God’s Nature: What Does He Look Like?

Have you ever questioned the LDS belief that God’s “eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones”? As a Mormon I never questioned this teaching—it seemed that the Bible clearly supported it. After becoming a Christian I discovered that this doctrine was unique to Mormonism. And, the Christian churches I attended taught other things about the nature of God that didn’t make much sense to me. So I decided to dig into scripture to find out the truth. With my new-found faith I had a strong resolve to be like the Berean’s—to search the scriptures and make sure that whatever I was told agreed with God’s truth. (Acts 17:11)

Underlying the LDS belief that God has a body of flesh and bones is the doctrine that God was once a sinful man, subservient to an earlier god: “Explain that since the restoration of the true Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days, Church members have known of their origin and destiny as children of God. A latter-day prophet, Lorenzo Snow, summarized this teaching clearly when he said, ‘As man is God once was; As God is, man may be.” (Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, Lesson 1, page 1)

But searching the scriptures I quickly discovered that the words of this LDS prophet were false. The Prophet Isaiah wrote: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (43:10, 44:6)

Learning that God could never have been a man still didn’t explain to me what God “was”. I wondered what He looked like. I had been taught that since I was created in God’s image, then God must look like me. But reading in Genesis confirmed that this “image” could not be a “physical” one—I was a woman, not a man. I decided to read all the passages referenced in the LDS Topical Guide about the body of God to see if any had been miss-interpreted. To my surprise, they hadn’t. These passages clearly taught that God had the physical characteristics of a man. They attributed God as having a face, mouth, voice, fingers, hands and feet. Wanting to learn more, I started doing word studies. When I found another passage saying that God had a hand as well as ears, I wondered why this passage hadn’t been listed in the LDS Topical Guide. Reading in context answered my question and led me to a surprising discovery! Not only did God have ears, He had wings and feathers:

I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. 8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Ps 17:6-8).

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:1-4)

From this study I learned that while scripture often attributes human characteristics to God, it also uses non-human characteristics to describe Him. (Not surprisingly, you won’t find any of these passages listed in the LDS Topical Guide.) Mormons can no more claim that God is a glorified man than someone could say He is an enormous bird. While God is a spirit (John 4:24) He is so powerful that He can take on any form He chooses. We see at Christ’s baptism that the Holy Ghost took on the physical form of a dove.

Scripture often uses word pictures to give us a glimpse of what God is like because He is so unlike humans:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

Scripture reveals that our Savior has always been God! He was not (as LDS prophets claim) “the first spirit born to our heavenly parents”—parents who began their lives as spirit children:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14) Jesus took on human flesh and became a man “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:14-18). Even though He was God, He “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

In the end, it is not the form of God that matters, it is what He accomplished. Death is a consequence of sin but Jesus had no sins of His own! He died on the cross because He chose to die—for you. It was His mission—His very purpose for coming to earth was to take our sins upon Himself, as if they were His own:

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Your sins have been covered and forgiven by His blood. Believe it and receive it, and trust in Him:

How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” Psalms 36:7

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Did God Really Give You a “Plan” of Salvation?

I didn’t realize how easy it was to get lost until after I got my drivers license. Driving to unfamiliar places without easy to follow directions often resulted in confusion and anxiety. When I lived in Germany for a few years my tendency to lose my way was exacerbated by the fact I couldn’t speak the language. I quickly learned to take a map with me whenever I was unsure of where I was going.

One day I went to visit a friend who lived in a nearby town. I had written down her address and had brought my trusty map along. But I soon discovered that even with the map, I was terribly lost. I knew what street I needed to get to, but could not find it. I saw a man walking down the street and even though I spoke very little German, I pulled over to ask him for help. I showed him my map and pointed to the street I was searching for. In my broken German I tried asking him for directions. Looking at both me and my map, he responded in English “Lady, you’re using the wrong map. That map is for a town twenty miles from here.”

