Never Has Man Believed in Me As Thou Hast—The Testimony of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon: Faith Without Works is Dead

This month’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson asks: “How has the testimony of the Three Witnesses helped strengthen your testimony of the Book of Mormon?” Have you ever given consideration to the fact that all three “witnesses” actually left the LDS church? Do you believe that faith without works is dead? If you do, then shouldn’t their faithless lives actually weaken your testimony of the Book of Mormon?

According to the Book of Mormon, these men were prophesied to one day declare to the world the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. But these three men all left Mormonism. Their lack of action is evidence that their faith was dead, their testimony false.

I once had a testimony that the LDS Church was true. When I discovered that my testimony was false I went searching to find the true church. I spent nine years between Mormonism and Christianity and met people from all kinds of faiths. I discovered many people with a testimony in their church. I even met Atheists, Shamans and Agnostics with a strongly held “faith” that what they believed was true. What I quickly realized is that the sincerity of a person’s testimony doesn’t necessarily mean that what they believe in is true. It just means they have “faith” in something.

Through all my searching there was one thing I clearly believed: every person has to do some level of good works in order to live eternally with God. In the back of my head I always remembered what I had been taught as a Mormon—that “faith without works is dead”. What I didn’t know then is that the Biblical teaching “faith without works is dead” has nothing to do with where we spend eternity and why.

After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith in the true Christ, I enjoyed reading the book of James with new eyes. I discovered that James’ point isn’t “how” we are saved, but how to identify real faith when we see it. He claims that what uniquely identifies a “faith” in the one true God is that it is alive!

Faith is a gift from God placed in a person’s heart by the Holy Spirit. The very moment a person is brought to faith, that person crosses over from spiritual death to being spiritually alive—truly “born-again” (John 5:24). Just as a newborn baby can’t help but breathe in and out, and to cry for food; when someone is “born-again” with a new spiritual life, they will do good works—they can’t help it! James emphasizes this point by saying that faith without works is like a dead body without a spirit. Even if someone claims to have a testimony of faith, if works are absent, then that faith isn’t really a living faith, its dead.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost James uses three witnesses to make his point—himself, Abraham and Rahab. He uses the actions of these three witnesses as proof that a living faith always produces works. His first witness is himself. He contrasts his own life of both faith and works with that of a man who claims to have faith, yet has no works. His outward visible actions prove his testimony of faith.

Through Abraham’s witness, James gives us the vital key that faith comes first, and then works automatically follow. Because faith is alive—like a living creature; it naturally produces the “fruit” of works. Similar to an apple tree bearing the fruit of an apple, a living faith will bear the fruit of good works, naturally and without being forced. Good works are merely proof that faith is present. Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac on the altar was one of many actions that evidenced his faith. His actions were the “fruit” of his faith and proved that his faith was true. Because his faith was alive, good works followed. It was not his works that made his faith alive.

We read that Abraham’s actions fulfilled a scripture from Genesis: “Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:6). Here James clarifies a very important point—that a person’s faith gains him righteousness—not his works. Abraham had been declared righteous by God many years before he proved his faith by his works, even long before Isaac was born! Before Abraham was credited with righteousness; he had kept no law, performed no service or ordinance that had earned credit to his account before God. It was his belief in God alone that caused Heavenly Father to credit him with righteousness. James testifies that Abraham’s works were merely the evidence that he had already been made righteous by God.

The third witness is Rahab the harlot (who hid the spies at Jericho). Her strong faith and written testimony are found in Joshua: “for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath”. Her life is a vivid example of how a woman had faith and then acted on it. Not only did she risk her life by rescuing Joshua’s spies, she lived the remainder of her life in Israel. She got married and became the mother of Boaz, Jesse’s Grandfather; and King David’s Great Grandmother.

