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Salt Lake City : The “Mission Field”

Posted by truthtalklive on July 16, 2007

Welcome back Stu as he welcomes back Russ East, Founder of United Partnerships for Christ www.upfc.org  Russ was a fourth generation Mormon and is a missionary to those still caught up in the faith.  Should Christians go on missions trips to Salt Lake City?

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114 Responses to “Salt Lake City : The “Mission Field””

  1. Brad said

    Yes, absolutely. Mormon Utah is no less of a mission field than any other Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist country. I believe that many Christians just don’t really “think” of them as unsaved, or “think” of them at all. And it is not quite as dramatic to take a mission trip to Utah as it is to Russia or China or somewhere like that. But they need it as much as anyone else, as the basic tenets of Mormonism DO NOT lead to salvation!

    Let’s continue to pray for them fervently, and act upon God’s leading!

  2. Jay said

    Sure, Mormons like to talk about Christ. Non-LDS Christians are welcome in Utah.

  3. Jantz said

    There is a ton I don’t know about Mormons so I can’t comment much. However, from what I have learned I would agree they believe in a different doctorine than the bible teaches. Praise God for this man that is called to this ministry and I would just like to encourage you to stay strong to your calling and may God bless you and your team and we might see souls saved in Utah.

  4. peter said

    Heard the first half of the show. As one who served a mission myself (for the Mormons, not to the Mormons 🙂 ) I don’t have any issue with anyone proclaiming their faith.

    I think a mission to Salt Lake is a great idea. As a matter of fact, the Mormon Church sends missionaries to Salt Lake. It is actually one of the “highest convert baptizing” missions in the Church. There are a number of people in Utah who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior and, because they have rejected the dominant local religion, have rejected religion in general. Only about 1/2 of Salt Lake City are Mormons.

    There are also many Mormons, who have an inaccurate understanding of Evangelical Christianity, with their only exposure being Benny Hinn or Peter Popoff on television. This may be because the Mormon Church does not hold “Exposing Evangelical Christianity” seminars at the chapels, or publish “Jesus vs. Calvin” DVD’s. One of the reasons I moved my family from Utah to North Carolina, is so they could benefit from the experience of knowing other cultures. If you are going to go to Utah to witness for Christ, I do offer the following suggestions:

    1) Go with a spirit of Love. Anybody spoiling for a fight will get rejected immediately. Every 6 months, the Mormon Church holds a general conference. Outside the entrance of the Conference Center, there are dozens of people protesting the Church. While many are cordial, and I’m sure most are sincere, there are also those who scream, berate and mock those entering the building. It doesn’t reflect well on true Christians.

    2) The most powerful testimony you can bear is that of the Jesus Christ. As I said above, there are many in Utah, Mormons and non-mormons alike, who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior. If you present your relationship with Jesus, I will learn from your example. When I was on my mission, we met up with a group from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes called Athletes in Action. These college age young men took the summer to travel around Europe, holding Baseball clinics and proclaiming Jesus. (Baseball was just starting up in Europe in the ’80s) They were actually having quite an impact on the youth they were working with, with several accepting Jesus, until these “missionaries” found out that the teams had Mormon Missionaries (who were with them as Americans who actually knew something about baseball)acting as unofficial coaches on our “preparation day.” Once a couple of them launched into a hateful, ill-informed tirade against Mormons, their effectiveness was gone. These young men had known us for 3-4 months and knew that we weren’t anything like the description of Mormons that these few troublemakers were presenting.

    3) Present what you believe instead of focusing on where they are “wrong.” I went to Austria, which is about 95% Roman Catholic, although only about 3% of the country actually attends church on any given Sunday. When we spoke with the people, our method was to discuss with them what WE believed, not to try to tear down what they believed. We didn’t go into the history of the Popes and the Spanish Inquisition. We didn’t denigrate the various appearances of Mary. We didn’t mock transubstantiation or the prayers to various saints. Of course there were differences of opinions. We didn’t believe in any of these Catholic doctrines, and we were presenting opposing viewpoints, but our focus was always on presenting what we believed, not on trying to disprove what they believed. For example, we didn’t tell them they were going to Hell for praying to Mary and the various saints, we simply taught them to pray to their Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus.

    4) Don’t get caught up in sensationalism. During the first half of the show, the phrase “Mormons believe in a Jesus who is the brother of Satan” came up about a half a dozen times. One caller even claimed that Mormons elevated Satan to a deity. I fully understand the doctrinal distinction that is being presented, but when you phrase it in such a way that makes it sound like Mormons almost worship Satan, it might excite and fire up Evangelicals, but it sounds hateful and, frankly, quite stupid to any active Mormon. We know we don’t worship Satan, and to imply otherwise is offensive.

    5) Don’t mock what Mormons hold sacred I wouldn’t mock a priest for wearing a collar, a nun for wearing a habit, a pastor for wearing clerical robes on Sunday, a Jew for his Yarmulke. I went to the Hill Cumorah pageant a couple of summers ago (an outdoor dramatization of the Book of Mormon, in Palmyra, New York). There was a protester there who was daring the Mormon women to “show me your magic underwear.” I was actually surprised that none of the 3000 people in attendance decided to punch him in the nose. I don’t think he helped anyone get saved that night.

    6) Finally, don’t get discouraged. Remember that you can’t convert anyone, only the Holy Spirit can. All you can do is present the Gospel and let the person make their own decision. One of the main reasons why Mormons send out their Young Men and Women as missionaries is to strengthen THEM. Any convert baptisms are a side benefit. Every time you proclaim your testimony of Jesus, it strengthens your relationship with Him.

    -Peter

  5. Jay said

    Amen to that Peter! Very well said.

  6. Mike Sears said

    Now I assume that Peter is a Mormon? I guess I would be considered evangelical but more accurately a “Reformed Theologian”. I must say that Peter’s advice should be taken seriously. His Item’s 1-6 are about as biblically sound as you can get. Good advice Peter!

  7. Mike Sears said

    That is the Peter from the post, NOT THE BIBLE!! 🙂

  8. Peter of the Post gives commentary of style but not of substance. The Romans were willing to allow the Christians thier Jesus, they just could not say He was the only way. The Apostle Paul was willing to call the greeks foolish for their many gods and to preach the unkown One to them. As a former Mormon I know what they sent us to teach and I know the rumor mill they gave us to propagate regarding the Catholics and Prostestants. It was not pretty. Every time we told Joseph Smith’s story we conveyed further insult to the Christian community.

    The very basis of Mormonism is at variance with the Christian faith delivered by Jesus and His Apostles. And that deviation begins in Genesis with the Creator God proclaimed by that sacred record (which by the way Jesus affirmed). In Mormonism it is totally undone. God is demoted to an organizer and as a creature in the universe rather than the Creator of the universe.

    Adams transgression that we all are punished for in that we have suffered as Adams offspring both a spiritual Death (separation from God) and an inescapable physical death, is made into nonsense. With Mormon doctrine in and out of the Mormon Temples God’s character is assasinated as one who would give conflicting commandments.
    And how meaningless and deceptive to say that we will not be punished for adams transgression…we already are. The sins we commit are simply the evidence of what God has told us in His word. We sin and we die. We are alienated from God. By decree there is not to be any one between us and God. There is room for only one and that is Christ our Mediator with God who has reconciled us to Him. He is our Great and Last High Priest

  9. Todd Wood said

    comment #4 – If I saw that protester (5), I think I would have punched him.

  10. Brad said

    Yes, Peter is a Mormon, I believe. Comments below:

    1) You’re absolutely right, couldn’t agree more. Those tend to represent what I refer to as the “fringe” of Christianity, the Fred Phelps, Darwin Fish, etc…

    2) “The most powerful testimony you can bear is that of the Jesus Christ.” (Peter) I agree – the question, however as you know, and the point of contention b/w Mormons and the Christians who speak out against them is the difference between the Jesus of Mormonism and the Jesus of Christianity. Based on the nature that each religion ascribes to Jesus, each religion worships a different Jesus. That’s the problem.

    “Once a couple of them launched into a hateful, ill-informed tirade against Mormons, their effectiveness was gone. These young men had known us for 3-4 months and knew that we weren’t anything like the description of Mormons that these few troublemakers were presenting.” (Peter) You’d have to define “hateful, ill-informed tirade” better for us to know. Many Mormons I talk to consider anything said that goes against Mormonism a “hateful, ill-informed tirade”, when in reality it is just disagreement that is verbalized, so we need to define the situation better. If they were flat out mean, then I agree, it was not warranted, but if it was just disagreement, it is their right, and they were probably just standing up for what they knew to be differences between the 2 faiths, which I don’t blame them for.

    3) “Present what you believe instead of focusing on where they are “wrong.” (Peter) This is often difficult, b/c they often go hand in hand. It is often hard to show how what I believe differs from what they believe, b/c Mormons will say they believe the same, only the terminology is different (i.e. Jesus to them is not the Jesus of the Bible as we know it, based on the nature ascribed). That’s when terminology MUST be defined, to have a proper understanding. Many Mormons want us to just leave it at what we believe, then say they believe that as well, then get upset when we point out differences. But without pointing out those differences, you can’t truly pick up where the differences lie.

    4) I would agree, to a point. On the show, these points were brought up, and one caller made an indirect leap that since Mormons hold Lucifer to be Jesus’ brother, that since Jesus is deity, that inherently makes Lucifer deity. I disagree, and thus agree with Peter on that. However, what the Mormons call sensationalism is not always so, it is their actual practices and beliefs that they wouldn’t consider “core doctrine”, that others often talk about. It can’t be just swept neatly under a rug – if you believe it, you have to be willing to defend it.

    5) I would agree, with the part about “mocking”. I wouldn’t necessarily make fun of someone for it, but I don’t think it’s inappropriate to point things out that are not Scriptural (i.e. temple ceremonies, baptism for the dead, undergarments, etc…), which Mormons believe are necessary to reach the highest level of the celestial. It’s essentially refuting works-based salvation.

    6) “Finally, don’t get discouraged. Remember that you can’t convert anyone, only the Holy Spirit can. All you can do is present the Gospel and let the person make their own decision. One of the main reasons why Mormons send out their Young Men and Women as missionaries is to strengthen THEM. Any convert baptisms are a side benefit. Every time you proclaim your testimony of Jesus, it strengthens your relationship with Him.” (Peter)

    I would agree that it is the Holy Spirit who works on the hearts of unbelievers to convert them, but it is people who bring the message, and are often one of the vehicles used by the Holy Spirit to further the Word. I would never, however, consider converts as just a “side benefit.” Didn’t Jesus COMMAND in the Great Commission that we go forth and tell others? I don’t think that was for our benefit, but to further His Kingdom. I do agree that telling others can strengthen our relationship with Jesus, but that can be done in many other ways as well – the primary goal of witnessing is to tell them about Christ, not to strengthen our relationship. Big difference there between Mormonism and Christianity, aside from the fact that Mormons are still preaching a different Jesus than Christians.

    To those who would agree with everything Peter said (Mike), just be careful to discern EXACTLY what you’re agreeing with, and be SURE that it does mesh with the Bible and the Jesus portrayed in it.

  11. As a Mormon, I also agree that all Evangelists are welcome to go to Salt Lake City to share their personal testimonies. The more exposure they have to members of the faith, the more genuine and real will be their understanding of them and their love for them as their fellowmen. This can be an opportunity for growth for all involved.

    Your approach should be that with which you are comfortable, but if you are looking to make an impression as Christians, listen to Peter. It has certainly been successful in drawing the Spirit into the home and hearts of those who are sincere so that the gospel can be mutually discussed and the Spirit can witness. It worked for me!

    Amanda

  12. Amanda said

    Important Food for Thought:

    If any one of you is seriously considering going to Utah to help the Mormons in a way that you would consider meaningful, in addition to just sharing your personal convictions, there is one more point that that has not been but needs to be addressed as far as preparation so that your trip will NOT result in touching the hearts and minds (necessary for conversion) of only people who are “Mormon” in name only, not in conviction: Read the Book of Mormon.

    Speaking as one who was converted to LDS doctrine by the Spirit as I prayed each day and then read Biblical and Book of Mormon verses side by side, your coming to my door without knowing what you are asking me to reject would be like an atheist who has never read the Bible coming to your door and saying: “The Bible is not true. It is a book of fiction.” The proposition would seem not only impossible but self-serving and disingenuous. To have read the Book of Mormon as part of your preparations and to be able to converse about it objectively and intelligently would reflect a genuine caring about the subject at hand as well as about the people you seek to help.

    If you think this part of preparing unimportant, remember that Mormons believe The Book of Mormon to be the “cornerstone” of their religion. It is, we believe, the Lord’s converting and gathering tool of His children in the latter days. We also believe it to be the “most correct” book upon the earth since it was only translated once. Joseph Smith was an unlearned young man who could barely write an intelligent letter to a friend at the time he was translating “by the gift and power of God,” according to his wife. When he took it in for printing, the manuscript was one long, long paragraph. The printer told him to add punctuation to it to make it more readable, and since that wasn’t his strong point either, there were many corrections that had to be made later. These were primarily from both Joseph’s lack of grammatical knowledge and possibly also from the printer himself who with much more expertise, trying to help, likely added punctuation to clarify meaning for readers to the best of his knowledge. Punctuation often defines interpretation, creating the need for more corrected editions later. Paragraph headings, footnotes, and indentions, etc. were also made in different printings through the years.

    Here is a made up example of the importance of punctuation:
    “A woman: without her, man is incomplete.” or…
    “A woman without her man is incomplete.”

    It is the same book today, however, with the same message, complete with corrections made from notes Joseph made in the margins of both the first printed copy and from a corrected original manuscript when it was found years later hidden within a foundational cornerstone under the Nauvoo House in Illinois.

    I have said that the Book of Mormon, alongside the Bible, speaks for itself; many of us have found that God also speaks for it. And isn’t this what it’s all about? Has God really spoken directly to man once more in these latter days?

  13. Brad said

    A Christian DOES NOT have to “read” the BOM in order to convert Mormons, or to tell them what they (the Christians) believe. Nor do they have to read it to understand what the Mormons believe – that can easily be gathered by not just non-Mormon sites, but by Mormon sites, as well. It’s not that hard. Problem is, when you REALLY get down and start asking the tough questions of the Mormons, they try to do an end run around what they believe, to often avoid having to explicitly saying it while trying to sound as close to your belief as possible. It is the absolute height of deception.

    If an atheist were to come to my door to try and convince me that “the Bible isn’t true”, then I would listen, as long as they had facts, and not just opinions, to back it up, and then we would discuss the facts. I would give my side from the Bible, and they would give their side from whatever basis they drew from. Same would apply to the Mormons. You just have to know what their objections are, what verses they typically use, and why they are incorrect. And you DON’T need to read the entire BOM to figure that out.

    “If you think this part of preparing unimportant, remember that Mormons believe The Book of Mormon to be the “cornerstone” of their religion.” (Amanda)

    NEWSFLASH folks – if this isn’t a trigger to Christians to let them know that Mormonism is NOT the same as Christianity, then I don’t know what is. Christianity is based on the Bible, the Word of God divinely inspired by Him, and shown to us through Jesus. Mormonism is based, among other things, but chiefly, on the BOM, an entirely different book altogether, and one NOT inspired by God, but written by a man out of his own thoughts.

    “We also believe it to be the “most correct” book upon the earth since it was only translated once.” (Amanda)

    Of course, we will read below about how that “really” isn’t true, but see all the excuses for why they still believe it’s true. What I’d like to see, though, is the original material from which he supposedly translated the BOM – you know, like all the ancient Greek & Hebrew documents that the Bible has? I’d love to peruse those, to see how accurate the translation is. Could we do that for the BOM?

    “Joseph Smith was an unlearned young man who could barely write an intelligent letter to a friend at the time he was translating “by the gift and power of God,” according to his wife. When he took it in for printing, the manuscript was one long, long paragraph. The printer told him to add punctuation to it to make it more readable, and since that wasn’t his strong point either, there were many corrections that had to be made later. These were primarily from both Joseph’s lack of grammatical knowledge and possibly also from the printer himself who with much more expertise, trying to help, likely added punctuation to clarify meaning for readers to the best of his knowledge. Punctuation often defines interpretation, creating the need for more corrected editions later. Paragraph headings, footnotes, and indentions, etc. were also made in different printings through the years.” (Amanda)

    Translation: it wasn’t just translated once, and the changes that have been made have NOT all just been “punctuation” or other trivial things. They have changed the very meaning of verses, which has changed the meaning of whole modes of thought. Yes, the example she gave is an example of how punctuation can change the meaning. And if punctuation were the ONLY thing changed, she might have a point. Problem is, it’s not, not for a second.

    “It is the same book today, however, with the same message, complete with corrections made from notes Joseph made in the margins of both the first printed copy and from a corrected original manuscript when it was found years later hidden within a foundational cornerstone under the Nauvoo House in Illinois.” (Amanda)

    See the revisions? Not translated once. Again, I’d love to see those original manuscripts this was translated from, to examine the language. Can you tell us where those are at?

    “I have said that the Book of Mormon, alongside the Bible, speaks for itself; many of us have found that God also speaks for it. And isn’t this what it’s all about? Has God really spoken directly to man once more in these latter days?” (Amanda)

    No Amanda, God has NOT spoken directly to man once more, either through the BOM or through your supposed prophets. The BOM is an absolute and complete fraud that deceives people. Once more, where can we examine the manuscripts it was translated from, to check for ourselves? That sure would be nice.

  14. anonymous said

    I’m no Mormon, but I think we’re treading on dangerous ground when we say that God has only spoken once. Jesus is the living Word made flesh, of course God speaks through the Bible, but God speaks to people every day for no one can come to Christ apart from Holy Spirit calling him/her. On another note, I might be mistaken, but I don’t think the original tablets from which the Book of Mormon was (supposedly I would say) translated still exist so it’s impossible to discuss its translation.

  15. Brad said

    “I’m no Mormon, but I think we’re treading on dangerous ground when we say that God has only spoken once. Jesus is the living Word made flesh, of course God speaks through the Bible, but God speaks to people every day for no one can come to Christ apart from Holy Spirit calling him/her.” (Anonymous)

    We’re not talking the call of salvation by the Holy Spirit, here, Anonymous. Mormons are talking about DIRECT, CONTINUING revelation from God to the prophets, of which it’s occurred many times, as evidenced by the differing stands they’ve taken on many issues over the years. That’s a different thing entirely, to say that God has revealed many more books and revelations to us than are contained in the Bible. Let’s make sure we’re real clear on that point.

    “On another note, I might be mistaken, but I don’t think the original tablets from which the Book of Mormon was (supposedly I would say) translated still exist so it’s impossible to discuss its translation.” (Anonymous)

    Bingo – thank you for making my point.

  16. Brad said

    Since you appear to be jumping in a little late, let me be clear:

    “I’m no Mormon, but I think we’re treading on dangerous ground when we say that God has only spoken once. Jesus is the living Word made flesh, of course God speaks through the Bible, but God speaks to people every day for no one can come to Christ apart from Holy Spirit calling him/her.” (Anonymous)

    We’re not talking the call of salvation by the Holy Spirit, here, Anonymous. Mormons are talking about DIRECT, CONTINUING revelation from God to the prophets, of which it’s occurred many times, as evidenced by the differing stands they’ve taken on many issues over the years. That’s a different thing entirely, to say that God has revealed many more books and revelations to us than are contained in the Bible. Let’s make sure we’re real clear on that point.

    “On another note, I might be mistaken, but I don’t think the original tablets from which the Book of Mormon was (supposedly I would say) translated still exist so it’s impossible to discuss its translation.” (Anonymous)

    Bingo – thank you for making my point.

  17. Brad said

    Sorry, double post.

  18. anonymous said

    We don’t disagree. Of course the canon of scripture is closed.

  19. Oh, what a tangled web one weaves, when one lives in in the “Mormon conspiracy zone.” It would be funny if it weren’t so sad and misleading. This “world according to Garp” is a paranoid, distorted one, and I really don’t want to be there when its partakers finally discover the truth–which certain will “out.” Wasted portions of ones’ life so invested in it are hard to recover.

    The original tablets were taken back, but three early manuscripts are here, as well as the first printing of the Book, and our critic Brad has read none of them, not even the latest editions. (I didn’t have to go there since I went directly to God and used the resources He gave me to find my answer. I’ve seen pictures of excerpts in Church magazines too.) Linguistic tests have been administered which prove that one man couldn’t have written the whole Book of Mormon, that the writing styles of the different books within have different characteristics. That and the discovery of “chiasmus,” an ancient form of Hebrew poetry which was unheard of in Joseph’s day–is another sign of its authenticity. Simple things, like the fact that Joseph never referred to the language of the Nephites’ fathers as “Hebrew” in the Book (that reference term wasn’t used in ancient times). One slip would have given this young, unlearned man away. Instead, the translation said, “the language of my fathers.” These are just 3 small signs that the work is authentic. There are many, many more that our critic Brad is not aware of.

    He also said:
    “A Christian DOES NOT have to “read” the BOM in order to convert Mormons”

    I’m talking about “real Mormons,” not inactive ones, or ones without a testimony of the Holy Ghost, or even a few new members who had not the strong, personal revelation they needed before baptism and haven’t had time to grow a very large testimony. (The statement, “Woe unto him that offends the Lord’s “little ones” can apply to more than just children. I became as a little child when I was born again–an open slate upon which the Spirit could write.)

    Does logic not dictate that a movie critic has to see a movie to critique it? A book reveiwer must read a book to critique it? With your description and your confidence in your description of Mormonism, Brad, your words become pure practiced deception, hopefully unbeknownst to you–yours and the words of the anti-Mormons who wrote the books you accept as “gospel truth.”

    (Continuing Revelation)… “as evidenced by the differing stands they’ve taken on many issues over the years.” We’ve been here before and it is a moot issue. God took a different stand on circumcision, an “eternal covenant,” and on when to take the gospel to the Gentiles, from the OT to the NT to name two in the Bible. He is everchangin and yet Jesus took upon Himself the form of a man.It doesn’t tell you if the revelations of the Church were genuine. Only God can do that.

    More and more evidences will come forth to prove the work, but I’m sure they will come from Mormon scientists and archaeologists because they are the only ones who believe in it enough to obtain the money and spend the time to produce it. They are also the only ones who feel enough public pressure from critics to bend over backward to do it fairly and objectively.

    “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

  20. God is “unchanging.” “everchangin” was an obvious blooper.

  21. stu said

    Some great discussion—-let’s do this on the air. Amanda, since we’ve had more ‘non-LDS’ guess lately, would you be willing to represent the LDS side and I could have you on with whoever calls in :LDS or non-LDS,
    or I can moderate a friendly discussion between you and Brad, since you two have had the most discussion online—
    please let me know our thoughts—-of course we could do both as well.
    thanks for the thoughtful comments. stu

  22. Stu,

    I really do appreciate your invitation, and I also have confidence in your part as moderator. I would want to talk with someone less “hardcore” anti- than Brad. In fact, I would want to talk with someone who at least pretended to be objective since I’m interested in more than “putting on a show.” Brad would have us in the Land of (Dirty) Oz he has spoken of more quickly than I could say “translated by the gift and power of God.”

    Still, what I said before still stands: I am not an official spokesperson for the Church, and much of what I would say personally is on this blog. Actually, a “Meet the Mormons” show all by itself would do far more good in introducing your audience to what we really are about than any talk with Brad or another person full of venom about the Church. If your intent is educational, that is the course that should be taken on this particular radio station.

    I really appreciate your blog offering an opportunity for members of the Church to give a more balanced reality check about our faith.

    PS If there were a “Meet the Mormons” show, Peter would also be good to have on it judging from his posts.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  23. Amanda said

    To anonymous: If the scriptural cannon is closed, it is because man has closed it; not God. There is no revelation within the Bible other than that given by a particular author about a particular book within itself (Duetoronomy and Revelation) which claims anything is “closed.” Isn’t God still all powerful, and doesn’t He love us as much now as He did in ancient times? Most importantly, isn’t He still “running the show” and “calling the shots” and not man? His winding up scene will be most glorious, and the restitution of all things which was promised by God in the Bible has already begun.

  24. ray said

    Doesn’t this whole discussion show that God is not revealing “his truth”? If he were, there would be agreement on these basic issues such as who God is and how to be reconciled to God and which book is the real one. This is also why there are so many denominations. You are all just arguing from your own experience and background.

  25. Amanda said

    Ray,

    I challenge you to read the Book of Mormon with pure intent and an open mind, pray about it, learn about the Church by attending it firsthand, and ponder all you are exposed to while reading your Bible too; then see what you think. Our claim is that He has revealed His truth anew; and that is why it’s a worldwide religion with over 200,000 converts per year. The harmony comes from within and is one of the signs of its truthfulness.

