Several Dissimilarities Between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and the Continuing Church of God

Opinions By COGwriter

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) is considered a cult by many who are Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant. Part of the reason for this is that the LDS accept private revelations of their leaders and books of that those in the genuine Church of God (COG) and Protestants do not accept as part of the Bible (specifically the Book of Mormon, which is actually a collection of a lot of writings). (Important note: there are several different groups that accept the Book of Mormon, and when this article refers to teachings of the LDS Church, it is normally referring to the group headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah--although most LDS groups also teach the doctrines identified in this article as LDS teachings and writings that the LDS does not officially accept are also included in places).

People in the Continuing Church of God have no problem per se with people who profess the LDS faith, in that we who attend there do not consider them to be more of a cult than we would groups such as the Roman Catholics. (Also, since the word cult basically originally meant culture, we do not consider that the true meaning of the word should be disparaging, though most that use it seem to be intending an inappropriate negative remark.)

While we do not agree with the LDS on a great many points, in general we feel that their family-orientated behaviors, their belief in tithing, and their belief in certain areas of morality tend to agree to the standards that we find in the Bible.

This article is only going to briefly discuss a few of the differences, and one or two similarities. The differences are sources of doctrine, views of original church history, views on the day of worship, military participation, the location of the Garden of Eden, the ten tribes, the fate of the United States, New Jerusalem, and the baptism for the dead.

Similarities Related to Crosses

Both the LDS and the COG teach that crosses should not be revered.

Here is a news article that reports some of the LDS position, which apparently changed to be similar to that of the COG's:

It's no accident that Mormon steeples, temples and necks are free of Christian crosses. LDS leaders long have said the cross, so ubiquitous among traditional Christians, symbolizes Jesus' death, while Mormons worship the risen Christ. Some Latter-day Saints go even farther, condemning the cross as some kind of pagan or satanic symbol.

Now a historian at California State University in Sacramento claims in a just-completed master's thesis that Mormon aversion to the cross is a relatively recent development in LDS history, prompted in part by anti-Catholic sentiments.

"It first started at the grass-roots level around the turn of the 20th century, " Michael Reed argues in the thesis, "The Development of the LDS Church's Attitude Toward the Cross." "It later became institutionalized during the 1950s under the direction of LDS Prophet David O. McKay," Reed writes...

Uncomfortable with the cross as divine message, Reed later sought answers in Mormon Doctrine , a book by the late Bruce R. McConkie. McConkie, vehemently anti-Catholic, equated the cross with the Bible's satanic "mark of the beast." The missionaries also consulted the work of another expert, LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith, who compared the cross to a guillotine. Smith, who was church president from 1970 to 1972, believed that both items were merely "tools of execution."...

Two years after becoming president in 1953, McKay pointed to a Catholic church in California and commented: "There are two great anti-Christs in the world: Communism and that church." In 1957, McKay established the LDS Church's no-cross protocol, saying it was not proper for LDS girls to wear it on their jewelry, saying the cross is "purely Catholic. ... Our worship should be in our hearts." Though McKay later tempered his comments about Catholicism, his opposition to the cross became church policy. From that day to this, Mormons look askance at any member who pays too much homage to the ubiquitous Christian symbol. "If someone is wearing a cross, we get very uncomfortable," Rees says. (Fletcher Stack, Peggy Mormons and the cross Salt Lake Tribune - May 1, 2009. http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_12256269).

It should be noted that not all LDS have problems with crosses, and I have been told by one in the LDS church that that the above cross position is not actual LDS policy. We in the Continuing Church of God do not have steeples in buildings, nor do we revere crosses. (For more on crosses, please ses What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?)

The Book of Doctrines and Covenants

The LDS have a book called the Book of Doctrines and Covenants, which is roughly the equivalent to the Living Magisterium (a combination of Bible and tradition that changes sometimes) that Roman Catholics accept.

In the Book of Doctrines and Covenants its section 108A states:

1.a. "The assembly being duly organized, and after transacting certain business of the church, proceeded to appoint a committee to arrange the items of doctrine of Jesus Christ, for the government in the Church of the Latter Day Saints, which church was organized and commenced his rise on the sixth day of April 1830.
b. "These items are taken from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the revelations which have been given to said church up to this date, or until such arrangement is made (Book of Doctrines and Covenants. First version, 1835; current edition: Price Publishing Co. Independence (MO), 1996, p. 421).

