This Is My Gospel: The Power of God for Salvation to All Who Believe

LDS Belief:

“The word gospel means good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his/her works.” (LDS KJV Bible Dictionary)

Having your garments washed by Christ’s Atonement is conditional upon having faith, repenting of all your sins (through the LDS Process of Repentance) and being faithful till the end.

LDS Words

(Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine, Lesson 42: This Is My Gospel
pages 186-187)

Point out that when Latter-day Saints bear their testimonies, they often say that they know the gospel is true. Ask class members to silently consider how they would respond if, after saying “I know the gospel is true,” they were asked, “What is the gospel?

Write “This is my gospel” on the chalkboard. Explain that after Jesus said that His Church must be built on His gospel, He gave His disciples a concise, complete definition of His gospel. Have class members take turns reading verses in 3 Nephi 27:13–22, looking for different aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

3 Nephi 27:15:
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

3 Nephi 27:19:
And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

Link to Lesson:

Lesson 42

The Bold Truth:

The true Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16) The true Gospel of Christ is the “good news” of free and full forgiveness from sin simply through faith in Christ: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43) Jesus successfully completed His mission to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Not only did He die for us, He lived for us. Because of Him we have been perfected forever: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10-14)

I grew up loving New York Cheesecake. My mom had a recipe that was easy to make—no baking and little fuss. When I had children I often made this for them. One evening my husband took me to a restaurant for a special meal. For dessert I ordered the “Authentic New York Cheesecake”. But, when the waitress brought it, I was appalled. It did not look like the cheesecake I was familiar with. I didn’t want to try it but the waitress assured me it was delicious. I took one small bite and felt like I had entered heaven. It was the best thing I had ever tasted in my entire life! I realized that the recipe I had been using all those years was not really New York Cheesecake, even though it was titled such. I had no idea what I had been missing all those years. Now, whenever I see a “fake” cheesecake I identify it immediately because not only does it taste different, it looks different.

In a similar way, I grew up believing in the LDS gospel. It never entered my mind that it might not be authentic. The only doubts I ever had were doubts about my own ability to follow the gospel. I knew I was unworthy and no matter how hard I tried, I could not gain forgiveness. My prophets taught that forgiveness was dependent upon my own works, my ability to keep all the commandments. Every day I failed miserably and every minute I felt unworthy. While I doubted my own ability, I never doubted in the LDS gospel.

A few years after tasting my first authentic New York Cheesecake I tasted the true gospel of Jesus Christ! My loving Father in Heaven rescued me from the torment of my guilt by bringing me the “good news” of His true Gospel. I learned that “gospel” literally means “good news”. The good news is that not only was Jesus worthy for me, He died for me! The good news is that Jesus satisfied Gods’ demands for Justice and now Mercy reigns. The good news is that Heavenly Father has forgiven every single sin you have ever committed. This is a fact proven by His resurrection.

Jesus’ entire purpose for coming to earth was to cover our sins with His blood. That is the authentic Gospel. We can discern the true gospel by answering the question from the Lesson “Why was Jesus lifted up?” According to the LDS Gospel the answer focuses on what we have to do—Jesus gives us bodily resurrection so we can be judged by our own works. That is not good news” because our inadequate works make us unworthy! According to the true Gospel the answer focuses on Jesus—He paid the penalty for the sins of the world which washed away everyone’s sins with His blood.

I thought I was using the authentic recipe for New York Cheesecake. It wasn’t until I tasted the real thing that I knew the difference. The same was true for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had no idea what I had been missing for all those years. The true gospel tastes so sweet to me that it is the foundation for everything I do. The good news of the gospel compels me to serve Jesus every minute of every day. Not because I have to, but because I get to!