    It’s true that our personal experience with God in the end is all we have to go on, and I’d stake my life on what has been revealed to me. In no way is any of this bragging because everything I have mentioned glorifies God.

    Amanda

  26. Brad said

    “The original tablets were taken back, but three early manuscripts are here, as well as the first printing of the Book, and our critic Brad has read none of them, not even the latest editions. (I didn’t have to go there since I went directly to God and used the resources He gave me to find my answer. I’ve seen pictures of excerpts in Church magazines too.)” (Amanda)

    Well heck, since you’ve seen pictures of excerpts in Mormon literature, that should just wrap it up right there! I mean, if you would have said THAT earlier… In other words, “we can’t see the original stuff, but we can sure take Smith’s word for it, since we have his early copies. Right, that’ll work.

    Linguistic tests have been administered which prove that one man couldn’t have written the whole Book of Mormon, that the writing styles of the different books within have different characteristics. That and the discovery of “chiasmus,” an ancient form of Hebrew poetry which was unheard of in Joseph’s day–is another sign of its authenticity.” (Amanda)

    Who administered the “linguistic tests” that prove its authenticity? Just curious. And I don’t know about everyone else on here, but boy oh boy, the whole “chiasmus” thing sure might be the clincher… Are you kidding me? These are your evidences? Mormons love to point to the many evidences they have for the BOM, but they are so small and insignificant, and many based on “could be’s” or “possibly’s” or “maybe’s”, that they can’t truly be relied upon.

    “Simple things, like the fact that Joseph never referred to the language of the Nephites’ fathers as “Hebrew” in the Book (that reference term wasn’t used in ancient times). One slip would have given this young, unlearned man away. Instead, the translation said, “the language of my fathers.” These are just 3 small signs that the work is authentic. There are many, many more that our critic Brad is not aware of.” (Amanda)

    Yes, “small signs” is correct. See my comments above.

    “I’m talking about “real Mormons,” not inactive ones, or ones without a testimony of the Holy Ghost, or even a few new members who had not the strong, personal revelation they needed before baptism and haven’t had time to grow a very large testimony.” (Amanda)

    Yes, the ever-present word “testimony”. Another word for “stuck around long enough to buy into all the falsehood of the LDS church.”

    “Does logic not dictate that a movie critic has to see a movie to critique it? A book reveiwer must read a book to critique it? With your description and your confidence in your description of Mormonism, Brad, your words become pure practiced deception, hopefully unbeknownst to you–yours and the words of the anti-Mormons who wrote the books you accept as “gospel truth.” (Amanda)

    Nope – I know enough about Mormonism, and probably more than you think I do. I certainly know enough to know that it’s untrue, and has misled millions to an eternal hell as their destination. If my doctrine, which comes from the Bible’s teachings, is pure deception, that’s certainly your right to think so, but know that you’re wrong.

    “(Continuing Revelation)… “as evidenced by the differing stands they’ve taken on many issues over the years.” We’ve been here before and it is a moot issue. God took a different stand on circumcision, an “eternal covenant,” and on when to take the gospel to the Gentiles, from the OT to the NT to name two in the Bible. He is everchangin and yet Jesus took upon Himself the form of a man.It doesn’t tell you if the revelations of the Church were genuine. Only God can do that.” (Amanda)

    God does NOT change (as I see you referenced later; I HOPE it was a slip). By Jesus taking the form of a man, God’s NATURE didn’t change, He simply revealed Himself to man via the person of Jesus, 2nd member of the Trinity. This isn’t any kind of Biblical error or change. And God has told me that the revelations of the LDS church aren’t genuine. Do you know how? B/c they don’t mesh with what the Bible says. That’s the measure we should be using, anyway.

    “More and more evidences will come forth to prove the work, but I’m sure they will come from Mormon scientists and archaeologists because they are the only ones who believe in it enough to obtain the money and spend the time to produce it. They are also the only ones who feel enough public pressure from critics to bend over backward to do it fairly and objectively.” (Amanda)

    In other words, “we’ll provide our own evidence of ourselves, to ourselves.” Yep, that’s convincing.

  27. Brad said

    “I would want to talk with someone less “hardcore” anti- than Brad.” (Amanda)

    I’m not hardcore “anti-Mormonism”, per se, Amanda; but I am strongly against any religion that purports to be of God and clearly isn’t, yet is saying it is and misleading people on a daily basis. I will ALWAYS speak up about that, b/c it is wrong.

    “In fact, I would want to talk with someone who at least pretended to be objective since I’m interested in more than “putting on a show.” Brad would have us in the Land of (Dirty) Oz he has spoken of more quickly than I could say “translated by the gift and power of God.” (Amanda)

    I am objective, Amanda, I have looked at what is there and simply do not believe it, in light of what I know to be true in the Bible. You seem to equate “objective” with “agreement”, and those don’t go hand in hand, unfortunately. If they did, would a jury ever be considered “objective”? They always agree (unless it’s hung) with EITHER the defendant or the plaintiff, but not both. So one party could always call them “objective”, while the other could call them “not objective” or “unfair”, when they simply just didn’t buy the evidence presented.

    “Still, what I said before still stands: I am not an official spokesperson for the Church, and much of what I would say personally is on this blog. Actually, a “Meet the Mormons” show all by itself would do far more good in introducing your audience to what we really are about than any talk with Brad or another person full of venom about the Church. If your intent is educational, that is the course that should be taken on this particular radio station.” (Amanda)

    I agree, Amanda, an educational show on Mormons would be great, b/c many Christians don’t know the difference in beliefs you have.

    “I really appreciate your blog offering an opportunity for members of the Church to give a more balanced reality check about our faith.” (Amanda)

    The “reality check” is that it’s different, worships a different God & Jesus, believes in works, believes in special revelation, and is not on track towards Heaven. That is what I want to make sure the readers of this blog understand, so they are not led astray. If, after reading anything on here, one chooses to still explore Mormonism, I cannot help that, but I can say I’ve done all I can to make sure they know it’s not Christianity.

    And let me be TOTALLY clear, Amanda, to you and everyone else on here – I DO NOT DISLIKE MORMONS (the people), I DISLIKE MORMONISM (the religion). There is a notable difference that needs to be made there. Jesus doesn’t call us to hate our brothers, rather to love them as He loved the church. And I do love Mormons (the people), and hope and pray that they will come to the realization that they are proceeding down a path that will NOT save them. If I didn’t care, then I wouldn’t bother with it, b/c it wouldn’t matter to me. But it does.

  28. Brad said

    “Doesn’t this whole discussion show that God is not revealing “his truth”? If he were, there would be agreement on these basic issues such as who God is and how to be reconciled to God and which book is the real one. This is also why there are so many denominations. You are all just arguing from your own experience and background.” (Ray)

    Ray, this discussion doesn’t show that at all. It simply shows that Satan is still in the world, seeking whom he may devour. If what you said was true, then everyone would be a Christian, wouldn’t they, b/c we’d all agree? Clearly that’s not the case. And if the answer is that God doesn’t reveal His truth to us (which I don’t believe), then you’d have to say that life and eternity then becomes one big crapshoot, b/c nobody would know whether they were right or wrong until it was too late. So clearly that isn’t the case either. So we’re left with one alternative – God has revealed His truth, and some choose to accept it, and many others choose to reject it. If you have read any of this blog, or any of the previous Mormonism blogs, you can see that it has been demonstrated that Mormonism is not true, Ray. And if you are willing, and would like, I can explain to you all about Christianity, whatever you’d like to know. I will certainly leave that up to you.

    When Amanda says she challenges “you to read the Book of Mormon with pure intent and an open mind, pray about it, learn about the Church by attending it firsthand, and ponder all you are exposed to while reading your Bible too; then see what you think”, I would like for you to realize one thing, and I’ll only say it once – this is not how we are told to come to the truth, according to the Bible, God’s Word to us. We are told to read Scripture and examine it to see if what we hear is true. We are NOT told to see what WE think, b/c WE can be misled by others and can even mislead ourselves, b/c we are all sinful creatures and our own hearts and minds are deceptive. I would personally advise you to stay as far away from the Mormon church as you can, Ray, b/c they preach a different gospel and a different Jesus than the Bible.

    Amanda said that Mormons believe that God “has revealed His truth anew; and that is why it’s a worldwide religion with over 200,000 converts per year.” Ray, Islam has many more than that convert in a year, as does Christianity and Hinduism. Does that make them all true? No, b/c they all believe different things. The number of converts does not provide any evidence as to the truthfulness of the religion. Keep that in mind.

    Amanda also says that she would “stake [her] life on what has been revealed to [her].” And she has, to be sure, but I believe that faith to be misplaced, based on what the Bible says. Ray, consider that you WILL be staking your eternal life on something, when you decide. The question is – what do you want to base your decision on? Feelings that you’re right, or the Word of God (the Bible)? I’ve made my choice, and Amanda’s made hers. The rest is up to you.

  29. Amanda said

    “And I do love Mormons (the people),” Brad said.

    This is certainly evident (not) in your emails since no Mormon can read them without being offended to some degree.

    Love is not bearing false witness as if it were God’s truth according to the Bible. Incidentally, you did not address any of the biblical scriptures I gave you in the last couple of emails. I remain unconvinced that you are not sweeping the inconvenient ones to your “take” on the Bible under your carpet.

    Love is not condemning a book of which you have no knowledge. (The pictures I saw were direct photographs of the mistakes Joseph pointed out, and you can also see first editions in museums–even in Durham, I believe.) Also, an article on the subject can be found in one of the “Ensign Magazines” on LDS.org.

    Love is caring enough to know what makes a people special and as outstanding as the “Mormons” are collectively. People act according to their beliefs, and Jesus gave you the litmus test to measure their substance and source of attributes: by their fruits ye shall know them. When I found the Church, I had to pinch myself continually for the next 3 years. It felt like I was HOME at last because of the peace and love and happiness that dwells within the Church. You know nothing of this work, and it is evident to anyone who does firsthand.

    Love is never having to say you’re sorry! (Just kidding, but I expect an apology from you when you finally learn about what you talk so freely disparage.)

    “The question is – what do you want to base your decision on? Feelings that you’re right, or the Word of God (the Bible)?” asked Brad.

    Better yet, why not have both as God has promised?

    The 200,000 number of converts per year is significant in that it shows the Church is thriving when many are dwindling. That’s all. Only the Holy Ghost can speak to its truth, and He might be offended at your calling him just “a feeling” apart from the Bible, the word of God.

    I do maintain that the biggest difference between us is our understanding of the Holy Ghost and His mission and gifts in our lives. One minute with this member of the Godhead can change a life and even a mindset that is largely misinformed.

    Where did you get the idea that I said God’s nature changed by the fact that the Father sent His Son to the earth in a mortal body? When I think of God’s nature, I think primarily of His inner qualities, purposes, and characteristics, Brad, but there was a definite physical change in Jesus Christ when He took on mortality. After His resurrection, He left with a glorified resurrected body that will never just disappear. He will return with the same body according to the Bible. (He had a body of spirit before coming here.)

    “If you (Ray) have read any of this blog, or any of the previous Mormonism blogs, you can see that it has been demonstrated that Mormonism is not true,” (Brad)

    What you have demonstrated, Brad, is your allegiance to traditional Christianity in which the Bible has been interpreted in a few crucial areas by man’s best guess. You have also demonstrated that you know very little about the subject of Mormonism which has been at hand (barely 50%, and I’m being generous) except what is written by professional anti-Mormons in addition to your interpretation of the Bible.

    Mostly, you have demonstrated the need for a Paul Harvey, or someone else who does know the faith to whom you might listen with courtesy, respect and a little pondering who could tell you “the rest of the story.” (The missionaries would do fine, but you should call them only when you are ready to give “waiting upon the Lord” to do your interpreting for you a try. Without the Book of Mormon, firsthand experience, and sincere prayer, that is a story you will never know.

    I close with my own certain testimony–knowledge of the Holy Ghost–that the Lord has restored His true and living Church to the earth complete with the priesthood powers and authority to officiate and preside over it. There is a living prophet upon the earth today, and he serves with modern-day witnesses of Christ, the Council of the Twelve, all under the direction of Jesus Christ to help prepare us for life each and every day in addition to the Second Coming of our Lord.

  30. Brad said

    “This is certainly evident (not) in your emails since no Mormon can read them without being offended to some degree.” (Amanda)

    Again, Amanda, you’re confusing “love” (as you have “objective”) with “agreement.” I do not now, and never will, agree with Mormonism – the evidence and truthfulness just isn’t there. But as I’ve said before, I do not hate Mormons (the people), rather I love them, b/c God says to love your neighbors. I don’t agree with them, or their religion, but I do love them. As I mentioned before, if I didn’t care about whether you were right or wrong, I wouldn’t have been on here for so long. If what I say offends a Mormon, then I apologize that you, or anyone, is offended, however that won’t keep me from standing up for what I believe and know to be true, no matter how offensive my disagreement with Mormonism might be.

    “Love is not bearing false witness as if it were God’s truth according to the Bible. Incidentally, you did not address any of the biblical scriptures I gave you in the last couple of emails. I remain unconvinced that you are not sweeping the inconvenient ones to your “take” on the Bible under your carpet.” (Amanda)

    I agree – if I were bearing false witness, I would not be loving. But I’m not. I am sure of what I believe in, just as you are sure of what you believe in. You are welcome to disagree with me, as you have, and call it as you see it. It doesn’t bother me. If someone believes strongly in something, I naturally expect them to stand up and defend it. I have addressed, in one of our prior blogs, all the Scriptures you threw, and showed you exactly how your interpretation was faulty and didn’t hold to the whole of Scripture. There are no “inconvenient” Scriptures, and there are none which would prove what I have said to be wrong. Since I have already been through a “Scripture battle” with you weeks ago, and since I personally dislike the KJV translation, I will not enter into another one with you. You are free to think what you will about that.

    “Love is not condemning a book of which you have no knowledge. (The pictures I saw were direct photographs of the mistakes Joseph pointed out, and you can also see first editions in museums–even in Durham, I believe.) Also, an article on the subject can be found in one of the “Ensign Magazines” on LDS.org.” (Amanda)

    I have knowledge enough of the book to know what it’s about, and to know where it’s wrong. Have I read the whole thing? No. Will I ever? No. Do I care what’s said in “The Ensign”? No. Will I ever? No. I don’t need to read the whole book to know where it’s wrong, Amanda, or to know that it differs from the Bible in key areas.

    “Love is caring enough to know what makes a people special and as outstanding as the “Mormons” are collectively.” (Amanda)

    As to their general morals, I will agree – the Mormons have most people groups soundly beat, including many Christians. No doubt about that.

    “People act according to their beliefs, and Jesus gave you the litmus test to measure their substance and source of attributes: by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Amanda)

    “Fruits” can be widely interpreted – their actions, their beliefs, what they say, etc… The Bible also gives us the “litmus test” for knowing what is correct and what is not – testing what we hear against Scripture itself (the Bible), to see if it matches up. If it doesn’t, we know it’s not of God. That’s what I have done with Mormonism.

    “Love is never having to say you’re sorry! (Just kidding, but I expect an apology from you when you finally learn about what you talk so freely disparage.)” (Amanda)

    Amanda, we are in fact commanded to both forgive and ask forgiveness for our transgressions. And as I mentioned earlier, I apologize for anyone who takes offense to what I say. But like I said, I believe it and know it to be true, and will not apologize for speaking the truth, now or ever.

    “Better yet, why not have both as God has promised?” (Amanda)

    But God never promised us our feelings would tell us we’re right, Amanda. But He did leave us the Bible to discern truth.

    “Only the Holy Ghost can speak to its truth, and He might be offended at your calling him just “a feeling” apart from the Bible, the word of God.” (Amanda)

    ONLY the Holy Ghost can? See, right there you’re going against Scripture, which says that we look to Scripture to see if what we hear is right. The Holy Spirit and what He says will NEVER go against Scripture, b/c Scripture is inspired by God and written by men as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit Himself, so obviously what He says won’t contradict Scripture. Therefore, if ideas develop that are supposedly confirmed by the Holy Spirit, all one has to do is look to the Bible to confirm. If the ideas conflict, then either the Bible is wrong (which I don’t think you’d say is true), or the message is NOT of the Holy Spirit.

    “I do maintain that the biggest difference between us is our understanding of the Holy Ghost and His mission and gifts in our lives. One minute with this member of the Godhead can change a life and even a mindset that is largely misinformed.” (Amanda)

    The Holy Spirit is vital to our lives as Christians – I would never deny that. He ministers to us, encourages us, etc… I’m not sure what you think our “differences” are related to the Holy Spirit. I think you attribute everything you “feel” as being of the Holy Spirit, but if it’s not matching up to Scripture, then I think you’re WRONGLY attributing what you feel. I know that the Holy Spirit and Scripture will NEVER be in conflict, and since I can easily see what Scripture says, then it is not hard to see what the Holy Spirit would truly be telling me, b/c I have a standard I can compare it to – a standard from God in the Bible.

    “What you have demonstrated, Brad, is your allegiance to traditional Christianity in which the Bible has been interpreted in a few crucial areas by man’s best guess.” (Amanda)

    Man must make interpretations of the Bible. But man can be sure his interpretations are correct, if the interpretations hold to the whole of Scripture and aren’t in conflict with other sections of the Bible. I am allegiant to God, as He is described in His Word. People can interpret the Bible by any means they wish – but if those interpretations do not tie in with the whole of Scripture, then we know the interpretations are not correct.

    “You have also demonstrated that you know very little about the subject of Mormonism which has been at hand (barely 50%, and I’m being generous) except what is written by professional anti-Mormons in addition to your interpretation of the Bible.” (Amanda)

    That’s right, Amanda – I know nothing about Mormonism. I suppose that’s why I’ve been able to keep a 2-month conversation going back and forth. And of course, all of us “anti-Mormons”, as you like to put it, can’t think for ourselves, so you think we must all rely on the same set of writings from others. It couldn’t possibly be that we disagree with Mormonism in the same areas as other people, could it?

    “Mostly, you have demonstrated the need for a Paul Harvey, or someone else who does know the faith to whom you might listen with courtesy, respect and a little pondering who could tell you “the rest of the story.” (The missionaries would do fine, but you should call them only when you are ready to give “waiting upon the Lord” to do your interpreting for you a try. Without the Book of Mormon, firsthand experience, and sincere prayer, that is a story you will never know.” (Amanda)

    I don’t want to know “the rest of the story”, Amanda. I know how it’s going to finish, and I don’t want to be around for that.

    “I close with my own certain testimony–knowledge of the Holy Ghost–that the Lord has restored His true and living Church to the earth complete with the priesthood powers and authority to officiate and preside over it. There is a living prophet upon the earth today, and he serves with modern-day witnesses of Christ, the Council of the Twelve, all under the direction of Jesus Christ to help prepare us for life each and every day in addition to the Second Coming of our Lord.” (Amanda)

    I consider this fairly close to blasphemy, so I won’t say much more.

  31. Amanda said

    Brad said, “The Holy Spirit and what He says will NEVER go against Scripture, b/c Scripture is inspired by God and written by men as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit Himself, so obviously what He says won’t contradict Scripture.” (Brad)

    We are in total agreement here, Brad. The only question here is whether or not we as individuals are truly interpreting scripture by the power of the Holy Ghost. If we are, scripture and Spirit will not contradict one another. If we aren’t, the true or full meaning may escape us. It also helps to know the history of key traditional Christian beliefs. It’s kind of like understanding the traditions of Christmas and where some of them originated. It gives one a more complete picture and enables one to decide with both mind and heart exactly what should really be held onto and what one can in good conscience let go of….kind of like reading the Book of Mormon and deciding just how much of what you, Brad, have said about it is true. Knowledge is a good thing; a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. You and I both feel that we are correct in our interpretations, and yet we see some significant contradictions with the full body of biblical scripture in each other’s interpretations.

    “That’s right, Amanda. I know nothing about Mormonism.”(At last! Thank you for admitting what we all knew anyway! 🙂 BIG grin.) “I suppose that’s why I’ve been able to keep a 2-month conversation going back and forth.” (Brad)

    Brad, surely you can’t be the only one who doesn’t recognize that it was not your knowledge but pig-headedness on BOTH sides that kept us going for 2 months, can you? No one who has read this blog will know much about Mormonism since real knowledge of it is a journey of personal revelation while studying and pondering both the Bible and Book of Mormon that yields an intertwining of genuine knowledge–light and truth. It is a process, and that is why the missionaries play such an important part as this learning takes place. It’s wonderful to be able to ask them dozens of questions that will come to mind, and if they and their inspiration can’t answer them, they will consult those who can.

    “Again, Amanda, you’re confusing “love” (as you have “objective”) with “agreement.” (Brad)

    And again, Brad. I’m afraid you’re confusing “omniscience” with one humble man’s opinion. (How would you know what I’m thinking?) I never, from your first email, expected you to agree with me, but I did expect you to want to know more about my faith from one who has experienced it firsthand. Somehow, I think that the Lord doesn’t care so much that we inflict our “rightness or wrongness” on each other so much as He wants us to reflect His characteristics when having such an exchange so that we can study objectively for ourselves and let the Spirit do the teaching. I don’t think either of us came out with flying colors on that one, but it was good practice in trying to love those who “despitefully use you,” or rather, use and define your faith to convey their own “supposed knowledge.”

    “Only the Holy Ghost can (speak to its truth)? See, right there you’re going against Scripture, which says that we look to Scripture to see if what we hear is right.” (Brad)

    I have to give you this one, Brad. You’re right! (Enjoy)In addition,I still hold, however, that if the Spirit doesn’t witness to us, our knowledge is not sure and certain but primarily intellectual. Thus… “No man can say Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost…”(1 Cor. 12:3) God wants to speak to us, spirit to spirit, as we study the truth and ponder and pray. Once He does, there is no going back.

    “But man can be sure his interpretations are correct, if the interpretations hold to the whole of Scripture and aren’t in conflict with other sections of the Bible.” (Brad)

    Again, true only if his understanding of the whole of Scripture is complete and his eyes are open to the “whole of scripture.”
    Sorry, but the scriptural analyses you gave me some time ago and didn’t want to revisit (on where you believed faith and works fit in to God’s plan)–even though I included many new ones which further call your interpretations into question–just don’t hold up to God’s litmus test as you described it in my opinion. When you were doing that, my father was in the hospital and dying. I had little time to give your post a thoughtful response.

    “And of course, all of us “anti-Mormons”, as you like to put it, can’t think for ourselves, so you think we must all rely on the same set of writings from others. It couldn’t possibly be that we disagree with Mormonism in the same areas as other people, could it?” (Brad)

    As to the question you ask at the end of this paragaph, it could be, Brad, that you disagree with Mormonism in the same areas as other people–if you and the other people understood what the teachings of Mormonism are and how the Church operates. Since most of your ideas and judgments passed come directly from the pages and complaints of sources I’m only too familiar with from visits to the Baptist bookstores, it is obvious to me that these ideas are not your own and originated neither with you nor with these “other people.” (Especially since there is no firsthand experience with the Church, the Book of Mormon, or the members evident in your writing.) Reading the excerpts from the BOM in such material is not what I consider “knowing enough about the Book.”

    “I consider this (Amanda’s testimony) fairly close to blasphemy, so I won’t say much more.” (Brad)

    Promise? 🙂

    Actually, that is one pearl I will have to account for to God for casting before this audience. (Please understand, I am not calling you “swine,” but there was no real preparedness or evidence of preparedness on your part that would compell me to go there. On the other hand, I want nothing more than to go on record standing by that testimony until Judgment Day.

  32. Brad said

    “The only question here is whether or not we as individuals are truly interpreting scripture by the power of the Holy Ghost. If we are, scripture and Spirit will not contradict one another. If we aren’t, the true or full meaning may escape us.” (Amanda)

    Wouldn’t it be “if we aren’t, then scripture and Spirit WILL contradict one another”? There’s really only 2 choices here.

    “You and I both feel that we are correct in our interpretations, and yet we see some significant contradictions with the full body of biblical scripture in each other’s interpretations.” (Amanda)

    There are no contradictions with what I say, b/c I am using only one book (the Bible) and taking all Scripture from there. Since the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, then interpretations of Scripture that conform to the rest of Scripture by definition are not contradictory to anything. However, you use the Bible, the BOM, D&C, etc…, and therein lie the contradictions, b/c things that Mormon literature says do not necessarily hold to what Scripture says, so you have a contradiction.

    “No one who has read this blog will know much about Mormonism since real knowledge of it is a journey of personal revelation while studying and pondering both the Bible and Book of Mormon that yields an intertwining of genuine knowledge–light and truth.” (Amanda)

    Sounds pretty mystic to me – much different than Christianity.

