The Walls of Denominationalism

By Daniel Christopher Kinder

(Dan Kinder is a new brother in Christ, a recent convert from Mormonism. This is Dan’s first experience in teach- ing the gospel. He hopes to continue to grow in Christ and be a teacher of the Word. This lesson was his sermon delivered at the Pruett and Lobit St. church in Baytown, Texas. — Larry Hafley)

Good evening. I would like to welcome everyone here tonight and especially those of you that are visiting. Your attendance here tonight makes a statement that you are more interested in godly things than worldly things. I would like to tell you that I am very thankful for the opportunity to share some things with you about the word of God. As some of you know I have purchased a home here in Bay- town. I have been going through the process of repairing and remodeling it. As a child, I grew up in the Mormon Church, and in becoming a Christian, I went through a similar process of remodeling my spiritual life. Tonight, I would like to compare the process of remodeling my house to the process of remodeling my spiritual life.

As I moved into my house, I found that it needed some cleaning since it was nearly 30 years old. The first thing I did was look around the house to see what things would be needed to clean it up. After looking my house over, I decided to start in the bathroom of the master bedroom. I began scrubbing off the mildew in the shower, when a ceramic tile fell to the floor. I bent down to pick it up and found that the entire wall, down to the 2 x 4s was rotten and needed to be replaced. Further exploration revealed that the bathroom floor was also in bad shape, the sink had a hole rusted right through it, and there was a leak in the plumbing behind the toilet.

Finally, I decided I was going to have to replace every- thing in the bathroom to utilize it. Because of the condition of the bathroom, I decided to search, more thoroughly, the entire house. Unfortunately, I found that the rest of my house was in similar shape. Taking all this into consideration, I set out to make these things right.

I tore apart boards. I ripped out tile. I tore out plumbing. I leveled entire walls. I pulled up carpet. I yanked out electrical wires and appliances. Then, I cleaned up this big pile of rubble that I had created. I scooped it all up and put it in bags and boxes to dispose of it. I scraped and swept and cleaned all the walls and floors to prepare to rebuild and reconstruct the rooms. After preparing, I took time to plan out how I was going to rebuild the rooms. I then went and gathered all the supplies and tools I would need to rebuild the rooms. Finally, with hard work and a lot of time, I reconstructed the rooms to look like new.

This entire process took diligent work and lots of time but finally the house became like new. It is this process of renewing my house that I would like to compare to the process that I and many others may go through in tearing down the walls of denominationalism and rebuilding their faith in God’s will and their confidence in God’s word.

The process I went through in becoming a Christian began when a close friend asked me about the Mormons and polygamy. I briefly talked about my belief and the church’s view of polygamy and pointed out that Mormons do not practice polygamy anymore. I like to compare this point in time to when I looked at my house and saw that it needed some work, but did not look close enough to see that deep down it was rotten and corrupted. My friend was not satisfied with my reply and she encouraged me to study more about polygamy and other doctrines, which she claimed were not in the Bible. At that time I did not see this as error in the doctrines of the Mormon Church, I had only been made aware of the absence of such a doctrine in the Bible.

So I began to look deeper into doctrines of the Mormon Church. This is similar to when I found problems in the bathroom and felt it was necessary to look at the house closer for other problems. I began looking at the Mormon teaching by going to my parents to find out more about Mormon practices that I was not familiar with and get answers to questions that were not clear to me. The only answers my parents could give did not come from the Bible. Those answers instead were from a source that the Mormons claim is modern day revelation. Here are two examples of this:

My Question: Why are elders in the Mormon Church not required to follow qualifications that are pointed out in the Bible in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 5-9?

Their Answer: The words of the Bible are a reflection of the Bible times. The word “elder” does not mean the same thing today as it did back then. The prophet tells us that the only requirements of an elder are that he must be of the accountable age and have the Aaronic priesthood.

My Question: We read In Matthew 16:18 where Jesus says, “. . .on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Why do Mormons believe that Christ’s church as he founded it was lost?

Their Answer: When the apostles died and did not appoint new apostles and did not pass on the authority and power of God that they possessed, the priesthood and the church were lost here on earth.

My Reply: What leads you to the conclusion that the church was lost?

Their Reply: Joseph Smith’s vision and his account of the restoration are more than enough proof that the church was lost. If it was restored, it had to have been lost. Joseph Smith, who was only fourteen years old at that time, and his witnesses could not have made this whole thing up.

