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

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A Different Jesus? Really? And Just When Do Saved Christians Lose Their Souls?

My head is still spinning--or rather, my heart aching--after a painful encounter with a local minister who tried to explain to me and a couple of the members of his flock (two sweet and devout Christians) that I am not Christian because I believe in a different Jesus. Didn't matter that I claim to believe in the New Testament and the Jesus that was born in Bethlehem, the Son of God, the one who died on the cross for all of our sins. My Jesus is a different Jesus because my theology isn't up to snuff. I believe in false doctrines like baptism for the dead, modern revelation, and the Book of Mormon. I also wrongly think it's necessary to be baptized, important to try to keep the commandments (works!), and so forth, plus my understanding of what happens after resurrection (eternal families? gag!) is non-biblical. All of which means that I am not even close to being a Christian because the Jesus I believe in is a different Jesus--not the Jesus of the Bible, but maybe (I'm guessing) Jesus Rodriguez, a shoe repairman in Veracruz, Mexico who smokes cigars when he's got them and yells at his kids. Or some other Mormon Jesus, not the one that saves.

That eventually led me to an interesting question which I wasn't shy about asking.

"Exactly when do saved Christians lose their souls?"

What?

"Well, consider one of your followers who has accepted Christ, turned his heart to Jesus, and has been saved. What might he do to lose his soul?"

Nothing, really. God is powerful to save, and once God saves someone, he's going to heaven.

"But tell me when he loses his soul in this scenario. Imagine that he decides to walk into a Mormon church service one day. Has he lost his soul? Not yet? Suppose he enjoys the service and wants to come back? Soul lost? Suppose he starts to think that maybe he should keep the commandments to really follow Jesus. Then he starts to believe that maybe God does want him and his wife to be together even after death. He starts to believe eternal family life might be possible. Is that doctrine so abominable that his soul will be lost? Then he starts to read the Book of Mormon and he feels that it is also a witness of Christ. Is his soul lost then? Still believing in Jesus and in the Bible, he also begins to believe in baptism, even baptism by immersion Mormon style, and then baptism for the dead, and a dozen other incorrect Mormon doctrines--all while sincerely feeling that he still loves the same Jesus he once accepted. He eventually becomes a Latter-day Saint. At which point does God say that his theological understanding has become so flawed that the once-saved Christian must be kicked out of heaven and cast into hell? So when did he lost his soul?"

The minister, who couldn't quit talking before, seemed surprisingly quiet. Then he came back and challenged the scenario by saying he'd never known of a born again Christian who had become Mormon. But there have been people like that, I insisted. It's not merely theoretical. If a saved Christian can become Mormon, and many have, at what point do they lose their souls--especially when they still believe, in their hearts, in the same God and Jesus that they turned to for salvation in the first place?

Likewise, the path that I and others have been through, even while LDS, of turning to Jesus and seeking salvation from Him as the only source of redemption ought to fulfill every requirement of salvation from his perspective. If I am wrong about the Book of Mormon, if I've got my info on baptism and various other doctrines all wrong, then I'm truly sorry, but after all it is Jesus I believe in, the Jesus of the Bible, and it is through His Atonement that I have peace and hope. So in spite of all the flaws I may have in my knowledge of theology, does not my sincere acceptance of Christ, the Jesus of the Bible, and my sense that I have been born again through His grace not count for something? I may have all sorts of errors in my understanding, perhaps I have been deceived on many points of doctrine, but is it not possible to recognize that in spite of such flaws, I too may be Christian?

No, absolutely not. Because of the Book of Mormon and all our many mistakes, I believe in a different Jesus. End of story.

114 comments:

Jon said...

Oh! I know this one! Or at least I've talked to evangelicals enough to know how many respond:

Ahem.

A true Christian (read: not a Mormon) could never just walk into a Mormon place of worship and lose his/her soul because such a person would never have been a true Christian deep down in the first place. We're all predestined after all.

Papa D said...

Yeah, Jeff - that's exactly where the theology falls apart. Thanks for stating it so well.

It's really ironic to me that the "Mormon Jesus" is MUCH mightier to save than the "Protestant Jesus" - at least, according to the respective theologies.

openminded said...

Ha, I used to be in this camp.

I always experienced some cognitive dissonance when I realized how this line of thinking means that if anyone holds a different view of Jesus, then it's essentially a "different" Jesus, and poor soul them.

I think it's part of the denial coming from people such as those at MRM and such that Mormonism is, in fact, a Christian religion. Just like Catholicism, though, it has its own line of theology that separates it from everyone else.

It would've been better to say that there are many Christian aspects to Mormonism, and different interpretations of scripture, but there are some Mormon-specific doctrines as well, and so it's Christianity plus Mormonism.

It's almost like what Christianity did to Judaism--it added the teachings of Christ. Mormonism added the "revelations" of Joseph Smith.

I don't think it's a big deal, and I refer to Mormonism as just another Christian denomination to my friends. But a lot of research has shown that a key factor in resistance to persuasion is threat, and I feel like people at MRM (et al.) are threatened by the idea that Mormonism is definitely a Christian religion.

D360 said...

or another common response along with what Jon says is that many will also tell you many sincere, kind, nice people die and go to hell every day.... don't know about you but I want to be with the kind and nice people!

Matt said...

Let's say I adore President Obama. I think his liberal, environment-centric policies and tax ideas are pure genius and will truly stabilize our planet and economy. My friend Jim ,on the other hand, believes he is a lying illegal immigrant, a plant from the progressive communist left who deeply hates America and is here to destroy it.

Those are pretty different beliefs about one man! So logically, we know the universe will create a whole new Barack Obama. He will slip into reality and now Jim and I will both believe in different Barack Obamas. It's common sense guys.......wait......hmmm......no....um, yeah that's not right, I forgot that just believing in a person who does certain things does not make that person come to life. So what common sense really says it there is, was and only ever will be ONE Barack Obama, and Jim and I just believe different THINGS about the SAME President. Huh, I wonder if this could be used as a metaphor? Nah

ecep said...

Mormons do have some views about Jesus that are different from those held by most Christians, including denial of the Trinity and the belief that Jesus has been popping back to Earth to talk to LDS prophets now and then. The case of "A Different Jesus" can be reasonably made.

However, it doesn't sound like that's what this was really about. It sounds like it was just bog-standard "Mormonism is not Christian" sermonizing.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, you need to open your mind and be understanding of your kind neighbors. They are not stupid. They are trinitarians who believe in one God. We believe in multiple Gods. Christianity and Islam believe in one God.

Therefore Jesus is different in parentage. O Magnum Mysterium. Oh great mystery. Yes the Trinity is a Mystery. There are endless writings of it in Christianity. FARMS is not the only place with bright religious students.

And yes Jeff, we do have a different Jesus.

FelixAndAva said...

Interesting post from my POV as a former evangelical "born again" who is now solidly LDS. :)

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Anon, I'm open-minded enough to recognize that there are major differences between some of our beliefs and those of other Christians and that honest, intelligent, and well-meaning people can hold beliefs different than mine. I did not say that the pastor or his followes are stupid--absolutely not.

I'm also open-minded enough to accept that when someone claims to sincerely believe in Christ and be a Christian, that I have no right to deny their status as a Christian just because I disagree with some of their doctrines. I am open-minded enough to recognize that they may in fact believe in the Jesus of the Bible, the Son of God, even if they are confused about some of the things that Jesus taught.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Anon, when you group Muslims and mainstream Christians in the same one-God, you mind be interested to know that this can be offensive to Muslims who often feel that Christian monotheism is a far cry from their pure monotheism since we have God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost - three persons, not just one. Wrap all the metaphysics around it you want, the use of three persons smacks of polytheism. All they have to do to win that argument is read, among many example, 1 Cor. 8:5-6 where Paul says there are many gods and many lords, but to us there is but one God, the Father, . . . and one Lord Jesus Christ. Oops - that's two persons.

Ah, but we know that they are One. But how are they one?

As a Altter-day Saint, I worship one God, God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, who are One God. It is in the nature of their oneness that we differ with the interpretations of mainstream Christianity. See my page on the oneness of God. We accept the kind of oneness Jesus speaks of in John 17: 11, 20-23. The kind of oneness that allows Christ to have an immortal, tangible body that could be touched and felt in Luke 24, a body in the express image of God the Father per Heb. 1, a body in whose physical image we are created per Gen. 1, a body that could be seen by Stephen in Acts 7:55,56 when he saw Christ standing on the right hand of God, as did Joseph Smith. Two persons, two Beings, yet perfectly united in heart, mind, and will, the Son fully representing the Father, being the Almighty God and Only Begotten Son, yet able to say "My father is greater than I" in John 14:28. Able to pray to Father. A Father who made a genuine, painful sacrifice when He gave His only begotten Son per John 3:16, for He was giving His son, not just Himself or a manifestation of Himself. The love of a parent for a child is so much different than the love I have for the various parts of me. Father and Son describes God and Jesus better than any of the metaphysics of the philosophers. And it describes why God is called our Heavenly Father, for He is the Father of our Spirits (Heb. 12:9) and we are His offpsring (Acts 17:28,29). Shocking stuff, I know, but biblical truth as well. Call us crazy for accepting the Bible too literally, but recognize that we, too, worship Jesus and are Christian.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

This oneness of God is what makes sense of the full range of teachings found in the Bible. The true oneness of God is not the neo-Platonic oneness of immaterial, incorporeal substance as taught by Hellenized philosophers who prevailed in the bickering councils of men in the 4th and 5th centuries and gave us the modern, post-biblical doctrine of the Trinity as defined in creeds like the Nicene Creed. These post-biblical creeds, in spoite of the influence of Greek philosophy, are still close to the truth, so close to what we believe, yet have a few major defects like missing the real nature of the oneness of God. Ironically, those who claim that there can be no revelation outside the bible, that all truth is found in the bible, require that we turn to those post-biblical creeds and accept all of their metaphysical utterances in order to be Christian. We can accept the vast majority of what is in the creeds, but a Christ who lost His resurrected, glorious body, not a Christ who is the same immaterial Being as his Glorious Father, in whose image we are created. But in spite of the differences we have with Trinitarians, I don't say they believe in a demonic Jesus because they misunderstand some aspects of His nature. I don't say they aren't Christian because of these differences. I'm just grateful for the restoration of the Gospel that has added some important truths to the many truths that my fellow Christians have preserved and kept over the centuries, in spite of some tragic loss.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

FelixandAva, can you tell us more of your story?