Eternal Consequences

Anyone who rejects the true gospel of Jesus Christ will stand “unclean” before Heavenly Father on Judgment Day. No unclean person will dwell in the kingdom of God with Jesus, Heavenly Father or the Holy Spirit. The only other alternative is to spend eternity in hell with Satan.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
The Gospel: Why Jesus came:
– Isaiah 61:1
– Isaiah 53:4-12
– Luke 4:17-20
– John 1:29
– Romans 1:16
– 1 Corinthians 1:17-18
– 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
– 1 Peter 1:18-25
– Galatians 3:10-13
– 1 John 2:2
– Hebrews 10:12
– Revelation 1:5
– Revelation 7:14
Don’t believe in false gospels, even if an angel tells it to you:
– Galatians 1:6-9
– 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
Even the Apostle Peter had to be reprimanded about following the gospel:
– “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified… 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Peter didn’t walk according to the truth of the gospel) Galatians 2:14, 16, 21
Additional LDS Words:

Found in lesson 42, page 187:
What did the Savior promise to those who live according to His gospel? (See 3 Nephi 27:21–22.) 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; 22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

3 Nephi 27:13-14:
Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. 14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil

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Old Things Are Done Away, and All Things Have Become New: It’s Through Christ’s Atonement You Have Been Perfected Forever!

The sentence I most remember my Father saying was: “All blessings are predicated upon obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”

These words are from a revelation given by Joseph Smith and recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 130. Today, it’s important to look at how this principle affects qualifying for the grace of God so Mormons can be perfected in Christ.

We read in this weeks Gospel Doctrine Lesson:

“After teaching the Nephites that they should love their enemies, Jesus said, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). “Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected? (See… Moroni 10:32–33. (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38: Old Things Are Done Away, and All Things Have Become New, p 171)

Next, lets look at a simple illustration of earning a blessing through obedience:

(Condition): If she cleans her room. . .

(Blessing): then, she can go outside and play with her friends.

Now lets apply the words from the Lesson to this same illustration. In the Lesson, the question is asked: “Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected?” You are told to see Moroni 10:32–33 teaching us the condition for qualifying for God’s grace so as to be perfected in Christ:

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”

(Condition): If you deny yourself of all ungodliness, and if you love God with all your might, mind and strength…

(Blessing): then, you can qualify for God’s grace and be perfected in Christ.

But what does “deny yourself of all ungodliness” mean, according to LDS doctrine? Since I prefer to let LDS Prophets explain their own scripture, I went searching and found the LDS definition in the Sunday School Teachers Manual for 12 & 13 year olds:

“Have class members find and read Moroni 10:32. According to this verse, what must we do to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”? (“Deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness, and love God with all [our] might, mind and strength.”) Explain that “deny yourselves of all ungodliness” means “give up your sins.” (Preparing for Exaltation, page 123)

I also learned from the LDS Apostle Neal Maxwell that this includes both large and small sins:

“Moroni declared the need for us to deny ourselves of “all ungodliness” (Moro. 10:32), thus including both large and small sins.” (Neal A. Maxwell, April 1995 General Conference, Ensign, May 1995, p. 66)

Can any person actually do this? Can you “give up” all of your sins? What about all the sins of omission: visiting those in prison, praying constantly or not worrying? Could you stop sinning for even one day? If you truly could give up all of your sins wouldn’t that mean you were already perfect in yourself?

The sobering truth is that no one can meet these requirements! Even though we are commanded to do so, no one can deny themselves of all ungodliness and love God with all their might, mind and strength! Not even for one hour.

Jesus testified to the rich young ruler that no one is good but God (Luke 18:18). Similarly, no one is Godly but God. Even one little white lie makes a person “ungodly”. No one (except Jesus) even comes close to denying themselves of all ungodliness.

So how does a person qualify for God’s grace? Instead of qualifying for it like you would a scholarship, it’s more similar to a need-based grant. You have to be poor and needy—you have to be sinful. A righteous person doesn’t need Christ’s Atonement. But guess what—the truth is that no one is righteous. We all need Christ! Jesus said: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth…” (Matthew 9: 12-13). It means that all of us are sick (ungodly) and need our Great Physician who came to heal us!

Christ’s mission for coming to earth was to die for the ungodly. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). If you believe this and know that you are among the ungodly—a miracle will happen! In an instant, you will be made godly through faith in Jesus! You will be perfected forever in God’s sight:

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10-18)

Don’t place your faith in the words of LDS prophets who claim that you must deny yourself of all ungodliness to be found perfect. If you do, you will die in your sins and spend eternity with Satan. Why? Because you rejected the Savior who denied Himself of all ungodliness for you—in your place.

