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Dr. Heiser, I appreciate your writings and discussions on a wide range of topics. I’m disappointed, however, by your overall treatment of Mormonism. Specifically, you ascribed to Mormonism three views that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints simply doesn’t hold.
First, you say that Mormons don’t “distinguish,” your word, Yahweh from among the Divine Council. This is just false. Where did you read this? Yahweh is distinguished by his authority, his attributes (e.g., power, knowledge, goodness), and his unique salvific role. What you have in mind, perhaps, is that Yahweh, on Mormonism, shares the same ontology with other members of the DC. This is an important point of departure between your view and Mormonism. But it’s misleading, I dare say grossly misleading, to tell your audience that Mormons don’t “distinguish” Yahweh from the rest of the DC, as if he is just one among equals. Not so.
Second, you say that on Mormonism Jesus and Satan are “basically interchangeable” (on the grounds that Mormons view them as spiritual siblings). How did you come to this conclusion? While it wasn’t clear from the interview what your use of “interchangeable” referred to (their authority, identities, attributes, activity?), no Mormon I’m acquainted with understands Satan and the Messiah within the category of interchangeability.
Third, I was especially surprised to hear you repeat the tired and false idea that Mormonism maintains that God had sex with Mary. More accurately, you can note, as a matter of historical record, that a couple past Mormon leaders suggested some such view (but not taken from Gen 6). Nevertheless, such a view not only contradicts the Bible but also, ironically, the Book of Mormon! These two books are canon; those earlier speculations about a sexual conception are not. Additionally, the Mormon Church has published several statements over the years, including “official proclamations,” which affirm Mary’s virginal conception. This is the doctrine of the Church. Are you unaware of all these official statements? I’d say it would take maybe 45 seconds to find them on the Church’s website. Let me know if you want a link.
As I think about this situation, it gives me pause and moves me to question, well, there’s no easy way to say it, your due diligence, at least in some areas. I don’t expect you to be an expert on Mormonism. I imagine that these false claims were honest mistakes. But how is it that an academic of your stature feels comfortable asserting these kinds of claims to the public without first doing his due diligence? If I didn’t know anything about Mormonism, as many of your listeners probably don’t, I would have a fundamentally mistaken understanding of the religion from your portrayal.
As a side note, I also fail to appreciate the ungracious remark that “Mormonism is full of really strange ideas.” As you’ve related on occasion, some fellow evangelicals consider your own views strange. So what? Your calling Mormonism “strange” isn’t a scholarly assessment as much as a reflection of your personal attitude towards it. I wish you had been more gracious.
Mormonism is strange any way you look at it. I find this less as a statement and more of a fact !
American Evangelicals are strange to many European and Orthodox Christians. Christianity, generally, is strange to many atheists and other theists. Judgments of “strangeness” are relative to a person’s point of view.
Btw, a “fact,” by definition, is a statement….
Since these NT authors were messaging that Jesus reversed the effects of Hermon, is it reasonable to conclude they believed that the watchers, nephilim, Joshua events were reality?
If that’s reasonable, it seems the hermeneutic some teach( which I respect whether I agree or not) that either this stuff is myth or if it is reality, the ancient Jewish scribes erroneously assumed it was directed by YHWH. The “seeing through a glass more darkly” pre Christ all violence is wrong hermeneutic.