My Prayer for the Mormon Church

Mormonism now has tens of millions of adherents worldwide and is receiving more attention at present due to the fact that Mitt Romney could possibly become US President next year.  The other large US based cult is the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

If you go to an ordinary bible believing church then don’t let the fact that the Mormon Church goes by the formal name “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” fool you – what the Mormons believe is a million miles from what orthodox Christianity teaches.  It’s not the purpose of this post to explain the differences, but if you are interested then go here.

My prayer for the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they would become like the Worldwide Church of God.  The who?  Well let me tell you the story…

The Worldwide Church of God was a cult that was started by Herbert Armstrong in California in 1946.  They had many of the classic signs of a cult – they rebaptised people joining them who had been baptised in other denominations, and they had a whole set of doctrines that were at odds with the historical beliefs of the church.  Armstrong himself thought that he was the first apostle since the first century.  He wrote in one of his books, “time may prove this to be the most important book written in almost 1,900 years”.  Armstrong predicted the return of Christ and got it wrong (obviously).  It’s crazy stuff that saw mainstream Christianity reject the group as a cult – rightly in my opinion.

After Armstrong’s death in 1986 the church came under the leadership of Joseph Tkach Snr, one of Armstrong’s key lieutenants.  As the years went by Tkach began to drop some of the more unusual doctrines that the church had long ascribed to.  By 1994 pretty much every single unorthodox teaching had been abandoned and the group now stood theologically in lock step with the mainstream evangelical community.  It’s an amazing transformation, and it is often described as being without precedent in church history.

There were various fringe groups who splintered off, wanting to remain with the teaching of Armstrong.  But Tkach steadfastly took the church through this period of immense change.  He died in 1995.

His son, Joseph Tkach Jnr, took over leadership of the church, and the transformation was completed.  In 1997 the church was admitted to the National Association of Evangelicals.  They now operate under the name Grace Communion International.  Tkach Jnr wrote a book about the whole process called Transformed by Truth.  He details how one of the key events that made it happen is that the church’s doctrine committee decided that they would write a systematic theology to really expand the breadth and depth of their theology base.  As a consequence they spent so much time in the bible that they saw many of their distinctives as being out of step with what the Scriptures actually say.

What a glorious thing – a church simply reads the bible and gets transformed by it.  Awesome.

So that’s my prayer for the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses – that they would spend so much time reading the bible, which they purport to embrace, that they will be transformed by it.  Imagine the day that the Mormon Church is admitted to the National Association of Evangelicals.  Imagine the day that when the pair of overdressed teenagers with their American accents knock on your door they are giving you literature that is line with what Christians have believed ever since New Testament times.  Imagine that when you move to a new area you check out the Baptist Church, the AOG Church, the Anglican Church, the Kingdom Hall and the Mormon Temple, because they are all teaching the same evangelical doctrines.  And you settle on the Mormon Temple because you like the kids program.  That would be stunning.  Please Lord, may I live to see it!


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