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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Two Green Apples

I like faith-promoting stories that are more than just rumors but come from sources I know and trust. Recently in talking with the mother of a missionary currently serving in Russia, I learned of the experience of one of his investigators with the principle of tithing. With the kind permission of the family, below is the story, straight from the missionary's letter home. Out of respect for Russia's laws on privacy, he has withheld the name of woman, and I am likewise not sharing the name of the missionary or his specific mission.
Friday, we met with one of our investigators.... The last lesson we taught (tithing) was not the best. She was crying the whole time and our member present was less than helpful. We planned just to watch the restoration video and have a lighter lesson. She walked in and declared that she wanted to pay tithing right then. When we explained it was only required after baptism, she didn't really care and demanded to pay. When we asked what caused her to accept the law of tithing, she told us an awesome story. She said after the previous lesson, she walked home crying and praying for faith to accept tithing. She walked into the store and looked at her favorite green apples, saw the price, and walked distraught out of the store. She couldn't afford them, even not paying tithing. "How will I be able to live if I pay tithing?" she asked God. Then, on the way home, she looked down into a nearby snow bank to see two shining green apples. After asking around, finding that nobody had lost them, she took them home as a testimony to her that if she pays tithing, God will provide. What a miracle! We then watched the restoration video and she asked to be baptized finally.
Two green apples in the snow. What a kind and simple gift to let someone know that He understands and loves her. And what a beautiful image to remind us that we can live the law of tithing without fear.

100 comments:

Darren said...

What a delightful story!

Anonymous said...

That's no more than a fairly tale. What if she hadn't found 2 green apples? What if, as in the real world, she doesn't find 2 green apples every time tithing is due? What if she found 2 abandoned small children who needed care or 2 bills she hadn't expected?
What if she buys the myth and gets baptized and then find the new church essays? Or that she's gay?

If this event ever actually took place I wish this young lady well in whatever decision she makes but if she makes a core decision like this on the basis of finding apples she's in for a life challenged by her propensity to make decisions on the basis of superstition and she'll need all the luck she can get. A life already on the margins of desperation and emotional decisions don't bode well.

Anonymous said...

I was a faithful tithe payer for years. Always on the gross. And I often had to put entire loads of groceries on my credit card to feed my kids. And I had no health insurance, so doctor's visits went on the credit card, too. I did exactly what the church expected. I went on a mission, I got married while a sophomore in college. I had two kids before I graduated with a Bachelors. Another kid while in grad school. I worked full-time, went to school full-time. Wife was primarily a stay-at-home mom, just like a good Mormon family.

In 2011, we had nearly 10,000 dollars worth of credit card debt. I was giving money to the church and going into debt for food.

The church is a crook.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought....

If money is so tight, don't pay tithing. Get back on your feet, start paying tithing again.

Steve

Vance said...

Yes, you either have faith or you don't. That's the rub, isn't it? Faith really means something, it's not just an abstract "I believe that" Well, do you? Do you actually believe in Jesus or not? I note that tithing and the LDS church's main message on tithing relies on Malachi and other Bible scriptures; so there's no need to think tithing is an LDS concept alone (several other denominations also preach tithing).

Faith is more than mere belief, despite our Protestant friends protestations to the contrary. Jesus has always demanded that we change and sacrifice for Him. Consider the rich man, whom Jesus said to sell all he had and give to the poor and follow Him. That's a far greater demand than what the LDS church asks.

What price are you willing to pay for Jesus? Apparently, the anonymous posters in this thread aren't willing to pay that price.

That widow woman, the one who paid in 2 mites, which was all that she had. Think she could have used that money for food? Or something else? Of course she could. Not all blessings of tithing are financial, you know. Faith demands sacrifice.

Tithing is hard, no question. Likely, at the moment it may well be the hardest sacrifice the Lord demands of us. Sadly, I fear that soon in today's world, we will look back with longing at being asked to pay only 10%, instead of paying with our lives, to follow Jesus. And that is not just an LDS thing: I suspect that all Christians will have to decide whether they really have faith enough to follow Jesus, even if it costs them everything including their lives.... or whether they put their own selves first and Jesus second.

I hope that the greatest sacrifice I am ever called on to make is a mere 10%. But I fear it will not. And if you cannot find the faith to pay 10%, when that is a hard thing to do: will you have the faith to stand up for Jesus if your job is on the line? Your good name being smeared as a "bigot" because you follow Christ? How about if you have your life at stake?

No, I count it a privilege to pay tithing. It helps build faith; you do get blessings, and, frankly, it is a great reminder that everything on this earth is the Lords, not ours. And I at least need that lesson occasionally.

Anonymous said...

We often hear that tithing is paid with faith, not with money. I have heard a few tender stories like the green apples in the snow, & have experienced a few myself. I also have first-hand knowledge in extended family of instances where the last funds were used to pay tithing, & the kids went hungry, even tho the bishop knew about it.
In the scriptures, we are told that if our offerings are given grudgingly, they are not acceptable. I believe that applies to tithing as well. We are commanded to pay tithing, & I have always found it easier to pay tithing as the very first bill paid. I have children who choose to have the tithing amount direct deposited into an account, before they even receive the paycheck, & who then pay once a year the contents of that account. I don't think the Lord cares as much whether we pay on the gross or the net, or every paycheck vs all at once, as he does that the tithing comes willingly from our hearts.
We have had times where it was hard financially to pay tithing, & where the grocery budget was more than a little boring with inexpensive, repetitive meals, but the experience taught us to be grateful to be able to eat multiple meals per day, something many on earth do not experience. Paying our tithing first sometimes required that other purchases not be made downline, due to the absence of funds, & our family learned a great deal about needs vs wants. In our first-world experience, many of us confuse our wants with needs. - M

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Sure...that is exactly what the Church teaches. And thus, that is what a faithful Mormon who follows the prophets would do.

Anonymous said...

My point is, before succumbing to be utterly disgusted with the Church and pronounce "pray, pay, and obey," how about take stock as to what you are capable of doing. Fall down, get back up. I'd rather take a sabbatical from paying tithing than reaching a breaking point and chuck the Church out altogether. Church is for the imperfect, making their way through life. There will be road bumps, repentance will be involved. Keep going, repent when needed, lift others up, allow yourself to be lifted, keep the faith.

Steve

Anonymous said...

That is a great way of looking at it, Steve, but seriously...this is not the spirit of the messages coming from the top. You know this. Thus, you shouldn't expect the average attentive member to feel that your route is a spiritually safe one. Thanks, though.

Anonymous said...

Can she pay her tithing with green apples?

Everything Before Us said...

"Do you actually believe in Jesus or not."

Vance. Paying tithing isn't a matter of believing in Jesus. It is a matter of believing in Joseph Smith and the whole line of modern "prophets."

Vance said...

*shrug* EBU, your position that God doesn't actually want anyone to do what He has commanded us to do seems rather perilous to me. I said before that the church teaches tithing based off of Malachi, and last I checked, that has nothing to do with Joseph Smith.

But lets be honest here: Tithing is not the preferred method. Jesus taught the Law of Consecration. I somehow doubt that EBU would be happy if the LDS church was teaching exactly what Jesus said to do, which was sell everything, give it to the church, and live in a completely church dominated economic system. After all, Peter was instrumental in having two people suffer the ultimate penalty for lying about how much money they had.

Tithing is less "onerous" than what Peter and the early church demanded. And we Mormons tried it... and found out that most people today still are not capable of such discipline. So the Lord rolled back to Tithing.

But hey, who thinks that Peter knew anything about what the Lord wants, right? He must have been confused, because God would never, ever want anyone to sacrifice anything and follow Him--why, perish the very idea! It's a doctrine of Satan to actually follow God's commandments!

EBU, you are seriously on spiritual shaky ground with your incessant dismissal of the idea that God wants us to actually obey Him; and that there are actual spiritual consequences for breaking God's commandments.

Anonymous said...

The spirit of the message coming from the top is that it is all important. The specific complaint was that $10,000 credit card debt happened because of groceries with the final remark that the Church is a crook. My response is, don't pay tithing. You wouldn't be the first nor the last to have troubles paying tithing. Now if we were to look at the scenario and implement church welfare, it seems that the $10,000 burden would not have been so high because of the assistance that is available from the Church but I am not familiar at all with the scenario.

Steve

Anonymous said...

The church also counsels against going into debt. I don't think you should be blaming your financial difficulties on any outside person or entity. The church didn't create or administer your monthly family budget, you did.

Darren said...

Anomynous;

"In 2011, we had nearly 10,000 dollars worth of credit card debt. I was giving money to the church and going into debt for food. "

I'd say that shows some very poor financial planning on your part. Paying yithing has always shown me how to be wiser with finances. Weird how you got a different result.

Anonymous said...

Darren,

What is your annual income?

Do some math. If your income falls below a certain level, a continuous payment of 10% of your paycheck will create a situation in which you cannot meet the most basic needs of existence (food, shelter, medical care). Each month will pass, and you'll find yourself deeper and deeper in the hole.

The basic needs of life are basically the same for all. The larger the family, of course, the greater the expense. If this basic expense is below a certain level, the 10% payment of tithes will cause a deficit each month. Each month that deficit will grow, because the basic expenses and the 10% tithe is static.

It's simple.

As for my financial planning...we were a family of five renting a two-bedroom apartment at the cost of $435 a month. That is dirt cheap. We couldn't even afford to buy our kids clothes. We clothed them with hand-me-downs for years. This breaks my wife's heart that she never got to dress her own children. For some of these years, our kids were covered on the state-sponsored Medicaid program, but eventually we were kicked off. The state's program was basically bankrupt, and thus we were considered not poor enough. So, with no health insurance available through my employer (except for me), we put money on the credit card to take care of basic medical expenses.

So, yea...maybe my financial planning was terrible. But my mission president told me in my exit interview not to put off having a family for schooling. So being a good priesthood holder, I followed his admonition. In this and in similar ways, the church and its leaders get very involved in the everyday financial decisions of its members, and any Mormon who has been awake for the past 40 years knows that this is true.

Anonymous said...

The good thing about 10% is that it's the same for everyone regardless of income. The church didn't tell you how many kids to have. It didn't tell you what education to get. It didn't tell you what job to take. And even if it did, those were ultimately your decisions to make. No one can, or should, live your life for you. Displacing blame and responsibility ultimately disempowers you as an individual. Take responsibility, and take control--be the captain of your own ship!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:11

You crack me up.

No...the church doesn't tell us we HAVE to pay tithing, either. It just tells us that we won't be with our families forever if we don't.

I have learned that the Mormons who seem to thrive the most as Mormons, do so because they really don't take it all that seriously.

Everything Before Us said...

Vance,

Too bad the Lord didn't roll back the Law of Consecration for Ananias and his wife like he did for you. Obviously, they weren't strong enough to live it.

And once again, you fail to listen to what I am saying. I never said that God doesn't want us to keep commandments. I just don't agree that he commanded us to do most of what the LDS church says he commands us to do.

Darren said...

Anomynous;

"What is your annual income? "

My tax filings show about $24,000. That's married with fiv children. The Bishop's storehouse has been a lifesaver...literally. Food stamps works great too. Whatever works best.

Darren said...

Anomynous;

We also have two dogs.


Whenever you can, buy a home. It's financially better...much better than renting. Financially speaking renting is only good for the landlord (which I hope to become someday). Wjen your kids are old enough, have them work. Babysitting, lawn mowing, house cleaning, etc are great ways for them to eanr money and value it. Your wife can babysit as well. My wife surrers from chronic sucidal depression so while she
looooooves the babies, home sitting with her in charge is not the best idea. We live with what we can do.

Not putting off family for school is correct but that does not mean to put off school, which I suspect you did. And, even if you did not get post secondary schooling abd will not get it, work hard and find what you can so skill wise and do it. My cousin did not go to college and partied hard for years after high school (almost killed him by by God's grace, he was spared). Despite this, he was an excellent tool maker. When he discovered this skill he eventially opened his own shop crafting specialized tool.s for hospitals as per doctro's soecifications and became our amily's first self made millionaire. He's bi polar (not formally as farcas I know but he sure acts like it) and divorced but is raising four great kids.

My best friend in high school dropped out of high school (I would have too had it not been for my parents, provding me with parenting he never really had growing up). He had his first child at 17 or 18 and despite not knowing if his girlfriend was pregnant with his baby or sombody else's, he kept the child and raised her very lovingly. She's in college with a very bright future. He's in charge of a plant in Galvaston, TX (a bit south of Houston) and makes about $20,000 more per year than when Inwas teaching ful time in the public school system which, of course, required a college degree. Good for him!

It's quite challenging not doubt but also quite possible to make it and make it well. Stop blaming the Church and wise leaders for your problems. Wise up, butch up, and get work. Pray and rely upon God for guidance and I *promise* you success.

PS - hand be downs and thrift store clothes have been the staple for our own kids forever. Nothing wrong with it. We've also been through several couches which those plus our two tables and chairs (many broken as per the joy of having five kids) and we never paid for any of them. Nor our bedframes or bed cousionsand only recently actually bought our first cousion. The Lord provides when you're prayerful, mindful, and put forth effort.

Pps - Do you live in California, Illinois, or Michigan? Anyway, get to Texas as soon as you can. We know how to run a state far better and any of those three states and by and large better than any other state save perhaps Utah.

Anonymous said...

Darren,

Thanks for the advice. Things are better now. We worked through it. I didn't put off school, by the way.