    “It is a process, and that is why the missionaries play such an important part as this learning takes place. It’s wonderful to be able to ask them dozens of questions that will come to mind, and if they and their inspiration can’t answer them, they will consult those who can.” (Amanda)

    Until they come upon a question that they can’t answer, and then they’ll just cry that the person doesn’t REALLY want to know about Mormonism and their heart isn’t ready, so they quit trying.

    “I have to give you this one, Brad. You’re right! (Enjoy)In addition,I still hold, however, that if the Spirit doesn’t witness to us, our knowledge is not sure and certain but primarily intellectual.” (Amanda)

    If I’m right, as you say, then the 2nd part of your sentence isn’t necessary. If we are supposed to test what we hear against Scripture to see if it stands up, then that’s what we do – we don’t need a “further” witness of it, we have already used Scripture!!

    “Again, true only if his understanding of the whole of Scripture is complete and his eyes are open to the “whole of scripture.” Sorry, but the scriptural analyses you gave me some time ago and didn’t want to revisit (on where you believed faith and works fit in to God’s plan)–even though I included many new ones which further call your interpretations into question–just don’t hold up to God’s litmus test as you described it in my opinion.” (Amanda)

    Which, in your book, nobody’s eyes are open to the “whole” of Scripture unless you’re a Mormon, b/c the rest of us are just “missing out” on further revelation. The Scriptural analyses I gave you are spot on, Amanda – I clearly pointed out exactly where you went wrong in your interpretation, and showed you the correct interpretation, which you have chosen to ignore. Nothing you quote further changes that, b/c nearly everything you try to use to disprove what I’ve said is not taken in it’s proper context. My interpretations do hold up to the “litmus test”, as they are in line with the rest of Scripture – it is yours which don’t. We don’t agree, and that’s that.

    “As to the question you ask at the end of this paragaph, it could be, Brad, that you disagree with Mormonism in the same areas as other people–if you and the other people understood what the teachings of Mormonism are and how the Church operates.” (Amanda)

    Right – b/c ex-Mormons certainly wouldn’t know any of that, would they? Of course, the LDS excuse is always that they misunderstood, or were never really “converted” to begin with, or have such hatred for the church that they “invent” stuff. Do you really believe all that? Many people understand what the teachings of Mormonism are – they’re not hard – it’s just that many don’t agree with them, in light of all the evidence to the contrary. Pretty simple.

    “…it is obvious to me that these ideas are not your own and originated neither with you nor with these “other people.” (Amanda)

    So since an idea isn’t mine “originally”, it must not be true then, right? Gee, it would seem that Mormon ideas didn’t originate with you, either, Amanda, so they must not be true, under your same logic.

    “…I want nothing more than to go on record standing by that testimony until Judgment Day.” (Amanda)

    You have, don’t worry. That’s the problem, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, along with others.

  33. Amanda said

    “Wouldn’t it be “if we aren’t (interpreting scripture by the power of the Holy Ghost), then scripture and Spirit WILL contradict one another”? There’s really only 2 choices here.” (Brad)

    Not necessarily: Do you not think that there is more than one way to interpret scripture (without the Holy Ghost) which leaves people still believing there is no contradiction while the Spirit, if prayed for, could be saying something quite different? Your explanation of baptism and the importance and possible meaning of water in the statement in John 3:5 is a good example: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kindom of God.” I thought your explanation was pretty incredible (especially what you and your friends think the water COULD represent). It is also understandable since we are human and when forcing the issue, water COULD possibly be interpreted in different ways.

    You were also saying that baptism wasn’t necessary as a “work” which I also found incredible in light of 1 Peter 3:21, “whereunto baptism doth also now save us…by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” and Luke 7:30, “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him,” and Titus 3:5, “but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” and the fact that even the Savior was baptized “to fulfill all righteousness;” Paul was baptized before doing anything else after he received his sight; and Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”

    Baptists, when I was a child, believed baptism was necessary BECAUSE of the Bible, Brad, and I wonder if it just got too hard to explain why it would be necessary when people die all the time without it? Surely a just God wouldn’t condemn his children to hell because they weren’t baptized, so…who’s to say this wasn’t a “change” of convenience by some traditional Christians? At least Mormon teachings about baptism are consistent with the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and with Church history; and because of our teachings about baptism for the dead, consistent with what we know about a loving God.

    “I (Brad) am using only one book (the Bible) and taking all Scripture from there. Since the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, then interpretations of Scripture that conform to the rest of Scripture by definition are not contradictory to anything.”

    See example above.

    Amanda said…”real knowledge of it (Mormonism) is a journey of personal revelation while studying and pondering both the Bible and Book of Mormon that yields an intertwining of genuine knowledge–light and truth.” And Brad responded:”Sounds pretty mystic to me – much different than Christianity.”

    “And this is condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (Origin of mysticism?)

    “Until they (the missionaries)come upon a question that they can’t answer, and then they’ll just cry that the person doesn’t REALLY want to know about Mormonism and their heart isn’t ready, so they quit trying.” (Brad)

    Somehow, I have no touble envisioning this happening to you, Brad. I could have told you the same thing and done the same myself after the first two posts you made about Mormonism. The time of missionaries is valuable. Why waste it?

    “If I’m right, as you say,(about going to scripture to see if what we hear is right) then the 2nd part of your sentence isn’t necessary.” Brad

    Not right this time, I’m afraid. See example above on baptism. The Holy Ghost, for one who has experienced His witness, is far more valuable than scripture which can be twisted and turned by whoever wants to start their own church. This is why Joseph Smith went to God for help to begin with. Even Roger Smith, Martin Luther and other early Protestant leaders recognized that without Apostles, there was no definitive leadership on church doctrine. They did what they had to do–try their best to go back to the church of the New Testament while God was gradually putting things in motion to usher in His own Restoration of spiritual knowledge.

    Brad again: “The Scriptural analyses I gave you are spot on, Amanda – “I clearly pointed out exactly where you went wrong in your interpretation, and showed you the correct interpretation, which you have chosen to ignore.”

    Again, see example regarding baptism above. You’ve got to acknowledge at some point, Brad, that your interpretations do not represent the only biblical interpretations there are on all topics of belief in Christianity. Have you actually met the Presbyterians? the Lutherans? the Episcopalians? the Free Will Baptists? Letting go of the idea that the “buck” of biblical interpretation stops at your feet can be difficult, I would imagine.

    Brad says, “Of course, the LDS excuse is always that they misunderstood, or were never really “converted” to begin with, or have such hatred for the church that they “invent” stuff. Do you really believe all that?”

    I don’t believe it; I KNOW it. I’ve known all of these types of individuals, and I also know what they’re giving up unknowingly. They leave out of weakness, not strength.

    Brad: “So since an idea isn’t mine “originally”, it must not be true then, right?”

    My, you have a way with interpretation, Brad. Did I say that? What I meant to say was, “Since your resources are flawed, your judgments are flawed.” IE…”We are what we eat,” you know.

  34. Tom said

    I find it amazing that Amanda is so passionate about something so wrong. Joseph Smith was a polygamist and a pedophile. End of story.

  35. Anonymous said

    Tom:

    It’s easy to believe what God has told me. First, He witnessed to me that the Book of Mormon was true as I studied it along with the Bible. Then I observed the love and the wonderful spirit in the Church itself. The Spirit witnessed to me that God would not sustain with power and miracles a church founded upon lies and “pedophiles.” (Joseph was indeed a polygamist before his murder. So were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

  36. Anonymous said

    This actually was supposed to go on the subject: The Debate Between Traditional Christians and Mormon Christians continues.

    Brad asks: “For GENERAL salvation – do you receive that instantly by grace through faith alone, or over a period of time, by some other means, or what?”

    General Salvation is based upon this concept: 1 Cor. 15:22…”For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

    We’re talking about resurrection here, Brad, and all will be resurrected purely by grace, no faith or obedience required; and we don’t all receive it at the same time, according to the Bible:

    Some righteous people were resurrected at the resurrection of Christ; other righteous people who lived between that time and now will be resurrected at the Second Coming; and some (the wicked) will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium. Christ’s atonement insured that we would all be resurrected, so we are saved from death and from immortality without a bodily form.

    “For INDIVIDUAL salvation – do you receive that instantly by grace through faith alone, or over a period of time, by some other means, or what?”

    The salvation that results in receiving an inheritance in the celestial kingdom of God begins with and follows faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to repentance, baptism, the receipt of the Holy Ghost, and enduring in Christ to the end, as instructed in the Bible and the standard works. Even the opportunity to enter in through “the straight and narrow gate,” as well as the ability to “stay the course,” comes only by the grace of Jesus Christ. After conversion and the ordinance of baptism, we know that if we were killed by an accident that very day, we would receive our exaltation. We must continue in faith, however, using the gift of repentance as needed as we are led from “grace to grace” to the fullness of salvation which will occur upon Judgment Day when we are assigned to the celestial kingdom.

    From Brad: “They don’t go to some lower part of heaven (where God isn’t, as you say – which is NOT in the Bible”

    Paul said in 2 Cor. 15:40-42…”I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago….; such an one caught up to the third heaven.” (Does this not indicate that there is a first and second heaven?)

    Paul’s description of the resurrection:

    “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead….” (1 Cor. 15:40-42)

    From this we learn that the great multitude in the resurrection will be likened unto the stars in heaven; and just as their works have differed in importance and faithfulness here upon the earth, so also shall their condition in the resurrection differ, even as the stars differ in glory. Jesus said he was going to “prepare a place for his disciples” and that in His house there are many mansions.

    “Hell doesn’t end.” It doesn’t for the sons of perdition. We believe it does for those who after death have accepted Christ as their Savior such as those mentioned in 1 Peter 4:6 and 1 Peter 3:18.

    But Jesus said in John 5:25: “…”The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” Is He talking about the spiritually dead which are on the earth? Or only those who are resurrected? (We just read that as in Adam all die, and in Christ all are made alive, so what is the full meaning of “and they that hear shall live” mean?) Let’s read on:

    He goes on about the resurrection from the dead: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the grave shall hear his voice.” (John 5:28)
    Interestingly, He says, “…And shall come forth; they that have done good (works again?), unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, (more works?) unto the resurrection of damnation.” (I’m still waiting to see what you think the parable of the sheep and the goats is all about, Brad. And don’t forget Matt. 19:17… “…but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”)

    But let’s shift to John 5:25,28:
    “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.: BY WHICH HE ALSO WENT AND PREACHED UNTO THE SPIRITS IN PRISON; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

    Which prisoners were those? Those in the spirit world who were disobedient in the days of Noah. Could a more definite pronouncement be made of the fulfillment of His promise that the dead and those in their graves shall hear his voice? Just as in Isaiah 42:7, where we read a Messianic prophesy saying the Lord would give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles, “…To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (Couple this with 1 Peter 4:6)

    Then there is…
    Isaiah 24:21-22…”And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.

    And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison (we hold this to be spirit prison), and AFTER MANY DAYS SHALL THEY BE VISITED.”

    Isaiah saw that they would be visited, as were those who were disobedient in the days of Noah, and, naturally, when they were visited, they would be offered another chance so they “might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6)

    Jesus also made this principle clear in speaking of the earthly transgressions of his people in Matt. 5:25-26:
    “Agree with thin adversary quickly, whiles thou are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” When they have “paid” the uttermost farthing,” the implication is that they shall be given another chance.

    Then ponder these: 1 Cor. 15:29…”Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?”

    Malachi, last chapter, verses 5&6: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

    There must be a welding link between the fathers and the children upon some subject or other–could it be, in some part, baptism for the dead?

    I understand there are other ways to interpret these scriptures, and without Joseph Smith, we would not have put these all together. Is it from God? I told you the process and the source by which I found that it is.

    Abraham’s great gulf was “fixed,” Brad, upon the completion of Christ’s perfect Atonement. There is now a crossing over that gulf to enable the teaching of the gospel to those spirits deprived from first hand exposure here on earth and to those who will have paid for their own sins…and there are many. Less that 10% of all of God’s children who have lived upon this earth have even known about Jesus Christ. (And Yes, nature teaches us about God, but not about the Savior and His plan of salvation.)

    “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him. (Eph. 1:9-10)

    “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21)

    Such is the very special and final dispensation of the gospel of which we are a part and which God put into motion through the calling and ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the restored Church. This too is close to blasphemy if it is not true.

    Again—different interpretations from the whole of the Bible. I’ve tried to be specific so you will understand that we feel that some doctrine is “couched” in the Bible, and it took a restoration of the fullness through a living prophet to bring it out.

    Disagree? Of course, and that’s fine, but it is not up to you to decide if am “Christian” or not. The Bible tells me that I am, and more importantly, so does the Holy Ghost.

  37. Anonymous said

    “I read the news today, oh boy.” (Beatles)

    Headline: Amanda was blocked from the Truthtalklive.com blog last night and could only get her posts on by using the “Anonymous” title.

    I guess I can’t blame you, but things have been “hardball” between Brad and me from the beginning, so why now? Not to worry, free speech is alive and well in other places, and “Mormons” are not ones to remain where they are not welcome. 🙂

    It’s been a pleasure.

    Amanda

  38. Amanda said

    I will still be reading the blog.

    Amanda

  39. Amanda said

    Okay, I seem to be unblogged this morning. It is no longer refusing to take my entries and giving me the “Apparently you’ve already said this” response.

    (Nevermind)

  40. Tom said

    But Joseph Smith was a polygamist even after the life of Christ and the proclamation that the sanctity of marriage should be between one man and one woman. Please, give me a break.

  41. Moderator said

    Looks like WordPress is having some issues. Your comments are still being posted even though you’re getting the duplicate posting message.

  42. Amanda said

    To Tom:

    I hope I’m not getting between you and your “breaks.” Marriage between one man and one woman has always been the general teaching of God as we read in Jacob 2:28-30:

    “For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

    Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments…or cursed by the land for their sakes.

    For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, RAISE UP SEED UNTO ME, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”

    There have only been a few times when the Lord God has sanctioned plural marriage. It was written into the code of the law of Moses BEFORE the Jews corrupted it with their own additions. David was told by Nathan that the Lord GAVE him Saul’s wives.

    The history of the latter-day Church and the circunstances under which it was lived make a very unpalatble (to me) scenario more understandable, and lust had very little room to indulge itself although possibly there was some–which may be only one of the reasons that it is definitely not the norm.cieties. I’m not sure the Church would have survived without it, however, at the time.

    If you’ve seen pictures of Brigham Young’s 27 wives, you know that it was not lust that drove him! about 4 of his wives were Joseph’s widows which he felt he should take care of; some of them were more mature ladies who needed his protection out west. It would have been far easier for these men to just “have affairs” or divorce their wives to get another as is so common and accepted today, even within some Christian denominations and to a smaller degree, within the Church. The man was “called” by the prophet to enter into the practice; the plural wives and their families had to be financially supported, and the first wife’s permission was required. Sometimes, she helped choose another.

    It was seen as a required part of the “restitution of all things” spoken by the mouths of the holy prophets” for that time. I’m glad that time is past.

    It would require the highest kind of altruistic love to even make this situation work successfully, and it is impressive that only one of Brigham’s wives left that family. Of the third or less of the male members practicing this principle, even at its height, fewer wives were taken by most men. (Brigham was an extraordinary businessman who rebuilt his business when the saints were forced to flee Nauvoo, so he could afford his family.)

    Even during the time it was practiced, it was difficult, I’m sure. When the government passed laws to prohibit this practice, and since one of the Articles of Faith requires us to follow the laws of the land it was abandoned at a lot of pain to the chilren and wives involved, not to mention the men facing arrest for not abandoning their families.

  43. Amanda said

    I forgot to tell Tom that the book of Jacob from which I quoted is in the Book of Mormon.

    Thanks,

    Amanda

  44. Amanda said

    This one is for Brad, and I plan to reclaim my time and life, so I will not be able to “blog” much anymore. It has been addictively interesting though!

    Isaiah 24:21-22…”And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison (we hold this to be spirit prison), and AFTER MANY DAYS SHALL THEY BE VISITED.” (To pick up on a verse from post #36)

    I would like to add one more example for consideration of the spirit world not being inconsistent with the Bible when one hears that in a good many cases, there will be an “eternal” hell in the sense that God is Eternal and He designed it, but which doesn’t last forever: They are found in King David’s remarks as recounted by Peter in Acts 2:25-34.

    We both know that David goofed up majorly and feared for his salvation. After much prayer and repenting, David was forgiven, and after personal revelation, he said, “Therefore my heart did rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall REST IN HOPE; Because THOU WILT NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN HELL, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

    The Savior went to teach even the wicked who had died, but since in a “one on one” he would have then “seen corruption,” this was accomplished through delegation to those worthy spirits in paradise, or the world of spirits, which he could chose and set apart to do so. (This last information about delegation is from a revelatory vision given to President Joseph F. Smith in 1918.)

    Peter goes on to say that David is dead and buried and his sepulchre is with us unto this day…and that he (David) saw (in revelation) that Christ would be raised up through his blood line to sit on His throne…BEFORE he spake that his soul was not left in hell.

    In v. 34, Peter also says “For David is not ascended into the heavens….” (even though he is dead and buried.)

    David is forgiven and will be “saved,” but his salvation and eternal destiny will not be as great, or as soon, as if he had not fallen so low as to be responsible for a man’s murder to satiate his own lust.

  45. Tom said

    Blah, blah, blah. It’s wrong. You know it. I know it. We all know it. I feel sorry for you Mormons.

  46. ray said

    You are all dodging the question about how you can all read the same source (the Bible) and get totally different meanings out of it. How can this be if the HS is revealing “all truth’ to you?

  47. Amanda said

    Sorry, Tom. I thought you were an “adult,” or I wouldn’t have responded at all to that question.

    Amanda

  48. Amanda said

    Ray, that was the purpose of the restoration–to clear up those interpretations that are essential to our salvation and the knowledge the Lord wants us to have of him. With the restoration, there is NO doubt in my mind what the water stands for in that verse about being born again. Without revelation from God, there is.

    That doesn’t mean every single question we could have about scripture will be spelled out for us, but so much that we don’t have to “sweat” the important issues. That’s what the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants,the Pearl of Great Price, and a living prophet are all about.

    Invite the missionaries in and ask them some sincere questions you might have sometime. It can be a great experience if you are prepared and humble enough to consider what they say.

    There are also scriptures in the Bible that have double meaning or meaning that meant much more to the Jews than to us–like the fire and brimstone, for instance:

    It has often been held, both in the Jewish and Chrisian churches, that Hades (meaning broadly the place of all departed spirits) consists of two parts, paradise and Gehenna, one the abode of the righteous and the other of the disobedient. “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire” is the Greek equivalent of the “valley of Hinnom,” a deep glen of Jerusalem where the idolatrous Jews offered their children to Moloch. It was afterwards used as a place for burning the refuse of the city, and in that way became symbolical of the place of torment. Expressions about “hell-fire” are probably due to the impression produced on men’s minds by the sight of this ceaseless burning, and are figurative of the torment of those who willfully disobey God. (It is actually an inner torment (where your “worm” –the cause of pain and the pain itself–dieth not), according to latter-day revelation.)

    Some biblical revelations and prophecies apply to Jesus’initial birth on earth, some to the Second Coming, and some possibly even to both.

    But to answer directly, when the Holy Ghost speaks, it is not going to give different answers about the doctrine of Christ. It may give you a different impression or increase your knowledge about something that you hadn’t or weren’t prepared to receive the last time you read that particular verse, and also when you get an impression of how it applies to you and your circumstances, or problem, or family–or a course of action or habit you should implement in or take away from your life.

    Thanks for asking that excellent question.

  49. Tom said

    Ha-Ha-Ha! Thanks, Amanda. Good luck and may God have mercy on your soul.

  50. Amanda said

    Not to respond to Tom, but there is one more point or question I would ask of anyone who cares to respond:

    Why would God foreordain and support with His power and inspiration Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even David until he blew it? Abraham, once he had “family trouble” with Hagar and Ishmael,” continued the practice. Would not the God he served let him know that he was in serious error? Or withdraw his inspiration?

    God is never-changing, and He foreordained His prophets (Jer.1:5) He wouldn’t, in my mind, make a mistake. The fact that these prophets’ words are in the Bible you believe in so strongly and God continued to inspire them in the midst of this practice shows me that it is a conditional practice which He has sustained when it served His purposes.

  51. Mike Sears said

    This just further proves the point that it wasn’t Abraham’s actions that made him righteous. It was simply that he believed God, which is the ONLY requirement for salvation by the way. The righteousness of Christ was imputed to him even before his first act of obedience.

    The whole Bible is proof that God uses, imperfect, sinful, and broken vessels to manifest His awesome power and to prove that His power is made perfect in our weakness!! God STILL used David, and manifested His power through him even after he fell!

  52. Brad said

    “General Salvation is based upon this concept: 1 Cor. 15:22…”For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” We’re talking about resurrection here, Brad, and all will be resurrected purely by grace, no faith or obedience required.” (Amanda)

    Granted, this verse, and indeed the entire chapter, speaks clearly about the resurrection, both of Christ and of men at a later date. But that’s not what Christians would consider “salvation”, as “being resurrected” doesn’t separate anyone from anyone else, b/c ALL will be resurrected to face judgment. There’s no “salvation” in being simply resurrected – “salvation” has to do with WHERE your eternal destination lies. The Bible doesnt’ anywhere speak of 2 separate “types” of salvation.

    “The salvation that results in receiving an inheritance in the celestial kingdom of God begins with and follows faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to repentance, baptism, the receipt of the Holy Ghost, and enduring in Christ to the end, as instructed in the Bible and the standard works. Even the opportunity to enter in through “the straight and narrow gate,” as well as the ability to “stay the course,” comes only by the grace of Jesus Christ. After conversion and the ordinance of baptism, we know that if we were killed by an accident that very day, we would receive our exaltation. We must continue in faith, however, using the gift of repentance as needed as we are led from “grace to grace” to the fullness of salvation which will occur upon Judgment Day when we are assigned to the celestial kingdom.” (Amanda)

    Amanda, you use one defining word in the above that truly defines the difference between Christianity and Mormonism. Do you know what it is? It’s the word “opportunity”. You said that the “opportunity” to enter through the straight and narrow gate comes only by grace. But everything else you say, and everything else you’ve said before, suggests that it is only an “opportunity” that grace affords you, not the “ability”. There’s a BIG difference between the 2. Christians believe that grace affords us the ability to enter into Heaven, not by our merits or anything at all we do (whether it’s following Him and His commandments or not), b/c we can’t do enough. It doesn’t just give us the opportunity to do so (like some sort of qualifier), it IS the reason we can go to Heaven. That’s a BIG, FUNDAMENTAL difference between us, Amanda.

    “Paul said in 2 Cor. 15:40-42…”I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago….; such an one caught up to the third heaven.” (Does this not indicate that there is a first and second heaven?)” (Amanda)

    I assume you may mean 2 Cor. 12:2, since there is no 2 Cor. 15? And while this does show a “first”, “second” and “third” heaven, NO, this does not indicate “levels” of Heaven, as I’ve explained before. Any rudimentary scholar of Greek or the ancient Jewish culture wouldn’t understand it that way; they would have understood it as sky (1st), space (2nd) and Heaven (3rd) – not a “level” of Heaven, but a different place altogether. It is my opinion that Mormons either know this, and knowingly misinterpret this verse to prove their point, or don’t know this, and have not done the scholarly work to find it out, which wouldn’t be hard. Either way, it puts the error on the LDS church for having this wrong.

    “Paul’s description of the resurrection: ‘There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead….’ (1 Cor. 15:40-42) From this we learn that the great multitude in the resurrection will be likened unto the stars in heaven; and just as their works have differed in importance and faithfulness here upon the earth, so also shall their condition in the resurrection differ, even as the stars differ in glory. Jesus said he was going to “prepare a place for his disciples” and that in His house there are many mansions.” (Amanda)

    This is such blatantly poor scholarship of interpretation that it almost doesn’t even deserve a response. It shows just how the LDS church reads into Scripture what it wishes to be there, in fact what it NEEDS to be there so it can ATTEMPT to say that it doesn’t contradict Scripture. This is a total and complete misinterpretation of this passage. I have asked 6th graders before to read this and then explain it to me, in their own words, what they think it meant, and THEY understood it enough to get it right!! This IN NO WAY refers to the differences between us in Heaven. Look at the question asked in v. 35 “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” This passage is answering that for the general reader. We know what our body is like here, but we don’t know exactly what our body will be like in Heaven, only that it will be perfect. Keep going into v. 44 “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” Clearly, this is showing the difference between our imperfect, sinful, earthly bodies right now, compared to our perfect, sinless, heavenly bodies in the future. Doesn’t even imply that different people in Heaven will have better bodies than others, or be at different levels than others. You would HAVE to be reading that in to get that from this passage, b/c the passage itself doesn’t portray that, neither in word or in context. To say this backs up levels of Heaven is simply ridiculous.

