Wednesday, 31 August 2016

How Mormon Pictures Reinforce Mormon Error

Jesus in Gethsemane 2

The September 2016 edition of the Mormon Ensign magazine, in its Conference Notebook, carried a note by Elder Dale G. Redlund about the Atomenment of Jesus Christ. It is an exerpt from his April conference address, reported in full in the May 2016 Ensign, p42. Here is the exerpt:

I can emphatically state that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, ultimately, in the eternal scheme of things, there will be no unfairness. “All that is unfair about life can be made right.” [Preach my Gospel, 52] Our present circumstances may not change, but through God’s compassion, kindness, and love, we will all receive more than we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for. We are promised that “God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” [Revelation 21:4]

There is much to say about this short piece but I want to draw your attention to the accompanying picture. It is famous among Mormons, one might say ubiquitous wherever the subject of the atonement comes up in Mormon circles. It stands silent yet speaking volumes about what Mormons believe, illustrating that they are planting and reinforcing ideas even when you think they are not. You see, Mormons don’t believe in the atoning power of the cross. Mormonism teaches, and this picture accompanying the note illustrates it, that Christ atoned in Gethsemane. It doesn’t get mentioned here – except in that picture. This is the power of illustration.

When a Christian sees this picture it tells a quite different story to the one that comes to Mormon minds. Every time Mormons see this picture a whole theological world is opened up in their minds, ideas that are quite alien to the soteriology of the New Testament. Yet this is what Mormons think of, a Gethsemane atonement, each time they see this. Next time you look at a cult magazine look at the pictures and ask yourself what are they saying that the text may have failed to mention. It can be a very interesting exercise.

Meanwhile you might want to read Another Crossless Easter for Mormons, a piece I wrote some time ago about this whole issue of Mormonism and the Atonement of Christ. People are still surprised when they see how far from the Bible Mormonism is on even this foundamental Christian teaching.

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