I don't think I'd have done anything differently even if I could go back now. We no longer have 10,000 grand credit card debt. We aren't out of the woods, yet, but things have improved.

God was there every step of the way. My only point is that I do not believe the payment of tithing wins anyone special blessings. I have sat through too many Sunday School lessons about tithing in which the general focus was on paying tithing in order to get the blessings. Sometimes, there aren't any discernible blessings. Sometimes there are. It all seems so random and arbitrary to me that there is no way to predict what will happen by writing out that check.

And trying to convince potential converts that tithing will bring blessings seems unethical to me. I won't get into that now, though.

I wish you well in your life, and good luck with those kids. I have three. My heart is beginning to break because my oldest will be moving on in her life soon, and it just doesn't seem fair that this is what all those years come to. But that is life. We raise 'em and then watch 'em walk away into their sunset.

Unknown said...

EBU, I listen just fine to what you are saying. You claim that it's faith alone that is required to be saved. And that commandments are really just suggestions: nice things to do, yes, but ultimately it is your faith alone that saves you. All that other stuff--tithing, baptism, even going to church--is recommended but not required and you will not suffer any consequences for failing to do any of them. That's your belief, and that's the belief of just about every "faith alone!" Protestant who ever comes along and tells Mormons that we are going to hell because we think we can earn our way to heaven. That somehow God hates the idea of people following Him so much that He will thrust Mormons (and Catholics, too: this isn't just anti-Mormon bigotry) down to hell for thinking they need to do what He commanded us.

In your world, and you've admitted it EBU, there is no consequence for sin, once you have "saving faith." No matter what you do, you cannot fall (I note that is not technically true: apparently Protestants can rape and murder and go to heaven, but convert to Mormonism or Catholicism and you go to hell). That's the only logical consequence of your side's arguments about how we evil Mormons think we can earn our way to heaven; when it's only faith that gets you there--as if paying tithing when it's hard; or leaving your home and being cast out by your family doesn't require faith.

Yes, EBU: I know you think God hasn't commanded you to do, well, anything. Certainly not pay an honest tithe, despite Abraham doing it. I recall Martin Luther once called the Sermon on the Mount a speech from the devil. He's the lead Protestant. I wonder: do you agree? Because Jesus sure demanded an awful lot of His followers in that sermon. Of course, Paul came along and canceled those demands as commandments, reducing them to suggestions, right? Do them or not, no big deal.

By the way, why did the Lord smite down Annais in your world, EBU? I thought all you needed was faith alone to be saved... so why did God slay Annais for failing to do something? That almost seems like God requires us to do *gasp!* works and keep His commandments? And after Jesus's resurrection, no less, when the Law of Moses had been repealed! Surely the Lord couldn't possibly expect His saints to actually do anything, right?? Right? Didn't Paul say we are free to do whatever we want, because the Law is dead? Yet God enforced a law on Annais! How could this be?

Everything Before Us said...

It's like this, Vance.

You tell me what God's commandments are according to the teachings of your church. I simply don't agree that God commanded us to do some of this stuff, and then you accuse me of denying the need to obey the commandments.

You need to convince me first that God actually commanded me to wear special robes in a ritual in a temple.

The Muslims would tell us that God has commanded us to not eat pork. Vance, by eating pork, do you deny the commandments of God? No you don't, because you don't accept that pork consumption is wrong.

You seem unable to view the world outside your own belief system. You judge me based upon your own belief system, as if your belief system is obviously and so clearly correct.

As for Malachi, if you read the entire book of Malachi you'll see that he was speaking only to a very specific audience. He wasn't speaking to the general laymember. He was speaking to the Priests. It was the Priests he was condemning for their failure to properly use the Lord's money.

Now, considering that your church is using sacred funds to build skyrises, cities, and malls; is operating radio stations that play music that would not be allowed at a church dance; and is operating hunting preserves for the wealthy (you have to hand over $8000 for the chance to shoot an elk), I believe that Malachi is very relevant to the LDS Church today.

bearyb said...

EBU,

I'm curious as to where you got your specific information as to the Church's disposal of "sacred funds."

bearyb said...

As for Malachi, if you read the entire book of Malachi you'll see that he was speaking only to a very specific audience. He wasn't speaking to the general laymember. He was speaking to the Priests. It was the Priests he was condemning for their failure to properly use the Lord's money.

I'm not sure how you get that out of Malachi 3. Verse 9 specifically addresses "this whole nation," and surrounding verses say nothing of how the money is to be used, only that it should be offered and received.

bearyb said...

I believe that Malachi is very relevant to the LDS Church today.

I agree.

Do you consider it relevant to your church? Why, or why not?

Darren said...

Anomynous;

" My only point is that I do not believe the payment of tithing wins anyone special blessings. I have sat through too many Sunday School lessons about tithing in which the general focus was on paying tithing in order to get the blessings."

I agree there is no mathematical formula where a+b=blessing c; but paying tithing does bring blessings. I would venture to say that paying your tithing, at the very least, allowed you more access to wisdom to overcome your financial troubles.

Anonymous said...

Darren,

Perhaps. I knew what I needed to do to overcome my troubles. That was to get a job. I graduated with my Masters in 2005, and then, silly me, assumed I'd immediately find work and then all my troubles would be over. That didn't happen. I was employed full-time while in school, and even after I graduated, but not in my field, and not in an industry that was ever to go pay me enough to really provide for my family. It was a "stop-gap" job to cover the bills long enough until I graduated.

Well...after graduation, the economy continued to decline. My inadequate job became even less so, and I was laid off for a while. My wife began to get training so that she could take over the role of breadwinner for a while if needed. Finally, five years after graduation, I found work in my chosen field that would be sufficient for us.

I consider the fact that I found employment five years after graduation to be a miracle. Usually, a five-year old degree in my field is worthless. Employers prefer to take 'em while they're hot. And I wasn't hot. But someone hired me anyway.

That was a miracle. And I do thank God for it.

Everything Before Us said...

I'm curious as to where you got your specific information as to the Church's disposal of "sacred funds."

Well, the info about the hunting preserve was from Deseret News. A great article. It talked about how people fly in on their private jets and pay between 2 and 8 grand to hunt game. It talked about how the church has senior missionaries who manage the land, therefore, the cost of operating the place is probably a lot lower than it would be otherwise if they paid people what is using paid for this kind of expertise and skill.

As for the info about the radio stations, you can find all that out on Bonneville's website. It will provide a list of the various radio stations operated by the church through Bonneville.

I'm sure you've heard about City Creek Center. You may not have heard about the land the church owns that it will be developing over the next forty years to build a city that will service about half a million inhabitants. But check out the Florida newspapers. The land is in Florida. It's been in the local news there several times.

And the church is also building a subdivision in Riverton Ut, complete with shopping complex.

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse so there can be meat, just make sure you leave out a sizable chunk for future investments. That is what Malachi said, isn't it?

You know...the LDS Church used to give a fully-disclosed financial report until about the late 50's, at which point the books were closed, never to be opened again.

That is the same time that N. Eldon Tanner was "hired" to fix the million-dollar deficit that was burdening the church. Tanner's specialty was investment funding. No one knows what is happening behind the scenes now in the church.

But if you check your tithing slips, you'll see fine print that tells you that the church gets to use your donation for whatever purpose it wishes, regardless of what box you've checked. So, you might be paying tithes, but the church doesn't have to use it as tithes.

And by the way, tithing is NOT used for the poor and needy. It is used to operate the church. I find it odd that tithing is required for a temple recommend, but taking care of the poor and needy is not.

Priorities. It is more important to print yet another manual than it is to feed someone. If I take my tithing and give it to my neighbor who needs it, I will be denied a temple recommend.

Vance said...

EBU, I'm not sure exactly why you chose to bring up the Temple in a discussion about basic commandments and Tithing. But yes, I'm well aware that your apostasy from the LDS church was directly because you were surprised by the Temple. How could God's church have something so... Old Testamentish as a Temple, with hugely formal ceremonies, covenantal language and commitments in today's world of informality and so forth?

That's really the basis for your apostasy. And everything you preach now is an attempt to justify your falling away; it's all an attempt to justify why you don't feel like living up to your covenants that you made in the Temple of the Lord. If they aren't actually what God requires, why, then you didn't do anything wrong in breaking them. So you attack the very concept of commandments, covenants, and the Law. You seize on a few selected verses in Paul as if they are the gospel; and the rest of the Bible is irrelevant. Bringing this back to tithing; you didn't respond to God judging Annais and Sapporia. Why? That episode clearly demonstrates that your doctrine of faith alone and not doing anything else and God is still happy is wrong. God does care, and He will require you to live up to your commitments, just as He did those two. As for your question about pork; at one point it was wrong to eat it. Until Peter's vision, that is. That is a commandment specifically revoked (rather, the details changed). The story of Annais demonstrates that God never revoked the commandment to give to the church (and indeed, Abraham paying tithing predates the Law of Moses; it's no surprise that it survived the Law of Moses being fulfilled). I'm pretty sure you don't donate to your church anymore; that would involve sacrificing for and to the Lord. And that's an icky concept, right? Why should you be expected to do anything to follow Jesus? Just believe, baby!

I think I can answer your question, Bearby, about EBU and his church and Malachi: from what I remember, EBU doesn't believe in the concept of a church at all. He rejects going to church, the concept of the Priesthood and any offices in the priesthood, and by extension surely rejects giving to the church. He doesn't believe in Elders anointing the sick like James says, or Bishops watching over the flock as Paul instructs, for he rejects all of them as being illegitimate. I'd actually be really interested to hear EBU's answer as to whether the early church was a bad idea, and if it was not, what happened to it and why don't we have it today.

Vance said...

Oh, and how predictable for EBU to go on a rant claiming that tithing funds pay for shopping malls. Got any evidence of that, EBU? You know, actual evidence besides insinuations that it must have been money taken from poor starving widows at the point of the celestial gun, so to speak?

Of course, EBU should remember that fast offerings are dedicated to the poor and the needy, while tithing has always been to operate the church. Unless EBU thinks that electricity and buildings come for free (hey, maybe he does) those costs have to be paid somehow. It used to be that the members were asked to pay for the buildings themselves, along with tithing. But thankfully the Church now has the resources to be able to only ask tithing, not building fund contributions, as well.

The LDS church does nothing more than practice what it teaches: put money away for a rainy day, do not spend beyond your means, and always have the ability to earn. Why shouldn't the LDS church be able to operate a dairy farm, especially when it was purchased with investment money, fully taxed, or City Creek center--with not a dime of tithing or offering paid for it? It beautified the area, it was a billion dollar investment with no public funds, and no sacred funds. Yet people like EBU have constantly complained about it. They prefer people to not have those jobs, and the government coffers to not have the tax revenue, I suppose. And those funds that are generated can be used to supplement tithing and offerings; so they do help the poor.
That fine print? It's required by the United States Tax code. It is part of what allows your tithing and offerings to be tax deductible, because if you can direct the use of your money when given to a nonprofit, you are not considered to have given the money, and thus it is not tax deductible as a donation. So that fine print is meant to help the members out on their taxes.

I guarantee you the LDS church and its members help the poor and the needy far, far more than EBU and his denomination, if any, do. Both on a personal, local level as well as on a large scale level. Don't criticize us, EBU, for doing far more to follow Jesus teachings than you do. You rail against Tithing and offerings, you clearly don't pay any yourself.

Everything Before Us said...

Vance, I went to the temple for the first time in 1994. I left the church in 2014. That is twenty years. I was a temple recommend holder for those 20 years. I attended as frequently as occasion would allow. I thought the temple was really cool for a really long time. Then I woke up.

You kind of amuse me, because you say things that are very risky to say, such as, "I'm pretty sure you don't donate to your church anymore."

You really step out on a limb when you say things like that.

And you continue to attribute ideas and concepts to me that I simply do not believe. You make no attempt at all to listen. Is this the same approach you take with your wife: assume you know what she is saying, throw back at her own ideas cloaked in your own spinned interpretation of it, and then insist you know what she is saying? You should ask your wife what she really thinks of your listening skills. If you interact with her the way you interact with people here, you might learn something insightful from her. Something painful, but something insightful.

The basis for my "apostasy." Do you really want to hear from me why I apostatized? I left the church because I had a spiritual experience that informed me that the church is not what it claims to be and the temple covenants are simply child's play. They are a meaningless ritualistic representation, at best, of what is really supposed to be happening in a private personal way between the individual and God. Then, as I began to read the Bible to hear what it has to say, rather than what I've been told that it says by the LDS Church, I saw that Biblical doctrine and Mormonism are simply incompatible. The Bible is not a Mormon book. The New Testament teaches about true Priesthood, not the Mormon counterfeit. The New Testamen teaches about true temples, not the Mormon counterfeit.

Then, I had spiritual experiences that opened up to me the nature of the true God.

With this, I made a conscious and deliberate and prayerful decision with much fasting to remove the garment, ask to be released from my calling, and walk away to accept the God of Biblical Christianity.

In the meantime, I also did a lot of studying about church history, and found out that the stories we were told growing up are simply not true.

That is the story of my apostasy, Vance. In a nutshell.

Here are three questions for you to consider:

1. If there were a machine that had a button that you could push to find out once and for all which religion was the true religion, would you have the courage to push it?

2. If tomorrow the General Authorities came out and announced that the LDS church has been a sham and a fraud from the beginning, and that they are closing up shop, would you still have a relationship with Jesus Christ?