FelixAndAva said...

Jeff, I'll try to summarize. I grew up in a very non- to anti-religious family, and at about age 23, started developing an interest in the spiritual. A friend of mine was also developing that interest, and both of us had had some prior exposure to the more fundamentalist end of Protestant Christianity, so started there. Among other reading I was doing was some anti-Mormon stuff a pastor recommended. I realized that the claims being made there did not mesh well with LDS people I'd known, and around that time met an LDS couple who were quite patient with my questions about the claims I'd been exposed to. It dawned on me that if you really want to understand what someone believes, ask them, not people who trumpet their opposition to that belief because they have their own axes to grind. So, I read various LDS materials I borrowed, did a lot of thinking and praying (interesting side note: any evangelical will deny that God will answer prayer regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, apparently not believing Him powerful enough to override alleged Satanic input on that question, and will frantically discourage the seeker from talking to God about it), and found out what was true and what wasn't.

I was baptized LDS in April 1994. :)

I've also noted that particularly in theological discussions, you can get a good sense of what Spirit is prompting a participant by their behavior. Let's just say it's rare in my experience to see an LDS participant display the level of rage, fear of differing views, and outright fury I so commonly see from evangelicals.

NM said...

Put it another way, Jeff. How much of what Joseph Smith do you depend upon to be a Christian? Do you even need to have Joseph Smith? At all?

Weston Krogstadt said...

I called a local religious radio station once and asked, "If a person lives in a muslim country and attends muslim prayer services at a mosque, but secretly accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, is that person saved?" The guy on the radio answered in the affirmative and told me "It's what's in one's heart that matters, not what building they go to for worship." I wonder if he would have given me the same answer if the example I used was a person attending a Mormon church rather than a Muslim mosque?

Weston Krogstadt said...

Jesus Christ referred to what was in ones heart over and over. According to Jesus, one can even commit adultery in the heart, however, according to main-stream Christians, if you attend a Mormon church, WHAM! straight to hell you go!

Anonymous said...

Well done! The Jesus I know will save that minister in his ignorance just as he will for all through his INFINITE atonement...And lucky for him and all of us it's not the end the story!

Zerabp said...

@NM

We do not need Joseph Smith, we need what Christ restored through him including what we call Priesthood, or the Authority to act in God's name. This again is simply a difference in our view not a sign that we worship a different Jesus Christ than that of The Bible.

Creek said...

FelixAndAva,

The last sentence of your post hit the nail on the head for me. I was an evangelical, "born again" Christian for 15 years. I left it because of the fear and hatred I saw every day. They preach of Jesus' love but attack everyone who is different. Now I refer to evangelicalism as "Christinaity Lite".

As a Catholic living in Utah, I believe beyond any doubt that Mormons are my Christian brothers and sisters. If the fruit of the spirit is any indictation, my Mormon neighbors are the most Christian people I have ever known. Every Christian church in the world could learn a lot from the way Mormons show God's love with actions, not just words.

Elder Victor Moxley said...

As one of the new online missionaries answering the live chat on Mormon.org, I get to interact with a lot of people who are investigating whether we believe in a different Jesus. Thank you for the idea for something else to show them, that addresses their concern and doesn't raise contention much as many of the other responses I've seen.

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, -Eph 4:5

Rich said...

The response I've been given is that they were never really saved in the first place. Especially when that person became an atheist instead of a Mormon. That seems like the safe way out and it never mattered that they could have been a minister for years. Still never really saved.

Anonymous said...

The Easter Pageant at the local Mormon temple presents the story of a loving Jesus who heals the sick, calls the children to him and sinners to repentance, is betrayed by Judas, tried, and crucified. It ends with the resurrected Christ rising heavenward in a brilliant display of glory. So far the Christian Jesus. As the LDS posters to this blog well know, that risen Christian Jesus soon becomes the Mormon Jesus. In the meridian -- not the end - of times, he descends on the Americas to destroy city after city (16 all told) by fire and flood and earthquake. He doesn't walk among the people healing the sick, calling the children to him and preaching repentance to sinners, he creates thousands more sick and kills children and sinners alike. That is the Mormon Jesus. The historical parallels are not a Gandhi, a St. Francis or a Martin Luther King, but a Pol Pot, a Lenin, or a Mao Zedong, tyrants for whom power is truth, a truth to be taught not by word or example but at the point of a gun, by terror.

Nathan said...

Don't let it bother you Jeff.

Great analogy (seems I've seen you use that one before on this site, perhaps not tho) with the converted LDS. Also love Matt's analogy with Obama and two opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Being a non-confrontational person, discussions like this bother me but when all is said and done, I calmly walk away and repeat the following to me, which has become a bastion in a world of darkness:

The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, and calamy may defame. But the Truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country and sounded in every ear. Till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say, "The work is done.

---------

Nevertheless, the people did harden their hearts, for they were led by many priests and false prophets to build up many churches, and to do all manner of iniquity. And they did smite upon the people of Jesus; but the people of Jesus did not smite again. And thus they did dwindle in unbelief and wickedness, from year to year [4 Nephi 1:34]

and again

And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened. [Mosiah 26:3]

For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it [D&C 123:12]

PostScript said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PostScript said...

Anonymous:

Are you willing to listen to the rest of the story?

After the destructions, the people heard a voice from the heavens saying:

12And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.
13O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
14Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
15Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. (3 Nephi 9:12-15)

After teaching the people Christ healed the sick:

3Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again.
4But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.
5And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.
6And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.
7Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
8For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is bsufficient that I should heal you.
9And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.
10And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears. (3 Nephi 17:3-10)

PostScript said...

Sorry about the double post!

After Christ healed the sick:

19And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise.
20And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And anow behold, my joy is full.
21And when he had said these words, he awept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and bblessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
22And when he had done this he wept again;
23And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
24And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them. (3 Nephi 17:19-24)

Jeff Lindsay: said...

The bloodthirsty tyrant, the "Mormon Jesus" who kills children - that's a very creative spin, Anon. Yes, there were disasters in the land, and then Christ came down and brought peace and healing, contrary to your allegation. Disasters happen everyday - all are under God's control and eye. Some may be random accidents, some the acts of men, and others deliberately caused by God like the plagues in Exodus or the future plagues and destruction prophesied in Revelation. His goal is not to maximize our mortal lifespan, but to bring us eternal life. In this mortal world, we are all going to die, and he's in charge of the timing. Is He a less loving God because he allows or even requires some of us to have a lifespan of a few years versus a few decades?

Do you worship a different God than the one that caused whatever disaster occurred in the story of Noah's Flood? It's painful that many would have to die back then - but we actually all have to die. The statistic that matters is not how many died when, but how many will live with Him forever.

But of course you know that. Your point was not to honestly share helpful information, but simply to create a little fear and loathing. You've learned well.

Matthew Chapman said...

And now we will compare the World unto a Video Game.

God is the Author and Programmer. He set the bounds and conditions, and created and programmed all living beings. It is true that you have volition, but that is only because God is such a clever Creator: he programmed you to have Free Will.

But God is not merely the Creator, Author, Programmer and System Architect. He is also the Player, for he created an Avatar within the game, Jesus by name, through whom he could participate in the Universe, although he transcends the Universe. Jesus is literally God the Father, in the same way you are Mario when you play Donkey Kong.

In Mormon cosmology, however, Jesus physical body is not the Avatar of the Father, but the Avatar of a separate being, a pre-existent son of the Father, named "Jesus" or "Jehovah". In fact, all of earthly Humanity are Avatars of other pre-existent spirits, co-eternal with God and Christ. In this conception of the Universe, the game is more like World of Warcraft than Donkey Kong.

In Mormon cosmology, it is possible to ask questions like "when do saved Christians lose their souls?" which is nonsensical in Evangelical cosmology.

How can a video game character lose his soul? How can he (or it) do anything that would enable him (or it) to leave the video game, and enter the greater reality where God exists? All he can "hope" for is that his programming might be used later in some other videogame, such as "Heaven".

It is not just a different Jesus that Mormons believe in, but an entirely different Universe.

Creek said...

Rich,

I've heard the "never really saved" theory and I never bought it.

It's like saying someone never really believed in Santa Claus or never really loved their ex-spouse. Yes, they did. People change and so do their beliefs. My change from evangelicalism to Catholicism came after years of careful study and prayer. People leave the "born again" sects for many reasons, and only God knows what is in their hearts.

Anonymous said...

Postscript and Jeff

I've read your posts again and again and can't believe either one of you has taken the events described in 3 Nephi seriously. Where do I spin anything? Did Jesus do what he says he did and what is described at some length in 3 Nephi or not? Do you know what happens in a real earthquake or fire of the proportions described? Take a minute and image it. The immediate consequences, the long term consequences -- the stench after a few days, the howls of pain and sdespair and "save me! Help me! Water!" The disease. Does the mother promise the weeping Jesus she will bring her child to him if only he would please please help to did it out of the rubble?

This is serious business. We must all at some point choose whom or what we will honor. Neither one of you says why my historical comparisons fail. What is the first thing a Pol Pot or Hitler or Stalin does to secure his power? Exactly, he kills the unrighteous. What value the conversions of the people in 3 Nephi in light of the alternative? No value. A doctor who says he can heal the sick but must destroy the ill before he even begins would encounter major problems publishing his results in The Lancet. And what happens in 3 Nephi is the culmination of the BoM -- how could deity stoop so low? But there's more, having set the example he preaches to his thoroughly stupefied with grief and loss and fear flock “... ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (3 Nephi 12:39) and “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you” (3 Nephi 12:44).

I did not set out to "share helpful information" but only relevant information on the topic of the Mormon Jesus. The "fear and loathing" come not from me, but from the acts of the Jesus described in 3 Nephi.

FelixAndAva said...

