20
Dec
10

The Only Begotten Son

     In the December 2010 Ensign (an official LDS magazine), the following statement is made:  “Jesus was the only person to be born of a mortal mother, Mary and an immortal father, God the Father.  That is why Jesus is called the Only Begotten Son of God.”  What does that exactly mean? 

     This statement is expanded on in a couple of LDS church manuals.  “That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof.”  (Talmage quoted in The Life and Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles, p. 23)  “We believe that he came into the world, born of Mary, literally and actually, as we are born of our mothers: that he came into the world, born of God the Eternal Father, the Almighty Elohim, literally and actually, as we are born of our earthly fathers.”  (McConkie, quoted in Sharing the Gospel, p. 74)

     That Jesus was born of God the Father, “literally and actually, as we are born of our earthly fathers” is a uniquely Mormon belief.  It is rooted in another unique Mormon belief namely that God has a physical body.  “His eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22).”  (Gospel Principles, p. 6) 

     That Jesus was the product of a union of Mary and God the Father has been the subject of unjust caricatures by some Christians.  I personally have never seen or heard Mormons talk about it the way some of those caricatures have portrayed it. 

     But, on the other hand, that doesn’t mean it is not an LDS teaching.  My reason for bringing it up is to highlight how it illustrates the different views Mormonism has of both God the Father and Jesus.  This ties in with Mormonism’s teaching that God is an Exalted Man (“As man is, God once was”) and that Jesus was half –Deity.  “She. . .was about to give birth to half-Deity.”  (Life and Teachings. . .p.10)

     The baby Jesus that Christians worship is not a half-Deity.  Neither do we believe that Jesus was born of the Father, literally and actually, as we are born of our earthly fathers.  The more that Mormons say that they and Christians worship the same Jesus, the more important it will be to highlight such differences.  Mormonism isn’t the “fulness of the gospel” as it claims.  It is a completely different gospel.

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59 Responses to “The Only Begotten Son”


  1. 1 Seth R.
    December 21, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Ah yes…

    The old “MORMONS HAVE SEX IN THEIR THEOLOGY! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” tactic.

    How charming.

    So Mark… Do you believe that sex is filthy degenerate and unworthy? Because that certainly seems to be the underlying assumption behind your line of argument here.

  2. 2 Seth R.
    December 21, 2010 at 2:21 am

    And yes, you did try to soften it later in your post.

    But one wonders why you brought the subject up at all.

  3. 3 Kent
    December 21, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Yes, my Jesus is not a half god and half man and He is not the brother of Satan because my Jesus is God Almighty who made everything there is.

    John 1:1-3

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    The same was in the beginning with God.
    All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

    Also, my Jesus came for a time to earth as a man foretold by the Old Testament sacrifices to take as the perfect blood sacrifice the sins of every human being that has ever been born. So not only was Jesus not a man first He humbled Himself to become a man to die for us.

    John 1:14:

    “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

    Hebrews 10:10:

    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    Hebrews 10:14:

    For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

    When Jesus died on the cross He took away all of our sins once and for all, not just Adam’s, and nothing we can do in ourselves can do this for us except believing and trusting in what He did in our place. So as his own words say, it is finished.

    John 19:30:

    “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

    The work we need to do is what He told us to do.

    John 6:29:

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

    Good works will follow because we are saved we don’t do them in order to be saved.

    Mormons, does it ever seem like to can never do enough and are you are never good enough and do you truly know you are forgiven?

    You can know this for sure now by believing and trusting on the only name under heaven that can save you, Jesus Christ. As I said above, He already did it for you. So cast your burdens on Him and don’t put them on yourselves and you can find real peace in your hearts.

    Matthew 11:28-30:

    “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  4. 4 Echo
    December 21, 2010 at 5:48 am

    “Seth said: “Ah yes…

    The old “MORMONS HAVE SEX IN THEIR THEOLOGY! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” tactic.

    How charming.