3. If the church were not true, or were in a state of apostasy, what clues in the organization would you look for to discern this?

Everything Before Us said...

I never said tithing funds pay for shopping malls. I said sacred funds pay for shopping malls.

Everything started with tithing, Vance. Tithing money was invested in businesses, that now make their own profits. You don't get a return on investment without investing capital. You don't have capital to invest unless someone gives it to you.

The church, in its infancy, used donated money to grow its businesses. Today, the businesses fund themselves. But their very existence is the result of donated funds.

At some point in time, it all started with donated funds from the members.

I don't cut the church slack just because today its businesses are not consuming tithing dollars. It wouldn't even have businesses at all if it weren't for tithing dollars in the beginning.

Vance said...

EBU: I don't know who you listened to, but while I may understand leaving the LDS church because you no longer believe it, to go to "Faith alone, Born again" protestantism is not credible. Why? Because there is hardly any relationship between any of those doctrines preached therein and the Bible. I could see going Orthodox or Catholic, maybe, but Faith alone Protestantism? Really? Come on, man.

Your "God of Biblical Christianity" has, by your own admission, been a monster. Or a liar. He lied to the Jews, promising them salvation by performing the Law of Moses and its ordinances. You contend that salvation was never possible through the Law of Moses, and that none of those faithful Jews in the Old testament received salvation.

Your apostasy means you've denied the doctrine of salvation for the dead; of eternal marriage; of revelation in today's world. You claim I don't listen to you? Well, I have dealt with "born again, faith alone!" Christians a fair amount. You seem to believe them exactly. You tell me how you disagree with them, for nothing I've said about your beliefs is different than what I've been told by many of them.

The reason Protestants avoid ordinances is because they have no authorization from God to perform them. Where would they get it? The Catholics or Orthodox (who at least have a claim of being passed down from Peter)? No, they were cut off. New Revelation like the Mormons claim? Nope, God went radio silent (no one exactly can explain why God doesn't care enough to talk to us anymore). So, ordinances cannot be important, because if they were, Protestants are ineligible to perform them. Where are your Bishops, EBU? Where are your Elders to anoint the sick with oil for healing? Where are your deacons? Your apostles? Where are your Seventies? Who can receive revelation binding on the church like Peter did, or John? No one can, is the answer. Catholics at least have the Pope. You have no authorized Elders, Bishops, etc. Your priest, if you have one, almost certainly got his "authority" by going to a school, paying money, and getting a certificate. The exact same thing that Simon Magus tried to do: buy the Priesthood, and was cursed for it. Incidentally, since you claim to still admire the Book of Mormon, consider the plight of Limhi and his people: when they desired to be baptized, they could not, for no one had the authority to do so, until Alma came back. They couldn't just say "every one is a priest!" and do it themselves.
God had an authorized priesthood all through the Bible. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, Moses set up formal priesthood with the Levites and the Temple, and Jesus had His authorized officers as well: the Apostles, the bishops and deacons and seventy and elders and so forth. Yet suddenly the Bible ended, and now we don't need any of those? Face it, EBU: the LDS church is far, far more Biblical when it comes to Priesthood than whatever you belong to (unless you are Catholic, which I'm certain you are not).
I will answer your three questions in the next post.

Vance said...

1. If there were a machine that had a button that you could push to find out once and for all which religion was the true religion, would you have the courage to push it?

Certainly. There is really only two answers it could possibly give and still be Christian: either Mormonism or Catholicism. The pattern of God having an authorized, formal church structure is too plain in the Bible to possibly give another answer. I suppose your button could say Mithraism or something out of left field, but it's not Protestantism.

2. If tomorrow the General Authorities came out and announced that the LDS church has been a sham and a fraud from the beginning, and that they are closing up shop, would you still have a relationship with Jesus Christ?

Independent of the church, we all need to have a relationship with Jesus. If the General Authorities came out tomorrow and said this, I would not join your faith; I would look for an authorized representative of God. I do not believe like you, that God just went silent permanently 2000 years ago. Even if the LDS church leaders announced that, I would still believe the Book of Mormon was the word of God, for it teaches of Jesus Christ, and is far more powerful than you realize.

3. If the church were not true, or were in a state of apostasy, what clues in the organization would you look for to discern this?
If it were in a state of apostasy, I would expect the Lord to correct it quickly. The doctrine itself, however, is true. God does love us, He does care enough to send prophets; to set up His church on the earth today. I am convinced that if the LDS church is not the representative of God's church, then something very similar must be. Protestantism is far, far more apostate than the LDS church could ever be. In fact, we can see what happens: the Community of Christ, the LDS splinter group that followed William Marks after Joseph died, is practically a Protestant faith, having rejected the majority of LDS doctrine. Maybe that's what faith you belong to? No, you reject the concept of prophets today, and they at least still claim Joseph as a prophet.
So if the LDS church was apostate, there is no other place to go, and despair and darkness have won... for the moment, at least until Jesus comes again.
Read Revelations, EBU. Read the description of the Heavenly City.... and realize that what is described there is far, far more like the LDS church than your Protestantism. A city filled with temples, with ordinances and covenants, where everyone follows God's commandments. Where they are Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses, to the Most High God. And you tell me: how does your Protestant "Faith alone!" faith prepare you to be one of them? To be a resident of a city filled with temples and priesthood? What do you think they will actually do in these temples that are prophesied to be built? What will the Jews actually do in their Temple that Ezekiel spends 15 chapters on how to build? And why would God tell the Jews about this temple 3000 years in advance if it wasn't important?

Everything Before Us said...

Vance, you need to reread Revelations about the Heavenly City.

Rev. 21:22 "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."

Sorry, Vance. You just don't know the Bible. I am not criticizing. Just read it, for once, with a clear mind.

I have a lot more to say, but it will have to wait. Check back later.

Everything Before Us said...

Vance, as usual, you said a real mouthful, and it would take me several posts to answer it all. I won't do that. I just want you to consider one thing. You talk about Bishops and Elders and Deacons and how Mormons are the only church that has real Bishops and Elders and Deacons.

First of all, Catholics and Anglicans have Bishops and Elders and Deacons, too. This is Biblical. The Greek Biblical terms are "episcopos," "presbyter" and "diakonos."

I notice you didn't say anything about "Priests." The LDS Church has Priests. Where are the Priests in the New Testament?

Mormons have Bishops, Elders, Priests, and Deacons, right?

Vance...the word "presbyter" means Elder. It is the same word that has been Anglicized in the Catholic and Anglican churches as "Priest." Elders and Priests are the same thing: "presbyters" in the Greek. They are not separate offices.

I also notice that you didn't say anything about "High Priests." The LDS Church has High Priests, right?

You will not find any mention of the term "High Priest" in the New Testament at all, except in relation to three people: Melchizedek, the High Priest of the Mosaic Law, and Jesus Christ.

No where in the New Testament does it say anything about a man becoming a High Priest in the New Covenant.

There is a very serious reason why this is so.

Pay attention here. It is vital you understand this.

See, in the Law of Moses, there was always only one High Priest at a time. There were Priests that served under him, but always only one High Priest. Just one. Only one. Get it? Only one High Priest!

At the appointed times, the High Priest would go through the temple veil to atone for the sins of the people through animal sacrifice. When Christ was crucified, the veil of the temple was rent in two, indicating that the Holy of Holies was now accessible to all people through the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ became the ONE and ONLY High Priest.

No other Christian religion has a High Priest. There may be Priests (Presbyters), but no High Priests. The reason for this is because Jesus is the High Priest.

Read Hebrews, Vance. You’ll see that I am correct here.

To claim to be a High Priest is blasphemy in the New Covenant. It is a claim that you are a Christ!

Christian religions do not have the office of the High Priest. This is so important for you to understand. You won't find it in the New Testament except in reference to Jesus Christ. You won't find it in the Book of Mormon after the coming of Christ, either, Vance. Joseph Smith didn't dream it up yet when he wrote the BoM. And the first time he did ordain someone to the High Priesthood in June 1831, demonic possession took place. You need to read your Church History, as well as your Bible.

To a Christian, Jesus Christ is the High Priest who intercedes for us. His flesh is the veil through which we enter Heaven. This is in Hebrews.

There are other religions that do have High Priests, though. They are Satanists and occultists.

Vance said...

EBU, I note your total failure to address my point, which was that your faith--not the Catholics, not the Anglicans; your faith-- does not have any authorized by God religious leaders. The Catholics, Orthodox, and Anglicans at least have a claim through descent from Peter. I disagree, but recognize the claim. But not your faith--you have no claim at all. You ignored that little issue.

Second, you did not address whether and why you reject all these ministers, regardless of whether they are LDS or Catholic. If we Mormon's don't have them, why don't you go to one of those faiths that does?

As for your reading of Hebrews, you totally misunderstand the point. The argument in Hebrews was to demonstrate to the, well, Hebrews, why Jesus was better than their Law of Moses. So far as you recognize that it is Jesus's atonement that is what the High Priest in the Aaronic priesthood was taking advantage of, you are correct. Jesus as the great High Priest who offered the atoning sacrifice is right, since it is His Priesthood.

But the office of High Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood was always subsidiary to the Melchizedek Priesthood, which in the Old Testament was held by the prophets and many of the Kings. This explains why it was Solomon, not the High Priest, that dedicated the temple. Moses was not the High Priest... yet who would argue that Moses did not have that authority? Moses performed all the sacrifices and in fact was the instrument of God who set up the Law. David, also not a Levite, participated in many temple rituals.

Consider also: it was the High Priest, you say, who offered sacrifice for sin. This is true. So why did Abraham, Issac, Jacob do it, when Melchizedek was still around? What about Jethro, Moses' father-in-law? I also cite your attention to the city of Elephantine, in southern Egypt, where in fact there was a second Jewish temple and they performed all the rites there. Thus, there was at least at one time 2 High Priests.

The ripping of the Temple Veil was not a "Throwing open the gates to salvation to all", for all had access to salvation through the Law of Moses prior. Rather it was Jesus letting us know the Law of Moses had been satisfied.

The gist of your argument rests on the idea that the Jewish High Priest had more authority than anyone else until Jesus; this is clearly incorrect. Certainly Peter, James and John and the rest of the apostles had far more power and authority from God than ever given to the Jewish High Priest. The high priest did not heal people, drive out demons, raise people from the dead, etc like Peter and the apostles did. Jesus introduced the Sacrament to replace, in part, the salvation ordinances of the Temple... and Peter and the boys certainly officiated at those ceremonies.
Continued....

Everything Before Us said...

Sheesh, Vance. It is astonishing how in error you are.

Second, you did not address whether and why you reject all these ministers, regardless of whether they are LDS or Catholic. If we Mormon's don't have them, why don't you go to one of those faiths that does?

Actually, I do. I worship in the Anglican tradition. But I don't consider my denomination to offer salvation. Nor does my denomination claim to offer salvation. It claims that salvation comes through Christ alone, and not through one's sect. All Protestant sects will (should) say the same thing.

But the office of High Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood was always subsidiary to the Melchizedek Priesthood, which in the Old Testament was held by the prophets and many of the Kings.

There was no Melchizedek Priesthood in the Law of Moses. There are no scriptures in the Bible that state that the Prophets had Melchizedek Priesthood. Seriously, these guys were a bunch of fire-breathing crazies. Isaiah even stripped himself naked and walked the streets crying destruction. These were not Melchizedek Priests who managed the High Priests. You have a very erroneous conception of who these prophets were. There is no scripture that says David or Solomon had Melchizedek Priesthood. None. You cannot prove this by the Bible. You can only support this claim by referring to the writings of early Mormon leaders.

Consider also: it was the High Priest, you say, who offered sacrifice for sin. This is true. So why did Abraham, Issac, Jacob do it, when Melchizedek was still around? What about Jethro, Moses' father-in-law?

This is a Masonic idea. That is where this concept comes from that Melchizedek Priesthood was passed down to Moses through Jethro. Joseph Smith stole this idea from the Masons, who were claiming that the "true Masonry" was passed down to Moses through Jethro. You won't find it in the Bible. This is the Mormon/Masonic spin.

I also cite your attention to the city of Elephantine, in southern Egypt, where in fact there was a second Jewish temple and they performed all the rites there. Thus, there was at least at one time 2 High Priests.

As for the Elephantine temple, here is what a friend of mine as to say to that claim: "The Jews at Elephantine asked for help in rebuilding their "temple" and they were REFUSED because the Priests at Jerusalem knew that the Jerusalem temple was the only one sanctioned by God. The only way the Elephantine Jews could get aid to have their building rebuilt was as a synagogue. The Levites and priestly descendants of Aaron had their inheritance in Israel and that was where they were to remain as officiators of the temple ordinances there. If they were carried away they were to look towards Jerusalem and the time of their restoration there. The Elephantine Jews were forced to capitulate and were no longer allowed to do any sacrificial rites at their now synagogue."

The gist of your argument rests on the idea that the Jewish High Priest had more authority than anyone else until Jesus; this is clearly incorrect.

Vance, prophets and high priests had two very different roles. High Priests represented the people to God. Prophets represented God to the people. It would be a conflict interest for one human person to fulfill both roles at once. But it would not be a conflict of interest for God himself to fulfill both roles. And that is what God did in Jesus Christ. He is our High Priest. He is the "prophet like unto Moses." Hebrews 1:1 makes it clear that Jesus is the means that God spoke to man in these last days. Before, he spoke through prophets. But now he spoke to us through his Son.

