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)

Why Did Heavenly Father Give Us Commandments?

Many Mormons don’t understand how I could believe I don’t have to do anything to be saved. I’m often asked “Why would God give us commandments to follow if we don’t have to keep them in order to be saved?” The reason for the misunderstanding is that Mormon Prophets have changed God’s intended purpose for His commandments. Mormon doctrine claims that God gave His laws as the means to become righteous and gain eternal life.

One can find this LDS teaching in the third Article of Faith: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” Mormon Prophets testify that God gave His law so a person could become righteous through obedience: “The laws of God given to mankind are embodied in the gospel plan, and the Church of Jesus Christ is made responsible for teaching these laws to the world. They are given by our Heavenly Father for only one purpose, that you who are governed by law might also be preserved by law and perfected and sanctified, or made holy by the same” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church-Harold B. Lee, page 27).

But in truth, God actually gave you His commandments to show you that you could never become righteous by obedience! It is through God’s law that you become conscious of your sinfulness. The Apostle Paul claimed that God’s law is like a mirror. When you read His law and see what He demands from you, you will see how far off from the mark you are. When you look into the mirror of God’s law; you will see an utterly sinful self!

The uncompromising commands of God’s law prove we can’t meet God’s demands. In fact, we don’t even come close! Jesus knew that the commandments were given so we could see our sinfulness. Think about when He commanded us to “be as perfect as our Father in Heaven”. Did He truly believe that anyone besides Himself could fulfill this command? Just read through the entire Sermon on the Mount to see what Jesus commanded us. When Jesus claims that if a man even looks at a woman in lust he has already committed adultery in his heart. Or, if someone is angry with his brother this is the same as committing murder. Think about what it really means to love your enemies, bless those who curse you and to do good to those who hate and persecute you. Jesus knew that God’s law was given so that sin would increase (Romans 5:20). Can you believe that? God actually gave His commandments so that people would sin more!

Why would He do this? Because, it is only when you despair of saving yourself that you will see your complete need for a Savior. Only then will you give up on your impossible efforts to become righteous by obedience. Only then will you turn solely to Jesus for rescue. And when you do, a miracle happens. Through faith in your Savior you are credited with his righteousness, His perfect obedience! At that moment, you are righteous in God’s sight and receive the gift of eternal life! You have been saved by Jesus’ obedience to God’s laws, not your own! Isn’t that amazing?

When I was a Mormon I misunderstood Christians who claimed they didn’t have to keep the commandments in order to be saved. I thought this meant they didn’t want to keep the commandments and I assumed they must be living a life of blatant sinfulness. Now I understand this isn’t true. Christians don’t have to obey God to be saved, because they already have eternal life. But, they are privileged to obey God simply because they love Him. What a blessing this is for me! In thankfulness to Jesus my whole life is devoted to Him!
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“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:21-24, see also Romans 3:19-20, 5:20, 7:7-8).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are You One Hundred Percent?

I was reading an article at MormonTimes.com about a talk given by the Young Women’s General President, Elaine Dalton. She issued a “challenge” to Young Women to study the Book of Mormon at least five minutes a day, say morning and nightly prayers and to smile. The article states:
“Elaine Dalton hopes she soon has young women approaching her with two thumbs up. That signifies they are ‘One-hundred Percent’ — one hundred percent in daily prayer, scripture study and what she says may be the most challenging, smiling”.

Two phrases in this article jump out at me. They are “challenge” and “One-hundred Percent”. They bring to mind one of my favorite scenes in the life of Jesus. It is the story about Simon the self righteous Pharisee and the woman who loved Jesus so much she washed His feet with her hair and tears (Luke 7:41). As a Pharisee Simon daily challenged himself to follow the teachings of his Church one hundred percent.

But Jesus used the example of the sinful woman to teach Simon a beautiful message: Someone who is forgiven much—-will love much! This Young Woman did not need to be challenged, because her focus was not on one hundred percent obedience; but rather on her one hundred percent forgiveness. Even through her tears you can see her smiling. Her tears were not ones of pain, guilt or stress; but tears of joy, thanksgiving and devoted love!

As a Mormon I was familiar with the concept of being challenged. I felt guilty reading Jesus’ words: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). I desperately wanted to be worthy but I knew in my heart that I loved my children and husband more than I loved Jesus. Since I didn’t know how to love Jesus more, I challenged myself to worthiness by trying to keep the commandments. And the greatest challenge was putting on a smile over my pain.

It was 1994 when I learned what Jesus tried to teach Simon. That was when I heard the truth that one hundred percent of my sins were forgiven! Like a giddy young schoolgirl I fell in love with the man who took away all my guilt! The love of my life became my Savior Jesus! That was over 14 years ago and I still love Him more than life itself, more than my husband and my children. My love for Jesus transformed me from a person who needed to be challenged to follow God’s commands—to a person who is compelled to follow them by love. Now, I would be challenged to hide my smile!

Elaine Dalton issued the challenge to be “One Hundred Percent”. She said “Can you imagine the implications that this has, if a young woman is 100 percent for 10 years, for 15 years?”

I imagine that the Young Women will dutifully say their prayers every morning and night. They will read the Book of Mormon, checking the clock to see when they have accomplished their goal. But without the knowledge that they have been one hundred percent forgiven, will they be any closer to loving Jesus? Will they be any closer to being compelled by such love?

The desire of my heart is that every Mormon hears they are “One Hundred Percent” forgiven! Can you imagine the implications if every Mormon knew this? They wouldn’t need to be “challenged” to pray and read scripture! Since Jesus would be their very best friend they would willingly pray to Him and their Father in Heaven whenever they could. They would willingly read the Bible—God’s love letters, and pour over its pages for comfort and guidance. And, they certainly would not have to be “challenged” to smile. The joy that comes from knowing you are “One Hundred Percent” forgiven, brings a sincere smile that lasts through eternity!

Click on this link to listen to a short video clip of an ex-Mormon Young Woman who discovered the joy of obedience through love:

Lesson 18 Beyond the Veil-Forgiveness through works?

LDS Belief:

A person is washed and cleansed from their sins (gains forgiveness) by keeping the commandments. Supporting LDS scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants 1:32 “Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.”

LDS Words
(Joseph Smith)

Found in lesson 18, page 220:
The Prophet Joseph Smith saw the following in vision, later recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–59, 62, 68–70: “And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—they are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—that by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

The Bold Truth:

Jesus loves us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. (Revelation 1:5)

Joseph Smith revealed that a person gains forgiveness by keeping the commandments. But Jesus testified that doing all the 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. You can only receive forgiveness through belief, not through works (keeping God’s commands)! Believe that Jesus’ blood covers your sin debt and you will receive complete forgiveness of all your sins (past, present and future). Believe it and receive it! “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). Trust me; once you know you have been forgiven, you will live a life of thanksgiving! You will keep Heavenly Fathers commandments out of gratitude and love, not out of obligation or trying to gain something for yourself!

Eternal Consequences

If you believe you receive forgiveness by keeping God’s commands you will die in your sins. On Judgment Day you will stand guilty before Heavenly Father because you rejected Christ’s blood as payment for your sins.

Recommended Reading — The Apostle Peter’s Quest for Forgiveness

Unforgivable Saint

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:

Hebrews:
– Hebrews 9:12-15

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
No One Unclean
in Heaven

The Apostle Paul:
– Ephesians 5:5
Thankful Obedience
The Apostle Paul:
– 1 Corinthians 15:56-58