Teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and the Continuing Church of God

Facts and Opinions By COGwriter

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), commonly called the Mormon church, 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 Continuing Church of God (CCOG), Catholics, 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 in CCOG do not consider the Mormons 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 some of the standards that we find in the Bible.

This article is only going to briefly discuss some of the differences, and a couple of similarities. Some of 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, plan of salvation, and the baptism for the dead.

But let's start out with a couple of similarities.

(A sermon of related interest is available: Mormon vs. Church of God Teachings.)

Both Have Millennial Teachings

The LDS teach the following about the millennium:

A millennium is a period of 1,000 years. When we speak of "the Millennium," we refer to the 1,000 years following the Savior's Second Coming (see Revelation 20:4; D&C 29:11). During the Millennium, "Christ will reign personally upon the earth" (Articles of Faith 1:10).

The Millennium will be a time of righteousness and peace on the earth. The Lord has revealed that "in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease" (D&C 101:26; see also Isaiah 11:6-9). Satan will be "bound, that he shall have no place in the hearts of the children of men" (D&C 45:55; see also Revelation 20:1-3). (Millennium. https://www.lds.org/topics/millennium?lang=eng accessed 03/25/18)

Revelation 20 teaches:

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-6)

We in the CCOG also teach the millennium and that Satan will be bound then (see Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? and The Gospel of the Kingdom of God).

Ten Commandments

Both the LDS and the CCOG teach that Ten Commandments are important.

The LDS teach:

The Ten Commandments are eternal gospel principles that are necessary for our exaltation. The Lord revealed them to Moses in ancient times (see Exodus 20:1–17), and they are also referenced in whole or in part in other books of scripture (see Matthew 19:18–19; Romans 13:9; Mosiah 12:33–36; 13:13–24; D&C 42:18–29; 59:5–13; 63:61–62). The Ten Commandments are a vital part of the gospel. Obedience to these commandments paves the way for obedience to other gospel principles. https://www.lds.org/topics/ten-commandments?lang=eng viewed 06/08/18

CCOG teaches:

Jesus kept and taught the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4). In the, New Testament through various teachings (e.g. Matthew 5:17-48, 12:12), Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that He “would exalt the law and make it honorable” (Isaiah 42:21). In New Testament times and throughout history, true Christians have striven to obey the law of God, including keeping the Ten Commandments. And this is prophesied to continue into the future, as the Apostle John was inspired to write,“the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). (Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God accessed 06/08/18)

For more on the Ten Commandments, check out the free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

Similarities Related to Crosses

Both the LDS and the CCOG 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 CCOG:

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. Nor did early Christians. And as far as being a symbol of Antichrist, this has been proposed throughout the centuries--and prior to the start of Mormonism (see Mark of the Beast and see also The Mark of Antichrist). For more on crosses, please ses What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?

Original Church

While both the LDS and the CCOG 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 CCOG 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:

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, a small rock and upon the large rock I will build my congregation {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones}, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against her. (Matthew 16:18, Jubilee Bible 2000).

The LDS position, instead, 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 CCOG 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 CCOG does not accept that any book written past Revelation is inspired as scripture--hence the CCOG 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 as accessed 08/11/07).

While the Continuing Church of God can its history from Pentecost of circa 31 A.D. to present (this is shown in the free online book: Continuing History of the Church of God), the LDS do not make a similar claim, as the LDS claim to have been a restart beginning around 1820-1830.

We also do not agree with the view that Joseph Smith restored the gospel. For more on the true gospel, check out the free online booklet: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

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 Roman Catholic 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 CCOG does not accept the Book of Mormon or LDS prophecies as sources of doctrine.

We also disagree with others that choose tradition over actual scripture. 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.

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 CCOG will quote a variety of scriptures to prove their point (e.g. Hebrews 4:9-11), 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 (see the Catholic article titled The Christian Sabbath).

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:

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 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.

Jesus taught deification:

34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods" '? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (John 10:34-36).