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
Believe in the God that justifies the ungodly:
– Romans 4: 4-8
Jesus is the Deliverer:
– Romans 11: 26-27
Christ died for sinners – the ungodly:
– Romans 5: 6-8
– Matthew 9: 12-13
– Luke 19:10
– 1 Timothy 1:15
Godly blessed / Ungodly shall perish
– Psalm 1: 1-6
Wrath of God against ungodly:
– Romans 1: 18
– 2 Peter 2:6
– 2 Peter 3:7
God’s law is not for righteous, but for ungodly:
– 1 Timothy 1: 8-9
Links to LDS Words:
LDS Definition of “Denying ourselves of all ungodliness”
– May 1995 Ensign
– Preparing for Exaltation
– Preparing for Exaltation
– JST Mathew 16:25-26
Mormons believe in a god who “justifieth NOT the ungodly”
– JST Romans 4:2-5

The Word Is in Christ unto Salvation: Do You “Feel the Word” from a Seducing Spirit?

How can you know whether your feelings are from the Holy Ghost or a Seducing Spirit? “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1)

This week’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson asks:

What do you think it means to feel the word “swell within [our] breasts”?” The answer is:

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.” (Alma 32:28, Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 28: The Word Is in Christ unto Salvation)

This same LDS belief is taught in Doctrine and Covenants 8 & 9 where we are told that the Holy Ghost “uses a still, small voice to communicate to our minds and hearts” often by a “burning in the bosom“. Dallin Oaks clarifies that “the word ‘burning’ in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity.” (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Lesson 6: “I Will Tell You in Your Mind and in Your Heart, by the Holy Ghost”)

Have you ever received a “burning in the bosom” verifying that the Book of Mormon is true; or prayed for an answer to this promise in Moroni:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4)

I once had a testimony that the Church was true, but I certainly didn’t have feelings of comfort and serenity. And, I wasn’t sure that the Book of Mormon was true. At the time I thought I must not be asking “with a sincere heart” or “with real intent”. Maybe I just wasn’t worthy enough to have the Holy Ghost bear witness to me. At the temple I sincerely sought the answer I so wanted to hear. I clung to the words of my prophets that if I just lived the gospel, the Holy Spirit would eventually reveal to me that the Book of Mormon was true.

During those years there were two very important things that I didn’t even realize about the claim in Moroni. First off, the promise allows for no result other than having the Book of Mormon’s truth manifested. The passage does not say to pray to see if it is true or not. The prayer is not asking God a question, it is actually asking God to confirm a forgone conclusion—that it is true.

Secondly, using this test to determine if the Book of Mormon is true is a flawed method of discerning truth! The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Truth who witnesses truth to us. But God’s Word never tells us to test truth through prayer and feelings! Doing what Moroni suggests leaves a person reliant on their feelings as the means to know if something is true.

When the Spirit reveals truth to us there will often be a “burning in the bosom” but that doesn’t mean a burning in the bosom always confirms truth. (If you go out in the rain you will get wet; but that does not mean being wet confirms that you’ve been out in the rain.) Feelings often will confirm falsehood as truth. This is one of Satan’s favorite tactics.

God’s Word tells us that in the Last Days people will give heed to seducing spirits. Many people are easily deceived because they rely on their feelings instead of on God’s revealed method of determining truth. Based on strong emotions, suicide bombers have accepted what they were told as truth and sacrificed their lives for a falsehood.

The most alarming problem with using feelings or an emotional response from a spiritual source as a means to discern truth is that it exposes you to false spirits. God’s Word tells us that there will be deceiving and false spirits and commands us to “test the spirits”.

God revealed how to determine if something is true through the Apostle John:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1-6). Test your feelings by testing the message that the spirit brings. Compare what the spirit has witnessed as truth to you with already revealed scripture. Only then can you know if your feelings are truly from the Holy Ghost.

