10
Oct
08

. A LITTLE WORK – A LOT OF PRESSURE

 

     Five seconds are left in the basketball game.  It’s not any game either – it’s the championship.  Your team is down by one point.  Your coach calls time out, looks down the bench to where you are sitting and motions you to check into the game.  As you pass him, he pulls you aside and tells you to take the last shot.  “We are counting on you.  It’s all up to you.”

     Talk about pressure.  Especially if you have sat on the bench the entire game to that point.  Few people would enjoy being in that situation.  Few people would succeed in that situation.

     But that is the position a lot of Mormons feel that they are in.  It is inaccurate to say that Mormonism teaches that people are saved by their works alone.  No, it talks about God’s grace.  But it doesn’t teach that people are saved by grace alone.  “However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient.”  (LDS Bible Dictionary)

     Pause for a moment and think of the tremendous pressure that exerts on many Mormons.  Imagine trying to live under that.  Even if we think that we have to contribute only 1% to our salvation – that opens the door to a whole lot of worry.  It’s like the sub coming off the bench being told that he has to make only one basket, the winning basket.  But with one big difference.  The pressure Mormonism places on many of its adherents doesn’t last just for a few moments – it’s there for an entire lifetime.

     How much better is the biblical message of Titus 3:4-7:  “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  7That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  There’s no work – and no pressure. 

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42 Responses to “. A LITTLE WORK – A LOT OF PRESSURE”


  1. October 11, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    The last instructions from the Savior to the original Apostles included:

    “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” – Matt 28:20

    The modern day Apostles are following that instruction. Exactly why do you think they should disobey the Savior?

    Also, I thought we had moved beyond this whole “imagining how Mormons MUST feel” technique. This Mormon certainly doesn’t feel as you say we feel.

  2. 2 Darrell
    October 11, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Reggie,

    I would have to say you are a rarity in the Mormon Church then. Being a former mormon myself, I can say that I always felt as Mark described. The freedom that came from discovering the truth that my salvation was NOT dependent upon…

    1) Attending the Temple Monthly
    2) Home Teaching
    3) Obeying the Word of Wisdom
    4) Magnifying my Calling
    5) Reading my scriptures every day
    6) Thinking no bad thoughts
    7) Doing my geneology
    8) Attending Priesthood
    9) Attending Sunday School
    10) Attending Sacrament Meeting
    11) Sustaining my Local Leaders
    12) Paying a full tithe
    13) Doing Baptisms for the Dead
    14) Fasting
    15) Paying a Fast Offering
    16) Sustaining the Prophet
    17) Supporting the Church’s Political Agenda
    18) Making sure I ask for forgiveness after EVERY thing I do wrong
    19) Being a missionary
    20) Holding Family Home Evening
    21) Saying morning and nightly prayers
    22) Bearing a regular Testimony in Church

    Etc, etc, etc.

    I have asked NUMEROUS Mormons this question… “If you died today, would you go to the celestial kingdom?”. Not ONE of them has ever answered “yes”. They ALL answer it the same way… “Well, I HOPE I would”. The reason for that answer… because they know that under their theology, their salvation is DEPENDENT UPON having faith PLUS WORKS ON THEIR PART. If they are not doing “all that they can do” then grace does not kick in. After all, they are saved by “grace AFTER ALL THAT THEY CAN DO”.

    The wonderful thing about the true gospel of Jesus Christ is that my salvation is already taken care of once I give my life to Christ. He has done it ALL. Now, He is continuing to do a wonderful work INSIDE of me. He is changing me from the inside out. By virtue of Him doing that I do good works and I seek to obey His commandments out of love for Him. However, my salvation IS IN NO WAY DEPENDENT UPON how well I obey those commandments. God does not have a checklist in heaven where He is recording every little thing I do right and every little thing I do wrong. He has, instead, already accepted me by virtue of my faith in Christ. My salvation is already a done deal. The joy that comes from this is amazing!!

    Darrell

  3. 3 Darrell
    October 11, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Not sure why the smiley face appeared in the above post where the number 8 was supposed to appear. Please ingnore it.

    Thanks!

    Darrell

  4. October 11, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Are you certain I’m the rarity just because you felt differently? I have a favorite saying about generalizations, they’re all wrong.

    Do you not agree with the Savior’s final instructions to His Apostles then? What about the parable of the talents? What about loving God and your neighbor with all of your heart and mind? Do those make you feel overwhelmed too?

    The smileys can be turned off by Mark, here are the instructions:

    1. Go to your Admin Panel
    2. Select Settings -> Writing
    3. In the Formatting section, uncheck the box for “Convert emoticons like :-) and :-P to graphics on display”

  5. October 11, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Darrell, don’t project your own personal emotional problems onto the rest of us.

  6. October 12, 2008 at 12:36 am

    That said, I do wonder if the LDS Church couldn’t do a better job of teaching its own doctrine correctly on this subject.

