Robert M. Bowman Jr.

Some of the religious activities of the LDS church are similar to the activities of most Christian chur-ches. In some important respects, Mormons view the sacrament much the same way that most evan-gelical Protestants do. While acknowledging these substantial similar-ities, we should also re-cognize some important differences.
In this response to chapter 7 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles, we compare LDS teaching about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to the Bible’s teaching, and focus especially on the issues of the identity, indwelling, and witness of the Holy Ghost.
The belief that if we are good enough or obedient enough God will kindly forgive us for our shortcomings and grant us entrance into the celestial kingdom is a far cry from what the Bible means by faith in Christ. To have faith in Christ means to trust in him alone for our salvation. It means depending on Christ alone.
Looking at Chapter 2 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles in light of what the Bible clearly teaches. Do you have a mother in heaven?
The LDS conception of priesthood represents a rejection of the biblical teaching that God is the absolutely unique Creator in whom all power eternally and intrinsically resides. Rather than viewing the personal Creator God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ as the ultimate, eternal Power, LDS doctrine identifies as that ultimate Power an impersonal force called "the Priesthood" that both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ attained through a process of exaltation.
Mormons and evangelicals have considerable agreement about the family. Yet they also have some very significant differences in their beliefs about the family as it pertains to its relationship to heaven or eternity.
A list of online articles, periodical articles, and books on the subject, including many by LDS authors
Some doctrinal issues are less important than others. Such is the case when it comes to matters pertaining to the Sabbath and other religious special days and observances. Understanding why these things are not to be treated as essential matters of the Christian faith is important. We turn to consider briefly three questions in relation to the LDS teachings and practices pertaining to the Sabbath and fast days.
In this article, we examine what the Bible says about praying to and worshipping Jesus Christ, and consider what God must be like—and what the Bible says he is like—in order to hear and answer prayer.
There is no question about the fact that repentance is an essential aspect of the gospel—or more precisely of our response to the gospel. But what is repentance? In this article, we will examine what chapter 19 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles says about repentance and compare it with the teaching of the New Testament.
This study, in two parts, examines the final chapter of Gospel Principles and its teaching that men can become gods. Part One looks at the historical background to the LDS teaching on 'exaltation' and where it conflicts with LDS scriptures.
Start here for a simple, clear overview of the basic issues concerning the Book of Abraham.
Looking at Chapter 3 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles: Is Jesus God, or just an exalted spirit child?
The idea of priesthood offices and the roles determined by them are integral to the hierarchy and structure of the LDS church. However, when compared to the Bible both in function and in principle, one can see that the LDS concept of priesthood offices and roles differs greatly from the same roles and their function in the biblical context.
Some doctrinal issues are less important than others. Such is the case when it comes to matters pertaining to the Sabbath and other religious special days and observances. Understanding why these things are not to be treated as essential matters of the Christian faith is important. We turn to consider briefly three questions in relation to the LDS teachings and practices pertaining to the Sabbath and fast days.
The teaching of the LDS Church that tithing is an obligation or “law” is not particularly unusual. What is unusual and worth careful evaluation is the teaching of the LDS Church that those who tithe are promised to be spared from the fiery judgment at Christ’s second coming.
In this article, we examine what the Bible says about prophets - who they are, what they do and how do we identify true from false. We also look at what the LDS Church says about prophets, especially the men that lead the Mormon religion today.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like virtually all other professing Christian churches, practices a rite of baptism. In this article, we will examine some key differences between evangelical and LDS views of baptism that are reflected in the chapter.
Part Two of this study looks at how LDS teaching on exaltation (and what it implies about the nature of God and man) matches up to what the Bible teaches.
This article examines the claims made in Gospel Principles, chapter 4, and discusses how the claims of preexistence and free moral will compare with what the Bible teaches.
Covenant Theology is a critical part of interpreting both Mormonism and Christianity. Starting with the Abrahamic Covenant, one must take a careful look at God's covenants with his people, and the important differences between LDS covenant theology and historical Biblical covenant theology.
A brief, simple overview of the issue of race and the priesthood in Mormonism, especially intended for those needing a quick explanation.
The focus of this chapter of Gospel Principles is on “the Word of Wisdom,” found in Doctrine & Covenants 89. Much could be said about this subject, but we will limit ourselves to one important question: Is the Word of Wisdom really a revelation from God?
In this study, we will put the LDS missionary movement in its historical and religious context, and then give some attention to the message that LDS missionaries are spreading throughout the world.
This article responds to the LDS doctrine as laid out in chapter 21 of Gospel Principles. It addresses the following key questions: What is the “gift of the Holy Spirit”? Is a ritual required to receive the gift? Who can give us this gift? How can we recognize the Holy Spirit?
In this study, we will examine what chapter 46 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles teaches about the important subject of judgment, including the LDS doctrines concerning the various possible eternal destinations of human beings and how those relate to the gospel of salvation
It’s natural for those who have lost confidence in their religion, such as Mormonism, to ask whether it still makes sense to believe in God or Jesus Christ. These resources will help anyone struggling with such fundamental questions.
A Scriptural study of the creation theology found in Gospel Principles Chapter 5. This Bible Study Guide focuses on the importance of a single, infinite creator, and differentiates between Him and His creation.
Covenant Theology is a critical part of interpreting both Mormonism and Christianity. Starting with the Abrahamic Covenant, one must take a careful look at God's covenants with his people, and the important differences between LDS covenant theology and historical Biblical covenant theology.
Peter says believers have become “partakers of the divine nature.” Does this statement support the Mormon doctrine of humans becoming Gods?
In this study, we will not be offering any critique of these two chapters of Gospel Principles. Instead, we will discuss the relevance of the two basic Christian values of love and truthfulness that the two chapters so commendably articulate to a very controversial issue: the expression of religious and theological disagreements between Mormons and evangelical Christians.
A detailed, point-by-point response to the December 2013 article on LDS.org
There is probably no topic or doctrine like that of the person and work of Jesus Christ in which there is so much agreement and disagreement between the LDS and biblical Christian teachings. In this chapter we look at extensive points on both sides, as well as how the LDS Church justifies making changes to the historic and biblical teachings on Jesus Christ.
In this response to chapter 22 of the LDS doctrinal manual Gospel Principles, we will put this question in historical and biblical context. We will then discuss some of the more important claims that the LDS Church makes with regard to its “restoration” of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
This article discusses the Mormon doctrines on the Fall, and on Adam, and compares them to the Bible. Answers questions about Adam and the Ancient of Days, and Michael the Archangel.
The LDS Church’s claim to be the restoration of the original, only true church on the earth is obviously foundational to its very existence. If it is indeed such a restoration, then all believers in Christ ought to unite with the LDS Church. On the other hand, if it is not the restoration it claims to be, then its very reason for existence falls to the wayside.
Turning to chapter 38, which focuses specifically on eternal marriage, we will address two questions. (A) Is there any biblical basis or support for the doctrine of eternal marriage? (B) What is the real origin of the Mormon doctrine and practice of eternal marriage?
In Revelation 3:21, Jesus says that we will sit down on his throne. Does that mean we will become Gods like him?
Looking at Chapter 1 of the LDS manual Gospel Principles in light of what the Bible clearly teaches.
Did Jesus really bleed from every pore in Gethsemane? Was this what paid for our sins? In Mormon theology, does the atonement guarantee eternal life for anyone? Mormons and Christians share important terms that relate to forgiveness and eternal life, but define and understand these terms in radically different ways. This article explores these key concepts that define our eternal destiny.
Evangelical Christians have some fundamental disagreements with the LDS view of salvation and works. Unfortunately, there is widespread misunderstanding (and not just among Mormons) as to what the evangelical view of works really is. The two chapters of Gospel Principles under discussion here provide an excellent opportunity to clarify this issue.
An easy-to-follow historical overview of Mormon teaching on the subject from Joseph Smith to the present, with links to relevant resources
A look at how this LDS Scripture is used out of context to justify using feelings to know truth.

