Monday, April 28, 2008

"Mormon Coffee"

Among the many blessings of my dear wife and my trip to Tennessee was meeting Aaron Shafovaloff (SHOF-a-WAL-lof).

Aaron is an embarrassingly bright young man passionately committed to reaching Mormons with the Gospel. He's had an impact on a number web sites, but I think the primary one on this subject is Mormon Coffee (subtitle: "It's forbidden, but it's good!"), which I commend to you.

The more I learn about Mormonism, the more astonished I am that (A) rational people get caught up in in, (B) rational people stay in it, and especially (C) any Christian wants to argue that it is, in any except a sociological sense, "Christian."

(Wait... are we talking about Roman Catholicism, or Mormonism? Oh, right: Mormonism!)

So here was my particular eye-opener from Aaron this time: that many Mormons not only believe that "God the Father," when a man, could very well have sinned (?!!), and not only are they OK with that possibility... but they actually find it encouraging!

Check out his site.

9 comments:

chris said...

I've made studying Mormonism a priority in my life, and I have felt the astonishment you describe. One thing that I've had to check myself in is mocking Mormons, even in my head. Very grace-less; these are people who have been lied to, not idiots who need to be watered.

That's just my own experience. Thanks for the link to the site

Aaron said...

I was a Mormon for over two years MRM is one of the reasonsI left Mormonism. the other being the sovergin Grace of God. Thanks to MRM I finelly got out and was formally excomunicatedlast April I now attend a good Calvinest BAptistChurch and I am soundlly saved.

DJP said...

Ooh, and from your profile, a "5 point [Calvinist] Baptist Dispensationalist"!

Welcome, brother! (And praise God for your salvation.)

(c:

Becky, a slave of Christ said...

Trying to evangelize Mormons is very much like trying to evangelize any number of the religious. They believe they are safe. They believe (but unlike the demons, they do not tremble) they are believers. Even though Mormons use biblical terminology, their dictionary does not define those terms in the same way our dictionaries do. When we get into a conversation with them about Jesus, salvation, eternity, or anything spiritual, our words match, but our thought processes behind those words are entirely different. My heart aches when I hear Mormons speak as though they have full assurance, when I know they are blinded and have been taken in by a flimflam man (AKA The father of lies and liars).

I think the reason so many Christians call Mormons Christian is because they have not bothered to look deeper than the fa├žade the world sees. You don’t have to explore far to encounter red flags. You are right about the bazaar stuff they accept as truth. It is amazing what people fall for and stake their eternity upon. Only God's grace can penetrate the wall of lies and change hearts. Thank God He does with some.

It is a great blessing to hear of those, like Aaron, who have been brought to the truth! I echo Dan's welcome to you, Aaron. You are proof that there is no place dark enough to keep the elect from the Light.

DJP said...

Right, Becky. Aaron Shafovaloff made that very point in sharing with the church in Tennessee: they use some of the identical terminology that Christians use, but by it mean ideas 180 degrees in opposition to Biblical truth.

S.Faux said...

Daniel,

Mormons do NOT believe that God ever sinned. You would never find an official citation that would teach such a thing.

I think on this point you have merely knocked down a straw man.

Christ was and is a sinless divine being, and there is no other way to properly conceptualize God.

Search LDS.ORG, the official LDS website, and you will find nothing about God sinning.

But, look, do I appreciate you raising issues? Sure, because Mormons need to do a better job of explaining what we believe.

Having been in the LDS Church all my life, I do not recognize half of what is said about it on the Internet.

There are subtleties in the doctrine of "theosis" that may create confusion. It is an ancient doctrine, and you can find much about it on non-LDS sites. I would recommend it.

Best wishes...

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

S.Faux,

With such an issue it is misleading to so closely associate "what Mormons believe" with "what an official citation says." There are things you'll find in LDS official citations that some Mormons don't believe (and even Mormons in general don't believe), and there are things that individual Mormons believe (or that Mormons in general believe) that can't be supported in an official citations. The correlation isn't strong enough on many important issues, so instead of assuming the two are synonymous it is more responsible and helpful to approach Mormonism holistically.

The embarrassing, shameful fact is that Mormonism simply has no official position on whether God the Father was once a sinner, and Mormons are on a spectrum of beliefs about the issue, ranging from "God never sinned but that's my own non-official speculative opinion" to "God possibly once sinned but probably not" to "I have no idea" to "God probably sinned but I'm not certain" to "I simply assume God was a sinner like me." Just this very Wednesday and Thursday I talked to an assortment of people that ran this gamut at Temple Square. Last General Conference I had a recorded conversation with a Mormon named Stephen and we talked about this subject:

http://www.archive.org/download/StephenOnWhetherGodOnceSinned/WasGodASinner_64kb.mp3

(This MP3 clip is 1m 23s)

BYU assistant professor (of Church History and Doctrine) Alonzo L. Gaskill wrote the following to me:

"My opinion is yes, not only is what you suggested [that God the Father sinned] possible, I think we have to believe it probably. For, if we do not assume that, we must assume that we'll never become gods ourselves. Sure, someone like Jesus will become a God and never have sinned, etc. But according to the Church's soteriology, you and I are also seeking to become a god. Thus, Jesus would be the exception. Most deities would be people who lived mortal probations and then became gods through relying upon an atonement of a messiah provided them by their messiah." - (1/24/2007)

Even Robert Millet, a particularly progressive Mormon professor at BYU, answered that he didn't know whether God the Father was once a sinner when I publicly brought up the issue in front of roughly 400 people in Salt Lake City.

The Mormon institution is largely responsible for its members believing that God could have been a sinner, for it 1) has no official position unequivocally denouncing the idea and 2) it allows the traditional understanding of Lorenzo Snow couplet theology to perpetuate. The Mormon worldview fosters this as well, as it teaches that we---sinful, fallen, human beings---can become gods over our own spirit children who relate to us in the same way we relate to our "Heavenly Father" (cf. the chapter on exaltation in Gospel Principles).

S.Faux, maybe you are part of the minority of Mormons who believe that God the Father never even possibly sinned, but simply haven't thought much about the matter until now. I welcome you to worship the God who never sinned---the God who was always fully God (Psalm 90:2)---with us, and boldly call to repentance anyone who believes that God the Father could have sinned, and boldly call to repentance any religious institution that won't take an equivocal, official position on the matter. Any religion not willing to passionately denounce the notion that God the Father could have sinned (in a past mortal probation, etc.) is of Satan. It's an issue infinitely more important than how many ear rings a woman can have, or what kind of food or drink one is allowed to consume.

Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly by faith apart from works (Romans 4:4-8),

Aaron

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

Errrr. I meant UNequivocal. :-)

Aaron Shafovaloff said...

S.Faux, you said, "Mormons do NOT believe that God ever sinned".

Having said that, you might be interested in the expanded material now available here:

http://www.godneversinned.com/

Lots of interviews with Mormons who don't confirm your assumption.