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Evangelical Christians must understand Mormonism is a cult, author says

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Mormonism is not only a cult but also a culture, the author of a new book on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) said.
While Mormonism includes frequent references to God, Jesus and the Bible, these terms are used very differently from what evangelical Christians believe, according to Phil Roberts, director of the interfaith witness division of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Roberts contrasts Mormonism and evangelical Christianity in his new book, Mormonism Unmasked, being released May 1 by the Sunday School Board’s Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Also contributing to the book are Tal Davis, associate director of the interfaith witness division of NAMB, and Sandra Tanner, an expert on Mormonism and a former Mormon who lives in Salt Lake City.
“Mormonism teaches that God was once a mortal man,” Roberts said. “When Mormons talk about God they never talk about ‘the’ heavenly father. They talk about a heavenly father because they believe there are many gods out there.”
In relation to Jesus, “Mormonism teaches the notion of his being a pro-created being,” he said. “Mormonism loves to talk about our big brother Jesus. They don’t mean that in a spiritual sense but in a literal sense.
“Mormonism has worked itself into the position of being more aligned with a fertility cult than with Christianity in believing God cohabited with a woman,” Roberts said.
In another area, he said the Mormon Bible includes the King James Version “with notes and corrections made by Joseph Smith” (founder of Mormonism) and three other books, all in one volume.
“They consider all of this to be God’s revelation,” he said.
Of the King James Version of the Bible, Mormonism teaches that it is to be believed “insofar as it is correctly translated,” Roberts said. Additional Mormon writings “supplement the Bible. The Scripture issue is extremely important.”
“What we hope to do through this book is to reveal the fallacies of thinking of Mormonism as a form of Christianity,” he said.
He commended Mormonism for creating a culture where young adults are expected to spend two years serving as missionaries. At present, they have about 50,000 missionaries with the goal of doubling that number by the year 2000.
“The difference between Mormons and evangelical Christians is that Mormons are breeding a culture where the exceptions are those who stay home,” Roberts said. “We’ve bred a culture where the exceptions are those who go (to the mission field). We’ve got to turn that around.”
He said every year each Mormon missionary produces an average of six Mormons proselytized from other religions. With a 5-10 percent annual growth rate, their goal is to have 280 million members worldwide by 2080.
For the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention, June 9-11, in Salt Lake City and for meeting Mormon missionaries knocking on doors of Southern Baptists, Roberts urged a spirit of love, not hostility.
“We must lovingly stand our ground and graciously present an alternative — faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,” Roberts said.
He cited a woman who invited two missionaries who knocked on her door to come back another day for dinner. After cooking a nice meal, she spent time talking with them. Through her sharing of Scripture, one accepted Christ as his Savior.
Roberts said the final section of the book outlines “how to effectively share the gospel lovingly and graciously” with Mormon people.
The book is available in Baptist Book Stores and other Christian stores.

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  • Linda Lawson