    I don’t know if Berean is still on hiatus, but if he’s not I could actually use a few quotes from official current Church curriculum sources that imply that maximum effort from the worshiper is required to “be worthy” of grace. I’m going to have a chance to possibly ask Robert Millett about this subject this month. He’s written in some of his books that current Church curriculum is a valid place to find out what Mormon doctrine is.

    I’m not so sure myself actually, and I think that some of the Church curriculum contradict a few of the points he’s made about Mormons being saved by grace. But I can’t pinpoint any such quotations myself. It would help to have a good example to ask for clarification on.

  7. 7 Darrell
    October 12, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Reggie,

    I say you are a rarity based upon my 15 years experience in Mormonism and numerous discussion with Mormons all over the country. As I said in my post above, not one person I have personally talked to was confident of their going to the celestial kingdom upon death. They ALL said the HOPED they would go but could not be sure. So, if you are extremely confident that you are going to the celestial kingdom… and if you wax strong in the confidence of your exaltation… then in my experience, you are a rarity in the LDS Church.

    As for the above parables and Jesus’ instructions to his apostles… they give me no problems with my theological view.

    Seth,

    I have emotional problems?

    Darrell

  8. 8 Darrell
    October 12, 2008 at 2:16 am

    Seth,

    Why would you ask Millett to speak for the church. He is an employee of BYU and has no authority to speak for the Church. Why would you not look at what the apostles and prophets have said? They are the ones that have authority and are “led by God”. Afterall, isn’t that why you have Latter Day Prophets… why do you need Millet? Besides, whatever he says does not matter. You are obligated to follow the brethren… not Millett.

    Darrell

  9. October 12, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Darrell,

    I never said I expect him to speak for the Church. He’s a Mormon scholar and I’ve been reading his books, and I like what he’s saying. However, I think that some of his assertions may be in tension with other sources of Church authority – particularly the approved Church teaching curriculum.

    Seriously man, get a grip.

    And I was referring to your past emotional problems – you know… the one’s that the Mormon Church is supposedly responsible for.

  10. 10 Darrell
    October 12, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Seth,

    So you like what Millett is saying. Good for you. However, what he is saying DOES NOT MATTER. He has NO AUTHORITY to speak for the church. So you can pontificate with him all you want but it really is of no significance. If he says something that goes against what a prophet has said… the prophet’s word stands as the autoritative one for the church.

    I have read and heard enough about what Millett is saying and the direction he is trying to get the church to take. He wants to soften even further the stance of the LDS Church on some issues… or, in reality, at least soften the stance THAT IS SHARED PUBLICALLY. I personally think that many of his actions are immoral. But it really doesn’t matter. The prophet’s and general authority’s words are what counts. Not a BYU Professors.

    BTW… I have never had and currently have no “emotional problems”. Please refrain from such childish accusations. First you tell Berean that his fly is down and now you tell me to “get a grip” and that I have “emotional problems”. If you have nothing better to say just don’t respond… didn’t your mother teach you that?

    Darrell

  11. October 12, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Sure you did. Alienation, pressure, feeling unloved… I believe those were the things you were talking about experiencing in Church.

    Emotional problems.

    Happens to a lot of people. And I told you not to project them onto everyone else in the LDS Church.

    I find it very interesting Darrell, that you seem to feel so threatened by movements within the LDS community to reform in a direction that is more in harmony with the scriptures. It’s almost as if you WANT Mormonism to remain as different from your new faith choices as possible.

    Why is that?

  12. October 12, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Basically Darrell,

    Would you prefer that the LDS Church reformed to more of a grace-centered theology?

    Or would you prefer that we remain as different from Evangelicals as possible, so as to present an easier target for you to criticize?

  13. October 13, 2008 at 1:50 am

    Darrell,

    Can you explain why you have issues with LDS doctrine then if you agree that the Apostles should be teaching us to follow all of Christ’s teachings? Because that’s exactly what the LDS Apostles do.

    Also, regarding all the answers you’ve received from Mormons over the years about their salvation; we prefer to let God do the final judging. So while we believe and hope we’re doing His will and are meeting the requirements to be count among true followers of Christ and thus saved through Christ’s grace, we do not assume to proclaim judgment in His place.

  14. 14 Brad
    October 13, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I have a favorite saying about generalizations, they’re all wrong.

    Gee, Reggie, that’s a generalization too. Must be wrong, then.

    Do you not agree with the Savior’s final instructions to His Apostles then? What about the parable of the talents? What about loving God and your neighbor with all of your heart and mind? Do those make you feel overwhelmed too?

    Nobody’s saying not to do good works – only that we’re not saved by them, in any form or fashion.

  15. October 13, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Honestly Brad, do you even think about it before you offer yet another flippant response?

    As LDS we believe Christ’s followers can only be saved through Christ’s grace. We also believe we should strive to keep all of the commandments. There are tons of reasons why we should keep all the commandments (I feel a whole post coming), but at the short end all we need to know is because Christ said we should.