    “It doesn’t [hell doesn’t end] for the sons of perdition. We believe it does for those who after death have accepted Christ as their Savior such as those mentioned in 1 Peter 4:6 and 1 Peter 3:18.” (Amanda)

    I’ve gone over this too many times already, so I won’t in detail address it here. You try to say that salvation is possible after death, which simply isn’t Scriptural. To hold to these verses saying that would be in contradiction to Hebrews 9:27 – since Scripture doesn’t contradict itself, your meaning can’t be correct, or we have an inherent contradiction. It doesn’t pass the test, Amanda.

    “But Jesus said in John 5:25: ‘The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.’ Is He talking about the spiritually dead which are on the earth? Or only those who are resurrected? (We just read that as in Adam all die, and in Christ all are made alive, so what is the full meaning of “and they that hear shall live” mean?)” (Amanda)

    Clearly, this is about the spiritually dead – that is made pretty clear by the context of v. 24, wherein Jesus is speaking about believing Him for eternal/spiritual life (as opposed to eternal/spiritual death).

    “He goes on about the resurrection from the dead: ‘Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the grave shall hear his voice.’ (John 5:28) Interestingly, He says, ‘…And shall come forth; they that have done good (works again?), unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, (more works?) unto the resurrection of damnation.’ (I’m still waiting to see what you think the parable of the sheep and the goats is all about, Brad. And don’t forget Matt. 19:17… “…but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”)” (Amanda)

    Not sure what the point is, Amanda. It’s the same tired arguments that you’ve attempted to use throughout to prove your point. So evidently you DO believe in works as necessary (which you’ve previously been content to be on the fence about), or else you wouldn’t be trying to make these points – thanks for clearing up what most of us already knew about Mormonism, Amanda – it’s much easier when you just admit it. For your interpretations to be valid, they would have to mesh with the entirety of Scripture, and as I’ve shown you already, they don’t. Your biggest problem would be Eph. 2:8-9, for which none of your interpretations requiring works mesh. Therefore, unless the Bible is false, your interpretations can’t be true. There’s no difference with Matt. 25 and the sheep/goats. Goats (unbelievers) go to eternal punishment, sheep (righteous believers) to eternal life. Interestingly enough, given your penchant for believing in a hell that is NOT eternal, I’d be curious how YOU explain the term “eternal” punishment…

    “But let’s shift to John 5:25,28: ‘For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.: BY WHICH HE ALSO WENT AND PREACHED UNTO THE SPIRITS IN PRISON; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.'” (Amanda)

    Perhaps you mean 1 Peter 3:18-20? Don’t worry, I know where these are – it’s only the 28th time you’ve brought them up. And having explained this before, in detail, in one of our prior posts, I will not do so again. You are free to go back and re-read my previous explanation, which has not changed since then.

    “Which prisoners were those? Those in the spirit world who were disobedient in the days of Noah. Could a more definite pronouncement be made of the fulfillment of His promise that the dead and those in their graves shall hear his voice? Just as in Isaiah 42:7, where we read a Messianic prophesy saying the Lord would give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles, “…To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (Couple this with 1 Peter 4:6)” (Amanda)

    There’s so much you’re missing, so much you are misinterpreting, it’s truly sad.

    “Then there is…
    Isaiah 24:21-22…’And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison (we hold this to be spirit prison), and AFTER MANY DAYS SHALL THEY BE VISITED.’ Isaiah saw that they would be visited, as were those who were disobedient in the days of Noah, and, naturally, when they were visited, they would be offered another chance so they “might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6)” (Amanda)

    See comment above – still sad.

    “Then ponder these: 1 Cor. 15:29…’Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?'” (Amanda)

    As with all Scripture, Amanda, it’s important to examine the context to understand what is being talked about. Remember, the entire fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians deals with the resurrection. False teachers had infiltrated the church at Corinth, teaching “that there is no resurrection of the dead,” (vs. 13). Paul had stated that the heart of the gospel was Christ’s resurrection (vs. 1-14). However, there were cultic leaders at Corinth that believed and taught that there was no resurrection – thus Chapter 15, and why the entire chapter is devoted to reasons why this is a false teaching (no need to go into these, but they’re all in Ch. 15).

    Now, in verses 20-28, Paul explains that Christ has been raised. Then in verse 29, Paul points out a further reason that the resurrection is real. He says: “what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them??” PAUL HERE IS NOT APPROVING OF THIS PRACTICE, RATHER HE IS POINTING OUT AN INCONSISTENCY IN THEIR PRACTICE!! Apparently, they did not believe that the dead would rise (15:12), but they did practice proxy baptism for the dead. If the dead do not rise, why would they need to baptize them after death? It was a contradiction.

    Also, if you look carefully at the pronouns, you can see who was actually practicing baptism for the dead. Paul says, “…what will THOSE do who are baptized for the dead… why are THEY (PEOPLE) baptized for them?” Paul didn’t say, “Why are YOU (Corinthian Christians) then baptized for the dead?” He did not say, “Why are WE (the followers of Christ) then baptized for the dead?” He did not say, “Why then am I (Paul himself) then baptized for the dead?” He was asking, in effect, why these false teachers, who did not even believe in the resurrection, would want to baptize for the dead if the dead do not rise at all? He was really refuting what they believe, by showing what they do contradicts what they believe.

    Now, if I’m not mistaken (though I’m sure you’ll correct me if you think I am), the D&C teaches that the Book of Mormon contains: “…the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also,” (Section 20:9) It also teaches that “…this most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel (is) namely the baptism for the dead,” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:17).

    Although baptism for the dead is “the most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel,” and the Book of Mormon contains the “fullness of the gospel,” baptism for the dead cannot be found in the Book of Mormon! That’s odd, isn’t it?

    Another problem with “baptism for the dead” is that the theology taught in the Book of Mormon doesn’t seem to allow for this doctrine. In Alma 34:34, 35, the Book of Mormon teaches that:

    “Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis (death), that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.” Gosh, that just doesn’t seem to leave much room for any kind of salvation AFTER death, does it?

    “Malachi, last chapter, verses 5&6: ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.’ There must be a welding link between the fathers and the children upon some subject or other–could it be, in some part, baptism for the dead?” (Amanda)

    My goodness, that’s so far of a leap I won’t even comment. I mean…nope, I won’t comment.

    “I understand there are other ways to interpret these scriptures” (Amanda)

    Yes, the RIGHT way being one of them, which ISN’T the way you’ve used!

    “…and without Joseph Smith, we would not have put these all together.” (Amanda)

    Thank you for proving my point on this one – you’re absolutely right, without Smith, this stuff you wouldn’t have. Unfortunately, you have Smith, and hence these false beliefs.

    “Is it from God? I told you the process and the source by which I found that it is.” (Amanda)

    Unequivocally, NO!!!

    “Abraham’s great gulf was ‘fixed,’ Brad, upon the completion of Christ’s perfect Atonement. There is now a crossing over that gulf to enable the teaching of the gospel to those spirits deprived from first hand exposure here on earth and to those who will have paid for their own sins…and there are many. Less that 10% of all of God’s children who have lived upon this earth have even known about Jesus Christ. (And Yes, nature teaches us about God, but not about the Savior and His plan of salvation.)” (Amanda)

    Wow. So you believe the gulf is now fixed, even though the Bible doesnt’ say it was, anywhere? Another wrong leap, Amanda. And not sure where you got your 10% figure from, but that’s not Biblical either. Romans 1:18-20 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” WITHOUT EXCUSE!! The rest of Romans 1 and much of Romans 2 deals with this as well. There is NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY, who will not have the opportunity for salvation while on this Earth. To think otherwise simply doesn’t line up with Scripture!! But I’m glad we’re now seeing more of your doctrinal beliefs come out, b/c it is only helping others to see that Mormonism is the broad gate, and not the narrow.

    “Again — different interpretations from the whole of the Bible. I’ve tried to be specific so you will understand that we feel that some doctrine is “couched” in the Bible, and it took a restoration of the fullness through a living prophet to bring it out.

    Disagree? Of course, and that’s fine, but it is not up to you to decide if am “Christian” or not. The Bible tells me that I am, and more importantly, so does the Holy Ghost.” (Amanda)

    It never ceases to amaze, the stuff the LDS church comes up with. The Bible has said that you AREN’T, in fact, a Christian, based upon what you believe, Amanda. Please realize that. It may not be nice to hear, and you may disagree, but it is the truth. I do hope you realize that.

  53. Brad said

    I’m tired of reading through some of these cock-eyed explanations that the Mormon church supposedly has for Scripture, Amanda. That may be a bad attitude, but the explanations are getting more and more ridiculous, and the logic more circular, that’s it’s becoming tiresome. “It’s true if Joseph Smith indeed was a prophet; since he was a prophet, it must be true.” Circular reasoning proves absolutely NOTHING – it in fact makes those using it seem LESS credible, b/c if there were other evidence, it would be presented. But it’s not, unfortunately.

    “(This last information about delegation is from a revelatory vision given to President Joseph F. Smith in 1918.)” (Amanda)

    Yeah, no kidding. B/c Lord knows, it isn’t coming from the Bible.

    I’m just glad I don’t have to work for my salvation – I’m glad I can be sure of it right now, knowing that whether I screw up, I’m still OK. I’m glad all my Christian family and friends will be with me in the same place in Heaven, worshiping God for all eternity, as is our goal. We’re not meant to go to Heaven to be gods, to procreate or anything like that. When Christians get there, they will only want to worship God in all His glory.

    I know you believe everything you say, Amanda – I know you do. And you can be commended for being steadfast in what you believe. It’s WHAT you believe, that is the problem. We’re so different at our core doctrine, Amanda, that we can’t be similar. I know you think I probably don’t care, but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have stuck around. I know there’s probably nothing I can say to convince you of anything, Amanda; I realize that. But I will continue to pray for conviction in your life – somehow – of the truth of Scripture (the Bible alone), and the true salvation of Jesus Christ.

  54. Brad said

    “Invite the missionaries in and ask them some sincere questions you might have sometime. It can be a great experience if you are prepared and humble enough to consider what they say.” (Amanda)

    Ray, I don’t know your spiritual leanings, so I don’t know exactly what to say, or if you know it or not already. The above is the typical tagline for Mormonism, though, Ray, meaning essentially that if you believe it enough and your open-minded, then you’ll get the “burning in your bosom” that it’s true (which is supposed to represent the Holy Spirit witnessing to you). Alternatively, you can examine the Bible, God’s Word to us, to see if what is being said is true. The words are written down – they won’t lie to you or deceive you, as your thoughts and emotions can. And in them lies salvation.

  55. Amanda said

    I knew you’d be hitting the anti books after my whopper letter, Brad. (You couldn’t have quoted the Book of Mormon without them.)

    You said:
    “There’s no “salvation” in being simply resurrected – “salvation” has to do with WHERE your eternal destination lies.”

    That last comment is 50% true, but the salvation of Christ included “from death AND hell,” which is biblical because that is what Jesus overcame. Latter day revelation makes it clear that without Christ’s atonement, we would not have received our bodies back and Satan would have won a victory over the gift of body that God had given us. (Without a testimony, you would not see the need for this part of our salvation. At least I didn’t before.)

    “And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.”
    (Mosiah 16:7, BOM)

    And more!
    “And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death…which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave. And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the rusrrection of the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 9:12)

    “Christians believe that grace affords us the ability to enter into Heaven, not by our merits or anything at all we do” (Brad)

    You are so quick to insist that we are so different that you haven’t understood most of what I’ve written. “Mormons” agree with this statement also. I have spent a good deal of time telling you that even if we “overcome through faith,” it is God who gives us the ability and power (his) to do so. We are saved by His grace. You’ll have to think of something else to disagree with. We’re in sinc here.

    “Any rudimentary scholar of Greek or the ancient Jewish culture wouldn’t understand it Paul’s 3rd heaven) that way; they would have understood it as sky (1st), space (2nd) and Heaven (3rd) – not a “level” of Heaven, but a different place altogether.” (Brad)

    Thank you for making my point. Considering Paul also talks of bodies celestial and telestial (1 Cor. 15:40,41), the former verse 2 Cor.12:2 (thank you for the correction) makes more sense to me, and thus, the need for a latter-day “clear up.” It won’t be the only thing with which the “scholars” disagree.

    About the bodies in heaven…sorry, I just don’t agree with your interpretation although we both agree that our bodies will be perfect.Interestingly, on an Oprah show this year (often well worth watching), a guest who had been involved in a plane crash (not a believer) reported that as people were running toward the door, he saw their faces, and they didn’t seem to even know they were dying. At a certain point, an “essence” of light rose up from their bodies and they were dead. Some had much brighter “lights or essences” than others who had small ones. He survived and determined that when he dies, he wants his “essence” to be a bright one. Neither of us would agree that this is gospel knowledge, of course, but it would slide right in with LDS interpretation of that scripture.
    “Bad scholarship” or not, my witness of the Spirit is strong on this issue, and shall I trust you or the Spirit? Hmmm…let me think….

    “To hold to these verses saying that would be in contradiction to Hebrews 9:27 – since Scripture doesn’t contradict itself, your meaning can’t be correct, or we have an inherent contradiction.” (Brad)

    “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” is not a contradiction with LDS doctrine. I have already mentioned that there is a judgment as to who is in paradise or hell upon death; but all knees shall bow and tongues confess after all the teaching in the spirit world goes on and most have “seen the light”–unto different rewards or penalties. The kind of body gained in this life and restored to a person in the resurrection determines the degree of gory inherited in eternity. Thus men are “their own judges,” Alma concludes, for by their daily acts they judge or choose “whether to do good or do evil.” (Alma 41:7)

    When the spirit leaves the body at death, it is taken home to that God who gave it life, returning to live in the realm of spiritual existence. (Eccles. 12:7) The righteous go to a paradise, a state of happiness…a state of rest, a state of peace, while the wicked are cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
    Alma 40:13-14:
    “And then shall it come to pass that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil–for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house–and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping ,and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.”

    “Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awaful, fearul looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in theis stated, as well as the righteous in parasie, until the time of their reurrection.”

    Christ’s 2nd Coming will be a day of judgment for those then living and for the righteous (and in a sense the wicked dead too since they will be consumed by fire). (Matt. 25:31-46, the sheep and goat story)

    John in Revelation saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark…; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” The wicked, he saw, “lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” (Rev. 20 :3-6)

    Then, as you know, after all men have been resurrected, the day of the great final judgment will come. Every soul shall then stand before God, the books shall be opened, and we shall all be judged out of them, ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS (NOT SAVED BY BUT JUDGED BY). (Rev. 20:11-15)

    In the final analysis, every day is a day of judgment for every person, and every man is his own judge–even though we are told the Apostles ancient and latter-day will be involved with the Savior in that process. (We won’t be able to say we weren’t taught.)

    Men will not, we believe, have to await the day of final judgment to learn their staus and the degree of glory they are to receive in eternity. Those who are living a telestial law will be swept off the earth at His 2nd Coming. Those who come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, who “are Christ’s ,the first fruits” will have celestial bodies and go to a terrestrial kingdom. Those coming forth in the beginning of the second resurrection will have telestial bodies and go to a telestial kingdom, while the sons of perdition, the last resurrected, will have bodies capable of receiving no glory and will be cast out with the devil and his angels forever. (D&C 88:98-102)

    Brad, all along you have tried to MAKE me say that salvation is by works. It isn’t; the Savior say, however, that it does REQUIRE works of us if we want to stay with His sheep and be rewarded with them. Our exaltation and assignment of glory is clearly defined by our works. Even then, it is only by the grace of God that we could overcome the world through faith–it’s His strength we relied upon, His inspiration which gives us the ideas of what to do and how, and His spiritual power to endure, given through the gifts of the Holy Ghost. It does take effort and obedience on our part to receive them. (I don’t expect you to grasp this, but it should at least be familiar by now.)

    “Apparently, they did not believe that the dead would rise (15:12), but they did practice proxy baptism for the dead. If the dead do not rise, why would they need to baptize them after death? It was a contradiction.”

    I don’t pretend to know all of Jewish history, and yes, I had noticed that pronoun “they.” Still, if this were true, that these people were being baptised for the dead and didn’t believe in the resurrection, it wouldn’t be just a contradiction, it would just be stupid. Most Christian scholars which I have read on the subject have been smart enough to say, “we don’t know,” and leave that one alone. I am reasonably sure the church doesn’t teach that the apostles were doing baptisms for the dead at this time either. Still, the concept was not foreign to them. Right after Paul said this, he described the coming of Christ to reign upon the earth. He outlined the order in which men will be resurrected, with Christ as the “firstfruits.” 1 Cor. 24-26. That is the time that Christ will complete his work and put all enemies under his feet. He will prepare the kingdom to be delivered to his Father, and he will bring together in Christ all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth. Those who are then filthy will remain filthy still. They will all have been given an opportunity to repent, and if they have repented and have “paid the uttermost farthing,” they will be given another chance. But there will be some who love darkness more than they light, and they will remain in darkness.

    It was because Isaiah and Micah understood that the temples of God in the “last days” would be used for this holy purpose that they declared:

    “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains (sound like Salt Lake temple?), and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isa.2:2-3, Micah 4:1-2)

    “Although baptism for the dead is “the most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel,” and the Book of Mormon contains the “fullness of the gospel,” baptism for the dead cannot be found in the Book of Mormon! That’s odd, isn’t it?” (Brad)

    “The fulness of the gospel consists in those laws, doctrines, ordinances, powers, and authorities needed to enable men to gain the fulness of salvation. Those who have the gospel fulness do not necessarily enjoy the fulness of gospel knowledge or understand all of the doctrines of the plan of salvation.But they do have the fulness of the priesthood and sealing power by which men can be sealed up unto eternal life. The fulness of the gospel grows out of the fulness of the sealing power and not out of the fulness of gospel knowledge.”
    Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine.

    Brad says:
    “Another problem with “baptism for the dead” is that the theology taught in the Book of Mormon doesn’t seem to allow for this doctrine.”
    “…if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; … this is the final state of the wicked.” Gosh, that just doesn’t seem to leave much room for any kind of salvation AFTER death, does it?”

    Omigoodness! Gosh, golly, gee whiz, gee whillakers, Brad…you got me! The Restoration isn’t true! (Is that what you want to hear? :))
    Here are a few quotes from the Book of Mormon on that subject:

    “the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath NO PLACE IN YOU, and the devil hath all power over you;”
    “Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power-they are the they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born; For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come–having denied the Holy spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves nd put him to an open shame. These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels–And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power.

    …the ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.” (Eternal wrath since He,God,is eternal–my addition) D&C 76:31-38

    You have to remember, Brad, that the Nephites in the Book of Mormon had the true and living gospel in its fulness. They knew more about the Savior than the Jews because they were descendants of Nephi, who was a prophet of God. They had all of the Old Testament up to that time and Lehi and Nephi’s writings as well. They had the truth as God revealed it through living prophets and this people had come to the ancient Americas to get away from wickedness and to escape the vengeance that would be poured out upon the Jews for disobedience. The “kicker” is verse 30 of Alma 34: “And now, my brethren, I would that, after ye have received SO MANY WITNESSES, seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance….I would that ye ..harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation….”

    Read in Alma 40:13 and 14 to add light to those who get a second chance:

    v.13……The spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil–for behold, they have NO PART NOR PORTION OF THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house–and there shall be weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.”
    “Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus, they remain in theis state, as well as the righteous in paradise, UNTIL THE TIME OF THEIR RESURRECTION.”

    I see no conflict. See what you miss by not reading the entire Book of Mormon?

    “So you believe the gulf is now fixed, even though the Bible doesnt’ say it was, anywhere?” (Brad)

    Jesus’ reading from Isaiah that he was sent to “free the prisoners” speaks to his mission to free those in the spirit world. The gulf between the celestial kingdom and hell–including the telestial kingdom and the hell portion of the spirit, world remains, and possibly this is what you’re saying that verse refers to. We read in Luke that the rich man was in a “place of torment,” which I see as the spirit world while you may see as a permanent hell, and he didn’t want his family to come to the same place.

    I remember as a child reciting the Apostels’ Creed and in it…”he decended into hell; the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead…”

    Now I know what “he descended into hell” means since He could not be suffered by the Father to see corruption!

    More Book of Mormon:

    “…there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy. And there is a place prepared, yea, even that awful hell of which I have spoken, and the devil is the preparator of it; wherefore the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or to be cast out because of that justice of which I have spoken
    Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous, and also from that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits..and is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (1 Nephi 15:34-36)

    Brad quotes:
    “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Brad then says “There is NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY, who will not have the opportunity for salvation while on this Earth.”(Brad)

    I don’t see that it says that, Brad. What I see is that our surroundings and God’s nature of goodness, loving, giving, have been made manifest, so that NO ONE CAN SAY THERE IS NO GOD or not know that He is those wonderful things. If they believe in God, He will lead them from grace to grace to knowledge about the Savior and His doctrine. Our Savior Himself grew from “grace to grace.” If they refuse to be led,or refuse to respond at all to the signs God has given, they end up in the spirit world like those in the days of Noah, in a place of suffering.

    I’m glad you mentioned Romans 1 and 2 because 1:5 says …”By whom we have received grace and apostleship, FOR OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH among all nations, for his name: and in 2:6 we are reminded of God..” who will render to every man ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.” (Not salvation but an eternal assignment)
    And then 2:13..For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the DOERS of the law shall be justified.” He goes on to tell us that the Gentiles, which have not the law, can, according to their own natures, do the things contained in the law, and they are a law unto themselves.(Their hearts can contain the things in the law, their consciences) They are not judged in the same way as those who have the law given by revelation and are truly without excuse for their deeds.)

    Let’s see what Doctrine and Covenants 59:21 says about the wrath of God:”And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.”
    And then in v. 23…”But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” (It doesn’t say that his works of righteousness were responsible for the gift of salvation. Jesus performed the deed that did this.)

    “It’s true if Joseph Smith indeed was a prophet; since he was a prophet, it must be true.” (Quote from a former post of mine which I don’t have time to verify)

    If I said it, that does sound circular, and it’s a sign that I’ve been writing on this blog far too long! Sorry! The deductive reasoning is good, however, that if the Book of Mormon is true (which I should have said), Joseph Smith had to be a prophet.) AND GOD WILL TELL THE PREPARED HEART AND MIND THAT IT IS TRUE!

    Remember Proverbs 16:1…”The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.”

    Brad, you’ve done your best. Your detail on this last post is admirable, and some points may be even arguable –in your mind. The problem is, you and others like you don’t know what you’re up against. You’re up against the witness of a member of the Godhead– which is unshakeable to the devout Mormon. Receiving it is a miracle in itself, and is stronger and it influence lasts longer than any other “miracle.” 2o years ago, I’d have done an even worse job of presenting my beliefs to you, but THAT WOULDN’T HAVE MADE THEM ANY LESS TRUE!

    The Spirit witnesses to any humble soul who is willing to pay the price to know of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Church. “The proof is in the pudding,” and unfortunately for you, Brad, one has to actually taste the pudding to get the proof.

    I still hold that our main difference is the gift of the Holy Ghost. I believe you have had manifestations of the spirit with you Brad. (Or your Bible reading and explanations are in vain.) It is apparent to me that the “gift of the Holy Ghost” isn’t part of your biblical language. That gift is what told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac even though I’m sure he knew God well enough to understand that “Thou shalt not kill” was God’s way. (Cain and Able) It is what told Noah to build the ark. It’s even what told Moses to lift up his staff and part the waters and to throw a tree into the river, or stream, to remove the bitterness from the waters. Did Moses do that because it was written in the scriptures to do it? I think not. (It’s also what told David that the Lord “would not leave his soul in hell.”)

    We can spare others of the biblical volleying, and I would only tell Ray that this very state of affairs is what drove Jospeh Smith to the grove of trees to find out from God which church was right. The rest is history. The best words I can leave you with, I have mentioned before. They are from Gamaliel, a doctor of Jewish law, who was Paul’s teacher in his youth. Speaking of the apostles after Christ’s death which they were thinking of killing, he said: “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for it this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

    Again, if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were to have been overthrown, wouldn’t it have been after Joseph and his brother were murdered, as the murderers hoped? (That was the only believeable logic of the abominable act.) Instead, like the church Jesus established, it started small and continues to roll forth. I have no vested interest in your actions other than wanting to spare you a waste of life and witness to you that the Holy Ghost can put peace into that sad, hostile heart of yours and resolve all contention over doctrine. You may become more concerned with the second great commandment of loving your fellowman as yourself rather than with “who is right and who is wrong” as a result. Jesus is the way!

  56. Amanda said

    Mike Sears said:
    “This just further proves the point that it wasn’t Abraham’s actions that made him righteous. It was simply that he believed God, which is the ONLY requirement for salvation by the way. The righteousness of Christ was imputed to him even before his first act of obedience.”

