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Mormonism Has Uncanny Pauline View of the Law

 

The Mormon view of the Law is no different than Paulinism. It relies heavily upon quotations of Paul which reappear in substance in what the so-called "Prophet" Joseph Smith produced as the Mormon Bible.

Bringham Young University -- a Mormon University -- summarizes Mormonism's view of the Law of Moses.  You will hear very modern dispensational doctrine, i.e., doctrine post-dating Agricola's dispensationalism in the 1500s, and then repeated in the 1800s -- at the very time the Mormon Bible was supposedly discovered by means of magic glasses to read tablets in hieroglyphics. The Mormon Bible and doctrine also includes extraordinary claims which say that Jesus is Jehovah -- a spirit of Trinitarianism that was completely unknown in any Christian circles until 325 AD.

 

This University article entitled Law of Moses by Zeev and Parker begins as follows:

 

Distinctive views concerning the Law of Moses and its relationship to Christ and to the attainment of individual salvation are set forth in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that this law was given by God to Moses, that it formed part of a peculiar covenant of obedience and favor between God and his people, that it symbolized and foreshadowed things to come, and that it was fulfilled in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

From <https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Law_of_Moses>

 

Before examining what is the Mormon present view of the Law given Moses, I will quote first the historical role the Mormons claim the Law given Moses played in North America prior to the modern occupants. This article explains:

 

4. Book of Mormon people brought the Law of Moses with them from Jerusalem. Even though they endeavored to observe it strictly until the coming of Christ (e.g., 2 Ne. 5:10Alma 30:3), they believed in Christ and knew that salvation did not come by the law alone but by Christ (2 Ne. 25:23-24), and understood that the law would be superseded by the Messiah (Mosiah 13:27-282 Ne. 25:23-25).

From <https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Law_of_Moses>

 

Next, we will quote their view on whether it has been abolished, superceded, etc., etc., and you will see how Paul is confirmed by their Bible:

 

Agreeing in some respects and departing in others from traditional Jewish or Christian views, the main lines of LDS belief about the Law of Moses are as follows: 1. Jesus Christ was Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament who gave the law to Moses (3 Ne. 15:5TPJS, p. 276). Jesus, speaking after his Atonement and resurrection, stated, "The law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses. Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel" (3 Ne. 15:4-9).

From <https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Law_of_Moses>

 

 

2. The entire law was in several senses fulfilled, completed, superseded, and enlivened by Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "In me it hath all been fulfilled" (3 Ne. 12:17-18). Its "great and eternal gospel truths" (MD, p. 398) are applicable through Jesus Christ in all dispensations as he continues to reveal his will to prophets "like unto Moses" (2 Ne. 3:9-11).

From <https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Law_of_Moses>

3. Latter-day Saints believe that the Law of Moses was issued to the Israelites as a preparatory gospel to be a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ and the fulness of his gospel (Gal. 3:24; cf. Jacob 4:5Alma 34:14). The authority to act in the name of God is embodied in two priesthoods, the Melchizedek or higher, which embraces all divinely delegated authority and extends to the fulness of the law of the gospel, and Aaronic or lesser, which extends only to lesser things, such as the law of carnal commandments and baptism (D&C 84:26-27). While Moses and his predecessors had the higher priesthood and the fulness of the gospel of Christ, both of which were to be given to the children of Israel, "they hardened their hearts and could not endure [God's] presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; and the lesser priesthood continued" (D&C 84:23-24; see Heb. 3:16-19Mosiah 3:14TPJS, p. 60).

From <https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Law_of_Moses>

5. For Latter-day Saints, all things are given of God to man as types and shadows of the redeeming and atoning acts of Christ (2 Ne. 11:4Mosiah 13:31). Thus, the Law of Moses typified various aspects of the Atonement of Christ.

From <https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Law_of_Moses>

 

MY COMMENT:

Mormons claim their Bible supports God did away with the Law given Moses as superceded and completed in Christ (citing Paul and their Bible). Mormons are thus antinomian. They deny the validity of the Law.