  16. 16 Darrell
    October 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Seth,

    You said, “Sure you did. Alienation, pressure, feeling unloved… I believe those were the things you were talking about experiencing in Church.”

    Actually, I never said ANY of those things. Never once while LDS did I ever feel unloved or alienated. Quite the opposite actually. I still have many friends, coworkers and family who are LDS and still get along with them rather well. I love them and they tell me to this day that they still love me.

    What is sad is that you went straight to the typical FARMS type of argument… “if you have no rational answer to the argument presented, attack the individual.” So now I have emotional problems. OK, Seth, I give up. You are right. I guess the problems I have with the LDS Church stem from my own emotional issues and not the church’s theology. Like I haven’t heard that one before!!

    The problem with your analysis is that the data does not line up with it. If it were all me, then you would imagine that the LDS Church would be a rather healthy place emotionally. From my personal experience a large number of people inside the LDS church do suffer from emotional issues… leading many of them to have to take anti-deppresants. In my home ward the rate of anti-deppresant use is rather high. In addition, the statistics for the state of Utah support what I have seen among LDS people. Being 50% mormon and a place where the plan of happiness is taught on a LARGE scale, you would think that Utah would be a very healthly state emotionally… so why the high rate of anti-deppresant use? Why the high teen suicide rate? Maybe the “Plan of Happiness” does not lead to happiness after all.

    Since coming to the knowledge of the TRUE plan of salvation, I have seen vast improvements in my own life. I am happier, my wife is happier, our kids are happier, our marriage is better, etc. My wife and I were discussing this fact this morning. In addition, my wife has had active LDS people tell her that she seems happier since leaving the church. GO FIGURE THAT ONE OUT!!!

    The realization that my salvation is NOT dependent upon me living a set of rules designed by a man made organzation is wonderful. I now know that my Savior paid the price for me once and for all. I accept that gift humbly and gratefully. I will serve Him the rest of my life OUT OF LOVE… not out of fear. And I know that when I die, I will go straight to be with Him!! There is no doubt in my heart like there is for EVERY mormon I have spoken with. The joy that brings to my heart is unspeakbale. I NEVER had that joy while a mormon. I rejoice daily for what my Savior has done for me. Praise to Him always!!

    Darrell

  17. 17 Darrell
    October 13, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Seth,

    You said,

    “Would you prefer that the LDS Church reformed to more of a grace-centered theology?

    Or would you prefer that we remain as different from Evangelicals as possible, so as to present an easier target for you to criticize?”

    My question is this. If the LDS Church is the restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ and if it has been led by a prophet since it’s inception, WHY WOULD IT NEED TO REFORM ANYTHING? Have the prophet’s let it go astray? If so, are they truly prophets? What is the problem that needs reforming and how did it creep into the church? A prophet could NEVER let that happen.

    Darrell

  18. 18 Darrell
    October 13, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Reggie,

    You said,

    “Also, regarding all the answers you’ve received from Mormons over the years about their salvation; we prefer to let God do the final judging. So while we believe and hope we’re doing His will and are meeting the requirements to be count among true followers of Christ and thus saved through Christ’s grace, we do not assume to proclaim judgment in His place.”

    And then you said the following to Brad,

    “As LDS we believe Christ’s followers can only be saved through Christ’s grace. We also believe we should strive to keep all of the commandments. There are tons of reasons why we should keep all the commandments (I feel a whole post coming), but at the short end all we need to know is because Christ said we should.”

    These two statements to not match. In the first statement you said that you leave the judging to God and that you “HOPE” you are doing His will and “MEETING THE REQUIRMENTS”. Then in replying to Brad you say that you believe as followers that you are “ONLY SAVED THROUGH CHRIST’S GRACE”.

    So, if you are only saved through Christ’s grace, why would you have to worry if you are meeting the requirements? You would be assured of your salvation if it was just through Christ’s grace. There would be nothing else REQUIRED on your part to merit that grace.

    Do you see the problem with your thinking? It is not logical. You cannot say your are saved through grace alone and then add to it that you need to “meet the requirements”.

    Now, to answer your statement to me… I find it really sad that you think you can only “hope that you are meeting his requirements”. That type of thinking was spoken harshly against by Paul. Paul told us we should approach the throne of God bolding knowing that our salvation is assured. When one exercises faith in the REAL CHRIST, you can approach the throne bolding and live a life assured of your salvation. That is not to say it should make you arrogant. Because we know that our salvation is ONLY BY HIS GRACE and through NOTHING that we can do or have done. The joy that comes from this is unimaginable. When I was a mormon I NEVER had that joy. Now, I live life knowing that I am going to heaven when I die. You can have that joy as well, Reggie. There is no need to go through life “hoping you are doing all that you need to do”.

    Darrell

    Darrell

  19. October 13, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Darrell,

    There is no problem correlating my statements logically. In one I said we hope we are meeting the requirements to be counted as true followers of Christ. In the second I said we can only be saved through Christ’s grace. The point of being a follower of Christ is to receive His saving grace.

