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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mormon Prayer

A news story today from BerkshireEagle.com (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) is headlined "Mormons direct prayers to Christ." The purpose of the story is to "clarify" a story that ran on Sunday which mistakenly indicated Mormons pray to Joseph Smith.

I'm glad to see the error corrected. It would be nice to be able to erase all the false information about Mormonism that is floating around. But that is not to be, and this "clarifying" article from the Berkshire Eagle illustrates that truth.

From "Mormons direct prayers to Christ":
"'I am a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I have never prayed, nor will I ever pray to Joseph Smith,' wrote Chad Francom, a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah. 'I pray to Jesus Christ. The same Jesus Christ spoke of in the New Testament. The same Jesus Christ that my Catholic and Protestant friends pray to for their salvation.'"

Well technically, Mormons do not pray to Christ. As the article points out elsewhere, "Mormons direct all prayers to 'Our Heavenly Father' and close all prayers with 'In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.'" Since Mormonism's Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two Gods, this is an important technicality.

Furthermore, as I noted in yesterday's post, LDS leaders have made it clear that the God of Catholics and Protestants is not the God of Mormonism. To take it a bit further than I did yesterday, let's look at a few additional statements from official LDS sources.
"It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." (Seventy Bernard P. Brockbank, Ensign, May 1977, page 26)

"In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the [LDS] Church who say Latter-day Saints 'do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak.'" (Gordon B. Hinckley quoted in Church News, 20 June 1998, page 7)

"As a Church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say." (Gordon B. Hinckley, April 2002 General Conference, quoted in Ensign, May 2002, page 90)

"To say that Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity after the time of the Apostles is not to say that all that is in it is satanic." (Kent P. Jackson, Ensign, December 1994, page 9)

And this one bears repeating:
"And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ…" (Mormon Doctrine, page 269)

So in attempting to correct inaccurate reporting of Mormon doctrine, the newspaper is inaccurately reporting a different Mormon doctrine.

The Berkshire Eagle says:
"Misconceptions about the Mormon church have persisted for decades, said [local LDS resident Scott] Holley. Mormons continue to work hard to spread knowledge about their religion…"

Even so, I suspect there will be no outcry from the LDS community over the misinformation about Mormonism propagated in "Mormons direct prayers to Christ."

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