Gaining Forgiveness: Do You Believe Christ’s Apostles, or LDS prophets?

There is nothing that divides Mormonism from Christianity more clearly than looking at how one gains the forgiveness of sins. While both faiths believe that Jesus paid for the sins of the world, the difference is seen when we look at how each person obtains forgiveness for their sins.

Mormonism teaches that Christ’s Atonement merely gives people the opportunity to repent of their sins. All who have faith in Jesus receive forgiveness for each sin after they do all the necessary works required in the LDS Process of Repentance.

Christianity claims that Christ’s shed blood obtained the forgiveness for every sin ever committed. All who have faith in Jesus receive the forgiveness that Christ won for them over 2,000 years ago.

The fruit (words) of LDS Prophets:

The prophet Joseph Smith revealed in LDS scripture that forgiveness is granted to all who keep the commandments:

“For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;” (D&C 1:31-32)

LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball testified that forgiveness depends upon your works, not Christ’s:

“It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pages 324-325.)

The fruit (words) of Christ’s Apostles:

John the Beloved revealed that Christ’s blood has washed our sins away:

“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” (Revelation 1:5)

The Apostle Peter testified that all who believe in Jesus receive forgiveness:

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

I pray that you will turn away from false prophets and place your trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus. The moment you do, you will receive the forgiveness that can never be obtained through your works.

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Does Forgiveness Depend Upon Your Own Works, Or Christ’s?

Have you ever wondered why many Christians claim the LDS Church is not a Christian church? The most important distinction between Mormonism and Christianity can be seen by looking at the doctrines concerning how to gain forgiveness for a sin. In Mormonism, gaining forgiveness for sins depends upon the works of each individual person. In Christianity, gaining forgiveness for sins depends solely upon the works of Christ.

Tomorrow, every LDS Church around the world will be teaching the foundational LDS doctrine of how and why one gains the forgiveness of sins. The Gospel Principles Lesson on Repentance exposes why the Mormon Church is not Christian, and how its teachings are opposed to Christianity. Chapter 19 claims:

“Repentance is the way provided for us to become free from our sins and receive forgiveness for them… To make our repentance complete we must keep the commandments of the Lord (see D&C 1:32). We are not fully repentant if we do not pay tithes or keep the Sabbath day holy or obey the Word of Wisdom… First, one repents. Having gained that ground he then must live the commandments of the Lord to retain his vantage point. This is necessary to secure complete forgiveness.

This false teaching is near and dear to my heart because I spent so many years believing it. I was tormented by my sins, sincerely trying to do all the required works necessary to gain forgiveness. I spent many hours studying the words of my prophet Spencer W. Kimball in The Miracle of Forgiveness. One paragraph overwhelmed my heart, like an angry storm cloud:

“Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements, but that forgiveness is not granted merely for the asking. There must be works – many works – and an all-out, total surrender, with a great humility and ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.” (pages 324-325)

I believed these words because no one had ever told me the truth—that all my sins were already forgiven through Christ’s shed blood. The foundational message of Christianity is that forgiveness depends upon Christ’s works, not our own. John the Baptist testified of this mission of Christ:

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

When Christ offered His life as the final sacrifice for sin, His blood covered the sins of the entire world. John the Beloved testified that Christ’s finished work has already washed us from our sins:

“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.” (Revelation 1:5)

This free gift is given to every person who ever lived. Those who don’t believe that Jesus has already won their forgiveness, reject His most precious gift. The Apostle Peter testified that those who believe in Jesus receive forgiveness:

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

What about repentance? The Greek word for repentance literally means “a change of mind”. Now that I understand this, it resonates in my heart as I see how it differs in Mormonism. Whenever I do something that is against God’s will, I feel regret, sorrow and guilt. But then I turn in thankfulness to my Savior for paying the price for that sin – for taking my guilt upon Himself. When a person truly believes that Christ paid the price for her sins, she does not rely on her own efforts to gain forgiveness for a sin. In actuality, repentance is abandoning trust in yourself and placing all your trust in what Jesus has already accomplished in your place.

When I was LDS, I lived every day trying to gain forgiveness through the LDS Process of Repentance. Now, my most precious gift is the complete forgiveness of all my sins! I live every day in a continual state of repentance—trying not to sin. But also in continual awareness that it is Christ’s work that has made me guilt free! In joy, I respond to my Savior in thankfulness!

