MORMONISM’S OWN VERSION OF THE MAY 21, 2011 END OF THE WORLD PREDICTION
This past week we witnessed the failure of a yet another end of times prediction. Looking beyond the mere words of scripture alone, Harold Camping employing a mathematical calculation and an allegorical method of biblical interpretation (the details of which are irrelevant for the present discussion), unequivocally declared that “beyond a shadow of a doubt, May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the day of Judgment.” Specific times and events were outlined by Camping in relation to his prediction. As we saw on Saturday, May 21, none of Camping’s predictions came true.
One of the sad things about this failed prophesy is Camping’s many followers who sincerely believed – to the extent that some even used all of their monetary resources to get the word out to the world about Camping’s prophesy foretelling the end of times (one man emptied all of his savings of $140,000 to put up signs to warn the world of the imminent end of the world). The fact that these believers sacrificed so much is an indicator that these were true and sincere believers. But sincerity of belief does not the truth make.
Camping’s followers are much like the Mormon believers. Both sincerely and whole-heartedly believe. But these sincere people’s faith has been misplaced in false prophets – prophets who wholly and completely fail God’s own established test of a prophet.
JOSEPH SMITH’S FAILED END-TIMES PROPHESY
In 1835, the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, prophesied that the coming of the Lord would occur in 56 years (1891):
“[Joseph] stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. . . . it was the will of God that they should be ordained to the ministry and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, for the coming of the Lord, which was nigh — even fifty six years should wind up the scene.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2, page 182).
In 1843 Joseph Smith also recorded:
"I was once praying earnestly upon the subject, and a voice said unto me, My son, if thou livest till thou art 85 years of age, thou shalt see the Face of the Son of Man--I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this & took the liberty to conclude that if I did live till that time He would make His appearance or I shall go where He is--I PROPHESY IN THE NAME OF THE LORD GOD--& LET IT BE WRITTEN, that the Son of Man will not come in the heavens till I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about 1890." (Diary of Joseph Smith, April 6, 1843, quoted in The Revelations of Joseph Smith, p.345) (Emphasis added).
As with Harold Camping’s prophesy, these prophesies of Joseph Smith were not fulfilled. These are not the only failed prophesies uttered by Joseph Smith. The list of his failed prophesies is long.
SINCERE BELIEVERS REMAIN IN SPITE OF FAILED PROPHESIES
It is amazing that, even in the face of failed prophesies there often remain sincere and devout believers. How can this be? I believe that there are several answers to this question. First of all, those who are mislead by these false prophets are generally not grounded and well versed enough in the Word of God (the Bible) to be able to test the teachings and the allegedly prophetic utterances of these false prophets. Beyond that is the incredible ability of those who want to believe at all costs to be able dissemble, equivocate and to spin the facts. In the Mormon Church, it is the Mormon Church apologists, Mormon Church leaders and zealous church members that go to great lengths to keep the attention off of any negative facts and on to only that which shows these men and the church in a positive light. Most importantly, in the Mormon case, Mormon church members rely on their feelings (“testimony”) as the measuring stick for truth. Even beyond that for Mormon Church members is the fact that most don’t know about the failed prophesies and many of the negative facts about their church or their prophet, because the church works so hard to keep any negative facts from coming to the knowledge of the church membership.
KNOWING THE WORD OF GOD AND APPLYING IT = THE REMEDY TO AVOID DECEPTION
Those who are generally most at risk of being mislead into false religions and/or and to follow after false prophets are Christians (or those with a Christian background) that may be sincere and sincerely seeking but simply are not well grounded in their knowledge of the Word of God (the Bible) and do not look to it for what it is – THE standard of truth. These sincere souls hear the words of these counterfeit prophets that “sound” so biblical or prophetic to them (sometimes, these “prophets” are even very sincere themselves). Often the teachings of these men and the institutions that they spawn or come from also sound very rational and reasonable. When these false doctrines are taught by these false prophets and counterfeit Christian institutions, the way it is presented, it can often seem almost as if what is being heard is as simple as the mathematical equation, 1 + 2 = 3. “Yeah, that makes sense” the ungrounded Christian will say or think. “It must be right.” “It just feels so right!”
