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What does Mormonism really teach?

Posted by truthtalklive on December 17, 2007

Today’s guest is Russ East, founder of United Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org)

Is Jesus really the spirit brother of Lucifer?  Also, should Mike Huckabee apologized to Romney for comments he made?

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544 Responses to “What does Mormonism really teach?”

  1. Peter said

    The problem with Huckabee’s comment wasn’t whether or not is it true. It is that is was said to generate a negative emotional reaction. He wasn’t asking it to “find out more about Mormonism.” The guy’s a minister for Heaven’s sake. He gave the keynote address at the Southern Baptist convention when it was held in Salt Lake City. (Where the main subject was Mormonism).

    The real power behind propaganda is not in the logic or truth of the argument. The real power is in the emotion of the propaganda. As such, the most powerful arguments do not come from facts. They come from claims that emote fear and distrust.

    That is the basis for comments such as Huckabee’s. As I have stated over and over on this message board, there are real doctrinal differences between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity. I will be very surprised if the show today focuses on any of the core differences.

    If it is like any of the previous shows about Mormonism, it will be short on doctrine and heavy on emotional propoganda.

    – Peter

  2. Brad said

    Here we go again. Peter, all the shows that have been on TTL regarding Mormonism have also focused on doctrinal differences. Whenever doctrinal differences are talked about, the Mormons typically (though not always) do 1 of 3 things: get quiet and say little (Romneyitis), insist that we are misinformed and that we think there are disagreements b/c we don’t truly understand, or admit that there are differences. In my experience, option 3 rarely happens, and option 2 is usually the case.

    Many people DO think the relevant issue is whether or not Huckabee’s comment was true. I certainly believe it’s important, b/c it sheds some more light on what Mormons REALLY believe about Christ. And short of you interviewing Huckabee yourself and having a definitive answer on exactly what his motives were (if any), then you have no basis to make the statement it was to generate “negative emotional reaction.” There are many people (ministers and otherwise) who know little about Mormon beliefs. I’m not saying Huckabee is one of them, nor am I saying why he did what he did. I’m saying I don’t know, b/c I haven’t asked him, and neither have you. So we have no basis to say why he did what he did.

    How about Romney? When on the Today show, and asked about this, did he deny it (that Satan and Jesus are spirit brothers)? No. If Mormonism didn’t believe this, and if he really wanted to put this issue to bed and come down on one side of the fence, he could have said “No”, and given his viewpoint. But he never does; he always refers to the Church to answer those. Maybe if Mitt told all of us what he REALLY believes, rather than speaking in circles and avoiding the topic like every other politician, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, you think?

    Mormonism is easy to discuss, especially when focusing on the differences between Mormonism and Christianity (which Mormonism is not). But most Mormons don’t really want to discuss this with Christians, b/c they view us all as “anti’s” and having been “poisoned” by what we’ve read that is detrimental to the church. Problem is, much of what is “read” and “said” about the Church, that Christians don’t agree with, is absolutely true.

  3. Peter said

    Mike Huckabee could> have asked, “Do Mormons accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Savior.

    Of course, that question doesn’t evoke a negative emotion. And THAT is why Huckabee needed to apologize to Romney. Not because of what the answer was. But because it was asked for propaganda purposes.

    (Of course the answer is “Yes” and Mr. East did a very good job of explaining the doctrine behind it. I was pleasantly surprised).

    Just like JFK wasn’t running as the Catholic President, Mitt Romney isn’t running as the “Mormon President.” But I don’t think I can say the same for Mike Huckabee. He is running as the Baptist candidate. The “Christian Leader.” And any doctrinal questions he poses about the other candidates need to be viewed in that light.

    In an interview as a presidential candidate, it is completely inappropriate to bring up doctrinal issues that an opposing candidate might have, when the issue would have no bearing on how the opposing candidate would govern.

  4. Russ East said

    Peter,

    Your theology has everything to do with every aspect of how you
    think and behave. Call me sometime at (801) 645-7433

    Russ

  5. Jack said

    I’m just an ole truck driver, so I’d like to just state my understanding and I’ll let those with sum schoolin tell me where I’m runnin astray….

    1.We all agree there shouldn’t be a “religious litmus test” to run for a government elected position.
    Thats what our founding fathers intended. So as long as we (you and I) ain’t part of the campaign registration committee we “are” able to talk and decided our vote on a religious base’s.
    2. As I view Romney, He is willing to switch his root beliefs, abortion,gun control, border control etc., just not the one that say’s God is on some planet with a wife that begot Jesus and satan.
    3. Huckabee has called me a racist for believing America should throw open our borders and let the world walk in.
    And I’ve been called a bigot for looking with a critical eye at a RNC big haired moderate.

  6. Brad said

    Mike Huckabee could have asked, “Do Mormons accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Savior?”

    Huckabee could have asked “I wonder if Romney prefers corn over green beans.” There’s a lot of things that Huckabee COULD have asked, but he asked the question he did in particular. It is a valid question, even if Huckabee already knew the answer to it (which I don’t know if he did or not), regardless of the “emotion” it stirs up in people. I particularly like that he DID ask the question, and don’t particularly like that Romney has danced around answering it as if he were on hot coals. If Romney didn’t think it would be detrimental to his campaign, my guess is he would answer it. However, I bet he thinks it will be, which is why he’s hedging.

    Of course, that question doesn’t evoke a negative emotion. And THAT is why Huckabee needed to apologize to Romney. Not because of what the answer was. But because it was asked for propaganda purposes.

    Again, as I said last night, unless you’ve personally interviewed Huckabee to find out exactly why he asked it (which he has already said, if I’m not mistaken, that it was purely innocent), then you have no basis for this claim. If Huckabee feels strongly that this is a difference that Christians ought to know about (as I do), then he has every right to ask the question, regardless of the emotions it evokes. Just b/c you don’t like that it was asked, doesn’t make it improper. He didn’t say anything illegal, and he didn’t even say anything that was factually untrue! My guess is that many Mormons don’t like it b/c it makes the religion sound odd – but that’s a byproduct of the LDS beliefs, not of people knowing about those beliefs.

    Just like JFK wasn’t running as the Catholic President, Mitt Romney isn’t running as the “Mormon President.” But I don’t think I can say the same for Mike Huckabee. He is running as the Baptist candidate. The “Christian Leader.” And any doctrinal questions he poses about the other candidates need to be viewed in that light.

    I view them in that light, and view them fine. I don’t care what Romney or Huckabee are running AS, I care what they believe, and especially about religion. And if you think that I am the only person who feels that way, you (and Romney) will be unpleasantly surprised. If Huckabee has views that conform to Baptist beliefs, and he wants to label himself as a Christian, then he can certainly do that. When he answers questions, people who know enough about religion will know whether he truly believes it, or whether he’s blowing smoke. If he poses doctrinal questions to others, and they don’t answer them, or answer from a non-Christian perspective, then people can make up their own minds. There ought to be nothing to hide.

    In an interview as a presidential candidate, it is completely inappropriate to bring up doctrinal issues that an opposing candidate might have, when the issue would have no bearing on how the opposing candidate would govern.

    Your opinion. And that’s OK, but just b/c it’s your opinion, doesn’t mean it’s law. Huckabee, Romney, Clinton, Obama… anyone of them can bring up religious questions to any of the others, b/c they have the right to do so. If you don’t think religion is a good basis to cast a vote, then cast your vote according to the basis you feel is appropriate. However, I do particularly care what the religious beliefs of the candidates are, and that carries a large weight with me as to who I cast my vote for. Stu might disagree with that, and that’s fine, I don’t think less of Stu b/c of it, nor do I say he should act differently. But I do think differently, and WILL use it as a large basis for my vote, b/c I do personally believe that religious beliefs WILl govern how someone will act as President, who they seek advice from, and who they pray to. And I don’t want a person who prays to a different, non-existent God to be the leader of the country I live in, and I vote accordingly.

  7. Tommy said

    Foxnews.com has a pretty good Q and A. I will post below. Notice how the Mormon Church skipped around some of the questions:

    FOXNEWS.COM HOME > U.S.
    21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith

    Mitt Romney’s run for president has put his Mormon faith in the spotlight, but the religion remains a mystery to most.

    FOXNews.com compiled a list of 21 questions representing some widely held beliefs and misconceptions about Mormonism and posed them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The Church objected to answering some of the questions on the grounds that they misrepresent the basic tenets of the Mormon religion.

    “Many of these questions are typically found on anti-Mormon blogs or Web sites which aim to misrepresent or distort Mormon doctrines,” the Church said in a statement. “Several of these questions do not represent … any serious attempt to depict the core values and beliefs of its members.”

    Here are the questions and how the Church responded:

    Q: Why do some call the Church a cult?

    A: For the most part, this seems to stem from a lack of understanding about the Church and its core doctrines and beliefs. Under those circumstances it is too easy to label a religion or other organization that is not well-known with an inflammatory term like ‘cult.’ Famed scholar of religion Martin Marty has said a cult means a church you don’t personally happen to like. We don’t believe any organization should be subjected to a label that has come to be as pejorative as that one.

    Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God?

    A: Mormons believe Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer, who died for the sins of humankind and rose from the dead on the third day with an immortal body. God, the Father, also has an immortal body.

    Q: Does the Church believe in the divinity of Jesus?

    A: Mormons believe Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer, who died for the sins of humankind and rose from the dead on the third day with an immortal body. God, the Father, also has an immortal body.

    Q: Does the Church believe that God is a physical being?

    A: Mormons believe Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer, who died for the sins of humankind and rose from the dead on the third day with an immortal body. God, the Father, also has an immortal body.

    Q: If so, does the Church believe that God lives on a planet named Kolob?

    A: ‘Kolob’ is a term found in ancient records translated by Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith did not provide a full description or explanation of Kolob nor did he assign the idea particular significance in relation to the Church’s core doctrines.

    Q: Where is the planet Kolob? What significance does the planet have to Mormons?

    A: ‘Kolob’ is a term found in ancient records translated by Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith did not provide a full description or explanation of Kolob nor did he assign the idea particular significance in relation to the Church’s core doctrines.

    Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that God and Mary had physical sex to conceive Jesus?

    A: The Church does not claim to know how Jesus was conceived but believes the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary.

    Q: Does the Mormon Church believe Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection?

    A: The appearance of Jesus in the Western Hemisphere shortly after his resurrection is described in the Book of Mormon. Mormons believe that when Christ told his disciples in the Bible He had other ‘sheep’ who should receive his message he was referring to those people in the Western Hemisphere.

    Q: If so, when did this happen? And under what circumstances?

    A: The appearance of Jesus in the Western Hemisphere shortly after his resurrection is described in the Book of Mormon. Mormons believe that when Christ told his disciples in the Bible He had other ‘sheep’ who should receive his message he was referring to those people in the Western Hemisphere.

    Q: Does the Mormon Church believe its followers can become “gods and goddesses” after death?

    A: We believe that the apostle Peter’s biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul’s reference to being ‘joint heirs with Christ’ reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes.

    Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women can only gain access to heaven with a special pass or codewords?

    A: No.

    Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women must serve men on both Earth and in heaven?

    A: Absolutely not. Mormons believe that women and men are complete equals before God and in relation to the blessings available in the Church.

    Q: Is there such a thing as Mormon “underwear”? if so, are all Mormons required to wear it? What does it symbolize?

    A: Like members of many religious faiths, Latter-day Saints wear religious clothing. But members of other faiths — typically those involved in permanent pastoral ministries or religious services — usually wear religious garments as outer ceremonial vestments or symbols of recognition. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, garments are worn beneath street clothing as a personal and private reminder of commitments to God.

    Garments are considered sacred by Church members and are not regarded as a topic for casual conversation.

    Q: Does the Mormon Church believe in the existence of another physical planet or planets, where Mormons will “rule” after their death and ascension?

    A: No.

    Q: What specifically does the Mormon Church say about African-Americans and Native Americans?

    A: Mormons believe that all mankind are sons and daughters of God and should be loved and respected as such. The blessings of the gospel are available to all.

    Q: What are or were the “Golden Plates”?

    A: The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith from records made on plates of gold, similar to metal plates that have been found in other ancient cultures. It contained a history of peoples in the Western Hemisphere including an appearance by the Savior to them. As such, the Book of Mormon is considered a second testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Q: Are consumption of alcohol and tobacco prohibited or simply discouraged?

    A: It is against the teachings of the Church to use alcohol and tobacco or to drink tea and coffee.

    Q: Does the Church also ban the consumption of “hot drinks”? And does that apply specifically to caffeinated drinks?

    A: It is against the teachings of the Church to use alcohol and tobacco or to drink tea and coffee.

    Q: Why do Mormons go from door to door?

    A: Christ admonished his disciples to take the gospel to the world. The Church follows that admonition and sends missionaries throughout the world.

    Q: What do the Mormons believe about the family?

    A: Mormons believe that the family is the foundation for this life and the life to come.

    Q: Can someone who may never marry in life have eternal marriage?

    A: God will not withhold blessings from any of his children who may not have the opportunity to marry in this life.

  8. Mike Sears said

    Well put Brad. So many people confuse the governmental process with the rights of the people. Sure it’s unconstitutional for the government to have a litmus test for certain beliefs, although there are certain oaths that the candidate must be willing to make regardless of the their religious beliefs. But if the “people”, who have the right to make their decisions based upon whatever litmus test they choose, want to know what the candidate believes about God or the weather on Jupiter, then they (along with the media) are free to ask.

    The candidates that are smart, should want to know what the “majority” of the voters think is important and they should answer accordingly so as to give the people the information they desire to know. If a candidate chooses to ask another candidate ANY question, are they not simply exercising their rights as they should? As far as I’m concerned there are very few questions that are off limits to someone running for President. And they certainly should expect them! The candidates are certainly free to NOT answer any questions they don’t want to answer. Romney and Clinton have been good at that. Ultimately the people will decide. And like it or not, who ever gets put into this office will be “ordained” by God, either as a judgement or a blessing, quite probably both! Romans 8:28!!!!

  9. Brad said

    FOXNews.com compiled a list of 21 questions representing some widely held beliefs and misconceptions about Mormonism and posed them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The Church objected to answering some of the questions on the grounds that they misrepresent the basic tenets of the Mormon religion.

    “Many of these questions are typically found on anti-Mormon blogs or Web sites which aim to misrepresent or distort Mormon doctrines,” the Church said in a statement. “Several of these questions do not represent … any serious attempt to depict the core values and beliefs of its members.”

    How can a QUESTION misrepresent the basic tenets of the religion? A question is ASKING for an answer, not GIVING a definitive statement on something, by its very nature. When the church says that the “questions do not represent any serious attempt to depict the core values and beliefs of its members”, that is the typical Mormon defense to not having to answer questions truthfully, which would indeed show others that the beliefs are truly not like what most people might think they are. Again, if the church wants to set the record straight so as to not be “misrepresented” by a question (still not sure how a question can “misrepresent” them, but whatever), was this not the PERFECT time to set the record straight? And what did the Mormon church do? It gave the same vague answers for different questions, giving virtually no basis or reasoning behind its answers. In other words, it shot itself in the foot.

    This is the problem I have. I’d at least respect Mitt if he’d actually ANSWER the questions, rather than dance around them, even if I don’t agree with the answer (which I already know the answer to anyway). It at least shows that he’s not ashamed of what he believes. By dancing around the issue, it makes me wonder how strongly he really believes it.

  10. Fred said

    I bet that a majority of the voters, myself included, are more interested in who will be the best candidate to be CEO of a secular government and less interested in who is the best panderer. The fact that Brad is seething with anti-Mormon-for-president fervor is enough to tempt me to vote for Mitt…nah, never mind, Hillary 2008!

    happy festivus,
    Fred

    PS just kidding about Hillary

  11. Jeff said

    Fred,

    Who will perform the “feats of strength”? 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  12. Joe said

    “I got a lotta problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about ’em!!”

  13. Fred said

    HA!

  14. Anonymous said

    Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the show, but why was Russ East asked to speak to what Mormonism actually teaches instead of a Mormon who actually knows? Doesn’t this raise a red flag automatically about your seriousness to get to the “core teachings” of Mormonism?

    As for Mitt Romney answering every controversial question sincere or insincere people raise publicly about the Church, that would set him up as an unwitting authority figure representing the Church. It also opens a Pandora’s box of questions which will quickly divert attention from him and his qualifications to serve as President to the LDS Church and whether or not people want to or will believe it is Christian. That topic has not been addressed or resolved publicly for over 150 years. Do you really think it belongs in an election about the capability of individuals to this office? I do, however, think the question of whether one can vote for someone who has been unfaithful to one’s wife is a valid one because it is a moral indicator that can spill over into how one treats all of his covenants before God and man.

    I liked Mitt’s comment in his address about religion and politics that as President, he would need the prayers and support of ALL faiths and denominations. Wouldn’t it be a shame if he only asked for and appreciated the prayers of Mormons? That’s when I would worry about him. He believes that the love of God attends all who sincerely call upon His name. Can we–and even the anti-Mormons–believe less?

    Huckabee’s question was a cheap shot, and it didn’t matter whether he apologized or not, the damage he wished to accomplish was done. Shock value (emotional response as Peter wisely pointed out), you know. I only hope it backfires on him. Huckabee was on my good list until he pulled that one. Naughty move, here before Christmas!

    Santa Voter

  15. Brad said

    Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the show, but why was Russ East asked to speak to what Mormonism actually teaches instead of a Mormon who actually knows? Doesn’t this raise a red flag automatically about your seriousness to get to the “core teachings” of Mormonism?

    First, you may want to do some checking into what Russ East actually DOES know about Mormonism. Try this link from his website to read a small glimpse: http://www.upfc.org/russletter.html

    Second, you may want to look back at some of the other Mormonism topics on here. You’ll see that Stu HAS invited at least one Mormon (Amanda) to be on the show, however she has steadfastly refused, citing the same reason that most Mormons usually give – it’s not their place to “officially” speak for the beliefs of their church. Are you a Mormon yourself? If so, are YOU willing to come on and talk about YOUR beliefs? If so, let Stu know on here – he may very well be interested, as other Mormons have repeatedly declined.

    As for Mitt Romney answering every controversial question sincere or insincere people raise publicly about the Church, that would set him up as an unwitting authority figure representing the Church.

    Wrong. It no more sets him up as an authority on his church, anymore than me answering a question about politics that one of my kids asks sets me up as an expert on politics. IF Romney would answer them (and I say IF, b/c he always skirts the questions), then he would simply be telling people what he believes about his religion, a religion he says he believes strongly in and in fact, a religion that he says it doesn’t matter if it sinks his campaign or not. He’s answering questions about what HE believes – if he believes what the church in general believes, then yes, we get a glimpse into what the LDS church believes, by knowing his beliefs.

    It also opens a Pandora’s box of questions which will quickly divert attention from him and his qualifications to serve as President to the LDS Church and whether or not people want to or will believe it is Christian. That topic has not been addressed or resolved publicly for over 150 years. Do you really think it belongs in an election about the capability of individuals to this office?

    Personally, I do, and many others I know do too. You may not – and that is your right to choose to NOT consider anything regarding religion when casting your vote. However, it is MY right, and many others, to FULLY consider religion when casting their vote. If this diverts attention away from what OTHERS think are bigger issues – well, welcome to running for President.

    I do, however, think the question of whether one can vote for someone who has been unfaithful to one’s wife is a valid one because it is a moral indicator that can spill over into how one treats all of his covenants before God and man.

    See – you have criteria that others might not have, which is fine. It’s your right as a citizen. It’s also my right to ask whatever questions I want to, and vote according to the answers (or lack thereof, in Romney’s case) I receive.

    I liked Mitt’s comment in his address about religion and politics that as President, he would need the prayers and support of ALL faiths and denominations. Wouldn’t it be a shame if he only asked for and appreciated the prayers of Mormons? That’s when I would worry about him. He believes that the love of God attends all who sincerely call upon His name. Can we–and even the anti-Mormons–believe less?

    His overall beliefs about God are flawed and not Biblically-based, therefore I place no stock in what he says about the “god” he believes in. The prayers of people who do not properly believe in the God of the Bible wouldn’t be helpful at all, b/c they’re not even praying to a deity that exists! I believe that God extends grace to all, and that those who accept the free gift have eternal life. However, you must believe in the God of the Bible, and Mormons do not, unfortunately.

    And excuse my earlier question about if you are a Mormon or not – from your use of the term “anti-mormon”, it is apparent you are.

    Huckabee’s question was a cheap shot, and it didn’t matter whether he apologized or not, the damage he wished to accomplish was done. Shock value (emotional response as Peter wisely pointed out), you know. I only hope it backfires on him. Huckabee was on my good list until he pulled that one. Naughty move, here before Christmas!

    Do you know for 100% certainty the motives behind Huckabee’s comment? Since I know you don’t, you don’t have the proper basis to make the comment that it was a “cheap shot.” I’ve already addressed Peter’s unfounded comments above, so you can read that reply for further insight. If you’re looking for something to “backfire” on somebody, wait until you see how Romney’s under-estimation of people’s desire to know his true views, and especially his under-estimation of the evangelical Christian base, comes back to bite him.

  16. Anonymous said

    Are you saying that Romney skirts questions about his religion as well as Brad (the only one who answered my concerns) skirted the one about why a radio talk show which is asking what Mormons really teach didn’t go directly to a Mormon source to find out? Are you saying it is because no member of that church will appear on the show? There are public communications specialists who do this regularly for the Church (yes, I am a member), not to mention misson presidents whose stewardship might stretch to such an appearance. They will not do it if the entity asking is not sincere in learning but only in “disproving.” That’s proven to be a waste of time, and it is not spreading the Word of Jesus Christ. Russ East is a great guy, I am willing to trust, but I wouldn’t really be interested in hearing what he has to say since he is not an authority. If you can’t get a Mormon, at least go to a friend of a Mormon for a more objective opinion–since we’d be talking opinions about what is taught. (Maybe Russ is a friend. I honestly don’t know.)

    If Romney began to talk about doctrine, that is ALL he would be talking about, and you know that’s true. Look at how much talking you have done about it on this blog. It would be a waste of time and change of purpose for Romney. I don’t think a Baptist would want to be grilled over the doctrines he subscribes to when he’s running for office. That’s not the American way.

    The fact that you say Mormons are not Christians shows what a waste of time it would be for Romney to spend time trying to please evangelicals specifically by delving into doctrine.

    The fact that you don’t know that God honors those who call upon Him, even if they don’t yet know the God of the Bible, is proof to me that you have not heard of the many conversion stories of those whose prayers were answered in ways that led them to more knowledge of God as they honored the basic truths they happened to be aware of, truths like the fact that we should pray to God and other truths that we have from our own God-given consciences, like being kind to our fellowmen. You think they are just wasting their lives on the planet? God has a plan for them too; it’s just more comprehensive than you might think.

    There are only two cheap shots that would have been worth Huckabee’s time: He could either have said what he did to generate the most “shock and awe,” or he could have asked if Romney believed that Mary and God had sex to conceive Jesus. The latter is easily addressed as I see it was above in an earlier post with answers from the Church, so he went with the first one which takes a little more time to explain. I guess he could also have said, “You believe you will be a god one day, don’t you?”

    The fact is, the limited time allowed for responses would not begin to accomodate an appropriate answer. Yes or no isn’t all that is required to address any of these issues if one is going for understanding. If Mormons do have latter day revelation, it is obvious that their knowledge might be a little more comprehensive than what is in the Bible. It doesn’t mean it conflicts, and it doesn’t mean it will be “proven” in a one minute or two minute soundbite.

    Romney has no other choice than to take the course he is taking. If one wants to know about the Church, let them go to the Church website to learn! You can even write in personal guestions.

  17. John said

    You should have expected a response of that nature from Brad, Anonymous.On Christmas morning on my way out to feed my chickens, I held my head up to the early morning sun and loudly wish Jesus a very happy birthday.I did it again on the “Merry Christmas from Truthtalk Live!!!” site. I’d like to think that it mattered to Jesus, even though I’m not one of his followers.
    Despite what the Brads and MonkeyMans of the world think, there is always,should always be a standard of common courtesy among people who serve different deities.
    Brad, you can’t prove that your deity is the only one any better than anyone else of any other theological belief system.
    Get over yourself.[smile]

  18. Brad said

    Are you saying that Romney skirts questions about his religion as well as Brad (the only one who answered my concerns) skirted the one about why a radio talk show which is asking what Mormons really teach didn’t go directly to a Mormon source to find out? Are you saying it is because no member of that church will appear on the show? There are public communications specialists who do this regularly for the Church (yes, I am a member), not to mention misson presidents whose stewardship might stretch to such an appearance.

    Or like you skirted the question I asked you, which was “…if so, are YOU willing to come on and talk about YOUR beliefs?” I don’t see the answer to that one anywhere, so before you start talking about “skirting” questions, you may want to answer them yourself. And for the record, I didn’t skirt any question you asked about why Mormons don’t appear. I explained the one situation I knew about (see next paragraph), and also gave the usual reasons why others won’t appear, which you confirmed to be true in your response.

    I don’t know exactly WHO Stu might have asked to come on the show. I do know for a fact that he asked one Mormon (Amanda), as well as myself to be on there with her to debate, and she flat refused, numerous times. I never said that no member would appear on the show – I couldn’t know that, b/c as I’ve said, I don’t know who he’s asked or what their answers were. As to the “public communications specialists” who do appear for the church, if they’re anything like the lady who answered the 21 questions about the church, I’m really not sure it would do any good. Although, YOU do manage to give all the typical Mormon responses when stuff like this is brought up. “You’re not sincere, so it’s not worth our time.” “See our official website.” “I’m not an authority, so I can’t really speak for the church.” You yourself said that you wouldn’t be interested in what Russ East has to say, b/c he is “not an authority” on the church. Does one have to be an “authority” to say what he believes? With Mormonism, evidently so.

    If you can’t get a Mormon, at least go to a friend of a Mormon for a more objective opinion–since we’d be talking opinions about what is taught.

    Right. B/c a friend of a Mormon should be able to be completely objective, and provide insights as to what they believe, is that it?

    If Romney began to talk about doctrine, that is ALL he would be talking about, and you know that’s true. Look at how much talking you have done about it on this blog. It would be a waste of time and change of purpose for Romney. I don’t think a Baptist would want to be grilled over the doctrines he subscribes to when he’s running for office. That’s not the American way.

    I don’t think a Baptist would mind – I’m Baptist, and I know I wouldn’t. Wanna know why? B/c the answers to any questions asked are very simple, if your beliefs are based solely in the Bible. Here’s an example question: if you have the Christ of the Bible as the Lord and Savior of your life, will you go to Heaven when you die? Now, the Baptist answer is one word – “Yes.” But the Mormon answer gets a little trickier – “well, define ‘Christ of the Bible’. You also have to define ‘heaven’. Are we talking level 1, 2 or 3? And how did they live their life? Were they bound in the temple? They may start at level 1, and move up.” See the difference? Your answers require a lot of time, b/c Smith made it so complex that it can’t be answered succinctly. It’s really not this difficult, but the LDS beliefs have made it so.

    The fact that you say Mormons are not Christians shows what a waste of time it would be for Romney to spend time trying to please evangelicals specifically by delving into doctrine.

    You’re right – I grant you that. Nothing he could say would convince me otherwise, b/c I know what Mormons believe, and I know it is false, and I know Romney believes it as well.

    The fact that you don’t know that God honors those who call upon Him, even if they don’t yet know the God of the Bible, is proof to me that you have not heard of the many conversion stories of those whose prayers were answered in ways that led them to more knowledge of God as they honored the basic truths they happened to be aware of, truths like the fact that we should pray to God and other truths that we have from our own God-given consciences, like being kind to our fellowmen. You think they are just wasting their lives on the planet? God has a plan for them too; it’s just more comprehensive than you might think.

    I know God hears all, and does honor those who truly call upon Him. However, Mormons (and many others) don’t call upon “Him.” They call upon a man-made deity that they THINK is Him, but it’s not. Therefore, God hasn’t honored anything you’ve said, b/c you haven’t talked to HIM, but to what Smith wanted Him to be. And that is truly too bad. The only thing that’s worse, is that you don’t believe it’s true.

    The fact is, the limited time allowed for responses would not begin to accomodate an appropriate answer. Yes or no isn’t all that is required to address any of these issues if one is going for understanding.

    Ain’t that the truth – I addressed this earlier.

    If Mormons do have latter day revelation, it is obvious that their knowledge might be a little more comprehensive than what is in the Bible. It doesn’t mean it conflicts, and it doesn’t mean it will be “proven” in a one minute or two minute soundbite.

    They don’t (have latter day revelation from God, only latter day ideas from Smith, who wanted them to be from God). Your views are more difficult and are definitely more than what is in the Bible. They do directly conflict with the Bible. While you talk about all the conversion stories that show Mormonism to be true, what about all the FORMER Mormons who are now Christians (such as Russ East) who now know that Mormonism is what we are saying it is – a huge lie perpetrated on many? What do all THOSE conversions say about Mormonism?

    Romney has no other choice than to take the course he is taking. If one wants to know about the Church, let them go to the Church website to learn! You can even write in personal guestions.

    Really? You mean I can really ask questions on there? What a cool website!

    I ask again – are you willing to come on and defend what you believe, and discuss it with us? Or will you pass, like others before you have done?

  19. Anonymous said

    Cool, Brad, that you know how to do bold in your responses. I haven’t figured that one out. It makes what I say look important, and l like that. I would do the same for you if I knew how.

    I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’s Day! And especially John who seems to know the score on what Brad weems to be all about.

    Brad, if you’re still around, I have to tell you that you will be surprised to learn when the time comes that the God of Bible answers the prayers of Mormons, and Mormons are not at all confused about which Christ we worship. He lives in the Bible and The Book of Mormon. I’ll bet the 12 disciples knew things about HIM that you don’t. If they wrote them down and hid them and they were discovered in our generation, would you burn the book because it wsn’t the Bible? Would you be able to read it and know if it were authentic? Would you turn only to scholars and scientists to find out if it were authentic, or do you think you might be able to find out yourself from it’s context once it was printed in English, checking it with the Bible, and through the gift of the Holy Ghost as you read it in the spirit of prayer?

    Also, if you had lived in Jesus day, would you not have turned to a friend of his or eyewitnesses who lived and walked with him to find out about him? Evidently not from your response to my comment above. We have eye witness accounts–hundreds, who kept journals of the words and actions of Joseph Smith, recorded miracles, starting with the acquisition of the gold plates and the translation of the Book of Mormon on to healings and being saved from mobsters by Godsent storms, to his mulitple releases from and false accusations, and deliverance from being tarred and feathered and almost poisonedjail . If that weren’t enough, we have his words and teacings. Our new priesthood and Relief Society manual this year is of his teachings, so it’s easily accessible.

    Mostly, we have the Bible and The Book of Mormon which not only speak for themselves but God will witness to their truthfulness. I understand that you haven’t the faith in the possibility of its truthfulness to read it, and that’s your perogative, but Mitt Romney has, and the God of the Bible has blessed the man abundantly in his life to bring him to this point. People complain about how much money he has spent in his campaign, but he has it because he lives by true prinicples in his life which have allowed God to prosper him and organizational skills which have helped him to create a political organization effective at fund-raising. A lot of hard work and inspiration, God willing, has brought him this far. It depends upon the American people and the will of God as to whether he will get any farther, but poverty itself is not a virtue unless the curse of pride because of a love of money gets in the way. If his money were wiped out, he could build up again by the same principles of truth, integrity, and hard work if it were God’s will.

    John had a point: Brad, can you prove that your God is the only God? To your own satisfaction I’m sure, but if it were that easy, why isn’t every person on the planet a Christian? I think it is because faith is a personal journey, and each person, Mormon or not, has to experience that journey. Before he can experience that journey, he has to establish and feel a need to find the truths that he will accept. Hopefully, the truths he will accept will be God’s truths. Only the individual can pray specificallay enough to prove to himself that God lives and that God will direct his path.

    It is arrogant to think that you are the only one who can judge the genuineness of each man’s journey or the certaintly of their results.God loves all of his children. If you believe your path is correct, understand that if it is, God is leading everyone to it on their own,and more importantly, HIS own, time schedule. I do, and this is why I don’t feel threatened. If I teach and share my truth with those who want to know (not those who want to accuse and disbelieve), whether it be privately or publicly, according to his will, I don’t need to worry about what you and Russ East are doing.

    Answer to your question for me: God inspires people with or without authority in the Church about whether or not they will come on a show like yours and confront or spend their time being asked insulting (usually) questions instead of talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ or his church. Your answer about Romney not being able to accomplish anything meaningful by wasting campaign time doing so was accurate, so why should he play to your passion instead of address the issues of the campaign? If he were elected president, there would be time for that if shows or stations were sincere in their interest and he could do it without compromising and confusing it with his service to all, Mormon and nonMormon whom he represents.

    I would say the same thing in answer to your question put to me. Why shoud I come on a show when the outcome is predictable? It would be confrontive and oppositional instead of understanding or educational. Where’s the truth in that? Your second-hand-source learned word about my faith against mine? I have nothing to prove, and anyone who wants to know what I know or Joseph Smith knew can learn it for him or herself if they go to the God of the Bible and ask and are willing to read from firsthand, authentic sources about what God has done in our generation.

    As for Russ East. I cannot speak for him. He may be absolutely sincere, but I know for myself that he is absolutely wrong. (Like you, he may have choked on bad information before he got his own revelation from God or read and prayed about the Book of Mormon.) What’s more, I don’t have to write books about how wrong he is and make a career of talking about how he is deceiving people. (Even though he is.) He is in God’s hands, and he has no effect upon my happiness and spiritual fulfillment whatsoever. I wish him well, and if he didn’t take it upon himself to do the things that bring a knowledge of Jesus before (ask sincerely in prayer, read the scriptures, and follow him) I’m glad that he has finally found him. Once the God and Christ of the Bible are found (they were there all the time), we and our knowledge of them will not be greatly rewarded if we are stagnant. He has more for us to learn, now and forever.

  20. Brad said

    Cool, Brad, that you know how to do bold in your responses. I haven’t figured that one out. It makes what I say look important, and l like that. I would do the same for you if I knew how.

    Anonymous (since you didn’t/wouldn’t give your name for some reason), if you notice, it’s not my responses that are in bold, rather the original quote I’m responding to. I do it b/c in the post, it is easier to see what I’m saying vs. what I’m referring to that the other person said, if the type is different. It’s not to highlight what I say, rather to highlight what the other person said. Sorry if that offends you.

    Brad, if you’re still around, I have to tell you that you will be surprised to learn when the time comes that the God of Bible answers the prayers of Mormons, and Mormons are not at all confused about which Christ we worship. He lives in the Bible and The Book of Mormon. I’ll bet the 12 disciples knew things about HIM that you don’t. If they wrote them down and hid them and they were discovered in our generation, would you burn the book because it wsn’t the Bible? Would you be able to read it and know if it were authentic? Would you turn only to scholars and scientists to find out if it were authentic, or do you think you might be able to find out yourself from it’s context once it was printed in English, checking it with the Bible, and through the gift of the Holy Ghost as you read it in the spirit of prayer?

    I don’t believe, at the time I meet God, that I’ll care whether Mormons were right or not. At that point, I’ll be focused solely on God and His Glory. It is now, here on Earth, that I care about the error of Mormon beliefs, b/c it is only now, here on Earth, that I can say that they’re wrong, and try to help convince them of the eternal error they are making. Can’t say it will be successful, but I’m not called to be successful, I’m called to be obedient. Do I think there are other writings that the apostles may have written? Sure, it’s possible. Are there books written that don’t contradict the Bible? Sure there are. Doesn’t mean they’re inspired by God, though, and I think that is the key point that you’re missing. We have been given the Bible by God, and told it is inspired. Mormons have been given the BOM by Joseph Smith, who told them that it was inspired. I’ll stick to the Bible. We’ll just have to agree to disagree – I’m sure nothing I say will convince you.

    Also, if you had lived in Jesus day, would you not have turned to a friend of his or eyewitnesses who lived and walked with him to find out about him? Evidently not from your response to my comment above. We have eye witness accounts–hundreds, who kept journals of the words and actions of Joseph Smith, recorded miracles, starting with the acquisition of the gold plates and the translation of the Book of Mormon on to healings and being saved from mobsters by Godsent storms, to his mulitple releases from and false accusations, and deliverance from being tarred and feathered and almost poisonedjail . If that weren’t enough, we have his words and teacings. Our new priesthood and Relief Society manual this year is of his teachings, so it’s easily accessible.

    I can’t say WHAT I would have done if I had lived in Jesus’ time. I like to think I would have inquired and believed on faith, as I do now. Look at how much you’re focused on Smith – HIS journals, HIS words & actions, HIS translation of the BOM, HIS deliverances from danger, HIS teachings. It’s not about Smith, it’s about Christ. Christians don’t focus on Matthew, Mark, Paul, Moses, etc…, we focus on Christ, the object of the writings. The same is not true for Mormons. Personally, I think that was Smith’s intent – to get the focus on him. And for many Mormons, he has succeeded.

    Mostly, we have the Bible and The Book of Mormon which not only speak for themselves but God will witness to their truthfulness. I understand that you haven’t the faith in the possibility of its truthfulness to read it, and that’s your perogative,

    As has been said many times, not just by me but by others, when doing a true comparison b/w the Bible and BOM, if you look at each contextually and linguistically, the BOM does not uphold the teachings of the Bible as they should be. Mormonism, in general, does not uphold the perfect teachings of the Bible. They are in contradiction, based on the LDS interpretation of the Scriptures. I have faith that the Bible is correct, and faith that the BOM is incorrect, backed up by much study not only by myself, but by numerous others. I haven’t read all of the BOM, but I have read enough of it to know that it doesn’t support the Bible perfectly.

    …but Mitt Romney has, and the God of the Bible has blessed the man abundantly in his life to bring him to this point. People complain about how much money he has spent in his campaign, but he has it because he lives by true prinicples in his life which have allowed God to prosper him and organizational skills which have helped him to create a political organization effective at fund-raising. A lot of hard work and inspiration, God willing, has brought him this far. It depends upon the American people and the will of God as to whether he will get any farther, but poverty itself is not a virtue unless the curse of pride because of a love of money gets in the way. If his money were wiped out, he could build up again by the same principles of truth, integrity, and hard work if it were God’s will.

    Just b/c he has been successful in business, doesn’t mean that the God of the Bible has blessed him. Ted Turner has been successful, by the world’s standards. So has Oprah, or Tom Cruise. Do they follow the core principles you speak of? No. But they are successful. You can’t attribute Romney’s success in this world (which I don’t dispute) directly to following God’s will in his life, b/c based on what Romney believes (which is the basic beliefs of Mormonism), he doesn’t believe in or worship the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible may have allowed Romney to be successful (just as He has allowed Winfrey, Turner or Cruise to be successful), but that doesn’t mean their in God’s will.

    John had a point: Brad, can you prove that your God is the only God? To your own satisfaction I’m sure, but if it were that easy, why isn’t every person on the planet a Christian? I think it is because faith is a personal journey, and each person, Mormon or not, has to experience that journey. Before he can experience that journey, he has to establish and feel a need to find the truths that he will accept. Hopefully, the truths he will accept will be God’s truths. Only the individual can pray specificallay enough to prove to himself that God lives and that God will direct his path.

    Welcome to modern-day thinking, folks. This is no different than the new-age thinking of today. “Everyone must find their own way, what works for them.” Baloney. The Bible says that God (the God of the Bible, the God I fully believe in) is the only God. The Bible says that many will not believe, for many reasons (read through Romans 1-2, or 2 Corinthians, or much of the NT). Just b/c there IS absolute truth, doesn’t mean people will necessarily believe it. You ask “if it were that easy, why isn’t every person on the planet a Christian?” Well, if Mormonism is really that easy (or even true), then how about the same question – why isn’t everyone on the planet a Mormon? Just b/c something is true, doesn’t mean all will accept it. Faulty logic.

    It is arrogant to think that you are the only one who can judge the genuineness of each man’s journey or the certaintly of their results.

    I never said that I am the only one who can judge a person’s genuineness of belief, or certainty of their results. But I can look at what Scripture says, about the nature of Jesus, God, the Trinity, etc…, and about the plan of salvation, and then say definitively that if a person does not believe what the Bible says, the Bible clearly outlines what will happen. Doesn’t mean that I myself have willed it, but God has willed it; I am only repeating what He has already said would happen.

    God loves all of his children. If you believe your path is correct, understand that if it is, God is leading everyone to it on their own,and more importantly, HIS own, time schedule. I do, and this is why I don’t feel threatened. If I teach and share my truth with those who want to know (not those who want to accuse and disbelieve), whether it be privately or publicly, according to his will, I don’t need to worry about what you and Russ East are doing.

    I also believe God loves all his children. God has also laid ground rules out for His children, and if they aren’t followed, there are consequences. Disbelief in Christ in this life results in eternal consequences. And I’m saying that is what lies ahead for believers of the Mormon faith. Not b/c of what I believe, or b/c I said so, but b/c of what they believe about Christ, and b/c God said so in His Word, the Bible. You are free to do whatever you wish, or believe whatever you wish, as is your ability as a human. But at the end of your life, there are consequences or reward for the way you have believed, and I’m saying that the road you’re on is leading to consequences, even though you don’t believe it is.

    Answer to your question for me: God inspires people with or without authority in the Church about whether or not they will come on a show like yours and confront or spend their time being asked insulting (usually) questions instead of talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ or his church. Your answer about Romney not being able to accomplish anything meaningful by wasting campaign time doing so was accurate, so why should he play to your passion instead of address the issues of the campaign? If he were elected president, there would be time for that if shows or stations were sincere in their interest and he could do it without compromising and confusing it with his service to all, Mormon and nonMormon whom he represents.

    Your answer isn’t any different than any other Mormon who’s been presented with the same scenario here. It doesn’t matter either way to me. I personally follow 1 Peter 3:15, as it relates to discussing religion with people. You may not. Your choice.

    I would say the same thing in answer to your question put to me. Why shoud I come on a show when the outcome is predictable? It would be confrontive and oppositional instead of understanding or educational. Where’s the truth in that? Your second-hand-source learned word about my faith against mine? I have nothing to prove, and anyone who wants to know what I know or Joseph Smith knew can learn it for him or herself if they go to the God of the Bible and ask and are willing to read from firsthand, authentic sources about what God has done in our generation.

    You are under the same delusion as most other Mormons, that whatever is written about Mormonism that is not directly from Mormon sources is wrong or skewed (“anti” material, as you like to call it). It’s a ridiculous mindset to have, really. Do some Christians need to be educated about Mormon beliefs, b/c they don’t understand them? Yes. Does it take a Mormon to educate them? No way. You yourself have referred to the LDS websites where others can get information. Using those websites alone, one can see that the Mormon beliefs do not stand up in light of what the Bible says. It’s not really that hard. What amazes me, and many other Christians, is how Mormons can continue to believe what they do, in light of all the overwhelming evidence out there that doesn’t support your beliefs at all. That truly amazes me.

    As for Russ East. I cannot speak for him. He may be absolutely sincere, but I know for myself that he is absolutely wrong. (Like you, he may have choked on bad information before he got his own revelation from God or read and prayed about the Book of Mormon.) What’s more, I don’t have to write books about how wrong he is and make a career of talking about how he is deceiving people. (Even though he is.) He is in God’s hands, and he has no effect upon my happiness and spiritual fulfillment whatsoever. I wish him well, and if he didn’t take it upon himself to do the things that bring a knowledge of Jesus before (ask sincerely in prayer, read the scriptures, and follow him) I’m glad that he has finally found him. Once the God and Christ of the Bible are found (they were there all the time), we and our knowledge of them will not be greatly rewarded if we are stagnant. He has more for us to learn, now and forever.

    Again, you doubt what Russ East now believes. He WAS a Mormon – don’t you think he knows what he’s talking about? Gerald & Sandra Tanner? Numerous others who have left Mormonism and come to Christ, who now talk about how misleading Mormonism was – you don’t think any of them are correct? They just “mis-understood”, or never “really” had the truth or believed it? Come on – it just isn’t true.

    But you’re right – it is entirely up to you what you believe. It is entirely up to you whether to come on a show or not. I will talk to you about it all day long, if you want, but I can’t, and won’t, force you to listen. I don’t answer to God for the decisions you make, I only answer for what I do. And I can say that I have been faithfully obedient, and can only pray that you will make the right decision before your life on Earth ends. But that’s not my choice – it’s yours.

  21. Anonymous said

    Whoah, Brad!

    How can one person say so many things with conviction that he believes based upon the words of others and not firsthand knowledge? Do you really think people can’t see the fallacy in your conclusions? Your assumptions, your premises, even of your use of the Bible as a straightjacket whose verses fit only your interpretation without understanding possible applications of that verse? I, for one, can tell straight off that you do not honor truth because of how you distorted everything I said instead of dealing with the possible truth and logic of my statements. Take your very first line. I wasn’t even saying that your bold letters were to make your words seem important. I was complimenting you on making my words seems important by doing so.

    Anyone who cannot interpret a compliment correctly certainly can’t be trusted to interpret Mormonism or the Bible correctly.

    You need a new paradigm, Brad. Good luck in striving to become a Christian who can be convicted of being one by the evidence he leaves upon blank pages as well as upon the tracks of his life. I wish you well, and I wish you knowledge and experience before thinking you can convince anyone but fellow assumers and accusers that what you are saying is true.

    Peter was suggesting that we have a ready response for anyone who asks us a question about the reason for our hope within, not for anyone who just wants to hear himself recite what he is certain he knows about our religion after allowing us to say something to which he didn’t really listen or factor into his thinking, much less believe. Peter wouldn’t have wasted his time on such a man, and neither will I. To qualify to live that verse, a true follower of Christ must discover what meekness and fear “are” since we are meant in the Biblical sense, even required, to answer with those two qualities.

    Let’s get real.

  22. John said

    A very[belated]Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you too, Anonymous!

  23. Brad said

    Anonymous,

    If you ever want to discuss theology or the Bible, I’m always here. I have no interest in talking in generalities, as many Mormons like to do when they encounter Christians who believe they are wrong. Any general assumptions you have about ME, without knowing ME, you have no idea if you’re correct or not. However, if you want to talk BELIEFS, then I’m always ready and willing.

    I understand you believe you’re correct, and I’m incorrect, and that really doesn’t bother me. I’m confident in my beliefs, as I’m sure you are in yours. Thus the difficulty – it’s hard to convince someone they’re wrong, when they believe they’re right. Fortunately, it’s not my job, but the Holy Spirit’s, so I rely on Him to use me as He sees fit.

    I wish you well in your future, and hope and pray that you truly come to understand Christ.

  24. Anonymous said

    Brad,

    I know all I need to know about you from how you represent yourself in the above posts and how you choose to characterize and condemn a Chritian church you know nothing real about. In my opinion, a person who consults only those who have left the church and the books they have written is not going to have an accurate, balanced understanding of anything. The only details worth talking about are those born of authentic, objective research. If one cannot handle true generalizations and even compliments, can he intellectually or emotionally handle doctrinal conversations or have a genuine, thinking conversation? You seem to prefer the art of slander and stone-walling. I will not say it is not effective to a some degree, but remember that it is “truth” that “will out” in the end. God’s truth.

    I also pray that you will truly come to understand Christ. He has no such issues. In fact, he might say to you, “the truth shall make you free.” I have and believe the Bible, and if you think that the Bible contains the only truths that God has or will ever reveal, then I am as free as you are. I just know that God has and will in the future reveal more of his truth to his children whom he loves as they are ready to receive it.

    God loves you, so I will too. It is a choice I make in his behalf.

    Craven

  25. Mike Sears said

    Revelation 22:18
    I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.

  26. Brad said

    As I said Anonymous (Craven), if you ever wish to discuss doctrine or theology, of either Christianity or Mormonism, I’m willing. I won’t further say anything else regarding any of your other comments, as it would do no good.

  27. Anonymous said

    To Mike Sears:

    This statement well applies to every book or revelation written by every prophet inspired by God, not just John, and that would include for those who know, Joseph Smith and his revelations. Do you quote it to say that God cannot cause more of his word to be written by a prophet called anew ever again?

    Craven

  28. Mike Sears said

    Actually yes, I think the Bible is perfectly sufficient as it stands and God agrees, thus His statement in Revelations. But for argument sake, what is a prophet as Biblically defined? Their prophecies are ALWAYS accurate. I don’t think Mr. Smith qualifies.

  29. Anonymous said

    To Brad:

    Why would a member of another denomination turn to you for a discussion on theology of any sort? Is this your website? What are your qualifications to be the spokesperson for this website? I hope it’s not a monopoly.

  30. F. L. A. said

    AS PAGANS, WE TURN TO PEOPLE LIKE BRAD TO LEARN ABOUT THEOLOGY FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.AND IT IS ALSO AMUSING.

  31. Peter said

    You have had numerous calls for a Mormon from these boards to appear on the show. Let me explain why I haven’t accepted the “call.”

    Obviously, I LOVE to talk about my religion. Otherwise you wouldn’t find me listening to TTL and posting on this board. And being a Mormon in North Carolina, I do have the opportunity quite often to address questions aobut it. But in a forum like Truth Talk Live, the goal of the host always seems to be to expose the “real” truth behind Mormonism rather than simply addressing what Mormons believe. In previous shows, especially when 19 year old Mormon Missionaries are brought into the studio, there is always a professional “cult expert” to handle the missionaries.

    So often Mormons are accused of trying to fool Christians into thinking that we are “just like them” but co-opting their language when we use terms like “salvation” and even Jesus or Christian when we supposedly mean something completely different.

    The truth of the matter is that there are very real theological differences between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity. And to understand the whole, you need to to have a full understanding of basics. While I am sure that someone who has truly studied Mormonism (as Brad says he has) DOES know where we are coming from, my experience is that most people do not. Their understanding of Mormons is based on propoganda that has been diseminated from people whose motives are to “expose” Mormonism, not explain it. And as I said in the first post in this thread, the truth or falsehood of what is presented in propaganda is never the real purpose. The purpose of propoganda is to get an emotional reponse.

    So instead of a discussion of the Mormon understanding of the Trinity, you get out of context discussions of Mormons believing in a Jesus who is the brother of Satan.
    Instead of a discussion on an open canon of scripture vs. sola-scriptura, you get accusations that Mormons have “another Bible” or “don’t believe the Bible.”
    Instead of a discussion of the use of religious symbols (like an Ichthys on your car or wearing a cross), you get snickering comments about “magic underwear.”
    Instead of a discussion about prophets and whether the heavens are closed, you get … quotes from Joseph Smith … that are … completely taken out of context …
    Instead of a discussion on marriage and family, you get accusations that Mormon men are expecting to get “eternal celestial sex” when they get to heaven.
    Instead of a discussion of why Mormons build temples and their belief in eternal families, you get bizarre stories of Satan worship, claim that the Mormons have buit a replica of the Oval Office where they hope to rule the world, and other “Mysteries of the Mormon Temple of Doom!”
    Instead of getting real experts on Mormonism, you get people whose “authority” comes from the fact that their great great grandfather was a mormon. “Sandra Tanner knows what she is talking about, She is the great great grandaughter of Brigham Young (as are about 5000 other people) or “I’m a fourth generation Mormon who was saved when I was 14.”
    And sadly, instead of a discussion of the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and that is only through Him that we can ever be forgiven of our sins, we get crude discussions of the mechanics of His conception.

    If I thought that I would be able to have a thoughtful discussion of what I believe and why I believe it, such a conversation is always valuable, regardless of the setting (whether in a blog, or on the air). But my experience with Truth Talk Live is such that I know what I would receive. In the Truth Talk Live worldview, no argument against Mormonism is unacceptable, regardless how how badly taken out of context, distorted, or disproven it might be.

    A perfect example is the discussion thread I had several months ago with Brad. I was trying to make a point about anti-mormons using illogical and dis-proven arguments against Mormonism. It was a rather silly discussion about whether the Book of Mormon can be proved as false because of a verse that states that Jesus would be born in the Land of Jerusalem (as opposed to in another land). Rather than even try to understand the verse in context, Brad persisted in defending an out-of-context explanation. Ultimately he agreed that I would have to wait a long time if I ever expected him to admit that some anti-mormon websites might be taking things out of context.

    My agenda on these forums has always been the same. I don’t come here to try to “prove Mormonism.” My agenda has always been to point out erronious statements and comments about Mormons and Mormonism. I don’t expect to convert anyone to Mormonism through a post on a blog. I learned as a 19 year old missionary that I can’t convert anybody. A change of heart must come throught the Holy Spirit. But I also learned as a missionary that I didn’t need to try to disprove their existing beliefs. We simply presented what we believed, and when they gained a testimonoy of that, it pretty much took care of their old beliefs.

    For those of you who are saved, think back on how you came to Jesus:

    Did a pastor talk about the evils of the Spanish Inquisition, or did he show you that you> were a sinner.
    Did he joke about the Amish for their horses and buggies, or did he show that there is only one Way to Heaven.
    Did he tell lies about your churches leaders, or did he tell you Who died for you.
    Did he misquote the Quran or did he tell you who rose from the tomb on that Easter Morning.

    I’ve been a Mormon for 42 years. There is absolutely NOTHING about my faith that you can “zing” me with. I’ve read all the church history, I’ve read all the anti-mormon literature. I’ve read your interpretations of them, and I’ve read MOrmon Apologetics. I know about Temples and garments and Brigham Young and Polygamy and Ancient American archeology and the Journal of Discourses and the Book of Abraham and DNA and the Urim and Thummin and Lucifer and Kolob and and on and on and on. To paraphrase Brad from a previous thread, it’s not that I don’t know the anti-mormon arguments. Its that I understand them in context. And I still believe.

  32. Anonymous said

    Mike,
    You probably know that the Book of Revelation (no “s”) was not the last book written. It was just placed at the end of the book by a theological council of men. John wrote those words at the end of his revelation similar to what is written by Moses in Deuteronomy 4:2-3. Does that mean that God agrees that the New Testament should not have been written? I doubt it. The New Testament definitely gives us some new commandments and the higher law which Jesus brought for us to live.

    As for Joseph Smith, he qualifies as a prophet through, if nothing else, the existence of the Book of Mormon and the power of that book in people’s lives. (The fact is, he did much more than bring that book forth.)The comment you made is the typical generality without substance made that Brad was talking about. Hit and run. I’m not sure you would have the time or patience to have an honest discussion about prophets and what their job description is or the one or two supposed prophecies that some have thrown out to support your take on the subject of Joseph’s calling from God. Would you have the luxury of re-evaluating objectively? Somehow I don’t think that is in the scope of this website and those who represent “Chrsitianity” apart from Mormonism.

    You may think the Bible is sufficient as it stands, Mike, but I know that God doesn’t because brought forth a second witness of Christ in a miraculous way to stand beside it to be used as one in our hands.

    Craven

  33. Brad said

    Why would a member of another denomination turn to you for a discussion on theology of any sort? Is this your website? What are your qualifications to be the spokesperson for this website? I hope it’s not a monopoly.

    Anonymous, please don’t confuse the issue. I’m simply saying that if you wish to debate the differences (and they are many) between Mormonism and Christianity, I am willing. No, this is not my website, and no, I am not the spokesperson for this website. I have never said otherwise. If I’m not mistaken, this is a free forum for many to gather and discuss, is it not?

    But then again, you don’t really want to discuss anything concerning your religion, do you?

  34. Anonymous said

    What Peter said in his last entry is so full of truth and wisdom, that could only come from experience and firsthand observation, that I can add no more to it.

    Peter, you said it for us all and taught many of us while you were doing it. Thanks.

    Craven

  35. “If I’m not mistaken, this is a free forum for many to gather and discuss, is it not?”

    You are correct, Brad.

  36. Mike Sears said

    I was given a Book of Mormon from a Mormon friend and co-worker a few years ago. I stopped in my tracks after reading the Introduction.

    From the Introduction to the Book of Mormon.

    “In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto him AND obey the laws and ordinances of his gospel may be saved.
    Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

    Any true student of the Bible can tell that this is heresy. Obedience is NOT a requirement for salvation, it is a result of it. The Bible stands alone. And then to claim that the Book of Mormon is more correct and gets you nearer to God than the Bible does is preposterous. I know it does not specifically say the Bible but you must agree that the Bible is ANOTHER BOOK ON EARTH.

    Convince me that I have to do more than believe (which is a trusting belief) that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is TOTALLY and soley sufficient for my salvation, and then I will consider further what this book (and your prophet) has to say.

  37. Mike Sears said

    AND was written in all caps in the quote by me for emphasis.

  38. Brad said

    But in a forum like Truth Talk Live, the goal of the host always seems to be to expose the “real” truth behind Mormonism rather than simply addressing what Mormons believe. In previous shows, especially when 19 year old Mormon Missionaries are brought into the studio, there is always a professional “cult expert” to handle the missionaries.

    Peter, the goal of the host, and many who call in, is such b/c we believe that Mormonism IS deceitful, and that it’s followers are going to hell. I don’t think we hide behind that at all – I don’t. We do address what Mormons believe, which is often seen as “exposing” b/c there’s a lot the ol’ Mormon missionaries don’t tell people at the door. I think that’s exactly why a lot of people don’t understand a lot about Mormonism, b/c very little is said about it. I like to change that, and educate people on what they really do believe.

    So often Mormons are accused of trying to fool Christians into thinking that we are “just like them” but co-opting their language when we use terms like “salvation” and even Jesus or Christian when we supposedly mean something completely different.

    You must realize, though, that many Mormons DO come off this way. It’s not made up. Some acknowledge the differences, and are proud of them, others try to blend in and make it seem the same. You can see how the confusion builds.

    The truth of the matter is that there are very real theological differences between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity.

    I can fully agree with this statement. Absolutely.

    And to understand the whole, you need to to have a full understanding of basics. While I am sure that someone who has truly studied Mormonism (as Brad says he has) DOES know where we are coming from, my experience is that most people do not.

    Perhaps. As I said, many people don’t know much about it, which is why this show, and I and others who blog on here, try to tell people. You are free to disagree with what we say, however I know what I tell others about Mormonism is factually true, and I want to be sure they hear it.

    Their understanding of Mormons is based on propoganda that has been diseminated from people whose motives are to “expose” Mormonism, not explain it. And as I said in the first post in this thread, the truth or falsehood of what is presented in propaganda is never the real purpose. The purpose of propoganda is to get an emotional reponse.

    You say this mostly b/c you don’t believe that “explaining” Mormonism actually “exposes” anything. However, I, and many others, believe otherwise. What you like to call “anti” material or “propaganda” is only called such b/c you don’t believe what it says. Is some of what is out there about Mormons wrong? Sure it is. But much of what is out there, especially from reputable sources who have done the research is not, yet is considered “anti” anyway. Anything that goes against what Mormonism teaches would be considered “anti”. Feel free to consider me “anti-Mormonism”, b/c I am. But I’m not “anti-Mormon”, against the person. I just do not believe them to be saved according to the holy dictates of the Bible.

    So instead of a discussion of the Mormon understanding of the Trinity, you get out of context discussions of Mormons believing in a Jesus who is the brother of Satan.

    C follows B, and B follows A. These topics naturally lead to other topics, so you’re naive if you think that they won’t lead to other discussions.

    Instead of a discussion on an open canon of scripture vs. sola-scriptura, you get accusations that Mormons have “another Bible” or “don’t believe the Bible.”

    Often, yes. They only believe the Bible “insofar as it is translated correctly”, which in other words means the translation they wish to use and the interpretations they wish to place upon them. They do not have another “Bible”, per se, but they DO have another book, one that has been called THE most important book, which by definition would place it ABOVE the Bible. Hey, I didn’t say it – your leaders did.

    Instead of a discussion of the use of religious symbols (like an Ichthys on your car or wearing a cross), you get snickering comments about “magic underwear.”

    Most Mormons don’t like to talk about this, so these conversations usually don’t get far. But I would say, what are the differences between a cross necklace and your sacred undergarments? What does each gain for the wearer? And what is the purpose for the wearer? There’s many places this can go, if you wish.

    Instead of a discussion about prophets and whether the heavens are closed, you get … quotes from Joseph Smith … that are … completely taken out of context …

    Taken out of context according to who? Are some taken out of context? Probably. Are ALL of them? No. But many Mormons like to fall back on the old “it’s out of context” line for EVERYTHING, rather than truly take a hard look and see if what was said is actually true or not.

    Instead of a discussion on marriage and family, you get accusations that Mormon men are expecting to get “eternal celestial sex” when they get to heaven.

    You MUST look back at the beliefs of your early leaders (i.e. Smith, Young, etc…) to see what THEY were hoping for, and what is written in early D&C. Much of what you consider “accusations” is true, depending on who you talk to. And you can’t be so quick to use the “they were just men” line when it comes to Smith and Young, b/c they were your church’s LEADERS, even your FOUNDERS and your PROPHETS. And what you say about your prophets, and what the Bible says, holds what they say to a much higher standard.

    Instead of a discussion of why Mormons build temples and their belief in eternal families, you get bizarre stories of Satan worship, claim that the Mormons have buit a replica of the Oval Office where they hope to rule the world, and other “Mysteries of the Mormon Temple of Doom!”

    Yes, this sometimes gets far-fetched, I admit.

    Instead of getting real experts on Mormonism, you get people whose “authority” comes from the fact that their great great grandfather was a mormon. “Sandra Tanner knows what she is talking about, She is the great great grandaughter of Brigham Young (as are about 5000 other people) or “I’m a fourth generation Mormon who was saved when I was 14.”

    The Tanners “authority” doesn’t come b/c of their family tree, but b/c of their deep involvement and longevity in the church, where they learned and were exposed to all the church’s teachings, before they realized it wasn’t true and left. Same with Russ East, who was also a practicing member before he left. Had they not left, would anyone have questioned their beliefs? Probably not. But once they do, the church says “they never REALLY believed”, or they never “REALLY gained a testimony.” Ridiculous. They were immersed in it, realized it wasn’t true by God’s grace, and got out, and now want to tell others why. What Mormons don’t like is the fact that it is HAPPENING, not that it’s untrue, b/c it’s not.

    And sadly, instead of a discussion of the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and that is only through Him that we can ever be forgiven of our sins, we get crude discussions of the mechanics of His conception.

    Again, the ideas about Christ’s nature are all linked together, such that you can’t believe one without believing many others. This shouldn’t surprise you.

    If I thought that I would be able to have a thoughtful discussion of what I believe and why I believe it, such a conversation is always valuable, regardless of the setting (whether in a blog, or on the air). But my experience with Truth Talk Live is such that I know what I would receive. In the Truth Talk Live worldview, no argument against Mormonism is unacceptable, regardless how how badly taken out of context, distorted, or disproven it might be.

    You may think you know what would happen if you came on, and you may be right, I don’t know, nor do you for sure until it happens. In the TTL worldview (which is probably very similar to mine in many respects), the arguments against Mormonism aren’t unacceptable if they’re logical and conform to what Scripture teaches, regardless (and in spite of) whether you believe them or not. What you believe is “out of context, distorted or disproven” is only b/c you don’t believe what they are arguing on its face, not the methods they are using to argue. My guess – if you were presented with incontrovertible evidence that Mormonism was untrue, it wouldn’t matter to you, b/c you WANT and NEED to believe it’s true, otherwise what you’ve believed your whole life has been a lie. I’m telling you that the proof is there, and you’re just unwilling to see it, to your detriment, unfortunately.

    A perfect example is the discussion thread I had several months ago with Brad. I was trying to make a point about anti-mormons using illogical and dis-proven arguments against Mormonism. It was a rather silly discussion about whether the Book of Mormon can be proved as false because of a verse that states that Jesus would be born in the Land of Jerusalem (as opposed to in another land). Rather than even try to understand the verse in context, Brad persisted in defending an out-of-context explanation. Ultimately he agreed that I would have to wait a long time if I ever expected him to admit that some anti-mormon websites might be taking things out of context.

    Regarding any discussions we’ve ever had, Peter, none of the arguments I’ve used with you have been illogical or dis-proven, not in the least. If you want to go back through it here, we can, and I’d be happy to show that you’re wrong. There are MANY reasons and proofs why the BOM can be shown to be false – reasons that are contextual, linguistical, historical, archaeological, etc… I have not defended any out-of-context explanation – just b/c you don’t believe it, doesn’t make it out-of-context.

    My agenda on these forums has always been the same. I don’t come here to try to “prove Mormonism.” My agenda has always been to point out erronious statements and comments about Mormons and Mormonism. I don’t expect to convert anyone to Mormonism through a post on a blog. I learned as a 19 year old missionary that I can’t convert anybody. A change of heart must come throught the Holy Spirit. But I also learned as a missionary that I didn’t need to try to disprove their existing beliefs. We simply presented what we believed, and when they gained a testimonoy of that, it pretty much took care of their old beliefs.

    Are some statements about Mormonism erroneous? Yes. But not all. And what you, and many other Mormons, try to do is to show that what Christians say about Mormonism just isn’t true. Just b/c you believe it, doesn’t make it true, it just makes it your belief. There’s so much evidence out there AGAINST Mormonism that you’re ignoring, but you don’t want to hear it, b/c to you, it’s all “anti” material or “propaganda.” If so, defend it authentically.

    For those of you who are saved, think back on how you came to Jesus:

    Did a pastor talk about the evils of the Spanish Inquisition, or did he show you that you> were a sinner.
    Did he joke about the Amish for their horses and buggies, or did he show that there is only one Way to Heaven.
    Did he tell lies about your churches leaders, or did he tell you Who died for you.
    Did he misquote the Quran or did he tell you who rose from the tomb on that Easter Morning.

    Absolutely. But WHICH Jesus? WHICH Heaven? WHICH God? WHICH Holy Spirit? These are SERIOUS questions, b/c the natures of the gods you believe in, vs the God I believe in, are MUCH different, so much so that we’re not even talking about the same deity.

    I’ve been a Mormon for 42 years. There is absolutely NOTHING about my faith that you can “zing” me with. I’ve read all the church history, I’ve read all the anti-mormon literature. I’ve read your interpretations of them, and I’ve read MOrmon Apologetics. I know about Temples and garments and Brigham Young and Polygamy and Ancient American archeology and the Journal of Discourses and the Book of Abraham and DNA and the Urim and Thummin and Lucifer and Kolob and and on and on and on. To paraphrase Brad from a previous thread, it’s not that I don’t know the anti-mormon arguments. Its that I understand them in context. And I still believe.

    And that, Peter, makes me pity you and those who believe similarly more than anyone on Earth.

  39. Brad said

    Mike’s post on the BOM Intro is spot on. Problem is, it’s stuff like that that Mormons just conveniently sweep under the rug, with a variety of excuses. “Smith didn’t write the intro”. “It’s not DOCTRINE.” “We don’t REALLY believe that.” “You’re viewing it wrong.”

    Seriously. If your literature says it, you’d at least look more credible if you backed it, rather than backing away from it.

  40. Paulinian said

    Post #36,

    If you’ve never heard of the “church of Christ” denomination, read up on them. They say and teach that they can “prove” that you do have to do more that just believe in order to merit salvation.

    We have 3 local “evangelists” that are hitting our area hard, even with t.v. broadcasts. http://www.whatdoesthebiblesaytv.com and they only use the Bible, but how they twist Scripture is amazing, even sounding “convincing” at times. Mormon missionaries and J.W.’s have nothing on these guys. And, yet, they are still false and heretical.

    -the Paulinian 😉

  41. ADB said

    This “church of Christ” is a new one on me. I’ve heard of the Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) that broke from the Presbyterians in the early 1800s, and the United Church of Christ that is a pretty liberal denomination, but this does not look like either one of them!

  42. the Paulinian said

    ADB,

    This church of Christ brand has its origins with the Campbells back in the 1800’s. It is from a split with the Disciples of Christ. It is a very dangerous heresy – denial of original sin, conditional security, baptism “for” the remission of sins, denial of the indwelling Holy Spirit, no mechanical instruments, all denominations are of the devil, must be in their brand of the church of Christ for salvation, etc., etc.

    They hate Calvinism with a passion, yet are preterist in their understanding of Revelation. They hate Arminianism, yet believe you can never be truly secure in your salvation. A very twisted group of people. And we have 3 of their evangelists doing t.v. broadcasts on our local t.v. station 😦

    But, everytime they open their mouths they end up saying something that contradicts what they said the previous week. Maybe TruthTalk can do an interview on one of them? It would definately be an exciting show.

    – the Paulinian

  43. Anonymous said

    From Truthtalklive: “If I’m not mistaken, this is a free forum for many to gather and discuss, is it not?

    You are correct, Brad.”

    This leads me to think that there must be no one else interested in the website and defending historical, traditional Christianity but Brad and Mike. True?

    From Mike: “Any true student of the Bible (which really means historical Christianity) can tell that this is heresy. Obedience is NOT a requirement for salvation , it is a result of it. The Bible stands alone.”

    Have you readers here read the Old Testament? The entire message of the Old Testament is that God’s chosen people were given promises and blessings based UPON obedience, and they chose NOT to obey consistently. Then we see what happened to them when they did NOT obey. (Things such as the 40 years in the wilderness, being plundered and raped by other nations, losing their temple, having kings instead of the judges system which God had set up, which kings usually turned out to be oppressive and at least vulnerable to temptation, etc.) The New Testament or New Covenant is all about Jesus coming to make an new and everlasting covenant: give me your broken heart and a contrite spirit, and you will want to do my will with the help of the indwelling of Holy Ghost which I shall give you; believe, confess, be baptized, endure to the end in obedience, and you will be saved. (Salvation is based upon belief but it remains in effect as long as you remain faithful and do not turn agaist God, betraying Him as the ancient Jews did. This is heresy only to those who do not read the entire Bible and take it at it’s word literally.

    The Bible stands no more alone for those who are willing to let God speak to their hearts through the Book of Mormon and the blessings that come through the Restoration. It has born the load alone for centuries, and now God has sent a second witness to cut out all the nonsense and misinterpretation. It is the second nail in the board of truth which reaffirms the Bible (the first nail), proving that the Bible is true. In places it expounds more fully on doctrine through the living prophets of ancient America. No longer can the Bible be turned in circles upon a single joint by men and Satan alike.

    “And then to claim that the Book of Mormon is more correct and gets you nearer to God than the Bible does is preposterous.”

    It is more pure and correct because it was translated only one time, and lest you divert the focus, most of the mistakes in printing in early copies have now been corrected using notes from Joseph Smith and the handwritten copies. In Joseph’s day, even with the printing errors, it was still more correct than any other book. You talk like we are arbitrary in our use of the clause “as far as it is translated correctly,” but I know that evangelical Christians and others have to consult their input from the original Greek translations from time to time. This falls under the “as it is translated correctly” clause. We do the same with footnotes of info from the Greek at the bottom of the pages of the King James Version when it affects the meaning and understanding of the words.

    It helps one get closer to God than any other book only because it is clearer on principles and leaves no question as to what the doctrine of Christ is. There is no argument in the worldwide church on the necessity of baptism, for instance. The Bible, because of multiple translations and because of the way man has made some of the words and statements null and void through his own spin and interpretation, needed a second witness in the latter-days.

    The difference between us and all other religions is that we don’t claim we can prove anything. God has said that He will if you ask in faith and with full purpose of heart. And He does. There are millions of faithful who have let God “prove” it to thems. Of couse, numbers alone do not “prove” something is true, but one witness to one spirit is sufficient for that spirit. It is a personal thing. Still, if you overlook the input of millions in your “objective” research of this issue, you foil YOUR credibility. It is a courtesty you would have to follow in researching any other group seriously. It’s easy and lazy to make assumptions about them, about probabilities, and about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith based upon one-sided research.

    Pride is truly the great sin of the world, and it often comes between man’s interpretation and God’s truth. I know that the things I believe not verified in my life by God’s Spirit may be suject to mistake and error, but I could never question the ongoing witness of the Holy Ghost which is the basis of any genunine testimony in the LDS Church.

    Amanda (yes, I was alerted that this was going on)

    PS I think Peter’s logic and reason deserve attention from someone who cares.

  44. F. L. A. said

    WELCOME BACK, AMANDA.

  45. Anonymous said

    I think Peter’s point was that the sensational stuff pulled from history without contextual and foundational meaning is ALL some want to talk about. That is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    And Brad, I would love to talk about things concerning my religion with someone who cares about listening and understanding as much as about voicing preformed but inaccurate declarations and judgments which I KNOW to be incorrect. That is pointless.

    Craven

  46. Mike Sears said

    Welcome back Amanda. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas. Did you get to spend some time with your kids and grandkids?

    I appreciate your response. Good, thoughtful questions such as this serve to encourage me to dig a little deeper to give a reason for the hope that is within me. Such an exercise makes my roots only grow deeper. To answer your question yes of course I have read the Old Testament. Yes we are ALL called to obey, just as the Old Testament folks were. The entire OT is a continual example of the consequences of sin as well as the fruits of faith. Certainly there is a fruit that comes from obedience, but obedience was definitely not a prerequisite for God’s blessings nor was it a requirement for being a “Child of God”. If it were, then certainly, David would not have been referred to by God as “a man after God’s own heart”, an adulterer, murderer, yet still a child of God. Of course he experienced many negative consequences for his sins, but they did not negate his status before God. Just like Abraham and Moses, he believed God and the promise which was to be fulfilled through his bloodline, and as a result he was madly in love with the God of this universe. That is why He was referred to as a “man after God’s heart”.