And this was not only referring to His deification as He quoted from Psalm 82:6 which also is in the plural:

6 I said, "You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High..." (Psalm 82:6).

God wants godly offspring, and that is why God made humans male and female and created marriage, as the Prophet Malachi was inspired to write:

14 ... she is your companion And your wife by covenant. 15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. (Malachi 2:14-15)

And yes, we in the Continuing Church of God teach the biblical doctrine of deification, though not quite as the LDS do. For details, please see the article Deification: Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?

Now, just to show that the Greco-Roman churches have also taught deification, some of their leaders will be quoted.

In the early third century, Origen of Alexandria wrote:

But both Jesus Himself and His disciples desired that His followers should believe not merely in His Godhead and miracles, as if He had not also been a partaker of human nature, and had assumed the human flesh which "lusts against the Spirit;" but they saw also that the power which had descended into human nature, and into the midst of human miseries, and which had assumed a human soul and body, contributed through faith, along with its divine elements, to the salvation of believers, when they see that from Him there began the union of the divine with the human nature, in order that the human, by communion with the divine, might rise to be divine, not in Jesus alone, but in all those who not only believe, but enter upon the life which Jesus taught, and which elevates to friendship with God and communion with Him every one who lives according to the precepts of Jesus (Origen. Contra Celsus, Book III, Chapter 28. Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight).

Thus, Origen is teaching that Christians are to rise to be divine, to become God.

In the 4th century, the Greco-Roman Bishop Ambrose of Milan taught:

Then a Virgin conceived, and the Word became flesh that flesh might become God (Ambrose of Milan. Concerning Virginity (Book I, Chapter 11). Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight).

In the late 4th century, the Greco-Orthodox Bishop John Chrysostom wrote:

...the man can become God, and a child of God. For we read, "I have said, You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High" (John Chrysostom. Homily 32 on the Acts of the Apostles. Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight).

The 5th century Bishop Ibas of Edessa allegedly taught:

I do not envy Christ His becoming God, for I can become God no less than He (Labourt J. Transcribed by John Fobian. Ibas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In the 13th/14th century, notice what the following from a famous German Dominican theologian Meister Eckhardt (c. 1260–c. 1328):

Meister Eckhardt said that in union with God we become God (Fanning S. Mystics of the Christian Tradition. Routeldge, New York. 2001, reprinted 2006, p. 219).

In the 16th century, notice what even Martin Luther taught:

“For the Word became flesh in order that the flesh might become Word. That is, God becomes man in order that man might become God (On the Word Became Flesh Martin Luther, 1483-1546 From: Sermo Lutheri in natali Christi, [December 25, 1514]) _D. Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Gesammtausgabe_ (Weimar: Hermann Boehlau, 1883) Vol. 1, p. 28).

In the 20th century, Pope Paul VI taught:

My brothers, do you understand the Grace of God our Head? Stand in admiration, rejoice; we have become Christ. For if He is the Head, we are the members; He and we are the complete Man . . . therefore, the fullness of Christ is constituted by the Head and Members Ecclesiam Suam Encyclical Letter on the Ways in which the Church Must Carry Out its Mission in the Contemporary World His Holiness Pope Paul VI, Section 35. Transcribed work by Bob Van Cleef. Promulgated on August 6, 1964. Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight).

And while we have not yet "become Christ", even the late Pope John Paul II taught:

In order for man to become God, the Word took on humanity (Joannes Paulus II. Orientale Lumen: Apostolic Letter on the Eastern Churches His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Section 15. Promulgated on May 2, 1995. Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Knight).

In 1988, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (and later Pope Benedict XVI) taught:

Man can become God, not by making himself God, but by allowing himself to be made 'Son'. (Ratzinger J. Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life. 1988. Cited in Kurz W. What Does the Bible Say About End Times? A Catholic View. Nihil Obstat: H. Kistner. Imprimi Potest: F. Link. Imprimatur + C. Moeddel, July 19, 2004. St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2004, p. 89)

Near the end of the 20th century, Orthodox bishop Timothy Ware wrote:

Such, according to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, is the final goal at which every Christian must attain: to become god, to obtain theosis, 'deification' or 'divinization'. For Orthodoxy our salvation and redemption mean our deification...deification is not something reserved for a select few initiates, but is something intended for all alike. The Orthodox Church believes this is the normal goal of every Christian without exception. Certainly we shall only be deified on the Last Day; but for each of us the process of divinization must begin here and now in this present life" (Ware, T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, London, 1997, p.231,236).