    Response: Abraham’s actions were accounted to him for righteousness. Why? Because he obeyed.

    The whole Bible is proof that God uses, imperfect, sinful, and broken vessels to manifest His awesome power and to prove that His power is made perfect in our weakness!! God STILL used David, and manifested His power through him even after he fell!

    Response: Amen!

  57. Moderator said

    You know, Stu would probably be willing to do a pre-taped show instead of on the air live. Something to think about, Amanda. We would record the show to make sure there were no personal attacks and/or “Mormon-bashing” before the show aired live. This way we could ensure a pure “debate” between you and Brad.

  58. ray said

    Amanda,

    Can you please explain how a subjective feeling like “burning in the bosom” can prove what is subjectively true? Our feelings change all the time and if I have some very clean nice guys come to visit me and they ask me to believe in something, I might get some nice feeling too. What if I feel like they are wrong and get no burning? On the other hand, I might pray about becoming a JW. If I get a burning does that mean that they are right?

  59. Amanda said

    Ray,

    Thanks for asking such an important question. The Holy Ghost works through our minds and hearts, and we read about this experience when the two disciples of Jesus were unknowingly talking with the resurrected Christ on the road to Emmaus. In Luke 24:32, they said one to another, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

    This is exactly what happens, and it is in connection with the last part–“while he opened to us the scriptures.” The Spirit is not going to witness something someone makes up themselves that is not of God, but truly the scriptures can be opened up in ways one hasn’t experienced before.

    The LDS missionaries will never ask you to just take their word for anything they say. They will take you to the Bible, then the Book of Mormon, and encourage you to pray to God for your answer. If you have faith that He will answer, He will, but usually (not always) there is a price to pay–of study and prayer and pondering. If one’s heart has already been prepared, he will receive a witness sooner, but it took me almost two months to get a witness I could never deny even though I’d been having all kinds of excited and good feelings along the way. I didn’t trust them either, and so I read and read–even “anti” stuff–and prayed each morning before I resumed my reading until the day I received a witness of the Holy Ghost. (I had carried too much fear–fostered by my parents and my husband who wasn’t interested at the time.) It even took Brigham Young two years to gain his incredible testimony. But once it comes, it is undeniable.

    Read about Simon in Acts 8:18-20 when he tried to buy the power to give the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. With this “unspeakable gift”(2 Cor.9:15), one can have the ability to discern truth from error, but it is something that must be prayed for and strengthened through obedience to the gospel.
    1 Cor. 12:4 tells of the gifts of the Spirit, and when one is baptized and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, one receives at least one spiritual gift. We are instructed to seek the gifts of the Spirit.

    I learned a lot about what was happening to me even as I read the Doctrine and Covenants for the first time, things like
    D&C 8:2: “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. (If a person doesn’t have any “feelings” at all, he doesn’t have the Spirit in his heart.)
    When I read what God said to Oliver Cowdery, I recognized it in my life too:

    D&C 6:14,15…blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.

    Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth; Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.”
    And later…
    v. 22, 23 “…if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind conerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?”

    I could go on and on about a subject I love (sorry!), but the gift is real, and although I had unkowingly felt the Holy Ghost’s witness about truths taught to me from time to time in my life, it wasn’t until I took the discussions and read the Book of Mormon and prayed with great longing and faith to know, one way or the other, that I came to know and recognize, gradually, the Spirit when I felt it. When my answer came, as I said before, there was no turning back.

  60. Amanda said

    PS to Ray

    I’m not aware that God has promised to give such a witness about any other church as an entity.

  61. Amanda said

    Moderator:

    I have absolutely no desire to “debate” the gospel. My Heavenly Father woud not be pleased if I were to do so on the air for all the reasons I’ve recounted. Again, only a “Meet the Mormons Night” is needed for your show and for the 830 AM radio station.

    Thanks anyway! (Really)

  62. Amanda said

    Sorry folks. This is turning into a monopoly, but I would like to correct a mistake in my response to Brad:

    “Those who come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, who “are Christ’s, the first fruits” will have celestial bodies and go to a terrestrial kingdom” –this clearly did not come out as intended. Celestial bodies, naturally, go to the celestial kingdom. To reword more correctly with certain verses from D&C 98-102:

    “And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him. And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven– They are Christ’s, the first fruits…”

    And after this, another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is perpared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.

    And again, another trump shall sound, which is the third trump; and then come the spirits of men who are to be judged, and are found under condemnation;

    And these are the rest of the dead; and they live not again until the thousand years are ended, neither again, until the end of the earth.

    And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.”

    Hope that helps.

    I’ve got to take a couple of days off now to do other things, but I may check in before next week.

  63. Brad said

    “I knew you’d be hitting the anti books after my whopper letter, Brad. (You couldn’t have quoted the Book of Mormon without them.)” (Amanda)

    Yes, b/c only “true” Mormons can read the BOM, right? I never said I haven’t read ANY of it, just that I haven’t read ALL of it. Nor did I ever say that I don’t have my own copy of one, either. But then, if you’re approaching it from the perspective that I’m only a robot and can’t think for myself…

    “That last comment is 50% true, but the salvation of Christ included “from death AND hell,” which is biblical because that is what Jesus overcame. Latter day revelation makes it clear that without Christ’s atonement, we would not have received our bodies back and Satan would have won a victory over the gift of body that God had given us. (Without a testimony, you would not see the need for this part of our salvation. At least I didn’t before.)” (Amanda)

    But does the Bible make this clear? You’ve yet to prove that latter-day revelation is true, or that it even originated from a true prophet, but we both believe the Bible, so let’s stick to it. I don’t recall anywhere in Scripture where it says that we “would not have received our bodies back and Satan would have won a victory over the gift of body that God had given us.” If you know where the Bible says this, please let me know. Jesus overcame death and hell for us; He didn’t need to overcome it for Himself, He was already God!

    “You are so quick to insist that we are so different that you haven’t understood most of what I’ve written.” (Amanda)

    And you are so quick to insist that we are so similar, that you don’t understand we are different. We are most certainly not in sync when it comes to salvation by faith alone through grace alone, apart from works. You bring me a quote from your ward leader, stake leader, etc… saying that “Mormons believe in salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, apart from works”, and I’ll be more than happy to believe you.

    “Thank you for making my point. Considering Paul also talks of bodies celestial and telestial (1 Cor. 15:40,41), the former verse 2 Cor.12:2 (thank you for the correction) makes more sense to me, and thus, the need for a latter-day “clear up.” It won’t be the only thing with which the “scholars” disagree.” (Amanda)

    But Amanda, that DOESN’T make your point, it in fact refutes it! I explained this CLEARLY in my last post to you – you may want to re-read it. The 1 Cor. 15 references IN NO WAY talk about levels of heaven, as I explained, they are comparing and contrasting our earthly bodies as being different from (and inferior to) our heavenly bodies. Makes no mention of different kinds of bodies we’ll have in Heaven, or even different levels of Heaven. This is yet another unwarranted leap that Mormons have taken with Scripture, to make it fit into their doctrinal box.

    “About the bodies in heaven…sorry, I just don’t agree with your interpretation although we both agree that our bodies will be perfect.Interestingly, on an Oprah show this year (often well worth watching), a guest who had been involved in a plane crash (not a believer) reported that as people were running toward the door, he saw their faces, and they didn’t seem to even know they were dying. At a certain point, an “essence” of light rose up from their bodies and they were dead. Some had much brighter “lights or essences” than others who had small ones. He survived and determined that when he dies, he wants his “essence” to be a bright one. Neither of us would agree that this is gospel knowledge, of course, but it would slide right in with LDS interpretation of that scripture.” (Amanda)

    Well, since it was on the Oprah show… are you serious? Amanda, with many Christians this would lend it LESS credence than normal! Oprah is neither Christian nor Mormon, so who cares? I don’t, however, find it odd that what was on her show “slides right in with LDS interpretation” – that’s not shocking at all.

    “Bad scholarship or not, my witness of the Spirit is strong on this issue, and shall I trust you or the Spirit? Hmmm…let me think….” (Amanda)

    I will definitively say – the Spirit IS NOT witnessing to you about the things you believe which are contrary to Biblical teachings. IT IS NOT HAPPENING! It is your mind wanting to believe it, and being fed further misinformation and false teachings from your own church, that has caused you to believe it. Simple as that.

    “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” is not a contradiction with LDS doctrine. I have already mentioned that there is a judgment as to who is in paradise or hell upon death; but all knees shall bow and tongues confess after all the teaching in the spirit world goes on and most have “seen the light”–unto different rewards or penalties. The kind of body gained in this life and restored to a person in the resurrection determines the degree of gory inherited in eternity. Thus men are “their own judges,” Alma concludes, for by their daily acts they judge or choose “whether to do good or do evil.” (Alma 41:7)” (Amanda)

    Already addressed as pure bologney in earlier posts on this “spirit world” subject.

    “(We won’t be able to say we weren’t taught.)” (Amanda)

    You got that right.

    “Men will not, we believe, have to await the day of final judgment to learn their staus and the degree of glory they are to receive in eternity. Those who are living a telestial law will be swept off the earth at His 2nd Coming. Those who come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, who “are Christ’s ,the first fruits” will have celestial bodies and go to a terrestrial kingdom. Those coming forth in the beginning of the second resurrection will have telestial bodies and go to a telestial kingdom, while the sons of perdition, the last resurrected, will have bodies capable of receiving no glory and will be cast out with the devil and his angels forever. (D&C 88:98-102)”

    I will not address what you quote from Mormon scripture, as I don’t believe in it to be true, and you can’t show it is. As I said, let’s stick to what the Bible says, since we both believe in that.

    “I don’t pretend to know all of Jewish history, and yes, I had noticed that pronoun “they.” Still, if this were true, that these people were being baptised for the dead and didn’t believe in the resurrection, it wouldn’t be just a contradiction, it would just be stupid.” (Amanda)

    Thank you – that was the point! That’s why Paul wrote it!

    “It was because Isaiah and Micah understood that the temples of God in the ‘last days’ would be used for this holy purpose that they declared: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains (sound like Salt Lake temple?)…” (Amanda)

    No, but it does sound like this house I once saw near the top of a big hill in West Virginia. Maybe it was talking about that? Then, one time, there was this house on a hill that I saw in Kentucky – could it have been that? And I lived in Virginia close to a big house on a hill by itself – I’m sure they meant that house, right? Amanda, just b/c the Bible references something that the Mormon church WANTS to be a reference to it, doesn’t mean it is. Let’s get real.

    “The fulness of the gospel consists in those laws, doctrines, ordinances, powers, and authorities needed to enable men to gain the fulness of salvation. Those who have the gospel fulness do not necessarily enjoy the fulness of gospel knowledge or understand all of the doctrines of the plan of salvation.But they do have the fulness of the priesthood and sealing power by which men can be sealed up unto eternal life. The fulness of the gospel grows out of the fulness of the sealing power and not out of the fulness of gospel knowledge.”
    Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine.” (Amanda)

    Let’s not use that, Amanda. You much earlier on said that just b/c they said it, doesn’t necessarily make them right, nor does it make it official. So don’t backtrack and start using what an LDS “apostle” said to prove your point now. It’s either fair game, or it’s not – you can’t have it both ways. How about trying to answer the question without it?

    Earlier, I said that “another problem with baptism for the dead is that the theology taught in the Book of Mormon doesn’t seem to allow for this doctrine. Quoting Alma 34:33-35 (in the BOM, CAPS emphasis mine obviously), it says “And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, THEN COMETH THE NIGHT OF DARKNESS WHEREIN THERE CAN BE NO LABOR PERFORMED. Ye CANNOT say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye CANNOT say this; FOR THAT SAME SPIRIT WHICH DOTH POSSESS YOUR BODIES AT THE TIME THAT YE GO OUT OF THIS LIFE, THAT SAME SPIRIT WILL HAVE POWER TO POSSESS YOUR BODY IN THAT ETERNAL WORLD. For behold, IF YE HAVE PROCRASTINATED the day of your repentance even UNTIL DEATH, behold, YE HAVE BECOME SUBJECTED TO THE SPIRIT OF THE DEVIL, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.”

    You never really addressed my point relating to this passage, which was that the BOM here is in conflict with the possibility of baptism for the dead actually helping the dead. This passage above does not mention or even imply that the situation is temporary, and can be helped by others doing works or baptism. It’s just not there. I have capitalized the parts that clearly show that. Yet you would say that this is not in conflict with the rest of your teachings? It simply isn’t true, Amanda. Look at it, and be sincere and pray about it, and you’ll see that it just isn’t the case. This passage directly refutes the belief you have that baptism for the dead, even if allowable, makes anything at all possible. It just doesn’t, according to your own BOM!! The verses you used to try and answer this don’t explain the fact that this contradicts the baptism for the dead belief.

    “Jesus’ reading from Isaiah that he was sent to “free the prisoners” speaks to his mission to free those in the spirit world. The gulf between the celestial kingdom and hell–including the telestial kingdom and the hell portion of the spirit, world remains, and possibly this is what you’re saying that verse refers to. We read in Luke that the rich man was in a “place of torment,” which I see as the spirit world while you may see as a permanent hell, and he didn’t want his family to come to the same place.” (Amanda)

    No, I’m not saying this verse refers to anything even remotely close to what you think it means. This illustration about the gulf is so simple, you’re not able to see the forest for the trees. You’re making it more difficult than it is. This is an illustration about how after you die, it’s too late to do anything, and that the decision needs to be made during THIS life, not after you die. Interestingly, this WOULD conform to what the passage in Alma that I quoted said, which, however, is in direct contrast to the Mormon belief on the same subject. Isn’t that interesting…

    “If I said it, that does sound circular, and it’s a sign that I’ve been writing on this blog far too long! Sorry! The deductive reasoning is good, however, that if the Book of Mormon is true (which I should have said), Joseph Smith had to be a prophet.) AND GOD WILL TELL THE PREPARED HEART AND MIND THAT IT IS TRUE!” (Amanda)

    Yes, that reasoning is good, but it can’t be proved with the circular that “since Joseph Smith was a prophet, then the BOM is true.” That falls apart. And God has given us a way to distinguish His true Word from other false teachings that we hear – the Bible!! If it doesn’t match up to the Bible, doesn’t matter whether someone says they believe something is true by the power of the Holy Spirit or by indigestion – it’s false, if the Bible doesn’t back it up!!

    “The Spirit witnesses to any humble soul who is willing to pay the price to know of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Church.” (Amanda)

    To all other readers (since Amanda we know doesn’t believe this) – that “price” you’ll pay is your soul going to hell for all eternity. If that’s a price you’re willing to pay to know and love the Mormon church, that is your decision, but I pray you don’t make that dreadful choice.

    “I still hold that our main difference is the gift of the Holy Ghost. I believe you have had manifestations of the spirit with you Brad. (Or your Bible reading and explanations are in vain.) It is apparent to me that the “gift of the Holy Ghost” isn’t part of your biblical language. That gift is what told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac even though I’m sure he knew God well enough to understand that “Thou shalt not kill” was God’s way. (Cain and Able) It is what told Noah to build the ark. It’s even what told Moses to lift up his staff and part the waters and to throw a tree into the river, or stream, to remove the bitterness from the waters. Did Moses do that because it was written in the scriptures to do it? I think not. (It’s also what told David that the Lord “would not leave his soul in hell.”)” (Amanda)

    But Amanda, we’re not living in those times anymore. We HAVE Scripture today, and God, by and large, does not talk DIRECTLY to us today like He did to Moses, Abraham, etc… back then. It’s a different time, and we have all truth revealed to us in Scripture.

    “Again, if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were to have been overthrown, wouldn’t it have been after Joseph and his brother were murdered, as the murderers hoped? (That was the only believeable logic of the abominable act.)” (Amanda)

    Perhaps, if man had had his way, but if God’s will is different, then not necessarily. As Romans says, God gives men over to their own evil desires, to their depraved minds. This is what I believe he did with Smith.

  64. Brad said

    “Abraham’s actions were accounted to him for righteousness. Why? Because he obeyed.” (Amanda)

    Wrong. Paul illustrates this with an example from the Old Testament. Abraham is a great example of what Paul is saying — that salvation is given on the basis of faith, not through the law. In Romans 4, Paul elaborates. Verse 1 says “What then shall we say that Abraham, the forefather of us Jews, discovered in this matter?” In v.2, he moves in closer, saying “if in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.” Paul finds an answer in the Law, in v. 3 “What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness'”; this quotes directly from Gen. 15:6. It was not Abraham’s work that was counted as righteousness, or even his obedience, b/c he had yet to do the work. It was Abraham’s BELIEF (his faith), that was counted as righteousness.

    Yet another difference between the way you REALLY believe, and what Scripture actually says.

  65. Brad said

    “I have absolutely no desire to “debate” the gospel. My Heavenly Father woud not be pleased if I were to do so on the air for all the reasons I’ve recounted. Again, only a “Meet the Mormons Night” is needed for your show and for the 830 AM radio station.” (Amanda)

    All evidence to the contrary, about your “desire”, Amanda.

    There’s no reason you can give that says it’s a bad idea, other than the fact that you would more than likely be officially excommunicated from the LDS church were you to do so, which I suspect is what really has you bothered. To be a member of a church that doesn’t even allow you to speak on air about your beliefs, b/c it could be construed in an official capacity, would scare me, Amanda. And it ought to scare you.

    A “Meet the Mormons” show isn’t what is solely needed. Anyone who has read this blog has met the Mormon, so to speak, and many Christians already know much about them. What you are trying to avoid is having to answer tough questions about your religion, which are unanswerable except with circular logic and false assumptions, but not hard facts or from proof with the Bible. If I had to defend my faith with just that (along with the “burning in my bosom”), I’d be hesitant to do it, as well.

  66. Mike Sears said

    Amanda’s Response: Abraham’s actions were accounted to him for righteousness. Why? Because he obeyed.

    I was going to respond to this but see that Brad has done so sufficiently. I don’t see how you can come up with anything different by reading the Bible with discernment and in context.

  67. Anonymous said

    Amanda,

    You gave me the answer I expected but still did not answer the question. First there is no promise in the Bible that God gives a promise to the LDS church that he will give them a special witness. The method you have explained in coming to the truth can be said by any other group and the conclusion would be the same. Of course if you read LDS literature and have some LDS people that care about you trying to convince you you will be swayed. We know this is true because we all want to belong to a community and the Mormons certainly treat each other very well. I can say the same thing about other church groups though. So I don’t think that you can claim that God is promising the Mormons a special revelation about salvation.

  68. Amanda said

    To the last “anonymous” which I assume is Ray:

    “So I don’t think that you can claim that God is promising the Mormons a special revelation about salvation.”

    This wasn’t the revelation I said God promised, but truly, doesn’t “Ask of God” in the Bible mean that you can ask about any church you want? Joseph Smith did.

    God promised in Moroni 10 of the BOM that if you read the Book of Mormon in sincerity and ask God, He will reveal its truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost. If the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph was a prophet, and the Church is true. After one knows that the BOM is true, as he attends, studies and prays, the Spirit will witness to him in a million ways the truthfulness of the Church.

    I can claim this only because I and millions of others have received that revelation, and I’ve never heard anyone from any other church or read in print that God would do the same for their church.

  69. Amanda said

    This is my final post to Brad. Please see the bottom of post if you have any questions or if I haven’t been clear enough.

    Brad: “But does the Bible make this clear? You’ve yet to prove that latter-day revelation is true, or that it even originated from a true prophet…”

    Not my problem, Brad. It’s God’s “problem” (part of His work and glory) to prove the work is true and that He has a living prophet today. He will prove it to any sincere, truth-seeking believer who knows He has the ability to do so, heart by humble heart.

    Brad: “You bring me a quote from your ward leader, stake leader, etc… saying that “Mormons believe in salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, apart from works”, and I’ll be more than happy to believe you.”

    Not going to happen, Brad, because of the Biblical scriptures I’ve already given you from the Savior’s and his apostles’ mouths explaining just what that means. Works—and when I say works, I mean obedience to God’s commandments, are required for that grace for which we are all so grateful.

    Brad: “This is yet another unwarranted leap that Mormons have taken with Scripture, to make it fit into their doctrinal box.”

    Not our leap, Brad. God’s. He said it. (Please take it up with Him.)

    “Amanda, just b/c the Bible references something that the “Mormon” Church WANTS to be a reference to it (the temple in the latter days), doesn’t mean it is. Let’s get real.” (Brad)

    And if you want the world to believe that Joseph Smith concocted the great plan of salvation all by himself and was able to make the Bible “fit” into his, Joseph’s, doctrine sufficiently enough that ministers and Bible-believing Christians are converted to the Church each year, is it I who needs to get real?

    It is true that words don’t make something true, but many could, and did say the same things about Jesus Christ fulfilling those Old Testament prophecies…riding on a donkey, being crucified, etc. Again, God’s problem to prove, and that’s part of the work of the very capable 3rd member of the Godhead.

    Brad: “So don’t backtrack and start using what an LDS “apostle” said to prove your point now. It’s either fair game, or it’s not – you can’t have it both ways.”

    Excuse me, but I am here to try my best to represent only what the Church actually teaches and can prove that it teaches, things that have been said since I joined the Church as well as official things that are part of the Church’s doctrine from its conception. That is my entire reason for addressing the blog. You like to quote unofficial “opinions” and whatever remarks seem sensational enough to further your agenda, or say what you claim we believe as if it were real doctrine. I’m here to remind you of what is actual Church doctrine, and I must do it with the words of living prophets if I am to represent the truth.

    If I were answering the question about the fullness of the gospel myself, though, I would just tell you we teach that the “fullness of the gospel” is found in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. “Fullness” is also used when referring to any knowledge that has been revealed through the Restoration for which we are accountable today. As for what living prophets can reveal…How do you think the tabernacle and the temples in ancient Israel “got there?” It was through revelation from God to a living prophet—even the instructions on how to build it, and whenever God has a covenant people upon the earth, the temple will, as soon as possible, be an essential part of their faith. Jesus attended the temple all the time, and when it was taken from the people, it was because of disobedience and rejection of the Savior–which was also rejection of the Father.

    Question: What do you think the Savior talked about with his apostles during the 40 days after his resurrection (End of Acts) ? “Things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3) There was much more that Jesus said and taught than was ever recorded in the Bible, and the Bible is witness to that. He also said there were many things he would say to the disciples, but they could not bear them now. The world could not contain the books, we are told at the closing of the Gospel of John, that should be written of the things which Jesus did” (and said, I must conclude).The preparation of His people has everything to do with what God reveals, when He reveals it, and to whom He reveals it.

    Brad: “To all other readers (since Amanda we know doesn’t believe this) – that “price” you’ll pay is your soul going to hell for all eternity. If that’s a price you’re willing to pay to know and love the Mormon church, that is your decision, but I pray you don’t make that dreadful choice.”

    Why are you so afraid to let people make their own informed decisions, Brad? If they pray, read the Bible and listen to the Holy Ghost, can you not give them credit enough to be able to discern for themselves if the Book of Mormon and the Church are true? YOU DO NOT KNOW OF YOURSELF THE SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR JOINING THE CHURCH ANY MORE THAN YOU KNOW OF THE BLESSINGS THAT COME FROM JOINING THE CHURCH.

    This work is either of Satan or God, this much we all know. I knew from the Bible teachings of my youth the qualities and characteristics of God; I also knew Satan could not duplicate them; nor could he give a person peace in his or her heart and mind or change one life for good. Satan is incapable of meeting one’s spiritual needs, and my needs are thoroughly met. Questions that had been stumbling blocks to my faith all of my life as a Protestant have been answered.

    Brad: “We HAVE Scripture today, and God, by and large, does not talk DIRECTLY to us today like He did to Moses, Abraham, etc… back then. It’s a different time, and we have all truth revealed to us in Scripture.”

    This is a telling statement, Brad, and please speak for yourself because many of us to whom the Spirit has witnesses will disagree with you on this one. Through Joseph Smith’s calling, Heaven and earth were brought together once more through direct revelation which will never stop until the coming of Christ when he shall rule over His kingdom on earth Himself. Some people who have heard the voice of God today will tell you that they knew Joseph was a prophet before they knew the Book of Mormon was true, but it usually works the other way around. The history of the Church is filled with just that kind of communication between God and his living prophets to the Church, and through the Holy Ghost, to man personally. Did you not say He is not a changing God? If He were to communicate with man again, would it not be in the same way–a living prophet, and through the same church He organized through Jesus in the meridian of time? And we are foretold of the “restitution of all things” spoken by the mouths of His holy prophets during the “times of refreshing.”

    Brad: “God gives men over to their own evil desires, to their depraved minds. This is what I believe he did with Smith.”