This experience happened over 25 years ago but it came to mind when reading the Sunday School Teacher’s Manual for 12 & 13 year old’s. The lesson explains the “Plan” of Salvation according to LDS prophets and scripture. An Enrichment Activity directs the teacher to display a road map and ask the questions: “What is this? Why would someone use this?” The teacher is then told: “Explain that life is like a journey. Heavenly Father knew that we would need directions to help us find our way back to him, so he provided the plan of salvation as a kind of map for us to follow. How can we ‘read’ this map and know what we must do to reach our destination of living with Heavenly Father again? (Answers may include by studying the scriptures, following the prophets, and listening to our teachers and parents as they teach us about the gospel.)”

The lesson explains what must be done to live eternally with Heavenly Father: “Point out that the scripture names two things as God’s work—to bring to pass immortality and eternal life. Explain that these two words do not refer to the same thing. Immortality is a state of being resurrected, of being free from physical death. This blessing will come to all people. Eternal life is living with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the celestial kingdom. This blessing—which is also called exaltation—comes only to those who keep the commandments and make the necessary covenants.”

This week’s Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson “maps” out the same requirements. It explains that even though eternal life is the “greatest of all the gifts of God” you obtain it through your own works and effort: “We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.”

I remember when I once believed these words. Reading them today makes my heart cry out for all who are trying to obtain eternal life by following these directions. Today, I write these words to warn you that you are using the wrong map! The LDS Plan of Salvation does not come from God—it was created by LDS prophets. All who follow this “Plan” of Salvation will never gain eternal life!

In both these Lessons, the belief that God gave us a “Plan” comes from the book of Moses, which is part of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament. We can know that this “Plan” is false by testing its words against already revealed scripture. Doing so shows it is in direct conflict with the testimony of our Savior Jesus, as well as God’s prophets and apostles. While LDS scriptures have nearly 60 passages discussing this “Plan” of Salvation, the word “plan” isn’t even found in the King James Bible. As well, the two Lessons I reference today don’t give a single Bible passage supporting the LDS “Plan” for gaining eternal life.

God’s prophets and apostles left us a “map” that truly leads to eternal life, and that’s the Bible. It is here that we read their testimonies claiming that the work of Salvation is finished! It was by our Savior’s obedience that eternal life was obtained for us. God provides “Salvation” as an undeserved gift to all who believe in His Son. Jesus testified that eternal life truly is a free gift, gained the very moment the Holy Spirit brought you to faith!

“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).

This gift came because of Heavenly Father’s great love for you: “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.” (John 3:16) Believe it and receive it! “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47).

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

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

Are You Worthy?

I volunteer with Truth in Love Ministry, a Christian group that reaches out to the Latter-day Saints. Through a media campaign, billboards ask the question “Feeling Worthy?” and point readers to our new website: HisHealingNow.com. Here we share with you the peace and joy we have found through our Savior. We want you to know that feeling unworthy is actually a blessing. The answer to your feelings of unworthiness is the sweet message of a Savior who loves you and came to save you—because you are unworthy! “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11)

The reason we are focusing on LDS who feel unworthy is because your church leaders have told you the wrong way to be worthy. They claim that a person can be worthy through obedience and have created a set of standards for each member to follow. But no one can be found worthy through obedience. Jesus testified the truth of every human’s worthiness when He claimed “none is good, save one, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19). The prophet Isaiah declared “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

LDS leaders claim that God gave us His laws as the way to prove ourselves worthy. But this is not true. God gave us His commands for exactly the opposite reason—to prove to us just how unworthy we are! His laws were given so “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 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.” (Romans 3) God intended for us to use the demands of His law as a mirror. When we look at ourselves in it, we realize just how sinful we are. The main reason God gave His law was to convict us of our unworthiness. The apostle Paul explains no one can be worthy by following any law of God: “for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (Galatians 3) Instead, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” God’s law brings us to place our trust in Christ when we realize that without a Savior, we are doomed to hell. This is the blessing of recognizing our unworthiness. We come to rely on what Christ did for us—led a perfect life and atoned for our sins.

So what can be so bad about Mormons trying to be worthy through obedience? The problem isn’t that you are trying to be worthy; it’s that you are using the wrong standard to judge yourself by. The LDS standard for worthiness was created by men and not by God. LDS prophets have lowered God’s standard and use a standard that isn’t high enough. All question as to what standard man should be held to were thrown aside when Jesus commanded: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5:48) By lowering God’s standard they create the illusion of worthiness through ones own efforts.

