Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Who Says that Jesus Christ is Not Enough?


I was giving somebody a ride recently when he volunteered that they had been to Temple Square in Salt Lake City where he learned about the Mormons. Then he said, "One thing I didn't like is the idea that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His Resurrection was not enough for salvation."

My mind raced to memories of Temple Square. I couldn't recall any exhibits with labels like, "Jesus: The Inadequate Messiah," "Why Jesus Christ Doesn't Cut It as Savior," "Why You Don't Need Jesus: How to Resurrect on Your Own," or "Do-It-Yourself Eternal Life." But could there be something new in the missionary discussions for visitors to Temple Square? "Hi, welcome to Temple Square. We'd like to tell you why Jesus really isn't enough for salvation."

Resisting the instinct to hit the passenger-side ejection button (a cool custom feature on my 1998 Toyota Camry), I asked where he got such a notion. Didn't get much of an answer to that question, but I'm confident that this "Jesus is not enough" argument isn't based on anything he learned at Temple Square, but from the spin of someone who is not trying to be fair and honest about the Church.

The real objection, it turns out, was the idea that we need to follow Jesus by doing what He said - i.e., the hideous concept of "keeping the commandments." I took a few moments to explain that Jesus Christ is the only source of salvation, that His infinite Atonement truly is enough for all of us and is what we all truly need, etc., and that, yes, we feel that we need to follow Jesus in a covenant relationship to gain access to the full blessings of His Atonement - not that we can "earn" one iota of our salvation by anything we do. I also reminded him that the objection may be more an issue of semantics than a real divide in our thinking, since we both insist that man must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved, and we both agree that human behavior will change to comply with the teachings of God as a result of that belief.

Though time was limited and I didn't want to press, I did remind my friend that there are several passages in the Gospels where Jesus was asked how one gains eternal life, and in response, he said things like, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt. 19:17). I asked if it would make sense to condemn a religion as non-Christian for accepting this basic teaching of Christ?

I hope he heard a few of these words.

187 comments:

Pops said...

I wonder if some of the reticence to acknowledge Christ's admonition to seek Eternal Life by obeying His commandments and following Him stems from the fact that it isn't always easy.

As G. K. Chesterton put it, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."

Kathleen said...

Jeff, something I don't understand about the Mormon faith is why extraneous things are necessary. For example, temple ordinances. According to some of the LDS prophets, they are necessary for exaltation. I thought Christ was all you need?

Can you clarify?

Mormanity said...

Ordinances that bring us into covenant relationships with Christ are not extraneous, but are part of following Him. Take baptism, for example. He set the example for all of us by being baptized, and then told us that no man can enter into heaven without that ordinance (John 3: 3-5). Baptism doesn't save us per se - though Peter said "baptism doth also now save us" in 1 Peter 3:20-21 - but accepting the covenant of baptism is part of the process of coming unto Christ and accepting the blessings He offers. Thus, it should be no surprise that Christ sent his disciples into the world to teach and baptize.

Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is part of the process of following Him. Partaking of the bread and wine/water in memory of Him is part of renewing covenants to follow Him. And the Temple brings us higher covenants to follow Him and receive the fullness of His Gospel. Christ is all we need - but He has given us a variety of tools to help us come unto Him and receive of the fulness of His blessings. We don't put on the divine nature in just one sudden step, but must progress and endure in the faith, as Peter teaches in 2 Peter 1.

Mormanity said...

Excellent question, Kathleen. I would say that ordinances that bring us into covenant relationships with Christ and that strengthen our relationship with Him are not extraneous, but are part of following Him. There is a strait and narrow path - not just one gate or one step, but a path that we are called to follow.

Take baptism, for example, which in my view occurs early on the path of following Christ. He set the example for all of us by being baptized, and then told us that no man can enter into heaven without that ordinance (John 3: 3-5). It's essential for our salvation. Baptism doesn't save us per se - though Peter said "baptism doth also now save us" in 1 Peter 3:20-21 - but accepting the covenant of baptism is part of the process of coming unto Christ and accepting the blessings He offers. Thus, it should be no surprise that Christ sent his disciples into the world to teach and baptize.

Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is part of the process of following Him. Partaking of the bread and wine/water in memory of Him is part of renewing covenants to follow Him. And the Temple brings us higher covenants to follow Him and receive the fullness of His Gospel. Christ is all we need - but He has given us a variety of tools to help us come unto Him and receive of the fullness of His blessings. We don't put on the divine nature in just one sudden step, but must progress and endure in the faith, as Peter teaches in 2 Peter 1.

Kathleen said...

Hmm, I don't think my last comment went through.

Jeff, I'm not sure I understand yet :). I don't see why more covenants are necessary if Christ's atonement covered us "once and for all". Or are they just for obedience and have no bearing on one's eternal destiny and state?

bassooner said...

I am reminded of Naaman, in 2 Kings ch. 5, who goes to Elisha to be healed of leprosy. He is told to wash in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman became angry at hearing this from a mere messenger; he was expecting Elisha himself to come to him and simply call on the name of the Lord and touch the spot of leprosy and he would be healed (which he certainly could have done). Heaven forbid that he should be commanded to do anything himself. Fortunately he was persuaded by his servant and went to wash in the Jordan and was healed.

In the final analysis, it is always by the grace of God that we receive any blessing, including salvation. However, we must demonstrate our faith by keeping his commandments and in our actions. We are always required to obey -- can the grace of God save us without obedience? Consider the man who came to Jesus and asked what he must do to obtain eternal life. Jesus' answer concluded with "go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (See Matt 19:16-26) This man had already been keeping the commandments but this was not enough, he failed (unless he repented later) to obtain eternal life because he would not obey in all things.

No, ordinances and observances do not save us, but we must show our faith by obeying the commandments of the Lord and by following Him. Part, if not all, of following Him is to do His will and we believe that it is His will that we observe all the ordinances He has given us to perform.

Mormanity said...

Kathleen, do you feel that the Atonement of Christ covers everybody without conditions - a universalist approach? Or are there conditions for accessing the blessings He offers?

From my perspective, there are absolutely conditions. For example, Acts 2:37-38 and other passages tells us that we must have faith, repent of our sin, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost. And then there are strict commandments from Paul and others against certain sins that can keep us out of the kingdom of God, if we do not repent. Christ also tells us that we must endure to the end to be saved (Matt. 24:13). Receiving salvation requires that we follow Jesus, and we do this by entering into a biblical covenant relationship with him. The covenants of baptism and the temple are tools to bring us more fully unto Christ, and are part of how we access the grace He has made available to us once and for all (meaning that no more sacrifice is needed, no other savior is needed - He has done everything for us, and now we just need to accept it and follow Him).

Kathleen said...

I'm definitely not a universalist! I guess I believe that it is those who have faith in Christ who will be saved, and true salvation results in obedience...which is simply a fruit of faith. When you talk about coming "fully unto Christ", I presume that is conditional upon your obedience?

Are "the blessings He offers" separate from the grace and salvation He brings?

And would one who follows the ordinances have a greater reward/be more "exalted" than one who is simply "saved"?

Food for thought!

bassooner said...

I had another thought on this subject of comparing grace and orinances to a refrigerator (or some similar object). A refrigerator will not work without electricity.

The purpose of a refrigerator is to preserve food by keeping it cold but without the electricity putting food in it will not preserve it, in fact it the results may be worse than not putting the food in there at all. Conversely, electricity may be available but without a refrigerator the food will not be preserved. It is only by the two working together that the food can be cooled.

Think of the electricity as Grace and the refrigerator as the ordinances of the Gospel. Electricity certainly provides the power to preserve the food but without the channel (the refrigerator) to make that power effective, it can do nothing. The ordinances of the Gospel are the means by which the Grace of God are make effective in our lives.

As a side note, even the Born Again christians require that you accept Jesus Christ through a prayer, doesn't that qualify as an action (read ordinance) we must perform? My observation is that no matter the religion, there are certain things (however simple they may be) that one must perform in order to make that religion effective in their lives -- and please disabuse me if I'm wrong.

Pops said...

Kathleen,

Let me turn the question around a little - do you think all should receive the same reward? A rich young man, apparently a believer, asked the Savior what he should do to receive eternal life. When told that he should give his riches to the poor and follow Christ, he went away sorrowing. Should he receive the same reward as Peter, who did give up all and served Christ to the end of his life?

Bassooner gives an excellent analogy about the relationship of grace and works. I would add only two things.

The first is that Christ, having atoned for our sins and having fulfilled the demands of justice, is in a position to require of us anything he desires. He could ask nothing of us, which is precisely what he asks of us in regard to the physical redemption, which is the resurrection.

In terms of a spiritual reward, what he asks of us is that we participate in a seemingly-impossible project, that of changing our natures. Of course, it is impossible for us to change our natures unaided to any great degree (and even if we could it would not buy us salvation). Christ can change our natures, but he will not do it against our will or without our participation.

The second point, then, is that covenants are a formal commitment from us that we will endeavor to change our natures. His part of the covenant is that he will provide the means to actually effect the change in us. The blessing that accompanies the baptismal covenant, for example, is the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the continuous sanctifying companionship of a member of the Godhead.

If we do not make and keep those covenants, we will not benefit from those mechanisms that God has established to change our natures, it's as simple as that. We can still be saved and enjoy a kingdom of glory. Christ, by virtue of his atonement, offers a greater reward to those who will make and keep specific covenants, and who thereby experience such a change in their natures that they are both worthy and capable of greater glory.

[A third point, which I will only mention, is that the specific covenants or saving ordinances must necessarily be administered by authorized agents of Christ - how could it be otherwise?]

Bookslinger said...

Kathleen:

In LDS teachings, it is very clear that "exaltation" includes, but goes far beyond mere "salvation."

The missionaries teach this in their standardized presentations.

Investigators and recent converts are taught this in the "Gospel Essentials" Sunday school class.

The manual used in that Sunday school class is called "Gospel Principles, and can be read online here.

You can also buy a copy here.

Of, if you visit Sunday services at an LDS chapel, they'll give you a free copy in the actual Sunday school class.

I'm impressed. You're asking all the right questions! Keep going!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for the friendly dialogue, all :).

Bassooner, nice analogy! Do you believe this to be biblical? Would you share your references?

Pops, good point about rewards. The Bible does say that we will be rewarded according to our works (Rev. 1.6, 22.1), not saved though. Where do you get the idea that covenants are commitments from us? In Scripture, they are often unilateral, where it is done by God. Genesis 15 is a good example.

Bookslinger, your name is fitting ;). Somewhere I thought Jeff said that salvation and exaltation were basically the same. Would you define the difference for me, please? (And thanks for the GD link!)

Pops said...

I don't think there is anything in the definition of the word "covenant" that makes it inherently unilateral.

God sometimes does make unilateral covenants, such as his promise to Noah that he would not again flood the earth, or the promise of the resurrection made unconditionally to everyone.

Other covenants require some action or commitment on our part. Do you suppose the promises would have been made to Abraham if he were not obedient to the commandments of God? Would they not have been revoked if he had later rejected God?

It is unreasonable to assume that God would be so careless as to open heaven's gates to the unrighteous through the making of rash promises.

Bookslinger said...

Kathleen: others have explained the difference between exaltation and salvation much better than I can. See chapters 45, 46, and 47, of the Gospel Principles manual.

Jeff Lindsay (Mormanity) also has
good explanations about Exaltation versus Salvation here and here. In the latter link, Jeff goes over 5 definitions for "salvation", where one type of salvation is exaltation.

Jeff talks very plainly about humans become gods (exalted) here.

Surprisingly enough, the early christian fathers prior to the Nicene creed, also believed in exaltation. This was something that the early christian fathers plainly taught, that was later lost through what we call The Apostasy. Jeff gives quotes and links to some of those writings on the "theosis" page link.

NM said...
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Russtafarian said...

Kathleen:

Well, at least in the Christianity of Early America, covenants were not only seen to be reciprocal but also multilateral. If a person broke the covenant (see Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson or, for that matter, the king), then that person ought to be ousted from the covenantal relationship. Especially helpful is this article by Michael McGiffert's article on the "covenant of works" in early Puritan thought (http://www.jstor.org/cgi-bin/jstor/printpage/03610160/di008227/00p0536o/0.pdf?backcontext=page&dowhat=Acrobat&config=jstor&userID=80a3e517@uky.edu/01cce44060f45b115815f8ecb&0.pdf) (though I do not legitimize by beliefs based on this appeal; I only cite it as a common reference point). You can also read Michael Walzer's Revolution of the Saints for more information on how Puritans, because of their uncertainty concerning the will of God, made the most zealous of Saints, even revolutionary in their times.

As far as the biblical origins of a bilateral covenant, the Jews saw themselves as not only the inheritors but also the enactors of the Abrahamic covenant. If they didn't believe it involved a commitment, then there would have been fretting over keeping 617 some commandments.

And as far as the difference between salvation and exaltation, as a believing member, I actually find the difference to be arbitrary, more intended for easy digestion than for dead-on accuracy. If a person does not/cannot receive the fulness of God's blessings, then they are damned--a damnation, I would argue, they inflict upon themselves.

Thank you for the direct and polite questions. Unfortunately, some people start out this way and then later prove themselves to be deceivers who are attempting to get a rile out of the sometimes easily riled Mormons. :)

Russell said...

And NM...if I've said it once, I'll say a 67 times--it's grace plus nothing. You might not believe me, but we are actually more similar than you want to believe (granted, I'm not a Calvinist who believes in utter human depravity--but that's another can of worms). Baptism would mean nothing to me if Christ did not command it. Any "good" work would mean nothing (esp. since Christ said that even he should not be called good...heavens, if that's true, then what am I?).

Just a thought :)

Pops said...

Christ himself must have taught a false Gospel:

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." [Matthew 7:21]

Well, that was sarcasm. Christ did not teach a false Gospel. He taught that a man must obey his commandments if he wished to receive salvation. The power to save is through the atonement - it is grace. Works do not have the power to save, they only qualify one to receive grace. They are necessary, but not sufficient, if you understand that sort of thing.

Christ could save us all and require us to do nothing if he wished to do so. But he doesn't. He repeatedly stressed the importance of works - obedience, service, and sacrifice. He even taught that bad thoughts would disqualify us.

Is that a false Gospel?

Anonymous said...

NM, which false-gospel cultist said this: "If thou wilt enter into [eternal] life, keep the commandments."

a) Joseph Smith
b) Jeff Lindsay
c) Gordon B. Hinckley
d) Tony Blair
e) Britney Spears

or maybe Someone Else?

Hint: Matt. 19:17.

Kathleen said...

Russell: "Grace plus nothing" is exactly what evangelicals find so amazing :).

Regarding covenants, they tend to be done by God. He asks for faith, and he does the rest. In Gen 15, He walked b/w the pieces--Abram was asleep. A covenant does not have to be unilateral, but in Scripture they frequently are. Which leads to the question, "Is having faith 'doing' something?"

Any thoughts on my other questions?

pepektheassassin said...

We can just sit and do nothing, either good or bad, and we will be given the gift of eternal life. It is given freely to everyone because of Christ's Atonement. However, true 'exaltation' requires that we should do certain things: love our neighbor, do good to them who have despitefully used us, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, be honest with each other (do not steal, or bear false witness, or kill, honor our parents, etc) and follow Christ by doing what we have seen him do-- by accepting baptism, by taking the sacrament in remembrance of what he has done for us. These are the 'works' we are expected to 'do.' And G.K Chesterton was right. It isn't always easy, but it is necessary. Or, we can just sit and do nothing, and take Christ's gift of life because we are loved. But much more is expected of us.

Kathleen said...

What if one accepts Christ as saviour and then goes and murders someone or steals?

pepektheassassin said...