The faithful lives of these three witnesses proved that their faith was alive and true. They had been born-again, just as Jesus taught that we must be: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

What happens when we look at the lives of the men who were prophesied to be witnesses to the Book of Mormon?:

“Who were the three witnesses Moroni spoke of in Ether 5:3? (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris: “And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true.” (Ether 5:3) See The Testimony of Three Witnesses in the introductory material of the Book of Mormon.) (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 45: Never Has Man Believed in Me As Thou Hast, p. 201)

These men had supposedly been shown the power of God. They claimed to have a strong testimony that the Book of Mormon was true. And yet when we look at their actions, their lack of works proving they were alive spiritually—we know their faith was dead. It’s when we read these three men’s testimony in the introduction to the Book of Mormon that we know why their faith was dead. They declared that one day they could be found spotless because of their own works. They testified:

“And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ.”

This testimony shows that they didn’t trust that God had already made them righteous because of their faith–as Abraham had done. They didn’t know what James knew and taught about Abraham: a person is found spotless in God’s sight through their faith—not their works!

The Apostle Paul taught the same thing as Moses and James. He revealed that God’s promise to Abraham was not written merely for Abraham’s sake, but also for yours:

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 4:20-5:1)

Link to the Testimony of Three Witnesses:

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How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord? Jesus Loves You Anyway!

Many Mormons don’t understand why I believe that the LDS church is not Christian. Since I was born and raised LDS and married in the Salt Lake Temple, I do understand why my words are hard to believe. Looking at how a person gains eternal life is one way to see the differences between faiths. God’s Word—as taught by Christianity teaches that we are saved by faith alone. Mormonism—as taught by LDS prophets claims that a person is saved by faith and works.

LDS prophets testify that eternal life must be gained “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel”? (Articles of Faith 1:3) However, since no one can be perfect, the Prophet Nephi declared: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do”. (2 Nephi 25:23)

Here we see the LDS teaching that a person is saved by faith and works. What is really required is our ‘best effort’. The determining factor to gaining eternal life is not the final product, it’s the effort expended. If you just try as hard as you can then Jesus will step in and His Atonement makes up the difference.

While this sounds comforting, it is false! You can search the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find one passage that backs up this false teaching. Not one single verse claims that eternal life can be gained simply by trying to follow God’s commands. I challenge you to look at every Judgment Day picture mentioned in the Bible. If you do, you will discover that each and every sin (liars, murderers or having even only one sin) ends with the same exact outcome—living eternally in Outer Darkness with Satan and his demons.

This month’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson explains that Judgment Day is one of the purposes of the Book of Mormon: “For what purposes was the record kept and preserved?

“a. That ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ … to be judged of your works” (Mormon 3:20). “And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil;” (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine, Lesson 43: How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord? p.192)

A Christian Church teaches what Christ taught. Christ clearly testified that having even one sin remaining on Judgment Day means you will be cursed to spend eternity in Hell with Satan and his demons. There is no more vivid picture of this truth than Christ’s words, recorded in Matthew 25:31-46. He testifies that on the Final Day of Judgment all the nations of the world will be gathered before God. But even before the Judgment begins, God’s angels divide everyone into two groups—a “two-part division of the righteous and the wicked.” Through faith in Christ all believers are 100% perfect. Those who die in unbelief will stand before Christ on Judgment Day to be found 100% evil.

Amazingly, Jesus also revealed that we are saved by faith alone:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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.”

The reason salvation is granted solely through faith is because that is the only way a person can meet God’s requirement to be righteous!! One must be perfect to enter into God’s presence. Jesus came to earth and was perfect for us, in our place. It is only through faith in Him as our substitute that we are declared righteous!! This was true for Abraham and as well as for us: “And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;” (Romans 4:21-24).

It is impossible to gain eternal life by being obedient to God’s law, or by trying to add your works to your faith. In Romans, Paul explains using Old Testament scripture: “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one ” (3:11-12). No one will be declared righteous by trying to follow God’s law: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (3:20). Notice the important words “in his sight”. Heavenly Father has demanded we be as perfect as Him (Matthew 5:48). In His sight, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (3:23).

During Christ’s time the unbelieving Jews were sincere, but they were sincerely wrong! They earnestly sought righteousness, but they tried to acquire it in the wrong way. They thought they had to gain eternal life through obedience. They believed they could be righteous through their own works. They had a zeal for God, but they were ignorant of the truth! (Romans 9:30-10:4)

What is God’s truth? Eternal life is obtained only as a gift from God, received by faith, without any works!!! In fact, if you bring works into the picture you ruin God’s free gift and you loose His favor!! That’s what Paul meant when he wrote: “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)

Turn to your Savior who grants you His righteousness through faith: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

Faith Without Works is Dead: The Testimony of Three Witnesses!