Thus, the LDS accept that a combination of the Bible, other writings, and orally received traditions as the basis for preparing their book on church doctrine. Like the Living Magisterium, the Book of Doctrines and Covenants can be changed if the top leader of the LDS church thinks it should (and I have seen different versions of it).

The COG does not accept the Book of Mormon or LDS prophecies as sources of doctrine. Notice, for example, the following:

We believe that if religious people say they "believe" in the God of the Bible, they should really teach and believe what the Bible actually says...Although most western nations profess Christianity, do they get their version of "Christianity" from the Bible, or from human tradition?...it is good to be sure that we understand what the Bible really saysnot what people tell us the Bible says. For, if you are careful with this and truly honest, you will find that most of the churches of this world do not really understand the Bible or teach it in this way at all. Most individuals and religious organizations are more concerned with "tradition," and "going along" with what the majority thinks, than they are with genuinely studying and then living by every word of the Bible—with the Old Testament, of course, magnified and interpreted by the New Testament" (The Bible or Human Tradition? Tomorrow's World Magazine. September-October 2004).

Some articles of possible interest might be:

Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon - From the Bible Itself This article, shows from the Bible and supporting sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.

Original Church

While both the LDS and the COG teach that they are the original Christian church, they mean it in different ways.

We in the Continuing Church of God teach that after the death of the Apostle John, the main leadership of the true church was at first in Asia Minor (see article Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome). The COG also teaches that there was an apostasy that was so prevalent that once the apostate church made several deals with the Roman State, it drove the true Church into the wilderness (Revelation 12:6), but that the true, original church, still existed, as they believe that Jesus taught that the true Church could not die out (Matthew 16:18).

The LDS position is basically that due to apostasy, the original church had a major time gap and had to start over.

Neither group believes that it came out of the Protestant reformation movement.

Here is essentially the LDS view, in the words of an LDS supporter:

In the LDS view, it was through the Prophet Joseph Smith that the Lord restored the original Church of Jesus Christ, including divine priesthood authority, divinely called apostles and prophets, and the pure covenants and ordinances (baptism by immersion and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, for example) that are part of the fullness of the Gospel of Christ...

Latter-day Saints believe that the original Church of Jesus Christ had to be restored by Christ - not just reformed by men. In our view, the reason why a restoration was needed (Acts 3:19) is that a falling away, or apostasy, had occurred (2 Thess. 2:1-3) in which priesthood authority, prophets and apostles, and many important truths had been lost from the original Church (Lindsey J. Mormons and Mormon Beliefs: An Unofficial Introduction to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDS_Intro.shtml 01/24/06).

The COG would differ greatly with the above, though we do agree that some truths did need to be restored (but those are beliefs that it can show that the original church did in fact possess). And of course, the COG does not accept that any book written past Revelation is inspired as scripture--hence the COG rejects the Book of Mormon as a basis for doctrine.

The LDS position on this matter is similar to that held by the Jehovah's Witnesses (though the Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept additional writings or prophecies quite the way the LDS do). The main LDS website states:

In 1820, as He had done throughout history, Father in Heaven again chose a prophet? to restore the gospel? and the priesthood? to the earth. He called a young man named Joseph Smith, and through him, the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth...

Joseph Smith’s First Vision marked the beginning of the Restoration of Jesus Christ’s Church to the earth. In subsequent years, Christ restored His priesthood and reorganized His Church. He has continued to reveal truths to His prophets and to restore the blessings that were taken from the earth for a time (Basic Beliefs: The Restoration of the Gospel. http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/basic-beliefs/the-restoration-of-truth/the-restoration-of-the-gospel 0811/07).

While the Continuing Church of God can its history from Pentecost of circa 31 A.D. to present (this is shown in the article the Churches of Revelation 2 & 3), the LDS do not make a similar claim, as the LDS claim to have been a restart beginning around 1830.

Sabbath or Sunday?

Those in the Continuing Church of God observe the seventh day Sabbath and not Sunday. The LDS teach Sunday.

While those in COG will quote a variety of scriptures to prove their point, historically the LDS Church pointed to its Book of Doctrines and Covenants.

This is another area where the LDS is similar to the Roman Catholics. Some of the LDS essentially admit that they go to church on Sunday, based on an understanding that one of their leaders had, as opposed to doing that for strictly biblical reasons. Notice what one LDS offshoot teaches as shown in section 119 (from pages 450 and 453 of my copy of Book of Doctrines and Covenants) from which I will quote below:

Revelation given April 11, 1887, through Joseph Smith III...

