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Three Churches of Mormonism (Part 8 of 9)

The late Dr. John Pratt says there are 3 churches of Mormonism. He’ll talk about the purpose that each church fulfills.

John:  The restoration branches. This is really important. There are three main restoration branches, and the Lord has worked with all three of them, and each one is doing a job. Brigham Young, even though he wasn’t a high priest, he did have the keys of an apostle. What’s the job of an apostle? It’s to spread the gospel over the world. What’s the main thing the LDS Church has done? It’s spread the gospel all over the world. The Book of Mormon has gone everywhere. That’s wonderful. That’s amazing. It’s a true book. So that was the job of the LDS Church. Sure, they got off track on other stuff, okay. Alright, the Sacrament’s not perfect.

John:  This is something–oh, there’s a whole story about lineal succession, which is another story. I’ll just say it very briefly. Joseph Smith made it clear that his successor was to be his son, Joseph Smith, the third. He was ordained, anointed and ordained in the presence of several people who testify of that. But he’s only 11 years old at the martyrdom. Somebody had to be the guardian of the Church until he was old enough. Sidney Rigdon, he’s known to have stood up and said, “I’ll be the guardian until that time,” in the big debate. Then Brigham Young gets up and says that the Twelve can be. They vote for the Twelve.

John:  In any case, the Temple Lot did keep it, no matter who was suing them. So, the Temple Lot people have kept the temple lot. The others have the lineage and Mormons have the [missionary work.] But, they’re all important, and right now they’re all coming together. The apostles in this new church, two of them are from the Temple Lot and I think one is from Reorganized and one is from LDS. So, they’re coming together.

John:  There are prophecies in Isaiah about this.

John definitely has an unusual interpretation for this Isaiah prophecy. Check out our conversation….

John says the LDS, RLDS, and Temple Lot Churches all play big roles in the Restoration.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with John!

592:  What’s in Sealed Book of Mormon?

591:  Hofmann Question of Brazil Plates

590:  Brazil Golden Plates

589:  John Pratt’s Spiritual Journey

588:  Dating Problems with First Vision

587:  Dating First Vision

586:  Dating Christ’s Birth

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*Comparing Mormons & Pentecostals (Part 8 of 8)

Dr. Christopher Thomas of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary discusses similarities and differences with Mormon Culture. We also learn about the structure of the various Pentecostal Churches.

Chris:  Well, the version of Pentecostalism I grew up in is the Holiness tradition. And there were real clear kind of dress mores. I mean, the women seem to bear a disproportionate amount of the weight of those. In my tradition, women were really looked down on if they didn’t wear dresses or something similar to a dress.  They couldn’t wear pants, for example. [They] sure couldn’t do that in church, but just in normal attire. I remember, as a boy, hearing discussions of women who worked in factories saying, “Well, I know, we’re not supposed to, but it is not decent for me to not wear pants being up on the next floor. The people can see up their dresses,” etc. We were pretty concerned about what we called unnecessary jewelry. Now, not all Pentecostals would have been like that. Bu it was an attempt to deal, I think, with ostentatious displays. We were teetotalers, and still are in our tradition. We don’t have anything like, well, early on, there was a question about whether you can drink Coca Cola or not, because early, early on it had a bit of coke (cocaine) in it.

GT:  Right.

Chris:  So, we may not have been completely wrong about that one. One of the big differences would be that dancing was taboo.

GT:  Right, Footloose.

Chris:  That’s right, completely taboo. So, those kinds of negotiating the culture always presented a challenge.

GT:  I think you went through my interviews, and I think you told me you skipped one, and it was with Joseph Freeman. He grew up in the Holiness Church. One of the things he told me was, they didn’t, at least in his congregation, I don’t think this is Pentecostal-wide, but they didn’t even like you to do sports.

Chris:  Well, when I was a young guy, I mean, pre-ten, I remember that there was a brother in our church who was a leader in our church. He was what we called the Councilman.  He left the council, because he went to see his son play. It may have been football or basketball regularly. I remember talking to my parents about it and saying, “What’s that about?”  It was interesting how discerning their response was because it was a mixture of, “Well, there are people in the church that don’t believe that we should be going to these worldly amusements. But he really loves this son so much that he’s willing to make this sacrifice.” Of course, within a few years, that was not an issue anymore. But my dad started teaching a Sunday School class. He was a really good athlete, my dad, and he got a little bit of criticism when he would take the young men that he was working with, rent a high school gym and have the time of playing basketball together. So, there were people that had these really rigid notions.

GT:  And, every [LDS] Church has a basketball court.  (Chuckling)

Chris:  Right? Well, we should have known more Mormons. (Chuckling)

In some ways, the Holiness tradition seems more strict than Mormons.  Do you agree?  To check out our final conversation with Chris, be sure that you’re signed up for our free newsletter so I can send you a link to the final part.  Go to https://gospeltangents.com/newsletter

Dr. Chris Thomas compares Mormons & Pentecostals.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Dr. Thomas!