    So Mark… Do you believe that sex is filthy degenerate and unworthy? Because that certainly seems to be the underlying assumption behind your line of argument here.”…But one wonders why you brought the subject up at all.

    The Eighth commandment states: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”
    Which is exactly what your are doing Seth. This outward sin of yours stems from the inward sin of presuming Mark has an “underlying assumption” that he has not stated and an evil assumption to boot. At least assume something positive if you have it in you!

    You don’t have the ability to look into people’s hearts and see the underlying assumptions. Only God can do that. And it is indeed a sin for you to do so.

    The post clearly shows why Mark said what he did: “My reason for bringing it up is to highlight how it illustrates the different views Mormonism has of both God the Father and Jesus.” So don’t pretend you are God Seth, take Mark at his word.

  5. 5 markcares
    December 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Seth:
    Echo has already pointed to why I wrote what I did. To reinforce that, I would like to share two things with you. I know you are well-read so I doubt if anything I will say is new to you but I would like to at least underscore them. The first thing is to underscore how offensive a description of Jesus like “half-Deity” is to many Chistians. Yes, I will be the first to admit that the person of Jesus Christ is a mystery. The Christian church struggled for centruies to come up with adequate desciptions and half-deity is not one of them. It has been my experience that many LDS don’t understand or respect a Christian’s sensibility here.
    The second point is something we have discussed in the past but I bring it up again. It’s my and other Christians’ frustration with the reluctance of many LDS to acknowledge many of the unique teachings of Mormonism. It is extremely frustrating to have LDS tell me, be it ever so sincerely, that they and I worship the same Jesus. This post is just one attempt of many to educate both Mormons and Christians that no, we are not worshipping the same Jesus. Blurring the lines helps no one and is heaping dishonor on Jesus.

  6. December 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    You wrote: “The more that Mormons say that they and Christians worship the same Jesus, the more important it will be to highlight such differences. Mormonism isn’t the “fulness of the gospel” as it claims. It is a completely different gospel.”

    That is such an important concept, one that has a far broader reach than the divinity or mortality of Jesus and the physical nature of God. Our temples are the most visible aspect of that truth: monuments to the cosmological truths Christianity and science rejected millennia ago. As such, they are mute witnesses to the claims of Joseph Smith to revelation. As Latter-day Saints, we must preserve these precious differences, which make us unique in Christianity. Sadly, in our rush to convince the world that we really are Christian, we’ve let some of these precious ideas fall by the wayside. It seems that most of us haven’t a clue as to the meaning of our temples, for example, beyond the obvious covenants and sacred space. There is so much more. So, most Mormons generally have no idea how far reaching these “differences” are and what they mean to our understanding of the Restored Gospel that Joseph gave us. And this is true simply because we have sought for the approval of our Christian cousins. It is my wish that we might re-capture and enshrine these truths that make us so different. We should emphasize them rather than repress them. We should cultivate them rather than hide them for fear that the world might disagree and reject us. Ours is a “completely different gospel,” as you so astutely noted. That’s how I see it.

  7. 7 Seth R.
    December 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Echo, I sincerely believed that this was Mark’s underlying motive in posting this. But if both of you disagree, then there is no point belaboring it.

    Mark, to answer you question about a half-deity, you are confusing me a bit.

    Are you saying you do NOT believe that Christ was born of a mortal mother? Are you saying you do not believe he had a physical and mortal body capable of dying?

  8. 8 Ralph Peterson
    December 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Ah, yes, that horrible belief of the Mormons that God can reproduce.

    As opposed to the impotent God of the “orthodox”.

  9. 9 Seth R.
    December 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Ralph, I imagine there was a more tasteful way to say that.

  10. 10 Echo
    December 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Seth stated: “Echo, I sincerely believed that this was Mark’s underlying motive in posting this. But if both of you disagree, then there is no point belaboring it.”

