It's been almost 3 years since a short email exchange I had with the Reverend Bill Keller of LivePrayer.com. I thought this blog would be a better place for it than my Gmail archive. After writing an article for USAReligiousNews.com (cross-published at TheChristianPost.com) about the Mormon church, I sent him an email to start what I hoped to be a good debate. But I was disappointed, as you'll see in his reply. It seems USAReligiousNews.com has removed his article after I forwarded our exchanged to them expressing my disapproval in their publishing of his article. I will separate each email with "-----" and his words are in blue:
(September 7th, 2006)
This email is in response to an article you published at USA Religious News (www.usareligiousnews.com) on September 6th, 2006. You have made several statements that I believe to be inaccurate in regards to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I would like to present your article back to you with my comments after each of your points, in italics:
Mormon Church is a Cult, Not a Protestant Denomination (title)
The Mormon church, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is as much a cult as any other religion. The Oxford Compact English dictionary defines the word cult as "a system of religious worship directed towards a particular figure or object."
Furthermore, the LDS Church has never claimed to be a Protestant denomination. In fact, it is neither Protestant nor Catholic. It claims to be the same Church organized by Jesus Christ, and prophesied to be restored before His second coming; "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."
2006-09-06 -- USA Religious News -- Commentary
By Bill Keller, Founder LivePrayer.com
(LivePrayer.com) -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints presents itself as a denomination among denominations. In reality, it has all the signs of a religious cult.
Again, I'm not sure if you are using the term "cult" as it should be used or as a dishonest scare tactic for the unlearned. Either way, I'm interested in seeing a list of these signs that make it a religious cult. (The term "religious cult" is redundant, by the way.)
This particular cult, abbreviated more often as "Mormons," espouses much that is not Christian, though its public relations image presents members as clean living, upright citizens under Christ.
I don't know if I can respond to this. It really doesn't offer anything tangible. What it does give me is a lot of rhetoric that I think is better to ignore.
Like some other bizarre entities in a democracy as the United States, secular investigators are reluctant to delve into Mormon myths. Therefore, Mormons continue day by day with their operations intact.
Of course they do. Their operations are honest and led by revelation from God; "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."
Mormons exhibit themselves as true to the Bible while in reality they appropriate dogma in contradiction to the Bible. By adding The Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price on the same par as the Bible, Mormons disobey God by desecrating the Scriptures.
How is it that by publishing new revelation from God, the LDS Church desecrates the Scriptures? Is God not allowed to add to His word? Where in the Bible is this doctrine taught? Since the Bible doesn't say this then it must be in error. But that can't be. What we have, in this case, is a paradox. Fortunately, I don't believe that revelation has ceased, and neither should any disciple of Jesus Christ, "Upon this rock (that being revelation, as Peter had received concerning the divinity of Jesus Christ) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Divine revelation states that no one is permitted to add to or subtract from the biblical data provided by the Eternal One. Yet Mormons discard such warning by placing their own humanly manufactured literature in parallel to God’s World.
I believe that the Eternal One has every right to add to or subtract from the biblical data that He has provided. I'm unaware of any Biblical scripture contrary to this belief. I'm curious to know your beliefs on whether or not any revelation or authority was given to those who compiled the King James version of the Holy Bible, or any version for that matter. Was it God or man that decided what to include or exclude in that book? If it was God, did he communicate that through revelation? I'm sure you'll reject that notion. If it was man, should it be so heavily leaned on? After all, men or mortal, and to err is human.
Further, Mormons state the name of "Jesus Christ" in the title of their cult, one of the cleverest moves for Mormons do not regard Christ as divine. Christ, according to Mormon definition, is a lesser god. He is not a part of the triune godhead but lower cased.
This statement is either a blatant lie or it shows your complete ignorance of LDS theology. "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." This is the Godhead. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is subordinate in the same sense that I am subordinate to my father. If you were familiar with LDS doctrine, you would know that we believe Jesus Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament. With this in mind, it's easy to understand our beliefs of the divinity of Jesus Christ. That he created this Earth. That he condescended below all things to take upon him the sin of mankind. He laid down his life for us. He took it up again through the resurrection, that in Him all may be made alive. He performed what only a God could perform, an infinite atonement. "For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement." "Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit."
Recently Mormon polygamist Warren Jeffs has come to the fore in the news. This item affords the opportunity to reveal the Mormon camouflages, this group masquerading as a legally and spiritually legitimate body of believers.
The Warren Jeffs group is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in any way. They are a separate church with the separation of everything else that goes along with being a separate church. They don't claim to belong to the LDS Church. It's this type of misinformation that encourages misunderstanding and irreverence towards other religions. I don't believe Jesus Christ would influence such behavior, at least not the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
The Mormon cult, headquartered in Salt Lake City, has worldwide holdings worth billions of dollars. Included are TV and radio stations as well as newspapers; therefore, Mormons have the ability to use the secular media in a major way to help further their cause.
The LDS Church will obey the will of God in spreading the message of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ through whatever avenues are opened to them. But they will do it "only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned." Further, "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." And encourage others to do the same.
As soon as the Jeffs case broke, the cult’s media machine went to work to distance itself from this man. While the FLDS is not part of the main body in Salt Lake City, non-Mormons must not be deceived. The theology of Jeffs’ FLDS comes from one source — the flawed dogmatic contortions of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith.
