In the September issue of the LDS’s magazine, the Ensign, President Henry B. Eyring, the first counselor to the LDS President, refers to a teaching of Mormonism that warrants further examination. He writes: “The Book of Mormon also gives us confidence that we can become so purified in this life that we have no more desire to do evil (see Mosiah 5;2).”
This raises some questions. Are there LDS members who presently fit this description – who have no more desire to do evil? Mosiah 5:2, the Book of Mormon verse that he cites, expands by also saying that they “do good continually.” Does that mean that there are LDS members who never have a selfish desire or never do anything selfishly? Are there LDS members who never speak an unkind word after a bad day? Who never overlook an opportunity to help a fellow human being? Who never act rudely? If so, shouldn’t they be identified as such, so that we can be inspired by them? For example, have all General Authorities reached this state of purfication?
And if an individual LDS member hasn’t reached this state yet, what does that say about him or her? President Eyring says that the Book of Mormon gives the confidence that this can happen. What does it say if an LDS member isn’t confident about this happening in his or her life? Shouldn’t every LDS member have this confidence?
St. Paul didn’t agree with President Eyring or the Book of Mormon. This type of purification wasn’t something St. Paul claimed for himself. In fact, he claimed the opposite: “For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19) But not only did he confess this about himself, this is also what he taught. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that you cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17)
Which of the two do you identify with? I identify with Paul. Every day I find myself doing the evil that I don’t want to do and not doing the good that I want to do. The Book of Mormon thought of not having any desire for evil is a completely foreign concept – and not part of my reality. That is why each and every day I rejoice in knowing that all more sins have been washed away by Jesus’ blood. That is the only purification I have confidence in.