Mormonism Revisited – Program 5

By: Ed Decker; ©1984
Questions from the studio audience are addressed.

Questions & Answers

Introduction

Tonight on The John Ankerberg Show we will compare the truth claims of Mormonism with the truth claims of Orthodox Christianity. The claims of each are different. Mormons believe there are many gods, Christians believe there is just one. Mormons believe men can become gods; Christians do not. Christians believe only the Bible is God’s Word. Mormons believe there are other books besides the Bible that are divinely inspired. Mormons believe Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Christians deny this.

Tonight, we are revisiting Mormonism, as four years ago we interviewed Mormon representatives. A year later, we interviewed the great-great-granddaughter of Brigham Young who left the Mormon Church. For tonight’s program, we invited both Mormons and former Mormons to come and present their views. A formal letter was sent to the head of communications of the Mormon Church and a personal invitation was extended to Dr. Wilford Griggs and Dr. Hugh Nibley, two of the leading scholars in Mormonism. At first, Drs. Griggs and Nibley said they would come, but later they cancelled and declined our invitation to speak to you tonight. But via excerpts from the documentary film, The God Makers, you will hear Mormon leaders present their beliefs. You will also meet Mr. Ed Decker, a man who for 20 years was a Temple Mormon and whose son is currently a Mormon missionary. We will ask Mr. Decker why he changed his mind concerning Mormonism after 20 years. Both Mormons and Christians are hard working, highly respected people. Both are sincere and dedicated in the practice of their beliefs. Our purpose during this series is not to question anyone’s sincerity. Rather, we will attempt to examine the evidence for the religious truth claim being made for purposes of comparison and knowledge. Ultimately, only you can decide which position is true. We invite you to join us.


Ankerberg: Alright, we have a question here.
Audience: Okay, what I want to know is, is it not true that the Mormon church which claims to be Christian, have they not recently chastised the Mormon members, Mormon people, for trying to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
Decker: Yes, they were told, in fact, one of the general authorities spoke at BYU and said to the students that it was very bad to pray on dates because you might get a burning in your bosom and you might mistake that for something else. I had a burning in my bosom when I was 17, but it was for Mary Ann Johnson. And it had nothing to do with the gospel, so they said, “Don’t pray.” And then they also just recently came out again at Brigham Young University and said that it is a very foolish man that seeks a personal relationship with Jesus. Remember He is our elder brother, He had to work out His salvation, we have to work out ours.
Ankerberg: You know right along this line here, the church is called “The Church of Jesus Christ,” and yet basically goes back to Joseph Smith. They claim that we are not Christians, okay; all branches of the Christian church including Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and all the Protestant branches. Now, if what all those three branches basically believe is not Christian, what would they have us call it? Somebody has got to change the name here.
Decker: Well you heard what he said. One of the Mormon leaders, he said, “Anyone who believes in Christ is a Christian.” I mean my skin crawls when he says that, because the demons know Christ.
Ankerberg: Not only that but they changed the whole content of who Christ is.
Decker: That’s right. He is a different Christ. It’s a different Jesus and again you go to 2 Corinthians 11:3-5, they brought in a different gospel, a different Christ, a different spirit. You are dealing with an entirely different thing.
Ankerberg: What do they do with Paul in Galatians where Paul talks about “If we or an angel from heaven were to give you another gospel?” [Gal. 1:8]
Decker: Well, they say now that that deals with their gospel. You know, Joseph Smith said in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith when a woman in his church began to have visitations from an angel, he said, “You can tell a false angel by the color of his hair.” But he didn’t say what color; but by the color of your hair that’s how you test it.
Ankerberg: What is actually the verse in Galatians there? Read the whole thing for us. It’s very interesting that Paul made that remark.
Decker: It starts in Galatians 1:6. He’s talking to the Galatians, not talking to the Episcopalians. He said, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed.” [Gal. 1:6-9] What was the gospel of Paul? Was it wearing magic underwear? Was it going through the Temple and swearing blood oaths? Was it doing baptism for the dead so they can be converted to Mormonism in the grave?