LDS leaders use their own system of grading sins. When determining worthiness some sins are overlooked and others are judged as making a person unworthy. Simply reading the Sermon on the Mount verifies that this practice of grading sins didn’t come from God. Jesus testified that in God’s sight, murderers are as sinful as those who loose their temper; and looking at a woman in lust is committing the very same sin as adultery (Matthew 5-7) In God’s eyes, each and every sin is rebellion against Him and receives the same eternal consequence—Hell.

Instead of looking at Heavenly Father’s perfection to determine if you are worthy, Mormons judge whether you are worthy by looking at each other. Lowering God’s standard by grading sins only gives members a false impression that they are worthy. This actually leads you away from your Savior! Instead of reaching out for a Savior who did everything for you, you place your trust in a Savior who merely gives you the opportunity to be judged by your works. Doing so means that your eternal life hangs in the balance of whether you are worthy enough! Can you now see how deadly this doctrine of worthiness is?

There is only one way to be found worthy in God’s sight and it has nothing to do with your obedience to God’s law. Paul testified: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21) Worthiness comes through faith that Jesus came to earth to be worthy for you—in your place! He is your substitute for the perfection required by God. Through the offering of Christ’s body you have been perfected forever! (Hebrews 10:10-14). Abraham was credited with righteous through faith: “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)

And please, don’t fall for the cheap trick of those who ask “Then why would you ever try to do what is right?” Everyone who trusts that Jesus has gained their worthiness for them are so grateful that for the rest of their lives they strive to please God. Not because they have to—but because their love for their Savior compels them.

Your Savior came to cover you with His righteousness. Believe it and you will rejoice with the prophet Isaiah:

“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)

Can Eternal Marriage Be Perfect?

When I was a young girl I dreamt of having an eternal marriage. One day I would be in the celestial room kneeling across the altar, looking at the love of my life. We would see each other in the reflection of the mirrors as we were sealed to each other for time and all eternity. This man would cherish me and love me unconditionally, as I would him. He would be my best friend—someone I could trust. We would share all our joys, our hurts and pains, and the desires of our hearts. Most importantly, he would be faithful and true to me forever.

As I said, this was my dream. But I really never thought it would come true. Before I was even old enough to know what it was, I had lost my most important possession—my virginity. For most of my childhood I had been sexually abused and I felt so much shame. I knew how unclean I was, how inadequate to be a man’s wife. Who could ever love me if they knew? I was a broken and unhealthy young woman.

I dated quite a bit. One young man was very special to me, but I never felt worthy enough for him. How could I ever tell him the truth? While he was on his mission, I made bad choices that confirmed I was not worthy. Getting drunk one night led to getting pregnant by a man who was not LDS. My dream of an eternal marriage was shattered by my sin.

We married and my husband was baptized our first year of marriage. We both desired to be married in the Temple and worked to become worthy. Our second daughter died of SIDS and we desperately wanted to be sealed together as a family. After we obtained our much sought after Temple recommend we were married in the Salt Lake Temple. As the years passed, my husband started questioning his faith in Mormonism. Much to my dismay, he left the Church. Then I found out he had been unfaithful to me. We separated and my girls and I moved to a new State and a new Ward. The desire of my heart was to be forgiven and cleansed of my sins. I clung to the words of my prophet Spencer Kimball about how to gain this forgiveness. (If you would like to read about this, read my post titled “God Doesn’t Lie—You Have Been Forgiven”)

After I left the Church, my husband and I reconciled. He promised he would be faithful and true to me and I trusted him. Over the next several years, he often broke this promise. My heart ached every time he cheated on me, but I always took him back. Deep inside I felt that the reason he was intimate with other women was because there was something wrong with me–because I had been sexually abused. Finally, after a rocky 14 years together, he left me for good. I vowed never to trust another man. I turned to other things I loved—my daughters, my artwork, college classes and gardening. But no matter what I did, I was still alone with the guilt and shame of my sins. I knew I was unworthy, unlovable and unfit.