This is simply more rhetoric on an old theme. Joseph Smith was ordained of God to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What the world re-obtained through Joseph Smith was here while Christ was on Earth and shortly thereafter. If you would care to explain what you mean by "flawed dogmatic contortions," I would be most willing to discuss them with you.
For instance, polygamy was a hallmark of Smith’s cult from the beginning. His false theology teaches that after men die, they will have many wives in "heaven."
This is more ignorance of LDS theology and practice. We believe what Jesus Christ told his disciples about the seven brothers and their wife in the question posed to him, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." What this means is that unless a man is married and sealed to his wife by the authority of the Priesthood, they will not be married in the next life. You state that I believe that when I die I will have many wives. This is untrue. I will only have those sealed to me by the authority of the Priesthood. Currently, LDS men can only be sealed to one living woman.
As the cult went mainstream in the past 50 years, it realized that it would have to distance itself from polygamists’ beliefs since polygamy became illegal. So the headquarters in Salt Lake City changed this part of Smith’s cultic tenet in order to make a public stand against the practice. However, though forced to acknowledge US law, Mormons within their souls believed polygamy acceptable.
We do not deny that plural marriage, or the Patriarchal Order, is a principle of the Gospel. The revelation on this is still included and accessible, by every person, in our canon. It is the main revelation referenced when dealing with marriage in our theology. The Lord suspended the practice only, not the doctrine. We do not deny this. What we do deny is that any members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who practice polygamy are considered "in good standing" with the Church. All those who do practice polygamy are excommunicated from the Church.
One other point on this; the early LDS Church did not see their beliefs in conflict with the Constitution of the United States, they weren't. They saw the unconstitutional laws of men in conflict with the Laws of God. What would you do if your government wrote laws to ban the practice of baptism, as I'm sure you perform? Would you comply forthwith and abandon the practice? Let's be honest, we both know you would write an article for USA Religious News promoting civil disobedience to those laws, as I'd agree you should.
This public stand against polygamy is what gave rise to groups such as FLDS. What the public does not know is that there are hundreds of FLDS clones. Those living in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, parts of Western Canada understand this fact full well. Then why not bring to justice these polygamists? The answer is that there are not enough jails to hold them all if they were sentenced via American courts.
What sort of justice would you consider just? Would you have brought the same form of justice to Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, who were all practicing polygamists? What you are doing is spreading hate and misunderstanding, both I reject are inspired by the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Now note Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping in June 2002. Eventually she was found alive, returned to her family. Why was she not murdered? Most kidnapped females are found dead or never discovered at all. She was found alive because she was Mormon, her wealthy father being a Mormon bishop. The parents surmised Elizabeth had been hidden inside a polygamist’s harem. Many girls her age suffer such fate.
I'd like very much for you to prove that the Smart family "surmised Elizabeth had been hidden inside a polygamist's harem". This is the silliest thing I've ever heard. It doesn't even deserve an intelligent response.
The reality is that she was kidnapped by Brian David Mitchell, a polygamist Mormon. However, Salt Lake City would make certain that that detail never got into the mass media.
Elizabeth had been whisked from her home to be one of Mitchell’s wives. He, reporting himself "a prophet of god," would have used that term for deity to brainwash young Elizabeth. Mormons believe that man becomes deity. Elizabeth then would have resigned her future to the "prophet," believing such to be divine will.
I think I've tired myself with the idea that you are being completely honest with your views of the "Mormon" church. It's hard to imagine one such as yourself professing to be a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray you will try to give an honest and accurate portrayal of the LDS Church to those you influence.
I look forward to reading a reply. May it be uplifting towards reaching a higher level of understanding of one another.
Skyler J. Collins, Sr.
(September 7th, 2006)
hey Skylar..I don't waste my time debating via email BRAINWASHED CULT MEMBERS..NOR WOULD I WASTE 2 MINUTES READING YOUR DRIVEL....I love when you cult members quote Smith's fantasy book..LOL..for the record..I have read the Book of Mormon..the Pearl of Great Price..your D&C...know personally Ed Decker..one of your favorite guys I am sure..LOL!...as well as another 12 very close friends..all who were once "bishops" in your cult..so trust me..I not only know your history..but the inner workings of your hideous cult..
..you can buy people like Larry Jones and others who do what they do for $$$..but a guy like me is only in this for one things..like Paul..to see men saved..Gal 1:6-12 is the applicable verse that describes your CULT..don't worry..you can keep tying to deceive people you are "just another Christina church":..but we both know there is NOTHING about your theology that is Christian..form your denial of the deity of Christ down thru your idiotic temple worship practices Joey stole form another cult he was part of..the Masons!!..
...now run along and keep spreading your lies..but don't worry..over 2.3 million people worldwide subscribe to the Daily Devotional that I write every morning..over 100k watch my "live" TV program 5 nights a week..that is going nationwide the first of the year..so I will continue to use the influence the God of the Bible ahs given me to insure many times a year I warn people of your CULT that is leading men's souls to eternal damnation..
..bottom line ..you are nothing but a tool of satan..but like your daddy..you will continue to be exposed!!!..BK
You will be in my prayers, be richly blessed,
(September 12th, 2006)
I'm sorry you feel that way. I was looking for intelligent conversation with someone who is open-minded. I see that will not be the case here. My prayers go out to you and your congregations. May the Lord bless you and them in your endeavors.
Skyler J. Collins, Sr.