Canon

Doctrine

Historical

Take the 2004 ABC documentary with a grain of salt.

Inerrancy

This article explains why anyone who believes in Jesus ought to believe Scripture to be inerrant because Jesus viewed Scripture that way.

Mormonism and the Bible

Robert M. Bowman Jr. examines the Filson quote cited by LDS apologists, and carefully and concisely puts it into its proper context, demonstrating how Mormon apologists misuse the quote and misrepresent the thrust of Filson’s arguments.

Primary-source documentation from early Mormon leaders:

Questions About Mormonism

The Joseph Smith Translation

Several changes to the book of Hebrews in Joseph Smith’s “translation” reflect Smith’s lack of understanding of the Bible.
Is the LDS view that the Bible is corrupted and untrustworthy a fair and accurate assessment? Did Joseph's changes to the Bible restore parts that were lost from the original manuscripts? In this response to GP chapter 10 we provide an overview and short evaluation of each of the major Mormon scriptures and how they compare to one another and the Bible.

The Restoration

This article looks at Amos 8:11-12 in its historical and biblical context and responds to the Mormon claim that this passage predicts a total apostasy.

Translation

Joseph Smith claimed to have over a dozen visitations from the angel (resurrected being) Moroni as well as a dozen or so other visions or visitations from heaven, most famously his “first vision” in which he says he saw the Father and the Son in 1820. This article lists these reported experiences of Joseph Smith and provides basic information and references for each of them.
Detailed, multi-page outline citing about a thousand biblical texts, showing that the doctrine of the Trinity is deeply grounded in the teaching of the Bible.
Robert M. Bowman discusses the appearance of large sections of the King James Version of the Bible in the Book of Mormon, and how much of the Bible Joseph Smith may have memorized.
Shows that the Mormon belief in Heavenly Mother is not taught in the Mormon scriptures or by Joseph Smith, and explains the significance of this fact.
Turning to chapter 38, which focuses specifically on eternal marriage, we will address two questions. (A) Is there any biblical basis or support for the doctrine of eternal marriage? (B) What is the real origin of the Mormon doctrine and practice of eternal marriage?
A dozen or more of Joseph's plural wives were legally married to other men at the time. The evidence shows that he had sexual relations with at least some of these married women and even had at least one child by such a union.
Introduction to IRR's chapter-by-chapter study articles on Gospel Principles, with quotations from other LDS publications and careful discussions of the biblical teachings on each subject covered in the manual.

Additional Resources

A response to a 2003 FAIR lecture by Mormon Egyptologist Michael Rhodes entitled “The Book of Abraham: Dealing with the Critics.”

Alleged Early References to the First Vision

Some LDS apologists cite this article as evidence for the First Vision story—but “censor” the vision part of the account.
Some Mormon apologists have cited this newspaper parody of the Book of Mormon as the earliest reference to the First Vision—in some cases not even getting the date right.
This article examines an 1831 newspaper article that reported that Mormons were proclaiming that Joseph Smith had seen God—several times.
This statement is sometimes cited as the earliest reference in LDS scripture to the First Vision. Is it?

Biblical Topics

LDS Testimony

Is the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus a model of knowing something is true on the basis of a “burning” feeling in your heart? Rob Bowman explains why this is not the case by examining Luke 24:32 in context.