Amazingly when I was 36, I met the man of my dreams! He knew everything about me—all my life of shame and sinfulness. Despite how unworthy I was, He still loved and cherished me! Nothing I had ever done mattered to Him. His love was unconditional. Even though I had vowed never to marry again, I was so in love with Him that I couldn’t help myself! His name was Jesus and in 1994 I was sealed to Him for time and all eternity by Heavenly Father Himself (2 Corinthians 1:20-22). He had already proved His love for me by giving His life for me—washing me of my sin and guilt and making me the virgin I never really had the chance to be! Because of this, I knew I could trust Him and that He would be faithful to me forever.

When He chose me as His bride, He showered me with so many undeserved gifts. But the gift I have treasured most is the forgiveness won for me by His shed blood. His blood has made me clean! My life of shame was taken away the moment He chose me to be His bride. He even gave me my wedding garments! I sing with joy the words of the Prophet Isaiah “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) The gift of His robe of righteousness cleansed me of all sin so I can dwell in the very presence of God!!

Having been given this amazing gift has changed my life drastically. One of those changes has been my desire to study God’s Word. I pour over the pages of the Bible, discovering the things that God wants to teach me. When I did a study on whether a marriage between a man and a woman will last into eternity, I found God’s truth. The only marriage relationship that will last beyond the grave is one with Jesus. Jesus Himself testified of this truth “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” (Mark 12:25). This doesn’t mean that believing husbands and wives won’t be together for eternity. It just means that their relationship will not be as a man and wife. All believers will spend eternity together, in companionship with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.

Another gift God gave me was the courage to marry again. Four years after I met Jesus, God brought into my life a wonderful Christian man of God who, amazingly, is also Christ’s bride. The Apostle John taught us in the book of Revelation that anyone who has been made righteous through Christ is His bride.

There is no earthly relationship that surpasses the love that Jesus has for you. He died for you and wants to shower you with His gift of righteousness. Please, join with the Apostle John as we shout “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:7-9).

Are You Afraid of Death?

I got a call recently from one of my dearest friends, telling me she has an aggressive and terminal cancer. It was amazing how calm and peaceful she was. In fact, she’s actually excited to die so she can finally be with her Savior Jesus. She teased me that she will get to be with Him before I do. My friend Linda and I are very similar in that we both love Jesus with all our hearts and souls. Our entire purpose in life is to praise our Savior and serve Him by bringing as many people to heaven with us as possible. Linda has worked for several years at a nursing home where her love for Jesus has shown brightly through her many acts of love. Many people, including some of her patients, have heard from her the wonderful message of free and full forgiveness through Jesus.

The only concern Linda has is for her daughter, whom she asked me to watch over for her after she dies. Speaking with her and hearing her concern for her daughter reminded me of a story found in Luke chapter sixteen. Here Jesus tells about a man who, like my friend Linda, was also concerned about the eternal destination of family members. The main difference between my friend Linda and the man in Jesus’ story is that this man did not believe in Jesus. He had died in his sins and was suffering the consequence of eternal torment in hell.

From hell he could actually see into heaven where he saw the beggar Lazarus who used to sit at his gates begging for crumbs from his table. He saw that while he was being tormented in hell; Lazarus was being comforted by the Prophet Abraham. In misery, he asked Abraham: “send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame”. Abraham told him that what he asked was impossible! His reason was because: “between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which could pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

These words of God are in complete disagreement with LDS teachings! Mormon prophets claim that after death all people go to a temporary place, either spirit prison or spirit paradise. Those who were not righteous will be given more time to repent and meet God’s demands for perfection. These false prophets testify that righteous Mormons who have gone to paradise will travel to spirit prison to preach the LDS gospel to the unrighteous. They claim that once these wicked people have repented and been baptized in proxy by someone on earth, they will be allowed into paradise.

In defining hell, they claim:
First, it is another name for spirit prison, a place in the postmortal spirit world for those who have “died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets” (D&C 138:32). This is a temporary state in which spirits will be taught the gospel and have the opportunity to repent and accept ordinances of salvation that are performed for them in temples (see D & C 138:30–35)” (True to the Faith, page 81).

But from Jesus’ story we read the important truth that at the moment of death, your fate is sealed! Your “time of grace” ends. You don’t have a second chance to come to faith; or a longer period of time to meet God’s demands for righteousness. The Holy Spirit revealed in scripture that: “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth” (Proverbs 11:7). The moment we die our spirits come into the very presence of God: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). No unclean person can dwell in the presence of God (Ephesians 5:5).