Hebrews....you got it all wrong Vance. You have a Mormon understanding of this stuff, but you've never really read it for yourself without the Mormon spin telling you what to believe. Please...read it for yourself.

Jeff Lindsay said...

EBU, thanks for sharing your friend's opinion on what happened at Elephantine, which repeats what some have said in response to LDS claims. Your friend might be interested in reading what serious scholars have found and written regarding Elephantine and its temple.

First, see Raymond P. Scheindlin, A Short History of the Jewish People, Part 1, Chapter 2, "Judea and the Origins of the Diaspora (587 B.C.E. to 70 C.E.)" (New York: Macmillan Press, 1998), pp. 32-33, viewable at Google Books:

"[In Egypt,] a garrison of Judean mercenaries had been established on Elephantine (an island in the Nile near Aswan) perhaps as early as the mid-seventh century B.C.E.; this colony remained in existence--and in contact with the Persian province of Judea--for over 200 years. The Jews of Elephantine had a temple at which they offered sacrifices, as was done in Jerusalem, and continued to do so long after the first Jerusalem Temple was destroyed. Nor were they the only Judeans in Egypt, for after the destruction of the kingdom of Judah in 587 B.C.E, some Judeans fled to the northern part of the country. The communities of Judeans in Babylonia and Egypt may be considered the first and longest-lived Diaspora communities, that is, communities of Jews outside the Land of Israel. The Jewish community of Iraq lasted continuously until 1951; that of Egypt, though several times reduced to near-extinction, sprang back to life several times, but it now seems to have petered out for good. . . .

"Judean authorities attempted to regulate the religious practices of Elephantine, but they do not seem to have attempted to shut down the Elephantine temple itself, despite the fact that its existence was contrary to the law of Deuteronomy.... It continued to function until 410, when some Egyptian regiments rebelled against the Persian regime, while the Jewish garrison remained loyal. The priests of the neighboring temple of the Egyptian ram-god Khnum took the opportunity to destroy the Jewish temple, which offended their own cult through its animal sacrifices. On suppressing the rebellion, the Persian authorities permitted the rebuilding of the Elephantine temple, in consideration of its great antiquity; but in a bow to the sensibilities of both the Jerusalem authorities and the Egyptian priests, they restricted its sacrifices to vegetable offerings. The temple was rebuilt, but the Jewish colony in Elephantine disappears from view early in the fourth century B.C.E."

Jeff Lindsay said...

Elephantine, continued....

Another source is Gerald A. Larue in his popular text, Old Testament Life and Literature, 1968, Chapter 25, "Life and Literature of the Late Period":

"THE JEWS OF ELEPHANTINE

"From the Persian fortress known as Yeb on the island of Elephantine at the first cataract of the Nile have come a considerable number of private and public papyri written in Aramaic.13 Some of these documents afford an intimate glance into the life of a colony of Jews who lived in this military outpost of the Persian empire. Correspondence between the Jewish leaders in Yeb and Bagoas, the governor of Judah, reveal that when Cambyses invaded Egypt (525) the Elephantine Jews possessed a temple of Yahweh (spelled Yahu or Yaho) with five entrances of hewn stone, stone pillars, a cedar roof, doors hinged with bronze, utensils of gold and silver and an altar of sacrifice. This temple was destroyed in 410 at the instigation of the priests of the ram-headed god Khnum. In a letter to Bagoas requesting permission to rebuild the temple, reference was made to the sons of Sanballat, governor of Samaria, apparently the same official with whom Nehemiah had come into conflict. No written reply from Bagoas was found, but a record of his words as reported by an emissary grants permission to rebuild the temple with an altar for incense and meal offerings, but no mention is made of an altar for sacrifice. The temple was restored and remained in use until it was again destroyed, probably by Pharaoh Nepherites I (399-393).

"Some evidence of religious syncretism appears in a "treasurer's report" of temple contributors recording funds collected for Yahweh, Eshembethel and Anat-bethel or Anat-Yahu. There is also reference to "the gods." The element "Bethel" in two of the names appears as a divine name in Aramaean contexts between the seventh and fourth centuries, and the name Anat is the name of a Canaanite goddess in the Ugaritic pantheon. No information about beliefs concerning these deities has been found. Clearly, these Elephantine Jews were not governed by Deuteronomic regulations calling for a single sanctuary in Jerusalem and demanding worship of Yahweh alone."

An LDS writer, Jared Ludlow in "A Tale of Three Communities:
Jerusalem, Elephantine, and Lehi-Nephi
," reviews other works that question the significance of syncretism. But in any case, your friend is wrong on several details.

Some of these sources are discussed in my page on Elephantine.

Jeff Lindsay said...

EBU, I'm puzzled. You said: "prophets and high priests had two very different roles. High Priests represented the people to God. Prophets represented God to the people. It would be a conflict interest for one human person to fulfill both roles at once."

I'm just curious what the source is for such ideas? There were prophets who were critical of the established (apostate) priesthood--Lehi himself would qualify for that role--but prophets had authority from God, which meant they had (true) priesthood power.

Jeff Lindsay said...

EBU, here's a source that might be helpful on the issues of priests and prophets: "Priests and Priesthood in the Hebrew Bible" by Ryan Bonfiglio (Emory University), Oxford Biblical Studies Online:

"Outside of their sacrificial duties, priests also oversaw many other aspects of ancient Israelite life. For instance, priests are occasionally associated with oracular activity. The Urim and Thummim, which seem to function as a type of sacred lot used in divine consultation, are exclusively associated with the priests (Deut 17:9, 12; 33:8; Ezek 15:1, 24; Ezra 2:63) and are even placed in the breastplate of the High Priest (Exod 28:30; Lev 8:8). As a possible extension of their role in divine consultation, priests were also closely associated with discerning God's will as expressed through the Torah (Deut 33:10; Jer 18:18). In this role, priests were responsible for communicating the law and adjudicating legal matters (Lev 10:10–11; Deut 17:8–13; 21:5; Ezek 44:24), though in the Second Temple period, such activity was eventually taken over by scribes. In addition, priests were charged with the responsibility of pronouncing blessings over the people (Num 6:22–27) and overseeing matters related to ritual purification (Lev 11–16; Num 19). The priests also carried out numerous administrative roles, including the collection of tithes, the maintenance of the Temple, and the blowing of the trumpet on festive occasions."

The prophetic/oracular work of using the Urim and Thummim was part of the duty of the High Priest. I don't see a real problem there, nor do I see a problem in oracular and administrative roles among religious/priesthood leaders like Melchizedek himself, Moses, and Aaron.

Everything Before Us said...


Part One:

Prophets didn't have Priesthood power. They weren't priests. Nor were they High Priests.

Having authority from God does not make one a priest. You are having trouble thinking outside your Mormon mindset in which authority is synonymous with priesthood. But it isn't.

A priest has authority, but having authority doesn't necessarily make one a priest. Priests served a very specific role. In all cultures that had priests, like Egypt or Greece or Rome or Sumeria, priests were those men who officiated at the temples of the gods. They did so in behalf of their people. In some ancient cultures, it was only the priests who would enter into the temples. The rest of the people had to remain outside. Priests were the people's access to the gods.

The Jews were no different in this respect, having come out of these ancient cultures themselves.

Where do you get this idea that authority from God is equal to Priesthood? From Mormonism. It is not found anywhere else. This is the Mormon re-interpretation of scripture.

The suffix "-hood" means "state, condition, nature, character.” Think of "fatherhood," the state of being a father.

So, to have priesthood means one is a priest. Is a deacon a priest? No.
As far as I understand, in the earliest days of the LDS church, there were only two offices that held Priesthood: High Priests of the Melchizedek (originally, it was only called the "High Priesthood,") and the Priests of the Aaronic Priesthood.

Joseph Smith never used the word Priesthood, however, until 1831, when he introduced the "High Priesthood." And thus, what he had previously only called “authority” or “power” was now called the “High” and the “Lesser” Priesthoods. Later, he began to call these powers “Aaronic” and "Melchizedek."
There were only two offices that held Priesthood, as I said: High Priests and Priests. Bishops, Elders, Teachers and Deacons were only appendages to the two Priesthoods. They weren't the Priesthood itself. D&C 84: 29,30.

There is no Biblical support for the existence of Prophets “like unto Moses” who are the leaders of the church in the Old Testament. These Old Testament prophets were somewhat eccentric lunatics who did strange things in order to prove their points. The High Priests were not serving under them. The Prophets had no Melchizedek Priesthood. If they did, then the Epistle to the Hebrews makes no sense at all.


Everything Before Us said...

Part Two

You can't have a High Priesthood and a Lesser Priesthood existing side by side because Priesthood and Law go hand in hand and you can’t have two competing laws, for obvious reasons.

There is a law associated with the Old Covenant. That was the Law of Moses. There is a law associated with the New Covenant. That is the Law of Liberty in Christ. The two are incompatible. James even says as much when he talks about the Royal Law and the Law of Liberty. If you are living the Royal Law, you can't live the Law of Liberty in Christ.

Each Priesthood (Law) had a High Priest. Hebrews is clear about the differences between these High Priests, and Hebrews shows us precisely why Christ is a far superior High Priest. But Christ is the ONLY High Priest just as there was only one High Priest under the Law of Moses.

Don't you think it is odd that Paul spends several chapters discussing Priesthood, but never says anything about mortal men holding High Priesthood in the New Covenant?!

Today the LDS Church can’t stop talking about its Priesthood power. But Paul, in a letter in which he talks all about Priesthood, only mentions Christ as having a High Priesthood. And this is Paul, who loved to waste words defending his own credentials! Yet, he never claims to have High Priesthood in a letter devoted to High Priesthood. And it would be foolish to say that the Catholic Church took this out, because it would be a major support for the Catholic Authority to have claim to High Priesthood! I am sure the LDS church would love to have a scripture in the Bible that says that Peter or Paul had Melchizedek Priesthood for the exact same reason.

No..Paul simply never mentions it.

In fact, what he does say is that the Lesser Priesthood was insufficient precisely BECAUSE mortal men were the priests and the High Priests! This is his entire message! Christ is better because he was not mortal. He had the power of an endless life. Thus, only He is capable of serving in the role of the High Priest for us at the throne of God. Mortal men are not fit to be High Priests. The role of the High Priest is one in which intercession is made on behalf of human sin at the throne of God. What human can do that?

Yet, today, Mormons have the audacity to call men as High Priests. It is a completely erroneous understanding the role of a High Priest as it was understood by the Jewish Christians.

Show me anywhere in the Bible were a Prophet is said to have Melchizedek Priesthood. Heck…show me anywhere in the Book of Mormon where Lehi is said to have Melchizedek Priesthood.

Better yet: show me where it says that Lehi and Nephi even had Levitical Priesthood. Well…we know they didn’t, because they were from Joseph, not Levi. So how were they officiating in the Law of Moses?

Well,… the Mormon spin is that the Nephites were officiating in the Law of Moses through the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood and not the Levitical. Besides the obvious, that nowhere does it say this in the Book of Mormon, this is clearly not possible if you read Hebrews.

The Melchizedek Priesthood cannot administer/officiate a Law that is incompatible with it!

Hebrews 7 :12, KJV: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”

NASB: “For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.”

Vance said...

EBU: Consider Elijah, the Tishbite. Was he a priest? A High Priest? Not as far as anyone knows. Elijah was firmly there in the time of the Law of Moses.

Now, according to you, Elijah had no power, no authority from God. Why? Because he was a prophet, not a priest.

Yet Elijah performed many miracles. And here's the thing: he engaged the Priests of Baal on.. wait for it... priestly grounds. Elijah built an altar and offered sacrifices, and God demonstrated with pure power that He was God and Baal was not. Clearly, very clearly, God accepted Elijah's sacrifice on the altar and granted the blessing of rain.

How did Elijah get accepted by God if he had no authority to offer sacrifices? That's strictly a priestly role, is it not? If it isn't... then there's no point to a priest in your opinion.

Remember, the entire Law of Moses was a choice of the Israelites. It was not God's first idea. Moses sought to bring the entire people to God at the mount to make them all priests, and they refused, and asked for intermediaries. And then they prayed to the golden calf.

So Moses (Was he a priest, in your mind?) had to 1) speak for the people to God (Priestly Role) and 2) speak for God to the people. Thus, he united your two roles, that you say were never united. But hey, it was Moses and the Law was named after him, so he was a special case. Before Moses, that was the rule: Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and then Joseph all filled both roles at once. So did Melchizedek, Noah, and most likely Enoch and Seth and Adam.
What about after Moses? Well, Ezra united both roles: Priest as well as prophet. So did Joshua. Solomon did the duties of a High Priest, clearly. He also prophesied to the people. Samuel was both prophet as well as the minister of the Temple (He tutored under Eli, for instance). Samuel clearly represented God, and it was he who ordained both Saul and David; neither of whom had political legitimacy without Samuel. Nathan was prophet and priest.

So your idea that prophet and priest were totally separate, never to be united, turns out to be, well, completely wrong. Almost the exception rather than the rule.

