The Fatal Attraction of Mormonism
People regularly ask me why persons from a Christian background convert to Mormonism. The answers are varied. But one major reason is because Mormonism emboldens the feeling embedded in all people that they have the ability to accomplish or at least contribute to their salvation. Sometimes Christians forget that non-Christians view the biblical teaching that all are dead in sin and can do nothing good by themselves with great repulsion. After all, shouldn’t we feel good about ourselves? Shouldn’t we encourage people to have good self-esteem? This is amplified all the more in the USA by the American emphasis on self-reliance and independence.
Mormonism caters to such feelings. That was evident again in a recent General Conference. Every six months the LDS Church holds these conferences at which their leaders speak. These talks are so important that sometimes they are equated with scripture. One of those talks at the last conference illustrates just how much Mormonism emphasizes that people can and must contribute to their salvation. It was given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, one of the 12 apostles of the LDS Church. His whole premise is that neither God nor man wants a salvation worked entirely by God, but one that both work at. For example, he states that “God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become.” Note how he has God reacting to what we do.
He elaborated on that thought when he stated: “We can choose to become the kind of person that we will, and with God’s help, that can be even as He is.” A little later he said: “Salvation is certainly not the result of divine whim, but neither does it happen by divine will alone.” And he concludes his talk with this: “I am under no illusion that this can be achieved by our own efforts alone without His very substantial and constant help. ‘We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’ And we do not need to achieve some minimum level of capacity or goodness before God will help—divine aid can be ours every hour of every day, no matter where we are in the path of obedience. But I know that beyond desiring His help, we must exert ourselves, repent, and choose God for Him to be able to act in our lives consistent with justice and moral agency. My plea is simply to take responsibility and go to work so that there is something for God to help us with.”
Did you notice how, on the one hand, he admits that we need help, but on the other hand, God won’t do it all for us? In fact, as I pointed out above, we must act first before God reacts to what we do. Notice that his plea is for us to “go to work so that there is something for God to help us with.” The whole emphasis of Mormonism is on people cooperating with God in their salvation. Not only that. People have to take the initiative. The LDS God is mostly reactive and not proactive in matters of salvation.
That is a fatal teaching and attraction. The Bible clearly states that mixing human work in with divine work in the matter of salvation is a recipe for disaster. “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6) When it comes to salvation it is a matter of all or nothing. To be saved a person needs to be trusting only on what Jesus has done for them and not on anything they do.
That also means that God is proactive in our salvation. He doesn’t wait for us to act but “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) That is something he had to do since we were dead in sin. From beginning to end salvation is worked by God for us.
This is a message that we not only need to share with Mormons, but it is one that we need to regularly hear ourselves. That is why I did a series of four talks highlighting the various ways the Bible describes our God-worked salvation. I invite you to watch them. You can find them here. Video Link To God be the glory.