Anyone who does not place their faith for forgiveness solely in Christ’s work, rejects this most precious gift. The gift of forgiveness cannot be earned by your works—it is received solely through faith in Christ:

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:3-8)

I am praying that you will believe it, receive it, then respond to it in thanksgiving!!
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I’m often told that I misunderstand the correct LDS definition of Repentance. I have created a Page on this blog with many quotes from LDS leaders defining the Process of Repentance. Click here to read this Page:

Link to LDS Lesson:

Is the LDS Process of Repentance a Blessing?

About a month ago the 12 and 13 year old’s were taught that “Repentance is a Blessing.” The Lesson Manual tells the teacher to explain the reason why repentance is such a blessing:

“Explain that repentance is the process Heavenly Father has given us for ‘erasing’ our sins. Heavenly Father wants us to return to live with him after this life, but no unclean, or sinful, person can live with him (see Moses 6:57). Heavenly Father knows that everyone will make mistakes and commit sins while on the earth, so he has given us a way to become clean again after we have sinned. This is repentance.” (Preparing for Exaltation, Lesson 12: Repentance Is a Blessing)

The Lesson teaches these children the many requirements to be met before they can gain forgiveness of a sin. This “process” has several aspects to it, but today I wish to discuss Joseph Smith’s revelation that a person gains forgiveness by keeping the commandments. D&C 1:32: “Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.”

Testing the words of this LDS prophet with those of our Savior reveals the truth. Jesus revealed that doing all things which are commanded of you is simply what God requires of you, and is your duty! (Luke 17:9-10) When you sin (fail to keep God’s commands) you incur a debt, and need Heavenly Father’s forgiveness. Doing what is expected of you (keeping the commandments) cannot gain forgiveness for a debt. This merely prevents you from piling on more debt.

Here’s an illustration to explain what I mean:

It’s expected that you will pay your monthly bills. Last month you used part of your bill money to go on vacation and so you couldn’t pay all your bills. You used your credit card to pay for these bills and so incurred a debt on your credit card. This month you paid all your bills. You call up your credit card company and say “I paid all my bills this month so please forgive my debt from last month”. Do you think your credit card company will accept this offer as payment for your debt? Heavenly Father also, will not accept as payment for your sin debt, the works He already requires of you.

So how does a sin debt get paid? The writer of Hebrews testifies that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). In the Old Testament we read that God’s people were required to offer animal sacrifices as payment for their sin. These animal sacrifices had to be perfect, without blemish.

But even if you gave your life’s blood as an offering to pay for your sins, your offering would be rejected by Heavenly Father. Why? Because you are not a perfect sacrifice! You are not without blemish. You are not without sin. Instead, you are in debt to God for all your sins. On Judgment Day, every single sin you’ve ever committed will be judged by Jesus, for all to see (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Anyone found unclean (without blemish) will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

But take heart, you are not without hope! Jesus shed His blood and paid the price for the sins of the entire world. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). Jesus was a perfect sacrifice—without any sin debt. Heavenly Father accepted Jesus’ payment for the sins of the world and forgave every person’s sin debt. In your place, Jesus offered His life as a perfect sacrifice and paid your debt.

There is only one way to “receive” the complete forgiveness that has already been won for you, and guess what? It isn’t through your efforts at trying to keep God’s commands. You can only receive forgiveness by believing that Jesus’ blood covers your sin debt. The moment you have faith in this, you will receive complete forgiveness of all your sins (past, present and future)! Jesus loves us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. (Revelation 1:5) Believe it and receive it! The Apostle Peter testified: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).

Once you know just how much you have been forgiven, you can freely live a life of thanksgiving! You can keep Heavenly Fathers commandments out of gratitude and love, not out of obligation or trying to gain forgiveness and eternal life!

