10
Dec
09

His Healing Now

 

     That is the name of a new website that I helped create.  It presents the message of God’s healing and forgiveness to those in Mormonism who are struggling with feelings of unworthiness.  It does that through various stories – especially stories from a woman’s perspective. 

     The one thing that has been interesting is that most of the early responses have been from LDS men – the majority of whom have been angry at us for doing this.  I find that interesting.  In many cases it becomes quite obvious that they have written without really reading the content of the site.  Just the fact that we made that site has angered them.  They are angry, they tell us, because we are trying to reach out to hurting Mormons.  I find that ironic because of all the LDS missionaries who appear unannounced at people’s door telling even Christians who answer that they would like to share with them their message of the fulness of the gospel.

     Don’t get me wrong.  I think all people, including LDS missionaries, who sincerely feel they have a message that will help people, should fervently share that message.  I have no problem with LDS missionaries knocking on my door.  The problem I have is when some LDS people don’t extend us the same right and ask us to cease and desist when we sincerely feel that we are sharing with them the true fulness of the gospel.

      I invite you to check out www.hishealingnow.com  It is my prayer that it will be used by the Lord to bring healing to many.

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104 Responses to “His Healing Now”


  1. 1 The Mike
    December 10, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    “They are angry, they tell us, because we are trying to reach out to hurting Mormons. I find that ironic because of all the LDS missionaries who appear unannounced at people’s door telling even Christians who answer that they would like to share with them their message of the fulness of the gospel.”

    First, I’m not angry. Second, I find the billboard campaign either a misguided attempt at missionary work, or a shameless marketing scheme to gain attention from contention. As a former militant atheist who has taken the effort to find Christ through Mormonism, I’d like to point out that it is this absurd breach of civility that showed to me, when I was searching to find a religion that best typified Christ, that pastors, like yourself, do not represent the spirit of Christ and I should avoid them at all costs.

    “I have no problem with LDS missionaries knocking on my door. The problem I have is when some LDS people don’t extend us the same right and ask us to cease and desist when we sincerely feel that we are sharing with them the true fulness of the gospel.”

    I agree with your sentiment, equal respect among religions is important. Where I feel you’re missing the point, however, is that your campaign is rooted in righteous discrimination, the LDS church’s techniques are not. For example, can you show me the billboards from the LDS church which insinuate that a person should join the church because they’re mistreated by their pastor?

    I support you fully in your right to buy every billboard in the Mormon bubble to share “the true fulness of the gospel.” If you want to highlight scriptural passages that best represent your view or advertise your ministry, go right ahead. However, when your missionary work is rooted in an attack of a contrary faith, it mocks Christianity and the institution of religious freedom we enjoy in America.

  2. 2 RLO
    December 10, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    I am unfamiliar with the billboard campaign to which you refer. Can you tell me a little about it? Specifically, what do the billboards say?

  3. 3 markcares
    December 10, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    The billboard has a picture of a worried woman with the words “Feeling Worthy?” and then gives the webiste address. To see a newspaper article with a picture of the billboard go to
    http://www.rexburgstandardjournal.com/articles/2009/12/02/news/24.txt

  4. 4 Echo
    December 11, 2009 at 12:35 am

    The Mike said: “For example, can you show me the billboards from the LDS church which insinuate that a person should join the church because they’re mistreated by their pastor?”

    If I was being mistreated by my Pastors and I didn’t know it, I would want someone to rescue me. It’s truly unfortunate that the LDS church wouldn’t post billboards to save me from my pastors who mistreat me. That means the LDS church doesn’t truly care about me because if they knew I was being mistreated and I myself didn’t know, but they did nothing about it, they don’t really love God and their neighbor. That would be a sign of a false church.

  5. 5 RLO
    December 11, 2009 at 4:18 am

    The Mike said: “For example, can you show me the billboards from the LDS church which insinuate that a person should join the church because they’re mistreated by their pastor?”

    This question is for “The Mike” (may I call “Mike”?):

    The billboard campaign that Mark describes doesn’t appear to insinuate what you have suggested, “that a person should join the church because they’re mistreated by their pastor.”

    Mike, did you see some other billboard that insinuates the message you are alluding to?

  6. December 11, 2009 at 6:14 am

    Interesting how we Mormons always get accused of basing our testimonies on cheap emotionalism.

  7. December 14, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Mark,

    The website is wonderful. I hope the Lord will bless it and hopefully it will touch many hurting Mormon women’s lives. As a former LDS , I can tell you that many LDS women struggle with feelings of unworthiness, and “perfectionism”… it is a daily battle for many. My heart goes out to the many LDS women who have not been freed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I was once one of them. Focused on being perfect, and falling miserably short.

    My life changed when I embraced the grace that christ so freely offered me.

    As for prosleyting efforts…. if the LDS are going to go around telling people that their creeds are wrong, and their church lacks “truth” they should certainly not be offened by well meaning Christians who extend the message of the cross and the sufficiency of Christ’s grace. If they are willing to “dish it out” sort of speak, they should be able to take it in return.

    God bless,
    gloria

  8. 8 The Mike
    December 15, 2009 at 6:55 am

    “This question is for ‘The Mike’ (may I call ‘Mike’?):

    The billboard campaign that Mark describes doesn’t appear to insinuate what you have suggested, ‘that a person should join the church because they’re mistreated by their pastor.'”

    This claim is false. The question “feeling worthy?” insinuates that there would be some unreasonable expectation placed upon LDS women, Cares embraces this fact. Since the LDS church is a tiered organization, the expectations would come from one’s leaders. It is clear that this was Cares’ intention, as is validated by the concession made by Echo when he vocalized his flawed argument.

    As for said argument, do you support the humanist campaign who’s goal is to liberate the imprisoned minds of the religious from oppressive leadership? Those specific activists feel they’re saving you from being manipulated by leader’s who don’t want real jobs. What is the difference between their movement and Cares’? What about the “War on Christmas,” do you feel signs that directly attack the Christian holiday are appropriate?

  9. 9 ADB
    December 15, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Mike,

    While I appreciate your point of view, I guess I see no difference between TILM putting a billboard up that asks what I see as a very legitimate question (which shouldn’t be a cause of concern if most LDS women feel worthy anyway, right?), and LDS missionaries coming to my door claiming that the gospel I have is some how insufficient compared to the LDS “gospel.”

    Any way you try to spin it, the LDS complaining about this advertising campaign smacks of the pot calling the kettle black.

  10. 10 Echo
    December 15, 2009 at 8:06 am

    The Mike said:

    “As for said argument, do you support the humanist campaign who’s goal is to liberate the imprisoned minds of the religious from oppressive leadership? Those specific activists feel they’re saving you from being manipulated by leader’s who don’t want real jobs. What is the difference between their movement and Cares’? What about the “War on Christmas,” do you feel signs that directly attack the Christian holiday are appropriate?”

    There is a huge difference between the humanist campaign and Cares ministry. The humanist seeks to destroy faith all together and to convert to athiesm. End result or outcome- Outer darkness

    Cares ministry seeks to nourish and feed a despairing faith with the healing balm of forgiveness found only in Jesus. End result or outcome – freedom from unworthiness and certainty of entering the celestial kingdom.

