Archive for the 'eternal marriage' Category

10
Apr
12

Temple Work for the Dead

Chapter 8 of the Teachings of George Albert Smith deals with Mormonism’s emphasis on doing temple work for the dead.  As this chapter points out, this isn’t restricted to baptisms for the dead, but includes all the ordinances that the living participate in.  There is so much that could be commented on but I will restrict my thoughts to three things.

First is the utter lack of biblical support for this.  In the entire chapter President Smith only cites one Bible passage, 1 Corinthians 15:19.  And that one is taken completely out of context!  Even a cursory reading of the context shows that it is talking about the resurrection and how we would have no hope in eternity if Christ had not been raised.  It is stressing the fact that Christ’s resurrection is the basis for our entire faith.  It is, as Paul says in Romans 4:25, the proof that Jesus had done everything for our being justified, acquitted, forgiven by God.

But President Smith applies it to eternal marriage!  He said:  “Grateful should we be for a knowledge of the eternity of the marriage covenant. If in this life only had we hope, we would indeed be of all men most miserable [see 1 Corinthians 15:19]. The assurance that our relationship here as parents and children, as husbands and wives will continue in heaven, and that this is but the beginning of a great and glorious kingdom that our Father has destined we shall inherit on the other side, fills us with hope and joy.”

The bottom line is that there is no biblical support for this practice.

The second point is his portrayal of how others view eternity.  He writes:  “If I were to think, as so many think, that now that my beloved wife and my beloved parents are gone, that they have passed out of my life forever and that I shall never see them again, it would deprive me of one of the greatest joys that I have in life: the contemplation of meeting them again, and receiving their welcome and their affection, and of thanking them from the depths of a grateful heart for all they have done for me.”

He doesn’t specifically say this is how Christians believe, but I have had numerous Mormons tell me that is what they think I believe.  Just to set the record straight.  The Bible teaches that we will be together forever with all our believing loved ones.  I expect not only to see them again but to live with them for all eternity.  The Bible does talk about an eternal family –God’s eternal family made up of all believers.  I will be spending eternity in this wonderful family – because Jesus did the necessary work for me.  Through Jesus’ perfect law-keeping for me; through his atoning death for all my sins, I and all my believing loved ones have been adopted into the greatest eternal family, heavenly Father’s family.  That is the family unit that will exist for all eternity.

Finally, I found the way he motivates members to do this work quite interesting.  More than once he talks about the blessings people forfeit by not doing this work.  For example he writes, “Our Heavenly Father told the people through Joseph Smith that, unless we performed the work for our dead, we would lose our own blessings, and we would be cut off.”   He then goes on to tell the story of two brothers: one who did temple work for the dead and the other one who didn’t.  The one who didn’t wasn’t received well in heaven.  He then asks: “What will be your reception when you go on the other side? Will you be the one they will reach out to and bless throughout the ages of eternity, or will you be like the brother who was selfishly working out his problems here and letting those who could not help themselves go on without his help?”

Does this mean that for some, being part of their eternal family won’t be pleasant?  Will it be like attending a family reunion where everybody shuns you?  That surely is the impression given.  That doesn’t sound like heaven to me.

But even more enlightening is again how, even here, the way that Mormonism motivates people to do work is by focusing on what they get out of it.  I went through the chapter again searching for any mention of doing this out of love for people.  But I couldn’t find that motivation mentioned.

How starkly different that is from how the Bible motivates believers.  There it is all about love.  Just this point alone illustrates again the great gap that exists between Mormonism and the Bible.  This again shows how they operate on two completely different wave lengths.

13
Jan
12

Eternal Life

This Sunday, in their Gospel Doctrines classes, Mormons around the world will be looking at 1 Nephi 8-11.  This section from the Book of Mormon describes the vision of the tree of life.  The Book of Mormon supplies identification for the various elements in the vision.  I am going to concentrate on the fruit of the tree which, according to it, symbolizes eternal life.

The first point that needs to be made is that Mormonism defines eternal life differently than Christianity does.  It equates it with exaltation.  “Eternal life, or exaltation, is to inherit a place in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, where we will live in God’s presence and continue as families (see D&C 131:1-4).  Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  However, it requires our ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel’ (Articles of Faith 1:3).” (True to the Faith, p. 52)

D&C 131:1-4 referenced in that quote says that celestial marriage (temple marriage for time and eternity) is essential for exaltation.  The next section of D&C (132) is also pertinent because it describes exaltation as nothing less than becoming gods!   In verse 19 it states: “they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things.”  Then in verse 20 it says, “then shall they be gods” not once but twice.

In short, Mormonism defines eternal life as becoming a god.  To obtain it requires “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel”.  One such ordinance is celestial marriage that can only be performed in Mormon temples.  Thus, according to Mormonism, many LDS members, not to mention non-members, will not have eternal life.

What does the Bible say?  John wrote:  “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)  Note that he says “ye may know that ye have eternal life”.   The tense is very important.  It is a present tense, not a future (will have).  They already had it!

They had it through believing.  John is echoing the words of Jesus that he himself recorded.  “That whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:15)  Eternal life then is the present possession of believers.  It’s the new spiritual life we now have with God through faith.  And most importantly, it is not something that we obtain through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.  It is God’s gift to us.  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

“Through Jesus Christ our Lord” – the key is not my obedience and my work, but Jesus’ obedience and his work.  As my Substitute, he obeyed God perfectly.  As my Substitute, he performed many wonderful works.  He died – as my Substitute.  He did it all – 100% – for me.  Faith is nothing more, or less, than humbly acknowledging that and totally relying on that.  And through faith we have the tremendous joy of having true eternal life – right now!

02
Mar
09

MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD AND SINGLE MEN

 

     In the Feb. 25th edition of the Meridian Magazine, an online LDS magazine, there was an interesting article entitled, “Why It is Not Good for Man to be Alone.”  One reason why I found it interesting is because it quotes D&C 132:19-20 and talks about Mormonism’s teaching of becoming gods – something that is not seen that often today.

    Especially interesting was how the author strongly connects marriage with the Melchizedek priesthood.  For example, he states:  “Priesthood and marriage are inseparably connected; one without the other is useless.”  “Being acquainted with the law of marriage is not enough; once a man learns of this law, he must obey it or face serious consequences.  Because this law is published openly in the Doctrine and Covenants, no man is left without excuse.”  These are just a couple of sample quotes.

    But the statement that really stood out to me was when he was talking about how Adam was asleep without Eve.  He takes off on that and states: “Clearly man is spiritually asleep until he marries.”  What implications does that have for the thousands of single LDS missionaries?




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