Rather hypocritical to condemn one instance of the unrighteous meeting destruction (events of 3 Nephi) while being totally OK with such events as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah or on an even bigger scale, the Flood of Noah's time. A lot more than eight people survived the events of 3 Nephi, and all these (and others I'm probably forgetting) all came about by action of the same God.

Papa D said...

Anonymous, this is a sincere question: Are you truly serious in your comments?

Matthew Chapman, Jeff already has said that many core beliefs are different. The same can be said of Methodists and Presbyterians and the Assembly of God and Baptists in some key doctrines (since, you know, they have debated passionately about various things over the years) - so it appears to be a matter of scope, rather than difference.

I notice, also, that you completely ignored Jeff's actual question. So, to rephrase Jeff's question slightly, exactly how many incorrect, important doctrines does a Christian have to believe in order to be damned?

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't I be serious?

Bookslinger said...

Matthew Chapman: "In Mormon cosmology, it is possible to ask questions like 'when do saved Christians lose their souls?' which is nonsensical in Evangelical cosmology."

"Lose their soul" was Jeff's way of saying getting "UN-saved", or going from a saved state to a non-saved state.

And what you said, was actually Jeff's point, that it's nonsensical. He let the minister paint himself into a corner. Such that if Mormonism is non-christian, and people who believe it are going to hell, then someone who converts from being a faithful Evangelical to Mormonism would be going, according to the minister's claim, from a saved state to a non-saved state. IE, "lose their soul."

Since most evangelicals say you can never get "un-saved" (ie, once saved, always saved), then embracing Mormonism can't cause an evangelical-to-Mormon convert to get "un-saved". Especially, if such a convert never repudiates the basic Biblical doctrines of salvation through Christ. The only thing he/she would be repudiating is the Evangelical assertion that "Mormons are wrong."

It was a logical progression on Jeff's part to illustrate a flaw in the minister's logic.

As other's have pointed out, one of the possible come-backs is "Well, that person wasn't saved to begin with. A 'truly' saved person would never convert to Mormonism."

And by the way, add me to the list of former evangelicals who converted to Mormonism. Well, evangelical/pentecostal, I went to several churches back then, starting with Rex Humbard's Cathedral of Tomorrow in Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. Then my friends and I tried several others, were they had hands waving in the air, and did the speaking-in-tongues thing.

Bookslinger said...

Anon at 10:41 PM, December 10, 2010: Wow. What Book of Mormon did you read? Not mine.

Go back and read 3rd Nephi.

South Park did a better synopsis than you.

Anonymous said...

Bookslinger

Tell me one thing I said happened in 3 Nephi that didn't.

Anonymous said...

Bookslinger

Is this in your BoM (it will take 2 posts to get the descruction all in)?

3 Nephi 9:1 
1 And it came to pass that there was a voice heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying:
3 Nephi 9:2 
2 Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen!
3 Nephi 9:3 
3 Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof.
3 Nephi 9:4 
4 And behold, that great city Moroni have I caused to be sunk in the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof to be drowned.
3 Nephi 9:5 
5 And behold, that great city Moronihah have I covered with earth, and the inhabitants thereof, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them.
3 Nephi 9:6 
6 And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth;
3 Nephi 9:7 
7 Yea, and the city of Onihah and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Mocum and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof; and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more unto me against them.
3 Nephi 9:8 
8 And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in the depths of the earth, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them. (cont'd)

Anonymous said...

3 Nephi 9:9 
9 And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them.
3 Nephi 9:10 
10 And behold, the city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have I caused to be burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof, because of their wickedness in casting out the prophets, and stoning those whom I did send to declare unto them concerning their wickedness and their abominations.
3 Nephi 9:11 
11 And because they did cast them all out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down fire and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from the ground against them.
3 Nephi 9:12 
12 And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.

3 Nephi 9:15 
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.

By the way: There are several Anonymous's writing here, only one (me) is talking of 3 Nephi

Kevin said...

Mathew Chapman:

What really gets me about the logic that you presented in your video game theory is what you purpose to be the end goal of our existence. From what you said the only thing that we can hope for is "...that [our] programming might be used later in some other videogame, such as "Heaven"." So our only hope is that someday we would be put into this new video game called heaven, we have no hope to ever step out of our existence and enter God's. I have heard it described that this heaven video game would involve us praising God for all eternity and thats the end of our existence. That we are damned from progressing and learning and growing (these are all very mormon ideas I know) and will be singing His praises for all eternity.

Then why are we here? This brings back to life the problem of pain that has plagued people forever and your logic leaves it unanswered. Why does God let his creations, his pieces of programming, experience pain and suffering. Dispite my disagreements with a lot of what is being said about 3 Nephi in these comments it describes pretty well what happens sometimes here in this video game. Pain, suffering, murder, rape, violence, and for what? God allows it, but why? You could even say that this type of this is expressly part of the programming for this world. It seems very sadistic for God to put us through (allow to happen) so much suffering if it is not going to do us any good later on. I am a full time student studying mechanical engineering, so I do a lot of homework, and by a lot, I mean, a lot of homework, hours everyday. The only reason that I ok with this homework and the effort that I have to use to complete it is that I know that it is honing my skills so someday when I have a real job, I will be able to call upon those skills and do some real work. Maybe I am misunderstanding what you said (actually didn't say now that I look over your comment again) about heaven. From what I understand, we are to be His mantel pieces in heaven. If thats the case then why all the suffering, in my mind its like doing all the homework the exams and then sitting and doing nothing your whole life. If this is the end of our existence, why not just put us there to begin with and forget all the useless suffering.

Also,

I dont buy your 'Christ is Gods avatar' line for one second. Read about Christ in Getsemani in Luke, when I play donkey kong, and I tell mario to try to jump over a barrel, mario never pleads with me asking if there is some other way. That is an independent being talking to another independent being, not someone talking to Himself.

Kevin said...

Mathew Chapman:

What really gets me about the logic that you presented in your video game theory is what you purpose to be the end goal of our existence. From what you said the only thing that we can hope for is "...that [our] programming might be used later in some other videogame, such as "Heaven"." So our only hope is that someday we would be put into this new video game called heaven, we have no hope to ever step out of our existence and enter God's. I have heard it described that this heaven video game would involve us praising God for all eternity and thats the end of our existence. That we are damned from progressing and learning and growing (these are all very mormon ideas I know) and will be singing His praises for all eternity.

Then why are we here? This brings back to life the problem of pain that has plagued people forever and your logic leaves it unanswered. Why does God let his creations, his pieces of programming, experience pain and suffering. Dispite my disagreements with a lot of what is being said about 3 Nephi in these comments it describes pretty well what happens sometimes here in this video game. Pain, suffering, murder, rape, violence, and for what? God allows it, but why? You could even say that this type of this is expressly part of the programming for this world. It seems very sadistic for God to put us through (allow to happen) so much suffering if it is not going to do us any good later on.

Kevin said...

I am a full time student studying mechanical engineering, so I do a lot of homework, and by a lot, I mean, a lot of homework, hours everyday. The only reason that I ok with this homework and the effort that I have to use to complete it is that I know that it is honing my skills so someday when I have a real job, I will be able to call upon those skills and do some real work. Maybe I am misunderstanding what you said (actually didn't say now that I look over your comment again) about heaven. From what I understand, we are to be His mantel pieces in heaven. If thats the case then why all the suffering, in my mind its like doing all the homework the exams and then sitting and doing nothing your whole life. If this is the end of our existence, why not just put us there to begin with and forget all the useless suffering.

Also,

I dont buy your 'Christ is Gods avatar' line for one second. Read about Christ in Getsemani in Luke, when I play donkey kong, and I tell mario to try to jump over a barrel, mario never pleads with me asking if there is some other way. That is an independent being talking to another independent being, not someone talking to Himself.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

3 Nephi Anon - would you mind answering the question (sorry if I missed a response) about your take on God's well-documented willingness to allow or even cause death and destruction in far more instances than just the one in 3 Nephi? This includes the Flood, the slaying of the Canaanites, the plagues on the Egyptians, Saul's slaughter of the Amalekites in 1 Sam. 15, the violent scattering of the 10 tribes, the Exile, the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the killing of Ananias and Sapphira in New Testament times, the plagues and destruction that will afflict millions in the last days as described in Revelation, etc. These come directly or with the permission of that God of whom Isaiah said, "he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4). I trust this is the same God you're speaking of?

Can you explain why God's ultimate control over life and death, and His documented ability to allow or cause people, even children, to die earlier than most people would like, makes this God of the Bible such a tyrant? Maybe you'd have a point if this life were all there were -- but again, from His perspective, this is a short time for us in which we all die sooner or later, and this life is not the end or purpose of our existence, not even close. So, sad as it is that we all have to die, why is he a tyrant? And what makes death and destruction in 3 Nephi so much more horrific than that of Noah's flood, Moses' wars, Saul's slaughter, and the widespread destruction that God will cause/allow in the last days?

In spite of our eventual deaths from war, plague, starvation, or old age, God's love is still extended toward all of us, and He actively reaches out to give all a chance to come unto Him. Most mercifully, that love and the blessings of redemption are even offered to those who died without a chance to learn of Jesus. That makes the "Mormon Jesus" the most merciful and loving of all, most powerful to save, and His love is powerfully illustrated in his personal ministry to the peoples He visited in 3rd Nephi (the rest of the story). But this Mormon Jesus truly is the same Jesus of the Bible, the one who does not cast people to hell because they never heard of Him or goof up on some fine point of modern metaphysics in the great evangelical theology quiz.

FelixAndAva said...

Jeff, that whole "mainstream Christian" thing about "Oh, you lived before Christ's time or in a place where you didn't have a chance to ever hear that He existed? Too bad, so sad, off to eternal punishment for you" is why my late grandfather so adamantly rejected Christianity. That kind of arbitrary cruelty and favoritism by God (only a privileged few, relatively speaking, had any opportunity for salvation) offended his sense of justice.

Anonymous said...

Jeff

The problem with the Jesus in 3 Nephi is the immediate temporal contrast with the life -- and message-by-example -- of the Jesus of the gospels. Why the sudden thuggish behavior? He had a message -- the Message -- and he didn't trust it enough to teach it as he had done in the Holy Land? Remember, these were the very same people of whom it was written just a few short years earlier:

3 Nephi 5:1 
1 And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled.
3 Nephi 5:2 
2 And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken.
3 Nephi 5:3 
3 Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night.