PS Even the most slothful servant will be 'saved,' as well as every prodigal son, and everyone who buries his talent and then just sits on it. But it is the son who stayed by his father's side and helped him all those years who is given "all" that his father has, the servant who takes the talents given to him and actually uses them who benefits the most.

Like the Beatles said: and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.... :)

pepektheassassin said...

You said it yourself: Trust those promises and obey those commands. Wait. The rewards are sweet.

NM said...
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Russell said...

Kathleen:

Your continued civility is always appreciated. The world would do better with it.

Hmmm...which questions? Perhaps more on the covenant...esp. why we participate in "more" covenants, so called?

Simply put, you are right on a key point--Christ's covenant does cover us...entirely. When we talk about "keeping our covenants," we members might do well to be more precise. Really, we should specify that we are keeping a particular part of the overarching "new and everlasting covenant," Latter Day Saint terminology for Christ's condescension to us in our "lost and fallen state"(don't sweat about the "new" word--that word is one meant to merely instruct us that we are in the latter days and that the covenant has been renewed with us). Yet Christ gives us commandments--commandments he knows we will fail in keeping entirely. The commandments are not there as a checklist; they are there to help us become more disciplined, become more humble. Hence, grace is inseparably entwined with our concept of obedience. To speak of one without the other is to be myopic.

You discuss how obedience is merely the fruit of faith and also mention that we need to define faith more clearly. Since we believe that grace and obedience are intertwined, it is difficult for me to say which proceeds the other. Sometimes what I do helps confirm what I believe ("Commit thy works unto the lord and thy thoughts shall be established"). OTher times, it works just the opposite, where I remember the spiritual highs of my life and let those be my driving force.

Russell said...

NM--

It's a whole other can of worms, but let's just say that I do not believe an infant to be entirely depraved as Augustine argued. IN fact (and do not confuse this with universalism--not at all similar), I believe that the atonement cleanses all of us at birth from the curse of Adam...thus enabling us to make free choices, "act and not be acted upon" (see 2 Nephi chpt. 2 and Moroni chpt. 8--they really cut the Gordian knot about the accountability of infants). Now are we, adults who are fully accountable depraved? Such a nasty word, but I certainly do believe that the "natural man" is alive and well in each of us. But since we are the offspring of God (Acts 17:28-29), we also have capacity for goodness...even if that goodness is a relative goodness during this life only. We will be rewarded according to our works in the afterlife but when it comes to entering God's presence, no baptisms or bake sales will cut it with out Christ's explicit approval.

NM said...
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Kathleen said...

Russell, your civility is appreciated, too. :) The questions were actually directed to bassoner, bookslinger and Pops. The comment is dated Oct 8 @ 10:42AM. Some general questions are were also asked @ 7:23AM.

Kathleen said...

Also, I have more questions over at Jeff's Trinity post (below).

Happy thinking!

Mormanity said...

Reminder: this is not the place to post links to your favorite video and audio content. I'll generally delete them.

Pops said...

Kathleen asked: "What if one accepts Christ as saviour and then goes and murders someone or steals?"

The short answer is they have some repenting to do.

Kathleen said...

Pops, I'm laughing (sort of).

Here's a question for anyone to answer. Which of the following do you believe to be true?

faith+works=salvation
faith=works/obedience+salvation
faith=salvation

NM said...
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Bookslinger said...

Kathleen,
I forget which post, or even which blog, I mentioned it on, but this is in line with Jeff's point on Ringtones.

Paul wrote about 3 kinds of "works".

So when you're using the word "works" in these discussions, you're actually using a shortcut that could describe many other things. We mormons tend to lump "works" in with "obedience", and we all seem to agree that believers should obey the Lord's commandments.

The 3 broad categories of "works" as mentioned by Paul are:

1. Works of the Law. Specifically sacrifices and rituals of the Law of Moses. The sacrifices and rituals of the Mosaic law were done away with. But the moral code and behavioral standards of the Mosaic law (10 commandments, etc) were NOT done away with. It's still a commandment to honor parents, not lie/steal/murder, not take Lord's name in vain, not break sabbath, etc.

2. "Dead Works". From reading alternate translations other than the KJV, I've come to learn this meant basically "sins". "Dead works" are sins: adultery, etc.

3. "Good Works". Paul constantly admonishes us to do "good works" in just about all his letters. In fact, he encourages "good works" more often than he emphasized faith over "works of the Law".

From my reading of the NT, I'd say that the only works that Paul condemned were "works of the (Mosaic) Law" and "dead works."

Paul never condemned "good works" in the NT.

So this whole "faith versus works" argument is kind of silly.

NM said...
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Mormanity said...

For those who have been taught that salvation is by "faith alone" or "faith only," it may be instructive to look at the only place in the Bible that uses this term.

Just in case you're curious.

May we all make sure our faith is rooted in scriptural truth.

Kathleen said...

Bookslinger,
Interesting point! I hadn't thought of it that way before. Do you find this to be Scriptural? (ie does the Gk have different terms for different types of works?) Would you share your references, please?

Jeff,
Also an interesting point--and you are right, too. What is the LDS response to verses such as Rom 3.28 and 5.1, Gal 3.24, and Eph 2.8-9, then?

I am thoroughly enjoying this question-promoting dialogue!

Kathleen said...

Or is this the equation (if there is one)?

faith+obedience=salvation

Russell said...

Kathleen:

Re: your previous comment (about if works save), I've given my opinion that works should really be subsumed under grace and that any good "work" is ultimately traceable to the Savior's example. (see LDS scriptures 2 Nephi 25:23 and Alma 26:22--notice the similar phrase "all we can do" and how it is applied in the second reference) Without him, we would not have repentance--which is really the only "work" we can do in the end. See the well-trodden verses of James chpt. 2 (esp. verse 14) where it is indeed suggested that works have a role in salvation.

The response to these verses? We accept them of course.

How do I understand them?

Well, my response to all of them is really the same: we must understand "faith" as an term synonymous with our engagement with Christ's new covenant, not merely as another way of describing conviction. As should be noted, he often contrasted "faith" with the Mosaic law or "the law." Therefore, "grace through faith"
becomes another way of saying "all we can do" which itself is another phrase for "repentance.

As I've said elsewhere, of all the differences between evangelicals and Latter Day Saints, this is the most manufactured of the differences. I've yet to meet a Latter Day Saint who really believes in a "do-it-yourself" gospel (we've been accused of that). The differences are real, but this is, on the main, not one of them.

Peter said...

I think the equation should look something like this, if there is an equation.

faith = salvation (meaning immortality and a reward of heaven)

works (obedience) = reward (meaning level of heaven)

faith + works = exaltation (meaning to work for the highest degree one can be offered)

What we are trying to share with people is why settle for less then first prize?

Peter said...

What I should have mentioned is that works by them selves won't do anything whereas faith by itself will at least get you there.

Eric said...

I don't have any simple mathematical formulas here, but I think that we have to careful when we talk about "faith" to indicate what we mean by that word. It seems pretty clear to me that in James 2:24 the writer is talking about mere intellectual assent. But in general, the New Testament Greek word for "faith" carries with it the idea of trusting reliance. It seems to me that faith as understood that way entails some sort of action. I don't know if it's always true, but often when the New Testament speaks of people having faith it involves some sort of action. See Hebrews 11 for a series of examples.

And to answer part of Kathleen's question, I find it interesting how the "faith only" people like to bring up Ephesian 2:8-9. But to understand the text, you can't stop at verse 9. The thought continues in verse 10: "For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them." Paul seems to be saying that the purpose of faith is to fulfill our destiny, which is doing good works.

I see faith and works as so intertwined that they're inseparable.

NM said...
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Bookslinger said...

Teranno leaves. NM comes back. Hmmmm.

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Bookslinger,

I can still be here if you would like me to comment under invitation (and on-topic Jeff). I have been enjoying the questions raised by Kathleen too - very thought provoking.

I am not NM if that is what you are insinuating again. I can see many Biblical truths, but also I read some flawed with error and self-interpretation.

Jeff at last has said something sound that I 100% agree with in his meaning :
"For those who have been taught that salvation is by "faith alone" or "faith only," it may be instructive to look at the only place in the Bible that uses this term. (James 2:24)

Just in case you're curious.

May we all make sure our faith is rooted in scriptural truth."

One correction Jeff - this is not the ONLY scriptural evidence that points to works - see Rev 20:13. What works didn't the wicked do that causes them to lose their salvation? See also Matt16:27 , Rev2:26 - do you need any more texts ...?

In summary - I hink that the guidance that you all need is found in Titus 3:

1Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

2To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

3For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

4But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

6Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Grace can only be received after the renewing of the Holy Ghost (Spirit if you prefer), and that then leads us to following naturally with good works. This can only occure when the Holy Spirit leads us 100% - not 99% it must be 100% in God's instructed path.

Good topic,

Teranno4x4

teranno4x4 said...

sorry - I know that occur doesn't have an 'e' - typo !

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon,

I've been following some of this dialogue, and thought I'd interject my two cents on the topic. Just in case I stray off topic, I'll apologize in advance.

What I find interesting about the question posed by kathleen, and by this dialogue, is that the answer really lies in what does one believe to be Christ's commandments, and who is the one who recieved those commandments. I make that point, because if you're LDS, then you're concept of what ordinances are necessary for salvation is going to be entirely different than those of us who are non-mormon.

Kathleen, I think you're asking the right questions, but you're not looking in the right place for your answers. You see as well intentioned as the direction given by the LDS side of the argument, the answer you're getting is skewed by the LDS perspective on who has the truth.

However, that said, the answer you're going to get from the non-LDS perspective on the truth, isn't any less slanted. In fact, both sides are going to put their slant on what the truth of Christ's commandments are.

I would encourage you to do as Jeff suggests if you're really interested in learning about the LDS teachings. Attend services, talk to missionaries and members and learn about their faith. But along those lines, I would encourage you to do something LDS members won't encourage you to do, and in fact will discourage you from doing. Read all the literature about the LDS faith, both the pro-mormon as well as the anti-mormon literature before you subscribe to the mormon teachings on Christ. Keep in mind while you're doing that though, that neither side is telling the complete truth.

The other thing I would encourage you to do, Kathleen, is ask the hard questions to those in whatever ward you attend. Ask about polygamy. Ask about Brigham Young's teachings on Adam/God. Ask about the Mark of Cain. Ask about the negative aspects of Joseph Smith. You see, you won't learn about those things in the Sacrement Meetings or the Gospel Principals Classes.

Read Brigham Young's journal of discourses, as well as those of the other church prophets. Read your history books, read about tangible evidence pertaining to the book of Mormon. Question the veracity of the Witnesses to the Book of Mormon as well as the veracity of Joseph Smith. Examine Joseph Smith's actions as they relate to his works. Decide for yourself if there's contradiction there.

Kathleen, after you've done all of that, then examine your own belief about what Christ taught. Examine your own experiences with the Holy Spirit. Consider whether you've been blessed with the Spirit, without the sacred ordinances the LDS church says you need in order to have the Holy Spirit in your life. Pray about it, and listen to your conscience, not just the burning in your breast. I assure you that if you do all of this, and really pray about it, you'll find the answer you're looking for. The truth is you won't find that answer on the internet, in this blog space, in LDS Sacrement Meetings, Missionary Discussions, Prayer Meetings or anywhere else outside yourself. The truth about faith, and ordinances or sacrements if you call them that, actually lies within your own relationship with God. Not here.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Bookslinger said...

Catholic Defender:

It's good that you encourage Kathleen to read and investigate.

But after doing all that reading (you mentioned probably several thousand pages worth of reading) the question still stands, "Who's right?"

And the next question, "Ok, I've read all that, how do I find out who's right?"

Studying and reading is good for getting information. But how does one discern what is right and what is wrong among all the things one had read?

Many people of many faiths have supposedly read all those things you've recommended. And guess what. Most remain committed to their own faith, whatever it was.

Moreover, many extremely intelligent people have read all that and come out with different conclusions and decisions about what they believe. In other words, not all the "smart people" concur. There's no consensus.

What Jeff often proposes, what the LDS church teaches, and what I support, is after one has read and studied as much as they are comfortable with, is to pray for spiritual guidance.

The Apostle Paul taught that "spiritual things are spiritually discerned". The word "discern" there doesn't mean "learned." I think it means closer to "realize" or "decide," as in "how do I realize/decide which is right/correct (out of all that I have learned) ?"

One can spend a lifetime learning what all the various religions, creeds and denominations believe. One could theoretically memorize it all and "know" it all. But that still leaves the person not knowing which creed is correct, or the closest to the truth.

God knows what the truth is. So after the studying, one must eventually go to God, in prayer, and seek guidance.

I have gone to God in prayer, and received a very powerful, unmistakeable and clear spiritual communication as an answer. The answer penetrated to the very core of my being, and burned itself into every fiber of my soul.

The two things that were confirmed to me via that experience were:

1. Joseph Smith did see God and Jesus.

2. The Jesus of the Book of Mormon is the same Jesus of the Bible, and he did visit those people called Nephites.

Ten years prior to that experience that happened while investigating the message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I had a related and somewhat similar experience when I investigated generic "Christianity" without regard to which church may have been "officially" God's. My question at that time was whether there really was a God or a "Savior."

During that prior investigation into Christianity, I also prayed to know if there was a God and a Jesus, and when I got a very powerful answer, I decided to follow Christ at that time.

Shortly thereafter (a few weeks maybe) I experienced a miraculous outpouring of the Spirit which confirmed my belief in God. Due to that miraculous outpouring, I no longer merely believed in God, I knew God existed, because the knowledge of his existance was burned into me, and I became spiritually alive to a degree I never thought possible before.

Then 10 years later, the same Spirit which "caused me to know" that God and Jesus exist, then "caused me to know" those two important things about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

It was the same voice and same Spirit, ten years apart.

It was the same Spirit of love, power, glory, fire, pure intelligence, etc.

It was the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit. And he was testifying that the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph, just as he had previously testified to me that there _is_ God the Father and, God the Son.

The third member of the Godhead was doing what Jesus promised He would do, testify of the other two members of the Godhead, and "teach us all things".

I haven't been taught "all" things yet, but I know that the role of the Holy Ghost is such that he can teach all things because he knows all things that God knows.

I hope you also investigate, read, study, ponder, and most importantly pray to know if the information presented as the Gospel by the LDS church is correct or not.

Bookslinger said...

It's also interesting, and a bit frustrating, to see Evangelical believers pick nits and argue against LDS teachings.

Having attended and studied at evangelical-type churches when I first discovered God/Christianity, I can see the huge overlap in evangelical and LDS beliefs that we have in common.

Evangelicals and Mormons ought to be celebrating the things we do have in common, especially how the Holy Ghost operates, which essentially puts Mormons and Evangelicals in the same theological camp. Those things we have in common, also seem to divide us from the mainstream "white-bread" Christians who don't believe the Holy Ghost can be an active force in our daily lives.

Kathleen said...

I was somewhat amused to see that all my questions automatically caused y'all to assuming I was thinking of learning about/converting to the LDS religion. Just for clarification, I have already read a lot about Mormonism--yes, on both sides-- and attended services etc, but naturally, being a curious and questioning type of gal (who happens to have a lot of LDS friends), I keep asking. And yes, there ARE valid points on both sides. My love of learning about this stuff and challenging previously held beliefs continues! I asked question after question in order to make the Christians think and the Mormons (yes, I know you believe you are Christians too :) defend their point of view.

In light of all that, here is another question--somewhat related to the "deciding what is right" topic:

If God--not the Scriptures--is the ultimate authority, as Jeff writes somewhere on his sight, and He speaks to you by the Spirit, but you cannot be confident it is the Spirit speaking without the Scriptures to confirm it, how do you ever know what God says?

Shake 'n Bake said...