    It’s the definition of works that I think is the general misunderstanding by the way. Apparently when you think of works you think of righteous living and you believe that righteous living is not a requirement to receive saving grace. However I believe that true followers of Christ do strive to do their best to live as He did (righteously), and one can’t receive saving grace through lip service only. Therefore the whole “faith without works” is dead point of view. And faith is a requirement to receive grace.

    Here’s the formula: righteous living (faith) + saving ordinances + Christ’s grace = exaltation.

    So if you want to discuss why this formula is incorrect, that’s fine, but don’t make it seem like we believe one can be saved through one’s own good “works”.

    Another point, is that we don’t believe you should sit back and relax just because you’re meeting the requirements to receive grace. This where we get back to all of the reasons to keep all of the commandments. Here’s a few thoughts: it’s possible lose one’s faith, we are to live so that the light of Christ shines through us as examples to others, and we can only receive blessings by being obedient to God’s will. Hence the LDS leaders truly urge us continually to keep all of the commandments.

    Oh, and my peace and joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ is full. My prayers are answered, the Holy Spirit is in my heart and home and I am confident that I am following the true doctrine of the Savior.

  20. October 13, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Well Darrell, you seemed rather upset with the LDS Church, so I made a few assumptions. But I would assure you that I never meant to imply that you were in any sense mentally unstable. Looking back, I can see that impression might have been given.

    As for your continued insistence on prophets being right all the time. I’ve already told you that I don’t believe in either scriptural or prophetic infallibility. So I suggest you drop this line of argument with me. It gets you nowhere. I don’t care if a General Authority has been wrong on doctrine. I really don’t.

    Now, are you going to answer my question? Which would you prefer? An LDS Church with a correct view of Christ’s grace, or an LDS Church with an incorrect view of Christ’s grace? Just pick one please.

  21. 21 Stephanie
    October 14, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Reggie,

    I am responding to your statement, “Here’s the formula: righteous living (faith) + saving ordinances + Christ’s grace = exaltation.”

    I am relieved that you are actually stating true LDS doctrine, and not watering it down. Sadly, it is incorrect doctrine and will only lead you to outer darkness. You have plainly stated that your exaltation depends NOT ONLY on the grace of Christ, BUT ALSO on your performance (righteous living and saving ordinances). This is one of MANY places that the LDS and the Evangelicals part ways.

    Exaltation depends solely and entirely on Christ. There is no other part to the equation. The equation is stated clearly in Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the death, thou shalt be saved.” There is no mention of righteous living or saving ordinances here. In Matthew 10:32. Christ himself says, “Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father, who is in heaven.”

    What is your response to this?

    Righteous living is a large part of Christianity, but it does not play any part in our exaltation. Righteous living is a fruit of faith, it is not the definition of faith itself. We are admonished to live Christian lives, and try to be Christlike; I agree with all those verses you have presented in your defense of righteous living. But never does the Bible say, anywhere, that righteous living is part of the equation for exaltation.

    In fact, there are several parables that actually speak against righteous living. The pharisees, who lived very righteously, were called white-washed tombs by Christ, pure on the outside but full of death on the inside. This is how God views our attempts at righteous living when it is not accompanied by faith. When not accompanied by faith, God views our righteous living as filthy rags.

    Faith and righteous living are NOT the same thing, as your equation presents them. Faith is a belief of the heart, not an action. This belief is a GIFT from God, not anything acquired by our own efforts. Faith is not a work. However, righteous living is a work.

    I am going to repeat part of a previous post (October 1 Atonement #13-14) because I explained the Biblical definition of faith there.

  22. 22 Stephanie
    October 14, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Reggie,
    Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” KJV “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.” NIV.

    Faith is not defined as righteous living.

    Trying to be good enough, or worthy, falls under the law, not grace. As stated in Hebrews 10:1, performing all the good works required of the law can never make us perfect. In other words, righteous living is definitely not a part of the equation for exaltation. Hebrews 10:1 “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.”

    Hebrews 10:10 “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Christ once for all.” God has declared us holy, not just worthy based on our own righteous living or performance of the saving ordinances. God has declared us holy based on Christ’s efforts. And notice the end of the verse, “once for all.” There is nothing else that can be done.

    Hebrews 10:18 “And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” God wants to be very clear with this verse! Christ’s death was “once for all,” and “there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” Nothing else is required! Any human effort (righteous living) would be wasted effort, and offensive to God.

    Righteous living does play a part in Christian living, of course. But it plays no part at all in our exaltation. Satan has twisted the scriptures, and deceived many people with this terrible “half-truth.”
    I hope someday, Reggie, you will see the truth.

  23. October 14, 2008 at 3:06 am

    Stephanie, first of all I have shared that formula several times here already, so I don’t understand your reference about sharing watered down doctrine.