The counterfeit prophets will often even quote passages from the bible that seem to support and give credibility to their teachings and prophesies. Indeed, when passages are taken out of context, you can make the scriptures say some pretty incredible things that are actually far from the truth and far from the Word of God. Beware of those who come wielding disjointed passages of scripture (as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others famously do).
We must remember, as Jesus said, “[i]f you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32. It is His teaching that we are to hold to – not obscure passages and biblical sounding statements masquerading as prophesy. We need to know and hold to all of Jesus’ teaching, we need to know and be well grounded in the Word of Truth. Jesus declared “my word is truth.” The truth will make us free. False prophets and institutions, generally lead to bondage – bondage to a man, bondage to an institution and bondage to endless rules and regulations masquerading as the “laws of God”.
THE KEY FOR TESTING ALLEGED END TIMES PROPHESIES AND PREDICTIONS
In the context of the signs of the last days that will precede his coming, he said: “false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.” Mark 13:22-23.
Specifically key to the signs of the times, the last days and the coming of the Lord, Jesus gives us: “take heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.” Thus, we need not speculate about what is to come. More importantly, we need to be misled by someone who comes declaring something that Christ did not teach. He clearly said that he has “foretold ALL THINGS.” In other words, there is nothing that Jesus has left out. We don’t know all the nitty-gritty, minute by minute details, but we know the big picture of what we need to know to be able to “watch” and be ready.
So, we know that if it an end of times prophesy is claimed and it does not align perfectly with what Jesus has specified, it does not pass the test and we should not give it any heed. If this is the case, we really don’t need to wait to see if the prophesy is fulfilled or not. If it is contrary to the Word of God, it is false. When someone prophesies or predicts, we should be saying “where does it say that?” “Where does it say that?” must be our mantra as Christian believers.
THE TEST OF A PROPHET
As part of our grounding in the Word of Truth, it is imperative that we learn and know the biblical test of a prophet, so that when a prophet comes along claiming to be a prophet and to speak for God we will be able to test that alleged prophet to see if he passes the test or not. This is vitally important because Jesus warned us that there would be many that would come in the last days claiming to be prophets. He said: “[b]eware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. Speaking of the last days, He also said that: “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:1.
THE BASIC SCRIPTURAL TEST FOR A PROPHET IS PLAIN AND SIMPLE
“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
Jeremiah 28:9 also tells us that: “when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.”
So the prophesies of the “prophets” themselves are, according to the Word of God (and according to reason), key in determining whether the prophet is of God or whether he has spoken presumptuously (without God’s direction and power). If a “prophesy” is declared by an alleged prophet and what he has foretold does not come to pass, then it is proof positive that that man or woman is not a prophet.
Do not believe those who try to equivocate and explain away why the prophesy didn’t come true or why the man is still a prophet even though there may have been an apparent miss on an issue. Favorite explanations among the Mormon Church and Mormon Church apologists are that the prophet was not speaking as a prophet at that moment. He was only giving his opinion as a mere man and a man can be wrong.
Another tool amongst the Mormons is the tortured and twisted explanation of the meaning of what the prophet proclaimed that is clearly well beyond the face of the words and context. Do not be misled by spin doctors. We should take things at face value and beware of contortionist explanations that attempt to make things alright.
THE WORD OF GOD ALSO TELLS US WHAT A PROPHET WILL DO
“All the prophets testify about him [Christ] that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43
So we must ask whether the alleged prophet testifies of Christ and that everyone who believes in Him shall receive forgiveness of sins. This is not true of most false prophets who generally have some form of requirement of faith in Christ but add to this by instituting qualifications for grace and salvation with compliance with new laws, rules, regulations and ordinances and acceptance of the prophet as God’s mouthpiece. This is definitely the case with Mormonism that teaches that Eternal Life may only be had by and through the one and only true church on earth (the Mormon Church) and through exacting obedience to all of its laws, ordinances and commands.