Catholic Defender, I assume that you would also encourage people investigating Christianity to read Hustler, Playboy, and the rantings of Stalin, Mao, Dawkins, and every other atheist out to smear Christianity, as well as to dig into all the sins of famous Christians, the atrocities of the Inquisition, the crimes of popes in centuries past, etc., etc., and then to decide if there are any problems with the claims of Christianity?

Bookslinger said...

Kathleen wrote: "If God--not the Scriptures--is the ultimate authority, as Jeff writes somewhere on his sight, and He speaks to you by the Spirit, but you cannot be confident it is the Spirit speaking without the Scriptures to confirm it, how do you ever know what God says?"

And if you don't turn to God for the answer, then whose interpretation of the scriptures do you use? Which church out of the thousand or so? And if none of them, then how/why do you trust your own interpretation?

The 1000 churches all use the Bible differently, and interpret it differently to back up their own justifications for starting their own churches.

To use a geometry analogy: The Bible is like a point in space through which a zillion lines have been drawn.

Another point is needed to define the true line.

Do you just draw the line that you like, as long as it intersects the Bible? If so, then why do you reject someone else's line?

Why stop at the nature of the Trinity/Godhead for determining who is a "real" Christian?

Why not add the zillion other things that denominations differ on? Such as speaking in tongues? Some churches say it's necessary, some say it's possible but not necessary, and some say it's impossible. All can't be right.

If the Bible were sufficient for determining authority, then there'd be only one obviously "true" church, and all Bible scholars would adhere to it.

The Bible has not been sufficient to determine true beliefs.

Why are there so many credentialling authorities for ministers? Who has God's true authority for credentialling a minister? Why don't they all recognize each other's credentials? Is one credentialling authority "better" than another.

And who authorizes the credentialling authorities? Who gave them authority to credential someone? Was there a vote? Who voted? Did God get to vote? Did those who vote ask God?

If they did ask God, then why are there so many credentialling authorities that contradict each other?

If God said something, then it doesn't matter what the majority votes, since God trumps everyone else.

Does it matter? Of course it matters. Because if one church is going to call another church "not christian", then by what authority is the call made? If there is no authority invested in the accuser, then it's all a matter of semantics, interpretation of scriptures, and plain argument.

Without authority, all the "We're Christian and you're not" accusations and "We are too!" counter-accusations are just name-calling.

NM said...
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Bookslinger said...

"The issue isn't so much to do with which church is right,..."

You've certainly accused certain churches of not being right.

And you've also accused certain individuals, even naming some names (and who weren't even Mormons), of "not having salvation".

You and Teranno have been mouthing words and concepts from someone else. Words and concepts that you are not getting from the Bible. But you've been twisting the Bible to support your concepts. You take quotes from the Bible and turn them upside down.

In other words, you're using the interpretation of other humans. Who are they? Who's, or what church's interpretation are you using? You certainly didn't come up with all that on your own.

Here's an example of something you wrote that's not in the Bible:

"God is most glorified when we know the real truth of who He is."

Who wrote that? That's the person I think you're copying. Your writings are full of quotes like that. They're not even from the Bible. You're pulling bits and pieces from other sermons and things you've read. And then throwing them at us.

You're reading right out of someone's script or play-book, and it's very obvious. Yet you've both steadfastly refused to say which church you go to and who your paster/preacher/teacher/leader is.

You've obviously chosen a church. What makes that church "right" for you? Why? Other churches believe in the Bible, so why did you choose _that_ church?

You've obviously chosen to listen to, learn from, and copy a certain preacher/teacher or group of them. Why? What makes them different from the thousands of other preachers/teachers you could listen to?

You've been quoting so many evangelical-style sound-bites, that I don't think you were converted by studying the Bible on your own. Because your mish-mash of sound-bites causes me to think you've allowed some preacher to brain-wash and bully you into accepting _his interpretation_ of the Bible.

And now that you've adopted it as your own, you're trying to brainwash and bully others into accepting his (and now your) interpretation of the Bible.

Well, what worked to brainwash/convert/bully you isn't necessarily going to brainwash/convert/bully others.

I got an answer from God about which church is right. And all your crazy notions and mis-interpretations of the Bible, and your insults, and your verbal bullying can't change that.

You praise the Bible, but you aren't really using the Bible, or a biblical style here. You're just trying to exercise the same arguments and verbal bullying tactics on us that were used on you.

Verbal bullying is not the way to share one's message.

I'm sad that you're following an example of bullying by your preachers/teachers. I hope you can someday join a Church (any church, it doesn't have to be the same as mine) that has love as a rule, and not bullying; that uplifts, instead of denounces.

But if you're happy where you're at, stay there as long as your happy and fulfilled.

NM said...
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Bill said...

Mormonism believes in salvation that is partitioned into the outfield bleachers, second deck reserved, and field box seats.

If you don't have the ordinances (read tithing, temple work, marriage, callings, etc) you end up in the bleachers.

If you are a middlin Mormon you end up in second deck reserved.

If you do your home teaching 100% (along with other make-work activities) - you get field box seats.

Emanuel Swedenborg meets George Steinbrenner.

Bookslinger said...

NM,

It's not a matter of capitalization. I suggest taking a good representation of your "stronger" posts, copying/pasting them to a word processor, printing them out (just your posts, not others' responses) and showing them to your pastor.

He might be able to give you pointers about how you can get your points across with less contention, bullying, and arrogance.

I'm confident that Jeff and the regular commenters here on this blog have heard all your points before. I have heard your points for many years.

But you're just not delivering your message, or showing yourself, in a favorable light.

And it's not just a matter of me, or others, not accepting your points. You've seen how willing and eager that many have been here to engage you in discussion.

Trying to browbeat (bully) people into agreeing with you just doesn't cut it in polite society.

And as Jeff pointed out, your "freedom of speech" ends as soon as you step foot on someone else's property. This blog is Jeff's property.

And what is even worse than using the Bible to justify meanness and arrogance, is to twist Bible verses into something they don't say.

It's kind of ironic to claim Mormons don't fit in with traditional or well-accepted post-Reformation Christian interpretation of the Bible, when your extreme-fringe evangelical bent or take on the gospel doesn't even fit in with traditional or well-accepted post-Reformation Christian (ie Protestant, and Protestant-like) interpretation of the Bible.

And the above is not to say that fringe evangelicals are devoid of truth. LDS and evangelicals have plenty in common. Maybe that's why Satan stirs up so much enmity between evangelicals and LDS, is because if evangelicals actually used the Spirit or their spiritual gifts to investigate the LDS church and its doctrines, they'd find out it was true.

The many types of Protestant people whom you've denounced as "not having salvation" far outnumber you and your particular church, whatever it is.

Yet you've neglected to claim by what or whose authority your particular sub-division of post-Reformation Protestantism is operating under. You've neglected to claim who gave you the teaching or instructions to say what you've said.

If you're going to speak in your own voice here, who gave you your credentials? Where'd you get those non-biblical one-liners you like to throw out? If you're not going to divulge your church or your pastor, then you should at least divulge your credentialling authority. (I have a friend who is a minister who was credentialled by Liberty Fellowship, you can google them.)

I'm trying to go by what I've been taught in the LDS church. Again, which church or credentialling authority have you been schooled in? It really does matter.

Anonymous said...

I think it is not only the subject matter but also all we see is the words without the context of the persons personality, body language, vocal tone, ect. Because of this if you don't approch it from a smoother angle then it is easly misinterped. I normally type it out on word then work on it for a day or so be for I explode with such feelings.

Bookslinger said...

NM, I finally followed the link from your profile to your Blogspot blog and watched part of the video of pastor/evangelist John Piper of "Desiring Good".

If you have time, I would like to suggest that you go to the recent LDS conference page and scroll down to Elder Holland's talk, that he gave last Saturday, Oct 6th, at General Conference. Scroll down about one screen's worth, and you'll see his hame.

Then click on one of the "watch" options on the right to view the talk.

Elder Holland seems to have a lot of gravitas, as they say. Elder Holland seemed as enthusiastic and as spiritually moving, but more dignified than Mr. Piper. What do you think?

NM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bookslinger said...

NM,
I went back to look, and your comments that I had the most problems with were in the time frame when you were commenting as "nathanielmacrae".

But the egregious ones, both under your full name and NM, you already deleted (or Jeff deleted.)

So, for the last few weeks, your comments under NM, at least the ones that are still online, have been politer. (Though I now forget whether it was you or T4x4 who was accusing some individuals of not having salvation. )

I keep thinking that you and Teranno4x4 are the same person (not 100% sure, but still suspect), so I may have been conflating/combining your posts with his.

I found again your blog on livejournal. Did you delete all your posts there, or did you just make it friends-only?

Do you still speak any Tagalog or other Filipino dialects?

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Bookslinger,

I use no 'bully boy' tactics. My words have been all my own work and written after careful and reverent prayer for God's loving guidance.

If you find 'hurtful' reproach in my words, then I apologise, but a feeling of discomfort must be felt sometimes before a willingness to learn. I assure you that I hold no animosity. Sometimes a heart can also be hardened against 'Biblical truth'

Whatever - when the Bible text is there in black and white in the most accepted and accurate versions that we have today in our own language - how can you dispute it because it doesn't fit your own understanding? This is not bullying - it is attempting to assist your Biblical learning. How your perceive the information is the only way that you can arrive at your conclusion? But the Bible will not change because of your discomfort.

Personally I like what NM has been saying because I believe that his words to you have been also prayerfully considered. He isn't trying to rub you up the wrong way - so how can you assume that ? Just like I am not trying doing that either ! If you feel anger in this way or that we are brainwashing, bullying or twisting your truth, then why do you log on to read the comments.

Does your anchor hold in your own foundational Rock that is Jesus Christ ?

Please take all Biblical references that I have made both here or in the past. Expand the whole chapter and not only the verses given and explain to me in any instance how it was taken out of context or 'twisted' using your own word. I take my Bible as the authority in getting to know God better as I continue to love Him out of my own personal choice - not one of any denomination - that is what matters most! Similar like-minded believers make up the 'invisible church' that NM describes so well.

Kathleen : your answers can be found here in the central verse of the whole Bible, Psalms 118
8It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

and here Proverbs 3 :
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

The Bible truly is a wondrous gift from God.

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

My head hurts from being hit the head with the bible. A bible, a bible I already have a bible. God please save me from you followers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Book,

I'm pretty sure that the ones that Jeff have deleted are because of inappropriate links to anti-mormon sites - or any links to videos that cannot be straightway be vetted. I have always responded to Jeff's response with an apology. And although I do sometimes question the validity of Jeff's reasons, I have always maintained a high respect for Jeff's wishes =)...I think.

I have wondered, over the weekend, whether your hurt/annoyance is more directed toward Terrano4x4 than myself. And I too have wondered whether you have somehow mashed our opinions together and have labelled us as 'the two rogues', or whatever. Can I just say now (and for the nth time, that we are not one and the same person).

With regard to my livejournal blog? Hmm, the people listed as my friends are old friends, who I trust as people who will not share the sensitive information that I share with others. Most of what I write are mere reflections of what happens at work. The kinds of issues I encounter with children, adolescents, the kinds of abuse they have received from their respective families, so called friends and what not. It's not a pretty sight, believe me =(

Once in a while, I will write something that has an overt Christian tone, but these are rare. Again, most of my posts are just subjective manderings...

BookSlinger, I am sure that some of my posts have been considered 'rude', but I don't intend to bully =( And if I have caused hurt, I always say sorry. I can be quite verbose =( Maybe, the Filipino-genetic-disposition that I have is what causes me to blurt before I think =/ And maybe the 21 years of living in a 'northern' part of England, particularly having had the Yorkshire-man influence has propounded this genetic disposition to say things as I see them. I don't know... maybe I'm just outright rude.

And sadly, I used to able to speak both Tagalog (which as you know is the primary dialect) and Ilocano, which was my provincial dialect. I have fond memories as a child with my family (which included uncles, aunts and cousins) sitting around a table in the living room reading an Ilocano Bible. Good memories, huh? =) I have retained some Ilocano, but sadly, I don't speak Tagalog anymore =(

NM

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

The answer for you is stop hitting your head with it, open it and start to reverently read it - it will provide you with only comfort and joy!

I repost the earlier comment of Jeff with reference to the Bible :

" At 5:35 AM, October 10, 2007, Mormanity said...

............
May we all make sure our faith is rooted in scriptural truth."

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

Just responding to the fundamentist
view that you are the only one that has access to a bible. It is you that keep hitting others in the head with the scriptures. I know I started to listen when people stop with scripture quoting and started talking like normal people. Hope there are no hard feelings.

Russell said...

terrano4x4:

Those are excellent verses from Psalms and Proverbs. In fact, I, as a believing Latter Day Saint would probably cite them myself when asked certain questions.

So, convince me that Latter Day Saint doctrine is that far removed from evangelical teachings re: grace and works? Remember, I am a Latter Day Saint and know QUITE well what I believe. Also, take into account what I've said above. Make sure you use Book of Mormon citations though as well as Doctrine and Covenants citations--in any comparative religion study, you MUST actually compare using source materials from both.

I think we all await your answer.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shake N Bake,

I'm not sure how my suggestion that Kathleen research all the pro and con literature on the LDS Faith somehow might include the rantings of Stalin, Mao, and pornographic literature, but there must be some logical link there from your end. I fail to see it. I wouldn't suggest she read literature such as Playboy or Hustler to obtain direction on Christian truths, its highly unlikely that she'd find Christianity in those sources. But I think you failed to see the point of my comments.

I was essentially encouraging her to make a thorough review of the truth about the LDS faith before committing to its tenants. One of the criticisms I have with LDS Doctrine, is that there seems to be a strong desire among your general authorities and church leaders to hide, or spin the truth. Maybe you don't share that criticism, but from an outsiders perpective, that is the appearance. Even reading LDS Approved Literature leaves that impressions. That's always been a concern, because if the LDS church is truly Christ's church, why hide truths or distort them. Just doesn't seem consistent.

To Bookslinger, I believe that part of my comments not only encouraged reading the pro and con literature about the LDS Faith, but also encouraged deep prayerful consideration before committing to those beliefs. You've obviously prayed and gotten your confirmation that the LDS Faith holds the truth. I have not, but I assure you that I have prayed with the same earnestness and openess that you have. But for me, the LDS Church holds no truths, just a false path. So we return to the same question you posed: Who's right here?

Let's consider that question. God answers the prayers of all of us regardless of what we call our faith. Whether I follow my Catholic teachings, or you follow your LDS teachings, or the various protestant sects represented here follow their protestant teachings, God actually answers our prayers and speaks to us. So what does that tell me about who holds the truth. The answer then is that we all are correct.

Let me follow up that answer though with some additional insight. Each of us has our own individual path to salvation. I can't follow your path anymore than you can follow mine. The reason for that is that God has his own plan for each of us. Your truth and mine can not be the same, because the plan is different for each of us. It goes back to Paul's dialogue about the gifts of the spirit found in Corinthians. Can't remember exactly where that is but I think it was 2 Corinthians Chapter 10. But consider this, if we all have different gifts, then we are all called upon to use those gifts to glorify God. Some will be evangelists, some will not. Some will do great works of service, some will be called to other tasks. That tells me that our plan for salvation is individualized to each of us.

Therefore, the truth is we must follow the plan God lays out for us, not the dictates of a church that may or may not hold the truth. The fact is, none of the churches hold the whole truth; that includes the LDS Church. So this goes back to part of Kathleen's original question about ordinances and covenants in that the question posed is really about who has the authority to say what ordinances one must follow to return to Christ.

Ultimately, that authority remains with Christ himself. The LDS Ordinances, much like the Catholic Sacrements and Protestant Rituals are man's interpretation of Christ's delgation of authority. They are not necessarily spoken of in the bible or the BOM. So when the discussion centres on whether one needs to do works along with having faith, the real answer here is that only by the grace of God can anyone of us return to God.