    So what’s your take on Job then? With your philosophy do you think it fair that Job, being a righteous man, suffered such terrible loss? Obviously no disobedience was present that led to such suffering.

    The book of Hebrews is such a great explanation of the OT. That the Laws and Ceremonies were a only a shadow of the fulfillment to come in Jesus Christ. Why do you think that it says “the law could make nothing perfect”? Hebrews 7:19.

    Then in Hebrews 8:10-13 He says,
    “This 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.
    No 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.
    For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”

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

    Notice He didn’t say “I will remember then sins no more… unless of course they sin again, then they could possibly lose. NO WAY! The language is very final! And it all makes perfect sense using the ENTIRE council of scripture. In reference to my comment about being a “true student” of scripture you said (which really means historical Christianity)… fine call it what you like but we utilize the entire council of scripture which is fully and completely adequate. With nothing added but the blessed Holy Spirit who bears witness in our hearts. Just like Peter said; “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2Peter 1:3 Our knowledge of Him is gained through the Holy Scripture.

    Now let’s move on to this “burning in the bosom”. I have thought a lot about this lately and I have also had many discussions with someone I am very close to in my family who is very liberal about sin (and what qualifies as sin) yet claims to be very “spiritual”. She is one who does not believe in the inerrancy of scripture “because it was written by men”, yet she claims to have been “born again”. She also believes that there are many ways (other than Christ) to get to God (Heaven). Her claim about her knowledge of all of this is because she is following the spirit burning in her heart telling her what is right and what is wrong. Let me ask you, should she follow this “burning in the bosom”? Would you not agree that this “spirit leading” she is experiencing could be a spirit masquerading as an “angel of light” just like we are warned about in scripture? The point I am making is we must be VERY careful about these “burning in the bosom” experiences especially if they contradict Scripture. Even Hitler was convinced he was right and I am sure he a burning sense within him as well. I read a great quote from William Penn this morning, “Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” Even if one of those “everyone’s” is a spirit leading us.

    John Piper gives a great Sermon on this in his series on Galatians at this website: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/7/392_Dont_Go_Back_from_Sonship_to_Slavery/ I hope you will take 20 minutes to listen.

    No “burning of the bosom” could ever convince me that “ANY” amount of obedience will gain us salvation because the Scripture clearly says the opposite!

    Blessings and Wisdom to you in Christ!!

  47. Brad said

    Amanda, what is this, the 4th or 5th time you’ve sworn you weren’t going to come back on here and talk about it, b/c it’s pointless, only to re-appear? You’d probably be better off NOT saying you’re not going to be back on here, since you seem to re-appear after you do.

    Have you readers here read the Old Testament? The entire message of the Old Testament is that God’s chosen people were given promises and blessings based UPON obedience, and they chose NOT to obey consistently. Then we see what happened to them when they did NOT obey. (Things such as the 40 years in the wilderness, being plundered and raped by other nations, losing their temple, having kings instead of the judges system which God had set up, which kings usually turned out to be oppressive and at least vulnerable to temptation, etc.)

    Moses did not obey God’s specific commands, therefore he didn’t get to enter the Promised Land. He disobeyed, and there was a consequence. Does it mean, however, that he lost his salvation, and never made it to Heaven? After all, he disobeyed, didn’t he? Yes, consequences happen when we don’t obey – the Bible doesn’t say different. But, the Bible is VERY clear, that once you have salvation, it is a salvation that you receive from God based upon your faith in Christ as your Savior, NOT based upon your actions on this Earth, and that it is a permanent gift that you receive. To say different, Amanda, only shows your misunderstanding of the concept of salvation.

    The New Testament or New Covenant is all about Jesus coming to make an new and everlasting covenant: give me your broken heart and a contrite spirit, and you will want to do my will with the help of the indwelling of Holy Ghost which I shall give you; believe, confess, be baptized, endure to the end in obedience, and you will be saved. (Salvation is based upon belief but it remains in effect as long as you remain faithful and do not turn agaist God, betraying Him as the ancient Jews did. This is heresy only to those who do not read the entire Bible and take it at it’s word literally.

    The Bible NEVER says “believe, confess, be baptized, endure to the end in obedience, and you will be saved.” NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. We’ve gone over this numerous times, Amanda, you and I. You are completely wrong about this. Mormonism believes this method of salvation – but the Bible doesn’t teach it. And you STILL say that works are NOT a part of salvation in Mormonism? Absolutely untrue. If “enduring to the end in obedience” is necessary for the “you will be saved” to happen, then in Mormonism, most assuredly works are a part of salvation, which would completely go against the clear teachings of Scripture. You see, Amanda, a man-made religion falls apart under close scrutiny, b/c only with a God-inspired religion are there no holes found.

    The Bible stands no more alone for those who are willing to let God speak to their hearts through the Book of Mormon and the blessings that come through the Restoration. It has born the load alone for centuries, and now God has sent a second witness to cut out all the nonsense and misinterpretation. It is the second nail in the board of truth which reaffirms the Bible (the first nail), proving that the Bible is true. In places it expounds more fully on doctrine through the living prophets of ancient America. No longer can the Bible be turned in circles upon a single joint by men and Satan alike.

    As if God, all powerful, who inspired the Bible Himself, needed to send a second witness, b/c the Bible wasn’t “good enough” or “clear enough”. Ridiculous, and in my opinion, blasphemous. The BOM doesn’t “reaffirm” the Bible, it doesn’t mesh with it. It doesn’t expound “more fully” on anything the Bible teaches, it preaches a different Christ and a different salvation. Further, the Bible has never been able to be “turned in circles upon a single joint by men and Satan alike”, b/c it is of God. Do people misunderstand and misinterpret it? Absolutely. But that is not God’s fault, but man’s refusal to understand. The BOM doesn’t help that, it further confuses it.

    I’ll respond to the rest of the nonsense later. It’s late.

  48. Amanda said

    Mike,

    That was a nice, well-written, thoughtful letter without malice –refreshing. I appreciate the time and effort you put into it.

    About the burning of the bosom…. No one ever said that it operates without benefit of brain. In fact, it was as Jesus unveiled the scriptures from the beginning, the meaning of which was masked to some but obvious to Him and others about His mission, that the two disciples on the road to Emmaus felt that burning of the bosom. The Holy Ghost always operates upon both mind and heart, especially when reading scripture. The fact that its witness can be ongoing doesn’t mean there is always a burning. I agree with you that many, no matter what religion, can emotionally work themselves into a “burning” of one sort or another. But in gaining a testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some may hear a still, small voice, some a literal voice, when they receive a testimony of truth, others the “burning,” and others still just a peace of mind and heart that never leaves. Many feel all of these during the course of their lives, some even the ministration of angels or of visions and dreams. (Mormons aren’t the only ones who receive such blessings, but they do and can receive them, especially about the truthfulness of the work.) Each of us has to learn to recognize the way the Spirit works with us, and only the individual is qualified to pass judgment on such communication for himself. Time will tell if it’s the real deal, as it always does, if we are living up to our knowledge. The Holy Ghost will not depart from us unless we go in places He will not and do things He has forbidden us to do. At that time, we become, in the biblical term, “hardened.” We are past “feeling.”

    Is it possible to lose a testimony of truth? Absolutely, and that’s where obedience comes in. If one is half-hearted and insincere enough about his religion that he doesn’t obey the words of his Lord and the saving truths that have enter into his heart–whether it be from the Bible or the Book of Mormon, well…”the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” Where much is given, much is expected, and if we do not give what is expected, we will not grow. Then also, if we willfully sin and continue to do so, without repentance, we have no more promise.

    We believe exactly as you do, as far as I know, about the law of Moses which was intended to be like a “schoolmaster” to prepare the Israelites for Christ and it’s being powerless to save just as our works are apart from the Atonement–also that the old covenant was fulfilled in Christ and passed away. (But I’ve told you all this, haven’t I?) We Mormons, however,are also bound to believe in Paul’s words to the Hebrews (10:26-29) that …”if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.” (Only the repentant will be saved.)

    In verse 28, we are told, “He that despised Moses’law died without mercy under two or three witesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and that counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despitefully unto the Spirit of grace?”

    We also agree that David was called “a man after Mine own heart” before he had Uriah killed. Even after his grave sins, he was capable of true contrition, unlike his son Solomon who in his youth had asked God for and received a “wise and understanding heart.” David was forgiven of all but the sin against Uriah (as we learn from latter-day revelation), but he receieved the promise from God that He would not leave his soul in hell. We believe that although he fell from his exaltation, he will still receive a level of glory in his resurrection as a child of God because of his repentance and his recognition of his dependance upon God throughout the rest of his life.

    Job was called a “perfect and upright” man in his time, (which was explained as that he feared God and eschewed evil–choices, and more choices.). Job is a classic example of the truth that affliction is not necessarily evidence that one has sinned. If not for punishment, it can be for experience, discipline, and instruction. We believe that all will have some sort of “test of Abraham” (prescribed on our own level) to exhibit our love and trust in God. We are here in part to be tried and tested. (It’s part of the sifting of the chaff from the grain, the sheep from the goats.)

    That’s why opposition plays such an important part. Without the enticement of good on one hand and the temptation of evil, we could not choose to serve the Lord over Satan. (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.)

    2 Peter 1:3 Here we may beg to differ just a little.
    Why does God give us “knowedge” of Himself? Not just to let us know He’s here, but so we can choose the right, so that we can receive his promises and become “partakers of the divine nature ” these verses talk about. The knowledge of Christ, we believe from the context of all He has said, is not just the knowledge that He lives; that He is our Savior, but also the knowledge that He HAS which will help us to escape from “the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

    We are then told to add to our faith virtue (how do we do that?); and to virtue knowledge (how do we do that?);
    and to knowledge temperance (how do we do that?); and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness (how do we do that? Through choices, choices of thoughts, behaviors, actions of self control and wisdom from former choices and behaviors which help us to develop the divine nature all must have to be more like our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ.

    If we are choosing every day to follow the example Jesus set and the knowledge He gives us, then truly, “the truth shall set us free,” and we will know we are His–not because we are perfect, but we will repent of and lose interest in those things that stand in our way to become more like Him, one baby step at a time. Do we do it through our own power? NO, but through HIS word, HIS knowedge, and OUR love of Him. We do obey Him because we love Him and are grateful for our salvation, but it’s a double edged sword: the more we obey His words, in fact, the more we love Him and abide in His love and continued forgiveness. We love those we serve. Shall we not love and obey Him who loved and served us first? He has commanded, not just suggested, that we do so since Sinai, and that command has never been rescinded.

  49. Mike Sears said

    Amanda
    Let me ask you something. Which of these is “TRUE LOVE”?

    1. Your children or grandchildren obey you because they are either afraid of the punishment, they think they will gain favor because of their obedience, or they believe they can earn something as a result of obedience?

    2. They simply obey you because they are so blown away by how much you love, care, and provide for them?

    So it (#2) is with God. God has proven His love to us by giving us the ultimate gift, His righteousness as a gift through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! THAT is how the Gospel works! There is nothing we can do to earn it but to believe that He did the work already. Why do you think God uses examples of the Potter and the Clay and the Silver refining process? Does the clay form itself, or does the silver refine itself?

    True love that God desires does not have any strings attached!! Simply love in return for the love we have received!! Obedience flows out of this naturally because we are connected to the vine!! No grunting required!! What an awesome realization it is to “know and be known by God”!!!

  50. Mike Sears said

    That is also why Jesus said, “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy ladened and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Piper explains in his Galatians study that it is the easiest thing in the world to be putty in God’s hands, but it is also hard because we want to be in control, we hate the thought of being putty in God’s hands. We want a formula, (like the Mormon religion teaches), like the false teachers in Galatia were teaching. Study Galatians with this truth in mind and you will see.

  51. Mike Sears said

    Amanda
    I did not read your response before posting #49 & 50. “Pending Moderation”, it’s interesting that I may have written the same thing except to respond to some of the things you said. I don’t have a lot to disagree with in what you have shared, although there are some key differences that I believe are essential to faith. I will address your reference to Hebrews in a seperate post b/c I don’t have the time to assemble all of that info right now. However, as a general rule, it really boils down to the primary motive of the Mormon Faith vs. Biblical (Reformed) Theology. The Mormon Faith says you participate in the salvation (and there lies the motivation), while the Bible says you obey as a result of salvation. Again, Galatians, Galatians, Galatians, Can I say it enough? I really encourage you to listen (or read) through John Piper’s series on Galatians. Galatians totally flies in the face of what Mormonism teaches. More Later. Enjoy your Sunday! Mike

  52. Brad said

    It is more pure and correct because it was translated only one time, and lest you divert the focus, most of the mistakes in printing in early copies have now been corrected using notes from Joseph Smith and the handwritten copies. In Joseph’s day, even with the printing errors, it was still more correct than any other book.

    So we can say the following: the Mormons DO believe that the BOM is more pure and correct than the Bible, and is so even though there were earlier “printing mistakes” that were later corrected when new information was “found.” Irregardless of the reason, “lest you divert the focus”, Mormons still DO believe that the BOM is “more pure and correct” than the Bible. Just want to make sure we’re real clear on that point.

    You talk like we are arbitrary in our use of the clause “as far as it is translated correctly,” but I know that evangelical Christians and others have to consult their input from the original Greek translations from time to time. This falls under the “as it is translated correctly” clause. We do the same with footnotes of info from the Greek at the bottom of the pages of the King James Version when it affects the meaning and understanding of the words.

    What you REALLY mean is “insofar as it is interpreted correctly.” Because there is a difference b/w a translation and an interpretation. And I would agree, the Bible is correct, but it needs to be interpreted correctly. Problem is, Mormons do not, in many respects, especially the key ones that they need to be correct about. This has been addressed by many, many people and groups, not just me, Amanda; but Mormons won’t listen to it, b/c they believe they’re right regardless.

    It helps one get closer to God than any other book only because it is clearer on principles and leaves no question as to what the doctrine of Christ is.

    Clearer on principles? Leaves no question? The only scary thing is that you really do believe this, Amanda. Using your arguments, if it were SO clear and left NO question, why doesn’t everyone believe the Mormon way?

    There is no argument in the worldwide church on the necessity of baptism, for instance.

    Really? I believe there is. I don’t think there’s a lot of argument that it is something one should do, but there is a LOT of argument about whether it is “necessary” for salvation, or something you do AFTER salvation. Mormons believe it is necessary, as you have previously stated. The Bible says it’s not – I guess that’s where that “insofar as it is translated correctly” comes in, right?

    The Bible, because of multiple translations and because of the way man has made some of the words and statements null and void through his own spin and interpretation, needed a second witness in the latter-days.

    The BOM, b/c of some “new” information revising some of Smith’s original words and b/c of the way Mormons have made some of the Bible’s words and statements null and void through their own spin and interpretation to conform to the BOM, is not a 2nd witness of anything, but is a powerful deception that Satan has put in their live to confuse them, and he has succeeded, unfortunately.

    The difference between us and all other religions is that we don’t claim we can prove anything. God has said that He will if you ask in faith and with full purpose of heart. And He does. There are millions of faithful who have let God “prove” it to thems. Of couse, numbers alone do not “prove” something is true, but one witness to one spirit is sufficient for that spirit. It is a personal thing.

    That is the very problem. There is so much proof AGAINST it, that you couldn’t possibly rely on proof for it, b/c it is easily refuted. But after all the talking around about it, what the Mormon church does is something very clever – it uses people’s own need to be right and correct, their need for self-confirmation – to get them to believe what is not true, masking it as “witness from the spirit.” Does it work? Yes, b/c of what I just said, that people need to feel right and have confirmation. Is it from God? No. The Bible says how to come to God and gain salvation. If Mormons would follow it, they would have it too. But they’ve come up with different ways, unfortunately.

    Still, if you overlook the input of millions in your “objective” research of this issue, you foil YOUR credibility. It is a courtesty you would have to follow in researching any other group seriously. It’s easy and lazy to make assumptions about them, about probabilities, and about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith based upon one-sided research.

    If millions of people believed that 2+2=5, would a prudent person overlook their input, knowing that they were wrong? I would say yes. Would it foil their credibility? I don’t think so, I think it would increase it, b/c they’re following what they know to be true, and rejecting what has been shown to be untrue. Same issue with Mormonism, Amanda, despite anything you might say. What I, and I’m sure many other Christians, are amazed at, is the fact that people still follow it DESPITE all the evidence against it!

    Pride is truly the great sin of the world, and it often comes between man’s interpretation and God’s truth. I know that the things I believe not verified in my life by God’s Spirit may be suject to mistake and error, but I could never question the ongoing witness of the Holy Ghost which is the basis of any genunine testimony in the LDS Church.

    Problem is, what your spirit supposedly witnesses to does not conform to the teachings of Scripture, therefore CAN’T be of God. Big problem there. Eternal problem.

    I’m glad someone “alerted” you that “something was going on.” Again, you might want to consider refraining from making an absolute statement that you won’t debate anymore, b/c you’ve gone against that sort of absolute statement at least twice so far.

    I think Peter’s logic and reason deserve attention from someone who cares.

    They have received attention – it’s just that people don’t agree with the logic, b/c it doesn’t make sense Biblically.

  53. Amanda said

    To whom it may concern:

    Upon thoughtful reflection, I don’t know why I should ban myself from a website that has malice toward my religion. It is Brad I have banned myself from. If he is the only one to write on here, I will not respond, just as I have not and will not read his certain-to-be unproductive and biased comments today.

    As for Mike…I can understand your disagreeing with some of our beliefs, but you still don’t seem to grasp our take on faith and works. It’s one of the reasons that the Book of Mormon HAD to be brought forth and the Church restored. It is dangerous to both individuals and to societies who do not undertand God’s call and COMMAND for us to serve Him with all our might, mind and heart. It’s a crucial message of the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible. He, from the beginning, understood that unless we took the command seriously enough to obey His words, we would not receive the resulting blessings of increasing faith and the Spirit to enable us to endure the tests and trials of life. It’s a covenant that we have been invited to make with Him, but it is a covenant of love. The fact that He offers it is evidence of His love for us too.

    Those manistream Christians who obey out of love do receive the blessings of obedience and a continual growth in faith and knowledge of God, but it is largely BECAUSE they have obeyed–for whatever reason–that they do. And when we obey, as I stated, our love for God automatically increases as does the Spirit of the Lord within us that strengthens us to obey more diligently in the future. Those who haven’t learned to love God but want to will also reap blessings as they obey. It’s a cause and effect that God Himself established.

    There is no fear in my obedience to Him, and there are many reasons to obey–love and gratitude being the greatest. Yet how can one be saved if one doesn’t accept His Master’s words and obey them? What is a “master” if not one you listen to and obey? If obedience were not required, would it have been said, “Though He were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered?” And consequently, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY him.” (Hebrews 5:8,9)

    It seems very clear to me. Perhaps the major difference is that we believe Salvation is both an event and a process leading to exaltaion. I suspect you feel that it is an event, period. To believe that, one must negate the words of Paul that I shared with you and many other verses from the mouth of the Jesus of the Bible whom you claim to worship. Accroding to my beliefs, not only is the decision to believe in Jesus important, that He is and has paid for our sins, but every decision of each day is important in that we want to become more like Him as He challenged us to do.

    Again, it is no problem to me that we disagree. Any church that has not the biblical foundation and authority of prophets and apostles like the original Church which Christ established is going to differ from the Church God saw fit to establish one more, final time. The problem comes when you make accusations that we do not worship the God of the Bible–when I can quote all of my beliefs that are pertinent to my salvation in the Bible (I love and study the Bible just as much as the Book of Mormon each day), and that we are not Christians–which makes you and not God the author of the definition of Christianity, which becomes variable according to your interpretation of scripture.

  54. Mike Sears said

    Amanda Says:
    “Is it possible to lose a testimony of truth? Absolutely, and that’s where obedience comes in. If one is half-hearted and insincere enough about his religion that he doesn’t obey the words of his Lord and the saving truths that have enter into his heart–whether it be from the Bible or the Book of Mormon, well…”the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” Where much is given, much is expected, and if we do not give what is expected, we will not grow. Then also, if we willfully sin and continue to do so, without repentance, we have no more promise.”

    In the book of Hebrews, (specifically chapter 6 verses 4-6, and then mentioned again in Chapter 10) there is a type of person described that some people believe (Mormons included), is someone who can lose their salvation. However, by applying proper hermeneutics which includes studying the surrounding context, the general point of the book itself and utilizing similar scripture elsewhere in the Bible to interpret the meaning of the passage, it is clear that the individual being described is someone who never had genuine faith to begin with.

    Sadly, I believe that churches today (of all denominations) are filled with individuals described here. These are people who attend church regularly, and who are often involved in many ministries. They are people who have “tasted” the effects of God’s blessings because they have witnessed true worship among the true believers they are surrounded by. They have experienced God moving and answering prayers in an amazing way, yet they have never really understood what it means to “believe/trust in the Gospel”. That is why in the very next verse (7), the analogy is drawn similar to the one Jesus used in Matthew 5:45, explaining that God allows the rain (general blessings) to fall on both the righteous and the unrighteous). The language used is in this passage is also the same language used when describing how an unbelieving spouse or children are sanctified by the believing spouse/parent (1 Corinthians 7:14). They are not “saved, but sanctified”. They are “tasting” what it’s like because they are under the same roof as a believer who is worshipping Christ in spirit and truth, and being blessed because of their “faith”. These folks could also be very “obedient” and as a result they are experiencing the natural consequences that obedience produces and are mistaking such consequences for God’s specific blessing upon them because of the “faith” they “think” they have. They are simply believing the lies from the “spirits masquerading as angels of light”.

    Piper says, “If satan can’t make you disobey God, he is happy to convince you to obey for the wrong reasons.” I am afraid that most Mormons along with many others fall into this category. While I do believe it is possible that some Mormon’s can actually “have faith first” as Jerry Bridges would say, and are in love with Christ, yet the general teaching can falsely lead to most believing that their obedience is contributing to their salvation which the Bible clearly does not teach. Study Galatians. Did I say that already?

  55. Mike Sears said

    John 10:28
    I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

    This was not a “conditional” promise from Jesus.

  56. Mike Sears said

    Correction… “Have faith first” was a quote from Walter Marshall (17th century reformed theologian), not Jerry Bridges. I’m sure jerry would say it too.

  57. Mike Sears said

    Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son is an interesting study. Most people focus on the “lost” son who ran off, but closer study reveals that in the end the other son (the one who stayed) was still lost. He was obeying for the wrong reasons. He thinks he “deserves” the blessing because of his obedience. Just like the pharisees were doing, and the Galatians, (and Mormons?) Another thought for pondering.

  58. Mike Sears said

    I realized that my post #57 was worded too generally and it would be easy to “mis-interpret” the intended context. Below is a link to a blog entry that makes the point much clearer. My comments (as did this blog entry)bloomed from using Tim Keller’s study outline in Galatians. The study included a great sermon by Keller on the Prodigal Son. Here is the link: http://jollyblogger.typepad.com/jollyblogger/2005/03/the_elder_broth.html

  59. Amanda said

    Mike,

    Since I want to do more here than just banter, I will pause to give attention to the words you want me to read and ponder. I will respond within 24 hours. I only ask that you likewise give some thought to what I do say in my resonse. You may find out why Mormons are accused of skirting issues sometimes. There is much to say when discussing different perspecitves, and if one is not talking to a person who will ponder (at all, it is a huge waste of time and effort.

    Again, I have no problem if you do not agree, but my goal is mutual understanding, not humiliation or defamation, contention or emotional shock and awe.

    Stay tuned, please, Today is busy, but by tomorrow night, I should be able to do your efforts justice.

    Thanks,

    Amanda

  60. Brad said

    Upon thoughtful reflection, I don’t know why I should ban myself from a website that has malice toward my religion. It is Brad I have banned myself from. If he is the only one to write on here, I will not respond, just as I have not and will not read his certain-to-be unproductive and biased comments today.

    Honestly, Amanda, it doesn’t matter WHO you are responding to, it’s WHAT you say that just doesn’t hold water. Whether you’re telling me, Mike Sears, or the man in the moon, it is the substance of what you are saying, and of what you believe, that just isn’t true. Feel free to address it to me, or to anyone else – doesn’t change what’s said.

    …you still don’t seem to grasp our take on faith and works.

    Does anyone, though, Amanda? Just b/c we don’t AGREE with your take, doesn’t mean we don’t grasp it. We do grasp it – we just don’t buy it.

    Those manistream Christians who obey out of love do receive the blessings of obedience and a continual growth in faith and knowledge of God, but it is largely BECAUSE they have obeyed–for whatever reason–that they do. And when we obey, as I stated, our love for God automatically increases as does the Spirit of the Lord within us that strengthens us to obey more diligently in the future. Those who haven’t learned to love God but want to will also reap blessings as they obey. It’s a cause and effect that God Himself established.

    Don’t confuse “blessings” and “increased faith” with salvation. Do I believe we are blessed when we obey? Yes. Have I been personally? Yes. Are there times when I haven’t obeyed, and have probably missed out on blessings? Yes. Does any of this affect my salvation? No. Works only prove to an outside world that you ARE saved – they have no effect on salvation itself. Can you agree with that statement? If not, then you don’t have a purely faith-based salvation.

    Perhaps the major difference is that we believe Salvation is both an event and a process leading to exaltaion. I suspect you feel that it is an event, period. To believe that, one must negate the words of Paul that I shared with you and many other verses from the mouth of the Jesus of the Bible whom you claim to worship.

    Yes, I’d say that’s a big difference. But the fact that it is an event, a point in time, doesn’t negate at all anything Paul said anywhere in Scripture. We’ve been over this before, Amanda, and every time you use Scripture to prove your point, your interpretation is incorrect, at best.

    Accroding to my beliefs, not only is the decision to believe in Jesus important, that He is and has paid for our sins, but every decision of each day is important in that we want to become more like Him as He challenged us to do.

    I also believe that our decisions each day are important – but if we’re ALREADY saved, they’re not important to our salvation, b/c we’re ALREADY SAVED!!! Scripture is clear, in numerous places, that we will not lose that status.

    Again, it is no problem to me that we disagree. Any church that has not the biblical foundation and authority of prophets and apostles like the original Church which Christ established is going to differ from the Church God saw fit to establish one more, final time.

    God didn’t establish your church, Amanda. Joseph Smith did. And are these the same apostles and prophets that you’re quick to say are representative of what the church should be, but then quick to discount what they say that doesn’t seem to run with what Mormonism believes, b/c they’re “only” prophets, and still human? Which way is it?

    The problem comes when you make accusations that we do not worship the God of the Bible–when I can quote all of my beliefs that are pertinent to my salvation in the Bible (I love and study the Bible just as much as the Book of Mormon each day), and that we are not Christians–which makes you and not God the author of the definition of Christianity, which becomes variable according to your interpretation of scripture.

    I don’t doubt your sincerity in what you believe, Amanda. I’ve told you that before. I just don’t believe it’s true, according to the Bible’s teachings.

  61. Brad said

    However, by applying proper hermeneutics which includes studying the surrounding context, the general point of the book itself and utilizing similar scripture elsewhere in the Bible to interpret the meaning of the passage, it is clear that the individual being described is someone who never had genuine faith to begin with.

    Yes, Mike, I agree with you, b/c I view and study Scripture in the same light according to the same principles. The problem is, Mormons do not.

  62. John said

    Hello, Brad.
    How come you don’t put this kind of effort into criticizing Nick, King Thomas, or even the F. L. A.? Are they all so “hopelessly lost” as to not be worth the trouble? I was just wondering.

  63. Brad said

    John,

    One, the study of cults is a passion of mine, one I know a lot about and enjoy discussing, therefore I tend to blog about what I know about.

    Two, I also tend to discuss/debate with people who, although I disagree with them, at least are forming coherent thoughts and aren’t completely off the deep end with their thinking. Once you encounter those types, it really doesn’t do much good (at least in my mind), b/c they don’t seem to even process what is being said. So, I tend to stay away.

  64. Brad said

    Mike Sears, do you have any info you’ve used on the Heb. 6:4-6 section? I’m going through that right now in SS, and have encountered resistance as to what people think it means, so I was looking for some good study materials or commentaries on it, and it looks like you’ve also looked into it yourself.

    Thanks.

  65. Amanda said

    Happy Tuesday!

    Since my focus is on Mike and his thoughts right now, I did read Brad’s last request of him, and I was wondering, Mike, why you might not consider Hebrews 6:4-6 which talks about how it is impossible for those with the witness of the Holy Ghost–“tasted of the heavenly gift,” partakers of the Holy Ghost”–along with “powers of the world to come” if they fall away, to be renewed unto repentence–which I believe from reading is the result of their “sinning against the Holy Ghost” and our higher knowledge (see Matt. 12:31, 32) which is in line with my beliefs, which, when one adds to it Hebrew 10:26-29, about those who are not able to be saved after sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of truth , and Hebrew 5:8 and 9 ( Jesus is “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him)”, and Acts 10:34-35 (“…God is no respector of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him (reverences Him), and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him,” (what about those who don’t?) and then please add to that Exodus 20:6 when God is telling about His attributes, so this is not man’s opinion, “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and KEEP my commandments.” (Up to this point, the only commandments they had were from the living prophet Moses. This was shortly before the 10 commandments were revealed and certainly not the law of Moses, and then Lev. 26:21 (“And if ye walk contrary unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins,” and if we jump to the revelation of Christ’s ministry, add the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:15–those who DO something with the talents they were given will get the added blessings of those who buried theirs), the parable of the sheep and goats (those who didn’t DO have no part in God–“in asmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me…”go away to everlasting punishment”) and Romans 2:6-8 (“…who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in WELL DOING seek for glory and honour and and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indigation and wrath…,” then Rom. 2:13 –“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified”–and the “law” here is apparently, from the CONTEXT around it, not the law of Moses), and 1 Thes.2:9 (…ye remember our labor (work) and travail (trials, difficulty…(and why were they laboring? not only out of love, but “because we would not be chargeable (before God, I would think and perhaps them in eternity) unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”), and finally, but only for our purposes here, Revelation 23:12 (“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be”… I ask, why this would not be, in your opinion, a beginning point of ” applying proper hermeneutics which includes studying the surrounding context, the general point of the book itself and utilizing similar scripture elsewhere in the Bible to interpret the meaning of the passage?” (Quote from Mike)

    And that is truly only a beginning. I didn’t touch the book of James)

    Just asking. It seems on this website that when we do it, as you say you do it, it “doesn’t count,” and we’re “not Christians” because our conclusion is different from yours. We feel that God is serious about what we do with our time here. We have never said that our works save us in and of themselves. We also use the words of God in the Bible to speak about it for those of you who do not want to hear what the Book of Mormon says to substantiate it.

    In your biblical perspective, can one be “saved” as you define it without being a disciple of Christ? What is a disciple but, as Webster’s compact says,”a pupil or follower of any teacher or school, also, “an early follower of Jesus?” Only if you define salvation as a one-time, irreversible event and disregard your actions after you are “saved,” as I read the Bible.

    Forgive my using my owm family here, but I can only speak for my feelings, beliefs, and experiences.

    Our family served the homeless on Christmas morning NOT to earn gospel “brownie points” but to be involved in what Christ cares most about–the temporal AND spiritual salvation of His children. Did we do it because we are saved? Or want to be? NO, but because we HAVE been as far as our lives up to this point, and because we want to partake of the “divine nature” of God and teach our children to want and be that too. In order to do that, we must be involved in God’s work. (“Don’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?” –Jesus Christ.) That and any other work will not save us, but does our love for God increase each time we do serve Him? Yes, and our love for his children also.

    Jesus said that “all the law and the prophets” hang on the two greatest commandments: to love God and to love our fellowman, our “neighbor,” as ourselves. Did he mean that what the prophets told them to do in God’s name wasn’t important? It doesn’t appear so to me because he said:

    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law (He had just given the Sermon on the Mount, and its teachings replace and transcend some aspects of the Law of Moses)”…but to fulfill.” He “came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it or the prophets”–particularly the parts and prophecies leading toward accepting Him and His mission, (Matt. 5:17,18), “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your RIGHTEOUSNESS shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” There are fantastic prophesies made by Old Testament prophets which are, have alredy been, and will be fulfilled in our day up to the Second Coming.

    Jesus’ point about righteousness, if I look at it through the spirit of both testaments, old and new gospel, was also that, if you believe and practice the two commandments which He called the greatest –to love God and love your neighbor, you will WANT to do all that God requires or asks you to do out of that love. Out of fear? Not if you love God, which I do. Out of duty? Only when I am not listening to or feeling the Spirit within (and I’m not talking about a burning of the bosom, but a compelling feeling to do what God has commanded me). But…if I do it against all opposition, even my own, I am strengthened, and God blesses me with an increase of charity, the pure love of Christ–especially if I didn’t have it or feel it before. This is how I reverence Him through service.

    But how do we motals obtain rightesousness? How do we overcome Satan? We follow our Savior’s words. That’s why He was called the Word from the beginning, because in His WORD, there is power to change our natures by the sanctification of the Spirit, and protection from evil.(John 17:17) Then there is Rev. 12:11…”And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

    And v.17: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which KEEP the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

    In my view, if you don’t keep the commandments, you aren’t a threat to Satan’s work, and he may leave you alone (but God won’t, even unto chastening). Not only that, but your testimony will weaken and you can lose it and be overcome. Abandoning the truths of the gospel which include actions that put one in Jesus’ footsteps, a safe place, is what I believe is being “overcome” by Satan. (Rev. 13:7–And it was given unto him to make war with the saints(members of the church), and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds and tongues, and nations (temporarily, of course, and not by God but by our own weaknesses and choices and those of others).

    We are in his hands only upon the conditions that He God dictates. Those, as I read it, at some point in one’s life, is being baptized (Gal. 3:27…”As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (the huge bulk, anyway, which includes the glorious aspects of his “armor”), then receiving the gift of His Spirit, obeying His commandments, and enduring to the end. (Matt. 10:22…”And ye shall be hated of men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”) Also, in Mark 4:17, we read about those who have no root in themselves …”and so (those in whom the word was planted) endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persectution ariseth “for the word’s sake” (don’t believe, do, listen, read, confess, exercise faith and you won’t get persecuted!), “immediately they are offended.” See also Mark 4:25…”For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”

    There is no way I can convince a person who does not have close Mormon friends to see that most serve God with joy and love, and Jesus said, that loving one another would be the sign by which His disciples should be known. It attracted me. Of course, the word of a stranger is never enough, nor should it be. I’m sure we also have “lazy” members (and members are called “saints” as the word was used in the New Testament to simply mean members of the Lord’s church) who do not want or are not willing to serve. (Enter the degrees of glory which I will not address today.)

    And What does the Lord say in our latter day revelation of the DISobedient of His church? That when He returns to cleanse the earth, He will BEGIN the cleansing with His own house. We must be more than just believers; we must be doers. Yet how are we saved? Through the Atonement of Christ and His grace, pure and simple. We cannot access and maintain the FULNESS of blessings (eternal life, which involves the quality, not just the forever aspect, of life that entails), however, unless we are TRUE disciples.

    None of us are perfect, as the scriptures say, not one. Will someone willing to or who actually dies for Jesus and his truths, or someone who is not willing to LIVE for them yet SAYS he will die for Jesus, gain the same exact quality of reward in heaven? Not according the Bible I read or to latter day revelation.

    There is so much more I would love to share with you, not to convert you to my way of thinking, but to help you understand what I believe as a Christian who loves and believes the Bible, and I must also at some point share with you quotes from latter-day revelation, which I didn’t touch on here, in order for you to understand why I would take my Bible, not ever leaving it behind, and add another volume of what I and many claim to be God’s words to it.

    Some of our problems understanding one another is that the LDS concept of salvation, as I said, is includes more detail from what we know to be Bible–compatable, latter-day revelation. We never say that we “get saved,” for instance, and that’s worth talking about.

    The article you referred me to on The Prodigal Son was very thoughtful and contained very valid points although I would never conclude myself that the elder son was “not saved” in the sense you might mean it. He is still on his way to the celestial kingdom–as soon as he repents of his attitude and feels the compassion and love God has for his wayward children, both before and after they repent. (Even Jonah was in this situation of not wanting to give Ninevah, a violent, wicked city, the chance repent, and he was upset that God would spare them when they did! Would you say Jonah “wasn’t saved?” He had need to repent, I admit.)

    The Father who represents the Lord in the other parable, to me, is saying that the elder son has been with Him ALL the time, and ALL that he has is his. He is an heir, after all.). I give the elder son credit for serving out of both love and loyalty and not wishing his father would hurry up and die. The things he seems to resent being given to the younger son to me represent the Father’s love, much like Joseph’s special coat did. Jospeh’s brothers hated him because he was so favored (he had the most beloved mother too) and knew his potential as a son of God from the dreams God gave him. Yet even his brothers, after much suffering, inspiration, and overcoming on Joseph’s part, repent in the end, and Joseph, a Christ figure here, forgives them. With repentance comes forgiveness and salvation. They may not be in the celestial kingdom like Joseph will, but they will have a degree of salvation. (I realize that is another story for another day.)

    I think the elder brother’s reaction to his prodigal brother was very human and something to be overcome–else there’s no hope for us!

    You see, once more, why many of us prefer short answers that some might call evasive? We are aching to talk, but it takes so long for some of us to do the scriptures justice. I have a friend who might be able to do it in 3 to 5 paragraphs–if that long, but not me!

    And finally, I am not interested in your passing judgment upon what I say as a Bible believing Christian. I am, however, intersted in your interpretation of scripture and your explanations for your own beliefs through scripture–as long as you do not ignore the scriptures I have given you and have a place for them ALSO in your comprehensive gospel view.

    Thank you for taking the time to ponder and share, and don’t feel compelled to rush. I’m just getting started myself!

  66. Amanda said

    To help with interpretation of my huge, run on and on sentence. I will reword the first question as why might Mike not consider a look at all the Bible scriptures from my viewpoint as “applying proper hermeneutics which includes studying the surrounding context, the general point of the book itself and utilizing similar scripture elsewhere in the Bible to interpret the meaning of the passage,” as you say you do?

    And I will not address Galations at all, simply because I really do feel that I “get it.” I am clear on the fact that Paul was being attacked and ridiculed because of the supposedly Judaized Christians who felt Paul was betraying Judaism by saying that circumscision was not necessary, and he was emphasizing the “fruits of the spirit” as opposed to the “works of the flesh” which reap corruption and damnation. (He defines those in verses 19-21 of chapter 5, and says that they which DO them shall not inherit eternal life. I know to always, in my mind, add “unless they repent” to that statement because I know how much God loves us all and wants us to repent.)

    Please understand, and it is a given that you do not believe, that I fully believe that I now have the gospel which Paul had received through revelation after observing, studying and then praying about the doctrines of the Restoration in action today which also reaffirm my belief in the Bible. I received my own personal revelation through the Spirit as I did these things. So… when I hear “another gospel” spoken of, I associate it with perversions of the true gospel that were creeping into the Church, even in New Testament times and others which are rampant today. This is why we believe the Apostles were absolutely necessary–to write to the churches with authority to speak for God to keep them on the right path. We see through the Dark Ages and even today the result of that influence being withdrawn as the Apostles were murdered and the priesthood authority and Church organization were lost. I would hope that we both might agree that we still need that authority on the earth today.

    I will close with a quote from The Book of Mormon, which was written for the latter days through prophecy and inspiration even though it was about the ancient descendants of Joseph of Egypt who had been led to the new world–the ancient Americas around 600 BC, in 1 Nephi 13:38-41:

    “And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God (the Bible) which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.

    And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered uon all the face of the earth, that the records (in the books of the Bible) of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.

    “…These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

    And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of they seed (The Book of Mormn), as well as in the records of the twelve spostles of the Lamb (the Bible); wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.”

    I will write no more until at least the major points I have raised today are addressed by you, Mike, because time is precious for us both. Don’t feel rushed.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  67. Amanda said

    PS Mike, if you have a specific question about Galations, I will be happy to address it. I just knew I’d said too much already!

    🙂 (smile)

    Amanda

  68. Amanda said

    One more quickie: I didn’t say that we served the homeless as a family out of love Christmas morning because that should be a given. But if charity wasn’t foremost in our hearts, doing it for the love of God, along with prayer to make our hearts more like HIs, can bring the gift of charity into our lives. We cannot truly come to know Him and love Him without feeling an increase of love for ALL of His creations and “loves” too, and I have found, for myself, that the quickest way to know and love God is through study, prayer and service.

  69. Mike Sears said

    Hey Brad
    I just got on and wow, a lot to respond to here. It may take me a few days, I’m slammed right now. Regarding your question on Hebrews 6:4-6, yes Alistair Begg’s series “Fix Your Eyes On Jesus Volume 2” is mainly a study of Hebrews. His audio series is phenominal. You may check the archives on OnePlace.com to see if it’s still there. I also have my notes from when my Pastor taught through the entire book of Hebrews about 6 years ago. I will try to extract those and get you something more. Piper is also helpful. You can go to DesiringGod.org and search sermons based on scripture. His are both printed and recorded. Enjoy the digging!!

  70. John said

    Brad, I agree with both of your statements, but for that last part about staying away, as you should know from all of my comments to you[grin].

  71. F. L. A. said

    AND WE HOPE YOU NEEEEEVVER CHANGE.

  72. John said

    That was for you Brad.
    Hey Brad,I agree with your relies,save for that part about staying away, as well you should know from all of my comments to you[grin].

  73. Mike Sears said

    Amanda
    I skimmed through your replies and appreciate the thought you put into your responses. I will respond to the scriptural references although I doubt I will have much comment on the BOM references other than how they may compare to scripture, because I won’t be going through a study of the context in the BOM for the reasons I stated in post #36. Like I said, 1st convince me that I have to do something more than believe/trust in Christ to gain salvation and then I will begin to consider what the BOM says. Does that sound fair enough?

    I will also agree to and request that you offer the same courtesy you requested of me by replying to my specific points. I had to wonder how much attention you gave to my response as I read in your 1st paragraph “and I was wondering, Mike, why you might not consider Hebrews 6:4-6…”. Because my 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of post #54 specifically addresses this passage and a few others. I will assume that that was because it was one of “many” passages you were referring to. I believe my answer will be generally the same but I will make sure that I study and respond to the additional scriptures you are referencing to be thorough.

    Actually this is a great way to excavate through the scriptures and I am confident that an open and truthful study will result in a deeper imbedding of the anchor of hope and blessed assurance that resides in my soul thanks to my precious Savior!! It may be a few days before I am able to reply. Happy Excavating!! Mike

  74. Mike Sears said

    Brad. Post 63. My sentiments exactly.

  75. F. L. A. said

    JUST A THOUGHT BRAD, IF THE STUDY OF “CULTS” IS SUCH A PASSION OF YOURS,THEN WOULD THIS NOT BE MOTIVATION ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY DEBATE WITH SAID INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE, AS YOU PUT IT, “COMPLETELY OF THE DEEP END WITH THEIR THINKING”, AS THESE ARE THE TYPES OF PEOPLE MOST LIKELY TO BE DEEPLY INVOLVED IN HARMFUL CULTS. NOTICE THAT I ADDED THE WORD “HARMFUL”.ALL MAJOR RELIGIONS EXISTING TODAY BEGAN AS SOMEBODIES NEW “CULT” LONG AGO, WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT, UNLESS YOU HAVE YOUR OWN VERSION OF THE WORD.
    SO, WHY NOT DEBATE WITH SOMEONE LIKE KING THOMAS AND NICK? YOU EVEN HAVE A COMMON GROUND [CHRISTIANITY] TO WORK WITH, UNLIKE US, WHO ARE TOO FAR OUT OF YOUR DEPTH.HE’D BE PERFECT FOR ALL OF YOUR SELF-RIGHTEOUS DEBUNKING.THINK OF THE THINGS YOU COULD LEARN ABOUT THE HUMAN PSYCHE FROM THESE “DEEP END” PEOPLE! BUT YOU DON’T. THIS MAKES US WONDER AS TO WHAT YOUR MOTIVATION IS TO STUDY “CULTS” WITH A PASSION. IT SEEMS THAT INSTEAD OF ACTUALLY TRYING TO BE A THEOLOGICAL SCIENTIST[LIKE A CERTAIN WITCH WE BOTH KNOW] AND ACTUALLY LEARNING ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM YOURSELF, YOU REALLY JUST SEEM INTERESTED IN MAKING YOURSELF SEEM “RIGHT” AND OTHERS “WRONG”.
    IF I AM WRONG THEN I APOLOGIZE.BUT IF SO I’D LIKE TO KNOW HOW.

  76. Mike Sears said

    Brad
    I checked OnePlace and the archives for Begg’s Sermon’s on the early chapters of Hebrews are not there. I have a copy on my computer though. Let me know if you would like me to put them on a download site. Mike

  77. Mike Sears said

    Amanda
    I’m working through your response. I am spending my early morning study time studying and excavating through it. It may be a couple of days. I want to be thorough and answer every point or question you have with the proper scriptural back up. Mike

  78. Amanda said

    FLA. “ALL MAJOR RELIGIONS EXISTING TODAY BEGAN AS SOMEBODY’S NEW “CULT” LONG AGO, WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT, UNLESS YOU HAVE YOUR OWN VERSION OF THE WORD.”

    Absolute truth and my sentiments, exactly. Amanda

    Also, from Mike’s referral to Brad’s post #63:

    “Two, I also tend to discuss/debate with people who, although I disagree with them, at least are forming coherent thoughts and aren’t completely off the deep end with their thinking. Once you encounter those types, it really doesn’t do much good (at least in my mind), b/c they don’t seem to even process what is being said. So, I tend to stay away.”

    My sentiments exactly although I went on for awhile with Brad just for the exercise. ( I am not jesting or agreeing with this just to be insulting. I’m dead serious. I only wish such people DID write about “what (they) know”–which should be their own religion!)

    Amanda

  79. Amanda said

    PS Okay, Brad did use coherent thoughts. That wasn’t the issue. They were just slanderous, which is a much worse offense in my opinion.

  80. Brad said

    Mike,

    Thanks. I checked Piper’s site, and he gave what I thought was a very good explanation of the issue in 6:4-6; I can probably use that. I do like the fiery Scot’s sermons, though!

    Good luck with Amanda – she’s a tough nut to crack. She’ll ignore most of what you say and give her own, “restored gospel” version of what she thinks Scripture means when she thinks you’re wrong. But if you stay nice to her, she’ll probably still respond. I’ve pretty much said my peace, and shown how she incorrectly interprets Scripture (you know, the whole “proper hermeneutics” thing), but it doesn’t affect her beliefs. Truthfully, only the true Holy Spirit can continue to work on her life, but she doesn’t believe she’s wrong, and until she’s willing to admit she could be, and take a good open, hard look at Mormonism, she is still without Christ. But I do pray that you can say something that will get her to think differently.

  81. Brad said

    Amanda,

    Nothing – NOTHING – I said you have been able to refute, using the Bible alone. As I’ve mentioned many times before, using the BOM to refute anything is invalid, as it is a product solely of Smith’s mind. You misinterpret Scripture to have a Mormon bent, b/c Mormons before you have determined that Scripture needs to be bent that way to conform to Mormon thought! Some of the misinterpretations are wrong at best, ridiculous and unscholarly at worst. But I don’t think YOU came up with the interpretations – I think you are conforming to what you have been taught and discussed with others. Regardless, wrong is wrong.

    You are free to disagree with what I said about Mormonism, but it is true. Slanderous denotes something isn’t true, but what I have said to you all along is spot on. You can continue to say it all you want, but it is true. I hope you don’t think Mike agrees with you, b/c he doesn’t. He may say it nicer than me, but the disagreement is still there. Don’t forget that.

  82. Mike Sears said

    Brad
    Thanks! I’d like to talk to you sometime. Would you mind sending an e-mail to Stu with your contact info and asking him to forward to me? He has my contact info.

  83. Moderator (not Stu) said

    Gentlemen – Send your email addresses to truthtalklive@gmail.com and I will gladly connect you. Stu doesn’t spend all day reading comments like I do…haha!

    Moderator (not Stu)

  84. Brad said

    Mike,

    I sent mine in. You should have it when the Moderator sends it on.

    Look forward to talking with you further!

  85. F. L. A. said

    THANKYOU, AMANDA FOR ACKNOWLEDGING MY REPLY, UNLIKE BRAD. HOWEVER, YOU AGREED WITH A NON-CHRISTIAN MONSTER, AND SADLY THIS WILL ONLY BE USED BY OTHERS HERE TO FURTHER DISCREDIT YOUR THEOLOGICAL VIEWS. LIKE WHEN YOU DESCRIBED JOHN AS THE MOST CHRISTIAN-LIKE PERSON IN THAT PAST MORMON SITE, REMEMBER?
    TO SOME HERE, YOU ARE SEEN AS “DIGGING YOUR GRAVE”,AND IT JUST GOT A LITTLE DEEPER.
    ALTHOUGH I DO NOT AGREE WITH ALL THAT YOU SAY, I, ALL OF US WITHIN OUR HOUSHOLD, LIKE YOU[BRAD TOO, BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY].FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH, WE WANTED YOU TO FEEL AS IF YOU YOU WEREN’T INTIRELY ALONE HERE.
    FARE YOU WELL, AMANDA.

  86. Amanda said

    IMPORTANT message to Mike:

    “Like I said, 1st convince me that I have (I’m sure you meant do NOT have) to do something more than believe/trust in Christ to gain salvation and then I will begin to consider what the BOM says. Does that sound fair enough?” (Mike, post 73)

    Mike, call off the search dogs! If the words of Christ and his Apostles that I just shared with you, along with the entire Old Testament (without commentary from preachers on the internet), do not convince you that you have to actually put into ACTION the words and instructions (commandments) He has given you to reap the fulness of eternal blessings He has promised you, we need go no further.

    God’s latter-day revelations include a place of salvation for good, honest people who are not valiant in obeying the Savior they profess to worship. (I consider you valiant according to your knowledge, by the way.) Still, this is not exaltation in the “third heaven” that Paul spoke of.

    I want to thank you for the time you’ve already expended, and I promise to read any response you would like to make to anything I’ve given you thus far. I also want to apologize for the nightmare it was for you or anyone to read my post, #65, which is full of mistakes and evidence that things I deleted in the process took more away than I intended in spots. I should have put it in a more readbale format. It taught me I should sometimes do a word document first and then insert it.

    Final thoughts:

    “general teaching can falsely lead to most believing that their obedience is contributing to their salvation which the Bible clearly does not teach.” (Mike)

    I have already addressed the issue that our term for salvation is much more inclusive than yours. Mormons KNOW from whence their salvation comes and the ATONEMENT stands alone and complete and all-comprehensive as the vehicle through which we gain salvation. As for exaltation, which we believe is eternal life in the highest degree of glory, God’s presence, and incorporates our being “joint-heirs with Christ,” as the NT says, actions do count–not tit for tat, obviously, and it is what we BECOME from our actions that counts. Do you subscribe to this well-known axiom?

    Sow a thought, reap an action.
    Sow an action, reap a habit.
    Sow a habit, reap a character.

    Well, as a Mormon, I would add to that:

    Sow a character, reap an eternal destiny!

    When we, His children and disciples, sow the thoughts of God, those often come through reading scripture and through the Holy Ghost, and from being taught, whatever our doctrine. Inaruguably, at least to me, our actions are based upon what we BELIEVE, or what we think. Habits are formed from performing actions or types of actions for some length of time. They can become routine. Our inclinations to help others can become routine as a natural part of our lives, based upon our belief in and love of God in addition to the nature and gifts with which we were born. Our characters develop largely from those habits and inclinations to respond — based upon those thoughts and actions, good and/or bad, that we immerse ourselves in and according what we love and value here in mortality.

    I believe that our resurrected bodies of glory, will reflect our “characters,” just as Paul’s words reflect them speaking of their differences in 1 Cor. 15:40–43.
    But…………………………………………………….
    I have to ask you…If “actions” were taken out of the mix of the formula above, would we be able to develop character at all? Tendencies, likes and dislikes, wishes and “beliefs,” perhaps, but even that is a stretch, book learing and the resulting thoughts, of course, but would our faith and our priorities be able to be tested? (What would Abraham say?) Abraham wasn’t PROVEN to be “Abraham, the friend of God” until and unless his beliefs were tested. Job’s righteousness wasn’t “proven” until his sore testings. Nor were David’s weaknesses revealed until he was given opportunity to show them through his actions–he “tarried” in Jerusalem instead of leading his men to battle as a leader should, he continued to look at Bathsheba when he should have turned away like Joseph of Egypt did, he invited Bathsheba up to see him and soon sent Uriah to the front line, etc. As I said, I believe David was forgiven of everything but the shedding of innocent blood which will not prevent his salvation, but will affect the quality of his “salvation.”

    If our “character” is at all important in our eternal destiny, an arbitrary cut off line to heaven or hell, based upon who “says” they believe in Jesus Christ or even “thinks or believes” they do, or “trusts” as far as their thoughts will allow them, where all receive alike on either side of the line, makes little sense to me.

    Thus when Jesus talks about how there are many mansions in heaven and Paul talks about the types of glory, I know there is more to it than is written in the Bible. So that leads us back to my main point: if God’s authority were here on the earth, who wouldn’t want to know about it? There are a million reasons to think or reason that it might NOT be here, and no one is asking anyone to take his or her word for it; but when you have a Restoration that millions of people whose “fruits,” Jesus’ litmus test, most claim are also good upon examining their lives collectively and individually, claiming this event to have been authentic–occuring through a vision of the Father and the Son, angelic visits, a visit with Deity, miracles, and scripture–not just one volume, but three whereby one can “prove” it for himself, but only with God’s help, isn’t it worth at least taking a look? And not just a look at the books that could possibly be inspired by Satan or those he has misled (and he would surely do all within his power to prevent anyone from taking a serious look. It’s always easier to believe in dead prophets, rather than living ones, as Jesus showed us in the Bible.)

    Mike, you say,”…we utilize the entire council of scripture which is fully and completely adequate. With nothing added but the blessed Holy Spirit who bears witness in our hearts.”

    It is very natural for Christians, like myself and my family as Presbyterians, who had or have the Bible, to–through generations of time–come up with explanations for scriptures that seem to conflict or are mysterious in some way, or “surely” couldn’t be taken literally, especially if it conflicts with what one has been taught all of his or her life and for generations. It is even possible to study the whole Bible and form “cases” to justify one’s position. Still, many answers to “hard” questions that have plagued Christians for centuries still remain “explanations of men instead of revelation from God. The following are some age-old and not so age- old questions. They are not geared toward you but toward all mankind:

    There are cases built about things like homosexuality being okay, even for ministers because they are children of God too, that God the Father and Jesus are one being or different manifestations of one being, that God doesn’t “require” us to obey him in order to bless us abundantly and receive His greatest blessing, that we are not saved by “faith” and “grace” alone, that we are even without faithFULness, that the “third” heaven may include the skies or layers of sky as the first two, that baptism is not required but is nice if one wishes to show commitment, that grace is “easy”–once saved, always saved, and if you don’t, well, you weren’t “saved” to begin with, that the priesthood is for women and anyone else who believes, that only men can hold the priesthood, that God created evil or Satan, that God DIDN’T create evil or Satan, that women should stay home with their babies, that they should obey their husbands–even when they are not leading righteously, that men and women are predestined to salvation, that they are not predestined to salvation, slavery is justified by scriptures which say to obey your masters because they get their authority from God, slavery is NOT justified, there will be a “rapture,” there will not be a “rapture,” the Adam and Eve story is literal, it is NOT literal –just think of the arguments of the ages, all by Christians). People have built cases including scripture, even from the “entire” body of the Bible, based upon whatever they choose or are taught to believe, but they often still remain the explanations” of man, based upon the ideas of man supported by scripture instead of by God’s direct revelation through living prophets.

    Who, in all generations, has not at some point felt the need for God’s authoritative voice on theses issues since the cannon of scripture was closed? The Christian Fathers certainly did from my studies. The only question is, could Joseph Smith’s revelation possibly be true? And if one thinks he can find the answer to that question without reading the revelations themselves and asking God, then…
    … where is the fearlessness in our testimonies of Chirst, even if it one thinks there is a contradiction with his take on the works issue? Terminology is difficult at best, but the Holy Ghost cuts through all communication difficulties.
    Where is the “freedom” that God has said we have in our precious Jesus and the hope we have within our hearts?
    Where is our show of faith? Faith in the Bible? What about faith in the Bible’s admonition to “prove all things; hold fast to that which is good?” What about faith in the Bible’s instruction to “ask of God who giveth liberally and upbraideth not?”
    What about faith in the author of the Bible who spoke through prophets once, said he would never do anything unless he revealed it “through his servants the prophets,” and has promised us a “restitution of ALL things in the latter days”? (Could that include His church, his prophets? his doctrine in its purity?)

    About Hebrews 6:4-6: Since I strongly disagreed with your conclusion supposedly resulting from “proper use of all the Bible,” I left it alone to avoid what I felt was a mixing of apples and oranges in view of the coulple of paragraphs you wrote referring to other “parallels.” These verses were speaking of a “once enlightened” individual who has tasted of the “heavenly gift” (to my reading of all the Bible, I would think that was a conversion which involved, baptism, salvation from his sins up to that point, and receiving the testimony of Christ and thus the hope and promise of exaltation through the sure witness of the Holy Ghost. He has also received personal revelations for his life as a “partaker” of the Holy Ghost. I have experienced all of these things myself, and so there is nothing that prevents me from embracing these verses at face value.I have tasted the good word of God, which leaves me without excuse for willfully sinning, and the Holy Ghost, if I use this gift properly, continues to take away my desire to sin willfully, and if I do, I repent; I have also felt and been blessed by the “powers of the world to come” through priesthood blessings and my own private miracles.

    I have also known women who were unequally yoked and whose husbands attended church for a time but never received the gifts of the Spirit and testimony of Christ they needed, nor took trouble in obeying the commandments to the best of their knowledge. (This could be similar to the elder brother of the prodigal son if you choose to assume that he was like that.) One fellow I knew eventually left his wife and daughters (though he has been a better father since then that he ever was before). Was he “saved” or “converted” before? Maybe saved from his former life and sins, but not converted enough to obey the promptings of the Spirit conscientiously nor to study his scriptures often and let the Spirit and testimony of the gospel strengthen within him and bless him with charity and love for the Savior and his wife. BUT, he didn’t qualify for application to Hebrew 6:4-6 in any way.

    Verse 6 says, If they shall “fall away…” Obviously, you cannot fall unless you used to be on elevated ground (how do you get on elevated ground? Through knowledge of God that you truly understand and hopefully live by), and the individual would not be accused of “crucifying to himself the Son of God afresh, and putting him to an open shame” unless he had had a “testimony of Jesus” and then turned his back on it. This is much more serious than the man who comes and sits with his converted wife every Sunday but is never spiritually converted enough to partake of the full blessings the gospel and Church and scripture offer here on earth. He has the chance to repent until he dies, and he will be forgiven of it should he do it. It is only blasphemy against the Holy Ghost that we cannot repent of. The individual in Hebrews “cannot be renewed again unto repentance.” Again, it is only a particular definition of “salvation” as “getting saved” as a one-time, unalterable event that keeps this from being self-evident. One becomes obligated to come up with a way to explain it in context of this definition of salvation.

    Gotta go!

    Amanda

  87. Amanda said

    Mike,

    In finishing my thoughts and responses, I didn’t mean to let any of your points go unresponded to; but by now you may notice that one of the reasons I SOMETIMES do is because it takes so doggone long and so much space to do justice to any subject when using a even a few scripture verses, especially when your intent is not to know and understand what I really believe, not to gain mutual understanding of how two Christian churches can disagree amicably and understandably about different interpretations of the same biblical verses yet remain Christians, but simply to dig in your heels and “prove” that my interpretation is wrong. I understand that you are concerned about my salvation (I choose to leave yours to God after I have stated what I understand clearly so that you can take advantage of the free gifts He has given us all THROUGH GRACE in these latter days–if you wish to.)

    Even though we both enjoy delving into the scriptures and stating what we believe, it doesn’t necessarily justify taking time from more important things –like my family and using my God-given gifts productively to help others more receptive who may be seeking truth. (You can and perhaps should say the same thing.) I am to “warn” my neighbors in “meekness and love,” believe it or not, not “brow-beat” them.

    You quoted Hebrews 8:10-13

    “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.”

    I have God’s laws written in my heart, and the words of truth contain the spirit which giveth life. That’s why I want to obey and am the least bit successful at obeying them. The Spirit calls those words to my mind when I need them, and I have a choice as to whether or not I obey. I’d like to think I often do, but I know there are times I ignore the promptings or choose not to. Do I question my “salvation” if I should forget or disobey or just not stop to think about those laws that God put in my heart? No, because He has also given me the gift of repentance. I can express godly sorrow as He has asked me to and repent, starting on a clean, blank page the next day, and I remember how good He has been to me and the love I have for Him, what He has done for me, and His hand in my life.

    Back to the above lines you quoted:
    And how will Jesus “be a God to them”?

    It’s by guiding them and giving them words of instruction for their temporal and spiritual salvation which He expects them to do their best out of love and devotion to obey. If you go back to verse 9, he says in regard to the old covenant with Israel, “…in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant (ceased to obey), and I REGARDED THEM NOT, saith the Lord.” Do you believe that just because the new covenant is in our hearts, He sounds here like He will “regard” US if we continue not in the new and everlasting covenant? Doesn’t sound like the God of the Bible to me.

    It continues…later…
    “because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
    For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”

    Of course He doesn’t need to say, “but if they willfully turn against me and sin, they will lose their promise.” He has already taught them this through what happened to Israel, His chosen people. We have more freedom in the new covenant, but we have accountability too. He will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and remember our sins no more (the old ones, and the new ones AS we live in a state of needful repentance.)I’ll bet you’ve heard the saying, “Jesus came to save us FROM our sins, not IN them.”

    In latter day scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 38:14, He said unto the Church regarding this prinicple, “…and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily, some of you are guilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your weakness. Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours.”

    Remember that Paul was writing to members, or saints, of the churches that already had been taught the fulness of the gospel but didn’t have the complete Bible that we have, and none of the New Testament with them to research. THAT’S why you don’t see the principles I have clearly stated in a row–reception of Christ through repentance, baptism by one with authority, reception of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and enduring to the end–laid out consecutively every time he addresses a gospel concept. Living prophets can do that in person, but when writing specific letters on specific topics, Paul, like me, couldn’t afford the time and effort to go back to square one, to the basics every time he addressed an audience or a group of sainsts. And that’s why I have to read the whole body of the Bible to put it all together without ignoring key verses and clear instructions along the way.

    You go on:
    Just like Peter said; “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2Peter 1:3 Our knowledge of Him is gained through the Holy Scripture.”

    According to verse 4, it is the “exceeding great and precious promises by which we can be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”, but as I see it, this cannot be done without following the saving words of Christ. “Go and sin no more,” he told the adluteress. If she sins again, will she “escape the corruption of the word through lust?” Does he not expect her to repent if ever she goofs again? You’re right that we mostly gain knowledge of God through the scriptures, but we have the mind and will of Christ through the Holy Ghost (I assume you believe that scripture too), and again, those saints did not have the complete Bible you have. Does that mean they didn’t know Jesus? It doesn’t because they had living witness to help instruct them in the words of Jesus and what they meant. As I pointed out, Peter also instructed the saints in 2 Peter to give all “diligence” by adding to their faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge (it is obedient to read the scriptures); and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness chariy, all gifts of the Spirit given FREELY to us THROUGH our diligence in seeking them and in striving to BE virtuous, temperant, etc. Peter says if we have THESE things in us, these attributes, WE WILL NEITHER BE BARREN NOR UNFRUITFUL IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRSIT. So it isn’t just by the written word that we gain this knowledge of God if one reads and believes the book of Hebrews and the rest of the Bible.

    In closing, in Alma in the Book of Mormon, Ammon “glories” in the blessings bestowed by God to him and his companion who were missionaries to the Lamanites, a wild and rebellious people. He rejoices that they were able to bring them to behold the marvelous light of God.” (It was a dangerous mission.)He went on about about how they are in the hands of the Lord and are his and will be “raised up ” at the last day. Then he said, “For if we had not come up out of the land of …, these our dearly beloved brathren, who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God.”
    Aaron rebuked him, saying “I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting.”
    But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore, I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?…Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yead, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord?…Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo; yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people who are a branch of the tree of Israel, that has been lost from its body in a strange land….Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thansgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever, Amen.”

    Mike, this is any Mormon’s attitude toward “works” and toward “obedience”. I rejoice in the commandments God has loved me enough to give me because they have given me life abundant–they, in addition to the knowledge I have that He lives and has died for my sins. I love helping others spiritually and physically because He loves me and because He loves them. I would never boast of myself in the things that I do or in my power to do them, only in the power He gives me to do and overcome and escape evil in His name. Why does He give me this power through his word which is life? BECAUSE HE LOVES ME.

    I gave you this old recounting of God’s dealing with His ancient saints in the Americas, not because “it’s all about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon which (we) elevate above the Bible,” but BECAUSE THE LORD’S GOSPEL IS THE SAME IN THE STICK OF JOSEPH, OR EPHRAIM, AND THE STICK OF JUDAH; THE PRINCIPLES ARE THE SAME. AND BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK FOR YOURSELF AND SO YOU HAVE TO GUESS AND ASSUME WHAT WE BELIEVE BASED UPON “DESIGNING” PEOPLE WHO MAKE A LIVING FROM MISREPRESENTING OUR BELIEFS–WHETHER INTENTIONAL OR NOT. RESULTS? CONTENTION AND ILL WILL AND IGNORANCE THAT LEADS TO BLIND PREJUDICE.

  88. Brad said

    Thus when Jesus talks about how there are many mansions in heaven and Paul talks about the types of glory, I know there is more to it than is written in the Bible.

    Paul never talks about types of glory – he talks about the 3rd heaven, which if you would TRULY study your Bible for all it’s worth (as Hank Hanegraaf would say), you would know that the heavens were referred to as the first heaven (sky), second heaven (space) and 3rd heaven (God’s dwelling place). Do some simple historical studies, read some NON-Mormon literature, and you’ll see that is the common consensus. But then again, I’ve told you all this before, haven’t I? Mike’s right when he speaks of proper hermeneutics, Amanda, and you don’t use them.

    but when you have a Restoration that millions of people whose “fruits,” Jesus’ litmus test, most claim are also good upon examining their lives collectively and individually, claiming this event to have been authentic–occuring through a vision of the Father and the Son, angelic visits, a visit with Deity, miracles, and scripture–not just one volume, but three whereby one can “prove” it for himself, but only with God’s help, isn’t it worth at least taking a look?

    In a word, no.

    especially when your intent is not to know and understand what I really believe, not to gain mutual understanding of how two Christian churches can disagree amicably and understandably about different interpretations of the same biblical verses yet remain Christians, but simply to dig in your heels and “prove” that my interpretation is wrong.

    But we already know it, Amanda. Your beliefs aren’t any different than the Mormon church in general, and it’s easy to figure those out (there’s the different websites touted so often, remember?). But just to be clear – the Mormon church is NOT Christian. We DO disagree with you, and we DO have different interpretations, yet only one of us is Christian. The Mormon thinking has been shown to be wrong, numerous times, by numerous people, the world over, but you (and other Mormons) choose to ignore it. It’s your eternal life Amanda – it’s your choice, and you’ve made it.

    I have already addressed the issue that our term for salvation is much more inclusive than yours. Mormons KNOW from whence their salvation comes and the ATONEMENT stands alone and complete and all-comprehensive as the vehicle through which we gain salvation. As for exaltation, which we believe is eternal life in the highest degree of glory, God’s presence, and incorporates our being “joint-heirs with Christ,” as the NT says, actions do count–not tit for tat, obviously, and it is what we BECOME from our actions that counts.

    Yes, your term for salvation is much different than ours. You essentially believe that there’s something beyond salvation that you can achieve which is better than just regular old salvation – and you must achieve it through works, or you won’t experience the fullness of God. How many works, Amanda? How good must you be? How much good can you possibly do, that a perfect and holy God would even allow you into His presence? Can you possibly be THAT good, have done THAT MUCH good works, that God would even let an imperfect person into His presence? Here’s what the Bible says about that – NO. It is ONLY through our faith in Jesus, through His sacrifice on the cross which paid the debt for our sins, that we can hope to be with God forever. There is nothing else we have to do – there is nothing else we CAN do – to earn it.

    I gave you this old recounting of God’s dealing with His ancient saints in the Americas, not because “it’s all about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon which (we) elevate above the Bible,” but BECAUSE THE LORD’S GOSPEL IS THE SAME IN THE STICK OF JOSEPH, OR EPHRAIM, AND THE STICK OF JUDAH; THE PRINCIPLES ARE THE SAME. AND BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK FOR YOURSELF AND SO YOU HAVE TO GUESS AND ASSUME WHAT WE BELIEVE BASED UPON “DESIGNING” PEOPLE WHO MAKE A LIVING FROM MISREPRESENTING OUR BELIEFS–WHETHER INTENTIONAL OR NOT. RESULTS? CONTENTION AND ILL WILL AND IGNORANCE THAT LEADS TO BLIND PREJUDICE.

    Seriously. Are you really trying to use the Ezekiel 37 “sticks” argument again? That argument used by Mormons is beyond ridiculous. It is so contextually poor (forget that the Bible itself EXPLAINS what it meant just a few verses later, though Mormons choose to ignore that and instead insert their own meanings), and so obviously bent on trying to insert a BOM reference into the Bible, that ONLY a Mormon could possibly come to that conclusion. Amanda, you truly make yourself, and your religion, look absolutely silly by using this reference. I’ve discussed it with you before, and it’s as ridiculous now as it was then.

    The principles aren’t the same. We don’t have to assume what you believe. Nobody makes a living MIS-representing what you believe. There’s no blind prejudice.

    Christians (and especially those of you with kids) – do you see the importance of making sure you teach your kids about the basics of the Bible? Of teaching them about what other religions believe, and why those beliefs DON’T conform to the Bible? Of making sure that you and your family are squarely grounded in Biblical principles? Of making sure you can properly defend what you believe, and recognize false beliefs (like Mormonism) when you encounter them? It’s vitally important, b/c Satan is always seeking to deceive, and he has with so many already, as you can see from all the comments on this topic.

    As a Christian discussing this, I truly do feel sorry for you. I feel sorry that where you think your eternity lies, is not truly where it does, and that you don’t even understand it, and that there’s little I can do about it other than explain the error and pray for you. And I feel further sorry b/c you think I and other Christians are actually the ones missing out. It truly, truly is sad, eternally sad.

  89. Anonymous said

    To F. L. A.,

    F. L. A. Says:
    January 9, 2008 at 4:46 pm
    THANKYOU, AMANDA FOR ACKNOWLEDGING MY REPLY, UNLIKE BRAD. HOWEVER, YOU AGREED WITH A NON-CHRISTIAN MONSTER, AND SADLY THIS WILL ONLY BE USED BY OTHERS HERE TO FURTHER DISCREDIT YOUR THEOLOGICAL VIEWS. LIKE WHEN YOU DESCRIBED JOHN AS THE MOST CHRISTIAN-LIKE PERSON IN THAT PAST MORMON SITE, REMEMBER?
    TO SOME HERE, YOU ARE SEEN AS “DIGGING YOUR GRAVE”,AND IT JUST GOT A LITTLE DEEPER.
    ALTHOUGH I DO NOT AGREE WITH ALL THAT YOU SAY, I, ALL OF US WITHIN OUR HOUSHOLD, LIKE YOU[BRAD TOO, BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY].FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH, WE WANTED YOU TO FEEL AS IF YOU YOU WEREN’T INTIRELY ALONE HERE.
    FARE YOU WELL, AMANDA.

    Nice to hear from you!

    Kind words are always welcome–and Christlike at that! And they don’t come from a “monster.”
    Yes, I disagree with this statement of yours because I read in my Bible that God is the Godof the spirits of all flesh and that when we die, our spirits return to God who gave them. (Num. 16:22, Eccl. 12:7) The way I see it, if you were truly a “NON-CHRISTIAN MONSTER” you wouldn’t be checking out this website or carfe enough to do and say something true as well as nice. So….Rock on!

    As for my feeling alone…I appreciate any moral support, of course, but I am never alone. The Sirit of God sees to that–especially when I am representing His Work in any way! And I have great examples in the Word of telling the truth and letting the chips fall where they may! If I am buried, I will be resurrected!

    Yours in truth,

    Amanda

  90. Mike Sears said

    Sorry but I have been able to carve any time for this. I do want to respond as there are some pretty critical points to explore. I have been slammed with some deadlines. Hopefully I can take the time this weekend. Although it sounds as though you may not be interested in what I have to offer (Amanda), but I will respond nonetheless for it really is eternally significant!