In the 21st century, the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople taught:

The patriarch said that at the center of their pastoral work was a recognition that humanity is "called to know and to become God," the call to holiness which the Orthodox term "deification." (Pope, Orthodox patriarch meet privately, pray together. CNS News - March 6, 2008. http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0801277.htm).

Hence the idea that Christians are to be deified like Christ is not some weird new cultic idea--it is an idea that has been held by many throughout the centuries.

Yet, the Church of God and the LDS are often negatively branded as cults for teaching this.

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.

Yet, early Christians would not do that.

Melito, a leading Church of God Christian leader wrote around 170 A.D., that if a leader is just, then God provides peace:

My opinion is this: that in `this' way a kingdom may be governed in peace-when the sovereign is acquainted with the God of truth, and is withheld by fear of Him from doing wrong to those who are his subjects, and judges everything with equity, as one who knows that he himself also will be judged before God; while, at the same time, those who are under his rule are withheld by the fear of God from doing wrong to their sovereign, and are restrained by the same fear from doing wrong to one another. By this knowledge of God and fear of Him all evil may be removed from the realm. For, if the sovereign abstain from doing wrong to those who are under his rule, and they abstain from doing wrong to him and to each other, it is evident that the whole country will dwell in peace. Many blessings, too, will be enjoyed there, because amongst them all the name of God will be glorified. For what blessing is greater than this, that a sovereign should deliver the people that are under his rule from error, and by this good deed render himself pleasing to God? For from error arise all those evils from which kingdoms suffer; but the greatest of all errors is this: when a man is ignorant of God, and in God's stead worships that which is not God. (Melito. Translation by Roberts and Donaldson. A DISCOURSE WHICH WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF ANTONINUS CAESAR, AND HE EXHORTED THE SAID CAESAR TO ACQUAINT HIMSELF WITH GOD, AND SHOWED TO HIM THE WAY OF TRUTH. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 11/18/06).

Tatian, a professing Christian apologist, wrote around 170 A.D.:

And for these the witnesses take their seats, and the boxers meet in single combat, for no reason whatever, nor does any one come down into the arena to succour. Do such exhibitions as these redound to your credit? He who is chief among you collects a legion of blood-stained murderers, engaging to maintain them; and these ruffians are sent forth by him, and you assemble at the spectacle to be judges, partly of the wickedness of the adjudicator, and partly of that of the men who engage in the combat. And he who misses the murderous exhibition is grieved, because he was not doomed to be a spectator of wicked and impious and abominable deeds (Tatian. Translated by J.E. Ryland. Tatian's Address to the Greeks, Chapter XXIII . Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Athenagoras, a professing Christian apologist, wrote around 170 A.D.:

What man of sound mind, therefore, will affirm, while such is our character, that we are murderers?...

Who does not reckon among the things of greatest interest the contests of gladiators and wild beasts, especially those which are given by you? But we, deeming that to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles (Athenagoras. A Plea for the Christians, Chapter XXXV. Translated by B.P. Pratten. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Even today, many Christians realize that watching brutal events intent on causing physical harm, such as real boxing and American football, is inappropriate.

Now, here is something from Theophilus of Antioch (who probably was part of the Church of God) perhaps written about 180 A.D.:

Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murders. But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition)

So, true Christians did not believe that they were to fight nor even watch the violent sports that were popular in the second century.