If I do nothing but good works, but have no faith, I can't get back to God. If I have great faith, but do nothing with that faith to glorify God, I can't get back to God. The point of Christ's teaching was that as men, we can not achieve salvation on our own. We need Christ's intercession and God's grace to achieve salvation. We need God as part of our lives, and we have God as part of our lives by having faith in him and his son. That's my additional two cents. Guess I'm up to four cents now :-)

Catholic Defender

NM said...
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Anonymous said...

Dear Bookslinger,

Perhaps my response comes across as too over thought, or maybe I complicate things by talking too much. That's a human failing I tend to have. Let me simplify a bit by posing this question.

If I know God answers my prayers as a Catholic, and if I know that in the practise of my faith that I have felt the Holy Spirit with me throughout my whole life, both in good times and bad, why would I convert to the LDS Faith. I would have no need to because there's nothing that the LDS Faith offers, that I don't already have in my own faith.

Isn't it your church's teaching that the entitlement to having the Holy Spirit as a constant companion and guide, tied to the belief in the BOM, the following the Word of Wisdom, believing JS to be a prophet of God, and the following of the various convenants and commandments dictated by your church leaders as being necessary.

If I already have God by my side in all things, not just the Holy Spirit, but God himself, without following or believing in the BOM or JS or following LDS D & C prescribed ordinances and covenants, what need would I have for the LDS faith. And would it not then be a step backwards to convert to the LDS faith, which promises less than that which I already experience? From my perspective it would be. Hopefully that clarifies my point.

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

Dear Bookslinger,

I just realized I directed my response to you and not NM. My apologies. I do still pose the question to the various LDS and Non-LDs posters here though.

Catholic Defender

NM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russell said...

"If I already have God by my side in all things, not just the Holy Spirit, but God himself, without following or believing in the BOM or JS or following LDS D & C prescribed ordinances and covenants, what need would I have for the LDS faith. And would it not then be a step backwards to convert to the LDS faith, which promises less than that which I already experience? From my perspective it would be. Hopefully that clarifies my point."

I would maintain that your conclusion actually frames any inquiries you might make about the faith--thus limiting the truth you have. To paraphrase Lincoln, is God on our side or we on God's side?

And as far as your claim that we hide or spin truth, I would beg to differ with you (examples of this would be welcomed) I am a grad. student in history--an endeavor which requires that my life be devoted to the pursuit of truth. Yet I am a firm believer in LDS orthodoxy. Does the Church bring up every skeleton in our closet? No, because every skeleton is not directly relevant to the truthfulness of the faith. Do I care if Joseph Smith was less righteous than other Saints? Not really, though my suspicion is that he was a torn, but ultimately decent man. The question is: are his claims correct or are they not? If they are not, then we are engaged in fraud. And those that are relevant probably should not be called skeletons since in my EXTENSIVE study of the faith (I could probably out-anti most critics), I have yet to find a deal breaker. Questions? Plenty. But deal breakers? Absolutely not.

the point here is that the absence of such skeletons make for a ripe field of faith that can only be cultivated through personal revelation. If you have not received that revelation, then I am not one to judge. But I would encourage you in your search for truth--you might just stumble back in this direction someday :)

Mormanity said...

Bookslinger and NM, I had the same though as NM, wondering if Book might have conflated some of the bullying comments from someone else with the much more tactful ones of NM. At one point, I recall that Book wondered if the two were the same, but having read all of the posts of both, there are distinctive differences in style and tone that I don't think would be easy to fake. I'm convinced they are not the same person.

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Jeff,

Having agreed with you throughout this post - even under continued scathing accusational 'name calling fundamentalist' attack, you still have to bear a grudge.

Have you heard of tolerance, forgiveness, hospitality and a kind heart (characteristics of Jesus) or are you the guy to put the boot in after the dirty work has been finished already by the mob ?

To mix two famous - 'a secular' and 'a Biblical' quotes for the cause here - "you can lead a horse to 'the water of Life' but you can't make him drink."

Biblical again - John14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Why can't some of the commenters here simply invite in the Holy Spirit and desire to live in Jesus ? Jesus will reveal more to an individual once they are ready and open for TRUTH (in every denomination - yes even to the LDS). Until then, HE knocks at the door patiently waiting and waiting.... The TRUTH is not the problem - individual human beings are.

And Jeff - please identify these 'bullying comments' where you agree in your insinuation with Bookslinger....?

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

Teranno,
I was the one that used the fundamentalist as one that is always using the scriptures as an answer to every thing anyone else says or using the scriptures to make someone look bad, demean, or make yourself look superior. You appear to come off like we don't know or use the bible. It further shows when anytime someone puts up another remark reguardless if it is directed to you or not you are quick to take a defensive position and try to put the other person in their place. Most people on this blog are just discussing a topic not looking for a bible bash. Sorry you can't understand this after all the statements made about your posts. We don't dislike you, it is just looks like you are looking for a bible bash or an argument rather than a discussion. Sorry you feel bad about the fundamentalist name but that is just how you come across. I have ran into members of my church and others that do the same thing. It is a real turn off when trying to get your point across.

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

Please don't read into my comments attitudes that are not intended by myself. You can not view my face or my heart when comments are offered. You may think differently if you could. Words are not the best conveyors for emotion.

I have used different approaches here. I have tried the nice approach. I have tried the calm approach. I have tried the angered approach (still in love). I have tried normal everyday comments and I have used Bible texts. Because I do not hail from an LDS ward or background, that gives many LDS members posting here the impetus to launch an attack on my personal belief, that they see as completely alien and offensive to them.

The central theme of the Bible Truth doesn't lie - it is not incorrect. This is why I refer to it for my comments. If you do not like them, then your issue ultimately is not with me, it is with some discomfort that you must have about a Biblical teaching. This is not my attempt to be superior in any way or to provide any put downs for anyone else. Why can I not share those texts that I know will help accurately answer certain questions posed here ? - I refer again to my original comment, 9:26 AM, October 12, 2007

I have only commented a few times here on this post and have refered only to the Bible after Jeff's polite reminder "May we all make sure our faith is rooted in scriptural truth."

Unfortunately, you will not discover anything more accurately recorded about salvation in Jesus Christ or His ministry here on earth other than in the Bible, so when there is a title like the one posted for the topic - why not refer to the place where one can find TRUE answers and not airy-fairy philosophies that just scratch around the truth?

Would you sit in discussion with a group of philosophers if your car has a major problem, or would you refer the problem to the owner's repair manual or the maindealers directly?

Well we all have a major problem with sin, the repair manual is available and so is our 'Maindealer' who can fix it for us.

Now you know why I use my Bible for reference in all things. I only desire for God to be glorified. Bible believing Christian - yes, fundamentalist - no.

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

The issue is with how you go about your comments or you would not have had so much problems with Jeff and others on this blog. But denial is the best policy.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, you will not discover anything more accurately recorded about salvation in Jesus Christ or His ministry here on earth other than in the Bible, so when there is a title like the one posted for the topic - why not refer to the place where one can find TRUE answers and not airy-fairy philosophies that just scratch around the truth?

Yes there is Joseph Smith and the Holy Ghost that confirms his experiences.

Russell said...

"Remember, God exists to glorify Himself...HALLELUJAH!"

If you ask me, that sounds like a pretty egotistical God...to me, an all good God (like the one in the Bible--I'm not just constructing what God "should" be like in my mind) would be completely altruistic with his interest being on the salvation of his creation (or children, if you ask me). Phrases like the above conjure up an image of a Wizard of Oz-like God--the man behind the curtains pulling the strings all in an effort to convince everyone how great he is. I say that such a God is not a God I would want to be around in the eternities. For me, heaven is being in good society, holy society, and a God who only exists for his own self-aggrandizement reminds me far too much of the pomposity that infects much of upper class society. Such pomposity is no cause for a Hallelujah--rather, it's a cause for utter despair.

The God I envision has his children's best interest in mind...indeed, his reason for being is their happiness. In Mormon scripture, we learn that "this is my [the Father's] work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." He's certainly no megalomaniac looking to boost his own ego...heaven knows we have enough of those on earth without having to deal with one after death.

Kathleen said...

Russell, I have wondered about this, too, having read a bit of John Piper stuff. NM, want to respond?

NM said...

Hi Russell and Hello Kathleen,

First of all Kathleen, I am MORE THAN HAPPY for you to respond to Russell about this subject. =D

Russell,

Personally? I find the idea that, "God exists to glorify Himself" the MOST WONDERFUL THING I HAVE EVER HEARD! =)

1. If we get a small glimpse of the idea that God is Sovereign, it leaves little room for man's autonomy - which, at first sounds, a little bit depressing from man's viewpoint I must admit =)

2. But if we concede to the idea that God does exist to glorify Himself, then get this: (important bit) He has CHOSEN US to be part of His sovereign plan to glorify Him - then we are in THE BEST PLACE TO BE! Don't you think? Doesn't that just want to make you jump for joy?! It certainly does it for me =)

To know that God exists to glorify Himself means I am COMPLETELY SECURE in Jesus. =)

An eternal Being, (who is infinitely powerful, who is infinitely loving, who is infinitely holy, infinitely just, patient and everything that we know of who God is revealed in His Word) who seeks for His glory to be shown and to be ENJOYED is somebody who I REALLY WANT TO BE A PART OF! =D

Kathleen: your turn =)

*please note: the use of CAPITAL LETTERS does not mean that I am shouting. It simply means that I AM SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED ABOUT WHAT I AM TYPING =)))))*

NM said...
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Pops said...

NM said,

"To know that there is nothing in myself that I can give to God and that my standing does not depend upon me..."

Ah, but that's the point. There is one thing you can give to God. We can submit our will to Him. He will never take it from us, it is ours to give. We give it by doing the things He has asked us to do.

Our standing before him is definitely dependent on our behavior. If we refuse to accept Jesus as our Savior it will make a difference. If we join Lucifer and fight against God it will make a difference.

NM said...
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Lars said...

Catholic Defender, your posts are kinda long and it's difficult to address everything you bring up. But I'll take a stab at a couple of them.

"We are all correct" versus "the LDS Church holds no truths, just a false path." Is this a contradiction?

"LDS Approved Literature." As I understand it, this isn't done to hide anything, just to maintain orthodoxy. Anyone is welcome to read Journal of Discourses etc., I have personally never encountered any attempt to hide them. But preach them as official LDS doctrine? Mormanity has addressed things like that in his LDS FAQ Intro and Fallibility of prophets pages.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is only tied to the ordinance of baptism, according to my understanding. I know it raises the question of how you have felt the guidance of God without having received a Mormon baptism... To attempt a brief answer, we do believe that the Light of Christ is given to every person on the earth, baptized or not. Again I must refer to Mormanity's article on testimony for more details. Beyond that I don't feel qualified to say any more than that-- your personal relationship with God is something I don't think anyone can comment on except yourself.

Peter said...

"I find out one day that my neighbour has raped my 5 year old daughter. The court finds him guilty and sentences him to death. BUT - instead, I send my 2 year old son to pay the price - so my neighbour can walk away free."

I am not sure if I would try to summarise what Christ did like this. We know it is much more complicated.

"Now, this is ABSURD. As a father, I certainly would not do this! So, for God to send His Son to absorb His own wrath, is CRAZY, but it demonstrates His love... Why would God love me? It doesn't make ANY sense...but it seems that He does."

God loves you because you are his child. It is an unconditional love.

Anonymous said...

God grace is that God has sent His son Jesus Christ to have taken care of all forgiveness and salvation for us. Our grace to God is to give up our free will to do other things with our lives and work for Him to glorify Him. We have this freedom. The actions of working for Him (keeping all the commandments He may give us) give us the same chance to be like Him by giving freely of ourselves.

Anonymous said...

God did not send His Son as much as Christ volenteered to come down to our level and go through much of the same life as we do, plus pay the price for all our sins. With this payment He gets to decide our fate.

NM said...
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Anonymous said...

Why Mormons differ so much with others concerning the Bible is because, although we except the Bible we have received other revelation that leads us to different conclusions on what the Bible says.

From our (my) view: let me start from the begging: Christ volunteered to come down to earth (He may have been asked, but not forced) to live like us in life and death and take upon Him all the sins of the world. He did this just like His Father in Heaven did. Christ said He did nothing that He did not see the Father do. Christ was an adult spirit like we were before we came down here and made a fully informed decision to go through all that we do. Once He paid the price for our sins we are in debt to Him for a debt that we can never repay. If we chose to fight against Him like Satan and his followers did in Heaven and still do, then we stand in Christ's judgment. If we chose to follow Him then He will forgive the debt we owe and we then become joint workers (servants) with Him and serve Him. Our works:( keeping the commandments) do not save us but show we honor Gods Son Jesus Christ and will Glorify God by showing we except His only Begotten Son that we are loyal to Him, love Him, respect Him, Honor Him.

The analogy that best works for me is: A son volunteers with full knowledge that he will die when he goes to war and dies in defense of Father, family, and country. The war I am speaking of was in heaven, our Heavenly Fathers laws were defended against Satan and his followers rebellion, and for our brothers and sisters. The war is still going on. When the son dies in war they honor the Father with a flag, metals, a military funeral. We honor the son when we live as good citizens and obey the laws he died defending. In this story the son is Jesus Christ, the laws are God's laws, the country is Heaven, and the other spirits in heaven are the citizens of the country.

I know most if not all of this is not found in the Bible and would be view different from a Christian view point. Before I joined the Mormon church I understood the Bible from the traditional view point of the Christians. All I can say is for me, after you understand and appreciate how important Joseph Smith and other leader's revelations are to the understanding of the Bible and you receive confirming witness from the Holy Ghost that they are true you just start to appreciate how powerful Christ's grace is for us.

Anonymous said...

I propose that if God is sovereign, that also means that He is in complete control - even people's lives =)

For the most part we reject this as far as it would interfere with our free agency.

NM said...
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Peter said...

I have had a similar feeling to NM about God leading our lives. I put it down to ultimately God is leading us but the path changes with the day-to-day choices we make in either righteousness or unrighteousness. Though this is not as far as I know supported it was an impression I had before I joined the church and I like to think that we have nothing to worry about if we just try to choose what the Lord would have us choose. If he wants us to be something there isn't much we can do except fight him... Who wants to do that?

Anonymous said...

This is Anon.

In your own words how are you defining sovereignty and applying it to God and us.

Anonymous said...

That before Isaac and Esau were even born, even before they could do right or wrong, God willed that Esau should serve Isaac(?) And that God already had it in his heart (even before they were born) to love Isaac - and to HATE Esau(?) What is that all about?! And I admit that sometimes I can't help but cry out to God and say injustice! Give the Esau a chance God?! I mean come on! What's all that about?

I am not sure if I am the best one to answer for the Mormons view but for me I beleive Esau and Isaac choose or agreed that this would be their life. It was not a punishment as much as a learning experience along with a test. Not only did God know but I believe that if we wanted we could know our entire life. It was preset with God making ajustments along the way if we stray to far from the agreed to experiences and tests.

Peter said...

NM, I have a question regarding the organisation of the church. Have a look at Ephesians 4:11. I am sure you have come across this when talking to LDS before. What do you make of it? Do you know of a scripture that contradicts this? Is it still in effect?

Russell said...

NM--

I would really differ w/you on your contention that man does not have autonomy (more Calvinist than scriptural if you ask me). I'm familiar w/both Luther's "On the Freedom" and Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion. So I ask, if they're correct, what's the POINT then? If I screw up ("fall from grace" as Paul said), then it must mean that God has not chosen me.

It's a life lived of vicious circularity. How do you know you've been chosen? You do good works. Why do you do good works? To prove to themselves that they've been chosen (herein is the "Protestant Work Ethic") At best, the Calvinist doctrine is, while perhaps true, ultimately unhelpful. It makes for stable society but oppressive theology.