7.a. And the Spirit saith further: Inasmuch as there has been much discussion in the past concerning the Sabbath of the Lord, the church is admonished that until further revelation is received, or the quoreums of the church are assembled to decide concerning the law in the church articles and covenants,
b. the saints are called to observe the first day of the week...

Joseph Smith III was the son of the founder of Mormonism who presided over the Missouri-based Community of Christ (formerly Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) not the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--though both groups meet on Sunday.

Notice that Joseph Smith III is saying that the Spirit says that the Sabbath will be first day of the week unless it reveals something further (it did not know then?) or a quorum of the church decides differently. Thus, this really seems to be a doctrine based on tradition. Also, it can probably been inferred that those wanting to keep the seventh day Sabbath appealed to scripture, and to avoid that discussion, Joseph Smith simply says he is doing what the Spirit now wants.

Is that the type of revelation one would receive from a proper Spirit? Recall the Apostle Paul taught:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines (Hebrews 13:8-9 NKJV).

I conclude that the early Mormon church really arbitrarily changed the Sabbath to Sunday and that it believes it has the authority to change it back if it wants to. But it actually teaches that the Sabbath should be kept:

Your Sabbath day behavior is a reflection of your commitment to honor and worship? God. By keeping the Sabbath day holy and going to the Lord’s house to worship Him, you demonstrate your willingness to keep your covenants? with God...

When a community or nation grows careless in its Sabbath activities, its religious life decays, all aspects of life are negatively affected, and the blessings associated with keeping the Sabbath day holy are lost. You should refrain from shopping or participating in other commercial and sporting activities that now commonly desecrate the Sabbath. As you endeavor to make your Sabbath activities compatible with the intent and Spirit of the Lord, your life will be filled with joy and peace...Exodus 20:8–11 (Basic Beliefs: Keep the Sabbath Day Holy. http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/basic-beliefs/the-commandments/keep-the-sabbath-day-holy 0811/07).

Notice:

The Sabbath is on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 20:8-11; Hebrews 4:4,9), The Bible shows that Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16; 6:6; 13:10; Mark 6:2), the original apostles (Acts 17:2; 18:4), and those trying to be faithful in the early Church (Acts 17:2-4) observed God’s commanded Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11; Hebrews 4:9). Jesus declared that He was the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28); then in that sense, the real “Lord’s day” is the Sabbath which falls on the seventh day of the week. The Sabbath has long been a sign between God and His people (Exodus 31:13). Speaking of the seventh day (Hebrews 4:4), the New Testament teaches that there remains “a Sabbath-rest the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9, NIV). The Sabbath also helps picture the millennial reign of Jesus (Hebrews 4:1-4; 2 Peter 3:8; Revelation 20:4-6). ...

The Sabbath itself is observed weekly from sunset on the day commonly called Friday until sunset on the day commonly called Saturday. (Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God).

Of course, Exodus 20 teaches that "the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God" (Exodus 20:10).

Interestingly, 21st century historian and LDS member Craig Harline wrote about the early origin of Sunday:

…Sun Day mattered more…among Roman pagans, who still far outnumbered Christians and who may well have influenced how Christians worshiped on their special day. The second century pagan empire was not irreligious...on Sun Day, Roman pagans began with early services in honor of the rising Sun and Sun God... More important in raising the status of Sun Day among pagans was Mithraism… Followers of Mithra did emphasize Sun Day, and with greater impact than early Christians. In fact they may have influenced the Christian choice of the first day of the week for worship and some Christian forms of worship. Purification by baptism, the virtues of abstinence...setting aside heaven for the pure...and celebrating the birth of their God on December 25 are all allowable parallels. Another was Mithraism's treatment of Sun Day. Christians assigned their own meanings to such practices...Christ was the true Sun, and east was the direction in which Christ ascended into heaven...the similarities in worship, the new status of the first day among both groups at about the same time, the pagan assumption that Christians were fellow Sun-worshipers, and the emergence of the Christian metaphor "Christ the Sun" all suggest a connection of some sort (Harline C. Sunday: A History of the First Day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl. Doubleday, NY, 2007, pp. 5,9-10).

Since Sunday came from Mithras (and the cross also has ties to that pagan faith), it makes no biblical sense that the LDS would have adopted it, but they did. For more on Mithras, please see the article Do You Practice Mithraism?