The very same people. And they weren't even given a chance to listen to and be converted by the Savior Himself. Why? Well, because that Savior chose to kill them.

Think of what you mean by "Christlike". That is the light that the Jesus of the Gospels brought to the world. And that is why 3 Nephi is for me the most depressing reading I know. The deep cynicism, the absolute lack of faith in human nature, in the simple longing of simple people for truth and light. Hence my historical examples.

FelixAndAva said...

Anon, you're very good at "broken record", but pretty bad at actually conversing, since you have yet to answer a question you've been asked by at least two different people: do you consider the God depicted in the Old Testament "cruel" or "thuggish", or do you consider global holocaust with eight survivors just fine while ranting about much less serious destruction among people established as being hard-hearted and evil (among other offenses, murdering prophets for speaking God's word)? If you DON'T have an issue with the Flood while being this obsessed with events surrounding Christ's atoning sacrifice, then you're a hypocrite. Either ANY disaster makes God "thuggish", or He has His reasons for His actions and those actions don't lose validity from His all-knowing POV just because we limited mortals don't grasp the fullness of the eternal picture.

Papa D said...

I'm not responding anymore to Anon, since s/he simply is parroting memorized and silly anti-Mormon rhetoric and not addressing the very reasonable points made by everyone else. It's classic, and it's not productive. It's a video game I'm not willing to play - to borrow a very bad analogy from someone else.

FelixAndAva said...

Papa D, you have a very good point. My husband thinks so, too, since after reading the discussion, he compared it to talking to a brick wall. :)

IMO, another piece of evidence that anonymous posters aren't worth the time. I've never found anything worthwhile being said by someone who didn't have the guts to own it.

Anonymous said...

FelixAndAva

You're hyperventilating, you've got a finger in my face, and you're demanding an answer.

Calm down and maybe we can talk.

FelixAndAva said...

(blink blink) I didn't start throwing around deliberate insults or writing multi-screen screeds while dodging a politely worded question I have personally asked at least twice (and seen from at least one other participant). Given that I'm not trolling a hostile agenda opposed to this site's basic POV, I'm much calmer than you are, being able to trust in God's wisdom on events I personally don't understand.

Oh, and BTW, when you have to resort to direct personal "attack" to avoid answering the question, you've definitely lost the debate. ;)

Anonymous said...

Papa D

You never responded to me. You asked if I was truly serious and I responded why wouldn't I be. I'm still waiting to hear why you think I would write this without being serious.

Give me one example of so-called "silly anti-Mormon" rhetoric that makes the moral case against the Christ who appears in 3rd Nephi -- I know of none.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Yawn.

No answer, then? That's OK. Let's just drop this unproductive thread. Next conversation, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Jeff

You got a direct answer to your question -- what sets the events in 3rd Nephi apart is the context. I don't compare it to the other Biblical or natural "acts of God" because of the context -- as I detailed in my response above.

Scanner said...

Context? That let's you evade obvious problems with your position? I'll have to try this the next time I get backed into a corner with a silly argument. "I'm not responding to that because, I, uh, already responded in the context of what I was saying before." Maybe if I just keep saying context it will fly? In context, that is.

Anonymous said...

Scanner

So why is it a silly argument, tell me.

Ben Porter said...

Anonymous, I think I understand what you're saying. You're pointing out that this isn't just a case of God destroying people. But of doing so right before He visits them in person. The sharp contrast is what is bothering you. I don't know if these comments will make it seem less troublesome, but here we go. It appears that you are comparing the ministry of Christ in the Book of Mormon account with His ministry in the Biblical account. I think there are a couple of vital differences. First is the state of the people BEFORE the appearance of the Lord. The people in Israel were mostly wicked. However, they were pretty ignorant regarding their understanding of the coming Messiah. God is merciful with ignorance. True, John the Baptist did do some preliminary preaching. But, I don't think it compares with the knowledge that the Book of Mormon people had. Those people had the preaching of Samuel the Lamanite with a detailed prophesy of the signs of Jesus' birth. Which were very clearly fulfilled just six short years later in dramatic fashion. So convincing were these events that, as you pointed out, everyone believed. Then after the people fell into wickedness they had the extremely powerful preaching of Nephi. At that point it appears that it wasn't even a situation of lack of faith. But shear rejection of the truth(3 Nephi 7:17-20). Greater knowledge equals greater responsibility. These people would not have believed Jesus even if He had preached to them in person. The second issue is that of the experiences of the two different peoples DURING Christ's ministry. Both were clearly shown great miracles. However, the experiences of the New World group were much richer than that of the Old World group. They saw and heard things too great to speak or write. And this was with about 2500 people. It seems that such intimate associations with Jesus could not have happened in the presence of the wicked, unfortunately. Could it be that the Master's appearance in the Gospel of Nephi would have been much less extraordinary had He left the wicked in place at the expense of the more righteous? With those wicked people rejecting Him anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ben Porter

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I just drove my grandson to school and am sitting down to a (continued) long several days of translating. I will give your response the careful consideration it deserves and get back to you sometime today.

By the way, my name is Jim. The choice of "Anonymous" was just a fleeting decision I made when I posted my first comment here, I don't do many blogs.

jackg said...

Since coming out of Mormonism, I have asked myself if whether or not I believed in a different Jesus or prayed to a different god when I was a Mormon? I then had to ask myself whether or not I can consciously say that I currently view God differently than when I was LDS. As a Mormon, I directed my prayers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So, I believe every Mormon actually believes in the same Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as I do. The difference is in the information we believe about Jesus. When Jesus asks His disciples, "Who do the people say that I am?" They respond with all kinds of answers that were not true. He was not Elijah, John the Baptist, or some prophet. Then, Jesus focuses his question on those who have been with Him, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter resolutely proclaims, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." This was the correct answer. So, it absolutely matters that we believe the truth about Jesus. A Mormon belief about Jesus is that He is the brother of Satan. This is not a biblical teaching and one that is rejected by Christianity. This belief reveals the misunderstanding of the difference between Deity, angels, and humans. Mormon theology teaches that Jesus' death on the cross only makes it possible for us to earn our way into God's presence, that His grace is not sufficient. To me, this teaches a Jesus that does not have the power to save humanity based solely on what He did. This is not the Jesus that the Bible teaches about. So, this is another reason why Christians will say that Mormons believe in a different Jesus. Then, there is the issue of Mormons teaching about eternal marriage being a "new and everlasting" covenant. Again, such a teaching contradicts the Bible in that Jesus IS the New and Everlasting covenant. The only marriage the Bible ever refers to is the marriage between Jesus and His Church--that's the relationship we need to focus on. I know that families being together forever is a beautiful thought, but it's not biblical.

So, I won't go so far as to say that Mormons believe in a different Jesus, but I will say that Mormons believe a lot of untruth about Him, and it's important to know and beleive the truth about Him. I say this because one cannot truly have an intimate relationship with anyone, including Jesus, without knowing the truth about their nature and character.

When it comes to entering into God's presence, I don't have to believe that JS was a prophet or anything that he taught. I just need to believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah who came to earth and died for my sins. I am justified by my faith in Jesus Christ, not by my lack of faith in a man whom I believe to be a false prophet.

I know Mormons believe that JS was merely a tool to "restore" priesthood authority, etc. But, regarding priesthood authority, a reading of 1st Peter teaches us that we are a royal priesthood, called to serve in the world and to preach the Good News that Jesus Christ emptied Himself, took on flesh and the form of a human being, and was obedient to death on a cross so that we might live if we but believe in Him. So, if Mormon beliefs about Jesus change this simple message,then one has to conclude that Mormons believe differently about Jesus.

Blessings...

Rich said...

Anon Jim,
Another consideration for you to take on 3rd Nephi is all about context and what was happening at the time of the described destruction. When this happened is what you should look at because this happened immediatly following the death of Christ. Matt 27 51-54 talkes of the earth Quaking at the same time that this was happening in Nephi.
Like others have said God has destroyed cities, people including women and children, several times in the old testament, not to mention the enire earth population minus eight people in a flood. If the flood and Sodom and Gamorra is only OK because it's in the bible then thats being hypocritical.

CF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CF said...

A Born Again Christian believes that once you, "accept Jesus as your personal Savior", you are "saved". I have done that, therefore I am "saved" according to their belief.

Now, the question is why do they have such a hard time with me being a part of the LDS church when my "works" have nothing to do with me being saved?

Or is it that, for this instance alone, they start believing in "works" as a requirement for salvation as well as grace?

I'd like this question answered.

FelixAndAva said...

CF, good point, especially when most of the "all you have to do is say you believe and you can be as horrible a human being as you please, you're still going to heaven" types also believe "once saved, always saved" (except for evangelicals who turn Mormon, Catholic, etc.).

Bookslinger said...

3 Nephi anon:

Apparently you know how to copy/paste, but not how to synopsize or summarize.

3 Nephi says what it says. But it doesn't say what you said it says.

It still sounds to me that you didn't actually READ it, you just copy/pasted it, and let some blithering idiot tell you what it said.

I sincerely hope you can find the time some day to actually read 3 Nephi (the whole book of 3 Nephi) yourself. And then maybe even read the whole Book of Mormon.

So far, you're still parroting goofy summaries from other people that bear little resemblance to what is actually written.

Your gibberish reminds me of a parody I once read of Christianity that calls it: "The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

Actually, that hideously snarky description of Christianity has more of a relationship to the underlying truth that your synopsis of 3rd Nephi.

Bookslinger said...

Jeff, feel free to delete the previous comment if you think the quote was too irreverent.

And, another question for 3 Nephi Anon:

Are you giving equal time to other religions you disagree with? Have you gone to Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, and Sikh blogs and given them your opinions on their religions too?

What about those radical Muslim Jihadists? Do you have the cojones to tell them off like you do Mormons? If you do, please do it in person, and please have someone standing by to video it. I'd love to see it on Youtube.

Ben Porter said...