Anyone who truly tests the message of the Book of Mormon by comparing it with the Bible will find out that the Holy Ghost is not its author.

This book doesn’t agree with what the Prophets of the Old Testament and Christs’ Apostles claimed about forgiveness! “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). The prophesied Christ of the Old Testament has already reconciled man’s debt to sin. All your sins are forgiven!

I know this to be true! It has been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit and yes, this truth does give me a “burning in the bosom”. But that is not how I know this message is true. I have tested this witness with the rest of God’s scripture. Forgiveness has truly been won for you through Christ’s shed blood. It is His gift, freely offered to you. Please, don’t reject it!

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

More Than One Witness: Saw the Empty Tomb Which Proves You are No Longer in Your Sins!

After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith, it took awhile before I understood the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. For a short time, I didn’t realize that the LDS Church was not Christian. The Jesus I had been taught about while I was Mormon seemed to be the same Jesus that the Bible taught. It wasn’t until I did a thorough Bible study on Christ’s Atonement that I discovered that the Jesus taught by LDS leaders is a false Christ! He is not the Christ who saved us “in our sins“.

While Mormonism teaches some similar aspects about the “person” of Jesus found in the Bible, the falseness of this Christ becomes apparent when one looks at His stated purpose and mission. I have found numerous ways in which the LDS Jesus falls short of the true Jesus found in the pages of God’s Holy Word. Today, I focus on comparing the LDS Jesus who cannot save his people in their sins with the true Christ who has already taken away the sins of the world!

The Christ of Mormonism is a false Christ. We know this because LDS prophets testify that Christ cannot save his people “in their sins”! They make this claim because they believe and teach the words of a false prophet from the Book of Mormon. His words found in Alma 11:32–37, are taught in this weeks Gospel Doctrine class:

Amulek taught of a false Christ who did not have the authority to save his people “in their sins“. Amulek claims that the reason is because “no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.” (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 23: “More Than One Witness” p. 105, Alma 11:32–37).

True to the Faith also explains this LDS teaching:

Note that you cannot be saved in your sins; you cannot receive unconditional salvation simply by declaring your belief in Christ with the understanding that you will inevitably commit sins throughout the rest of your life (see Alma 11:36–37). Through the grace of God, you can be saved from your sins (see Helaman 5:10–11). To receive this blessing, you must exercise faith in Jesus Christ, strive to keep the commandments, forsake sin, and renew your repentance and cleansing through the ordinance of the sacrament.” (pages 151-152)

The false Christ taught in the Book of Mormon and the LDS church is not the true Christ who is the Son of God! This is made evident by comparing him with the Christ found on the pages of the Bible:

Christ’s mission was to take away ALL our sins, leaving us “no longer in our sins”! We learn this truth from John the Baptist, who testified that Christ’s mission was to take away the sins of the world! (John 1:29). The Apostle Paul also claimed that if Christ had not been raised from the dead, then their faith was in vain because they would still be in their sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17) The fact that Christ was raised from the dead meant that they were no longer in their sins!

Did Jesus fulfill His mission and return to His Father with honor? Did He take away the sins of the world? Yes!! The empty tomb, the fact that God the Father raised Him from the dead, proves that Christ’s body was accepted as full payment for taking away the sins of the world.

Because the tomb was empty on that first Easter morning, we can trust that we are no longer in our sins! Through the offering of Christ’s body-the Atonement, every sin was taken away from you. All who believe in Jesus can boldly enter into God’s presence because they are no longer in their sins! When Jesus took away the sins of the world, He reconciled man to God! You are no longer unclean because Christ’s blood has washed you clean!!!

No longer “in our sins” we are perfect, righteous, and pure. Through the offering of Christ’s body, “He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10-14). Those whose hope is in the true Christ are as pure as Jesus Himself (1 John 3:3). Just like Abraham, you are declared righteous through faith (Romans 4:20-5:2).

Many of the Jewish leaders didn’t believe that Jesus was the Christ. They thought that Christ’s mission was to overthrow the Romans and set up an earthly kingdom. But this was a vision of a false Christ! Jesus warned the Jews who did not believe in Him: “ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24). The logic here is that if the Jews would just believe in the true Christ they would not die in their sins.

