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Aaronic Priesthood

Also known as the lesser priesthood. It serves as the entry point into the priesthood for boys age twelve and older as well as adult male converts. Members of this priesthood supposedly experience the ministering of angels. The Aaronic priesthood is responsible for the churchs temporal affairs under the guidance of the bishop.

Biblical Christianity teaches that the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood was replaced by the Melchizedek priesthood (which only has one priest, Jesus Christ) and no longer exists. See Hebrews 7:15-19.




Adam

Equated with Michael, the archangel. Mormons believe he was one of Heavenly Fathers finest spirit children. He was sent to earth to make man mortal, which he accomplished through his fall into sin. Because of this, Mormons consider the fall a good event. See 2 Nephi 2:22-25; Moses 5:10,11. Also see: Fall of Adam.




Agency

A person's free will and natural capacity to choose right from wrong. "Your Heavenly Father has given you agency, the ability to choose and to act for yourself. Agency is essential in the plan of salvation. Without agency, we would not be able to learn or progress or follow the Savior" (True to the Faith, p. 12). Mormons are regularly encouraged to exercise their agency and make wise choices. It is one of the most important underpinnings for Mormonism's works-righteousness.

Biblical Christianity teaches that people by nature, are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and thoroughly evil (Genesis 8:21). Therefore, no one can seek God or do any good (Romans 3:10-12).




Angels

Mormons themselves seem to be confused about their exact description. Most common is the explanation that “an angel is a resurrected or translated body, with its spirit ministering to embodied spirits” (D&C Student Manual, p. 320). An example would be the angel Moroni who supposedly appeared to Joseph Smith. According to the Book of Mormon, Moroni was originally a Nephite leader who was resurrected sometime after his death.

Biblical Christianity teaches that God created angels distinct from humans. They especially serve believers (Hebrews 1:20).




Anointing

Ordinance performed on the sick and injured by holders of the Melchizedek priesthood. Many priesthood holders carry small bottles of consecrated olive oil for use in emergencies. Stories of miraculous healings are regularly reported.




Apostasy/Apostates

Apostasy means falling away. An apostate, in Mormonism, is a Mormon who leaves the LDS Church.

Mormons also talk about the Great Apostasy which they describe as the time between the death of the apostles and Joseph Smith's establishment of the LDS church. They teach that during this long period of time the true church was gone from the earth.

Biblical Christianity teaches that there will always be believers on earth. The true church consists of believers, so it will always have a presence.




Apostles

1) Sometimes a reference to the original twelve apostles.

2) More often a reference to the twelve current apostles of the Mormon church, who serve immediately under the First Presidency of the Church. They claim to have seen the risen Lord and are considered prophets, seers, and revelators




Apostles' Creed

Along with all the historical Christian creeds, it is considered an abomination by the LDS Church. See the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith – History 1:19.




Articles of Faith

Thirteen brief statements of faith often given to interested individuals. They do not mention many distinctive Mormon doctrines and thus give a deceptive picture of Mormonism. Since they are part of the Pearl of Great Price, they are considered scripture




Atonement

Mormonism's favorite term for Jesus sacrifice. They do not limit the atonement to Jesus' suffering on the cross. They include his bloody sweat in the Garden of Gethsemane. Historically, this is what they emphasized.

Mormons refer to the atonement quite often, but they rarely explain it in any detail. Because of this, many Christians have not understood Mormonisms view of the atonement. Instead, they assume Mormons define it the same as Christians do.

Their understanding, however, is drastically different. They use it in two distinct ways:

1) Used very frequently as a reference to Jesus' conquering physical death for all people. By conquering physical death, Jesus made it possible for everyone to enter into the presence of Heavenly Father once again. Often left unsaid, however, is that they enter the Father's presence to be judged. The following quote is more the exception than the rule as it clearly brings in the idea of judgment. "Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ redeems all people from the effects of the Fall. All people who have ever lived on the earth and who ever will live on the earth will be resurrected and brought back into the presence of God to be judged" (True to the Faith, p. 18). However, to stay in his presence and live with him for all eternity, not only must a person receive the temple ordinances, they must also show their worthiness by keeping the commandments.

2) At times it includes the thought of Jesus' paying for their sins. Underlying all such references, however, is the thought that they have to pay him back. For a good example, see Boyd K. Packer's parable of the creditor and debtor. One place this parable is recorded is in the chapter on atonement in Gospel Principles.

Biblical Christianity teaches that through his voluntary sacrifice, Jesus made payment (atoned) for all sin. Therefore, salvation is free and full in Jesus. No more payments can be made. See Hebrews 10:18.




Authority

Authority is a huge concept in Mormonism. It is connected exclusively with the LDS priesthood. Thus, the only valid voices in religious matters are LDS authorities; the only valid religious rites are those performed by members of the LDS priesthood. This is why they consider only the baptisms performed by a priesthood holder as genuine.

Biblical Christianity teaches that all believers are priests before God (1 Peter 2:9). There is now no special priesthood with special authority.