I once had a testimony that the Mormon Church was true. When I discovered that my testimony was false I went searching to find the true church. I spent almost nine years between Mormonism and Christianity and met people from all different kinds of faiths. I discovered many people with a strong testimony in their church. I even met Atheists, Shamans and Agnostics with a strongly held “faith” that what they believed was true. What I quickly realized is that the sincerity of a person’s “testimony” doesn’t necessarily mean that what they believe in is true. It just means they have “faith” in something.

Through all my searching there was one thing I clearly believed: every person has to do some level of good works in order to live eternally with God. In the back of my head I guess I always remembered what I had been taught as a Mormon—that “faith without works was dead”. What I never realized is that the Biblical teaching that “faith without works is dead” has nothing to do with where we spend eternity and why.

After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith in the true Jesus, it was exciting to read the book of James with new eyes. I discovered that James’ point isn’t “how” we are saved, but how to identify real faith when we see it. He claims that what uniquely identifies a “faith” in the one true God is that it is alive!

Faith is a gift from God placed in a person’s heart by the Holy Spirit. At the moment a person is brought to faith, that person crosses over from being spiritualy dead to being spiritually alive—truly “born-again” (John 5:24). Just as a newborn baby can’t help but take breathe in and out, and to cry out for food; when someone is “born-again” spiritually, they will do good works—they can’t help it! James emphasizes this point by saying that faith without works is like a dead body without a spirit. Even if someone claims to have a testimony of faith, if works are absent, that faith isn’t really a living faith, its dead.

James uses three witnesses to make his point—himself, Abraham and Rahab. He uses the actions of these three witnesses as proof that a living faith always produces works. His first witness is himself. He contrasts his own life of both faith and works with that of a man who claims to have faith, yet has no works. His outward visible actions prove his testimony of faith.

Through Abraham’s witness, James gives us the vital key that faith comes first, and then works automatically follow. Because faith is living, like a living creature; it naturally produces the “fruit” of works. Similar to an apple tree bearing the fruit of an apple, a living faith will bear the fruit of good works, naturally and without being forced. Good works are merely proof that faith is present. Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac on the altar was one of many actions that evidenced his faith. His actions were the “fruit” of his faith and proved that his faith was true. Because his faith was alive, good works followed. It was not his works that made his faith alive.

We read that Abraham’s actions fulfilled a scripture from Genesis: “Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him as righteousness”. Here James clarifies a very important point—that a person’s faith gains him righteousness and not his works. Abraham had been declared righteous by God many years before he proved his faith by his works, even long before Isaac was born! Abraham’s works did not make him righteous; his faith had already done that. Abraham’s works were merely evidence that he had already been made righteous by God.

The third witness is Rahab the harlot (who hid the spies at Jericho). Her strong faith and written testimony are found in Joshua: “for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath”. Her life is a vivid example of how a woman had faith and then acted on it. Not only did she risk her life by rescuing Joshua’s spies, she lived the remainder of her life in Israel; got married and became the mother of Boaz, Jesse’s Grandfather and King David’s Great Grandmother.

Now let’s contrast these testimonies with those of a different group of three witnesses, written about in the Book of Mormon (Ether). These men were prophesied to one day declare to the world the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. But these three men all left Mormonism. Their lack of action is evidence that their faith was dead, their testimony false.

Interestingly, this was not all they claimed in their testimony. They also declared that one day they could be found spotless because of their own works. They testified:

“And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ.”

This testimony shows that they didn’t know what James knew and taught about Abraham: a person is found spotless in Gods eyes through their faith, and not their works!

The Apostle Paul taught the same thing as Moses and James. He revealed that God’s promise to Abraham was not written merely for Abraham’s sake, but also for yours:

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 4:20-5:1)

Link to the Testimony of Three Witnesses:

Link to Ether Chapter 5:

The Amazing Testimonies of Former LDS Missionaries!!