Talking about death and what happens to those who aren’t worthy to dwell in God’s presence is not easy, but it is necessary. My friend Linda is not the only one who will die soon. I warn you that you also have a terminal cancer. That cancer is sin. God is Merciful, but He is also Just. While He offers His mercy to all people, He extends His mercy ONLY to those who believe His Son’s blood covers their every sin. This Mercy is a full pardon, complete forgiveness, the bestowal of the perfect righteousness of His Son. And this Mercy is only offered to you during your time on earth. All who reject the Mercy God offers them through His Son will spend eternity in Hell with Satan.

You never know what day you will die, or when someone you love will die. I beg you to turn to these truths found in the Bible before it is too late. The man in hell was concerned for his brothers and asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn them “that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment“. The Prophet Abraham’s reply shows how important scripture study is; if you don’t believe God’s Words found in the Bible, you will not “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

If you are reading this you are alive and your hope has not yet perished! Trust that all your sins have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus! (Revelation 1:5) If you believe Jesus is the Christ that has removed your sin, you will no longer be in your sins (John 8:24). All who have faith in Christ’s Atonement for sins “have been perfected forever” (Hebrews 10:10-14).

Do You Have An Eternal Family?

I have a pretty awesome “little” brother. I love calling him my “baby” brother because it really irritates him. Even though he’s one year younger than me, he stands seven inches taller than me. He’s very hard-working and it seems that everything he touches turns to gold. I think one of the reasons he’s so successful is because he had to be responsible at a very young age. When we were both in middle school our father was seriously injured in an accident at the factory where he worked. He was unable to work for many years and as a result, my brother started working full-time at a local dairy at the age of 14. There were times when he helped my parents with the mortgage payment and gave them money for our older brothers while they were on their missions.

As far as his personality, my little brother can be intimidating when you first meet him. But, once you get to know him you find out how compassionate and awesome he is. If you have met my little brother, you would remember him, he’s just that kind of guy. One time when I lived on the east coast, nearly 3,000 miles away from our home town, I saw someone with an Idaho license plate at a gas station. When I started talking to him, I found out that he knew my little brother. As I said, if you have met him, you don’t easily forget him.

My brother and I have lived very similar lives. Both of us were sexually abused as children. Both of us committed sexual sins with our first spouses before we got married. Both of us desired to have an eternal family, so we became worthy to enter the temple and had our marriages sealed for time and eternity. Both of us, no matter how hard we tried, couldn’t hold our marriages together. Even though both of our spouses were unfaithful to us, we spent years trying to work things out. Looking back, it’s easy to see that we both simply made horrible choices for marriage partners. Even though we tried everything we could to make our marriages work, our spouses still abandoned us. For both my brother and I, we lived some very difficult years with lots of emotional pain and hurt. Both of us lost our testimony in LDS prophets and left the Church. We both spent several years without any church or religion.

After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith over 14 years ago, I desperately wanted my little brother to know of the joy I had found in Jesus. I shared with him the news of forgiveness as often as he would let me, but he wasn’t interested. I never ceased praying for him. I always had this vision that when he came to faith, I would be the one that led him to the truth. But God, in His wisdom, had His own plan. My little brother’s second wife is a Christian. Like me, she has spent many years in prayer, asking God to bring him to faith. I praise the Lord that He has heard our prayers and brought my brother to faith!! It happened a few months ago when he felt something missing in his life and started attending a Christian Church.

My blood brother is now my spiritual brother and a member of Heavenly Father’s eternal family!!! When I was LDS I always dreamed of being worthy enough to have an eternal family. Both my brother and I were born under the covenant. Our four older siblings are faithful LDS members and believe they will live eternally with their families. But the LDS teaching about eternal families is a mirage. There is only one eternal family and that is God’s! You become worthy to enter His eternal family the moment the Holy Spirit brings you to faith! At that moment, you become a child of God and inherit ALL of His eternal blessings.

I praise my Lord and Savior for choosing to save the weak and base things of this world (1 Corinthians 1). Because of our sinfulness, my little brother and I were well aware that we desperately needed a Savior whose blood covered over our every sin. We knew we could not gain forgiveness with our own efforts. Our siblings, whose lives seem pretty “good” in comparison to ours, still reject the Savior who did everything for them. Even though it is impossible, they still believe they can be worthy enough to gain eternal life with their own faith and works.