Beware of anyone proclaiming such things. The Word of God is unequivocal:
Jesus answered, I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except THROUGH ME. John 14:6
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
[I]if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you WILL be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou SHALT be saved . . .” Acts 16-30-31
[K]now this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is " 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:10-12
False prophets, such as Joseph Smith and his successors, often come proclaiming that salvation may not be achieved unless one believes in and follows the prophet and all he speaks in the name of the Lord (even though they also may say that faith in Christ is also necessary). This, in and of itself, is false doctrine. Salvation is through faith in Christ alone. No true prophet would teach otherwise.
BY HIS FRUITS YOU SHALL KNOW HIM
You will often hear it said in the Mormon Church that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but he was also an imperfect man. But Christ, in warning of false prophets declared that “by their (the prophets') fruits ye shall know them.”(Matthew 7:15-16).
The Lord, in Jerimiah 23 also warned of prophets who were adulterers and who walk in lies and commit sin. God declared that He did not send such prophets and warned us not to follow them, because they speak vision of their own heart, they have spoken what He did not speak to them, they prophesy lies in my name . . . after the deceit of their own heart.” Jeremiah 23:9-40.
So, in addition to the “fruits” that are the prophecies that the alleged prophet utters, the “fruits” of the prophet himself (his character/what he does) are also important indicators.
What, then, of Joseph Smith the man? What were his fruits?
Just a few items (of the many) to consider (nothing speculative or unverifiable here):
-He was married to at least 33 wives (almost all in were married secrecy and without his wife’s knowledge or consent – contrary to the specific requirements of the polygamy “revelation” in D&C 132).
-Ten of Joseph's known wives were under the age of 20 yrs. (the youngest was 14 yrs. old). Some were promised guaranteed entrance in the kingdom of God for themselves and their families if they submitted and married him.
-Eleven of Joseph's wives were married to other men at the time he married them).
-Thirteen of Joseph's wives swore affidavits stating that they had sexual relations with him as his polygamous wives (sexual relations were indeed a part of the practice of polygamy, even in the case of Joseph Smith).
-Joseph lied about his polygamous/polyandrous marriages in public and even destroyed the Nauvoo Expositor printing press for publishing the truth about these relationships (for which he ended up in Carthage Jail - which also was apparently a major reason behind for his death).
-Joseph was convicted in New York as a “glass-looker” / “treasure seeker” for claiming to be able to see buried treasure in the ground by putting a stone into a hat (the same stone that he used to “translate” the Book of Mormon) and hiring himself out as such (he did this for many years – well after the “First Vision” allegedly took place) (no treasure was ever found).
-Joseph had a habit of changing the “revelations” he received and the scriptures which he claimed to have translated and God which he claimed that declared to be true and correct (extensive changes with substantive doctrinal effect - not just minor grammatical changes).
-Many of Joseph’s followers lost their fortunes and were rendered destitute in reliance on Joseph's assurances that if they invested with his bank and other schemes, they would prosper. (e.g., Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company, unpaid debts/bankruptcy, etc.)
And the list could go on with much more.
In sum, we should closely examine the “fruits” of the alleged prophet. Bad fruits = false prophet. (Again, don’t listen to the spin doctors – things are generally what they seem and should be taken at face value).
BEWARE OF THE PROPHET WHO TEACHES THAT GOD’S WORD IS NOT RELIABLE OR COMPLETE
False prophets will often come saying that God’s word (the Bible) is not reliable or is incomplete – therefore we need this prophet to proclaim the truth to us. But the Bible is THE standard of truth. God’s own word declares:
Jesus prayed to the Father: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17.
He also said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” Luke 21:33.
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1:23-25
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
Thus, according to the Word of God:
(1) His Word is truth;
(2) His Words shall not pass away and shall endure forever.
Joseph Smith, in contrast, taught that there was a great and complete apostasy of truth after Christ’s apostles died. The true gospel was perverted and God’s word was lost, changed and corrupted. As a result, we cannot rely on the bible – it is only partially true and contains only part of the full gospel. Thus, there needed to be restoration of the true gospel through Joseph Smith. He received authority, organized the one true church, restored all of the lost ordinances that are necessary for salvation, and received and recorded additional revelations that restored as scripture what was lost and corrupted during the universal apostasy.
