As an active-going LDS-attendee, I can say with utmost assurance that what I’m saying is truth: Mormons don’t believe in Jesus. At least, not as Christians do.
Jesus Christ has been removed as the main character.
“Heavenly Father” took the central role.
Why is this?
Because Mormons are Jews who have only “begun” to believe in Christ, while God remains their central focus of worship.
I’m actually not criticizing the LDS church for not focusing on Christ; I think it’s great they believe in him at all.
But things in the LDS church weren’t always like this.
The change occurred in 1836 when the LDS church began gathering Jews instead of Gentiles. The Doctrine and Covenants sneakily indicates this. Observe the following:
D&C 19:27: “…my word to the Gentiles, that soon it may go to the Jew…”
D&C 90:9: “…unto the Gentiles first, and then, behold, and lo, they shall turn unto the Jews.”
D&C 107:35: “…and first unto the Gentiles and then unto the Jews.”
Then in Section 112, after the Kirtland Temple, in 1836:
4 Let thy heart be of good cheer before my face; and thou shalt bear record of my name, not only unto the Gentiles, but also unto the Jews; and thou shalt send forth my word unto the ends of the earth.
Joseph Smith gets a lot of flack for changing around his first vision. Compare his 1832 account to his 1838 account and you get a whole new picture of what happened.
Originally, the Lord appeared to Joseph and forgave him for his sins. Sounds like Christianity, doesn’t it? If only things had remained that simple!
In 1838, Joseph’s account includes being visited by both the Father and the Son, and the Father—the personage who addressed him—does all the talking. He goes on to say that all Christian creeds are an abomination, and that all preachers are corrupt.
I’m not saying that Joseph Smith made up these extra details; I’m suggesting that this retelling was God’s way to target a different audience. This account would not have resonated with the Gentiles.
The 1838-Joseph Smith was setting the stage for a Jewish cult to formulate into existence.
But those in the church are in good shape.
They have “begun” to believe in Christ, which is better than not believing in him at all.
The 1838-Book of Mormon had numerous changes made to it. Many passages that name Christ as the Eternal Father were changed to Christ being the “Son” of the Eternal Father.
This is all part of God’s glorious plan. Those in the LDS church would not have joined the Mormon church had it been Christ-focused. The LDS church had to appeal to the unbelieving Jews.
12 Now these things are written unto the remnant of the house of Jacob; and they are written after this manner, because it is known of God that wickedness will not bring them forth unto them; and they are to be hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time.
13 And this is the commandment which I have received; and behold, they shall come forth according to the commandment of the Lord, when he shall see fit, in his wisdom.
14 And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they may be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his most Beloved, his great and eternal purpose, in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant;
This is why the Book of Mormon changed its tune after 1836. It was simply providing a platform for unbelieving Jews to believe in Christ. It was not their scheduled time to come to a knowledge that Jesus is God.
2nd Nephi 26:
12 And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God;
When the church was gathering Gentiles, the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith taught perfectly clear that Christ was God. That’s why Joseph’s 1832 account had only one personage addressing him.
Alright, one last scripture….
2nd Nephi 30:
7 And it shall come to pass that the Jews which are scattered also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ shall also become a delightsome people.
8 And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth.
The Jews BEGIN to believe in Christ, and GATHER to America…
Then it comes to pass that the Lord God will commence his work among all nations!
That is the Marvelous Work.
Those in the LDS church will be the first ones to hear of this work. Those that are willing to graduate from their LDS way of thought will be able to embrace the fulness of the gospel and finally live it.