In 1857 America for the most part embraced a Judeo-Christian consensus on moral issues. Regarding marriage, the nation was predominantly monogamous. So it is no wonder that the Mormon practice of polygamy, they called it plural marriage, was frowned upon by the rest of the country.
The issue became a political one when pressure was brought to bear on the territory of Utah and its territorial governor Brigham Young to forsake its polygamous practices. Congress enacted the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act and Abraham Lincoln signed it into law on July 8, 1862 effectively outlawing multiple wives. Utah resisted complying with the law and was repeatedly denied statehood because of its refusal. This refusal also threatened the continued existence of the Mormon Church because its assets and properties were subject to confiscation under federal law.
Then during the night of September 23, 1890, Mormon Church president and Prophet Wilford Woodruff had a revelatory experience in which he claims he struggled with the Lord, God showed him what the church and Utah needed to do. He said Mormons should comply with federal law and discontinue the practice of polygamy. It became known as the 1890 Manifesto. This “revelation” paved the way to statehood with Utah becoming the 45th state admitted to the Union on January 4, 1896.
The history of the Mormon Church and its continued beliefs and practices place it far outside the teachings of orthodox Christianity, despite Mormon claims to the contrary.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary delivered a message entitled A Clear and Present Danger: Religious Liberty, Marriage, and the Family in the Late Modern Age at the academic and religious center of Mormonism, Brigham Young University. The question in my mind is what did Dr. Mohler expect to gain by addressing the seat of Mormon academia? Mormonism is not a Christian sect, but is a cult in direct doctrinal opposition to traditional Christianity.
In his address Mohler confirms these doctrinal differences. Dr. Mohler stated, “I am not here because I believe we are going to heaven together. I do not believe that.” He follows that remark with a clear statement of conviction “in Christ and in his substitutionary atonement for salvation.” This is a statement in doctrinal conflict with Mormon teaching. Mohler follows by saying, “I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together.”
That last statement reveals the intent of Mohler’s message. We may not believe the same things doctrinally, but we hold common beliefs politically. We share common ground on religious freedom, marriage, and the family. Things that could land us in jail together if our respective convictions hold and the culture continues in its headlong flight from God. His words were meant to enlist the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as an ally in the battle for religious liberty.
The apostle Paul warns us against making such alliances. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-15. Here’s why.
Mormons may claim to believe in conservative family values, but when the Boy Scouts of America opened its membership to homosexuals Southern Baptist churches broke ties with the youth organization, Mormons did not. When Mitt Romney, a Mormon, ran for the Presidency of the United States against Barack Obama, although he said he was for traditional marriage between one man and one woman, he said he saw no reason why homosexuals could not adopt children.
While Mormonism is currently opposed to the practice of homosexuality, it also accepts those who claim to be gay and lesbian into church membership as long as they remain celibate. There are those within the Mormon Church that hold “such susceptibilities are inborn or acquired without personal choice” and “may have some relationship to inheritance.”
“Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble” Proverbs 25:19. I believe any thought that Mormons can be trusted as allies in the cultural battle ahead is a false hope, and long before Dr. Mohler shares a jail cell with current Mormon President Thomas S. Monson there will be a new “revelation.”