    Now, the pharisees were definitely not living righteously. Sure they put on a good outward show, but that counts for nothing. What I find interesting about the pharisees is that they knew the scriptures well, but they used the understanding of man to interrupt them and hence it was their major stumbling block. They didn’t recognize the Source of their scriptures even when He was among them. This is one reason why I can’t understand the evangelical view point that it’s inappropriate to ask God for understanding of the gospel and for a witness of the truth.

    Further, the idea that righteous living is a requirement for the followers of Christ is well taught throughout the Bible. The idea that those who will receive exaltation are those who live properly is also included, however every time those passages are shared here they are simply explained away as unimportant or being taken out of context. Here are a few again, for another round of fun:

    Matthew 7: 21-26

    Mark 13: 13

    The parable of the ten virgins

    The parable of the unforgiving servant (you and I went through this already and you dismissed the Savior’s warning that we are to be forgiving if we are to enter His Father’s kingdom)

    John 3: 5

    James 2

    None of these invalidate the scriptures you shared about faith or the power of Christ’s grace. The key is how to put them altogether to complete the full gospel that God intends for us to understand.

    None of this will change your mind either, but you can’t really claim the teaching doesn’t exist in the Bible. Also the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and teachings of the modern day prophets verify and clarify these teachings. It’s a wonderful thing to enjoy clear understanding of God’s plan for His children, thanks to the restoration of the fullness of the gospel. We urge and invite all to learn of God’s modern day work with an open mind and heart, asking Him to be guide to the path of truth.

  24. 24 Brad
    October 14, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Oh, and my peace and joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ is full. My prayers are answered, the Holy Spirit is in my heart and home and I am confident that I am following the true doctrine of the Savior.

    Reggie, with what we know your beliefs are, this statement makes you one to be pitied above all men. Truly sad.

  25. October 14, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Very convincing Brad.

  26. 26 Brad
    October 14, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    The same pity applies to you, Seth.

  27. 27 Stephanie
    October 14, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Reggie,

    First I’d like to respond to your comment, “I can’t understand the evangelical view point that it’s inappropriate to ask God for understanding of the gospel and for a witness of the truth.” This is another area where Mormons and Christians part ways.

    When I sit down to read my Bible, I pray for understanding. Evangelicals aren’t opposed to praying for wisdom or understanding. In Christian circles, it is not inappropriate to ask God for wisdom or understanding. However, we take into account the reality that feelings aren’t trustworthy. Feelings are a weak foundation to build upon. When our emotions convince us of something that is clearly not supported by the Bible, we must admit that we were deceived and misled. Mormons place their personal witness of truth above the clear words of the Bible while Christians will not violate what the Bible plainly teaches, no matter how strongly they may feel. Subjective feelings simply don’t matter when it comes to issues of eternal value.

    The supposed “modern day work of God” proclaimed by the LDS contradicts many foundational truths in the Bible. Therefore, it is quite simple for the Christian to reject these “revelations” as false. As a Christian, I am concerned for the eternal welfare of all mormons, and I am convinced that these false beliefs will lead every mormon to outer darkness. That is my motivation for contributing to this blog. I don’t have any malice in my intentions, so I hope I don’t offend anyone. Sometimes it is impossible not to offend, but I hope you understand that my intentions are sincere. I hope that somehow this blog will open someone’s eyes to the truth.

    On a side note, I have experienced many “burnings in the bosom” but entirely unrelated to religious matters! Whenever I am having any type of emotional struggle, or extreme stress, or a big argument with my spouse, I experience a very strong burning feeling in my chest. I think this is a normal physiological, biological reaction to stress. I don’t think it is the holy spirit assuring me that I have indeed stumbled upon the one true church on the face of the earth.

    I will respond more with reaction to your Scripture references above.

  28. 28 Stephanie
    October 14, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Reggie,

    I discussed the parable of the unforgiving servant with you in a previous thread, but it seems you have forgotten what I said. I did not “dismiss the savior’s warning that we are to be forgiving.” This is the entire point of the parable. However, your full quote says, “we are to be forgiving IF we are to enter His Father’s kingdom.” There are a lot of “ifs” in the LDS church. Once again, entrance into the Celestial kingdom rests upon your forgiving spirit, another work that depends on your actions. How do you measure forgiveness? It’s pretty hard to measure something so intangible. You can enter the celestial kingdom, only IF you are worthy.

    In this parable, Christ is admonishing us to be forgiving to others, as God has been so forgiving to us. The LDS, however, add a harsh twist to this parable.

    The LDS interpretation is God’s REMOVAL of forgiveness if we are not forgiving enough! The difference is drastic.

    As I find the time, I will make further posts in response to your other scripture references.

  29. 29 Darrell
    October 15, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Seth,

    You asked:

    “Now, are you going to answer my question? Which would you prefer? An LDS Church with a correct view of Christ’s grace, or an LDS Church with an incorrect view of Christ’s grace? Just pick one please.”

    To be honest. It doesn’t matter. Solving the problem of the LDS church’s view on grace is simply treating a syptom of the real problems.