Do you want to spend eternity with members of your family? Then turn to Jesus and trust that His blood covers over all of your sins. Teach your children the wonderful message that the gift of eternal life is granted solely through faith alone. Then, spend the rest of your life sharing Jesus with those who don’t know that His blood gained forgiveness for all their sins!

I Can’t Wait To Get To Heaven!

My desire to share Jesus with you is much stronger than my ability right now and I apologize for the length of time between posts. I have many health concerns and for some reason the past few months have been more difficult than usual. My life is one of daily pain, sometimes to the point that I am not able to do much of anything but bask in God’s love. It’s times like this that I cling to God’s promises, and I share some of those promises with you today.

Very few days go by that I don’t feel some kind of longing for death. It isn’t that I don’t love my life; it’s just that through death I will actually receive many of the promises that right now, I can only long for. I can’t wait to throw my arms around my Savior Jesus and personally thank Him for saving me. When I die I will dwell forever in the presence of my Savior and the Almighty God of Heaven and earth. On this earth, God dwells in my heart, but when I die, I will live with Him eternally. This is not because of anything I have ever done, but because I trust that Jesus is my substitute! The moment I came to faith, Christ gave me His robe of righteousness and in God’s sight, I am as perfect as God himself. I know how often I sin so this gift is truly an undeserved one. The more I recognize the seriousness of my sin, the more I value the Gift of my Savior. It is only through faith in my Savior that I will dwell in the very presence of Heavenly Father and live with Him eternally.

John the Beloved, in the book of Revelation, tells us what eternal life will be like:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Wow, no more pain! Today, I especially long for the fulfillment of that promise from God! But, because I still live, I know that God desires for me to continue with what He has called me to do here on earth. My purpose, the reason I breathe; is to give all glory to my Savior Jesus and to share His Word with you. Another promise from God is one found in Isaiah 55: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” This promise assures me that whenever I share God’s Word with you, it will accomplish exactly what God desires. If you come to faith through the hearing of this Word of God, you also will live eternally with Him! But, if you reject your Savior, when you die you will still be in your sins and on Judgment Day, you will be without excuse.

The Death Penalty for Even One Sin?

A commenter recently stated “I know that not all sins are equal in nature, and some sins carry a greater penalty with them, making them more difficult to repent of. I know that a person who lives an honest life, helps all those around him, and strives to be like Christ, and yet lives a little too lightheaded, or has a short temper is a good man, and a better man than one who murders, or violates the daughters of God. Logic and Justice show that a small lie is not equal to murder, or adultery, or any of these other sins.

I remember when I used to believe as this person does. I felt that I was a much worse sinner than most people because I had committed sexual sins. I certainly didn’t equate my sins on the same level as someone who merely told an occasional lie. But I thought this way because I believed what my LDS prophets had taught me. It wasn’t until I dug into God’s Word that I learned that even though we humans like to “grade” sins and think that some aren’t as important as others, God doesn’t do this. No matter how small a sin appears to us, when we sin, we are still rebelling against our Majestic God. The greatness of our guilt can be measured by only one yardstick and that is the infinite Majesty of our God whom we have sinned against.

Let me give an illustration using a story about my “little” brother. One day, when we were in High School, this kid said something very rude to me. My brother Ralph heard about it during lunch hour and proceeded to teach him a lesson. Ralph hit the kid a few times and then grabbed his arm and brought him to me. When I heard a loud commotion, I looked and saw a huge crowd all following my brother as he was dragging the kid behind him. Then Ralph threw him down in front of me and forced him to apologize to me. After doing so, the kid ran away crying. Then a teacher took Ralph to the Principal’s office. He was suspended from school for three days, but he says he has always felt like he did the right thing. I certainly never had to worry about being bothered by that kid again (or anyone else for that matter).

But, what if a policeman had said something rude to me and Ralph had done the same thing to the policeman? The consequences would have been much worse than merely being suspended from school. And, if we took that one step further, what if the President of the United States had insulted me and Ralph took a swing at the President? His transgression would have been much more serious.