So, from the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors, we are to believe that God’s Word is in error and it is incomplete. According the Joseph Smith, God, who declared that his Word endures forever and shall never pass away, did actually allow His words to pass away. According to Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church, Joseph’s words are truth. Christ’s words were corrupted and his real truths come only through Joseph Smith and the church that he established. This is treacherous ground. This is in direct conflict with what Christ Himself declared.
The gospel that Joseph Smith established is in stark contrast to the truths contained in the Bible. Just a few examples for illustration purposes:
1) Mormonism teaches that God was not always God – God was once a man who lived on an earth. God was tested and tried by His Father (another God that preceded Him). God proved himself worthy and progressed to the point where He became a God and was able to create His own world with His own children to populate it (us).
2) Mormonism teaches that we can become Gods and Godesses in the same way that God, our father did (by finding the one true church and becoming a member of it, receiving the saving ordinances that only the Mormon Church has authority and knowledge to perform, proving ourselves worthy by faithfully keeping all of the teachings and commandments of the Mormon Church and its prophets, by being married in a Mormon Temple, etc.).
3) Mormonism teaches that Jesus Christ is our brother and that we all lived in a pre-existent state with our Heavenly Father (God the Father) in His Kingdom. There we had progressed as far as we could as spirits. We needed to come to earth to get a body like God’s (Mormon’s teach God has – a body of flesh and bone), to be tested and tried and to prove ourselves worthy to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence. Jesus and Lucifer (Satan) both presented different plans in the pre-existence to enable us to come to earth and to return to live with our Heavenly Father and to become like Him. Jesus presented a better plan which God chose. Satan became angry and rebelled, because God rejected his plan. Because Jesus’s plan was chosen, He became our Saviour and proved Himself worthy of Godhood by perfectly performing his mission on earth as our example and our savior.
4) Mormonism teaches that, in addition to believing in Christ, we must believe in Joseph Smith and each of the successor Mormon Prophets in order to receive eternal life and to return to God’s Kingdom.
5) Mormonism teaches that there are 3 Kingdoms of Heaven and that each is a reward that we will inherit based on how faithful we have proven ourselves. Only Mormons who receive all of the necessary ordinances [LDS baptism, confirmation, receiving the priesthoods (males – formerly only white males), LDS temple endowment, and LDS temple marriage] and who faithfully follow all of the Mormon Church’s teachings and commandments will reach the Celestial Kingdom. Only those who are married in the temple will reach the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom and become Gods and Goddesses and have the opportunity to create our own worlds to populate with our own children. Polygamy will be practiced in the Celestial Kingdom – God himself has a wife and is a polygamist (although Mormons will try to deny that God is a polygamist in public – but it is indeed believed by Mormons at large and has been taught by Mormon prophets past).
6) Mormonism teaches that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life only through his one and only true church on earth. If you don’t believe in and faithfully live as a Mormon Church member, you don’t really believe in or accept Jesus Christ and His gospel and you can’t come into God’s Kingdom.
And the list could go on with much more. Let this suffice to make the point.
Are we to believe the Word of God or are we to believe the words of a self-proclaimed a prophet that fails every test of prophet? When we know the Word of God, the answer is simple.
BEWARE OF PROPHETS THAT TEACH THAT WE CAN KNOW THE TRUTH BY OUR FEELINGS
Joseph Smith taught – and the Mormon Church continues to teach that that only way that we can truly know if something is true or not is to pray about and receive an inner witness of the truth through the testimony of the Holy Ghost. This is what is known as receiving a “testimony” in Mormon speak. This testimony from the Holy Ghost is a based on a feeling in our hearts. It is described in Mormon scripture as a burning in the bosom – a warm and “good” feeling in your heart.
Thus, when the Mormon missionaries teach someone about the Mormon Church, they are constantly admonishing the listener to listen to their feelings and asking over and over: “How does it feel in your heart right now? Does it feel good?” As soon as the person says that it feels good, the missionaries will assure the prospect that this good feeling is the Holy Ghost bearing witness to them of the truthfulness of their message (Note that the Mormon Missionary lessons contain only very basic information about Mormon beliefs and they carefully avoid anything that might be difficult to accept or that would scare the ordinary person away. “Milk before meat” is the Mormon missionary mantra - most Mormon missionaries themselves really know very little about the “meat” of the Mormon gospel themselves). Thus, when a person becomes a member of the Mormon Church, they most often know very little about it. They especially know little or nothing about the deeper doctrines that would be hard to swallow. They are slowly introduced to these ideas after becoming a member and then are already committed to and invested in it.).
