A View on Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses
By Jeff Klick
"Systematic Theology - Volume One"
Research Project Part Two, Systematic Theology 1
While various religious groups may say they are "Christian" and that they believe in the Bible, digging beneath the surface of such statements often shed an entirely different light on what they really believe. As suggested in the Study Guide, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism will be examined to see if these groups really do agree with the Holy Scripture. The information on what each of these groups believes is taken from their own writings and information gathered from research sources, with a primary source being The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.
According to Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) theology, God is not a Trinity, but a single person. Orthodox Christianity has from its beginning held to a Triune God. The JW also believe that God is not all knowing and is not everywhere. Christianity holds that God is both Omniscient and Omni-present. God's first act according to JW theology was to create Michael the Archangel. Through Michael all the rest of creation came into being. This work of creation took God 42,000 years to complete. Christianity holds to the Genesis account of God creating the heavens and the earth, the universe, man and all that is created. Also, this creation took a literal six days with the seventh being used for a Sabbath rest. Early in the JW belief system, the Pleiades star system was considered the home of God's throne. As science continued to progress this was changed and stated that "the light of truth was shining brighter1." Christianity of course holds that the highest heavens could not contain God; so fixing His throne in a particular spot would be absurd.
Following somewhat along Biblical teaching, the JW do believe that Adam did sin, fall, and was kicked out of paradise. And, God would institute a system of redemption in which Jesus the Messiah would be crucified on a stake. Here they depart from the Bible. While God waited for Jesus to be created (more on this below), He needed a theocratic organization on earth to represent Him. There were many "true and faithful" JW throughout history including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David, but it was not until the late 1800's that Charles Taze Russell began what is now known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Brooklyn, New York. Since that time, only this organization has the true channel of truth to the world and can properly interpret God's Word. Orthodox Christianity is in direct conflict with much of this! God didn't need anything or anyone to represent Himself to mankind. God choose to use prophets, farmers, kings and slaves, but He didn't need anyone and He certainly did not have to wait until Jesus was created! Each of the men claimed to be JW down through history certainly were not, since the organization only came into being in the 1800's. God often spoke directly to men, used angels as messengers, and handpicked others to lead His people and fulfill His ways.
Concerning Jesus Christ all pretense of orthodoxy leaves. The JW believe that Michael the Archangel became human in the form of Jesus. Jesus grew, did not sin and perfectly kept the Law of God, however He was not God. He did not die on a cross, but actually a torture stake where He did bear the sins of mankind. Jesus rose from the dead as a spirit for His physical body had dissolved and God took it, and during His physical manifestations after the resurrection, He used a temporary body. For the Christian response to this dribble...every Creed of history, every writer of the New Testament and every great saint in history preached and believed that Jesus was the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, that He suffered, was crucified on a cross, was buried, and raised on the third day. Jesus had a physical body that was His, not borrowed for the occasion, and still maintains that body so His scars are visible to this day! Michael the angel was not and is not the second Person of the Trinity but a created being. In the Book of Jude, Michael would not even rebuke Satan when arguing over the body of Moses, so Michael is not as high in authority as Satan appears to be2. This I assume would create a problem!
While true Christianity teaches that love of the brethren will be our calling card to a lost and dying world3, the JW teach that if you disagree with them on any point you are of Satan. All pastors are servants of Satan and all who support any earthly government are demonic. Paul said to render honor to whom honor is due4 and to submit to all governing authorities, but the JW refute all such claims. According to JW teaching all of Christianity is wrong and they alone possess truth.
JW teaching includes that Jesus did return invisible in 1914 and is now reigning in heaven. When Jesus does return yet again, He will set up His earthly kingdom that will last for 1000 years. During this time people will be resurrected and given a second chance to follow the principles of the JW. After this period of time those who reject God and the teachings of JW will be annihilated. The rest of the faithful will live, but only 144,000 will be in heaven and allowed to take annual communion. These 144,000 have immortal life and will have spirit bodies and the rest of the living will have physical bodies that will continue to need food, rest, etc.
To refute this would take a book of great length, however I will simply list a few rebuttals. First, John assured us that when Jesus returns, "every eye will see Him, including those who pierced Him5." Jesus did not sneak back in some invisible return. The Return spoken of in the Bible6 is not something that can be missed. While there is much debate over the 1000-year period as to it's meaning, there is little or no debate or whether people receive a second chance at salvation. "It is appointed unto man to die once, then the judgment" Hebrews states very clearly7 . Annihilation is not a Biblical concept either. Jesus and His disciples taught plainly about hell, judgment and eternal separation away from God. Phrases like "worm will not die8" and "weeping and gnashing of teeth9" does not sound to me like annihilation. Paul taught that to be away from the physical body was to be home with the Lord10 . The Book of Revelation tells of a new heaven and a new earth where there will be multitudes before the throne that man cannot number, this certainly sounds like more that 144,000! Finally, Paul addresses our bodies after death in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 and this passage refutes the JW teaching about after-life bodies.