Click here to go to my Page titled “The LDS Process of Repentance”:

Link to LDS Lesson: https://www.lds.org/manual/preparing-for-exaltation-teachers-manual/lesson-12-repentance-is-a-blessing?lang=eng

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:

Debt to God
Jesus:
– Matthew 6:12
Sacrifice for Sin
Heavenly Father:
– Leviticus 4:1-5
Works Judged
Jesus:
– Matthew 12:36
Forgiveness Through Blood
The Apostle Paul:
– Colossians 1:14
– Ephesians 1:7
– Romans 3:24-25
– Romans 5:18-19
John the Beloved:
– Revelation 7:14
– Hebrews 9:12-15
The Apostle Peter:
– 1 Peter 1:18-19
Substitute Payment
The Prophet Isaiah:
– Isaiah 53:4-12
The Apostle Paul:
– Galatians 3:10-13
The Apostle Peter:
– 1 Peter 3:18
World’s Sin Paid
John the Baptist:
– John 1:29
John the Beloved:
– 1 John 2:2
Thankful Obedience
The Apostle Paul:
– 1 Corinthians 15:56-58

Your Heavy Burden of Sin Has Been Removed!

One weekend I went hiking with my husband and some friends in the Ruby Mountains. My husband carried our back pack with the water jug and when he was thirsty I would unzip the pack and get it out for him. After we had drank our fill I would put the jug back into his pack and zip it up. But, what he didn’t know is that whenever I put the jug back, I also put in a fist-sized rock. All of our friends knew what I was doing and it was a great joke. He didn’t notice his pack was getting heavier because the rocks were being added one at a time. Towards the end of the hike his pack had become quite a burden. He thought it was because he was just getting tired, but when he opened it up and saw all the rocks he realized what I had done.

An article in the Ensign last fall reminded me of this hike. The focus of the article was the process of Repentance. It gave an idea for Family Home Evening using rocks and a backpack: “Collect a sack and several large rocks. Read the story of President Marion G. Romney and the repentant young man. Have each family member write a common sin on a rock and then place it in the sack. Take turns carrying the sack and compare the physical weight to the burden of sin. Then remove each stone while you read the paragraph following “There was the answer.”

The paragraph mentioned tells you how to know if you can remove the burden of each sin you’ve committed. The answer is because you’ve done everything required through the process of repentance. This is how to know if your repentance has been accepted by the Lord. It claims “The miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more, because the Lord has said in a revelation to us in our day: “Go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God” (D&C 82:7).”

But the Lord your God did not say this! Instead, He testified: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” The Holy Ghost inspired these words: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” John the Beloved claimed that Jesus: “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”.

The reason Jesus came to this earth to rescue us is because we are filled with sin. The vast majority of sins cannot be abandoned. Most sins like unjustified anger, greed, gossiping, envy, lust, lying, etc. are committed over and over again throughout a person’s life time. Oh, there are a few specific commands that one can abandon. Man-made commands like the Word of Wisdom are easy to follow and create a false impression of righteousness.

This trains a person to look at the few sins they don’t commit rather than seeing the great number they do commit. You might even be able to pay a full ten-percent tithe your entire life. But, if you don’t do it cheerfully, you are sinning. The most difficult command is to love God more than anything or anyone. We all break this command over and over again—every time we commit every single sin.

Using the analogy that each sin is like a stone, every person who has ever lived would have so many stones piled on them they could not stand. They would literally be buried under a mountain. You could not “carry” this burden because it would be far too heavy to bear. Only a person who chooses not to acknowledge the extent to which they break God’s commands would ever claim that the “soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return”!

Only someone who does not know how often they sin could ever believe it possible to abandon most of the sin they commit. In their ignorance and their arrogance they believe their pack is almost empty when in reality it is so great Heavenly Father had to send His Son to remove it!

Looking back at the exercise for Home Evening, imagine taking several rocks and writing a sin on each rock. Start with the sin of being “Unforgiving”. In your life, how many times have you struggled to forgive someone? How about being “Covetous”? How many times have you coveted another persons looks, their home, their spouse, their car? How often are you “Contentious” or “Quarrelsome”? How are you doing at forsaking the sins of “Envy”, “Lying” or “Impatience”? Did you know that “Worrying” or being “Fearful” are sins? How many times are you “Bitter”, “Judgmental”, “Angry”, “Discourteous” or “Unkind”? How often do you “Gossip” about others or “Slander” someone? Have you abandoned “Cursing” or the sin of “Lusting” after anyone you aren’t married to?

I haven’t even mentioned the Sins of omission: Not seeking God’s kingdom first, Not blessing those who persecute you, Not feeding the hungry, Not clothing the stranger, Not visiting those in prison, Not praying continually, Not thanking God for everything, Not being content with what you have, Not trusting God to take care of you and Not giving God the glory for everything you do.