    And if this were the case, God gave you, through the Bible (every word of which you say you believe), the way to discern:

    Evil prophet– evil works, evil “fruits.” No matter how you define “fruits,” you cannot get away from the fact that the third member of the Godhead would not be present in the Church or in our hearts when given through the laying on of hands by those He has called in authority if Joseph had been evil. Lives would not be changed. Miracles would not occur. Peace would not reign in a heart filled with Satan’s teachings.

    Brad: “It was not Abraham’s work that was counted as righteousness, or even his obedience, b/c he had yet to do the work. It was Abraham’s BELIEF (his faith), that was counted as righteousness.”

    I should reiterate here Jesus’ teachings that our fruits can only be “good” if we are attached to the Living Vine (through Faith). Abraham’s belief, or faith, was indeed the cause of all the righteousness attributed to him, but it was EVIDENCED in how he arose early the next morning to take his son to be sacrificed. He wasn’t a slacker. He believed and so he performed what God had said. IF he hadn’t obeyed, would it have been accounted unto him as righteousness because he “believed?” Of course not, because we evidence our belief THROUGH our actions.

    Very important:

    Faith and works (obedience), are like two oars on a boat. If you use just one oar, your boat will go in circles. We must use BOTH oars, faith and obedience, together to progress spiritually, “to make your faith perfect” in the words of James, or to be in tune with God’s spirit . James explains about Abraham’s kind of faith well in James 2:20-24. You think you know what I’m going to say about this, but look closely at the scriptures:

    “Was not Abraham…justified by works, when he offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seeth thou how faith wrought with his works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And THE SCRIPTURE WAS FULFILLED WHICH SAITH ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, (That scripture was Gen.15:6…”And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” ). Now read on “… and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. YE SEE THEN HOW THAT BY WORKS A MAN IS JUSTIFIED, AND NOT BY FAITH ONLY.” This says directly to us all that the scripture that said Abraham “ believed God” was NOT fulfilled until he performed that which God asked him to do and that by works a man is justified and not by faith only. Where is the verse that says “faith or grace only,” Brad? I need that one. That’s a word which, I believe, was added by man to make the Bible say what they wanted it to say. Much easier that way.

    James then gives the example of Rahab to teach the same principle. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without words is dead also.”

    Did Abraham add anything to Christ’s sacrifice to come when he obeyed? No! Works not only “show that we WERE saved,” they reflect that we DO BELIEVE enough to live for God in this life and want to help bring His purposes to pass. Again, “salt without its savor” is worthless.

    I really still have hope we can agree that the Bible emphasizes the essential nature of both faith AND works once a testimony of Christ’s atonement is received. Otherwise, we are teaching a “different gospel” than the one the Bible teaches.

    Once again:
    “And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, THEN COMETH THE NIGHT OF DARKNESS WHEREIN THERE CAN BE NO LABOR PERFORMED. Ye CANNOT say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye CANNOT say this; FOR THAT SAME SPIRIT WHICH DOTH POSSESS YOUR BODIES AT THE TIME THAT YE GO OUT OF THIS LIFE, THAT SAME SPIRIT WILL HAVE POWER TO POSSESS YOUR BODY IN THAT ETERNAL WORLD. For behold, IF YE HAVE PROCRASTINATED the day of your repentance even UNTIL DEATH, behold, YE HAVE BECOME SUBJECTED TO THE SPIRIT OF THE DEVIL, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.”

    The bad thing about talking about “meat” before “milk” is that man’s heart is not prepared to receive the meat, and the Lord has commanded that we preach instead the gospel of milk– repentance. This is what our missionaries are instructed and prepared to do. Because you have been a victim of the stumbling blocks put in your hands by anti-Mormon literature, I am praying that God will hold its authors instead of me responsible for your “wallowing in and all over the meat” before you truly understand the milk that is taught by the Church. I do feel, or I wouldn’t be writing, that it will take some additional truth to remove stumbling blocks from your mind because that is what my mind would have required, and that is actually what the Book of Mormon does. Since you will not read it in the way the Lord has prescribed which presents me with difficult choices. Turning to the Bible for all your answers WITHOUT asking the Lord through His Spirit is like an individual reading the manual on paying tennis without inviting the instructor along to help teach him. He may be good, but he would be better if he had been taught by a genuine tennis instructor (who for our purposes is the Holy Ghost, instead of only the scholars) before he started playing for real on his own.

    Another thing you are doing with this Book of Mormon scripture is the very thing you have said I am guilty of– taking one quote out, like, “we are saved by grace through faith” –100% true—but then adding “alone,” as if nothing else we do, including obedience to the words of the Savior, matters. You then insist that if there were more to be understood about that concept, God would have put it right there in that very spot where the subject was mentioned. This is not the case. Many scriptures in different places build upon one another just as the testimonies of prophets and apostles and duplicate prophecies build upon one another. Remember, the Book of Mormon would be a nonessential and not have power to convert through the Spirit or to put contention to rest if it did not offer some additional clarification and witnesses to what the Bible teaches.

    You are assuming that we believe our salvation is based upon our works in the very act of trying to make this scripture in the BOM go against the revelation of latter-day prophets. No “smoking gun” here, Brad. By the time of the death of each person, our works in this life resulting from our faith in whatever we chose to put our faith in, are finished and OUR FATE IS SEALED AS TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS. Nothing we can do matters after that final point because we are sealed by the spirit we “listed” to obey in this life and must suffer the consequences. If we have followed Satan, we are possessed by his spirit after death in our final state. This is why we mustn’t die IN OUR SINS. This is why we teach that although this mortality is the tiniest part of our eternal existence, it is also the most important because it determines our eternal destiny. Everything God has and is teaching us is to help us to avoid Eternal punishment; and it is Eternal because it is God’s punishment and He is Eternal. Punishment from His hand IS eternal punishment in its very nature, not simply in the sense of time by which man might define “eternal.” (Although the thousand years of the millennium, I’m sure, would seem an eternity to man.)

    The sons of perdition will not in the end be redeemed, as mentioned before, because they have committed the unpardonable sin. But with many who are wicked, the Spirit has no place in their hearts at death, and they are dead unto righteousness. These, who after having many witnesses of truth, chose evil over the light, and their final state is to suffer hell—which is to suffer God’s eternal punishment. They will have to pay for their own sins. “Final” in this instance applies to our condition at the end of the “race” or “the good fight” Paul descrives, just prior to the day of reckoning. NO LABOR CAN BE PERFORMED AFTER THIS LIFE BY ANYONE TO AVOID THAT PUNISHMENT. Thus in the hell portion of the spirit world, they will suffer until they have “paid the last farthing.” Then, at the end of the millennium,they will be resurrected and come forth to the glory which they WERE prepared to receive—the telestial kingdom.

    In the Doctrine and Covenants, Jesus says: “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I (in Gethsemane); Which suffering caused myself, even God…to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.”

    For those who were offered the Gospel in its fullness here, maybe even more than once, and understood it, having had witnesses of the Spirit, and rejected it, there is not another chance for exaltation in God’s celestial kingdom ; yet they can be redeemed and assigned a lower level of glory because although they were not ready for greater truth about Christ, they didn’t “give themselves over to evil.” They were just misled by Satan. If they received a testimony of Christ and were honorable people, their thoughts and actions will have formed their character already, but they are spared the pains of hell by the Atonement and will be taught the fullness of the Gospel in the spirit world. They will receive a terrestrial glory. Thoughts prompted by the Good spirit or the evil spirit lead to actions which lead to character which lead to destiny JUST AS FAITH LEADS TO OBEDIENCE– even if one doesn’t recognize the source.

    If you were taught by the missionaries the plan of salvation, you know that it is a plan of happiness and a beautiful one that excludes none of God’s children. It is worthy of our God who is a loving God and not arbitrary in his cut off line to heaven or hell. One is not condemned to “eternal hell” just for being weak in faith or being born in the wrong or to the wrong parents or at the wrong time (the Dark Ages, for instance), or for dying as a baby or an unbaptised child, and we are only accountable for living up to what we know to be true by the light of Christ, the conscience within us all. (Even Oprah says, “if we know better, we do better.” ( I tell you, Brad, men can learn from her too. ) God teaches us line upon line, precept upon precept, from grace to grace, and so we will not be arbitrarily assigned to heaven or hell based upon a lack of our understanding anymore than you would punish a one year old toddler for “leaping before he looks.” Natural consequences may result from the child’s actions, but he is not responsible for them morally as in the case of sin, and Jesus’ Atonement covers for him too. An innocent man who did not intentionally sin against the higher light and knowledge we gain from the Gospel will be taught further in the spirit world, and praise God for this worthy and just plan.

    “All evidence to the contrary, about your “desire”, Amanda.” (Brad)

    I’m afraid you’re right on that one because I am a passionate person, certainly not lukewarm. I would have been right there with Peter, cutting of an ear or two, as the soldiers approached Jesus to take him in the Garden. Believe me, I am much more patient in print to people who lie about and distort my beliefs than I would be in person, so I would not be a proper representative for the Lord’s Church. I would need a panel of people to participate with me so I could take time to be quiet and maintain my patience to allow the Spirit to witness to what is said. The Spirit flees from contention.

    I told you I have done this before with “normal” people not poisoned by the literature you cut your teeth on for this work. The listeners were able to consider what was said in truth about what we believe. (It’s against our religion to lie, Brad.) We took all calls, hard or easy. Afterward, the people were better equipped to pursue additional information from whatever source they pleased, but at least they had a glimpse of truth AS IT EXISTS. Also, the Spirit sometimes conveys more quickly to a person’s heart the truthfulness—or goodness—of what is said and the people who say it with the spoken word than with print. We dodged no questions, but it didn’t turn into a “Hannity and Colmes” situation where nothing but arguing or contending is accomplished. Despite the commercials in that instance, much was accomplished in human understanding and relations.

    Your printed posts about the Church, I can only equate in accuracy to the mainstream media’s coverage of the war in Iraq and the propaganda the Democrats have spread about President Bush from day one since the election. Vocally, it could be no better, and I wouldn’t want to help give voice to your venom by participating. It would only stir up contention between people we both should love.

    Excommunication, Brad? Aside from refusing to repent of acts of adultery and child or husband abuse, I could only be excommunicated if I were involved in teaching AGAINST my own beliefs and the Church itself (like you do). Do you really think there’s much chance of that?

    I wish you did know the Church as well as you profess. If you did, your heart would only be filled with love and respect toward it. We are actually your friends. You know nothing about the love within the hearts of the people and our desire to reach out to all of God’s children with His merciful plan of salvation. If we didn’t think it would increase the abundance of your lives, we wouldn’t be confident enough to offer it.

    Many fear God to the point that they don’t want to know Him from what some Christians teach. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul says we should “work out our own salvation with “fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12 and read the whole verse) Surely he knew that our actions don’t save us, right? So why do WE have to work out anything? We must choose this day whom we will serve. As for me and my (Church), we will serve the Lord.

    I am going off the blog now since I’ve been neglecting my family. I apologize for the areas I have not been clear and would encourage you to let our missionaries clarify. Be good to them, for they are somebody’s sons and daughters and are here at their and their families’ own sacrifice of time and money. If anyone is SINCERE in their desire to clarify further instead of just “contending for their faith,” please email me at ackbunton@hotmail.com. Others can go to http://www.Mormon.org or http://www.LDS.org.

  70. Brad said

    “God promised in Moroni 10 of the BOM that if you read the Book of Mormon in sincerity and ask God, He will reveal its truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost. If the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph was a prophet, and the Church is true. After one knows that the BOM is true, as he attends, studies and prays, the Spirit will witness to him in a million ways the truthfulness of the Church.” (Amanda)

    Red herring, as I’ve stated before. You still don’t see the circular logic, do you? “It says in the BOM that if you ask, you’ll be shown it’s true. If the BOM is true, then Smith was correct and the LDS church is true.” And how do you know that the BOM is true? Through nothing more than a feeling, as there is NO evidence to support its truthfulness. If there were, do you not think Amanda would have presented it already? Where are all the places mentioned in the BOM, and why haven’t we found them? Why do we have no record of them, like we do with all the places in the Bible? Why won’t the Smithsonian say that the BOM can be authenticated, like the Bible? Answer – b/c it can’t be.

    Ray, again, I don’t know your leanings, but I will say that if you are not “sold” one way or the other, that you run from Mormonism, as it has deceived too many already. There is NO evidence for it. Sure, it’s nice to be part of a group, and to say you have something that is more true than anything else on earth. But it only matters if it’s real – and their faith is not.

    “I can claim this only because I and millions of others have received that revelation, and I’ve never heard anyone from any other church or read in print that God would do the same for their church.” (Amanda)

    That’s b/c the LDS church invented it, Amanda. God hasn’t revealed anything “special” to any other church b/c He has already revealed what He needed to for our salvation in it’s fullest, through Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible. Nothing else is needed. You think you have something “special” in this “extra revelation”. I know you have been misled. You have also been warned about it, and so as Romans 1 says, you are now “without excuse.”

  71. Brad said

    “This is my final post to Brad. Please see the bottom of post if you have any questions or if I haven’t been clear enough.” (Amanda)

    We’ll see – you’ve said this before, too.

    “Not my problem, Brad. It’s God’s “problem” (part of His work and glory) to prove the work is true and that He has a living prophet today. He will prove it to any sincere, truth-seeking believer who knows He has the ability to do so, heart by humble heart.” (Amanda)

    You’re right, it is God’s “problem” to make sure we can understand. Amazingly enough, He has given us a document that is unquestionable, that can’t be mistaken or misleading as our “feelings” can be – the Bible. We need only to look to the Bible to see God’s clear plan of salvation, and in doing so, we can see that it does not involve anything at all associated with the Mormon church.

    I challenged you earlier: “You bring me a quote from your ward leader, stake leader, etc… saying that “Mormons believe in salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, apart from works”, and I’ll be more than happy to believe you.” Let’s see your response below.

    “Not going to happen, Brad, because of the Biblical scriptures I’ve already given you from the Savior’s and his apostles’ mouths explaining just what that means. Works—and when I say works, I mean obedience to God’s commandments, are required for that grace for which we are all so grateful.” (Amanda)

    Your durn right it’s not going to happen, BECAUSE THE MORMON CHURCH DOESN’T BELIEVE IN SALVATION BY FAITH ALONE!! I do thank you for pointing that out clearly to everyone else on here. Per your own quote, “works…are required for that grace…”. Finally, you’ve said it. FOR ANYONE WHO’S READ THE BIBLE, AND READ EPHESIANS 2:8-9, YOU WILL KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT THE CASE!! As to the other “scriptures” that Amanda has supposedly given to show this isn’t the case, I have refuted those time and again to show that her interpretation is unsound and Biblically inconsistent and incorrect. James does NOT teadh a salvation by works IN ANY SENSE. If you think he does, you have not read your Bible correctly, for it would then be in contradiction directly with Ephesians. You have just proved my entire point, Amanda, that salvation in the LDS church is reached via a different method than prescribed in the Bible. Thank you.

    “And if you want the world to believe that Joseph Smith concocted the great plan of salvation all by himself and was able to make the Bible “fit” into his, Joseph’s, doctrine sufficiently enough that ministers and Bible-believing Christians are converted to the Church each year, is it I who needs to get real?” (Amanda)

    Oh, I don’t believe Smith concocted the great plan of salvation – God did that. What Smith did was change it to his own desires, his own ends and by his own methods, and then try to find things to support it. And if you reason that Mormonism must be true b/c people are converted to it, then by extension you would have to believe that Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witness, and even mainline Christianity are also true, b/c people are converted to those daily, as well. But if that’s the case, and they all have different beliefs about God, the nature of God, salvation, etc… how can you say any of them are the right one? Your reasoning is faulty on this one.

    “Excuse me, but I am here to try my best to represent only what the Church actually teaches and can prove that it teaches, things that have been said since I joined the Church as well as official things that are part of the Church’s doctrine from its conception. That is my entire reason for addressing the blog. You like to quote unofficial “opinions” and whatever remarks seem sensational enough to further your agenda, or say what you claim we believe as if it were real doctrine. I’m here to remind you of what is actual Church doctrine, and I must do it with the words of living prophets if I am to represent the truth.” (Amanda)

    That was my point, Amanda. You’ve told me before I can’t quote from former Prophets just b/c they said something to prove my points, b/c it may not have been an “official” speaking and may not be considered doctrine b/c it’s not in one of the Big 4 books. Yet you used a quote from a former Prophet to make your point. You can’t have it both ways – either the quotes are in, or they’re out, but not one for you and different for me. It doesn’t work that way. If the remarks I quote from former prophets seem “sensational”, it’s only b/c they were – they are, after all, direct quotes. Take it up with your “prophets” if you think they don’t follow doctrine, b/c THEY said them. If your “prophets”, who help shape doctrine and are led by God (supposedly), say something that doesn’t conform to doctrine – gee, what does that say?

    “Why are you so afraid to let people make their own informed decisions, Brad? If they pray, read the Bible and listen to the Holy Ghost, can you not give them credit enough to be able to discern for themselves if the Book of Mormon and the Church are true? YOU DO NOT KNOW OF YOURSELF THE SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR JOINING THE CHURCH ANY MORE THAN YOU KNOW OF THE BLESSINGS THAT COME FROM JOINING THE CHURCH.” (Amanda)

    The decision they ultimately make is, of course, up to them. However, I want to make sure they know all the facts before getting into something. If all they did was pray and read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to show them the truth contained in the Bible, then they wouldn’t arrive at Mormonism, so I’d be fine with that. But that’s not what you ask them to do, is it? You ask them to read the BOM, and then pray and ask for truth. That’s a big difference, and one that the Bible does not say should be done, at that. AND I DO KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES, AMANDA, B/C OF WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS – IF YOU FOLLOW A JESUS THAT IS NOT OF THE BIBLE, AND SEEK SALVATION THROUGH MEANS OTHER THAN WHAT THE BIBLE PRESCRIBES, YOU WILL NOT FIND IT. THOSE WOULD BE TERRIBLE SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES!!

    “This work is either of Satan or God, this much we all know. I knew from the Bible teachings of my youth the qualities and characteristics of God; I also knew Satan could not duplicate them; nor could he give a person peace in his or her heart and mind or change one life for good. Satan is incapable of meeting one’s spiritual needs, and my needs are thoroughly met. Questions that had been stumbling blocks to my faith all of my life as a Protestant have been answered.” (Amanda)

    Satan CAN deceive, however.

    “This is a telling statement, Brad, and please speak for yourself because many of us to whom the Spirit has witnesses will disagree with you on this one. Through Joseph Smith’s calling, Heaven and earth were brought together once more through direct revelation which will never stop until the coming of Christ when he shall rule over His kingdom on earth Himself. Some people who have heard the voice of God today will tell you that they knew Joseph was a prophet before they knew the Book of Mormon was true, but it usually works the other way around. The history of the Church is filled with just that kind of communication between God and his living prophets to the Church, and through the Holy Ghost, to man personally. Did you not say He is not a changing God? If He were to communicate with man again, would it not be in the same way–a living prophet, and through the same church He organized through Jesus in the meridian of time? And we are foretold of the “restitution of all things” spoken by the mouths of His holy prophets during the “times of refreshing.” (Amanda)

    I don’t believe God has spoken to any Mormon or to any Mormon prophet. I believe you are all deceived, and have chosen to believe what you wish to be true. Simple as that. The Bible simply doesn’t mesh with what you believe, therefore either the Bible or Mormonism is wrong. Guess which one I’m picking.

    “And if this were the case, God gave you, through the Bible (every word of which you say you believe), the way to discern:

    Evil prophet– evil works, evil “fruits.” No matter how you define “fruits,” you cannot get away from the fact that the third member of the Godhead would not be present in the Church or in our hearts when given through the laying on of hands by those He has called in authority if Joseph had been evil. Lives would not be changed. Miracles would not occur. Peace would not reign in a heart filled with Satan’s teachings.” (Amanda)

    You’re forgetting that Satan is the master deceiver, Amanda. You are operating from a mindset that is forgetting that. And yes, the Bible says to “search the Scriptures” to see if what you hear is real. I have done so, and have concluded that Mormonism is false, since it doesn’t line up with Scripture.

    Abraham’s belief, or faith, was indeed the cause of all the righteousness attributed to him, but it was EVIDENCED in how he arose early the next morning to take his son to be sacrificed. He wasn’t a slacker. He believed and so he performed what God had said. IF he hadn’t obeyed, would it have been accounted unto him as righteousness because he “believed?” Of course not, because we evidence our belief THROUGH our actions.” (Amanda)

    But you say one thing here, and another elsewhere, Amanda. Your first sentence above is correct; it’s when you try to explain it that you go awry. If he hadn’t obeyed, it would have been b/c he TRULY did not believe. That is why faith is evidenced by actions. But it’s not the actions that do anything, other than evidence (to others, I might add; God doesn’t need evidence, b/c He sees our hearts) that we believe already. If he hadn’t obeyed, it probably would not have been credited as righteousness. But not b/c he didn’t obey, but b/c he didn’t have faith.

    Problem is, Amanda, if you TRULY believed this, then you would be ABLE to say what I challenged you to earlier: that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, apart from works. You yourself said that you can’t say that, therefore you don’t believe it. That’s a pretty easy concept. Your beliefs about faith and works are not correct. I know it’s hard to believe that as a Mormon, that could be the case, but it’s true. But we’ve went over this too often to rehash it again, Amanda, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that your interpretations are incorrect, and you have not completely STUDIED scripture (not just what it says in English, but what it says originally, the contexts of those words, everything in relation) to see exactly what this means. Sorry.

    “Otherwise, we are teaching a “different gospel” than the one the Bible teaches.” (Amanda)

    Yes, you are. Thank you for admitting that.

    “Because you have been a victim of the stumbling blocks put in your hands by anti-Mormon literature, I am praying that God will hold its authors instead of me responsible for your “wallowing in and all over the meat” before you truly understand the milk that is taught by the Church. I do feel, or I wouldn’t be writing, that it will take some additional truth to remove stumbling blocks from your mind because that is what my mind would have required, and that is actually what the Book of Mormon does. Since you will not read it in the way the Lord has prescribed which presents me with difficult choices. Turning to the Bible for all your answers WITHOUT asking the Lord through His Spirit is like an individual reading the manual on paying tennis without inviting the instructor along to help teach him. He may be good, but he would be better if he had been taught by a genuine tennis instructor (who for our purposes is the Holy Ghost, instead of only the scholars) before he started playing for real on his own.” (Amanda)

    The Lord does not prescribe reading the BOM anywhere in the Bible. NOWHERE. Turning to the BOM (or Mormonism, for that matter) for your answers without making sure they don’t conflict with the Bible is like being taught by a tennis pro (the Bible), then reading a manual on how to do it (the BOM), and when the manual says to do it differently than the tennis pro has already instructed you how to do it, which you have seen work, you ignore the pro, and stick to the manual, though you admit the pro is mostly right, as well. It’s a complete contradiction, and that’s exactly what the Mormon church does with the Bible’s teachings. It looks at them, and then validates them in light of Mormonism. Completely wrong.

    “Another thing you are doing with this Book of Mormon scripture is the very thing you have said I am guilty of– taking one quote out, like, “we are saved by grace through faith” –100% true—but then adding “alone,” as if nothing else we do, including obedience to the words of the Savior, matters.” (Amanda)

    I NEVER said that nothing else we do matters – I said that nothing else we do will save us. There’s a big difference, Amanda, which you haven’t caught on to yet.

    “You then insist that if there were more to be understood about that concept, God would have put it right there in that very spot where the subject was mentioned. This is not the case. Many scriptures in different places build upon one another just as the testimonies of prophets and apostles and duplicate prophecies build upon one another.” (Amanda)

    Many Scriptures do build upon one another, but they don’t CONTRADICT one another. That verse in Alma contradicts your doctrine about eternal hell, and man’s destiny being determined after he dies. Completely contradicts it. So either the verse is right, and your doctrine wrong, or the doctrine is right, and the verse is wrong. Either way, you have an internal inconsistency. There’s no real other way to interpret that verse.

    “Remember, the Book of Mormon would be a nonessential and not have power to convert through the Spirit or to put contention to rest if it did not offer some additional clarification and witnesses to what the Bible teaches.” (Amanda)

    You are correct. Since it doesn’t, it is nonessential.