In a similar way, this is why any sin is serious—because of whom we have sinned against. Every time we sin we break the greatest commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.Every sin justifies the eternal death sentence.The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This is why James testified: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” It’s not just the blatant sinner who has a big problem. As Jesus himself said “there is none good but one, that is, God.

Anytime human “logic” is placed over God’s truth, you are likely to get yourself into trouble. Human logic determines that a person who “lives a little too lightheaded, or has a short temper is a good man, and a better man than one who murders”. But Jesus has declared differently! He equated anger with murder, which are both in danger of the judgment (Matthew 5:21-22). The Bible clearly shows the same consequence for all sin—an eternity with Satan and his demons! While there are specific sins that God claims to hate (pride, lying, murder… Proverbs 6:16-19) each sin has the same consequence—eternal separation from Him.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Think of this balloon as your hope for eternal life. Think of this pin as one “minor” sin. Prick the balloon (commit the sin) just once and your dream is destroyed.

Except for Jesus, no one has or will live a life good enough to qualify for God’s pardon. Logic tells us we have no hope. But again God’s revealed truth defies logic: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). Because Jesus lived perfectly for us, fulfilling every demand of Justice; Heavenly Father can offer us a full pardon. We only need to believe in His undeserved gift.

Unbelievers are lost because they think their sins aren’t so bad. They choose to wear their own robe of righteousness, which is like filthy rags in God’s eyes (Isaiah 63:6). Those with faith in Jesus know how sinful they are without Christ. They wear His protective garment—His robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and will spend eternity in the loving arms of their majestic God!

Jesus Has Delivered You From Your Sins!

After I came to faith, I had a burning desire to share my faith with my Father. He was dying of cancer and I lived 3000 miles away. I had gone back to college as an older student at the College of William and Mary. During the summer before my senior year I grabbed an opportunity to take a few classes at Boise State. My daughters and I stayed with my folks and I took every opportunity I could to share my new-found faith with my Dad. I felt that the Lord was leading me to stay in Idaho to witness to my father, so I gave up my last year at William and Mary and stayed with my parents. The Lord gave me a full year with my father before he died and I cherished every moment with him. We had different faiths, but the Bible was our common ground and I read it to him often as he lay in bed. I must have read the book of Romans to him a hundred times. The message of free and full forgiveness seemed so clear to me and I couldn’t understand how my family couldn’t see the truth.

My father’s health deteriorated as the months went by. I believe that through his physical limitations, God was giving him the opportunity to become humble and see his need for a Savior who did everything for him. One day, about three months before he died, I heard him ask my uncle this question: “Bob, how is it possible that we can become gods?” My uncle replied “It’s possible, just believe it.” My dad said: “But we are so far from it!” My heart sang when I heard his words! My father had taught the false LDS doctrine that man could become a god for many years. His words were the words of someone who was truly seeing himself as the sinful man that he was. He was being humbled by God.

Humility is one characteristic of every person who has a living faith in Jesus. Humble sinners know that they are nothing in comparison to God’s perfection. They know that if their eternal destination depended upon anything they had to do, they would be doomed to hell. They know that God loves them so much He sent a Savior to rescue them from their depravity. In Corinthians, the Apostle Paul described the criteria God uses to choose His followers and why: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Today’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson talks about humility and pride. It asks: “What is pride?” President Benson gives the LDS answer: “Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. “The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’”

While pride certainly has an element of enmity towards God, that is not the heart or core of it. The Tyndale Bible Dictionary explains: “The ten Hebrew and two Greek words generally used for pride refer to being high or exalted in attitude, the opposite of the virtue of humility, which is so often praised and rewarded by God. One other Greek word refers to a person’s being puffed up or inflated with pride or egotism. The idea is that one gives the impression of substance but is really filled only with air… Pride is basically a sin of attitude and of the heart and spirit.

The very essence of Mormon doctrine leads a person away from humility and towards pride by claiming that man is good enough to one day progress to godhood! In God’s eyes, this is blasphemous and the epitome of arrogance! He has claimed that even your righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). When you believe that you can become a God, to be God’s equal; it shows that you are inflated with pride and egotism. As my father had come to know, you are so far from God’s holiness that you could NEVER become a god!