Ankerberg: What is baptism for the dead?
Decker: What is baptism for the dead? Baptism for the dead is a proxy baptism for the dead. The Mormons believe that by doing genealogy and getting the names and information on your dead ancestors and submitting them to the Temple that they will vicariously baptize them, they will have somebody stand in proxy for them and they can then convert to Mormonism in the grave.
Ankerberg: Because after the apostles everybody was apostate?
Decker: That’s right. Well, but see, it is scriptural again. I mean the Mormons, you know, use Scripture. Since we are already turning to 1 Corinthians 15, we can go ahead and deal with baptism for the dead. It is in the 29th verse. It says, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” [1 Cor. 15:29] And upon that scripture and that Scripture alone are billions of dollars spent doing baptism of the dead. But look at it in the context. We call that the resurrection chapter. It is dealing with the resurrection. And Paul was really saying here, and if you look at the tenses, he says in one verse “he,” “we,” “you,” “us,” “I” and then he says, “Else, why do they baptize for the dead, if there is no resurrection.” He is saying effectively, “Even the pagans baptize for the dead believing there is a resurrection.” [Living Bible] Well, it is amazing, but you actually find out if you read something like Josh McDowell’s book, Evidence That Demands A Verdict, that there is tons and tons of evidence around first and second century Christianity. And you will find out that there were people who baptized for the dead in Corinth, but they weren’t Christians. They were the pagans. And if you go back into the 180 AD, Irenaeus wrote Against Heresies which he dealt with the Marcionites who baptized for the dead, who believed in a pre-existence, who believed that God had gods on either side of them, same heresies that you see in Mormonism today.
Ankerberg: Okay, so you are saying that “they” is not what Paul would say is our Christian group, but he is using them as an illustration concerning the theme, “Listen, even those people over there believe in a resurrection.”
Decker: Well, let’s get back to where we were a little while ago where we were dealing with what was the gospel that Paul says beware that ye not be mislead from.
Ankerberg: It’s from 1 Corinthians 15.
Decker: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you [so he is going to tell us what it is], which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you [past tense], unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas and of the twelve” and of the 500 and so on.” [1 Cor. 15:1-6] That Jesus Christ died for our sins at Calvary. He didn’t suffer some place in Gethsemane conditionally that we serve some prophet.
Ankerberg: While you are in 1 Corinthians 15, there is another spot they jump off of. And that’s the levels of heaven, or the degrees of glory. Would you read where they get that and let’s explain that.
Decker: Well another part of Mormonism that you haven’t seen is the degrees of glory. You have the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial degrees of glory. Depending upon your worthiness, you get to one of these levels. Hell as a place of final destination doesn’t exist in Mormonism.
Ankerberg: Why?
Decker: Well, because it is just a place where you have to serve time to pay the penalty for sin not covered by works.
Ankerberg: What’s the theology, though, that everybody makes it?
Decker: Well the theology is that Jesus died that we will all receive physical resurrection and even the lowest kingdom will be better than what we have.
Ankerberg: Yes, and they will jump off on a verse that Jesus died for all.
Decker: That’s right.
Ankerberg: But they forget that in the contexts the “all” there is the Christians.
Decker: That’s right.
Ankerberg: Okay.
Decker: Now, well let’s go into it. It says, the Scripture they use for that as proof text says, “There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial:” but the glory of the celestial is more than the glory of the terrestrial and others. [1 Cor. 15:40] Okay, fine that says that. But where is the telestial kingdom? First off, a third of their kingdoms is missing here.
Ankerberg: There is no telestial.