  11. 11 faithoffathers
    December 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    I have mentioned before that there are many similarities between the saved-by-grace alone gospel and socialist thought. The way the socialist appeals to the common folk (those with little wealth) is to promise them something in goods and services for free. Here we simply have a group offering “freedom” from guilt, responsibility, and perceived relief from the life-long task of enduring to the end. It is the easy way out, no doubt about it. And it is always easy to market an easy way out- human nature loves it.

    Cares is free to reach out however they desire. Those who are enticed by such an appeal are free to choose such an answer. I have no problem with it.

    fof

  12. 12 Echo
    December 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    FOF said: “Here we simply have a group offering “FREEDOM” from guilt,” (emphasis mine)

    John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you “FREE”, you will be “FREE” indeed.

    FOF SAID: “… responsibility, and perceived relief from the life-long task of enduring to the end.”

    Freedom from guilt produces responsibility and desire to endure to the end. Freedom from guilt leads to good works. All that guilt does is that it produces bad works in increasing measure.

    FOF said: ” It is the “EASY” way out, no doubt about it. ” (emphasis mine)

    Mathew 11:30 “For my yoke is “EASY…”

    FOF said: “And it is always easy to market an easy way out- human nature loves it.”

    Human nature loves to see himself as better than God sees him.

  13. 13 faithoffathers
    December 15, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Echo,

    Whatever. You clearly have a knack for dissecting and changing a person’s meaning. Touche. When did following the path of least resistence ever lead to greatness?

    fof

  14. 14 ADB
    December 15, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    FOF,

    Judging by how hard it is for the LDS to accept Jesus’ offer of free, unconditional grace, I would hardly call his the “path of least resistance.” I think the LDS commentary on this blog demonstrates quite clearly (and sadly!) how common it is to resist that path.

    “And it is always easy to market an easy way out- human nature loves it.”

    I would argue the contrary . What human nature really loves is to puff itself up with pride in somehow believing it can “help God along” in contributing in some way, whether big or small, to his eternal welfare. It’s much more appealing to be able to distinguish myself from others by claiming that I have made myself worthy of the atonement, is it not? That Jesus should just apply it to me without any other condition is just plain offensive to natural man.

    Nevertheless, that is precisely what Jesus has done in bringing the true freedom to which Echo referred. I know that and believe it, and because I do, I will continue “the life-long task of enduring to the end.”

  15. 15 Echo
    December 16, 2009 at 12:26 am

    FOF said “Whatever. You clearly have a knack for dissecting and changing a person’s meaning”

    What meaning have I changed?

  16. 16 faithoffathers
    December 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I question whether this is a conversation worth continuing. The logic being employed reminds me of being on the beach digging a whole and watching sand immediately drizzle down into the hole being dug, getting nowhere fast.

    Echo and ADB- are you saying that everytime a person comes to a crossroad in life, the best path to take is the easiest one- the one that offers the least resistence? I think I know some teenagers who would agree whole-heartedly with you. A few criminals too.

    Please control yourselves from jumping immediately to what is the knee-jerk EV conclusion in all these faith vs. works exchanges- you see evidence in every sentence, phrase, and syllable from LDS that we believe we can save ourselves. I think this is a matter of intellectual dishonesty or an inability to understand certain concepts.

    I repeat my questions- when did following the path of least resistence ever lead to greatness?

    fof

  17. 17 Echo
    December 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    In thinking of our physical birth to our parents on this earth, everyone realizes that a newborn baby didn’t obey any commandments their parents had given them in order to be born into this world. That baby was born, not because of anything the baby had done, but because of the love of the parents.

    I compare that to how we are saved (born again) into God’s family. Everyone is saved (born again) not because of anything that they do, not because they obeyed any of God’s commandments, but they were saved (born again) solely because of the love of Jesus.

    In the same way that a new born baby has security and certainty that his parent’s home is his home apart from anything he had done, so also we have the security and certainty that the celestial kingdom is our home the moment we first were saved (born again.) This security and certainty comes with birth as a birth right and not because we obeyed the commandments of God.

    People who did nothing to be born, people who did nothing to be born again, go on to do great things.

  18. December 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    FoF,

    You’re never going to convince these guys that having covenant requirements for exaltation is not the same thing as meriting it.

    The people here want to see us as “arrogant Mormons” who are trying to earn their salvation. Nothing you say can change this deep-seated need for labeling that they have. They need you to be “works-obsessed” so that they can feel special and distinctive about their own religion.

    No matter how many times you explain it, that need in them remains, and so your explanations are going to fall on deaf ears.

    That’s why I’m largely finished with the whole grace vs. works debate. It’s a pointless circular argument between two groups of people who – in reality – don’t disagree with each other all that much, but need to act like they do so they can feel special. And until the deep insecurities of the debaters is addressed, it’s never going to change.

  19. 19 Echo
    December 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Seth said: “You’re never going to convince these guys that having covenant requirements for exaltation is not the same thing as meriting it.”

    If A + B = Exaltation, Where B = covenant requirements, then A and B merit exalatation.

    If you don’t believe it does, they are your beliefs and you need to know how to explain that.

  20. December 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    A requirement is not the same thing as meriting Echo.

    God has determined that if we will but agree to be he children and consent to love him, he will swallow up the evil we have done. We will be purified – no by merit of any works we have done – but by virtue of that relationship with God.

    Having the relationship does not mean we deserve forgiveness. Nor does it mean we earned anything in particular. But it is necessary. The relationship is had by covenant – as it always has been in the scriptures.

    Bottom line Echo – I don’t feel like I’ve earned anything. But I don’t really expect you to acknowledge that.

  21. 21 Echo
    December 16, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    How does an LDS person show their love for God?

  22. 22 faithoffathers
    December 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Echo- Jesus’ own words: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

    Do we not hope to be joint heirs with Christ?

    When he and his wife die, Bill Gates does not plan on giving his fortune and empire to his son. But if he did decide, like many people, to bestow such wealth upon his son, do you think his son would have deserved such an inheritence from a “merit” standpoint? Of course not. He never “earned” that wealth himself.

    Many people leave behind their wealth and life’s rewards to their children based on their child’s level of responsibility and maturity. Those who inherit such wealth do not deserve nor have they “earned” those inheritences in any earthly or economic sense. They were simply trustworthy, and those leaving the planet feel generous and want to show their love.

    Not dissimilar. Maybe that is why the words “heirs” and “inheritence” are used by Christ in discussing the topic.

    And by the way, please don’t try to argue that any loving parents will leave behind everything to their children equally, no matter how those kids behave. Please factor wisdom and intelligence into the parents.

    fof

  23. 23 ADB
    December 16, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Seth,

    “You’re never going to convince these guys that having covenant requirements for exaltation is not the same thing as meriting it.”

    I’m convinced.

    “A requirement is not the same thing as meriting Echo.”