  91. Mandy said

    To F L A,

    Hello and thanks! Moral support in any way, shape, or form on this blog is always welcome, but I take issue with one falsehood you threw out there: you are NOT a monster. If you were a non-Christian monster, you would not be interested in checking out this blog regularly OR in saying anything true–which you did, Or in doing something nice like providing moral support for someone you disagree with but who may be outnumbered.

    Our God, according to the Bible, is the God of the spirits of ALL flesh, and when we die, our spirit “returns unto God who gave it.” You, like myself, were born with the “light of Christ” ( our consciences) and that’s a little jump start on recognizing truth. Thus, we are never really alone, even from the beginning. In addition, I have felt the gift of the Holy Ghost, a constant companion, all along as I call upon God for inspiration and search His words. (That doesn’t mean I say everything right, so if it doesn’t come across well, that’s the fault of a human being–either the writer of the words who didn’t speak clearly or fully enough or the interpreter not understanding what the writer meant.)

    You said you don’t agree with everything I say. When I was in college, I wouldn’t have either–not until my conversion by the Spirit upon taking God’s words seriously. (I had been raised on the Bible, but I didn’t consult it for truth nearly often enough. Then, when I was told I couldn’t receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon unless I prayed and studied my Bible too, I wanted to know so badly that I was willing to trust in God under pressure from others, for the first time. I trusted that He would let me know when I should exit this new experience. He didn’t leave me hanging! He answered my prayer and built upon the seed he had planted in my heart. (If we DON’T consult Him, we are much more likely to be drawn away by our own devices and those of the world.)

    I’m just glad that we don’t have to be “identical twins” to be friends, and I hope you listen to that good feeling within you often! It’s alive and well. Never squelch it!
    Fare you well, too!
    Amanda

  92. F. L. A. said

    THANK YOU AMANDA. I AM A MONSTER..IF WE WERE TO MEET YOU WOULD AGREE. IT MATTERS NOT, I GUESS.
    BUT EVEN A MONSTER CAN BE “GOOD”, IF IT CHOOSES TO BE.
    I BLAME IT ALL ON JOHN. HE INFECTED ME WITH MORALS AND A HEART.

  93. Mike Sears said

    Good advice from Greg Laurie this morning:

    The Real Thing

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    — Colossians 3:16

    “You must spend a lot of time handling counterfeit money to know what it looks like,” Ruth Bell Graham once said to a man who was in charge of identifying counterfeit money for Scotland Yard.

    “No,” he replied. “We never touch the stuff. All day long, we just handle the real thing: genuine currency. And when a counterfeit bill comes our way—we can quickly detect it.”

    As a Christian, you could go nuts trying to keep up with the latest heresies and counterfeit teachings people spread in this world. But if you familiarize yourself with the Word of God and become conversant with it, you will immediately know counterfeit teachings. You will hear someone say something and think, This isn’t right. You will know what God’s Word truly says and what it doesn’t say, because God will give you spiritual discernment.

    Spend time today studying the real thing. If ever there was a time we need spiritual discernment, the time is now. In the words of the apostle Paul, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

  94. Amanda said

    Mike,

    I agree with this counsel 100%, just as you do. Was this your “resonse” to all that I sent you, or is there more to come? I want to address the whole subject of hermeneutics, with which I have no problem, and the issue of salvation and why our paths can never meet on this subject if you’re through for the moment. It must be said before this conversation ends.

    Amanda

  95. Amanda said

    F.L. A.,

    You’re response was “spot on” as some (who probably should not be quoted) like to say. As long as you acknowledge that you act by choice and that you are capable of being influenced by forces other than those you yourself generate (like that of John, for instance), there is hope that our paths will eventually meet. And just for the record, there is no vista greater for seeing how small the world REALLY is, than that “pinnacle of perception” within the LDS Church! (That “pinnacle” part sounds offensive, I know, but I couldn’t resist the alliteration. 🙂 Please implement sense of humor.) We DON’T have a corner on “perception,” but we do feel that our “blueprint” of God’s plan of happiness is correct, comprehensive, and crystal clear.

    I hope we do meet someday! (And I hope I haven’t blown YOUR image. Guilt by association, you know, to which you aluded. 🙂 (smile)

    Amanda

  96. Amanda said

    Mike,

    I am interested in what you will say but foremost interested in exactly where, in your interpretation of the gospel, all the scriptures indicating the importance and essential nature of works fit as regarding salvation. Your definition of salvation would be nice too.

    In a nutshell, this is my take on works regarding salvation:

    When I picked up one end of the stick of the saving faith which leads to eternal salvation, the part of the stick in between faith and eternal salvation with God consists of my life (and works, which are recorded in heaven). The stick cannot be broken (I am saved) unless I choose to do the works of the “flesh” as Paul calls them, instead of the “works of righteousness” to which he says “we are created.” If I should make that choice and NOT REPENT, the stick is broken, as is my faith.

    If it’s overwhelming to address all the other stuff, just take this approach. I know we’re all busy. I just had an easy day when I wrote so much. Let’s lay out clearly your position and why I am not considered “Christian” for mine, even though I used the words of the “God of the Bible”. Use any approach you like.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  97. Mike Sears said

    Amanda
    I am in the construction business and I have a big project bidding on Tuesday. I thought I would have time to respond by this weekend but based upon all of the interuptions I have encountered all this week, I will be pressed to even respond by then. The message above was a simple cut and paste, no, it was not my response. I promise that I will respond but I may not finish my response until mid to late next week. I do want to provide a thorough expository study using proper and complete hermeneutics. I look forward to doing so and wish I could drop everything I am doing now and dive into it because it is very fulfilling to do so. Yet I am called to my primary ministry which is being the best construction manager I can be. Colossians 3:23 Blessings!! Mike

  98. Mike Sears said

    BTW Amanda, I am not judging whether or not you trust Christ as your savior. That is between you and Him, my response will address how the Bibles describes salvation and the dynamics of how it applies to those who trust Him and our response. Sorry for the delay. Mike

  99. Amanda said

    Mike,

    No problem whatsoever. I can work on the family history I have undertaken and catch up on many other demands for my time.

    Plan on a rather lengthy resonse from me too. I feel the Bible makes an unalterable case for my belief on salvation and works too. Should be interesting. I’m glad to have the opportunity to tackle one subject (that isn’t sensational and just for the sake of controversy), and I’m glad to have a person who seems to take the subject seriously enough to employ the rules of common courtesy and respect that all persons of all faiths deserve.

    I hope that our work reflects an ability to listen and respond on both sides.

    Thanks, and have a great Sabbath too! Good luck on your project.

    Amanda

  100. F. L. A. said

    THANK YOU, AMANDA. YOUR RESPONSE TUGGED AT THE STRINGS OF WHATEVER I MIGHT HAVE THAT SERVES AS A HEART.
    AND ALTHOUGH I WOULD LOVE TO ONE DAY STAND BEFORE YOU WITH MY ETERNAL GRIN AND EMBRACE YOUR LITTLE HAND IN FRIENDSHIP, AND YOU NOT BE AFRAID,……IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.MUST NEVER HAPPEN.
    PERHAPS IN THE FUTURE YOU CAN MEET JOHN ON MY BEHALF.HE HAS THIS FANTASY OF ONE DAY MOVING UP THERE IN YOUR STATE, OR TENNESSEE, AND HAS PLANS FOR A VACATION TRIP UP THERE THIS YEAR.
    BUT YOU WILL NEVER SEE ME IN PERSON. BE CONTENTED WITH THIS RELATIONSHIP THAT WE HAVE HERE.
    IT IS THE WAY IT HAS TO BE.

  101. Amanda said

    I’ll take your word for it, FLA, but in my book(s), “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Remember that he loves you and has plans for you too!

    Take care!

    Amanda

  102. Brad said

    I feel the Bible makes an unalterable case for my belief on salvation and works too. Should be interesting.

    Amanda, you’re free to ignore me, and that’s fine. I don’t write to try to convince you anymore, b/c you have already been given all the evidence you need. I write to make sure OTHERS don’t follow you into error. Your “unalterable case” for belief in works as essential to salvation has been torn down time and time again, by me and others, Amanda. It doesn’t hold water when viewed in the light of the Bible. Your interpretations are dead wrong, and further, you have been shown that. Read Hebrews 6:4-6, Amanda. You are currently fitting that passage very well, and I know you don’t want to be. But with all the light and evidence you have been exposed to, which you refuse to listen to, you are doing exactly what that passage says, and crucifying Christ all over again.

    I’m glad to have the opportunity to tackle one subject (that isn’t sensational and just for the sake of controversy), and I’m glad to have a person who seems to take the subject seriously enough to employ the rules of common courtesy and respect that all persons of all faiths deserve.

    Amanda, you’ve ALWAYS had someone who takes the subject seriously. As I’ve said to you many times, I respect your (and others) right to believe what you wish, but I don’t respect the beliefs themselves, b/c they are completely wrong. As self-righteous and kind as you wish to come off to others, all readers have to do is go back and read some of your writings, and they will see that hasn’t always been the case. You’ve been no more nice than anyone on here, Amanda, and you know it.

    I hope that our work reflects an ability to listen and respond on both sides.

    Listen and respond is what we’ve been doing these past few months. I truly hope you don’t think Mike Sears agrees with you, Amanda, b/c he doesn’t. He may not disagree with it as vehemently as I do, but he doesn’t believe you anymore than I do, either. You truly need to realize that.

    To others, please make sure you truly understand where Amanda, and other Mormons, are coming from, and the complete and eternally consequential error of their beliefs. They do not follow the salvation plan as it is so clearly laid out in the Bible, and they seek to make you think that their way is correct, b/c they have received new revelation(s) from God. People, test it all in light of the Bible, and see if it TRULY holds up to what Scripture says. Look at all the mountanins of evidence AGAINST Mormonism, and then ask yourself, is this truly the way? After reading the Bible and studying it, you will find that it is not. So be careful.

  103. Amanda said

    An aside to Brad, and a non-theological one at that:

    “As self-righteous and kind as you wish to come off to others, all readers have to do is go back and read some of your writings, and they will see that hasn’t always been the case. You’ve been no more nice than anyone on here, Amanda, and you know it.” (Brad)

    I’ve missed you too, Brad. 🙂

    The difference between us is that I know that I’m better than that as a child of God. When I get sucked into the “natural man” tendency to “repond in kind”–and not a very “kind,” kind, I realize that I have fallen short of what God and the Holy Ghost, my companion, expect of me. In order to show my sincere desire to repent of that behavior, I put fences around myself to help prevent that from happening again. If my self control isn’t quite there yet, I can avoid the places and people that bring that ungodly quality out in me.

    I am writing Mike NOT because I think he is weak or shakeable in his beliefs but because he appears rational enough to engage in responding with his mind and heart, giving an honest response to a discussion of biblical inport. Accusations and close-mindedness do not merit further discussion of religious beliefs, but a thinking dialogue can be of some merit. I am willing to deal only with biblical input to show that my beliefs on the subject of salvation and obedience are entirely biblical, no matter what the Evangelical interpretation is and no matter what one may THINK the Mormon interpretation is. Your attitude in print was a total turnoff to any discussion whatsoever.)

  104. Brad said

    I am writing Mike NOT because I think he is weak or shakeable in his beliefs but because he appears rational enough to engage in responding with his mind and heart, giving an honest response to a discussion of biblical inport.

    Readers, I would ask of you to go back and see if the thoughts and beliefs I expressed “appear rational”, on this and other TTL Mormon topics. I HAVE responded with mind and heart, and have given honest (and frankly truthful) responses to your questions. You may not have LIKED what you heard, but it WAS rational, and it WAS true.

    Accusations and close-mindedness do not merit further discussion of religious beliefs, but a thinking dialogue can be of some merit.

    If the accusations are true, Amanda, they then become statements of fact. What I have given readers on here are statements of fact about Mormon beliefs. They’re all true – Mormonism isn’t so complicated that it takes a rocket scientist to decipher the beliefs. It’s pretty simple. What I want the readers to know is that it’s also MAN-MADE, and not of God. This can be seen when comparing the BOM to the Bible, when studying the path to salvation between the 2 religions, when reading of what the prophets have spoken about, etc… That’s not hard, either.

    I am willing to deal only with biblical input to show that my beliefs on the subject of salvation and obedience are entirely biblical, no matter what the Evangelical interpretation is and no matter what one may THINK the Mormon interpretation is. Your attitude in print was a total turnoff to any discussion whatsoever.)

    Bottom line, Amanda, is that you don’t like having someone say that the Mormon church is a sham, and is leading people away from Christ, as it has led you away from Christ. But I won’t back down from it, b/c it’s true. You have received MUCH Biblical input, both to back my beliefs and to counter yours, so your argument about that is rendered invalid. Your beliefs, and the general beliefs of the Mormon church, concerning salvation and obedience are NOT, repeat NOT, entirely Biblical. The Mormon interpretations leave gaping holes that cannot be explained, and LDS thinking simply cannot be reconciled with the Bible’s teachings, despite what you have read and heard in your church.

    You’ve been grossly deceived, Amanda, and you continue to be deceived. If you TRULY were wanting Biblical evidence, then you should have been convinced of your error long ago. Problem is, you don’t, b/c you’ve been given enough of it to see that Mormonism is wrong. Question is – what else do you need? For you to turn from Mormonism, you would have to admit that what you have believed for all these years has been dead wrong, that those you know in the Mormon church are also dead wrong, and I don’t believe you want to do that. But that’s something you have to live with, Amanda.

  105. Amanda said

    While I’m waiting for Mike’s input about “What the Bible says about salvation, grace and works, I must tell you, Brad, that I still marvel that one who has stated and “proved” in print little of reality about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, its people, and The Book of Mormon (and whose knowledge comes strictly from resources of known “anti-Mormon” intent) can sound so SURE of ANY of the irresponsible statements you made in your last post. (Have you ever even attended a church service in the LDS Church?) Surely you have learned, in your life as member of a Christian church, that you are actually accountable to God for what you say. The fact that you have been told that you stand in grose (and gross) error by sincere, devoted, experienced “Mormons”–and more than just one– doesn’t even make you stop and ponder.

    If you can be so wrong about my religion, how can you possibly say that you have given anyone, and especially ME, “enough” of God’s plan of salvation to show them they are wrong about anything? Your horrendous attitude and negative approach toward discussing my faith can’t help but paint the gospel of Jesus Christ that you hope one day to teach people of non-Christian faiths with the same broad brush of distaste–the opposite of the effect you surely want to leave in people’s mouths. I can’t remember anything you’ve said in all of our correspondence that is worth holding on to–and certainly nothing of truth that I didn’t already understand from my study of the Bible and listening to the Spirit.

    It’s not too late for you, Brad, to turn to the source of all truth for your knowledge about my faith or any other. Just because you state or write something YOU hold fast to in your mind and heart doesn’t make it a “fact” or “true.”

    And that’s all I plan to say to you, my friend; and believe me, only a friend WOULD tell you the things I’ve told you–for your own benefit.

  106. Mike Sears said

    I’m baaaaaack! Although still scrambling and playing catch up, I started reading back through our previous posts and should have some response time this weekend. Man Friday got here quick this week! I have had enormous amounts of wonderful grace filled thoughts running thorugh my head/heart this past week. I hope I can them assimilate them verbally!

    G od’s
    R ighteousness
    A t
    C hrist’s
    E xpense

    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

    WooHoo!!

  107. Brad said

    While I’m waiting for Mike’s input about “What the Bible says about salvation, grace and works, I must tell you, Brad, that I still marvel that one who has stated and “proved” in print little of reality about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, its people, and The Book of Mormon (and whose knowledge comes strictly from resources of known “anti-Mormon” intent) can sound so SURE of ANY of the irresponsible statements you made in your last post.

    Seriously, Amanda, I know your sincere in your beliefs. I know you truly believe what you believe. You have got to realize though, that the arguments you (and most other Mormons) always use when confronted by Christians who know better really get old, b/c they just don’t make sense. You say that “little reality” has been shown about the LDS church, its people and the BOM. Amanda, I can back up what I have said about the Mormon church and the BOM from Mormon sources – heck, I can go to Mormon.org or lds.org and support the information from there! You make it seem like it’s all mysterious, and that “non-Mormons” or “anti’s” can’t know it, but it’s all their on your own church’s websites, for the whole world to see!

    And you say my knowledge comes “strictly” from sources of “anti-Mormon” intent. Boy, I never truly can help chuckling when I hear the word “anti-Mormon” – it’s so defensive and “woe is me” in nature. Just for clarification, since you evidently know ALL my sources (since the word “strictly” is all-encompassing), what are these obvious anti-Mormon sources you speak of? Care to elaborate about your knowledge in that area, since you state you know for sure?

    (Have you ever even attended a church service in the LDS Church?)

    No, I worship God on Sundays and Wednesdays, and daily in devotions, and that isn’t found in ANY LDS church, unfortunately.

    Surely you have learned, in your life as member of a Christian church, that you are actually accountable to God for what you say. The fact that you have been told that you stand in grose (and gross) error by sincere, devoted, experienced “Mormons”–and more than just one– doesn’t even make you stop and ponder.

    Absolutely accountable. I know that. In fact, as a teacher, I am held doubly accountable, b/c I am not only responsible for what I myself believe, but for what I cause others to believe, as well. So do you really think that if I believe what I believe about God, that I wouldn’t want to make sure I’m absolutely right about what I teach, knowing the accountability I have before God?

    What about you, Amanda? Are you not accountable as well? What about the fact that YOU have been told YOU stand in gross error by sincere, devoted, experienced Christians – and more than just one – doesn’t it even make YOU stop and ponder? Do you see why when you try to make arguments like that, it doesn’t work, b/c they can get turned right back around on you, and they nullify each other? That’s why we must go to the evidence for what we believe, which is what I have been speaking of. And Amanda, if you truly look back over everything I, and others, have said, at the evidence for the beliefs I have, and the lack of evidence (and evidence against) the Mormon beliefs, it just truly baffles us how that evidence is ignored, and how you remain in your beliefs.

    If you can be so wrong about my religion, how can you possibly say that you have given anyone, and especially ME, “enough” of God’s plan of salvation to show them they are wrong about anything?

    See my above statement on trying to use this argument – it just doesn’t work, b/c it assumes that you’re right. That is why you need to be looking at the EVIDENCE of whether you are right in your beliefs or not. And THAT is what you are ignoring.

    Your horrendous attitude and negative approach toward discussing my faith can’t help but paint the gospel of Jesus Christ that you hope one day to teach people of non-Christian faiths with the same broad brush of distaste–the opposite of the effect you surely want to leave in people’s mouths.

    The gospel – the true gospel – is offensive, Amanda. Many people reject it, b/c they don’t want to believe it, b/c often believing it means making changes in their life that they don’t wish to make. Have I said from the beginning that I disagree with Mormonism? Yes – I can’t say any different, in good conscience. However, from the beginning, I have always given you credit for at least being fervent IN your beliefs, and believing them whole-heartedly, and being diligent in studying what YOU believe. I have said that many times. It is just the BASIS of those beliefs, that I believe you are incorrect in. I am sorry you don’t agree with what I’ve said – with what the Bible alone teaches. That truly does bother me – if it didn’t, I wouldn’t continue talking, b/c I wouldn’t care whether you believed it or not. But I, personally, since I am accountable, as you say, don’t want anyone to go to hell, without me pulling at their legs at the entrance, begging them not to go there. You may not like that analogy, but that’s what I believe.

    I can’t remember anything you’ve said in all of our correspondence that is worth holding on to–and certainly nothing of truth that I didn’t already understand from my study of the Bible and listening to the Spirit.

    Then you may want to go back and re-read some of the things that have been said.

    It’s not too late for you, Brad, to turn to the source of all truth for your knowledge about my faith or any other.

    But Amanda, God has left us with His written Word regarding what He wants us to know – that is the truth we have, and what we can investigate daily, to live by. That is where my truth comes from – through reading His Word and praying to have it take affect in my life.

    Just because you state or write something YOU hold fast to in your mind and heart doesn’t make it a “fact” or “true.”

    Really? But that’s the argument you use – why is it not valid for me? See, that’s my point, which you’re missing – if it’s your word against mine, that’s a tie – so we need to go to the evidence that is there, to examine whether the beliefs are true or not. That’s what you are not looking at, and are unwilling to listen to the numerous errors that show the LDS faith is nothing more than a man-made religion. You’ve been given opportunities to share your faith, to defend your faith, to provide evidence for your faith on air – and you take none of them. That’s very telling, I believe.

    And that’s all I plan to say to you, my friend; and believe me, only a friend WOULD tell you the things I’ve told you–for your own benefit.

    Is that the 6th or 7th time you’ve said your “final word” to me?

  108. Amanda said

    About the Final word thing: I felt it was the least I could do since you continue writing me whether or not I am even reading what you say or addressing my comments to you.

    It IS a my word against yours situation, Brad, and who should one believe as for accuracy about Mormon belief: The one who has never set foot in the LDS Church, never known a real Mormon, never read the Book of Mormon, and has read the Bible only with an evangelical lens of interpretation or the real deal?

    Jesus told his opponents to search the word of God, “in which they (thought) they had salvation, and that’s all I’m telling you. Many couldn’t find evidence of Jesus in the existing scriptures of His day, just as you have not found evidence of the Restoration He has conducted in the last days.

    It’s your inaccurate “assumptions” and conclusions from what you know and think you know that are most offensive, Brad, as well as your tone. You also have much slanted information made to fit foredrawn conclusions from people like the Turners, whom you have referenced several times.

    Would “full of hate and prejudice toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints to the exclusion of real life facts and understanding of Bilbical scripture” sound better than “anti’Mormon?” It’s all the same to me. I could go back and address the inaccuracies, what purpose would such effort serve for one who has “ears that do not hear?”

    How about we BOTH wait and see what Mike has to say? Future comments should be directed toward him, not me, as a favor to any who might read this blog subject.

  109. Brad said

    Amanda, you’re so funny.

    About the Final word thing: I felt it was the least I could do since you continue writing me whether or not I am even reading what you say or addressing my comments to you.

    I know you read it – your curiousity gets the best of you, and you don’t like to let what you perceive as an injustice or inaccuracy fly by. I’m the same way, I just don’t say that I’m done, b/c I’m not, and it looks bad to repeatedly say you’re done, yet continue addressing what is said.

    It IS a my word against yours situation, Brad, and who should one believe as for accuracy about Mormon belief: The one who has never set foot in the LDS Church, never known a real Mormon, never read the Book of Mormon, and has read the Bible only with an evangelical lens of interpretation or the real deal?

    And this is what makes your argument so weak – you say I should accept your “word” for it, b/c you’re a “real” Mormon, so you should know. I can say the same thing – I’m a “real” Christian, so I should know what I’m talking about, too. Can’t you see how those 2 ideas will offset each other? Although I have never set foot in an LDS church (and don’t plan to), I have known real Mormons (many, in fact), and although I haven’t read the entire BOM, I have read some of it, and in fact own a copy. And I read the Bible, and interpret it correctly, not through a lens with foredrawn conclusions, but with a proper understanding of how to interpret it (i.e. “proper hermeneutics”, as Mike has referenced). You make it sound like you DON’T read Scripture through a Mormon lens, which is absolutely ludicrous. Take Ezekiel 37, for example. The ONLY way one could possibly interpret that Scripture to mean what Mormons think it means, is to have been told that is what the passage means by a Mormon! There is no contextual or logical basis for the conclusion (especially since the meaning is actually spelled out further in the chapter), yet Mormons cling to it, b/c they interpret that to mean what they NEED it to mean, to support their ideas. Do you see why you need to examine evidence, and not just opinion, when it comes to dealing with religion, Amanda?

    Jesus told his opponents to search the word of God, “in which they (thought) they had salvation, and that’s all I’m telling you. Many couldn’t find evidence of Jesus in the existing scriptures of His day, just as you have not found evidence of the Restoration He has conducted in the last days.

    They couldn’t find evidence of Jesus in the existing Scriptures, b/c they were blinded by their unbelief. Evidence for Jesus abounds in the OT, but the Jews of the day didn’t want to hear it, b/c the Jesus that came was not the Jesus they had hoped for, so they determined in their mind that it really wasn’t Jesus. It’s not a lot different with the Mormons. All the evidence is in the Bible alone, but if you choose to not interpret it correctly, and hold to other schools of incorrect thought, then you’re left right where the Jews of Jesus’ day were – in unbelief.

    It’s your inaccurate “assumptions” and conclusions from what you know and think you know that are most offensive, Brad, as well as your tone. You also have much slanted information made to fit foredrawn conclusions from people like the Turners, whom you have referenced several times.

    I’ve addressed tone several times. You may not like what I’m writing, but it’s the truth, and I won’t back down from it at all. There is no slanted information. You love to revert to the Turners as your argument, but name one thing I’ve specifically used as evidence that was provided solely by the Turners. Let’s discuss that, if you find it. You’re big on saying “the evidence is from anti-Mormon sources”, but not so big when it comes to ACTUALLY detailing what the supposedly bad info is. Care to elaborate (which I’ll ask for the 2nd time)?

    In other words, Amanda, put your money where your mouth is, and start making some substantive arguments with specific evidence, rather than the empty thoughts your posing here.

    Would “full of hate and prejudice toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints to the exclusion of real life facts and understanding of Bilbical scripture” sound better than “anti’Mormon?” It’s all the same to me. I could go back and address the inaccuracies, what purpose would such effort serve for one who has “ears that do not hear?”

    Would “knows the difference between truth and error of the LDS church based on real-life evidence and facts and proper interpretation of Scripture” sound better to you? I don’t mind that sentiment, b/c that’s what it is.

    Ever heard the fable about the sour grapes, Amanda? Your arguments are just like that. A lot of “I would, but it wouldn’t do any good” type arguments, which amount to nothing but a puff of smoke. Show us substance, show us that archaeology, history and language back up the BOM beyond the shadow of a doubt, as they do the Bible. Show us that Smith’s interpretations and his precious “Book of Abraham” hold up to the specter of critics who know the translations were bunk. Show us that the logical fallacies of the beliefs can be easily dismissed. Show us. Show us.

    How about we BOTH wait and see what Mike has to say? Future comments should be directed toward him, not me, as a favor to any who might read this blog subject.

    I know what Mike thinks in general, without knowing what he’ll say. I don’t have any comments for him – I don’t disagree with what he thinks about this subject!

    But I’ll say to you, and any other reader of this blog – Mormonism leads straight to hell, unfortunately, but there is still a way out if you will acknowledge the error of your beliefs and put your faith in the one true God who saves.

  110. Amanda said

    I wish I could say you were right about something you said above, Brad. I’ve only read your last three entries plus one short one to Mike. I don’t have to read them to know what you are saying and the tone in which you are saying them, and I refuse to waste my time and energy re-reading any of your negatively informed thoughts and “showing” you anything. Mike seems like an honest soul, and though we surely interpret some things differently, I am actually interested in how he presents biblical salvation. (It’s essential that all of us as Christians understand that subject properly.) He seems the type that could at least acknowledge the thought processes behind a scriptural exegesis that could lead to another biblical interpretation on a certain subject than the one he holds. I could be wrong about that, but I’m willing to share with him.(For instance, I know many, many Christians who don’t agree on the “once saved, always saved issue,” so you, Brad, can drop the facade about representing Christianity at large.) As for hermeneutics, it’s not that process I disagree with–its the person implementing it. At best, “proper hermeneutics” should end up with a presentation of scriptures on at least a few topics with several possible alternative interpretations. When one implements this exercise and ends up saying every time, “mine is the only interpretation,” he is, verily, verily, sometimes dead wrong.

  111. Mike Sears said

    Amanda
    Sorry I took so long to get back. I spent the past couple of mornings reading back through our previous correspondence to get my mind back around where we left off. I would like to start by sharing a couple of observations and then make a couple of suggestions as to how we should proceed with our study and would like to also recommend a few standards and ground rules for going forward so as to respect one another’s time and to assist in gaining an understanding of where each of us are coming from.

    Upon re-reading our correspondence it is clear to me that you have extensive knowledge of and a genuine passion for the Bible as well as a strong desire to know and serve God in a continually deeper and meaningful way. I appreciate your willingness to give honest answers to what you believe and why. That is certainly what God commands His people to do.

    I think we have determined a single doctrine on which to focus, (Salvation, how is it attained, and what are the dynamics and implications to us) and I would like to see us stick to that subject and not get sidetracked or to run down rabbit trails. I know there are several doctrines on which we differ, but I believe this is the most critical one as this is where our life with Christ actually begins and is the Cornerstone on which the rest of our faith rests. Also, please understand that until I am convinced that the BOM is correct regarding this point, using quotes from the BOM in your attempts to confirm a point is fruitless. While I am sure that the BOM CONTAINS truth (as many books do), the introduction proclaims that it is THE truth (actually even more so than the Bible). I am convinced there is only ONE book that meets that self proclamation. I suggest that we utilize the Bible solely as our reference to what God has said to us. Is that fair to you?

    Now regarding how we correspond with each other, here is a “Creed” that I have embraced. This is from a ministry called Stand To Reason and I think will serve as a good guideline for going forward: Would you agree?

    An ambassador is…
     Ready. An Ambassador is alert for chances to represent Christ and will not back away from a challenge or an opportunity.
     Patient. An Ambassador won’t quarrel, but will listen in order to understand, then with gentleness seek to respectfully engage those who disagree.
     Reasonable. An Ambassador has informed convictions (not just feelings), gives reasons, asks questions, aggressively seeks answers, and will not be stumped by the same challenge twice.
     Tactical. An Ambassador adapts to each unique person and situation, maneuvering with wisdom to challenge bad thinking, presenting the truth in an understandable and compelling way.
     Clear. An Ambassador is careful with language, and will not rely on Christian lingo nor gain unfair advantage by resorting to empty rhetoric.
     Fair. An Ambassador is sympathetic and understanding towards others, and will acknowledge the merits of contrary views.
     Honest. An Ambassador is careful with the facts and will not misrepresent another’s view, overstate his own case, or understate the demands of the Gospel.
     Humble. An Ambassador is provisional in his claims, knowing that his understanding of truth is fallible, and will not press a point beyond what his evidence allows.
     Attractive. An Ambassador will act with grace, kindness, and good manners and will not dishonor Christ in his conduct.
     Dependent. An Ambassador knows that effectiveness requires joining his best efforts with God’s power.

    I also think it is important to establish some definitions of a few terms before we start. I realize that Mormon definitions of these terms may be different and I therefore believe it is important to clarify these.

    Righteousness = God’s standard of perfection and holiness. This can also mean “self righteousness” depending on the context in which it is used.

    Salvation or Saved = The state of full acceptance by God that an individual receives which begins with justification by faith alone, includes adoption into God’s family and is followed by, but is not limited to, sanctification and glorification. All of which are a work of God.

    Justification = A right standing before God. Being justified actually makes it possible for us to BE ABLE TO stand before God. (Declared Righteous)

    Faith = A TOTAL trusting belief.

    Adoption = The state of being declared a “Child of God” with full rights as “Sons” in the context of the culture in which the Bible was written. An interesting point that back then, “adoption” by Jewish law could not be rescinded, while a “blood” child could be disowned.

    Sanctification = For the believer, this is how God uses the Holy Spirit to grow us in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It means to be set apart. Unbeliever’s can also be sanctified but this clearly does not “save” them, but by being sanctified, they are actually able to experience blessings and benefits of the sanctification.

    I think it is also important to logically note that “being enlightened”, “understanding the promise”, “tasting in the goodness”, and such terms like these that are used in the Bible do not necessarily = “salvation”. While salvation certainly includes these states of being, they are not exclusive to those who are saved. Would you agree? While on the other hand the terms “justification and adoption” ARE mutually exclusive to salvation. They can not be separated from salvation.

    Works or Obedience = Something that WE do. The way in which God’s Laws or Commandments are obeyed.

    I think you would also agree that logically “doing good works” is also not exclusive to those who are saved. Someone who is NOT saved could certainly “do good works” as well as someone who IS saved right?

    To get us started, I would like to recommend that we look at this concept, as we explore together, through a grid (or mindset) using a simple formula, as I am one who needs simplification .

    I think that you and most all Mormons would agree that we are not justified by works alone:
    So the formula
    (Works = Justification) would be FALSE right?
    As well as
    (Faith – Works = Justification)
    And
    (Faith = Justification – Works) would be FALSE as well. I am sure that we both agree on these.

    I think the key difference is that Mormons, along with many people who think they are a Christian (I once believed this way) believe this formula:
    (Faith + Works = Justification)

    What I will focus on is exposing and exploring ALL of the scripture we can find that addresses salvation, how it is attained and how we are called to respond and the dynamics of what I believe to be the Biblical formula:
    (Faith = Justification + Works) or (Faith precedes Justification which leads to Works)

    While there are many passages of Scripture that seemingly, or are interpreted to, contradict this formula I believe that we can honestly reveal, using Scripture to interpret Scripture, that these passages actually compliment this truth rather than contradict it.

    What do you think? Shall we start?

  112. Mike Sears said

    By the way, for others who read this, I want you to know that I AM a Hypocrite, as I believe all of us are! I read somewhere else on this blog someone proclaiming to NOT be a hypocrite.

    I am sure if Fred (another individual with which I have corresponded on this blog) reads the Ambassador’s Creed that he will quickly point out that I have fallen way short of these guidelines in my correspondence with him. These are guidelines that I try my best to follow and I ask that anyone who finds that I am not doing so, to call me out on it. Blessings!

  113. Mike Sears said

    One clarification on one of the definitions listed above:

    Salvation or Saved = The state of full acceptance by God that an individual receives which begins with justification by faith alone, includes adoption into God’s family and is followed by, but is not limited to, sanctification (which is inclusive of obedience) and glorification. All of which are a work of God.

  114. Brad said

    I wish I could say you were right about something you said above, Brad. I’ve only read your last three entries plus one short one to Mike. I don’t have to read them to know what you are saying and the tone in which you are saying them, and I refuse to waste my time and energy re-reading any of your negatively informed thoughts and “showing” you anything.

    Amanda, in a year, all you have shown me about yourself and Mormonism is that you can confirm everything I already knew about it. You REALLY don’t like getting into a theological debate, and tend to shy away from them, instead sticking to the abstract thoughts that can’t really be proven or disproven. I already know ABOUT what you believe – what I still find surprising about Mormonism (and Mormons who believe it), is that you believe it despite the overwhelming evidence against it (or lack of evidence to support it). To me, it simply defies all common sense and intelligence.

    Mike seems like an honest soul, and though we surely interpret some things differently, I am actually interested in how he presents biblical salvation. (It’s essential that all of us as Christians understand that subject properly.)

    I’m sure Mike is honest, and I know you do interpret things differently. You’ve been presented with Biblical salvation before, by me and others. Nobody here thinks you’ll all of a sudden change your mind, Amanda. And just as a reminder, you’re not a Christian, you’re a Mormon. In fact, not even all Mormons like to even consider themselves Christians, lest you think that all of you think you are.

    He seems the type that could at least acknowledge the thought processes behind a scriptural exegesis that could lead to another biblical interpretation on a certain subject than the one he holds.

    I acknowledge that there ARE other thought processes that can lead to different interpretations than the one I hold. I also acknowledge that based on what you have presented to me in the past, that your thought processes and interpretations are wrong. Prove that they’re not, based on the Bible alone. As Mike says, unless you can prove that the BOM is valid (which neither of us acknowledge to be true), using arguments from that, or any other LDS source, is pointless.

    I could be wrong about that, but I’m willing to share with him.(For instance, I know many, many Christians who don’t agree on the “once saved, always saved issue,” so you, Brad, can drop the facade about representing Christianity at large.)

    For instance, Amanda, I have seen many Mormons say in print that they don’t want to be considered Christian b/c they know they’re different, so you, Amanda, can drop the facade about representing Mormonism at large. Do you see how it works both ways?

    As for hermeneutics, it’s not that process I disagree with–its the person implementing it.

    That’s retarded. If the process is solid, then any person properly using the process will arrive at the same result as any other person using the process. It’s only when people DON’T properly use hermeneutical interpretations, that incorrect interpretations are arrived at. Take my often used example of your flawed interpretation of Ezekiel 37, for example. If you’re so convinced I’m wrong, give your “proper interpretation” to Mike about what you believe it means, and see what he thinks. That way you get somebody else’s interpretation, as well.

    At best, “proper hermeneutics” should end up with a presentation of scriptures on at least a few topics with several possible alternative interpretations. When one implements this exercise and ends up saying every time, “mine is the only interpretation,” he is, verily, verily, sometimes dead wrong.

    Why? Because you say so? A proper hermeneutical interpretation will arrive at the CORRECT interpretation, not many possibilities. That’s why it is called the CORRECT interpretation, you see. It’s not that “mine” is the correct interpretation, it’s that I personally hold to THE correct interpretation (and not just me, but thousands, millions of others). You’re so against someone saying that THEY have the correct interpretation, yet you are quick to say that YOUR interpretation is right, and mine wrong.

    How are you any different than what you say you don’t think is valid? Here’s the answer, Amanda: you’re not.

    I really wish you could see your arguments from a 3rd party viewpoint.

  115. Fred said

    Mike, from one hypocrite to another, I can only recommend the verses John 3:14-17 as proof that the differences among us may not be as important as one might think.

    Best,
    Fred

  116. Mike Sears said

    Fred
    You are so right. Compared to that great news, our differences and short comings get lost in the One who makes life worth living. Have you come to know and trust Him? This is a much different post that what I have seen from you before. May you be filled to the measure of knowledge of Him. Ephesians 3:14-21 🙂

  117. Amanda said

    Hello, Mike!

    Things are back to normal this morning after my calls for attention, but all Sunday afternoon, evening, and well into the night, I could not get the last 30 entries or the “Leave a Reply and Submit Comment” option–even on my husband’s work laptop. Very interesting, don’t you think? I can’t figure that one out, but thank you for responding.

    Your entry was like a breath of fresh air, and your intentions seem pure. I am excited about the opportunity to speak with you from and about the Bible. I would not expect you to accept latter day scripture as a proper authority for making biblical points at this stage since your exposure to it has been extremely limited. You said, “until I become convinced that the BOM is correct regarding this point (salvation), using quotes from (it) in your attempts to confirm a point is fruitless.” Agreed, but I also must point out that you never will be “convinced” until you read it with a pure and honest heart, trusting in the God of the Bible whom you claim as your own. I also reserve the right to quote from latter-day scripture to substantiate official LDS positions on specific issues or to provide an occasional unique insight.

    I, more than you know, appreciated the “creed” you have embraced and shared. It is even “Mormon standard” although it gives God’s portion of influence in the “effectiveness” process last, whereas, I would have put that one first.

    My greatest concerns involve the following points, and I do appreciate being included in establishing the ground rules now, before we begin.

    “An Ambassador is humble. An Ambassador is provisional in his claims, knowing that his understanding of truth is fallible, and will not press a point beyond what his evidence allows.”

    We both quite obviously feel that our understanding of the principles we will be discussing are “infallible,” (I claim the Holy Ghost in addition to the Word itself as the source of my scriptural understanding and I would hope you would have sought and acknowledged that resource too, so we needn’t dwell on that point.) Humility demands we present our viewpoints and understanding without speaking as if this leaves no room for additional thought. You feel you represent the Bible. It is my Bible too, and I will bridle my certainty of the interpretations I share by not being overemphatic that this is “the way it is.” I expect that courtesy from you too.

    “Honest. An Ambassador is careful with the facts and will not misrepresent another’s view, overstate his own case, or understate the demands of the Gospel.”

    This is my belief and the one which has caused my involvement on this blog to begin with. It is why I keep coming back. Before you and I are even ‘out of the gates,” this one has been slightly compromised–though not intentionally. You said: “While the BOM contains truth (as many books do) the introduction proclaims that it is THE truth (actually even more so than the Bible.)”

    MY BOM introduction, and every other says (and the caps, I have added myself): “The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture COMPARABLE to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, AS DOES THE BIBLE, the fulness of the everlasting gospel….Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christis the Savior of the world….”

    It was in a meeting with early church members that Joseph said that the BOM was the “most correct of any book on earth (becasue it was translated by the gift and power of God), and a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts, than by any other book.” (It clarifies and elaborates more on certain topics and gives explicit examples that we can follow.) This does not mean, however, that we value the Bible less or that it is less true; perhaps less pure, but the words were entirely pure coming from the pens of the writers, and most of that purity remains. It is the most comprehensive record of the Savior’s words and action while in his mortal ministry. What could be more important than that? It is also placed first in our collection of scripture–which we can hold in a “quad” in one hand. Suffice it say that we believe that an accurate understanding of God’s message is contained in the Bible. It would be useless for me to try to demonstrate that Mormonism is biblical without this statement, and it has always been the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to accept and staunchly defend the Bible. What would be the point in further discussion if I felt the Bible were not trustworthy? Mormons have very few problems with biblical translation, and certainly none that are not shared by most Bible scholars. Everything I have said in my past dialogues with you and Brad, you have disagreed with–not because it came from other sources, not because I didn’t believe the Bible, but because your interpretation of the Bible was different from mine.

    I think it is important to declare our goals in the forefront too: My goal is to help you understand our true beliefs instead of what you have “learned” or speculated are our beliefs, and to show that they have biblical support. It would be naive to expect a more advanced goal than this. I would also state that reverence for the Bible has not led to doctrinal unity among the multitude of Christian religions in nearly two thousand years. This fact leads me to the following conclusion–without the assistance of the Holy Ghost, the words written on the pages of the Bible do not communicate a knowledge of the spiritual truths contained therein without some degreee of misunderstanding. This situation results from the faults and frailties of Men, who, from the beginning, have been the major source of error in God’s eternal plan. Unless man prays for spiritual confirmation, his interpretation will always be just that, and he will know that “his understanding of truth (as an Ambassador) is fallible.”

    I should also declare that our confidence in the Bible may be held without the particular notion (not supported by the Bible) that the canon of scripture is full, or that “inerrancy” demands an end to revelation from God. In review, the Bible is complete in the sense that it contains the message He intended to reveal through specific writings. This is consistent with the fact that the Bible is not a single work. It was compiled long after the original “autographa” were written. The word “Bible” derives from the Greek “biblia” which is a plural word meaning “books” (or more accurately, “little books”). The word itself implies that it is an anthology of individual inspired works. Our Protestant Bible today is a collection af all the available sacred writings that were considered accurate and reliable by the early Church, compiled around 367 A.D.. It ‘s very nature implies that it was never considered a complete compitlation by its inspired writers.

    Mike, you said:
    “BTW Amanda, I am not judging whether or not you trust Christ as your savior. That is between you and Him, my response will address how the Bibles describes salvation and the dynamics of how it applies to those who trust Him and our response.”

    This is the largest “concession” anyone on this website has ever made to me. The fact that you are willing to acknowledge truthfully that you cannot judge my personal “turst in Christ as my Savior” (that maybe it is between God and myself?) gives me hope that we could have a reasonable discussion. If you will then acknowledge that I have just as much of a right as a child of God (based only upon my love for and study of it and the Spirit it conveys) as you do to address how “the Bible” describes salvation and the dynamics of how it applies to those who trust Him and our response, (using all of the Bible), we can proceed further.

    Hopefully we can agree that the gospel, although it was taken to a higher level by Christ and His ministry in the New Testament, must have some consistency and were born of equal authenticity since God was the revelator of both.

    We will not be able to fully agree on the definitions you propose because they are not all entirely biblical–or may just include part of how the Bible defines those things. We need to differentiate “Mormonism” from the Evangelical Gospel, and take a biblical look at those differences, which may include some definitions in the end. To clarify the difficulties involved, here are what I suspect may be our answers to the questions below about salvation. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

    Q.1: Did Christ die for the sins of all Men?
    Evangelical Answer: “Yes”
    Mormon Answer: “Yes”

    Q. 2: “Then, are all men saved?”
    Evangelical Answer: “No.”
    Mormon Answer: “No.”

    Q.3. “What must Men do to be saved?”
    Evangelical Answer: “Have faith in Christ.”
    Mormon Answer: “Have faith in Christ.”

    Q.4. “What is faith?”
    Evangelica Answer: “The essence of faith consists in believing and receiving what God has revealed, and may be defined as that trust in the God of the Scriptures and in Jesus Christ whom He has sent, which received Him as Lord and Savior and impels to loving obedience and good works.” (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) I know you said, “A TOTAL trusting belief,” but we would both agree on that one too, so we must be more specific to see the differences.
    Mormon Answer: Faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen, and the principal of action in all intelligent beings. If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action in them. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only moving cause of action which leads to salvation, or eternal life, with the Father and the Son.
    And the real distinction between us:

    Q. 5. “To be saved, do Men have to obey the commandments of the God in whom they have faith?”
    Evangelical Answer: “No”
    Mormon Answer: “Yes!” (as stated in Heb. 5:9)

    The difference is more subtle than this may lead you to believe, however, becasue we do not teach that men must obey a difficult and complex set of rules for a defined period of time in order to merit slavation. We teach that to be saved, a person who believes in Christ need merely confess openly that they are willing to obey His commandments. (Rom 10:9) This is done through ordinances that God has established as symbols of commitment to Him, declaratory acts that are performed in front of witnesses (baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost). (a similar public Evangelistic “ordinance” is known as the “altar call,” even though it is may not be considered necessary.)

    So…I hope we can focus on the differences instead of re-inventing the wheel since we both believe that Jesus Christ is the source of our salvation? I’d like to know some answers to questions from your perspective, with biblical support, like:

    *What is the gospel of faith?
    *From what are you “saved”? Was your definition of salvation complete? What do you call living in the presence of God eternally and where does that factor in?
    *How are you saved? How are you justified? Sanctified? I would agree with your comment that “being enlightened,” “understanding the promise”, “tasting in the goodness” and other terms do not necessarily = salvation, but I wouldn’t know it by your definition of salvation.
    *How do you know if you have faith? If you have faith, are you saved? Immediately? Later?
    About adoption, while it could not be rescinded under Jewish law, we know that man added to the Law of Moses and distortion had occurred by the time of Jesus. Jesus made it clear that God could raise up seed to Abraham out of rocks if He wished, and it follows that if a “blood child which was disobedient could be disowned,” in the eyes of God, so could a disobedient, adopted child. At least I see no scriptural support for God being “saddled with a Judas,” adopted or not, for eternity. I would agree with you that “justification and adoption” cannot be separated from a complete understanding on “salvation.”
    *What is repentance, and where does it fit in with your gospel of salvation?
    *What do you mean exactly when you say, “I have been saved”?
    *Can you have assurance of salvation and be disobedient to God?

    Two last ground rules:

    1. When a scripture is given which clearly seems to conflict with the belief held by the other, the scripture should be dealt with effectively, not ignored, and explained as best it can be within the belief system at hand.
    2) Common sense, consistency, and logic should not be divorced from the intellect in the interpretation of scripture.

    If we could present our differing interpretations or an exegesis of a scriptural topic without turning it into an “isogesis” (an apologist imposing upon the language of the text his or her own interpretation of its meaning, rather than drawing from it the meaning intended by the author (not always an easy thing) we can anchieve objectivity.

    We can say, “as I read this”, or “it says to me…” but let’s be careful about “the Bible says… exclusively.” I really do hope we can take an honest and kindly look at our differences because it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are talking about and the consequences of our understanding it are great. (Now wasn’t that nicer than saying, as I have been told, “you’re going to hell if you don’t!?”)

    We can take one question at a time, from either side; and let’s not consider this a “contest” or a “gotcha” experience. Our goals should be loftier than that. I have achieved my goal if you understand what I believe and why.

    Thanks for your time and effort, Mike,
    Amanda

  118. Brad said

    Mike,

    I can sense your heart is right, and that you have the best intentions. But you have no way of winning this one. You will convince Amanda of nothing, as she is bent on her beliefs. She insists that her interpretation of Scripture is correct, yet wants us to be sure to acknowledge that ours may not be, and not talk in absolutes. Double-minded. It is no different than Romans 1&2, or Hebrews 6.

    She is lost, and nothing but the grace of God can save her. Look at all the different restrictions, concessions and admittances that one must have, if they wish to engage in meaningful discussion with her. It’s ridiculous, and would be difficult for a Christian to even have a discussion if they were to stoop to her demands.

    But Mike, if you do undertake it, good luck. Prayer is really the only thing that will help her at this point, b/c she doesn’t listen to anything except her own beliefs. At some point, God gives people the desires of their heart, even if the desire of their heart isn’t Him. It’s free will.

  119. Amanda said

    To Brad and Mike:

    I’m really sorry you look at this as a win-lose situation. If I am lost, I am “lost” in the Bible; and as a student of the Bible, why would I not want to understand YOUR beliefs? Brad, you are used to setting the agenda, backing “Mormons” into corners over what you “consider” to be their beliefs, and asking all the “loaded” questions. I really do want to understand how we can interpret so differently what is so clearly stated in the Bible (not always, but overall), and my intent is to show that my beliefs are biblical. If you are ready to give to every man an answer for the hope within you, why should you take such a hostile stance toward an HONEST look at scripture? Mike is the one who started laying down “rules”, so to speak, (I had none but sticking to the Bible, really). I honor his intent and his method, but it’s about time we “played on a level court” as far as dialogue and methodology goes, showing equal respect to one another. That’s why I am only interested in talking doctrine with one who is capable of this.

    Amanda

  120. Amanda said

    PS I do already have the “desire of my heart” and a God-given desire to share it with others. So shoot me? That desire, as well as the answer God gave me, is also Biblical.

  121. Amanda said

    PPS the “consistency” in scripture and “equal authority” I mentioned in my long post was between the Old Testament and the New Testament in case you couldn’t tell from the garbled result of my attempt to convey that. Feel free to ask questions if I need to explain further, Mike.

  122. Brad said

    Amanda,

    Name 3 beliefs about Mormonism, that I have explicitly stated are true, that are wrong, according to official Mormon beliefs. Back them with real Scripture (i.e. the Bible alone).

    Although we’ve gone over this MANY times before, evidently you still want more. No problem.

  123. Amanda said

    Not from you, thank you. Our goals are incompatible, making it a waste of time.

  124. Amanda said

    PS for Brad:

    As I’ve looked over everything that the “powers that be” have left under the Mormon categories to be read by the casual observer, I would be hard pressed to come up with three things you have explicitly said that COULD be substantiated with scripture from the Bible on either side. They are mostly false statements or your unsubstantiated “opinions” about the Church or Joseph Smith–no hard evidence there for either side. And then there are my responses telling you what I think of your “Mormon bashing.” (That’s the most enlightening, entertaining part, of course. 😉 Now you see why our dialogue is a dead ender and achieves nothing. Satan is the great counterfeiter, and what you, I’m sure, consider to have been “teaching the people about Mormonism” from a no-firsthand experience, non-authoritatively sourced basis, has truly been a counterfeit education.

  125. Mike Sears said

    Amanda
    Thanks for the response. I have begun to answer but will need some more time as my only time to spend on this is my early morning study time. I spend 1-2 hours most every day in Bible study and quite often it is preparing for worship leading (at my church) and other Bible studies I am involved in. I have a full time job (50-60 hours per week) and a family. I appreciate what you have had to say and I am looking forward to a deliberate focus on this single doctrine.

    Brad
    I must admit that I am doing this for my own edification as well as my passion for the revealing the Gospel for all that it is. I need to give up “trying to win” as I found out a while back that gets me nowhere and is the wrong root reasoning. Thanks for your input.

  126. Brad said

    Amanda,

    Since we’re keeping responses simple nowadays, then I’ll just say this:

    You’re completely in error in your beliefs concerning Mormonism.

    Thank you.

  127. Amanda said

    Brad,

    In response, you have no way of knowing that since you have ruled out both direct revelation through the Holy Ghost and a sincere, genunine effort to find out these things through the proper, authoritative resources, including prayer; nor does God reward the “wresting” of His holy word and the adversarial approach to sharing His Word, as we have found. I appreciate your perseverance, however. It is an admirable trait that, coupled with accurate knowledge and the love of God, can serve you well in the future.

    And to Mike,

    I know well the schedule you speak of. While I am not working outside the home now, I have a husband and 3 young adult children still at home. I also spend from one to two hours, depending on the day, preparing each morning for my adult Gospel Doctrine class on Sunday. It is a joy to feast upon the word of God, and it fills me with a passion for His truth. I’m also involved in writing a family history book about 10 generations on the Knox Farm in Rowan County. (Good Presbyterian stock) It’s almost overwhelming although I’ve almost finished scanning hundreds of pictures to work with and have just begun transcribing video tape and collecting information and memories.

    Our dialogue about the scriptures will be a welcome change for me, looking at a real gospel topic instead of the sensational and malicious accusations about my church that people on this website usually like to address. I realize that it will be hard to look at the other’s perpective with an open mind since we are well initiated and passionate about our beliefs; however, we both love the Bible, and so I think if we focus on scripture and what it is actually saying according to the best knowledge each of us has acquired, it will be a worthwhile experience. (I don’t claim to be an expert, or to have anywhere near all of the answers and “proper understanding and enlightenment.”In fact, the more I study and learn, the more I realize I don’t know! Yet I have been “taught from on high” from time to time, enough to THINK that I have a right to engage in a biblical discussion of this nature. With God’s help, it will not be a waste of your time.

    Nor do I expect us to agree on what the “proper” translation always will be, but I do think that the body of the Word is sufficient for many to tell, using God-given common sense, the internal witnesses and consistency of the Bible, and the Spirit–else, pity the poor people who throughout all generations of time have read it seeking salvation, right? From my perspective, God does not expect only the bliblical scholars, proper hermeneutics or not, to be able to discern His word enough to gain and exercise faith enough to receive salvation.

    Again, my goal is not to convert you, but to open your mind to the scriptures as I see them from a biblical perspective. Even so, this exercise will not help you to understand WHY I am a Mormon. That knowledge would require your being open to reading and pondering latter day revealtion along with what you have learned in the Bible to see how it verifies, compliments and enlarges biblical understanding. (I say this only to clarify my goal and explain why it is NOT to try to convince you that you are wrong or to “make a Mormon out of you.” That kind of radical change of perspective would be unthinkable for either of us at this point.)

    I will gladly allow you all the time you need to respond, hopefully not to exceed a week at a time without notification, and I am sure that I will need the same show of grace on your part.

    Sincerely,

    Amanda

  128. Brad said

    In response, you have no way of knowing that since you have ruled out both direct revelation through the Holy Ghost and a sincere, genunine effort to find out these things through the proper, authoritative resources, including prayer; nor does God reward the “wresting” of His holy word and the adversarial approach to sharing His Word, as we have found. I appreciate your perseverance, however. It is an admirable trait that, coupled with accurate knowledge and the love of God, can serve you well in the future.

    Amanda, your entire premise for belief is flawed. Mormonism rises or falls upon the testimony and truth of Joseph Smith. Even your own prophets have said that. So what you, and any other person, need to determine is: are the claims of Smith reliable?

    What is your basis for believing them to be reliable? I’d be curious to know. If your basis is the feeling you have from the Holy Spirit that you just “know” it must be true, that’s mighty weak evidence, since you have no sure proof that it was even the Holy Spirit who caused you to “know” it. We don’t have to believe the veracity of the Bible based upon any feeling – there are mountains and mountains of evidence to support it, which I’m sure you’d agree with. So there’s no problem there. But for the “quad” of Mormon scripture, what are the mountains and mountains of evidence for the BOM, D&C and POGP?

    We can both believe the claims of the Bible, based solely on evidence. But not so for the other Mormon writings. On those, you are relying on esoteric feelings that they are correct. The Bible doesn’t say anything about them specifically, so anything you would read into the Bible to say it’s talking about BOM scriptures would be just that – reading into the Bible.

    So what is your real basis?

  129. Brad said

    Mike,

    Be very careful in your dialogue with Amanda to make sure you outline your point, and underline the fact that you do NOT believe Mormons worship the same God (as I assume you believe). You have yet to really come out and say that you believe she (and Mormons in general) are wrong in their beliefs – that is principally why she is still attempting to have good dialogue with you.

    But at some point, you’re going to need to come out and say that you believe the LDS faith is not correct, and say why. She is wanting to have a restricted dialogue based on groundwork that you don’t have in common – very difficult to do, b/c of that differing groundwork in belief.

    Just want to make sure that the truth of the true gospel is not watered down, or the possibility left open that the Mormon way MIGHT, in any way, be correct. I hope you don’t believe that, and if you don’t, I hope that you won’t leave that possibility open in your discussions.

  130. Amanda said

    Brad, must you be so paranoid?

    Mike made it quite clear in earlier posts his decided opinion about “Mormonism.” It was unequivocal and based pretty much upon the same information you have against the Church and most likely from similar sources. So obviously, that is not why I am still hoping to have a dialogue with him. I, like Mike, simply have faith in the Bible and the way I read it. I’d like to learn of HIS beliefs from the same source and see the two interpretations of scripture side by side for comparison’s sake.

    Have you read anything I have ever written you? If so, you have ample testimony as to why I know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. Fortunately, in the beginning at least, it had nothing to do with Joseph Smith himself. It had everything to do with prayer, reading The Book of Mormon, the Bible, and learning about the plan of salvation through the missionaries (of whom I had a million questions to ask). After a month of reading the BOM and praying each time before I read it, as well as the Bible, God told me in a way I could never deny (through the Holy Ghost) that The Book of Mormon is divinely inspired. I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet by the simple process of deduction–because God would not work through an unworthy and uncalled vessel to give direct revelation to the world. I knew the same thing about the Church, a major “fruit” of God’s revelation to Joseph Smith. God does not do his work through deceivers, and He certainly doesn’t sustain them or the fruits of their labors years after they have passed on through His Spirit. (Meaning, the Spirit would not fill the hearts and minds of those who attend a fraudulent church–especially those praying to Him and trusting Him completely for guidance. If Joseph perpetuated a fraud, he certainly never tried to cover it up or have his friends and other servants of God cover it up while he was alive or when he knew his time was short. (Even the way the BOM came into being is undeniable and miraculous.)Also, he would have been the most brilliant deceiver in the history of mankind!

    Since Mike and I both know where we stand as far as our opinions and beliefs, I would deem it obnoxious and “bad form” for him (or I) to keep reminding the other that he or she has a false belief system or that the other is wrong, wrong, wrong. Not every conversation has to be negative and adversarial, Brad!
    If it were, I would definitely NOT want a continued dialogue. (Don’t ask me how or why I continued to write you. I think it had to do with “enduring to the end.”)

  131. Mike Sears said

    Brad
    I understand your points and this is why I want to stick with a single doctrine rather than a broad multifaceted attack on Amanda’s belief system. Her posts reveal that she knows clearly where I stand in my beliefs. I think what we have here is two individuals who are very confident in their beliefs. Yet both are willing to explore and share the deep rooted reasons why we believe in this particular doctrine. That is much more than I can say for most folks I have encountered in my 8 years of new life and witnessing. My goal is healthy dialogue which can only occur when both parties are genuinely interested in and respectful of the others beliefs, even when one (or both) believes the other is dead wrong. I don’t know the full dynamics of your history with Amanda, but I really want to avoid getting to the point where we are personally attacking and accusing one another of having certain motives. Even if one or both of you are right in your accusations, it is obvious that the respect for one another is not there and you have reached a point of impasse. I have done this on several occasions with others (one of which is someone I am very close to and love dearly) and it has ruined my witness. I can not say anything to this individual without her assuming that I have an extreme right wing agenda because of the way in which I have dialogued with her in the past. There is some truth to the saying “perception is reality” in that I have given her a reason to perceive the way she does in the way I have related (or failed to relate) to her. Humility is tough when we know we’re right huh?

    Brad and Amanda, I have labored over this paragraph for over an hour this morning. Yes, this is somewhat rebuking to both of you and I wanted to be very careful how I worded this so as to not come off as “holier than thou” or self righteous. I really do want to focus on the doctrine and not the individual. I hope that what we can achieve here is a deeper understanding of the doctrine at hand and the roots of the different interpretations so that we may be more fully prepared to share the reason for the hope that is within us, (yes, I do believe that Amanda has a “hope within her”) with gentleness and respect. I will get to the doctrine tomorrow morning, God willing. Blessings and Love in the One through whom we are enabled to love, Jesus Christ.

  132. Amanda said

    No rebuke taken (even if it were intended) in light of your perspective, Mike, and the circumstances at hand.

    In my own experiences, I have found that respect is something foreign to the genre of anti-Mormonism by its very nature. One cannot respect a religion or its sincere members when one thinks it is of Satan–pure and simple. Although you are whole-heartedly against my religion, you have not let the passion of being against something “eat you up” and totally consume your ability to respond with reason and human decency (although it is always easier to be on the attacking side than on the other end of that stick); nor has it totally destroyed your ability and desire to understand and grow from dialogue with others not of your brand of Christianity. The misplaced passion and negativity I have experienced from a handful of individuals comes from their buying into what I call “religious pornography” and the “conspiracy theory” that Mormons are deliberately trying to “pull the wool” over the eyes of the innocent and lead people away from the Bible and Christ; those of us converts who are both even semi-knoweldgeable and committed to our faith can only bear witness that we have found the Christ of the Bible more fully through the Restoration.

    Call me sheltered, but I am not USED to being addressed as disrespectfully as I have been on this blog, and I expect MORE of those who like to CALL themselves “Christian.” “Christian” is only a word until the words of Christ are put into practice, as I imagine we will discuss in the future. (Where much is given, much is expected.)

    Meanwhile, I confess that God and I have had quite a few conversations (two way, indeed!) about my failure to sustain a “sisterly love” toward Brad, and God’s is the only source of kindly rebuke I will acknowledge. Your explanation for your own motivation for writing is most excellent, and I am happy for you in your spiritual progression that you have learned and grown from your past experiences. There is a “warring of the flesh”–a natural man or woman tendency in responding to attacks that only the grace of God and His Spirit can help us conquer. After all, Jesus set the example. This is certainly my goal, but meanwhile, God has said to “prove the spirits.” I have done so on this website and chosen you as someone with the potential to have this dialogue. I look forward to it –even should, as Brad has said many times, my perspective wreak of “poor biblical scholarship.” My goal is to read the Bible by the Spirit, and as I achieve that, the blessings are real. I love to read commentaries too, and I will give credit to Richard Hopkins and Legrand Richards for helping me articulate some things in print.

    PS I mentioned that I have a “quad.” The Bible, BOM, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price are all extremely well cross-referenced with footnotes at the bottom which include some Greek and Hebrew meanings or definitions; there is also a modest Bible Dictionary; so when we study one body of scripture as a Church, we are studying all the others in an ongoing fashion and buidling upon the foundation of truth. That’s why the two books–the stick of Joseph and the stick of Judah are now fully “one in our hand.” It is like a quilt intimately and beautifully fashioned, thread by thread, and is also how a testimony of truth grows continually, never standing still. We have a saying: green and growing or ripe and rotten!

    We have company this weekend (my oldest son and his family), and so I’ll check in again on Monday to see what comes next. Have a good weekend.

  133. John said

    Mr Sears, for what it’s worth, I love your post #131.
    That was rather eloquent I think[quiet group applause].

  134. Mike Sears said

    Thanks John
    Coming from you I find that as a great compliment given our differences. I have enjoyed reading your replies to our recent resident dragon/vampire/whatever. I read very little of what he says. Quite alot of ranting with seemingly no substance. You probably have more influence on him than we do. Blessings!! Mike

  135. John said

    You are welcome,Mr. Sears. I like differences in people, it makes the universe a more magickal, interesting place to exist in.
    I also believe that it’s possible for people with differences to still be right, in my heretical thinking[smile].
    I can only imagine how Thomas was able to convince himself that he has control of something as awesomely powerful as the Anunnaki.
    Do you know of the Anunnaki? If not, check it out sometime.
    The more that I study up on his claims,….it makes me remember an old quote by Margaret Fuller, who said “Only the dreamer shall understand realities, ,though, in truth, his dreaming must not be out of proportion to his waking!”.
    Blessed Be, and goodnight.

  136. Anonymous said

    One of the problems with Christians today is their complacency, their indifference, their relativism, their fear of calling an ace an ace and a spade a spade b/c of “tolerance” that they feel they must have, b/c the media says they must have it.

    I don’t buy it. I call Mormonism wrong, b/c according to what is written in the Bible, it is. I call those who believe in Mormonism lost and destined for hell, b/c according to what is written in the Bible, they are. I do this without regard to the fact that they immediately come back and say that’s not my right, or that I don’t know for sure, or that it’s just my particular interpretation that causes my beliefs.

    Do I respect someone’s RIGHT to believe what they wish? Absolutely – beliefs aren’t, and can’t, be forced upon anyone.

    Do I respect the particular beliefs themselves, or what the beliefs are based upon? Absolutely not – they have the right to believe what they want, but it doesn’t make their beliefs right.

    Why do so many not know they are wrong nowadays, and why do so many use the wishy-washiness of Christians as additional fuel for their incorrect beliefs? B/c Christians don’t tell them that it’s wrong, and then provide them with the truth of the gospel, which is correct.

    I have done both with Amanda – I have told her, and showed her how, she is wrong in her beliefs and interpretations of Scripture. Although she doesn’t believe it, and thinks that I am actually the one who is incorrect, that doesn’t matter. I still have showed her what the Bible says, whether she believes it or not.

    When others don’t, for whatever reason they choose not to, it only serves to lessen the truth that others have told her, b/c it is not backed up by others. It’s a scary situation to be in.

    The doctrine’s been presented already, Mike. It’s been presented, and it’s been refused by Amanda, who is so entrenched in her beliefs that she can’t see the truth. Never, never, water anything down, and don’t be afraid to call Mormonism and all it’s beliefs for what they are. You might have a point, if I hadn’t already presented all the key points concerning Christ, salvation, the Bible, heaven, etc… to her already. But I have, and it is not believed, so there’s no more “doctrine” you can go over that hasn’t been discussed already.

    I’m not sure what else you wish to learn about Mormonism. Amanda has already shown the standard circular reasoning of Mormonism many times in her responses (“I know it’s true b/c the Holy Spirit witnessed to me that it was, and I know He did it b/c Smith said that’s how you’d know. I know the BOM is true, b/c only such truth could be of God.”), and it’s just typical of the way that most Mormons think. She’s no different than any other Mormon I’ve ever met.

    Just be careful in how you portray everything, Mike.

  137. Mike Sears said

    Amanda said “Before you and I are even ‘out of the gates,” this one has been slightly compromised–though not intentionally. You said: “While the BOM contains truth (as many books do) the introduction proclaims that it is THE truth (actually even more so than the Bible.)”…

    “Everything I have said in my past dialogues with you and Brad, you have disagreed with–not because it came from other sources, not because I didn’t believe the Bible, but because your interpretation of the Bible was different from mine.”

    Yes, it is an interpretation issue, my interpretation of the BOM introduction is that it introduces Joseph Smith as a prophet. Using Biblical interpretation of prophet, what he says must be considered to be true. What he said is pretty plain. But here we are at risk of running down a rabbit trail. That is why I would like to stick to one doctrine for now.

    Regarding your definition of faith, I don’t really disagree with the “Mormon definition” you gave. However, I think you were describing “Faith in Christ” rather than the word “Faith”. The reason I clarified this was that many define “faith” as pie in the sky hope, where as Hebrews describes it as being “sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” There is a strong certainty in the term “faith” as defined Biblically.

    Amanda said
    Q. 5. “To be saved, do Men have to obey the commandments of the God in whom they have faith?”
    Evangelical Answer: “No”
    Mormon Answer: “Yes!” (as stated in Heb. 5:9)

    Yes, this is the main point on which we are discussing here. And to put it simply, Yes, you are correct, if you mean that obeying the commandments is a required prerequisite for (or retention of) salvation/justification. This is where we need to focus on our exegesis (Not iso-gesis) as you indicated. While I can certainly understand why many read certain passages like Hebrews 5:9 and come away believing that their obedience actually plays a part in their salvation/justification. Yet we must also consider the entire context of scripture and use all passages that address “good works” or “obedience” to interpret what this is saying. We should use logical reasoning, in light of Romans chapters 3, 4, & 5, the book of Galatians, Ephesians 2:8-10, etc. and ask ourselves 2 questions:
    1. COULD this passage (and others like it) mean that we have to DO something in addition to having faith?
    2. COULD this passage mean that “all who obey him” are those who already have faith and have been justified by faith alone and as a result of that faith “obey”?
    Is that not a fair way to discern this? Try this out and tell me what you think. In light of ALL scripture I think #2 is the only logical possibility.

    You also asked several questions:

    *What is the gospel of faith?
    *From what are you “saved”? Was your definition of salvation complete? What do you call living in the presence of God eternally and where does that factor in?
    *How are you saved? How are you justified? Sanctified? I would agree with your comment that “being enlightened,” “understanding the promise”, “tasting in the goodness” and other terms do not necessarily = salvation, but I wouldn’t know it by your definition of salvation.
    *How do you know if you have faith? If you have faith, are you saved? Immediately? Later?
    *What is repentance, and where does it fit in with your gospel of salvation?
    *What do you mean exactly when you say, “I have been saved”?
    *Can you have assurance of salvation and be disobedient to God?

    The “gospel of faith”, which means the “good news of faith” is that it (faith) works! It means that we believe that what Jesus Christ (fully God and fully Man) did, came in the flesh, lived the perfect live that we are unable to do because we are desperately wicked, and gave his life as a ransom for us (became a curse for us), and was resurrected from the dead and through whom we are saved from eternal damnation. The “gospel of faith” means that what Jesus Christ did was completely adequate to make us right before God, that nothing else needs to be added to the equation for our justification. To deny the complete adequacy of the “work of Christ” on the cross, by claiming that our “works or obedience” can add something to the equation is a slap in the face to Christ.

    Ephesians 2:4-9
    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

    Galatians 2:15-21
    “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

    “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

    *From what are you “saved”? Was your definition of salvation complete? What do you call living in the presence of God eternally and where does that factor in?

    We are saved from eternal damnation, (separation from God), the lake of fire. Yes I do think my definition of salvation was complete which included “adoption”. Being adopted certainly means that we will live in the presence of God eternally.

    *How are you saved? How are you justified? Sanctified? I would agree with your comment that “being enlightened,” “understanding the promise”, “tasting in the goodness” and other terms do not necessarily = salvation, but I wouldn’t know it by your definition of salvation.

    The simple answer is “By Faith” to all three. “saved and justified” happen at the exact same time and comes by faith alone, but not “by faith that is alone” which is the message of James. Good works (obedience) flows out of faith. Sanctification is also by faith. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in us (whom we received at salvation/justification) to mold us into the image of Christ. We do participate in sanctification but again it comes by faith. James describes an individual who “says (and even believes) he has faith” but there is no evidence (works) for it in their life. They have a false faith. James and Paul (and Jesus does too) describe two types of individuals, those who think their obedience (in part or in whole) can save them, and those who think they have faith but obviously do not (absence of works). If salvation in the Bible is defined as a “gift” from God, then why would anyone have to “work” for it?

    Romans 4:4
    Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.
    Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    It’s interesting that many people automatically think that “Faith Alone” doctrine leads to antinomianism and that we believe we can sin so that grace may abound. But just as Paul says, by no means! It really doesn’t mean that at all. Yet I agree with James, that faith without works is dead. All through the Gospels, Jesus gives examples and comparisons of true faith vs. false faith. Most of the verses you have pointed to in regards to obedience are examples or illustrations of TRUE faith. Descriptions of what true faith looks like and what it does NOT look like.

    Think about all of the examples Jesus used to describe TRUE believers verses people who “claim” or “think” they are saved: (By their fruit you will know them)
    • The parable of the seed. Luke 8:11-15
    • The parable of the 10 virgins. Matthew 25:1-13
    • The parable of the talents. Matthew 25:14-30
    • The sheep and the goats. Matthew 25:31-46
    • The example of the tree and its fruit. Matthew 7:15-23
    • The parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37
    • The parable of the two sons. Matthew 21:28-32
    • The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Luke 18:9-10

    Why do you think He gave us all of these examples? To make us aware that there will be many who say they have faith when in reality there are few who actually possess a true saving faith. Narrow is the path that leads to life and wide is the path that leads to destruction.

    I will work on the rest of your questions this weekend. To be continued…

  138. Mike Sears said

    Here is a link to the definition of faith as described in the Westminster Confession of Faith to which I agree. It has the scripture references for each point. http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/

    And from the Heidelberg Catechism
    Question 21. What is true faith?