Notice that this is also the position of the third century Catholic theologian and bishop Hippolytus, who also adds various occupations to those that reject one from being a follower of Christ:

16:6 A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who  goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7 If someone is a gladiator, or one  who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast  shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he  shall cease, or he shall be rejected. 8 If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols,  he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9 A military man in authority must not execute men. If  he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall  be rejected. 10 If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple,  he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11 The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a  soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. (Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. From the work of Bernard Botte (La Tradition Apostolique. Sources Chretiennes, 11 bis. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1984) and of Gregory Dix (The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. London: Alban Press, 1992) as translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb http://www.bombaxo.com/hippolytus.html viewed 08/06/09)

Around 250 A.D., elder/presbyter Pionius of Smyrna asked:

To whom have we done wrong? Have we perchance murdered someone? Or, do we persecute anyone? Or have we obliged anyone to venerate idols? (Martyrdom of Pionius as translated in Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 155)

He asked those questions knowing full well that real Christians had not done any of those things.

Early Christians, as well as those people that supported the Greco-Roman confederation, did not believe Christians were to be part of the military.

Those in the CCOG do not participate in carnal warfare:

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.

The LDS are also much more involved in worldly politics. We in the Continuing Church of God do not vote in presidential elections, but teach the The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

The LDS have a much more worldly change focus than we in the Continuing Church of God do. They are more similar to many of the Greco-Roman-Protestants on military service, voting, and looking to human governments to solve humanity's ills.

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).

The Mormons officially are slightly less specific:

Do Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri?

We do not know exactly where the original site of the Garden of Eden is. While not an important or foundational doctrine, Joseph Smith established a settlement in Daviess County, Missouri, and taught that the Garden of Eden was somewhere in that area. (Mormonism 101: What is Mormonism? https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-101 accessed 03/31/18)

The Bible, and hence the Continuing 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. Cush is mainly in northeast Africa and ancient Assyria was in the Middle East. Thus, none of these locations were near Missouri.

The Ten Lost Tribes

Both the LDS and the CCOG 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 CCOG 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 CCOG also do not believe that the ten tribes will build New Jerusalem.

As far as the ten-tribes go, the misunderstandings that the LDS hold too have negatively affected the accuracies of various prophecies.

Bible Supposedly Not Complete

The Mormon book of 2 Nephi contains the following:

3 And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.

4 But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?

5 O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.

6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?

7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?

8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. (2 Nephi 29:3-8)

We in the CCOG believe that the Bible is complete for this age, and has been since Jesus had the Apostle John pen the Book of Revelation.

More on the Bible can be found in the following articles:

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 and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Lost Books of the Bible? Is the Bible missing books? What about the Book of Jasher and the Book of Enoch? What are the pseudepigrapha?

Book of Mormon

The Latter Day Saints movement uses what is commonly called the Book of Mormon. It consists of 15 books which adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2200 BC to AD 421 and that this was revealed to Joseph Smith in the 19th century.

No early Christian saint is believed to have used nor otherwise relied upon the Book of Mormon.

Without going into a lot of details about why this is not accepted as scripture, it is believed that a few quotes from some of the books should suffice.

 Let’s start with the following:

10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. (Alma 7:10)

The Bible teaches that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and that He was (Matthew 2:1). Hence, Alma 7:10 is in error.

Here is another:

20 But behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of his death, behold, in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead. (Helaman 14:20)

But the Bible does not teach three days of darkness while Jesus was being executed on the stake, but three hours (Luke 23:44).

Perhaps it should also be mentioned that the account of the language situation with Jaredites in Ether 1:33-39 is in conflict with the account of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.

There are other issues, but these examples should serve as a demonstration why non-LDS groups do not accept the Book of Mormon.

Temple Garments

LDS endorse "temple garments":

Do some Latter-day Saints wear temple garments?

Yes. In our world of diverse religious observance, many people of faith wear special clothing as a reminder of sacred beliefs and commitments. This has been a common practice throughout history. Today, faithful adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wear temple garments. These garments are simple, white underclothing composed of two pieces: a top piece similar to a T-shirt and a bottom piece similar to shorts. Not unlike the Jewish tallit katan (prayer shawl), these garments are worn underneath regular clothes. Temple garments serve as a personal reminder of covenants made with God to lead good, honorable, Christlike lives. The wearing of temple garments is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior. (Mormonism 101: What is Mormonism? https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormonism-101 accessed 03/31/18)

Early Christian leaders dressed like regular people and did not wear temple garments (see Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was their Dress?). Furthermore, in the church age, Christians are the "temple of God" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:16; see also Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?) hence there would be no need for special temple garments.

