Has Mormonism changed the meaning of the word “gift”?

This Christmas I would imagine you received at least one gift. But, did you receive any “conditional” gifts? Did anyone tell you that you had to do something for them before you could open their gift? How many gifts are under your tree, waiting to be opened until you meet the requirements of the giver?

It might sound absurd to talk like this or think of “gifts” that we gave or received in this manner. When we know the person that gives us a gift, we realize that we don’t have to “do” something before we open their gift. We trust that the giver of the gift loves us and has given us their gift unconditionally and freely. In fact, if you look up the word “gift” in a dictionary you will find it defined as “Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.”

But, when speaking of spiritual matters in Mormonism, the word “gift” has been redefined! There is really only one unconditionalgift” in Mormonism and that is the gift of immortality (bodily resurrection). All other “gifts” are “conditional”. One simple example can be found in True to the Faith, page 52. In referencing Eternal life, it states “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.” The “condition” attached to this “gift” from Heavenly Father is obedience. Do a search at lds.org in the gospel library and type in the words “conditional AND gift”. You will discover that even God’s love, mercy and grace are all “gifts” conditioned upon your worthiness.

But the truth is that your Savior has many unconditional gifts waiting for you! One is the gift of eternal life! Not only does He offer it to you unconditionally but it is also given voluntarily. This gift was made personally, just for you, and it wasn’t an easy gift to make. Jesus lovingly spent thirty three years working on this gift. Day after day, despite many temptations by Satan, Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s laws for you. His suffering on the night of His death was tremendous. It must have been excruciating to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world and be cursed by His Heavenly Father. His shed blood covered over every sin you will ever commit. He willingly lived and died to give you the gift of eternal life.

Now, imagine that Jesus comes to you and personally offers His gift to you—freely and unconditionally. But, instead of graciously and excitedly thanking Him for the gift He worked so hard to make for you, you tell Him you can improve on His gift by adding your own works to it. Or, maybe you tell Him you can’t accept His gift because you believe you must first qualify for it. Imagine His disappointment as you reject this loving gift He made just for you.

Please don’t do this to my Jesus! Don’t reject the gift of eternal life Jesus worked so hard to give you! Through His perfect works He has qualified you to live eternally with Heavenly Father. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Believe that Jesus gained this gift for you and you will receive it! Then, spend the rest of your life freely serving God. “Freely” because doing so is your voluntary and unconditional gift of love to Him!

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6 Comments

  1. sdrogers said,

    January 2, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Is it impossible for a person to reject this gift?

    The giving of a gift is always preconditioned on acceptance of that gift. Even if it is freely given.

  2. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    The giving of a gift is never preconditioned on whether that gift is accepted. You are thinking like a Mormon, which you are 🙂 A true gift is given freely and unconditionally. If the giver of the gift attaches a “condition” to it, then it isn’t truly a gift. If the recipient of a gift chooses to reject that gift, it does not negate that the gift was freely offered.

    The gift of forgiveness is freely offered to all people. This gift can be freely offered because the price for it has been paid! It would be like I went down to Walmart and bought you a new bike. I place it in front of your door with a gift card saying it is my gift to you. If you reject that gift, for whatever reason, that does not negate the fact that it was freely offered to you.

    It is the same with forgiveness. Through Christ’s shed blood, Mercy paid God’s demands of Justice. Now, mercy reigns! The price for every sin you have ever committed has been paid! You have been forgiven for every sin you will ever commit in your entire life. If you don’t believe this, or you think you don’t need it, then you reject the gift that is freely offered to you. This gift sits there, unopened. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there, simply waiting for you to believe it is yours for the taking!!

  3. sdrogers said,

    January 4, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Well, yes… But I was asking if you think it is impossible to reject this gift.

  4. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 4, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    It is possible to reject this gift!! Many people reject this gift through unbelief.

    God so loved the world that He gave every person the “gift” of His only begotten son. Whoever believes in this gift, receives eternal life. Whoever does not believe in this gift, rejects it, and will not see life.

    John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

  5. sdrogers said,

    January 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    So really, all we are arguing about is what constitutes human acceptance. Not about whether the gift itself is free.

  6. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    No, not at all. The purpose of my post is to clearly state that true gifts are freely offered. The gifts of forgiveness and eternal life are freely offered to all people because Jesus has already paid the price for these gifts.

    You wrote that “The giving of a gift is always preconditioned on acceptance of that gift. Even if it is freely given.” Your words don’t agree with scripture. God has freely offered the gift of eternal life and that gift has been rejected by many people. Rejecting this gift does not negate the fact that it is freely offered.


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