There are times to make a response to certain issues, and there are times to simply keep silent and let the issue pass because in reality it just isn't worth responding to. However, in this case, I felt a response should be made regarding Kerry Shirts, aka, the Backyard Professor, on a little issue regarding C.S. Lewis and Mormon deification. Now for those of you who are unaware, I've had past confrontations with Mr. Shirts regarding Mormon deification, which you can read in entirety here. The links to my videos (found in the same article) will contain a further link to the actual Facebook discussion which you can also read in entirety. In this article and my videos, I proved from various sources Mr. Shirt's obvious distortions of history, biblical texts, and the holy fathers. But funnily enough, right after I posted my videos to the actual Facebook discussion, Mr. Shirts quickly dismissed them as "worthless" and made no attempt whatsoever to answer any of the documentation I had provided. That said, a woman by the name of Carol entered the discussion and posted the following:
The Mormon Church claims to be Christian, but a cursory examination of its teachings indicate it is far from Christianity. The Mormon church is polytheistic, teaching that there a many gods, but that they only worship one god who they have named Elohim. They say that Jesus was the first born spirit baby of Elohim and one of his celestial wives - all people on earth are spirit children of Elohim, Jesus just happened to be the first. All people on earth have the potential to become gods and goddesses, just like Elohim, however they must do so through the secret temple rituals of the Mormon Church and by obedience to that sect. Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Mormon church was originally a Sabellian/Trinitarian in terms of his teaching on the godhead, but as he sunk deeper and deeper into his own self-deception, he began to teach that there were many gods, and that he could become a god (reminds me of Lucifer). Smith was a charlatan, he defrauded his own people of their money in the Kirtland anti-banking scandal and also claimed that his god ordered him to marry the wives of other men. For those who doubt this, I suggest you read "In Sacred Loneliness" by Compton, who is a Mormon researcher. Smith had himself crowned King of the world shortly before he was killed by a mob who he had enraged by his claims and his treasonous acts (invading Missouri with a private army, for starters). Brigham Young saved the cult by leading it West. Mormons would like to forget their history, and the stuff the missionaries tell you is a total whitewash of Mormonism. It is cultic to the core with different gods, a works salvation that mocks Christ's atoning sacrifice as sufficient for salvation, and its claims to a priesthood. The cult was based on Campbellite theology at first, which was introduced by Sidney Rigdon, an early apostate Campbellite who joined the Mormons (Rigdon's grandson states that Rigdon and Smith devised the Book of Mormon, by the way).
Don't be deceived by Mormonism - it is, and always has been, a giant scam. It will seduce you with all kinds of claims to authority, and eventually get you involved and forking over money to the brethren (who use it to build their temples and parking lots). Most people are not very knowledgeable about Mormonism (including many Mormons). They don't tell you the truth about their more esoteric doctrines, and even their former prophet, Hinckley, said he didn't know much about their doctrine that god was once a man (speaking of Elohim - who they believe was a man on another planet and evolved to godhood, and became Jesus' father and ours).
Stay away from it. If you want to know more about Mormonism and other groups, a good place to start is to go to this site, an apologetics discussion site: http://www.christiandiscussionforums.org/v/index.php
If you want more information on Mormonism specifically, the best site on the net is Utah Lighthouse Ministry: http://www.utlm.org/
or Sean McCraney's: "Heart of the Matter" TV show - many segments on Youtube.
I have written and taught on Mormonism for many years, and will be glad to answer any questions. Carol Meng Hogan
Mr Shirt's promptly replied with a dosage of ad hominem and a few other remarks which really didn't even touch upon the subject at hand. However later on he posted the following:
Carol claims to be an expert on Mormonism and she argues against the idea that mankind can become like God. She disparages this teaching. She is wrong against it since it is Biblical, enough Biblical that even C.S. Lewis understood it to mean what we Mormons understand it to mean.
I get this from the FAIR Wiki, a source Carol obviously is ignorant of, or willing to ignore, which will be her complete dismantling as I will show you the truth which she refuses to present. And then I will present a link to show you what *real* scholarship on this issue is all about, as opposed to her snivvling. The link is by a real scholar of the scriptures, not a snivvling angry and obviously distraught woman who shows she is completely confused on the scriptures.
"LDS doctrine on this controversial issue is akin to the equally controversial but powerful teaching of C.S. Lewis on this topic. Let me begin with a quote from his book, Mere Christianity (Collier Books, MacMillan Publ. Co., New York, 1943; paperback edition, 1960; p. 160 - the last paragraph of Chapter 9, "Counting the Cost," in Book IV):
"The command Be ye perfect [Matt. 5:48] is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and he is going to make good His words. If we let Him - for we can prevent Him, if we choose - He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what he said."
That quote, coupled with Romans 8:14-18, sums up much of my personal beliefs on this issue. Yes, there is a widely denounced LDS concept known as "plurality of gods" which teaches that humans are sons and daughters of God - His offspring (Acts 17:28) - capable of becoming more like Him by accepting the fullness of the Gospel and grace of Christ (see also John 10:34; Matt. 5:48). The possibility of multiple "godlike" beings may be what Paul referred to when he said there are "gods many and lords many, but to us there is but one God, the Father" (1 Cor. 8:5,6) and what David meant in Psalm 8:4,5 when he said that man is "a little lower than the gods" (KJV gives "lower than the angels" but the Hebrew word is "gods" - I guess it was just too painful for the translators to put down the correct word)."