Deification: Becoming God

One belief that the LDS tend to get criticized is their view on deification. Notice a report from a former LDS member:

'Would you trust the judgment of a man if he truly believes he's gonna be a god?'

The daughter of a Mormon bishop who has abandoned her family's faith claims in a new book the election of Mitt Romney to the presidency would put the U.S. in danger due to what she calls the Republican's "outrageous," "horrific" and "mind-controlling" beliefs.

Erickson says Romney believes:

Yet, is the belief about deification outrageous?

Actually, no, it (though in a form that is not quite the same as the LDS view is supported by both the Bible and early church writings. It is mainly because many within the Protestant world do not believe it that it is considered to be an odd or cultic belief. Yet, even Martin Luther supported that view.

And yes, we in the genuine Church of God teach the biblical doctrine of deification. For details, please see the article Deification: Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?

Military Service

Like most of the churches in the world, the LDS Church allows its members to enlist in the military and participate in carnal warfare.

Although there have been some heretics, those in real COG do not participate in carnal warfare.

Notice, for example, the following:

NOT OF THIS WORLD

Jesus taught, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). John the Baptist taught, “Do violence to no man” (Luke 3:14, KJV). Historically, those of the Church of God have considered military service as wrong for its members. From Revolutionary War times to the Civil War and to present, countries like the United States have tended to have had provisions to exempt Church of God members and congregants from military participation because of conscientious objections. Early Christians did not participate in military warfare nor watch violent sports.

(Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God).

An article of related interest may be Military Service and the Churches of God.

Location of the Garden of Eden

One unusual teaching that the Mormons have concerns the location of the Garden of Eden.

Here is a what a news report stated:

Mormons...believe that Jesus had siblings and that after his resurrection, he preached in the Americas. They believe the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Mo., near Kansas City (Do Americans Have Faith In Romney? WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2007. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/10/eveningnews/main3156302.shtml).

Yet the Bible, and hence the Church of God, teach:

8 The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:8-15, NKJV).

Since the Euphrates river was so-named by the time God had Moses write the above, this would seem to put the Garden of Eden in or near Iraq. And thus, no where near Missouri.

The Ten Lost Tribes

Both the LDS and COG believe that the "ten lost tribes" of Israel still exist. But there are two differences. The LDS believe that all the tribes essentially are to get together on the American continent, while the COG believes that the USA is essentially one of the tribes (Manasseh), while the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand represent Ephraim (see Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel).

The LDS specifically teach:

10 We believe in the literal agathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent (THE ARTICLES OF FAITH OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 535—541).

We in the real COG also do not believe that the ten tribes will build New Jerusalem. Those in the COG believe that God built New Jerusalem, that it is in heaven, that it will come down from heaven (per Revelation 21:1-2), and because it is called NEW Jerusalem, that the center of it will likely be where physical Jerusalem currently is.

The following are the two passages in the New Testament that specifically mention "New Jerusalem" by name:

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name (Revelation 3:12).

2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God (Revelation 21:2-3).

The White Horse Prophecy, Mitt Romney, and the Fate of the United States

Both the LDS and COG teach that there are prophecies related to the United States. But both differ greatly on the fate of the USA.

As most are aware, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a member of the LDS church. But not all are aware of LDS and/or offshoot beliefs that give Mormons other reasons to be interested in him or someone other LDS member possibly becoming the President of the United States:

Mitt is a high priest in the Church priesthood hierarchy...Not many Americans know that LDS founder Joseph Smith had himself crowned king over America (soon before he was shot at the Carthage jail by a mob). It is believed that all LDS prophets since him believe themselves to be sovereigns as well...

...the “White Horse Prophecy” or the prophecy of the “One mighty and strong.” Now, this is not public, formal LDS doctrine, but it was taught by many leaders of the Church and is still taught today. It is said by LDS leadership that when the Constitution is in dire peril, one will come who is mighty and strong. He will come riding (figuratively perhaps) on a white horse and will wield awesome political and spiritual power.

