge as Scripture), we must ultimately reject Joseph Smith and the LDS Restoration. For in the Bible:
- Jesus says, “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Hear Him, and contrast His words with Mormonism’s declaration that the church Jesus built fell into complete apostasy and disappeared from the earth for nearly 2000 years.
- Jesus says, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:29–30). Hear Him, and contrast His words with Mormonism’s core doctrine of eternal (celestial) marriage.
- Jesus says, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” “…a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (John 4:24; Luke 24:39). Hear Him, and contrast His words with Mormonism’s teaching that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones.
- Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mark 13:31). Hear Him, and contrast His words with Mormonism’s assertion that “many plain and precious parts” were removed from the Bible.
- Jesus says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14–16). Hear Him, and contrast His words with Mormonism’s insistence that belief in Jesus is not enough for eternal life; obedience to LDS laws and ordinances are also required.
More examples could be cited, but this is sufficient to illustrate the point that if we truly listen to Jesus’ words found in the Bible, we have to make a choice regarding Mormonism. Either we reject Jesus’ biblical teachings and adhere to the teachings of the LDS church’s latter-day prophets and apostles; or we reject Joseph Smith and his so-called restored gospel, choosing instead to embrace Jesus and His biblical teachings.
Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Mormonism says, “This Church…is the way, the truth, and the life” (Marion G. Romney, Conference Reports, April 1961, 119).
In his recent video, President Nelson posits that the key question is: “How do you hear Him?” Perhaps more important questions are these: Do you hear Him? And hearing Him, who then do you follow?
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