Mormonism, works, and the LDS temple ceremony

by Matt Slick

This dialogue began after a Mormon contacted me in a private message when I entered a Mormon chat room.  I posted some basic documentation showing what Mormonism teaches.  They are cut-and-pastes from my LDS section found here:  Someone complained that all I could do was copy someone else's material.  I responded that I wrote it.  I was called a liar.  Then I stated I was the author of CARM.  I did not know this person was a Mormon until well into the conversation:


Larry: Are you really matt slick?
Matt: Yes
Larry: Like the real live one and only matt slick?
Matt: Yes.  It is really me.
Larry: Wow
Larry: If it is you...then I apologize for accusing you of lying
Matt: [Originally, there was a url here where I had quickly copied a few lines of our text chat and placed it on CARM in a temporary directory so that the person would be convinced it was me when he looked at the text on the CARM website.]
Matt: No problem.
Larry: Idiots come in here all of the time copying and pasting things claiming to have written it themselves
Matt: I know.  Here... look at this.
Larry: LOL [this means, Laugh Out Loud]
Matt: I'll come into rooms like this and just paste stuff.
Larry: Why?
Matt: To expose their errors
Larry: You do realize that Mormons aren't going to turn because of a bunch of copying and pasting.
Matt: I know.
Larry: Especially Mormons in a chat room
Matt: But others who are inquiring will be effected.  I do it for the lurkers.  Watch [I then pasted some stuff into the main text area.]  Pasting that paragraph is helpful.  It exposes what Mormons REALLY teach.  Lots of times, prospects will then stop checking into Mormonism.
Larry: Except most Mormons don't give a hoot about what McConkie said.
Matt: True.  But it is still what Mormonism teaches.
Larry: But its not what Mormonism teaches.
Matt: Yes it is.  Mormons does teach these things.  There are many gods, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163); There is a mother goddess, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 443); God used to be a man on another planet, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321); After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-347, 354); God resides near a star called Kolob, Pearl of Great Price, pages 34-35; Mormon Doctrine, p. 428.)
Larry: A 'Mormon' may teach some of those things...but Mormonism does not.
Matt: Yes, it does.
Larry: There really isn't much of a systematic theology in Mormonism
Matt: I know.
Matt: But that is what Mormonism teaches.  Ask in the room... Ask if they teach that there is more than one god in existence but that they serve and worship only one.
Larry: I agree that most will agree.  I personally believe that.  But then again you have the problem of defining what a 'god' is.
Matt: They will because that is what it teaches.
Larry: Even the OT acknowledges the existence of other gods/sons of god.
Matt: Are you Trinitarian?
Larry: Most Hebrew scholars today acknowledge that the early Israelite cult was polytheistic/henotheistic.
Matt: Are you Trinitarian?
Larry: I believe in the Trinity, but not in their unification via homousion
Matt: What church do you go to?
Larry: I am LDS
Matt: Ouch
Larry: What?
Matt: You're not Christian.
Larry: Yea I am.
Matt: Not if you are a Mormon
Larry: Says you.  But its a long debate.
Matt: Says God.
Larry: And if you want to think that go ahead.  God told me I was a Christian.
Matt: The Bible says you are not.
Larry: The Bible says VERY little about what a 'Christian' is considering the word is only used twice
Matt: It says a LOT about who God is.  He is not an exalted man from another planet. There is no goddess wife.
Larry: Do you know who Asherah was? In the Israelite cult.
Matt: The false goddess cult?  Yes.  There is only one God.
Larry: Asherah was designated as El's and later Yahweh's partner.
Matt: Look, you seem intelligent.
Larry: I just pretend.
Matt: But, I don't want you to go to hell.  Mormonism will lead you to hell.
Larry: Thanks.  I understand why you feel I am not Christian.
Matt: I know you do.  But still, I don't want you to go there.  Look, I've encountered the REAL Jesus.  Not the bother of the devil
Larry: I don't have to worry.  I know who died for me.
Matt: Yes you do have to worry
Larry: I don't worry.
Matt: Think.
Larry: My savior suffered and died for me. Because of that I need not worry
Matt: What are odds of you meeting me on the web?  [This was not a boast.  Earlier he was surprised to have encountered me, that's all.]  God is trying to get thru to you.
Larry: Vice versa.  If you want to tell me what I personally do or do not believe...then go ahead.  But I assure you that I am far more an expert on my personal beliefs than you will ever be.
Matt: If you believe in the Mormon god, then you are lost. It is Mormonism that is false.
Larry: Says you.  And its cool if you want to feel that.
Matt: I don't feel that way at all.  It isn't a feeling.  It is Bible.
Larry: Look...I know that's how you interpret it.  And I think its cool.