The Apostle Paul knew how sinful he was: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Do you know how utterly sinful you are? If so, count yourself blessed!!! Turn to Jesus who has delivered you! Then, live your life in thankfulness to Him, as I do!

Virginity Pledges for someone who has been sexually abused

I read an article last Saturday at Mormontimes.com about Virginity Pledges. It stirred up some difficult memories for me which took me back to my childhood. I was sexually abused as a child. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when it first started, but it lasted for most of my childhood. I have memories of things happening before I entered first grade and I lost my virginity about the time I was baptized at the age of eight. Many things about my life of abuse are hard to explain with mere words. Inwardly, I spent years in a fog, simply struggling to survive. All my life I felt so much shame and guilt. I was unclean and impure. I was different than every person I knew. My heart’s desire was to be clean, pure and normal. Outwardly, no one would have suspected the emotional trauma I was going through. I hid my pain well by pretending to the world that I was a happy and normal Mormon girl.

At the age of twelve, I entered Mutual. My teacher was a very nice woman and made an effort to connect with the girls in her class. But one class stands out in my memory as very traumatic. Her Lesson focused on Chastity and how important it was for us to be morally clean. She told us that our most treasured possession was our virginity. She asked us to make a Pledge of Virginity and said that we should never do anything that compromised our most precious possession. For my ears, this was devastating. It was too late for me. I was already impure and had lost my virginity years before. Then, she told us something that I will never forget. She said that our virginity was so precious that if someone tried to take it away from us by force, we should kill ourselves to protect it. She said our virginity was more important to us than our life. These words cut through my heart like a knife. The abuse continued for a few more years and every time, in addition to the shame, I now felt guilt for not having the courage to take my life. My pain was devastating and my heart’s desire was to be free from guilt and shame.

About fifteen years later this was still my heart’s desire. I had come no closer to finding any relief from my pain. There was nothing more important to me than gaining forgiveness. My desire was to be clean and pure like everyone else I knew. It was then that I turned to a book written by my Prophet Spencer Kimball called “The Miracle of Forgiveness“. Here, I just knew I would find the answer to my pain. Instead, I found more guilt and a reinforcement of what my Mutual teacher had told me. I read: “Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.

My pain was so intense I would have committed suicide had I not had two little daughters who needed me. And, it was these two little girls that helped me to realize the abuse hadn’t been my fault. As their mother I could see that these little girls had no interest in sex. I started reading about sexually abused children and I learned that children are victims, not willing participants. I myself had survived each ordeal by trying to pretend it wasn’t happening to me. Surprisingly, realizing it wasn’t my fault did not release me from my feelings of guilt and shame. Maybe it was because of my Prophets words that it would have been better that I had died in defending my virtue. I still felt morally unclean and impure. I was a defective and broken woman who did not know how to become whole and clean.

A few years later I left the Mormon Church and about a year after that gave up on what I thought was Christianity in general. I pretended that my feelings of guilt and shame were gone, but they weren’t. I tried convincing myself that the God who created our world didn’t care about me or my pain. But I was wrong! And, I am so thankful that I was wrong. Jesus came and rescued me even though I had given up on Him. God sent a Christian into my life who told me that the God who created our world actually loved me! He didn’t care that I was broken and guilt ridden. This loving God led me to the truth and gave me the desire of my heart! He told me that through Jesus I was clean and pure! At thirty six years of age I learned that in God’s eyes, I was as pure and clean as a virgin! All because of Jesus! In fact, John the Beloved testified to me that everyone whose hope is in Jesus is as pure as Jesus himself! (1 John 3:3)

I have had lots of difficult things happen to me in my life but nothing has affected me more deeply than the sexual abuse. Today, even at fifty years of age I still struggle with emotional aftereffects from it. But, I praise the Lord that through Jesus’ blood I have been cleansed! My most treasured possession is the forgiveness of all my sins. I live my life devoted to my Savior who freely won it for me. And, I learned that my life is more precious to Him than my “virtue”. Now, my heart’s desire is to share what I have been given with you. If you were sexually abused and have had to sit through a Mutual class like I did, my heart goes out to you. If you don’t know how to become whole, trust in the fact that you’re Savior has made you clean and pure with His blood. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

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