The Unjust Atonement
I cannot accept Mormonism at all because I cannot accept the Atonement of Christ.
It is the most basic principle of Mormonism; Jesus paid the price for our sins. I remember going to an EFY where the director stood up and announced that Christ had suffered everything that a man could suffer to pay that penalty. He suffered the pains of the starving child in Africa, the pain of losing a loved one, and the pains of depression. I used to look on these sufferings with admiration for Jesus’ love for me.
Mormons boast that they don’t believe in a literal hell but if Jesus suffered all the sufferings possible, he would have also suffered the pains of fire. If Jesus had not died for me, I would very literally have to burn in hell.
I don’t believe that I deserve to burn in hell. I have made mistakes. I’ve lied and I’ve treated some people in ways I shouldn’t but that doesn’t mean I deserve to burn in hell!
Christians say that God is so much greater than us that his standard is higher than our standard. His standard makes lustful thoughts equal to adultery and hate equal to murder. These so-called “high standards” do not make God more glorious. If a dictator in a Third World country said “I am so glorious that whenever anyone publishes something against me, I’ll place that person in a concentration camp where they will be tortured, and eventually executed,” we would be eager to have him thrown out of power.
According to Joseph Smith, the Atonement of Christ is the central doctrine of the Mormon faith. All other things are appendages to it. Because I can’t accept the Atonement, I cannot accept Mormonism.