    For whatever reason, I’ve been trying to make sense of this, and I can say that I agree with you. For example, if someone were to apply for a job at McDonald’s, he would be required to fill out an application. However, no one in his right mind would claim that his filling out the application merited his being hired. There certainly is a distinction, and I apologize if I hadn’t seen it as clearly in the past.

    However, in my mind the issue still remains that whether speaking of a requirement or meriting something, neither qualifies as something we’re capable of fulfilling. The simple requirement is perfection, right? Only Jesus ever met that requirement. Only Jesus ever will meet that requirement. Heavenly Father holds us to the same standard of perfection to which he held Jesus, but we’ve already failed to meet that standard. To deny that is to somehow water down Heavenly Father’s requirements of us.

    “And until the deep insecurities of the debaters is addressed, it’s never going to change.”

    Do you include yourself among those with deep insecurities, or are you intending this statement to refer only to the Christians posting on this site? Please don’t confuse the unshakable certainty that Heavenly Father has given us through the Bible with what you might perceive to be insecurity.

    In general I was a little disappointed in your post 18, as I don’t think it really added anything constructive to the discussion. Furthermore, for what it’s worth it was way off the mark. Your being “work-obseesed” or not has absolutely zero bearing on how I feel about my religion and more importantly, my relationship with Heavenly Father. To my knowledge (and perhaps I shouldn’t speak for others), Christians don’t post on this site or any other LDS-focused site to feel better about themselves in light of what those wacky Mormons believe; we post because the love of Christ compels us to hold out to others what he has so freely and graciously offered us … (in spite of your own confession that you aren’t interested in it).

  24. 24 ADB
    December 17, 2009 at 12:01 am

    FOF,

    Re: your post #16, perhaps my previous point in #14 was unclear. My point was that I don’t in any way think ours is the path of least resistance. In fact I believe with all my heart that ours is the most difficult. Your LDS requirements are a piece of cake (and in fact I would argue that I meet them as well, if not better, than most LDS–especially humility:) compared to relying solely on Jesus Christ alone.

    If it really was so easy, then I would suspect we wouldn’t have billions of people outside of Christianity choosing all kinds of different paths. Especially in today’s world, wouldn’t more people be going for the “easy path” of Christianity? Doesn’t seem like it. Perhaps our path is more difficult than you’re willing to admit, since you yourself struggle with it. You might even call the free, unconditional grace-filled, no-strings-attached, good news about Jesus “foolishness.” We tend to resist foolishness, don’t we …

  25. 25 ADB
    December 17, 2009 at 12:32 am

    “The relationship is had by covenant – as it always has been in the scriptures.”

    But any successful covenant in the Scriptures has always been totally one-sided: Heavenly Father always makes and keeps the promise. That’s how any covenant with his people has always had to be, because man has not kept his end of the bargain ever in any covenant relationship with Heavenly Father. God establishes a covenant with man, man breaks it. Enter Jesus.

  26. December 17, 2009 at 1:30 am

    ADB, I went through my own phase just entering college after an LDS mission to Japan where I was desperately struggling with some worthiness issues as I perceived them (they could be “trivial” or “grievous” – I’m not telling). A lot of my perceptions of my LDS religion contributed to my feelings of worthlessness, and inadequacy. So believe me, I do get where a lot of the “refugees” Mark feels he is ministering to are coming from. LDS culture can and does foster an incorrect view of the Atonement. It’s a real problem for us.

    My response to my own worries was to dive into LDS scripture and past teaching more wholeheartedly looking for a solution.

    It was then that I discovered Christ’s atonement fully for the first time. And I discovered it via the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. It was a great discovery and did a lot to put my mind at peace and allow me to simply “let go” of my former problems.

    So I come from two paradigms here. On the one hand, I understand the Evangelical criticisms of Mormonism as having a culture of works-centeredness. In fact, I’ve occasionally wondered if some Evangelicals aren’t “prophets” in the Old Testament sense, that God has raised up to chastise his chosen Israel (us).

    But on the other hand, since I discovered Christ through the tools provided to me by LDS writings, scripture and doctrine, I reject the notion that Mormonism is inherently at odds with a correct understanding of Christ and his Atonement.

    And yes, that crack about insecurities was made as much to Mormons as Evangelicals. I myself may have blogged from that premise on occasion.

  27. 27 Echo
    December 17, 2009 at 2:13 am

    Seth said: “My response to my own worries was to dive into LDS scripture and past teaching more wholeheartedly looking for a solution.”

    Teach me what you learned, teach me the solution that you came up with. I would like to understand your beliefs.

  28. 28 CJ Douglass
    December 17, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    ECHO: “How does an LDS person show their love for God?”

    We do what Jesus taught – “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

    Mark, The best way to make an argument is to present an accurate interpretation of what your opponent believes/argues. Then make comparisons based on reality. The fact is – you consistently misrepresent the core doctrines of 2009 Mormonism. I’m actually very interested to hear the views of others concerning the teachings of Jesus and the Bible in general. But when you consistently prop up a Mormon straw man – I’m inclined to think your motives are not so genuine.

    That might be why you find objections to your style of Mormon outreach.

  29. 29 ADB
    December 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    CJ,

    I think that’s one of Mark (and other Christian’s) frustrations: how in tarnations is one ever supposed to represent the doctrines of 2009 Mormonism accurately? Mark consistently quotes LDS scriptures and writings as much as possible, only to be rebutted time and again by Mormons who disagree. How does one accurately represent 2009 Mormonism? How do you? It sure would be easier if the doctrines were consistent, so that 2009 Mormonism didn’t look any different than 1009 Mormonism (wait, Mormonism wasn’t around then, was it–how about 1809 Mormonism? No? OK, how about 1909 Mormonism, or even 1999 Mormonism for that matter? Can you understand the frustration???)? Is Mark’s “misrepresentation” intentional or deliberate? Is he trying to set up a straw man (by the way, you aren’t GB disguised as CJ, are you?)? I don’t believe its fair for anyone to judge him in that way when there appears to be so much flexibility within Mormonism when it comes to doctrine. Some Mormons on this blog have even said that doctrine and orthodoxy aren’t even all that important within Mormonism. Talk about confusing.

    Also, I would make one subtle amendment to your response to Echo, which would be this:

    “We TRY TO do what Jesus taught – “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” The glaring problem, of course, is that Jesus didn’t say “try,” he said you “will” keep my commandments.

  30. December 17, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Why the concern with pigeonholing in the first place?

    Why shouldn’t the theology be open-ended?

  31. 31 ADB
    December 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Seth,

    I don’t know if your question is directed at me or CJ. I’m not debating whether Mormon theology should or shouldn’t be open (you know my thoughts on it from a Christian viewpoint). But if it’s open-ended, I guess I don’t understand CJ’s notion that Mark is misrepresenting Mormonism. How can he represent it if it is, as you say, open-ended?

  32. 32 markcares
    December 17, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    ADB has expressed well my frustration. As i have noted more than once in the past, many Mormons can’t even agree with what constitutes a source of authority on Mormonism. Since the LDS Church just came out with a new version of Gospel Principles and since it will be studied for the next two years in all of the wards, it would seem logical to cite it as an authority on 2009 Mormonism. But already the few times I have cited it in conversations, I have been told that it doesn’t reprsent Mormonism.
    CJ: Tell me what you consider authoritative for 2009 Mormonism.