So tell me, by what authority did Elijah offer sacrifices? It couldn't be the priesthood of Aaron; and besides, it was outside the Temple anyway. Clearly and dramatically approved of by God though.
Either Elijah had no authority.... and since he did many mighty miracles and prophesied in the name of the Lord, that is wrong--or he had a different kind of authority than the Priests. Authority that encompassed the Levitical Priesthood. In fact, the same authority that Moses had. Moses could do all that a Levite High Priest could do and more, yet was not a Levite High Priest. Elijah offered sacrifice and did so much more than a Levite High Priest as well. Samuel clearly was Prophet, Priest and well as Judge... and greater than Israel's kings, since he appointed them as well as dismissed them. This authority was not in the Priesthood of Aaron, yet Samuel, Elijah and others had it. What authority did they have, if not the Melchizedek Priesthood?

Everything Before Us said...

“How are you going to get your resurrection? You will get it by the President of the resurrection pertaining to this generation, and that is Joseph Smith Jun. Hear it all ye ends of the earth; if ever you enter into the kingdom of God it is because Joseph Smith let you go there. This will apply to Jews and Gentiles, to the bond, and the free; to friends and foes; no man or woman in this generation will get a resurrection and be crowned, without Joseph Smith saying so. The man who was martyred in Carthage Jail, State of Illinois, holds the keys of life and death to this generation. He is the President of the resurrection in this dispensation, …”

Brigham Young.

Vance, you believe that Joseph Smith is a "prophet like unto Moses." This is an evil doctrine. Moses was the prophet of the Old Covenant. Jesus was the prophet of the New Covenant. Thus, Jesus is the prophet like unto Moses. By Moses came the law. By Christ came grace and life.

But you believe that the New and Everlasting Covenant was restored by Joseph Smith, and that he sealed this covenant by his blood.

Rightly did Brigham Young preach then that you won't get your salvation except through Joseph Smith. He is your mediator.

Vance...you are in a false religion. Get out now.

Peter said that all believers in Christ are the Royal Priesthood. This is Moses's desire at Mount Sinai fulfilled. It has already been fulfilled. All believers, men and women, are the Priesthood as promised.

But you reenact the tragedy of Sinai over again by choosing instead an intercessor to stand between you and God: your church.

In April 8, 1973, LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen proclaimed that salvation “comes only through the Church itself as the Lord established it… Therefore it was made clearly manifest that salvation is in the Church, and of the Church, and is obtained only through the Church.”

And recently Ballard said that it is only through the Church that we get the grace of Christ to salvation and exaltation.

You have chosen a new intercessor. You have therefore rejected the New Covenant.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Brothers and Sisters, I was somewhat distressed to see what seemed like unsympathetic responses to the former Mormon who complained about tithing and now felt hostile toward the Church. While I disagree with that person's attitude and decision to leave, I think we all need much more appreciation of just how difficult life can be with we are faced with heavy debt and challenging economic situations.

In fact, I fear that most of us are about to face much greater economic trials than our anonymous visitor did. What do you do when jobs are not available, when your income is too low, when prices are too high, and you have impossible debt to manage? Even if you think you are secure, just do the math and ask what is going to happen to you in light of the impossible debt that the United States and most nations are now taking on? Debt does not just disappear without consequences.

We now live in a nation being ruled by the economic principles of greed, of taking and mindlessly overspending, that destroyed the Weimar Republic, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe, and other nations, some of which are on the verge of toppling. We have politicians preaching the same doctrines that decades ago roused peasant revolutions, resulting in chains on the wrists and unbearable burdens on the backs of the peasants for generations to come. You don't build a prosperous economy by spending what you don't have, and manipulating the illiterate or (these days) the miseducated masses into thinking that all their problems will be solved by sticking it to someone else and taking their stuff. In those governments, the creators of wealth are crushed or flee, and the economy languishes. How will you cope? Crushing debt, radical economic distortion as egomaniacs think they can decree what should be made and what the prices should be and who should get whose wealth -- these are recipes for untold suffering and disaster. The suffering of the masses in the past in Russia, China, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Germany, etc., should be studied and learned from. We are following their lead, and the result will not be pretty. Have compassion on those who buckled under impossible economic burdens, for they may soon be ours as well.

The Book of Mormon has much to offer in how to prepare. It also gives us some guidelines on how to understand and resist the devastation coming, by recognizing and opposing the Gaddiantons whose fanatical quest for power is the cause of so much evil and loss. It is time to take it more seriously. We will be afflicted by crooks, but the real crook is not the Church, as our friend errantly decided.

Anonymous said...

I used to feel the same way, that there were many just happy coincidences, and would roll my eyes when people would tell their stories of the Lord blessing their lives in ways I thought were petty. I have been much happier since I have changed my mind. It brings me greater joy to be able to thank the Lord. Maybe some things are still just happy coincidences, but I still give Him thanks for the good things of life. I am now a Relief Society president and I have never asked anyone about their tithing status before filling a food order for them, and since most of the people I help rarely or never come to church, I suspect they are not. I have provided funerals for people who it is the first time they have entered the church. I have come to understand that the Lord loves all His children, whether they are "paid up" or not. They are important to Him. The "crooks" give generously to many people who have done nothing to merit it.

Everything Before Us said...

As a Relief Society President, it would not be appropriate for you to ask anyone about their tithing status. Indeed, you cannot, for that is a worthiness issue that must be dealt with by the bishop. And you don't fill an order unless the Bishop requests that you do so, so he has first met with the individuals whom you help.

He may or may not care whether they are "paid up" or not. It probably varies from bishop to bishop.

The food program of the church is one of the good things about the church. But it alone is not evidence of the truthfulness of the church. Even Hezbollah is loved by many people for the social programs/aid that it offers. Of course, it also lobs bombs into Israel.

The church can only be true if the doctrines are true. That is the measure of truthfulness. There are many religions and churches that help others.



Anonymous said...

EBU
I don't think she mentioned anything about the church being true. She described a religious institution that is using its donations to help people. Maybe it's time to turn down the Mormon hate a notch or two.

Everything Before Us said...

Anon 12:18.

Right, but her comment was slightly misleading. Of course she has never asked if a person has paid tithing before filling a food order. The procedure is such that she isn't allowed to ask that question. The Bishop would be the one to ask it, if it gets asked at all. And then, he would inform her that the order needs to be filled.

Some bishops do require the recipient to pay tithes while receiving the assistance. As far as I know (and from my own firsthand experience) this is the way it is generally done.

So, no...she wouldn't ask about tithe payments, because she isn't permitted to do so. But the questions often do get asked.

And most likely as a Relief Society president she knows this. But maybe not.

Vance said...

You know, comparing the LDS church to Hezbollah is pretty far out there, EBU. That's the offensive part. Care to back up your insinuation that the LDS church is killing random people for religious reasons along with its charity programs to help people out? Names, dates of the atrocities (and we are talking recent, not 150 year ago things).... it should be easy for a committed, never tell a lie Anglican that you claim to be.


And since apparently we Mormons are the same as Hezbollah, in your view (I suppose I must pause to ask if that is a bad thing; after all some political groups in the US identify with Hezbollah as the good guys) --does that mean that Mormons should be treated like Hezbollah? You know, bombed and targeted by missiles and so forth?

Everything Before Us said...

I agree, Vance. Hezbollah and the LDS Church are worlds apart. No comparison. I didn't mean to sound like I was conflating the two. I was merely trying to show that good works are not in anyway an indication of truth. That's it. Sorry to offend.

Names, dates of the atrocities (and we are talking recent, not 150 year ago things)

Are you admitting that there actually WERE atrocities 150 years ago in the LDS Church?

it should be easy for a committed, never tell a lie Anglican that you claim to be.

I don't claim to be an Anglican. I am a Christian. I worship in the Anglican tradition. Christianity transcends Anglicanism, Catholicism, Lutheranism, Mormonism, Methodism, Calvinism, and all other -isms.

And since apparently we Mormons are the same as Hezbollah, in your view (I suppose I must pause to ask if that is a bad thing; after all some political groups in the US identify with Hezbollah as the good guys) --does that mean that Mormons should be treated like Hezbollah? You know, bombed and targeted by missiles and so forth?

I have no idea what you are trying to say here. I flunked gymnastics.







Anonymous said...

Everything Before Us

Thank you. You are correct. I did word that wrong but I didn't mean to be intentionally misleading. It would be inappropriate for me as a Relief Society President to ask about a family's tithing status. My point was that most of the homes I visit are not members who attend church, so I am guessing that they are not tithe payers. Both bishops I have served under have sent me to these types of homes. I have also seen several non members helped through church social services in many ways. My point was not to prove the Church true, it was merely to point out that in my service I have seen people's lives blessed through the generosity of the churches programs. I also did not say that other churches aren't generous. I'm just stating that I do not see the leadership of the church as "crooks" but as people who are sincerely committed to helping others and making their lives better. I often wonder what the people I am sent to help would ever do without the church in their lives.

Everything Before Us said...

Anon9:19

I agree that the majority of church leaders, especially at local levels are genuine and sincere in what they do.

bearyb said...

EBU,

Now that I've had some time to review Malachi again, I still don't understand the source of your claim that the "entire book of Malachi" was addressed only to the Priests, nor could I find any reference to condemning the Priests for misuse of funds. There was mention of improper offerings though.

And I'm still curious as to whether your current chosen denomination has anything to say about the book, particularly regarding tithing, the anticipation of the return of the prophet Elijah, and the concept and importance of turning the hearts of generations toward one another.

Everything Before Us said...

Malachi 1:6. Malachi addresses the priests.

Malachi 2:1, "And now this commandment is for you, O priests."

In verse 7, he is still taking about the priests.

In verse 8, he tells them they have corrupted the covenant of Levi. The priests were Levites. The Priesthood was their inheritance.

In 3:3, he talks about the sons of Levi being purified so they'll offer up righteous offerings.

In Malachi 3:10 God says to bring all the tithes to the storehouse. Who was in charge of the tithes? The Levites. The other tribes would bring their tithes to the Levites. The Levites would bring that to the storehouse. That is how the Levites were fed. (Read Numbers 18)

Nehemiah 12 and 13 is the historical context for Malachi. In Nehemiah 12:47, it shows that all Israel was doing their part to bring the tithes to the Levites. The people were paying tithes. That wasn't the problem.

Malachi is angry because the tithes which are being generously brought in are not being distributed by the Levites-in-charge to the rest of the people for food, and therefore, as we read in Nehemiah 13:10, the singers and the gatekeepers and those who perform the service are having to abandon the temple to go grow their own food.

Notice how in Malachi 3:10, Malachi says bring "all" the tithe? That word can also be translated as "every" and "whole". "Bring the WHOLE tithe into the storehouse." The tithe was being paid. It wasn't being handled properly by the priests, so there was no "meat" in the Lord's house.

Malachi is speaking to the leaders of the church. They were mishandling funds. Holding it back. Kind of like investing tithing dollars, another way of holding back the money, rather than putting it to immediate use, and trusting God that the future will be provided for. Matthew 6:25-34.

You know, the church is currently working on plans to develop land that it owns in Florida in order to build a city that will have all the services needed to accommodate a half-million people at least. The projected time of completion is 40 years away. 40 years.

Yet, the leaders continue to harp on how we are living in the last days. Their business methods do not suggest that they are in anyway worried that these are truly the last days. It looks like they are anticipating a marvelous return on their investments for at least the next 40 years.









Everything Before Us said...

And I'm still curious as to whether your current chosen denomination has anything to say about the book, particularly regarding tithing, the anticipation of the return of the prophet Elijah, and the concept and importance of turning the hearts of generations toward one another.

I do not particularly care what my chosen denomination has to say about Malachi. If they say something I do not agree with, I will not agree. If I find that I disagree on enough important points, I will leave that denomination as well, just as I left Mormonism. And they won't excommunicate me for it, and render my baptism and my eternal life invalid.

It isn't about the denomination. In fact, my "chosen denomination" even says so in their Articles of Religion.

"They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved."

As for the return of the prophet Elijah/Elias (Hebrew and Greek respectively), Jesus already put to rest that question: John the Baptist represented the prophesied return of Elijah.

By the way, Joseph Smith claims to have been visited by both Elijah and Elias. He was confused. He read about Elijah in the OT and Elias in the NT and thought they were different people. He didn't realize they are the same, but that one is the Hebrew version of the name, and the other the Greek.

McConkie said (paraphrasing) "Well...if Joseph Smith said he was visited by two people, then there must have been another prophet we just never heard about yet."

That, from an educated man. Pathetic.

Turning hearts from one generation to another. First of all, it doesn't say "generation." And besides, Luke 1:17 should answer all your questions.

It is strange to hang a doctrine as important as "eternal family" on that one verse. At face value, it simply cannot be twisted to refer to anything like the doctrine of eternal family. And if it did, then why didn't Malachi just come right out and say out? Why didn't Luke (who quotes it) come right out and say it?

How come there is so much deep Mormon doctrine in the Bible, but only if we work really hard to read between the lines and add a few additional quotes by modern-day "prophets?" Why? Why not just take the words at face value?

When Paul says that no man has seen or can see God, why not just believe him?

When Jesus says God is spirit, and that a spirit does not have a body of flesh and bone, why not believe him?

When Isaiah says that Jehovah is the One God and there is no God before Him or after Him, why not just believe it?

You have to add words and ideas and lengthy explanations to make these scritpures fit in with Mormon doctrine. You have to add ideas that simply are not supported by the text in order to make the text support you beliefs.

This is very sad. I am sorry you have to live like this. I gave up living like that. It is a great feeling to be intellectually honest now as I read the Bible.






Anonymous said...