Unsatisfied with the answers I was given, I was directed to a man who has taught the principles and teachings of the Book of Mormon for almost 20 years. When I met with the teacher, he had similar replies and almost exactly the same attitude about modern day revelation. His attitude was that the words from the modern day prophet overrule any words from the prophets of the past and even the words of the Bible. They sometimes go so far as to completely deny the black and white print of the Bible claiming that it was “translated incorrectly.” The attitude taken by both my parents and the teacher convinced me to study more and learn more about the beliefs and doctrines that I had accepted by being baptized into the Mormon Church. Additionally I was challenged to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover and pray diligently to God to let me know that the Book of Mormon was true. So I took the challenge. Just like when I searched deeper in my house and found rotted boards, as I dug deeper into the Mormon religion, the doctrines seemed to get more and more corrupt and farther from the truth. So as I read and prayed, I compiled a list of discrepancies between the doctrines of the Mormon Church and the doctrines of the Bible. As I was finishing the completion of the Book of Mormon, I again met with this teacher to go over my list of discrepancies. As we went over each question, he twisted and turned the words of the Bible to compliment the Book of Mormon and the doctrines of the Mormon Church. An illustration of this is in Ezekiel 37 starting in verse 15 where it says:

Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: “For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.” Then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel, his companions.” Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.

In these verses, the Mormons believe that the sticks are really scrolls on which the records of the people were written. They further state that a scroll would surely have rotted away because of the tough climate of the American continent, where the golden plates were supposedly stored. The Mormons claim that this stick of Ephraim, referred to in Ezekiel 37, needed to be kept on golden plates instead of a scroll to preserve it. It is these golden plates that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon faith, supposedly found with the help of an angel. Joseph Smith further claimed that he was divinely inspired in translating the golden plates into what is now called the Book of Mormon. So we can see that Mormons must manipulate of the words of the Bible to compliment the Book of Mormon. Besides that, the word translated into “stick” in these verses means post or tree, but that’s another lesson all its own. Continuing on, we went down the list of differences and finally came to the conclusion that every question I had, he had an answer that in some way led to modern day revelation. Reaching this conclusion, I realized that no matter what I brought up, he had been taught with an answer that would compliment the teachings of the Mormon Church even if it meant denying the word of God. The fact of the matter is that the Bible either speaks of modern day revelation or it does not. And as we look in the Bible we are assured that modern day revelation is NOT a principle read about. One such assurance is in Jude 3, where it says:

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.

As in these verses and elsewhere, the Bible does not speak of prophets after Christ’s coming that need to reveal God’s will to us. God has given us his will in the words of the Bible. As we concluded our discussion, I decided to bring up one more topic that I felt was taught crystal clear in the Bible and saw no way the teacher could squirm his way out. The subject was adultery. I asked how the Mormon Church could condone any sin but specifically the sin of adultery. He then tried to express that the church did not agree with adultery and did not teach that adultery is acceptable. I mentioned that I knew of several couples at the Mormon Church who had been divorced and remarried and that the cause of their divorce was not fornication, which is the only reason God gives to justify divorce. He then replied by saying, “We believe that God does not expect us to live that way.”

As this ended our study, I left in unbelief but determined to make things right in my life. I spent the next month or so reading the Bible and studying it. As I read more, my confidence in the Bible grew stronger little by little. This reminds me of when I rebuilt the rooms in my house. It took lots of time and effort, but eventually the rooms turned out just right. The studying, pondering, and praying led to a time when everything seemed to come together. It became an undeniable fact that the Mormon teachings did not agree with the principles of the Bible. Realizing this, it became extremely difficult for me as I had to clean out all the false doctrines and principles that the Mormon Church had put into my head. I was even angry for a time because I felt like everyone I knew had been lying to me my whole life or at least deceiving me. These feeling subsided though as I found the loving, caring, comforting truth in the word of God and in the congregation here. Finally, I realized that my soul was in danger because I had not yet been baptized into the Lord’s body. The danger I saw led me to come forth believing, repenting, confessing, and being baptized into the one body of God’s people.

In summary, it took a long process of tearing down walls of belief in a faith that originated from the mind of men. It took work and commitment to read, study, and see the errors in the church I had seen my whole life. It took time and effort to clean up the mess of errors and rebuild correct principles from the truth of God’s word.

Tonight I would like you to examine your life. Take the time to be sure that your life is right with God and you seek his will. If you are not a Christian, do you know how to become a Christian? Listen very carefully to the words of the Bible as the eternal destination of your soul depends on it. Acts 2:37-38 reads:

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Here we see that the people listening to the apostles heard the will of God. They then understood his will and because of that they saw the need to be right with God. They then asked what they should do to be right with God. Following, as we read in Acts 2:41 those who gladly received his word were baptized and were added to the Lord’s body. Tonight you have heard what you need to do to be saved. If you need to respond to the gospel call or if you have sinned or fallen away from the faith, we invite you to come forth while we stand and sing.