Jim

I think you have a valid point that your are making. I don't agree with it. But, I believe it brings up an interesting perspective of 3 Nephi. One which I have never heard before. It made me think. And that is never a bad thing.
As I have read over these postings several times, another thought has come to mind. It appears that your are saying that the Jesus of the four gospels is much more loving than the Jesus of the Book of Mormon. It seems LOVE is the key issue. Which is good. Love is one of the main attributes of God. And I do believe that one could argue that there does look like there is a deference in the love being shown in the two accounts of the Master's ministries. At least in the destruction aspect that we are focusing on.
The love of God can, surprisingly, be a controversial subject. From the whole account of the scriptures (even just the Bible) and the lessons of life, it appears that His love is much more dynamic than we typically imagine. Not because we are making the Lord too simple. But because we are making love too simple. For example, sometimes when I punish my children, they think their world is coming to an end (pun intended). At the time they may think I am very cruel. They cannot possibly see what is truly going on. Of course I love them deeply. The very reason I am punishing them is because of my love for them and my corresponding concern for their ultimate welfare. God may destroy a people because of His love for them. Isn't it more merciful to end the life of a person who is going deeper and deeper into sin and who the Lord knows will no longer respond to Him? And isn't it more merciful to not let some of His children cause His other children to be destroyed by sin. Of course, thankfully, only He can determine when the situation has reached this point. Only He knows the true condition of each individual.
God's love is unimaginably powerful. However, He will not force people to come to Him. People do get to the point where no matter how long they remain on the earth and no matter how long the Lord entices them, they will not choose Him. A large portion of the people in the Holy Land were not in this terrible situation. A certain portion of the people in the Book of Mormon were. The two accounts are very different in their parameters. I believe God weeps when we become so engrossed in iniquity. He bemoaned the fate of those who died in 3 Nephi. But this will not stop Him from taking the necessary actions for the ultimate good of His children. He is much wiser and stronger than us.
Taken with the ideas I shared on my previous post,I do not find the 3 Nephi account out of harmony with the God of the scriptures and of life.

Anonymous said...

Don Porter

I see you’ve just made another post, I’m going to get this off now though:

Thanks again for your remarks. Your opening statements show that you do indeed understand what I mean by the context making all the difference. Where we differ is in whether we accept one aspect of that context -- the described wickedness of the Nephites -- as being sufficient to warrant the destruction, you suggesting yes, me no. If I understand you correctly, you think the destruction was/may have been warranted 1) because the Nephites had shown that “they would not have believed Jesus even if He had preached to them in person”, and 2) because “the Master's appearance in the Gospel of Nephi [may] have been much less extraordinary had He left the wicked in place at the expense of the more righteous”. I’ve simplified, but I’m trying to be brief.

Regarding 1): On a scale of violence, the Jesus of the Gospels and the Jesus of 3rd Nephi occupy the two extremes. On a scale of wickedness, the Nephites of 3rd Nephi swing wildly from one extreme (“they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night”) to the other (“[their] wickedness in casting out the prophets, and stoning those whom I did send to declare unto them concerning their wickedness and their abominations”). So what would have happened if the Jesus of the Gospels had met the “wicked” Nephites of 3rd Nephi? I have no difficulty in imaginng him handling it with Christlike finesse. After all, he was/is so to speak “The Man”. The Jesus of 3rd Nephi ACTED like a pure rookie though he SPOKE like the seasoned, wise pro that was the Jesus of the Gospels. To accede to the rookie acts of the Jesus of 3rd Nephi is to despair of the power of Christian love. How this love can be manifested in the face of murderous opposition is shown in a documentary entitled “Beyond the Gates of Splendor”. Five American missionaries are killed in 1956 by members of a tribe of Indians in the Amazon Basin. The family of the murdered missionaries respond like the Jesus of the Gospels. They travel -- armed only with the power of Christian love --to live and work for decades in peace and friendship among the very people who had killed their loved ones. What if they had imbibed the spirit of the Jesus of 3rd Nephi? Burn the villages, kill the perpetrators, kill their families, kill anyone who agreed with the perpetrators or helped them plan the murders or agreed with or cheered the murderers. Proclaim these killings and the reason for them loudly to the survivors. Then travel in peace and a spirit of love to sing Kumbaya around a campfire with the survivors.

Regarding 2): Whatever happened between Jesus and the surviviing Nephites after the mas destruction occurred on a field of mass death. Certainly the survivors had family that was missing, or buried, or burned but not yet [conveniently] dead. The psychology described just doesn’t make sense. The film “300” is a violent, bloody film. But everytime the blood flies, it disappears as soon as it hits the ground. That is not the real world. I was once exposed for weeks to the howls of pain of a burn victim. Where are those howls in 3rd Nephi when Jesus is having the “more richer” experiences with the survivors? How could everybody have had such a great good time -- spiritually speaking -- when so many had just died? (cont'd)

Anonymous said...

Don Porter

I see you’ve just made another post, I’m going to get this off now though:

Thanks again for your remarks. Your opening statements show that you do indeed understand what I mean by the context making all the difference. Where we differ is in whether we accept one aspect of that context -- the described wickedness of the Nephites -- as being sufficient to warrant the destruction, you suggesting yes, me no. If I understand you correctly, you think the destruction was/may have been warranted 1) because the Nephites had shown that “they would not have believed Jesus even if He had preached to them in person”, and 2) because “the Master's appearance in the Gospel of Nephi [may] have been much less extraordinary had He left the wicked in place at the expense of the more righteous”. I’ve simplified, but I’m trying to be brief.

Regarding 1): On a scale of violence, the Jesus of the Gospels and the Jesus of 3rd Nephi occupy the two extremes. On a scale of wickedness, the Nephites of 3rd Nephi swing wildly from one extreme (“they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night”) to the other (“[their] wickedness in casting out the prophets, and stoning those whom I did send to declare unto them concerning their wickedness and their abominations”). So what would have happened if the Jesus of the Gospels had met the “wicked” Nephites of 3rd Nephi? I have no difficulty in imaginng him handling it with Christlike finesse. After all, he was/is so to speak “The Man”. The Jesus of 3rd Nephi ACTED like a pure rookie though he SPOKE like the seasoned, wise pro that was the Jesus of the Gospels. To accede to the rookie acts of the Jesus of 3rd Nephi is to despair of the power of Christian love. How this love can be manifested in the face of murderous opposition is shown in a documentary entitled “Beyond the Gates of Splendor”. Five American missionaries are killed in 1956 by members of a tribe of Indians in the Amazon Basin. The family of the murdered missionaries respond like the Jesus of the Gospels. They travel -- armed only with the power of Christian love --to live and work for decades in peace and friendship among the very people who had killed their loved ones. What if they had imbibed the spirit of the Jesus of 3rd Nephi? Burn the villages, kill the perpetrators, kill their families, kill anyone who agreed with the perpetrators or helped them plan the murders or agreed with or cheered the murderers. Proclaim these killings and the reason for them loudly to the survivors. Then travel in peace and a spirit of love to preach to the survivors. (cont'd)

Anonymous said...

Regarding 2): Whatever happened between Jesus and the surviviing Nephites after the mas destruction occurred on a field of mass death. Certainly the survivors had family that was missing, or buried, or burned but not yet dead. The psychology described just doesn’t make sense. The film “300” is a violent, bloody film. But everytime the blood flies, it disappears as soon as it hits the ground. That is not the real world. I was once exposed for weeks to the howls of pain of a burn victim. Where are those howls in 3rd Nephi when Jesus is having the “more richer” experiences with the survivors? How could everybody have had such a great good time -- spiritually speaking -- when so many had just died?

You write that “ the experiences of the New World group were much richer than that of the Old World group”, and this because “such intimate associations with Jesus could not have happened in the presence of the wicked”. Whatever happened to the core, you-will-not-talk-with-any-Mormon-about-anything-in-this-world-for-long-without-hearing-it-quoted princple of “there must be opposition in all things”? The first things Jesus does in 3rd Nephi is eliminate the opposition. I am an American. It belongs to the core of my being that you do not eliminate the opposition, you engage with them in dialogue.

Forgive any excesses, I look forward to your sturdy response.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Ben Porter

I just noticed that I've been addressing you as "Don Porter" -- I'm very sorry. I'm working on many documents at one time -- in two languages -- and an LDS friend of mine is named Don Porter. In my head I knew your name was Ben, but for some reason my hands typed "Don". Sorry.

Jim

Papa D said...

Jim, now that you have responded in more detail (which I truly do appreciate) I will ask you how Jesus acted in 3rd Nephi is ANY different than the God of the Bible - the entire Bible, not just Jesus of the Gospels?

Before you respond, let me explain a bit more what I mean by that:

What about the God of the Old Testament? What about the God of Revelations? **What about God when he wasn't living on the earth?** In ALL those cases in the Bible, he appeared to be a VERY different God than Jesus was when he was living on earth. Please consider that carefully. We get a VERY different picture of God outside of the Gospels than we get of him inside the Gospels.

In fact, he acted EXACTLY like the God in the early part of 3rd Nephi in those other parts of the Bible (Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, Jericho, the multiple destructions of Jerusalem - both before and after Jesus' birth, Revelations, etc.) - and EXACTLY like the God of the Gospels right after the destruction of early 3 Nephi (loving and preaching and loving some more). Iow, the 3rd Nephi account (**when taken as a whole account**) mirrors EXACTLY the God of the Bible (**when taken as a whole account**).

The Bible seems to say that God acts differently with regard to His children when he is there in person than when he isn't - largely, perhaps, because they listen better (or, at least, some of them do) when he is there in front of them. That is the EXACT same message we get from 3 Nephi.

Dave D said...

Jim,

One assumption you seem make that is not supported by the 3 Nephi text is that the visit of Jesus to the Nephites was immediately after the destruction. In fact, it was just about a year later. So there was time for some natural healing to take place before Jesus came on the scene. Otherwise, I see your point but do not agree with it. When mass destructions happen right before the Second Coming of Christ, will we see Christ as hateful and vengeful, or will we welcome him as our Savior?

FelixAndAva said...