Hi EBU,

Interesting interpretation of Malachi although not everyone agrees with your analysis:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Malachi

Looks like the tithes and offerings rebuke were addressed to both the Levites and the Israelites.

Besides, does this mean we are not to pay tithing even if the book of Malachi was intended solely for the Levites?

Steve

Everything Before Us said...


Your link really doesn't seem to support your claim that Malachi was rebuking both the Levites AND the Israelites.

Chapter 2 makes it clear that whoever Malachi was addressing in the first chapter, he has changed his focus entirely to the Priests starting in 2:1. In fact, Malachi seems to start focusing on the priests in 1:6.

A mandatory tithing required by the church (and yes...tithing is mandatory in Mormonism, because you can't go to Heaven without paying it, you lose eternal life without paying it) goes against the spirit of the New Testament.

However, we are supposed to do all we can to take care of the poor and needy.





Everything Before Us said...

The relationship between the Old and New Covenants as so clearly described and outlined in the Bible would make no sense at all if the New Covenant required membership in a very specific denomination. That is an Old Covenant thing, see.

Joseph Smith and/or Sidney Rigdon were very fond of the Old Testament, and they attempted to join the two together in perfect harmony. But they are NOT in perfect harmony. Paul says so in Colossians. They stand contrary to each other. One is a religion of law, guilt, wrath, and sin. The other is a way of life, love, liberty.

Colossians 2:13-15 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Paul isn't talking about political authorities here. He is clearly talking about religious authorities, because he is speaking in the context of the Law, which was a religious establishment.

Religion in most cases reinvigorates that charge of legal indebtedness which Christ nailed to the cross. Mormonism, especially, does this.

Most Protestant churches have worked this out of their system to a greater or a lesser degree.

Religion is now supposed to serve the people, not the other way around. This is what the New Testament is all about.

Christ is the ultimate political and religious radical, because he has overcome all these authorities, liberated His people for a life of peace and love.

If you don't fully understand this, you will not understand the New Testament. The New Testament will forever remain a mystery to you, because your mind is shrouded in a veil, and you cannot see what is staring back at you from the pages of that book. You will continue to cite Old Testament scriptures to justify your doctrines and your religious practices. That is because your religion is operating in the spirit of the Old Covenant and not in the spirit of the New.

Vance, I am primarily talking to you, here. I sincerely believe that most of the good Mormons who participate in these discussions here, and especially Jeff, understand the spirit of the New Testament, even though they are still very devout Mormons. Again...it is not about denomination. Mormons can be saved, too.

But Vance, you seem particularly close-minded to the message I have here for you. If you notice, rarely do the other Mormons here engage you in these discussions. That is because they are being polite. They most likely know that you are not exactly representing the better side of Mormonism.

Following Jesus isn't a matter of finding the right church. It is a matter of finding the right way to live. And it is a private thing. When you put it into God's hands, you don't need a church to show you how to live. Trust me on this. My sin is ever before me. It seeps to the surface now and reveals its ugly face to me far more than it did when I was pushing it down with tithe-paying and church attendance, and temple worship, and all those other things. Those law-based things only serve to hide the real sin behind a cloak of righteousness. But we aren't righteous. None of us.

But you cannot do this if you are under the threat of condemnation through the law. You have to be brought out of this condemnation through grace. Read the passage again in Colossians I quoted above. God has forgiven us of our sins. Past tense. He has canceled our debt! The work is finished.

If you pick up that shovel again, Vance, you'll be digging a hole so deep you'll never see the light. Put the shovel down. Better yet...hand it over to Jesus. He won't dig a hole with it. He'll build you a mountain with it.

And his mountain isn't your temple.



Vance said...

I speak charitably, EBU, but clearly you don't understand anything about the Gospel. Jesus is not the author of confusion, yet you claim that it doesn't matter what your denomination is. You don't believe that; else you would never have left the LDS church. Clearly you DO believe that denomination matters.

Second, I've asked this before. The question is simple: could a faithful Jew under the Law of Moses, say one of those brave souls who rebuilt the Temple under Ezra and Nehemiah: did they have the opportunity to receive the same reward as you Protestants? Will they go to heaven, if they did what God commanded them to do? Did their sins get removed via the Law of Moses, and are they saved? Are they in the same place as you expect to be when you go to heaven? In short: when the Law of Moses was all that anyone had, did that Law work to get you to heaven, if you followed it? Just the same as following the teachings of Jesus later on?

And perhaps you might think about why this question is important, and what your answer means for your doctrine and faith and concept of God.

Everything Before Us said...

Their (Jews) sins did not get removed via the Law of Moses.

Your sins are not removed via your ordinances, either. Technically, Vance, if you know your doctrine, you'll know that only when the Holy Spirit puts his seal on your ordinances, do your ordinances do you any good. You can have the ordinances, but unless you have the Holy Spirit's seal on that (and how can you know that you do?) the ordinances are of no effect.

That is your doctrine. That is why Bednar recently taught that there are those who have had the ordinance of the Holy Ghost confirmed on them, but who have not yet RECEIVED the Holy Ghost.

The ordinances mean nothing.

We are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. That is the same for every person in every time period.

And Paul said that once you have accepted Christ, if you then try to save yourself again through the law, you are fallen from grace. You've lost all you gained. The moment you begin to think that there is something you can do to help your cause before God, you lose the grace.

Amazing, powerful, and beautiful doctrine. And truth.

In short: when the Law of Moses was all that anyone had, did that Law work to get you to heaven, if you followed it?

Vance, you don't understand even your own Book of Mormon. 2 Nephi Chapter 5...the law was dead, but the Nephites were made alive in Christ. 2 Nephi 2:5: "...by the law no flesh is justified." "by the ...spiritual law they perish from that which is good."

Paul says over and over again that the law is dead, the law works wrath, the strength of sin is the law. By the works of the law, no man is justified. Man is justified by faith APART from the works of the law.

The law does not save. The law condemns. You are condemned by the law. I am condemned by the law.

If you accept Christ, you are free from the condemnation of the law. As a Mormon, you've accepted Christ. No tell those leaders of yours to mind their own business, and let you live a life of liberty in Christ.

It isn't your faith in Christ that is wrong, Vance. Your faith in Christ is the same as mine. If it is real faith, you are saved! Already! It is over. You have eternal life right now Vance.

Realize this powerful truth, and you have set yourself free from religious and ultimately political authority.

All you need to do now is love. Be a loving person in all the world to all whom you meet. That will fulfill the law.

And so we are back where we started. You are no longer contending with me, but you are contending with the doctrine of the Bible, and even the Book of Mormon, for that matter, which is amusing.

How long will you kick against the pricks?

I have a feeling that you are really close to figuring this out. You are just afraid of seeing your worldview crumble. You have nothing to lose. You have your Christian liberty to gain.



Everything Before Us said...

ANd by the way Vance, the LDS denomination has down nothing to solve the denominational confusion. It is just one more voice claiming that it has the answers.

The denominations ARE the problem, Vance. The Gospel transcends denomination. When you realize this, the confusion suddenly goes away like a bad dream.

But human beings are tribal and clannish. There is nothing more natural than to divide ourselves up into different groups, and claim that the group we are in is the right one.

The natural man is an enemy to God. Denominationalism is natural. Denominationalism is an enemy to God.

Everything Before Us said...

I speak charitably, EBU, but clearly you don't understand anything about the Gospel. Jesus is not the author of confusion, yet you claim that it doesn't matter what your denomination is. You don't believe that; else you would never have left the LDS church. Clearly you DO believe that denomination matters.

It is when you say things like this that I realize you are a worthy opponent. Good point. I like it.

In a way, having left a particular denomination may appear that denomination does matter to me. After all, if denomination doesn't matter, why not just remain a Mormon, especially when all my best friends and family are still Mormon. Why not just enjoy the community. I grew up in it. It was all I had known. Just stick around. There are benefits to it, I'll agree.

Well..I guess that would've been an option for me. But my sense of integrity wouldn't allow me to do it. Because on any given Sunday, I may have been asked as a Melchizedek Priesthood holder to stand in a circle and through this authority ordain someone to an office.

I personally felt that after my spiritual experience in which I was born again, I would be turning my back on God and embracing error if I did that.

It is one thing to truly believe you actually possess Melchizedek priesthood when you really don't. It is another thing to believe you do not possess it, but then pretend like you do.

That would've been my case. I no longer believed in Melchizedek Priesthood in the hands of mortal men. So, I couldn't just "stick around." I actually turned down giving a person a blessing of healing in order not to be a pretender. So...for me it was a matter of integrity. I could not go on as the Elder's Quorum President (which I was at the time) pretending to represent a church authority structure that I now completely rejected.

So it technically wasn't the denomination that I was rejecting. It was the beliefs. And thus, because it is nearly impossible for a man to simply be a "Sunday Mormon" and just enjoy the community, I knew that I would have to make a complete break from the denomination.

But it was because of the doctrine. Not because of the group. And certainly not because of the good members of the church.


Anonymous said...

Hi EBU,

"The Book of Malachi was written to correct the lax religious and social behaviour of the Israelites – particularly the priests – in post-exilic Jerusalem."

:
:

"Just as the priests have been offering unacceptable sacrifices, so the people have been neglecting to offer their full tithe to Elohim."


Does that help?

I'm sure you have a reference that states you loose eternal life without paying tithing? I thought that only Jesus could say if you have eternal life or not but maybe you know something that I don't know.

Steve

Everything Before Us said...

Steve

You can't be exalted without being endowed. You can't be endowed without a temple recommend. You can't get a temple recommend without paying tithing.

You know this. I don't understand why Mormons are so reluctant to stand up for their beliefs. This is what the church teaches. If it isn't what YOU believe, fine, but understand that you simply disagree with your own church's doctrine.

Don't try to play it both ways.

I hate when members do this. This is deception. And the church subtly trains its members to engage in this kind of deception. But the members don't see it as deception.

A few months ago, some young adults from the local Bible school were tracting in my neighborhood. I started to talk with them. They found out I was a former Mormon. One of them recounted an experience she had with the local Mormon missionaries a few days prior. The street-contacted her, and she asked them about their beliefs in the exaltation of man, in which God was once a man and man will become a God. (By the way, this was explicitly taught in the Lorenzo Snow Priesthood manual, so it is in contemporary official church sources.) The missionaries tried to divert the conversation away from this doctrine and back onto something basic.

This, my friends, is called "hiding something." And intelligent people, like this young woman, can sniff it out a mile away. And missionaries all over the world are trained to engage in this kind of behavior under the name "milk before meat."

But it is a form of deceit. It is not being forthcoming. And a church should be fully forthcoming before it attempts to commit someone into giving most of their life and money to it.

I know these missionaries were not being intentionally deceptive. But the deceptive spirit that is in Mormonism is so subtle and pervasive, that the members behave deceptively without even realizing they are being deceptive.

But it is what it is. And the average person knows when they are being given the run-around.

Mormons...stand up for what you believe. You believe God was once a human being on another planet who worshipped a God just like you do. And you believe that if you are exalted, someday you, too, will be worshipped by your spiritual posterity as God the Father.

Your spiritual posterity will not know nor will they worship the being you have called God the Father. You, will be the One True God, just as Isaiah says, to your own children.

That is your belief. That is Mormon doctrine. Own it.

bearyb said...

EBU,

Are the priests the ones still being addressed in Malachi 1: 13 & 14? In 13, who are the ones bringing the offerings which obviously do not meet the qualifications set forth?

And in 14, who are those "deceivers" that would have a flock?

Malachi 2 does seem to be directed mainly at the priests, though it does mention the abominations of Judah (the nation).

You mentioned 3:3 about the sons of Levi being purified. When did that happen?

You mentioned 3:10, skipping over 3:9 where it states "for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." From your point of view, is this saying that the priests robbed God and the whole nation somehow? Or, rather, is it saying that the whole nation (including the priests) robbed God in tithes and offerings (from the previous verse)?

Besides, where does it differentiate "the storehouse" from the "house," as though they were totally different places?

You mentioned Nehemiah 13:10, claiming that it mentions that the Levites were not distributing food, when in fact it seems to say that Levites were not even recieving their own portion, causing them and the singers to flee to their fields. Then in verse 12 "brought all Judah the tithe..."

Finally, no, I was not aware of the Church's plans for a city in Florida. What intrigues me about your mentioning of it is that you cannot understand why they might be making such long-term plans, seeing as how "we are living in the last days," as you put it. What do you think would be a more appropriate timetable, if not 40 years? How long have we been "in the last days" already? Do you know when the end will come? What is wrong with making plans for the future, even if it may not happen? For that matter, have you made any long-term plans? If so, why? Is your own future guaranteed?

Anonymous said...

Hi EBU,

Yes, you have to be a full tithe payer to enter the temple. I own it, I love it.

Only Jesus has the authority to admit or reject who enters the Kingdom of God. I own it, I love it.

So here is the "contradiction." I believe that Jesus trumps anything so I will default to that. Everyone's condition is different. Man can judge based on the facts that he knows about. Since Jesus will know everything, I will always default to Him. When I am able (so far I have not been not-able), I will live the commandments as I understand them. This also means paying tithing. Since I have already been to the temple, do I need to continue paying tithing? I believe so. Does it state anywhere that I will loose eternal life if I stop paying tithing (your original assertion - you should own this, this is what you said), I believe that it does not hence is why I said that only Jesus can admit or reject someone into the Kingdom of Heaven. I'm not lying, just stating how I understand things.