Wow! I just listened to some amazing testimonies on YouTube. I found the video quite by accident when I followed various links from my blog and ended up at a website playing some wonderful Christian music. It was a site for a band called Adam’s Road.

As my eyes focused on the homepage, I saw four LDS missionaries and another young man sitting in front of a church with a large white Cross. That oddity certainly got my attention. I couldn’t tell if the picture’s intent was to make fun of LDS missionaries, or, if it was LDS missionaries making fun of the Cross. As I scrolled down the page, I was directed to a YouTube video which played the testimonies of the five young men in the picture. I quickly learned that the young men were not making fun of anyone! Instead, they were sharing their testimonies of how God’s Word—the Bible—had led them to find the true gospel of Jesus Christ!!

Rather than using my own words to try and explain their Ministry, here are words from their website:

Welcome to the official Adam’s Road website. Adam’s Road is a Christian band and ministry dedicated to sharing God’s Word through music. Based in Winter Garden, Florida, the band has been together since 2006 and ministers across the nation preaching salvation through Jesus Christ. All five members of the band were at one time LDS (Mormon) and have since left that religion for a relationship with Jesus Christ. Because of their testimonies, they have a specific ministry dedicated to reaching Mormons and they have a deep love for the Mormon people and helping them find salvation through Jesus alone.

The band member’s names are: Micah Wilder, Joseph Warren, Steve Kay, Matt Wilder and Jay Graham. I am so thankful to these young men for having the courage to leave their LDS faith and and become Christian missionaries—reaching out to those lost in Mormonism.

Please—follow this link to listen to their amazing testimonies:
Click here:

And, if you would like to listen to their awesome music, here is a link to their website:
Click here:

The band Adam’s Road will be playing tonight in Murray Utah of all places! I was just there last weekend for a Seminar. If you live close by, you should go and listen to them. I sure wish I could be there. I would love to meet them!

It never ceases to amaze me every time I hear another story of just how powerful the Word of God is! It is God’s Word that brings us to a living faith in Jesus! Jesus explained that eternal life is the immediate blessing given to those who believe on Him:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)

I join these young men in proclaiming that it is all about Jesus! He is our Everything:

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto 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 1:5-6)

Having a Faith in Jesus is Different from any other Faith

I was only 22 years old when I found my daughter Laura, dead in her crib. No parent should have to endure the trauma of having their child’s lifeless body lowered into a grave. Twenty-nine years have passed and yet the emotional pain is a vivid memory that time has not erased. Today, I pray that I can use the example of Laura’s life and death as a means of teaching you what a “living” faith in Jesus looks like.

When Laura was born she was very much alive. I knew this fact immediately because when the nurse put her in my arms, she wiggled around and started to cry very loudly. Over the next few months, whenever she was hungry, her cry often told me that she was very much alive. The morning that she died, I was suspicious before I even saw her, because I had not heard that normal cry of hunger. The moment I saw her, I knew that her spirit was no longer in her body. I could see there was no breath of life in her because her tiny chest did not move as it had before.

When a person is brought to faith (converted) it is an instantaneous event, similar to when my daughter was born physically. Jesus told Nicodemus that a man must be “born again” and explained what that means:

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:6-8)

The Holy Spirit brings a person to faith in a miraculous birth called conversion. Just as a baby is born physically and does not contribute to its birth, when a person is brought to faith, they are “born of the Spirit” and have done nothing to make it happen. When a physical life is created, there are elements necessary to create this new life, so also with a spiritual birth. The Holy Spirit works His miraculous birth using the very Word of God as the conduit which creates a new spiritual life. Both Jesus and Peter explain:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)

When someone hears or reads God’s words and the Holy Spirit brings that person to faith, a new creature is born, one that did not exist before. Every person with a living faith in Jesus, has been brought to faith (born again) in this way—by the Holy Spirit.

I once had faith in the Gospel of Mormonism. That faith was not one that was created by the Holy Spirit—I myself had worked to “develop it by my obedience.” After that faith failed me, I tried a faith in Shamanism and then one in the New Age movement, and on and on I went—searching for something I could place my faith in. Finally I settled on the faith that having faith didn’t really matter.