    Sincerely judging Mark’s underlying motive is still a sin. No man has the ability to look into another man’s heart and judge his motives apart from his own words. Rather than judging his motives, try asking him what his motives are and then take him at his word. That way you won’t be sinning against the eighth commandment.

    Glad to see you back by the way.

  11. 11 Echo
    December 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    By the way, the struggle against judging the motives of others is one we all face. Your not alone in this Seth. I don’t want to make it look like you sin and we don’t. WE all have to continually watch and be careful not to fall.

  12. 12 markcares
    December 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Seth:
    I believe that Jesus was born of of a human mother, Mary. As I stated, Christians have struggled for centuries in an attempt to describe the mystery of Christ, as Paul describes it in 1 Timothy. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” ( 1 Tim. 3:16) Although I can’t understand it, I believe that Jesus is not a half-Deity, but fully God and also fully human. In him resides two complete natures, human and divine, but he remains one, not two persons.

  13. 13 Echo
    December 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Anthony,

    And this is true simply because we have sought for the approval of our Christian cousins. It is my wish that we might re-capture and enshrine these truths that make us so different. We should emphasize them rather than repress them. We should cultivate them rather than hide them for fear that the world might disagree and reject us. Ours is a “completely different gospel,” as you so astutely noted. That’s how I see it.

    Thank you for your post. And this is our point also. Christians and Mormons each have unique doctrines different from one another. Why not acknowledge that fact openly with one another. That would open the door to the possibility of working towards reaching unity in beliefs. If we don’t acknowledge our differences with one another, we can never reach unity. Just because Mormons and Christians disagree with one another doesn’t mean we can’t love and respect one another. We can and should love and respect one another especially because we disagree!

  14. 14 Seth R.
    December 21, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Mark, if you can’t understand it, then I don’t think you have any real basis for criticizing us for having a differing opinion on it.

    Jesus was mortal in some sense.

    Jesus was biologically conceived in some sense – whether you think it was fusion of a sperm and egg, or whether you just say “the spirit did it” and leave it at that – the biological CREATION is still very much in play. So unless you are trying to say Jesus didn’t have a physical nature, I don’t know how you are going to get around this one.

  15. 15 Kent
    December 21, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Echo said,

    “Thank you for your post. And this is our point also. Christians and Mormons each have unique doctrines different from one another. Why not acknowledge that fact openly with one another. “That would open the door to the possibility of working towards reaching unity in beliefs. If we don’t acknowledge our differences with one another, we can never reach unity. Just because Mormons and Christians disagree with one another doesn’t mean we can’t love and respect one another. We can and should love and respect one another especially because we disagree!”

    Echo, yes we can be loving and respectful towards Mormons in fact that is why we point out that their gospel is different from the Bible and that we believe they are heading down the wrong path and it is because we care about them.

    But we can’t have unity unless they reject a false gospel. Jesus didn’t come for unity but to proclaim, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” as shown in John 14:6. So if they are not following the true Jesus of the Bible, then they are trying to enter by the wide gate that leads to destruction and not by the narrow gate (Jesus).

    It is good to see Anthony agree that their gospel is a different gospel as it enforces that people have to choose one or the other as no, they are not the same.

    If we are wrong, then all we get is place in a lower heaven after we die but if Mormons are wrong and we are right, then they end up in outer darkness away from Heavenly Father forever where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  16. 16 Seth R.
    December 21, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I never thought that Pascal’s Wager was all that sensible of a way to pick a religion.

    All it really means is that the religion with the worst view of hell wins.

    Kind of a dumb way to pick your faith, isn’t it?

  17. 17 Ralph Peterson
    December 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    “It is good to see Anthony agree that their gospel is a different gospel as it enforces that people have to choose one or the other as no, they are not the same.”

    Since your gospel is different from the Biblical gospel, and Mormonism is the SAME AS the Biblical gospel, he was only admitting the OBVIOUS!