  33. 33 Echo
    December 18, 2009 at 1:15 am

    If theology is open ended, It would be impossible to ever be certain about anything in matters pertaining to God and to our lives. Uncertainty always feeds doubt. Not to be disrespectful, but that is “give up on God and go home” theology.

  34. December 18, 2009 at 3:21 am

    Not in my book it isn’t Echo.

  35. December 18, 2009 at 3:23 am

    Mark, the problem is you keep looking for creeds in a religion that isn’t supposed to have any to begin with.

    That’s forcing Mormons to do religion your way and on your own terms, rather than facing us for what we really are.

  36. 36 markcares
    December 18, 2009 at 4:35 am

    Seth:
    Creeds, as you know, are just statements of what people believe. It is my contention that everybody has a creed, whether they call it that or not. An athiest’s creed is that there is no god.
    If Mormonism has no creeds than there is no way that I or anybody else can misrepresent it. Would it be a misrepresentation to say that Mormonism teaches that God has no physical body, or that Joseph Smith was a fraud? If there are no creeds in Mormonism, on what basis could you charge me with error?

  37. December 18, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Mormonism is mostly concerned with being a part of a covenant community. Acceptance of Joseph Smith is going to be important for that end. So are a lot of doctrinal matters. But only on a rather basic level.

    The problem is that some Evangelical observers are clamoring for us to take the theology further than is strictly necessary for the preservation of a covenant community.

    And Mormons simply don’t need to go there. We don’t particularly want to, nor should we be required to.

  38. 38 Echo
    December 18, 2009 at 4:50 am

    What about all the scriptures warnings against false teaching leading people to outer darkness. With open ended theology, a person can never be certain if any of their teaching is false teaching because there is no measuring rod to compare it to. In fact…open ended theology is a huge open invitation to false teaching.

  39. December 18, 2009 at 5:16 am

    False teachings about what Echo?

    Why do you automatically assume that they are theological in nature?

    Why not ethical? Why not organizational?

  40. December 18, 2009 at 5:17 am

    And the LDS Church does have a problem when certain personal views are aggressively imposed on the membership.

    I’m just saying the bright dividing line you guys are looking for is not there – nor is it supposed to be there.

  41. 41 markcares
    December 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Seth:
    Thanks for the answers. Here’s my problem. If I want to be part of a covenant community, I would still have to know what the covenant is and what are the requirements for being part of the covenant community. Where do I go to find out what the covenant is and what are the requirements? As I look at the covenant community of Mormonism it seems clear that it is telling me to go to the living prophet since he is the only one who, it tells me, as authority over the whole church.
    I have the same problem when you talk about “certain personal views”. How do I determine what is and isn’t a personal view? There has to be some standard to judge that against. What is the standard?

  42. 42 The Mike
    December 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    ADB:
    “While I appreciate your point of view, I guess I see no difference between TILM putting a billboard up that asks what I see as a very legitimate question (which shouldn’t be a cause of concern if most LDS women feel worthy anyway, right?), and LDS missionaries coming to my door claiming that the gospel I have is some how insufficient compared to the LDS “gospel.”

    Any way you try to spin it, the LDS complaining about this advertising campaign smacks of the pot calling the kettle black.”

    Your comment shows how out of touch you are with the spirit of Christ. Your argument is simply, “I feel my enemy used this approach therefore it is acceptable for me to do it as well.” Where is the christian higher law in that? Then again, this is the post-George W. world so it probably makes a ton of sense to the Christian majority.

    ECHO:
    “There is a huge difference between the humanist campaign and Cares ministry. The humanist seeks to destroy faith all together and to convert to athiesm. End result or outcome- Outer darkness

    Cares ministry seeks to nourish and feed a despairing faith with the healing balm of forgiveness found only in Jesus. End result or outcome – freedom from unworthiness and certainty of entering the celestial kingdom.”

    Cheesy religious anecdotal language aside, Atheism is a belief. It requires a level of faith and commitment to a doctrone, hence the “ism.” Therefore, there is no difference between your campaign and theirs, they both seek to gain followers by way of shock publicity. How does it feel to use the methods of the godless?

  43. 43 ADB
    December 20, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Mike,

    You appear to have put words in my mouth. I never referred to the LDS as “my enemy,” so when responding to anything I post, please refrain from giving others the impression that I consider Mormons “my enemy.” I don’t, and in fact would not spend anytime on this site if I that were the case. Please be more careful in the future.

    Furthermore, I was not trying to justify this approach or any other approach. I was simply disagreeing with your first post that seemed to say that the LDS have never taken a similar approach to what Mark’s ministry is doing. While the LDS may be more subtle, the tactic is the same. Don’t take my post of on some tangent that it wasn’t intended to be taken on.

    Finally, I’m not sure you realize the irony of following up your chastisement of me (“Where is the christian higher law in that?) with the sarcastic statement that you did: “Then again, this is the post-George W. world so it probably makes a ton of sense to the Christian majority.” Was that a jab? Was that meant in love? I have to ask, “Where is the christian higher law in that?”

  44. December 20, 2009 at 9:07 am

    For the record, I don’t really mind if Evangelical ministries want to put up billboards making emotional appeals based on a perceived emotional and spiritual weakness in the Mormon population.

    But I expect those Evangelicals who use such tactics to now shut up about how “emotionally-based” the typical Mormon testimony is.

    You can’t have it both ways I’m afraid.

    If you want to conduct your own proselyting on an emotional basis, you have no right to criticize things like the stereotypical Mormon “burning in the bosom.”

    As long as we’re clear on that point – billboard away, by all means.

  45. 45 Echo
    December 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Mike said: “Your comment shows how out of touch you are with the spirit of Christ. Your argument is simply, “I feel my enemy used this approach therefore it is acceptable for me to do it as well.” Where is the christian higher law in that? Then again, this is the post-George W. world so it probably makes a ton of sense to the Christian majority.”

    I am afraid it is the LDS posters here who are “out of touch with the spirit of Christ” assuming everything we do with regards to the billboards is with “evil” intent and trying to paint it in light of that false impression. You also assume you are our enemy, that also is “out of touch with the spirit of Christ”.

    What ADB is conveying to you when he said: “LDS missionaries coming to my door claiming that the gospel I have is some how insufficient compared to the LDS “gospel” is that you he realizes that you think you are doing this with good intentions and good motives. So ADB is saying to you, why can’t you realize that we are doing it with good intentions and good motives too. We do what we do for the same reason you do what you do. When you fail to see the good intent in all that we do in light of the good intent in all that you do, you are “out of touch with the spirit of Christ”

  46. 46 Echo
    December 20, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Seth, there is a difference between the emotionally based “burning in the bosom” and appealing to the emotions.

    Truth changes emotions. Emotions are dependant on truth.