Today, I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit worked on that miserable being and brought me to faith, opening my eyes and heart to the truth. Now that I know what a “living” faith is, I can clearly see the difference. Contrasting any other faith with a faith in Jesus exposes that all other faiths are “dead”. All who have a faith in Jesus have something that no other person has—a new spiritual creature that lives inside of them and has become a part of who they are. When the Holy Spirit brought me to faith, I did not want to be a Christian. I had given up on “religion” and certainly didn’t understand all the things I am explaining to you now.

In spite of the fact that I didn’t understand, I had this new spiritual creature living inside of me that was crying out and acting in ways that I had never before experienced. First and foremost, it wanted to be fed. Just like my daughter Laura who cried out when she was hungry, my new spirit craved spiritual food and sent me out to find it. Even though I didn’t understand why at the time, I couldn’t stop myself from going to as many different Church services as I possibly could. I would go to three different services on a Sunday and as many others as I could possibly find during the week. I was a thirty-six year old with a “born-again” spirit that needed to be fed voraciously. My hunger was satiated only where God’s Word was being shared—in Christian churches.

It was at one of these services that I heard a message that both my head and heart could understand. I heard the truth that gaining forgiveness of my sins did not depend upon my works—that work had already been done by Jesus! I learned that all my sins had been washed away with Christ’s blood, shed on the cross. Then and there I gave my life to Jesus and my life has never been the same. Every breath I breathe is for my Savior—driven by the new spiritual life that was created in me by the Holy Spirit, and fed by God’s Word working through me.

Heavenly Father knows who does and doesn’t have faith—He can see into our hearts. But for us, it is sometimes hard to tell who does and doesn’t have a living faith. Yet those who have a living faith, move and act in ways that someone without faith cannot do—because they have a spiritual creature living inside them. They will do many works out of love for their God who has already given them eternal life—not because they “have to” but because they “want to”. They cannot help themselves because that is what spiritually alive creatures do.

True good works (voluntary works not done to gain something for you) always follow saving faith—yet faith alone saves! Such works are motivated by gratitude to a loving God who saves undeserving sinners—they glorify God. Works done to gain forgiveness, eternal life or anything else are motivated by a love of self—they glorify self!

James explains to us that there will be those who claim to have a living faith—but don’t. He also tells us how we can tell if someone does not really have a living faith: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26) Just as I knew that my daughter Laura was physically dead because her body was not moving; we can know that someone is spiritually dead if there are no works as evidence that they have a “living” faith.

I pray that the Holy Spirit has brought you to faith through the reading of God’s Word. If you find that what I write is beginning to make sense, then maybe your heart understands what your head has not yet accepted. Turn to God’s Words found in the Bible.

The Only True Security in Life is Living the Commandments?

There has been some discussion recently about things we can be absolutely certain about. Christiangirl said that she has “absolute certainty that God is who he said he is (all powerful, creator of earth, loving, just, redeemer, shepherd, no beginning and no end, etc), and the certainty that what Jesus did on the cross for me is sufficient to cover all of my sins.” I am thankful that she has shared her testimony and I agree with her wholeheartedly. I know with every fiber of my being that I have been saved—not because of anything I have ever done, but solely through faith in my Savior whose blood has washed me clean.

A few years ago in Conference a General Authority testified to Latter-day Saints that their only path of safety was in keeping the commandments. He talked about an “80:20 principle” and claimed that keeping the commandments only 80 percent of the time is not acceptable: “There are precious blessings that come only from the complete yielding of one’s heart to God.” The blessing he is talking about is “being saved”:

President Heber J. Grant said: ‘There is but one path of safety to the Latter-day Saints, and that is the path of duty. It is not a testimony, it is not marvelous manifestations, it is not knowing that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, … it is not actually knowing that the Savior is the Redeemer, and that Joseph Smith was His prophet, that will save you and me, but it is the keeping of the commandments of God, the living the life of a Latter-day Saint.’ Now, young men and young women, as you begin to set your priorities in life, remember, the only true security in life is living the commandments.

If you were listening to this talk in General Conference four years ago, did you rest in the certainty that your works were sufficient to earn your Salvation? Or, did you squirm when you heard these words? How does it feel knowing that your “certainty for being saved” rests on your own shoulders—your ability to keep the commandments?