    “If we are wrong, then all we get is place in a lower heaven after we die but if Mormons are wrong and we are right, then they end up in outer darkness away from Heavenly Father forever where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    This goes to the injustice of the Evangelical God. How could a just God give an infinite punishment for a finite offense?

  18. 18 Seth R.
    December 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Ralph, it depends on which Evangelicals you are talking to.

    Keep in mind that the Evangelicals who comment here represent only a minority view within the broader movement. Same thing on their views of hell. I don’t think it’s fair to tar the entire movement with the viewpoints you encounter here. These guys do NOT speak for Evangelism.

  19. 19 markcares
    December 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Ralph:
    Isn’t the punishment of outer darkness for the sons of perdition an infinite punishment for a finite offense? Isn’t the punishment of never having eternal families an infinte puhishment for a finite offense?

  20. 20 Echo
    December 21, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Ralph said: “Since your gospel is different from the Biblical gospel, and Mormonism is the SAME AS the Biblical gospel, he was only admitting the OBVIOUS!”

    The biblical gospel is summed up in Romans 4:5 where is says that “God justifieth the ungodly.” This is the gospel we believe in.

    The LDS gospel contradicts the Bible and is summed up in the words, “God justfieth NOT the ungodly.”

  21. 21 Ralph Peterson
    December 21, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    No. One with perfect knowledge choosing to eternally reject God (blasphemy against the Holy Ghost) is not forgiven and is therefore not given a reward. In reality it is a condition of their choosing. They want to be totally and completely without God.

    And, No. It is just a lack of a greater gift. Even the Telestial Kingdom is a gift. It is MORE than its’ recipients deserve. A gift whose description is similar to the Evangelical description of heaven. Even those who receive the Telestial Kingdom will be free from the torment/punishment of hell.

  22. 22 Ralph Peterson
    December 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Echo,

    We have had this discussion before. You obviously weren’t paying attention. Joseph Smith got it right.

  23. 23 Seth R.
    December 21, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Mark, I jumped on you in my initial post (probably unfairly), but nothing you said about Mormonism is really all that controversial. Mormons do hold the views you mentioned.

    But I would still maintain we didn’t pull it from nowhere. These are definitely biblical themes.

  24. 24 Kent
    December 22, 2010 at 4:15 am

    The Bible does not teach that Jesus is the brother of Satan.

    The Bible does not teach that Jesus is just the god of this world but that He is God of the entire universe and that He made everything.

    John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    John 1:3: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

    Hebrews 1:2: Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds

    Colossians 1:16-17:
    “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist”.

    The Bible does not teach that God was a man first in fact it teaches that man didn’t exist until God created him on the sixth day of creation out of the dust of the ground. So since man was just dust before God created him, dust cannot create anything. But God could and did create everything because He is God and has always been God.

    Genesis 2:7:
    “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

    The Bible teaches that God created the sun, the moon, and the stars on the fourth day of creation so that planets, which orbit stars, did not exist yet until that time so there were no planets for God to be a man on before God created the planets.

    Genesis 1:16-17:
    “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth”

    Ralph, show me in the Bible alone, without any Mormon sources, that God was a man first on some other planet, that stars and planets even existed before God made them, and that Jesus is the brother of Satan and that men existed anywhere before God created them on the sixth day of creation.

    I think it is very clear that if we just go by the Bible that its teachings are consistently different than what the Mormon Church teaches so people have to choose one teaching or the other as they both can’t be true.

  25. 25 Seth R.
    December 22, 2010 at 4:22 am

    Kent, your line of argument is senseless when talking to a Mormon because it’s purely an argument from silence.

    “The Bible doesn’t say it is so – therefore it must not be so.”

    Well, you see, we don’t NEED it to be in the Bible Kent.

    As long as the Bible doesn’t contradict us (and it doesn’t) we’re peachy.

  26. 26 Echo
    December 22, 2010 at 5:09 am

    Seth, you said: “As long as the Bible doesn’t contradict us (and it doesn’t) we’re peachy.’

