and Warm Welcome
A section for our Latter-day Saint visitors is long overdue and so, with the Latter-day Saint Corner, I hope to make ammends for this omission. It is particularly needed because we do get a lot of visitors from both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the current Mormon Church with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah whom I will hereafter call 'LDS') as well as - and especially - those who call themselves Fundamentalist Mormons (hereafter called 'FLDS') and who, like us, practice polygamy. I hope in this series of articles to reflect on both the similarities and differences between the FLDS and Christian/Messianic Polygamists and in particular, Holy Echad Polygamy.
This page has also been set up for Fundamentalist Mormons interested in making the transition to New Covenant Patriatchal Christianity. I know many fine, upstanding men and women who were formerly FLDS and have now become Christian/Messianic polygamists, and who have undoubtedly enriched our movement. There are many practical aspects of polygamy in which the FLDS are very advanced and from whom we have much to learn. There are equally many LDS making the move to Christian/Messianic polygamy who have much of value from their former tradition to share with us.
It is always well to 'set the agenda' before leaping into any sort of detailed comparison between two religious views and I think that to begin with it might be well to make a summary of our similarities and differences. This will help avoid misunderstandings in the future and form a mutually satisfactory base for communication and fellowship for the present. Remember as you go through this list that there are two types of 'Mormon' (LDS and FLDS - not to mention all the other smaller LDS groups) and that there are different types of Christian Patriarchy (HEM and all the others which include Pentecostal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Calvinist, Messianic Jewish, etc.)
I'm a firm believer in finding 'common ground' between people before even thinking about differences and negative things. I am sure this is a positive way forward in building relationships between those of different faiths.
- 1. Morality: Most Mormons who are seriously committed to their religion (those who are 'active' as opposed to inactive 'Jack Mormons' and others) are highly moral people. They believe in honesty, chastity, family integrity, industriousness, cleanliness, respect for authority, pro-life (though they have compromised with this a little in recent times) and the like. In this I must say that we are 100 per cent in agreement with them. There has been a noticable decline in these things across the whole spectrum of Mormon and Christian churches and Messianic assemblies in recent decades so I am not saying that every single Christian/Messianic or LDS congregation/ward is the same. The righteousness of a church (local or general) is always proportional to the collective righteousness of the people. In meeting Christians/Messianics or Mormons I take each on an individual basis.
- 2. Polygamy: The modern LDS Church, like Most Christian churches, is monogamy-only for the present so the similarity I present here is between Patriarchal Christian/Messianic and Fundamentalist LDS. Both of us (HEM and FLDS) agree that polygyny is a righteous principle and is enjoined upon all of Elohim's (God's) people though we do look upon the grounds for practicing it a little differently.
- 3. Word of Wisdom: The LDS health code, followed by both LDS and FLDS and which is known by them as the 'Word of Wisdom' (not the same "word of wisdom" spoken of by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:8) is adhered to by New Covenant Patriarchal Christians (HEM) though again not necessarily on the same grounds. We do not drink tea, coffee or alcohol and abstain from smoking tobacco. We also believe in not eating meat to excess (though this is something most Mormons do not necessarily observe today). Other Christian polygamists do not necessarily follow this code like we at HEM. New Covenant Patriatchal Christians go much further than Mormons in observing the whole biblical dietry laws described in the Torah (Law/Pentateuch) and are in that respect like Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) and Messianics. That means, amongst other things, that we abstain from pork.
- 4. Financial Stewardship & Communitarianism. Like Mormons, New Covenant Patriartchal Christians practice the law of Tithing though, again, not on quite the same grounds. Financial stewardship and accountability count highly in both our belief systems. Like many FLDS, though, we go one step further and in some of our communities practice what the Mormons call the 'United Order', or the New Testament 'Law of All Things in Common'. This the LDS Church abandoned about a century ago but is continued by many FLDS. The communitarian ideal is still practiced by many FLDS but not by the LDS.
- 5. Eternal Marriage: Both LDS, FLDS and New Covenant Patriarchal Christians believe in eternal marriage (marriage beyond the grave). In this we are in a minority position with respect to other Patriarchal Christians, most of whom only believe - in common with orthodox Christianity - in life-long marriage. Having pointed out this similarity, I must stress that we believe in eternal marriage on entirely different grounds to Mormons, as will be explained in the 'Differences' section and in articles on the main HEM site.
- 6. Pre-Existence: LDS, FLDS and New Covenant Patriarchal Christians believe in a pre-mortal existence (a life in the spiritual world before incarnation into physical bodies - not reincarnation). In this we are in a minority position with respect to other Patriarchal Christians, most of whom only believe - in common with orthodox Christianity - in de novo spiritual and physical creation at the moment of conception. Once again, however, our reasons for believing in pre-existence are different from the Mormon one, as explained elsewhere.
