In the December issue of the Ensign, the official magazine of the LDS Church, there is a brief article written by a woman who was struggling with showing forgiveness to people who hurt her.  She talked about how she was helped by a non-Mormon friend to be forgiving.  His advice was to follow Jesus’ command to pray for our enemies. 

     That’s not bad advice but there is something vastly more important than that in motivating us to be forgiving.  And that is seeing how much God has forgiven us.  “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”  (Ephesians 4:32).

     The more I see the greatness of God’s forgiveness, the easier it is for me to be forgiving.  And the things that help me see how great God’s forgiveness is 1) seeing how much sin had ravaged me and thus how unworthy I was – yes even worthless I was because of that, and 2) seeing the tremendous cost and effort required of God so that he could forgive me. 

     Over the years I have read tens of thousands of pages of Mormon literature, and have talked with hundreds and hundreds of Mormons.  In all this, I have observed the following in regard to these two things.  1) Mormonism does not teach how devastating sin is.  It sees it as serious but it still sees a lot of good in natural man. It doesn’t see sin as ravaging mankind. And 2) when it talks about forgiveness the vast majority of times it talks about our duty to forgive each other rather than God forgiving us.  At one time I was keeping track of the references to forgiveness in LDS literature and it was running about 90% to our responsibility to forgive.  The article mentioned above is a good example.  Not once does it refer to God forgiving us.

     We need to hear a lot more about God forgiving us than our responsibility to forgive others.  But that is not the emphasis people hear in Mormonism.  That is another reason why it is a deadly religion. 


7 Responses to “Forgiveness”

  1. 1 Texas
    December 3, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Mark, I read that same article and found it sad that the writer felt compelled to do
    all these things to feel forgiven. One doesn’t need to look any farther than Genesis 3
    to see how devastating sin is. Through Adam and Eve’s sin the world is cursed, man has
    to work hard, women have pain in childbirth, etc., yet God still loves them, forgives them
    and promises the Savior. What fantastic Love! Adam and Eve did absolutely nothing to deserve
    God’s love and forgiveness. Forgiveness is totally the work of our Heavenly Father with nothing required on our part.

  2. December 8, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Jesus flat-out stated that we will only be forgiven to the extent that we forgive others.

    It’s a pretty clear statement and I find it rather gutsy on your part to be minimalizing it.

  3. 3 markcares
    December 10, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    So it is your belief that God’s forgiveness of you is no greater than the forgiveness you show others?

  4. 5 markcares
    December 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Would you then clarify your comment above. How am I misunderstanding it?

  5. December 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    The reason I said no, is because your reply indicated that I somehow consider the forgiveness I mete out to be somehow “equal” in either quantity or quality to that which God metes out.

    I do not believe this. His forgiveness is obviously superior to mine.

    What I am saying though, is that Christ speaks here in the language of two way covenant. Our own forgiveness is conditional according to this passage of scripture. It relies on something from us.

    But I would never equate my offering with God’s. The vast difference in degree and kind seems apparent to me from the scriptures.

  6. 7 cb
    January 30, 2009 at 7:25 am

    It appears to me you are focusing on the different ways people worship and offering criticism (see the dictionary defination of Criticism) about the other person’s methodology or means of convening their beliefs in a spoken language. I will point out the Christian methodology of taking off their hat for a prayer is their means of showing reveence to God (or perhaps their specific church) whereas the Jews show reverence or respect to God by putting on a hat. I think that I should ask both God a Jesus (a crucified jew) which is the way that he accepts their worship. Perhaps he may say that to ever having worn a hat is his preferred method of showing him respect (the word respect being used as a kind Of worhip.

    Just maybe, both God and Jesus would prefer that we worship him as our heart, knowledge and beliefs (which could be a man made concept) allow.

    I think that it isfar better to deal with the emotions and logic of our own minds and soul than to spend time and effort condemning and criticizing others and their belief system. Yes, I also mean even those who are not able to foster a belief in God or think that Jesus was a fraud deseve love and compassion.

    I think that it is imperative or better to accept and allow others to worship as
    they can or will. Each one of us could love our Creator in ways that are not understood but are not wrong- just different.

    I can only ask if you personally would like to be criticized for your method of worship, for your limited understanding of others and their beliefs, for your self serving means, for your lack of love for others or for you lack of tolerance.

    I say let us ask God about how he wants us to worship him amd when (or If) he gives us both the same answer then perhaps you can worhip him with or without a hat and with love and understanding of others and thru understanding God’s perfect love for you, for me and for them.

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