09
Jan
12

A Heart Free of Enmity?

 

This coming Sunday, chapter two of the Teachings of George Albert Smith will be studied throughout the LDS Church.  This chapter is entitled, “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself”.  There are a number of things that struck me as I read that chapter but the two I would like to focus on are two quotes from President Smith.  On p. 11 he is quoted as saying, “I do not have an enemy that I know of, and there is no one in the world that I have any enmity towards.”    Then a few pages later we read this quote:  “I have only good will in my heart for mankind.  I haven’t any animosity in my heart toward any living human being.” (p. 16)

Even making these more striking is seeing when President Smith spoke them – especially the second quote.  He said that during General Conference in April, 1946.  World War II had ended only the year before.  Especially pertinent is the fact that from November 1945 to October 1946 numerous major Nazi figures were on trial in Nuremberg for war crimes.  Almost daily there was new evidence of their atrocities – evidence that filled the newspapers.  Placing President Smith’s statement that he didn’t have any animosity in his heart toward any living human being against that background makes it even more startling.

I don’t know about you, but I could never make that claim.  It’s not good will that fills my heart when someone cuts me off on the freeway.  When I hear about people abusing children, my heart is not filled with good will.  I have to admit that people don’t even have to give me a good reason for me to think ill of them.  I frequently do that unfairly.  They didn’t do anything to me but because I was in a bad mood or had a bad day, I lash out at them.  There is no way that I can identify with President Smith’s statements.

That’s why I am so thankful that Jesus has not only washed all my sins away but that he also kept the law perfectly for me.  Because I could never keep one commandment perfectly.  And nobody, not even the president of the LDS Church, can do that.  What’s more, nobody, not even the president of the LDS Church, can ever get to the point in this life of doing that.  Until the day we die we all will sin – in a great variety of ways.

But what is tragic is that this chapter doesn’t even mention God’s forgiveness of our sins in Christ.  Neither does it mention that Jesus is our righteousness.  All it does is hold up statements like the above as examples to follow.  Or talks about rewards to be earned.  “When our life is ended and we return home, we will find credited to us there every good act we have performed, every kindness we have done, every effort we have put forth to benefit our fellows.” (p. 18)

“He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:31)

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10 Responses to “A Heart Free of Enmity?”


  1. 1 shematwater
    January 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    John 1: 47

    “Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”

    Here is an example of a man who kept at least one command perfectly. He had no guile, or nor fraud and deceit. He was truly an honest man who was perfect in his honestly.

    No one keeps all commands perfectly, but there are those who are perfect on selected points, and to deny this is to deny the Bible, which is so cherished as being perfectly preserved with no errors.

  2. 2 choosethechrist
    January 10, 2012 at 12:02 am

    “I do not have an enemy that I know of, and there is no one in the world that I have any enmity towards.” Then a few pages later we read this quote: “I have only good will in my heart for mankind. I haven’t any animosity in my heart toward any living human being.” (p. 16)

    In my opinion, I think that the LDS works based system is so focused on being “good” that it causes them to lose sight of the reality of sin. In other words, it becomes more about keeping up the appearance of being good when in fact there is always sin in the heart. I think this makes it hard for the LDS people to admit the reality of their sins and the shame associated with those sins causes the Mormon people to want to hide their sins from others.

    In contrast, those of us who have put our faith in Christ for our salvation are self proclaimed sinners. We acknowledge it freely and are more likely to seek support from other Christians for help in overcoming our sins.

    I don’t believe the man who made the quote above was being entirely truthful with himself or anyone else for that matter. I don’t think Mormons are any better at being “good” than the rest of us are either. They just want everyone to think they are.

    This is just a general observation I have made from my experience of growing up and living around lots of Mormons. I am surrounded by Mormons, love them all very much and don’t want to come off sounding like I don’t think they are good people because they are. I just think it is hard to be a sinner and be a Mormon.

    Here is an example: http://hishealingnow.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/beckys-story/

  3. 3 JBR
    January 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    President Smith’s statements actually reveals what he expects will happen when finally coming before the judgement seat of God.

