Sean McDowell takes a closer look at the Mormon Scriptures

Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 tweeted this article from Conversant Life.


The view of faith in the Mormon Scriptures differs from the Bible. Alma 32:17 says, “Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.” In other words, faith involves believing something we do not know. If we knew it, there would be no need for faith. But the Bible proposes a different relationship between faith and reason. Rather than being opposites, the Bible presents a view of faith that is based upon what we do know. As philosopher J.P. Moreland put it, “Faith is trusting what we have reason to believe is true.”

For instance, in Exodus 7-14 Moses performs various miracles so the people will know there is a God and then in turn trust him (see 7:14 and 8:10). The pattern is:

1.  God performs a miracle

2.  The people have knowledge about God

3.  They are called to believe

Exodus 14:31 says, “When Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and believed in Him and in His servant Moses.” The miracle that they could see and know came first, not the belief.

Knowledge is not the opposite of belief, as the Mormon scriptures suggest. Faith does not involve believing something without evidence. Rather, it is a trust in God in light of what weknow to be true. Jesus healed the paralytic so the people would know that he has the authority of God (Mark 2:10).

I suspect the reason the Book of Mormon has this view of faith and knowledge is that the Mormons’ claims cannot be investigated. The cities mentioned in the Book of Mormon have not been located (i.e. Zarahemla), the gold plates cannot be examined, the hill Cumorah cannot be excavated because LDS scholars can’t even agree whether it’s in North or Central America, and the millions of bodies destroyed in the Americas are nowhere to be found. When there is no convincing external evidence corroborating a belief, it must be based upon experience, feeling, and blind faith. This may be the view of faith in the Book of Mormon, but it is decidedly not the biblical view (see John 20:30-31).

This reminded me of a comment written by a Mormon named “Stacie” over at Answering Mormons:

I feel very sad that you are so lost. I also find it sad that you do so much more ‘research’ on why the LDS beliefs are ‘wrong’ rather than simply living your life as you believe you should. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I have received confirmation that it is true, that every aspect of the LDS church is true. Joseph Smith was a true prophet and all prophets that have succeeded him have been and are true prophets of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that the Bible is true as far as it is translated correctly. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, whether you are LDS or not. I know that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that through His Atonement and resurrection we have the ability to return to our Heavenly Father. I won’t use any more of my time to read anything on this blog, but I know that if you truly read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, do all that you can to learn about the LDS church and believe that Heavenly Father will answer your prayers then you, too, will know the truth of the Gospel. If we based our faith on logic it wouldn’t be faith would it? Faith is believing in something that you cannot see or feel. I wish you all the best and pray that you may find the peace and happiness that comes with the truth and light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This view by Stacie is consistent with my own experiences dealing with Mormons over the past two decades. Many of them can be quite “nice” and talented in every area except religion. When it comes to the religion, feelings and blind faith dominate over reason and evidence, for Mormons. They believe what they believe because they want to, and that’s all there is to it. I once had a Mormon in high school tell me that Mormons didn’t care at all about what scientists could show about the origin of the universe. Whenever what scientists could show contradicted their Scriptures, they always chose their Scriptures. There was a huge divorce between their religion and the real world.

I explained in a previous post that Mormonism is not only contradicted by science, but also by history. In addition, others have shown that Mormonism is incoherent philosophically. I recommend checking those posts out if you want three clear-cut reasons why Mormonism cannot be true.

One final thought. As Mormonism becomes more widespread, might we not expect that their unBiblical, irrational, unsupported view of faith will infect the larger culture, so that the the divorce between theology and truth becomes complete in the minds of the secular world? Let’s hope that Mormonism’s view of faith does not become mainstream.

For a good explanation of the Christian view of faith, read this post.

11 thoughts on “Sean McDowell takes a closer look at the Mormon Scriptures”

  1. Wk, I have a huge respect for Mormons ( I am Jewish Christian) they get holiness, righteousness, obedience, and the Kingdom of God.
    They know the bible better than most Christians and live accordingly.
    It is unfortunate they are in deception on the J. Smith theology.
    With that being being said, some of the most solid “disciples” that “walk the talk” that I have met are ex- Mormons.




  2. It is also a great pity that many Christians have adopted this unbiblical view of faith too. We have good reason to root it out!

    Michael, I agree that mormons are generally very outwardly moral. Of course bear in mind that because they are deceived and do not worship the true God, they cannot be truly holy, righteous, or obedient. And they certainly don’t get the Kingdom of God right. Mormon theology sounds Christian, but they mean very different things with the same terms. Mormonism is polytheistic, they are taught that we can all “become gods”, and they believe Jesus and Satan were brothers. These things are contrabiblical.


    1. Hee hee! You can read my mind – that was the real target of this post. Christians who read what Mormons say, and think “what’s wrong with that? that’s my view of faith!”. I wanted to bash them! Bash, bash!*

      * = I do not literally want to hit people, I mean verbally.


  3. By their fruits you shall know them…

    Mormons are wrong, but they are doing something right, as they produce better “fruit” than the average Christian in America as far as how they live and what their culture is like.


    1. Yes, they are doing something right in living in accordance with what they believe. Their personal morals are usualy of a high standard and they live clean lives. I really respect that.

      But remember that part of the “fruit” demonstrated by mormons includes spreading false ideas about Christ and ignoring the truth about Him. So it’s a “mixed bag of fruit” by which they are known.


      1. Mbelina, look at this:

        6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
        and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
        we all shrivel up like a leaf,
        and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

        I do not think it is possible to please God by “being good”, if our beliefs about him are false. The true beliefs must come first, and then the good works are the natural outworkings of a relationship with God. Having said that, it is nice when non-Christians can see Christians doing good works. But it’s MORE IMPORTANT in order for non-Christians to be saved that they HEAR Christians giving reasons and evidence for Christian truth claims. I would invite Michael Singer to take an interest in Christian apologetics and emphasize truth, along with good works.


        1. Well said, WK!

          There are outwardly moral mormons, muslims, hindus, atheists, etc. And of course there are outwardly moral Christians too.

          But Christianity is TRUE. That’s the difference.

          That and the reason for being moral, which is not to make oneself right with God by good works (since we can’t) but to live in accordance with who we are as new creations in Christ.


  4. You have set up a convenient little straw man, and instead of quoting mormon scholars and engaging in earnest dialogue, you have selected some weak comments from among rank and file. I doubt you would like your faith to be evaluated in the same way. Why not do the corageous and honest thing and seek out the best mormon arguments available and engage prepared people?


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