I say that all of Christ's teachings, all of the directives from Paul, Peter, James (esp. James and others), are ultimately moot if Calvinism is correct. The New Testament becomes nothing more than Christianized Confucianism--a manual for good social order and not salvation--if Calvinism is correct.

Mormanity said...

NM: You use John 3:16 in a sense that doesn't seem to fit with Trinitarian notions. The "anthropomorphic" reading of John 3:16 refers to the love of a father for a son, as if they were two separate beings, not not one substance with metaphysical categories of "persons" within that Being. Do you lean toward the "two united Beings" approach or the classical Trinitarian concept?

Frankly, John 3:16 only makes sense tome if the unity of God is understood the way I think the earliest Christians understood it: as the unity in will, purpose, love, etc., of two distinct Beings, a loving Father and His Beloved Son, similar to (in perfect form) human father-son relationships.

Mormanity said...

"This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Moses 1:39

This is my work as a parent: to help my children grow up and become good people with happy, meaningful lives.

God's purpose is all about lifting others up and helping them to find true joy. And this is why he gives us free agency, so that we might grow and choose Him and become more like Him and partake of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-10). This understanding is based on our knowledge that God is actually our Father in Heaven. The scriptures teach it repeatedly, and Paul even affirms that we are His offspring (Acts 17:28) and that He is the Father of our spirits (Heb. 12:9). This relationship helps us understand why the scriptures repeatedly insist that we are created in the (physical)(image and similitude of God (Gen. 1:26-27; cf. Gen. 5:1) and why Christ is the express image of the Father (Heb. 1:1-3). We are of the same species and He is our Father. So basic, so fundamental to Christianity, and yet so lost in our day. How glorious is the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing back such sacred, primary truths!

The universe is not God's Ego Trip. Humans are not automatons without choice or will. We are His children, and He begs us to choose Him, to choose His Beloved Son, and through His Grace to repent, be baptized, endure in faith to the end (Matt. 24:13), and return to His presence. The gift of free agency is a dangerous one because we all abuse it and choose evil, but it also gives us the power to voluntarily choose Him and accept the grace He offers through the Atonement. We cannot enjoy our divine potential without such freedom. He wants His children to be more than animals or robots.

It's time for a discussion from the missionaries on the plan of salvation. Elders, anyone? You can request them at Mormon.org or Christ.org.

NM said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi NM,

Can't say I'm a reformed theologian, but I'll take a stab at this with my own personal experience. I actually don't subscribe to the whole free agency, free will, God lets us choose him belief. Here's why.

In my own life, I've made some exceptionally bad choices and I've made some fairly good choices. My experience with both the good and the bad choices has been that someone has been looking out for me, and ultimately the choices have worked out for the best and seemed to have fit a higher plan. I have always felt God with me in all that I do, and as I reflect on the past bad choices I've made, as well as the good choices I've made, I see the hand of God reflected in each. I can't say that I've had total free will in anything that I've done. Ultimately God's plan has unfolded and continues to unfold. That's my perspective on the whole free agency debate.

If you look at Paul's conversion, there's no free agency there. God wanted Paul to be his apostle to the gentiles,so bam, God knocked him off his horse and the next thing you know Paul's out converting Jews and Gentiles throughout most of the known world. Ultimately, God's plan was for Paul to be his apostle. If it hadn't happened when it did, God still would've gotten Paul to follow the plan sooner or later.

More support for that is found in the story of Jonah. God said to Jonah, go preach to the Ninevites. Jonah said "I don't think so" and went by a different road. Next thing you know, Jonah's in the belly of a fish, and God's saying are you ready to follow the plan. God won out in the end. No free will there regardless of how you spin it.

The point is, if God really wants us to follow a plan, he's gonna have us follow the plan. Happens all throughout the bible. I believe it even happens in the BOM if you subscribe to that document as being true. So free agency, I just don't think it exists in the form you all seem to be discussing it in.

That's my two cents.

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

Hi Lars,

Thought I'd respond separately to your response. I am long winded, I admit that. Its a human failing I have.

I've sat through enough of your sacrement meetings to know that you're right, the gift of the Holy Ghost is tied to baptism. And what I've also learned in listening is that so long as you're keeping your covenants, and following the commandments, the Holy Ghost never deserts you. What also seems to be the case in mormon theology is that as long as your keeping the commandments and covenants you've made, God is bound by his covenant. I think the phrasing is something like "so long as ye keep my commandments I the Lord am bound, but if ye keep not my commandments, ye have no promise. I know that's not entirely correct, but the general nature of the quote is there. So consider this for a moment.

In mormon theology, as long as you're living a righteous life, and following your prophet and the D & C and the BOM, you have the Holy Ghost guiding you along the way. But, if you falter in your path, say have a transgression or a sin along the way, the Holy Ghost isn't there to guide you until you return to the path of righteousness. This seems contradictory to me, and this is a huge criticism I have with LDS doctrine and the various teachings of your church.

Here's why I find it contradictory. Jesus promises us the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things. Jesus promises to be with us in all things. God is constantly described as eternal and always with us in all things. But, in mormon theology, all three seem to desert you when you need them the most, that is when you've strayed from the path. That's a contradiction to me that doesn't seem to be resolvable in mormon theology.

In my life, there have been times when I've strayed from the path. And maybe I wasn't as in tune to the spirit at those times, but it never deserted me, and in fact in those times that's when I've felt God reaching out to me the most. I believe that's because when we're faltering in faith and struggling with sin, God is always pulling for us to succeed. But in mormon theology he seems to leave us to our own devises. That's a huge doctrinal problem I have with the LDS faith.

That ties into concerns I have about the temple. Your temple is God's house. God resides there and sacred ordinances for the dead are performed there. But, that temple is denied to the very people who need to be there the most; the sinners, the downtrodden, the faithless, the dejected. If you read the bible and the BOM, those are the people Jesus sought out, not the ones on the path. But your faith denies God to those who deny him the most. At least that's my observation from the sidelines.

Catholic Defender

Russell said...

Catholic Defender:

"If you look at Paul's conversion, there's no free agency there."

Then why did he bother with the big show? If Paul and co. were merely God's puppets (as we all must be, should agency be a total sham).

Even John Calvin maintained that the early Church Fathers "declare(d) that free-will, though impaired in its powers and biased, is not however extinguished."

Also, to quote from Justin Martyr: "We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man's actions." This he says in direct response to those who maintain that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand." Cyril of Jerusalme wrote similarly, arguing that neither God nor the devil "has...the power to compel against the will" (see Catechetical Lectures, 4:21

Now, I do not accept the hardline position by many members of my faith--that agency rules all, even trumping God's omnipotence. No, I believe that God does everything he can WHILE STILL ACHIEVING HIS OBJECTIVES (caps are only because I don't know how to type in italics). It's utterly pointless to talk of God's agency; while on some theoretical level, he is still absolutely free, I would nevertheless maintain that to ponder excessively on such a concept is really a moot point. Agency must be seen as a means, not an end.

NM said...
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Peter said...

Order some missionaries online. They'll be delivered right to your door.
Warning - do not over feed the missionaries.

Lars said...

Catholic Defender-- yes, I follow you on the quote, you are referring to DC 82:10. I would, however, argue that the promise referred to is not the guidance of the Holy Ghost. I absolutely agree with you on that point, sinners do need the guidance of the Holy Ghost more than ever. Any non-sinners here care to argue otherwise? :) So what does it refer to? The context suggests (at least to me) a promise of deliverance-- the historical context suggests physical deliverance from mob violence, but certainly spiritual deliverance is an even more crucial promise. Such promises strike me as very Biblical, as taught by Noah, Moses, Jonah, and Jesus himself.

For temple admittance, taking a snapshot of one instance of time does indeed make it sound unfair. However, sinners aren't categorized once and then cast aside forever. (Nor is there a requirement of perfection to enter a temple.) Jesus sought out the sinners not to tell them to be satisfied with where they are, but to lift them up. "Sin no more," he said, time and time again. Sinners are absolutely invited to enter the temple, there's just some things they/we need to take care of first. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." (Psalms 24:3-4)

NM said...
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Peter said...

NM,

Is there a reason you don't use the whole church name?

Peter

NM said...
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Anonymous said...

Not quite, NM.

Latter-Day James said...

This is in response to what Catholic Defender said regarding Paul and Jonah. The answer seems rather simple like most things in the Gospel. The Lord was merely giving them a (second?)chance to choose the right. We call that repentance.

After Paul "saw the light" he still had the option to say no and go along his wicked way. Same with Jonah, after getting away from the whale, he could have hiked to where he wanted or taken another boat.

Were these life changing experiences? Yes, of course. Did they HAVE to be good little prophets and do what the Lord said? No. They still had agency.

Peter said...

NM,

I listened to the talk. I don't agree with much that he said. When he calls his teaching meat, I laughed. I think the reason that we may choke is because he has some skewed ideas on what the scripture is saying. When he says "careful you don't choke on this meat" it is , to me, saying just swallow this baloney. My understanding is that he believes that every action we make is the will of God. That whether we choose the right or wrong is determined by God for his purposes. This is incorrect. The closest I can come to a teaching like this is that the Lord can use you if your hot or cold. Hot is to do his will in helping people know him and cold is to remind his people who are falling away. His teaching is along the lines of, no matter what I do God is on my side. Can the Lord use our unrighteous choices to further his plan, most assuredly he could, but this is not a free pass to beat your child and say it's the will of God.

I have actually heard of someone being beaten like this. Sad story. I don't understand that people can claim unrighteous actions as being in line with God's will.

Anonymous said...

We are of the same species and He is our Father. So basic, so fundamental to Christianity, and yet so lost in our day. How glorious is the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing back such sacred, primary truths!

Amen!

NM said...
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NM said...
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Peter said...

Oh my NM. This is the problem that occurred in the early years of the primitive church. They started listening to people who were interpreting the scriptures their way instead of listening to those who are authorised to teach it. I am surprised that the trinity is the "official" doctrine on the Godhead. I certainly didn't get that interpretation when I read the bible before I joined the church. I know it can be hard to disregard what you have been taught all these years. The Godhead as I see it and as the LDS teach is that God the Father is in charge, the Son Jesus Christ is doing the Father's will and the Holy Ghost also does the Father's will.
They each have different roles. One God in intent. They are united in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. As we become more like our Father, more like Christ we glorify our Father in Heaven.

I testify that the Gospel is restored on the Earth. That Joseph Smith is a Prophet and that the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are from the Lord Himself.

NM I can guarantee you that this is all true. That the Lord wants you to know the truth and that He loves you. I wish I could talk to you in person, I really wish that you would call the missionaries.

With love in Jesus Christ.
Amen

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem I have with this discussion is what is God' Glory? Not only by definition but by description or example.

Anonymous said...

God's Sovereignty and the Trinity are two of the principles that I rejected when I first heard them when looking into religion. Also the evil side of God rather than that there is a reason for all that is happening but I my not be understood by reading the Bible. I think this is why I took the time to listen to the LDS church's message.

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Catholic Defender,

Revelation 3
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

This text has the resounding tap, tap, tapping of free-will to me....

Dear Peter,

Why do you feel it necessary to give personal guarantees in your claims of Truth? That right is only reserved for our Lord, Judge and Saviour Jesus Christ. Only He has deserved the absolute right to state what is and what is not Truth. You will never experience what He had to go through.

Anything else is your own conviction and pursuasion that may or may not lead to eternal life. The good news about the Gospel is that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead - what needs to be restored ?

NM - I re-iterate for you again -
Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Teranno4x4

Peter said...

Whenever I think of God's Glory I think of his light and magnificence. www.dictionary.com has several different meanings of glory and a few of them probably fit well.

1) to exult with triumph; rejoice proudly
2) a state of great splendor, magnificence, or prosperity

I believe that some of his glory comes from us. We glorify God by praising him and be trying to be like him, reflecting his magnificence and light.

Peter said...

Welcome back Teranno4x4,

Because I have received knowledge from the Lord and have seen with my own eyes and felt within my heart. That I know for a surety that what is taught is true.

It is not just knowledge from man that I have received it is straight from the source. If it were possible, Teranno, that you could know what experiences I have had which allow me to tell you with such a conviction and the Spirit that is within me, even as we speak, you would not doubt one iota.

For Psalms 118:8 I would re-iterate this for learning from anyone even yourself Teranno.

Teranno, Christ is risen and I pray that he will guide you as he has lead me. If Christ is the only one that can say what is true then you may as well throw out your Bible. The apostles are telling you through that.
The Lord declares truth through his servants.
Constantly you would lead us to believe you in your claims so why are you hypocritical?

I would that you pray over this. If you will not trust on my word, trust on what the Lord will tell you. Leave your preconceptions at the door.

Peter said...

Teranno4x4,

You will never experience what He had to go through.

Thanks :) I am hoping I don't ever have to experience even a fraction of what he went through. I am so glad that you recognise this.

Your brother in Christ,
Peter

teranno4x4 said...
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teranno4x4 said...

*corrected punctuation*

Dear Peter,

The Bible in the Old Testament leads me to Jesus. The four Gospels celebrate a tiny percentage of Jesus' life and words that He willingly shares with us.

The rest of the New Testament discusses the whole Gospel account and it's importance and relevance for our lives, including more words from Jesus in Acts, Corinthians and Revelation.

So why should I throw it out and how am I being hypocritical ?

I must believe you when you say that you are in Jesus and the the Holy Spirit is in you. Only you can testify of that and I have no doubt.

However I do beg to differ when you claim that you can guarantee 'The Truth'. As I stated before, this principal will be judged one day by Jesus Himself - not you, so unfortunately you have no right in this whatsoever. The Christian walk is an eternal one that only begins with a true repentance in body and mind (that can again only be measured by Jesus). It is not a principal that stagnates once an individual has 'found' Jesus in his conversion. What is to say that God does not desire for you to know more Truth than you have available to you right now ?

Please continue to describe your personal testimony and development, but the road to Absolute Truth has only been walked on so far by one sinless Man, who bore the sins of the whole world on our behalf. It is He alone, who can make His decision to save us by presenting us faultless before the throne of God. Not you, your missionaries or your church, not me, not my denomination and not this blog.

That was the point that I was trying to make.

I have no preconceptions - I see matters as they are presented, and measured by my understanding from God's leading word and convicting answers to my prayers.

Yours also in Jesus,

Teranno4x4

4:54 AM, October 18, 2007

Anonymous said...

Peter!

Keep it up. When I read your testimony or here other members testimonies I feel the same powerful Spirit of the Holy Ghost I felt 30 years ago when I first heard the story of Joseph Smith's first vision of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It wasn't all of the studying and discussions about gospel topics but the expressions of the spirit from another that has experienced it.

It makes me smile every time I here someone asks why you Mormons bare testimony all the time.
(This is because in the world we live in testimonies are considered the least reliable compared to science which has become much of the worlds religion or God). But in the New Testament this is the main way the Apostles world try to convince those they were teaching.

I add my testimony to yours that all those that will pray to Our Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ if it is true He will bare witness to them by the power of the Holy Spirit. And they will also know it is true.

I Hope all goes well for you mission.

Peter said...

Teranno4x4,

I appreciate your comments and feel good that a dialog is opening. What gives me the right to declare this to you and those around me is the Holy Priesthood. The Lord has seen fit to give me the Priesthood and that I have the authority from him to preach his Gospel and build the kingdom. I can guarantee the absolute truth of the message that I bore because the Lord himself has given it to me through visions, scripture, revelations and through the Prophets.
I am also sure there is more truth but first we need to learn his simple truths and I am sure that what I have spoken is the truth.