I always find it amusing that non-Mormons tell me what I believe in.

Steve


Anonymous said...

Hi EBU,

I'd love to talk to you about developing custom video processing algorithms in computer architectures but I won't be forthcoming right now but how about something more basic like learning about luma and chroma? I suppose I'm lying to you right now.... very subtly, avoiding the topic of custom video processing... shame on me.... I must learn to own up to my profession and not be ashamed of it.


Steve


Vance said...

EBU, you totally ignored the point of my question about the Law of Moses and the Jews. Let me ask it again: Was it possible, in any fashion, for a faithful Jew to get the same reward as a follower of Christ?

Put more bluntly: Did Moses and Elijah and Isaiah and the rest; did they go to heaven? They after all didn't have faith in Christ, right? All they had was the law of sacrifice and the law of Moses.

Did Abraham go to heaven? He, after all, was so committed to the law of sacrifice he tried to offer Issac. Could he go to heaven, since Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, and no man goes to heaven except via Jesus?

What about Ezra? What about the widow woman that Elijah spent two years with: did she go to heaven, or have that opportunity? And the exact same heaven that, say, one of the early Church members that Paul wrote to could go to, or is there a substandard place for those who followed Jehovah instead of Jesus?

From your attacks on the Law of Moses as useless and ineffective, at the moment I have to conclude that, according to you, no one ever got their sins forgiven or were made clean until after Jesus was resurrected. Is that not an accurate statement? The Law of Moses did not enable forgiveness of sins, correct? Thus, no one's sins were forgiven until Christ came. In point of fact, a faithful Jew was no better off than a follower of Baal, because the Law of Moses was completely ineffective, if I read what you've written correctly.

Everything Before Us said...


I'd love to talk to you about developing custom video processing algorithms in computer architectures but I won't be forthcoming right now but how about something more basic like learning about luma and chroma? I suppose I'm lying to you right now.... very subtly, avoiding the topic of custom video processing... shame on me.... I must learn to own up to my profession and not be ashamed of it.

There is a difference between building a foundation of knowledge, and avoiding to tell someone something. The church, its members and missionaries, frequently try to steer conversation away from advanced doctrines. Not to build a foundation first, but to avoid divulging information that will very likely turn someone away from the doctrine.

This is called "being ashamed."

Steve, if someone comes to you and says, "Do you believe that God was once a man?" how do you respond?

A. Yes, I do. Let me explain to you why I believe that. Let's start at the beginning with some basic concepts.

Or.....

B. I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it ... I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it.

Which one is it, Steve.

Joseph Smith clearly and boldly declared that God was once a man. Lorenzo Snow came up with a couplet that says the same thing. This couplet was printed in a recent Church Sunday School manual.

Yet....answer B above is Pres. Hinckley's answer when asked. He said, "I don't know that we teach it." A few years later, the doctrine shows up in a Sunday School Manual!

This is deception, Steve.

Everything Before Us said...

EBU, you totally ignored the point of my question about the Law of Moses and the Jews. Let me ask it again: Was it possible, in any fashion, for a faithful Jew to get the same reward as a follower of Christ? Put more bluntly: Did Moses and Elijah and Isaiah and the rest; did they go to heaven? Did Abraham go to heaven? He, after all, was so committed to the law of sacrifice he tried to offer Issac. Could he go to heaven, since Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, and no man goes to heaven except via Jesus?

I did answer your question, Vance. But your question was all wrong, and the answer I gave was so far outside your religious paradigm, you are incapable of perceiving it.

But...I am not the judge, but I suspect that these men you listed above went to Heaven. They did not go to Heaven through any law they were given. The Book of Mormon makes it clear that the law is DEAD!

The Book of Mormon Vance. You don't even know your own doctrine. You are terribly confused. You won't let me help you. Vance, I don't know what to do for you anymore. You are very resistant to try to understand what I am saying, as evidenced by your bad habit of restating to me what I said to you, but filtered through your own horrible distortions. You simply don't understand the doctrines, so you continue to say things that even a Mormon would feel the need to correct.



Anonymous said...

A couple of scriptures for Steve and Vace since they seem to be ignorant of Mormon doctrine:

Re: Tithing. D&C 64:23 (this is a sripture mastery scripture from seminary)
23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.

Re: Law of Moses. Alma 25:15-16
15 Yea, and they did keep the law of Moses; for it was expedient that they should keep the law of Moses as yet, for it was not all fulfilled. But notwithstanding the law of Moses, they did look forward to the coming of Christ, considering that the law of Moses was a type of his coming, and believing that they must keep those outward performances until the time that he should be revealed unto them.

16 Now they did not suppose that salvation came by the law of Moses.

bearyb said...

I do not particularly care what my chosen denomination has to say about Malachi. If they say something I do not agree with, I will not agree. If I find that I disagree on enough important points, I will leave that denomination as well, just as I left Mormonism.

I suppose this manner of thinking is the number one reason why there are so many denominations.

The reason I asked it the way I did is because you have decided to begin worshiping in "the tradition of" some other denomination than the LDS Church. I assumed it was because you agreed more with their points of view, and I simply wondered what they were.

As for John the Baptist in the verse you referred to (Luke 1:17), I think it says "in the spirit and power of Elias," or in other words, after the manner of - not that he was the actual prophet Elijah.

And, concerning your statement of possible confusion on the part of Joseph Smith about who was who, it doesn't seem likely as they each (Elias AND Elijah) visited him in succession on the same day in Kirtland. I think Joseph could probably tell the difference between the two by sight as well as by name, and they each visited for separate reasons.

All this notwithstanding, Elias is used several different ways in the scriptures. I'm sure you have access to and are probably already familiar with the descriptions and explanations in the Bible Dictionary on lds.org.


Continuing... I know it doesn't say "generation." I was simply trying to save words.

It is strange to hang a doctrine as important as "eternal family" on that one verse. At face value, it simply cannot be twisted to refer to anything like the doctrine of eternal family. And if it did, then why didn't Malachi just come right out and say out? Why didn't Luke (who quotes it) come right out and say it?

Indeed. The Savior also quotes part of it to Joseph Smith, as did Moroni years before, "differently."

And we do not hang any of our doctrines on any single verse, but you already know that.

bearyb said...

When Paul says that no man has seen or can see God, why not just believe him?

Because myriad are the - yes, biblical - passages that say otherwise. And, by the way, do you include Jesus Christ as God in that statement?

When Jesus says God is spirit, and that a spirit does not have a body of flesh and bone, why not believe him?

And you complain that we "hang a very important doctrine on just one verse?"

When Isaiah says that Jehovah is the One God and there is no God before Him or after Him, why not just believe it?

When Joseph Smith said he saw The Father and The Son, why not just believe it?

It is a great feeling to be intellectually honest now as I read the Bible.

An interesting statement in light of the fact that many individuals of substantial intellect (LDS or not) have not been completely satisfied by the Bible's treatment alone of so many important subjects mentioned within it (which is another reason for the existence of so many denominations).

And I apologize if I make you sad by my living like this.

bearyb said...

Your spiritual posterity will not know nor will they worship the being you have called God the Father. You, will be the One True God, just as Isaiah says, to your own children.

That is your belief. That is Mormon doctrine. Own it


Are you completely sure that's the way it's going to work out, EBU? Aren't you getting just a little ahead of yourself (and everyone else) here?

Please, share with me your own version of "heaven" as you understand it. What will its inhabitants be doing for all eternity?

bearyb said...

The denominations ARE the problem. The Gospel transcends denomination. When you realize this, the confusion suddenly goes away like a bad dream.

So, if in fact there should be "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph 4:5), which should it be, EBU?

Call them denominations, traditions, faiths, or whatever - there are a lot of ideas out there and they can't all be right.

How does one choose?

bearyb said...

Oh, and I think what happened during your "spiritual awakening" is that you realized that the gospel is not the church, and the church is not the gospel. A person can be really "active" in the Church and not be very spiritual, or not have much of a conviction, especially if they aren't actually doing the basic personal stuff that we are all admonished to do on a regular basis (I have no idea if you were or not - I'm not judging your situation).

Hopefully every member will be truly converted eventually. We are all at different points along the path though.

Vance said...

EBU: the entire point of religion, and the doctrine, is to reconcile man--individual man-- to God. We know that no unclean thing can dwell with God. Ergo, sin keeps us from God.

There was only one perfect Man, and that was Jesus. All the rest of us need help to go back.

So: how, then, is this accomplished? You state that the Law of Moses never had power to save, or to cleanse sin. How, then, did a faithful Jew get his sins forgiven? How did the process work, EBU? You repeatedly claim that the Law is dead, it condemns, etc. You point to the Book of Mormon to back up your "It's faith alone, not the Law!" claim. All well and good, but then tell me: how did salvation actually work for those Jews who never heard of Jesus, for the simple fact that He had not come yet?

Was it possible for Jews to gain salvation and forgiveness of their sins? You claim I am resistant to your words, that I don't understand what you are saying. I could say the same thing about you. My questions are quite simple and direct: Did God lie to the Jews? Did He offer salvation to the Jews and lie about it, via the Law of Moses? Make no mistake: The Law of Moses was given as a way to reconcile yourself to God and have your sins forgiven; and was in force for at least 1500 years. You deny that. You deny the power of God in the Law of Moses. You declare that God never accepted the validity of the Law of Moses to save souls; when it was God who gave that law as a way to save souls.

If this be true, then God is a monster, a vile demon who lies about salvation. You may worship such a being, but I do not. God did not set up the Law of Moses as an irrelevance; a distraction. It had real power; and those who faithfully followed it did in fact have their sins forgiven and did receive the same rewards as we can today. Salvation came through the Law of Moses.

Now, that salvation is not because of the actual ceremonies; for many religions had sacrifices. A sacrifice has no saving power on its own. Do not mistake me here. The Law of Moses only had power because Christ, the Son of God, empowered the Law of Moses and granted Salvation because of His sacrifice. It is Jesus's blood that provided the saving power in the Law of Moses. But nevertheless: the Law of Moses had saving power, and it was the Law of God. No man could get to heaven without following the Law of Moses while it was in effect. "Faith alone" never cleansed your sin; never reconciled you with God during the days of the Law of Moses. And it does not do so today. You receive no salvation or forgiveness or cleansing of sin because of your faith alone. No, it requires repentance--active work on your part. A turning away from sin and to God. This is true Biblical doctrine. Even the devils have faith, EBU. They receive no salvation because of their faith; and neither shall you, without further work on your part.

Continued...

Vance said...

God does not change, EBU. The same principles that save you under the gospel of Jesus are the same that save people in all ages of the world--the Law of Moses included.

That includes faith, repentance, and ordinances. The Law of Moses was fulfilled by Jesus, but He instituted replacement ordinances. This makes sense, as it was Jesus who gave the Law of Moses. The reasons for the ordinances never changed; salvation and redemption are necessary regardless of when you were born. What Paul was railing against was the idea that a sacrifice, on its own, had power to save. It has no power except as recognized by Jesus. But nevertheless, the ordinance was required; and the newer ordinances that Jesus instituted are just as required of us as the ordinances of the Law of Moses were required for them. To deny this is to claim that Jesus had two standards; two methods of salvation. One where He required works; and one where He did not. God is not partial and He does not require more of one person than another; for God is no respecter of persons.

You claim, EBU, that Moses, Elijah, etc are saved. How? How, exactly, did their sins get forgiven them? How were they reconciled to God? Surely it must have been through the Laws that God gave; i.e. the Law of Moses at that time. Salvation was not possible for them except via the Law of Moses-- and that Law said nothing about "faith alone." No, God required people to do things. And He still does, EBU. Despite your frantic efforts to wrest the scriptures to conclude that God hates good works, and that God does not require ordinances; the scriptures and Paul himself are very, very clear: Ordinances are required; God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He will not be mocked by your claim that He did not save the Jews. For that is sheer blasphemy on your part; your contention that the Law of Moses (given to save souls) never saved a single one. You stand with the priests of Baal on that claim. And Elijah demonstrated, with great power and glory, that God was there; and in the Law of Moses.

Everything Before Us said...

Me: When Jesus says God is spirit, and that a spirit does not have a body of flesh and bone, why not believe him?

Bearby: And you complain that we "hang a very important doctrine on just one verse?"

Difference: It is safe to hang the doctrine that God is a spirit and that a spirit does not have a body of flesh and bone on verses that actually say that God is a spirit and a spirit does not have a body of flesh and bone.

To say that families can be together forever because Malachi says that Elijah will return and turn the hearts of the father to the children (and vice versa) is kind of stretching it.

I think you can see that.

Everything Before Us said...

Bearby

Please, share with me your own version of "heaven" as you understand it. What will its inhabitants be doing for all eternity?

I am more interested, Bearby, in YOUR version of Heaven. And by that, I mean your version of Heaven for those who are not exalted and living together with their family forever.

Tell me what people who are not exalted will be doing? They are saved, for D&C 76 says that Christ saves ALL in a degree of glory, except sons of perdition. So, they are enjoying some measure of the presence of God in the kingdom of Heaven. So,...what is Heaven like for them? Tell me all the great details that Joseph Smith revealed about life in the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms.

Do you get what I am saying? The only thing you know about "heaven" pertains to those who are exalted. As for everyone else in a degree of glory, you know as much about it as you claim Christians know about their version of Heaven.

But tell me what has been taught. It's in D&C 132. All those who are not exalted will be servants to those who are.