    Answer: True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, (a) but also an assured confidence, (b) which the Holy Ghost (c) works by the gospel in my heart; (d) that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, (e) are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits. (f)

    (a) James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (b) 2 Cor.4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Eph.2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph.2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph.3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Gal.2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Heb.11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb.11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Heb.11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Heb.11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: Heb.11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Heb.4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. Matt.16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Philip.1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Rom.4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Rom.4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Rom.5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Rom.1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom.10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom.10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom.4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, Rom.4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. Rom.4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: Rom.4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; Rom.3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Rom.3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (c) Gal.5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Matt.16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 2 Cor.4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Philip.1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. (d) Rom.1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom.10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 1 Cor.1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. (e) Rom.1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Gal.3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Heb.10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb.10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Gal.2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (f) Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Rom.3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Rom.5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Luke 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Luke 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

  139. Mike Sears said

    Clarification to paragraph 6 of post #137

    Yes, this is the main point on which we are discussing here. And to put it simply, Yes, you are correct, (regarding Evangelical Answer: “No”)

  140. Amanda said

    Mike,

    Since I’m waiting now for Tim’s arrival, I checked in and read your entry. I look forward to responding–which I will do in much greater detail next week. At first, I thought, well, “we’re going to have little to say” because we (you, I, and all Mormons)are virtually on the same page about saving faith. There is so much we agree on. At the same time, I was hit like a lightning bolt with the sad fact that too often we as Mormons are backed into corners and feel forced to defend something we are not really guilty of: the false assumption that we believe that our works or obedience add anything to the “work of Christ” on the cross. It would indeed be a slap in the face of Christ IF we thought that.

    Too many times we are accused of believing that we are saved by “the works of the law.” Of course, it is usually Paul’s reference to the law of Moses that is cited, and we, like you, believe that Christ’s mission completed the law and made it of none effect.

    Semantics are vital in understanding, and we will need to address some of the semantical problems as needed.

    Who establishes the means by which we “come unto Christ?” (Man’s interpretation of the Bible or Jesus Christ Himself?) Of course, our resounding answer-and I expect yours, would be “Jesus Christ does, and he does so through the Bible.” I’m happy to leave all of latter-day revelation alone and stick only to ancient scripture as we look in the next few posts at what the Apostles taught regarding the means by which we come to Christ. I won’t even begin that in ernest today.

    Mormons believe obedience is essential to our salvation (not adding to it) ONLY because Christ has commanded us to obey. He has established what we must do in order to be children of God, adopted or not, having what you would call “saving” faith or just faith as a grain of a mustard seed–which is also a saving faith in my book if one remains faithful. Faith, I believe, leads to salvation if one stays on the path Jesus has marked for us, but can not remain dormant and sedentary, to receive everlasting life. (By the way, do you believe that receiving “everlasting life” is the same as receiving salvation? )

    From my reading, faith is a gift of God–and it comes by hearing (or reading) the word of God, but there are varying degrees of faith. It’ not, I believe, “well, either you’ve got it or you don’t.” (Ironically, I have found that many Evangelicals tend themselves to judge whether or not a person really had “saving faith” by their works–especially after they’ve decided they didn’t have it. (Doesn’t one have to wait to “see” if one remains “faithful” in order to see if he had saving faith? To look for Christ’s relfection in a mn is to see how well he emulates Christ’s example.)Our behavior both establishes our loyalty in this life and determines our character and thus level of reward in the next.(I would go to Paul’s words to reflect that there are differences in “glory.”)

    We cannot ADD to what Christ has done for us, but we CAN be added UPON by His spiritual gifts AS we obey. We are not working for the gift, but we have no assurance of it unless we are on the “strait and narrow path.” For instance, John said, “We love Him because He first loved us.”

    Once I tasted Christ’s love for me, my first impulse and reaction was gratitude and then a desire to share that beautiful experience and state of being with others. Let’s say I hadn’t tasted that love. I still read in the Bible that His gospel is to be taken to all the world, and He has invited me to be a part of that process. As I involve myself in that process according to His word, my faith in and my testimony of the goodness of God –including my ability to feel His love for me and for those I share with, actually increases. As a result, I become more faithful, my ability to obey God increases, and I begin to grow in the realization of the commandment (not suggestion) to “love God with all my mind, might and heart.” The process of becoming ChristLIKE, and of loving God in more than lip service every day, from my experience, is impossible without feasting upon and obeying His words –or as you might say, being “faithful” to Him. This, coupled with the enabling grace of God through the Spirit that accompanies one who walks with him, is how we become “righteous” and “faithful.” Our loyalty is tested in this life. We are surrounded by good and evil, and we are enticed by one or the other, according to our desires.

    Would you be willing to explain to me biblically your beliefs about one’s “assurance of salvation?” I’d love to know why you don’t feel that some would be enticed to “sin so that grace may abound” if they were certain that obedience isn’t prerequsite to salvation? Can you show biblical references that forgiveness applies to present and future sins without repentance? (Should we define repentance?) Would it matter if they did sin willfully if they were “saved” according to your belief? I think you were saying “no,” but please clariy with scripture. And… Does the Gospel of Christ, from your perspective, involve any laws and ordinances that we are to obey?

    I hope to establish 3 times over the importance of obedience as taught by the apostles. In doing so, please remember that I, too, believe that we have the Gospel of love, but also, that God’s gifts are free “to all who will come unto Him” in the manner He prescibes and “take upon them His yoke.” I believe His promises apply to all who profess His holy name and obey Him, just as we have been told.

    An example:

    “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10) We obey from our love of God (who first loved us) which leads to greater love for our fellowman–which leads to our feeling God’s love in our own lives even stronger. Paul is saying also that it is a joy to be a laborer for and a servant of Christ, “so that “we may be accepted of Him.” (2 Cor.5:9) His “yoke is light” because of the joy the Spirit brings to our lives, but it is still a yoke. Paul must preach and teach, but he also loves to do it because of the love of God and from God! Here is an Apostle who knows that he MUST not return to Christ not having done what he is expected to do. Even though done out of love, would he have said that preaching was necessary for him to reap the eternal reward he was counting on? I believe so.

    Mike, do you want to do a “back and forth” response approach, or would you prefer to lay out for me the gospel of salvation through faith from the Bible as you read it, touching on some of the issues where you are aware that we differ and then I do the same from my perspective. I am willing to do either. (Yes, I can be quiet long enough to read a lot of information before I resond. I would love to do this in the most enjoyable way I can for you.) You are an honest and good soul with an apparent love of God, and I have trust in the process we have initiated. This response, has been quick, unstudied, and “just for fun.” I am looking forward to what you have to say and the scriptural basis for any differences.

    PS Mike, I responded to your comment about what the intro to the BOM does or doesn’t say only because I felt there was a misstatement of what is there–not because I want to divert us from the topic. Believe me, I’m happy to simplify, and I love the topic! To your response about the BOM intro “introducing Joseph Smith as a prophet,” I would only say that Elder Bruce R. McConkie (who wrote that one page in the 1970’s), was not really introducing Joseph as a prophet; he only referred to “the Prophet Joseph Smith” in passing as he told of the history of the Book’s coming forth and invited all to read it. The focus was all about the Book, but I see the implication it must have given you.

  141. Scott said

    “Every person will inherit a glory of salvation, which will be the one that he has earned.”

    – Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe in Joseph Smith-Seeker after Truth, Prophet of God, p. 170

  142. Brad said

    At first, I thought, well, “we’re going to have little to say” because we (you, I, and all Mormons)are virtually on the same page about saving faith. There is so much we agree on.

    Mike, this is the kind of presumptions that not being completely direct with Mormons leads them to make in their minds – the presumption that they’re on the same page about saving faith as Christianity. THIS is where the error lies in approaching Mormons (or any other cult) in a manner that doesn’t make the position completely clear. It leads to a blurring of the lines between what each completely different religion believes, and it further hinders the ability to witness, b/c it then gives the impression that they’re alike, so why the need for change?

    This is what I warn about, which you then rebuke about.

  143. Brad said

    <b?“Every person will inherit a glory of salvation, which will be the one that he has earned.”

    – Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe in Joseph Smith-Seeker after Truth, Prophet of God, p. 170

    No Scott, that doesn’t count. He was only an Apostle of the Mormon church, after all, and still an infallible man. You’re not allowed to use what he said against the Mormon church or as proof of what the Mormon church believes, even though he is an official high leader of the Mormon church.

    Yes, I know – it doesn’t make common sense – but it’s just the way that Mormons view it.

  144. Amanda said

    To Mike and Brad:

    Still speaking as a Mormon, Brad?

    If you were a Mormon, you wouldn’t be saying these things because you would have a foundation upon which to speak and understand them. It wouldn’t even be said sarcastically, mockingly, or distortedly.

    The Apostles, latter day and ancient, are not looked upon as “infallible men.” They never were, not even in the Bible. (Direct quotes are never provided for slandering, I notice. And who is Scott?)

    If you were qualified to speak for my faith, your statements would be accurate and not distorted, nor sarcastic. Widstoe’s statement here is not an incorrect statement. The following thoughts of scriptures are for both you and Mike. I know that you (Brad) think that you “took care of these things” awhile back, but definitely not in a way satifying to me scripturally. I have had the gospel ALL of my life, but the Lord has put it into my mind and heart in a way that I cannot deny during the past 33 years since my conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Remember that while I would like to better understand your beliefs and their biblical justification, I am not expecting you to agree with me. I do expect you to ponder them.

    While we in my Church believe in varying degrees of glory in the eternal reward of God’s children, and also that the act of slavation was completely exectued in our behalf by the Atonement, we also believe we have to “come unto Christ” and to receive His eternal gift for us upon His terms. The level of our resurrected glory is very much determined by how faithful we are (which includes our integrity or lack of it, our character in general, and our works.) Thus the words of the Lord in the Bible are fulfilled and our bodies receive the kind of glory we have merited in this life :

    The parable of the talents gives an example parallel to different rewards:

    Rev. 22:12 “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

    Luke 6:8 “…For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

    Romans 2:5-11,13 “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God: Who will render to every man according to his deeds. To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immoratlity, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. There is no respect of persons with God…(For not the hearers of the law are just before God but the doers of the law shall be justified.) Even God cannot reward a man for what he does not do.

    Luke 12:43-48 “Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. “(Like the prodigal son’s elder brother if he remains faithful.)

    “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes , shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

    Romans 14:10 tells us that “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ….So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.’ This includes all of the righteous as well. If all the righteous go to a general Heaven, where all receive alike, we would not have to account for ourselves or our works.
    In 2 Cor. 5:9-10 (NASB), Paul indicates how he prepared for the judgment of God: “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent to be pleasing to Him, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

    These last two scriptures refer to the “bema” or “judgment seat”, the “mercy seat” of Christ before whom believers , like Paul, will be brought to their accounting. These are those who have part in the first resurrection. The word translated “throne” in Rev. 20:11, speaking of the Final Judgment at the end of the Millennium is “thronos,” referring to the Great White Throne and will take place in front of this throne. There is a difference between the two Judgments. The “bema” judgment focuses on Eternal Life as its reward, while the “thronos” Judgment focuses on the Second Death as its punishment. there will be some who do not merit eternal life at the “bema” Judgment, and some who do not derserve the Second Death at the “thronos” Judgment. The fact that believers will appear before the “bema” rather than the “thronos” should not be viewed as an assurance of their salvation in the Kingdom of God. Believers are also accountable for their actions on earth. In 2 Cor. 5:10, the recompense promised at the “bema” Judgment includes both good and bad. This says to me that some believers will be greatly disappointed to find that they are not worthy of the reward they thought they were.

    Note the great similarity between the “bema” Judgment described by Paul in 2 Cor. and the “thronos” judgment described by John in Rev. 20:1 (NASB):

    “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the thone (KJV: “stand before God”), and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”

    The basis for both judments is the same: Man’s deeds “in the body.”

    The Lord keeps records or books of all that Men do. As to sins truly repented of, the Lord has promised to remember them no more (Jer. 31:34). Ther writer of Hebrews reiterated that promise as follows in Heb. 8:10-12….

    “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
    And they shall not teach every man his nieghbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

    If the Lord remembers sins no more, that implies Men’s sins are erased from some record of them kept by the Lord. Yet His notation process is just the opposite. Revelations 20:12 mentions “another book,” called the “Book of Life.” Because of its importance in the Judgment, let’s look at scriptures relating to this book, the Lamb’s Book of Life, to show how His record-keeping works.

    It’s mentioned first in Ex. 32:31-34 (NASB) in an exchange between the Lord and Moses:

    Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if Thou wilt, forive their sin–and if not, please blot me out from Thy book which Thou hast written!”
    and the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”
    “But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.” ( So Israel will be judged on an individual basis, not vicariously through the punishment of their leader. (“Whoever has sinned against me, I will ‘blot HIM out’ of the Book He had written along with Israel.”) David also requested that his enemies would be :blotted out of the Book of Life in Ps. 69:28 (NASB) “May they be blotted out of the book of life, And may they not be recorded with the righteous.” “Righteous” as used here by David, is presented in scripture as those who “walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity. (Ezek. 33:15)

    Being mostly interested in man’s good works, the Lord records the names of those who are righteous. The book gets its name as a continuously updated and current list of all who are entitled to receive eternal life. Thus Rev. 3:5 (NASB) explains how men can avoid having their names blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life:

    “He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.”
    The Greek word translated “overcomes” means to “gain the victory.” Since it is unrighteousness, or sin, that results in a man’s name being blotted out, it seems apparent to me that it is sin over which Men must be victorious to prevent that from happening. They overcome sin in their lives through justification, and learn to maintain righteousness through the process of sanctification. In the end, if this is true, it would follow that those who gain victory over sin, whose names will not be blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life, are those who learn to obey the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, and do His will.

    As we are told in Gal. 6:7-9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
    No other method of judgment could be righteous. God surely “will render to every man according to his deeds.” Again, even God cannot reward a man for what he does not do.

    As you know, we believe in exaltation, which is dependent upon good works as well as grace. (IN THE END, EVERYTHING WE DO AND ACHIEVE THAT IS GOOD IN THIS LIFE, IS BY THE GRACE OF GOD; AND WE ARE TRULY COMPELLED TO DO GOOD BY THIS GRACE through THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT.)

    Remember, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 7:21) Therefore whosoever heareth thess sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matt. 7:24-27.)

    And then, here comes, again, the book of James about being ye “doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22) And ….”Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone….But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:14-20) I left some of the verses out, as you see.

    1 Cor. 15:40-42 Paul is describing the resurrection, in my eyes, when he says, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial 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 rusurrection of the dead.”

    I would like to close with a story illustrating where grace fits into what I have been sharing. First, as Paul says, “Be not decived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever man soweth, that shall he also reap. ” (Gal. 6:7)

    Take the farmer: No matter how much land he owns, he cannot expect to reap unless he sows his seed, cultivated and irrigated the land, and harvested the crop, is he then entitled to all the credit? He did all the work and is entitled to reap as he as sowed, and the result of his effort will be his reward. But no matter how hard he may have worked, he could not have harvested his crip through his own effort, since there are other factors to be considered:

    1. Who provided the fertile soil?
    2 Who put the germ of life into the seeds he planted?
    3. Who caused the sun to warm the soil, causing the seed to germinate and grow?
    4. Who caused the rain to fall or the snows to fill the watersheds to give drink to his growing crops?

    None of these things could the farmer have done or supplied for himself. They represent the free gift of grace, and yet the farmer will reap as he has sowed.

    I don’t believe that you, Mike, support a lip confession in order to receive salvation, do you? From what you’ve said, I think you were implying at least that what we do to bring ouselves to the point of salvation is important. (You can continue and elaborate on that if you like. I’d like to hear your views.)

    The enemy of righteousness, in light of these scriptures, could not hope to succeed more effectively in thwarting the purposes of the Master and his gospel than to persuade men that all the blessings the Lord has prepared, through his grace for us can be obtained through one’s lip acknowledgment that Jesus is the Christ. Could it be that we are not the ones “preaching another gospel?”

    A major point overlooked in previous conversations is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not given alone for man’s salvation, but for his exaltation as well. The glory we want to aspire to is the “glory of the sun.” Jesus could have died and gone back to heaven, accomplishing salvation, without doing all the hard work he did for us in setting an example, establishing His Church, giving man His priesthood, teaching His Apostles to take His Gospel to all the world, etc.

    He worked hard, and I believe from the examples set in the Bible that His true followers are expected to as well. Paul referred to the “warring within,” the battle between good and evil as a “fight” and as a “race;” he spoke of “winning the prize” and “victory in Christ.”

    I have spoken today about the works side –and still only scratched the surface. This is why I never wanted to share so deeply with Brad, because I know he isn’t listening or caring about what I share–even though it’s in the Bible. Like in the parable of the talents, we are accountable for what we do with our knowledge: “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I rep where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawd: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 25:26-30)

    Consider the parable of the sower: “But other fell into good fround, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (Matt. 13:8)

    Even the parable of the ten virgins and the sheep and the goats, the tree and its fruit, the Good Samaritan…. Mike, you see their purpose as “to make us aware that there will be many who say they have faith when in reality there are few who actually possess a true saving faith.” True, I cannot argue that point, but I would say it also has everything to do with the condition of the “soil” and the preparedness and faithfulness of the individual according to God’s commands, their characters reflecting how seriously they listen and hearken unto the word of the Lord–even the man who built his house upon the sand. I would say that it also means, if you want to receive the blessings of the gospel, you must live it, or you cannot enter into the presence of the Father and the Son. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the rusurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29

    As for celestial glory, in 1 John verse 9, we read, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”

    This can apply to our priviledges through the gift of the Holy Ghost–a partial reuniting– in THIS life through the power of God as we abide in His love, but it is also in sync with our definition of celestial glory, which is what we live and pray and strive for, the opportunity to dwell with both the Father and the Son forever. Anything less than this as an eternal reward is a form of “damnation” to us (not the damnation that we also believe in that is described in the Bible). It means that our progess and growth and learning has an end, and we will neither have the presence of the Father nor the highest quality of eternal life for all of eternity. What “could have been” will be a milder form of the “worm that dieth not” for the good people of the earth who receive the testimony of Jesus but are not valiant in those testimonies. We believe they will receive the glory of the moon and the visits of the Son Jesus Christ but can never dwell in the presence of God the Father. At the same time, does this mean that we are feverishly working on our own to accomplish this impossible feet? No! It does mean that we are turned and moving our feet and thoughts in the right direction though so that the grace of God will abound with us, impelling us forward on the strait and narrow path, lifting us and inspiring us when we fall, forgiving us when we repent.

    A lot of writing, I know, but is it nonbiblical? I don’t believe it is. Is it non-Christian? Again, I don’t think so. No doubt it is perhaps non-Evangelical.

    There is much to resopnd to now, so feel free to keep it coming; but Brad, I would appreciate if you would continue to address Mike and not me so that the results are less inflamatory.

    Thank you both,
    Amanda

    PS I had some time this afternoon and thought I’d get some things down that were on my mind.

  145. Mike Sears said

    I’m getting way behind here. I still haven’t finished answering your questions and points in post #117! I took a break this weekend but here are my notes from worship yesterday.

    Psalm 46:1-4, tells us that…
    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
    Then in Revelation 22:1-3, He tells us a little more about this River… along with a great promise!
    Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.

    Then verse 17 tells us that we are invited to the river…

    The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

    Where do we go to satisfy the longings of our souls?

    Remember the example describing how many people view the Christian life? That God’s Graces, Mercies, Love, and Purposes are like a river? And how many people believe that to be a Christian, and to live as a Christian means coming to the river and filling our buckets, carrying around God’s will and purposes for our lives by doing our Christian duties and working really hard at the Christian life? We’ve been learning in Galatians how this mentality keeps us in bondage to the law (and sin) and is a burden to us.

    Yet the true Christian life, what it really means to be a Christian, is to come to the River of God’s Graces, Mercies, Love and Purposes and jump in! Allowing the overwhelming current of His Sovereign Spirit Driven Purposes to “Carry US”!

    David obviously understood this principle. Listen to how he responds to God’s Love…
    Psalm 63:1-6
    O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

    How many of us can honestly proclaim as David says that “God’s Love is better than life”? Well regardless of whether or not we CAN say that, it is true!! God proved it to us by giving His only SON, Jesus Christ to die, so that we may have this love that leads to eternal life!!

    I’ll work on finishing my answer to post #117 later this week.

  146. Brad said

    Still speaking as a Mormon, Brad?

    No, just as one who knows what they believe. I will never be a Mormon.

    If you were a Mormon, you wouldn’t be saying these things because you would have a foundation upon which to speak and understand them. It wouldn’t even be said sarcastically, mockingly, or distortedly.

    I agree – if I were a Mormon, I wouldn’t be saying these things, b/c Mormons don’t believe them. It’s BECAUSE I’m not a Mormon that I DO say these things, so others understand what Mormons TRULY believe.

    The Apostles, latter day and ancient, are not looked upon as “infallible men.” They never were, not even in the Bible. (Direct quotes are never provided for slandering, I notice. And who is Scott?)

    That was my error – I meant to say “fallible” men, rather than “infallible men.” My fault. This was actually to point out the funny way Mormons like to count on them as prophets, as being the “prophets, seers and revelators” of God on Earth, yet we can’t rely on what they say as being credible, b/c they’re after all, FALLIBLE men. It’s a contradiction in terms. I have no idea who Scott is.

    If you were qualified to speak for my faith, your statements would be accurate and not distorted, nor sarcastic.

    I don’t speak FOR your faith, I speak ABOUT your faith. One doesn’t have to be a Mormon to speak about the Mormon faith, anymore than one has to be an employee of McDonalds to speak about their menu.

    I know that you (Brad) think that you “took care of these things” awhile back, but definitely not in a way satifying to me scripturally.

    There IS no satisfying you scripturally, Amanda unless it conforms to what you already believe. I’ve quit trying to satisy you, just presenting the truth for what it is. What I’ve said and backed up with Scripture is quite true.

    The level of our resurrected glory is very much determined by how faithful we are (which includes our integrity or lack of it, our character in general, and our works.) Thus the words of the Lord in the Bible are fulfilled and our bodies receive the kind of glory we have merited in this life.

    No, Mormons don’t believe in works-based salvation. Right. If that’s truly correct, Amanda, then Mormons ought to stop trying so hard to “get what’s theirs”, to work for something better, b/c if you TRULY believed that salvation isn’t based on works, then you wouldn’t be so focused on works as you are.

    The fact that believers will appear before the “bema” rather than the “thronos” should not be viewed as an assurance of their salvation in the Kingdom of God.

    So now we’re not “assured” of our salvation? Radar warning, folks – this is exactly what works-based religions believe, that you must keep working as hard as possible, to do as much as you can so you can be as sure as possible about your salvation, even though you can never be completely sure (despite 1 Peter 1:4-5, Romans 8, etc…). It’s bogus.

    The basis for both judments is the same: Man’s deeds “in the body.”

    Wow – readers, if you have studied the Bible, you will see why I say the scholarship of Mormons as it relates to interpreting the Bible is poor, b/c it is interpreted only in ways that will support their pre-existent beliefs, without regard to what was actually intended in the Bible.

    As you know, we believe in exaltation, which is dependent upon good works as well as grace. (IN THE END, EVERYTHING WE DO AND ACHIEVE THAT IS GOOD IN THIS LIFE, IS BY THE GRACE OF GOD; AND WE ARE TRULY COMPELLED TO DO GOOD BY THIS GRACE through THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT.)

    Thanks for clearing that up. Whether you believe it’s by God or not, you STILL believe that it is based upon good works.

    I don’t believe that you, Mike, support a lip confession in order to receive salvation, do you? From what you’ve said, I think you were implying at least that what we do to bring ouselves to the point of salvation is important. (You can continue and elaborate on that if you like. I’d like to hear your views.)

    Me too, Mike, particularly in light of what all you’ve seen from both sides of the fence here.

    A major point overlooked in previous conversations is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not given alone for man’s salvation, but for his exaltation as well.

    God is not about exalting MAN, but about bringing glory to HIMSELF. If you think it’s about MAN at all, you’re incorrect from the start. It puts man onto a pedestal that he is not entitle to.

    This is why I never wanted to share so deeply with Brad, because I know he isn’t listening or caring about what I share–even though it’s in the Bible.

    I listen to what you say – I just absolutely disagree with it, based on Scripture. I believe your interpretations are fraught with problems, and the only way your interpretations COULD hold up is to hold LDS beliefs, b/c they don’t hold up to the rest of Scripture, interpreted in a non-LDS vein. Of course, we’ve talked about all that before, haven’t we?

  147. Mike S said

    I thought I would take a couple of minutes to answer a quick question since it was posed by both Amanda and Brad. Amanda said: “I don’t believe that you, Mike, support a lip confession in order to receive salvation, do you? From what you’ve said, I think you were implying at least that what we do to bring ouselves to the point of salvation is important. (You can continue and elaborate on that if you like. I’d like to hear your views.)”

    You are correct that I do not support a lip confession, coming to an altar call, signing a card, taking a pledge, being baptised, or anything of the like in order to receive salvation. The only thing that Man brings to the table (other than his wretched and sinful state of being) is his free will, which is also a gift of God. Yet it is still God who calls (woos) us into a relationship with Him.

    I will refer to the Westminster Confession to answer part of that: I can provide all of the scripture references for this statement if you’d like.

    Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

    All those whom God has predestinated to life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving to them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.
    This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.

  148. Amanda said

    Mike,

    As for your entry #138, every thing you said, every scripture you wrote, we agree with. This is what I meant by “reinventing the wheel,” and I would like to spare you valuable time here. I will check the Westminster Confession of Faith sometime, but I will take your word that it is consistent with your definition of faith.
    We do believe that all of God’s gifts come by faith and that His grace is freely given (although I have noticed that aside from the gifts of grace that include life and this beautiful world, families and people, rain and sunshine, and a promise of resurrection,) the grace of conversion and salvation is given only to those who care enought to ask for it through prayer and to listen to His word, thereby receiving the gift of faith and who care enough to do those things that will enable faith to flourish and continue).

    All we can give Him, as you referenced, is our own will–which was a tremendous gift from Him to begin with. Herein lies, perhaps our differences. The agency of man determines what man will do with the gifts God gave him. God will seek (woo) man out, and give him every chance to “come unto Christ.” He loves ALL of his creations, especially all human beings, who are created in His image, and He wants ALL to be saved and not to suffer the pains and consequences of sin. Jesus’ Atonement is to ALL who will come unto Him.

    It is how we used our agency in this life which will determine not only whether or not we receive Chirst, but whether or not our saving faith will indeed be the type of saving faith that leads to exaltation in the presence of God. God does entice us to use our agency, but if you make God responsible for everything, then He is also responsible for those who use their agency to damnation and are fit to enter into the kingdom of the devil. He accused the Pharasees of making the Jews “twice as fit for hell” as they were themselves, just by their false teachings. He said that he who loveth father or mother, or son and daughter, more than me is not worthy of me. These kinds of admonitions are to warning us to use our agency well if we want eternal life. If we don’t follow through, it is not God’s fault because had we come to Him in humility and repentance, we would have received the power to put Him first. Do we obey his commandment to pray often?

    I agree with all of your scriptures. Please tell me what you do with all of the ones I sent you.

    Thanks, and I’ll tackle your other entry soon.

    Amanda

  149. Amanda said

    From Mike:
    “All those whom God has predestinated to life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ…
    “This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.”

    Here we have some differences. I think we can agree that we should all come (we are all invited) to the “river of life” and “jump in.” Also, that if we do so with both feet and don’t fight the pull of the stream, we will be carried according to God’s will and end up in the prescribed—His prescribed– destination. If , however, we by simply using our eyes and our own will, see a beautiful, enticing little mirage on the side bank somewhere, start fighting against God’s current and swim to the edge, pull ourselves out of the river, and walk on to another destination, we will not arrive at the prescribed destiny. That is the power of man’s will. We can surely ruin a good trip if we lose patience and do not “endure to the end,” as we are told in scripture. (How did you say you translate the scriptures about enduring to the end?)

    Since you brought up the topic of predestination, I feel it important to address it. As a former Presbyterian with preachers on both sides for generations, I can speak to this issue. This “doctrine” teaches that without any act on our part, some are predestined to eternal life and some to eternal damnation, and that no matter in which class we find ourselves, there is nothing we can do about it. A complete analysis of this doctrine forces one to the conclusion that if it is true that all our acts, whether good or evil, were predetermined before our birth, God would be responsible for all sin and iniquity in the world.

    Had Calvin understood the principle of preexistence, that we all lived in the spirit world before we were born here upon the earth, it would have enabled him to understand how men could be foreordained, called, and chosen before they were born to do certain work upon the earth without being predestined. He would also have understood how, because of the Lord’s acquaintance with the spirits of all his children, He could know in advance, in addition to his omniscience, what they would do under given circumstances and conditions, even as earthly parents may know largely how their own children will react to given experiences. (Families here are also a microlab complete with many lessons for the spiritually astute in developing the attributes of our Heavenly Father within us.)

    The Bible, as I read it, does not sustain the extreme stand taken by many of that thought: 1)that some are predestined to eternal life and that regardless of what they do, they will achieve it, while others are predestined to eternal damnation, and if so predestined, there is nothing they can do about it; 2) that every act of our lives is predetermined before we are born, and we cannot deviate therefrom; and 3) that whatever happens to us in life is the will of the Lord.

    Such a belief would hold the Lord responsible for all the wickedness, disobedience, and unrighteousness in the world. If man is without free agency and choice, then God, who created man, must have done the choosing, and hence he and not man is responsible for the life of man. (Am I reinventing the wheel this time, Mike? Are we in agreement that these things are not true?) You may have to address it once more for my clarification.
    I know that the explanation that is often given is that all men are born subjects of eternal damnation (because of the Fall?) , but that by the principle of grace, those whom the Lord elects to predestine may obtain salvation—none others. This view is usually called fatalism, and what you said sounded very similar to me. Excuse me if I jumped to a conclusion, but just in case it is what you meant, I will address some scriptures:

    Peter warned that Paul had made some statements on this subject which are very difficult to understand for those who do not have the spirit of prophecy and those who have not studied deeply:

    “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16)

    Let’s look at some of Paul’s statements:

    “For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children bing not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
    It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.” (Rom. 9:9-14)

    From a casual reading of this scripture, one would be inclined to assume that it was before Jacob and Esau were born that they Lord said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” What did the Lord did say before they were born?

    “And the Lord said unto her (Rebekah), Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23)

    Thus, before these twin boys were born, the Lord knew what spirits he was sending to become Rebekah’s sons and the manner of spirits he would send through them as their posterity, and he know which one would be born first:

    “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” (Acts 17:26)

    Even so, the Lord had determined this to be the time and place for Esau and Jacob to be born. He knew them and the nature of their lives and what they would do under the circumstances and conditions surrounding them. Therefore, he was able to say, even before they were born, “And the elder shall serve the younger.”
    Now when did the Lord say, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have I hated?”

    Following are the words of the Lord to his prophet Malachi, spoken approximately thirteen hundred years after Jacob and Esau were born:

    “The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
    I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Said the Lord; yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” (Malachi 1:1-3)

    Thirteen hundred years after the birth of Jacob and Esau, the Lord could well make such a statement. I will not take time to review the life of Jacob but to remind you that the Lord changed his name to Israel because of his faithfulness, and he now stands at the head of the house of Israel. Paul give us this account of Esau’s unfaithfulness: “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” (Hebrew 12:16)

    Look at another of Paul’s statements that is often misunderstood. Contenders for the principle of predestination often refer to Romans, chapter 9, as “A Bible within a Bible”:

    “Nay but, O man, who are thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What is God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?” (Romans 9:20-23)

    From this scripture, it is reasoned that the Lord (the potter) has the power from the same lump of clay to make one a vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor, and that the thing formed cannot say to him that formed it,: “Why has thou made me thus?” Consider, in connection with this statement, another of Paul’s statements bearing on this same subject:

    “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be blessed unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21.)

    From this statement of Paul’s to Timothy, it is clear that no matter what may be one’s handicaps or limitations in life, by purging himself he may become “a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” This is only a different way of teaching what Jesus taught in the parable of the man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods:
    I know this is review, but maybe a needed one to deal with this topic.

    “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one: to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” (Mat. 25:15)
    “Then he returned and held n accounting with them. The one who received five talents returned ten; the one who received tow returned four, and both were rewarded as faithful servants. However, the one who received but one talent buried it in the earth, and of him the master said: “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talent.” (Matt. 25:28)

    Therefore, as Paul said, the thing formed cannot say to him that formed it, “Why hast thou made me thus?” One may receive five talents, another two, and another one, but in the sight of the Lord, it does not matter so much what one has received as what he does with that which he has been given.

    Jeremiah discussed the work of the potter:
    “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
    Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak, concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
    If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
    And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” (Jeremiah 18:1-10)

    In Paul’s discussion of Pharaoh, it may appear that the ruler had no free will but was raised up for a certain purpose, and that he was without choice:
    “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. There fore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Romans 9:17-18)

    To understand this statement of Paul, one must keep in mind the principle of preexistence of spirits—that the spirits of all men lived with God in the spirit world before they were born in the flesh, and that the Lord sent certain of the noble and great spirits at a particular time to do a certain work. Look at Jeremiah:

    “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I know thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

    In a like manner, the Lord knew Pharaoh before he was born, and understood his character and how he would respond to certain circumstances and situations. Thus, as indicated, the Lord raised him up for a special purpose so that he might show his power in him. But this did not force Pharaoh in any way to do the things he did, any more than a nation is forced to do what it does. Pharaoh took his time in making up his mind to free the children of Israel:

    “And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me.” (Exodus 10:3)

    Pharaoh was chosen by the Lord and sent into this world at his particular time because the Lord knew him and how he would meet the situation into which he was placed, but he still had the right to exercise his free will.

    Another often misunderstood statement from Paul that has already been used:
    “For by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

    It is clear we are saved by grace, for Jesus did for us what we could not have done for ourselves. It is not by our works, but through his grace, which is made effective to those who accept his gospel and live its teachings. Paul understood the difference between universal and individual salvation, which is confusing to many and therefore makes it difficult for some to understand certain scriptures. Said he: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Cor. 15:22)

    Regardless of any act of ours, we shall all be made alive in the resurrection because of the atonement of Christ, but we may be resurrected and yet not be saved in the sense in which that word is so often used in the scriptures. Paul fully understood this, as evidenced also in his statement to Titus: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:11) If all men are not saved, it will be because they, in the exercise of their free will, do not accept of his gift of grace. From Paul’s statement to Timothy it is evident he understood that salvation was available to all men:

    “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” ((1 Timothy 2:3-4)

    Since God will have all men to be saved, there is only one reason why all men will not be saved, and that is because they have the right to choose for themselves and may choose evil instead of good. There is no group predestined to be saved, for God “will have all men to be saved.” How then could He have a predestined group?

    In his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul explained, as we’ve discussed before, that salvation is available to all who will obey the Christ:
    “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Heb. 5:8-9)

    Forgive the repetition, but no other scriptures may negate the truthfulness of this one, so it has to fit into the gospel plan somewhere.

    Since Christ learned obedience by the things he suffered, so must all men obey him if they would have eternal salvation. It is plain to me that Paul understood that the “free gift” was made available to all men. Hence, no predestined few, but all are to receive according to their works:

    “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so bv the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:18)
    “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10)

    Paul further informs us what the “righteous judgment of God” is, and that there is no respect of persons with God”:

    “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace , to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:5-11)

    In his ministry, Jesus made it clear that his gospel of salvation was for all:
    “And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

    Then you could read about the woman having 10 pieces of silver (Luke 15:3-10) After Jesus had prayed unto his Father for his apostles, he added:

    “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:20-21)

    Jesus sent his apostles into all the world, inviting all nations to accept his gospel:
    And he said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16)

    If Jesus knew that only a certain number were predestined to be saved only they could be saved, how unreasonable to instruct the apostles to “preach the gospel to every creature.”

    John the Revelator saw the power that would be given to the Lamb of God to make war with the kings of this world, and with the Lamb were the “called,” the “chosen,” and the “faithful”:

    “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14)

    The gospel of salvation has thus been placed within reach of all our Father’s children, and each is given the right to choose for himself, as expressed in the poet’s words:

    Know this, that every soul is free
    To choose his life and what he’ll be,
    For this eternal truth is given
    That God will force no man to heav’n.
    He’ll call, persuade, direct aright,
    And bless with wisdom, love, and light,
    In nameless ways be good and kind,
    But never force the human mind.
    Freedom and reason make us men;
    Take these away, what are we then?
    Mere animals, and just as well
    The beasts may think of heav’n or hell.
    –William C. Gregg

    If you would like to take a biblical look at substantiation for the pre-mortal life, I’d be happy to address that one, Mike.

    Amanda

  150. Brad said

    Wow – now the Mormon/Christian discussion has turned to Calvinism? This should go well. So much for not mixing topics, and focusing on single points.

    Good luck with this one, Mike…

  151. Amanda said

    As I mentioned, Mike brought up the subject of “predestination” in the last two paragraphs of #147. It all ties in to “salvation”, one way or another, through man’s ability to respond to the call to “come unto Christ,” so I felt it appropriate to respond.

    Mike, I must apologize for approaching this last topic by way of the “this is the way it is” mentality! I had just read what LeGrand Richard’s “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder” had to say about the subject. This book was written to Latter-day Saints years ago, and I carried his sense of absolute certainty right into my letter to you. In reality, the missionaries (and I) should advise anyone to pray about this interpretation as they read the scriptures.( This much I know: only the Holy Ghost can bring lasting certitude.) I will try to be more objective in my responses, at least acknowledging that alternative interpretations have been around for centuries; however, I did lay out the LDS interpretation for you.

    Sincerely,

    Amanda

  152. Amanda said

    Amanda: “The fact that believers will appear before the “bema” rather than the “thronos” should not be viewed as an assurance of their salvation in the Kingdom of God.”

    Brad:
    So now we’re not “assured” of our salvation? Radar warning, folks – this is exactly what works-based religions believe, that you must keep working as hard as possible, to do as much as you can so you can be as sure as possible about your salvation, even though you can never be completely sure (despite 1 Peter 1:4-5, Romans 8, etc…). It’s bogus.

    Good question, Brad–if it HAD been phrased civily as a question.

    Again, it depends upon how you define “salvation,” Brad. If we’re talking being saved from our sins already committed, no prob. You can be absolutely assured, but if you have been straying from truth and teaching others YOUR interpretation instead of God’s and never repent of this sin, I think we might both agree that our rewards may not both be in the presence of the Father and the Son eternally. This would be exaltation.

    The real “radar warning” is in Jesus’ words to people who THINK they are serving Him:

    “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” He then goes on to tell about the man who is building his house upon a rock vs. the man who built his house upon the sand:) We are not even told that he was wicked, just that he was “working iniquity.” (Again, if he had asked God to reveal the truth to him, he’d have been building upon the sand.”

    I realize that you folks point that scripture at us all the time, but in reality, it could be a double-edged sword in the hand of any Christina, especially one who likes to pass judgment on another’s religion.

    It does seem like I am focused upon “works,” and that is because it’s one of our main difference in interpretation. I believe that some men have “wrested” God’s very direct commnands about obedience under the carpet, making man’s agency irrelevant–a dangerous thing to do without Divine authority. One may claim the Bible gives him the authority all he wants, but please remember that the major difference between Satan and his angels “believing” in God and our “believing” in Him is what we “do” with that “belief.” (James 2:19)

  153. Mike S said

    It may be another few days again before I can respond. I will focus on the relationship of Faith, Salvation, the Law and Works as held by Reformed Theology to the best of my ability. I really don’t want to get into a “predestination” discussion, although I disagree that free will is compromised by it as your post implies. I am more from the “foreknowledge” camp regarding this. My answer was simply to your question regarding how we “bring ourselves” to the point of salvation.

    Of course you need to be really careful about listening to me, since I’m a “muslim” as accused on another topic.

  154. Amanda said

    Mike, it was just your words about predestination that alerted me to action in print there. Man is not a “happy victim” of God’s plan for him; he is the deciding factor of His eternal destiny since God has everything in place, including the Atonement, and is enticing, teaching, and waiting for man to choose to access His power.

    I too believe in predestination, but I believe one has to understand about the premortal existence to put it into proper perspective. “Foreordination” is what we advance in our teachings in the LDS Church too since predestination is but a “subset” of forerordination.

    And, last but not least, I heard from Brad: “God is not about exalting MAN, but about bringing glory to HIMSELF. If you think it’s about MAN at all, you’re incorrect from the start. It puts man onto a pedestal that he is not entitle to.”

    I am pleased to confess that we do have different perspectives on this due to latter-day revelation. The Christ I know always put others, especially his Father’s will, before Himself. We are to be like him, and that is why He set the perfect example for us. We have in latter-day revelation that the work and glory of God is “to bring about the immortality and exaltation of man.”
    This earth was created especially for that purpose, and since we are all His spirit children, He has allowed us to participate in His great work both by having children, raising them, and sharing the gospel–first with our families, and then with others. This life is a testing ground to see whether or not we will follow our Father in heaven, worship and serve Him; this, through His enabling grace, is how we become like Him.
    Matt. 5:48…Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father …, John 10:34…Is it not written in your law….Ye are gods;, Acts 17:29…we are the offspring of God; Rom. 8:17 …heirs of God, and joint-heirs wtih Christ, 2 Cor. 3:18 changed into the same image from glory to glory, Gal. 4:7 if a son, then an heir of God through Christ, Eph. 4:13…Till we all come…unto a perfect man; Heb. 12:9 Be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live; 1 Jn.3:2…when he shall appear, we shall be like him; Rev. 3:21…him that overcometh will…sit with me in my throne.

    I believe with all my heart that if everyone knew their own potential and the purpose God has for them, they would not only put themselves and others on a pedestal, but this would be a “heaven on earth!” Unfortunately, bot only for the moment, this knowledge comes by faith, and many have never sought the “blueprint” to understand the great love God has for them and the purpose of the condescension of Christ in their behalf.

  155. Amanda said

    Don’t know why my last thing entered twice. Someone should take it off.

    Mike, I agree that it’s wise we stick to “salvation” now that you know that “Mormons” are often talking about “exaltation” when they talk of “salvation.” I hope that both of us are including in our definition of “salvation” from the Bible, “spared from the ultimate consequences of spiritual mistakes,” and from “spiritual death,” or separation from God.” Tell me, what is “Reformed Theology” about? “Reformed” from what? And to what? As long as we both give biblical support for our beliefs, whatever they are, we should be fine.

  156. Mike S said

    That’s a fair statement. “Reformed Theology” is a back to the basics theology from the reformation that began with Martin Luther back in the late 1500’s. Have you ever read Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians? I highly recommend it. You can read and/or download the entire document for free at this site: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/luther/galatians.html

    That will give you about as much information on my beliefs regarding salvation/works/obedience as anything.

  157. Mike S said

    Correction. “Early” 1500’s

  158. Amanda said

    Mike,

    I would be happy to read Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians although even as a Presbyterian, I had some issues with a few of his core interpretations. I remember he once said that he almost wished the book of James hadn’t been written (which explains the minor emphasis some today place upon it.) He was entitled to his opinion, but it was just that–an opinion.

    Can you see that this is like my asking you to read a 6 chapter book in the Book of Mormon? I believe that when you go back to the writings of the first century Christian fathers, even second, many of them were still on the same page as the Apostles in certain core beliefs. It was within this period that Hellenistic thinking crept into the thinking and interpretation of the scribes as they copied the original manuscripts after the Apostles had been killed and John was imprisoned. Christianity became in some ways diverted, and arguments of interpretation began to creep in over some fairly important issues. As you remember, Constantine addressed the major issue threatening the Church in general at that time. The changes stemming from Greek thought continued into the 3rd and fourth centuries AD. Even so, bby God’s grace and miracles, the Bible is still amazingly explicit in what we need to know today. Not quite complete enough, however, that the Restoration didn’t have to occur and The Book of Mormon brought forth.

    It is like a big, beautiful mirror representing the Gospel of Jesus Christ was dropped during this time. Martin Luther picked up a huge chunk of it and tried to restore the mirror as whole. So did Roger Smith and many others who each saw certain aspects of the gospel, but they couldn’t quite agree upon how to put it together. Only a Restoration through the authority of God could accomplish this feat, and today, the mirror is complete once more as to what God has revealed thus far to man.

    So…if you will read 6 chapters of anything I deem pertinent from Latter-day revelation, I will read what Martin Luther wrote. (I will probably read it anyway, but….I had to ask.) I believe he was inspired to pin the 97 (is that the right number?)theses to the Vatican door and to begin the necessary and great Reformation; the only thing Martin Luther lacked was the priesthood of God. Thus we have Roger Smith and John Wesley, etc. going their own ways to form different churches who are also trying to get back to the one Christ established in the days recorded in the New Testament.

    I hope you agree that this would be fair. If not, I will read Martin Luther eventually anyway, but I would expect our comments to remain tied to the biblical writers, not commentary from the Reformation; else let’s go back to the first couple of centuries right after Christ to study the core issues.

    I appreciate your intent, but we don’t want to muddy the waters. I will try to be careful too.

  159. Mike S said

    I understand. I would understand even more so if Luther was saying that his writing was more true than any other book on earth and claimed a critical doctrine was opposite than what you believe. I wouldn’t read it either.

    I understand that his struggle with James was the seemingly contradictory language to Galatians and Romans regarding faith and works. Yet when understood properly these books actually compliment and back each other up. Works are an evidence of faith. Not vice versa.

    Actually it was the 95 Theses. I find it interesting that one of the main points in the theses is that he was driving home the truth that salvation is by faith alone period. I have not read it. I need to do that to confirm.

    I don’t recommend that you read Luther’s writings because I believe they are on par with the Word of God. It’s simply good history and a good exposition in understanding God’s Word. We have many fine theologians and studying their interpretations allows us to “stand on their shoulders of giants” so to speak. As I do with everything I read, or watch or listen to, I compare it against scripture to discern it’s validity and truth. Was Luther wrong about some things? Quite certainly, that’s why we don’t label him as a prophet. A saint maybe. Why? because of what he did? No. Because of what he believed. He was one to make clear that his righteousness was like dung. But it was snow covered dung, because of the gift of Christ’s righteousness that was imputed to him.

    I hope to get back to finish answering post #138 tomorrow or Friday. Do you ever feel like a professional juggler? I feel like I’m juggling rattlesnakes sometimes! No I’m not a snake handler! Just a figure of speech!!

  160. John said

    Not to change the subject guys, but I was wondering Mr.Sears, didn’t Martin Luther once tell Satan [in one of the many arguments that they allegedly had with each other] to “Lick my ass!”? Or is this some kind of theological urban legend?
    Just wondering.I thought it would be funny and cool if this really happened.

  161. Mike S said

    Hey John
    I just came up for air today! It’s been a long one! I would not be surprised if Luther DID say that to Satan. I know that he had some pretty major spiritual battles in his heart and mind, as we all do. One of them right before meeting with the Papal Authority as I recall.

    If you’d like to watch a good biographical (Movie) on Luther try a Google search “Luther 2003”. I have watched it twice now. I think it’s a great movie. It is at most video stores.

  162. John said

    Thank you[toothy grin].

  163. ADB said

    The Luther movie is great, and is pretty sound historically as well. A minor point, the 95 theses primarily addressed the sale of indulgences, not justification by faith per se. An indulgence was a declaration by the church that a person or deceased relative was freed from serving time in purgatory before going to Heaven. Originally, indulgences were given only after some great deed- dying in a crusade for instance, but by 1500 the church was selling them to raise money for building Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Luther nailed the list to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany where he was a professor of theology. This was on Oct. 31, the eve of All Saints’ Day because everyone in the town would be attending the services for All Saints’ Day, and he wanted to spark a theological debate.

  164. Mike S said

    My bad. Thanks for the clarification.

  165. Mike S said

    Amanda
    Back to where I left off. In post #138 you asked,
    “*How do you know if you have faith? If you have faith, are you saved?” YES ABSOLUTELY. “Immediately?” YES “Later?” YES to that too, permanently and forever!!

    We “know” we have faith in several ways. I will share from my personal experience which is also verified (and referenced) biblically.

    Evidence for faith. I possess a NEW nature that I did not have before I believed/trusted Christ.
    oPRIOR TO TRUSTING CHRIST FOR MY SALVATION,
     I had a very dull and hard conscience. In business, I was totally in it for success. I did not hesitate at twisting the truth in order to gain advantage in negotiations. I was a master at justifying myself for the almighty dollar. I felt little or no remorse or guilt when lying or cheating to gain an advantage. Hey that’s just the way the “World” teaches us!! Romans 2:5, Colossians 1:21
     Starting at 13 years old I was convinced that “sex, drugs and rock and roll” were a vital part of my bid for happiness in life, and lived my life in such a pursuit. Ecclesiastes 2:1-3,
     Although I “thought” I was a Christian (Odd huh given the lack of fruit in my life?), I prayed (usually when things got difficult) and read the Bible, yet I had a severe lack of understanding of what I read in the Bible. It was “hard to understand”. Also, I had a belief that if I did more good than bad in the end, God would forgive me. 1 Corinthians 1:18 & 2:14, Ephesians 4:18-19
     I was convinced of the relativistic thought process at least spiritually. Believed that there were “many ways” to get to God. Matthew 7:13

    oYET VERY SHORTLY AFTER RECEIVING CHRIST, (BEING BORN AGAIN):
     My life, purposes, desires and understanding of life exploded into an amazing wealth of understanding, peace, joy, hunger and thirst for more of God. John 14:26-27, 16:13-14, Psalm 63,
     I began to experience conviction in my life regarding the way I was doing business and living my life. God began to change my heart, He gave me a strong desire and ability (through the Holy Spirit) to turn and repent from those ways. Romans 6:6-7, Ezekiel 36:26
     He took away my alcohol addiction in an instant. 1 Peter 4:1-3 I would go out with friends and after a couple of beers, He took away my taste for it. I would stop and they would say “what’s up with you?” I told them why and one of them, Doug, started to quiz me constantly and was perplexed with my new found faith and life change. After 6 years of witnessing the change in my life and searching for truth for himself, ultimately trusted Christ and was also “born again”, more about his change below.
     I used to be steeped in pornography and saw nothing wrong with it but God changed my heart. While I still struggle some with lustful temptations, I praise God for battle going on within me because it is proof of the Holy Spirit in my heart and life. Colossian 1:21-22,
     God has given me such a strong thirst and hunger for righteousness. Although sometimes I get confused and forget “whose righteousness” that I have, (HIS, not mine). Philippians 3:9, yet “His Spirit that is in me is greater that the one in the world” 1 John 4:4, Matthew 5:6
     He has also given me a strong and growing desire for more of His Word. Deuteronomy 8:3, Psalm 19, 2 Peter 1:19

    Here is a living example of this “evidence” in the stark change in my best friend’s life after he came into a relationship with Christ at the age of 44 after 6 years of searching diligently for the truth.

    A large group of his friends were extremely perplexed by the changes in his attitude and began talking about him and accusing him of “going over the top”, being extreme in his beliefs, all of a sudden becoming a “Jesus freak”. Here is an e-mail that I wrote to them:

    Isn’t it puzzling to witness the immediate and stark change in a man with whom we have all enjoyed partying and hucking it up about those kind of crude jokes and photos to which he now seems to look down his nose. What’s up with that? All of a sudden, all this guy talks about is God and Jesus Christ. Do you think he really has found something here? I don’t know all of you, but I have known Doug since he was 14 years old. I have to tell you that to me the change is amazing.

    Could it be that this, “born again” thing that some Christians claim is real? Why does Doug all of a sudden have his nose stuck in the Bible all the time and is now making claims about truth and what is good? If you will let me, I will offer an explanation that is thousands of years old. If any of you have studied the Bible to a certain extent, you will have found that what has happened to Doug is specifically described in these ancient texts. But first let me confirm where Doug is NOT coming from, which is also described in this same source.

    Doug is not “born again” because of ANYTHING that he has done, he has not earned his way into God’s acceptance. No religious exercise, no formula that he followed, not by reaching a certain level of “goodness”, not by doing good things, nor praying in a certain way, etc. has allowed him to reach this point in his life or faith. On the contrary it is rather a realization of his inadequacy in all of these things that has served to convince him that he needed help. Jesus used to get in the faces of people who thought they were better than others because they did all of these religious things. He told them things like, “You fools, you think that by doing all of these things that you are holy, but you refuse to come to me to have life.” While Doug apparently does a lot of these religious things now, what is different is the source of his motivation for doing such things.

    600 years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Ezekiel made this promise on behalf of God, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Then when Christ was walking this earth with his disciples, He made the following promises, “Whoever believes in me, streams of living water will flow from within him.” “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have eternal life.” “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

    Paul confirmed this by making the following claims in his writings: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”, and “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” and ” Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

    Paul also made this claim, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” Guys, what we are witnessing here is living proof of the power of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Many believe that Christians are self righteous and hypocrites. While that statement is true of many, a true “born again” Christian does not believe in their OWN righteousness at all. No we are confident that our own “good deeds” are worthless filthy rags. What this last verse I quoted from Paul means is that through our “faith alone” in Christ, that we are given “the perfect righteousness of Christ” as a gift, by grace alone. What that means is when we trust in Christ to have taken the punishment that we deserve, God looks at us and sees the perfection of Christ, not all of our sins and flaws. It is because of this truth that we desire to respond out of gratitude for this amazing grace that has been lavished upon us. Paul also says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” True Christianity is simply a love response to the love we have received. That is what you see happening with Doug. Doug has come to know and understand magnitude of God’s grace and love. As a loving response Doug is seeking and desiring to know God more through His Word, to be obedient to God by sharing and spreading the news about the grace that his been given to him.

    I know… That was an awful long answer to “How do I “know”… There is a steadfast anchor in my soul and I also have the promise that “God will never leave me or forsake me”. John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” There is SO much proof, I could go on and on, oops… I guess I just did. To be continued…

  166. Amanda said

    Mike,

    Thanks for the response. I didn’t even check yesterday, as it was good to do other things.

    About Martin Luther: I remembered about the sale of indulgences (and we are talking junior high and high school education here as a Presbyterian and in public school). It’s no wonder I’m a bit rusty. I remember too that as a monk, he was into self mutilation as many of them were; and he wasn’t enjoying that either, much less feeling closer to God as a result. I hope I am not mixing him up with someone else. I’m pretty sure it was him. I would love to refresh my history of those I admire, but I know that your time is limited, and so I felt we shouldn’t get into a discussion on Martin Luther. He also, and of this I am sure, recommended that a man take a second wife rather than to divorce in the Church during his day. We could easily run down rabbit trails with him and his opinions, which were soundly based upon the logic as a Bible based Christian of his time.

    Again, I certainly don’t want to come across as being against the Reformation. WE ALL stand on the shoulders of giants who sacrificed for our own religious freedom as well as their own and who realized and “put into action” their “feelings” born of reading the word of God that “something was rotten in Denmark –I mean, Rome.” I love the man and meant no criticism. It would actually have been a better comparison for me to say that reading an extensive commentary of his now would be like my asking you to read commentary from early outstanding members of our church who were willing to risk their lives to stand on their testimonies of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and take it to the world. Obviously, former Protestant converts to “Mormonism” would not be recommending that our nonmember friends should read the Book of Mormon if we didn’t believe with all of our hearts that it is the word of God. Nor is the Book of Mormon “competing” with the Bible, something that is extremely hard to get across to those who will not read it. I would say without equivocation to you that it is the Bible’s “best friend in print–even more so than Martin Luther”– because the same Spirit that witnesses of one, witnesses of the other and confirms the truthfulness of the Bible. This is one of the key purposes of the Book of Mormon, to ” make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” (1 Nephi 13:40)

    And yes, works are definitely an evidence of faith. The Bible, however, does not make obedience optional for those who love God. That is the whole purpose behind the gift of repentance. When one does bad or evil, he feels guitly. That guilt will not go away until he “makes it right” and asks for forgivenss, both of the person offended and, for a Christian, of God. If man were saved eternally for all willful sins past, present and future upon his conversion and reception of faith, why would there be guilt? Ever? Why would we feel a need to make things right? Even more importantly, if you say that “saving faith will MAKE you want to ‘make things right’ and turn from sin, I would certainly agree; but it is also essential for your justification before God to continue intact. The gift of repentance is not optional for Christians; It is an essential tool, according to the Bible. As we look at the Bible, please remember that many Christians already agree with me on this issue, and since the Bible seems to support this stance as well, a disagreement over the issue should not determine that Mormonism is “evil” or unbiblical.

    I will stop now to carefully read your post #165 before responding, and so it may or may not be tomorrow before I can do that.

    Thanks again for you time and interest in clarification.

    Amanda

  167. Amanda said

    Mike,

    Thank you for your beautiful testimony. I have absolutely no doubt that it is real just as I have no doubt that the hundreds of testimonies about conversions in my own church are real and of God. I know your words are true also because the Spirit witnesses to the truthfulness of your own story insomuch that your growth and symtpoms (thirst for righteousness and for His Word) as you experienced this mighty change run parallel to my experience. The first of every month is fast and testimony meeting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is my very favorite Sunday for the very reason that I always feel so “fed” by the Spirit of the Lord witnessing as others speak by the power of the Holy Ghost and share their experiences, conversions and faith-promoting experiences and answer to prayer. The Spirit penetrates my heart and mind as I listen. I leave renewed in spirit as I do every Sunday, but these days are the most special to me. This is one of the reasons that President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Converts are the life’s blood of the Church.” Every conversion is a miracle, and mine was also, just as yours was. I cherish hearing about the reality of God and His hand in the lives of others.

    Nor would I ever be so rude as to accuse you of basing your assurance of salvation or your testimony of Christ only upon “feelings” as every “anti_Mormon” I have ever written has accused me. The very scriptures and verses you shared in substantiation of the reality of your conversion story are ones which I would include in mine, plus all the scriptures of my youth which the Spirit brought to my mind as I was studying Mormonism with the Bible in one hand and the BOM in the other. Imagine my surprise when scriptures I read in the Book of Mormon and in the Doctrine & Covenants told exactly what I was going through in my struggle for answers from God, my study of the gospel, and the process by which I was growing; but I have never gotten that far in sharing with people who in essence call me a liar before I’ve gotten started. Those in your position whom I have written, who assumed that either I was lying or was deceived, do not “receive” my witness at all, demonstrating that they are not in any way prepared to search for the possible truth involved in the topic at hand—Mormonism, a truth that is indisputable in my mind and heart.

    I falsely assumed when the Lord spoke the truthfulness of it to my mind and heart that ANY true believer would automatically be able to discern the truthfulness of this work immediately, but I found that Satan “blinds the eyes,” “hardens the hearts,” and entices with falsehoods and misinformation the believers who are educated about my religion in Baptist bookstores—and even public libraries– before they can come close enough to receive anything. (The Church made huge progress in the 1980’s of placing more accurate information, and the BOM itself, in libraries.) The Book of Mormon reveals the wiles of Satan in great detail, and everything written there regarding his ways and tools and techniques has been verified to me tenfold as a Mormon.

    I would love to share my conversion story with you in real detail, but I will just address a few things at this moment. (If you’re ever interested, just say so.) Let’s just say that while you were giving up alcohol, pornography, lying, and cheating, I was taking back to a book store a picture of Paul McCartney I had stolen—ripped out, so I wouldn’t have to buy the book, apologizing to my college roommate for the sinful, sensual example I had set in college with my boyfriend whom I “was going to—and did– marry anyway;” but mostly, I was turning away from a self-absorbed life based upon pleasing myself and staying aloof from the world with the love of my life. (I was a kindergarten teacher, and what I had with each class was “holy” to me; my marriage, however, was the most important thing in my life, but how satisfying could that be if marriage were for “time” only, and how could God ever fill the spiritual emptiness within me and reveal His reality to me? I prayed about that with as much faith as I could muster after I was married upon graduation. I will also bear witness of the fact that I was never in all my life a “reader,” that my Magna Cum Laude–whoopie! AB degree at Lenoir-Rhyne College (a Lutheran college) was earned from reading, studying, and spitting back only that which was required of me; but also that when I started investigating “Mormonism” with an honest heart, God gave me the passion and gift of LOVING to read all things spiritual, especially the Bible and Book of Mormon which had required too much concentration from me up to that point! (I am ADHD, and so are my children.) I stopped teaching K-1 at the end of three years which enabled me to devote full time to studying. I wasn’t baptized into the Church until 9 months of praying and visiting other churches (to please my parents) had passed — plus studying, attending the LDS Church as well as one other Protestant church each Sunday, talking in person with my Presbyterian pastor, etc.) Reading the Bible and Book of Mormon became my greatest passion because I had faith that God would reveal the truthfulness or the fraudulence of it to me as I did so and as I observed the Church in action. I also had the opposition of my entire, faithful Presbyterian family on both sides against me, and I wasn’t willing to give up my parents for something NOT true! (God blessed me all along the way, and although they didn’t speak to me for 7 months, my father’s heart softened to the Spirit, and he became a great mediator between me and my mother. For 30 years, God’s hand was evident in my relationship with them and His love kept the door open, but it also took following the promptings of the Spirit to me about things like going to family reunions, doing a family newsletter for them, attending funerals and weddings out of town (all out of a God-given love for them which increased as my love of God did.) When my folks died 3o years later, we were in a good place. They had learned that family ties were more important than “being right.” More importantly, they had seen the fruits of our family and my children children and the good Latter-day Saints they married. Their fear of the unknown and the highly suspicious “Mormonism” and what it might do to me had been put to rest. They knew that I loved God, that I had a true and living faith, and they grew never to question my relationship with Him.)

    This is only scratching the surface of my conversion, and I don’t want to make this too much like “work” for you. I had an unshakeable answer from God in only one month of demonstrating my sincerity by doing my part (He always requires this of us, when appropriate, as we seek blessings at His hand—a story in itself, but I also had to wait for my happy and complacent husband to be converted. He wasn’t interested in a lifestyle change in the beginning.) The Church isn’t here to split families apart, and thankfully, our story had a happy ending. We who weren’t, by choice, going to have any children at all, were blessed with 6 children, and raising them in the Church and with Church resources has been such a blessing!

    I told Brad that the greatest evidence of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon in my mind is the change it effects in the lives of those who love God. Of course, he threw that right back at me. He doesn’t have to believe it in order for it to be true, just as God doesn’t cease to exist for you just because unbelievers might tell you He doesn’t. You KNOW He does! I know He does too!

    For two years, 3 days a week, after my baptism into the Church, I received very hurtful letters from my mother about my making this change in my life. Often, I was reduced to tears; but on those same 3 days, the Lord had inspired my wonderful cousin who lives in Charlotte to write me letters of love and support, sometimes two at a time, and I had never told her about my mother’s letters. (She wasn’t even Mormon!) My testimony of His love and of the rightness of my decision, which I never doubted after receiving answer in prayer, never faltered, but all the extra blessings continued to increase. My husband and I made the same amount of money our first year of marriage. When I decided (spiritually) to stay home and have and raise children unto God, his salary doubled and after two years, tripled. God has blessed us throughout the years although it has been difficult for some years at a time financially. Tithing has brought some very rich, serious blessings, both spiritual and temporal, which we do not have time for here—just as have priesthood blessings.

    I personally am nothing but happy for you and others whose hearts and lives have taken on the “mighty change” of being “born again” that brings you closer to God. I have never said that one has to be “Mormon” to know God and Jesus Christ. One has to believe the God of the Bible, however, just as he does to become a full-blooded “Mormon”. I will give you a biblical stance for our beliefs on salvation, justification and sanctification next if you will indulge me. Some of our, yours and mine, beliefs certainly coincide, especially on the grace of God, and not being able to take credit for any of the blessings in our lives as being based upon OUR works (what God doeth, it shall last forever, not man); but as I said, I have never met anyone in your or Doug’s situation who did not have to pray and read his scriptures before he was converted to Christ and before he “knew” that he was “saved.”

    Nor have I known anyone in your position or mine, who — if they ceased their good habit of reading the word of God, coming to church, and living in a way they knew was pleasing unto God– were able to maintain the gift of a “saving faith.” That faith dwindled each time, and if one thinks there are no consequences for letting one’s self be “overcome by the world,” through lazily allowing his faith to dwindle through disobedience or sins of omission (1 Jn. 2:13, 1 John 5:1-5, Rom. 12:21)I would only advise a re-reading of the Bible with that in mind. Without our participation, and “hearing the word of God,” salvation cannot take place. Does that mean we save ourselves? Mormons would say, “No!” But… we have to be willing to let someone share with us the word of God; or go to a church where the word of God is taught instead of sleeping in on Sundays, or open up our Bibles and read them, not to mention, listen to the Spirit as we ponder those words of eternal life and strive to apply them in our lives. The thing we most likely agree upon here is that this process of “overcoming” is generated by faith and accomplished only through the grace of God and through faith, or real belief, not lip service, in His name.

    If there were a true and living Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth today, it would, as I read the Bible, contain the things referenced in ACTS and the NT Church that Jesus and His Apostles established and which they wrote about. It seems to me to go without saying that if the Church of God wasn’t here or was withdrawn after God’s authority through His chosen Apostles disappeared, the many Protestant churches who later followed Him from their reading of the Bible would come up with different explanations, substitutions, or omissions of things that might require that authority as they tried their best to return to the pure Church of Jesus Christ which they read about in the Bible. This is no insult; it is human nature and the response of men with good intentions and a desire to please God.

    Looking forward to your next post.
    Thanks, Mike.

  168. Amanda said

    Mike,

    Having reread your post #165, I suspect that you believe that all the evidences of your spiritual conversion to Christ are proof of salvation for all sins–past, present, and future, regardless of the future and present actions over which you have control. (Again, please tell me if I am misunderstanding). The scriptures you gave in the last paragraph are, as are all things in the Bible as you mentioned Galatians as well as James, true as understood in proper context, but can you show me scripturally anything that supports your belief that you can willfully sin and maintain your “saved” condition without using the gift of repentance? I gave you Hebrews 10:26-29 regarding this prinicple a while back (and it is referring to those who have already “come unto Christ,” members of His Church. I’m still not sure where these verses fit into your picture of salvation. From my understanding of the Bible overall, John 10:28 applies only to those who believe in or have faith in Christ–and also to those who do so based upon the words of the Apostles. They are also his followers in righteousness, and Satan has no power over those (us included)whom Jesus prayed for UNLESS they (we) give it to him through deliberate disobedience. This does not, to me, say there is “unconditional” salvation in the sense of eternal life which means dwelling in the presence of God. It is free to us as long as we do not willfully turn against its Giver in our actions and words.

    Can you address what you think the verses saying we will receive “according to our works” mean in the biblical gospel plan? Perhaps you are planning to do that in your next post.

    I am waiting for your “go ahead” to hit the scriptural exposition on why “Mormons” place such an emphasis on works. I believe you are still confused about how they fit in overall from our biblical perspective. (Still thinking that we believe our works save us, adding to or detracting from Christ’s Atonement…). We believe they are essential in the process of achieving “righteousness,” which you say you desired strongly after your conversion, essential in becoming Christlike and receiving the fulness of God’s grace and eternal reward, but insufficient to add to or take away from the Atonement and Salvation itself.

    As a Father, you do for your children what they cannot do for themselves. You would not walk for them, chew for them, run for them, tie their shoes forever in their behalf, or make all of their decisions for them–or you would raise lazy children who could not fend for themselves or choose the right on their own, much less follow in your footsteps. God expects us to develop our own spiritual muscles, according to His example and words, as we “come follow Him.” Only when His children choose the right and step in the right direction do they develop the God-given strength and ability through sanctification to become more like Him. If we fail to continue on the path of righteousness, those “muscles” weaken and can fail us when we need them most–which will be obvious in the day of Judgment when God “renders unto every man according to his works.”

    That’s just a thought from today, Monday.I had a fantastic Sabbath Day and trust you did too!

  169. John said

    Congrads on your new religious president Amanda.

  170. Mike S said

    Good Morning Amanda
    Thanks for your heartfelt post/testimony. I can in no way doubt your experience and can clearly see that you are very passionate and driven regarding your beliefs. I also, appreciate your questions you have posed. Yes I was getting to those in my forthcoming post. I do have to ask for some more time once again, as I am in a crunch for time in my various duties.

    Blessings

  171. Amanda said

    John,

    I appreciate your congratulations. Thanks. 🙂 Unlike the race for the Presidency of the United States, our transitions are smooth as silk and unanimously sustained. It was a sweet affair, but Pres. Hinckley will be missed. He was sustained as our leader for 14 years, and served with other presidencies for 14 years before that. His energy put many younger men to shame. As he would say, “When you have 12 million people praying for you, it makes a difference!” He was 97.

    Mike,

    Thanks for letting me know. I will “chill” until hear from you.

    Amanda

  172. John said

    You are welcome, Amanda.

  173. Mike S said

    Amanda
    Your questions have served to ignite an extensive study into the book of Hebrews. I have spent more time reading and studying (and subsequent rejoicing in the truths contained therein) than I have spent writing anything over the past fews days. I have made some notes but it will take a few more days of this joyful process to pull it all together.

    This process has been amazing over the past few days. I spend my first 1 1/2 hours in early morning study, then I begin my 30 to 45 minute workout, during which I have been listening to Max McLean recite some “Christian Classics” as well as listening to them on my 45 minute drive to and from work. These “Classics” are:

    St. Augustine’s Confession and Conversion
    George Whitfield’s Famous Sermon “The Method of Grace”
    Jonathon Edwards Famous Sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
    John Bunyan’s Allegory “Pilgrim’s Progress”

    Combining these wonderful teachings with a study and confirmation of the underpinnings of “Reformed Theology” while having a specific focus on Faith and Works has led me to submerge myself into the book of Hebrews once again. (My favorite book in the Bible by the way) I am excited about how fruitful this process is for me and I pray that I can exposit these lessons in a way that encourages and edifies you into a clearer understanding of this doctrine and why we believe what we do.

    Have a great day!!

  174. Amanda said

    Mike,

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your research. That’s how scripture study is: it always leaves us, when we are led by the Spirit, to want more. I rejoice in all the words of the prophets, living and dead. The footnotes cross-referencing all four of our standard works are simply amazing in allowing me to be absorbed in profitable searching of the scriptures. This fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prohpecy in Ezek. 37:15-20 is something that I plan never to take for granted. In 1982, after the new LDS edition cross-referencing ALL the scriptures was introduced, Elder Boyd K. Packer said:

    “The stick or record of Judah–the Old Testament and the New Testament–and the stick or record of Ephraim–the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ–are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands. Ezekiel’s prophecy now stands fufilled.

    With the passing of years, these scriptures will produce successive generations of faithful Christians who know the Lord Jesus Christ and are disposed to obey His will.

    The older generation has been raised without them, but there is another generation growing up. The revelations will be opened to them as to no other in the history of the world. Into their hands now are placed the sticks of Joseph and of Judah. They will develop a gospel scholarship beyond that which their forebears could achieve. They will have the testimony that Jesus is the Christ and be competent to proclaim Him and to defend Him.”

    He went on to comment at a later date:

    “There are Church watchers in and out of the Church, who show great interest in what we do. They watch what they define as power structure, the resources of the Church, the changes in organization, the political and social issues: and they draw conclusions from their watching. They write their observations and print them in publications and represent them to be accurate and objective reports of what is going on in the Church. In all of their watching and claiming, they have missed the most important of all the things that we have done in recent generations. Some of them say we …are not Christians. Should they turn to that one thing in which they show the least interest and in which they have the least knowledge, the scriptures and the revelations (to me he is referring especially here to the latter-day scriptures), they would find in the Topical Guide 58 categories of information about Jesus Christ; eighteen pages of small print, single-speaced, list literally thousands of scriptural references on the subject.

    These references from the four volumes of scripture constitute the most comprehensive compilation of scriptural information on the mission and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ that has ever been assembled in the history of the world.

    The work affirms an acceptance of, a reverence for, and a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. Follow those references and you will open the door to whose church this is, what it teaches and by whose authority–all anchored to the sacred name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Redeemer, our Lord.”

    Each day as I feast upon the word of God, I rejoice in the truthfulness of every thought expressed here. Shortly after I joined the Church, when I was called upon to teach lessons and give talks, I would check out all the articles from General Conference talks on the topic at hand from the last 10 years in addition to reading all the scriptures to which the latter-day prophets and the topical guide in the Bible and standard works referred. My testimony of both latter-day and ancient prophets grew immensely as a result. Of course, besides bearing witness of the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of the everlasting gospel through angelic ministration (Rev. 14:6-7)and the calling of a latter day prophet, part of the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21), a primary job of the latter day prophets and apostles is to teach us how to better understand and live the words of all that has already been revealed.

    Apart from these most important resources, I do enjoy reading books of a spiritual nature from James Dobson and C.S. Lewis, which I find very edifying and strengthening too.

    I do look forward to what you have to say, Mike, and I appreciate your taking it seriously enough to study and (I suspect) pray about what you will say.

    Amanda

  175. Mike S said

    hmmm… back to Hebrews. I’ll try to post my study tomorrow. Yes, I do, will, continue to… pray… and He is so faithful to guide. John 16:13

  176. Amanda said

    Mike,

    I know you are a busy man, but I can’t help but see your name all over other topics on this blog.

    Let’s make this simple and concise and non-time consuming. We can address our differences (which apparently cause you and others to label us non-Christian) with only one conclusive, clear verse or parable from the Bible indicating that one can willfully sin, fail to repent, and still be considered a candidate for eternal salvation. (Brad taught me well.) The thing is, sincerely, I can exegesis all day long that our participation in the process–obeying our “Master” is essential to our salvation.

