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.