Teranno, I said throw them (scriptures) away because you made a comment about relying only on the Lord for truth. I merely am pointing out that the Lord did not write the scriptures and that the apostles are just men. These men were authorised to preach the absolute truth because they had been ordained Priests, Prophets, Evangelists etc, through the Lord. So why would you believe them more then you believe a Prophet has been sent to restore truth's lost through iniquity. If you believed the church has been on the Earth since Christ you should be Catholic. If not, then there is only one other church that can adequately claim it has authority from God, that's right The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If the Lord did not start a church, then it is of the learning of men and doesn't have everything it needs.

The hypocrite comment was due to the fact that you feel you have the right to declare truth and that I don't. You claim that your views are biblically sound which you back up with scripture, which is fair enough. We know that I could pull scriptures for my claims, I am sure you know which ones I could refer to. On top of this a Prophet has declared it, there is more scripture to back it up and I have Priesthood authority. The Lord has revealed it for everyone on Earth. Truth be told, there really isn't anything left for you to do but learn about it, pray about it and be baptised.
With peace,
Peter

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Peter,

I have been baptised in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost as was commissioned by Jesus in Matt28:19 .

So what baptism are you talking about ?

What about the promise of Jesus "where two or three are gathered in my name, there I shall be also" ? NM previously commented on the 'invisible church' which links all the followers of Jesus Christ. Notice He did not prophecy LDS church or Catholicism, more simply 2 or 3 (meaning people). Through the revelation and experience of the Holy Spirit working through our invitation for Him to be in our lives, this is how we can grow in Jesus and be more like him daily. Neither God, nor Jesus can not be confined to a temple. They can work wherever they prefer. They alone have the Absolute Truth and if one is in them, they will decide when and how much to be revealed as our minds can digest the information. This is the marvellous part about why we have free will. We choose how to react when prompted to do so.

I am not hypocritical, I simply offer a Biblical truth to back up my belief in God. I do not look for the appreciative eyebrow of any denomination to confirm what I believe. I believe and that is simply it. I happen to worship with like-minded Christian believers who also have similar opinions to me. Are we all wrong / sinners to believe what we do? Will you personally make that judgement call ? I didn't think so, since we are all in Jesus already. He alone is my claim, my assurance and my hope!

What will be restored (to answer my question to you), is man back to God, but this can only occur after the second coming. Until then, sin has dominion over the men on earth, but not necessarily over Jesus' followers - there are many Bible texts that promise this.

There will be 'a remnant' that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. Rev12:17

I am not presenting any guarantee or personal testimony to you other than if it is Biblically prophecied - so it will be done; I am presenting to you the testimony of Jesus. Please show me anywhere else you can find this testimony explicitly unfolded other than in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is not contained so detailed with speech included, in any other historical record.

That is why I believe without any shadow of a doubt. I am always pleased to acknowledge my errors when shown. I also respect your belief in your authority - that is ultimately between "you and your God" Isa59:1,2. (The same applies to me too - I am inclusive as a sinner). We rely in our awesome God, Jesus to free us from this captivity.

**Appreciative of this communication too**

Teranno4x4

Peter said...

Dear Teranno4x4,

I have been baptised in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost as was commissioned by Jesus in Matt28:19 .

So what baptism are you talking about ?


First of all we need to understand to whom Jesus was telling to go forth and baptise. Was he speaking to the layman, who wasn't there listening, or was he talking to commissioned Priesthood holders? If any man can go forth and baptise and preach the Gospel, what is needed of the apostles, teachers and priests that he had set apart - Ephesians 4:11. In fact we can see that in Matthew 28:16 Jesus is talking to his disciples. His disciples are authorised holders of the Priesthood. Was the person who baptised you ordained as a Priest by the authority of the Lord?

Did the person who baptise you give you the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands? If so, where does his authority to do so come from?

What about the promise of Jesus "where two or three are gathered in my name, there I shall be also" ? NM previously commented on the 'invisible church' which links all the followers of Jesus Christ. Notice He did not prophecy LDS church or Catholicism, more simply 2 or 3 (meaning people). Through the revelation and experience of the Holy Spirit working through our invitation for Him to be in our lives, this is how we can grow in Jesus and be more like him daily.

Teranno4x4, unfortunately you have taken Matthew 18:20 out of context. The Lord is first talking to his disciples about how to treat offending members of the church, while this is good council, not to offend any, he has made a point that when your brother does you wrong, you tell him. If he doesn't believe you take one or two more brethren to affirm. If he does not hear them you speak to your bishop and if he does not hear the bishop you can count him as a heathen or publican. Because you choose to use Matthew 18:20 we must also take Matthew 18:18 - Verily I say unto you, whatsoever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven. Does this apply to every person who follows Jesus? Or, does this apply to only those he has ordained to the Priesthood? He then goes on to say, to his disciples, Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on Earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. Does this mean that any two people can agree on something and the Lord will do it for them. Not necessarily. Now, we come into Matthew 18:20 - For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. He is still talking to his disciples. This means that the Lord is present when two or more authorised Priesthood holders are called together for a particular purpose. Say as in Sacrament meeting, General Conference etc. I am sure that the Lord does guide people when they talk about him but they need to clarify with Him what they may have learned.

To grow in Jesus and be more like him daily. I would suggest living the commandments, living the word of wisdom, be as kind as you can to everyone, read your scriptures daily and to repent of all your iniquities. Keeping, in mind, the context that the scriptures are in.

I am not hypocritical, I simply offer a Biblical truth to back up my belief in God. I do not look for the appreciative eyebrow of any denomination to confirm what I believe. I believe and that is simply it. I happen to worship with like-minded Christian believers who also have similar opinions to me. Are we all wrong / sinners to believe what we do? Will you personally make that judgement call ? I didn't think so, since we are all in Jesus already. He alone is my claim, my assurance and my hope!

Are you claiming that because you believe and other's around you believe a similar thing that you are all entirely correct? I have to take a stance that you are missing truth because a) the Lord hasn't yet revealed to you all knowledge b) you are rejecting plain and simple truth. Many times has the Church been proven. Many times has Jeff or someone else given you scripture to make it known, yet you hold fast that you must be right. This simply means that the Lord hasn't, yet, revealed to you that he has indeed restored his church. If he has, you are fighting your testimony of Jesus.

What will be restored (to answer my question to you), is man back to God, but this can only occur after the second coming. Until then, sin has dominion over the men on earth, but not necessarily over Jesus' followers - there are many Bible texts that promise this.

Actually we already have been restored to God, that is what Christ did. We will not live in his presence yet because the Earth must be cleansed. What needed to be restored is the authority to act in God's name. Thankfully this was taken care of on May 15, 1829. When the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist.

There will be 'a remnant' that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. Rev12:17

Let's look at Revelation 12:17. The Dragon is a likeness of the Church of the Devil, or, all those who keep not the commandments and hearken unto the pleasures of the world. The woman is the Lord's church, remnant of her seed is those who keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. It does not say if that remnant will be priesthood holders or not, so we can hope that it is all those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ, which I believe to be a witness from the Father through the Holy Ghost.

I am not presenting any guarantee or personal testimony to you other than if it is Biblically prophesied - so it will be done; I am presenting to you the testimony of Jesus. Please show me anywhere else you can find this testimony explicitly unfolded other than in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is not contained so detailed with speech included, in any other historical record.

I believe that you are saying that I have guaranteed this. It is true. I guarantee that the Lord has indeed restored His church and His Priesthood. The reason I can guarantee this is because the Lord has guaranteed it to me. So therefore I am not guaranteeing it on my word but on God's, which is why we seal it with Jesus Christ's name. Were it not so it would be our word. Were it untrue I would expect that we would have it made known to us. Possibly in some sort of spiritual or physical turmoil.

That is why I believe without any shadow of a doubt. I am always pleased to acknowledge my errors when shown. I also respect your belief in your authority - that is ultimately between "you and your God" Isa59:1,2. (The same applies to me too - I am inclusive as a sinner). We rely in our awesome God, Jesus to free us from this captivity.

Ultimately, you don't believe that the Lord has restored or has had any need to restore His church. You seem to accuse me of speaking mistruths, that have clearly been established in scripture. I have neither spoken mistakenly or taken scripture out of context to fit my needs. Why do you not believe that the Lord needed to bring back the fullness of His Gospel?

Peter

Peter said...

I should also have specified that Peter, James and John bestowed the Melchizedek Priesthood onto Joseph Smith.

Anonymous said...

I have had many non-LDS friends shair their testimony with me about the Bible truths and their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Before I had the Holy Ghost confirm the truth about the First Vision of Joseph Smith of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and of Peter, James, and John restoring the priesthood all I could testify to was what I knew was true. All I knew before this was that Jesus Christ was the son of Our Father in Heaven talked about in Old and New Testiment. So all we can testify to is what we have gained as a testimony from the Holy Ghost and build on that as more is given to us.

Peter said...

When I ask the final question "Why do you not believe ..." What I am after is why does he believe that it didn't need to happen. In case it was a little ambiguous.

Anonymous said...

Because some people consider God controlling every little detail of life and God is considered doing some thing that are hard to except such as having people put to death or making people sick then how is any of this for His Glory. Can anyone define from a Christian stand point what the Glory of God is? Trenio or NM or others.

The Mormons believe that it is to "bring to past the eternal life of man." So any thing that may happen, in the end, it is for our own good.

NM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

NM,

Thanks for the response! I am not sure if that is what I was looking for because it is one of those things that is hard to get the mind around. When you said all is reflected back to Him it reminded me of some articals I have been reading about the universe and our mind and our very existence is a Hologram. It is some far out reading on how some physicist are trying to explain God through physics. I understand very little about what they are talking about but it does open some new ways of looking at God and science. I will have to look more into your response.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

NM,

The subject of the trinity is something that blows my mind away. Probably even more so than the subject of God's Sovereignty =)Mr. Piper.

Was unable to get MR. Piper's talk on the Sovereignty of God but found some go articals on it. I like the Trinity artical. Thanks

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Peter,

The Book of Revelation teaches me that there is an object named the 'Book of Life' where the names of the righteous redeemed or the saints are written.

It is also discussed By Moses and God in Exodus 32:32,33 ; Daniel in Dan 12:1, 7:10 ; Jesus in Luke10:20 ; and also Paul in Php 4:3.

I believe with 100% in this Book of Life and my aim is to have my name written there together with as many people as I can urge to believe in it too. There is only one way to have a name written there and that is through Jesus Christ Himself. I choose to particularly follow in the very words that Jesus taught.

You can have all the authority granted by the Spirit and the apostles and in every way that you well describe yourself. I dont deny you this right to believe - I am simply saying that I do not believe the same otherwise you would find prophecy in the Bible predicting this important event that you well describe.

No - restoration back to God (as it was in the Garden of Eden) will and can only happen only once the righteous saints are taken to heaven by Jesus, who has identified them from their names as written in the Book of Life. The saints in heaven will make up the 'restored church'. This term is your own term and not Biblical. There are many Biblical terms found, but 'restored church' is not one of them. On this topic, please read Acts 1:6-8. Verse6 expressly talks about the restoration. Verse 7 discusses when and that it is not for us to know - only the Father (further reference - Matt24:36), and verse 8 discusses our responsibility as His followers, once the Holy Spirit is given to us.

With final reference to your paragraph starting "Let's look at Revelation 12:17", you mention that "the dragon is a likeness of the church of the devil". To this I ask you to read verse 9 of chapter 12 - it states that the dragon IS the devil. Apart from this point, I agree with the rest of the paragraph.

In closing comment let me ask you - Do I need to be a baptised member of the LDS church to have my name written in the Book of Life ?

Teranno4x4

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Peter,

I didn't mean the following sentence to read as arrogant as it comes across "I do not believe the same otherwise you would find prophecy in the Bible predicting this important event that you well describe. "

It would be better substituted with the sentence "I do not believe the same as you, based on the lack of a prophecy in the Bible predicting this important event of the 'restored church' and the 'restored gospel' that you describe very well.

I hope that you can gain the purpose of my meaning in a less problematic way?

Having considered it more - I firmly believe that God meets us where we are at - He doesn't force Himself on us, as it's not His character. But He does know the end from the beginning. The rest is down to our choices in life and whether we choose to continue living in Him.

We all have made good choices and bad choices. Whatever we choose, God always hears when we ask for Him. He doesn't necessarily answer with what we want to hear or when we are waiting for the answer (because maybe it wouldn't be the best scenario for us etc etc.), but He can work with us with whatever we present to Him. (He says - go and sin no more) The same is with our faith. Many Christians are on the ladder of Truth. How high or how low is dependant on their personal relationship with Jesus. Everyone is different. Where a person is today, may not be where they are tomorrow. We could be up, we could be down, we could be off the ladder altogether. At the top of the ladder is Jesus and eternal life and it is through the power that is the Holy Spirit that helps us to get to the top.

Incidentally, man will live and be restored with God before the earth is cleansed of all sin. That will be in heaven.

If I provide you with information that is Truth and you discard it, then where does that leave you ? Likewise, if the information that you have given to me is Truth, and I discard it, where does that leave me? This is the whole reason why I base my faith on the teachings and Gospel of Jesus from Genesis through to Revelation. It is consistent and leads to eternal life. My life experience has also been confirmed to me personally by the Holy Spirit and consecrated through ordained and authorised Baptism by full immersion.

All Jesus asks for is our obedience in His ways. All else is peripheral. Is it too much for Him to ask of us?

Teranno4x4

Kathleen said...

I'm still here. Wow--hot topic! Very interesting, though.I'll comment when I have something to say. :)

Anonymous said...

Terrano,

I believe there are scriptures in the New Testiment that talk about the restoration of all things as it relates to the Church of Jesus Christ. No time is given, so I could be 1820's with Joseph Smith, during the millenium, or when Jesus Christ gathers His saint up to Him whos names are recorded in the Book of Life.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I sense fireworks any moment.

Anonymous said...

Given that I was a Christian who held to Reformed theology (thus believing in the absolute sovereignty, omniscience, and foreknowledge of God), (God's absolute sovereignty over, omniscience of, and foreknowledge of all events, including future ones),God is the ultimate author of ALL life, and therefore, if He, in His infinite wisdom, decides that taking the life of one of His creatures would be best, in terms of His overall plan for humanity, then that act is a morally good act for God to do.
It is my understanding that God has put all the universe in motion as well as our lives and knows the out come, if not in every detail then within certain permutations of probabilities and because He has the ability to travel or see into the future then it is no longer an act of morality or immoral cruelty for anything evil that happens to us. It just becomes events that we must pass thru that is for our experiences that are needed in order to return to Him. Further, we were able to see these future events and agreed to them and made certain convents with Him before we came to this earth just like a child would do with his earthly father. God is also able to interfere when it is necessary to bring to past His final goals for His children to return to Him, that if successful we will Glorify Him. The best example is when we put something in motion knowing that this motion may bring discomfort or even kill us but it is necessary for us to achieve the goal we have set and then small adjustments become necessary to complete the goal. We as mere humans can predict the out come of many complex things just on our level so God would easily be able to know all things and adjust things as He sees fit.
Anonymous, pay particular attention to verses 22 & 23 in Romans 9. Paul preempts his readers by asking the most daring question. This chapter is a major stumbling block to 'free-willers', don't you think? That before Isaac and Esau were even born, even before they could do right or wrong, God willed that Esau should serve Isaac(?) And that God already had it in his heart (even before they were born) to love Isaac - and to HATE Esau(?) What is that all about?! And I admit that sometimes I can't help but cry out to God and say injustice! Give the Esau a chance God?! I mean come on! What's all that about?