    I know you are a serious Christian. Just give me the serious answer that causes you to hold such a doctrine. I will still consider you a Christian even if your belief is indefensible in this area.

    Amanda

  177. Mike S said

    Good Morning Amanda
    My responses on the other blog entries are just that, “quick and concise”. These are typically to individuals who are not ones who take time for serious dialogue. Although my posts are open to encouraging just that. During my day I do take time to keep up with the entries and will make quick responses.

    I hope you can see that my (studied and prayed upon) responses to you are out of sheer respect for you and your desire to “go deep”. I am a little perplexed by your comment that I have labeled you a non-Christian. I do not nor have I ever claimed to know whether or not you have trusted Christ completely for your salavation. That is between you and Christ. I have however, seriously questioned the doctrine. Hence our deep responses.

    I am about half way through the study on Hebrews right now and I could post what I have written so far but it would lose it’s continuity if I did so now. Amanda, I hope that you can see that my deliberations and desire to be scripturally thorough and correct, rather than quick emotional responses that I have witnessed as well as participated in on this blog, is proof that I respect you and care that you get the best possible answer so that you may gain the understanding of what I beleive and why.

    Thanks for your patience with me.

  178. Anonymous said

    I understand.

    I assumed from your comments about my church and about Joseph Smith in the past that you would not call it a “Christian” church. (You may be talking about me as an individual instead of the Church, in which case, I could only say that anything “good or virtuous” in my life–in the context of Paul’s words to the Philippians in chapter 4:7-8–has come from the blessings that have flowed from God directly through His restored Church and the knowledge and influence of the Holy Ghost which He has bestowed upon me.) It is certainly not a “Reformed”, (Theologically) Christian” church, but it is utterly, from its conception until now, “Christian”, having been established by Jesus Christ Himself–and there is only one Jesus Christ, no matter what those ignorant of the Book of Mormon have said. As of today, 13 million people who have read the BOM and latter day revelations with genuine sincerity and open, unpolluted minds, and who have listened to its General Conferences, publicly profess that it is “Christian” in word and deed.

    Thank you for making those remarks. It helps to know that you take the discussion seriously.

    Amanda

  179. Mike S said

    In your post # 65 you used the example of Hebrews 10:26-29 as a lead in to the importance of obedience and an indication that if a believer ceased to “obey” they were at risk of losing their salvation. I believe that you are excluding the consideration that Hebrews 10:26-39 (notice that there are another 10 verses that are important to see the context here) and others like it are referring to someone who only had a “taste” of faith and not a true saving faith. Having already offered that explanation in my post #54, I will expand on that some more. Verse 10:39 (But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved) indicates that the individual described is not a believer. Verse 26 in all versions describes someone who has received “knowledge of the truth”. Does this mean someone who is saved? Can someone understand the Gospel but not really have faith? Not having put their trust in Christ for their salvation? Certainly.

    Let’s take some time to study the context of this passage by gaining an understanding of the theme of the whole book. Early in the book of Hebrews the writer begins to warn and describe individuals who are on the edge of true faith and continually, throughout the whole book he compares these individuals to people who possess true faith (belief/trust). Beginning in Chapter 2:1-2 he warns against drifting away and talks about the punishment associated, yet it is clear in verse 3 that the writer is referring to a non-believer, someone who ignores the salvation offered.

    As I studied through the book of Hebrews, I began to recognize a pattern I have never seen before;
    Chapter 1 Claims Jesus Authority and equality with God (and superiority over angels)
    2:1-3 Contrasts belief with unbelief
    2:4 thru 3:5 Describes Jesus’ perfect work on earth and superiority over man (Moses)
    3:6 thru 4:13 Contrasts unbelief with belief
    4:14 thru 5:10 Points to Jesus’ High priesthood
    5:11 thru 6:20 Contrasts unbelief with belief
    Chapters 7 & 8 Describe in detail Jesus’ Priesthood and its effects on believers
    Chapter 9 Contrasts shadows and copies with the real thing
    10:1-18 Describes the permanence of Jesus’ work
    10:19-39 Contrasts a true believer’s response to an “edge believer’s” response
    Chapter 11 Describes Faith in the promise (Christ)
    Chapter 12 Contrasts God’s discipline to believers vs. judgment upon unbelievers
    Chapter 13 Closes with exhortation to live “In Christ”

    Chapter 3:12 describes someone who “turns away” from God as someone who has an unbelieving heart. Again, an unbeliever. The writer uses the example of many who were in the desert for 40 years. Do you not think that there were many “unbelievers” in the desert? Of all those who experienced the miracles through Moses, it is obvious that most of them were just along for the ride. Enjoying the benefits of hanging with the true believers who were being blessed/delivered by their faith. The deliverance out of Egypt was a “shadow/copy” of the ultimate deliverance to come through the promise. 4:1-3 says “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest…” then verse 6 says “It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.” The ones who were “disobedient” (most of them) were obviously the ones without faith. I am reminded of Jesus claim that “few will enter through the narrow gate”.

    Then at the end of chapter 5 and the beginning of chapter 6 he describes someone who is in danger of falling away. 6:4 describes this individual as having been “enlightened”, “tasted the heavenly gift”, and “shared in the Holy Spirit”. Now reading this in context with the previous passages as described above it is quite clear that the individual being described here is NOT a true believer. In the same context, this individual is just like the unbelievers who were among those delivered out of Egypt. Being blessed by, tasting, witnessing (being enlightened), because they were hanging out with true believers. Being nourished by the manna from heaven, water from the rock, quail, etc. These are individuals who believe they possess faith because they understand the principles, they believe that Jesus is the Christ, (so do Satan and his demons by the way), they have benefited and been blessed through their association and ministry involvement. Even one of the 12 disciples, Judas, obviously fit into this category.

    Back in your post #117 you said, “I see no scriptural support for God being “saddled with a Judas,” adopted or not, for eternity.” I recall you mentioning Judas before in this similar way. You seem to refer to Judas as someone whom you believe had faith and fell away.

    Do you not think that it is more likely that Judas never had faith to begin with, at least not a true transforming heart faith? Let me ask it this way. Do you believe that it is possible that many people comprehend the Gospel, they understand it with their mind but do not apprehend it, or embrace it with their heart? We know that even Satan himself believes in Christ and His deity. Do you not think that Judas was a perfect example of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, even if it was unwittingly so?

    I think that Judas was an earnest follower of Christ. He witnessed the miracles, maybe even performed some miracles himself, he participated in the blessings of being close to Jesus, yet in the end he was one of those who could have said, (had he not betrayed Jesus and been clearly guilty before Him), “Lord, Lord, did I not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?”

    There are obviously MANY people that fit into this category. But sadly He will say “depart from me I never knew you.” Just like the unbelievers in the desert, they will not enter the promise land.

    The entire book of Hebrews is really cool because it explains how the entire Old Testament and all of the occurrences recorded therein are “patterns”, “shadows” and “copies” of the reality that was to come in the future through Christ. When you look at the Old Testament in that light, you really begin to see the amazing and sovereign providence of God working out His perfect purposes through a very sinful and fallen mankind. I could really go off on a tangent here by painting a picture of all of the “shadows and copies” and their fulfillments in Christ such as the ram in the thicket, the boiling pot passing through the animal pieces, etc., etc. but I will spare the space here for now.

    Then in Hebrews 6:7-8 the writer draws a short analogy (parable) that compares land that produces a good crop from the same rain (blessings from God) that falls on land that produces bad crops. Matthew 5:45, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” That applies even to those who THINK they are righteous but are not! Peter describes these same individuals in 2 Peter 2:17-22. Verse 20 says they are ones who have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing (notice he does not say “trusting”) our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who are again entangled in it and overcome by it (the world), they are worse off at the end than they were in the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness at all.

    I really think (very sadly) that a large percentage of people in churches (all denominations) today are people who have heard and understood, even believed the truths of the Gospel, yet they have never “come to the end of themselves” and totally submitted themselves to Christ as Lord of their lives. Before St. Augustine was converted back in 387 AD, he wrestled with trying to obey God’s Word but was totally broken because he was not able to obey. I found it even comical how honest he was with God and himself during this time of struggle. He prayed “Oh Lord give me chastity and self control… but not yet!” Although he understood the Gospel, he was not willing or able to submit himself to it. He desired to maintain the control in his life. With some people it is their lusts for sexual desires, for others it is their lust for the approval of others, for many it’s the simple desire to remain in control of their own lives, and for others it’s their lust for their OWN righteousness, not Christ’s. There are thousands of other reasons. They have not received the Spirit of Truth who takes up PERMANENT residence in the hearts of those who do submit their wills to Him.

    In order to confirm that the individuals being described in these passages are NOT really true believers it is also critical that we refer to passages that are clear regarding the assurance that a true believer is encouraged to have. Passages such as Romans 8:28-39 and again John 10:27-29.

    I think the reason the writer of Hebrews keeps going back and forth is to continually drive home the point that it is the “work of Christ” ALONE that conquers sin and secures our righteousness. In Hebrews 7:18 he states that the “law made nothing perfect”, and 7:27 describes how Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins once for all. Chapter’s 9 and 10 describe the ALL SUFFICIENCY of Christ’s work on the cross, as well as the PERMANENCE of it. Then he wraps up with Chapter 10 by comparing the law (which includes obedience to it) as being a shadow and copy of the perfection to come in Christ. Verses 15 thru 25 are a glorious promise to us that our sins will be remembered no more (notice no if’s or but’s are part of this promise). And part of that transaction (which also includes imputation “both ways”, our sin imputed to Christ on the cross and His righteousness imputed to us through the resurrection), is a PERMANENT promise and receipt that we can have FULL ASSURANCE of faith, and our consciences are made clean.

    Then in 10:26-39, the writer begins to make the contrast once again between a true believer and a false believer as confirmed in verse 39. Thankfully we are the ones who “believe and are saved”.

    Amanda, you have said many times in your recent posts that works do not save us, add to, or take away from “Atonement/Salvation”, yet I find it puzzling that you turn right around and contradict that statement and add works as “conditions” to salvation. Look back at some of your posts about this. Each time you say that works or obedience can not add to or take away from salvation you begin to contradict that by adding conditions, “if you obey…”, “if one stays on the path…”, “if one remains faithful…”, “what we must do in order to be children…”, “It is free to us as long as…” If it is as you say, that works/obedience can not add to or take away from salvation, then there are no if’s, and’s, or but’s. It is unconditional.

    If it is as Mormons believe, that the cross is only a PART of the picture and you have to “complete” your salvation with good works, then you can not be saved without them and therefore it is really your works which make the difference between your being in God or out of God. Therefore there is reason to “boast about your flesh”, your own efforts. This just does not hold up Biblically.

    You quite often refer to “evangelicals” and your posts seem to imply that we do not take obedience/good works seriously because we do not believe they play a part in our justification. Some poet once said something like “God is a God of forgiveness. He loves sinners, and I love to sin, what a great relationship.” While the original sin that is within us by nature can certainly feed an attitude like this, this is not the heart of a true believer. Our sin breaks our hearts. And we are very serious about the obedience we are commanded to.

    In my next post I will paint a picture of Reformed Theology’s view of “Good Works” and the importance and effects that they offer a believer.

  180. Mike S said

    I have been listening to George Whitfield’s sermon, “The Method of Grace” (Narrated by Max McLean) given back in Scotland in the 1700’s. It is one of the most profound and theologically correct sermon’s I have heard. In this sermon he is preaching on Jeremiaha 6:14. It is a great exposition of The Method of Grace wooing the soul of man, contrasting a false grace as well as contrasting the method of works which so many people get mixed up.

    He begins by explaining that before we can have true peace (meaning salvation and the assurance thereof), we must first be convicted of our actual sins against God, our original sin nature (which is the foundation of sin in our heart and life inherited from Adam), our “own” righteousness, and our unbelief.

    The section on “righteousnes” is particularly applicable to our topic here and expands futher on Luther’s teaching about righteousness. “Those who do not… trust in His favor, grace, and goodwill, but seek His favor in other things or in themselves, do not keep this (First) Commandment (to have no other god’s before Him), and practice real idolatry, even if they do they works of all the other commandments…” Any effort of our own to earn our salvation creates “idols” of necessity.

    Here is the section of Whitfield’s sermon addressing “righteousness”:

    Further: before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must not only be troubled for the sins of your life, the sin of your nature, but likewise for the sins of your best duties and performances. When a poor soul is somewhat awakened by the terrors of the Lord, then the poor creature, being born under the covenant of works, flies directly to a covenant of works again. And as Adam and Eve hid themselves among the trees of the garden, and sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness, so the poor sinner, when awakened, flies to his duties and to his performances, to hide himself from God, and goes to patch up a righteousness of his own.

    Says he, I will be mighty good now _ I will reform _ I will do all I can; and then certainly Jesus Christ will have mercy on me. But before you can speak peace to your heart, you must be brought to see that God may damn you for the best prayer you ever put up; you must be brought to see that all your duties _ all your righteousness _ as the prophet elegantly expresses it _ put them all together, are so far from recommending you to God, are so far from being any motive and inducement to God to have mercy on your poor soul, that he will see them to be filthy rags, a menstruous cloth _ that God hates them, and cannot away with them, if you bring them to him in order to recommend you to his favor.

    My dear friends, what is there in our performances to recommend us unto God? Our persons are in an unjustified state by nature, we deserve to be damned ten thousand times over; and what must our performances be? We can do no good thing by nature: `They that are in the flesh cannot please God.’ You may do many things materially good, but you cannot do a thing formally and rightly good; because nature cannot act above itself.

    It is impossible that a man who is unconverted can act for the glory of God; he cannot do anything in faith, and `whatsoever is not of faith is sin.’ After we are renewed, yet we are renewed but in part, indwelling sin continues in us, there is a mixture of corruption in every one of our duties; so that after we are converted, were Jesus Christ only to accept us according to our works, our works would damn us, for we cannot put up a prayer but it is far from that perfection which the moral law requireth. I do not know what you may think, but I can say that I cannot pray but I sin _ I cannot preach to you or any others but I sin _ I can do nothing without sin; and, as one expresseth it, my repentance wants to be repented of, and my tears to be washed in the precious blood of my dear Redeemer. Our best duties are as so many splendid sins.

    Before you can speak peace in your heart, you must not only be made sick of your original and actual sin, but you must be made sick of your righteousness, of all your duties and performances. There must be a deep conviction before you can be brought out of your self-righteousness; it is the last idol taken out of our heart. The pride of our heart will not let us submit to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But if you never felt that you had no righteousness of your own, if you never felt the deficiency of your own righteousness, you cannot come to Jesus Christ.

    There are a great many now who may say, Well, we believe all this; but there is a great difference betwixt talking and feeling. Did you ever feel the want of a dear Redeemer? Did you ever feel the want of Jesus Christ, upon the account of the deficiency of your own righteousness? And can you now say from your heart, Lord, thou mayst justly damn me for the best duties that ever I did perform? If you are not thus brought out of self, you may speak peace to yourselves, but yet there is no peace.

    The point he is making is that we must come to the end of ourselves. We must believe and accept the gift of righteousness that Christ gives us. To some, Grace is an OFFENSE. It says YOU CAN”T DO IT. YOUR WORKS ARE TAINTED WITH SIN. Come to Christ. The ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO IT!! And it’s already done!!

    Many Blessings and Abundant Grace to you!! Even if it IS offensive to some.

  181. Amanda said

    Mike,

    Thank you for the thought and effort you put into these two posts. I responded very candidly to #180 by email to you, but I will, tomorrow, begin to lay out why we have differences and why your concept of what Mormons believe about salvation is not accurate. I can see how confusing it is, especially since we sometimes mean different things by “salvation.” Also, our outlook on all of God’s children seems to be different from yours. We also look differently at the people who join the Lord’s church and publicly covenant with Him verses people who may have tasted but not committed.
    Just remember that all of my beliefs about works are, I feel strongly, laid out consistently in the Bible, and obedience is the major indicator of faith as well as the determinant of the many blessings that accompany one’s faith. They indeed affect whether or not one is able to maintain and even grow into what you might call a “saving faith.”

    Faith is a gift of God available to all, but we are all at different levels in our faith. Why? Largely a result of what we call our “valiancy in the gospel,” demonstrated through our obedience to the commandments. One person with a small amount of faith can develop into a person with tremendous faith as he follows the words of his Savior. That is a gift from God to the humble followers of Christ. Just as hearing the word of God increases our faith, paying our tithing opens “the windows of heaven, and forgiving others enables our own sins to be forgiven. Bearing our testimonies of Jesus Christ and His work to others increases and strengthens our own testimonies just as reading the scriptures increases them. These are the works of obedience too–even though we do them because we love God and He has forgiven us of our sins. He has also commanded that we do these things if we are His disciples. Much more about that soon!

    Bear with me as I try to lay out in a more thorough pattern of what the Bible says to me about works. It will take awhile. I can see how confusing my statements have been to you with your definition of salvation and faith.

    Another thing I would like you to address is what you do with all the scriptures which indicate that we will be judged by our works and that we must “endure to the end.” Where does that fit in to Reformed Theology, and please add what the theology was “reformed” from or to. From Catholicism? (Just for clarification.)

    Next, my Sunday School lesson from yesterday.

    Thanks again, Mike.
    Amanda

  182. Mike S said

    Good Morning my fellow early bird!

    “Another thing I would like you to address is what you do with all the scriptures which indicate that we will be judged by our works and that we must “endure to the end.” Where does that fit in to Reformed Theology, and please add what the theology was “reformed” from or to. From Catholicism? (Just for clarification.)”

    Yes, that will be my next focus. And yes, the “Reformed” from it’s root is from Catholicism to Biblical.

    “my beliefs about works are, I feel strongly, laid out consistently in the Bible, and obedience is the major indicator of faith as well as the determinant of the many blessings that accompany one’s faith. They indeed affect whether or not one is able to maintain and even grow into what you might call a “saving faith.””

    Remove one word and I agree completely here… “maintain” Have a great week. It may be about a week before I am able to assemble my next exegesis.

  183. Amanda said

    Mike,

    I promised you that I would not quote from latter-day scripture in order to try to “convert,” but I must surely quote from it to clarify to you what we believe since my main “beef” with many evangelists is that they are so sure of what we believe that they don’t hesitate to tell the world, but end up not only getting it wrong but teaching us things that are already basic to our beliefs. I can see it is hard because I think I’ve been pretty clear in my explanations, but apparently not. We are used to different perspectives.

    Having just finished teaching the New Testament last year (and the OT the year before that), I have begun the Book of Mormon for 2008. Our lesson Sunday was on one of the most clear and doctrinally specific books in all scripture, bar none. What I am quoting are taken directly from Lesson 6, comments put together by Ted Gibbons for the lesson on LDS Living. com. The lesson is entitled “Free to Choose Liberty and Eternal Life.”

    (The patriarch and prophet Lehi, has taken his family into the wilderness and eventually to the ancient Americas (most archaeologists believe it was Mesoamerica–Mexico and Central America) by the command of God, to escape the destruction of Jerusalem. They have suffered hunger and family strife along the way.)

    Here begins the quotes: I will mark any comment I might make; the rest are Ted Gibbons’.

    “Lehi’s testimony of the atonement in these verses is one of the clearest witnesses of grace in all of the standard works. Lehi says to Jacob (his younger son born in the wilderness), “I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer.” (2 Ne.2:3) I wonder how long you would have to read in the standard works to find a man more consistently righteous than Jacob. But Jacob will not be saved because of his righteousness. He will be saved because of the righteousness of Christ. To put this in other words, no amount of obedience and righteousness can earn us entrance into the Celestial Kingdom. Paul taught this with great clarity in Romans.

    “For by the law is the knowledge of sin; therfore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” (JST Romans 3:20)

    “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…”(Romans 3:23,24)

    “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:31)

    Or, as Lehi said it with startling simplicity: you can’t earn exaltation, because “Salvation is free.” (2 Ne. 2:4) (Amanda adds: Actually, that part of the verse says, “And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.”)

    “Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.” (2 Ne. 2:8)

    The merits of Christ are synonymous with his grace and are mentioned several times in the scriptures. They are worth a scripture chain, beginning with the verse above.

    2 Nephi 31:19…
    “And now, my belived brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the mertis of him who is mighty to save.”
    Alma 24:10…
    “And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son.”
    Helaman 14:13…
    “And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.”
    Moroni 6:4…
    “And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.”
    Doctrine and Covenants 3:20…
    “And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. Amen.”

    Then we go into the next topic of the lesson: “Lehi Teaches the Importance of Opposition and the Freedom to Choose Good From Evil”–extremely important topics when understanding the four conditions which make agency possible:

    1-Power to choose…”Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.” (2 Ne. 2:16)
    2-Opposition: God placed man in an environment of opposition; that is, where there was an opportunity to choose. “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickendness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life, neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.” (2 Ne. 2:11)
    3-God gave unto man laws, so that he would know what God wanted him to choose. “And if ye say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin…” (2 Ne. 2:13)
    4-God gave man Knowledge and taught all men sufficiently that they would Know the difference between good and evil, that is, between obeying a law, and breaking it. “And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil…” (2 Ne.2:5)

    These conditions, taken together (Power to choose, the Opportunity to choose, the Laws that help us know what to choose,the Knowledge of what is good and what is evil) comprise what we call Agency, or freedom of choice: “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose libery and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Ne. 2:27) Although we are permitted to act, we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions. Good choices and right lead to happiness and peace, while choices of sin and evil eventually lead to unhappiness, sorrow, and misery.”

    2 Nephi 2 contains the doctrines of the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. How are these three doctrines central to Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption?

    That is all I’ll share from the lesson. It gives you only a meager sampling of what the Book of Mormon has to say about the grace and merits of Christ. Every 1.7 verses in the Book of Mormon is about Jesus Christ in one way or another. Tomorrow, I will lay out some scriptures and thoughts to ponder from the Bible alone. I also hope to share with you a proclamation from the First Presidency from the 70’s about how we view all of God’s children upon the earth. Feel free to jump in with questions or comments anywhere along the way.

  184. Amanda said

    For some reason, grammatical errors abound in my email writing. Some are ridiculous! My fingers fly along the way, and I press send before adequately checking for grammar. Thank you for bearing with me–and for not laughing too loud about them!

  185. Amanda said

    Mike–Response to Post #179:

    I think you are correct. I have unintentionally opened myself up to scrutiny over engaging in “doublespeak” as we have written about salvation and works. I would like to apologize and to clear that up pronto. In my empathy and agreement with your (and my) belief that nothing can or should add to or take away or detract from the Atonement, I seem to have blurred in print my beliefs on salvation and works. In an effort to bring some organization to my expositions, while you are taking a needful break to do other things this week, I would like to lay out my beliefs more clearly in Biblical Fashion. I will in the future use some of Richard R. Hopkins’ words and thought organization in part which do not invite double meanings or soft pedal our beliefs in any way. You can respond to my writing if you like whenever is good for you—perhaps after you address the remaining questions I had given you.

    In this post, I would like to address a few things in your last post from Feb. 11th and then in my next attempt, lay out LDS beliefs on salvation before I more fully exegete what the Bible says to me about works and salvation. A more in depth exposition will then follow. I may break it up into 3 or more posts for time’s sake and because they are bound to be long, but this information with this particular emphasis should be emblazoned upon this website for thoughtful consideration by all. It is important to remember that we of the LDS faith DO NOT see works and grace as competing in any way, and we do see both as essential to salvation. Works, however, are only possible by –and a huge subset of— grace, which is the beginning and end of all salvation. I hope I can clearly lay out from the Bible why this is so and why saying this is not a “slap in the face” to our Savior who performed the Atonement so that we may be saved FROM, not IN, our sins and receive eternal life. But for today….

    In your look at Hebrews, you mention that 3:12 describes someone who “turns away” from God as someone who has an unbelieving heart and then you go on to speak of the Israelites’ 40 years in the desert, classifying many of them as unbelievers, simply along for the ride. (Freedom sure looked good at first, didn’t it?) The state of “unbelief,” I agree, is a heart issue. But with your great emphasis on unbelief, the eventual cause of turning away, could you be overlooking the importance of agency and choice and deeds in the process? Chaper 3, verses 12 and 13 tells us to TAKE HEED (even the righteous members of the Church, for Paul is writing to all , and these are previously baptized members who have received the Holy Ghost). He wants them to take heed, “ LEST THERE BE IN ANY OF YOU” an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” This is why he encourages them to “exhort one another daily (while they can) LEST ANY OF YOU BE HARDENED THROUGH THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN.” The core message I take from this is that once we are made partakers of Christ (verse 13) which we are through baptism and particularly through receiving the Holy Ghost and following its promptings, if we “HOLD THE BEGIINING OF OUR CONFIDENCE (belief or faith in God) STEADFAST TO THE END, we will not “BE HARDENED THROUGH THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN” through the enticement of evil because we will not have ALLOWED OUR HEARTS TO BE HARDENED. Sin and sin alone is how a covenant member of Christ’s living church is overcome. Indeed, no one can pluck us from the hand of God or Jesus Christ, as he prayed in the Intercessory Prayer, unless we ourselves allow it by our own agency. Once we have gotten into the “boat of salvation” with Christ, we must remain there with Him to the end. This is why were are told to “ endure to the end.” If we bail out through sin and disobedience, we loose the promised blessings. Even Paul referred to life as not only a race but a fight (against temptation to sin). The struggle isn’t over ‘til it’s over.

    Another of the differences between our faiths is that all members of our church have been taught, repented of their sins, been baptized, and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by one with authority from God. If the new member does not have sufficient knowledge of what the Lord expects of him, what the gospel consists of, or if he received these ordinance and commandments without faith or pure intent, it is then the Lord’s place to judge, not ours, and the end result here on earth may well be a falling away from truth or a hardening of the heart through sin ( willful disobedience to the will of God or sins of omission from taking his commandments “lightly”). In v. 16 we see, as you mentioned, that some of the Israelites-but not all,” when they had heard, did provoke”. As we are told, the ones with whom he was grieved were “them that sinned.” They were the ones whom God intended to die in the wilderness during those 40 years of wondering until a new generation more worthy and who “hearkened” to the words of God were old enough to go into the promised land as well as to enter His rest.

    It is true, as you remembered, that “few will enter the narrow gate,” but it is also true that the way is paved by our Savior for ALL to choose freely to enter if they like and come unto Christ in word and deed. They were and are still expected to be instructed and to follow or obey the words of the Lord, including those spoken through his prophets in scripture (and in our LDS church, the living prophet). (Not everyone who saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but those who doeth the will of my Father….(Matt. 7:21, and Luke 6:46) Then they may receive the promised blessings. Faith, as I read and have experienced, cometh by hearing and hearkening to the word of the Lord.) The Israelites were God’s covenant people. They were told in Deut. 7:9 -13… “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them. Wherefore, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee….” It seems apparent to me that the blessings of faith follow the “faithful,” and “unbelief” follows the disobedient. Faith always precedes sincere obedience, no matter if that faith is only a desire to believe, and the Lord always rewards the obedient with greater faith and commitment.) I firmly believe that since the gospel is for all, and God loves and wants to save ALL of His children, and since He is no respecter of persons, He has laid out the plan by which all may be saved, by faith in the Atonement, realizing that after all they have “done” it is the grace of God upon which they depend. That grace is freely given, as often as necessary, upon our using the gift of repentance when we knowingly sin, since God will “force no man to heaven..”

    I’m glad you mentioned Heb. 6:4, because we do have very different “takes” on that verse. You see the individual described as a NON-believer, but I see him as a true believer who was baptized, who received the Holy Ghost which gives him the means by which we “partake of the Spirit” and obtain the mind and will of God. ( (1 Cor. 2:11, 1 Cor. 2:16) In Hebrews, verses 1-3, Paul is saying, to me…(consulting the Greek translation notes for the first verss) “having left behind the beginning of the doctrine…” in other (my) words, “for a moment let’s leave behind what we’ve already done” which includes the “foundational doctrine of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God—things like the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands (because they’ve already been done), and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment (because we’ve already taught you all of this—you are seasoned members)…. “and this”, (leaving the foundational stuff behind), “we will we do, IF GOD PERMIT” (because those things are important to Him too,)… “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,” (By the way, these things are impossible for unbelievers to experience. They must be sincere and faithful for the Spirit to be involved to that extent at all. God does not bless a lack of faith, or an unbelieving heart, in such a way. I remember that “NO man can say…Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” ( 1 Cor. 12:3) Reversely, if one does not have the witness of the Holy Ghost, he cannot say that Jesus is the Lord and really know it in his heart!)…”For it is impossible “if they fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

    Again, one cannot “crucify to themselves the Savior” unless he knows the Savior to a sufficient degree through the Spirit, as Judas did, and then rejects him openly. They cannot repent because their sin was intentional, made with eyes wide open, and not from a lack of knowledge of or experience in the Lord. This is why the sin against the Holy Ghost is unforgivable. (Matt. 12:32… “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.) One has to have the witness of the Holy Ghost, and, I would strongly suspect, the gift of the Holy Ghost, in order to truly know God on a level sufficient to not be able to “be renewed to repentance” and to not be forgiven “in this world or the next”.

    We have both referred in our writings to the fact that Satan and demons also believe. I think I asked before what the difference between the belief that saves and the sincere belief expressed by demons is? (Matt. 8:29) I would refer you to Matt. 7:21 again, and then to Proverbs 20:11 (even a child is know by his doings, whether his work be pure, and…right), Romans 2:13 (only the doers of the law shall be justified), and James 1:22—by works was (Abraham’s faith made perfect). It is works that define one’s faith and what he has done with it. Also, Satan’s belief in the Lord is based upon certain knowledge, not faith.

    While I believe that the Bible teaches that BELIEVERS can only be saved as they “stand in obedience”, I do not believe that it teaches there is any magical intensity of faith which, if experienced at a single moment in time, will result in permanent salvation apart from obeying God. There is nothing about the faith of one convert that results in permanent salvation, despite his disobedience, while another, who experiences the same conviction, must be told that he was never saved because his disobedience seems more significant or enduring. If anyone obeys God after accepting the Atonement of Jesus Christ, he can receive salvation— defined as eternal life in the presence of God. If anyone disobeys Him willfully, he cannot be saved, unless he repents and learns to obey Him. That is justice in Jesus. (2 John 9, 10): “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.”

    In my opinion, Christ gave the same message in the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-23) According to it, believers who fall away are allowing Satan, the cares of the world, or their own weakness in the face of tribulation, to destroy the faith they once had. Again, and I think I may have mentioned this before, the difference is not found in any quality intrinsic to the seed of faith scattered by the Sower. It is found in the response of the “ soil in which the seed is planted”.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believeth. (Rom. 1:16), and it operates on the lives of men through laws which men must obey in order to avoid a just punishment. (2 Thessalonians 1:7—“And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”) Lest too much emphasis is given to the fact that these are people who “know not God,” I would suggest that of those who honestly don’t know him, less is expected than of those who do, or claim too; theirs will be the greater judgment. Luke 12: 47,48: “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that know not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

    Christ’s Atonement covers all of man’s “sins that are past” (Romans 3:25-28) meeting the requirements of justice. So we have nothing of laws and works by which to boast, but the law of faith which justifies us and requires that we obey our Savior—not according to the laws of Moses, but through repentance and following the laws of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For as Paul says in Romans, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid.: yea, we establish the law. “ ( You quoted this one recently.)
    He is not talking about the law of Moses, which was already fulfilled at this point by Christ’s Atonement, but of the law of Christ’s gospel which, he says, “we establish.”

    It does take time to for us to lay out in a meaningful way what we each believe the Bible says, doesn’t it Mike? And I haven’t even gotten to my clarification on “How We Are Saved,” to lessen our distance in understanding through semantics from my LDS perspective.

    By the way, I too think that Judas was an earnest follower of Christ and a believer in the beginning. I think before, repented and changed his thinking and his behavior, he could have had the blessings of justification through repentance. We are told that he was a petty thief (John 12:6), and so we know his heart was not right. His behavior was already leading him down the slippery slope. Faith does not accompany disobedience or even a neglect of “treasuring up the words of Christ” and taking them seriously. I don’t believe he just woke up one day and said, “I’m going to sell Christ for money.” I think it was a three-year-long process of choices and lazy, self-centered thinking, then acting in behalf of or against the faith, the promptings of the Spirit, and the teachings of Christ that he had experienced first-hand during his time with Jesus Christ. I also believe he became insensitive to the promptings of the Spirit until he couldn’t hear them anymore by the time he betrayed Jesus.

    Even with John’s reassurance that His commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3) and Christ’s promise that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30), it is difficult for men to take up their cross and follow Him. (Matt. 10:38) I could have chosen to love my parents more than God and pretended that the Lord hadn’t told me that the restored Church of Jesus Christ is here upon the earth and that the Book of Mormon is of God just as is the Bible, but I could not do that. God’s truth is too important to me.

    Mormons did not arbitrarily decide that works would be a part of the process of our salvation, and we do not see them as competing with the Atonement in any way. Christ’s Atonement was completed in our behalf both to redeem the world and all within it physically, unconditionally, and to save us from the consequences of our sins, upon the condition that we come unto Him in faith and follow Him. This opportunity is pure grace, and so is the power he gives us to do it. It is free for the asking and the living. But those who covenant with God, which “Mormons” do just as the Israelites did, are asked and expected to obey His commandments. Any serious Christian outside the Church who commits themselves to Christ is asked to do the same. It has always been so, according to the Bible. In Matt. 26:28, we read: “ For this is the blood of the new “ testament” (Greek—“covenant”), which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” A covenant with God was always an agreement between two parties, God and man, that in return for man’s faithfulness, God would grant eternal life. It was part of the Abrahamic Covenant. The salvation resulting in eternal life in God’s presence IS, to us, a process, not an event; and it is Jesus Christ, not man, who dictates to us the terms of this exaltation. We may be assured of our salvation as long as we stand on His side of the line (else we haven’t entered into and stayed inside the strait and narrow path), and as long as we have a “broken heart and a contrite spirit” which makes us willing and desirous to obey. It all begins and ends with faith in Christ and is totally dependent upon His grace, but we have a Savior who is full of “grace AND truth.” His truth is that one cannot have faith in Him—certainly as a permanent gift– unless he remains faithful to the end. (Matt. 10:22 , 24:13; Mark 13:13) Even John the Baptist was to prepare His ways, “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.”

    The fact that salvation is by grace does not negate the existence of laws and ordinances in the Gospel. If there were no law, there would be no sin. (Rom. 5:13) Sin is defined as the transgression of law (1 John 3:4-6) The fact that sin gives you, Mike, personal heartache would not be equally true for one who has sin enough to be “ hardened” by his sin, one who is “past feeling.” (Eph. 4:19) That individual may not feel great heartache, and it is possible to reach a point where it is almost impossible to repent (with God, all things are possible IF our desire is great enough; and, if that man does repent somewhere along the way, his sins which were “red as scarlet” will be “white as snow.” If there were no sin, there would be no necessity to warn men against it. Satan’s temptations would be superfluous. It would be a waste of time to tempt believers into committing acts that are not sin (because they violate no laws); but that is not my biblical reality, Mike. That the greatest call of the Bible is still to “repent” and “receive Christ” proves unequivocally to me that the Gospel contains laws and that there is only safety and PERMANENT salvation through “standing in obedience” to them, no matter how imperfectly. “It is not how quickly we travel down the road toward ‘perfection’ (becoming Christ-like) that is most important; it is which direction we are moving.” As long as I am pointed in the right direction, and moving my feet at all, my salvation is sure, and my confidence before God remains strong. We are not supposed to be confident and happy when we are sinning; it is against the natural order of all things spiritual. That unhappiness is a clue that we must change directions—repent! In the Book of Mormon, we are told, simply: “Wickedness never was happiness.”

    The Bible has so much, much more to say in addressing this topic, and I do plan to continue if you have the interest and ability to stay tuned, Mike.

  186. John and Company said

    Oh please do, Mr. Sears.
    This is most enlightening for us.

  187. Mike S said

    Thanks Amansa
    This will lead very nicely into our discussion on works. I look forward to working on that very soon.

  188. Kevin said

    Was Brigham Young a prophet? Yes, and the book of mormon inspired him to murder the Fancher party, also refered to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

    This is a historical fact, just like the life of John Smith.

    The problem with mormons is they don’t like to study history because it shows their religion to be a false cult.

    Now to the book of mormon, there is absolutely NO archeological evidence that:

    The patriarch and prophet Lehi, has taken his family into the wilderness and eventually to the ancient Americas (most archaeologists believe it was Mesoamerica–Mexico and Central America) by the command of God, to escape the destruction of Jerusalem. They have suffered hunger and family strife along the way.)

    Absolutely no evidence of these stories has been unearthed, unlike the vast volumes of proof that the times, people, and places of the scriptures we have existed. The destruction of the temple is carved inside the arch of Titus. But these golden plates where are they?

    Why would Yahweh send a prophet to add more to the fulfulled covenant? With the death and ressurection of the Messiah there was and is no need for a new prophet.

    Living a perfect life will not get you saved, you will not recieve the Holy Spirit from the book of mormon. Without it Yahweh said you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, without it you will be judged according to your deeds.

    With it you will not be judged, you will not stand in judgement, because you have already been redeemed.

  189. Amanda said

    Kevin, please stay tuned. Mike warned against “running down rabbit holes.” All of your comments are worth responding to, but I’m wanting to cover the works issue first. You might want to reread my last post with the scriptures mentioned.

    As for the Mountain Meadows Massacre, nothing–not one shred of real evidence–has turned up linking Brigham Young or the Church authorities to being responsible for anything that happened. As real study of the issue will show why the conditions were ripe for it to happen, but the fact is, some “looney” individuals took it in their own hands to execute this horrendous event. Some have tried for years to come up with a link, but the last show I saw on it –not the fictionalized movie– produced only one unsubstantial note which seemed to have nothing to do with the massacre.

    As far as the “no archelogical evidence” goes, there is actually quite a bit to look at–the predecessors of both the Mayas anad the Incas (today, they are referred to as the “Olmec”) and some remnants there date back to Book of Mormon times and fit in quite well, as do locations, with those mentioned in the Book. It may be premature to say this is definite proof, but many pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place. As one of our authorities once said, “If my children don’t provide the evidence, most likely my grandchildren will.” I believe this too. Meanwhile there is more than enough internal AND external evidence to convince me. That’s just not where my heart and need are. I’d love to do an extensive piece on this subject too, but I’m more interested in the doctrine of Jesus Christ right now.

    I don’t believe you would say you are a “Christian” based only upon evidence in archaeology, would you?

    “Why would Yahweh send a prophet to add more to the fulfulled covenant?

    Because mankind had not evolved enough to allow God’s church to survive at that time. The Apostles were killed, and the authority to act in God’s name was withdrawn. The Church was a casualty of the apostasy which apostles predicted would occur. God took time to prepare a place with enough freedom, like America, and inspired the Reformation before He could actually restore the church you read about in Acts. Much prophecy was fulfilled when Christ was born and when the Atonement occurred, and prophesy continues to be fulfilled in the the latter days, just as it will in the winding up scenes here on earth through the Second Coming and the Millenium.

    I agree with you that living a perfect life will not get you “saved.” (Please reread my posts)In fact, it’s not even possible, but we are expected to “make it our business” to at least commit to trying to follow in our Savior’s footsteps–and to endure to the end holding the Savior’s and not “Mammon’s” hand. (Matt. 5:48, Matt. 10:22, 24:13, Mark 13:13)

    I know for a fact that the Spirit will witness to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, just as it does the Bible, and if you believe the New Testament, the constant gift of the Holy Ghost was given through the laying on of hands. What we do with it is up to us. Those who do not receive it by one with God’s authority can certainly receive it as needed through the prayer of faith. I also agree with you that we cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven without the Spirit, but we will all be judged according to our works, as the Bible says we will, before being assigned a place in the presence of God–or not. (Rev. 2:23, Parable of the Talents, Romans 2:6-8; see also Matt. 7:2)

    I also agree with you that you who have received the testimony of Christ will have already been redeemed from the consequences of sin at the day of Judgment, but God’s kingdom, there are “many mansions,” so to speak.

    Thanks for your interest, and feel free to ask questions which I will be glad to address to the best of my ability. There is much I do NOT know, but I have also learned SOME things through both study and faith. I’d be glad to address the golden plates comment, but of course, you will be either in a disposition to believe or not to believe; so I don’t want to get entangled in a “waste of time” for us both. My concern is that you hear the LDS perspective in truth and not rumor or speculation or slander.

  190. Amanda said

    PS I love to examine Church history, Kevin. It’s a passion of mine. I highly recommend you to read, “The Work and the Glory” series by Gerald Lund. It’s really good, and of course there is a text book I would love to recommend, but I don’t know if you’d really be interested.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda

  191. Amanda said

    “HAVE YOU BEEN SAVED?” A “MORMON” PERSPECTIVE

    The following are comments from Stephen E. Robinson’s “Are Mormons Christians?” pp. 104 -109. (It includes quotes from the Book of Mormon which are, I believe, essential to establish what we actually do believe about salvation.-Amanda)

    When most people say that “Mormons believe they are saved by works and not grace,” my first observation is that this idea has nothing to do with LDS doctrine and badly misrepresents the LDS position. Even among non-LDS Christians the doctrine of divine grace can be hotly argued, so I will not attempt to define that doctrine to the satisfaction of all non-LDS critics. Nevertheless, the following basic principles taken from the Book of Mormon do, I believe, provide a fair representation of the LDS view.

    First, it is impossible to “earn” or “deserve” any of the blessings of God in any sense that leaves the individual unindebted to God’s grace. In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin expresses it in this way:

    “I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another –I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants…. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? (Mosiah 2:21,24)

    Even in those contexts, such as the law of tithing, where there is a “quid pro quo”—a covenant agreement that if I will do A, God will grant B—the very fact that such a covenant has been offered to me and that I am able to receive such overwhelming blessings in return for such paltry efforts is in itself a prior act of grace—an expression of the pure love of God, a gift. Salvation itself is the result of such a covenant of grace—“the new testament (covenant) in my blood” (Luke 22:20). The very existence of this covenant is a gift, a grace, offered by our volunteer Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet like all covenants, there are terms binding upon both parties. Our best efforts to live the laws of God are required, but not because they “earn” the promised rewards—our efforts are infinitely disproportionate to the actual costs. Rather, our best efforts are a token of our good faith and of our acceptance of the offered covenant. Thus we participate in our own salvation as we attempt to keep the commandments of God, but we can never earn it ourselves or bring it to pass on our own merits, no matter how well we may think we are doing.

    Second, redemption can never come as the result of an individual’s own efforts, but only through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon prophet Lehi explains this to his son Jacob:

    “Wherefore, I know that thou are redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer….
    And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. (The Book of Mormon people were under the law of Moses at this time.) And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off….
    Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
    Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of he Holy Messiah.” (2 Nephi 2:5-8)

    There is no doctrine, ritual, principle, ordinance, law, performance, church, belief, program, angel, or prophet that can save us in the absence of the personal intervention in our lives of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is the teaching of the Book of Mormon as well as of the Bible.

    Third, the individual must be born again through the atonement of Jesus Christ and become Christ’s spiritual offspring. His people having made a covenant to obey God, King Benjamin tells them:

    And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; f or behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
    And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. (Mosiah 5:7-8.)

    Membership in the Church of Christ is INsufficient for salvation without that personal experience of the Savior and of his atonement, which begets us spiritually. Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet, makes this clear through a set of poignant questions, including the following: “And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?” (Alma 5:14-15.)

    Fourth, we are saved by grace and condemned without it, no matter what else we might have or do. Grace is an essential condition for salvation. Nephi, son of Lehi, testifies, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23) Moreover, if a person is willing to come to Christ and endure to the end, the Savior’s grace is sufficient for that person’s salvation, despite his or her mortal weaknesses. The Book of Mormon records these gracious words of the Lord: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27.) In other words, our comparative “righteousness” is secondary in importance to our humbling ourselves, admitting our weaknesses, striving to live the gospel, and having faith in our Savior. In fact the final plea of the prophet Moroni in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon is:

    “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that BY HIS GRACE ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by THE GRACE OF GOD, ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
    And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. (Moroni 10:32-33.)

    Some critics my object that the Latter-day Saints do not insist that we are saved by grace “alone,” or do not accept the idea of “irresistible” grace (predestination), but these are point upon which other Christian denominations have disagreed as well. The specific LDS view may be right or wrong from the viewpoint of a particular denomination, but the fundamental LDS belief regarding grace and works is well within the spectrum of traditional Christianity, with strong affinities to the Wesleyan position. While not every Christian will agree…, the Latter-day Saints have never believed in salvation by any other means—and especially not by individual works. It is true, I suppose, that some Latter-day Saints do not adequately understand this aspect of their own religion, but the same could be said about a minority in any denomination. The LDS scriptures are clear—we are saved by grace.

  192. Mike S said

    Amanda
    As you have pointed out many times, there is a lot that we actually agree about. We seem to say a lot of the same things. Although you do misunderstand the value and importance of “works” in the reformers’ beliefs. In your e-mail to me you stated “Never has the Bible in my reading said that works did not matter and could not be pleasing unto God for the serious convert.” While this insinuates that I have said or indicated that “works do not matter”, this is totally untrue. I have never said anything close to that. My point has always been that our justification/salvation is not attained nor maintained by any amount of works. While you continue to say what seems to be something similar (at least regarding attainment of salvation) yet you still turn around and use the “so that…’s, and unless we…’s, in order to…’s, etc.

    Another misunderstanding you seem to have about my beliefs is highlighted when you used the quip “”man who sits and waits with mouth open, for fried duck to fly into his mouth,” will be sorely disappointed.” Indicating that I believe in faith without works, which is also untrue. Actually something you said in your e-mail I agree with entirely… You said, “Even as believers, works are insufficient without the help of God and the Holy Ghost which gives us the inspiration, the motivation, the ideas of even WHAT to do, the power to do so and to persevere in doing good (“be not weary in well-doing…”). But a proper understanding of the essential nature of works is important because “no unclean thing can enter into the presence of God.”

    This point is critically important here. Unless the works are done “through faith in Christ alone”, the works are tainted, just as you quoted “no unclean thing can enter into the presence of God.” Unless they have been purified or consecrated by the blood of Christ, which is the only thing that can make ANYTHING pure. The question one must ask is “why am I doing these works? Is it possible for a believer to perform good works for the wrong reasons? That is the critical point that Paul is constantly hammering on in Romans and Galatians. When we begin to think that our obedience is gaining us favor with God, we are trusting in ourselves (our actions) more than we are trusting Christ. We are essentially saying to Christ, “I don’t think what you did for me is enough to maintain my salvation, therefore I need add to your work in order to gain favor (or prove my worth) with the Father.”

    Do I ever fall into this trap? Do I ever think that my works are gaining me favor with God? Sure I do, and that is sin that I must repent of. If someone asks me, “How is your walk with Christ?” I automatically begin to measure my walk by my works and my actions. Did I have a quiet time today? Did I get into the Word today? Did I allow pride to control my actions? Did I lust today? Can you see where the focus is in this mindset? Is it on God or is it on me? It is on ME and MY ACTIONS, rather than where it is SUPPOSED to be! ON THE ALL SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST IN WHOM (ALONE) I AM FOUND TO BE RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD!!

    You took specific issue with George Whitfield’s sermon when he said “My repentance needs to be repented of” and also, “I can not pray (or preach), but I sin.” The point he is making in being honest with himself is that he falls to the sin of believing that HIS repentance is gaining him favor with God. His focus is on himself rather than on Christ. Do you see what is at work here when we place more importance on our obedience and actions than we do on Christ, and the perfect work that He offers for us on the cross?

    How else is the Gospel offensive if it is not because it says to the religious person, “you can’t do it”! “Your works are filthy rags”! If that is offensive to you, the Gospel is offensive to you. You need to do a pride inventory.

    What are we worshipping? Worship means assigning ultimate worthiness to something. Where do we assign our worth? Are we assigning it to our doctrine? To our studies? I have to be honest and confess that I have a tendency to believe that studying the Bible and having my quiet times are the most important things I should be doing, and that by doing them I am more acceptable to God, but these thoughts are tainted with sin (Pride), and therefore I should say the same thing that Whitfield is saying. That I can not study the Bible, but I sin, I can not have my quiet times, but I sin. Even the purest obedience I can offer is tainted with sin because we have not yet been made perfect (Romans 7:21-25). That is a promise we have to look forward to (Philippians 3:12, Hebrews 11:39-40), but we still remain in the sinful fleshly state (Galatians 3:22). That is why we must constantly look to Christ, and rely on Christ, to be our righteousness. (Romans 10:4, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 5:5, Philippians 3:9, 2 Timothy 4:8)

    Obedience is critically important to the life of a believer. It is the way in which God uses to grow us into His likeness, which is His ultimate goal. We are commanded to be obedient. There is no question about it.

    The Purposes of God’s Law:
    • Displays God’s Created Order and Consequences (Both Positive and Negative) To ALL (saved/unsaved alike) The principle truth that living in accordance with God’s design generally produces positive results, and vice-versa. Although because we live in a fallen world this is not ALWAYS the case.
    He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.”- Proverbs 21:21
    • To Lead us to Christ.
    • Establishes/Describes the Perfection and Holiness of God
    • Communicates God’s Perfect Standard/Expectations for All
    o Be Perfect, Matthew 5:48
    o The whole Sermon on the Mount is an exposition of God’s Law and how it must be kept perfectly if we are relying on it for our salvation.
    • Fruit and Evidence of Faith
    • Strengthens our Assurance of Salvation
    • Encourages Believers in Their Growth, Sanctification
    • Means by which God Glorifies Himself through us

    Next I will focus on the truth that we do not have the ability to do “Good Works” (Works that are acceptable to God) without the Spirit of Christ within us. John 15:4-6, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Philippians 2:13, 4:13 I will also offer more scriptural basis for believing that Judas was never a true believer to begin with (Never possessed a true saving faith).

  193. amanda said

    Mike,

    Good response, and there are a few points we need to address. Works without the Spirit of God and their inability to do diddly squat is not one of them. We are in agreement (you, me, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) about that. We all know and teach that “we can’t do it alone.” It’s a myth that the Church teaches otherwise. Save you time and put it on the difference between weakness and sin. Put it on how you can feel the approbation of the Spirit when you obey and still call what you did that caused God to wrap HIs arms around you “filthy rags.” The works of the Law of Moses WERE like filthy rags, but the law of Christ as given in His word, since the Atonement and since our committing ourselves to God through baptism and through the reception of the Holy Ghost, are now written in our hearts. If our hearts are right before God, He is pleased with our works–because He is pleased with our hearts. He makes that known to us through the Holy Ghost, just as you would let your own child know that you are pleased with his efforts and progress. If we are on a pride trip, then we don’t have that blessing and approval given through the Spirit.

    Repentance DOES allow us to feel the forgiveness of and a closer relationship with God, no question. And I do call this God’s “favor.” It is the same favor which allowed Him to say of David that he was “a man after mine own heart.” He is no respector of persons, but the one who obeys comes to know God, and God knows him; whereas the one who deliberately disobeys and fails to repent will never progress in his relationship with God and is likely to one day hear: “Depart from me; I never knew you.” Will this affect one’s eternal destiny? Yes.

    Mike, I’m not sure that you are thinking of the steps of repentance as are taught in our Church when you and Whitfield speak of repentance. If one repents properly and in the right way, there is no “repentance needed by his repentance.”

    Step one: Recognition of our sin and godly sorrow–no “false” humility here.
    2. Confession to God of our sin as well as to the one we may have wronged.
    3. Restitution or restoration to the injured party whenever possible.
    4. Asking for forgiveness with a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.”
    5. Renewed obedience to God’s commandments.

    I’d like to write about the commitment of baptism when I can get my home computer back up and going instead of having to use this laptop. It may be a day or two.

    Thanks,

    Amanda

    PS We believe certain ordances are essential–like baptism. Why? Because God has commanded it, and we will obey. If we obey for the wrong reasons, we will not reap the fulness of blessings (like testimony and certain knowledge through obedience) that He waits to bestow upon us—at least not until our hearts (BROKEN AND CONTRITE)incorporate the right reasons for that obedience. When that happens, the blessings are confirmed–signed, sealed and delivered by the Holy Ghost, and they will be eternal–unless we fail to “endure to the end,” as the Lord has said! (It’s the nature of a covenant, which has always been issued or made available upon the understanding of man’s choiced to obey God.)

    The important point here is that I don’t have to “second guess” my obedience or my intentions. If I have obeyed in faith, my love for God and man increases and I know through the spiritual presence of the Holy Ghost accompanying my obedience that my act of service or obedience is acceptable to God. Sometimes–if I’m not spiritually as sensitive that day, I just know it through faith because God always keeps His promises when we obey–or attempt to obey His word. No effort is ever wasted as we follow God’s plan for us. We may not always get it right, but He always blesses a righteous intent and will teach us even the priorities we should have in our lives and how to balance our scripture reading with service. Just as the Spirit can prompt us what to pray for, it can direct us in balancing our time. And when we feel that guidance from the Spirit, who are we to worry about the purity and goodness of our acts? WE just follow that prompting as often as our we can discern it and let God do the rest. He magnifies our feeble efforts as we call upon Him for support! And best of all, we are beooming more like Him as we obey in faith and truth.

  194. Mike S said

    Hey Amanda
    You said; “Put it on how you can feel the approbation of the Spirit when you obey and still call what you did that caused God to wrap HIs arms around you “filthy rags.” The ONLY thing I did to cause God to wrap His arms around me, was believe (have faith). Please fill me in on how you reconcile your beliefs about your works with the Scriptures I noted?

    I’ll note them again:
    Even the purest obedience I can offer is tainted with sin because we have not yet been made perfect (Romans 7:21-25). That is a promise we have to look forward to (Philippians 3:12, Hebrews 11:39-40), but we still remain in the sinful fleshly state (Galatians 3:22). That is why we must constantly look to Christ, and rely on Christ, to be our righteousness. (Romans 10:4, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 5:5, Philippians 3:9, 2 Timothy 4:8)

    And BTW, I completely agree with your statement: “whereas the one who deliberately disobeys and fails to repent will never progress in his relationship with God and is likely to one day hear: “Depart from me; I never knew you.” This is clearly someone who is not a Christian (Not Saved), never was. Note He says He NEVER knew the individual.

    I will try to address more in the morning.

  195. Mike S said

    Amanda you said: If one repents properly and in the right way, there is no “repentance needed by his repentance.”
    Step one: Recognition of our sin and godly sorrow–no “false” humility here.
    2. Confession to God of our sin as well as to the one we may have wronged.
    3. Restitution or restoration to the injured party whenever possible.
    4. Asking for forgiveness with a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.”
    5. Renewed obedience to God’s commandments.
    All of these things are very good things to do. What this assumes is that we can do all the doing though. And our doing is good enough. If our doing was (or could be) good enough, why did Christ have to die on the cross? Can you not see that this “Works based formula” is centered on the individual? Where is God in this formula? What does He do? Sit back and wait for you to get it right? Did He do that 2,000 years ago? No way! He came down!! What is missing here is the acknowledgement of the transaction that happened on the cross… our sins were imputed to Christ. “The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him…” and His righteousness was imputed to US! “… and by His wounds we are healed.”

    The power to obey in the Christian’s life is not anything we can muster up on our own by any means. Not by mustering up more faith, more discipline, more drive. The power to obey in the Christian life is only available through true worship. To offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God in response to the mercy of God. To die to ourselves and to live IN CHRIST alone. There is a popular song that ascribes where the emphasis is placed in a very simple way:
    Not because of who I am.
    But because of what you’ve done.
    Not because of what I’ve done.
    But because of who you are.

    You see, for the Reformer, All, every microbe, of my worth to God rests in CHRIST ALONE. He takes my tainted (Which even to me seems like the purest of intent) obedience, repentance, good works etc. and through faith, Christ makes them perfect! White as snow, pure as pure! It is the acknowledgement of this truth, through the Holy Spirit, that overwhelms me with love and gratitude for God. This is true worship!!

    Don’t get me wrong about your 5 steps of repentance. Every single one of those elements are critical and must occur (They are guaranteed to occur through the Holy Spirit). But none of it will be acceptable to God without a humble and contrite spirit applying all of our worth (as well as the worth of our works and repentance) to Christ Alone! Anything else is unacceptable to God.

    The great thing is, Christ is constantly interceding for us, making us (and our works) pure through faith in Him! It’s all about Christ! Bringing Him glory. As John Piper always reminds me, God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him! The Reformer’s belief of man’s chief purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever! So may I, also do, through the only means by which I am able to do so, through Christ ALONE!! Again, Romans and Galatians says all this better than I ever could!

  196. Mike S said

    Walter Marshall said back in the 1,600’s, “Forgiveness (from God) is the horse that pulls the cart of good works. Don’t put the cart before the horse! Get rid of all other “works based” methods of attempting to live a holy life! They simply will not work”

    Of course before “forgiveness” is “Faith”.

  197. Mike S said

    BTW, I do not “worry about the purity and goodness of my acts”. I already know that they are not “pure and good”, and I celebrate the fact that Jesus makes em pure!!

    For while I was STILL a sinner, Christ died for me! Romans 5:8

  198. Mike S said

    In Christ Alone

    In Christ alone my hope is found
    He is my light my strength my song
    This Cornerstone this solid ground
    Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
    What heights of love what depths of peace
    When fears are stilled when strivings cease
    My Comforter my all in all
    Here in the love of Christ I stand

    In Christ alone who took on flesh
    Fullness of God in helpless Babe
    This gift of love and righteousness
    Scorned by the ones He came to save
    ‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
    The wrath of God was satisfied
    For ev’ry sin on Him was laid
    Here in the death of Christ I live

    There in the ground His body lay
    Light of the world by darkness slain
    Then bursting forth in glorious day
    Up from the grave He rose again
    And as He stands in victory
    Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
    For I am His and He is mine
    Bought with the precious blood of Christ

    No guilt in life no fear in death
    This is the pow’r of Christ in me
    From life’s first cry to final breath
    Jesus commands my destiny
    No pow’r of hell no scheme of man
    Can ever pluck me from His hand
    ‘Til He returns or calls me home
    Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand

    Stuart Townend, Keith Getty

  199. Mike S said

    A while back someone asked me why I said that Christianity in it’s true form is not really a “religion”. (Religion is “works-based”) I gave him this answer:

    Contrary to popular belief, Christianity is NOT a set of rules to live by. Christianity in its true form is NOT a Religion, nor is it restrictive. Christianity is a relationship with the Almighty Perfect God, secured by His sacrificed Son whereby we are forgiven for our sins and made whole; enabling us to live in freedom and it’s because of this, through His Spirit, that we have the desire and the ability to live for Him in obedience to His Word.

    I hope my posts have been helpful for you to understand the Grace we celebrate and fully rely on in our “reformed faith”.

  200. Anonymous said

    Mike,

    There is much to be said here. It’s interesting to me that because I believe what the Bible and Jesus himself has to say about works in the quotes I have given you, you still find a way to say that what we do or do not do is unimportant because Jesus’ perfection makes what we do “perfect.” By the way, I agree with the last portion of theis statement. Jesus makes our puny effort into perfection and acceptable to God His Father BECAUSE of His perfection, but that still means, as I read it, that we have to do something–not just anything, but what He has commanded us to do, for Him to Make it perfect and acceptable. We cannot do nothing and we cannot do what the world tells us to and still be acceptable unto God.

    You cannot have it both ways: either what we do matters, or it doesn’t; yet you say you agree that…

    “whereas the one who deliberately disobeys and fails to repent will never progress in his relationship with God and is likely to one day hear: “Depart from me; I never knew you.”

    Either it matters to God that we repent or it doesn’t. Jesus has said from the very beginning of His ministry that it does. IN fact, the church He established and all of its teachings are based upon the fact that what we do matters because it determines our eternal destiny. He has given us the right to choose, nd we will surely reap the consequences of what we choose, whether we have chosen to have faith in Christ or not. You also said that the steps of repentance are centered on the individual. Indeed they are, because the worth of a soul is great to our God. We are the reson He sent His Son to die on the cross, and the reason the earth was created for our inhabitance to begin with. Those steps of repentance, however, are important because Jesus says they are, and His apostles in the Bible say they are. If Jesus told me that I needed to stand on my head to receive certain blessings, I would. (He told Moses to throw a tree into bitter water to make it sweet, and he did.) He died for me on the cross in order for me to be forgiven of those sins I have no power over—my past; and he died on the cross for me be ABLE TO REPENT. I cannot repent without His power, His Spirit, to convict me of my sin, to prompt me as to how to make restitution, and to ask for His forgiveness, to give me the words and feelings that I need to have as a repentent daughter when asking forgiveness of others, and lastly but most importantly, to give me a remission of those sins–through His sacrifice on the cross that I have repented of to the best of my ability (which is effective only because of His perfection). When I repent according to HIS SPIRIT, my burden of sin is lifted, and I am able to go forward in faith, not feeling as a hypocrit weighted down with guilt. Were my works perfect? Doubtful! But my intent of heart and my sincerity WERE, and therefore, my actions are acceptable to my God, and He forgives me. The process I just described is what your qualifying paragraph following the statement you had made against the individual-centered steps to repentance, and so you see, we are saying the same thing in the end. Those steps are not acceptable unless done through the Spirit. They are acceptable, however, because you cannot really do them EXCEPT through the Spirit. Those steps were given by God. They are part of the gospel law that should be written in our hearts.

    Truly, most although not all of the biblical references indicate that salvaion is a process, not an event. It is an event in that you are saved from your past sins and from the worldliness which had crept into your soul when you receive Christ, but the man of God has a struggle on his hands no matter how much faith he has. He will be tested and tried and chastised spiritually by God when he messes up. Why? So that he may one day dwell forever in the presence of our God who cannot look upon sin without abhorrence. What Paul often describes, and you describe to me of your own inner battle with sin or imperfection is not only the enticement of the world but simply the “natural man” tryig to make a comback. This fleshy body has its own desires and appetites and narcissism, and our duty before God is to learn to master it and our own appetites. We cannot do this without God’s help because the natural man is an enemy to God.

    It is really simple, Mike. AS we read in Romans 8:13: “If ye live after the flesh (following carnal–minded thoughts which lead to carnal actions), ye shall die;but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many are led by the Spirit of Godd, they are the sons of God.”….and inv. 16: “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we arae the children of God.”

    So we both agree–it is all about Christ, but the Bible says to me that it is also all about what I do with the knowledge of what Christ has done for me (the opportunity it gives me to CHOOSE LifE) and what he has commanded me. Do I choose to use the gift of repentance? Do I choose to do the works of the Spirit and listen to its promptings? Do I choose to know the word of God? Do I love and care for my fellow man? AS I do so, I cultivate the Spirit of God within me, and I KNOW that He is pleased with a certain action because of the Spirit bearing witness witnin me.

    Another look at the scriptures to come soon. My husband is working on the big computer, and I hate doing extensive typing on the laptop, so I may wait until then.

    Thanks for your response, and I hope that we will soon be understanding more about what each is saying about where works fit into the gospel plan UNDER grace.

  201. Mike S said

    Don’t have much time here, but I wanted to respond to a couple of things. Where did I say works are unimportant? They are essential to the “Believer’s” sanctification and life. It is what they (works) flow out of (Faith) that is critical to understand. Justification (being credited as righteous before God), is a one time event. Salvation happens at the same time (if we are justified we are also saved from god’s wrath) however, the Bible uses language that DOES point to salvation as a being process, hence “work out your salvation…” as Peter commands.

    Sanctification is a process and we must obey, and we will obey, although imperfectly as you stated, that is why we NEED Christ to make our works acceptable. YES what we do matters!! It just does not save us (or justify us). No amount ever will. Our works feed our growth and sanctification, and MOST IMPORTANTLY they bring God GLORY!! They are critically important! And we desire to and are able to obey because of the Holy Spirit!! We are not of those who disbelieve and shrink away! Any who do never believed and never had the Spirit to begin with.

    Got to go. Mike

  202. Amanda said

    Mike says about works: “They are essential to the “Believer’s” sanctification and life. It is what they (works) flow out of (Faith) that is critical to understand. ”

    We are in harmony about these two statements. But to be consistent in my opinion, if they are essential to the sanctification process, and life as a believer, they are also essential to receiving the ultimate reward of living in the presence of God the Father and His Son. (Sheep and goats parable, the talents parable)

    WE AGREE 100% ON THE STATEMENT THAT THEY MUST FLOW OUT OF FAITH. Did I ever say otherwise? That is a given in our doctrine. The first prinicples and ordinances of the gospel are 1) Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, Second, repentance….(from Articles of Faith Number One)

    Everything mentioned in the Bible that we are told to do by our Savior and his Apostles require faith before one can and will obey. Of course, many can get so engrosed in their own works that it turns to self-righteousness or to a forgetfulness of the importance of Christ and the fact that His Atonement makes it all possible, but that is true in any denomination, isn’t it? Our church teaches nothing to the contrary when unless one takes something out of context and makes it say something it doesn’t.

    I agreed with everyting in your first paragraph except the fact that justification takes place continually, each time we repent of a sin. The Atonement covers everything up to our baptism when we are “washed clean” and become new creatures. Then, it is a matter of choice each day whom we will serve, but as long as our hearts are “right before God,” we do not have to worry. The Spirit will keep us on the right track through the gift of repentance as we err, and we will be continually justified. Should we reverse the process and deny the truth, there is no promise of justification. If this offends the world, so be it. Grace or no grace, mercy cannot rob justice; and I am still waiting for the scripture that says anyone can choose to disobey and still receive the promise of eternal life.

    Since you quoted a lovely poem which is doctrinally sound for both your faith and mine, I would like to quote you what we call “Nephi’s Psalm,” one of the Hebraisms found in the Book of Mormon, in he form of Hebrew poetry. It shows the faith and humility of a prophet of God called Nephi, who is upset with his own anger and frustration with his brothers who are offended by the gospel which he teaches them. They have tried to kill him. I believe it also speaks of the broken heart and contrite spirit of a true believer who is also self–correcting instead of waiting for God to humble him:

    “For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children. Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.

    Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth becaues of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

    My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep. He hath filled my with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh. He hath confounded mine enemies unto the causing of them to quake before me.

    …why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow…and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions? And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry becaue of mine enemy?

    Awake my soul! No longer droop in sin! Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation. O Lord, wilt thou receem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the apprearance of sin? May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite!…

    O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. …Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.”

    Just a sample, but I had my sons memorize a lot of it before serving their missions because it is easy to get discouraged in this life.

    Sometimes, it seems that you confuse righteousness with self-righteousness, as if it is impossible to have both. I believe it is possible to know that you are at least striving to be considered among the righteous in your personal decisions and the principles that govern your life’s choices, yet I know no one who would say, “I am righteous,” because we all feel our sinful nature and our imperfections so keenly. It is possible to keep a proper perspective with regards to giving our lives in service to Jesus Christ and being His “sons and daughters.”

    There is nothing in your second paragraph either with which I do not agree. Rest assured that I am already converted to those concepts.
    But in another of your emails, you say, and I agree, that Christianity is not a set of rules to live by-and yet if one fails to live by the rules his God has given him, and he feels no need to strive to live by them and to repent when he falls woefully short, he is not really a Christian. If he has a relationship with God, he is free only insofar as he obeys God’s truths. THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE. There is no safety and no salvation outside of obedience to His word, desire or no desire to do so. Salvation begins with receiving Christ and being humble enough to obey Him. As we obey, the Spirit giveth life, and faith is increased–even though it is our faith that causes us to want to obey and the Spirit that gives us the desire and the power to do so!

    The works that God has commanded us to do qualify us to receive continued grace and progress in our quest to “become ye perfect,” even as He is. (No one has delusions that this will occur in this life, but I can become perfect at paying my tithing, at remembering the poor, at attending church whenver possible, at praying and reading my sciptures almost daily. It doesn’t mean my mind is always there and doing it as well as I should, but it is a habit that will serve me spiritually well.

    I will leave you once more with quotes about righteousness which I think you and your friend have given a bad “rap.” We’re not talking about self-righteousness here.

    Remember that God told Abraham he would spare Sodom if he could find 50 righteous people. Gen. 18:26 (That would be people who live by righteous principles.) “Let me die the death of the righteous” (Numbers 23:10)The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but theway of the ungodly shall perish. (Psalms 1:6) Salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous (Ps. 118:15), the mouth of a righteous man is a well of life (Prov. 10:11), righteous man hateth lying (13:5), I will raise up unto David a rightous Branch (Jer. 23:5) WHEN A RIGHTEOUS MAN TURNETH FROM HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS…HE SHALL DIE (EZEK. 3:20) See also v. 21……if thou warn the righteous man that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.”

    Why do I keep seeming to say that you do not feel that works are important? Because you feel they are not essential as a part of your salvation; NOT, as part of the Atonement or that they have the power to sanctify apart from the grace of Christ, but as a qualifying agent which allows Christ to mold you, bless you, to teach you, to sanctify you. This too, is part of your salvation if you want to live with God eternally. You said, “Don’t tell me I have to DO anything.” (It was a factor in your not wanting to read the Book of Mormon.) Well, I might not tell you that, but the scriptures do. Again, even the words of Christ Himself do. Daniel 9:14 tells us that God is righteous in all His works, and if we want to be like Him, we must be also. Not that it would be a nice thing to do, but we MUST…IF we want this in our eternal destiny. Heb. 11:4…tells us that Abel obtained witness that he was righteous (after his sacrifice), and we can also obtain that witness. James 5:16 says that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

    In closing, let’s look at some scriptures: 1 John 3:7 says, “Little children, let no man deceive you; he that DOETH rightous righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” And again, 1 John 3:24, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given.” We read in Luke 1:30 and then Luke 2:52, that Mary was told, “for thou hast found favor with God and Jesus increased in favor with God and man. and in Acts 7:10, “God was with Joseph” (of Egypt) and …”delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom in sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” All of these scriptures indicate that obedience truly does help us to gain favor with God (and sometimes, man). Even Jesus gained favor with God through obedience, and we are to follow His example. In His great intercessory prayer (John 17:17, 19) , Jesus asked God to “sanctify his disciples “through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Paul speaks of “the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the reusrrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, (why?) FOR OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH AMONG ALL NATIONS, FOR HIS NAME…” (Romans 1:5). It is impossible to separate faith, works, and the grace of the Atonement and Resurrection. They are co-dependant in receiving the blessings of salvation. One cannot receive Christ without receiving His commandments. We are the ones on probation here, to see if we are willing to put our lives where our mouths of confession are. Our faith must include our righteousness because (Romans 1:16-18…) although “the just shall live by faith, (v. 17), …the wrath of God is revealed from heaven gainst all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, WHO HOLD THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS…They are without excuse.” (v. 20)

  203. Amanda said

    Mike, you said, quoting Whitefield, I think: ” How else is the Gospel offensive if it is not because it says to the religious person, “you can’t do it”! “Your works are filthy rags”! If that is offensive to you, the Gospel is offensive to you. You need to do a pride inventory.”

    I would say, if one asked, that this is not offensive to me or to my faith at all. I totally agree that beside the perfection of my Savior, my works are as “filthy rags.” But I also know that Isaiah in Isa. 64:6 is referring to God’s rejection of a covenant people who have rejected Him (Isaiah 65:11,12.) The people he refers to are not even “calling upon God’s name”; they no longer “stirreth up (themselves) to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities,” (not because of their “best works.”)

    What I don’t like about whitfield’s sermon is the fact that comments like his aid Satan in his ploy to convince God’s children that they need not obey Him. (It is, after all, impossible to please Him with our feeble efforts, right? Wrong, as I hope my scriptural references have pointed out.)

    In your response about repentance, you said, “If our doing was (or could be) good enough, why did Christ have to die on the cross?” To this, I would respond and perhaps did…”so we COULD have the opportunity to repent and regain God’s presence here through the Holy Ghost and in eternity by returning to His presence eternally. Importantly, and I did say this, so He could do for us what we could not do for ourselves–especially receiving justification for our past sins.

    “My dear friends, what is there in our performances to recommend us unto God?” said Whitfield. I would say to him, “There is the fact that we have enough faith to DO the the things (our performances) which Christ has told us to do, to begin with.”

    There is a quote from latter-day revelation in The Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 that reads…”Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God….” It is true that when we think virtuous thoughts, and I would add, do virtuous things (just for as simple a reason as that we know it is right to do them from our Savior’s example), our confidence DOES wax stronger in the presence of God at the end of the day when we speak with Him in prayer–because WE know that we are trying to please Him. This is not pride! It is healthy “spiritual self esteem,” if you will. Jesus acknowledged this concept when he said, “he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” (John 7:29) If we want to feel closer to God, we too should do those things that are “pleasing” unto Him–think His thoughts as we find them in scripture, ponder His words in our hearts, as Nephi said, do His will, love and serve others, rejoice in His creations, etc.