Decker: No. If you go into something besides King James English—which is an impossibility for Mormons because they believe that’s how God speaks—if you go into the Greek and you study that, what it is saying is there you are dealing with the spiritual and the flesh; that you are dealing with what is spiritual and what is natural. And if you read it in the context, it says that the glory of the sun and the glory of the moon and the glory of the stars, talking about physical glories. [1 Cor. 15:41]
Ankerberg: You don’t even have to look it up in the Greek you can just look it up in your Webster’s dictionary.
Decker: Down in verse 42 it says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption [it is sown in the natural]; it is raised in incorruption [in spiritual].” And then this whole business about being born on some place near Kolob, living a pre-existent life as spirit children is destroyed totally in verse 46: “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” [1 Cor. 15:46] First the natural and then the spiritual.
Ankerberg: Yes, it just points out two, it doesn’t point out four or five or more.
Decker: No, and there is not a whole mess of them.
Ankerberg: Yes. If you look it up in Webster’s, “celestial” means heavenly and the other means earthly.
Decker: Well, I am starting to get preachy here. Better ask some questions.
Ankerberg: Okay another question.
Audience: About four years ago I visited some missionary friends in Guatemala and El Salvador and we were eating dinner one day at a McDonald’s in Guatemala City and I noticed quite a few kids in there that looked to me like they were Mormon kids. And I was amazed to find out that there were over 300 Mormon missionaries working in Guatemala City alone. And it seemed like everywhere I went in Guatemala and El Salvador I saw them. And I was wondering to what extent are they working in these countries, Central and South American countries?
Decker: Well, up until recently there were almost 32,000 full-time Mormon missionaries around the world. Now there are only 28,000 of them, but….
Ankerberg: They were trying for how many?
Decker: Well, they wanted 50,000 missionaries, full-time missionaries around the world. And they reduced the number of months from 24 months down to 18 months with a hope to drive people to come in, because it would cost less total dollars because of the inflation.
Ankerberg: We also have to say something about why people are motivated to become a Mormon missionary. Why were you motivated to be a Mormon missionary?
Decker: Well, you have got to be a Mormon missionary if you want to become a god. I mean, you’ve got to do all things in righteousness.
Ankerberg: So it’s another one of the requirements?
Decker: Another step in the step toward glory and becoming a god.
Ankerberg: So you sign up and then they lowered the amount of time.
Decker: They lowered the time to 18 months, and instead of going up to 50,000, it dropped to 21,000. Everybody went home. And I happened to be in Chile at the time.
Ankerberg: People that were in?
Decker: In! I was in Chile ministering the gospel of Jesus Christ down there to the Mormon people. And when that happened, and I talked to a Mormon missionary there, and he said, “Whoopee, I am going home. I am leaving right away.” And I said, “Wait a minute, you signed up for 24 months.” He said, “I am not putting one day more than I have to in this place. I am getting out of here the day my 18 months is up.” And so they left.
I compare that to the Christian missionaries that I have met all over the world. They have lifetime commitments to a people because they are broken for the people. In Chile there were over 2,000 full-time Mormon missionaries from the States in there, more than all the Christian pastors in the entire country.
I went through Chile and spoke 83 times in 35 days and the Christian pastors in each of the church councils, in each region or state, signed a declaration to President Pinochet, says, “Our constitution says we are a Christian country and these are not Christian people. They believe that God came down and had sex with Mary. They believe that that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer. They believe they are going to become gods.” And they spoke out and stood up across the entire nation. They stood up against it and today my last report was that there were less than 100 missionaries in Chile. And the last report I had, and it may not be so today because they may have taken care of it, but the President of the Mormon Church in Chile was under criminal indictment by the last letter I received from Chile.
Ankerberg: Question.
Audience: Is it true there are two branches of the Mormon Church?
Decker: Yes, there are two branches. Well, actually, that’s true and not true. There are two branches of the Mormon Church, but there are over 100 Josephite churches.
Ankerberg: One hundred split-offs.