Anonymous, how can we possibly correlate these kinds of actions by God to what we know about Him, especially when we attribute God as someone who loves unconditionally? Unless of course, He is completely and utterly sovereign =) and all that He exists for is to declare, and for us (as His chosen), to reflect His glory =)
And that God already had it in his heart (even before they were born) to love Isaac - and to HATE Esau(?)
Here I think the word hate is to strong. I prefer the word favor. Why I say this is there are people that have a better life than me or are favored in life by God and there are those that have a horrible life compared to me. All these things we agree to before we came down here. To have a good life can be as much of a stumbling block as a hard life. It is only unjust or unfair if we had no say in the matter or we were going to be judged unfairly. There is a saying in the church "where there is no law there is no punishment." And "it is through obedience to the laws of God that all blessings are attained.
So if Isaac is given all the blessings and he goes to the bad then he can not call God unjust. If Esau endures his part well and over comes his hard life then all the more blessing are his. It is hard to be happy for those around us that are blessed but it is also our trial not to be envious, and it could be Isaac's trial that he not look down on his brother that is not as blessed and will be judged accordingly.
I think one of the main reasons much of the rest of the Christian world has problems with the Mormons version of the Godhead is we humanize them. When we talk of God our Heavenly father we mean in a literal way; or when we speak of Jesus Christ being our brother we mean it in a literal way. When we talk of God our Father as the father of Jesus Christ we mean it in a literal way. Once a person excepts the Trinity God becomes unapproachable or harder to approach.
Our version would be more like those that talk of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and those that believe in the Trinity are more like the Jew where; where God is something beyond man's understanding. Many times they still spell God as G-d.
When dealing with the supernatural elements of God I try to explain them with what we learn through quantum physics. The parallel I draw is God our Father in Heaven is like our earthly father is to the supernatural is like quantum physics.
Some quantum physicist are describing this universe as a simulation as it relates to God. This sound familiar to something I heard in the Temple.

Peter said...

Dear Teranno4x4,

I believe with 100% in this Book of Life and my aim is to have my name written there together with as many people as I can urge to believe in it too. There is only one way to have a name written there and that is through Jesus Christ Himself. I choose to particularly follow in the very words that Jesus taught.

In closing comment let me ask you - Do I need to be a baptised member of the LDS church to have my name written in the Book of Life?

I put this question here because I will approach both at the same time.

Obviously we need to find out exactly what the Book of Life is. If we can glean enough information from the scriptures. The Book of Life as referenced by Psalms 69:28 – Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous - shows us that the Book of Life is the names of all the righteous. Philippians 4:3 – Shows us that the Book of Life contains the names of those who labour in the Gospel. Revelation 3:5 – This again states he that overcometh and that these people he will confess unto our Father and his angels. Revelation 13:8 – demonstrates those that are not written in the Book of Life are they that shall worship the devil. Revelation 22:19 – states that any who should take away the words from Revelation; God will remove his name from the Book of Life. He will also remove any part from the holy city and from the things that are written in this book. This sentence would lead me to believe there are other things written in the Book of Life, perhaps our rewards?

For more information we can look at Doctrine and Covenants 76:50-68. However this is to do with the first resurrection when Christ comes again. Verse 68 mentions the Book of Life but it is currently unclear to me whether or not the rest applies. If it does then you would need to receive the testimony of Jesus Christ, be baptised, receive the Holy Ghost, keep the commandments, and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. After further reading it is my opinion that this is the case.

Note: Daniel 7:10 refers to other books, not the Book of Life, check Revelation 20:12. Shows that there are at least two lots of records. The Book of Life which we are led to believe holds the names of the righteous and maybe our rewards and the “other books” which hold our good works/deeds (from my understanding).

You can have all the authority granted by the Spirit and the apostles and in every way that you well describe yourself. I dont deny you this right to believe - I am simply saying that I do not believe the same otherwise you would find prophecy in the Bible predicting this important event that you well describe.

JST Revelation 12:6 – states that the “woman” (Lord’s Church) was in the wilderness 1260 years (days in KJV) if we count back from when the Lord restored the Church that makes 570AD when the Lord’s church was no longer able to be found in it’s fullness.
Amos 8:11 tells us that there will be a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.
The apostasy (falling away) was already happening else we wouldn’t have the epistles to the churches telling them what to do and what not to do.
No - restoration back to God (as it was in the Garden of Eden) will and can only happen only once the righteous saints are taken to heaven by Jesus, who has identified them from their names as written in the Book of Life. The saints in heaven will make up the 'restored church'. This term is your own term and not Biblical. There are many Biblical terms found, but 'restored church' is not one of them. On this topic, please read Acts 1:6-8. Verse6 expressly talks about the restoration. Verse 7 discusses when and that it is not for us to know - only the Father (further reference - Matt24:36), and verse 8 discusses our responsibility as His followers, once the Holy Spirit is given to us.

Wow, there are so many scriptures for the Restoration of the Gospel and more in the Book of Mormon. Where to begin? I am not going to write them all so I will just list the books/chapter/verse.
Isaiah 2:2 - A temple in the top of the mountains. Apparently Utah means top of the mountains.
Micah 4:2 - this refers to temples. As far as I am aware we, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, are the only ones building the Lord’s house.
Isaiah 11:11 – We currently have ~53,000 missionaries doing just that.
Isaiah 29:14 – referring to the restoration and the Book of Mormon.
Jeremiah 31:31 – the new and everlasting covenant.
Ezekiel 37:26 – the new and everlasting covenant and temples.
Daniel 2:44 – the Kingdom once more restored.
Joel 2:28 – preparation for the millennium
Amos 3:7 – Speaks to his Prophets.
Malachi 3:1 – Sending his messenger to prepare the way.
Malachi 4:5-6 – Sending Elijah, genealogy and temple work.
Matthew 17:11 – Sending John the Baptist
Matthew 24:14 – Missionary work
Acts 3:21 – restitution of all things
Romans 11:25 – fullness of the Gospel.
Ephesians 1:10 – Gathering and issue the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.
Revelation 11:3 – two witnesses prophesying
Revelation 14:6 – Angel having the Gospel to preach.

With final reference to your paragraph starting "Let's look at Revelation 12:17", you mention that "the dragon is a likeness of the church of the devil". To this I ask you to read verse 9 of chapter 12 - it states that the dragon IS the devil. Apart from this point, I agree with the rest of the paragraph.


Satan is going to need a lot of people to have a war. In verse 9 it talks about the dragon and his followers. Therefore when there is a war it isn’t only Satan, it’s his peeps as well.

What I would ask you to do is read a Book of Mormon. Better yet, talk to the missionaries. No obligation.

In the BoM you will find a recording of Lehi’s vision of a rod of iron and tree of life. This is similar to your ladder analogy.

No - restoration back to God (as it was in the Garden of Eden) will and can only happen only once the righteous saints are taken to heaven by Jesus, who has identified them from their names as written in the Book of Life. The saints in heaven will make up the 'restored church'. This term is your own term and not Biblical. There are many Biblical terms found, but 'restored church' is not one of them. On this topic, please read Acts 1:6-8. Verse6 expressly talks about the restoration. Verse 7 discusses when and that it is not for us to know - only the Father (further reference - Matt24:36), and verse 8 discusses our responsibility as His followers, once the Holy Spirit is given to us.

Actually, we are restored to God through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is up to us to accept and do all we can to stay with him. Speaking of the second coming, no man knoweth the time. I don’t think anyone knew the time of the restoration of the church until it happened either. He has never said that it will all happen at once. We must be prepared. Then he comes as a thief in the night.

Peter

P.S I am pretty tired now so please forgive me if I don't explain things well enough and spelling mistakes etc. Another place to do some research is here

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the web page. Some of the answers I hard to go along with but it is fun reading.

Anonymous said...

Hi Latter Day James,

I suppose to some extent you are right about Paul and Jonah still being in a position to choose to remain wicked and disobedient. But consider the choice offered to them. Paul, here's your choice, you can go on killing and persecuting Christians, but you'll be blind while you're doing it; or, you can repent and preach to the Jews and Gentiles all throughout the know world. What's your choice gonna be? While it may appear that Paul has a choice, he truly does not.

The same holds true for Jonah. He could have chosen not to go to Ninevah, but there was no way he was getting out of that fish if he said no. Is there really free agency there. Not in the sense that mormons believe it to be. I think that is the real question here, is free agency really what you're defining it to be. Probably not, its probably something else that has yet to be defined.

That brings me to some questions I would pose. One that comes to mind is why are mormons so literal in their interpretation of things? Here's what I mean. LDS theology believes in the literal restoration of the 10 tribes of Israel (incidentally there were 12, but that's another question). Mormons also believe in 3 literally separate personages in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Mormons also believe in a literal temple, and a literal immersion when baptising. Why are you all so literal when Jesus rarely spoke literally.

Look at the bible and the BOM to some extent. Jesus instructs by means of parables and metaphors. He rarely speaks literally. Does anyone really think that Jesus meant we literally have to go through child birth again when he was saying one needs to be born again. Or that we're literally baptized with fire, wouldn't that have the rather unpleasant result of burning the faithful to death. No Jesus is actually talking about a spiritual rebirth, not a literal one. He's talking about a spiritual fire being lit, not a literal one. Yet, so much of what mormons seem to believe is taken very literally. I just don't get that.

To me, when Jesus is talking about the temple, he's talking about what is in our hearts, not the place where we go to pray. Rebuilding the temple, or the church isn't a literal rebuilding of the building, its a spiritual rebuilding of our hearts. The temple is something we take with us, not somewhere we go to pray. Your temple, without the persons going there, would be nothing more than a fancy building. Its the people inside praying that make the temple. I have difficulty fathoming how mormons have missed that subtle message. Perhaps someone can answer.

For me, the discussion I've seen folks having regarding Trinitarians versus Three Separate Personages isn't that difficult to fathom. I believe in the Trinity point of view. Because I believe God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and an eternal spiritual being, I don't see a problem with the Trinitarian viewpoint. Afterall, don't both viewpoints take the position that all things are possible with God. If that's true, why can't he be three in one, not three separate beings. Seems like a God that can do anything can also be God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Someone want to take a stab at why God can't be all three at the same time?

Incidentally, someone has suggested that missionaries be called in at least a couple of times. While I think the missionaries are nice guys, and certainly committed to their beliefs, I just don't find the discussions helpful. I say that because I've done the discussions several times, and am farther from believing what the LDS faith offers than I am to converting. I just don't agree with your theology at all. I see huge gaping holes in it, and I just don't believe Joseph Smith was the prophet he claimed to be (uh oh -Blasphemy).

Catholic Defender

Peter said...

I would like to know how many have read the Book of Mormon with as much intent to find out if it is true as they read the Bible. I mean really giving it a chance as well. Not just reading a couple of verses and going nah this sucks. Try researching a topic and seeing what answers you get from the Book of Mormon. Just a suggestion.

Latter-Day James said...

Ok I will try to answer your questions/comments Catholic Defender.
Regarding Paul and Jonah, I still think they had a choice but it is not the typical black white choice we may sometimes run into. Paul was running around wreaking havoc in the Lord's Church. Maybe it was time for the Lord to intervene? Not sure. I think it came down to that.

With Jonah, he ran away because he was scared. He was afraid of getting killed because of the Assyrians hate for Israel. The Lord knew this and gave him the chance to repent and He really wanted Nineveh to repent. He loves His people and is merciful. I think perhaps these were choice spirits that were meant to do the job He was calling them to do. So did the Lord make them an offer they couldn't refuse? I don't think so but I bet it would have been harder to choose the wrong way here.

"That brings me to some questions I would pose. One that comes to mind is why are mormons so literal in their interpretation of things?"

We are literal sometimes sure. Depends on how it is revealed as would should understand it. Aren't modern day prophets grand?
We also believe in symbolism. I bet more things are symbolism's then literal to us. Not sure.

"Mormons also believe in a literal temple, and a literal immersion when baptising."

Where else would we do our temple work? Baptisms for the dead, sealings, among others. It has been revealed these are things we should be doing so that we can live with Him again someday and that we obey all His commandments.

Ok immersion, here we go symbolism. That thing we don't believe in.
hehe jk. Ok when a person is baptized he is "buried" in the water and is "reborn" after coming out. This represents the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior.

No we don't believe in burning people before, during, or after baptism. :-)

"Your temple, without the persons going there, would be nothing more than a fancy building. Its the people inside praying that make the temple."

You are partially right here, it would just be a fancy building but a fancy building built to do the Lord's work and dedicated to the Lord for His work. When people aren't in it. It is still a sacred structure.

"I believe in the Trinity point of view. Because I believe God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and an eternal spiritual being, I don't see a problem with the Trinitarian viewpoint. After all, don't both viewpoints take the position that all things are possible with God. If that's true, why can't he be three in one, not three separate beings. Seems like a God that can do anything can also be God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Someone want to take a stab at why God can't be all three at the same time?"

I want to know why God the Father can't be one immortal person? Why can't he have a begotten Son in Jesus Christ? Why can't there be a third member of the Godhead called the Holy Ghost?

Anonymous said...

Because God is God and not LD James, Mormanity or any other LDS member. He is who and how He wants to be.

Anonymous said...

You say God has to be the Trinity. Stop limiting your God.

dave d said...

I think one of the current discussion threads – the nature of God – is an interesting one. Something that rings true to me is Joseph Smith’s expansion in Lectures on Faith (a non-canonical LDS set of teachings) on John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” Joseph said in Lectures 4:1 “…that correct ideas of the character of God are necessary in order to the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation, and that without correct ideas of his character, the minds of men could not have sufficient power with God to the exercise of faith necessary to the enjoyment of eternal life…”
As an imperfect illustration of this – when I first started reading the comments of Terrano4x4 (at least those that weren’t deleted), I had the impression that he did not listen to the comments of others and continually pushed the same buttons that he knew would rile up most of the other commentors. Lately, I have seen a softer side – one willing to consider the opinions of others and allow them to both have differing opinions and still accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Have I come to a correct idea of Terrano4x4’s character? Probably not yet. But I am beginning to trust (have faith) just slightly in his sincerity.
Back to God’s character – if I didn’t trust or understand that God is unchanging, it would be very difficult to have faith in Him. I would not know from one moment to the next if I was following His will if He was not perfectly consistent in how he deals with us (that is not to say that we always understand the consistency at the moment). Hebrews 13:8 teaches us that “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” This has to refer to something other than physical attributes as he didn’t have a body of flesh, then he had a mortal body, and now an immortal perfected body. Rather, Jesus is the same in who He is – His character – His will. God His Father must also be consistent in His character and will as Jesus said in John 5:19 that He does nothing except what he sees His Father do.
There are many implications to understanding a perfect and unchanging nature – especially when considering God’s perfect justice and perfect mercy – but this comment is already long enough. For those that believe in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2 and Alma 41-42 are wonderful discourses on the subjects of God’s justice and mercy. For those that don’t accept this book as the scripture, it is still good reading.

Kathleen said...

Dave D,

Thanks for the thoughtful post. One of the reasons I am hesitant to pray with Mormons is because of the different (seemingly, anyway) concept of God. God was once a man? ["As man is, God once was..."] My first reaction is, "Ick! Run fast and run far!"

How does the LDS concept of God's progression square with Biblical truths like those found in Mal 3.6: "For I the LORD do not change"?

dave d said...

Kathleen,

First, the concept that God may have once been like us – at first glance a very far-fetched idea. But, if you take some very biblical concepts together, I don’t think it is too far of a stretch. For instance, Paul writes in Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” Mormons literally believe this – that God the Father is the father of our spirits – we are His children – He created all that is us.

In the very next verse, Paul writes “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Of what are we heirs (if we suffer with him)? His glory – “that we may be glorified together”. Joint-heirs is a very specific term. It means that all parties have full inheritance and ownership. My wife and I are joint-owners of our house. I don’t own half and she owns half, but we both own the whole thing. So we literally believe Paul when he says that we can be glorified with Christ (through His grace, of course) and be joint-heirs of all that God has (see Luke 12:44). We, as His children, can become like Him and He has told us how to do so. Thus, if we, who are now human, can become gods (in no way replacing or ceasing to worship God our Father), it is not too much of a stretch to think that He got to where He is in the same way. By the way, I don’t think this LDS teaching has ever been canonized, although it is widely quoted.