    When I read Romans 7:21-25, Mike, I don’t see that as a confirmation that our “best works” are fraught with sin. I see that as an acknowledgement of the warring of the natural man with the spiritul man, the enticement of sin distracting man from doing what he knows is right. In verse 19 and 20, Paul says, “For the good that I would (Gr. “intend”) I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not (Gr. “what I do not intend, choose,”), it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. That says to me that sometime we know what we should do, but instead we “cave” in to our weaknesses, or to what our flesh WANTS to do. He goes on to say, “I find then a law, that , when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (see Hebrews 12:1 where he refers to “the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”) Here again, he is referring to the “war” that each of us has NOT to be overcome by Satan’s enticements or the enticements of the natural man, the “flesh” as it is often referred to. Paul says refers again in verses 22 and 23, Romans, to the warring in his members between the delightful law of God after the inward man and “another law” (of the flesh, or “in my members,” as he says which will bring him “into captivity.” He ends in v.25, “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God (the spiritaul law), but with the flesh he serves the law of sin. This said nothing to me about sin being in his “best works” or the commandments of God which in reality bring life to us. (The Law of Moses brought death because no one could keep it perfectly. As you said, we cannot keep perfectly the laws of Christ either, but as we try, His perfection carries us and magnifies our efforts. What freedom this brings to us! Freedom from the burden of sin and of having to be perfect!)

    More to say next Tuesday.

  204. Amanda said

    Additional note to Mike:

    “If our doing was (or could be) good enough, why did Christ have to die on the cross?”

    In my last email, I think I was focusing on one part of the last half of this question. There were many blessings that came from this consumate and pivotal form of grace, as it is referred to in places in the Bible, extended to all mankind. As for the “If our doing was (or could be) good enough…,” please let me make it clear again that no works–mine, yours, ours, individually or collectively–could ever be “good enough” to add to or supplement the salvation God offers through the Atonement. But in contrast, while you believe it is all about Christ, I can agree that the performance of the Atonement was all about Christ, but its purpose (in my view) is all about God’s love for mankind and whether or not that love will be returned–will we as individuals choose to receive it and to follow Christ, allowing Him to help us reach our potential and return to our Heavenly Father’s presence through the process of sanctification?

    Like the Atonement, the Bible is all about God and His relationship with mankind–especially His covenant people; but it is not the Bible, God, or Christ that are under observation here; it is we who will demonstrate to ourselves and to God, who already knows the outcome, our love for, or lack thereof, and committment to God and His word. Our initial faith in Him is only the beginning of an incredible adventure which includes trials and tribulation to test that faith and to help us form, renew, and maintain our commitment to our spiritual priorities.

  205. Brad said

    But in contrast, while you believe it is all about Christ, I can agree that the performance of the Atonement was all about Christ, but its purpose (in my view) is all about God’s love for mankind and whether or not that love will be returned–will we as individuals choose to receive it and to follow Christ, allowing Him to help us reach our potential and return to our Heavenly Father’s presence through the process of sanctification?

    Mike, it ought to be crystal clear to you, by now, that no matter what you say, agreement will not be reached. I just want to make sure that YOU see the clear difference between Christianity and Mormonism. While the Christian believes that it is all about Christ – period -, the Mormon believes a portion of it was about Christ (the Atonement), but it served a further purpose, which was to “help” us get where we need to be. Mormonism is so desperate to enact obedience that it, inadvertently perhaps, errs by saying that obedience through works is required, when that is not in Scripture as a condition for salvation. What if I say the blind and deaf person is saved by faith alone? Are they, under Mormonism, since they really have no opportunity to “go into the world” and follow God’s commands? Is a special provision made for them, due to their physical condition? I say no – b/c no special provision is necessary, b/c it is not their acts of obedience that save them, but their faith. Their faith ALONE.

    Amanda, I know you don’t agree. And I also realize that no amount of talking will convince you otherwise. I am OK with that. I do hope that in the future, you will continue to look into this issue, and continue to research into the deeper things of Mormonism, and that you will hopefully eventually see how they don’t line up with Scripture. I do hope and pray that for you.

  206. Amanda said

    My goodness, Brad, I gave you the benefit of assuming you had read the Bible, or would that be a “work” and not necessary in your version of Christianity?

    I have said nothing that Jesus hasn’t said in the Bible. While it may not fall into line with with Reformative thought, that doesn’t change the fact that Jesus said and meant it. If you need more proof than Christ’s words, go to the Old Testament for His words as Jehovah.

    Although Mike and I may not agree, I don’t remember “agreeing” as being the purpose we were striving for. I really do not understand how you and those like-minded can ignore so many scriptures which fit my interpretation. We are saved by the Atonement of Christ conditioned upon our faith–which includes our faithfulness to His words. I am by no means through showing my beliefs through the Bible as opposed to ecclesiastical thought; and if you love God’s word, why should you have a proble with that? What you do with scripture is entirely up to you. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord as best we can, being fully accountable to Him for every thought, word and deed, as the Bible says.

    PS God doesn’t expect us to do more through our faith than we are capable of doing–deaf, dumb, or blind. (You and I have none of those excuses.) And since our efforts are and will never be “enough,” it is truly by His grace that we are saved.
    If that is not Christian thought, you have created your own extra-biblical definition of Christianity. Is this not “preaching another gospel”?

  207. Brad said

    Mike,

    From the above post, I hope you see my point…

    Does any further discussion seem profitable to you? Just wondering…

  208. Amanda said

    Brad,

    I apologize for getting “huffy” with you every time you express your opinion. Even Mike and I knew when we started writing on this blog that each of us is totally converted to our biblical interpretation. My only “beef” with you, Brad, is that you declare unashamedly that I am not a Christian, primarily because I take the Bible quite literally when it says we will be judged by our works and how we must, as James says, show our faith BY our works. I never said that our works have the power to save us in themselves (simply that we show our faith BY our works and there is no guarantee of salvation without obedience to our God–if I’m wrong, show me biblically). I have also given you quotes showing you that the Book of Mormon doesn’t say our works have any saving power in them apart from faith. I believe I take into consideration ALL of what the Bible says about the subject, and I hoped that as lovers of truth, you might be able to explain your position in a way that would help me see clearly, but biblically, what you believe and why in a CONCLUSIVE way.

    I would never say you are not Christians even though it seems to me you are saying it is not necessary to do the things our Savior has asked us to do. It’s not my calling or my place to say such things and make such judgments, especially regarding another’s salvation. At the same time, you do not return the favor and continue to insist that I believe my works save me apart from faith–which is a fallacy.

    Since I am a visitor on YOUR website, I should take into consideration that you do not want and are not interested in my actual biblical beliefs. From your responses, you do not care if you even represent them accurately to the world. I am prepared to go deeper into biblical scholarship to show you more clearly why I believe what I believe, but you convince me that this would make no difference. I sense that you would continue to “beat the same drum.”

    I garner my definition of a Christian from the words of Christ and have no question in my mind of what that entails.

    If Mike is of your mindset, Brad, and I suspect he could be, this conversation is indeed over; but if he were interested in a further look of my reading of what is, to me, clearly laid out in the Bible, including some of the verses he uses in his explanations, I am prepared to continue. There is more to consider, for sure. Either way, life holds much for us to do, and time is valuable. We may have reached an impass in interest if not biblical doctrine. I do appreciate Mike’s basic human courtesy, reasonable attitude, and efforts to tell me what he believes. I found the process enjoyable, even though –surprise!we are coming from different perspectives in doctrinal understanding.

  209. Mike S said

    I will reply soon. Our internet has been down and I have been away for a few days. Now I’m playing catch up.

  210. Fred said

    How did you ever survive without the internet, Mike?

  211. Mike S said

    I struggled through it, but am conviced that it certainly had to be a far left wing conspiracy to knock me off of the information super highway and confine me to the cul-d-sac of ideas in our liberal newspaper!! 🙂

  212. Amanda said

    A Biblical Look at Justification and Sanctification

    Brad said: “Mormonism… inadvertently perhaps, errs by saying that obedience through works is required, when that is not in Scripture as a condition for salvation..” I’d like to clarify this issue a little more to show where we are coming from biblically. This is reading, obviously, only for those truly interested in understanding LDS beliefs as it is not short.

    From “Biblical Mormonism” by Richard Hopkins:

    The precept which operates to save men from their past sins is called “justification”. Paul revealed the principles of justification in great detail in his epistle to the Romans, beginning with Romans 3:21-26, which reads in the NASB as follows (caps and parentheses added):

    “But now apart from the Law (of Moses) the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law (of Moses) and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction (between Jew and Gentile); for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in (or by) His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins PREVIOUSLY COMMITTED; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

    The Pharisees…believed that salvation came through obedience to the Law of Moses. To contradict that misunderstanding, Paul explains in v.21 that the righteousness of God exists apart from the Law of Moses, but is demonstrated in that Law and the teachings of the prophets. Then, in verse 22, he tells the gentile Romans that the righteousness of God is attained through faith in Christ, and that both Jew and Gentile have the same access to it. Verse 23 explains why man needs a Savior to attain the righteousness of God. Though all have sinned and thus fallen short of His righteousness, they can be “justified” as a gift which can be given because of the grace of Christ. (v.24)

    Verse 25 says that redemption comes through Christ because His suffering and death constituted a publicly visible payment or “propitiation” for the sins that men “previously committed” (KJV: “sins that are past”) Thus, it is as to past sins, (which men are powerless to address), that the atonement applies!

    As men deal with the present necessity of learning obedience to God, the distinction between their past sins and the sins they are now committing, or will commit in the future, is strategic. Present and future sins can and must be dealt with by men (through repentance) and then justified by God since men cannot be allowed to think that they are given a free ride into Heaven by God’s grace. Hence, Paul specifically notes that the atonement applies only to past sins.

    In v.26, Paul explains that, without the atonement, it would be unjust favoritism, and a violation of God’s holy and perfect character to forebear from punishing some, while others must receive full punishment. Were it not that Christ voluntarily undertook to suffer the punishment earned by those who have faith in Him, justice would not allow God to pass over ANY of man’s transgressions. Through the atonement, God can be both “just and the justifier” of those who have faith in Christ.

    Men cannot justify themselves (Job 9:20; Luke 10:29, 16:15). Justification is a judicial act performed by the Judge of all the earth, and literally means “to declare right or righteous.” C.I. Scofield correctly explained the nature of justification in these words: “Justification… may be defined as the judicial act of God whereby he justly declares and treats as righteous the one who believes in Jesus Christ. The justified believer has been declared by the Judge Himself (Rom. 3:31) to have nothing laid to his charge.” (Rom.
    8:1, 31-34).

    Paul rejoiced in this great boon as he continued his exposition in Romans 3:27-28:

    “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
    Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (of Moses).

    This passage confirms the reality that men are not justified by the rituals of the Law of Moses OR ANYTHING ELSE THEY CAN DO. No matter what the Lord asks of them, no matter how perfect their obedience may be throughout the rest of eternity, all men would have to be condemned for the past sins if Christ had not paid the price for them. If there had been no atonement, all men would have to serve the eternal sentence they deserve for the crimes they previously committed.

    Justification is, in essence, the decree of God that a man’s past sins are forgiven (Acts 13:38-39, Rom.3:23-26, 4:7,8). In fact, the word “justify” or “justification” is often used in lieu of “forgiveness of sins” (see Luke 18:14; Acts 13:39, Rom. 3:20, 1 Cor.6:11; Gal. 2:17—“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.” ) This great boon, according to Paul, may be obtained only “by the law of faith” (Rom.3:27, Eph.1:7).

    SANCTIFICATION:

    When a man has been justified, all his past sins are blotted out (Acts 3:19). As long as he doesn’t commit any new sins, he is clean in the eyes of God and entitled to receive His Spirit—he is saved in the sense that he is ready to commune with God, to know Him, and have His Spirit with him. (We know that this will be short lived because man, after justification occurs, is still subject to temptation and will continually, both inadvertently and willfully, sin again.) This new sin will adversely affect their relationship with the Lord. They no longer stand spotless or blameless before Him, and hence, are no longer in a state that will allow them to know God (1 John 2:3-4…”AND HEREBY WE DO KNOW THAT WE KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. HE THAT SAITH, I KNOW HIM, AND KEEPETH NOT HIS COMMANDMENTS, IS A LIAR, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN HIM.” It is always a man’s present status that is the focus of God’s examination (2 Cor. 13:5…”Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, EXCEPT ye be reprobates?” Ps. 26:2…”Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”) Therefore, the question must always be: “Is there any sin in the believer now?”

    God is patient with repentant believers who are sincerely striving to obey His commandments (Rom. 2:4… “despiseth thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
    2 Peter 3:9… “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 1 John 2:1… “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not, And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:….” Like any other past sin, new sins must be forsaken and remitted, or justified. Thus, although Christ’s act of atonement was accomplished once for all men (Heb. 9:25-28; 1 Peter 3:18) each man’s need for justification recurs throughout his lifetime. 1 John 1:9… “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Also, see Proverbs 28:12,13…He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.”

    The process in which men are repeatedly justified as they repent of new sins until they learn perfect obedience to God is called “sanctification”, meaning to consecrate or make holy—to dedicate to the Lord (see Gen. 2:3; Exod. 13:2, Lev. 20:26; 27:14-15).

    While the Bible speaks of sanctification being by the Lord (Jer. 1:5; Ezek. 20:12, 37:28; John 10:36, 1 Thess. 5:23; Jude 1), it also indicates that men have a part in it as they exercise their will and moral agency in an effort to maintain a state of holiness. (Exod. 19:10… “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes.” Lev. 19:2… “.. . and say unto them, Ye
    Shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” Although the Lord provides the means for sanctification, He expects all men to sanctify themselves to Him (Exod. 19:10, Lev. 11:44; Num. 20:12; Deut. 32:51; Ezek. 20:41, 36:23; 1 Peter 1:15,16…”But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

    Paul explained the elements and process of sanctification in Titus 2:11-14 as follows:

    “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

    The grace of God brings salvation to men through justification for their past sins. This principle teaches men that they must live righteously, repenting and receiving justification anew each time they fall and commit new sin. Men should look forward to salvation as God purifies and redeems them “from all iniquity,” until they become “ a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

    The dual role of God and man in the sanctification process is illustrated in 1 Thess. 4:3-8 (NASB) as follows:

    “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”

    This passage clearly places upon men the responsibility of maintaining the state of moral holiness that comes through justification. That is why men are commanded throughout the Bible to repent and endure to the end, even after they have been justified. They are saved while in obedience to God, a state of holiness which they will learn to maintain for longer and longer periods at a time, until they are ready for eternal obedience in the Kingdom of God. Paul illustrates the relationship between salvation and the sanctification process in 2 Thess. 2:13 as follows:

    “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth….”

    Ultimate salvation is obtained only through the process of sanctification. By this process men are prepared to live with God in His Kingdom eternally. The scriptures clearly teach this principle: “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. “ (Heb. 12:14, NASB). The expression “see the Lord” refers to the time when men will be ready to enter the actual presence of God. Paul taught the same truths to King Agrippa in Acts 26:18. There he announced that Christ had sent him to the Gentiles:

    “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

    Peter teaches the same principle in 1 Peter 1:2. There, addressing believers throughout the world, he describes them as:

    “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” This means that men are saved by faith in Christ and numbered among the “elect” (a term that relates to salvation) through sanctification.

    These passages also demonstrate that the purpose of sanctification is to learn obedience. To be fully sanctified is to arrive at a state of consistent obedience that, in conjunction with justification for past sins, will allow men to live in perfection with God. Men who have achieved this goal during their life on earth were referred to as “perfect” in the Bible (Gen. 6:9—Noah was a just man and perfect (complete, whole, having integrity, as to the Hebrew translation of the word “perfect”; 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chron. 15:17—“Asa’s heat was perfect with the Lord all his days;” 2 Kings 20:3… “I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight;” Job 1:1… “and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil;” Ps. 37:37… “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace;” 1 Cor. 2:6… “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought.” Phil. 3:15… “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” 2 Tim. 3:16, 17… “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect (Greek: ‘suited, ready, complete’), throughly furnished unto all good works.” Even though not perfect from birth, as Christ was, they learned obedience through the process of sanctification and were justified with respect to their past sins through the grace of Christ. (The “perfecting of the saints” is one of the chief purposes of the Church, according to Eph. 4:12.) I myself have known people who I considered to have “perfect hearts” here upon the earth, and I’m not saying they were all LDS, but they definitely had been refined by the Spirit through faith in Christ and through his grace as they patterned their lives from His word as they read and understood it.

    It is clear to me that a mutual effort is necessary to bring men into a state of holiness that will allow them to enter God’s presence. It begins with our choosing to have faith in Christ and then choosing to deny ourselves of all ungodliness, according to His word.

    I hope this brings our view of works and grace, justification and sanctification, and salvation into clearer focus.

  213. Brad said

    This only serves to show that you truly do not understand the “saved by faith alone” doctrine. Mormonism, as with all other religions except Christianity, is a religion of continually “doing” to “make sure” that we stay right before God. It is, at it’s heart, one of uncertainty. If it weren’t, there would be no need to continually “do” to make sure. Your characterization, or rather, your quote of another who so characterizes, of the atonement as only covering sins up to that point, I find to not only be incorrect, but borderline offensive, and completely NOT in line with what you say you believe. If you do believe in salvation by faith alone, then there would be NOTHING else one has to do to be, or remain, saved, except for true faith. If you TRULY believe that, then there would be no requirement to have to “do” anything, for the “doing” wouldn’t save you.

    You can throw all the numerous Scripture verses out there that you want, Amanda, to try and make it seem as if you know what you’re talking about and can back it up. The fact is, only 2 verses make it crystal clear: “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the free gift of God, not by works, lest any man should boast.” To read that, and still say that any form of “doing” is still required, is to not understand.

    Mike, I’d be curious on your thoughts. Your simple thoughts, not a long, drawn-out analysis, but a quick paraphrase. I’m not sure if you’d agree or not, and I’m honestly quite curious where you would stand.

  214. Mike S said

    Brad, Simple Thoughts. Faith Alone but not Faith that is alone. Simple laws of non-contradiction need to be applied here. I will share more about that tomorrow. Essentially you and I are on the same page regarding faith/works. Scripture speaks louder than I do…

    Romans 10:9-11: That 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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.

    Galatians 3:1-5: You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

    Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

    Anything that is free, you don’t have to work for.

    Romans 4:3-5 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

  215. Brad said

    Very good, Mike. I thought we were on the same page, but wanted to be sure.

  216. Mike S said

    Through prayer and study this morning I have begun to see a graphic example of our issue. I need to spend some time drawing it out and then I’ll need to figure out how I can share the diagram over the website. Any ideas? I guess I could create a pdf and refer to a free download site.

  217. Amanda said

    Brad: “This only serves to show that you truly do not understand the “saved by faith alone” doctrine.”

    Amanda: Actually, this only serves to show that I do not BELIEVE the faith ALONE premise. Free lunch is always more appealing to the natural man, but even “fee lunch” has a price–you have to stand in the right line–and the right side of the line–and eat it yourself with a fork and spoon for it to be more than lip service! that simple token of effort brings the reward of good health, without which, just BELIEVING that the lunch is nourishing will still not nourish your body.

    It’s interesting to me that when Peter was speaking to the Jews, testifying of Jesus after His crucifixion, it was His works, he pointed out, that caused Jesus to be “approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you…”
    And when the people heard this , and were pricked in their hearts, they asked Peter and the rest of apostles, “MEN AND BRETHREM, WHAT SHALL WE DO?”

    “Then Peter said unto them” –NOT “confess his name and ye will be saved (even though it is NO DOUBT, WITH our belief and our hearts that we are justified), not “just trust that Jesus is the Christ and that you are saved “just as you are” if your belief is sincere; he said, “REPENT and be BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, SAVE YOURSELVES FROM THIS UNTOWARD GENERATION.”

    Brad, I would imagine that half of the Bible would offend you if you took it literally, but I have hopes that Mike–not today or tomorrow, but sometime in the future, might ponder ALL the words of scripture which I think he loves, and go wherever the Spirit leads him on interpretation.

    “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness,” is only half of that scripture. We are told first, “Was not Abraham our father justified by 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 “(and not until he had performed the “works of faith”–) “which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.”

    Do all the other words, the context from which that line was pulled, mean nothing to you two?

    I agree with Mike that we are saved by grace through faith which IS not alone, and I have given ample words from the Bible which prove this. The Romans 10:9-11 quote is a good beginning point for anyone who accepts Christ. Following that heart that led you to Christ is also imperitive because Jesus will put into it by the Spirit and by His authority many things that we must do and not do in order to enter into the Father’s presence one day.

    I have another context (the context of truth) from which to approach the works and faith together concept which may help you to understand a different, more thorough look at the subject, and I have much to say about baptism and “making the committment” to follow Christ. After I lay it all out, I will close the discussion because you will have heard more than enough to leave you without excuse to misrepresent my faith.

    I am impressed by anyone who can testify by the Spirit, “I know that the gospel is true”; I am more impressed when they indicate that they know what the gospel entails. We do have to look at the entire word of God to know what the gospel of Jesus Christ entails, and so far, based upon what you have and have not told me, I would have to “unlearn” and “unread” a lot of what the Bible says to believe your interpretation about the subject on which we are writing. I do not question YOUR belief in it nor your love of the Savior, but do you love ALL of his words and teachings? Do you believe that the same Jesus that said “come take the free gift of the water of life, said “Go therefor and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”? I do, and am I not “Christian” because I do?

    Perhaps the only real difference is that I see a true and living church that was established upon the authority of God back then; and I have seen and become part of that same church, with the same authority, and the same power in action here today. This causes me to embrace every word in Acts that demonstrates the Church in action. God lives today and loves us just as much as He did back then! The Church is a gift and blessing to all those who will receive it. To those who don’t, is it by our “works” that you condemn us? (Jesus said the same. “Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?” They answered, saying,”For a good work we stone thee not; but for blashpeny; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:32-36, for complete thought.) Not much has changed today. (We claim that we are, literally AND adoptedly, the spiritual sons and daughters of God and that we CAN become more and more like Him as we obey His commandments and receive help from the Holy Ghost, His Spirit.) If we are “stoned” for “going about our Father’s business,” so be it.

  218. Amanda said

    Again, Mike, there continues to be a confusion to some extent of the “works” of the Law of Moses and simple obedience to the “law of the gospel,” or the “law of faith” in Jesus Christ.

  219. Amanda said

    PS I don’t think my fingers will ever be able to “write like the wind” and not make many computer errors–even upon a quick re-reading! Sorry about that! Life is too full for me to thoroughly check, it seems, and I can’t use my “spellcheck” on the website.

  220. Brad said

    Actually, this only serves to show that I do not BELIEVE the faith ALONE premise.

    I would say that your not BELIEVING the “faith alone” doctrine shows that you do not properly UNDERSTAND the “faith alone” doctrine. I think they go hand in hand.

    “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness,” is only half of that scripture. We are told first, “Was not Abraham our father justified by 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 “(and not until he had performed the “works of faith”–) “which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.”

    Do all the other words, the context from which that line was pulled, mean nothing to you two?

    While I can’t officially speak for Mike, I will say that I believe your interpretation of this is way off, if you think in any way that the works had anything to do with the salvation that came through faith. It was the faith, nothing else, that saved Abraham. Your interpretation of the word “justified” here, much like you have interpreted its uses in Paul’s writings as well as in James, is way off. A good study of the Greek word used for “justified”, and it’s dual meaning in different contexts (i.e. who the justification is evident for, among other things), goes miles in interpreting this word.

  221. Amanda said

    To Brad and Mike: The Gospel of Faith

    I think James’ words are pretty self explanatory; it doesn’t even take Greek translations to figure this stuff out, and we’ve been down this road before, haven’t we– as Christians have down through the centuries? Yet I do agree with you that one must look closely at the meanings of words used to fully understand the passages.

    Mormons do not believe that “works must be added to God’s grace in order to obtain salvation,” as you have often indicated. We simply acknowledge what God has commanded us to do, just as Abraham did by having the faith to do as God told him to do–which is why he was “the Friend” of God, and why Rahab too was “justified”–because she had , for one, am grateful for the remission of my past sins, while still recognizing my need to repent as I err.

    If you say that Mormons are guilty of saying “Christ’s work on the cross was not adequate, that we think we must help Him out”, are you not equally guilty of the same offense when you repeatedly say that men must “trust” in Christ to be saved? That would also imply that Christ’s work on the cross was not adequte and we must help Him–by trusting Him! Neither of us, I believe, in reality add our version of trust to His grace, and as I have shown you, Mormons do not deny the necessity of God’s grace for their salvation. We teach that obedience is of no value whatsoever apart from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Book of Mormon 2:6-8, 11:6; Mosiah 13:28; 15:18-19; Alma 34:9-14).

    As for “justification,” in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, after praying with a sincere, REPENTANT heart, the publican was the one who went home “justified”. This isn’t the same thing as “eternal salvation.” It was part of his being justified through the grace of Christ at that particular time because of his repentant heart and prayers.

    About salvation: We believe, as I have stated, that obedience is not just a “characteristic” of the redeemed but a “condition” for redemption. By far, the majority of references to “salvation” in the New Testament are in the future tense. Many say that men “shall be saved” (e.g., John 10:9, Acts 2:21; 16:31; Rom. 5:9-10; and 10:8-9,13). Others have a contingent wording, promising that men MAY be saved (John 6:40; 1 Cor. 5:5). Some speak of the “hope” of salvation (e.g. Rom. 5:1-2; 10:1; Heb. 6:11-12; 1 Thess.5:8; and Titus 1:1-2), while others treat salvation as a process or “way,” saying that men are “being saved” (e.g., Acts 16:17; Rom. 1:16; 13:11; 2 Cor. 3:18; and Acts 2:46-47; 1 Cor. 1:18; and 2 Cor. 2:15, in the NASB).

    There is ONLY ONE instance in the Bible where a specific individual is said to have been saved at a specific moment in time (Luke 7:36-50, esp. 48-50). In that case, a devoted and penitent woman was forgiven of her sins by Christ when she annointed His feet with oil. After He forgave her, Christ said, “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” The womans’ sins having been forgiven by God Himself, she was, at that moment, in a state of perfect holiness before Him and thus “saved.” But the Bible does not say she remained in that state. Besides Eph. 2:8, which has the phrase “ye are saved,” or as it is more accurately translated from the Greek, “you have been saved” (NASB), there are a few passages in the writings of John that use this present perfect tense to describe the enjoyment of eternal life by those who believe (e.g., John 3:15,36; 6:47; and 1 John 5:13). These passages require the understanding of what John meant when he used the term “believe,” and we can talk about that soon if you like.

    NO BIBLICAL REFERENCE SPEAKS OF PERSONAL SALVATION IN THE PAST TENSE ALONE (e.g., “I was saved in Jerusalem at the Feast of Pentecost”).

    The following are primarily taken, once more, from Richard Hopkins’ “Biblical Mormonism:”

    The extremist view that ANY form of obedience to God’s commandments is a meritorious work which cannot save is not biblical and can lead to serious contradictions. Although Paul preached against the Pharisaical thinking, there is no passage in his writings that suggests obedience to God’s commandments should be considered a “meritorious work.” Usually, when Paul uses the word “works,” he is referring to the works or “deeds” (Rom. 3:20,28, KJV) of the Law of Moses. This is apparent from his statement to the Galatians (which often comes up.)

    “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (C.I. Scofield, a non-Mormon biblical scholar, footnotes every use of the word “law” in Gel. 2 with the indication that it refers to “the law of Moses.”)

    The Apostle James, on the other hand, uses the word “works” differently. He does not limit that term in his epistle by the use of any prepositional phrase, as Paul does in Romans 3:28, “works of the Law.” James uses the word “only” to modify the word “faith” (James 2:24). This distinction indicates that James’ use of the words “works” and “faith,” unlike Paul’s usage of those words, was intended to separate the concept of “intellectual agreement” from “the behavioral response of men to their beliefs.” To James, the word “faith” refers only to thought processes, the intellectual acceptance of facts, ideas, and opinions, while the word “works” identifies man’s behavior based on those thought processes.

    Paul never used words of limitation, like “only,” in connection with the word “faith.” His approach is from a very different direction. To Paul, faith is much more than mrere Pharisaical adherence to the outward requirement of the Law. He sees “faith” and “belief” as inclusive of obedience. To Paul, faith is a state of the heart that includes both mental assent and a devotion reflected by heart-felt obedience. His use of the term “faith” is closer to the true meaning of the Greek word “pistis,” which encompasses three aspects, identified by theologians as “noticia” (a knowledge of truth), “assensus” (intellectual acceptance of truth), and “fiducia” (trust and confidence manifested by obedience to truth).

    This understanding will allow resolution of an otherwise glaring contradiction between Paul’s staement in Rom. 3:28 (“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law,” NSAB;cf., Eph. 2:9), and the statement of James in James 2:24 (“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only”). The latter passage either contradicts Paul, or, as suggested above, is based on different terminology. If it is understood that Paul used the word “works” to refer to the dead works of the Law of Moses, and James used the word “faith” to mean mental assent, then the method by which men are saved, according to each author, can be harmonized.

    James is saying that mere intellectual assent to facts, ideas, and opinions (“noticia and assensus”, without obedience (“fiducia”), does not constitute the faith Paul said would save men. To illustrate, Rom. 4:1-5 reads as follows:

    “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    By way of contrast, James notes Abraham’s famous act of obedience, and says (James 2:21-23):

    “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

    In Romans 4:1-2 Paul asks what Abraham, the father of the Jews, understood about salvation, and notes that, if Abraham were justified by “works,” he would have had reason to boast, but such boasting would not have been “before God:” (verse two). That is, God would not have been the source of Abraham’s salvation if he had been obedient all his life, as Christ was. Abraham would have earned salvation as a debt owed to him, the same as Christ did, if he had been able to accomplish that feat.

    Does this contradict James teaching that, in fact, Abraham was justified by works? Certainly not! Paul is saying that Abraham was not justified by perfect obedience to the Law of Moses. In fact, the Law of Moses had not even been given when Abraham lived (though animal sacrifice, looking forward to the last and great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, was required in his day–Gen. 22:1-14). Abraham was saved through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the same Gospel Paul was asking the Gentiles to receive. (Eph. 2:11-17; Gal. 3:26-29).

    In Rom. 4:5, Paul notes that the principle of justification is available to all that “worketh not.” What did he mean by that? Does the word “worketh” in this phrase refer to obedience? Was Paul contradicting James, saying that justification is available to those who do not obey the commandments of God? If so, righteous Abraham was a very poor example. He obeyed God, and according to James, was justified by his works.

    To James, the word, “works,” included Abraham’s obedience in general. To Paul the word, “worketh” meant to perform the works of the Law of Moses. While they both used the same word, each had a different meaning in mind. To best understand Paul’s staement, “him that worketh not,” it must be contrasted with the phrase “him that worketh” in Rom. 4:4. That verse promises to “him that worketh” the “reward” as an obligation of the Father earned by perfect obedience to the Law. The only person who ever earned salvation in this manner is Jesus Christ. Thus, He is the only person referred to in verse 4.

    By contrast, the rest of humanity is referred to in verse 5 as “him that worketh not.” Even those who have tried to do the works of the Law are included in this phrase because, unlike Christ, they failed to live the Law perfectly. Thus, “him that worketh not,” refers to all men, who, being unable to live God’s laws perfectly from their birth, need the Savior’s atonement to justify their past sins.

    Paul’s point is that Abraham “learned” obedience. Thus, he needed the Savior’s atonement as much as the Gentiles do to justify the sins all men commit in the learning process. James’ point is that Abraham succeeded in learning to obey God, and hence was saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ for his past sins. Thus, the comparison of Paul and James demonstrates the point that both the atonement of Christ AND the obedience of men are necessary for salvation.

    A serious theological problem arises from the overbroad interpretation of the term “works.” It is the question of whether or not faith itself is a work. You, Brad and Mike, seem to admit that faith in Christ is necessary for salvation, yet it is a commandment of God to have faith in Christ (Matt. 23:23; Mark 11:22; 1 Tim. :5; 6:11-12). Thus, if men believe in Christ, they are obeying a commandment of God. Wouldn’t this have to be classified as a meritorious work which cannot save, according to your position? To avoid this result, some claim that “faith is a gift of God, not a work of man.” They cite Eph. 2:1-5 and 8 to support this idea. Verses 1-5 do not even address the issue, and verse 8 (“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” NSAB) does NOT say that “the gift of God” is “faith.” The better interpretation of the Greek is that “the gift of God” referred to in that verse is “grace,” for that is the subject of Paul’s sentence.

    The Bible is clear that FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST AS THE SON OF GOD COMES TO MEN THROUGH REVELATION from the Father (Matt. 16:15-17). However, it is equally clear that a man must exercise his free will to accept that revelation. As Paul explained in Rom. 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing , and hearing by the word of God.” Men must HEAR the word given to them by God before they can have faith. Hearing, used in this sense, is an act of will that involves acceptance of God’s message. it cannot be theologically dinstinguished from any other act of human obedience.

    Faith must be voluntary, for God desires all men to accept Him of their own free will and choice. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is….” (Heb. 11:6). If faith was bestowed on men without an act of will from them, its absence would be God’s fault, and hence the forgoing verse would be a sham. God calls all men to Him (John 6:44,65), but they must come of their own free will and choice. God is not responsible for man’s evil choices as well. It would be unjust for God, if He were solely responsible for man’s faith in Him, to condemn men because of their faithlessness (John 5:24). thus, faith is clearly a “work” of man IN PART.

    Paul did not intend the term “work” to be used as broadly as some do. Their definition is more consistent with James’ use of the term. However, when James uses that term so broadly, he declares that men ARE justified by their “works.” Thus, James recognized that the efforts of men are not only efficacious, but essential to their salvation.

    In so saying, it is important not to lose sight of the point made by each of these great apostles. Men cannot redeem themselves from their past sins by any purely human effort. James does not say men can work their way to heaven, merely that their works, with their faith, are necessary for their salvation.

    If you disagree with the points given above, please address it scripturally; don’t just say, as Brad did:

    “A good study of the Greek word used for “justified”, and it’s dual meaning in different contexts (i.e. who the justification is evident for, among other things), goes miles in interpreting this word.”

    Show me the “beef!” (Remember that commercial? That shows my age for sure!)

  222. Brad said

    I think James’ words are pretty self explanatory;

    Me too – I just don’t think they mean what YOU think they mean…

    Mormons do not believe that “works must be added to God’s grace in order to obtain salvation,”

    Define salvation – is this the general salvation available to all, or the special levels that Mormons can attain? Thus the problem with Mormonism – different meanings for like terms.

    If you say that Mormons are guilty of saying “Christ’s work on the cross was not adequate, that we think we must help Him out”, are you not equally guilty of the same offense when you repeatedly say that men must “trust” in Christ to be saved?

    No – that’s a retarded argument, used often by Mormons, to try to say that faith itself is a “work”, thus trying to defeat the question. It’s a ridiculous premise, knowing that Christians don’t view faith as a “work”, nor is it intended to be viewed as a “work”, b/c it’s not. You’re trying to set up a red herring question, and it doesn’t work.

    That would also imply that Christ’s work on the cross was not adequte and we must help Him–by trusting Him!

    Again, retarded. That line of thinking merits no better description than that.

    Neither of us, I believe, in reality add our version of trust to His grace, and as I have shown you, Mormons do not deny the necessity of God’s grace for their salvation.

    I didn’t say Mormons deny the necessity of grace – but I do say that Mormons don’t believe that faith is ALL that is required. And you’ve backed up that opinion in your writings.

    About salvation: We believe, as I have stated, that obedience is not just a “characteristic” of the redeemed but a “condition” for redemption.

    Exactly what I have been saying for nearly a year, which amazingly, you have denied, saying that you don’t believe works are necessary for salvation. Yet here, you say that they are a “condition” for redemption, which can only mean they are necessary. I’m glad you finally cop to it. To say that you (or Mormonism, in general) don’t believe in works for salvation, only serves to make you look ridiculous, when clearly your beliefs indicate otherwise.

    The extremist view that ANY form of obedience to God’s commandments is a meritorious work which cannot save is not biblical and can lead to serious contradictions.

    From a Mormon book. Does this really shock anybody? Does anyone STILL think that Mormons DON’T believe in works being necessary for salvation?

    James is saying that mere intellectual assent to facts, ideas, and opinions, without obedience, does not constitute the faith Paul said would save men.

    It’s not the ADDITION of works that saves men, it’s the evidence of works that show the FAITH is true, and not mere mental assent. The works won’t always be there, b/c we’re not perfect. There are days where I won’t “work”, there are sometimes weeks, b/c we’re not perfect, and we aren’t always doing what we should. Does that mean I’m not “saved” during those days, or weeks, b/c I’m not “working”? No. Salvation isn’t something you gain or lose intermittently, based on things you do. It’s something you either have, or don’t have, period.

    I put about as much stock in what Hopkins, or any Mormon “theologian”, has to say, as I would in what Porky Pig has to say. It means nothing.

    You, Brad and Mike, seem to admit that faith in Christ is necessary for salvation, yet it is a commandment of God to have faith in Christ (Matt. 23:23; Mark 11:22; 1 Tim. :5; 6:11-12). Thus, if men believe in Christ, they are obeying a commandment of God. Wouldn’t this have to be classified as a meritorious work which cannot save, according to your position?

    More of the same retarded, red-herring argument, I see… That’s about the kindest I can put it, Amanda.

  223. Amanda said

    Brad: “I do say that Mormons don’t believe that faith is ALL that is required. And you’ve backed up that opinion in your writings.” Ture, Brad.

    If I have ever said directly that faith is ALL that is required, IMPLYING that OBEDIENCE–which is a slightly different concept from simply “works” but an important one, is not needed if one has faith, then I truly did mispeak or mislead you. I meant to say that works add nothing to and take nothing from the ATONEMENT of Christ and salvation from death–which is the general salvation to which you referred. Works of obedience have much to do with whether or not we have RECEIVED the atonement. If, however, you acknowledge, as any HONEST-hearted individual would, that ALL obedience stems from faith in God and faithfulness TO His commandments, then even a Mormon can say without equivocation that Faith is all that is needed to gain salvation.(I use the term, as Paul often does, with an unelaborated upon understanding of faithfulness or obedience being part of the package. (He was writing to the saints, after all, who understood this too.) We certainly teach that our works have no power to do anything by themselves! (Go ponder that one, Brad, and maybe it will not sound as “retarded” to you.)All that we DO stems from faith in God’s words–and Christ is “THE WORD”– or a lack of it.

    “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22.) If that is not a “commandment”, then it is the definition of “commandment” that we are at odds over as well as the definition of faith. Every affirmative statement intended by Christ for us to follow is a “commandment” to me. As I said before, I believe we all have varying levels of faith. I can pray hurriedly, haphazzardly, or as if my prayer were a wish–and all in the same day, but until I pray with focused, cutting edged faith, I am not following my Savior’s command to “have faith in God.” It doesn’t mean I don’t have a saving faith in God; it means I am not exercising that faith and being fully cognizant of it. God can help me do that as I read my scriptures daily and obey His commandments, thus…

    “It’s not the ADDITION of works that saves men” (Brad) …we are in agreement about this. OBEDIENCE will stem from AND INCREASE OUR FAITH AND OUR COMMITTMENT TO GOD. THEN GOD CAN HELP US TO PROGRESS ETERNALLY AND INSPIRE US TO DESIRE TO BE MORE LIKE HIM, TO ACT MORE LIKE HIM, AND GIVE US THE POWER TO DO SO.

    FINALLY, There is no real, lasting, saving faith, merely intellectual approval or belief, WITHOUT OBEDIENCE, and it will always be so.

    Let’s leave the doctrinal discussion from your perspecitve to Mike, Brad. You and I have already exhausted our limited potential on that, and I’m afraid you lacked the patience for an in-depth look at anything from the beginning, preferring to “shoot from the hip,” as your “retardation” references still bear witness.

    Amanda

  224. Amanda said

    “All that we DO stems from faith in God’s words–and Christ is “THE WORD”– or a lack of it.”

    Let’s rephrase that more reverently: “All that we DO stems from faith, or a lack of it, in God’s words; and Christ is “THE WORD”
    –THE TRUTH, THE LIFE AND THE WAY. One cannot embrace Christ without embracing His WORDS AND acting upon them.

  225. Amanda said

    PS There is one thing I would still love to hear from you, Brad, and that is the scripture from the Bible which says that you can enter into the kingdom of God WITHOUT having repented or being obedient to His commandments. Don’t you require documentation for all of your beliefs? (Or was that just for me and my beliefs?)

  226. Brad said

    Let’s leave the doctrinal discussion from your perspecitve to Mike, Brad. You and I have already exhausted our limited potential on that, and I’m afraid you lacked the patience for an in-depth look at anything from the beginning, preferring to “shoot from the hip,” as your “retardation” references still bear witness.

    What’s funny, Amanda, is you speak as if you are the standard-bearer for the perfect conversation, for the best of an in-depth study. If I lacked patience, why am I still here after a year of conversing? You, now as before, confuse disagreement with ability. I have the ability to have an in-depth conversation about this with you. You, like many Mormons, like to engage in as many words as possible, to confuse the situation, throwing out as many Scripture references as you can to try and lend creedence to your beliefs. It doesn’t work. Christianity, and its concepts, are simple. They are made difficult by those who don’t believe in them as they were meant to be believed, such as yourself.

    PS There is one thing I would still love to hear from you, Brad, and that is the scripture from the Bible which says that you can enter into the kingdom of God WITHOUT having repented or being obedient to His commandments. Don’t you require documentation for all of your beliefs? (Or was that just for me and my beliefs?)

    Amanda, you’ve already been given all the Scripture, and the basis for interpretation, that you need. I did that many months ago. You choose to disagree and ignore it – your right to do. AT NO POINT have I said that we shouldn’t, or don’t need to, repent or be obedient. Once again, as I said above, you have made the simple things complicated. It is FAITH that saves you. It is FAITH that leads you to repent, to obey. But at the end, it is FAITH that is what is needed for salvation – nothing else. Your point of view differs, b/c your methods of interpretation differ, b/c they are set up to back up the Mormon point of view. Again – your right.

  227. Mike S said

    Sorry I am so slow but I was still working through points made many posts ago. I want to take some time to “clear through the brush” to try and get a few areas of agreement and disagreement out on the table so that we can either agree on them or set them aside in order to move on. I am still very strapped for time and want to refrain from emotional discourse that has a tendency to get us sidetracked. I know that I frustrate many with my deliberate details but I want to be sure that I am thorough in answering Amanda’s questions as well as offering well thought out challenges regarding how our beliefs differ. I also continue to fight competing contenders for my time. The tyranny of the urgent!

  228. Amanda said

    Mike,

    I’m all for hitting the resurfacing and most important issues at hand instead of rehashing the aged myth that Mormons think “dead works” have anything to do with our salvation. Obedience to the things God has told us to do, as I metnioned, is a much more urgent issue to examine.

    Don’t worry about time. I’ve got plenty of other things more urgent to do as well.

  229. Brad said

    I’m all for hitting the resurfacing and most important issues at hand instead of rehashing the aged myth that Mormons think “dead works” have anything to do with our salvation. Obedience to the things God has told us to do, as I metnioned, is a much more urgent issue to examine.

    Even in your attempt to summarize, you get it wrong.

    “Dead works” is a mis-characterization. The works themselves aren’t dead – that’s not what James says. James says that faith, without works, is dead. It’s the faith he’s focused on. Faith that produces good works (as evidence), is a faith that saves. Other things can produce “good” works – a desire to help others, being nice, etc…, but those are things that aren’t necessarily reliant on salvation to have, for I’ve seen many non-Christians have those traits (my FIL being one of them, at one point). In a Christian, it is the faith that PRODUCES good works. The works are simply evidence, not requirements. It’s not required that we have works to be saved; it’s required that we have FAITH to be saved. How do others know if Christians have what they say they have, if they are what they say they are? By their works (their “fruit”, as Mormons like to say, although they typically use that verse out of context anyway, which I’ve also discussed with you in the past, Amanda).

    So “dead works” isn’t the issue – dead faith is. Just make sure you summarize correctly.

  230. Brad said

    And for that matter, as it relates to your belief that only sins through the cross were covered on the cross (post #212), what about Hebrews 7:27 “He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself”? Does that appear to cover only PAST sins, or ALL sins?

  231. Mike S said

    Brad/Amanda
    I would be interested to hear both of your takes on Tim Keller’s sermon on Exclusivity (and Absolutism if you have time). I posted a link on the “Was Darwin Right or Wrong” page. Post #213 It knid of touches on some of our issue here but it is mostly a magnificent exposition of TRUTH. Mike

  232. Amanda said

    Brad,

    You and I do not disagree that FAITH is what is needed for salvation. And I can even agree that it is the ONLY thing–if one understands that faith includes FAITHFULNESS, or OBEDIENCE TO GOD. From what you and Mike have said about faith, you relegate it to only the “intellectual assent”, or “belief,” separating the need to BE FAITHFUL from the need to HAVE FAITH as far as SALVATION is concerned. The Bible just doesn’t support that in totallity even though one can pull several key verses which were given to people who understood the fulness of the concept to illustrate the all-encompassing subject of FAITH–which we also agree upon. I just don’t believe they can be separated.

    How can I demonstrate what convinces me of the accuracy of my beliefs without giving you lots of scriptures to go with the few you gave me in the very beginning of our writing, Brad? (Your memory of the completeness of your responses does NOT match mine. And obviously, they were inadequate to make “a case” that would standd up to biblical scrutiny. I did not give you many then because of my father’s illness and death and because of your close-mindedness when it comes to looking at scripture. (Not that Mik’s is open, but he is at least willing to address scriptural differences without resorting to slander and what I consider “nasty” remarks.

    I can come down to that level too, (and I don’t hold myself up as any great example, Brad); but it is not what I aspire to, and it is not where I want to spend my time.

    Brad says: “You, like many Mormons, like to engage in as many words as possible, to confuse the situation, throwing out as many Scripture references as you can to try and lend creedence to your beliefs.”

    Brad, how many Mormons have you engaged with? I am wordier by nature than perhaps any Mormon you have ever met; and it’s not because of the deceptive intentions you are so quick to judgmentally ascribe to us collectively; it is because I beliee you ignore many of those scriptures as you proclaim what you call “the simplicity of the gospel.” I too believe it is simple: God speaks: I OBEY IN FAITH. He, after all, is the author and finisher of our FAITH. It seems to me that you pick what you think is “simple” to believe; whereas, we pick ALL of what the Lord says to believe, and it all has to fit together haromonically without neglect or ignoring the parts we don’t agree with. Jesus didn’t mence words, and nothing preserved in the Bible is superfluous.

    The answers you gave me were things like,…”well, certain people think that “water” in this phrase may refer to….” (when speaking of Jesus’ clear statement to Nicodemus that “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. If Jesus hadn’t commanded his Apostles to preach the gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of….” and if there weren’t other scriptures attesting to the importance of baptism, I wouldn’t have to remind bring it up. If Paul hadn’t described the fact that “there are celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the telestial is another”, and that as “one star differeth from another star in glory”, so also is the resurrection of the dead, and if Paul hadn’t also referred in 2
    Cor.12:2 to being “caught up into the third heaven”–and if God hadn’t given the Prophet Joseph Smith an extraordinary revelation in Section 76 about the degrees of glory which elaborate upon this topic in a way that the Spirit can bear witness to the human soul, I too might believe, as you said, that “celestial” has more to do with a layer of the sky, or whatever you gave me at the time. In short, Brad, while you feel you gave me ample “scriptures” to address our differences, I absolutely do not, and I disagree with the “opinions” you threw out there.

    Why does this matter? Why do I hang in there? Only because for years I have listened to people just like you “dis” my faith for NOT believing in the Bible, not even KNOWING the Bible, NOT believing in Jesus Christ or having faith in Him instead of in my own works, NOT believing that it is HIS Atonement that saves us, and for being “blasphemous” or whatever they felt like accusing us of, simply because our interpretation of the Bible is different than theirs.

    It’s time to play fair, Brad.

  233. Amanda said

    Post #231: Thank you for using a scripture, Brad, and thank you for asking my opinion. That is refreshing.

    Hebrews 7:27 “He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself”? Does that appear to cover only PAST sins, or ALL sins?

    Again, this is our perspective; I am not trying to force you to believe it.

    We just talked about the “infinite” sacrifice Christ made for our sins yesterday. It was “infinite” in that it was made by an Infinite Being who, because His Father is Eternal, while we are mortal, was able to chose to die for us; it was “infinite” because it was made for ALL mankind, not only those that would come to our world, but for those other spirit children of our Heavenly Father who have gone to many other worlds in other galaxies that He has created; and it was “infinite in the sense that it covers the sins of all people in all dispensations of time.

    I believe That Jesus Christ made this great atoning sacrifice ONCE for ALL mankind (and for ALL the sins of ALL mankind) when we was crucified, just as the scripture says. It also covers all the sins we will all make–and repent of–in the FUTURE; it’s just that I believe we are still accountable to REPENT of those sins to the best of our ability.

    Amanda

  234. Amanda said

    Obviously, “we” (was) never crucified. I was referring to Jesus. Sheeze!

  235. Brad said

    You and I do not disagree that FAITH is what is needed for salvation. And I can even agree that it is the ONLY thing–if one understands that faith includes FAITHFULNESS, or OBEDIENCE TO GOD.

    Sure you’ll believe it, if the definition of FAITH is changed (yet there’s no differences – yeah, right.) The very definition of faith provided by the Bible in Hebrews 11:1 doesn’t even encompass obedience – it encompasses only BELIEF! Nice try.

    From what you and Mike have said about faith, you relegate it to only the “intellectual assent”, or “belief,” separating the need to BE FAITHFUL from the need to HAVE FAITH as far as SALVATION is concerned.

    Clearly someone hasn’t been paying attention in class. Nowhere have either of us said that faith is merely the “intellectual assent” – that’s the very thing that James is saying ISN’T valid, and is also discussed in Hebrews chapter 6! If you think that we are advocating that, though, that does explain a lot of what you say, b/c if you misunderstood THIS about us…

    The Bible just doesn’t support that in totallity even though one can pull several key verses which were given to people who understood the fulness of the concept to illustrate the all-encompassing subject of FAITH–which we also agree upon. I just don’t believe they can be separated.

    It DOES support that completely. Sorry, but you’re wrong on that one. Even though one can pull several verses to say otherwise, it does.

    How can I demonstrate what convinces me of the accuracy of my beliefs without giving you lots of scriptures to go with the few you gave me in the very beginning of our writing, Brad?

    “Few”? You may want to go back and re-read, Amanda. I gave you the Scriptures, and interpreted them for you. Did I address EVERY Scripture you like to throw out there? No – as I said, you (and other Mormons) like to throw out as much as possible to lend creedence to your position, and you really just cloud the issue, b/c there is no basis for interpretation, other than your preconceived notions. Your interpretations don’t hold up in light of the entire Bible.

    (Your memory of the completeness of your responses does NOT match mine. And obviously, they were inadequate to make “a case” that would standd up to biblical scrutiny.

    I agree, our memories aren’t in agreement on this one. And what would be your barometer for deciding the “inadequacy” of the “case” that was made? Your refusal to believe? General Mormon disagreement? I guess that could be compared to the number of people who DO believe similarly, compare that to the Mormons who don’t, and see which is the bigger number. I’ll offer 10-1 that LDS doesn’t win that bet…

    I did not give you many then because of my father’s illness and death and because of your close-mindedness when it comes to looking at scripture. (Not that Mik’s is open, but he is at least willing to address scriptural differences without resorting to slander and what I consider “nasty” remarks.

    I don’t dispute Mike is “nicer.” But you’re no saint, Amanda, and your veiled jabs are no different than un-veiled jabs. My close-mindedness? What about yours, when it comes to looking at Scripture? My remarks are no more “nasty” than anything you may have said, Amanda. This “holier-than-thou” approach is getting pretty tired, don’t you think?

    I can come down to that level too, (and I don’t hold myself up as any great example, Brad); but it is not what I aspire to, and it is not where I want to spend my time.

    You’ve been on that level, already, and were there for quite some time. The fact that you try to stay above it, and try to make sure others know you stay above it now, is quite Pharisaical, if you ask me.

    Brad, how many Mormons have you engaged with?

    A lot.

    I am wordier by nature than perhaps any Mormon you have ever met; and it’s not because of the deceptive intentions you are so quick to judgmentally ascribe to us collectively; it is because I beliee you ignore many of those scriptures as you proclaim what you call “the simplicity of the gospel.”

    I believe that YOU ignore many of those scriptures’ real meanings, as well. Are we tied now? You do see there’s no winner, right? Just making sure…

    The answers you gave me were things like,…”well, certain people think that “water” in this phrase may refer to….” (when speaking of Jesus’ clear statement to Nicodemus that “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. If Jesus hadn’t commanded his Apostles to preach the gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of….” and if there weren’t other scriptures attesting to the importance of baptism, I wouldn’t have to remind bring it up. If Paul hadn’t described the fact that “there are celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the telestial is another”, and that as “one star differeth from another star in glory”, so also is the resurrection of the dead, and if Paul hadn’t also referred in 2
    Cor.12:2 to being “caught up into the third heaven”–and if God hadn’t given the Prophet Joseph Smith an extraordinary revelation in Section 76 about the degrees of glory which elaborate upon this topic in a way that the Spirit can bear witness to the human soul, I too might believe, as you said, that “celestial” has more to do with a layer of the sky, or whatever you gave me at the time. In short, Brad, while you feel you gave me ample “scriptures” to address our differences, I absolutely do not, and I disagree with the “opinions” you threw out there.

    Your point? Is it that you disagree with me and my opinions/interpretations? Wow, that’s a shocker. Here’s another newsflash for you – I disagree with yours, with the same intensity that you disagree with mine. I “absolutely do not” agree. I think your interpretations (and those of the general LDS mindset) are complete nonsense, and I find you as closed-minded as you find me. Hey, look – another tie!

    Why does this matter? Why do I hang in there? Only because for years I have listened to people just like you “dis” my faith for NOT believing in the Bible, not even KNOWING the Bible, NOT believing in Jesus Christ or having faith in Him instead of in my own works, NOT believing that it is HIS Atonement that saves us, and for being “blasphemous” or whatever they felt like accusing us of, simply because our interpretation of the Bible is different than theirs.

    And for years, I have heard that there are more ways to heaven than just one, that though most will make it we’ll be at different levels, that Christians don’t have the “fullness of the gospel”, that only Mormons have had all the truth revealed to them, and I’m so sick of it that I can virtually throw up at will when I hear it. That’s why I stick in it, so others don’t get led down this ridiculous road.

    It’s time to play fair, Brad.

    Define fair. B/c we’ll each have different definitions, I’m sure. Quit playing the martyr, Amanda. People disagree with your faith. I do. Mike does. Most on here do. And we’ll tell you. Be ready for it to happen. Expect it to happen. When it does, don’t get your feelings hurt, or your knickers in a twist. Take off the “holier than thou” attitude. You might find you get more respect if you do. I don’t personally care whether you like me or not. I know that what I’ve told you is true.

  236. Maz Herman said

    Hi all! I’v found this discussion interesting but a little round the houses sometimes.
    Like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons put a lot of FAITH in their founders and their teachings.
    When I met my first two Mormon ‘ministers’, they didn’t read from the Bible, they had another book called ”The Book of Mormon”. As I remember, they talked a lot about their book and their founder Joseph Smith. If they had told me that Jesus had died for my sin and I had to repent and accept Him as my Savior to get to Heaven I may not have gone on without Him in my life until I was 26. No one told me, the Holy Spirit led me to a book in a book shop about Jesus of Nazareth and that directed me to the Bible. There I found the Truth with the Spirits help. I threw the Book of Mormon out.
    I have met many Mormons since….very nice chaps…but Galatians 1 witnesses against their ”other New Testement” which they had presented to me.
    Sorry Amanda but you are in deception.

  237. Brad said

    Post #231: Thank you for using a scripture, Brad, and thank you for asking my opinion. That is refreshing.

    I’ve used many, Amanda. You’ve just ignored them. Thank you, however, for confirming that despite what you say, you’re still a pompous soul.

    We just talked about the “infinite” sacrifice Christ made for our sins yesterday. It was “infinite” in that it was made by an Infinite Being who, because His Father is Eternal, while we are mortal, was able to chose to die for us; it was “infinite” because it was made for ALL mankind, not only those that would come to our world, but for those other spirit children of our Heavenly Father who have gone to many other worlds in other galaxies that He has created; and it was “infinite in the sense that it covers the sins of all people in all dispensations of time.

    Whew, that’s good! I can rest easier knowing that the Martians can have salvation, too. Do the Kolobians have it as well? From the above, I would presume your answer is “yes.” I know YOU don’t see how ridiculous this sounds, but others do.

    I believe That Jesus Christ made this great atoning sacrifice ONCE for ALL mankind (and for ALL the sins of ALL mankind) when we was crucified, just as the scripture says. It also covers all the sins we will all make–and repent of–in the FUTURE; it’s just that I believe we are still accountable to REPENT of those sins to the best of our ability.

    To think that we don’t have salvation, if we don’t repent of ALL of our sins, is borderline Catholic. What if I do with unconfessed (unrepented) sin? What then, O Mormon? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that our faith in God has ALREADY saved us, to not have to continue “doing” or “wondering” or “hoping”?

    Here’s a few excerpts from the guy you quoted earlier in #212:

    Romans 3:25 says that redemption comes through Christ because His suffering and death constituted a publicly visible payment or “propitiation” for the sins that men “previously committed” (KJV: “sins that are past”) Thus, it is as to past sins, (which men are powerless to address), that the atonement applies!

    As men deal with the present necessity of learning obedience to God, the distinction between their past sins and the sins they are now committing, or will commit in the future, is strategic. Present and future sins can and must be dealt with by men (through repentance) and then justified by God since men cannot be allowed to think that they are given a free ride into Heaven by God’s grace. Hence, Paul specifically notes that the atonement applies only to past sins.

    When a man has been justified, all his past sins are blotted out (Acts 3:19). As long as he doesn’t commit any new sins, he is clean in the eyes of God and entitled to receive His Spirit. This new sin will adversely affect their relationship with the Lord. They no longer stand spotless or blameless before Him, and hence, are no longer in a state that will allow them to know God.

    The grace of God brings salvation to men through justification for their past sins. This principle teaches men that they must live righteously, repenting and receiving justification anew each time they fall and commit new sin.

    This passage clearly places upon men the responsibility of maintaining the state of moral holiness that comes through justification. That is why men are commanded throughout the Bible to repent and endure to the end, even after they have been justified. They are saved while in obedience to God, a state of holiness which they will learn to maintain for longer and longer periods at a time, until they are ready for eternal obedience in the Kingdom of God.

    Do you not see how the responsibility is placed on MEN, rather than on what God has already done through Jesus? How we must keep “doing” something, to maintain, rather than being sure already? If you can’t see the difference (which I assume you can’t), then you’re really missing out.

  238. Maz Herman said

    Amanda….what is that all about? (in Brads repeat of your words) other spirit children going to other planets and other galaxies God has made??????? Where does it tell us that in the Bible????? I’v never read that????
    God loved THE WORLD so much….THIS WORLD…and everyone IN THIS WORLD. Why go to another one in another galaxy????????????

  239. F. L. A. said

    WELL WHY NOT?
    THIS ONE IS GETTING A MIGHT BIT CROWDED AND POLLUTED.

  240. Maz Herman said

    F.L.A Sure is, but it bears little resemblance to the truth or reality.

  241. F. L. A. said

    COULD YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC?

  242. Amanda said

    Maz,

    It is true that my reference to other galaxies was not warranted in a discussion purely about the Bible, and certainly not warranted when talking to a man such as Brad who shows no interest in the reality of the “Mormon Church” (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) except the reality created in the anti-Mormon literature found in what I call otherwise– Christian bookstores. The revelations of the Bible AND the Book of Mormon deal only with our salvation on this planet, but we do have one quote from The Pearl of Great Price showing a glimpse of the scope of our Creator (And this given by revelation in the 1830’s):

    “And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

    For behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

    That is the only mention of the subject, and it has nothing to do with our salvation other to help us understand God’s endless works and His main purpose. It it consistent with our God who
    “…so loved the world that he sent his Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.” Christ’s sacrifice was effective for all mankind–wherever they may be.

    I am sorry that you threw that Book of Mormon out, Maz, because if you had read it, you would have more of an understanding of my faith than anyone on this website, and more importantly, an increased understanding of the Jesus Christ of the Bible. I am more than baffled as to why your first two Mormon “ministers” didn’t address our belief in Christ. Was it a brief “this is what makes us different” presentation in another church or just a one on one with you? That would be extraordinary. The reason a large emphasis is placed upon Joseph Smith when talking to people is because the revelations restored THROUGH his ministration (and especially the Book of Mormon) in the last dispensation of the Gospel for the latter-days, in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ, prepared the way for the restoration of the Church established by Jesus Christ during his mortal life upon the earth with the same authority, knowledge, priesthood and blessings, headed by a living prophet. It is what sets the church apart from other Christian churches. There is no pride in the negative sense of the word in sharing with others what God has done for all mankind; and it is free for the taking, just as salvation is free. (Which doesn’t mean there is nothing expected of us as followers of Christ OR as members of His Church.) The Book of Mormon validates the Bible as the word of God and verifies its teachings in a way that leaves no room for contention or false doctrine. It gathers all into one fold where there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, as mentioned in Eph. 4:5.

    The best part is, you now have all the information you need to go and research and pray about it yourself. You needn’t believe anything I have said. God is the only one who can answer the question of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon by the power of His Spirit. All it takes is faith that God WILL answer and a mind diligent and open enough to read, pray, and ponder, and ask. Just as it took you 7 more years to find Christ, it could take you that long to verify the truthfulness of my words unless you have a desire now; but I have a living testimony that the work is true, and I was a believer in Christ before I found the Church 30 years ago.

    If you want to know exactly what we believe about Jesus Christ, go to http://www.lds.org and click on Church magazines, the March 2008 Ensign. The whole beautiful issue is devoted to our Savior, and it answers a lot of questions in people’s minds about our beliefs about Him.

    I would hope that you would learn about this work before you judge as to whether or not I am deceived. There is no Mormon worthy of the name who can bear witness of the truthfulness of the Church who cannot also bear witness of the Savior and of the Bible as well. There would be no point in bearing witness of one without the other.

  243. Amanda said

    “Wouldn’t it be nice to know that our faith in God has ALREADY saved us, to not have to continue “doing” or “wondering” or “hoping”?” (Brad)

    Our faith HAS already saved us –unless we are enticed by Satan– who never sleeps and has witnessed the downfall of mankind for eons–to love the world and its praise and pleasures and lusts more than God. It happens. You see this in the Old Testament which is full of examples of what happened when His chosen people chose to stop “doing” and “obeying” and “loving” God. As I recall, Paul said we need “faith, hope and charity”–all three. Never stop hoping, Brad. There is no “wondering” involved, however. If we know we are His, and we know what He expects of us, the path is clear; and we have this information through His Spirit and through His word.

    As for a faith that involves no “doing, wondering and hoping”–there is a reward for such a faith, and it does qualify as salvation, but not a fulness of salvation eternally in the presence of God AND Christ. It is called the “terrestrial kingdom”. Section 76 has some things to say about those who go there, a few of which are: “…these are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness. Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the son. These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus…”

    Brad, we are expected to repent of the sins that the Spirit convicts us of. None of us can repent of everything we do wrong all of the time, but if we remain faithful and on the path God has laid out, we needn’t worry. We will follow where the good Spirit leads. (But I repeat myself.)

    Jesus didn’t say it would be easy, as you know. He said that if you “take up your cross” and follow Him, His yoke will be light. He makes it light–and joyful and full of peace. I can testify to that myself, and I’ll bet you can too in your own faith.

    My Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE, as well as my Savior. Yours is too. Without obedience–which leads to works, there would be no need to see Him in this light. He would have done all of our work for us. Instead, He has promised to help us by the power of His Spirit as we go forth in faith, helping us to become sons and daughters of God.

    It’s funny that you quoted the Richard Hopkins –like he made scriptures up to “make man responsible” for his choices. Didn’t He make Adam and Eve responsible for their choices? It was God who said we shall be judged according to our works, and it was God who gave us a conscience and the feelings of guilt that tell us when we have majorly goofed. We will have no spiritual peace until we do repent. If we don’t, instead, we tend to “harden our hearts” according to the Bible–like Pharoah (who didn’t have the gospel), like Solomon, and like Saul who did, and can eventually become “past feeling.” I have given you several scriptures to this effect, and the Lord has given us the parable of the sheep and the goats—all in the Bible.

    But we’re not supposed to be writing, Brad. Why don’t we listen to the talk Mike asked us to and use our time wisely?

  244. Amanda said

    OH yes, and Brad,

    Just as you missed my compliment about your knowing how to do BOLD on this blog ( I still don’t know how), and your missing any humor I have used in the past, you missed another sincere compliment from this “pompous soul.” It WAS refreshing to get a scripture from you and to have you actually ask me a question as if you wanted an answer. My bad though…you were only baiting so you could mock, as usual.

  245. Maz Herman said

    F.L.A. I meant it sure is getting crowded, as you said, but the ”why not” people living on other worlds is not scriptural, SO does not resemble truth or reality. In other words it’s totally wrong.

  246. Maz Herman said

    Amanda, I did not need to read ALL of the Book of Mormon to knowit was not true.
    You don’t have to eat a whole cake to know it has something wrong with it.
    I have read both sides of the story so to speak and I have been able to make a clear judgment as to what is right and wrong. I have spoken to many Mormons and have come to the same conclusion. When two young men visited one day and offered me ”Another Testement” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Galatians 1 came to mind, ”But though AN ANGEL” (sound familiar?) from heaven preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL (sound familiar?) to you than that we have preached to you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED”. Not my words Amanda! Galatians 1 v 8, read verse 7-9.

  247. Brad said

    Amanda,

    I don’t believe for 2 seconds that it was a compliment – it was a veiled cut, whether you admit it or not. Your writing style gives it away.

    I don’t need to bait you – you provide enough fodder in your own writings, without me needing to egg it on.

    I just believe, as do others, that what you believe is so wrong, so far-fetched, that you have been so deceived, yet you believe it so adamantly, that there is no convincing man could provide. Only the true Holy Spirit could still witness to you. I know you think you have Him already, but you don’t. I pray that you will.

  248. Brad said

    By the way, to bold a section, you start it with the following tag:

    and you end the section with this tag:

    You can also do the same thing with italics, just replace the “b” with an “i”.

  249. Brad said

    Sorry, that actually bolded the section, rather than showing the tag!

    The beginning tag is a .

    The ending tag is the same, except for there is a “/” before the “b” (again, not in quotes).

  250. Brad said

    Darn it! Can’t get it to show.

    Look at the XHTML instructions above the comment box; they are listed there. Midway through the first line is the code for “bold” – you will see the “b” in between the “carrots”.

    To close the tag, you just put a “/” before the “b”.

  251. Amanda said

    Maz,

    The whole other worlds concept makes sense to those who know about the plan of sslavation and that we are all spirit children of our Heavely Father who once lived with him. (There are supporting scriptures in the Bible, though surely not as clearly as latter-day revealtion.) There is much in scripture that is a mystery to us without revelation from God, and there is much to learn from Him and His work APART from what He has given us. Many can learn through the Spirit what is not obvious to some in the Bible.

    The truth is, the Apostles HAD the fulness of the Gospel that you read about in the Bible, including the priesthood power to seal on earth as it is in heaven, the truth and living Church, the foundational organization with prophets and apostles. It’s all right there in the Bible. They had all of the doctrines that are in the restored church today because it IS the restored church of Jesus Christ, the same as it was when Christ established it. Also, God has always operated, if you take the Bible literally, and I do, through the law of two or three witnesses, and the Book of Mormon is simply a second witness of a nation, given to a remnant of the tribe of Joseph of Egypt that was broken off and led away from the destruction of Jerusalem. It is foretold in Ezekiel to be one in thine hand with the stick of Judah, the Bible.

    I can only tell you what God has revealed to me, but I do know it is true through many sacred experiences and sacred knowledge that has come from above. There is not one day that passes that I even doubt the truthfulness of this work, and the more I study the Bible, the stronger that knowledge gets. The Spirit bears witness to my soul.

    As far as Galatians, if you ask me, the gospel that says once we are saved, we are saved unconditionally without having to obey the commandments of God is “another gospel” preached–and not even through an angel–other than the one the Bible bears witness to. As for angels, God certainly used them in the past, and as we read in the Book of Mormon, written anciently for and brought forth for our day: (Mormon 9:19,20)

    “And who shall say the Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. And if there were miracles wrought then,
    why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so, he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. AND THE REASON WHY HE CEASETH TO DO MIRACLES AMONG THE CHILDREN OF MEN IS BECAUSE THAT THEY DWINDLE IN UNBELIEF, AND DEPART FROM THE RIGHT WAY, AND KNOW NOT THE GOD IN WHOM THEY SHOULD TRUST.”

    It is not the deliverance of the restored gospel through an “angel” that is the problem–it is biblical; one’s only concern is, was it an angel of light? God testifies to the man and woman with faith and trust enough to examine and to ask, IT WAS!

    I agree with you that it only takes a “taste” of something to know whether or not it is delicious and good. Obviously, I tasted and decided to eat the whole cake! It is still delicious to me 30 years later. But my conversion was textbook perfect. If I were God and were to write a book on how to convert “Amanda” to the fulness of the gospel IN GOD’S WAY to the restored Church, I would have written it exactly as He administered it to me. It is not my job to convert anyone, but it is my responsibility to see that falsehood, when I run into it full force, is not mascaraded as truth without a peep.

  252. Amanda said

    Brad,

    Thank you for your attempts to share with me your knowledge. I was hoping you would. Computer talk is so foreign to me–sounds like Greek, but I may try it soon.

    I know you still think you can read my heart, but you are always “off the mark”–about my feelings, intents, and about the Church. The “kicker” is that you also think you can read God’s heart about another individual. You might have access to that knowledge through the Holy Ghost if God felt you were ready and you asked for it. He loves all of His children, and He wants us to love them enough to understand them before we start diagnosing what they “need.” It is my sincere wish that you will one day open yourself to His guidance and His opinion about “Mormons” in general, and more importantly, collectively. It is the only “institutional” Church I’m aware of to which He WILL bear witness as to its truthfulness, and there is a reason for that. Just remember that things are not always as they seem.

  253. Brad said

    Amanda,

    I need only to look at what you believe, about God, salvation, the Bible, the BOM, heaven, faith, works, etc…, to see that you DON’T have salvation. Despite the fact you think you do. That’s not anything “revealed” to me, it’s just comparing what your beliefs are to what the Bible says. Again, I know you think you’ve done that too, but Mormon beliefs just don’t stand up to the Bible as it is properly interpreted, in light of itself. One needs only to look at your continued reference to Ezekiel 37 as speaking of the BOM, to see that you most assuredly don’t interpret Scripture correctly!

    It’s a sham, Amanda. I say that with full confidence about that. And you’re lost – I also say that with full confidence. The fact of that doesn’t change, whether you believe it or not.

  254. Maz Herman said

    Amanda, you say that we were all once spirit children of the Heavenly Father and once lived with Him.
    That’s not what the Bible teaches.
    God created us on the earth from the dust of the ground and then breathed into us the breath of life. We became living souls. No mention of coming down from Heaven.
    The devil was the one throne out of heaven with a third of the rebellig angels. He deceived Eve by telling her she would not die if she ate the fruit, he told her ”your eyes will be opened and you shall be as God knowing good and evil”.
    Satan uses the same old tricks today. Lying, deceiving, telling people they can be gods…….
    Amanda, the Bible tells us that the first Adam was from the earth, not Heaven. Only the second Adam, the Son of Man and Son of God, man and God, God in flesh, Jesus was from Heaven because He existed there eternally as the Son.
    If you read the Bible there is no way you can reconcile it with the Book of Mormon. I found many things in the B of M that contradicted the Bible, that’s how I knew it wasn’t true.
    I have to shut down now until tomorrow.
    I will pray for you Amanda.

  255. F. L. A. said

    HOW WAS YOUR VISIT TO THE TEMPLE, AMANDA?

  256. Amanda said

    Maz Herman Says:
    March 4, 2008 at 5:28 pm
    Amanda, you say that we were all once spirit children of the Heavenly Father and once lived with Him.
    That’s not what the Bible teaches.
    God created us on the earth from the dust of the ground and then breathed into us the breath of life. We became living souls. No mention of coming down from Heaven.
    The devil was the one thrown out of heaven with a third of the rebellng angels. He deceived Eve by telling her she would not die if she ate the fruit, he told her ”your eyes will be opened and you shall be as God knowing good and evil”.
    Satan uses the same old tricks today. Lying, deceiving, telling people they can be gods…….
    Amanda, the Bible tells us that the first Adam was from the earth, not Heaven. Only the second Adam, the Son of Man and Son of God, man and God, God in flesh, Jesus was from Heaven because He existed there eternally as the Son.
    If you read the Bible there is no way you can reconcile it with the Book of Mormon. I found many things in the B of M that contradicted the Bible, that’s how I knew it wasn’t true.
    I have to shut down now until tomorrow.
    I will pray for you Amanda.
    Dear Maz,

    Thanks for your prayers. (Nobody can have too many of those.)