Matt: Been to the temple?
Larry: I admire your righteous desire to help out your friends
Matt: Been to the temple?
Larry: Yeah
Matt: Apron?
Larry: Have you?
Matt: No. Not x Mormon. Fig leaves?
Larry: That's too bad, because being an x Mormon usually makes you cooler in the counter-cult movement
Matt: Adam and Eve wear a fig leaf apron, right?  You are given one to put on, right?
Larry: Well....since I have been to the don't need to keep asking.  The answer is obviously yes.  Your point being....why wear something that Satan gave them?
Matt: No, that is not my point at all. And, if you don't mind, so I can be as accurate as possible, what do those aprons represent?
Larry: My interpretation is that they represent a knowledge of good and evil
Matt: Gen. 3:7, "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings." Why did God reject their fig leaf aprons and cover them with animal skins?
Larry: Because fig leaves weren't too warm.  I'd much rather wear leather over some leaves...wouldn't you?
Matt: Come on, be serious. Gen. 3:21, "And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them."
Larry: I'm being serious
Matt: Adam and Eve made, from their own efforts, something to cover them. God rejected it and put skins on them.
Larry: Awww
Matt: The skins were animal skins, meaning that the animals were killed and blood was shed to cover them.
Larry: I see where you are going.  Nice point.
Matt: The fig leaf aprons were rejected of God. But you guys put them on in the temple.  See the problem?  2 Nephi 25:23 says you are saved by grace AFTER all you can do.  Your works are not acceptable to God (Isaiah 64:6). They are filthy rags.  Now, in your most sacred place, you put ON the symbol of that which God rejected!  Your own works!
Larry: I'm not gonna get into the faith and works debate.  Cuz it can go on all day
Matt: I'm just making a point. Do you mind if I put this dialogue on CARM? I can change your nic name.  Since it is in a private room, not a public one, I don't like doing that. Just asking for permission since what you are saying is revealing.
Larry: Go ahead
Matt: Thanks.
Larry: As long as you keep it in full.
Matt: Of course. but, I smooooth it out, though.  I combine repeated posts into one paragraph, type thing.
Larry: I do like your point about the leather.  But I don't think it necessarily means that God rejected the aprons.
Matt: The point about the leather, the skins, is that the shedding of blood is what cleanses of sin and the works of the hands of people are not acceptable to God.
Larry: But rather...he gave them something even better.  Just like baptism.  Confessions of faith. The NT attempt at consecrating their possessions.
Matt: All the cults add their own works to the finished work of Christ on the cross. The point is that in Mormonism, you're saved after all you can do, after all your works have been done... that cannot save you.  That is why we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1).
Larry: I think the point is the same.  Just as with Adam and Eve.  They worked....but it was not good enough.  God fills in where we fail which ends up being pretty much everything
Matt: The point is that in the Mormon temple ceremony Adam and Eve actually put on garments that were rejected by God. Why do you guys do that?
Larry: Do you listen?  Or do you just blah blah blah blah blah?
Matt: Yes, I listen. But just because a point has been passed doesn't mean it isn't true.  This is the heart of the problem in Mormonism. Because it teaches a false god, it has a false gospel.
Larry: Then why are you asking again?  I told you my answer.  Blah blah blah blah blah.  You aren't listening.  I said earlier that believe that in the temple, the apron represents a knowledge of good and evil
Matt: It wasn't because they were cold. There is far more to it.
Larry: I know...I was referring to the garden myth.
Matt: If that is true, then why did God REMOVE it from them and give them something else?
Matt: Why are you retaining that which God rejected?
Larry: Because the garden myth...and what symbolically happens in the temple are two different things
Larry: God did not reject their knowledge of good and evil.
Matt: What happened to Adam and Eve is not a myth.
Larry: Sorry...I'm using religious studies jargon.  A myth is just the sacred history/story of a religious tradition

Matt: God rejected the works of their own hands and replaced it with the work of HIS hands... with shed blood. Yet, in Mormonism it is retained.
Larry: You are still missing what I am saying.  Go do some studying up on narrative interpretation of scripture.  I gotta take a nap before a date.  Ttyl.  [ttyl means Talk To You Later]


As you can see, it is difficult to get through to Mormons, but perhaps this dialogue will help him see that his works are not acceptable to God and that the Mormon Temple ceremony actually retains the symbol of what God rejected.

This dialogue was the first I had with Larry.  The second one is located here and dealt with the LDS concept of god and gods.