This mysterious priesthood elder would somehow seize control of the US government to prevent the total abrogation of the Constitution. He would assume total power and create an LDS “Kingdom” in America. At that time, this “one mighty and strong” would be proclaimed the new “Prophet “ (First President) of the LDS church and would also be president of the United States. Thus, he would wield both supreme political power of the most powerful nation on earth and also be the “Prophet, Seer and Revelator” (12) of the LDS Church.  http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n2226.cfm

Apparently there is a Mormon prophecy that when the US CONSTITUTION IS HANGING BY A THREAD, that a Mormon or American would come along and probably be President or a leader to help the nation so that the US CONSTITUTION would not be destroyed. Apparently a lot of Mormons consider Barack Obama to be the anti-christ.  http://www.dailypaul.com/221808/is-romney-fulfilling-the-mormon-white-horse-prophecy

White Horse Prophecy,” ... describes as “a belief ingrained in Mormon culture and passed down through generations by church leaders.”

Former candidate for Nevada governor Michael Moody writes in his memoir that the prophecy “motivated me to seek a career in government and politics” because he felt he had been divinely directed to “expand our kingdom” and help Romney “lead the world into the Millennium.” Now a critic of the Mormon church, Moody says he was indoctrinated with the White Horse Prophecy.

“We were taught that America is the Promised Land,” he said in an interview.”The Mormons are the Chosen People. And the time is now for a Mormon leader to usher in the second coming of Christ and install the political Kingdom of God in Washington, D.C.” http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2012/05/are-unacceptable-religions-fatal-for-u-s-presidential-candidates.php#ixzz1wDiR2U6g

While it could be argued that the US Constitution is hanging by a thread, there is no way that US President Barack Obama is the final Antichrist (see Some Doctrines of Antichrist and Prophecies of Barack Obama?). We in the Continuing Church of God believe that the final Antichrist is primarily a religious, not political leader.

As far as this "White Horse" LDS prophecy, although it is questioned as whether or not LDS founder Joseph Smith said it or not, the reality is that parts of it are found in various LDS records.

Here is some of Wikipedia reported:

Though there are doubts about the authenticity of the White Horse Prophecy as a whole, several sources attribute to Smith the idea that the United States Constitution would one day hang by the thread, and LDS Church leaders have issued similar warnings with regard to the Constitution.

In 1855, Brigham Young reportedly wrote that "when the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the 'Mormon' Elders to save it from utter destruction; and they will step forth and do it."

In 1858, Orson Hyde (another contemporary of Smith) wrote that Smith believed "the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and ... if the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the elders of [the LDS] Church".

In 1922, the LDS Church's fifth presiding bishop, Charles W. Nibley, stated that "the day would come when there would be so much of disorder, of secret combinations taking the law into their own hands, tramping [sic] upon Constitutional rights and the liberties of the people, that the Constitution would hang as by a thread. Yes, but it will still hang, and there will be enough of good people, many who may not belong to our Church at all, people who have respect for law and for order, and for Constitutional rights, who will rally around with us and save the Constitution."

In 1928, the LDS apostle Melvin J. Ballard remarked that "the prophet Joseph Smith said the time will come when, through secret organizations taking the law into their own hands ... the Constitution of the United States would be so torn and rent asunder, and life and property and peace and security would be held of so little value, that the Constitution would, as it were, hang by a thread. This Constitution will be preserved, but it will be preserved very largely in consequence of what the Lord has revealed and what [the Mormons], through listening to the Lord and being obedient, will help to bring about, to stabilize and give permanency and effect to the Constitution itself. That also is our mission."

An LDS member suggested that I include some of the following:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is politically neutral and does not endorse or promote any candidate, party or platform. Accordingly, we hope that the campaign practices of political candidates would not suggest that their candidacy is supported by or connected to the church.

"The so-called 'White Horse Prophecy' is based on accounts that have not been substantiated by historical research and is not embraced as Church doctrine."(http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/blog/church-statement-on-white-horse-prophecy-and-political-neutrality)

Although Mitt Romney did not become USA president in the 2012 election, much of this White Horse prophecy is less relevant than perhaps it was when he ran. However, it is consistent with the view on how the Continuing Church of God and the LDS see the future of the USA. And, there is also always a possibility that Mitt Romney or another Mormom will run for the Office of President again, though he dismissed that for the 2016 election.

White Horse Prophecy and the Bible

Now here is more on that White Horse prophecy:

Another of Smith’s predictions, the “White Horse Prophecy,” gets its name from the biblical book of Revelation. The prophecy has been given a dubious distinction since there is no evidence that Smith ever gave it in a public setting. Instead, its pedigree goes back to two Mormons, Edwin Rushton and Theodore Turley, who said they personally heard Joseph Smith give this prediction at Smith’s home on or about May 6, 1843. Smith allegedly gave numerous predictions in this prophecy, but the portion that is most repeated speaks of a day when the Constitution of the United States will “hang by a thread.” It will be “preserved and saved” by a White Horse, A.K.A. the Mormon Church.