I don't mean to be rude, Dave, but having recently listened to 3 Nephi, I'm nearly certain Christ's visit was immediately following the disasters surrounding His crucifixion (which I still can't manage to see as worse than the Great Flood, given that there were a lot more than eight survivors on the planet after the events of 3 Nephi). Would you clarify for me where you found that year interval? You could quite easily be right and I could very easily have missed something, so I'm not trying to hassle you, just want to figure this out.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick response to Dave D:

For me 3 Nephi 10:18-19 is the clincher:

3 Nephi 10:18
"...insomuch that soon after the ascension of
Christ into heaven he did truly manifest himself unto them--
3 Nephi 10:19
19 Showing his body unto them, and ministering unto them; ..."

Jim

Weston Krogstadt said...

And don't forget the part where Joseph reached into the ground and pulled out them golden plates!

Papa D said...

Please don't respond to Weston, the troll.

Jim, I'm not going to respond to anything else until you address the central question multiple people have asked about your main concern. You keep dodging it, so I am left to assume you have no answer - so I will let it drop completely unless you decide to address it.

Bookslinger said...

Papa D, I think you got the trolls reversed.

Patrick said...

There does appear to be a disconnect between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. This disconnect was the source of doctrinal division within the early Christian church. It's interesting to see that the discomfort with the violent actions of the God of the Old Testament is still leading some to conclude that they must be two different Gods. No way can you reconcile the violent God of the Old Testament with the peaceful, patient God of the New Testament.

I beleive they are one and the same. The one God of both Testaments was motivated by love.

Ben Porter said...

Jim,

No problem. I thought maybe you were giving me an honorary title or something :)
I think the five missionaries experience that you mentioned is a different situation. For one, it involved people dealing with other people. Not God judging a people. And second the murderers did not posses the same knowledge that we have identified that the wicked in 3 Nephi had.
As to the situation of the Nephites, I think there are at least two additional ideas to consider. First if you take 3 Nephi 8:5 and the beginning of 3 Nephi 10:18 you come up with several months between destruction and ministry. Second, the appearance of Jesus is in the land Bountiful. Although there were upheavals all over the land and more especially in the land northward, the city Bountiful is not named in the list of cities destroyed. The people in the city were "showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place." But we don't know if they had experienced the death that had occurred in the other cities. If both of these ideas are accurate, I think it changes the picture.
I don't know if you have read my second post. But, I have at least one other point to make. It is actually the same idea that Papa D was discussing. I think there needs to be some separation in the parallels between Christ coming to the Old World and Him coming to the New World. If you compare the accounts of the time He spent walking and talking with mortals, the accounts are similar. The Gospels do not describe Jesus before His earthly ministry. Although, the Old Testament does. A better parallel of the entire 3 Nephi account would be that of the second coming. There will be horrific destruction right before the Saviour comes again.
Let me paint the scene from 3 Nephi in the light I see it in. The earth rejoices at the birth of its King with three days of no night. The earth mourns the death of its King with great physical upheavals and three days of darkness. (as I learned later on in my life, the description of the destruction would fit very well with the eruption of a volcano). The more wicked (and realistically some of the more righteous. Things like this are not meant to be so cut and dry. That would diminish faith.) were not protected from the calamity. The more righteous ( and again some of the more wicked) were spared. The Lord speaks to these remaining people with great lamentation for those who lost their lives. And not so much because of their death as for their unwillingness to come to Jesus and be protected and nourished. Instead they choose the devil as their shepherd. In the full light of the gospel, I might add. At least some months past (something I also realized later in life) before the Master comes to these people and teaches, heals and blesses them. He even weeps for joy,this time,(See Moses 7:28 - 37 in the Pearl of Great Price where He weeps for sorrow because of the wickedness of the people) with them. This to me shows a God of great love. Yes, it is very disturbing that people suffered and died. But the Lord took no pleasure in this (3 Nephi 9:2 and 10:4-7). But it must be so according to His infinite wisdom and everlasting love. People die every day in terrible, horrible ways. God is in complete control. He could stop any suffering or any death of any person. But that is not according to His perfect plan.

Ben Porter said...

continued

As an additional note to this whole discussion is something Patrick just mentioned. The God of the Old and New Testaments does seem to be different. That for me has been one of the many remarkable aspects of the Book of Mormon. It appears to bridge this discrepancy skillfully. That's the bottom line for me. And probably why will not come to an agreement here, Jim. The Book of Mormon is absolutely amazing to me (and, yes, I have read the Bible too. Every single word from cover to cover. An incredible book as well). From the way it made me feel the first time I read it and every time since then to the way it opens my mind. From the wisdom it continually reveals to me to the way it transforms my life. Not to mention the many facts that I have found over the years to support it as well as the wonderful test of applying its precepts in my life. This should be no surprise. God wrote both books (as well as others that have not been discovered yet) But, Jim, I took up this discussion (which, by-the-way, was my first blog posting ever) because I believe the Book of Mormon stands up very well to scrutiny. It has for many years. None of this has changed your mind, I'm sure. But, it has been good for me to analyze the subject. I hope you have gotten something positive out of it as well.

Anonymous said...

Papa D
Granted for the sake of focus everything you say about God acting “EXACTLY like the God in the early part of 3rd Nephi in those other parts of the Bible”, there is the crucial difference that in none of those other instances does He appear immediately after the destruction. In none of thse other instance had his coming been so long foretold. As I read 3rd Nephi, for all the proclaming of the Nephites' wickedness, they were in fact teetering on the edge of belief:

3 Nephi 8:3
3 And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been
given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.
3 Nephi 8:4
4 And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.

“Doubtings and disputations” sounds like just like the world every LDS missionary encounters, not a wickedness worthy of destruction.. What if Jesus had appeared in a manner something like that of Joseph Smith’s first vision? What could the doubters have said then, when every prophecy was being fulfilled in a glorious manner righ tbefore their eyes? In my opinion, the whole people would have been converted by the wonderful glory of God, not just a “choice” few by the unopposable power and wrath of God. One problem with such a show of power and destruction is that the survivors would have accepted ANYTHING Jesus preached after the destruction OUT OF FEAR.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Papa D

In fact, what if Jesus had appeared right from the beginning, before the destruction, as he did after the destruction (3 Nephi 11:8-10) ?

I am not trying to change scripture or second guess. I just think the the point of the Gospels is that a NEW message is being sent, that the beating heart of the Christian message lies, e.g. in the beatitudes, which can always only remain an aspiration in this world. What would the Jesus of the Gospels think of the 3rd Nephi Jesus? One example:

Mark 2:17: "... Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

I tried to respond to you questions. I'm not trying to win any argument, and I have absolutely no desire to change anyone's beliefs. At most I hope this can just show that a person can turn away from the Mormon concept of Jesus without hardness of heart or bitterness, but as in my case for moral reasons.

Don't be perturbed if I'm slow to respond to your next post, but I've got an important new customer from Berlin and a deadline and I'm way behind and have got to catch up.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Ben Porter

I'm reading your thoughtful response carefully, some of what I would say in response I've said this morning in response to Papa D. I will give you my thoughts as soon as I can, but for now I've got to get back to work.

Thanks for the lively, well-thought-out exchange!

Jim

Papa D said...

Thanks, again, Jim for adding more detail. It really doesn't get to the heart of our disagreement, but it certainly makes me understand your viewpoint better - and I appreciate that. In the end, we simply see things differently - and I am totally fine with that.

I'm very much a believer that all should follow their own consciences and beliefs. I accept fully the idea that "all (wo)men everywhere" should follow the "dictates of their own conscience, let them worship how, where or what they may". Therefore, I'm not in this discussion to convert anyone or even change their minds. I mean that. I just think, still, that there is a glaring inconsistency in your view (especially relative to the Biblical descriptions of the Second Coming in Revelations) when it comes to criticizing the account of Jesus' visit in 3rd Nephi. Obviously, however, my own bias is showing, perhaps, in that conclusion, so it is what it is.

If you are interested in my overall perspective and my thoughts on lots of things (which, I think, will surprise you), please visit my own blog. (Just click on my name.)

Once we got past the "anonymous" issue and the feeling like it was a cut & paste job (which I no longer feel), I've actually enjoyed this discussion. I don't think we ever will agree on this, but I'd like to have your thoughts on the stuff I write.

Georgia said...

I stopped reading after Jeff talked about "confused" Christians. I don't need joseph smith to go to heaven. I need Jesus to go to heaven.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Georgia, I didn't say Christians are confused. I recognized that some who say they are Christian might be confused about some of the things Jesus taught. That offended you? Doesn't it help explain why there are hundreds of Christian churches and Christian movements teaching conflicting doctrines? Doesn't it seem self-evidence that at least some Christians are confused with respect to at least some of these conflicting teachings?

Here's what I said: "I'm also open-minded enough to accept that when someone claims to sincerely believe in Christ and be a Christian, that I have no right to deny their status as a Christian just because I disagree with some of their doctrines. I am open-minded enough to recognize that they may in fact believe in the Jesus of the Bible, the Son of God, even if they are confused about some of the things that Jesus taught."

I hope you'll keep reading and not be offended by whatever I unintentionally conveyed to you in trying to state something that I thought was self-evident. This was not a slam on all Christians. Sorry for any, uh, confusion.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

And yes, Georgia, we all need Jesus to go to heaven.

In the early days of Christianity, shortly after Christ had ascended to heaven and left His church in the hands of his apostles, what would you have said to someone who rejected the leadership, authority, and teachings of Peter, James, Paul, and others, insisting that they didn't need mortals to go to heaven, just God? What if they even said they were Christians, but that they just needed Christ and not his apostles?

Peter or Paul don't save us. Nor does Moses or Isaiah. But can we truly follow Jesus if we reject his authorized servants, the prophets and apostles? To reject His messengers and the inspired teachings they bring (sometimes even scriptures) is to reject the source.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." - John 13:20

jackg said...

Georgia,

I just want to say that you are absolutely right. We don't need to believe in anything JS did or taught. We just need to believe in Jesus Christ and what He did for us on Calvary, and that He rose from the dead three days later. JS is not a part of the salvation equation. I would dare say, however, that he is a part of the equation that separates one from the true and living God. It is important that we believe the truth about Jesus Christ. Why would anyone want to ignore the truth and accept lies about Jesus Christ? Human nature is what it is, however, and we sometimes think we are a lot smarter than we really are.