    Romans 4:5 contradicts LDS doctrine. Romans 4:5 states that “God justifieth the ungodly”
    The LDS church teaches that God justifieth NOT the ungodly.

    This doctrine is the doctrine that if believed, results in eternal life. If it is not believed, it results in eternal torment in Hell.

    In our eyes, that is a pretty serious contradiction.

  27. 27 Kent
    December 22, 2010 at 6:44 am

    It is a contradiction that even the Book of Mormon says in several places, “God is the Same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever” so even your own book says God doesn’t change, hence He has always been God.

    Why does your church now teach that He was a man first if even your own book doesn’t say that is the case?

    Also, the Book of Mormon says that God is a spirit so why does your church now teach that God has a physical body?

    Alma 22:9-1 1

    [9] And the king said: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem?
    [10] And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this?
    [11] And he said: Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words.

    So it also seems that your book says God created everything, implying and agreeing with the Bibical creation account (actually borrowed from it) that nothing existed before God created it which ties in with God always being God and not changing.

    There are just too many contraditions with the LDS Church so I prefer to just go by the Bible as it is consistent and doesn’t change.

    Luke 21:33:

    “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.”

    Mormons, do you know that you are truly forgiven for any sins you have committed, past, present, or future and do you feel that what you do is never enough?

    Well, you can know right now and not later that you are truly forgiven by believing on the only name under heaven that can save you, Jesus Christ, that He died in your place, and rose from the dead three days later so that all of your sins will be remembered no more

    So take His gift of grace and trust in the knowledge that He already did it for you 2000 years ago.

    Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30:

    “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    What better Christmas present could you get to know that from now until forever that you are resting forgiven in the arms of your Savior, Jesus Christ?

  28. 28 Seth R.
    December 22, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Of course God justifies the ungodly under LDS theology Echo. Thus we are not at odds with Romans 4:5.

    We are all sinners under LDS theology and unworthy of salvation which is freely offered.

    I blogged on this fairly extensively when I did an analysis of Romans chapter 8. It breaks the chapter down in light of the narrative Paul is making and suggests ways in which both Mormons and Evangelicals misread Paul and why.

    http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/romans-8/

  29. 29 Ralph Peterson
    December 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    The Bible does NOT teach inerrancy.

    The Bible does NOT teach “faith alone”.

    The Bible does NOT teach “one substance” trinity.

    The Bible does NOT teach “sola scriptura”.

    The Bible does NOT teach “rapture”.

    The Bible does NOT teach the “immateriality” of God.

    The Bible does NOT teach a closed canon.

  30. 30 Echo
    December 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Seth said: “Of course God justifies the ungodly under LDS theology Echo. Thus we are not at odds with Romans 4:5.”

    The Joseph Smith translation says that God justifieth NOT the ungodly. Romans 4:5 in the Bible states: “God justifieth the ungodly”

  31. 31 Seth R.
    December 22, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Echo, read in context with the REST of what Joseph Smith said and wrote, it is pretty obvious he still believed in the fallen nature of all men and the necessity of the Atonement.

  32. 32 Echo
    December 22, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Seth, what do you want me to read… are you referring to what he wrote on Romans in the JST?

  33. 33 Seth R.
    December 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Echo, I’m not talking about the JST. That’s only one thing he produced. He wrote a LOT of other things. If you want the full range of Joseph’s views, you would have to read all of that and not just the JST.

    The Book of Mormon, for instance has a very strong grace theology. Read King Benjamin’s speech in the early chapters of Mosiah, for instance. You can’t come away from that with the impression that Joseph didn’t think human beings were completely fallen, and their works of no saving merit.

  34. 34 Echo
    December 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Seth,
    I acknowledge that the LDS Church believes in the fallen nature of all men and the necessity of the Atonement.

    But what Joseph Smith in Romans 4:5 said… “God justifieth NOT the ungodly” isn’t refering to the fallen nature of all men and the necessity of the Atonement.