    President Smith’s statements indicate a attitude of .. ” See Lord… loook at my accomplishments”

    Jesus really is religated to a “fill in the blank type savior”
    “Look at me… see how good I am” –> Jesus fills in here <– "Look at me… see how good I am"

    The truth is President Smith’s statements reflect the true opinion about Jesus in Mormonisn, if it were possible Jesus would be unnecessary for I would be my own savior.

  4. 4 shematwater
    January 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I don’t think anyone here has any clue as to what President Smith meant, what his attitude was, or of what our understanding and acknowledgement of sin is. People are so caught up in this false doctrines of “sin nature” and “original sin” that for anyone to even mention the idea of actually over-coming sin becomes blasphemy and for any to claim this makes them a heretic.

    JBR

    His attitude is not what you claim. He is not saying this to Jesus, but to us. You are confusing his audience. Paul declared “I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20: 26) Was he saying “See Lord… look at my accomplishments?” No. He was telling the Jews this so that when the final judgment came they could not look to him and claim he had not warned them, or try to testify against him. He was pure from their blood. But he never once stopped believing that it was through Christ that this purity was possible and he glorified Christ.

    In the same way President Smith is speaking the people, letting them know that, at least in this matter, they have no just cause to accuse him and he will be blameless at the final judgment. It is not for the benefit of Christ that he says it, but for the benefit of the saints that he is serving.

  5. 5 Kent
    January 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I don’t always have bad feelings for people who cut me off while I am driving as I assume that a lot of them didn’t see me and I don’t lash out at someone else when I am not having a good day.

    However, I have bad feelings, which is very understandable, for people like the Nazis who commit genocide against other people and, of course, I have bad feelings for people who abuse children.

    So I think President George Albert Smith was not being honest with himself that he always has love for everyone all of the time.

  6. 6 choosethechrist
    January 10, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    “I don’t think anyone here has any clue as to what President Smith meant, what his attitude was, or of what our understanding and acknowledgement of sin is. People are so caught up in this false doctrines of “sin nature” and “original sin” that for anyone to even mention the idea of actually over-coming sin becomes blasphemy and for any to claim this makes them a heretic.” ~ Shem

    I think you need to back the truck up a bit Shem. You are talking to Christians, Jesus overcame sin and we who have put our faith in the work of Christ on the cross know that it’s through the Holy Spirit that we are able to “overcome” sin or resist the temptation to sin. As for “sin nature” being a false doctrine, I don’t agree with you and here is some further reading for those who are interested: http://www.gotquestions.org/sin-nature.html. I don’t think we need to know what Smith meant. The point has been stated repeatedly, the LDS focus is on being a “good Mormon” with an emphasis on “good”. I have heard many Mormon’s refer to themselves as “good Mormons” and it is not usually done with humility.
    I don’t think anyone here has said that the LDS do not acknowledge sin. What we are saying is that the LDS system encourages people to bury/hide their sin because acknowledging their sin would make a Mormon look bad amongst their peers or in other words they would no longer look “good”. What we are saying is that we don’t think Mormons are as open about admitting their sins and in this case Smith is no different.

  7. 7 choosethechrist
    January 11, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I have one more thought regarding “sin nature”. Even if you do not believe in “sin nature” or original sin, here is the reality of sin: It separates us from God!
    1. Adam and Eve had a relationship and covenant with God in the garden.
    2. Adam and Eve sinned and broke relationship or covenant with God.
    3. The jews are under the old covenant with God because they do not have belief in Jesus. Their relationship with God is dependent upon their adherance to the law, their repentance, ie the things they do. They will be under the old covenant until they “believe” and most of them will not “believe” until after the 2nd coming.
    4. The “new man” or Christian is under the new covenant and has a relationship with God because they believe that Jesus came, atoned for their sins, and restored their relationship with God ie God said “their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more”.
    5. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ did this for you, you are out of covenant/relationship with God.
    6. If you think all of your religious acts are making you right with God ie righteous, you are not in covenant with God. You are not “good”. Christ is good.

    Here is some more food for thought: God said the Jews will be brought under the new covenant when they believe in Christ. Their relationship with God will be restored. The LDS church has nothing to do with this resoration of relationship with God. It’s all about Jesus. It says so in the Bible.