The link showing why Carol is confused, disoriented, and unwilling to respond to.
After reading that I just couldn't let it go so easily. There have been too many misconceptions about this particular issue, and anyone reading it who does not have a correct understand of Lewis will fall into the Mormon trap of "See? C.S. Lewis believed what we believe!" which is just utterly false all the way through. My response is as follows:
First, thank you Kerry for continually demonstrating the childish tactics I have always said accompany Mormon apologists. No matter how often I may tell people, they'll never fully understand unless they see one apologist follow through with this kind of behaviour.
Secondly, I'd like to address Mr. Shirt's horrible misuse of the great C.S. Lewis. Folks, if you look back earlier into this dialogue, and watch my videos which I have posted, you will find the issues of 'apotheosis' and 'theosis' already address. If you haven't had a chance to look through them and examine the evidence, here is the link: http://aquinas-martin.blogspot.com/2009/07/discussion-with-backyard-professor.html
As one possessing a copy of Mere Christianity, I can assure you Mr. Shirt's quote of Lewis is correct. However, it is not in the context of Lewis. This is the real issue. Why doesn't Mr. Shirts mention the C.S. Lewis also wrote this:
What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man makes is not man. That is why men are not Sons of God in the sense that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God. (Beyond Personality, p. 12-13)
"They may be like God IN CERTAIN WAYS, BUT THEY ARE NOT THINGS OF THE SAME KIND."
Now folks, you have intelligence. Look at the quotes which I specifically lay out from Gospel Principles, the writings of Joseph Smith and Bringham Young (which you can also find earlier in this dialogue) and then compare them with what C.S. Lewis actually said. Do we see a Mormon-theology in Lewis' work? Nah, I didn't think so either. But you see folks Mormon apologists, such as Kerry Shirts, fail to give us this kind of information. Do you still think Lewis believed in Mormon apotheosis?
"FOR WE ARE ONLY CREATURES; our role must always be that of patient to agent, female to male, mirror to light, echo to voice. Our highest activity must be response, not initiative. To experience the love of God in a true, and not an illusory form, is therefore to experience it as our surrender to His demand, our conformity to His desire." (The Problem of Pain, p. 51)
"As our Earth is to all the stars, so doubtless are we men and our concerns to all creation; as all the stars are to space itself, so are all creatures, all thrones and powers and mightiest of the created gods, to the abyss of the self-existing Being, who is to us Father and Redeemer and indwelling Comforter, but of whom no man nor angel can say nor conceive what He is in and for Himself, or what is the work that he “maketh from the beginning to the end.” For they are all derived and unsubstantial things. Their vision fails them and they cover their eyes from the intolerable light of utter actuality, which was and is and shall be, which never could have been otherwise, which has no opposite." (Ibid, 153-154)
Mormon theology in Lewis' writings? Seriouslly? I would ask if Mormon apologists, particularly Kerry Shirts, are aware that the Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican churches are among the most prominent that teach the ancient Christian doctrine of theosis? 'Theosis', as you will discover if you watch my videos, is a monumentous difference from 'apotheosis', which is what Mormonism essentially teaches. With this in mind, it becomes all too clear to us that what Lewis is teaching is theosis. All you need do is read his writings, and I encourage you all to do so WITHIN CONTEXT. Oh, did I also mention that Lewis in those same writings, in agreement with the Church, condemned anthropomorphism, viz., attributing God-like characteristics to humans or animals? Did I also mentioned that he encourages all Christians to defend Christendom as taught by the church fathers, defined in the Creeds (which are abominations to the Mormon God's eyes by the way...) and passed on through Apostolic Succession? Did Kerry mention that? Why no, for this would totally demolish his biased, and consequently, deceptive presentation of C.S. Lewis.
That, as well as Mr. Shirt's disgusting verbal abuse to Carol, truly makes one wonder just what kind of Christian love Mormon apologists actually have, if any? I mean, he dogmatically asserts that the information he provides in his link will just terrify her so much she won't respond. Really? Goodness, we can just imagine the countless errors in his article, but I do enourage you the readers to read it, and make a comparison with the sources he cites. It's quite amazing to see how far Mormon apologists will go to make their claims presentable. Classic deception. But hey, why should that bother Kerry Shirts? After all, if it takes a little lieing, twisting of the facts, and ad hominem to get the *gospel* across, then so be it. Well, we wouldn't want to detain Mr. Shirts from doing the "work". So instead of bothering him about the subject, why not take a little time and do some researching and seriously scrutinize the "arguments", just for fun :-). You will find evidence quite to the contrary of Mormon claims, as I have just demonstrated with the case of C.S. Lewis, a true Christian warrior.
I really do hope this proves useful and educational to anyone reading. Remember folks, when one is in such spiritual darkness, as Mormons are, they will go even this low to defend their outrageous claims. It's a sad thing to watch, it truly is. This is why the Christian Church should be on the offensive against such vicious attacks, and present the true Gospel of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ with a spirit of meekness and love; meekness, I said, not weakness, as so many are prone to do nowadays.
The peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always. Amen.