  35. 35 Seth R.
    December 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    So what?

    I mean, the mere phrase “God justifieth not the ungodly” is not exactly theologically wrong – even from an Evangelical standpoint.

  36. 36 Echo
    December 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I am not evangelical in the sense that that term is used today, I am WELS Lutheran. I disagree with some evangelical teachings on justification and sanctification.

    And from a Lutheran standpoint and exactly as scripture has stated, we believe “God justified the ungodly”

    That is our whole gospel message right there.

    Joseph Smith’s message that God doesn’t justify the ungodly is a whole other Gospel. A contradictory Gospel. True Saving faith only comes through one of those gospels, not both.

    This difference between our beliefs in this are so serious in fact, that the LDS belief that God doesn’t justify the ungodly is considered unbelief in our theology. Unbelief ends in Hell because unbelief is a rejection of all that Christ has done for us. Anyone who rejects what Christ has done is choosing for themselves to go to Hell.

    That’s why Mark has this blog, that is why I and other Christians post here. We are deeply concerned for Mormons. Because as the Bible states: “without faith, it is impossible to please God”. We believe Mormons don’t have saving faith. We simply are zealous to share the gospel with Mormons so that they too may be saved along with us.

  37. 37 Seth R.
    December 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Echo, let’s not waste time on the denominational stuff. I meant Evangelical as a placeholder for whatever conservative Protestant denomination you want to pick that has an active interest in witnessing to Mormons. Lutheran, Baptist… doesn’t matter to me and it doesn’t change my point one jot.

    Is it or is it not a part of accepted conservative Protestant doctrine that the wicked are not justified before God.

    Leave the Atonement out of it for now and just answer yes or no:

    Are human beings without Christs Atonement justified before God?

  38. 38 Echo
    December 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Seth said: “Is it or is it not a part of accepted conservative Protestant doctrine that the wicked are not justified before God.”

    The wicked ARE justified before God. That is the general doctrine among conservative protestants.

    Seth said: “Leave the Atonement out of it for now and just answer yes or no: Are human beings without Christs Atonement justified before God?”

    NO.

    Without Jesus, no one is justified.

  39. 39 Echo
    December 23, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    To clarify…”Are” as in…it is already finished.

  40. 40 Kent
    December 24, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Seth said:
    “The Book of Mormon, for instance has a very strong grace theology. Read King Benjamin’s speech in the early chapters of Mosiah, for instance. You can’t come away from that with the impression that Joseph didn’t think human beings were completely fallen, and their works of no saving merit.”

    But shouldn’t it be not what Joseph Smith thought but what God thinks?

    Also, even so, isn’t it a contradiction that it appears the Book of Mormon teaches that human beings are completely fallen, and that their works have no saving merit?

    So why does the Mormon church now teach the grace of Jesus Christ plus our own best efforts as the way to salvation if people’s works have no saving merit?

    In addition, the Mormon church now teaches that God was once a man before He became God but the Book of Mormon teaches that God never changes, hence He has always been God.

    Mormon 9:9:
    “For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?”

    There are just too many contraditions with the LDS Church so I prefer to just go by the Bible as it is consistent and doesn’t change.

    Luke 21:33:
    “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.”

    Mormons, do you know that you are truly forgiven for any sins you have committed, past, present, or future and do you feel that what you do is never enough?
    Well, you can know right now and not later that you are truly forgiven by believing on the only name under heaven that can save you, Jesus Christ, that He died in your place, and rose from the dead three days later so that all of your sins will be remembered no more
    So take His gift of grace and trust in the knowledge that He already did it for you 2000 years ago.
    Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30:
    “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
    What better Christmas present could you get to know that from now until forever that you are resting forgiven in the arms of your Savior, Jesus Christ?

  41. 41 Seth R.
    December 24, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Kent, since Joseph Smith was person receiving the revelatory process by which the Book of Mormon came to be – it stands to reason that he would have internalized a good deal of it.