Additionally, the early Mormon leaders taught that women who are not married when they die will be given to worthy men in the next life as either plural wives or as servants. Brigham Young taught that Christ will resurrect the men, but the men will perform the ordinance of resurrection for their wives. And if a man chooses NOT to resurrect one of his own wives, that is his prerogative. But no worries...if the woman is worthy, she be resurrected by another man to be either a plural wife or a servant, and she can enter into her exaltation that way.

So...tell me more about your "heaven."


Everything Before Us said...

How were they reconciled to God? Surely it must have been through the Laws that God gave; i.e. the Law of Moses at that time. Salvation was not possible for them except via the Law of Moses-- and that Law said nothing about "faith alone." No, God required people to do things. And He still does, EBU. Despite your frantic efforts to wrest the scriptures to conclude that God hates good works, and that God does not require ordinances; the scriptures and Paul himself are very, very clear: Ordinances are required; God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He will not be mocked by your claim that He did not save the Jews. For that is sheer blasphemy on your part; your contention that the Law of Moses (given to save souls) never saved a single one. You stand with the priests of Baal on that claim. And Elijah demonstrated, with great power and glory, that God was there; and in the Law of Moses.

Vance, I'd like to address the above point-by-point, as I have been doing with your comments for a long time. But I simply can't waste anymore of my time. So, to finish my conversation with you, I'll simply say that you need to read your scriptures. You say a lot, but little of it could be backed scripturally. Much of what you say has been contradicted scripturally, even by referring to the Book of Mormon.

I'm sure you might be able to find a few conference talks to support you, but I don't accept silly stories about pigeons, rugby, and aircraft as the Word of God. So save yourself the time.

You said, "He will not be mocked by your claim that He did not save the Jews..." You are not an honest person and you cannot be trusted. I never said such a stupid thing. You said it in an effort to distort my words.

Vance, someday, you are going to find yourself in a corner spiritually speaking. Trapped. And you'll find that that which has you trapped in that corner is actually your church. But you love your church so much that you can't possibly believe that it is what is causing you so much grief.

When that happens, Vance, remember these conversations you've had with me and a few others. Remember that you cannot work your way to heaven. The church keeps telling you that you will be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, but you will be so aware of your own sin, you'll know that you'll NEVER be able to obey the laws and ordinances to the degree that you must in order to be exalted.

Martin Luther had a similar experience. He found his way out. That way is through faith on the name of Jesus Christ. The real Jesus Christ. The one who is Eternal, not the one who was created in the same way that you and I were created, and is the brother of Lucifer. That Jesus is fiction.

So I am done. I am going to go enjoy a nice glass of Chardonnay with my wife. Wine. The stuff that Jesus drank. And the stuff that Joseph Smith enjoyed in Carthage Jail. It is an alcoholic beverage. The saints in Utah paid their tithes with their alcohol. And Wilford Woodruff in his journal talks about enjoying a nice glass of brandy and lemonade. And this was very late in his life, too. And David O. McKay ate a piece of rum cake. When he was told it was rum cake, he said something to the effect that the WoW doesn't say we can't eat alcohol.

These men....they are laughing in their graves at you. You all take it far more seriously than they ever did.

bearyb said...

I am more interested, Bearby, in YOUR version of Heaven. And by that, I mean your version of Heaven for those who are not exalted and living together with their family forever.

It's OK EBU,

All you needed to say was that you needed more time to think of a response. I can wait...

bearyb said...

To say that families can be together forever because Malachi says that Elijah will return and turn the hearts of the father to the children (and vice versa) is kind of stretching it.

*sigh*

Yes, I suppose it would be difficult to get as full an understanding just from the verse in Malachi...

Good thing we have a lot more information than just that one verse, huh?

Did you ever figure out the thing in Nehemiah about the priests and the tithing?

bearyb said...

As for everyone else in a degree of glory, you know as much about it as you claim Christians know about their version of Heaven.

And just what have I claimed to know about what Christians understand about their version of Heaven?

I'm waiting for you to tell me so I don't have to jump to any conclusions...

Everything Before Us said...

Bearby,

I was a Mormon long enough to know that Mormons are particularly proud of the fact that they know what we'll be doing in Heaven whereas Christians do not. And I know Mormons love to make fun of the stereotypical representation of Christians in Heaven plucking harps for eternity.

I heard all about it in many Sunday School classes. So I know where you are going with this line of questioning.

Paul, in Hebrews 5, talks about those who have "been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come."

I know what Paul is talking about here. It is beautiful.

It has nothing to do with an eternity of suffering, as Teryl Givens described it in his recent Deseret Book publication called the Crucible of Doubt.

The Mormon eternity is an eternity of suffering and of weeping. Of watching your kids go off to their own world and suffering, of knowing that some will never make it back to you ever again. And you'll be doing this over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.....again.

It is sick, Bearby. Here is what Givens wrote: "And believing, as Mormons do, that God is the infinitely suffering God of Enoch, not the 'impassive, unresponsive'God 'portrayed by the classical theologians,' this writer added a poignant possibility: 'It is said of God that no one can behold His face and live. I always thought this meant that no one can behold His splendor and live. ...Perhaps it meant that no one could see his sorrow and live.'"

Nope...that is a nice poetic idea. A nice, Gnostic, poetic idea. But that is not for me.

That will be your eternity. Your Heaven. Your eternal struggle. Your eternal "work and glory."

Everything Before Us said...

Nehemiah and the Priests.

Nehemiah 12:44 to end:

So in the days of Zerubbabel and of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions for the musicians and the gatekeepers. They also set aside the portion for the other Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants of Aaron.

The tithing from the 11 tribes of Israel was being paid. That wasn't the problem.

In 13, we see that the Levites were not being given their portion. Someone was mishandling it. Who would've been mishandling it? The Priests.

The High Priest Eliashib had emptied out the storehouse so that his buddy Tobiah could live there. What was happening to the wine, oil, and grain that was being brought into the storehouse? It doesn't say. But it does say that the Levites had to go to their own fields to grow their own food, even though "all Israel" was joyfully bringing in the tithes.

Nehemiah had to come in and clean shop. He kicked out Tobiah.

Nehemiah 13: starting in verse 8.

I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. I gave orders to purify the rooms, and then I put back into them the equipment of the house of God, with the grain offerings and the incense.

I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites [the Levites were also women and children, not just priests. The Levite Nation was suffering because the tithes which were being paid were being mishandled by Eliashib and Tobiah] had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. So I rebuked the officials and asked them, “Why is the house of God neglected?” Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.

[So, the storehouse is empty and clean, so what happens? The tithes are brought back in to the storehouse from wherever they had been stolen away. This is why Malachi says, 'Bring ALL the tithes into the storehouse.']

Back the Nehemiah 13

All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites.

I hope that helps.

Vance said...

Glad you ran off, EBU. It's because you cannot answer the questions I posed. And I was correct when I said you do not believe that the Jews receive salvation. Why? Because repeatedly, over and over and over you slam the Law of Moses as useless, dead, without power, and you explicitly claim that no one's sins were ever remitted by the Law of Moses--that there was no power in that Law to do so.

So when I ask how Jews got their sins remitted, if not via the Law of Moses..... you run away? I think that means you concede, EBU. Especially when you attack BearyB--you have time to do that, but not time to answer my question? Right.

You do not believe that salvation was possible for the Jews. Because you cannot explain how they got it; not without destroying your own theology.
Your "Well, this time I'm fed up so I won't answer like I did before!" bit is nonsense. You've never answered this question, and I've asked it before. Every single time you run off or ignore it. You can't just be upset with me this time, because every time I ask this, and eventually nail you down to where you have to answer it, you cannot.

Your "faith alone!" ideology forces you to view the Old Testament and the Law of Moses as wrong. You've admitted it, that you think Paul attacked the Law of Moses as worse than useless.

By the way, did you seduce your wife away from the church and her covenants too, in that she is now drinking wine with you? How.... noble of you to induce someone you love to break her covenants with God. Indeed, you shall have your reward.

Your comments about how I'll never be able to live up to what the LDS church expects of me demonstrate that you never understood the gospel or its purpose. It's no wonder you apostatized; so you can sin without blame. Life is sure easier when you don't believe in keeping the commandments of God, right EBU? Drink, smoke, no tithing, etc. God doesn't care, He won't punish you for sin, will He?

I suggest that is a very dangerous road you are on, to believe that God won't punish you for breaking His commandments.

Everything Before Us said...

By the way, did you seduce your wife away from the church and her covenants too, in that she is now drinking wine with you? How.... noble of you to induce someone you love to break her covenants with God. Indeed, you shall have your reward.

Your comments about how I'll never be able to live up to what the LDS church expects of me demonstrate that you never understood the gospel or its purpose. It's no wonder you apostatized; so you can sin without blame. Life is sure easier when you don't believe in keeping the commandments of God, right EBU? Drink, smoke, no tithing, etc. God doesn't care, He won't punish you for sin, will He?


Colossians 2

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink...These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

"Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?

"These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."

Chew on that for a while, Vance. It's in your scriptures. Those books you repeatedly ignore.

bearyb said...

I was a Mormon long enough to know that Mormons are particularly proud of the fact that they know what we'll be doing in Heaven whereas Christians do not. And I know Mormons love to make fun of the stereotypical representation of Christians in Heaven plucking harps for eternity.

I'm still a Mormon and take no "pride" whatsoever in the bit knowledge that we've been given so far, but would rather that more people know about it.

If the "stereotypical" version (which I can't ever remember commenting on) is incorrect, now is your chance to enlighten me. And how can you possibly "know where I am going" with this? Has it been my style here to berate, insult, belittle, and make fun of commentors or their positions?

I continue to be puzzled by your desire or obsesssion (I don't know which) to keep abreast of all things "Mormon." And though I've heard of Bro. Givens, I haven't really read any of his writings. I'll bet that somewhere in there it says something about "not necessarily the views held by the LDS Church..." etc. And does the particular writing you mention focus only on the negative and suffering, or does it hold out any hope at all?

Please consider that God the Father has had much reason to suffer. Even before Adam was created He lost "a third" of His children to the adversary. It it a fact of existence that He will not force anyone to obey His commandments, and they are free to choose life and freedom, or death and captivity. Surely even Paul was aware of this.

Suffering and struggle has its place, and can lead to knowledge and understanding. You say that "the Mormon eternity is an eternity of suffering and weeping." I'm sure some suffering and weeping will be involved (is anyone better than God?), but why do you insist on being so one-sided about it?

Everything Before Us said...

Please consider that God the Father has had much reason to suffer. Even before Adam was created He lost "a third" of His children to the adversary. It it a fact of existence that He will not force anyone to obey His commandments, and they are free to choose life and freedom, or death and captivity. Surely even Paul was aware of this. Suffering and struggle has its place, and can lead to knowledge and understanding. You say that "the Mormon eternity is an eternity of suffering and weeping." I'm sure some suffering and weeping will be involved (is anyone better than God?), but why do you insist on being so one-sided about it?

I am not so sure Paul was aware of this in the context of a pre-existence. Paul makes no mention of a pre-existence in which God lost 1/3 of his children. Christians believe that those who were lost were angels, a creation of God, not his children.

Mormons, of course, believe angels are pre-mortal humans, but if you read Hebrews, and read how Paul describes the relationship between deity, angels, and humans, you'll see clearly that Paul isn't talking about pre-mortal humans when he talks about angels.

You talk about God the Father suffering. But who is God the Father? Adam? Jehovah?

Brigham Young taught that the Father was Adam. Joseph Smith and many others taught that the Father was Jehovah. You talk about God the Father, but if you study Mormon doctrine throughout history, it is very hard to really pin down who the Father even is.

Mormons talk about him. But historically, they are very confused about his identity. So, I suspect they might also be confused about what kind of existence he enjoys, or suffers through.

As for Givens' book...read it. Seriously. Beautifully written, but it is a real downer.

I can summarize it for you: Faith is hard. We will suffer because of it. Even if we don't think we have faith, we might really have faith. It will all be confusing. We've been thinking about religion all wrong. That's our fault [not the fault of the people who have been teaching us about our religion all along.] God suffered. Jesus warned us we will suffer. The church is true.

bearyb said...

EBU,

You'll pardon me if I cannot treat your opinions as unbiased, I hope.

Everything Before Us said...

Bearby

You'll pardon me if I don't think you have a right to an opinion about the book at all unless you first read it.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Vance, the question about seduction was a bit out of bounds here for its tone. Let's keep things courteous, as you normally do quite well, and with some great insights.

Everything, you tempt me to just shut down comments because of your tendency to consume the bandwidth here and with overly harsh venom.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Twisting Givens' thoughts on God's love for sinners, over whom he surely sorrows, and condemning our faith for that was just one of many uncharitable demonstrations of your relentless zeal to find fault. I think you need to reconsider why you are so driven to volubilize against us. And maybe it would be considerate to not use this blog as a sounding board for all your frustrations with the Church.

Everything Before Us said...

Don't be too hard on Vance. I took no offence by his "seduction" comment. In fact, I didn't take his use of the word "seduction" in a sexual way at all.

But no...I didn't seduce my wife in either a sexual or a spiritual way.

Sorry, Jeff. I have gotten out of control, and I have overstepped my bounds. More than once I suppose.

I'll leave you good people alone.

Vance...if we could meet in person and forget about our religious differences, I'll guarantee you we'd probably get along great. All the best to you and yours.

Thanks, all.