Recently I was in the office of a local minister, a very sharp and interesting man with many accomplishments in his ministry. I was there to participate in a low-key discussion with him and some of the very good people in his congregation. He wasn’t shy about sharing his opinion that one of Satan’s most dangerous tool in this crazy world happens to be Mormonism. In fact, it might be Satan’s most dangerous deception of all. Not atheism, not totalitarian governments that shut down Christianity, not lust, greed, pornography, or any of the much bigger religions who teach dangerous doctrines he disagrees with, but minuscule Mormonism. While this was certainly a great ice-breaker to get our conversation going, it left me really puzzled. How can a religion that teaches people to believe in Jesus Christ and seek to follow Him be the most dangerous deception on the planet, as he also put it?
I understood where he was coming from a little better shortly after he allowed me to read a few verses from the Bible to respond to one of the many charges that had been made about our faith and our alleged non-Christian status. I explained that I wasn’t reading these to disprove his faith or to convert others to ours, but to show two of his followers, sincerely worried about the souls of their Latter-day Saint parents, that it’s possible for a person to believe some of the allegedly non-Christian doctrines of the Mormons while sincerely accepting the teachings of the Bible. He had just railed against our belief in the premortal existence and the idea that we are spirit children of God with divine heritage, and had said that the Bible does not teach that we are offspring of God–he had used that word, offspring. In explaining how a Latter-day Saint could believe such things, while sincerely accepting the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible, I read from Romans 8:14-18,38-39 which speaks of us being children of God and if children, then heirs, even “joint-heirs with Christ” with “glory which shall be revealed in us.” I then read Heb. 12:9,10 which teaches that God is the Father of our spirits. Then when I was able to read more, I added Acts 17:28,29, which emphasizes that we are “his offspring” . . . “the offspring of God.” If I were trying to be nasty, I would have reminded people that he had just denied that we are the offspring of God, but I was trying my best to be tactful, and only wanted to score the point that it’s possible to accept such a doctrine while also sincerely accepting the Bible, recognizing of course that there are various possibilities for how one interprets any verse, as I explained. One can say our doctrine there is too literal, but to say that it is part of what makes us non-Christian seems like a stretch.
Well, I thought I had laid out a brief but potentially reasonable and biblical case for mortals being actual children of God, the Father of our spirits, in Whose image we are created and Whose offspring we are, etc. His response, though, was to explain that my few minutes of teaching helped confirm his point of just how dangerous the deception of Mormonism was, for Mormonism had been so deceptively crafted that many parts of it could sound and look biblical–all part of a clever, Satanic scheme to lure people away from the truth.
As for Mormonism being Satan’s most clever deception, I can think of a few fine points the Master Marketer overlooked. For starters, it seems like Satan would have been a little smarter to leave out the stuff that even we Mormons really struggle with.
Well, less than 1% of the earth’s population with a tiny little rag-tag team of 19-year-old kids sharing Books of Mormon and telling people to quit smoking, start reading scriptures, pray with their families, live better lives, and turn to Jesus–and we’re the most dangerous deception on the planet, Satan’s most deadly tool. Take that, Hollywood!