If I had heard these words while I was LDS, I would have been completely stressed out. I was well aware of my inability to keep God’s commands. Today, reading these words I am so very thankful that the Holy Spirit has opened my heart and eyes to the truth. I bear witness to you that these words are false! No one will be saved by following the path that Mormon prophets have set you on—no one will be found righteous by keeping the commandments. The only “path of safety” lies in having faith in Jesus!

I know that President Grant was a false prophet and you can know this too—simply by testing his words with God’s prophets and apostles, found in His holy scripture:

The prophet Isaiah testified:
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.” (Is 61:10)

His salvation is forever:
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” (Is 51:6)

Not according to our works:
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” (2 Ti 1:7-10)

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

NOT by works of righteousness, but according to his mercy:
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 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; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit 3:4-6)

What must I do to be saved?
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Ac 16:30-31)

Believe and you will be saved:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Ro 10:9-10)

Whoever believes in Jesus HAS eternal life:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 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.” (Jn 3:15-18)

The Gospel of Christ is the power that saves–through belief:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Ro 1:16)

The message of the Cross is the power that saves:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Co 1:18)

The LORD gives salvation:
For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.” (Ps 149:4)

With King David, I confessed my sins to God, and have devoted my life to teaching transgressors about God’s ways. I pray daily for God to restore to me the joy of His salvation—so that many sinners will be converted to Christ:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest… Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Ps 51:1-13

Link to General Conference talk:

Do Christians Ignore Passages About Our Need For Works?

An LDS member recently commented “I think it is always interesting that people focus so much on the quotes concerning faith, but then ignore those that testify to the need for works.

After thinking about this comment and looking at the Bible passages referenced, I realized that Mormons are much more likely than Christians to ignore passages testifying of our need for works. This happens because LDS prophets have lowered God’s standards and removed the eternal consequences for failing to meet His standards. As I have written many times, Jesus commands us to be as perfect as Heavenly Father (Mt 5:48). Search the entire Bible and nowhere will you find a passage that lessens this standard of works set for us by God’s own Son.

Current Mormon teaching ignores God as the standard for works and claims that as long as you are giving your best effort, you can be found worthy on Judgment Day. This week’s Gospel Principles Lesson claims: “Obey all His commandments as best we can (see John 14:21-23). As we do these things, we will come to know God and eventually have eternal life.” Read the passages listed and you will discover the LDS teaching “as best we can” has been added to what Jesus really said about obedience.

Many passages which testify to the seriousness of each and every sin are virtually ignored in Mormonism. We see one example from the second chapter of James: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” A second example is the Apostle Paul in Galatians 3. When quoting the Old Testament he writes of God’s consequence for less than perfect works: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10) Other quotes ignored in Mormonism are ones showing horrendous consequences for the “cursed” whose works are lacking (Matthew 25). In particular, LDS prophets ignore the words of Christ which equate ‘minor‘ sins (like lust and anger) with ‘major‘ sins (Matthew 5-7).

The consequence for not meeting God’s standard for perfect works can be seen in every Judgment Day scenario found in the Bible. These quotes testify that our works will be judged and we will not be graded on a curve. Each and every sin carries the same eternal consequence—living forever in the same domain as Satan. Unbelievers, idolaters and all liars will be sent to the very same place as murderers and whoremongers (Revelation 21:8). Mormons aren’t too worried about spending eternity with Satan because LDS prophets ignore these passages. They teach that the worst place you could go to is a kingdom more glorious than earth. They claim that only a handful of people will spend eternity in outer darkness.

There is nothing more dangerous than not taking God seriously. The writer of Hebrews testified “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” There is grave danger in ignoring the passages that testify of your need for perfect works. God sets the standard so high to ‘scare the Hell’ out of us! That is, turn us to give up on self and rely on Christ. Yet, millions of people will spend eternity in Hell with Satan because they believed the words of LDS prophets, which ignore God’s Words. Your leaders tell you that it is possible to do all that is required of you. If you continue to believe in this, then you will keep on trying. But in doing so, you won’t despair and give up on yourself. You won’t recognize that you are hopelessly lost. You won’t see your need for the Savior who came to meet God’s demands for perfection—in your place. Instead, you will continue to turn to a false Christ—one whose “conditional” Atonement requires that you erase your sins with your own works. Trusting in this Christ means you reject the Savior whose blood covered all your sins.