Blessings...

jackg said...

Jeff,

I am here to say that JS does not fit into the category of which Jesus speaks. None of the LDS prophets fit into this category. They are ashamed of the cross, teach false doctrines, and they don't hold a high view of God's Word as revealed in the Bible, nor do they hold a high view of God, relegating Him to a god who has not always been god, but once lived as a human being and has his own god. Sorry, Jeff. I would say that all believers of Jesus Christ who preach the truth of the gospel fall into the category of which Jesus speaks. But not JS.

I already know that we have to agree to disagree, but I am praying for you and your family to come to the truth about Jesus Christ.

Peace and Grace...

FelixAndAva said...

"Ashamed of the cross"? We don't decorate ourselves with the instrument of torture of One we love, since we grieve for His pain while rejoicing in His resurrection, and that's shame?

Please show an *LDS* source that proves lack of respect for ALL God's Word (not just the selection thereof given to one small group of people in the Middle East), and use *the Bible* (and LDS sources) to show our doctrines false. No bringing up paraphrases, quotations that have been edited by those hostile to the Church, etc. Stick to *reliable* sources if you want me to believe you're actually sincere and not just wallowing in the hate you've been taught by those whose livelihood depends on keeping you from finding out for yourself the truth of the Restored Gospel.

jackg said...

Felixandava,

A reading of Paul's writings illustrates what I'm talking about.

Blessings...

Papa D said...

FelixandAva, please be careful of reacting emotionally and mirroring back the same approach others use to defame us and exclude us as Christians. I disagree totally with jackg, and, frankly, I think the arguments and comments he left are rather juvenile and very weak, but that can be expressed without saying things like "not just wallowing in the hate you've been taught by those whose livelihood depends on keeping you from finding out for yourself the truth of the Restored Gospel." That is an assumption every bit as much as jackg's charges are - and it is every bit as offensive in and of itself.

jackg, I have no problem accepting that Paul's epistles can be read as in conflict with what we teach in the LDS Church. I hope, however, that you are open-minded enough to admit that those same epistles and, more pointedly, the Gospels, can be read to support many Mormon teachings and be seen as in conflict with many Protestant teachings.

It's not clear-cut, black-and-white when it comes to the Bible - especially since most of the doctrines of Mormomism toward which most Protestants react most vehemently actually are taken from the Bible.

That actually supports the central point of Jeff's post - that doctrinal inerrancy is not used to condemn other Protestants, even when those Protestants have wildly different views on "central" doctrines of salvation. Where is that line, then, past which a saved Christian can't step without losing their status as saved - and, if it doesn't exist, what of the saved Christian who becomes Mormon?

Anonymous said...

"wallowing in the hate you've been taught by those whose livelihood depends on keeping you from finding out for yourself the truth of the Restored Gospel."
I was taught at BYU, No hate taught to me there, just the simple truths about how the Church is not the same today as it was in JS's time. Because the Church has been so active at hiding its history, and changing books to erase away things that are controversial, I was able to find out the truth about Mormonism. I credit some great Profs at BYU for teaching me out of Mormonism. My life started when I walked out of the Marriott center with my cap and gown in hand. No hate here, and none taught to me.

I suggest you look into subjects the Church actively shies away from and attempts to hide, so you can find "out for yourself the truth of the Restored Gospel."

FelixAndAva said...

First-hand experience with how frantically pastors of Protestant churches rush to smear any denomination other than the one that writes their paychecks trumps anonymous wishful thinking any day, TYVM.

Yes, I've read Paul's writings, along with the rest of the Bible repeatedly. Remember, two of every four years of adult Sunday School classes are devoted to the Bible, plus personal study (strongly urged by our leaders, BTW. You'd think if they had anything to worry about from the Bible, they might not emphasize it quite so much). Speaking of the Bible, which version am I supposed to be considering authoritative anyway? KJV? Catholic version with additional books? Revised (which systematically cuts out a lot of references to miracles and other supernatural events, references to Christ's Divinity and role as Savior, etc.)? Some version that emasculates our Heavenly Father and our Savior by denying Them gender?

As for my own research, remember that I started off with Ed Decker's efforts to get revenge on a church that expected him to be a faithful husband and didn't fawn over him enough to suit him (his efforts, BTW, have included causing the murders of LDS missionaries by knowingly lying to audiences in Central America about them being CIA agents). Then I branched out, including letting the Church speak for itself instead of relying on second-hand (or worse) fictions. This is how I became LDS, remember.

I have no problem with changes to doctrine, Church organization, etc., since I do believe the doctrine of continuing revelation to meet changing needs, knowledge, etc., of Church members. Yes, there have been less-than-perfect Church members. That doesn't make the Church itself false, just means that some of the members have (gasp) human flaws just like any other group of mortal humans.

openminded said...

Wow. This is a pretty lively thread.

Felix,
Was your question answered? (do you consider the God depicted in the Old Testament "cruel" or "thuggish", or do you consider global holocaust with eight survivors just fine while ranting about much less serious destruction among people established as being hard-hearted and evil (among other offenses, murdering prophets for speaking God's word)?

I wondered how you wouldve responded if someone conceded that the portrayal of God in those examples is definitely "cruel".

FelixAndAva said...

All I was asking for was consistency, which was apparently a little bit TOO much to ask. :)

While God's actions sometimes seem cruel to us mortals, we don't have anywhere near the knowledge and perspective He does. It's kind of like taking your child or pet for medical attention. Unpleasant things get done to the patient for reasons he/she does not have the capacity to understand, but which serve a beneficial purpose overall.

Papa D said...

or we can quit attributing calamities to God and view our scriptures not as literal accoutns of God's interaction wtih mortals but rather as a good example of on-going revelation and the evolution of humanity's understanding of God.

If our own Articles of Faith include the concept of "as far as it is translated correctly" - why do we need to believe God actually caused the destruction about which we are talking? Why can't we believe that's just what those people thought, even some who were prophets in their time? We say God speaks to us in our own language and according to our own understanding - so if our understanding is limited, why would our expalnations of thse things that happen around us be perfect?

Frankly, maybe those things happened and maybe they didn't - but why do we have to assume they happened exactly as recorded and were caused by God's active involvement?

Getting back to the point of this post, why would believing a Mormon version about things like this cause someone who once believed a Protestant version to be damned?

If we can't get back to the point of the post, I'm done - since I really don't want to get into a Mormon vs. ex-Mormon spitting contest. Nothing is ever accomplished excpet getting wet in a disgusting manner - and I have no use for that at this point in my life.

jack said...

I love how you guys support each other. But, supporting each other doesn't make your position any more valid. The issue in this thread isn't what experiences you had with some protestant pastor or pastors; it's not about where you went to school; it's not about whether or not you think my arguments are "juvenile and weak"; rather, it's about what one believes about Jesus Christ. Where does one learn the truth about Jesus Christ? Well, God, in His power, wisdom, and ability to give us what we need, gave us His word in what the world knows as the Bible. Does the Bible teach that Jesus and Satan are brothers? No. Jesus, the creator of ALL, created everything we know about and those things which we are yet to discover. He created the angels, and Lucifer was an angel--he was not ever a human being. So, to believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers is rather vulgar. But, that's what you want to believe, and then you wonder why followers of Jesus Christ reject you as Christians.

Jeff's title to this thread reveals a lack of knowledge regarding eternal security, and the power of Jesus Christ to save us NOW. We don't have to wonder whether or not we're saved because we are justified by our faith. I know such a term has no real meaning to Mormons. We are saved on the merits of what Jesus Christ did for us. We are righteous because of His righteousness that is imputed to us. We don't have a righteousness. While we were still enemies to God, God Himself in the form of a man we call Jesus Christ died for us.

Your message is one of stress and insecurity because you base the end result of living in the presence of God on what we do as humans. That is not the message Jesus died for.

How much of an apologist does one need to be to deliver the simple message of the Good News? A child can preach the gospel, which is this: Jesus died that we might live. End of story. Everything else that JS et al has added to the story is nothing but lies, and has changed the character of Jesus Christ. You can spread the false message of JS all you want, but I am going to spread the truth message that is indeed Good News. Lose JS and gain the true Jesus Christ.

Praying for all of you...

Papa D said...

Wow, Jack, I am done. That's an amazing mis-characterization of Jeff's post and the questions that have been asked about it.

Praying for you, also - but not in the same way I'm sure you're praying for me. I think you're praying that I see things the way you do and get off my current path to Hell. I'm just praying for you to continue to find peace and joy and God's grace.

I really don't mean to be snarky in saying this, but I think that difference is kind of what Jeff was referencing in his post.

Anyway, I really am done now.

jackg said...

Papa D,

It's okay that you're done. We're praying for the same thing. You see, there's a real peace that comes from knowing that all you need is Jesus Christ and not the burdensome requirements imposed by JS. Read Colossians, and you will find that Paul is speaking about such men as JS and the false teachings they bring into the world. Despite your attempt to make my praying for you something that isn't quite right, I am still praying for you and your family. The things you believe are leading you away from a true relationship with Jesus Christ because your perception of Him is based on information that is nonBiblical. He was never a man, PD. He has always been God. Why is that so hard for you and other Mormons to believe. There was never a time when He was not God. The Holy Spirit will bear witness to you of this, PD.

Blessings...

Pops said...

The scriptures - and our lives - are sprinkled with cues about the nature and personality of God. Some of the cues are subtle, others not so much. From those cues we each construct a model or image of God in our minds. That's a natural human instinct.

In that endeavor of creating in our minds an image of God, we sometimes too quickly arrive at a conclusion that disagrees with some of the cues, and then disregard or disbelieve the conflicting evidence.

One of the cues that causes confusion is that God apparently allows a great deal of suffering to exist in the world. Even more so, sometimes God himself is the perpetrator of great calamities on the human race. How is that to be reconciled with a God who is supposed to be loving?

