Monday, October 12, 2009

Was Jesus an impostor?

The First Presidency's "doctrinal guidebook," True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, defines the plan of salvation as follows:

"The plan of salvation is the fulness of the gospel. It includes the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel." [1]

The plan of salvation incorporates three events:  the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement.  These are the three most important events in the entire history of man.  Moroni teaches that God "created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.  Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man."  (Morm. 9:11-12.).

Quoting Moroni further, President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

"The Book of Mormon Saints knew that the plan of redemption must start with the account of the fall of Adam.  In the words of Moroni,  ' By Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ,... and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man'  (Morm. 9:12).

"Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.

"No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind." [2]

Darwin's theory of evolution

Today, the perception of overwhelming evidence supporting Darwin's theory of evolution leads some Mormons to believe that scriptural accounts of the Creation and the Fall must be interpreted figuratively.  Why then is the Atonement not also a figurative event?

"If the hypothesis of evolution be true, if man is only a product evolved from the lower forms of life, better still producing better, until the highest type of intellectual manhood crowns with glory this long continued process—then it is evident that there has been no  ' fall,'  such as the revelations of God speak of; and if there was no fall, there was no occasion for a Redeemer to make atonement for man, in order to reconcile him to God; then the mission of Jesus Christ was a myth, the coinage of idle brains, and Jesus himself was either mistaken, or one of the many impostors that have arisen to mock mankind with the hope of eternal life." [3]

Did Jesus mock mankind with the hope of eternal life?  Was Jesus an impostor?


[1]  True to the Faith, s.v. "Plan of Salvation," p.115.

[2]  Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1987, p.85.

[3]  B. H. Roberts, "Man's Relationship to Deity," Contributor, April 1889, 10:212; found also in The Gospel and Man's Relationship to Deity, 2nd edition, 1893; as quoted from the 7th edition, 1928, pp.266-267.

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