That is the title of the Visiting Teaching Message in the September, 2009 Ensign.  Most Christians, seeing that title, would naturally think that the article would center on the good news of free and full forgiveness earned for us by Jesus.

        But there is no mention of forgiveness in the article.  There is no mention of Jesus’ atonement. Rather the whole article is about what they need to do.  Following are two representative quotes from the article.    

Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency: “Sisters, now more than ever, we need women to step up and be strong. We need women who declare the truth with strength, faith, and boldness. We need women to set an example of righteousness. We need women to be ‘anxiously engaged in a good cause.’ We need to live so that our lives bear witness that we love our Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ and that we will do what They have asked us to do” (“Now Let Us Rejoice,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2008, 116).

       2 Nephi 31:12: “Follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We must live the gospel in such a way that we will have the Spirit to ever be with us. If we live worthily, the Spirit will always be with us. We can then teach by the Spirit. … The reason we pray, study the scriptures, have good friends, and live the gospel through obedience to the commandments is so that when—not if, but when—the trials come, we are ready” (“Teaching by Faith,” Liahona, Sept. 2003, 10, 14–15; Ensign, Sept. 2003, 20, 24–25).


        As I said, that is so different from what Christians would have expected.  Understanding the gospel means understanding that Christ saved us by paying for our sins.  Living the gospel means reveling in his forgiveness, praising him for his forgiveness, giving him all the credit for our worthiness to stand before God.  The good news is seeing that Jesus saved us not by being our example but by being our substitute.


  1. August 26, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Do you even know what the word “Gospel” means?

  2. 2 Echo
    August 26, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    We can KNOW the Spirit is with us when the message we recieve, wherever, whenever testifies about “JESUS” and what he has done for us rather than it testifying about “US” and what we need to do. If the message is focused on us and what we need to do, it is NOT a message from the Spirit.

    John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the SPIRIT of truth who goes out from the Father, HE WILL TESTIFY ABOUT ME.”

    The Spirit testifies about JESUS and what he has done, and not about US and what we need to do. That’s how we can know the Spirit is ever with us.

    The Spirit testifies that we are presently standing in the unconditional forgiveness of God all because of what Jesus ALONE has done for us. Believe it!

  3. August 27, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Yeah, so?

    Jesus didn’t mention forgiveness in several of his sermons either.

    So I guess we’re in good company.

  4. August 27, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    This is so so very sad. The list of “to do’s” is endless for the LDS. I remember talks like the one you shared above.

    The GOOD news is what Jesus has DONE, not what “we” must do.

    I continue to pray for my LDS Friends & family .. that our precious Lord may draw them and open their eyes to the freedom that Christ brings,


  5. August 27, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    AMEN, echo.

    Well said,

    The good news is about what Jesus did — it’s not about what we “must do”.

    God bless,

  6. August 27, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Do you find the Sermon on the Mount a “sad” message gloria?

  7. August 28, 2009 at 2:14 am

    The Sermon on the Mount is all Gospel, Christ is telling us what the Kingdom will be like.

  8. August 28, 2009 at 3:41 am

    In the bible,the word gospel means, the death, burial , and resurrection of Jesus, according to scripture. If it is not in your heart, you wont know it, so: 3 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

  9. August 28, 2009 at 3:45 am

    Oh come on Gundeck…

    You can’t seriously be advocating punting one of the most important sermons of Christ’s ministry safely into the afterlife, are you?

  10. August 28, 2009 at 3:46 am

    Besides, I would note that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is here and now.

    So you still have to deal with these pesky works apparently.

  11. August 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Amen! Thanks for stating my sentiments!


  12. August 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I believe when Jesus said the kingdom of heaven had come — it meant He had come. The promised Messiah! I believe He was speaking directly to the Jews. Of course many didn’t “get it”.

    Kind regards,

  13. August 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm


    No of course not. The sermon on the Mount is not a “to do list”, Seth. It is comfort to the meek, the sad, the persecuted, etc. The sermon on the mountain is a list of “blessings and promises.” I would not compare the sermon on the Mount to a R.S. VT message. Not even in the same league in my estimation.

    Kind regards,

  14. 14 markcares
    August 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    The title of the article in the Ensign focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why I expected to see forgiveness. If Jesus’ sermon was on the gospel he would be talking about what he had done for us and the forgiveness he had earned for us.
    What I was trying to illustrate in the post was that Christians and Mormons speak quite differently when they use the word gospel. Would you agree that Christians and Mormons define gospel differently?