    The real problem for the LDS church is:

    1) They have a wrong view of Christ and who he is
    2) They have a wrong view of the nature of man (we can grow to become like God)
    3) They have a wrong view of the nature of God (He was once a man like us)
    4) They rely on extra-biblical sources for authority and discount the bible’s teaching at the behest of these sources (the bible is translated incorrectly)

    If you solve these root problems all of the other issues will take care of themself, as all of the other issues are symptoms of these problems.

    Now I have a question for you… by asking this questions are you saying that you agree that your church’s view of grace is wrong? Please just answer yes or no please.

    Darrell

  30. October 15, 2008 at 2:21 am

    I don’t know whether it is or not.

    If you mean the view of the general membership of the LDS Church, I would say that yes, many of them probably do have a wrong view. As for the official views of general authorities, I don’t know enough about their views to really say for sure.

    Darrell, you keep copping out on the tough questions and repeating the same tired old refrain “your Church is false, so it doesn’t matter what other good you may or may not have.”

    Not good enough.

    Would you prefer an LDS Church with a correct view of grace or one without?

  31. 31 Darrell
    October 15, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Seth,

    I am honestly not trying to “cop out”. I really don’t think addressing the grace issue will matter a whole lot. Let me give you an example from my own life…

    My wife had breast cancer a few years ago. During this time she was nauseous and very tired. She needed to sleep a lot. The doctor gave her medicine to help with both of these issues. For which, I was VERY grateful. However, in the end, we really did not care a whole lot about him treating her for nausea or tiredness… WE WANTED THE CANCER GONE. Once the cancer was gone my wife got back to normal. She now hardly ever suffers from naesea or tiredeness.

    It is like that with mormonism. Would I be grateful if the mormon church’s teachings got closer to the biblical teaching of grace… well, of course. However, in the end it will not really matter because the REAL PROBLEM (Mormonism’s cancer) goes much deeper and is rooted in a wrong view of God, Man and the Bible. If you treat those issues, the issue of grace will be taken care of.

    You said… “I don’t know whether it is or not. If you mean the view of the general membership of the LDS Church, I would say that yes, many of them probably do have a wrong view. As for the official views of general authorities, I don’t know enough about their views to really say for sure.”

    Do you mean to tell me you are going on the web defending the mormon church as the only TRUE church on the face of the earth, indoctrinating your kids with it, baptizing your kids into it, and trusting you and your family’s salvation in the church and you DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY TEACH OFFICIALLY ABOUT GRACE?

    Wow that is sad!!

    Darrell

  32. October 15, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I know what the Book of Mormon says very well. I also know what I have been taught and what current prophets are saying.

    But no, I don’t know every last quote that a General Authority has given in the last ten years. So I have no way of saying whether all of their statements are correct, do I? As an overall matter, I am confident that LDS doctrines are correct however.

    The problem with your cancer analogy is that it compares Mormon views on grace to a mere symptom (like being tired or in pain).

    This is not how a lot of Evangelicals I talk with view the matter. They seem to consider our views on grace a fundamental pillar of why Mormonism is wrong, and not just a mere symptom. They view our views on grace as a part of “the disease” not just a result of it.

    So I still think this is an important question for you to answer.

  33. 33 Darrell
    October 15, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Seth, I to think the view of grace is VERY important. It is MY opinion that the LDS view on grace is the RESULT OF a distorted view of God, man and the inerrancy of scripture. The second you are able to say that a man’s teachings trump scripture you are headed down a path where anything goes. I would prefer the church disown the BOM, modern day prophets, the teaching of Thoesis, the teaching that God was once a man and acknowledge the inerrancy of the Bible. Now THAT would make me really happy. If that happened, everything else would fall into place.

    Darrell

  34. October 15, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    So, you would prefer that the LDS Church have the correct view of Christ’s grace rather than an incorrect view, right?

    Would you like the Eastern Orthodox Church to disown the teaching of theosis too Darrell?

    As for Biblical inerrancy, very few modern Christians (Mormon or otherwise) hold to that view anymore.

    And good riddance I say. I find it an extremely silly and illogical read of the Bible.

  35. 35 markcares
    October 15, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Reggie:
    Thanks for the tip on the graphics.

  36. October 15, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Stephanie,

    The Savior’s words in that parable include the word “if”. We’re not adding anything to it, yet you seem to be dismissing it.

    Matt 18:35 – “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

    The bottom line is you can separate faith from righteous living. If you have faith then it is implied you are following the Savior in action. If you do not act, then you merely believe, like the devils, but it does you no good.

  37. 37 latterdaysaintwoman
    October 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Seth,

    I’m not Berean, but I am an ex-Mormon and I can give you a few of the quotes that you are looking for. I actually have created a database of LDS quotes from the LDS curriculum, as well as a several other official LDS publications. You wrote that you are looking for a quote from the official Church curriculum that “implies that maximum effort from the worshiper is required to be worthy of grace. Would you consider the Book of Mormon “a valid place to find out what Mormon doctrine is”?