Finally, JW believe that they are the only true group of believers on the planet. If you once join them and then depart from them you are an apostate and you are to be shunned. You must do door-to-door canvassing, pass out literature, collect donations and forward all monies to headquarters in New York. Orthodox Christianity also believes in going door-to-door and passing out literature, however the focus of the materials is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Salvation is found in no other name and if someone chooses to disagree with Christianity we are told to love them, pray for them, and serve them, not shun them11 .
JW while to be admired for its creativity, diligence, and fundraising, is not Biblical or Christian.
Mormonism teaches that God used to be a man on another world. At some point in time he became a god by following the laws of his god on his home world. He was married on this world and has brought his wife to our world. In his present god-state he and his wife rule our world. Both of these deities have physical bodies and have produced spirit children that inhabit human babies at birth. Before I go on, lets look at these believes compared to Christianity. The Bible begins with "In the beginning God" There is no explanation attempted or made as to where God came from or who or what He is. He just is. The Bible teaches that God is spirit12 and any references to human anatomy are simply anthropomorphic. God forms life in the womb13 not out of a sexual relationship to another deity.
Mormonism also teaches that Jesus was the first spirit-born child and Lucifer was the second. God the father, named Elohim, was concerned for the future salvation of the people on earth and devised a plan. Jesus was in agreement with the plan, but Lucifer was not. Lucifer rebelled and convinced a significant number of spirits to rebel with him. However, God was stronger and Lucifer and his were banned from heaven and they became demons that could never be born into human form. The spirits that choose to remain with God are rewarded with being born into races and locations according to their won choice. In response to this, Jesus was not created, but is the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity. It is generally agreed in orthodox Christianity that Lucifer was an angel, not a spirit-child. Lucifer did fall and took 1/3 of the angels with him. He was removed from heaven and cast down to the earth where he now is the prince of the power of the air14 . And, since 1/3 of the angels fell, there were still 2/3 left with God and the Book of Revelation seems to indicate that there is still an abundance of angels left in heaven15 .
Brigham Young believed that Jesus was born by the physical act of God the Father having sex with Mary. While some Mormons do not necessarily agree with this, it has not be refuted by the official writings of the church. The Bible states that the Spirit of God overshadowed Mary and she conceived16 .
Mormonism teaches that Jesus was born, got married and had children. Jesus did die on the cross to pay for sins, but this atonement actually began in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Bible has no mention of Jesus ever being married or having children. None of the Gospel writers or the apostles or the early church leaders/fathers ever taught this. While many feel that the struggle for victory took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, the actual atonement took place with the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross of Calvary.
Another significant difference between Mormonism and Christianity is that the former teaches that men and women can become gods. In order to become a god, a person has to become a good Mormon, pay a full ten percent to the church, follow the various laws and ordinances of the church and be found worthy. According to the Bible men and women can become forgiven children of God, accepted into His eternal family, but no mention is made of every becoming deity. Being a good Christian and paying tithes and keeping the various "laws" of the Bible and participating in the ordinances of the church, while noble and a good goal they do not produce salvation or acceptance with God. Our acceptance rests on the salvation provided by Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for the believer. If it were even possible to keep all of the above and to be found worthy, whatever that may mean, we still would not become deity, for there is only one God.
Many secret rituals are taught within Mormonism, including, baptism for the dead, celestial marriage, and four secret handshakes so you can shake hands properly at the various levels of heaven to gain access. If you are successful in gaining these levels in heaven then you will be rewarded with your own planet and you can be a god to them. Thereby expanding Mormonism to additional worlds. In Christianity what is done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops17 ! In addition, Jesus clearly stated that in heaven we would not be married18 . It will take more than four secret handshakes to get into heaven...it will take nothing less than the blood of a spotless lamb...the Lord Jesus!
It should be very clear that this belief system is not even remotely Christian. The goal of a Bible believer is to become like their Lord Jesus and when we die to spend eternity worshipping at His feet. Our acceptance into heaven is based on the Blood of Jesus not our works or keeping certain rules and regulations. The goal for believers is to spread the Kingdom of God, not the rule or teaching of some church or organization.
In looking at both Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism it is very clear that neither are Biblically based, and both have significant variations from the Scripture and violate numerous principles of orthodoxy.