    “You are assuming that we believe our salvation is based upon our works in the very act of trying to make this scripture in the BOM go against the revelation of latter-day prophets. No “smoking gun” here, Brad. By the time of the death of each person, our works in this life resulting from our faith in whatever we chose to put our faith in, are finished and OUR FATE IS SEALED AS TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS. Nothing we can do matters after that final point because we are sealed by the spirit we “listed” to obey in this life and must suffer the consequences. If we have followed Satan, we are possessed by his spirit after death in our final state. This is why we mustn’t die IN OUR SINS. This is why we teach that although this mortality is the tiniest part of our eternal existence, it is also the most important because it determines our eternal destiny. Everything God has and is teaching us is to help us to avoid Eternal punishment; and it is Eternal because it is God’s punishment and He is Eternal. Punishment from His hand IS eternal punishment in its very nature, not simply in the sense of time by which man might define “eternal.” (Although the thousand years of the millennium, I’m sure, would seem an eternity to man.) The sons of perdition will not in the end be redeemed, as mentioned before, because they have committed the unpardonable sin. But with many who are wicked, the Spirit has no place in their hearts at death, and they are dead unto righteousness. These, who after having many witnesses of truth, chose evil over the light, and their final state is to suffer hell—which is to suffer God’s eternal punishment. They will have to pay for their own sins. “Final” in this instance applies to our condition at the end of the “race” or “the good fight” Paul descrives, just prior to the day of reckoning. NO LABOR CAN BE PERFORMED AFTER THIS LIFE BY ANYONE TO AVOID THAT PUNISHMENT. Thus in the hell portion of the spirit world, they will suffer until they have “paid the last farthing.” Then, at the end of the millennium,they will be resurrected and come forth to the glory which they WERE prepared to receive—the telestial kingdom.” (Amanda)

    And thus your teachings are then in conflict with the Bible, which does NOT hold to this view. The Bible does not anywhere speak of any possibility of salvation or Heaven AFTER physical death – NOWHERE. Not even in 1 Peter 3, where the Mormons have GROSSLY misinterpreted it to think that it has, to back up what they believe. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Doesn’t hold to Scripture overall. Would be nice, b/c then you could say that everyone has a 2nd chance (which is why I suspect Smith doctored this one up), but unfortunately, not true.

    “For those who were offered the Gospel in its fullness here, maybe even more than once, and understood it, having had witnesses of the Spirit, and rejected it, there is not another chance for exaltation in God’s celestial kingdom ; yet they can be redeemed and assigned a lower level of glory because although they were not ready for greater truth about Christ, they didn’t “give themselves over to evil.” They were just misled by Satan. If they received a testimony of Christ and were honorable people, their thoughts and actions will have formed their character already, but they are spared the pains of hell by the Atonement and will be taught the fullness of the Gospel in the spirit world. They will receive a terrestrial glory. Thoughts prompted by the Good spirit or the evil spirit lead to actions which lead to character which lead to destiny JUST AS FAITH LEADS TO OBEDIENCE– even if one doesn’t recognize the source.” (Amanda)

    This is just completely assinine thinking – nowhere backed up by Scripture.

    “If you were taught by the missionaries the plan of salvation, you know that it is a plan of happiness and a beautiful one that excludes none of God’s children.” (Amanda)

    But Christianity does exclude, Amanda – there are many who will not find the way to salvation. Scripture is very clear about this. That is why the BOM is contradictory to Scripture.

    “It is worthy of our God who is a loving God and not arbitrary in his cut off line to heaven or hell. One is not condemned to “eternal hell” just for being weak in faith or being born in the wrong or to the wrong parents or at the wrong time (the Dark Ages, for instance), or for dying as a baby or an unbaptised child, and we are only accountable for living up to what we know to be true by the light of Christ, the conscience within us all. (Even Oprah says, “if we know better, we do better.” ( I tell you, Brad, men can learn from her too. )” (Amanda)

    Just what I thought – the Mormon line of thinking is “a loving God wouldn’t do this, therefore we will base what we believe God will do, not on the Bible, but upon our opinions.” Welcome to Mormonism 101. But if Oprah said it…

    “I told you I have done this before with “normal” people not poisoned by the literature you cut your teeth on for this work.” (Amanda)

    Yes, we’re all “anti’s”, “poisoned” by literature. It’s becoming laughable at this point, Amanda.

    “Your printed posts about the Church, I can only equate in accuracy to the mainstream media’s coverage of the war in Iraq and the propaganda the Democrats have spread about President Bush from day one since the election. Vocally, it could be no better, and I wouldn’t want to help give voice to your venom by participating. It would only stir up contention between people we both should love.” (Amanda)

    Sour grapes, if you truly believe what you believe and are willing to fight for it. Sour grapes.

    “Aside from refusing to repent of acts of adultery and child or husband abuse, I could only be excommunicated if I were involved in teaching AGAINST my own beliefs and the Church itself (like you do). Do you really think there’s much chance of that?” (Amanda)

    Wrong. I know this from talking with ex-Mormons first hand, Amanda. Nice try, though.

    Again, to any reader, steer very clear of Mormonism. In it does not lie salvation, but death and hell, for the Jesus they preach is a different Jesus than the Bible, and their salvation and heaven a different salvation and heaven. Don’t be misled by the wolf in sheep’s clothing. There is no evidence, and you only have to look at the contradictions between the Bible and the BOM to see the difference. It’s a one-way trip away from God, so be careful.

  72. Ted said

    More controversy for our Mormon friends to defend.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/09/11/fleeing.polygamy.hammon/index.html

  73. Brad said

    With as much as I disagree with Mormonism, I will step in and say that Jeffs’ sect is a branch of Mormonism that I believe the LDS church has denounced, in their defense. Granted, it still IS a branch of Mormonism, and the polygamist thinking that the sect still acts upon has its roots in mainline Mormonism, but the “official” position of the LDS church is that polygamy is no longer sanctioned.

    Still doesn’t change the fact that Mormonism, mainline or otherwise, still does not mesh with the Bible.

  74. Brad said

    Just an interesting quote from a Mormon (in bold), that I saw on another blog. It speaks directly to their theological leanings, which have been discussed ad nauseam here:

    Mormonism has always been rather fluid on theology – not meaning we just change whenever it’s convenient, but that we don’t usually hold so tightly to orthodoxy that we aren’t accepting of theological possibilities.

    “Fluid on theology” – that’s definitely true. No disagreement here.

    Thus most Mormons aren’t likely to make too big a stink over theological differences as long as you don’t.

    Yep.

    For example, if an Evangelical who is really, REALLY, sold on the idea of “grace” wants to join up, we don’t really do much to try and de-program that idea. He is free to continue believing it if he wishes, and many Mormons emphasize grace as well.

    I myself am really, REALLY sold on the idea of grace, as being the only thing that saves us, b/c we cannot begin to even think about doing anything to save ourselves. What I find interesting is that some Mormons, such as Amanda, have spent A LOT of time saying that Mormons believe in salvation by grace. However, if they did, and if this particular Mormon does, then why the reference to “de-programming” that idea? If the idea isn’t wrong, then why the need to de-program it? Doesn’t make sense. The reference to “he is free to continue believing it if he wishes, and many Mormons emphasize grace as well”, gives the strong implication that it isn’t the correct belief, but that it won’t be looked down upon, b/c some Mormons even do it. This doesn’t seem to support a belief in salvation by grace alone in the Mormon church, although I’ve been told by some Mormons (Amanda, in particular) that they DO believe in this.

    If a Muslim wished to join up and continued to believe privately that Mohammad was a true prophet, I doubt too many people in the Ward would care enough to kick him out. He might get some raised eyebrows if he tried to push the idea in Gospel Doctrine class, but I doubt anyone would care too much.

    It’s a shame that they wouldn’t care. I suspect they won’t b/c of their beliefs on hell (and who will and won’t go there) and their beliefs on heaven (and who will and won’t go there). If hell is for very few, and heaven for nearly all, then there’s not a lot of consequence to beliefs which don’t mesh with a particular belief system, is there?

    Really, ethical living is paramount in Mormonism. If you are doing that, we don’t tend to sweat the doctrinal problems. Not usually anyway – there are some obvious limits to how far this openness can be taken.

    You heard it, directly from the mouth of a Mormon. “Ethical living is paramount.” All the lip service in the world can be given to “by grace alone”, but at the end of the day, it’s works-based religion, folks.

    By the way, the Mormon who quoted the above is currently Second Counselor in his Elder’s Quorum. Not sure exactly what that means, but since it is some sort of title in his church, I would hope and assume (maybe wrongly) that he knows what true LDS beliefs are.

  75. Jay said

    Second Counselor in the Elders Quorum is not a very “prestigious” position. It means you are a counselor to the Elders Quorum President who oversees a Quorum of anywhere from 5-60 Elders (i.e. mostly men 19-35). Most EQ counselors, or Presidents for that matter, are not considered authorities on LDS theology. BTW, The fact that you don’t know what an Elders Quorum is reveals that you know very little about the LDS Church, making you a poor critic indeed.

    Many Mormons also believe in grace, it is not discouraged. Any Mormon will agree that without the grace of God we are all lost.

    Many religions, yours as well as Muslims, have good things about them. Why should someone have to reject everything from a past religion? They are free to bring the good things with them. If that is what your Christian denomination requires, that is sad indeed.

    Are you saying that being Christ like is not paramount in your church? To me that is what is meant by “ethical living”. It is silly to imply that Mormons don’t have Christ as the center of their worship and I seriously doubt that is what this member was implying.

  76. Fred said

    I predict the post count on this thread will be three digits by this time tomorrow.

  77. Brad said

    Welcome over here, Jay! Not seen you post over here before, but I of course have seen you on the Mormon blogs frequently. I think you’ll find the over-riding viewpoint is a lot more different here than on there… Nonetheless, you are welcome here, of course!

    Second Counselor in the Elders Quorum is not a very “prestigious” position. It means you are a counselor to the Elders Quorum President who oversees a Quorum of anywhere from 5-60 Elders (i.e. mostly men 19-35). Most EQ counselors, or Presidents for that matter, are not considered authorities on LDS theology. BTW, The fact that you don’t know what an Elders Quorum is reveals that you know very little about the LDS Church, making you a poor critic indeed.

    I never said it was “prestigious”; to remind you, what I said was I’m “not sure exactly what that means [the title], but since it is some sort of title in his church, I would hope and assume (maybe wrongly) that he knows what true LDS beliefs are.” My point was that he holds SOME sort of title, and as such, and as he posts frequently on the Mormon blogs, my assumption would be that he would hopefully know what he’s talking about, in reference to the beliefs he’s referencing. I never said he was an “authority”, nor do I think he is. And I’m not criticizing his position, only using it to say that I assumed with a position, he hopefully knows what he’s talking about. Doesn’t change my knowledge of beliefs about the general LDS church, simply b/c I didn’t know at first what his title meant. I could google the title and easily find out, but that wasn’t the point of my post.

    Many Mormons also believe in grace, it is not discouraged. Any Mormon will agree that without the grace of God we are all lost.

    Here’s the point of my post, which you spent the least amount of time focusing on (oddly enough, though not unpredictable). Just the tone of what you say – “many Mormons also believe in grace, it is not discouraged” – leaves one to think that it is an acceptable belief, though probably not an official belief, nor the chief necessity for salvation. If I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me, point blank. You said it, and so did the person I quoted (whom I believe you know who I’m talking about). And I’m not talking “general salvation”, which cannot be compared to the Evangelical view of salvation, b/c they mean 2 entirely different things. Either grace saves completely (nothing else required), partially (works also required), or not at all (grace not even required). Which do you say, and why? B/c the tone of your email and the original quote is that it is partial.

    Many religions, yours as well as Muslims, have good things about them. Why should someone have to reject everything from a past religion? They are free to bring the good things with them. If that is what your Christian denomination requires, that is sad indeed.

    This isn’t the point – you’ve missed it entirely. My point wasn’t in the person’s Muslim heritage, rather his beliefs. If a Muslim converts, he can continue to do what he’s used to doing, if it meshes with his new beliefs. However, if it doesn’t, to truly say he converted, he would have to conform his actions with his new beliefs, or else can you really say he converted? What the original quote said was that (paraphrased) the LDS church wouldn’t really care, as long as he didn’t try to push his beliefs on anyone else. Talk about sad indeed.

    Are you saying that being Christ like is not paramount in your church? To me that is what is meant by “ethical living”. It is silly to imply that Mormons don’t have Christ as the center of their worship and I seriously doubt that is what this member was implying.

    I said nothing about Christ as the center or not the center, nor anything about what that member implied about such. How “Christ-like” do we need to be? Can we be perfectly “Christ-like”? Does being “Christ-like” help us gain our salvation? Can we lose our salvation if we are not “Christ-like” enough? Why should we be “Christ-like” – b/c we love Him and want to serve Him b/c He has ALREADY GIVEN us salvation through grace, or b/c we need to be “Christ-like” to help gain our salvation? I’d love to know your real take on the questions at hand, Jay.

  78. Jay said

    Brad,
    I have posted here before see #2 and #5 above, but thanks for the welcome. You seem very hard to understand as I apparently have missed every point you try to make. I’ll try to do better.

    Grace is not all that is required, but without it there is nothing anyone can do to be saved in the Evangelical or LDS view. Baptism is required (see my post on Moromons Rock) although I already know you do not believe this, so you don’t have to go into your reasoning (I’ve heard it several times from many different people and it still makes no sense when you honestly study the bible). Believing that grace alone saves relieves people of all personal responsibility for following Christ, so I can see why it is so popular.

    Yes, we don’t push our personal beliefs onto each other if they fall within the range of speculative thought, just as Evangelicals don’t (or shouldn’t). The most important thing is that we focus on Christ, accept him as our Savior and follow his example.

    “Can we be perfectly ‘Christ-like’?”

    Of course not only one person was, but we have been asked by God to be as Christ-like as we can. Can we truly say we are His disciples if we don’t try to be like him? Nope. When we fail to live up to His standards we are commanded to repent and that through Christ atonement we can be cleansed, becoming perfect in Christ.

    “Can we lose our salvation if we are not ‘Christ-like’ enough”?

    I don’t know, you tell me. Almost all of the evangelicals I’ve talked to say that if a person says they are saved and then commits sin they were never really saved in the first place. This sounds like a very convenient explanation and shows that Evangelicals do believe in good works, because if you don’t do them you “weren’t really saved in the first place”.

    “Why should we be “Christ-like” – b/c we love Him and want to serve Him b/c He has ALREADY GIVEN us salvation through grace, or b/c we need to be “Christ-like” to help gain our salvation?”

    Of course we should obey because we love Him. If God asks us to do something (i.e. be baptized) we do it out of love, no questions asked. We don’t say “that’s not required” even though God asked us to do it. That is precisely why millions of LDS members try to live as Christ-like a life as they can because that is what God asks of us.

  79. Mike Sears said

    Jay
    I must respectfully point out that it is evident that you just don’t understand the doctrine of grace as Paul taught it in Romans, Galatians and many other places. And yes even James taught it, if you read it in its’ entire context. You said “Grace is not all that is required”…, that just does not make sense. If anything else is required, then it’s not grace. Grace, as biblically defined is the free and unmerited favor of God.

    You see Grace is THE SUPREME motivating factor towards obedience. We just don’t deserve it! And when we gain an understanding of 1. The Holiness of God, 2. The Perfect Obedience that is required to approach a Perfect and Holy God, 3. Our complete inadequacy before Him, 4. Yet still, He chose to love us so much that He became flesh, lived the perfect life that we couldn’t and thus became a propitiation for us by dying for us. It is at that point that we fall so madly in love with Jesus Christ that we desire to follow Him and to offer our bodies as living sacrifices!!

    Obedience just does not get us there. Mostly because our obedience is still tainted with sin. That’s why in Hebrews God tells us “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” More later

  80. Mike Sears said

    One more point before I turn in tonight. You said, “we don’t push our personal beliefs onto each other if they fall within the range of speculative thought, just as Evangelicals don’t (or shouldn’t)” That comment fails it’s own test. By saying evangelicals shouldn’t push their personal beliefs on others, this comment is doing just that. You’re sounding a bit like a relativist now.

    Again on Grace; If we are motivated by merit, duty, fear, or guilt, our good works are filthy rags. Yet if we are motivated by a love response to God, out of gratitude for giving us what we don’t deserve, His righteous Robe and eternal life with Him, it is then that our works are delightful to Him. But they (good works) do not earn us “justification”, that is already given to us by grace (free), and that is why we love Him so much!!!

  81. Jay said

    Mike,
    I don’t understand grace as Evangelicals believe it and I’m sure that you have scripture to back up your belief, but so do I. However, I wish to understand the concept of grace as believed from the Evangelical perspective. Could you or anyone else please lay it out for me in your own words with biblical scripture as support. I’m not saying that I will agree with you, but I would like to understand how you view grace (which apparently is somehow different than my view of it). This is a sincere request.

    Obedience just does not get us there.

    I couldn’t agree more! Good works don’t garuantee anyone a ticket into heaven. We cannot “earn” salvation no matter how many good works we do.

    Again on Grace; If we are motivated by merit, duty, fear, or guilt, our good works are filthy rags. Yet if we are motivated by a love response to God, out of gratitude for giving us what we don’t deserve, His righteous Robe and eternal life with Him, it is then that our works are delightful to Him. But they (good works) do not earn us “justification”, that is already given to us by grace (free), and that is why we love Him so much!!!

    Amen!

    If anything else is required, then it’s not grace.

    I guess this is where we hit a wall. I don’t see how believing we must do good works that God has commanded us to do means that we don’t believe in grace. I just don’t understand that at all. I love him so much that I would do anything he asks even though it is “filthy rags”. I’m not going to turn away from Him and say no, you said I’m saved by grace so I’ll just sit here and believe.

    I know that is an over simplification of what you mean, but the saved by grace doctrine leaves that interpretation open and many people choose to view it that way (i.e. accept Christ and I’m saved or say a prayer and I’m saved). I just don’t believe God wants his children to be lazy, he wants us to act. That is why he told us to preach his gospel, be baptized, love one another, take up his cross, etc. Grace doctrine, as I currently understand it, removes our personal responsibility to seek out God our whole life, not just one defining “I’ve been saved moment”. As James says, “faith without works is dead”(I realize you probably have some alternative interpretation for James’ words).

    That comment fails it’s own test.

    In what way? I think you must have misunderstood what I was talking about. I don’t think it’s wrong to tell other people what you believe. You and I both believe we have been commanded by Christ to share His gospel with others. What I was talking about in the above comment was that it is not right for us to push all our personal crazy ideas about God onto people (I try not to have crazy ideas). Most of these would be speculative or in other words without any scriptural support whatsoever. Some early LDS leaders, IMO, did this and it irritates me (Brigham Young is a prime example). I don’t know how much you know about the LDS Church, so you might not know what I’m talking about, but I believe Brad does.

  82. Mike Sears said

    Grace:
    The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ’s work, (Incarnation, Life, Suffering, Death and Resurrection) is TOTALLY sufficient for our salvation as well as for our sanctification. That there is NOTHING we can do to secure our justification (or even gain favor afterwards) with God. Salvation, aside from Faith (Belief) on our part, is entirely the work of God. To add “works” (man performed actions) to the message of salvation is to deny the all sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross. All through the Old Testament, mankind just could not get it right. When the Bible says in Hebrews 8:7 “For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.”, this had nothing to do with the sufficiency of the promise that God had made but had everything to do with the fact that mankind got it all wrong. They kept thinking that by following all of these laws and regulations, that they could gain favor with God. But they could not follow them perfectly (as no one can), therefore their righteous deeds, just as Isaiah put it are, “Filthy Rags”. Jesus was constantly addressing this especially towards the Pharisees and Sadducees. He was continuously rebuking them for thinking that “by the laws they can have life”, or washing the cup on the outside, while the inside was filthy.

    Here is some scripture that make up my “anchor”:

    Ephesians 2:4-10 (New International Version)
    4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

    There are many things to say about this verse alone. First of all notice that the verse says “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions”. This presupposes that we are still dead in transgressions when we are “made alive in Christ” (or Born Again). Further it states “it is by grace”. Again grace is defined as a free and unmerited gift. It seems to me that verses 8 & 9 are pretty self explanatory. Then verse 10 can be highlighted by a look at Revelations 19:8, Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) This is the description of the “Wedding of the Lamb”. That great day we have to look forward to when “the Body of Christ”, His saints (believers), will be wed, that is united, with Him. What this verse is saying is that our standing before God, Our robes or linen, Our righteous standing is a GIFT. Using the Bibles’ own translation of the “linen”, The verse says that the “righteous acts of the saints” (that is all believers throughout all of time), was a gift to the bride, (which is the Body of Believers).

    Romans 10:4
    4Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
    Romans 10:9-10
    9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
    Romans 10:13
    13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    Acts 16:29-34
    29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
    31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

    This is where Paul answers the guard. Notice that they were immediately baptized which was an obedient response to the free gift of salvation they received. Note that verse 34 does not say, “he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God (and obeyed the laws and ordinances of the Gospel)”. No, it stops at “believe in God”.

    However, in Mark 16:15, it states that one must believe and be baptized. While this seems to contradict the numerous claims otherwise all throughout the New Testament, I think we can also look at this from the standpoint that there are two different types of baptism identified in scripture. John the Baptist explained that he baptized with water, but Jesus will baptize us with His Holy Spirit. So what we have going on here is a dichotomy between the physical and spiritual realms. What God does spiritually and what we do as a response. The baptism that Christ performs in our hearts is also described as “circumcision of the heart”.

    We are counted (considered by God to be) righteous by faith and faith alone:
    This doctrine and belief is rooted in even the earliest accounts of faith. In Genesis 15:6 the Bible tells us that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. The books of Romans and Galatians get really specific in explaining this doctrine. I could go through and highlight some of the key verses that point to this but when you read these 2 books with this specific focus it gets pretty clear that Paul is hammering this point over and over and over. Paul uses circumcision as an example. I believe the Bible clearly teaches us that circumcision was the “sign of faith” in the OT. Circumcision was part of “the Law” that was given to Abraham. The law is what we are called to follow. The Bible teaches us that the Law has two main purposes, 1st to show us God’s holiness and perfection, His standards if you will. I think we both agree on that point. Secondly, the Law was put in place to lead us to Christ. When we consider that we are called to uphold the Law perfectly, and given that our hearts are dark, our realization is that there is no way we can achieve this, it is then that we are ready to hear “The Gospel”, that Christ performed EVERYTHING necessary for our salvation.

    Back to circumcision, now this was one of those “laws” that man was called to do as a response of their faith in obedience to God. All through the OT and through the Gospels we see that many misunderstood the requirements and what this really meant. Jesus told the Pharisees that they misunderstood the deep meaning of these laws. He rebuked them saying that they believed “by the laws they will have life”. They misunderstood completely. He also rebuked them by saying that they wash the outside of the cup (physically) but the insides (spiritually) were still filthy. This is the same thing that Paul is talking about in Romans 2: Try reading this and replace “circumcision” with “being clean on the outside”, and then, “Baptism”
    25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
    28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

    Note the point that he is making is that true circumcision is “by the Spirit”. I believe baptism is the same.

    There is a plethora of scripture references that I could give you but it would be too long. I could send you a 7 page study (the above is part of it) in which I answered this same question to a Mormon friend of mine at work. I’d be happy to send that to you.

  83. Mike Sears said

    Jay
    There is a much greater explanation than I can give on how GRACE is the main element of “sanctification” as well as “justitfication”. Walter Marshall (in the 1700’s) wrote a great little book explaining this in very simple and understandable terms. Bruce McRae has re-written it in today’s language. “The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification” It has all of the Bible references for backup. Give it a try: http://www.monergismbooks.com/The-Gospel-Mystery-of-Sanctification-PB-p-17152.html

  84. Mike Sears said

    Jay
    Please don’t get me wrong here. Works and obedience are critically important to the Christian life. Like Ephesians says, we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. We are certainly commanded to obey everything He has commanded us to do (Matthew 28:20). Salvation by Grace through faith alone does not relieve of us of our responsibility to obey. But it is not what gains us salvation or sanctification. Both are entirely a work of God. We must be “broken vessels”. God’s power is made perfect in weakness!

    The “works” verses in James simply point out that works are an “evidence” of salvation, not the means by which we achieve it. I could go on and on as this is my favorite topic and truth of all time. God reached down and pulled this wretch out of the miry bog 7 years ago at the age of 38 after living my life believing I was a “Christian” because I was baptized as a baby and grew up in a Christian home!

  85. Mike Sears said

    We are not accepted (considered Holy, justified, sanctified) based on our performance.

    We perform because we have been accepted.

  86. Jay said

    Mike,
    I appreciate the time you took to respond. I will read the scriptures and article you suggested. Thanks.

  87. Brad said

    Jay, I won’t expound too much on what Mike Sears said, b/c I agree wholeheartedly with what he wrote, and I believe Scripture clearly backs it up, as he showed. It is also for me, like Mike, one of my favorite topics, and one of the most important. But I did want to specifically address a few direct quotes you said:

    Grace is not all that is required, but without it there is nothing anyone can do to be saved in the Evangelical or LDS view. Baptism is required (see my post on Moromons Rock) although I already know you do not believe this, so you don’t have to go into your reasoning (I’ve heard it several times from many different people and it still makes no sense when you honestly study the bible). Believing that grace alone saves relieves people of all personal responsibility for following Christ, so I can see why it is so popular.