 

The Mormons, according to this article, do teach its "eternal principles" continue, including the Ten Commandments. Yet, rather than say that not one jot or title passed from the Law, as Jesus said, they use Pauline expressions that the Law is abolished, superceded, etc., and we choose what parts should continue. Thus, while it is only fair to say that commands about the Temple cannot be fulfilled or obeyed because there is no more Temple, this does not imply anything about the rest of the Law of Moses has any less validity just because portions of it cannot be physically complied with. Yet, Mormonism uses the Pauline mantra of the 1800s on why we can ignore entirely the Law and just follow our consciences.

 

Interestingly, this article says the Mormons do not believe salvation is by faith without works. But bear in mind they permit ongoing prophets -- meaning their leadership, and thus this point has a potentially self-serving aspect. The article on this score says:

 

6. Covenant making, promises, and obedience to commandments are part of the fulness of the gospel of Christ: "Through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel" (A of F 3). Both for Latter-day Saints and regarding Jewish observance of the Law of Moses, grace, faith, and works are all essential to salvation: "It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Ne. 25:23). No mortal's obedience to law will ever be perfect. By law alone, no one will be saved. The grace of God makes up the deficit. The Church does not subscribe to a doctrine of free-standing grace unrelated to instructions and expectations required of man. It does have commandments relating to diet (see Word of Wisdom), modesty, and chastity, as well as many ordinances, such as baptism, laying on of hands, and washing and anointing. If man were perfect, salvation could come on that account; walking in the way of the Lord would be perfectly observed. Since man is mortal and imperfect, God in his love makes known the way his children should walk, and extends grace "after all they can do."

 

Thus, I would put Mormonism among Paulinist movements which contain a dissent from 100% faith alone. As we know, Paul has many passages inconsistent with faith alone, such as his four inheritance warnings. See Paul's Four Inheritance Warnings.

So apparently to win the debate about faith alone, while creating a religion of their own shape, someone came up with the idea of Mormonism. This combines trinitarianism (Jesus is Jehovah), Jesus was Pauline (no more law given Moses), but faith without works is dead.  So to get a salvation doctrine / soteriology that matches Jesus, someone went to the elaborate effort to create a Pauline, antinomian, Constantian version of Christianity without Paul's signature doctrine of faith alone. 

So what do true followers of Jesus make of this circumstance?

What I see is an effort to render it irrelevant Paul was not a true apostle of Jesus, that Paul's abolition of the Law does not make him an apostate under Deut 13:1-5 because that law too was abolished, and adds a quasi-trinitarian doctrine that Jesus was God, even Jehovah God. The fact Mormonism's salvation doctrine matches Paul's four inheritance warnings -- which no Pauline thinkers ever seriously addresses -- should not trick anyone to think the solution to Paul is to deny the evil you must ingest to get to where Mormonism ended up.

The better approach is always to go straight to Jesus. Also, rather than rely upon unsubstantiated and dubious historical fiction, we must familiarize ourselves with early true Christian history. We learn there that the apostolic church known as the Ebionites excluded Paul from canon and being read at all, as an apostate. They rejected antinomians. See our article

The History of the Jesus' Words only Canon Movements. 

 

Incidentally, these facts about Mormonism's views from a book supposedly discovered miraculously by magic glasses all reflect its time period. The debate was raging in the 1800s whether Jesus' doctrine would survive (e.g., Paley, Renan) or Paul's doctrine. All the passages of Paul that support doing away with the Law were used by the pro-Jesus scholars to prove Paul was contradicting Jesus. So Mormonism solves this, by giving Jesus the same view of Paul about the Law. So now the issue would by-pass the issue of Paul, and go straight to values going forward. They devised a method: explain the Law as abolished except its eternal principles. Jesus supposedly agreed in the Mormon Bible on this abolition, quite at odds with the Jesus of Matt 5:17-19. But the net effect of the Mormon Bible was to overturn the contradiction between Paul and Jesus by changing Jesus' view on the Law, but affirm its "eternal principles."  The problem is this does not do away with Paul, and very much affirms that Paul is the one figure a Mormon can read and cite to support their principles. As a result, a Mormon can read and believe many of the blasphemies that appear in Paul's writings: Paul and Blasphemy.

 

This leaves a Mormon completely subject to Jesus' warning you can call him "Lord" but if you work ANOMIA -- negation of the Law given Moses, Jesus will say "I never knew you."