    I would have answered you earlier, but I went to the Raleigh temple with friends yesterday. I want to honor your questions (statements) in your last post with an answer because they are based upon what I myself have said and not just what you read in some “Beware the Mormons!” book. Assumptions and accusations are not response-worthy. I imagine some of this stuff DOES sound pretty weird and disconcerting to you, and I certainly can’t blame you! It’s a matter of perspective and where you are “standing” in the scriptures—as well as how long you have been standing in that spot! I will try to do the subject justice. This is why our missionaries teach foundational “lessons” about the Gospel of Jesus Christ—because while there is “meat” given through the restoration, it is the “milk” of Christ that saves our souls, not the “meat.” Unfortunately, since people on this website and radio station have been exposed to many things, sometimes based upon misinterpretations of some of the “meat”–or even the “mysteries” of God, and have a mix of both truth and rumor, On this website, I feel like I must address some of those issues too.

    From my reading and perspective of the Bible, Maz, our bodies are of the earth, but our spirits are from God above.

    I hope you will walk with me through some biblical scriptures that mention the subject. I realize that some of them have for centuries been interpreted in different ways, but others could not be clearer regarding this subject. Ponder them all together. Also, I would ask you to bear in mind that the Bible did not, as the Book of Mormon did, have an ancient prophet/editor who carefully put the books together and even gave commentary now and then about the contents. The Bible is a collection of books written by individual authors, complete only in and of themselves, except arguably the Pentateuch which we attribute to Moses who may also have used a few other documentary sources to write Genesis, the New Testament books being written and collected through the years starting around 60 years after Christ’s atonement, finally being put together with Old Testament books into one body by consideration and vote of theological councils much, much later. (This doesn’t lesson the inspiration or turht found in the Bible by any means.) It was just not written and organized from the beginning as a complete, always chronological, spiritual history book, with an overseeing eye being kept on complete doctrinal exposition involving hindsight as well as foresight. Nor was the Book of Mormon, for that matter. “Revelation,” for instance, wasn’t actually the last book written, but it was placed at the end. As a result, the Bible can be looked at, read, and interpreted in many ways; put down, believed or not, by anyone who chooses to do so with little result upon others as to what church they join—if they join one at all. The Book of Mormon can be disbelieved or believed, but believing means that one must accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God as well as the Church God established through him; and so if one disbelieves, others are likely to hear about it as a result of the experience! They may make a career from opposing it. This is a major difference in reading the two bodies of scripture. There is no middle ground with the Book of Mormon. It is either of God or of Satan.

    God is the Father of all spirits:

    We read in Num. 16:22 about people beseeching the “God of the spirits of all flesh; Job 32:8…”But there is a spirit in man…”….and in Job 33:4…”The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life”; Ps. 83:6… “Ye are gods…children of the most High;” Eccl. 12:7… “THE SPIRIT SHALL RETURN UNTO GOD WHO GAVE IT…”; Isa. 42:5… “he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein;” Hosea 1:10… “Ye are sons of the living God;” Matt. 5:48… “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” 6:9… “ Our Father which art in heaven;” Acts 17:29… “FORASMUCH THEN AS WE ARE THE OFFSPRING OF GOD, WE OUGTH NOT TO THINK THAT THE GODHEAD IS LIKE UNTO GOLD, OR SILVER, OR STONE, GRAVEN BY ART AND MAN’S DEVICE.” Rom. 8:16, 17… “THE SPIRIT ITSELF BEARETH WITNESS WITH OUR SPIRIT , THAT WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD; and if children, then heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Eph. 4:6… “One God and Father of ALL…” 1 Cor. 8:6… “But unto us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things (our spirits included), and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things (our bodies included), and we by him.” Heb. 12:9… “FURTHERMORE WE HAVE HAD FATHERS OF OUR FLESH WHICH CORRECTED US, AND WE GAVE THEM REVERENCE: SHALL WE NOT MUCH RATHER BE IN SUBJECTION UNTO THE FATHER OF SPIRITS AND LIVE?”

    We can go back to Job, where in verses 4-8 of chapter 38, God asks him where he was “when the foundations of the earth were laid,… when the morning stars sang together , and ALL THE SONS OF GOD SHOUTED FOR JOY?” We believe, through latter day revelation, that we were among those sons (and daughters) who shouted for joy. The Bible says more about this than the Book of Mormon, but in our Doctrine and Covenants, and in the Pearl of Great Price, the truth that we existed with God before this earth was created, was revealed.

    Satan, as you mentioned, was thrown out of heaven, and this is where Mike Huckabee’s pointed comment to Mitt Romney applies, (He knew Mitt couldn’t respond adequately to this in 1 or 2 minutes.) Isaiah 14:12 says that Satan was a “son of the morning.” (We believe that means he was one of the early spirit children of God in the pre-mortal existence, as well as an”angel”, as we are told in Revelation 12. He drew one-third of the spirit children of our Father in heaven away, as you also mentioned, and they were cast down to earth for rebellion to tempt, entice, and torment man, forcing us to choose whom we would follow. Satan would love for us to be as miserable as he is.

    Satan wanted to obtain God’s glory and be “higher than God.” This was his sin as well as not embracing God’s plan of salvation involving Jesus as our Savior. He wanted to do things his way, and he still does! You may have heard that “Satan will tell 99 truths to get you to believe one lie.” This mix of lie and truth is exactly what he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden when he told her that she would not die if she ate of the forbidden fruit, but as we read in Gen.3:22, God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever…” So what Satan said about Eve and Adam becoming AS GOD in that they could know good from evil was true. Think about it: Why did God place the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden? Nothing is haphazard about what God does. He could not, after they had chosen to eat of the tree, let Adam and Eve partake of the tree of life because they would have lived eternal IN THEIR SINS, and could never have returned unto Him.

    The Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi, the most doctrinal book of scripture we have, clarifies and gives more information on the subject of the Fall. (The Book of Mormon is written in such plainness that even the most intellectual person who is converted and has the Spirit cannot doubt the doctrine of Christ. That is why it is called the “keystone” of our religion—because with it, all other doctrine falls into place. A keystone was rounded on all sides and placed at the top of an arch to keep all the other stones in place. Such is the Book of Mormon. This is its power to lay down false doctrines and contention.) In 2 Nephi 2:21, we read…”and the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.” Then he goes on to speak of the essential nature of the Atonement of Christ pertaining to both the death of the body and the death of the spirit which occurred from being cut off from God’s presence. Only the Spirit can help us regain God’s presence in THIS life, and reading, knowing, and doing the word of God has much to do with that.

    And so, contrary to your experience, Maz, the Book of Mormon gave absolute verity, life, and Spirit to the truthfulness of the Bible for me—-who had found it often confusing in my youth and as a young adult. One thing I know absolutely: God is the Father of my spirit as well as of my body–which is of the elements of the earth but will one day put on incorruption, be rejoined with my spirit, and be judged as to my deeds while in the flesh!

  257. Amanda said

    To FLA:

    It was great, thanks for asking–peaceful, contemplative, spiritual; and having close friends to enjoy it with is just gravy on top! We always have lunch together afterward too.

  258. Brad said

    Maz,

    As I’m sure you know, we don’t need “another book” to properly interpret the Bible. The Bible can be interpreted just fine, apart from the BOM. It lends no more clarity to the Bible than “The Cat in the Hat” does.

    The difference is in how the Bible is interpreted. And people have different interpretations of it (Mormons in particular) based upon the particular beliefs they hold. What Mormons do with the verses in the Bible that they interpret to conform to their thought patterns is to say they mean one thing, but when viewed in light of proper hermeneutics and in light of the entire Bible, studying it accurately as it would have been read by those to whom it was originally addressed, in their original languages and culture, it often means something different entirely.

    This “spirit children” is one example of how verses in the Bible are used to support an idea that is Mormon in nature, when outside of Mormon influence and interpreted hermeneutically correct and in light of the entire Bible, they wouldn’t, and don’t, mean that.

  259. Amanda said

    Now, Maz,

    You’re just “shooting from the hip” at this point. Your brain has disengaged from the subjects you raised. That’s alright. It’s not like you were really looking for answers or a meaningful dialogue. All I can tell you is that I am not interested in how any man interprets the Bible. I am interested in how the Lord God MEANT for us to interpret it. That’s the only reason I bucked family opposition and tradition to join the Church. I would throw out what YOU call “hermeneutically correct” thinking for the Holy Ghost any day of the week because I have found that in reality, it has, within a closed mind, nothing to do with the Bible in totality or with the intelligence of biblical logic. It seems to be just a big word that covers a lack of both biblical knowledge and knowledge of the Spirit to me.

  260. Amanda said

    OOps!

    Okay, I just read that the remarks I was addressing were from Brad. They definitely apply to Post #258.

    Amanda

  261. Brad said

    You’re just “shooting from the hip” at this point. Your brain has disengaged from the subjects you raised.

    Amanda, I thought you were bound and determined to take the moral high road, and not “stoop so low” as to be insulting. Didn’t you say you wouldn’t do that at some point? It’s not as if it bothers me, it’s just funny to see how you usually don’t follow what you say you’ll do (of course, case in point is saying at least 3 times you’ll not respond further, only to do so).

    That’s alright. It’s not like you were really looking for answers or a meaningful dialogue.

    I’m not looking for answers on Biblical interpretation, especially on how Mormons do it. I know they do it wrong in many respects, which can be seen from the interpretations they arrive at. You’re right, I’m not looking for answers on that. As to a meaningful dialogue, I’m always up for dialogue, but your definition of “meaningful” and mine might differ.

    All I can tell you is that I am not interested in how any man interprets the Bible. I am interested in how the Lord God MEANT for us to interpret it.

    Me too. And I’m saying that Mormonism does NOT interpret it correctly, with a proper hermeneutical understanding. Ezekiel 37 is one great example. But we’ve gone over that before, haven’t we?

    I would throw out what YOU call “hermeneutically correct” thinking for the Holy Ghost any day of the week because I have found that in reality, it has, within a closed mind, nothing to do with the Bible in totality or with the intelligence of biblical logic. It seems to be just a big word that covers a lack of both biblical knowledge and knowledge of the Spirit to me.

    I know you would, as would any Mormon – it’s what you already do, so your works back your speech on this one, definitely. Problem is, a hermeneutically correct interpretation will NEVER differ from what the Holy Spirit would reveal, b/c the Holy Spirit inspired men as they wrote, and knew (obviously) what needed to be said and what it should mean.

    What you REALLY said, in code, was “I’m going to interpret it how I want, b/c it fits what I already believe, regardless of if anything or anybody shows it is wrong in light of a proper interpretation of Scripture. And I can always use the old ‘the Holy Ghost told me’ line as a defense.”

    I’m always here waiting.

  262. Maz Herman said

    Brad first: I agree with you, maybe you misread what I said but the Bible is the Only Book that comes from God by inspiration, all books that Mormons use, I believe, are just mans creation.

    Amanda: I don’t know if I can be as thorough as you but I’ll try and answer you.
    There are angelic created spirits in Heaven called angels, they, the Bible says are spirits ”sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation”.
    They were the ones in residence in Heaven at the beginning. Created by God.
    Yes, God gave us a spirit, He gave us life, but it was never in Heaven with Him as a person like the angels. ON the day of Pentecost Jesus breathed on the disciples in the upper room after His resurrection and said, ”Receive ye the Holy Spirit”, we were born again of His Spirit and received a new life, we were made new creatures in Jesus. We became sons (and daughters) of God when Christ came into our lives.
    We are made partakers of a new nature, the old sinful nature is gone and a new nature was given to us. Christ took our sin on the cross and gave us His righteousness.
    ”Now are we thee sons of God!” John can say, And God becomes our Heavenly Father.
    God is my Father, I am His child because of what Jesus did on Calvary.

  263. Brad said

    Maz, I don’t disagree with you. My comment was in reference to what Amanda had written (which she mistakenly addressed to you, but should have been to me).

    You’ll find she’s “mistaken” about many things, if you tune in long enough…

  264. Maz Herman said

    Brad: Thanks for that info. Yes, she is very sadly mistaken.
    I’m not an expert but I know enough about Mormonism to know they are way off in left field.

  265. Maz Herman said

    I can’t remember if I’v shared this or not and I feel a bit too tired to look….but when I had two Mormons come visit me once…really nice guys they were, but deceived….they asked me to pray about the Book of Mormon and ask God to show me whether it was true or not. Obviously wanting me to discover it was! Well, I had two weeks to seek the Lord as to what He wanted me to know before they were to return. Now, I already knew Jesus was the Way, The Truth and The Life and His Living Word was the Truth. I was asking the Lord to show me what to say to these young guys about their Book of Mormon.
    He showed me in a very surprising way…well it was quite a surprise to me!
    Every day I looked into the Scriptures for a word from Him. I didn’t choose the scripture, I just turned to book and verses at random (so to speak). And EVERY SINGLE DAY for two weeks He showed me a scripture talking about deception, deceiving or being deceived.
    I showed this to the Mormons. I can’t remember what they said it was some years ago, I think they tried to turn the tables and say that I was deceived, but I wasn’t asking God THAT.
    God will guide us into ALL TRUTH if we just trust in the Holy Spirit to show it to us. He was there to show me. He’s there for you Amanda…just talk to Him. Then LISTEN.

  266. Amanda said

    I already have, Maz. He is there for me every day–when I read the Book of Mormon, and when I read the Bible. If you are happy with your beliefs, I surely am not trying to “rock your boat”. (A courtesy I would appreciate you and your people, like those on this blog, to give me and my people in faith.) The Restoration is for those who recognize that Christ has more truth to give them in fulfillment of biblical prophecy for the latter days. I just happily share what God has given me–or point them to the proper source– when they are ready for more. It’s all good!

  267. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: If I could rock your ”boat” enough to have you fall out and find the Truth in the Bible alone and in Jesus alone I’d be very happy. We christians are motivated by love. Because we know the Truth, and we know that without knowing the Truth which is in Jesus and His Fathers Word, you will go to a lost eternity (to put it the milder way). But I do believe in Hell. It is a terrible place, I wouldn’t wish anyone to go there. So I’m driven by the love of God and the desire to see the lost and deceived find freedom in Him.

  268. Amanda said

    PS to Maz:

    My faith agrees with you about becoming sons and daughters of God upon spiritual adoption as well–which doesn’t preclude any of the scriptures or the message that I gave you. There’s more of course, but it would be pointless to go on.

    Brad: You said, “I’m always here waiting.” That’s the problem. You ARE always here waiting. To reach out a hand of fellowship or understanding? NO. To share something of Christ and in a Christlike manner? Never. I’m just not sure WHY you’re here.

    Since when is it not the “high road” to call a spade a spade? I have given you ample time to prove any sincerity that might be hidden behind the mask. My Savior also called a spade a spade. “Hypocrit”, I believe, was the phrase he used when well-earned. On the other hand, all you have to say about Mormonism is in the absence of having real knowledge about the people, the Book of Mormon, and the Church itself. You major in discord instead of in knowledge.

    To say that your brain was “disengaged from the questions you raised” meant only that you threw the question out but then refused to interact with your mind with the answers and scriptures I gave you. This has been par for the course. You claim to love the Bible, but I see no evidence of that when it comes to biblical discussion. You have thrown out a few incomplete explanations once or twice and then you refused to further interact to incorporate other scriptures that need explanation in light of the original to “make your interpretation” even seem valid.

    Also, when I thanked you for giving me a scripture to work with and for asking a question “as if you wanted an answer,” I was in reality trying to come up with something nice to say to you. That was the highest compliment I could give you from all of our interactions. Instead, you even managed to twist that into an insult just like you did my compliment to you for being able to make my comments bold. Again, par for the course.

    Brad, it is no wonder that people like you keep the barriers up between interfaith relations. I don’t know what your ultimate goal is, but I can assure you that no good will come from it as long as you carry a chip on your shoulder the size of Minnesota!

  269. Amanda said

    To Maz:

    Fair enough. Then we will cease and desist, and I will simply “bask in the Christlike love” that you have shared with me.

    Amanda

  270. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: I will continue to pray for you, the same Spirit that dwells in me is there where you are. Nothing is impossible with God.

  271. Maz Herman said

    My Pastor has given me some information on ”What does Mormonism really teach?” and I think it is very relevant. Maybe you guys already know about all this, and maybe other Mormons may want to enter the discussion.
    Heres what he told me:
    Mormonism teaches that we were all born to the god Elohim. He was an ordinary man on another planet who became a god by obedience to the Mormon gospel. Every baby on earth, from the garden of Eden until now, was born first as a spirit ”beyond the star Kolob”. Those that were ”less than valiant” were punished by being sent to earth to inhabit Negro bodies – the mark of Cain. Those that followed Lucifer, the brother of Jesus, were sent to become the demons.
    So, all of us existed first as spirits (which is what Amanda told us) born to Elohim and one of his many goddess wives in what the Mormons call ”the pre-existence”. For them, spirit babies are born in the same way as physical babies on earth. The promise given to Mormon women is that, if they are true and faithful and become the goddess wife of a Mormon god they will be pregnant for ever, producing spirit babies for the husband god. (I’m glad I’m not a Mormon then!!)
    Every Mormon man, if he is ”true and faithful” is a candidate for godhood. He will be given a world of his own – just like Elohim, he will need an Adam and Eve, and also a savior for those on his planet. So what happened here is being duplicated all over the Universe.
    So, for the Mormon there is not ONE TRUE GOD, there are thousands, millions. And there is not just ONE TRUE SAVIOR, there are countless somewhere else out in the galaxies of the Universe.
    Can any Mormon out there please explain how this agrees with the Word of God, the Bible!!

  272. Amanda said

    What I can explain is that your preacher trying to tell you what Mormons believe is like the Pharisees trying to tell you who Jesus was and what he taught and represented–and with just as much “love” and concern for the individual and for realism and accuracy in their hearts as they had.

    You would do well to learn your OWN religion and try to explain it well to any who might ask.

    Amanda

  273. Amanda said

    PS I just spent hours telling you and others what we really believe, and if you choose to believe whatever garbage comes down the anti-Mormon pike, it’s really not my problem. I have told you the truth and stand clean before God.

    Remember when I told you Satan will tell you 99 truths to get you to believe one lie? Well, the percentages above in your post is much worse on both the truth AND lie factors–the biggest lie of all, of course, being that we believe there are countless SAVIORS out there in the galaxies. Wasn’t that the very subject upon which you jumped in on Brad and I? Where were you when I said that we believe the Bible quite literally? And do you know the actual name of the “Mormon” church?

    I have found that a closed mind will open with AMAZING rapidity to embrace the ridiculous when it comes to “Mormonism.” If you wanted to learn about the anatomy of a horse, would you go to a doctor who specializes in rodents and other small animals to gain your information about horses and farm animals?

    Maz, you’re the one in need of prayers, and you’ve given me something constructive to do at this point.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  274. Brad said

    You ARE always here waiting. To reach out a hand of fellowship or understanding? NO. To share something of Christ and in a Christlike manner? Never. I’m just not sure WHY you’re here.

    The hand of fellowship is always there, Amanda. In fact, early on, I said I wouldn’t mind meeting you and discussing. And I “understand” – I just don’t agree. The 2 are mutually exclusive. I have shared my beliefs in the manner I felt appropriate. I’m here to make sure others hear the “other side” to Mormonism, so they don’t go down that path, principally.

    Since when is it not the “high road” to call a spade a spade?

    I agree – but if that is the case, then why do you take such offense when I call a spade a spade? Wait, it must have something to do with your definition of “spade” being different than mine…

    I have given you ample time to prove any sincerity that might be hidden behind the mask.

    Nothing can be proven to you, Amanda. Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

    My Savior also called a spade a spade. “Hypocrit”, I believe, was the phrase he used when well-earned. On the other hand, all you have to say about Mormonism is in the absence of having real knowledge about the people, the Book of Mormon, and the Church itself. You major in discord instead of in knowledge.

    That’s always your claim, Amanda, but there’s no merit to it. I know what you believe, why you believe it, and the false basis you have for it. You’re no different than any other Mormon who believes similar things. I only need to know what you believe and why you believe it, to be able to say whether it’s true or not. I don’t have to have an intimate knowledge of the people, BOM or the church. I don’t have to eat with or talk to a terrorist, to know they’re a bad person with bad intent. I know from what they believe. No different with a Mormon (not equating you or any other Mormon with a terrorist, just using the example that you don’t have to be intimately familiar in order to have knowledge).

    To say that your brain was “disengaged from the questions you raised” meant only that you threw the question out but then refused to interact with your mind with the answers and scriptures I gave you. This has been par for the course.

    Gee, Amanda, I could claim the same thing about you. What difference does it make, on either side? None. You refuse to look openly at the Scriptures (and interpretations of them), that I’ve given to you. You don’t agree with them – can’t I say the same thing about you?

    You claim to love the Bible, but I see no evidence of that when it comes to biblical discussion. You have thrown out a few incomplete explanations once or twice and then you refused to further interact to incorporate other scriptures that need explanation in light of the original to “make your interpretation” even seem valid.

    Really? If other people think that, I would challenge anyone to go back to some of the 4 or 5 “Mormonism” threads that have been on here, and see if that TRULY is the case. Talk about just “shooting from the hip” now, Amanda…

    Also, when I thanked you for giving me a scripture to work with and for asking a question “as if you wanted an answer,” I was in reality trying to come up with something nice to say to you. That was the highest compliment I could give you from all of our interactions. Instead, you even managed to twist that into an insult just like you did my compliment to you for being able to make my comments bold. Again, par for the course.

    I still don’t believe your intent, Amanda. Not for a second.

    Brad, it is no wonder that people like you keep the barriers up between interfaith relations.

    There ARE barriers between interfaith relations. The belief in God, the Trinity, method of salvation, Heaven, faith & works – there are REAL barriers that arise, b/c different groups believe differently (and most incorrectly). The whole ecumenical movement prevalent today is sickening, in my opinion. People are trying to water down what they believe, to find common ground, and in the process are giving false notions that many of these religions are closer than they are. It’s just not true. Look at Mormonism – early on, the Mormon apostles wanted nothing to do with mainline Christianity. They found it untrue, and leading away from the truths of God. Why now, the desire to “find common ground”? There’s much less “common ground” than people want to believe in.

    The gospel (the true Gospel) is offensive – I don’t plan on watering it down so others can find commonalities among others.

    I don’t know what your ultimate goal is, but I can assure you that no good will come from it as long as you carry a chip on your shoulder the size of Minnesota!

    I’ve already stated my ultimate goal, Amanda. Hopefully that as long as you keep blogging your nonsense on here, that I can give the Christian side of it, and continue to show Mormonism as false, so nobody else gets caught in the trap that you are already mired in.

  275. Amanda said

    And I “understand” – I just don’t agree. (Brad)

    Unfortunately, one cannot agree or disagree credibly with something he doesn’t even know about. Read the Book of Mormon and the official Church magazine (The Ensign), attend the Church or talk to other devout Mormons. Then decide if what you know now is worth anyone’s time. I have the feeling though that an authenticity of resources would only cramp your style. (Don’t clutter my mind with the truth.) It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as getting all this mileage and reaction from what you’re already doing, would it, Brad?

    So far, you have only verified in our posts that while Mormons do believe the Bible, you just plain don’t like the way we interpret it.

    As for anything else you might enjoy rehashing, revisiting, or re-slandering, see post #173.

    Amanda

  276. Amanda said

    I mean, #273!

    Amanda

  277. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: No one can really tell the attitude of the person writing in this debate, but I can tell you, I CARE ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU ARE BEING DECEIVED. I speak the truth, I have no other reason for being on here than to try and show you how wrong you are. It’s God’s LOVE that constrains me to do it.
    I DO know ‘my religion’ Amanda, though I call it a RELATIONSHIP with my God through Jesus my Savior. It’s a LOVING relationship between Father and child. And I think I do a fair job of explaining ‘my religion’, which is why I am debating here.
    My Pastor also CARES about people like you in false religions and cults. That’s why he took time to learn about Mormons aswell as Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults. I did extensive study into J.W.s myself so I could reach them with the love of God. I didn’t do as much about Mormons but then I get advice from those who have.
    My Pastor is certainly not a ‘pharisee’. They wanted nothing to do with the truth Jesus brought.
    And what is this about ‘garbage’, it sounds as if you are offended at what has been revealed.
    I don’t think my Pastor made it up.

    And Brad: I totally agree about Ecumenicalism. Trying to unite religions at the cost of truth.
    It can’t be done. There will always be a barrier between the Truth and the lies Satan sows into the hearts of vunerable people. It’s too high a cost for me. Jesus is the ONLY WAY and always will be. No one can come to the God of the Universe except THROUGH HIM.

  278. Brad said

    What I can explain is that your preacher trying to tell you what Mormons believe is like the Pharisees trying to tell you who Jesus was and what he taught and represented–and with just as much “love” and concern for the individual and for realism and accuracy in their hearts as they had.

    That’s a load of crap, Amanda, yet you still shovel it with the same intensity, every day.

    Can a historian tell us about the ancient Roman civilization without having talked to an ancient Roman? Yes.

    Can a physician tell us about the treatment for polio, without having talked to Jonas Salk? Yes.

    Can a mathematician explain the Pythagorean theorem, without having talked to Pythagoras? Yes.

    Why is all this possible? B/c of the written word. B/c thoughts and ideas are able to be put on paper, and passed down to different generations. How has your BOM, or your precious Ensign, been read by many, rather than just one? The written word. Your argument is not only ridiculous as it relates to religion, it’s borderline stupid as it relates to common sense.

    You would do well to learn your OWN religion and try to explain it well to any who might ask.

    How do you know she doesn’t, Amanda? Isn’t that somewhat presumptious?

  279. Brad said

    PS I just spent hours telling you and others what we really believe, and if you choose to believe whatever garbage comes down the anti-Mormon pike, it’s really not my problem. I have told you the truth and stand clean before God.

    I’ve spent a year telling you and others what is wrong with what you believe, according to the Bible, and if you choose to believe whatever garbage is disseminated from the LDS church, it’s really not my problem.

    As it relates to your standing before God, I fear that you will be the subject of Matthew 7:21 when you get there. That’s one of the reasons people like Maz and I come on these boards.

    Remember when I told you Satan will tell you 99 truths to get you to believe one lie? Well, the percentages above in your post is much worse on both the truth AND lie factors–the biggest lie of all, of course, being that we believe there are countless SAVIORS out there in the galaxies. Wasn’t that the very subject upon which you jumped in on Brad and I? Where were you when I said that we believe the Bible quite literally? And do you know the actual name of the “Mormon” church?

    While I don’t agree with everything that Maz’s pastor said, much of it IS, in fact, true about what you believe, Amanda. There are Mormons who would disagree with you – I have talked to some. As to the name of the “Mormon” church, of which denomination are we speaking? The main one, or the numerous other sects?

    I have found that a closed mind will open with AMAZING rapidity to embrace the ridiculous when it comes to “Mormonism.” If you wanted to learn about the anatomy of a horse, would you go to a doctor who specializes in rodents and other small animals to gain your information about horses and farm animals?

    Depends on the qualifications of the doctor(s) in question. If the horse doctor had credentials similar to the Mormon church, I’d go to the rat doctor, myself.

  280. Brad said

    Unfortunately, one cannot agree or disagree credibly with something he doesn’t even know about.

    I agree. But you work under the false presumption that I, nor anyone who isn’t associated with the Mormon church or hasn’t spent significant time learning about it from your qualified sources, doesn’t know anything about it – a common Mormon argument. Ridiculous, but common. As I’ve mentioned to you several times, one has only to go to the oft-cited-by-you LDS.org to see what the church “officially” believes, and can see that they do not conform to the teachings of the Bible as it should be properly interpreted. The issue, then, is the interpretation of the Bible. I believe that Mormons have it wrong. You disagree. Hence the disagreement. Square one.

    Read the Book of Mormon and the official Church magazine (The Ensign), attend the Church or talk to other devout Mormons. Then decide if what you know now is worth anyone’s time.

    One doesn’t have to read the ENTIRE BOM, ALL the issues of the Ensign, go to the church or even talk to other members to see what’s wrong with the picture.

    If you know there’s a fire in your fireplace, and you know in general that fire burns (and thus causes pain), do you need to read a book on fire, a magazine on fire, or interview a firefighter before you can reasonably conclude that you shouldn’t stick your hand in the fire? Using the logic that you typically do, Amanda, I can’t conclusively say what YOUR answer would be, but MINE is no. The Mormon church is no different.

    I have the feeling though that an authenticity of resources would only cramp your style. (Don’t clutter my mind with the truth.) It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as getting all this mileage and reaction from what you’re already doing, would it, Brad?

    You think I do it for fun – I do it b/c I want to be sure others don’t go down the path that you’re on, Amanda. And the study I have done on Mormonism is authentic enough.

    So far, you have only verified in our posts that while Mormons do believe the Bible, you just plain don’t like the way we interpret it.

    I don’t doubt that Mormons believe the Bible (or at least parts of it, as it is interpreted to fit with their overall beliefs). And yes, I do not believe that you interpret it correctly, and thus you are lost eternally in the sight of God at this moment.

  281. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: Here is the ”garbage” you spoke of straight from Brigham Young, ”Sin is upon every earth that ever was created….Consequently every earth has it’s redeemer, and every earth has it’s tempter; and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through” (Journal of Discourses 14:71-72).
    Consider also Amanda the fact that Young taught, ”How many Gods there are, I do not know, But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be so to all eternity”. (Journal of Discourses 7:333). If such comments were true, we can assume that there are literally millions of saviors on millions of worlds! You work it out Amanda…you have all eternity.

  282. F. L. A. said

    AS I RECALL,MRS HERMAN, THE BIBLE DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY CLAIM THAT THERE IS BUT ONLY ONE GOD WITHIN THE WHOLE WORLD/COSMOS,PERIOD.
    IT INSTEAD CLAIMS THAT “GOD” IS SIMPLY THE ONLY ONE TO BE WORSHIPED BY HIS PEOPLE, HIM BEING SO JEALOUS AND ALL.
    YOUR THOUGHTS?

  283. Maz Herman said

    F.L.A. Just read through Isaiah there are plenty of passages that talk of God being the only God, that there is no God beside Him etc.
    1 Cor: 8 v 6 says, ”There is but one God, the Father, from Whom ALL THINGS CAME and for Whom we live; and there is but ONE LORD, JESUS CHRIST, through Whom ALL THINGS CAME and through Whom we live.”

  284. John said

    What about in Judges2:11 and all of that talk about the God Baalim?
    Seems odd that He would be so jealous over…… and place so many restrictions against the recognition of……and net out such divine punishments over other peoples worship of…….nothing?
    Hmmmm.

  285. Amanda said

    Ms. Maz,

    The word “God” in the creation is not found in the singular form. “The man is become as one of US” (in knowing good from evil Gen. 3:22).” I gave that scripture before, but see Gen. 1:26, 27–“us” and “our image.” Although we do believe that the Bible is not limited in its explanation of the “number of Gods” from the beginning, there is only ONE GOD as far as we are concerned who has revealed Himself to us. We consider the Godhead as one “God” (plural form with 3 individuals in one Godhead). Each member of it–Father, Son and the Holy Ghost is a unique individual although they are one in purpose and attributes (John 17:21,22). Jesus is so much like His Father that He is given Divine Investiture to speak for Him at will. We are created in the image of God, and so when we “grow up” spiritually and eternally, we will become like our Heavenly Father. Does that mean we will be in a Godhead like He is? NO.

    As far as the “Journal of Discourses”, while there are opinions and speculations expressed, they are so often pulled out by not so well-meaning individuals with NO foundation for understanding what is meant, that those quotes are never trustworthy. No one does adequate research to find put them into context. Brigham Young served as President of the Church. He knew that we are only bound to believe what is in our cannon of scripture, and the Journal of Discourses is NOT scripture by any means. We only worship the God of the Bible, and His Son is Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind. Jesus was our Creator, and He is the only God and Savior who has ever dealt directly with mankind since the Fall. Whereas the Father, we understand, walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden, since their Fall from the presence of God the Father, Jesus has been the only God who has ever communicated with us directly except when the Father introduced His Son at His baptism and said He was “well pleased.” He said the same thing pretty much on the Mount of Transfiguration, and on another occasion, Steven saw the Son standing beside the tFather sitting on His throne before he, Steven, was stoned.

    All the stuff you folks, people like your pastor, caring about our salvation or not, like to dwell on is never discussed in Church because we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it has been revealed through direct revelation in our standard works of scripture to talk about–just as you do in the Bible. The “Journal of Discourses” is grosely misunderstood by those who wield it against our beliefs, and I would have to go out west to the Pioneer or Second Hand bookstore to even find a copy. If I did, however, I would have a much more accurate understanding than your pastor has of what its contents mean.

    Jesus was prepared as our Savior before the foundation of the world, and He is the only name in Heaven or one earth in which salvation is found–for any world or worlds He has created. Every Mormon alive–as well as the ones long dead–knows this. The scriptures in the Bible apply only to this earth, and there is only One God as far as whom we worship. Why should I care if there are more in the universe? If God had wanted me to have that information,and if it would have been important to my salvation, it would be in scripture. As the Savior taught, we pray to God the Father in His name and through the power of the Holy Ghost. It has always been so. While all of the worlds He has created have needed a Redeemer, Jesus Christ’s Atonement covers them all, present, past, and future. I have many other official quotes from different Church presidents, including Brigham Young, to verify this. More importantly, I have scripture, both ancient and latter–day which covers this point conclusively.

    About half of what you said in your treatment of Mormon beliefs as put forth by your pastor has its origin in truth. The fact is, but not one complete statement you made is fully true or without distortion. One of Satan’s most successsful ploys is not just in the lies he tells mankind but in the mocking, ridiculous way he says things that have truth in them so that we will not believe that truth. Remember the sign over Jesus’ head on the cross? “King of the Jews” was put forth most mockingly, and yet it was true, both in His literal blood line–had the Romans not been dominant over the Jews at the time–and spiritually, as the Law of Moses should have pointed the House of Israel to recognize. When Jesus said “this temple” would be destroyed and raised in 3 days, they mocked that Jesus blasphemously said that He would destroy the literal, physical temple and raise it is three days “as if he were God.” (Not knowing that He was talking about His body as being a temple.) Even some of Christ’s disciples, after hearing Him preach, walked away from Him because they felt the things He was saying were “too hard” for them to comprehend or believe.

    Maz, it is the same way with some of the sacred things that have been revealed in the Restoration. Certain sacred things are presented in a distorted, mocking way, by people like your perhaps well-meaning preacher who went to a Baptist bookstore to get his material from career “anti-Mormons”, and the “opposition” hopes that no one will believe the truthfulness of any truths that might be mixed in with the ridiculous and distorted.

    You will never know the Good Spirit within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints until you learn about it first-hand. Reading the Book of Mormon under God’s supervision and asking Him in Faith if it is true is the ONLY way to know if the entire work of the Restoration is true. If one reads it and God reveals it IS true, one cannot be saved without it, and if it is NOT true, one cannot be saved WITH it. This is why there is so much division over it. While one can read the Bible and interpret it any way one wants to, then join any church one wants to, one cannot read the Book of Mormon and know it is true without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet and joining the Lord’s Church, restored through Joseph Smith’s ministry. This is why some who deny that the Book is true end up fighting against the Church. Unlike the Bible, there is only one way to interpret it because of the plainness in which it was written by these ancient American prophets who descended from Israelites. Even the most intellectual member of the Church cannot misunderstand these words or the doctrines they teach which verify the doctrine and testimony in the Bible. Nor can one accept the Book of Mormon without accepting the Bible. The Book of Mormon was written for our day, a day in which the Divinity of Christ and many of the teachings of the Bible would be rejected by the world and when people anger over that which is good. It shows us that God is the same–past, present, and future.

    I will close with words from the Lord who anticipated the “Why do we need more than the Bible?” question in these latter days:

    2 Nephi 29:7-11… “Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?

    Wherefore murmer ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I do remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.

    For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to his works, according to that which is written.”

    (And of course, “it is written” in the Bible that some people who have not “God’s law” are a “law unto themselves” with parts of the law in their hearts, and that will be factored in the day of judgment.)

    Because God Himself prepares all who are ready to accept the Restoration, I will leave you with only the knowledge that you, your pastor, and Brad, along with anyone who has gained their knowledge through a Baptist or otherwise Christian bookstore, are all deceived into believing that you know “real” truth about Mormon beliefs. The Book of Mormon is easy to access. Please find it and read it before you attempt to tell a “Mormon” what he or she believes–an insulting, lazy approach to a serious topic that requires sincere preparation if one wants to dialogue meaningfully with faithful Mormons. (I’m sure that Brad must think he is doing something meaningful, but his and my entire exchange, taking several months all combined, has been a total “washout” for me and a solid waste of time.) He can point me to nothing that I don’t already have in my life.

    There is a Higher Power that witnesses to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and as long as God is in His Heaven, it will always be so. I can only add my personal witness to the effectiveness of the process because God answered my prayers and continues to do so in undeniable ways. Jesus is my personal Savior just as He is yours, and the relationship I have with Him is one that will never be shaken. All that I have that is good, all that I know that is worth knowing, and all that I have become that is good, has come through Him. I gladly and gratefully stand before Him, responsible and accountable for my choices.

    Peace,

    Amanda

  286. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: I only have time to answer a couple of things you said as I have to go out. Will attempt a full reply later in the day.
    ELOHIM. Yes, I believe He was and is the triune God (thus plural),the Father…Who is God, Jesus, the Son…Who is God, and the Holy Spirit…Who is God. The triune Godhead, Three in One. One and Only True God of the WHOLE Universe. None like Him, none with Him, He is the Sovereign Creator of ALL. Ruling over one earth……..no other earth like it exists anywhere in this Universe. None.
    You say ”Altho we do believe that the Bible is not limited in it’s explanation of the ‘number of Gods’ from the beginning, there is only ONE GOD as far as we are concerned who has revealed Himself to us.”
    The Bible IS limited in it’s explanation of the number of God’s from the beginning……..as you said yourself……(but meant something entirely different)…..there is ONLY ONE GOD…….yes, there is ONLY ONE TRUE GOD….ANYWHERE….
    And Amanda, contrary to what you and all Mormons believe, God was not and has never ever been ”once a man like we are”.
    God is spirit, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent………and he revealed Himself on earth in the flesh as Jesus Christ His beloved and ONLY BEGOTTEN SON.
    Must go now, will be back later.

  287. Amanda said

    Maz,

    All the things you have mentioned that you are concerned about enter my mind only when people like you raise them. The Bible does NOT say that God never created other worlds. IN fact, there is much that ISN’T in the Bible as far as our knowledge of God, and only a small portion of the things Jesus said are even in the Bible. It would be consistent with my personal knowledge of God and His omnipotent nature for Him to do so. But…does that pertain to my salvation? Does it help me to know the ONLY Savior in the Universe or the Only Elohim, as far as I ever need be concerned? (Even as a little child, my schoolmates would ask each other, “Do you think God had a Father?” God has not revealed that information explicitly in scripture, which is all that I have that pertains to my salvation. Does any of that speculation prevent me from reading the Bible? The Book of Mormon? From accessing the blessings given through the Holy Ghost as a result of prayer and faith? Of course not. When God ceases to be present within the walls of my Church each Sunday, and when He ceases to answer my prayers, THEN and only then will I be concerned that my knowledge pertinent to salvation about the Gospel and my God is incorrect.

    There is great spiritual rejoicing in the knowledge and peace that the Church and the fulness of scripture brings to our lives, or we 13 million wouldn’t be there. And seriously, if your description of my beliefs was accurate as you express them, do you think there would be over a couple of thousand “loonies” in the Church? Again, the power of God to convert others, those who go about learning and receiving knowledge about it in the manner He has prescribed to the Church, is so much greater than any rumors, partial truths, tall tales, distortions and misconceptions out there.

    Once more, if you are truly concerned about the souls of those who don’t believe as you do, live your religion and teach it in a manner that will give us something we don’t ALREADY have in our lives. The testimony and discovery of the God of the Bible and Universe, the Savior of the Bible, the Holy Ghost, the fulness of scripture, and the other blessings of faith are not among them.

    Any more concerns I should address before I do something more important with my life than talk to those who have no desire to listen and no room for opposing information that denies their “Mormon reality” ? I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m anxious to do other things. (My patience is worn to a frazzle.)

  288. Amanda said

    PS to Maz,

    I just noticed that you capitalized ONLY BEGOTTEN SON as if that is something we do not believe. We do believe that He is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON IN THE FLESH. (John 1:14, Luke 1:31-35) He was the only spirit sent to the earth to have Heavenly Father’s literal genes along with Mary’s (and nothing was said about “sex,” so don’t be led down that goose trail, one of the favorites among the deceivers about Mormonism). And so, He was “begotten in the flesh.” This is why He was able to be the ultimate, infinite sacrifice and had the power to “lay down” His own life and be resurrected.

    As for us, Adam was the first of the human race, but if you look at Luke 3:38 where Christ’s genealogy was given back to Adam, Adam is in no uncertain terms called the “son of God.” We were spirit children of God before we were born, have come here to gain a body, develop faith, be tested and tried as to whom we will follow. We are the spiritual children of God here as we are adopted into His spiritual kingdom.

    I said my patience was wearing thin, but that is not because of you, Maz. It’s because of the months I have “worn out my welcome” on this blog prior to ever seeing your name.

    Amanda

  289. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: I know that Adam was called the son of God, but he was not in nature as God, he was a created human being, made in the image of God, but in no way begotten, he was a child of God as we are now as christians, he had a relationship with the Father until he lost it when he sinned.
    Jesus was and is ”THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER full of grace and Truth.” John 1 v 14.
    I use caps for emphases rather than for anything else. I am not prone to shouting in my e-mails.
    I am a calm, rational person usually, trying to debate in an acceptable manner (as far as humanly possible).
    I just want to say Amanda, since your ”patience has been worn to a frazzle”, (what happened to the peace you had?) that your excuse about ”context” is invalid, concerning what Brigham Young said about there being many earths and many redeemers (or saviors), which you called ”the biggest lie of all” when I mentioned it. See post 273.

    If Brigham Young, the President of the Mormon Church doesn’t believe there are other worlds with other saviors..or redeemers, then why did he say it in the ”Discourse”? Does he not believe what he said i.e: ”Sin is upon EVERY EARTH (not just ours??) that ever was created…Consequently EVERY EARTH HAS IT’S REDEEMER (not just ours??) and EVERY EARTH (not just ours??) has it’s tempter..” Amanda how do I take that out of context?…YOU tell me what he means if he doesn’t mean what he is saying. Read all the quote again on post 281.
    Have you read these ”Discourses”? Do you know YOUR religion as you questioned whether I knew mine in an earlier post.
    As far as I am concerned, the Bible is the ONLY inspired book on this earth (or anywhere) and no other writings should take presedent over it.
    All cults have their own new revelation, whether it be by Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russel or Mary Baker Eddy, they all want to ADD to the Word of God and actually change what it says.
    Elohim is the Triune God of the Universe as I said before, can’t say it any clearer, and there is no higher than Him. The triune God has no Father HE IS IT.

    Amanda, I too could say that I could ”do something more inportant with my life than talk to those who have no desire to listen and no room for opposing information” and I can add, no room for the Truth when shown from the inspired writings of God in His Word.
    BUT…..I find, for me, that what I am doing here IS important….to try and help people see the truth in Jesus alone and rescue them from deception. If you can find something more important to do Amanda, then perhaps you should do it.
    For me, proclaiming the Truth to a lost and dying world is the most important thing we can do, and I for one shall continue to do it, because that is what God has called me to do.

  290. Brad said

    Although we do believe that the Bible is not limited in its explanation of the “number of Gods” from the beginning, there is only ONE GOD as far as we are concerned who has revealed Himself to us.

    Different from what the Bible says – instance #1.

    We consider the Godhead as one “God” (plural form with 3 individuals in one Godhead). Each member of it–Father, Son and the Holy Ghost is a unique individual although they are one in purpose and attributes (John 17:21,22). Jesus is so much like His Father that He is given Divine Investiture to speak for Him at will.

    Different from what the Bible says – instance #2.

    As far as the “Journal of Discourses”, while there are opinions and speculations expressed, they are so often pulled out by not so well-meaning individuals with NO foundation for understanding what is meant, that those quotes are never trustworthy. No one does adequate research to find put them into context. Brigham Young served as President of the Church. He knew that we are only bound to believe what is in our cannon of scripture, and the Journal of Discourses is NOT scripture by any means. We only worship the God of the Bible, and His Son is Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind. Jesus was our Creator, and He is the only God and Savior who has ever dealt directly with mankind since the Fall. Whereas the Father, we understand, walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden, since their Fall from the presence of God the Father, Jesus has been the only God who has ever communicated with us directly except when the Father introduced His Son at His baptism and said He was “well pleased.” He said the same thing pretty much on the Mount of Transfiguration, and on another occasion, Steven saw the Son standing beside the tFather sitting on His throne before he, Steven, was stoned.

    Can we then throw out the entire JofD entirely, deeming it unreliable and not representative of Mormon thought?

    All the stuff you folks, people like your pastor, caring about our salvation or not, like to dwell on is never discussed in Church because we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it has been revealed through direct revelation in our standard works of scripture to talk about–just as you do in the Bible.

    It’s never discussed in church b/c there would be no need to – it would be expected that those there would already know it, or would be taught it through another means. It’s like saying you discuss “don’t play with matches” in the fire station – there’s no need, everyone there already understands it.

    The “Journal of Discourses” is grosely misunderstood by those who wield it against our beliefs, and I would have to go out west to the Pioneer or Second Hand bookstore to even find a copy. If I did, however, I would have a much more accurate understanding than your pastor has of what its contents mean.

    Anyone who can read can have an accurate understanding of it – you don’t have to be a Mormon, despite what Mormons think.

    …for any world or worlds He has created.

    Different from what the Bible says – instance #3.

    The scriptures in the Bible apply only to this earth, and there is only One God as far as whom we worship.

    Different from what the Bible says – instance #4.

    Why should I care if there are more in the universe? If God had wanted me to have that information,and if it would have been important to my salvation, it would be in scripture.

    Proving that it’s not – yet Mormons still hold to that belief…

    While all of the worlds He has created have needed a Redeemer, Jesus Christ’s Atonement covers them all, present, past, and future.

    Different from what the Bible says – instance #5.

    I have many other official quotes from different Church presidents, including Brigham Young, to verify this.

    But wait – are they doctrinal? Are they in the JofD? Do they even count, if they’re outside the Big 4 books? If they do count, how do you determine what “counts” as OK for proof, and what doesn’t? Does only the LDS church get to decide that? Hmmm…..

    Certain sacred things are presented in a distorted, mocking way, by people like your perhaps well-meaning preacher who went to a Baptist bookstore to get his material from career “anti-Mormons”, and the “opposition” hopes that no one will believe the truthfulness of any truths that might be mixed in with the ridiculous and distorted.

    They appear distorted b/c they ARE distorted, and have been so from the time Smith dreamed them up. That’s what the “burning in my bosom” tells me – and that doesn’t lie, right?

    Reading the Book of Mormon under God’s supervision and asking Him in Faith if it is true is the ONLY way to know if the entire work of the Restoration is true. If one reads it and God reveals it IS true, one cannot be saved without it, and if it is NOT true, one cannot be saved WITH it.

    Round and round the NASCAR track we go, like a cat chasing it’s tail. Only the feeling you get can determine if it’s true – please ignore any indigestional experiences you may have, it’s really not that.

    …one cannot read the Book of Mormon and know it is true without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet and joining the Lord’s Church, restored through Joseph Smith’s ministry.

    Amen to that. You must accept Smith as a true prophet, or else Mormonism crumbles. I’ll agree with that all day long, and twice on Sundays.

    Unlike the Bible, there is only one way to interpret it because of the plainness in which it was written by these ancient American prophets who descended from Israelites.

    Only one way – and the Mormons have that way, right? And it’s because it’s so plain, right?

    Even the most intellectual member of the Church cannot misunderstand these words or the doctrines they teach which verify the doctrine and testimony in the Bible.

    Different from what the Bible says – instance #6.

    I will close with words from the Lord who anticipated the “Why do we need more than the Bible?” question in these latter days:

    God may have anticipated that question, but He sure as heck didn’t write anything about it in the BOM – you know, b/c He didn’t inspire the BOM. Joseph Smith inspired (dreamed) it.

    (And of course, “it is written” in the Bible that some people who have not “God’s law” are a “law unto themselves” with parts of the law in their hearts, and that will be factored in the day of judgment.)

    Which, of course, has nothing to do with Mormons, but when read properly in the overall context of Romans 1-2, is about something entirely different. But, I don’t suppose you believe that?

    I will leave you with only the knowledge that you, your pastor, and Brad, along with anyone who has gained their knowledge through a Baptist or otherwise Christian bookstore, are all deceived into believing that you know “real” truth about Mormon beliefs.

    Yes, all knowledge gained from Baptist bookstores is evil. Flee while you can!!

    The Book of Mormon is easy to access.

    Wow – so is the Bible. One down…

    Please find it and read it before you attempt to tell a “Mormon” what he or she believes–an insulting, lazy approach to a serious topic that requires sincere preparation if one wants to dialogue meaningfully with faithful Mormons.

    Again, Amanda assumes that NOBODY except Mormons have read ANY of the BOM. But she is fairly close to omniscient, so it’s not a stretch.

    (I’m sure that Brad must think he is doing something meaningful, but his and my entire exchange, taking several months all combined, has been a total “washout” for me and a solid waste of time.) He can point me to nothing that I don’t already have in my life.

    It’s SO much a waste of time, that Amanda keeps responding, though she herself has said she wouldn’t continue to do so, and she herself admits it’s pointless. Now THAT’S logic at work, folks!

    There is a Higher Power that witnesses to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and as long as God is in His Heaven, it will always be so.

    Different from what the Bible says – instance #7.

    I gladly and gratefully stand before Him, responsible and accountable for my choices.

    The saddest statement Amanda has made yet. Truly.

  291. Brad said

    All the things you have mentioned that you are concerned about enter my mind only when people like you raise them.

    That’s not shocking – unless you had doubts, they wouldn’t enter your mind, now would they?

    The Bible does NOT say that God never created other worlds.

    What about John 3:16, for one?

    God has not revealed that information explicitly in scripture [“does God have a father?”]

    Sure He has. The Bible clearly says He is without beginning or end – that’s tough if you have a Father, is it not?

    And seriously, if your description of my beliefs was accurate as you express them, do you think there would be over a couple of thousand “loonies” in the Church?

    Yes.

    Any more concerns I should address before I do something more important with my life than talk to those who have no desire to listen and no room for opposing information that denies their “Mormon reality” ? I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m anxious to do other things. (My patience is worn to a frazzle.)

    Then quit responding – nobody’s forcing you to, are they?

  292. F. L. A. said

    AND REMEMBER AMANDA, YOUR IN HIS PRAYERS[GRIN].
    NO OTHER EARTH-LIKE WORLDS WITHIN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE, EH?
    A BOLD STATEMENT FOR ONE WHO IS SO LACKING IN SCIENTIFIC AND ASTRONOMICAL KNOWLEDGE.
    HAVE EITHER MRS.HERMAN OR BRAD EVEN STUDIED ASTRONOMY[HIGH SCHOOL CLASSES DO NOT COUNT]?

  293. Brad said

    Well said, Maz!

    Amanda, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the Mormon views on Jesus, Adam, humankind, etc…, drastically differ from those of Christianity, as set forth in the Bible. The interpretational leaps made by the LDS church, to fit its pre-formed theology, are nothing short of ridiculous.

    To then say that it is based on the Bible, is absurd.

    And I would agree with Maz, as I have stated before – if you have something better to do, do it. You keep SAYING you won’t be on here, SAYING it’s a waste of time, YET you always seem to find your way back, doing what you admit is unfruitful and unprofitable for you. Amazing.

  294. Maz Herman said

    F.L.A: Actually I have studied astronomy since I was young….that’s a long time ago! It’s my favourite subject next to physics.

  295. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: I think you said something about people getting their information soley out of christian book shops….forgive me if I’m wrong. In actual fact my Pastor has been to Salt Lake City where he studied Mormonism and not via the Baptist bookshop. All his male Mormon contacts in the UK and S.L.C. have shared with him their expectation, if they are worthy, that one day they will be exalted and become a god just like Elohim.
    Amanda, doesn’t that sound like the promise that Satan made to Eve when he tempted her in the Garden of Eden, to eat the fruit of the tree, ”you shall not die,” Satan lied, ”…you shall be as God (gods)…’. Satan has always tried to exalt himself and tempted man with the same thing…he is doing it through the Mormon Church today.

  296. Amanda said

    Maz,

    The entire Bible is to help us to accept our Redeemer and to become “as God.” (It’s also called becoming Christ-like.)Satan told the truth that time, but we as his true children do not want to replace or be “higher than God” as Satan did. Please read my previous post to you regarding Adam and Eve since I think you’ve forgotten what I said, along with the Bible verses I gave you.

    Yes, I wish you would all throw out the “Journal of Discourses”. It is not and never was scripture, and many Mormons have never even heard of it. I have never read it or seen it although Church literature, like certain manuals, have some quotes from it that are good or valid. It is not considered a credible source since it is not revelation, often opinion, and the notes taken by those present as these leaders were talking are known to include errors. As I said, only anti-Mormons are interested in the Journal of Discourses.

    Maz, I believe little of what you told me about who your pastor talked to whom and heard what. Your second-hand Mormonism is so flawed, but I cannot stop you or others from believing it. (By the way, I don’t shout in my emails either, but I have used capitals where my friend Brad would use bold since I haven’t yet tried his skill at it.) If you ever want to really know something about the Church,it is easy to find authentic resources–like the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, the Ensign Magazine, and Church approved books like “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder–” also some very good pamphlets the missionaries carry. Somehow, though, I think your pastor’s information is much more interesting!

    I sent one of your emails to a friend of mine I worked with in the Church for 10 years. She is a “dynamo” and full of the Spirit of the Lord. I will include my email to her and hers to me (which comes first), and that’s about all that you and Brad need to hear from me or any Mormon of faith:

    Re: Another bad ending besides Brad‏
    From: Phyllis Bradford (email address deleted by Amanda)
    Sent: Mon 3/10/08 10:17 PM
    To: Amanda Bunton (ackbunton@hotmail.com)

    Oh Man!! How do things get so twisted?? We really are weird!!!!! If I thought Mormon’s really believed this I’d think they were a mess too!!!

    This won’t end–you have better things to do with your time!!!!!!

    (Just my opinion!)

    See you soon!

    On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 8:55 AM, Amanda Bunton wrote:

    Hey!

    Would you like to read the latest “nastiness” on the anti-Mormon radio blogsite?
    I’ve had it with these people! I’m done! Do you think this time I will actually leave the misinformed alone?

    Amanda

  297. Brad said

    The entire Bible is to help us to accept our Redeemer and to become “as God.” (It’s also called becoming Christ-like.)

    There’s a BIG difference between becoming “as God”, and becoming “Christ-like”. I doubt you would agree. Becoming “Christ-like” is striving in our lives to live as Christ would (you know, WWJD?) – this is a far cry from trying to become “as God.” Maz was exactly right when she said what she did about Satan in Genesis, and his lies to Adam & Eve in the garden.

    Satan told the truth that time, but we as his true children do not want to replace or be “higher than God” as Satan did.

    Not sure what you mean here. Satan told the truth? I hope you mean differently than the way it comes across, but I fear you don’t. You may not want to be “higher”, but you do want to be “as”, something we can’t be. If we could, then God’s status would be equal to others, something the Bible is very clear is not, and will never be, the case.

    Yes, I wish you would all throw out the “Journal of Discourses”. It is not and never was scripture, and many Mormons have never even heard of it. I have never read it or seen it although Church literature, like certain manuals, have some quotes from it that are good or valid. It is not considered a credible source since it is not revelation, often opinion, and the notes taken by those present as these leaders were talking are known to include errors. As I said, only anti-Mormons are interested in the Journal of Discourses.

    Unfortunately, many Mormons disagree with you. I’ve spoken with some of them.

    Maz, I believe little of what you told me about who your pastor talked to whom and heard what. Your second-hand Mormonism is so flawed, but I cannot stop you or others from believing it.

    See Maz, it’s not OK for us to say she’s wrong, and question what she says and does, but it IS okay for her to do it to others. Either way, I don’t care, but I do find the double standard comical.

    I sent one of your emails to a friend of mine I worked with in the Church for 10 years. She is a “dynamo” and full of the Spirit of the Lord. I will include my email to her and hers to me (which comes first), and that’s about all that you and Brad need to hear from me or any Mormon of faith:

    Wait – a “dynamo”? Well, in THAT case, maybe we’d better listen to her. I mean, I’m usually inclined to disagree with Mormons, but if one of them is, in fact, a “dynamo”, then I might just have to reconsider…

    Re: Another bad ending besides Brad‏
    From: Phyllis Bradford (email address deleted by Amanda)
    Sent: Mon 3/10/08 10:17 PM
    To: Amanda Bunton (ackbunton@hotmail.com)

    Oh Man!! How do things get so twisted?? We really are weird!!!!! If I thought Mormon’s really believed this I’d think they were a mess too!!!

    This won’t end–you have better things to do with your time!!!!!!

    (Just my opinion!)

    See you soon!

    On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 8:55 AM, Amanda Bunton wrote:

    Hey!

    Would you like to read the latest “nastiness” on the anti-Mormon radio blogsite?
    I’ve had it with these people! I’m done! Do you think this time I will actually leave the misinformed alone?

    Amanda

    Wait – have you REALLY had it, or are you just saying that? I’m sorry if it’s hard for me to tell – but this is either the 40th or 41st time you’ve said that, so I never know if it’s REALLY the end or not. Tell Phyllis I said hello!

  298. Maz Herman said

    Amanda:
    I’m glad that Jesus never gave up on us….but you keep threatening to give up on us anti-Mormons. Actually we love Mormons because the love of Christ is in us, He loves them, so we do too. We just want them to see that they have been deceived like so many drawn into other cults with their ”new revelation”.
    Amanda, my Pastor does NOT lie. He is a man of integrity. He is a lovely caring Christian, who took the time to learn about your beliefs so that he could reach you with the Truth.
    I’v said it before and I will say it again, I am motivated by the love that God has shown to me.

    Now Brad has answered some of what you said, and I agree with it, so I will only add my thots to it.
    ” ‘Journal of Discourses’….never was scripture”
    So that makes it alright for the President to say something that is totally false to the Mormon?
    ”The biggest lie” as you put it. Well, Brigham Young started that himself didn’t he.
    …”known to include errors”. Now you are agreeing with us!

    Amanda, I read some of the BOM and ‘some’ was enough to know that it contradicted the Bible in many places. You don’t need to eat a whole cake to know whether it tastes nice or not.
    Question: Are the ”Doctrine of Covenants”, ”Pearl of Great Price”, and the ”Ensign Magazine”, inspired by God or revelations given by God? Or do they contain errors aswell?
    And Amanda who is being nasty?

  299. Maz Herman said

    My last reply seems to have gone missing, so I will post it again.
    Amanda: Brad has answered some of your post, and I agree with it, so I will just add my own thots.
    My Pastor was NOT lieing about the Mormoms he met, he is a man of integrity, a wonderful, caring Christian. He took the time to go to SLC to learn about the Mormons because he genuinely cares that they are being deceived and wants them to know the truth.
    You say the ”Journal of Discourses……never was scripture”, so that makes it alright for the President of the Mormon Church to say something that you called ”the biggest lie”?
    Are the ”Doctrines of Covenant”, ”Pearl of great Price”, and the ”Ensign Magazine” inspied by God or revelation from God? If not then is it not possible that they too contain errors?
    Amanda, I am glad that Jesus never gave up on me. He loved me enough to keep going after me until He saved me from sin and the deceit of it.
    And I must say again, my motivation is purely because Gods love dwells in me and He loves you, so I love you with that love, and do not want you to continue in your false beliefs.
    I hope this gets through this time.

  300. Maz Herman said

    AH!!! My missing reply got posted after all…before the last one. The second one was slightly shorter because I couldn’t remember everything I had written.. I may have added to it, but atleast it got through eventuallt.

    Amanda: As to the ”Journal of Discourses”. You said it wasn’t scripture. Read what Brigham Young said about it (and if you know anything about your religion you should know what he has said). If not you deffinitely need to check it out.
    B.Y: ”I have never preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men that they may NOT call scripture. let me have the priveledge of correcting a sermon and it is as GOOD SCRIPTURE as they deserve The people have the oracles OF GOD continually”. (My emphases)
    Well, looks like B.Y said it was scripture.

  301. Maz Herman said

    Sorry to be clogging the blogging, ha ha……but Amanda you can find the whole set of ”Journal of Discourses” on http://www.journalofdiscourses.org.
    And it is NOT a Christian site…it is Mormon.

  302. Amanda said

    Maz,

    I do hate to leave you and your new friend both in such a state of disinformation, but alas, you thrive on it so! It would be like “taking candy from a baby” to disrupt your feeding frenzy–if I had the power to take it away, which I don’t. God does, however. His specialty is removing stumbling blocks to faith, especially where the Bible and the Book of Mormon are concerned. (The Book of Mormon presents no stumbling blocks to faith, but it is power tool for removing them.) Your choice is clear, and you seem to have made it. You would rather believe those who talk about and fight against the “Mormon” faith than to believe Mormons themselves. You would rather base our beliefs upon 200 year old writings that are considered suspect by all Mormons, no matter who Brad’s undescript Mormon friends are who may have told him otherwise than to attack what we formally believe, defined by scripture and Conference talks in the last decades.

    As I said, there is much truth in the JD, but so many JD statements are taken out of context by people who do not have the foundation to understand what they are really saying (milk before meat). Is it so easy for you to read the extensive multi-volume Journal of Discourses, and yet so hard for you to read the Book of Mormon? It may be the praying part over something you already have judged wanting that is the hardest for you; and that is the most important part. More plausibly, you are just reading the “juicy spots”of the JD that have been pulled out FOR you which would be sensational and have the power to stir up contention between Mormons and mainstream Christians. This would be like certain Jews who might have judged and crucified Christ without ever having read the Old Testament–basing their accusations upon not what the Apostles were speaking of over the pulpit but what the Apostles were talking about while the Savior was doing other things–like “who will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” or “who will get to sit on His right hand there?”. Brigham Young was right about the validity of his SERMONS to the entire church as the living prophet, and I can assure you he was only talking about his formal SERMONS, not the JD, since its many volumes were never compiled in his lifetime for him to read. General Conference talks, even those given today, are right beside our scriptures for importance to us in this day and time, just as Noah’s reports to the world about the need for his builing an ark were important for his day.

    The JD is also without comprehensive merit due to scribal errors, not errors by Brigham Young (no tape recorders back then), and if it is found on an “Otherwise Christian” website, do you really think I would trust that those who put it on there wouldn’t stoop to changing it to make it suite their purposes–or at least those who made it available to them for such a purpose? This is one reason I believe the Lord took back the golden plates from which the BOM was translated–so “exact duplicates” of it wouldn’t end up in otherwise Christian bookstores, translated “word for word,” as the publicity surrounding it would claim. Only it would not correspond with Joseph Smith’s version; that’s for sure.

    There is another choice that God, who honors agency, has placed in the “hot” little hands of all mankind– to play God (the God of Judgment) or to learn of Him and act as He would. (Be ye perfect, even AS your Father in Heaven is perfect. For Brad, I would spell this out as, “AS GOD is perfect.” Matt. 5:48) The lack of integrity displayed on this website regarding the investigation of what is condemned is astounding, and it is, of course, always shrouded in this great humanitarian “love” that is supposed to be Christian. Talk about wolves in sheep’s clothing! If the Church weren’t of God, your approach would still be distasteful and irresponsible.

    I asked you, Maz, what you thought the BOM contain that conflicted with the Bible. You have given me nothing but “tell-tell,” second hand information about other things we supposedly believe from your pastor (who may be a good man, but he’s not doing God any favors here). Such information apparently excites you and makes you feel like you now have a new purpose in life– to “get the goods on the Mormons” and fight against some “great evil”. Surely you and Brad have real areas of expertise which can give you a feeling of competence other than irresponsibly attacking someone’s else’s religion, serving as puppets in the hands of those who hate what they don’t understand and unwittingly are fighting against that which is good.

    Do you not think that I know many, many wonderful, caring, Christian men an women of intergrity in my Church? Do you not think that I have a personal relationship with God and my Redeemer? it matters not what you think, naturally, but you place yourself on the pedestal of exposure to God and man to pretend that you could even answer those two questions, much less define my religion for me.

    Spiritual peace never leaves the heart, even when those about you are shouting spiritual obscenities at you (you don’t have to use caps to shout or curse words to sound obscene where religion is concerned), just as the spiritual peace of knowing that having and raising your own children is a treasure beyond measure never leaves you. It can and does some, but not those who are healthy and grounded in faith in Jesus Christ– even when those children are soiling their diapers, having temper tantrums, or clinging to your legs and whining while you’re trying to finish cooking dinner to nourish their bodies.

    And that’s the “rest of the story”–Good day!

  303. Amanda said

    PS I just reread your statement about the JD on the “Mormon blog”; I can’t judge how Mormon, “Mormon” is because I know that no official Church website is going to put that on, and I only use approved resources.

    Amanda

  304. F. L. A. said

    METHINKS THAT YOU WERE NOT A VERY GOOD STUDENT,MRS HERMAN.

  305. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: First of all I do not use caps to shout, I think I’v told you that before, I use them for EMPHASIS only.
    You speak of the ”disinformation” that we ”thrive on it”, you use words like ”feeding frenzy”, and ”juicy spots”. That we ”get the goods on the Mormons” and we are ”attacking someone elses religion”.
    And ”shouting spiritual obscenities at you”, CERTAINLY NOT AMANDA. (Not shouting)
    None of this is relevant.
    I don’t know how many times I have told you why I come on here and try and help you to see the error and deceit of the Mormon Church and the Truth only found in the Bible, the ONLY (not shouting) inspired book from our Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent God. And how my Pastor has also helped and advised me because he knows more than I do, and you called him a liar.

    The one thing I can’t understand is how you can believe that my beloved Lord and Savior, who came down from the Father, gave up His place as the Son within the Godhead, and gave His life up on a cruel cross to set you free from sin and death, is the brother of Satan……..how dare you relate the Lord of Glory with such a dispicable demonic angelic creature, which is what Satan is. He was a liar from the beginning of time and the father of lies. John 8 v 44. He has certainly and truly deceived you Amanda, and I cannot do anything about it but pray that somehow the Lord by His Holy Spirit will reach you, and shine the light of His truth into your heart.
    All we say has done nothing to persuade you, but rather, creates anger and hatred for us in your heart.
    I do not hate you, I am not angry at you, I feel no negative feelings whatsoever toward you Amanda, Jesus is my witness, even now I am still prepared to show you what in your own words you would call ”garbage”, just to see someone freed from Mormon deception.
    Jesus said in John 5 v 39-40, ”Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life; and THEY ARE THEY WHICH TESTIFY OF ME. AND YOU WILL NOT COME THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.” (And I’m still not shouting). The Bible is the source of Truth….and that Truth is in Jesus Christ alone, the Living Word, the Word that created ALL THINGS, He is the Only Word.

  306. Brad said

    I do hate to leave you and your new friend both in such a state of disinformation

    No misinformation here, so don’t worry about it. We’re both well-informed.

    You would rather believe those who talk about and fight against the “Mormon” faith than to believe Mormons themselves.

    Yes, I would rather believe people who, like me, know that Mormonism is false and aren’t afraid to say it, than to believe Mormons who are in error. You are correct.

    do you really think I would trust that those who put it on there wouldn’t stoop to changing it to make it suite their purposes

    Wait – do you mean like the many revisions and changes to the BOM?

    This is one reason I believe the Lord took back the golden plates from which the BOM was translated–so “exact duplicates” of it wouldn’t end up in otherwise Christian bookstores, translated “word for word,” as the publicity surrounding it would claim. Only it would not correspond with Joseph Smith’s version; that’s for sure.

    And that is one big reason why Christians don’t believe the plates ever existed, b/c to have copies of them, they could be translated, and if so, we could see what they said, and could then know, for sure, whether Smith was full of crap or not. The fact that they “don’t exist anymore” was a rather convenient way to not undergo that kind of scrutiny, yet b/c of that, Christians still think Smith was full of crap. So, to sum, plates or not, we think Smith was full of crap.

    The lack of integrity displayed on this website regarding the investigation of what is condemned is astounding, and it is, of course, always shrouded in this great humanitarian “love” that is supposed to be Christian.

    What lack of integrity do you speak of? What “investigation” hasn’t happened, that you think should? You’ve been offered, several times, the opportunity to offer your side of Mormonism on air, and have repeatedly declined, stating it would be a waste of your time and you’re not “authorized” to speak. That being your answer, you then have NO right to be able to complain afterwards, as you gave away your opportunity. Sour grapes. Grow up.

    If the Church weren’t of God, your approach would still be distasteful and irresponsible.

    It’s NOT of God, our approach notwithstanding.

    Surely you and Brad have real areas of expertise which can give you a feeling of competence other than irresponsibly attacking someone’s else’s religion, serving as puppets in the hands of those who hate what they don’t understand and unwittingly are fighting against that which is good.

    I can’t speak for Maz, but I don’t need this blog to feel competent about anything. There’s been nothing irresponsible here. I enjoy blogging, especially about religion. But whatever excuse makes you feel better, Amanda, is fine with me.

    Do you not think that I have a personal relationship with God and my Redeemer?

    No, I don’t, based on what you say you believe.

    Spiritual peace never leaves the heart, even when those about you are shouting spiritual obscenities at you (you don’t have to use caps to shout or curse words to sound obscene where religion is concerned)

    Whatever works for you, Amanda. I still find it funny that you like to point the finger at those whom you think aren’t “nice”, yet you toss enough of it yourself. Pot, meet kettle.

    But wait, I thought you were “really” done with us this time. What happened to that for the 41st (or 42nd?) time?

  307. Maz Herman said

    I enjoy blogging too Brad, especially when we get a chance to help someone out of error and into the Truth, It’s just a shame that they won’t listen to the evidence put before them.
    If it’s from a Christian bookshop, they won’t accept it, and if it’s from a Mormon source they won’t accept it. (I put my hands up in the air)

    Amanda; I have enough confidence in my God to keep me from error and to lead me into all Truth.
    A CLOSE relationship with Jesus is vital, aswell as reading the Bible and studying ”to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, RIGHTY DIVIDING THE WORD OF
    TRUTH” (not shouting). Notice only ONE WORD, not another to go with it. 2 Tim: 2 v 15.

  308. Maz Herman said

    Today I have seen a programme about the devistating evidence that MORMON scientists have found, that DNA testing proves that the Lamanites spoken of in the Book of Mormon were not the ancestors of the North American Indians.
    It has been conclusively proved by molecular biologists, and anthropologists IN the MormanChurchthatDNA from the Native AmericanIndiandid not originate from the Middle East and were not descended from the Hebrewpeople, but from North East Asia.
    This has been deeply shocking to many Mormons as it challenges the very foundation of the Book of Mormon and it’s historical record.
    It has been found by Archaeologists and Anthropoligists WITHIN THE MORMON CHURCH that there is no evidence of any migration of the hebrew people to the North Americas…noLINGUISTIC evidence, no ARCHAEOLOGICAL evidence, no HISTORICAL evidence, and most damning of all no DNA evidence.
    It has been said that the North American INdians would have travelled from North EastAsiaand Siberia through the Baring Strait. A MUCH shorter distance than from the Middle East.
    No Hebrew genes whatsoever were found within the Native American Indian populations.
    When the now President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley was asked in 2002 about the DNA findings by his own scientists he denied there was proof saying, ”It hasn’thappened,” and that it is ”speculating’. In fact the scientists disagree and say he is factually wrong.

    Is the Book of Mormon true?
    According to DNA….NO.
    A Mormon anthropolist and scholar says, ”We are in a dilemma now. Genetic evidence shows clearly that the American Indians are not Hebrews, and not from Israel.”
    He admitted that ”The Book of Mormon is not what we believe it to be.”
    He would like to see Mormons and the Church be honest about the findings.
    ”We have to acknowledge that the BOM is a 19th century book…” and he said that ”Joseph Smith was capable of deception in other areas.”
    ”I don’t know if there is a way out of thatproblem ” he confesses.
    I have a link if anyone wants to watch the whole programme, but I don’t know if you can post them on here.
    Even if Amanda has decided to leave us, I hope that there may be people reading this that will see the devistating dillema the Mormon Church is in.
    This could be a terrible blow to some, and will be a painful wake-up call, for others they may like to bury their head in the sand and pretend the DNA proof doesn’t exist.
    Whatever your thoughts on this……I and others are here to help you. (Genuinely).