An accurate perception of the character of God must, by definition, agree with the evidence. If your God of fluffiness and light requires you to ignore cues, or if it suspiciously aligns with the lifestyle to which you are naturally inclined, you might wish to take another look to see if perhaps your God is the a kin of the Gods of stone and wood of the Old Testament, Gods who cannot save.

Does God destroy human beings? The evidence clearly says yes. But the evidence also suggests that he gives ample warning to those in peril prior to removing them. Unfortunately in many cases, they are slow to hear because they are so enamored of the God of their own making that they cannot hear the true and living God.

One of the wooden idols constructed by modern orthodoxy is the God who cannot or will not any longer intervene in the affairs of men, who will not warn of impending calamity. That is not the God of the Bible.

Pops said...

...the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.

And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments...

Papa D said...

Just to be able to say I wrote comment #100 (*grin*):

Jeff, I think we have strayed far from the point of your excellent post. Sorry for the part I played in that, but I've tried to bring it back to point a number of times.

Thanks for writing such a thoughtful post.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Pops, great closing comments there.

I'm amazed at how easily one can take or create a doctrinal differences and then ascribe that difference to someone worshiping a different Jesus and thus not being a Christian. Jack tells us that "Jesus died that we might live. End of story." Sure--and since we believe in Jesus and worship Him as our savior, you'd think we'd have a lot in common. But in the same comment, Jack turns to the ugly smear about how we believe Christ and Satan are brothers, so why should we wonder that people say we are non-Christian? I hope you aren't arguing that having allegedly incorrect interpretations of scriptures or confused doctrines makes someone non-Christian if they sincerely believe in Jesus Christ.

JackG, as you surely must know, we believe that angels, fallen or otherwise, are part of the vast family of sons and daughters of God, so we're all brothers and sisters. Even very evil beings such as Hitler, Herod, and Judas are among the sons of God who were born on earth--as was Christ. The concept that all of us, good and rebellious angels included, are among the children of God is quite compatible with the Bible and with early Christianity. See http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_Relationships.shtml#brothers.

Jack believes in the doctrine of eternal security and instant salvation and we think we must endure to the end to be saved. So we're worshiping a different Jesus? Would that be the Jesus who said "he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Matt. 24:13)? Would it be the one who gave us the Parable of the Sower to remind us that we need to continually nurture our faith and not let it die or be choked by weeds? Would it be the one who said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments"? (Matt 19). Or is it the one who speaks in Revelation about the need to overcome to inherit heaven? (E.g., "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" in Rev. 21:7).

Dave D said...

Jim and FelixandAva,

Sorry it has taken me a while to come back to this post and respond. Here are the passages from the Book of Mormon that show Christ's visit was nearly 1 year after the destruction.

3 Nephi 8:5 And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.

3 Nephi 10:18 And it came to pass that in the ending of the thirty and fourth year, behold, I will show unto you that the people of Nephi who were spared, and also those who had been called Lamanites, who had been spared, did have great favors shown unto them, and great blessings poured out upon their heads, insomuch that soon after the ascension of Christ into heaven he did truly manifest himself unto them—

So the destruction stared on the 4th day of the 34th year and the visit of Christ happened in the ending of the 34th year. Not sure if this would have helped at all with the subsequent discussion, but I wanted to make sure I clarified my point.

jackg said...

Jeff,

You said: "JackG, as you surely must know, we believe that angels, fallen or otherwise, are part of the vast family of sons and daughters of God, so we're all brothers and sisters."

Sorry, but this is absolutley heretical teaching, something a false prophet would preach.

As for the "smear" about Jesus and Satan being brothers...does the Church no longer teach this? Something can't be a smear unless it's not true.

I'm sorry you don't believe in eternal security, Jeff. The reason you don't is because you think it's all about works. It doesn't matter what New Testament passages one points out to you. So, what can one do? Pray for you. I'll still bring you the truth, but I know you'll reject it. I still think you're a great guy with a great deal of intelligence; I just believe that you have been misled regarding your beliefs about God.

Blessings...

FelixAndAva said...

Whoa there, jeffg. You're preaching "eternal security" while claiming that salvation can be lost by not subscribing to "correct" theology? (For "correct" read "evangelical".) Seems we've gotten back to a major question in Jeff's original post that keeps getting ignored or dodged.

Papa D said...

Everyone might appreciate (or have a coronary, depending on your perspective) the following post:

"The Power of Jesus As Brother"

http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2010/06/power-of-jesus-as-brother.html

Lamdaddy said...

Jackg,

I also noticed that you are simply dodging around what Jeff said. You said that Jeff doesn't listen to the New Testament passages that you quoted to him, but he has an entire website dedicated to responding to your interpretation of some of Paul's writings. You didn't address the scriptures that he mentioned, however.
The really interesting thing that I always notice from those who share your viewpoints on salvation sound so very much different than the way Jesus taught it. He never taught "eternal security," at least not the way you talk about it. He never spoke of "accepting me into your heart and you're forever saved." No, He told us to follow Him and keep His commandments and warned us about the consequence of sin. He lived and died for us, doing what we couldn't do. I say that accepting Jesus into your heart through a prayer is a work and a condition for salvation. It just doesn't stop there.

As for Jesus and Satan being brothers, here's a thought: nowhere in the Bible does it teach otherwise, so a logical person can't call it impossible. God is bigger than any book (including the Bible, which book I read and love), and I don't believe you or I understand everything there is to know about God. The difference is I am open to receive more information about Him and from Him. And while this teaching may be extra-Biblical, it doesn't conflict
with the Bible since nowhere does the Bible state that Jesus and Satan AREN'T brothers.
It's a funny beef to have, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Mormography said ...

I applaud Mormanity’s efforts in pointing out the contradictions in the Pastor's own logical universe. Here are just a few examples of how I have done the same to Mormanity:

- Mormanity’s interpretation of biblical-false-prophet-passages makes it impossible to declare David Koresh or James Strange a false prophet. Simple statement of this fact causes Mormanity to close off any discussion and attack the other person has hostile.
- When one points out that the fact that the Small Plates solution to the Lost 116 pages does nothing to prevent conspirators, he goes on the personal attack.
- Contrary to his claim that there is nothing wrong with prophets being fallible, he goes to great lengths to change the definition of the word suppress and insist that Hinckley handled the Stowell Forgery completely on the up and up.
- When jackg points out doctrine distinct to Mormonism, Mormanity characterizes it has a ugly smear.

The list could go on, but the fact would remain the same. Mormanity and his logical universe are no better than the Pastor’s. Of course the Pastor's views on Mormonism are no more hostile than Mormonism views are everyone else. The Pastor is just more honest about his views. In the case of Mormanity, we have here on this blog an abundance of evidence that he resorts to double standards, contradictions, strawmen, and now with this entry hypocrisy. Despite claiming to be a believer, Mormanity's behavior consistently shows he does not belief that he will have to account for his double standards, contradictions, and strawmen. Now with this post he is trying to get that beam out of the Pastor’s eye while he still has one in his.

Contrary to Mormon thought, it has been proven that complex systems (such as humans) cannot make definitive statements about themselves (due to inevitable self referential recursion). So a human may claim to believe this or that, but not even the person them self can know whether or not they truly believe in the item they profess belief in. Mormanity claims to believe in a God of truth and justice. This means he either lacks self discipline or does not truly believe he will held accountable for his double standards, contradictions, strawmen, and hypocrisy. Evidence suggests that he has an abundance of self discipline, ergo despite his claims, he must not believe in a God of truth and justice.

Mormanity is welcome to his opinions which he has endlessly expressed on this blog and has claimed is for discussion, not attack. I don't read most of what he posts for the most part because it's clear he is not interested in understanding, learning, or genuine dialog. He has made his complaints and his boasts - dozens of times. I grow weary. There are times when people really aren't interested in understanding or genuine discourse, and their repeated assertions and accusations become a waste of time and bandwidth. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to engage Mormanity, and hope you can have meaningful dialog with him, but I am bothered by his tactics, his condescending tone and his unwillingness to listen and consider.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Mormography said, "Mormanity claims to believe in a God of truth and justice. This means he [understood to be me, of course] either lacks self discipline or does not truly believe he will held accountable for his double standards, contradictions, strawmen, and hypocrisy."

I vote for lack of self-discipline.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Ooops, did I just take the bait again?

Lamdaddy said...

Let us not mince words. The doctrine that Jesus and Satan are brothers (as all children of God would be) ALWAYS comes up in these kinds of discussions with any evangelical I have ever met. That tells me that this is used to appeal to a congregation's emotions and is used to convince people of the "proof" that Mormons worship a false or a "different" Jesus, and is "proof" that Mormons are not Christians. This indeed is an ugly smear. Not because it is our doctrine, but because of how you choose to interpret, present, and use it.

It's a silly thing really, since many of our beliefs can be considered extra-biblical. And we have no problem with that.

Mormography said...

Lamdaddy,

You just admitted that the “ugly smear” comment was not justly based on jackg alone, but other conversations independent of jackg. You have essentially argued that jackg (apparently an ex-Mormon) must be one of these evangelicals with whom you have had previous conversations. The essence of your statement is that only practicing Mormon's are allowed to compare and contrast Mormonism with another religion (a common theme of Mormanity and his cronies) and only practicing Mormons are allowed to pointed out that Mormons have a distinct believe set from other mainstream protestants. In other words, like Mormanity, you have proven are not interested in genuine dialogue.

Lamdaddy said...

Mormography,

What exactly in my post implies that only a Mormon can compare/contrast Mormonism with other churches? My post was intended to point out jackg's disingenuous comments. You'll find I'm always apt for a real open discussion

Mormography said...

“disingenuous” (meaning insincere?) Not sure what is meant by claiming this.

Your assessment of jackg’s insincerity is grounded only on the basis that he is not a practicing Mormon. Ergo you are implying that only practicing Mormon’s are allowed to compare/contrast Mormonism.

The validity and effectiveness of his comments are not in dispute. By stating the comments are meant to appeal to the emotions, you essentially admitting that he has made good points to which you have not be able to formulate a response. Without engaging jackg in further dialogue, you have no basis for determining if he does not really believe the item he is presenting makes Mormon interpretation of Christianity different from Evangelical, other than fact he is not a practicing Mormon.