Similarly, if you trust in the words of your LDS prophets, you also believe in the vision of a false Christ. One who cannot, will not, save you in your sins. Just as Jesus warned the Jews, He gives you the same warning: “if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins”. Dying in your sins means Eternal Death and living eternally with Satan and his demons.

Do you love your family and wish to live with them eternally? Reject the false Christ of Mormonism and in faith turn to the true Christ who has given you eternal life. Then, teach your children about the true Jesus who has already saved them in their sins!

Link to Additional LDS and Bible References. Please read this page to learn more about how your Savior has removed your sins, comparing the Bible with the words of LDS leaders:

The Scriptures, the Most Valuable Library in the World: Follow Christ’s Example & Study

When I was LDS I never understood why so many “anti-Mormons” tried to prove the Book of Mormon was false. Now, as a Christian I still don’t understand the majority of arguments used as evidence against it. When asking the question “Is the Book of Mormon true?” one needs to clarify “in what way?” Is it a “true” historical account of peoples who lived in the Americas; or are the beliefs expressed in it “true” to God’s Word?

It’s apparent that some apologetics are merely trying to prove that the Book of Mormon is a false historical account. They claim the Book of Mormon can’t be true because horses or steel weren’t supposed to have yet arrived in the Americas during the time the Book of Mormon peoples lived. Or they claim that DNA testing of Native Americans is proof that the Book of Mormon is false. But even if one could prove that the Book of Mormon is a true historical account, this proof doesn’t verify that the beliefs expressed in it are God’s inspired Word.

In the Bible God promised that there would be false Christ’s, false prophets and apostles, and false spirits. We have been warned about such deceivers many times by the Prophets of the Old Testament as well as by Jesus and His Apostles. Thankfully, God told us how to determine if a prophet, spirit, or in this case a book; is truly from God. We are told to “test” their fruits. The “fruit” of anyone (or any book) claiming to speak for God is their words. The “test” is to compare their words with already revealed scripture. Do their teachings agree with it?

I was thrilled to read this same thought in the Relief Society Lesson:

“We talk about the philosophies of men and hold them up sometimes as a pretty picture, but when they conflict with the teachings of our Heavenly Father as contained in Holy Writ, they are valueless. They will never lead anybody into eternal happiness, nor help him to find a place in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 10: The Scriptures, the Most Valuable Library in the World, p.105)

Anything a false prophet taught would be man-made philosophy and be in conflict with God’s Word. Even if an angel appears to us and preaches another gospel than the one taught by Christ’s Apostles, we are not to believe him:

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9).

God wants us to use revealed scripture to test any new words. Jesus is a shining example of using scripture to test if words are true or false. Here are just a few examples:

In the dessert Satan tried to tempt Him by twisting scripture. Jesus used scripture to test Satan’s words by saying “It is written…”. He used the same words with the false money changers who bought and sold in the Temple. When the Pharisees accused His disciples of breaking the Sabbath, Jesus said “Have ye not read…” to prove them wrong. He also used these words with them when they tested Him about divorce. When the Sadducees asked him a doctrinal question about marriage in Heaven, Jesus said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures…”

There is another shining example of using scripture to test a person’s words in the book of Acts. Luke tells us that the Bereans used scripture to test if Paul and Silas’ words were true. He claims that they— “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

I am sure that during the time following Christ’s death many Israelites would have “tested” the words of the Apostles to see if they were true. Today, every Christian should use this “test” on anyone claiming to speak God’s Word, even their church leaders.