On God’s progression – yes, we believe that He continues to progress and we also believe he does not change. At first glance, this seems contradictory. But how does He progress. As Elder Bruce R. McConkie (an apostle who died several decades back) once said, he does not progress in knowledge or power. He already has it all. He will not learn something tomorrow that will nullify His whole plan for us. He progresses in glory and dominions. He continues to create worlds, some of which He populates with His children. His glory, according to LDS scripture, is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”. As we are saved and reach our potential, it adds to His glory. Working with His children to achieve this is what He does and defines who He is and He will not cease be who He is. He doesn’t change in that focus nor in any of His perfections. If so, He would no longer be who He is – God – and we could not have perfect faith in Him.

When and where did He get to the perfection that is His? I don’t know. I think there are some underlying concepts of time and space that we just do not understand yet that allow Him to be the same yesterday, today, and forever and yet have possibly reached perfection at some point. That is one of those questions I will have to ask Him when I return to His presence. I hope all this answered what you were asking.

NM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dave d said...

NM,

I will try to answer as best I can. I am no expert on all the different beliefs about God that exist, so my answer will be limited by that.

1) I don’t think Mormon theology has a drastically different picture of God than the rest of Christianity. We believe he is perfect (Matthew 5:48), omnipotent (Matthew 28:18), omniscient (John 16:30), and has a perfect love for us (John 3:16), and is very patient with us (Matthew 23:37). I don’t think this is any different than the beliefs of pretty much any Christian.

We may differ a bit in that we take literally our relationship to Him as His children. But even here, there is not much of a difference as all Christians believe we were created by God. That Mormons believe our spirits were created long before our physical bodies doesn’t change the fact that our spirits and bodies were created by Him. As His children, we have the potential to become like our Father. Again, the difference here is probably in the literalness of our interpretation and not a completely different picture – Jesus commanded us to be like His Father (Matthew 5:48 again).

2) I don’t think any mortal has a complete understanding of God (Isaiah 55:8-9). Everyone’s view of God is incomplete, whether they are Mormon, Evangelical, Muslim, or Buddhist. Mormons do believe that God continues to reveal Himself to His children (His is unchanging) and so there are additional communications/revelations from Him that give us a little more insight into His character, but that does not mean that we know everything. There are things that we all infer, interpret, or just flat out guess about Him that we should be willing to throw out when He reveals Himself to us in a greater degree and what He says conflicts with our interpretation.

NM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

do they (Mormons) view those who are not Mormons as people whose views about God as incomplete?

Just as people that are not Mormons think Mormons views are wrong or incomplete. It is ether or, or it is a blending of the two, or it is a mixture of other ideas.



I have talked with people that are big on having a personal relation with Jesus Christ and explain my view about the Godhead and use the New Testiment scriptures for support but do not let them know that I am a Mormon. When they go to their leaders and find out what they believe as doctrine they let know how wrong I am and it quickly turns to what religion I am. Then the dicussion is over.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

That is a real shame =( Ignorance pervades...

NM

Anonymous said...

David D.
9:59 Oct. 23, 2007 Great post in expressing our concepts. You and Jeff are very clear and right on.

Thanks.

Kathleen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormanity said...

One of the reasons I am hesitant to pray with Mormons is because of the different (seemingly, anyway) concept of God. God was once a man? ["As man is, God once was..."] My first reaction is, "Ick! Run fast and run far!"

Kathleen, didn't Jesus Christ come to earth as a man? Isn't he God? Why the urge to run?

Anonymous said...

If I saw Jesus Christ the Son of God as a Son of Man in 33 AD would I have ran? When I see Him come in a cloud of Glory in human form as Thomas saw and touched Him. Will I run to or away from Him and fall at His feet a wash His feet with my tears?

Anonymous said...

Kathleen, once you look into the origins of the Trinity concept and all the other modern formulations about God, and compare that to what the early Christians believed and what the Bible actually teaches, you will be shocked to learn that what you have been taught all your life is really an error based on the philosophies of men, especially men influenced by pagan Greek philosophy. That urge to run doesn't come from the truth, but from the traditions of men. And once you understand what the Apostasy has done to our knowledge of God, the divine gift we call the Restoration of the Gospel will be all the more precious to you. So many answers have been restored. S much truth restored.

When you see things as they are, the desire to run away may even be replaced by a desire to run toward the restored truth and embrace the fullness of that which you have been seeking.

Kathleen said...

Mormanity and Anon,

I should have been clearer: I meant that the the idea that God the Father was once a man makes me go "Ick!" Why? Because then he can't be the eternal, all-powerful, sovereign God that I love so much.

Anonymous said...

So is Christ not all powerful and truly lovable?

Kathleen said...

Anon,

He absolutely is! :) But the God has always been God, Christ has been with God for always...when he came and took on a body, that made God even more incredible because THE God of all--eternal, omniscient, perfect, holy--took on a mortal body. He lived a perfect life, was crucified, rose again, and was taken up to be with the Father.

Hmm...I didn't mean to go on a ramble. Does that answer your question at all? If not, would you clarify it, please?

Russell said...

Kathleen,

Just jumping in here. If I were making the point about Jesus becoming a man, I would be doing so to demonstrate that there's nothing icky about having a mortal body. We aren't suggesting that God the Father was just another sinner like us. Exactly what his mortal existence was like, well, we don't have a lot of information--really no information (some writers have pontificated on it, but I don't feel obliged to accept their ideas--just pre-empting those who manage to pull up random, non-binding sources :) In any case, my connection w/God is only strengthened by my knowing this glorified nature. While the gap between us is large indeed, it is one of degree and not kind. God is not this "essence" with no desires...he has a personality (a perfect personality, but a personality). Indeed, this is why we believe the family to be the central unit of the gospel...it is really the unit of eternity. AN essence doesn't have a family; a perfect and loving father does.

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Russell,

Words and human language can not describe or do complete justice to the very Being of God. They are too restrictive and limiting to His full nature and stature. OK - one thinks that they can - then they may try to fully comprehend the Godhead and one will soon become unstuck again.

Jesus said of Himself, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?". Does this mean in physical, mortal form (as in "I and my Father are one" - which could create even more problems of understanding), or does this mean in characteristics such as love, patience, longsuffering and humility ? Who can answer this question more completely other than Jesus who said it ?

It is one of the great unknowns that will only be fully understood once we are 'restored' with the Father in heaven.

That is why my understanding of your further revelations and 'restored gospel' have their limitations because they do not answer the questions that would be known and freely understood by all if the 'restoration' had already taken place. To restore is to place something back to the way it once was. How has that happened in the world as it is today ?

Isn't that what faith in God through Jesus is all about - trusting in the unknown and believing in that which may not be revealed to us until the rightful time of the millennium in heaven?

----------

Dear Dave D,
Thank you for your thoughtful words. In one sense, I really hope that no-one understands my true character, since it is not about understanding me - I prefer to discuss my Saviour and give Him the glory in my comments.

-----------

Dear Kathleen,
Good questions - keep them coming. But don't be afraid or put off praying with Mormons, by claiming "Ick! Run fast and run far!" That would not be the reaction of Jesus, so it should not be our reaction as His followers. Patience, tolerance and attempting to understand what is needed to be taught from Biblical scripture. Jesus would only leave a situation once His message to His target audience was complete or not accepted for what it was.

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

You just keep looking past the fact that Joseph Smith's first Vision of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is only a prayer away. But let us just look only to the Bible because God no longer talks to man.

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

God does communicate to man through Jesus. I am living evidence of that. My life experience demonstrates that. I live in 2007, my prayers are still being answered and my life continues daily.

Isn't my personal experience of walking and talking with God in the name of Jesus far more important than the writings of a man who lived over l00 years ago. Joseph Smith can not save me. Only Jesus can and His earthly life ministry is only found in the Bible.

Thanks for reminding me of that most important fact.

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

If you are unwilling to listen to what Jesus Christ had to say through Joseph Smith it just like the Children of Israel not listening to God through Moses. Your loss. Our gain.

Anonymous said...

That make no sense for on that is always using the Bible. 90% of the Bible is other people talking for God. Prophets ect. With God and Jesus Christ quoted directly only about 10%.

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Anon,

I I were missing something - would God be answering my prayers with the evidences that are very real and clear to me - just as Gideon and the fleece.....?

For that very reason alone, please respect my wishes to worship God in the way that I know He hears my prayers.

As I stated already, Joseph Smith can not change or improve that. I am saved only through the blood of Jesus and His sinless sacrifice for ALL mankind. Or maybe you can tell me that I am not saved because I am not LDS ?

You will not find Jesus life ministry in the BOM, which is why I choose to read, study and highly value the very little that is evident in the Bible. It is a buried treasure that is oh so valuable.

Take more time and see for yourself!

Teranno4x4

teranno4x4 said...

Please explain what I have lost in my approach to God through Jesus...and why God would bother to reply to me directly if I had 'lost' something along the way?

Peter said...

Dear Teranno4x4,

I would not say that you have lost anything. I love that you love Christ and that you strive to follow him. Others are getting worked up because you cling so hard to that which you have received. I think it is admirable. If half the people clung to their belief as hard as you do perhaps we would have a better world?
But I digress. I decided to write here to help you to understand what it is that we are trying to teach.
Joseph Smith won't save you. He is not a replacement for Jesus Christ. Similar to Moses though he was asked to do something and he was given information. Information that would change the world. He was asked to be a prophet, the Lord's mouth piece for the world. He was asked to translate an ancient record of God loving people. This record is comparable to the Bible in that it holds God's dealing with man and it holds the teachings of God. You are right however that it does not hold Jesus Christ's life ministry. It does however hold Jesus Christ's resurrected life ministry. It is the same teaching that Jesus gives those in Jerusalem. This can be found in 3 Nephi 11 on to 15. I would ask if you could please read and give your impression.
So, we are teaching that the Lord called a prophet in Joseph Smith to do a specific work, as he called Moses or Noah. These other prophets did not make a claim to replace Jesus and neither did Joseph. Joseph did however claim to restore the same institution that Jesus set up when he was on Earth. That is a pretty wild claim. Though if we look and search, we find that it is in fact that same organisation that Jesus instituted. If this was not instituted by Jesus it is a very elaborate scheme. What is your take on what this scheme is? From my understanding this church is leading people to Jesus Christ and to changing their life to follow his teachings. If you claim that Joseph brought in new practices think back on Noah. He told people it would rain, no one had experienced rain until the flood. Moses led people into a desert for 40years! Joseph brought a temple to worship God, he brought new scripture so that we may know the Lord's works.
What do you think?

I wait for your thoughts Teranno4x4,

Peter

teranno4x4 said...

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Glory be to God for His patient loving endurance working in my life.

I will read the passage that you have asked me to read and offer an appropriate reply for you.

Please allow me to say at this stage that although I can understand where you are coming from in your comment, as non-LDS I have a difficulty in accepting Noah, Moses and Joseph Smith being categorised in the same sentence for the same purposes.

I trust that you can respect my views ?

Respectfully,

Teranno4x4

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion on this topic/theme. I've spent a couple of days chewing, digesting, referencing, and reflecting on the various points presented here. I wish this discussion had continued on. I've not found any solid reply to NM's question on Romans 9:12-13. Although I found a rather solid explanation on this dilemma on this site.

jackg said...

Though you try to be humorous, the truth is that the LDS Church promotes a Jesus whose work on the cross is not efficient enough to get a believer into the presence of God, and that somehow one needs to go to the temple by first making themselves "worthy" enough, than learn secret handshakes, new names,etc. in order to enter into God's presence. So, even though you try to stifle the cries of Christians that the LDS Church promotes an inadequate Jesus, that is exactly what you agree to when you believe you need to earn a temple recommend, go to the temple (making blood oaths in the process) in order to enter the presence of God. You cannot enter heaven on your own merits or on your humor, but on the blood of Jesus Christ spilled at Calvary (not the Garden of Gethsemane) and because of His resurrection. Sometimes, the truth hurts, and the accusations that LDS believe in a version of Jesus that is less powerful than the Christian version are definitely true and accurate.

Lamdaddy said...

I'm a late comer to this blog, but if anyone is reading this I'd like you to consider this. For those of you who are not LDS and who believe that our interpretation of the scriptures (which comes from prophets. Where does your interpretation come from?) are false concerning salvation, I'd challenge you to bring qoutes that are only from the Four Gospels. Which basically means, "what does Jesus Christ himself teach about salvation?" When I've read even on this blog what people have said about being saved by faith and that they have a ticket in, I don't see the teachings of Christ in it. Instead, when I read the words printed in red (some bibles have Jesus' words in red), I get the impression that Jesus is the way the truth and life, that he was to suffer for us and be resurrected, and that he said that we must follow him and keep his commandments and that we will be judged. I think whole religions and philoshies are based off of a few things that Paul said that are taken out of context. But if you don't want to accept that there is a Restoration of truth and authority, at least take a look at the whole Bible, at the rest of what Paul said concerning salvation (it didn't stop with those few verses that are always quoted, they are only parts), and more specifically, at the "red words."

Elwyn said...

It's Joseph Smith who says that Jesus is not enough:
"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23.)

If Christ was enough, there would not be that phrase "after all we can do".

symphonyofdissent said...

This comment may not be read by anyone because this post is quite old, but I wanted to ask Kathleen and NM and anyone else posting on this blog what exactly faith is if not an action? Faith is not something that just emerges, it is something that is planted within us and nurtured like a seed by us. Faith requires an enormous amount of work no? I see faith expressed in obedience throughout the bible just as Abraham expressed his faith in God by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac. W

Tony said...

To Elwyn: What Nephi is saying is that even after all we do, it is only because of the atonement of Christ that we can be saved in the first place, and be with him in the celestial kingdom by obedience to His Gospel.

Tony said...

Oh, and to Jackg, those temple rites you cite can be found in early Christian writings, minus the blood oaths of course, which as far as I know we do not do.

Anonymous said...

Symphonyofdissent,

I too see faith as being obedience to God, but it doesn't always require 'an enormous amount of work'.

Did Peter need to DO many things before he walked on water towards Jesus? No - he just made the choice and got out of the boat and walked. When he realised exactly what he was doing that was when he started sinking and tried to DO the action that you speak of to save himself (something that just is not possible).

Please take the time to read through the faith chapter of Hebrews 11 and see just what the patriarchs and prophets of old actually did in order to be recognised as posessing 'faith'.

Maybe you will see that it is a choice that is made to obey and follow God - it does not always require acts of great magnitude. maybe it is necessary in certain circumstances but I would suggest that it is not the norm. Most of the time the Spirit leads and the choice that we make ensures that the individual doesn't even contemplate the effort necessary whether small or large because he is delighted, simply following God's leading.

Tony said...

Kathleen,
even if God the Father was once like us, he would still be eternal due to the eternal nature of His spirit and the fact that even as a man he existed. In that case, was He always an eternal God? I can see why you would have trouble with that. Honestly, I have a hard time understanding it, but one thing I know is that God the Father is our Father in Heaven because the Holy Ghost has witnessed that to my spirit in a very powerful way.

Anonymous said...

Tony,

Please explain what you are talking about ......?

God the Father is / was never a man .... !

He was eternal and he always will be eternal. There is no sin in Him, so of course he will always be Infinite, Holy and Omnipoent. Only sinful beings are finite as they do not have the full protection of God (due to the influence and claims of the evil one) and one day will be eradicated from all time. then the universe will be rejoined in peace for evermore, with the evil of sin never to resurface again.