I was tormented for many years because I knew how unworthy I was. There are many thousands of Mormons who know they are unworthy. But the true Savior is hidden from them as they keep trying to do what has already been done for them—by that very Savior. The gospel is the good news that Christ came to be our substitute. LDS prophets do not preach the true Gospel message. They twist the gospel passages that claim it is only through faith we can be declared righteous—just like Abraham was (Romans 4:20-24). They ignore the passage that testifies “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10-14). As our substitute, not only did Christ take the punishment that we deserved for our sins, He also obeyed perfectly every command that God required of us. Through faith in Him we are credited with His righteousness.

Every person with faith in Christ has had every single sin washed away with His blood. They have no sins left to be judged! These believers don’t do works to gain forgiveness of their sins—they trust in the Savior whose blood has already done that. This trust, tied with the knowledge of the magnitude of the suffering Jesus endured, literally transforms these people. Now, they freely serve God out of love and gratitude for all that God has done for them. On Judgment Day, these works of love will be shown in sharp contrast to the works of unbelievers—works done to gain something for themselves. These works of love will be evidence of a living faith in the works of Christ, as contrasted with a dead faith of trusting that one’s own imperfect works are “good enough”.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Can You Be Saved by Faith and Works?

The Epistle to the Romans is my very favorite book in the Bible. The essence of the book of Romans is this: by God’s grace, eternal life is granted through faith in Christ, and only through faith in Christ.

A commenter recently asked the question “Why is it that if I believe in works I cannot believe in faith, or the grace of God? Why must these things remain separate?” I responded by taking him to the eleventh chapter of Romans where the Apostle Paul boldly testifies: “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.

In response, the commenter has written: “IF you care to examine the entire chapter of Roman’s 11 you will notice that Paul is not talking about salvation or eternal life. He is talking about being born into the covenant line of Israel, or the church. This is a blessing given by the grace of God that we have done nothing in this life to earn. It is by grace, and not by works.

To examine the eleventh chapter of Romans we must first examine the tenth chapter, and all those before it. When someone writes a letter it is expected that whoever reads it will start at the beginning and read it through to the end. By the time Paul gets to chapter eleven, he has already stated multiple times that salvation is a freely offered gift granted ONLY to those who believe. In fact, through the entire Epistle, Paul has never stopped talking about salvation and eternal life. He hasn’t changed his message or theme: by God’s grace, eternal life is granted through faith in Christ, and only through faith in Christ. Because Paul is so sure of this grace, he tells his readers not to give up on the unbelieving Israelite’s. He gives the example of the remnant saved by grace during Elijah’s time, as it was also true for Christian Jews during Paul’s time. All people are saved the same way–only through God’s grace and not through works.

Paul begins his testimony in chapter one: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (verse 16). The salvation he speaks of is eternal life: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6:23).

The reason salvation is granted solely through faith is because that is the only way a person can meet God’s requirement to be righteous!! One must be perfect to enter into God’s presence. Jesus came to earth and was perfect for us, in our place. It is only through faith in Him, as our substitute, that we are declared righteous!! This was true for Abraham and as well as for us: “And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;” (4:21-24).

It is impossible to gain eternal life by being obedient to God’s law, or by trying to add your works to your faith. Paul explains, using Old Testament scripture: “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one ” (3:11-12). no one will be declared righteous by trying to follow God’s law: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (verse 20). Notice the important words “in his sight”. Heavenly Father has demanded we be as perfect as Him (Matthew 5:48). In HIS sight, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (verse 23).

The unbelieving Jews were sincere, but they were sincerely wrong! They earnestly sought righteousness, but they tried to acquire it in the wrong way. They thought they had to gain eternal life through obedience. They believed they could be righteous through their own works. They had a zeal for God, but they were ignorant of the truth! (9:30-10:4)

What is God’s truth? Eternal life is purely a gift of God, received by faith, without any works!!! In fact, if you bring works into the picture you ruin God’s free gift and you loose His favor!! That’s what Paul meant when he wrote: “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.