Is the Book of Mormon truly God’s holy scripture inspried by the Holy Ghost? Using Christ’s method of testing, we find that it fails the test! One simple example can be found using the topic of Salvation. In the Book of Mormon we read:

“for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23b)

Compare this with already revealed scripture found in the New Testament:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Both books claim that a person is saved by grace. But the Book of Mormon declares a person is saved by grace, plus works. The Third Article of Faith summarizes this LDS doctrine: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”

Comparing this Book of Mormon verse with already revealed scripture, we find that it fails the test! God’s truth claims that a person is saved by grace, through faith, and not works. Scripture also explains that you can’t add your “works” to God’s “grace”:

“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

You won’t hear me say this very often, but I ask you to follow this advice given in your Relief Society Lesson:

“Now, I want to say, my brothers and sisters, that the advice of Jesus Christ, is still in force with us wherein he said, “Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.] Do not neglect the old family Bible; do not put it away upon the shelf and forget it. Find out, if you do not already know, what it says, and if you have read it before, read it again often to your children and to your children’s children.” (p. 108)

Follow Jesus’ advice and His example! Test the Book of Mormon with God’s already revealed scripture—the Bible. When you do you will find that the Book of Mormon fails the test–it is not God’s inspired Word!

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:103-105)

After “all” the Bishop Could Do, it Wasn’t Enough

Reading the Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine Lesson 9 reminded me of a talk I gave back when I was in high school. I served on the Seminary Council and one of my assignments was to speak in Sacrament Meeting. I decided to talk about Christ’s Atonement, specifically what we had to do to receive the “conditional gifts” associated with it. (You have to understand a little about my personality before I explain what I did to the Bishop during my talk. I grew up with three brothers and a Dad who incessantly teased me. Just to survive, I learned how to stand up for myself, but usually in a joking manner.)

In giving my talk, I wanted to teach about the Atonement, but the illustration I used was also done in a way meant to tease the Bishop. For my talk I brought some props from home. On the podium I set a large scale like the one you see for the “Scales of Justice”. On one side I piled about thirty large onions. The other side was empty. I set this up as an attention getter before I started talking. Then, I proceeded to talk about Christ’s Atonement. I spoke about our unconditional gift of bodily resurrection and what a blessing that was. Then I moved on to what we had to do to receive Heavenly Father’s conditional “gifts. Next I brought up Nephi’s passage testifying that we are saved only “after” all we can do.

This is the moment I called the Bishop to the stand. Without any prior warning, I told him he had to eat ALL the onions sitting on the Scales of Justice. Obviously, he couldn’t do it. Then I moved three onions to the other side and asked the Bishop if he could eat that many? Once again, the answer was no. In the end, the Bishop was only able to eat one small bite out of an onion! I remember making the comment that “all” that the Bishop could do wasn’t very much! I loved how my illustration generated lots of laughter from the Ward members. But, despite the humor involved, I was making a very important point. If we want to balance the Scales of Justice we must first do all we can. And then, Christ’s Atonement will cover the rest.

Thinking back to this Sacrament Meeting talk given over thirty years ago I am so thankful that the Holy Ghost has opened my eyes to the truth. I never knew that combining my works with my faith as a way to gain eternal life was false. I certainly never realized that attempting to do so would result in spending eternity with Satan. I fully trusted that Nephi and other Mormon prophets were truly God’s prophets. That was why I taught this message in Sacrament Meeting: “…for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23)

But Nephi taught us a way to be saved that is in direct opposition to what God’s Prophets and Christ’s Apostles taught: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Here, the Apostle Paul testified it is faith, and not works that saves us. Nowhere in the Bible will you find the belief that we can gain eternal life by trying as hard as we can. Using the illustration of eating all the onions, taking even one bite means you believe Christ’s work was insufficient to pay your entire debt!

You are either saved because all of your works are perfect, or because you have a Savior who was perfect for you–in your place. There isn’t a “third” way that combines your works with Christ’s works to balance the Scales of Justice. If you take even one bite this means you would have to eat the entire basket of onions. No one will be saved by adding their own imperfect works to their faith.

Lesson 9 of the Gospel Doctrine Class is titled: “My Soul Delighteth in the Words of Isaiah“. Does your soul delight in these words from the Prophet Isaiah, about our own righteousness:

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

I praise the Lord that Isaiah also testified that Jesus covers us with His robe of righteousness:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

All my Bishop could do was eat one bite of an onion–it wasn’t enough. Similarly, all you can do, isn’t enough! You will only be saved by faith alone or by being one hundred percent perfect your entire life (as Jesus was)!