    The burning in the bosom is “truth based on emotions” We teach the opposite: “emotions based on truth”

  47. 47 Echo
    December 20, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    When I say the LDS is “truth based on emotion” the problem is that emotions can be wrong and if emotions are wrong, then the truth is also wrong, in other words, what we thought was truth, really was not the truth. It feels like truth because it impacted our emotions, but if our emotions are wrong, then what we thought was truth is also wrong.

    Proverbs 14:12 explains this:

    “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

    Here we have a man who’s emotions lead him to believe he has the truth(it seems right) and so he assumes it leads to life. But in the end it leads to death because his emotions were wrong. Even though it “seemed right”, it wasn’t right. The man needed real truth to change his emotions.

  48. December 20, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    There is nothing there that Mormon teaching disagrees with Echo.

  49. 49 Echo
    December 20, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Can you explain that?

  50. 50 Echo
    December 20, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Seth said: “My response to my own worries was to dive into LDS scripture and past teaching more wholeheartedly looking for a solution.”

    you forgot to answer this question: Can you teach me what you learned, teach me the solution that you came up with. I would like to understand your beliefs.

  51. 51 faithoffathers
    December 20, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Echo,

    EV critics of LDS love to talk about the emotions that we rely upon. I think this is disingenuous. Or maybe they do not understand what we mean in describing out testimonies.

    There are many ways the Holy Ghost communicates with a person. He can communicate through thoughts, feelings, impressions, a voice, etc. etc. This is all in addition to the bigger types of revelation- visions, angels, etc.

    The suggestion that we are dependent upon our emotions for truth is a caricature of what we believe and experience. Sure, a person’s testimony may or may not involve feelings or emotions, but that is not necessary. I find that the Holy Ghost communicates with me more often through my thoughts than anything else.

    The scripture from Proverbs you cite could just as likely be talking about the intellect as it is emotion. “A way that seems right to a man”- how does that specify emotion? It doesn’t. I think you are reading something into that verse.

    The Holy Ghost is the most reliable source of truth. Period. And it is in learning how to recognize that influence and our responses to it that we really develop our relationship with deity. You don’t just accept the Bible because it is inherently provable. That is craziness. You know through the Holy Ghost that it is the word of God.

    fof

  52. 52 Echo
    December 21, 2009 at 1:22 am

    FOF said: “There are many ways the Holy Ghost communicates with a person. He can communicate through thoughts, feelings, impressions, a voice, etc. etc. This is all in addition to the bigger types of revelation- visions, angels, etc.”

    How do you know if those thoughts, feelings, impressions, voices, revelation, visions, angels etc. are from God and not from Satan and demons disguising themselves to look like they are from God or to work in such a way as to effect your thoughts, feelings, impressions etc. ? You can’t know, that’s the problem. If the Holy Ghost commincates that way, you are in dangerous teritory to be sure. You could be drawn into a trap and you have no way to be certain of it.

    We believe the Holy Ghost communicates with us through God’s word alone. That way, we always have absolute certainty that it is indeed the Holy Ghost speaking and not demons masquerading as the Holy Ghost.

    In the Bible, Jesus calls the Holy Ghost the Spirit of truth:

    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.”

    God’s word in the Bible is truth:

    John 17:17 “…your word is truth”

    Not just the very words Jesus or God speak, but every word from the beggining of Genesis to the end of Revelation:

    1 Thess 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

    That verse above also says “…word of God, which is at work in you who believe”

    Therefore the Bible is the Holy Spirit’s word that communicates with us.

    The Bible says that any message about God that comes from outside of his word is not to be listened to because the messsenger has no light of dawn:

    Isaiah 8:20 ” To the law and to the testimony!(the scriptures) If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

    FOF said: “You don’t just accept the Bible because it is inherently provable. That is craziness. You know through the Holy Ghost that it is the word of God.”

    This is case in point. Your Holy Ghost reveals to you through means other than the word of God itself that the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. Your Holy Ghost is in fact saying the bible has errors. Your Holy Ghost in fact diametrically apposed to the Holy Ghost whose very word the scripture is!

    The Holy Spirit(Ghost) of the true God says that God justifies the ungodly:

    Romans 4:5 KJV “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him THAT JUSTIFIETH THE UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    The LDS Holy Spirit (Ghost) says the exact opposite, it says God doesn’t justify the ungodly:

    Joseph Smith Translation: Romans 4:5 “But to him that seeketh not to be justified by the law of works, but believeth on him who JUSTIFIETH NOT THE UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness”

    We have two options here…Believe God or believe Joseph Smith. Believe the Holy Spirits (Holy Ghost’s) word or not. The Bible is the Holy Spirit’s word.

  53. 53 Echo
    December 21, 2009 at 2:12 am

    The fact the the LDS teaches that God does NOT justify the ungodly is also the very cause that leads many LDS feeling unworthy.

    The billboard campaign is directed towards those who believe this LDS teaching.

    We have the cure for their unworthiness, in the words of the Holy Ghost, “God justifies the ungodly”

  54. December 21, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Echo, what do you think I was doing all last year?

    You were here, if I recall.

  55. 55 Echo
    December 21, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Which thread was that? I really don’t recall discussing this with you. I don’t think I was here last year, at least it doesn’t seem like I have been here that long but who knows, time flies. What thread was that?

  56. 56 faithoffathers
    December 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Echo,

    How do we know that what any of the ancient prophets taught was true? Using your logic, there really is no way of knowing. You keep saying that God’s word tells us what is true. But how do you determine what God’s word is?

    How were the prophets of old supposed to determine if their revelations were from God or from demons? Your argument undermines everything about the Bible.

    Your position may make sense to you, but truthfully, it is ultimate circular logic and makes it impossible for the majority of the world’s people, past and present, to determine what is true- is there a God, what religion is true, etc.

    fof

  57. 57 Echo
    December 21, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    FOF,

    The answer to your question revolves around Jesus. Did he live, was he crucified, did he rise from the dead. You and I both agree then answer is yes, yes and yes.

    Jesus puts his mark of approval on our OT by quoting from OT books and naming some of the inspired people contained in those books. Most notable is that even though those books cover a time in history of roughly 2500 years, Jesus indicated that the OT was still without error because he has come to fulfill ALL that was written in them. Luke 24:44 “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” And Mathew 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”

    During Jesus’ ministry he also appointed the apostles to be his witnesses to the world. In doing so, Jesus is putting his stamp of approval on the New Testament. (NT). The NT contains the words of the apostles and those closely associated with them, all of them approved by Jesus or the apostles whom Jesus chose.

    The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is therefore self-authenticating. Jesus himself chose the canon of scripture that we today call our Bible. It’s absolutely certain and leaves us no doubt.

  58. 58 Echo
    December 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    The argument of circular logic cannot be used when it comes to the Bible. The Bible isn’t one book, it is 66 seperate books. The Bible doesn’t have one author, it has (very roughly) 40 authors , the Bible isn’t written in one life time, it is written througout all of history across many generations. It contains numerous eye witness accounts of the life, death and ressurection of Jesus. The Bible is the testimony of hundreds, if not thousands of people all in agreement with one another and never contradicting one another.