584: Pentecostals in Book of Mormon

583: Troubling Stories in Scripture

582: Protestant Theology in Book of Mormon?

581: Tongue-Speech in Book of Mormon

580: Pentecostal View of Book of Mormon Theology

579: Is Book of Mormon a Pacifist Book?

578: Pentecostal Theologian Gives Book of Mormon the Bible Treatment

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Pentecostals in Book of Mormon (Part 7 of 8 Chris Thomas)

As we’ve mentioned before, publication of the Book of Mormon pre-dates the Pentecostal movement by almost 8 decades. What are some examples? Dr. Christopher Thomas teaches at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, and he shares his thoughts about speaking in tongues in the Book of Mormon.

Chris:  Then, the next big section of the book, I wanted to put the Book of Mormon into conversation with Pentecostalism.

GT:  Right. Yeah, that’s where I wanted to go next. That’s awesome.

Chris:  I started with these kind of proto-Pentecostals with whom there seems to have been some connection with the restoration. There was this Irvingite pastor who met with Joseph Smith in Kirtland. I think it was 1835. He proposed an amalgamation because the Catholic Apostolic Church believed in the restoration of apostles, prophets, etc. and in the gifts of the Spirit. So, it’s documented that there was this meeting. Smith, or one of his assistants, apparently respond to this, but several years later. Some, I think it’s Bruce Van Orden, argues that this piece, it may have been the Times and Seasons, was not written by Smith, but by one of his subordinates.

GT:  W.W. Phelps, probably.

Chris:  Yes, thanks for that. In part, because apparently, Joseph is acknowledging certain status issues for women. But part of the reason the Irvingites get rejected, in this article, is because of the role women played at the beginning of the movement. So, that’s been an interesting tension that people have picked up on. I wanted to look at that. I wanted to look at this guy named John Alexander Dowie. Dowie, I think he may have been Scottish. He wound up in Australia. His daughter nearly dies. He becomes a healing evangelist. He comes to the United States, passes through Salt Lake. It’s in older newspapers, Dowie’s story, and he wants to be an apostle in the LDS church. When they explain that’s not quite how it works, Dowie castigates them all, moves to Chicago and establishes Zion, Illinois.

GT:  Oh.

Chris:  Then, you can track it in the newspapers. He sends word to Salt Lake that he’s bringing 3000, I think it was, evangelists and he’s going to convert the lot of Mormons.

GT:  John Hamer spoke about this at John Whitmer a couple of years ago.

Chris:  Did he?  The brethren said, “Well, come on.” What people didn’t know was that Dowie was going to reveal that polygamy was to be lived out in Mexico, and this was right in the middle of the mopping up period. This was 1890s.

GT:  Right. Mormons were doing that, anyway.

Chris:  That’s right. Then, there was this guy who some look upon as the founder of Pentecostalism who believed in British Israelism. His name was [Charles F.] Parham. [He was] very similar to the man who did the concordance on the Book of Mormon, George Reynolds.

GT:  Oh, George Reynolds was also the guy who the Supreme Court case was about for polygamy.[1]

Chris:  That’s right. That’s right, and Reynolds was very similar in the British Israelism. Now, I was never able to quite connect Parham. I’d heard him a rumor that he had been laughed off a stage in the Independence group. But I could never track that down. But I tried to ease into things that way. Then I looked at early Pentecostal responses to the Book of Mormon and Mormonism in the early Pentecostal periodical literature. The very first one was amazingly generous, because somebody had written into the paper and said, “Why don’t you talk about the Mormons speaking in tongues?” The editor kind of castigates the Mormons, “They’re not trustworthy,” blah, blah, blah. Then he says, “But when I lived in the Rocky Mountains in the 1870s, I came across this older woman, who seemed to be a real saint of God, who told me that the Mormons were like the old time Methodists.” He said, “It reminded me of the text that said, ‘God may have a people even among these people.'” Well, I didn’t expect that. Because it’s usually knives and daggers, right? So, nobody have ever done that.

[1] For a brief summary of legal issues, see https://www.oyez.org/cases/1850-1900/98us145

What are your thoughts on the connections between Pentecostals & Mormons?  Check out our conversation….

Dr. Chris Thomas discusses pentecostal passages in the Book of Mormon.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Thomas.

583: Troubling Stories in Scripture (C. Thomas)

582: Protestant Theology in Book of Mormon? (C. Thomas)

581: Tongue-Speech in Book of Mormon (C. Thomas)

580: Pentecostal View of Book of Mormon Theology

579: Is Book of Mormon a Pacifist Book? (C. Thomas)

578: Pentecostal Theologian Gives Book of Mormon the Bible Treatment