    Echo – if you agree that without Christ’s Atonement human beings are not justified before God, then I see no problem with Joseph Smith’s alteration to the text of Romans. He was merely stating the truth. Human beings are not justified.

    But whether Joseph agreed with Paul that they CAN be justified before God in spite of their fallen nature – you will have to look at the REST of his writings.

  42. 42 Kent
    December 24, 2010 at 3:48 am

    The Mormons who come to this blog have not answered my questions.

    The Book of Mormon itself teaches that God doesn’t change, hence God has always been God and He couldn’t have been a man first. So why did Joseph Smith change from the teachings of what he claimed is the word of god and why does your church now teach that God was a man first who became God?

    Mormon 9:9,10:

    “For do we not read that God is the SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles”

    Teachings of the Prophet, pp. 345, 346:

    “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! . . . We should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see . . . Here, then, is eternal life — to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you.”

    There are just too many contraditions with the LDS Church so I prefer to just go by the Bible as it is consistent and doesn’t change.

    Luke 21:33:

    “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.”

    Mormons, do you know that you are truly forgiven for any sins you have committed, past, present, or future and do you feel that what you do is never enough?
    Well, you can know right now and not later that you are truly forgiven by believing on the only name under heaven that can save you, Jesus Christ, that He died in your place, and rose from the dead three days later so that all of your sins will be remembered no more
    So take His gift of grace and trust in the knowledge that He already did it for you 2000 years ago.

    Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30:

    “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
    What better Christmas present could you get to know that from now until forever that you are resting forgiven in the arms of your Savior, Jesus Christ?

  43. 43 Echo
    December 24, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Seth said: “Echo – if you agree that without Christ’s Atonement human beings are not justified before God, then I see no problem with Joseph Smith’s alteration to the text of Romans. He was merely stating the truth. Human beings are not justified.

    But whether Joseph agreed with Paul that they CAN be justified before God in spite of their fallen nature – you will have to look at the REST of his writings.”

    I am wondering if you misunderstood me. When I said “without Jesus no one is justified” I meant if Jesus didn’t exist or wasn’t crucified etc.

    As it stands now, The WHOLE WORLD has been justified through Jesus (Justified=full and free forgiveness) WE call that: “Objective justification”

    But we also believe in “subjective justification”…Objective justification received through faith alone.

    Joseph Smith wasn’t referring to human beings not being justified. He was referring to God not justifying the ungodly. See the context.

    We believe God has justified the whole world…

    2 Corinthians 5:19 ” that God was reconciling THE WORLD to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.”

  44. 44 Seth R.
    December 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Yes…

    Mormons agree with that Echo. Just like Joseph Smith did.

  45. 45 Seth R.
    December 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    I’m also a little confused here Echo.

    Are you trying to say that you believe in universal salvation?

  46. 46 Echo
    December 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Yes, I believe in Universal justification. Universal justification is Objective justification.

    However, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be saved. Objective justification must be appropriated through faith.

  47. 47 Echo
    December 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Looking back at what you wrote now, I see you put universal “salvation” instead of “justification” Then my answer is NO, we do not believe in universal salvation, we believe in universal justification. Universal justification is Objective justification.

    However, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be saved. Objective justification must be appropriated through faith.

  48. 48 Seth R.
    December 24, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    But how is that any different than what I believe? And any different from what Joseph Smith taught?

  49. 49 Echo
    December 24, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    The LDS teaches that Jesus is our creditor and that we must pay him back.

    We believe that Jesus was our substitute, not our creditor. He paid the debt in full, not asking us to pay him back. So instead of paying him back, and focusing all our time on that, we share his love with others by loving others in the same way he has loved us.

  50. 50 Echo
    December 24, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    If Jesus is our creditor, and we must pay him back. We would then reflect Jesus in our lives by loving others, expecting them to give something back. We are self serving.