  8. 8 TJayT
    January 11, 2012 at 4:19 am

    CtC

    “I don’t think anyone here has said that the LDS do not acknowledge sin. What we are saying is that the LDS system encourages people to bury/hide their sin because acknowledging their sin would make a Mormon look bad amongst their peers or in other words they would no longer look “good”. What we are saying is that we don’t think Mormons are as open about admitting their sins and in this case Smith is no different.”

    While I would be willing to argue that it’s possible that President Smith truly didn’t have any gall toward his fellow man when he spoke those quotes (though it may have been something he worked on for many, many years to actually feel that way) if the main point of your argument is that Lds culture can lead someone to put “works before God” for lack of a better wording then I feel you do have a valid point. I have known my share of Mormons that are only interested in appearing to be “Good”, and it’s saddens me, just as I’m sure it saddens you to see the same actions in people that claim to be Christian. But I’ve also known many, many others who have no other goal then to serve Christ with all there heart, might, mind and strength, not caring at all what others think. In the end I would say salvation is 100% personal, and I just pray that I can learn to help others find Christ anyway that he wishes me to.

    On your comments about “sin nature”, if what your describing is the idea that we are all born with a predisposition to sin (but not sinful) and left to our own devices we’ll always choose sin over holiness then you and I don’t have a disagreement.

  9. 9 JBR
    January 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Shem….
    I’m not confusing any audience, for it was revealed that everything will be exposed when one stands before the judge.

    Every word … every action … every thought … every inclination …. everything.

    Being that in Mormonism salvation is based on all you can do and Jesus fills in the blanks ….. then that is indeed what you’re counting on.

    “Look at me Lord … see how good I am … I did all I can do ” –> Jesus does the rest <– "Look at me … see how good I am …. I did all I can do "

  10. 10 shematwater
    January 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    JBR

    This just shows you don’t have any understanding. Jesus doesn’t fill in the blanks, he performed the required work that gives us salvation.
    We do believe in the need and requirement for righteous living, but we are not counting on our works to save us. We are counting on the work of Christ to save us, for nothing else can, no matter how righteous we are in this life. There are many a righteous person who will not be saved in the Celestial Kingdom. Their works do them no good because they do not rely on Christ and his mercy for salvation. Anyone who puts their faith in their own works will find they have lost the reward and have fallen short of the glory of God.

    CHOOSE

    I never said you claimed we don’t acknowledge sin. What you said is that we don’t truly understand sin, which is what I said showed your lack of understanding of our doctrine.
    As to sin nature, for the sake of all those reading I will clarify what I meant. The terms ‘sin nature’ and ‘original sin’ are two related concepts which I have heard countless Christians teach, and none deny. The basics are this: Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the Garden, which was a sin. Having done so their nature changed from the perfect one God had created them in to the depraved sinful creatures that man is.
    Now, this ‘sin nature’ was passed to the children of Adam and Eve in a kind of hereditary fashion, making all men guilty of that ‘original sin’. This makes all men sinful and most people I have talked to would say regardless of what they do. In other words, even if a person could live a perfect life they would still be counted as sinful because of their ‘sin nature’ inherited from Adam and his original sin. Even a baby who dies within minutes of birth is guilty of sin because of this inherited nature (which is why most people I know believe in some form of infant baptism, and where the practice originated).

    Now, if any here want to deny these doctrines please do so, but you will be the first I have ever met who have. But they are false doctrines.

    Oh, and I did read at least part of your link, though I have to say it doesn’t prove anything. As they are approaching the question with only part of the truth they can never hope to have the correct answer.

    KENT

    Isn’t it funny how people assume that because they have a weakness everyone else has to have the same one as well?
    Just because you have these feelings doesn’t mean everyone does.

    Enmity is a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism.
    Animosity is a feeling of strong dislike, ill will, or enmity that tends to display itself in action.

    In other words, President Smith is saying that he feels no hatred for any man (including the Nazi’s) and harbors no desire to hurt them in any way. I can honestly say I feel the same way, even about Nazi’s or rapists of molesters. While I want them off the streets I have no desire to hurt them in any way. While I believe in capital punishment I have no desire to see it done, even though I believe it must be.
    This does not mean that I do not get annoyed at times, or feel anger towards those who would treat others in this way. It simply means that my instincts are not violent towards them.


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