- 7. Baptism by Immersion: Like the LDS and FLDS, New Covenant Patriarchal Christians believe, in common with Baptists, Pentecostals, SDA and others, in baptism by full immersion in water. We do not, however, believe this to be an ordinance of salvation but, like orthodox Christians, as a fruit of salvation-accomplished, i.e. a work of obedience.
- 8. Zion and Gathering: Like the early Mormons and current FLDS, we believe in the Zionic theocratic ideal and in gathering together into a wider Community or Nation of smaller communities (see §4 above). We do not, however, believe that this is the time and that this for nation-building but that it belongs to the Millennial period.
- 9. Prophecy and Revelation: Belief in contemporary revelation is a key LDS and FLDS belief. New Covenant Patriarchal Christians, like some charismatic Christians, also believe in these things. But we do not believe in the same kinds of revelation and prophecy - we reject 'institutional' prophets and revelators and do not accept the Mormon scriptures (see below).
- 10. Heavenly Mother: Like Mormons, we believe in the existence of Female Deity, though we, like Mormons, only worship the Father through the Son. LDS believe in a 'fourth' Personage though she is little spoken of by modern LDS who are trying to distance themselves from this early Mormon doctrine (it is strongly maintained by FLDS). New Covenant Patriarchal Christians believe that the Holy Spirit (Ruach haQodesh) is female, in common with some Hebraic-root Messiancs and some Eastern Orthodox Christians (see §5 below in the 'Differences' section).
There are many Christians who wrongly say we are 'Mormons' because of our belief in plural marriage and (to a lesser extent) other doctrines and practices. There are, however, major differences between Mormonism, HEM/Biblical Christianity.
Though there are many more differences between Mormons and New Covenant Patriarchal Christians, these are the main ones. For a fuller examination of these issues and others, we recommend the link at the bottom of this page.
- 1. Authority: Like the Catholics and (to a slightly lesser extent) the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Jehovah's Witnesses, etc., Mormons believe that they - and they alone - hold the keys of authority to bring people to salvation and build the Kingdom. This we utterly reject. Indeed, this is for us the key difference between New Covenant Patriarchal Christians and LDS. (It should be pointed out that the LDS and FLDS differ on who hold the keys of authority - even FLDS differ amongst themselves - but that they basically agree on the concept of legtalistic authority which we do not). Like most Protestants, New Covenant Patriarchal Christians believe that authority is conferred by the spiritual rebirth process. That some kind of outer political or theocratic authority will exist in the Millennium, we do not deny, but do not believe it exists in this dispensation.
- 2. Polytheism: Mormons are polytheists, beliving in many gods - the LDS believe in three Gods (Father-Son-Holy Ghost) and the FLDS in potentially millions (like the early Utah Mormons). New Covenant Patriarchal Christians are strictly monotheistic like
orthodox Christians, believing in only one Elohim (God).
- 3. The Godhead: Mormon doctrines on the Godhead have shifted enormously over the decades and vary widely between different groups (e.g. LDS and FLDS). Beginning as Trinitarian, LDS doctrine shifted to a Modalistic Monarchic Unitarianism (Book of Mormon - one God, rotating between three Persons - like the modern United Pentecostal Church), Kirtland Bintarianism/Ditheism (Father a spirit, Son a resurrected Personage, Holy Ghost an invisible and impersonal 'presence' à la Jehovah's Witnesses - see Lectures on Faith), Nauvoo Tritheism and Polytheism, etc.. By contrast, most Christians are Trinitarian, though there are Unitarians and, increasingly, Messianic Unitarians. This is a large and complex subject. For our view on the Godhead, see Proto-Trinitarianism.
- 4. The Priesthood: LDS and FLDS believe that the priesthood is Elohim's (God's) authority on earth (see §1 above) and that it is legalistically conferred by the laying-on of hands. Because, they claim, it was lost, they believe in the necessity of angels in restoring it. New Covenant Patriatrchal Christians, in common with all Protestants, believe in a Priesthood of All Believers (1 Peter 2:9).
- 5. Women, Priesthood and Holy Spirit: Women hold no Priesthood in the LDS or FLDS Churches (though some FLDS give them a measure of authority). New Covenant Patriarchal Christians, because they believe in a Priesthood of All Believers, believe in women's priesthood too though this is different from the men's. In this we differ from many, but by no means all, other Patriarchal Christians. Mormons also believe that the Holy Ghost is a male personage, in common with Trinitarians, a position rejected by us as well as many Messianic Israelites and Jews who regard the Holy Spirit as being female. Mormons also believe in a Heavenly Mother, though she is little talked of, and does not fit into the LDS "Tritheism" scheme.