    The Book of Mormon fails to meet all of this criteria. It is circular reasoning.
    It is one book published by the testimony of one man all within his own lifetime. The original 3 witnesses to the BOM all removed themselves from the LDS Church and in so doing, stand as “Three” witnesses testifying against the “One” Joseph Smith.

    Duet 19:15 “One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

    Joseph Smith’s teachings, translation of the Bible and the BOM contradict what the Bible teaches.

    The bible teaches that God justifies the ungodly:

    Romans 4:5 KJV “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him THAT JUSTIFIETH THE UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    Joseph Smith teaches that God doesn’t justify the ungodly:

    Joseph Smith Translation: Romans 4:5 “But to him that seeketh not to be justified by the law of works, but believeth on him who JUSTIFIETH NOT THE UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness”

    It’s one man’s testimony against hundreds if not thousands of testimonies to the contrary including Jesus’ own testimony.

  59. December 22, 2009 at 12:02 am

    Echo.

    Did Jesus quote every book in the Old Testament?

  60. 60 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 1:44 am

    First off, you have to remember that Jesus and the writers of the NT both had the same frame of reference as to what constituted the OT. So any quote from all the NT is valid.

    The books of the OT that are directly cited in the NT are all other than Judges, Chronicles, Esther or the Song of Solomon. Although of those 4 books, all but two are alluded to or have possible references to. This leaves only Esther and Song of Solomon. Esther is about the Jewish feast of Purim and Song of Solomon was something read at the great Feast of the Passover. Both of these reflect the esteem by the Jewish community. Because of the nature of these texts, no occasion would have been made to cite them in the NT.
    However all texts of the OT can be shown to be inspired through other methods. For more information on this, pick up a copy of the book: “From God to Us, How we got our Bible by Norman L. Geisler & William E. Nix”

    Now the question remains. How often does the NT mention the names of people in the BOM? How many quotes in the NT directly reference all the books in the BOM?

  61. December 22, 2009 at 3:18 am

    “Jesus and the writers of the NT both had the same frame of reference as to what constituted the OT.”

    Did they?

    So, are all the scripture passages from the Old Testament that they did not quote invalid?

    “Now the question remains. How often does the NT mention the names of people in the BOM? How many quotes in the NT directly reference all the books in the BOM?”

    Pretty irrelevant question Echo.

    Such quotes would have been unfamiliar and lacking in historical context to their audience. So why use them?

    So I don’t think you really have a point here.

  62. December 22, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Oh, and by the way…

    Are you saying the Roman Catholic accepted canon is invalid?

  63. 63 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 3:48 am

    ““Jesus and the writers of the NT both had the same frame of reference as to what constituted the OT.”

    Did they?” Of course they did. Think about it. They lived at the same time in History, they had the same bible.

    You said: “”Now the question remains. How often does the NT mention the names of people in the BOM? How many quotes in the NT directly reference all the books in the BOM?”
    Pretty irrelevant question Echo.
    Such quotes would have been unfamiliar and lacking in historical context to their audience. So why use them?”

    That excludes the BOM right there because the Bible doesn’t authenticate the BOM.

    I could just as easily claim I had been visited by an angel, claim I had found some gold plates, claim to be a prophet of God, have 12 freinds say they saw all this, write a book that is back dated in history and call it the BAM (Book against Mormonism), claim in that book that God said Joseph Smith and the BOM were works of Satan etc. and you would be out of a religion.

    How do you know the BOM is authentic?

  64. 64 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 3:57 am

    You can read up on it in the book I reccomended above. Since the Apocrypha isn’t in your Bible either, I don’t see any point in discussing it.

  65. December 22, 2009 at 3:59 am

    “That excludes the BOM right there because the Bible doesn’t authenticate the BOM.”

    I reject this as a false statement.

    God is bigger than your book.

  66. December 22, 2009 at 4:02 am

    But we’re getting off topic.

    I really didn’t want to have this argument out again so you can recite to me your standard list of talking-points Echo.

    Point is that the Evangelical faith is every bit as prone to emotionalism as Mormonism.

    For instance, why do you believe the faith claims of the Bible Echo?

  67. 67 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 4:29 am

    Seth said: “God is bigger than your book”

    So is Satan.

  68. 68 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 4:35 am

    Seth said: “Point is that the Evangelical faith is every bit as prone to emotionalism as Mormonism. For instance, why do you believe the faith claims of the Bible Echo?”

    I will have to agree wholeheartedly with you that some out there in Christianity are prone to emotionalism in ways that I am not prone.

    “Why do you believe the faith claims of the Bible Echo?”
    Do you mean…why do I believe the Bible or what specifically are you refering to? Can you give me an example to begin with?

  69. 69 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 4:56 am

    And Satan works outside of the parameters of that book.
    Although God could work outside the parameters of that book, God confines himself to the parameters of that book in order to protect us from Satan. In the same way, God authenticates his word to protect us from BOM’s and BAM’s and Qu’ran’s of the world.

  70. December 22, 2009 at 5:10 am

    Sounds like you just made that up to me.

    Logically, it doesn’t follow at all.

    I do hope you’re not going to be tiresome and start carting out that old Evangelical chestnut about the Mormon God being Satan again.

  71. December 22, 2009 at 5:11 am

    No examples. Just a simple question.

    Why do you believe in the Bible?

  72. 72 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Seth, BTW, did you catch my post #52? I checked back and it appears I began posting here in April of THIS year. I would like to read that thread if you can tell me what it was called, I would appreciate it.

  73. 73 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 5:54 am

    “Why do you believe in the Bible?”

    The Holy Ghost brought me from death to life through the message of the gospel. Faith comes from hearing the message.(Rom 10:17)

  74. 74 ADB
    December 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Seth,

    “God is bigger than your book.”

    I must say I am surprised to hear you resorting to the “God is bigger …” defense, which I seem to recall you lambasting in previous threads when evangelicals have used it.

    On a different note, the sufficiency/inerrancy of the Bible discussion seems to me not to be worth it (especially since the LDS claim to believe it). More and more I am convinced the real issue is and always will be who Jesus is. I thought Andy brought up a number of great points/questions/comments in the “Who is Jesus?” thread, and have noticed that much of the content of what he wrote went unaddressed. It seemed any LDS responses went off topic, much like this thread and many others seem to.

  75. 75 Echo
    December 22, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    The LDS God was once a man who progressed to become a God. If we trace that back to the very first man who ever lived, he was a man without God. God did not exist at that time, only man did. The first man had to progress to become a God. So the first man didn’t exist in premortality, nor did all the people that were born between the time this man was born and the time it took him to become a God.

    It would be impossible to have premortality at that time because there was no God at that time. No God to produce spirit children who could then go to that planet. No Savior of man to save him from his sins. Man simply grew and grew perfecting himself without the help of God or a Savior and he overcame death on his own.

    He would have had to overcome death on his own because there was no God at the time. The LDS God is simply a self perfected man who wasn’t created by God. That’s atheism. That is rooted in the belief that there is no God in existence who created man, there only is the desire to become a God which feeds the sinful nature. The LDS religion is rooted in atheism because man had to exist before God could exist.

