What would you do if an angel told you God had sent them to you to correct the wrong teachings of Christianity? That’s the next question we want to address now in our special series, When Angels Speak.
We have many examples in history of people claiming that angels visited them and told them to correct the errors of the Christian Church. We’ll look at some of them in this study, but first let’s see the biblical warning to Christians about angelic messages:
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”Galatians 1:8-9
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”2 Corinthians 11:13-15
“Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”Colossians 2:18-19
A key to understanding what we’re going to look at next is that each person listed here preached a false gospel and as Paul wrote, “if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” That includes both the founder and the followers. The word translated accursed is ἀνάθεμα and means something given up for destruction, cursed and doomed for destruction. Strong words from the Apostle Paul.
Joseph Smith lived in the United States in the early part of the 19th century. He believed God called him to restore the truths of the Christian Church by translating an ancient record on gold plates given to him by an angel who had been a man centuries earlier. That translation became known as the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
According to historical records of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), Joseph Smith was visited by more than 20 angels .. most of whom had been humans in a previous lifetime. They included Adam, Enoch, Noah, Seth, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist and Moroni. Gabriel, Michael and Raphael are also mentioned as having visited Smith.
“He was visited constantly by angels,’ Elder George Q. Cannon said of Joseph Smith. ‘These various angels, the heads of dispensations, . . . ministered unto him. . . . He had vision after vision in order that his mind might be fully saturated with a knowledge of the things of God, and that he might comprehend the high and holy calling that God had bestowed upon him” (Journal of Discourses, 23:362). Historical records of early Latter-day Saints, Doctrine and Covenants, and early Church documents reveal that Joseph Smith’s visions and visits by heavenly messengers are too numerous to count.”24 Angels Who Visited Joseph Smith
“On the night of September 21, 1823, Joseph Smith prayed to know God’s further will toward him. Steadily a light grew ‘as though the house was filled with consuming and unquenchable fire.’ Moroni, a messenger sent from God, stood before him. In mortal life Moroni had been the last of ancient American prophets having authority from God and whose teachings were recorded for our time.
Moroni declared ‘that the time was at hand for the Gospel in all its fullness to be preached in power, unto all nations’ and that Joseph was ‘to be an instrument in the hands of God’ in that work. He quoted ancient prophets who had foreseen that this time would come. As Moroni stood before him, Joseph was shown in vision ‘the place where the plates were deposited’ (Joseph Smith—History 1:42).
Every September for four years, Joseph went to the Hill Cumorah and was taught by Moroni. In September 1827 Joseph met Moroni at the hill and received the gold plates. Twenty-one months later, having completed the translation, Joseph returned the plates to Moroni.”Moroni: Messenger of the Restoration
Mormons believe there are two kinds of beings in Heaven called angels:
- those who are spirits
- those who have bodies of flesh and bone
“Angels who are spirits have not yet obtained a body of flesh and bone, or they are spirits who have once had a mortal body and are awaiting resurrection. Angels who have bodies of flesh and bone have either been resurrected from the dead or translated.”Angels
Mormons believe Moroni was the son of Mormon, both members of an American people descended from Nephi, son of a Jewish prophet who led a group of people from Israel to America about 600 BC. Mormons believe Jesus visited America after He rose from the dead and left them the gold plates recorded in the Book of Mormon. Those gold plates are viewed as necessary to understanding God’s true intention for salvation. They believe the Bible is not enough.
“The Bible is one of the foundational volumes of scripture used in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is used in conjunction with other scriptures, including the Book of Mormon.”Bible
Notice that the official LDS (Latter-day Saints) website says that the Bible is “used in conjunction with. other Scriptures, including the Book of Mormon.” Other books Mormons believe are divinely inspired are Doctrines and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. They believe that the Bible is authoritative “so far as it is accurately translated.” (LDS Articles of Faith) Mormons use the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price to determine whether any portion of the Bible is translated accurately.
Mormons also believe the Bible “suffered the loss of many plain and precious parts.” They believe that was revealed to Nephi and that Joseph Smith was the person God raised up to “restore Moses’ words.” (LDS Church News) Mormons believe corrupt Christians took out of the Bible many covenants God had made with His people through Moses and that taking those things away caused “an exceedingly great number to stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.”
Mormons have a different view of the Trinity than Christians. Mormons believe in what they call the “Godhead” and that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate gods.
Mormons believe God the Father has a physical body and was a man who has been perfected. They believe the Father was not always God, but became a deity through persistent effort and righteous living. They believe the Father was once a mortal who lived on earth. After dying, rising from the dead and being glorified, the man grew into being a deity. Mormons believe the Father is the literal father of all “spirit-children,” including Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Mormons believe that all of the Father’s spirit-children can become gods, just like the Father became a god. Rather than being monotheistic (one God), like Christianity, Mormons are polytheistic (many gods).
Mormons believe Jesus Christ is the only perfect man who ever lived, but that He is not eternal and co-equal with God. They believe God the Father had a physical relationship with Mary and Jesus was conceived. They believe Jesus is a god because of His persistence and righteous living. Mormons believe they can also become gods like Jesus if they live righteously according to the rules of their sacred Scriptures (including the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price).
“Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ, so he is literally our elder brother.”Gospel Principles, p 11
“He is also the “only begotten” physical offspring of God by procreation on earth. “Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal father. That is why he is called the Only Begotten Son.”Gospel Principles, p 64
Mormons believe the Holy Spirit is a spirit-child of the Father, but does not have flesh and bones like Jesus. They believe the Holy Ghost is a witness of the Father and the Son (2 Nephi 31:18) and reveals and teaches the truth of all things (Moroni 10:5). Mormons believe that as they strive to stay on the path that leads to eternal life, “the Holy Ghost can guide us in our decisions and protect us from physical and spiritual danger.” (LDS on the Holy Ghost)
Mormons believe that Satan (Lucifer) is also a spirit-child of the Father and wanted to be the son and redeemer the Father would send into the world to save souls. Mormons believe the Father chose to send Jesus instead, which led to Satan’s rebellion and a war in Heaven.
“And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1
“And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency.”Doctrines and Covenants 29:36
There are many other concerning beliefs about Mormonism that are important for Christians to know as they share with Mormon friends and family members. Here are some resources you may find helpful. As you read through the articles and books, you will notice the importance of angels in Mormonism. Remember what Paul wrote about angels and false gospels: “if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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