I had the pleasure of joining the company of Tim last night on Christmas. There was more food than I could handle, and enough conversation topics to fill up the year. One conversation stuck out though. There was a young man who has been a practicing Mormon for his whole life I believe. Tim was in the middle of picking his brain about Mormon beliefs vs Christian beliefs. So I pulled up a chair to get a close listen on how they line up. Wow, the things you learn when you just open your ears.
Jesus and Satan are brothers. We become gods. Water baptism is essential for salvation in addition to being a good person and God’s grace. Revelations are ongoing from modern day prophets. There are three different heavens that you can dwell in after death, or hell. These are true Mormon beliefs. How similar does this sound to Christianity? Not very close if you ask me. Does it matter that we know these things? Absolutely.
No one has all the answers when they are saved. It feels like quite the opposite. The problem is this leaves you very vulnerable to what is true in Christianity. There are so many half-truths out there that it is easy to believe that we are not so different from others, possibly the same. A statement like “Yeah I believe in Jesus, he is my Savior” will satisfy most people. But what if you learned that same person believes Jesus is not God and works are required to reach heaven. Would you still think you guys are the same?
I remember when I first got saved in May of 2008. I was on fire for God, but I also had so many questions since I did not have a church home or brothers to learn from. This can be dangerous. I approached a friend who was a Jehovah’s Witness, to learn what he believed exactly. He stated that we believe in the Bible, but they do not celebrate holidays because they are not in scripture. He made it seem like we were so similar that I found myself coming back for more questions. Bad choice. One day I was pondering the Trinity and was having difficulty. I approached my friend with questions. A few days later I was given Watch Tower literature on the Trinity. Yeah I know, not good. Thanks be to God that when I read in there that Jesus was “created”, God gave me the discernment to get rid of it and not look back. It was clear to me that we did not believe the same things. This is just a small example that shows not knowing what others believe can lead to being misguided, and possibly deceived.
This is not an attack on other religions. Mormons and Jehova’s Witnesses deserve the same love and respect we show non believers when spreading the Gospel. But by knowing the key differences in our beliefs, we will be better equipped to shine the Truth where we know the theologies do not match up. Most importantly we should do this with love.