    The LDS prophet Moroni spoke official LDS doctrine when he said:
    Moroni 10:“32 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.”

    There is no question from this passage that “maximum effort is required to be worthy of grace. Notice that BEFORE God’s “grace is sufficient” a person must: 1) deny themselves of ALL ungodliness; and 2) love God with ALL their might, mind and strength. This “maximum effort” is required BEFORE the worshiper is worthy to receive God’s grace.

    From the curriculum, nothing states it better than on page 198 in the Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee: “Spiritual certainty that is necessary to salvation must be preceded by a maximum of individual effort. Grace, or the free gift of the Lord’s atoning power, must be preceded by personal striving. Repeating again what Nephi said, “By grace … we are saved, after all we can do.” [2 Nephi 25:23.] …”

    I will also end with several other quotes from official LDS manuals, but before I do, I would like to ask you a question. I am curious—why do you give Robert Millet the authority to inform you as to what is considered to be official LDS doctrine and what is not?

    You can find from your own Prophets and Apostles what publications are considered official Mormon doctrine. According to LDS Prophets, if a book is published by “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, then it states official LDS doctrine. One such place to find this information is found in Gospel Principles, page 55: “In addition to these four books of scripture, the inspired words of our living prophets become scripture to us. Their words come to us through conferences, Church publications, and instructions to local priesthood leaders. “We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Articles of Faith 1:9).”

    So, my question to you about Robert Millet is why would you hold his words above the words of your Prophets and Apostles? True to the Faith, page 129 states “We sustain the President of the Church as our prophet, seer and revelator—the only person on the earth who receives revelation to guide the entire Church.” You can find similar teachings in the Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual-D&C, pages 32-33 as well as the entire BYU Student Religion Manual “Teachings of the Living Prophets”.

    Anyway, putting that aside, the following are several quotes from the LDS curriculum. These quotes show the LDS belief that maximum effort is required to be worthy of grace.

    Becki
    _____________________________________________________________
    Teachings of Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee
    Page 34: This is the Lord’s work and when he gives a commandment to the children of men, he provides a way by which that commandment can be realized. If his children will do all that they can to help themselves, then the Lord will bless their efforts. The Lord expects us to do all we can to save ourselves, and … after we have done all we can to save ourselves, then we can lean upon the mercies of the grace of our Heavenly Father. He gave his Son that through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel we might gain our salvation, but not until we have done all we can do for ourselves.
    Pages 4-5: We hear much from some of limited understanding about the possibility of one’s being saved by grace alone. But it requires the explanation of another prophet to understand the true doctrine of grace as he explained in these meaningful words:
    “For,” said this prophet, “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.) Truly we are redeemed by the atoning blood of the Savior of the world, but only after each has done all he can to work out his own salvation.

    True to the Faith, page77:
    “Through grace, made available by the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, all people will be resurrected and receive immortality (see 2 Nephi 9:6–13). But resurrection alone does not qualify us for eternal life in the presence of God. Our sins make us unclean and unfit to dwell in God’s presence, and we need His grace to purify and perfect us “after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23).

    The phrase “after all we can do” teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fulness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him. The Lord has commanded us to obey His gospel, which includes having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end (see John 3:3–5; 3 Nephi 27:16–20; Articles of Faith 1:3–4). The prophet Moroni wrote of the grace we receive as we come unto the Savior and obey His teachings:

    “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.”

    April 1993 General Conference.
    This is a quote, not from the curriculum, but from a talk given by Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy. This talk addresses your specific question. A part of his talk focused on “Understanding Grace” and he said:
    “If we can obtain the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that divine enabling power to assist us, we will triumph in this life and be exalted in the life to come. Let me share with you five principles that may help us obtain that divine intervention in our own life or perhaps vicariously assist in the life of another.”

    He goes on to say “Doing all in your own power is the fourth principle. Truly did Paul teach, “By grace are ye 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.) Yes, works alone cannot bring that divine gift, but they are a key condition upon which the gift is received. (See 2 Ne. 10:23–25.) “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23.)

    Thus, unless one has done all in his own power, he cannot expect the grace of God to be manifest. What a glorious principle to understand: the Lord’s assistance to us—whether we have strong faith or weak faith; whether a man, a woman, or a child—is not based just on what we know, how strong we are, or who we are, but more upon our giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance. Once one has given all he can, then the Lord, through His grace, may assist him. (See D&C 123:17.)

    Here is a link to the entire talk if you are interested:
    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=1a739209df38b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    Teachings of Presidents of the Church, David O. McKay, Page 210
    “I am not unmindful of the scripture that declares, “By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.” [See Ephesians 2:8.] That is absolutely true, for man in his taking upon himself mortality was [powerless] to save himself. When left to grope in a natural state, he would have become, and did become “carnal, sensual and devilish by nature.” [Alma 42:10.] But the Lord through His grace appeared to man, gave him the Gospel or eternal plan whereby he might rise above the carnal and selfish things of life and obtain spiritual perfection. But he must rise by his own efforts and he must walk by faith.”