In one way, I do believe in faith and works. My faith in Christ’s works. I have faith that Christ’s works were sufficient to pay my entire debt! It was at Christ’s Atonement that He exchanged my sins for His righteousness!

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:10-14)

In thankfulness, I devote my entire life to “him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”! (Revelation 1:5)

Hearken to the Truth and Give Heed unto It

I was 28 years old when I realized that Mormonism was false. I spent a few years searching for the “true church” amongst the protestant religions. After I decided that Christianity didn’t “feel” right, I went from one form of spirituality to another. Finally, I gave up searching for the truth. But I could never stop believing that there was some kind of God. Merely looking around at the marvelous universe was enough to convince me that there had to be a God who had created everything. I finally determined that God had simply left us humans to ourselves.

Looking back, I realize that through all my years of searching, I had always used the LDS method of determining whether or not something was true—trusting in my feelings. One example of this is found in the Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual Lesson 5:

Elder Boyd K. Packer taught: “The Holy Ghost communicates with the spirit through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings, through impressions and promptings. It is not always easy to describe inspiration. The scriptures teach us that we may ‘feel’ the words of spiritual communication more than hear them, and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes (see 1 Nephi 17:45)” (pp 22-23)

True to the Faith explains how feelings from the Spirit should be used to determine if something is true:

Note the Lord’s final words in Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 [-9: “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you;] therefore, you shall feel that it is right. [But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong…]” The burning described in this scripture passage signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity, not necessarily a sensation of heat.” (True to the Faith, page 144; D&C 9:8-9)

I spent three decades searching for truth using this LDS formula. Instead of finding the one and only “true God” I found many different people whose hearts gave them very different answers as to what truth was. There are millions of people from various different faiths who have trusted that their strong feelings were God’s answer to their prayers. I found those who sincerely believed in Shamanism, Mormonism, Buddhism, New Age thinking, Deists, Atheists and Agnostics. All truly had faith that what they believed in their heart was true. They based their faith on very strong feelings that what they were following was truth.

There are many different examples of those who have trusted in their feelings to determine truth. Take the crusades where millions were killed and persecuted in the name of God. These people who were murderers were zealots who truly believed they were doing what God wanted them to do. They believed this because they listened to their feelings and to their hearts. Take the men who bombed the World Trade Center Towers. These men believed so strongly that their feelings would never lie to them that they committed suicide doing what “felt right“.

In all my searching I realized that humans are just really messed up. There have been many horrible aspects which define “religion”. But none of these have anything to do with God—each one is simply man claiming to act on God’s behalf. I finally came to the conclusion that a person can’t determine what is true by trusting in their feelings. Feelings often lie to you and tell you what you want to hear. Many people from different religions feel that what they believe is truth, and yet there can only be one truth.

It wasn’t until I met the “God of love” that I learned that many “religions” are simply man-made attempts to define God. For years I had believed that all those horrible “religions” actually defined the Christian God. But I was wrong. The day I met the God of love, I found a God that I had never even dreamed of. This one true God loves me unconditionally and came to earth to give me a life of peace and love. Despite all the many horrible things that I have done in my life, this God actually chooses to dwell inside of me. His love fills my heart despite all the times I forget to trust fully in Him.

There is not one thing that I did to gain His love. Amazingly, Jesus came to earth to show me just how much He loves me. The Son of God lowered Himself and became a human because He unconditionally loves us. Our Savior gave His life so that we could grasp just how much He loves us.

I love the fact that Jesus told us how to determine truth! He testified, over and over again to search the scriptures!! That is where we can find God’s truth! Many times He chastised people who did not turn to scriptures for answers to their questions. After He was crucified He met two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. He hid from them who He was and listened to them as they were trying to figure out why Jesus had been crucified. The reason they didn’t know is because they hadn’t turned to scripture to find the answers. Instead, they were studying it out in their minds. But Jesus revealed truth to them by taking them to scripture! Notice, He didn’t tell them to pray so that the Holy Ghost could reveal to them what was happening. Instead, Jesus pointed them to scripture as the place they could find the truth. (Prayer is how we speak to God–God speaks to us through His scripture (Matthew 22:29-32):

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27).