Decker: One hundred split-offs, and every one of them has the same one unique feature: they believe they are the only true church and all the rest are apostates. But the two key ones are the Utah church and the church called the RLDS Church. That’s more prevalent in the East Coast. They believe in the same Trinitarian theology that you find in the Book of Mormon. Now the Book of Mormon teaches basic Trinitarianism. They believe in a heaven and a hell. They do not believe in the Temple. They do not believe they are going to become gods. They believe that Joseph Smith became a fallen prophet when he got involved in Scottish Rite masonry, and that this is the thing that drove him away from becoming a fulfilled prophet. But they believe that Joseph is a prophet; that is heresy. They believe that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God; that is heresy, that is adding to the Word of God. They also believe that Joseph really wrote the Bible and corrected it, and they use what is called Joseph’s Inspired Version of the Bible. And so while they are in the “Christian” body, I am sorry my friends who are RLDS, you are in heresy.
Ankerberg: Alright we have another question.
Audience: Yes, I have an aunt who told me that she received the gift of the Holy Spirit whenever she was laid hands on by an anointed one from the Mormon Church and was baptized. And then all of a sudden she received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Of course, this totally contradicts the Bible. Where do they get this from?
Decker: Well, first off that is not exactly the way they did it. What they do is you baptize them, and they baptize by dipping, and they have witnesses to be sure that a toe doesn’t come out or anything. And then after you have been baptized then you are confirmed a member of the Church. And we do this through the holy Melchizedek priesthood. Okay, “this is by the authority that we use and confirm you as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints and say unto you, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’” Now, one of the areas that we didn’t spend a lot of time talking about was the fact that the Mormons teach that Jesus was begotten in the flesh. Brigham Young said that the Holy Ghost was not the begetter of Jesus; that if it were so that the Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary, then we could not lay hands upon the young women of the church, because if we did then they would become pregnant by the Holy Ghost and then bring great shame….
Ankerberg: Run that by me again.
Decker: Well….
Ankerberg: First of all, what you are saying is they don’t believe in the virgin birth.
Decker: They don’t believe in the virgin birth for one.
Ankerberg: Why don’t they believe in that, first of all?
Decker: Well, God’s a man, okay.
Ankerberg: Okay, and there are three Gods at least and the Holy Ghost isn’t one of them.
Decker: God is a physical being and that’s how people get babies: when they are physical. And the Holy Ghost is a man and Jesus Christ is a man.
Ankerberg: So it would be the literal son of the Father. It had to be by the Father and not the Holy Ghost.
Decker: That’s right. Let me give you the exact location. Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Volume 1, pages 50-51. It said, “He was not begotten of the Holy Ghost. If He was it would be dangerous to baptize and confirm females and give the Holy Ghost to them lest he should beget children to be pawned upon the elders by the people, bringing the elders into great difficulties.”
Ankerberg: What would happen if the Holy Ghost came upon them? Are they saying that is a sexual union then?
Decker: Well, they say, you know, if you give them an opportunity you don’t know what he is going to do. But if he did that to Mary we don’t know what he would do to the women. I mean, John this is Mormon doctrine, this isn’t, you know….
Ankerberg: Yes, okay, just trying to comprehend.
Decker: Joseph Fielding Smith, one of the prophets of the church said in Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, page 18, “Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of man. And that man was God.” Brigham Young said, “The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children. It was a result of natural action.” Now this, you know, again, is totally and completely contrary to the Word of God. So when your relative is speaking about receiving the Holy Ghost, she is receiving a Holy Ghost who is a physical being in his pre-mortal existent state, a spirit being. Physical, you could, I guess sprinkle talcum powder around him and you might see the outline of him. He can only be in one place at one time. And if he is in Salt Lake City, he cannot be in Los Angeles or in Chattanooga.
Ankerberg: Okay.
Audience: I just wanted to ask also, when you said that the Mormons were beautiful people, I really agree and I just wonder in their zeal for God, when God says in Jeremiah, “If you seek me with all your heart, ye shall surely find me.” [Jer. 29:13] And sometimes I just wonder about these people and it seems that they are seeking God. Are they seeking God, or are they seeking their own happiness?