  309. Brad said

    Maz, please post the link. I think if you post a link that it won’t post immediately, but will run through the site moderator(s) first, but they’ll probably eventually post it.

    I’m not sure Mormons will accept it as valid – this proof has been around for some time, but it’s ignored, just like all the other evidence AGAINST the BOM. I just don’t see how intelligent, logical people get around it. But then again, if you don’t WANT to believe it (true or not), b/c it would mean that your religion is false, I suppose it’s easier NOT to believe it.

    Problem is, refusal to believe something, doesn’t make that something true. I can refuse to believe that 2+2=4, insisting that it’s 5, but when all evidence points to it being 4…

  310. Maz Herman said

    Brad: Here is the DNA link.

  311. Maz Herman said

    Can I post another link? I have just watched this and for a Mormon to watch it and not accept the findings of the Mormons own Anthropologists and Historians is absolutely foolish.
    It shows quite clearly that while the Bible has mountains of Historical, Archaeological, linguistical and geological evidence of its true authenticity, the Book of Mormon has absolutely none. There has been absolutely no Historical, Archaeological, linguistical or geological evidence found to prove that the stories contained in it ever happened.
    If this is the case then the whole of the Mormon Church with its teachings falls.
    If there are Mormons out there who really want to know the truth then they need to see this link.

  312. Amanda said

    Maz,

    Truly, I do not doubt your motives. I have no doubt, however, about the motives of most of those who have written all the –yes, garbage that your pastor is putting into your hands and mind. (No quotes needed for garbage.) It is a poison that makes you nothing but a nuisance to those who are real Mormons. Why?

    1) Because you will swallow any lie put out by those who have declared war on “The Mormons.”

    2)Because no matter what we say to you about the Bible or about our faith, you do not believe it. (Yet you’re such an quick study for those who never “get it right” in print or in mind, heart, or spirit.

    3) Because if you were functioning in this endeavor with the Spirit of the Lord, you would give Mormon resources equal time with otheri-wise Christian “resources.”

    4) Because if you were functioning with the Spirit of the Lord, you would ask Him first, then read the Book of Mormon with an honest, inquiring heart.

    5) Because you would recognize, with the Lord’s help, what is our 11th Article of Faith: “We claim the privilege or worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

    If then, you were to read the other articles of faith, you would see that they are Christian indeed and your sensational worries need not drive your sincere efforts to “help” the Mormons find the Christ they already have in their hearts. It’s similar to the “chicken with its head cut off” syndrome or, more kindly, visually, the “chicken little” syndrome–you may find that you are running around trying to save a world (within a world) that doesn’t NEED saving. There is no way I can convince you of that without your understanding the foundation and framework of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, but I have found that all those who really “fight” against the “kingdom of cults” (one of the major anti reference books), at least the ones I have met, don’t have the sincerity or the integrity or the energy or the courage to do anything but “naysay” based upon what people they trust put into their hands that represents what “they” think we believe and in the context that they are just “sure” we believe it. (You see, it’s not you to whom I am talking–it’s ALL of you who say the exact same things a bazillion times over and never increase your knowledge of truth regarding the Mormons with actual, valid resources, never believe a word we say anyway, and yet keep on annoying us! Can I be any clearer?

    The DNA stuff is just the latest supposed “silver bullet” the anti’s have latched on to to try to dissolve the Church now that Joseph Smith isn’t around to kill anymore. Sorry. It’s fatally flawed, and for you to say it is factually sound is a joke. The Mormons never said that ALL of the Native American Indians came with the tribe of Lehi from Israel in 600 BC to begin with. Other people were led to the land as well. There are many other reasons that the tests are flawed from conception (I went to a “fireside” about it just to be able to spell it out to people like you, and I can’t even remember anything to articulate. It’s a boring subject to me.) I DO know for myself that no test or proclamation made by anyone about the Mormons–even if the National History of the Museum of History or of Arts and Sciences should do so–none of it could shake a testimony given by the Holy Ghost from God nor the continued, day by day, Sunday by Sunday, knowledge that He is with us. And if you had that kind of testimony about your Savior Jesus Christ, you would be able to relate to that statement. I have spoken to no one of the anti-Mormon persuasion with that kind of personal knowledge and certainty of the gift of the Holy Ghost in their hearts–alongside their dislike and hatred of what they don’t understand. (Do you think there’s a connection there?) I HAVE talked with many good mainstream Christians who DO have that kind of testimony in their hearts and minds, but one of the quickest ways to loose that kind of spirit is to contend against the faith of another instead of FOR your own (in Jesus Christ)–especially when it is done in the unrighteous manner I have outlined above.

    As for Satan and Jesus being “brothers” of the spirit, that connection as spiritual brothers lasted only until Satan rebelled and was cast out of heaven. He was one of the great ones, and that is why one of his names is “Lucifer,” or “light bearer.” Many other Christians have this information from the Bible. Why would that be so hard for you, who say you believe the Bible, to understand? The Bible calls him a “son of the morning” in Isaiah (few know what that really means, but the restoration makes it clear), but then I already told you that too. It also calls him an angel–we do too–and so were his followers. We are told in Jude that Satan and his angels “kept not their first estate.” (That is, their spiritual estate or condition in righteousness.) We who are here on earth DID keep ours as the spirit children of our Heavenly Father, and that is why we were blessed with the privilege of coming to the earth for the next step in our progression–to gain bodies that will one day be resurrected, to develop faith, and to receive the testimony of Jesus which will enable us to return to Heaven and our Heavenly Father. If all that you need to know were in the Bible about the plan of salvation so that it all made sense, the Book of Mormon would not be here now, and the Lord would not be calling millions of people to his restored church. Nor would so many “Christian” pastors be holding classes and handing out material against the Mormon religion. They wouldn’t see us as a threat or as competition in any way. We must be doing something right to merit so much opposition!

    PS I don’t believe I ever told you that you use capital letters to shout. You called into question my use of them, and I told you I use them for emphasis since I can’t use bold. (At least not yet.) I was just reminding you that one doesn’t have to use capitals to “sound” like they are shouting. They just keep “dogging” others with untruths or accusations which SHOUT for themselves!) And while I’m cleaning up errors, I never called your pastor a liar–though at first, I was going on guilt by association, I’m sure. I tried to correct such an impression by telling you that he may not be, but many whose knowledge and information he is relying upon and spreading around ARE liars and deceivers. A few of them are sincere–in which case they are just deceived themselves or misinformed or without personal knowledge. (They often quote the same unreliable resources over and over.) All kinds of people are involved in this sordid work, and they all get paid! Are you aware that millions serve in the Church who are not paid in anything but spiritual affirmation? Our missionaries support themselves too. The ones who can’t are helped by others members who make it possible, if the missionary chooses, to serve because of his or her love and commitment to our God and Savior, the God and Savior of the Bible who is, as you said, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent. NO Bishop (in a position similar to your pastor) who serves in the LDS Church, is paid for his 30 hours plus per week of service in addition to carrying on a regular full-time job to feed his wife and family. Why do they do it? Because God has given them an unshakeable testimony of this work through the power of the Holy Ghost. It’s fruits are nothing but good, and IF it weren’t true, I would still choose it as the most effective path to help mankind live according to the Christian principles of Jesus Christ which are found by all in the Bible.

    Amanda

  313. Amanda said

    PS to Maz,

    In order to help you NOT to continue in self-deception, the day you set foot into a Mormon bookstore (there’s one in Apex, NC) or visit DeseretBook.com. and purchase and read books written by valid Mormons, or the day you take and read a Book of Mormon or a pamphlet from a missionary with a name tag from our church instead of just typing “Mormon” on the computer, or the day you spend time on the official Church website, http://www.LDS.org, will be the day I could at least begin to believe your sincerity of purpose. What you do with that knowledge and how you receive it would be the second step that would tell your sincerity.

    Amanda

    PS If you are met with “anger” as a response to your well-meaning attempts to save another’s soul, it is either because that individual is guilty of what you proclaim and accuse or because you have bad information and your approach is naive, uninformed, and insulting. I can assure you it is the latter in this case.

  314. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: As a Christian with a sincere heart to reach the lost for Jesus Christ, and that includes those in cults and religions that deny the true LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ, I implore you to check out the links and check what I and other Christians are saying (and other Mormons who have seen the evidence for themselves) The Mormon Church is in a desperate dilemma, having found NO evidence for the Historical truth or fact of the stories contained in the BOM.
    Your own Anthropologists and historians CANNOT deny that NO HISTTRICAL evidence, NO ARCHAEOLOGY evidence, NO LINGUISTIC evidence, NO GEOLOGICAL evidence, NO ARTIFACTS of any kind, NO HISORICAL RECORDS of any kind have been found that support there was ever a migration of Hebrews from Israel to the North America’s. And DNA evidence has put the ‘nail in the coffin’ of the BOM.

    Mormons can either see the evidence or lack of it for what it reveals or they can bury their head in the sand (or salt) and ignore what is flagrantly shown.

    Amanda: Be like the Bereans who were not afraid to check out what Paul the great APOSTLE taught in Thessolonica….they were called ”MORE NOBLE”.

    Be more noble Amanda, and please check what your ‘Apostles’ have written and are saying today.

  315. Brad said

    Truly, I do not doubt your motives. I have no doubt, however, about the motives of most of those who have written all the –yes, garbage that your pastor is putting into your hands and mind. (No quotes needed for garbage.) It is a poison that makes you nothing but a nuisance to those who are real Mormons.

    Seriously, Amanda, you’re getting less and less credible, the more hard evidence you refuse to acknowledge. It’s virtually at the Jim Jones koolaid stage.

    1) Because you will swallow any lie put out by those who have declared war on “The Mormons.”

    Calm down, nobody has “declared war” on the Mormons. However, there are Christians (myself included) who know that the beliefs are wrong, and aren’t afraid to say so, either to other Christians (so they know) or to Mormons (so they know). There are no “lies” that have been swallowed – unless of course, you’re referring to how you and other Mormons can continue to believe what you do, despite evidence to the contrary, and lack of evidence to support!

    2)Because no matter what we say to you about the Bible or about our faith, you do not believe it. (Yet you’re such an quick study for those who never “get it right” in print or in mind, heart, or spirit.

    It’s not that we don’t believe ANYTHING you say – it depends on what you say. But doctrinally, no, what you believe is wrong, and outside of core doctrine, it just gets freakier and freakier from there.

    3) Because if you were functioning in this endeavor with the Spirit of the Lord, you would give Mormon resources equal time with otheri-wise Christian “resources.”

    More of the same. What we have been debating are the very “Mormon resources” you hold to. Why don’t I lend any creedence to the BOM, or what it says? B/c it was written by a man, who CLAIMED to have divine inspiration, who CLAIMED to translate what he had through various means, yet the evidence just doesn’t back it up. He’s not credible as a person, and the BOM isn’t credible as a whole. I wouldn’t expect you to lend creedence to something that just wasn’t credible, so why should I (or anyone else, for that matter)?

    4) Because if you were functioning with the Spirit of the Lord, you would ask Him first, then read the Book of Mormon with an honest, inquiring heart.

    Why – b/c the BOM says that THAT is the way to do it? See the answer to #3 above – there’s no basis to believe the BOM! I can read the National Enquirer with an “honest, inquiring heart” – doesn’t mean that what’s in there is true. You just don’t see the difference.

    5) Because you would recognize, with the Lord’s help, what is our 11th Article of Faith: “We claim the privilege or worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

    The point? We have freedom of religion in America. Nobody’s trying to take that away from you. But just b/c you have the freedom to worship who you want, how you want, doesn’t make WHO you worship correct. You do understand that, right? And coincidentally, nobody needs any kind of permission from the Mormon church to have “the same privilege” – that is already given by the Constitution.

    If then, you were to read the other articles of faith, you would see that they are Christian indeed and your sensational worries need not drive your sincere efforts to “help” the Mormons find the Christ they already have in their hearts.

    As YOU define Christian, which unfortunately is not correct. The terminology is all different, Amanda. “Godhead”, “salvation”, “Jesus Christ”, etc… – all these terms have VASTLY different meanings in LDS than they do in Christianity. It’s equating apples & oranges – you can’t do it.

    I have found that all those who really “fight” against the “kingdom of cults” (one of the major anti reference books), at least the ones I have met, don’t have the sincerity or the integrity or the energy or the courage to do anything but “naysay” based upon what people they trust put into their hands that represents what “they” think we believe and in the context that they are just “sure” we believe it.

    Amanda, what a small, narrow view you have of the opposition to Mormonism. No doubt instilled in you by your fellow Mormon leaders and friends, but nonetheless small and narrow. It’s funny that you think that everyone (or, at least the people you’ve met) opposed to Mormonism is so opposed b/c they aren’t “sincere”, don’t have “integrity”, “energy” or “courage to do anything but naysay”, and do so not on what THEY know and study, but solely as robots, repeating information verbatim from other sources. Mormons leave no room for the fact that people do study the LDS religion to see what it’s about, and just don’t come to the conclusion that it’s true. This is why the method advocated and instructed in Moroni doesn’t work, b/c it leads people to a false sense that Mormonism is correct, b/c it asks people to believe not on what they’ve studied, but on what they “feel”. It’s totally misleading – look how it’s made you.

    (You see, it’s not you to whom I am talking–it’s ALL of you who say the exact same things a bazillion times over and never increase your knowledge of truth regarding the Mormons with actual, valid resources, never believe a word we say anyway, and yet keep on annoying us! Can I be any clearer?

    Oh, you’re clear – but you have to understand, people don’t agree. Again, you leave NO room for the fact that people DO investigate, and come to alternate conclusions. People do the same thing with Christianity – it’s their right. I don’t agree, but then again, there’s actual EVIDENCE to support Christianity, OTHER than just a feeling, and NONE to go against it. The same CANNOT be said of Mormonism.

    The DNA stuff is just the latest supposed “silver bullet” the anti’s have latched on to to try to dissolve the Church now that Joseph Smith isn’t around to kill anymore. Sorry. It’s fatally flawed, and for you to say it is factually sound is a joke. The Mormons never said that ALL of the Native American Indians came with the tribe of Lehi from Israel in 600 BC to begin with. Other people were led to the land as well. There are many other reasons that the tests are flawed from conception (I went to a “fireside” about it just to be able to spell it out to people like you, and I can’t even remember anything to articulate. It’s a boring subject to me.) I DO know for myself that no test or proclamation made by anyone about the Mormons–even if the National History of the Museum of History or of Arts and Sciences should do so–none of it could shake a testimony given by the Holy Ghost from God nor the continued, day by day, Sunday by Sunday, knowledge that He is with us.

    And here’s where the burying of the head in the sand begins. This is the main issue that most people have with Mormons and Mormonism, is that when presented with hard, factual evidence of things that just don’t line up with what your scriptures say, they are blanketly denied as true, and the tag line of relying on the “witness of the Spirit” is used. It really is sad, Amanda, and really makes Mormons look less intelligent than I’m sure they are.

    And if you had that kind of testimony about your Savior Jesus Christ, you would be able to relate to that statement.

    I have a relationship with Christ, but it is based on what He has done for me, and nothing that any church or any man or group of men has done or said. There’s no “relating” to your statement to be done.

    I have spoken to no one of the anti-Mormon persuasion with that kind of personal knowledge and certainty of the gift of the Holy Ghost in their hearts–alongside their dislike and hatred of what they don’t understand.

    Then you really need to get out of Walnut Cove a little more often, honestly. But whatever suits you, Amanda. I don’t have a dislike for what I don’t understand, b/c I do understand what I’m talking about. I have a feeling of despair for you, b/c you WILL one day meet God, and with your current beliefs, you WILL hear the dreaded words “Depart from me, I never knew you.” And only at that moment, Amanda, will you realize you’ve been terribly misled, and at that moment, it will be too late.

    (Do you think there’s a connection there?)

    No.

    I HAVE talked with many good mainstream Christians who DO have that kind of testimony in their hearts and minds, but one of the quickest ways to loose that kind of spirit is to contend against the faith of another instead of FOR your own (in Jesus Christ)–especially when it is done in the unrighteous manner I have outlined above.

    Sometime contending FOR your faith, means contending AGAINST those who are false and pretend to be genuine, b/c they can mislead others.

    As for Satan and Jesus being “brothers” of the spirit, that connection as spiritual brothers lasted only until Satan rebelled and was cast out of heaven. He was one of the great ones, and that is why one of his names is “Lucifer,” or “light bearer.” Many other Christians have this information from the Bible. Why would that be so hard for you, who say you believe the Bible, to understand?

    I believe Satan was cast out of Heaven, and that he was once an angel, probably the most beautiful. The Bible does make that clear – I’m not arguing that point. But an angel is a CREATED being – Jesus, being part of the Trinity, has been with God since the Beginning (seen throughout the same Bible you say is so clear on other subjects – John 1:1, for example). That being the case, Jesus the Son was not a CREATED being, but has always been an INFINITE being. There is no link to “spirit brothers and sisters” in the Bible, Amanda. You’ve got that one wrong.

    The Bible calls him a “son of the morning” in Isaiah (few know what that really means, but the restoration makes it clear), but then I already told you that too.

    What does the restoration make clear? And what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?

    We who are here on earth DID keep ours as the spirit children of our Heavenly Father, and that is why we were blessed with the privilege of coming to the earth for the next step in our progression–to gain bodies that will one day be resurrected, to develop faith, and to receive the testimony of Jesus which will enable us to return to Heaven and our Heavenly Father.

    Completely Mormon teachings, and absolutely NOT found in the Bible. This is just another difference between Christianity and Mormonism, Amanda.

    If all that you need to know were in the Bible about the plan of salvation so that it all made sense, the Book of Mormon would not be here now

    Is the Koran, or the Watchtower, or the Hindu scripture, necessary for salvation (as it relates to Mormons)? B/c those books are here now too, so under your line of thinking, they must also be necessary, or they wouldn’t be here. If you say they’re not necessary, then that shoots your whole theory of the BOM in the foot. If you say they are necessary, then that shoots the Bible in the foot, b/c of John 14:6. It’s a line of thinking that just isn’t plausible, or logical for that matter. I know, I know, the Mormon leaders teach it, but don’t be like the sheep led blindly to the slaughter.

    Nor would so many “Christian” pastors be holding classes and handing out material against the Mormon religion. They wouldn’t see us as a threat or as competition in any way. We must be doing something right to merit so much opposition!

    What a truly sad way to view things – seriously. Threat? Competition? Do you even realize why other Christians speak out against Mormonism? It’s not b/c it’s competition – it’s because we don’t believe it to be true, and eternal life is at stake. It’s not a game, Amanda, but you trivialize it as such. You’ve really been brainwashed – but I guess that’s what this long in the LDS church has done for you. Better you than me, but still unfortunate for you.

    A few of them are sincere–in which case they are just deceived themselves or misinformed or without personal knowledge.

    That’s right – the ones who are sincere aren’t mean, just ignorant, right? You’re really setting up 2 classes of people, Amanda. The Mormons, and everyone else, as far as intelligence goes. You may not realize that.

    All kinds of people are involved in this sordid work, and they all get paid!

    Funny, my checks haven’t come yet. Should I be turning in my timecard to someone, who will then cut me a check. I wasn’t aware of that. Are there some sponsorships I’m missing out on? Seriously, Amanda, you’re bordering on the insane.

    Are you aware that millions serve in the Church who are not paid in anything but spiritual affirmation?

    Are YOU aware that the same thing happens in Christian churches, the world over? There’s no pedestal you can step on here, Amanda. Your top leaders in SLC get paid, too – in fact, very few actually know how much, b/c it’s kept pretty quiet. Why do you think that is? Could there (gasp) be corruption and excessive pay at the top? Do you KNOW there’s not for sure?

    and IF it weren’t true, I would still choose it as the most effective path to help mankind live according to the Christian principles of Jesus Christ which are found by all in the Bible.

    The most telling statement of all, I believe.

    Seriously, Amanda – why NOT investigate all the claims AGAINST the Mormon church? Have you honestly done so? Have you honestly looked into the DNA evidence, the lack of historical, archaeological evidence? Have you honestly sat down and said “OK, if Mormonism really IS true, then I will find something to support it, after looking openly and objectively at all the evidence”? If not, what are you worried about? If it is true, as you claim, then after your thorough investigation, won’t you still come to the same conclusion, but be better off for now testing all the evidence and claims out there against it? What do you really have to lose?

    You’re so openly critical of those of us who speak out against the Mormon church, saying we all rely on information from other sources, and haven’t investigated ourselves. But have YOU done so? You’re quick to rely on all your Mormon sources – but what if they’re wrong to begin with?

    Just asking…

  316. Brad said

    In order to help you NOT to continue in self-deception, the day you set foot into a Mormon bookstore (there’s one in Apex, NC) or visit DeseretBook.com. and purchase and read books written by valid Mormons, or the day you take and read a Book of Mormon or a pamphlet from a missionary with a name tag from our church instead of just typing “Mormon” on the computer, or the day you spend time on the official Church website, http://www.LDS.org, will be the day I could at least begin to believe your sincerity of purpose. What you do with that knowledge and how you receive it would be the second step that would tell your sincerity.

    Right. “Valid Mormons.” Nice touch. So basically, Maz, what Amanda’s saying is that people who say Mormonism isn’t true aren’t really being sincere, unless they use “approved” Mormon sources on which to base their claims. Of course, if that were to happen, then any interpretations that would be made that didn’t conform to general Mormon thinking would also be decried as foul. And finally, if we DO go to official sources, but don’t accept the knowledge we gain therein as “true”, then we weren’t “really” sincere to begin with. You know, the whole circular argument of Moroni thing.

    If you are met with “anger” as a response to your well-meaning attempts to save another’s soul, it is either because that individual is guilty of what you proclaim and accuse

    But you don’t “really” believe this – you believe what’s next:

    or because you have bad information and your approach is naive, uninformed, and insulting. I can assure you it is the latter in this case.

    As evidenced. So why even bring up the first scenario? It IS a valid scenario, just one you choose to ignore. But see what I said at the end of the last post – if Mormonism really IS true, then your investigation holds no harm for you.

  317. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: Brad has been spot on with his detailed reply of what you have said. But I want to add a personal word and a few thots.
    Firstly, I don’t get paid either for what I do, infact I use my own resources to evangelise….not only the lost, athiests etc., but those lost in a web of deceit spun by false cults and religions.

    The Reason: I care. I love people. I don’t want them to go to hell. It REALLY matters to me.
    Do you care as much about me? Or Brad? Or anyone, even though they may”oppose” you?
    Amanda, you reject what we quote from Mormon sources, but then you believe what Mormon sources tell you…..that sounds like an oxymoron to me.
    Are Mormon sources wrong when we quote them, and right when you quote them?
    Isn’t Truth absolute?

    Satan was Lucifer, the anointed cherub, Ezek: 28 v 14: He was one of the highest created beings in Heaven and his beauty was awesome, yet he was lifted up with pride because of his beauty and sin was found in him. Read ch: 28 v 13-19.

    You said, ”If it weren’t true I would still choose it as the most effective path to help mankind live according to the Christian principles of Jesus Christ which are found in the Bible.”
    You would choose to walk a false and deceptive path? And lead people down that path knowing it was false?
    You were right…about ”the Christian principles of Jesus Christ which are found in the Bible”….because that’s where they have always been, without the BOM.

    But Amanda, would you not check out what we say just to prove, not just to us but to yourself, that it is deffinitely true. You owe it to yourself.
    We are talking about your eternal destiny here. When you reach eternity…if you are wrong (which we know you are , but think about this Amanda) you will NEVER be able to plead ignorance or change your mind, Eternity is forever…not just a long time….forever has no time.

    Doesn’t the Bible say ”Prove ALL things,” not just what you want to prove, but All things, so that you know that you know that you know the truth, the real truth and nothing but the truth.

    And as a footnote: I have never called YOUR erroneous teachings ”garbage”. You are wrong, would be enough to say. I have had this kind of reaction from Jehovahs Witnesses aswell.
    They hate me. (Well, some do, I also have very nice aquaintances in the Watchtower).

    At the end of the day Amanda, remember this, I am telling you all this because I CARE about your eternal destiny. I’m getting to know you, even though you get angry at me for what I show you. I understand what a terrible shock and a devistating thing it could be for you to find out, after all you have been taught and believed, that the BOM and the Mormon Church are false.
    It has been devistating for many Amanda, but they had the courage to face the truth and leave.

    I am asking you to check out what we have said, that’s all….be sure……if you are in the truth then you have nothing to be afraid of…….but if you are not…………..

  318. Amanda said

    Maz,

    “Anger” is not the appropriate word I feel for you–weariness, yes, frustration, yes, impatience, yes, disdain, somewhat, and even pity for your ears that do not hear, and your eyes that do not see, perhaps, but not “anger”. That is your word choice. (Should you, as usual, turn and say, “Well in my opinion, YOU are the one with ears that do not hear and eyes that do not see”, I would simply remind you that I am not attacking YOUR religion and warping and distorting it ignorantly, thinking that my view of your lack of the fullness will lure you away!) As Phyllis said, if I believed the warped view of Mormonism you believe, I too would have whatever pure intention is buried beneath your obnoxious approach to “saving Mormons.” But I would, I hope, do it in a Christian way of which my Savior would approve, the way our missionaries teach and share, and the way our members do–through genuine love and friendship.(Sorry, but you could stand some lessons by example from “Mormons” in those areas.) I would also remind you “Brad’s” of the world that my purpose has never been to convert YOU on this website but more importantly (since it is not the individual who converts, but the word of God and His Spirit), to protest the insulting, false, and naive way you go about a task unworthy of the name “Christian.” Also to invite you to use credible resources in your attacks if you insist upon attacking.

    I am intimately familiar with “The Watchtower” myself and with several Jehovah’s Witnesses in our area. They don’t hate me because I treat them with the respect they deserve for their love of God and commitment to Him, according to their own knowledge. (I truly wish I could say the same for you and Brad.) I even sat through many of their discussions, and I finally gave them some copies of oil paintings of birds I had done as a “peace offering” when I told them we could never reconcile our beliefs about Christ, among other things. We parted friends, and they stop by now and then to drop off an invitation to something or other. They did not come in my house, however, with the intent to feed me the corrupt or misconstrewed information about my church that abounds as you and Brad do–even though they have read some of it, for sure. About your biblical references about Satan: As I said, we may have some additional knowledge about Satan and Jesus, but nothing has been taken away from what the Bible already says. We believe every word.)

    As you quoted from what I said previously, ”If it (the restored gospel and the Church) weren’t true, I would still choose it as the most effective path to help mankind live according to the Christian principles of Jesus Christ which are found in the Bible.”

    And you said: “You would choose to walk a false and deceptive path? And lead people down that path knowing it was false?”

    The key to understanding my statement is that IF you knew me at all, you would know that I would never have joined a “false and deceptive path” to begin with (if I had, I would have discovered that quickly); and if it WERE such, it would not have the POWER to be the most effective and successful path of helping mankind live according to the principles of Jesus Christ because that can only be accomplished THROUGH the guidance of the Savior. It certainly wouldn’t have had the power to hold my loyalty if it weren’t Biblical. Instead of trying to “fix what ain’t broke,” you should be saying, “I’m glad if it works for you,” and I trust that your relationship with Christ is something you don’t take lightly.” Then you should politely walk away and leave me in God’s hands with a prayer. Instead, you continue to “browbeat” and slander and search until you find someone not grounded in faith, scriptural knowledge, and personal revelation that you can pull away from the Church. And this is serving your Lord? Perhaps certain weak individuals must go that route until they have grown enough in the knowledge of the Savior one day to accept Mormonism “for real.”

    Why would I want to settle for something I already had, if it means giving up something even more special that God, in His grace, has given me, something which meets my spiritual needs so much better? Now I have the Bible; I have the Book of Mormon, which is a second witness of Christ; I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and His Church; I have a living prophet and Apostles who direct the Church in this dispensation according to the needs of its members in this day and age; I have the gift of the Holy Ghost; I have brothers and sisters who strengthen me with their own testimonies and miracles. What more do I need? The peace of avoiding people like you, I suppose, who want to “interrupt my rejoicing” and my service to the Lord while they fight against what I know with all my heart to be the Lord’s work. That peace is something I can easily achieve, but I don’t want to leave you not understanding why I find your pursuit of “Mormon-baiting” distasteful, without sincerity, and unChristian. I see from your responses that you cannot comprehend anything I have tried to tell you; but again, I stand clear before God of responsibility for your lack of comprehension.

  319. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: The question at the top of this debate was ”What does Mormonism really teach?”
    Brad and I and other Christians have tried to answer that question from an opposing side, which is what a debate is all about, but ofcourse what we know Mormonism teaches would not be readily accepted by those in the Mormon Church. I think you ought to think twice before joining in a debate that discusses your Churches teachings and beliefs if you are not willing to have them put into question.

  320. Amanda said

    PS to Brad:

    You continue to amaze me now and then with a comment, Brad. I have been reading and “investigating” anti-Mormon literature for 30 years now. I told you; I do my homework, and if you recall what I told you when we first started reading (or anything I have said since then), you know that it was the spirit of anti-Mormon literature that increased my growing testimony of the Church in the beginning. I could tell immediately it was of evil and not of God, just from the limited exposure I had then had with “genuine” Mormons. Back then, the evil spirit of the anti-literature was just more obvious to someone who had already prayed that God would reveal His truth to me about the work. People like the Tanners brought it to a new low with “subtlety,” but the Divine answer is always the same.

    In case you and Maz didn’t know, I am 100% sure of the truthfulness of this work. (I have it upon Divine authority.) All that you have said has been thorougly checked out and found wanting by this child of God. I also read a 50 page article on the DNA evidence, and as I said, it’s premise is flawed to begin with. I would and could give you a lot more information about that, but it is neither truth, fairness, or objectivity in which you are interested. It was a noble effort, however, for an unnoble cause.

  321. John said

    Look who’s talking.
    As one who is studying physics, namely Quantum Physics, I’m surprised that you still deny the possibility of other worlds containing life, aside from thinking that the universe is only about 6,000 years old.
    Keep studying.

  322. John said

    The above post was for you, Mrs Herman.

  323. Maz Herman said

    John: SETI hasn’t found anything yet.

  324. Amanda said

    Response to #319:

    Oops! I really didn’t know this was supposed to be a “debate.” I just thought Brad made it that way from the beginning. I thought it was supposed to be a website in the pursuit of truth about the actual faithand teaching of the Mormons? And who better to weigh in than a Mormon of faith? My beliefs are not debatable as far as I’m concerned, but if you WERE going to engage in a debate worthy of the name, wouldn’t you be objective in your research used in the debate? Wouldn’t you want to get your “facts” straight? (Or were those just the rules of debate when I was in college?) Why should debates of the body of religion be any different?

    Slander is slander whatever the name.

  325. Amanda said

    PS And I thought it would be nice if there were two sides to this exposition on Mormonism. Good debators play fair.

  326. Maz Herman said

    Amanda: I think I have got my facts straight……..My God, and my Savior is nothing like the ones your Book of Mormon teaches, and to be honest I am glad, I would not want to live forever having spirit babies for a husband who was also a god on the same level as Elohim who Mormons teach was once a man just like we were. My God is Sovereign, Supreme, and forever will be the Only True God. And I look forward to eternity with my wonderful Savior Jesus Christ.

  327. John said

    Not all alien life comes from beyond the stars,Mrs Herman.
    Keep studying those Quantum Physics.
    And as for SETI, what makes you think that higher intelligence would waste their time contacting humanity.What would we have to offer, save slave labor,test subjects, or comic relief? In this age, we still have a lot of people who adhere to concepts like racism, sexism, and Ken Ham’s young earth “sciences”[grin].
    Keep studying.

  328. Anonymous said

    John: According to all the ”alien encounters” people seem to have, the so-called aliens from outer space seem fairly interested in us (that’s if you believe that!).

  329. Maz said

    That last post was me.

  330. Maz said

    Getting back to the subject in hand, I have seen a shocking expose of the Mormon Church in America. I know it’s been around for a while but I can’t remember seeing it before.
    The 2 films about The God Makers.
    No doubt Amanda will say this is the extreme in ”garbage”.
    It is certainly the most shocking of exposes about the Mormon Church and truly hard to believe that this sort of thing goes on. I have a link if anyone is interested, I would not put into print here what I heard and saw.

    And maybe Amanda can say something about the Blood Atonement.
    Apparently, according to Mormon teaching, Jesus blood did not atone for ALL sin.
    Any Mormon sinning a sin that Jesus did not shed his blood for must have his own blood shed.
    Is this still taught today?
    Apparently it is.
    Even within the last 30 years there has been deaths within the Mormon community that have been attributed to this barbaric teaching.
    The BIBLE says in 1 John 1 v 7, ”The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from ALL SIN.”
    It is truly blasphemous to say that Jesus did not pay the full price for all sin.

  331. John said

    As I said Mrs. Herman, “test subjects”.
    Keep studying.

  332. Maz said

    I will John don’t you worry.

  333. John said

    Worry? Who’s worried?[grin]
    I don’t care if you’re dumb as a post.
    It’s all up to you.

  334. Amanda said

    Maz,

    You illustrate my point beautifully–or sadly–that you are willing to swallow any type of Kool-Aid (Jim Jones reference) an anti-Mormon has to offer while being too apathetic to fairness to look at our side objectively. You would do well to “master” the Savior’s atonement (Blood atonement, indeed! You and I both know that His is the only blood that counts.)Why do you insist on dredging up what is definitely NOT doctrine. Once more, if it is not in our scriptures, which, like the Bible, came through direct revelation through a living prophet, we do not hold to it, believe it, or practice it. I have a book on Blood Atonement too). Mormons would never have to even write such books if people didn’t create their own versions of what the early Mormons believed based upon a few obscure statements that we don’t even know were recorded properly. If they conflict with our scripture, they are NOT doctrine, and in my 30 years in the Church, that subject has never even been raised by anyone other than an anti-Mormon trying to dig up dirt to prove the Church cannot be what it claims to be. (We’d rather leave the warped claims or misinterpretation categories to the people with whom you associate since you seem to have all the time in the world to investigate such claims.)

    As for the 2 Godmaker films….They were put out by the Baptists when they started fearing that their members were going into the Mormon Church in droves. (Didn’t happen in droves exactly, of course, but I had one Baptist preacher in Wake Forest ask me to help him conduct a survey of all the Mormons in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area who “defected” from the Baptist Church to the LDS Church and find out why they left; and there were a gracious plenty. (We responded in a sociable manner and conducted the survey because we are also “our neighbor’s keeper.”) If you’re interested, the answers were largely, “the witness of the Holy Ghost” and “the good spirit and fulness of doctrine of the LDS Church.”

    The National Council of Christians and Jews studied “The God Makers” film for 3 months (they were called upon to restore peace in Mesa, Arizona between the Mormons and the Baptists (and others influenced by the Baptists), and came up with results from the study. They called the film “religious pornography”–better than “garbage”, don’t you think? And really, Maz, don’t you think that what they portrayed us as believing IS garbage? Every time you bring back these statements to me, I know you’ve been to the “Anti” dumpster!

    There were NO murders of Mormons to fulfill the Blood Atonement requirement you speak of. It wasn’t, as I said, a doctrine, but a misunderstanding from one statement which basically meant–to me, anyway….if I murder someone by my own hand,and I claim to be repentant and want God’s grace and forgiveness, I should be willing to give my own life to show full remorse since that is all I can do in an attempt myself to make restitution. I CANNOT restore the life I took; nor can I redeem myself, but if I am truly repentant, Jesus’ sacrifice will cover my sin. With that in mind, if I am repentent, like King David was when he had Uriah killed, of course, I can be forgiven. (And David didn’t even lift his own hand to shed Uriah’s blood in that case.) No one would be entitled to take a guilty person’s life outside of the law, a principle which Mormons have always acknowledged, in Article of Faith #12: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” Joseph Smith wrote these Articles of Faith for a newspaper editor of his day who had inquired as to our beliefs. They were just a valid and upheld by Church membership then as they are today. Can I please invite you into our current century to talk about my religion? Even if the rumors of old which led to the expulsion and murder of Latter-day Saints in the 1800’s ARE more interesting? I didn’t think so.

    My God is also Sovereign, Supreme, and Eternal, as is the God of all scripture, both BOM and the Bible. Where were you when I told you and your buddies that we DO NOT believe we will ever be equal to our Father in Heaven nor rise above Him in glory as was Satan’s goal. Does anything I say matter, or are your ears and eyes still obstructed? We are, nevertheless, the spirit children of God the Father (read those Bible scriptures I gave you on this topic the first time, please), and it should not be unthinkable that He wants us to share not only in His nature since we are made in His image but in what He does and where He does it–eternally.

    Again, I am flabbergasted at how quickly you lapped up that religious pornography and judged me and my faith as if I believed it! Does your Bible, like mine, not say “with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again?” (Matt. 7:1)

    Again, please see what I said about sincerity in Post #312. You’re “disease” (the “playing God” epidemic) is apparently getting worse! There is definitely a spirit which comes to play as you partake of this kind of poison. Do you feel it? I do.

    About what you and John are discussing: From latter-day scripture I know that one reason Jesus was sent to this earth is because it was the only earth with people inhabiting it wicked enough to kill their God.” The same spirit that is whispering lies mixed with truth in your ears today has been doing so to stir up contention for millenium. He’s quite good at his job–are you? Ask yourself: “What is my job as a Christian?” and “What is the best way for me to go about it?” The answer to part two of that question would NOT be “half-cocked” and with an ear glued to the door of contention.

  335. Maz said

    Amanda:
    Can you as a Mormon look at the other side objectively? I really don’t think so when I see the attitude you have towards me.
    O.K. You do not like what I am bringing up, I understand that, you feel I am attacking you and your Church, you think that all I want to do is shovel dirt………..wrong!
    Amanda, I don’t think that I have heard you once tell me that you care about my eternal destiny, that you are trying to help me see the truth,(whether I want it or not). You see me as the ”enemy”; of the ”anti” lobby, but with all that you say to me, I STILL want you to know the Truth which is found ONLY in the Bible. I still CARE enough for you to somehow reach you with the Truth in Jesus alone. I care about you Amanda, can you say that about me?

    We both have a bias. I lean towards Gods Truth as written by many inspired men of God over thousands of years of earths history, you lean towards a book written by one man, a book that is proved to have no evidence whatsoever of its histrical accuracy or that anything written in it ever happened in America. Amanda, if you have one scrap of archaeological evidence, a pot, a tool, any pictures of such finds, any of the thousands of swords used in the wars spoken of, any skeletal remains, any remains of cities, temples, homes, any records in stone, papyrus, or gold, ANY evidence whatsoever….please show it to me.
    The Bible has mountains of evidence to prove what it says is true, and places spoken of in the Bible are still in the Middle East to this day, you can see signs to Jericho, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and so many others, where are the names of those places on the so-called map of America in the BOM?
    There are none.

    Yes, Jesus blood is all we need to have our sins forgiven. We need not give our lives sacrificially (in death) for our sins, only to surrender our lives in service to our Wonderful Savior.
    Mormons did kill Mormons, it doesn’t matter how long ago, it was a devilish thing and it was Mormons that did it. Have they ever confessed this and repented?

    Amanda, do you believe that the blood of Jesus Christ, Gods Son cleanses us from ALL sin?”
    That no other blood need ever be shed?

    I will keep praying….and also our Church does too.

  336. Amanda said

    Hello, Maz,

    I fully admit that it is hard for me to look at your side objectively because there is absolutely nothing objective about your side to look at! My attitude toward you is gounded strictly in what you have given me in print and in experience with others just like you who say the exact same things and refuse to seriously and objectively investigate my religion yet never change their “mantra” because they are getting their information from severely flawed sources which they trust more than God. I have spoken only from my heart to you.

    You say you don’t think you have heard me once tell you that I care about your eternal destiny or that I am trying to help you see the truth, yet I don’t think you have heard or even read my posts and responded properly to the points I have made–even once. Have you heard the statement, “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care?” Well, I would care more if you knew more— knew anything that was true, truth be told!

    For instance, I have told you repeatedly that I grew up with the Bible and truly discovered it through the Holy Ghost when I began investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I still have the Bible and read it all the time. You want me to find my truth ONLY in the Bible ONLY because you don’t know that the same truths, magnified, verified, and in certain cases and clarified, are in the Book of Mormon. If you knew the truths that had been restored in other Latter-day scripture and knew beyond doubting that they came from God, you would be clamoring to get me to read it as I am you, and you would quickly place it beside your Bible to give you even more information about the God you worship.

    You have one bias, the Bible, but I have two–the Bible AND the Book of Mormon, which was written by ancient individual apostles and prophets just as the Bible was–not by one man, as you said. The Book of Mormon was written by different prophets beginning in 600 BC through four generations after Christ was resurrected. There have even been writing tests to determine if it could have been written by one man. The results established that it was written by different authors, each with their own writing style. (Mormons did not do the testing.) Of course, you wouldn’t be aware of any such study, would you? And your statement that “it (has) proved to have no evidence whatsoever of its historical accuracy or that anything written in it ever happened in America” just proves who you’ve been “hanging with”–people ignorant of the on-going research and discoveries that have been made and new data that is looking extremely accurate regarding the geographical and historical information in the Book. (Just because our enemies want it to be the way you stated doesn’t make it so.) At least the DNA stuff was a fairly new approach; the other stuff you’ve come up with was around when Joseph Smith was alive, has barely changed at all, and the success of the work has only escalated through the years. I have books of information, pictures of areas where it is believed that the Book of Mormon people lived according to unique discriptions in the BOM along with much archaeological evidence dating back to the times of both the Jaredites and the Nephites, the two major groups recorded in the Book of Mormon. Since Mormon archaeologists didn’t make the discoveries, they are called “Olmec” and different names. The location of some of the cities are very similar to those laid out in the Book of Mormon. The are also both real and apostate traditions liking back to some of the original beliefs which were of God that have been found in art work–such as the dark skinned tribes and the white skinned tribes fighting. There are the oral traditions of the visit of the “white God” which set the Native Americans up for when Cortez came and his people ended up slaughtering and abusing many of the Indians because they welcomed what they thought was the white God without arms. There have been evidences that help establish the likelihood of gold plates being used for scripture, of cement, of horses (skeletal remains) of Hebraisms in the writing of the BOM, of chiasmus, an ancient Israelite form of poetry, and paralellisms, found in both The Book of Mormon and the Bible, as well as other verifications of things mentioned in the Book of Mormon, but you really wouldn’t know what to do with that kind of “evidence”, would you? Would you take it seriously enough to look into it? There are evidences in ALL of the areas you have mentioned even though enough time has not passed nor enough work done and money spent to prove it all conclusively–that is, yet. I expect it will not be long before that happens. Having passed judgment, there doesn’t seem room in your heart for real facts and evidences, just the words of the anti’s–which means you are unprepared to seriously learn truth about the work.

    If I said I would not even read the Bible unless you showed me the Ark of the Covenant, wouldn’t you think I was daft? Is that how you gained your testimony of the Bible? If I said I wouldn’t believe that Jesus was resurrected unless you showed me DNA from the exact tomb he was supposedly buried in, and I demanded a photograph of Him rising from the dead, wouldn’t you agree that I was not grounded in the kind of faith that would bring the testimony of Jesus? You folks live by a double standard. You speak of hermeneutics as if they were more important that the witness of the Third Member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost; the Bible calls this “putting your faith in the arm of flesh” and “denying the power of God.” You are self-serving in your investigations of Mormonism and as such, how can I take you seriously?. The Bible has been around for eons, and millions of dollars have gone into research. Give it some time, and the BOM will have its day as well. It already has a major start in the evidences dug up in Central America. Meanwhile, our Heavely Father is too anxious for all of his children to have His message in the latter days before the return of His Son to allow us to rely upon this dinosauric approach to “proving” His words through archaeology. In Moroni 10: 3-5, He says through the Prophet Moroni:

    “Behold, I would exort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

    And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, ther Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

    In regards to my concern for your eternal soul, Maz, I have thoroughly warned you of your misguided approach to condemning a religion with oodles of false evidence which seems to enable you have chosen to play the “God of judgement,” and yet you persist, not caring if you are right or wrong–not even entertaining the thought that you and all of your friends even COULD be wrong.

    But…to correct another falsehood, I will say that I, and every other Mormon, agree with you that “Jesus’ blood is all we need to have our sins forgiven” –IF we repent of the sins we are aware of. Murder is the most grievious sin in the eyes of God, and while we can be forgiven through repentance, our eternal reward will not be to dwell in the presence of God and His Son eternally IF we did it gratuitously after we received the testimony of Jesus and knew His abhorrance and commandments NOT to shed the blood of our brothers and sisters–whether we were to give up our own lives through just laws or not.

    Mormons did NOT kill Mormons (why should they repent of something they didn’t do?), but for you to continue to lie about this and other things is the same as your killing an innocent man’s (in this case, Church’s) reputation. In the Bible, we are told that we will account for “every idle word” in the day of judgment, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36-37) You and many others will not be held guiltless unless you repent of bearing false witness against your neighbors now that you have been warned.

    AND… YES, WE BELIEVE THAT THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, GOD’S SON, CLEANSES US FROM ALL SIN EXCEPT THAT WHICH GOD PROCLAIMED–BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST. NO OTHER BLOOD NEED EVER BE SHED.

    I agree that you should keep praying…for the standing of all who bear false witness before the God of truth and man. We are commanded by God to pray for our enemies–especially the ones clueless about the supposed “truths” they disperse, and so I do pray for you. I pray more, however, for the innocents whose minds you are, may, or will pollute.

  337. Amanda said

    PS to Maz,

    I want you to know that I do not hold you responsible for receiving or for being curious about the information you have been given about Mormons” or for even believing it. Such a person is not responsible for the actions of those around her. I do hold you responsible for not caring about its accuracy when I have put up a warning flag and for not being willing to look at objective, authoritative information from the Church itself, The Book of Mormon, or from Mormons themselves. I hold you responsible for “accusing” me of believing information you have received instead of “asking” me if I believe that information, and also for not believing my responses, as if I would make them up.

    Believe me, I will not lose sleep over it, and I have prayed that your heart will be softened throughout our correspondence, but I have been disappointed with your lack of interactive responses to anything I have told you. It’s a two-way street we should be walking down, not a slip and slide! 🙂

  338. Maz said

    Hallo Amanda,
    When I reply to you, I respond in the best way I know how altho you put a lot in your posts and it’s difficult to answer everything, but I try…..to say ”I don’t think you have heard or even read my posts and responded properly to the points I have made…even once” is at best inaccurate and at worst not true.
    I put as much effort into answering your posts as you probably do. Can we agree that we are both sincere in our motives even though we do not like each others response sometimes.
    Yes, I have spoken only from heart too Amanda…and I seek guidance from the Holy Spirit…for spiritual truth can only come through Him. Jesus said, ”When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come”. This was to John aswell as to us, and John did see a vision of thins to come in the Revelation.

    Amanda, if you ”fully admit it is hard for me to look at your side objectively..” then how can you ask me to do the same? We both look at things differently, so we are always going to be biased, even the way we look at the evidence.

    As far as the Book of Mormon goes, if Joseph Smith did not write it all himself, he also had followers who may have written some of it. I notice that there were a lot of the same family involved with it. In that case the research into many authrs would still be valid.

    You say that you have evidence for the BOM. What has the research shown? What are the discoveries? Can I get hold of a book that will show me these? But you say at the end that ”not enough work done” among other things ”to prove it all conclusively”.
    So the evidence you say the Mormons have has not been proved conclusive?

    You speak of evidence of the Ark of the Covenant and the Resurrection of Jesus, actually there is evidence of His resurrection, and it would stand up in a court of law. But there are things that have not been found, I agree with that, but there (as I said before, did you not read that bit?) is mountainous evidence for the Bible, hundreds of scriptures, archaeology proving the OT stories, recors written in stone thousands of years ago, ruins of the walls of Jericho were found recently, and many others proofs of the reliability of the Bible.

    Where and what are the ”evidences dug up in Central America?”
    You did tell me to ask you and not find anti-Mormon stuff.

    I believe my judgment is based on the evidence I have at hand, but I am willing to look into any evidence if it can CONCLUSIVELY prove your BOM to be true. Such evidence I honestly do not think will be forthcoming.

    OK Amanda, I will desist from going to the ”Anti-dumpster”, as far as the claims about polygamy, adultery, incest, sexual immorality and murder is concerned. To be honest I found this almost unbelievable, that those who call themselves Christian could be a part of anything so evil. I leave judgment to God on those issues. He knows.

    So you would like me to ask you questions, and I am willing to do that and promise to read every word of your answers. How can I reply to you without doing that?
    By the way, murder is not ”the most grievous sin in the eyes of God” as you said.
    Idolatry is. And there is a more grievous sin than that which cannot be forgiven, that of Blaspheme against the Holy Spirit (and you agreed with this at the end of your post) and we see an example of this in Acts Ch:5 v 1-11, with Ananias and Sapphira.

    Can I ask you Amanda: Are you born again of the Spirit of God?
    Have you been renewed and regenerated by the Holy Spirit?
    And does Christ dwell in you?

    In Titus 3 v 5 we read, ”Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regenration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He shed upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
    2 Cor: 13 v 5: says, ”Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith, prove yourselves, know you not yourselves how Jesus Christ is IN YOU, unless you are discredited.”
    Col: 1 v 27: ”To whom God would make known what is the riches of His glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is CHRIST IN YOU the Hope of Glory”.
    Gal: 2 v 20: ”I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

    Question: Where do you believe you will go when you die? There is only one place for a believer in Jesus Christ….in John 14 v 1-6 Jesus says that he is going to prepare a place for us…that He would come again and receive us to Himself, so that where He is we shall be also, He told them how to get there, ”I am the WAY, the Truth and the Life…”
    There is only one destiny for a believer and Jesus is the only Way.

    I shall leave this for you to respond to.(-:

  339. Brad said

    Maz,

    As much fun as it is to debate with Amanda, short of God intervening and changing her heart, she won’t be convinced. I’m not saying stop debating with her, only to keep this in the back of your mind when talking with her. Unbelief is unbelief, whether it’s Mormon, Muslim or atheist. I always pray for God to break through, b/c we can’t.

    Just remember that. She’s an older lady, set in her ways, who has been exposed to these false teachings for too long, so conversion, statistically speaking, is probably not going to happen. That’s why only God can do it. The great thing about what we believe, Maz, is that WE are not held responsible for HER actions. If the truth is presented, and questions raised (as they have been), then it is up to HER to do with that information what she will.

    Also, remember this, with their concept of hell, the need to be concerned about those who don’t believe correctly is mitigated, thus there is no real pressing intimacy as in Christianity to convert, b/c the penalty isn’t there. We’re not apostate Mormons, so hell isn’t in our field of view, in their beliefs.

  340. Maz said

    Brad: Thanks for your advice, but being an older lady myself I understand everything that you have said, and I do know that only God by His Holy Spirit can break through Amanda’s her heart and spirit.
    I never give up with people, they need to know the truth, even if they think they have it.
    Hell is a very real and terrible place and I do not want anyone to go there.
    I’v had many a discussion with Jehovah’s Witnesses who believe they are ”in the Truth”, I have studied them more than anything. I have not studied Mormons as much but I still understand where they are coming from. Years of indoctrination is hard to break. Their whole lives are their Church and ofcourse if all their family and all their friends are involved and they have no real life ”outside” of Mormon thinking then leaving it is a devistating thing.
    Even to think that they may be wrong is a very fearful and painful thing.
    Amanda may be a staunch Mormon, but I am as staunch in my belief in Jesus Christ and His power to save to the uttermost…..He loves her so much….and His love dwells in me.
    I thank God for my salvation and the beautiful relationship I have with my Lord, He is everything to me. I want others to know Him that way too.
    Again Brad, I appreciate what you have said.

  341. Amanda said

    Brad: “Unbelief is unbelief, whether it’s Mormon, Muslim or atheist.”

    Dear Maz and Brad,

    In fact, I can, after my rest, devotionals and prayers, smile at the sweetness of the idea of you two today and your concern for my beliefs. You have indeed put a hunk of yourselves into all this. I think Brad’s words above capture an important thought we must all look at.

    In my case, you are not dealing with unbelief in God; you are bdealing with such a strong faith (not must belief) in God–yes, the God of the Bible, and what He has taught me through the Holy Ghost that there is no room for doubt. This will always be the case, but it was as true the day after I received my answer from Him about the Church and was born of the Spirit (even two weeks before my baptism at age 25) as it is today. I believe in my Savior and He is in my heart, Maz, THROUGH His precious gift of the Holy Ghost as well as through the “words of life” I have treasured up in my heart. And Maz, Brad and I have been through much of my life history, and I feel that was water on a stubborn duck’s back. I do not want to repeat the investment of time for nothing, and yet if you had a sincere question about my faith, I would, even now, give you all the time I possibly could. My concern is that none of the questions I have been asked on this blog have been sincere. How do I know? Because my answers are thrown back in my face and there is total “unbelief” on the other side–even when I have provided exegeses of Bibloe scripture. Again, the problem is that you will never learn about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon through debating Bible scriptures; you can only learn about it through prayerfully reading the Book of Mormon.

    Maz, you couldn’t process the evidence that has been conclusively, in my opinion, found regarding the Book of Mormon because you don’t know enough about the Book and what it says, nor the many things that have already been debunked regarding attempts to falsify it. There is internal as well as external evidence; however, I will not bother you with it because NO ONE has ever “proved” either the Bible or the Resurrection to the point of creating faith. Isn’t Thomas’s lesson still valid today? Blessed are those who believe who haven’t seen! God has made it so we don’t, mustn’t have absolute evidence in these important issues because then we COULDN’T develop faith. We would have absolute knowledge.

    I agree with you that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is the most grievious sin. That can land us in Outer Darkness with Satan and his angels. Murder can, at least, be forgiven, but the eternal reward will not be the same, as I mentioned, in my belief. I’m glad you do seek help from the Spirit. I do too, but you know that the Spirit can only work when our spirit is in submission to the will and knowledge of God. This is also where we run into trouble. When you have judgments you are acting and praying upon that are not accurate, you will not receive the answers you so badly want.

    I have a talk that I have transcribed that will tell you more about my faith than anything that has or will ever be said on this blog. I hope you will read it. (I’ll get it on by tomorrow, hopefully.) It’s long, I’m afraid, but well worth reading all the way through. After that, if you have questions, feel free to ask.

    Thanks for your posts,

    Amanda

  342. Amanda said

    PS I may be “older” (56), but the bone density tests show I have the bones of a 30 year old. A lot of life still left here, Brad. 🙂 My teenage boys would tell you I have the mind of a kindergarten teacher–which I do and I was!

    Take care.

  343. Maz said

    Amanda: I don’t know how old my bones are but I feel pretty young inside and I’m pretty active for my age…..a bit older than you.
    My ”boys” are in their thirties!

    You said, ”My concern is that none of the questions I have been asked on this blog have been sincere. Because my answers are thrown back in my face and there is total ”unbelief” on the other side, even when I have provided exegese of Bible scripture”.
    Amanda, now who is judging? You are completely wrong about my motives….how many times have I told you, that I am doing this because I care about you and want you to know the truth. You judge me only because I will not believe the deceit that you have so long accepted as truth, you twist scripture or misinterpret it to fit Mormon theology.
    I do not throw it back in your face, I reject it on the grounds of what the Bible teaches from OT to NT.
    I have said this before, but I guess I will have to repeat it, that I have read enough and know enough about the BOM to know that it is not in harmony with Scripture. I cannot believe it because you want me to, I have to judge everything by what the Bible says, and it does not agree with the BOM.

    You accused me of not answering or responding to you in another post and now you are doing the same . I asked you what the evidence was that you said you had (inconclusive as it is) for the historical truth of the BOM. I would have thought you would have given it to me as this surely would have proved the BOM to be true, but you have not. If I had done that to you what conclusion would you come to Amanda? That I really didn’t have any?

    Sin: It is all forgivable (except for the one mentioned earlier) and that forgiveness is not partial. ALL SIN, whatever it is, receives the same forgiveness, and all those forgiven receive the same gift of eternal life. There are no variations as far as salvation is concerned, only with what we did as a Christian shall we receive differing rewards in Heaven.

    Again, my judgment depends on what the Word tells me and the Holy Spirit shows me, I make absolutely no judgment apart from Scripture. The Bible is our plumline, nothing else.

    By the way Amanda, though you probably thought I wouldn’t, but I went onto your LDS website, and I did not get very far before I saw error (as judged by what I know the BIble teaches).
    And I wondered what the little question marks were for…is it because they aren’t sure about what they are saying? I just wonder what they are leaving out.
    It speaks about the ”spirit world”, where is that? The Bible speaks of Heaven and earth, and Hell made for the devil and his angels. I find no ”spirit world” in the Bible apart from these places.

    And just one last question that I have wanted to ask you Amanda, why do the Mormans have Satanic symbols on their temples? I have seen the inverted pentagram …..the sign of Satan. Will you respond with an answer?

    And will you respond with the evidence you told me you had?

  344. Maz said

    The 1996 Smithsonian Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon
    1. The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.
    2. The physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and northeastern Asia. Archeological evidence indicates that the ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World – probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age – in a continuing series of small migration beginning from about 25,000 to 35,000 years ago.

    3. Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach this continent from the East were the Norsemen who briefly visited the northeastern part of North America around A.D. 1000 and then settled in Greenland. There is nothing to show that they reached Mexico or Central America.

    4. One of the main lines of evidence supporting the scientific finding that contacts with the Old World, if indeed they occurred at all, were of very little significance for the development of American Indian civilizations, is the fact that none of the principal Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the dog) occurred in the New World in pre-Columbian times. American Indians had no wheat, barley, oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs, chickens, horses, donkeys, camels before 1492. (Camels and horses were in the Americas, along with the bison, mammoth, and mastodon, but all these animals became extinct around 10,000 B.C. at the time when the early big game hunters spread across the Americas.)

    5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before 1492 (except for the occasional use of unsmelted meteoric iron). Native copper was worked in various locations in pre-Columbian times, but true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region, where its occurrence in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver, copper, and their alloys, but not iron.

    Amanda, this is concerning the evidence of the reliable truth of the Book of Mormon.

    MAZ

  345. Brad said

    You folks live by a double standard. You speak of hermeneutics as if they were more important that the witness of the Third Member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost; the Bible calls this “putting your faith in the arm of flesh” and “denying the power of God.”

    Not more important, Amanda. I’ve never said that people can’t feel leadings from the Holy Spirit. That happens all the time. However, people also have other “feelings” that they get as well, that may not be of the Holy Spirit. This also happens all the time. How do you tell the difference – how do you know whether what you “feel” is of God, or not of God? There has to be an objective “wall” upon which to place those feelings, to see if they measure up. What is that “wall”? It’s the Word of God – the Bible. OK, so how do we know what the Bible is really saying? Different people can use different portions to mean different things, simply by taking them out of context, or applying them in ways they weren’t meant to be applied, can’t they? I’ve seen it done many times, I’m sure you have to. So how then, do we know, that we have properly interpreted the Bible? We know this through applying proper hermeneutics. Yes, I know this is something that you are so quick to dismiss, and rely solely on the “Spirit”, but if you’re not testing what you hear and feel, to make SURE that it stands up in light of what the Bible actually says, then it could be misleading. The point I (and Maz) are making, is that Mormons have misinterpreted the Bible, thus the feeling they purport to have from the Spirit, when checked against the Bible, doesn’t measure up. THAT’S what makes a proper hermeneutical reading of the Bible so very important.

    My concern is that none of the questions I have been asked on this blog have been sincere. How do I know? Because my answers are thrown back in my face and there is total “unbelief” on the other side–even when I have provided exegeses of Bibloe scripture.

    The questions have been sincere, in that they are asked with the hope that you will truly begin to understand the differences between Mormonism and Christianity, and understand that Mormonism is not of God, but of man. You attribute the fact that we don’t AGREE with your answers to us not being sincere – a link you have mistakenly made throughout the course of our talks. People can disagree, yet still be sincere. We do not “believe” what you say, not that we don’t believe that you actually believe it, but we don’t believe it to be correct. We also don’t believe the interpretations used by Mormons, in their “exegesis” of the Bible, b/c the interpretations don’t line up when viewed with Scripture as a whole. There will never be agreement on that.

    I may be “older” (56), but the bone density tests show I have the bones of a 30 year old.

    Based upon all the discussions we’ve had, Amanda, I don’t think your bones are the only thing that is dense…

  346. Anonymous said

    Brad…. Easy dude… Now you’re acting like Fred and Willie…. Don’t stoop to such childishness man…. Ephesians 4:29

  347. Brad said

    Anon (who ever you are),

    Seriously, if you think this statement I made (regarding my insinuation that her mind is too dense with Mormonism for this to be even getting through to her) puts me in the class of Fred & Willie, more power to you. Don’t know how long you’ve been reading anything back and forth between myself and Amanda (it’s been almost a year), but one comment does not a Willie make.

  348. Anonymous said

    Maybe so, but one sin does a sinner make. And yes I am one too but I do try to resist the temptation to consider myself better than others. Matthew 5:22 and Philippians 2:3 (especially the last half) Do these not apply to you too?

  349. Fred said

    Anonymous, I resent the Brad comparison. Any more of this and I’ll have to revise the Christmas card list.

    Fred

  350. F. L. A. said

    MRS. HERMAN, I AM CONFUSED ABOUT YOUR POST #344 IN REGARDS TO THE INFORMATION THAT YOU CHOSE TO USE IN SUPPORT OF YOUR ARGUMENT AGAINST MORMONISM, NAMELY POINTS #2 AND #4. HOW CAN A YOUNG EARTHER EVEN CONSIDER SUCH SECULAR SCIENCE RELEVANT CONSIDERING THAT YOU DON’T EVEN BELIEVE THE UNIVERSE TO BE BUT 6,000 YEARS OLD? WOULD THIS NOT RENDER ALLLLLLL OF THE INFORMATION FROM YOUR SECULAR SCIENCE SOURCE TO BE IN ERROR? IT WOULD, IF YOU WERE FAITHFUL TO YOUR THEOLOGICAL VIEWS.

    YOU DID NOT THINK THIS THROUGH VERY WELL BEFOREHAND, THE SAME MISTAKE STU MADE WHEN HE MENTIONED THE DIFFERENT WORLD WIDE CULTURAL FLOOD MYTHS IN THE “MORMON MIRAGE” SITE.
    IS THERE NOTHING IN YOUR YOUNG EARTH PSEUDO-SCIENCE WEBSITES THAT YOU CAN USE TO SUPPORT YOUR ARGUMENT?
    GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

  351. Maz said

    F.L.A. This was not written by Christian young earthers, it was written by the Smithsonian Institute, yet it does not change the fact that there is no physical evidence of the historical truth of the Book of Mormon.

  352. Brad said

    Maybe so, but one sin does a sinner make. And yes I am one too but I do try to resist the temptation to consider myself better than others. Matthew 5:22 and Philippians 2:3 (especially the last half) Do these not apply to you too?

    Anon,

    At some point, maybe use your real name – sometimes easier to distinguish between people.

    At no point have I said I’m not a sinner – I consider myself one, just like everyone else. At what point do you think I’ve said I’m “better” than Amanda, you, or anyone else? What I have said, is that I’m saved, and I don’t believe that Mormons are, according to what the Bible says. Period. I don’t back down from that, now or ever; if I did, it would mean that I am watering down the gospel.

    Absolutely those verses apply to me, as much as they apply to anyone else. If I didn’t care for the eternal state of Amanda’s soul, I wouldn’t be saying anything further, b/c it wouldn’t matter to me what happened. However, I do (as does Maz); therefore, we continue to dialogue.

    Again, I’m not sure how long you’ve been around the Mormonism links, but this conversation has been going for nearly a year, so there may be a lot more to it than you know.

  353. Amanda said

    Whew! Miss one day, and you really get behind. I can see why Mike “bowed out.” I don’t blame him. (He could just be traveling or swamped in work. I wouldn’t have time to correspond with both Mike and Maz anyway.)

    Back up, back up, my rabid, rapid ingestors and dispensors of anti-Mormon Kool Aid! (That would be Brad and Maz.) 😉
    We can’t lose our spirit of fun about all this-or it just becomes difficult, time-consuming, unpleasant work, and self-abuse on my part. I have been at this for too long, and I have to start over whenever a new-comer comes on before I go off!

    Let’s do get one thing straight: I refuse to be backed into a corner as if I have ANYthing to be ashamed of or as if I have nothing in my “deck” but the early morning fog, like the weight of the substance your posts often bear. I am not even able to give the required time to this endless barage of complaints that you present, and I do so at some sacrifice.

    Maz, your post #338 actually gave me some hope that we might be beginning to converse like two daughters of God should who have some rather important things in common–our testimonies of Jesus Christ and the Bible, the hope of salvation, etc. I didn’t read your subsequent entries until this afternoon, but today I see that you have chosen to be offended because of the way you interpreted my comment about my experience on the blog prior to you. I’m sorry I didnt make that clear, but you are a “johnny- come-lately” and the only reason I am even on the blog at all right now. I was not referring to you at all but mostly to Brad.

    Let’s get the archaelogical evidences out of the way right now because I already metnioned to you some internal proofs, which you didn’t even respond to. If you cannot acknoweldge any of those, conclusive or not, why proceed further? It really doesn’t matter to me if you think evidences exist or not because I do; I have books that are filled with related information and promising results that point to such evidence which may or may not prove absolute, and all other Mormons take joy in them too although they do not affect our testimonies of the work at all. If they did find a stone with “The Book of Mormon is True” carved on it, would you then believe it? Doubtful.

    Tell me, what about the members of the Church before and after the days of Christ? Do you think that because they didn’t have conclusive physical proof about the resurrection of Christ, they weren’t saved? Committed? Credible witnesses? What about the Holy Ghost whom you said in Post #338 that you seek guidance from and that gave visions to the Apostles? There is no more conclusive evidence that that which He provides us as a member of the Godhead. This is why I do not get “bent out of shape if I cannot “prove” to you that the Olmecs WERE the Jaredites of the Book of Mormon and the Aztecs WERE descendants of the Lamanties. The Book of Mormon is like a late-coming “baby” as far as the age of the world is concerned, compared to the Bible. Have you proven, after all these years, that Darwinism is a sham or that evolution as put forth by many scientists and as taught in schools is severely flawed beyond doubting? Many Christians, including myself, have many explanations and “evidences” that evolution should not be taught as “the only explanation” when creationism is not, but does it really matter to you? The educated guesses, scientific research, studies, and “evidences”–internal and external, of the contents of the BOM does not make or break the work, obiously, because people like me are confident that it will come out. There is no doubt in my mind, especially after watching so many attempts to debunk the faith through the years and hearing the many testimonies that reassure me that God is at the helm and oversees the work. Have the evolutionists yet conceded that you are right? I don’t think so, and it will be a good many years after geographical Mormonism is “conclusively” proven before the “anti’s” will concede that we are right.

    I don’t believe for a moment that evidence of Jesus’ Resurrection would hold up in a court of law today as proof. Even the Shroud of Turin hasn’t gained universal acclaim as absolute, conclusive proof (I tend believe it myself though!) The difference is, the Holy Ghost hasn’t told me undoubtedly that The Shroud of Turin is authentic, nor that it is not; He has, however, given me knowledge (that grows and grows with study) that The Book of Mormon is true.

    To sum it all up, you want the truth about evidences? You can’t handle the truth!!!! (Sorry– that was from Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men.” 🙂 I just saw a clip from that on O’Reilly (Fox channel), movie moments the other night. (Very powerful.) But seriously, Maz, you are not ready for the Lord to show you the truth about the Church because it would require action on your part, and it would be the beginning of a whole lot of reading and praying with an open mind. I think Brad has said almost this exact thing about me, and it would be true if the Book of Mormon and the Church weren’t true, I will grant him. (Most of the people on this blog don’t believe, as I do, that action is necessary where faith and salvation are concerned, anyway, so…we would be at an impasse.)

    For the thrid time, Maz, where does the Book of Mormon disagree with the Bible? My only fear is that when you come up with some strange things, I will have forgotten how the Spirit told me to respond to those who have brought those things up in the past. The Holy Ghost, however, will guide me again (if I have the time, passion, and desire to proceed. I have other projects impending, and I’ll bet you do too.)

    Let’s tackle the most interesting question you brought up, one I’ve never had nor heard before. (I refused to watch “The Godmakers if it was in those films.” Religious pornography is not my thing, especially when it is about my own religion. You and Brad come close enough on that count.)

    “Amanda, why do the Mormans have Satanic symbols on their temples? I have seen the inverted pentagram …..the sign of Satan.” (Maz)

    This isn’t quite as exciting a question or concern as the one a now dear Ba’hai friend (who was much later baptized into the Church) once asked me–as if she “had us” (me and the missionaries) with this one. She said, ” Someone told me that you guys have sex in the temple while people watch from behind a glass wall.” Now that one did make me laugh!!! (Mormons are the most modest people, collectively, you’d ever want to meet–and we believe in chastity except within the bonds of marriage. Fortunately, we mostly enjoy life too.)

    Anyway, neither voyeurs nor Satan are invited inside the temple, I can assure you. As for the “pentagram” symbols on our temples, or at least some of the temples, lucky for me that my son has a couple of books on the temples and their symbolism, or I couldn’t have responded. This comes from “Symbols in Stone,” by Brown and Smith. (I can vouch to the meanings of the word symbols here having taught the NT last year, and the Revelation of John, in particular.

    “To the early Saints of our dispensation this emblem was known as “The Star of the Morning. ” It is well-known that the morning star is the brightest object in the sky just prior to the breaking of dawn. The reason for its unusual brightness is that this star (actually the planet Venus) borrows its light from the sun, which is directly below the horizon. The elongated ray of the Nauvoo star is pointed down toward the rising sun as if the star were drawing its light from that source.

    As the morning star is a herald or a precursor, it has some interesting theological implications. For example, it was on a “holy mount” that Peter, James, and John received the “more sure word of prophecy,” and Peter compared this experience to having “the day star arise” in their hearts. (2 Peter 1:1-19). The day star and morning star are one and the same.

    On the hightest level of meaning, the morning star is a descriptive symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ. To those living under the Old Covenant, the coming Messiah was known as the “Star out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17) To those under the New Covenant, the resurrected Lord revealed that he is “the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16). When the Lord is referred to as “a light that shineth in a dark place,” it is another way of stating that he is the morning star, the brightest star that heralds the dawn. (2 Peter 1:19; 2 Cor. 4:6; John 1:1-12)

    The star that announced the birth of the Savior was sometimes depicted by the early Christians as an upside-down pentagram. One early Christian rendition of the events on the Mount of Transfiguration shows the Lord standing before a morning star emblem with an elongated bottom ray similar to the stars on the Nauvoo Temple. Like our Redeemer, we too may rise in the morning of the first resurrection. “May the Lord bless us,” said George Albert Smith, “and enable us to …rise with the Star of the Morning, and enjoy eternal glory.” (That quote was from volume 4 of the Journal of Discourses. Interesting!)

    Finally, the only thing I want to say today is that –once more, just because something is not spelled out in the Bible doesn’t mean it is not true. (I think I can point some things out to you about whatever “conflicts” you may find, even though historical mainstream Christianity has come up with their own interpretations.) Many of Jesus’ disciples walked away from him because they could not accept His words. The same would be (is) true today. The great Apostasy happened because of unbelief and unworthiness after the Apostles were killed and imprisoned; the Restoration happened because of God’s promises to His covenant people, His perfect timing for the last days, and His preparation of many who ARE ready to hear the fulness i nthe latter-days. I can assure you that nothing on the LDS website is conflicting with the Bible. It may not be conclusively and conveniently spelled out in detail there, but there is ample ‘evidence’ within the Bible that the teachings of the BOM are true. The Bible, as I mentioned, was never meant to be a conclusive, from the beginning to the end, fully-narrated novel or history book, complete with commentary. The Apostles were addressing people who had embraced the gospel and usually had been instructed priorly by they themselves. It (the Bible) raises many questions while answering others, and this is one –to put to rest all contention over the doctrine of Jesus Christ.

    Sorry, Brad, I do appreciate your being here, but I am dealing only with Maz since I’ve read pretty much everything you have to say in the past year (and you can say the same for me!). If Maz brings something up you have said, I may respond. Time is not on my side, so I have to select.

    I have to reconsider if you, Maz, would have the patience and are at the place where I could share that “talk” about faith I told you about with you. I spent time transcribing it from BYU tv and typing it, but I’m not sure. You might just want to argue its principles, and I feel no need to do that since the principles taught are solid to me. it does introduce two concepts that would be considered latter-day revelation, but it puts the man becoming like God issue into proper context. There is no doubt we would not have this information without a latter-day prophet. It’s just not connected to the pride/Satan thing as you always assume.

  354. Amanda said