    If Jesus is our substitue, not expecting anything back. We would then reflect Jesus in our lives by loving others, not expecting them to give anything back, not even their love. We are self-less. Serving others for the sake of others and not for what we can get in return.

  51. 51 Seth R.
    December 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    There are MANY models of the Atonement even within Protestant theology Echo. We Mormons didn’t get that one particular model in a vacuum you know – we borrowed it from PROTESTANTS.

    But there are many other models of the Atonement as well, and many are used in LDS discourse – not just one. You’ve simply picked one model and declared it the winner for all Mormons.

    I disagree.

  52. 52 Echo
    December 24, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Seth said: “There are MANY models of the Atonement even within Protestant theology Echo. We Mormons didn’t get that one particular model in a vacuum you know – we borrowed it from PROTESTANTS.”

    Which protestant’s did you borrow that one from?

  53. 53 Ralph Peterson
    December 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Echo,
    You haven’t been paying attention to the Mormon posters here.

    No where is it claimed that we must pay Christ back IN FULL. That is IMPOSSIBLE. Christ sets the terms of the settlement. Those terms are;

    1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    2) Repentance from dead works.

    3) Baptism by immersion for the REMISSION of sins.

    4) The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying of hands.

    5) Endurance in faith to the end.

    Doing those things satisfies the terms of the “pay back”. Those things are “all we can do”.

  54. 54 markcares
    December 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Ralph:
    You forgot something in your list. “if we will keep his terms, which are to repent and keep his commandments” (Gospel Principles, p. 65). Notice that it doesn’t say try to keep his commandments or keep some of them. That is a pretty clear – and pretty stark statement: “keep his commandments.” period.

  55. 55 Seth R.
    December 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I’m confused Mark.

    Are you saying that it is not necessary to repent in order to be saved?

  56. 56 faithoffathers
    January 1, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Kent,

    I have not posted here in quite a while, but was looking in on this discussion and thought I might take a shot at answering you here.

    The statement that God never changes can be taken too literally. After all, don’t you and other non-LDS here believe God changed when Christ came to this earth? God changed in the sense of becoming incarnate with Christ’s life on earth.

    We believe God the Father was once a mortal in the same sense that Christ was once a mortal- he lived on a planet with a mortal body. We do not believe he was ever a sinner as far too many anti-LDS like to claim.

    You did not include the entire Joseph Smith statement which you quoted:

    “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret… It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know…that he was once a man like us. Here, then, is eternal life–to know that only wise and true God, and you have got to learn how to become Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you. .. God himself, THE FATHER OF US ALL DWELT ON AN EARTH THE SAME AS JESUS CHRIST.” (emphasis mine).
    – The Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 342-345

    So in the sense that Christ is never changing, the Father too is never changing. He has always been perfect. He has always been God just like Christ has always been God.

  57. 57 faithoffathers
    January 1, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Mark,

    I do not think it is accurate to say we believe Christ was “half-deity.” Christ was fully God, just as he was before his life on earth. From His mother, Mary, He inherited the capacity to die. He certainly had a “dual” nature in that sense. But calling Him “half-deity” seems to diminish Him inappropriately.

    Kent,

    Do you not believe that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man?” (Luke 2:52) There certainly was some change associated with that increase in wisdom and stature. But that does not diminish His divinity and position as God’s Only Begotten Son.

    fof

  58. 58 Echo
    January 1, 2011 at 2:39 am

    FOF said: “I do not think it is accurate to say we believe Christ was “half-deity.” ”

    Mark gave a quote from the LDS stating he was “half deity” here is that quote for you…

    “She. . .was about to give birth to half-Deity.” (Life and Teachings. . .p.10)

    Good to see you back by the way.

  59. 59 markcares
    January 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    FOF:
    The phrase ‘half-Deity” is not my description – that was a quote from the official LDS Church manual as is cited in the original post. So are you saying that that manual inaccurately protrays Mormonism?


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