OSC’s Praise to the what?!

Mormonism for all its wacky claims and kooky practices is rarely given the same sort of attention which beliefs like Christianity or Islam receive, and that’s to be expected in the case of Christianity, or as the philosopher J.P Moreland said it: “Jesus is the big enchilada and everybody wants a piece of His action.” The spotlight which Christ and Christianity receives should come as no surprise then, they’re the bedrock upon which many of our cultures have been built. And in the case of Islam….well Islam is just the gift that keeps on giving isn’t it, murdering cartoonists, blowing up buildings, killing apostates and generally being a nuisance Islam is the child at the back of the class who nobody has cared to pay attention to. Owing to that they set their flimsy textbook alight, upon which the liberal teacher heaps praise upon them for their intelligence and the vast contributions they’ve been making to class, they then set their nearest classmate on fire because it went so well before.

Though even these antics become rags worthy of no importance when faced with the question “Are you saved?” Salvation should really mean something to people because crime means something, sin and our alienation from God means something. As a result of our being made separate from God believers in Mormonism (if not born again) are just as cursed as Muslim radicals in Islam, and that’s not to say they’re raping or plundering, rather I’m writing there’s no in-between, your clothes are either white or they’re red. No woman says she’s a little bit pregnant, you either are or you’re not! Similarly if Mormon people aren’t born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit their eternity with God isn’t assured, so the question that now needs asking is “Are believers in Mormonism truly Christian?”

Core Christianity is often what separates the cults from the Christians, as every major cult tries to deny these core truths, Jesus not being God is a popular example of what they’ll believe. Members of the Mormon church however insist they’re Christian, they insist on calling themselves by this name which often appears merely a prize by which they might gain credibility. So with regards to the core of Christian faith, despite polytheism which could put the Hindus to shame, and their doctrines that totally undermine Jesus’ teachings in asserting their Christian status they’re adamant. The heart wants what it wants no matter how ridiculous or unreasonable that want may be, yet they can still boast of having talk of Jesus Christ in their religious writings, be these scripture, apologetics or even hymnal. For which let’s enjoy some soul stirring praise to Jesus as penned by the LDS hymn writer William W. Phelps.

Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.

Praise to the what?! “Praise to the man” as it’s now known was originally titled by the plain name “Joseph Smith”, which leads to zero confusion with regards to whom Phelps believed worthy of praise. So after having a blind eye turned to their ideas of an infinite number of gods, temple rites and legalism the LDS are yet again harming their own claims to be Christian by writing blasphemous music in praise of an ordinary man as if they were God. The definition of praise in the context of religious worship reads like so:

(1) “express one’s respect and gratitude towards (a deity), especially in song.”

(2) “the expression of respect and gratitude as an act of worship.”

What kind of man would considers himself the one worthy of praise (besides Muhammad). Phelps in his enthusiasm after Joseph Smith had been killed wrote a poem so confused readers would be forgiven for believing portions about Jesus. Reading on then, let’s feign ignorance concerning just who the hymn is in praise of and picture whether or not it’s Jesus who comes to mind.

Blessed to open the last dispensation, Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.

Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven! Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.

Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren; Death cannot conquer the hero again.

Praise to his mem’ry, he died as a martyr; Honored and blest be his ever great name!

Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins, Plead unto heav’n while the earth lauds his fame.

Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.

Ever and ever the keys he will hold.

Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom, Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven; Earth must atone for the blood of that man. Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.

Crowned and revered by both nations and kings, ascending into heaven victorious over death and the grave, of blessed name and with blood shed serving, with the keys of heaven close at hand and acting as humanity’s priest for forever. How disturbing to actually imagine Joseph Smith, an adulterer and publicly outed shyster being described by such words. Latter day saints who read their hymn books and aren’t perturbed ought to study for themselves the parallels their church is allowing between Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ.

It’s not that the LDS are to blame for one man’s kooky poem, as a lone catholic could write in praise to Mary or anybody else they so choose. The problems arrive when we read Praise to the man is hymn number 27 in the current LDS Church hymnal, meaning these kinds of thing are acceptable hymns sung in praise by which Joseph Smith is deified during worship ceremonies. Quoting Joseph Smith on these matters only serves to intensify the issue of course.

“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam… Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.”

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Ignoring the inconvenient truth that shortly after proclaiming himself a prophet Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered by his own followers for grooming a fifteen year old girl while living with her family, might Jesus teach anything by way of scripture so to refute the above?

“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Joseph Smith said the gates of hell prevailed against Peter’s church, whereas Christ Jesus says nothing can prevail against His church which He has established by Peter. So, who of the two is lying? Is it God who literally cannot lie:

“in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:2)

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19)

Or was it the serial adulterer Joseph Smith who lied, the man who despite having had 33 wives, many of whom were already married to other men, replied like so when confronted with the evidence:

“What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers.”

Yet Smith’s secretary recorded that upon May 22nd, 1843: “Smith’s first wife Emma found Joseph and Eliza Partridge secluded in an upstairs bedroom at the Smith home. Emma was devastated.” Latter day saint and historian Todd Compton explains further:

“In the group of Smith’s well-documented wives, eleven (33 percent) were 14 to 20 years old when they married him. Nine wives (27 percent) were twenty-one to thirty years old. Eight wives (24 percent) were in Smith’s own peer group, ages thirty-one to forty. In the group aged forty-one to fifty, there is a substantial drop off: two wives, or 6 percent, and three (9 percent) in the group aged fifty-one to sixty.”

So Joseph Smith, notorious liar and womanizer, claimed the church of Peter was corrupted and that he (as we read repeated in the hymn) held the keys of Heaven, this made him very important and deserving of special privileges, how convenient for him. Yet on both of these points Smith contradicted Jesus who they made claimed to be serving, and as is plain from the scriptures “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.” Therefore if Joseph Smith was truly a sincere servant of his master Jesus, then they would have admitted to their errors when contradicting Him. For which Mormonism isn’t Christian and must be thrown out. However, if as the sources show they were a lecherous con man who lied their way through life deceiving many, then once again Mormonism isn’t Christian and has to be thrown out!

Adding to the strangeness of the LDS church is that most supposed believers aren’t interested in whether or not Mormonism is true. They’re happy to be lied to and lose out on relationship with Christ, why want Christ when creeds are so much easier, why work for a relationship when you can settle on religion. They’re uninterested in their sin, meaning their rescue from the jaws of death and sin aren’t a feature of their own worldview, they’re their own saviour and so too are you. Latter day saints (as is the case with Muslims) earn their salvation by meeting the demands of God’s perfect holiness, how they do something so unlikely as this isn’t explained. Though what it means for believers in any works based righteousness isn’t so mysterious, they’re the rock of their own salvation, which makes Christ’s saving sacrifice of no effect. The LDS aren’t Christians therefore, rather they by their church teachings boast not in God but themselves. Latter day saints say “We’re saved by Christ, after all that we can do.” But followers of Jesus Christ in both Isaiah and Romans wrote:

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

“Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

― T. C. M

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