ICARE Ministries FAQs
1. Is ICARE just another "anti-Mormon" group?
ICARE is not against, or "anti" any Mormons. ICARE's mission is to educate Christians, and others, about the teachings and practices of the religion of Mormonism - from a biblical, historical, evangelical, Protestant/Reformation point of view. ICARE's desire is also that people in Mormonism will come to a genuine, saving faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible. We do not attack any Mormon personally, but examine ideas, teachings, doctrines of Mormonism in light of biblical truth. Our desire regarding Mormons, and all unbelievers, is found in 2 Timothy 2:25-26.
2. Has the LDS (Mormon) church removed its official condemnation of all Christian churches, teachings, and leaders?
No, the wholesale condemnation of Christianity is still found in official LDS "scripture." The Pearl of Great Price, page 48, in the section titled Joseph Smith 2, states about Christianity: "they were all wrong...all their creeds were an abomination... those professors were all corrupt."
3. What is the LDS church's position about the central doctrine of Evangelical Christianity, salvation by grace alone?
The official LDS book, Gospel Principles (1997), printed by the LDS church, in its "index to lesson topics" has NO LISTING for "grace." Grace appears to have no importance in Mormonism. Gospel Principles, quotes from and refers to the book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, authored by beloved LDS President Spencer W. Kimball. President Kimball wrote on page 206: "One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation." This indicates that Mormonism is strongly opposed to grace.
4. What, then, is the LDS doctrine of salvation, if grace is of little or no importance?
The official LDS church-printed book of doctrine, Gospel Principles (1997), contains no entry for "salvation" in its topical index. But, the book has five chapters in a unit titled "Family Salvation." Page 231 states that our families will be "given to us forever" but "only if we are faithful."
So, what is required for Mormons to be deemed "faithful" so they can can have "eternal families?" Some requirements, or commandments, that must be kept to earn Family Salvation are listed on pages 231-234: gladly welcome each child into the family and enjoy, play with, and teach them; teach one's children about Heavenly Father; show one's children by example to keep the commandments; teach one's children to pray and obey the commandments; husbands and wives are to be thoughtful and kind to each other and "never say or do anything to hurt each other's feelings" and to "do everything possible to make each other happy;" teach one's children to love one another; help each other feel confident with encouragement and praise; show one's children that one is interested and express love and concern; children are to love their parents and be obedient to bring honor to them.
Although that is quite a list, more requirements are found in a numbered list on page 234: 1) Have family prayer every night and morning. 2) Teach children the [LDS] gospel meeting at least once a week. 3) Do work projects, outings, and decision making as a family. 4) Husbands and wives are to kneel each night in prayer. 5) Be kind, patient, long-suffering, and charitable. 6) Attend [LDS] church meetings regularly. 7) Follow the teachings in LDS scripture to have a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, order, and of God.
Yet more requirements for parents are on pages 236-239: treat children with love and respect, being firm but kind; not give up or be discourged when children make wrong choices, but continue to teach, express love, be good examples and to fast and pray for them; provide happy experiences for their children; fathers are to spend time with each child and teach them correct principles, talk about their problems and concerns, counsel them lovingly,and provide for the children's physical needs. Mothers are to spend time with each child and teach them the [LDS] gospel, play and work with the children, and help her children make the home a pleasant place.
Even LDS children are given rules, or commandments, to perform as part of "Family Salvation." Page 239 states that the children are to share with the parents the responsibilities of building a happy home and are to obey the commandments and cooperate with other family members, honor their parents, and learn to work and share responsibilities in the home and yard.
Chapter 28 lists "Eternal Marriage" in an LDS temple as part of being faithful enough to receive "Family Salvation." Here, "Family Salvation" is named as essential for "Exaltation." Eternal Marriage is described as a law that one must live by in order to live in the "highest degree of the celestial kingdom," to "be exalted as God," and to have "spirit children."
Chapter 39 teaches that "The Law of Chastity" must be kept as part of the "Family Salvation, which is here named "exaltation" in the "highest degree" of heaven, and becoming "like God" to have spirit children." The Law of Chastity is described here as having sexual relations only with one's spouse and not think imoral or improper thoughts. LDS church members may be disfellowsipped or excommunicated for breaking this law. If one breaks this Law, he/she must "totally repent."
Chapter 40 in the unit on "Family Salvation" includes that one is to work in the LDS temple and do genealogy work as part of "Family Salvation."
