I, Dennis, grew up in an LDS family, a sixth-generation Mormon. My parents were always active temple-going Mormons, and the same was expected of me. I never had a problem believing in the Mormon story, and was very happy when I was called on a mission to Finland, where I served faithfully for two and a half years. After my mission, I married Rauni in the Salt Lake LDS Temple and started serving in the ward and stake. I was called to be an Elder’s Quorum president while still in my early twenties, and held teaching and leadership positions from that time. I was only in my thirties when I was ordained a High Priest and called to serve on the Stake High Council. Being busy in the Church and its activities and doing a lot of temple work in addition to my ward and stake positions took all my free time. It was Rauni who started to point out that there were problems with Mormon claims, and that we should check them out.
I, Rauni, was a convert to the LDS Church in Finland, where I served a “full-time mission” before coming to the States. I began working as a translator for the Finnish language in the Church Offices almost immediately after arrival in Salt Lake City, and I worked as a translator and language coordinator for the LDS Church over 14 years. Translation work gave me an opportunity to study Mormon history from many books not generally available to the membership of the Church. I began to question when I saw so many changes in the Church doctrines and contradictions between its scriptures and writings of the prophets and the high leadership of the Church. It became obvious to me that the Church was hiding a lot of important information from its membership.
I had teaching positions both in the Sunday School and in the Relief Society and also served many years on the Stake Relief Society Board. However, when the problems in Church doctrine became too much for me to accept, I suggested to Dennis that we should compare Mormon doctrine to the doctrine of the Bible to see if they matched. This was a serious question; if Mormonism was not the truth, then our eternal life and salvation were in danger.
In these pages, we have briefly presented some of the problems we found, which caused us eventually to separate from the LDS Church. Through a long study, we came to accept the Bible as the “infallible Word of God,” and the Jesus of the Bible as our Lord and Savior.
The Road to Emmaus
As Mormons, we accepted the statement in the Articles of Faith that says we “believe the Bible as far as it is translated correctly.” It started to bother us, because it seemed unreasonable to say that, yet not clarify where the translation might be incorrect. If the Church knew that it was incorrect, why didn’t the Church correct it? The LDS Church as an organization employs a large number of translators covering a majority of the world’s languages. The Hebrew text for the Old Testament as well as the Greek text for the New Testament are available, and even the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. (It was translated from the Hebrew about 270 BC. Greek was “the language of the world” at the time. This Greek version of the Old Testament was in common use at the time of Christ.) Most of the quotations from the Old Testament in the Greek New Testament are from the Septuagint. It is quite obvious that the Septuagint, and thus the Hebrew Old Testament as well, are correct, since Jesus Christ quoted from them and by doing so authenticated them.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus said to His disciples, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken…. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself ” (Luke 24:25-27).
Notice that He started from Moses, i.e., Genesis, and went through all the prophets (in other words, the entire Old Testament), explaining that it all was written about Him. He did not mention any mistranslation in the Septuagint, or any missing books or mistaken scriptures. The Old Testament was complete in 400 BC and, as we have already mentioned, a complete canon in Greek (the Septuagint) about 270 years before Christ was born.
Jesus himself assured us (Matthew 5:18) that “…till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall pass” from His Word until all is fulfilled. (A “jot” and a “tittle” are the smallest parts of the letters, like dotting an “i” or crossing a “t.” ) Heaven and earth have not passed away, so we have His promise that we can trust His Word to be correct and complete.
Some Surprising Conclusions
When we came to the conclusion that we could trust the Bible and accept it as the infallible Word of God, it made a huge difference. We learned from it that what Mormon doctrine says about God is not the Bible doctrine of God. Mormon doctrine teaches that God was once a man who had a father—who had a father, and so on. According to the Bible, God is not a man (Numbers 23:19); there were no other gods before Him nor will there be after Him (Isaiah 43:10); the God of the Bible says that He doesn’t even know any other gods. (Isaiah 44:8). That should make it clear to everyone that God was not first a man who had a father before him and also that men will not become gods.
Jesus, whom we had accepted as Mormons, is not the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus of the Bible is literally God Almighty, who became a man to redeem us (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6). We learned that He created everything, including Lucifer (Colossians 1:16), He is not a brother of human spirits nor a brother of Lucifer. He is the only Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). His salvation is a gift, so no one can boast of earning it (Ephesians 2:8, 9); but one must know Him, as John 17:3 says. If we do not know that He is God, we will die in our sins, as He himself said in John 8:24. Doing good deeds in Jesus’ name without having a relationship with the true Jesus Christ, will not benefit anyone (Matthew 7:22-23).
We could also see that there is no second chance (for the dead), since Jesus said in Luke 16:26, when speaking about the rich man and Lazarus, both of whom had died, “that there is a great gulf fixed; so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us….” That means no missionary work on the other side. They cannot pass across that gulf. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” After death comes judgment, not a second chance.
Psalm 49:7 says also, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for Him.” Nothing we can do, after someone is dead, will help him. But the Bible says that we should “…exhort one another daily, while it is called Today….Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…” Hebrews 3:13-15).
Our plea to you
God’s way is very simple. If you would like to receive the truth, may we suggest that you go to God in prayer and tell Him that you want to denounce all false ways and false views of Him, which you may even have promoted, and that you now accept Him and His ways, and ask His guidance in understanding His Word, the Bible.
Ask God to search your heart and help you to understand that you cannot earn your salvation, but that you will accept it as a gift from God, as Ephesians 2:8, 9 says. Recognize that you are a sinner worthy only of the judgment of God and that you now want to receive the true Jesus Christ of the Bible into your heart and life, for you now believe that Jesus has paid the penalty for all your sins, past, present and future—when, hanging on the cross, He declared “It is finished” (in Greek, literally “Paid in full”)—and that you now want to solely serve only Him. Ask God to help you to grow in the grace and knowledge of the true Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Amen.