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This article can be found in the appendix section of The Intercessors Handbook
As I mentioned in the first chapter of The Intercessors Handbook, I grew up the Latter-Day Saints church. I was an active member, immersed in Mormon beliefs and a participant in some of their temple rituals.
The temple rituals varied but usually involved religious acts on behalf of someone who had died. For example, I would be baptized in water on behalf of another person who had died, in order to fulfill their eternal requirement for baptism. None of the rituals were perverse or scary but were done to secure aspects of the afterlife for the ones who had passed on.
As a Mormon, I learned about the importance of family, of tithing and being physically healthy. I was taught good character and modesty as a woman. I was also taught a framework for the existence of modern-day prophets, heavenly revelations, angelic visitations, the Holy Ghost and the idea that the gifts of the Holy Ghost were to be embraced. (I prefer to say Holy Spirit, but an LDS member will take care to say the Holy Ghost.)
LDS followers use terminology that sounds similar to the terminology Christians use. Keep in mind that these things may sound the same but have different meanings underneath. For example, Mormons believe Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior and died for their sins, so they can have eternity in heaven. This is the same statement of faith as Christians, except the Jesus embraced by the LDS church and the Jesus of the Christian faith are not the same Jesus.
Mormons believe we pre-existed in heaven. They also believe in eternal families, past and future. Eternal families are marital unions in heaven that produce children. In the LDS belief structure, God the Father had a beginning, and so did Jesus Christ. Jesus was titled the firstborn Son because he was born first. They believe the rest of us were born in like manner as Jesus.
They also believe Lucifer was a rebellious brother in our spirit family, rather than a rebellious archangel. Instead of taking a third of the angels with him in his rebellion,
Christians do not accept Lucifer, also known as Satan, as a spiritual brother. Rather, Satan is a fallen angel that ranked in authority alongside the archangels Michael and Gabriel. He had charge of one-third of the angelic host, who rebelled with him and are now manifest as demons on the earth.
Christians also shun the idea of marriage, sexual union and childbearing in a heavenly context. For human beings, there is no eternal plan for marriage or childbearing in heaven, based on the words of Jesus in Mark12:25: “When the dead rise they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”
The LDS church refers to four spiritual texts: The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of the Great Price. The founder of the LDS church, Joseph Smith, claims to have received the Book of Mormon after an angel named Moroni visited him and revealed to him the book’s location. Smith claims to have found a set of inscribed gold plates buried at the Hill Cumorah in New York. These inscriptions were interpreted through supernatural means, and the result was the Book of Mormon. I read the Book of Mormon a handful of times while growing up. It is a proposed historical narrative between Jesus and early Native Americans.
When it comes to an LDS prophet, his words and decrees can supersede anything written in their holy texts and carries the most weight. The leader of the LDS church is always given the title of prophet and is chosen out of their Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This explains how stances held by the LDS church over the years have shifted, as doctrine is not anchored in their written texts.Conversely, Christians hold one spiritual text: The Bible. Christians believe in modern day apostles and prophets, as described in Ephesians 4:11–12, but the word of the prophet must submit to the Bible, not the other way around. Prophets cannot create theology that is not already communicated in Scripture.
In Christendom, prophets often predict the future with accuracy and operate in powerful signs and wonders. At the same time, they do not have absolute authority over the Church. They are part of a governing structure chosen by Jesus, which includes apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Together these persons lead the Church on earth with the goal of equipping the saints for ministry and bringing them to maturity.
An interesting paradox exists between LDS and Christian communities when it comes to beliefs about the supernatural. I have found the LDS framework to be more biblical than that held by many Christian denominations, especially the cessationist denominations, such as Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Evangelical Free and reformed churches. For example, LDS members believe in apostles and prophets,
The last key difference between Christians and Mormons is the LDS belief in personal deification. They are actively striving to progress in this life so they can become a god in the next. I never understood this to be a competitive statement against the Creator, but rather a by-product of having become like Christ in a way they believe Him to be. Remember that Mormons believe Jesus had a beginning and progressed to His place of deity. They are attempting to do the same. This drives many Mormons to be successful and promotes a sense of excellence within the ranks.
Christians, on the other hand, believe they are made in the image of God, are full of the Holy Spirit and carry a heavenly mandate on earth. Although we hardly refer to ourselves as gods, we do embrace our spiritual titles –- the kings and priests on earth –- having been given all authority in Jesus’ name. Love and compassion for mankind drives us into successful action more than a fearful striving for rank and title in heaven. In an eternal context, Christians are content to forever worship their God, dwell in heavenly mansions, enjoy fellowship with the Son and anticipate the New Jerusalem. It is an eternal rest we seek, not deification, since we will be changed instantly at the last trumpet and be given glorious bodies at the resurrection of the dead (See 1 Corinthians 15:52).
Jennifer Eivaz is a minister and international conference speaker with a heart to equip the church in the supernatural and for raising up passionate and effective prayer. She is a regular contributor to Charisma Online and The Elijah List, has been featured on several Christian television shows, hosts the popular podcast Take Ten With Jenn, and authored several bestselling books. Jennifer and her husband, Ron, co-pastor Harvest Church now meeting in three locations – two campuses in Turlock, California and one campus in Ripon, California – in addition to hosting a thriving online campus. They also have two wonderful children.
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Podcast: Take Ten with Jenn, A Supernatural Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/take-ten-with-jenn/id1477514949
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