Posts Tagged ‘Ensign




     In the December issue of the Ensign, the official magazine of the LDS Church, there is a brief article written by a woman who was struggling with showing forgiveness to people who hurt her.  She talked about how she was helped by a non-Mormon friend to be forgiving.  His advice was to follow Jesus’ command to pray for our enemies. 

     That’s not bad advice but there is something vastly more important than that in motivating us to be forgiving.  And that is seeing how much God has forgiven us.  “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”  (Ephesians 4:32).

     The more I see the greatness of God’s forgiveness, the easier it is for me to be forgiving.  And the things that help me see how great God’s forgiveness is 1) seeing how much sin had ravaged me and thus how unworthy I was – yes even worthless I was because of that, and 2) seeing the tremendous cost and effort required of God so that he could forgive me. 

     Over the years I have read tens of thousands of pages of Mormon literature, and have talked with hundreds and hundreds of Mormons.  In all this, I have observed the following in regard to these two things.  1) Mormonism does not teach how devastating sin is.  It sees it as serious but it still sees a lot of good in natural man. It doesn’t see sin as ravaging mankind. And 2) when it talks about forgiveness the vast majority of times it talks about our duty to forgive each other rather than God forgiving us.  At one time I was keeping track of the references to forgiveness in LDS literature and it was running about 90% to our responsibility to forgive.  The article mentioned above is a good example.  Not once does it refer to God forgiving us.

     We need to hear a lot more about God forgiving us than our responsibility to forgive others.  But that is not the emphasis people hear in Mormonism.  That is another reason why it is a deadly religion. 


The Atonement


     The March 2008 edition of the official LDS magazine, Ensign, was a very special issue.  It focused entirely on Jesus.  The LDS church said it spent two years producing it.  They made many extra copies and it is now listed as one of its resources.  It would be a good resource to have for those wanting to witness to Mormons.

     It contains an article on the Atonement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of Mormonism’s 12 apostles.  In it he repeats much of what Mormonism says about the Atonement.  He talks a lot about Jesus’ suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and writes:  “Through this suffering Jesus redeemed the souls of all men, women, and children.”  He does bring in Jesus’ suffering on the cross, something that is being mentioned more and more in LDS writings.  But the emphasis is still on Jesus’ anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane.

     He also talks about how the Atonement provided both unconditional and conditional blessings.  The unconditional blessings he list are ransom for Adam’s original transgression and bodily resurrection of all.  He then writes:  “Other aspects of Christ’s atoning gift are conditional.  They depend on one’s diligence in keeping God’s commandments.”  Again that is not new.  But then he uses a couple of phrases that I can’t remember running across before.  He writes:  “Obviously the unconditional blessings of the Atonement are unearned, but the conditional ones are not fully merited either.  By living faithfully and keeping the commandments of God, one can receive additional privileges; but they are still given freely, not technically earned.”  (my emphasis)  What does “not fully merited” and “not technically earned” mean?  “Not fully merited” implies that they are partially merited.  “Not technically earned” implies what?  Often when that word is used it is used in contrast to reality.  Technically you still have a job but in reality you better start looking. 

      Some Mormons say that Mormonism doesn’t teach salvation by faith and works.  I think articles like this demonstrate otherwise.  Maybe the word “works” is not used, but the idea is definitely there in phrases like “conditional blessings”, “not fully merited” and “not technically earned” and the repeated emphasis on keeping the commandments.

September 2022

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