    April 2004 General Conference
    Here is another pertinent talk from General Conference, given by Bruce C. Hafen. You can find it in the May Ensign, page 97 titled: “The Atonement: All for All,”
    “We grow in two ways—removing negative weeds and cultivating positive flowers. The Savior’s grace blesses both parts—if we do our part. First and repeatedly we must uproot the weeds of sin and bad choices. It isn’t enough just to mow the weeds. Yank them out by the roots, repenting fully to satisfy the conditions of mercy. But being forgiven is only part of our growth. We are not just paying a debt. Our purpose is to become celestial beings. So once we’ve cleared our heartland, we must continually plant, weed, and nourish the seeds of divine qualities. And then as our sweat and discipline stretch us to meet His gifts, “the flowers of grace appear,” 9 like hope and meekness. Even a tree of life can take root in this heart-garden, bearing fruit so sweet that it lightens all our burdens “through the joy of his Son.” 10 And when the flower of charity blooms here, we will love others with the power of Christ’s own love.

    We need grace both to overcome sinful weeds and to grow divine flowers. We can do neither one fully by ourselves. But grace is not cheap. It is very expensive, even very dear. How much does this grace cost? Is it enough simply to believe in Christ? The man who found the pearl of great price gave “all that he had” 12 for it. If we desire “all that [the] Father hath,” 13 God asks all that we have. To qualify for such exquisite treasure, in whatever way is ours, we must give the way Christ gave—every drop He had: “How exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.” 14 Paul said, “If so be that we suffer with him,” we are “joint-heirs with Christ.” 15 All of His heart, all of our hearts.

    Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual New Testament, Page 151:
    Why is it necessary for us to have faith to fully receive the Savior’s grace?
    • Paul explained that justification comes through the grace of Jesus Christ, not through “the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:20, 24, 28). Why can’t we earn justification and salvation exclusively through our works? (See Mosiah 2:20–21; Alma 22:14.)
    • Many people have interpreted Paul’s writings to mean that we can be justified through faith alone without good works. What is the relationship between our actions (or works) and justification through the grace of Christ? (See Romans 3:31; James 2:14–18, 24; 2 Nephi 25:23; D&C 88:38–39.)

    The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “To be justified before God we must love one another: we must overcome evil; we must visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction, and we must keep ourselves unspotted from the world: for such virtues flow from the great fountain of pure religion, strengthening our faith by adding every good quality that adorns the children of the blessed Jesus. We can pray in the season of prayer; we can love our neighbor as ourselves, and be faithful in tribulation, knowing that the reward of such is greater in the kingdom of heaven. What a consolation! What a joy!” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 76).

  38. October 16, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you LDSwoman. That is helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to put all that together. I’ll have to take a bit of time to read through it all.

    I don’t consider Millett to be the authoritative last word on Church doctrine. He is simply an LDS author whose work I have enjoyed. Since I have the opportunity to see him live, I would be interested in hearing his responses. That’s about it.

  39. 39 latterdaysaintwoman
    October 17, 2008 at 4:41 am

    Seth,

    Thanks for the explanation. I wouldn’t mind seeing him live myself, where is he speaking?

  40. October 17, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Regis University in Denver on October 29th.

  41. 41 latterdaysaintwoman
    October 18, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks, unfortunately too far away.

  42. November 4, 2008 at 6:46 am

    latterdaysaintwoman,

    Thanks for the write-up on all those grace vs. works quotes. I read through them. Ultimately, I decided to go with a remark one of my Evangelical friends made during a grace vs. works debate:

    “If Mormons would acknowledge that their own doctrine teaches that salvation is by grace and exaltation is by works, this argument would disappear.”

    I thought this seemed to navigate the nuance of Mormon definitions very well and was interested to see how Millett would answer it.

    Millett contended that both salvation and exaltation are – in a Mormon context – reliant on grace.

    My question also referenced two Book of Mormon verses. The first was 2 Nephi 25:23 which Millett had already covered. The second was Moroni 10:32 (suggested by LDSwoman):

    “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.”

    To me, this seemed like at least a possible statement that maximum effort is required to “earn” grace.

    Millett dealt with this verse by pointing out that what it asks for in the first part of the equation, is for us to accept Christ and love him. It is a matter of doing what Christ himself asks of us in Matt. 22:37 (love God with all your heart, might, mind and strength) and can be done in a way consistent with Matt. 11:28-30 (take his yoke upon us). I’m a little fuzzy on exactly which verse Millett cited, so I may have got this one wrong.

    In any case, Millett emphasized that “salvation” and “exaltation” are merely words with different emphases. Salvation is an individual affair, while exaltation is a family affair. But BOTH are a matter of grace. Millett pointed out that neither of them are dependent on his own works.

    This was unobjectionable to my understanding of Mormon scripture.


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