Turn to your Savior who grants you His righteousness through faith: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (10:9-10).

After “all” he could do, it wasn’t very much

Back in high school I served on the Seminary Council and one of my assignments was to give a talk 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, Jesus’ Atonement will cover the rest.

Thinking back to this Sacrament Meeting talk given over thirty years ago I see where I was wrong! 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. 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. All my Bishop could do was eat one bite of an onion. Similarly, all you can do, isn’t enough! You can only be saved by faith alone or by being one hundred percent perfect your entire life (as Jesus was)!

I guess in one way, I do believe in faith and works. My faith, and Christ’s works. I have faith that Christ’s works were sufficient to pay my entire debt! 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”!

The Testimony of Three Witnesses: Faith Without Works is Dead!

I once had a testimony that the Mormon Church was true. When I discovered that my testimony was false I went searching to find the true church. I spent almost nine years between Mormonism and Christianity and met people from all different kinds of faiths. I discovered many people with a strong testimony in their church. I even met Atheists, Shamans and Agnostics with strongly held “faith” that what they believed was true. What I quickly realized is that the sincerity of a person’s “testimony” doesn’t necessarily mean that what they testify is true. It just means they have “faith” in something.

Through all my searching one thing I clearly believed was that I had to do something to live eternally with Heavenly Father. In the back of my head I always remembered that “faith without works was dead”. What I never knew is that these two teachings aren’t the same thing. It was exciting when I discovered that James’ point isn’t “how” we are saved, but how to identify real faith when we see it. He claims that what uniquely identifies a “faith” in the one true God is that it is alive! Faith is a gift from God placed in a person’s heart by the Holy Spirit. At that moment a person crosses over from spiritual death to being born again into a new spiritual life (John 5:24). Just as a newborn baby moves and breathes, someone with faith in God will do works—they just can’t help it! James emphasizes his point by saying that faith without works is like a dead body without a spirit. Even if someone claims to have a testimony of faith, if works are absent, that faith isn’t a true faith, its dead.

James uses three witnesses to make his point—himself, Abraham and Rahab. He uses the actions of these three witnesses as proof that a living faith always produces works. His first witness is himself. He contrasts his own life of both faith and works with that of a man who claims to have faith, yet has no works. His outward visible actions prove his testimony of faith.

Through Abraham’s witness, James gives us the vital key that faith comes first, and then works automatically follow. Because faith is living, like a living creature; it naturally produces the “fruit” of works. Similar to an apple tree bearing the fruit of an apple, a living faith will bear the fruit of good works, naturally and without being forced. Good works are merely proof that faith is present. Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac on the altar was one of many actions that evidenced his faith. His actions were the “fruit” of his faith and proved his faith true. Because his faith was alive, his works followed. It was not his works that made his faith alive.

We read that Abraham’s actions fulfilled a scripture from Genesis: “Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him as righteousness”. Here James clarifies that a person’s faith gains him righteousness and not his works. Abraham had been declared righteous by God many years before he proved his faith by his works, even long before Isaac was born! Abraham’s works did not make him righteous; his faith had already done that. Abraham’s works were merely evidence that he had already been made righteous by God.

The third witness is Rahab the harlot (who hid the spies at Jericho). Her strong faith and written testimony are found in Joshua: “for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath”. Her life is a vivid example of how a woman had faith and then acted on it. Not only did she risk her life by rescuing Joshua’s spies, she lived the remainder of her life in Israel; got married and became the mother of Boaz, Jesse’s Grandfather and King David’s Great Grandmother.

In the Book of Mormon (Ether) we read about the testimony of a different group of three witnesses. These men were prophesied to one day declare to the world the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. But these three men all left Mormonism. Their lack of action is evidence that their faith was dead, their testimony false.

But, this was not all they claimed in their testimony. They also testified that one day they could be found spotless because of their own works. They testified: “And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ.” This testimony shows that they didn’t know what James knew and taught about Abraham: a person is found spotless in Gods eyes through their faith, and not their works!