Mormon apologists find it necessary to place doubt on the prophecy since it contains information that is certainly spurious. For instance, it speaks of a revolution that “will take place in America,” leaving it “without a supreme government.” There will be no peace except “in the Rocky Mountains.” England, for a time, will be neutral during this conflict and will only intervene to “stop the shedding of blood.” It also states that “the two Popes, Greek and Catholic, will come together and be united.” This has not prohibited LDS leaders from picking out the portions they feel are still appropriate...

Speaking in general conference in 1961, Mormon Apostle Ezra Taft Benson (he would become Mormonism's 13th President in 1985) stated, “In connection with attack on the United States, the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith there would be an attempt to overthrow the country by destroying the Constitution. Joseph Smith predicted that the time would come when the Constitution would hang, as it were, by a thread, and at that time "this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction” (Conference Report, October 1961, p.70).

In 1963 Benson again mentioned this prophecy in a conference message: “The Prophet Joseph Smith said the time would come when the Constitution would hang as it were by a thread. Modern-day prophets for the last thirty years have been warning us that we have been rapidly moving in that direction. Fortunately, the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the part the elders of Israel would play in this crisis. Will there be some of us who won't care about saving the Constitution, others who will be blinded by the craftiness of men, and some who will knowingly be working to destroy it? He that has ears to hear and eyes to see can discern by the Spirit and through the words of God's mouthpiece that our liberties are being taken” (Conference Report, April 1963, p.113)...

On January 6, 2010 the LDS Church issued the following statement on its Newsroom blogsite: "The so-called 'White Horse Prophecy' is based on accounts that have not been substantiated by historical research and is not embraced as Church doctrine." The claim that it is not "embraced as Church doctrine" does not explain why so many LDS leaders have referred to it. Would these leaders even bother to speak of the prophecy if they really didn't believe at least portions were true?  Words like "doctrine" and "official" have little meaning given the fact that many aspects of Mormonism are believed to be true by members even though a particular teaching may never be described as "binding" or "official." (McKeever B. When the Constitution “Hangs by a Thread” – The White Horse Prophecy in Modern Mormonism. Mormon Research Ministries. http://www.mrm.org/white-horse-prophecy viewed 08/26/12)

It does not seem likely that this prediction, no matter who may have originally made it, is based upon the Book of Revelation. 

The rider of the White Horse in Revelation 6 represents the final Antichrist.  The other rider of a white horse, this time in Revelation 19:11, is Jesus Revelation 19:12-16. 

1 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see." 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.  (Revelation 6:1-2)

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)

The Bible IS NOT predicting that a Mormon will save the U.S.A. while riding a white horse.

As far as the validity this “White Horse” LDS prophecy, although it is questionable as to whether LDS founder Joseph Smith said it or not, the reality is that parts of it are found in various LDS records.

It may be of interest to note that LDS prophecy absolutely has a USA focus. Notice the following from the official LDS website that is one of the 13 LDS Articles of Faith:

10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.  (Articles of Faith Thirteen basic points of belief to which Mormons subscribe. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. http://mormon.org/articles-of-faith viewed 10/23/12)

This is not what the Bible teaches. This is probably part of why Mitt Romney considers that the U.S.A. is the world’s hope. Perhaps I should also add that according to a revelation that Joseph Smith Jr. claimed to receive in July 1831, Zion is to be located in the U.S.A. state of Missouri. Here is part of that ‘revelation’:

1 a.Hearken, O ye elders of my church saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together according to my commandments, in this land which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints:

b. wherefore this is the land of promise, and the place of the city of Zion. (Smith J Jr. Book of Doctrines and Covenants, Section 57. Price Publishing Company, Independence, Missouri, 1996, p. 246)

The New Jerusalem that the Bible tells of comes down from heaven (Revelation 21:1-3) and there is no indication that it ends up in Missouri.

And as far the USA and end time prophecy goes, the COG teaches that the USA will be destroyed (cf. Daniel 11:39) unless it has national repentance soon.  Jesus and His kingdom, not a Mormon or other similar leader, will solve what needs to happen in the USA--even if someone like Mitt Romney becomes USA president.