Those in CCOG do not have temple garments or similar items.

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

Both the LDS and CCOG 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 was (and 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, as I wrote when he was in office, there was no way that US President Barack Obama could be 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.

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. Mitt Romney 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.

As cited before, 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.

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.

Those in the CCOG believe that God built New Jerusalem, that it is in heaven, that it will come down from heaven.

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

12 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).

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 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 21:1-3).

Since it is called NEW Jerusalem the center of it will likely be where physical Jerusalem currently is.

And as far the USA and end time prophecy goes, the CCOG teaches that the USA will be destroyed (cf. Daniel 11:39; see also USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses) 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: Are Chinese threats against Australia for real?

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?

British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?

USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?

Who is the King of the West? Why is there no Final End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Quién es el Rey del Occidente? ¿Por qué no hay un Rey del Occidente en la profecía del tiempo del fin?

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).

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, favored allowing homosexuals becoming Boy Scouts (see Romney and Obama Agree on Having ‘Gay’ Boy Scouts). Year later, the LDS decided to pull out of the Boy Scout organization (see Mormons announce decision to pull out of Boy Scouts).

Even the LDS should have had some moral concerns about Mitt Romney (his prior support of abortion would be another pause for concern).

The Godhead

The largest LDS group believes in a type of trinity:

Three Separate Beings

While today’s traditional Christianity asserts that the three members of the Godhead are all one person (called the “Trinity,” a belief based on a man-made council that wrote the Nicene Creed in A.D. 325), we know that the Father and the Son each have bodies of flesh and bones and that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. Ancient and modern prophets have testified that the Father and Son are separate beings. These prophets include Stephen in the New Testament and Joseph Smith, who personally saw Them standing side-by-side.

...

One in Purpose

Even though the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct personages, They share one purpose. (Beattie B. Learning about the Godhead. https://www.lds.org/youth/article/learning-about-the-godhead?lang=eng 03/24/18)

It should be noted the Greco-Romans adopted the trinity in 381 A.D. at the Council of Constantinople (they DID NOT agree to the trinity at the Council of Nicaea; see also Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?).

Beyond the separate personage view from the Greco-Romans, there are other differences as the LDS reportedly teach:

Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct beings, and that the Father and Jesus have perfected, glorified, physical bodies, while the Holy Ghost is a spirit without a physical body. Mormons also believe that there are other gods and goddesses outside the Godhead, such as a Heavenly Mother who is the wife of God the Father, and that faithful Mormons may attain godhood in the afterlife. Joseph Smith taught that God was once a man on another planet before being exalted to Godhood. This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity in several ways, one of which is that Mormonism has not adopted or continued the doctrine that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of the same substance or being. Also, Mormonism teaches that the intelligence dwelling in each human is coeternal with God. Mormons use the term omnipotent to describe God, and regard him as the creator, they understand him as having absolutely unlimited power, but do not teach that he is the ex nihilo creator of all things. (God in Mormonism. Wikipedia, accessed 03/24/18)

One LDS offshoot believes in four:

In the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, a liberal Mormon faith, the Heavenly Mother is accepted as a full member of the Godhead. Thus, the RCJC believes in a quadriune Godhead; the Godhead is referred to as the Holy Quaternity. Prayers are addressed to the Heavenly Parents in the name of Jesus Christ. (God in Mormonism. Wikipedia, accessed 03/24/18)

Early Christians did not accept either of these teachings.

We in the Continuing Church of God, however, do agree that the Father and Son are separate beings, but are part of one Godhead--this is not only biblical, many Greco-Roman 'saints' held to the same view. For more details, check out the article Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.

For information about the Greco-Roman trinity, check out the article: Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?

Plan of Salvation?