Even though they claimed later that their “bosoms” burned when Jesus spoke to them, their feelings were not what they used to determine whether Jesus spoke truth. They knew what was true because Jesus took them to the source of truth–God’s Holy scripture. If we want to know what is and isn’t true, we are to test everything with what the Holy Ghost has already revealed to us in scripture.

At times I can barely fathom God’s love for me. But I trust that He does because of all the promises He has left for me in scripture. Unfortunately, those who don’t really know Him often run and hide from Him.

I love these words about our God who loves us unconditionally–in spite of our sinfulness:

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7)

I pray that you will come to know of your Savior’s love for you. His love is so great that He gave His life–just so you could spend eternity with Him. Turn to Him and you will find the deepest love of your life. His greatest longing is to lavish His love on you. With the Apostle Paul, I pray this prayer for you:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Follow Christ’s example to know if the Book of Mormon is true!

As a Mormon I never understood why so many “anti-Mormons” tried to prove the Book of Mormon was false. Now, as a Christian, I still don’t understand the majority of arguments used as evidence against it. When asking the question “Is the Book of Mormon true?” one needs to clarify “in what way?” Is it a “true” historical account of peoples who lived in the Americas, or, are the beliefs expressed in it “true” to God’s Word? It is apparent that some apologetics are merely trying to prove that the Book of Mormon is a false historical account. They claim the Book of Mormon can’t be true because horses, steel or silk weren’t supposed to have yet arrived in the Americas during the time the Book of Mormon peoples lived. Or they claim that DNA testing of Native Americans is proof that the Book of Mormon is false. But, even if one could prove the Book of Mormon is a true historical account, this proof does not make the beliefs expressed in it God’s Word.

In the Bible God promised that there would be false Christ’s, false prophets and apostles, and false spirits. We have been warned about such deceivers many times by the Prophets of the Old Testament as well as by Jesus and His Apostles. Thankfully, God told us how to determine if a prophet, spirit, or in this case, a book, is truly from God. We are told to “test” their fruits. The “fruit” of anyone, or, any book for that matter, claiming to speak for God is their words. The “test” is to compare their words with already revealed scripture. Do they agree with it? Even if an angel appears to us and preaches another gospel than the one taught by Christ’s Apostles, we are not to believe him (Galatians 1:6-9). We are to use revealed scripture to test any new words.

Jesus is a shining example of using scripture to test if words are false. He quoted from the Old Testament many times. Here are just a few examples: In the dessert Satan tried to tempt Him by twisting scripture. Jesus used scripture to test Satan’s words by saying “It is written…”. He used the same words with the false money changers who bought and sold in the Temple. When the Pharisees accused His disciples of breaking the Sabbath, Jesus said “Have ye not read…” to prove them wrong. He also used these words with them when they tested Him about divorce. When the Sadducees asked him a doctrinal question about marriage in Heaven, Jesus said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures…

There is another shining example of using scripture to test a person’s words in the book of Acts. Luke tells us that the Bereans used scripture to test if Paul and Silas’ words were true. He claims that they “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) I am sure that during the time following Christ’s death many Israelites would have “tested” the words of the Apostles to see if they were true. Today, every Christian should use this “test” on anyone claiming to speak God’s Word.

Using God’s method for testing the Book of Mormon, we find that it fails the test! One simple example can be found by going to 2 Nephi 25:23b, which reads: “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” Compare this Book of Mormon verse with the Bible verse found in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Both books claim that a person is saved by grace. But, the Book of Mormon claims a person is saved by grace, plus works. The Third Article of Faith summarizes this LDS doctrine: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

Comparing this Book of Mormon verse with already revealed scripture, we find that it fails the test! God’s truth claims that a person is saved by grace, through faith, and not works. Scripture also explains that you can’t add your “works” to God’s “grace”. Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

I plead with you to follow Jesus’ example! Test the Book of Mormon with God’s already revealed scripture—the Bible. When you do you will find that the Book of Mormon fails the test! Using God’s method of testing proves it is not from Heavenly Father!