The Pariah Messiah
“The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children.”Luke 7:34-35 KJV
Imagine you come home on your birthday. The lights are off and as you enter the kitchen you see a cake lit with candles. All your friends and family are present and break into a jovial song of “Happy Birthday.”
They sing your name, but they aren’t singing to you. Rather, they are celebrating a cardboard cutout of you leaning against the wall.
The song ends and everyone cheers. One by one everyone offers best wishes to the cardboard. At first, you think it’s a joke. But soon the horrifying truth sets in. They really believe the cutout is you.
You ask what’s gotten into them. Can’t they see they’re talking to an inanimate object?
They respond angrily, accusing you of ruining their beloved’s birthday. “Who invited you anyway,” they shout. They force you out and lock the door.
In some ways, this scenario represents what the Mormon church has done to Jesus.
When I debate Latter-day Saints, I’m often accused of not being Christlike. After all, Jesus “never tore down anyone’s faith.” All he ever did was “inspire and uplift.”
Sometimes I wonder if Mormons have read about Jesus in the Bible. He did all kinds of things their church would frown upon. The fact is people don’t get crucified for uplifting and inspiring others.
So without further ado, let’s dive into some of the anti-Mormon behaviors of Jesus, starting with the most obvious example.
Aggression at the Temple
In John chapter 2:13-16 (KJV) we read:
And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
The modern equivalent would be Jesus going to an LDS temple and doing the same thing in the distribution center. After all, the animals for sale in John 2 were for temple rituals and the distribution center sells temple ritual clothing, among other things.
Jesus going in and causing a scene would certainly land him in the bishop’s office, if not a court of love.
Earlier in the same chapter, there was a wedding where they ran out of alcohol. Jesus came to the rescue by changing pots of water into wine. It was of such excellent quality that the guests chided the bridegroom for holding out on the good stuff.
If this happened today, the LDS church wouldn’t be thrilled. It’s against the word of wisdom to drink alcohol, and they wouldn’t want the publicity this scene would bring.
To fit the Mormon mold, Jesus should have whipped up a nice apple cider, grape juice, or better yet, green jello.
Debating the Critics
Look through the New Testament and you’ll find Pharisees and Sadducees trying to corner Jesus, and he had some solid comebacks. For instance, in Mark 7 the Pharisees chide Jesus because his disciples eat without washing their hands, defiling their traditions.
Jesus shoots back that they’re defiling God’s laws with their traditions. After all, the fourth commandment is to honor father and mother, but the tradition at the time allowed Jews to designate their treasures as “Corban”. In other words, they could say it was a gift for God and this loophole allowed them to avoid the responsibility of caring for their parents.
However, 3 Nephi 11:29-30 has this to say about debating:
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
Mormons might argue that Jesus wasn’t contending in anger, but as we’ll see later on, He was clearly stirring His adversaries to anger. This is problematic if it is indeed the devil’s tactic.
Stirring the Pot
There are a couple of instances where Jesus seems to intentionally stir the pot. For instance, he goes to the synagogue in Luke 6 (verses 6-10) and asks if it’s lawful to heal on the Sabbath.
He could have simply debated it with the Pharisees, but without waiting for an answer, He heals a man with a withered hand.
The passage specifically says Jesus knew their thoughts. He knew they would get upset, but He did it anyway.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think He wanted to die. It’s almost like it was His whole purpose coming to earth.
Teaching About Other Faiths
In Matthew 16:6 Jesus tells his disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. A few verses later they realize He’s warning them against their doctrine.
Later He goes into more detail about the errors of the Pharisees.
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” (Matthew 23:2-7 KJV)
Teaching about other faiths is a huge no-no in Mormonism. You’re supposed to avoid telling people they’re wrong and rely on your own message to convert people. LDS missionaries passive-aggressively tiptoe around claiming they have “more truth” to share.
Jesus, on the other hand, told the Samaritan woman she didn’t know what she worshipped in John 4:22.
So Mormons shouldn’t take offense to being told they’re wrong since their critics are only following in Christ’s footsteps.
Calling out the Pharisees
Jesus goes even farther in the following verses. Calling the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, telling them they’re responsible for keeping people from heaven, and calling them children of hell. He calls them blind guides, fools, and neglecters of mercy, justice, and faithfulness.
He calls them greedy and self-indulgent Jesus compares them to tombs that are beautiful inside, but full of death inwardly. He refers to them as a brood of vipers and for a cherry on top, He calls out their fathers as murderers.
This flies in the face of the 11th Article of Faith which states:
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
There was no “live and let live” mentality with Christ. He didn’t just teach “more truth”. He fought aggressively against hypocrisy and false beliefs.
If you’re a Latter-day Saint, you probably think I’m casting Jesus in a bad light, but I’m not. This is simply what the Bible describes Jesus saying and doing.
Your religion has enthroned a false Christ. It has taken the qualities it likes and made a cardboard cutout, banishing the real Person!
I fear a deep sleep has overcome you. If the Christ I’ve shown in this article doesn’t fit in your religious box, it’s time to wake up. Open the door, and let the real Jesus in. A faux Jesus can’t save you, can He?