    Who created the first man?

  76. 76 Echo
    December 23, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Christmas is nearly upon us, It is time to reflect on the Baby Jesus, God’s gift to the world.

    Let us remember this Christmas that it isn’t about Santa. Santa gives gifts to the WORTHY. He says: “Better be good then you will recieve gifts” Re-arrange the letters of “Santa” and you come up with “Satan”.

    Let us reflect on Jesus, God’s true gift to an UNWORTHY world. The best gift ever!

    Merry Christmas all!

  77. December 23, 2009 at 3:27 am

    Andy’s content went unaddressed because I’ve already addressed those points multiple times on this website. Yet his content ignores this and keeps repeating the same arguments as if I never said anything. Andy has heard all the counter arguments, I’m quite sure. He’s been around the block a few times, he’s not ignorant of the material out there. It’s just he seems to prefer to act like those arguments don’t exist, and keep hammering away at the same canned counter-cult ministry talking points.

    I’m tired of repeating myself for people to whom it obviously makes no difference what I say.

    I guess the “God is bigger” argument is not helpful.

    But really ADB, it’s just completely irritating when Echo suddenly plays-dumb and acts like he doesn’t already know that Mormons don’t limit themselves to the Bible.

    We don’t limit ourselves to the Bible!

    Everyone get that?

    Do I have to repeat myself?

    So making an argument with a Mormon that “that’s not in the Bible” is just silly. And since Echo is well aware of this, I can only conclude that he’s deliberately playing dumb about this so that he can send secret code messages to any of his fellow Evangelicals who wander on here and pretend that he’s actually talking to me.

    We don’t believe the Bible alone is sufficient, so using the argument of “that’s not in the Bible” doesn’t work.

    Does – not – work.

    So quit using it with me.

    If you continue to use it with me, I am forced to conclude that you aren’t really talking to me anyway, but are talking to someone else.

  78. December 23, 2009 at 3:36 am

    “The LDS God was once a man who progressed to become a God.”

    That is one doctrinal possibility among several.

    “If we trace that back to the very first man who ever lived, he was a man without God.”

    Since Mormons believe in a beginningless past, this logic doesn’t really work at all Echo.

    “It would be impossible to have premortality at that time because there was no God at that time.”

    Whether you believe that God the Father was always “God” or whether you believe in an infinite regress of Gods, there has never been a time when there was not “God” around.

    “The LDS God is simply a self perfected man who wasn’t created by God. That’s atheism.”

    If the LDS God did become perfect, he did it the same way that we hope to – via an atonement and reconcilliation with God. But there is nothing requiring a Mormon to believe that that’s the way it happened. We are perfectly free to believe that God the Father was always infinitely God.

    And by the way Echo, if you want to throw around the “atheism” label…

    You want to know what I consider atheism?

    The belief that the universe ever didn’t exist and that something ever came from nothing.

    Is it not traditional Christians who are the true nihilists here?

    If you don’t think that’s fair, then I suggest you can the talk about me being an atheist.

    “there only is the desire to become a God which feeds the sinful nature.”

    What is “sinful” about the desire to become God Echo? Give me some specifics here.

    And no, saying “Satan said it” is not even close to being a halfway decent argument. Try something else.

    “Who created the first man?”

    No one did. We are eternal. Our universe has no beginning.

  79. December 23, 2009 at 3:41 am

    The thing about Santa is over-the-top. But I agree with the sentiment.

    We don’t emphasize Santa in our house. We don’t pretend he brings present or any of that stuff. I let my kids watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” repeatedly around this time of year. But we don’t pretend the characters in that movie are any more real than the characters in the Care Bears movie they have.

    When my 6 year old daughter asked about Santa, I told her that he is a Catholic saint who lived and died a long time ago in Asia Minor (I pointed on the globe). And that he was nice to children and people like to tell stories about him giving children presents.

    We don’t threaten our kids with Santa. Nor do we make Christmas presents conditional.

    My feeling is that if you’re going to give a gift, then give a gift. Don’t make it conditional on something. At that point, it is no longer a “gift.” It’s payment. Pretty ugly parental behavior in my opinion.

    Besides, my kids don’t respond well to bribes. Few kids do, actually.

  80. December 23, 2009 at 3:42 am

    So is this feelings you get when you read the Bible?

    Or what is it?

  81. December 23, 2009 at 3:43 am

    It’s going to require a big post.

    If I’m going to put in that much effort, I might as well do a full blown guest post over at LDS-Evangelical Conversations.

  82. December 23, 2009 at 5:26 am

    My husband and I disagree on this. He wants to do the Santa thing. I don’t. Our daughter is still small enough that we’ve been able to shelve it this year, but we’ll probably have to deal with it next year.

  83. December 23, 2009 at 5:38 am

    The bishop in Wyoming that I was Exec. Secretary for had a categorical dislike of “pagan” celebration in all forms. He deep-sixed an idea for a Halloween Party (had us do a generic “ward dinner” that fall instead), and put his foot down against “having Santa visit” at the Christmas party.

    But he was also concerned about the lack of Church art in the hallways depicting women and put in a request to the stake to get some more paintings with women in them. He also insisted on making the Young Women awards a matter of being called up to the pulpit for recognition, and instructed our Relief Society Pres. to attend all PEC meetings (the weekly meeting where the real decisions in a typical LDS ward are made).

    He also had the nicest family I’ve ever met anywhere.

    You would have liked him Jack.

  84. December 23, 2009 at 6:04 am

    When Paul and I first got married, I was one of those evangelicals who didn’t like to celebrate Halloween (I’ve lightened up a bit now). I was willing to compromise on that for him. So I’m probably going to win the Christmas thing by playing the “it’s your turn to compromise” card.

    Being a classicist, I’m pretty darned aware of all of the pagan origins for our holidays, and they don’t really bother me. I usually take the opportunity to educate everyone in the family on the true history of our holidays. “It’s not Valentine’s Day, sweetheart, it’s Lupercalia.” But with Christmas I just hate the idea of lying to my daughter and telling her there’s some god of toys out there who will give her goodies if she’s good enough. My parents did it to me. Sure, there was fun with it, but I was so sad when I learned it was all a lie.

    We have been doing Advent for the first time this year, and I’m really liking that. The daughter loves the candles and I think it brings the right spirit to the season.

    Yes, your old bishop sounds cool. It’s a pity I never seem to land in these egalitarian-minded wards.

  85. 85 RLO
    December 23, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Seth: “What is “sinful” about the desire to become God Echo? Give me some specifics here.”

    Seems to me there was an angel once who decided he could be God.
    Got himself tossed out of heaven for it. Along with a few others.

    Being furious about that, he sells God’s crown of creation the same folly.
    They buy it, and get themselves tossed out of the garden for it.

    So God decides to clear things up a bit. Writes a book.
    Becomes a best seller, by the way. Tells us, among many other wonderful things:

    “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.”