For more details about what those in the Continuing Church of God believe will happen to the USA, please check out the following two articles:

Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas? Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Will the Anglo-Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people?

Does Mitt Romney Hold LDS Values?

Mitt Romney himself has claimed to not believe in this White Horse prophecy (Turner LR, Field K. Mitt Romney: The Man, His Values, and His Vision. Mapletree Publishing, 2007, p. 94). What he may believe if he becomes U.S.A. president could be another matter.

Like his church, Mitt Romney does hold the USA itself in high esteem and went so far as to claim in the third presidential debate on October 22, 2012, "This nation is the hope of the earth." Jesus, not the USA, is the only hope for the world.

Notice a 2012 report about him and some of his comments back in 2007:

In 2007, prior to the previous presidential election, which Romney also contested, Christian radio host Jan Mickelson of WHO-AM in Des Moines, Iowa pressed Romney on this topic.

A clearly agitated Romney insisted that his church "says that Christ appears on and splits the Mount of Olives, which is in Jerusalem. ...That's what the [Mormon] church says. The Second Coming, the arrival of Jesus Christ, our church says is in Jerusalem. That's our doctrine."

Romney went on to note that this position is rooted in scripture. "Throughout the Bible Christ appears in Jerusalem, splits the Mount of Olives to stop the war that is coming to kill all the Jews. Our church believes that."

But that's not the end of the story. For Mormons, Romney admitted, after Jesus intervenes on Israel's behalf, he proceeds to establish Missouri as, if not the sole base, then the primary center of his earthly kingdom.

"We also believe that over the thousand years that follow [Christ's return], the millennium, he will reign from two places, that the law will go forward from one place, from Missouri, and the other will be Jerusalem," explained Romney. http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/23477/Default.aspx

Of course, there is no biblical prophecy about Missouri being the place, but apparently former-Massachusetts, Governor Romney believes that.

Mitt Romney, it should be noted, unlike his church, favors allowing homosexuals becoming Boy Scouts (see Romney and Obama Agree on Having ‘Gay’ Boy Scouts). So, even the LDS should have some moral concerns about him (his prior support of abortion would be another pause for concern).

God Will Call Those That Have Not Yet Been Called

Both the LDS and COG teach that God has a plan whereby will save many who have not been called. However, how they both teach this is a major difference.

Essentially, the LDS teach that if they can identify dead people and someone will be baptized in their place, that the dead person will be offered salvation in the spirit world. Notice how the official LDS website teaches this:

Jesus Christ taught that baptism is essential to the salvation of all who have lived on earth (see John 3:5). Many people, however, have died without being baptized. Others were baptized without proper authority. Because God is merciful, He has prepared a way for all people to receive the blessings of baptism. By performing proxy baptisms in behalf of those who have died, Church members offer these blessings to deceased ancestors. Individuals can then choose to accept or reject what has been done in their behalf...

Many people have lived on the earth who never heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ and who were not baptized. Others lived without fully understanding the importance of the ordinance of baptism. Still others were baptized, but without proper authority.

Because He is a loving God, the Lord does not {condemn} those people who, through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity for baptism. He has therefore authorized baptisms to be performed by proxy for them. A living person, often a descendant who has become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is baptized in behalf of a deceased person. This work is done by Church members in temples throughout the world.

Some people have misunderstood that when baptisms for the dead are performed, deceased persons are baptized into the Church against their will. This is not the case. Each individual has agency, or the right to choose. The validity of a baptism for the dead depends on the deceased person accepting it and choosing to accept and follow the Savior while residing in the spirit world. The names of deceased persons are not added to the membership records of the Church.

The New Testament indicates that baptisms for the dead were done during the time of the Apostle Paul (see 1 Corinthians 15:29). This ordinance was restored with the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Gospel Topics. Baptisms for the Dead. 08/11/07. http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.3933737ad2ff28132eb22a86942826a0/?vgnextoid=bbd508f54922d010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=1ec52f2324d98010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____).

While the Church of God agrees that God is a God of love and will offer salvation to those who did not truly have an understanding of the truth, we also believe that Mormons misunderstand 1 Corinthians 15:29. We believe that people were baptized for the hope of the dead, the resurrection. Furthermore, the LDS have absolutely no proof that people were baptized for other people in the early church. I have yet to see any LDS writing that has proof that early Christians actually felt that they were to be baptized for deceased relatives. This may be why the LDS uses the expression the "New Testament indicates" as there actually is no proof. It should be understood that since God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, KJV), the LDS approach seems to also be in conflict with that as it is biased toward dead people who were parts of cultures that maintained birth, marriage, death, and/or other historical records.