  15. August 28, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I don’t view the Ensign article solely as a “to-do” list either.

  16. August 28, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I suppose I would agree.

    But I don’t see it as something worth getting too worked up over.

    Perhaps you should write a letter to the editor and express your concerns.

  17. 17 RLO
    August 29, 2009 at 1:49 am

    I noticed in comment #9 above that gundek stated, “The Sermon on the Mount is all Gospel, Christ is telling us what the Kingdom will be like.”

    It seems to me (and here I may be at odds with the views of some fellow Christian posters regarding the Sermon on the Mount), but it seems to me that while the peaceful, encouraging, loving language of the beatitudes might possibly be understood as gospel, a reading of the entire Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5-7, tells me much more of what I must do, and also what I must not do (which is law), rather than the good news of what Christ has done (the gospel). It is my understanding that the Sermon on the Mount is predominantly, if not entirely, a law discourse. Am I mistaken? I would welcome and appreciate any feedback.

  18. 18 rblandjr
    August 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm


    Gospel = Good News.
    The bad news is that we are sinners by nature,thought and deed. We are utterly condemned and without hope. All we have to look forward to is a Holy Gods justice.

    Here is the good news,”For the son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost” Luke 19:10.

    He left the ninety and nine to seek that one lost lamb.

    Why do you think Christ came to earth?

    To be an example and show us how to live!

    How can a dead person who is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins even begin to breath. let alone get up and then walk as Christ walk. You see that is where all of us reside in the land of death. Eph. 2:1 states that we “were dead in trespasses and sins.”

    Dead people do not get up and walk around. God had to give them life. Period.

    He came to die so we might live.

    God climbed down into the hole(our sinful world),into the midst of all the muck and mire of its sinfullness. Not to be our example and show us how to get out of the hole ourselves. He didn’t just lower a ladder down for us to struggle and climb each rung and then reach up to him after we did our best. He climbed down into that hole, died for our sin(substitutionary atonement).Rose from the dead for our justification and ascended on high to intercede for those who would come to Christ by his sacrifice.

    He sought us, drew us, lifted us up and carried us out of that hole of our own sinfulness. He sets our feet on The Rock (himself), the finished work of Christ. To rest completely and totally in what He accomplished.

    Praise Him alone for He is worthy, “for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood…”

    Trusting in the finished work of Christ alone.

    Christ came to seek and save that which was lost.
    So simple but so many want to try to do it their way and not Gods way. Jn.14:6


  19. August 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Well said. I appreciate your comments.

    God bless,

  20. August 30, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I think you may have me confused with someone else, I don’t find the words of the sermon on the mount pesky. I do not dispute that Jesus in his exposition of the Law explains the requirements of the law, nor do I dispute that Christ is preaching of a moral and ethical system for the Kingdom, both realized and to come. What I mean simply is that the law is fulfilled, forgiveness is granted, a right relationship between sinful man and a righteous God has been established, a way is achieved through the active obedience of Christ. While we should always look to the law as what is pleasing to God, we cannot deny that apart from the work of Christ we have not a chance of achieving a righteousness that exceed the Pharisees. Obedience motivated not on the fear of punishment, obedience not to earn the impossible, obedience not seeking unmerited reward, but obedience in love and gratitude. The Sermon on the Mount is all Gospel.

  21. 21 Echo
    August 31, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Seth said:

    Jesus didn’t mention forgiveness in several of his sermons either.


    In the sermon on the mount JESUS prepares hearts for his forgiveness through the law. The sermon on the mount prepares hearts for what Jesus has done. Remember Jesus said it is the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy. Problem is, those who believe in conditional forgiveness such as the LDS are blind to their sickness. If a person is blind to his sickness, he won’t seek the cure. He doesn’t think he needs a cure!

    The sermon on the mount leads all of us to the end of what we must do. It shows us our sickness, it shows us our sin and our failure to keep God’s law perfectly. It shows us what we have failed to do. It removes all hope that forgiveness or eternal life can depend on us in any way. It leads us to dispair and recognize our sickness:

    Romans 3:20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”

    Romans 3:19 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”

    James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking ALL OF IT.”

    It’s only when we recognize our sickness, our inability to meet the conditions of forgiveness
    that our hearts are prepared for what Jesus has done FOR US. Jesus has the ONLY CURE.

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