Whether you are a member of the LDS Church or a member of any church, Christian or otherwise, this message is for you. You may even be an atheist or an agnostic. It doesn't matter. I want to share this message with you.
Whatever your spiritual persuasion or lack thereof, you may have wondered what fate awaits you when your life on earth ends. You may or may not believe in an after-life. Whether you believe that death will usher you into another world or whether you believe that everything suddenly ends, this message is for you.
The Word of God, as told in the Bible may or not be totally irrelevent to you. You may believe in the Koran, the Upanishad or Bhagwad Gita of the Hindus, the Adi Granth of the Sikhs, the Analects of Confucius, or the Book of Mormon, or none of the above.
Your personal beliefs have absolutely no influence on your existance when your heart ceases to beat. One undeniable fact is that you were created along with everyone and everything in this universe. You may even question how this all came about. Regardless, if you are an aborigine or a college professor, you both share a common Creator. The same sun, moon and stars that you both observe in the sky had a common origin and Creator.
That said, all creatures on earth need to recognize the Creator of mankind and the universe in which we all exist. It is my personal desire that all beliefs recognize the God of Creation as the one and only Author and Creator of the universe and all of mankind. The only complete account of this creation is found in the Bible. Many other belief systems provide their own version.
What, you might ask, is the difference between all the different religions and denominations? You might also ask why I focus on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) for this particular analysis? I'll tell you why.
At one time I was a member of the LDS church. My initial feelings were those of joy in the knowledge that I had finally discovered a way to bridge the gap between myself and my Creator. I was taught that my beliefs and actions would lead to the everlasting gift of salvation and closeness to God in a celestial heaven. That attainment was conditional on my actions.
I always considered myself to be an intellectual and wanted to know all I could discover about this newly-discovered faith. I began to tithe, ceased drinking coffee and tried to live a righteous life. Whatever it took to find the path to eternal happiness was the path I intended to pursue. I began to read Mormon scripture, described to me as the Book of Mormon, the Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
As I look back at my spiritual growth, I fervently thank God that I studied what the LDS church called "scripture." I read everything I could get my hands on. After studying the "quad," I began to read the "History of the Church, Journal of Discourses, The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church-sponsored writings.
Shortly after becoming a member of the LDS, I attended priesthood classes. This was almost a "power trip" for I intended on being one of the "elite" leaders of the church. I was eager to become baptized for my deceased ancestors and do whatever was necessary to accomplish all the temple rituals. The Priesthood Manual carefully explained to me the reasons for Mormon beliefs. At that point, I tried desperately to reconcile what I was being taught with what the Bible taught.
The more I studied LDS beliefs, the more I discovered many irreconcilable differences between what I was being instructed with what the Bible taught. To this very day, I believe that God was leading me to discover the simple truths of His Word so that I might be better prepared to be a witness for Him. I began to investigate everything I was being taught and was comparing it to God's Word. Taking that with simple logic, warning flags began to wave.
I finally came to the conclusion that there was a vast difference between LDS teachings and the Bible that my fellow LDS members professed to believe. I eventually discovered that the Book of Mormon was an incomprehensible book of fiction which could never have possibly occurred. It was so completely opposed to simple logic that neither God (nor the angel Moroni) could have possibly have been the author. Reading further, The Pearl of Great Price, considering that it had been translated from "reformed Egyptian," was a strange and bizarre account of Abraham, Moses and the abode of God. This distant God who lived on the planet Kolob was surely not the God of the Bible.
In an attempt to validate the Doctrines and Covenants, I tried to substantiate it with the Word of God. I could never relate what Joseph Smith wrote with what he proclaimed as coming from God himself. My studies concluded that the "revelations of God" were either misinterpreted or outright deceptions. I came away wishing that all Mormons would read the D&C and make their own determinations. Any thinking adult would certainly recognize the ungodly authorship.
In short, my investigation of the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints led me to believe that it must have been founded upon a false premise and a false prophet. (Jer. 14:14, Matt. 7:15, Matt. 24:24) The Bible taught me to recognize the fact that a prophet must speak from God. All prophecies that come from God MUST be true. Any prophecy that fails to materialize marks the speaker of the prophecy as a false prophet. Period. The prophecies of Joseph Smith, as given in the Doctrines and Covenants, have been proven to be either contradictory with the Word of God, have failed to take place or have already been proved to be false.
When I finally determined that my membership in the LDS church was not just a mistake, but a sin against a holy and righteous God, I experienced a period of deep depression. I finally asked that my name be removed from the LDS membership rolls. I was told that I would be excommunicated for unexplained reasons. It was then that I then formally submitted my request to have my name removed from the rolls without any recrimination.
Since then, I discovered that God had been waiting all that for me to find Him. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and was baptized into a Bible-believing church. I have never looked back. I rejoice that God forgave me for straying from the path of Christ. Since that time, nearly three-decades ago, I have made every effort to inform others that the LDS Church is preaching a different message from Bible-believing churches and the precious truths of Christianity. I will continue to reach out to those who have taken a misstep and followed the same counterfeit Christianity that I once followed.
The following pages will help you to make your own decisions. If you are a member of the LDS church, I beg you to at least read your Bible and compare the Word of God with the teachings of the LDS Church. Below, I offer some simple comparisons gleaned from many sources.
In closing, I urge you to open your eyes and ears that you might be receptive. As a Mormon, I was urged to ignore the "enemies of the church." I discovered later that the description of "church enemies" referred to those who failed to support the teachings of the Church.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. [John 8:36]
Derick S. Hartshorn
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO READ AND DOWNLOAD MY BOOK,
BEARING THE TESTIMONY OF TRUTH.
BELOW ARE SOME PAGES THAT I HOPE WILL BE HELPFUL IN MAKING A MEANINGFUL, NON-CONFRONTATIONAL COMPARISON BETWEEN THE LDS CHURCH AND BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY:
-- A Comparison Between The Mormon Jesus And The Biblical Jesus
-- A Comparison of Mormon & Christian Terms
-- A Quick Reference Guide to the Basic Doctrines of the Mormons
-- A Comparison of Mormonism and Historic Christianity
-- A Comparison between MORMONISM and ISLAM
-- 10 Questions for the LDS Presidential Candidates
If I can't answer your questions, just about anything
you want to know about the LDS belief can be found here.