- 6. The Eternal Deity of the Son: Mormons believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) was our 'spirit brother' along with Lucifer only that he was more developed and was 'chosen' to become the Saviour of the world. Like all orthodox Christians, New Covenant Patriatchal Christians believe in the eternal deity of Christ. We believe that He was always Elohim (God) and that this is essential to a proper appreciation and application of the atonement.
- 7. The Virgin Birth: Mormons believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) was conceived by Heavenly Father having sex with the virgin Mary whilst the Holy Ghost overshadowed her. Modern LDS are, however, trying to distance themselves from this doctrine. Like orthodox Christians, New Covenant Patriarchal Christians believe in the Virgin Birth as described by Matthew.
- 8. The Deification of Man: Both LDS and FLDS believe that, if they are faithful, that they will become gods in the eternities and populate their own worlds. They believe that polygamy (FLDS) is an essential part of this process. We, like orthodox Christians, do not believe man will be deified. And we do not believe that this is what polygamy is for even though we believe polygamous marriage will continue beyond the grave.
- 9. The Bible and Scripture: Mormons have, in addition to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price as additional 'scriptures' which they believe to be equal in authority to their own translation of the Bible (the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) or Inspired Version (IV), made without original manuscripts). Like orthodox Christians, New Covenant Patriarchal Christians acknowledge only the Bible as Scripture, though unlike them we do acknowledge other writings in a seconadry and subordinate sense only. Mormons also believe that the talks of their prophets and apostles are inspired, and Brigham Young taught that his sermons could be regarded as Scripture. This we reject.
- 10. The Sabbath: Like all Catholic-derived or inspired churches, the Mormons observe a Roman First Day or Sunday 'Sabbath'. Unlike the SDA and most Messianic Jews, who observe a Talmudic/Rabbinical Seventh Day Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) based on the Roman Calendat, New Covenant Patriarchal Christians are sabbatarians, per pro the Fourth Commandment, observing the Luni-Solar Creation Calendar and Sabbath.
- 11. The Names of God: Mormons believe their Heavenly Father is called 'Elohim' and that the pre-incanate Christ was called 'Jehovah'. Like Orthodox Christians, we believe the Father's Name is Yahweh ('Jehovah'). Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and most Orthodox Christians perpetrate the 'Jehovah' error (which translated means 'Jah is perverse') and do not aknowledge the true Name of the Father (YAHWEH) or of the Son (YAH'SHUA). New Covenant Patriarchal Christians are Sacred Name (haShem) observers like many Messianic Israelites.
- 12. Torah Observance: Mormons, like most Protestants, believe that the Torah (Law) was done away with by Christ. Like Messianics, New Covenant Patriarchal Christians believe that only the ceremonial Law (animal sacrifices, etc.) was done away with.
- 13. Temple Worship: LDS and FLDS believe that temples are necessary for exaltation ordinances, eternal marriage, and sealing work for the dead. This is not accepted by New Covenant Patriarchal Christians. Though we have 'temples', they are Houses of Worship (as in many charismatic churches) though are mostly reserved for ministers and trainees, and are also used for ordination and marriage ceremonies. We reject the Mormon system of neo-Masonic rites which they believe are necessary to secure them passage into their Celestial Kingdom.
- 14. Blood Atonement: Early Mormons and contemporary FLDS (LDS deny that the doctrine was ever taught) believe that murder and adultery cannot be atoned by trusting in the blood of Christ but only by the guilty parties having their own blood shed in atonement for their crimes. This was a doctrine strongly advocated and taught by Brigham Young. Some of the blood feuds between FLDS have involved an invocation of this doctrine to justify murdering one another. This doctrine we utterly repudiate.
- 15. The Great Apostacy: ALL Mormons believe that there was a 'Great Apostacy' or 'Falling Away', with a withdrawl of Priesthood Authority by heaven, around the third century AD or earlier. Whilst we and Protestants certainly believe there was an apostacy around this time, we do not accept that it was complete but that true believers (His Church/Messianic Community) have always been on the earth in fulfilment of Christ's own declaration on the matter (Matthew 16:18). Even were the Mormons correct, it would not explain the necessity for a restoration by angels given that they believe John the Apostle and three Nephite apostles are still roaming the earth will full Priesthood authority. Why weren't they used in their claimed 'restoration'?
- 16. The Church: Mormons, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, regard the Church as a divinely instituted organisation. The apostle Paul taught that it was a living organism made of saved individuals, which he called the 'Body'. We do not believe that the kind of organisation followed by LDS or FLDS ever existed in New Testament days. We do not believe in a 'one and only true Church organisation' but in a 'one and true Saviour' and that those who trust in and obey Him are that Body or 'Church' (Assembly).
The articles that follow will concentrate on Mormon vs. New Covenant views of polygamy which we hope you will find interesting.
First created on 12 August 2001
Updated on 16 August 2016
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