The Thrid Article of Faith

The LDS Third Article of Faith states, “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”  As with any religious statement, one ought to approach it with the intention of investigating its substance and have the source define their terms. To which laws are they referring?  And of which Gospel are they endorsing?

Paul’s inspired writing should be considered and weighed when evaluating such claims.  He opens his letter to the Galatians by confirming himself “an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father…” (Gal. 1:1).  In other words, what he is about to tell them does not come from himself but the One who is over him.  Judaizers at that time had come in leading Christians astray.  They wished to bind the Law of Moses, which was a large problem in the first century.  One of the purposes of Paul’s letter was to show sufficiency of the Gospel for man’s salvation.  He continues by offering a loving salutation as he always did while clarifying the authority and reason for Christ (Gal. 1:3-5).  He cared for the brethren and anytime he wrote or spoke it was out of love and wanting the best for them.

He then turns to the matter at hand by writing,

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:6-9).

Consider the connection between the Gospel, grace, and Christ.  The moment they turned to another “gospel” they were removed from the grace of Him.  Paul expected more out of them.  The cost of turning to another gospel was to be “accursed” (anathema, Gr.).  This is a much stronger word than the English translation and literally means “devoted to destruction.”  When one tampers with God’s word they will lose their soul.

Later in the letter he writes,

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain (Gal. 3:1-4).

John writes,

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds (2 Joh. 9-11).

In his letter to the Galatians Paul explains the Gospel that is to be followed today by making a comparison.  He writes, “But before faith came, we were kept under the [old] law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:23-26).  Everyone must follow the Gospel of Christ.  Anything outside or away from that, even if it appears religious, is unacceptable.  John warns, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 Joh 4:1).  If Mormon doctrine is in harmony with the Bible then there are no worries.  However, careful examination reveals that the Bible does differ with Mormon “laws and ordinances of the[ir] gospel” and exposes their doctrine to be unreliable in several areas.