Decker: No, they are seeking God, but the problem that we have with the Christian faith is that most of us Christians expect somebody else to take care of it. God does not walk upon the face of the earth in physical form today. Jesus Christ came and walked upon the earth. He only had a ministry of about three and a half years. Today He sends the man, He sends the person. And if the person isn’t ready to go, if the Christian isn’t prepared to go out and share, and someone gets down and says, “O, God I seek after you,” the destroyer is going to come in, the Scripture tells us that, and he will take away even the very elect. And so what happens is simply this, that the Mormon or the persons praying and asking God to send someone, in complete ignorance, trying to figure out how to do it and nobody comes, then old slewfoot sends in his replacement because we are not there.
And I tell you this and I mean it with all my heart and all my soul, that if you walk past a person today that the Holy Spirit prompts you to talk about Jesus to, you do it! Because that may be the only time someone tells that person about Jesus Christ. We are called, you know, where you sit on Sundays is not the church, and Jesus Christ did not come to establish some church. He came and gave us a relationship to God and said, “Join together, come together one with the other and edify one another.” And he gave us the foundation for establishing the church and the churches. But we are the church, and if we don’t do our work, if we don’t go out and take that gospel out, Lucifer will bring the counterfeit. It’s our failure.
Ankerberg: Alright. Let’s take some things that the Mormons would be saying, because they will say that their doctrine is proved by the Bible. For example they will say, “Didn’t Jesus say that we are going to become gods in John 10:34 where he says, ‘Has it not been written in your law, I said, you are gods?’ Doesn’t that prove it?”
Decker: Okay, well, probably so if you were a Mormon. But the problem that you have to deal with is, first off, as a Christian you can trust the Word of God implicitly. And that’s a Scripture that a Mormon will give you. John 10:34, “Ye are gods.” Take it in context. Who is Jesus talking to? He just declared to them the words of the prophet have come true in your midst today. “Here am I. I am the Son of God.” And they seek to kill him and he says, “What’s the matter with you? Even your own Scriptures say ye are gods.” [John 10:24-34] And Jesus, every time He played that kind of thing with the Pharisees, He wasn’t teaching them correct doctrine. He was taking their legalistic word and twisting it around and sticking it in their craw. And yet we go to Psalm 82, and that’s where he was making reference to their Scriptures saying “ye are gods,” and there it is talking about unfair judges of Israel.
Ankerberg: Yes, God says that those judges were those who judged unjustly and show partiality to the wicked. Does that sound like God?
Decker: Well, first off they are judging unrighteously, but later on in the same Psalm it says that they “shall die as men.” [Psa. 82:7] Now, those aren’t gods. And Jesus was just using that, again, as an example of their legalism and their inability to see past the word.
Ankerberg: Well, they held the office of God’s representative as a judge.
Decker: That’s right.
Ankerberg: Okay, and they are called “mighty ones.”
Decker: Paul says, “There are gods many and lords many.” [1 Cor. 8:5] And that is another Scripture the Mormons use, but….
Ankerberg: Well, 1 Corinthians 8:5, let’s bring it up. They’ll say, “Hey, what about ‘for even if these are so called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords.’ What do you want many gods and many lords, how plain does it have to be?”
Decker: Well, again, this is the problem that we have with dealing with Mormon scripturizing. Read the verse before or read the verse after. The verse before, he is trying to teach the people some significant things. He says, “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols.” [1 Cor. 8:4] He is talking about the fact that in the marketplace they are selling meat that had been offered to the idols. And he said, “There are gods many and there are lords many, but unto us there is only one God.” [1 Cor. 8:5-6] There is not many gods. There are the gods of the makings, of our own hands and the idols.
Ankerberg: They forgot to read the phrase in front of that verse and the one in back of it which says there is only one God.
