Archive for October, 2009

31
Oct
09

JUDGMENT DAY

     A couple of my favorite Bible passages are Psalm 103: 12 (“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”) and Micah 5: 19 (“thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”)  I am so comforted by the fact that when God forgives sin, he forgets them.   (And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 10:18)

     We see this also in Jesus’ picture of the Judgment as it is recorded in Matthew 25.  He doesn’t mention one sin on the part of the sheep whereas all he mentions about the goats is their sins.  When God forgives, he forgets.

     How much different is the message of Mormonism!  More than one Mormon have told me that they were taught that, on Judgment Day, they would be sitting in a large room where everything they thought, said, and did was flashed on a giant screen for all to see.  They all shared that with a sense of dread and not anticipation.  I don’t know if that is how it is always taught but this is what Gospel Principles says:  “Stored in our body and mind is a complete history of everything we have done.  President John Taylor taught this truth:  ‘[The individual] himself tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. . .That record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind, that record that cannot lie will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who sit as judges.”  (p. 271)

     Because of what Jesus has done, because he paid for all my sins, and drowned them in the depths of the sea, I can’t wait for Judgment Day.  It will be the best day of my life.  For then I will hear Jesus himself saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)   To Jesus be the glory

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27
Oct
09

The Sin of Trying

     I recently ran across an interesting statement.  “Sin is not just breaking the law but imagining you can keep it.”  Wasn’t that the problem with the Pharisees?  If anybody “kept” the law it was them. They defined it so carefully that they determined things like how many steps a person could walk on the Sabbath before it constituted work.  They were obsessed with keeping the law.

     Therefore it surprises a lot of people to see that Jesus reserved his harshest rhetoric for them. This even startled Jesus’ disciples.  “Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?”  (Matthew 15:12)  Jesus responded by describing the Pharisees as the blind leading the blind. 

     They were blind because they didn’t see the deadly folly of imagining that they could keep the law.  This also holds true for Mormonism.  Here are just a few examples from the first few chapters of Gospel Principles

            “By keeping His commandments we can become like Him.”  P. 6

            “Obey all His commandments as best we can (see John 14:21-23).” P 7

            “He, like our Heavenly Father, wanted us to choose whether we would obey Heavenly Father’s commandments.” P.13

            “As we obey each of our Father’s commandments, we grow in wisdom and strength of character.”  P. 19

            “If we keep His commandments and make right choices, we will learn and understand.  We will become like Him.  (See D&C 93:28).”

     Paul, as he states in Philippians 3, was one of the most zealous of all Pharisees.  He describes himself this way:  “Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” (v. 6)  He then says all that he now considers dung.  He continues: “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (v.9)

     The righteousness that is acceptable to God is not any righteousness cultivated by man.  The only righteousness that God accepts is Christ’s righteousness – the righteousness we make our own by giving up on our works and trusting only in Jesus’ works.  That is what Paul discovered.  That is what, I pray, many LDS people will discover.

24
Oct
09

Becoming Gods

 

     I spent a good portion of October traveling to various speaking engagements.  After spending a lot of time in airports and on planes, it’s good to be home for awhile.

     Once again on this trip I met various people who questioned my assertion that Mormonism teaches that people can become gods.   Almost all questioned that because they had Mormon friends who told them that Mormonism doesn’t teach that.  Although I have talked about this in the past, it needs to be addressed again.

     As it so happened, I received the new edition of Gospel Principles shortly before I left, so I had opportunity to read it while I was traveling.  Gospel Principles is the basic manual that gives on overview of LDS teachings.  It is revised about every five or six years.

     Therefore when somebody questioned my statement about Mormonism teaching that people can become gods, all I had to do was point them to p. 277 and the chapter on exaltation.  There it simple says, “They will become gods (see D&C 132:20-23).”  

     Here are a couple other statements from Gospel Principles that support this.  “We learned that if we followed His plan, we would become like Him.  We would be resurrected; we would have all power in heaven and earth; we would become heavenly parents and have spirit children just as He does (see D&C 132:19-20).” (my emphasis)  “Having all power in heaven and earth” – that’s quite a statement.

     Or what about this one?  “Everyone who becomes like Heavenly Father eventually knows all things.”  (p. 128).  First omnipotence.  Now omniscience.  Both are characteristics of God.

     Yes, Mormonism does teach that people can become gods.  Why then do so many Mormons deny that?  Some probably are unaware of it.  Some members of the LDS Church have told me that they probably don’t admit it to me or other Christians because they know we are not asking the question sincerely.  That’s quite an act of judgment.  At least in regard to the Christians I recently talked with, that didn’t seem to be the case at all.  They were just trying to verify with their Mormon friends some things they had heard about Mormonism.

     I don’t know how many times Mormons have told me that if I want to learn about Mormonism, I shouldn’t listen to Christian observers of it, but talk directly to Mormons.  That would be good advice if most Mormons accurately articulated Mormonism’s beliefs.  In the case of this teaching, that has not been my experience – or the experience of many others.

07
Oct
09

Busy

I justed wanted to let you all know that I haven’t posted very much the last month because I have been on the road quite a bit and have been quite busy with a number of different things.  I will be on the road for  about two more weeks and then, hopefully, I can get back to my regular posting.




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