Those faithful in the COG, unlike the LDS, keep God's Holy Days and we believe that they reveal God's plan of salvation (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians?). It is a historical fact that days that many now consider to be Jewish were kept by early professors of Christ (Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days?) and have been throughout recorded history (see The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3).

Essentially, we faithful in the COG believe that the Bible is clear that only an elect is being saved now, that not all have been able to be called now, and that after the resurrection, all who never had a true opportunity for salvation, will accept it. And this includes nearly all. no matter whatever their faith was, who ever lived. An article of related interest may be Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis.

An Interesting Commonality: Non-Traditional Christians

There is an area of commonality between the LDS and those in the COG. Our beliefs are not generally acceptable to "traditional Christianity" (professed Christianity based upon tradition).

A recent news article stated:

Mormon defender Card readily agrees...that Mormons do not fit into the Christian category as defined by traditional Christian orthodoxy. However, he argues that Mormons should be considered “nontraditional Christians.”

…He concluded: “Call us ‘nontraditional Christians’ and continue to encourage your communicants not to believe our doctrines. We’ll happily continue to call you ‘traditional Christians’ and teach people why they should believe our doctrines.”

The Mormon defender ended by calling for unity in a world where Christians are persecuted and expressed appreciation that Dr. Mohler affirmed that Mormons should be equally considered for American public offices regardless of theological difference. (Evangelical Theologian: Bottom Line is Mormons are not Christians Christian Post - July 27, 2007 http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070727/28642_Evangelical_Theologian%3A_Bottom_Line_is_Mormons_are_not_Christians.htm).

I feel that the bulk of American evangelicals would have a hard time voting for a Mormon for President (we in the genuine Church of God do not vote in presidential elections), though many Mormons, of course, would most likely prefer one of their own. 

However, like the Mormons, we in the COG do not mind being called “non-traditional Christians.” 

Why?

Because we are convinced that those who claim to be “traditional Christians” are frequently following traditions of men more than the Bible. we in the real COG that what passes for mainstream Christianity is not biblical.

Three articles of possibly related interest may include:

Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Being Separate: What Did Herbert Armstrong and the Bible Teach About Where Not to Fellowship? Some believe that it is acceptable to attend groups called COG, but who are not actually. What did HWA and the Bible teach about this.
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority.

Conclusion

The Continuing Church of God accepts the Bible as the authority for doctrine, and do not accept later books like the Book of Mormon like the LDS do.

People in both groups have been subject to persecutions by "traditional Christians" (some persecutions are mentioned in the article Persecutions by Church and State).

We in the Continuing Church of God believe that we can trace their history from the first Pentecost after Christ was resurrected (see Continuing History of the Church of God , while the LDS believe that a spirit gave messages to get their church restarted in 1830.

The LDS accept Sunday mainly for non-scriptural reasons, while those in the real COG accept the Sabbath as it was what was observed by the early Christians.

Both the LDS and the Continuing Church of God teach a version of deification.

The LDS seem to accept military service and a Missouri location for the Garden of Eden essentially based upon tradition, as opposed to basing doctrine upon what the Bible teaches.

Although many LDS, like those in the Continuing Church of God, do not accept the Catholic symbol of the cross, many LDS normally will observe Halloween, even though it is essentially a Catholic holiday with pagan roots.

While most of the professing Christian world picks on the Mormons for their added books and revelations, they seem to think this is acceptable if Roman Catholics, Orthodox, or even Protestants do that. Since it is wrong for the Mormons, would it not be wrong for others to rely on tradition above the Bible? Does not this type of logic lead to discounting the Bible and putting it on a lower standing than human reasoning?

Anyway, the LDS is another church that claims to be the original one, but who deviates so much from scripture, that it would only be acceptable to those who do not believe that doctrine really is to come from the Bible.

However, we in the Continuing Church of God love the LDS, as well as those who are part of "traditional Christianity," and expect that nearly all human beings that ever lived will accept God's offer of salvation either in this age or the age to come.

Thiel B. Several Dissimilarities Between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Genuine Church of God. www.cogwriter.com/lds.htm 2006/2007/2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2014/2015 0130

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