Decker: “But to us there is but one God,” and how do you get to Him? “And one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things and we by him.” [1 Cor. 8:6]
Ankerberg: Mormons teach that the Bible says that the God of this world, the Heavenly Father, is a glorified, resurrected man having a body of flesh and bones and they will quote 1 Peter 3:12. A person did this on the phone to me today. “For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, [well you’ve got the eyes there] and his ears attend to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” I mean what do you want? All the human parts are being named here.
Decker: I mean, they really are, aren’t they? And let me see if I can get Matthew 23:37 here, and it says, “I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gather her chickens under her wings.”
Ankerberg: You’re saying it is an anthropomorphism?
Decker: You get into this same thing, God with the wings.
Ankerberg: If they say, well, you have to take it literal, I will give you another one, Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings.”
Decker: God has feathers then?
Ankerberg: Is God a large bird?
Decker: But again, there you have a problem, you start messing around with the nature of God. In the Old Testament the Mormons think that God’s first name is Elohim. I mean, they really do, and so we talk about Elohim. And Jesus is the Christ or “Jesus Christ.” That is really like his first name and his second name. And what we have to do is we look at the Scriptures like in Exodus 20 where it says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” [Ex. 20:3] You find out “I am the Lord thy God.” [Ex. 20:2] It says in there, “I am thy YHWH, your Elohim,” is what it is saying.
Now what the Mormons can’t deal with that because every place… if you get a Jerusalem Bible and you see the many different places where they use YHWH, “I am your YHWH, your Elohim,” they believe YHWH is Jesus and it is the YHWH that Moses spoke to face to face, saw face to face, put the hand on and all these different parts of Him and so forth that revealed Himself as YHWH—Jehovah. Now the Mormons themselves believe that Jesus got His body when He was born of Mary. So how could He be having arms and legs and eyes and noses and all the other things thousands of years earlier in the Old Testament? These are theophanies, or examples used to point toward Christ. But again in the….
Ankerberg: Well, take the “I am YHWH, your Elohim,” [Ex. 20:2] I am YHWH, your God” is what it is saying. Instead of there being two people it turns out there is only one and that is His name.
Decker: And Elohim is the name of God in His plurality, in the fullness of God. And yet everywhere you see it with few exceptions in the Bible you have the plural Elohim put together with a singular verb. It’s like saying “we is.” And this is what it is saying. It deals with the plurality of God, but continually comes back to this singular God again. He is an encompassed, plural God. I think one of the best Scriptures for that is in John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.” We used that as Mormon to say that He has been begotten by God. Begotten means something today that it didn’t mean in the 17th century. But what it says in the Greek—and that’s the great joy about looking at some of these things in the original Greek—what it says in there is that “no man hath seen God [theos, unarticled theos, which means God before time began], the only begotten theos ,[not Son in the Greek; the only begotten theos, without an article, which means that he was God before time even existed], which is in the bosom of the Father [theos, again], he hath declared him.”
Ankerberg: God of gods.
Decker: God of gods. Hallelujah!
Ankerberg: Question.
Audience: Yes, I would like to know why Mormons do not accept black people in their church.
Decker: Well, I want to tell you that one of the neatest experiences that I had was going into a Christian church and finding black people in church. You know that God really loved black people and that they weren’t walking around in a curse as the Mormons believe: that because of your unrighteousness and your lack of valor in the pre-existent battle between Lucifer and Jesus, because you sat aside and did not want to get involved, that you are cursed with a black skin. And that you would never be able, you, or actually your husband, would never be able to hold a priesthood and you were born through the family in the loins of Cain and you are effectively a Canaanite. But…
Ankerberg: Therefore, you could never become a god.
Decker: You could never become a god because you are black and God is obviously not black, He is white. So now the problem came up, of course, with several different facts. First, in a very, I will call it soothsaying, in the Mormon church, we have a thing called the patriarchal blessing, and every Mormon when he gets to a certain level goes to the church patriarch. Then he goes through a fasting and praying and then he comes and he lays hands upon you and yea, verily and so forth. Then he calls you out of the tribe of Israel that you are appointed to you, what tribe you really came out of.