Mormons admonish everyone to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to receive a spiritual witness of its truthfulness. Mormons often explain their reasoning something like this: “If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. If Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, then the church that he established is God’s only true church on the face of the earth. God’s true church is lead by a prophet today and he guides by revelation direct from God Himself. If the Mormon Church is the one true church that is lead by a living prophet, wouldn’t you want to become a member of it so that you too can return to live with God.”
According to the Mormon Church, once you have received this inner testimony of the truthfulness of the Mormon Church, none of the details really matter. Mormons are taught that it is wrong to deny the testimony of the Holy Ghost and doing so has the most dire and eternal consequences. Thus, the Mormon church member who is faced with facts about his/her church or its founding prophet that would otherwise require an ordinary person to say that there is no way the Mormon Church could be true or that the Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, they are able to ignore these negative facts and say “I know that the church is true. That fact may look bad from the outside but I know that there is a reasonable explanation for it. We may never know the answers in this life. But we must be patient and rely on our testimony of the truth.”
This may sound crazy to an outsider, but, to a Mormon this “testimony” is to be held dear, not to be questioned and is valued above all else on earth. It is a badge of honor to have a testimony that is unshakable. Those who know facts that would rock most people’s faith and are still able to maintain the faith and testimony of the Mormon Church are highly esteemed in the church. In fact the Mormon Church will use that to help keep the members in line saying essentially: “There are many people in the church that are far smarter than you or I and they remain in the church and still believe. Therefore, it would be dumb for you get blown away and leave the church just because of some facts that you’re really not capable of understanding in the real context of things. Wait and stay faithful and someday you will understand. Don’t let silly doubts keep you from achieving the Celestial Kingdom.”
Unlike God’s biblical proclamation that we are to look to Jesus as the sole source of life and salvation, believe in Him and be saved, Mormonism teaches that our primary purpose in this life is to gain a Testimony of the Mormon Church and to live perfectly faithful to its teachings and receive all of its saving ordinances. To the Mormons, once you have a Testimony you “know” the truth of all things. According to Mormonism it is not really an issue of faith in Christ – our life’s purpose is about “knowing” that the Mormon Church is true. That testimony (“knowing”) and perfect faithfulness to the Church is what will bring us back into God’s presence, according to Mormonism.
Understanding the Mormon Testimony is key to understanding why Mormons are able to blindly follow the Prophet (whether the current LDS prophet, Joseph Smith or any Mormon Church prophet of times past). Joseph Smith taught, and Mormons truly believe, that God would not let the prophet lead the church astray (he also taught that we are blessed if we follow the prophet, even if what he tells us to do is wrong – we are blessed for our obedience).
So, when a Mormon learns, for example, for the first time that Joseph Smith secretly had at least 33 wives (most Mormons don’t know this, even after years of membership in the church), that 10 of those wives were under the age of 20 (the youngest was 14 years old) and that 11 of his wives were married to other men at the time he married them, because of their Testimony, they are able to shrug it off and say: “I don’t know why, but I’m sure that the Lord had a good reason for Joseph to have all those wives. In any case, I know without a shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. The details don’t matter.”
With this kind of blindness, a prophet’s predictions can fail any number of times and the believer’s faith will not be shaken. Thus it is with Joseph Smith’s followers. Moreover, most Mormon Church members don’t even know that Joseph Smith made any false prophesies (there is actually a long list of them) because they are not taught about them and these facts are guarded and kept from the Mormon church members by the church leadership. If these facts are discovered, they are most often disregarded average church member anyway.
Amazing, but true.
In order to avoid deception of the false prophets and apostles that will come in the last days, we must ground ourselves in a real working knowledge of the word of God. We must learn the true tests of a prophet and apply them to any who come claiming to be prophets.
With Harold Camping, it was not even necessary to wait and see if his prediction came true – his prediction was contrary to the Word of God. Like Camping's predictions, we can be confident that Mormonism's end times prophesies that were made by Joseph Smith and his successors will also not come to pass.
