The Mormon Counterfeit of the Atonement

by Charley Carle

LDS teaching versus the Bible

IS THE LDS TEACHING ON THE ATONEMENT OF GOD OR OF DEVILS? “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and DOCTRINES OF DEVILS.” (1 Tim. 4:1).

WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE A CROSS ON A MORMON CHURCH? Never! In Mormonism, the cross has a secondary role. LDS leaders sometimes mention that Christ died on a cross, but only for resurrection. They teach that the Atonement was in Gethsemene.

WHERE DID JESUS OPEN THE WAY FROM BONDAGE? – THE LDS OFFICIAL CHURCH MAGAZINE. “In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ suffered for the sins of all mankind, thus opening the way for all of us to repent and free ourselves from the bondage of sin.” (Ensign Magazine, April, 1981, p.19).

WHERE DID THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS TAKE PLACE? – LDS 13th PRESIDENT BENSON. “What happened in that garden, said President Ezra Taft Benson, ‘was the greatest single act of love in recorded history It was in Gethsemane that Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world, in Gethsemane that His pain was equivalent to the cumulative burden of all men, in Gethsemane that He descended below all things so that all could repent and come to Him That holy, unselfish act of voluntarily taking on Himself the sins of all other men is called the Atonement'” (LDS Church News, President Benson, “prophet” of the Mormon Church, 1 June 1991, p.14).

WHERE DID THE REDEEMER SUFFER? – THE LDS FIRST PRESIDENCY, MARION ROMNEY. “Jesus then went into the Garden of Gethsemane. There he suffered most. He suffered greatly on the cross, of course, but other men had died by crucifixion; in fact, a man hung on either side of him as he died on the cross. But no man, nor set of men, nor all men put together, ever suffered what the Redeemer suffered in the garden. He went there to pray and suffer'” (Conference Report, Marion Romney, a member of the LDS First Presidency, Oct. 1953, p.35).

WHERE DID JESUS BEAR MAN’S SIN? – LDS APOSTLE BRUCE R. McCONKIE. “Forgiveness is available because Christ the Lord sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane as he bore the incalculable weight of the sins of all who ever had or ever would repent In a garden called Gethsemane, outside Jerusalem’s walls, in agony beyond compare, he took upon himself the sins of all men on condition of repentance.” (The Promised Messiah, McConkie, p. 337 & 552).

WHERE DID JESUS WIN THE VICTORY? – McCONKIE. “And as he came out of the Garden, delivering himself voluntarily into the hands of wicked men, the victory had been won. There remained yet the shame and the pain of his attest, his trials, and his cross. But all these were overshadowed by the agonies and sufferings in Gethsemane. It was on the cross that he ‘suffered death in the flesh,’ even as many have suffered agonizing deaths, but it was in Gethsemane that ‘he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.'” (The Mortal Messiah, McConkie, pp. 127-128).

IS THE SYMBOL OF THE CROSS WRONG TO HAVE? – “MORMON DOCTRINE”. The LDS doctrinal book says the symbol of the cross is “inharmonious with the quiet spirit of worship and reverence” (Mormon Doctrine, p.172). Strangely, many Mormons wear their temple garments with stitched symbols in the underwear. This is to remind them of the covenants in the temple. Logic asks, is this underwear superior to a cross that reminds a Christian of the shed blood and remission for sins?

ARE LDS SYMBOLS CLOSER TO CHRISTIANITY OR TO THE OCCULT? Mormonism makes little of the cross of Christ, but it embraces Occultic symbols! Satanic inverted pentagrams are on the Mormon buildings in Nauvoo, Illinois and the temple in Salt Lake City (upside-down five pointed stars). According to “Mormonism, Magic and Masonry,” page 68, this is a symbol for the occult. “The Pentagram, the sign of the Microcosm, was held to be the most powerful means of conjuration in any rite…. with two points in the ascendant [upside-down star] it was the sign of Satan” (The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Vol. 2, p. 552). And Joseph Smith did not wear a cross. As seen at his death, he wore “…a silver Jupiter medallion constructed according to the instructions for making ‘Magic Seals, or Talismans,’ in Barrett’s 1801 The Magus” (Mormonism and the Magic World View, Mormon author D. Michael Quinn, p. 66).