Which is kind of interesting, because if you go to Genesis 4l, you find out that Joseph when he was in Egypt and found favor with Pharaoh was given a wife by Pharaoh, the daughter of a priest. In those days black was beautiful and so the priest was black and his daughter was black and she bore him two sons. His sons were Ephraim and Manasseh. I think God has a sense of humor here, because 95% of all Mormons in the patriarchal blessings are told they are from the loins of Ephraim and the other 5% are from the house of Manasseh. And Brigham Young said, “If you have one drop of black blood in your lineage, in your parentage, you cannot ever hold the priesthood.” And the reason that they did genealogy in the early days wasn’t to do baptism for the dead, it was to find out if you had any black blood in you. They didn’t want any….
Ankerberg: But now that’s been changed, hasn’t it?
Decker: But just a few years ago the Mormon god said that the blacks are okay and that the blacks can now hold the priesthood. And then they went out and found the one or two few blacks that were in the church under those conditions and they elevated him, the one man, to the Melchizedek priesthood and they ran him into the Temple to be married for time and all eternity. And now many blacks, in fact, they make a very heavy effort now to convert blacks to the church because they want to get some in there and put them in positions of authority so that there is a representation of the black in the church.
Ankerberg: What happened to the Scripture? I mean the Scripture cannot be changed supposedly.
Decker: The Mormons say that revelation is what Brigham Young says unless Spencer W. Kimball says otherwise. You never pit a living prophet against a dead prophet. The new prophet always has the latest word from God and he supersedes everything else behind him and is above Scripture and even above science. Joseph Smith said that men lived on the moon and they lived to be 1,000 years old and they were six foot tall and they dressed like Quakers. And Brigham Young said that men lived on the sun also and he said that rocks and gold and silver grow like the hairs in your head, but just slower. And he wanted to build this Salt Lake Temple out of sandstone so that it would mature into granite. But the other guy says, “Well let’s just start with granite, okay?” And they did. But getting back to the blacks, now you can go to the Mormon Temple and wear the magic garments and take out all the blood oaths to become a God yourself or one of the wives of a God, but you do have to turn white first, I am sorry.
Ankerberg: One more question.
Audience: I would like to know what the Mormons believe about sin.
Decker: Well, sin as we know it isn’t really a Mormon term in the sense that the Christian thinks of it. You see the Mormons believe that Adam and Eve fell upwards. They transgressed the law, they broke the lesser law to be obedient to a higher law, the one, of course, that as I told you earlier, that Lucifer taught them.
Ankerberg: Namely you can break the law of God to become a god.
Decker: That’s right. That’s what he told them and that’s what they did. That was the higher law. Okay, now, sin is relative in proportion. There are some sins that even the shed blood of Jesus Christ won’t give you physical resurrection for, like murder of an innocent person, apostasy, doing like what I do. Gary Gilmore who was a Mormon in Utah was executed if you remember by the firing squad so that he could shed his own blood. We must shed our own blood. And Brigham Young said, “If you love your neighbor enough and he is in sin, if you love him enough and he needs to shed his blood in order to atone for his sins, then be a good buddy and shed it for him.” I want to tell you that it is a doctrine called the “Blood Atonement Doctrine.” That’s alive and real. I just replaced a bedroom window in our house just before this trip that I am on right now when someone fired a rifle through the window trying to kill my wife and me in our bed. But praise God, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. [1 John 4:4] My wife went back to sleep while we called the police and stuff. She said, “This is the Lord’s problem, not our problem. Is there any glass in the bed?” I said, “No.” She said, “Well then you take care of it and don’t worry me about it.”
Ankerberg: Thanks, Ed, for being with us. We sure appreciate it.

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