Now, Religion in the News: a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media. This week’s item is from DesertNews.com, November 16th, 2004, with a headline: “Seminary President Apologizes to Mormons—Taking the pulpit in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for an evening of friendship to speak of the event’s historic nature, Fuller Theological Seminary President, Richard Mouw addressed a capacity crowd of several thousand, offering a stunningly candid apology to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and noting that ‘…friendship has not come easily between our communities.’
“He dubbed the evening ‘historic’ and apologized that evangelicals have often misrepresented the faith and beliefs of the Latter Day Saints. ‘Let me state it clearly. We evangelicals have sinned against you,’ he said, adding, ‘Both camps have tended to marginalize and simplify the others’ beliefs.’
“Historical animosity dating back to the founding of the LDS church by Joseph Smith in 1830 has heightened in recent years between the two groups, particularly in the 1990s when several high profile evangelical leaders asserted that Mormons are not Christians.
“Mouw noted the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s birthday next December and several scholarly events planned to celebrate during the coming year. ‘I hope many in the evangelical community will take part in those events,’ he said.”
Tom: Dave, a while back…maybe a year or two ago, or years ago…whatever…you used to get all over my case for saying…you know, when I would come up with these news alerts, like “Pastor Dresses Up as Elvis,” and, you know, to win converts and all of that. And you would say, “Where are you getting these things?” and then you’d just be stunned.
Dave, what’s more stunning than this? What is more shocking than this? Richard Mouw…for a little background here, Dave. He’s one of the original signers of Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
Tom: So, ecumenism is not foreign to him.
Tom: Secondly, he is the president. Fuller Theological Seminary President, Richard Mouw. Now, we know Fuller and all the problems that are there—even their missions, which used to be a wonderful department within the seminary. But they are oriented toward church growth—toward ecumenism to the max. Now, how shocking is this, Dave?
Dave: Well, Tom, (chuckling)…
Tom: Are we going to help celebrate Joseph Smith’s birthday next December? We’re going to—“some have asserted that Mormons are not Christians?” Wow!
Dave: Well, Mormons are not Christians. They believe in the wrong God. Their god was once a man—you know the famous saying in Mormonism: “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may be come.” Their god not only was a man, but there’s another god over him, and a god over that god, and there are literally trillions of these out there, because Joseph Smith said, “This has been going on forever.” Matter and intelligence are eternal. Their god fathered both Lucifer and Jesus.
Now, Lucifer is not a son of God. I mean, he wasn’t fathered by Him sexually, as Mormonism teaches. Jesus and Lucifer are half-brothers. Jesus was not God from eternity past. He came to this earth when Father God, from a planet near a giant star named Kolob, came to this earth with His physical body, and had sex with Mary. That brought forth the body that Jesus inhabited.
This is why Mormons have large families, because you’ve got all these pre-existent souls up there, fathered by a father god and mother—quite a few mother gods, because this god is a polygamist, and he came to this earth in order to become a god; to prove himself and test himself on this earth, just as the Mormons, today, are hoping—the males are hoping to become gods. The women can only become goddesses looking forward to eternal pregnancy. So, if a million Mormons, through their temple rituals and so forth, from this planet became gods—achieved godhood—then you’ve got one million more gods, a million more earths out there. It’s one eternal round. Joseph Smith said, “There’s going to be another Jesus, another Lucifer, another fall, another cross, and another Adam and Eve,” and so forth.
This is as far from Christianity as you can possibly get and….
Tom: Well, this is polytheism, right, Dave?
Dave: Yes, but what they call eternal life…
Dave: They’ll say, “Oh yes, of course the Bible offers eternal life.” Well, that’s exaltation to godhood. Well, this is the very lie of the serpent. And in fact, Brigham Young, speaking from this very place in Salt Lake City where Richard Mouw is speaking, he said, “The devil told the truth. I don’t blame Mother Eve for eating the forbidden fruit, that’s how we become gods.” And this is the goal and ambition of every Mormon male, except many of them realize their not going to make, and so they kind of fall by the wayside.
Now, Tom, as to what evangelicals have said about Mormons for which we need to apologize: I’ve written a book with Ed Decker, The God Makers. You and I have both been involved in the movie The God Makers.
I don’t remember whether you were there, but we premiered that film in a theater in downtown Salt Lake City and specifically invited the Mormon elders—the Mormon leaders—to come and tell us if there was anything that was inaccurate in that film. I think there were a few guys in three-piece suits—they looked like lawyers—who showed up, but none of them Mormon elders. And we haven’t had a word from them telling us what was wrong.
Tom: One did write a book or two…
Tom: …of refutation, supposedly.
Dave: Yeah, but not by the elders. Not officially by the church, but these are some…
Dave: Apologists, right.
Tom: For Mormonism.
Dave: And they’ve got it all wrong. I mean, they have not refuted anything that we’ve said in the book, as to its accuracy, the why’s of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith the liar, the cheat, the fraud, and the womanizer.
Tom: This is all historical record, Dave.
Tom: It’s not something that some evangelicals made up.
Tom: This has been researched out.
Dave: I would like Richard Mouw to tell me, since I’ve been fairly prominent in times past in critiquing Mormonism, I would really appreciate it if Richard Mouw would tell me exactly what errors I made. What did I say about Mormonism for which I ought to apologize? I would like to know what I’ve said that wasn’t true. What should evangelicals—not only I, but many others. Walter Martin said a lot of things about Mormons.
Dave: And many other people have pointed out the errors.
Tom: The Caners and so on.
Dave: Yeah. What is it that evangelicals have said for which we should apologize to Mormons? I would be very interested in knowing that.
Tom: Dave, next week we’re going to go over Richard Mouw’s response. He’s taken a lot of heat; a lot of flak for this. And he does mention you, by the way, and he does mention Walter Martin, but I think next week you can show up to defend yourself.