This statment on page 255 perhaps sums up the Mormonism's "salvation" and how it is earned: "The atonement of Jesus Christ assures each of us that we will be resurrected and live forever. But if we are to live forever with our families in Heavenly Father's presence, we must do all that the Savior commands us to do."
Thus, official LDS teaching is that "salvation" is actually "family salvation" which is earned by doing "all that the Savior commands" so that one is awarded the highest level of heaven, where one becomes like God and has spirit children. The responsibility for being faithful and complying with the long list of commandments is on the individual. There is nothing that indicates that God's grace (a willing giving of what one does not earn or deserve) has any role in earning Mormonism's "family salvation." LDS "salvation" is all about doing works to become worthy to have eternal families.
5. Point four above describes Mormonism’s “Family Salvation” where one has become like God in the highest level of heaven and also eternal parents of spirit children, which status was earned by complying with many commandments. What then is the purpose of Jesus Christ’s atonement in Mormonism?
Mormonism uses the term "atonement" and defines it in Gospel Principles (p.73) as: “The Savior atoned for our sins by suffering in Gethsemane and by giving his life on the cross.” Page 74 states, “Because of his atonement, everyone on this earth will be resurrected…both young and old, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous.” We learn here that Mormonism’s atonement provides physical resurrection.
However, what does Mormonism’s atonement accomplish as to restoring one’s spiritual relationship to God? This statement on page 74 speaks to the huge limits of Mormonism’s atonement: “The Savior’s atonement makes it possible for us to overcome spiritual death.” And, it is up to Mormons to do the overcoming. In Mormonism, while Christ's atonement gives resurrection to all, it only makes it possible to overcome spiritual death (“separation from God” p. 71). Thus, Mormonism’s "atonement" does not actually overcome spiritual death, it only makes it possible, and the work of overcoming is the Mormon's work.
The atonement, in Mormonism, freely provides physical resurrection to everyone, with no acknowledgment, faith, effort, or works required. But to be reconciled to God, to overcome spiritual separation or death, Mormonism’s atonement requires much personal effort.
Mormonism teaches, “only those who accept the Atonement will be saved from spiritual death” (Gospel Principles, p. 75). What, according to Mormonism, is entailed in accepting the atonement? There are five requirements, which are all human efforts. The first requirement is “placing our faith in him (Christ).” It is “through this faith” that we “repent of our sins, are baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and obey the commandments.”
Therefore, in Mormonism, Jesus’ atonement only has the ability or limited power to overcome physical death and to provide free physical resurrection. It does not have the power or ability to overcome spiritual death - spiritual separation from God - nor can it unify people’s souls with God. Mormons must work hard to overcome spiritual death and unifying thenselves with God. It is no wonder then that there are so many commandments that must be kept to earn Mormonism’s “Family Salvation."
6. In Mormonism, one accepts Jesus Christ’s atonement by faith. What, according to Mormonism, constitutes faith in Jesus Christ?
Chapter 18, “Faith in Jesus Christ,” in Gospel Principles, the official LDS book of doctrine, provides the answer. The founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, taught, “faith is a principle of power that motivates our day-to-day activities” (p. 117). Chapter 18 further explains, “faith is a strong belief of truth within our souls that motivates us to do good.” We see here how faith, in Mormonism, is a motivator to do the many works required for “salvation.”
This theme of works as faith continues: “To have faith in Jesus Christ means to have such trust in him that we obey whatever he commands. There is no faith where there is no obedience… men must have perfect faith in …[Jesus Christ], or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. Through faith in the Savior and through repentance, we make his atonement fully effective in our lives” (p. 118). We see here that his faith entails perfect obedience and repentance. Appropriate questions are: Just what is perfect faith? And, if a Mormon has imperfect faith, will he receive an imperfect salvation? In Mormonism, faith somehow includes works. LDS prophet Spencer Kimball taught, “Faith involves doing all we can to bring about the things we hope and pray for” (p. 118). An appropriate question is: Just what is “doing all we can do”? Page 119 states, “If we want to increase our faith in Jesus Christ, we must work at it.” If faith involves works (“doing all we can do”), is brand new faith that has not yet produced works a legitimate faith?
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DOCTRINES of the FAITH
Bruce F. Levi was raised in Mormonism in Idaho’s Treasure Valley, was a Mormon Missionary in Germany and graduated from Brigham Young University.
understand people in oppressive religions
and reaching those people with The Gospel.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. – Titus 3:5