The truth shall set you free.
For more information on Mormon Beliefs and how it compares and contrasts with Biblical truths, see: www.truthshallsetufree.com
Read more articles by Rob Johnson or search for articles on the same topic or others.
Thanks so much for your comments and insights. I wouldn't normally comment on one of my own articles, but you bring up some important points that are important to take note of. First, no one is immune from being deceived - even those who are well grounded in the Word. False prophets and even well-meaning people and institutions can make amazingly "logical", sincere and even biblical sounding arguments using the bible. But notwithstanding, the Word is and must be our standard. Jesus declared that His Words would not pass away, those claim that they did pass away or that they were corrupted, must necessarily be viewed as suspect and deviating from the truth. Satan, to be effective, has to find ways to get us away from God's Word (usually he does so ever so subtly - while claiming to cling to and teach it, he can lead us away from it and astray). As in Mormonism and with most false prophets, insistent faith in and looking to the prophet is critical. The prophet increases in importance (as God's own self-declared mouthpiece) and the prophet and his institution come more and more in between the individual and God. When faced with that, we must remember that Christ declared that He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Anyone else claiming that salvation can't be had without adherence to his/her commands or membership in a church, is teaching false doctrine. But Christ warned that even the elect would be vulnerable to the enticings of false prophets. I too hope that no Christian ever stands in judgment of anyone who has been mislead (you were mislead only for a short period of time, I was mislead for nearly a lifetime - 39 years). We should be mindful that most who become deceived are most often very sincere and truly want to follow God and do His will (sometimes even the deceiver is sincere and is unwittingly leading us astray). Moreover, those who become deceived are not stupid and shouldn't be looked down upon nor should they feel inferior. As Christians, we should be filled with love and compassion for the lost sheep and we should be praying for and reaching out to them in love and not in condemnation. We also have to respect the individual's right to do the wrong thing. Even when they do, we should love and pray for them and look forward to their return to Christ's fold. Condemnation will help no one. But that doesn't mean we should not teach the truth and call out what is false and counterfeit doctrine. Christ Himself did. May God bless you and keep you in His care.
This is a wonderful article, and full of truth though I do have to admit that it hurt a little when you mentioned that people who fall for these deceivers are those who are not grounded in the word of God (but I know sometimes truth hurts). About a year ago, I belonged to a little known cult under a false prophet named ‘Timothy’ (real name Speed) Rathbun. I had faithfully read my bible at 5am every day before I joined for the 5 years after I was born again. I was a devout Christian (and still am), but I have recently realized that by allowing me to go through that God has magnified for me the weaknesses in my faith and I believe that he will work to strengthen those areas. I found out that I had unknowingly been harboring a distorted view of God where I saw the need to constantly strive to do better in order to maintain his favour. The distorted view may have come from past experiences in my childhood which were so deeply ingrained that I didn’t really see them at all. I wish I didn’t but I can understand how people can fall for the lies, it’s almost like the scripture and lies fit with the distorted view we have and so it “makes sense”. After being in the group a while of course I just believed everything the prophet told us, I didn’t really question it and if I did I felt horrible as if I had doubted God himself. We were also taught that the bible was misinterpreted and so God was setting things straight through this prophet. It is terrible that this can happen to people, but I would have told you I was a very faith filled Christian before I fell for this and I loved walking with and getting to know God. I think a lot of us don’t really know we have those kind of distorted views and how they can really taint our thinking when we read scripture, and when someone preys on that it makes the gap even wider. I hope that many people read this article (I kind of wish I had beforehand), but I really hope people don’t judge those in these groups because though they maybe should have been more grounded in the word, it is easier to stand on the outside and say ‘it wouldn’t be me standing there’ than to actually be put in that position. Satan can be a very crafty deceiver; I truly hope we will all pray for those who are caught in the deception.
Bob, thank you immensely for this good work which makes available to us painstaking truth and undeniable revelations.
It really baffles me how people can ignore the truth and follow after lies. Our prayer is that God will deliver all who have been caught in the webs of false doctrines and beliefs. JESUS remains the truth and the life!
keep on spreading the truth.
God bless you.