    Well, fast forward to the 1800’s. Along comes some guy named Joe.
    So, what does Joe say? You guessed it. “You can be God!”

    With these first two examples of someone thinking they can be God,
    it doesn’t seem as if God takes kindly to anyone thinking they can be God too.

    No thanks Joe, I’ll pass on that offer.

  86. December 23, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    “Seems to me there was an angel once who decided he could be God.”

    Seems to me there was a demon once who declared that Jesus was the son of God too.

    Are you saying that was a lie too RLO?

    Satan’s problem was that he wanted to overthrow God and set himself up in God’s place. He did not wish to become one with God in the proper manner – by unity in love. For this he was cast down. But the mere desire to become one with God is at the heart of all Christianity. It’s what Jesus died for after all.

    Secondly RLO, if you can somehow magically make “One God” out of three beings, I can do the same thing with more than three beings. Simple.

    What else ya got?

  87. 87 Echo
    December 23, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Seth said: “My feeling is that if you’re going to give a gift, then give a gift. Don’t make it conditional on something. At that point, it is no longer a “gift.” It’s payment. Pretty ugly parental behavior in my opinion.”

    Forgiveness and Eternal Life in the celestial kingdom are God’s Christmas “gifts” to us all wrapped up in a baby lying in a manger.

    If forgiveness and eternity in the celestial kingdom are conditional on something. Then the truth is it is no longer a gift, it’s payment and I agree, that is “Pretty ugly parental behavior in my opinion”

    Merry Christmas!

  88. 88 RLO
    December 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Funny how your, “…become God…” of post #79 is now suddenly, “…become one with God…” in post #86.
    Nice sidestep of the issue.

    Seth: “Seems to me there was a demon once who declared that Jesus was the son of God too.
    Are you saying that was a lie too RLO?”

    No Seth, that was true. The demon correctly recognized Jesus for who he was.
    So what was your point in that?

    Seth: “Secondly RLO, if you can somehow magically make “One God” out of three beings…”

    Three persons, one God. No magic about it. Just the way God has revealed himself. Nothing I magically do.
    Again, what’s your point with that?

  89. December 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Yup. Three persons, one God.

    I just upped the number. That’s all.

    And becoming one with God IS becoming God.

    That’s how you do it in LDS theology. You become one with God in the same way that Jesus is one with God. Thus you become God.

    Which makes perfect sense, since Jesus is our exemplar. We Mormons simply decided to take him literally, instead of figuratively – like you are right now. When Jesus offered us “all the Father hath”, we took him at his word. “All.”

    Every last bit. Even ontology.

    Who are the real Bible literalists here? You seem to be the one trying to hustle Jesus off the stage here, not me.

  90. December 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I’m sorry Echo, there is one condition.

    You have to have a parent-child relationship. Or a relationship of some kind.

    So the question really becomes what is needed to have the relationship.

  91. 91 Echo
    December 24, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Seth said: “I’m sorry Echo, there is one condition.

    You have to have a parent-child relationship. Or a relationship of some kind.

    So the question really becomes what is needed to have the relationship.”

    Seth, laying down “conditions” doesn’t result in a relationship. Love is what results in a relationship. “Unconditional” love, not “conditional” love.

    Where you have “conditions” there you have SLAVES.
    Where you have “unconditonal” love, there you have SONS. Sons who are “free” to love.

  92. 92 RLO
    December 24, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Unresponsive, and unworthy of a response. Take your last word if it’s what you want, and let’s be done with it.

  93. December 24, 2009 at 1:05 am

    I don’t just run out on the street and give presents to random people Echo. A gift is an expression of some sort of relationship between two people. No relationship, no gift.

    It’s not necessarily a function of how well the other person is taking care of the relationship (like being an obedient son), but it is a function of having a relationship of some sort.

    Look even Evangelicals believe that you have to have a relationship with Christ for the Atonement to work. This is not a controversial point.

  94. December 24, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Oh it was plenty responsive.

    You just fell apart the moment I didn’t follow your pre-rehearsed expectations of the debate. Sorry I deviated from counter-cult playbook page 59 RLO. Try actually talking to me next time instead of trying to score brownie points with your Evangelical audience.

  95. 95 Echo
    December 24, 2009 at 3:01 am

    Seth said: “I don’t just run out on the street and give presents to random people Echo. A gift is an expression of some sort of relationship between two people. No relationship, no gift.”

    Yes. I know you don’t give gifts to random people on the street nor to those who aren’t in a relationship with you. But Jesus does, not only that, he gives gifts to those who don’t want a relationship with him, his enemies. He even gave his life as a gift for the ungodly, what greater gift is that?:

    Luke 14:23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”

    Luke 14:21 “‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'”

    Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son”

    Romans 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”

    So Seth, your feelings are wrong. You don’t believe God’s word, you listen to a supposed Holy Ghost that works apart from God’s word which is why everything you believe contradicts the Bible.

  96. December 24, 2009 at 4:00 am

    And, once again Echo, it comes down to the same old stalemate argument we’ve had before.

    Can you reject a gift Echo?

  97. December 24, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Oh, and one more thing, your use of the parable of the feast in Luke 14 doesn’t work.

    The master invited some – they rejected.

    So he then invited others. By accepting, they too entered into enough of a relationship to keep my point. The parable assumes that they too were free to reject the gift as well.

    Thus my question – can you reject Christ’s grace?

  98. 98 Echo
    December 24, 2009 at 4:37 am

    Well of course you can reject a gift. But there are no conditions when someone gives you a gift.

  99. December 24, 2009 at 4:44 am

    So, what is involved in accepting the gift?

  100. 100 Echo
    December 24, 2009 at 5:45 am

    As we are sitting on the floor around the tree this Christmas, I will take the gift’s we have bought our son and place them in his lap. In excitement, he will say thank you! thank you! thank you! Seth, he is only 9 and it would never even occur to him to turn to me and say: “What do I have to do to accept this gift?” I have never ONCE in my entire life had anyone ask that of me when I gave them a gift.

    This Christmas Seth, go and ask everyone who gives you a gift the question: “what is involved in accepting this gift from you?” I think you will find that you have insulted them by insinuating they are selfish and greedy only giving you a gift for what they can get in return for it or only giving you a gift if they get something in return for it. The gift that comes with conditions is not truly a gift, it’s a BRIBE.

  101. December 24, 2009 at 6:49 am

    So, there’s no problem then, is there?

    I’ve already automatically accepted the gift then, in your mind Echo?

  102. 102 Echo
    December 24, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    No that’s incorrect. The Gift was placed in your lap, but you rejected it and said: “no thanks” and gave it back. You can certainly take credit for rejecting it because you actively have to do that, but when you recieved it, you recieved it passively, not actively.

  103. December 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    OK, so salvation was then contingent on my actions.

    Apparently, I AM in charge of my own salvation. By your own admission Echo.

  104. 104 Echo
    December 24, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Salvation is contingent on Christ alone, rejection is contingent on you alone.
    A gift given by me to my son is contingent on me alone, his rejection of my gift is contingent on him alone.

    May you learn this simple elementary lesson this Christmas.


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