The LDS teach:

Plan of Salvation

In the premortal existence, Heavenly Father prepared a plan to enable us to become like Him and receive a fulness of joy. The scriptures refer to this plan as “the plan of salvation” (Alma 24:14; Moses 6:62), “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8), “the plan of redemption” (Jacob 6:8; Alma 12:30), and “the plan of mercy” (Alma 42:15).

The plan of salvation is the fulness of the gospel. It includes the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel. Moral agency, the ability to choose and act for ourselves, is also essential in Heavenly Father’s plan. Because of this plan, we can be perfected through the Atonement, receive a fulness of joy, and live forever in the presence of God. Our family relationships can last throughout the eternities.

You are a participant in Heavenly Father’s plan, and your eternal experience can be divided into three main parts: premortal life, mortal life, and life after death. As you come to understand the plan, you find answers to questions asked by so many: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after this life?

Premortal Life

Before you were born on the earth, you lived in the presence of your Heavenly Father as one of His spirit children. In this premortal existence, you attended a council with Heavenly Father’s other spirit children. At that council, Heavenly Father presented His great plan of happiness (see Abraham 3:22–26).

In harmony with the plan of happiness, the premortal Jesus Christ, the Firstborn Son of the Father in the spirit, covenanted to be the Savior (see Moses 4:2; Abraham 3:27). Those who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were permitted to come to the earth to experience mortality and progress toward eternal life. Lucifer, another spirit son of God, rebelled against the plan and “sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3). He became Satan, and he and his followers were cast out of heaven and denied the privileges of receiving a physical body and experiencing mortality (see Moses 4:4; Abraham 3:27–28).

Throughout your premortal life, you developed your identity and increased your spiritual capabilities. Blessed with the gift of agency, you made important decisions, such as the decision to follow Heavenly Father’s plan. These decisions affected your life then and now. You grew in intelligence and learned to love the truth, and you prepared to come to the earth, where you could continue to progress.

Mortal Life

You are now experiencing mortal life. Your spirit is united with your body, giving you opportunities to grow and develop in ways that were not possible in your premortal life. This part of your existence is a time of learning in which you can prove yourself, choose to come unto Christ, and prepare to be worthy of eternal life. It is also a time when you can help others find the truth and gain a testimony of the plan of salvation.

Life after Death

When you die, your spirit will enter the spirit world and await the resurrection. At the time of the resurrection, your spirit and body will reunite, and you will be judged and received into a kingdom of glory. The glory you inherit will depend on the depth of your conversion and your obedience to the Lord’s commandments (see “Kingdoms of Glory,” pages 92–95). It will depend on the manner in which you have “received the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:51; see also 76:74, 79, 101). (“Plan of Salvation,” True to the Faith (2004), 115–17; as found at https://www.lds.org/manual/true-to-the-faith/plan-of-salvation?lang=eng 03/31/18)

This premortal existence is certainly not from the Bible. And you will notice that the references tend to be to LDS writings as opposed to the 66 books of the Bible. We in the CCOG do not accept this nonbiblical teaching.

God Will Call Those That Have Not Yet Been Called and LDS Baptism for the Dead

Both the LDS and the CCOG 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 Continuing 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 CCOG, 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 free online booklet Should You Observe God's Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? and/or the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3).

Essentially, we faithful in the CCOG believe that the Bible is clear that only an elect is being saved now (see also the free online book, Is God Calling You?), 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 CCOG. Our beliefs are not generally acceptable to "traditional Christianity" (professed Christianity based upon tradition).

A 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).

Like the Mormons, we in the CCOG 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 CCOG 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 (see also The Old Testament Canon and The New Testament Canon - From the Bible and History).

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. The LDS focus is not the on The Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The LDS have a much more worldly change focus than we in the Continuing Church of God do. They are more similar to many of the Greco-Roman-Protestants on military service, voting, and looking to human governments to solve humanity's ills.

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 (see also Should You Observe God's Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?).

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.

A sermon of related interest is available: Mormon vs. Church of God Teachings.

More on the true Christian church and its history can be found in the following:

Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?

Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

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 2006/2007/2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2014/2015/2018 0609

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