Recently I went to a movie called September Dawn. It was one of the most riveting movies I've seen in recent history.
It's really a story that chronicles the painful, violent way in which Mormons slaughtered the inhabitants of a wagon train passing through Utah on the way to California. And it makes clear that the historic Christian faith, not Mormonism, is the way to having peace with God. It demonstrates that the divide between Mormonism and Christianity is a divide that cannot be papered-over with mere rhetoric. It gives you glimpses into a lot of Mormon peculiarities such as blood atonement, temple sacrifices, the revelations which are given to the Mormon prophet and apostle.
In light of seeing this movie, I was reminded once again that we should understand the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which was birthed in 1820 by an alleged vision in which two celestial personages appeared to Joseph Smith and claimed that all existing churches were wrong, that all their creeds were an abomination, that all their professors were corrupt, and according to these personages Joseph Smith had been chosen to restore - restore, mind you, not reform but restore - a church that had disappeared from the face of the earth. The Mormon doctrines that evolved from this vision compromise, confuse, or outright contradict the nature of God, the authority of Scripture and the way of salvation.
Let me take just a moment to elaborate on that. First, while Christians believe that God is Spirit, Joseph Smith taught that "God Himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man who sits enthroned in yonder heavens." Mormonism also holds to a plurality of gods and contends that as man is, as we are right now, God once was, and as God is, man may become. In other words, we can become gods.
Not only so, but the Latter-day Saints compromise the nature of the God-Man Jesus Christ, and this is really the acid test. "Who do you say that I am?" asked Jesus. In Christianity the response is that Jesus is the self-evident, self-existent, Creator of all things. In Mormonism, by way of contrast, He is the spirit-brother of Lucifer who was conceived in heaven by a celestial mother and came in flesh as the result of the Father having sex with the virgin Mary. Now this is not something you paper over with rhetoric. This is a substantive difference when it comes to essential Christian doctrine. In sharp distinction to Christian theology, Mormons do not believe that the Bible is the infallible repository for redemptive revelation. In their view it is "the Book of Mormon that is the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of our religion." Again, this is not a distinction without a difference.
And while Christians believe that they will stand before God dressed in the spotless robes of Christ's righteousness, Mormons contend that they will appear before Heavenly Father dressed in fig leaf aprons holding good works in their hands. And they believe that only those who are sealed in secret temple rituals will make it to the third level of the Celestial Kingdom and become gods of their own planets.
These and a host of other doctrinal perversions exclude Mormonism from rightly being called Christian. Again, September Dawn gives you a glimpse into how the perversions of Mormon theology have a practical implication on things that have happened in the past. I think one of the most stunning things about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which this film is all about, is that the Mormon church has not accepted responsibility for it, and I think it's high time that they did. This is not conjecture. This film is dealing with actual events that were carried out because of the supposed revelations given by God to the apostles and prophets living at that time.
It is incumbent for us to know what Mormonism teaches and to use our well-reasoned answers as springboards for opportunities for sharing the grace and love and truth that only Jesus Christ can bring to the human heart, to use the deviations of Mormonism as an opportunity to reach Mormons who are trapped in a system which is decidedly anti-biblical and against the biblical worldview.