It is truly impossible to abandon many of these sins for even more than one day! But take heart! Jesus came to rescue you! Your filthiness was made clean—it was washed and cleansed with Christ’s blood. Once, your sins were as scarlet, but now they are as white as snow. You are without blame or blemish—no spot can be found. Your sins were taken and cast into the depths of the sea. All your sins, past present and future have been covered and blotted out—removed from you.

But, if you believe the words of prophets who claim you must abandon these sins to gain forgiveness, then this falsehood becomes truth for you. When you die, you will still be in your sins because you rejected your Savior who covered your sins with His blood. On Judgment Day, your sins will return to you; evidence that you didn’t trust in the Savior who removed your sins with His blood. Then, you will be cast into Outer Darkness to spend eternity with Satan.

Click here for additional LDS and Bible references

General Conference: To the Women of the Church from the Prophet

The Blessing of Pain

Everyone has felt pain. Pain is often a warning of something wrong and in this way can be a blessing. I have experienced both physical and emotional pain in my life. Once I had a pain in my side that finally got bad enough I went to see a Doctor. He detected and removed a cancerous kidney tumor. I had a similar situation a few years later when headaches led Doctors to find and remove a brain tumor. While this physical pain was not fun, its warning saved my life – twice. I could have chosen to ignore my pain, but I didn’t. If I had, I would have forfeited my life.

The same can often be said of emotional pain. As a Mormon I suffered the pain of failing to gain forgiveness through the process of repentance. I failed because I just couldn’t keep all of Heavenly Father’s commands all the time. When I repeated a sin, like gossiping or not forgiving someone, I lost what precious forgiveness I had already earned. The anguish from this pain was a warning which led me to seek help in finding a cure.

Are you a woman in pain who struggles with depression or anxiety? Were you sexually abused as a child and don’t know how to overcome the emotional trauma? Is your spouse addicted to pornography? Are your burdens heavy because you have been abandoned by your husband or have been widowed? Have you been left alone to raise your children? Do you often cry in your closet but wish you had someone to simply listen to you? Do you pretend you are fine but put a smile on your face whenever you are in front of others?

Put on a smile before others

Put on a smile before others

A few years ago in General Conference President Hinckley had a message for such hurting women: Now I speak to you single mothers whose burdens are so heavy because you have been abandoned or have been widowed. Yours is a terrible load. Bear it well. Seek the blessings of the Lord. Be grateful for any assistance that may come out of the quorums of the priesthood to help you in your home or with other matters. Pray silently in your closet, and let the tears flow if they must come. But put a smile on your face whenever you are before your children or others.

Hiding your pain is never the answer. If you had a daughter whose spouse died or who abandoned her, would you tell her to pray and cry in her closet but pretend to others that her burden was not heavy? How could anyone reach out to her if she hid her affliction from others? The most daunting aspect of these words is that according to Mormonism they are not merely President Hinckley’s opinion, they are the words of Heavenly Father – His latest revelation.

My pain of failing to earn forgiveness led me to discover Heavenly Father would never say these words! Instead He tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”; words which compels your Christian brothers and sisters to reach out to you in love (Galatians 6:2). God’s Words comfort, heal and speak of unconditional forgiveness. God showed His ultimate love for us by punishing His one and only Son to heal our disease of sin (John 3:16).

Are you in pain and tired of pretending? If so, I pray that pain drives you to seek the Savior who has borne your grief and carried your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). May it drive you to a Christian Congregation of brothers and sisters who welcome the opportunity to share your burdens. Or, you could choose to hide your pain, alone in your closet. But if you do you may well forfeit your eternal life.

Additional Testimony:
Visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions:
– James 1:27
Give all your burdens to Heavenly Father & Jesus:
– Matthew 11:28
– 1 Peter 5:7
– Philippians 4:6-7
– Psalm 23:4
– Psalm 119:50
Additional LDS Words:

Found in TofPofC-Harold B. Lee, page 84:
“His prophet is upon the earth today, and if you want to know the last revelation that has come to this people, you get down the last conference report and read carefully especially what the First Presidency said. … You will have the best and the last word that has been given from our Heavenly Father.

Found in D&C Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual, page 244:
“Emphasize that the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators. They continue to receive revelation to guide the Church. Their direction is “the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation”.

Link to President Hinckley’s Words:
General Conference, Ensign, November 2003, page 115
President Gordon B. Hinckley, To the Women of the Church