    To me (and this is just my opinion), this is a stumbling block that Satan puts in people’s minds, to confuse the gospel. I believe he implants it in people’s heads that “it just can’t be as easy as accepting God’s grace”, therefore anyone who says that’s all that’s required isn’t correct, and there must be MORE that needs to be done to effect salvation. I believe this to be one of the biggest lies, straight from the pits of hell itself. I agree that without grace, we have no hope for salvation (sounds as if you do, as well). Where we disagree, as you noted, is that grace is ALL that is necessary; everything after that is just obedience BECAUSE of salvation, not obedience FOR salvation. To me, that is the difference. The baptism issue has been soundly addressed and is easily countered and defeated, but you must be willing to accept a non-LDS interpretation; so of course, that’s up to you. The belief in “grace alone” does not, in any way, relieve people of their responsibility to follow Christ. Paul clearly addresses that in Romans and elsewhere, when he says that just b/c we have grace doesn’t mean we can continue to sin, b/c God’s grace will cover it. He clearly refuted that notion. In fact, James addresses that when he says “faith without works is dead”, b/c a faith that would think that is no faith at all. But it’s not the act of the works that saves, it’s the work that SHOWS you’re ALREADY saved. The act itself has nothing to do with your salvation, other than proof to humankind that you are, in fact, saved.

    I know that is an over simplification of what you mean, but the saved by grace doctrine leaves that interpretation open and many people choose to view it that way (i.e. accept Christ and I’m saved or say a prayer and I’m saved).

    An improper view of the “saved by grace” doctrine leaves that open, however a thorough reading of the NT does not. As I said above, Paul clearly refutes this line of thinking in Romans and elsewhere. People choose to view it that way b/c they either don’t WANT to believe any different, or they don’t know any better b/c they’ve not been taught.

    I just don’t believe God wants his children to be lazy, he wants us to act. That is why he told us to preach his gospel, be baptized, love one another, take up his cross, etc.

    I fully agree with you.

    Grace doctrine, as I currently understand it, removes our personal responsibility to seek out God our whole life, not just one defining “I’ve been saved moment”. As James says, “faith without works is dead”(I realize you probably have some alternative interpretation for James’ words).

    See above comments.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to tell other people what you believe. You and I both believe we have been commanded by Christ to share His gospel with others. What I was talking about in the above comment was that it is not right for us to push all our personal crazy ideas about God onto people (I try not to have crazy ideas). Most of these would be speculative or in other words without any scriptural support whatsoever. Some early LDS leaders, IMO, did this and it irritates me (Brigham Young is a prime example). I don’t know how much you know about the LDS Church, so you might not know what I’m talking about, but I believe Brad does.

    What this line of thinking does, then, is limit what we are allowed to tell others. I believe what I say, and I say it to others. I can support (Scripturally) what I say. That being the case, why should I then be limited in what I can say? Will others find my ideas “crazy”? Yes, some probably will. Does that mean I shouldn’t still tell people? No, b/c Christ commanded us to do so. Mormons share, JW’s share, Christians share – we just share different things, b/c we believe differently. It’s like the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Well, one person’s “crazy” beliefs are “gospel” to another. I have no problem with anyone sharing with me what they believe, if they believe Christ says to share it with me. I just want them to be willing to listen to me; if they dont’ want to, they’re free to ignore me or tell me to go away. But to say you can’t share, not only violates free speech, it asks someone to go against the dictates of their own religion.

    Almost all of the evangelicals I’ve talked to say that if a person says they are saved and then commits sin they were never really saved in the first place. This sounds like a very convenient explanation and shows that Evangelicals do believe in good works, because if you don’t do them you “weren’t really saved in the first place”.

    I’d try talking to some different Evangelicals, if I were you 🙂 A thorough reading of 1 John will shed light on this. If man says he is without sin, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him, says John. Being “saved” doesn’t mean we won’t still sin, not for a second does it mean that. But what it does mean is that we shouldn’t WANT to sin, and we should repent when we do sin, and should try to not sin. I think that rampant, unchecked sin that a person willfully continues, knowing it’s wrong, shows that a true change to want to be like Christ never took place. In that case, I would say that no, the person probably never changed, and was probably never saved (though obviously, I cannot read their heart). Perhaps this is what the people you talked to meant, I don’t know. But sin is still a part of the Christian’s life, b/c we are still imperfect, sinful people, although we have salvation, b/c Jesus paid our penalty on the cross.

    Thanks for being on here, Jay. I hope we can learn from each other.

  88. Mike Sears said

    Amen Brad. And very much in line with 1Peter 3:15. Jay, I appreciate your openess.

    I know that many evangelicals do not believe that Mormons can’t be Christians and while I can agree that many of their teachings have no Biblical foundation and are really “out there”, however, the few Mormons that I have talked to in depth about faith issues seem to have a genuine love for Christ, and have a closer understanding of grace by faith than most Southern Baptists, and Methodists I have talked to. Jay displays this in his comments here. Just an observation, reserving judgement to the only One worthy to judge. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!!

  89. Mike Sears said

    Oops! Typo above. It should read… I know that many evangelicals do not believe that Mormons can be Christians

  90. Jay said

    What this line of thinking does, then, is limit what we are allowed to tell others.

    I guess I’ll have to give an example of what I mean. I know that other Christians do the same type of thing (speculate) but I’m not familiar enough with those speculations to give you a good example. So at the risk of exposing the tender underside of Mormonism, I’ll give you an example of what I mean (You may have already seen quotes like this before).

    Brigham Young said, “He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken–HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do.”

    “What a learned idea! Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:50-51.

    These are some examples of someone giving his opinion. It is even more dangerous because LDS members consider him a prophet and some of them follow his every word as if it were from God’s mouth. It bothers me that he (and some other LDS leaders) didn’t just keep his opinions to himself.

    Now most members I meet do not believe that God had sex with Mary or that Adam was God, but there are some that do because a prophet of God said it. Personally, I don’t believe it because there is no scriptural support for such a view (I know you would agree with me on that).

    I have little patience for people that spout nonsense from their own imaginations. I’ve seen it not only amongst LDS but also among non-LDS Christians and it is sad. This is different than interpreting a scripture wrong, it is just flat out making things up. I do not care about someone’s opinion on a topic (99% of the time). I want to know facts, not opinion.

    Perhaps you will view this as a great awakening for me, that I am beginning to discover that the LDS faith is false. Well that could be true, but I have yet, in my two year search, to find another Christian Church that doesn’t have baggage (sometime the same kind of baggage) as the Mormon Church. So what is my incentive to leave if I don’t see anything better than what I have? I still believe in many of the core doctrines of the LDS faith, I just find it hard to believe it all.

    I love God. I love Christ. I love the Bible and Christ’s teachings. They fill me with joy and peace. For now that is what I lean on, not on the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith.

  91. Jeff said

    Jay,

    Here are some more good Scriptures for your meditation:

    Romans 3:23-26
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [25] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. [26] It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Notice verse 24 above, “justified by his grace as a GIFT.” Justification is a free gift to us because Christ paid the entire price on our behalf. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s law, and then he died to pay the debt his people owe for breaking the law (sin). We are given this wonderful gift by trusting in Christ. To trust in anything else is to say that his work was not sufficient for our salvation. God is presently “the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Jesus paid it all! We are credited with his (Christ’s) righteousness through faith (trusting in Christ). And notice the section below from chapter 4:

    Romans 4:1-14
    What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? [2] For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. [3] For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” [4] Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. [5] And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, [6] just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
    [7] “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
    [8] blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

    Notice especially verse 5, “And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” Faith (trust) and works are mutually exclusive in this context. We are justified, declared righteous by God, through faith in Christ, and even this is a gift. We don’t earn gifts; we simply receive them.

    What about works, you ask. Works are necessary, not in order to earn salvation, but because we have been saved. Our obedience is in response to God’s mercy. Notice what Paul says in chapter 12:

    Romans 12:1-2
    I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    Paul’s appeal to us is on the basis of God’s mercy. We are saved unto good works (Eph. 2:10), not by them. After we are justified and have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, we will begin to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-24). A living faith produces good works. (This is James’ point.)Works are necessary, not because they are meritorious, but because God sanctifies everyone he justifies.

    Hope this helps!

  92. ADB said

    This perhaps takes the conversation a different direction, but I’m glad that you mentioned sanctification. One of the problems that I see in much of evangelical protestantism is that folks forget sanctification. Someone may remember the exact minute that he/she came to Christ, and have the idea that’s all there is to the Christian life. In reality, it’s merely the beginning of the life of faith. An analogy I use sometimes is marriage- the wedding is just the beginning, just as justification is just the beginning. Often folks will say that they should try to obey Christ out of gratitude. This is true to an extent, but it makes sanctification entirely a matter of human effort. Truly, sanctification is also a matter of grace resulting from the new birth. We are sanctified as we yield ourselves to the Lord and participate in what many have called “means of grace,” (prayer, study of scripture, Lord’s Supper, etc). These, by the way are not “works.” Apart from faith and the Holy Spirit they are useless. Wesley said that someone could do them very devotedly and “be twice the child of Hell after as before.” Anyway that’s enough. All of our walk with Christ is a matter of grace when we come to him, it’s because he called us first. Of course justification is because we are forgiven for sin and declared “not guilty.” As I mentioned sanctification is all about grace as well. Any idea that we contribute by merits or actions may sound good, but is misguided.

  93. Mike Sears said

    You got that right ADB!! Try this site: http://gospeldriven.wordpress.com/

  94. ADB said

    Appreciate it Mike. This is just basic- for all the popular talk about Calvin vs. Wesley/Arminius, Calvin and Wesley would be in perfect agreement with that phrasing, the difference came in extent of atonement and amount of human responsibility in responding to grace. (As a side note Wesley wrote once that he “was a hairsbreadth from being a Calvinist”).

  95. Brad said

    Brigham Young said, “He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken–HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do.”

    “What a learned idea! Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:50-51.

    These are some examples of someone giving his opinion. It is even more dangerous because LDS members consider him a prophet and some of them follow his every word as if it were from God’s mouth. It bothers me that he (and some other LDS leaders) didn’t just keep his opinions to himself.

    Yes, I’m familiar with this BY quote – the “Adam-God” doctrine, supposedly. The issue with most Christians (you probably also need to realize that most “Christians” don’t consider Mormons Christians) is that Young wasn’t just “considered” a prophet – he WAS a prophet of the LDS church, a “Prophet, Seer & Revelator”, just like the rest of them. You also need to realize what the Bible says about someone who purports to be a prophet (read Deuteronomy), that if it’s shown to not be true, then they can’t be relied upon. You also have to realize that Mormons believe their prophets are called of God – so if a prophet, that is called of God, says things that clearly don’t mesh with what God left us in the Bible, what are people supposed to think about not only that person individually, but about the religion that they are the highest ranking member of and leader of? It is convenient to just say “well, he’s just one person, and that was his opinion, but we don’t agree with it.” That might work, if it was just a rank-and-file member; problem is, he was your prophet. And, he’s not the ONLY prophet that LDS has had who has said things that “not all Mormons” are in agreement with, so it seems it happens more often than people think. Simply sweeping it under the rug as “one man’s opinion” doesn’t work, b/c of the nature of who Young was and the position he held, and who gave him that position.

    Now most members I meet do not believe that God had sex with Mary or that Adam was God, but there are some that do because a prophet of God said it. Personally, I don’t believe it because there is no scriptural support for such a view (I know you would agree with me on that).

    I agree, there’s no Scriptural support for those views. However, the prophet of the LDS church said it, and he is supposed to be one who can reveal what God has said, and chosen by God to lead the Restored Church. There’s too many questions that can arise from such problems. Did God make a mistake, and choose the wrong person? Did the person not listen to God, or misunderstand Him? Did the person decide he knew better, and ignored God? There’s just too many holes that arise from that viewpoint.

    Perhaps you will view this as a great awakening for me, that I am beginning to discover that the LDS faith is false. Well that could be true, but I have yet, in my two year search, to find another Christian Church that doesn’t have baggage (sometime the same kind of baggage) as the Mormon Church. So what is my incentive to leave if I don’t see anything better than what I have? I still believe in many of the core doctrines of the LDS faith, I just find it hard to believe it all.

    I do view you as searching, and the Bible says “if you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me.” And I believe you will, if you continue to seek with an open mind and heart. You reference “baggage” that other churches have – would you let us know what the stumbling blocks are that just make it really difficult for you to believe that Evangelical churches may be right? I, and I’m sure others, would like the genuine opportunity to address those concerns.

    I love God. I love Christ. I love the Bible and Christ’s teachings. They fill me with joy and peace. For now that is what I lean on, not on the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith.

    I believe you are sincere in your desire to put your faith and trust in a higher power. Question is, which higher power will you put it in? The “God” of Mormonism, or the God of Christianity, b/c when you really get down and investigate it, Jay, they ARE different. I don’t doubt for a second your sincere desire to worship God and that you love Him; we just want to make sure that we’re all worshiping the same One!

  96. Jay said

    you probably also need to realize that most “Christians” don’t consider Mormons Christians
    I know that there are some “Christians” that don’t consider Mormons Christian. Personally, I don’t think that is valid and reject it. The believe in Christ of the New Testament just like other Christians whether they think it is different or not.

    It is convenient to just say “well, he’s just one person, and that was his opinion, but we don’t agree with it.”

    Agreed, it is convenient.

    Did God make a mistake, and choose the wrong person?

    I don’t think it is totally irrational to think a prophet could be wrong, even on doctrinal issues.

    …the Bible says “if you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me.”

    I will keep searching and I believe you’re right.

    I believe you are sincere in your desire to put your faith and trust in a higher power. Question is, which higher power will you put it in? The “God” of Mormonism, or the God of Christianity, b/c when you really get down and investigate it, Jay, they ARE different.

    I believe it is the same one. There is not more than one God. Muslims also worship the same God as do many other religions, they just view him differently, which I don’t really see as a problem.

  97. Brad said

    I believe it is the same one. There is not more than one God. Muslims also worship the same God as do many other religions, they just view him differently, which I don’t really see as a problem.

    I think this may be one of those “baggage” areas that you talked about, Jay. 🙂

    God has certain attributes. To believe in a personage of “God” that has different attributes than what we learn of God in the Bible, by definition has to mean that the “God” being worshiped is different. Do Muslims believe in all the attributes of God (and by extension, Jesus and the Holy Spirit) as stated in the Bible? Not by a long shot. Therefore, can it be said that they worship the same “God”? I don’t believe so, b/c we’re talking about someone with different attributes, a different “person” altogether.

    I know a man named Mike. He is tall, has dark hair, and has a Southern accent. A friend of mine also knows a man named Mike. He is short, has blonde hair, and has a Northern accent. When I tell my friend I talked to Mike, my friend says “Hey, I know Mike too. Pretty cool.”

    Are we talking about the same “Mike”? Clearly not. Why? B/c the “Mike” I know and the “Mike” he knows are different, they have different attributes. So although I say “I know Mike”, and my friend also says “I know Mike”, we don’t know the SAME “Mike”. Does that make sense?

    I would still like to know all the other “baggage”, if you don’t mind sharing, Jay. Thanks.

  98. Jay said

    I fail to see why God would care if someone thinks He has brown hair or speaks with an accent. Some black Christians like to believe Jesus was black. Is that the same Jesus? The fact is that many religions believe in an all powerful all knowing, loving God. Many even have a story about how the world was created by Him. It is clearly the same being that they are worshiping, despite the differences in how they view Him.

    Authority is a huge issue when it come to protestant religions. You have already addressed this in another post of yours. I do not understand how you can think that everyone has the priesthood when the bible is pretty clear on the point that you must be given the priesthood by someone that has it. So, while I completely understand why protestants broke from the Catholic Church, they left without any authority to start a new church. The Bible says you can not take this authority (priesthood) unto yourself, it must be given to you.

    Hebrews 5:4-10 you can’t take the priesthood upon yourself it must be given to you by God.

    There are many that claim to hold the priesthood, but not all of them have been given it from God as is the order shown in the NT. John 15:16-19 Jesus chooses and ordains his Apostles (they don’t just spontaneously have the authority to be Apostles).

    Mark 3:14 Jesus ordained the twelve so they could preach. Why would he do this if they already had the authority?

    Acts 13:1-3 disciples ordained to preach.

    Titus 1:5 Again giving authority to act in the name of God (priesthood) necessary to carry out the work. Why all this ordaining? Isn’t it a waste of time if everyone already has the priesthood?

  99. Brad said

    Jay, I really don’t want to argue with you, b/c I just don’t think that will be productive. I do want to respond to your questions, but for us to converse, you have to be willing to drop a lot of the Mormon notions that you come to the table with, if you’re not sure that Mormonism is true. Until you’re able to do that, then you’ll always view anything that’s said through the Mormon lens. If you wish to do that, that’s of course your business, I’m just saying it’s nearly impossible to have a conversation with someone who’s not sure Mormonism is true, yet continues to hold to the Mormon view of things when discussing doctrine. I will try to respond quickly and generally to your questions, though.

    I fail to see why God would care if someone thinks He has brown hair or speaks with an accent. Some black Christians like to believe Jesus was black. Is that the same Jesus? The fact is that many religions believe in an all powerful all knowing, loving God. Many even have a story about how the world was created by Him. It is clearly the same being that they are worshiping, despite the differences in how they view Him.

    I hope my “Mike” illustration didn’t lead you to believe that skin color, hair color, etc… were important to me. I didn’t mean to emphasize the physical aspects of God, I was using that as an example just to show that there ARE differences in terminology. I am referring to the spiritual attributes that we can learn about, not any physical attributes. Sorry if I wasn’t clear about that, I didn’t mean to be. Many religions DO believe in a “higher power”, but the aspects they assign to that “higher power”, directly and indirectly based on the other beliefs of those religions, are all MUCH different. To say they are all worshiping the same “God” is to minimize those differences, nearly to the point of saying they don’t exist. And even those religions, I don’t think, would say that there aren’t differences. Ask a Muslim if Jesus is equal to God, and see what they say, for example. We can discuss this at length, Jay, but the real question is this: are you at any point willing to believe that what you currently believe along these lines might be wrong? If you’re not, then we may as well stop arguing this and other points, b/c this is the basis for really all other questions.

    Authority is a huge issue when it come to protestant religions. You have already addressed this in another post of yours. I do not understand how you can think that everyone has the priesthood when the bible is pretty clear on the point that you must be given the priesthood by someone that has it. So, while I completely understand why protestants broke from the Catholic Church, they left without any authority to start a new church. The Bible says you can not take this authority (priesthood) unto yourself, it must be given to you.

    Authority to DO what? Only Christ forgives sin. Christ is head of the church. Only through Christ can we come to God. Only through Christ do we receive salvation. Men can’t be, and shouldn’t be, elevated to anything they’re not. Does each church have a leader of some sort? Usually yes. But that leader doesn’t “speak” for God, b/c God has already spoken to us through the Bible. Peter refers to believers as a “royal priesthood, a holy nation.” If this is incorrect, then the Bible is incorrect, and if you believe that, then you can’t believe God inspired it, b/c God is perfect and wouldn’t have made a mistake. It’s not at all me, or Evangelicals, who are hung up on authority. It’s the churches who establish a hierarchial religious setup (Catholics, Mormons, JW’s, etc…) who are “hung up” on it. The Pope, or the Prophet of the Mormon church, is no better or closer to God than I am.

  100. Mike Sears said

    Think about Brad’s last sentence. Then read what Paul says about himself.

    1 Timothy 1:15-16 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

    and then think about how Jesus said if you want to be the greatest you must become the least. How does the Pope or a Prophet fit into that paradigm? The first will be the last and on and on. Humble yourself as a child. Paul said all of his great achievements were like “dung” compared to Christ!

  101. Mike Sears said

    On a personal level, Jesus Christ ALONE is our Authority and High Priest, who rules in our hearts and not externally like other priest’s (which are shadows and copies)!! Just like the “Law” is a shadow and copy of the reality, Jesus Christ Himself is the reality of all of this!! The book of Hebrews explains this beautifully!!

    Hebrews 7:22-28
    Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

    23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

    26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

    Hebrews 8:7-13

    7For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8But God found fault with the people and said:
    “The time is coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will make a new covenant
    with the house of Israel
    and with the house of Judah.
    9It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their forefathers
    when I took them by the hand
    to lead them out of Egypt,
    because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
    and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
    10This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
    after that time, declares the Lord.
    I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
    11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
    or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
    because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
    12For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”

    13By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    However, there is an authority structure for the “church”, which is set forth and explained by Paul and Peter. I think that most “Reformed Theology” churches/denominations follow this structure as biblically described. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  102. John said

    Hello folks! I hope everybody got well stuffed yesterday.
    Anyway, to a definite non-Christian this is all very interesting and enlightening into the wonderfully weird world of Christian theology.Seriously.
    Thanks!

  103. Mike Sears said

    Wierd? yes. Wonderful? ABSOLUTELY! Glad to oblige John! Happy day to you!

  104. John said

    And to you too,Mr. Sears!
    Do keep the good work coming[toothy grin].
    We’re all paying attention.

  105. Anonymous said

    As a reader and not a participator in this conversation, I have to comment on the quotes from Brigham Young given by Jay about God being our Father and God and the only God with whom we have to do. According to Jay, quoting from Journal of Discourses:

    Brigham Young said, “He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken–HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do.”

    For a full understanding of the context in which this quote could be understood accurately if one decides to believe that Brigham held any such opinion, read Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1.pp. 96-106. Bear in mind also that it is considered an anomaly by many, something inconsistent with all his other teachings about God –which should make one think twice even as to the accruacy of the scribe who wrote it down. (Too bad they didn’t have better technology.)

    “What a learned idea! Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:50-51.

    Anyone who is familiar with the multitude of statements and teachings of Brigham Young knows that he knew the difference between Adam and between God. This second quote which makes reference to the “same character that was in the garden of Eden” when one reads the entire reference preceding it, by the law of anticedents when one reads the sentence actually before it and by the fact that Mormons believe that God the Father walked and talked with Adam in the Garden until the fall, is put to rest when one realizes that this “character” was God the Father himself, not Adam.

    It is Jesus who Brigham regularly taught was, through divine investiture, “our Father and our God and the only God with whom we have to do.” Search the words of the prophets. The temple endowment was something Brigham was intimately familiar with, and even this, given through revelation through Joseph Smith, does not mix up Adam’s role with the role of the Father.

    The conclusion expressed by both Jay and those writing here that the Adam God theory was Brigham’s “opinion” does not conform with the body of Mormon, or Brigham’s, thought pattern and should not be found in a serious discussion about Mormonism.

  106. Summer said

    Does anyone here know how many TYPES of Mormonism there are in America?
    Perhaps Jay belongs to a unique “branch” of the denomination.
    For example, down here we have locally at least four distinct “branches” of the Baptist denomination.If Jay is, then this would certainly help explain the discrepancy. What say you Jay? Just wondering.

  107. Anonymous said

    Summer, what “Anonymous” said is pretty standard fare for a staunch defender of the LDS faith. They will often rely on the “He didn’t mean what he said” defense, or the “it doesn’t mesh with what else he said” defense, or the “it’s the scribe’s fault” defense, b/c that is all they can use. These statements ARE attributed to Young, b/c they are in the J of D – that cannot be denied. So they must use these other arguments to get around it. There are some within Mormonism who hold firmly to what Young taught, and some who don’t. Either way, what he said is there for all the world to see, and is just another ding in the weak armor of arguing the Mormon faith to be true.

    I don’t think Jay, from what I know of him, is in one of the odd sects of Mormonism – I think he holds to what would be considered mainline LDS theology.

  108. Brad said

    Sorry, I posted the above from a different computer, so it didn’t attach my name.

  109. Summer said

    I had a hunch.

  110. DON KEEBAUGH said

    FAITH COMETH BY HEARING AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD

    I HAVE READ THE BOOK OF MORMON BUT IT IS A GOOD STORY BUT IT IS A POLLUTANT THAT HAS BEEN THROWN IN THE CHRISTIAN EQUATION WITH MANY OTHER CULTS AND ORGANIZATIONS SEEKING TO BECOME THE NEW VIEW OF GOD.
    THE OLD VIEW HAS NOT BEEN PERFECTED.
    JESUS IS THE CHRIST THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY AND I AM SAVE BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH AND JESUS CHRIST NOT BY RITUAL VICARIOUSLY IN A MAN MADE TEMPLE BYT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT FLOWING WATERS OF THE BELLY, BY THE WATER THAT DOESN’T LEAVE MEN THIRSTY!

    A MINISTER WHO IS RECONCILING ALL UNTO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST!

    FAITH BRINGS PEACE AND JOY AND DOES A BODY GOOD!

  111. Trip said

    I started to read the book of mormon, it didn’t sit well with me or my wife.
    we (christian) should be trying to teach them the truth about Jesus

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