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT JESUS PAYING FOR OUR SIN IN GETHSEMANE? Never is Gethsemane mentioned as playing a role in the atonement. While the LDS leadership emphasizes Gethsemane, the Bible only mentions it in Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32. Mormon commentators point to sweating “great drops of blood” while the New Testament says nothing about this as part of the atonement. Of the four descriptions of the Garden, only one even mentioned that Jesus sweat blood.

WHEN DID GOD OPEN THE VEIL IN THE TEMPLE? The first thing that happened after the death of Jesus was the veil was rent! The way into the Holies was made open by the blood of the cross! The believers sins are not only covered, they are cleansed away!

DID GOD GIVE HIS SON AT GETHSEMANE? Throughout the New Testament His death is the point! Jesus came as a Lamb to die! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

HOW WERE WE RECONCILED TO GOD? “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11).

WHAT WAS THE GOSPEL THAT PAUL PREACHED?For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:17-18).

DO CHRISTIANS PREACH THE GARDEN OR THE CROSS? But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” (1 Cor. 1:23).

WHAT WAS THE PULPIT OF THE APOSTLES?For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2).

WHICH GOSPEL SAVES?the gospel By which also ye are saved 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” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

WHERE DID CHRIST BEAR OUR SIN CURSE?Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Gal. 3:13).

DO YOU GLORY IN THE GARDEN?But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6:14).

HOW WAS THE WALL TORN DOWN SO WE CAN DRAW NEAR TO GOD?by the blood of Christ by the cross” (Eph. 2:13-16).

WHERE WAS THE GREAT WORK OF CHRIST?And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8).

WILL FRIENDS OR ENEMIES OF GOD OPPOSE THE CROSS? “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction…” (Phil. 3:18-19).

IS PEACE THROUGH THE GARDEN? We gain “peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Col. 1:20).

WHERE WERE WE FORGIVEN? “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Col. 2:13-14).

IS FORGIVENESS THROUGH SHEDDING OR SWEATING? “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22). The cross is the very center of the Christian message. It is no wonder that it is under attack from the cults. Mormon leaders miss a very significant point regarding the atonement. The expiation of sin was not based on the substitute’s perspiration, it was based on the fact that the substitute died.

WHAT IS THE SYMBOL OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH? The crucifix is not the symbol of the faith. The Savior is not perpetually nailed upon the cross. The cross and tomb are empty and abandoned! The empty cross signifies conquering over death and sin.

WOULD YOU CONSIDER THE PERSONAL VALUE OF THE CROSS? The love of Jesus Christ for you is real. He has died in your place, and you have the offer of eternal life through him. Won’t you accept him as your Savior who bore your sin?

  1. THE CROSS REMINDS US HOW OUR SINS LED TO THE DEATH OF CHRIST. “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” (Gal. 1:4). “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Pet. 2:24).
  2. THE CROSS REMINDS US HOW CHRIST OVERCAME OUR SIN. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Heb. 9:22). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18)
  3. THE CROSS SHOWS THE IMMENSITY OF THE LOVE OF GOD. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10).
  4. THE CROSS DEMONSTRATES GOD’S COMMITMENT TO US. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:31-32). “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15).

THE EXCLUSIVE OFFER! I hope, dear one, that you will take God at His Word! Eternal life is exclusively through Jesus Christ, His work on the cross and resurrection from the dead! “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

WHY NOT PRAY! “God, I do not want to perish! I receive your Son to save me from my destruction in hell! Jesus bore my sin on the cross and I believe He died and rose again! I accept His substitutionary death in my behalf! Thank you for eternal life!”

Gal. 2:21
Heb. 9:12-14, 10-11
Col. 2:20-22
Heb. 10:19-20
Phil. 3:18-19

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